Monday, December 29, 2008

2009 Personal Objectives, a.k.a. New Year's Resolutions

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.

The Christmas week/weekend was busy as DH and I zigzag back and forth between South Florida, Bradenton and Tampa, stopping at the in-laws for Christmas and taking in a few NHL FL Panther games on both sides of the state. Friday night's game in Sunrise ended with a lost to the Tampa Bay Lighting and as the announcer stated during the introduction at Saturday night's game in Tampa..."Lighting does strike twice" resulting in another Panthers lost. My poor Panthers did not fare well again tonight as the Canadian invasion took over the arena here at home...but that is a post for another blog site. As we drove back and forth across Alligator Alley, I was trying not to think of the recent Panthers' games and spent time thinking about the economy, the "right sizing" that was occurring at work and the 2009 Company Objectives that would be awaiting my return on Monday morning. This led me to think about my own 2009 objectives, otherwise known as my 2009 Resolutions and all my previous resolutions to finally the question of why do I keep creating a list each year?
When I goggled New Year's Resolutions, I discovered some interesting facts, statistics and even the methodology for successful resolutions:
In an article by Catherine Jones, Resolution Solution,
Research shows that only one in ten of us will succeed in New Year resolutions but you can boost your chances of success. A year-long study of 3,000 people found men should set specific goals and women should tell others about their resolution. The key, apparently, is not to leave the decision to New Year’s Eve. Plan in advance.
The website has their Tips for Making Good New Year's Resolutions which lists 5 steps when creating resolutions:
1. Create a Plan
2. Create Your Plan IMMEDIATELY.
3. Write Down Your Resolution
4. Think "Year Round," Not Just New Year's
5. Remain Flexible

As for the most popular resolutions, well, according to the US Government ( they are:

Lose Weight
Managing Debt
Save Money
Get a Better Job
Get Fit
Eat Right
Get a Better Education
Drink Less Alcohol
Quit Smoking Now
Reduce Stress Overall
Reduce Stress at Work
Take a Trip
Volunteer to Help Others

Well, I'm off, I have another New Year's Resolution list to create.
As in the words of Robert Burns, "Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot and days of auld lang syne?..."
Have a wonderful New Years.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

SheFinds' Designs for Women's Economic Independence

Next Wednesday, December 31, 2008 marks the end of the count me in Campaign to benefit women's economic independence. (See my previous posts from July and September.)

Last September both of my designs were featured on SheFinds' Designs for Women's Economic Independence/count me in. In turn for the publicity, I pledged to donate a portion of the sale of each design to count me in. Although I only created two designs, I was fortunate and successful in selling both designs as well as increasing traffic to my Etsy Shop. The designs - Believe In You Citrine Necklace and Peridot Charm Necklace - were simple metal (sterling silver & brass) pendants incorporating the "I Believe in You" logo with Citrine and Peridot cabochons.

I want to express my thanks again to the two buyers who each made a purchase benefiting a great cause.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Pay it Forward

The philosophical expression of "pay it forward" is used to describe the concept of third party beneficiary in which a creditor who offers the debtor the option of "paying" the debt forward by lending it to a third person instead of paying it back to the original creditor. Debt and payments can be monetary or by good deeds. In sociology, this concept is called "generalized reciprocity" or "generalized exchange". (Wikipedia)

Yesterday as I was driving along the Rainbow Interchange from I-95 onto I-595, approaching the Turnpike ramp, I saw an object bouncing on the road. I did my best to avoid it, managing to drive over it in between the tires, but then I heard a clank and then a dragging sound. "*!#&*!" Is the best way to describe my initial thought, but after a few feet of the thing dragging and not breaking free, I pulled over along the side of the road. In a previous post, (I think), I wrote about my silly Mini Cooper S that I am currently leasing as a vehicle for work. I guess statistically your odds of being hit by flying debris increases as your miles on the road increase, but, I have to say in the 7 months that I have had Coop, he must be a magnet for flying debris, or he must have a huge "Hey I'm a Lease" sign on him. I digress.

So after I pulled over, I discovered that the object was part of a wire shelving unit, about 4 feet long and the corner had twisted around the axial of my back tire. Well after a few minutes of me trying to get it loose (oh did I mention that the ramp was moving as the 18 wheelers went by and it was starting to rain?), I yielded defeat and was about to call for road side assistance, when I saw that ahead of me a large electrical truck had pulled over and was now backing up. The individual was a bulky bald headed guy. Perhaps if it had been late at night, I would not have been as thrilled that he had stopped to assist me. After he attempted a few tugs, he went back to his work truck and came back with wire cutters and pliers. Now, I am a believer in Karma, but seriously folks, what are the chances that the individual who choose to stop and help me actually had the tools to truly help.

When he first walked over he asked me if I had a flat tire, he probably wished it had been, because that may have been easier. Before, I continued, you should note that I reviewed the specification for a Mini Cooper S and the ground clearance for Coop is 5.1 inches. So this big guy had to shimmied under Coop in between the back tire and the two tail pipes that come out in the center (and I believe at one point he burned his arm on the tail pipe). Once he was done, I tried to give him some money for helping me but he refused, he said, "I didn't stop for that, I stopped because you looked like you needed help." He was standing by his truck putting his tools away as I drove away, I waved and mouthed my thanks again and it dawned on me that I did not even get his name.

Later that day after telling DH about my adventure, he told me that I needed to pay it forward, and thanks to Google, I found this on the wikiHow website:

How to Pay It Forward
The world can seem like an unfriendly, threatening place, yet we all want safety, health, and happiness for ourselves and our loved ones. How can one ordinary person -- you or me -- make a positive difference in this world? One way is the practice "paying it forward." While the steps might be simple, the outcome could change the world.

