Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Etsy Wholesale

I've been creating jewelry for over 10 years now and today marks a new adventure for my jewelry shop. I've been approved as a Wholesale seller on Etsy Wholesale. Before I applied, I was afraid of becoming overwhelmed (by life in general), but I'm approaching everything these days with eyes wide open. For instance, when I first opened my retail shop, it took over a month before I sold my first true item (to someone other than a friend or relative). There are good odds that my Wholesale experience will be similar, and I usually see a lull in sales through the summer in my retail shop so this is the perfect time to test the waters. 

Plus, being afraid is never going to get me anywhere. I wouldn't be anything I am today if I didn't take chances on things that could potentially be amazing. The worst that could happen in this scenario is no Wholesale buyer wants to stock my jewelry. If I don't try, that's already going to happen. At least if I try, I'll know I have the potential for it to happen. I love my jewelry, especially the new Hidden Inspiration line of rings with the mantras stamped along the inside and beautiful symbols stamped on the outside. Maybe retailers or boutiques will love it too.  Caring Crate, a Canadian subscription service for uplifting items packaged and delivered monthly, already purchased a Wholesale order of my "You are Enough" rings with hearts stamped on the outside (through my Etsy shop). I'm feeling optimistic about this new opportunity. This jewelry shop is like a family member to me now, it's part of who I am and I am so proud of how far it has come. 

Here's a glimpse at my new Wholesale shop...if you want to browse around, you have to be either a Wholesale buyer or seller on Etsy. If you're a retail shopper looking to stock my jewelry, please contact me!


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Choosing a Passion

I've been feeling truly inspired since finishing the Whole30, and I have to give the credit to those healthy choices I made over the 30 days. Now, even though my diet may not be nearly as healthy (I'm currently eating skittles and drinking a Caramel Latte at Barnes n Noble), I'm still feeling the effects of that positive self-treatment.  For instance, I've created over 50 new items for my jewelry shop since before Whole30.

I've decided, even though I love to write and the idea of writing fiction as a career is something I've always dreamed of, I've given in to the lack of time I have in my life right now to dedicate to writing. It's just not happening. During waking hours for my kids, I'm running around getting them dropped off and picked up, with breakfast and dressing and dinner and homework and playing and bathing before and after.  Then from 9 to 4:30, I work for my day job (aka, not jewelry, not writing).  When they're down for bed each night, I spend time with my husband...so the hours of 7 to 9 each night are usually reserved for a couple of shows or a movie. Then, by 9, I'm way too mentally exhausted to stay up past everyone else's bedtimes to write anything worth reading. The jewelry, on the other hand is something I can easily slip into after they go to bed. Turn on a show, drink a glass of wine, make 10 rings.

When I decided to stop working towards writing for the purpose of getting published, I couldn't just shut off those creative urges, and jewelry has always been my way of dealing with some of the overflow, so I realized that I could focus a lot more of those urges at random times throughout the day on working with customers (sending a message while I'm walking back to my car after dropping off my daughter at daycare, for instance). I also find it a lot easier to get mini breaks from my parenting duties to do a couple of quick jewelry creating tasks, the kids are old enough to understand mommy needs breaks and they usually behave well enough for 20 minutes here, 20 minutes there....spending those 20 minutes on something other than Facebook makes me a much happier person. Even as bad as I want to be, I'm just not capable of taking a 20 minute mini-break from making breakfast and putting shoes on to write...it takes me about that long usually to get in the right mental state for it.

So, if you've read this far, this is my explanation for the boost in social media, the boost in new items, and the boost in motivation for Carmella's Jewelry. I have always had two passions, but I tried splitting myself in two for them, and now I'm choosing one to focus on...for now at least. At least until my children are adults (which sounds like a long time, but in the grand scheme of things, I'm okay with putting one of my passions on hold until I can give it the kind of time it deserves).

Now I'll go back to enjoying my Latte and my Mother's Day. Wishing you all a very happy Mother's Day as well.  We're the toughest breed of humans there is, in my opinion.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Tomorrow is My Last Day of Whole30!

