Saturday, May 30, 2009

Chain Maille Earrings

When I teach Chain Maille classes, I always show my students how to make that particular pattern into earrings. Not only is it nice to have a matching set (earrings and bracelet) but it reinforces how to start the weave. Often starting a weave is the hardest part. When you make a bracelet and a pair of earrings, you have to start three times.

Plus you can always make a pair for a good friend who has admired your handiwork.

The first pair of earrings is Byzantine, the second, Flower or Mobius and the third, Parallel or Helm. (One thing with Chain Maille weaves, they all have at least one more different name)

Earrings make nice graduation, teacher or wedding gifts.

B and

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Kumihimo Necklace

Last week we had beautiful weather and I started a Kumihimo necklace. (You can see the post here)

I finally finished the necklace and here it is:

I was lazy and did not take the time to get a good picture of the pendant. (I'll show the picture I took last week) It is too pretty to not see a closer picture. Unfortunately, this is still not a good picture.

At least I finished a piece. Now on to finishing some more pieces I have started.

Today is cold (51 degrees) and encourages me to stay inside and work on unfinished pieces.

B and

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Chain Maille Class

Last Saturday, I taught a Chain Maille class in the Barrel weave. For various reasons it seemed to be forever in the planning. But finally we all got together at The Beadcache in Mansfield, MA and away we went.

One person had not made any Chain Maille before, the other two had experience. It never hurts to hear the basic instructions of how to open and close jump rings and what gauge and ID mean.

I always bring my "stash" of finished Chain Maille to show my students what can be accomplished. (Somehow this always results in "Oh, can you teach us how to make ...?")

The best part of teaching is seeing the smiles on the faces as they look at what they have made. "I can't believe I made this" is heard more than once or "I just love this!" It makes it all worth while.

I also get to make a bracelet too. How else do you show people how to make the Barrel weave? I've been told more than once that "I have to be shown how to do -this or that - to be able to make something"

I finished my bracelet when I got home. I had a nice pink lampwork bead just sitting around waiting for its place in my new bracelet. My students made a plain Barrel weave bracelet but were also shown how to add a bead as I did. They were also shown how to make the Barrel weave variation you can see in a previous post. A favorite Math teacher I had in high school, Mr. Conroy, always gave what he called "the enriched" class. Mr. Conroy, I try to do that too.

B and

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Good blog and a joke

I don't usually post on the weekends but a friend told me about a blog with some beautiful pictures. I just had to share it with you.

Then this morning another friend sent me a joke that still has me laughing and I thought I'd share that too.

One day the old German Shepherd starts chasing rabbits and before long, discovers that he's lost. Wandering about, he notices a leopard heading rapidly in his direction with the intention of having lunch.

The old German Shepherd thinks, 'Oh, oh! I'm in deep doo-doo now!' Noticing some bones on the ground close by, he immediately settles down to chew on the bones with his back to the approaching cat. Just as the leopard is about to leap, the old German Shepherd exclaims loudly, 'Boy, that was one delicious leopard! I wonder, if there are any more around here?'

Hearing this, the young leopard halts his attack in mid-strike, a look of terror comes over him and he slinks away into the trees. 'Whew!' says the leopard, 'That was close! That old German Shepherd nearly had me!'

Meanwhile, a monkey who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree, figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the leopard.. So, off he goes, but the old German Shepherd sees him heading after the leopard with great speed, and figures that something must be up.

The monkey soon catches up with the leopard, spills the beans and strikes a deal for himself with the leopard.

The young leopard is furious at being made a fool of and says, 'Here, monkey, hop on my back and see what's going to happen to that conniving canine!

Now, the old German Shepherd sees the leopard coming with the monkey on his back and thinks, 'What am I going to do now?', but instead of running, the dog sits down with his back to his attackers, pretending he hasn't seen them yet, and just when they get close enough to hear, the old German Shepherd says... 'Where's that darn monkey? I sent him off an hour ago to bring me another leopard!

