Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Lezlie Winemaker, Dream Glass, Toronto.

Lezlie is the glass artist from whom I purchased that gorgeous heart lampwork bead you see in my header. I wish I could call it mine: alas, it is my bead only because I bought it. The rest of the necklace, all those seed beads and leaves and such, is mine. Well, really it isn't mine anymore: I gave it to my sister.

Lezlie is a warm and enthusiastic artist who looks way too young to accomplish all she has.

She has degrees and diplomas from OCAD (Ontario College of Art and Design), York University, Parsons School of Design (New York). Lezlie is now one of Canada's inspired creators of wearable art.

Now, you can see Lezlie and her marvellous glass at selected craft shows, galleries and boutiques in Canada, the States and the UK. Her work can be seen in popular magazines, art publications and newspapers. And! Lezlie has been a guest on CityLine and Global Television.

"Beads are spiritual, magical, and mystical, and somehow evoke a connection to our ancient ancestors. Glass comes from the earth and will withstand the test of time!" ~~
Lezlie Winemaker

Visit her website to see more of her beautiful work.

A New Year

Well, Christmas 2008 is over. And it's time to write up those new year resolutions.

I've chosen to focus on business rather than personal stuff like losing weight, exercising more, eating a balanced diet, and all those other resolutions that I break just as soon as somebody offers me something sweet.

I am an artisan jeweller; I make jewellery that doesn't rely on precious gems or precious metals. My artisan jewellery is unique and worn by self-assured women from the West Coast to Ontario, Canada.

I want to publish a really fine newsletter.
I want to Twitter, Flickr and Blog and all the CheapTweets and all those tools.
I want to acknowledge the work others' do on my behalf.
I want to develop a signature piece ~ haven't got that just yet, but I'm working on it.
I want to write more.
I want to balance my accounts and pay down my personal debt.
I have joined a group whose focus is wirework ~ I'm going to learn how to do much more in the comfort of my own easy chair.

And then, I can organize my workroom ~ that's the room I lovingly call my PigPen ~ when I need to burn off some energy.
I can better my efforts to be 'green.' My condo board is researching and putting in place some things that will help all of us be ecologically friendly.
I can take canvas bags everywhere so I don't rely on plastic bags to carry my purchases.

My BIGGEST goal? In March 2009, I will be a vendor at Toronto's 'Almost Spring' Bead Oasis Show. I am very excited about it: 3 days in the vendor marketplace, schmoozing with my friends and making new ones. It will be exhausting and I've a long way to go yet to reach the stock level I need for the show. It's worth doing.

Well, that's it for me. For now.
May all of my readers have a very happy, safe, and prosperous 2009.
Helene ~ Glass0Beads ~
~ it's a #0, not the letter O~

Notes to Self ~ The End

Well, it was a lose-lose outcome. I resigned from the board and it cost me my membership to the group. It cost the group another chance for cross promotion.

The group utilizes social marketing, a form of viral marketing, to advertise their personal shoppe and the membership shoppe. This method of marketing can be used whether you are a member or not. Using it is lots of fun and you never feel like you are alone in a desert.

What I hope I haven't lost is the friendships I was making during my very brief membership in the group. These are wonderful men and women; gifted artisans all. It would be an even bigger loss if they shun me, too.

My time here is so limited that I have neither the time, nor the energy to waste being bitter. In the end, I wish the group and its group shop much success in 2009. And, for everyone of the membership: good luck, good business.

And goodbye for now.
Thanks for the friendship and the help shown me.
Helene ~ Glass0Beads ~

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Notes to Self - Christmas Cheer

I really don't have anything to complain of: I have a lovely home and food to eat that I like. I have a wonderful family. I have lots of chums on the internet. I have people looking out for my best interests.

This year, though, Christmas just didn't seem right. I can't put my finger on the reason. We brought up our tree and ornaments. We got out our performing Christmas toys. But we didn't decorate the tree with all our really wonderful decorations.

We needed a tin foil pan to cook our turkey and a couple of other things, too. So we headed off to the grocery. There we discovered all those tin foil pans had been taken by all those other cookers ahead of me. While my sister and I stood in the middle of the aisle discussing options, a gentleman overheard us and suggested we go to a dollar store and told us where there was one close by. [ed. note: that's where we did get our tin foil pan.]

Several rows later, that same gentleman offered to lend us a pan of his. Now, this man was no relation to either of us. We were total strangers to him. And yet, he offered something of his.

Isn't that what Christmas is all about? Helping one another. Sharing with one another. Gifting of yourself.

I wish I knew his name. I'd like to send him a thank you note.

We joined the rest of our family in Woodstock for our Christmas celebration. I did the turkey, our hostess provided her beloved cole slaw salad and the hot veggies, one cousin made the stuffing and the dessert, and Anne provided the rolls. We dined like kings and there was a lot of food left over. That's why I cooked such a big bird: I love leftovers and I wanted everybody to have enough to take back to their homes.

While the finishing touches were being made, there was a kind of ballet in the kitchen. That room is built for one: Everything is less than an arm's length from each other. Yet, Gwynith and I, standing back to back, moved so smoothly it seemed choreographed. When I moved left she moved to her left and when I needed something on the right she moved to her right, too. Our movements were fluid. No, Really!

We opened our gifts following dinner. Our gifts were generous and what we received were gifts of generousity as well.

Now here's the really big news. I love to drive! But I rarely drive any more becuase I become tired so easily. I offered to drive to Woodstock and Marg was to drive home. We didn't leave until almost 10PM and ...

Wait for it!

..............I drove both ways!! Ta DA!!