1. Be attentive wherever you are for opportunities to help someone. Perhaps you have an elderly or disabled neighbor who is too proud to ask for help with their yard work or maybe you're in a restaurant and see someone who looks like they could use some kind stranger to pay for their meal. You can change people's attitudes about the world through your unobtrusive acts of kindness.

2. Do something nice for someone you don't know (or don't know very well). It should be something significant, and not for a person from whom you expect a good deed -- or anything at all, for that matter -- in return.

3. Spread the word. If the person thanks you and wants to "repay" you (that is, pay it "back"), let them know that what you'd really like is for them to pay it "forward" -- you'd like them to do something nice for three people they don't know, and ask those three people to do something nice for three more people. The idea is to consciously increase the goodness of the world.

4. Pay it forward. When you notice that somebody has done something nice for you, make a note in your mind to practice three acts of kindness towards other people, as described in Step 2.

As the Holiday season is upon us and the financial crises looms above us, I think that many of us lose site of what is truly important, which is making a positive impact on this world. For those that know me well, they are laughing at that statement because I think I can be best described as stand offish and the last 12 years in HR has not help my tolerance of people, so this task before me is going to be a personal challenge. As I was surfing the topic, I found a few Pay It Forward Sites that are making a positive impact: - The purpose of the Pay It Forward Movement website is to bring together, in one place, as many real stories as we can. This serves several purposes. It helps the cynics see that Pay It Forward really is working, not just around the United States but around the world. It brings much-deserved recognition to those doing the work, and puts the results of their efforts out in the open so others can be inspired. It's also a source of some good news for a change, a way to renew your faith in human nature. - Our Project has been established to assist in rebuilding the lives, self worth, and the spirit of individuals living in developing nations. - PAY-IT-FORWARD HOUSE is a charitable and benevolent not-for-profit corporation organized to provide rest and respite in a comfortable home-like environment for family members and friends of patients at Kindred Hospital in Sycamore, Illinois.

Well, I am going to sign off as I have to find someone to that I can Pay It Forward.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Glass & Wire

A few weeks ago, I took advantage of the liquidation sale and purchased several tiny bicone and round Swarovski Crystals.

So lately, for whatever reason, I have been in the mood to wire wrapped these little gems to brass, gold and silver metal shapes.

Here are a few pendants and earrings I have made so far... Crystal Beaded Hoops
Floating Pebbles Pendant Necklace
Crystal Beaded Hoops
Crystal Amethyst Vine Necklace
Tanzanite Circular Necklace

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Go Google Yourself!

I received one of my favorite newsletters "Cindy Edelstein's Tip of the Week" today. This week's topic - "Go Google Yourself!" was an interesting article on being aware of who is talking about you online and about one of Google's services, Google Alert. I thought about the last time I had googled myself whic had netted a few entries. So for kicks and giggles, I typed in hmmills into the Google search and to my surprise my few entries turned into three pages of links. Aside from the usual entries from my Etsy site and my "Bling It!" blog, I found myself listed on several blogs. One blog, Lost Mitten , "A crafting blog by a geeky girl" was a compliation of favorite Etsy Shops. I am number 28 of a list of 74! A few of my posts were listed on several websites including bloggurl, my bloglog; even my domain registration was listed.

I also discovered that a necklace from my Words of Wisdom Collection, Anzuru Yori Umu Ga Yasashi Charm Necklace is listed on someone's personal Wish List on

So go and google yourself, you may be surprise by what you discover.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Holiday Gift Guide

Hope everyone had a peaceful holiday. Monday marked the official start to the online Holiday selling season and I thought I would point out that hmmills is featured in the Holiday Gift Guide of the website.
You can find me in the "Something Special" Section: , look for my Purple Crystal Pea Pod Necklace, which can be purchased through my Etsy site:

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Entrecard System

So I woke up this morning thinking about last night's FL Panther game vs. Detroit Red Wings. UUUHHHHHH. The Panthers played a good game, but in the end they lost, 2-3 Red Wings, a disappointment, yes, but at least it wasn't a shut out. My mood was lifted (ever so slightly) when I checked my email and saw the "Notification of Payment Received" under the subject line list. I sold something that was listed on my Etsy site.

Before I continue, I must digress...a few weeks ago while I was performing my card dropping on fellow blogger sites, I came across one site where the blogger had decided to terminate his entrecard account as he felt that it was not worth the extra work. Now I have to admit, I don't recall if he was marketing anything, but I do remember one comment he made was that visitors only stayed on his site long enough to drop their card. I do admit that there are days when I do a drop and run, but there are days that I drop and linger, scanning the site to determine if the contents are interesting enough for me to stay longer. Since joining, I have become a fan of several writing, history, shopping, political and sport blogs, which I guess if you have a blog is the whole have followers of your blog??? Aside from a few repeat visitors, I think the only follower of my blog is my husband. Hi sweetie...

Going back to my original train of thought, well, once I logged into my etsy account to view what item had been purchased, I was surprised to see that one buyer had purchased everything within the destash section (six items). What was even more surprising was that the buyer left me a convo titled "Found You"

I found you through your blog, through your entrecard advert at It's Five o'clock Somewhere's blog. I always think it's nice to know that the networking actually does work...
Thank you, Derondao. You can visit her site DerondaDesigns via this link:

So this post is just a little food for thought...blogging and networking can lead to sales. I'm off, I have to start adding more beads to my Destash Section.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Time to Destash - Beads for Sale!

So apparently I have a bead habit.