Moral of this story....

Don't mess with the old dogs... age and skill will always overcome youth and treachery! BS and brilliance only come with age and experience.
Of course, I am in no way insinuating that any of you are old, some are just more 'youthfully challenged.'


Friday, May 22, 2009

Colorful New Necklace

In Wednesday's post I showed you some new beads I had purchased on one of my field trips. I was concerned that they fell into the "What was I thinking category."

Last night, I decided to get busy and make a new necklace using these beads.

The first thing I noticed was that what I had thought was black was really a pretty clear dark blue. When the beads were close together on the temporary string, they indeed looked black but loose on my work surface you could see the beautiful blue.

So the first decision was to separate the beads. After many different tries, I settled on cobalt, 4 mm bicone crystals. They have the same sparkle and color.

I snuck out 2 beads to make matching earrings to complete the set.

Taking a picture was a challenge too, as usual. The changing colors were hard to capture and the cobalt bicones are hard to see in the necklace. This was the best I could do. What do you think?

B and

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Kumihimo / Nice Day!

It has been an absolutely beautiful day here today. With a list of things to be accomplished, I sat out side for quite awhile. (I had my Kumihimo disk with me so I would look busy). Actually, I did quite a bit. The birds were flying around, chirping and I saw a pair of Cardinals in the large evergreen tree in our neighbor's yard. The planes were flying overhead. I discovered their path was right where I didn't even have to move my head to see them. OK, a few more rounds of Kumihimo. Then a few more.

Usually, I show things after I've finished but ... I'm not finished yet. But here is what I've done so far. You may remember the batch of pendants I purchased a few weeks ago. I'm making this braid to go with one of them.

Funny thing, I bought about 6 packages of fibers to go with my pendants. Only to discover that the best colors were from some I had left over from other projects. I combined them in a different group. This braid has 5 blue and 3 beige cords. It is hard, at least for me, to tell how the final braid will look. I expected this one to have more blue. Any how, so far I like the results.
Here is a close up.

Thanks to the birds, planes, gentle breeze I accomplished 3 or 5 inches of my Kumihimo necklace and got an idea for a blog post. All in all, a good afternoon.

B and

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New Beads

I think I mentioned that I purchased some new beads the other day.

Here they are. Since I got them home I've been wondering if these are some "What was I thinking beads"?

I must admit I haven't spent much time with them. But normally, ideas come to me when I'm NOT working with particular beads. Sort of "Ah, Ha" moments.

The obvious thing would be to add nice shiny black beads as spacers. However, I think what is really bothering me is "What will I wear with them?" I know I'm just too practical. I have black pants and white tops but really is that all? I know there are many colors in the beads and maybe that is where I should go with this. (Thinking out loud now)

It is a nice problem and I'm sure I'll come up with something. I'd rather have something spectacular though. We'll see.

B and

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New Chain Maille Pendant

This is a result of, I don't know. Funniest thing, if someone asked me how I made it or if I could make another one, I don't think I could.

I try lots of little samples of different Chain Maille weaves. Most often, I finish off a bracelet from the sample. In other words, I get it and now know what I did and how to do it again.

This little piece has been in my box of rings for awhile. I pick it up and put it down again. I really don't remember what I was trying to do.

Well, the other day after I finished a Parallel Rose pendant which involves making Parallel Chain - straight - and then making it into a circle, I picked it up again.

I looked again at this odd sample in my box and played with it. Suddenly, turning it into a circle I came up with something that looked nice. (See picture) In order to keep it in a circle, I added a few rings and one to be able to attach it to a chain. I'm certain, it will take me a long while to make another one, if asked.

I was surprised with and like the results. Now I need to find something to hang it on.

Have any of you made something in this manner?

B and

Monday, May 18, 2009

Time for new skills?

Today, I went on one of the South Shore Beaders field trips. We visited a School for Jewelry and Metal Arts where a vendor of gemstones was showing their wares. I'm not sure what we thought we would find but soon discovered they were out of our league (I guess I should say MY league anyhow).

