Thursday, October 29, 2009

Happy 3rd Birthday To My Little Vemelope!!!

Today is a wonderful day, it's my little chicken nugget, Vemelope Sweetie Pie Lover Lambchop's 3rd Birthday!! Yay! She's had lots of birthday fun today, including a trip to Pet Smart where she got some special doggie cookies WITH frosting, a squeeky Rubber Chicken Dressed as Santa, a Purple Monkey and a blue Puppy Snuggie!!!

Mel was also lucky enough to get a birthday package today in the mail from her Aunt Alex who is out in Boston for school! She g
ot this ctie little red hoodie, and Aunt Alex made her a fun little birthday photo collage, and even included the other babies, Macy & Marley!

Happy Birthday Mellie!! We love you!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Reincarnated: I would if I could!

While driving back from the grocery store today, I found myself on a really weird train of's possible that this is a sign of needing medication but here it goes anyway...

I don't really know what what happens to us when our human life ends, and the rest of time begins, it's something that I've always found to completely mind boggling. That said, I think I believe in reincarnation...for the most part. But I'd rather be reincarnated as something awesome, rather than just a squirrel or a tree or a really cute dog. If was is possible to be reincarnated as a song, this is the song I'd come back as. You could just listen to this song, and remember how awesome I was :)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Etched Holiday Pendants, SAVED!!!

Yay! I managed to salvage a number of pendants from what I thought was a ruined sheet of etchings! These will be LIMITED EDITION pieces, hopefully I will be able to etch some more next week :)

Anyway, I just listed all the Holiday Pendants in the SHOP! And you can check out the HAPPY HOLIDAYS section for more holiday fun-tasticness!


My little Miniature Dachshund, Vemelope aka Mel, HATES wearing any sort of dog clothing. In fact, she is so humiliated by wearing clothes that she sinks into a deep depression whilst the garment is on her and either scurries away or runs to the nearest person to lay her little head on their shoulder while she cries.

Well, too bad for Mel, because she's wearing clothes because, 1. she's always shivering and 2. I think it's funny :) (I know I'm a bad dog mom!)

Anyway, I'm totally eyeing both of these darling little puppy ensembles for Mel for Christmas! And yes, I totally shop for my dogs for Christmas...

I hope Mel doesn't sneak onto the computer and peak at my blog! It would be awful to ruin it special Christmas surprises :)

Don't judge me guys, I know I can be a little strange, but just go with it!
:) :) :) :) :)

1. Reversible Pink/Grey Fleece Hoodie with Pom Pom by Anniessweatshop:

2. Ruffle Rump Dog Sweater in Grey by hoverfly:

Friday, October 23, 2009

Failure & The Pep Talk

Last night I was all excited to etch a sheet of sterling to make some cute little limited edition holiday pendants ....

Well, I etched, and failed. I made a couple of mistakes that ruined the etch quality, major bummer. I even had a mini spazzy "ugly cry" meltdown about it!

So, I turned to the other metalsmiths in the Etsy forums for some advice/support/ideas/troubleshooting and they thankfully came to my rescue and revived the hope I had of making these darling little pendants.

This morning I made the decision to pay the large amount of money needed to order more silver etchant, pay a funky hazardous shipping charge and give it another go. I've decided to force myself to try until I get it right! This motivation was aided considerably by Mr. Franklin D. Roosevelt and a secretive Unknown Author...
"When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on." ~Franklin D. Roosevelt
"The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places." ~Author Unknown

I ain't givin' up yet guys! Stay tuned for the completed holiday pendants, because THEY WILL HAPPEN! :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New Pendant Experiment Time! Your Opinion, Please???

I've been wanting to start incorporating faceted gemstones and cabochons into my jewelry for a while now but have struggled with doing so in "my style". The other day I had a rush of design ideas and did some quick sketches and this is what I came up with!

The pendant is small, about the size of a penny, and I'm thinking of doing a series of this style pendant but with different simple silhouetted design variations. I feel like it has a bit of a Renaissance feel to it...Yes?No? I want to do a series of these with different stones in simple tube settings, I used a Pink Topaz in this piece because it was just an extra stone I had laying around, not sure if I'd go with pink for others but we'll see!