I'm on Day 29! I've lost weight, inches around my waist, and the urge to eat junk food every other minute of the day. I'm in a better mental health state and I feel overall a million times healthier than I did 29 days ago. My biggest fear at this point is being done with this specific diet. One suggestion they offer in their book Food Freedom Forever is to set a plan for your life after the reset. So my plan is this:

  • Wine/Alcohol/Beer only on Fridays and Saturdays (stressful Tuesday? no call for a glass of wine, hold off to "unwind" from the entire week with a glass or two of wine on Friday night)
  • Only 1 indulgence per day, every other food I consume should be nourishing and clean/healthy...want a pastry from Barnes n Noble? eat only healthful foods the rest of the day...already had a cinnamon roll for breakfast? skip the pastry at Barnes n Noble--- (only exception is the Friday, Saturday drink...I'm not going to go the rest of my life without a piece of dark chocolate with my glass of wine)

That's about it...that's my plan. I am reintroducing things like steel cut oats, honey, plain whole-fat greek yogurt (I can't stand eggs for breakfast). I'm also reintroducing typical versions of things like Mayonnaise, salad dressing, lunch meat and bacon.

In more jewelry related news, I'm working towards heavily boosting up my shop again. I go through phases every year where I take a fresh look at the items I offer and I think about the type of jewelry I'd like to add and how it fits in with the other items in my shop. Sometimes I'm afraid the mantra rings and bangles are totally unrelated to the fingerprint jewelry and other super personalized stuff (child's drawing, handwriting, footprint keychains). I consider splitting them out to start another shop, but I think the fact that I make fingerprint charms for the bangles is a way I can tie them together. 

The "Be the Change" bangle cuff that I listed with a "proceeds to go charity" has been doing well and I couldn't be more thrilled and excited to be a part of giving back. 


I'm working on new items, like Morse Code rings with that awesome aluminum I've been using to create the Mantra Rings:


They say "Jane" and "Abby" (my daughters' names)
.--- .- -. .    = Jane
.- -... -... -.--    =Abby

I also ordered "Gilder's Paste" because I've been having trouble finding a reliable black ink/enamel/patina. I'm excited to try it. I found a review claiming the black would stay on a stamped piece of metal even after swimming the English Channel. 


Colorado Springs has had some crummy weather lately so I haven't found a good time to photograph these new items, which makes it impossible for me to list them in my shop.

I'll be back more often in the coming weeks with new items and new ideas! 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Winner! Announced on Facebook Post

I announced the winner for 2 new Mantra Rings on Facebook on Friday, March 3rd (my 34th birthday!)...You can go find out who won here! I'll be shipping out the two rings this week.

In other, non-jewelry related news, I'm doing my second Whole30 this month. I started yesterday and I'm off to a good start. Last time I did this was 2014, back before there was a ton of hype about the program. Well, at least, not that I'd heard of at the time--a friend told me about it then and talked me into doing it with her. I lost 10 pounds then, and 2.5 inches from my waist, my butt, thighs, and stomach...Basically proportionally I shrank 2.5 inches. I also ate healthier than I have in my life for 30 days and changed the way I thought about food for...well...until this past year basically..I need another reset.

This time around I've found a lot more foods I'll be able to eat for quick snacks (the thing I struggled with the most last time) and my absolute favorite difference between last time and this time is the fact that I've discovered (and become addicted to) La Croix seltzer water with a hint of flavor. I was a soda drinker my whole life, so this hits the spot.  We've also since purchased a dehydrator and one of those Ninja kitchen blender sets, so I made "Lara Bars" (cashews and dates blended together and flattened into bars) and dried fruits. My husband and I joked that I'll probably overdo it on the healthy foods but I'm okay with it...I needed to fix my diet...it was really awful.

I also got a bike for my birthday and rode about 8 miles today on trails here in Colorado Springs. It was beautiful and such a great change from my typical exercise of choice (running...which is also awesome, but I needed to mix things up). 

