Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Jewelry Storage Tip

Put a piece of white chalk in your jewelry box to help protect your jewelry from tarnishing.  If your jewelry box is one of those big ones with lots of drawers, break the chalk up into smaller pieces and put one in each drawer.  Replace with new chalk about every 6 months.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Too Busy to Blog

Craziness!  I've mailed out 76 packages in the last 2 weeks.  And that doesn't count the business I've done in the store, and the time it takes to make the stuff I need to make!  So you'll forgive me if I just haven't had time to write any blog posts recently.  I've got to take the business when it comes!

If you'd like to jump on the bandwagon and give a gift of handcrafted jewelry this year, you've got a few days left.  Hop over to my website, my Etsy shop, or my Artfire studio and pick out the perfect present--I won't mind another trip or two to the Post Office!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Personal Adornment

Jewelry has been worn throughout the ages by people of all ornaments, as displays of social rank, and as emblems of religious beliefs.  Most of our present knowledge of the history of jewelry comes from the study of preserved personal objects from tombs around the world.  From those cultures who did not bury valuables, we can learn about personal adornment from surviving paintings and sculptures.

The the widest sense of the word, jewelry would be ornamental objects made from many kinds of both organic and inorganic materials, such as hair, feathers, scales, bones, shells, wood, leather, metals, or minerals.  Today we think of jewelry primarily as precious or semi-precious gemstones mounted in valuable or attractive metals like gold, silver, platinum, or copper and brass.  Most recently, alternative metals such as steel or titanium are gaining favor. 

My philosophy about jewelry has always been if you like it, buy it and wear it.  It doesn't matter if it's a17-carat diamond or a pair of bright orange plastic dangle earrings.  Jewelry IS personal adornment.  It's all about YOU!  So let Contemporary Concepts adorn you!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

My Favorite Book

The next item on that 30-Day Blog Challenge I've been going through is "my favorite book".  This, like the favorite song and the favorite movie, cannot be whittled down to just one.  I have been a voracious reader since I was a kid, so many, many books have entertained me over the years.  Maybe not so many since I had my own kid, but I still manage to squeeze one in now and then.

I've read a lot of science fiction/fantasy over the years.  That's my favorite genre.  Some of my favorite writers are Jennifer Roberson, Piers Anthony, Orson Scott Card, Stephen R. Donaldson, and Roger Zelazny.  The first time I picked up a book by Orson Scott Card, I didn't put it down until I was finished.  Literally.  Didn't put it down.  I think it was about 3:00 in the morning when I finished--it was great!  I just love it when a book pulls you in like that!

But Roger Zelazny was my favorite.  His series about a magical royal family in the realm called Amber was masterful.  Twists and surprises and wry humor.  I read it in college and TOTALLY fell in love with the main character, a prince named Corwin.  There were 5 books in the first series, then several years later came a second series focusing on the offspring of the original characters.  A total of 10 books.  You can now get them all in a single volume at The Great Book of Amber: The Complete Amber Chronicles, 1-10.   Treat yourself--you won't be sorry!

I once wrote Roger Zelazny a fan letter, praising the Amber books and asking if they might possibly be made into a movie.  This was in about 1979.  He sent me a postcard reply, thanking me and saying there was interest in making a movie.  I'm still waiting.  It would be SO awesome.  Especially if Peter Jackson were to direct it....


Friday, November 11, 2011

My 11:11 11-11-11 Moment

At 11:11 a.m. on 11/11/11, I got to kiss my son on his beautiful cheek.  If that isn't a great way to mark a special "moment", I don't know what is!  (He's in middle school now, but his cheeks are still just as kissable as when he was a baby in the bathtub!)


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Beautiful Jewelry from Scrap Materials, Part 3

These gorgeous rainbow beads are 4mm Swarovski crystal cubes.  I inherited them in a batch of stuff I acquired about 4 years ago.  Periodically I would take the little baggie out and note how pretty all the colors are together, but then put them away again because there aren't more than 7 or 8 of each color and I wasn't sure what to make with those few beads that would do them justice!  For some reason when I ran across them again about two weeks ago, the "rainbow" idea struck me.  I decided on silver wire partly because a lot of people are going for silver these days, and partly because I liked the way the colors really stood out against the metal.  Gold wire would have "warmed" the colors, which is fine, but silver really makes them "pop", don't you think?

