Hey, y’all

Just a heads up that I am going to start donating to my local abortion fund every month using a portion of my Etsy profits, starting July 1st. Reproductive freedom is extremely important to me and I want to start putting my money where my mouth is, especially in light of the recent strikedown of Roe vs Wade.

If you’re cool with that, great! Happy to have you here. I have decided if I’m going to do a set amount or a percentage of sales yet, so don’t feel pressured to buy more things in my shop. Just want you to know my goals and values. I’m glad that yours are similar.

If you are decidedly not cool with that, that is your prerogative. Don’t buy jewelry or patterns from me anymore if you absolutely do not want your money contributing to helping people obtain abortions. I’ve decided that this is important enough to me that I am willing to lose customers, money, and your approval. Thank you for your past patronage. You do not need to contact me to announce that you won’t support me further. I will not respond.

Thanks, everybody. I’m hoping to get back to posting jewelry again soon. I haven’t been beading much lately, but hopefully a little quiet time with my beads is my future. My 30th birthday is on July 4th, in four days. This is part of my gift to myself. Another gift to myself is not allowing comments on this post. Have a good day.

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A Sale and a Strike

So, how about the good news first?

As of right now, everything in my Etsy shop is 20% off. This includes finished jewelry and patterns and you don’t need a coupon code for it at all – the discount will be automatically applied. Please enjoy!

The sale will end on April 11th because I will be participating in the Etsy Seller’s Strike. My shop will be closed from April 11th until the 18th in solidarity with the strike. My patterns and finished jewelry will not be available during that week.

So, why the strike?

Mostly, because I ain’t no scab.

But seriously, if you want a more eloquent explanation, Mashable has a pretty good article here that ends with a bunch of testimonials from Etsy sellers and this petition has a fantastic breakdown of changes that sellers would like to see. It’s specific and accurately reflects my feelings and I would love if you would sign it.

For me personally, my exasperation with Etsy has been steadily building over the last few years, but the recent straw that broke the camel’s back was an announcement that they were going to hike our transaction fee from 5% to 6.5% in the same email that they bragged about their record breaking profits. In 2020, they more than doubled their gross marketplace sales. In 2021, they kept those pandemic sales gains and broke their 2020 record by $3.2 billion dollars. To then turn around and raise our fees by 30% when they are already making us offer free shipping and paying for mandatory offsite ads is honestly insulting.

I really want to believe in Etsy as a marketplace. I’ve made over 15,000 sales since I opened my shop in 2013 and my experiences have largely been good. But the fees are getting ridiculous (.20 per listing plus 6.5% transaction fee plus %12 advertising fee that I can’t opt out of). I don’t like being punished for not being Amazon with a timer counting down when a customer messages me or being punished for four star reviews. I want to be able to reach out to Etsy and talk to a human representative, not an AI chat robot that runs me in circles. I want the resellers and non-handmade items actually policed and removed from the marketplace. I want the choice to opt out of Etsy’s offsite ad program. Basically, I want Etsy the way it was five years ago before it went public and started putting lining shareholder’s pockets above creating the space for small creators and artists it claims to care about.

I really don’t want to move off of Etsy like so many of my friends have. Pattern sales in particular flourish in a marketplace setup. But I’m tired of feeling powerless and bullied by a mega-corporation that claims to be supporting me. So I will be participating in the strike and when it ends on the 18th and nothing changes, I will probably be raising my prices. Between that and my expectiation that Etsy will surpress my listings after being in vacation mode for a week, I am suspecting that this is going to be a bit of a lean month. So, please, enjoy the sale while it’s going! And if you can, avoid shopping on Etsy from April 11th to 18th. We really want them to see that their marketplace is nothing without the creators and artists who have been making them money this entire time.

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Winter Blue-Grays

Hey, y’all!

I’ve been on a wintery color scheme kick with lots of grays and white and blues. I found this silver-splashed white GemDuo beads at work and really fell in love with them and wanted to make an Odessa bracelet with them.

I had a lot of fun with the bright silvers and pearl and went all out with an Elegant Elements clasp.

