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"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul." by William E. Henley

Thursday, September 30, 2010


Originally uploaded by novadesigns by tess

I think there is something to be said about true friends.

When it doesn't matter you haven't seen them in years. You just pick up right where you left off. Laughing, crying, sharing memories. Long nights of talking about what has been and what the future might bring.

Friends you've made online and when you meet them in person it's like you've known each other forever. You just click.

As you grow older I find it harder to make new friends. At least in the "real" world. I hardly leave my comfort zone of work and studio. But it makes me even more grateful for the ones I have.

You guys know me better than I probably know myself. You know my weaknesses and my strengths. You love me for who I am and I love you for letting me embrace who I am. That you understand why I work so hard and you never get mad when I forget to call when I said I would (but got lost in the world of silver and stones)... or when I never get around to install that skype thing we talked about..

Thank you for always being there
love ~tess

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

wedding wednesday's

centerpiece prototype
Originally uploaded by novadesigns by tess

Going with our kind of whimsical forest theme we wanted something unusual for our centerpieces. Flowers are very pretty but I wanted something that would feel more personal and more like us so of course we have to make our own centerpieces. And yes, we are absolutely control freaks and we're so lucky to be able to do a lot of these things on our own.

It started out with these great grapevine spheres that I purchased from
I had her make them without a handle that she normally does and they turned out fantastic! I just love how the vines linger and turn around to form this sphere. Absolutely gorgeous.

Inside the sphere is real moss and I've hidden a little string of lights (battery operated) that makes it look like little fireflies are buzzing around in there. The real moss wire sprouts out from the grapevine and we've added some butterflies that I also purchased from Etsy. David and I haven't agreed upon how these moss wires actually are supposed to sprout out (read I want it one way and he wants it another) ha ha but I am sure we can come to an agreement at some point.

On the photo you see the first prototype for stand that David made. It's forged and welded metal rods. I think it looks just perfect. The sphere hangs from one of it's "tendrils" high above so you'll be able to see the person sitting across from you with no problem. Overall we're gonna have 12 centerpieces and I think David wants to make 12 different stands. He doesn't like to do the same thing over and over again and I think it's a great idea.

Our next step is to do a mock-up of the table setting with everything in place so we can decide on what kind of tea light holders we want. Sometimes it's hard to picture everything together and since we have so many details going into the table settings we want to make sure it doesn't look too busy or cluttered.

Can you tell how much I am loving all of this?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

the art of pricing

Originally uploaded by novadesigns by tess

My friend Jess over at Rosy Revolver asked if anyone from our team Handmade Division would blog with her about pricing. At first I wasn't gonna do it cause I didn't know if I had anything useful to share. But then I thought some more about it and there is definitely something about pricing that I feel that I want to share.

It's hard
It takes time and effort
But it's worth the time you put into it.

and it's also something I have yet to master...
There is a balancing act between what my time is worth and what someone would be willing to pay for it. It's definitely not always easy.

I have a formula that I use. It's not perfect and it's something that I tweak and change to make sure that I get a return for the time and soul that I have invested in a piece. But it's important to have a formula. AND it's so important to make sure that you get paid for your time.

As most designers I dream of doing this full time. To finally be able to create every second of every day. Well maybe not every second. A girl has got to make time for the man in her life.. and the kitties of course. And yummy dinners once in a while. But what I am trying to get at is, unless I treat this as a business, a business that will eventually support me and not only buy new materials to play with but also pay rent and buy food I need to make sure that I make enough money per worked hour. I need to make a decent living out of it. And I need to make sure that my business is making a profit .

With my profit I can also invest in new tools which is vital for my business to grow. When I first started novadesigns I was hand drilling every hole and hand filing and polishing every corner..
I know, pretty crazy huh? But when I had made enough profit I could finally buy a flexshaft and a tumbler. It was like a new world opened up!

So when I see sellers on Etsy under pricing their work it makes me cringe. Not only are they cheating themselves but they are also
sending the wrong message to our customers. I really don't want to look like an over priced snob who is trying to take every buyer to the cleaner. Cause that couldn't be further away from the truth. But sometimes I feel like that is how I might be perceived in comparison. And that sucks.. And I have no desire whatsoever to try and compete with such low prices.

I really feel like I deserve to get a return of my investment, when it comes to designing, dreaming, creating and pouring my heart and soul into a new piece. And I know there are buyers out there who knows and values the work that I do. And I really appreciate that. You guys are amazing and make me want to run home from my day job every day and dive straight into the studio.

But for you who struggle with pricing. Do some homework. Especially if you are just starting out and might be dreaming of doing this full time. There are tons of useful information out there on what you need to consider when pricing your work. Hidden costs that you might not think
about. Please do your home work and price your work at a fair price.

There is also something to be said for perceived value. If you are selling something for maybe half the price it should be sold at.. well a buyer might wonder why that is. What is the quality perception? Is there something wrong with the piece?

Not to sound too cheesy but please look over your pricing to make sure you aren't giving your silver babies away for free. Take the time to price them correct, cause your pieces are worth it... and because you are worth it.

Love ~tess

here's the links to other posts about pricing

Alice Istanbul Designs (that post coming soon)

Sissy & Jack's (post coming soon)

Friday, September 24, 2010

feeling romantic

Originally uploaded by novadesigns by tess

It's finally friday!
Don't know about you, but I have been looking forward to Friday ALL week :o)

This week I've been trying to stay focused on designing and working on custom orders. I find that nova of love is taking up a little bit more if my time than I would have expected, but that is good thing. It's like getting in touch with a softer side of me. Someone I think I forgot a long time ago. It's nice to see her again.

