And now, before your very eyes…

I’m going to show you how I keep everything organized.

I wasn’t going to because half the time I don’t know what I’m doing – you’ll see that when I get to my feeble attempt at bookkeeping – but what I’m about to show you works very well for me and so for anyone who doesn’t want to take the six years that I did coming up with an efficient way of keeping their jewelry straight, this is for you…

First up – Storing each piece of jewelry so that it’s easy to find.

I separate my pieces into categories as such.

Necklace/Cabochons

Necklace/Silver

Bracelet/Cabochons

Bracelet/Silver

Earrings/Cabochons

Earrings/Silver

Rings/Cabochons

Rings/Silver

Use as many, or as few, categories as you want to. You might not want any and just clump all of your pieces under one umbrella, however, I tend to have a lot of pieces hanging around and find breaking them down this way works well for me.

Then I make each category a chart.

This makes me feel very efficient.

Each category uses the same chart and I just switch out the heading when I’m printing it. The Silver items don’t have stones I know, but if I use beads (I don’t usually) I can list them there.

I made this chart initially as I was interested to see how much it was costing me to make each piece and how much in fees I was paying. Especially as I’d been hearing a lot about how much Etsy was charging. I wasn’t really paying attention at that time, but started to wonder how much I was actually making on each piece I sold. Now I often see beautiful pieces on Instagram and Etsy which I doubt are making anything much at all for the artist.

I don’t have a column for Time here as I can see under the Net column if the amount I’ve made after Cost and Fees is worth my time. This really is a chart to keep everything straight.

Here you can see the chart in action.

This is just an example as I just pen mine in.

It’s pretty straightforward. Each item gets a SKU number (the SKU for the Kazakhstan Necklace therefore is NC3) and a brief description.

Under Gross I put what I’m going to charge for the piece.

Next is the silver column. I weigh the piece on a small scale I bought from RioGrande – HERE – and times it by the cost of the silver – which is $26.67 per troy ounce right now. You’ll find the market cost for silver on the RioGrande home page top left. This gets a bit tricky I suppose as the cost of silver moves and if I kept track correctly I would know which piece of silver cost what when I bought it and when I used it. Not happening. So I tend to just times the troy ounce by $25 right now and keep an eye on the market. If it dips or rises in price significantly I alter my calculations. The silver used in a piece is negligible at this point I think. In this column I also include the cost of the chain and clasp which tends to add up to $15 for the ones I typically use. So the amount of silver I used for the Kazakhstan Necklace after the chain and clasp was $7. I round these amounts up or down accordingly to keep it simple. – O.K. and also because my dad laughed at me when I showed him how I used to calculate this part down to the last cent.

Next I fill in the Stone column and then the Cost column is the Silver and Stone added together.

I don’t put the Fees in the sub total here because Peter says he just needs the actual material cost.

Yes. Peter does my taxes for me because – I don’t.

When I tell you that I can put three sets of numbers into the same calculator and get three separate results three times in a row you’ll understand why…

Don’t judge me.

I could lump the silver and stone together in one column to begin with but I like to know how much I spent on the stone as sometimes they can be expensive and later, when I come to see the price I’ve charged, I get worried that I’ve messed up my silver calculations (read the paragraph above) and reduce the piece out of embarrassment and then only realize once I’ve sold the piece that I’ve lost money because the stone cost an arm and a leg and I forgot etc., etc..

Then I put in a rough round up of the Fees charged for using PayPal, Stripe, etc..

I have a sheet which I refer to at the front of my folder which tells me how much PayPal, or Stripe, or Etsy (if I still used them) is for the amount I charged (Gross) for the piece. And so by adding the Cost and Fee column together the final Net column is what I will have made after all of that. Now I can see what I will actually get for a piece and depending on how much time it has taken me and how involved it has been to make I can decide then if that’s a good price for me and alter it accordingly if needs be.

Now all of my pieces have their SKU number and I’ve a rough idea of their cost they get their own box.

But, to make it more exciting, they also get bags.

