Jun 302006

Name that jewelry

Do you name your pieces when they are completed? How do you come up with your names?

I do occasionally name my jewelry, usually if I am going to put it on my web site for sale…it’s just easier that way to know what someone wants to buy instead of “that necklace with the really cool green beads on it”. And I have named a couple of styles that I make, like my “Sally” necklace and earring sets. These are named after a former intern who was just a breath of fresh air; bright, breezy and fashionable. I thought the name fit the fun necklace style.

When I create jewelry for Beading Help Web, I usually try to use a descriptive name, because I figure it’s better for someone who is looking for a “Y” necklace to find than to see a necklace called “Yasmine” and know that’s the style.

But I’m curious on how you come up with names for your work if you do name them. Friend or family names? Close your eyes and point at a map or phone book? Emotions? Color variations? Share your methods of naming jewelry and I’ll post them here.

Jun 282006

Do you Etsy?

One of the fastest growing sites for crafters of all types is Etsy – the online store and auction house that caters to only handcrafted items. On all the boards and discussion groups I belong to, crafters all over are setting up their Etsy shops. The thing that I’ve noticed most about Etsy sellers is they use the word “FUN” when describing their online stores.

Hmm. I’ve sold on eBay and one word I’d NEVER use to describe it is FUN.

So what makes Etsy so different? Well, number one, it caters to crafters. You are not going to have your lovely handbeaded purses showing up in a search for “beaded purses” alongside a made-in-whereever purse that sells for $5.

Number two, for sellers, the fees are totally reasonable. .10 (yes, that’s TEN CENTS) to list an item, and 3.5% of the selling fee when it sells. Wowsa…that’s a lower commission fee than I get at any of my retail locations!

Number three, you can list your items once and they will stay in your store for up to six months. Imagine…doing that marketing set up only once every six months! (Of course, you are going to want to “rotate” stock, so I’d advise updating more often than that!)

In terms of how payments and transactions between the buyer and seller, and feedback are concerned, Etsy even admits they do it “just like eBay.” I find that to be the easiest thing to deal with on eBay, so that is okay.

Give Etsy a trial run and see if it works for you. I’d love to hear your store success stories – email me a beadingpublisher@consumerhelpweb.com

Jun 272006

Working on commissioned pieces today and I’m pleased with the results on a green labradorite and pearl necklace. The fabric swatch that I’m working with is a gorgeous, in an “off” shade of green wtih gold highlights. I needed something to work with that wouldn’t completely match or overpower.

The green labradorite, with it’s flashes of blue is perfect (I think :-)). I paired it with wafer-shaped freshwater pearls, and for a lighter look, crimped beads in random patterns on 24k gold Softflex beading wire. I love this stuff…it is coated with nylon like other beading wires, but it’s meant to be seen!

Three strands loosely woven together, and the necklace is complete. I’ll create a similar bracelet and complementary earrings to complete the set.

The necklace takes a bit of time to make, and it’s not as easy as it looks. Crimping perfectly is required for each bead, and while I spaced the lab and pearls differently on all three strands in a seemingly random pattern, there is method to the madness. Time required to complete was one episode of Hell’s Kitchen and 3/4 of Medium. 😀

Jun 252006

Here’s a display idea you may not have thought of: Naturals! I’m talking shells, stones, corals, branches – things you can place on tables and drape jewelry over to show it off.

I first started using naturals to showcase my jewelry at an outdoor festival – I was worried about my “indoor” displays falling over in the ever-present Midwest wind, so I grabbed a huge conch shell, some coral that I had found myself in Florida, and some interesting stones that my son and I had picked up over the years. Laid them on the table, and draped a few necklaces and bracelets over them.

The pieces seemed to hop right off the table. Since I’ve been using the naturals, the jewelry that I’ve placed on them gets noticed and sells faster than anything else!

Using naturals as displays forces me to do a couple of things: I have to think artistically “what will look best on this rock/shell/hunk of coral” and I don’t put out as much stock…I think it unclutters my table and removes the “OMG, you have so much, I can’t decide” factor that I encounted previously. Plus, sometimes it just makes for interesting small talk when someone asks about a stone or shell – all of them have a little story around them, so it keeps the person at my table if they ask about it!

Hauling shells and rocks to events is a little more work than using the average jewelry busts and displays, but it really makes my booth stand out as unique and individual.

Jun 252006

Good Grief, the last seven days have been hectic!

If I go back to last Friday, I met and commissioned several pieces from a new client – great gal who has a business helping other businesses be successful with marketing, etc., I hope I can free up enough time to use her services!

