Jul 282010

I’ve written about Generation Gems before…I LOVE their engraved beads for brag bracelets, and the customer service I get from Toni and the crew is absolutely the best.

Last Wednesday, I got a Convo on Etsy (Convos are Etsy’s version of a private message) from a gal who wanted to order a brag bracelet for her mom’s birthday…and it was a rush order.  She needed it by July 30 – and usually I require 3 weeks lead time to order, receive, create, and mail one off!

I called Generation Gems, talked to Toni, and we figured out a plan of action.  While I was on the phone with her, she mentioned that they had some new engraved beads and new fonts for engraving.  The following day, I ordered three hematite beads for my customer…and I received my order on Monday!  I had an out of town guest Monday evening, so I didn’t get a chance to open the box and work on the bracelet, but I got up early this morning to work on it, so that it could be mailed out today.

Opened my package, and had a great surprise!  Not only were my beads in the box (carefully packaged, like always!) but Toni had also included a sample of the new “Reflections” bead!

The Reflections Bead looks like a nut you’d buy in a hardware store, but with a smooth center instead of threaded…and made from sterling silver.  And engraved with names and birth dates on the four sides!  The hole is large enough for a Pandora-style bracelet, Viking Knit or other bangle type bracelet.  The square shape is unique – it’s very industrial-looking.

At $50 per bead (retail), the beads are a little pricey, but what an original gift!  I can definitely see Generations Gems’ Reflection Bead as something to be handed down…for generations! 😉

And that brag bracelet?  Done and on it’s way to Tennessee. I hope the recipient loves her new work of art!

Jul 252010

One of the things that really intrigues me is using items that aren’t really designed for jewelry in a jewelry design. (Boy, does that sound convoluted or WHAT.)

Like computer parts. Ruth Smith’s etsy shop, Periwinkle Dzns is a great example. Described as “handmade geek nerd jewelry/jewellery made from upcycled computer parts: resistors, capacitors, diodes, oscillators….”, she uses stuff that would otherwise end up in a dumpster, and turns it into functional and fun mini works of art!

And check out these steampunky pieces, made from old hardware and harness leather by Devin Johnson of Make Shift Accessories. Our booths were next to each other at the Stone Arch Festival of the Arts this summer, and not only is his work fresh and fun (bracelets made from old license plates and street signs are another of his creations), but he’s just a cool guy and fun to chat with.

I’ve got a few ideas for upcycling myself…some of you might remember that my parents “graced” me with a huge box of copper tiles from their kitchen remodel. The tiles used to be a backsplash, and I’ve used the sheet to make Christmas ornaments. Plus, hubby’s been cleaning up some of his work areas, and has gotten in the habit of asking me “Do you want this?” instead of tossing things like copper tubing, wire and other goodies.

So take a look around, get some inspiration from Ruth and Devin, and anyone else who’s using “green” components!

Mar 212009

Been a busy couple of weeks here on the ranch…between traveling for Bree’s bridal showers, the Art & Soup show, and everyone in the family having their own version of The Plague, I haven’t had much time for blogging!

I’ll get caught up with “Everything from Weeks…” this weekend.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share one of my favorite tips on findings! For the last several years, I’ve been making my own headpins, ear wires, clasps and other basic findings. Rather than make a set of simple ear wires every time I make some earrings, or ball up a few headpins when I need them, I like to make in bulk and have on hand whenever I’m working on a project that requires those supplies.

Yesterday I made up 100 copper head pins…they’ll last me quite a while, so I may list some in my Etsy shop. Copper head pins take a little longer to ball up with a small butane torch than fine silver, but it is possible. Just make sure your torch has plenty of fuel and you turn the flame up pretty high.

I also made up 64 (32 pairs) ear wires while watching a movie last night. (Good Will Hunting, if you must know!) I can sit down with a beading mat, pliers, cutters and a spool of 22g half hard wire and feel like I’ve accomplished something!

For these “make in bulk” projects, I generally just make basic findings, nothing too fancy…but it’s always good to have plenty of basics on hand. When I find I’m getting low on findings, I’ll have a production day again!

Jul 092008

I hate my business web site (not BeadingHelpWeb.com – I love the way that one looks!).

After much consideration, I decided I had to carve out some time last weekend to work on a new one. I purchased a new domain and set it up to be hosted…no going back.

Staring at a blank page doesn’t do much good, but that’s about what I did for a good couple of hours. Finally, an idea started forming, and then taking shape.

I’m not an HTML-queen, but I know enough to be dangerous. So between my minimal coding abilities, PhotoShop, and Adobe PageMill, I put together what I thought was a pretty good prototype.

I wanted minimalistic and clean. I wanted a shopping cart and the ability to update things myself. Most of all, I wanted something that reflected my personality and work.

While it’s not perfect (I’d like to have a cart of my “own” but for now, I’m sufficing with linking to sections in my Etsy shop), I’m pretty happy with what I’ve got.

I’d love to hear your thoughts – take a peek at C-My Designs, revisited.

Apr 072008
Over the weekend, I had the good fortune to have some girlfriend time with fellow jewelry makers Lynn Bowes and Jan Addison. We met up at the Omaha Bead Show, and spent lots of time shopping, chatting and comparing ideas.
One of my favorite finds of the day was a nice little oval chunk of pink drusy. Now, I’m not a “pink” girl, but I fell in love with this little stone, and couldn’t stop plotting what to do with it! I’ve had a few folks asking “What’s drusy?”, so I thought I’d share. 🙂
Drusy is any crystal quartz formation occurring on quartz or occurring on any other stone. Essentially, it’s the inside of a geode.
Drusy (or as it’s sometimes spelled “druzy”) can be found in many colors, shapes and sizes. I love the sections of tiny, tiny crystals that are so small, they look velvety. The stone can be treated using titanium or dyed…we’re suspicious that titanium was used to created my pink stone.
At the show, we also got to meet Tera Belinsky-Yoder, aka BeadyGirl Beads on Etsy. I instantly recognized Tera’s beads and stopped to chat with her – she was fun and easy to talk to and creates colorful, ecclectic beads that look as great in person as they do in her online shop!
Overall, it was a great little get away…I’ll share what I did with the drusy soon!!!

Etsy Treasuries

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Feb 182008

I’ve blogged about Etsy before – the Etsy folks have built their site on being “the place” to buy handcrafted items, and jewelry shops are huge on Etsy. Do you have an Etsy shop?

One of the unique things about Etsy is how they set up different ways to shop: click on a bubble in a color chart and you’ll find all kinds of suggestions of items that are that color. Search on a specific word, and you’ll find items that use that word in the description or accompanying text. Treasuries are lists created by artists of their “favorite” items, and there are only a limited number of Treasuries available at any given time.

So when I saw that a Treasury was available, I grabbed it quickly…and filled it with items from some of my favorite sellers. True to the marketing ploy of “title your Treasury with something that will grab people’s attention” I called it Chocolate Lovers, stating that while I’m not a big chocoholic, I know those artists are.

So while being noticed on Etsy is a little like being a tiny little guppy in the big ocean, everything you can do to promote your shop is good. If you’re a seller on Etsy, try getting a Treasury, and nab some PR for your own shop as well as for your friends. 🙂