Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Count down begins...

Only 26(ish) more hours, at least in MY time zone.  Then it's go time!  I'll be subjecting you to babbling on a daily basis.  I hope it's all at least somewhat interesting to SOMEONE besides me. 
I had an interesting visitor in my shop today.  An older gentleman (retired PLUS) who had been in over the summer, that saw the beads as something to use to build his fishing lures.  We began a conversation then about my husbands favorite fishing holes in the area.   Well.  He came BACK today, and PAID ME (too funny) to draw him a map of the most popular one, and where the 'hidey holes' were that we enjoyed fishing from.  I accepted his few dollars, and chuckled.  But it gets BETTER.   As I'm having a short conversation with another customer about my previous work as manager of the local new age bookstore, the man's wife came along, and overheard the conversation.  Come to find out - SHE was a regular customer and TEACHER at that same store just a few years before I came along.  I had heard her name mentioned many times in the past, and we have many friends in common still in the area.  I can't WAIT to tell Carole and Kathy how small this world really is.   I KNEW I liked that man. 
I also had a chance to 'touch base' with Dee from Polka Dots, one of the 3 other remaining bead shops in the area.  They specialize mainly in lampwork beads, swarovski and accents, and having 'on the spot' parties for bracelet making.  They are so nice - and have no problem sending me customers when they don't have the right thing.  And vice versa.  I send people to them too.  They don't carry the seed beads, and the semi precious stock that I do.  So Dee and I put our heads together (she shops at MY store too!) and are going to talk to her boss about doing a collaboration class - they help the student create a lampwork bracelet, and then I show them how to EMBELLISH it with seed beads and accent beads.  How fun. 
So I had a pretty great day.  Hope you all did too!  Happy almost NEW YEAR!

Monday, December 28, 2009

This is just practice

I think I'm getting an early start on the 'blog a day' thing.  Seems I've had a chance pretty much every day to blog just a little.  Practice for the year to come....
I had planned to head out this morning for coffee with a friend, and the library and my usual Monday morning errands - however - I hate driving in the snow, and snow is what we have out there this morning.  I was going to post a photo - but it's being stubborn about uploading.  So I think I'll just stay home and work on my project instead....tentative title "Marguaritas with Lime"....but that may change depending on where the next portion of my creativity takes me...above is a little teaser of what is transpiring.  Enjoy.  I know I am. 

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Back to it

"Another year over....a new one just begun..."   Or at least almost.  I'm ready to head to the shop today, and hopefully greet a bunch of happy, sated and bead oriented people.  There are gift certificates to use and sale still going on, so hopefully, with the snow gently falling, and the sun peaking out, today will be the day.  I'm ready for 'em!
We didn't really exchange gifts this year, since we considered our Florida trip in October a birthday/Christmas gift rolled into one, so I got myself the best gift I've had in a long time.  The book 'Beaded Colorways' by Bevery Ash Gilbert.  If you haven't seen or better yet - BOUGHT - your copy of this book yet - RUN to your nearest computer and order it now.  So beautiful.  Informative.  Colorful.  Creative.  It's a great color resource, and the projects are lots of fun, too.  I can't wait to get started on my ideas as soon as I arrive at the shop today.  That's the downfall of having my studio 20 minutes away - I can't just pick up and get started.  I have to keep my ideas in my head, or sketched and noted, before I can begin.  But having the studio here, and the shop there, well - that didn't really work either.    So if you don't already have Beverly's blog and website info in your Favorites - here it is -
Order your copy today!  You'll love it just as much as I do!
Happy Beading!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas....everyone

My eggs for deviling are boiling, the pudding for the mousse eclairs is chilling, still have cookies and snacks and casseroles to prepare for both the Eve and the Day. 
Hope you're all snug and cozy and enjoying a wonderful 
holiday season.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Nobody blogs like Kate

I am in awe of Kate McKinnon's blogs.  Always has something quirky, interesting, fun or downright exasperating to blog about.  I feel her happiness, pain, gladness, joy, or whatever else she might be feeling that day - sometimes more than once. 
I've been thinking about my New Year attempt to blog 365.  So I've been paying attention to what's been going on around me while at the shop.  And I'm thinkin' - it's not going to be that difficult.  There are some crazy, shall I say EXCENTRIC people that come through that antique mall every day.  Many people confuse them (and even ME, unfortunately) with being a Flea Market - which we aren't on a full time basis.  Only one weekend a month in the summer - IN THE PARKING LOT.  Actually, most of the other vendors, along with the antique dealers - are high end.  We don't allow alot of 'flea market' type junk, and all of the craft vendors MUST be juried.  But still, some people think they can come in and talk us down from $3.00 on a bag of beads to $2.50.  Like $3.00 was a frikkin' fortune.  Please. 
So anyway, I hope it's ok with Kate that I've included the link to her blog here in my blog - she's very passionate about her metal clay, her beads and her life - check it out.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

365 days of blogging?

THAT is a complete turn around from what I was contemplating just a few months ago.   No one can accuse me of NOT being wishy washy - I am, after all, a Libra.  We have a hard time making up our minds right away on anything, AND also have the knack for seeing both sides of many situations.  So, during one of my many insomnia filled middle of the night thinking extravanganzas - I've decided to make the year 2010 the year of 'a blog a day'.  I am also going to MARKET this in the shop and through my email - and hopefully get some people actually reading my babbling.  I know I enjoy reading the many blogs in my favorites file.  So instead of kicking it to the curb - I'm embracing it.  Bring on the blogging!   And look for a possible website, too.  I have a couple basic 'freebies' with shop info floating around out there somewhere, but I have been thinking about again trying an actual website for some of my art pieces.  Probably not beads, though.  Too time consuming.   Or maybe just Etsy.  I'll be working on that as soon as this holiday hustle and bustle is over - and our family get together is not until Jan. 2 - so I've still got just a little more bustle to hustle than most! :0)
So tata for now (TTFN), and I may not see you again until Jan. 1.   Or then again....(it's a Libra thing, what can I say?)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Creating by accident

This is what happens when two so-so designed pieces of jewelry are relegated to the 'take-apart' box.
Only these ended up on top of each other, and VOILA!  "Mardi-Gras-dess" was born.  I've had the porcelain face (by artist Laura Mears) in my collection for several years, and she's taken on at least two other manifestions before this - I believe - final one.  I LOVE how this turned out.  I had planned to add another circle to the bottom of the first - but then decided she was perfect just the way she was.  I have decided to try to part with this one, and have her for sale at the shop. 
And speaking of selling - I am thinking of taking on a few new ventures after the first of the year.  The first being trying a few of my art pieces on EBay.  Although I know (and don't want to know) nothing about selling on EBay, the owner of this little antique store where my shop landed is a whiz at it - and has offered to do all the work for me - for a very small part of the profit (yes, she does love me!).  And, I am again considering opening an Etsy shop.  I know that Etsy is inUNdated with jewelry vendors - but I feel I'm unique enough to stand out in the crowd.  This is still in the 'mulling it over' process.  I need the planets to all be aligned properly before I make a decision!  :0)
Hoping to have a wonderful last Saturday before Christmas sales day today!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to one and all!
Cool Moon Creations & Beads
Lansing, Michigan

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Drumroll, please....

'Night Music'
Here she is - complete with froggy quartet.  This was so fun to wear for the first time on Saturday.  Lots of "beader's handshakes" and admiration.  Is that why we all enjoy beading so much?   Because of the compliments and the ooohs and aaahs we receive?  The most fun for me when I create 'on the fly', is that I never quite know how it will turn out.  No specific layout, only a little bit of a plan, and the name came almost immediately on starting it, which only increased the fun and detail.  There are a few more photos posted on my Facebook page, if you'd like to look.  Look for me under my name - Sheryl Stephens, in Lansing, MI. 
ENJOY!  and Merry, Merry Christmas to all.....

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A little 'Night Music' please....

