Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sometimes change can be good ...

original sample photo

Once upon a time, there was an idea to create something special from pieces of discarded California Redwood. Saved from a mill, Nicole’s Visions inherited a stack of these select pieces, all with one distinction. They each had a knothole. Some were big open holes, some were small. Others were delicate with pieces still left inside, while some were not even open all the way thru. 

holders made, waiting to be finished

After much thought, some of these pieces were turned into 3 different sized hot plate trivets. They looked incredible & were very well received. Determined to not waste any of the wood, the cut off ends from the trivets were cut into unique soap dishes.

Another stack of pieces that for one reason or another did not quite make it as trivets, sat, waiting. Their wait was over when I decided to create a special more pagan themed item. After several setbacks, Spirit Tiles were born & created. They looked just as incredible & unique as the trivets. But … getting people to understand their intent & purpose, proved difficult online. Heck, even in person it was not easy.

finished holders with 2 of the many candles
A recent lunch with a friend began to change all that. I needed something to attract attention. A gimmick even, if you may. Was there a way to turn it into a set? Hmmm. My head began to spin with ideas & not long after I was scrambling to make it come alive. I had an idea. In the end, the idea needed the recruitment of not only my hubby again, but my daughter. 

Hubby cut some of the still left over redwood for me into small candle holders. I would later do all the finish work on them. My daughter offered to step up to make candles for me. I had originally thought of using soy but after her offer, decided on using all natural 100% beeswax. A bit of idea tossing & she made for me small hand dipped tapers.Why, after looking at the sample set up photo, this did not occur to me is beyond me.

holders have cork on back
Putting everything together was awesome. Now, they needed a better name. Spirit tiles just did not seem to fit any longer. But nothing came to me. And my show was very fast approaching. So, signs made, they stayed Spirit Tiles. 

Doing a show, we tend to help each other out if one of us needs to run off for a minute. While my daughter was trying to explain what they were to a customer, it all kind of came together. She mentioned the word focus came to mind. Focus led to meditate. Ta-da! Meditation sets.

Each set will contain the wooden tile piece, a candle holder & 2 small tapers.

At the most recent show, one found a new home while the rest came back with me. Now came the task of finding new words to better fit this new idea/product. Those, looking back, came easy. 

quick shot taken for future blog post!
Whats harder, is getting decent weather to take new pictures to be able to properly list them online. I do not have a studio & rely mostly on Mother Nature’s glorious natural light. This week tho, that light has been blocked by clouds. While I wait impatiently for the sun to peek thru, the words to share this journey began to flow … and here we are.

Soon as the light is good I will set things up to take new photos. Then within hours they will be re-listed again for sale! I know you will love the new path these pieces have taken as much as I have.

Until next time

Monday, August 20, 2012

Wild for Uncle Ernie Auction

Uncle Ernie with his new Wild Jersey
I had the most amazing time on Saturday evening. The reason for the event was to raise funds to help a very community involved local celebrity type figure with expenses resulting from a medical issue. This man is very well loved in our community. And, we learned, not as open a person as many may have thought. I was very moved by the whole evening.

As a business, I donated 5 of my prints to this event. I feel strongly about supporting my community. I also saw this as an avenue to get my name known more on a local level. But had it been just about my name, I would have stopped at one print. I really wanted to do as much as I could to help “Uncle Ernie” too. I listen to him on the radio all the time. I listen to him as he does the Wenatchee Wild games all season. He is the voice behind the awesome howl of the Wild. He has become a part of my life.

So, off I went on Wednesday to donate my prints to one of the ladies organizing things for this fundraiser. I felt great. I was excited. And that’s as far as my thoughts went on the subject. Friday I went to buy our tickets. Then Saturday evening came & we were at the event.

I wandered around looking at the variety of things donated. I loved seeing MY work on display. I felt proud! In front of each donation was a bid sheet, with a value listed & minimum bid requirements. It was then that something hit me. What if no one bid on any of my prints? What if my work was not good enough or there were no photography lovers present? Oh My … all of a sudden I was nervous. 

I voiced my fear to my husband. He told me he was surprised I had not thought of that. I told him all I thought about was how I felt lucky to be able to donate so much to help out Ernie. I had not thought about the rest until we got here this evening. We both laughed. 

At some point (I forget if it was before or after dinner) I got up & wandered around each table to take a look. I was thrilled! Each of the 5 prints had at least one bid! Oh My Goddess… people liked my work!!! I know, to anyone who knows my work they are not surprised … but to anyone who really knows ME, they understand how I felt. I am so critical of myself. Too much so I’m often told by others.

