Member Feature: TopShelfJewellery

Contributor post by Cindy Humphrey of Cynhumphrey

Please join us in welcoming Anne Houghton of Top Shelf Jewellery & Accessories, our featured member!

Tell us about yourself.

I have always loved to create!! Even from the earliest age I had a pencil in my hand drawing or coloring.

My great-Aunt taught me crochet when I was very small and I have loved it ever since.

Painting was my passion for many years, I have always needed to do something with my hands.

Around 15 years ago, I had my first encounter with a Bead Market. All those shiny glass beads, well that was it. I was hooked! I went home armed with a few basic tools, findings and some beads, and taught myself how to make jewellery and never looked back!

When did you open your business and what made you decide to do so?

Top Shelf Jewellery & Accessories was born not long after.

For many years I made and sold beaded jewellery at markets then opened my Etsy store in 2012.

I started to work with jewellery wire and found you could do so many things with it, from wire wrapping to crochet, which I love.

Tell us a bit about your products.

All my creations are one of a kind , jewellery crochet with wire and beads or even crochet with cotton and beads, beaded jewellery and wire wrapped.

The process is unique and no two pieces are ever the same, as such they make stunning statement pieces and one of a kind wearable art.

What inspires your work?

The very uniqueness of the process, depending on the beads, wire used and inspiration is very exciting! Each creation takes on its own form as it evolves.

What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?

I would love to see more exposure for Top Shelf Jewellry & Accessories, get my brand out into the world.

More time to create, continue to develop as an Artist and never stop learning.

What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?

Each creation is original, unique and one of a kind.

Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?

As many of us I started out on the kitchen table, this then took over half the house! Now I am lucky enough to have a dedicated room which is my studio.

What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?

It will not be easy, the isolation of working on your own can be an issue. You need to network and find like minded people.
Not everyone will get what do or even like it, that’s OK, each to their own. You need to learn rejection is not personal.

Believe in what you do and do it, there will be hits and misses. Mistakes are an opportunity to learn. Some even have become my best work !

If you love what you do it will show.

Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?

Persistence,  like most things you get out of it what you give, hard work and networking.

Etsy is a huge platform, you need to be noticed, exposure and embrace it.

When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?

Spending time with my family, going to the beach, BBQ’s with friends and bead shopping!

What is your favorite quote?

“What if I Fall. Oh But My Darling. What if you Fly?” by Erin Hanson

Where can people find out more about your business?

My Etsy Store:  topshelfjewellery
Facebook:  Topshelfjewellery

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Thank you for the opportunity to feature my little store.

________

If you would like to be featured, please go to the CIJ Etsy Forum and fill out the questionnaire. Please note you must be a member of the CIJ Etsy team to be featured.

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Christmas Memories Last Forever: Cutting Of The Tree – #CIJParty 2018

Guest Contributor post by Rebecca of OrnamentsByRebecca

One of my favorite Christmas memories was going to the Christmas tree farm to cut our tree. It was a Saturday afternoon event. If we were really lucky, there might even be snow falling. After lunch we would bundle up in our warmest clothes and head up the highway to Thompson, Illinois to the “Christmas tree farm”. It couldn’t have been more than 10 or 15 miles but it seemed like a eternity before we arrived.

We paid the $2 per car at the gate. Yup that’s right! $2 got you any tree on the farm! My dad parked the car and I was out before they knew it. I looked out at the acres of uncut trees, holes here and there where someone had already cut down their “perfect” tree. I was in what seemed like Christmas wonderland. Rows and rows of Christmas trees of every size and shape. How could you possible pick just one! Christmas music drifted into the air from speakers mounted on the side of the old barn as we stopped to pick up our ax. And we were off. I ran ahead going from tree to tree trying to spot “it”. Then the bargaining began. Dad saying it was too tall, me saying it was too short, mom saying it wasn’t full enough or had a bare spot. This was serious business getting everyone to agree. Finally, there it was! Our perfect tree! Dad chopped it down and the three of us all pulled together to get it back to the car. A couple of guys were there to help tie it down for the trip home.

Greens for Decorating – Now the next big part of the day came – getting greens for wreaths and decorating. As the farm hands trimmed branches from trees for people, they would toss them onto an old wagon near the barn. You could take as many as you liked, they were included in the $2 price. Dad joined the men near a fire built to take the chill off as mom and I began searching through the wagon full of greens. I still remember you wanted long limber branches for the wreaths and smaller ones for centerpieces. Mom also preferred the long pine needles to the short ones. We carried several arms full back to the car putting them gently in the trunk, and then went to warm up by the fire and have a cup of hot cocoa before we headed home. I can remember the ride home so clearly. Christmas music on the AM car radio, the cold nip on my nose as we waited for the heater to start warming the car. The smell, ahhhh that sweet smell of pine that filled the car as I closed my eyes and tried to picture what the tree would look like once we had finished decorating.

