Tuesday, December 31, 2013

HAPPY 2014

 

Happy New Year one and all !

May 2014 be blessed with World Peace and Brotherly Love.
May you all enjoy good health, much happiness and may you savor prosperity.
Joyful Wishes from Anna Maria - A Beader's Blog


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

MERRY CHRISTMAS


 
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ONE AND ALL
May your hearts always be filled with love and happiness.
 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Joyous Wishes and a Merry Christmas to You All !

 
The photo above is a shot of our Christmas poinsettia bush.  Last year our church had a number of potted poinsettias left over from their Christmas decorations and they offered these plants to their church members.  When the small pot was brought home it contained a wilted little poinsettia bush that looked to be on its last and final days so we planted it outside, gave it some water and hoped for the best.  This Christmas it has astounded us with its amazing growth and the amount and size of its poinsettia blossoms. (Yes I know that the red petals are not petals at all but are modified leaves and that the actual blossoms are the tiny little yellow flowers adorning the center of these brilliant red bracts - still, flower or modified leaves,  they are spectacular.)

 
To all my lovely blogging buddies, I know I've been lax about blogging this past year and I pray that in 2014 I can do better.  I do appreciate you all and think you're truly wonderful.  I wish each and every one a Merry Christmas - Happy Holidays - Joyous Season - or the seasonal greetings you prefer.  Best wishes to you all - each and every one -  Anna Maria of A Beader's Blog

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Oxymoron of Manufactured Handmade




Photo above - Small seed beaded earrings featuring a pumpkin motif. 
 
There have been distractions lately.  Normally I handle distraction well but for the past few weeks I've chosen to ignore them.  Rather than dwell on these distractions  I've buried myself in making jewelry.   I find it calming, this simple task of beading.  Concentrating upon  an intricate peyote pattern, counting the beads, like counting stitches in a cross stitch pattern, relaxes me,  occupies my hands,  keeps my mind busy and, most importantly, satisfies that spirit within me that craves to create something. 



 Photos above and below - 2 drop peyote bracelet, in progress.  Holly pattern courtesy of  Fusion Beads.


I don't think  I am an odd-ball to feel this way,  I'm sure most of you can relate to this feeling of serenity as you paint, sketch, sew, crochet, knit etc. etc.  The mind seems mesmerized by what it's doing and all that other "clutter", those shouts that echo and ricochet from one brain cell to another, are temporarily silenced.

Photo above - Seed bead hank put together using my bead spinner

 




Photo above - For some reason, to me anyway, these seed bead hanks remind me of Egyptian jewelry - very regal.  I made one necklace using these beads before and thought about offering these as destash on etsy but lately my etsy shop has been like a morgue -  really, really dead. Hanks are 22" long and contain 12 strands.  If anyone is interested send me an email with your inquiry.
 
Ah yes and etsy!  Etsy's been one of those distractions that I've been trying not to dwell over.  All of etsy's changes, their  embracing of big handmade "manufacturers" ,  it's something I am still having a hard time assimilating.   How can something be handmade if the construction of the item is farmed out to others for  mass production ? 
When handmade becomes manufactured it loses its heart and soul and also its worth vastly diminishes.  It becomes no different than the items one would find on the shelves at Wal-Mart.  Mass produced, manufactured goods are not crafted with the devotion and passion as that of a product made one at a time by one person.  Would a Picasso painting be worth as much if Picasso had a factory manufacture his masterpieces, cranking out hundreds at a time ?  Would people value them as much?  Would they be willing to pay the hundreds of thousands of dollars for these knock-offs?   
We all pretty much know the answer to that.  No!  No one would pay the same price for a Picasso that was not painted by the great  twentieth century artist himself.   
So why would anyone wish to purchase somebody's stuffed armadillo toy that's manufactured in China and pay the same price as when it was lovingly handmade by the artist ?  Well that beats me, I really don't know.  Perhaps they don't realize that what they're buying is no longer truly a part of the once vibrant and untarnished Handmade Movement that once  flourished on etsy? Unfortunately on etsy that movement now appears to be drowning in a rising sea of manufactured "handmade" products.



