Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Don't Hit Me in the Head with a Frisbee

Hello everyone and sorry for not writing in a while. I've been stricken with my first cold of the season... and it's a bad one. Since Saturday, I've been experiencing a burning chest, painful cough, sneezing and stuffy head. Basically, I just want my mama!!

I don't get sick often, but when I do all I want to do is rest. And now that both kids are in school, I've been able to take care of myself. But not today!!

Today, I noticed that my calendar listed that I was scheduled to be the lunch and recess monitor at my kids' school. "Oh joy!!" I said to myself (YES... that was sarcasm).

When I got to school, I immediately noticed that the kids had way more energy than necessary. So I gave them some ground rules (gotta have ground rules!): don't drive me crazy, don't hit me in the head with a frisbee and don't make me yell cause my throat hurts.

After we entered the gym for recess (thank God it rained and I didn't have to be out in the cold!), the seemingly bazillion kids broke out into a frenzy of loud but adorable play. Then, they proceeded to drive me crazy, and of course, I had to yell (ouch!).

But in the end, the kids spent all of their extra energy, I survived the assignment and the school building is still standing thanks to yours truly,

Mrs. Mayborne
The Lunch & Recess Monitor

P.S: I did not get hit in the head with a frisbee!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Please Bring an Apple for the Teacher!

After a 5-year sabbatical, I'm looking forward to teaching jewelry making classes again. Actually, I take that back. I taught a 5-week jewelry making class to eager 5th and 6th grade girls at my sons' school last spring. But now I'm finally going to be teaching adults again.

I got my start teaching jewelry making at Michaels craft store by teaching customers how to use all of the products and tools. I also offered several beading classes, from beginner to advanced projects. The classes were popular and I loved teaching, but the arrival of my second son made me put all of my extra curricular activities on hold.

Now that my youngest is now five and in full-day kindergarten (yippie!!), I eagerly accepted the offer to teach at Creative Expressions Art Gallery in Mequon, WI. I've spent a lot of time writing the classes, shopping for materials and creating beautiful project samples.

On December 1, I will be teaching "Beautiful Beaded Basics". It is perfect for anyone interested in starting to bead or anyone looking for a beading refresher. Participants will work with me step-by-step to and create a beautiful bracelet and earring set.

On December 10, I will be leading a class in making the "Reversible Metal Clay Pendant". In this class, students will learn hands-on how to work with precious metal clay to create their own pendant made of pure silver.

I'd love to hear your comments about these two classes!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

New Item - Silver Lace Earrings

Hello everyone!! Today is the first day in a looooong time that a brand new item has hit my Etsy shop!!

I call this pair of earrings "Silver Lace" and they are perfect for all styles and occasions.

They are made of fine silver disks, each measuring 5/8-inch in diameter and textured with a piece of lace fabric. The reverse side has my signature. The silver has been lightly oxidized to highlight the texture and signature.

The disks are finished with sterling silver French earwires. Rubber earnuts are also included for added security. The overall length is 1.25-inches. $20

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Movin' On Up!!

Just like George and Weesie, I am very pleased to announce that my beloved Graphic Jewelry Collection "is movin on up". But instead of going from Harlem to the East Side... Graphic has gone from my basement studio to the brand new (and beautiful) Creative Expressions Art Gallery in Mequon, Wisconsin.

I must admit that I am very proud of my little collection... getting to hang out in a gallery with amazing works of art and talent.

And the best part of having my work accessible to the public is the increased amounts of feedback. Today, the gallery owner told me that "Graphic Triple Pendant" receives the most attention. This is great to know since I feel a burst of creative energy coming on and plan to create a similar design.

Once again, until the pieces of the Graphic Jewelry Collection take up residence with you (hint, hint) they can be found at the Creative Expressions Art Gallery.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, November 6, 2009

An American In Paris

Bonjour everyone!! Here is just a little post to tell you what I've been up to lately... before I forget. This is also a nice change of pace from my usual posts about my life as an artist.

Now, here's a little about my life as a tourist... in Paris!!