Picking a fresh-cut Christmas tree wasn’t about crossing an item off your holiday to-do list. It was about breathing in the scents, sipping hot cocoa in an old barn, listening to the fire crackle, hearing horses shake sleigh bells as they pulled wagons with big trees towards the buyers car and spending time with family. It is one of those Christmas memories that will last forever.

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Christmas Countdown – #CIJParty 2018

Guest Contributor post by Julie Herbert of Everyone Loves Gifts

My Christmas inspiration this year was organization. We all know Christmas is coming yet it creeps up very quickly and before you know it you are panicking. Every year you run around like a headless chicken and wish you could be more organized. Does this sound like you? It sounds like me as well. It is a good idea to get ready in advance. This way you will feel less stressed about the big day, you will enjoy it more and feel more organized than ever before.

What I suggest are the things that you can prepare before Christmas so you’re ready in time. These can be done anytime in December. So I have come up with a countdown to Christmas so you can feel and be more organized before the big day.

1. Start of the Countdown – First things first, do you have a Christmas chocolate calendar? This needs to be out ready and waiting. Not only do you and your family get a little treat everyday, you can also see the countdown as you eat it.

2. Decorations – We all know how long decorations take to do. You’ve got to get all the decorations down from the loft or garage, sort it all out. Make sure no bulbs have died since last year, nothing else is broke etc. Also doing your decorations ahead of time will not only make you feel more organized, but will also get you in the Christmas mood. Having lights outside? Why not do this now too?

3. Getting in the Christmas Mood – I find the easiest way to get into the Christmas mood is by fragrances, you can find loads of festive fragrances out there for your home around this time. You can use candles, aroma diffuses, incense and more.

Music, Movies or both? Do you prefer Christmas music instead? Everyone likes a sing along to Christmas music and watch all the great Christmas movies.

4. Letter to Santa/Christmas cards – I don’t know about you but Christmas cards are always the last on my list, yet the one that I stress about as I’ve left it too late. Now this year I am going to do my cards ahead of time so it is one little niggle you can forget about.

Do you have children that need to write a letter to Santa? Get this ready now too, also get the little ones to write a separate wish list so again you know ahead of time.

5. Shopping – If you already know what you are buying friends and family, buy them early before the mad rush takes hold. This is also a good time to purchase the decorations or bulbs that may have broken from last year. If you want, this may also be a good idea to purchase small food items that you may need for Christmas dinner.

Going to purchase some gifts online? Do it early so you get it in time. At this time all postal workers are maxed out, so doing your online shopping early means you will get what you want before it is out of stock and you will receive it ahead of time.

PS. Don’t forget those batteries on your shopping list. Everyone needs batteries at Christmas. Get them before everyone else does.

6. Gift wrapping  – Yes, it is a job that is a love and hate type but it needs doing. Wrapping ahead of time will take the stress away instead of doing it Christmas Eve, which is a time you should be relaxing in front of the TV with a nice beverage.

7. Visiting Santa  – Got little ones? Why not book to see Santa now before all the places are full?

8. Having friends and family over to stay? If you’re like me I like to have a clean(er) house if guests are staying over. I start with the guest room. Wash the bedding, hoovering and polishing will make all the difference. After the guests room are complete I then start deep cleaning the rest of the house (you don’t have to do this). This is also a good time to clean away old toys or clothes to give to charity.

9. Setting the Table – I know friends who set their table at the beginning of Christmas and no one is allowed to sit there until Christmas Day. You don’t have to do this, you can set the table Christmas Eve like I do or you can do this before, which ever is your preference.

10. Need any last minute gifts? Off you go.

11. Week beginning 17th of December – This is the perfect week to look at everything and make sure you are truly organized. Do you have everything prepared? Anything else you have missed?

12. Christmas Eve – Now you can start to relax and enjoy Christmas, spend time with friends and family. Bake or cook the items that you can now instead of doing it all on the big day.

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Fun Facts About Christmas – #CIJParty 2018

Contributor post by Cindy of Cynhumphrey

Christmas is an ancient celebration celebrated in many different ways. We all love Christmas but do we really know about why Christmas is the way it is? Some of the seasonal favorites of many have surprising origins! Continue reading to see some fun facts and find out how many surprise you!

FUN FACT: Santa wore a variety of different colored suits through the years but legend has it that the popular red coat came from a Coca Cola ad in the 1930s.

FUN FACT: Rudolph was almost named Reginald.

The famous reindeer was a marketing gimmick for Montgomery Ward’s holiday coloring books created by a copywriter named Robert May. Robert May considered naming the misfit Reginald and Rollo. Rudolph originally wasn’t going to have a red nose either because a red nose was associated with a sign of chronic alcoholism and Montgomery Ward didn’t want him to seem like a drunk. Good thing they changed it too! Reginald the blue nose reindeer just doesn’t have the same ring to it at all.

FUN FACT: Jingle Bells was originally a Thanksgiving song.

An organist from Georgia first performed a song he wrote, “The One Horse Open Sleigh” at a Thanksgiving concert at his church in 1850. The song was republished in 1857 and given the title of “Jingle Bells”.

