Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Best Little Bead Box, Round 2

I am not only thrilled to be included in such a wonderful project, but humbled at the thought that something I contribute to will be able to provide children with valuable resources.

Please visit The Best Little Bead Box to see what all of the excitement is about!

Here's a great way to see how it all started:

Proceeds from each round will be donated to Beads of Courage, a terrific organization dedicated to strengthening the protective resources in children coping with serious illness.

Sending a BIG thank you to Carol Dean Sharpe & Jennifer Van Benschoten for their creative minds working for a common wonderful cause.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Seeing the Forest through the Trees

Well...Holiday earrings are now completely restocked at the Boutique !!

I ordered plenty of materials several weeks ago to complete the Holiday Earring task. These earrings are usually our most requested item.

Between work, teaching, and the Boutique being just busy in general, there sat the supply materials to make the earrings. As Thanksgiving came along, I started to get nervous that I still had not had time to make up the earrings.

Yesterday was my day and I called in reinforcements. Four of us sat at one of our classroom tables in the Boutique. Two to assemble the Swarovski Crystal beads onto the headpins, I did all the wire wrapping, and last but not least, one to put the earring on the earwire. Once assembly was done, those assembling were then put in charge of placing the earrings on the earring stands, preparing them for sale. It was a great little assembly line!

150 pair of Swarovski Holiday earrings are now on sparkling display - yes, that's 300 perfect little wire wraps. A variety of color options are available as well as style.
We have Christmas trees in 5 color choices, Pearl Snowmen, and Snowflake earrings.

So....with that many Christmas tree earrings produced yesterday, my vision was spent. I could hardly see the forest through the trees! But in the end - the BIG picture is Sparkling Gorgeous!


Thursday, November 11, 2010

My neglected blog......

Ah - my neglected blog
Here you sit, waiting for me, patiently.
As I always beg of my good friends - thank you for your patience, my life is a whirlwind - hence the name "Fast and Furious."
And like a good friend, here you are, waiting for my return. Thank you dear blog.

So - before the giveaway and winning announcement, I had a moment of frustration from AC Moore. That was an obvious soap box moment, and rightfully so, but also the fury in which I presented it was clearly during a time where other things going on escalated my frustration. I am not a typical public soap box ranter. Verbally, I might spout here & there, but never in BIG public - like a blog and FB - for everyone to see.

Happy to report that although life has not stopped throwing me curve balls, at least the curve balls being thrown my way are pretty good, and all opportunistic.
Several unfavorable items have been cleared up, so that's always good!

In a short reflection - I've discovered the following (and I beg you all to comment on this, I want to know if I'm just goofy - or if this is common):

When life is hitting you hard, do you feel that all of your creative energy disappears?

I've had a lot of things going on in my personal and business lives. I'd venture to say its been happening since October of last year.
Not one to spill laundry, clean or dirty, in public - let's just say, its been rather stressful & certainly busy busy.
During this period of time, I have not felt like making much of anything.

There isn't much time in my life for creativity, and when I actually feel like being creative, my furious schedule doesn't allow me to indulge as I'd like to.

Today it hit me...
I often have to go "shopping" for new material for the Boutique. Beaders (my customers) like to see NEW stuff all the time. This is what keeps them coming back. So in my recent week of restocking & searching for the newest materials, something sparked in me!

This morning, as I emerged from a sleepy state of mind, I was immediately hit with the creative bug!
Visions of big gemstone pendants, cabs, and of all things - bead embroidery filled my morning.

So, since this blog was originally designed to jot down ideas as they happen - here goes:

  • Next in store beader's challenge will likely begin in January with a Valentine's Day theme.
  • I have a vision of another bead embroidered cuff using a Lisa Peters button, already selected, and a variety of neutrals in: dark brown, bronze, light topaz, sage green, and a coppery green.
  • Embellishing a simple right angle weave bangle with more heavy metal seed beads (thank you for the inspiration, Shelley Nybakke!)
  • and perhaps next time I have a day off, instead of worrying about how clean my floor is, I will venture back to the worktable and cut up some of that copper, aluminum, and nickel silver sheet I ordered 2 months ago.
  • last but not least - my torch is calling !!!! It misses me. I need to return to my glass.

So there you have it - the reason the blog started, and now a REAL post for creativeness.

Of course, my business life just called and it wants its 20 minutes back....
But too bad. These were for ME



Sunday, October 17, 2010

WINNER WINNER!! I couldn't believe it.

