Monday, December 29, 2008

A book that has got me thinking...


I was raised in an East Indian household - if you have any Indian friends or are Indian yourself...you know how incredibly stressful it is to grow up in a house where straight A's are demanded, perfect SAT scores are expected, Ivy League educations are the ONLY real education...it all comes from a place of love, but our parents really focused on academic greatness and equated it to success.

My husband got this book for Christmas: The Truth About You: Your Secret to Success by Marcus Buckingham...let me just say, although I feel that motivational speakers have their place, I am just not a fan. However, this lovely book came with a 20 minute DVD with an intro to the book itself and I felt inclined to watch it based on some of the things Joel (the husband) had to say about it.

The main point in the book is that we spend our whole lives trying to improve on our weaknesses - he gives this example about how when we get our quarterly review at work, the boss only spends a second on your accomplishments or your strengths, but focuses heavily on the 'what needs improvements'. Buckingham's philosophy is quit trying to improve on your weaknesses and start focusing on your strengths because, really, you've probably had the same weaknesses since a young age and you can only get so good at it, but your strengths - geez, if you gave yourself time to get stronger...think of where you could end up! But here is the kicker: he redefines what you think of as 'strengths'. It's not what you are good at - because you could be really steallar at something, but HHHHAAATTTEE it. Your strengths, according to Buckingham, is what you LOVE. What makes you feel strong. What makes your heart sing. What lights that fire in you. You may not be a rock star at it...but it does that something to you that makes you come back for more.

Think about that. It's freaking brilliant and erases everything I have ever thought of as my strengths.

Now, can I as a parent - as a person who was raised to be academically successful and never once told that I should "Do what I Love" - raise my children to follow their hearts? If my son is getting D's in English but can do Calculus in his sleep...should I freak out? Because I'm going to - there is no way I could tell him it's cool with me that he's nearly failing English, because I know how much he loves math...it all evens out??!!! Ummmmm, no.

I very much would love it if I could teach my kids to do what they love and maximize on it. But I'm with my parents in the thinking that it's just not all that practical. But here I am: I always did pretty darn well in school, went to college did the whole Honors thing there...and I am succeeding at having my own little business CREATING things that I LOVE. My children watch me on a daily basis working on my creations, asking me questions about what I do and why... and then I hear my son say, "I want to draw pictures for books when I grow up" and I feel my heart quiver in fear. Isn't that sad??!! It's awful. And I have to change it right now because I do not want to raise my children to believe that their love for the creative arts are just frivolities or stress relievers the way I was taught to believe.

I am sure there is a happy medium somewhere that I need to find. Perhaps I can rely on my husband who has always believed to do what you love and has offered that strength to me when I needed it, to create and reiterate that message to our children. Or maybe, some day soon, I will be able to preach what I practice.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Pretty Peacock FEATURED IN KANCHI MAGAZINE


Thank you to Kanchi Magazine and Designer Boutique for featuring me in the December 2008 issue! Click Here

You can view and subscribe to this incredible magazine (FOR FREE!!) that features up and coming designers worldwide, just click here:
www.KanchiMagazine.com

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Need to Give some Subtle Hints? WISHLIST TIME!

Although Etsy doesn't provide a wish list option - though they should! - Trunkt does!

All you would have to do is log yourself into http://www.trunkt.org/theprettypeacock and you'll see a portfolio of my pieces (not all are there so if there is something that you don't see, let me know and I'll add it for you!). You will see a pretty heart shape "wish list" symbol at the bottom of each product's description and voila! You have a wish list - you can even email and E-card to lay some teeny hints!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Gearing up for the Holidays...make it Personal!


Every year seems to fly by ever more quickly - a sure sign of growing older!

The holidays are just about upon us...which means getting our acts together and purchasing gifts for our loved ones, friends, teachers...the list goes on!

I love gifts that have a very personal touch to them - which is why I started creating personalized jewelry in the first place. It is such a touching sentiment to receive an original piece of jewelry that was hand picked by a loved one.

