Beads, Recipes

Looking forward and looking back

I cannot believe 2013 is over and 2014 has begun! What a whirlwind 2013 was—between my family, a very part-time job and the beads (oh the beads!)—I feel like I barely stopped for breath!

Some of the jewellery-making highlights of 2013 include

  • the multitude of blog hops I took part in—they stretched my wings and challenged my muse
  • selling my jewellery at The Handmade Show, a lovely, and local to me, show with a real focus on handmade products
  • starting a Facebook page, which has introduced me to many new people, and of course
  • getting my Etsy shop up and running!

Here are a few of my favourite designs from the last 12 months:

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Sand and sea necklace collage DS

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AJE blue orchid necklace Collage boho owl necklace

Luna Park collage

Dark Heart Necklace collage IMG_6654

turquoise heart collage

I’m going to spend the next few weeks entertaining my kids during our summer holidays, so I don’t think too much jewellery-making is going to happen. But I have a few things to get photographed and uploaded on Etsy, and I want to take some time to play. This is one of my Christmas presents …

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… a set of uppercase, lowercase and numerical stamps, some fun design stamps, a stamping hammer and small metal block! I also got a handful of stamping blanks in brass and copper to play with.

Another project for 2014 is bead making. Mum and I are going to work together on some ceramic beads and pendants. She’s got a new (old) smaller kiln which will allow us to play a bit more easily. I’d also like to play with polymer clay a little bit more, maybe take another class or two. And I’ve taken a few metalwork classes over the last year or so, so I’m looking forward to combining the techniques I’ve learnt, and perhaps add some new ones.

On the business end, I need to work out what markets I would like to do in 2014. It’s probably not going to be as many as I did in the last few months as I am not finding them to be particularly profitable for me. I’ll be doing my best to keep my Etsy shop well stocked too. I’ll make sure to keep everyone up to date with my activities via my Facebook page.

Finally, I’ve got a few blog hops lined up already, starting with the December Art Jewelry Elements Component of the Month, which I will be posting tomorrow. I’m also signed up for several of Lisa Lodge‘s blog hops, starting with the Into the Forest blog hop on 11 January. It’s more than likely that I’ll take part in more than one of Erin Prais-Hintz‘s blog hops as well as Lori Anderson‘s Bead Soup Blog Party. I’ll do as many of the Art Bead Scene monthly challenges as I can. And I’ll keep taking part in swaps over at Bead Swap-USA. So there’ll be plenty to blog about!

Foodwise, I’ll keep posting recipes I come across that I think are worth a mention. It might be once or twice a month, it may be less often. But I did get a lovely stack of cookbooks for Christmas so I’m hoping to find a few keepers!

I’m looking forward to sharing my adventures with you in 2014! In the mean time, Happy New Year!

Beads, Markets

Last market for 2013 is tomorrow

The Handmade Show button

Tomorrow’s table at The Handmade Show is my last one for the year, so if you live in Melbourne, come on down and finish off your Christmas shopping! I have loads of pairs of earrings, necklaces and bracelets, and even a few pairs of cufflinks for the sharply-dressed man in your life!

The market runs from 10:30am – 3:30pm and there are stallholders selling all sorts of handmade goodies including candles, cards, clothing, children’s toys, Christmas decorations and more. Activities for the kids include free face painting and a lolly-guessing competition. Cafe Handmade does a mean bacon and egg sandwich, among other delicious offerings. Musical entertainment will be provided by Marisa Rae Quigley. And there’ll be giveaways for market shoppers, including some for the kids.

Hope to see you there!

Saturday 14th December
10.30am – 3.30pm
St. Anthony’s Parish Hall
164 Neerim Rd (cnr Grange Rd), Glen Huntly
Beads, Markets

It’s less than 10 weeks until Christmas …

… are you making your Christmas list yet?

I’ve got a few markets between now and Christmas if you want to do some Christmas shopping.

Tomorrow is the first of three stalls I will have at The Handmade Show, at St Anthony’s Parish Hall on the corner of Neerim and Grange Rds in Glen Huntly. I’ll also be there on 16 November and 14 December. New to this market is the ability to pay by EFTPOS, through special arrangement with the market organisers. If it looks like a good option for me, I’ll sign on for my own EFTPOS setup.

Bowl of earrings

On Sunday 3 November, I will be at the Fitzroy Lions Market, which is at the Fitzroy Victoria Bowling and Sports Club, next to Edinburgh Gardens. I don’t know much about this market, but hopefully it will be a good day with lots of happy shoppers.

Summer colour challenge

And on 24 November, I will be back at the Bend and Snap Market behind the 1000£ Bend Café on Little Lonsdale St in Melbourne CBD. I didn’t have a great day at this market last month, so fingers crossed next time the Christmas crowds will be out in force!

bracelet collage

It looks like my girls’ school will have another twilight craft market in late November or early December, and I will do that one this year too. I’ll be selling jewellery appealing to the primary school set, as well as some easy and inexpensive Christmas stocking stuffers like earrings and cufflinks.

