Sunday, October 30, 2011

Craziness All Around...

I think I am amidst a whirl-wind…

And there is no end in sight…

At least it feels that way...

It has been a summer of tests.
Physiological tests...
There was the spleen and low platelet scare with my husband (he is ok…)

My cousin lost her dear, young son in August.

My dad just found out he has cancer and is traveling up here for surgery & treatment starting this week…
Please pray for a safe surgery, fast recovery, and positive results…

Three grandmothers are under extended care of nurses and close family members.

And Saturday was the funeral for my step-brother Toby.
His death was sudden, so unexpected - and it is so sad for everyone that ever met him.
And especially so for everyone close to him.
I still can't believe he is gone...
I kept expecting to hear his loud voice and bigger presence enter the room where we all gathered for a family lunch after his funeral. 
In a room full of very loud, emotional Italian family members - it was still a bit too quiet.
It just didn't seem right to not have his voice bellowing comments over everyone else...
It shook me to the core - sitting in that loud silence.

But then my heart and mind search to find peace. 
To find comfort. 
And the one really big thing that keeps coming back to me is that in his death, he was able to give himself to help others.
He was an organ donor.
And because he passed from a brain aneurysm, parts of him still live on.
People were called that day with the news that they or their loved one was to receive a transplant that could save their lives…

Oh - and did I mention he was a US Marine?
He was always brave & strong to me.
I always looked up to him - being 8 years older than me & me being maybe 4 or 5 when I met him...
But knowing that he helped others even after he was no longer here -
that just takes him to a whole other level of hero to me.
What an amazing person...
Simply amazing!
Such a goof ball of an older brother.
So beloved by all of his family & friends.
His is missed so much already.
I pray for peace especially for his wife & children. 
And for his parents & my siblings…
May everyone stay together and be strong during such a difficult time.

Early Bird Winners...

Did you comment on blogs for the Early Bird Sale hosted by Melinda Orr?
Did you stop back to see if you are a winner on any of the blogs?
See Melinda's blog HERE to see who won the big old giveaway…

Here are my winners:
For the blog commenters $50 gift certificate giveaway:
Out of the 77 comments: #39 Shaiha
 For the listings purchased during the sale $50 gift certificate giveaway:
The winner (Lena) purchased a silk custom listing:
(I just used this generic updated photo for the listing…)

And I've contacted people through Etsy that qualified for the additional $15 gift certificates for their purchases over $100…

This was such a great event!
I hope to participate in the next one…

Thank you everyone!!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Makes More Sense - Hopefully...

Are you a visual person?
I am...
Do you get overwhelmed when looking at something and move onto the next thing fast?
I do…
Do you really enjoy making handmade jewelry as gifts or giving handmade as gifts?
I really do…
And what about getting things on sale and getting chances to win more just for buying things on sale?
Oh yeah! Sign me up!!!

Ok - today is the last day to go to my Etsy shop and use coupon code EARLYBIRD20 to get 20% off items in my shop - until midnight EST tonight (9 hours and counting down). 
For every listing you purchase in my Etsy shop (as of right now as I write this post only 11 listings are qualifying), you get a chance to win a $50 gift certificate.

I've got more giveaways listed HERE on my other blog post. 
Melinda Orr has a HUGE giveaway on her blog & links to other artists participating in sales & giveaways.
All ends Midnight tonight!

So what have I done to make things more simple for shoppers?
I've organized my Etsy shop and grouped the items in "temporary order".

(I can make any of these shards into earrings btw)…

Page 5 Toggle Shards - Rustic glazes!

(I am making more cutout flower pieces - order one today with the sale & get it in 1-2 weeks)

Page 9 & 10 - Donut pieces & misc pendants

Pages 11 & 12 - Silk Knot Bundles - OOAK palettes
Page 13 - Custom "you pick the color" silk listings for easier shopping to get what you want without having to convo back and forth. Although I'm happy to create any custom listing for you…
I always try to keep these listings to the back of my shop so it is easiest to find them all together.

And with that - this girl is off to get an Elephant and Rapunzel to a costume parade…

Have fun shopping - and as always - THANK YOU!!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hand Painted Silk Color Update...

