Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays to all!!!

Twas the night before christmas and all through the house...
not a creature was stirring...not even the wireless optical mouse
the shop was open once again, although not quite yet fully stocked
if it wasn't up to full by mid-January, even I would be shocked

Ok, so I'm not a poet! The thought was there.

Our big show has finished and the shop is reopened. It has been a hectic few weeks and I'm glad to have a moment or two of quiet and catch up on some much needed blog time!

Bear with me as I continue restocking the etsy shop. A very successful holiday season has left Simply Willow with little stock! I will be a busy girl, designing and creating exciting new jewelry over the coming weeks. I am also exploring other venues for selling, advertising and marketing....but I'll leave those for another time!

I wish everyone the happiest of holidays....and the brightest of New Years!


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Etsy Shop Closing Temporarily

We will be closing our etsy shop Thurs evening (12/4) through Monday (12/8) to attend a local holiday show, Christmas at Wings. Due to the huge volume of shoppers at this show, I cannot guarantee that I will have any items purchased from etsy still in stock once we return. I will be removing all items from the shop during this time so that no one will be disappointed if an item they have purchased is no longer available. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. All existing and new items will be posted on our return!

Thank you for your patience and understanding. Simply Willow will be back to offer lots of new styles and "old" favourites for your holiday shopping on Monday 12/8!!!!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Holiday Blues

I find myself making jewelry that is a bold blue lately...My creations are usually more earthy, more grounded. I found that odd that I would be out of my comfort zone, especially right now, as the holidays approach and Simply Willow is off next weekend to the biggest holiday show we do.
Blue, as my research has indicated, is a calming colour, one of stability and peace. It is the colour of the sky and the ocean and stands for constants in our lives.
I love that I unconsciously looked for a calming influence during this busy and potentially stressful time and found it in my jewelry!
If you are feeling the holiday blues....look for the calming influence in lapis or sapphire, iolite or azurite... and chase away the blues with a little blue of your own!

Cindy's Wicked Good Beadz

Looking for Trinity Brass filigree or any of the fabulous Vintaj products? When Vintaj went to a $200 minimum per order,it made it difficult for me, as a designer/artisan with a small business (Simply Willow) to purchase wholesale from them. I did some research into finding a retail vendor with prices and service that made me want to overlook the pricing difference between wholesale and retail. I found that in Cindy’s Wicked Good Beadz

Cindy carries a great selection and is constantly adding new products. She offers products from both the Vintaj and Trinity Brass lines, in addition to other products. Monthly specials and great customer service made Cindy’s Wicked Good Beadz a “must use” supplier for me. Although her orders ship from Alaska, I receive them here in Michigan quicker than many of the bigger “Wholesale to the Public” suppliers.

While there are many companies out there now selling filigree products, I highly recommend Cindy’s for the quality, pricing and the fantastic service.

If you decide to purchase from Cindy, please tell her that willow referred you!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I have recently started advertising some of my pieces on a new ad site called Own the Hour. They allow etsians to purchase one hour blocks of ad space on their site for 50 cents each. (yes, that's 50 CENTS!) You add the link to one of your per hour slot and they do the rest!

The OwnTheHour FAQ section states that they advertise on Facebook, Google, Twitter and other sites .
I think this could be a great tool, as long as they are reaching our target markets.

I can neither confirm nor deny that I've had sales generated from this site at this point, I'm not even sure how to tell on etsy!
Until I have a way to gauge the effectiveness of the site, I will happily continue advertising Simply Willow earthy romance and Victorian inspired hour at a time.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


In a Simply Willow first...We are having a Exclusive Black Friday Sale! All orders placed on Friday, November 28th through Monday, December 1st are eligible for the Buy One Get One 50% off sale. Just put "BLACK FRIDAY" in the notes to seller as you check out! We will refund the discount via paypal.

We are also offering FREE SHIPPING anywhere in the world!

As an added bonus, the first 10 orders placed on Friday, November 28th will receive one of our gorgeous beaded keychains FREE!

Do your Black Friday Shopping from the comfort of your own home! Shop for gorgeous nature-inspired jewelry, unique victorian type pieces and aged brass earrings, necklaces, rings and bracelets!

Friday, November 7, 2008

First Show of the Holiday Season

We are off to our first holiday show of the season tomorrow, at the local community college, KVCC. This is usually a very well attended show with hundreds of artists all with unique and very creative wares! I look forward to this show every year. I see many people I know from my work or play...and have a chance to start my own holiday shopping.

