Friday, February 4, 2011

Good Day, Sunshine!

Yesterday, I was pleased to have finished up Maria's order for her bracelet. She had seen what I didn't; that another bracelet that I had made looked like sunshine because of the colors chosen, and she wanted one that actually said Sunshine! It was fun and an honor to be able to fill her request.

It was an interesting process. One of the things that I did not tell her when presenting pics of her finished bracelet to her was that I had never made a Kumihimo bracelet before. I knew I could do it... it was easy in my mind and none of the skills were anything that I had not done on other items, but I needed to reconstruct the proportions in order to do her work properly.  In fact, the braiding in her bracelet that actually will be sent  was the 2nd attempt. The first time around, I made the braids too long, and as I was completing the bracelet, I knew for a fact that it would be too big for her.

I was a knitter (and a hand spinner and a weaver) before becoming a professional beader. Knitters have a saying when they make a mistake in their projects and don't realize it for a while, then have to take the project apart to correct the issue. The call taking the project out "Frogging It." That's because you have to rip all of your work apart, reclaiming the yarn. You "Rip it! Rip it! Rip it!"

Nobody likes frogging, but the only knitters who never make mistakes are the ones who either are not knitting or never take on a challenging project. I've frogged my share of clothing, and currently have a sweater made out of gorgeous yarn that I completed years ago, but I had done something wrong while following the pattern and it didn't just not fit, but it was impossible to wear. Some day soon, I'm going to frog that sweater and remake it. But back to task.

I needed to frog that initial bracelet for Maria, but in beading,unlike knitting, you can't always reclaim the parts. I was lucky. I WAS able to reuse everything, but rather than take the braids apart and use the beads again, I just left the braids in place and remade them in a shorter length. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with them... ultimately I made an interesting pair of earrings, but what I did know was that if I didn't send Maria something that was up to my own personal standard... something that I was sure she would enjoy, I wouldn't be able to live with myself. In the end, I'm so glad I took the time.

I posted this Animoto (I'm really going to have to blog about Animoto because it's so damned cool) in facebook last night about her bracelet:

It was late when I did so; I was flabbergasted and completely flattered when I almost immediately got this response from her:

Pinky-Grapefruit Maria Thank you so much for letting me be part of this creative process, the gorgeous bracelet and the very kind words!! The bracelet is beautiful as are all your pieces I have purchased. I think I will love this one the best of all because we did it together. WOW I had no idea how much work went into these. Awesome!! You are sooooo talented. Luvvies you ♥

Maria, I love you too!

I also got a lot of other compliments including this one from Claudia:

Another fabulous piece! Your talent is amazing! :)

I can't tell you how much these comments mean to me... thank you one and all!  I know that I finally found my medium, my true passion and work, and that I'm getting better and better at it all the time, and I am not only practicing and getting better that way, but I'm picking up more and more skills through constant education.  But the most important thing said was said by Maria:

"WOW I had no idea how much work went into these. "

Now I know why I bought that Animoto program.  It gives me a chance to make all of my special order clients a chance to see their work in progress, but they also convey the amount of both love and hard work that goes into their orders.  What I do is very labor intensive, takes a long time (even when I don't have to do it twice - lol!), and often my clients don't understand why I charge so much for it.  It makes me feel good that they can see the process, clearly can see that the finished item is much higher quality than what they can buy off of a store shelf (mass merchandise bead jewelry is usually CRAP!), and why I charge what I do.

That's the thing.  I have a set formula for how I charge for my work... I got it out of a "Selling Your Jewelry" book so I know that it's reasonable and fair, and I don't deviate unless I am offering a special promotion or reducing items permanently to clear inventory because my style or body of work has changed enough that the old doesn't represent what I do anymore.  So I feel good about my pricing, but I wonder if my clients do too.  With the Animoto, they can see what goes into their jewelry and I think it makes them feel better about my charges.

But back to task again.  I have a number of other special orders still awaiting completion, especially for Sue who has been uber patient for over a year when she is my first and most important client.  I have a bracelet and a pair of earrings to finish up (they're almost done), and then I am going to go back to work on a necklace in progress for her and just keep working straight through until it's done.  Damned the teeny tiniest small heirloom beads I am making it out of... full speed ahead and if I continue to have trouble seeing them, well I'm going to have to break down and buy myself some kind of magnfication system.

In the meanwhile, I'm also starting to work on my web site and made real and noticeable progress on the jewelry page last night. I'd love it if any of my readers - who I appreciate more than you could know, especially when I am so irregular about posting - combed over it, looked for errors, and got back to me with any comments, positive or negative.  Yes, I know that I need to update the header pictures and I'll get to that presently, but the body of the page is where I'd really appreciate your feedback. 

Now, I have to scan my food sheets for Richard as today is the day I am turning them in (yet another story, but I'm trying to get my weight back to where it belongs), get dressed, and Eric & I will be going on a round of theraputic appointments this morning to try and come up with a plan in order to deal with the unique issues his ex wife and mother of his children present.  Again, another post for another day if I ever post about it at all.  

But for now, go out and have a day full of sunshine.  If you're in an area of the country where the winter is at it's worst, you can still carry sunshine in your heart.  I hope you do.  

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