In the next few weeks I plan to make a lot more rings/bangles/etc., then go through the tedious process of photographing and listing them in my shop. I got a lot of good ideas from all your posts here and on my Facebook page!  Thanks!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Contest! ...and Newly Added Mantra Rings

I've been falling in love with aluminum these past few weeks.  I started out making cuff bracelets and sort of fell into the idea of creating these mantra rings when I accidentally ordered aluminum that was a little too thin to use for the cuffs I had in mind.  I realized if I cut them down to ring size, they are perfect for stamping smaller mantras and inspirational quotes and daily reminders.  

Here's what I've made so far:

"Write Every Day"

This was the first ring I made, for myself, since I almost always use myself as a guinea pig for new jewelry. I wear it around for a week or two and make adjustments if necessary. I was sitting there with the aluminum, wondering what to stamp. I have a habit of using my rings to remind myself of things...I'll move one to an odd finger when I have something important I need to remember to do, similar to the string tied on a finger in "It's a Wonderful Life". So instead of doing another piece of jewelry with my kids' names on it (I have dozens), I decided to give myself a little reminder that I can see whenever I look down.  That way, on a super busy day when life and work and family and chores take up every waking moment of my day, I'll still have this to remind me that I need to steal a moment to write.  

This inspired a bundle of other inspiring phrases, words and quotes:

"Run Every Day"
"Yoga Every Day"
"Meditate Every Day"
"Choose Joy"
"Smile Every Day"
"You are stronger than you think"
"The Best is Yet to Come"

 The Contest!

I don't do many contests so this is sort of a test run (but it's real, but please bear with me on the minor details). 

The Prize:  

TWO of these stackable rings (you can choose your own mantra/phrase or short inspirational quote or choose one of the above listed mantras).  Shipping is also included (US only).

Ways to Enter:  

1. If you comment on this blog with a new inspirational phrase or short quote or something you'd love to see stamped on a stackable ring like this, you're entered to win. 

2. If you also comment on the Facebook post with an idea for a new ring, you're entered to win.  

3. If you then share the Facebook post, you're entered to win.  

4. If you follow my blog, you're entered to win. 

So if you do all four, you quadruple your chances to win!

 The Fine Print

This contest is only for United States Residents. Shipping is included. Winner will be posted here and on Facebook post on 3/3/2017 (my 34th birthday!). Winner must provide me with mailing address, mantras requested and size (see below for sizing). Winner will be randomly chosen from pool of all entries. 

 I hope you all love these rings as much as I do.  A note on the creation process...I hand stamp these, then cut and sand them down to an adjustable size (small, for sizes 4-6  -  medium, for sizes 7-8  -  large, for sizes 9-10). I hammer them for more strength (aluminum is tough stuff when it's hammered and hardened!), add liquid ink, then polish them up in my tumbler for about 3 hours. This process gives the professional and high quality results you see in the images!  Questions? Comment below, email me at carmella.dillman@yahoo.com or message me on Etsy!

Thanks and I look forward to seeing all your inspiring mantras!  You'll definitely be seeing some of them on upcoming rings!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

New Listings are Popping Up

I've been adding new styles and I'm excited about the new year and new ideas for my jewelry shop. I bought a Silhouette Curio over the holidays and I'm planning to cut out stencils that I'll use to make new shapes with my metal clay. It also engraves into metal clay, which I plan to take advantage of more in the coming months. I wish I had some way to create more time for myself, but I know that's a problem everyone relates to, so I will just have to make the most of the few hours I have a day to work on jewelry (while also spending time with the family).

Here are some of my new listings:

Somewhere Over the Rainbow Mantra Bangle Bracelet 
(you can add or remove charms to this one, it opens on one side)

Be the Change Aluminum Hand-Stamped Cuff 
(I'm charging $25 for this and $20 of the purchase goes to the charity of your choice)

Handwriting Bracelet In Sterling Silver with Sterling Silver Chain

This is an old listing with new photos and new options 
(the reverse side with names and/or birth stats)

Hope you like them!  Let me know if you have any ideas for new listings!


