Wednesday, January 16, 2013

If It doesn't work - Try Try again.

Have you seen one of those posts on Facebook titled Pinterest Failures, or Craft failures? If you havent, here's a really funny link.

 I could spend as much time on a site like craft fail as I do on Pinterest!! At least I'm not the only one.  I have to say my failures lately haven't been that bad.

 I have an excuse! I'm Still Stuck in a hotel room.  We have been away from our household items Since December 6th, and spending time in hotel rooms since then. My Creativity is slim to none right now. Thankful that I have kits with instructions to keep me occupied! Even so I've had a few failures.

It's understandable, I've had far too much to think about lately.
We needed to find a place to live, and then hurry up and wait until the current tennants move out. The worry of leaving all of our household belongings with strangers to drive it across the country and store it, and all of the bad thoughts going through my head as to the condition our things will show up in.

I've been thinking about  how much we have spent in hotel rooms over the last month , and how it could have been used for a wonderful all inclusive vacation to some fantastic location.

The list is endless, I keep telling myself to stop worrying about the things I can't control. It's just a lot of unknowns all at once!!!
uuugh. Soon We will be settled!!!

 Ok, On to the projects that didn't work.

My last post included a necklace design from Jill Wiseman Love love love this necklace.

I had some extra supplies left over, so I decided to make a matching bracelet and just go with the flow not look at any of the instructions. Can you spot what might be wrong with this?

If you haven't guessed already,  the two ends next to the clasp are two different lengths. Remember, I'm in a hotel room in a place where there aren't any bead shops close by. I ran out of # 11 seed beads LOL!! By the time I got to finishing it off, I didn't have enough seed beads left to even it out!!

I figured ok, I'll adapt it, by making the shorter end of the bracelet the end with the loop. It actually did work, and the bracelet fits nice and even on my wrist.

The second and real problem with this adaptation is the toggle I made. It's not big enough. I wore the bracelet for about 30 minutes and the thing kept falling off. I was trying to rush to get it finished. Now I'll be taking it apart, and redoing! 

Here's the second project, that to me is a fail - the photo isn't the best, but it's pretty close to what it looks like in person. I thought for sure that the base gold color would look great with the Swarovski Sequins, it looks flat and just blah. It doesn't work at all, but I couldn't give up on the project, I felt the need to finish it.

This is a very pretty project that I got from Bead and Button magazine,  Brilliant Crystal Jewelry 2. It's by Bonnie Mountain. The Magazine is from 2009 but can be found on Here's what it should look like:

You can purchase the individual pattern from this link

needless to say I spent about 25 bucks on the Swarovski sequins. I'll be taking mine apart and trying it with a different color background!!

We'll i'm off and back to the drawing board!! Wish me luck!

Monday, January 7, 2013

A Present from a friend - A Jill Wiseman Beading Kit

One of the things I miss most from Maryland is the group of ladies that I used to bead with at my favorite bead shop Bead Soup in Savage Mill.

I had spent many many hours with these ladies, and we all have grown close. I would spend Wednesday Afternoons, and every other Friday night beading, talkng, laughing and eating with the girls.

Before I left Maryland, my beading friends each gave me beads for a beading challenge. It's provided a lot of crafty entertainment during our move. I received multiple strands from a few friends, some mixed seed beads from another, handmade beads from multiple beaders, a color coordinated bead soup, and a really nice bead kit too! I've been given a challenge to do something creative with each set of beads, and will be posting each challenge as I complete them.

We're still hanging out in our temporary lodging, separated from our houseold items (and all of my supplies!)  I'm thankful to have packed a travel beading bag and thankful for the goodies the ladies sent me off with!

I'm happy to say i've finished one of those projets. My good friend Lisa gifted me a Jill wiseman Beading kit, (  The necklace is called bubbles and bumps - It's from Jill's beautiful beaded ropes book, released a few months ago.

It's a great pattern/Kit and was very easy to do.  The price of $30.00 is very reasonable
and leaves plenty of supplies left over for other projects!

Here's a photo of my finished Piece. I'm going to start a matching bracelet next. I've got some extra seed beads stashed away in my bag, and should be able to complete one.

Jill Wisemans Necklace Pattern:

Thanks so much to my friend Lisa for my gift! It came out really pretty!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year 2013 - Here's to a New Everything

New State to live in, A new house (well soon) We move in the end of the month. New Job for the Husband and hopefully myself! Here's to a new everything!
Uuggh...... did I mention  I have Fear of New syndrome? I've vowed this year that I will jump in with two feet, and face the Fear, get lost while driving, make new friends,do a few new things, and take a few chances!

I'm not one to make New Years Resolutions. I prefer to make a list of goals and revisit them during the year, I helps me make baby steps to get to the end result. Plus, I like the word goal better than resolution!  So the question is what will the goals be this year?

