New Design! – Vistella Earrings with AVA beads

Hello, my darlings!

So, you all remember another lovely sunday afternoon an embarrassingly long time ago when I sat down and spent the day with some of Potomac Bead Company’s AVA beads? Do you also remember how I completely failed to design anything with them? Well, my antagonistic relationship with these funky beads has finally taken a turn towards friendship. I present to you my Vistella earrings!

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Click the photo for the pattern link!

I’m trying to get more creative with my pattern names, but OY! that could be a whole blog post in itself. It’s so tricky to find a name that is easy to spell and relates to the design, but isn’t already being used. I named these earrings “Vistella” because V is the Roman numeral for 5 and these earrings have five points. And then the “Stella” is Latin for “star”. Hopefully, it’s easy enough to spell that people can google it easily.

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These copper and turquoise ones were my original prototype. I mostly just wanted to find a shape I could make with the AVA’s that hadn’t already been used. This slouchy star shape was a complete accident, but I love how it turned out.

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I was a little worried that they might be a smidge too big or bulky for earrings, but it turns out that even though the AVA beads are a bit large, they aren’t very heavy at all. I’ve had no problem wearing these earrings around for an afternoon. They’re way lighter than I expected.

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But! If large earrings aren’t your thing, this design works just fine as a pendant! I attached this one to a long piece of black chain and it hangs about mid-bust and looks great against a gray top.

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I did some experimenting with the purple/silver and brown/gold set in the photo above and found out that GemDuos work just as well in this pattern as DiamonDuos. I also haven’t had any trouble swapping between Miyuki and Toho seed beads.

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I am so excited to keep playing around with different color schemes. I’m thinking some Christmas colors with gold AVA beads might have a cool Christmas wreath / star look to it. The possibilities are endless! Do you guys have a favorite?

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25% Off Sale for my 25th Birthday!

Happy Fourth of July, everyone! I turned 25 today!

Go ahead, get all your firecracker jokes out of the way. I’ll wait.

We good? Good! Because I am having a big sale this week to celebrate my birthday! You may remember last years sale where I took an adorable photo of myself with all the sales info? Well, I forgot to take one yesterday and I maaaaaybe kinda just woke up, so this is all you’re getting.

It’s my birthday – don’t judge.

But! Adorable photo or not, the sale is happening!

Just use the code “HappyBDay2017” on ANY purchase of ANY size at my etsy shop to get 25% off from now until July 11th!

I’m so excited to share my birthday with you guys. Our little online community of beaders means the world to me. So, happy birthday to me! And happy Fourth to everyone celebrating!

Happy Beading!

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Secret Bead Along – Summer 2017 Color Selection!

Hey, everyone! You may remember last summer I participated in Jean Power’s Secret Bead Along and made this fantastic necklace. I’ve decided to play along again and picked out my beads based on Jean’s requirements list.

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She listed the beads needed along with suggestions about which ones should match or contrast. I had a hard time deciding what to use, but then I saw an INGENIOUS chart on Facebook that The Indecisive Beader created where she graphed out how the beads were going to interact. It was so smart and I loved the idea so much that I made my own version on my laptop.

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I’m working with garnet, lavender, and soft greens because I thought my combo last year was a little too monochromatic. This one is still in my earth-tone comfort zone, but the soft purple is a bit of a stretch for me. I’m really excited!

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Are any of you guys participating with me? Got your colors picked out?

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Measuring Jewelry to Sell Online – How to Describe Exactly What You’re Selling

Hey, everybody!

So, one of the big frustrations of buying jewelry online is making sure that the piece you’re buying fits properly and is the size you expected. As an Etsy seller who lists handmade jewelry in addition to my beadweaving patterns, figuring out how to properly communicate a piece’s size and fit is really important to the success of my shop.  Since I know a lot of you guys sell jewelry online as well, I thought I would share what I’ve learned!

First, the easy stuff.

Earrings

Earrings are really simple. Be sure to include the type of earring finding you used (fishhook, kidney, leverback etc) and what the metal is made out of. It’s really important that you include the metal, because earrings are being worn internally and lots of people have sensitive ears or metal allergies. It’s usually pretty easy to swap out earring hardware, so you may want to offer to swap, say, a silver-plated fishhook for a sterling silver one, at an additional cost.

Usually, I measure the length of the earring from where it attaches to the earring, but if the hardware adds a lot of length, you may want to measure it from the earlobe. For example, “The woven portion of the earring is about an inch long, but with the elongated kidney-style ear wire, this earring will hang a full two inches from your piercing to the tip of the longest dangling crystal”.