I see beads and even though I have no project in mind, I must have them. Is that a sickness, perhaps, or the makings of a small bead shop? Either way, its time for me to Destach. I have created a section within my Etsy Shop to sell off some of my overwelming stach of beads, which you can find here:

As of this moment, I currently have Carnelian and pretty African Rhyolite beads posted, but more are soon to follow.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Fabric - Another Distraction

Well it's a beautiful morning here in South Florida, it's about 69 degrees, I think it's suppose to warm up to around 80 today. I have a couple of things that I want to do today, or maybe over the course of the weekend:

  • Mail out my NHL Jersey to Triple Threat Sports who are personalizing my jerseys
  • Write a letter to my brother and mail out his Christmas Gift from last year, yes, last year.
  • Refill my O2 tanks as I've been itching to start lampworking again
  • Go to Expo and purchase cabinet handles (we only redid the kitchen three years ago)
  • Exercise
  • Mulch the back yard area
  • Finish the Rosary Necklace, take pics and post on Esty
  • Bead Stash - Take pics and post on Esty

However, a couple of weeks ago I pulled out my sewing machine. When my husband saw it, he commented that he had never seen it before....we've been in our house for over 10 years now, so I guess it's been a while. I had brought some "cleavage covers" for some of my shirts (working in HR, I like to been seen as a modest girl) every time I wear them, I am reminded of how I always think to myself about making some modifications. So, as I said I pulled my sewing machine out and have been playing around with "designing" a better cleavage cover. This prompted me to walked into a JoAnn Fabrics because I needed new Fabric shears and I now I may never be the same. Years ago when I was sewing, I could spend hours looking and buying yards of fabric. To this day I still have some scraps and a few yards of fabric that I purchased without purpose. Well, I started looking at the pattern books and brought some funky fabric for the shoulder bag pattern I picked I want to add that to the list as well. I have almost convinced myself that I would work on my To Do List first, but then I read my California Apparel Newsletter and they have an article on Textile Trends by Alison A. Nieder:

Sunrise, Sunset
Shades of red and orange warm up printed knits and solid velvets and provide a jolt of color for digital prints and foils.

Leaves of Grass
Velvets, burnouts and prints are romantic and chic in autumnal shades of green and brown.

I Want Candy
Candy-colored brights are sweet and whimsical for floral prints and geometric patterns, as well as plaids, stripes and textural solids.

Haute Dot
Textile makers are seeing a future in dots with traditional polka-dot patterns, circle prints and curvilinear geometrics.

New Blues
The new blue is turquoise, which provides a sophisticated punch when paired with black or a tropical twist when mixed with oranges, browns and greens.

Black & White & Bright
Black and white looks crisp, clean and modern. But with a dash of bright, the classic combo gets a fresh, youthful makeover.

Here's the temporary link to view these fabrics up close...oh so fabulous,

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Calling all Jewelry Designers

One of favorite jewelry business website is the Jewelers Resource Bureau, (JRB) As described by one of the JRB's founders, the "timely information for every design'preneur" includes marketing, selling tips, success tips, trend information, PR, events. To view all the information thats available on site, there is an annual membership fee of $187, plus a $99 set up fee, but it that's too steep for you, there is a free weekly email newsletter.

This week's newsletter is about the next Lark Publication's 500 Series book, "500 GEMSTONE JEWELS" The publisher,

Lark Books seeks high-quality images of jewelry featuring gems and stones to publish in an international juried collection. Diverse materials, from rough, natural stones to fully faceted precious gems, are desired. All design and setting styles are welcome. All jewelry forms, such as rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and brooches will be considered.
There is no entry fee.
Ms. Cindy Edelstein, one of JRB's founders, is participating as a juror for this event.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

2008 - Christmas Book

It's that time of the year again. If have haven't completed or worse started preparing for the Holiday Season, then arrival of Neiman Marcus' Annual Edition of their Christmas Book should be enough to jump you into action. Truly a designer's dream come true is to find your products listed in this lovely book. Check out the David Yurman - Black Diamond Dog Tag & Chain on page 90, priced to sell at $4,510.00. To view the Christmas Book, click here:

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Thriving in Troubled Times

Well, its been an interesting week on Wall Street with all the the ups and downs which will probably continued well pass this year's upcoming election. Coupled with this month's posting of disappointing September sales by US retailers, it appears we ar in store for gloomly holiday sales. In an article by the International Herald Tribune,
...hurt by a global financial crisis that prompted shoppers to turn frugal and raised concerns of an even weaker holiday shopping season. Looking ahead, October sales are expected to rise 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent, with tough economic conditions persisting, the International Council of Shopping Centres said. The gloomiest forecasts have forecast holiday sales could be the weakest in up to 17 years.
So the economy and holiday sales have been on my mind lately, and working in Retail as I do in real life, I started wondering what things I can do now with hmmills as I ride this Cycle. I found the following: Thriving in Troubled Times: 'You're Not Just Selling Jewelry' An Interview With Brook Ellis and Mink Stavenga that I thought would be beneficial even though its geared for a jewelry store, there are some items that you can incorporate into any business:

Two savvy jewelry business experts from GIA offer 10 tips for business success during an economic downturn.

By William George Shuster, Senior Editor

Circular Keystone, 9/1/2008

Running a successful business is always challenging, more so when soaring costs and increased competition affect jewelry store sales and operations. For its series “Thriving in Tough Times,” JCK asked Brook Ellis, now vice president of special projects for the emological Institute of America, and Dr. Mink Stavenga, dean of the GIA School of Business, what independent jewelers must do now to operate successfully. Here are their 10 back-to-basics suggestions.

