A Manifesto

https://goimagine.com/judystreehouse/

Good Morning! I’m sure many of you have seen the movie, “Jerry Maguire”. Enough said, I think you’ll get the gist as you read further.

“Complacency is the Antithesis of Excellence”. This quote was passed on to me years ago during my time spent in the corporate world. It resonated and stuck. I was working for a very large national corporation. They had a mission statement of “Vision, Strategy and Values. Integrity was at the top of their list of Core Values. I believed in them, I worked hard for them, and I had faith in their mission statement and core values. I was happy and grateful to be a part of their team. I worked hard to accomplish their goals by adhering to their mission statement and core values. With them I also grew in knowledge and wisdom and personal development. I was grateful for the opportunity to be a part of a business and team with these goals and values.

But, as years went by and I advanced into upper management positions I realized the integrity of the company was only as good as the integrity of its employees; no matter their position, title, or income. I started seeing individuals encouraging and/or allowing traits of tweaking and skewing data in an effort to “attain” successful key measure results. In other words, I saw the habits of some people within the organization were not in line with the core values of the company. I was determined that I would not become a part of this group of self-accommodating individuals. Unable and unwilling to become lost in unethical roads to success I decided it was time for me to move on. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe in that corporation, their mission, and their core values. I so enjoyed each and every position I held and the growth and opportunities the company provided for me. I was grateful for the years I worked there and often miss the hard, challenging, stressful work that helped me grow individually and professionally with the satisfaction of a job well done. I wish this company continued success!

Now, I find myself at the same crossroads with my small handmade jewelry shop. I’ve been grateful for the years I’ve been a seller on the Etsy ecommerce marketplace. When I opened my shop there in 2014, Etsy gave me the opportunity to offer my handmade creations to people all over the world. I can remember the joy I felt when I realized that people in each of the 50 states had found something to enjoy from my small shop. Etsy helped me to grow even further individually and professionally, and I am grateful for the opportunities provided to me as a seller within their online marketplace.

Yet, “nothing endures but change”. Another quote that has stuck with me throughout my professional career. And, sadly, I am finding that Etsy is changing and evolving in a direction that doesn’t fit with my personal mission statement and core values. Individual shops exhibiting traits without a sense of core values, only greed and poor customer service are starting to infiltrate this marketplace which once focused on unique handmade and vintage items. And, yes, there are still great people within Etsy’s network of sellers offering quality handmade and vintage items along with honesty, integrity, and great customer service but it is getting more difficult to weed out the good from the bad. Etsy is hugely successful in the world of ecommerce, and I’m certain they will continue to be so. But, the time has come for me to re-evaluate the group with which I’m associated, and I’ve found that perhaps Etsy and I are no longer such a great match, at least with their current state of sellers. I wish Etsy continued success, it’s just my opinion that they no longer cater to niche shops and discerning customers.

I’ve decided it’s time for me to step away from the Etsy platform and find a new marketplace and group of sellers that are more in line with my personal mission and core values. I believe I might have found that group within Goimagine.com. Time will tell. They are just beginning and they have a dream, a vision, and a different way of looking at success. I believe they are a better fit for me and my small handmade shop.

And so, I am gradually moving items from my Etsy shops to my shop within the GoImagine marketplace https://goimagine.com/judystreehouse/ . I hope those of you who are searching for that perfect, cool, unique, unusual something will find your way to this new, innovative marketplace; a marketplace with a slogan of a #caringeconomy. They have a dream and a vision of change. A change more economically beneficial to the society in which we live. I hope you’ll take a moment to visit their website to learn more about their mission. And, I hope you will give the GoImagine marketplace and their eclectic mix of shops with handmade items and artistic creative sellers the opportunity to provide you with a great on-line shopping experience while at the same time working towards the success of giving back to the community by way of their #caringeconomy mission.

And back to my initial reference to the movie “Jerry Maguire”; in today’s world it may be a struggle to maintain one’s ethical stance with high moral standards but the end results are much more satisfying when you attain success through hard work and a commitment to your own personal core values and those of the people with which you associate! Nobody says change is easy but “Nothing changes if nothing changes”.

“Where to Shop for Handmade In America USA”

I am happy to share a new ecommerce online market place with you.

GoImagine.com recently launched their new website. GoImagine is an online marketplace for “Handmade in America” artists, artisans and crafters to sell their unique creations. Individual shops offering handmade in America jewelry, gifts, and decor.

Shoppers looking to buy unique, handmade items made in the USA will be delighted with the assortment of shops and items available.

Go to their website to learn more about their story and vision.

