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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Think About It Talk About It Make It Happen

Think local - talk local, buy local ~

The odds are you know someone who owns a small business in  your town... bookstore owner, hairdresser, pet groomer, antique dealer, clothing store.... check 'em out. They need your support!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Make Your Art Your Business

Took the day off last Friday to try to grow my brain a little. One of those things that I think is important to do occasionally. It doesn't always work out but, I'm happy to say that this time I hit it out of the park (not my brain)

I attended a day long workshop at Blue Ridge College in Weyers Cave, VA that was co-sponsored by Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development. It was called, Make Your Art Your Business. I had a great day... got too meet tons of local and regional artists, listened to some experts who have been making a living with their art for as much as 30 years and got to share ideas with a roomful of people who are passionate about what they do.

One of the most important things I took away from the day was that too many artists don't take themselves seriously as a business. Being an artist isn't like any other job - there is a lot of emotion attached to what you do, sharing a piece of yourself is serious stuff. It's important to decide whether you're a hobbiest or an artist trying to make a living. Neither one is right or wrong, its a personal choice. But if you're an artist trying to make a living then you better have some decent business sense.

You need to know what a Business Plan is - you should have an Artists Statement - you need to know about marketing, taxes, credit card sales, shows, expenses and the worst part of all..... PRICING YOUR WORK!!!

If you don't know some of this stuff.... be smart, contact your local small business development center (there are over 10,000 offices in the US) and make an appointment!! I'm so glad that I did this. I feel so much more confidant about my work, my goals and myself.

Get smart - its good for you.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Snow? In October?

It was a crazy weekend here in Virginia... we got about 3" of snow here in the Shenandoah Valley - but a lot of places around us got as much as 10"!!!!

What does one do when a freak snowstorm assails you? Here's what I did:

A little practice on my newly learned technique - yup, I made the hooks! I still mostly make them and throw the crooked little bastards away....but that happens less often now! It was so dreary outside I worked with bright, intense, springtime colors - made me happy.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Stuff I Love (this week!)

I'm supposed to be working on a newsletter.... somehow I found myself following the blue links and the next thing I knew.....
I had found this adorable little bag! Yes, it's a book cover - love the look of this. Check out her Etsy site: Rebound Designs

I continue to wander and as usual I have to check out the new listings at Beady Girl Beads. I am so completely in love with the fun, color saturated beads on this site!!
And... from one of my favorite artists these fabulous enameled squares. I've used these as toggles, Kristen is great at special orders! Her Etsy site is Bead Swede

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Delightful Fall Weekend

I did everything I was supposed to do - clean, launder, sew, organize, mow...  Then, I did a few things I wanted to do - went to the 150th anniversary re-enactment of the Battle of Cedar Creek and also went to the Virginia Wine and Balloon Festival at Long Branch. Had amazing times at both events, great weather, fun crowds, cool stuff to see and do.

If you've never been to a Civil War re-enactment you should add it to the bucket list. The men and women who participate in these events are amazing. They are experts about the Civil War, they know things you will never learn in a classroom, never see in a classroom and never fully understand from a classroom. The battles are accurately portrayed - the experience is quite overwhelming, it will truly give you a much better understanding of what occurred.

After my little history lesson, I stopped at Long Branch to see the Wine & Balloon Festival. Thousands of other people had the same plan! Dozens of local wineries, some great food, bands and lots of interesting art and craft vendors. My favorite vendor of the day was Finchberry Soapery. A small, woman owned soapery in Fairfax, VA the soaps and lotions were the most unique, delightful, delicious, wonderful concoctions I've ever seen. You should definitely visit her website... -- you'll be so happy!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Wandering the Web

So, I'm wasting some time. It didn't start out that way, I intended to do something serious... I just get so easily distracted by the blue words. Seems to have something to do with thinking that if I don't go look, I might miss something better then where I am right now. Or maybe it's just because I have a serious case of, "ADH, oooh sparkly!"
Anyway... while I was wandering I found some really cool stuff that I thought I better share. Not jewelry, but sometimes its ok to look at other stuff... right?

Isn't this amazing? I found this at an Etsy site: --- really fun, really unusual! Go there, you'll smile!

Don't you want one of these?? Well, you can get this one and tons more here:

Then I wandered over to Dust Furniture - I happen to own one of these clocks - but I seriously covet this shelf unit... sigh!, unhappily I don't have the cost of it, but one day.....

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Some New Ideas

I've been working on making Mother~Daughter sets -- bracelets mostly, but I did try one necklace set. They are so cute. Now I just have to find some teeny tiny wrists to try them out on! The necklaces use a lot of components that I saw in a Wire Working magazine this month and the beads are from a set of lampworks that I bought from Chestnut Ridge Designs. The wire comes from Parawire.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Thanks Kerry Bogert!

Spent last Saturday evening at ArtBLISS in a workshop with Kerry Bogert - I have her book: Totally Twisted which, if you don't own a copy RUN to the bookstore to get one! Great ideas!

