December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas/Plans for the New Year

Merry Christmas to everyone!

I'd like to give special thanks to all those that have purchased from me for gifts this year.  December has been phenomenal!!!  I never anticipated the number of orders I've received this month.  I am truly surprised and I need to give a HUGE thanks to Etsy and my customers!  You guys RULE!

For the new year, I plan on forming an LLC and continuing and gearing up what I started this year.  Once the company name is "official" and registered I will update everyone.  Since I just had more business cards made (doh!), it will be "Aquarian Mind (Something Something), LLC"....we still have to figure out the something something.  It needs to encompass all that I do and sell:  vintage, kids jewelry, adults jewelry, misc stuff on Ebay...  We're still thinking on it.

For tonight though, I plan on being with my wonderful family.  And probably watching a few hours of the yule log fire on TV.  It will be a welcome and much needed break from packing orders, making jewelry and other general craziness  :)

December 4, 2012

Quite Possibly the Best Soup EVER

Here is the recipe for my favorite soup! My husband and I both love Mexican and Tex-Mex food, so this one really hits the spot!  Love!

We do change the recipe just slightly and a suggestion: Add one can black beans and approx 1 1/2 cups corn. Stir VERY frequently after cheese is added - sticks to bottom of the pot OR BETTER YET, just add the cheese to your bowl when ready to eat.

Chicken Tortilla Soup II

By Eddie Shipman

Added November 17, 1999 | Recipe #4627

Read more at:



Units: US | Metric

1 cup carrot, diced

1 cup celery

1 cup onion, diced

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 fresh diced garlic clove

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons corn oil

4 (15 ounce) cans chicken broth

1 (15 ounce) can tomatoes, diced (optional)

1 (10 ounce) can Rotel tomatoes & chilies, diced

1 (1 1/4-1 1/2 ounce) packet taco seasoning, I use McCormicks

1 (10 count) package corn tortillas (broken or cut into small pieces)

12 ounces chicken meat, poached, diced

1 cup milk

12 ounces monterey jack cheese or 12 ounces Mexican blend cheese, shredded
corn tortilla chips, broken into small pieces


1  Saute carrots, onions, celery in corn oil, garlic, salt and pepper until tender.

2  Add chicken broth and bring to boil.

3  Add tomatoes, Rotel, taco seasoning, and chicken.

4  Cut Tortillas into small pieces and add to broth mixture.

5  Let boil for 20 minutes or until tortillas are thoroughly incorporated into soup stirring occasionally to keep from sticking.

6  Reduce heat and add 8 oz. cheese. Simmer for additional 10 minutes.

7  Add milk and simmer for additional 10 minutes.

8  If thicker soup is desired, add more diced tortillas and let incorporate into soup.

9  Garnish with shredded cheese and broken tortilla chips.

Now Shipping to Canada & Australia!

I hope to add more countries in the future, but as of right now, I've added Canada and Australia as ship to destinations. The thought of customs forms is far scarier than they actually are! Unless I have major problems with damage or loss, I hope to be able to ship just about anywhere in the coming months.

Treasuries Featuring AquarianMind74

I haven't updated in a while....some recent treasuries!

Success...Black Friday-Style

I'd like to thank everyone who helped make November a record sales month for me....which isn't hard since it's my first November ;)  Haha, ya gotta start somewhere, am I right?

But seriously, I was pleasantly surprised by the number of orders the week of Thanksgiving.  It is a great feeling.  I'm out of everything, but it was well worth it!  I'm hoping Christmas will keep my orders consistent in December.  So far, so good!  All that work I've put in the last 6 months is starting to pay off.

November 23, 2012

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sale

I'm running a sale in my Etsy shop for 15% off plus a free gift!

Link to my shop!  AquarianMind74 on Etsy

The free gifts are pretty glass bead bracelets in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes.  I will send one for each item bought!  Offer is valid through Monday 11/26/12.

November 19, 2012

Adding to My Kids Line

Clip on earrings for girls with resin flowers have been a popular thing in my Etsy shop as of late.  Who knew they'd be so popular?  I certainly didn't think so, but I'm glad they are!  So I'm starting to add to the clip on inventory with more of 'em.  The style I'm adding will be able to have dangling charms, beads, pearls ....whatever I can find that is cute!  Watch for these in the coming week.  I'm planning on also doing some with Christmas beads!