I have been trying to get to this project for months now, but things just seem to keep creeping in.
But I've chomped away at it little by little and have gotten to this point!

Updated Silky and Fairy Ribbons and 2mm Silk Ribbon Strands…
By Number (last time I did it by color palette).
2011 Marsha Neal Studio Silk Update Set 1
2011 Marsha Neal Studio Silk Update Set 2
2011 Marsha Neal Studio Silk Update Set 3
Some colors have been discontinued because they were custom mixes that ran out of stock, they were discontinued colors (by Ute) or because there was a new color that was pretty close to it and I picked the newer color (one must try to stick to some kind of budget right?).

Now to just get all of my Etsy listings updated…

I was also informed by Ute that a price increase would be coming down the line in early 2012.
Not sure if this will affect my retail pricing yet - not at the fewer quantities anyway.
Most likely you will see the price change at larger quantities & wholesale where there are deeper discounts.

Also, the Marsha Neal Studio Website is still being worked on in behind the scenes.
We're trying to find a cart (near impossible) that will take the discounts I offer with silks.
The way it is set up & has always been is that I will correct the pricing before your cc is charged.
With the cart update though, your cc gets charged automatically, then there are credits and all that mess to take care of.

We'll see how it all works out…

Oh, and now that I've gotten my silk colors update - I'm able to work on my new monthly color palette contest with the silks where you help me pick out palettes of 5 or 10 colors, then they get voted on and the ones that win get the chance to be named after the person that created the palette. 
And of course there will be silks to be had by the winners…
More to come!

What do you think about the colors being by number vs color palette?
If I was designing, I would probably prefer by palette.
Ordering is easier by number though… Hmmm - what to do?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Early Bird Designer Sale and Giveaway In 2 Days!

It's almost time!!!
Two more days until the sales start…

This amazing group of designers
specialize in handmade jewelry components and findings. Take advantage of our sale this 
Wednesday - Friday 
October 26-28
just in time for holiday shows & gift designs ~ 
You can still enter for the
to enter and see all the wonderful pieces!

Each designer is offering a free gift with purchase & discount 
this Wed-Fri ~ Many of these designers rarely offer sales ~ A great opportunity!
Don't miss it!

Here are the artists, the sale and gifts they are offering: 
Click on the pictures above to visit their stores!
Be sure to visit each of their blogs ~  We have some new additions so be sure to

1. Melinda Orr Designs ~ 15% off entire store (Use coupon code EARLYBIRD15)
Free gift ~ a sampling of copper ear wires, rivets, textured charms and copper cleaning pad~  
Visit her blog to comment to win 

2. Kristi Bowman Designs ~ 15% off  entire store (use coupon code EARLYBIRD15)
Also 15% off her Artfire store

3.  Marla's Mud ~  25% off  entire store (use coupon code EARLYBIRD25)
Free gift ~ Goodie bag $20 with $50 purchase & goodie bag & free shipping over $75
Visit her blog to comment to win 

4. SKYE JEWELS ~ 10% off  entire store (use coupon code EARLYBIRD10)
Free Gift ~ surprise!
Visit her blog to comment to win

5. Sue Beads ~ 15% off  entire store (use coupon code EARLYBIRD15)
Free Gift ~ Free pair of handcrafted ear wires in brass or copper with earring pairs
Visit her blog to comment to win

6. Starry Road Studio  ~15% off  entire store (use coupon code EARLYBIRD15)
Free Gift ~ Free ceramic charm for orders over $25
Visit her blog to comment to win

7. Staci Louise ~ 15% off  entire store (use coupon code EARLYBIRD15)
Free Gift ~ surprise bead mix
Visit her blog to comment to win

8.  Marsha Neal Studio ~ 20% off  entire store (use coupon code EARLYBIRD20) 
Special Gift ~ orders over $100 (after discount) receive a $15 gift certificate
Visit her blog to comment to win

9. Fired Up Ladies ~ 25% off  entire store (use coupon code EARLYBIRD25) 
Free Gift ~ A surprise bead  with your order
Special Gift ~ To the first 5 that spend over $50 an additional $20 gift certificate
Visit her blog to comment to win

10. Lisa Peters Art ~ 20% off  entire store (use coupon code EARLYBIRD20) 
Free Gift ~ Surprise bead or button with your order

Remember to comment on my previous post to be entered into the drawing.
Comments on this post won't be included (have to keep it contained somehow right?!)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

It Is Saturday Night Specials Time!!!