The most recent blog post I made was regarding Carol Dean Sharpe's give away on her Blog.

Well, lo and behold - I won the grand prize.
And I can't tell you how thrilled I am - you really made my day !

So - Thank you CD for being so generous !!
While I still can't decide on bead colors, you certainly have given me something to think about - to destress & keep my mind off other current happenings in life.

Your bead gift will mean more than you know!

Please take a moment to visit Carol Dean Sharpe's blog, and of course her Etsy shop where you can find all kinds of original beaded items & tutorials to make great pieces !!


Monday, September 27, 2010

AC Moore Boycott - Warning, RANT, Straight Ahead

Its not often I jump on a soapbox for all to hear about my distaste about something.
And if you know me well enough, you know I lost the filter that's supposed to cover my mouth from opinions exiting it a LONG time ago!
BUT - trying to keep on the positive side of life, I keep most things nominally public, just verbally venting & then forgetting.

However, tonight's episode set me off.

Let's clear things up from the get go.
I own a bead store.
Therefore, as far as I am concerned, there is only one place on earth for people to buy beads. (hee hee)
From Bead & Glass Boutique, Pitman, NJ.
Also note: I do not buy beads from AC Moore. Yet, I do not judge those that do.
Clear? OK - let's move on!

Step 1:
I recently dove head first into metal forging. (Thank you Lisa Niven Kelly & Lisa Peters Art - its all your fault for too much inspiration to keep me contained.)
In the last two weeks I've managed to obtain the following tools:
2 full sets of letter/number stamps, dapping block set, disc cutters, fat max cutters, 1 lb brass hammer, 2 lb brass hammer, 9-in-1 texturing hammer, several sheets of raw metal, a package of fine steel wool, lots of other new tools I can't recall, and countless nights with an ice pack for my over-used wrists.
I've also acquired probably 2 dozen pieces of LPA in the past month to use in this new foray.
Last but not least, I've purchased half a dozen books to learn the "how-to's" of metal; from cold connections, forging, forming, heating, annealing, and riveting.
I do nothing lightly, but this time I feel like I've skid in sideways, 90 MPH and picked up a TON of knowledge in a very short period of time.

ONE thing I did not find in any of my tool purchases....but the "book" told me I needed to have:
An eyelet setter (commonly found in the scrap-booking section of craft stores)
Oh yeah - and the eyelets to go with said eyelet setter....

Step 2:
AC Moore - what we here on the east coast refer to as a semi-big-box craft store.
AC Moore is celebrating their 25th Anniversary this week (my goodness, I don't know how they made it to the 25th!?).
AC Moore published a 50% off one item coupon for this week only.
(hey - we all love a discount)
Now, I wouldn't be caught red handed buying beads from AC Moore, that's just not cool to be seen doing that as a bead shop owner in the area.
Therefore, I planned on using my 50% off trusty coupon for that "eyelet setter" that can commonly be found in the scrap-booking section of local craft stores.

Step 3:
Have a nice dinner with fiancee.
Head to AC Moore to save money on eyelet setter with 50% off coupon.
Arrive 30 minutes prior to close of store. (plenty of time)
First (and only planned stop): Scrapbook section - all 4 1/2 aisles of it.
With little effort - found several eyelet setter options...Pick one.
With a LOT of effort, can't find eyelets.
With a LOT of effort, finally find store associate for assistance...(here's where it gets boycotted...pay attention)

ME: Hello, I'm sorry to bother you, but I have one quick question regarding an item in your scrap-booking section
(I thought I'd make it easy & narrow it down)
ASSociate: *audible sigh* Yes?
ME: I've managed to locate this eyelet setter, however I can't seem to find the eyelet packages that might accompany this product
ASSociate: (wait for it.......) *second audible sigh*
ME (apologetic): I understand you're nearing a close, but I've been searching for about 10 minutes without any luck.
ASSociate: If we have them, they're in the scrap-booking section.
ME: thinking to self....(hmmm...no shit)
ME: Well, you've been most helpful - have a great night.

INSERT SIDE NOTE: If I ever overheard any of my staff treating a customer as such, they'd be fired on the spot.

Grabbed a package of RIT dye for my bead embroidery projects because dammit - I'm going to save 50% off something!
With full plans to abandon eyelet setter purchase at checkout...
V-Lined for checkout...

