Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Elle B. Closing Sale!

It's been a long time since I posted, but I think you know why! After the last post, I made the decision to close up shop so I can focus all my energy on my public speaking coaching business. Things are going really well, and in addition to clients I'm coaching, I also have a lot of articles to write, speaking gigs to attend, PowerPoint presentations to make for people, and I've got ideas for two books that I'm going to start working on soon. I just can't do it all - and I don't want to!

Doors close April 30 or May 1, depending on what I felt like saying on any given site. Everything is 50% off until the end of the month, and then that's it - all done.

I've had a blast running Elle B., and heck, I can always make jewelry! This will be the first time in ten years I haven't had multiple businesses and jobs going at the same time. I look forward to having the ability to focus on one project again.

If you've been my customer, thank you again for your business! If you've been a reader, thank you for your support! If you're a fellow designer pal, thank you for your encouragement and sisterhood!

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Friday, March 02, 2007

studio friday - let's face it!

This week's topic: Let's Face It. "...whatever 'it' is. What have you been procrastinating about and dragging your heels to do? Does it concern your studio space like tidying up maybe or rearranging your desk or painting those walls in that wonderful new colour? Maybe you need to face something else like that awesome idea that has you sleepless at night because your inner critic has you chickening out planting doubts in your head? Or maybe it is a whole lot of unfinished projects, a letter that needs to be sent, that tool needs buying?"

Well, this week's topic cuts very close and I'll tell you why. What I'm facing right now is the decision to close Elle B. I'm having a hard time making this decision a reality, but I think the decision has been made - I just haven't really wanted to say it out loud.

I find that my other business is taking off and I don't have the interest in maintaining Elle B. the way I used to. Everything I've learned about business has been from running Elle B. for three years, and I've applied all of that to my public speaking coaching business. Now I find that my efforts are succeeding and that if I really want to see one business fly, I'm going to have to let the other one go, at least for now.

It's a big decision, but I only see positive things ahead and growth for my business if I pursue this. That's what I'm "facing" today. I'm looking forward to reading what others are facing.

More revelations here!


Wednesday, February 28, 2007

easy way to turn friends into reps

Great article at Jewelry Display Ideas about a creative way to package your jewelry so friends and acquaintainces can sell it for you.

Here's what the box of goodies looks like:

Now go read the article - and make some sales!


Thursday, February 22, 2007

mmmm, soup. . .

I love soup. I could eat soup every day, but Mr. ElleB is not as big a fan, so I have to choose my soup-making schedule wisely. When I read about "Soup's On!", a month of soup recipes on A Veggie Venture blog, I knew I had to contribute.

Neither of my blogs is a food blog, but I do write about more personal topics on this blog, so here ya go - a couple of my favorite soup recipes to get you through the rest of the winter! These silky, creamy and warm-spiced soups will certainly make the last month of winter more bearable.

By the way, these are my own recipes, not stolen from another cooking site with no citations. I hate that. :-)

Curried Carrot Soup With Cashew Cream
Serves 2

2-inch piece of leek, sliced
Peanut oil
1 tsp. curry powder
1 bunch of carrots, sliced
1 cup veggie broth
¾ cup cooked brown rice
Cashew cream (1/2 cup cashews, 1 1/2 cups water, 1 tsp. maple syrup, pureed in the blender until creamy)

Sautée sliced leek in peanut oil, and add curry powder.

Add carrots. Cook until softened and fragrant. Add veggie broth and simmer until soft.

Puree the carrot mixture with brown rice, and add cashew cream in the blender until proper consistency is reached.

Curried Zucchini Soup
Serves 2

1-2 Tbl. ghee or clarified butter (or butter if ghee is not available)
2-inch piece of leek, sliced thinly
1 clove garlic, lightly mashed
1 tsp. curry powder
1/8 tsp. cayenne
3 medium zucchini, chopped
1 cup vegetable broth
Plain yogurt and minced cilantro as garnish

Sauté leek and garlic together with ghee, add curry powder and cayenne and stir until fragrant. Add zucchini and cook until softened. Add broth and simmer until zucchini is very soft.

Puree soup till smooth. Swirl in yogurt and sprinkle cilantro generously on top.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

new items added to sale page

I've posted a few new vintage items to the sale page. Everything on that page is priced to move at 50% off, so get on over and check out what's new!


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

elliott's new cd!

Okay, this may seem like a random post, but I'm a huge Elliott Yamin fan, and his first album is due out March 20. I've marked my calendar, people!

You can listen to clips from a couple of songs on the album here. Ah, that voice is like buttah. There's some new stuff here, but I'm overjoyed to see that he'll be covering "A Song for You," an excerpt of which was one of his most moving performances on American Idol. Made Paula cry, as I recall. But then again, doesn't everything?

