Thursday, April 30, 2009

More New Stuff In Today's Mail & A New Steampunk-ish Pendant

My mailbox brought more joy today. I needed some extra stuff for BayCon (and the other cons I hope to be attending) and the last of it (yesterday's haul was part 1) came today - as well as the Swarovski Tahitian Look pearls from the dollar sale at Artbeads, which I mentioned a few days ago. I've left a review of these pearls on the Artbeads site as well; I'm very pleased with my purchases!

Speaking of which - here's the bracelet I made using the pearls and gold filled beads, shown with my earrings and necklace (the ones my husband bought for me):

The other package was from Accessories Susan, and I made a pendant base awhile ago with some of the oxidized brass she offers on her site. This evening I've added some additional bits and pieces to complete the pendant.

The stamped brass lady's hand and watch pieces are from a wonderfully eclectic assortment pack I got from Melanie at her Etsy Steampunk Supply shop, the "gem" is recycled from an old piece of costume jewelry I have. It needs a chain, which I may embellish with tiny light sapphire faceted Czech glass beads. This picture definitely needs to be clicked on for the details. There's a tiny steel blue minute hand attached to the big gear, the "gem" is set in a smaller gear.

Last night I submitted a necklace with those emerald green Swarovski crystals I showed in yesterday's post, to the Bead Star competition in the crystals category. My friend Lori Basiewicz helped me name it "Emerald Rain". I'd love to show you a picture, but just in case it makes it to the competition, I'm going to keep it off the web for now. I still need to make something for my SIL's birthday with the rest of them...and they'll probably show up late now, since her birthday is Saturday.

I may yet submit in one or two other categories before tomorrow's deadline. I don't know if my work is ready for "The Show" as they say in baseball, but it really can't hurt to try.

That's all for tonight - lots to do, little time to do it! Thanks for dropping by!

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My First Blog Review on Technorati and Thoughts About Marketing and Social Media

Ok, pictures first - lots of 'em today, so I hope you're not on dial up! Then the post.

Someone special I know has a May birthday, so I got out these emerald Swarovski rounds - not totally sure what I'm going to make, but it needs to be in the mail tomorrow...

My new assortment packs of aluminum jump rings from Blue Buddha Boutique (as mentioned in prior post) - very cool colors, light weight - going to play and play!

I was just going to order eye and head pins, but I saw these and had to have them, too - Angelite - what a lovely blue!

Needed these fire polished Czech Purple/Gold AB rounds in 12mm size to finish my Step by Step Beads Colorworks Contest submission. It's all done now, and I'm very excited to submit it. Just worried about whether or not I can get the photograph specs correct per rules.

OK, last picture! A while back Rings & Things sent me some brass frames during the Gluable Challenge month. I never used the square one, although I did try something new with one of the rectangular ones. So I got this punch to make perfect-fit squares of paper that I'll use in a collage inside the frame. I have 72 of these frames, due to a *duh* moment in making my order, so I should be able to experiment freely. Got the punch and other cool stuff from Alpha Stamps, which I had never heard of until I read about them on Barbe Saint John's blog.

That's it for the pictures today, on to the title story.

I recently wrote a very short post referencing Technorati. I've been registered there since October of 2004 with my other blog NVNC ID VIDES, NVNC NE VIDES and decided to register this one as well. In that little post I asked if you'd be so kind as to give my blog a review.

Last night I checked my page, and saw that a dear friend of mine had posted a review. The generosity of her comments left me speechless, honest. This was me: " ... "

I've been thinking lately about how a little-known indie artisan gets the word out that they have things they'd like to share, sell, say... Well, blogging is one way, but people need to know to read your blog. Not easy when there are eleventy gazillion blogs about every kind of craft imaginable. Ok, I Googled craft blogs and there were 19 million hits, beading blogs, 16.2 million hits. Not quite eleventy gazillion, but close enough.

Now, I primarily blog because I like to. I'm a social person, extroverted and the beading thing is pretty solitary, so it's my social outlet. (this explains why it may seem like I'm stalking you when sometimes I comment on your blog, or respond to your comment here, about 3 minutes after you post - it's just that I'm starving for conversation!)

I also like to think there are some people who read this and enjoy my posts. I also realize that there's a marketing aspect to this now. As I was talking to my daughter on the phone we got to talking about why that's important.

I don't think it's enough to just have good stuff out there and hope that people will find it; they won't unless you give them some breadcrumbs to follow through the wild forest of the internet. I think you have to go find people you feel are kindred souls, make connections, share jokes, links, help each other out, pay it forward when you can. It's not that I'm looking for you to be my customers, but that when we share in this online conversation it makes us more visible on the web to potential customers - for *all* of us.

Someone lands here, doesn't really like my styles, but is gaga over Tish's or Lisa's, or anyone else on my blogroll. And, I hope, vice versa. Blogrolls, links, reviewing each other's for us, good for us. It's why I'm going to do my Sunday Dawno's Wanderings Around the Beadosphere, and I hope that someday some others will share in the fun, too.

And, just for fun - I posted on my other blog about my internet addiction along with a fun video clip about Twitter. Would love it if you'd take a peek!

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"Excuse me, have you seen my mind? I seem to have lost it somewhere along the way."

Before I go into anecdote-mode, thought I'd share my latest attempt at making something with the technique Katie Hacker teaches at the Beadalon site, using loops of beading wire to space the beads instead of crimps, and then attaching dangly things on the loops. I made the end-caps out of some large hole beads and crimp-beads glued into the holes to secure the strands - I'm kind of proud at how those turned out. I'd started out thinking I'd just use the red beads with some pewter butterfly and flower charms added as dangles, but then decided to add one more strand with more pewter butterflies and red bead dangles. Maybe I went overboard just a bit, but I like it.