She suggested I visit a gallery in Omaha that she knew of, so I made an appointment for last Saturday to visit with the owners. On Saturday, I met with Joanna and Brian of Everything Them in Omaha’s Old Market district, and had several pieces consigned.

Mid week, I had an email from a contact at the Iowa Western Community College regarding teaching fall Continuing Education (CE) classes on basic beading. We set up two classes for fall 2006 in a matter of hours.

Then today, I had a nice show outdoors at a small community (Carson, IA). It was not the greatest of weather situations (have to plan for EVERYTHING in the Midwest!) but it worked out to be a nice, profitable show. When I got home, there was a message from a friend who had visited a new local winery…they are interested in commisioning my work!

Needless to say, it’s been an incredibly busy week! I have missed blogging a couple of days because I’ve just been too swamped. Oh, and add that last night, hubby, a couple of friends and I put up almost 200 bales of hay. Who the heck needs to go to the gym when you can toss around 50 lb bales of hay for a couple fo hours? 😀

Jun 222006

I got an order from Fire Mountain today…they are so fast in their shipping – I ordered on Monday and it arrived today (Wednesday!) One of the things I am most pleased about are some earring fixtures that will replace my spinners, especially for outdoor shows. The fixtures are made of plastic coated heavy duty wire, and are more sturdy than they look. Plus, I think they can be taped down to a table in windy weather, so I’m hoping for no repeats of my earring spinners taking a header in the street like they did earlier this month!

Just when I think I’m sort of caught up, things start hopping again. This is a good thing! I have two necklace and earring sets to make for a friend’s wedding – I’m doing the “Knotted” Pearl necklace and Simple Dangle Earring styles for two teen aged girls. The necklace will be something they can wear for years because the classic styling will always be hip!

Other irons in the fire keep me challenged and busy…looks like I’ll have an opportunity this fall to teach some beading classes, which I look forward to, and show season starts up in full swing in just a few short weeks.

Jun 202006

Time to vote!

Land of Odds Ugly Necklace contest reader voting is now open until August 15. Then next year’s contest gears up beginning September 1.

Be sure you read the poems that accompany those hideous necklaces. You’ll be sure to chuckle and grin. Vote only once for your favorite…or should that be your LEAST favorite? 🙂

Jun 202006

Feel like I did an EarringAThon tonite…I ended up with 4 pairs of greens and three pairs of reds. Earrings sometimes feel like more of a chore than an exercise in creativity, but they are the bread and butter of craft shows. So I make them, and try to use as much imagination as I can muster for them. 😉

And check out the new necklace/earring set I came up with. That’s Chrysoprase, a gorgeous green stone that reminds me of a Monarch butterfly chrysalis. Totally yummy. One nice touch I’ve found over the years is adding the simple chain at the end of a necklace (with a coordinating dangle). Especially if you are giving the necklace as a gift or selling it, the wearer will appreciate the ability to extend it if it’s a little tight.

Read a bit more about Chrysoprase, which is found mainly in Australia. The stone looks like an apple green jade, and has the smooth touch and texture of jade. I’ve used it strictly with sterling and Bali in my necklace and earring set, relying on the varied shapes to provide interest. However, I’d love to see Chryoprase paired with tiger eye for an earthy look, or with some orangey coral for great contrast.

Jun 192006

Free Sample of StarFlex Beading Wire

Who doesn’t like free? Well, I can’t attest to the quality (yet) but I did find an offer from StarFlex, a new German beading wire company, for free samples of their wire. Just send them an email, I’m assuming with your mailing address, and ask for free samples. Can’t hurt to try, I guess!

Jun 182006

Looking for a more challenging project to try? Start with the Curly Q Earrings, (pictured at left) inspired by Sharilyn Miller’s Twin Spiral Bracelet. If you’re hesitant to use sterling wire to start, try making the spirals with craft wire or copper in the same gauges…while copper may not make good ear wires (some folks will experience sensitivity), you can always attach the swirls to nickel-free ear wires.

Another fun intermediate project to try that’s perfect for summer fun is the Garden Gone Wild bracelet – dangles upon dangles of Czech beads in flowers, leaves, and other fun shapes.

Finally, if you have a special event to attend, like a wedding, a Crystal Y Necklace is perfect. Use crystals that will compliment your outfit, and then create a pair of earrings in my Rachel style (using the same crystals) to complete your set.

Remember, all project sheets on Beading Help Web are free, but please respect artist copyrights when creating projects for resale!