Sunday, February 28, 2010

The penny tour....

I managed to pry the camera from my husband's idle hands this week, so I've got some updated shop photos to share....if you look closely at the second one on the left, you can see my little 'island'-complete with palm tree, real shells from a Florida beach - and SAND.  I also added a grass skirt, and some fun Hawaiian flowers.  A tropical, WARM theme for this snowy February.  The other photos are just random shots about the shop - mostly of the spaces that have been updated and changed recently.  
I should have some new work to post in the next day or two.  I do have a new brooch ready to put on Etsy, and I am also working on another freeform project, based on a cool photo found in a magazine.  This is just the teaser - but the NAME of the piece (the name came first this time) is "Wicked". 
Hope you enjoyed the shop tour....

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Intermittent blogging

Normal blog postings are being pre-empted due to abnormally nasty snow fall.  We have mounds and mounds and mounds of it, with another 4 to 6 inches expected tomorrow.  Poor hubby has cleared our drive (5 car lengths LONG) 3 times this week, only to have the plows block in the end again, WHEN they finally decide to plow at all.  It takes him approximately 2 1/2 hours to clear it - and another 1/2 hour to clear the deck and a path for the dog.   It's cold, it's nasty, and there's been no sun to speak of in DAYS.  Am I getting a bit antsy?  You betcha.  It's disheartening, if not downright depressing to make it all the way to the shop (a 20 minute drive on a GOOD day) only to have absolutely no customers all day long.  I think after today, I will be staying home for a few days again.  I HAVE, somehow, miraculously, come up with a few more design ideas.  Now if I can just find somewhere here at home among the wainscoting, treadboards, and drywall to BEAD.  I've been wanting my dining room redone, and the paneling removed for ages.  Now that my husband is laid off, and BORED - he started ripping down my walls.  I came home last night to find all my precious ornaments and wall accents in boxes. Thanks, honey.  I hope we have all the paint and spackle already to fix it with....
We will continue with our regularly scheduled blog postings, complete with photos of some of my newest creations - when I dig out from under the piles of white.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I took the Etsy plunge!

I've been thinking on it, debating it, talking myself out of it, into it, and out of it again.  Today - I did it.  You can now find me on ETSY -
One of the hardest parts about selling was deciding which pieces to list, since I can't have them in my bead shop at the same time.  So I chose a couple new pieces, a couple art gallery quality pieces, and a couple of pieces that have been around awhile and even redesigned.  I will be very curious and excited to see how many hits I get - and I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to sell something soon.  I know. I know.  Don't expect it to happen right away.  I've talked to several people that have sold very little and have been open for quite a while.  I've also talked to those who make a decent amount on a regular basis, and haven't been in it all that long.  So we shall see.   Thanks again to Lorelei, (thanks, Lorelei, part 3!)  Reading your blog and about your success and excitement helped push me over the edge.  I don't have a banner yet - or probably even a permanent avatar - but I'm up, I'm open and I'm ready for business!  I hope, while waiting to sell my first piece, to come up with a unique yet inexpensive packaging gimmick.  Wish me luck - on both counts!
TTFNOTSD (Tatafornowonthissnowyday....)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Use the Muse IV

I actually blogged about this earlier this week when I pre-registered to enter.  But now that I've got dates and details - here we blog again....
February 25th is the very last day that you can pre order your kit for this wonderful contest.  I participated in the very first contest that Scarlett held, and it was fun and very cool to be 'lumped' in with all the other great and some FAMOUS bead artists out there.  I didn't win - but as they say of the Oscars - "It's an honor just to be nominated", or in this case, considered as an entry.  Scarlett has asked the question "What is your main motivation for entering USE THE MUSE IV?   Along with the reasons stated above -I entered for the challenge, and THE MYSTERY.  Not knowing what that focal piece is going to be is part of the intrigue.  And I think, from viewing the teaser photo on her blog, that I will truly be challenged this time.  Not colors I would normally work with - and so it will open my mind to new possibilities.  I don't have many followers - but if you love beads and are up for a great challenge with GREAT PRIZES, check out the site BEFORE Feb. 25!