Yep. Sometimes it’s even too exciting for me…

Now. This may look a bit anal, but I have a tendency to make a lot of jewelry so…

The bags you see below are the Mother Bags. (I’ve just watched an Alien movie so work with me here as I try to get the lingo out of my brain). Each Bag represents a category (again you might not need this) and each Mother Bag has smaller individually numbered bags in them ready to be filled with a piece of jewelry that corresponds to their SKU number on the chart.

Necklace/Cabochons are NC1, NC2 etc.. Necklace/Silver are NS1, NS2 etc.. Earrings/Cabochons are EC1, EC2 etc.. You get the idea.

You can decided what you need.

Then, as I fill them with finished pieces of jewelry, I put them into larger bags of ten. This means that I know exactly which box and then which bag a piece of jewelry is in when I need it. Of course you have to put the SKU number in the item description in your shop otherwise this method will do you absolutely no good whatsoever.

Yes. I’ve done that…

Here are the cabochon bracelets in their box ready to go.

I keep all of the charts in a folder so that I can enter a piece as soon as I’ve made it, give it its number and put it in its bag.

If I sell a piece I run a highlighter over it to know it’s gone. A different colour for each year… just for jollies.

And then behind that I have monthly records where I can enter pieces I’ve sold and also items I’ve bought. I can also keep receipts, etc here.

At this point you might be wondering – why.

And it does seem a lot as I write it here, but actually it’s not and it really helps me keep everything in order. The monthly Sales page (below) also helps me keep a record for the tax man as I have been known to spend hours and hours at the end of a year trying to find out how much I’ve sold throughout the year, and then, how much tax I’ve collected and how much ‘I think” I’ve spent on materials. Etsy and PayPal keep records for that I know, but well, I find this so much easier and it keeps my pieces organized at the same time.

So again this is pretty self explanatory and is again just an example.

This is where I write in how much the customer has been charged, by me, in total – including shipping and tax if any. The date it sold, the SKU number, how much it cost me to make (found on the first chart), the invoice number, the exact amount I’ve been charged in fees by PayPal etc. The exact amount it cost me to ship, and I also have a column where I can indicate which payment of a layaway it is if that’s relevant. (Layaways have a different baggie, but that’s for another time…)

I make two sheets for each month. The one above and this one.

On this one I just write the date, what it is I’ve bought, whether I paid via PayPal, or another way and finally the amount I paid. I really only use it for supplies but you could put equipment, etc., here also.

And at the end of each month I can calculate each column and put their totals on here.

The Supreme Commander Chart.

And at the end of the year I can add up all the columns and be able to tell the tax man exactly how much I sold and how much it cost me in materials without having to resort to drinking.

You’ll have to ask Peter how to do all of the other tax stuff because, frankly – not my thing. Sorry. As long as it’s all done I will just thank him nicely and make him an extra cup of tea.

And that’s how I organize. It sounds involved, but it really isn’t. It works well for me. If you’re like me and make a lot and are absent minded and can’t find something when it’s sold, this might work for you also. There are a lot of systems out there and I know many are much better than this one so use at your own risk…

If you happen to find that none of this is clear nor makes sense you’re probably not the only one.

I made my charts using Pages on my computer. You can use my examples if you wish or make up something that makes more sense to you.

Stay well

😊

So

I woke up one day and had nothing to say.

Actually it wasn’t one day as it had been creeping up on me for some time. Since my dad died to be honest.

And that was that for the blog.

And for my motivation.

I don’t really know if I’ve come back from being gone yet but I’m going to try hard this year to get back some purpose.

I’ve got a new house and a new grandson.

What’s not to feel motivated about.

Jamie

It’s on!

I don’t do New year’s resolutions because they make me anxious and I just feel set up for failure.

I prefer to call them good intentions.

To be honest I have a lot of good intentions throughout the year which I often fall short on, but it always feels on-going for me. Like I haven’t lost my last chance of doing well on the test.

I love the potential of the New Year. It makes me feel hopeful. A fresh start to clear the way. and in many ways I prefer it to Christmas.

Just don’t tell Santa.