Go check out these tunes and buy Elliott's album. The guy is awesome!


Friday, February 09, 2007

win prizes at j.lynne cosmetics!

J.Lynne Cosmetics is a small indie brand of mineral makeup that puts out some really nice products. I've used some of her makeup ("her" as in Jess, the owner of J.Lynne), and I love the coverage and the smooth look of the makeup, as well as the fact that there are no weird chemicals in it and it's not tested on animals.

She's also got some tutorials on how to use mineral makeup - really helpful to someone like me who rarely wears makeup as it is!

So go to her sweepstakes page and enter to win! I did!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

fordite - auto paint as agate?

This is the coolest thing! Thanks to Rare Bird Finds, I have now heard of Fordite, a material made up of hardened and cured auto paint overspray from back in the day.

Check it out - it's like brightly colored agate. It's shaped and polished into cabochons and beads and used for making jewelry.

Monday, January 29, 2007

studio friday - look what I found!

This week's topic, suggested by Janet: "I love to discover new artists and often find them through other peoples mentions of them. So, introduce us, in words and/or pictures, to an artist, craftsperson, or writer you admire and that we might not have heard of before (i.e. not a famous one). What do you like about their work? How does it inspire your own work?"

Okay, I'm way late on this, but I didn't want to be left out, because I really want to share these artists!

Last summer, I found a lovely little painting by Chris Leib in a gallery in San Rafael, CA. It was called "Secret Plum" and I don't know why, I just fell in love with it. Here's more of his work. He paints in the style of the Old Masters, but he adds his own unique twist. Here's one from his website, called "Cracked Crab":

Here's his blog.

My husband and I have also recently bought some paintings at craft shows by Igor Koutsenko. He does woodcuts, linocuts, intaglio, paintings and drawings. His work is beautiful and mysterious.

The two we have are Wind:

and a drawing in this style (ours isn't on his site):

See more Studio Friday entries here!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

artists work for money - surprise!

I found this on Patricia's A Little Hut blog. Apparently it was originally posted on Craigslist and then removed.

Artists and designers experience this general lack of respect on a daily basis. It's shocking to me how many people believe they should get artists' and designers' work for free. This post should set some of those people straight - or at least I hope it does.

Post from CraigsList

Every day, there are more and more Craigs List posts seeking “artists” for everything from auto graphics to comic books to corporate logo designs. More people are finding themselves in need of some form of illustrative service.

But what they’re NOT doing, unfortunately, is realizing how rare someone with these particular talents can be.

To those who are “seeking artists”, let me ask you; How many people do you know, personally, with the talent and skill to perform the services you need? A dozen? Five? One? …none?

More than likely, you don’t know any. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be posting on craigslist to find them.

And this is not really a surprise.

In this country, there are almost twice as many neurosurgeons as there are professional illustrators. There are eleven times as many certified mechanics. There are SEVENTY times as many people in the IT field.

So, given that they are less rare, and therefore less in demand, would it make sense to ask your mechanic to work on your car for free? Would you look him in the eye, with a straight face, and tell him that his compensation would be the ability to have his work shown to others as you drive down the street?

Would you offer a neurosurgeon the “opportunity” to add your name to his resume as payment for removing that pesky tumor? (Maybe you could offer him “a few bucks” for “materials”. What a deal!)

Would you be able to seriously even CONSIDER offering your web hosting service the chance to have people see their work, by viewing your website, as their payment for hosting you?

If you answered “yes” to ANY of the above, you’re obviously insane. If you answered “no”, then kudos to you for living in the real world.

But then tell me… why would you think it is okay to live out the same, delusional, ridiculous fantasy when seeking someone whose abilities are even less in supply than these folks?

Graphic artists, illustrators, painters, etc., are skilled tradesmen. As such, to consider them as, or deal with them as, anything less than professionals fully deserving of your respect is both insulting and a bad reflection on you as a sane, reasonable person. In short, it makes you look like a twit.

A few things you need to know;

1. It is not a “great opportunity” for an artist to have his work seen on your car/’zine/website/bedroom wall, etc. It IS a “great opportunity” for YOU to have their work there.

2. It is not clever to seek a “student” or “beginner” in an attempt to get work for free. It’s ignorant and insulting. They may be “students”, but that does not mean they don’t deserve to be paid for their hard work. You were a “student” once, too. Would you have taken that job at McDonalds with no pay, because you were learning essential job skills for the real world? Yes, your proposition it JUST as stupid.

3. The chance to have their name on something that is going to be seen by other people, whether it’s one or one million, is NOT a valid enticement. Neither is the right to add that work to their “portfolio”. They get to do those things ANYWAY, after being paid as they should. It’s not compensation. It’s their right, and it’s a given.

