Friday, July 29, 2011

Simply Elegant Vintage Inspired Earrings

I was asked by a friend if I could make her a pair of earrings to go with a dress for an upcoming wedding.  But of course I can!  What was she looking for?  She wasn't sure, but she said I needed to see the dress first.

Since she works with Chris, she brought her dress into work (and I'm sure he looked adorable carrying out a dress bag with a gown in it that evening.)  Great mental photo...

The dress is cocktail length, rich chocolate brown with small straps that cross in the back.  Along the bust is some decorative beadwork that makes a necklace unnecessary.  So earrings are the perfect accessory to compliment it.

I opted to go with a vintage copper style.  Soft and romantic, light-weight and definitely able to be worn with so many outfits.  Accented with Swarovski Lt. Colarado Topaz crystals and Czech fire-polished crystal rounds, there's a little sparkle with a touch of class!

Hope you have a terrific weekend!

Vintage Jewelry Design: Classics to Collect & Wear

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dancing in the Tide - Just Makes You Want a Vacation - Doesn't it

Dancing in the Tide
I'd like to introduce you to my new neck candy! :o)  Yes, this necklace is almost good enough you can lick it.... except it doesn't taste like a lollipop... I don't think, it's not like IIIIII licked it or anything.  (Because once you lick something, it officially becomes yours forever and ever.... like the last piece of birthday cake - just sayin')

I have entered this necklace in The Hive Creative Challenge.  The theme for the challenge was "Celebrate!" because they are celebrating their 1 year anniversary.  I was super excited to join in the challenge because I've met so many great blogger friends from around the globe that all have different artistic interests.

The voting for this contest is open to the public.  If you like the piece and would like to cast your vote, visit my blog post on The Hive, and "like" the post.  Then if you really, really, really like the necklace, feel free to share with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.  :o) 

Thanks in advance because I KNOW you are awesome!  Heck, you took the time to visit here and share a virtual cuppa java over this post, so you made my day! 

Hope your day is superb!

P.S.  If you want a necklace like this one... head over to JulsBeads and pick out a focal you want to lick.  Ask Juls to send it up to her favorite girl in WI and I'll sparkle-it-up for you! Then you can lick it to your hearts content! :o)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Facebook Friday - That Darn Chat Bar

Warning:  I do not chat on Facebook.  Have not and won't because that's really way over taxing my one track mind most of the time.

Did Facebook mix you up this week with their sudden "pop up" chat bar on the right hand side?  I logged in one morning and viola.... there it was.  And there was no 'x' to close it so I left it for a day before it irritated me into action.  Side note:  the friends that are showing are those that are most "relevant" in your interactions - according to FB.  I'm not so sure that's accurate, but that's what they say. :o)

I'm not a chatter... I used to chat when Yahoo Messenger first came out, I chatted my brains out.  I also got very little of anything else accomplished.  So then I discovered how to be invisible.... but people still sent me messages even when I "appeared" offline to them.  Don't get me wrong, I love interacting with other people.  However, when I'm working on my computer - blogging, marketing, listing I really need to focus.  There's just not enough hours in the day otherwise.   So the random chatting via messenger had to go.

Honestly, people who know me know to send me an e-mail or private FB message or pick up the phone and call me.  I prefer the more personal conversations and interactions.  (which is also why 140 characters on Twitter is also sooo very difficult.  But that's a story for another day!)

So how the heck do you make that darn chat bar go away if you really don't want to use it (or look at it)?
  • On the lower right side of your screen, click on the starburst looking icon.  
  • If Available to Chat is Selected, un-check it.  
  • From this same area, you can also click "Hide Sidebar" to have it disappear complete.
  • You can go back online to chat anytime but clicking that starburst icon again.

Another Side Note:  This morning when I went to publish this post, my chat worked different than it did just yesterday.  UGH... so if the above instructions don't look right based on your screen, today's version goes like this.
  • Click that Starburst Icon on the lower right.
  • Select Options, then click "Go Offline".
  • That should disable chat and minimize that sidebar for you.

Hope this little Facebook Friday info helped.  It just shows how dynamic and radically changing the game of social media marketing has become.  I'm happy to share the tidbits I know and learn that may be helpful to you!

Hope your weekend is Fabulous!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The woman is crazy - like completely off her rocker CRAZY!

Honestly, when someone's done gone and lost her mind, can we help her find a support group?  I'm working on it, but I'm drooling all over my keyboard and it's getting in the way!

I'm talking about our sweet southern lampwork artists Juli Cannon y'all (her y'all not mine.)  She's been crazy making beads the last few days and even crazier listing them in her StudioJuls Store!  What's really crazy... these sets of beads are only $10 each... that's nuts!  I don't care if it's walnuts, pistacios, peanuts or almonds... she's a whole mixed bag of nuts listing these sets for $10.  That's 1/2 price y'all (again, her y'all, not mine.)

So before she comes to her right mind (or I find a support group for nutty glass artists) I'd scoot your little patootie over to Studio Juls right now and scoop up your favorite sets! 

