December 26, 2008

Goodbye 2008!

I'm officially on vacation until the 6th of January. But I'm sneaking in a late night post.

We had a beautiful Christmas. Very busy, filled with family and fun.

I think this is my favorite time of year. That down-time between Christmas and the New Year. Filled with way too much food, sweet treats, new goodies to play with and family all around. And it's a time of reflection as we say goodbye to 2008.

Now I'm spending time with my flock and finding time to reflect on what the new year will have in store for me and what direction I'd like to steer this little crafty boat of mine.

I'm not making any more beads until after the 6th, but I am shipping what I have in stock and they can all be found in my etsy shop. There is also a little sale with some of my holiday items.

I will probably blog again before the New Year, but in case I don't...

I'm wishing you an abundant New Year, filled with creativity, joy, love and way too many beads!

December 17, 2008

So many crafts, so little time...

Make sure to stop by the Art Bead Scene today to check out our 12 Days of Christmas. Today is #6 and I created this fun Jingle necklace using one of my pendants/ornaments. Here is a sneak peek at 2 other projects that will be up before Christmas!

I'm off to the post office now to mail out another batch of packages. Tomorrow is my last working day and then it's a rush to get my Christmas presents finished.

A few last minute things I'm working on:
Sketchbook Covers
Silk pajama pants
Silk holiday skirts
A needle felted elephant
Some squirrels (minus the bead holes - my youngest daughter has been coveting my squirrel beads.)
Illuminated Manuscript Pendants
A 'guy' necklace for one of my bro-in-laws

Hmm, I better get my rear to the post office and then back home for some serious crafting. Are you still working on gifts? I know, I'm probably the only one not ready this year!

December 16, 2008

Jingle all the way...

Walkin' in a winter wonderland...
Well, it's cold enough here in San Antonio to feel like Christmas. Which just excites me to no end. I had a 1/2 dozen Christmas cookies for breakfast. If that makes me bad, then I don't want to be good. I'm on the "Elf" diet. You know - the 4 basic food goods: your candy canes, candy corn, corn syrup and maple syrup. I love that movie and think I'll play it back here while I'm packing up the rest of my orders for today.
I will still take orders through tomorrow and then I'm closing up shop for a few weeks to enjoy time with my family. The etsy store will stay open with items in stock and ready to ship.
Visit my etsy store today for a free priority mail shipping upgrade. I know you haven't checked everyone off that list yet. Okay, maybe I'm the only one still making gifts and picking up those last items on my list.
Men, why do we have to buy presents for them? That's no fun. Nothing sparkly or beaded.
Stop back tomorrow I have all sorts of goodies to show you. Free projects that will be on the Art Bead Scene this week, and my Christmas tree, so cute this year. Hope you are staying sane and grabbing hold of a few peaceful moments to enjoy the season!

December 14, 2008

Handmade Sunday

I just returned from a harried run to Micheal's where I picked up most of my gifts for my children, besides the ones I'm creating over the next week. I'm like some crazed little Christmas elf with my fabric, wool and beads awaiting me. I do a lot of "shopping" from my inventory after my sales for my nieces and sisters and sis-in-laws. Good thing I'm a little famous and they like my stuff.
I didn't get a chance to make an advent calender like I had planned, the season has just slipped past me this year. But I thought I'd share a little cartoon that I illustrated earlier this year:
(Click on them to see them larger.)
And here is a gift for you: some gift tags with this little guy on them. They are in a pdf, you can print them out on address labels and stick them on your packages. Have a creative Sunday!

I'm off to do some sewing and watch a the Christmas Story. Ho, ho, ho...

December 13, 2008

Stuff Those Stockings!

I was hoping to list these yesterday, but those orders kept me busy. It's so hard to get everything done in just 8 hours while the girls are in school. I would often work for 2 or 3 hours in the evenings, but I've had some serious convictions about not working every waking moment and spending more time with my family and friends. I'm a workaholic, so it's a challenge.

I worked from 6:30am until just now. I'm getting ready to turn off this machine, clean my house a bit and pull out the Christmas decorations. Bake some cookies and help one daughter create a solar system. All in a day in life, huh?

I'm loving these faux vintage locket pendants that I made for the show. I have a few left and they are now listed on my website. At 30% off, they make a beautiful gift for $26! Now is a great time to pick up some stocking stuffers, I have earrings for $15 and the cutest squirrel and hedgie pendants. All jewelry is shipping out the next business day by priority mail, still in plenty of time to arrive before the big day. You'll just have to run over and see what else I put up today! I'm off to enjoy the day, I hope you do the same.

Visit the Humblebeads' Jewelry Gallery and check those names off your shopping list!

