Monday, June 13, 2011

Show-Me Music & Arts Festival

The time has arrived!  After months of planning, it's finally time for the Show-Me Music & Arts Festival!!  This Friday, Saturday and Sunday, June 17-19.  This is the first festival of its kind to come to Springfield, MO.  Top artists such as Tim McGraw, Trace Adkins, Gretchen Wilson, Big & Rich, Kellie Pickler, REO Speedwagon, Train, One Republic, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Sawyer Brown, Joe Nichols, Little Big Town and many more will grace the main stage for the three-day festival!  There will also be a tent with local artists such as Big Smith, Mark Chapman, Machine Gun Symphony and more!  Camping and RV sites are available, as well as a Kids Zone Area!  And don't miss the celebrity chef and comedian tents as well as the 40+ arts and crafts vendors that will be there!  See items from Kel's Custom Designs, ArtbyBelle and Cathy's Crafts!

Kel's Custom Designs got the invite in January and has been anxiously awaiting its arrival ever since!  

With all the entertainment and things to see, there will truly be something for everyone at this family-friendly event!  Check out for more information!  Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I'm Moving to Halfway!

You might be asking yourself "Where the heck is Halfway?"  Well...Halfway is half way between Bolivar and Buffalo!  Pretty creative naming tactic if you ask me.  :)

I'm also happy to say that today is the last day I will have to pay least in the forseeable future.....

With that being said, I will be taking the month of June to clean, pack, move, unpack, organize, etc.  I do have a couple of shows coming up (Jen's Country Cuts' Customer Appreciation Day this Saturday, June 4, and the Show-Me Music & Arts Festival, June 17-19), and will continue to prepare for those!  If you have special orders, please bear with me as I move from place to place to get them completed. 

I'm excited to get all settled in and start creating again!  Thanks for your continued support! 

Monday, May 30, 2011

On This Memorial Day...

Remember the soldiers who gave their lives to defend this country.  

Traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.

There are a few notable exceptions. Since the late 50's on the Thursday before Memorial Day, the 1,200 soldiers of the 3d U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing. In 1951, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of St. Louis began placing flags on the 150,000 graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery as an annual Good Turn, a practice that continues to this day. 

More recently, beginning in 1998, on the Saturday before the observed day for Memorial Day, the Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts place a candle at each of approximately 15,300 grave sites of soldiers buried at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park on Marye's Heights (the Luminaria Program). And in 2004, Washington D.C. held its first Memorial Day parade in over 60 years.

To help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the "National Moment of Remembrance" resolution was passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans "To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to 'Taps."  The Moment of Remembrance is a step in the right direction to returning the meaning back to the day. What is needed is a full return to the original day of observance. Set aside one day out of the year for the nation to get together to remember, reflect and honor those who have given their all in service to their country.  

Also, on this day, we will remember those who lost their lives and their homes in the tornado that destroyed the town of Joplin, MO.  While the town is 70 miles away from where I live, the impact has reached Springfield, MO and has greatly humbled the residents of this community.  People are pulling together to support the town directly to our West in any way they can.  Big Fish Tees is offering stylish T-shirts for $10 and 100% of the profits are going to disaster relief efforts.  And there are COUNTLESS other organizations and groups donating items and money, volunteering, housing/rescuing animals, and just being there for support.

So, this Memorial Day, honor those who served this country and those who have passed on before us.  Tell and show the ones you love how much they mean to you.  Do it today.  There might not be a tomorrow.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Jen's Country Cuts Customer Appreciation Day

Next Saturday, June 4, my friend (and hairdresser), Jennifer Holman will be having a Customer Appreciation Day for her friends and customers from 7 AM til 4 PM.  Jen's Country Cuts is located at 120 W. Main St. in Walnut Grove, MO.  She is fortunate enough to own her own business and it just happens to be behind her home!  She loves the town and everyone in it!

During her Customer Appreciation Day, she will have drawings for hair products and services, as well as a drawing for $50!  She will also be serving hamburgers from locally raised cows (from her parents' farm), and there will be a bounce house for the kids!

It's definitely worth the drive!  Her prices are so affordable and she always does an amazing job.  She also features my jewelry in her shop!  So, of course, she has asked me to participate in this years' Customer Appreciation Day!  I'm honored to participate and proud to call her a friend.

Thanks, Jen, for all you do! You are an amazing, beautiful, outgoing person, wife, mother, daughter, granddaughter, aunt, sister, and friend.  I'm looking forward to next Saturday! 

Monday, May 2, 2011

My Etsy Shop Is Open For Business!