Anyway, when it came out of the tumbler with the Bright Mirror Finish I wasn't overwhelmingly excited about it, though I REALLY wanted to be! SO I decided to try out a number of different finishes and compare them via photos afterward, and THANK GOD I did! I totally feel in love with the pendant after the sterile mirror polish was gone :)

I'm personally LOVING the Brushed Oxidized Finish, it brings so much more depth to the piece and I love that it feels a little ancient. I know not EVERYONE is into oxidized jewelry, so I think just even the Brushed Satin Finish is a great change/upgrade from the mirror finish it initially had. A nice bright option for bright silver lovers but still retains a bit of depth.

So, can I get everyones lovely opinions on this? Are you liking this simple pendant style? Which finish are you most drawn to?

Thanks for your help guys! I promise to get to that Trunk Show Secrets post by the end of the week!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

I've been a VERY Busy Bee!

Wow! I've been so productive the past couple days that I'm really impressing myself! I've been feeling the pressure to be more and more prepared for the holidays on Etsy, and I LOVE to offer lots of items in my Under $30 section because it's so great for holiday gifting! So, I decided to get myself ahead of the game and get all my Under $30 offerings in my shop (although I DO have 2 left to list today, so I can't toot my horn too much!).

A couple weeks ago I told you all about my trip to the Hartford Gem Show, and shared some pictures of my loot with you. Now I can FINALLY show you some finished products! Woohoo!

Anyway, enough with the chit chat, I have a lot more work waiting for me today! And we all know, when the motivation hits you, you have to just go with it! Here's a small sampling of the almost 20 new listings I put up in my Etsy Shop last night! They all can be found in my 30$ or LESS section!

What do you guys think?

**Stones clockwise from the top left: Deep Amber toned Citrine, Pyrite aka Fools Gold, Deep Red Almandine Garnet, Rainbow Moonstone, Forest Green Quartz, Mystic Rainbow Quartz

Friday, October 16, 2009

Locks and Keys Mini Collection : SNEAK PEEK!

At the urging of Amy over at Ponder & Stitch, I've recently been trying to put together my own take on locks and keys. It took a lot long than I had anticipated to come up with my own key design that I felt was cohesive with my brand and style, lovely and structurally sound...the locks came a bit easier for me, but the key, the key was the issue!

Anyway, after lots of sketches and even more hemming and hawing, I bring to you a sneak peek of my new Locks and Keys mini-collection ( although I'm not totally sure I like that name for the collection)! There will be pendants and earrings as well, just haven't gotten to those yet! I'll be trying to get these rings posted some time today, in my Etsy Shop!

So guys, what do you think so far? Are we liking it? Any alternate ideas for the name of the collection?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Autumn Photoshoot: Meet The Poiriers

This past weekend, I spent some time shooting family portraits for my lovely neighbors, The Poiriers, all around Saratoga Springs. We had a lot of fun and I'm really happy with the images that came out of the session!

It was FREEZING and pretty blustery but we managed! Mama Poirier was a trooper despite her belly full o' baby! I've never seen such a super pregnant woman move around so easily! She will be welcoming baby #2 on October 30th, so we got these pictures just in time. I can't wait to take some newborn shots for them when the little chicken nugget arrives!

Mama and Papa Poiriers little girl, Emma, has such a magnetic smile! She wasn't so into the whole picture thing for the most part, but who could blame her when there are so many more interesting things for a 2 yr old to do! Luckily, we got some giggles and smiles out of her and I managed to capture some on film!

Anyway, on to the pictures! Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


"Is it weird in here, or is it just me?" -Stephen Wright
Can I just tell you that these are the coolest mugs I have yet to come across in my 25 years on earth? Of course, I found them on Etsy! I am fully and completely obsessed! They are by Uptown Avenue and at only $38.00 for the set, I swoon!


