Sunday, November 30, 2008

It's Great to be Feeling Better and Beading Again!

I've been fighting off a rather persistent virus on top of being unusually busy at work which means I didn't do much beading/jewelry work over the last couple weeks, just too tired at the end of the day to be particularly motivated or creative. I mostly fiddled with one piece, continuing my purple fixation with this one last item before I moved on (at least regarding colors).

I used some Blue Moon glass faceted rectangle beads in amethyst with fancy bead caps and then used antiqued brass eye pins and tiny (3mm) faceted amethyst glass beads to create a jeweled chain. The necklace is about 24" around and the pendant adds a couple more inches:

Over this Thanksgiving holiday I did manage to find some time between family and cooking to work on a few things, though. I decided I wanted to make more copper pieces and I liked the way the peridot glass looked with copper - as you can see, I've made quite a few things - some are just bits and pieces that will eventually become something else - earrings or more necklaces. I'm particularly fond of the long necklace at the right - I haven't measured it, but it's probably 34 - 35" before adding the length of the pendant. The center necklace with the large faceted rectangles was inspired by the focal piece which is half of a copper toggle clasp. Next project will be to make a necklace to match the earring at the upper left featuring the foil-lined coin beads, and, of course, the other earring.

Lastly, one more Christmas color lanyard featuring a very pretty faceted glass bead in red and some 3mm green Druk beads.

I'm pretty excited about something that I've been invited to do here on my blog, and soon I'll reveal all. I hope you'll keep checking back for the news!

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Monday, November 17, 2008

More Thoughts About Getting Exposure and Sales

A colleague of mine said in passing that she thought at lanyard would make a nice gift for her boss and that her boss liked purple. I'm going to take a couple purple designs into the office tomorrow and see if I can make a sale. Here's one I just finished with the boss in mind:

As I've mentioned before, people who see me wearing the lanyard are more likely to buy one. I know of a couple people who have bought them for gifts after seeing one on me they liked. I've considered the possibility that using a 'live' model would be helpful for online sales, but in reality the picture size you get online is too limiting.

Another suggestion is to try and sell them through our company store. I waver on that idea, as I'm a handcrafter, not a commercial manufacturer and I'm not sure that I want to get involved with the challenges of selling to a retail outlet. The unique value of my items is the fact that they're jewelry not a utilitarian item and my pricing is based on that premise.

I could use very inexpensive crow beads and make the lanyards very simple and sell them for $12 to $16, like many I've seen. But I have to make what I like, and I don't like that look - it's what got me into making my own lanyards in the first place. I purchased a couple lanyards at a crafts fair made from the larger crow beads with some fancier accent beads near the ends where the badge loop was attached. They were ok, but still really didn't look nearly nice enough with dressy clothes or business-style suits - they were fine for business casual, but I give enough presentations and go to conferences where I want to make an impression that business casual doesn't make. I may try to see if I can get some advertising in the program at one of those conferences some day.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Day of Rest - ful Beading

It was a lovely Sunday. I slept in a bit, read a new spy-thriller novel or listened to the radio, and nibbled on comfort foods. Got inspired to do a couple new lanyards, which is one of the more relaxing things, short of taking a nap, I can do.

Today I made three lanyards (one still needs one clasp, but is otherwise done), here are the two I photographed. The one on the left has a foil lined bead with a tiny white flower detail the other has an abundance of beautifully faceted oval beads. This color, while perfect for spring, still has a wintery feel about it - like a crystal blue lake below a clear winter sky.

I also posted two of my pieces on Etsy - the garnet hex with copper lanyard, and a silver Christmas color lanyard, the latter of the two I also posted on Ebay. Lost the light after taking pictures of 5 or 6 lanyards, these early sunsets don't work for me at all.

For the copper hex lanyard I needed a copper split ring. I found large copper lobster claw clasps but to hook the smaller terminal clasps to it to complete the lanyard findings, I need a split ring. So I got out some 18 gauge copper wire, wrapped it three times on a 4mm mandrel using my Beadalon Jump Ring Maker and snipped the outer two wires at the same place on the triple looped ring to create a split ring. Worked great and looks good, too.

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Back in the Groove?

Productive day for me - even with a bit of sleeping in, and a long drive to get hubby's favorite lunch from the only place that serves it a 30 minute drive away, so it takes over an hour to get home with it, and then eating lunch with him while catching up on some TiVoed shows from last week - I still finished 4 lanyards so far today. I'll probably do a couple more tonight and then get them up on Etsy and eBay tomorrow.

