Friday, April 27, 2007

Just a few lines to let you know ...

Due to overwhelming response to my offer of a free tutorial "Spirals Anklet", I have more than enough respondents and am closing this phase of testing. Once I receive the feedback from these wonderful volunteers, I will edit and finalize the tutorial. I will then be offering it for a small charge, and will offer kits for it. I will post a bloggerie when they are available.

Now, I really don't have the time to talk. I must pack up my stuff for a small show tomorrow. Wish me luck. I'll be sure to tell you all about it when I get home and rested up.

Have fun this weekend, it is an order from Scarlet. (She is so bossy!)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Test Phase for My First Micro Macrame Tutorial

Finally.

I got the first draft finished on "Spirals Anklet" I am making email copies available for free in exchange for feedback. I am not exactly objective, so I need to know if the instructions are clear and understandable. Are the photos easy to see? If interested, click on my profile and email me. I am looking for beginner as well as experienced beader feedback.

If you don't have materials and don't want to invest in buying everything in quantity, I am offering kits at My Etsy Shop. Here is an excerpt from item description.

KIT INCLUDES:

2 sets of cords in color shown in first photo. ( The extra set to practice on, in case you need it) I have pre-treated the ends with clear finger nail polish to stiffen the ends. If you are rough on the ends, you can just clip them and reapply polish (I tell you how in the instructions.) I am using the C-lon cord in these kits because it is easier to work with. It is a little stiffer than the Omega nylon crochet thread. The Omega gives a more flexible bracelet/anklet, but it can be difficult to work with. If you would like a set of Omega in addition to the C-lon already included, just leave a comment when you pay, or convo me when you buy the kit.

More than enough of each kind of bead needed, just in case. See the photos.

1 Button.

Hard copy of instructions printed out on normal typing paper.

Last photo of a finished anklet/bracelet is for illustrative purposes ONLY. Except for the color, it is what a finished anklet/bracelet should look like.

Note: You will need a work surface (i.e. cork board, old style Puzzle Pad mouse pad, etc) scissors, and glue.

I am so relieved to finally have worked this out. I figured out the pdf problem last night. It was so simple, I forgot to put in page breaks! I also finished the magazine project last night. The packet is ready to send to Step by Step Beads Magazine.

I was so excited when I finished the document, I immediately got a kit together, and listed. I posted on Bead & Button Forum . It is a wonderful forum with a lot of friendly jewelry makers, and other enthusiasts. I have learned a lot from them.

I was tired, but too excited to sleep. My sweetie does not get home until late (he works the 3:30 to Midnight shift, with occasional overtime). I could hardly wait until he got home so I could show him my work.

So, now, I must sign off. I need to get ready for Trade Days this Saturday. My favorite coffee shop (where I consign some of my jewelry) have said they will let me set up on one of their sidewalk tables. I am hoping to make some sales, and get the word out. I think I will put out a sign-up sheet for a class. See if people are interested.

So bye for now, and happy beading!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bloggeries and Other New Developments

Networking. Marketing. An ongoing concern, if I want to make a living with my jewelry. So I have been spending some time on learning more and trying some things.

First, I was googling "blog reviewers" and came across Bloggeries - Blog Review. I submitted this blog. They were very nice, sent me an email, and let me know that I will probably be reviewed once this blog is over 3 months old. April 28th will be 3 months. Then of course, how soon after will depend on the waiting list. Link currently on sidebar under "Favorite Blogs". See note below.

I was also referred to their forum Bloggeries - Blogger Forum. They encourage you to participate, put a link to your blog in your signature, and promote your blog. It is also a place to learn more about anything pertaining to blogs. In fact, one of the things I learned was what the term "bloggeries" means.

Quote by "Bloggieries" posted in forum thread: Kudos for the ranking": "Bloggeries is becoming a commonly used term to describe the individual blog posts within a blog. Essentially a "Blog" is the aggregate of however many bloggeries the author has written. Therefor you can refer to individual posts as a "bloggeries"."

I have had a very pleasant and educational experience there, and fully intend to make it a regular part of my routine. I provide a link in my sidebar as well, currently under "Related Links".

Note: I can see that since this blog is becoming more complex, I need to edit and reorganize my links. Hopefully, soon. I will post a bloggerie on it when I do, so you will know what I have done to your favorite links,

Then, as I was surfing, I stumbled upon a blog with a list of sites that provide a place to sell your stuff. Out of this list, I studied several, narrowed the possibilities down to two, and finally chose one to try.

eCrater. I am a bit excited at this new venue. It was pretty easy to use, and it is free. For the few questions I had in setting up, I readily found answers in the forum, eCrater Community . So far, I have felt welcomed. The community seems warm, friendly, and helpful. Links to eCrater Home and for eCrater Community can both be found under "Related Links" (for now) in sidebar. Link for my new shop "My eCrater Shop" can be found under "My other sites" in sidebar. Don't worry, I am keeping my Etsy shop, I'm just adding another one.