These earrings have the same motif, but will hang VERY differently.

That description box is your best friend. Pile on as much information  as you can! And you can pepper in pleasing phrases, like, “the decorative chain adds an element of playful movement to these sparkly earrings” or “the neon colors of these flower earrings will shine from behind even the thickest, most luxurious curls”. Be creative and paint a picture for your buyer!

Necklaces

Now, necklaces are usually pretty straightforward. If it is a single strand/chain necklace, you can just measure it from end to end. Got an 18″ necklace? Easy enough!

However, if your necklace has a long pendant, multiple layers, or a bib shape, you’ll have to include both the length from end to end (if you have multiple layers, choose the shortest one) AND how far down the chest the necklace will extend. Keep in mind that customers will be trying to plan both if a necklace will fit their neck comfortably, but also what kind of necklines they can wear with it.

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So, for a necklace like the leaf necklace on the left, I would say, “This necklace is fully adjustable between X and Y inches long. The largest painted leaf extends a further two inches down the chest. ”

It will also be useful to let the customer know how the necklace can be expected to sit. For example, “the rope portion of this necklace measures 26″ and the pendant hangs down an extra three inches. There is no clasp, as this necklace is expected to be worn over the head and will nestle midchest on most body types.”

Did anybody notice that disclaimer I worked in at the end? Necklace length is surprisingly variable. The width of the someone’s neck, the set of their shoulders, and their bust size will all affect the way a necklace lays and it is VERY important to communicate that without bodyshaming anyone.

So, say you made a 14″ necklace that you expect will be the perfect choker on a young teen with a thin neck. You may want to add a sentence in your description that says “This necklace is 14″ long and is meant to sit high on the neck as a choker. It is not adjustable, so be sure to double check your measurements before ordering.”

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It’s important to list your measurements, describe where the necklace will sit on the body, and then add the disclaimer that customers should double check their measurements. Those are the big three things you need to list in a necklace description.

Take a peak at the necklace on the right. Can you tell from the picture if it’s a choker or a mid-chest piece? Without a detailed description, it’s a mystery!

Bracelets

DUN DUN DUUUUUUUUUN.

So, bracelets are the trickiest thing to sell online. Wrist sizes vary incredibly across all ages and body types and people are very picky about how tight or loose their wrist jewelry fits. Also, I have found that many people don’t actually know how to properly measure a bracelet! 

Allow me to introduce the EZ Bracelet sizing tool.  The one pictured here is the mini version, which is the one that I use. You can buy them online, but lots of bead stores carry them as well. They are invaluable if you’re going to sell bracelets to people who can’t try them on.

It basically works like a ring mandrel. The designer has a great explanation of how it works on her website. She explains that you can’t lay a bracelet flat and measure it with a ruler and expect it to fit the same way when it is curved around a wrist, especially if you are using larger sized beads.

Measuring(a)

Measuring(b)When you measure a bracelet on a ruler (like above), you are measuring the length of the wire or thread suspended in the middle. But if the beads are large, like in the example I drew, the actual inner circumference (the space in which your wrist will fit) will be much smaller.

To the left you can see that the wire you measured (in blue) is MUCH larger than the actual available space where a wrist will fit (in red). So you need a way to measure the inside of the bracelet.

This is where I use my EZ Bracelet. Here are some example!

This bracelet looks like it will fit an 8″ wrist when I measure it with a ruler, but if you look at the bracelet from above, you can see how thick the beads are. For this one, I would say on my listing that, “This bracelet is clasped with a copper-plated toggle clasp and will best fit between a 6.5 and 7 inch wrist depending on desired snugness.”

This bracelet has the exact same problem (I just realized these bracelet both use 6x8mm rondelles, so it was pretty dumb of me to pick them as examples). It reads 8″ by ruler, but again, it would actually fit a must smaller wrist. My listing on this one will say, “This bracelet clasps with a pewter toggle with a floral heart motif. It will best fit between a 6.75 and 7 inch wrist, depending on desired snugness”.

(Also, note that I gave some size variability and the line about “desired snugness”. Some people like their bracelets very tight and others want it to spin and dangle loosely. Give them room to decide.)

Oy.

