I find keeping secrets for even a day is difficult, three months is torture!  Finally and oh my gosh,  we are at the finish line of the 2016 Build a Line Challenge sponsored by B’Sue Boutiques, (http://www.bsueboutiques.com)  and I get to spill the beans!  Frankly, I hope this landmark–the finish line–will launch new beginnings for each of us, for we’ve learned so much in the three months which passed so quickly.  And now I get to show you my Cashmere and Pearls line.  I’m pretty excited for you to see what I’ve been up to!

Last time you visited we talked about my muse needing meds. Evidently she listened, overdosed, and has since floated off to some Caribbean coast, likely sitting on the back of a yacht, sipping a fruity, fancy umbrella drink without a care in the world!  I do know this much:  wherever she is, she isn’t here!  (Little stinker!) Who knew muses took spring breaks or that they belonged to unions?  I know now. I certainly do! Trust me, she left me sitting here with an epic case of writer’s block and the clock is tick, tick, ticking. Dang-it!  (And dang her!  Read the handbook honey, there are no vacation days during a challenge!)

What writer's block looks like. Ugh!

What writer’s block looks like. Ugh!

Miss Skittles isn’t much help either. When she’s  not wanting her third breakfast, you’ll find her on my  keyboard or pacing back and forth in front of the monitor. She is a handful, that one! Trust me…I love her dearly but I speak the truth. Just the other day when I was trying to focus, she started wailing horribly.  Thinking she was hurt, I rushed over to her only to find here grinning with a lizard in her mouth. I love lizards–truly love them– so I was happy to rescue him.  In the commotion he escaped…in the house, of course.  Dandy, just dandy! Two days later, I’m in the yard, and spied him. How did I know it was the same one? The missing tail was a pretty good indicator. He looked healthy and happy (and their tails grow back),  but I digress.

Miss Skittles, front and center as usual!

Miss Skittles, front and center as usual!

About my muse, I think before she went AWOL, she made a pact with my computer, suggesting that it lock up every time I start to work on my blog. Nice. I’d like to have a nickel for every time I’ve rebooted this thing.  Especially when trying to upload pictures.

This was the first piece I revealed in my Cashmere and Pearls line.

This was the first piece revealed in my Cashmere and Pearls line.

This piece was featured in our midpoint blog hop.

This piece was featured in our midpoint blog hop.

Here is another necklace, which features a handprinted flower. I did not alter the metal on this one because the silver was too lovely to mess with.

Here is another necklace, which features a handprinted flower. I did not alter the metal on this one because the silver was too lovely to mess with.

Anyhow, enough about those trials…I need to tell you a little story about my experience at a craft fair. Now before I begin I have to tell you I have been truly blessed. No, not all of the shows I’ve done rank in the spectacular category but I generally fare pretty well.  I’ve met some of the dearest people and have a blast more often than not.  I have come to learn like anything else, the choice of what jewelry we wear is highly personal. Some people love my work, others don’t even look at it. It is part of the game.  I accept that.

So anyway, I was doing a show, had all of my shiny pretty things laid out nicely on the table hoping for a profitable day. Traffic was moderate, a larger crowd would have been nice but at least people were coming through.

Shows fascinate me; I love watching the people come and go. To amuse myself, I try to guess who will visit, who will just walk by, and who will avoid eye contact at all costs.  (You know the ones I’m talking about.  I feel like saying, “I don’t bite, really I don’t!)  If someone stops,  I try to predict what jewelry they will touch. (I won’t tell you how many times I’ve been wrong with my assumptions!)

At a recent show, two ladies approached my table, one was clearly interested, started admiring my work, touched a few pieces and I stood back, pleased. Her friend however, scanned the room, much like a bored guest at a cocktail party, planning her escape.   Ugh!

At this point, things weren’t looking too good for little old me.  (Women in pairs at a craft show can be deadly!) They began to walk away. The first lady paused to look at another item. I’m  behind my table like a proud mama overlooking her babies, smiling pleasantly…They leave.  Damn!  But when they were still within earshot I overhear this: “Jill, it’s just a bunch of beads on a string.”  Ouch!

I guess by now you know I have a big mouth…a very big mouth, actually.  With a trigger like that one, the connective tissue that links the lips and brain is likely to snap. So at that moment, it is all I can do to keep that trap of mine shut.  Yikes!

I.am.standing.right.there! I.am.not.invisible. I pinch myself, you know, just to make sure I didn’t vanish. The nerve! I plea with myself,  “Okay Susie, count to ten, count to ten, oh hell, count to a hundred,” for I fear that if I open my mouth for even a second, my ruby slippers will turn into pointy witch’s shoes.

I can’t believe I heard what I just heard.  For crying out loud, could she just wait to get out of earshot?  When I’m stunned, or experience disbelief I tend to shake my head…it nearly fell off but I kept counting…67, 68, 69, 70.  My head kept moving.

 

Beads in a row...seriously? I think there is a difference! And they say the customer is always right. To that I say, "hogwash!" (That's country speak for bull in case you didn't know!)