At the end of the evening I tried to hurry up & get a shot of each of the bid sheets to see how much they all went for. I got 3 out of 5 before they were snatched away by the winners. But knowing the minimum bids … I know I helped raise well over $200.

But that’s not all … As we were checking the bid sheets I got to meet one of the ladies who won the Winter Trees print. She was so beyond thrilled & I apparently (according to my loving husband) glowed with pride at this fact. We chatted a couple minutes as I told her where exactly the photo was taken. She was so happy … she had me sign the back.

And … one more. Another couple won my grapes print & they happen to own(?)(or friends own?) a new winery right here in town. They were a fun couple to meet as well & I should be seeing them again when I find the place & go take some pictures of the grapes on the vines … once they have grapes!

What a fantastic evening on so many levels! I can’t wait to do this (donating thing) again!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Bringing the Spirit Tiles to life

Back in April, Nicole's Visions did a Spring Craft Show ... it was not a huge unveiling since the foot traffic was so low, but that was the first time the Spirit Tiles were on display. And, its still the only place they have been seen. Why? Well, it's a funny story ... to me at least, since I am supposed to be a photographer!

I'm having one heck of a time trying to come up with a *good* main image for these; to use when I list them in my Zibbet shop! You would think this is something that would come easy to me.

After all, taking good pictures is what I do right? Well, yes, most of the time. I can seem to come up with all kinds of ideas when I photograph product for my daughter (Breath of the Dragon) but when it comes to my own, not so much. And, I dont get ideas from her either.

It all started when I listed my Trivets/Hotplates last fall. Some people who saw them online, were a bit confused as to what they were by just looking at the image. Picture frames? No, not quite. Several people did suggest I use them as such. Totally not my intention, or my Vision. Tho people were free to use them as such if they chose to.

When I began to think of how to photograph these so I did not end up with the same questions of whether or not they were picture frames, I felt lost.

I tried going the "professional catalog" route & whiting out the entire background. I tried just having a stand showing. Apparently, neither of these ideas was the answer.

Next I tried (just the other day actually) photographing them in grass. They were wood after all, & something natural might be the key.
Then I got a different angle by setting them on a stack of wood we have sitting outside. I even tried dirt. I'm still not sure these are right. And since I had product tags on everything (from the show) I wasn't sure if I had to go thru & remove them all or let them be.

I tell you all ... never before have I had such a time figuring out the right way to photograph something. I would really like to get this Vision out there ... I think it will make it easier to move on to the other Visions I have in my mind, just waiting to come out. I often wonder if not having these listed & out there is part of what is keeping me from moving forward with yet more of my ideas.

I'd love to hear what you, my readers, think.
Which style of picture do you think works?
Any of these?
Something totally different?
Product tag okay? Or not?

I will also provide sample pictures of how these can be used ... with candles, on an altar, on the wall, etc. The hard part is getting a *good* main image to get you to want to find out more.

Just because I am Nicole & I have Visions ... doesn't mean that sometimes my Visions aren't clear. Sometimes they are so foggy I can't even find them.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Spring Craft Show

Another show has come & gone for Nicole’s Visions. This time it was the Spring Craft show at the Wenatchee Valley Senior Activity Center. This is the same location we did a Holiday show at late last fall. For the holidays, it was a decent show. For Spring? Right after Easter? Not so much.  Well, at least not for us or Breath of the Dragon. It was a bust for us both. Tho there were not a ton of shoppers, I did see many vendors making several sales.

 Towards the end, I talked a bit with the people across from us. They are an older couple. He makes some pretty nifty wood things that I don’t know the name for but they look like a puzzle with all the different pieces & shades of wood coming together to make a scene or animal or something. His wife does some very traditional artificial flower arrangements. He was telling me how their sales were definitely down & they contemplated whether the $400 in spring sales was worth coming out for next year … compared to the over $900 they do in the fall. Nice. And both those figures are down from past years. And here I am thinking how I’d love to have their spring sales in the fall! One day maybe!

Perhaps its too crowded?

So this tells me something. It’s not all the fault of the show for small or no sales. It is also what you have. And I believe that the type of people that wandered thru this particular show were not the types to buy what Nicole’s Visions or Breath of the Dragon had to sell, when its not the holidays. Something to work on for sure.

And believe me, when there are little or no sales, one has tons of time to contemplate all the ‘whys’ of the day. Why am I not selling anything when I see others selling? Is my display not good enough? Is it too good? Are my prices too high? Or low? Is my product not good enough? Is my location within the show bad? It goes on & on. Granted, when looking around we were the youngest ones there by far. Did this have something to do with it? Can we not be trusted because we’re young? Yes, even the silly questions run rampant thru the mind at times like this.

