Friday, November 30, 2007
I am thinking about developing a "Line" of jewelry.
What is a line? Well, for me, it would mean selecting several of my more basic (easily reproduced) designs and making a given number of them for resale. Off the top of my head, I am thinking I would use "Two Fors", "Spinners", "Fangle Bangles", and "Flings" (and a few more that are in my sketchbook too). I would research and design specific seasonally appropriate color combos. So for example... I would come up with 3-4 color combos for spring/summer "Two Fors", make 10-12 of them, and those would be the only ones of those colors available for that season. In my mind, all the jewelry would work together as a group. Meaning the colors I use for "Two Fors" would work with the colors I make the "Fangle Bangles" in.
Why do I want to create a line? Hmmm... good question. It seems to make sense from a business stand point. I would be making myself much more marketable if I had a line. I would be able to more easily put together promotional packets to send to galleries and boutiques. I would then be able to more readily fill orders for them too. I think it would take a lot of the stress out of preparing for a show as well. One of the things that I find stresses me most about show prep is the need to constantly reinvent myself and my designs. I have to fill a booth with as many pieces as I can (theoretically) but often times I run out of ideas. I think replenishing the line would be easier.
How could you give up your one-of-a-kind creations? Well that is the thing... I wouldn't. It would be my plan to use the line as filler with my OOAK things. I would still do wild and over the top creations. I would still embrace my "Kabs" style. And I even think that having some of the pressure off of needing to make a dozen different things would free up my mind to design more new things.
Okay so why haven't you done it already? I don't really have a good answer for this other then that I want to get some input from you all. You readers are the ones that buy so much of my work. Do you buy my things because they are OOAK? Would you still want a design that there maybe a dozen more of out there in the world?
Other things floating randomly through my head.... I am only one person, I can't continue to grow my business if I don't come up with a way to make more things... then again, I get moody when pigeon holed, could I commit to doing a line... am I selling out if I create a line... I would still only make OOAK bead box sets... no lampwork bead lines. I am a little excited at the idea of a line because of getting to "launch" the new designs and colors of each season. It would be something to look forward to, and I would love to see what people end up going for and what everyone hates, lol.
I found several interesting articles at Lapidary Journal's website. Have a look: Balancing Art and Business, and Supporting Inspiration (I really got a lot out of this one).
Okay, so now you have an assignment. Think on this... and let me know your thoughts!!
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Hmmm, lemme see if I can figure out where it went...
The boys surprised me by reminding me that they had a half day of school. It is parent teacher conference time again. Our conference isn't until next week so that is the excuse I'll use for not remembering today was a day off, lol.
Lauren and I tidied up, folding laundry and making beds. We did some sweeping and dishwashing too. By the time we got through that, the boys were back home. Right about the time they were walking in the door, I had started cleaning the studio. I can't even tell you what kind of disaster was down there. And I realized I had been avoiding it, so the least I could do was have it clean down there while I avoid it. LOL.
I threw everyone in the car for some grocery shopping. You can imagine what a joy that was with 3 kids, but is was actually not too bad. Ron is going to a poker game tonight so I let everyone pick out personal pizzas for dinner. I'll be getting those started when I am done blogging. Other things we picked up bread, cereal, snacks... oh! and cream soda!! It was on sale, I love it!!
Okay now my guilty pleasure of the day... something I haven't done in ages... after groceries were away, I let the boys get out the Playstation 2 while Lauren and I snuggled to watch The Little Mermaid on my bed. And... I fell asleep. LOL... yep, I took a good old fashion nap. Can you believe it? Anyone else get a nap anymore? Two hours later I could barely pull myself out of bed... curse that down comforter. I know I am going be up all night, lol. Good thing the studio is clean, I can go play!!
So that's it... my day.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I heard back pretty quickly from one of the editors at the magazine. They would love to use my beads for The Challenge, but the wait list is up to Summer 2009. I said OKAY! Put me on the list. A few days later the editor contacted me again. She said that she had shown my work to an editor at Stringing magazine. They loved my beads and asked if I would send in THESE beads for their "Beads To Buy" department. They said the beads looked very "outer worldly" and that they would fit their "Celestial" theme perfectly.
Naturally, I couldn't refuse! I was honored!! But, the beads they wanted had sold months earlier. I set to making a new set, just for them, with it's own color scheme. I took out the coral orange of the original set and replaced it with lime green. Fun huh? You'll have to excuse the poor image quality of the photo above, I know it is tiny. It is from the Stringing website. It is an excerpt from the page of beads to buy. Look close and you can see my beads right there in the bottom middle.
I always find it amusing when I read the changes that the editors make to my submissions. "Frozen Branches" was changed to "Dancing Arces"... "Hip To Be Square" was changed to "Connecting The Dots". And now my "Orbiters" were said to be inspired by Vincent Van Gogh's "Starry Nights". I guess I can see where they got that idea, lol.
Now, I bet you are wondering what will happen to these beads next. The editors are actually using them at the magazine for a project in an up coming issue of something. I don't have any of the details yet, but once I have them, I'll let you know!
In other beady news... I plan to get to the torch and start work on new Bead Box Beads today. I have no idea what I will work on... if you have suggestions for what you would like to see, PLEASE, leave a comment. I recently bought some of Double Helix's new glass Terranova... maybe I will play with that!!
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
About a month ago, I told y'all my Mom's basset hound, Wilhelmina, had a litter of puppies. All this time I have been forgetting to share pictures of them with you!! The kids and I go to visit them about once a week. They have gotten so cute. They are now 5 weeks old and in a few more weeks, they will be ready to go to loving homes. One little boy and girl are headed to Canada. I think I heard one is heading to New Jersey. And one is staying local. There are 7 all together!!
Mom thinks she can send one over here and they are cute and all, but nope... a puppy isn't for us right now. Even if the Christmas timing is perfect, lol. I could put one in a hat box like on Lady and The Tramp, lol! Maybe someday.
Hey, if you are thinking of getting a puppy and you can't resist the love and warmth of a hound dog... send me an email. I will get you my Mom's information. :)
Monday, November 26, 2007
We had a slightly troubling weekend with some petty family drama about the coming holiday. I was really bothered by it and decided that I needed to remind myself what is most important to me about this time of year. For me, it's the magic I see in my kids. I love their awe at something sparkling and the twinkle of excitement they get. Seeing them wonder at the magic of it all makes me feel so good.
Last year, I threw out the Christmas lights we usually hang outside. (Sorry Lindsey, I won't do it again!) Most all the bulbs were blown and 90% of the strands didn't light up. So, at dinner, we put things to a vote... should we get white, bright or blue lights for the house this year? It was 4 to 1 for brights. Poor Jacob was the odd man out having wished for blue lights. I decided to surprise him with his very own blue Christmas.
Lauren and I went to the store this morning and bought a mini (fake) Christmas tree ($5), a single strand of blue lights ($2) and a box of mini blue bulbs ($2). We also bought the lights for outside while we were there too. While Lauren was at preschool and the boys at school, I put on some elf ears and set to work. I decked the tree out in blue and set it up on Jacob's dresser in a spot where Andrew gets to see it from his bed too (they share a room). I had an old one that I set up in Lauren's room for her too. I hung the Christmas wreathe (photo above) on our front door and put the lights up on the house too!!
The whole day made me want to hum Christmas carols and drink peppermint mocha coffee. I feel so warm and cozy. And it has helped ease me tension over the trials of this weekend. I hope I can make this last until the 25th!
Friday, November 23, 2007
Me, on the other hand, I am doing what I love today when it snows. I am curled up inside with hot coffee. I am working on a very over due website update. I took about 100 pictures already. I am sorting through them, editing and description writing. There are necklaces, bracelets, bottle caps and earrings coming your way!!