By the way, I know I've been pretty silent, but that will change! Stay tuned until tomorrow when I post another installment of my Home Trunk Show Secrets series!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fun with Washable Markers

I was just flipping through some pictures on my parents computer that I took a couple years ago and came across one of my very favorite pictures from Summer 2006, and wanted to share!.

This shot is of my cousin Clarkie after his first ink session...

A summer at Lake George is heaven, but after a while going to the beach daily is lack luster for little kids with short attention spans. During my summer of nannying for my cousins, we had to think of fun new ways to distract 6 little kids for 8 hours of the day... and this is what we came up with, haha.

The kids loved it, and I laughed the whole time at how concentrated they were while giving each other (and us) tattoo's. No worries Moms, they were non-toxic washable markers. Although, I think Clarkie might have considered making it permanent if he had the option.

I miss those days :)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Etsy Shopping Is Good For The Soul

Look what I got! A beautiful wood sign from my friend over at! I'm so excited about it because it turned out better than I could have ever imagined! Yay!

No, your not seeing things, the sign does in fact say "Vemelope", in honor of my little baby, Vemelope Sweetie Pie Lover Lamb Chop. Is it weird to get a sign of your dogs name made? Probably, but I'm not really all that worried about it, I'm sure I've done or will do, much stranger things in my lifetime. If this is a symptom of crazy cat lady (dog in my case) disease, I might just be too far along to save :)

Anyway, I'm so happy I decided to have Banished make me this sign! I'm already brainstorming all the other 700 signs I could have him make me for my place! That number might need to be curtailed though since it might look a little crazy for me to have wooded words in every corner of my home. Or, maybe not...still thinking on this one!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Jes Hudak Covers "Say My Name" by Destiny's Child

Last month, I introduced you guys to singer/songwriter, Jes Hudak. Jes is a fellow Saratoga Springs native, now based in Los Angeles, CA, with some serious pipes and heaps of personality. So I figured, I just have to show her off once more :)

Since today is a day much like yesterday, I will be slaving away in my studio, which unfortunately doesn't generally make for an all that fun blog installment. Thankfully, Jes is here to liven things up, and distract you whilst I try to be efficient in my workshop on this cold and decidedly dreary October day in Upstate, NY.

Anyway, I'm babbling, as I usually do... Sorry! So, without further adieu, here is Jes Hudak's fabulous rendition of Destiny's Child's "Say My Name", for your listening pleasure :)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Lot's of SALES and Frogs To Kiss

I hope everyone enjoyed the Pumpkin Apple Muffin post from yesterday. I have successfully made myself obsess over the muffins since posting it, so I'll be making another batch very soon :) If you make them too, let me know what you think!

Anyway, my sales in my Etsy Shop have absolutely exploded and I cannot believe it! I can't tell if it's all thanks to my current CraftCult Ad or if the Etsy stars have just decided to align for me, but I'm loving it! So, today will be a very busy day for me! I have much to do in the studio, some sketches of new ring idea's to work on thanks to Amy over at Ponder & Stitch, a visit with my cousin Annie and her cutie patootie, Eliza Doolittle, and even more studio time. I think at some point, my dog would also like to take a needless to say I have a pretty full day ahead of me...which will most likely bleed into tomorrow as well.

Whilst I am in my studio, working away like a little Christmas Elf who listens to Pearl Jam while working, I leave you with the cuteness that is my little baby, Vemelope Sweetie Pie Lover Lamb Chop aka "Mel", "Mellie", "Melvin", "Melverino", "Drumstick", or any combination of those. I took this shot a couple of years ago when she was just a little squirt. Even at such a young age, she had quite the "thing" for this frog fella.

Mellie, your such a little flirt! Oh, Behave!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Recipe Vault: Melt In Your Mouth Pumpkin Apple Muffins with Cinnamon Sugar Streusel

"Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie." ~Jim Davis

Autumn is in full swing here in Upstate New York. Which means, the colors are vibrant, the air is crisp, and my family is baking Pumpkin Apple Muffins! Last weekend, my Mom and I baked the first batch, and it was pretty much gone in 36 hours! Pumpkin Apple Muffins are a tradition in my family as soon as Autumn gets it's foot in the door, we all LOVE them, we even have them on Thanksgiving. They are moist, flavorful and comforting. I'm hard pressed to find something more comforting and delicious than a fresh Pumpkin Apple muffin, still warm from the over. Mmmm! I'm drooling just thinking about it! But OK OK, enough with the chit chat, let's get to the good stuff, the recipe!

