Jewelry Props Are In

I am happy to report that the wood jewelry props that I ordered on Etsy finally came in. It took a couple of extra weeks due to the size of my order but the seller kept in pretty good contact. Everything arrived safely and was packaged beautifully. I took an afternoon to play around with what I have and I love the props. The only thing is the larger mannequins are huge, too large even for my giant light box. But all is not lost, I will be able to use them for display at the pop-up sales. I see that the Etsy shop is taking a break but I will definitely plan to order more once I use what I have for a while and see what else I could use.

I am glad that I got the three different neutral colors - white wash as shown above, toffee and black. The pieces above are Gem Show finds from Mexico - sterling silver and turquoise from Elysium Inc. They represent some of the finest new artists in Mexico. Below are some of the earring holders combined with a piece of petrified wood that I already had. I thought these pieces were fire so I added a gradient background in fire colors. All of these pieces are available for sale! The pendants are by acclaimed Navajo artist Vincent Platero, those in the know recognize his unique style immediately.

While I found during my afternoon experiment that the small light box is working great for these little groupings, I am not getting the same result making larger groups with the giant light box. I have not been happy with the way the colors look, I cannot explain it but they just do not look as professional. I am going to try taking some of the Replica Surfaces outside to see if I can do better in natural light. I have so many photos to shoot that I cannot spend an hour on each one tweaking camera settings and images in Photoshop. I need an efficient system. I could not resist and purchased three more Replica Surfaces but they are a beautiful collection and will look great with the Toffee props. They are called Watercolor Floral, Cognac Leather and Adobe and they all mix and match. Next time I go to Arizona I will bring the Replica Surfaces there - the back patio is the perfect place to shoot photos as it is private and the weather is beautiful 98% of the time. I believe Arizona will be the major place for me to post items online, it is just too difficult to find the time during the busy estate sale season. I invested in the Replica Surfaces carrying case so they will be easy to get out there on a driving trip. Now all I need is a driving partner!

Speaking of getting out to Arizona, there are no plans just yet. Right now the home is not too livable because construction was never started due to the ongoing insurance issues. Materials have been coming in - the living room is filled with kitchen and bathroom cabinets and the garage has all the flooring. All of the first floor bedroom items are stored upstairs. We do still have the kitchen, dining and family room areas though as well as the back patio! I am feeling a bit encouraged because although it was difficult I was able to successfully complete my homework and now my attorney is ready to contact the insurance company. I am sure hoping things can be resolved amicably without a long fight.

I receive real estate updates on Scottsdale homes near me and found that the home sale is now complete on the one neighbor across the street who was so nice to us. I am sorry that we did not have the chance to say goodbye to him. He and his wife lived in Golden Keys for 30 years and did handsomely well on their investment. But I noticed in the real estate writeup for his home there was a mention of Golden Keys being featured in the September 2021 issue of Phoenix Home & Garden Magazine. I looked it up and was able to read the article online. I loved it but the only thing I did not agree with was the reference to the exteriors being modest looking. I think they are so interesting, cohesive without being monotonous. There are association rules for paint colors which is good and varying levels of landscape design but just about everyone has great taste. In addition to the history of the Golden Keys development four current homeowners were highlighted. Two of them are avid estate sale goers! Here is the link to the article. I am so glad to have found this beautiful website and will plan to subscribe to the magazine. Inside Four Idyllic Town Homes in Scottsdale's Historic Golden Keys. It really made me look forward to getting there and putting this home back together so we can enjoy it! For now though we will see what happens.

Mother is doing better after her fall, we are in the midst of another round of doctor's appointments. We saw the primary care physician last week and up this coming week are the dermatologist, lung and neuro doctors. It will be the six month follow-up visit for the neuro doctor. Mother has come a long way since then for which I am very grateful. The dream would be to get her back to normal. The weather is starting to cool off which is helping her breathing and she is thinking about getting her driver's license. I will need to take her out for some practice first. Her neighborhood is always bustling with activity and across the street there is no sidewalk so it is necessary to constantly keep eyes and ears open. The neighbor across the street came flying out of her driveway one day as I was backing out and nearly clobbered me.

This past week Mother decided to sign up for Seattle Sutton Healthy Eating. For a long time their office was in the same strip mall as our second store, right down the street from me on Northwest Highway. They have now moved to an office building on Central Road in Mount Prospect, between my home and her home. I had a wrong perception about SSHE, I thought it was bland food for elderly people. I was looking into meal plans for Mother and thought to look it up because I liked the idea of being able to pick up the food rather than paying for delivery and having to deal with so many packing materials, as was the case with Freshly. SSHE is all about fresh foods with no preservatives, there is a weight loss, vegetarian and maintenance program. The program is the only one designed by dieticians and is heart healthy and low sodium which is exactly how Mother should be eating. When I viewed the website I was very pleasantly surprised to see the quality and variety of the food. Mother has been on the program for a week now and has been doing well. She is very hard to please but really likes the food overall. We were able to swap out the two weekly fish dishes with vegetarian dishes, she did not love those but the menu rotates every five weeks. The man in the local office was very nice and he said there may be a few dishes she will not like but stay true to the course because there is so much variety. I pick up the food twice weekly on Mondays and Thursdays. I found that if their open hours of 3-7 PM do not work for me, I can go into the office on the honor system with a door code and pick up the bag of food from the cooler. We went to Fresh Thyme after the doctor's appointment to pick up the recommended healthy snacks and I set her up with Discovery + so she is good to go! I might sign up myself, I am more of a particular eater because I do not like cooked vegetables but I see so far I would eat at least 85% of the meals. Kuochun will eat anything so I could give him the meals I could not eat. He said "let's all go on the diet!" I think after my birthday will be a good time.

We have been hit with several undeserved bad online reviews recently so a goal next week will be to calmly answer them. We are such reasonable, easygoing people, we are there to help, all I want is for everyone involved to be happy with our service. Anyone who knows me personally knows I literally will not hurt a fly. I try not to take bad reviews personally but it is my life's work so I cannot help but do so. It is most amazing to me that folks that we sold over $71,000 for and mostly antiques which are not nearly as popular as they used to be could possibly be unhappy. Two of the reviews are under names of people that we do not know and the facts are incorrect, it makes me wonder if they are competitors trying to make our overall rating lower. At any rate they are mean-spirited people trying to take down a small business who is defenseless other than to make a response stating the facts of what really happened. It has given me more than one sleepless night (last night being one of them!) Anyone can slander a business with no consequences. Thankfully Facebook gives businesses the option of whether to participate in reviews. The others (Google, Yelp) should do the same. At least there have been potential clients who see the slander, read my responses and still decide to use us due to the reasonableness of the responses. Unfortunately I am sure there are many who do not though. It goes with the territory of being number one in the marketplace. The setback is that I have to take my valuable time to respond to these reviews but I think it is important that the true facts are put on record.

As always, I am a glass half-full person and will move onward and upward! These past two years have been tough both personally and professionally but the plan is to have this be a low point and go forward from here. First up tonight will be a new round of jewelry after not being able to post these past two Sundays. See you next time!