Photo above - Pumpkin motif seed beaded earrings.  These were fun to create and I confess I ended up creating several in Christmas colors of red, green, white and or gold.  Some had candy cane stripes, some had diamond designs or hearts or holly berry motifs, but they all kept me happy and busy.  For anyone that lives in my neck of Florida all of my seed beaded holiday earrings can be seen first hand at Sandra French's Gallery in the Village of The Arts in Bradenton Florida.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Thank God - Wrinkles Don't Hurt


We're getting older, my sisters and I.  Our conversations often turn to this fact, we discuss how, when exercising, we sound like a bowl of Rice Krispies with joints snapping, crackling and popping.  We compare the amount of gray in our hair the wrinkles at the corner of our eyes, the once firm flesh that is now like a bowl of jiggling JELL-O.   We reminisce about our once slender waistlines and how they've have gotten wider, chuckle about how the sand in our hour-glass shapes have shifted  and we concur that, as Winston Churchill once said,  getting older is not for wimps.

In a recent phone conversation with my youngest sister, I mentioned that bright light was very unflattering to me and that I looked better in soft light.  At night, as I prepare for bed, I turn on a low wattage light in my bathroom, I found that in this dim light I look at least 10 years younger.  I told my sister that the dimmer the light, the better I look and if I turn out the light completely I look absolutely gorgeous.

True, getting old is not easy, but laughing about it makes it a little more bearable and, thankfully, wrinkles don't hurt.

Monday, August 26, 2013

One Great Advantage of Craftinest.com



Update June 2, 2014-  Unfortunately Craftinest is now no longer online.  No one knows what happened.  Though Craftinest did post on their facebook page that a fire had destroyed much of their sites equipment and they held out a promise to us that they would repair the damage and get the site back up and running . . . that promise is yet to materialize.   As I update this post is has been about 9 months since anyone has heard from Craftinest. Craftinest has not bothered to update their facebook page nor notify any of their many shop owners as to what is going on. All our emails are returned as undeliverable. We have pretty much given up hope that Craftinest will repair the fire damage and reestablish their website. 
Personally I believe that they grew too quickly and the inundation of so many artists and crafters overwhelmed them and their sites capacity to handle such an influx of shops and traffic.  The loss of Craftinest is sad as it held forth so much potential . . .  but sometimes things are simply not meant to be.
 
***********
 

When I first sent off my application to apply for an online Craftinest Storefront, I figured they'd be a marketplace much like Etsy or Artfire, only without the supplies vendors and vintage shops. However Craftinest is more like a hybrid between these standard marketplaces and having to construct one's own website. . . minus all the HTML hoopla. With a Craftinest store the search engines call up your shop and not the marketplace. This was explained to me by Samantha in the correspondence that I've copied and pasted below:



Hi Anna,

Our format is definitely different from Etsy (and it’s many clones) with more of an ecommerce website format. Each store is basically its own mini-ecommerce website... with the mall being the central hub to bring all stores together.

As for your store domain, it is only available in the following two formats:
Sub-domains never use the www in front of it. However, if someone types in http://www.almostprecious.craftinest.com , the browser will automatically forward to the proper http://almostprecious.craftinest.com  format. So you can use either.
One thing that I did want to add to the whole store domain issue is that Etsy only forwards the request for your store domain to their own etsy.com address. At Craftinest, the store domain is an actual sub-domain that persists throughout the buyers experience.
On Etsy:
And the item listing URL’s don’t include the store domain at all. . .
Whereas at Craftinest:
And the store domain is included throughout your entire store. . . including item listings, categories, info pages. I’ll use another store as an example with an item listing URL of http://twolittlewitches.craftinest.com/find/1399-Bunny-Rabbit-Kids-Wall-Art-Print-for-Kids-Room-Girls-Children-Decor-by-Two-Little-Witches
So as you can see, your store domain is more present with Craftinest. In fact it’s more useful when you look at the results in search engines. To see for yourself, type in “Almost Precious Etsy” into Google and you will notice one result for your store - www.etsy.com/shop/AlmostPrecious.
Now try using the sample store from above by typing “two little witches craftinest” into Google. Not only is the store domain presented as twolittlewitches.craftinest.com , but there are several results since all listings and categories use the store domain too.
Hope that helps... Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.
And welcome to our little nest.
Samantha
The Craftinest Marketplace

So now you can see why I was impressed about the Craftinest marketplace and excited about joining their site and why I encourage others to join me there.   :)


Monday, August 19, 2013

What GOES Around COMES Around


Update June 2, 2014-  On 8/26/2013 I blogged about a great new website market place for handcrafted arts and crafts items.  The site was called Craftinest.