In Case You Didn't Know...

Definitely not new news, but they had new badges, so what the hey :)

November 15, 2012

New YouTube Video

I don't know if it is 100% true or not, but I read somewhere that YouTube is one of the most used search engines, second only to Google.  Wow!  Now I understand why businesses do videos!  I decided to hop on the bandwagon too.   The above is my very first attempt at making any sort of video.  Don't laugh ;)

October 24, 2012

First Wanelo Sale!

This morning I'm celebrating the first sale I've made from direct traffic from Wanelo! I have thought that Pinterest would be the site pointing people my way, but it turns out all I usually get re-pinned over there is recipes! Wanelo is definitely geared more to the shopper and Pinterest more to the DIY/thrifty types. Well, at least that's what the users have decided anyway. I try to put at least a few of my new items over there a couple times a month. Although it seems like I've been doing the Etsy thing forever, it has only been since February. I have to say I'm pleased with where I am and hope it keeps ramping up! Jewelry is a hard thing to sell on Etsy as there are approx. 3.4 million pieces other crafters/designers are trying to sell! If you keep that in mind, I'm honored anyone has found my items, AND thought enough of them to buy them. I've come to find the best things you can do over there are: knowing and implementing good SEO to every item, and, promote, Promote, PROMOTE! Here is a link to my profile on Wanelo. Check out the site if you haven't already. It's nearly as addictive as Pinterest!


October 21, 2012

And Even More to the Reward....

Well if my last entry wasn't enough to make you cry, the saga continues.  Here is the email I received from the woman who bought the Mary medal for her mother....I hope she doesn't mind me copying this, but it is just such a wonderful story it deserves to be shared.

Here it is:

~ What a "Wonderful"surprise.....
Thank you so much....You have to know that you made my mom's heart smile today.
I first have to tell you what happened right before I went out to get todays mail.
I was sitting at the dining room table, mom was on the couch, crocheting, she says to me, what is that nice scent....smells like wood. I went over near to her and did notice a scent of what smelled like fresh cut wood.
See my dad was a I said..."dads in the house".....she smiled and, its strong!!!!
Well, we absorbed the moment and gave each other a hug.....
I now went to get the mail.......
We received the package, I hardly could control myself. I brought it over to my mom and sat down next to her.
I asked her if she remembered what had just happened and she said "yeah...dads in the house".....I said...."He really is here with us mom, and he wants you to have this"
Wendy I had to share this with you, because no matter the miles between people, there is a force that connects us all...If people could only realize this, the world would be a happier place.
Mom looked at the box and in wonderment said,"He wants me to have this?"  I watched, as she carefully took the box out of that heavenly sack. She kept looking at me and then the box, her eyes were showing she lifted the cover off and slowly took out the cushioning from around her surprise, her eyes filled with the biggest tears I have ever seen. She looked at me,then the medal and said...."Thanks babe!!!".....{directed to my dad}
I told her how I found your shop and she said...tell her THANK YOU......
You are a thread in the quilt...........God Bless you and those you Love......You made two hearts really happy today!!!!Thank You bunches. You're a gem!!!!

Wow!  Such a powerful thing!  The string of emails to follow were so powerful to me personally that they have actually made me question my belief in a higher power.....and helped to restore my faith in humanity.  I have always believed in "something" bigger than me, I mean, how can you not?  There are just too many things that can't be completely coincidental in life.  But this.....just wow.  It turns out I got something from these women that I too needed - some loving light in a very dark place that I had slipped into.

I now know why I HAD to buy that medal.  It was meant for this lady's mom, and it was meant to come from me.  I was meant to learn something from the whole thing.

So.  Was it the Virgin Mary that was giving me the message, this learning experience?  I had been fascinated with her image for months before any of this happened, and in my heart I think I know.

