Welcome to my "Happy Things" blog. Here I post any new jewelry items I've made
and share some of the 'happy things' I appreciate in daily life.
I hope you find something that brings a smile and please visit my online handmade jewelry shop
where my pieces are available:


Friday, February 22, 2013

The Artisan Element Struggle

 Ach! I am amidst a struggle over the use of artisan elements ... particularly in earrings. I LOVE artisan elements. Lampwork glass, ceramics, cool/tribal polymer clay, PMC materials, metalwork ... I am in awe at the artist's patience and ability to achieve a vision from nothing. I am always inspired with an eternal list of design ideas for these pieces and it's so difficult for me to decide "which one" is the "right one" and then commit to it!

I have quite a few artisan elements on hand now and am awaiting the delivery of some very cool new things as well. I intend to use the various things I'm talking about, in earrings. I just love to have a "different" pair of earrings on - unique earrings ROCK!! But as I consider my options and await the new materials, I struggle with deciding what to do.
Most of the artisan items I choose could easily stand alone in an earring. No additional flash needed, no complex design in shape or size required to turn them into fabulous. They are fabulous just "being"! But I always feel as though I'm being lazy, or shortchanging the customer and the original bead artist, if I just use them simply in earrings. While I love them that way and would wear some that way myself, I always feel like I "could've done so much more" with them, could have offered more, they could become something even bigger. But with more and bigger comes a bigger price tag.
I find that my earrings sell very well when priced in the $15 - $25 range. But priced above $25, no matter how cool the earring or materials, no matter how many people "heart" it on Etsy, message me raving about them or tell me in person how cool they are ... they typically tend to stick around. This is the point where a conscientious jewelry designer has to start to ask: Is it my design? Is it my shop? Or is it just 'too much' for most people to pay for earrings? I look around and see many other people selling earrings in the $25+ price range successfully ... but mine tend to get "stuck". This makes me think that it's likely my designs, and not the fact that "the over $25 buyers" aren't getting access to my earrings.  
To keep artisan element earrings in my optimal selling price range, I would need to keep the design more simple. Not combine artisan elements (which I LOVE to do!), or maybe choose the style or design that I LIKE, but do not LOVE. This kills me! I have such a hard time with this!
But having invested in so many artisan elements lately, I need to make a decision here about how I'm going to move forward. In other words, I need to PRIORITIZE. This is a concept I have struggled with my entire life (don't get my dad started on this topic!!). Making the sale, or offering my true vision. Hmm.

I guess if someone out there wouldn't mind being bold and telling me, "Susan, you just don't design over $25 earrings well" or "Your photos and designs don't really LOOK like they're valued at over $25", or "I think maybe you're the only one who thinks that's fabulous", etc. ... that would REALLY help me! The only feedback I've been able to get on the issue has been positive, people telling me that they really like my more expensive designs ... but this has been from folks who tend to spend a little less on earrings and wouldn't buy them anyway! And so I continue to struggle.
I'm thinking maybe I should survey my Facebook followers and see if I can get a feel from them? I only have a few people following me (I just started actually USING FB much for new jewelry releases) and they seem to tend to be bracelet and necklace fans ... but who knows, they might be able to help me out? In the meantime, if you happen to read this and are interested in sharing your thoughts, opinions or recommendations, I would DEFINITELY WELCOME THEM! :)
Please feel free to leave a comment, message me on Etsy or email me at MyHappyThingsHi@aol.com
Thank you!

Thursday, February 14, 2013


A quick note to let you know that I'm running a HEART SALE for Valentine's Day today!
15% off designs with HEARTS in them, in my Etsy Shop.
The sale is TODAY ONLY, and you still get $1 domestic shipping!!
Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

More earrings!!

Just a quick update to let you know I've just added quite a few earrings to the shop! Here's a sampling ...

I'm such a fan of turquoise now ... especially when it's stacked up! 

Have always loved artisan enameled metal ... ahh!

Orange - one of my favorite colors - in stone with happy suns. Very earthy, very simple, very neat!

Beautiful muted shades, wound together in artisan matte lampwork glass. Ooh, awe!

Etched lampwork glass - it's like they glow! And over petite, artisan ceramic swirled charms? I'm in heaven!
I wish you well today ... and if the sun's not shining in your part of the world right now, try my new orange stone sun earrings! ;)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

