Thursday, January 31, 2008

On Doing Craft Shows

I have another article up, about participating in craft shows. It's just my personal experiences, but I hope they can help! I also welcome emails with questions and suggestions!

Photographing Jewelry

You can read about the trials and tribulations of jewelry photography at the Watch Me Create blog by clicking here.

Yesterday I tried some new things, freezing my tail off outside, and fighting shadows, and wind -- argh! It's definitely a work in progress, and I'm constantly learning, whether it's marketing, photography, booth design, or jewelry making. It's amazing how much behind-the-scenes work there is!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Leftover Night

You can read more about the "Organic Earth" necklace (in the previous post) and how it was made from leftovers at the Watch Me Create blog. Just click here!

More Eye Candy

I never have enough time in the day to upload all the things I make to the web site, so here a few for your viewing pleasure!

"Organic Earth" -- handmade lampwork glass and vintage metal
"Golden" -- Swarovski crystal filigree balls and more Swarovski crystal beneath

"Cirque", another in my Trapeze series -- handmade lampwork glass and crystal

"Caged" -- cultured pearls in brass and stainless steel

"Leaves", vintage lucite and oxidized chain.

I hope you liked them! See more eclectic jewelry at and

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Product Review -- NicholeBead's Heart Beads

Nichole Byers makes happy, cheerful beads and jewelry. I've used her lampwork beads before and they were so much fun to work with!

For Valentine's Day, Nichole has some gorgeous handmade hearts that would make perfect pendants. Each bead is made by hand from molten glass -- you won't find these in craft stores and they aren't mass produced.

To visit Nichole's store, just click here.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Product Review -- Jimmy Pickles Wristlet Keychain

This is just too fabulous an idea -- and it's pretty, too! Jimmy Pickles makes these wristlet keychains in tons of colors and patterns. They fit on your wrist and have a large ring for all your keys. This is perfect for me, because it feels like I'm constantly jumping in and out of my car, and I keep forgetting if my keys are in my pocket, in my purse, or (yikes, too late!) on the front seat as I slam the door shut.

You can visit the Jimmy Pickles shop at Etsy by clicking here.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Time to Dye

Someone had a very cute picture of her in the middle of dyeing her hair -- aptly titled, "You Dye Now".

This reminds me that I need to do this. I have muuuuuch more gray than I like to admit, and even though I EARNED it, I would like to return it for a refund, thankyouverymuch.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Vintage Lucite Jewelry

I have a LOT of vintage beads, and I have a bad habit of hoarding them. Since they're not all that easy to get, I almost hate to use them.

But the bead drawers are getting out of hand, and the vintage lucite in particular is just too much fun NOT to use.

I made a lot of things in the past week but haven't had time to add them to the web site -- I added them to a Flickr album, and you can see them by clicking here. If you see something you just must have, make a comment on it!

The earrings shown can be found at my Etsy site, -- others will appear on soon!


Saturday, January 19, 2008


One of my best friends just lost her father. I'm so incredibly sad for her. If you're the praying type, please say one for her.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Messy Table

Have you ever wondered what my work table looks like at any given time? Wonder no longer.

A pure creative mess of jump rings, wire, tools, beads, receipts, and Who Knows What All. But oh hey, let's zoom in and see what I've been up to recently:

I've been making my own ear wires! In preparation for more bronze, copper, and brass jewelry, I needed ear wires, and either wasn't satisfied with what I could buy or they just weren't the right style. So I made my own. These are fresh out of the tumbler, on their way to a patination bath -- brass, copper, and sterling silver.

And here's what I'm doing with them:

I love the long lines of these, and you'll be seeing more in the upcoming days, with colorful vintage lucite. The vintage look but with a modern twist!

View more pretties at and

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Book Review -- "Gone For Good"

I love Harlan Coben's books. LOVE them. What I don't love is that they keep me awake at night well past my bed time, with me saying, "Just ONE more chapter, come on, you really only need five hours of sleep, you know you want to read just ONE more chapter."

