Monday, March 15, 2010

Where the Magic Happens

I spent the entire past weekend completely reorganizing my work space. You may look at the pictures and think "this is organized?" but trust me, it most definitely is! My life is highly organized chaos. We are a family of five living under one small roof, so utilizing EVERY inch of available space is a must. My work area is set up in a corner of my bedroom--the secret to making it all work is going up, up, UP!

I feel the most creative when I am surrounded by the things that I love. I have pictures of my kids and family displayed throughout the area along with drawings that the kids have made for me and my favorite little knick-knacks. My cd and mp3 players have prominent spots as well as the tv that is in the opposite corner of the room. As I write this my Princess is coloring a new series of animal pictures to hang above the spot where the map is on the wall. Can you tell what the two animals are that I collect?

The map on the wall indicates all the different places that I have shipped to in my four years of selling online. I wish now that I had bought a world map, but I never in my wildest dreams thought I would need one. We write the names of the foreign countries in the margins with their star and then look them up on Google. It's a great mini-geography lesson for the Princess. I love Google Maps! We've even been able to zoom in and see the actual street where some of the packages will be delivered before. At this time we've shipped Tilleyjewels to 48 US states and 18 foreign countries!

On the left side of my work area sits my laptop so I can keep a constant eye on incoming orders and inquiries, along with my Twitter and Facebook pages while I work. The black filing cabinet holds shipping supplies. There is another file cabinet underneath it which is accessable with a quick rollaway of the plastic drawer unit my computer sits on--that cabinet holds catalogs and jewelry making books and magazines. The containers along the back of the desk hold metal components, wire and my luscious Swarovski crystals. Even the space under the desk can't be wasted--there are about 20 embroidery floss boxes full of colorful seed beads stacked underneath against the wall.

The wooden shelf on the right side sits in the corner of the room. The open shelves at the top hold my scrapbooking supplies, current business paperwork and miscellaneous supplies. Behind the pull-down door is where I keep my more "dangerous" tools (dremel, glue gun, mini iron, etc) safe from nosy little fingers. There are two more shelves on the bottom that are a little harder to access, but I can still use them to store things that I don't need to get to very often. On the top of the shelf are dozens of boxes holding Czech fire polish beads, polymer clay and lampwork beads, and boxes of gemstones divided by colors--they are stacked as high as I can reasonable reach so I don't have to ask hubby to get things down for me.

My very favorite part of my organization setup is my big red mechanics' tool chest. I bought one of these several years ago for my husband's birthday and the more I stared at it the more I realized how perfect all those little drawers would be for sorting beads! All the drawers in the top section hold my extensive Czech glass bead collection with a different color in each drawer. The long drawers on the bottom half hold my yummy freshwater pearls. The large pull down door at the very bottom hides my "real job" supplies so they don't stare me in the face when I'm trying to do other things. (For those who don't know me as well, in addition to running my jewelry & accessories business I also work from home as a designer for a locally based bridal manufacturer.)

Phase One of my reorganization project is now complete. Before I started I had so much stuff piled up on my desk that I had a clear spot about the size of a piece of notebook paper to work at. I realized that a lot of prime real estate was taken up by things that I wasn't even using anymore. Many of those easiest-to-reach drawers on the desk were full of supplies I hadn't used in months if not years. I cleared all of that stuff out and moved it to the basement--a lot of it will eventually get listed in my Etsy destash shop . Phase Two will follow in a couple of weeks or so as I attempt to organize my fabric/ribbons/lace/flowers. I've already bought a ton of clear plastic boxes, but I'm waiting on another shipment of supplies to arrive first so I can decide how much space I will need. Believe it or not, most of those items will get stored in slide-out boxes under my bed. I told you I was into using every available space!

If you want to see the workspace pictures bigger and in more detail visit my Facebook Fan Page

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Princess Can Do Whatever She Wants

This is the latest entry in my "Jewelry You Won't Find In My Online Shops" series. I was sharing Princess Katie stories with my friend Loren the other night when I found the pictures from her 7th birthday where she received an extra special birthday necklace, her "Princess License".

As you might recall, it is a Tilley Family tradition that 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. A few months before turning 7 Katie latched on to her personal mantra "A princess can do whatever she wants." One day I was browsing the website of dear friend and fellow jewelry maker Bonnie Alvarez, owner of Birth Designs Studio, when a princess themed pendant she had listed caught my eye and my inspiration. This was before I was doing any metal stamping at all, but even if I had been, Bonnie's expertise and variety of stamping fonts and symbols was key to the design of such a princess-worthy piece. Bonnie created a custom sterling pendant for me with Katie's new catch phrase and marked with a crown.

Of course princess jewels must sparkle. My original plan for this necklace involved a different color scheme, but when we found a black and fuschia polka dotted dress for her birthday outfit the whole piece suddenly came together. Fuschia Swarovski crystal hearts and black, silver and fuschia Swarovski crystals dangle on either side of the custom pendant from sterling silver chain.

Yes, this child is spoiled rotten! And yes, she is most definitely an everyday princess!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

First Ever Tilleyjewels Bride Giveaway

And it's a BIG one!!!

I've been creating and selling bridal accessories for almost as long as I've been making jewelry. But it wasn't until a little over a year ago that I decided to really expand my bridal line and open a seperate online shop to highlight the pieces in a manner I felt they deserved. Tilleyjewels Bride was born in January 2009 and I honestly feel this was the best business decision that I've ever made. I worked with almost 100 brides in the first year, in many cases creating custom pieces to perfectly match their wedding vision.

In celebration of the first year's successes and in anticipation of what is to come, I'm teaming up with Brenda's Wedding Blog for the first ever Tilleyjewels Bride giveaway! One lucky individual is going to win a $100 gift certificate to go shopping at Tilleyjewels Bride for sparkling jewels! And the great twist is that you don't have to be a bride-to-be in order to enter...

Enter Tilleyjewels Bride Giveaway Here

There are over 150 designs currently listed in the bridal shop, from sparkling headpieces for the princess bride to timeless pearls to accessorize any business suit. Go enter the contest and have fun daydreaming about what you'll choose if you win!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Tilleyjewels Be My Valentine Sale

Won't you be my Valentine? Or if you already have a Valentine, won't you treat them with the gift of handmade jewelry?

From now through midnight February 14th ALL purchases of $10 or more (before shipping) in my main Etsy shop Tilleyjewels 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 "ROMANCE" 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.

Surprise her with flowers that will never wilt or romantic heart shaped accessories. Or treat yourself to a little gift to counteract those winter blahs. All items come shipped in special Valentine themed wrap!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I've Been So Blog-Neglectful Lately

Wow, I've been a horrible blogger the past couple of months! I hope to change this in upcoming weeks...

A most happy new year to all my friends and customers! Big things are in store for Tilleyjewels this coming year and I hope to share a lot of joy and excitement with you as things develop--new products, new selling accounts, a new wholesale website. Look forward to some contests and giveaways where you'll have a chance to win Tilleyjewels items or gift certificates. I'll be announcing the first Tilleyjewels Bride gift certificate giveaway in a couple of weeks in connection with a popular wedding blog!

I always welcome any suggestions from you. Is there an item in my line you'd like to see in a different color? Is there a store in your area that you think should be carrying Tilleyjewels? Feel free to contact me with your comments and suggestions!