I have been busily creating new designs so that everyone on your list can get a personalized piece of heirloom-quality jewelry.

For Dad and Grand-dad, I have a sterling silver dog tag-style pendant/key chain. Something that is really sentimental, but masculine at the same time!

Have a finicky brother who is addicted to Rock Band? How about these Gorgeous Guitar Pics?

For the Grandmother with lots of Grand-babies, this birthstone necklace is sure to please!

For sister-in-laws, mommy friends (how about yourself!), these Family Tier pendants are beautiful and include hubbies, too!

For darling little ones (new and established!) I have a beautiful infant cuff and an assortment of pendants that will bring out her true princess-self!

This is just a sampling of what I have going on for the holidays! Tell me what you think - or something that you would like to see!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Warmth of Gold...


I have never been much of a gold-wearer - which is pretty shocking considering that gold is the staple metal of all Indian jewelry! I have always just been drawn to silver, much to the dismay of my mother, but as I grow older, I am falling more in love with gold.

I have finally started to carry gold jewelry in my Etsy shop. I have had so many requests and begrudged buyers who claim that no one carries personalized gold jewelry. So, I worked on finding quality gold-fill sheet, which is far more durable than gold-plate and is actually heat bonded onto to a core metal. Gold fill is higher in quality than gold plate and is far more affordable than solid gold. I started cutting my own disks and purchasing other gold fill blanks and charms and of course pretty chains to match. And then I went to work designing gold, personalized pieces.

Much to my shock, I instantly was drawn to the warmth of the color, the depth of the metal and the way it looked so stunning with Swarovski crystals - or even just with my hand stamped text oxidized onto it. I started making some jewelry for myself and now I am hooked. I mix it up with my silver pieces and it all looks great together.

There is a reason why gold has been the most coveted precious metal for centuries: it looks good on everyone, it is warm like soft candlelight, and it symbolizes luxury.

Friday, October 10, 2008

WIN a PERSONALIZED PENDANT!!!


Happy Friday Everyone!!!

The Maternal Spark blog is one of my faves - it celebrates creative mothers around the globe and supports female-run businesses.

I am featured today, October 10th - and Heather of Maternal Spark has been kind enough to host a giveaway so you can win my : I Love Being Me personalized pendant!!!

Click through
to find out how you can win it!!! (Contest runs through October 17, 2008)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Magic of Personalized Jewelry


I think that because I design and create jewelry, people expect me to be adorned with it from head to toe. However, aside from the occasional Indian gathering where I am dressed in colorful and fully blinged garb where covering yourself with sparkling jewels is a given, I am very modest when it comes to the day-to-day.

The jewelry that I create is not meant to match your outfit for the day. It is meant to be more of extension of yourself. Putting personalization on jewelry - whether it is your name or names of your loved ones, a date, a personal quip or quote - or even just a single word that is to be used as a reminder of how to live - makes if far, far beyond just a basic bauble.

Personalized jewelry allows you to wear something that is a tangible memory, or invokes an emotion within you. I love creating these types of pieces because I know they are treasured by the wearer.

The pieces of jewelry that I treasure for myself - aside from my wedding ring - is a simple disk that says "breathe" (because I need to remind myself to do that about 1000 times a day!), one of my "Love you to the Moon" pendants with my children's names, a simple bangle with a bit of a poem that my husband wrote for me when we were dating.

Words are magical things that can conjure up images from our past, jolt our attention to the present and help us dream about the future. I feel so blessed that I am able to immortalize words onto precious metals that can be worn for the world to see and are able to be passed down for generations to come.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A Little Something Special for a Sister...


When you are little, being someone's older or younger sister is such an honor: You look up to your oldest sibling and emulate him or her to the best of your ability and as you grow through your life, you may not emulate as much, but you continue to respect and cherish the relationship (speaking from the Little Sister perspective here, as that is what I am!!).

