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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Give me your input....

Are we small, single owner designers and sellers still on the fringe of selling successfully on websites and through sale sites such as Etsy?  Or are we destined to get buried by the 'big box' sellers that list sometimes multiple things in a day?  I've been attempting to sell both my jewelry AND beads on Etsy since last February, and while I've had limited success with the beads, my jewelry, my true passion, has not sold at all.  Is there something that YOU do to draw attention or make yourself stand out in the crowd?  What about websites?  Have you found one/created one that works for you for minimal annual fees?  I really feel like this is 'the wave of my future', and want be sure I'm surfin' on TOP! 
Thanks, Hive members and beady pals.  Any words of wisdom you have to impart on successful online sales will be greatly appreciated.
Sheryl
Cool Moon Creations
shescool on Etsy

THANKS, LISA!

My name, and my blog address have been featured TWICE this week in Lisa Crone's "A Bead A Day" blog.  So I feel like should at least return the favor.  Lisa does a great job posting EVERY SINGLE DAY about her beading experiences, and is always willing to share info about others, too.  It's a huge responsibility - blogging every day.  I tried to do the same at the start of 2010, but lasted, oh, about a month.  My beaded cap is off to you, Lisa, for blogging and BEADING, and of course - for featuring ME!  If you're not reading
"A Bead A Day" check it out - http://www.abeadaday.blogspot.com/

Sunday, December 26, 2010

May we now return to our regularly scheduled programming....

Is it almost over yet?  I know alot of people are out shopping the sales today, but I'm glad to have the stress of the cooking and baking and PURCHASING the perfect gift over and done with.  Does it make me a Scrooge?  Some people may think so, but since the best part of Christmas for ME this year was the GIVING - making the star pendants for the group, and seeing their reactions, taking food to the Food Bank, seeing the look on Tracy's face when she received her monkey - THAT was my Christmas this year.  Nothing Scroogey about that part....I just want the whole commercial non stop drum drum into the brains about the season to be DONE, and life to get on with itself already...
I am ready to welcome 2011 - which I am calling "The Year of Sheryl"....:0)

And speaking of Tracy's "monkey" - hope he makes you smile, too....

Friday, December 24, 2010

Have merry merry everone!

Enjoy, Rejoice, Relax, and unwind.  2011 brings abundance and good tidings for all mankind.  Merry Christmas to all my blog world friends....

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Why is appreciating yourself a BAD thing?

I recently had a blog and Facebook friend that was 'attacked' in her blog by an anonymous blogger that felt she was a bad person for patting herself on the back and sharing her success, her new bead stashes, her travels for her beads, and more.  It is really troubling that there are people out there in the bead world that feel they need to tear down people's self esteem and general well being.  People. THEY'RE BEADS. Yes, some of us make our living from them, but all in all - it's supposed to be a fun, carefree, stress relieving activity to ENJOY.  Why the bad vibes and comments?    I'm not really sure what they were meaning to accomplish by being so blatantly rude. I hope it made them feel better - but it was definitely some bad karma, and it was definitely a time for all of her fellow blog friends to rally around and give support where support is due.  I guess I am also a bad person then, because just about the only time I blog is when I'm patting myself on the back for a job well done, to show off a new piece, to 'brag' about a success, and about the positive good vibrations of beading.  Why blog if you can't do that?  It's sort of like a diary that EVERYONE reads.  And yes, I know, there is such a thing as free speech - but there is also such a thing as common consideration, and the common sense to know when to keep your negative thoughts to yourself - in other words - if you don't have anything good to say about anyone - SHUT YOUR TRAP!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Twas the night before Art Market....

All 20 pieces of jewelry have been safely delivered to The Lansing Art Gallery for the Holiday Art Market. http://www.lansingartgallery.org/
I had answered the 'call' for artists about 3 weeks ago - and didn't hear a thing after that.  So I figured I missed the deadline with the date so quickly approaching.  So to what should my wondering eyes appear but an EMAIL on FRIDAY exclaiming that I'm IN!  Except that the sale begins TOMORROW, and the gallery didn't open again until TUESDAY.  So I had the weekend to pull together some of my finest work - a nice  mix of sets, single pieces, funky pieces, etc.  And then contacted them on Tuesday.  Then the real rush began - I had pulled together about a dozen pieces - they wanted TWENTY!  And they wanted them by 10am the next day!  So diving back in to my detail oriented designs, including some of my OWN collection, I parted with enough to give me the twenty pieces they so generously requested.  Whew. 
So they're all ready for new homes.  At 50% commission - which I despise.  But this IS a prestigeous gallery, so I jacked up my asking prices and protested not. 
Couldn't bring myself to include "Forest Floor", but I did include "Spirit Tree", "Radiance" and "Moroccan Twilight" - my Use the Muse contest piece from last year. 
Wish me luck!  Last time I was juried in (about 4 years ago), I sold over 1/2 of my 30 piece inventory. And THAT'S a good thing....
TTFN

Monday, November 15, 2010

It's that time of year

I'll be all alone, on my own, for the next three days.  The hunters have gone to the woods-but not without what I expect to be drama.  They all talked, planned, packed and readied themselves this weekend - communicating their plans to each other better than they will EVER communicate with wives and girl friends.  Alas - I do believe there was a glitch in the plan, with not one but TWO wonderful phone calls before 5am.
Talk about a wake up call.  So I've been surfing, and reading, and blogging away the rest of the morning.  I certainly hope that those boys bring home the bacon - or in this case the venison! 
It may not be such a bad thing for me to be up early - got alot to do.  Not only is the first of two trunk shows happening this weekend, with my Monday Bead Day shows beginning immediately afterward, but I was also accepted by the jury of our biggest and most prestigious art gallery to show and sell my work for the holiday season.  The start date IS FRIDAY.  Talk about last minute notice.  I'm hoping that it's not a sign of what I remember being a bit of unorganization the last time I showed there - about 3 years ago.  Not sure why I answered the call for artists - but although there were some issues the last time, I DID sell the most and the most consistently the last time.  And since it's the holiday season, I'm thinking it should be a good thing.  Not wild about the 50/50 commission (not sure why galleries think they should get half the money when they did NONE of the work), and not wild about the location (right smack downtown with impossible metered parking).  But it does seem to be a popular gallery - like I said, the biggest and best in the area.
So here goes.  I've got the pieces together, and got them inventoried - just need to price them and deliver them before Friday.  Along with preparing the trays and racks for the weekend.  And planning for Turkey Day.  And Christmas.  No big deal. 
At least it's not snowing.  YET....
TTFN

Monday, November 8, 2010

New work


THIS is "Forest Floor"- browns and greens with leaves and mossy frills accenting a nice Labradorite pendant.   Been working on this one a few weeks- put it away when 'Spirit Tree" came along.  Onward to the peach & purple piece - I'm "cab'in'' it again.....

Thursday, November 4, 2010

New project gatherings....

This is the next project I plan to work on.  I've already trial and errored the tiles once - I tried putting a backing on them like a 'cab' - but didn't like the look-by the time I built up the beads and created the 'cup', you couldn't see much of the tile.  So now I'm thinking a right angle weave or net backing ala Marcia DeCoster or Rachel Nelson Smith.  Or maybe something simpler, like 'bead wrapping' - creating a freeform net or 'cradle' around them.  Lots of possibilities.  And then theres the strap to consider....hope to start on this and not just THINK on it more tomorrow.

Spirit Tree

Every once in awhile a bead or focal piece will come along that IMMEDIATELY tells me what to do with it.  My creativity had been waning of late - lots on my mind concerning business and family, so wasn't feeling particularly artistic.  Then I found this BIG, giant piece of Rhodonite at the Michigan Gem & Lapidary show a couple of weeks ago.  By the end of that show, I had accumulated everything I needed to complete one cool necklace.  THIS is Spirit Tree...Rhodonite, Black Onyx, and dyed Agate.  It only took me about 4 days to complete.....goes with all my favorite purpley pinky outfits - but I will probably end up putting this one on consignment - somewhere....