This was heading for a listing in my Etsy shop.  I had taken pictures of it a week or so ago, and just finished editing the pictures on Monday.  And guess sold in my store!  I have some more beads, but not enough in the true "rainbow" colors to make another bracelet just like this.  I think what I'll do is just a "multi-color" bracelet in a similar style.  Don't want those beautiful cube crystals to be homeless any longer!


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Beautiful Jewelry From Scrap Materials, Part 2

First I need to remind you that scrap materials means not only little leftover bits and pieces, but also things I've had lying around for so long that they probably gave up hope of every adorning someone's body!  This one is a 5mm (millimeter) heart-shaped iolite that I got in a batch of other sizes and shapes of iolites about 12 years ago.  Hearts are hard to set, because they're fat and round at one end and skinny and pointy at the other.  They will often want to pop out the fat end, or shift sideways so the heart seems to be lying partway on its side.  A 5mm stone is a bit of an odd size, too.  It's very small to be set in wire without being in a pre-made pop-in setting first, with a wire design around it.  I didn't have any heart-shaped settings, so I modified a round setting.  Then I just added a small bit of leftover scrap sterling silver wire to secure the setting and make a bail.  Now it's a cute, dainty little pendant, perfect for a young girl or a woman who likes her jewelry understated!  I'll be listing it on Etsy soon!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Relaxation Spots

I would REALLY love to be here:  (Hamilton Island near the Great Barrier Reef)

Or here: (sunset at Lizard Island near the Great Barrier Reef)

Both photos are courtesy of Islands magazine.  You should really subscribe.  It's an inexpensive way to see phenomenal relaxation spots of the world!


Sunday, October 23, 2011

What's In My Purse

This is the next item in the 30-Day Blog Challenge list I've been referring to periodically (when I don't have any new jewelry to show you!)  What's In My Purse... (The picture is not my purse, just a representative.)

  • My cell phone
  • My son's wallet
  • 3 pens
  • Some personal pictures
  • Some personal notes
  • Aspirin/ibuprofen
  • My little Flip video camera (one of these days I'm going to figure out how to get the videos OFF it!)
  • Mirror
  • Reading glasses
  • 2 nail files
  • Lip balm
  • Eye drops
  • Comb
  • 2 checkbooks
  • Sunglasses
  • My MP3 player
  • My keys
  • A couple of old bank receipts
  • An envelope with a check for my husband (must remember to give that to him!)
  • My wallet (the contents of THAT will make a whole other blog post!)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I remember when I first met my husband and we were talking, getting to know each other, and one of the subjects was old boyfriends/girlfriends. I commented then that all the people we had known in the past had made us the people we became so that we would end up together, appreciating each other.  I have always believed that philosophy.  I still do.


Monday, October 17, 2011

The BelAire Courtyard

It's been awhile since I posted a picture of the lovely courtyard where my store is located.  Fine dining restaurant Cafe Margaux is on the far right (outside the camera range), with some of the outdoor tables and the pretty fountain in the foreground.  My store is in the back left corner of the courtyard.  To my "right" is a cute little shop featuring ScentChips fragrance melts.  To my "left" is a boutique full of fun and fashionable clothes.  We also have The Village Spiceman, with all kinds of yummy sauces and rubs, and Shoetique, with cute and affordable shoes, boots, and bags.  If you're local, you need to come down and reacquaint yourself with the BelAire Courtyard (especially ME!)


Friday, October 14, 2011

Not a Baby Any More

When you are a mother, you are periodically hit in the face with the reality that your child is growing up.  (Yeah, yeah, fathers too, but it's not the same.)  I got one such smack in the face this morning.  My son chose not to participate in the Spirit Day at his school today.  About 5 or 6 times a year, Ricky's school has a themed dress-up day to show their school spirit.  It's not mandatory that they dress up, but he always has.  In fact, he just did "Clash Day" a few weeks ago (where they wear all kinds of outlandish clothes that don't match).  Today, however, was "Pajama Day" and he said it felt "weird" to have his pajamas on while getting ready for school.  I made a big deal out of "my baby...growing up...." and he rolled his eyes and started to make excuses, but it told him it was okay, it's just a mom thing.  And I do understand.  It's apparently not cool to wear pajamas to school after a certain age.  (Until you get to an older "certain age", and then it's fun again--all the teachers and staff at the school always dress up!)

