Monday, March 25, 2013

Houdini Yourself Out of that Box

Sometimes I think designers tie themselves up and lock themselves into a box without even thinking about it.  We get caught up in a color palette or style and breaking free of it doesn't enter our minds or is scary.

Since moving back to California I have been making a concerted effort to work with and surround myself with more color because I did see my safe, classical color choices as a bit of a rut.   And it's interesting when you make a change like that...some people will love it, some will hate it.

Comments of "I love your new style" or "I prefer your old style" or my very favorite "Your usual style" abound....I like to think of myself as unusual/original so if there was ever a word to get me to change direction....that would be!

Personally I don't see it as a style change, just a color change, at the moment my love of black and white paired with a splash of color is the trend which is just bloody fantastic :)

It allows me to go from this nice safe 'classical' palette

To this 'on trend' version.

It's quite the difference. 

I love what I do...designing and writing tutorials so others can make what I design and part of it is to see what someone else does with my design, typically what it looks like in their color palette. At first I didn't include colors in my tutorials because I thought people would want to make the design in their own colorway but now I do because I always get requests for the actual colors I used.  And I can see I may have to write an addendum to this tutorial to include the neon version.

Of course changing your palette may require some bead shopping (oh drat!)
but surrounding yourself with the scary diminishes it. And working with different palettes makes you grow as a designer.  Bright colors are in fashion right now, trending as they say, so I say...go for, experiment, if you're scared of color this is the perfect time to face your fear.

Do a Houdini from your 'usual' style, I dare ya!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Fame or Fortune

As I get asked and because I have to deal with it I may rant a little you have been warned.

To publish or not to publish is the question.

Do you send your designs to a magazine to be published?

This is what I've learned.

If you're starting out and want to get your name known it's a good thing to do BUT be fully aware of what you're getting yourself into.

If you don't mind waiting eons to get paid for your work.
You won't get paid for at least 6 months and you won't make anywhere near the money you could have selling it in your own online store.

If it doesn't worry you that some website (biser) will scan your project straight from the magazine and put it up for free to the world, essentially stealing any revenue you might make after you get your rights back from the magazine. And don't expect the magazine to care. They probably won't help you, they made their money and they will not lift a finger to help you protect your copyright.  I write with experience of this with Beadwork magazine and my  Gothic Butterfly design.

If you don't mind having people teach your project and not even paying you a license fee.  Why should they take the time and put the effort in to do all that work when they can just use yours? Is that right? Do you sign a contract that allows people to do that? I certainly didn't and was very surprised to read a line in Interweave's booklet "Knowing Your Rights: Copyright 101 for beaders" that says as long as all students purchase a legitimate copy of a tutorial anyone can teach it. WRONG!  I discovered this when someone told me they were taking my I wasn't teaching!  So, if you plan to make income from teaching the design you submit to a magazine be aware some bead store who sells the magazine may be teaching that class without your knowledge....and so that's some income gone.

If you've copied someone else's design and want a magazine to back up your claim to the design....they only care that you sign a contract claiming it as your design...not if it's actually yours, they aren't going to check and if the actual designer claims it...hey, they're protected they have a signed contract. Of course this means you are a corrupt individual too and you better be prepared to be sued or have your name be dirt in the beading community.

If these things worry you or cause you stress, if you feel that you're the one who should be making the money from your hard work.....because it will eat you alive.

If you are willing to advertise yourself through social media and believe your work will get the recognition on it's own merits.

It's very flattering to have a magazine or publisher want your work and it does mean something. It means that your work is so good other people know they can make money from you or you wouldn't be hearing from them...and if they know that then it's also true that you can make the money on your own.

Also if you want some name recognition without having to sign your work away you can always submit pictures of your work to be published in other people's books....appearing in the gallery of someone else's book or in a beadwork collection book are good alternatives.

I get asked about this stuff a lot and this is my opinion on it, yours may differ.
I used to dream of having a publisher want to have me write a book, I no longer have that's not financially viable for me right now. Also I confess to being a bit of a control freak...I write my tutorials very thoroughly with large illustrations and they usually have a LOT of pages for each design, this isn't the most desirable thing for most publishers.

It's your choice....just be informed :)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Home Sweet Home

So this is where I spend my days now, the orange recliner.

I bead there and as when I was ill I couldn't sit up at my desk for long I've gotten used to working with my laptop on top of my lap :)

From there I can look at the trees and the sunset, watch Bella play on the deck, watch TV and bead to my hearts content.
It's home!

I'd like to say that since I took this picture I've put pictures up on the walls but nope, not there yet. The cube storage now has 'Bento' boxes in three of the holes....they serve as storage, perfect for a quick tidy up because someone's at the!  They have tray lids which have now become my bead trays...all lined with bead mats...and I have more lids than boxes because they stack really neatly and I always have a bunch of projects in progress.  The top center cube space has become inhabited by acrylic boxes full of my Delicas and actually looks a little like art.
While the bulk of my beads are at home in my office storage I manage to have all my 'go to' beads right where I need them....within arm's length.

In decorating my new home I had the idea of going 'Steampunk' and had all sorts of ideas that would have been really cool.....and then I fell in love with that orange recliner. It is THE most comfortable chair I have ever sat in.
I think it was meant to be because it made me bring bright color into my life which is what I really needed to lift my spirits. 