Unfortunately Craftinest is now no longer online.  No one knows what happened.  Though Craftinest did post on their facebook page that a fire had destroyed much of their sites equipment and they held out a promise to us that they would repair the damage and get the site back up and running . . . that promise is yet to materialize.   As I update this post is has been about 9 months since anyone has heard from Craftinest. Craftinest has not bothered to update their facebook page nor notify any of their many shop owners as to what is going on. All our emails are returned as undeliverable. We have pretty much given up hope that Craftinest will repair the fire damage and reestablish their website. 
Personally I believe that they grew too quickly and the inundation of so many artists and crafters overwhelmed them and their sites capacity to handle such an influx of shops and traffic.  The loss of Craftinest is sad as it held forth so much potential . . .  but sometimes things are simply not meant to be. 
Below is my old blog post of 8/19/2013 -
*********** 
We've all heard about Paying it Forward and the old saying of "What goes around comes around".  It's something to do that helps make our world a better place and spreads human kindness and generosity around.
 
Today I've been promoting for a facebook photographer Karen Adams, who has just applied (with my encouragement) for her own Craftinest shop.  Karen also has a lovely etsy shop but like myself, she is looking to expand in order to get more online exposure. 

Karen was like I was about applying, very timid and not sure that she could make it to 100 votes but decided she had nothing to lose so jumped in with both feet.

When I asked all my wonderful family and friends to vote for me, I was impressed that Craftinest did not require their voters to first register with their site - a truly big bonus as no one likes to come up with a user name and another password in order to cast a vote. 
 
Karen's voting page can be found at

http://www.sell-handmade.com/1492/thistle-and-thyme-photography/   

please if you have a moment just click on the link, take a peek at her photo samples and give her a 5 heart vote.

I know that a few of you have already cast your votes, via my facebook post for Karen, and I want to thank you sincerely from the bottom of my heart - I know I would not have been able to get my required 100+ votes had it not been for great friends like you.  :)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Revisiting Craftinest

Update June 2, 2014-  On 8/26/2013 I blogged about a great new website market place for handcrafted arts and crafts items.  The site was called Craftinest.
Unfortunately Craftinest is now no longer online.  No one knows what happened.  Though Craftinest did post on their facebook page that a fire had destroyed much of their sites equipment and they held out a promise to us that they would repair the damage and get the site back up and running . . . that promise is yet to materialize.   As I update this post is has been about 9 months since anyone has heard from Craftinest. Craftinest has not bothered to update their facebook page nor notify any of their many shop owners as to what is going on. All our emails are returned as undeliverable. We have pretty much given up hope that Craftinest will repair the fire damage and reestablish their website. 
Personally I believe that they grew too quickly and the inundation of so many artists and crafters overwhelmed them and their sites capacity to handle such an influx of shops and traffic.  The loss of Craftinest is sad as it held forth so much potential . . .  but sometimes things are simply not meant to be. 
Below is my old blog post of 8/15/2013 -
*********** 
No doubt you've heard me mention Craftinest and may recall how I begged and pleaded for your votes.

In order to qualify for an online storefront on  Craftinest's  marketplace site each applicant has to go through a jurying process  that requires no less than 100 votes.  These votes had to come from public polls but applicants are encouraged to actively solicit votes from family, friends and their social media sites.    I am very  grateful that so many of you and my family and friends complied and in less than a week I was able to accumulate 154 positive votes.