I only have a few so far. I usually have a big long list of goals at this time. Not much time to think about these things when you're prepping for a move across the country! However a shorter list will allow me to focus on just the few tasks at hand.
Right now my short term goals are to not get lost too much in the new area, and not mind if I do get lost because I always find something interesting when wandering aimlessly in a new area.

The real long term goals:
Make time and take time for myself, for health and well being.
Blog More!
Take the time to keep up with old friends, and make some new ones along the way.
Get serious about a crafty business. Start a website, and stop treating it like a hobby.
Explore the new place we live in and experience some new things here!

What are your goals for the new year? Whatever the are I hope you write them down and you see them to the end.

So Here's to a New Year and new everything!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Tips for a Successful Craft Show

I have been doing craft shows on and off for over 18 years now, it's insane.Let's just say, I've had a lot more disappointing shows than good ones.  Believe it or not, I haven't had a really successful show until last year.
I remember those days sitting there hoping someone would walk by and help me make my table money back. Some years I really needed that table money I spent, and took a chance in hopes that I would make a little bit extra than the outlay to purchase better groceries for the week. It's not fun being a starving artist, but through it all I have vowed to never give up. This is something that I love to do.

I spent many years trying to figure out what I was doing wrong, Getting so upset at the people that were doing well. I kept telling myself what did they have that I didn't?

It's hit or miss with a show. You could be placed in a bad spot in the show, be stuck next to a vendor that pulls customers away from you, get stuck competing with someone who has "made in china" merchandise, and is undercutting everyone around you. It's tough.
I decided to study the successful people and figure out what I could do better.

It's finally clicking for me. I've finally figured out how to get the right product, display it correctly, and have found the right shows to go to. Thought I would share.

Here are a few things I have learned:

# 1 : you need to get the people to want to come to your table. Make your displays interesting, different than everyone Else's. If you sell Jewelry, don't run to your local craft store and just buy what they are selling for display pieces. 9 out of 10 there is going to be someone else at every show you go to that has the same exact thing.

 It doesn't matter if people can't see your product from far away, If you have a good display They will want to come to your table.

#2 :  Get as creative with your displays as you do with your work. Think outside the box. I like to look at an object and figure out how I can use it in some other way to display my work.

For Example, this plant stand can be used to hang ornaments off of, while at the same time, you could use it as a shelving unit to display other items on top. A bonus is that it folds up for easy transport! I love to wait for seasonal stuff like this to go on clearance and pick it up for next to nothing.

# 3 :  Get stuff up off the table!  I can't stand it when I walk by a table at a craft show and everything is flat on the table, Everything gets lost!  You need to make it interesting. Add different heights, display items on pretty candle holders like the ones below.  or a shelf  anything!

#4: Along the lines of # 3 Get your stuff up to the customers Eye Level. I have sold more stuff when the customer doesn't have to bend over to get to it. I have seen people extend the legs of their tables so customers don't have to bend over so much.
Take a look in department stores and see how they display their merchandise.

#5: Stop trying to make stuff like everyone else. Come up with your own style and design. I spent a lot of time trying to be just like someone else. Don't copy other people. You need to put your own spin on it create your own style/ brand.

#6: Never stop thinking about ways to improve, or keep up with the times. I've lost count of the number of times I've seen someone get stuck with one product, and not move on from it. Peoples tastes change. What a customer liked 15 years ago, is not what they are going to like today. You need to be constantly wanting to learn and grow.

# 7: Take photos of your booth set up at a show and study them. What displays do you notice right away, what might look off? Act as if you are the customer seeing your displays for the first time when looking at your set up.

I hope this helps someone out there. It took me years to learn some of these things. Hopefully you will come away with something that will improve your sales!

Here are a few photo's of my booth today. Not the best pictures but the show was in progress!!  I'm already thinking of ways I can change it up a bit!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Work at home Schedule - It's not happening!!

Every Day I get up and tell myself I'm going to do nothing but work on Beading. Whether it's creating new patterns for my Etsy site or making inventory for a show, or just working on getting a little business started. 
This has been going on for the last 5 months or so. Somehow every day something gets in the way, and the last thing I manage to do is get to the Beading/ crafty Biz.

For those of you who don't know I'm getting ready to move in December. My husband is being transferred for his job, We'll be moving from Maryland to Colorado, so this is no small move. There's lots of coordination, purging of stuff, organizing of yard sales,  Getting Certification classes out of the way for my Day job, seeing family before we leave etc... 

I'm presently scrambling to make some new inventory for a craft fair in the middle of all of this and beating myself up because I knew this show was coming. I've let a lot of this stuff get in the way. I realize I do have deadlines and pressing matters when it comes to the move, but if you want something to grow you need to devote some time to it. 