Realizing we would find nothing we could afford or more importantly, our current customers would purchase, we decided to find a local bead store we quickly found in an Internet search. While these prices seemed higher than we would like, too, at least they were less than $850 per strand. More like $25 or so. I did find a nice strand for $18 that I liked and will be working on a design soon.

On our trip home, we had our usual discussions of how to find people to buy our wares and other such related themes.

Tonight, while watching the national news, I saw several pieces on the recession. One was about graduating college students that were altering their job searches from what they would like, to what was available. They specifically mentioned the fact that many were looking into government jobs like law enforcement.

The other was about how the recession was affecting children. They showed an organization in Chicago that placed children of parents who were out of jobs, loosing their homes etc, with people who would care for them temporarily while the parents got back on their feet.

All in all, today gave me something to think about in my jewelry designing business. The gemstone salesmen seemed to be doing well. ;-) I guess it amounts to finding your niche and maybe then learning some more skills such such as those taught at the school we first went to. Looking over the offerings there is a lot to learn. I found Trisha Harding is one of the instructors. I featured Trisha in a previous post. One of her pieces is shown above. We met her at the Fuller Craft Museum.

B and

Friday, May 15, 2009

Parallel Rose Pendant

About 3 years ago, I made a pendant using the parallel/helm weave. Everyone really liked it and I sold quite a few. I used 16 gauge rings and the result was about 1 1/2 inches round. I had learned the weave from Urban Maille.

Soon after that Aislyn, at Urban Maille, offered a similar item in a kit using 18 gauge rings and a little fancier. You can always trust Aislyn to make a great design and that everything fits just right. She had been encouraged to make up such a kit because everyone loved the wallpaper on their web site. She obliged.

I decided to order the kit which she calls: Wallflowers Ring Set.

Here is the results. It is about 1 inch in diameter and is more delicate than my design. I like both designs for different looks.

My 16 gauge design is larger and a bit heavier. Therefore, the necklace part seems to need a heavier cord. So, I used the black silk cord. For the 18 gauge design a thin silver chain works well. Different looks.

Which do you prefer??

B and/or

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New Chain Maille Bracelet

I usually have trouble coming up with names for my pieces but for this one I had a name before I made the bracelet. I found a nice strand of green hearts at the Innovative Bead Show I went to last Saturday. Usually hearts have the hole drilled vertically. These had the hole at the top and side to side. I have found a lot of beads that are similar and the holes are drilled in a sloppy manner. At least they seem so to me. These holes were drilled such that the hole came in from the back and out the front making the string have the hearts overlapping. That, I don't think is the way it was intended. The holes should go straight across the top of the heart. However, in this case the results was very intriguing. The nestled one on top of the other.

The name "Kindred Hearts" came to mind when I saw the string. So, I began thinking of a possible design. Three in a row, then what? Chain Maille, then what? I had enough rings to make the Barrel chain I recently learned and voila a new Chain Maille Bracelet.

And the name? "Kindred Hearts" Not bad if I do say so myself.

You can see it listed on my 1000Markets web site


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Customer Service

On Sunday after we came home from church, I sat down in my chair in the living room. When I looked out the window, (see the picture) I saw a hanging wire. You have to look close to see it in the picture.

Naturally, we went out to check it out. The wires that were attached to the house had been pulled out. Now we had electricity, cable and phone, so we wondered what was going on. The wires were all intact. We followed the wires up to the pole and across the street to another pole. Then it became obvious. A tree had fallen on the wires going to the other pole pulling them down and like a chain reaction, we figured, whipped the ones on our side of the street out of the house. The next door house had a similar problem. Unfortunately, they were not home. Real chain reaction event. It was quite windy but didn't seem that bad.

