Friday, July 9, 2010

Summer Fun Odds and Ends

Well, I guess I chose well for my last entry. Two of the four sold already. I am excited to finally have used s few of the antique celluloid animal charms. I paid close to $100 for the stash of vintage celluloid animal charms that I have, back in my crazy ebay sales days.

I have a few new creations, but haven't found time to list them yet.

Tomorrow is my birthday. Not sure what we will do. I know it will involve the beach and some good food, other than that, what more does a girl need?

Close to closing on the new house. I can't wait to get moved into my new studio. I may have to forgo beading for a little bit to get the rest of the house organized.

I created a bright and fun etsy treasury today. Check out my etsy shop for a link.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Non-stop creating...

Ahhhh, summer is finally here. The garden is in and school is out; it is time for some creating. I recently went on a creating binge that resulted in an eclectic mix of new necklaces foe my etsy shop.

I finally got around to breaking out my huge stash of vintage celluloid bubblegum charms from the 1940's. It is hard parting with them, as I know that they are hard to find, but I am thrilled with the resulting necklaces on antiqued brass chain.

I creating a few more chunky turquoise creations and started to experiment with some vintaj brass. I am really happy with the results.
Now, I will have to sit back and wait to see how sales will be. I recently looked at some Paypal statements and realized that my etsy sales for the year were about one sixth of my sales for the previous summer on ebay. I am still happy to trade the sales in for the relaxed pace and friendly atmosphere of etsy! Money isn't everything.

JunQue Jules ended up being featured in three etsy treasuries last week! What a great way to kick off the beading season!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Geat New Reading

Recently I took a trip to the book store and scooped up some great finds. The first was a jewelry magazine from the U.K. called Making Jewellery. This was a great find full of new ideas with a fresh perspective. I already sell quite a bit to customers in the U.K., so I figured I may as well add the word "jewellery" to my tags on etsy. Now my U.K. customers will have an easier time finding me.

The next great gem I found was a book called The Handmade Marketplace. This great book from Storey Publishing is full of tips and tricks for selling your wares "locally, globally, and online." The author is Kari Chapman. I love the ascetics of the book and her ideas. I also love that she gives validation to the idea that it is okay for crafters to branch out. I have always dabbled in many arts and crafts and appreciated the "Amen" this book provides. Another great element of this book is the plethora of advice she peppers in from other successful crafters. I highly recommend this book. No matter if you are new to selling your wares or have sold over 1000 pieces like I have, you will find tips and tricks well worth the cover price of 14.95.

The third bit of reading I added to the tower on my nightstand was the 10th anniversary issue of Gatronomica. I love this magazine for its scholarly approach to food which often seems to mingle with art. This of course is the best of my two worlds all rolled up together. I may even breakdown and choke up the 42.50 to subscribe. I am almost sure that the price is less than in the past. I really enjoyed Carol Field's "Rites of Passage in Italy". Although one of favorite and most popular bracelet themes is El Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), I never knew it was also celebrated as a bright and happy holiday in Italy as it is in Mexico. I think that may put a new spin in my next Muertos bracelet!

With Spring approaching it is important to be open to new inspirations where ever they may lie. If you aren't open to inspiration from odd places you may miss out all together. Happy Spring!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Beading Contests

With all of my excitement last month you would think that I would have gotten my various submissions for upcoming deadlines together, but I haven't. Beyond my original couple of days of planning and creating a few things, I haven't given my Bead Star submissions much thought. I sent an email to Bead Trends with a few submissions for the August 2010 issue only to find that their in-box was full! I guess that is what I get for waiting until the last minute. I am still not sure if they received my submissions, but I would have heard something by now. I managed to sell one of those bracelets on etsy already anyhow.
I have had a very productive month both creation and sales wise. My etsy sales seem to be growing exponentially and I have continued to find more time to create. I have been making more strung and memory wire creations as opposed to my usual charm bracelets. The charm bracelets take much more time, so obviously I am able to produce more product than if I was doing all charm bracelets. A typical JunQue Jules charm bracelet takes at least three hours from starting to select the beads to creating and placing the charms.
I am happy about my recent etsy success because it is sometimes too easy to yearn for my former eBay days when I could easily sell 25 bracelets in one weekend; some going for close to $200, if bidding got intense. I also miss the excitement of watching the bids climb from minute to minute. I am still happier with the pace and community I find at etsy.
Another positive this month has been the creations done by my (almost) three year old son. He has gotten really good at stringing plastic pony beads on leather cord. I am wearing one of his necklaces today. He sits on my lap and beads while I bead. I am loving this, but I am forgetting the beads awaiting me to pick up under my design table right now.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sharing the stash

Earlier this week I shared a little Junque from my stash with some of my students after school. We had a great time. They were amazed at how easy it was to make earrings, and some are wearing their new creations to the dance tonight. Fun!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Cheers and Chocolate

If you happen to live in Western Michigan and you enjoy gourmet chocolate, fabulous French Pastries, wine and silent auctions you must attend Cheers and Chocolate in Muskegon. Cheers and Chocolate is my favorite charity event to attend of all time. I have donated my jewelry many times to silent auctions for various causes, but this is my first time donating to Cheers and Chocolate. I am usually just there hanging out stuffing my face with chocolate and passion fruit filled delicacies (my favorite ever since we had Chef Luis prepare them for our wedding feast) and buying up the goodies in the silent auction.

