Saturday, November 28, 2009

Holiday Updates and a New Tilleyjewels Giveaway

I apologize for being a neglectful blogger lately! This is always a busy time of the year for everyone and even more so when you are running your own business. I had my biggest show of the season a couple of weeks ago and am now looking forward to helping out my online holiday shoppers.

Tilleyjewels will make one more live appearance this year. On Saturday December 5 I will be set up at the annual holiday craft show at the Mt. Vernon (IL) City Park. This show runs 9am-4pm and usually has around 30 booths of arts and crafts. If you are in the area I hope you'll take the opportunity to stop in. There are so many more Tilleyjewels items available than what I could ever get listed online!

A $25 Tilleyjewels gift certificate good for anything at is up for grabs this week on the Bake and Destroy blog Check out the "3rd Annual Holiday Gift Guide & Gigantic F’n Giveaway!" and leave a comment with what is on your holiday wish list this year to be eligible for one of 12 daily giveaways. My gift certificate is the prize for 12/1 so make sure you comment before then if that's what you are wanting to win!

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Once in a Blue Moon Haunted Tilleyjewels Sale

It's time for a Once in a Blue Moon Tilleyjewels sale! In honor of my favorite holiday coming up I have decided to share the joy. From now through midnight Halloween night ALL purchases of $10 or more (before shipping) in my main Etsy shop will receive a 20% discount. This even includes the many items in the "Last Chance Sale" section. All you have to do is type the word "HAUNTED" in the "note to seller" box upon checkout. You may then either go ahead and pay through Paypal and I will refund your discount when I receive your order, or you may request a revised invoice prior to paying. It's a great way to start your holiday shopping!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Today's the Day for a Great Giveaway!

If you've been lusting after that Coffin Jewelry Set I posted earlier, today's your chance to win it in time for Halloween! Go to for your entry instructions.

Also up for grabs today are several copies of two books by one of my very favorite authors Jeri Smith-Ready, "Wicked Game" and "Bad to the Bone". If you appreciate the genre that is known as "urban fantasy", you'll love Smith-Ready's journey into the world of vampires who run a radio station to keep themselves grounded in reality.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Looking Ahead to the Holidays

Tilleyjewels is Secret Sister/Secret Pal/Secret Santa friendly! I have tons of special gift wraps for my orders (birthday, anniversary, holidays) and will gladly enclose a matching note personalized with your message all sent directly to your gift recipient. If you prefer to remain anonymous I have no issues with that. I love being able to provide this service to my customers as it saves time and money on shipping.

I will be starting to list some of my most popular holiday jewelry this week. Yes, I know it's early, but three years experience of selling on Etsy has shown me that October is when my international customers will start ordering for the holidays to ensure their packages arrive in plenty of time.

Already back in the shop are my ever popular snowman earrings with the option to pick your own scarf color. Choose from the traditional bright blue, red or green or go wild with hot pink, turquoise, lime green. I have the floss used for the scarves in just about every color imaginable, so the sky is the limit! The nice thing about snowmen is they are "winter" jewelry instead of strictly Christmas. You can wear them all throughout the cold winter months, long after your holiday jewels have been stashed away for another year.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

We Have a Winner!

We found out a few days ago that my oldest daughter Audrey is the recipient of a 2 year full tuition waiver to study art at Rend Lake College! The decision was based entirely on her art portfolio submission.

Audrey and I attended a reception at the college last Thursday evening where this year's six art scholarship winners were announced. The students were spread out over the Southern Illinois region. Audrey is the only one from our hometown.

While we were at the college we got to meet a couple of the art teachers and the chairman of the art department. One of the teachers had a class in session that evening, which she let us sit in on for a while, but she took the time out to come talk to Audrey about the works she had submitted.

The art department at the college is in the Theater building. We got to tour some of the art facilities, including the ceramics studio, which Audrey was very excited about. It is located beneath the stage, where students were rehearsing for an upcoming performance.

The works of all six scholarship winners will be on display in the lobby of the Theater building throughout the month of October. It is an impressive group of young talent. All of the pieces I've shown here are from Audrey's collection.

I'm a proud mom, and have to admit that I'm relieved to know that plans are in place now for next year. Now we can relax and enjoy the rest of her senior year!

Halloween Giveaways

If you are fascinated by all things supernatural as I am, then you must visit this website I recently discovered: They are currently running a daily contest for the month of October called My Bloody Vampire--31 Days of Dark Delights...