I've FINALLY decided to start adding items to my Etsy shop!  I only have two items listed for now, but there are many variations of these items!  Hopefully I'll get more added this week, but I'll be working hard preparing for this Saturday's Craft Show!

This Saturday, May 7, I'll be in Bellefonte, AR (just South of Harrison) at The Depot Truck Stop for the Second Annual Spring Fling Festival!  This awesome event is put on by the Touched By An Angel Community Giving Program, a local Not For Profit Organization.  Several different bands are lined up to play and several vendors will be set up.  There will also be a silent auction, a bike show (and ride, weather permitting), and a horseshoe tournament!  

Wrathogen Solace, Harrison, AR
Kickin' Kountry, Harrison, AR
Good Literature, Springfield, MO
Nocturnal Loons, Harrison, AR
Christopher Dees and Friends, Harrison, AR

If you are unable to attend and would like to donate to the cause you may do so by contacting The Bank Of The Ozarks.  The Depot will be donating 10% of the days sales to the cause.  Don't forget to bring your lawn chairs!

Check back often for more items on Etsy!  Also check out my website and Facebook pages to keep up with upcoming events and new items!

Friday, April 29, 2011

One Of A Kind!

I've been doing a lot of creating lately!  There are several craft shows coming up and I want to have plenty to choose from!  

I've been looking for unique strands of beads at flea markets to re-purpose into jewelry.  I no more than got these items in the door at work, when someone snatched them up! 

I'm planning on hitting a few flea markets this weekend to see what other treasures I can find! 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

It's Time For A New Look!!!

Kel's Custom Designs is getting a whole new look!  My prices and customer service will stay the same (after all, I believe those things set me apart from other artists, designers and crafters), but my website, business cards, postcards, and banner are all changing!  I'm excited about the changes that have taken place in my business so far (new ideas, new designs, new events), but this really takes the cake (mmm....cake)!

First of all, I've re-designed my website.  For now, the layout is the same; a basic 5-page template from Vistaprint.  But the design has completely changed.  This weekend, I will be adding a shopping cart/E-commerce feature for online sales.  Up to this point, I have been selling at crafts shows, via friends and family, and through word-of-mouth on Facebook.  It's time to expand my market!  Here is a screen shot of my newly designed website

Also, through Vistaprint, I was able to design matching business cards, postcards and a new banner to be used at craft shows!  

With the new design, I thought it was important to add my Facebook and Twitter information to my business cards and postcards.  I want to be accessible to everyone on every platform for customization and special orders.

I think everything turned out great!  I'm excited to design other promotional products through Vistaprint such as T-shirts, coffee mugs, magnets, tote bags, etc.

What do you think about my new look?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Mimi & Colette

This week I'm featuring a WONDERFUL shop I discovered on FacebookMimi & Colette is located in Palatine, IL and makes an assortment of re-usable, upcycled and functional items.  Her handmade items are reasonably priced and, if you ask nicely, can be customized.  

Her re-usable Swiffer covers caught my eye right away.  While I liked the selection of colors available, I thought I'd ask for a special color combination.  Alice quickly replied with a message eager to honor my request.  I was impressed right away with her willingness to go above and beyond.  She created a special listing in her Zibbet store, and notified me that it was ready for purchase.  I paid that night and she shipped the next day.  

My custom Swiffer cover came very well packaged.  Like a gift, really.  It even included a handwritten thank you card! 

I am VERY pleased with the work she does and the level of customer service she provides.  In addition to the thank you card, she even included a small cloth to match the cover!

If you're in the market for a gift or something for yourself, please take a look at her store.  If you would like a different pattern or color combination, just ask.  A seller's willingness to oblige is an indication of the customer service you will receive during and after the sale.  In times like these, customer service is VERY important.  I commend Mimi & Colette for the level of customer service they have provided and continue to provide to their customers - whether they be first-time customers or loyal repeat customers.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mother's Day Shopping Expo

Make plans to attend!  This will be a one-stop-shop for Mother's Day gifts!  You'll find items from jewelry to bath products to on-site photography and more!!!  Come join me for a wonderful day of fun and excitement, where you are sure to find the perfect gift for every Mom on your list.  Food will be provided by Wild Plum Cafe.

When:  April 16 from 9 AM to 4 PM
Where:  Lamar Memorial Hall, 1104 Broadway, Lamar, MO  64759

I will be accepting custom pre-orders since Lamar is an hour and a half away from where I live, and you never can tell just how busy I'll be!  Check out my website and follow me on Facebook to see some of the things I have created!  