December 12, 2008

Jewelry Sale!

Between the show last weekend (that was very successful) and a visit to the gallery last night, my jewelry pile is definitely smaller. But there are still some wonderful treasures that I hate to have sitting in boxes here when they could be adorning someone who loves them!

So, I've created a jewelry gallery on my website. The prices listed are 30% off the retail price. I'm also offering a free priority mail shipping upgrade for US residents.

Some of the designs were samples from projects that have appeared on my blog or the Art Bead Scene. Others are pieces that I made for the show. I have a nice collection of bracelets and necklaces listed now and will be listing more earrings and pendants during the weekend.

The last day to place orders from me is December 17th for Christmas delivery. After the 19th, I will be taking a few weeks off from beadmaking to spend time with my family and recharge. During this time my etsy shop will be open with items that ready to ship.

I'm looking forward to some time off. It's been a crazy fall season and while I'm trying very hard to end my work day at 3pm, I seem to keep sneaking back in and burning the midnight oil after the girls are in bed.

December 11, 2008

I'm a Bead Star Winner

Big news! Two of my designs won in the Bead Star competition from Interweave Press! Thank you for voting this summer. It was so hard to keep it a secret all these months. If I hadn't been so busy this week making beads I would have done my horn tootin' a little earlier!

My "Key to Heart Necklace" won 2nd place in the Hearts Category. Which came with a nice big ol' $500 gift certificate to Shipwreck Beads. It's like Christmas arrived two weeks early!

And my "Sea Urchin" necklace took home an honorable mention in the pearls category, which means I was able to pick the Interweave bead magazine of my choice for a year's subscription. Lucky! And it gets even better, both of these designs are in the Bead Star magazine which hits newsstands next week.
While you wait for the magazine to arrive, you can find my sea urchins in my etsy shop or on my website. Ah, I feel all shiny!

December 3, 2008

What's up little tweet?

I can't even tell you how much jewelry I've made over the last few weeks! Today I'm back to filling orders and getting packages out the door. Last night I worked on bird pendants on silk cords, like the one above. Along with a few hedgie and squirrel charm necklaces that are too cute. I better pull out my camera before I take everything in tomorrow.

My strategy for doing a show is to have 2x the inventory that I'd like sell. So if my goal is $2000, I bring $4000 worth of jewelry. I always create a few show stopper pieces, ones that cost a few hundred dollars. A good chunk of my inventory is in the $40-75 price range and than 1/2 of what I bring is under $30. Those impulse buys: tons of earrings, ornaments and small pendants.

The show I'm doing is this weekend in San Antonio. It's Hecho A Mano at the Guadalupe Cultural Center. If you are in the area stop by! I've been encouraged that they had 2 ads in the newspaper this weekend. I've been hearing it mentioned all week on NPR and they have 3 huge street banners in different parts of the city. Kudos to the organizers for working on getting the word out.

In other news:

The Art Bead Scene's new monthly challenge is Puttin' on the Glitz. Stop by to check it out.

Stop by FabFiber's blog today and enter to win this very sweet bird ornament. All you have to do is leave a comment!

Opps, almost forgot to draw a winner from the Open House! The winner is Lorelei, who has won a holiday pendant!

December 1, 2008

Snowy Beads!

Have you made it over to my shop yet? Seems quite of few of you have!

Thank you for joining me today during my Holiday Open House. I've extended the deadline for the pendant giveaway until tomorrow. (Scroll down 2 posts to enter!)

Free shipping promotion will continue until midnight.

Hope you've had a great start to the week.
Click here for one final Open House surprise!

Free Ornament Project

Illuminated Manuscript Ornament

1 1/2" thick brass chain
3/4" thin brass chain
27mm Lucite flower
Glass beads
3 brass spacers
1 brass 2" headpins
2 brass 2" eye pins
6" silk ribbon

1. String brass spacer, monogram bead and a brass spacer one of the eye pins. Trim the wire to 1/4" and create a loop round nose pliers.

2. Attach the thick brass chain to the top loop and the thin brass chain to the bottom loop.

3. On the headpin, string the glass bead, Lucite flower and spacer. Trim wire to 1/4" and create a loop with round nose pliers.

4. Use round nose pliers to shape the other eye pin into a simple hook, attach to the top chain.

5. Tie the ribbon to the chain, near the top.

Love ornaments? Visit my etsy shop to see my holiday collection.

Lucite flower from BellaNoelle.

Humblebeads Holiday Chat

Join me the etsy chat room for lunch to talk about the holidays, what we are working on for gifts, share you ideas and hear how others are celebrating this season with a handmade and crafty spin! The chat will start at 12pm. (CST/11EST)

Link to the chat room:

Space in the chat room is limited and open to those who first arrive. During the chat I will give away a Holiday pendant to one person who is attending.