1. Learn about running a business. Attend as many business seminars and workshops as possible at trade shows and association meetings and take business courses online. GIA, for example, offers online business courses and its Jewelry Business Management diploma program. Fall courses (beginning Oct. 13) include marketing management, current issues in the jewelry industry, and visual merchandising.

2. Use an annual business plan. Many small-business owners think they're too small to need one, but to succeed in today's competitive environment you must have a well-developed business plan. It's like a road map for your business goals and objectives, which must be measurable if you want to track them through the year and make changes to your operations. In difficult times, focus on objectives that produce the best results for your business. For example, don't add a marginal line that may or may not work. Take such risks when profit
margins are higher.A business plan's detail depends on the size of the business, but any plan must include a financial plan, income statement, cash flow analysis, year-end balance sheet, merchandise budget, merchandise plan, and sales by department. (Sales can be further broken down, depending on your merchandise operating system.)A business plan also needs a marketing plan, advertising budget, public relations budget (and other marketing efforts),
business development plan, expansion plans (if applicable), new product categories, new lines (like national brands), and any other measurable changes. For more information, see the Small Business Administration Web site,

3. Manage your inventory investment. Use an open-to-buy plan, which is a budget for planned merchandise purchases during a certain time period. Open-to-buys are particularly appropriate in the retail jewelry industry because
of its seasonal nature. An OTB helps you determine how much inventory to buy before a season starts, how much you should have each month, how to adjust monthly merchandise flow to maintain inventory levels, and what those levels should be at season's end. Managed properly, OTB is a powerful tool to help jewelers increase sales, reduce overstocks and markdowns, and keep inventories at correct levels.Plan, too, for special orders and repeat orders for best sellers. Otherwise, you might allot too much of your merchandise budget to other categories and run out of funds for best sellers when needed. On the other hand,
overbuying best sellers can result in cash flow problems.

4. Reacting to recession. When the national economy slows, your business is affected. So, adjust your budgets—financial, cash flow, and merchandise—accordingly. For example, if analysis indicates you won't meet sales projections, adjust your merchandising budget by reducing or changing your assortment, so you won't have too much capital tied up in inventory. Consider stocking inventory with a wider range of price points to accommodate customers with newly reduced budgets. Develop a good working relationship with your bank
before you need its help. If you must borrow, be sure your business plan is current and available for review.

5. Improve profit margins. Jewelers' profits are being squeezed by rising costs of materials (especially gold and platinum) and online competitors' lower prices. To stay profitable, closely track trends in product supply and customer demand (to maintain and improve inventory turnover), revenues, and profit margins.Improve turnover with a strong focus on your best sellers; always keep them in stock. Negotiate better terms from suppliers, and don't carry much fringe merchandise that doesn't fit your store image. With slow-moving merchandise, discount it, return it if possible, or off-load it to dealers in distressed merchandise.Find a niche in your market and products that differentiates you from competitors. Do that by analyzing your customer profiles and what they buy in your market and its demographics, and your
competitors'.Cater to repeat customers, who might pay a little more because you've developed a relationship with them. Remember, people return to stores where they've had a good shopping experience. That includes a knowledgeable, trained sales staff; return and exchange policies that favor customers; and services like repairs, enhancements, and free cleanings. Value-added services keep customers coming back and create good word-of-mouth advertising.

6. Improve cash flow. Some jewelers mistakenly think profitability takes care of cash flow. It doesn't, especially in difficult times. So, have a cash flow budget, which is a projection of cash coming in and out for a specific time period, up to 12 months ahead. This is an essential part of your business plan, one you must carefully and consistently manage. That means a realistic cash flow and adjusting your sales strategy if and when you identify problems. Again, keep
a good relationship with the bank, to fill cash flow gaps if they occur.

7. Keep employees motivated. Start with a strong orientation program for new employees. When employees clearly understand their roles and responsibilities, it enhances their job satisfaction and motivates them. Satisfied employees who enjoy their jobs are more likely to develop relationships with customers, resulting in a better shopping experience and more
sales for the store. The more your employees succeed, the better they should be compensated. The more you pay them, the longer they'll stay, and the more they sell, the more you earn.

8. Promote your store. Brand your store. Consumers have many businesses to choose from for their purchases. So, your store needs an attractive image, or brand, that they recognize and respond to. They need a reason to choose you over your competitors. Having a brand also helps them envision your store's services and products, making it more likely they'll visit.Store design and marketing give consumers a good idea of the shopping experience to expect when they walk in, as does merchandise. (Remember, consider your image when choosing inventory.) Advertise in media reaching the most prospects in your target market. Use offers and “call to action” ads, which bring customers in to buy a specific item. In your ads and marketing, focus on your niche. If you're a dealer of Rolex watches or Yurman jewelry in your market, promote that. It differentiates you from competitors and strengthens your niche.

9. Focus on best sellers. Always keep best sellers in stock. If customers come in for one, and you don't have it, they won't wait for you to order it. They want it now.A computer inventory management system (IMS) helps you identify and track inventory by type (e.g., diamond earrings) and price, and project inventory levels for coming months. (This includes not only best sellers, of course, but all merchandise.) If you don't have an IMS, review your monthly
sales receipts and manually create such reports.Focusing on best sellers increases turnover and profitability. One example is bridal sales, a big part of many jewelers' business—and one to pay attention to, if you don't already. “Bridal” includes more than engagement and wedding rings. Gifts for the bride and groom, wedding party, and parents and children of the couple are
opportunities for added business, as are services like jewelry repairs, enhancements, and designing. Selling bridal jewelry also is an excellent opportunity to start an ongoing relationship with a client, supported by customer service, anniversary or birthday gift suggestions, and maintenance of the piece.

