Dec 312008

Well, it’s New Year’s Eve! Time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished for the year and start thinking about what’s on the plate for 2009.

I went back in “history” and found my 2008 goals so I could review them and see how I’d done.

Goal: Get more proficient with PMC.
Result: Not a complete FAIL, but I didn’t work hard on honing my skills with PMC. This will definitely make the jump to 2009 as something I’d like to continue to work on!

Goal: Work with that torch.
Result: Ooh, yeah. I wouldn’t say I mastered it, but I did have some stunning success with soldering, fusing and expanding my skills here. One of my proudest moments was the soldering of those teeny tiny axe pendants in July for the LumberJills. I really love “playing with fire” and hope to continue to learn and sharpen my skills (hahaha, pun intended) in 2009!

Goal: Grow my jewelry business through higher end and more personal showings.
Result: I did get into higher end shows in 2008, with the Grand Cities Art Fest as the crowning glory. Not a lot of personal showings, but I didn’t take the time to market them either. Do I really want to do “home parties”? Not sure…probably need to think through next year’s marketing strategy more thoroughly.

Did my business grow, however? Resounding YES…proving that even in a tough economy, people like and will spend money on handcrafted goods.

Goal: Create one piece per week.
Result: Well, I know I made more than 52 new pieces in 2008. But one per week? No. I still encountered some crunch time, but I took some down time as well. So while I may not have technically achieved this goal, I’m placing it on the “DONE” side of the board. 😉

Goal: Write one article/project/review for Beading Help Web per week.
Result: Life got in the way of good intentions here, plus there were other business factors that took their toll. However, I’m still committed to BHW and to helping other beaders and jewelry makers out there…I do plan on putting more time into the site next year. 🙂

Overall, I feel good about 2008 and my accomplishments. On to deciding what to focus on for 2009!!!

Later this week, I’ll share some of the “out takes” or bloopers of 2008…there are some doozies!!!

Dec 312008

Good day today!

I met a friend at Cheeseburger in Paradise for lunch and had a yummy bleu cheese burger and onion strings (okay, and a margarita too….). But I seriously think the best thing about the restaurant was sitting in a beach chair in the lobby. I honestly felt like I was on the beach (well, except for the gale force winds that were making the wind howl outside….).

Did a little shopping, got some birthday presents for my son (he’s a January baby, so we clean up on post-Christmas sales ;-)) and worked out at the gym. After all that, hubby and son took the tree out of the house, and we put things back to where they belong.

My studio is a complete mess, despite doing some deep cleaning yesterday! I hope to get things a little better organized tomorrow. My beads and stones are supposed to be organized by color in snap-top containers (similar to the photo) and stacked in a bookcase. Since I use the clear/opaque boxes, I can easily see which box contains which color of beads. Well, the beads and stones that are IN the boxes are easy to find, that is. The rest are in piles on my work table.

Wire is in a canvas accordion file (by type of metal and gauge) and stays pretty well organized.

I haven’t found a good way to organize my jump rings yet – they are just in labeled baggies in a shoebox. At least they are contained. Sometimes I have to dig a little to find the right size, but it’s really not too bad.

So tomorrow I’ll attack the piles…maybe I’ll even find some “treasures” that I forgot about!

Dec 292008

It’s not too early to start planning your entry (or entries!!) for the Rings N Things “Your Designs ROCK!” contest! Entries are accepted during the month of February, but after the holidays is a perfect time to start designing!

A little information on the contest from my friends Russ and Kim at R&T:

Do you want an excuse to get started on a new project? Perhaps you’re looking for a good reason to expand your skills. Maybe you have an ambitious idea that needs a push to be executed. And maybe you’ve got a winning idea inside you that’s just waiting to exist in the physical world! Whatever your motivations, your wait is over, because your excuse for action is here: the Rings & Things’ 2009 Your Designs Rock! Contest. Entries don’t have to be jewelry. They can be anything that includes R&T components. Jewelry, purses, wall hangings, light-switch plates, you name it! Plus, you can submit up to three entries.

Additional details available on the R&T web site!

Dec 242008

We’re starting out with a light blanket of snow (maybe an inch or two last night) and not too horrible temps. While I won’t be making any jewelry today (I’ll be making meatballs – hey you could sing that to “I’ll be home for Christmas” and it works perfectly – and cinnamon apples), I have a couple of perfect ideas if you are looking for last minute gifts, or just something sparkley for yourself!

My Holiday Tree Earrings only require a little bit of wire and an optional Swarovski crystal to complete. I have given them to friends many times over the last few years, and they are always appreciated!
Melanie Ellis’s Christmas Dangle Bracelet takes a bit more time, but if your holiday dinner is already in the oven, this is a relaxing project that looks great!
A pair of Snowman Earrings are always festive…if you don’t have the silver stardust beads, use clear or pearls for a completely different look!
Merry Christmas from Beading Help Web!!!

Dec 212008

It’s been a busy holiday season here…I’m taking some much needed time off from my “day” job to relax (what’s that?) and just sort of hang out. For the sake of my family and close friends who read the blog and think I’ve fallen off the face of the earth, here’s a quick update on jewelry and not-jewelry news!