FUN FACT: America’s first batch of eggnog was made in the Jamestown settlement in 1607 but by the time the Puritans settled in Boston, Christmas was illegal.

Its name comes from the word “grog”, meaning any drink made with rum. Nonalcoholic eggnog is popular as well.

From 1659 to 1681, celebrating the once-pagan day could cost you a fine of as much as five shillings. And after the Revolutionary War, the new Congress found the day so unimportant that they held the first session on Christmas Day, 1789. It wasn’t proclaimed a federal holiday for nearly another century.

FUN FACT: “Santa Claus” comes from St. Nicholas, a Christian bishop.

St. Nicholas had inherited a great deal of wealth and was known for giving it away to help the needy. When sainted, he became the protector of children.

FUN FACT: “Silent Night” is the most recorded Christmas song in history, with over 733 different versions copyrighted since 1978.

FUN FACT: The period of time between the 16th and 19th centuries was known as “a little ice age”.

Global temperatures were lower than normal during this time. However, Charles Dickens grew up during this era and experienced snow for his first eight Christmases. This “White Christmas” experience influenced his writing and began a tradition of expectation for the holidays.

FUN FACT: In Poland spiders are considered to be symbols of prosperity and goodness at Christmas.

In fact, spiders and spider webs are often used as Christmas tree decorations. According to legend, a spider wove baby Jesus a blanket to keep him warm.

FUN FACT: Tinsel was invented in 1610 in Germany and was once made of real silver.

FUN FACT: The tradition of hanging stockings comes from a Dutch legend.

A poor man had three daughter.s He couldn’t afford to provide a dowry for these daughters. St. Nicholas dropped a bag of gold down his chimney and gold coins fell out and into the stockings drying by the fireplace. The daughters now had dowries and could be married, avoiding a life on the streets.

FUN FACT: If you gave all the gifts listed in the Twelve Days of Christmas, it would equal 364 gifts.

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A CIJ Year in Review – Conclusion – #EtsyCIJ 2018

Contributor post by Cindy of Cynhumphrey

We spent the day getting to know a few of our team members during our Etsy Christmas In July Year in Review! Since the #EtsyCIJ team is worldwide we held a virtual #CIJYearInReview “Getting To Know You” right here on our blog!

The Year in Review was held today, July 6th. As I mentioned the team is international and we got to know members from multiple countries!

We wanted to include as many of our talented team members as possible! The participation was fantastic! Our team members are creative shop owners!

Each team member shared some of their background information with us, as well as a little bit about their experience on the Christmas in July team. Please join me as we conclude the #CIJYearInReview!

Here are the participating featured members we shared with you today:

1. Alicia from AliciasFindings
2. Mairi from mairidesign
3. Spoiledfelines1 from SpoiledFelinesArt

Thank you so much for joining us on our #CIJYearInReview!

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A CIJ Year in Review – SpoiledFelinesArt – #EtsyCIJ 2018

Contributor post by Cindy of Cynhumphrey

Let’s Meet spoiledfelines1 Of SpoiledFelinesArt!

SpoiledFelinesArt

1. Where are you from?

I am from Southeastern Louisiana.

2. How and when did you find the team?

I joined the team a few years ago when a member of #EtsyCIJ had mentioned the team and its Annual Christmas in July Event.

3. What about CIJ inspires your craft or you?

This team is different than others, and it took me a bit to get into the ways to participate and to be featured on the team blog. With that said, I like the blog features, particularly the Pantone color series. It helps me to think about using different colors and also shapes, such as stripes, etc., so that my shop items are more diverse.

4. Please share any stories you have from your time in CIJ.

Since I opened my shop, I have made many friends via my #EtsyShop and also our #EtsyCIJ membership. As a twitter leader, I love to get social with our #EtsyCIJ members –  to see their beautiful handmade and vintage items featured on our team blog posts and also to help our members to gain more exposure for their shop and items via retweet their items via our#EtsyCIJ twitter page.

5. What are your social media sites?

Facebook: spoiledfelinesart

Pinterest: spoiledfelines

Twitter: spoiledfelines1

 

A CIJ Year in Review – MairiDesign – #EtsyCIJ 2018

Contributor post by Cindy of Cynhumphrey

Let’s Meet Mairi Of mairidesign!

mairidesign

1. Where are you from?

I’m from Scotland but now live in the Czech Republic.

2. How and when did you find the team?

I joined the team last year after it was mentioned on a Facebook group.

3. What about CIJ inspires your craft or you?

Having regular themes for blog features, helps me with ideas of what to make next, meaning I stay active.

4. Please share any stories you have from your time in CIJ.

I’ve made lots of CIJ friends and like seeing all their lovely creations and vintage items, and also popping in to chat to hear what’s going on in life beyond the computer. I became a leader and have noticed that regular interaction is important in groups, blogs and social media.

5. What are your social media sites?

Facebook: mairidesign

Instagram: mairidesign

Pinterest: mairidesign

Twitter: mairidesign

Google +: Mairi Thompson