It makes my head feel lighter like it does when I have my hair cut. Granted my hair is pretty short, but that extra couple of millimeters really bring me down. God knows what I’m going to do this week as my appointment isn’t until the 9th and I can already feel it creeping down toward my knees…

So here we are again and my whole life is opened up before me. What will I do with it all because at 58 I’m really beginning to feel an urge to get going on my life plan.

Depression gets in the way of life plans.

I suffer with depression.

It takes away my umph and makes the sofa a thing of beauty.

In the short time (or sometimes long time) it takes me to wake up and get up I can have gone from being excited to make something or do something to knowing that there’s no point.

It’s like I’ve done it already in my head so why bother.

I share this for those of you who suffer also so that you know you’re not alone, because sometimes it makes me feel ridiculous. As though I make it up and that, of course, I can snap myself out of it.

An interesting thing, however, happened to me a couple of months back. I was having lunch with an old friend and she mentioned that she didn’t think that she had ever been depressed. That she felt down at times and fed up, but that she didn’t think that she ever had been really depressed. It took me by surprise as I really thought that everyone was depressed. That it was just a symptom of life. So maybe ‘snapping out of it’ for me is different than for her.

Just a thought.

Anyway, that said, I do feel excited for the new year.

I do have lots of good intentions and I’m ready to see where they take me.

Most of them involve creativity, but a few important ones involve moving onwards and upwards with my attitude toward myself. Those mostly regarding the negative thoughts that don’t just creep in as I always thought, but that live constantly with me.

Damn them.

So.

I have paintings to finish.

I have jewelry to develop.

I have books to work on.

(I love writing my books. It’s my happy place which is probably why I avoid it.)

I have good food to make.

I have less wine to drink.

I have more smiling to do.

(That’s almost as good as a haircut)

I have books to read.

I have getting out of bed as soon as I wake up to do.

I have more arguing with the Texas humidity to do so that I can take a walk more often.

Might have to give that one up and get the tread mill out.

🙄

I have getting a better attitude toward the tread mill to work on.

And I have the Noble Peace Price to attain.

(This is probably just an interesting pshycological consequence of being told I’d never amount to anything, but I’m just going to go with it. Can’t hurt.)

I could go on, but don’t want to get myself too excited that I have to lie down again.

The struggle is real…

So I’ll leave you all with a little lovely something that happened last night.

A grandson from one daughter and a wedding from the other.

What’s not to like.

Now we just have to figure out what to do with the boy…

Wishing you all a good year.

It’s been a while.

A couple of biggies happened this year which seem to have blown me off course.

First my middle daughter got married in April which was lovely. My son and I arranged and decorated for it and I must say that Stephen turned out to be a great wedding planner – much to his mortification at being associated with lovely flowery things… and hearts.

Here she is with her sister.

Then.

And now.

Goes quickly doesn’t it…

We also went home to visit a couple of times. I would go back to live in England in a heartbeat but that trip wears me out and always knocks me back.

So the jewelry was put on hold for a while which I’m not sure was a good thing as it seems to have put me off track somewhat.

The final big thing was having the studio renovated which took far longer due to trips etc. than we expected.

I only wanted a new floor.

Really I did.

I had a concrete floor put in when we first built the studio and I thought it was going to be treated and have that lovely smooth finish and it would be practical and easy to clean. But no. The nice man who thought he knew better than me didn’t treat it and I didn’t complain and after a while it became pitted and stained and the worse floor ever to keep clean. I actually don’t think it was clean for ten years however much I swept vacuumed and washed it. It was a health hazard and when we hired a contractor to talk about renovating our house I asked if after that was done he would put in a new floor for me.

This is when my husband had the brilliant (I must admit) idea of renovating the studio first and then moving into it while the house was done.

I am incredibly lucky as my studio is like a small house. It has four rooms which we designed to be converted into a ‘granny’ annex if we ever moved so the store room was plumbed for a future bathroom and the kitchen area arranged so that it could semi function as such if we ever needed it to.