Wrestling has consumed our December. Jeremy started back up in wrestling as a freshman, and between daily practices and (at least) weekly tournaments and duals, we’ve been running all over SW Iowa and Nebraska. January isn’t looking much better 😉 But he LOVES the sport, and is gaining experience and having fun. Since he hasn’t wrestled since he was about 6, it was a surprise that he wanted to take it up again, but he is really enjoying it this time around. Me, I’m now crowned Mat Mom and have an idea for some Mat Mom earrings, LOL.

Final jewelry commissions are going to be completed today…even the last minute call on Tuesday this week for a brag bracelet! Generation Gems pulled through and “Rod’s” wife will be very pleased that her gift is going to be on time.

I’m breaking into the stash I got from EarthBazaar a couple of weeks ago. They are still running their end of the year sale, and I picked up some yummy gems. One complaint about EB is that the drills in their gemstones are tiny…but I just take out my trusty battery operated reamer (from Beadalon) and ream away. I find reaming out stones to be therapeutic…one of those mindless things that I enjoy.

And since the weather outside is frightful (it’s stinking COLD and there are windchill advisories), I’ll hunker down today and work on a few projects. And maybe get those Christmas cards out…New Year’s cards, anyone? 🙂

Dec 182008

Jeremy’s wrestling has all but eaten all of my free time, but I plan to update all my OT posts over the weekend! In the meantime, please enjoy the creative genius of all the other OT gals….

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva Make a Confetti Ring to Wear at Your Next Holiday Party!
Holiday Sparkly Fan Pull Lisa creates a dress up look for a ceiling fan
Poinsettia Madness Beautiful poinsettias in glass.
Strands of Beads Melissa has a quicker than quick snowball pendant for a perfect last minute gift.

As an extra special gift this year, our last Ornament Thursday project for 2008 will be published on Christmas Day!

Dec 132008

Well, I’m in the throng of holiday projects. It’s a wonderful thing to be too busy, but whew! I finally had to put a self-imposed deadline in place and say “No, I’m sorry, but I can’t get that done for you in time for Christmas delivery”. I hate doing that, but I hate disappointing someone with a late project even more.

So what have I been working on?
Brag Bracelets (I like this name better than “Mother’s Bracelets”…tell you why in a second!). I love the engraved beads from Generation Gems, and I have had an explosion of orders this year!

This holiday season, I’ve made several of my “traditional” design as gifts for moms, but also a couple of unusual requests!
– A fun design for a gal who wanted something for her son’s special friend – we designed the bracelet around their college colors and the jersey number they both share.
– A maille version of the bracelet using the rectangle shaped beads and a Byzantine weave for a guy. He told his wife he’d love a bracelet with his daughter’s name on it and his wife was having a hard time finding something that would fit him that didn’t look “run of the mill”. I made a recommendation, and we ran with it!

A Breast Cancer Awareness set for a friend who lost her mom earlier this year. She had purchased a necklace from me in July, and wanted something for her sister. I made a few adjustments to the original design, and really like the way this turned out. It’s simple, but really quite stunning.

ENOA earrings – earlier this year, I created a pendant using the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging logo. The pendant was donated for their annual fund raiser, and the office Director snapped it up. She mentioned later that she’d love to have matching earrings, and her employees contacted me with the request.

(Of course, there’s a story behind everything I make, and this one’s no exception! I struggled with sawing out the teeny tiny design (TWICE) and finally got copper cut outs I was happy with. I attached the copper to the silver background and wanted to polish up a bit, so I took out my little Dremel. Earring number one polished up nicely. Earring number two wasn’t properly secured, and the minute the polishing wheel hit it, it went flying. I couldn’t find it to save my life – turned the studio upside down in the area that I thought it hit. I had decided to (AGAIN) cut out another copper section, and got everything ready to go. Left the house for a few hours for a wrestling tourney, came home and decided to look in one more place. VOILA! there it was.)

Off to the next project……

Dec 122008

You’ll have to wait a bit for my project…but in the meantime, enjoy everything the other OT gals have put together this week!

Cindy Gimbrone Puts Up Her Xmas Tree! Fused Glass Xmas tree ornament sparkles from Cindy’s real Xmas tree.
Friendly Plastic Ornaments and Sew simple mittens This week in the countdown to Christmas, Michelle shares her recipe for Friendly Plastic Ornaments and Helen sews another tree ornament
New Beaded Ornament See our special guest’s beautiful creation!
Strands of Beads Melissa shows off a simple winter rose bracelet project this week.

Check back next week for more special projects!

Dec 042008

Seems we are all so stressed every holiday season that there’s no time for anything! Keeping in mind my own busy schedule (I thought I’d have all this time in December, but Jeremy decided to go out for wrestling and that’s eating up every spare minute!), my first Ornament Thursday project for December is quick and easy, but VERY festive!

Holiday Candle WrapHoliday Candle Wraps: Dress up your plain boring candles using just beads, wire and crimps. This is a 30-minute project – you can pick up the materials at any hobby or craft store (like Michaels or Hobby Lobby), and easily complete at least one in 30 minutes.

To kick off 2008’s holiday version of Ornament Thursday, all the gals are making fabulous projects…check them all out! Be sure to stop back each and every Thursday in December for more fun and festive projects!

Christmas Past and Needle Magic at Michelle is addressing the ghosts of Christmas past and Helen gets down and dirty sewing a Christmas ornament – stand well clear, she is dangerous with a needle.

Strands of Beads Melissa makes cute and quick Christmas tree earrings this week.