"About" Me

So Etsy has this nifty little section of our shops, that allows us to share more about ourselves, our craft and our processes. When I first started designing jewelry to sell, I really thought people couldn't care less about "who I was" and weren't really interested in the person behind the designs. But I was so wrong! Had I realized, I would've named my shop differently. Simply Susan, Simply Suz ... something like that. My Happy Things still suits me very well, but I find that people tend to remember my name before remembering the shop name. 
ANYWAY since the "About Me" section became available, it's been in my "Ooh - this is great, I can't wait to do it some day" file. I think it's a wonderful idea. We all want to know something about the designer behind the design - if only how they look. We love that touch of human connection, that human piece of the puzzle to this entity we've come to know in our heads. For me, Eileen Fisher is a good example of this. I love her designs. They're effortless and casual, but have so many fine points of style and special-ness. I remember the first time I saw a photo of her - it totally completed the vision in my head of the brand and what it's about. She looked exactly like what I thought someone who would design her brand, would. It was so satisfying to know a little bit about the woman behind the brand and made me love it even more!
Although I'm totally on board with the whole "About Me" shop thing on Etsy, I've been reluctant to actually sit down and do it! I'm a dreamer and I always have this unattainable dream of "perfectly fabulous" in my head. I'll never reach it. I'll never get it down on paper, in a jewelry design or whatever medium I'm working on at that particular moment. And so this high expectation or standard I have set for myself - floating around in the sky of perfect fabulousness - has kept me from putting anything down at all. I finally decided that I needed to find a "safety zone" in it, to allow me to at least start something. And then it dawned on me - it's digital. I love digital, because it can be ever-changing! I can type something one day and then go in and change it the next! It's the whole reason I switched from paper scrapbooking to digital scrapbooking, to document my cute little guys and our days and moments together during their childhood. It's freeing to know it doesn't have to be perfect (at least yet!)!!!
And so I decided to embrace it as a "continually changing, work in progress". And with this, I was finally able to put a little something to begin with, down for those who are interested to see. Whew! So I'm sharing the photo I've included and the little blurb I put out there this afternoon. It's a start ... at least it's a little something. I haven't done any "process" photos yet, although I have some ideas I'm kind of excited about. I'll have to tackle that another day ... you know, when I have the "perfect light", "perfect angle", "perfect set up", "perfect idea".  ;)  

It seems so permanent ...

... to put my story down in print! I'm a dreamer who loves "larger than life" and the potential for there to be "fabulousness" in everything, but also appreciates organization and orderly, systematic processes. The process part of me loves the idea of having a place like this to so neatly share more about me and my craft, but the dreamer in me knows I'll never get it all down to perfection, so I hesitate to even start to try!

I love the vision, I love working to color it in. I love to stop and take mental pictures, freezing random moments trying to savor them in my mind forever. I love jewelry (always have), how it can be extra-special, how great textural pieces feel so good, how it makes you smile to know you're wearing something you enjoy. I love how with a glance, it can put a little smile in your day. I think it's amazing that some people can start from nothing but raw materials (i.e., glass, clay, etc) and create something fantastic (artisan materials like ceramics and lampwork glass)! This appreciation and awe, leads me to love working with artisan pieces whenever I find something special. It's like I'm taking the little piece of wonderful and presenting it on a stage and announcing to the world, "Look how spectacular this is!" ... all by just designing a piece of jewelry with it. I love that designing jewelry is a process, that you get to try over and over again. It's okay to commit to one design, because there will always be more ... and my mind can keep dreaming!

So for now, that's a little bit "About" me, here at My Happy Things. Oh yeah, I'm an ex-Marketing Executive who's now a stay at home mom with two cuter-than-cute little boys. I've always been a dreamer ... I don't know what I'll be tomorrow ... but I promise to come back here and share some more with you, including some pictures of how I work! Until then ... be happy!
Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today, and reading a little bit "About Me"! :)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

It's in process!

It seems sometimes that photographing and posting my designs on Etsy takes me so long! Just a quick post today to let you know I'm working on it! I literally have over 50 designs to post in the shop ... that's going to take me a while!

I got my collection of owl necklaces posted, please be sure to check them out in the shop! This is just the beginning of my "bird collection", which will be forthcoming over the next week or so.
I hope to get at least 4 or 5 things posted each day if not more, so please stay in touch! I also have some designs I'm in the middle of, so I hope to find time to get them finished and posted as well.
I'm trying to announce things on Facebook (follow me at My Happy Things!) as I'm posting, as well as listing them on Pinterest and sending Tweets as well. Please feel free to follow me at any and all of those locations if you'd like to receive an announcement when I list new items!
For now, I leave you with these few images of new things I've listed in the shop. More to come!
A bit of happiness for today, that I whole-heartedly believe ...
"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were big things."
-- Robert Brault

Thursday, January 31, 2013

So much jewelry ... so little self control!

One of the most difficult things about being a jewelry artist (I think) is letting go! You find these wonderful materials and works of art that you procure, to utilize in your own creative process and then once your vision has come to life ... there it goes!

I tend to choose things I like or that I would wear, and that makes it even harder! I'm not very good at picking out colors that are in trend but are not my personal preference (i.e., purples) and still creating something I feel is worthy of offering for sale. And so, you can appreciate how difficult it is to be sitting here with literally piles and piles of jewelry in front of me! Ach! Quick - someone save me before I hoard it all for myself!
I've always loved jewelry and just the fact that I'm ever in the position to have a pile of jewelry in front of me, is completely delightful! Let alone the fact that I love it all! So I'm certainly enjoying the stock I have on hand, ready to be photographed and listed.

And so I offer a few photos of the tip of the iceberg ... some of the bracelets and a few of the earrings that I will begin to start posting in my Etsy Shop (hopefully!) later today. I'm especially charged up about the earrings, I am really in love with so many of my current designs. Many of the materials are artisan-crafted and the colors, sizes and styles are so fun! Well, I better stop gabbing and start working. I have some other things that need to be done before I can get to the photography! I hope you find something special somewhere in your day to bring a smile.
"Happiness is a conscious choice, not an automatic response."
-- Mildred Barthel

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Gone to the birds!!