Okay, now if he sees this he's probably going to get mad at me, but I can't resist.  THIS is my baby.  THIS is how I choose to think of him, at least from time to time!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

No Smoking

One year ago today I quit smoking.  Not a drag, not a puff since October 13, 2010.  Just had to mark the occasion.  Yay, me!


Monday, October 10, 2011

The 2012 Calendar Search, part 1

Every year for the past 13 years, I have bought promotional calendars to give to my customers, so they'd have my name and contact information in front of them all year long.  This year I did not.  Partly because it was like pulling teeth to actually GIVE them away before February, even though I started handing them out in October.  Even though I bought fewer and fewer each year because it WAS so hard to give them away.  But the main reason I didn't get them this year is because the calendar company really pissed me off.  I'm not going to go into that whole story, but after they took money out of my bank account without notifying me first, I was done with them.

The problem with that is now I'm on a hunt for the perfect calendar for myself.  I always got a couple of designs that I really liked and used them in my home and in my store.  It's probably just a bit early in the year to find a lot of choices of 2012 calendars, but I ran across one by accident the other day that just took my breath away!

I love horses, and this collection is by one of my most favorite photographers on Etsy...irenesuchocki.  She apparently has more calendars, but I haven't dared look at them all yet.  I'll probably want them all!  I've already got several of her photographs in my official Etsy "favorites" list--she's just phenomenal!  You can see all 13 white horse photos and purchase this calendar here: White Horses Calendar  (Go ahead and buy it, I won't mind--I've already asked and she can make more!)

The only drawback to this magnificent calendar is that it's only 5x7".  I need a calendar that has a relatively large box for each day so I can write on it.  I'm getting to that age where if I have things to do or bills to pay and I don't write it down, it flies right out of my head!  Fortunately there's no rule that says you can only own ONE calendar...mwaahahahaha!


Friday, October 7, 2011


This is a great article from the October newsletter of my friends at Onsite Computer Specialists.  This is stuff I honestly didn't know, and that I found very useful.  So I'm passing it on!

How to Create a Strong Password You'll Actually Remember

Pop quiz: See if you can guess which password is more secure -- Tr0ub4dor&3 or correcthorsebatterystaple. The first password is a jumble of letters (both uppercase and lowercase), numbers and characters, with a few numbers substituting for letters. The second is a string of four common words -- correct horse battery staple.

So. Which is the better password? Keep in mind that hackers can design programs to run thousands of password guesses per second....

If you picked the second one -- the string of common words -- give yourself a gold star! It's the stronger, more secure password. It's also easier to remember than the first. And it goes against all of the password advice we've been given to date.

"Through 20 years of effort, we've successfully trained everyone to use passwords that are hard for humans to remember, but easy for computers to guess," writes Randall Munroe, mathematician and creator of the brilliant, "a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language."

According to Munroe's calculations, the jumbled password could be cracked in about three days by a program running 1000 guesses a second -- child's play, in other words. The same program would need 550 years to guess the second password, which has roughly 44 bits of entropy (compared to the other's 28).

What does this mean to you? It means you can stop picking (and forgetting) gobbledygook passwords. Instead, choose a few generic words (avoid proper nouns like your dog's name or your hometown) and commit them to memory. Time required? Less than a minute. Brain cells required? Very few. Now your passwords are stronger AND easier to remember.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Yes, Women Understand!