As the oldest sibling, perhaps welcoming a new little bundle into the family, you hold the place as role model and protector, leader and confidant. You're there to show the ropes and although it might prove cumbersome at times, I don't think any older sibling I know would trade it.

I created "Big Sister/Little Sister pendants" that can be personalized with their place of honor, as well as their name and Swarovski birthstone to show off their sisterhood.

These are lovely, sterling silver disk pendants that are hand stamped and carefully finished to become a treasure they may keep in that ballerina jewelry box for the rest of their lives.

If your little one is about to become a big sister for the first time - acknowledge it and make her feel as special as she is!

And don't leave out the younger princess - she holds a place of honor, too!

(Each pendant is $36 complete with 16" sterling silver chain. Please visit: http://theprettypeacock.etsy.com to purchase. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me directly: ana@theprettypeacock.com)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Craft Fair/Art Show Banners Done Right


Since I opened my shop on Etsy (April '08), I have changed my way of thinking in several ways. I have now joined the ranks of those who find disdain in the mass produced. I am now willing to shell out extra bucks for handmade, one of a kind, high quality, small batch, sent-with-love purchases rather than finding something that a million others could have bought and then been disappointed at the shotty work of it.

I'm digressing, so let me get back to why I wanted to write this post in the first place: Craft Shows/Art Festival Banners. I am attending my very first all handmade extravaganza in a public scene on October 5th (Chop Suey, in Seattle!!), which is called I Heart Rummage. I needed a banner - but not a cheesy, blah-di-blah banner I have seen at fairs/festivals. I wanted something that reflected my shop and me a bit better.

Etsian to the rescue: soccerdad1. I put out an alchemy request and got some excellent candidates. Soccerdad1 provides an email proof so that all parties know what they are getting in a finished product. He had my gorgeous banner completed and shipped to me - in my hands - in less than a week!

I was able to have him create a banner in FULL COLOR, with my lovely peacock, my font and even my textured background (picture does not do it any kind of justice).

He will even put grommets wherever you need them. High quality materials and expert exectution...love it!

I know we have a ton of choices in Etsy-land and some of us have tried things from sellers that didn't quite meet our expectations...so I had to make sure I sang the praises of this great seller!

If you have a need for business cards, or a banner - check out his shop - you won't be sorry!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Awareness Jewelry



I love the fact that some brilliant person came up with the idea of awareness ribbons. They are so subtle, but incredibly recognizable - I love that.

I had a customer ask me to create a custom piece for her for Food Allergy Awareness. This affliction has become more and more of an issue - especially among children.

I wanted to share this design with you and let those who have a loved one with a food allergy, that there is a way you can show your support with elegant style!

This piece is created using a stylized, sterling silver heart pendant that is hand stamped with your choice of words (this particular customer chose this beautiful phrase: Angels protect my son - that can be both a statement and a request!). You can choose to put your child's name - or anything up to roughly 18 characters.

A sterling silver, crystal encrusted teal ribbon is added to the piece and it hangs from a gorgeous 16" or 18" sterling, twisted serpentine chain. The price of the piece is $36 plus shipping.

Please visit my Etsy shop: http://theprettypeacock.etsy.com or email me directly : ana@theprettypeacock.com to create a treasure for yourself.

I can also create awareness ribbon jewelry in the following ribbon colors (all of these are crystal encrusted ribbons):

~Autism (mulit-colored)
~ Breast Cancer (pink)
~ Lung Cancer (clear)
~ Cancer Awareness (lavender)
~ Pregnancy and Infant Loss (blue and pink)
~ AIDS, MADD and Heart Disease (red)
~ Kidney and Leukemia (green - this ribbon has one single crystal)
~ Pancreatic, Thyroid, Alzheimers, Fibromyalgia, Cystic Fibrosis, Cancer Survivor (purple - this has one single crystal)
~ Support our Troops (yellow)


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Looking for a Craft Fair/Festival?


Here's a great list of different fair and festival sites:

www.castleberryfairs.com (info for New England region)

www.festivalnet.com (US and Canada)

www.sugarloafcrafts.com (handmade only)

www.jolaf.com - searchable database for juried shows

Eventlister.com

www.artandcraftshows.net

www.craftmasternews.com (AZ, CA, CO, ID, KS, MT, ND, NE, NM, NV, OK, OR, SD, TX, UT, WA, WY)

www.smartfrogs.com
(CT, MA, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT, DE, MD, VA - subscriber only access)

www.craftshowplace.com/craftfairs

www.craftsfaironline.com

www.artsandcrafts.about.com

www.fairandfesitvals.com

Monday, September 8, 2008

~ FEATURE ~ Danielle of Onkie Bazoobie


I love Etsy and all the incredible talent on it. I'm going to be featuring an artist that has either just started out or is well established - either way, they are fabulous, fresh, and FEATURED here!!! Show them some love!

Today I'm featuring Danielle from Onkie Bazoobie - a shop specializing in boutique style picture frames. I know all of us have had that perfect photo and no frame seems to do it justice, well, Onkie Bazoobie solves that problem! These frames are crafted seamlessly and with such unique style! You are sure to find the perfect one for the perfect pic!!

~ What’s your craft, how long have you been doing it and how did it start?
I make one of a kind, boutique style picture frames. I recently started listing within the last month. I started making frames because I had been searching for something to do at home that combines my need to be there for my two girls when they walk in the door from school and feeds my creative side at the same time....oh, and I love taking pictures and displaying them in unique frames so it was a perfect match.

~What’s new for the upcoming holiday season in your shop?

Since I specialize in picture frames and there will be lots of holiday memories to display, you will see lots of holiday frames including ones for Halloween, Christmas and Hanukkah.

~What’s your favorite item in your shop and why?

Probably my favorite item in my shop is my “Remember” frame that is embellished with over 160 crystals that I hand applied. It was made in honor of breast cancer awareness month for anyone who wants to commemorate a loved one who bravely and courageously lost their battle with this horrible disease. All of the proceeds on this frame and two others I made will go to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation.

~ Do you think formal schooling in your craft helps or hinders?

I believe that anything that makes you better at your craft, whether it is proper schooling or just determination and trial and error, helps. Whatever you choose to do you have to love it so how you get to that point is really unimportant.

~ How do you keep your creative energy?
I personally get inspired by looking in magazines or on the internet or just being perceptive to what I see around me as I go about my day. I am surrounded by beautiful papers all day just sitting there waiting for me to make them into my frames so that is a great creative drive right there.

~ What are two of your favorite Etsy shops and why?

The Dreamy Giraffe because she has the cutest prints of paintings that she has done and even cuter little stories to go along with them that most people probably don’t read, but I'm a reader and I get a kick out of them. I also like Misha Ashton’s Shop because I LOVE photography and she has some of the most beautiful photographs I have seen so far.
~What are three tips you would give to new Etsians?
Well I don’t feel like I have any business giving people advice with the short amount of time I have been on Etsy, but the advice that I have been given that has really stuck with me is this: 1. List daily or at least a few times a week to keep your name on the top of the searches. 2. Get your name out there however you can. 3. Love what you do or none of this will be worth it!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Mommy-ing and Etsy-ing:

Many of us here on Etsy are mothers. Some of us are stay-at-home moms, some of us work outside the home, but I believe all of us have the dilemma of finding a balance to our “real life” and our “Etsy life”. I, personally, am a stay-at-home mother of two young children (5 and 2) and I started an Etsy shop with the idea that I could easily work on my glorified hobby and be the same dynamic, take-my-kids-everywhere-have-activities-planned-every-day mother I have always been to my children. That would work out super IF I had just a glorified hobby. In reality, what I have is a full-fledged, small business and I make no apologies for wanting it to be successful.