This year, naturally, brings some concerns about the economy, especially here in Michigan. With the highest unemployment rate in the country and increasingly high prices for food, goods and services, many here are barely making it. Is jewelry in their budget this year? Tomorrow will tell that tale.

In the meantime, I continue to work frantically in my studio (before and after work, that is!!!) so that we have a full booth, with many wonderful new designs to choose from. This year, we are also offering dove chocolates to shoppers who want to "Guess that Stone!!" I have a variety of stone nuggets available for people to guess the name of the semi-precious stone. Naturally, everyone will walk away with chocolate, but it creates an opening, a conversation piece. If you can get them to talk, you can get them to buy. At least, that's the hope.

Hope and a whole lot of hard work is what I take into this holiday season....

How about you?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Green is the colour of my true love's eyes....

Well, ok...maybe not. But I'm certainly in love with green lately!

Green rings....earrings...necklaces and bracelets! I've outdone myself! I really love some new components I recently ordered. Bead caps that look like little blossoms leaves, victorian style ring filigrees just waiting to be formed and adorned....earthy coloured beads in wonderful shapes and sizes.

Many people think of green and think of money, a specific holiday or a favorite item. Throughout time, however, green has been the colour of healing, of balance and harmony within ourselves and in the outside world. Green is the colour of nature and the earth, of growth and renewal. It can soothe and relax the soul.

I think green appeals to me just the natural world around me is shedding its green for another year. These beautiful pieces are a reminder that it is only temporary. Spring will come, the world will come alive once again...

in all its glorious shades of green...

Friday, October 31, 2008

Tweet Tweet

Being a little slow on the uptake sometimes when it comes to new technology....and most definitely regarding social marketing type of websites, i put off learning about Twitter until YESTERDAY.

Twitter is a micro-blogging site. You post little snippets about what you're up to during the day, allowing people who are "following" you to read them.

I couldn't see the point in this until yesterday, when I posted a link to a new pair of earrings I had listed on etsy....suddenly my views went up on that item. I posted the link for one in Twitter that I had not renewed or just listed....the views went up. Wow! Very cool! In the 20 or so hours that i have actively been "twittering", I have not had any twitter generated sales, but...I think I am finally using it properly! I have posted about our current sale - free shipping on all orders, US and International through October. I have posted links to specific pieces. I have posted treasuries that I've found and unique items from other places on etsy. I am trying to promote others, as well as myself.

I have been watching the posts, seeing what some of my favourite etsians are up to. I am really enjoying the site!

Who would have known?


Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Rich Colours of Autumn

An amazing array of rich colours, bronzes, greens and golds awaits us in the coming months as autumn tentatively makes its presence known. The leaves here in Southwest Michigan are already changing, the temperatures dropping into the 50’s and 60’s.

I find my jewelry now is picking up so many of the rich colours and textures of the season. I’m very excited about this week’s new designs and look forward to displaying them at our show in Jackson, MI on 10/12/08.

After this season’s erratic weather, I am very relieved to be heading indoors for shows once again.

Friday, October 3, 2008

I am on FIRE today…with ideas to rework, reorganize and redecorate my studio. On a weekend trip to Barnes & Noble, I found a lovely new edition of Cloth.Paper.Scissors’ “Studios”. ( There are a number of stories with photos about studios of various artists around the world, as well as organizational tips from an expert. Some of them are absolutely gorgeous, others I can see myself working so very well in.

All I can say is… “WOW” My head full of ideas about making this work for me or reworking that so that it is more useful…all while in the back of my head is this little niggle, something I’m forgetting.

Photo boxes decorated in earthy designs labeled with the supplies in each, little tin and copper containers holding bits of this and that, antique cake plates with glues and paints and several tall old printers cabinets….all waiting to be filled with the various supplies around the studio… yet….

I look around my studio, which looks, I might add…as if Hurricane Willow has recently made landfall….and realize I am in serious need of a makeover. But..

Oh yes! Its holiday production time! My dream studio makeover will have to wait until time and budget will allow.

In the meantime, a huge thank you to Interweave for this dream inspiring issue of “Studios”.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Shows and Shops and Galleries OH MY!!!