Boxing Day I slept through. I was so glad I wasn't cooking dinner! Marg suggested a 'fend for yourself' meal and that fitted me perfectly.

Today, I still feel a bit too tired to be of any help to anybody. Marg went off for a mall crawl : she feels a need for a wee bit of retail therapy. And I am sitting here, chatting with you, dear reader.

I tried to take some pictures but my battery died ~~ AGAIN! I think some of my Christmas money may be put toward a new camera battery.

And I haven't done my December BJP08 entry. I haven't got a clue what to do. Do you? I certainly can use your help.

Well, that's what I think.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Notes to Self - Energizer Bunny

State of Mind: BUSY BUSY BUSY

I have been up way beyond my bedtime these last 2 nights and last night I slept like a log. So the usual debilitating exhaustion is at bay - more or less. I might need a nap this afternon.

I belong to a really great 'team' - it's called the eSMArts Guild Team at Etsy - and it's mandated to cross-promote one another's sites to assist in better positioning our sites for online googling.

Two nights ago we worked on re-starting the Guild's management so the needs of the Guild didn't fall on just one person's shoulders. You can understand that such a group requires the assistance of many to really get the job of driving traffic done.

Now, last night!!

Last night was the Guild's chat night: it's a standard occurence ~~ every Thursday evening at 9PM EST. It's a place to ask questions of other members, to chat about supplies and where to get them for the lowest cost. It's a place to support one another during bad times. Last night we had doctors' appointments and important tests like MRI's. My MRI is scheduled for mid March 09: it's not my first and certainly won't be my last. And it's a place to joke around, too. Last night was my first chat and things moved VERY fast. But I got some interesting tips to follow up on.

And I learned some amazing things in the chat. I learned how to put up pictures of things from Etsy. And that was a lot of fun for me. I started going through others' sites and picking things I thought were pretty or useful or ...
And I put them up as the chat progressed. I learned how to do it when a picture of one of my necklaces appeared out of nowhere. All you have to do is ask how something is done and you've got all kinds of people ready to explain it.

I had to beg off because, as I said earlier, it was way past my bedtime. But I was there and I learned new things.

Now this morning, in the cruel light of day, I feel energized. I want to do something. Something important to promote my work. I am no longer toiling in the dark. I have a whole network dedicated to helping me. And not just me. All eSMArts Guild team members can benefit and be of benefit, too.

So, today I will be emailing a bunch of people to let them know what they missed. And to encourage them to participate.

Oh yeah, by the way, I've been made Editor in Chief: I'm responsible for getting out a newsletter ~ right now it's monthly ~ and editing a beginners' handbook, and treatises on how the whole thing is done. And I am that excited to do it, too.

Watch out world, the eSMArts Guild is on the move!!

Well, that's what I think.
Beads in the Head Helene ~~ Glass0Beads (#0, not letter O)

PS eSMArts = Etsy Social Marketing Artisans

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Great Christmas Season

My Christmas came early. And it has lasted several days with no end in sight. Santa has been very good to me this year.
I have been on my first conference instant messaging. With enlightened beings. And they aren't from the outer galaxy.

And, because of their generosity, I have some new tricks in my bag that will help my sales record improve.

Now, isn't that a marvellous Christmas!?! Well, I think so.


I am all a-Twitter now. You can find me there. I didn't understand how Twitter could help me but yesterday I learned so everyday I will be on Twitter telling the world about the boys and girls I've met online and their businesses. You have to admit that is a special gift for me to receive.

Another gift. I wasn't able to add a 'mini Etsy' to Glass0Beads.Blogspot but I understand how it is done now so it should be a matter of hours until that is added.
And I have another interviewee for my newsletter, too. Sign up yourself for my Glass Beads Newsletter by adding a comment to this entry. It's a monthly email and I keep it short so you won't spend a lot of your valuable time. In it you will find interviews of other crafts artisans, heads up about the colours and fashion for next season. As you will learn when you sign up for it, you'll be getting quality, not quantity.
I've also got some interesting developments that are still developing that promise to make my business life a whole lot better.
Now, I've got my Christmas presents early and they are wonderful. I hope your Christmas holiday brings you treasures as great as the ones I have received.
Merry Merry and Happy Happy Seasons Greetings to all and sundry. And that includes the pets in our lives, too.
Well, that's what I think.
Helene ~ Glass0Beads (it's #0, not letter O)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Notes to Self - Footloose and Fancy Free

Today I awoke refreshed. It's worth noting because I go for long periods with lack of sleep and I am a mess when that happens.

I'm particularly pleased with myself because I got through all, and I mean ALL, of my emails. I have visited some sites.

Divine Caroline dot com - an article writing platform - free to register

Payloadz dot com - automated service which will download your written materials, like PDF instructions and booklets, to people registering for it. They distribute your wares. They collect the money. They deposit the funds to your bank account. They leave you free to write some more neat things for Payloadz dot com to advertise.

Vittoria Banks dot com - She has some really lovely bits for sale here and at Etsy.com/VittoriaBanks

Creations by JAE dot Etsy dot com - This lady makes some fine jewellery and is so supportive of the hand work of other crafts artists. She is ever willing to assist where she can at the eSMArts Guild and at their store.

I signed up for StumbleUpon and glanced at Reddit. Somehow, and really I should explore this, I had a good feeling about StumbleUpon that just wasn't there at Reddit. I guess that's why I signed up for one ~ FREE ~ and not the other.

Twitter seems to be popular but I haven't figured out how to use it. But I did a lot today and I'm willing to leave the Twitter lesson for later.

