2012 A Year In Review

I firmly believe you must look to the past to know where you are going in the future. That is so very true when you are an entrepreneur.

It makes perfect sense to want to know: 'how well did my business do?', 'where was there the most interest?', 'what was I most vested in?'

In fact, I think I tried to get a similar blog post pulled together at the close of 2011 and failed in doing so. But not this time, life is finally back on track (I think. I hope).

So, I spent some time taking a look back over the past year and was really surprised with just how much had occurred in one year (some of which I had forgotten about). As with all indie businesses', our personal lives can sometimes dictate what and how much we accomplish in our business. The biggest change in our household was the adoption of our daughter this past December just days before Christmas. What a beautiful present that was!

Although life seems to have gotten back on track, the truth is, the last few years have really been life-changing for me and 2012 began with still a little uncertainty, carried over from the previous year. I found myself feeling in limbo because my own decisions were cemented in the actions of another person. Although if the truth be told, I felt caught in the middle. It didn't matter which way this uncertainty were to end, either way, I would lose...something. That was a hard pill to swallow.

By early spring, it became clear which direction things were going to go. While I accepted the resolution, it came with a myriad of emotions. Some I was prepared for, others I was not. I found myself bogged down not by the emotions that I expected, rather, I found my thoughts being drawn to something that I didn't expect.

All this aside, this major life-changing event ultimately affected how Crystal Allure Beaded Jewelry operated throughout the year. That said, with being so tied up in personal affairs, you might be asking, "So, Stephanie what did you actually accomplish with your business?"

Well, I maintained status quo (which is not a good thing for an entrepreneur) and focused on creating truly personalized custom handmade jewelry, by request. I also admit to having (at guess) somewhere around 50 new beaded jewelry pieces to picture and add to the jewelry boutique. I just found myself running out of time to get everything done while still taking care of myself and my family. I promise those pieces will be coming in 2013!

But, all that said, there were some very special custom beaded jewelry pieces created, as well as, unforgettable awareness and inspired designs that I wanted to highlight for you. Read more about some of these special 2012 handmade beaded jewelry highlights below.

Custom Jewelry
Holly contacted me to create a very special Custom Hope Love Cherish Crystal Awareness Bracelet for a woman, whom she considered like a mother, suffering from lung cancer. The design incorporated inspirational words combined with the gift recipients' birthstone, Sapphire Swarovski Crystal, Pearls and sterling silver.

Over the years, I've created many organ donation awareness and transplant awareness bracelets, but last year I received a unique request to custom create a living donor awareness bracelet! Kayleigh requested a Custom Kidney Donor Name Awareness Bracelet as a gift for her mother. Kayleigh's mom, Carrie, selflessly donated one of her kidneys to her friend.

Sometimes, the best gift to give is one from the heart. And that is just what Diane did. She requested a Custom Swarovski Crystal Red Heart Survivor Gift Bracelet for her 48-year old daughter, Candy, who had just recently received a much awaited and anticipated heart transplant.

In my middle school years I played the flute so I thoroughly enjoyed creating these Custom Swarovski Crystal Musical Charm Necklaces for a long time customer as a gift to his granddaughters. I also learned about a new disease with this Custom Polycythemia Vera Awareness Bracelet request and was so excited to be a part of Jackie's special day with this Custom Cystic Fibrosis Graduation Crystal Bracelet.

One technique, in particular, was quite popular and that was hand stamping! The first hand stamped charm of Matia's Custom Behcets Disease Awareness Anklet inspired many requests. This Custom Crystal Awareness Bracelet was designed for the Mommy who gives Love with a Bear Hug! With the Custom Crystal Epilepsy Awareness Bracelet and Custom Military Deployment Crystal Awareness Bracelet following.

Awareness Jewelry
There was also no shortage of ideas on our ever-increasing Awareness Jewelry Collection either! Just in time for the holidays, I introduced the Gift of Life Crystal Transplant Awareness Bracelet and the Live to Give Organ Donation Awareness Bracelet.

Inspired Beaded Jewelry
In an attempt to stay connected with my second-oldest niece, I caught myself up on the ever popular Twilight series. Can't say that I'm hooked, but I love that I have this to share with her. Of course, (you guessed it!) from that came this Twilight Inspired Blood Red Velvet Crystal Beaded Necklace.

There were the Sanibel Island inspired Sink or Swim Artisan Lampwork Swirl Pendant Crystal Beaded Necklaces. And in a twist of 'what comes around, goes around', read about the inspiration for the Believe Swarovski Stardust Angel Charm Beaded Bracelet.

It was a very hot and humid summer last year. Sitting in my air conditioned studio, mesmerized by the beautiful butterflies visiting my garden came some inspired Swarovski Crystal Butterfly Jewelry and in a last ditch effort to not let summer end came the deliciously juicy Tutti Frutti Gemstone Crystal Beaded Earrings.

New categories were also introduced that included: Beaded Lanyards, Beaded Pens, Animal Awareness Jewelry and Aunt Beaded Jewelry.

Behind the Designs
When I was not creating beautiful handmade jewelry, I stayed true to my crafty nature, as you can see with my Chair Cushion Reupholster Project; or spending time with family on daytrips, navigating parenting and facing my fears.

I celebrated good friends and always supported fellow artisans, especially those that are friends as well! With the crazy past few years, I spent a good deal of time thinking about my muse and still wish he were here today.

In an attempt to stay connect with friends, family and fans, I made a more concerted effort to stay on top of Facebook and Twitter. Then I added Google+ and LinkedIn to that list. Whew!

By years' end, the adoption of our daughter, made for a happy ending to a very stressful, frustrating, successful and exhilarating year! Now it's time to list out some 2013 goals. :-)

Happy New Year!

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