Because we were not sure which wire it was that came out of our house, my husband called the cable company. We explained the the wires going across the street were low and a large truck driving down the street would surely "take them out" as my son-in-law said.
Turns out that the cable company could not come until Tuesday. (remember this was Sunday)

So, we decided the local police might be interested in preventing a little problem from becoming a big problem. You know what? They were. They were here in about 5 minutes. They assessed the situation and called the electric company and they were here in another 5 minutes. Now granted Sunday overtime, really looks good, I'm sure. Too bad it wasn't the cable as I would have liked to see the response if the police had called them instead of us.

Anyhow, the electric company started working and had the wires back up rather quickly. We left to go to our Mother's Day dinner. When we came home the electric was all up and out of harms way. But the wire that was pulled out of our house as shown in the picture, was still in the same position. Turns out that it belongs to Verizon. We no longer have Verizon as our phone company. Rather, we get our phone service with our cable. So, naturally the electric company would not fix it.

Monday morning we called Verizon not sure if they would come. We told them that we no longer had their service and asked if would they come to remove their wires explaining that they were now hanging across our lawn. Yes, they would come as soon as they could. Now, we'll see how soon that is. Maybe Tuesday?

Later Monday the electric company was back. Our next door neighbor had called. Long story short, they offered to put our Verizon line back up and tightened our electric lines. They were loose but not from this recent chain of events. Then he fixed the neighbor's lines. In rather short time all was back in order and even better.

Funny conclusion to this whole experience is that good "Customer Service" goes a long way to keep a customer or even non customer happy (or not). A good thing to remember in your Jewelry Design business or any other business!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Pendant finds!

Last Saturday, I went to another bead show. I guess it is the season for them here.

I found more pendants from the same vendor, (Ancient Moon in Watertown, MA) that I purchased pendants from last weekend. They brought more and different ones. ;-)

Since Ancient Moon is local (well - rather local - sometimes the north shore seems very far from someone on the south shore - of Boston) I should be able to visit them almost anytime. However, that is a major trip to me.

Now, all the possibilities are swimming around in my mind. Should I use Chain Maille, Kumihimo, or seed beads or ... ???? I need to focus on one at a time.

Any how, I need to get off the computer and start designing. Unfortunately, that will probably involve purchasing some more parts. Oh, well.


Friday, May 8, 2009

New Pendant Necklace at 1000 Markets

Last Saturday, I went to the Divine Bead Show in Mansfield, MA. I was looking for something specific and pretty sure the vendors there would not have it. I was right. I wanted something with a hole large enough for a 1.5 - 2 mm leather cord. And most important, not expensive. The not expensive part does not match most of the vendors at that show.

Now this is not a complaint, just a fact. I'm trying to make some badge lanyards for my Lexie line of jewelry. My buddy, Melanie, came up with the idea and we had it all planned out. Even a great bead picked out. The order was placed and when it arrived everything came (plus those little things you add on to an order to meet minimum) except the beads for the lanyards. As they say back to the drawing board.

Fortunately, there is another bead show this coming weekend and I'll try again.

When you go to a bead show, you can not come home empty handed. So, I took another look around and found some really nice pendants. Complete with bails. What a bargain! I could have purchase many more beautiful pieces but the budget was saying "Not now, Bev"

Checking my inventory in one of my drawers, I found a nice piece of black ribbon and some black silk cord. Voila, a very nice pendant necklace. A quick trip to the local bead shop for finishing ends and it was done.

I particularly, like the endings I found. Not exactly sure what they are called but I've used the same type on my Kumihimo bracelets. I makes a very smooth professional looking finish.

I just listed it on my 1000 Markets site. You can see it at


Thursday, May 7, 2009

May and June Bev's Jewelry Specials

Of all the posting I do on the Internet, I forgot to let all my blog readers know about my Mother's Day sale. I decided to expand the sale to include all the many reasons we need gifts at this time of year. Mother's Day, graduation, teachers gifts, weddings and on it goes. The reason we all seem to be so busy at this time of year.

