Giving back creatively.

To be able to follow your dreams and live each day for the most part enjoying what you do is a blessing. As I reported in a previous post it’s also absolutely hard work, but worth it overall.

To take it one step further and be able to give back to the community whilst enjoying your work is double happiness. My goal here at JC Lane Jewellery, apart from creating stylish goodies is to select a worthy cause each month just to share the love and donate a certain percentage of the proceeds from a range toward this. It might just be a small sum but to those less fortunate it really can make a huge difference.

First cause off the rank is Save the Childrens group because little people who are disadvantaged from a young age are more likely to remain disadvantaged through youth and subsequently adulthood without the appropriate support, guidance and networks at disposal so please help to break this cycle of disadvantage. It might seem a small gesture but as they say big things have small beginnings.

The range I have created for this charity are the gorgeous twisted bracelets in stylish colour combos. Each have a brass charm engraved with the words, Love, Hope, Imagine, Peace & Believe.

To realise your creations can contribute in some small way in benefiting others who might find themselves in need would really make for a truly rewarding experience in this venture of mine…one bead at a time, a difference can be made.

Available soon at  http://jclane.com.au

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Wow….that sounds like fun?

The response ‘wow, that sounds like fun’ is often elicited when folks enquire what I’ve been up to in the past few months so I will give a run down of the ‘WOW so fun’ factors of my upcoming jewellery business.

The past few months have seen me tinkering between various tasks, all foreign to me in order to get my JC Lane Jewellery website up and running. My web designer from Plankton web designs has been ever so patient & accommodating.

Days & nights consist of designing pieces, sourcing materials, waiting patiently for components to arrive if they ever do, hand making each piece, sometimes taking days to complete, more waiting for components to arrive, culminating in bouts of crippling neck pain hunched over my humble workbench.

Now comes the tedious process of pricing of each piece which initially involves costing each tiny intricate material involved with sometimes 10 or more little beads & bits. Many jewellery artisans would understand this has to one of the most challenging tasks & can often resort to the good ol eyeballing method ie rough estimate but I prefer to use a formula.

Handmade jewellery always tend to be relatively more expensive and for a well justified reason. The time & effort involved in designing each piece, sourcing the materials, long hours burning the midnight, oil hand making each piece sometimes taking up to days to complete, factoring in overhead, labour, set up, & marketing costs certainly justifies the slightly higher price point & it’s important for jewellery artists not to under price themselves out of business.

Now for measuring each piece, sometimes chain by chain for a piece with 20 or so chain tassels,(note to self, never design with long chains again) recording everything on a spreadsheet for reference.This particular spreadsheet often features vividly in my dreams….or nightmares.

Then comes the descriptions for each piece, rethinking, rewriting, analysing,rewording and then simply realizing my sanity slowly diminishing……

Now comes the bane of my life…photography shoots. The mention of photo shoots used to make me want to crawl into hole. Perfecting the photos with sometimes a few reshoots, testing different placement positions, to use or not to use model, mannequin,branch or other various props & then the long slow arduous post processing of the shots to ensure the photos do justice to the actual jewellery piece whilst maintaining a clean sharp look overall.

Thankfully my multi-talented cousin Ray has kindly offered his knowledge, expertise & extreme patience in this field. Jewellery pieces do not take well to commands and will simply not position themselves, thus a range of nimble tools from tweezers to toothpicks is required to assist in the often time-consuming fiddly positioning of each piece. However the shoots are definitely becoming easier and I’m extremely pleased with what we have achieved to date.

All the above plus lots of little but nonetheless necessary bits & pieces to sort out in between, business card designs, packaging materials, researching marketing options, business plan write-up and the list goes on and on.

So you can see it’s not all fun & games but mostly it’s extremely rewarding building something from scratch and conquering each little milestone. For anyone thinking of starting your own little business I would say planned persistance with a major dash of insanity is the key ingredient in this adventure and oh don’t forget to have some ‘fun’ along the journey.

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My Recipe Bucket List

After a bout of neck pain I decided to swap my jewellery pliers instead for a wooden spoon. I have a recipe bucket list which is a list of recipes I’ve come across that I would love to attempt.The operative word here is attempt.

First on my list was chocolate crackle pop on a paddle stick for something a little novel. Halfway through tackling this sticky challenge I had a much better understanding of the pressures the masterchef contestants must be under & I didn’t even have a time limit imposed nor little George chop chopping in my face. Finally close to midnight, sweet victory was mine. Happy to tick this off the list!

Next on my list was slow cooked pork crackling. My main focus really was the cracking as this aspect usually seems to make or break of the dish. Surprisingly,it was slightly easier than I’d anticipated. Slow cooking just takes a little prep, patience and monitoring but well worth it for the soft, tender, juiciest cuts of meat and of course the crispy, bubbly, crackling skin. Big tick to this!

Now oven cooked chicken has always been a bit of a mystery to me as the meat usually ends up tough, dry and flavorless, that is until I came across food genius Heston Blumenthal’s slow cooked chicken recipe. I began to understand the beauty of slow cooking after stuffing my face with the finished results.Since starting my JC Lane jewellery venture I’d almost forgotten the amazing therapeutic effects of cooking and from now on will try to balance my time a little more as I have much to tick off my recipe bucket list.