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 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