Then I made a mistake: I read several of Rena Klingenberg's newsletters ~ I had been stacking them to read on a rainy day. Well, today wasn't rainy but I did see a couple of fluffy snowflakes. Rena always has interesting stuff on her sites and she allows other jewellers to tell their stories and share their discoveries. Rena is really a must on your research list. There were stories from a bunch of my forum buddies at the eSMArts Guild and I added my small bit to some of the articles.

Now, am I 'on' or not!! It dawned on me that my adding my comments to somebody else's article is getting me 'out there' and helping to build my reputation as a knowledgeable crafts artist. And getting a good reputation is part of the social networking battle, isn't it? Well? Don't you think that was a profound insight?

I was also reminded that I am not the only one in the world with difficulties to face every day. Thank God I'm not the only one!! It's nice to know you are in good company!

The only thing I made today is dinner. I got my banking done. I cleaned out one of my inboxes ~ the biggest one. I was footloose and fancy free and allowed my rambling to take me whither it willed.

It's been a big day. A full day. I've been here for more than 12 hours. I think I've done enough for one day. Don't you?

Good night sweet reader. May the Dream Faery send you comforting dreams. And may you waken refreshed.

Well, that's what I am hoping for.

Helene ~ Glass0Beads.etsy.com

Friday, December 12, 2008

Notes to Self - A Slap in the Face

I was minding my own business this week; doing nothing to annoy the Great Blogspot Gods. As a matter of fact, I was no where near my computer, not online at all for 2 days.

Oh! but what a tangled mess I discovered when I did get back yesterday.

I had been spammed. Like a slap in the face, I didn't do anything to deserve it!!

I didn't like it very much. And it took over 2 hours to clean up this blog: deleting all those spammy comments. And using up the little strength I had.

Yes, I reported the spammer from China.

I hope none of you have met with a similar fate.

That's what I think. ~ Helene

PS ~ I celebrated my 57th birthday this week. I celebrated in bed with the flu. I hope this isn't indicative of the next 12 months. ~H

Friday, December 5, 2008

Month - November

Well, I was busy minding my own business when I got spammed: it took a good 2 hours to clear up the mess and in my zeal to have the ugly spam gone, I managed to wipe out my November posting. It's a case, I think, of 'the quicker I go, the behinder I get.'

So: my November project is rings. This month's project is small so I made several rings to make up for it. And, yes, there is a pair of earrings. That's the only thing that was left of my November blog entry: the picture of the pair of earrings.
Start with a ring mandrel, or a dowel, larger in circumference by one size than the size you want. Wrap the wire, 18 - 20 ga, a couple of times around the mandrel and give the wire ends a twist or two around each other.

Run the 2 wire ends through the hole in the bead: take each tail end by itself and bring it down around the bead and under the mandrel ring. That's the shoulder of the ring you've just made.

Finish the tail end with squiggles or curlicues: bring it up the side of the bead and make a corkscrew or some other finishing touch. Do the same with the other loose tail end.

That last step isn't very helpful, is it! It is the fun part of making rings. That last step is the one where you get to experiment. As long as the bead is secured to the mandrel ring the rest is for sheer enjoyment. Play, be fanciful, add twists and turns.
The finishing of these rings is important. Somebody will be wearing your finger confection. Make sure all the wire ends are tucked in and filed down so nothing sharp will harm m'lady's fingers.

There are 2 secrets.

Secret #1 ~ If your bead seems not tight enough, twist the wires with your chain nose pliers. Either on the shoulder of the ring or on the bead itself add this twist. Take a look at the frosted glass ring and earrings: this twisting of the wire with the needle nose pliers can be seen the best.
Secret #2 ~ If you have chosen to wrap your wire ends around the ring, as you can see in all my ring pictures, keep the wrapping loops close together. Cut the excess wire and file it down. Finish it off with a pair of pliers that do not have any ridges or teeth on their interior surfaces. If you choose to use such pliers, you run the risk of damaging the wire. So, with the smooth pliers give the wraps a gentle squeeze. It flattens the wraps and tightens the setting.
The ring and accompanying pair of earrings below are made with frosted glass segments. They are not properly beads but I found them very pretty and I wanted to learn how to use a blob of glass, any shape or size, as a focal point. It also gave me practise wrapping and tightening the wire.
That last ring, bottom right, uses a handmade bead in silver and a black wire for the ring and shoulders. Making beads? Well, maybe next month. It isn't making glass lampwork beads, but it is making beads.

Just one last note. These rings sit very high on a finger. Don't try to put on a pair of gloves over these rings because you may cause damage to the finger of the glove. Mittens are just fine. If you are off to a cocktail party and you will be wearing kid gloves throughout the evening, put the ring on your finger AFTER you put on the gloves. People will be able to see your bit of finger confection and admire your handwork (pun intended).
There! I've updated the November entry that I accidentally deleted ~ except for the earrings photo. I can't explain it and I don't intend to find out how I did it. It's repaired.
Next? Christmas and my birthday.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Christmas is Coming!

It's true!! Christmas is Coming! FAST !!!
If you are anything like me, I hate to shop for Christmas gifts at this time of year. The weather is turning foul. Everybody forgets courtesy in the parking lots. Which are full to overflowing and some people have done some creative parking: putting their vehicles where there is no spot.
And in the malls and shops! It's just as bad. The temperature in the malls goes up as the numbers of people milling about increases. And we have our bulky parkas and car coats. And there are screaming children: that noise goes right through me and lands on my last nerve.

Again, if you are anything like me, you don't have the money to buy that special piece of jewellery or throw away on children's toys.
I have a solution.

Shop in the comfort of your own home. That cuts out the road rage, the hunting for non-existent parking spots, the pushing and shoving of the masses. It saves that last nerve from being frazzled.