Monday, November 1, 2010

The beads are out of the bag

Or is that the cat?  In either case, the news has been spread to all of my customers, so now I guess I should post to my blog.  I'm making BIG changes in my Cool Moon Creations journey - starting with CLOSING my actual bead shop.  Sort of.  I will be selling beads online, on consigment, at trunk shows, and will hold a one day a week 'mini store' shop at my favorite place, Coyote Wisdom Books and more...they are giving me many wonderful opportunities to continue doing what I love, but in a completely different way.  It was a very tough decision to make about not having my actual shop anymore, but the fact that the Craft and Antique mall seems to be making the move more toward flea market, and maintaining less of the 'high end' crafters and artists they used to have, just makes it not ideal for me anymore.  They also don't seem to have quite the security they used to have, and I am tired of the theft and vandalism issues that I've dealt with of late.  So I just decided it was TIME TO CHANGE.  I'll be keeping a large portion of the inventory for selling on consignment, online, etc.  but will be having great sales through the holiday season, too.  My last day at the actual shop will be Jan. 31.  I know there will be a few disappointed customers, but just because I'm gone, doesn't mean I'm OUT - and they'll still be able to shop from me - just in some new places!
I AM still looking to BE an actual bead shop again eventually - but need to find the right location at the right price.  Not sure that scenario exists in this area at the moment.  Bottom line - I need a break.  I'm setting up my newly redecorated dining room as my 'studio' and private client space, and plan to kick back and watch the snow fly while I bead - and not have to GO ANYWHERE!  WhaHoo!
2011 should make for an interesting year - stay tuned!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bad day....

As if being off sick wasn't frustrating enough....I finally arrive back at my bead shop today, after a 9 day absence, only to discover that someone (and I'm really hoping we're talking about a SMALL child, here) DUMPED an ENTIRE tube of size 11 seed beads out in a pile on the floor (not out in the open, but in a somewhat hidden corner), and left the tube and cap behind as well.  ALSO - they dumped a packet of size 12 beading needles out onto the glass countertop, and then put the packet back in the tray.  I'm sure it was the same unsupervised BRAT, or a completely insane adult, but either way - I was LIVID.  Not to mention the fact that I'm still all coughy and hacky, and tired and just plain cranky.   I realize that this could have happened even had I been there recently, but I still don't know why none of the other clerks noticed or DID anything about it.  That is the problem with having the type of shop I have - a booth (well, larger than a booth-a large space, really) inside an antiques and flea market - so there isn't always someone there everyday all day (10am-8pm would suck the life out of me if I did it everyday).   I managed to salvage most of the seed beads, but can't resell what I recovered.  I really wish I could get my hands on the little....ah, anyway.
Another day - another rant.  At least it's about beads this time!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bead free days

I haven't beaded in almost a week.  That's rare for me - since I usually even manage to tweek a project when I'm on vacation, or start a new one with all the newbies I get.  BUT - when you're feeling yucky, and hacking and blowing every 30 seconds (it seems), beading seems like a lot of work, not to mention that one sneeze and the whole lapthing goes flying.  Or the needle flings off into oblivion.  And then there's the germs.  Especially if I plan to sell the piece I'm working on, I don't think others would appreciate my germy breath and fingers all over the beadwork.  So I refrain.  But it might just make me feel better, take my mind off my stuffy nose, and my pounding head.    I've been doing a lot of surfing the bead blogs and my favorite buying sites though.  And I'm getting sort of antsy to get at some of those new projects I have waiting, since I've seen some of the beautiful work being done by others.  LOTS and LOTS of cab work.  And seed bead detail.  That's my kind of beading.  I need to get back to it.  I've been working outside my comfort zone lately, with those Rings N Things Steampunk pieces, which I turned into a cool watch pendant, and some simple holiday pieces for last weeks show.  I miss the REAL beading, the down and dirty, don't even pay attention to the phone ringing details of real artistic work.
So maybe I can manage to just get out my boxes today.  I brought them home.  They're calling my name.  It might not hurt to do a little scribbling of some ideas - if I can get the snot out of my head long enough to come up with one!
TTFN everyone - bead happy - and healthy if you can!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Another day, another bead rant....

 Yesterday, I participated in a well established and highly publicized local arts and crafts show.  I've attended this show before, and found it to always be CRAMMED with shoppers.  So you might know that the one (and only) year I decide to participate as a vendor, the shoppers and the sales just weren't there.  Economy?  MSU football game?  Weather?  Those are all possible factors that leave most of us jewelry vendors scratching our heads, and with much emptier coffers than we had expected.  So after doing this very disappointing show, and finding that very few of the other jewelry vendors (although there were ALOT of us-26) did well either, I have to wonder - is beaded jewelry on it's way OUT, or are so many people creating their own jewelry that they are no longer purchasing it from others?  And then there was the puzzle of the day ... ONE particular jewelry vendor, with tacky SHEETS for table coverings, plain, white unlit trays of SIMPLE, Swarovski crystal and silver jewelry - nothing special about it, no creativity to putting it together - was selling like hotcakes.  Of course, because curiosity got the best of many of us, we had to go check her out.  And we found that her prices weren't even rock bottom.  They were the same as many of ours - and yet her table was the hit of the day. 
I'm done trying to find the magic formula for shows.  It is too much work and preparation for not enough sales as well as all the packing, and loading, and hauling and unpacking, and sitting, and sitting, and well, you get the idea.   So I guess the sluggish Etsy,  my actual retail bead shop - as well as the consignment sales I'm doing (that are doing very well) - will be my focus for the remainder of the year.  Still toying with the idea of a home open house too - but that sounds like way more work that I want to do too - maybe I'll just plan lots of special beady treats at the shop.
So how are YOUR show sales doing?  Is it worth the effort?  Love to hear your 'chimes'.....
TTFN

Friday, October 8, 2010

Button Bracelet photo

Here is the bracelet I did with the buttons I blogged about a few days ago.  I actually thought the original piece came out quite nicely - but those metal buttons were a little heavy.  She's just one tough customer, that's all.
She came and picked up the buttons, and her partial refund today.  Didn't make a peep, or protest.  Probably won't be back.  Oh well. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Ok, Hive readers, this one's for you...

I think I've already decided how I'm going to handle this situation-but this is something that everyone may have experienced in the creative world, but I would like to know: how would you or did you handle it?
I have a customer that brought me her mother's antique metal shank buttons about a YEAR ago, along with a photo of a finished charm chain type bracelet, and said "Make this for me with these buttons".  So I did.  I charged her $35.00 for the extra supplies (the chain, clasp, jump rings, etc) and of course, my time.  She took it, thanked me, and I didn't hear from her again until JUNE.  She brought the bracelet back, and said she decided she didn't like how it hung (keep in mind the buttons are METAL) and could I possibly find another solution.  Well, ladies (and any gents) - I've been attempting to find another solution ever since.  I even purchased a BOOK specifically for BUTTON jewelry, and have met with her at least 3 times for design approval.  Every time she would say, "Still not what I was going for" and leave me to try, try again.  I have also purchased other supplies in that attempt as well - heavier chain, memory wire, bigger rings, to no avail.  She just could not be pleased.  Meanwhile - I have my shop and other customers, my Etsy shop, shows to prepare for, blogs to write and life to live.  I decided as of yesterday, that I could no longer try to please this woman.  So I left a pleasant message apologizing that I hadn't come up with any new ideas, and that I was giving her buttons back.  She immediately called back and asked for a refund. 
I have decided to give her a PARTIAL refund - but feel the materials and TIME that I have spent, not to mention the fact that she had the original piece for about 6 months before she came back with it, merit that I still be PAID for some of it.  What would you do in this situation?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Still readin' it old school