It's finished.  It's LONG.  But it's not too heavy.  And I don't have pictures to post of it yet.  I'm going to wear it today, because I'm teaching a class that involved fringing, so I think they will appreciate the work and artistry that is involved in this piece.  Again - I am proud of my accomplishment, and believe it came out even better than I would have hoped.  I have planned to keep it for myself - but I suppose if someone were to offer me JUST the right price....
And speaking of which - that's what I've started doing with some of my display items in the shop lately, too.  In a conversation with my Thursday morning Happiness group, we decided that putting a high monetary value on items that I value highly, and don't necessarily want to part with, is a more positive, prosperous way than telling people, 'sorry that's not for sale'.  So I've placed $500, $200 and $100 price tags on many of my Amethyst and Selenite pieces that I use to display my work on.  I suppose if they want to pay that much - I could probably part with them.  (In my market - I don't think they'll want to pay that much for A ROCK).
So I'm off for a wonderful day of embellishing spirals - and lots of customers, too.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Class conundrum

If there's anybody out there that actually reads this blog, that has any class teaching experience - then this is a shout out to you:   I need help.  I love teaching beading classes, and people ask me "do you teach?" on a regular basis.  However - how do I actually get them to sign up?  I've got two classes on the calendar right now that several people have asked (no, BEGGED) me for.  One of them is tomorrow - no takers.  One of them is in two weeks - the 5th of December.  I contacted the ladies that asked about that one - nope, they're not signing up 'right now' either.  So what the?   WHY ask if you teach classes, BEG the instructor to find the time to put together a kit complete with instructions, beads, and whatever else that is needed, and then NOT take the class that you asked for?  It takes A LOT of work to put that all together.  And if I go ahead and sell them as kits with instructions in the shop, do I charge more - or less?  I am getting very frustrated with this particular part of the bead biz - but hate to not give them the option.  I'm also thinking of offering ONLY one on one sessions instead of an actual CLASS.  So HELP.  What is your take? 

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hustle and bustle...

Well, I made quite a dent in adding the fringe to my "Night Music" piece yesterday, but alas, the holiday season will have me putting it away for now.  I realized as I was beading yesterday, that I have some regular customers that will be looking for some specific types of jewelry that I seem to be short on right now - so today and tomorrow will be used to create new and redesign some of the older pieces of simple but classy semi precious pieces.  I also have some ideas for some earrings to make.  I have TONS of earrings in stock - but I find myself with ideas for more - and since they're quite 'Christmas-y' I better get crackin'.
Still on the hunt for the perfect project/class table to take the place of the display case I sold.  I'd like to have it in place before next weeks embellished spiral class - but since I'm past the mid-month stage, I'm also getting low on cash.  Especially since my hubby's daily travels back and forth to the woods have sucked his gas tank and wallet dry - and now he's raiding mine!    So I guess I'm paying for that venison after all!  :0)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

New classes - and no deer

After 3 entire days of sitting in the woods from pre-dawn to dusk and seeing absolutely NO deer - my husband is taking the day off from hunting.  He does have another area he could try, that is a little closer to home even - but his DOE permit is for the big area - the so far empty area of the county.  He's a little frustrated - but he's been getting calls from his brother - who has been down with H1N1 - so as soon as he's up and ready - I think they'll go again.  I hope so.  My mouth is watering for that venison.....
On a beading note - I've planned a winter class schedule.  So many people ask me about classes - so here goes.....
This Saturday is Simple, Basic Earring Making - wire wrap wires.  Easy.  Peasy.  Only $15 for everything. Two sessions - noon and 3:30.....
Saturday, December 5th - Embellishing Spiral Rope.  Also $15 - this will include the instruction and accent beads to embellish with.  There is "homework" to complete before the class - please bring your completed bracelet length spiral rope.  (Obviously, knowledge of spiral rope stitch required). 
In January - Saturday, Jan. 23rd - Making a beaded 'button'.  I will instruct on creating a shank button with RAW and seed beads.  I'm still in the idea stages of this one - and lots of trial and error.  I hope I'm ready in time!  I'll post more details after the holidays.  (yikes.  I'm so not ready for those).
Lots more ideas rattling around in my head.  I finally sold the diagonal display case - so I now have room for dancing!   No, really - I am on the hunt for a nice, lightweight work table so that I have more teaching space, and space for sit down designers.  That will be an experiment and a test of honesty of my customers - they are going to be asked to pay for ALL their design purchases BEFORE they sit and use them to create with.  I believe I have trustworthy customers - so it shouldn't be an issue.
I was recently informed of another bead store closing in the area.  While part of me is jumping for joy (more customers for me! YAY!), I am also sad to see another one fall to the sagging economy. That leaves just 4 of us now - out of the original 9 within a 40 mile radius.    And this particular one is one that I worked and taught at for awhile - so I was surprised to hear she didn't make it.  Farewell, Malinda.  I hope you are well and will find good fortune in the future. 
My "Night Music" project is coming along - and definitely progressing intuitively.  It's gonna take awhile - but will definitely be a work of art when complete.  Maybe some teaser photos soon.  We'll see....

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I'll continue...but not as often

So I decided during this 10 day hiatus that I miss blogging.  It IS a good source of journaling, and a release for me, so I guess it doesn't matter that no one is 'listening'.  Plus, I love posting the photos and telling their stories.  Not always room to do that on Facebook or PhotoBucket.   I think that there may be someone that sees these every now and then, so here's a teaser for my next big project - one that may be in progress for awhile, what with the holidays fast approaching (gotta get those gifts made).  I mentioned in a previous post that I had purchased a lampwork leaf with frog detail when I was in Florida.  So my next project, including this frog focal, some ferns, leaves, and other forest-y named "Night Music".  Stay tuned.....

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Last blog?

This could be my last blog. Seriously. I've been doing this for about a year now, and thought that I would have more followers, more commenters, and more opportunities because of it. I suppose it is a good journaling source for me - but is it really working for me? No. Sadly. I enjoy the blogs that I read - and I read them DAILY. Beverly's is gorgeous - so full of color and happy. And Marcia's is so upbeat, and all about keeping everyone informed on her wonderful beading success. There are several others - Kate McKinnon's is a riot, and all the rest that share thoughts, and ideas, and sorrows, and happiness. I had hoped to be a bigger part of that group.
Alas - maybe it wasn't meant to be. At least I'll always have Facebook.....unless they change the format again, that is. Don't get me started....
Thanks to those of you who visited now and then. I always appreciated and loved your comments. I haven't made the final decision yet - but not blogging would certainly give me more time to do other bead.....

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Not so Happy Halloween

We almost lost our baby boy tonight. I am deeply disappointed and scared to death that we have someone so cruel and evil living in our township. We have a gate on the sideyard of our house that leads to the front yard and road (a busy four lane main road). That gate has a safety latch, a regular latch and a 'faux' padlock - in other words, at first glance, it appears that the gate is LOCKED. And even if by some chance the padlock ruse is revealed, and the gate latch is opened, the safety latch MUST be lifted AT THE SAME TIME to open the gate into the yard. So imagine our surprise when we received a call from a neighbor proclaiming that our dog was "trick or treating" at their house. I've never seen my husband run so fast, or had my heart beat so hard. Luckily, he was safe. Upon arriving, my husband was informed that yet another neighbor, just a few doors down, was also treated to the same horror - their side gate pried open, and their dog let loose into the dangerous night. She also was found safely a few doors away.
My husband inspected our gate - it hadn't been jimmied or pried in any way - but someone definitely figured out the "secret" to opening it, and could potentially continue to do so - not just tonight - but possibly any night they choose. So for now, the gate has been tied shut, and will soon be CHAINED AND PADLOCKED-for real.
I am horrified, appalled and sickened that someone thought that this would be a funny prank.
Both Zeus and Chloe could have been lost, harmed, or even killed by one of the many cars zooming down our "speedway" out front....
They just better hope that I don't find out who they are....

Here are three more....

First is "Island Dreamer", in her completed form. Note the fancy, schmancy "Sunburst" closure. When you're dreaming of the islands - there's got to be sun and sand involved!
Next is Tracy's Light. There's a story behind this one - as I was creating this in the shop, some of the other vendors, including my good friend Tracy, were oohing and aaaahing over the progress. They claim - maybe because of it's 'antiquey-ness' - that it's their favorite. Upon completing it, Tracy tried it on. It was apparent from that moment that it belonged to her. It went beautifully with her coloring and personality. So, since she's hit a bit of a rough patch lately, which has had us burning up phone minutes in the dark of night, I decided it belonged with her, along with the promise that she would 'honor her light', and selected a few positive affirmations for her to repeat each time she wears it. Needless to say everyone was moved....and she was delighted. Mission accomplished.
Lastly, we have Carnivale. This is a pendant that I bought in Florida. I didn't realize til I looked at the photos (not even while working on them this week), that I completed them all with spiral rope! I knew I was addicted to that stitch - but jeez. I promise my next piece, involving leaves and a frog (also from Florida) that I'll 'branch out' a bit....
Oh, and BTW, have a spooktacular Halloween! Trick or Treat!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Here they are - as promised....