10. Cats' facial expressions.

9. The need for the same style of shoes in different colors.

8. Why bean sprouts aren't just weeds.

7. Fat clothes.

6. Taking a car trip without trying to beat your best time.

5. The difference between beige, ecru, cream, off-white, and eggshell.

4. Cutting your hair to make it grow.

3. Eyelash curlers.

2. The inaccuracy of every bathroom scale ever made.

AND, the Number One thing only women understand:



Monday, October 3, 2011

My Favorite Movie

The next item in my 30 Day Challenge is My Favorite Movie.  This, like my favorite song, is impossible to pin down to just one, although I AM much more discriminating with my movies than my music.  I don't like mindless, stupid, drunken comedies (like The Hangover).  I don't like horror movies (the "Freddy" movies, the "Halloween" movies, the "Chucky" movies.  Hmm.. with the proliferation of all of these horror series, though, apparently SOMEBODY likes them!)  I'm not crazy about shoot-'em-up, drive-like-crazy action movies (like Die Hard or Gone in 60 Seconds), but I will sit through one occasionally with my husband and son (just last week it was The Road Warrior--man, Mel Gibson was YOUNG!). 

A "message" in a movie is fine, especially if it's sort of left up to interpretation.  I LIKE to think!  But too "artsy" in the presentation of the message and I'm bored.  (I hated Shakespeare in Love).  I guess what it boils down to is I like to be entertained, and for me entertainment requires a decent plot and actors who can actually act, and I like it to engage me in the story.  So, here are a few that I've sat through more than once and enjoyed every time:

Glory (1989) --the Civil War film about the first black regiment in the Union Army, starring Matthew Broderick, Carey Elwes, and Denzel Washington in one of his first movies.

Excalibur (1981)--the epic Sword in the Stone, King Arthur and Camelot tale, starring Nigel Terry, Nicholas Clay, and Helen Mirren.

Willow (1988) --a fantasy adventure where reluctant dwarf and a former thief must protect a baby princess from an evil queen, starring Val Kilmer and Warwick Davis.

The original Star Wars trilogy.

Most of the Star Trek feature films.

And of course, The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  The director's cut.  Hours and hours and hours of Peter Jackson's masterpiece, done just the way I hoped it would be when I first read the books back in the mid-1970's.  I think it's time to watch them again, actually....


Friday, September 30, 2011

My Most Popular Ring

In the mood for a sweet little treat?  This little ring is the most popular style I sell.  It's probably because it's so inexpensive, but all the feedback I get says it's cute and fun and a favorite to wear.  I make them in any size you need, from 3 to 14, in gold or silver twist wire.  You can find them for sale in my Etsy shop, sale priced at only $4.00!  Plus only $2.00 for shipping.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Beautiful Jewelry from Scrap Materials, Part 1

I've collected quite a bit of "stuff" over the years, as you can imagine.  One of these days I'll post a picture of my bead drawers...LOTS of beads!  And I've got stringing materials and bits of scrap wire and old vintage jewelry and all kinds of little bits and bobs that are waiting patiently to be made into something pretty.  This is the first in a planned series of posts about jewelry I've made using primarily scrap materials, with "scrap materials" being defined as anything I've had laying around for more than 2 years.

This necklace is made from fat faceted teardrop pink glass beads, which I got in a large collection of beads given to me by a friend who quit the business about 3 years ago.  They are strung on thin tigertail beading wire, which is so old it's lost its label so I can't be more specific, but I do know it drove with me from Albuquerque 25 years ago.  I handcrafted the chain links from bits of scrap wire in the bottom of my "scrap tray", which filled up over the past decade and which I've spent the last 2 or 3 years digging through to find just the right length of wire for the current project.  The only *new* things on this necklace are the jump rings and crimp beads that connect the bead part to the chain part, and the spring ring that closes it in the back, plus the earwires on the earrings.

FYI, it measures about 17" long and is for sale for $36.00 for the set!


Monday, September 26, 2011

Duct Tape!

Just when I thought I'd seen everything.  Seriously.  I was walking from the parking lot to my shop this morning and passed a city truck parked the wrong way on a one-way street.  A bucket truck, and there was a city worker up in the bucket, ripping duct tape off a roll.  He then proceeded to apply the duct tape to one of the globe-shaped street lights that line our quaint historic streets.  I literally stopped in my tracks.  This guy is duct-taping a street light!  Man, I knew the City of Cocoa was cheap, but...duct tape?  Really?

(The truck is on the left.  The white bucket with the worker guy in it is center-left, partially hidden behind the tree.  The globe light with the highly-visible duct tape on it is center-right.)