I went to France (from 10/27/09 till 11/3/09) completely alone to enjoy a break from my every day life. My glorious week in The City of Lights included all the typical sightseeing, visits with both of my previous French exchange students and a blissful night of dancing till dawn!!

It was wonderful and I can't wait until I travel to Europe again!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Randi's Bracelet

Recently, I (finally) completed a custom order for a very dear friend of mine... Randi.

A few years ago, she went to Israel on a tour of the Holy Land and had a wonderful time. She was able to see for herself many sites that we discuss in our weekly Bible study classes. The trip was very inspirational to her and created a deep fondness for the land and its people.

Like most folks who take life changing trips... she brought something back to remind her of that faith adventure. And I am so glad she did!!

Her little reminders (a handful of coins from the national currency and ones for the planned temple) turned into a great opportunity for me to create something different for a change.

The coins were drilled, cleaned & polished and arranged with beads. Then colorful crystals were added and voila... a wonderful charm bracelet!!

Now she can wear a great reminder of her trip that has sparked numerous conversations. And the added bonus... you can now hear Randi "jingling" from about a mile away!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mama's New Gig

Hello everyone!! In this post I want to tell you a little bit about my latest adventure as an artist.

When my youngest started full day kindergarten this fall (yippie!!), I was left looking for ways to add a little more purpose to my life. So one day I contacted a friend who was opening an art gallery and asked if she needed any help.

To make a long story short... I will be an art consultant, class instructor and featured artist!!

Last night was the grand opening of Creative Expressions Art Gallery in Mequon, Wisconsin. It was a big success and I'm so glad to be part of such a wonderful team!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mama's Got an iPhone


I know it's been a loooooong time since my last post. A lot has happened but nothing that exciting that the whole world needed to know about.

Until now.

Now, I have my very own iPhone and to me that's noteworthy. After listening to me beg for months, my hubby got it for me for our 12th anniversary.

This device is so cool and I feel like I have the world at my fingers... any place, anytime!!

Now, I just have to figure out how to post pictures to my blog with this thing.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Whew... It's Finally Over!!

Well, I pulled it off. The trunk show that I hosted at my home on March 19-21 is finally history. All of the planning and preparations have been completed, the house is (almost) back to normal and I can get on with real life.

Don't get me wrong... I love opening up my home to show friends and customers my latest designs and offering a fun, relaxed way to shop. However, there is a ton of work that goes on behind the scene. I spent a lot of time doing production, promotion, cleaning and cooking. Setting up an attractive display takes time and making arrangements for the kids is no joke either.

Just over 300 people were invited, and less than a dozen showed up. I had nine actual customers. Luckily, those nine made big purchases and the show was profitable. I was disappointed in the turn out and more so in the number of folks who said they were coming but didn't. I know that the biggest factor is the economy... but does that mean that I put everything on hold until the recession is over?? I'd love to hear feedback on what others think.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Planning My Next Home Show

For all of you who haven't heard, Mama Mayborne Designs has recently turned five years old!! I cannot believe that I am still making jewelry and how much my product line has grown during a half decade.

During the past five years I have made hundreds of items, shown at several places (including the Milwaukee Art Museum) and created an online presence. I'll never forget how it all began with the desire to make a few Christmas presents and my mama's relentless sales pitches.

Now I am planning to do one of my favorite things with my work... show it in my home to family, friends and 5-year's worth of customers! And to do that, I've been very busy with planning and preparations, making lots of new items and figuring out a way to display it all.

Also new for this show will be a giveaway. My first 30 customers will receive a free pair of pink Swarovski crystal and sterling earrings. Just my way to say thank you for helping me celebrate five wonderful years in business as Mama Mayborne Designs!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

What Happened to February?!?

Ok, this isn't even funny. It feels like I merely blinked my eyes and a whole month flew by. What happened to February 2009?!?

Today is March 1st and I am frantically trying to determine what exactly I did during the shortest month of the year. I hope that I didn't waste too much time on seeking heat and watching Days of our Lives!!

