Monday, September 29, 2008

An E-Book from Story People

I loooove Story People. They're quirky, a little off-beat, and right up my alley. I own one of their prints, thanks to once-upon-a-time roommate extraordinaire Kristin, and have bought numerous cards over the years.

So I was excited when I got an email announcing their new, FREE e-book. It's cute, funny, poignant -- very cool.

If you'd like your own e-book, just send an email to peculiar_times@getresponse.com , and they'll send you the PDF to read and to love and to keep forever.





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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Halloween vs. Christmas

Overheard just now:

"I love Halloween. It's my favorite holiday."

"Don't you like Christmas?"

"Christmas worries me. I have to be good for the whole year."

What I Collect

If you want to see a very small bit of what I collect, click here and hover your mouse over the picture -- there are lots of notes!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

New Autism and Ovarian Cancer Awareness Jewelry

I've been working all day on getting new jewelry up to the web site, and finally got around to adding a new awareness category -- autism awareness. Zack's sensory integration disorder (also known as sensory processing disorder) is a spectrum disorder and shares the same ribbon.


I also added some new ovarian cancer awareness jewelry -- ribbon earrings, two bracelets, and a lovely, unique pendant.


I hope you'll stop by!



You can see all of my handmade jewelry at http://www.lorianderson.net/

Making a Classic Jewelry Design Your Own

(Thought I'd share an article I wrote for Watch Me Create)!

Chain maille has been around for hundreds of years. After all, it’s how armor was made for medieval knights. Visit any renaissance festival and you’ll see an abundance of chain maille armor, chain maille head pieces, and, my favorite, chain maille jewelry.

Linking a pile of jump rings together is, to me, a very soothing task. It reminds me of knitting a scarf — once the foundation row is made, I can just go on and on and on without really having to think too much. I tend to make the more standard chain weaves, nothing elaborate, so once I’ve got the chain going, I can let my mind just zone out for a while and give myself a break.



The patterns for standard chain maille — Byzantine, European 4-in-1, Full Persian — have been around for what seems like forever. No one owns the rights to those weaves, and there are lots of free tutorials online; and therefore, lots of people making them. So the trick is to make that given pattern your OWN.

Some artists get very creative and come up with entirely new weaves. Some use new materials, like stretchy,colorful neoprene. My method of giving the finished bracelet a unique look is to add beads.

Full Persian is one of my favorite chains — dense but flexible, substantial but not too heavy — it’s just got a great look. Every single Full Persian bracelet I make gets a handmade lampwork bead and an extender chain with clusters of crystals that match the glass. Each bracelet I make is different because of the bead, and since this style is the only way I’ve ever made Full Persian, it’s become my own signature style.

So if you’re a chain maille enthusiast, take a look around and see what you can do to make a tried and true classic something that has your personal stamp of creativity on it. Maybe it’s a killer toggle, or mixing metals, or embellishing the chain. Adding that special touch will make you stand out in the crowd, and make that style your own.

You can see more of my chain maille at www.lorianderson.net, mostly in the Classic section.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Handmade Jewelry Up For Grabs!

I just added a few pieces of jewelry to my web site -- and will likely be adding more over the weekend, so keep checking!

I have a ton (really, just a huge amount!) to photograph, and I'm in despair that it all will EVER get on the site, so I hope you'll visit me at a craft show in the next couple of months -- my show schedule is here, and you'll see that I've added another show (Chantilly, VA Intergem in mid-December). I'll be in Roanoke, VA, Chantilly, VA, Annapolis, MD, and Virginia Beach, VA, and will be posting the date and time for a local show soon. Local is Easton, MD, and I'll be at The Clay Bakers on a Ladies Night with earrings, earrings, earrings -- more details to come!

It's the start of the holiday shopping season and holiday shows, so things are going to get a little crazy around the Anderson household!


Visit my handmade jewelry web site, www.lorianderson.net, to see the latest offerings. Click the "What's New" tab to be sure you're catching the most recent things ... before they're gone!


Oh, the agony of waiting for a good book

I just got an email today from Diana Gabaldon's web site..... her latest installment of "Outlander", "An Echo in the Bone", is estimated to be done by the end of the year. At first I was THRILLED, as she usually takes about two years to write one of these 1000-page novels, and I knew it was coming close to being done. But then, I read on -- the publisher isn't getting it out until maybe Fall 2009.

Aw, man.

