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Sunday, November 4, 2012

How Much? Finding a pricing scheme that works

     Awhile ago I read an article in 101 Bracelets Necklaces & Earrings (2012 Special Edition) by Lorelei Eurto about designing everyday jewelry. She said, "Jewelry buyers want to buy wearable, everyday jewelry that is both unique and affordable." Up to that time I had been struggling with pricing my work ~ if its too low you don't cover your overhead and go broke trying to do what you love, if its too high no one can afford it and you go broke.... the circle of sparkle. I had looked at the prices charged by other artists, read articles about pricing formulas, talked to other people - mostly I just got headaches.

     Lorelei's statement made me re-think my process for pricing. ..."unique and affordable".... that's what I want to sell! I already know I have the unique part figured out - affordable, that's more of a challenge.
 I decided that I wanted my price point for bracelets to be in the $20 to $30 range.  I love glass! I love lamp work. Problem is - artisan made lamp work can be V-E-R-Y pricey. I've seen 15mm beads for $40! An average number of beads in one of my bracelets is six - do the math!  I also love silver as an accent - well silver prices have soared in the last couple years. I don't want to give up working with materials I love, so what I do is combine artisan made beads with commercially made beads and I use good quality base metals and silver plate.

     In the piece pictured here the flower bead was made by Laura Critchfield, one of my absolute favorite artists, the remaining beads are commercially made glass from bead shows or local bead stores. The silver accents and toggle are about half and half silver plate and base metals - I love the look of it and best of all I can sell this piece at $30 and not go broke!

Be creative - not just in your designs but in the way you run your business!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Themed Jewelry ~ Do You or Don't You?

This is a question I struggle with - should I make a bunch of skeleton earrings in the hope that I'll be able to sell them before Halloween? Or ~ do I skip it because really, how often is anyone going to wear holiday themed jewelry???

Should I only make jewelry for the really B-I-G holidays?? Are people going to be happier rockin' a really cool Santa necklace? Is Santa more important than the Easter Bunny? or those adorable leprechauns? How does anyone decide?

How about this... maybe I just go with vaguely seasonal jewelry? It's Fall!... wear orange, it's Spring!.... wear pastels, it's Summer!... wear tangerine and citrus, it's Winter!.... ick.....

What's a jewelry maker to do?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Where Do You Work?

 It's fascinating to see other peoples creative spaces.  It gives me good ideas for storage and work areas. It also makes me feel better - I know I'm not the only messy, creative person! So, here's a look at my current workspace.
This is temporary space for me - we moved in May and the plan is to build a work room off the garage. Until that happens I'm using a little sitting room. Its a good space with a huge window but not big enough for everything.
 I have a couple of these spinning tool holders - this one came from Pampered Chef but I've seen them in office supply stores too. It's a wonderful way to have just what I need at hand and they don't take up much space.
This is another one of my favorite storage ideas. Shallow drawers, on wheels with little  compartments - Awesome!
These little guys were a gift from my clever son. Their actually for nuts and bolts but they work really well for beads! They stack, are really sturdy, have clear fronts so I can see what's inside and are only about $10 each!
Here's another idea that has worked out really well. I bought these 6' lengths of counter top from Lowe's. They're already mitered so the corners fit together perfectly. They have a built in back splash so nothing rolls off to the floor! I have base cabinets under the ends and legs under my seating space. The counter comes in 4' - 12' lengths and about half a dozen colors, it ranges in price from $40 to $100.

I still need to head out to the garage when I want to cut jumprings or do any other messy projects but this is a great little temporary space!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Here Fishy, Fishy!

     I found these really cool little piranha charms at the Bead & Button show in Philly. I love these little guys, they look so fierce! Here's a piece I made with them recently - who could resist these little killers?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Lorelei Eurto Bohemian Challenge

About a month ago I read about Lorelei Eurto's challenge. She was on vacation in Maine and stopped in Beadin Path and picked out some lucite beads.  Heather and her staff, put together the kits and offered them for sale on their website. As soon as I saw the colors I decided I had to have a kit. Even though the giant links and even giant-er black flowers weren't something I would normally choose - I decided that I should step out 'da box and try something new.

Today is the day we get to reveal what we made!

As soon as I saw the flowers I knew that they had to be the focus of my piece. I used glass bead caps from my stash for the centers on two of them and a flower button for the third.  I also wanted to use different types of chain but kept them similar enough for a cohesive look.
I loved the lucite beads but didn't want to simply string them altogether.
So.... I added bundles of little silver star bursts, green and white striped glass beads and some caps.
I know what you're thinking... where are the giant links?? Still on the workbench.... I'll come up with something, this just got to be so, so.... much? But I had a great time - Thanks to Lorelei and the folks at Beadin Path for coming up with a great idea!!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Wing a Ding Ding!