That went a lot longer than I expected. Who would have guessed that I had so many thoughts about something as boring as measurements? ‘Cause, let’s be honest, listing jewelry on Etsy can be really, REALLY tedious and is infuriating to spend time on when you could be designing something new. But, if you want fewer returns and better reviews on your Etsy shop, it is super important to be thorough on your item descriptions.

And happy customers mean more money to buy more beads, so I’d say it’s worth the extra effort. 😉

Got any tips of your own? Share them in the comments!

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Toying with Tiles 2.0 – An Old Pattern Revisted

Hi, everybody! So, I’ve been writing patterns for about three or four years now and lately, I have been wanting to revisit an old one.

Anybody familiar with my Toying with Tiles pattern?

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It’s an oldy, but a goody and one of my best selling patterns. But… the pattern isn’t the best illustrating work I’ve ever done, because I was still teaching myself how to make the diagrams and how to best describe beading steps.

Also, my photography skills have drastically improved. Check out my snazzy new cover photo!

 

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Click through photo for the pattern link!

 

Also, I had a pretty common problem spot in my old pattern where, unless you had absolutely perfect tension and used the exact perfect beads (in the right brand and finish), the edging of 15/0’s along the side would kind of flap up over the SuperDuos. This updated pattern includes a tweak to keep that from happening, thanks to some inspiration from Laurie Brennan. When Linda Genaw of CraftyInspirationsbyLinda also started using this tweak, I decided to go ahead and write the tweak into the pattern and re-release it.

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So, why did it take you so many years to re-release the pattern, Saaaaaaam??? You may ask me in a kind, but vaguely accusing voice. Well, to put it simply, I wasn’t sure how to do it. Do I release the tweak separately and hope people find it after they buy the old pattern? Do I rewrite the pattern and hope the people who already paid for it don’t get mad? Do I stress myself out over what to do and then not do anything about it for three years?

Well, I did the third one. What I have decided to do now is this. The pattern listing on Etsy, when purchased, will now include two patterns – the old one and the new one with the tweak. If you have already purchased the old pattern on Etsy and want the tweak without having to pay for the pattern twice, email me or send me a Convo through Etsy with the Order Number of our original purchase so that I can verify that you already bought the pattern. You can find your order number by going through your purchase history on Etsy. It’s a bit of a clunky system, but I think it’s the best way of making it fair.

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Hopefully, you guys don’t mind too much that I’m trotting out some old-school Wescott Jewelry design, but I really like this bracelet and I think it deserves a better pattern than the first one I made. I’m getting better at writing patterns and I want all the designs in my shop to be consistent quality. In fact! I have another re-do in mind for next month! Any guesses on what pattern I want to update???

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In the meantime, here’s the color info for the beads I used in the three bracelets above.

Far Left. 
Tiles – Luster Opaque Green (P65431)
SuperDuo- Chalk Lazure Blue (503000-65431)
11/0’s- Unmarked Tube, Looks like pale yellow lined crystal, maybe?
15/0’s- Miyuki Matte Steel (190F)

Middle. 
Tiles – Polychrome Indigo Orchid (94105)
SuperDuo- Nebula Chalk Matte (503000-85001)
11/0’s- Unmarked Tube (but I would recommend Matte Black AB [401FR])
15/0’s- Miyuki Steel (190)

Far Right. 
Tiles – This was a mix I got from my local bead shop. I’m still trying to find them online and I’ll update this if I can find them.
SuperDuo- Matte Jet Bronze (523980-84415)
11/0’s- Miyuki Special Dyed Old Rose (2046)
15/0’s-Miyuki Matte Light Olive (2033)

Well, that about sums it up! Let me know if you guys have any questions. I’m really happy to revive this old classic of mine. Let me know what you think! 🙂
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Quick Update on Sunset Colors!

Hey, guys! I’ve just got a quick post for you today, but don’t worry, there’s something more substantial coming by the end of the month, I promise!

So, I got a really warm reception on Facebook when I shared the sunset version of my Ruched Tila bracelet. The color combo seemed to be a big hit!

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I made a point of listing all the colors on my blog post about the pattern, but I got quite a few messages from folks expressing some frustration that they couldn’t find all the loop colors at the same place.

Luckily, Liz (my boss at Beads Direct USA) went ahead and ordered all the loop colors. You can find them all at Beads Direct USA now. You can just search by codes I listed in the last blog post and if they are in stock, they should pop right up.

If you’re an Amazon shopper, we’ve also got a new combo pack that has a very similar color scheme (the red is different and there’s an extra purple color) for sale. It will be here as long as it isn’t out of stock.