Cufflinks

And I promise my Etsy shop will be open soon! I have just not had enough time to work on it recently! In the meantime, if you see something you like, drop me a line via my Facebook page.

Beads, Markets

Something new for The Handmade Show

I’ve got a table at The Handmade Show this weekend and I’m busy getting a few last minute things ready for it (earrings anyone??). As it’s Father’s Day in Australia at the beginning of September, I thought I would make some cufflinks.

I had some antique brass cufflinks with round bezels and some silver-plated square bezel cufflinks. At the craft show I went to a few weeks ago, I bought some Japanese paper in various colours and patterns, which I cut to fit and set in resin. All in all I have made 8 pairs for the show, enough for a trial anyway! I think they turned out well. (if you’re wondering what the black grid is, I used a baking rack to hold the bezels flat while the resin was setting!)

cufflinks Collage

I do have one small problem though, I have no idea how to display the cufflinks on my table. Any suggestions?

If you’re in Melbourne this weekend, think about coming to The Handmade Show. It’s nice and warm inside, there is great entertainment from crooner Frank Lee Darling, facepainting for the kids, plus 30 stalls packed full of great handmade stuff. And me, of course!

Saturday 17th August
10.30am – 3.30pm
St. Anthony’s Parish Hall
164 Neerim Rd Glen Huntly, Melbourne Vic

PS: this is my 99th post. Stay tuned for something fun for post number 100!!!

Beads, Markets, online shop

Boho Bird Jewellery is on Facebook!

I finally got a page for Boho Bird Jewellery up and running on Facebook  a couple of nights ago, and I’m astonished to see more than 60 likers already! It’s made me realise that I need to get an online shop going, so I need to really get my Etsy page up and running.

In the meantime, you can buy anything in the albums Bracelets, Necklaces and Earrings on Facebook, simply by commenting SOLD under the item you want to buy, or by sending me a message. And you can like my page directly from this blog, using the LIKE button on the right hand side of the page.

I have just put my application in to have a stall at The Handmade Show again in October, November and December—fingers crossed! I didn’t sell a lot at last week’s show, but I did sell a few pieces and made a small profit after the stall fee. There was a slow trickle of people through the venue, and hopefully that will improve over time as the show gains traction.

Here is a picture of my table this time around. I was quite pleased with how it looked and I got quite a few compliments from shoppers as they browsed the stalls.

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Beads, Markets

Some new jewellery for The Handmade Show this weekend

The Handmade Show button

A quick update to show you some things I’ve been working on for The Handmade Show, where I have a stall again this coming Saturday. Hopefully the wintery weather won’t put people off coming, it’s inside and it’s warm! If you’re local to me, come along and have a look!

THS sneak peak collage

The two pendants, in case you’re wondering, are from Peruzi. And those lovely luminous round beads are cultured sea glass, which seems to be all the rage in the jewellery world right now. I love the combination of turquoise and lavender, might have to make something for me along these lines I think!

I’ve got a variety of earrings and a bundle of bracelets for the show too. Here are just a few …

earring collage

bracelet collage

This Sunday is the Summer Elements Blog Hop, and I’ll be posting a set with a real summery feel to it. Pop back in to have look.

I’m planning to get an online shop of some kind set up in the very near future. I’m not sure which way to go, though—should I set up on Etsy along with what feels like millions of other jewellery designers, try one of the lesser-known marketplaces, or use one of the emerging Facebook e-commerce platforms? Advice, experiences and suggestions would be welcomed!

(And finally, apologies for sending a half-completed blog post out into the world yesterday! Hit the wrong button and off it went … eeek!!!)

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges, Markets, Swaps and exchanges

Bits and bobs

I’m working up to another market in mid-June, not sure what it will be like as by June it’s pretty cold and wet in Melbourne, which could drive down the numbers a bit. Still, as long as I can sell a few things, I’ll cover the costs of being there.

I recently took part in a swap through Bead Swap-USA with the talented Lennis Carrier of Windbent. Our swap was to be a finished piece (or pieces) of jewellery with a woodland theme. I think we both laughed when we opened our respective packages and found we had gone down the same woodland path. Lennis made me this necklace:

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I love the mixture of metals—copper, gunmetal, brass and that wonderful rusty iron pendant—and the eclectic mixture of glass beads (see the owl bead?). And there is a coordinating pair of earrings there too.

Here is what I sent Lennis. See what I mean about sharing inspiration?

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The pendant is from Peruzi and I chose a mixture of brown and green beads to go with it. I also made a cute sari silk and copper wrap bracelet for her. It’s long enough to wrap twice around her wrist, and works as a choker necklace too.