I managed a little playtime this weekend -- so of course I had to see what happened with the wingdings I got from Genea. I gotta tell ya, I love these little beads. Each one is unique but they all  have this cheerful feeling to them! I may need to get about a thousand more in every color! This piece is simple but gives that warm fuzzy feeling, ya know? Won't this look perfect with your favorite sweater?

Checking a few names off the Christmas gift list with this....

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Thanks Genea!!

Last week, I was one of the three speediest mouse clickers online and managed to snag a set of Genea Beads uber cool Wing Ding sets that she had on sale. Today, I got home from a long road trip ~ hot, tired, hungry.... and guess what was in the mail!??! YES!! Genea's beautiful, colorful beads!! Awesome!!

Now ~ if I could just find a little free time to play......

Monday, September 10, 2012

Pantone Fall Colors

For those of you who are in the 'need to know' fashion category - here is a chart of Pantone's best colors for fall 2012. I love that the entire palette isn't brown! I'm a fan of bright, bright colors so I'm happy to see the Ultramarine Green, Tangerine Tango and Bright Chartreuse! I think these colors will lend themselves really well to the current trend of big, bold, chunky pieces. Of course if you're more of a traditionalist - the Honey Gold, French Roast, Titanium and Rose Smoke are perfect choices for you! Now that you've seen the new colors, start rooting around in that stash of yours and get creative! Feel free to share what you make with us!

Monday, September 3, 2012


This is a set of glass rings that I picked up at Beadfest Philly in August. I loved the colors - the glass bar is actually from another toggle I had in the stash. It was too large to use for a bracelet and the little ring that came with it made the bar look gigantic - this turned out to be a perfect solution.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Look What I Found!!

   What about that? So much fun crammed into one great piece! This beauty was made by Marianne Bernsen (BernsenArts on Etsy) - if you've never seen her work it's all very cool. She uses some pretty unusual items in combination with more traditional components and the results are really amazing. All of it makes me smile, there are a lot of bright colors, shapes and textures. Pop into her Etsy shop, it'll make your day!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Beadfest Bonanza!

What a fun weekend! I headed up to Beadfest Philly Saturday morning with my daughter, Maggie and my daughter-in-law, Jamie. We decided to make a girls weekend out of it, starting with a day at Beadfest. Here are some of the amazing goodies we found...
Have to start this show with a set I got from Kerry Bogert. When I grow up I want to be a lampwork artist of this caliber. Kerry does the most amazing work - this picture doesn't do justice to the hollow bead. I love the bead in a bead and the colors are just poppin'!

On my list of places to get to is always Bergamini Beads. Furnace glass has always been one of my very favorites to work with, and the glass made by the artisans at Bergamini is absolutely the best. The satuated colors and variety of shapes make it almost impossible to choose which ones to buy, but I managed to pick a pile!
A new stop for me was A Grain of Sand where I picked up some great vintage pieces. They had tons of Bakelite in a huge variety of colors and shapes.
Hobo Glass was Maggies favorite place, she scored these great glass rings for a necklace - the plan is to make the large ring into a toggle - when it's completed I'll post a pict!
This was a fun stop too... and FREE is always appreciated! I love the idea of having a stamp with my initials so I can have a little tag to put on all my work - branding is an important part of making jewelry and this is a good way to do that. Look into it - its worth it!
You can't go to an event like this without hitting the big commercial sellers They're a great place to get inexpensive 'filler' beads, spacers, crystals and all those odds-n-ends that make getting your jewelry together easier!
.... and finally - I'll leave you with the biggest piece of glass I bought this weekend. This actually didn't come from anyone at Beadfest. I got this foot tall handblown drop at a crazy little place on Rt. 30 not far from Gettysburg called Desert Flower - definitely worth taking the time to visit this place!

This doesn't even scratch the surface of the exhibitors and amazing items at Beadfest. We had a great time checking out all the booths, chatting with other artists, watching demonstrations and just enjoying a weekend off!


Sunday, August 12, 2012

You're Gonna Love This!!

 My DIL saw these metallic bits in the craft store - and suggested using them to make earrings - brilliant!
Are these adorable or what?? I love to find unusual materials and re-purpose them into jewelry. Yvonne Irvin is the queen of this - I've seen her turn cat toys into amazing fun necklaces! Look at everything as something you can use to perk up whatever your working on.... jewelry (of course!), clothing, purses, quilts, decorating -- Everything!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Don't Miss #2!

Bead Soup Round 2 is this Saturday!! More fun! I can't wait, I've had such a good time looking at the over abundance of creativity here. Truly, some of the pieces I saw were absolutely jaw dropping. Great work artists! Bravo!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Indian Creek Art Glass

If you're not already familiar with Indian Creek Art Glass - you should be! You can find them on Etsy ( but I think you should hurry - I might buy everything they have! I'm absolutely in love with these etched disks.