ME: Hi - I have a quick question. I have this nice eyelet setter from your scrap-booking section. However, I can't seem to find the eyelets to go with it (giving 2nd chance)
2nd Associate: Hmmm...I don't know much about scrap-booking, not sure what an eyelet is. But let me get "Lennie," she knows everything.
ME: OK !! Thanks
Lennie arrives, staring blankly @ me.
ME: Hi Lennie, (repeat question)
Lennie: Oh yes. We stopped carrying the eyelets about 3 months ago.
ME: Hmmm. Lennie, so you're telling me that you sell eyelet setters (four types to be exact), but no eyelets?
Lennie: Yes.
ME: Lennie, can you tell me how many eyelet setters you've sold in the last three months? (here comes the logical me making a quiet scene).
Lennie: I'm really not sure.
ME: I'm going to bet none. And you know, I'm not going to buy this one either.
(poor Lennie, so not her fault...)


Original Planned purchase: $39.99 x 50% off = about $20 + full priced eyelets in several sizes - BUT THEY DON'T HAVE THEM

Rit dye = $4.99 x 50% off

Reason for boycott:
This is the 2nd time I've had a similar customer service experience at AC Moore, Deptford, NJ.

Besides, there's only one place to find beads anyway - Bead & Glass Boutique, Pitman, NJ.
Guess I'm going to start carrying ALL that other stuff myself !


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Recover & Recap

Let us recap, shall we?
Last we left off, I was headed to BeadFest Philly to do some browsing, a little shopping, network with instructors, and just have an all out "me" time for beads - three full days planned !

Well - don't forget, I have a "more than full time career" (not beading) that typically gets in the way and this time, it did not disappoint.
I was notified just a few days before BeadFest began that I would be audited the following week. Not IRS audit (my gosh!) but an annual inspection. Its not a BIG deal, as everything is usually in good order, but the last year has been a .... um ..... (thinking nice ways to put this) - "Topsy-Turvy, Tired of Moving Things Around" Life.
So when inspection is announced, its time to put things in their correct places.

Yes, that meant my three day, overnight with friends, beading & shopping weekend was now cut back to a day and a half.

That did two things - it forced me to rush around with an attempt at efficiency (which I'm used to) and it probably saved me a lot of money - HA!

I ended up with a BIG order from a BIG supplier that I had shipped back to the Boutique.
- Lots of Crystals - can we have enough? Lemme answer that - NO!
- A 2 lb brass hammer with a few random blanks (for me!)
- A small assortment of this season's gemstones - we don't need another gemstone, I have boxes waiting to be sold off. Before it was seed beads, it was a gemstone addiction

But more importantly - I kept my promise to myself!
I did my best attempt to network with some of the "celebrity beaders" and speak to them about potentially teaching in NJ at Bead & Glass Boutique !

I met lots of really nice, genuinely happy to be speaking with me people.
There are BIG possibilities for next year - and heck, if we can get them here this year - well - YAY !!!

And....Just for me - I bought lots of kits ! I'm at that stage of beading that I just don't want to say to people, "I can figure that out." I really have declared, "Just show me." Ah! That's liberating - and SO much easier!
I have kits from Jill Wiseman, Shelly Nybakke, Lisa Niven Kelly, and Glenda P., and AWESOME instructions from Leslie Rogalski.
I can't wait to get something fun finished - just for me.

We also just received our shipment of Miyuki's new TILA beads !
OH EM GEE !!! The possibilities with these little beauties are endless !
If you enjoy working with seed beads - these are an absolute MUST have. In all 30 colors of course :)

Here's a photo of an "in progress" Tila Bead project:

This is a modification from a graphic only pattern supplied by the Miyuki company themselves.
I plan on making the wheel a centerpiece for a bracelet.
More to follow!

Oh - and that pesky audit ?
The best, most clean audit the examiner/auditor has ever done. Not a single item out of place.

Babies were all tucked into the nest! (really, would you expect anything less?)

+ 1 for Amy


Monday, August 23, 2010

A fellow artist in need

My goodness. The photo is devastating. Such a tragic event, I'm sure.

Kimberly Wilcox recently lost her studio to an electrical fire.
I learned of this from Lori Anderson's Blog today.

The good news is that the artist community is reaching out to help Kimberly!

First and foremost - go donate anything you can. Yes, even $1 will help, I'm sure.

Then visit Lori's blog and Fire Phoenix Creations for giveaways associated with the donation process.

You can read the original story on the Daily Art Muse.

