February 27, 2009

Leaving on a Jet Plane...

I'm leaving for the airport in two hours. I'll be in New Orleans before noon! I didn't get everything done that was on my to-do list, but I know I have two eager helpers who will work for beads later today.

I won't be blogging while I'm away. Silly, since I just did the blogging interview in Stringing that says to blog every few days. I promise to share lots of photos and stories when I return on the 9th.

Until then, visit the Art Bead Scene for a daily dose of creativity!

(That's the cover of the Bead Cruise program this year.)

February 22, 2009

Almost There...

I leave in 5 days! I can not wait until the fun begins. I'm looking forward to visiting some tropical beaches. These are photos from Costa Maya from two years ago. I think this was my favorite port from all the cruises. This first photo is the main area when you get off the ship. It has a pool with a bar you can swim up to, that's handy!
My mom and I traveled a little off the beaten path to a smaller beach. They were giving massages on the beach in white billowy tents and I thought, oh that looks nice. We talked to the lady and agreed on a price. I hopped up on the table, ready for a little pampering. This girl with her fast little hands had my bathing suit top undone before I could utter a protest. Mortified I called for my mom to stand in front of me to shield me from the rest of the beach. My mom called over, "heck no, I'm getting one too," and jumped on the other table. After our adventure we sat on chairs with our feet at the edge of the ocean and enjoyed a drink with an umbrella while the waves lapped at our feet. 5 days - seems too soon for my to do list, not soon enough for my heart!

February 21, 2009

Wonder Woman

I've been wearing my cuff bracelet all week, I put it on whenever I need to feel like Wonder Woman. Jewelry can have that effect, can't it? It can give the wearer an extra dose of inner calm, strength, a reminder that we are not alone in the world but connected to many others.

My mom taught me how to bead embroider a few years ago. Mine is on the left, her design is on the right. It's fun to see how different the same beads behave under the direction of two artists.

Feeling a little better today. We packed up a major pile of orders. Maybe it was the bracelet! Now, if only I could find my invisible jet.

February 20, 2009


There is only so much stress one can handle in a week and I think I've reached my quota! So many behind the scenes things to deal with and finish. I have 7 days until I leave for New Orleans. I'm trying to think of fun things like bead shopping, dinner in the French Quarter, a week with my beloved mom and auntie. Meeting new/old friends, visiting tropical beaches, getting dressed up for dinner, having someone make my bed and clean my room each day. Come on, that has to be the best part of the whole trip. A whole week of beads, friends and all sorts of pampering. It's much nicer to focus on those things and not my ever-growing list of tasks.

So I have decided tomorrow is the last day for orders from my etsy shop. With the help of my assistant I plan to have all orders shipped by Monday. And then I can focus on work to take on the cruise, preparing for my classes and actually enjoying a few relaxing evenings with my family before I run off to parts unknown.

I wish I could pack you all up in my suitcase and bring you along for the fun!

February 17, 2009

Shop Update

Just thought I'd post a little update about my shops. Humblebeads.com is officially closed now until March 9th. So now I just need to work through the mountain of orders as quickly as possible, thank goodness for my speedy new assistant!

For those who need Humblebeads, you have until February 24th to shop in my Etsy shop. As items sell out though I will not be relisting them until I return. So once they are gone, that's is it for now. I added a few extra sets to the shop of beads I have here in the studio. Including some of the very popular disk sets that are on the new cover of Stringing and matching lentil beads.

And once I am gone, you can also order online at Bello Modo. They carry a small stock of Humblebeads, if you can't wait until I return! Pam ships super fast and offers free shipping.

10 days until I leave. A sense of panic and pure joy swarm in my head!

February 16, 2009

Blogging Tips, Part 2

So once you have your blog set up, what next?

Keep your blog posts short and sweet to start out.

Make 5 posts before you start spreading the word and asking people to stop by your blog. This is called a launch and you should have something for readers to come see before you launch your blog into the world.

You can also invite your friends and family to view your new blog after those first 5 introductory posts. Someone sent me an invite to their new blog the other day, it was very sweet.

After you have those 5 posts on your blog, leave thoughtful and heartfelt comments on 5 different blogs a day for the first week. Comments are the best part of blogging, blogging is more enjoyable when it's interactive! This is the best way to have new readers visit your blog.

Do you know it's a faux pas to ask other bloggers to add you to their blog roll? The best thing is to leave comments and if they like your blog, they will add you. If you like a blog and read it daily, add it to your blog roll.

Don't put too much pressure on yourself when you start blogging. First, no one is reading it when you start out, so don't stress! And you'll learn more tips and tricks as you go along, don't expect to be an expert before you publish your first post. The most important thing is to get into the habit of posting regularly.

A great example is new blogger, Marcia Decoster. She keeps her posts short, filled with eye-candy photos, inspiration and a peek into her creative world. Everything I look for in a good blog! She has even kept up with it despite a busy traveling schedule.
For more tips and inspiration pick up a copy of Artful Blogging.
Here was my first blog post, a to-do list. Which is funny, because my current to-do list is almost the same. Ah, the pre-Bead Cruise flurry of tasks!

February 15, 2009

Blogging Tips, Part 1

My interview in the upcoming issue of Stringing is all about blogging. You'll have to wait and read it for some tips on writing a successful blog. I've had a few people ask, how do I start a blog, so I thought I'd share some basic tips.

