The Uninspired is Repurposed and The Emotional Challenges of Online Jewelry Business

I think we can agree that the picture below is not my best work. Clearly, I was not inspired when putting this together. I may have been experimenting with colors and trying to emulate the Sundance Catalog jewelry, but this necklace never really did it for me. It’s not boring, but it’s not remarkable.


So, I pulled it apart last week so I could make a fringe with the chips. We can agree this new item is inspired, no?


The cabochons and chips from this piece are a mystery to me, as I bought them in an assortment. My nearest guess for the chips is amethyst, but it could be purple fluorite. The cabochons could be glass, though I’m sure one of them is amethyst because of an occlusion (you can’t see it unless you pry it out) that looks like other amethyst occlusions I’ve seen. The very left is glass or aqua colored gemstone. The 2nd from the left could be iolite or colored glass. I do just love this color combination; Mrs. Partner and I went to see a Cartier exhibit in SF (Palace of Fine Arts, 2009) and she got me a book picturing amethyst and turquoise together in jewelry, so of course I’ve been waiting to put those colors together ever since.

Meanwhile, it’s been about a month since I starting putting products on StorEnvy and Etsy. I’ve been taking careful pictures of my favorites and new items I’m proud of. I’m tagging all my items appropriately and writing good descriptions. It’s everything I can do without spending money on promotion because that money is earmarked for Two Broads. Predictably and despite my efforts, I’m not getting much attention; the views, favorite-ing and “envies” are few. There is so much jewelry out there for people to look through, it’s a wonder they find my stuff at all. It’s rather disheartening to think, “what am I doing here?”– an existential crisis in jewelry. But I’m going to stick with it. I can hand out cards to people who compliment my items in person, and I can keep writing blog posts, and you can view, “envy”, and “favorite” items, perhaps even on Pinterest. That’s right, readers, I need YOU to help me be seen. Help me shamelessly promote my creative obsession.

In other news, it’s my birthday weekend! There will be dressing up with my jewelry, photographs, and the consumption of lots of sparkling wine. Stay tuned for pictures.



August 18, 2016 at 11:11 pm Leave a comment

The Reds and NEW store

Finally, finally, finally, FINALLY MaggieMakesIt is changing online store platforms. While I am transitioning online stores, you can check out my Storenvy marketplace HERE. New, crisp pictures. New, crisp jewelry bits!

Okay. Now. New things, which are available on the shop above.


Featuring the Petersburg stitch to make a lariat style with fringe and acrylic flowers painted with my favorite color nail varnish, a kind of rainbow bronze-ruby. My hope really was to use up these pink seed beads, but I still have some left. I inherited these beads from dear Serena A. Normally, I don’t know what to do with the color pink… Clearly, I think it should only be used sparingly.

Agates and obsidian with Petersburg and herringbone stitch. A peyote stitch and brick stitches were used to hold the large beads in place. Super sweet clasp detail for the back (pictured right), yes?

IMG_0023 10-02-56-991

Mostly brick stitch with agate and onyx. Gothic, no? People have strong reactions to this piece. Trust me, it’s more bold in person and when Mrs. Partner is wearing it.

July 13, 2016 at 11:41 pm Leave a comment

Kumquat Cream Ale

I wish I could take a picture of a smell. When I opened the fermenter to pitch my yeast two weeks ago, my eyes rolled back and my lids fluttered with pleasure. It was hard to leave the fermenter alone while I anticipated the finished product. I moved the fusti (my fermenter, a seven-gallon stainless, seamless olive oil vessel) in and out of the cellar, when I wasn’t satisfied my temperature controller was doing it’s job.

I love kumquats; I love them so much I asked for a tree for my birthday. It is still a little tree and while it blossoms often and fruits plentiful, I still want to savor the crop rather than brewing with the entirety.

I called a local citrus purveyor (a huge benefit of working in a farm-to-table-restaurant rubbing elbows with the produce buyer). I asked for ugly fruit; often times if it’s not perfect a consumer doesn’t buy it and it goes to waste (I hate waste), AND it’s priced lower. Kumquats tend to be 6 bucks a pound. I got around 25 pounds for ten dollars. And I got the big, juicy mandarin-quats; a bit blemished with frost-burn, but with great personality.