It is Saturday Night Specials Time again!
Sale runs from 5pm EST Sat to 6am EST Sun.
My Coupon code is SNS20 for 20% off your retail order from my MarshaNealStudio Etsy shop.
A few months ago I heard about this Etsy Team through Aquariann's Blog.
I thought what the heck is a Saturday Night Special and how do you get involved?
Well, what I found out is this:

To add your shop and help promote the team:
1. Anyone can join the team
2. Specials run from 5pm EST Sat to 6am EST Sun
(Hence the "Saturday Night Special")
3. Use team tags in listings and treasuries.
4. List your shop special (coupon code or deal) and post the url of one item from your shop in the specific Saturday post on the team page so that you can be recognized for running a special that night.
5. Update your shop "info & appearance" to list your special & paste a link back to the current SNS thread.

This is a fun team that rules the Saturday Night Treasury Thread with SNS themed treasuries.
And you get to "hang out" with a bunch of fun people!
Don't worry, people with shops aren't always glued to their computer the entire time - just pop in here and there, create treasuries, help spread the word about the specials going on…

So if you love buying handmade:
And are looking at getting something handmade on SALE…
This is your place to be to shop every Saturday night!
Here is a link to the SNS thread for 10/22/11.

Just scroll down the listed shops and see what they are selling and what they are offering for their special tonight, and enter the coupon code at checkout - or whatever directions they provide in their shop header.

Here are a bunch of treasuries created for tonight's SNS too (appearing after 5pm EST)
This gives you a great visual of the different items that are on sale.
And if you are viewing this post after this SNS sale,
Then make sure to check back on the next Saturday Night on

Feel free to share links through twitter, FB, etc!
Happy Saturday Night!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Color Palette Blog Walk - Round Three...

Welcome to the third round of Brandi's Color Palette Blog Walk.
This is my first time on this blog hop, but not my time pulling colors from photos that inspire me.

The theme of this round is "What is the color of your joy?"

For me right now in my life - my greatest joy is watching my little ones…
To watch their faces light up…
To delight in their antics...
To hear them laugh and see them smile...
To watch them explore the world around them and interact with nature…
To wonder about the people they will grow up to be...

One of the other things that brings me great joy is the use of my hand lens and my iPhone.

When running around with two little ones outside I have found that expensive digital SLR's are just too bulky for me to tote. 
And I am too concerned that it would get damaged if I had to drop it fast to catch one of my adventurers…
Diaper & extra clothes bags have been priority in my life for almost 4 years now.
Oh, I can't wait until Riley (almost 2) is potty trained - then we can really pack light with just the extra clothes...
So the joy that the freedom that my iPhone with Hipstamatic app, and pocket hand lens gives me is priceless.

From my color palettes do you think I'm into muted rich tones?
I find these tones very soothing - which also brings me joy.
Well, the thought of soothing, quite time does anyway…
Not that I ever have any of that (or that I ever will again)...

Here are some of the other artists participating in this blog hop.
Make sure to stop by and check out what brings them joy…

Francesca at Francesca Watson Designs --
Lori at Pretty Things --
Marsha at Marsha Neal Studio Blog --
Cindy at Sweet Bead Studio --
Kerry at Kab's Concepts --
Cynthia at Ornamental Style --
Linda at Linda's Bead Blog & Meanderings --
Emily at Good Things* --
Erin at Treasures Found --
Brandi at Brandi Girl Blog --
Jenni at Jenni's Beads -- 
Shari at Exploring the Wonders of Life --

Oh, and by the way, if you like color inspirations like this and want to help me out with picking out some color palettes for the silks I sell in my Etsy shop, sign up for my email newsletter.
I'm almost done with the silk color palette photo update, so I'll be sending out info soon…
And there are sales & giveaways on the horizon - so you don't want to miss out.

Thanks for stopping by!

Think about it every day, realize what it is, then be thankful for it…
Where do you find your joy?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Early Bird Designer Sale and Giveaway!

I'm participating Melinda Orr's Component Designer Sale and Giveaway!!!
After reading this post, follow my blog and comment.
Then go over to Melinda's blog and leave a comment after reading the post.
Why? That will get you 2 entries to win her giveaway.
See her blog for all the details…
This is a crazy huge sale and giveaway and lots of shops to buy from with giveaways of their own (like mine…)

My Sale in my Etsy shop runs from Wed 10/26/11 to Fri 10/28/11.
Use Coupon Code: EarlyBird20 for 20% off your retail order in my Marsha Neal Studio Etsy shop.
All orders using the coupon code will ship out early the next week.

My Giveaway is a $50 gift certificate to my MarshaNealStudio Etsy shop.
How do you get a chance at winning it?
Well, for every "listing" you purchase in my etsy shop during the sale & by using the coupon code,
you get one chance for the gift certificate.
2 listings = 2 chances, 3 listings = 3 chances…
You get it right?

As an added holiday bonus (who can't use a little something extra right?!):
If your purchase is over $100 ($125 before using the coupon code) during this sale I will give you an automatic $15 retail gift certificate to use in my Etsy shop, which you can use starting 10/29/11.
This added bonus gift certificate is only good until 11/30/11 though, and yes, you can get one for every $100 you spend.

Sign up for my email newsletter for extra coupon codes and insights on things I've got in the works…
I've got a contest coming up for helping me pick out palettes of silk colors where you pick out palettes, winners are picked, silks are sold, promotions occur, winners have chances at winning silks, silks and more silks…

10/22/11 UPDATE:
Because you are all so cool…
Another $50 gift certificate winner to be picked on 10/29/11.
This third giveaway is for a commenter here on this blog post:
1. Comment if you are a MNS Blog follower (or become one then follow).
2. Sign up for my newsletter then comment you did.
3. Are one of my FB Fans.
4. Follow me on Twitter.
5. You can also just leave a general comment on this post 1x a day up until midnight 10/28/11.

You guys are awesome!!!
Thanks Melinda for hosting this!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Love My Art Jewelry - October Art Spark

I've decided to enter my Porcelain Clay Twirl Shards into the October Art Spark Challenge.
Photo taken by Katy Timney
The theme given by MarieDodd this month is:
Color and Movement
Marsha Neal Studio Porcelain Clay Twirls
This is one jewelry design that I feel just marries the movement of the metal and clay with such great energy…

Here is my description on how the piece relates to this month's challenge:
Color and Movement… 
For October's Art Spark:
My hands form a ball of clay and compress the particles of earth together.
Over texture plates that clay is rolled and takes the form of these clay shards.
The piece is then dipped into glaze vertically and a brush moves down to the tip, removing excess materials.
After firing, the bare clay is visible yet the glaze has gathered in the deep grooves and shows the strength of its color.
Sterling silver is unwound from its coil, measured, cut, filed, bent, hammered, twirled, embellished with glass beads and hammered again.
The silver wire also holds the clay in place and allows it to gently float back and forth, as a trapeze artist using arms to hold tight and extend the length of the legs to create forward swinging movement.
This movement is actually possible because of the way the ear wire is designed to allow the arch to move, which provides the arms a form to hold onto, while the clay piece swings back and forth.
And just enough sparkle with the glass bead to reflect the light and catch a persons eye.
They are a joy to wear if you like your ears to have most of the fun :)

 And this last photo is from my work table as I was making a bunch of these earrings for selling in my Etsy shop and through Bellefonte Arts Gallery here locally.

Make sure to stop by the LMAJ blog to see all kinds of great handmade jewelry items!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Finding Color Inspiration...

Where do you find your color inspiration?
iPhone Hipstamatic picture of Venice Beach, FL Fall 2011
I tend to look towards nature…

On Etsy it is amazing to sit and look through tons of Artists work to see their color inspirations and palettes they are drawn to.
Especially paintings and photography.

Can I admit how addicted I am to making treasuries from my favorite items?
The colors alone inspire me...