The newest creations. The first is "Juliet's Garden" The beaded bead is an original design by my friend Sharon Erwine. You can purchase a kit and/or pattern at
The second one, that I am extremely proud of, AND keeping for myself - is "Ebon". This has been MONTHS in the works with several changes along the way. There are a small pair of dangle-y earrings to match. I will try to remember to bring home "Island Dreamer" soon and give her the attention she deserves.
Now my dilemma is - what project to do next? I really need to complete my class instructions and be sure I have all the kits for the ornament class in two weeks - but doing a project is much more fun.....

Sunday, October 25, 2009


I will soon have TONS of new project photos for posting - to my blog, to Facebook, to Photobucket - and anywhere else I can think of! Alas, I have forgotten to bring home "Island Dreamer", but there are others as well - so she will have to wait yet another day.
So happy to see that everyone is busy with teaching, and creative endeavors. I am convinced that creativity helps make the world a happier place....
So keep checkin' back - I hope to have those photos done today IF I can pry the camera away from my once again appraisal busy hubby. The housing market is suddenly breaking away around here - I think people are taking advantage of the dirt cheap prices. Too bad so many people had to lose their homes to get them there....

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

All is (almost) right with the world....

Home from a tiring and somewhat disappointing birthday vacation. It was tiring and none too warm. You can forget about seeing tan lines. It was probably about the same temperature and weather down there for most of the time that it was here. Lowest temps they've had on record. Lovely. My husband - already hating Florida anyway - was NOT thrilled. I hear it's almost 90 down there today. Hmph.

The trip home didn't do much for my back either. I think I injured it slightly about a month ago in a spill at my FIL's. Then the walking, combined by the 16 plus hours of riding on the way home (drove straight through) has me feeling it today. Very sore. Very stiff. Very uncomfortable. Yippee.

My laptop is home and working properly. Internet security doing it's job - cross your fingers. Dog home from kennel - hungry. But home. I don't think he ate much while he was there. He is very thin. Definitely lost weight. We're going to feed him an extra time each day to try to put it back on. Seems ok otherwise. I think he is a little P.O.'d with us for leaving him for a week. I'm a little P.O.'d at having to leave him. But what can you do?

BUT - on a happy note - I got some great beads and a SUPER COOL pendant down in Florida -and can't wait to start working on yet another new project at the shop tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


What a week! I fully intend to upload a photo of the completed "Island Dreamer" when I can - but I must digress and tell you about my week! My laptop has been a lifeline of sorts for me - I use it CONSTANTLY, even taking it with me to the shop, where I have WiFi access. On Sunday, I attempted to download some recipes from one of my favorite recipe sites. That site infected my computer with a serious virus that was not detected or fixable by my anti virus software. SO. My laptop (my baby, my life's breath) is being disinfected by professionals - to the tune of $80 to start with. That's vacation money, by the way. AND I may or may NOT have it back in time to take with me to Florida. To top it off - this old desktop of my husband's is ANCIENT, sllllloooooowwwww, and has problems of it's own that took a few days to fix due to a power surge in the area on Friday. I am finally able today(Wednesday) to access my email, my Facebook, and my blog. I feel much better now - but still incomplete without my laptop. At least this is something. So. If you don't see a post from me again for awhile, you'll know 1. I still don't have my laptop and 2. I had to go on vacation and leave my baby alone with the strangers at the repair shop. THEN - the credit union gave me a really hard time about depositing and using a check yesterday that still has my blood boiling. All I'll say is that it's really too bad that all these banks and credit unions are all in it for themselves now -- they don't 'guarantee funds', and are suspicious of every attempt by members to use their own hard earned money. Looking for a better credit union upon return from vacay - although until lately our current one has been great for over 20 years. Such are the times, I suppose, but I don't take kindly to being treated like a criminal with my OWN MONEY!
Ok. Stop stressing. I'd kill for a latte', but today is MOM day, and mom sort of frowns on those. So hopefully my ice tea will be extra loaded with caffeine today.
Babbling complete.....hope to have that photo for you soon. Wait until you see the clasp (think Laura McCabe.....)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Today's Dilemma...

I have completed the pendant portion of "Island Dreamer". I LOVE how she turned out - and am excited that this is the first face piece I've created successfully from polymer clay on my own. My dilemma - what to do for a neck piece? Or do I keep her as she is, and give the potential buyer the option of creating their own, or just putting it on a chain or rope? Most of my jewelry buyers are NOT creators - hence the reason they are buying it already made. But since my goal for holiday gifts is to JUST do simple RAW bracelets, earrings and also JUST pendants - maybe this should be one of them. I want to be able to offer affordable items - but I don't want to give up my gift of creativity to do it. I would love to be able to sell my large, detailed full pieces - and I do OCCASSIONALLY. I'm just not in the right market for it right now. I may have an opportunity to sell them in an art museum in Flint, and I am toying with the idea of trying Etsy. Artfire did NOT do what I expected it to - but Etsy is INUNDATED with beaded jewelry artists right now. I'm not even sure I could keep up with the updating and maintenance. Lots to think about on top of getting ready for Florida in 16 days....and the thoughts will all wait until Mercury is again direct - TOMORROW. Thank goodness. Retrograde in Libra about kicked my butt this time....whew.....
Guess it's a good thing I brought home more than one project!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Gettin' Spooky

Trick or Treat!
Here are a few photos of the cases at the shop - I've been busy the last few days spookin' em up and getting the shop ready for Halloween. It may seem early - but when you're in a craft mall - that's what people are looking for right now - and the decor just goes along. I've had my Halloween beads and jewelry out for a few weeks already. I will probably put CHRISTMAS (UGH) beads out before I leave for vacation.
Haven't been real creative lately - or rather - I created. I hated. I ripped it out. Thus is the life of an artiste.....
I DID hear from the man that runs the Sloan-Longway Art Museum in Flint the other day. They are interested in selling my art pieces in their gift shop. It's about an hour or so away, but since none of the galleries or museum shops around here are working out - we'll see what happens. I still need to call him and get the details. I DO know that the gift shop items will be available on the internet - BONUS!

Monday, September 14, 2009

New Work - and a bust

The flea market was a bust. Joyful Treasures kicked my butt again. I don't think she can be making much of a profit selling her necklaces at 2 for $15, and other items for less than $10. But she sure was cleaning up! if it wasn't for my mother and her love of my jewelry and her INSISTANCE on paying me for it (with the MOM discount, of course) - I wouldn't have sold much at all...oh well. That'll teach me....
I did have the opportunity last week, however, to continue COMPLETING the pieces that have been 'in progress' for months and weeks and even YEARS. The photos above are of two more of them.... The first is "Season's Change" - the top portion was started as a demonstration piece during spiral rope class. I finally had a chance to complete something with it this week. Then I did "Pinwheel". I love this one, done in lariat form, with the beautiful matching toggle in the front. I may not be able to part with this one. I'm wearing it to my bead play day today. I bet the girls will love it too. And did I INTEND to buy a toggle to MATCH the pinwheel pendant. Nope. It was a coinkydink.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Taking the plunge