Like the beads but don't make jewelry (Stacy, Jenna, Kathy and so many more) pick some up and ask Juls to ship 'em this way!  I'm happy to make you something custom with these delicious baubbles! 

So don't wait... she might find the mind she's lost!

Have a Wacky Wednesday! :o)
**Fine Print:  All images belong to JulsBeads.  All Rights Reserved.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Softflex Craft Wire: An Honest Review

Recently I was asked by another jewelry maker what wire I use for my wire crochet pieces.  When I started making wire crochet jewelry, I only knew of one option that had a variety of colors in a fine enough gauge to crochet with.  It was Zebra wire.  But as my focus shifted from wire crochet jewelry to bead embroidered jewelry, I hadn't purchased wire for wire crochet in some time.  Which got me to thinking...

"I follow the SoftFlex blog and Facebook fan page.  Both Sara and Jamie are all over the internet communicating with other bloggers and sharing the jewelry love of anybody that uses SoftFlex products.  I've been using SoftFlex beading wire and absolutely love it!  So I think I better try their craft wire before I answer my friend."

I contacted Sara about doing an honest review of their colored craft wire on my blog.  She was thrilled that I wanted to try something new from SoftFlex. 

Before I even delve into the wire itself, can I tell you how on the ball SoftFlex as a company is?  Their customer service is bar none and their shipping time... well let me just say I think they have Superman on staff because my package arrived in record time. 

I have to say using it was a pleasure.  I used the 28 gauge black wire to make a wire crochet bracelet.  The wire was the perfect size to work with.  It was sturdy enough and yet malleable all at the same time so I could maneuver it with the crochet hook. 

One thing that I'm a real stickler about when I'm using a color-coated wire is how well does the color STAY on the wire when I'm making wrapped loops or working with my tools.  Other wire I've used you have to baby because the color coating scratches easily and reveals the copper base wire.  I'm very happy to say that SoftFlex Craft Wire kept it's color coating throughout the whole process.  From stringing all the beads and constantly feeding more wire into the project.

The bracelet turned out FABULOUS and I was very pleased with the way that the SoftFlex craft wire performed.  I won't be going back to the "other" wire anytime soon because SoftFlex has won over my wire crochet heart!

Give it a try and let me know what you think!  You should see all their colors.  Even though I used the black, (because I had these amazing silver beads that I thought would end up completely drool-worthy) their line of colors is outstanding.  I saw them in person at Bead & Button in Milwaukee and they really are as vibrant as they look on the website!

SoftFlex Website:

Hope your week is full of wonderful discoveries! 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

What's Purple and Green and Sparkles All Over

If you saw my Bead Table Wednesday (BTW) post this week, you'll see a necklace I'm working on for me, myself and I.  Why is it we always design for other people first and sadly forget to make ourselves a priority (or maybe it's just me, but play along and make me feel better, okay?) Thanks.

So I'm working on a purple and green bead embroidered necklace.  I'm loving how it's coming along.  I had a few hours of puppy nap time this week and a beautiful day on my screen porch so I opted to make a bracelet to match.  Disclaimer: this is not my design, it was in Bead and Button's April 2010 issue.  It worked up in just a few hours and brought in both the purple and greens that I've worked into the body of the necklace.

I kept a tight tension to create a wavy, ruffly edge.  But with looser tension, this bracelet would lie flat.  I however am a curly girl, so a little bit of wavy is just my thing.

How about you... when was the last time you took the time to make something special just for YOU?  If you can't remember... go make something now!  You're special and you deserve to know that I really value our friendship (even if we've never gotten to meet in person)!

Make it a terrific day!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday - BTW

This is 2 weeks of BTW in a row.  Why?  Because I took pics and forgot to post last week AND because I have a puppy that has really limited my beading time.  SOoooo while my beading table is full of "projects" including a wire crochet project with Softflex craft wire and a custom design that will be exclusively available through Suzy Manning's Sizzzl website. (which you should really check out of you want to meet an EXTRAORDINARY woman!)

So this week (and last) I've been working on a project for me.  I bought a summery sundress that is a purple paisly pattern with green, black and cream tossed into to create the pattern.  I've been working on a necklace that would go with the dress perfectly.  Not sure where it will end up because as you can see from the two photos, it's starts as one thing then evolves and changes with each bead I add!

What's on your bead table today?

Monday, July 11, 2011

I Heart Macro!

I saw a post on Facebook over the weekend from a fellow Wisconsinite Beader - Tracey Nanstad (A Beadiful Mess) with a great macro photo of a bubble on a bubble wand.  Now we see kids blowing bubbles and love how they float, then pop, but have you ever captured one on photo?  Thanks Tracey for posting your link on Facebook while I happened to be online!  It caught my eye and introduced me to several new bloggers!  ♥

The post is part of a blog hop called "I Heart Macro" and it led me to flip through several blogs that I hadn't seen before!  I love how being summer, we're capturing so many beautiful flowers with our macro photos.  I also love the tenderness of animals in the macro photos!

So for my entry into the I Heart Macro blog hop, is a photo I took at our 4th of July party with Chris' family.  This is a tri-colored zinnia that starts out as a fuschia  in the middle and blends to a red-orange and finally yellow.  Don't you just love the little clusters of stars around the center of the flower?  And do you see the bug at the very tip of the petal on the upper right (you'll want to click the photo to enlarge.)