Midnight blue in the light of day

I love working on the face pieces.  They take on such personality as I work on them.  This one is so clearly a MALE energy.  "Midnight Blue" is what he named himself.  I swear they talk to me.  I know.  WEIRDO!   My nieces and nephews refer to me as their 'crazy' Aunt Sheryl - but in a GOOD WAY.  I think.  :0)  Anyway....This one is a metal focal with a hematite color coating, surrounded with seed beads and cubes.  The outer ring of hematite beads are from a stash of broken, vintage stuff that someone brought me from a garage sale.  It was one of those prestrung, manufactured strings like Mardi Gras beads.  I attached it with loops around the string between the beads.  PERFECT!  I love when I can find new ways to use the old stuff.
And speaking of old stuff....out with the Valentine's display today - and in with the vacation getaway display.  I've got sand, and shells, and sunglasses, and all my beachy summery pieces ready to display.  I'm going to stop at the Dollar store on the way there and see if I can find some other cool tropical display items.  Just one display case - the other will be my signature purples....but still fun!  Maybe I'll post a pic....

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Think I'll keep it

I think I do like this new blog style.  Pretty.  Very SPRINGY, which is what we all need right about now. 
At least the sun is shining today.  YAY!  But I bet it's still cold out.  The solstice occurs today, however, the Sun moving into Pisces with it's tease of spring just around the corner....I CAN HARDLY WAIT!  I'm getting really tired of wearing wool socks and lots of layers.  I don't need any help in the bulky department. :0)
Happy beading, everyone!

Photo phrustration

I need to take and put more photos in my blog.  Everyone does such a great job of snapping great photos, and then sharing.  My problem is that I have to share the camera with my hubby, who is still getting a few straggling real estate appraisals in (that job is holding on by a thread, or we wouldn't even have peanut butter to eat), and he never knows when he's going to get an order on a house that he can immediately go take pictures of.  So I have to leave the camera HOME everyday.  Bummer.   So until I have a way of getting some great photos to rival the likes of all of yours, my words will just have to tell the tale.
There will be new photos of the kidlets after this weekend, though.  We'll be celebrating Madi & Kaity's birthdays in Holland this weekend. The 2 oldest sisters were born 2 years and 2 days apart.  We enjoy celebrating with them.   My husband is their Jungle Jim.  Can you say INNER CHILD?  He plays just as hard as they do when he's with them (there are 4 in all - 3 girls and boy - Madison, Kaitlyn, Zachary & Lilly - ages 8, 6, 4, & 1).  And somehow, miraculously, no one ever gets seriously hurt.  Knock on wood.
It's THURSDAY - my favorite day of the week.  I skipped last Thursdays group because I hadn't been at the shop all week, so I'm in serious need of positive reinforcements!  So note to "The Thursday Girls & James" (all girls and one guy if you couldn't tell by the name) - ready or not, here I come!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Thanks, Lorelei - Part 2!

I think I've changed the look of my blog.  There are certain things that I asked it to do that it won't - but I will live with it for a few days until I decide if I like it.  Thanks, Lorelei - for walking this computer illiterate bead head through the process!  :0)
Pretty normal day at the shop.  A few sales, a few browsers, worked on a new brooch (Midnight Blue), and came home to a relaxed and happy hubby despite the fact that he's laid off.  Hoping beyond hope that things get back to normal in that regard soon....
I may play with my blog layout a bit over the next few be prepared...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Thanks, Lorelei!

I thought I was the only one that took apart old, unsold stuff to create new stuff.  Then Lorelei blogged about doing just that.  I feel better now.  Somehow, somewhere deep down, it always made me feel a little sad, and unsuccessful at the same time, for having made a piece that no one wanted.  And truthfully - I've got a WHOLE BOX of them!  I suppose things do go out of 'style' (although mine are pretty uniquely stylish), or just don't have the right color combo that someone may be looking for.  I probably should take the time someday soon to frog them all - rip them apart (ribbet-ribbet) and start over, or use the bits and pieces in the 'gently used' sale section of the shop again.  I've just had so many ideas for new pieces floating around in my head lately, that I hate to stop the momentum.  There WILL be days again, I'm sure, when I'm not feeling so creative - and will need the distraction - and inspiration that those old pieces may bring me.  So I guess I add them to the 'to do' list. 
I've also been feeling a little sorry for myself of late about not being financially or otherwise able to attend all the great retreats and classes that Kate and Marcia and Beverly and everyone are blogging about.  I WANNA GO!  But - alas, it too, must go on the 'to do' list.  WAY down on the bottom of the list - but on the list just the same. 
Off I go into the snowy white north.  Although now that my husband is laid off, :0(, I can count on him to
"be my Rochester" as he puts it.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Crisis Averted