This is one of those non bead blog rants, so I apologize to all of The Hive readers expecting bead news...
I've been wanting, wanting, ok, COVETING a KINDLE ebook reader for months and months and months.
I finally manifested a comparable model that ALSO had Facebook access, email access, and HAD photo AND music files so I could have a portfolio slideshow right there at my fingertips, along with family photos, etc.  THOSE were the selling points of this model, rather than the actual Kindle.  I read books almost as much as I bead, but having those extras was a BONUS.  Ha.  Likely story.
After fighting and stressing over it for 4 days - it's going back to the store where it came from.  And I HOPE they will give me a CASH REFUND (I paid cash - I want cash).  I am very disappointed that after all that, the Pandigital brand does not support my email provider.  And you can't do much on it without the email - that's how you import the photos and music, and of course - CHECK EMAIL. 
I've spent part of today re - researching not only the Kindle, but also the Barnes & Noble Nook.  Both nice, but neither have the extras of photo and music or EMAIL.  So - onward - and upward.  I'm now looking at upgrading and changing my prepaid phone to a fancy schmancy ADULT phone - the Samsung Fascinate.  WOW.  I have a friend that owns one.  It's like a playground in your hand!  It does EVERYTHING!  FREE apps for recipes, decorating, and I bet, even beading if I look for one. 
May still attempt to get that Kindle someday - although the library does still provides me with as many great books as I want - FOR FREE.
TTFN - sorry bout the rant.  Next one will be bead related - I promise!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

TIME PUNK







Beginnings.....




Here are preview and mid-project photos of "Time Punk".  These are the Steampunk parts provided to me by Rings N Things, courtesy of the Blog Partner drawing.  Took me awhile - but I think it's going to be cool when it's done, and definitely OOAK!  Should have it finished by mid-next week....

Friday, September 24, 2010

Getting closer....

I have decided how I'm going to use my Rings N Things blog partner Steampunk components - hopefully every last one of them.  I still need to take a photo of them, and I also want to photograph a project box preview - but as far as what the actual project IS - I'm gonna keep that one a secret just awhile longer.
Lots of metallic coatings, and funky accents - definitely outside the box for me....
Stay tuned.
I'm getting there...
TTFN

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Still thinking on it...

Still got those Rings N Things Steampunk components staring me in the face.  Gotta come up with a plan.  All of a sudden I'm swamped with ideas again though, with project beads and components all boxed up and waiting for TIME. I just now thought that maybe I can work a steampunk piece or two into some of them.  Hmmm...  Anyway, I have two shows coming up - a rarity for me - one on Sunday, and one again in 3 weeks.  I know I need to have Halloween earrings and bracelets available, so that's the focus.  Not going to do too many, cuz I don't like to get stuck with seasonal stuff, but have a few bracelets done, and I know I have a small box of already finished stuff at the shop - somewhere.  I have so few places to store things, yet somehow still manage to forget where things are....
So don't worry, Dave, I'm thinking on it!  I didn't forget - and I'm blogging!  Next time I have the camera and the components in the same place at the same time, I'll take a photo of the 'before' pile!
(sorry I didn't post the RNT logo.  I'm having to use my hubby's desktop.  All my photos are in my laptop at the repair shop-sigh-).
TTFN Bead Happy!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Great recipe ( I'm BAAAACK!)

I didn't realize how much I missed blogging.  Still need to address the laptop issues, so may not be able to blog as often unless I can kick hubby out of the office, but I will blog as I can... 
I want to share a recipe that many of my friends enjoy, simply because it contains NO FLOUR or WHITE sugar.  Gluten sensitive people can eat these!  YUM!  They're pretty simple to make - and very, very tasty....
Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies
1 Cup Peanut Butter (creamy or crunchy) I use crunchy
1 Cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 Cup Semi sweet chocolate morsels (I've also used WHITE chocolate ones)  I've also had a friend that makes these say that she leaves OUT the chocolate entirely, and they come out fine.  I however, gotta have the chocolate....
This makes about 3 dozen.  I sometimes double it for larger groups.
Preheat oven to 350.  Mix peanut butter, brown sugar, baking soda and beaten egg in medium bowl.  Stir in morsels.  Drop by rounded but not huge teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 8-10 minutes until lightly browned.  Remove from oven and allow to sit ON COOKIE SHEET for 5 minutes.  THIS STEP is IMPORTANT or the cookies will crumble.  After 5 minutes, remove to complete cooling.  Store in airtight container.
Hints:  Bake just one sheet at a time; keep the spoonfuls of dough small - big gobs tend to be too gooey in the center. 
ENJOY!  I know I do!
Hope to see you on the blogs again soon.  I'm busy beading for TWO more shows coming up - The Art Market - the last of four shows is in two weeks. The last two went much better than the first, where, as you may recall, I made $0.  I am also participating in one of the largest indoor holiday season shows - Haslett High School - in October.  This one's HUGE.  People come from miles around - so my beady brain is working fast and furious at ideas for fun, unique and AFFORDABLE designs.  My fingers can barely keep up!
Wish me luck!
TTFN

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Blog Partner blogging

I apologize to Rings and Things for not having the blog partner logo on THIS post.  It will appear as soon as I can access my own computer, and not have to use someone else's.  Dang virus.
Anywhoooo....it's been awhile since I blogged, but I promised (and it's part of the deal!) that I would blog if I won the Rings and Things blog partner goodies.  And I did.  So I am.
It's fun getting goodies in the mail.  Not only did the package contain pieces and parts for STEAMPUNK, but other fun things as well-like a ruler, and bead sizing info.  Always helpful.  The steampunk parts were all nicely packaged and marked - I received golds, silvers, coppers and gunmetals. 
Now here's the tricky part - STEAMPUNK is NOT my forte'.  I haven't been a fan, didn't want to be a fan, but thanks to Rings N Things, I'll now be creating something punky.  I'm thinking bracelet.  It's GOING to have seed beads worked in somehow, cuz I rarely work without them, and may end up not only punky, but also chunky AND funky. 
I plan to post again, with photos of the pieces received, the piece in progress, and of course, the final result.
I also plan to attend the Rings N Things touring bead show in Grand Rapids, Michigan this weekend.  And if I see any more steampunky funky components that are worthy, I may have to have them to add to my piece.
Stay tuned....get geared up, and watch this space (add any other components type puns you can think of here).....
ta ta for now....

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Blog News

Things are just not going all that well for me this summer - between personal home issues, family issues, and business issues - I'm a little overwhelmed right now.
So something - namely my blog - has got to give.   There may be a posting every once in awhile - and I guess I can't be a Rings & Things blog partner if I can't afford to buy from Rings & Things.  Besides that, the "Poor Beaders Club" blog event I tried to plan didn't really garner much interest at all.  So all in all, my email, my Facebook and my physical bead shop are enough for me to handle at the moment.  I realize that this is a total turn around for someone that planned at the beginning of the year to blog 365 - but life happens....
I'm sorry if anyone is disappointed.  I will try to blog if and when I have HAPPY, important news to report.
But between the hot flashes and the housing issues - it may be few and far between.
So TaTa for what may end up being a long, long while....thanks to those of you who have read my blog.  I hope I'm not gone forever.....
Sheryl
Cool Moon

Friday, July 9, 2010

Little glitch in the plan

I had planned to start listing strands of semi precious beads as well as some pendants and cabs on Etsy in the next few days - however -
Glitch number1 - I have to have the laptop repaired. Part will be in first of the week - probably won't get it back until Thursday. 
Glitch number 2 - somehow, someway, for some unexplained reason - my wifi connection AT HOME has stopped working.  The fact that it works here at the coffee shop tells me that at least it's not this poor worn out laptop that is causing the issue.  I hope we figure it out - fast.  What will I do with myself at 4am!?!
So for now - all work will have to be done at the coffee shop (like I needed a reason to spend time there), or at the bead shop, where I prefer to keep it all beads all the time.  I won't get anything done if I am on line - but I suppose this Etsy thing is important - so anywhere I can manage to find access....
I babble.  I stop now.
TTFN!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I THINK I'm a blog partner

I asked about doing this so long ago - I forgot about it.  And I'm not sure WHERE I'm supposed to put the logo, so if anyone else is doing this - and I'm doing it WRONG - give me a shout, will ya?  It's a partnership program with Rings N Things - they send cool stuff, and I blog about it every day.  Cross your fingers that this poor old struggling laptop holds out.  I took it to the laptop hospital this morning - parts have been ordered, but a new one is just NOT in the cards-or the budget-at the moment. 
Just a quick heads up to everyone that I will soon be selling BEADS on my Etsy site!  I'm taking the entire week off from the shop next week to list them and upload all the photos.  Today was photo cropping and inventory day.  I'll start slow - but may add more if I find people are interested - and BUYING.  And I keep meaning to buy some cool stuff I saw, too.  I just am a little apprehensive about that when I'm having computer issues that have me freezing up and unresponsive in the middle of doing something.  PayPal is the LAST place I want that to happen.    My site address is http://www.etsy.com/shop/shescool if you want to give it a look....
Last but not least, and totally unrelated to beading - another great night of free music.  It was 95 in the shade - but there was still a huge turnout - just not as many dancers as usual.  TOO HOT!   
TTFN

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New plan?