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pictures of Me

Next on the list of the "30 Day Challenge" is a recent photo of me and a photo from 10 years ago.  So...

Here's recent, taken in August with my son on his first day of school.

And here's about 10 years ago.  Also with my son.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Favorite Song

I recently ran across the list of "30 days worth of blog posts" I started doing a couple of months ago, and decided to try to get back on track with it.  Today's topic is My Favorite Song.

The problem with this is that I don't actually have a favorite song.  And by that I mean I don't have just one favorite song.  I like so many kinds of music that it's impossible to pick just one.  Plus the fact that there are new songs constantly being written and produced and flung out over the airwaves, or on YouTube, or the bottom track of an obscure CD...lots of places to discover great new music!

In my MP3 player, you'll find artists from KC and the Sunshine Band to Lady Gaga, from Shania Twain to Train, from the Village People to Mercy Me.  With some instrumentals by piano artist Yiruma, New Age from Enya, and jazz from Richard Elliot.  Over 3000 songs altogether!  My favorite female vocalist is Celine Dion, and my favorite male singer is Steve Perry from Journey.  I have all their albums (Celine AND Journey).  I inherited my brother's music collection when he died, and he turned me on to a group called Collective Soul--more "rock" than I usually get into, but great guitar stuff!  Which is, I'm sure, why he liked them.  The only music I absolutely cannot abide is opera.  My college roommate used to blast operas as loud as her stereo could go, all the time...ruined any interest that I might possibly have been able to cultivate.

So you can understand why it's impossible for me to pick a favorite.  Toad the Wet Sprocket?  Barbara Streisand?    Styx?  Enrique Iglesias?  I've never incorporated music or video into my blog.  I'm not sure I can figure out how.  If I hit "post" and the song stays embedded, then yay me!  If it doesn't work, you'll know I tried.  Here's Steve Perry with my choice for the day--"Lights".  Leave a comment--what's YOUR favorite song?


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Ear Cuffs--An International Phenomenon

Ear cuffs have been around for more than 30 years.  They're just an accent accessory that "clips" on the side of your ear, wrapping around the middle part of the cartilage from front to back.  I've been making ear cuffs as long as I've been making jewelry, which is 27 years now.  I've got some that are just thin simple bands, and I've got some that are intricate, ornate sweeps of wire and beads that go all the way up and down your ear.  And I've got lots of designs in between.  You can see them all on my website.

Do you know where I sell the most ear cuffs?  The Sandinavian countries...Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark (boy, do they LOVE ear cuffs in Denmark!)  But they are truly an international phenomenon.  Just last Tuesday I mailed three international packages: one to Spain, one to Japan, and one to--wait for it!--Denmark!  All ear cuffs.  I just get the biggest kick out of that. 


Saturday, September 10, 2011

In Memoriam

I belong to a Facebook group that is alumni of my high school who graduated between 1976 and 1986.  There's one long thread going on where some of them are collecting names and circumstances of those alumni who have died.  A lot of the names I don't recognize, but many of them I do.  And I had to contribute to the list as brother Greg, who killed himself just this past April.  I think he would have been pleased, as am I, at the number of old friends who have offered their condolences and even shared a quick story or memory of their friendship with him.

Father James McGowan is the originator of the main list, and he offered a prayer of sorts not long ago.  It feels fitting to me to post it here, not only for my high school friends who have passed, but for those we lost ten years ago on 9/11, and for my brother, who I am gradually becoming less mad at and who I miss.

" Long ago we stood together. A generation in one place. At one time. We were young and restless.We thought we were fifty feet tall and bullet proof. We thought we would live forever. No one told us that that death might find us or that we would part company so soon. Loss is never easy. We need to be mindful that it is not about how all these people died or that they left the party early. It is the fact that they lived and we were privileged to have them touch our lives and; maybe we were privileged enough to touch theirs. Amen!"


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tiger Eye Multi-Stone Pendant

There's still a lot of interest in pendants made with more than one stone. This one is three graduating sizes of tiger eye, one of the most all-around-popular gemstones out there! A typical tiger eye stone will have lustrous alternating bands of yellow and brown, with a luminescent "eye" of chatoyancy. Roman soldiers wore tiger eye for protection in battle, and it was sometimes thought to help the wearer "see all", due to its appearance.