I've never really wanted to take part in a Flea Market. I've done craft fairs, and my shop itself exists inside a craft & antique mall. SOOOOO, I suppose that's why after a few years they've finally worn me down. I will have a small table outside in the SHADE on Sunday the 13th - I'll have a tray or two of discount beads, and some boxes of discounted jewelry, a display of some of the $10 earrings that go so quickly, MAYBE one or two designer pieces - and posters and flyers directing people inside to the actual shop. (I'm going to have a big sale inside - but it's a secret!) Customers won't know the savings until they get there! It's a one day thing, and it will be huge!
The reason that they finally wore me down about participating was threefold - 1. It's free because I'm considered a Schoolhouse vendor; 2. All the money made at the Flea Market is mine, going straight into my pocket and not through the store, therefore getting me extra cash for Florida, and 3. The outdoor competition is killing me! She means well, and I understand the need, but the owners sister is a beginning, simple stringing beader who is in desperate need of cash. She sets up a table outside EVERY WEEKEND. Her work is very basic, and much simpler than my own, but she can (AND DOES) sell her pieces quite inexpensively, enticing customers to buy her jewelry, so that they are not interested in looking at jewelry anymore once they enter the shop. I feel bad for the other jewelry vendors as well. At least I have the beads to fall back on, and I've done well with those sales - but I don't want people to forget or not even realize, for that matter, that I do jewelry-much better jewelry than Joyce, but with a little higher price tag in some cases. My husband and I had talked about how I could combat her competition, and he jokingly said - "If you can't beat her-join her-set up your own table". Sure honey. Ok. AND THEN - the Flea Market presented itself. I was just supposed to work the counter inside, but upon voicing my concern about Joyce's advantage to her sister (the mall owner), she encouraged me to do the Flea Market. (Yes they're sisters - but there is a bit of sibling rivalry going on between them). So I'm in.
Preparing today - and selling tomorrow! Take that, Joyful Treasures!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

One more newbie....

"Mexicali Sunrise"
This is another one of those pieces that's been around awhile, and in fact, the final outcome (which I LOVE) is totally different than what it started out to be. I originally had the dentelle piece fastened into the hole of a donut that was embellished on both sides. But I JUST could NOT come up with a suitable finish for it. So it's been sitting in a drawer for about a year. In looking for coral color pieces to complete 'Elegante' I came across it, and decided to give it another whirl....much simpler than the original thought - but much prettier too.
I also experimented with the camera a bit on this piece - I just didn't like the contrast of the black background, and as I've stated many times in the past - don't think black is the best for displays - it sucks too much color out sometimes. I think this piece looks much nicer on the Rose Quartz, don't you?
I can't believe that I actually completed TWO pieces while at home this weekend. And still had time to cook, bake and entertain both our parents with a wild game of Chickenfoot! It was a great weekend - I hope the week is the same.....

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Well, here it is. 'Elegante'. I really like the simple look of it, but since I'm a seed beader, I'm considering adding a snaky strand or two of seed beads throughout - I have the exact brass color, and I also have a sparkly amber/coral. Still debating that one - if I do, though, I'll post the updated one.
I've posted photos in the past of works in progress that are still just that. 'Clematis' - I ran out of purple flower delicas. BUT - I decided to go ahead and create a herringbone rope, add some vines, and just use the 3 that I made, add some tendrils - and that can be worn as a short choker type necklace. I'll try and complete that one this YEAR. :0) As far as the Pacific Burst thing - that's still in a box. Haven't been able to complete that one yet. I'm frustrated that as an intermediate/advanced seed beader, I wasn't able to figure out the exact pattern for the bracelet. But then - I don't follow patterns very easily. The Quetzal ring in Marcia's new book was one of the few that were successful.
Pretty sad that here we sit on a holiday weekend - no plans, nothing on the calendar. Guess that means I have more time to BEAD!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Changing - and teasing

I could have probably waited another day and done it all at once - making a change to the layout of the blog - again - and adding the photo of my newest creation. But instead, I got antsy (ok, bored) and decided to make a change tonight. I would like to see Blogger give us some new layouts to pick from one of these days - but this will brighten things up for now. As for the photo - it's very different than I usually do. NO (well, ok just a few) seed beads. I've been known, though, to 'finish' a piece, and then later add seed beads for that special touch. And I may still. The only other 'clue' I will give you to tomorrow's photo post is that the piece was created with an entire strand of big, fat Carnelian rondelles that were gifted to me by a friend. I haven't named her yet either. I hope I'll have that to announce tomorrow as well.
Off to find out what hubby is laughing at so uproariously. I believe he's watching Comedy Central....

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I love the Prosperity Goddess!

She sure was on my side for the month of August! I expected to have an average month - enough to pay the rent, get gas, pay a bill, and squeak by the rest of the month. BUT - because the goddess loves me so, I was blessed with a wonderful customer that decided to buy two - not ONE - but TWO - of my gallery necklaces! Plus she bought beads, too - all at the end of the day on the 31st. That put an extra bundle into my hands - money I'll need when we travel to Florida in October. And it made it possible to place a bead order - I had this wonderful idea about an entire WALL of Turquoise - which will now become a reality because of the wonderful thing called prosperity! The ideas are flying out of my head today - I am confident that the goddess will shine her light on me again in September....
It's 'Take your Mother to Work' day today - She'll be preparing the kits for the upcoming "Paint with Beads" embroidery class, while I put inventory tags on some great new stuff. I have this great 'thing' going in my shop.... because I share space with a bunch of women who are ADDICTED to garage sale-ing, and antique shopping, they occasionally come across opportunities to purchase unwanted beads and findings, and broken vintage jewelry. They scoop it up, bring it in, and I buy from them what I can use. I sort it out, clean it up and have great success selling them as what I call "Homeless Beads". They are still in great shape (I won't sell the broken, cracked or unusable stuff), and because I bought them for dirt cheap from the garage salers, I am able to sell them to my customers for a great price too! They are selling pretty well, and it's a concept that fits in well with our antique and flea market booths. I will always carry the A grade and quality stuff too - I also have customers for those - but this "homeless bead" concept has kept them coming back more than any other gimmick I've tried. Garage sale season is almost over around here - so I hope I've got enough to last what looks to be a long, cold, lonely winter....

Friday, August 28, 2009


That's really the only word to describe the wet, gray, blah ICK that's happening outside today. We have a wedding/reception to attend later this evening - and many relatives have arrived from southern climes - I bet they are NOT liking our Michigan weather right now. I took the time - and spent the $$ - to have my hair done this morning. And I can't find my umbrella. So it may have been a futile attempt at beauty after all.....
And then to top it off - we have a Black Lab - essentially, a WATER dog. He LOVES the rain. Have you ever tried drying a lab's coat after he's been lounging in the rain for 1/2 an hour? I think someone needs to invent a Labrador Squeegee.....with an air freshener. Cuz wet dog smell is not pretty.....

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sleepy Spitty Sunday

Our Michigan weather sure hasn't been very good this year. Another Sunday afternoon of cool, cloudy, spitty weather. Good for sitting, sleeping, reading and BEADING! Seriously - I've got plenty of things that NEED to be done (like the dreaded toilets) but can't seem to find the energy. When it's cloudy, I'M cloudy.
Although I do seem to want to cook more when it's cooler - today is scalloped potatoes with cheese, onions, mushrooms and ham bits, broccoli, and cherry cheesecake for dessert....
Put the finishing touches on the wedding gift for my cousin and his new bride yesterday. They were married in Cabo on Friday - but for those of us who could not afford to make the trip, they're having a reception next weekend. I thought this would be a unique gift - and definitely one they won't get duplicates of! I love how it turned out, don't you?
My next project is going to be straight out of Beaded Opulence! The Quetzal ring is where I plan to begin my RAW journey....although I'm thinking of using different colors - like my favorite Mauve AB seed beads with Golden Shadow crystals. Thanks, Marcia, for a wonderful, beautiful and inspiring publication!
Off to the kitchen....