It is shaping up to be yet another busy holiday season for Simply Willow! We have several large shows booked, have jewelry in a couple of shops around the country and will be participating in 2 holiday gallery shows.

The Krasl Gallery’s Holly Market in St Joseph, MI was a wonderful venue for us in 2007, our 1st year of participation. They artfully and very professionally display works from invited Michigan artists…and host a week long show with ongoing special events. It’s wonderful exposure for the artists, an opportunity to sell in this fabulous lakeshore community and a great way to promote handmade artisan products! I couldn’t be more excited! I am creating a number of special pieces for the gallery, some from our new Victorian line and a few of my signature pieces, as well.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Time in a bottle...

So where DOES all of our time go? In looking over our fall schedule, between art fairs, craft shows and sporting/band events for teenagers, I've decided that time management needs to be my #1 priority. (naturally, i was in a lack-of-caffeine-induced haze at the time)

Honestly, though...I realised that I often spend 1-3 hours per day on the computer, another 10 hours or more at the office (this honestly should be cut in half .... wonder if my boss would agree!) and some more of that precious commodity engaged in conversation, eating or driving in the car. Since I don't think that law enforcement officials would appreciate me making jewelry while driving and eating is necessary to the act of living..... I have decided that I must limit my online time if I am to meet goals for upcoming shows and orders. Do i say goodbye to facebook and weloveetsy, my streetteam and indiepublic? I think not, but I do need to find a more time effective way of managing all of those groups and applications!

Jim Croche and your wonderful bottle....where are you?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


A beautiful sunrise, the colour of Lake Michigan during a storm, a kids' kaleidescope, a cold drink on a hot day, a haunting melody...
Inspiration comes from a variety of sources and isn't limited to things that we see. Music has often inspired of my favourite pieces of all time was created a number of years ago while listening to the Magic Flute, letting the melody of this famous opera wash over me.
I posted a piece to my etsy shop this morning ( that was inspired by a butterscotch sundae. Yummy, much like the delicate necklace that it inspired! One of my latest favourites....Ancient Treasures...was inspired by a Lisa Lynne cd that I keep in my studio.

Life itself is inspiring, channeling it, being available to it is the key to opening your creativity. Live, breathe, feel, see, listen and taste your way to inspired creations...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Mornings are a beautiful thing! Quiet, dark, full of mystery and surprise. How will this day unfold?

I am a morning person...I know, you'd never have guessed. I am one of those unique oddities to most of human-kind. I leap out of bed at 4:47 each morning, eager to see what awaits. I read, create, write, mess about with my unruly hair...all before most people have even dreamt of that first cup of Mother's nectar (coffee, of course!)

Sounds fill the morning, the first cars carrying people up much earlier than I...on their way to work, the birds chirping playfully and the soft hum of my husband sleeping. This is music to create by! Several pieces of jewelry have been completed this morning, more than a couple moved on to various stages in the process.

Soon, I will be sitting in my office at work, dreaming of this morning time...

where did my cup of coffee go, anyway??

Monday, August 18, 2008

New Styles

Several new styles of jewelry have been added to our etsy shop over the last couple of days. I'm finding that much simpler styles with less beadwork are more popular right now. Earthy sparkle ...

Sunday, August 17, 2008


found out today that Vintaj Brass linked their blog entry on 8/16/08 to my entry "To all the beads I've loved before". You can check out their blog at

I'm very excited and hope that helps drive some traffic to my etsy site. I love their products and feature them in many of my creations. Of course, you can check out my jewelry at

Now that we're home from taking my eldest son to college at Morehead University, i'm hoping that I can get some jewelry made for all of our upcoming shows.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

To all the beads I've loved before....

Its amazing to think back on the path that my business and I have been down.

When I first started making jewelry, I was hooked on seed beads and dedicated all my free time to learning new bead-weaving patterns and creating intricate pieces that took 20-100 hours each to complete. Free time at that point was a luxury, as I was raising 4 little boys on my own. It could take me months to complete a piece and was worth every minute of the time. I still pick up a needle whenever I need to relax and find my center!

But one day, while at the local bead shop picking up a new hank of seed beads, semi-precious stones caught my eye…. Carnelian, Turquoise, Labradorite, Agates of all shapes and sizes. I fell head over heels!

In love with stones, I was almost embarrassed to find myself attracted to silver. In no time at all, I was obsessed with silver, everything from beads to pendants. I developed a serious crush on the various Hill Tribes products, flirted with the earthy Green Girl designs and thought I’d gone to heaven when I found Israeli silver!