I had "one of those days" today - lots of things just seemed harder to do than usual because I just couldn't focus. For example, have you ever truly believed you've made something, know you haven't sold it, and yet can't find it anywhere? I would have sworn I made a bracelet to match a tiger eye and turquoise nugget necklace. There's the necklace, there's the earrings...where's the bracelet?

Now I'm not so sure that I didn't just imagine having made it - after all, it was way back in October (imagine me rolling my eyes here). I know my memory isn't as sharp as it used to be, but typically it's forgetting where I left something real, not a false memory of having it in the first place. Oh well, guess I'll just have to make one. Once I'm finished, I'm sure the one I thought I'd made will turn up someplace obvious.

Then, as I was changing my calendar to May, I realized that Memorial Day weekend was a week earlier than I'd thought...oops! Yep, the mind is definitely going soft on me. I have a lot to do to get ready for Bay Con, and one less week to do it in.

I'm still playing around with the brown lava stones I got from Rings & Things - here's the latest (unfinished) piece with red coral, red ceramic beads in the necklace, and a lava stone, branch coral, red India glass bead, and brass wire pendant. A few more round stones at the top and a clasp and I'm done :

(Please click picture to enlarge if you'd like to see more detail)

Right at the top of the square where the hole had been drilled there was a very large pit. I wasn't really happy with how that looked and was wondering how to fill it in or cover it up. I eventually took a stone that I had put aside because it was lopsided from the way some of the cuts were along the axis of the holes in the stone (they looked like trenches instead of craters), and took a file to it and gathered the filings. I put a blob of Aleen's glue in the hole and covered it with the filings. Covered it right up - and darn near invisibly, if you ask me.

There have been a couple more posts about lava stone designs around the beadosphere - I really like what Melanie at Earthenwork Studios did with the lava stones and a beautiful "Openwork Escutcheons" piece.

Two others I've seen and not mentioned here before, are:

Margot Potter's wire wrapped earrings

Cindy Gimbrone "The Lampwork Diva" provides some product details and asks "Hmmm what sort of designs would you use these light weight beads for? Do they inspire you to create something "hot?"

I'll leave you to ponder that question (and if you have an answer - please visit Cindy's blog and leave her a comment).

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Monday, April 27, 2009

I Think My New Beads Came via Time Machine

Do you have different favorite colors? I have several.

Green is just my favorite color in general. Don't wear it much, not the best color on me except for some shades: dark rich greens, aqua and teal. But straight out green is my favorite color.

Purple - dark royal purple - is my favorite color to wear. I always get compliments on something when I wear purple - and not even always that I look good in it.

Pink is my next favorite color to wear. Seems to flatter my complexion well enough, and I can find things in pink. Another plus is I can wear it year 'round - purple is more limiting in those ways.

Periwinkle is my favorite color word. Ever since I got my first box of Crayola 64 colors and saw it on a crayon. I also look pretty good in periwinkle so I wear it when I can find things in that color.

Looking through my bead stash it seems that I have many more green and purple beads/stones than other colors. Pink is a close third, then clear, then browns and ambers. I also wear a lot of browns and ambers in the fall and winter along with gray and black.

You might wonder why I wandered down that particular train-of-thought track. It's because I ordered some darling glass beads on Friday and they're already here (cue spooky music)! Talk about fast delivery - were mailed USPS on Saturday from Michigan according to the label. Frankly, I can't figure out how that's possible, unless there's a time machine involved somehow.

These beads from Bellebeads (who are having a cool contest on Etsy thru April 31st, so go now!) were featured on Smu-Topia's Ocean Themed Friday and as soon as I saw them I bought them. Thank you Bellebeads!

My new adorable, hand crafted artisan lampwork glass beads, Periwinkle Tide. Set included 3 Starfish, about 25mm across, 2 corals, about 15mm high, and 6 matching spacers, which would be hard to find in a good color match elsewhere. Do click on the picture to see larger image and enjoy the little details - not just of the beads, but the extras on the strand, too - lovely little faux-pearl beads!

I've got some new stuff that will be ready to photograph and share soon, hope you'll be back!

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Small Request

If you read and like my blog, would you consider doing a review on Technorati? You can Tweet it afterwards.

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Wandering Around the Beadosphere...I Mean Blogosphere...No, I Like Beadosphere!

Lately I've been smitten by thoughts of the ocean, wishing I could fall asleep to the sound of waves rolling in, smelling the fresh salt air. To compensate, I suppose, I've collected a number of shell beads and am working on a number of new designs using ocean/seashore themes. Here's a new ocean/seashore design I finished today and have listed on Art Fire:

I've decided to use Sunday as a day to share links to some of my favorite beading blogs (and their bloggers). Without further ado, here's Dawno's Weekly Wanderings Around the Beadosphere:

A Bead A Day Lisa shows off a new bracelet made from beads she featured earlier in the week. Peace symbols in it may have inspired the dreams about the 70's I had last night.

Just ATish Tish has a bumper sticker.

At Perfectly Twisted you can see beautiful examples of wrapped wire jewelry by a very talented artist in this technique.

Smu Topia
has an ocean themed Friday featuring Etsy artists.

Aww, all the Twitter posts (Tweets) disappeared from the Rings & Things blog. You can see Dave (who Tweets as @Rings_Things on Twitter) and the team with their new bike, though.

I'm hoping the Artbeads blog will update soon. If you haven't visited the top post right now is the Beadaholics 12 Step Program. Artbeads' most social Tweeter is @BeadGuy but they have a company account, @Artbeads, too

Heather (who Tweets as @beadinpath on Twitter) has a post up about amazing vintage beads The Beadin' Path acquired from an estate sale of a high end costume jewelry design house.

Would you like to see your link up there next Sunday? Mention and link to me, and this list of blogs & links (feel free to copy and paste), on your blog this week, leave a comment with the link to your post here, and I'll feature one of your posts in next Sunday's list!

Check the blogroll in my sidebar for some of my other favorite places to visit. Remember, you can add me to your list of blogs to follow, if you're a Blogger user, by visiting your dashboard and adding my URL.

A message from our sponsor:

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Incorporating Chainmaille in Designs for Lanyards

The title of this post is something I really want to do. I have a number of mental images of how to make badge lanyards with chainmaille design elements included. I have already used Byzantine chain in this bracelet:

By the way, many of the pieces I make my daughter appreciates but wouldn't wear. I'm ok with that but now and then she does find a piece or two she likes - that bracelet is one of them and she now has it.

And two short pieces, using teensy tiny jump rings, just before the clasp in this necklace:

Although a completely chainmaille lanyard might be really beautiful, I'm afraid that it would take way too long and be too heavy.

Then I thought, or perhaps mumbled out loud to myself as I do from time to time, "What if I use a very light weight jump ring ring, like the beautiful anodized aluminum ones from Blue Buddha Boutique, it wouldn't be that heavy, I bet"

I do wonder if the price point might be prohibitive for something that long (30" is the average), though. Not that it stopped me from ordering a sample mix and trying it anyway...I'll come back with updates and pictures if I decide to try a lanyard. Oh, and Blue Buddha also has instructions (some are free) and kits on their site.

Another thing I've realized - a realization gathered from the book I talk about below - is that I need new tools. I still don't have any flat nosed pliers and there are a number of others I either need to replace or obtain. I believe my birthday wish list this year is going to be all jewelry tools.

Anyway, I had picked up a book to learn more chainmaille making techniques, and wanted to recommend it here for its great photography, lovely projects and easy to follow instructions by Scott David Plumlee. It's titled Handcrafting Chain and Bead Jewelry: Techniques for Creating Dimensional Necklaces and Bracelets.

I got it up at A.C. Moore crafts (sad they aren't in California, but they do have an online store - yay!) when I was in Fayetteville, NC last December. You may recall I was there to meet my son at his return from deployment to Iraq. While I was at the hotel waiting for his arrival or hanging around after that, because he was out with his girlfriend, I kept myself busy making necklaces. If you check my December '08 archives you can read all about it and see a happy picture of me and my son at the welcoming home ceremony.

Well, back to my mini-review of the book - the first pages of the book are detailed explanations of everything you could possibly need to know and have for getting started in making chainmaille. Again, the pictures are fabulous. An example of the kind of detail I'm talking about is the section on pages 10 and 11 "Utilizing Pi" (if you click the link below and use the "look inside feature on Amazon you can see what I mean).

Then the author spends a few pages really making it clear how to assemble various patterns. The illustrations there are colorful and large, something that helped me enormously. The next pages explain how to determine chain length and how to evaluate your work. The next 70 pages are illustrated project instructions. I can't recommend this book highly enough if you're looking to start working in chainmaille. By the way, if you want a copy of the book and buy through the link here, I get a couple pennies for my beading piggy bank, thanks!

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Looking Forward to Arrival of Swarovski Tahitian-Look Pearl Order

Don't forget - there's still time left to get great deals at the Artbeads dollar days sale which ends next Tuesday (Apr. 28th) at 9 am Pacific. The reason I was reminded to mention it was yesterday I had a meeting at work and wore a necklace and earrings with beautiful black Tahitian pearls set in gold that my husband bought me from Na Hoku Jewelers for Christmas a couple years ago. (the earrings below aren't shown with Tahitian pearl, but the style is the same)

I didn't have a lanyard or a bracelet that complemented them - I had hematite and silver, but not gold. I ended up wearing my black onyx and gold-filled bead lanyard as a result.

So when I got home, I went to the Artbeads site to order some Swarovski pearls in "Tahitian-look" so I could make a matching lanyard. Actutally, I want to make a couple lanyards and other matching accessories. I need pieces with spacers and findings in both silver and gold, because my DH had also gotten me a silver pearl set the year before the gold one. Anyway, Artbeads had large hole 14mm Tahitian-look pearls on their sale list and I thought those would make a great bracelet, maybe using ribbon, or cord, instead of beading wire. Can't wait to get them and show you!

I also got more black (matte jet) clamshell beads so I can make more pieces like the Black Sand Beach one (modeled here by the beautiful Tish!) and some pearlized light colors for other designs. I'm gonna be very happy to see that box on the front porch!

Speaking of Tish, a while ago I posted about a necklace that needed a clasp (all the way at the bottom of the post is the picture) and I'm pretty sure it was Tish gave me a link (I can't find the link to where she mentioned it though) to a clasp from Dry Gulch Beads and Jewelry - which I liked (along with a few other things there), and bought. The package arrived today *yay!* and here's the finished necklace on me:

And, a word from our sponsor -

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hey, Another Contest with A Giveaway Attached...So It's Two Chances to Win!