I hope that helps those of you looking for sunset colors! Happy Beading!

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New Design! The Ruched Tila Bracelet!

Hello, my darling beady friends!

I have a new pattern to share with you. You may remember my post about my amulet bag recently, and that the little purse I made had a little interlocking-circles motif?

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Well! I really liked that part, and may have turned it into a full blown bracelet (and by “may have” I mean “definitely did and CANNOT wait to share it).

Introducing my newest pattern – the Ruched Tila bracelet!

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Click the pic for the pattern link!

I am so happy with how this bracelet turned out and have been surprised by how versatile it is. The original prototype (and the example in the pattern instructions) is a five-Tila-tall cuff with Miyuki Tilas (Matte Khaki Iris [2035]) and Miyuki seed beads in two colors (Matte Khaki Iris [2035] and Picasso Seafoam [4514]).

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The interlocking loops make a really neat braided or chainmail illusion, and I really liked the contrast with the structured Tila stacks.

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Then, I decided that I really wanted to try to make an ombre, or gradient,  bracelet. I decided on sunset colors and made this piece.

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Making this bracelet led me to discover also that this bracelet can use Miyuki or Toho beads interchangeably, which is rare for my patterns, since they usually work best with Miyuki beads. The Tilas in this bracelet are Dark Topaz AB  (134fr) and the 11/0’s along side them are some unlabeled Toho beads from my stash. The loops, in descending order are, Miyuki Opaqe Pale Pumpkin (2041), Miyuki Durocoat Opaque Red Brown (4458), Union Beads Lava Red (11-402-01890), Miyuki Special Dyed Old Rose (2046), and Miyuki Special Dyed Wine (2047).

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When I was teaching the class yesterday (and getting some proofreading, haha), I decided to try a bracelet that was only three Tila’s tall and utilized a bead soup that I made from leftover 11/0’s in my stash.

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And I haven’t finished my latest sample, but I decided to get really crazy and replace the Tila’s with a set of three Half-Tilas, making the structures portions wider. I also decided to use some really pretty Charlottes that were given to me as a gift. Looks like Czech seed beads work just fine as well!

One of the ladies in my class even tried swapping out the Tilas for 6mm Czech Tile beads, and that seemed to work just fine as well. This design seems to be quite the chameleon!

 

Do you guys have a favorite? Any thoughts on other swaps or color effects I could try out? I’m eager to hear your thoughts!

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What Do I Start Next? How to Discipline Your Creativity During the Doldrums

So, you’ve recently finished a beaded piece and it’s time to start a new project. You’ve flipped through your books and scoured Pinterest, but somehow you just can’t find a project you want to start next. All the patterns you have stocked up seem boring or too intimidating or just not what you feel like doing right now.

I think this happens to all of us and I tend to fall into this rut pretty often – especially right after I’ve published a new design online that I’m really proud of. After making samples and teaching the same exciting new bracelet over and over, deciding what to work on next can be a real challenge. It’s like being really hungry, but nothing sounds good to eat.

Luckily, I found a few methods to give myself a kick in the pants when I don’t know where to start. Let me know if any of them seem helpful to you!

  1. Finish a UFO or two …or six.

    Let’s just get this out of the way up front. We ALL have unfinished objects laying around our work spaces. I generally keep myself in line when it comes to not starting a new project until I’ve finished the last one, but I still have some pieces that have slipped through the cracks. Maybe you have a pile of bracelets that need clasps. Or maybe you have an earring finished that is waiting for you to make its twin. When you’re feeling indecisive about starting a new project, commit to finishing a few UFO’s until you feel inspired again.

    This purse and this necklace both took me over a year to finish because I set them aside and let them become UFO’s. But you know what, finishing them was SO much more satisfying because of that lapse.

  2. Practice a stitch you haven’t mastered yet.

    When you’re in a project rut, taking the time to master a stitch can be a great way to build your beading skill set. Maybe you know how to do herringbone, but your tension is wobbly. Or maybe you want to compare doing one-needle RAW vs two-needle RAW. Pick out some beads in your favorite color and do a whole piece in just that one stitch. The result will be simple and classy AND by the end of it, you’ll have vastly improved a stitch that you previously felt iffy about. DSC00400

That herringbone example was actually straight from my life. I made this when I                 was feeling stuck and just decided to practice my least favorite stitch. I love the                   simplicity of the final piece.

