New Jewelry Model

We received our new dress form (who will become our jewelry and clothing model) and the goal this week was to get her outfitted so I can start to shoot photos for social media and the online store. Monday Mother received a gel shot for her knee and there is lots of great shopping around the area. She was feeling good and I noticed a thrift shop that looked nice so we popped in. I wanted to see if we could find any small size clothing to fit the model. The store did turn out to be very nice and I found several pieces of clothing to fit her. We then stopped by Mother's favorite antique mall and I was surprised to see quite a bit of clothing we could use there, all from the same vendor. We pulled the entire outfit below right from the vendor's mannequin. I was looking for some bohemian clothing to go with most of the silver jewelry as well as outfits which would compliment the Native American / Southwest and Mexican jewelry and we were able to put several outfits together from what we found.

I started with shooting the vintage reproduction Mexican silver jewelry from the Frida collection. This necklace is amazing - it is a Mexican kissing love birds wedding necklace and I have the matching flower dangle earrings as well. I did not buy a wedding dress for the model but hopefully anyone thinking of it for their wedding will be able to visualize it. Mother had the good idea to hang matching earrings from the lapel of the jacket since the model does not have a place to hang earrings on her head. I added a different background for each necklace or pendant and there are still many more backgrounds to choose from. For online listings, I will have three shots of the jewelry gradually coming in closer as well as photos of the pieces in their entirety and not on the model. I will be posting the new pieces on Facebook and Instagram once they are added to the online store. Looking forward to getting into a routine with this!

The model does not have hair so I was thinking headdresses would be a great way to complete the look for the Native American and Mexican jewelry. I envisioned succulents for the former and flowers for the latter. I did some searching on Etsy and did not quite find what I was looking for. Mother to the rescue! She is great at flower arranging and completed the entire floral design course at Harper College. We first went to Goodwill - they had a lot of random flowers but not enough to really put something together. We selected a wreath with fruit and waited in line to check out. The cashier took everyone in line and when we approached her, she said "I'm closed!" There was no one behind us and we had one item. There were about 6 people in the other line so we left. I was glad in a way because I did not really want the fruit.

We hopped over to Michael's and found everything we needed there. It was all 50% off and best of all brand new! There were so many succulents to choose from but we narrowed it down as well as selecting flowers for the crown. They only had thin headbands at Michael's so our last stop was Ulta to pick up some wide padded ones. Mother whipped them up and they turned out amazing! The floral is featured in the top photo. I think it looks so cute with the dress we found at the antique mall. This vintage Mexican sterling silver collar necklace looks so much better on a model as opposed to trying to photograph it by itself. I have many incredible vintage Mexican silver necklaces and once I complete this week's paperwork I will have some more time to devote to capturing the photos. We will debut the succulent headdress next week but it turned out stunning. I think this will take the social media postings and online sales to the next level. I am loving the Pixelcut app, it is really helping to give the photos a different look. I know many websites stick to the plain white background but I like to mix things up a bit and not look like everyone else.

This week we made some plans for our eventual trip back to Chicago. Mother is going to fly home overnight on April 1, it is the only non-stop flight at the time. It is not a problem because she is a 24/7 person anyway. Kuochun is going to fly here on the evening of April 5 and then the next day the Tucson Gem Show begins. I have spent the past several days trying to figure out pet-friendly lodging for Tucson but have been running into lots of road blocks. One spot had a TON of rules, a four page rental agreement and said if your dog barks once you're out of there! I said we are ideal tenants but I cannot guarantee that Vivi will never bark in the span of six days. I never heard back from them. There were a couple of adorable villas but when I looked up the neighborhoods the crime rating was an F. Other spots are about 40 minutes north of town but they do not allow commercial vehicles. I would either have to rent a car or have the graphics removed from the Briesmobile. I have been thinking about that for a while because they are outdated and emphasize the store rather than estate sales. A hotel room is a possibility but Kuochun snores up a storm and the last time we tried staying in the same room on a trip I was a zombie because I did not get any sleep. This trip was to San Francisco and we stayed in Half Moon Bay, this meant there was a winding drive each way through the mountains every time we wanted to go to town. Not a good combination when I am terrified of heights and on no sleep.

There is an anti-snoring device that can be worn on the wrist like a watch (Kuochun does not want to wear anything on his face) but there is only a 60%-70% chance that it will work. He did say although he is not sure if it will work he would be willing to give it a try. I contacted a pet sitter through the website Rover who sounded terrific, she said she was going to call me after 6:00 today but I did not hear from her. Maybe she will call tomorrow. I explained Vivi to her wanting to be transparent but maybe it scared her off. Kuochun is always a great support and would like to go to Tucson with me but at this point the best option may be for me to drive on my own and take a couple of day trips. It is about 1 3/4 hours away but a very boring drive. At least I would have satellite radio with me! The hiccup is that two of the shows start on April 7 and the third starts on April 10. It would be a challenge to get through the two shows in one day but at least one of the shows has downsized due to the pandemic and will be easier to navigate. This time next week it all will be figured out!

Regardless of what happens with Tucson, Kuochun, Vivi and I will start the trek back home sometime after April 21. We will keep an eye on the weather and hopefully we will have a lot better luck than the trip here. I am very appreciative that Kuochun is giving Mother some relief, the driving trip was stressful for her. He and I will have a great time!

Work wise, I had a setback this weekend when I was hit with a bad bout of food poisoning starting overnight Saturday. I have a lot of paperwork in my near future! I am very grateful that both the IRS and the state of Illinois have pushed back the tax deadline (and payment of quarterly taxes) to May 17. I keep up with recording income as I go but always feel like I run out of time recording all of the expenses. Every year at this time I tell myself I am going to record expenses as I go as well but time always gets away from me. Kuochun mailed me a bunch of receipts and I will try to do what I can before I leave so the burden is not quite as great when I return home.

Signing off for this week, see you next time!