Recently  I was asked  how had  I heard about Craftinest and the answer is that I saw one of their ads on a site called; "It's Better Handmade"  http://itsbetterhandmade.com/  .  Their ad merely stated that  sellers are wanted. 
Out of curiosity I clicked on their ad and found myself interested in the prospect of getting in on the ground floor of a new site.  Also I liked that Craftinest would be a site strictly for handmade.  In the near future they will be opening  2 separate marketplaces 1 for supplies sellers and the other for shops  dealing in vintage items. 
True,  I was intimidated by their jury system.  Getting a 100 votes  seemed  like an awful lot.   I even contacted them via their email and expressed my concerns over a jury system done by the public rather than a designated panel of qualified artists and crafters.  Craftinest  sent me a courteous reply, explaining that even with a panel of peers there would be the problem of biased voting, what one person may consider gorgeous and wonderful, another might find hideous and useless, so there is really no way of getting around that.  They  explained that what they were really trying to achieve with the juryed entry was to weed out those who would not be committed to their business, those hobbyists who aren't interested in making a profitable business out of their  craft or those who would open a shop and then do nothing to build it up or promote it. 
Craftinest confidentially admitted that some crafters had applied and then did not bother to campaign  for  votes.   These applicants didn't  request votes from  family or friends, or send out emails, or  employ any other means of acquiring  votes, such as posting on facebook, or  twitter etc.  It was apparent that these individuals would probably not be very dedicated to their enterprise. 
Yes, I could see and understand their logic to this . . . but still 100 votes is an intimidating number.  Also there's the possibility that many in the public would not  realize they were voting on whether or not the applicant should or should not be allowed a shop webpage on the Craftinest marketplace. 
It would be all too easy for someone to misconstrue the voting and think; "Are the items this applicant makes something I would or would not buy?" This changes the whole aspect of the voting.  Many who would normally have voted to allow an artist or crafter to have a shop webpage would vote differently about whether they would  actually purchase what that artist makes, so votes of "Maybe",  "Not Likely" or even "Definitely Not" would be more prolific. 
 
I recall one applicant, in a previous voting session, that was into healing crystals, Chakra stones, and aroma therapy (oils and fragrances that either relax, invigorate or, inspire us etc.)  They had received  320 votes but unfortunately 91 voted "Not Likely" and 29 voted "Definitely Not!" with 69 voting "Maybe".  This leads me to believe that probably 120 people did not know what they were voting for.

The last I heard from Craftinest is that they were considering changes to their voting system. Hopefully whatever they decide upon will be less intimidating and will encourage more artists and crafters to submit  applications to the Craftinest marketplace.

Okay so now the confession - though I was intimated by the jury procedure, I do not regret having gone through it. I figure I had nothing to lose and there was a slight chance of gaining some very valuable online exposure for the things that I create to sell.  I think with the proper marketing Craftinest holds a lot of potential.

If any of you have visited Craftinest's markplace website, I would love to hear your opinions of the site.  What do you feel is its advantages, its disadvantages or what suggestions would you make that may improve the site? 

 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Feeling My Way Around Craftinest


Update June 2, 2014-  On 8/26/2013 I blogged about a great new website market place for handcrafted arts and crafts items.  The site was called Craftinest.

Unfortunately Craftinest is now no longer online.  No one knows what happened.  Though Craftinest did post on their facebook page that a fire had destroyed much of their sites equipment and they held out a promise to us that they would repair the damage and get the site back up and running . . . that promise is yet to materialize.   As I update this post is has been about 9 months since anyone has heard from Craftinest. Craftinest has not bothered to update their facebook page nor notify any of their many shop owners as to what is going on. All our emails are returned as undeliverable. We have pretty much given up hope that Craftinest will repair the fire damage and reestablish their website. 

Personally I believe that they grew too quickly and the inundation of so many artists and crafters overwhelmed them and their sites capacity to handle such an influx of shops and traffic.  The loss of Craftinest is sad as it held forth so much potential . . .  but sometimes things are simply not meant to be. 

Below is my old blog post of 8/5/2013 -

*********** 
 


Photo - I spotted this adorable tiny bell shaped flower in amongst the weeds .  It was all alone with no others like it around.
 
It's the Dog Days of Summer, the asphalt sizzles and the breezes feel like they're coming straight out of a blow drier set on high.  Sweltering masses of human flesh, sapped of all  energy,  make their lethargic way across blistering parking lots to revel within the arctic interiors of municipal buildings and shopping centers.
Those who have no call to venture out into this inferno,  wisely cocoon themselves inside the blissfully air conditioned,  confines of their homes . . .  this is where I've been cloistered, safe at home, away from Summer's scorching breath and blazing sun.