  1. Look ahead for upcoming birthdays or holidays.

    I don’t know about you guys, but I ALWAYS have a deadline coming up. Between trying to teach a class once every month or two and constantly signing up for blog hop challenges, there is pretty much always a project that I should be working on. If you’re feeling uninspired, look ahead and see what you can get a head start on. It’s never too early to begin making Christmas ornaments and I bet someone you love has a birthday coming up. Sometimes, having a theme or a specific customer/gift-receiver in mind is just what you need to get the ball rolling. DSC00406I’m not usually big on holiday colors, but sometimes Christmas red and greens just speak to me.

  2. Spend some time with your stash.

    There have been several occasions where I go into my bead room expecting to make something and instead spend the whole day organizing and consolidating my stash. Spending time putting away beads after you finish a project and organizing your chosen storage method not only reminds you of what beads you have, but it can also be a great source of inspiration. Maybe you have a special focal you forgot you purchased that you now want to use. Maybe while sorting, you encounter a color combination that you wouldn’t normally pick. You get all the advantage of searching for inspiration, while also getting some cleaning done.

    This bracelet was made after I decided on new type of storage for my seed beads. All the 11/0’s I had that were almost empty got thrown into one tube. In the end, I had a gorgeous bead soup that I would never have made otherwise.

  3. Just Push Through.

    I know it sounds silly to insist on beading something when you don’t feel enthused about it, but there’s a difference between taking a break from a hobby because you need one and stopping your work because you feel defeated on uninspired. If you need a break, by all means take one and come back when you feel refreshed. But if you stop beading for weeks on end because you feel blocked or uninspired, getting out of that rut and back into beading is just going to be that much harder. When in doubt, pick your favorite pattern and favorite color and just go. Your mojo will come back eventually, but pushing through and making something during the doldrums is a great act of creative training and will keep you ready and in the zone when inspiration strikes.

Have you guys ever been in the creative doldrums where nothing sounds fun or you don’t know what to make next? If you have any tips I missed or extra advice, please share it in the comments!

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Conquering the Amulet of Shame – Art Elements Challenge

Looking for the Bead Soup Blog Party?

You guys.

You guys.

I did it!

My amulet bag is finally complete!

So, you may recall that waaaaaaay back in 2015, I entered a Stitch in Time amulet bag challenge blog hop that I revealed here. I decided to make my purse out of single-drop peyote, like a chump, and only finished the pouch portion.

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I wasn’t sure how I wanted to finish the clasp, flap, or strap. All I knew was that I wanted to use some of those pretty, organic-looking ceramic pieces by Scorched Earth. I decided to set it aside until I figured out how I wanted to finish it. And then I never came back to it.

Finishing it became one of my resolutions for 2016 and then, when I completely failed to pick it back up again, it became a resolution to finish it in 2017. THEN I saw this challenge on Art Elements and was allowed to join in and finish my amulet bag!

AND I FINALLY FINISHED IT.

The dangles act as a sort of button clasp and the pouch is big enough for some cards, your ID, and some folded bills. Maybe a chapstick or two?

The chain attached is long enough that you can wear it on one shoulder at the hip, or across your body, so it sits at the waist.

Here’s a few detail shots. The pouch is single drop peyote and the flap is a combo if peyote, horizontal netting, and some overlapping circles I freeformed.

Thanks so much to Cathy for letting me participate in the challenge, even though I had already started my amulet bag. I am so glad to finally have this thing finished. It was my very first amulet bag and I’m really happy with how it turned out.

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Take a second and check out what everyone else made for the challenge!

Guests-

Samatha Wescott- https://wescottjewelry.com/2017/03/30/art-elements-challenge-amulet-bag-of-shame/

Oksana Bevz- http://oksanalikesit.blogspot.com/2017/03/march-theme-challenge-amulet-bags.html

Genevieve Camp- http://www.genevievecamp.com/2017/03/30/art-elements-amulet-bag-theme-challenge/

AE Members-

Caroline Dewison- http://blueberribeads.co.uk/

Cathy Mendola- http://cmendola.blogspot.com/

Cooky Schock- http://www.cookyschock.com/

Jenny Davies-Reazor- https://jdaviesreazor.com/blog/

Lesley Watt-http://www.lesleywatt.com/uncategorized/art-elements-design-challenge-amulet-bags/

Lindsay Starr- http://phantasmcreation.blogspot.com/

Sue Kennedy- http://suebeads.blogspot.com/

Posted in Beadwork, Blog Hops, Original Designs, Personal, Stash | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments