Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Taking a Little Break....

Been very sick.  And very tired.  I am going to be back maybe next week but I am here. 

Thank you.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Announcing the Cover of my Book and the Participants!

It seems like forever since I announced I was writing a book!  December 6th I sent a huge box to Kalmbach Publishing full of jewelry and beads.  This week, I got the cover copy, and I want to finally introduce you to those who contributed tutorials and beads.  This book is as much theirs as it is mine -- I couldn't have done this without them.

First, the folks who generously donated beads: Melanie Brooks, Barbara Bechtel, Stephanie SersichChristine Damm, Joanna MatuszczykRebecca Anderson, ArtBeads.com, Golem Studio, Urban Maille, and Ad/Adornments.   I also used beads I had in my stash from Summers Studio and Diane Hawkey.

The contributors were paired up, just like a regular Bead Soup Blog PartyCindy Wimmer took all the "beads in a bowl" photos.  I cannot WAIT to see how the entire book looks.  I'm not quite sure when the book will be ready for pre-order on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, but I will definitely be selling autographed copies on my web site (and they'll include a free extra tutorial).

And now the tutorial participants:

Melissa Meman
Sharon Palac
Heather Powers
Erin Prais-Hintz
Stefanie Teufel
Cindy Wimmer

And yes, you're right -- Zack participated!  He picked out the beads, helped me design, and did a lot of headpin stringing.  I'm really, really proud of him.

And I'm really, really proud of EVERYONE who helped bring this book to fruition, not the least of whom is Karin Buckingham, a marvelous editor who believed in this book before I even had it figured out.  I'm also very thankful for all the people who have joined the Bead Soup Blog Party, now and in the past, because without you guys, this book would not exist.

Quote of the Day: Friends and Enemies
Book Review: "Eyewitness Auschwitz"


Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She is the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

New Jewelry Marketing Strategy -- An Earring Lunch

Not long ago Rena of Home Jewelry Business Success Tips asked me to write about a unique way to bring in business.  I suggested an Earring Lunch, which involves a quick trip to a business or doctor's office during their lunch time and bringing baskets of earrings for the ladies to peruse.  It's a quick way to get your most affordable jewelry in front of customers.  It takes a minimum of set up and time, and is a great way to get your web site and blog information to a captive audience.

I created this postcard and had it printed via VistaPrint

I think it's important to show a variety of earrings in different styles and price ranges.  The earrings on my postcard range from $10 to $38, and are made with everything from handmade polymer clay, lampwork glass, and simple Czech glass and vintage Lucite.  I also carry a small tool kit so I can change out ear wires to lever backs, posts, or clips right there at the office.

The back of the postcard delivers the story and gives the contact information:

Be sure to include your web site and a return address.  Give them a way to contact you and consider framing your information in bold face, as I did above.  And of course, leave plenty of room for you to write an address down!

I've developed similar cards for people over time and if you would like me to create a postcard for you to upload to VistaPrint for $25, feel free to contact me!

I hope this has given some of you a new idea on how to promote yourself!  Go get 'em!

Don't forget to comment and win a handmade photo journaling album!


Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She is the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Win a Handmade Photo Journaling Album!

The lovely Jeannie Dukic is offering a free album to one lucky person!

Do you have photos lying all about and want to get them organized? 
Jeannie has made some AMAZING photo journaling albums
Jeannie Dukic is giving away an album to one lucky winner.  
Winner can choose whichever album they want.

I have a few of these albums and can say first hand
that they are AMAZING -- 
completely handmade with a lot of love and attention to detail.

She is also having a
20% off sale on all Photo Journaling Albums, today only.

Just leave a comment on MY blog to win.
An extra point if you go to Jeannie's shop
and tell me which album you love the most!

I will pick a random winner on January 31st.

Visit her blog  http://site.jkdjewelry.com/blog
and website  http://www.jkdjewelry.com


Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She is the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Eye Candy Day

I haven't shown jewelry in what feels like ages.  To be quite frank, I haven't had the gumption to pick up a single tool or bead since before Christmas.  My husband says it's just that time of year when people are in a funk (is that true?).  But today it's actually lovely outside and I've been able to take some pictures.

I've had these beads from Dawn White for a long time.  I knew I had to have them, but didn't know quite what to do with them!  I love the "stick" beads for the texture, and the black and white designs are just wonderfully done.  

Then I realized I had a strand of center-drilled matte onyx in my drawer and pulled that out, and along with some White Opal Swarovski crystals, I was able to continue the basic pattern.  Really, this is an incredibly simple stringing design, but I thought it best to wait for JUST the right accent beads to pull this together.  And I like it!

These are very simple, too.  It's all about the beads!  The raku ceramic was made by Beads of Clay, and I didn't want to muck around with over-designing it.  Brass bees were all the extra adornment these earrings needed.  

I think a lot of jewelry designers worry about finding that awesome-cool-fantabulous design, but sometimes, just let the beads do the work.  Choosing pretty beads is just as important a skill as knowing what and how much to do to them.

These beads were also made by Dawn White, and they're in my favorite colors!  When I bought them, I knew I was going to make a cha-cha bracelet with them.  It just came down to picking the right beads.