The bead shop is once again bright and warm and ready for shoppers!  The roof has been repaired, the electrical has been replaced and we're back up and running.  It's hard to know just how many bead and jewelry sales I may have lost over Valentine's weekend - but let's hope those bead shoppers are ready to return.  Once again, I may head in on a rare Monday just because I was only there 2 days last week.  I've got about 4 repairs to do for customers - none of the pieces were mine to begin with, but they've asked me to try to fix them.  I had planned to do most of those on Saturday.  I imagine they're all wondering why I didn't call....
Still working on "Twinkle".  Then I can get started on LEAF WARS!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine blogging

Special Valentine breakfast out of the way, crossword puzzle worked - the day is getting ready to begin.  Not sure what we're up to - but I think getting out of the house may be in order.  In the meantime - I have been working on yet another creative project - 'Twinkle'.  The ideas are just flowing out of me - maybe because I haven't had any orders to place, inventory, tag and price lately, and have been doing alot of my beading in the quietness of home.  I can't wait to start on my Jasper leaf necklace - I'm sure Sally is already working on hers.
The situation at The Schoolhouse may have changed since yesterday - but when I arrived to get my project bag, I found that they were open for business - on the ANTIQUE side only.  The antique portion and craft portion of our store is really two different stores - with a large doorway cut between.  So the power only needed to be shut off on MY side of the place (figures), and they could still work from the antique side.  There were a few disappointed people that came for craft mall browsing, but the antique portion was HOPPING!  AND - if the girls discovered that there was something specific that someone was there for from the craft side, they would take them over to shop by 'flashlight'.  CRAZY!  And people were doing it!  I actually sold some beads, even in the dark.  Still - I'm sure overall sales will be affected by the temporary shutoff, as well as our refrigerator (I feel sorry for whoever gets to clean that out now), and, unfortunately, the fact that we have no phones as well.  I am hoping that they were able to get the leak fixed and the electrical issues solved so that they can be up and running today.  I'm just glad someone was there to realize there was problem.  If it wasn't tax time - she would have already gone home for the day. 
Off for a Valentine's Day adventure....

Saturday, February 13, 2010

New friend - and a fun challenge!

I think I've made a new beading friend.  Back before the holidays, I met a fellow beader that was just starting out, doing a craft fair at the local pavilion.  She was excited that I was a shop owner, and a teacher, as she'd just discovered that LBS she frequented had just closed.  She took my card, we chatted A WHILE, and I moved on through the show.   I didn't hear from her again - until about a month ago.  She contacted me regarding taking a few classes from me, and we got together.   She is so sweet.  And very high energy.  And VERY excited and passionate about beading. We discovered that we have several things in common - including just living a mile away from each other!  We've gotten quite fond of each other, and we've decided to make regular sessions of her 'lessons', which are more like playdates, and I feel guilty charging her for them.  But I am teaching her things she never knew before, and her excitement continues to grow.  Our meeting yesterday was to complete a funky necklace using a fused glass focal for her sister, AND to teach her wrapped loops for earrings.  At this meeting, she presented me with a gift; a beautiful dark green Jasper leaf pendant.  She also bought the same leaf pendant for herself - in Carnelian.  So - I presented her with a challenge.  When we are not in session together, on our own time, CREATE a necklace with the pendant, and then in a few weeks, at a future session, we'll compare them - and I'll photograph them and put them in this blog!   She was so excited.  And now so am I!
I've been wanting to participate in a challenge somewhere, somehow, and have even signed up for "The Beader's Muse IV" competition - but this one will be much more challenging to me - because I'm anxious to see if, after just a few sessions, Sally is capable and confident in putting together a GREAT piece.  So stay tuned - LEAF WARS have begun!  :0)
Happy Valentine's Day to all you lovers out there.  We'll be having a quiet one - probably a special Sunday morning breakfast, and then a lot of lazy do nothing-ness.   Ahhhhh.....
EEEK!  Bad news from The Schoolhouse - a leak has caused some electrical issues, and the fire department has SHUT US DOWN!   It will be a couple of days before we are up and running - and that means a couple of WEEKEND DAYS without sales.  But I suppose, safety first.  Had the owner NOT been in the office late last night doing paperwork, she wouldn't have known there was a problem - and there would be no Schoolhouse today.  Nice save, Annie!
So I will going long enough grab my work bag and tools (they'll let us in for a minute) - and spending my Saturday beading at home.
Not so bad - but hate losing the sales....oh well.

