Dec 302005
 


Spent the better part of today taking down my Christmas tree and putting away decorations. In the process, I found that the sterling ornament I’d made and hung on the tree had tarnished horribly (see photo). I’ll have to buy some of that non-tarnish silver or use copper wire next year for the ornaments that I have planned to make.

Also (FINALLY, I know!) got Delia and Brian’s Chuppah square done, but I am not going to post a photo of that until they see it. 😉 It has a lot of beading on it, and I think it turned out simple but beautiful. Will drop it in the mail tomorrow.

Managed to also get two more articles for Beadinghelpweb written…one on buying and selling beads and other jewelry supplies on online auctions and the review of the Peterson wire jewelry book.

There’s an article posted about safety while beading, too. Please don’t laugh while you read it. 😉 This is serious stuff!

Dec 292005
 

Article on how to Safely Oxidize Silver is posted on BeadingHelpWeb.com. The photos in the article show the transition from bright silver to just out of the egg bag to finished buffing with steel wool and a polishing cloth.

I’ve had quite a bit of fun playing with some beads and toggles that I had purchased previously. Going to do some experimentation with finished pieces as well over the next couple of days.

I also got a nice catalog from Thunderbird Supply Company yesterday, fun to peruse. They have some ring components that look interesting to try to work with. Unlike Fire Mountain or some of the other catalogs I get, Thunderbird doesn’t have a huge array of finished pieces to pull ideas from. That is one of the things I like most about gazing through catalogs, so I miss that!

Good day to clean the jewelry room…it’s cold, damp, and generally nasty outside. BRRR…I guess it is December in western Iowa!!!

Dec 292005
 

Found my last issue of the Craft Report magazine yesterday. I need to write a review of it…basically, it’s great for anyone who is 100% high-end art retail related, but I struggle with applying some of the articles to crafters. There is a wealth of information, advertising, and BIG show contact, however. I have yet to decide if I’m going to continue subscribing to it.

I also have a wire-jewelry book review (Creative Wire Jewelry by Kathy Peterson) to write. It has some interesting projects, but I’m fairly ambiguous about them. Told hubby I just can’t get excited about it for some reason. I think what I thought it was going to be was more of a tutorial on wire wrapping, but the wrapping techniques are, for the most part, pretty simplistic…more “wrap wire around your stone until it looks done” than any kind of structured designs.

Not that I like structure all that much. 😉

Dec 272005
 

#3 from yesterday is DONE. Very cool results. Look for an article on Beadinghelpweb’s Basics page under references later today or tomorrow, complete with photos of the stages of decay…uh, I mean oxidizing. I’ll post the link when it’s done.

Hubby and I are celebrating 19 years of marriage tonite. Dinner out, some light shopping. It will be a wonderful evening, I’m sure.

Dec 262005
 

Post Christmas to-do list:
1. List beads on eBay. Done. Okay, I just listed a few, but it’s a start (see seller cmy1 if you are interested in some cheap cat’s eye beads or memory wire). I do need to list more strands and individual beads that I don’t have any interest in doing anything with. 😀

2. Clean up post-holiday creation frenzy in my bead room. Oof. That may take days. One of the things I find when I clean my bead room is that I make a pile of things that I have a really good idea for, or that speak to me at that moment. Unfortunately, the pile often is larger than the one of things I put away. 😀

3. Experiment with hard boiled eggs. No, don’t make that face. 😉 I’ve read and heard that you can oxidize silver using hard boiled eggs. Less smelly and dangerous than using Liver of Sulfer. I’ve seen two different methods…one uses warm HB eggs, you leave the piece in a bag with smashed up eggs for a short period of time and rewarm the eggs in the microwave (removing all metal first!) as needed. The other method recommends a smashed up egg overnight in the bag with the silver. Since I have about 7 dozen eggs in the fridge right now (chickens think it’s spring), I can experiment to my heart’s content.

Updates later this week, I’m sure.

Dec 242005
 

It’s been way too long since I’ve blogged, but I’ve had ISSUES. More than just seasonal, dealing with too much stuff issues…my PC blew up this week and I have spent the better part of the week attempting to fix, troubleshoot, and research the problems.

Finally just gave up and bought a new system. It’s LOVELY and I am already really digging it. Now I will be able to blog, write, scan, and plan all my beading and jewelry projects in comfort and style.