I have some suggestions for people on your gift list.

Glass Bead Artisan Jewellery for the significant other in your life. And there is a new shop in town: the eSMArts Guild Gift Shoppe at Etsy.com. Etsy offers more than artisan jewellery to tickle your fancy. There are children's clothes, quilts, all kinds of things. And it is dedicated to all things made by hand. By artists who are dedicated to their craft.
Doing your shopping at the eSmarts Team Shop has another benefit: each item is donated to the shoppe by the artisans of Etsy Social Marketing ARTisans Team and the proceeds of all sales are donated to a worthy cause. So you will be doing a good deed by shopping there. And that is a gift to your soul.
Go ahead. Treat yourself. You can shop at 3AM if you want. You can have your purchases mailed to your auntie or your granny if that is what you want. Just ask for details: everybody at the eSMArts Guild are awfully friendly and are quite approachable.
And they make some really beautiful items.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Rena and Me

Well, it has been a very good week for this wee beader. First I got my booth at the Almost Spring March 2009 Toronto Bead Oasis Show.
Now I have been added to Rena Klingenberg's Jewelry Success Tips Newsletter. Yes I have.
Rena has a home based business and cares for her highly allergic child. What fills the rest of her time? She publishes this newsletter and runs several other related sites, too. If you are researching something beady then use her as one of your resources.
And read my article. It's about my September Spanish Bracelet.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Almost Spring Bead Oasis Show 2009 - Toronto

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHH My toes are wiggling with delight!!! Oh Happy Dance LALALALALA.
I have just got a booth at my 1st real show - and only the 2nd venue for me in 2 years. This Bead Oasis Show comes to Toronto twice a year: Spring and Fall. The Spring show is the larger of the 2 and considered the more lucrative for the vendors. And I have business friends who sell at this show. That just excites me even more: being a bigger part of the Beadin' Clan than heretofore. And how nice of the organizers: they let me pick out my booth instead of telling me where I will be. I'm IN IN IN IN IN IN!!!!!
It was at the Fall Bead Oasis Show that I learned how to make wire coil beads: a class by Jelcy Romberg. She is a talented person who is also an inspiring teacher. From my booth I can see one of the entrances/exits and my neighbours are innovative beadworkers. One of those bead business friends is within earshot - if you could hear over the general excited buzz of attendees. I want to be a sponge and soak up just as much as I possibly can. My sister has agreed to help me: without her I couldn't manage a show.
So. Wiggle your toes in shared delight for me. And any ideas, observations, warnings are gratefully received. I would prefer to learn from others' mistakes/experiences than make the mistakes myself.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Notes to Self: Stumble Photography

Well, you know I make artisan jewellery. And you understand I like instant gratification. I want my first attempt at a new technique to be perfect. And I want my photographs to be clean, clear and detailed. At the first go. Am I being unreasonable? I don't think so. (Caveat: my 2 sisters and I are very 'high maintenance')

I guess part of it is the age in which I was raised. It wasn't that long after the Depression and the end of World War II when I was born. Waste was frowned upon. We were far 'greener' than today. We learned to make do with less and to use our imaginations to find new ways of doing things. This led to hoarding : I have a lovely collection of cardboard boxes for which I haven't found a use ~~ yet. And I have a great collection of plastic buttons. As Mummie would say, 'I haven't finished with them yet.'
I thank God for the inventor of the digital camera. Please let him into heaven just because of his invention. Gone are the days of the Brownie, the SureShot, the SLRs. We no longer have to wait for our pictures to be developed. I can take as many pictures as I want, I can edit them myself. And I can post them on my websites and in my blogs.

But even this convenience, while it goes a long way to satisfying me, doesn't quite fit the bill. I want to be able to take a picture only once and, with a bit of tweeking, have a wonderful picture. I don't want to spend all this time experimenting. Whoever tells you they have a camera that does everything for you doesn't get it: there's a lot of work after the shutter is pressed.

But, I think I've hit upon something: the backdrop and a display rack that is working the best is a small Inukshuk (an Eskimo signpost). Her name is Judy; a nod to dressmakers' mannequins, or judies. My Judy looks like a surfer, doesn't she!?
Judy stands 5in tall (13cm) and can hold my glass bead artisan jewellery: earrings, bracelets, and necklaces. I've not tried to display any brooches on her, yet. But I've made a couple of amulet bags done in the tubular peyote technique and they stand up well with Judy.
I played around with pretty glasses as my backdrop but I just could not get them to look pretty in a picture: a case of 'you look better in person than you do in the movies.' Even my absolutely gorgeous lead crystal sherry glass in the shape of Scotland's thistle looked dowdy. I wanted a glass to go with my blog name: Glass 0 Beads. It just didn't work out.
I've begun taking photographs of my artisan jewellery straight on instead of from above. I tried to lay things flat but the pictures looked flat, too. I tried on an angle, 45 degrees above: that didn't work either. When I tried straight on, no angles, I had the most success. Now I can use that success as a springboard from which to experiment.

The editing software I am using is Picasa2 from Google: it's free. I like free. It is easy to use and allows for some great experiments. The first thing I learned how to do is cancel, or undo, some of my experiments. Learning that allowed me to try all kinds of things. I knew I could get rid of the unsuccessful photos of my glass bead artisan jewellery and that took a lot of tension out of my experiments.
Now I have to spend some time getting new photos of all of my artisan jewellery. I hate having to redo things. But at least I won't be experimenting with the retakes. I'll do what I know works.
Anyway, I am much happier now that I can take pictures, edit them, and post them on Lampwork and Beads and Glass 0 Beads. Give me a bit of time to see the fruits of my labours.
I am a happy camper again.
Up to my eyeballs in beads ~~Helene ~~Glass0Beads

Monday, November 10, 2008

Month - October Update

Well, it didn't happen yesterday: I got sidetracked by my inbox. I am finally down to the 40's in email. At this rate I am hoping to be done all of them by end of week.

