Monday, April 29, 2013

I’ve got designs on spring!

I just saw my first butterfly of the season!  And 4 fat robins happily hopping along the garage roof.  Life is good.  Basking in the sun of what I call “the veranda” in my favorite adirondack chair.  SO – now that spring has finally, fully SPRUNG – I give you that blog with a few ‘teasers’ into what you will eventually find in the book I’ve got planned.  I wish I could say it was more than a thought and hopeful wish right now – I do have words written, and lots of photos, and of course – my schooling in design to fall back on – but I need to be sure I can find an interested publisher FIRST – and therein lies the rub.  So enjoy these dribs and drabs – you may forget you’ve already seen them by the time all is said and done!

I did my first show of the season on Saturday.  In the fellowship hall of a church.  And I realize that it is a perfect example of some what NOT to do’s.  So.  With that – let me tell you what I, as a seasoned show vendor, should have asked the organizers about BEFOREHAND:


WHERE in the room is the table?  Is there access to electricity?  Boy – was it dark in the center of that room.  I had preplanned the display busts – but didn’t stop to think that I may need to use the lighter colored ones.

936128_10151554045453704_1405930941_nPhoto courtesy of my friend and fellow vendor Jane Fallion.

I myself have been notorious for preaching to others about how black can suck the light away – but I used it anyway.  I also mixed some patterns that I wouldn’t necessarily say ‘matched’.  My bad number 1.
I also should have asked: How are the tables arranged? Single row? Double row?  In a square?  (Some may provide table layout info – some may not).  In my case- they were back to back.  Which doesn’t really work.  I had to stay to the side of my space, not giving me an opportunity to watch over my entire table – and leaving me feeling kinda exposed – plus the man at the table behind me (selling insurance! snore) insisted on putting his chair right up behind me and in my personal space.  It is not a good layout – and something to think about if you are ever faced with helping with this process. 


Another issue that became apparent on the day of the actual event – I was not (and could not have been) familiar with the clientele.  I knew it was in a church, so I didn’t take many of my favorite pieces that include buddhas, and fairies, and goddess themes, etc. – and I didn’t take a lot of the big statement making expensive pieces.  I took a few, though - just as conversation starters. This piece – called “Daydream  Believer” (because I was working on it the day that Davy Jones passed away) – was displayed prominently, on black:

Daydream on Black

It should have been displayed on white:

My bad number 2.  Sort of.  Because I don’t even think displaying it on white would have drawn a crowd.  It just simply wasn’t a good venue – which is something that is hard to know beforehand. 
So here’s my advice – DO YOUR HOMEWORK if it is possible.  Find out, if you can, if it’s a new show, or how many people have visited in past years, what types of products other vendors will be selling (they most likely will not tell you – but it doesn’t hurt to ask).  Another important point to try to find out before hand – what kind of advertising is being done by the organizer?  In this case:  Zippo.  None.  Nada.  The only thing they did was put the announcement in their church bulletin for their members the Sunday prior, and put it on the church marquee out front TWO DAYS prior to the show.   It is my personal opinion (and one that I WILL be voicing in the book) that it is the organizers responsibility to the vendors they are seeking to help bring in clientele.  Many of us vendors took it upon ourselves to post numerous twitter, facebook, and craigs list postings.  We were all sent posters and signage, and as far as I know, WE ALL did our part in distributing this information to as many people and places that we could. It just wasn’t very well attended.   So it is important to know how well advertised a show is going to be.  I will be taking the time in the future to find out this information sooner rather than later on any shows I may sign up for.   So my bad number 3.
All in all – it wasn’t a blow out – at least not for me.  I paid for my table rent, and just a bit extra, but it was by no means what was hoped for.  Some did better – some did worse; it’s very hard to compete in room with 9 other beaded jewelry vendors – two of which do seed bead jewelry as well. 
So there you have it.  One show down.  6 more to go that are scheduled at the moment. 
And of course – more blogging about design do’s and don’ts every once in awhile.
So make sure you’re checking back now and then!
And just FYI – the Etsy shop is in vacation mode right now.  I need to make some changes and do some revamping – and I think that’s the easiest way to do it.  It should reopen by the weekend – so don’t give up if you’re looking for something special! Lots of new beads getting listed very, VERY SOON!
Peaceful beautiful beading,

Monday, April 22, 2013

OOPSY! Outta the loopsy!