Read about this giveaway to promote a contest first on Twitter: "@tammypowley New @ Jewelry Making Soft Flex Contest: Soft Flex has an interesting new contest running for.." So I went over to Soft Flex Girl's blog and snerched the following from her post "Big Giveaway for Blogger Buddies"

Btw, if you aren't following me on Twitter and would like to, I'm @AWDawno - I don't post a lot, sometimes it's just chat with other folks I know from before Twitter, sometimes it might actually be interesting. One thing I don't do a lot of is push my wares - it kind of bugs me when that's all I ever see in other tweets.

Sure, you should promote your Etsy or ArtFire store, but every tweet is "see my beautiful new listing!" or "buy this!" - all the time? I have to admit it annoys me somewhat. Let's socialize and have some fun, too! Great examples of how to do just that are @beadinpath, @Rings_Things, @BeadGuy, @JustATish and @ABeadADay - to only mention a few. @Rings_Things posts links to articles, re-tweets other Twitterer's news and has made personal connections. That's what I look for in social media - being, you know, social.

Anyway, more about the contest and less my pet peeves. I've only ever bought a few rolls of Soft Flex, but because of the great color assortment they offer, and my new fascination with leaving long swaths of my stringing wire exposed, it's on its way to becoming staple for stringing. The black Soft Flex was featured in my bracelet a few days ago and the bronze Soft Flex in the necklace the following day. I want to get some bright colors next - red, green, yellow, turquoise.

OK, so, per the blog giveaway info, I'm posting about it here, adding a button on my sidebar and may post about it again for extra bonus entry goodness.

Just to tie up the loose ends - the blog giveaway is promoting a Soft Flex contest - two different things. You can enter the giveaway without entering the Soft Flex contest and vice versa (but why not enter both?) Deadline for blog giveaway is July 1, 2009 - enter by commenting at the post. Click here for Soft Flex contest details (link also found below). Everything below this is straight from SoftFlexGirl's blog - I take no credit for the content or art below.

Big Giveaway for Blogger Buddies!

Giveaway prize includes:
3 FREE Trios of your choice!
That's right ANY 3 Trios. You choose the colors!

Here's what you gotta do:

Help us get the word out about our new contest.

To enter to win, please blog about our new "Flex your Creativity" Beading Contest.

Save/Post details:

(link to:

Feel free to expand and say more if you like. The only big rule is that it must link to the details page on our website for your fellow designers to find out more.

In addition, if you use the fancy artwork that Kristen created in your sidebar, I will enter you again. 2 entries!

Grab the html code for the button artwork and display it on your blog at the bottom of the contest page. Then, leave me a comment with a link to your blog! I will enter you to win 3 FREE Trios in your choice of color combination! If you blog about it more than once, let me know. I'll enter you as many times as you mention and link to the details page.

All entries (comments) for this giveaway must be posted by July 1st, 2009.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Getting to Know: Tish from Just A Tish Designs

I'm going to try to do a regular "Getting to Know" post where I cajole some of the talented people I've met online to answer a few questions about themselves and their art. My first interview is with Tish from Just A Tish Designs.

#1 - Were you always crafty? What childhood crafts did you like doing most?

I wanna say I was always crafty, but my memories are a big foggy. I like that word , “crafty”. It encompasses so much. As a kid, I think sewing I think was one of my favorites. I have a lot of fun and warm memories helping my g’ma quilt.

#2 - I read in your bio " heritage of people whose lives were rich in art, design, music, and crafting." Can you share a tid-bit or two about the kinds of art, design, music or crafting you grew up with?

I grew up in a home that rivaled any vaudeville family. We were always on. We were always encouraged to do our own thing, think our own thoughts. We were never pressured to fit in or keep up with the neighbors. Maybe it was due to not being ‘privileged’ or maybe it was because we didn’t have much need of material things, we were so rich with talent, all we needed was a stage and a reason. Some of my earliest memories were of me being perched up on top of the piano, pulling a scarf thru my hands and singing at the top of my lungs, “Let me entertain you” while my brother pounded out the tune. My dad lives his music and is still out playing every weekend at age 75! He has played with a lot of bands over the years, Jefferson Airplane, Ike and Tina Turner, and Big Twist to name a few. My mother and grandmother sewed like fiends there was nothing they couldn’t make. My mom had a knack of looking at something and being able to sit down and make it. I had the BEST Halloween costumes hands down J My dad – again with my dad, he sewed his own ‘dungarees’ he called them. I remember seeing him take a pair of his jeans apart, and lay them out on some denim fabric, cut them out and sew them up. There ain’t nothing he can’t do. Both of my brother’s are accomplished singers. My oldest brother writes music and is an artist. His paintings have been exhibited around the country.

#3 - Your designs are fun and show a sense of whimsy and humor, can you elaborate on how that's important to you?

I can’t take much serious. The times we live in are serious enuff. I need a break. My designs reflect my mood and my skew’d view of life around me. My goal is to make people smile, and have at least one moment of their day tolerable. My designs do that. they make a statement. A statement that is not apologietic for being bold and being brassy. They allow you to stand out in a crowd and be noticed. You are an individual, not a mass marketed cookie cutout of what is perceived to be fashion.

#4 - Did you have any goals or hopes for your blog when you started? Has that changed? How?

I like to think I am funny and my approach to blogging about my work may help someone and make them smile. I like to share my knowledge. I remember when I first started how hard it was to find information about making jewelry. It took a lot of searching and a lot of question asking to know what I know now. That is a lot of work, so if I can make someone else’s life easier by posting up what I know, then I have done my job, and can hold my head high.

#5 - If I were just starting to think about getting into making my own crafty jewelry but was on a hugely limited budge what "must have's" would you suggest starting with?

