Sunday, December 8, 2013

Saying Thank You

If you have been following my blog you will know that I moved to Jersey City less than a year ago.  I have no family here and at that time knew nobody within many hundreds of miles.  When I needed to be picked up at the doctor's office last week following a test I asked a new friend.  I did the usual, said thanks and wrote a thank you card.  I also made her a necklace.

The original plan was to create a necklace using black and white beads with wire-wrapped connectors.  I grabbed a focal from my stash- a nice piece of onyx, some agate, a vintage white crystal, some Czech fire polished crystals, one resin and shell bead, and got to work.  The original plan looked like this:
Original Plan
Now this is a very fine necklace with great components.  I used spacers to embellish the ends of the beads and silver filled wire.

However, I am a bead weaver, and being inspired I grabbed another piece of onyx, bezzeled it and then embellished the bezel with more seed beads and some 3mm fire polished crystals.
Embellished bezel on onyx
Here is another view:
From the top

I had to cut out the onyx that I had at the center of the original necklace, which left the strands:
Here is the finished necklace.  Now, if anyone can offer some tips on capturing the length of a necklace and capturing detail I would appreciate it.

Finished necklace
One more closeup.  I received Cindy Wimmer's The Missing Link book for my birthday so I have been playing around with wire.  Rather than add a clasp that I purchased, I made a clasp.  The clasp is not part of Cindy's book, but without the book I would have just gone with a purchased clasp.

Hand made clasp
It is good to have friends.  It is good to be able to create.

If I don't post again before the holiday, you have a safe and happy holiday.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Beside Beads

I have not started a new project.  I have not even figured out what I am going to make next. 

Some time ago I won three tutorials from Callie Mitchell of Peregrin Beader.  I had no problem choosing the Elizabeth I Cuff Bracelet Pattern as I have admired it for some time.  The problem is I only have most of the beads needed to make this.  I think I can substitute and create a different colorway but I have not quite pulled things together yet.

I recently bought The Art of Forgotten Things by Melanie Doerman and it is quite inspiring.  Again, I just have not gotten around to pulling the beads from my stash to make anything.

I also recently received The Missing Link by Cindy Wimmer which I cannot wait to try.  I even ordered a tumbler so I could work harden the links.  That is suppose to be delivered tomorrow.  Is it me or does everyone have as much trouble just getting started?

I am finding other things to distract me here in the New York City metro area. 

Yesterday I went to Macy's flagship store to update my wardrobe.  I hate shopping for clothes but I have to say this was an experience.  I pulled out my android and took some pictures.

First is the approach to Macy's

Coming up on Macy's

You do not get the full effect of how busy the streets of New York were... cars, taxi's, sidewalk vendors, tourists and locals.  I love living in a city and this was just exciting.

Here is another view from outside Macy's:
Urban canyons

It was a beautiful day yesterday, crisp and quite comfortable.  A light jacket was sufficient.  Walking warmed you quite well.  It was pleasant to sit at one of the little sidewalk parks and just watch life pass by. 

Macy's is immediately to the left with the red awning. 

What I did not capture with my camera was the "Broadway Bites" street fair.  This was a series of tents set up on Broadway with local restaurant vendors.  It was about a block or so from where I snapped this picture.  This gave me the opportunity to sample food from a Turkish restaurant.  It was delicious.

Inside Macy's was very different from the usual mall experience.  Everything was bright.  There were flashing lights and multiple large monitors broadcasting on the main floor.  Although the streets outside were busy, inside Macy's was a completely different busy.  The pictures do not do it justice.

The main floor
There were little side shops, a lot of helpful clerks, places to sit and rest for a bit.  Here is another picture:

Although this floor was bright and shiny I have to say that one of the things that I liked the most were the wooden escalators, including the stairs, to be found on the 9th floor!  Sorry, I do not have pictures I thought it was just too dark. 

Finally, here is a twilight view from Journal Square of the sky line.  This is where I wait for the bus to take me home. 
The World Trade Center and a partial view of the NY skyline.
Now, onto the repair task that I really do need to get to today.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Frustration and Fun


What do you do when you are 80% finished with a project only to find out there is a HUGE issue?  I kept going.

Hindia plain brown wrapper
The problem is the beautiful cranberry beads are not color fast.

Losing color
You can see the color has rubbed off while I worked the bracelet. 

I was much too far along to tear it out and start over again.  I wanted to finish it.  Now I have to figure out what to do with it.  Hopefully, it will just look old and well loved.

I do like the shape. 

I did say use the word "fun" in the title.

If you want to test your eye for color, have an android phone, and like puzzle games I recommend you download Blendoku.  I downloaded it last night and played for way to long.  It appeals to the artist and puzzle player in me.  In the game you begin with one color and have to move the pieces to blend from the start color to the finish color.  This is a great way to learn about color.  There- I made a justification for playing a game. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013


I have started a new project.  This one will be easy as I am using the Hindia tutorial I purchased from Studio 183 on Etsy.  I love this pattern.

To begin, here is my project tray:
Hindia project tray
I began by choosing the center base beads, which are not in any of the pictures.  They are a very pale pink rose quartz 6 mm bead. Despite the fact that they have been in my bead stash for well over 20 years they have been well used; they are quite versatile and will soon need to be restocked.  I think next time I will go a shade darker on the pink.

Getting to pink as a base color was a process of elimination. I use blue all the time and did not want to make something in blues again.  Black and white are wonderful, but did not fit for this particular project.  Green is one of my favorites, but for some reason it seemed to be over represented in my work.  I just finished a brightly colored piece so that ruled out oranges and yellows.  I always consider red, it really is my favorite, but I wasn't sure it would work in this piece because I did not know what other colors to use.  I decided on purple as it a popular choice, but I did not have enough of a choice in seed beads and embellishment beads to fit this project.  That left pink.

Once the pink was chosen I selected bronze and brass tones for balance, and just a touch of gold,  I picked plums and cranberries for additional color. 

Now, my project tray does not show much other than the tools that I start with, minus my magnifying light.  Here is an overall view of my bead choices:
Hindia bead choices 
Here is a close up of the seed beads:
Hindia seed bead choices in 15, 11, and 8

The embellishment beads are here:
Hindia embellishment beads. 
The embellishment beads are pearls, size 15 charlottes in gold, pink amethyst onion cut briolettes, 4 mm amethyst rounds, and 4 mm swarovski bicones.

Gathering the intended beads only narrows down the choices, it does not end them.  I found that the pink swarovski bicones were too dark and I had no light pink 4 mm bicones.  (How did that happen with my huge bead stash???)  I substituted a brass cut bead that is almost a bicone.

Here is my work in progress:
Hindia work in Progress

In the end, I opted for the cranberry seed beads; they were just too alluring to set aside on this project.

Geek Update:
Way back when I started this blog I saved all my pictures in Flickr and then posted them here via a URL link.  I am still doing that.  However, I also had a widget in the side panel that showed my most recent flickr updates.  That widget stopped working quite a while ago but I missed it.  Today I found a substitute in the flickr badge. 

If you use flickr, search for flickr badge and click through the steps.  Then in Blogger choose layout and the html gadget and paste the badge text.

I am glad to have my most recent flickr photos available again on the side bar.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Checking In

No new works to post.

I did want to tell you that it is a fine opportunity to pick up Melanie Doerman's The Art of Forgotten Things. The book is on sale for $6.26 at the Interweave store.  If you like romantic jewelry, and work with seed beads, don't miss this sale. You won't be disappointed.  Think of it as an early Christmas present to yourself.

I got my copy in the mail this week and I am inspired.  Follow the link and take a look at the preview.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Philadelphia Bead Fest Loot

I swear I said I did not need any more beads and it was true.  Except, I really did need some tiny crystals, some bead caps, and more seed beads are almost always in order.  I had a good time.  What surprised me the most were all the tutorials and kits for sale.  All lovely.  I am just going to post pictures of the loot below, appropriately captioned.  If you want to know the name of a source let me know.

before I get to the rest, let me tell you my splurge were beads by Harold Williams Cooney.  I have had my eye on his American Trade Beads for years.  I found some for sale and they were all that I expected.
American Trade Beads by Harold Williams Cooney

Metal beads which are great for filler
Daggers - something good will come from these

Piggy Beads - will be featured soon in an upcoming major magazine and now found mostly in Europe

Super Duos - I really needed to try these

Delicas - these are almost all 10's and 15's and you can never have enough Delica beads

Sea Glass - these were inexpensive, and the colors were not quite captured by the camera.  These are hardworking beads.

Caps, Spacers, and Charms - When you need them you cannot find them, so I stocked up.

Bead Caps for Kumihimo
Kumihimo cords - A trend for my future?
Fish Charms - these are for another fish necklace in toned down colors

Pressed Glass Strands - what most people envision when they are given the word "bead"
Tiny Charlottes - These are tiny even by seed bead standards and irresistible.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Open Your Eyes and Find Art

I am not working on anything at the moment.  I am planning on going to Beadfest next Saturday. 

I thought you might like to see what I have discovered.  I walk down this block in Newark NJ every morning from my bus stop.
The walk to work, Newark NJ
It looks intimidating, what with the razor wire and the metal doors pulled over windows.  I never really thought twice about it.  This is a block from the Newark Museum and a block or two from parts of Rutgers. 

However, when I looked at the trees as I was passing by I discovered some hidden art.

Mask I
Mask II
I love these masks, made of metal, and appreciate them every day when I pass by. 

I bet, seeing the street, you were expecting graffiti- which I also love when done well. 

Finding art is always a joyful surprise.

What will you find this week?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Production of One of A Kind Earrings

I have been meaning to write this post for ages. 

I have over 100 pairs of production earrings..  All of them are well made, one of a kind earrings. 

Production earrings blue and white glass

Here is a sample to get started:

My production earrings require the following supplies:  wire cutters, round nose pliers, in-expensive nickel free ear wires, head pins, focal beads, and embellishing beads. 

My production earrings are priced at $10.00 each.  I make a good profit on the earrings.  They are intended as impulse purchases.

Sample focal strand of mustard colored cinnabar

You begin with a strand of focal beads.  I always buy my beads in strands.  These cinnabar beads I will price at $0.78 each when calculating my final retail price.

Next are the embellishment beads.  First are crystals.  These are small crystals, 2mm, 3mm, and 4mm.  They are all fire polished Czech crystals.  I am guessing the average cost per crystal is $0.06.  I buy them by the strand and I am always on the lookout for more.  They are handy for earrings and for spacers in larger necklaces. 

You may also use small round stone or glass beads as well as pearls.

After my last necklace I discovered I did not have enough brightly colored crystals, so I purchased a few strands on my last visit to Manhattan.

Large seed beads

 Then there are seed beads.  I really like size 6 and size 8 seed beads. 
I do not even price these.

The secret to production is organization.  Take a look at some more production earrings:
Production earrings yellow stone

Each pair is different.  There are three different red beads in these yellow stone earrings.  There are 6 mm round red stone bead, 4mm red crystal rondelles, and 4mm round fire polished Czech crystals.  You will also note grey rondelles, clear purple lined size 6 or 8 seed beads, indigo blue seed beads in size 6 or 8, and blue drop glass beads.

Carved rose quartz production earrings

My production earrings are all simple loops.  Wrapped loops require more time.

I use the entire strand of focal beads in a single sitting just to be sure each earring is one of a kind. 

All my seed beads

As I said, the secret to production is organization.  When I was making these earrings I had some bead trays that were more like paint pallets.  Each filled with embellishment beads, each tray organized by color. You know it takes time to organize your bead stash, but it is time well spent.

Production earrings, quartz

 One more set of production earrings.

These are not as creative as my usual work.  They are fun and quick.  And, as I said above, are intended as an impulse purchase.  These replace a purchase your customer would make at a big box store or even a smaller reseller like TJ's.  They are priced not to put a big dent in your customer's wallet.  They will give an outlet to the desire to purchase something different, something handmade- which is what drew them to the venue in the first place.

I always place a big price sign in front of the display.  I also have a separate suggestion sign that these make great stocking stuffers, birthday gifts, teacher gifts, secret santa gifts, etc...

One final thought.  If you are selling high priced pieces, lower priced earrings might well imply that your higher priced items are over priced.  I still have not finished that debate with myself.

Good luck in your sales. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Catfish Are Jumpin'

Summer time and the living's easy, catfish jumpin and the river is high...  I just love that song.  If you would care to listen while you blog hop, here are two good choices:  Ella or Charlotte Church

Karen Williams of Baublicious began showing off her fish quite some time ago.  When she finally published a tutorial I knew I wanted it.  Then she announced a Fish and Friends blog hop; and because I had a fish almost complete I joined. 

Small fish with kiss lips
 When I started this first fish, I had no idea of what I was doing or what would come next.
An error in Vision


Surprisingly enough, the Scheherezade Pendant was next.  I featured that last week.  My plan was to create a variation on a charm holder or chatelaine from the Scheherezade Pendant and the fish.  My original concept did not quite work.  Honestly, it was not awful, but I did not like that the red and yellow rings covered up so much of the Scheherezade Pendant. 

Next was what I call the Big Fish, but Karen identifies in her tutorial as Fat Fish:
Big Fish

Filler fish

Then I pulled some fish out of my stash- honestly I have had these fish since the mid-1990's it was time to use them.

Putting it all together for the chatelaine:
Full Line of Fish

Almost done

In case you have not noticed, I love to make necklaces.  Having said that, I always struggle with the neck strap.  This time was no different. I tried several options and settled on St. Petersburg Chain. 

Finally, connect it all:
A colorful catch

A few words about the tutorial.  I did not diligently follow Karen's excellent directions.  I substituted saran wrap for the bead she uses.  I did not quite execute the increases correctly.  I scanned the directions for the dorsal fins and the kiss lips and then did not refer back to the directions to complete the work.  In other words, any errors are my own and not the fault of the designer.  This is a wonderful tutorial and covers more than just the fish pattern. You can purchase the tutorial at Karen's Etsy shop.  She also sells kits.

Now, without further ado, go visit the rest of the participants:
Francie Broadie - FAB Custom Jewelry
Shirley Moore - Beads and Bread
Bobbie Rafferty - Beadsong Jewelry
Tanya Goodwin - A Work in Progress
Cynthia Machata - Antiquity Travelers
Kathy Jo - KJ's Beadacious Beads You are here
Therese Frank - Therese's Treasures
Nancy Sopp - AlaskanNancy
Alison Oman
Dolores Dwight (Sorry, no link yet.)
Amy Severino - Amybeads
Eleanor Pigman - Eleanor Pigman

and our hostess, once again:

Have fun at the hop.