Do you like it? It's the October addition to my artisan jewellery line.

Step 1 ~ A ladder stitch circle: on one end of a bugle add a seed bead and none at the other end. At that end bugle beads touch one another.

Step 2 ~ Add the middle line of seed beads using the brick stitch.

Step 3 ~ At each seed bead on the outer ring, add bugle, 1 seed, a bugle.

Step 4 ~ Connect each bugle triangle at the centre seed bead with seed bead, bugle, seed bead. This is the step that gives the spiral a three dimensional look. It looks like a ballerina's tutu, doesn't it.

Step 4 ~ Add a pin finding on the back. I'm not showing the backside of this pin because I don't like the way the pin looks. With all the prettiness on the front, it's a pity the pin backing looks so poorly. I will be changing the pin back.

Here is the pair of earrings I made to go with the brooch. It is a simple design: just 12 bugle beads joined using the ladder stitch with seed beads up one side using the brick stitch and a few beads at the top of each to join to the lever back earring findings.

I lean towards the clean lines of a pleat as opposed to the softer line of a flounce or ruffle. The brooch for October has a ruffle, that tutu effect, so I wanted the earrings to be less fancy. I have a fat face; vestiges of the 8 years I needed prednisone, and the last thing my chubby jaw needs is a ruffle nearby. I know you understand.

There. The pictures are a day late but they're here now. My October submission.

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Saturday, November 8, 2008

October Submission

Well, my escape wasn't entirely successful. I have made some more artisan jewellery. I used seed beads, and bugle beads and a bunch of techniques and what I created is another addition to my line of glass bead artisan jewellery.

So I have spent some days in bed and other days gallavanting with my sister who took her birthday week off of work. Now I am trying to catch up and regulate my activities.

So!! I wish I could show you what I did for October. You will have to wait until tomorrow for the picture. My camera battery discharges too quickly and it is on the recharge thingy today. I'm sorry about that: I'm hoping a magic elf will give me a new, back up battery for Christmas. It's just that they are so darn expensive.

But I really did something: a brooch. It's a combination of techniques all jumbled together. I am thinking about making a kit from it.

It measures 1 1/2in (3cm) across and the techniques used are ladder stitch variation, brick stitch (just 1 row and it goes around in circles, too), and spiral variation. The colours are muted bronze, yellow gilt and silver gilt. The spiral variation makes it look like a wee ballerina's tutu.

It's round, like a wreath. And if it were done in Christmas reds and greens, golds and silvers, it would look very festive. A perfect giftie for Auntie Lee.

There are only 2 problems: while it doesn't look flimsy, it feels like it in the hand ~ its 'hand' is very fluid; and I don't like the pin finding.

I want to try adding a 2nd row of the ladder stitch variation to stiffen it a bit. And, if I add it to the backside, it might be just be the trick that hides the ugly pin finding. I'll add a pic of the backside, too, so you can see what I mean. Tomorrow.

I guess I have to blame a chum of mine, Jenny. She made a ladder stitch garden bracelet and gave the instructions without a picture: probably the same problem with her camera as with mine today. I made the 'garden on a ladder' just following her steps and it looked entirely different when finished than hers. I went back to the instructions and could follow it now that I had a picture in my mind. So my bracelet is entirely my own work.

But, doing the ladder stitch and playing with it and trying different add-ons giave me my October brooch. It's the combination of techniques that makes it my design. And it did allow me to play a bit. Thank you Jenny.

I want to make some more of these pins as gifts for my family. Each pin need not be expensive: the design would be great for using up some of the bead soup we all manage to collect.

I am reminded of Wimpy, Popeye's friend, who often said "I'd gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today." So, you'll see my wonderful pin pictures tomorrow.

Oh, I almost forgot, I made earrings to go with it. Something I set myself to do to go with whatever I make for each month.

Yours in Bead Heaven ~Helene ~Glass 0 Beads

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Friday, November 7, 2008

Caroll L

Hiya, Caroll L. What an awful thing to happen to you. And how frustrating, too. All your hard work down the tubes.

I have been hunting, unsuccessfully, to find you again. I know I haven't tagged or flagged you 'cuz I haven't been around for quite a while.

Make contact again, Caroll, so we can pick up where we left off.

Helene - Glass 0 Beads

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Notes to Self - I Apologize

I have been reading some other bead blogs and I realized how much we apologize for things. A comment was added to one design and the caveat was 'sorry for my english.' Well, I felt like I had been given a mighty smack: I had not detected any problem with the english. I have seen some pretty bad stuff on the internet: I mean the written english language. Wrong verb tenses, incorrect punctuation, misuse of words - either in definition or incorrect placement. And lots of other mistakes, too.

Well, what language do beads speak?

Exactly my point!

Music is an international language. When well done, music can soothe, enthuse, inspire, include. I mean include every listener. There are no borders or boundaries.

I learned something at a performance given by Ravi Shankar, the great Indian devotee of the sitar. At the beginning of his performance at Stratford oh, so many years ago!! he told everybody that the way musicians in India acknowledge fine playing is to shake the head back and forth. In the West such a movement is negative, usually followed with a strong 'NO.' I was glad to learn that little nugget. When you close your eyes you can be uplifted by the music: it has no race, colour, religion, politics - it's music.