4. Stop thinking that you’re giving them some great chance to work. Once they skip over your silly ad, as they should, the next ad is usually for someone who lives in the real world, and as such, will pay them. There are far more jobs needing these skills than there are people who possess these skills.

5. Students DO need “experience”. But they do NOT need to get it by giving their work away. In fact, this does not even offer them the experience they need. Anyone who will not/can not pay them is obviously the type of person or business they should be ashamed to have on their resume anyway. Do you think professional contractors list the “experience” they got while nailing down a loose step at their grandmother’s house when they were seventeen?

If you your company or gig was worth listing as desired experience, it would be able to pay for the services it received. The only experience they will get doing free work for you is a lesson learned in what kinds of scrubs they should not lower themselves to deal with.

6. (This one is FOR the artists out there, please pay attention.) Some will ask you to “submit work for consideration”. They may even be posing as some sort of “contest”. These are almost always scams. They will take the work submitted by many artists seeking to win the “contest”, or be “chosen” for the gig, and find what they like most. They will then usually have someone who works for them, or someone who works incredibly cheap because they have no originality or talent of their own, reproduce that same work, or even just make slight modifications to it, and claim it as their own. You will NOT be paid, you will NOT win the contest. The only people who win, here, are the underhanded folks who run these ads. This is speculative, or “spec”, work. It’s risky at best, and a complete scam at worst. I urge you to avoid it, completely. For more information on this subject, please visit

So to artists/designers/illustrators looking for work, do everyone a favor, ESPECIALLY yourselves, and avoid people who do not intend to pay you. Whether they are “spec” gigs, or just some guy who wants a free mural on his living room walls. They need you. You do NOT need them.

And for those who are looking for someone to do work for free… please wake up and join the real world. The only thing you’re accomplishing is to insult those with the skills you need. Get a clue.

new earrings posted today!

This pair is one of my favorites - it's called "Mojave". The little yellow beads are vintage Japanese glass, and they are so delicate. . .

Check out the site for six more new items!

valentine's day giveaway - enter now!

Head over to our Valentine's Day Giveaway page and enter to win these "Around the World" earrings.

These lovely dangles feature unusual vintage German "Saturn" beads in a snowy white with a pale blue ring.

The satiny finish gives them a soft, celestial glow. Sterling silver chain gives movement and emphasizes the graceful lines of your neck. At a dramatic 2 5/8" in length, they're just the thing to woo your Valentine!

Enter now - drawing will be held on February 14!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

stay tuned - valentine's giveaway!

My annual Valentine's giveaway is coming soon! I'm not sure which piece I'm giving away yet, but watch the blog and my site for details. . .

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

artistic inspiration - animation show

We went to see The Animation Show last night, a feature-length compilation of the best animated short films from around the world, curated by Mike Judge (Office Space, "Beavis and Butt-Head," "King of the Hill") and Academy Award nominated animator Don Hertzfeldt (Billy's Balloon, Rejected, The Meaning of Life).

Apparently, the show wasn't sold out, and they were actually giving away tickets on the street in order to fill the theater. We arrived about an hour early, because we're used to the long lines (for a general admission show) to get a good seat. When we got there, there were two or three people hovering around. As the clock ticked down, the theater gradually filled up, but there was no line, no crowd until the last minute.

Mike Judge was even present for a Q&A session after the show. The hardcore animation/Mike Judge fans were mostly in the front couple of rows, so they could participate.

We used to go to these shows 15 years ago or more (Spike and Mike - but they only do "sick and twisted now"), there was much more excitement and hype, and the shows were as good as the hype.

The shows are still good, but where's the audience? The crowd was mostly made up of young (early 20s), "alternative" artsy people. Mr. ElleB and I were among the few "older" people in the room.

I just don't get it. These animated shorts comprise some of the funniest, most beautiful and creative storytelling to be seen on the big screen. For me, the stories, images and technology are incredibly inspiring and entertaining.

The Animation Show site says, "As animation continues to be plagued as the single most misunderstood film medium, the animated short film is sadly undervalued and underexposed in American cinema, despite widespread appreciation throughout the rest of the world. With luck, popular animated shorts may see limited theatrical play, but most are relegated to the dungeons of the internet, or with luck, DVD. . . ."

"Every year the Show works diligently to put animated shorts into more theaters than any festival in American history: giving these filmmakers the wide exposure their work deserves and sharing their short masterpieces on the big screen, where they belong."

I highly recommend this show. If it comes to your town, take the opportunity to view the work of some of the finest animators working today, including Bill Plympton, probably best known for "Your Face", a short film of a face morphing into multiple shapes and contortions, and "25 Ways to Quit Smoking".

