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: