Dec 292009

Just found out that the Rings N Things “Your Designs ROCK” contest is accepting entries beginning January 1, 2010!  Early entries get a great perk – if your entry is received before February 3, you’ll be entered in a goodie giveaway!  Additionally, first time contestants are entered into a special drawing as well.

Wondering what to make?  Some info straight from the source:

  • 2010 categories are glass & crystal, gemstones & pearls, mostly metal, metal clay, and found objects/miscellaneous.
  • You don’t have to be a Rings & Things customer to enter. You do need to include a majority of parts in your design that are available from us.

Details are available on the Rings N Things web site. Contest deadline is February 28, 2010…so get working on the designs that rock your world!!!

(pssst….R&T has a great “5-day” sale going on through January 3!!  Check it out for fantastic bargains that you can use to create your contest entry!)

Mar 242009

I squeaked through the R&T trunk show today in record time…despite getting there a little late, I was able to force myself to look at each table (only once ;-), I decided there were no “backsies” this year!) and pick up a nice bag of goodies.

While I had a little different methodology this year, I do have some tips for shopping at a big bead show like this for you.

1. Pick up your jaw from the floor. Breathe. Don’t get panicky or overwhelmed. (Seriously, I’ve seen it happen!)
2. Grab a tray or whatever is provided for you to place strands in.
3. Pay close attention to pricing strategies…many times, the price on a strand is NOT the price you’ll pay. For example, for most items, R&T charges 50% + 15% of the strand price. A $10 strand of beads is actually going to only run you $4.40 (if I did the math right ;-)).
4. Touch, feel, experience what the beads will be like on the skin.
5. Sometimes you are going to want to pick up things that go together, sometimes you’ll just see something that catches your eye and you’ll have to have it. Don’t be encumbered by feeling like you need an immediate purpose or plan for everything.
6. Pick up what you like, really like…you can cull out what you “need” later.
7. Work the entire room, and then sit down and look through what you have. If you set yourself a budget, figure out what fits in the budget and what’s optional. Sometimes those optional things can be allowed to go over budget, but really think through those purchases. I have strands that I’ve picked up and never used…thinking through it, I probably should have just let them stay where they were.

8. If you’re not taking some of your strands, find out what the folks who are running the show would like you to do. Sometimes they’d prefer to put away extras themselves, but if not, help out by returning the items to the right bins.

I do usually have “bread and milk” for a bead show, this year it was round sterling silver beads and some assortments of Swarovski crystals. I picked up both, in addition to all the goodies you see here.

A couple of disappointments…I usually grab a good assortment of Bali silver, but the selection was really limited this year. Only picked up a couple of small strands of regular daisy spacers, none of the specialty beads really caught my eye.

And less on the “Drool Table” than I remember from previous years. I treated myself to a gorgeous strand of sapphires…was tempted by some emeralds, but decided I’d probably already spent enough money and would wait for next year.

Icky find: snakeskin beads. Ugh. I can’t believe I actually picked one up and touched it. I hate snakes. Even dead ones that have been made into beads.

I absolutely love everything I got…my fingers are itching to get at some of it…overall, it was wonderful! Thanks Russ, Kim, Dave and all the rest of R&T for throwing a great bead show!!!

Mar 222009

What a week this will be!

– Rings N Things annual trunk show “Wholesale Bead Show” is in Des Moines, IA today and Omaha, NE tomorrow. I really look forward to this show every year – it’s fun to see and chat with the R&T staff, plus there are beads, beads and MORE beads! Check out the R&T site for a location near you!

– Ornament Thursday is March 26. This month’s theme is “Celedon” (pale green). I’m whipping up a quick project that may make your friends green with envy when they see you wearing it!

– Studio clean up was last week, but I’m reaping the benefits now. Once in a while, I like to go through the various boxes, bowls and piles of “stuff” that’s accumulated on my work bench and put away beads, sort through findings and toss projects that seemed to make sense into the scrap bowl. Sometimes I’m amazed at what I find, and it always creates at least a little inspiration for new projects!

Have a great Sunday…I’m looking forward to a great start to a wonderful week!

Jan 222009

I’m a sucker for jewelry making contests and magazine submissions. I didn’t participate much last year, but I’m planning to toss my hat in the ring a few more times in 2009!

If you’ve never entered a jewelry making contest or submitted to a magazine, the best advice I can give you is to have good photos of the work you are submitting (this goes for juried shows as well!). Chances are, the person judging your work is only looking at that photo, and you want the lighting and setting to be as good as they can be.

Another important tip is to read the submission instructions carefully, and follow them to the letter. Many contests will specify the size and/or resolution of photos, some allow email submissions, others only want photos sent in via a CD, actual photograph or slide. Additionally, some will require that you send in the actual piece for “professional” photos if you win, so you will not want to sell the piece (unless it’s to someone that you can borrow it back from!).

Here are a few current contests and submissions to think about…heck, don’t just think about them, ENTER! And have fun. Lots of fun. 😉

Rings N Things annual Your Designs ROCK! contest submissions due Feb 1 Feb 28, 2009. I’ve already talked a LOT about this contest…the photo requirements are VERY explicit. Be sure you follow them to the letter or you will be disqualified!

Fire Mountain Gems 2009 Beading Contest. Entries due by April 15, 2009. Lots and lots of categories to choose from, and no limit on the number or pieces you can enter.

Jewelry Lessons Valentine’s contest. Post images to the site by February 1, 2009. Design something that is “Valentine” in theme and win prizes (there are lots of tutorials and products that are offered!)

Bead Trends monthly magazine submissions are ongoing, and while the “prizes” aren’t huge, you get the satisfaction of seeing your work in print, and a couple of copies of the magazine! Monthly submissions and themes are available on the site, usually due to the email address listed by the 25th of the month.

Good luck…and be sure to let me know what happens!!!

Jan 162009

Last night I picked up the mail, and found the new copy of the Rings N Things 2009 catalog. True confession, I don’t buy much through the catalog any more – I’m lucky enough to have their trunk show come to town once a year, and I load up on gorgeous R&T product then!

BUT, a new catalog just screams for paging through, and there are always some great finished pieces for inspiration!

So after I did some work around the house, I settled in for a little down time on the couch. Imagine my surprise when I turned page 37 of my catalog and glanced through page 38.

Something looked familiar…I did about three double takes and finally said “Hey! That’s ME!!!” (to an empty house…the boys were both gone and the dog was outside, LOL). It was my “Owl’s Eyes” bracelet, which was entered (and won Honorable Mention) in the 2007 Your Designs Rock! contest.

I was really thrilled and kept going back to page 38, even after I’d gotten far into the catalog.

Someone on one of the jewelry boards asked why R&T didn’t notify me that they were including it in their publication…well, when I entered the contest (in 2007) I’m sure there was a “we can and probably will use your images” clause, and besides, I don’t really mind it being a surprise.

What a great way to end the evening!!!

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!

Jan 192008

Interested in entering a contest this year? Was it one of your 2008 goals?

Rings N Things offers a fun contest every year, with several different categories to choose from.
Mostly Metal
Polymer Clay
Metal Clay
Alternative Materials

There are rather stringent guidelines for photos, but they can be submitted online. Winning entries take home prizes (in R&T store credit) from $75-$750!!! Entries are accepted February 1-29, 2008. Visit Rings N Things “Your Designs Rock!” for more details.

“Owl’s Eyes”

Last year, I submitted three entries, and was excited to receive an Honorable Mention for “Owl’s Eyes” as well as having “Sweet Denim Blue” chosen as one of Polly’s Picks. I received a really nice certificate, store credit, and had a lot of fun creating contest entries!

“Sweet Denim Blue”