I'm ok with layers from photoshop or whatever program that enhance the image to take it to the next level…
Actually, I find that visually I prefer it - especially in photographs.
Blurred backgrounds & edges with rich muted colors are stunning.
The Seed by MoonLightPhotography on
Bunny Races by AmberAlexander on
Oh, the colors…
Oh, the artwork!!!
So many talented people out there…

I've got a contest coming up.
Have to come up with a catchy name & parameters.
I would like to have it be a monthly contest.
Has to do with picking out color palettes and translating them into the silks that I sell through my Etsy shop and website.
2mm Silk Knot Bundles of 10 strings
Will have a monthly blog post where people can add their palettes, then favorites will be picked.
You can help get people to vote by posting links through social media outlets. 
Top 3 to 5 will get pulled, and the ones that sell the most in that next month - the winner will get:
1. The silk palette named after them with a thank you link to their Etsy shop in the listing.
2. A bundle of the silk knots in their color palette (qty depends on # sold).
3. Links to their blog and Etsy shop in follow up blog posts about it.

I think bundles that don't "win" can be submitted again.
And that there is a 3 knot, color palette limit to the number of colors each person can submit each month. Not sure though…

What do you think?
Any fun names for the contest?

Check back soon or watch on my FaceBook page for details!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I Heart Macro Fall Harvest & Critters

Here is my entry for this week's I Heart Macro.
Fall Harvest is upon us...
And lots of critters making their last show in the garden for this season...
Hope most overwinter outside and stop trying to make homes in our house.
I love insects and spiders & the like - but not inside…

See what others are posting for I Heart Macro this week:
studio waterstone
Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Second Saturday State of My Studio

Every month I write a post over on the Beads of Clay Blog called:
State of Your Studio
In the BOC calendar, it falls on the Second Saturday of every month.
I've been a bit of a slacker on my MNS blog,
Not writing a post with 2nd Sat deadlines.
But then I have to remind myself that the Inlinkz Gadget is open all month.
And I can write a post, mention BOC and link it up at any time…

Sound like a bit of promotion?
Well, that is where most of my brain power is spent these days.

I am seriously considering creating some online classes about promoting yourself.
Although, I think I am more of an organizer of these things and not really at a promotional stage because I feel that a lot of these don't get the feedback or impact that I "dream" about.
And as an organizer, not quite where I really need to be.
My head has many thoughts that are crazy ideas playing out…
But then reality sets in…
I went to FL to visit with my dad & family because he's got some health issues going on, and I hope that things are ok. We'll see what path he has to go on in a couple of weeks.
Grandma Neal came back with us to visit for two weeks.
She leaves on Tuesday to go back to FL…

And right now, I need to scale back a bit on things I am doing outside of my personal life and Marsha Neal Studio and find my focus again.
My little ones are growing up so fast…
My garden is growing and silently suffering.
Although it would probably say it is doing just fine - without any help from me.
That's what mostly native plant gardens do - grown and take care of themselves.
It is at the end of the growing season, and really all I want to do is get out there and pull the remaining invasives and divide up perennials and put new ones in the ground.

What I should be doing is laying out a better design for my garden.

And for Marsha Neal Studio,
Finding Fall inspiration...
Need to make More little beads.

I am in love with making bracelets with these little beads.
Bracelets available at the Bellefonte Arts Gallery in Wilmington, DE.

I also want to make some toggles with Metal Clay to make more some adjustable silk bracelets.
These use my Fairy Ribbons.
These are simply tie on, and adjustable…
Maybe make or find some other large hole beads without rough parts for the adjustable part.

LeAnne of Summers Studio is an inspiration for grabbing some of that base metal clay to make toggles.
WholeLottaWhimsy for metal clay supplies
Marie Dodd for her ability to look into where you find your creativity.
Oh, and The Painting With Fire Virtual Book Tour - Got to keep up with that!

Here is a quick photo of me, Anita and her sister Chris from Thursdays
NCC Master Gardener trip to the High Line in NYC.
I'll be posting about that amazing trip over on my garden blog soon.
Here is a preview of what it looks like for early fall:
And with that, this girl is off for a mid-morning excursion up to Longwood Gardens with two little cutie pies, a very funny husband, and a seemingly ageless grandmother…