Bitten By Books is hosting multiple daily giveaways during this month of frights--including one of Tilleyjewels' new Vampire's Punishment Coffin jewelry sets (necklace & earrings).

I don't know which day my items will be up for grabs. That's the beauty of this contest--you have to visit the site every day to view the newest goodies and that day's entry rules.

I'm having a blast reading all the daily entry responses to questions such as your favorite Halloween costume or favorite fall recipe. Make sure you go check it out!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

First Art Show of the Season

The first weekend of October is quickly coming, bringing the first Tilleyjewels' art/craft show of the fall season. When I first started out selling my work, we used to travel 2-3 weekends a month year-round to do shows. Thank goodness for discovering online selling! I now do only 3-4 shows a year, so I can continue to reach out to all of my wonderful local customers who have supported my jewelry making journey for so many years.

This Saturday, Oct. 3rd is the 6th annual Hexagon Barn Art Festival held on the property of a local doctor and his wife in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. It is a juried show of Southern Illinois artists which I am proud to have been involved with since the very first year. This will be the third year that my oldest daughter Audrey has also set up her booth of fantasy art at the show.

If you are in Southern Illinois I would highly recommend planning a trip on Saturday to this great event. Admission and parking are both free. You will be treated to music and a variety of talented artists. Food is available to purchase from a local church youth group who uses the money for mission trips. The uniquely painted Hexagon Barn is open for tours, along with the many other interesting items located on this property--antique cars and tractors, live animals, a stone cross and a restored train caboose just to mention a few.

This is a show that I really enjoy doing, which is evident in the fact that it's the only outdoor show that I still set up at. (Note the plastic windbreak in the photo of last year's booth!) Outdoor shows and I aren't the best match, but this one is worth the extra set up and preperation.

If you are interested in attending and need more details please feel free to contact me for times and directions.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Jewelry You Won't Find In My Online Shops (Part 2)

My oldest daughter Audrey loves anything fantasy themed--fairies, dragons, etc. I have a tendancy to procrastinate on the girls' birthday jewelry, usually sitting down to make it the night before I need, but Audrey's special birthday piece was planned out well in advance this year.

I'm a member of an online forum where a group of us came together because of a love of beads and jewelry making and have formed some wonderful friendships. One of the things that several of us participate in is a travelling bead box--when the box reaches you, you take out the items you want and replace them with other goodies. It's like a big Christmas surprise every time the box arrives. In my last experience with the bead box I encountered the most fabulous polymer clay dragon focal, made by one of my favorite bead artists. The instant I laid eyes on it I knew that would be the centerpiece of Audrey's 17th birthday gift.

The pendant was created by my dear friend Valerie of The dragon is hand drawn on polymer clay with pencil and ink and sealed with a protective gloss. The back side (which I forgot to get a picture of) is a multi-shade of grey design that resembles dragonscales. I created the piece as a two strand necklace using silver-plated chain and bright pink dyed "jade" faceted beads. It is truely a unique one of a kind piece for my one of a kind daughter.

I'm currently working on some other projects using some of Valerie's beads. She has made some incredibly detailed floral and spider beads that I am working with and hope to have listed in the shop soon.

Monday, August 31, 2009

A Month of Milestones

August 2009 is a month that Tilleyjewels won't soon forget! Several milestones were reached this month which makes me very optimistic about the upcoming holiday season.

I've been selling online for 3 1/2 years now with a lot of various wishes/goals/milestones in mind. There was one milestone that I was beginning to wonder if I would ever reach--an online sale for every day of the month. Not necessarily one sale every day (though that will be a fun one to shoot for next), but 31 sales during a month with 31 days. Tilleyjewels finally saw that mark this month, with sale #31 on Friday with three days in the month left to go! Yippee!

Last night saw the purchase of the 600th item sold in the original Tilleyjewels Etsy shop! That lucky customer who purchased this necklace from my "Last Chance Sale" section will find a special treat in her package when it arrives.

I'm also ecstatic over this month's sales in the new Tilleyjewels bridal boutique! I never dreamed that shop would take off the way it has. Seperating out the wedding collection into it's own shop was the best business decision I think I've ever made.

I have such a great appreciation for everyone who has made reaching these milestones possible. This jewelry designer is really enjoying all the wonderful friends and customers in my life right now. Thank you!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Jewelry You Won't Find In My Online Shops (Part 1)

About 10 years ago or so I started what has become a Tilley Family tradition. Every year for the girls' birthdays I make each one a special piece of jewelry that somehow reflects where they are in their life at the time--hobbies, favorite colors, milestones, etc. Because they are so personalized for my girls they are pieces that will probably never be repeated, but they are some of my favorite creations and I wanted to be able to share them with you.

Many of these special pieces of jewelry wouldn't have been possible without the help of some of my favorite artists and I also want to take the opportunity to give a shout out to each of them as I present this series of "jewelry you won't find in my shops".

The first piece I want to share was a 13th birthday gift for middle daughter Emily (who we lovingly call Midget) in 2006:

Emily has always liked monkeys and has a special love for Curious George. Earlier in that year there was an exhibition of original childrens' book illustrations at the local art museum where I was working at the time. The girls came to the exhibit on opening day and Emily had her picture taken by a newspaper reporter standing next to an original Curious George sketch. The photo was published in the paper the following day with the caption "Curious Emily visits the museum".

The awesome polymer clay image pendant on this necklace was created by my dear friend Rachel from Analiese Designs. I found Rachel's shop just shortly after joining Etsy and quickly became a fan of her work. I've bought countless pendants from her over the past 3 years to use in my work. Rachel created this pendant for Emily as a special surprise after our discussion about her love of Curious George. I immediately fell in love with the design and found beads in my stash to mimic the balloon image up throughout the black suede necklace. It's a favorite piece that Emily still wears when lots of others have fallen by the wayside.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Introducing My Other Child...

I often get asked about this picture that I use when posting custom orders and "reserved" listings in my Etsy shops. This is Princess Katie at age 3 along with her constant companion Buddy Green. Having Buddy around is pretty much like having a fourth child, other than he doesn't eat real food.

The Christmas before Katie was born there was a package under the tree from my parents labelled "to Audrey and Emily's new sibling". Inside was a fresh and fluffy teal green Ty Beanie Buddy Bear. When Katie was born that April, the at that time nameless bear was waiting for her in the bassinet. Katie was a preemie and Buddy was bigger than her when she first came home. From the time she was big enough to start lugging him around, she never went anywhere without him. He has his own stocking at Christmas and gets his own costume at Halloween (last year Katie was Little Bo Peep and Buddy was her sheep).

Starting school is always a big time in any kid's life, but when Katie started kindergarten she realized that she was going to be away from Buddy all day long. In order to ease her mind, I announced that I had enrolled Buddy in "Beartere Elementary School". The bus would pick him up after she left for school in the mornings and bring him back in time to be home when she got home from school. I bought him a doll sized bookbag and mini pencils and notebooks. That first year I even went to the extreme of filling out his homework sheets and writing notes from his teachers.

Tomorrow is Katie's first day of 3rd grade. She announced earlier today that Buddy was ready to start back at Beartere tomorrow also. Her teacher this year is Mrs. Frisby. She said that Buddy's teacher's name is Mrs. Star. They both seem very excited to get started back to class. Katie misses her friends and Buddy has a girlfriend at school named Rose Julia Hotrose who he hasn't seen all summer!

You'll probably be reading a lot more about Buddy Green in the future. He's a big presence in our household.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Did everyone hear a loud shriek of jubilation around 4am this morning? That was me after FINALLY decoding the elusive HTML code that has been plaguing me on the wholesale website for weeks. I can't believe that it's almost done--and just in time as my vacation sadly ends this weekend. That was my main "to do" for my vacation time and I came in just under the wire.

When I created my "policies" page for the website I used a very long, rather convoluded tutorial that resulted in a beautiful page that I could not repeat on my other pages no matter how hard I tried. Turns out that I was doing things the hard way--where that tutorial used dozens and dozens of lines of code, I found another much simpler way of creating the same basic effect for my other pages using only 5 or 6 lines. Gee whiz!

Not much left to do before I'll be able to launch--one more page that should be a cinch now that I know what to do and then a final edit for typos or missing product information. I'm starting out with only bridal pieces on the site, but plan to add the rest of my jewelry lines soon. This will make it SOOOO much easier to work with stores and hopefully take my wholesale experience to a whole new level!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Surrounded by Sparklies!

My magpie syndrome is getting a good fix right now. I'm surrounded by tons of sparkling goodies that arrived yesterday--and the best part was they were all FREE!!!

Shipwreck Beads is holding an ongoing giveaway right now. Go to and sign up for their newsletter and you are entered to win a $250 gift certificate that they are drawing for every week. You check their website every Friday to see if your newsletter number is a match--if it is then you call in to verify your information and they credit the prize to your account. I was one of July's lucky winners!