"Gone For Good" was no exception. Just when you think you have it figured out, things would change, and that went on literally to the last page. If you like murder mysteries with a huge dose of suspense, try this one out.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

New Larimar on Ebay!

I just listed a large larimar pendant and two larimar rings (size 8) on Ebay today.... click here to bid!

A New Year, A New Look

You may have noticed that the blog is no longer pink! I decided to start the new year with a clean slate -- nice and white. I don't know how long that will last, but for now, there you go!

I'm also continuing my experimentation with photography. Today was an overcast day (and it's now raining) but I still had some nice light in my office. I cracked the window open and tried taking pictures without a tripod and without the macro setting. I put it on automatic, and snapped away.

I'm pretty pleased with how they came out! For the most part, I've had to do NO tweaking in PhotoShop, and the light is nice and soft. Of course, I have no idea how this will work on other days, so it will likely be an ongoing experiment.

I've also been playing around with angles -- trying to give the photos a more artistic look without being too distracting. It definitely doesn't work with everything, but some things are looking just right.

I welcome comments!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Book Review - - "A Venetian Affair"

I just finished reading the non-fiction book, "A Venetian Affair" by Andrea Di Robilant.

This was such an interesting book -- a true story of two young lovers in Venice in the 1750-ish time frame, forbidden to see each other or marry due to social convention. I loved the voyeuristic nature of the book, reading the actual letters that they wrote to each other, and appreciated the amount of research the author put into filling the story without distorting it.

The book made me alternately laugh and well up in tears. A good read.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Zack turned five today!

Five years ago, I gave birth to a gorgeous little boy:

Today he turned five years old. I can hardly believe it.

All week, we've had A Present a Day -- a fun tradition for drawing out the birthday wonderfulness.

On Monday, it was a new pair of Crocs, complete with Jibbits:

On Tuesday, it was a Very Noisy Car -- a Hot Wheels Rumbler.

On Wednesday, it was two pairs of swim trunks from Nana. (Sorry there's no picture -- they're in the laundry. But they're very cute!)

Today, on THE Day, he woke up to find that his older brothers had put together a Shake Cars track in his playroom:

First words out of his mouth: "OH! WOW! Mommy, THANKS!"

Later in the morning, we decorated cupcakes to take to preschool. Zack decided that everyone should have a candle:

At school, one of his teachers made him a Birthday Crown:

And yeah, that's a little blurry, but he's five, remember? It took fifteen tries to get THIS one!

Happy Birthday, my best boy!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

More larimar jewelry!

I just put a larimar and amethyst set up on my Etsy store, -- earrings, a bracelet, and a necklace. And stay tuned for more rings and larimar anklets on my main web site, -- great stuff coming!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Exhibiting at a Bridal Show

Well, I just finished my first bridal show and it was well worth it, I think! Other than hearing two of the worst reception singers sing, loudly, and often, it was a lot of fun. Things sold, I have custom orders to work on, and I'll certainly do it again next year.

I thought I would write this blog for those jewelry designers who have thought about the bridal venue but haven't yet exhibited at a show. They're just my own observations and thoughts, but I hope this will helpful.

One of the main things that hold jewelry designers back from participating in bridal shows is the cost. Shows in my area (Maryland) run from $400 and up, for a four-hour show. That can make you swallow hard. To get past that dollar figure "yikes", you have to look at the show as a marketing venture more than an immediate selling venture.

Most shows give each vendor a list of the brides who attended. While you don't want to spam the heck out of anyone, you CAN craft a good "thank you" letter, and consider an incentive -- a discount, a free pair of earrings with purchase, something that makes the letter or postcard WORK. If the list included emails, be very careful -- I personally would only use that email one time, and then never again without their permission. So use that email to SAY something, and ask if they'd like to get your email newsletters or would prefer snail mail.

If you don't have a web site, set one up to get the most of your booth fee. Unlike craft shows, bridal shows aren't really a buy-now venue -- I did have people buy things, but for the most part, brides are in the looking phase. Many haven't even chosen their dress or colors yet. If they don't have a web site to go back to, you've lost even the thought of a sale. And think about it -- if you make jewelry other than bridal jewelry, you want to gain a repeat customer -- someone who will visit your web site over and over.