The kids have all up and left, except that the boy came back (still trying to impress on him the need to move back out, but I must admit I’ll miss him. You never know when a new flower arranging extravaganza will come up) and so we had looked, (I would say on and off for at least four years), for a smaller house to buy closer in town. The houses were great and we saw so many that we could have easily lived in but typically they had no gardens and definitely no room for an outside studio so eventually we decided to stay in this far too big for us house and renovate.

It took me forever to move all of my stuff out of the studio. I seriously believe I had more stuff packed in there than we have now packed from the house.

On a side note I don’t actually know what planet Peter lives on but he seriously doesn’t believe I need it all.

🙄

Now, except for most of my jewelry stuff, it’s all in the garage waiting for us to move back into the house so it can come back inside the studio to play.

The studio came out wonderfully and this week we finally moved into it and, I must say, I might not want to move out of it ever again.

Well that’s what I say now…

It’s not ideal to have your jewelry studio in your living room, but hopefully it won’t be for too long and perhaps I’ll take the opportunity to write more and to finish some of the paintings I have lying around and so not create as much dust and fumes as normal. I’m also going to be a grandmother in February so I think a baby blanket is in order. I’ve not tried Tunisian crochet before so I’m going to give it a go.

Little Monkeys Designs

Only the colour will be a mustard because that’s how my middle daughter likes to roll.

😊

And so that’s me.

I’m not completely convinced that I want to share my studio with Peter. It’s like an intrusion on my sacred ground, but as it was his idea to renovate it and it’s way nicer now than just having a new floor, I might have to give in on that score.

WARNING:

Although no flash photography was used in the making of this video, because I wasn’t sure if anyone would really be interested in what the studio looks like and so felt a little silly filming it, I kind of rushed it. Not super rushed, but enough to say whoa, hang on a minute there girl while I let the dizziness pass.

Enter at your peril…

So you can see that I’ve still a bit of unpacking and sorting to do and the jewelry area does look a bit out of place. I’ve yet to down-size on the clutter and decide what to keep in here or not as it does look as though it’s all stuffed in right now and as I’m not the tidiest person in town I think perhaps the less I have hanging around the better. The one downside is that we have to have the litter boxes in the room with us as there’s nowhere else for them. I’m not sure that I’m going to be o.k. with that. Also there’s nowhere to hang the wet towels right now 🙄 I’ll have to think about that one. But as none of these are world problems I think we’re good.

On a stranger note I happened to google my name the other day and this lovely lady popped up.

I don’t really know who she is (although she does look as though she’s in England) so I thought I’d show you the real me.

Try not to be disappointed that I’m not young, blonde, and beautiful as I’m sure you were all imagining…

Also Youtube seems to have changed things around since I last posted a video so I don’t know how to turn the sound off right now.

To be honest I don’t even know if the videos will post correctly.

🤷‍♀️

So now you’ve seen my face I’m going to have to eat you.

Ha! you thought that was just for disposing of paper evidence didn’t you…

It’s been a while.

A couple of biggies happened this year which seem to have blown me off course.

First my middle daughter got married in April which was lovely. My son and I arranged and decorated for it and I must say that Stephen turned out to be a great wedding planner – much to his mortification at being associated with lovely flowery things… and hearts.

Here she is with her sister.

Then.

And now.

Goes quickly doesn’t it…

We also went home to visit a couple of times. I would go back to live in England in a heartbeat but that trip wears me out and always knocks me back.

So the jewelry was put on hold for a while which I’m not sure was a good thing as it seems to have put me off track somewhat.

The final big thing was having the studio renovated which took far longer due to trips etc. than we expected.

I only wanted a new floor.

Really I did.

I had a concrete floor put in when we first built the studio and I thought it was going to be treated and have that lovely smooth finish and it would be practical and easy to clean. But no. The nice man who thought he knew better than me didn’t treat it and I didn’t complain and after a while it became pitted and stained and the worse floor ever to keep clean. I actually don’t think it was clean for ten years however much I swept vacuumed and washed it. It was a health hazard and when we hired a contractor to talk about renovating our house I asked if after that was done he would put in a new floor for me.