10. Focus on business. You're not just selling jewelry. You're running a business with many components. Having a passion for jewelry is great, but that alone doesn't create a profitable operation. So, in running your retail business, focus on both “big things,” like profit margins and balance sheets, and “little things,” like customer service, value-added services, and a
knowledgeable staff.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Fall 2008 Jewelry Trends

Last winter, South Florida was unseasonable warm which led without much ado to the transition into another warm summer. Ducky (my pool temperature gauge) marked the start of swimming weather at the end of April (normally the end of May) through today (so far) (the water is a mild 80 degrees) and will probably run through the end of October. I didn't realize it was Fall until I saw the CBS Early Morning Show folks shivering as they stood outside of the studio. It dawn on me that I have done nothing as far so for to 1) review the fall fashion lines, 2) download the Fall 2008 Pantone Color Chart 3) reviewed Fall 2008 Jewelry Trends.

Net-A-Porter, one of my favorite shopping/trend guides had their top 10 accessories listed on their website:

According to the PANTONE® Fashioncolor Report Fall 2008:

A Season of Change
Best described as a season of change, fall ’08 is defined by rich, elegant hues that offer a vibrant selection. New York’s fashion designers emphasize cooler blues, greens and purples in the top five tones used in their collections, followed by variations of warm red, orange and yellow. “Fall is traditionally a time for subdued, quiet colors, but this season we are seeing a shift toward cool hues with bright, exciting undertones,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “Conventional tones such as warm autumn hues, chocolate browns and steel grays are also among the fall color choices. Blue and purple tones have become staples, as illustrated by Blue Iris, one of the top 10 colors chosen by designers this season, and Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2008.” Blue Iris, a beautifully balanced blue with an undertone of purple, is a favorite among designers, as it combines the calming aspects of blue with the mystical and spiritual qualities of purple. Dramatic Royal Lilac brings purple to the forefront of fashion, and generates a bit of heat with its exciting red undertones. Serene, sophisticated Caribbean Blue is another popular hue this fall, especially in jewelry and accessories. But it can add a colorful intensity wherever it is used in the wardrobe. Twilight Blue, a twist on a classic navy, shows the transitional aspect of spring segueing into fall. Serving as a wonderful base color, Shady Glade delivers a natural elegance to the fall palette. Taking green in an interesting direction with its true green characteristics, this hue is a departure from greens of seasons past, which have had distinctively yellow undertones. Reds are a steadfast favorite for fall and Aurora Red is no exception. Versatile and universally appealing, this true red adds a splash of energy to the palette. Soft, dusky Withered Rose, with its pinkish qualities and brown undertones, is a versatile hue that blends with every shade. Ochre, a beautifully mellow yellow with a hint of mustard, adds a touch of lightness and spice. Orange has had a long run, and now, more than ever, consumers are gravitating toward intense shades like Burnt Orange, bringing this once steady background color to the foreground. The complex yet modest Shitake is an intriguingly understated shade, especially when teamed with the robust colors of fall ‘08.
Blue Iris PANTONE® 18-3943
Royal Lilac PANTONE 18-3531
Shady Glade PANTONE 18-5624
Caribbean Sea PANTONE 18-4525
Aurora Red PANTONE 18-1550
Shitake PANTONE 18-1015
Withered Rose PANTONE 18-1435
Twilight Blue PANTONE 19-3938
Burnt Orange PANTONE 16-1448
Ochre PANTONE 14-1036

In the article: The Fall/Winter 2008 Fashion and Color Forecast for Jewelry Artists, they list the following as trends for Jewelry this fall and winter:
Jewelry is big this season – literally! Big necklaces, big rings, big collections of bangles… Read on and you’ll see what I mean. Here’s an overview of the most important trends in jewelry for Fall/Winter 2008:
Make a statement! – Over and over, research on this season’s trends keeps revealing that the “statement necklace” is the defining piece to own this season. And it’s just the thing to help you shine amidst a sea of boots and sweaters! Fortunately, there’s more than one way to make a statement with your neckwear. You can do it with multi-strand necklaces, bib necklaces or something long, bold and decidedly asymmetrical!
Arm candy – Whether you prefer cuffs, bangles, charm bracelets, woven metal, beadwork, fiber or chain maille, (whew!) bracelets continue to be a sweet treat, especially when stacked! Cuffs really take the cake – or rather, the sweet spot on the wrist – this year, though. Make sure you whip up at least one!
Lay it on thick! – In addition to sporting a stack of bangles, necklace layering is still in vogue. The latest variation on this theme is the layering of chains with beaded necklaces. Pendant layering is still hot, as well. For the sequential folks among us, that might mean wearing several similar pieces (all hearts, for example) or complementary ones, such as a group of all silver pendants of a similar size, or even pieces on a theme, like a grouping of suns, moons and stars. For the more abstract souls, layering means anything goes! Knock yourself out!
In one a-cord – Speaking of pendants, cords are still the hot way to wear your pretty dangles. Create your favorite version dangling from leather, silk, ribbon, microfiber, suede, rubber or waxed linen.
Knuckle busters – Big bold rings are everywhere this season. Reeeeeally big
rings! Some sport a single giant stone and others are covered with a pavé of itty bitty gemstones or crystals.
Metal mania – Silver is back this season, but so are bronze, copper, gold and even chocolate gold! Textured metals are hot, as are those with a smooth matte finish. You’ll also find blackened metals in every hue, as well as pieces polished to a bright shine.
Feminine filigree – Girly girls, rejoice! Filigree is hanging in there again this winter, along with delicate dangles of crystals and gemstones. If you’re a confirmed romantic, chances are you’ll love these feminine trends!
One-of-a-kind keepsakes – A return to artisan-crafted jewelry has been happening for several years now and shows no signs of slowing down. Jewelry has become a mode of self-expression for many and there’s no better way to express yourself than by wearing a one-of-a-kind, handcrafted piece that you created yourself!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Count Me In Campaign

As discussed in a previous post, I am participating in the Count Me In Campaign, in which I will donate a portion of the proceeds from two designs to support business women owners. As part of the program, SheFinds will feature an artist's design throughout the month of September on the SheFinds Blog. Well, yesterday was my turn:

For some reason, when a copied this from their Blog, the photo is very green when I posted onto my blog..Oh well, I think you get the idea.