Ok.  So things didn't go as I had hoped.  It was gray.  It was rainy.  It was windy.  A few vendors backed out, simply so they wouldn't have to be setting up in the rain.  We were under cover a pavilion, so all was safe and dry once there - but even the crowd never appeared.  On top of that - although I've never actually DONE this show as a vendor, I had attended it as a 'shopper' a year or so ago.  I remembered it being (and it is advertised as being) a HIGH END art and original craft show-there were paintings, and basket weavings, etc.  No knock offs, no imports, but original hand made art.  Well - I think somewhere along the line, the high end artists dwindled, and the everyday crafters (crocheted towels, plastic canvas cross stitch, etc). continued.  Out of only 14 vendors that were showing that day - NINE of us were jewelry.  NINE.  TWO of those were imports and items like you see in the shops in the Bahamas, Jamaica, etc.  ONE other jewelry vendor was also seed bead work, but nothing like mine.  Hers were all copied right from the magazines and free pattern sites found on line.  BUT - she was selling them (and they were done very well) for less than $20 and $30 for intricate, detailed, crystal laden bracelets.  I didn't stand a chance.  I came home somewhat damp and very defeated, and have been quite down for the last few days.  I am considering NOT taking part in the next 3 dates that I committed to at that market.  I don't believe that it lives up to the hype it was given, and it definitely isn't drawing the crowd that I expected. 
So - as I stated up there in the title before I chose to vent (sorry, girls.  I get carried away) - I think I have a new plan.  I have been attempting to sell on Etsy since February.  Haven't sold a thing.  Was getting frustrated with that as well, and have even started pulling the original items that I started with instead of relisting, since no one was purchasing.  LOTS of views - just no bites.  A friend had suggested (way before the disastrous results on Sunday) that I should try selling some of my BEADS on there.  At the time it seemed a daunting task, with the photos, and the daily posting to stay at the top of the loop, etc.  But you know what?  I'm going to try it.  Why not?  My sales at the shop have been very, very poor lately, and in fact I may not even make enough this month to pay my bills.  I had hoped after 4 years to have been making a decent profit consistently (I do very well some months, and others not).  So I did some research and spent some time on Etsy yesterday, and I think I might as well try it.  I also understand from a fellow Etsian that being a regular BUYER makes a difference.  Not sure who or how people know that I would buy, and why that would make them buy from me, but I DID see some cool stuff when I was there yesterday.  So if I do have some profit from this month's check (or maybe I'll just dip into Sunday's unused petty cash), I'll try making a purchase or two.  At this point - what have I got to lose? 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Up before the sun

With butterflies.  Not sure why I'm nervous - I've been selling in my OWN shop for almost 4 years now - but this show today has me really antsy.  Soooo want to be successful. But it's the great unknown of profit that is doing it to me  -especially since the weather is, of course, not going to cooperate.  I will be under cover of the park pavilion, so my jewelry, my displays and myself should be just fine.  But shoppers don't come out in the rain.   Especially when parking is at a premium, and a lot of walking is expected.     So instead of getting a good night sleep, I've been up and down, and tossing and turning and finally up for good before 5 am.  And it doesn't look good out there.  I hope I can at least get my velvet covered display and rolling cart from the house to the car and car to the pavilion without getting soaked. 
Ok, Universe - are you listening?   I WILL HAVE A GOOD DAY OF HAPPY CUSTOMERS AND LOTS OF SALES WITH LITTLE RAIN AND WIND.  And so it is.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Music in the open air

You've probably read me blogging about our music nights before.  I can't help it - it's one of the last things besides eating and movies that my hubby and I like to DO together, and one of the last things that seems to be FREE, or close to it, in the area.   Tonight was Eastwood - I'll have to take the camera and take a picture next time of the people filling up the space between The Fish Market and Bravo, sitting in our canvas lawn chairs, tapping our feet and nodding our heads to the beat. Some people dance.  Most people just sit back and relax.  So nice though when there's a breeze, and of course - people watching.   Thursday night will be an experiment - a new venue for our favorite music - BLUES.  Probably won't be free to park anymore - hopefully the new spot will work.  Otherwise - we're stuck with occasional Fridays about 1/2 hour away (not counting the Tuesday gigs).  What can I say?  We're music snobs.  It's gotta be just right....
BTW - if you were planning to join The Poor Beads Club, and didn't get a chance to join us on Saturday - go ahead and join in anytime!  Just be sure when you post to YOUR blog - you either post a comment on mine - or email me that you did it. 
TTFN

Monday, June 21, 2010

Busy as a bee

About 2 years ago - my husband made me swear off craft shows.  They just weren't working for me - the work far outweighed the sales, and I NEVER made a profit.  Once I had my own store established - it seems silly.
But the times they are a changin'.  I am an intermediate/advanced seed beader, and enjoy the detail heavy, fancy pieces that take alot of work, and merit a big price tag.  I've had a hard time selling these "art" pieces in my current store venue, so I have been wanting to find another outlet.
Along came The Meridian Artisan Market.  And to heck with my hubby's request!  Since it doesn't involve setting up my tent, or hauling my own tables, (which means he doesn't need to be involved) and was very affordable rent wise (only 40 dollars for 4 weekends), I decided to give it a go.  This is supposed to be a very prestigious show, one that's been going on in a town just a few miles away for about 3 years now, that I had really forgotten about.  They do advertise - I guess I've just chosen to remain oblivious to it.  Until now.  Now I'm excited about the prospect of doing a show again, being able to display my work somewhere other than my shop.  And gain some potential bead AND jewelry customers as well.    So this is a shot of my pile of inventory in progess - except for the piece in the top right corner.  That one's mine.  I will probably be wearing it to one of the shows.  It's based on a Tina Koyama design.  Get lots of compliments.  LOVE the peacock look. 
Be sure you check out the blog site listed in the last post.  Jayne is a multi media artist and beader - I mistakenly saw some scrapbooking type work, and mistakenly called it that.  Ooopsy.  Sorry - go check her out.  VERY fun stuff!
TTFN

Poor Beaders bling

Well, it was a rather small showing for our first meeting - but here's Jayne's Poor Beaders post.  Jayne is also into scrapbooking - BIG TIME - which is another one of those crafts that would probably pull me in in a heartbeat if I let it.  As it is, I use scrapbooking papers and accessories to decorate my display cases and shadowboxes - I have the fancy shears for edging my store signs, etc.  Glad she's also got the bead bug - go on over and check her out....