I also knew that it would influence my work and help bring some fun and whimsy back into it.  I followed destiny's direction started looking at things that inspired me and made me feel of those things was the work of Suzanne Golden, how can you not be happy just looking at a pic of this vibrant, creative woman?  And it was Suzanne who inspired my Carousel Bangles  (the Carousel One tutorial is now in my store and by far my best seller to date).

The Carousel Too tutorial is in progress but I took a break to write a couple of tutorials that had been waiting in the wings.

The quick and easy "Zippy with Sunburst Snaps" named for the way the super duo beads mimic zipper teeth.

And "Ric Rac Honeycomb" which has two styles of 'ric rac' edging a band 
of my honeycomb stitch which I  just listed in my store today.

I actually missed the bright colors while I was working on these so expect to see more of the super brights in my designs.

After the last seven years of struggling about doing something that wasn't me, living in a place I didn't like and the health issues to boot I now find myself thinking each day...."I'm back"
I'm back to living in a less judgmental community, more culturally diverse place with everything I need close by. I feel so much lighter and brighter about my's like my independence and sense of fun is seeping back into me.

You have to be yourself, surround yourself with what you love, live for yourself otherwise it just isn't worth it.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

I'm Back

Boy, it's sure been a while.
When life gets in the way the blog seems to be the first thing to go.

Since I was last seen on my blog April 14th last year (eek!) to say a lot has happened would be a huge understatement.

SO.....update from where I left off.

Beading For a Cure.
I ended up discovering a stitch I hadn't done before, Pondo or African Circle stitch and it worked perfectly with the beads in the kit with the addition of some of the new two holed beads....Super Duos.
I sent in two bracelets for the auction.....the first being PonDuo Tapestry

The second being the top part of the lace cuff that wasn't working.

Many people requested PonDuo Tapestry be a tutorial and many asked for a kit too. I don't normally do kits but as this one had some hard to track down beads I did. There are still a few kits left and they are in my store along with the tutorial.

Battle of the Beadsmith

I know many of you followed my progress in this widely published contest and are familiar with my entry
"Armadillo Blossom Purse"
For those not familiar my muse gave me the challenge to cross an armadillo with a lotus blossom and threw in a difficulty clause that I use cube beads.

Here it is with the Armadillo Egg Vessel that came after.
And here's the 'glamour' shot of me with the purse.

And during all of this I moved Mom and I from Utah to California.
Cleared and cleaned the house for sale, packed a U-Haul truck, towed my car and got us to Fresno.....and I only broke two toes, threw my hip out and ended up on crutches otherwise it went quite!

The second trip....back to Utah to list the house was a nightmare. I really wasn't well enough to go but despite my protestations we went. I was so sick with migraines the whole trip, which had to be extended because I was basically just a ball of pain.  We discovered the house had termites, luckily the good kind....well, less bad kind...had to tear down a wall and have the house treated, put in new carpet too. Fortunately I managed to have windows of wellness to organize all this and understanding realtors to help Mom

After major problems with the U-haul trailer for the journey back we made it. Home is now Fresno, California.

I did realize that maybe me moving even a couple of blocks from Mom might not be the best idea and we joked about if the apartment next door became vacant it would be perfect. I checked and was told the woman who lived there had no plans to move. A week later the property manager pulled me aside and said "You'll never guess what"
So after a few delays I moved next door in November.

Before the move happened we got a puppy...

 This is Bella after she destroyed a box of kleenex.
She's the sweetest and smartest dog I've ever had and is great pet therapy for Mom, which is the main reason I adopted her.  She has brought lots of love, joy and laughter...and our lives.

After this I got pretty sick, I think the year was so hard on me that I was drained and vulnerable.  I started eating healthier, started juicing again but it still wasn't bouncing me back. After seeing a check list on Dr Oz for gluten intolerance and checking off every single thing on the list I figured that might be my problem. So, I went gluten free.

The first week I felt better and I lost a couple of pounds, it wasn't too big a deal to cut out gluten.  Then it got serious. I became super allergic to gluten and the tiniest bit would make me horribly ill.  I seemed to become allergic to lots of things and wondered if I actually had Celiac disease.  It was pretty scary but I kept going, knowing that if I put healthy things in my body I would eventually get better.

And I have. January saw me have my first normal month in ages. I was working again, no longer a vegetable on the couch.  I wasn't quite well when I taught a little class at the bead society meeting and in truth I thought I was going to pass out and had to hightail it to the bathroom, and it did take me two days to recover but at least I managed it.

A month later and I'm feeling like my old self....well, a new, gluten free old self.  Yesterday I convinced myself that I am better because I booked my flight to the Bead & Button show in June. I did take the insurance because one never knows but I really want to go and this year is my best chance.

It also means I really am starting that new life I've been craving ever since my Dad got ill, died and I was stuck in Utah with Mom.
We're very happy here, Mom loves it as much, if not more, than I knew she would, she says she feels alive again and she doesn't miss her old home a bit!

So...I'm back, my blog is now back and I'll be sharing lots of new stuff as I get back into it.  Stay tuned...good things to come :)