If you haven't read any of my previous blog entries waxing poetic on how much I ADORE these books, I'll just say, they're my all time favorites, ever. And I've read a LOT. A LOT. Of books.

This is why I love it when I discover a series AFTER all the books have come out.... I can just bang, bang, bang, read them all together. And I guess I was lucky that I didn't learn about Outlander until she'd gotten six books out. Over 6,000 pages of wonderfulness.

Sigh. So, what are YOUR favorite books?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thought for the Day

(Spent all day working, then at swim team, and then doing paper work, so I'm begging off tonight with what I think is a Rather Good Saying):

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tired

This was my day today. It's kind of typical, too. Something has to give, starting, um, Thursday if I can help it.

1) Wake up at 7:30. Let Zack sleep until 8:10, which was a big honking mistake, as we need to be out the door at 8:30. Decide to start getting up at 7am from now on.

2) Drive Zack to school.

3) I have an hour to waste until volunteer time, so spend it running errands at Target, etc.

4) Go back to the school to volunteer in Zack's class.

5) Get done at his class, have to waste about 30 minutes until my next appointment, so go to my OTHER class I volunteer in and get some work done.

6) Go to the gym to practice aerobics routines. Spend 30 minutes cursing the two CD players that REFUSE to play a sound. Try everything to no avail. Stomp out of the gym.

7) Run home to give the cat his insulin shot and fire off an email to the aerobics director for help.

8) Run BACK to Zack's school to finish a volunteer task, well-armed with Starbucks via drive-through.

(By the way, did you know that even though school lets out at 3:50, if I'm not parked in the circle by 2:45, I will be waiting three blocks down the road to get him???? But that's an entirely different blog entry.)

9) Pick up Zack, race home to get his homework done, a snack into him, into swim gear, and then off to swim lessons (which thank you thank you, my husband took him today).

10) While everyone is gone, do I have time to make jewelry? Oh, I should. But I spend nearly 40 minutes on the phone with the "official" swim wear provider, trying to get all of Zack's equipment ordered.

11) Dinner. In front of the computer, naturally.

12) Make one pair of earrings. Post two pieces on the web site.

13) Rick gets Zack in the tub, dressed for bed, and we all read stories.

13) Get a phone call from my doctor telling me I have spine trouble (likely from my JOB) -- what the hell is disc dessication? Oh yeah, that means I'm getting old. He recommends yoga.

So I ask. Where the heck do I fit yoga in?????

Monday, September 22, 2008

Some ramblings......

I'm very. Very. Very tired.

So tonight will just be some ramblings, ok?

1) Today was Zack's first swim team practice. Due to my complete inability to be late, ever, we arrived nearly half an hour early, so Zack swam around all that time BEFORE practice even started. They swam laps. And laps. And more laps. And he did them all, and not only did he do them all, he either beat or tied with his partner. I'm so proud I could burst.


2) I've got to quit reading tear-jerkers. The past two books I've read have involved either a mother or a child dying some long, drawn out, horrible death. Bad bad no. So I'm switching over to some classics that somehow, despite AP English's best efforts, I never read. I've got "A Tale of Two Cities" going on right now. Yeah, I know, there's death in that one, too, but it's different. I think. I'll let you know.
3) Speaking of books, can I tell you how much I hate end notes? I hate flipping to the back of the book and then back to the story again. Why can't they put them at the BOTTOM of the page? You know, FOOTnotes. I keep losing my place!

4) I made 20 pairs of angel earrings today. No, they're not for sale yet, but will be soon. Tomorrow, it's snowflake earrings. Tons of them. And this year, I'll have gold ones.


5) No matter how much I try, I will never, ever have enough time to put every piece of jewelry I've made on the web site. It's all photographed, but there's no way I can get it all posted. And believe me, I've tried.

6) I wonder how many people read this blog? Stats tell me quite a lot, but no one really comments all that often. So leave me a message! It's that little bit that says "comment" below!


When I'm not blogging, I'm making jewelry -- visit http://www.lorianderson.net/ for handmade jewelry and general prettiness!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sometimes I Miss My Day Job

I've always said that I am incredibly, ENORMOUSLY glad I no longer have a traditional 9-5 office job. But maybe I should reconsider that....


(And if for some reason the video doesn't work, just click here.)



Thank you Blackbird for finding this one!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Fire Mountain Gems Back Cover Artist

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Jessica King of Fire Mountain Gems recently, and the interview is now up on their web site (click here if you're interested!). You can also see four of the designs I've submitted over the past few years that were finalists in their annual contest (click here for that).