There is only one way to figure out what I did... and that is to make a list of my major accomplishments (obviously posting to my blog was not one of them!!). So, during the month of February 2009, I did the following...

  1. sold a whopping FIVE items from my Etsy shop, making February my best month ever!!
  2. set a date for my 5th anniversary trunk show.
  3. booked a flight to NY to attend my sorority's 20th anniversary.
  4. designed and ordered new cards to promote home trunk shows.
  5. became an international seller by filling an order placed from Austria.
  6. learned how to Twitter and joined the Etsy Twitter Team.
  7. announced the winner of my first Facebook Fan contest.
  8. donated three items to silent auctions for charity.
  9. had a very successful two-day "earring only" sale at my husband's office.
  10. hosted a non-English speaking family of four for three nights!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Bold and the Beautiful

I was pretty productive this past weekend. Partly because it was too cold to go anywhere. Partly because I woke up from a dream about making a ring!! Well, I made the ring of my dreams and a few other pieces to go along with it. I'm calling the trio Bold and Beautiful because that is what they are. All the pieces are made of sterling silver and are guaranteed to make a statement of their own.

The ring I made is a size 8, has a domed shape and is slightly hammered on the surface to reflect a lot of light.

The pendant is made of a two inch disk of sterling silver with a shiny satin finish. It has a bail that is 3/8 inches wide, making it perfect for placing on almost any chain or strand of beads.
Finally, make a bold statement on your wrist with a bold cuff bracelet. It also has a shiny, satin finish and a slightly domed shape. A little charm from my Graphic Collection gives a little extra appeal.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Making My Own Hang Tags

Just a quick post today for those who have ever been puzzled with hang tags for jewelry or other small items.

I have tried everything from the fold-over sticky tags (aka shark tags), the cheepies from the office supply store (you know, the ones with that loooong flimsy string), ones that had been done by the local printer (only to have the ink run off) and business cards which look way too big on jewelry.

Well, last year before a show, I decided to pull my look together in a more professional manner and in a way that would be lasting. I created my own logo that is just my name spelled out in a simple, hot pink font. Now I use that branding on everything and it reminds me of how much I love the simple things. It is also a great reflection on my art, which will remain simply beautiful.

Anyway... the hang tags. Rather than going the same route, I decided to make my own. I designed a one inch square tag in Microsoft Publisher that had my logo and a matching border. Next, I printed several per page on the color printer and cut out each row of tags. Then comes the genius part. I covered each row of tags with clear packing tape on the front and the back. This keeps the ink from bleeding and makes the tag extra durable.

After that, I cut out each tag by hand and punched a small hole in the corner. Using silver elastic thread, I made a tie to loop on the piece of jewelry. Whew!! A little work, but basically free and well worth the effort!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Mama Needs Earwires Now!!

What do you do when you are in the middle of making something only to find out that you are missing an important component? That's what happened to me the other day when I got fired up about making some earrings for Valentine's Day. However, after I finished making the charms, I realized that I did not have any manufactured earwires on hand!!

Since I have a big problem with patience and didn't want to wait for the next supply order, I decided to make my own earwires. I usually don't do that because I like to put all of my effort in the earring's focal point. In this case it was the heart-shaped charms that I made for my Graphic Collection.

So in a few steps I had what I wanted. 1) loop one end of a 20 gauge wire, 2) wrap the wire around a round mandrel, 3) smooth the edges of the wire, 4) tap the wire again on mandrel to form, 5) bend tip of unlooped end to fasten and 6) enjoy the perfect hoop earwires. And they look great on the new Graphic Heart Earrings!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Facebooking and Loving It!!

Hello everyone, how's it going?? If you have a minute, I'd like to tell you about something that's been going on in my little corner of the world.

As some of you know, I'm on Facebook now and LOVE it. I've connected with so many old friends that I haven't seen in years... some even go back to grade school!! It's great seeing everyone all grown up and having the chance to catch up on life.

I've even had the chance to reunite with several of my Phi Sigma Sigma sorority sisters from Hofstra University (1989-1991). Reestablishing these relationships is utterly precious to me because I've been upset about the way I left them back in the day.

