Tuesday, December 30, 2008

End of the Year Catch-up

Soooooo, my friend Lynn (half of the very talented GimmeBeads) gave me this hand-painted (by her) rock for Christmas - allegedly, it was inspired by and looks like me -
I love my picturesque rock! Although I'm not sure I have ever looked this good.
Visit Lynn and Mike's shop, soon to be known as "GimmeBeads, and GimmeRocks, while you're at it" - they're great peeps!

And now, back to the whining I was doing here.
This is the brown wire crochet necklace I made a few weeks ago - my first attempt at this medium. It includes both brown and champagne-colored freshwater pearls, pressed glass beads, Czech fire-polished beads, and seed beads. I finished it with copper cones and a copper toggle, and I am thrilled with it - it matches a couple of my outfits beautifully, and it was a lot of fun.

This is a close-up of my brown wire crochet necklace.

As I discussed last time, I decided to make a second wire-crochet necklace, this time using some gorgeous deep blue iolite chips, which I paired with some silver-blue AB Czech fire-polished beads and some white freshwater pearls.
But feeling it was a little plain-looking (I now realize this was because I used fewer, and smaller, beads than in the brown one), I decided I needed to improve on it somehow, and started adding fringe.
5 and 1/2 days of beading later, I finished the first pass of fringe, at 1:30 this morning.
This is a closeup of the fringed necklace, as it currently exists.
I keep saying this is the first pass of fringe, because the fringe is a little sparse to me in some places (I'm not saying this is a bad thing), but I feel like I've obscured the pearl and iolite framework that defined the whole thing, and even though I like the result thus far, I still feel it isn't quite right.
I clearly need my head examined - this has been 6 days of beading, and I want to do MORE??
So at the shop today, I decided to get a second opinion. I asked one of my part-time employees, who had popped in to do a little shopping. She told me I needed to remove all the fringe, and just leave the basic crocheted wire necklace.
Well I never. (As we say in the South)
And so I decided to keep asking for opinions until I got the one I wanted, as you do.
Later this afternoon, a customer who bead-weaves quite a bit came in, and I presented the whole situation to her, and she told me the fringe was absolutely perfect, and to just stop now.
So, I'll be getting a third opinion tomorrow.
As I have explained to the wise Carol Dean Sharpe, I often feel like my Etsy Shop has cooties. (Remember cooties, folks - back in 6th grade?) Anyway, my beautiful designs sit on the shelves of my poor shop, pining away for a good home, and I get a sale every 3 or 4 months, just to keep me hanging on.
But now that my designs are also on display in my bead shop, I sell 2 or 3 things daily that are also listed on Etsy - and these are the ones that sold today:
These striking magnasite rondelle earrings, accented with sterling silver and Swarovski crystals. The necklace that matched them actually sold from my Etsy shop over a year ago or so - and now the earrings have finally found a great home.

Then these gorgeous rose gold and sterling silver hoop earrings sold!
I just wish there was some magical way for me to mark all these things as sold in my Etsy shop, instead of just deleting them - I feel like it would be a truer reflection of my success, but whatEVER.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Friday, December 26, 2008


I decided to close the shop today, and enjoy a day off - I'm not one of those after-Christmas shopper/returners, and I really did not want to fight the traffic to get to my shop, plus I really didn't think most after-Christmas shoppers would be hitting up the bead shop.
So I'm home today with Bailey, doing some beading (that is, I'm doing the beading, Bailey's doing the napping).

This is my latest project:
I've been experimenting with silver crochet, and enjoying it.
In my first project I used a mixture of brown freshwater pearls, champagne freshwater pearls, several earthy, shiny colors of Czech fire-polish beads, and some taupe pinch beads.

It turned out beautifully, with a very organic look, and goes with a lot of my outfits, but it's just kind of plain, for me.

For my second attempt, I chose gorgeous iolite chips, white freshwater pearls, and 4mm silver AB finish Czech fire-polished beads. I love the colors, and the combination, but I just felt like it still lacked "oomph."

So the beadweaver in me jumped up and insisted that I embellish it with fringe. I should make it very clear at this point that I HATE adding fringe to stuff, and usually limit it to a few (as in less than 10) strands on a peyote bail, or some such.

But yet, this seemed like a good plan to me.

Emphasis on "seemed."

It took me maybe 4 hours to croched the necklace you see above.
When I finished, I picked some matching seedbeads, and started adding fringe. 2 and a half DAYS later, I had fringed 6 inches of this necklace, and realized that although I kind of like how it's turning out,
a) the fringe isn't full enough, so when I complete this pass, I will have to go back and add a second full pass of fringe.
b) this is going to take forty forevers to finish.

This shot shows the current status - the point where fringe meets unfringed,

and here's how the first few inches look - the fringe is just a little too sparse for me.
I worked on it for 2 hours this afternoon, while watching some "Bones" reruns I Tivo'd Christmas Eve. Then I just HAD to take a break.
Fringing is tedious.
I was going to work on it some yesterday, but then I got a reprieve - a friend called and invited me to go to dinner and a movie with her and her fiancee. She and I voted for "Marley and Me", but the fiancee voted for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," stating that "Marley and Me" was a chick flick, and he wouldn't be caught dead in a chick flick. And he figured Brad Pitt would never MAKE a chick flick.