I've spent most of the evening sorting out all my new playthings--sparkling rhinestone montees, fun decorative toggle clasps, tons of Czech crystal teardrops and a restocking of my favorite Swarovski colors. And I still have some credit left to spend later on!

New designs will be coming to my shops soon after my new friends and I spend some time getting acquainted...

Monday, August 3, 2009

So What's Up With All the Pink?

Any one who knows me from the past is probably in shock when they see my shop, blog, Facebook pages, Twitter, etc. How did a heavy metal loving, slasher flick watching, black clothes wearing former "goth" girl (though they didn't use that word back in my high school days...) end up surrounded by so much PINK?!?!

I discovered Etsy near the end of 2005 when I was researching how to set up a website to sell my jewelry online. It was the perfect solution for me and I decided that if I was going to make the leap to online selling it was long past time to rebrand my business. Living with three daughters naturally there are a lot of books lying around full of princesses and fairies. My oldest daughter, Audrey, had a fairytale puzzle book with a story in it that had always fascinated me. It was called "The Royal Jeweler"--the story of a jewel beetle who created beautiful jewelry until a farmer's plow destroyed his home and workshop. The queen of the fairies found out about his situation and set him up in a safe new place with all the supplies he could ever need because she loved his work so much. (Couldn't we ALL use a benefactor like that?) The more I thought about that story, the more the idea formed for the new look for my own line. One night the line "fairytale jewels for the everyday princess" popped into my head, and though I didn't fully understand it's meaning at the time, it stuck.

If you've ever visited my shop, you've surely seen my various mentions of Audrey's own Etsy shop where we sell her fantasy artwork Her favorite thing to draw has always been fairies, so there was no way I could follow through on the whole fairytale concept without her assistance. I gave her some ideas of the look I wanted, and a few days later "Jewelfairy" was born. She has become my "corporate spokesfairy" and a stylized version of her magic star wand is my logo. If you're going to go fairytale, then you may as well go all the way, so pink, pink and more pink it was. Though the whole pink/fairy/princess thing is the complete opposite of my personal taste I couldn't possibly love my branding concept any more. Like with most things, I have a tendancy to take it to the extreme--pink tissue paper and ribbons on the boxes, princess stickers in all my packages, I even redid my entire craft show booth in fuschia, black and silver. No one can ever say I don't follow through when I put my mind to it...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

TONS of Beading Magazines for Sale

I'm in the process of sorting through nine years worth of beading and jewelry making magazines that I'm planning on listing in my detash shop on Etsy I'm not really looking forward to scanning and listing all of these dozens upon dozens of titles, but they always sell so well for me on there that it's worth it in the long run. Though I'm a little sad to let my collection go, I'm looking forward to the empty space this purge will create that I can fill with more beading stuff!

I thought I'd give all my beading buddies a heads up in case there are any issues you are looking for to complete your own collections. I'll be happy to pull them out and create a "reserved" listing on Etsy for you. There may be a few random issues that I don't have or plan on keeping, but if there's anything you want let me know and I'll see if I have it. I generally list them for 1/2 the cover price plus shipping cost.

Here's what is going up for grabs this time around:
Beadstyle -- Sept 2003 premier issue to current
Bead and Button -- Oct 1999 issue to current
Beadwork -- Fall 1999 issue to current

I also have a bunch of older Lapidary Journals -- not sure of the dates (I think 1999-2001 or so) but I can check if anyone is interested.

Most issues are in near perfect condition. If anything you might want has any damage I'll let you know before you buy.

I'll take any requests on a first-come basis. Email me at "tilleyjewels(at)gmail(dot)com" (you know how it should be formatted) if you are interested. Please include your location with your request so I can calculate your shipping options.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Chopping Away at the To-Do List

I'm in the midst of a two week vacation from my "real" job and determined to get done some of those things that I haven't been able to find time to do recently. One of the top priorities on my to-do list was to finally get a blog set up. If you are reading this, then I must have succeeded!

I've also managed to mark setting up a Facebook Fan Page off the list:

My most involved, and most important, task I'm trying to tackle is my attempt to complete my wholesale website so that I can start showing it to stores. It's coming along, but I still need to figure out two more pages of coding and finish putting descriptions and prices on about half the listed pieces. I've been picking away at it bit by bit for several months now, but I'm afraid if I don't get it done while I'm off that I won't have time to really work on it until after the holiday season. When I get done, there will be a scream of joy heard round the world...