The proceeds - I am donating is 15%
Get Yours: $28 (Citrine), $32 (Peridot) @
"Count Me In promotes the growth of women owned businesses and is the leading national not for profit provider of online business loans, resources, and community for women entrepreneurs. Beginning in September and continuing through Jan 1st, SheFinds will feature original accessories by independent designers. A portion of each sale will go to Count Me In. With each purchase, you are contributing to the development of women in business. "

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Whose counting?

And now a message from one of my many distractions:

Not that I'm counting, but I am, only 12 more days until the Panther's last pre-season game. This will be their first pre-season game played at home where they face off against the NY Islanders. The real countdown - only 17 more days until the Season Home Opener.

To feel the countdown excitement, check out this site. Don't forgot to turn up your volume:

Spotlight on Emerging Designers - Fall 2008

So continuing on my quest to rebuild my customer base by getting my name out there; I snagged a spot on the Indie website, under their Fall 2008 Spotlight on Emerging Designers.

The space contains photos of two of my products, links to my Etsy site with the following ad:

Based in South Florida, h.m. mills is a collection that is inspired by nature, shapes, ancient proverbs, personal mantras, and the belief that words have the power and magic to inspire each of us. Mixes of wire, metal, semi-precious stones, crystals, pearls and leather create the line which includes hoops with beads and discs dangling from earrings or necklaces and pendants on leather cords. Alone or piled on, my pieces make a gypsy-style statement for the wearer who is looking for something other than the expected.
I will be offering free shipping when you type "Indieshopping" in the "Message to Seller" box.

The Spotlight will run right up to the holiday season 12/21/2008. Am I excited, YES! Am I hoping that my view count Etsy will increase, YES! Do I hope to gain some sales, YES!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Project Wonderful

As I discussed in a previous post, I am exploring new avenues to rebuild my business. I joined Project Wonderful, which is the focus of today's post.

Unlike other online advertising, Project Wonderful, claims to have reinvented online advertising, as stated in their website:

" We've made click fraud impossible. We give advertisers the power to choose what sites their ads appear on - and publishers the freedom to choose what ads show up on their sites. We don't have absurdly high minimum-payout levels. We've made the entire online advertising experience transparent, trustworthy, and fair - as well as more profitable, for everyone involved! It's why our slogan is "Everybody wins."
Project Wonderful utilizes an auction system called Infinite Auction, "where anyone can be the high bidder at any time." The Infinite Auction allows members (advertisers) to place their ads on certain sites and by entering bidding information you provide Project Wonderful with the amount you want to pay and when you want to pay it. Therefore, if your bid is the highest at a particular time, then your ad is displayed on the site and you are only charged for the time in which your ad is the high bidder. It is the advertiser who determines sets the price of an ad.

As a member, you have two options:
  1. Advertiser (as discussed above)
  2. Publisher
As a publisher, you have the ability to:

  • Decide how you want ads to appear on your site
  • Where ads appear on your site
  • The type of ads you want (graphical, text)
  • Size of ads (banner ads, skyscraper ads, etc. )
  • How many of these ad spots you want on your site
Once you have added the html code to your site, advertisers can start bidding on your ad space, and as a publisher you can approve each individual ad or choose the "trust ads and advertisers" that you have previously approved. Since you contain total control over the ads, you can cancel any bid and at any time.

In addition, Project Wonderful claims that they won't "hold your earnings hostage!" As a publisher you can request a pay out as soon as your account has earned $10.00. They compare themselves with Google AdSense who completes payouts once an account earns $100. Project Wonderful even boasts that they will never claim "click fraud" and keep some of your earnings.

Setting up the account was easy, you have to create your ad and Project Wonderful provides you with specific size information. After you have added $$$ to your account, (I did so via PayPal), you can begin searching through their list of publishers. If you want, Project Wonderful even has a search that will assist you with finding publishers that meet your criteria. In addition, you can set up Ad Alerts to search by the criteria you create. Once you set up an Ad Alert, you can will receive email notifications when "hit or bid values" reach certain thresholds. Therefore when there is a new advertising opportunity that meets your criteria, you will know immediately by an email alert.

So will Project Wonderful be worth the time and money? Stay tuned...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Back to Work

Now that Hurricane Ike is moving past South Florida, it's time for me to get back to work. I will hope that the storm just dies out in the Gulf, but I'm afraid the news may not be good for the folks along the Gulf states.

I've been working on some projects which I will be photographing and posting this week on Esty. I also have a few things going on to grow my business again and attract an audience in time for the holiday shopping season. Some of those items (which I be writing about in the upcoming weeks) include:

  • Project Wonderful
  • Frequent listings and relisting on Etsy
  • Count Me in Campaign
  • Indie Designer Showcase
  • Indie Holiday Gift Guide

Hurricane Ike - Part 2

I went to bed last night and slept better than Friday night and this morning with a sigh of relief I see that Fort Lauderdale appears to be outside of Ike's projected path. Unfortunately, the Florida Keys and the states along the Gulf of Mexico are within Ike's path.