I worked on a corsage/bracelets for the shop. It's something that I am also going to make for my own wedding so it's fun to be able to try them out first. I love how they look. So romantic and feminine.

And I made my first garter! *Swoon* I think I must make one for myself next...

This weekend is all studio.. except for sunday (or was it saturday?) dance lessons. My dear friend Natasha has been giving David and myself some lessons so that we'll be able to swirl around the dance floor like pro's for our first dance. I am so grateful for that. I love to dance and I think both David and I are doing well so far :o). I am just so excited that we won't shuffle around like 13 year old teenagers, slow dancing at the disco ha ha!

I hope you have a fantastic weekend. Thank you so much for stopping by and being a part of my life. *blows kisses*


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

wedding wednesday's

wedding bouquet
Originally uploaded by novadesigns by tess

241 days until my wedding!

I spend so much of my time planning, thinking and working on things related to our big day. It's only fair that I take you with me on that journey.

It's a menu that has to be decided on.. Photographers booked. Hair styles and of course the dress that has to fit. So many things to think about. And so many details. David and I are all about the details. It has to feel personal. It has to feel like US.

Originally I wanted fresh flowers for my bouquet. Peonies.. ahhh big lush peonies.. and lilies of the valley.. Yummy.. I wanted a wild meadow bouquet. Not a tightly ribbon tied trimmed and pruned bouquet. But everything changed when I came across a gorgeous, amazing vintage enamel flower brooch. It had my favorite color. That sage or greenish blue that just makes my heart skip a beat. I saw it and I knew that's where I had to start.

So I started collecting vintage enameled flowers. One by one to build my bouquet. I even found a butterfly. A pale yellow slightly chipped butterfly. Touched by aged but timeless all at once.

Ivory, pale blue, yellow and dusty pink... It's slowly coming together as one gorgeous luscious meadow. With all the charm and personality I wanted. I love the old. The history of them. I imagine all the places they have been to and how they are all coming together for this one amazing day of my life. I feel lucky to have found them. Every single one of them. But especially that one sage flower that makes my heart skip a beat....

have a lovely day my friends

Monday, September 20, 2010

Nova of love's first big wedding

custom bridesmaid purses
Originally uploaded by novadesigns by tess

I love weddings

I get a warm and fuzzy feeling when someone asks me to make something for their special day. It's such an honor. And the joy surrounding wedding plans is contagious. I really love my new adventure with nova of love.

My first big order came from a lovely bride who has been such a pleasure working with. 9 custom bridesmaid purses with a trio's of flower in plume and dark purple. One bridal purse with lace and pearls. The flowers for the bridesmaid purses are removable and can also be used as hair accessories. I just love how these turned out and I hope she does to!


Hidden Path ring

Hidden Path ring
Originally uploaded by novadesigns by tess

We've all got our paths to follow.
Some are easy others not.

I follow my path in life.
It's lingering, full or turns and unexpected twists.
Sometimes it's hard and wears me down.
Other times it's full of surprises and unexpected moments of joy.
But it's MY path. And I love every moment following it.

Some say I am heading the wrong way, that I should take another path. But how could I... as I know this IS my path.

I know that every bump and turn I face was meant to be. Meant to keep on challenging me. To look harder and try harder. But never, ever to turn around and take another path.

As it gets narrow and sometimes hard to navigate, I stick to it and keep pushing forward. I know at the end it will lead me to where I need to be.

Remember to follow YOUR path. It will take you exactly where you need to be.

love ~tess

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

new goodies

new work
Originally uploaded by novadesigns by tess

the fruits of my labor!

Coming soon to an Etsy shop near you :o)

Shop update scheduled for 3pm (philly time) TODAY!

have a great day!

Friday, September 3, 2010

delayed shop update...

new fun stuff in progress
Originally uploaded by novadesigns by tess

sometimes I try so hard to do so much. And sometimes I make it but sometimes I fall short. There just isn't enough time to squeeze in all the fun stuff I want to make. I was gonna have a shop update today but I didn't quite finish all the things I wanted to offer you....

and it would have been a really sad little update with only a few pairs of earrings :o(

So here's a little teaser for what is coming on Tuesday the 7th... 3 necklaces and 2 rings...

The strawberry ring is a little brainchild of mine. I know I talked about it before and it looks like it's finally gonna happen!!! It has a wide band (11 mm) and is a size 9. The little meadow ring is a size 8 and that cherry creek jasper is AMAZING. I got it from the very talented Barney over at lapidarious on Etsy so you know it's the good stuff!

I don't know about you but I am extremely excited it's Friday. The weekend (with no boring work) is quickly approaching and that means STUDIO time for me! And David and I are also going to squeeze in some red bull flugtag on Saturday.

Flugtag you say. What the heck is that?
Red Bull Flugtag challenges the brave and brainy to design, build and pilot homemade flying machines off a 30-foot high flight deck in hopes of soaring into the wild blue yonder…or often, plunging into the waters below. Flugtag, which means “flying day” in German, pushes the envelope of human-powered flight.

It just sounded way to entertaining to pass on :o)

Have a fantastic weekend my friends and as always thank you so much for stopping by, reading my blog and being a part of my busy life.
love ~tess

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

new earring collection!

new earring collection
Originally uploaded by novadesigns by tess


a couple of new favorites :o)
I have been exploring the rose concept and I LOVE the swinging roses. Ahh soo pretty. I might have to make myself another pair...

coming to the little etsy shop this friday!

love ~tess