Thursday, August 20, 2009

No more music in the street

Our beloved Blues nights have come to an end. We looked forward to our Thursday nights sitting in the middle of Washington Square, listening to a national rockin' blues act every week-catching up with my DJ friend Deb, seeing a few friends to give me blasts from the past. I hope next year they'll have enough sponsors to last a little longer through the summer - cuz we're not ready to stop rockin'!
So now that I have nothing important to look forward to on Thursday night - I guess I might as well go to the shop for awhile. I realized while looking for something earlier this week that I am in need of a major 'spring cleaning' and organization day (or two, or three....). I finally remembered (I hope) where my missing bag of bags may be (cross your fingers), so while digging those out - I will grab some boxes and trays and try to restore some order. Maybe in doing so I'll come across another half finished project to complete - like this one. This one was started way back at the beginning of last year - and I just never felt I had the right finish for her. She ended up in a tray on the bottom of the pile, until last week when the right components just came together. "Royalty" is now one of my favorite pieces - I've worn it ONCE so far, and received many compliments. THAT is one of the biggest rewards.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Face it - Facebook is an addiction

It's true. And it may be why I don't quite blog as often as I used to. That, and I don't really have much to blog about. Haven't really gotten the hang of the new camera, and haven't done many new project to show and tell, either. Busy with mom and dad (who's doing GREAT, btw),
busy doing outdoor music with hubby, off visiting with cousins and kidlets. Summer is fading fast - and it's a scary thought, particularly because I reeeeaaallly, realllly, hate winter.
But alas - since there's not much to find for paragraphs worth of interesting tidbits - I can Facebook a line at a time to my hearts content. And it's fun having old friends contact you to be added as a friend too. People I haven't seen or even heard from in AGES - and we're catching up through Facebook. Gotta love it. Kudos to the originator of this great social network. I'm totally into it! (Sorry, Twitter - I twied - but it wasn't my tweet. Oh well.).
Had a GREAT day at the shop on Saturday - 2 students in my class - one sucking up info as fast as I could spill it, the other just barely grasping, but ultimately finishing her project. Plus - my favorite and best customer came up from Jackson again - thanks, Bev. It tickles me that you love my beads so much that you'll travel almost 50 minutes to visit me (although I think the antiques have something to do with it too!) AND - The upcoming bead embroidery class in September is already FULL! HOORRAH! Guess I better get busy with those kits!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

This is my dream

THIS is my ideal shop - one that my friends and I have often talked and fantasized about - who knew that one actually existed? Books, and yarn, and beads, and a boutique - ALL IN ONE SPACE! LAURA! THIS is what we longed for when checking out space those few years ago.
The antique mall where I currently 'reside' is also great - we have a yarn nook, and a used book nook, but my IDEAL of a shop was Beads, Books and Beans - a bead store, a book/unique gift shop and coffee shop all rolled into one. Check out the site - you'll want to visit as much as I do - too bad it's practically on the other side of my world! (I refuse to fly - so getting there is also a fantasy for me).
Here's the link - so cool.

Giant Beads?

I found this photo on my Yahoo page today - it reminded me of a bunch of HUGE bead strands. Fun. Funky.

Busy, shop cleaning day. Got both glass jewelry cases completely cleaned and the colorful paper swapped out for new colorful paper. Who knew scrapbooking sheets could have such a great alternative use? Also put away alot of items that haven't sold yet- some are newer - some have been around for AGES. I'll have to go through them all soon and discount them and get them ready for the holidays. Jeez. I hate to think that the silly season is right around the corner. I've ALREADY got Halloween beads out, so that my beaders have time to create before spooking....
Looking forward to a little late night deck time tonight. Perseids Meteor Shower - between 11pm and 5am. And since I'm usually up between 2 and 4, well - let's hope it's not too cloudy - and the skeeters don't find themselves a late night snack (that would be ME).

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Been awhile....

Let's try this again. (Anyone else having trouble with 'Blogger'?)
Haven't posted lately. Not much to post. Dad's doing fine. No health issues. Just same old boring, blah, blah, blah....
I began a new project today that I may submit to either Bead Trends or Bead Style. Not my normal woven project, it consists of cute (though plated) curve tube chain that I'm embellishing with Swarovski Crystallized Elements, beads and pearls. Now if I can just remember how I put things together to write those instructions. Very time consuming.....and each magazine has different criteria, and waiting period, and rules - and I better stop before I talk myself out of it!
Hope to have more photos soon. Haven't been real happy with the quality of jewelry photos with the new camera, but it just may be that I haven't played with it enough.
Beautiful night. New Mary Higgins Clark book. Patio. Shade tree. You can see where I'm going with this....

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Fun in the Sun?

Mostly. For awhile. As one of our popular newspaper columnists has pointed out in today's paper - summer in our area is questionable....
But we did manage to enjoy our annual family BBQ Volleyball bash before the rain washed out the bonfire. I posted a couple of photos above - the tall drink of water in the center in white on the near side of the net would be my DH. He's really complaining about his sore body today - but they had lots of fun - until the rain came in....and it is again raining - big fat blobs as we blog. So much for that fishing trip this afternoon....
Back on a beading note - my somewhat weak sales for the month have suddenly gotten hot - thanks to a regular big buyer and my in shop creative work. I love it when someone comes along and sees what I'm working on, and loves it to so much that they purchase it on the spot - before I've even finished it! I also figured out a way to turn that same creative project (a bead embroidery piece) into a class - which already has two takers! So it's been a pretty great weekend so far - and now the sun is shining again!

Friday, July 24, 2009

i want an iPhone

I've never been much for all the new fangled gadgets - my laptop w/wifi has pretty much been the exception. I just forced myself to get a debit card, and only have 1 bill that is automatically deducted from our account. I am pretty much still 'old school' when it comes to every day tasks.
BUT - if I were to wish for just one fancy gadget - it would definitely be an iPhone (or maybe a Blackberry) with all the bells and whistles. As long as I didn't have to pay the monthly bill, of course!
It was another hairy scary hospital week in the Stephens family. My dad is still doing great, and in fact, his in home therapist is only coming one more day. YAY! However - my mother in law AND my brother in law were both hospitalized a day apart from each other (just briefly) for shortness of breath and chest pains. As an astrology minded person - and without their chart details - all I can say is that Pluto (yes, we still consider it a planet) and Saturn and the eclipse of the sun are kicking major butt! And Pluto is SUCH a slow mover - it's a generational energy. It affects a lot of people - forces them to make those tough choices and changes. Saturn is just plain ornery. I like to defer most of my astrological musings to my friends at the bookstore - and attempted to do so earlier this week, only to find out they're all off playing this week - hopefully somewhere that Pluto and Saturn can't find them! And as if the family health problems weren't enough - one of my knees was causing me problems for the entire week - only to miraculously crack itself back into place late yesterday. Just in time to walk blocks and sit in my not so comfy lawn chair to enjoy another night of Blues on the Square. And that's how I got on the subject of the iPhone-I really wish I had one so that I could just snap some photos of the band and crowd. Easy. Peasy. Unless you don't have one....alas. Maybe someday. When my beads can pay.....

Monday, July 20, 2009

A sudden rush of creativity

Even though I have about 6 boxes and/or trays of projects at some stage of completeness - my brain still manages to pump out more. As I'm sitting among my beads at the shop last week, I had a sudden need to create something with spiral peyote - but after about 6 inches, I got bored with it. So I set it aside, and opened one of my begging to be completed (or started for that matter) projects - and an idea was born. Thanks to all the wonderful Green Girl components that I've been hanging onto for a few months - I KNEW the right projects (or PROJECT) would arise. This creation is called 'The Reflecting Pool'. This piece was completed in just 3 days. I used the spiral peyote piece on one side of the neckpiece, and added embellished spiral rope to the other - another assymetric masterpiece!

Not sure why some projects call to me and come together so quickly, and yet others languish in their boxes for months if not YEARS before completion. None the less - I have already worn it(didn't think I would part this baby, didya?) and had TONS of compliments on it. And I think that's what it's really all about. It's the ego boost. It's the thrill of all eyes on you and your beautiful creation. And the new haircut on Friday helped too!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

New friends knowing old ones - or - The Gift of Pam

It truly can be a small world sometimes. I made a new friend yesterday - one that I believe has been brought to me by wonderful spirit energy, knowing that my love and yearning for daily contact with the new age world has been somewhat lacking lately....
Her name is Pam. She's our new candle vendor at The Schoolhouse. I've been watching her, along with her husband, as they created the space and completed the booth. I hadn't actually met her until she came to work her first 6 hour shift yesterday - and she came and introduced herself to me. Very easy going, very HAPPY (instant bonus) and nice person - within 5 minutes, we found a common thread that makes me truly trust in faith with the universe.....
she is also a lover of all things new age, and began to tell me about this wonderful store she'd been going to, and all the wonderful people - especially one in particular, that helped change her life. I was so joyful to be able to tell her that it just so happens to be the same place and people that did the same for me - Coyote Wisdom - the store where I worked, that I frequent, and where the heart of me lies.
It's also where Carole, and Connie, and Phyllis, and all the other great metaphysical souls have come to roost. We all came together through Mountain Books - the original new age store in town that everyone knew and loved. (Long story short - new owner, different artistic views, separation into a new and better place - Coyote.)
Carole is my great friend and mentor - and the person that also so greatly moved Pam. Of course she has. That's her thing! So now Pam and I have quickly bonded over our passion, and mutual love of metaphysics. There are NO COINCIDENCES, folks. Pam was my gift from
spirit - someone that, even though she's only there a few hours a month - will add the great spirit energies to the place with her presence, will also help keep me grounded in my Schoolhouse space - and is someone I can now call a friend.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Back in the swing