Yesterday the weather here was gorgeous, the sun was out, no clouds, no eerie dead calm. Today, there is a constant slight breeze, which will continue to grow stronger as Ike passes us to the South. Based on the information from the National Hurricane Center, there is good probability that South Florida will experience Tropical Storm strength winds which is a speed of about 39mph:

Friday, September 5, 2008

Hurricane Ike

Well it's going to be an interesting weekend, DH & I will be watching the news and checking on Hurricane Ike's progress.

Below the current projected track:

We have our hurricane supplies set: batteries, flashlights, gas in the trucks, filled gas containers for the generator, water, food and propane for the baroque grill. On Sunday we'll start moving things off the patio, collecting our insurance papers and if Ike doesn't turn a little more south then we'll be boarding up the windows as well.

Unfortunately, in a Category 4 hurricane not much stays put...when Hurricane Wilma blew past us in 2005, she was only a 1 or a 2 and she uprooted my trees as well as hundreds of others, knocked down power lines (no electricity for 10 days, others went longer without power), tore apart my screen enclosure, damaged the roof and took the fence down. She damaged buildings in downtown and also took the majority of the traffic lights and signs in Broward County which made driving in South Florida all that much more fun...

The weather channel has a cool video of Ike from Space:

Until later...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Modern Day Hubris

I've been thinking about this post. For days I have been writing it inside my head, but I kept thinking that I was using the word "Hubris" incorrectly as I didn't know to translate it into "modern times." Luckily Wikipedia was able to clear my confusion.

But I digress...

Part 1: A few months ago I brought myself a real pair of sunglasses, (no $10 special for this girl anymore), by Ralph Lauren. As I stood in the store trying them on, I asked myself was it too much, not just the price but was I flaunting, but in the end, I threw caution into the wind and brought them.

Part 2: My current position for a large retail company, requires that I travel through a large area that spans across half the state. While I have to use my own vehicle (an SUV), I am given a car allowance as well as mileage reimbursement. Once the price a gas went insane, I went out and leased a Mini Cooper S (Turbo) to increase my mileage and to save money. I showed off that car every place I went, I bragged on and on about it. Join a Mini Cooper forum and even gave him a name, "Super Coop" or just Coop for short.

Here's my avatar for the forum:

So where does this word Hubris enter the picture you ask? Well, during my Junior year in undergrad, I took an elective for my degree is English Literature. The elective was a course in Greek Literature that was taught by a Professor Allsup, (which is another story for later). As he spoke of the Ancient Greek tragedies he used the word Hubris so often that the word would flow into his next class (American Literature - oh yes, had the misfortune of taking two classes with Professor Allsup). I decided at the end of the semester, that he loved the word Hubris, because he loved to lecture about all the universities on his resume and his talent as an English Professor, (but yet, no tenure?). (Sorry let me put that baggage away.) So basically to have Hubris is defined as:
Hubris against the gods is often attributed as a character flaw of the heroes in Greek
, and the cause of the "nemesis", or destruction, which befalls these characters. However, this represents only a small proportion of occurrences of hubris in Greek literature, and for the most part hubris refers to infractions by mortals against other mortals.
Okay, fast forward to this week:

I lost my sunglasses last Sunday at Home Depot. As we drove home it dawn on me that I didn't have them. My DH took pity upon me and went back to search the store and parking lot, but in the end it was a waste of time. Now all I have is a left is an empty Ralph Lauren Sunglasses case.
Monday night Tropical Store Fey blew onto Florida. I spent the first few hours of the storm listening to the drip drip drip of my roof leaking (just replaced 4 years ago). The reason, because I was complaining that after 10 years I wanted to finally remodel my bedroom and update the 40 year old bathroom. (Sorry too lazy to take the photo of my newly designed ceiling?)

Wednesday after camping out at one of the stores because the wind and rain by T.S. Fey made driving a bit too scary, I came out at the end of the day to see that someone (probably in a jacked up truck) had opened their truck door and with the bottom of their door struck Coop on the hood, dented him and left a deep gouge, took the paint right off. I wonder how I'm going to pass my lease inspection now.

As I stated earlier, for days this post has been swimming in my head, but as I said, I have been a bit confused if using the word Hubris was correct, but:
In its modern usage, hubris denotes overconfident pride and arrogance; it is often associated with a lack of knowledge combined with a lack of humility. An accusation of hubris often implies that suffering or punishment will follow, similar to the occasional pairing of hubris and nemesis in the Greek world. The proverb "pride goes before a fall" is thought to sum up the modern definition of hubris. In reference to someone being in hubrity: hubrity is a fulfillment of being hubristic or a continual behavior of being prideful.
So, as each day of this lovey week unfolded, I kept thinking that my hubris has brought upon the bad karma. Speaking of bad karma, I wished terrible things upon the person who damaged my car. Such terrible things, like venom inside my head, so terrible that it will probably bring more bad karma...

Oh pride is a terrible thing.

Monday, August 18, 2008

To Storque or Not To Storque - Part 2

The other day I posted on the topic of purchasing two weekend spots on Etsy's Storque Showcase. I decided that I was going to keep track of hearts, sales and views (however I forgot to track the views from the previous week). I also participated in the Saturday Night Special, (I ran a 20% off on my Words of Wisdom Collection To further complicate things, I also listed an item, but since it has only received 4 views as of this morning, I am going to guess that it was not a major draw to my site.