The photo for today is of "Fiesta Too". Anyone remember me necklace from the summer of 2006 called "Fiesta"? I told y'all a few weeks ago that I would be revisiting some of my old creations and that is just what I did in this case. I decided to go with egg shaped beads instead of the pressed lentils. I can't really tell you why, I just did, lol. I like all the lines and dots. The patterns a bold and graphic, but simplistic at the same time. Just a fun, fabulous necklace!! (Hmmm... might make a good Holiday present for someone special... hint hint)
Keep your eye on my site... there will be loads of things posted over the next couple hours/days.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO BONNIE,
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO BONNIE,
Happy Birthday Dear Sister,
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO BONNIE!
Yep, my little sister is now another year older. The kids and I (they are off from school for the next 5 days) popped in for an afternoon-present-drop-off-visit. It is so weird/funny to see kids in my sister's appartment... it is always a hoot. We set her up with everything she needs to get started painting. She has been pine-ing after an easel and paints for months... now she has it. If she comes up with anything worth sharing, I will be sure to post it. I have my fingers crossed that she has a bit of the artistic gene too. How great it will be to support her in art as she has supported me!!
Other then that, it really is a nutty week and weekend to come. Things are down right frantic and I am at a loss for clever commentary. So, I hope y'all don't mind if I do just a little photo sharing minus the writing over the next few days. Besides... you all are frantic with your own family things, you don't need to be reading my blog!!
Go give thanks for something!
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
Photos today are from this Saturday's Trunk Show at Joolz. It was a lot of fun and a great learning experience. It was my first time demo-ing beadmaking in public. I really thought fire would draw a crowd, and at times it did... but I have to scold you locals!! WHERE WERE MY PEPS? I missed my regulars!! But you'll have another chance... Francie and I are planning on doing this again in the spring. Next time I think I'll do a more traditional mass mailing of postcards :) email didn't grab enough attention!
While making beads at the shop, I was sitting in front of a gorgeous display case. There was this mesh/wire/hollow silver beaded necklace that was right there in my face the entire time. It was really beautiful. It made me want to make some hollows. I have tried numerous times to 'do' hollows, but with only limited success. I have 2-3 out of a dozen that actually worked. But yesterday, I thought, what the heck, I'll give it a try. Made 3, easily, I dare say... perfectly. I think it was because I was on my trusty old HotHead torch!! I love that old guy. I think he will have to be mounted on my desk for 'special' projects. I have an idea brewing for a new hollow necklace. I'll be sure to share how it goes!!
So, this is the big week... kick off to the holidays! I'll be hosting Thanksgiving this year with Ron's and my families. YIKES!! Then Saturday is my cousin's wedding!! It is going to be a busy week.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
I stood up and went about my morning... getting the kids ready, pouring that coffee, waking up Ron. I thought "the computer will restart and be ready in a few minutes, I 'll come back to it". When I did go back, I discovered that it hadn't restarted after all. It was sitting at a black screen that said something to the effect that Window system configuration was corrupt or non existent. You choose.
I ran to Ron in the shower... "honey, there is something wrong with the computer..." I ended up spending literally hours today trying desperately to first get the computer to just boot up to the windows screen and second saving whatever I could data wise. So no nice pretty pictures to look at today. They are trapped on the fried computer, and I am stuck on the kids computer for a few days until we get things sorted out.
Some days I wish I wasn't so dependant on cyber space.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
"Cha Cha Cha"!
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
I think I am addicted to epoxy. I love it... it makes so many new things possible!! I have not only been exopy-ing "Posters", but I have been making head pins too!! So that means new dangle earrings with a bead stuck on the end that does not have a little ball of silver out the bottom (cause the hole only goes half way through the bead).
It also means that I could bring these things to life!! I have tried in the past to 'stick' things in a bead (while being hot worked in the flame) so that something will be sticking out when it is done. I have never shown them before because they have all been hopeless failures. And maybe that comes from being self taught and not taking classes. I have never had anyone show me the 'right' way to do it. I don't know. But what exopy allows me to do is add the sticking out things after the beads are annealed. Cool huh? And the exopy is rated for up to 200 pounds, you'll have to be gentle with these but still, they'll be durable.
