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.