This is when my husband had the brilliant (I must admit) idea of renovating the studio first and then moving into it while the house was done.

I am incredibly lucky as my studio is like a small house. It has four rooms which we designed to be converted into a ‘granny’ annex if we ever moved so the store room was plumbed for a future bathroom and the kitchen area arranged so that it could semi function as such if we ever needed it to.

The kids have all up and left, except that the boy came back (still trying to impress on him the need to move back out, but I must admit I’ll miss him. You never know when a new flower arranging extravaganza will come up) and so we had looked, (I would say on and off for at least four years), for a smaller house to buy closer in town. The houses were great and we saw so many that we could have easily lived in but typically they had no gardens and definitely no room for an outside studio so eventually we decided to stay in this far too big for us house and renovate.

It took me forever to move all of my stuff out of the studio. I seriously believe I had more stuff packed in there than we have now packed from the house.

On a side note I don’t actually know what planet Peter lives on but he seriously doesn’t believe I need it all.

🙄

Now, except for most of my jewelry stuff, it’s all in the garage waiting for us to move back into the house so it can come back inside the studio to play.

The studio came out wonderfully and this week we finally moved into it and, I must say, I might not want to move out of it ever again.

Well that’s what I say now…

It’s not ideal to have your jewelry studio in your living room, but hopefully it won’t be for too long and perhaps I’ll take the opportunity to write more and to finish some of the paintings I have lying around and so not create as much dust and fumes as normal. I’m also going to be a grandmother in February so I think a baby blanket is in order. I’ve not tried Tunisian crochet before so I’m going to give it a go.

Only the colour will be a mustard because that’s how my middle daughter likes to roll.

😊

And so that’s me.

I’m not completely convinced that I want to share my studio with Peter. It’s like an intrusion on my sacred ground, but as it was his idea to renovate it and it’s way nicer now than just having a new floor, I might have to give in on that score.

WARNING:

Although no flash photography was used in the making of this video, because I wasn’t sure if anyone would really be interested in what the studio looks like and so felt a little silly filming it, I kind of rushed it. Not super rushed, but enough to say whoa, hang on a minute there girl while I let the dizziness pass.

Enter at your peril…

So you can see that I’ve still a bit of unpacking and sorting to do and the jewelry area does look a bit out of place. I’ve yet to down-size on the clutter and decide what to keep in here or not as it does look as though it’s all stuffed in right now and as I’m not the tidiest person in town I think perhaps the less I have hanging around the better. The one downside is that we have to have the litter boxes in the room with us as there’s nowhere else for them. I’m not sure that I’m going to be o.k. with that. Also there’s nowhere to hang the wet towels right now 🙄 I’ll have to think about that one. But as none of these are world problems I think we’re good.

On a stranger note I happened to google my name the other day and this lovely lady popped up.

I don’t really know who she is (although she does look as though she’s in England) so I thought I’d show you the real me.

Try not to be disappointed that I’m not young, blonde, and beautiful as I’m sure you were all imagining…

Also Youtube seems to have changed things around since I last posted a video so I don’t know how to turn the sound off right now.

To be honest I don’t even know if the videos will post correctly.

🤷‍♀️

I had cut the clip from the first video and then I thought, why not.

So now you’ve seen my face I’m going to have to eat you.

Ha! you thought that was just for disposing of paper evidence didn’t you…

It’s all fun and games in the studio until it’s not…

Perhaps it’s because the studio is being renovated and I’m make-doing in my dining room.

Perhaps it’s because we left for a visit home and I got all jet-lagged and everything.

Maybe I’m homesick and don’t know it.

Or perhaps it’s just one of those, ‘it goes in cycles’ things.

Whatever it is, it better hurry up and sort itself out because I don’t want to play any more…

I don’t think I’ll ever understand how one day you can’t put a foot wrong. Everything is going right for weeks and weeks and weeks and then bam! you go to bed one night and the next day you can’t make a darn thing work. 

To be fair on myself, I am betwixt and between things.