While setting up this new shop, I found a link in the forum (eCrater Community), where you can make your own logos. It was fun, and easy. I made several. I will be working out my final logo over time. Right now I am experimenting with various ones. At any rate, this service was free, they only request that you link back to them if you use the logos you make. So in addition to the link in my side bar under "Related Links", here it is: GRSites Logo Maker .

I got so distracted by all of this, that I failed to finish getting the magazine project polished up and sent out. I really must do this today. I also need to get back to solving the pdf problem with the instructions for "Spirals Anklet", and make it available. I have a few mundane chores as well.

But Scarlet won't leave me alone. I finished the first bracelet using the new ideas I received, and have started another variation....Need..to..bead. But first, I must do my chores. KnotGypsy signing off for now.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Picture Me!

Remember, I told you I was camera shy? Well, on the list of requirements to submit a project to Step by Step Beads, was a request for a photo of self.

So I relented and had my other half take some photos of me this morning. I'm camera shy, remember? I didn't have any photos of myself available in digital format.

Anyway, some were too terrible and I deleted them right away. No one gets to see the ones I don't like. The rest were not too terrible, so I picked the one I liked best. I will show you all here which one it was.

I really kind of like it, I may use it in my profile. What do you think?

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Photos As Promised

First, I show you the "Fans Bracelet" I mentioned last Saturday, and the earrings I made to go with it. This set really reminds me of the 1930's. So I am calling it "Deco Fans". I had a great difficulty listing this set in My Etsy Shop, I want to keep it for myself!



Then, as you all know, I got those gemstone chips! I have been having fun. Here are some of the results:

First, the amethyst chips; I put them into my Criss Cross design motif. I just love amethyst, don't you?


Then, I used the red sandstone chips in a variation of my Nouveau design motif. I really like the sparkles in the red sandstone.

Of course the bracelet needed earrings to match.

Then, I dug out some of the stone beads I had bought some years ago at an estate sale. I am not sure what kind these are, but they look like lapis lazuli. They may be some other stone dyed to look like lapis lazuli. I still think they are still pretty, though.
And the earrings...

Remember when I told you about my insomnia courtesy of Scarlet? (previous post) Well, the ideas she gave me that night were really variations on two designs I already have, and one other that I had rolling in my head but could not clarify. They are very nice design ideas, really. I would have been happy to explore them for some time, and I have. I will some more. When I get the time...

Scarlet was not done with me. She kept me up again the next night. I was so tired. I had been playing with the aforementioned ideas, my eyes were crossing. I drank some "Sleepytime" tea, I went to bed at a reasonable hour. Then Scarlet nudged me. I told her to go away, I was tired. Scarlet flashed some images in my head, and stood there. I looked, no, I want to sleeep. I looked. I had to get up and sketch the idea out. Of course, while sketching, I received flashes of ideas for variations on this design. Finally, I got some sleep.

Well, this idea is a gold mine. I am so excited. This idea will lead to another design series, not just variations on what I already have.

The original idea was for a necklace. The version I see in my head needs beads I do not currently have. I also see a wedding version. I have been wanting to do a wedding set for some time now. So, I decided to explore aspects of this idea on a smaller scale. That way I could learn how the techniques play out in real life. I could get a feel for what the idea can do. So I started a bracelet. As I was doing it, another technique idea came to me, so I went with it. This new idea will also lead to a design series. It is more sculptural. I can already see several ways to take this idea. I am still working on this bracelet. You know I'll photograph it and show it to you when it is done.

So many ideas, I cannot bead fast enough. When Scarlet does this to me, I end up obsessed with beading. I must get these ideas concretized. I must create. I forget all about my mundane chores. (I did manage to get the grocery shopping done yesterday.) I must pry myself away from beading in order to blog, list items in My Etsy Shop, cook, write pattersn, etc. I am continually trying to schedule myself, but I don't fall so easily into schedules.

Guess I'll just have to wait for a lull in order to get some rest.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Designs to Love

I just found a great website, "Designs to Love". The membership is free. There is a forum for crafters and anyone interested in crafts. There is a wonderful photo gallery and it is formatted as for a forum; so everyone can leave comments or have a conversation about a particular piece. I signed up right away, and have already put several photos up in the gallery. I urge you to go have a look. There are some very nice crafter people there, and some very beautiful work. I have also inserted a link in the sidebar under "Related Links".

I have not gotten everything done this week that I had hoped. I was down almost two days with a migraine. Luckily it was only a 5 on the Richter Scale. They just leave me so beaten up, but I am better now.