It's been one of those weeks - worryin about my dad, slow sales, uncooperative beads - but it was all worthwhile when the hummingbird came to call....I have tried without success to 'camp out' on the deck to get a photo - but since I never know when the quick & quiet little flying flower will show - it's been a futile attempt so far. Now that we have this new fangled fancy camera that's supposed to do great zoom and close ups - I hope maybe I'll soon have success. I also will soon have photos of my 'clematis flowers' necklace - partially finished. Actually, it's not even in necklace form yet. I've got just the 3 flowers, and all the beads chosen for what will be the necklace and vines. Like I said, uncooperative beads....anyhoo - hope to have better luck pulling it all together this week. I think I'll need to work with just the 3 full flowers, and then make some 'buds' to complete it with fringe beads. Just can't seem to find a match for those purple delicas....
Speaking of purple....beautiful purple-y red raspberries have ripened around here, a few on our own home bushes, and LOTS at the Farmer's Market! A trip on Saturday yielded a pint of beautiful raspberry goodness, along with a quart of strawberries too. (and potatoes, and peppers, and green beans...I LOVE the smells of the market!) I'm in the process of whipping up a beautiful berry trifle to take to the girls at the shop today - white cake squares, vanilla mousse, and lots and lots of berries! yum!
TTFN - check back for those Clematis photos - and maybe some of my beautiful hummer as well!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Things are looking up!

First of all - update on my dad. He came home on Wednesday - and is doing quite well. He has surprised us by being particularly cooperative about doing his exercises, something he was just plain ornery about in the hospital. His home health care aid was there today, and although I haven't heard the final outcome - my guess is she won't need to see him for very long. Now if he can just follow the rigid, downright impractical starvation diet they've given him. YUCK.
And now on a beading note - got my issue of BEADWORK today. All I can say is WOW! There is no way I'll be able to finish all the wonderful seed bead projects before the next issue arrives! Especially since I'm in the middle of my own creative endeavor right now - a beaded Clematis Vine Necklace (yes, Beverly, I DID it!). I've completed 3 flowers - but run out of the perfect color of Jackmanii Clematis purple Delicas. I'm debating on leaving it at 3 flowers, and doing a choker type herringbone rope with curlyque vines - or getting more of the purple Delicas for more of a lariat type piece....hmmmmmm.
And it's funny how great minds think alike. I was just getting ready to begin this post about my love of seed beads and what can be created with them, when I stopped to read Marcia DeCoster's blog ( GREAT MIND! Her blog is asking the question "why seed beads?". I found her list of possible reasons to be every single one of mine. Plus therapeutic, color blendable, portable and just plain obsessive if you want to know the truth. There are very few pieces in my gallery and shop that do NOT contain seed beads in some way, shape or form. They add a certain unique quality that is just not seen much anymore in mainstream jewelry stores. The 'weaving arts' are the only beading classes I am teaching right now - there are so few out there that have the skills, and I love to share....
My only "issue" with this issue I guess you could say, is that they ONCE AGAIN - put the WRONG ad in for my shop listing. Urgh. Even after a CONFIRMATION email. But at least the address and the phone number are correct - I suppose that's something....
TTFN. Happy beading, everyone! If you haven't seen a copy of the new August/September 09 issue of BEADWORK - get thineself to the nearest magazine seller! It is truly wonderful......

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A few less posts

As I mentioned in my previous post - my posts will be a little less colorful - and as it turns out - less plentiful as well. My father had a serious heart attack on Sunday evening - and I've been spending my hours and time at the hospital and transporting my traffic shy mother back and forth since then. He is still in the hospital after having a stent inserted immediately after arriving by ambulance on Sunday night. He is balking at the "therapy" and is becoming quite the irritable patient - so may not get to come home tomorrow as we'd hoped. If he would cooperate - he'd get out sooner - but he would rather fight's very hard to argue with a 77 year old man that has wires coming out of everywhere and several different people poking him and prodding him every single day. He will need another stent in 4 to 6 weeks - with another 8 weeks of recovery and therapy after that. They had planned to head home to Florida in October - and the fact that they may not be able to return has added to his frustration. My mother is exhausted - and tomorrow we plod on.
So TTFN - it may be a few days or more before I have a chance to blog with an update....wish us all well, and for my dad a speedy and un-irritating recovery.....

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Photo-less blogging....

My blogs will be a little less colorful for the next few days - hopefully no longer than that. My husband had a particularly bad day yesterday, culminating with the SMASHING of the lens face of our Olympus digital camera. This was also not a particularly good time for adding a new camera to our budget - and in fact, the entire NEW camera purchase came from MY bead shop budget. I had hoped to attend GLW in a few weeks. But alas - since he needs the camera for his business, and didn't have the funds readily available - spend I did. We have purchased one with lots more bells and whistles, that I believe will take even better jewelry photos than our old one did. So since he has promised to pay me back at least a portion of the purchase, and I'll get better photos in the long run - I guess a bead sacrifice or two must be made. :0(
I sure hope today goes better for him - he may be getting the night off, making it a 4 day weekend - so THAT should cheer him up!
Can't wait to start using the new touchscreen camera - then you'll probably be sick of seeing all my photos!

Monday, June 29, 2009

I may have to bead a Clematis

Isn't it beautiful? And my favorite color too. My husband says he's amazed at my ability to 'plant stuff' and make it grow. Frankly - I am TOO! But just when I think my garden is pretty great - I find one that I am in total awe of.....yesterday we attended a BBQ at the home of one of the Schoolhouse girls - we all had great food, great laughs and great fun. One of the greatest things about it, though - were her gardens. She had several, small beautifully accented garden areas around her yard - and along the fences of what it quickly becoming a petting zoo - goats, geese, chickens, ducks, rabbits, puppies.....but my attention was on the beauty. I wish I would have had a camera - it was like something right out of Birds and Blooms, or Better Homes and Gardens. It made me sit down this morning and look through some seed and gardening catalogs - dreaming and scheming on how to make my yard and garden the showplace that Deb's is....
And on a bead shop note - the girls couldn't wait to inform me yesterday that they had to "take apart" my new gallery wall earlier in the day - because they were selling things right off the displays! I won't make it in there again until tomorrow - so while I'm glad I've had another spectacular month of sales - I hope they didn't trash it too bad - there will still be customers passing by today....

Saturday, June 27, 2009

More shop photos

Just took them yesterday - so unless there were some little bead fairies visiting in the night - this is my space! (yep - that tall white piece in the photo is the new hutch. Very shabby chic!)
It is an absolutely gorgeous day here in Michigan - and although I will again be shop bound (any better place to be bound? I think NOT!) I hope to enjoy at least some of the beauty. I should have time to walk my garden and talk to the garden fairies before I go. I've got HUGE clematis flowers - so maybe some more garden photos tomorrow? Guess you'll have to check and see!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Shop Photos

I thought since I mention the shop so much, that I'd post a couple photos - just cuz I can't think of anything else to blog about except maybe the weather. We may get rained out of our Music on the Square tonight - it's looking pretty stormy (and feeling VERY muggy) outside. Enjoy the photos - it's changed a bit just since these - I need new ones again - but you get the idea.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Soothing music - and a few changes

My husband and I have been taking advantage of the "free music" happening here and there around town all week long - from the northend on Tuesdays, to right smack downtown on Thursdays (as well as right down the street if we get lazy) - and a few other places and nights too. We got lucky this evening to have the perfect seats, though - for one of our favorite bands. It was just to dang hot and muggy to even think about going back outdoors - and upon 'flipping' the remote (yep, my hubby does it too) he came across our local public access channel's concert series - one of the Blues bands we enjoy seeing around town all year round. Right here at home. With the air on (sorry - I couldn't stand it anymore with just windows and fans). So I'm beboppin' and bloggin'. How cool is that?
I think I'm going to attempt to rework my blogsite over the next few days - so if you visit, and find it looks a little different - I crave change. I'm also making changes at the shop - moving items to different areas (my customers love me when I do that!) and reworking some wall space to make it more efficient.
If you are interested in seeing the photo slideshow of my work WITHOUT it being cut off (?), visit my album on Photobucket, and also on Facebook!