I know it’s been a few days again since I’ve blogged.  My bad.  Totally.  I’ve truly been meaning to do a blog about booth and show display and design – sort of a precursor to the book that I have half written in my head – and have all kinds of info gathered for.  I just plain haven’t done it.  I’ve either found a good book to read, or started a new bead project – or sat down and watched Downton Abbey reruns instead.  Can you say procrastinate?  The only reason this blog is quickly being put up is that my favorite FB game is down for maintenance, and I’m waiting for my ride to my weekly bead group date! 
So it’s sort of a non-blog blog.  Smile

I also want to announce that this is the LAST WEEK of free shipping in the USA on my Etsy site.  Starting May 1st – I’m going to have to start charging for shipping.  It’s just getting to be too much.  It won’t be a big lots (at least for those in the USA – Canada – can you say OUCH! to those postage rates?  YIKESERS!)  So I’ll probably be closing the shop for a few days beginning Monday the 29th.  I hope everyone will still shop – I’ve got some fantastic semi precious stuff if you haven’t looked. And I’ll be spending time this week looking through my personal stash for some great destash deals for you too.  
Big show on Saturday!  First of the year!  Wish me luck and lots of sales!  I' NEED to manifest a 10X10 EZ UP before mid JUNE!  BIG BUCKS made at my first show would really help!
Next blog design and show stuff – I PROMISE!
Peaceful beading,

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Into every life a little rain must fall

As I sit here watching it rain – AGAIN – I’m reminded of the sing song statement of old – “April showers bring May flowers”.  Some have even been posting to that affect on Facebook and on blogs of their own.  And keeping that in mind – I’ve decided to start experiencing the flowers right now, even in the rain. 

Photo courtesy of Google Imagesrose

You see, I have roses to smell RIGHT NOW -  in the form of new opportunities, new outlets for my work, new ventures into teaching – which includes creating tutorials AND kits.  It’s a new season – in more ways than one.  Smelling those roses is what I plan to focus on all the way through ‘til the first snowflake of the year.   BUT there have been some dark clouds too – and I’ve  experienced a bit of rain in the form of disappointment.  Opportunities also fell through, didn’t pan out – and, as I discovered so sadly today – just plain ended.  I dropped by Off~Rack Boutique  -  the little resale shop just around the corner that was selling some things for me, to find that she is closing the store.  She hasn’t even been open for a year, but because of some wonderful opportunities that have happened in her personal life – she was left without childcare and chauffeur services.  It’s all good for them – I am so happy that they’re able to move upward and onward – but I am sad that she wasn’t able to give it more of a go.  So I now have a dining room full of display racks and inventory to decide what to do with.  Lucky for me (I guess you could call it) that I hadn’t printed out my little ‘find me here’ flyers for the show next week.  Cuz now I gotta change ‘em!  BUT – I am hoping that though this opportunity is over – that another may just come along.  And another good thing – I definitely won’t be lacking in inventory for my shows this summer!  An entire show case full of items are now available – some of which had only ever been seen by her customers.  So I guess all’s well that ends well.  I wish their family the best.
I hope you’re weather brings you flowers to smell….in May and beyond.
Here’s my tribute to one of my favorite spring flowers – The Bleeding Heart.  It’s one of the first thing that blooms in my garden every year – and I just love them.  Magical, beautiful…..
Bleeding Heart Necklace

Peaceful beading,

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Soup of the Earth – and the Sea

WELCOME! I hope you’re hungry! I’ve made more than enough, as usual! And just when I thought I was done – I dove back in to create more!
First of all – LORI. Goddess of the Bead Soup Blog Party. Queen of the hop organization. THANK YOU. We would all be drowning in deep soup mix if it weren’t for your recipe to follow. I for one, bow to you.

So without further ado, cuz I know you must be starving- My ingredients from Pat Haight of The Wigglebutt Blog in ALASKA, and what I sent to her:Bead swap collage.jpg

And here are my entrees: SIX of them! 4 necklaces, a brooch, and a pair of earrings!

The first is “Woodland Mystery”. It’s the piece that holds the clasp, and a focal (there were two):

Woodland Mystery.jpgWoodland Mystery det1

Woodland Mystery detail.jpgWoodland Mystery Det2

Pat was sooooo generous. The beads were all very earthy. Browns, greens, COPPER. Handmade polymer clay that looks like bone. Thank you, Pat. I tried to do them all justice. And I tried to use them all! I didn’t – but that doesn’t mean I didn’t TRY! (Pat thought so hard about her soup ingredients that she had more than one soup mix – and ended up sending me BOTH of them! YUM x2!)
Next is what I decided to call ‘Hoot Fest’.  Owls are so popular right now:


Then there’s the last minute pieces – “Copper Country” contains a petoskey stone bead embroidery focal that I’ve been playing with for awhile.  I realized while working on my soup pieces that some of the beads Pat sent would set it off nicely:

Copper Country.jpg

And then there was the copper.  And the COOLEST hand made PAPER beads.  Copper Coil Earrings:

Copper Coil Earrings.jpg

Everything is so earthy, so Michigan in it’s fall colors and rich woodsy feel.

BUT - my favorite of all  -   “Breaking the Surface”.  A little sea that came out of the blue:

Breaking the Surface details.jpgBreaking the Surface toggle detail

This was the focal (of handmade polymer clay) I wondered what I would do with when I opened it – and it ended up being the first design that came to me of the bunch! I love how this one turned out! Simple but statement making.

And finally - THIS piece isn’t really part of the official ingredients – but rather from the second soup “just cuz” package I got from Pat a few days later. The ONLY thing that I used that she sent me is the cute little owl:  This is “Owl’s Roost”

Owl's Roost Pin.jpg

Many of these pieces will be listed for sale in my Etsy shop – and one is a present for Pat. (She won’t know which one until it gets there!)
Here is the link to the list – the menu if you will – of all the other second reveal participants this time around. There’s still one more reveal date to go next week – so be sure you’re ready to get your fill!