But to what end?

I have seen many a forum thread discussing this topic and I have a few suggestions to work toward a more harmonious Mommy Life and Etsy Life:

Get Organized. This is beyond the basic to-do list.

Get Real. We, unfortunately, are not superheroes. It’s a reality we have to face.

Get Help. A support network is crucial to our success.

Get Happy. Remember why you are a mother and a shop owner.

Getting Organized:

Okay, I know all of us have sat down and crafted lists thinking that if it’s on paper, we’ll get to it. The only thing I know it does for me is overwhelm. BUT, lists are crucial. They just need to be broken up. I have two notebooks – one is my “work” life and one is my “home” life. Each evening, I plan out what goals I have for the following day – not the week or the month, just the day. I limit it to eight things. ONLY eight. (more on that in the “Getting Real” paragraph).

Use a timer. Make a schedule for yourself so you know that in fifteen minutes, you’re done answering emails/convos. You have twenty minutes to fold laundry – if it doesn’t get done, so be it. You have thirty minutes to get your packages ready for shipment, and so on and so forth. You will be amazed at how your day moves along and how you have accomplished more because you’re managing your time better. I take breaks between each “event” for fifteen, twenty minutes and have some tickle time with the kids or read them a book. It’s focused one-on-one time that is vital to them, especially, but it renews you, as well.

Clean up. Make sure your work area is always in order. Your shipping supplies are always neat, tidy and available. Your inventory is easily seen so you know when to reorder. Have your “to do” orders set by date so you know what to work on when.

Share your space. Set up an area in your work space with a small table, or just one of those lapdesks, with a little Rubbermaid container of washable crayons, envelopes, stickers, tape – anything that will keep your mini crafter(s) busy while you get your work done. They will be thrilled to be “working” with you.

Getting Real:

I’m sure we all feel that we could do it all (if everything worked out just right) and that we deserve to do it all (whatever that means), but, unfortunately, we are only one person, so we need to be realistic about our goals and expectations of ourselves.

When you sit down each evening and write out your goals for the next day – for both work and home – limit it to eight specific things. Say, for instance, on Monday, your goals for work are: 1- Research a new promotion lead (set timer for 30 minutes). 2 – Ccomplete two orders (set timer for one hour). 3 – Make line sheet for local wholesale opportunities (forty-five minutes)…and so on and so forth. You’ll have your “regular” items such as spending time working on shipments and convos – but you still need to have it on your list of the Eight goals The same for your “home” goals – if the timer goes off and you’re not done straightening up the bedroom – let it go. This keeps you focused and realistic and not self-defeated when your list isn’t necessarily complete. And yes, you will be interrupted by many things in between those ‘timer’ times – but that’s the magical thing about timers – they can be stopped and started right back up again when you are ready – but when the time is done, it is done. Lovely.

Getting Help:

I have been blown away by forum threads regarding unsupportive spouses. That is another article in the making because, honestly, you cannot succeed without support and support from your spouse is so crucial.

Make a deal with a neighbor or someone who lives close to trade off play dates. Look into getting a mother’s helper for the summer (girls around the age of 10-13 that come to your house while you are at home and entertain your children –they are far cheaper than babysitters or nannies because you are still home to manage the “big stuff” – like a puking child!).

If you can swing it, get a housecleaner to come just once a month for a thorough scrub down so all you have to do for the rest of the month is maintain.

Take up any and all offers of childcare or help of any sort without feeling guilty.

Getting Happy:

We had children because we knew it would fill our lives in a way nothing else can and, truly, they are glorious creatures, aren’t they? We opened a shop because we love the creative process and know how it feeds our souls. Remind yourself of that – constantly – and find your harmony.

(All photos in this post are courtesy of the Fabulous Artistic Moms team on Etsy)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

~ FEATURE ~ Vanessa of Photos By Van














I love Etsy and all the incredible talent on it. I'm going to be featuring an artist that has either just started out or is well established - either way, they are fabulous, fresh, and FEATURED here!!! Show them some love!