I have made two more bracelets using the gemstone chips. Photos soon, I promise. I am nearly finished with the final draft for my Step by Step Bead Magazine project. I just have a few corrections to make and then I need to get my honey to photograph me. I am a bit camera shy, I don't think I am very photogenic, but I will send them one, anyway. I may even post it here. Sorry, I have not had a chance to get back to the pdf problem with "Spirals Anklet". It is on my list of priorities.

In a comment to a previous post, I was asked about size 10 seed beads. I can get them locally, but Fire Mountain Gems do not carry them. I looked up the brand of these beads (Beaded Treasures by Crafts, Etc) on the internet. Indeed there is a site Crafts, Etc . So you can find size 10 seed beads in a variety of colors. Of course, they also have a lot of other craft supplies. Their prices seem reasonable to me.

Last night, I had insomnia bad. I feel a bit dragged out today. But Scarlet paid me off. She sent me three new design ideas. I will make time to work on those. I am rather excited about them, but I just wish Scarlet would let me sleep. What is wrong with giving me the inspirations when I am awake? I ask you, is this too much to ask????

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Beads Were 50% Off, So I Bought 4 Times as Many!

Well, I went to Hobby Lobby on the right day. Or wrong one depending on how you look at it. They were having a sale on a couple brands of beads. So I started to go crazy. Beads. On Sale. Who could resist. So it was the right day as I got to take advantage of a good sale; it was the wrong day as I ended up buying 4 times what I anticipated!

I was kneeling there at the bottom racks with my hands full of beads. I said aloud, "Darn, I should have gotten a cart". ( I had not expected to buy much, just a few items...). Then a very nice young lady asked if I wanted her to go get me a cart. I was at first stunned at such a generous offer, but said "That would be so sweet". She got me a cart, and I proceeded to add beads to it. The young lady and I talked some about beads, etc. Apparently, she likes to work with pearls. I love bead people. Her mother joined us and I told the mother how nice her daughter had been. The daughter even gave credit to her mother for raising her this way. There is hope for the younger generation if they have manners such as this. I am reassured by her as I so often see a lack of manners. She, however, went way beyond manners in going out of her way to do a good deed.

What beads did I buy? Well, I thought of taking a photo of my haul. You know, just pile it up on a table and click a quick pic. Sorry, I was too excited to delay getting my hands on my new beads. I immediately proceeded to unpackaging them so I could feel them in my hands. I love to fondle beads.

I can tell you what I bought. They carry size 10 seed beads (one of the few places I know of). It was the brand that was on sale. The holes are large enough for even that heavier cord I have recently been playing with. So of course I had to have all the colors. I bought some size 11 seed beads in gold and silver (metallic), and a few other neutral colors. I found a few 8mm ovals & cubes, and some 6mm X 4mm tubes. Then, because I have been dreaming of gemstone chips and since they were also on sale, I got some amethyst, aventurine, and red sandstone chips.

At Half Price Books, I found some more episodes of Star Trek Next Generation that I did not have in my library. So I got some. I like to watch videos while I bead, and Star Trek Next Generation is one of my all time favorite series. I watch them over and over. They are a good investment for me.

It was my birthday yesterday (I turned 48). All in all, I am happy with my beads and videos. They will keep me busy for a while. In fact, the first thing I did after opening all my beads, was to use the amethyst chips in a bracelet. I finished a pair of earrings to match the orange "Fans" bracelet I mentioned in my previous post. When I have enough stuff made, I'll photograph it and show it to y'all.

Now I gotta get back to the new beads...

Saturday, April 14, 2007

I Get to Go Bead Shopping!

Today, I get a trip out of the house! My partner and I are going to San Marcos. San Marcos is a slightly larger town about 30 miles away. We have some errands to run, so while we are there, I get to go to Hobby Lobby. Maybe I will find some beads. Maybe I will find some key rings so I can make more fobs. We will also make an extended stop at our favorite book store - Half Price Books. They sell used books and have quite a selection.

I listed a few more items on Etsy today. Also, bought some space on the Mother's Day Showcase (on Etsy) for April 29. Then I selected several items to be featured items, and now they are the ones showing up in my Etsy mini gallery (on sidebar). So I changed the name from "Recent Etsy Listings" to "Featured Items at my Etsy Shop". I will problem solve later, when I have more time. I really liked it to show recent listings. I will probably have to unselect my featured items until closer to the showcase date.

I have switched back to using C-lon cord and so far have made a "Fans" bracelet in orange. When I have some more made, I will photograph them and post the pics.

Well, bon voyage to me...Wish me luck on my hunt.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Claiming a blog on Technorati

I am in the process of claiming a blog on Technorati. Technorati Profile

I hope I am doing this right. If successful, I will let you know and I will link to their site. Maybe you want to do it, too.