I’ll have some time off next week and plan to get many, many articles and photos ready for BeadingHelpWeb.com. The site is really kicking off, and I’m looking forward to soliciting new readers, and writers! in 2006.

Today is Christmas Eve, and I’ll be spending the rest of the day today and tomorrow with family and good friends. I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas, and a beading good night. 🙂

Dec 192005
 

I love making jewelry that moves. It’s ever changing, which creates a sensual shifting of color and sparkle.

In a bracelet that I made recently, I alternated 4mm Swarovski bicones with 8mm yellow Calcite rounds. One 6mm sterling twisted wire jump ring is”floated” over the bicones between the calcite. It’s an amazing piece thatsparkles and shimmers with every flick of the wrist.

Another idea for movement include using silver- or 14k gold-plated Softflexbeading wire, and then adding just a few stones or crystals to the bracelet or necklace. The beads will move with your body, creating a fluid work of art that changes with every moment.

Wire is also fabulous for creating movement. When creating a pendant or neckpiece, don’t always wire beads tightly…let them slide gracefully across the wire to generate energy and animation in your work.

Make the earth move. 🙂

Dec 142005
 

Thought a bit tonite about how our world has widened. Used to be, if you were interested in a subject, you could attempt to pull someone in your neighborhood into your fold, or perhaps join a group through a local organization.

Nowadays, you can connect with fellow hobbyists, business people, artists, or just anyone…in the world. Several years ago, I joined an online message board, EA Forums and I have made life-long friends from all over the country, even from foreign countries. I’ve gotten a few interested in my beading passion, gained some business ideas, and been fortunate to be welcomed into several discussions that have invoked passions and new interests.

Resources in the beading, wire-working, and jewelry artist communities exist all over the internet. I invite you to reach out and find a group that shares your passion, join in, and spread your knowledge and enrich your own learning.

Dec 132005
 

Stress. STRESS. STRESS.

This time of year, it’s hard to avoid. And this year, it’s even more fun, with not only the “normal” holiday stuff going on, but add on a daughter graduating from college (IN DECEMBER), my jewelry business blossoming, and it’s getting a little tense! I’m using every skill in self-relaxation, list making, and avoidance of Things That Are Not Really Important that I can muster up.

Wednesday, December 14 at the Star 104.5 Working Women’s Night Out, I’ll be assistinglocal boutique How Cute is That! with a table and bringing some additional pieces to show. It should be fun, relaxing, and hopefully profitable! One of my goals before the soiree is to retag the bracelets and necklaces I’m bringing with more professional and informative tags. I’m stressing (there’s that word again!) that my work is handcrafted locally, and bringing focus to the components of the jewlery – not everyone can recognize a piece of Amazonite when they see it!

Breathe deeply. Close eyes. Imagine yourself in your happy place. Rinse, repeat. 😉

Dec 092005
 

As 2005 is beginning to draw to a close, I’m doing some careful evaluation of the past year and planning for 2006.

What have I accomplished and learned this year?

  • Business-wise, what shows were good? Which ones weren’t and WHY? What were my best business opportunities, and did I blow any for any reason?
  • Did I grow as an artist? Learn and embrace new techniques? Which ones do I enjoy, and which should I put on a back burner?
  • What do I have in my inventory that needs to be reworked, given away, or sold on eBay? I have some beads and other findings that I know I won’t ever use. Before they are forgotten, I should do something with them to benefit someone else.

What are my goals in the next year?

  • As an artist, what new skills do I want to learn? I’m crusing web sites looking for learning opportunities and possible mentors. Are there other artists in my area that I can learn from? With the Internet making anyone in any area accessible, can I learn online from someone who lives in a completely different area?
  • How do I want to grow my business next year? Do I want to continue to use the same methods to promote, sell and market my work, or are there other venues “outside the box” that I should experiment with?
  • What trends are in the works for next year? Do I want to produce trendy work, or create trends of my own? If I want to follow the trend path, do I have the right materials to do so?

While these questions are all pretty generic, they are generating some internal brainstorming and list-creating for me. I know I want to do something to “brand” myself, whether it be packaging, stamping, or creating a unique piece that is a “signature”. That’s just one of the tasks that I’ve been able to get down to a more actionable layer with at this point.

More to come. 😉