Friday, December 17, 2010

Taking a holiday break

Happy Holidays everyone!

Back in 1998 I spent the summer in northern Michigan with my family. I was making jewelry on my aunties dining room table at the time when my young cousins started calling my cousin jewelry. I taught them that a female cousin is "prima" in the Spanish language. That year for Christmas they made me this precious ornament. I hung it off the mirror this year at my holiday craft show.

The photos aren't the best but I thought I would share my displays from the holiday show "Missoula Made Fair". My studio mate Molly painted this room divider with a western theme of horses. When she moved away she gave it to me. It made a wonderful earring display. Thanks Molly!

The Missoula Made Fair was such a huge success. Between doing so well there and online with my Etsy shop Gypsy Moon Designs I am going to allow myself a 5 day break. I can't believe I am saying this, but I am looking forward to cleaning my house and work studio! It will be good to recharge my creative batteries.

On the winter solstice me and Mitchell are going to go check out an artist gallery about an hour from here. The artist is a man in his 90's who started painting in his 70's. His art is surreal and I am excited to meet him. I will share more about him on a later date.

My shop will be closed between 12/20 and 12/25. I hope everyone has a lovely holiday and Happy Winter! : )

Friday, October 29, 2010

Gypsy Moon Designs on Big Cartel

I'm giving my stand alone website another try. Big Cartel is a shopping cart and easy to use. It's kind of addicting changing the background colors!

Hot Pink Chandelier earrings

This summer I gave out 1000 business cards with my .com address. Right now my .com is directed towards my Etsy shop. Local customers tell me all the time that they go to my Etsy shop. So glad to hear that! I love my Missoulian customers.

My dilemma is that most of my necklaces are one of a kind. With mostly earrings in my Big Cartel shop it doesn't seem well rounded. But, I am not a big risk taker when it comes to my business reputation. I would be so embarrassed to double sell an item.

Stunning silver filigree earrings

The smart thing to do is redirect my .com to my stand alone site. Smart for many reasons... but, if my cards are bringing shoppers they will not see my one of a kind pieces.

My Big Cartel shop is not so busy that the risk of double listing is big though. What to do?

So, readers, I am interested in hearing if you double list your one of a kind pieces? Should I take the risk and do it in order to re direct my .com? While I am asking, do you like the shops color background verses my blog color background?


Monday, October 25, 2010

Sunday drive in western Montana

Summer markets have ended and I have my weekends back! Don't get me wrong, I love market season. I also love spending time with my honey. So, the last few weeks we have been taking these beautiful Sunday drives to places I have never explored.

We keep hoping to see a bear or mountain lion. Not yet!

As a kid my parents would take us on Sunday drives. We always found our way to the apple orchid. Oh the memories of that place. You could take a little tour and drink fresh apple juice. They also sold the best unpopped popcorn I have ever had.
It never failed that Dad would take a road never taken and Mom would ask "Are we lost?" and he would say "Nah, we aren't lost the teepee is." That would crack up us kids every-time. It also taught me that I am never lost, I'm right here.

I didn't hold the camera very still, but I wanted to show off some lovely fall scenes. The first few are Huson, Montana and the Clark Fork River.

I have a dream of living in an old yellow house. I couldn't believe it when we saw this house. Isn't the gate incredible! It is a compound, perfect for a couple of creative types like me and my man! There is a main house and a second smaller house along with other smaller buildings. Hey, it's for sale too!

We then made our way through some back roads to the Flathead Indian Reservation. That is where these other two photos were taken. On the rez I thought I saw a bear! We backed up and it was a dead tree trunk with wild turkeys hanging around it. At least I did see something.

Monday, October 18, 2010

SeaWeb's campaign against Red Coral misleading

As a seller, on the e-commerce site Etsy, I am shocked and angered that Etsy posted a blog article repeating SeaWeb's campaign against coral. I was going to keep my mouth shut about Etsy's part in this ; not wanting to bite the hand that feeds me. My Etsy shop is my livelihood!

But, Etsy, I feed you too! I pay listing fees, I pay commissions, I bring new sellers to you. This is what I get in return?

The spokesperson for this issue is not a seller on Etsy but was given a platform there. The spokeswoman is a big time jewelry designer and Etsy linked her FaceBook and Twitter pages to the article which in return lead you to her business. This was free advertising for a non handmade, manufactured company.

What the hell is going on over there in the Etsy offices?

SeaWeb, is an international, nonprofit, communications organization dedicated to creating a culture of ocean conservation. Remember the boycott campaign against Swordfish? That was a SeaWeb campaign. I did some internet searching and from what I gather the North Atlantic Swordfish was feeling stressed but not in danger of extinction. The campaign against eating Swordfish never made a distinction between North Atlantic, South Atlantic and Pacific Swordfish.

My intend is to blog about coral. So if you are interested in reading more about the swordfish boycott here are some links: The truth about Swordfish, Activist Cash, and

As a jewelry designer I feel SeaWeb is at it again, misleading the public with their "Too Precious to Wear" campaign against Coral. Deep water red and pink coral populations are dwindling. We need to clean up our planet, our air and oceans.

The international Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) has listed 2000 species of coral to be regulated and monitored. It is illegal to bring CITES-listed coral, or coral artifacts such as jewelery, into any of the 158 countries which have signed the convention, without a CITES permit. This includes the US, the UK, other countries in the European Community, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

SeaWeb has a youtube video about their Coral boycott. In it you see a bead shop with strands of coral. They also show necklaces that have a similar flare to my photos of my necklaces. Obviously artisan created handmade jewelry.

When I walk into my local bead shop to buy coral I am purchase Bamboo Coral. It is a legal coral and not on the endangered CITES list.

Endangered red and pink coral grows very slowly in deep sea waters. Bamboo coral is fast growing and in shallow waters. Bamboo coral is dyed red to achieve the "look" of deep sea red coral.

Coral is a living being. As a consumer you choose to either wear furs, feather, coral...or not. But, if you love coral please know what artisans are currently using is legal and not endangered.

So, again we have SeaWeb leaving out pertinent information, hurting the small business person, be they a fisherman or a jewelry designer.

And Etsy...why are you putting your sellers up against the wall, having to defend ourselves????

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Pierced ear mannequin

Yippy! My mannequin arrived yesterday. I am going to start shooting my earrings being worn. It should increase sales.

It's funny, she is sitting in the living room right now and when I walked in from the kitchen I jumped 10 feet! I thought someone was in my living room...LOL.

I was thinking of naming her Luna. Though my cat is Luna. I would love to hear any suggestions? Like we have nothing better to do than name a mannequin head!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Changes...but all is Honky Dory

It's been months since I last blogged.
I experienced some "stuff" and it's my nature to go within when dealing. But, I am back and ready to be consistent with blogging again.

This summer has been a summer of making so many decisions. My cancer scare in December turned into a hysterectomy. And the timing sucked! It was scheduled 5 days before opening season of my market. I cried like a baby! LOL

I thought I could be super woman and hire some help and show up on opening day. Ha ha, that was a fantasy! But, I did make myself go back into production 7 days post op and with help made it for the second weekend of the season. That's all behind me now and I feel much better.

I am curious how others handle their online stores when life throws something at you. I closed it for 10 days and then reopened. I had requests for custom orders and did manage to fill them. But, I never told anyone I was, well, exhausted! It seemed like it may have been unprofessional to explain that I was in recovery and could not do something. So, I kept plugging away. The best thing about surgery is you get to nap. I have never been a napper and man oh man did I LOVE my naps!

I share studio space with two other artisans. Well, lots of changes there. Molly got married and moved away a few weeks ago. CarolLynn is having a fantastic year. She had baby Cora late winter and her husband just graduated from Law school. He found a job a few hours from here, so they bought a house closer to work and are moving.

Aren't mom and daughter so pretty! Baby Cora is at the studio everyday. I am getting a kick out of watching her develop. She is a genius!!! Just ask her parents, they will agree! She is a very smiley baby and is so fun to be around.

So, I again am moving my studio. I am going to bring it back to the house. I think my kitty, Luna, will be happy for the company. As I write she is laying across my neck...such a lovey dovey.

Summer shows have been great. They started out slow this year but picked up nicely. Etsy became busier this summer than the prior years. So, I ended up dropping my Sunday show. Being a one woman act here I just could not keep up. As Martha Stewart would say "That's a good thing".

Hope all of you are having a good summer!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

BeBe wearing my designs

Last week I sold my favorite necklace to beautiful BeBe Bellamont. She also bought a pair of my funky earrings to go with it. BeBe was sweet and sent me a photo of her wearing her new jewels. If you click on the photo it will enlarge it.

BeBe is an artist and you can find her on Etsy at gemtwink Her paintings are sexy and whimsical just like her.

I like the feel of this painting with glow in the dark paint.

The French Alley

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Apple Seed necklace

I can't believe opening day for Missoula Saturday Market is almost here! I have so much to do by May 1st.

It took me all week to complete my Apple Seed necklace. I worked on it in between filling orders for my Etsy shop and working on a custom necklace.