So, here is the link html
See what is so "special" and why.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Dr. David Weiman: "What you don't know...."

Last month I featured an article by Dr. David Weiman. Dr. Weiman, "the Jewelry Marketing Doctor," is a psychologist and internationally-known expert on marketing and selling handmade artisan jewelry. He is also the marketing director for Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, Step by Step Beads, and Step by Step Wire Jewelry.

He has graciously let us use some of his articles in blogs or newsletters and I have decided to feature some of them on this blog from time to time. I hope that you will find them helpful too. Check out his web site at

Here is a second article that I hope you will find helpful.

What You Don't Know ...

(how to handle customer complaints)

© by Dr. David Weiman. All rights reserved.

You’ve heard that old saying, “What you don’t know can’t hurt you.” I guess the person who said that was never in business, where the opposite seems true: What you don’t know can hurt you.

A case in point -- the other day I was walking through the parking lot of one of those small suburban shopping centers. You know the type ... there’s usually an independent pharmacy there, a shoe repair shop (does anyone take their shoes to be repaired anymore?) a pizza place and a barber.

As I walked toward the stores, I overheard two women talking as they were getting into their cars to leave.

“I’ll never eat at Angelo’s again!” the first one said, referring to the pizza place.

“Why not?” asked her friend.

“This kid had a dog in there, and the dog was eating food that had been left on one of the tables, and I told someone behind the counter and they didn’t wipe off the table!” “That’s disgusting!” the friend said, “I’m not going in there either!”

They say that when someone has a bad experience with a business, they tell many times more people than when they have a good experience. One of the reasons is psychological: Bad experiences usually make more of an impact on customers than good experiences. And one way of processing bad experiences – particularly when the business doesn’t seem to care – is telling friends.

Unfortunately, every time someone re-tells the story, it reinforces the bad experience as well as spreading it around to more and more people.

One slip up involving just one customer, like not responding when she complained about a dog eating off a table in a pizza place, could eventually be told to dozens and dozens of people who weren’t there, but who are impacted by the story and decide to stop eating there.

Although in this case, the woman wasn’t reluctant to tell someone about the dog, no one appeared to be listening. Many people won’t even speak up when they’re bothered by something.

That’s because business owners often appear not to care, seem rushed, or aren’t even around to see the event occur. That means that a lot of valuable information about your company could be out there on the street spreading to current and prospective customers, and you don’t even know it!

Here are some things you can do to make sure that you’re open to good news as well as bad in your handcrafted jewelry business:

First, make sure that listening to customers carefully is a value that both you and your staff prize very much.

Second, respond to customer complaints as quickly as possible, and confirm that they are satisfied with the results.

Finally, be very direct with customers that you want to know about what is not going well with their experience with you, as well as is.

When you’re the first one who knows that something went wrong, it may still hurt, but not as much as it will if you find out from everyone else.

About the Author: Dr. David Weiman, "the Jewelry Marketing Doctor," is a psychologist and internationally-known expert on marketing and selling handmade artisan jewelry. He is also the marketing director for Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, Step by Step Beads, and Step by Step Wire Jewelry. His new book, 101 More Great Jewelry Selling Techniques, is available -- along with many other books and tools for selling handcrafted jewelry -- at where you can also sign up for his free "Jewelry Seller" e-newsletter.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Bookkeeping in a Jewelry Business

Before we moved to MA, we lived near one of the small Finger Lakes, Hemlock Lake. (The small Finger Lakes are Conesus, Hemlock, Canadice and Honeoye) That is in New York State for those out of the country.

While the kids were in school, I tried several small businesses (this is way before my jewelry designing) In order to do things the right way, I consulted with a local accountant. I only mention the location because this accountant was in the sticks. That says nothing about his expertise. In fact, I found him very well versed in what I was trying to do. His office was in his home in Honeoye. Now, that is really a beautiful area. I've noticed that when I tell people that I'm originally from Rochester, NY (just north of the Finger Lakes area) they always think about New York City and figure it is very crowded, city like. Not so. Driving around the area where we lived was always a pretty ride. Even in the winter when a drive to Honeoye involved hills and curvy roads with lots of snow and often icy conditions.