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In the next couple of months I have a few challenges and blog hops coming up. First up is at the end of this week, the second round of the History Hop, hosted by Leah Curtis. Then I’ve got Toltec Jewels’ Summer Elements hop in mid-June and  Lisa Lodge’s Seasons Blog Hop in early July. Mid-July will see Lori Anderson‘s Bead Hoarders blog hop, and in late August there is the Summer Colour Surprise blog hop, also hosted by Lisa Lodge. You can see buttons on the sidebar for most of these hops (a few of them haven’t had official sign-ups yet). All of that should keep me on my toes!

Beads, Markets

Setting up at a craft show (and another Bead Soup delay)

A couple of days ago I did my first craft show with my jewellery—The Handmade Show, a monthly market for handmade goodies. While it wasn’t a roaring success—I sold four pieces, all to friends—I was really pleased with how I set up my stall and I got some lovely compliments from people about both my designs and my display! So I thought I would show you how I set things up.

But before I get to that, I need to update you on my Bead Soup Blog Party reveal. Our gracious hostess Lori Anderson has had some pretty serious health issues this year and with great reluctance, she had to delay the third reveal by another week. So it is definitely, definitely going to happen this Saturday 27 April—come back then to see, finally, what I made with the beads that Jane Pranata Lim sent me.

Back to the show. The internet is of course a great resource for seeing how people display jewellery at home, at craft shows and in galleries, and I have a Pinterest board set up for jewellery display ideas to save images that I like (feel free to follow it!). I also wanted to keep the boho feel that I think my jewellery designs have in the way I displayed them, so I have been collecting bits and pieces here and there for a few months now. Happily for me, the vintage-y, boho look is quite in at the moment, and some of our local chain stores had some good props.

Here is a picture of the whole table, just before the show opened. My sign is on a little chalkboard—I have no banner as yet. The table covers are seersucker tablecloths in a somewhat lighter seafoam blue than in this photo (which has a lo-fi Instagram filter on it).

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After I took this photo, I put a little blue bird (about 6 inches high) at the back, behind the display tray in the middle, with a bracelet draped across it. It had been moved behind the other displays by accident.

The tray in the middle comes from Kaisercraft, a local scrapbooking and craft company that has an outlet in my local shopping centre. Here’s a closer, although slightly blurry picture. It comes as a bare frame, which I painted with acrylics and lined with scrapbooking paper (isn’t the faux wood cool?). It’s meant to be hung on a wall, with interesting knobs to hang your jewellery from, but I think it works well for my purposes lying flat. I might have to make another one to hang on my bedroom wall though!

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I found paper-maché busts at the local big-box craft store and painted them for necklace displays. I also had several clipboards lined with scrapbooking paper as necklace displays. That was an idea I came across on Pinterest. I propped them up on metal display stands I got for $5 at a discount store.

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The earrings in the picture above are pinned using mini clothes pins onto one of those wire jewellery trees that are so popular in the shops at the moment. It worked quite well, but the other earring display I had was even better:

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This was from a chain of hipster stationery stores called Typo, and is for hanging on the wall to stick cards and photos into for display. I first thought I could dangle each pair of earrings from the little hearts, but then I realised that my business cards, which double as earring cards, would fit in very nicely! It holds 24, although maybe it’s a bit crowded with one pair in each slot, what do you think?

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Kind of behind and next to the earring display, I had a wooden mini-crate (also from Typo) which I stood on its end so I could put a small display of bracelets inside it and also one of necklaces on top. It also came in handy for putting all of the display bits and pieces in when I was carting stuff to and fro from the market. Did I tell you it was literally around the corner from my house? I walked there in less than five minutes! Here’s a picture of me all packed up and ready to head home at the end of the day.

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All in all it was a fun day, and a learning experience. I already have ideas on how to improve things next time (I’m doing it again in June and August). Any suggestions will of course be gratefully received! Hopefully next time I won’t be right in front of the entrance—I found that people walked in and either turned down one way or another and never really came back to see me. Sigh.

Beads, Markets

The Handmade Show

The Handmade Show button

You might remember me saying something last year about making more of an effort to sell my jewellery. Up until now, I’ve only sold a few pieces, largely to family and friends. Last year I took part in a little craft market at my kids’ school, but at that market I mostly sold jewellery to little girls.

Well, at the end of January, I applied to a local handmade craft market called The Handmade Show, and last weekend I was notified that my application was approved for the three dates I requested, in April, June and August. It’s a small market, run by artists, and doesn’t cost a lot to participate. And it’s literally around the corner, I can even walk there!

So now, I need to put my head down and try to make as much jewellery as I can for the next few weeks, as I will be away on holidays for a couple of weeks prior to the show. I just hope that what I like to make is something that people want to buy!

I’ll have more details on the show in a few weeks. In the meantime, I’ll be madly making new stock, finishing off a couple or three challenge pieces, and putting together a nice display. Any tips from the veterans appreciated!

Beads

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!