Can't make it into the chat? Not to fear, you can win a pendant too. Leave a comment in this post on which is your favorite Humblebead Holiday item and I will draw one winner randomly on Tuesday, December 2nd - extended deadline to enter!

Street Team Sales

We all love free stuff, right? The Bead Art Originals street team has 12 beautiful items they are in the process of giving away as a special promotion. Visit the BAO blog for details. You'll also find this week's Item of the Week specials and the team's open house specials that are still good for today. Don't forget to check out the new items listed in our Bead Art Gift Guide today too!

The Texas Etsy Crafters has over 100 sellers participating in their monthly 1st Monday promotion. The ETC is a very eclectic and talented group of artists in a wide range of mediums and styles. You could probably finish your Christmas shopping with them!

To view all the specials for the day visit this post on the Etsy forums:

Bead Art Gift Ideas

Have bead-obsessed folks on your gift list? Art Beads are a fun, easy and quick gift to give. Here are some ideas to dress up your gift:

Last year on the Art Bead Scene, Virgina Miska shared some ideas on adding an art bead to a small gift of coffee or tea. (I'd also say chocolates would be appreciated.) She tied a pendant on the top of her package with raffia. I could also see using a little bit of craft wire to attach a special bead to a ribbon bow if you had beads with smaller holes.

You can buy, knit or sew a tiny bead-sized stocking and put a few treasures inside. Who doesn't love a stocking full of goodies, no matter the size. Again, chocolate added to the gift would be appreciated.

I'm crazy for these wedding favor tins. You can pick them up at Michael's, 30 for $20 or in smaller quantities on Etsy. Add in an art bead, some findings and a few accent beads for a mini bead kit, just add creativity. (And chocolate!) To decorate the top of the tin, you could cut out a Christmas card with a pretty design to show through the top of the tin.

Featured Bead: Garnet Branches

Humblebeads Open House

Join me today from 8am until 2pm for lots of Holiday fun!

Throughout the day you'll find new beads, surprise deals and inspiration here on my blog.

Check back right before noon for the link to my Humblebead's Holiday Chat. We'll dish about what we are making for the holidays, ideas for our upcoming celebrations and more.

If you subscribe to the blog, I have to warn you that there will be frequent updates today!

Specials for today: Free shipping in my etsy shop for all orders and a free dove ornament with purchases of $50 or more. (One per customer.) You can also save on shipping at my humblebeads site with the discount code M2008.

Now, let's get this party started with some Christmas tunes and hot cocoa.

To set the mood: Holiday music online at Pass the marshmallows!

November 30, 2008

Handmade Sunday

There hasn't been much extra crafting or any strides in my gift list this week as I prepare for the show. But I did manage to experiment with silk and beads, using a tiny bit of my silk dupioni stash. Above is a little bead stocking that I made. The front is a mystery fabric that is see-through. The back of the stocking is the silk dupioni in gold.

(Back of the stocking.)

I was telling my friend about ordering silk rippins from Bello Modo and she said, "You mean silk that is ripped? You could do that Heather." Uh, I can? And there, right during Thanksgiving, she pulled out some silk and showed me how to tear it into perfect little strips.
Above is a little ornament I made using an Illuminated Manuscript bead, chain, a lucite flower and glass bead along with a bow made from the silk strips.
I immediately thought of all the colors of silk I have and how I could use these strips in jewelry. Although I am concerned about the long term unraveling of the threads.
But that didn't stop me from experimenting. Here I used a torn silk strip with a brass chain for this bracelet that features one of my new beads. More trials will ensue, I'm sure. Have you ever made your own jewelry cords from silk, any advice?
Don't forget to join me tomorrow for my Cyber Monday Open House!

November 29, 2008

A Very Random Post...

Wow, how sad, a whole week without blogging. You'll have to forgive me, I am getting ready for a show this coming weekend. Free time is a rare thing in the Humble Home right now!
Jess is in the studio today keeping me company and making things for the show too. He is working on candle holders that are shaped like houses/altars. I can't wait to share pictures and he so better make me one for Christmas. I guess I should drop a few hints! Above is one he made this summer.

And have you been patiently waiting to find out who is this week's Funny Caption contest winner? It is AJ! A little purple bird will be flying your way soon.