For the past week or more I've been submerged in finding, or at least trying to find, my way around Craftinest.  Craftinest is a highly sophisticated site and for those much more proficient with the wiles of Internet websites than myself, this would be of little concern.  Unfortunately I am technologically challenged and can scarcely find  my way around facebook, therefore the last several days have witnessed a steady flow of questions emanating from my email server to that of Craftinest's email Help line.  I'm am truly grateful for Samantha  @ Craftinest Help, she has been most patient with all my inquires and has been invaluable in directing me through, what I consider, a labyrinth of technology.

Craftinest is set up with every bell and whistle one could ever need, or possibly want, to run their own online business.  One can start off minuscule and grow their enterprise into something only limited by their ambition and  imagination.  I'm fairly confident that there are many features there that I will never have use for, still it is nice to know it's there - just in case.  
At the moment the Craftinest site is still in its birthing process and is an opportunity awaiting those who are willing to go through the labor of campaigning for votes to meet with the sites jurying requirements and then the rigors of setting up and caring for one's new born shop.  I'm certain that there are many of you out there that are far more qualified than I and would have your shop up and running in a fraction of the time it is taking me to accomplish this task. 
Since I wish to keep this post from becoming overly long I will end my post here and will post an update soon. . .hopefully.  
In the mean time take care and be happy.    :)

Wonder and Beauty can be found where we least expect it.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What can I say except - Thank You - You're the Greatest !


Update June 2, 2014-  On 8/26/2013 I blogged about a great new website market place for handcrafted arts and crafts items.  The site was called Craftinest.

Unfortunately Craftinest is now no longer online.  No one knows what happened.  Though Craftinest did post on their facebook page that a fire had destroyed much of their sites equipment and they held out a promise to us that they would repair the damage and get the site back up and running . . . that promise is yet to materialize.   As I update this post is has been about 9 months since anyone has heard from Craftinest. Craftinest has not bothered to update their facebook page nor notify any of their many shop owners as to what is going on. All our emails are returned as undeliverable. We have pretty much given up hope that Craftinest will repair the fire damage and reestablish their website. 
Personally I believe that they grew too quickly and the inundation of so many artists and crafters overwhelmed them and their sites capacity to handle such an influx of shops and traffic.  The loss of Craftinest is sad as it held forth so much potential . . .  but sometimes things are simply not meant to be. 
Below is my old blog post of 7/23/2013 -

*********** 

A Great Big Thank You to all my wonderful Blogging Buddies for voting for me on Craftinest.
With the help of all my friends, both online and offline, I gathered 154 votes and maintained a 4.4 heart average.

Craftinest has just informed me that I have been approved and that I may start building my Craftinest shop.

I have so many lovely people to thank and I am starting off with thanking all of you. 
 
THANK YOU :)



Photo was taken by me during a trip that my hubby and I took to California, Oregon and the state of Washington.  I saw this lovely spread of yellow and gold daisy-like flowers in the fair state of Oregon and had to take a picture.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Begging For Votes - A New Venue For Selling

 
Update June 2, 2014-  On 8/26/2013 I blogged about a great new website market place for handcrafted arts and crafts items.  The site was called Craftinest.
Unfortunately Craftinest is now no longer online.  No one knows what happened.  Though Craftinest did post on their facebook page that a fire had destroyed much of their sites equipment and they held out a promise to us that they would repair the damage and get the site back up and running . . . that promise is yet to materialize.   As I update this post is has been about 9 months since anyone has heard from Craftinest. Craftinest has not bothered to update their facebook page nor notify any of their many shop owners as to what is going on. All our emails are returned as undeliverable. We have pretty much given up hope that Craftinest will repair the fire damage and reestablish their website. 
Personally I believe that they grew too quickly and the inundation of so many artists and crafters overwhelmed them and their sites capacity to handle such an influx of shops and traffic.  The loss of Craftinest is sad as it held forth so much potential . . .  but sometimes things are simply not meant to be. 
Below is my old blog post of 8/26/2013 -
*********** 

 
I recently ran across a new and upcoming website for artist and crafters called Craftinest .
Yes it is just a baby and has not been discovered and there is always a possibility that it may not make it into the big time the way Etsy or Artfire has.  But the fact that it is new intrigues me and so I took the plunge and filled out my application.