During the interview, it really hit me -- I really do love what I do. It was a big change from the IT world, and while the IT sales job brought in great money, I didn't love it (or even like it towards the end), and ultimately, no amount of money is worth it if you get dread getting out of bed to go to work.

I hope you'll take your love -- whatever it happens to be -- and let it grow and blossom and cultivate it into something you're proud of. It doesn't matter if you're sitting down at the bead torch for the first time, or making the hundredth elaborate seed bead creation -- if you're passionate about it, your excitement for the craft will show in your work.

Now, go make something!


You can see Lori's handmade bead and wire jewelry at www.lorianderson.net

Sunday, September 14, 2008

New Year's Resolutions, Crafter-Style

I’m a lover of lists. I don’t know if it’s the OCD in me, but nothing makes me feel more satisfied than making a list (other than COMPLETING said list!). And because I love to make to-do lists, they often get long and multi-paged and out of control.

So now I have a list called “New Year’s Resolutions”. These aren’t the typical resolutions that everyone makes and then breaks a week into January. These are things I want to do to improve my business, ideas that need to be fleshed out, and jewelry designs using new techniques that I don’t have time to hone as I head into the holiday frenzy.

I’ve found list-making to be a great tool. I typically get burned out from shows, making jewelry, updating my web site, and shipping packages every single day around the week before Christmas. So I take January and February off and use those months to look back and look ahead and re-write my business plan. That list I’ve compiled all year long now gets a thorough examining.

First, I look at last year’s plan. I always try something new each year, and I see how that went. For 2008, it was Etsy. I opened a jewelry store and a bead store. I’ve spent far more money buying cool things on Etsy than I made, and that’s entirely my fault.

I realized that I already have a web site that’s more than sustaining itself, and putting marketing into new jewelry that I wasn’t that keen on making wasn’t a good plan. But I think all experiments are a chance to learn, and I always can find something useful from them.

Next, I take a look at the list I’ve made over the year and start making concrete plans. What new techniques do I want to try, and will they mesh with my current line of jewelry? What venues do I want to add to my show schedule, and which ones do I want to drop? How many classes do I want to teach this year? I now have the time to give each scribbled note the attention it deserves and figure out what’s going to stay and what’s going to be tossed.


I already know what my big project for 2009 is going to be — a new, separate web site (in addition to my current one) that will focus on luxe jewelry. I’ve already registered the domain name, but the rest of the plans will have to wait until December. If I get distracted with all the exciting things I want to do for 2009, I’ll forget that my focus right now needs to be on, well, right now.


So whenever I get an idea that doesn’t help my bottom line for the rest of 2008, it goes on The List.

So what are your New Year’s Resolutions for your business going to be?


Lori Anderson sells her jewelry at craft shows, on Etsy, and on her web site. She creates and blogs from Easton, MD.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Need a Calendar?

If you're a fan of those daily calendars, the big block of pages where you peel off one page a day, why not try this one out?

I'm thrilled to be a contributor to the 2009 edition of the Bead-a-Day Beading calendar -- you'll find my tutorial on February 26 and 27. You'll learn to make this necklace:


The necklace isn't difficult to make -- the difficult part is choosing the bead to go in the middle! The trapeze style is a perfect way to showcase your favorite large, handmade lampwork bead. The one above is for sale -- just click here.

If you make one, I'd love to see your creation!

If you'd like to see more handmade beaded jewelry with an artistic flair to it, please visit my web site, www.lorianderson.net.




Friday, September 12, 2008

Zack made the swim team!

I'm a Proud Mommy -- Zack made the swim team today! All five and half years, 40 pounds of him. He did better than anyone in his age group today, and I'm excited about how excited HE is. His swim teacher of the past couple of years will be helping the young swimmers out, too, and that gives me a big sigh of relief, that Zack will have a "known" in the mix.

So now I have to go find a "Swim Mom" sticker for my van, right?

Monday, September 08, 2008

Halloween Jewelry

I got my offering of Halloween jewelry done and on the web site tonight! This also launched the "Holiday" button on the front page, which will be transformed into winter, Christmas, and Hanukkah jewelry in the not-so-distant future.

I'm really pleased with the jewelry this year -- take a look!






Sunday, September 07, 2008

A Day In the Life of a Jewelry Designer

Some people have said to me, "Oh how nice that you work for yourself -- you can take off any time you like!"

