Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Back in Grenada

I'm glad to be back in paradise as of December 6th. However, it hasn't been the usual laid-back experience so far. I was invited to be part of a "Jewelry Party" on the 9th and a Christmas Bazaar on the 11th. It hadn't even been a month since my last showing at the Wearable Art Sale and I was busy trying to get packed and organized for our 5 month stay in Grenada. There wasn't a lot of time to increase inventory.

Both the party and the bazaar were held at the same venue, True Blue Bay Resort. There is a lovely, covered area right on the water that they call the Dodgy Dock and is normally where you can sit down for a meal or lime it up at night with live music and beverages. The owners have kindly let me download some of their photos so I can talk up their resort. I've got a link to the right that you can click to check out their web site. Click on the "Specials" tab, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on "Click here to see some of our past events". There's a little bit of info there about the Easter and Christmas Bazaars.

All my sales here have been successful. Is it the lack of tourists in London, Ontario that make jewelry sales here a bit bleak? Who knows. Just one more reason to stay in Grenada!

Free Pricing Tool

I received this pricing tool from the folks at Bead Manager Pro and would like to pass it along. It's great for making sure that you are using the most up to date price for gold and silver when pricing your jewelry pieces. This link will take you to BMP's Facebook page where you can find the info.

Gold Pricing Sheet

Monday, November 7, 2011

Computer Consternation

Well, I still don't have access to a web browser on my Macbook. I have a new screen and another hard drive, but we haven't been able to get in touch with the guy who is going to do the fixing. Luckily (ha!) I have a Toshiba labtop I can use to surf the web. PC's suck. But as far as uploading photos and copying files, well everything that I could possibly need is on the Mac. I'd like to start my Etsy Store (yes, finally decided that I should do this), but I have no access to my banners, product photos or pricing information. I'll need my Mac for the show this weekend (see previous post), so it can't really go away this week anyway. As long as it's fixed before we leave for Grenada.

So I'm concentrating on getting ready for this weekend's show, and packing for Grenada, of course. Wouldn't you know it... I finally got word about the Christmas craft show in Grenada and it's Dec. 11. We arrive Dec. 6. I really hate that kind of pressure, but I think I will sign up for it anyway. That is if I have any inventory left! I was complaining to my neighbour Clifton about the possibility of a small inventory. He says, "heck, you just tell dem dat you sold evryting"! Yes, he's an island man and has a totally different perspective on life than us uptight Canadians.

Here's my "to do" list" for the show:
- make some more stretchy bangle style bracelets
- paint  3 photo clip stand bases black to match colour theme ( I will use these to hang the few earrings that I have this weekend and to use at the Market in Grenada where I sell souvenir-type jewelry)
- print sign for crystal ring prices and place in plastic photo frame
- nag Jason to print large sign with my name to put on the front of my table
- figure out how sign will hang from front of table - velcro? - magnets?
- get consignment items from Yoga place to put in show

And just because I think it's sacrilege to have a blog entry without a photo:

These are "S" scrolls. When we get to Grenada, I'll be pulling out the wire working tools and making some "S" scrolls. Yes, I'm branding myself. This "S" will stand for Selinger (and stupendous, super, self-aggrandizing...) and I will add little charms like these to my work as my signature. With these, I won't need to buy a  hand stamp to make tags because I can make them myself! I really wanted to use an "F", but the stupid little cross-bar wouldn't co-operate. Effin' thing.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Wearable Art Sale

I'm looking forward to being a part of this show. I'm worried that it might be too "posh" for regular 'ol me, but it looks like a great venue to showcase my own designs.

See information about each artist on their blog:
The Wearable Art Show Blog

Please come!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Computer Day

I spent today on the computer, catching up on the electronic portions of my business. First, I entered recent supply acquisitions into my inventory software, Bead Manager Pro. This is very easy to use and makes pricing almost (almost!) enjoyable. Unfortunately, it took a while. My computer has always been slow and I don't know what to do to fix it. I've been reading Clive Cussler's "The Kingdom" during the hang times!

I tried on Sunday to enter some new items into my Facebook store. The app, called Payvment, can be very frustrating. If you try to edit any store preferences while entering the product, you lose all the information that you just typed in. And if you think you did something wrong and try it again? It does exactly the same thing! Today's attempt was more successful. Click on my Facebook link on the right to get to my business page, then click on "Shop Now" in the left hand menu.

Now available are the cat's eye Cube Trio Ring (at a new price!) and a new bracelet style that I'm calling "City Lights". It's made using square stitch, 3.4mm drops and 6/0 seed beads.

I was inspired by "In the Fast Lane" by Doris Coghill as published in Beadwork magazine June/July 2011. I sold one the first day I wore it for it's "test drive". Nice, eh?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

8th Annual Tailgate/Giant Yard Sale

Today, Jason and I will be at the Kiwanis Seniors Community Center on Riverside Dr. for their annual sale. We're selling "Moving to Grenada" stuff and my jewelry. Help us get our home ready for renters!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

FranMade Sale!

Get 10% off during my "ArtFire Studio Closing" Sale. ArtFire will no longer be offering a free selling feature, so it's asta la vista baby. Their only other option is paying a monthly fee, whether I sell anything or not. So, I'll keep adding items to my (free) Facebook store and am continuing to consider Etsy as an online selling point.

10% off!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Pricing Handmade Jewelry

I thought I would share with you an excellent article by Jodi Bombardier about several aspects of pricing handmade jewelry. It is a process that I'm sure every jewelry maker struggles with.


I have a large project list that I want to get to, but first I want to make a photo book of some of my past work. I usually have a slide show going on my laptop at shows, but with my next show, I won't have access to a power plug. I looked at Snapfish and some with downloadable software that I nixed right away, but will be going with Costco. I find them very efficient and pick up is easy.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Time to Post a New Creation

I'm kinda stuck in a creative "writer's block", so I'll post some of my recent creations. It'll make me feel like I've been working hard!

The first piece was for my best, and favourite customer, my Aunt Dot. She loves the colour blue and one night we were looking at all the pendants that she doesn't wear, so I offered to make her one for Christmas. Of course, I didn't get to it by Christmas and couldn't do it until I got back from Grenada, so she received it in May!

The stone is called "Denim" Lapis Lazuli and is quite beautiful. I ordered it from Rio Grande, along with the sterling silver wire. I have Dale "Cougar" Armstrong's book, Wirework, but I haven't really taken to working with square wire. And her designs are just waaaay out there. Maybe my tastes will change as I learn more, but somehow I kind of hope not quite to that extent!  I still need more practice with this technique, but Dot doesn't mind being my guinea pig.

Here's a bracelet I call "Aqua Twist" with my colour design from a Beadwork magazine pattern:

Finally, here are some more stretchy bangles to add to my inventory. This style seems very popular and is very budget-friendly...hmm... hence is popularity?! Both are made with size 6/0 seed beads and the one on the left is from a mix called Earth Tones and the one on the right is called just plain ol' Copper.

I bought these beads at Len's Mill Store, a hidden treasure for beads and a whole lot of other goodies. I went back recently and was disappointed to find that they had raised their prices! Darn. A $2.99 40g tube is now $3.99. Despicable. My complaint was met with a shrug. Hmmph. Story of my life.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

No Time to Play With My Beads...

I'm up on this social networking, but I don't really like the time it takes away from actually beading. I've opened a store on Facebook. (click on Blog title for link) I figure since I do my socializing on Facebook, I should have an easy way for people to find a link to buy my jewelry. I'm wondering if there is any easy way to transfer my ArtFire items to this store. Anyone know? I'll have to do some research.

I only have one item posted, but if you go to my business page, /FranMade, look for "Shop Now" on the left hand menu. Just click on that and it will take you to my store. I'm still working on presentation, so welcome any tips, especially a heads up on typos. Here's a screen capture of the page:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Handmade Festival May 7, 2011

This was my second craft sale of 2011. My second sale of my beading life. It wasn't as successful as the one in Grenada, but very successful still. It was a great group of people and it's always fun and educational to schmooze with other jewelry makers. It was "Free Comic Book Day" at the main London Public Library, so the customer base was slanted toward young people in super-hero costumes. Oh well, it was very entertaining!

My booth had pretty much the same set up as in Grenada, but I added some display items that I had ordered from Eddies Hang-Up Display Ltd., a Canadian company. I had a mirror, a bracelet t-bar, a velvet lined tray and a business card holder. The necklace t-bar was back-ordered, but I had some photo holders that I bought at a yard sale that did the trick. In Grenada, instead of the bracelet t-bar, I used a wire kitchen mug hanger. That worked well too, even if it was a bit rusty! I'll have to upload the pics from my camera and post them too.

I had a nice beach theme going with some shells and a soft blue and white wrap to simulate a wave. I also had a slide show playing on my computer. I felt that I didn't have a lot of inventory and what I had definitely didn't fully reflect my work. I chose 123 images and ran them on Image Browser's slide show. One technical problem did arise - the screen kept going to sleep and going black. After some browsing and some good guessing, I figured out how to turn off the sleep function.

If anyone knows of an upcoming craft sale in November, I would be very glad to know the details. In the meantime, I'm looking for a venue here in London to show my jewelry. Any ideas?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Please vote!

I am starting to enter some of my pieces into contests. "Althea" was entered into a Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' Jewelry-Making Contest, and now "Flying Cubes" has been entered into an ArtBeads contest for Mother's Day.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get Christina to do the photograph - she would have done something funkier. But I guess there's nothing wrong with "what you see is what you get". If you would like to vote for "Flying Cubes", please visit Make it for Mom Challenge. Thank you!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Crikey! I need a holiday!