The first time I thought of wanting to have things protruding from a bead was for my beaded pens. You can check out a pic of a few of them HERE. By now you all know how much I love things you can play with. My sister calls things you play with "cat toys". (Like the silver spinner style ring she stole from me.... cat toy for her.) I haven't had a chance to try it on the pens... but hopefully I will soon! I have 3 or 4 blank pens that are just screaming to be dolled up.
Anywhooo... I would love to hear your feedback on them!!
Monday, November 12, 2007
I set to wiring up these lovely beadies and came out with a fantastic trio. I love all three. I hadn't realized how short I was on wired bracelets. Thankfully, these are starting to fill in the gap.
We had a good weekend around here. Jacob's birthday was fun. He is playing Madden 07 on the PS2 with his new controller while wearing his new jacket. He is happy. Thanks for the birthday well wishes sent his way!!
Mommy had a good weekend too. I got some much needed "me" time on Sunday that I was soooo very grateful for. It is good to mindlessly wander a mall trying on shoes you don't need. And I even behaved... I bought nada!! Just tried things out... and plugged my ears in the food court so I didn't have to listen to Debbie Gibson's Jiggle Bell Rock. It was a refreshing break from the everyday. I have some energy again and some new ideas to spruce up wine bottle stoppers!! You just have to wait and see those later. ;)
Friday, November 09, 2007
Tomorrow is my Jacob's 10th birthday. I hear people say all the time how fast time flies when it comes to kids. There are many, many days where I feel like time is standing still. Then there are days like today when you look back on their life as a whole and it feels like it has been an instant. Jacob is a strongly independent kid. He has his own thoughts and ideas, ways of doing things. He is brighter then any light bulb I have ever seen. He can be so kind and loving (and now a days, really mouthy too).
I was going though his tote bag this morning and came across a writing assignment he finished this week. Jacob has one of the most vivid imaginations (something I am proud of instilling in him!). I thought as an Ode-To-Jacob's-Birthday, I would share his story with you, in his own words, just as it was written. It was a personal narrative.
By Jacob Bogert
There I was, standing with one hand on the doorknob. In front of the old abandoned house across the street. I slowly turned the door handle, not knowing what on the other side. 1-2-3 push! I burst into the house and began to look around. There were 36 doors in perfect rows. All of which were different! I looked up and read a sign that said: DOORS OF DUBLIN.
I walked up to a black door on the bottom row and slowly opened it. Inside I saw a huge black mountain!(At least I thought it was.) I walked up to it curiously and felt its surface. It felt smooth and warm. Then I looked to my left and saw a great big yellow ugly black eye. This wasn't a mountain, it was some kind of creature!
I was about to scream when out of the creature's mouth flew hundreds of thousands of books! I picked one up and read the cover: THE MYSTERIOUS MYTHS AND LEGENDS OF DRAGONS. I looked at some other covers too like, MERMAIDS AND MERMEN.
I gathered them all up and took them to my cabin. I learned many things and if it were for them I never would have become the greatest wizard of all time.......... Merlin.
P.S. The creature I thought was a mountain was instead the powerful and mighty dragon that lived for all time in the Doors of Dublin's great halls. I never found out what was behind the other doors. But in a book I found out that inside were other creatures that left behind WIZARDOLOGY or PIRATOLOGY and EGYPTIONOLOGY, and found their way to here in the year 2007.
Cool huh? I told you he had a vivid imagination!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY JACOB!!
Thursday, November 08, 2007
I have been feeling like I am starting to burn out. I am getting moody and agitated. I am having sorta crappy torch sessions and I feel the urge to avoid. Avoid what? Everything.
It can get so frustrating trying to come up with new things constantly. I need mental brakes. But with orders in front of me and a show next weekend, (which I hope all you locals are going to stop by for!) it just isn't an option. I have to press forward and get things done. I have to be a grown up business gal and do my job, lol.
So, here is what I did... I headed on over to my Flickr photo gallery and picked a few pieces that I love... that I had wanted to try in other colors when I first made them and didn't have the chance... that made me say "hey, I forgot about those!" and ones that just sparked my interest in general.