For Pumpkin Apple Muffins you will need....
2 1/2 Cups Flour
2 Cups Sugar
1 Tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2 Eggs, slightly beaten
1 Cup Solid Packed Pumpkin ( Be careful not to use Pumpkin Pie Filling!)
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
2 Cups Peeled Chopped Apples ( We use fresh Macs or Granny Smith Apples)

In a medium bowl, combine the first five ingredients and set aside
. In a large bowl, combine eggs, pumpkin, and oil. Next, add the dry ingrediants into the wet ingredient bowl by sifting the dry ingredients into the large bowl (don't take shortcuts! It's worth the extra 30 seconds), stir until just moistened.

Next, fold in chopped apples (we chop them into about 1/4-1/2" cubes). Be sure not to over stir! Spoon batter into greased or lined muffin tins, filling 3/4 full. We like to use an ice cream scoop for this. Now your ready to set the muffins aside and make the streusel topping! Yum!

For the Cinnamon Sugar Streusel Topping you will need...

1/4 Cups Sugar
4 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon

In a small bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, and mix together well. Cut in the 4 tablespoons of butter, until the mixture is crumbly. Once the crumbly texture is achieved your ready to sprinkle over the tops of each muffin. Bake in a 350 degree over for 35-40 mins, or until a toothpick comes out clean :)

NOTE: For more figure friendly muffins, skip the streusel, I do this from time to time, equally as delicious just a little less decadent!

Finally, let the muffins cool a bit before taking them out and putting them on a cooling rack, otherwise they might fall apart, and we don't want that! Enjoy with your coffee for breakfast, a mid-day snack, or as a yummy dessert! You might find you need to make a couple batches to share with your friends, because these babies don't last long!

Enjoy all! Happy Baking!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Your Opinions, Please :) AGAIN!

OK guys, I need your help! You were so helpful with my last tough decision on the CraftCult ads, now I need your assistance once more!

Which of these wrapping styles do you prefer for a simple stone accent necklace? I am seriously thinking about switching to the "T'' style wrap in the photo on the left. I think it's cleaner and when on the neck looks much less thrown together. I have some really gorgeous stones to use but I want to nail down the style before I put tons of listings up :) So this is where you come in!

What do you think? Do you prefer the necklace on the right or on the left? Don't mind the poor quality of the photos, just try to see beyond it :)

Etsy Featured Seller: 1 Year Later

Today marks the one year anniversary of becoming an Etsy Featured Seller. One year ago today, October 6th, 2008, my stomach was in knots, filled with butterflies and wonder, while my mind raced a mile a minute as I anxiously awaited for my feature to go live on the front page at 1pm. It was such a fun and stressful time all at once!

When I was contacted by Etsy Admin, Adam, it was 6 days before my feature was to go live on Etsy. The first thing I did was seriously think about throwing up, and then called my Etsy/Jewelry Buddy Allison of RockLove Jewelry to share the big news! Allison and I frequently chatted about evil schemes to become a Etsy Featured Seller, but never, in my wildest dreams, did I expect I would actually ever make it to that magical land where Featured Sellers run free in their natural habitat. No, but seriously, all jokes aside, I was as shocked as I could have possibly been. Of course, right after I called Allison, I called my Mom to share the news. After I made my calls, I spent the rest of that night having a minor freak out, and ended up obsessively cleaning my apartment until I was so tired I could clean no more. It somehow helped me clear my mind and get mentally prepared for what was to come.

