April 19, 2015

The ABS Editors Take the Challenge

Today a few of us from the Art Bead Scene blog are sharing how the monthly challenge painting by Frida Kahlo has inspired us this month. You can read all the challenge details here.

The story and symbolism behind this painting is so sad, it reflected the pain and heartbreak of losing the two great loves of her life.

For my beads that I created I focused on the foliage behind the artist, taking visual clue from the leaf and sky. Even the butterflies in her hair found their way into the beads. I also did a design inspired by the thorns.

I took the disk beads and created two bracelets with ceramic cuffs from Suzie Q Beads.

For this design I used a series of jump rings to create the chain. 

The next bracelet I took a few cues from the painting but went into a more playful direction than the serious subject matter of the painting. 

For this bracelet I added in a tropical Bonbon bead. I definitely stepped away from the inspiration and went in a brighter and cheerier design.

And isn't that the best thing about the monthly challenge? It's a spring board that takes artists from all the world on creative explorations as they take a painting and transform the colors, designs and subject into jewelry.

Have you created something for this month's challenge? You still have a few days, so join us!

Featured Beads: Bonbon Beads and Wild Growth Disk Beads.

April 16, 2015

Cross Promoting with a Gift Guide

My tip for today is for artisans to band together to improve your marketing efforts with a gift guide collaboration!

We have a group of jewelry and bead artists on Facebook who use the web host Indiemade.com. Because most of us are crossing over from Etsy to have our own independent websites, we are always trying to find creative ways to promote our jewelry on our stand along websites. It's a little scary out there on the internet all alone. We are smart designers and know there is strength in numbers. Our group helps with advice, technical issues and promotional efforts.

Our latest effort is a Mother's Day Gift Guide. We had a designer put the booklet together for us and each of us have a two-page spread in the guide featuring our top picks for Mother's Day. We are now reaching out to our social media and online groups sharing our gift guide, providing us with much more exposure than any of us could get on our own.

While we are a collective of jewelry designers, I would also recommend creating a gift guide with artists who work in different mediums. They can be local artists that you know or start collaborating online with artists who you've met in our social media circles.

You may only think of gift guides for the holiday shopping season but you can do gift guides for anytime of the year based on a theme, occassion or product. You could do a Bridal Gift Guide, a gift guide for grads, a summer style gift guide, a hostess gift guide if you create home goods. Get creative and then find your tribe to start the process.

A few tips:
1. Use Issuu to create and publish your gift guide. This is our lesson learned, Joomag doesn't enable mobile viewing without paying a hefty price.

2. Find a designer on Odesk to put together your booklet, share the expense with your fellow gift guide participants.

3. Use a Facebook group to coordinate the participants. We had a file for the links, ways to share and now we are keeping track of where we have shared the gift guide.

4. Give everyone the assignment to reach out to 2-3 blogs, media outlets or groups to share the gift guide once it's published.

Take a look at our Mother's Day Gift Guide!

Click on the arrow in the upper right corner below to see the booklet full size - you don't want to miss out on all the beauty!

April 15, 2015

Beady Advice For Happier Times:

Believe good things are going to happen.

Surround yourself with precious friends.

Just bee yourself darling.

Remember, wishes do come true - make at least one a day!

There are seasons of growth, embrace change.

Variety is the spice of life, mix things up every now and then. 

Share your favorite quote or words of wisdom that have helped you lately.

(Click on the images to read more about the beads.)

April 13, 2015

Email Marketing Webinar

Want to know the one marketing effort that has consistently brought in sales through all my years of owning a business? It's been email marketing. Hands down. 
And tomorrow I'm going to share every tip I know to help you grow your business through email campaigns. 
In this web seminar you'll learn:
  • Important tips for creating emails that get opened and speak to your customer.
  • Techniques for convincing potential and current customers to sign up for your email list.
  • Creative ways to brainstorm content for your emails.
  • How to maximize your social media accounts to get more subscribers.
  • Different ways to create emails that translate into sales.
The webinar starts at 1pm EST but if you can't make it they send out a recording so you won't miss a thing. 

Save your spot! Click here to register.

And while we are talking about emails are you signed up as a Humblebeads VIP Designer? I frequently send out jewelry biz tips to help my customer grow their jewelry business, along with awesome free projects, creative tips, exclusive gifts, discounts and more.

April 10, 2015

Prayer Tassel Necklace

Beads can be so much more than pretty shiny things that appeal to our magpie gene! A piece of jewelry can be infused with meaning and a silent prayer that you wear through the day as a talisman or reminder of deeper meanings and symbols. 

I reviewed a great little book years ago called Bead One, Pray Too and it came to mind last night when I was making this necklace. 

I made this necklace as a reminder and a prayer to myself that no matter how harsh the winter, spring always comes. No matter how hard the day, tomorrow has the promise of being a better one. 

So I picked some beads to symbolize things I'd like to remember when wearing this necklace. It's a prayer for my family. And if you are a mom you know whether you are religious or not, there is a always a prayer in our heart for your beloved children!