With the same GemDuo beads, I decided to do a small length of Tiptoe Chain to make earrings! I couldn’t decide on which length I liked better and the polls I posted on Instagram ended up being close to 50/50, so I just make a few of both.

I think the daggers on the end are just PERFECT.

I also had a few slightly older pieces that I thought fit this color palette. One was just some simple peyote stitch with Montana Picasso 8/0’s with silver scattered throughout.

The other was a Toying with Tiles bracelet in some silvered ivory tiles with, surprise, blue and gray!

We got a lot of snow and freezing rain at the very beginning of February, which ended up with me being trapped in my house for a surprise four-day weekend when my driveway got coated in 1.5 inches of solid ice. While trapped inside, I finally used a Humblebeads art bead that I have been saving for years. I used my Joystone bezel for the top and made a little tassel out of Tubelet beads.

 

And finally, I made a pair of Snowball fringe earrings! The drop is are adorable lampwork sugar beads from Elizabeth Girod over at Artistic Elements (formerly Fire and Fibers).

I know it seems like I’ve been busy lately, but this is also the first time I’ve posted since my Black Friday post, so this has been a nice long color obsession spanning several months. I think I’ve gotten this gray/blue obsession out of my system, but I guess we’ll see! What colors are you into right now?

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Black Friday 2021 Sale

Hi, friends! I have just set up my sale for the weekend!

20% off Patterns – 25% off Jewelry

Thursday the 25th through Monday the 29th, no coupon needed!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/wescottjewelry

Happy shopping! <3

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New Design – Holly Drops! Quick Festive Earrings and Necklace Tutorial

I’m baaaaaaaack!

I had a sudden burst of inspiration this week and using a combination of self-imposed deadlines and social shaming (I posted about the design on Instagram and Facebook so that I knew people would hold me accountable), I actually managed to get the pattern done in less than a week!

Introducing – my Holly Drops!

I just can’t handle it. I think they are so cute. You can get the pattern by clicking on the above photo or right here.

One of the reasons I was able to get the pattern out so quickly is that it’s a fairly simple design. But that’s part of what I like about them so much – they’re simple, but delicate and very Christmas-y. And they’re really quick to make! I can make one of the holly drops on ten to fifteen minutes, so they’re great for last minute gifts.

You only need a few supplies – GemDuos, 4mm Rounds, and Miyuki Seed Beads (yes, they have to be Miyuki. Tohos will not work in this project.) And then either chain or a necklace cord or whatever findings you want to use. The pattern includes the step by step bead weaving instructions and assembly instructions for making earrings, a pendant, or a necklace.

The pattern also includes the specific color names and codes for both color schemes that you see in this post. I’m really glad I managed to get a warm-toned and a cool-toned option so that you can pair up the colors with your preferred metal finishes.

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Honestly, I’m really proud of myself for this sudden little burst of activity and it was so fun to have a design I was really excited about this week. I hope you guys enjoy the pattern and I would love it if you tag me in your social media if you post your finished projects. <3

Have a holly jolly one, my dear friends!

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Birthday Sale!

Good morning, everyone! It’s my birthday! I am turning 29 today and wanted to celebrate with an impromptu Etsy sale. For today and tomorrow (July 4th and 5th, 2021) all of my patterns are 20% off and all my finished jewelry is 25% off. All the jewelry will ship out when the Post Office reopens on Tuesday, but the patterns will be available as an instant download, as always.

I think this is one of the longest gaps in my blog since I first started posting on it. Honestly, early May was the two-week mark after my second Pfizer shot, so I’ve been really enjoying getting to hang out with family and friends and being social again after a year and change of isolation and just working everyday. And time socializing is usually not beading time (although some of the ladies from Beaded Bliss have started meeting up and I’ve finally been able to join them, which has been so much fun).

I did finally get to go to my first bead show since before the pandemic! It was actually a Gem & Mineral Show, so I mostly bought finished jewelry. I got an amber ring and earrings for myself, plus some black onyx earrings for my mom and a unakite “jade” roller, just for fun. But I did get these gorgeous matched cabochons. They’re Petrified Wood Opalite and I am absolutely in love with them and so intimidated by the idea of actually doing anything with them.