I spent hours and hours carefully removing seeds and any parts that might cause an off-flavor in the finished beer. I made a large batch of marmalade and put the rest in the freezer. Freezing breaks the cell walls and allows more juices and oils to be released, making maximum flavor contribution to a beer, and the freezer probably kills a lot of things that could cause an infection (and I don’t mean an infection dangerous to humans like a venereal infection, I mean a bacterial inoculation that can cause off-flavors).

I am the queen of substitutions; Jamil and Palmer suggest American two-row, but I didn’t have it. I had just been to Doc’s Cellar to pick up supplies and I didn’t want to drive back over there. Mrs. Partner bought a bunch of Crisp malt that is probably British Pale, maybe, probably. I used that and a floor-malted Pils malt, which she promised would be delicious. For the adjunct, I chose corn. Instead of White Labs Cal Ale, I used White Labs Cream Ale blend. My bittering hops were Magnum at 60 minutes, and aroma hops were Saag at 10 minutes (comment if you need more details on the recipe; I’m happy to share).

I pride myself on almost flawless brewing process, but forgot to take all the measurements. I tend to forget those things when I’m concentrating on not fucking up; this is the first time I brewed this style of beer, my first light beer style, and the first time I’d made a fruit beer. Sigh. I was also distracted by our presentation of Two Broads to a Graphic Design III  class at Cal Poly (publishing a blog post on this in June). I had to pause between the sparge and the boil. Lastly, I sanitized a grain bag and put 2.5 pounds of frozen kumquats to sit over night and thaw, then pitched the yeast the following morning.

Last Saturday, I finally let myself check the gravity on the beer. Perfect! I hit the higher end of the range for the style at 1.012. Lifting the top off the fermenter to smell it was just as pleasant as the day I pitched the yeast. I tasted it; lightly malty with lovely citrus on the nose and aftertaste, delicious even without carbonation.

Special thanks to Paul for his assistance in writing this post.

May 7, 2016 at 5:21 pm Leave a comment

Deco piece

My new piece. I pulled it apart about 8 times to get it right. I may  have to shorten the neck a bit to make it hang right. Techniques used are herringbone, peyote and seed bead embroidery. Materials are Czech seed bead, Rocaille seed bead, red agate and black agate.

May 3, 2016 at 5:14 pm Leave a comment

So many scarabs

When I’m not charming guests on the restaurant floor and filling out permit applications, I’m am still finding time to make pretty things. I’m super happy how these turned out. Brick stitch is how I made the wings and the necklace part is herringbone. Someday I’ll list them on the store, when I actually think someone may buy them. 


April 12, 2016 at 1:52 am Leave a comment

One of the Two Broads

It’s finally happened. No, not slightly mad. Well, maybe a little.

Mrs. Partner and I are finally starting our dream business! We’re making cider and mead at a place called Two Broads Ciderworks. We are the two broads.

What does this mean? There may be fewer posts on this blog, but lots of posts on the new blog! Check us out.

February 28, 2016 at 5:12 pm 1 comment

Madonna Inn Wedding Cake Bread Pudding

She will no longer be called Miss Partner. I can know officially call her Mrs. Partner, or state sanctioned spouse, or wife person. That’s right. We done got hitched last month. We surprised all our closest friends at our weekly “meeting” called date night; well, except for our deputized officiant and our first witness (the two people vying for second witness had it out with rock-paper-scissors).

898394_origOur officiant surprised us with a Madonna Inn Cake of the Raspberry Delight persuasion. If you have been to the world famous kitchy-kitch-super-camp-extra-pink Madonna Inn, their cakes our well known for their decadence. If you know the sizes of the slices of cake they sell at the Cafe and Steakhouse, you know how difficult it’s going to be to finish this fluffy cake before it drys out. Someone brilliant at date night suggested french toast, which is just a pan-fried bread pudding.

I buttered a pan. Reserving the white chocolate curls for later, I scrapped off the frosting and blenderized with with 6 eggs and about 12 ounces of beer, because I had no cream or milk or coconut milk in the house. I cut the cake to fit the buttered pan, and poured the custard, now tasting much like beery egg nog, over the cake. I let it sit overnight and baked it for 20 minutes with foil and 20 minutes without foil in the morning. That’s what I call breakfast. I took one pan to work and we ate the rest of it all week…

January 14, 2016 at 2:00 am 1 comment

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