I've been on a bit of a hematite kick, but in the last one with hematite (and copper, second from the right), I used a 3mm garnet colored Jablonex faceted Czech glass bead. That led me to grab my boxes of red beads and my garnet colored Czech glass hexagonal beads from Artbeads caught my eye. I have a lot of these hex bead lanyards and really love making my necklace lanyards with them because of the way their shape catches the eye and their subtle facets play with color and shadow on the bead in interesting ways.

These are all between 28" and 30" long.

I think these are great winter colors - and garnet is the January birthstone, too.

My last comment tonight is that I really wish that I would hear something back from the dealer's room committee members I've written to. I discovered two SF/Fantasy conventions that were going to be held locally, one in March and one in the summer, I think June. I reached out to the dealer's room committee members via the email address listed on the convention websites several days ago, but haven't heard anything yet - and after the LosCon disappointment, I figured I'd better get an earlier start. I really hope my email didn't go into their junk folder...

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Giving Handcrafted Items for Gifts This Year

The current economic troubles mean hard times for a lot of people. I am going to be frugal with my Christmas spending this year, not because I'm in a crisis financially right now, but because I feel it's important to have a larger financial cushion, just in case.

That said, I'm planning to make more gifts this year for my family and friends. I've already invested in the supplies for my crafts, so no new money will be spent. I also feel much more confident about the look and quality of my work, so giving a handcrafted piece of jewelry won't seem cheap or chintzy of me. (I hope!) The big challenge is what to give the guys on the list - I'm pretty sure they won't get much use out of a beaded necklace...but maybe I can use some of the vintage look supplies to make something for them, too, that's masculine.

Do you have any plans or ideas about holiday gifts that you'll craft rather than buy - or maybe decorations? Do leave a comment, if so!

I did finally get some beading done - here's the latest piece, made with non-magnetic hematite beads, vermeil spacers and light sapphire blue Jablonex faceted Czech glass beads. The beads are approximately 3mm, so while hematite is a dense stone, this isn't all that heavy. It's 32" in length. I'm in the process of making another one just like it, using smoky-gray Jablonex faceted beads, in place of the blue ones pictured (click image to enlarge).

In other news, I finally broke down and listed some items on eBay. It was much easier than I thought it would be. So far no views. I can only hope! And, if you ever see anything you like here in my WIP posts, email me and I'll give you a good bargain!

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

2000 Year Old Earring Found Near the Walls of Old Jerusalem

Discovery News reports that archeologists in Jerusalem:

"...have discovered a 2,000-year-old gold earring beneath a parking lot next to the walls of Jerusalem's old city, the Israel Antiquities Authority said Monday.

The discovery dates to the time of Christ, during the Roman period, said Doron Ben-Ami, director of excavation at the site. The piece was found in a Byzantine structure built several centuries after the jeweled earring was made, showing it was likely passed down through generations, he said.

The find is luxurious: A large pearl inlaid in gold with two drop pieces, each with an emerald and pearl set in gold.

'It must have belonged to someone of the elite in Jerusalem,' Ben-Ami said. 'Such a precious item, it couldn't be one of just ordinary people'."

There's a picture of it, too - amazingly well preserved and quite beautiful.

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I Should Be Beading

I feel like I should be beading, but I just finished up another 12 hr work day and my enthusiasm for just about everything is very low. If I didn't have to clean up my office/workroom in order to be able to find anything, I'd probably get to work - but there's a small disaster area behind me where boxes of beads and findings and design boards with miscellaneous beads are piled up 3 and 4 deep...I just don't think I'm going to work up the enthusiasm tonight to tidy up.

Since I don't have any WIP to write about, I will put in a plug for Elise's Shiny Sale - she's listed a great huge lot of lovely jewelry on sale - get your Christmas shopping done early! And feel free, of course, to check out my Etsy store, too.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

A Surprise Sale!

No beading tonight - I just finished with my 'day job' for the day and just don't have the energy. However, I did want to post about the sale I made today.

I had a number of meetings today and after one of them, I stopped by the desk of someone at work I hadn't seen in a while. She was wearing a very striking, chunky bead lanyard with her badge and I complimented her on it. We got to talking about lanyards and she had some complaints about the ones she'd owned and admired the one I was wearing. In fact, she liked it so much that she wanted to buy it, so I sold it right off my neck to her then and there.

I should start bringing a few in with me every time I know I'll have to go to a meeting - you never know when you'll make a sale.