Monday, June 22, 2009

This and That - and a photo of SWISH!

I've completed another button bracelet (with a few lamps and Swarovski thrown in for the heck of it) - 'Summer Vacation' will be for sale at the shop. So fun - cute too. I may do a little workshop with a 'bring your own button' theme - BYOB! HAHAHA.
You may remember that I posted a few weeks ago about the big giant fish mascot made from recycled detergent bottles - I found a photo on Facebook! We actually have two of these - Swish and Gill. The kids love them - and they travel about the township mascoting various functions, parades, etc. We may not have much in this little podunk 'burb - but we've got ourselves a great FLOAT!
After having the wettest and chilliest spring on record, we are now sweltering in the heat on the first full day of summer. Shew. We thought we would try and save some green - and go green at the same time - but NOT using our central air - and just opening windows and relying on the ceiling fans. I'm not sure I'll be able to hold out. The older I get - the more I need my air! And I just found out Saturday that the air in my car went kaput - so I'll definitely be using the window and moon roof ventilation system when I'm in there.
I gotta go find some cool clothes. If that's possible....

Friday, June 19, 2009

Divine Intervention?

It was the oddest - but greatest thing. I've been attempting to sell a dresser I was using for storage at the bead shop. It was painted in pastels, with a big bright sun painted on the front. It worked for me for awhile - (I had since found something I liked better amongst the antiques). The dresser has been for sale for a mere 50 bucks for about 3 months now - and I had finally - just today, resigned myself to the fact that I would have to have the "hold" taken off the hutch I wanted, and find a way to continue to use the sun dresser. So I was at the front of the store talking to the owner about the situation; there just so happened to be a customer in The Schoolhouse at that very moment that was shopping for accents and furniture to stock her new BEACH HOUSE. We didn't realize that she had heard us talking about the sun on the dresser - which they felt may have been part of the problem in it not selling. She quickly came back to my shop area, asked me if I'd come a little lower on the price - and voila! SOLD! Only one problem - I was STILL using it for storage! So I had to quickly remove everything from the drawers (5) and from on top (including a book nook). Whew. Finally. Out the door and into her van it went. Bye, bye! So - if I had not chosen that exact moment to talk to the owner about the dresser - the lady would have walked out the door, it never would have sold. I do believe there was a magickal force at work.....And I truly LOVE the new shabby chic hutch that we put in it's place. Functional and display worthy all at the same time. Busy day. My back and knees are now screaming at me to STOP! so as soon as dinner is cleaned up (I can't believe I had the energy to handmake a pizza) - I'm plopping and stopping. Groceries will just have to wait until tomorrow evening....
Hope everyone's had a wonderful day. Maybe I'll post some photos of the newly decorated space someday soon....

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"Janice" Button Charm Bracelet

As promised - this is the custom button bracelet requested by a customer. I am so happy with how this turned out, that I'll be on the hunt at antique shops and garage sales (ME? A garage sale?) for shank buttons now! Very simple - just chain, jumps and buttons. But very cool. And very fun. I haven't shown it to the client yet - but I think she's going to LOVE IT!
Chilly, rainy and gray again today. Great day for beading!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Taking the plunge

People have been telling me forever that I needed to try and sell my work online. I've checked out the basics - EBay (not my thing), Etsy (too much admin), and even my own website (WAY too much admin). So I resigned myself to selling through a few art galleries here and there, to friends and family, and of course - at my bead shop. THEN - Lorelei Eurto blogged about ArtFire. Finally. I think I've found the perfect source. Very little admin (although they are picky about photo resolution), and very simple to use. So as of today - ladies and gents - you can find me selling my one of a kind Cool Moon jewelry on ArtFire! I just listed 3 pieces to start with - I want to monitor to see how many hits I get, and how long it may take to even sell something. I can list for free for 3 whole months - if it takes much longer than that, I may not want to use this site, anyway. So if you are interested - check it out. And Lorelei - if you happen to read this - I DID give you credit for the info!
Look for a new 'blog' soon with a photo of yet another button bracelet requested by a customer.
She wanted something a little different than what I created for the last one - this is more of a "charm" bracelet - using chain, jumps and GOBS of old, antique, very cool shank buttons she has collected over the years. Once again - I surprise myself with my creative-ness. :)
Having a great day! Hope you are too!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Day full of surprises

Whew! 8:38PM. Finally sitting down and relaxing. VERY busy day at the shop today. My very favorite regular customer Beverly stopped by today - show and tell, and lots of fun! Finished a project-NOT the redeux Pacific Burst! That one has frustrated me, and isn't cooperating, so it has been relegated to the bottom of the design bin. I'll get it out again someday - but in the meantime, there are lots of other projects. I have two of them from the newest Beadwork magazine to work on, and several others that are ready and waiting. I have no lack of projects - I just need to feel the creativity! The creativity felt in the last two days helped me to complete Royal Unakite. Another focal piece from my friend Joyce's stash - it had a unique blend of colors. The Blue Zircon had me stumped for a few weeks - but then I discovered Blue Zircon AB2x Swarovskis! PERFECT! Turned out really cute.
I've also included some cute pictures of my great nephew, Calvin. Don't get to see him very often - in fact the last time I saw him, he still didn't have hair, and was crawling. LOOK AT HIM NOW! So cute. And smart. He saw a little boy climbing a tree, and quickly decided he wanted to climb it too. He kept putting his foot up on the tree trunk and wrapping his arms around it. Adorable little dude! And yes, that's a beaded necklace he's wearing. Gotta teach em right from the start!
On our trip back from our family gathering tonight, we came across a nice surprise - a group (11 or 12 in all) of hot air balloons that were just finishing up their launch. We pulled over and took several cool. My husband has ridden in one before - but I have remained grounded.
Didn't lose anything today! And got TWO checks for jewelry sold. BONUS!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Great Bead Giveaway!

Hey fellow beady bloggers - if you haven't already, you've GOT to check out the great bead giveaway by Silver Parrot. Very generous - and just the photos can spark project ideas! Check it out by midnight TONIGHT! YIKES!

Wish I would have seen that sooner - but I woke up yesterday with sharp, stabbing pain in my right hand and thumb. Carpal tunnel? Maybe. Not sure. So I was unable to spend alot of time on my favorite pasttimes yesterday - beading or blogging! :o( Used heat, then ice and lots of Ben Gay last night. Seems better right now....
Hope everyone has a great weekend. It's finally going to be in the 80's for more than one day here. I think we're going to have a cool summer. In more ways than one!!!
(Check out the contest!)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The lost is found - again

Well, at least when I lose things - they seem to show up sooner or later. Once my hubby and I started talking about where my bra could be, we determined that it had gone into the wash load along with SHEETS. Tada. Balled up in the corner of a fitted sheet. I knew I wasn't going crazy-not completely anyway. The only other explanation I was ready to come up with is that an underwear thief was on the loose!

(See - I told you that some days my blogs would be totally non-bead related. One of my friends thought I should try to make one from beads - but I am relieved not to have to take on the task).

Bursts - and bras.....