To make a long story short... I ran out of money for school, had to drop out and left without saying goodbye. I wasn't able to keep paying dues so I basically quit the sorority. I really regret that and was soooo happy when I finally got the chance to apologize, even if it was 17 years later.

Anyway, I'm in the process of appealing my membership status so that I can be put back on the rolls. In the meantime, as I anxiously await the decision, I created the Greek Mama Bracelet to add to my Mama Collection. Working on it helped me remember that sisterhood is very, very precious!!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Everyday is Show and Tell

After my last post about my messy studio, I felt that a change was needed. Just seeing the photos of my space and knowing that they were in cyberspace for all to see gave me the motivation that I've needed for so long. Changes have been taking place in the studio and I promise to report back when I'm finished.

I will tell you now that I put a display case in my studio. I've been wanting to do this for years, but have never found the right case for the right price. Yesterday, my mom and I went to IKEA and looked around. Right in the middle of the third floor, was the KLINGSBO glass-door cabinet. It was cute, perfectly sized and affordable at $129.

I picked it up (along with a hot-pink task chair) and headed for home. My husband assembled it the next night as we watched Terminator 2. Then, I loaded it with my favorite jewelry items. I think it makes the perfect addition to my space and creates more of a professional studio-store atmosphere. Now I just need to get the kids to stop leaving toys in there!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Mama's Messy Studio

Welcome to the very messy studio of Mama Mayborne Designs. Actually, I am posting this blog, complete with very honest photos, to show you all the current state of my work space. I have no idea how it got this bad... but it's bad!

Just so you know, I'm not quite a neat-freak but I am pretty close. But when it comes to my studio, I like a little bit of disorder because it makes me think that I've been soooo busy making money (yeah right!!) that I have no time to clean.

But things have gotten so bad that I cannot find the sales tax forms (that might be a subliminal act to avoid that dreaded task) or my barely-been-used-lately cash box.

Now I am asking for this blog's millions of followers (yeah right again!!) to hold me accountable for getting my workspace back into a productive, orderly state. And give me a few weeks (at least) to post the results!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Let's Here It for the Girls!

As you may know by now, I have a passion for making jewelry that women can feel special wearing. But about four years ago, I acted on several customer requests for something for little girls. I came up with the Little Mama Bracelet, which is the smaller version of the Grand Mama Bracelet.

The Little Mama gives little girls the chance to start their jewelry collection off with quality and style. It features her name in sterling silver letter beads, Swarovski crystals in choice of colors, sterling silver spacer beads and a tiny sterling toggle clasp for a secure closure. The best part of the bracelet is that it is further customized with a sterling silver charm.

After making nearly 50 Little Mama Bracelets, I am very pleased to announce that they are now available in my etsy shop for custom order. Also posted in my shop is one infant/toddler bracelet from my Princess Charming collection. This bracelet has five heart charms and four Swarovski crystals and is specially priced at only $10.
Both bracelets are perfect for the little princesses in your life. They make great gifts for new births, baptisms and birthdays. Thanks for checking them out!!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Have a "Graphic" New Year

Happy New Year everyone!! I hope that 2009 brings each one of you success, health and happiness! If you are one of those resolution people, I hope you make progress before your list becomes a bookmark.

What I really want to do this year is MOVE inventory and properly roll out my new jewelry collection. I call this line "Graphic" because all of the pieces contain at least one element with a texture that quite frankly reminds me of graph paper.

"Graphic" has been in the works for over a year now. I've been playing around with textures and decided on this one because I love the way it looks with simple shapes. I think it makes the finished piece look powerfully elegant and boldly simplistic. (make sense???)

After I had the texture process down, I began designing and fabricating pieces right after Christmas 2007. Next came testing "Graphic" at shows last spring and summer. Customers seemed to like the unique texture that lends very well to mixing and matching.

I am very pleased with this collection and can't wait to add more pieces. Keep an eye on my Etsy store and Facebook page to see the items that get added on a continual basis.