Joolz has an overall black and white theme. And my b&w pieces sell like hotcakes for the owner, Francie. So rather then reinventing the wheel, and trying to fix what ain't broke... I fell back on the classics. I ended up with two, what I think, are super designs in crisp black and white.
I liked getting to create a little mindlessly and get a mental design brake for a day (or two). I have a few more pieces I am going to revisit over the next couple of days. I may try new color combos or I may just go with some of my old favorites. You'll just have to wait and see.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
I am going to have to issue a warning with the sale of any of these... Do Not Wear While Operating Heavy Machinery. LOL!! They are just too fun, and you aren't going to be able to avoid spinning them around your wrist or jingling the rings. The rings turned out to be the perfect size to float all the way around the bangle and over the beads, but not so big that they get in the way. My stars do I love when you can play with your jewelry.
You'll see, unlike my BANG Gals!, these don't have a clasp. You have to squeeze them over your hand. That may come back to bite me, making for loads of extra work when it comes to sizing, but oh well... it takes pain to be beautiful, right?
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
These bangles were one of those blocking ideas. When the idea for them POPPED into my head, I couldn't move onto anything else until I just sat down and did them. Lauren had been wearing a bunch of rubber bands on her wrist when I said to myself... "what if I make the same thing with wire?"
Now, the title of this post is "Win Some, Lose Some" because half the time I get stuck on one of these ideas, it doesn't turn out all that great. (I have a lots of wire links laying around that are perfect examples.) I think these bangles are one of those ideas. They are just okay. I am not thrilled with them, but then again, I don't hate them either. Very blah.
Do I think I wasted my time making these? No. It was a great learning experience. I practiced my "silver core" technique for lining the beads. I got to work on my soldering a little bit and tried sanding to really smoothing out the joints. What will happen to these? Well, they will probably float around the studio for a while. Lauren will wear them too. And they will be like that until someday when I am out of 16gauge wire and desperately need a few inches to finish a project... then I will cut them apart and recycle the wire.
Another interesting thing happened as a result of these... after I finished them, I went on Etsy and typed in "wire bangles" to the search field. I wanted to see if anyone else was doing anything like this. I was kind of shocked by what I saw. Not these bangles... but a number of my "Sandy Lantern" bangles. And you know, not a single one gave credit to me (or the magazine for that matter) for the design. It got me to thinking... are people scared to acknowledge sources? Do they think they will lose all their customers to the original creator? Why is it so hard to admit you didn't come up with the idea?!?!
Don't get me wrong, I am not mad about it. Which is another thing I got out of this project. I actually surprised myself. I wasn't as upset as I was in the past by situations like this. I would be furious and frustrated to see someone claiming it as their own and teaching it... but these were single artisans selling one or two in their virtual shops. I found it more disappointing then anything else. I think that is me evolving a little as an artist. I have said in the past that someday (hopefully) it won't bother me at all... I think I am moving down that path of thought.
Monday, November 05, 2007
I started it last week. I made a handful of white and ivory beads... each one was different. There were spots, stripes, encasing, swirls, plaids... you name it, I had one. Once I cleaned them and had them all in my hands, I didn't like how they looked together. So, on Friday, I decided to do dots... just dots... lots of dots... and out came the 11 beads you see in the final piece. No two are the same. Now wait, there is one beads that there is two of... white encased with clear dots, but that is it... all the others are all different.
At the same torch time, I made these simple bubbly focals for the bridesmaids. I had a few emails requesting I share the final pendant design, after seeing the ones the bride passed on last week. Thankfully, these passed the bride's test!
Friday night, as soon as it was safe to open the kiln, I had the beads out and cleaned, ready to wire up. I didn't really have a plan when I started. I really kinda winged it. The necklace is basically a large bangle. It has a 16g ss "core". I wrapped 3 inches on each side, "locking" the lampwork in the center and then I set to wiring and wrapping, mixing in pearls and crystals. I would wrap an inch or two on one side then do the same on the other, slowly coming together in the center. It becomes denser as it moves forward (meaning between the 1st two beads is 3 "twigs", between the 2nd two is 4... in the center there are 10 "twigs"). I hope that keeps it heavy enough to stay centered and not spin when it is worn.