The event benefits two of my favorite causes: The Culinary Institute of Michigan and Every Woman's Place-a women's shelter. Tickets are available at the C.I. or Every Woman's Place.

To do list

I have a running list floating in my head of projects I would like to pursue. I have the ideas, inspiration, and many of the materials, but lack the time to actually follow through. It seems that even when I do have a block of time to pursue one of my new project ideas I don't. I think it is somehow safer to stick to the charm bracelet work I am most known for and that I know will sell. I have recently moved a little further outside of my comfort zone and done more stringing projects, earrings, and even some kilt pins.
I decided today that maybe I will be more apt to get out of my comfort zone if I post my intended "to do" list here.
Here it is:
stained glass sandwich pendants (Nautical Charts, Antique Photos)
Scrabble tile pendants
tumble antique blue and green glass in my rock tumbler (experiment)
get back into tile and found object mosaic furniture
paint antique chairs in funky colors for my new dining room
create a found object collage/mosaic for my bulletin board frame
pewter frame altered art pendants with printed clip art (Frida Kahlo)
finish Fimo skull beads I started 2 years ago
get back into wire wrapping with copper wire
create more chunky necklaces with vintage Lucite or turquoise
create more floating necklaces
create more memory wire bracelets and necklaces
work with antiqued brass chain and findings

Wow, I guess the list isn't quite as long as I thought it would be. I will be reporting back here as I make progress. I must remind myself that we will be moving, if all goes well, in a few months. Maybe organizing my new studio will inspire me to add to the list.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Things to do when you can't get out the beads

Since I am limited to the time I can attend to beading and its related pleasures and I eat lunch at my desk in front of the computer; I have two favorite ways to catch up on beading. One is to read the Daily Beader and the other is create "Fresh Picks" at Lima Beads. Both activities help me to get ready to face the rest of my day without having my mind wander to beads.

I am loving this necklace shown in today's Daily Beader:

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Bead Trends and ideas

The deadline for submitting work for the August 2010 issue of Bead Trends magazine is tonight. I submitted three things earlier today. I was planning on more, but a list of materials is required. That can take forever to compile! This is the first time I have ever submitted my work to any magazine. I have noticed some of my fellow etsy sellers had their work featured in the February 2010 issue and thought "Why not?". I actually submitted a few of the things i was considering for the Bead Star competition. Notification is March 2nd, so I figured I may as well since I will still be able to enter them in Bead Star if they don't make the cut.
Sometimes I wish my stash wasn't so extensive because it makes it difficult to create a materials list when I have items that I have been hanging onto for 15 or more years.
Speaking of magazines; I was quite excited by a feature in the March 2010 issue of Coastal Living. Chart Metalworks from Portland Maine was featured. She creates awesome pendants and charms by placing pieces of nautical charts under resin with brass or sterling silver bezels. You will not catch me casting metal-ever. Fire and I do not mix well (hence the lemon net bag I set on fire last night with candle night).
Since my husband and I dabble in stained glass a bit we were already considering creating some of the foiled stained glass pendants featured in this month's Bead Trends, but I was concerned about ink from my ink jet running and I wasn't sure just what I wanted to sandwich between the glass. Bingo! My parents just happen to be in the marine business and are chart agents. My mom has oodles of old charts laying around. These will make fabulous charms for my mermaid treasures bracelets! Who knows when I will actually get around to this. I have been meaning to tumble the antique glass I dug up in my backyard into "sea glass" for two years now. On the sea glass subject: I think my husband has found us a spot to collect real sea glass on Lake Michigan. If you haven't tried before you may not know that it is not easy to come by!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Old Studio Vs. New Studio

The Old Studio

Since October we have been in the process of buying a foreclosure with twice as much space as our current home. Since April of last year I have been sharing my studio with my husband's home office; not fun.

We went ahead and put an offer in on the new place because we knew it was a deal of a lifetime. This was risky because we have not sold our current home. We are okay with this. I have mixed feelings about the move as the old place is in the urban school district in which I teach and as you can see it is a fabulous old brick Italianate. The new place was built in the 90's and sits on a cudasac in the suburbs. It feels wrong to leave the intercity, but I will be back to having my very own studio again.