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Carmella's Jewelry Gift Guide

Each link opens in a new tab, so feel free to browse through and come back to check out all the gift ideas linked below. These are the items I think are perfect for family, friends, and of course, for you!

For Couples:

For Mothers & Grandmothers/Godmothers:

The Holidays are Coming...

I feel a bit like that title came out more ominously than I intended.  I love the holiday season for my jewelry shop.  Since opening my Etsy shop, it has been the busiest time of the year for jewelry and the idea of creating such personal and meaningful items for people all around the country makes me feel so much more joyful throughout the holiday season.

It definitely adds to the stress that seems to accompany the festive season, but it's a good stress.  I feel like I'm contributing to that exciting gift giving tradition on a less commercial level.  Most of the things I make are intended to be worn to keep the thought of a loved one close...either by making a keychain from newborn footprints, or a ring from the fingerprints of two children.  It's definitely my favorite time of year!

And now, with two jewelry shops open, it's going to add extra challenges.  I look forward to all the heartwarming, and sometimes heartbreaking, custom orders.  I'm so glad I can be a part of the Etsy community and that people choose my work to gift to their family and friends.  It's truly an honor.

Following this post will be a gift buying guide I created with links to items in my shop I think people will love.  Happy shopping!!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


I really, really, really love these bracelets...like, a lot.  So I'm giving them their own store!  If you love them as much as I do, you can now find them in two places!


I'll continue adding more bracelets to each online store in the coming months.  Let me know if there are any mantras or charms you'd like to see!  

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Home Sweet Home

I need to make a "Home is Where the Heart Is" bangle bracelet, since my husband is Air Force and our "home" uproots about every 3-4 years.

We drove 12 hours on Wednesday and almost 10 hours today.  And holy hell, I'm tired.  My 5 year old passed out within about 10 minutes of going to bed, which is unheard of...and we were just welcomed back to Colorado by golf ball sized hail.

Here are a couple of photos I took during my trip of adorable sleeping mammals:

I'm currently wishing I had made all my rings adjustable before that drive because I'm pretty sure I'll have to cut a few off at this point...I'm almost as swollen right now as I was when I was 7 months pregnant with each girl.

And we're watching Game of Thrones and I'm starting to relax back at home.  Immediately after we got home, we went back out again for groceries.  Now at least we'll have food for breakfast.  And after breakfast, it'll be at least an hour before I've dug my way through my car and luggage.

A couple more vacation pics:

My pirates and a kiss for Pop Pop.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Inspirational Rings in Adjustable Sterling Silver... they're stackable too!

Vacation has been exhausting!  My daughters are staying with their cousin and Aunt this evening so I finally had a moment to breathe and add these rings to my shop.  I love adjustable rings because I personally change ring sizes depending on how much salt I eat or how humid vs. dry it is outside...so these stacking rings had to be adjustable.  I also love the inspirational jewelry that's becoming more and more popular this year.

I know I should feel positive on a daily basis, but sometimes I need the extra reminder and seeing it on my bracelets and rings helps a lot.  It gives me the boost I need sometimes to remember that even when a hundred things go wrong, I still have a million things in my life to make me smile (cheesy, but very true).

I hope you enjoy these new rings!  I'm going to try using my remaining few hours of quiet to relax!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Traveling for a Couple of Weeks

My family and I left Colorado on Friday evening at 11:30 pm to start our long drive across the country to our home state of Pennsylvania.  We decided at the last minute to leave so early in hopes that our children (5 and 2 year old girls) would sleep through the bulk of the drive.

Unfortunately, we had hyped up the trip so much that they were both giggling and cheering for the first 10 minutes, sufficiently waking them up so much that they then groaned and cried for the following hour and no one could sleep (not even me...even though I was scheduled to relieve my husband of the driving so he could get some sleep).  Eventually, I got a couple of hours, but it was still exhausting.

We stopped for a break a little east of St. Louis in a hotel that was reserved for the night, but we decided that since we survived the crazy night driving idea of the evening before, we'd try again last night.

Did I mention we are also travelling with our 90 pound lab/husky mix?