I don't know what has come over me, but I think I've gone to the birds! I'm not typically a "bird person". The trend to include birds in jewelry has been ongoing for a while now, and I've only made a few pieces with birds in them. I have to say, they've always sold right away, but it's never been a favorite thing of mine personally.
Well, these little guys have grabbed my attention!
Their whimsical designs, their vibrant colors, the wonderful textures and I think the fact that they're Artisan Artbeads - have won me over!  
I can't wait to get the pieces finished so I can list them in my Etsy Shop! Hopefully, I'll have them up this weekend. In the meantime, I had to introduce them because they're just too cute!
I also have some super-cute birdies waiting in the wings ...
but they'll have to wait to meet you another day. ;) Stay tuned!
Thanks so much for stopping by!
And now, a sprinkle of happy ...
"The really happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery when on a detour."
-- Author Unknown

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Monday, Jan 28th - last day at Tuttle Crossing Mall!

I can't believe it, but time has already been flying and we're nearing the end of January! My jewelry will only be on display at SIMPLY VAGUE in Tuttle Crossing Mall for 3 more days! It has been such a great privelage to have a nice inventory in the mall. It was a much different retail experience for me this time around. Usually my jewelry is for sale in places where "people go to shop for jewelry". This was the first time I tried offering my items in a more general, public settting. When traffic through the store was high, things went well! But in times when store customers are looking for jewelry only on occasion, I'm afraid I don't make enough to cover my costs of being there. And so, I will be packing up what remains of my inventory on Tuesday, January 29th. I'm so grateful to have had the experience and to have sold as much as I did, through the holiday season!

While I likely will photograph current inventory to post online in my Etsy Shop, I also am thinking about pursuing another retail location a little more actively. Between shows and my various retail experiences, I know that if my designs are placed where foot traffic is high and people are in the market for jewelry, I do quite well. I've never actively pursued placing my jewelry anywhere but online, but have been very, lucky to have happened into opportunities, or people have "found me" and presented an opportunity. I couldn't have been more lucky and I couldn't be more grateful!

Oceanic Adventure - artisan lampwork glass
I have recently found and acquired a wonderful variety of ceramics, which is a medium I adore! I really love to mix ceramics with lampwork glass, but frankly you can do anything with it! I'm excited to continue working with my new finds and look forward to posting them in my Etsy Shop.

A Few of My New Ceramics - in buttery, earthy, rich tones!

If you're not in the Columbus, Ohio area
but have seen something from the store inventory you like,
please message me and I'll reserve it for you
to purchase online from my Etsy Store!
You can contact me:
via my shop:  MyHappyThings.etsy.com
Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you enjoy your weekend. I'm enjoying the snowflakes softly fluttering down from the sky out my window. Of course, I say "enjoying" because I'm inside and don't need to go out in it today!  :)
Happiness is not something you postpone for the future;
it is something you design for the present.
-- Jim Rohn

Sunday, December 16, 2012

New Retail Location!

I'm excited to let you know that my jewelry is on display for the holiday season at a new retail location:

SIMPLY VAGUE at Tuttle Crossing Mall
Columbus, OH
Just off the food court, with an entrance directly from the South parking lot as well, this shop features selected Ohio artisans in the marketplace.

They contacted me with an invitation just before Thanksgiving, and I set up my display about 2 weeks ago. Things are going well and I've already been re-stocking! Please make plans to stop in and take a look around, I have about 100 items currently on display!
Since I wasn't able to make any fall shows this year, this is the only opportunity to see my jewelry in person!  Here's a sample of some of the items I just placed ...
A little lampwork glass in amazing hues ...

... in the ever-so-popular charm bracelet style. You won't believe the detail on this artist's glass, it's amazing! Bracelets in both ocean blues and happy brights.

Some earthy, gorgeous, buttery ceramics ... handwoven in natural brass into a simply scrumptious necklace, to wear with so many styles!

Lampwork glass that you'll swear are stones until you touch them ...
Irridescent opal created by the artist's flame in this amazing lampwork glass bracelet ...

Bracelets with wonderfully earthy, artisan ceramics. Warm browns and turquoise, I just dropped off two different designs - here's a peek at one ...

This stunning stone necklace is sure to go quickly!

The magic of the kiln fires beautiful shades of turquoise glazes into this awesome piece of ceramic art! Topped with a cool nugget of matte lampwork glass ... 

A wonderful blue-green artistically graces this pendant, matched to a unique piece of artisan lampwork glass ...
I have just added a group of unique, artisan ceramic and stone pendant necklaces. Simple, long and stylish ... definitely unique!

And of course I have a vast array of earrings displayed ... over 60 designs! This pair is a wonderful new turquoise stone set with artisan ceramic discs, on my handcrafted sterling silver earwires.

My items will be on display at Simply Vague in Tuttle Crossing Mall
through the month of January, so please be sure to stop by!

Thanks for stopping by the blog today ... I hope you're enjoying
the holiday season!