If you have ever purchased a foreclosure you know this is a long process. Even so, I think about my new studio and how I will set it up on a daily basis.

Pearls and Oysters

Since I first heard about the Bead Star contest and magazine I have been brainstorming ideas for the nine categories. My work is quite eclectic, so it will be easy for me to come up with entries for most of the categories, or so I thought.
I looked through my recent creations and selected my entry for "plastics" and a possibility for "metals". My plastic entry is one of my popular bauble bracelets. I love how lightweight and sparkly they are.
Today I decided to create something similar to the copper talisman bracelet that I was intending to enter in the metal category. I was second guessing myself on whether or not it had enough metal. Loving beads as I do, I tried to use restraint on my second creation, but ended up with even more beads on the second bracelet than on the first. I am thinking about using it as my "stone" entry now.
I am really happy with my "pearl" entry. I will post a photo later. Speaking of pearls, I was quite delighted to find fresh in the shell Louisiana oysters at Sam's Club yesterday. I plan to lightly coat them in cornmeal and fry them up for dinner later. They are so sweet that way! My brother stopped by last night and shucked one and said they were fabulous. If you haven't checked out his detailed blog, What's Eric Cooking?, you should. It is the blog I would write if I had more time. He photographs every step os his cooking process.
Maybe I will find a pearl while I am shucking. Does that really ever happen? I still remember reading The Cay in high school. That is really my only knowledge of how pearls are found; beyond my finding them at Lima Beads or Fire Mountain that is.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Favorite Sources for beads

My favorite place to buy beads has got to be Fire Mountian. I can not live without their headpins and silver plated beadcaps. The headpins are always uniform and priced right. Since I do mostly charm bracelets; I use a fair amount of headpins. At the height of my bracelet sales I would actually worry more about running out of headpins than I would milk or eggs. They are a staple around my house.

I also spend a fair amount of time in Hobby Lobby and Joann's. Otherwise, I buy vintage buttons, vintage bubble gum charms, and vintage beads on ebay.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Soul Satisfying

This morning as I got ready to leave for school I had a huge list of bead related topic ideas bouncing around in my head for my blog; but then the day happened. I was already excited as we had two events going on today at the middle school I teach at; Soul Food Taste and a student performed assembly. These events were coordinated by staff and volunteers to celebrate African American History Month; but really this was a celebration of diversity, coming together, and our "Bunker family".
I had arranged for some of my newspaper students to photograph at both events. I knew the day would be great. I knew we would get great photos. I did not know I would feel so invigorated by the phenomenal assembly and the fabulous food. What a day! I am still in the process of sorting and rating the photos my students took today, but I had to stop and write about it.
Since I am inspired by everything around me, I know a bracelet will arise out of this! I don't like to show student faces outside of school publications, regardless I loved the "foot photo" one of my students snapped anyhow.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

How flattering...

This has been a great month for me on etsy. I think it may be my best yet. With some multiple item sales I have sold around ten items this month. Ironically, that would have been a slow DAY for me back in my ebay days. I really do enjoy the more relaxed pace and warmth of the customers on etsy though. I think I would trade dealing with ebay for less sales anyday. I just love etsy!

Also on the flattering topic-I love searching "junquejules" and seeinf my work featured on so many blogs. What fun! Thank you.

I know that I need to get some photos up, but having to deal with so much Photoshop and InDesign work with my duties as the school news paper adviser, I am a little lazy in the photo are right now. Oh yeah-and not to mention the yearbook-a whole nother stoooorrry. I will post some pictures soon.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Back in the groove...

Since my little guy was born almost 3 years ago I haven't found as much time for the beads as I would like. Somehow, miraculously, I have found more time than usual lately. At the same time I have also discovered the Bead Star contest. Since discovering it less than a week ago I have decided on 5 of my 9 entries. I am glad that I didn't know about it sooner, as I know I would have second guessed my entries for months.
Along with the extra time to bead my sales seem to be picking up on etsy as well.
To make this a trifecta-We are only a few months away from closing on a new house which will greatly increase my studio space. I will no longer be relegated to a cubby in our library/husband's office/everything else room.
I will post a photo of my current studio as soon as I can put my on going projects away long enough to make it at least appear tidy-one of the side effects of having a toddler-I don't want to spend precious beading time on organizing. I think I need to remind myself how therapeutic sorting can be.
Ahh the good old days before having children-life was very different. I must remember-without my little guy in the house there would be no one to share my love of vintage buttons with. I could never have imagined beading with a toddler on my lap sorting buttons would work-but it does. It has to.