Hope to see you there!

Other vendors/artists who will be in attendance:
  • The Gourmet Cupboard
  • Lily's Ribbon Extravaganza
  • Scentsy
  • Mary Kay
  • Kactus Flower
  • Usborne Books
  • Tastefully Simple
  • Lynda Killingsworth-crochet & stuffed animals
  • Miche Bags
  • Just Because-Lampwork Beads
  • Ann Bush
  • Premier Designs Jewelry
  • Creatively Designed Photography
  • Jewelry In The Rough
  • Shelly Keener-knit items & bows
  • Essential Bodywear
  • Button Man Company
  • Kris Silver-Fused Glass Pendants
  • The Shops at The Gallery
  • The Urbane Peach Boutique
  • The Pampered Chef

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cabochon? Cabachon?

According to Wikipedia, "A cabochon or cabachon, from the Middle French caboche (head), is a gemstone which has been shaped and polished as opposed to faceted. The resulting form is usually a convex top with a flat bottom. Cutting en cabochon is usually applied to opaque gems, while facetting is usually applied to transparent stones. Hardness is also taken into account as softer gemstones with a hardness lower than 7 on the Mohs hardness scale are easily scratched, mainly by silicon dioxide in dust and grit. This would quickly make translucent gems unattractive—instead they are polished as cabochons, making the scratches less evident.

In the case of asteriated stones such as star sapphires and chatoyant stones such as cat's eye chrysoberyl, a domed cabochon cut is used to show the star or eye, which would not be visible in a facetted cut.

The usual shape for cutting cabochons is an ellipse. This is because the eye is less sensitive to small asymmetries in an ellipse, as opposed to a uniformly round shape, such as a circle, and because the elliptical shape, combined with the dome, is attractive.  An exception is cabochons on some watches' crowns, which are round.

The procedure is to cut a slab of the rough rock, then to stencil a shape from a template. The slab is then trimmed to near the marked line using a diamond blade saw—called a trim saw—and sometimes followed by "nibbling" to the line. The purpose of nibbling is to speed the shaping of the material when using silicon carbide grinding wheels. Most lapidary workshops and production facilities have moved away from silicon carbide to diamond grinding wheels or flat lap disks.

Once the piece is trimmed and nibbled, it is usually mounted on a handle to assist manipulation. This procedure is called "dopping"; it is normally done by adhering the stone with hard wax onto a length of wooden dowel called a "dop stick". The piece is then ground to the template line, the back edges may be bevelled, and finally the top is sanded and polished to a uniform dome."

 I first discovered these wonderful creatures in a wire-wrapping class at a local bead store.  They are perfect for wire wrapping as they are flat on one side and have no holes drilled in them.  They come in a variety of materials, shapes and colors and are priced for many different budgets.  Below is an example of a wire-wrapped cabochon (much like the one I learned to make).

They can also be placed in settings to be used as earrings, bracelets, pendants and even rings!  

So, don't be scared of them because they don't have holes!  See what beautiful things you can create!

Monday, March 28, 2011


I discovered this wonderful organization last Fall at a home show.  Several colorful strands of handmade paper beads were draped on a table and immediately caught my attention.  As I read the Mission Statement, I immediately felt connected to this organization:

"BeadforLife creates sustainable opportunities for women to lift their families out of extreme poverty by connecting people worldwide in a circle of exchange that enriches everyone."

BeadforLife is guided by the following principals:
  1. Creating businesses and jobs through entrepreneurial development is a more sustainable approach to poverty eradication than providing aid. Rather than becoming dependent on handouts from abroad, members build their skills and long-term capacities through meaningful creative work.
  2. Concerned citizens in resource-abundant countries care about the issues of extreme poverty and are willing to get involved.
  3. Paying the members fair trade prices allows them to meet their daily economic needs.   Investing 100% of our net profits in community development projects for impoverished Ugandans allows for a long-term sustainable future.
  4. Working together enriches all of us.

    For more information on this wonderful organization, visit BeadforLife on the web.  You can also buy finished goods and loose beads from their online store.  I purchased a bag of mixed beads and am LOVING how they look and feel.  I'm excited to make things with them and share the story of how they were made.

    You can even host a bead party to support the organization.  In the upcoming weeks, I will post pictures on some items I have made with the beads I received.  Thanks for reading!  Hope everyone is having a great Monday!

      Sunday, March 27, 2011

      I Got Two New Sets of Pliers!

