This began as a hobby while watching television in the evenings. Sometimes I get so involved in creating just the right color combination that I don't even notice when the rest of the family goes to bed. Every piece is an original...I never start with a specific pattern in mind. This either ensures that no two pieces will ever be alike or demonstrates an organic lack of organization :)
When making memory pieces I start with a pre-cut and painted piece of wood (teddy bear, dog, stamp, globe, etc.). In South Dakota painting the bare wood patterns occurs in the summer...creating the individual pieces occurs during the very long winter!)
I look for just the right combination of stickers, buttons, and in some cases steampunk notions. The goal is to find just the right balance of colors and symbols before anything gets glued down while simultaneously keeping the cats from laying down in the middle of the piece! If I think the piece needs lights (or the customer makes a special request for lights) I add those last.
When making necklaces I sometimes start with one type of bead and look for the right combination to amplify that original bead. Other times, I spend hours trying different combinations without ever being satisfied and don't make anything! Once made, every necklace is tensile tested to make sure nothing is loose.
Last, memory pieces and necklaces are measured, photographed, cataloged, and boxed.