*think* *think* tuff one.

So much can be repurposed, and it is a lot of fun to create from the chaos around you. If you pop a necklace, use that beading wire for your next bracelet. That is how my mind works, but if I had to have that must have, I would say - Side nippers - If I was told that I would have to trade in my kid for my next pair, I would have to think about it for a sec, no kidding.

#6 - Sort of a "desert island" kind of question - you're going away somewhere and you can't buy any supplies while you're gone. You can only take a small tote full of stuff to work with to keep you sane, but you can also use anything you might find in your hotel, as well as your tote stuff to craft with. I'll be kind and let you come back to the world in one week :-) What is in your tote? What do you think you could find to use?

A bottle of eye-be-pro-fin.

Side nippers, chain nose and needle nose pliers.

An assortment of stone donuts, cabs and pocket stones

20 ga square half hard wire

24 ga round half hard wire

Random handful of small beads, bi cone crystals, glass.

I am drawing a complete blank on what I may find in the hotel.

#7 - Do you have crafters who inspire you?

The world inspires me. Seriously everything does. I love to ooohh and awww over other ppls work, I am blown away everyday by someones work. I have favorites that I love oogle over but I can’t say that it is just crafters. Painters, sculptors, poets, sketchers, photographers, they all are a source of inspiration.

#8 - You can buy $500 worth of only one type of stone or bead to use in your jewelry - what would you pick and why?

Fancy jasper hands down. That stone naturally comes in a varity of warm tones. I love it.

#9 - Is there a craft from the past you wish were popular again? (I was a macrame nut in my teens)

Do you remember god’s eyes? Wrapping yarn around sticks? I loved that.

#10 - You've blogged about some shows recently - would you share your thoughts/feelings about being in shows and the value of participation?

When you speak of shows are you speaking of exhibits? It is nerve wracking. Let me tell you.

Getting up the nerve to go and show your stuff to a gallery or exhibit center takes some guts. What sets you apart? What makes me different from any other stringer out there. I guess it is my drive that keeps me going and keeps me out there. what is it they say – for every 10 no’s you get one yes. I am blessed in that area. I just don’t stop.

If you are talking show’s as in craft fairs – there is a lot to that too.

Keep in mind – This. Is. A . Business. I treat it as such. All the things I do to choose my shows, are the same things that are done when a new business decides to set up shop in a new town. When I hunt down the show schedule there are a few things to consider. What type of show, where is the show (demographically), what is the cost, what is the show attendance, how far of a drive is it….

It may appear cold but I have to put all of this into consideration. What type of show – is it full of food vendors, and rides? That is not a good show for my craft. Families will show up, spend all their money on food and ride tickets and not spend it on a bauble.

Where is the show, I actually do a census check on the location of the show. What is the employment rate, what is the mean wage, what is the major employer in that area. Lets face it. I am doing a show to make money. I have a craft that is a luxury, if the demographic does not fit, I can’t afford to go.

What is the cost? I have to triple the amount of my application fee to make my money. So cost is a big one. This includes my gas, if I eat out or take a lunch and will I actually have to spend the night.

What is the show attendance – if over the years there has been an average of 20K ppl flood into the show, I am so there. if the show averages 6k, I am gonna give it a long thought before applying.

Thank you so much, Tish for agreeing to be my first interview! I have really enjoyed getting to know you better.

Tish has a facebook fan page – Just A Tish Jewely Designs (yes it is spelled "jewely" on purpose). It would be wonderful if you'd become a fan, friend her blog, follow her on Twitter and, of course, look at her beautiful work and maybe buy some, too!

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Don't Forget to Check Here Tomorrow for the Just A Tish Interview

Yep, you'll be glad you did if you check in here tomorrow night at 6pm Pacific to read the Q & A with Tish! Hey, if you add my blog to your Blogger Follow list (see your Blogger dashboard for the How To) or RSS reader you won't ever miss anything.

Work in progress - not much so far this week. Been fiddling with lava stone ideas mostly. Made these earrings and a bracelet to go with one of my badge lanyards that features onyx and jade stones (click for larger image):

Still working on my 'project plan' spreadsheet, too.

Found some more links to lava stone creations from the April Rings & Things challenge. Melanie at Earthenwood Studios likes the saucers with her beautiful scarab creation, Lisa at A Bead A Day made a bracelet featuring the large square stone and bright red beads, Margot Potter at The Impatient Crafter (tm) used the same large squares for earrings and Tish at Just A Tish who has crafted a bold and beautiful necklace with squares, saucers and the rounds! Plus, she incorporated those Indian Pink Swarovski's Rings & Things included in the sample package, too! Bonus points, Tish!

Have physical therapy and a busy work day tomorrow, going to get to bed early tonight.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Breaking News: Big Artbeads Sale Starts Tomorrow

I got an email this morning and was told I could share it. It was advance notice about a big sale on, starting tomorrow morning, called Dollar Days. This was one of their biggest sales in 2008 and many items sold out very quickly.

This year, they’re making it much bigger by putting over 2,000 items on sale for only $1.00 each and running the sale for an entire week. The savings will be up to 60% off.

Be on the look-out for it to go live tomorrow morning, Tuesday, April 21, 2009!

Also on Wednesday I'll be featuring Tish from Just A Tish Designs with a written Q & A interview here on my blog - don't miss it! I hope to do these fairly regularly and eventually do audio interviews.

Here's a picture I told Tish I'd post after reading her blog, wherein she mentions a 70's craft, Costume Jewelry Christmas Tree Wall Hangings, complete with a picture from that era and she made a comment about the hairdo in the picture. I, too, had to suffer the bubble-hair once:

little sis, me, mom - outside the salon, in Taiwan 1969.