I hope you enjoyed my servings of soup!
Peaceful beading – and hopping!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Stop n go

Or is it go and stop?  That’s pretty much how everything’s been presenting itself lately – it was go, go, go for The Bead Soup Blog Party – then STOP.  We need to postpone for a week.  It was go, go, go preparing my samples and instructions for my upcoming classes with HAE, then STOP.  Dang, I ran out of beads for one of them (it sure looked like there were enough in that tube).  Not to mention our lovely weather.  Go!  It’s a beautiful day.  STOP!  It’s cold and nasty.  Like I said.  Seems to be the story of my life.
traffic light

Photo courtesy of Google Images

So while I’m slowing down for that yellow caution light, waiting for life to give me the GO! for longer than a hot minute – I’m still dabbling.  I’ve downloaded some fun technique patterns from some Etsy sellers, and will soon have some new designs to show for it.  I’ve got time on my hands to play – but not necessarily the energy to think out and plan or implement elaborate embroidery pieces.  Simple is best right now, so this was my simple design from yesterday.  I think it turned out quite well, and I will definitely be selling this one as a set – $40.00.
Full Metal Khaki.jpg

I also find that slow time is a good time to make repairs.  I don’t particularly LIKE doing repairs.  Ok.  Wait.  That’s an understatement.  I hate them.  Hence the reason I’ve got a box full of my own pieces that need it.  But when it’s a piece that I’ve sold to a customer – I try to get them done as quickly as I can.  Yesterday provided me that opportunity – and it’s only been 2 weeks since she gave it to me. 

Cheryls Ocean Bracelet.jpg

This is an OLD bracelet, simply strung, some really cool ocean jasper ovals, sterling silver and some little labradorite buttons.  I made this a LOOOOOONG time ago, before I even had the shop.  Finally – it sold a month or two ago.  She had broken it (thank goodness it wasn’t a design flaw) and managed to retain all the pieces and parts.  It has now been restrung, using all the latest findings (wire guards) and better stringing material (nothing but SoftFlex .14 for me, baby).  And it is whole again….

So glad to see so much green outside.  Still holding my breath a bit – Michigan weather can be dicey this time of year.  But it’s coming.  I can feel it each time I open a door, and SMELL it when it rains.  Spring.  New beginnings, new growth, new opportunities (yep, another one – more info when I have sealed the deal), new IDEAS.  You might call it a NEW COOL MOON.

Be sure to stop back on Saturday for the big reveal of my Soup pieces! 
Peaceful beading,

Thursday, April 4, 2013

It’s not soup yet

Most of you probably already know that Lori has postponed the second and third reveals of the soups.  Poor Lori.  Let’s all send her lots of white healing light and a big group hug!   So anyway – it’ll be another week before you’ll see all SIX of the things I’ve created from my ingredients from Pat Haight of The Wigglebutt Blog.

In the meantime – while I’m eagerly waiting and taking more time to hop through the first reveal entrees – I’m also prepping for all the classes I’ve got lined up. And a show.  I have always loved to teach people to bead, and have been told I’m pretty good at it.  I tried to get several classes going when I had the shop, but the location and space was not ideal.  I did some simple classes through the bookstore too, with limited success – but again – the space is not ideal.  Little did I know that spirit was brewing up even more exciting ways for me to teach – and I’m now officially a part of the Holt School District Adult Enrichment class staff!   And then along came SmittenDust at totally the perfect time.  So even though I still plan to do as many shows as I can this summer – probably at least one a month – my gears are now churning in the teaching mode.  Coming up with simple techniques, combined with original designs using those techniques, and kitting and writing instructions.  It’s a LOT of work that I hope pays off in a big way.

Be Mine Fringe Bracelet.jpg

Class coming soon to SmittenDust Studio

I have a feeling THIS, the teaching thing, is what I’m meant to do with my bead knowledge.  And I like it. 
Mariposa is officially off to FMG for decision.  I don’t know how long it will take them to decide who’s in and who’s out – but the deadline isn’t til end of May – so until then, she just graces and watches over my bead space.  Open-mouthed smile
I also have a new addition to my little corner of the dining room aka my beading space – a light box!  My hubby made it!  I like that I can just spin around in my chair, flip on the lights- grab the camera and click.  Photo of whatever it is I’ve just made.  And it helps for step by step instruction photo taking too – it’s how I’ve chosen to do my illustrations for my classes – step by step photos of the project.  So this is quite handy dandy!

I hope that spring has finally sprung wherever you are.  It’s a pretty and somewhat warm day here – with raking away of mulch and leaves revealing many surprises – hostas, daylilies, bleeding hearts.  It’s really happening.  Finally.  I cannot WAIT to see what my garden will bloom with this year.
My garden and my beads are my summer highlights.  Be sure you stop back often for what’s sure to be delightful revelation of the beauty as it unfolds.
DSC04480Last year’s bounty….

Peaceful springtime beading,