Anyhow, my Honeoye accountant gave me excellent advice for both what I was doing then and my jewelry business now.

His first statement was to tell me that even if I was not making much (if any) money, it was a mistake not to claim my business on our income tax. A loss could be claimed and lower what we owed the IRS.

His second statement was to say that accounting can be very complicated and also very simple depending on your wishes. For me, I opted for simple.

Then he suggested setting up a business checking account would ease the procedure. This would track income (deposits) and expenses (checks) I set up an account in my name (as opposed to a family account.) I did not get a "special" business account as they are usually more expensive. Just an account that was mine and separate from the family account.

Back then, we did not have a computer let alone special computer programs for accounting. But he set me up with paper spreadsheets. It was just like Excel or any computer spreadsheet.

Fast Forward to now. (I don't have room, nor would you be interested in a blow by blow account of the changes I've gone through)
I use Jewelry Designer Manager to keep my inventory and my trusty personal checking account. The checking account has not changed.
I enter each purchase, including count of beads purchased, description and cost in Jewelry Designer Manager. Then when I make a piece, I take a picture, enter all the parts used and give it a number for easy identification. Pricing is easy then.

When tax time comes a few reports will give you your inventory and its value. The check book will give your income and expenses. That is about all you need to calculate information on a Schedule C income tax form.

Now I realize all this sounds as if this is easy. Not necessarily, so. You have to keep up with it. Still, my original accountant's advice of keeping things simple still holds. My check book includes deposits from sales and expenses from purchases. Inventory is the kicker and Jewelry Designer Manager does that for me. This, however, is the part I find hard to keep up.

Surely you all must have ways you do your bookkeeping. I'd love to hear your ideas.


Friday, May 1, 2009

Martha vs Maxine

You have to love Maxine!

Tips For The Domestic Goddesses

Tips for the domestic goddesses from Martha Stewart . Comments on tips from Maxine

Martha: Stuff a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of an ice cream cone to prevent ice cream drips.

Maxine: Just suck the ice cream out of the bottom of the cone, for Pete's sake! You are probably lying on the couch with your feet up eating it anyway!

Martha: To keep potatoes from budding, place an apple in the bag with the potatoes.

Maxine: Buy Hungry Jack mashed potato mix. Keeps in the pantry for up to a year.

Martha: When a cake recipe calls for flouring the baking pan, use a bit of the dry cake mix instead and there won't be any white mess on the outside of the cake.

Maxine: Go to the bakery! Hell, they'll even decorate it for you!

Martha: If you accidentally over-salt a dish while it's still cooking, drop in a peeled potato and it will absorb the excess salt for an instant 'fix-me-up.'

Maxine: If you over-salt a dish while you are cooking, that's too bad. Please recite with me the real woman's motto: 'I made it, you will eat it and I don't care how bad it tastes!'

Martha: Wrap celery in aluminum foil when putting in the refrigerator and it will keep for weeks.

Maxine: Celery? That's something I used to earn before I retired. Or was that salary?

Martha: Brush some beaten egg white over pie crust before baking to yield a beautiful glossy finish.

Maxine: The Mrs. Smith frozen pie directions do not include brushing egg whites over the crust, so I don't.

Martha: Cure for headaches: take a lime, cut it in half and rub it on your forehead. The throbbing will go away.

Maxine: Take a lime, mix it with tequila, chill and drink! All your pains go away!

Martha: If you have a problem opening jars, try using latex dish washing gloves. They give a non-slip grip that makes opening jars easy.

Maxine: Go ask that very cute neighbor if he can open it for you.

Martha: Don't throw out all that leftover wine. Freeze into ice cubes for future use in casseroles and sauces.

Maxine: Leftover wine??????????? HELLO!!!!!!!