When I took the photo, immediately I was seeing a bead embroidered piece of art, and I still do.  But in the meantime, while it simmers in my creative brain, I had to share with you so you could enjoy the simple beautiful Mother Nature gives us each and every day.

I Heart Macro Photography

Like it?  Wanna Play?  Click the I Heart Macro button and you'll be taken to Waterstone Jewelry's blog!  Surf through the current entries for I Heart Macro and then share an entry of your own!  Can't wait to see what you capture!

Have a terrific week! {Hugs!}

Friday, July 8, 2011

Facebook Friday - Connecting your Personal Profile to your Business Profile

Welcome to Facebook Friday!  First let me ask... if you have an online business, do you have a Facebook business page or are you just using your personal profile?

If you don't have a business page, you really should.  For a number of reasons, there are many more applications that work with business pages that just aren't available to personal profiles.  (i.e. Etsy app and the Artfire Kiosk to name a few.)

So if you don't yet have a business page, set one up.... I'll wait, so hurry back. :o) Trust me, people are much more likely to follow what's going on with your business if they just have to click "Like," rather than sending you a friend request and waiting for you to accept.

Once you've gotten your business page set up, you'll want to link your personal page to your business.  Otherwise, how will people know where to find your business page (or that you even have one.)  One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is when they list their employment on their personal page, they'll write XYZ company or self employed, etc.  BUT by doing that, nobody knows you have a business you run.  They have no way of seeing that information.  This really came into play when Facebook made their major changes back in May for both the personal and business pages.

How can we fix this?

Regardless of your day job, or full-time employment, the reality is you still work for yourself and need to promote YOUR business with passion in order for it to grow.  Simple solution to get you started.  In the Employment Section of your personal profile, set the employer as your facebook fan page!  Here's how:
  1. Click Edit Profile > then go to the Education and Work section.
  2. Begin typing the name of your fan page in the Employer field.
  3. If you see your fan page in the dropdown menu, select it.
  4. Then fill out the remaining fields (Position, City/Town, Description and Time Period). If you also add in any business partners/colleagues, this will show on their profile too under the Employer section.
  5. Click Add Job.
Ta Daaaaa!  It's that simple!  Now when people are your friends on your personal profile, they can click the link at the top of your profile to go directly to your business page!

Want more great Facebook and Social Media Marketing tips?  "Like" my FB Page and I'll be sharing more secrets and tips frequently in the weeks to come!  Hope you have a FANTASTIC Facebook Friday!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Cinderella Made it Home from the Ball

We survived the 4th of July weekend.  No windows were blown out because of the neighbors fireworks.  All 3 of my dogs still have their bark (although our big guy is still working his way back to normal.)  And we enjoyed all of our family gatherings.  Here's a few pics to share from our fabulous weekend! 

When you wear the funky glasses, these bubbles appear to have lightening bolts in them.
These Fabulous Glasses are 3-D for the Bubbles!
I am in the process of doing a review for SoftFlex Craft Wire using it in a wire crochet cuff.  Can't wait to share with you. (secret: there might even be a tutorial involved.. shhhhh)

Hope you have a wonderful week!  Hard to believe it's half over already!
My Sweetie and My Baby Bella

Friday, July 1, 2011

Long Weekend - Break out the Margaritas!

Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian friends!  Hope you are enjoying the holiday and spending time with your dear families.  For those in the states, the 4th of July is on Monday, so I say... what the heck, let's break out the margarita maker right.this.very.minute!

Since WI is so close to Canada... I mean heck, we're only an international border away... I'm officially celebrating BOTH holidays!  Yes, I'm barefoot, casual and I've started my weekend early!  I have 3 dogs all napping peacefully (gasp, that NEVER happens) and mama's gonna go play in some beadzzzzzz!  WOO HOO!

This weekend is always a lot of fun!  Celebrating my niece Ashlynn's 3rd birthday (actual birthday is today, party is tomorrow) then having a BBQ with Chris' family on Sunday... and on Monday, we all rest!

What's your plans for Canada Day or the 4th of July?  Are there fireworks on your agenda?  (That F-word... yes, fireworks) is sooooo not welcome in our home.  Cody is TERRIFIED of anything that goes boom... which is precisely why he's a handsome house dog and not a hunting dog.  LOL  So we play REALLY loud music to drown out the crazy neighbors that aim their bottle rockets at our house.  And yes, you read that correctly, they actually point the tube that they shoot the ILLEGAL bottle rockets out of at our house... and yes, we have talked nicely to them and asked them to please not aim their flaming explosives at our home... but apparently they have short term memory issues.  So this year, they get a visit from the uniforms until they can refresh that aging memory.  (Sidenote: they already started last weekend and we had 4 bottle rockets in our front yard... just feet from our screen porch.)

In my next life, I'll live in the middle of the woods with no neighbors for 5 miles each direction!

Hope your weekend is fun, safe and full of great memories... or really funny stories you can share on your blog! :o)



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