The style looks perfect on my mom, at least to me. I wanted long, straight hippie hair. Which I had by 1975, just as everyone was going for the Dorthy Hamill wedge cut or that Farah Flip.

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

A "Kreativ" Sunday (Thanks, Lisa!)

Been experimenting with that technique I used to make yesterday's black glass bead bracelet. Today I used freshwater cultured pearls in shades of gold, some Crystazzi cube crystals (on half off sale at Michael's) and bronze Soft Flex beading wire.

This one won't go up on Art Fire as I'm not quite satisfied with how it turned out. Was fun to make, though - I really like this technique for its open and organic look.

I read on Lisa's Bead A Day blog that she'd been nominated for a "Kreative Award" by Pearl of The Beading Gem's Journal and that she'd nominated me and 6 other blogs.

Thank you, Lisa, you are a major source of fun, supportive comments and information for me. You are very deserving of the award from Pearl.

So, to keep things rolling, here are the rules of the Kreative award:1. The winner may put this award on their blog.2. Please put a link to the person that presented you for this award.3. Nominate 5 blogs.4. Put links to all their blogs.5. Leave a message for your nominees.

My nominees are:
Just A Tish
Jen Nipps
WillowWalker Designs
Rock Creek Creations

Five great bloggers who share their thoughts (and often, pictures) about their creative process. I find them supportive, inspirational and fun to "hang out" with here on the blogosphere.

And, breaking news - just got an email that I've made another sale on Art Fire. That's three this weekend and it blows me away!

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Black Sand Beach Bracelet

Before anything else, I'd like to thank Lisa at A Bead A Day for picking me as her featured designer this week - I'm so honored she liked my work!

Also, there are still some Rings & Things gluable challenge bracelets showing up here and there - Katie Hacker of Katie's Beading Blog (and lots of other great sites around the web) showed two ideas earlier this week.

There are lots of great kits and tutorials out there - I just bought one from Rock Creek Creations at Art Fire - and the Beadalon site has some good ones as well. Sometimes though the concept is what inspires me more than the actual item being taught.

Like back when you were a kid, and it was time to sit down for Arts & Crafts at camp or with the Scout troop, were you one of the people who listened carefully, checked the step by step drawings often, and at the end of the hour had a perfect replica of the craft's director's sample? I was one of those more often than not.

When I was a teen I worked for the summer recreation department and taught swimming in the morning and arts and crafts in the afternoons. I had a set curriculum and the department provided the supplies. I never varied from the program and there wasn't much opportunity for the kids to improvise, either - just didn't have the materials and I couldn't afford to bring in anything extra, either.

When I got older, I often volunteered to be the crafts teacher for various summer recreation programs, all the way into my early 30s. There were often themes to these programs and the crafts usually aligned with the themes. I didn't create the curriculum for the crafts and pretty much followed the instructions given. Not that I didn't encourage the kids to improvise somewhat if they wished - I tried to supplement the standard pre-packaged kits with some different materials, so the ones who wanted to be unique to some degree, could.

Today I was reading blog posts on my Google reader and saw that Katie Hacker had posted about a new Beadalon wire SilveRose and that there was an animated tutorial posted, so I checked it out. Cool tutorial and a lovely necklace. I wanted to try the idea, but decided to go in a different direction and made a bracelet with some black Soft Flex, gunmetal findings and black Czech glass beads.

I believe I'm going to get some other colored beading wire and make more like this - it's a fun look!

Now a message from our sponsor:

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Getting Ready for a Crafty Weekend!

Because it's one of those "you had to be there" kind of things, I won't explain why, but I'm going to be making something for my daughter and me featuring these:

Whatever gets made won't be identical because, while I found two packs of charms with the lobsters, I wasn't able to find more than one pack that had the starfish and scallop - so other charms will have to go on the second creation. I was thinking bracelet for me, but daughter doesn't wear them, so she'll get either earrings or a pendant. Or some kind of dangly thing she can use on a purse or hook to her keychain or a zipper...still working all this out in my head.

Tidied up my workspace a bit and did some minimal sorting, in order to be more focused about what I'm going to work on tonight and this weekend. I had a vague idea of the things I wanted to work on, while I was doing this, but I've decided to do something new to help increase my odds of actually ending up on Sunday with a sense of accomplishment.

As in real progress rather than sitting surrounded by piles of beads and findings, more piles of partly finished things, and the occasional running-out-to-the-store-for-something-new-because-I-got-a-wild-idea progress. Not that there's anything wrong with that sometimes.

Anyway, I got to thinking about how haphazardly I go about this whole jewelry obsession I have. I'm moving from "hobby" to "part time business" and maybe, in the not too distant future, full time business. At the conclusion of this ponderment, I decided that in order to be successful, I have to apply some of the project management skills (btw, that's a big part of what I do in my day job in the techie world) I've picked up along the way. Especially right now, if only to put some structured goals around what I need to do to prepare for Bay Con at the end of May.

For example, I will have a pretty small space so that sets one parameter - how much room I'll have to display, which limits what I can bring for sale pre-made. I am going to be sitting out in Artist's Alley again, so I need to be working on something all the time. That sets another parameter - what supplies to bring. The type of con, theme of con, typical con-goers, etc., help set the parameters for what kind of things might sell best. The easy parameter is "days left until show".