Friday, February 12, 2010

New stuff!

Wow.  Those snow days we had sure were creative ones.  I completed my 'The Heart Has Reasons that Reason Cannot Know" pendant - the first photo.  I wore this yesterday already.  I think it's going to comfortable - and not too heavy, which I wondered about with that big bronze piece. 
The second photo is 'Save a Tree'.  It's a brooch - which I understand are back in style this season.  I've sold almost everyone I have - ALL of the ones with faces.  Next up - a PINK one!
Lastly - and one that was a last minute creation that I didn't even know I was going to complete when I started it - "DragonRest".
I've had the agate slice with Brass dragon attached for awhile - just didn't know what I'd do with him.  Voila!  He's a tribute to a dragonfly that seems to visit me each summer in my garden - he's browns, and dark bronze colors - very dark, and VERY handsome. 
I posted all of these on Facebook too - so sorry for the redundancy!  Just don't know who's reading what!
Thanks to Lisa Crone at ABeadADay ( for the great book - "A Bead in Time".  Pick up a copy - there's lots of great ideas, tips and treasures to be found inside.  That's the second blog contest I've won recently - guess I better go enter a few others.  And speaking of entering - I've taken the plunge and entered "Use the Muse IV" - the contest that has us creating with secret focal pieces.   I can't wait to see what we'll be creating with this time!  Check out Scarlett's blog and see if there's still time for YOU to enter -
It's a teaching day today - busy, busy.....

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snowed in

Good thing I brought my 'Heart has Reasons...' project home with me.  Cuz it's snowing.  And will be snowing for another 24 hours AT LEAST.   I was born and raised in this state, but can't figure out why I've chosen to stay in this state, because frankly - I HATE SNOW.  I've never enjoyed snow sports (or any sports, for that matter), I don't like cold, I absolutely HATE driving in it.  The only thing I like about snow is how pretty it looks on the trees in the woods across the street.  That's it.  But because my husband, my business and my ties are here - here I remain.  Even my parents have hightailed it to warmer climes.  They are now residing in Florida, where MOST of the time it is warm and sunny.  They've had their share of cold and snow this year - it's been wacky, that's for sure.
So being snowed in, and not ready to tuck in to my bead project just yet, I'm going to sit down and do some more Etsy planning.  Looking through my photo log of ALL my pieces, deciding which ones to list, for how much, and then getting started - I think.  I need to be sure all of the pieces are at the shop and accounted for before I list them. 
Look for my Cool Moon Creations shop to open soon!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A "King's Ransom"

Do you remember what it look like at the beginning? First photo is early progress. Second photo is focal complete. Final photo is the piece de'resistance.... in all his bright and colorful glory..... the colors are actually much more vibrant - but the natural light is quite drab today, so this is what I get.  Glad this is finally done - and turned out so well. I never would have thought to use the orange with the purple - but this piece of Purple Magnasite has an orange vein running through it - and it just seemed perfect. I think this is going to go on Etsy - when I get it set up. I'm hoping to work on it this week - we're supposed to get dumped on, although I don't think as bad as those on the East coast. Mercy!