Um, no.

I'm a huge list-maker -- must be the OCD part of me, or the part of me that realizes that I have way too much stuff to do without a list to guide me.

So here is just a sample of my list for this week. It's by no means the full list, but just a taste.


1. Make 150 zipper pulls, with cards, for The Little Black Box. Repeat, with different product, for the next two months.

2. Make 25 pairs of larimar earrings, complete with cards and elegant packaging, for inclusion in swag bags for a celebrity event.

3. Make scratch-offs for a fun promotion.

4. Make Halloween jewelry and post it on the web site before it's a moot point.

5. Take booth table toppers to be hemmed (as my sewing machine, of course, is missing a piece).

6. Put together everything for my class this week.


That's just the top six. There are about 30 more items on the list.

So yeah, it's great being self-employed. But I don't get nearly enough sleep!

See what the fuss is about by visiting http://www.lorianderson.net/

Saturday, September 06, 2008

New Jewelry

I've been working all day PhotoShopping pictures of jewelry -- tons and tons of photos. I often snap three to ten pictures of each piece in search of the right shot. I got a lot of things uploaded to the web site today, but there is so.much.more to do! Here's just a taste:






Friday, September 05, 2008

The Bead King

I can't make this stuff up, and I didn't pose him. He stole all the bead strands and adorned himself.






Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Book Review -- "The Host"

The Host: A Novel The Host: A Novel by Stephenie Meyer

rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I started this book, I had the entire "Twilight" series under my belt, so it came as a bit of a surprise to me that "The Host" was classified Science Fiction at my library. And I have to tell you, the first 150 pages, I just wasn't grooving along all that well.

Fortunately, I mentioned this to another reader, and she encouraged me to keep at it, that it would get a lot better.

And it really, really did.

I was going to give the book four stars based on having to work so hard to get into it, but the rest of the book redeemed itself and made it so worth reading. (I felt the same way about Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" series, and after two false starts, got through to the good stuff, and it's now one of my favorite series, so there you go. I just don't like giving up on things!)

The book was creative, thought-provoking, and (once I got started) very interesting. The end was terrific, although I would have liked to see it tweaked a little in the direction of what *I* had been planning for Melanie/Wanderer -- but that, too me, shows how invested in the characters I was.

A good read, one that will leave you thinking a bit.


View all my reviews.

Throwing in the Towel

Sometimes it’s hard to give a design up and just throw in the towel and admit defeat. You get this image in your mind of what a piece SHOULD look like, and you work it and work it and work it and work it and it just won’t WORK.

If you'd like to read about a pair of earrings that just wouldn't behave, click here to visit Watch Me Create.

Monday, September 01, 2008

It's Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas

Every year, it creeps up earlier and earlier — the holiday stuff out in stores. It always irritated me to see Christmas trees before Halloween. I’ve always enjoyed each season, each holiday, and feel they all deserve their own time to bask in their glory.

For the past two years, I’ve always been late to the game when it comes to designing holiday jewelry. October arrives and oh hey! Everyone else has theirs out, and I haven’t even thought about it. This year, I was determined not to be caught short, and had even gone so far as to stockpile certain beads waaaaaay in advance.

I have an actual plan when it comes to the holiday jewelry. I have certain earrings that I make every year, tweaked just a touch each year. I have one or two spectacular charm bracelets made, unique for each year, and they always go fast, like this one:

So I sat down at the table one day and decided to make something with every single holiday bead I had. Here’s what my table looked like when I took a java break:


I got everything together, packaged, and priced, but haven’t planned on putting anything on my web site until October (even though I did unveil the “Holiday” button so people would get used to seeing it there.

What I didn’t count on was people’s excitement for the stuff! While I was setting up at a show earlier this month, one of my customers came by early and raved about the snowflake earrings she’d bought the year before. I told her about all the cool new stuff that would be in the Holiday gallery this year, and she begged to see them. So….. a lot of what you see above is already gone.

Poof.

I love love love the holidays, celebrating Christmas and enjoying all the winter holidays with friends. If you’re a designer, creating with snowy-themed beads can help make a brutal summer day go by faster. If you’re a buyer, it never hurts to ask your favorite jewelry artist if she has some things tucked away.

Me, I’m getting ready to order a LOT more beads for holiday jewelry!

You can see my jewelry at http://www.lorianderson.net/ and occasionally on http://www.lori2.com/