I used two charms to symbolize my daughters. The leaf, is my youngest. She floats, goes with the flow, she is flexible and giving. 

The other charm is a flower, my oldest. Ready to bloom into an adult, she is beautiful and has layers of complexity that makes her so interesting and creative. 

The nest symbolizes our family, our home. It's in the center, it's the heart beat that keeps me going each day.

I added a bird, that symbolizes me. I'm the mother hen, brooding over my nest. With wings that gather them in for protection and comfort on the rare moments they let me! 

I choose beads that are bright and cheery with a playful mix. A reminder to let joy seep in during the trials. To bring love and light to each day.

In case you are wondering about the construction - the beaded strand is on waxed linen, I knotted between the beads.

At the end of the strand I attached it to the ball chain by wrapping and tying it several times around the chain. I added a dot of glue to keep things in place. I threaded the linen through the connector and then trimmed it. I did that for both sides of the necklace and then attached the two sides with a little bit more of the ball chain.

Oh and a really good tip my aunt Rosanne shared with me about the tassels - brush them out with a toothbrush to make them fuller.

Leaf and nest from Stinky Dog Beads. Flower from Gardanne. Ceramic bead: Firefly Designs. Disk Beads and Bird: Humblebeads.

Have you been having fun making these tassels? I know I can't quit!

April 8, 2015

Game of Thrones Jewelry Reveal

A few weeks ago I put out a challenge for my fellow jewelry designers to create a piece of jewelry inspired by Game of Thrones. 

For my creations I was inspired by the Women of Westeros. 

My first creation is inspired by Sansa Stark - whose jewelry got her into all sorts of trouble last season. (PS - don't go to a wedding in Westeros, ever!)

I loved the transformation at the end of last season and seeing that Sansa has decided to drop the damsel in distress act and take her fate into her own hands, at least somewhat. I hate to see her as a pawn of Baelish - he is such a weasel. 

I loved the darker look that she adopted while at the Eyrie. I think she would have opted for something that gave a nod to the House of Arryn and I could see her wearing this while avoiding her unhinged aunt. 

The necklace features artisan beads that I created and clasp by Green Girl Studios.
Chain provided by Stinky Dog Beads.

My next inspiration was the Mother of Dragons - Daenerys Targaryen. Oh my gosh, who doesn't love her? 

I created a pendant that pulled in elements that reminded me of her. This bead has the look of a dragon eye so I decided Daenerys would definitely be wearing this while ruling her growing empire.

She would rub the bead while dreaming of of the Iron Throne with her three dragons circling above. She'd have on one of those silky blue dresses that she is always sporting. 

 The pendant features a lampwork bead from Genea Beads and art beads that I created.

And dragon scale earrings because what else would the Mother of Dragons wear? I like the slightly scorched look of the ceramic beads in this one. You can't rule dragons without getting a little burnt, right?

The earrings feature pewter charms from Invicti, ceramic bead from White Clover Kiln and beads I created. 

The next character who I love to watch what she is going to do next is Margaery Tyrell. What a dangerous woman, she doesn't want to be a queen - she wants to be THE queen. I loved that. She is all about using beauty and charm to disarm her enemies and get what she wants. 

Since her family is the House of Tyrell and the rose is their symbol with their motto as "Growing Strong" I went with a floral design that she might have brought back from Highgarden. 

I used tiny bits of silk wrapped in wire that I felt looked a dress she would wear - of course it would be cut way too low. I can't wait to see what happens next to this character who appears to be the luckiest unlucky bride in all the seven kingdoms.  Two husbands dead already and she hasn't got her first gray hair!

The bracelet features a house bead that I created, enamel beads from Gardanne Beads and pewter leaves from Green Girl Studios.

Enter to Win The Dragon Jewel Pendant!

Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter to win this artisan Dragon Jewel Pendant.

It features a handcrafted lampwork bead by Genea Beads and accents with a brass filigree pendant and polymer clay beads. The gunmetal chain measures 26" long.

Retail value $55. US residents only, must be 18 years of older to enter.

If you are playing along with the challenge, enter your blog link below. I'm counting down the days until Sunday - can't wait to watch how the game is played this season!

An InLinkz Link-up
Add Your Link Here

April 1, 2015

Humblebeads + Stinky Dog Beads

My Mission: Create something with the owl beads and Czech glass provided by Stinky Dog Beads

Current Obsession: Tassels

Little Touches: Tiny faceted copper beads and fun magnetic clasp (from my trip to Puerto Rico)

Realization: Of all the beads I make, I'm still smitten with my disk beads above all others. 

You can find the directions to make the tassels here.

For these tiny ones I used 4 strands of floss, wrapped 3 times around on a 1" x 1" piece of cardboard with 10mm jump rings. 

Ceramic bead: White Clover Kiln. 

Stinky Dog Beads has an awesome shiny new website that causes drooling and bank accounts to dwindle! The owls are available in several colors. Be sure to sign up for their mailing list for a great discount to use on your first order.