My next project is one for ME - creating with my 'The Heart has Reasons that Reason does not Know" pendant. It will be assymetrical, something rare for me, being a Libra gal, I normally go for BALANCE - but for some REASON - the assymetrical thing just seemed to be what it's calling for. It will consist of chain, and wrapped loop crystals and leaves on one side, and an embellished spiral rope on the other. Peridot green and amethyst for colors - two of my favorites.  I get carried away on embellishing the spiral so, it will be interesting to see how long it takes me. I may also work some of the seed beads into the chain side somehow too - you'll just have to wait to see it DONE.
Have a happy SuperBowl day everyone! Not really rooting for anyone, although it would be nice to see the Saints win for New Orleans. They need the dream to come true!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Another great contest entry

I LOVE blog contests!  If I knew that there were lots of people reading mine - I'd have one too.  Instead - I chose to have one with my email customers.  They all love beads, and shop the store, so I'm giving one of them a chance to win FREE BEADS.  And here's another blog with a great contest - I've had pretty good luck with these - I've won 2 in a month - so here's your chance to enter one too!
And for anyone who IS reading, and may be patiently waiting - King's Ransom is DONE!  I'm tempted to wear it today if I can find just the right warm sweater - cuz baby, it's cold outside!    Photos to follow - need to pry the camera out of my husbands hands again.
Have a great Saturday, everyone!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Of Buddhas and Butterflies - for real!

This has been one of those chopped up, no time for serious beading kind of weeks.  Between meetings, and gatherings, and funerals and special customers - I had bits and pieces of time to create in.  So these are the pieces I put together - simple stringing - but still pretty.  And I know there are many people out there who would rather not wear the fancy, detailed pieces that I so much love to create.   The first one is "Of Buddhas and Butterflies" - using Aquamarine, Amazonite, Wood and Bone.  Very simple, which is how Buddha would want it.  The butterfly symbolizes enlightenment - which is how Buddha would want it.  :0)
The second piece is "Purple Peace".  "Nuff said.  A friend from my Thursday group took this piece, along with some business cards, to a wellness gathering last night.  Thanks, Kathy! 
And finally - yesterday was frog day for "Kings Ransom".  Wasn't as bad as I thought - I saved beads and Fireline.  Re-created, and finished both strap sides.  Today is clasp day - which will probably be a RAW embellished tube and loop.  PHOTOS SOON!
Today is my mom's birthday, but since she's in Florida, we'll be celebrating by phone.  I may, however, toast her birthday on my date tonight.  Hubby and I are going to dinner, hopefully someplace special, and then going to see the Broadway play 'Young Frankenstein' at The Wharton Center of Performing Arts on the MSU campus.  This was our Christmas gift from his mom - I Can't WAIT!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Who couldn't have predicted....

6 more weeks of winter.   Before I was into the whole metaphysical, astrological, Solstice-ological ( ;0) ) stuff, waiting out Phil's 'prediction' was always kind of cool.  I never really paid attention to the calendar date season changes -  But now that I know the whole 6 week thing actually aligns perfectly with Ostara (the spring equinox), it's just DUH.   The first day of spring is almost exactly 6 weeks away-so Phil's not using rocket science after all!  And in MY will SEEM more like 8 or 9.  I think it's going to take a while for Mother Nature to get this crap out of her system.....don't dye the Easter eggs if you want to have a hunt - hide the white ones in the SNOW this Easter!   And since it's snowy and slushy this morning, and my hubby had last night off (not a good thing though-there may be layoff notices to follow :( - I am going to use him to chauffer me and help me make some more changes to Cool Moon Creations & Beads. I may have to take some updated photos when I'm done - now the photo of the shop that's appearing on TV will be a bit outdated, but oh well....

My frog days have still not happened - things have just gotten away from me - had a huge new shipment of beads to put out, and then a smaller shipment arrived, topped by an unexpected find at a store I don't usually go to - where they had beautiful, shimmery AB finish GLASS (but not Swarovski) crystal hearts - all fixed with rings on a chain - for less than $5.00 each.  My brain immediately saw break down potential, as well as a price bonus for some of my customers who aren't addicted to Swarovski.  So yesterday was spent putting out and CREATING with those cool new hearts.  I've got just a little bit more actual SWAROVSKI to put out today, and then I am going to TRY to go on a bead diet.  NO BUYING this month.  I've got a container of misfits that are waiting for new homes, so I may go through those and add them to the inventory.   They'll join the box of homeless beads that are so popular - I even had an out of town customer want to purchase the ENTIRE box this weekend!  She didn't quite take the whole thing - but about 1/3 of it.  That was kind of fun!
Off to pay my sales tax, mail my mom's birthday card, and take a swipe at getting through today!