I’m in the dining room trying to work and all around me my house is in boxes waiting for its turn to be renovated. It’s unsettling as I’m always thinking I should be doing something else.

There are always people in my studio, which of course is where they should be, but I feel as though I’m just in here twiddling my thumbs. Not getting on with anything ‘important’.

And to top it all off I just finished a few pieces that I ended up melting down because they weren’t doing it for me.

And so my world has ended.

Woe and more woe.

I look at all the beautiful pieces that people are making on Instagram and think – why? 

Why me?

What has my life come to?

Will I ever be able to make anything again?

(Too dramatic?)

Well that’s what it feels like anyway.

Anyone else?

I must admit that since I stopped making my jewelry for charity I kind of feel that I’ve lost my purpose. Where’s the reason for making it?

I reached a mile stone for the amount I gave to charity and thought that perhaps it was enough. That considering the world’s horribleness doesn’t look like it’s going to be fixed any time soon that mine was a pretty futile effort.

I don’t know.

I enjoyed sharing what I’d learned with others, but now it seems I can’t even come up with anything remotely interesting so that’s also gone out of the window.

So roll on tomorrow and bring me some meaning.

Or at least a spark of interest.


Don’t let that mini crisis get you down man… A little snippet about me.

So if any of you have read the little box to the top right of this page you will have learned that I’m a recovering hypochondriac. Which is actually code for I take anxiety medicine. This makes me laugh because I had no idea that hypochondria was a form of anxiety. I just thought I was a full blown Woody Allenesque wimp – but with more hair. (Actually that’s not true as my hair is probably shorter than his. Unless he’s bald in which case I definitely have a smidgen more). The medicine helps, but I still have bouts when all kinds of illnesses come back to tease me. Some of which I’d never heard of before, and wish I’d never heard of. I mean vulva cancer. Come on!

I even had to stop reading one of my favourite murder mystery series because the detective’s sister is a doctor and so all sorts of intriguing illnesses are thrown into the mix. Of course I had them all. Even the ones that only men can get because, of course, the doctors could be wrong…

It’s known as hyper-vigilance. I can also have it when I’m in the movie theatre and someone is eating their popcorn loudly. It makes me cringe up inside and it’s all I can concentrate on. I seem to try to make myself as small as possible as if to protect myself from outside noises.

Weird right?

When I learned that it was all a form of anxiety I felt so relieved that I laughed out loud. O.K. and I felt a little stupid for not knowing about it before. Not that I wanted anxiety, but because it explained a lot of things about me. Some things that I’m still discovering. But it means I can now stop in the throes of it all and try to figure it out. Doesn’t always work but at least I know what it is now, and the medicine, however much I hate taking it, helps.

One thing that I’ve always suffered from, and I will say suffer because sometimes is debilitating, is a lack of confidence.

I’m definitely a perfectionist, which I actually like about myself. I don’t think this is necessarily a problem for me or actually the cause of my confidence issues. It can be frustrating, but I think it’s a quality that helps me strive to make things better and to always be moving forward. I’m not saying that this is always a good thing and I could definitely do with spreading the effort around a little more – like in the case of housework for instance.

Nah…

So here I am – again – in the middle of a mini self-confidence crisis, which no-one can help me with. Compliments (and believe me I’m not looking for any) in my top heavy world of insecurity actually makes it worse.

Right now I’m wanting to literally contact everyone that has ever bought anything from me for in the past ten years to ask to buy it back.

Yep. It’s that bad.

So what to do about it?

I want to answer – to give myself no chance whatsoever to mess up so that I won’t be caught in a mistake and people won’t be disappointed with my work (aka me) – but that’s an awfully small box to put myself in and I actually think it’s impossible so I figure that I’ll just have to ride it out.

Again.

Or maybe I could hit myself on the head so that I lose consciousness for a couple of days until it’s all over and I forget altogether what the hell I was worried about in the first place.

Could work.

But before I try that I thought I’d share the struggle because I know there are a lot of others out there who suffer the same way.

I see you.

We’ll be o.k.

🙂