Just 1 of many new ideas

But, what I will take away from this is just the fact that I got my name out there, again. Not all shows will be great. I have a great (but perhaps a bit crowded?) display & a great product line. I just have to find the right people, at the right time, to purchase them! I think I’ll look for a few more free events over the summer, while I work on my new ideas. I even put out my Spirit Tiles for the first time ... not that there were many people to see them.

Until next time ... Enjoy your Spring!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Birthday celebration winners

I dont have fun pictures from a party... but I do have 2 names of winners from my giveaway earlier this week. I gave people tons of ways to enter & chances to enter everyday if they chose to do so...
I had a total of 35 entries split between 6 people...

Winner number one is Deni Winter Breitenbach.
She entered a total of 10 times!!
Winner number two is Rebecca Raige.
She entered a total of 6 times.

Congrats ladies! You both win a Flowers in Bloom desk calendar for 2012.

Please email me as I will need mailing info for you both ... I have one each of Flowers in Bloom 1 & 2 for  you to choose from ... first to contact me will get their choice, the other will get the other one. Both are full of beautiful flowers....

Big thanks to everyone who played along! I got nowhere near my 470 like count on my business page, but I'm okay with that. I know those who do like the page are there because they wish to be... And I am grateful for all of you!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Birthday Bash !!

Who is having a birthday?

Mom & daughter Dec 2009
Me!  And my daughter...

I will turn a whopping 47 on Tuesday the 28th. Not any real milestone, just another number. But why not have some fun & celebrate? My youngest daughter turns 25 on the 25th...  kind of a cool birthday for her tho!

I'm planning some fun on my Facebook Page on both Tuesday (28th) & Wednesday (29th)...

We'll have a giveaway  ...
some fun puzzles to put together ...
some pictures to guess ...
and a BIG special 2 day only sale...

Check out how you can enter the giveaway below ...
Get a head start ... start entering today... come back everyday for more chances to win....

The prize is your choice of one of the 3 Flowers in Bloom 2012 desk calendars I have in my shop! 2 calendars will be given away!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Redwood Spirit Tiles are ...

        drying in the sunshine!            
ready to photograph, describe & list!

I had a beautiful sunny & unseasonably warm day today to go outside & give the tiles a few last coasts of sealant. I think they look pretty darn nice.

Hopefully words will come to me to give them descriptions fitting to their beauty.

I also have to schedule a nice photo shoot day to capture their visible beauty & showcase them in different settings. It feels like such a daunting task.

One would think that photography would come naturally to me by this point. Not true.

Even tho I have been taking pictures since I was still a teen, there are times I struggle with finding just the right way to photograph things, especially my products.

So many elements come into play to create that eye catching finished image everyone sees.

 Here's to being able to bring you more of those beautiful images when I photograph these larger than life Spirit Tiles in the next week!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Spirit Tile progress moves along nicely

I am amazed. I have put more time, research & thought into these Spirit Tiles than anything else I've made in a long time. I sat again this afternoon at my table. Drop by drop I added more sealant to the crystal stones in each tile. Then one by one I sprayed, again, each tile out in the gorgeous February sunshine. I truly loved seeing the grains in the wood & the stones in the grooves seem to come alive being out in the sun & readily accepting a gentle coat or two of clear sealant.

Tuesday evening all the tiles will go outside & remain there until morning. Tuesday is the February full moon. Letting objects sit in the moonlight like this cleanses, & charges them with much positive energy...  This being just after the midpoint of winter, it is especially strong to capture all the positivity of new-ness.. of the returning light, of new growth, of (the not far off) Spring!

I'm excited to soon be able to offer these beautiful tiles to everyone. Whether they will grace someone's altar, bedside or even wall, I believe each one will find its perfect new home at just the right time.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Progress is a wonderful thing

work in progress, complete with notes!

  Today I finished up the research behind all the gemstones I have to put into the Spirit Tiles. Combining both Mystical & Elemental properties while keeping in mind how they will look & work together.  

  Keeping in mind the importance & significance of numbers as well I have placed 5 of each of 2 gemstones/crystals into each tile & 3 crystal quartz. 

All the teeny gemstones I have to work with.
  Next step is to add sealant to the crystals. Finish will be a sprayed on coat of sealant for the whole tile.

  Last thing before listing? A night of being charged by the February full moon.