It took about 3 1/2 hours to finish the necklace. Total, there are 5 different gauges of wire, 11 glass beads and 58 swarovski glass pearls and crystals. I gave it to the bride at her shower on Saturday and she is thrilled with it!! I was so nervous. I wasn't at all sure she would like it, lol. One of the reasons I really shy away from custom orders is that what is in my head often isn't in the client's head. I would have hated to have to redo this!! But thankfully, I won't be redoing it.
I would love to hear what you think!! Leave me a comment!!
Friday, November 02, 2007
I wanna buy up all the things in her shop. I have seen many of these things in person and I tell you... the photos don't do them justice. First on my list of must haves is this table setting, Mod Flower Patchwork!! Aren't those colors killer!!
Second on the must have list is the Striped Market Tote... I wouldn't end up using it as a market tote (though I know I should). I would use it to tote books to the library with the kids or for picnics at the lake. The stripes are just too yummy and so totally me.
Oh and people... that embroidery on the Mod Leaves table setting... yeah... she did that by hand!! It is so detailed and again... killer colors!! Yummy chocolate brown and teally blue... heaven.
Lindsey puts so much love, time, thought and effort into what she makes. I am so proud of her!! I want you all to head over to her shop... heart it... and then buy up all her goodies (OMG, her prices are too low)... hey don't forget, Christmas will be here before you know it.
Speaking of Christmas... I have to let you in on a personal pet peeve... stores and holidays. You can't enjoy the holiday you are in when they are promoting the next holiday months in advance. Come on now... Target had Christmas stuff out 2 weeks ago here. It takes so much away from the specialness of it when it drags and hangs for months at a time. I am thinking that is why I never feel the holiday spirit anymore... why would I when it is pushed at me in October!! I am going to end up boycotting local shops until December just for that reason. I am only going to the super market for groceries... I don't want to here a single note of Deck The Halls until December 1st and that is final. And hey, you know what else... I think I will do my Christmas shopping online at outlets like Etsy! Why buy what everyone else is buying, that will only end up in the garbage two weeks after Christmas, when I can get truly unique handmade gifts?
Okay one confession though... I did buy some of the International Delights Holiday creamer... but how can I resist? Chocolate Mint Truffle is my favorite coffee creamer!!
Thursday, November 01, 2007
A few weeks ago, Vickie of HippKittyBeads, shared a pair of these on the LampworkEtc forum. I love Vickie's work... I love her attitude... I love her style... she just rocks. She was gracious enough to share with the forum a quick note about how she made her version of these little gems. Check out THIS THREAD to see what I am talking about.
So have you figured out what they are? They are posts!! Post earrings that it. No hooks... how cool is that!?! I don't know why I didn't think of these sooner. They are so fun to make and even funner to wear. And you know what... I think their timeing is perfect. With winter on the way, we'll all be wearing turtlenecks and heavy sweaters... dangly earrings can get caught in the fibers so, these will work great.
When I was working on these beads, I found I loved the look of the glass wound around the mandrel end. So for most of them, I left the coils rather then heat the bead super hot and let the layers mold together. I have made about a dozen so far. I think I can get the beads for a dozen made in a signle torch session pretty easily. So, I plan on making these to take to the Joolz Trunk Show in a few weeks and I'll make some up for my website too.
Do you think I need to sleep more? My stars, look at those bags, yikes! And do you think I should get my eyebrows waxed? LOL! But aren't those "Posters" the cutest!! Yeah, that is their name... "Posters".
This kids had a blast trick or treating last night and we are up to our eyeballs in candy. Oh the horror... I think I need to take and donate a few bowls of candy to somewhere... either that or put that weight loss ticker pack up on my blog, lol. All that chocolate will go straight to my hips!