Beads in a row…seriously? I think there is a difference! And they say the customer is always right. To that I say, “hogwash!” (That’s country speak for bull in case you didn’t know!)

No, I didn’t say a word. “Just a bunch of beads on a string, my fanny!” Fortunately, most of my experiences at events like this have been lovely and I didn’t let that one ruin my day. I learned a dear lesson from her, frankly. Most people have no idea what it takes to create something—have no earthly idea what it takes if they aren’t makers themselves. Not a clue. I don’t think she intended to hurt my feelings. She was just unconscious, that’s all.  Now, had I been feeling “scrappy” that day though, I might have given her an education about what it is really like to be a jewelry artist or an artist of any type. I might have told her how my house was torn up for a week getting ready, and that the months before that I sat at my table making piece after piece of jewelry so that I would have enough to even be there.

Or, how I left in the dark that morning while she was still dreaming, unloaded a Suburban that was chock full of racks, tablecloths, busts, and jewelry and set up a whole “temporary showroom” before she ever took the first sip of coffee, only to have to tear it down a few hours later and schlep  it back to the trunk.  Her statement was quite innocent, actually.  She meant no harm.  It just stung me a little bit, that’s all.  And I’m quite certain I’ve made similar innocuous comments, without even batting an eye.

Time to rock and roll.

Time to rock and roll.

It has taken me years to develop an easy system to display my wares at craft and art shows. I'm smiling here because I had a great show and finally developed a system that works. Life is GOOD!

It has taken me years to develop an easy system to display my wares at craft and art shows. I’m smiling here because I had a great show and finally developed a system that works. Life is GOOD!

Frankly for me, making the jewelry is the easy part…it is the rest of this path that I find challenging: those niggling business mechanics. Do I have enough boxes, is my packaging good enough, my work clean enough, is it durable, have I established a brand, does my display look professional and sleek, or do I need to reinvent it again? Do I want to sell on-line? What does that involve? Do I want to be on Twitter, and Instagram, and every other new form of social media that comes down the pike? Has my life finally calmed down enough to take this passion of mine to the next step? How can I find the good shows, the ones where the coordinators actually care if you do well? What if someone doesn’t like what they bought? These are just a few of the things that I ponder on a regular basis and are just a few of the many topics we discussed at length in the Build a Line Challenge.

These are just a few of the pieces I'll be taking to my next show. These were made as part of the Build a Line Challenge and are woven onto blanks with wire. They are rather tedious to make to say the least.

These are just a few of the pieces I’ll be taking to my next show. These were made as part of the Build a Line Challenge and are woven onto blanks with wire. They are rather tedious to make to say the least.

Here is the back of my mother of pearl wired necklace. I added a layer of leather so that the piece would be comfortable when worn. No one wants to be poked by a pesky wire!

Here is the back of my mother of pearl wired necklace. I added a layer of leather so that the piece would be comfortable when worn. No one wants to be poked by a pesky wire!

I have been very blessed at the shows I’ve done. I really have.  Once while vacationing in Michigan, I displayed at a tiny little festival in a tiny little town. This lovely lady stopped to chat, took one look at my things, and said “Honey, why are you here. I mean I love this town—it is my home–but over in Frankford today is a juried art show. You belong there, not here. Your pieces are works of art.” I basked in the warmth of her kindness.

Then there are those dear souls who have purchased things from me, and tell me they always get compliments when they wear my work. I just love it when I hear that, knowing that someone cherishes a piece as much as I did when I made it.

And now, without further ado, I’m pleased to present Cashmere and Pearls, to you.  I hope you will find some or all of the pieces to be pleasing and enjoy your tour of this body of work.

I love all three of these pieces and am so pleased with how they turned out.

I love all three of these pieces and am so pleased with how they turned out.

Here is a closeup of the lion. This is the second time the lion has appeared in a BALC challenge piece. We girls need to be brave, right?

Here is a closeup of the lion. This is the second time the lion has appeared in a BALC before. We girls need to be brave, right?

This piece began it's life as an earring finding. I love how it turned out. Beads were woven into the finding with fireline and then I attached a medallion to the back. I think it is beautiful.

This piece began it’s life as an earring finding. I love how it turned out. Beads were woven into the finding with fireline and then I attached a medallion to the back. I think it is beautiful.

One of the things I learned from participating in Build a Line Challenges is the importance of having a smooth finish to the back of a piece of jewelry. In this instance, a large stamping serves two purposes: to cover my stitch-work and to enhance the design when viewed from the front.

One of the things I learned from participating in Build a Line Challenges is the importance of having a smooth finish to the back of a piece of jewelry. In this instance, a large stamping serves two purposes: to cover my stitch-work and to enhance the design when viewed from the front.

 

IMG_6256

When I decided my line would be called Cashmere and Pearls, I knew it would include flowers, hearts, and had to be both soft and romantic.

 

Since I grew up on the water, I couldn't leave out a sea themed piece.

Since I grew up on the water, I couldn’t leave out a sea themed piece.

 

 

This piece was wired onto a jewelry blank carried by B'Sue Boutiques. I finished the back with a piece of tan leather for a more polished finish.