I am delighted to now offer my creations on the GoImagine website. Here is the link to my shop: https://goimagine.com/judystreehouse

It is an exciting new change for me, and I am looking forward to being a part of this group of Handmade in America artists, artisans and crafters!

You can still find some of my handmade items in my Etsy shops, too: https://www.etsy.com/shop/JudysTreehouse and https://www.etsy.com/shop/JudysTreehouseToo

So, if you are looking for that perfect something special, unique, one of a kind, unusual, eclectic, handmade in America jewelry, gift, decor be sure to check out the shops on GoImagine.com and, of course, I’m always appreciative of your visits to my shops, as well.

If you have any questions about my shops, my items, or custom orders, please feel free to message me. You can contact me through the messaging options in each of my online shops.

Thank you!

Peace Love and Joy

Judy

“Serendipity”

Swallows Nest Pottery (Etsy Shop) meets JudysTreehouse (Etsy Shop) a unique and beautiful collaboration.

Handmade Jewelry by JudysTreehouse Etsy

“Serendipity (noun) – the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way”

Etsy has been a joyous journey for me.   I’ve found some awesome treasures along my way…..not only material treasures but awesome people and treasured friendships I will forever cherish.

These beautiful pottery pendants were created by the most lovely lady, Eileen.   Our serendipitous friendship began around Christmas time last year when I found her lovely pottery shop on Etsy and purchased a few of the beautiful pottery platters she creates for gifts.   A simple question about internet providers and living in the country started a lively chatter and a new friendship blossomed.

I haven’t met her in person yet but we are cyber pals and chat weekly, if not more.

She sent me these gorgeous pendants she created and said, “Girl, see what you can do with these” and now we have a few collaborated pieces……so cool!

JudysTreehouse SwallowsNest Pottery

So the moral of my story is……”life is a journey and the people you meet along the way”.   And, for me Etsy has turned into more than just a market place of cool unique treasures.   It’s a cool people place, too.

Check out Eileen’s lovely pottery creations.    I have one of her gorgeous egg platters and the most awesome bowl and look forward to adding more of her beautiful pieces to my collection.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/SwallowsNestPottery

Peace Love and Joy

Judy

Handmade Jewelry by JudysTreehouse Etsy

https://www.etsy.com/listing/692166370/short-pastel-blue-statement-necklace

Handmade Jewelry by JudysTreehouse Etsy

https://www.etsy.com/listing/706033731/short-chunky-statement-necklace

Handmade Jewelry by JudysTreehouse Etsy

https://www.etsy.com/listing/706023517/short-pastel-blue-statement-necklace

Handmade Jewelry by JudytsTreehouse Etsy

https://www.etsy.com/listing/692178202/short-chunky-statement-necklace

“Beautiful Patina”

Handmade Statement Necklaces for Women JudysTreehosuecuff bracelets by judystreehouse Unique Earrings for Women JudysTreehouse

What is patina?

Dictionary result for patina

/pəˈtēnə/
noun
  1. a green or brown film on the surface of bronze or similar metals, produced by oxidation over a long period.
    • a gloss or sheen on a surface resulting from age or polishing.
      “the dining table will acquire a warm patina with age”
    • the impression or appearance of something.
      “he carries the patina of old money and good breeding”

    I found my love for creating patina pieces about four years ago.     Starting with pre-cut brass and copper metal blanks, I did a little on-line research on patina how to’s and started experimenting.

    metal patina judystreehouse

    My first creations were patina’d earrings.

    cool long earrings judystreehousecool blue earrings judystreehouseunique earrings judystreehouseeclectic earrings judystreehouseboho earrings judystreehouseartsy earrings judystreehouse

    Don’t you just love their unique colors and asymmetrical designs!    So eclectic!  Little jewelry works of arts.     A must have for the jewelry connoisseur, don’t you think!

    From earrings, I went on to creating a few cuff bracelets and rings.

    cuff bracelets by judystreehouse

    Rather than purchasing pre-cut metal cuffs, I wanted to actually make the cuffs.    Hand-cut from a sheet of brass, copper or bronze.    I experimented with different gauges of metal 22, 20, and 18.     And, in my opinion, I think the 20 gauge has a nice weight and sturdiness to it.   The 22 gauge is a thinner metal and makes a more lightweight cuff.   The 18 gauge makes a somewhat thicker, heavier cuff.    And, like Goldilocks with the Three Bears, the gauge, weight, and size of a cuff comes down to a personal preference.    Yet, no matter the gauge of the metal, with a gentle squeeze/pressure each cuff adjusts to a desired fit.