Application?  Why?  Well they say they want to have a website that will be solely for handcrafted items and they wanted it to be innovative, fresh and filled with marvelous artists and crafters . . . well aren't we all marvelous artists and crafters?  Craftinest claims that their site is juried and in order to have a shop there one has to be juried in.  It sounded like this might be a good way to discourage all those bogus handmade shops that are really just resellers in a thin veil of disguise . . . a very thin, almost transparent veil.

Unfortunately Craftinest's jurying process is not done by a devoted, unbiased team of artist and crafters but by the public and I need 100 votes in order just to be considered for their site.  I'm sure you can all see where this is going, right? 

 (Yes, I'm blatantly soliciting your vote - please click here and give me a vote or a heart:
AlmostPrecious - on the chopping block at Craftiness.com

Since Craftinest is so new it is not yet inundated with a barrage of visitors, so those applying for a shop will have to provide their own voters.  I even received an email from Craftinest encouraging me to go on facebook etc. and encourage all my friends and followers to vote for me.  They told me if I can get 200 votes and 4 hearts I'll be automatically juried in. 

That's not exactly how I've had to go about being juried into an art show  -  it was never a popularity contest but was done by a separate panel of unbiased judges that judged on the merit of the artist's art or the crafter's craft, taking into consideration their originality and the quality of their work.

Pictured are a couple of pieces that I entered for jurying, if you click on the photos it should take you to my voting page . . . hint, hint.   :)

 

 
Oh and if any of you decide you'd like to join me on Craftinest please let me know so that I can give you my vote .  :)
 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Whys and the Wherefores


hand embellished Sodalite Pendant necklace

For the past few days I've been trying to figure out the whys and wherefores of Etsy.  Why do some shops find almost instant success while others languish, floundering in a sea of invisibility ?   Why is it that 2 shops selling almost the same items will have such disparity when it comes to views and sales? 
I've been trying to build up my shop inventory as I've heard that the more items you have the better are your chances of being found by search engines and therefore found by potential customers.  But seems that the past week or two, as I've added more items, my views have fallen from 30 or 40 views a day to about 10 or less a day.
 
I made the black nylon cord adjustable so necklace
can go from very short to very long
 

I recently listed this Sodalite stone pendant that I embellished with sterling silver wire work and sterling silver beads.  The cord has my handcrafted  sliding, macramé clasp on it making  it very adjustable. 
 


After listing I tried promoting, yes  used all the old standards that I could think of :   facebook, teams, etc.   Now, a day later, I find it has a total of 5 views and 9 admirers (meaning  that 4 people must have given it a heart without even clicking on its etsy link).

In the past I tried opening a shop that was just for my jewelry and one shop for other items but found it spread my attention too thin and neither shop was profitable.  This time I had some of my soft textiles listed, such as the pair of crochet potholders-trivets-dishrags.

 
Above trivets etc. in hot pink-red and white are about 9 inches across
Below trivets in crisp white on dark apple green and white on tomato red.
 
 
I also listed some of the cute Ruffled Boas that I made.  My daughters loved the ones I gave them at Christmas and said I should put a few on my etsy shop - they thought they would
sell quickly.
 

 

 

 

 
 They got a number of views and hearts for awhile but have dropped down to zero lately.  So much for my daughters' intuitions.  :D
 
I feel like I'm neglecting so much lately trying to crank start my old etsy shop.  Granted etsy has far more shops now and a lot more unscrupulous resellers selling their items way below market value.  Trying to rid etsy of these shops is like a never ending game of "Whack a Mole".  They "conk" one out and a dozen more pop up.
 
Anyway, like so many mornings before, I took my mug of coffee and went to check on my etsy shop.  There were no orders and I noticed that I had garnered all of 1 shop view since I had turned off my computer yesterday.  How, Why, What ?  Just a whole lot of questions and I haven't an answer.


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July

 
 ! HAPPY 4TH OF JULY !
After reading about Hotlinking I am not 100% sure how to "borrow" an online photo and use it on my blog legally . . . so much for using free clip-art of firework displays. :D
The only thing I could think of using that was red - white- and blue,  was  my own photo of our (what used to be new) flag and this necklace that I have on etsy.  The flag won !  :D
Wishing everyone a Safe and Happy 4th of July.  

Monday, July 1, 2013

Nooooooo !!!