Every year prior to opening day I tell myself I will be better prepared. The last few weeks I have been creating more complex designs. This necklace is the most time consuming. It never fails first day of market on of regular customers inquires about it. So, it feels great to have it done.

There are around 350 apple seeds that are dried and shellacked. I get them from vintage necklaces of the 1970's. The stones of Turquoise, Lapis Lazuli, Carnelian and Amber look so yummy and earthy against the browns of the seeds.

Multi strand apple seed necklace can be purchased at my shop Gypsy Moon Designs.

Better get back to creating!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Spring Cleaning the Yard

It is spring break at the University of Montana and most of my neighbors are gone on holiday. A perfect time to fill the dumpsters with leaves and branches.

We have a couple of Maple trees and cotton wood trees in our small yard. After a long Rocky Mountain winter cleaning up the yard is like trying to sweep a forest floor! We filled three dumpsters while getting the yard back into shape.

The yard looks drab right now, for spring bloom takes awhile to arrive when you live in the north. The hillside was buried under a ton of leaves and branches. But, soon it will be covered with beautiful ferns that have the sweetest pink flowers.

My sweet kitty, Luna loves to drink from the bird feeder that is still in need of some cleaning. She is camera shy and ran as soon as she saw me focusing on her. Silly girl!

Last year I let my neighbor use this little garden plot. She moved away last month though. I am trying to come up with some garden ideas that are deer resistant. We have many, many deer come through our yard on a daily basis.

I was thinking maybe Lavender, Pansies and a border of Marigold. I am not a fan of Marigold but I heard neither are the deer.

If you have some deer resistant ideas I would love to hear them! It doesn't have to be flowers just anything the deer may not be into. This part of the yard stays sunny all day.

Happy spring!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Honored by Top Etsy Shops

I was honored on the
Top Etsy Shops Blog as the month of April winner! It is so exciting! I was working in my studio and had my netbook on watching all these views and hearts coming in. My first thought was am I on the coveted front page of Etsy? Nope, hmmm...what is up?

After checking my email I discovered that I had won the drawing on the FaceBook group Top Etsy Shops.

What a wonderful way to start April!! Thanks Top Etsy Shops for the feature!
Gypsy Moon Designs

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bohemian Multi Strand necklaces

Missoula Saturday Market begins first Saturday of May. Thirty days is a real motivator to amp up my production. I am so excited to see fellow vendors, regular customers and make new friends.

This winter I experimented with new techniques. I am slowly learning metal fabrication. Going from a bead stringer to a metalworker has its challenges. You have to shift how your brain is accustom to designing.

I found this technique to be the perfect gateway for me into the world of metal working. It offers shaping metal, hammering it, playing with liver of sulfur and my favorite SOLDERING! I could solder all day. I love it. You have to have a delicate touch when using soldering wire. Heat the metal just right and with a steady hand ever so lightly touch the wire to the hot metal. Then you guide the flame just right to see the solder flow. Love it!

This Ethnic inspired multi strand necklace looks great on. The colors are perfect for a summer tan. I designed two pendants for it.

The month of May is fantastic at market. There is Mother's Day, high school and university graduation. With that in mind I am gearing up on necklaces one would want to buy as gifts. I love the bohemian, gypsy look of this one.

I hand made the pendant to have a 70's retro feel. The oranges, reds, and purples give it some funk. You can see more views of it at Gypsy Moon Designs.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Haiti Rebuilding

Here on blogspot there is a campaign going on for bloggers to do there part to help the people of Haiti after the devastating earthquake on January 12, 2010.

The projections are that 2 to 3 million Haitian are without shelter. It is time to start planning on rebuilding and this will mean more funds and resources are needed.

The non profit Architecture for Humanity is an organization that brings together professional designers and developers together to construct schools, shelters, clean water systems and generally whatever else may need to be built.

They have teamed up with other organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, UN Habitat, Oprah's Angel Network to just name a few.

They are seeking donations to help rebuild Haiti. This is right off their website:

By making a donation today you are supporting a grassroots network of architects, designers and building professionals to lend their talents and expertise in communities where there services are most needed and can least be afforded. You know design matters. Help us use the power of design to build a more sustainable future in communities around the world.

Click here to donate You can pay with your PayPal account and even a small donation will help.

This link will take you to a video about the organizations work in India after their devastating Tsunami. Watch Short Video

Monday, February 15, 2010

Kind of big but I like them

I named this chandelier earring Snow Queen. I found these vintage beads from the 1970's and just love the frosty look. You can see more images atGypsy Moon Designs

For ladies who don't like big chandeliers I designed them as fun dangle earrings too. I think long kidney ear wires have become my favorite. I have a snow queen so I named these Ice Princess. See more imagesIce Princess here

Gypsy Moon Designs

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Feeling refreshed in February

40 craft shows a year and a busy holiday season on line often leaves me in need of some time off. I take January at my leisure and try to refresh my inspiration.