This bracelet is something I made after the workshop - I wanted to try making a hook clasp we learned before I completely forgot how to do it! This hook is made with 18 gauge colored copper wire from Parawire (love them!) - I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out.

Thanks Kerry!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Try Something New

My first attempt at making my own polymer clay beads. Polymer clay is pretty amazing stuff. It can be shaped into, over, around pretty much anything. It seems to be indestructible once its hardened. It never hardens on its own, you don't need any special or expensive tools to work with it, comes in an amazing array of colors and it's cheap - about $2.25 for a 2 oz. block.  There are literally thousands of how-to videos on the internet. Get some - have fun!

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I love Etsy -- but lately I'm seeing more 'trolling' and less buying - so, I decided to try some different venues. My first foray into the world of other selling sites is - Bonanza. So far it's been pretty positive. I do think that it's easier to upload items on Etsy but, Bonanza was able to pull my Etsy listings so I at least didn't have to start from scratch! I've even gotting a few hits and comments and my files aren't fully online yet.

I'll keep you posted on how it goes as I get a little further along.
In case you want to have a look.... this is me:

I'm definitely open to comments and suggestions!

Monday, September 19, 2011

ArtBLISS 2011

So excited!! Headed to ArtBliss 2011 this weekend to learn and create! If you're not familiar with ArtBLISS check out the website - it's not too late to register!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hello Fall!

I think I sat down to have a cup of coffee and when I looked up it was September.... crazy. The last few weeks I've been absorbed in learning how to use polymer clays - fascinating stuff. It comes in amazing colors and you can apparently make anything out of it - jewelry, teapots, toggles, pictures - the list is kind of endless. So I'm thinking I'd like to try making toggles - I hate that I have to use silver or gold when what I really want is blue,  yellow, red, purple!!!

 If anyone knows how to make an amazing polymer toggle send me instructions!  .... or if anyone knows anything about whether or not they make a good toggle, let me know.

I'm also pondering buttons made from polymer - seems to be a good fit. I've made a few.... cute. I'll have picts to upload in a day or two.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Check it out!! Free Stuff!

Genea Beads is giving away the coolest bead set - check it out, then follow the link to sign up!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A quick look at the week...

I've been busy playing around with some of the 16 gauge aluminum wire I got from MyElements. It's a ton of fun, easy to bend, lightweight and it comes in great colors! You can make a piece that it large and colorful but won't be too heavy. Get some! Have fun!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Oodles of Glass!

I've been busy this week playing around with all the great stuff I got at the bead show last weekend. Sometimes there just aren't enough hours in the day! I picked up a ton of tumbled sea glass. I love the colors and irregular shapes, it lends itself well to pieces with a more natural feel to them.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Intergalactic Bead Show!

Spent a fun afternoon in York, PA at the Intergalactic Bead Show. Got to visit with some of my favorite peeps - Yvonne from MyElements, always a pleasure and a laugh!

Also met Laurie Jager, the owner of Bergamini Beads. I'm completely in love with her furnace glass. The colors are intense, bright and very sharp. You can tell how much craftsmanship and love goes into these beads!

I couldn't wait to get home to try out a few of her beautiful beads in my work - Here's what I've come up with so far...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

New, Fun Stuff!

So here I am making all these fabulous headbands for my daughter - big, bright flowers - they look so cute! Well, next thing I know, I've made tons of them - so much fun. And everyone wants one! So, lately I'm spending all my free time making headbands - well, I figured I better share them with all of you! If you love 'em and need one there are lots on my website:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Daily Favorite

Are you kidding me?? Look at the color of these amazing fun beads! You have to love and appreciate a mind that comes up with this...
I found these on Etsy - I of course immediately added her store to my favorites! Check her out - beadygirlbeads

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Favorite Components pt. 2

If you've looked at even one of my other posts you know that I love color. So, what the heck is going on with all these little danglers? Well, I also love - sparkle! These unassuming little danglers are the perfect filler when you want a little extra oompf in your art. I use them in between beads in bracelets and at the end of a bracelet to cover the gap made by a toggle. They pack a lot of punch, so don't pass them up too quickly when you're out hunting up just the right thing to make that jewelry Bling!

Friday, July 8, 2011

My Favorite Components (part 1)

At first glance these little rubber rings may look like nothing exciting - sort of like those little rubber bands for braces.... BUT if you look closer and imagine for a moment.... ah, yes - the inspiration comes! Theres an endless list of cool things you can do with these little guys! They come in a million colors and sizes and can really add pizzazz to your jewelry! Heres a few picts to help inspire you to round up some color!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mermaid Harvest

I had such a good time last weekend at the Makers Market in Solomans Md! One of the coolest vendors there had made these amazing earrings out of enameled metal beads - of course I had to have a pair!! Here's a little look at what she can do with copper - and if you want to see more check out her Etsy site:

Monday, July 4, 2011

Lovely to Look At!