Especially if you're an artist, I can't imagine how you wouldn't be inspired by these shorts. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

new e-book for selling handmade jewelry

Hey y'all - I picked up Dr. David Weiman's e-book "The Jewelry Selling Answer Book" and it's full of great info. I'm not done with it yet, but it's worth recommending to anyone else out there who's trying to make a go at the handmade jewelry biz. Hey, we need all the help we can get - right?

Do you have questions about
how to sell your jewelry?

Dr. David Weiman has the answers!

He's the marketing director of Lapidary Journal and

Step by Step Beads. And he just wrote a new eBook:

The Jewelry Selling Answer Book:
Expert Answers to the Most Popular Questions
Jewelry Makers Have About Selling.

It's available for Instant Download. Click here to learn more!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

studio friday - travels

Thank you to Hanne for this week's excellent topic:
"Travelling is a wonderful possibility to open for new inspiration and ideas. I´ll say it´s actually one of the greatest advantages to travelling!

A lot of new impressions and probably also new materials to bring home for future artwork. Maybe new friends - who knows? Anyway, I thought it could be very interesting to know where other bloggers travel. And if you don´t travel right now because of limited econonomy or other restrictions - I think we always travell in our mind: dreaming of somewhere in the countryside - or maybe a big city loaded with museums, galleries and flea markets for new "input" for our studios and art."

Traveling is my weakness. It's one thing I can't get enough of. I don't care where or why I go - I just want to be going somewhere. When Mr. ElleB or I have a trip for business, we always try to bring along the other, and tack on an extra day or two for exploring. That's how we ended up in New York our first time - a one-day business meeting that we managed to stretch into two. That's how we ended up in Orlando, Florida earlier this year at the front end of a tropical storm.

As much as I love traveling to new places, I love even more to travel to places that have become "home" after multiple visits. London is "home." San Francisco is "home." We have our favorite spots to hang out, to eat, to drink, to walk, to shop.

New York

There were some places I wasn't that excited to go to: Hawaii was one (it's true, but you have to understand that I grew up in a beach town and really couldn't fathom how Hawaii could be much different), and Puerto Vallarta was another. Both places, especially PV, grew on me so much that I couldn't bear to leave in the end. I dream about PV all the time, especially the excellent vegetarian food we ate while we were there! I need places like Hawaii and PV to slow me down, to force me to relax. I almost can't believe how much I like relaxing when it actually happens!

Puerto Vallarta

We've had so many beautiful experiences while traveling. One of the most memorable was traveling to Alaska for a week, for a friend's wedding, in the middle of summer. Her family opened their home, literally, 24/7, to anyone who wanted to stop by, poke around the fridge, or just visit with other wedding guests. And because there was daylight almost 24 hours a day, people really did visit at all hours.

We stayed in a bed and breakfast populated entirely by wedding guests. My friend's parents had prepared a daily itinerary, and guests were welcome to join them on various sightseeing trips, one of which involved taking a train from Anchorage to Seward, and then a boat out into Resurrection Bay. We saw puffins, whales, bald eagles. Unbelievable.

Teany in NY

What does all of this have to do with inspiration and art? For me, it's all about perspective. It's all about changing my point of view and seeing things in a new way. Traveling to a new place, whether it's a foreign country or Epcot Center, invites me to look at everything with a fresh perspective. People are different, customs are different, climate is different, pace is different. I'm out of my routine, and it allows me to free up some of that space (and clear some of the cobwebs from) my brain.

Palapas from the balcony

Yes, we do visit galleries and museums when we travel, and actively pursue opportunities to view and participate in art (always Cirque du Soleil, wherever they're playing!). But even when there is no "art" in our plans, we find ourselves feeling more creative. We brainstorm, we talk about ideas, we express our dreams more.

There's something freeing about travel that I just can't get enough of. I'll be in Atlanta for the first time this summer; looking forward to a brand new travel experience!

Puerto Vallarta

See more Studio Friday entries here.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

what is the opposite of a procrastinator?

I blogged about this over on my public speaking blog, and thought I'd share the link here. Come on over and share your thoughts.

I'm truly intrigued. . .

new pieces!

Here you go, quick and dirty. Not even on the site yet!




Looking Glass



Tuesday, January 09, 2007

they're coming. . . really, they are. . .

Arggh. Yeah, I thought I might actually post new pieces before I went on vacation. Who was I kidding? We got home yesterday, and I've been sick as well, so the energy level is a little low.

However, I do HAVE new pieces - I just have to photograph them! So I will make my best effort tomorrow to post at least a sneak peak here, if not actual product pages to the site. Thanks for your patience; I think the new pieces are worth the wait. :-)

Saturday, December 30, 2006

stay tuned for new jewelry

I know it's been a while since I posted new pieces. I got wiped out at Felt Club and then the holidays just swept me up in "busy-ness." I would love to get some pieces up before I go on vacation, so I'll do my best!

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