Go on..... get you some!

Button, Button!

 I've wanted to learn to make buttons for a long time. I have a button addiction. I'm one of those people who buys buttons and then hopes to be able to find matching fabric, and when I don't it's ok I'm still happy with the buttons.

The first time I saw something made out of polymer clay - I thought of making buttons. So, here's my first attempt - If anyone knows the secret of getting the holes perfect I'd love to hear from you! For that matter if you know any great tips for making them - feel free to pass on your knowledge!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Anne's Retirement

A friend of mine has retired and I've been working on a piece to give her to say, congrats, relax you earned it! This is what I came up with.... I hope she loves it!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Yard Sale

I'm having my coffee... heading out for our neighborhood yard sale. I love yard sales and thrift stores and antique stores. You never know what you're going to find. A couple weeks ago I got this amazing set of chairs - tomato red naugahyde - so much fun. Today, I'm hoping to find a lamp for my bedroom - something fun and funky with a bit of character - I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Tasty Soup!!

I've been sipping soup all day - (yes, I'm supposed to be working!) - Got to say, there are some truly talented Soup Sistah's out there! I love seeing what everyone sent and then thinking about what I might have done before looking at the finished piece. Applause, applause!!

Thought you guys might want a second look at one of my favorites by Cory Celaya - Stunning!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Welcome to the Soup!

Meet my partner - Jessica Dickens and be sure to stop at her Tumblr blog to see what she did with my soup!

The Reveal

A quick reminder, for those of you who didn't see the arrival... this is what Jessica Dickens sent to me. Lots of orange, and lots of types of beads that I had never worked with.
I couldn't make up my mind about which direction to go with all this loot - so, I went in all the directions!
Started out a little timid, made this pair of earrings. Used Jessica's glass disks and pressed glass rounds, added the blue and the handmade hooks. I decided that I liked the blue a lot..... so......
I moved on and made a necklace. I did this with my daughter in mind, she loves the circus. I managed to use the clasp Jessica sent - but I used to hang the focal piece and made a hook.
Jessica's focal, the glass rings presented the biggest challenge for me (no, I don't know why!) - but, lately I've been working with so much coiled wire, inspired by Kerry Bogert's book, Totally Twisted that I decided to try making something with those elements as well. I'm pretty happy with the overall look.

The last piece I made was the eyeglass chain - kind of my signature piece. Loved the experience of Bead Soup - the anticipation, the arrival, the thought process and the finished piece. Also loved being in touch with so many other creative people - Thanks to Lori and all of you!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Yipee! Christmas in July!

Oohh - lovely pink boxes in the mail? With Lori's name on it? You know this is going to be something amazing. I was so excited I didn't even wait until I got in the house - I'm like a crazy person at the mailbox giggling and tearing the padded envelope open!

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!' She chortled in her joy!!

Yes, chortled! So much fun in one little box ~ how could this be possible?? I don't even want to go to work today (and I love my job!) I want to stay home and play with these treasures.  

Thank you, thank you, thank you Lori Anderson!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Recent Passion

Wire! I love wire! I especially love the colors - Parawire is my brand of choice, lots of colors and sizes to choose from, great prices and quick shipping. I found a book at one of my favorite used bookstores awhile back - Totally Twisted by Kerry Bogert - I was hooked. Bought several other books and began to play with different techniques. I'm not an expert yet, but I'm making progress..

As you can see the possibilities are limitless... hooks, springs, jump rings, connectors, coils, head pins and they all add a completely new dimension to jewelry. I love that I can have a hook or jump rings in whatever color I want.  Choices! I love having more choices!

If you haven't gotten around to trying wire.... get some! You're going to be amazed!

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Eyes Have It

As a part time wearer of glasses, (can't see a thing close up!), I've long been frustrated with the ugly selection of eyeglass chains - especially those hideous little black thingys at the ends. Necessity being what it is I had to take matters into my own hands. The result has been so much fun! The added bonus of this eyeglass chain is that if you position it in the right place, it looks like you have earrings on!!

Love your glasses - I do now!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Bayou Midnight

I keep working along - making coils, wrapping things, trying to do what Kerry taught us at Art Bliss... I'm feeling closer now...

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sip of Soup

This is a picture (like you didn't figure that out?).... of the clasp I made for my soup sistah - Jessica Dickens. I figure it's alright to post images of the beads I sent now because she's already seen them.... right?

And.... here's the soup mix I sent:

 In my head - I can see exactly what I would have done with these beads. I can't wait to see if Jessica sees the same thing! That's always been my favorite thing about the BSBP - seeing the beads, having a vision of what I would do, and then seeing the reveal.

                             12 DAYS & COUNTING!!

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