With lampwork beads like these, you have to keep in mind the shades of color and work to not have a color clash.  I had at least ten different bags of pink beads on my table trying to not only match up shades, but to decide how much color, how deep a color, and how many shapes I should use.  I like how it turned out.  

This bracelet is an example of what to do to change a design from simple to one-of-a-kind cool.  The square ceramic nuggets are lovely and colorful on their own, but they needed something -- some OOMPH.  I added the gray polymer clay owl by Barbara Bechtel and a polymer clay imprinted charm by Swoon Dimples.  For a little more, I added a hibiscus flower charm at the back of the pink charm.  Because the bracelet incorporates a lot of colors and visual impact, I chose a simple toggle clasp.  

Knowing when to STOP designing is sometimes hard!

These earrings are made with lampwork head pins from SueBeads and sweet matte silver lily blossoms.  I've struggled with using lampwork head pins in a unique way, and one day they just ended up sitting next to the lily blossoms.  PING, on went the light bulb.  They fit inside perfectly, and I'm showing front and back.

The lesson here is sometimes a messy work space can bring the right beads together!

This is a long necklace (and I have yet to figure out how to take good "on the model" shots, darn it!).  I used lampwork beads by JulsBeads, a "PEACE" ceramic bead by Diane Hawkey, and chain from Ad/Adornments.  LOVE that there are Swarovski crystal pearls to match -- bonus!  I added bleached wood and large pewter ovals, and found a very cool decorative lobster claw clasp at Hobby Lobby.  

This is an example of my collecting random beads and holding onto them for just the right thing.  I always have a big tray of "need to use" beads handy, and this design began with Jul's beads, then the pearls, and finally the ceramic bead.

This is, of course, from a big bowl of Bead Soup.  I threw together colors, stirred, and then tried not to over-think it.  

And finally, a clasp I made.  I've been trying to work more with heavy-gauge wire, and this clasp is a result of that practice.  I hammered it and oxidized it and there you go!  I have to admit, I'm not quite sure how I made the Thai bead portion, but that's part of the magic of wire -- experimentation can bring good things!

I hope you enjoyed the eye candy -- I'll try not to make it such a long time between showings!


Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She is the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Loving you .. Anonymously.

Wreath in my House. Photo taken by me.

I had no idea what to expect when I asked people to post anonymously on my blog.

No idea at all.

One of those anonymous posts is mine.  And when I typed it out and hit the "post" button, it actually changed my thinking a bit.  Just putting out there, anonymously, something I'm afraid to say to anyone, was cathartic.  Didn't solve my problem, but was a little soul-cleansing. 

I hope it was that way for you, too.

Some of your posts frightened me.  Most I could completely understand.  All made me want to bring you home for a cup of something delicious and a plate of something yummy, and let you know you aren't alone.  Make you laugh at least once.  Cry with you, too.  But mostly, most importantly, let you know you are loved, even though online, here, on this blog, I may seem like just words on a screen to you.

One of the things I love about the internet IS the ability to make friends you never see.  Just because you don't live down the road from me doesn't mean we can't be friends.  

First and foremost, to the person who said they were afraid they'd kill themselves if things didn't get better -- please email me, (she emailed me), call someone, or share this fear with a therapist, because I know from experience how the feeling is crippling.  But I also know that while things look dire, hopeless, and impossible, if you keep pushing forward, things can change.  I write that having gone through two years of intense therapy, the right medications, and hanging on by the skin of my teeth.  When I was 30, you were me.  I'm 42 now.  Please, hold on.  And seeing a professional does NOT mean you've failed, are labeled, or anything like that. 

via Pinterest
Don't be afraid of opening that door.

Most of the anonymous posts dealt with fear of failure, fear of not having enough time, and guilt about pursuing their art.  If any of you go back and read through the comments, you'll see -- you're not alone.  Many of us, I'm sure, have harbored thoughts of never "making it", or being afraid to take the last step to LET you "make it" in your art.  It's about opening a door to the unknown and not knowing what you'll find -- that's more than a little scary, isn't it?   I share these feeling as well.  And I think the guilt associated with finding time is universal. 

I've often wondered if I have enough time to finish the long list of things I feel driven to do.  And I say "driven" because I've always been a person who wanted to finish what she started, and a couple of my supervisors in my "real life working days" have used that word to describe me.  I used to be called the Engergizer Bunny, but now I feel both boredom and a desire to push forward in my artistic endeavors.

I think that's ok.  What isn't ok is quitting everything.  Everyone needs something that truly makes them happy, and it doesn't have to be a huge accomplishment.  Sometimes the deepest pleasures can come from taking a book to bed and staying there all day, luxuriating in peace and quiet and escape.  Sometimes it's a drive down the road, singing loudly out of tune to your favorite songs.   Sometimes it can be as simple as splurging $5 for that decadent bar of chocolate we always pass by in the grocery store.