After dinner and baths, we closed the blinds of the hotel room, pretended 5:30 pm was bed time, and all lay down for a 5-6 hour rest before heading out again.  This plan worked for my husband and 5 year old daughter, who slept soundly for the bulk of the time in one of the two queen beds.  For me and my anxious squealing dog and wide awake 2 year old, it did not.  I didn't fall to sleep until around 8:30...20 minutes after my 2 year old finally went down...and with no help from my guard dog who thought that every time someone opened a door in our hallway, it was cause for a few warning barks followed by 10 minutes of a high pitched cry.

Two hours later, we were awake and back in the car again, heading to our final destination.  This second night of driving totally accomplished the original goal.  Both girls slept soundly through the night...allowing me to sleep in the front seat (thank god) and Steve to drive until after 6 am.  We're all still exhausted now though.  So freakin exhausted.  We're at my parents' house until Friday then heading down to Steve's family's home for 4 days before starting the torturous long drive back to Colorado.

So far I've forgotten my glasses and my 5 year old's sneakers.

I'm over it.  I had a spare pair of glasses in the car and I had already packed 2 pairs of flip flops for my daughter (although she already lost a pair in the mud when we stopped in a town we used to live to reminisce...there was a pond, a cute little trail, and my daughter doesn't listen...so those flip flops didn't really stand a chance anyway).

Currently, I'm in bed in my childhood room while my own kids sleep on the floor and the 10+ year old air conditioner rattles in the window.  Steve chose to sleep on the couch.  This is gonna be a rough couple of weeks.

I'm going to try to join the rest of my family in going to sleep.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Mantra Bangle Bracelets

Here's a video I made showing how easy it is to add charms and swap out the mantra buckles on my new line of inspirational bangle bracelets.  I personally wear two or three every day and I love that I can add as many charms as I want (I currently have my husband's fingerprint charm, and both my kids' birthstones and name charms...oh and the Aum charm, running girl charm, and "just run" charm on the Fear Less, Love More bangle...since that's the example I show in this video and I never took it off).

Please tell me what you think of these new bracelets.  Are there any aspects you wish were different? I'm always open to customization and custom requests!

Thanks for watching!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Scroll Quote Charm

I'm really excited about all of the things I'm adding to my shop but one of my favorites is this new quote charm that I posted about earlier this week.  Okay, that's not totally true, I also love the mantra bangles but this particular quote charm is one that I'll probably keep one for myself.

The quote is "a writer is a world trapped within a person"...and I love writing and everything to do with stories and books...when you think of how amazing it is that a person can bring to life a story from nothing more than their words and an idea of a world that didn't exist before they put it on paper, how can you not fall in love?  I wish so bad that I could do it...and I try, and I'll keep trying probably forever, but it makes me love this quote and this charm.

So here it is, complete with lots of leather chain options and a sterling chain option.

I hope you all love it as much as I do...it looks awesome on any chain and the silver wrapped around like this seems to reflect in even the dullest light.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Quote Charms

I'm currently wearing my newest charm.  I made it this weekend and polished it up tonight and it turned out exactly how I'd pictured it.  Unfortunately, I don't know how to title it.  I've searched around for jewelry similar and haven't found anything:

"Quotes Wrapped in Silver"?  or  "Favorite Quote in Silver Swirl"?



So anyway...I'm not going to list it in my shop until I come up with something for the title.  The quote on this charm is "A writer is a world trapped within a person"...which I heard somewhere and loved.  Any long quote would fit on this charm...as long as it isn't TOO long, I guess...or too short.  

I've learned so much since I began working with precious metal clay.  For one thing, I use a tumbler to polish everything.  It takes a long time, but the silver has never shined so flawlessly with hand sanding.  If you work with metal clay and silver in general and don't use a tumbler, I highly recommend it!  

Look for this in my shop soon if you like it!  I'm getting a lot of cutout templates in the mail this week and more white copper metal clay.  I have dozens of ideas for those new mantra bangles...different shapes and sayings...I can't wait to work on them this weekend!!  It's so great that my girls are a little older and enjoy playing together without mommy :)