Saturday, January 26, 2008

Visible Growth

On Wednesday night, I stopped by The Artisan's Lair in Long Beach to pick up and take home all of my jewelry that I had on consignment there. In December 2006, I participated in a holiday show that Linda was hosting, and afterwards she offered me space in her shop to sell some of my jewelry on consignment. I will be ever grateful to Linda, as she was the first person to take a chance on me. But, she's closing up the retail side of her business, so I collected the items she still had and brought them home.

Looking at them all today, it's nice to see some growth in my skills and designs between what I was making previously and what I'm making now. It's easy to plod along and compare yourself to others and not recognize where you've been and how far you've come. So, I'm glad to have this opportunity to handle some of my jewelry made over a year ago (some pieces that were very early attempts at what I'm doing now) and see all of the changes.

They'll probably sit on my bench for a little while until I figure out what to do with them. Do I want to take them completely apart? Do I want to try to re-use the forms and just incorporate not-so-crunched flowers or leaves? Decisions, decisions...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Green Drinks

On Thursday night, Russ and I braved the blustery storm that was pummeling its way through Southern California to go out to the Long Beach Green Drinks. Hi to anyone that's reading this blog that I met that night! It was a great group and a fun time. Green Drinks is a loose networking group with chapters around the world that has the goal of bringing together sustainably-minded people. For us, it was an opportunity not only to meet people that would appreciate what we're doing, but to meet other people in our community who are doing interesting and innovative projects. If you're interested in sustainability, I highly recommend looking them up to see if there's a group near you and going to their next meeting. If you in the Long Beach area, maybe we'll see you next month!

Friday, January 18, 2008

More Etsy Love

Etsy has been running a series called "Your Handmade Stories" and I thought it would be the perfect place to submit my artist profile slideshow. And, guess what? They love it too! Check it out right now online on The Storque.

Thanks Etsy!

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Over the past few months, I've been snapping the ocassional photo of bits of nature and interesting textures that are intriguing and inspiring to me. And, then, what happens, but I completely forget that I've taken the photos, so I never go back and look at them and consider ways to bring that flash of inspiration into my work. So, I finally started putting them together into a flickr set. I've added a link the right side of the blog, but if you're curious to see what oddities inspire me, visit the new Tangerine Treehouse Inspiration set.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A business is a business is a...

A week ago, I picked up a copy of Craft, Inc. I'd read so many shining reviews that I decided I should look into it and see what I can glean from it.

At its most basic, Craft, Inc. is about turning your craft into a business and all of the stuff you need to think about along the way. A lot of the information is not new to me and some of it doesn't really pertain to what my business is right now. But, I'm definitely glad that I've taken the time to read it – if for no other reason than it has made me start thinking more seriously about my jewelry-making truly being a business.

In 2003, I officially became a small business owner. I got the DBA, the seller's permit, the business license, the checking account. I started filing my Schedule C when I did my taxes. But because I hadn't made a profit until just recently, it always felt like I was just playing business owner. Kind of like a kid playing dress-up.

Reading this book has made me realize that, if I want to be successful as an artist and get to that point where I'm making my living from my jewelry, I need to get more serious about running my business like an actual business.

How does this translate? Well, for starters, I wrote out a business plan. This is something that I've heard many times that all business owners should do. But, as an artist, the thought of writing out a dull, report-like, 100-page document makes me cringe. The book advocates something else entirely – if you're not going to be approaching a bank for a loan, then the plan is really for your own eyes as a business owner, as a sort of road map to help you get to where you want to go. Hmmm, I thought, that makes sense. My business plan is a whopping page and a half. The first page has a description of the business, my mission statement, my sustainability statement and some big mile-marker goals. The second page has a brief overview of what my products are and where I'm going to focus my marketing energy. And that's it, folks. My next step is to turn it into a big poster that I can hang in my studio, so that the plan will continue to guide me.

Monday, January 7, 2008

It all starts here...

Over the weekend, we got socked with a pretty good storm down here in Southern California. A lot of rain and wind. Both of which are good for me, because they add up to a lot of interesting blow-down. Below, some beautiful green and brown eucalyptus leaves that I collected from my neighborhood.

I found the brown leaves first, when they were still wet, with a gorgeous shiny reddish hue. I'm looking forward to experimenting with them, to see if I can replicate that soaked-with-rain color. The green ones intrigue me because they have these fascinating seed pods attached. And I'm curious to play with them and explore different ways that I can incorporate them.

And so it begins... I stumble across some leaves that seem to leap out at me with possibility... and I start brainstorming all the crazy ways that I can draw them into a piece of jewelry.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Etsy Front Page!

What a happy day... I logged on to Etsy and, lo and behold, one of my necklaces is on the front page! I get so excited everytime someone picks my jewelry to be in a treasury, so this is like hitting the Etsy jackpot!

Thank you RunAliceRun.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy 2008

It's a bit of a weird feeling to sit at the start of a new year and think about all the things that you want to accomplish in the upcoming months. It feels a bit pretentious, and all those things seem a bit impossible to achieve. So I have to keep reminding myself that dreaming big and thinking ahead are the only ways to move forward. And, in reading what my boyfriend (a freelance photographer) wrote about the close of 2007, I realize that I am now where he was a year ago - Just starting to seriously strike it out on my own.

So, in the spirit of "saying what you want out loud helps you to achieve it," I present my goals for 2008...

Pull together and *launch* a cohesive line of Tangerine Treehouse jewelry
Leave my long-time day job to focus my full attention on my business
Pull in a steady income from my business that supports me and my life
Welcome lots of new adventures and opportunities that are on the horizon
Get over my fear of being known

There are lots of smaller goals, but those are the big ones that I want to focus on. And, although I am still so new to blogging, I know that having this outlet will help me move closer to and meet those goals.

I wish everyone a Happy 2008!