Monday, August 15, 2016

Social Media, Here I come!

Last week, I was gifted with a smart phone of my very own for the first time in my life. Until now, I've been using Hubby's phone for any on-the-go searches or social media usage. I had Snap Chat, Facebook, and Instagram in the past, and gradually deleted all of my accounts for various reasons. Now that I have my own smart phone to use, and I'm really working on promoting my jewelry business through Etsy, it's become apparent that I need to be using social media to promote my work. So I created a new Snap Chat and Instagram account, and I'll be using those to share my current inspirations, designs, and finished products. I'm hoping to build up a solid following, to help spread the word about my jewelry, and get some useful feedback about designs and trends to look out for as I make new pieces. So look me up, check out what I have to offer, and click 'Follow'! 

SnapChat: melanie.motley

Instagram: Melanie Motley

Monday, August 8, 2016

Even More Shiny Things! (Plus, the learning curve on Etsy)

So! My last post included some of my newest designs for my Etsy shop, and stated that I would be adding new designs every week. In the time since then, I've been photographing, editing, describing, and creating listings for as many of my pieces as possible in the time I've had available. I believe I'm about 1/3 of the way through photographing, and maybe 1/2 way through the listings.

I've been publishing new listings nearly every day, in the hopes of seeing which days (or designs) get the most views and generate the most interest. Sadly, I have to admit that there has been next to NO interest or views on any of my designs, and since there haven't been any views, I can't see if there are any days or times that are better for my shop's visibility.

Still, all is not lost! Once I realized that the problem was rooted in the low visibility, I started researching how to boost my views and ensure that people see my listings. That's where I learned about the importance if having excellent tags, listing titles, and descriptions. As I read, I thought to myself, "Well. There's the problem right there!"

I readily admit that my descriptions are a bit lacking in the creative areas. I tend to list the features in a no nonsense sort of way, thinking that if I create more artistic descriptions, people will think I'm over selling, or trying to push them into buying. However, that's pretty much what I need to do, right? Nobody will buy something that the creator isn't excited about, and they certainly won't buy something that has a lackluster description in an unknown Etsy Shop. There's way too much competition out there to be using descriptions that don't shine.

So now I have my work cut out for me once again. Not only do I need to finish photographing and listing the rest of the pieces I have available, I also now need to go through the current listings and revamp the tags and descriptions. Here come the adjectives!

In the mean time, I'll leave some photos of the designs I posted throughout the week, and I hope to see you guys over at The Motley Market soon!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Yay! Shiny Things!

As most of you know, I have spent several years making handmade jewelry. In the past two years, I've started selling my work at the craft fair at my church, and also have an Etsy store for online purchases.

Well, I'm happy to announce that I have added two brand new listings to my Etsy shop!
These necklaces are made from Aragonite chips, acrylic pendants, and Citrine pebbles.

This necklace is made from genuine Tiger's Eye Quartz.

These necklaces are made from Russian Serpentine (Left and Right) and Grainstone (Middle).

Please take a minute to visit my Etsy Shop and see if any of these pieces spark your interest! I'll be adding new designs every week, so check back often!

Also, feel free to leave a comment below to let me know what you think of these two designs, and what else you'd like to see from me in the future!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A Work in Progress

When I was a kid, I always heard the adults saying things like, 'Time flies,' or 'As you get older, your life goes by in the blink of an eye.' I didn't really understand it, so I attributed it to the long list of Adult-isms that are pure nonsense to children. But as it so happens, I understand it better now.

It's been four weeks since my last post. In that last entry, I committed to posting again, and with a more regular occurrence than before, but here I am, a month later. In my defense, at least it's only been a month, and not another year. But I digress.

The woman I mentioned in my last post has been a gentle reminder to me in the past month, nudging me back to my commitment to return to writing. We haven't had a chance yet to talk at length about our work, but she has given me a few books to browse to help me along on my journey. In this last month, I've been going around in circles in my head about what I would be writing about. Not just for this blog -which is a large enough commitment on its own- but for my other writings as well.

Not many people know that I've been writing since I was around 14 years old. I originally got started writing in journals, as a way to process my life, and draw closer to God through writing to Him. It later developed into a poem for my Youth group, partial-novels that came to me in a dream, and attempts to complete the 50,000 word writing challenge present by the NaNoWriMo website for National Novel Writing Month (November).

