January 26, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday

Bead Table Wednesday
Oh, looky looky what's on my table today! I'm thrilled to be part of the Earthenwood Design Team for 2011.  Melanie sent us a fun package of her wood inspired Cabin Fever toggle and connector sets.  I am quite the fan of faux bois anything so these just tickle me to pieces.  I paired them up with a Green Girl Studio nest, some Czech glass leaves, an Elaine Ray ceramic bead and some of my olive spacers.  I am working on a project for submission to a fall issue of a magazine, so I won't be able to show a finished piece for a while. 

But do check out Melanie's blog to see what other design team members have created with her Cabin Fever collection.

And what my bead table really looks like today! This is the aftermath of a photo session of inspiration items that will be in my book. 

So dear friends, what's on your bead table today?  Share your pics on the Bead Table Wednesday Flick Group.

January 20, 2011

Starry Night Challenge

Vintaj's next design challenge is Starry Nights - how could I not be all over that!

Van Gogh and Vintaj - throw in some chocolate and I'm in heaven.

Read all about the challenge here.

Order Van Gogh beads here.

Get the best chocolate in the world here.  (Thanks Erin!)

January 19, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday - show me your mess!

Is it Wednesday again, where does the time go!

So on my bead table this week are Czech glass flowers and my Illuminated Manuscript bead.  This is for a free project that will be in my newsletter on Monday.

I had to laugh last week when I read that someone needed to clean up their bead table before they could play along.  Wrong-o!  Show me the mess - or at least the little bit you are working on this week.  I thought it might be helpful for you to see a glimpse of my work space at the moment.  This is the dig site, where archaeological finds will one day be discovered.  I could blame it on not enough hours in the day, but really I'm just too lazy to put these darn things away.  It's not all bad though, sometimes I look down and I'll be like, "Eureka, Watson - look at those beads together!" And then I'll go off and make with the fabulous. 

So join the fun and play along with us today.  I see some creatives have already jumped in this morning. Yeah! 

January 18, 2011

Creativity Booster

Be sure to sign up to have my weekly updates sent directly to your inbox. 

Yesterday I sent out a Creativity Boosters edition to my mailing list and challenged readers to find a color palette from a home magazine.  So that's exactly what I did.
Being addicted to my Ipod, I immediately pulled out an app to do the job. I snapped a photo from the magazine and used Color Stream to create a color palette.  Okay, here is the cool thing about that app - they have a program that searches flickr for photos based on your color palette.  And that's how I found the lovely butterfly image that will help inspire some new spring creations. 

I've been seeing these colors in magazines for both home and fashion. I've pulled some beads from my stash in these colors and will work on something with them soon. 

How are you challenging yourself this week?

Butterfly photo from cdw9.

The beads are available in my etsy shop this week.

Stop by tomorrow for Bead Table Wednesday.

January 14, 2011

Etsy Advice

An old family friend emailed me today asking for advice on starting on Etsy and I thought I'd share my advice with you too.

The two most important things are learning to take amazing photos and listing new items in your shop frequently. I would plan to list 12-15 items one weekend to set up your shop and have a 'grand opening.' After that, listing at least something once a week is a good idea. (I would suggest everyday for bead or jewelry makers) It's really hard to sell from an empty shop, so make sure you have inventory to sell and get it listed as often as possible.

A street team would be helpful to someone new on etsy. I know there are teams for almost any medium, style and interest along with teams based on your city or state. I would join a local team first. A team is a group of shop owners that work together to promote each other, each team is different.

Check out the Etsy handbook for tons of great articles on everything you need to know about setting up and running an Etsy shop.

And subscribe to the Etsy Success newsletter, they always offer great information. They are doing a series on shop makeovers right now with lots of great photo tips and weekly assignments.

You don't need a website if you have a blog and an etsy shop. You can set up your blog as your website. If you don't have a blog, work on that too. You have to connect with the online creative community if you are going to sell online.

It is a lot of work to succeed selling online. Finding a niche in your medium will help you stand out from the crowd and increase your chances of success.

Good luck,

January 12, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday

It's Bead Table Wednesday - pull out that camera and give us a peak of what you are working on this week.   For me, it's a little snippet of autumn inspired beads that I'm working with for possible projects for the Fall issue of Stringing magazine.  

It's chilly here so the weather has put me in the right frame of mind.  Although really I could work with the autumn colors and themes all year round, they are some of my favorites.

And just so you know, I do have a working bead table - not just pretty vignettes of beads scattered about.  Actually I have two work tables - one is an archaeological dig and the other is where I'm taking photos and finishing projects, like the ones pictured above.
I'm having so much fun taking pics with my Ipod but thought I'd pull out the old camera and macro lens for a close up shot. 