Go to blogger.com. There is a big orange button that says "create a blog". Follow along the simple steps to have your blog up and running in minutes. There is also a tour and videos you can watch on creating your blog. Don't worry about any techie stuff right now, just opt for the basic settings.

Some things to think about:

Your blog name - keep it short and simple. If you have a business already, use that name or something close to it.

A tag line - this can help you keep your content on track and let's your reader know what they can expect to find on your blog. My tag line for this blog is: "Art beads, jewelry-making and handcrafting a business." And that pretty much sums up every post you'll find on here. For the Art Bead Scene our tag is "Celebrating art beads, inspiring those who use them." Again, helps to keep us focused on what we write about each day.

Banner - that's the image along the top of your blog. You can do a simple text banner, using the blogger template. You can create one with photo editing software or you can purchase one from a designer. I like the ones created by Thompson Designs. A banner is like a welcome mat, it can instantly let your readers know a little bit about your style.

Design - keep your blog easy to read, like black on a light background or a black background, with white text. Don't add anything with animation or sound, this will slow down your blog and isn't appreciated by readers. You can add a fancy background later or change the color or your blog border for a little flair.

A word of warning about ads, you can have ads from google ads, project wonderful and other sources added to you blog. Make sure if you go that route, you have more content than ads. I don't visit blogs to read ads, I visit them for inspiration!

Join me tomorrow for tips on those first few posts.

February 14, 2009

Night Cap?

I picked up the latest edition of Beadwork magazine, packed to the gills with inspiration. I love the direction the magazine is headed, thanks to the new editor and very talented designer, Melinda Barta. If her name sounds familiar she is the author of Custom Cool Jewelry, one of my favorite bead books from last year! Interviews with Kate McKinnon and Lisa Peters are great reads along with a ton of creative projects. I love how they have been using smaller beaded components in the designs, very beginner friendly!

Katie Hacker has a new column in Beadwork, "Katie's Bead Secrets." This month she offers alternative uses for bead caps. You'll have to pick up the article for the scoop. She interviewed a few designers and I happen to be one of them. Here is an example that I gave for the feature.

You can just barely see the bead caps at either end of this long tube bead. They have the small end pointed toward the bead. The top holds a nice big smoky quartz bead, the bottom has a bead and loop for an extravagant tassel.
Here are a few other ideas I scrounged up where I used the bead caps upside down.

A bead cap becomes a water lily in these Lotus Lantern earrings
A bead cap is a crown for this little prince of the forest.
Back to the bead table for me. Not a very romantic Valentine's day, but having my partner's support for my creative pursuits is the best gift!

February 13, 2009

Too many...

Too many orders, too many emails, too many ideas, too many behind the scenes details...
Not enough hours, not enough hands, not enough me!
I thought I should take a moment to say hi, amidst all the busy work here in the studio.
I've decided to throw myself a life preserver here and announced that Monday, the 16th will be my last day for orders.
I need a little breather to settle all of the details for the cruise and to give myself some time to spend with my family. They are put out with me, leaving them behind for the 4th year in a row while I run off to my dream vacation.
Cue the evil laughter...mawahaha
I leave in 14 days!

February 11, 2009

Catch of the Day

This necklace is currently featured in Bead Style magazine. That is a Mamacita Beadworks button, one of my all time favorite beadmakers!

I've been so swamped with Van Gogh bead orders, I am just now getting these lovely little ones up in my etsy shop. I leave for the Bead Cruise in 16 days, these beads have me in the mood for a day of seashell hunting, snorkeling and soaking in the sun.

Ocean inspired wafers

February 6, 2009


Look who is on the cover of the next issue of Stringing! That is my Cinderella necklace right smack in the middle. I also have a bracelet and a few pairs of earrings in this issue. The best part though is the Show & Tell interview, featuring little ol' moi.

I'm beside myself. I may have to get a hold of some octopus DNA and become a multi-armed mutant beadmaker! You guys are keeping me busy.

It's an embarrassment of riches over here with the current press. Hard work and determination do pay off. Now I must steal away back to my bead table to get more beads done before another round of shipping tomorrow.

Did you know Lorelei is on the cover too! She is such an amazing designer. Don't forget to check out the sale she is having this week in her etsy shop.

This is a bracelet from her shop featuring a small Humblebead lentil in copper and sage along with lampwork glass beads and a stamped copper band that reads, "By letting go it all gets done." I need to keep telling myself that!

February 5, 2009

No Way!

In 22 days I'll head out to New Orleans for our 4th annual Bead Cruise. My to-do list is long, my goodness is it long. How does the time between the new year and February fly by so quickly? It's a mystery to me. I swear there must have been a time warp there. (Okay, I think it's called fighting a flu bug, I'm finally feeling better today.)

I'm looking forward to teaching the Sea Beads class. We have a full class and I know everyone is going to have a blast. After all, beadmaking is rocking fun. Somewhere between here and there I need to make a spectacular urchin necklace to wear on the cruise. Hmm, I must channel my inner mermaid.

I'm looking forward to so many fun things this time around. 4 ports with tropical beaches await. Who doesn't love to be treated like a queen, they really go all out for you on a cruise! I can't wait to spend time with my mom and Rosanne. I look forward to visiting with the incredibly talented instructors. My Bead Cruisers are such a sweet and creative group of women, we have many returning guests and I know I'll enjoy meeting all our new participants. That's the best part of the cruise - the amazing women we get to travel with. Okay, back to that list...