One of those partial novels is a children's novel that I began countless years ago, and never got around to finishing. I never told anyone about it before, thinking that it was too trivial and amateur to even mention to anyone. I was embarrassed of a story I hadn't even written yet, a story that I had intended to never finish, and never let it see the light of day. I mentioned it to my new friend, and almost as if she knew what I needed before I even figured it out, she latched onto the idea as a worthy challenge. Since we met a month ago, she has focused on the idea of the children's novel, encouraged me to figure out why I haven't finished it, and brought me books about how to write my story, and get it published. Without her encouragement, I doubt I would have ever looked at the unfinished story again.

We have scheduled a meeting for this week, for us to talk about the stories we're working on, and brainstorm what steps each of us need to take to get our novels done. I'm hoping that with her encouragement, and the added accountability of having someone who knows about the novel, I will finally be able to say that I've finished the story. My goal is to get an outline written, and get as much backstory completed as I can by October 31st. Then if all goes according to plan, I will write out the novel during the month of November, and hopefully complete two challenges in one: accomplish the 50,000 word count goal for NaNoWriMo, and finish this novel that has been on the back burner for far too long. I plan to update periodically with my various accomplishments, as an added source of accountability for myself. Wish me luck!

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord" Colossians 3:23

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


So, it's been almost a year since I last posted anything on Motley Party of Two. This isn't exactly a coincidence, however. My last post was in mid-August of last year, which just so happened to be about two weeks before I started classes. 

I decided after much deliberation that I wanted to go back to ARC to get another degree- this time for Horticulture. I've since finished my first year back, and am currently enjoying a few months off, before the start of year two. I am absolutely in love with my classes. Within the first couple of weeks I knew that this was where i was supposed to be, and this is what I am supposed to be doing. Luckily for me, I've always enjoyed school. I've made friends, learned lots of new things, and have been tirelessly working towards my dream of owning a piece of property and starting a homestead. I've been so busy in fact, that it has left very little time for writing this blog. But hopefully, all of that will be changing soon.

I was at a church meeting and BBQ this past weekend, where I met a very nice woman. She sat next to me, and we spent the entire dinner portion of the evening chatting and getting to know each other. As it turns out, we have quite a few things in common, one of which is that we are both aspiring authors. This was very exciting for me, since I only know of one other woman at our church that is a writer, and I was eager to talk to this new friend about her work, and what she writes about. As we talked, she suggested that we get together soon to talk about our writing, and perhaps read our work for each other. I loved the idea, until I realized that I don't have anything current to read to her, or talk about with her. I mentioned that I have this blog, and then again, I realized it had been quite a while since I'd last posted anything. So here I am now, working to rectify that. I'm hoping that this new friend will be the spark I needed to get back to writing, and posting. Lord knows that I always have something new to write about now!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Marinated Beets

One of my newest fascinations is pickling things. Now, I haven't yet pickled anything aside from eggs, but this recipe was what sparked my curiousity. These beets aren't exactly pickled, more like marinated. Even still, they're delicious in a salad.

  • 1 bunch (4 or 5) beets
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • Salt and pepper

1 Remove greens from beets. Scrub the beets free of any dirt.
2a Boiling method. Place the beets in a medium saucepan and cover with water by about an inch. Bring to a boil on high heat then lower the heat and maintain a simmer for 35 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the beets, until they are easily pierced with the tines of a fork.
3 Once you have boiled the beets, drain them and rinse them cold water. Use your fingers to slip the peels off of the beets. The peels should come off easily. Discard the peels. Quarter or slice the beets.
4 Make the vinaigrette by combining the cider vinegar, sugar, olive oil, and dry mustard. Whisk ingredients together with a fork. The dry mustard will help to emulsify the vinaigrette. Adjust to taste. Add salt and pepper to taste. Combine beets and vinaigrette in a bowl and allow to marinate for a half hour at room temperature.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Teriyaki Sauce from Scratch

I was craving teriyaki chicken a few weeks back, but I didn't have any sauce on hand. So I decided to make some! I found this recipe, and tried it out. So easy, so delicious and SO going into my recipe binder! Cook up some rice (Or quinoa), some chicken, and saute some veggies, then enjoy!

  • 1 cup water
  • 5 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 large clove of garlic, finely minced
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ cup cold water
  1. Combine the 1 cup water, brown sugar, soy sauce, honey, garlic and ginger in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch with the ¼ cup water and whisk until dissolved. Add the cornstarch mixture to the saucepan.
  3. Heat the sauce until it thickens to your desired thickness. If the sauce becomes too thick, add more water to thin it out.