It's now February and I feel ready to go! I am getting my inventory ready for summer market. Here are some of my multi strand designs.

Art Nouveau necklace This romantic multi strand necklace is designed in strawbery pink and green. I took this art nouveau charm and punched an extra hole in it and gave it a ink wash of color. I love the warmth of the cream pearls.

Rocher Chic necklace. I took this very bling bling CZ cross pendant and gave it some rocker chic appeal.

Dark Cherry pearl necklace Playing around making my own pendants. I started with some abstract paper and glued it down to a pendant base, added some glaze and layered a Victorian inspired charm with a wash of burgundy color.

Back to creating! Have a great valentine's day everyone!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bloggers Unite for Haiti

There is a blogger campaign happening for the victims of the Haiti earthquake. As a blogger if you would like to participate click on the banner on my sidebar.

As we all know Haiti was hit by a 7.0 earthquake that could be responsible for more than 100,000 deaths. Tens of thousands have been left homeless.

There are many organizations helping with the relief effort. I saw a story of the NBC Nightly News of a 78 yr old American doctor who is in Haiti to help. He really touched me. Here is a link to NBC, he is on the "Making a Difference" segment.

President Clinton and Bush also have a fund that 100% of donations go to assist Haitians now and in the long term rebuilding efforts.Clinton Bush Haiti Fund

There are so many organizations seeking donations.
Doctors without Borders
American Red Cross
Partners in Health
to list a few...

As a world community we can reach out in compassion to help our brothers and sisters in Haiti.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Another fun technique

I am having to much fun this new year! All this play with materials is making creative ideas really flow. Now to get them turned into something tangleable. Paisley earrings
Before they can be created I must master some basic metal work. The necklace and earrings you see here are designed with hammered copper. I created little windows for pictures.

Victorian Bohemian necklace

I am antiquing the copper in liver of sulfur and have to say I love using it. Right now to solder the pendants closed I am using a soldering iron. On Thursdays I am taking a beginning metal fabrication class and can't wait to learn how to use the torch. For now though I will stick to the iron. It is such a small area that it seems to be working.

Off to play some more!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Experimenting with Techniques

This Summer will be my 7th craft season here in Missoula, Montana. Our market, like so many others, is saturated with jewelry sellers. To stay competitive each winter I play with ideas and techniques.

Wild at Heart necklace is a new style for me. I took two colors of silk fabric and a hand dyed silk ribbon to create the necklace. Then wire wrapped pearls around it.

I am thinking of just making 2 more in this style to test at market.

Tonight I have my first metal fabrication class. I bought all these tools and books and was struggling on staying focused. I would do a bit of soldering over here, hammering metal over there...and no projects were being completed.

After, days of buying different tools to discover I still needed more, I threw up my hands and scouted out a class to take. What a relief, my focus improved knowing that someone else could teach me the metal work.

Also, yesterday was my 2 year Etsy anniversary! I got all dressed up and waited for Etsy to take me out on the town, a little dinner and dancing, but they never arrived! LOL

Click here to see more of Wild at Heart necklace

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Do you make seasonal jewelry?

I rarely make seasonal jewelry, but this year I am giving it a try.

I am pleased with the outcome so far. I wanted to stay true to my bohemian style and also create a piece that could be worn anytime, Valentine's Day or not.
Gypsy Love is a long boho chic necklace. I found this cool heart pendant from a bead supplier in Turkey. It is always so fun to receive packages from overseas and especially an exotic country like Turkey.

You can viewGypsy Love here.

The Love Me necklace has a very old fashion flare. My Mother in law sent me these glass pearls from her Mother's jewelry box.

I bought some E6000 glue and Liver of Sulfur last week and had to play with my new supplies. I loved it and was looking around the house to see if there was anything else I could glue or oxidize! I am going to have fun playing in the coming weeks.

You can see more of Love Me necklace here.

I have another necklace in the works. I hope to complete it today. I am experimenting with strips of silk fabric and wire wrapping pearls around it.

Would love to hear how others do with seasonal designs.

Why you make them or don't make them? Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Show me your studio space

Happy New Year everyone! I hope everyone is off to a good start.

I thought it would be fun to see everyone's work space. Please feel free to drop a link in comments to your blog post or flickr or photobucket...and show off your space.

Gypsy Moon Designs
Countries that wear my designs!
Make yours @
Make yours @