http://www.http//mamasgottodoodle.blogspot.com/

I'll contact the other girls again and see if we can make a go of meeting number 2 sometime next month.
And in other Babblenews:  It's been a long time since I've actually participated in a 'craft show'.  They are usually quite costly to participate in around here, as well as time consuming, and tiring, all for what has never been more than a few bucks.  My husband made me swear off them a couple years ago.  BUT - times they are a changin'.  It's been a rather slow year around the shop, and while I'm not ready to throw in the beaded towel yet - I needed to find a better outlet for my fancy detailed seed bead laden works.  Etsy isn't cutting it, in fact, I'll begin withdrawing pieces from my site beginning tomorrow.  Haven't sold a thing in 4 months.  I don't want to devote any more time to that....anyhoo - I have been given an opportunity to participate in an outdoor (of sorts) Art Market, once a month, beginning on Sunday.  It is outdoors - but underneath a big pavilion - THEY provide the tables.  So all I have to bring is my work.  They also recommend that we go wild with our table displays - to draw people to us.  Doing table displays is one of my favorite things!  It takes me forever to set mine up (I'll have to do this one in an hour, urgh)...and can't wait to get out my still unused show displays I used to use.  SOME of them are in use at the shop -but the larger hanging displays, and some of the risers are still in storage.   I'm really looking forward to these 4 shows - 4th Sunday of every month - in one of the areas more 'well to do' communities.  I know I already have TONS of stuff and don't need to make much new at all, but I am spending my week this week making 'Kerry Slade Beaded Beads' - which fit Pandora bracelets.  The ladies are gonna love 'em! 
Thanks to Jayne for posting her Poor Beaders post - please stop over to her site and check it out. 
TTFN!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Welcome to the first meeting of The Poor Beaders Club

I'll be checking back here for your comments - I'll then post your blog addresses in a new blog tomorrow so that you can view each others work, and comment, too. 
One of my favorite pieces, and one that reflects ME the most - is one of my 'goddess' pieces.  "Royalty" is not quite as seed bead intense as some of my pieces - but I found surrounding the face to be challenging because of the THICKNESS - it's probably almost 3/4 inches - and uneven on one side - so getting the face to STAY in the bezel wasn't easy.  This was my first 'clasp in front' necklace, and is accented with Sugilite barrels, some small bits of Amethyst, Russian Charoite, and sterling chain. Purple is, of course - my favorite color.  I do believe I'll wear this piece today - in honor of our first meeting.
The trick I learned and use the most, as well as passing on to my customers the most - is about Nymo thread.  Remember that it is like the grain of fabric.  If you use the end of the thread that came off the spool first (the farthest away when you finish pulling off the spool), then it will be much simpler to thread, and fray less.  MOST of the time.  :0) Some of that Nymo is just darned annoying!
So that's it, girls.  Our first meeting.  Here is a question - are you all on Facebook?  If so - be sure to friend each other (AND ME!).  We could  do an instant message chat and work on a project.   Just a thought.  Have fun, girls - BEAD HAPPY!  I'll be at the shop and away from my blog all day, so I'll check back later for your posts....
TTFN  

Saturday, June 12, 2010

First Meeting of The Poor Beaders Club

Let's plan to 'meet' over the 24 hour period 12AM Saturday, June 19th through midnight that night.  If you are interested in joining, post on YOUR blog the piece of jewelry that you've made that BEST reflects YOU as a person, along with any tips or tricks you've learned along the way, and then comment on THIS blog post that you've done so.  Be sure to include your info so that all of the other joiners can visit your page and see your posting.  Once we've introduced ourselves in this way, we will plan our next meeting and event (challenge, trade, charity, etc.). 
Never done this as a facilitator before - so I hope I've dotted all the i's and crossed all the t's.  I may post a few more times before then - so LOOK for this blog title in my archives.
SEE YOU ON THE 19th!
Sheryl
Cool Moon Creations & Beads
A Poor Beader

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Working on the 'poor' details

Ok, ladies - the original thought was to do something DURING Bead & Button.  Since that's almost over, and I've got a lot on my plate  -  it won't quite come together this week. BUT - the concept of "The Poor Beaders' Club" is still a good one - so let me, as the originator of the idea, think and plan for a day or so - and then put some dates out there for our first 'meeting'.  If you have responded that you're interested - it might be easier for you to comment or email me your email addresses so I'm sure you get the information and get included.   I hope to get with you by Saturday evening or possibly Sunday morning.
Welcome to 'The Poor Beader's Club'!   (Facebook fan page soon to follow!?)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Are you a "Poor Beader"?

Lisa Criswell/Indigo's Beads posted a comment in my previous blog that this club thing would be a great way to share challenge projects. I also thought it would be a good way to inspire some of the more beginning beaders to 'branch out' and try new things.  Can't wait to hear from the rest of you about what you'd like to accomplish with this club.....Along with trying to plan a bead retreat for sometime next year, this has got me really excited. I'm thinking that just our blogs might work, as long as everyone posted and read them within a certain block of time. The "Poor Beaders Club" is closer to fruition! Hope to hear from you!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Suggestions for that club

Ok girls - sounds like my 'poor beaders club' comment kinda perked some interest.  So - how would we go about starting an 'online' club for beaders? With people from all over the country?  I don't have any fancy schmancy video equipment, or an Iphone or WebCam or any of that technological goofy stuff.  But I DO have Facebook - and a blog.  So do you have some suggestions?  Just being Facebook friends - and posting as we work, or instant messaging though Facebook might work - or simply each having blogs that we post to as we're working.....what do YOU think?   Chime in, ladies!   Let's see if we can make this thing work!  HOW FUN!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Not feeling the (bead) love

I think I get this way every June.  I get really, really depressed and frustrated that I can't be a Bead & Button show attendee.  I am so envious of all of my fellow beaders that are going.  I haven't ever been able to attend Tucson either -  probably never will because of the distance.  BUT - Bead & Button is a driveable distance away - probably only about 10 hours.  And still, here I am.   I've even had the pleasure (and I mean that in a NOT so positive way) of having people look down their nose at me like I'm not important when I respond to their question about whether or not I'm going with a NO.   So I sit here, wondering - HOW can beaders AFFORD to go to Bead & Button?  I have a bead shop to run, I have stock to purchase, I have bills to pay, I have a husband that was until recently, laid off from his job.  There is simply not enough $$$ in the budget for it.  Does everyone just max their credit cards to the limit to make the trip?  Or am I one of the 'poor' beaders that gets treated like I'm from the wrong side of the tracks?  It's not like I don't try to sell my art pieces.  MOST of my beadwork is very detailed, seed bead heavy work, ala Marcia, and Laura, and Rachel. It's all very unique, and unlike a lot of the other work around my area.  I've got an Etsy site.  I've tried local art galleries.  I have it proudly displayed for sale at my bead shop.  And all I get in return is comments and pats on the back.  Which are nice.  But they don't pay the way to Bead & Button OR the bills for that matter.  And then when I hear and read comments from beady friends that are going about how many classes they are taking, and what they plan to buy, and attending the parties - it depresses me even more that I seem to be the poorest beader in town.
Maybe I need to start a local club for hard up beaders that can get together and commiserate and bead together during Bead & Button.  The "We're Too Poor for Bead & Button but we still consider ourselves Beaders" club.  Although I'm thinkin' I may be the only member....sigh.
So that's my rant. Sorry I put you through that. If there is someone out there with a great solution short of winning the lottery, I'd be glad to hear it.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Beautiful day

Sunday.  Beautiful, warm, sunny.  Perfect holiday weekend weather.  Too bad we didn't have any plans to do anything wild and wonderful. It would have been the perfect weekend for a boat cruise and a bonfire.  Too bad we don't know anyone that can invite us for something like that!  :0)   It's been pretty much same old, same old.  I did manage to complete another of my 'Versatile Vintage' necklaces yesterday.  Gunmetal, vitrail, and very vintage-y.  And the bracelet, I'm naming "Shades of Lorelei" - because although it matches the newest necklace, I think Lorelei Eurto's design style may have inspired me.  I promise to have photos soon.  I will try very hard to part with this one.  My mom says I HAVE to start parting with some of them, or I'll never make a profit.  Truer words were never spoken. 
Having the newly arrive snowbird parents over for dinner today.  They haven't had much time to really settle in to their summer place, or get groceries, etc. - so I thought it would be a fun way to catch up (well, besides the dinner at Applebee's within hours of there arrival).  Did I miss them?  yes i did.  And apparently my brothers have too.  One of them has invited her to celebrate Memorial Day - and doesn't want to share by inviting the rest of us. Whatever. How rude.  ;0)
Hope everyone has a great holiday.  And a very happy beading summer! 
TTFN

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hot and muggies and a pic or two

Make for a grumpy blogger.  I'm so sorry I haven't been my normal bloggy self - but this heat, combined with just enough 'stuff' to keep me from my laptop - has got me overwhelmed again.  I was up with the sun this morning, and actually accomplishing things- so while I wait for that second batch of cookies to come out of the oven - here is a photo of my last exciting piece - it is changeable -the pendant is made with a box clasp that makes the dangle portion removeable.  The length can be changed to any length, with the left over portion being left to dangle, or worked into one side of the necklace for an assymetrical look.  It was very hard to photograph this one - I may try it again on a model - but for now - here it is.  I'm quite excited about this one, and already have the focals and box clasps ready to make a few more.  Couldn't part with this one of course....
TTFN I promise not to be so long blogging again. However - my parents WILL be returning home for the summer TOMORROW - so my time will be short still....