Make that three hearts happy, Therese.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

October 8, 2012

Unexpected Rewards (The Best Kind)

I just sold this vintage Catholic miraculous medal to a woman who is buying it as a gift for her mother. Her dad, who passed away 2 years ago, gave one of these just like this to her mom 64 years ago on their wedding day. Her mom lost the medal 20 years ago. My buyer bought it as a surprise, and I have no doubt her mother will love it.

I like my profit, but I think I love this story more ♥

September 19, 2012

Lots in the Works!

I'm stocked up on supplies and ready to go!  Up next is Christmas jewelry and little girls birthday party favor jewelry.  The beads are so fun that I don't know where to start!

Also in works - plenty more vintage jewelry I will be listing for sale on Etsy.  I have found just how much I love Bell Copper Trading Post jewelry, and collect it whenever I can.  I'm going to have a hard time parting with it, and I know my mother-in-law has her eye on one of my rings too.

I have so many ideas for fun pendants, doll jewelry and hair clips that I will have to shelf until I have several pieces of Christmas jewelry done and listed....there just aren't enough hours in the day!  And here I thought I'd have nothing but time being "retired"!  So not true!  Between keeping up with the house, Listia and Etsy I am actually working full time again.

Here is a link to a VERY nice, excellent vintage condition Krementz set in original packaging on Etsy.  It is even more beautiful in person!  Check it out if you'd like to add it to your collection!

September 3, 2012

Join Me on Listia?

I just love this site.  I acquired the Willi Noonenmann brooch in my previous post through this site for free!  Well, not 100% free, you have to give stuff away for credits to spend, but if you're like me, I give away stuff I don't want anymore anyway!
Check it out:

My Profile

September 1, 2012

Vintage Designer Jewelry

I just love vintage jewelry, and this has got to be my favorite acquisition to date.  It is absolutely beautiful.  It is from the 1930's by German designer Willi Nonnenmann.  The few other pieces I have seen of his have the same delicate filigree as seen here:

Source: via Wendy on Pinterest

August 22, 2012

For the Better

If you have been keeping up with me, you know that I quit my job in early June this year.  Now that I'm 2 1/2 months in to my new journey, I can, with 100% certainty, say I am happier for it.  Are all my problems solved?  No.  Are all of my anxieties gone?  No.  I don't think I'll ever be completely free of those things (who is??).  This was not an easy process, and I'm not done yet.  I still have a few mountains to climb.

One thing I did gain (so far) was some self respect.  I stood up for myself.  I had no idea it would feel this good!  I'm proud of myself for the first time in many years.  Makes me wonder why I have such a hard time telling people how I feel.  Do I make how they feel seem more important than me?  

Another thing I've noticed is a change in how I see things.  I have the time to really SEE things:  the blue of the sky, birds flying, the green of the grass....  Everything looks like it did to me when I was very young...more vivid, more real somehow.  

This is probably the best summer of my entire life.  I hate to think it will end going back to school, leaves starting to's inevitable.  Maybe I will SEE things this winter that I haven't in many years and learn to love it too.

August 13, 2012


July 26, 2012

My Secrets to Good Etsy Product Photos

When I started my Etsy shop, I thought "I'm a pretty decent photographer, these product photos should be a breeze!"  I've shot weddings, nature, wildlife, concerts and countless other subjects with ease!  Well, needless to say, I was wrong.

I have a  Canon Rebel XT DSLR, which I love dearly.  I was a user of the film version of the same camera for years.  So, I got my trusty camera ready, got my backdrops all set up, found the perfect light and started snapping away!  I thought it went great....until I downloaded the pics to my laptop.  The depth of field was all wrong and I couldn't get in close enough to show all the details I felt I needed to show on my jewelry and still be in focus.  Damn, I was convinced I was pretty good at photography!  Well, I still think I am, but now I know a lot more about product photography.  Jewelry photography in particular.

What I really needed was a macro lens for my DSLR.  Great.  LOTS of money I didn't have to spend!  Well, lots for the one I wanted anyway.  So after searching through Etsy forums to see what others were using, I decided to purchase a point-and-shoot with a macro setting.  I ended up spending about $120 and settled on an Olympus Stylus.  I could have bought a cheap manual focus macro lens for about $100, but this way, I also have a camera that can easily fit in my purse for events that don't require great photos or a lot of messing around with settings.