Considering how digital our lives are, I looooovvvee the whole process of sending (and receiving!) a handwritten note or card - it makes me feel connected and intimately a part of someone's day when I know that they are receiving a message that I wrote with my hands, in my handwriting and not some pretty font I picked out on Word. Vanessa of Photos by Van combines her beautiful photography and the personal nature of cards together to create uniquely beautiful paper goods.



What’s your craft, how long have you been doing it and how did it start?
My craft is photography. I've always loved taking pictures but I would say I really starting taken photos to sell about a year ago.


What’s new for the upcoming holiday season in your shop?
I am trying to vary my shop with cards, mini cards and eventually prints. I am looking forward to the fall because I would love to capture the autumn colors in nature.


What’s your favorite item in your shop and why?

My favorite item is because I've taken a dandelion, which many consider a weed, and made it into something beautiful.


Do you think formal schooling in your craft helps or hinders?
I don't know, I've never gone to school for photography, I would think that you naturally have to have an "eye" for the craft before going to school.


How do you keep your creative energy?
I try thinking outside of the box. When I get bored with an idea or a subject I know it is time to try something new!


What are two of your favorite Etsy shops and why?
I have so many shops that are favorites but I especially love the jewelry ones that work with metals such as silver. It amazes me that someone can take a piece of metal and turn it into something wearable and beautiful.

What are three tips you would give to new Etsians?
Stay positive, have fun and learn to think "outside of the box".

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

~ FEATURE~ Lauren from MayBeads

I love Etsy and all the incredible talent on it. Every week - maybe twice, I'm going to be featuring an artist that has either just started out or is well established - either way, they are fabulous, fresh, and FEATURED here!!! Show them some love!










I feel in love with this shop the moment I saw it! It has to be one of the most imaginative, colorful, creative, cutest shops on Etsy! I love every piece !!

Come meet Lauren of Maybeads on Etsy

What’s your craft, how long have you been doing it and how did it start?
I am a lampwork bead artist. I make glass beads by melting soft glass in a torch. I have been doing this since February, 2008, when I took a lampworking class. I had signed up for a jewelry class at a local craft shop and I really enjoyed it, but I wasn't crazy about the bead choices. I started looking online at beads and I soon discovered lampworking. I was mesmerized! I found a place to take a class and I have been lampworking ever since. It was my original intention to make bead sets to use in jewelry design, but somewhere along the way I found penguin tutorial and I never looked back! I make all sorts of "critter" beads, with a heavy emphasis on turtles and kitty cats. I also love making penguins, owls, wiener dogs and anything else that pops into my imagination. I do make some "regular" beads, but I always go back to the animals.












What’s new for the upcoming holiday season in your shop?

For the upcoming holiday season I plan to feature more gift-type items. I make fun stretchy necklace for girls with charms such as cupcakes, flowers and butterflies on them, and I'm busy stocking those now. Little girls really love these!

What’s your favorite item in your shop and why?
I'd have to say my favorite item is my stretchy cord necklaces. The picture shows a good variety of the beads I make.








Do you think formal schooling in your craft helps or hinders?

I think formal schooling in my craft helped me. It gave me a starting point, but from there I am self-taught, as many lampworkers are. It just takes a lot of time and practice, and when you love doing it, it becomes easier and vice versa.

How do you keep your creative energy?
I just love making beads, so it's easy to keep my creative energy going. My kids make suggestions for beads, and I also am inspired by other artists. I love challenging myself by trying new things.

What are two of your favorite Etsy shops and why?
TeriPersing -- I love her fat cat lampwork beads!
Raspberrykidz -- Very fun and cute kid art (plus, it's my sister's shop!).

What are three tips you would give to new Etsians?
1. Take good pictures! 2. Promote yourself in the forums, on chat and by listing often. 3. Be patient -- success takes a while.