From all those parameters, I'll create a task list, maybe using Google Spreadsheets - if this is a successful trial-run, maybe someone will want me to share what I did, and it's very easy to share with Google. The task spreadsheet will include how many, and what kinds, of prepared bags of things to make at the table and put due dates for completion of those. Other tasks would be things like "what new items do I want to display" "complete pricing and tagging" "create inventory list".

Once the task list is created, dates assigned and priorities established, I can focus on getting the things I need to do for Bay Con done. If I get the tasks done before their due dates, then I can do whatever I want for the rest of the time, or move on to other tasks and move ahead of schedule. I'm actually liking this idea a lot, the more I write about it.

I first started using some of these techniques back in college, when I over-scheduled myself one quarter in my 2nd year. I found a book (title long forgotten) that saved me from dropping out in abject failure - and I'm not kidding, it was a really grim time. The key was breaking my days into 15 minute increments, setting achievable goals for those increments and rewarding myself periodically for success. Also dropping one class.

The organizational tips it gave were very much like a project management how-to, but written for students. Also like the time management stuff Franklin-Covey, Day-Timer, etc., have made their fortunes by providing seminars and supplies for. Me, I used Mead 4-subject 5x8 sized notebooks with graph paper pages and colored pens.

By organizing, setting goals and managing my time better, using the techniques in the book, I got thru that quarter, and subsequent quarters, graduated in 3 years and did it cum laude as well. I apply many of those same tools to my day-job. So why not my jewelry work, too? As I begin to approach this more as a part-time business than a hobby, it's essential!

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sketch? Bead Board? Wing It?

I've noticed some jewelry (bead, metal, ceramic, polyclay - you name it) bloggers talking about coming up with their designs. A couple talk about sketching, others use bead boards (primarily stringers) and some of us (you know who you are) wing it.

I'm mostly a wing-it'er. I look at beads, string them, take them off, try something else...sometimes I'll dump a bunch in one of my DIY lap desks (aka a shoe box lid with bead mat) and just play around until I get what I want.

I used my bead board *a lot* when I started making my beaded badge lanyards, but now I've pretty much got an eye for how the design elements need to repeat, etc., for it come out the right length. I'll may still occasionally use it, but it's been a while.

As I think about more complex and challenging ideas, though, I think I'll be getting out the graph-paper and colored pencils. I need the colored pencils, anyway, if I'm going to try experimenting with shrinky-dinks (Margot Potter has inspired a bracelet idea via a book of hers I just got, Sparkletastic: 50 Dazzling Jewelry and Fashion Projects for the Discriminating Diva (Impatient Beader)

So, once you get an idea for something, what do you do? I'll be very interested to read about it in the comments.

Now, before I wander off for the evening, and since I mentioned it above, I'll tell you what I thought of Sparkletastic. Published in 2007, it's a soft cover, full color, 8.5x11" sized book of 128 pages, 50 projects, with hundreds of great pictures. I found it on one of those racks sticking out of the beading aisles at Michael's that you have to be watchful for, or you'll whack your shoulder on it. Having read Margot's blog pretty faithfully for some time now, as well as watching her delightful videos (have you seen the one about the YuDu home screen printing system? Go. Watch. Now - I'll wait here), I decided I wanted to own one of her books, too. This one looked particularly fun.

Margot's humor is what makes her books stand out from most other beading how-to's I've read. The designs are full of fun and whimsy. I saw a number of things in the book that, while I don't know if I'd make the exact same thing, I could see how the tools, materials and techniques would lend themselves to something that suits my style, too.

Oh, and if you want a copy of this fun and fabulous how-to guide, click this link and a few pennies go to my bead fund :-)

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

If You Live in Maine, You Can Visit in Person! (I'm Jealous)

The wonderful Heather from The Beadin' Path (@beadinpath on Twitter) ran a little contest on Twitter a bit ago, and I won a gift certificate! (I hardly ever, ever win anything and I was so excited).

I ordered some beautiful beads (Keith O'Connor Ceramic shells, and carved & stamped raku seascape mix beads) and some tiny round gunmetal beads (not shown)

as well as joined their monthly subscription to the Monthly Bead Club and got these beauties for this month:

And a darling pair of gift beads that I bet Tish or Lisa would have very clever ideas on how to use - me, I'm just thinking earrings...

My order came yesterday but I've been a bit distracted by RL stuff, and didn't post. But I really wanted to share more than just the beads - I wanted to also tell you a little story about making my order with The Beadin' Path.

During the ordering process I ran into some trouble - turned out to be user error, not their site, but before I figured that out, I clicked their live chat help. It was fabulous! I got a help person right away who was very helpful and once I figured out the problem was my own "doh" moment, stayed a bit to chat with me, because it turned out to be the wonderful Heather, who recognized me from Twitter, on the chat.

I am a customer for life. Anyone who is using the web tools as cleverly and helpfully and just plain happily as The Beadin' Path does deserves tons of kudos. Plus they have really great beads and beading stuff. I don't wish I lived in Maine, I'm not a winter person - lived in California all my life and the first half of it in Southern California and that mainly in the desert. I am not fond of snow or long stretches of cold. But I would love to be able to visit Freeport, Maine and visit The Beadin' Path. I'm going to have to figure out how to work that into some future vacation plans.

Ok, so what have I accomplished in the past few days I've been neglecting my blog? Bits and pieces of stuff - added some length to the lava rock bead and shell necklace I posted about the other day, plus a little Romeo and Juliet type ring I hand wrapped with 20 gauge gunmetal colored Artistic Wire I found at Global Beads:

I'm going to make more of those rings in different colors of wire with pairs of Czech druk beads, and put them out at my Bay Con table this year - I think they'll be popular - as well as offer to make more 'on the spot' for anyone who wants customized ones. The rules of Artist's Alley are that I have to be working on my art and interacting with people, not focusing mainly on selling. That worked out just fine for me last year and I think I had a successful weekend.