Photo of the studio

Share this with your friends: on your own blog, on Facebook, by email.
Pull together to help a fellow artist rebuild her livelihood.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Reflections Due to a Shopping List

I've been a Bead-Addict since December of 2003.
Not ashamed, in fact, I'd wear that shirt if I had one.

By the middle of 2004, I had opened an online store and started sharing my quantity finds with the rest of the world.
eBay was my stomping ground & I have met and made a ton of great friends and connections.
When the time was right, I opened a retail brick & mortar bead store, Bead & Glass Boutique.
The space was rented in November 2007 & we actually opened the doors to the eager public in February 2008.

The time between finishing the interior renovations and the actual opening of the Boutique was a Bead-Addict's DREAM.
"Permissible bulk bead buying"

I digress......
Prior to having a brick & mortar space, I was a trade show hunter.
Armed with my bottles of water, energy bar, sneakers (regardless of outfit), hair in a ponytail, a cool backpack with wheels, my top-spiral bound pad of paper, pen, calculator, an unsuspecting credit card that didn't know it was about to get slammed, and my resale certificate.
- I'd drive to every show in the area. Most of the hunted treasures were geared for resale.
- I worked closely with the vendors, negotiating real wholesale pricing, not just the pricing you get when you show a tax certificate.
- Other shoppers would look at me as if I were absolutely insane. Why would one person need hundreds of strands of gemstones? Full bowls of sterling silver toggles? and have the full attention of the booth owner?
- I'd keep what I wanted to play with & the rest would soon hit the eBay virtual shelves.
- I'd take a class, maybe two. One year, I took 6 classes. (I must have felt rich that year)
- I got to know my vendors well. Spending time in their booth shopping, chatting with their other customers, even booth-sitting while they needed a break.

Once I'd returned home, prior to allowing myself to play in the treasure pile, my business hat went on.
Everything was sorted, counted, and priced out based on cost.
The next couple of days was a massive amount of hovering over a tripod taking photos (oh my back ached!), editing photos, and making the listing for eBay.
Countless hours were spent on shamless promotion in eBay groups - sharing the newest treasures with others in the hopes they'd have to have it too !!
And they did !
They clicked and they bought ..... a lot.
Nights became longer as the packing & shipping was time consuming.
Lost sleep was just something I got used to - and for a LONG time, didn't mind one bit!
My venture was successful.

Bear in mind I also have a full time professional career, one that carries a tremendous amount of responsibility, accountability, and integrity.
Hence, the marketing, promotion, packing, shipping, etc was all done between the hours of 8pm and 1am.
OMG you say? Yes...OMG - I was a bit out of my mind.
They clicked, they bought, I packed, I shipped, I power-shopped again.

Three years into this cycle, I tired out. The long nights were wearing at me.
It was time to wind it down. Then my fiancee offered to help.
With both of us being entrepreneurial in spirit, we had discussions about expanding this venture & actually making this a real place to shop.
Found a location, did our homework, rented space and almost 3 years later, here we are...

How time and perspective changes everything.......

Let's fast forward to present day.
There is a retail trade show coming to the Greater Philadelphia area (King of Prussia) this week.
This show starts today & runs through Sunday!
It is a retail bead shopper's heaven.
(It is NOT a true wholesale show.)

The difference a few years makes as my bead days have evolved:
- I still attend this show every year.
- I don't buy from vendors there like I used to, as I've now established wholesale accounts with BIG suppliers.
- I don't usually take classes there, although there are some I'd like to sit in on. There's a time factor involved.
- When I find something new that I'd like to carry, I still have negotiations to work out with the booth owner.
- I still wear sneakers, bring the wheeled backpack, lots of water.
- I now also wear an IPod in my ears to avoid having to deal with the massive crowds that for some reason are no longer appealing.
- And from time to time, when it hits me, I power-shop.

So as I prepare my visit to the epic event in this area for bead-addicts alike, I too, still make a shopping list & highlight the vendors I need to see.

This year, I also would like to establish IRL connections with some of the celebrity beaders I've gotten to know a little on Facebook in recent months.
I would like nothing more than to bring them into the Boutique for lessons with our customers !
So I'll put it out there to Jill Wiseman, Shelley Pleines Nybakke, Leslie Rogalski, and Lorelei Eurto -I hope to see you, even if to just say HI. Of course, if conversation turns business, I'm always up for new opportunities!

This year's visit includes restocking some elements that I will only pick out by hand.
I'm also going to stop by some of the metal specialist vendors and pick up where I left off with my personal journey into metals.
And last but not least, a visit to ABR for some fun new glass supplies !!