This pendant measures just about 3-1/4" long including the round bail that will fit a chain or cord up to about 6 millimeters. Each stone is outlined in continuous strands of 14kt gold filled wire. It's bold, it's eye-catching, and it's one-of-a-kind! can buy it in my Etsy shop right now!


Sunday, August 28, 2011

My New Motto

I was reading Reader's Digest yesterday and one of the little articles was about what adults have learned from children. This one stuck in my mind, and it's SO true that it is now my new motto: Life is too short to eat food you don't like.

Think about it!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Middle School

My son started school today. (Yes, we start early here.) Sixth grade. That's middle school, with lockers and changing classes and dressing out for PE. He's very excited. Absolutely blows my mind. What happened to my baby?


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

15 Facts About Me

I recently ran across a 30-day blog challenge, and since I am seriously not-so-great about blogging, I thought participating would be good to get me posting more frequently. I won't guarantee I'll finish the list in 30 fact I'll probably s-t-r-e-t-c-h it out a bit with some new jewelry pictures and other musings. Day 1 is Fifteen Facts About Me:

1. My hair is not naturally blond.

2. My eyes are naturally blue (although my colored contact lenses make them look bluer).

3. I'm adopted.

4. I drink coffee all day. Iced coffee, actually.

5. I sleep on the right side of the bed.

6. I love, love, love good landscape photography--I could look at beautiful scenic pictures all day!

7. I played the trombone in band from 6th grade through college. It was my dad's horn that he played in school, too, and now my 11-year-old son is playing it! Three generations of trombonists, one horn. How cool is that?

8. My pet peeve is misspellings. Especially on signs in front of businesses. (I will NEVER patronize your establishment if you can't spell your message correctly!)

9. My favorite color is green.

10. I'm a sucker for a Krispy Kreme plain glazed doughnut.

11. I'm not much of a drinker. I've had the same bottle of Southern Comfort (good with Diet Dr. Pepper) in my freezer since 1992.

12. I love the smell of fresh cut grass, orange blossoms, and pine.

13. I have a seahorse tattoo on my right ankle.

14. I smoked for 31 years--quit last October. (Yay, me!)

15. I adore my husband and son.


Monday, May 9, 2011

The Legend of the Dreamcatcher

Native Americans of the Great Plains believe the air is filled with both good and bad dreams. Historically, dreamcatchers were hung in the teepee or lodge, and at the head of a baby's cradle. According to legend, the good dreams pass through the center hole of the weave and into the sleeping person. The bad dreams are caught in the web and perish in the light of dawn.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Multiple-Stone Pendants

I've noticed a trend in multiple-stone pendants lately. Is that happening where you live, too? I've done a couple of special orders where the customer requested more than one stone in the setting, and so far one piece for inventory with 3 tiger eye stones.

This piece is a special order for long time customer Alicia D., who brought me these fabulous watermelon tourmalines to set into a pendant. She hasn't picked it up yet--I can't wait to see the look on her face! I LOVE this pendant! It is SO going to get noticed every time she wears it!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

More About the Car

Wow, I can't believe it's been more than a month since I blogged! AND that it's been more than a month since I took my car in to the shop...I'm STILL driving the loaner! The problem with the door was fixed a couple weeks ago, but then husband decided I needed an oil change before it left the shop. Okay, fine, so we did that. Then brother-in-law the mechanic decided I needed new tires and an alignment before it left the shop. Okay, that's fine, too, but I thought maybe before we did that we should probably fix the broken strut bar on the front passenger side that's likely CAUSING the car to need new tires and an alignment. That's a part that can only come from the dealership, and of course they don't actually keep them in stock, we we're apparently waiting for that to come in. THEN the actual work will need to be done. THEN I'll need new tires and an alignment. Who knows how much longer I'll be driving the loaner?


Monday, January 31, 2011

Car Trouble

The driver's side door on my car won't open. Something about the electric locking's locked shut and no amount of fiddling, coaxing, swearing or even key-using will get it open. It's been like that for just over a week. So in order to drive from Point A to Point B in the last week, I've had to climb over the center console to get to the driver's seat. Now...I am a 51-year-old size 16 woman. Climbing over the center console is, well, let's just say my son thinks it's pretty darn funny!