So, even though I haven’t been posting much, I might be able to get back into the swing of things after the euphoria of vaccinated life settles down a bit. Finding a new normal is going to be a slow process, I think. But it’s a much better situation than this time last year.

If you want to see more of me, I’m definitely posting on Instagram quite a bit these days. You can find my Wescott Jewelry Instagram here. I’ve also taken over the Beads Direct USA Instagram account and have been having a good time trying to learn to make reels, haha.

So, I am hoping to post more soon – I have a new pattern in my head that needs writing up and bead nights with the ladies should help keep me focuses, I think. In the meantime, Happy Birthday to Me and enjoy the discounts! I love you guys. Have a great holiday weekend!

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Spring Collection 2021

Hi, everybody!

So, I wanted to try something different and do a big themed collection drop of the jewelry I’ve been making lately. I was inspired by these beads that we sell at BeadsDirectUSA.com. It’s a mix that we make in house using the PermaFinish Toho 11/0’s to make this lovely metallic rainbow. I think it’s currently out of stock, but when we do have it available, you can find it at BeadsDirectUSA.com by typing “TR-11-PFMIX01” into the search bar.

I loved the bright, happy colors and was really inspired to combine it with white to make a bunch of coordinated pieces. And I ended up making A LOT.

I’m going to be dropping all of these pieces at once in my Etsy shop at 7pm EDT tonight and you’ll be able to find them in their own little section called the Spring Collection.

Shall we take a closer look at some of the pieces?

First, earrings! I have four styles of earrings in this drop. The first are my beaded fan hoops, which use brick stitch directly on a hoop with a white round edging. They flare out from the ears when worn and I’m in love with this shape. I also have tubular peyote hoops for those who want all that color, but a slimmer profile hoop. Then I used more brick stitch on large gold rings to make beaded round circle earrings and a combination of brick stitch and long fringe to make long curtain fringe earrings with a rainbow splatter effect.

For necklaces, I have one beaded flower pendant with an aqua rivoli center and rainbow petals on a dainty gold chain and a long beaded lariat based on a Kelly Weise pattern in her book, Beaded Allure.

I also have a matching bracelet and necklace design available based on delicate beaded tubes and gold links. The bracelet uses a slinky gold chain extension that makes in very adjustable and has cute dangles.

And you know I have a bit of a bracelet obsession, so there’s a lot on offer here. There are two russian spirals (one with a single white stripe, and one with a double), a spiral stitch bracelet, and flat herringbone ribbon bracelet, a St Petersburg stitch bracelet, a Stash Worm bracelet, and a Ruched Tila bracelet, oh my!

All in all, I think it was really helpful for my creativity to limit my color palette to something so narrow and really go wild with it. I had to get creative a few times and was often challenged by the nature of the Toho beads (I usually use Miyuki rounds, which are far more regular, and the Toho PermaFinish in particular tend to have blocked holes). But I had a lot of fun with this challenge and am hoping the collection is as pleasing to you all as it has been for me!

All these pieces will be added to my Etsy shop on April 9th 2021 at 7pm EDT. Hope to see you there!

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New Design – Basilica Bracelet and Earrings with Cathedral Beads!

Hello, my darling beady friends! I finally have something new for you!

That cathedral bead pattern that I previewed in my last post is finally ready! I was not expecting to make you wait almost another two months after I posted that, but you all know I’ve been struggling with motivation this year. My last new design was my River Reed Bracelet back in August and the last one before that was my Princess Cordelia Necklace waaaaay back in November of 2019! I know I’ve been sluggish, but getting this one finished was incredibly satisfying and I’m so excited to share it with you.

The start of this design was this pumpkin bracelet. I remember fiddling around with it while listening to a fantastic fantasy horror book (The Twisted Ones by T Kingfisher) and being super excited when the pattern started taking shape in my hands. It was so exciting!