Tonight, besides listing more items on Etsy, I am pursuing the never ending goal of networking, and letting people know I am here. If you like my blog, you can help by emailing it to your friends, or just telling them about me.

A little while later...

It appears I have done it right. So if you have a blog you want to submit (claim) to Technorati, go to Technorati.com and follow instructions to claim your blog. It was pretty easy.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Woe is Me

It seems you solve one problem and two more pop up. Oh, well, such is life.

I finally got all the photos done for my "Spirals Anklet" project instructions. I finally got the writing done. I'm using Google Docs and Spreadsheets because it is supposed to be able to save in pdf format. Well, when I tried this, I got an incomplete document. Photos missing, formatting askew. I retried it with the same results. I hunted "Help" to no avail. I think I now need to send a request for help to the support center. I have also been looking into other pdf creators. So, although I have the instructions done, there will be further delay while I figure out how to get it into pdf format. I need it in pdf, so I can email it easier.

Another trouble, is the lighting for my photos. I get a set-up that works, then randomly some pictures are way too yellow, some are perfect. Sure I can edit somewhat, but not quite perfectly. As in the above photo. I am a bit of a perfectionist, and I want things my way! Darnit. I get frustrated over these kinds of things. Maybe I need a bubble bath. And some nice music...

Some things have gone right this week. For example, some new bracelets I made came out really nice. I'm still playing with the heavier cord (sans size 11 seed beads). Here are some of my results. (Note: Above photo of necklace and bracelet set are also new this week.) Remember, you can click on images to get a larger view.

The first two remind me of sea shells. So I think I'll call them "Shells".



I like this one, but have no idea what to call it. Any Suggestions?


Then there is this one. The beads and cord all looked good together until I got it made. Now I don't like it. The cord seems to bright to me. Will anyone speak up for this poor reject or do I take the scissors to it?


I have made a couple more key chains, and necklace & earring sets as well. Except for the green bracelet (above), my beading has gone well. I have begun to list these items in My Etsy Shop (see recent listing on sidebar - just click on image to go right to the listing). I will continue to list these items as the weekend goes by. So keep checking in.

Now for that nice bubble bath...

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

One thing leads to another


As I said the other day, I have been going through my bead stash. I found a use for those pretty plastic beads - key ring fobs. That led to trying the fob motif in a "Y" Necklace.

I was using the heavier gauge macrame beading cord (You remember, from Fire Mountain Gems) that I had on hand. I don't usually use it much as it won't pass through size 11 seed beads. Well, as I was working on the aforementioned items, it occurred to me that it would work nicely with these ceramic focal beads I bought in my last bead order. I have been wanting to use them and have not known quite how I wanted to use them.

Here is what I came up with. Chokers and earrings with a casual look. What do you think?

As you can see, I have listed one necklace in My Etsy Shop. (See mini gallery in sidebar).

Then, I wondered how the (heavier) beading cord would work with my "Fans" design motif. This is how: (Remember, you can click on image to get a larger view.)


I almost forgot...remember when Scarlet said she had been thinking of what to do with those teardrop beads I got in trade? I made a "Fans" Choker with them, also recently listed in My Etsy Shop.


Scarlet is calling me, so I gotta go for now.

Monday, April 2, 2007

What to do with those pretty plastic beads?

A couple of months ago, I bought some beads at Walmart. They had nice colors and came in a variety of shapes. I got them home and discovered they were plastic. Well, I do not use plastic in my jewelry. But they were pretty, so I tucked them away in one of my bead drawers.

Recently, I have been sorting through my beads. I came across the aforementioned beads, and some rings for keychains. Hmmm...I got to thinking. Plastic would be good for keychain fobs. You know, you come into the house and throw your keys onto the table. Plastic would be less likely to chip, etc.

So, I made keychain fobs this weekend. I used a heavier gauge cord (Macrame Beading Cord from Fire Mountain Gems) that I had on hand. The first couple were not quite what I had in mind, but you never know until you try. So I used those as a stepping stone to the next ones, and am now happy with the results.



I have also dabbled in making beads from fabric. You have probably seen those beads made from paper. Well, I used the same technique with fabric. Instead of glue, I used polyacrylic. You can find it in the aisles with other furniture refinishing products. polyacrylic as opposed to polyurethane is water soluable. It dries to a nice protective finish. I just keep layering it on until I am satisfied. I find these beads also do well in keychain fobs.


I liked the fobs so much, I thought the idea would work in a necklace with ceramic and glass focal beads.


Today, I realized these fobs would make nice pulls to attach to the hanging chains on ceiling fans, lamps, etc....

I will be listing these items in my Etsy Shop throughout this week.

Once I started beading, the ideas started flowing, so I need to return to them and see what happens next...
Copyright 2007 Donna Littlewood