As promised, I've been making some fun stuff from the beads that I got last week from Laura Critchfield - here's a little sample of what I've been making:

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Bang on the 4th

If any of you are spending your 4th of July holiday anywhere near Solomans MD - drop by Annmarie Garden for the Makers Market. Maggie and I will be sitting there all day (9am - 2pm) on July 2 along with a ton of other fun people - you don't want to be the only one who misses out on the fun, right? Need more info? Here's the website:
                                       Happy 4th of July Everyone!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Today's Favorite

This adorable set of lampwork beads are from DewDaBeads - love the colors! They feel very 'Minnie Mouse' don't they?? You can see more of her work at:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

New Earrings & Stuff!

There is nothing like going to a bead show to get your inspirational juices kickin'! I could hardly wait to get home to start playing with all my cool new toys!! Here's a few shots of what I've been working on.... enjoy!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Meeting a Creative Hero!

I spent a wonderful Sunday at the bead show in Hunt Valley, MD with my favorite daughter-in-law. I had such a fun day. I was absolutely in awe of the amazing lampwork beads - my favorites were made by Laura Drosner Schreiber from Dover PA. Even though you guys didn't get to see them in person  you can check out her beautiful work here:  - Nice stuff!

I also got to meet the folks from Parawire - I really love their wire. We set up a wholesale agreement with them so you'll be seeing lots of their amazing colored wire in the shop in a couple weeks!! (squeal with delight!!) - Come check it out, it's gonna be at great prices and you're definitely gonna want to make something creative with this stuff!

Highlight of the day though, had to be meeting my creative inspiration - Yvonne Irvan-Faus of MyElements. I've been buying most of my jewelry components from Yvonne for years but this was our first face-to-face. It was sort of like Dr. Seuss meets Rube Goldberg only with more colors and lots more laughing. If you haven't seen Yvonnes colorful, wacky, creations run, don't walk - to her shop on Etsy.

Holy Cow, check out that necklace!!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Total Bead Love!

This is a picture of a set of beads that just arrived today in the mail. These were made by Laura Critchfield of Chestnut Ridge Designs. I cannot wait to make something fun, funky, fabulous with these beads!

I'm not sure yet what these will turn out to be, several projects come to mind, but as soon as I get something made I'll post a photo here on the blog.

Thanks Laura!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

The importance of organization

Some days no matter how hard I work, there are not enough hours to finish everything. I spent a lot of time stressed out about not getting 'it' all done. But what I've come to realize (with age - wisdom, Grasshopper) is that whether I finish it or not, it will still be there tomorrow. So, my new worry is that I actually will get it all done..... then what will I do??? My thought is that it will just be time to die, so I'm trying to just not get buried under an avalanche of To Do.

Toward that lofty goal - I'm working on being more organized, yes -- that's the key. Organize yourself and you'll be able to stay ahead of, of.... hm, whatever. I've devised several plans for this organization thing -- the first thing is that anything that MUST be done before the end  of the day, gets written on my hand. The rule is that I'm not allowed to shower or go to bed until the hand list is complete. It's working pretty well so far, I've learned that once I start to smell pretty bad and stagger about from exhaustion my kids will pitch in and help with the hand list just to get rid of me. I have good kids, right?

The second part is to organize my work space. A great goal, I'll work more efficiently if I don't have to keep trying to remember where I put stuff. A place for everything and everything in its place... yes, good - well, I think for now I'll just write that on my hand. If you have a fabulously organized workspace, feel free to send me a picture. Inspiration is a good thing.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Today's Favorite!

Kerry Bogert - wire artist extrodinaire! Check out her blog:

Kerry is one of my absolute favorite jewelry artists - she makes her own lampwork beads and her work is fun and colorful - she's what I want to be when I grow up!

What's New

I've been working on setting up the bead and jewelry section of the store. I don't have nearly enough stock yet, but the response has been really positive so far. It's always exciting to start a new project isn't it?

The next thing to do is to start hitting the bead shows, picking up some unique beads and other items to stock the store. My hope to have beads and findings that will be unique and spark creativity. Eventually - I'd like to have workshops and classes held at the store. We have plenty of space in the workroom to accomodate 10 to 12 people at a time.

Here's a look at one of the pieces I've been working on - if you'd like to see more check out my website:

Sunday, May 29, 2011

You Have to Start Somewhere!

It's a lazy Sunday afternoon at the store - I've been wanting to start a blog forever now and today seems to be the day for doing just that. I'm not completely sure what I'll do with this, mostly keep track of the cool things I discover wandering through the 'blue links' on the web. I find most of my inspiration by trolling around looking at everyone's creations. As I find cool stuff that I think everyone else would be interested in... I'll publish links to those sites as well.  Check back or sign up to receive these in your email - you never know what I might come across. For today, I'll leave you with a link to one of my absolute favorite jewelry artists:
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