Let me tell you what I love about my Olympus for jewelry photos:

Super Macro- Most point-and-shoots have a macro setting for getting in close on flowers and other things. Super macro gets you close enough to focus in on the bug on the flower! The lens on this camera can nearly be touching your subject and still focus in on it. Perfect for showing tons of detail.

Image Stabilization - This feature helps with camera shake that could make your picture blurry. I see it kick on when I'm in lower light situations. Since I shoot my jewelry pictures in natural light with the flash turned off, this is pretty beneficial to me.

Exposure Compensation - Like I mentioned, I shoot in natural light. This can be tricky. I have shot some pieces of mine in direct sunlight (shadows too harsh), under a shade tree (inconsistent light), and near a large, bright window. Without using exposure compensation near my window, I had to edit all my photos to lighten them. Editing can be time consuming and may leave the colors looking different from reality, which adds even more time for correcting the photos. On this camera, you even get a preview on the screen as to how the different exposure settings will look. This is an enormous timesaver and makes the chore of listing my items a little...ok, a LOT less painful. Download and they are ready for listing!

Here are some examples of"progression".
Holy harsh shadows Batman!  Not to mention this was taken outside in 20 degree Wisconsin weather.

Taken outdoors and not really in focus.

Yep...not in focus and a ray of sunshine on lower right.

Getting a little better, but way too dark.

Ok, starting to get worthy of posting on Etsy.  I taped up waxed paper on the window to diffuse the direct sunlight.

Nice close-up, horrible background.

Making progress on backgrounds!  Inconsistent light (under a shade tree).

A little better!

Finally!  This what I was aiming for!

Experimenting with depth of field.

Experimenting with angles.

Love this one.  Great lighting and great representation of the actual colors of the earrings.

Close-up to show detail.

Experimenting with late day sunlight.  I had to remove  a lot of yellow...the dreaded editing.

Love the gleam on this copper bracelet.

Hundreds of photos and experimenting with cameras, lighting, backgrounds and arrangements later, I'm very pleased with the results.  

July 23, 2012

First Custom Order

Just today, I sent off my first custom bridal party order for earrings on Etsy.  The woman who ordered came to me wanting to know if I could make one of my designs with different color pearls.  OF COURSE I will do that! How already done, she was very specific about the colors to use (Swarovski Lavender and Night Blue!), AND she paid before I started!  I wouldn't mind a few of those orders a week.

July 19, 2012

July 13, 2012

Ah, Summer Flowers!

One of my favorite things on earth is the back deck on my home.  We added the deck several years ago because there was no way to the back yard on the back side of the house.  In the logical place to have a deck door, the previous owners had a very large window.  It was begging to be knocked out and turned in to the gateway of a great place to relax in the summer.  So that's what we did!
Since I've decided to become unemployed, I often have my coffee in the early morning sun.  I love soaking in the rays before it gets too warm for me and I must retreat to central air.
These are some photos of some of the many flowers and veggies I grow in pots on the deck:

I hope you are enjoying your summer too!

July 10, 2012

Goodbye, Artfire....

As much as I hate to give up on things, I have shut down my Artfire shop.  I tried for 3 months, and got plenty of views (2300+), but no sales.  I did an experiment that sealed Artfire's fate in my eyes.  I did a huge push on it and did a lot of back linking for several days.  I got significant traffic from Stumbleupon.  Great!  Except I noticed when I DIDN'T spend 2 hours a day (or more) promoting and back linking, I got very few incoming URL's. The next thing that sealed their fate was not seeing my listings in Google searches as I had previously.  This was apparently due to a Google update.

I actually LOVED Artfire's interface and seller's tools.  Etsy could learn a thing or two from these guys.  It's hard to drop something you've stuck so much time into, but the monthly cost and work to keep it going made me feel as though I was just spinning my wheels and not actually going anywhere.  So, I'm dedicating my time to the shops that actually make sales for me:  Etsy, Yardsellr and Listia.

Goodbye, Artfire.  It wasn't you, it was me ;)

June 14, 2012


I've been loving the jade lately :)