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Sunday, November 9, 2008

New Etsy Listings - Holiday Badge Lanyard Necklaces

As threatened, uh, promised, I've put up several holiday themed necklaces on Etsy. Some will look familiar as I've posted about them recently. Others were made last Christmas, before I started blogging and joined Etsy. I'm very pleased that the gold plated lanyards from last Christmas held up so well - no tarnishing, and with minimal care (frankly, they just hung on a necklace stand) in a fairly humid environment. Can't say the same for the silver plated ones - I will be re-stringing a few as a result.

I set up a new winter/Christmas themed backdrop for my photos and priced two of the lanyards in the 'bargain' category.

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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Today's Holiday Necklace Lanyards

Finished two more new lanyard necklaces in red and green to wear for Christmas time. These will be added to my bargain lanyards group as they are entirely Czech glass and seed beads. The first is 31" long and features large (10mm) pinched oval glass beads culled from Blue Moon glass assortments and some iridescent glass seed beads (as with all pictures you can click it for a larger view).

The second one uses 6mm fluted green pressed Jablonex Czech glass rounds, separated by ruby matte glass seed beads (possibly Toho - I didn't keep the original label, something I do now) small, clear square beads with an iridescent finish (also Czech glass) and an oblong red glass bead of forgotten origin. This is quite light and at 29" is a good lenght for an eyeglass leash.

I put together a bracelet design with some fun red glass beads and silver 'bali' style spacers but wasn't happy using stringing wire for it as the wire seemed too fragile for the fairly heavy beads. So I tried attaching some crimp ends I had to a length of jewelry cable but it didn't work out. Now I'm a bit stumped on what to use for the bracelet, although I have a few ideas that I plan to try.

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Can You Tell Me What the Name of This Chain Maille Pattern Is?

I bought this bracelet at BayCon from Spirit of Iron and I really like the pattern. I'd like to give it a try myself, but I don't know what the pattern is called and can't look up a design tutorial.

If you know the name, please let me know what it is in the comments.

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Friday, November 7, 2008

Holiday Jewelry!

I'll be setting up my winter themed Etsy photography soon, and adding some Christmas-y touches as appropriate - for example, for my red and green Christmas badge lanyard necklaces.

Here's a new one, finished tonight. The majority of the crystal beads are Czech faceted glass (some Jablonex, some from Bead Gallery) but the green bicones are Swarovski crystal I had purchased online but turned out to be the wrong shade of green for what I wanted to do. They're perfect for this necklace, though.

It's great to be beading (and blogging about it) again. I missed it even though I was just too tired in the evenings all this week and traveling last week. It'll be a while before I travel for any length of time, again, so I should be posting much more in the next weeks.

I will probably be getting some satin cord tomorrow for my cloisonné beads and seeing if I can do some Chinese knots with them for some necklaces and, perhaps, try out making a satin cord lanyard as well.

I don't like that it's getting dark so early, it limits the time I can have natural sunlight for my photography so I will need to do photographs earlier in the day - and I'm just not that well organized, nor a morning person. Regardless, I'll need to get this and my other Christmas colors lanyards up on Etsy this weekend.

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Non-beading Post on the Monday Night Before the Election

Yesterday I was on a plane for the bulk of the day and today was spent mostly catching up on work. I'm looking forward to getting back to beading, especially with my new cloisonné beads from Epcot. Will I be up for it tomorrow? I'm not sure - and the distractions of the election will probably have a significant impact on that.

So, tomorrow? Go Vote. Give someone a ride with you to the polls. Voted early - great! Me, too - I hate standing in lines.

No matter your politics, this is an historic election and I hope you will be part of it.

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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Update from Florida

Well, I've been too busy all week to actually miss beading, until right now. I've finished my conferences and spent the day today wandering "around the world" at Epcot. I put some comments about my day and linked to some pictures about it on Twitter (I'm AWDawno there). I've been staying at the Disney Grand Floridian, which is a gorgeous hotel. If I could stay a few more day's I'd love to do the Wild Animal Park and then check out the city of Orlando, but I only had today, so I picked Epcot as I'd heard there was a Wine and Food festival going on. There were great booths all around the World Showcase with wines and foods from all over.

In one of the stores in the China section there was a container of (mostly) cloisonné beads and I scooped up quite a few of them. Not having any other materials to work with here on my trip means I'll have to wait until I get home to figure out how I want to use them.

In the Italy section, I visited a store with a lot of Murano glass jewelry but didn't see anything I liked all that much and, of course, the retail price made buying something already made and then de-constructing it for my own use rather silly.

I have a long day ahead, going to get to bed soon and take advantage of that extra hour! Even though this will show a post time of 7:00-ish, I'm three hours ahead and tired from walking around Epcot for about seven hours today.

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