In the same way, beads have no race, religion, politics. But it has lots of colours!! And textures. My next door neighbour is blind: she has some vision but not enough to enjoy what sighted people can see. She asked me to make a brooch and she came over to look at the piece in progress. She held it at about nose distance and could see all the lovely colours. And she could feel the texture of the piece as well. I delivered it yesterday and she phoned me last night to thank me. She loved the texture: she could enjoy the piece basically with her eyes closed.

You may have to keep your eyes open when dealing with beads but even with your eyes closed you can enjoy the textures.

Beads have no language: as music is the language, so beads and beading is the language.

We don't need to apologize for our 'poor english.' We just need to seek, find, spread the good word about the great beading and beaders we have found.

Well, that's what I think.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Notes to Self - Spanish Bracelet and Serendipity

I made a cuff bracelet - actually many cuff bracelets. It's artisan jewellery and that is what I do. I submitted a bracelet using beads on memory wire. I struggled with the memory wire and it cost me a flare up of arthritis. I threw it out - well figuratively speaking I threw it out. It landed in such a way that it looked pretty cool on the wrist. My sister was the inspiration and now she wears both bracelets.
Well the falling of the memory wire bracelet was serendipitous: it saved its life and sent my mind off in search of a new memory wire technique.
The next serendipitous happening occurred just about a week ago. My sister and I were watching TV and she suddenly noticed an incomplete cuff bracelet on the table. The only reason it was still in existence is that I hadn't cannibalized it (cut apart and beads and salvageable wire returned to my bead wall). She expressed her delight. Now I have to finish the piece.
Sometimes a failure in your eyes is a success in another's. When you are unhappy with your work and it is not technically flawed, put it down for a day or two. If your attitude doesn't change, stand it in front of a mirror and look at its reflection in the mirror. Pretty good, isn't it!? If your attitude still doesn't change, ask the opinion of somebody else.
Except when the work is technically flawed, don't automatically do the frog stitch (rippit, rippit) when you make a 'mistake.' Is there some way of salvaging what you have done? Maybe you didn't make a 'mistake' at all. Why are self-taught people inspired and inspiring? They had nobody telling them they did something the wrong way.
Take care of your ego, it gets you up in the morning, ready to face the world. Don't tell yourself you are a failure, or you can't do __X__. There are enough people out there who are happy to tear you down - don't you be one of them. Look for the serendipity angel - she exists.
Helene Glass0Beads

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Commissioned Work

I've been away: it seems like forever. Have you missed me? I haven't been bitten with the writing-bug so I've not been tending to my blogs. For shame.
I've met some really lovely people, strengthened (I hope) some online friendships. I've even been blessed with some purchases and a couple of commissions!! Now how about that!?

An RN where Marg works asked me for a necklace.
The particulars: she will be in Phillipines over Christmas and it will be hot. She has a certain strapless red dress that she wants the necklace for. And she wants a woven look like my father's watchband (it's my everyday watch - to paraphrase, "wear this in remembrance of me.").
Now, the picture on the right doesn't show the finished piece. And, silly me, I didn't take a picture of the final version. And, what's worse, I can't find my sketch book where the notes were made. I know, sometimes I bumble. If memory serves me ~ and my memory is somewhat suspect now ~ it was a nice tight netting technique. I wanted some air to penetrate the necklace just because she was going where there is humidity and I thought something a bit airy would make wearing the piece more comfortable.
The finished piece has a standup 'collar' ~ like a Nehru jacket collar ~ and had to be made a number of times because I just couldn't believe how small her neck was. I tried to be true to the measurement guidelines for a slender neck and it just kept coming out too big.
Yup, again, silly me: at no time did I think to measure her neck. Mm-mm! It would have saved so much effort. But it is an item of glass bead artisan jewellery.
So, there is my commission.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Notes to Self - Wire Coil Techniques

In my September effort I learned 2 new techniques: both are wire coils but they are each different from the other. The one is a 3D spring that can be wound upon itself to make a really interesting bead. Leaving it as a spring without the extra twisting gives you a bugle bead. Play with the colours of the wires you use, even the gauges of wires gives such interesting versions on the lowly spring. It uses a 'Gizmo' TM but any knitting needle, shish kebab skewer, ... will do. That's its picture in the top left.
The 2nd method is a flat coil using a pair of round nose pliers. Instead of each round being the same size and shape as the previous, each spiral goes around the last and gets bigger and bigger. It is a flat coil. Oh, but what you can do with a flat coil. That's its picture in the bottom right.
I also learned something about memory wire: let my godlette, Serendipity, help you. My hands ached and throbbed and refused to make a fist and had difficulty holding important things - like my pliers. Thank goodness one holds one's teddy bear in one's arms and not in one's hands.
What I had decided was a complete flop turned into quite a decent shape - even for memory wire.
Do you want to know the techniques for wire coils? I've added them to my other blog.

September - Spanish Cuff Bracelet

Hiya, everybody. I had some effort getting started in this Bead Journal Project08. I didn't understand exactly how the whole thing worked. In my defense, I have a lot of trouble following instructions. Even when I read very slowly I miss key instructions.

But I did get started. I had decided that I would make a different piece of artisan jewellery each month and there certainly are enough categories to cover all the months, and then some.

I tried really hard with September's chapter: a cuff bracelet built on a memory wire frame. I made some wrapped wooden beads to use in the cuff. I got out some goldfilled tube beads. I dug out my copper wire. Everything I tried to keep that cuff shape was defeated. More times than I wish to remember the whole memory wire frame exploded in my face. It got to the point that I refused to get down on the floor again to retrieve the wee beads I was using.