Catastrophe has struck and I am still reeling in shock from it.  When I went to attach the fluorite flower that I had worked so hard to enhance, taking it from bland to beautiful,  I could not get the beading needle to go through the drill hole.  Somehow the epoxy resin that I used to coat the back of the stone flower had filled the center of the hole.  I thought I had cleared all the resin out with a toothpick after I had coated it but either I did not do a good enough job or more seeped in afterwards.
All I know is that I had to try to ream the hardened resin out of the drill hole in order to attach the flower to the bail.   I used a small, diamond coated reaming tool and was being gentle but ... well as they say "a picture is worth a thousand words".

Picture below - how it looked before the accident.
 
 
Picture below - how it looks after the accident.
 

I have thought and thought but haven't come up with any solution to the problem.  I can't try to reattach the broken piece as that would just seal up the dill hole again (but I am thinking about maybe doing that and then using the flower later on in a wire work piece - maybe!)  So now I'm in the process of trying to locate another carved fluorite flower.
 
I had also came up with a pattern that I thought would look nice with the center piece of the necklace.
Photo above and below - I like the rich, old world look of the capped  Amazonite and large  (Lab created) Amethyst beads interspersed with smaller, natural Amethyst beads.
Photo below - Got these little clamps at a home improvement store and at the time they were almost 3 for a dollar.  I find I use them all of the time and wish I had bought more of them.
If anyone runs across a site that sells similar fluorite carved flowers (about 40 mm in size) please let me know.   All I can find, so far, are small little 15 mm fluorite flower beads.


Friday, June 28, 2013

If At First You Don't Suceed - Try - Try - Try


Somethings go quickly,  other things take time.  This piece is taking me longer than most and it's not because it is so complicated or intricate but because I keep stopping and reevaluating what I want to do with it and how to do it.

Several weeks ago I braided the Kumihimo cord using silk threads in pale sage green, pretty lilac and just a touch of deep, amethyst purple.  Then it sat while I pondered what it would become.  I decided to only use about half of the finished cord, making it into a center section of a necklace.  The other half may end up becoming a bracelet but that's not decided yet.

Next I found a Rainbow Fluorite flower, it was pretty but a little bland, much like a piece of clear quartz with very pale bands of lavender and milky waves running through it.  To enhance it I applied alcohol ink in vivid "Wild Plum" to the backside of the pendant and then applied a sealer - then to be doubly sure the ink would not come off I applied a coat of epoxy resin to the flower's backside.  Now it really pops.
 Next step was deciding how I would attach the flower to my necklace and decided a beaded bail would be in order.  Believe or not the pearl embellish bail in photo above is my fourth attempt at making this bail.  The first bail I used beads in the same 3 colors used in the cord (even went out and bought the beads - tiny little  Delica  #11's ) but found the three colors together were too much, too busy along side of the striped fluorite flower.  So I beaded another in just two colors, sage and lavender and still it was wrong.  Third bail was done using only the pale sage yet still it was not quite right.   Finally, on the fourth bail, I used the darker amethyst beads with a rainbow finish and, like Goldilocks, found it was just right. 

Of course the bail would have to be embellished and what is prettier than natural mauve, freshwater pearls?  How about mauve pearls with just a hint of real amethyst beads tossed in just for a dash of spice?

The ends of my hand braided cord have been tightly wound with a matching thread,  Nymo - for those familiar.  ( For those unfamiliar, Nymo is a nylon beading thread that many seed beaders use and comes in many lovely colors).
I speared the cord ends with super long headpins and then capped them with Bali style, pewter cones.  However I began to worry that maybe that wasn't going to hold it all together so I mixed up some epoxy resin and attached the ends permanently to the inside of the cones.   Sounded like a good idea at the time but once the resin dried I noticed that, just slightly under the cones, I could see that the resin had cause the threads to darken.  It  wasn't all that noticable but I could see it and at times I'm OCD , so more time was spent on trying to decide upon a solution and finally I settled upon covering that part of the braided cord with beads . . . amethyst and lovely, dark garnet beads.


 
 
Now this is as far as I've gotten on this project and already it's taken approximately 4 weeks - most of which were spent in decision making. 


I do think when it is finished it is going to be a lovely piece.  Just hope it won't take me another 4 weeks to decided upon how to make the sides of this necklace.
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