6 days to prepare for my feature, and I spent all 6 days in an all out scramble. First thing was first, I had to sit down and write out my responses for the interview questions Adam had sent me, which took a bit more time and effort than I initially expected. One thing I did that was really helpful in prepping for my feature, was Convo a past Featured Seller, and fellow jeweler, Lauren of locallibrary, to just ask her what to expect and for a little advice. This proved to be one one very smart decision! A big thanks to her :) Heeding Lauren's advice, I of course ordered supplies right away. Stocking up on chain, sterling silver sheet metal, findings and packaging materials. I even made the last minute decision to run to a Gem Show, 2.5 hours away in Springfield, MA, to stock up on gemstones. I don't think I've ever had a more efficient Gem Show trip in all my life. I was motivated by my mile long "To-Do" list to make it there and back in less than 6 hours. I wasn't even inside the show for more than 45mins max. When I got home, I started sawing, soldering and sanding for the remainder of the time left before my feature and focused on getting as little sleep as possible.

Once my feature went live, I had to relinquish all control to the Etsy gods and just hope for the best. For some reason, I was really worried that my feature would go horribly and nobody would like my stuff! Thankfully, I was totally wrong and I was flooded by "Congrats" Convo's from some fellow Etsy Sellers and previous customers, and lots of sales and custom orders. I think the "Congrats" Convo's were really the best part, it is really heartwarming and encouraging to know you have people in your corner, rooting for you to succeed. Throughout my feature, I was glued to my laptop and my Blackberry, answering convo's and re-listing. I feel like I slept with one eye and ear open during my feature, just to be able to hear the dinging of my Blackberry to alert me of a sale or a convo throughout the night.

By the end of my feature, I was swamped with sales and full of pride. I would call my feature a big success, and it was a prelude to a wonderful holiday season on Etsy too! Since then, my sales have continued to be steady and I've happily watched my business grow by leaps and bounds. And while I don't think I can say I owe it ALL to Etsy, I certainly owe quite a large chunk :) Thanks to the team at Etsy, you guys are super excellent! :)

If you haven't seen my Etsy Featured Seller Interview, you can check it out HERE and learn a little more about what makes me tick. Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Be Still My Butterscotch

I love the color of Butterscotch. I also love the taste of Butterscotch. But really, Butterscotch holds a special place in my heart and reminds me of someone I love and miss very much.

So, tonight, as I answered emails and placed supplies orders, I noticed the Treasury on Etsy was about to open up, so I stopped what I was doing to take a minute and grab myself a Treasury, to share my love of Butterscotch with the masses and bring some of my childhood memories back for a few minutes.

This is what I came up with! I love how it turned out, so warm and inviting. Maybe I'll get lucky an Etsy will honor me with putting this pretty little collection on the Front Page of Etsy! You can check out my Butterscotch Treasury HERE, don't forget to comment and click!

And if they do...I will know just who to thank :) I love and miss you Peepa!

Back to the Studio with Sales & Pearl Jam!

After a week of being sick and feeling generally yucky, I'm headed back to my studio, to spend LOTS of time there, and I mean LOTS.

Thankfully, sales are picking up to a nice steady pace and the Halloween line is doing great. My CraftCult ad began today, and I decided to go with the Sugar Skull Ad, and I think it worked because I've already sold 2 Sugar Skulls today! Yippie! I've even gotten a couple wholesale orders today (although they aren't from this ad, because theyve been in the works for a while), which add to the mountain of work I have in from of me.

Wait, why am I writing this? I have work to do! I will leave you with my favorite song off the new Pearl Jam album "Backspacer" called "Got Some". If you haven't treated yourself to this album, your really missing out, its beyond stellar! "Got Some" is sure to pump me up for my day in the chilly studio and be played on repeat for a while :) Thanks for reading guys, more soon! Enjoy!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Gem Show Loot

Yesterday, I made the 2 and a half hour trek from Saratoga Springs, NY, to Hartford, CT for a gem show. I have to admit, I wasn't especially excited to go show for stones this time around since I was feeling so under the weather, but I pushed through it and I'm so glad I did!