    I also tried different lengths and widths for a variety of sizes.    Although the cuffs are somewhat adjustable, I noticed that a one size fits most isn’t always the case.  Not all of us are average.   Case in point, I’m 5′, 10 1/2″, above average height for a woman often leaving me with just wishful want of some clothes that are made as one size fits most.    So, with my cuffs I have a few different lengths; 5 3/4″, 6″, 6 1/2″, and 7″ allowing for a more encompassing one size fits most.

    handmade jewelry judystreehousemetal cuffs judystreehousejudystreehouse

    After cutting my metal strips into different lengths and widths, I then sand them, by hand, to smooth the edges.    I could use power tools to cut, sand, and polish the metal but there’s just something about creating a piece step by step by hand.  Realizing the strength of my hands as I cut through the metal.   Feeling the joy from that last snip as the metal falls away.      Sensing a slight heat as the metal warms up with the glide of the sandpaper over the rough edges.      The smoothness felt when I run my fingers over the sanded piece to rule out sharp edges.     It’s not just the end result that makes the piece special, it’s the process and the journey of the creation.    A little bit of heart and soul along with a bit of elbow grease goes into each creation.

    handmade jewelry judystreehouse

    Once the metal is sanded smooth the strips are shaped into cuffs.    This process requires a rawhide hammer, a heavy metal mandrel, a little stamina and a bit of patience.    Hammer, Hammer, Hammer not just to create the shape but to strengthen the metal, as well.    This will help the piece better maintain its final shape.

    handmade jewelry judystreehousecuff bracelet judystreehousejudystreehousecuff bracelets judystreehouse

    After the cuff is shaped it’s ready for the patina magic to happen.  Nope, I do not use patina paints, polishes, waxes or dyes.    I use a chemical process to expedite the development of the patina vs waiting for the every day elements of moisture, air, heat and humidity it takes for metal to develop its patina over time.

    I patiently, and sometimes not so patiently, check my pieces to see what designs the patina is creating.    Sometimes I pull them early.   Sometimes I leave them overnight.   Sometimes I remove the patina and start all over.    But after it’s all said and done each patina comes out as a unique, stunning work of art.   Some I like better than others.    And I love to watch how other people are attracted to one design over another……..decisions, decisions!

    patina cuffs by judystreehousepatina cuffs judystreehouse

    After the patina has dried, I then apply a wax coat to seal and maintain the patina.   The wax adds a nice shiny, glossy finish.

    cuff bracelets by judystreehousecuff bracelets by judystreehousebohemian cuff bracelets by judystreehouseboho cuff bracelets by judystreehouseartsy jewelry by judystreehousebohemian cuff bracelets

    Lately, I’ve moved on to creating unique patina pendant statement necklaces.      Following the same process I did for the cuffs, I created the pendants.    Each is hand cut, hand sanded, patina’d and polished.
    handmade jewelry by judystreehouse

    artisan jewelry judystreehouse handmade pendants judystreehousejewelry by judystreehouse jewelry by judystreehousehandmade jewelry by judystreehouse jewelry by judy rebman

The next step with the necklaces was finding the perfect gemstones.   Sigh, I just love gemstones!    Then came the Match Game!    Picking the perfect gemstone to complement each patina pendant and adding a bit of fancy chain for the finishing touch!

gemstone necklaces judystreehouse judystreehouse

And, finally, these cool, unique, and unusual Statement Necklaces!   No two are exactly the same!   They are artsy, eclectic, classy and eye-catching.    Sure to grab some attention and start a conversation or two!

statement necklaces by JudytsTreehouseeclectic statement necklaces by judystreehouse artsy jewelry by judystrehouse copper statement necklaces by judystreehousewomens statement necklaces by judystreehousebig bold statement necklaces by judystreehousejewelry by judystreehouseblue statement necklace for women

And there you have it.     A few of the steps involved in creating some of my unique jewelry pieces.

The jewelry I create is available for purchase at https://www.etsy.com/shop/JudysTreehouse

Thank you for your interest!

Peace Love and Joy

Judy

Why Buy Handmade?

 

Yellow Statement Necklace Handmade by JudysTreehouse
I made this!

Why buy handmade?    Here are a few good reasons (among many).     I recently came across this article written by Donna Maria Coles Johnson at SmallBizTrends.com.

  • “Handmade is the New American Manufacturing”
  • “It’s Human Nature To Value The Creative Spirit”
  • “Handmade Items Are Crafted in An Environment of Joy, Honor, and Respect”
  • “A Handmade Item Cannot Be Duplicated”
  • “Everything is More Beautiful When It’s Made With A Heart”

https://smallbiztrends.com/2016/05/why-handmade-matters.html

A wonderful article for sure.    And here’s my two cents!

Yes, handmade is a unique and beautiful way to share and join the creative spirit of one person with another!