But my true love found me one day in the pages of Stringing Magazine when I saw an ad for Vintaj brass. I had already been playing with antique brass for a couple of years, chain, bead caps, filigree…creating a piece here and there. But Vintaj was offering products that I’d never seen before and was immediately drawn to. They have steadily become my number one love, finding their way into design after design until they are now the focal point of the Simply Willow line.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring. But, I can honestly say that each Simply Willow piece is made with love….love of beads, love of brass, love of creating…

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wham Bam!!!

Ok, so I was going to post pictures of a new bracelet & earring set I have for sale in my etsy shop...when...WHAM, Bam!!! It sold. I love etsy! I'm not sure if i've mentioned that before. Getting my own website in shape to open for sale was a lot of hard constant work. I had to learn a lot about web design and creation, cyber marketing and other assorted things not necessary for a construction estimator (my day job) to learn! I am quite thankful that a friend put me on to etsy. No longer do I have to struggle with web design, wondering if it will all work when I'm done.

The bracelet that I was going to post in lieu of the one that sold whambam just SOLD! How great is that? We can market our jewelry, sell it to people around the country and the world and not even be dressed for the day! There is a LOT to learn about marketing and promoting of web sites, but I'm up to the challenge, these sales have bolstered my resolve! With the information presented by other eSMArts Team members and a little experimenting, I'm sure I make all of this work! I'll post the 2 pictures anyway...since I'm going to relist them. Just when I start to get discouraged....a sale comes along!

Thank you, Etsy! Thank you eSMArts Team!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

SoSo Show

I'm back from what should have been a fabulous show at the Richland Art Fair in Richland, MI! OHHHHH, the rain, the rain!!! By the time we packed up Saturday evening, we were doing it in the mud! Despite the constant rain, there was a steady flow of people, but no one was really buying. This remains one of my favourite shows! Great people, great organizers and usually...great sales!

We are supposed to be at a show this next weekend, but I am still recovering from knee surgery and we've decided to sit this one out! We're off to Grand Haven, MI for the Coast Guard Festival Art Show the first weekend in August, though! We wouldn't miss it for anything!

I've noticed that the climate of shows has changed a good deal this year. Many people are at shows for the entertainment value, rather than the art itself. They are meeting up with friends, as usual, but there is very little buying going on. I think so many people are cautious of the unknown economic situation and are hanging on to their money. Thankfully, this is not everyone...but enough that it has changed the way many of us approach shows. I have started carrying fewer of my high end signature pieces and stocking more lower priced simple pieces, a lot of pendants on chains actually. This seems to be a good strategy at this point. While sales overall were somewhat dismal, it could have been a lot worse! (at least a good cup of coffee was available!)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Exciting things going on...

I had my first sale in the etsy bead store! WOOHOOO!!!!

I'm off to a wholesale gem & bead show tomorrow. They put it on 3 times a year and it is just amazing. An entire Embassy Suites hotel is turned into a bead show, with each room being its own little shop. I walk in, sign the registration and put on my Simply Willow name tag...and the bead lust overtakes me. Stones, pearls and crystals in every colour and shape imaginable.... I leave significantly poorer, but oh so happy. I can buy enough supplies at one show to last me a year. So naturally, we go to all 3 every year LOL.

While I am shopping for new beads and stones, my head will be here at home, frantically getting ready for next weekend's art fair. This show is typically my highest one day sales show of the summer season. Fabulous people, great organisers, a beautiful venue....I'm pumped even tho I'm not even close to being ready!

Simply Willow is growing like crazy. eSMArts team has been a great help! Etsy is offering me a wonderful learning opportunity and the website is coming along.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

New Etsy Bead Store - OPENED!!!

Wow! Within the last two weeks, I've taken the plunge indeed! Opening an Etsy store for my jewelry and now today for beads, started a blog and done a lot of work on my Simply Willow website. I'm exhausted ... and ... exhilarated!

Check it out!

...and so it begins

This has been a long time coming. I've thought many times of starting this blog. Today's the day!

I've spent most of the day cleaning and reorganizing my studio. Our biggest show of the summer season is in two weeks. A clean studio seems to refresh, regenerate and allow for new ideas and creative energies to generate.

I've made several new pendants today. If i can figure out how to do it, I will post pics!