Also I have to give a shout out for the Bead Art Originals Holiday Gift Guide. We are having an open house through Monday, so be sure to stop by and see if there is something that catches your eye for someone on your gift list. The gift guide is updated every Monday. And make sure to visit the Bead Art Originals blog, they have 12 days of prizes to give away!
I'm hosting a Holiday Open House for Cyber Monday in my etsy shop. I will have new beads, a few surprise deals for the day (make sure you are following me on twitter for some of those!) along with the free shipping discount that has been going on all weekend. I'm going to host a chat during the lunch hour with a drawing for a free holiday pendant! Details on the chat will be posted here Monday morning. Come and share your holiday ideas for gifts, decorating and celebrating.
(I heard a rumor that my Grandma reads my blog, if this is true I'd like to send a little hug her way!)

November 24, 2008

You don't say? Part 6

(Insert Funny Caption Here.)

Stressed about stuffing a turkey? Not ready to face less than 30 days til Christmas? In-laws arriving this week? We all need a distraction from the holiday bustle that is about to descend upon us!
Leave a funny caption for this week's photo. One comment will be randomly drawn on Saturday. The winner will receive a Purple Martin bird pictured here in the photo.
In Etsy shop news, I added my Illustrated Manuscript Beads since they received such rave reviews from everyone! Join me tomorrow for some holiday gift ideas.

November 23, 2008

Handmade Sunday

Today has actually been a fun day. No deadlines or orders, just a little organizing of the ol' craft stash and some sewing. My craft supplies have little homes all over the house. My yarn and knitting supplies are tucked in the bottom drawer of an armoire/tv cabinet in the living room. My sewing supplies and wool roving are in the dining room, tucked away in our family craft armoire. I guess I keep these things separate from my studio so that when I do pull them out it doesn't feel like work. I don't know, maybe I just need to mark my territory with craft supplies.

So today I kept it simple and made a few silk scarves. The one pictured above is a steel gray dupioni paired with an Italian tapestry fabric that is very soft and supple. I think I'm going to bead the end of it to hide my seam. I'm definitely not an expert seamstress. Thank goodness for beads, they cover a multitude of sins. The second one I created was a beautiful blue silk scarf that I did with a simple rolled hemmed and plan on beading a little snowflake on one end. I'm working my way up to tackle the pajama pant pattern that I picked up this week. Seems scary!

I was gifted with the luxurious stash of silk dupioni fabrics. Who knows what I'll whip up over the next few weeks. I was thinking today of making some monogram ornaments and using my new beads with them. Hmm, we'll have to see.

I leave you with a photo of my very hard working assistant from early this week:

Who felt he had to create a self-portrait on his glove, when he should have been busy rolling beads. Jesseeeeee...(that was me yelling like Dave in Alvin and the Chipmunks.) Now that, my friends, is handmade!

November 22, 2008

Winner and New Winter Beads

The winner from list week's Funny Caption contest is LavenderLizard. Liz won a Dove Ornament that was featured in this week's contest. On a side note, I highly recommend LavnderLizard's crocheted goodies. We have quite the collection of face scrubbies and love them.

So where the heck have I been? Buried under a pile of beads, in a faint voice crying out, "help, I've fallen and I can't get up..." Okay, it's not that bad. But I have been a beadmaking fiend this week. Plowing through orders, stocking up on ornaments and best sellers and working on some new jewelry. Along with that I have also updated my website to include more of the Kiss beads, like the disks and a few of the cuff beads. Along with those I've added the Branch Lentil and Disk Beads in copper, lime and purple to my Humblebeads site.
I'm having a sale this week on my website only, 20% off all orders. Use discount code Thanks08, sale ends this Wednesday.

In other Humblebeads news, you can see my beads in the December issue of Simply Beads. Melanie from Earthenwood Studio created an awesome scarf pin using our beads together. Above is my version with one of my limited edition Frost beads. You can find the pin and the beads in my etsy shop.

Have a great night. I'm going to go dig into my fabric stash and start working on some gifts, more on this tomorrow!

November 19, 2008

Illuminated Manuscript Beads

I thought I'd give you a little peek into some more items from the Humblebeads Garden Party line, coming at the end of the month. I'm calling these Illuminated Manuscripts. They remind me of the Renaissance.

What's up the classic pearls Heath?

Well, I thought it would be funny to copy Anne Boleyn's famous B necklace. I'm thinking of making a few of these for some pre-teen nieces on my gift list, of course using their initials. The monogram beads are an antiqued gold with touches of light blue and white washed. The back are the lily pattern that you've seen on some of my other beads.

A complete view of the necklace. Finished off with chain for an adjustable length.

Another design possibility, a little more me. I used brass chain & rings, pearls in gold, lemon faceted glass and a few stones.

And a detail of the monogram bead.

So what do you think? I love them for gifts. They are bit subdued and abstracted. I could also see them used in some non-jewelry projects for a new bride.