So the results are:

Sales - 0

Favorite Seller Hearts - 7 (I believe one was from the SNS)

Views (since this past Saturday) The first column is the previous views (* denotes the Words of Wisdom Items), the second column is the number of views as of this morning:

14 / 51
9 / 16
31 / 40
19 / 33
11 / 14
58 / 62
22 / 24
26 / 29
74 / 82*
66 / 73*
282 / 285
120 / 123
73 / 78*
85 / 92*
90 / 95*

So what are the lessons that we have learned? Well as a comment from Silver Canyons: Personally, I think it would be better to relist one or two items a day. That will keep you active and get people to see your store more frequently that just showcasing for a day. At $0.20 a pop to relist, it sounds like the better way to go. Think of how many items you can relist. It would be way cheaper than dropping $7-$15 dollars just hoping someone see's you shop. I personally never even look at showcases. Just my humble opinion :):)
Silver true...Sigh

Friday, August 15, 2008

Personal Mantras

Last weekend I completed two new pendants which will be part of the Personal Mantra Collection.

The first "Trust your Judgement & Keep the Faith" is a charm cut from brass sheet, given texture and then each letter is individually hand stamped. The charms is attached with a closed brass jumpring to gold-filled chain. The Necklace measures 16-18 inches with extender chain, the charm measure roughly 1 1/4L, 1 1/8 W (HMM N227B) and can be purchase here:

The second one, "Move Forward y no Pades" (and don't stop, no stopping) is a charm cut from sterling silver, given texture and then each letter is individually hand stamped. The charm is attached with a closed sterling silver jumpring to sterling silver chain. The Necklace measures 16-18 inches with extender chain, the charm measure roughly 1 1/4L, 1 1/8 W (HMM N230S) and can be found here:

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Count Me in Campaign

This past weekend I began adding some of the pieces for The SheFinds & Count Me In Promotion. The first one is a brass pendant stamped with the words, "Believe in You." In keeping with the spirit of the "Believe In You" Campaign, this brass charm has been accented with a Citrine Cabochon in a sterling silver bezel.

Citrine is associated with intuition, comfort, protection, creativity, physical energy, wealth and mental awakening. The charm was cut from brass sheet, is textured, hand stamped and is attached with a closed brass jump ring to gold-filled chain. The Necklace measures 16-18 inches with extender chain, the charm measures roughly 1 1/4L, 1 1/8 W (HMM N227B) and can be found here:

A portion of all sales from the "Believe in You" Collection will be donated to an organization called the Count Me In for women's economic Independence. Their mission is to promote economic Independence and the growth of women owned businesses. Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence is the leading national not for profit provider of online business loans, resources and community for women entrepreneurs. To read more about this program, please visit my blog:

Friday, August 8, 2008

To Storque or Not To Storque

I've been debating lately about advertising again on one of Etsy's showcases.

There been numerous debates on the forums on and off again about the results from participating on a showcase, such as the increase or lack of sales, increase in hearts by other sellers but not buyers, etc. etc. I had a sale during one showcase and gained several hearts during each showcase that I participated in. I also found that I would get a sale "outta the blue" which made me wonder if someone had bookmarked the page and returned later. (Yes, I do need to start asking my buyers how they found me.)

So, I did some searching online to see if there was any information regarding the success (as in the increase in sales) from advertising on Etsy's Storque Showcase which costs $7.00/day vs. the Main Showcase which costs $15.00/day. I was actually looking for some stats, but of course I could not find any information aside from opinions. I had found one article by the Syracuse Ceramic Guide, "I have never found a significant increase in sales due to having a showcase spot, however, it is exposure for your work and the more people see your work the more sales you will have in the long run." Exposure is a good thing. Since I have not been listing or renewing, or hanging out in the forums, I thought it was time to nab a showcase, but the $15.00 just seems to bit steep, so instead I went with the Storque Showcase.

Look for me on Sunday, August 10 & Sunday, August 17.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

National Simplify Your Life Week

So as I was drinking my morning coffee while watching CBS New Sunday Morning there was a piece on their ALMANAC that today was the third day of National Simplify Your Life Week...HA! I thought if was funny because last night I was trying to straighten up my studio. In the morning light, I see that I didn't make much of a dent. Although to be fair, I did tried to clean off the pile on my computer desk (the one corner of the room that you don't see). I guess I should also add that it was out of necessity as the stuff stocked piled on top of the growing mound kept sliding and landing on my keyboard.

What you don't see in the photos is that my studio continues onto the patio....Per DH, "No Fire in the House", therefore my torches are outside. I have a two workstation set up, one for soldering and the other for my lampwork, which also holds my Kiln and no lie about 200 rods of glass. At this point I should add that I am eventually going to get my workstations into a shed (and yes that's on my vision board)...ah perhaps it's The Law of Attraction at work.
Okay, so I googled National Simplify Your Life Week and found one site - Online Organizing that was interesting. On their Simplify your Life Week page, ( they have a bunch of Do It Yourself and Useful links that you might find useful. There is a site with before and after pictures...the one of the handyman special would work for perfectly for me...
There is even a link of Simplicity Quotes, Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. ~Confucius

Hmm, where to begin...perhaps I should have titled this post, "Ode to a Messy Workbench."

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Personal Mantras

Just a quick post today.

I've been so consumed lately with little sayings, proverbs and personal mantras, that I shouldn't be surprised that a blot of inspiration found me. I was sitting at doctor's office waiting as usual and flipping through a magazine when I came across the Horoscopes. Along with the simple paragraph foretelling the future each one ended with a Personal Mantra for each sign...which started me thinking about creating larger tags to include Personal Mantras. I think I will call them Mantra Tags.

I have a few ideas which I am going to work on them this weekend... wish me good inspiration.