Pictured left to right, back row: acorn from Gaea, pendant from Heather Wynn, modern forest toggle clasp and golden branches disk beads from me.

Front row: Ceramic acorn from Diane Hawkey, owl pendant from Green Girl Studios and oak leaf pendant from me.

Join in the fun and play along with us!  Wondering what it's all about, read more here.

January 10, 2011

Creative Jump Starts

1. Go through your bead box and pick something out you brought years ago, use it this week.

2. Find an usual photo and use a color palette generator to pick colors for you.  Create a bracelet using these colors.

3. Create a heart pendant to use in a design. Try one of these:
Try polymer clay with texture sheets and alcohol inks.
Fill a heart bezel with an image and resin.
Cut one out of copper and hammer a texture on it.
Try your hand at wire-wrapping a heart.

Have fun this week! Maybe I'll see some of these inspirations on your bead table on Wednesday.

January 9, 2011

Time to Play

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. ” Plato

One of my goals for 2011 is to spend more time in my studio playing.  One of the pitfalls of being a production beadmaker is monotony.  I don't mind making the same beads over and over, it's rather zen.  What I don't like is not having time to try new ideas and explore.  That makes me a cranky pants.  So to make sure that doesn't happen I have penciled in some special creative sessions.

One of my play dates will be the Bead of the Month Club
I've decided to challenge myself to a monthly beadmaking session to explore and have fun.  I'm offering (selling) 15 memberships to have these treasures sent to you each month.  Some of the beads will be club exclusives and not for sale to the public, others may find their way into my regular line or my Etsy shop.

Let your work be your play time, have fun, explore, remember the joy of creation! Set aside your worries and fears for a day and fall in love with color. Take chances, get silly, throw some beads in a bowl and pull out a random selection.  Don't worry if something will sell.  Make something you would love and don't want to sell! Learn from mistakes, they are stepping stones not roadblocks.

PLAY, play with those beads like you're at summer camp!

January 8, 2011


"When you are grateful fear disappears and abundance appears." - Anthony Robbins

Today I'm grateful for:
My daughter asking my advice and listening.
Laughing with my husband.
The ability to creatively solve problems.
Brilliant minds holding the candle to lead the way.
Friendships near and far.
Dreams coming true.

Share something you are grateful for today, I will enjoy reading them. 

January 6, 2011

Notes to Myself

1. Don't try to keep up with anyone but yourself.

2. Don't compare yourself to others - relish in your uniqueness.

3. Don't worry about coming up with new ideas. They will happen when you give yourself time to play.

4. Dream bigger than you have before.

5. Focus on what you can offer, not on what you don't have.

6. You will not fall behind everyone else, you are doing exactly what you should be at this moment.

7. Don't be too guarded, life brings amazing things when you are open to new possibilities.

8. It's not a competition, it's a journey. Fellow artists are not competitors, they are travel companions.

9. You have 8-10 hours to work a day, not 12-16. Your business will not fall apart if you work humane hours.

10. Water will not pour from an empty jar, make sure you fill your soul with inspiration and give yourself time to relax. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

January 5, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday

Okay, so it's hump day and I had a little flash of inspiration for some beady fun.

Let's share a little snap shot of our bead table each Wednesday.

I created a flickr group for you to upload your photos.  Feel free to blog about your Bead Table Wednesday entries or btw as I like to call it.  That works, right?  It's like btw here is what's on my table.  (btw = by the way or bead table Wednesday.)

So here is what's on my table at the moment.  A flock of canaries and teal birds for a wholesale order.

And components for a bracelet order.  This one involved hammering Vintaj brass blanks with my riveting hammer and bench block.

I'm LOVING my Ipod and camera apps like Instagram and Hipstamatic to alter photos.  It's too much fun and quite addicting.

Okay, I really want you to play along.  So pull out the camera and give us a quick peek! 

Here are two banner icons to use for your blog, if you'd like.  Link them to the flickr group.

January 4, 2011

Endless Changes

It's our first day home.  We enjoyed a wonderful holiday in Michigan with my family.

I'm suffering from a little bit of brain mush today sorting out everything that needs to be done this week.  

It looks like fall here.  I forgot.  

The last few days have been a time of reflection.  24 hours in a car will do that. There are many changes to come in the next few months.  Life. Altering. Changes. They are both good and scary.  I will share more when I can.

Whatever adventure lies ahead I'm looking forward to the New Year.

What I'm not looking forward to - the 400 emails that await my immediate attention.

There may not be much on the bead front this week as I'm working away on finishing up the book. 

Hope you are all well and have carved out some time to plan your next trek in this creative journey.  Check out Erin's awesome blog posts for some New Year inspiration here and here.