Here are a few new designs that I will be showing this weekend at the Easter Bazaar:

The first bracelet is made from a seed from a tropical tree called a flamboyant tree. The second bracelet is made of size 8/0 beads with the peyote accent made with size 10/0. Next time I think I will do the accent in larger beads to save time.

The rings are made with Parawire 20g non-tarnish craft wire. It is so easy to work with. I had been making rings for a client in half-hard sterling silver and did my hands and fingers ever get sore! I'll have to try some dead soft and see how that is for these wrapped rings if they're going to be popular. Here are some made with the sterling silver (except for the little one on the bottom right):

My favourite? The little one on the bottom right!

I'm scrambling to be ready for the show on Saturday. With Friday being a holiday, I sure better be ready by Thursday. I'm having 2 small signs printed as well as more business cards because I didn't know I'd be needing enough for a craft show! I usually get them printed at "Selinger Inc." (get it? inc.? ink?!) and the price is better, but unfortunately, they're not available at the moment. :-(

Back to the beads!

P.S. If you can tell me how to get my white background to actually look white, I will be ever grateful.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Direction, Direction, Direction

I think I've answered the "location" question. You know: location, location, location.  Grenada is "it", definitely. Where else can you get a goat on your front porch...

... or cute little piglets scampering in your backyard?!

As to our future specific location, the house construction is speeding right along. Jason and Frank work long, hard hours. By the end of this visit, they'll have the back part of the house containing bedroom, store room and kitchen ready to lock up until next year. Next year will see construction of the other half: bathroom and sitting room. Here's the progress so far:

And what does all this have to do with beading, you say? Well, I've been selling my jewelry here in this location called Grenada and I've been pleasantly surprised at some of the options that have opened up for me.

First of all, I've sold more of my "Independence Day" collection at the Market in town. (Little happy dance.)

Secondly, I've been offered a space, for free, at one of the largest craft bazaars here in Grenada. It takes place around Easter and I have just found out that vendors have to be invited in order to sell there. (Bigger happy dance and swollen ego.)

Lastly, a fashion designer has opened a new store and wants me, ME, to make some jewelry to accent her clothing displays. (Holy, hippy, hair-shaking, happy dance!)

So, I'm heading off in a few different directions, maybe too many! I guess I'd better get beading!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Nicely Off Track - Althea Herringbone Bracelet

I'm pleased to say that I'm completely off track with my list of projects. I had someone offer to do my hair in exchange for a bracelet. This herringbone beauty is named after its owner, the beautiful Althea. I'm particularly proud of this one as it is my own design. Influenced by many, but placement of stitches, colour palette and colour pattern I feel are "mine". I won't tell you how many times I started it, only to have to rip it apart again!

I have another herringbone bracelet that I want to do in blues with silver. The stones down the middle will be crystal bicones. I don't have a pattern to go from, so my "practice with this magenta one should provide lots of helpful experience!

By the way, my prop - the sea shell- usually decorates the earth under a lovely coral coloured hibuscus shrub growing just outside our door.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Independence Day Jewelry

This year, Grenada celebrates its 37th year of independence. I'm hoping to celebrate too by selling some jewelry. I've been busy making rings, bracelets and cell phone straps in the Grenadian national colours: red, green and golden yellow. My friend Rhonda is selling them for me at her booth in the St. George's market where she sells all kinds of local spices. I should get a photo of my display: I found a nice coral fan with branches from which to hang "de tings". I traded the vendor an earring/necklace set for it and he put it on a good flat base so that it stands nice and sturdy.

The larger seed beads are from Caravan Beads and the smaller, size 10/0 beads are from Len's Mill Store in London.

Pricing has been a real headache. For the rings and bracelets, I'd just be happy to get enough money to cover the parts. With the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC) being worth 2.7 times the Canadian Dollar, the prices soon get out of reasonable range, without having even added overhead or mark up. I'm more happy and comfortable with the pricing for the cell phone straps. These are going for $10EC. Maybe when the prospective buyers see this price, they'll grab up the bracelets thinking they're a bargoon! The glass fish beads are made in India and a got a great price for them at

I don't have any photos of the rings, but they're basically like the bracelets, only, well, smaller. A few have added bicone crystals and a few, to match a bracelet, come in a set of three - one red, one green and one gold.

I'm a little relieved at being able to put away my Grenada beads. I'm looking forward to getting back to some beadweaving. Of course, I still have to finish a few Christmas gifts that have been rather delayed. This will require mostly wire work. Always a daunting challenge, but always worth it. Here's a good tip for doing wire work in Grenada: always make sure that you first wash all the fresh grapefruit juice off your hands before starting!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Beadwork: Herringbone Stitch - Basics and Beyond - Interweave

Beadwork: Herringbone Stitch - Basics and Beyond - Interweave

Just in case anyone feels like buying me a gift... this is my favourite stitch.

Soon I'm going to post some pics of the jewelry that I'm making for Grenada's Independence Day, Feb. 7.

Soon, I promise. Pass the rum, please.