Filigree Fancy

I recently took part in Beading Forum‘s Designer Quest #25, a challenge organised by the Australia-based online forum twice a year. This time around, the beads came from Chicky Babe’s Beads.

I forgot to take a photo of the beads but luckily they had this good picture posted on the forum. I chose to use the Copper and Jet AB pack—the other was gunmetal and tanzanite, which I liked too, but I thought I would challenge myself more with the copper shades. It contained copper filigree of various shapes and sizes, some lentil dangles in two different colours, Swarovski bicones and a rivoli, as well as a crystal octagon, some seed beads and some copper chain.

I have to admit that I ummed and aahhed over my pile of goodies until it was almost too late to submit anything. I’m not great with seed beads and rivolis and in the end I decided not to use them. I added in some rondelles in a coordinating lighter shade to contrast with the darker filigree stampings, as well as some copper findings and some fine copper chain. And I dipped the bright copper chain from the kit in Liver of Sulphur to give it a more antique look which better matched the filigree (proud moment—it was my first attempt at oxidising copper with Liver of Sulphur and I was pretty chuffed with the result).

Here’s a close up of the dangle, which is my favourite part of this necklace.

I was quite pleased with my last minute effort, although it pales in comparison to the efforts of the dedicated beadweavers on the forum.

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To market, to market

Well, I survived the school craft market! And it was fun! I sold some jewellery, made a little money, and I got a few compliments on my designs too.

To put it all in context, this market was primarily for school kids, and their accompanying parents. I knew my customers were mostly going to be little girls, aged between 5 and 12. So I decided to make necklaces appealing to girls like my daughters, who are 7 1/2 and almost 6 years old, with mysterious keys, heart-shaped lockets, bright flowers, butterflies, rainbows, fairies and unicorns, cute little critters. I mostly used silver-toned metals, but I also had some antique copper and brass chains and charms. And I had a few wooden pendants with a broader appeal—some surfboards and some tribal-looking pendants.

I ended up selling almost half of the necklaces I made, mostly the silver ones. Some large silver lockets I found on Etsy were the most popular item, which didn’t surprise me.

To tempt the adults, I also made a few things—earrings, the bracelets I featured in this post, and a handful of necklaces in various designs using pendants from Marsha Neal Studio, Humblebeads and White Clover Kiln and Czech beads. I didn’t expect to sell much—I ended up selling two pairs of earrings—but I wasn’t disappointed, as I knew the main customers were going to be the kids. But one customer was very taken with my Día de las Muertos necklace and took my card—maybe I’ll hear from her, maybe I won’t.

So what’s next? Well, there is a monthly handmade market, aptly named The Handmade Show, just around the corner from me. I went and had a look yesterday and there were a few jewellery sellers there, but they do restrict the numbers of each kind of stall so not too many. This particular show is closed over the summer months, but I have made note of the date when applications open for the first show in April next year, and I think I will apply. It’s inexpensive, and, I think, a good starting point for me. I also need to seriously think about opening an Etsy shop—I’ve started the process but I need to pull together some more stock, take some good photos, and start listing. And I need to make a Facebook business page, and perhaps have a small sale there in the run up to Christmas.

In the mean time, if you’re thinking about getting someone something special for Christmas, let me know if I can help!

All sorts of things coming up

I’ve just made a list of all the things I’ve signed myself up to do in the next couple of weeks, and, umm, I’m going to be busy! As soon as I have finished getting ready for the craft market I need to get moving on a few other things, a handful of bead and gift swaps and a handful of challenges and blog hops. Then of course I also have presents to make for my family!

Some of the highlights coming up include:

The 3rd Annual Challenge of Color: Earth as Art—Erin Prais-Hintz’s final challenge for 2012. This time, she has teamed up with colour queen Brandi Hussey to create 40 stunning palettes from enhanced satellite images. Each of the 80 participants in the blog hop get to choose between two palettes selected individually for each of us. These are my two, come back on 30 November to see which palette I chose to inspire a design.

The Art Bead Scene Ornament Blog Hop—organised by Heather Powers. In this challenge I need to create a handmade Christmas ornament using either handmade components or artist beads. I’ll post a sneak peek on 1 December, and reveal my creation a few days later on 4 December.

Finally, I was thrilled to be chosen to be part of Lorelei Eurto’s 12 Days of Christmas Handmade Gift Swap. For this swap I need to make 11 gifts and send them out across the world by the beginning of December, and starting on Christmas Day, each of us will open one present per day and blog about it as we go. As I’m the ninth on the list, my gift will be opened on 2 January.

And that’s it for blog hops in 2012. Of course, late January is when sign-ups for the 7th Bead Soup Blog Party are happening, and I’ve got a Sci-Fi themed blog hop happening sometime in the new year too. So it won’t be long before I’m busy again!

The next step

My kids’ school is holding a little craft market in a couple of weeks and I’ve signed up for a stall. So, that means I’ve got about 2 weeks left (!) to make as much jewellery as I possibly can. Eek!

My Mum is making some ceramic Christmas decorations—porcelain snowflakes and birds—as well as some other ceramic bits and pieces to sell at my stall too.

Here’s a sneak peek of the things I’ve been busy making this weekend … bracelets! I made TEN yesterday—those lovely colourful Czech glass ones in the photo below. And there are several with Gaea‘s lovely ceramic beads knotted on leather.

I’ve got loads of earrings too, and will be making more this week, along with some necklaces. I’ve been madly ordering supplies so that I can whip up a bunch of cute necklaces for little girls—rainbows, butterflies, hearts, lockets, mysterious keys and flowers. I’m aiming to spend no more than $2-3 on each one and with luck I can sell them for $10-15. And I’ve started working on how to display everything too.

Oh, and I’ve also come up with a name for my jewellery “business”…

BOHO BIRD JEWELLERY

What do you think? I’m hoping that if I sell some of my designs I might be brave enough to open an online store on Etsy or Madeit, or even sign up for one of the local craft markets—there’s one around the corner from us every month that could be good for a newbie like me.