You really don't need an elaborate booth set up for a bridal show -- a big pro. If you want my long-drawn-out booth design email, just click here and let me know what your interests are and I can give you technical stuff. Give your work some levels -- put busts on wrapped boxes or get creative with pedestals (a pretty plate on top of a glass vase, etc) and let the jewelry talk.

So, you pay your $400-500-whateverhundred bucks, you have a pretty table, gorgeous jewelry -- now what?

Well, don't be surprised if no one buys. Do NOT take that as a negative (see above about not buying right now). Have lots of cards -- preferably ones with photos of your work on them, to help jog their memory -- and let them know what you can do. If you're big on customization, tell them. If you specialize in a genre of wedding (beach, renaissance, etc), play that up. Flexibility is really important in the bridal business, I believe, because every bride wants it to be Her Day.

OK, the day is done, what's next? What can you do to get your name out there even more?

If you’re good at networking (and I am rather not, I get nervous), doing a bridal show can give you some great connections. I was approached by a dress boutique about displaying some things in her store, and if I’d been braver, I would have approached other boutiques (I do much better via email, I get way shy in person – I think it’s the whole fear of rejection thing – easier to take via email). Instead of asking stores about taking your work on consignment to just sit in their showcase, suggest they use your services as a “dresser” – when they change their window displays, see if they’ll let you dress the mannequins with your jewelry. (That would work for a regular boutique, too).

If you have a web site with a bridal section, consider having a Bridal Links page, and exchange links with local businesses – florists, DJs, etc. The key is to make sure they put YOUR link on THEIR site as well.

Network with wedding coordinators – they refer brides to all sorts of services. Cultivating a relationship with one is a great way to get business.

OK! I’ve rambled enough – hope this is interesting and helpful to someone!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

I'm teaching my first beading class!

I'm teaching my first beading class! So if you are in Easton, MD or otherwise on the Eastern Shore and would like to learn the basics of wire wrapping, come join me at Evergreen Cove, Sunday February 3rd, from 10-4.

You'll learn how to do a basic wire wrap for making a cha-cha charm bracelet, rosary loops for a necklace, and how to make your own clasp. You'll receive a complete wire-wrapping tool kit, enough materials to make two bracelets, and lots and lots of hand-outs.

Click here to register!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

More Bridal Jewelry

A few more things for your viewing pleasure from the new bridal collection:

These earrings are made with large glass pearls and my own handmade ear wires. Classic, but the ear wires give it a modern look.

This is amazing in person. Four large pearls are set in sterling silver, and I wired white coin pearls together and added a leaf clasp.

This necklace is unique -- the pendant is a large, vintage-inspired button, strung with clear and purple Swarovski crystals.

This one is for a beach wedding -- a Thai silver starfish and a cluster of cultured pearls.

A very elegant necklace -- pearls and sterling silver filigree.

Really stunning waterfall/cascade earrings in Swarovski crystal.

The thing I like about my bridal line is that for the most part, you can wear many of the pieces even after the wedding. I've already had some customers buy things for regular wear.

You can see more at

Happy New Year!

So how did you spend yours?

With a nearly-five-year old, we don't go out -- but even if we didn't have Zack, I seriously doubt we would, anyway. I don't like crowds, and there's not one heck of a lot going on in Easton at that time of night. We all spent a quiet night in, watching football, drinking sangria, playing games, and I had some time after Zack went to bed to update the web site. It's actually exactly how I wanted to spend the night!

So -- resolutions? I like to call it a "To Do" list for my business. Here's mine (so far):

  1. Get into a new craft show venue. Well, that one's done -- I just got my letter from the Craftsman's Classics and I'm thrilled -- I've been trying to get into that show for four years!

  2. Make every Friday "Creative Friday" -- make (or start) something that is not in my normal comfort zone.

  3. Set up my lampwork studio. That's going to happen this spring, when I can empty out our shed in the backyard -- I already have a torch and we'll see what happens. I took a class, liked it, but may stink at it. But I'll never know until I try!

That's enough to start with! :-)