These earrings were my next attempt. I’ve had these metal spikes for awhile now and I think they were really interesting in proportion with the beaded bit. The shop where I got them has since closed, so let me know if you know where I can get more online – I LOVE this length and can see myself making a bunch of earrings with this style drop.

 

Because the term “cathedral beads” apparently isn’t very specific, I wanted to make sure that these more traditionally shaped, highly faceted beads would work in the design. As long as you still get 6mm, you should be good! I also really wanted to try the partially finished ends on this one. I think it looks really cool and it makes the bracelet super adjustable for pretty much any size wrist, but it was very tricky to photograph, since the bracelet can’t really lie flat.

And then I had to try earrings with just plain pearls, since cathedral beads can be so hard to find. It’s not my favorite version of the pattern, but it still works! And even if I don’t find the shape quite as exciting, I do really love these colors together.

 

The pattern includes instructions for the bracelet and the earrings and I have included the color names and number (if I had them) for all the samples in this post and in the cover photo. I’m so pleased to finally have this one out in the world! Please let me know if you give it a try! :)

You can get the pattern here in my Etsy shop!

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Cathedral Bead Conundrum!

Alright, my beady friends. I need your help with a bead identification conundrum! I have a pattern that I’m ready to start writing, but it uses a shape of faceted Czech crystal that I have always called Cathedral beads.

I know I rarely share sneak peeks of upcoming patterns, but this one is on the way!

The ones I’m using are 6mm, have faceted sides and those distinct sloping caps, like these ones I found in Blackrock Bead’s Etsy shop. I was fairly certain that they were called Cathedral beads and that’s how they seem to be listed in most shops. Perfect, right?

But then I did some googling and when I punch “cathedral beads” into any search, this more elaborate shape comes up as well. The faceted sides are more triangular and sharp and each bead features these intricate stair-step caps on each end. These 8mm-10mm beads and photos are from GR8BEADS on Etsy.

I wasn’t sure how such a different bead could go by the same name and was worried that would cause confusion when I go to write my pattern. But! I did find a 6mm version of this more elaborate cathedral bead in my bead stash, so I decided to test the pattern with this version of the bead. And luckily, it does work! Although, it seems a little harder to find this shape in a 6mm.

To make matters even more confusing, my searches ALSO turned up this shape as a Cathedral bead (although this one seems to sometimes be listed as a “Turbine” bead?). It’s lovely, but I’ve pretty positive that those more cone-like ends and wide middle means that it would definitely not work with my pattern. Thank you to ReductionNation on Etsy for the use of these photos. You can get these turbine/cathedral beads here.

To cover my bases, I did also try my pattern with plain 6mm rounds and it worked out alright, although I still think the original simplified cathedral beads with the faceted and softer caps suit the design the best.

Yes, the pattern will include earrings!

So, what is the truth? Are all three of these distinct shapes really all called “cathedral beads” or do they each have a more specific name that I don’t know about? Are they coming from different manufacturer’s all using the same name differently? I’m pretty sure all three are Czech, but that’s the most info I’ve been able to find.

I’m really stumped on what name or description to use in my pattern supply list. I want the people who purchase my pattern to feel confident when they order supplies to make my design and I’m just really stumped on what terminology to use. It feels unprofessional to just pop in photos of the beads I used and be like, “good luck finding beads that look like this!”, so I really want to avoid that. Any ideas? You guys are so knowledgeable and I’m hoping you have the info I need. Can you help a girl out?

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2021 New Years Resolutions

Happy New Years, everyone! I have to admit, I have been procrastinating on writing this blog post for a few days because I know I did not do well on my goals for this year. This is understandable, right? I was busy surviving a pandemic and my beading schedule and routines were disrupted. Not going to my weekly bead night was a huge blow to my productivity and increased workload at my day job and increase of general stress didn’t do great things for my creative drive. I’m certain a lot of you felt the same way this year.

So, owning up to my goals from last January might be a little painful here, but we’re gonna do it anyway!

Read and Review 135 Books on Goodreads – A+

I’m happy to start with the easy one here. I pretty much always make my reading goals because I have the privilege of working at Beads Direct USA in a type of job where I can have my headphones in almost all day. While the long list of podcasts I listen to definitely bit into my audiobook time this year, I still managed to read and review 137 books and discovered a whole bunch of new favorites.