So...time tells the truth of changing habits.
Onward & upward

BeadFest - here we come!

Now you know why I titled this the Fast & Furious Beader.... Is anything ever done in a normal pace?


Sunday, August 15, 2010

More fun flower beads

This is a quick & dirty shot while they were patiently waiting to be cleaned...

There is another one from this batch - but he/she must have been hiding in the soaking tub. Perfect Autumn colors (pumpkin orange, light topaz, medium topaz, burnt red sienna) - so pretty!

One was broken (top center), and I won't go into HOW...but let's just say some people need to keep their hands off of things that don't belong to them!

The lower right, pink & lime green was "spoken for" until she changed her mind, three times.

So now these will all be in the Boutique for public viewing! :)
Along with their little friends that coordinate for your jewelry making designs.

(Unless I get to them first & make necklaces and earrings, etc...)


Monday, August 9, 2010

The Art of Zentangle, Opening up Creativity

I'm a believer living in the house of "everything happens for a reason." Be it good or not so good - its happening because its supposed to.

A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled across a random happenstance.
I don't even remember how I found them, but I'm sure it was an internet "down the rabbit hole" trick.

Here's my discovery:
Zentangle is a form of doodling with random repeating patterns (if its even possible to be random yet repeating).
Its really neat !
At first, I wanted to dive in & buy all the fun pens and paper that make your doodles everlasting.
Noooo...Reel it in.
I used plain paper & the stinkiest marker I could find.
(now I know why they recommend those good pens - I'm sure those fancy pens won't give you a headache!)

So - I drew my first few over the last couple of days.
A partially completed page shown below...

Am I feeling more ZEN? No.
Am I good at it...haa haaa - NO.
But I learned that it will take your mind off of any stressful moment you're having!
And to get a good pen that doesn't have stinky ink & won't bleed through your plain paper.

I did realize that if you're having any kind of creativity block - this might be the way to bust out of that slump.
NO rules, just draw !!

(and for all of you OCD fans, caution....)

Doodle away!


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

New Beads & Back to Fabric !

Sneak peek at some of the cutie pie beads I made over the weekend

Now just need to get some daylight hours where I'm not glued to a desk to go get some bright pics !
Want to guess which one I'm keeping for myself? hmmmm???

With a full work schedule & a busy schedule in the Boutique, I really only get decent time to torch on declared days off from the shop. So this last batch of beads might be it for a few weeks.


Now I'm back to the fabric for embroidery!
Remember those pieces I said I still had to cut apart & sew them together after I fused the interfacing to them?
Well, an energy drink super charge kept me up late last night, so I did come cutting & sewing!
Today I started actually stitching beads to the fabric.
I'm really excited to see how it turns out. The little flowers are so stinkin' cute !
Will get "photo journal" of pics as I go - will share soon!

OK - kitty snoozing, fiancee already went to bed. Time for beading !!
But just a little - no more late night energy drink buzzes! (oy!)


Monday, August 2, 2010

Week "Off" Condensed Version

My so-called self-declared week off turned out to be a little bit of week off, and a little bit of the things you're not supposed to be doing when you are "Off."

Rule #1 - do not answer the office phone, or check voicmail, email, etc. (Fail)
Rule #2 - do not book client appointment (Fail)
Rule #3 - keep your compulsive self out of your office, the paperwork will wait (Fail...really failed)
Rule #4 - do not go to the Boutique and expect not to work (Semi-Fail, after all, I do not consider the Boutique as actual work most days)

All in all, though, I have to say, I think I did pretty - OK - for not leaving the country. (the only way to really get away)

I took a class in the Boutique with one of our guest instructors. She taught a beautiful Scalloped Pearl bracelet that uses 4mm Swarovski Pearls & 11/0 Delica or Treasure beads. Since it has a magnetic clasp (gasp!) - Voila! Now its reversible. I LOVE LOVE this bracelet!

Spent three sessions at the torch - two good long ones, and one abbreviated one. The shortened session had a lot to do with the frustration of copper foil & glass. Grrrr. Then I remembered the "trick" that John Winter taught in a class I sat in several years ago. I just needed patience, and apparently enamel, of which I had neither that day. HA!
Results coming soon - they've been cleaned, just need pics. Some are just really too cute!

Spent one day sweating like crazy while I moved boxes and boxes of things out of our old house. We're finally nearing having it rented out, so its time to get all of our remaining treasures out of there! While moving isn't my thing, there is something about purging old things that makes you feel good. No remorse - I haven't seen or used some of the leftover things that are in that house for year. Lots of it went straight into the trash or to the good will pile. Time to lighten up in life :)

Had a great lunch out with two girlfriends, laughing, chatting, and dumping life stories on each other - that's what friends are for!! Thanks ladies !!

Had a nice night out with GB and friends at a the Auburn Road Winery. It was a really beautiful night outside & the atmosphere is just so quaint. Nice place & they have a few good wines to sample too! Noted, however, next time - bring dinner with you - #1, its allowed & encouraged, #2 - they don't offer much on Saturday nights. Cheese & a baguette just wasn't enough to soak up the good wine.

Hence, the day after was spent lounging and watching movies.

So, all in all, a decent "week off."

Now I just want a real week off to truly recharge, relax, and get a tan (ok, burn) but try to get a tan.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

ETSY and Etching

So I decided now that I actually have something handcrafted to share, I'd repopulate my Etsy shop !!
You can see it here:
Amy's ETSY

I've started to slowly get some of my lampwork beads listed for sale there. So go check it out!

In my most recent torch session, I remembered I also LOVE to etch some of my glass beads.
(How on earth could I have forgotten that? I dunno - but I did!! )
In my box of supplies for lampwork bead making, I found my bottle of Etch All.
It was like a 3 year old at Christmas!

Ran upstairs to where the most recent batch of baked beads was soaking in a soapy water bowl, rinsed them all off, dried well...and inspected.
Carefully selected only the ones that I know need to be etched.
Funny how none of them screamed to be etched until I became aware that I still had a bottle (and folks, not just a bottle - a BIG bottle) of Etch-All. The kind that will likely last me for the next 5 years of beadmaking (if I don't take any more hiatuses.)
Then they were practically jumping out of the bowl to be etched.

15 minutes later - yes, I set the timer on the stove - they were lightly surfaced etched & gave them just enough velvety feel that it was time to pour nasty brown liquid gold back into its BIG bottle & seal up for next time.
All were rinsed, patted, and permitted to dry until they were inspected again.

Bead Velvet Heaven!

Now to turn them into sets....

Get over to ETSY & see what the velvet fuss is all about!


Friday, July 23, 2010

Into the Swing of Things?

Today at 12pm begins my first self-declared week OFF from my full time career job in over 4 years. Not sick time, not scheduled moving time - actual "ok - I'm not answering the phone now"-OFF
YAY me!
I'm self employed, on many levels, and really don't get a day OFF from anything unless there is a real dire reason. I work 7 days a week, long hours.
Therefore, at 12pm, I have decided to turn my office phone to vaca mode.

I then plan on heading to the Boutique to sit in on a class that I'd love to take from one of my guest instructors.
However, then I'm hanging out as tonight is one of Pitman's Fourth Friday events.

But a day filled with Beads - I'll take it !!

So - onto the stuff I've been doing (ok, well, thinking about)...

Statement: I really do not like ironing.
I would rather scrub all the toilets in my house than iron one stinkin' piece of clothing. Which leads to a real problem when you read my post about Joann Fabrics and fusible interfacing. It means I have to actually bust out said iron & use it to fuse the fusible interfacing to the totally awesome quarter of fabric I bought. (bah !)

So yesterday, my lovely fiancee, in his morning rush, asks me to iron his shirt for the workday ahead. Um......I guess so...
Then I remembered that in order to start actually working on the intended project for this great fabric & that fusible interfacing, I have to start by actually fusing it together - which needs an IRON.
NOW - that's incentive! Finish dress shirt & then get to experiment with the new stuff I have !

Looked it up online, then read the instructions that came wrapped up with the fusible interfacing. Followed instructions (I think).
Lo and behold - great fabric is fused to backing !!!!!!
Now to cut apart components & start re-stitching them together with - well....BEADS !


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

You Know You're a Beader When....

The start of this blog was because I wanted a place to jot down quick ideas (or full blog snippets) that I was afraid I'd lose in my fast lane called life. I will always do my best to keep these pages upbeat & fun.

However...I must share what's been up the last few days.

There was a horrible tragic car accident 1/3 mile from where I live. The impact was so strong that I heard it & knew something was terribly wrong, without knowing it was even a car accident. I can't describe it here, other than the sound would numb you. Seeing the aftermath from a distance & knowing more about the young woman involved, it has completely zapped me of any potential creativity I might have had flowing.
I feel just terrible for her family, she was so young.
If you are a friend of mine on Facebook, and want to read more, I have a couple of articles posted.

SO - since I won't be beading tonight - I am trying to cheer myself into a positive rest of my week.
Mama needs her spunk back!
Let's do something fun!
Inspired by a newsletter feature in my local bead society -

Share with me, if you will, your stories of "You Know You're a Beader When....."



Monday, July 19, 2010

Joann Fabrics thanks to Rachel Nelson-Smith

Several weeks ago I was forced into a trip to Ikea (hell on earth, too visually noisy to me).
My fiancee LOVES Ikea. Its complete artistic overstim for him. He browses & looks at everything.
Therefore, I grab the cart and head two sections ahead.
Turns out, there IS something at Ikea that gave me reason to browse !!
They have fabric. They not only have fabric by the yards & yards (apparently its used for curtain like structures in homes - *snicker*) they have fabric remnants pre-cut into approximate 1 and 2 yard lengths. And its THICK fabric too!
Thank you Rachel Nelson-Smith - you have given me a reason to enjoy a visit to Ikea, even if only briefly in one section.
Rachel's work has been a source of eye candy for some time now. I truly enjoy browsing through visuals of her work. She's such a nice "celebrity beader" too!! I emailed her a question when I attempted a pattern of hers, and she kindly replied the same day.
Anyway....Rachel has a truly unique piece featured in the June/July issue of Beadwork Magazine. She was one of the participants in a pattern challenge which won the editor's choice award! She designed & created an amazing piece using a great pattern she has from a greeting card.
It inspired me!
Read through the instructions & think that I just might be able to pull enough info from the article that I can use some of that fabric I bought at Ikea !! When I bought that fabric, I had bead embroidery in mind...being somewhat new to all of the embroidery techniques, wasn't too sure of how "construction" would work - but couldn't pass up that fabric !! Such awesome patterns!

So - I managed to escape the Boutique a little bit early yesterday & head to a local Joann Fabrics. I needed something called fusible interfacing.
(Side note - I don't sew. I have no idea what I'm looking for.)

But the nice lady at Joann Fabrics knows what I'm looking for & cut me a yard (making bracelets and/or pendants, at the rate I make things, I'm sure it will last me a while).
However, while I was waiting in line to have interfacing cut, I discovered THEIR fabric section....
An entire two rows of quilters quarters neatly stacked down the entire length of the store.
-Insert Unlimited Possibilities Here-

So I managed to reel myself back in. I left purchasing less than $20 of materials (pat me on the back). Fray Check, Snaps, 1 yard Fusible Interfacing, 1 quilters quarter, and 1 yard of a Keepsake Collection fabric (it was 30% off!).

The design construction is a multiple step process which involves first fusing my fabric selection to this interfacing.

Now...how long am I going to think about it before I get up off my touchie & drag out the iron?



Sunday, July 18, 2010

Reluctantly, Creative side tapped !!

Yesterday was a fun one. I finally had the liberty of catching up on some sleep (originally lost due to Mother Nature's recent middle of the night rants). Then went into the Boutique for a private lesson scheduled with a good customer.

The designated class was originally intended for students to learn how to decoratively wire wrap larger beads to make them into pendants. Turns out, she wanted to learn how to take pieces of purchased sea glass & turn them into pendants - oh yeah, and some scalloped sea shells she brought home from Florida over the years.
If you do any kind of wire work, you know that wrapping a bead (with a hole) is much different than wrapping something that does not have a hole of any kind.
Insert *sigh* here.
After lounging all day, it was just something I wasn't mentally prepared for.
However, as a business owner, you always want to make your customers happy. So I winged it.
The answer to the question is yes, "Do you know how to wire wrap items without holes?"
I just wasn't prepared to not be prepared.

So after two hours, I had successfully taught her how to bind wire together and wrap supports around the pieces she brought with her. As a "purist" I don't use glue, however, she had brought with her several sample pieces that she had purchased over the years and all of them featured layers of store bought sea glass glued together, then wire wrapped around them to make it appear as if the wire was holding them together.
She learned how to do this without glue & even learned how to turn those shells into pendants too !

At the end of the class, I had used a few pieces of her sea glass & one of her shells to demonstrate the techniques. I had put them both back in her pile so she could wear them... We carry a variety of cabs, but not loose sea glass or shells without holes.
She had brought me a little gift too - a hand painted sea shell that says, "Life is better at the beach."
After she left & I went back to the classroom table to clean up, I found she had left a small sampling of sea glass & two small scalloped shells on the worktable. We had discussed how much fun it was & I had commented that I'd have to get out to get some sea glass myself!
So she left me a bunch to get myself started.
What a sweet gesture !

That being said, I can't tell you the possibilities that were running through my head.
Glass in hand must have sparked the ideas and before I could even get to my new virtual notebook to jot them down.

We have a huge kiln! It was originally purchased to do some medium scale slumping & fusing.
Of which, we still intend to get to... (its only been a year)
But OH - the possibilities of working smaller scale for glass sheet into wire wrapped jewelry pendants!

And then....we've been collecting glass bottles for about a year (see a trend here?).
It would be so cool to break some of them into shards, firepolish some of them & use those for said jewelry pendants.

OK - so noted.
To be placed on the "I hope to get to it someday" list.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Kids & Polymer Clay

This morning was an interesting one.
It starts with the usual waking around 5am & can't go back to sleep, so the mind starts wandering...
Eventually get myself up & going with a client appointment early in the day.

Follow that with a stop into the Boutique to help my staff member cover things while she worked with a small group of young girls.
Last week, we offered part one of our two part Kids Workshop. We had three young ladies sign up.
On Friday they spent over an hour making polymer clay beads. We baked them over the weekend.
Today they came back to make a necklace & bracelet out of their handcrafted beads, supplemented by some czech glass beads.

Turns out the girls had a sleepover last night, stayed up way too late (haa haa, remember those days?) and came in a little tired this morning.

However, their creativity was not lost ! They made beautiful pendants for their leather necklaces and used the rest of the beads they made in bracelets with a wide variety of colors.
About half way through their project with us, they seemed to come alive a bit.

Now, I personally didn't assist the children, I just watched from afar & helped the few other customers that visited that hour.
But it was refreshing to see their perspective on color & design...

A really well behaved group of young ladies. I hope to see them visit again!

Tonight brings an inventory project for me.
While I LOVE getting new beads....the inventory process is a bit nightmarish. Not only is it time consuming, its frustrating for a creative mind to have to sort, price, etc and not PLAY with those new treasures.
I must mentally design 100 things in my pea-brain when I'm doing inventory processes. Only maybe one or two of which actually come to life at any point in time.

OK - back to work !! :)


Thursday, July 15, 2010

The start of a new place to share

After many mental notes, reminding myself of this and that (of which I usually forget anyway), time has come to share my musings aloud. Several times throughout the day I have these great creative thoughts (well, I think they're great) and make myself a mental note.
Several hours pass & if you know me well enough, you know that my work day is SO jammed packed, that by the time those hours pass, those creative ideas/thoughts/inspirations have long been stored in the "I forgot" pile.

Here's my place to jot them down.
This will be my place to share them with others.
My hope is that this will help me get back to more of my creative side.
And inspire others to feed off of inspiration and creativity that I might share.

From time to time, you may see me run an idea by readers for the Boutique (see below).
Its always nice to have thoughts and opinions from others - and I truly welcome comments of all kinds!

I call it the Fast & Furious beader for a couple of reasons:
#1 - I'm a bead addict
#2 - I not only make jewelry and the like from beads, I also make beads of glass
#3 - My lifestyle fits the words perfectly: fast & furious (never a dull moment)
#4 - I like that movie !

While I'm full of opinions & most of the time you'll know what I'm thinking because I wear it on my sleeve - I do keep my personal life rather private.

About me:
- For 10 years I've been advising clients on what to do with their money - I am a Financial Advisor, Branch Manager, and Registered Principal with one of the leading independent broker/dealers in the country. This is my full time career and first business love!
- For almost 7 years, I've had a love of beading and all things bead related. So much so, that I now own a retail store in Pitman, NJ. Talk about a bead-a-holic ! Its my home away from home. Love love LOVE my customers !!
- 10 years & going strong - I'm engaged to a wonderful man that has stood by my side in all of my endeavors. He's my soulmate and so lucky to have found him. We'll get married when we're ready, so don't ask!
- Other things I enjoy: my little fuzzball kitty, educating people about money, teaching people new beading techniques, public & motivational speaking, making glass beads, checking in with my beading Fast Friends from eBay, and gardening (when I have time.)

So - off to another busy day - here's hoping the inspiration / "virtual notebook" pays off !!