Banner from my Etsy shop

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Other Websites and What What

When I was a poor downtrodden military wife....29 years ago....I worked really hard to make ends meet, keep us fed and clothed and the bills paid.  Well, I did just that and did pretty well. Had a little fun along the way by being creative and finding affordable/free or cheap adventures for my kids. 

I kept a little book where I wrote down everything I was doing and about 15 years ago I typed them up and kept adding to them. I thought you know, I should publish this....other people might be able to use these tips.  But I never finished editing....I edited about 100 times and then....

I joined Etsy and created my shop, "BluJeanBeads" and started poking around in other people's shops.  I wandered into Ezines and Books.  Oh my goodness, I realized I could get this book  to people who really need it, in a much more affordable way then if I published it as a traditional book. 

So I opened a second shop, called MizHarrison on Etsy for that purpose.  Check it out:  I broke my work into two volumes to cut the expense and put it up for sale.  The kind of tips you will find in Sista's Guide to Turning a Nickel Into a Dime:

... Purchase shampoos, conditioner, handlotion, bar soap, tissues, swabs, cotton balls, and other hair products in bulk at wareouse stores, discount shtores or this big have everything drugstores. (take a list and only buy what you need or what you use);

General tips for saving money:

...stop shopping for recreation, today.
...Try cost cutting before you take on the expense of another job.

You get the jist.  I even have a statement that buying jewelry can be a much affordable way to spark your attire than shopping for a new outfit or spending on credit cards.  Jewelry that can make a statement and that is trend/fad free is very affordable in the long run.

Happy sensible shopping.  Happy sensible savings!  Check out my guides!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

On Summer's Eve

Tomorrow is the first day of summer for the year.  Yowza!  I am so excited. I love summer...can you tell?  I have done enough whining about the cold, gloomy weather to let you know!

I  have been creating all kinds of pretty bracelets. Just ready for the season. I created one that has varying shades of lavender and pink and I am so excited. It will look so cute with one of my favorite summer dresses.

I've also been thinking of brides....June is a great month for weddings and all those beautiful shades of white that go into gowns, bouquets and hair ornaments.  My sister, of Ashar gems ( has been busy creating the most beautiful wedding ensembles for brides.

The season has also inspired me to write. I have written a book on budgeting and posted it in my etsy shop: For years I have collected all the little tips I used to get through the hard times and I have been writing them down. Well, Sunday, I took the time to take my jottings and put them in a downloadable format and posted them for sale. 

Budget books and jewelry?  Do you see the connection?  Well, when times are tough, many of us have to give up our "shopping" and "mall" addictions to make ends meet.  An affordable piece of jewelry is just the ticket for jazzing up what you have in your closet. I love fun and funky jewelry but many of my pieces at are more classic in design then funky. I want my customers and friends to wear my creations for years instead of having to replace a trendy design in a year or two. That definitely is not frugal or cost effective in these tight times. to you soon!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Thieves are Running Amok

I went to one of my favorite local beadshops and I had to heave my large and I mean, large, bulging with junk and crap, handbag into a little locker.  All because, of theives.  It seems that people walk into beadshops create a distraction, whilst their comrades steal 100's of dollars of stock.

This is just a tiny little store on the westside of our little town. It is run by a family who probably bring in a little over $2,000 a month.  And they have to be robbed. Really?

All they are trying to do is make an honest living to support themselves and their grandchildren.

My other local bead shop is about 3,000 acres big. It has beads, crystals, leather, wire and tools from all over the world in it.  They had this nice silver display of findings....of course some dastardly folks had to pocket the goods there, too. So they had to move some of their nicest stock to an out of the way location, behind a counter, where we honest customers can't readily pick out what we came to purchase.

In this economy, in fact in any economy - why do people have to lose their moral compass and steal? I don't want your jewelry item made from stolen merchandise. I don't know how you in good conscience would think this would be an item to wear. If you steal....and you make jewelry from your ill gotten gain, keep it.  No one else wants it.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


It always amazes me when I look at onsite shopping sites such as the one I belong to, Etsy, and realize that my "competitors" (fellow artists) sell their items for less than market price.  A $2.00 bracelet - 20 cents cost for posting on site, shipping cost not to mention the price of the product, the price of the artists time, and the expenses that are incured in making the product: gas to go to the store to purchase components, and electricity- is worth so much more than $2.00. What are they really getting for their efforts?

Oh yes, the satisfaction that someone will beautify the very air around them, because they look so good in the two dollar bracelet. Oh yes, the joy they bring to others because that bracelet really sets off that thrift store outfit making it look like it originally cost a thousand bucks and was tailored just for you. 

But seriously....

 I still don't think I would price my items that low.  I am seeking to make a profit on my beautiful bracelets because one of my goals is to be self supporting.  I desire to fund my child's education and I eventually dream of creating a fund where I can help low income families around the world, acquire microloans, so they can better themselves and their families through good nutrition and education. I want to support one of my favorite charities. I want to do this through this work.

I also do not think of my jewelry making as just a hobby. I am an artist and I have vision. My time and talent is worth more than a few cents an hour just as the $2.00 artists' talent is worth more than what she is charging for it.  Personally, I think undercutting prices this low is an insult to everyone who is trying to make a living through their art.  This tells us all that we are a site filled with hobbyists and that a person who takes the time to design a piece, do the wire wrapping, charges for her time (and she doesn't come cheap) and takes in account postage and overhead is overpaid or is overcharging.  I don't think so.  This is not a dollar store filled with mass marketed and produced machine made products.

Please at the least....take in account your product cost and your designated time per hour and times it by three.  Be fair to yourself and the work of others.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tired Jeweler

The weeds in my garden were getting to the point where they thought they were family. "Can we come in?"  Bold...setting seed.

Memorial Day family picnic was held on Sunday, so I had a glorious and unexpected dry day to go out and reclaim my backyard and tame it's jungle look.  I weeded, I spread compost, mowed, hoed, crawled, amended, baited and put down a beautiful layer of mulch.  The dark of the mulch really sets off the colors of spring....the blues of the geraniums, the lilacs, the red of the heuchera and the young green leaves.  Gorgeous!

Anything to do with jewelry?  Yes...fresh eye for new color combinations. A place to relax the eye after a day of beading in my studio under the artificial light of a lamp. A chance to concentrate on the next design instead of worrying that I should be mowing when it is not raining. A place to be happy. I am very happy in a garden and a happy gardener is a happy jeweler.