Wednesday, April 30, 2008

That Voilà! Moment

Sat down with an older piece today that I had never been quite happy about. Unstrung it and put it on my bead design board and started playing around for about half an hour. I think I've finally figured out what I want to do!

I added some newer beads I love, and wish I had found more of, but I found them on the discount shelf at Michael's (where they've completely re-designed their beading area, in many ways it's much, much better now) and some antique gold tone matte seed beads, made from who knows what material, I think it's a coated glass. Those I found a few months ago, at a wonderful store called Global Beads, when I was doing a lot of antique gold tone pieces (see this one at Etsy for the bead) and felt that "voilà!" moment. The picture is a bit dark, took it with my phone camera.

Here's the bead I like so much - it's got a little milleflore type flower in it and a foil lining in the center.

This evening, while looking for a good price for some silver lever-back earring components, I also found a large supply of the bead I've been looking for - in quite a few colors, except for the color I want. Artbeads had them, called "flat hexagon" beads. If I ever find them in a pale pink, I'm buying a couple pounds of 'em.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Taking a Little Beading Break to Work on My Website Building Skills

No beading done today - worked on building the css for a web site that I will eventually host on my own domain. I hope to add this blog to that domain, as well as my online shop. Until then, I will stay with Etsy and my main blog for beading will be here. If you're interested in seeing the website work in progress it's at

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Bead Stop on My Trip to LA

I'm visiting with friends in LA this weekend and we went to a great little bead shop yesterday in Santa Monica called Beadniks (warning - site has music on the intro page) on Arizona Ave. Googling Beadniks also brings up other cities - not sure if this is just a name people liked or a chain of stores. There's one in Chicago, another in Westchester (didn't check which state) and another in Saratoga (again, didn't checkwhich state - went straight to the link for the one in Santa Monica) They've implemented a great idea - you can make stuff right there in the shop. There are people who will help you with the technical bits of constructing your beaded piece, as well. I'm not sure exactly how that works, but it's definitely a great idea.

So I shopped around and found a beautiful silver piece:

and this assorted glass mix (contents = 2 3" tubes):

I certainly could have bought more, but I didn't want to have to carry around ten pounds of beads all day and the bead store was our first stop. My friends know me all too well. In fact one of them asked "would you like us to 'cut you off' at any point?"

Later on as we chatted about all kinds of things, my friends also gave me some great advice about my Etsy site, building my future site, marketing, writing good description copy and pricing. We talked about doing shows and fairs, also. Lots of fun stuff to think about, although I do realize the reality of it is a lot of hard work, too.

What a great weekend!

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Hanging Out With Other Beaders

I was told about the Craftster Community by my daughter and joined up. Seems like a fun, supportive place. She's posted about a scarf she knitted as her very first knitting project and the replies were adorable. She's also doing a "swap" event where she and another Craftster have exchanged little stuffed animals. The posts are clever and cute.

So where else should I hang out? What blogs should I go to, link to and comment on to get involved with other beaders? Things I want to read about and learn include information about showing at fairs, selling through co-ops or how to get local stores to carry one's work.

Networking is a great thing. I was meeting with someone through the day job who was very interested in taking some of my lanyards with him to his Rotary convention. He took a bunch of business cards, 5 of my lanyards and a brochure - I had to get it all ready for him at a moment's notice because he told me about it at lunch and was going to be flying out first thing the next morning.

Will it get me more business? I can't help but hope so. But even if it doesn't, I'm thrilled that someone was nice enough to offer. I won't be shy about talking about my work or handing out cards from now on. It's not natural for me, but I'll keep trying.

I'll be out of town starting tomorrow, so I probably won't post again for a few days.

I'll leave you with a couple pics of my other stuff. You can find all of these at my Etsy store.

I love the beads in this - found them at a shop in Westminster near Huntington Beach, CA. I've got a bunch of them, still and will be making more necklace lanyards with them.

Close up:

One of the members of the online writing forum I belong to saw this at my store and sent me a message saying she was getting married and would love to have a necklace like this and matching earrings, but with a blue stone instead of the malachite. I have some nice lapis and offered to make one with them. She liked the idea and I'll start working on it soon. I'll post some work in progress pics once I get started.

See you next time!

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Two Sets Today - Badge Lanyards and a New Eyeglass Chain

Finished the necklace lanyard and matching earrings using the aqua glass and yellow quartz. I really love this one, so I will probably make one for my own use as well as post for sale. Here's the set.

Here's a closer shot of the earrings - I think I did a pretty good job on the loop this time. You can also see more detail on the necklace beads.

My second set tonight was designed around a pair of lavender cloisonné discs and some complementary glass beads in frosted and clear white glass. First, the full length lanyard necklace showing how it looks from the 'badge' side (L) and how it looks turned around as a necklace (R).

I did a "detail" picture of the two different focal sets of beads, too.

I wasn't finished yet, however. I also decided I needed a complementary eyeglass leash. On the right I've put it on my glasses and shown it with the lanyard. On the left I've shown it turned around as a necklace. The focal bead is the same as the one on the back of the lanyard.

Necklace side detail:

This is another set I may not be able to part with!

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Productive Beading Day!