I gave up only to go back with a new idea. It's hard to let an inanimate object get the better of you. That's what I think.

Then along came the Fall Bead Oasis Show in Toronto and I went to my day long workshop with Jelcy Romberg: a wirework class. Hah!! I knew memory wire was to be part of the instruction. Now, thought I, that memory wire cuff skeleton will finally be beaten into submission.

The wire cuff Jelcy showed us wasn't what I had expected. I wanted a cuff like a bangle and her technique was a cuff like a snake wrapping around the wrist. She also taught wire coil beads.

I gave it a shot when I got home: I added my floss wrapped wooden beads, my goldfilled bugle beads and some rocaille beads, too. I added some of the wire coil beads. I did it all one night. And I allowed my memory wire cuff to sit.

Truly, when I got up the next day I had given up on my snake coil memory wire cuff.
I made another bracelet using a different wire coiling technique. It was pretty rough but my sister, the recipient of the finished project, approved of it. So I made up a good version and liked it well enough to add a pair of earrings to match. It met with approval from my sister and from some of her colleagues and family members of some of her clients.
I really like these earrings and, generally speaking, earrings are quick to assemble. I've decided to make a different pair of earrings each month to 'go' with the main project for that month.

The day after that I noticed the snake-y memory wire cuff bracelet lying where it fell when I tossed it onto my workbench. Perhaps it was the way the light hit it. Or maybe it was the way I was holding my mouth. Then again, it might have been my powerful meds had finally started working. It really doesn't matter: I thought the failure cuff bracelet was a success.

My sister wore it to work yesterday and got even more compliments on it than on the other wire coil bracelet. It was Serendipity, one of my personal, favourite godlettes, at work: there's no other explanation.
So, to summarize. I went from having a big zero entry for September, not a good start to the project, to having 2 very different bracelets and a pair of earrings. Not too bad.


Notes to Self - New eSMArts Member

Holy Doodle!!

I've just been accepted into a new group over at Etsy - the eSMArts group. In common is the handmade nature of our work and the desire to market our own 'stuff' as well as help others of the group sell their 'stuff'.

Well, how welcome do I feel? Very welcome indeed. Imagine my surprise and delight when I opened up this blog today and discovered my 'followers' had jumped to 5. Yup - FIVE. Don't I just feel the best !!

I began to check up on my new followers and discovered the blogspot. Okay - I did say I was new at the game. And I didn't say I was the sharpest pencil in the box.

Again - Holy Doodle!!

I found one of my pieces of artisan jewellery pictured among some really amazing 'stuff' and it didn't look out of place. OOOOOOO I do feel good.

Thanks, you eSMArt-ies you.

Now, how can I live up to their example? I have to find a way.

Check out some of their sites: you won't be sorry. The 'stuff' moves from fabric to jewellery to paper to ... Now's the time to start your Christmas shopping and where better than in the comfort of your own home at your own computer with your own coffee, tea or hot chocolate steaming in the mug beside you.

If you don't know what to get for Great Auntie Jewel or Uncle Neddie, these Etsy stores will offer you some suggestions. And, of course, a gift certificate is the receiver's gift of choosing exactly what s/he wants. Perfect for that mother-in-law who returns everything you have ever given her.

Artisan jewellery is somewhere between Estate Jewellery and Tiffany's Fifth Avenue. It is the estate jewellery of the future. And you can find some pretty spectacular items in the Etsy Shops.

Well, that's what I think. Helene...

Friday, September 26, 2008

September Update

I've been away for what seems like a lifetime. I went to my wirework class with Jelcy Romberg and went into overdrive. Yesterday I was in a hospital waiting room and making wire springs and getting all kinds of stares. Only 2 people actually came over and asked what on earth I was doing: making colourful springs to use in earrings and necklaces and bracelets and ...

I spent a day trying unsuccessfully to rest following Jelcy's all day class. Saturday saw me back at the Bead Oasis Show as a shopper and seminar attendee. I was surprised that there were not many people taking the time to sit in and learn. Happily I learned some new techniques.

Between the seminars I prowled the merchants' mall and visited friends. I had 4 highlights: 1: a fellow Jelcy classmate, Diana, ran into me and started a conversation. It was good to see her because I had learned she is a Vietnamese 'boatpeople': that sad time in the history of our world. She is doing well and starting up her bead collection.

2: at the end of my day, Jelcy saw me and stopped to chat. a) she remembered my name and b) I told her of the dickering around with 1 of the techniques she taught and a lightbulb switched on behind her eyes. She said she would play with my innovation.

3: Modesty forbids me to tell you what a friend of mine, Kirsty Naray, said about my logo being terrific and wonderful and with great colours ... I gotta say, I made that logo myself and have been fiddling with it. Kirsty's validation of my work means the world to me.

4: I met a young lady, Vanessa, she is 19 only, who has started her own business on the internet while she is studying psychology at University of Guelph. I am pretty sure the idea is to assist paying her tuition. Her product? Videos on techniques. Look at her Beads By U site.

I spent Monday and yesterday chauffeuring my elder sister to doctors and hospitals and well ... Soon there will be another day with her in doctors' offices.

This weekend I can be found putting in a rough floor in the new dining room (our enclosed balcony will be our new dining room). Then the layering of rugs and vaccuuming and moving heavy HEAVY furniture. And a day running errands.