I also finished everything but the clasp on this necklace...

...with some beads from my trip to Michael's with my daughter over the weekend, before she headed back south. For the clasp, I'd love for you to suggest some links, if you know of anything different - especially if it's unique and hand crafted - out there that you've seen.

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Reuse That Altoid (or other) Tin

Since I've already posted about the stuff I've been working on lately and I'm not ready to post anything new because I've been focusing today on my design for the Step by Step Beads Colorworks Challenge. It's almost done, but I don't want to share a picture of it until after I've heard back whether it made the cut or not. So, instead of something I've made, I thought I'd share about something I read the other day.

I have Design*Sponge on my Google Reader for general inspiration, and this little DIY project with Altoid tins was very thought provoking. I used to collect hard candy tins from gift baskets (there were always very pretty ones from England or Scottland, occasionally other countries in them), and not for any particular use, I just saved them because I'm a little bit pack-rat and a little bit magpie, I think.

I believe I have a box somewhere in the garage with quite a stash of them. I bet if I did some Googling, I'd find a couple million ideas already out there, but I'm going to go ahead and re-invent the wheel anyway.

Wouldn't small tin lids (decorated on the inside or outside) be great for all kinds of collages using the inside for tiny shadow boxes, or outside of the tin covered in fabric or paper appliques, mosaics from died eggshell chips on the top with a glaze sealant over it (now that the Easter Eggs all need to be eaten - save those shells!), glue some favorite orphan beads around the edge, add some kind of a bail to it and voilà! a you smell smoke? I think it's my brain overloading.?

Or cover a tin with polyclay (ok, I gave in and Googled and thought that how to was really excellent - lots of pictures and clear step by step directions as well as materials list).

Maybe put a pretty fabric, knitted, crocheted, embroidered, or felt pincushion on the top and then put things like extra safety pins or hooks and eyes or tiny snaps and give to your favorite quilter or sewer. Sounds like great idea for eye pins, head pins or other small findings, too. What do you think the best way to secure the pincushion would be -if glue, what type? I can see a round tin like this one being perfect:

How about a box of little page-marking clips (here are some fancy "page points" for reference or some Cheeky Flat Clips I found at Michael's) for the avid reader in your life? You can get those in stationery stores, too, or make your own versions. I'd collage that box - maybe use bits of paperback book covers or pages in different typefaces...what else would look good on a book-clip box lid collage? I think this sliding mint tin box I got on a trip to Vegas a couple years ago, would be great for that.

Or a tin to hold post-it index tabs (which I use a lot of and constantly misplace) or those "sign here" ones - sounds like a thoughtful gift to any one who works with contracts (realtors, notaries, lots of admins, etc.), or to hold stamps (if you use snail mail, be sure to buy a bunch of "forever" stamps real soon, the price is going up again on May 11th to 44 cents).

Ok, 'nuff said - but if you've done this or have a favorite instruction post to link, please share!

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Beachcombing Necklace

Used some of my new beads last night - shell heishis and little whole shells, with tiny freshwater pearls, amber shell beads and brass Artistic Wire.

Reminds me of summer days spent at the beach, searching for little shells, chasing waves. I decided to make this with a rustic look. I used 26 gauge Artistic Wire in an antique brass finish to link the heishi shells and make the dangles.

See some additional closeup angles at my Art Fire shop!

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Lava, Shells, Coral and Other Stuff, Too

Here's a journey through my work in progress using the Rings & Things goody: Lava Stone. I really loved the idea of using it with some red bamboo coral I had in my stash (Bead Gallery via Michaels). I started by just putting the stones with the coral, but decided it needed something else.

I ordered coral branch bits ( also from Rings & Things) and added them...nope, still not quite there.

Today I had to go to the Post Office to pick up a package from Melanie's Steampunk Supply store on Etsy (will share about those in a later post, when I start using them) and that's just a few blocks from the wonderful Global Beads in downtown Mountain View. I wasn't sure what I needed, just wanted something brown and organic looking and small.

When I found some tiny, brown beads, I scooped up a bunch. I learned they were Indian and made from the rudraksha seed. Also found some red, porus stone nuggets - not sure what they are (and forgot to ask) but they're like lava stone, and thought they'd be a good addition, so I bought a strand of those.

Here's where I am in the unfinished piece so far.

I never had any urge to buy lava stone before - but when I got my sample package, I rather fell in love with it. I ended up with so many ideas - I decided to stock up a bit.

In the picture below on the top left, are some sample bits using the lava stone that may grow into necklaces or bracelets later. I had some dark brown wire that I thought would look really interesting with the lava stones, so I made wrapped loops and a figure eight spacer with the wire. The other sample uses lava stones with drilled spiral shell points I found at Global Beads today, as well.

As for the rest of the pieces in the picture above, in the center are mother of pearl disks (they are thin, heishi-type beads) that I've linked together with 26 gauge Artistic Wire and brass bead. On the lower right is the start of a necklace (I think) using silver Beadalon Quick Links, gold plated 10mm jump rings and 15mm Botswana agate.

I also got some Swarovski beads in new colors that Rings & Things is carrying, and this is what I'm thinking of doing with the Indian Pink ones - they're strung on sterling bead chain between sterling seamless beads. The 4mm bicones are here and the larger 6mm is here:

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