This is what I've done so far with those Pacific Burst components. I still need to start working in the brass size 8's - and I found some cool Swarovski bicones in my stash yesterday that I've started adding too. Since my mom's coming by the shop today, I probably won't get a chance to work on this piece again until FRIDAY - so I hope my creative momentum is still in high gear.
Now for a somewhat silly - but yet totally serious comment: I've lost my bra. Sometime between Monday afternoon and today - my good everyday comfy no itch beige bra has disappeared. Why, oh why, and HOW do I keep losing things? And how, pray tell, do you lose a BRA? I've checked between folded clothes, in the towel drawer and cedar closet, checked the washer, the dryer, the bathroom, the bedroom. I think I have lost my mind. AND THEN - needing to find a replacement beige bra, I found one in the drawer that was almost like new, but had a broken underwire on one side. So I'm thinkin' - I can make this work. Well - here's a question for ya - have you ever tried to INTENTIONALLY remove the underwires from a bra? Took me half an hour to wrangle the remaining puppy out of there. I hope I've given everyone who reads this a really good laugh today - but I am sitting here still wondering - what happened to my bra!?!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Blue Monday

Not just because it's rainy and gray outside (never gonna finish flower planting at this rate), but because the project I brought home to play with is blue! A tealy more aqua blue, but blue none the started out as the Pacific Burst project from Bead Pattern Central, but when I had trouble with one of the steps turning out as I wanted - it morphed into - yup, you guessed it - something totally non-pattern like at all. Still playing. Thinking of adding a few Bead Infinitum beaded beads and some bronzy chain to the whole thing. Not sure what it is about aqua and bronze for me right now - but I LOVE the contrast! Definitely will post more photos when complete...
I'm also tossing ideas around in my head (so many sleepless nights - so much in my brain!) a way to have a 3 year anniversary bash for the bead store. Since I'm inside the antique mall, it's hard to have something like that without including all of them. Maybe I'll see if they are interested in some sort of Fall Festival to coincide. And since I'm also planning a week long trip to Florida in October - it's going to be a busy fall! I am very proud, happy and EXCITED to have made it to the 3 year mark. Statistics for small business show that most don't make it past two years. YAY ME! And I'm at the point now where I'm becoming a shop that many customers will return to, as well as tell others about. I'm the only bead store on the west side of town, and although it's a bit of a drive from my little home in the 'burbs every day- I'm not planning on making any changes anytime soon - unless it's to grow! I am grateful to all the girls at The Little Red Schoolhouse for being so gracious and helpful with my customers when I am not available. There are many venues that would not be so kind. So thanks to Ann, and Penni, and Tracy, and Robbi, and Pat, and the list goes on and on (there are way too many to name) - I love you all!
Welcome home to all the Bead & Button bloggers! I've been keeping up with your blogs while you were gone - and can't wait to have enough saved up to attend some year!
Time for Young and Restless - a daily guilty pleasure.....

Friday, June 5, 2009

The lost is found! :)

Hooray! I couldn't stop searching for this piece - and voila! - it has reappeared! I went over in my mind several times yesterday the steps I had taken throughout the day, and what I had done. I suddenly remembered having to 'hide' my bagged pieces when we went to lunch in mid-day. Then, at the end of the day, in a rush to make our out of town dinner reservations, I shoved more items into the 'hide' spot, pulled out all (or at least I thought all) of the take home items, and rushed out the door.
So as soon as I arrived at the shop today, I removed every single box, bag, tray and work tool from the 'hide' spot beneath my desk. TADA! The bag with that piece had fallen between two boxes - and was hiding out of sight. I am so relieved and happy to have it back - and to have my hidey hole spot cleaned and organized too!
I am currently enjoying a very relaxing, quiet Friday evening. Hubby and his buddy/cousin have gone fishin' - and won't arrive home for at least another hour. Finished one book. Ready to begin another. My second favorite obsession after beading - READING. Even with my beading projects - I still manage to read at least 2 books a week. And in case you're wondering, and haven't seen my blog posts about it - Nope, I don't sleep. That's when I usually read.....

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Lamenting a loss

I've lost yet another piece of jewelry - and this time - one of my favorite personal pieces. I don't know how it keeps happening, and am at the moment, just chalking it up to my own stupidity - simply because I have no other explanation. It was a piece that I had been displaying at the Gallery - and it WAS THERE when I brought the entire bag back to the shop. I remember telling my mom that I was glad to have it back and how much I had missed wearing the piece. I separated out all of the pieces that were my personal pieces, put them in zip bags, and I THOUGHT I brought them all home. I was so frantically upset this morning when I discovered that it was missing, that I made the 40 mile round trip trek to the shop on my day off to check every nook and cranny that I could think of where it would be. Alas. No luck. I have also called the restaurant that we dined in last night, hoping that somehow it had fallen out of my bag and they had found it. No luck. I hesitate to tell my husband that it has happened again - I've already lost 3 other pieces the same way - put in the same bag, in the zipper bags, to bring home. Somehow, they are not getting here. So it's a sad day for me. It had sentimental value - and I will never be able to replace the custom made silver art clay face created just for me....

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Busy Day

Today was gallery closing day - made the appointment to tear down for 9:30 am. Recruited my mom to help tear down, fold, unpin, etc. We arrived - and found that the gallery director (and possibly some volunteers) had ALREADY TORN DOWN my displays and had everything ready for me to pack. It had to have been a big job - putting it UP took me almost 3 hours. It took us just 20 minutes to pack the totes and bags and cart it all down to the Jeep. If I didn't know and like the gallery director so well - I would have thought they were kicking me out! I only sold the 3 pieces the day of the opening though. A little disappointing - but happy and thankful that they asked me to participate at all. Now I have the task of making room for all the unsold pieces at the shop! YIKES!
So after hauling it all back in to the shop, and spending the entire afternoon bagging and tagging new (well - almost new, slightly used) beads - and a leisurely lunch, of course - we got to have a wonderful dinner too! My husband and I have started a tradition of treating our parents (my parents/his mom) to dinner at a RITZY expensive restaurant soon after my parents make their trek home from Florida. It helps that we've had gift certificates to these ritzy places twice now - but I believe we'll continue the tradition, anyway, as long as we can. They all enjoy each other's company, and my dad and his mom went to school together - so it's always a nice time listening to them talk about old times.
Tonight's gift certificate place (a Christmas gift) was in a town about 30 minutes away - Williamston - a place called The Red Cedar Grille. (Anytime a place around here uses the E on the end of a word - we know it's expensive!) It was a wonderful place, excellent attentive service and great food. It was also my dad's birthday this time - so it seemed extra special.
I wish I had one of those fancy camera phones so that I could have taken a picture of our little group! Maybe someday.....
Then we returned to our place and walked my front garden and smelled the peonies....
All in all - a busy day - and a GREAT day with family....

Friday, May 29, 2009

Gallery Time - and some new photos!

As you can see, I've posted a couple more photos -
the first one is the blue and brown pearl piece I blogged about in an earlier post. I finished it yesterday. The name of the piece is "Rejoyce". The focal pendant was purchased from a fellow up and coming bead artist named JOYCE, who has a 'secret' source for some wonderful semi precious and sterling pendants. Every once in awhile, she'll decide to part with some of her stash - and this is ONE of the three pendants that I snatched up in her moment of insanity! It's Chalcedony, Blue Topaz and Sterling. I've accented it with Aquamarine, beige Pearls, Blue Topaz chips, and some 'pops' of bright blue glass bicones. I know she'll love what I did with the pendant. Thanks, Joyce, for giving me a chance to "RE-JOYCE"!
The second one is a much simpler piece than I usually do - but that giant, chunky COOL pendant really speaks for itself - a couple simple strands of seed beads and one strand of accent CZ glass and shell was all it needed. And of couse, my signature 'fringe' just to fancy up the top of the pendant. I really don't DO simple much anymore! This piece goes great with both of my favorite summer colors - lime green and of course - PURPLE!
I will be starting a new project today. I have 4 boxes of possibilities to choose from....
My month at the Art Gallery is coming to a close. I just took my mom for a visit last week so that she could see it, and was a bit dismayed to see that the 3 items that sold on the day of the Open House are STILL the only 3 items sold. I was hoping for a bit more than that. I guess I can hope that everyone was waiting until the last minute? The last day is Tuesday..... Now my task is making room and rearranging my little shop space at The Schoolhouse to make room for my designs. I have gained another space across the aisle that will be lit and serve as my 'gallery'. I've also got another storage piece -with drawers, cabinet and SHELF space on layaway that will be perfect to display on. Now I just have to make ROOM. I love that I've tripled in size in the last 3 years - but yikes! More space=shelling out more $$$!
To all of my fellow following bloggers that are going to Bead & Button - safe trip, and much success - both in teaching and while PURCHASING those wonderful round hole-y things that we have all become addicted to. :[)