When I am creating a piece of jewelry I focus on positive energy and happy thoughts and wonder about the individual who will someday be receiving this item that has been touched by my hands and my spirit.

I’m always in awe when someone finds and purchases something I’ve created.    For me it’s not all about the $$$.   It’s about having created something, having someone find something I’ve created, having someone like something I’ve created, having someone want something I’ve created, having someone receive something I’ve created, taking special care in packaging something I’ve created, shipping something I’ve created,  and communicating with someone I would never have met but through the simple act of creating something.   All of this brings me peace, love and joy!

When I create and list an item I’m also creating and listing an experience, an interaction, and sometimes a friendship or two.    Things that would not have happened but for a handmade creation.

So why buy handmade?    Certainly for unique and unusual handcrafted treasures.   But also so that kindred spirits that might otherwise never have met might connect.

Yes, buy and support handmade whenever you have the chance!    You never know who you might meet.

Life is a Journey and The People You Meet Along The Way

Copper Jewelry – Copper Cuff Rose Ring by Judy’s Treehouse

Handmade copper ring with rose
Handmade copper ring with rose

I recently had the pleasure of creating a custom order for a friend who happened across a picture of some rings I had posted on my Facebook page, JudysTreehouse.

I was a little nervous going into production as it had been a while since I had made these and hadn’t made many in the past.    I also wanted to add a little something extra special for her to the design.

Handcrafting jewelry usually results in each item being unique and different.   Depending on the design, you may not always get an exact duplicate of something you’ve made in the past.    You can try to replicate a piece but usually they come out with slight differences.    This is what makes handmade pieces so unique and special.  Then there are  those “oops moments” when you unintentionally mess something up; cut a piece to short, make a wonky wrap, break a bead, snap a wire, etc.     So, I decided to make two rings, just in case.

the band before sanding
the band before sanding

The first step was to cut the band.     I used 20 gauge copper.      After the cut, I then sanded the piece to smooth the edges, top and bottom.

applying the design to be etched into the metal
applying the design to be etched into the metal

The next step was applying the design I wanted to etch into the metal.

after the etching process
after the etching process

Etching the metal takes patience and practice.     Sometimes an air bubble can ruin your design.     Leaving the metal in the solution too long can result in the metal becoming too thin for the project.    Not leaving it in long enough can leave you with a partial uneven design or not enough of the design showing through.     In this case, it turned out perfect!

after the patina process
after the patina process

Applying the patina is my favorite part of the process.     I used a butane torch to heat the metal to create the patina.     As you can see, each piece turned out entirely different.     This is another process where patience and practice develops your skill level.    I absolutely love the colors that developed in each of the bands.

shaping the band
shaping the band

The next step was shaping the band around the ring mandrel.     Using a rubber or rawhide mallet keeps the metal from being damaged.   Hammering the metal not only gives it the desired shape and ring size but it also strengthens the metal helping it to maintain its form.

the ring bands
the ring bands

ready to add the stone
ready to add the stone

I knew my customer wanted a light blue rose but I wanted to consult with her on the band color since they were both so different.    She chose the one on the left in the above photo.

The completed rings
The completed rings

The next step was to wire wrap the stone to the ring.     Again, wrapping the wire and getting a secure fit takes time and practice.     I started on the ring she hadn’t chosen because I wanted to practice my wrap and determine the wire design.

I was happy with the design and set out on the ring for Dianalynne.     It came out perfectly…….BUT……….     To help tighten and secure the wire, I had taken my pliers to the wire wrap on the underside of the band to give the wire a little twist.    My pliers slipped and I gouged the wire!    The wire was damaged but still secure and appeared to be sturdy enough…….BUT…….it did not meet the standards of quality I do my best to attain with each of my creations.

I was so devastated.   The initial wire wrap had turned out so perfectly!   I was afraid a second attempt wouldn’t turn out as well.     I had to put the ring down and just walk away from it.     So, I went shopping.    But, all I could think about was the ring and how I wanted to handle the situation.     I came up with a few thoughts, bounced them off of my husband but in the end I knew what I had to do.

I had to believe in myself and my abilities.    So, I removed the damaged wire and set to rewrapping the ring……..and low and behold it turned out beautifully.

I was happy with myself  and I had one happy customer.

I still have the other blue ring available for purchase.     It is a size 7.    I have not listed it in my Etsy shop, but if you are interested you can contact me and I will create a custom order for you.

I’m out of blue gemstone roses and my original supplier no longer has them in stock.    But I do have many other colors in my stash and anticipate more rose rings coming soon to Judystreehouse.

Sometimes you just have to trust in yourself.     You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.