      I've been on the search for split ring pliers for weeks.  I purchased a pair at Hobby Lobby that are just too big for what I'm working on.  THEN, I purchased a pair from Bass Pro that are small enough but not made correctly.  A horrible design flaw.  I should have read the product reviews before purchasing.  Anyway, while out and about today, I stopped by JoAnn to take a look around.  I ACTUALLY went in to look for Pittsburgh Steelers fabric, but quickly got distracted when I walked by the jewelry supplies aisle.  AND, to my surprise, tools were 50% off!  I snagged the LAST pair of split ring pliers and bought an AWESOME 3-in-1 Combination tool.  This tool is a round nose plier (used for twisting coils and loops), has a groove for closing coils and bending wire at right angles, and a cutter for trimming wire and findings.  And it's got the most amazing SOFT comfort grip handles.  The handles are HUGE selling point because I use them SO much, they HAVE to be comfortable.  I made 15 pairs of earrings with them already, and LOVE them!  Here's what they look like:

      The split ring pliers I found WILL work, but the part that splits the ring needs sharpened a bit to work better.  Third time's a charm!  I'll have a review later in the week on how they turned out.

      Hope everyone had a good weekend!

      This Is A Big Year!

      I know it's been a while since I have posted.  I've been working hard to prepare for this year's craft shows!  I have had a couple of great shows so far this year, and have joined forces with Flame & Flair Candle, Fashion & Gift Boutique.  I've also been invited to the Show-Me Music and Arts Festival being held June 17-19 in Springfield, MO.  Check my website for more new items and shows/fairs I have coming up!  

      Below are some of the earrings I've added to my inventory this year!  I've also added bookmarks and cell phone charms (photos coming soon).

      Skull earrings available in a variety of colors! 

      Pretty flowers available in a variety of colors!

      Peace sign earrings available in a variety of colors!

      Fishing lure earrings available in a variety of colors!

      Contact me through my website or Facebook if you'd like to order these or any of my other designs!

      Sunday, January 23, 2011

      Our Cozy Cottage: New Vendors!

      Kel's Custom Designs was featured on the Our Cozy Cottage blog this week!  Great overview of what I do written by Belle.  Check it out by clicking the link below!

      Our Cozy Cottage: New Vendors!: " Our Cozy Cottage has several new changes, one of which is a new vendor named Kelly. She is the creative force behind Kel's Custom Desi..."

      Saturday, January 8, 2011

      Our Cozy Cottage

      If you are looking for a place to showcase your handmade goods, look no further!  Our Cozy Cottage is a store where women can sell their creations for a low monthly fee.  There is no commission, and even an opportunity to lower your monthly fee by being a hostess in the store.  Vendors also have the opportunity to hold classes or events at the store at no charge!

      Our Cozy Cottage is located at 3821-D S. Campbell in Springfield, MO.  Store hours are Monday-Saturday, 10 AM-6 PM.

      Now, when I am asked "Do you have a store?", I can say, "Yes, I do!!".  Thanks to Our Cozy Cottage for welcoming me.  I look forward to building a relationship and a business together.

      Thursday, January 6, 2011

      How I Got Here...

      I have been making different types of jewelry for many, many years.  I started as a teenager with hemp weaving, then moved on to more intricate things using fine wire and seed beads.  Now, I create fun, unique and affordable earrings, bracelets, necklaces, wire-wrapped rings, cell phone charms and bookmarks.  

      I began teaching myself to use the different materials and tools last July.  At first I was overwhelmed by everything that's available.  After a while, I found the process of making jewelry to be very relaxing and calming.  I got so consumed with it and lost in it, that I would sit and make 25-30 pairs of earrings a night (and I work a full-time job during the day)!  

      I got a lot of feedback from family and friends, and with a lot of help and advice from my friend, Crystal (ArtByBelle), I decided to start offering my creations for sale at local craft fairs and my mom's flea market booth at Country Classics Antiques.  Then I thought, if I have the skills and patience to make earrings, why not try to make other things?  So I began making bracelets...bracelets turned into wire-wrapped rings...wire-wrapped rings turned into necklaces...necklaces turned into bookmarks...and bookmarks turned into cell phone charms!  

      I do a lot of online research and check out library books to get ideas.  But mostly, I just make what I like.  Before the 2011 craft season begins, I will be taking a few classes to gain more hands-on skills and to do a little networking.  It never hurts to get your name out there and be in contact with others who share the same passions and skills.  Speaking of networking, in upcoming posts, I will talk about some folks I met at craft shows last year. 

       (This is the second pair of earrings I made.  I can definitely see how my skills have improved in the last six months!  Visit my website to see what else I've been working on!)