I've been to the Hartford Inter Gem Show a few times before and it's typically pretty large, but this year, it was quite a bit smaller and a number of my favorite "Go-To" Suppliers were noticeably absent. My initial reaction was that of defeat and general panic. Seeing no familiar faces at the booths threw me for a loop, but I focused and dove in to find what I had come in search of. I was determined to make this trip worth the 2.5 hr drive either way!

I started going through each table quickly to get a feel for stone and facet quality offered by each vendor I came across, and fairly quickly was able to rule a TON of suppliers out. I always get so dissappointed when I see a supplier sell poorly cut, dingy and generally funky stones. While I realize I am a bit of a stone snob and am a VERY picky gemstone customer, I was still expecting to find better quality in general. I'm well aware that not EVERYONE is looking for high end stones and might be just fine settling for a more inexpensive stone, but that's but not me.

So anyway, before this get too boring and negative, there is in fact a light at the end of the tunnel! I thankfully found a few new suppliers with some really great product that I probably wouldn't have ever paid any attention to if my "usuals" were around, so maybe this was all a blessing in disguise? I ended up coming away with some gorgeous Garnet, Whiskey Quartz, Deep Amber Citrine, Moonstone, Labradorite, Chalcedony, some really unique looking Rutilated Quartz , some really funky Pyrite (super excited about the Pyrite)and a gorgeous array of different colored Crystal Quartz! The only thing that I couldn't find for the life of me was a really high grade deep purple Amethyst. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY had it! And I was ready and willing to buy a strand that was around $200 or more, if I could find some great Amethyst, but alas, everyone had cloudy, blotchy and poorly faceted Amethyst. It was a serious let down! The Amethyst was one of the major things I had gone to the show to find so it was a bummer and forced me to rethink some pieces, but all in all, what I walked away with from the Hartford show was fabulous! Sure, I had to do some digging, and was thrown into an initial panic, but all in all I was super happy with what I left with and so excited to get new pieces made with all these juicy gems!

So, which stones are you favorite? I'm really LOVING the Pyrite, Moonstone and Deep Amber Citrine! Yay! SO exciting!

P.S. I think most stone suppliers under estimate the power of an introduction and a handshake when talking to potential customers! I am typically a very loyal customer and return to the same vendors, and I know a lot of other designers do the same thing. Of all the vendors I met yesterday, only one took the time to introduce himself, his company and shake my hand. I was caught off guard initially by this but, it totally worked because I ended up buying 3/4's of my gemstones from him! A little kindness and respect goes quite a long way, don't you think?

Be sure to check back regularly as I have a whole buncha fun blog posts lined up including another installment of my "A.N. Original Home Trunk Show Secrets", a couple yummy recipes, fun photos, home videos and some really great music. Thanks for reading everyone! :)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Your Opinions, Please :)

So, here's the deal...I've been spending my night fumbling around with Photoshop to make my ad image for my upcoming ad on CraftCult...

The problem is, I really can't decide which to use! I can use a couple different ads but wjhat I really want to know, is which ad stands out TO YOU!?

Please be a peach and help me figure this out :) Leave your opinions in the comments area, every bit of feedback helps! I know this isn't a fun post, but I promise to be more entertaining over the weekend. Promise, promise, promise!

Thanks guys :)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

It's no fun to have The Black Plague...

Remember when I told you guys I was feeling sick, but felt like I managed to curb it by drowning myself in Emergen-C? Yeah, well, I lied, I'm still sick and am feeling especially awful tonight. Boo hoo! It's no fun to be sick! I hope your all feeling bad for me right about now as I type this while drinking even more Emergen-C and prepare for a 2.5hr trip to a gem show tomorrow, which I am very much dreading.

Being sick, especially at night, makes me regress about 15 years. In fact, it makes me really want my Mommy! ( Hi Mom, I know your reading this !)

Hey! This creates a perfect excuse to post a picture of my pretty Mom!

Blog world, meet my lovely Mom and my best good friend, Linda! ( Hi again Mom, I know your embaressed now!)

Unfortunately I don't have much else to say other than, I feel yucky and I want my Mommy :)

I love you, Mom!