Here’s a cool infographic that Goodreads generated showing all the books I read along with fun stats, like the longest and shortest books, and which ones were more common.

Write Two Blog Posts a Month – C

I make this same goal every year and this was the first year that I really wasn’t able to cope with it. There were four months when I only managed to make one blog post and I know there were a few others where the only posts were either very small updates or brief announcements.

I think the main struggle was that I just didn’t have anything to write about because I wasn’t beading as much. That’s going to be something that I have to think about for next year, since my beading schedule is going to continue to be different now that Beaded Bliss is closed. 

Finish Remaking and Evaluating Each of my Original Patterns – F

Ugh, this would have been so easy since I only had four patterns left to review! I did one of them in February and then just forgot about this completely. I might just do a quick look at the patterns and if the photos and diagrams are up to snuff, they might just not get a makeover. I think it’s time to move on from this project.

This is the pattern that I did review and update, which was very satisfying, since it did really need new samples and a better pattern photo.

Actually Do Your Expense Reports EVERY Month – A

I did this one! It was actually a little bit less work than usual since I wasn’t visiting bead stores as often. I had one or two private appointments and it is much easier to log a few very big receipts instead of weekly smallish ones. I still need to do December, but that only ended three days ago, so I think I still earned an A!

Don’t Procrastinate on Etsy Listings! – D

Oh, boy.

This was no good. I still have SOOOOOO many unlisted pieces. I need to figure out some sort of system to keep myself motivated.

Make at Least One Kumihimo, Embroidery, & Macrame Piece – C

So, I actually forgot about this challenge. I did do an embroidery piece and it was actually one of my favorite projects of the year! I did do one kumihimo braid (although I haven’t listed it), but it was completing an abandoned project from 2019, so I’m not sure it counts?

I liked the spirit of this goal though and I really enjoyed learning to bead loom this year, which fits the idea to continue my beady education with new techniques and styles.

Do at Least Two Challenges, Swaps, or Collabs of Some Kind – B

I was going to give myself a big, fat F for this one because I barely even saw other beaders this year, let alone setting up a swap like the one I did with Danielle Wickes in the summer of 2019, but I actually did this one too??

At the beginning of the first lockdown, I decided to issue my own challenge, which I had never done before, and the Isolation Beading Challenge was born! I was feeling lonely without my weekly beading group and wanted to make a set of challenges that other people could play along with at home. It was fun and even though not very many people picked it up, I had a good time completing it and the updates gave me something to post about.

And before that, I was approached by Gina of Orchid and Opal –  a super fun beading YouTube channel about featuring a tutorial on one of my patterns. I’d almost hesitate to call it a collab, since Gina did ALL of the work and I just gave my permission for her to share my design. But it was really cool to see one of my patterns come to life in a video.


2021 Goals

  1. Read and Review 125 Books on Goodreads
  2. Find a New Blogging Schedule that Feels Comfortable
  3. Stop Procrastinating on Etsy Listings
  4. Continue Keeping on Top of Etsy Expense Reports

You might notice that I am reeeeally paring back on my goals for the upcoming year and that is on purpose. I am under no illusions that the things that have stifled my beading energy this year are going to magically evaporate now that 2020 is over. I’m still not going to be able to resume bead night and even if the bead ladies from the shop decide to keep meeting, it will be months of continuing vaccine rollout before I’m comfortable spending times in other people’s homes. Work is going to continue to be stressful as online shopping stays high and I know that not visiting bead shops or bead shows will probably not help with inspiration.

So, I want to give myself this upcoming year to find a new rhythm and create a new normal. My beading pace may change now that I mostly do it at home and alone. I want to keep this blog active, but holding myself to a strict two-post-a-month schedule isn’t going to help me feel fresh and inspired. This is going to be a year of healing and re-adjustment, so I want to take a very light touch to my personal expectations this year. I want to be gentle with myself.


So, what about you? Did you make goals for 2020? Got any new ones for 2021?

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