Monday, May 24, 2010

Time flies....

I can't believe I went a whole week without blogging!  Where did the time go?  And I can't really say I had that many super important things to do - I just didn't.  I HAVE been getting my garden ready.  And going to meetings.  And going to the shop.  It all adds up until I've just lost track.
I have many photos to post, and many events to hype - I promise I'll get to that soon.  But for now - back to the garden while it's still somewhat cool back there.  It'll be 90 today.  In MAY.  In MICHIGAN. 
TTFN

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Some more photos

I just finished updating my Photobucket slide show - http://s716.photobucket.com/albums/ww161/librasun59/

I know many of you have probably seen most of these - but since I'm trying to reach some possible new contacts - I'm trying to cover all my bases.
Here's an idea that I'm working on for later on this summer or possibly early fall:  A Cool Bead Retreat.
There is a beautiful facility just an hour north of me that is perfect for this - not too pricey - beautiful scenery and walking paths, great rooms for workshops, a top notch chef that will pretty much create your meal to order, and more.  I want to hold a bead retreat there, and teach a couple of my original designs in workshop hands on form.  I may also have someone do a meditation workshop, and maybe yoga or other healing art.  This is still in the talking and thinking stage- I'm still gathering info, talking to other instructors, etc.  Other than the biggies for Bead & Button, and the BeadFest in Philly, I don't think there is a good northern midwest retreat and workshop offering.  So I am going to create it.  I'm getting excited about the possibility.  Not sure how soon it will happen - but I am quite positive than I CAN make it happen.  And now that the thought is out there in the universe among my beady friends....we'll just see where it may lead....
TTFN

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Etsy

Ok, so I guess I missed this step.  It was pointed out to me JUST TODAY that I never posted my Etsy site info on this blog.  oops.  I guess I never really thought about it, cuz last time I checked - I only had like 12 followers, and rarely have any comments.  So imagine my surprise when today I looked and have like 34 followers!  WOW!  When did THAT happen?  And whose blog did I comment on that made it happen?  Cool.  So now I've updated my profile with my Etsy page info - www.etsy.com/shop/shescool
I don't have any fancy "banner", or very many things listed (21).  I've had some items looked at many times - one pathetic piece NEVER looked at at all (I know, it's not my best work - but they MATCH another listed piece).  I did some research of other seed bead work on Etsy before I started, and I think my pieces are unique, yet wearable, with prices that I think are right in line with, if not better than, some of the other comparable work out there.  So what gives?  Is Etsy just plain TOO popular?  TOO much of a good thing?  I hate to be a copycat, and do like Lorelei does, and post Etsy listings on my blog.  Has anyone else tried that?  I guess I'll just have to hope that the more followers I have, the more people will check out my shop, and eventually, finally, HOPEFULLY - I will find the right person for the sale.   And if you're ever in Lansing - I've got great stuff - jewelry and BEADS - at my actual shop.  Check me out!  PLEASE!
Bead happy,
TTFN

Sunday, May 9, 2010

More store....

I know I just posted photos of the shop not too long ago.  I just can't help myself.  I'm so proud of what I've done with what was originally a 10X10 square of glass cabinets and a desk.  Baby, take a look at me now!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

This was my Use the Muse entry

Moroccan Twilight.  It didn't win.  I also was pretty much refused by two art galleries today (one of them wouldn't get off the phone long enough to even acknowledge me.)   Not lovin' the beads today.  Glad I have a crochet project to work on for awhile. 

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Non bead rant

Well.  I still don't quite know what to think.  I know what I've said - and what I may continue to say....discrimination against LARGE people has GOT TO STOP.  The latest travesty:  one of the most well known clothing stores that had a "Plus Size" line, and in fact an entire portion of the store devoted to REAL size women - has now changed their tune.   In order to appeal to a younger, hipper, PRETTIER demographic, they have ditched the plus size line.  Instead, the entire store is now filled with a larger selection of trendy clothes - with a SMALLER selection of REAL WOMAN sizes, and only in a limited number of styles and colors.  When I questioned the clerk about the change - I was told it was always possible to shop online.  And that may be true.  But what if I want something to wear TONIGHT?  or TOMORROW as the case may be.  Don't I have the right to be able to go to a plus size store and purchase WITH CASH the size, color and style that I want?  Why am I being relegated to the 'on line' shop?  I KNOW that I am not the only plus size shopper out there, and in fact, always found THAT particular section of the store had more shoppers in it than the regular size side.  So I have contacted their 'customer service' department and gave them a piece of my mind.  It's something that I find myself doing more and more often as I get older.  I just can't hold my tongue anymore - except of course, around my customers.  And even then with some of them it's hard.  I get very defensive when people question my authority, knowledge and techniques when it comes to beading.  And I am VERY defensive when it comes to my size.  I am comfortable with it, I don't have any of the so called medical issues that people just assume come with it, and I am a very confident person in both regards.
So I hope this isn't becoming a trend - and that other stores that I've shopped in the past won't follow suit.  Cuz momma is in need of some brand new clothes!
Sorry for the 'rant' - but between this blog and their customer service comment section - I may feel just a little bit better now....
I'll be posting SEVERAL new jewelry pieces on Etsy this week.  Still no sales.  We'll see what the new items bring.  June will be the 4 month mark - not sure I can be patient enough to continue....
TTFN

Friday, April 30, 2010

Hot Cha Blog

The top photo is "Hot Cha Cha", which was the first piece sold during a six month stint at THE premiere gallery here in town a couple of years ago. It's one of my all time favorites - kinda wish I hadn't parted with it, but at the same time - I probably wouldn't have worn it much anyway.  The second photo is a CURRENT piece - and one that I'll be having a workshop for later on this month- "Fanciful Fringe" bracelet incorporates a simple strand of lampwork, firepolish and accents with a 'fringe' of cz glass, crystals and seed bead leaves.  This one should be fun - and fast!  We might even finish it in the class period this time!
Busy weekend ahead.  May be too busy to blog.  Oh well.  TTFN!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I always meant to do more of these....
the pendants are readily available online.  I just never have.  Sold both of these right away, too.
The first one is Jasper, the second one Rhodonite. 
Getting ready to list a BUNCH of new stuff - all seed bead woven - on Etsy.  Still haven't sold one stinkin' thing - but trying to be patient.  Hoping that ONE of these days - something will appeal to SOMEONE.
Nothing but a bunch of repeats on TV tonight - and hubby with his finger on the pulse  - aka having control of the remote.  Lovely.  NCIS marathon.  History channel.  TVLand.  yay.
New beads arrived today - it's kinda like CHRISTMAS!  I always forget about at least one or two things that I ordered oh so many DAYS ago (only a week, but hey my brain is draining).  Came so late in the day though, that I'll have to put in some time on my usual Thursday play day to get them all out ASAP.  But,
I love playing with beads.  I think I may sort of get ornery when I can't play with beads for a few days.  I DO enjoy my crosswords and my novels - but I NEED MY BEADS.  I'm disappointed that a few of my beady friends are actually becoming bored with beads, and starting to be very negative about those wonderful little bits of joy.  I may have to unfriend them, at least on Facebook....
TTFN

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Another 'older' piece

This is "Spring Goddess", one of a 4 part Seasons series that I did SEVERAL years ago.  Only she, along with Autumn, (pictured below) remain.  I have considered re-doing the strap portion, and freshening the silver, updating the look - but the silver in the fringe and face portion are SEWN IN to the work - so need to stay if I don't want to start from scratch.  So she's in a ziploc bag - somewhere. 
For now. 
I've got several ideas rumbling around in my head, along with a LARGE shipment of new stuff coming this week.  I've decided that I need to discount and move some of the older pieces - so my day today will be spent doing mark downs on some of the jewelry that's been around awhile.  And for those pieces that I just can't bear to sell for pennies (compared to what I spent to make them) - they will come home with me.
Have a lovely spring day everyone!"Autumn Goddess"

Monday, April 26, 2010

"The 6th Photo" game

My beading friend Dawn at Designs by Dawn Marie, invited me to join in a game that Lisa Crone started over on A Bead a Day -  I am posting the 6th photo of my work that I ever posted on my blog.  Lucky for me - it's a face piece!  My favorite!  This one's still around though, and may be destined for Etsy....'Garden Blue-ming Goddess' is a two sided Polymer Clay face by an artist that I don't remember (purchased from StonyCreek Beads in Ypsi).  Of course, the necklace portion is my signature freeform fringe.  I just love embellishing, and this is a fun way to do it. 
Thanks, Dawn, for inviting me.  If I had more followers - I might join in on Friday - but not sure I have enough to make it work....
Enjoy the day....

Photo Blog

I realized as I was flipping through the many, MANY blog sites that I visit, that I don't post photos of my work often enough.  I've been posting newly finished works when I complete them - but somehow that all of a sudden doesn't seem enough.  So for the next few days (or until something exciting happens) I'll be posting photos of some of my OLDER work.  Some I still have around, some I own and wear, and some have sold.  No matter what, they all have a place in my heart.  I LOVE to bead....
This photo is "A Day at the Beach".  I sold this piece during a six month exhibit at a local gallery.  Fringe and peyote tubes, pearls and lots of actual sea shells. 
More tomorrow.....
TTFN

Friday, April 23, 2010

Opening Pandora's box?

Do I?  Or don't I?  I've found a great deal and have an opportunity to carry the very popular 'Pandora-like' beads and bracelets that are out there right now.  I have had customers ask me for them, and now that I've been creating Kerrie Slade's Core Beaded Beads (which I have permission to sell), I thought it may be the perfect time.  BUT - I am afraid to get caught in that 'not handmade' category.  I want people to know me, and respect me FOR my handmade work - not just for selling Pandoras - and knock-offs at that.  My other concern is that one of the other vendors does 'outdoor sales' and Flea Markets - selling the EXACT same Pandora items.  I don't want people associating HER with MY shop (not an ethical or considerate person) and I don't want to cause issues with the owner of The Schoolhouse (the other dealer is the owners SISTER).  On the plus side - I DO think I could make some great sales, and have a few outside of the shop events coming up this summer where they may do well.  So I think I'm going to take the plunge - when I can.
I'm not sure my sales this month are going to be up to par, and still owe my hubby for helping with my cell phone predicament (needed a new phone AND minute plan ASAP).  So maybe by mid-summer.  I LOVE the Pandora bracelet full of beads I was gifted with last week, and am grateful to Linda for her generosity as well as her contact info.  WHAT A WOMAN! 
Big lots to do.  It's another Sally day (remind me to tell you about those), and I have to finish prepping for tomorrow's peyote bead workshop.  1 student.  Should be pretty simple IF they can grasp the concept.  I like to teach - but get frustrated with people that say they want to learn the weaving arts - and then are surprised that they have to use small beads and a needle and thread.  Really?  How else did you think it was done?  Anyway.  I hope she's a good study....
TTFN

Monday, April 19, 2010

The new 'stash'

Not my own personal stash, but rather the new stuff that will be available for customers after I've inventoried and priced them.  VERY NICE stuff - got a great deal - if I hadn't taken my friend Sally with me, we never would have been able to 'pool our resources' to take advantage of the large quantity HUGE discount.  So feast your eyes....here they are....  Top photo - from top:  Faceted Carnelian, Labradorite, Jasper, A grade Garnet, Matte Fire Opal, and some cool Abalone.
Center Photo:  Black Onyx, a really cool striped agate that I've forgotten the exact name of (DOH!), nice quality Mother of Pearl with shell impressions,
and White Turquoise. Normally I don't go for the imitation Turquoises, but these were a hot seller with my customers despite that fact (although the other colors were not.  Go Figure).

Bottom Photo:  Blue Lace Agates, Blue Fire Opal, Impression Jasper (my fave!),  Purple Lace Agate, and Matte Black Fire Opal.
I love bead shopping.  Need I say more?
TTFN

Friday, April 16, 2010

Wickedly Wonderful

"WICKED"
This was a fun piece inspired by a photo of a Bradford Exchange figurine of The Wicked Witch of the West.  Even on black, the photo does not do the colors justice.   This one may show up on Etsy eventually....
WONDERFUL....good customers.  GREAT customers, in fact.  One of my favorite regulars stopped by today, and had lots of time to shop and chat.  We got on the subject of the "Pandora-like" beads and bracelets that are so popular right now.  She has been successfully selling them along with her beautiful beadwork pieces at shows and sales lately.  She brought in her supply - and before I knew it, she had gifted me with a bracelet FILLED with beautiful core beads!  And because I had already created a Kerrie Slade beaded core bead or two - it was the perfect addition!  This was the highlight of my week - and definitely a prosperity story for my Thursday group.  PLUS - (yes, it gets even better) - because we don't sell to the same crowd, she is sending me her contact information for her Pandora-like beads, so that I can finally carry some myself!  I hope that they are in my price range - I do get requests for them, and think it would be fun to find ways to pair them with other handwoven beaded beads like Kerrie Slade's. 
Off to a local (well, an hour away is sort of local) Bead Show tomorrow.  I am really excited about being able to finally restock some of the fantastic BIG CHUNKY semi precious beads that this particular company is known for.  I'm taking Sally with me - her first foray into a bead show - this show will be no where near as overwhelming as G&LW would be (also this weekend in Detroit area), making it easier to stick to our budget.
If I remember, I'll snap some photos of the new loot!  TTFN! 

Monday, April 12, 2010

B-E-A-Utiful Day!

I always thought it was funny that Jim Carrey said it that way in "Bruce Almighty" - because I've been saying it that way for a long time! 
And it's gotten even more b-e-a-utiful - my special appointment just canceled for today - leaving me with a sunny, warm, happy MONDAY all to myself!  Trip to the library, definitely a Mocha Latte, and then - who knows?  I was supposed to make a special trip to the shop today, but since my girl canceled - there may be no reason to - other than the fact that Tracy will be disappointed, and it would be the perfect opportunity to BEAD.  I also need to take a really good look at my semi-precious stock, so that I know what to look for on Saturday.  I AM going to go to a Nice People gem show - I've figured out where and how I'm getting the money I'll need.  Taking Sally with me -- it will be interesting to say the least.
So have a Happy, B-E-A-Utiful Beading Monday, everyone!
TTFN

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Keeping it real

I am so disappointed in the circumstances surrounding one of the other bead shops in town.  They had always been courteous to me, sending customers my way when they didn't have something I did (and vice versa), as well as featuring beads from MY shop in jewelry made by their workers, and gladly so.  And because I don't carry the high end, detailed lampwork beads that they do, I have been a frequent SHOPPER there as well.  We had even tentatively talked of doing a collaboration project where I, along with one of their workers, would teach a part of a bracelet, with our own little touches to complete it.  Until now.
All of a sudden, the owner of that shop has decided that she needed 'better marketing' stategies - and that meant hiring someone to do her marketing for her.  Unfortunately, part of that deal included firing all of her employees, including my friend D, and taking on this marketing expert as her ONE full time employee.  This so called marketing expert knows absolutely NOTHING about beads and beading, or technique, or anything remotely bead related.  I'm sure that this hiring is so that the person can become familiar with the whole process-but that definitely isn't going to happen overnight.  I realize that because this shop is in a very high traffic TOURIST area (especially in the summer), she may want to better get her name out there, but to me, this doesn't seem like a good way to do it. (She's been around as long as I have (opened 1 week apart) - we both have a well established regular customer base).   Very disappointing - and I believe detrimental to them in the long run that they no longer have someone that knows the ropes as far as beading is concerned.  How in the world can you run a bead shop that way?  There were two other shops in town that tried it - and neither of them thrived, and have since closed. 
 So - long story short (TOO LATE!)  I am considering taking on my first 'employee' - because I think D may be willing to work for beads.   She is wonderfully talented and knowledgeable, and loves beads.  Do you need any more than that in a worker?  That would give me more time to take care of other things this summer - I believe both my parents are going to need better supervision once they arrive home from Florida - and don't like leaving my customers with no one they can ask questions to.    PLUS - come to find out, I've known D for over a year now, and just realized that her husband was the instructor who taught the business course I took before I started the shop!  Small world....
I intend to 'keep it real' in my shop - with knowledge, talent and customer service as JOB ONE - either on my own, or maybe with a little help from my beady friends....
TTFN

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Using the Muse

As I posted a few days ago, I entered the 'Use the Muse' contest again this round.  I did have a small issue with receiving my email submission, as well as being overlooked for the preorder discount and freebies.  I didn't even mention those things to her, because they weren't that important to me in the grand scheme of participating.  After an email or two to Scarlett herself (with polite responses received immediately) -  I did finally receive my submission form, and made my submission before the Early Bird deadline.  I didn't realize until today, upon reading the Beading Daily forums and subsequently her blog forum, that there were so many unhappy people.   It's too bad that so many mistakes have been made with this contest - because it's been fun, and rewarding, for me and I'm sure others as well.
To any of you unhappy people that may be reading my little insignificant blog - be patient with Scarlett. I think she has been greatly overwhelmed with response and probably a little underwhelmed with sponsors for this contest.  She is probably doing the best she can.  I hope that everyone that participates - or receives a refund because of unfortunate circumstances, will take a deep breath, remember we're all in this bead thing together, and plan to enter the next one - because I really, really hope that she will offer us a Use the Muse V.

No blog is good blog?

Sort of like no news is good news - basically - there's nothing to tell.  I've had a pretty decent customer base so far this month, but nothing to blog home about.  Easter was nice (my hubby rode a HORSE!), but we're also dealing with a sick dog, and a future unknown thanks to my husbands' continuing layoff and mortgage lenders and financial institutions that drag their feet so slowly that we'll be homeless for sure by the time they decide whether or not to help save us. 
I'm trying to focus on the positive - my ability to have ordered from 4 different vendors this month (we're trying desperately to keep my business $$ out of our living $$) and I've been frantically inventorying and pricing and put it all out.  One last box arrived yesterday - so that will keep me busy today.  
There is also a bead show coming up in a few weeks that I AM manifesting money for - I think it, along with the orders received this past week - should keep my customers happy until summer.  But then again - maybe they'll be so happy they'll buy it all up!  I could live with that.
I posted a few new pieces on Etsy yesterday. I was told not to get my hopes up for sales right away - and sure enough - I've had views but zero sales. It's not costing me an outrageous amount of time or money, so I'm just going to go with the flow. Let it go - add a few pieces here and there when I can - and hope for the best.   If you feel like checking it out - www.etsy.com/shop/shescool
TTFN

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I keep tellin' em I'm psychic

My Thursday morning group brought me all kinds of fun and happiness today, along with a few (psychic) surprises - packets of flower seeds!   One of the girls brought packets to share with everyone.  Thank you newbie Kathy - you are definitely one of us!  (See - I knew there were flower seed in my future.)  And Janiele - your aura reading for me was like, WOW!  The deep indigo aura -  the intuition.  It still flows in there every now and then with my beadwork - but I forget to TRUST it in my life in general.  Thanks for reminding me.  (Janiele is blind - and blows me away with her energy and insight).
And to the rest of you that helped me through that bit of stress this morning - I've decided to work on letting go, breathing in love, and living my life to the fullest.  TRUE prosperity can only be found once you are happy with YOU.
Sorry to all my beady followers - the metaphysical stuff is a part of me too - and it just flows out of me occasionally!
TTFN

THIS is what I'm goin' for....

This is my dream landscape.  This set up is very similar to my deck/patio area - and I would LOVE to get my yard looking like this.  The hardest part is keeping things planted along the front edge of the deck - Zeus has made it obvious through two attempts at perennials now that this is HIS area, and my flowers have suffered for it.  Still - I may try something a bit hardier - like these Daylilies -they spread like wildfire, and ya can't kill 'em.  I would also love to add the trellis between our home and the one next door - now if I could just buy one with the full array of flowers already growing - that would be great.  I think many of these may be great big annuals like petunias though - which are easy and showy.  So I think there may be flower seeds and potting soil in my near future....
 

Monday, March 29, 2010

Happy Birthday, Honey!

Today is my hubby's big 5-0!  Hard to believe - and even harder to believe that we've been together for 30 of those years!  We still laugh and have fun together MOST of the time.  :0)
He isn't much for fuss - so no big party or to-do.  Just dinner with his mom, and then a movie just for two.
We'll probably find a few things to do for fun today too!
Happy Birthday, Honey!  TODAY is all about YOU!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

I sold this piece yesterday


This is one of my early design pieces, and I finally sold it yesterday.  It's weird, but it seems like since the first of the year, many of my older designs have been selling.  Either to newbies who've never seen my stuff at all, or to regular customers who just haven't been very observant of the piece before.  I DO have a tendency to rearrange the items in my cases.  It's a trick I learned at the book and gift store - just moving a specific item from one place to another can give it new life.  AND IT WORKS!  I also rotate and put things away, then get them back out a few months later.  That was the case with this one.   I just got it back out of storage about a month ago.....bye, bye, Pink Beauty Rose.  I'm sure you'll make your new owner very happy.  Especially since she loved it so much that she requested a special custom pair of earrings to match - by SUNDAY!  Good thing I had most of the bits and pieces and seed bead colors still around after all this time! 
I will also have some bracelet photos to post in the next day or two.  I have decided to put it together as a class, and have two sample pieces completed.  Not sure I'm ready to start actual classes again - I like the more relaxing one on one meetings so much better - but I think this one will be popular enough for a class.
You'll have to see for yourself....
TTFN

Saturday, March 27, 2010

I Used my Muse!

My submission has been made.  Now the wait begins for the judging.  And while I can't yet reveal the entire piece to you, I CAN give you a tiny bit of a tease until the big day arrives.   Scarlett Lanson does a wonderful job with this contest - I wish I would have been able to enter all of them.  I entered the very first one with "Scarlett in Chains" (second photo).  I kept this one for myself, and in fact, seeing the photo - it helped me decide what to wear to the shop today! 
While there's probably no more time left to enter (early bird deadline is MONDAY), I urge you to visit Scarlett's blog and/or website http://thebeadersmuse.com/ and read more about Use the Muse.  You'll be amazed at the prize selections, excited about the concept, and impatient to enter Use the Muse V!
TTFN

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Newbie

Floral Chain all ready for Etsy. 
Still working on "Wicked".  Something just ain't quite right with that one....it'll come to me one of these days.  Trying to freeform net in the style of Beverly Ash Gilbert.  May need to back up and redesign a bit.  But that's for another day....