This evening I finished a couple pieces I'd started yesterday and made a new lanyard and a new bracelet. The first one came about because of a message I got on Etsy. Someone had seen one of my pieces but wrote to ask if I would be interested in doing it in different colors because she wasn't fond of pink. We wrote back and forth for a bit so I could get a good idea of what she'd like. I finished it and posted it this evening. Here's a preview shot (I think the ones I do for the Etsy listing are nicer, but I took this one to show the potential buyer how it looked - she liked it so I finished it and put it up):

I liked the idea so much I made another one (below), but with only two colors. They are both done with eyepins and chain in antiqued gold tone, faceted smoky quartz colored glass beads, black glass beads, amber colored glass beads (in the first one) and small smoky quartz beads that are actual smoky quartz. I really like that stone, not quite brown, not quite gray. These are definitely great for eyeglass leashes.

Below is the one I made tonight. It uses the same small smoky quartz beads and the larger faceted glass smoky quartz colored bead (it's really amazing how perfectly the color matched). It's made as a badge lanyard necklace, so the center bead would be at the back of the neck when worn with a badge and then later I can turn it around and wear as a necklace.

The next one is one of the reasons I love having lots of beads and tools. I have this light blue sweater I was going to wear today (and did) and I wanted an eyeglass leash that complemented it, so I grabbed my eyepins and chain, nippers and round pliers and made it in about 30 minutes.

Finally, I was looking for inspiration by going through my beads and saw these aqua glass, slightly twisted ovals that I bought a few weeks ago but hadn't decided what to do with them. I had also bought some very pale yellow quartz beads at a local bead shop that I hadn't yet figured out how to use. Here's a bracelet - I'm going to to a lanyard necklace in this design tomorrow night. One of the things you might be able to see better on this design is how I use a "scrimp" bead and a little metal "thimble" to finish off my piece rather than simply crimping. I like using the scrimp, it's always uniform in shape, and holds things together really well. The thimble keeps the wire from rubbing on the clasp and fraying (the stringing wire I use has a nylon coating which eventually can fray).

Well, that's it for tonight. I'm looking forward to making that matching piece tomorrow!

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Finding a Supplier for an Unusual Shape Bead

I've noticed that there is consistency from supplier to supplier when it comes to the names of most beads and their shapes. However, there is this one glass bead I really like and can only find in limited colors at one supplier. I've tried using the name that supplier uses, "wavy diamond", in searches elsewhere to find it in the pale pink that I want - and I'd be interested in other colors as well. Aqua or another shade of pale blue and lavender would be my next picks. I love the finished design with this bead - you can see one of the pieces at my Etsy shop
that I did in a rose pink with copper. It's one of my favorite lanyards.

I must have purchased the original batch at Michael's in a couple of small packages but I have no idea who was the distributor and I'm short about 20 more beads to get the length I want for a lanyard. I've searched and searched to no avail.

If you know where I can order a quantity (minimum 20, but I'd like more) this bead, in this pale pink color, please tell me!

view 1

view 2 (shows side views of the shape)

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

(Not) Working (Well) With Wire

I recently started trying to work with wire to make rings and perhaps move on to pendants and other items. I'm wondering if I'll have the patience to keep at it! So far my early attempts take forever and, well, mostly suck. Here are three of my better efforts - but I'm not entirely happy with them.

Copper and leopard skin jasper - the wire setting for the pendant was made with 20 gauge wire and a Wig-Jig.

Next are a couple rings in silver. The first is three spirals in a V shape.

This is a tiny pink faceted Czech glass bead wrapped wire ring.

I'm doing better with making loops for connecting beads together or to chains and that's taken me some serious practice. I may just have to convince myself not to give up and eventually I'll get better at it.

I've made three sales via Etsy this year. If you're not familiar with Etsy, it's a great community and there are so many wonderful hand crafted items for sale there.

I went to one of the workshops they provide the other day, and had my shop reviewed. Took the advice I got, too. One of the things I was advised was to post a "teaser" type picture first rather than the view of the lanyard on a bust or the full sized mannequin. The top items listed in the shop are using new teaser pics, lower (posted earlier on) ones are the ones I haven't re-shot yet. What do you think?

Today I finished the piece shown below. It's lapis lazuli with silver and gold metal bead accents. This one uses the most expensive materials I've used so far, so I don't know if it's too pricy for my shop at this point. Besides which, I love lapis and don't know if I can part with it.

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I'll be talking about my adventures in beading and trying to sell my creations, in this blog. I have two other blogs, one is my personal, general blog Nvnc Id Vides, Nvnc Ne Vides and the other is Drive By Booking, which has been dark for some time. I started it as my NaNoWriMo journal and then after NaNo, tried posting regular small press book reviews, but I lost the enthusiasm for it after a bit and haven't decided whether or not I'll be trying to make a go of it again. Anyway, there's more about me in my profile and other blog, so I'll not say more here.

Regarding beading, I have a storefront on Etsy and do a lot of face to face sales. I'm creating a 'niche' product in that my focus is on beaded badge lanyards - but the kind that you wouldn't be ashamed to wear as a necklace with a nice suit or dress after hours. I use the nicest materials I can find but still keep the prices reasonable. My favorite materials are stone and Czech glass and lots of metals.

I'll post pictures of my current works and talk about my challenges and successes, too. If I ever think there's something helpful I've learned, I'll pass it along.

More to come! Please visit often!

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