This piece was wired onto a jewelry blank carried by B’Sue Boutiques. I finished the back with a piece of tan leather for a more polished finish.

This piece features a handprinted medallion and flower. It can be worn as a necklace or a broach.

This piece features a handpainted medallion and flower. It can be worn as a necklace or a broach.

This casework choker combines some of my favorite colors.

This casework choker combines some of my favorite colors.

This image shows how I finished the back of this piece as well as the necklace blank used to create it. Two blanks were used in the making of this piece, the first of which was to do the wirework, the second to contain it.

This image shows how I finished the back of this piece as well as the necklace blank used to create it. Two blanks were used in the making of this piece, the first of which was to do the wirework, the second to contain it.

Skittles says, "Thanks for the visit. Finally, I get my keyboard back!"

Skittles says, “Thanks for the visit. Finally, I get my keyboard back!”

Before I sign off, and ask a wee favor of you, I would like to thank our amazing mentor and friend, Brenda Sue Landsdowne for providing us with such a superb growth opportunity. I think I speak for the masses: Brenda, thank YOU for all of your hard work, encouragement, generosity, and guidance. No one could ask for more. From the collective WE, know that we love you!

I truly hope you enjoyed your visit with me today and please do leave a comment if you don’t mind.  I also would ask that you visit some of the other truly amazing artist who have been part of this journey.  Three months on a project can be quite daunting and these ladies gave it their all–some of whom were battling major life challenges.  Their grace, their beauty, their work, and their blogs have been awesome so I do hope you will show them some love and give them a visit.  Just click on a link below and you can continue exploring our three month odyssey together. Again, please accept my sincere thanks for your visit.  I do appreciate it mightily.

Brenda Sue Lansdowne Jewelry Making Outside the Box

http://www.bsueboutiques.typepad.com

 

Diana Buynak Butterfly Emporium Ceramic Studio

http://butterflyemporium.indiemade.com/blog

 

Irene Hoffman, Heart’s Dezire by Irene

http://heartsdezirebyirene.wordpress.com

 

Clare Wells Nemeth, Creative Magick

http://www.craftingmagick.blogspot.com

 

Mary Reckmeyer, Afrayed Not

http://www.afrayedknot.net

 

Marcia Tuzzolino, Aurora Designs

http://auroradesignsjewelryblog.me

 

Elizabeth Wilks, Wearable Art by Lizzie

http://wearableartbylizzie.blogspot.com

 

Jeanette Rose Belmont, One Canvas At A Time

http://www.onecanvasatatime.com

 

Lyn Joy Reeve, A Journey From Jewels To Jubilation

http://lnreeve00.blogspot.com

 

Beth Trubman, The Journey of Jewelry

http://thejourneyofjewelry.blogspot.com

 

Carole Carlson, Bead Sophisticate

http://beadsophisticate.wordpress.com

 

Jann Tague, Clever Designs by Jann

http://janntague.wordpress.com

 

Shari Gardner, SLG Jewelry Designs

http://slgdesigns.wordpress.com

 

Susan Bolton, Fern’s Place

http://www.fernsplace.org

 

Chris Kemp, Noodle Pie Bracelets

http://noodlepiebracelets.com

 

 

Susan Bowerman, Woodside Wireworks  – – – You are here.

http://woodsidewireworks.com/

 

Pamela Anger, Novegatti Designs

http://novegattidesigns.blogspot.com

 

Joan Donovan, Hailey’s Cottage

http://haileyscottage.com/

 

Alison Huie, Ally’s Baubles

http://www.allysbaubles.blogspot.com

 

Sharon Palac, Sharon’s Jewelry Garden

http://www.sharonsjewelrygarden.blogspot.com

 

Erica Olmos, Beeb’s Closet

https://beebscloset.wordpress.com

 

Erin Whitacre, Shattered Time Jewelry

https://shatteredtimejewelry.wordpress.com

 

Fran Sitton, Sitton Up Front

https://sittonupfront.wordpress.com

 

Ginger Hammond, Lynn Leigh Designs

https://lynnleighdesigns.wordpress.com

 

Paula Gaskill, Lovely LaylaBug Jewels

http://www.lovelylaylabugjewels.com/Blog.php

 

Mary Deis, The Rose Sword

http://theroseswordmdeis.blogspot.com

 

Renee Webb Allen, Small Stuff Design

http://smallstuffdesign.com

 

Valerie Tilghman, ArtJewelsandGifts

http://www.artjewelzdimensions.blogspot.com

 

Chris Cravens, Vintage Cravens

http://christinecravens.blogspot.com

 

Leslie Carver, Adorn Divine Designs

http://www.adorndivinedesigns.blogspot.com

 

Donna Parry, JewelryDonna

http://jewelrydonna.typepad.com

 

Gina-Marie Hammer, Tangles, Twists and Treasures

http://tanglestwistsandtreasures.com/blog/

 

Kelly Wymer, Winged Wisdom Enchantments

https://wingedwisdomenchantments.wordpress.com/