Fortunately, today I have a loaner car so that my car can go to brother-in-law's shop. (Brother-in-law is a mechanic.) In order to change the locking system, the inside door panel has to come off. In order to get the door panel off, the door really has to open. Let's hope brother-in-law has a few more coaxing swear words in his arsenal so HE can get the door open!


Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Impossible Customer

I have a dilemma. I have a long-time customer--we'll call her Anna--an elderly lady who really likes a bargain, if you know what I mean. She bought a pair of ear sweeps last weekend. A day or two later she called me and said that she had lost one and asked about a replacement. I told her I'd be happy to make one and the cost would be 1/2, since I would only be making one earring instead of a pair, so that would be $9.50. The next day she called me back and told me that she felt I should give her the replacement earring, since she has brought me "so many" customers over the years. And since it was the second time she had lost one of her ear sweeps. Oh, great.

First I told her I couldn't be responsible for how a piece of jewelry is taken care of once it leaves my store, and it certainly wasn't my fault that the earring got lost. She responded that she understood that, but that she had been such a good customer, and she had brought so many people to my store, that she felt she deserved this special treatment. I then asked her if I should have the same policy of replacing lost jewelry for every customer who may have brought in a friend over the years, and if not then how was that fair to the others, and if so then how am I supposed to make a profit and stay in business? No response except to repeat what she had said before. Very whiny-like. She brought me "all those people who bought stuff." I think that's pretty audacious. She's apparently got quite an exaggerated sense of her importance. She's not even in the top 20 of all the customers who have brought me additional business by bringing in friends and family. She doesn't even come in all that often. Once or twice a year, and usually only when she's coming to Cocoa Village to go to the Playhouse for a Sunday matinee. She actually buys maybe every third or fourth time she comes in.

And then when Anna buys, she buys stuff on sale. She asks me what stuff is on sale, and when this item or that item will be going on sale. If what she wants isn't on sale she sighs loudly and puts it back. She put off buying a pattern wire bracelet (like the one pictured) years ago because it wasn't on sale and she thought it was too expensive. That was before gold went up to over $1400 per ounce. NOW the price on that same bracelet is $150.00. When Anna was in last weekend, she whined that she "should have bought it back then because look at the price now." Yeah, well...!

I do feel a little sense of loyalty to her because she has been a customer since before I opened my store. That's more than 18 years. She's given me some business, and she's brought me some business. Probably enough to warrant giving her a $9.50 earring so I'll make her happy and keep her business. But if I don't give her the earring and I lose her business, it really won't be much of a loss. Sigh. I'm probably going to give her the earring, but I am DEFINITELY going to make sure she understands this is a one-time thing, and that I will not be responsible for replacing anything more that she loses! And then I won't see her for 6 months or a year, until the next time she comes in and whines about wishing she had bought that bracelet 5 years ago........


Saturday, January 8, 2011

New Year

I love the new year. New Year's Day is actually one of my favorite holidays. I can't help but get inspired by all the possibilities. Yes, I know January 1st is just another day, following all the other days before it. For me it's psychological, I guess. The beginning of a new calendar. The first week of the first month of the year. My Quickbooks program has the same year-to-date comparison numbers for the day, the month-to-date and the year-to-date. The only day of the year that that is the case. It's the "newness" of a New Year!

Now, I don't make resolutions per se, but I do always evaluate where I am and what goals I'd like to work on accomplishing. My intention this year was to write my email newsletter more often, to post on my Facebook business page more often, and to blog more often. You can see how well that's working out so far--it's the 8th and this is my first blog post of the year! Ack!

Although all those "more often"s are specific steps toward my goal, the actual goal itself is to interact more with my customers. I'm a one-woman operation, so when you deal with Contemporary Concepts you deal with me. The world is getting smaller, you know, and I've been at this jewelry thing a long time. I have friends, fans, and customers all over! I want to hear from all of YOU more often, and I intend for you to hear from me, too. Yay for the internet and social networking!