So we saw Benjamin Button, and as we were filing out, my friend asked Mr. Macho Fiancee what he thought of it, and his snarly response was "Chick Flick". Of course, we were laughing hysterically at this, as he defensively responded that it was a "love story", and hence a chick flick. And that we should have seen "Valkyrie". Good grief.

Then we tried to find some place open for dinner at 10 PM. In Augusta, Georgia. Know what's open at 10PM on Christmas Day in Augusta? Convenience stores, and Waffle House. So we had a delicious post-chick flick meal at the Awful Waffle. Of course, the Waffle House near the theater was already packed, undoubtedly with like-minded movie folk, so we drove several miles to the next closest one.

Just a little clue for restaurants and bars, especially in this area - opening up for the dinner and theater crowd on Christmas evening = good for business... Just saying...

And now I have run out of excuses to not fringe, so I guess I'll go back to it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I just gotta say...

Running my B&M bead shop keeps me hopping about 16 hours a day, 6 to 7 days a week, but it's doing wonders for my "Etsy" sales, in a way.

Just today, these 2 Etsy items sold from my B&M bead shop -

This wire-wrapped dichroic glass pendant had been in my Etsy shop for at least a year, and had been featured in several treasuries.

This wire-wrapped ring had been in my Etsy shop for at least 8 months.

And in the past 2 weeks, these other Etsy items have sold from my bead shop:

This gorgeous beadwoven spiral necklace, listed in September '07, which was frequently featured in Etsy treasuries.

These Swarovski crystal "pinecone" earrings, listed in my Etsy shop last November.

This fabulous bronze peyote cuff, with its eccentric matte blue stripe.

This beadwoven spiral with a gorgeous turquoise heart focal bead was actually purchased by a bride-to-be to wear in her western-themed wedding! She wore jeans, a white long-sleeved button-down shirt, and this necklace, and rode up to the ceremony on horseback. She brought the wedding album in to show me, so that was really gratifying for me.

These cute purple lampwork earrings - but fear not! Their turquoise and their green siblings are still in my Etsy shop!

And this is just in the past 2 weeks... so tomorrow, I am hauling the rest of my Etsy stuff down to the shop, and putting it on display!

So if you've hearted, or had your eye on, something in my Etsy shop and find that it is suddenly no longer there, it may have sold here locally. Thanks Augusta (and Aiken, and North Augusta, and Lincolnton, and Thomson).

OR, it may have traveled over to my ArtFire Studio, where things have been selling within 24 hours of being listed - I'm kind of crushing on ArtFire right now. Not to mention, I got a personal phone call from ArtFire's Jessica today, trying to help me with a problem I had contacted them about. I would have been happy with an e-mail, but a personal phone call, on December 23 - what excellent customer service! Plus, while we were talking, she needed to ask Matt (the IT guru) a question, and told me he was just in the next room, and she actually hollered her question over at him, and I heard him answer!

Bailey is quietly snoring by my side (with his back to me, out of disdain for my prolonged computer time tonight), so I'm going to wrap this up, and cuddle a bit with him and watch NCIS. Yeah, it's a repeat, but I'd pretty much watch Mark Harmon read the phone book, so NCIS here I come.

Y'all have a great Holiday, OK?

PS - and if you want to see some out-of-this world wire-wrapping, go here. Girl's got some mad skillz!

Merry Christmas, Sharon!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Latest

Still staying really busy with the shop!


We had a holiday party last week at the shop, and may I just say: Champagne punch. We had some kick-ass champagne punch. And a lot of fun! It was absolutely pouring rain, complete with thunder and lightning, but we had a great turnout, and a terrific time.

I have very little time to be creative, but I spent about an hour yesterday photographing the things I have made since I bought the shop - and over the next few days, I hope to have these listed either on Etsy or Artfire.

In the meantime, here's a preview:

I love this beaded byzantine bracelet! I used 16 gauge copper rings, and gorgeous cobalt blue lampwork beads.
I made this Sunday as a sample for the chainmaille class I'm scheduled to teach in January.
Love that chainmaille!

Classic black and white herringbone bracelet, made with white 4mm glass cubes, and black size 6 seed beads, and then embellished with black size 11s. Then I found this great vintage black and white button to use as a closure.
This is one of the more popular beadweaving classes I teach.

I came upon this gorgeous freeform carnelian cab which had been set in a sterling silver bezel.
I paired it with carnelian rounds, big chunks of citrine, and big silver Bali spacers.

These are the matching earrings.

I taught myself the Dutch spiral, and this is my first attempt - I used size 8 Delicas, in a rich mauve color, and dark pink galvanized elevens.
It started out to be a simple rope, but then I saw how well it went with this gorgeous painted jasper focal, and here's the result.
I stiched a large bail with the same beads as the rope, and added some embellishing fringe.

This is a fun bracelet - simple peyote stitch using 3 different sizes of seed beads, which gives a ruffle effect.
This bracelet is royal purple, but purple never photographs well for me - maybe I'll learn the secret one day.

This wire wrapped bracelet was a nightmare!
I love the colorful ruby in zoisite focal bead. I love the bracelet, and it fits like a dream, and is very comfortable.
But it is truly one-of-a-kind for me, because it was the hardest thing I have ever done, and I will never make another one!

These aren't the only things I have made over the last 5 months, because several things have actually already sold, but I still hate that my creative time is so reduced by the amount of time and energy it takes to run a small business!
So, Happy Holidays to everyone, in case I can't get back here anytime soon!