And I'll not have touched a single bead and lovingly stringing and such. I admit to feeling a bit like an orphan, lost and alone in the world with nothing to soothe me. That means it's time for the good meds and a teddy bear and cool and dimly lit bedroom for several long naps. When I come out the other side I should be able to get my buddies, the beads, and do something creative.
And I still haven't finished my September cuff bracelet. Oh, dear, ...Helene

Saturday, September 13, 2008

September Notes - Cuff Bracelet Disaster

Well, my cuff bracelet success turned into disaster. I left it sitting overnight and picked it up yesterday afternoon. I began wrapping it with copper wire and

Yup, the wire exploded from its crimp beads and black beads went everywhere.

I was visibly upset. All that effort in getting it into a cuff shape and the pain I put myself through! Oh, my poor aching hands!!!!

I finally decided to change my design: 2 separate lengths of memory wire joined with beaded 'ribs.' And then, while I was crying on one of my forums, I got another idea.

And so, September will have 2 entries in the project: both cuff bracelets, both memory wire, both for the trip to Spain, both for my sister, Marg. When I told her she was well chuffed: one will be for everyday and the other will be for dress up. And that helped in the design of both: one for everyday and one for Sunday best.

Do you wanna see pics? Wander over to my other blog.

Now, while I know the entry with 2 separate pieces of memory wire won't explode, the other just might. I'm letting it alone for now. This is how I did it:
I put a loop at each end of the length. Then I twisted it around and held it in place by slipping one loop into the other. That gave the bracelet an asymetric shape: one end is curved and the loop end is pointy. It adds a new dimension to the shape that quite appeals to me.

What will I do to fill up the spaces of the cuff? The 1st is held together by ribs of beads and I will use my floss wrapped wood beads, coiled copper wire, black beads, and anything else that strikes me as I go along.

The 2nd will be the dress up bracelet. I woke up this morning dreaming about that cuff bracelet. Using wire, I am going to try some hardanger elements. I might add some perle cotton hardanger as well. I expect it won't be easy and my hands will scream at me but I think the finished product may be just the ticket.

So, what started as a disaster has ended with hope in my heart and a new design. It's great writing about it after the fact instead of mapping everything out at the beginning. I'm hoping the spontaneity of the design will shine through. ...Glass0...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September Notes - Cuff Bracelet Success

More waiting: I have to wait to the beginning of December before I can show pictures in this blog. I added pictures and began to discuss my latest achievement but then remembered I can't show any pictures here before the start of December.

If you recall, I have been crying over my poor hands being put through such memory wire torture. Then, truly in midst entry, I had a streak of inspiration: I would add beads to the memory wire, close up the form with crimp tubes, and tighten and shape the cuff bracelet with copper or silver or even maybe gold wire. Once this is finished I can add my wrapped beads.

The wrapped beads are not wire. They are wood beads that I have wrapped in embroidery floss. For embroiderers, you may recognize this as one of the techniques used in stumpwork. I wrote something here a bit earlier abour Jane Nicholas, Australian and brilliant stumpwork books.

This Spanish bracelet has only the slightest connection to Spain: certainly, I've used no technique attributable to Spain. Kind of like a string tied to a finger to remind you of something important, my sister requested a piece of artisan jewellery to act as a constant reminder; thereby allowing her to save money to finance her trip to Spain.

Now I know more about memory wire and in the future will find other means of creating cuff bracelets. My hands just aren't strong enough for the memory wire. Now I've tried it and can voice an opinion backed by my personal experience: I'll not use memory wire again. That's more than I knew in August.

By the way, if you'd like to see the pictures you can see my other blog. ...Glass0...

September Notes - Cuff Bracelet - Spain

Here is my effort with memory wire. Getting the bracelet to this phase has been murder on my poor arthritic hands but I got it done. The 'ring' is held together with 3 crimp beads - you can just see them at the bottom of the 1st picture, between 7 4mm black beads and the larger black/white round bead.

Still to be done is to add more wire to stabilize this cuff bracelet and finally to add my floss wrapped wooden beads. That's the fun stuff I have to look forward to (no, that isn't sarcasm).

This is the one that exploded in my face. I have nothing more to say to it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

September - 09 09 08

I am still energized by the project, don't get me wrong. But a subplot to this journal is to curtail my rash behaviours. I was so excited about my theme - jewellery - and I saw this as a great opportunity to try things I've not tried before.

Memory wire was made for people with far more strength and persistence than I have. I have developed a water blister on the palm side of my ring finger: the underside PIP joint ( I had a tough time with septic arthritis a couple of years ago so I ended up learning some 'medicalese'. The PIP is the Proximal Inter Phalangeal joint - the knuckles closest to your hand. Pretty good, huh?

Well, I've not been wearing my rings lately so that didn't play into this blister. Two days and evenings working with memory wire and pliers is what killed me. My hands ache terribly but the results are disappointing.

The question I ask myself is: 'is this suffering worth it?' And the answer is a resounding "NO!" And so I retreat from the field of memory wire, not beaten but certainly wiser.

I am quite content to let others use the memory wire. As for me, I will put all thoughts of memory wire out of my head. Unfortunately, I have an unopened package of silver memory wire that I won't be using===

Stop the presses!! I just had a thought about memory wire. I will give it another shot but this time using beads as the edging instead of wire wrapping directly on the memory wire.

Does this mean I've just grown a bit?? I'll let you know. ...G0B (Glass 0 Beads)...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Notes to Self - Translate a Post

Do you want to read a blog in translation from the original into English? Or English into your language? BJP bloggers write in their own language and it's kinda neat to read a blog entry translated from their language to yours.
It can be done and Google has a tool to get it done.
The translation isn't as good as it could be but it is good enough to understand what is being written.
And reading the translations draws us closer together: not just as beaders, but more importantly as people. Fear is dispelled by knowledge and reading in translation is a step towards that knowledge. It makes the world a friendlier place.
At least, that's what I think. ...Glass0...