I have no idea what's in store for me at our next location as far as work is concerned. Five months ago I told myself I would be serious about this. I'm supposed to be gearing myself up to think about a business plan, goals and give myself a chance to see if this crafty business will this really work, and haven't managed to get much done.

How do people do this and be successful at it, while managing life too? Some of them are working full time jobs at the same time.
They have to have a huge pile of laundry to do a messy house and a family that doesn't remember what a home cooked meal is like Right?

I'm vowing to have a schedule, and strive to stick to it. So Far on the first morning, I've failed but maybe it's a good thing, I was supposed to be excising instead I'm writing about getting crafty!  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

How to Make a Bead Organizer

 There really isn't an adequate storage solution for the person who has over 400 different seed beads So I came up with my own. My storage simply velcro's onto the side of my craft cabinet.  This could be adapted to hang on a wall simply by attaching a few rings to the top to form a hanger. You could even attach a thin cardboard, or press board to the back of the fabric for stability.

A Friend of mine came for a visit the other day and wrote a little blog about my sacred craft space. You can see my Bead Walls complete on her blog.

I've had a few people ask me how I put together my Seed bead storage. It's really simple to make, I would definitely consider this a beginners project. I am no master seamstress that's for sure!!

Materials used:
Heavy Weight Canvas Fabric - Purchased at Joannes in the home decor section
3/4" Black Eleastic
Black Thread
Chalk fabric marker
Heavy weight Velcro strips - Mine is about 3"wide

First I measured out my Fabric to fit inside the doors of my Cabinet. My completed organizers measure 15" across and 66 long, so I cut my fabric at 16" inches and 67" and marked it for a 1/2 " seam:

Next I marked 2 lines in the center of the fabric 3 1/2 inches away from my seam marking This is where my Elastic strips will be sewn

Next I marked where I was going to attach the elastic to my fabric. I maked 1/2 Inces apart down the entire length of each line in the center of the fabric.

Next I marked on my elastic - I made each mark 1 1/8" apart.

In the meantime my kitty Meko decided to get involved it the process!  

Next I matched up the markings on the elastic to the markings on the fabric, Forming a loop in the elastic and double stitched each connection to make sure it was sturdy enough to handle tubes sliding in and out.

I attached velcro on the back and placed them on my velcro wall and that was it!

A finished side panel:

Saturday, September 29, 2012

I think I have a Supply Hoarding Problem!!

Uuumm I knew the stash was bad, but I didn't know how bad.....

My husband and I are getting ready for a significant move. I've been diligently sorting through things around the house here and there, and getting rid of things I know we haven't used for a while. Most of it has been pretty easy, if It's been more than a year since I wore or used something, it needs to go. No questions asked I've been able to stick it in the yard sale pile.

I have honestly been dreading going through all of my Art, craft and beading supplies.It's very hard to let go of a very useful item that could potentially become something else with a little bit of creativity. My Studio / craft space is the one place in the house where I will shove things in the closet that "might be of some use someday". So it's a big job.

To Make matters worse, I have a huge storage cabinet / table that makes it seem like I really don't have that much. A few years ago, my husband bought me a crafting cabinet by Scrapbox. I happened to come across a really great sale on overstock, and he gave in after catching me looking at it online for the 10th or so time.
It's very deceiving how much stuff is in it. I'm guessing it's going to take a week to sort through and decide what to keep and what needs to go.

I've started with the seed beads. The doors of the cabinet have velcro walls, I thought it would be a great idea to have all of my beads in one place on one of the walls I can velcro it off the wall, roll it up for moving, and be completely organized when we got to our destination.   Little did I know how many seed bead tubes it would take, and how many different colors and sizes that I had!!!

I must admit, I did just buy a large stash of beads from a bead store that was going out of business, so my bead collection did recently grow! But I now know it's really easy to bring home a few little bags of beads in your bead bag and not realize how much they add up over time!!  

Here's what i've come up with so far to store my stash:

So far i'm at 230 Tubes, some are duplicates of colors, but 230 tubes and i'm only 1/2 way done!!! What I thought was going to fit on one door of the cabinet, is really going be put on both doors. It's Back to the sewing machine.

I just ordered Another 100 empty storage tubes to convert the beads from their little bags and other packaging.

What was I thinking!! I had no idea I was such a hoarder!  I know how it happens though, with a great pattern in hand or a project complete, I feel the need to make everything in 12 different colors!! Or The bead shop just got some brand new color in that I've never seen before so I have to have it!

It's a little embarrassing, but I bet everyone has something that they do this with!!  I can't be the only one. Oh well,  Now at least I know what I have on hand and can use it up!!