The person who said they were surrounded but alone -- I've been there, too.  I know that feeling, and I'm sure many readers have felt it, too.  I've also felt the agonizing misery of being quite literally totally alone.   Either way, if you look through those comments, you aren't alone in your feelings.  It's hard to know what to do about it, because the fear of reaching out and facing rejection is terrifying.  But we have to try.   Sometimes it's as simple as smiling at strangers -- it's amazing the joy you can give someone (and yourself) when you smile.  I wish it were always that easy, and it takes practice.  But practice, we must.

I've lived a lot of life -- experienced a lot of things -- but I don't think there's a deadline for achieving anything.  Sometimes I'm not even sure what I WANT to achieve, so those are the times I try really, really hard to find peace in something else.  I've started and stopped several huge things.  I could have been an Air Force careerist.  I could have been a doctor.  I could have lived my life totally alone, but traveling the world.  I've started all three, and chosen to stop all three.  Interestingly, I'm at peace with it, because the fear that I dealt with in between stopping and starting something new was erased when I FOUND that something new.  I keep that thought close to my heart -- the journey can be hard, but the destination can be wonderful.

This post has taken me so long to write because I'm afraid of saying the wrong thing.  I'm absolutely in empathy with all of you, but I speak only from my personal experience -- I'm not a certified professional by any means.  I've struggled with the right things to say that will help or encourage, and struggled with guilt for even writing yesterday's post -- did I make things worse?  I desperately hope posting anonymously helped someone.

It's ok not to finish what you start, to be afraid of the unknown, to be scared, because every road has a fork in it at some point -- every tree has many branches. 

Trees near my home.  Photo by me.

You are loved, anonymously by me. 


Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She is the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Post ... Anonymously.

The lovely blogger Dancing Bran Flakes had an original idea that I'm borrowing -- post anonymously, and ask what you want, state what you want.  As she said, "it's anonymous, so why not?"

(And please visit her beautiful blog -- it's one of the ones I just discovered and adore.)

So go for it -- tell me what you're thinking today, hopes and dreams, even anger issues.  Like Post Secret, you can unload if you like, share a secret, post a thought burning brightly in your brain.

(If you're reading this on Facebook, you need to be on www.PrettyThingsBlog.com to leave an anonymous comment.)

(As always, my comments are moderated, but I vow to let them ALL be published).


Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She is the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Jo's Blog Hop and Giveaway!

Joanne Tinley of Daisychain Designs is having a blog hop AND a giveaway!  I just ordered some of her amazing clasps -- divine!

Anyway, she's running a lottery for a Poppy Challenge blog hop to FIVE people for her amazing creations.  I'm throwing my name in the hat -- run there and throw yours in, too!

She's also having a giveaway....
a voucher for her store!

(samples from her shop)

Click here for the giveaway.

Good luck, and thanks, Jo!


Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She is the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bead Soup is on its way to my partners!

I have two partners for this Bead Soup Blog Party (I oopsied on matching two people up who had already been partners) and I finally, FINALLY, made the time to make my packaging pretty.  For the past four parties, I've been so swamped for time that I ended up sending them in my regular (but pretty!) jewelry boxes that I send jewelry to my customers in.  But everyone else has always had this amazing packaging, and I was bound and determined to get it right this time.

Enter a trip to Paper Source, my favorite place for cool, um, well, paper stuff!  Love, love, love that place and can never get out of there with JUST the things on my list.

I hugely respect all the paper and mixed media artists out there, because this shouldn't have taken as long as it did!  But here's what I came up with....

So Rebecca Anderson and Marcie Abney, these should be arriving soon!

But here's the problem.

I boxed them up and then forgot which was which.  So I actually have no clue what I'm sending to whom!

Typical of me, eh?

Quote of the Day: "Grow"


Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She is the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Random Post

You know those days when your brain is just taking a vacation and you can't remember what day it is, let alone what to write about?

Yeah, it's one of those days.

So this will be a totally random post.

First, some more photos of the Birthday Boy.  One of his favorite presents was a huge Matchbox car track.  He'll drag out a million cars and sit with a notebook and write down which one won each time.  He's going to be a statistician as well as a policeman and part-time artist!

Love that boy.

Next, some random photos I took during the summer at an outdoor statuary store in St. Michaels, MD (Gatsby's) but had no idea how to work into a blog post.  So here they are in no particular order.

This one is obviously for a tombstone.  I think it's amazing. And one day I hope to go to the famous Highgate Cemetary in England.  It may seem strange to want to tour a graveyard, but this one has so many aspects to it, and it's full of historic gravestones and is absolutely beautiful.  It includes attractions such as the Egyptian Avenue and the Circle of Lebanon.  The most famous person buried there is Karl Marx, and Douglas Adams, author of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" is also buried there (and people leave little gifts on top of the stone.)  And then there's the manager of the Sex Pistols.  This place is eclectic and I am, too, and I just can't wait to visit it one day.

Then there are lions for your driveway entrance (of course).

There's got to be a proper name for a half-lion, half-buxom babe, but I don't know it.

A beautiful mermaid fountain.

And finally, a Buddha.

This place is pretty eclectic, too!

OK!  So that was random, right?  Hopefully tomorrow I can clear my head enough to write something more interesting!


Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She is the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.