Monday, August 19, 2013

Sharing and the Bead Community

Well, I've been a busy little bee since I last posted.

The new Bead Mavens are up and running to a great welcome...thanks so much for that. It took me 18 months to feel good enough about people again to do it but I'm so glad I did and I think the new format is going to be terrific.

I gathered six designers who write or are starting to write tutorials and I help/mentor them as much as they need to become better known and grow their businesses. Why would I help my competition you ask? Because I believe in "Pay It Forward" and the bead community as a whole. I believe if we help each other we all benefit.

The whole idea about the Bead Mavens is to share, share what we know, what we've learned, how we do things. One thing I learned while teaching was that not all tutorials/patterns are equal and you tend to have to buy blind. I had many students bring me patterns to decipher and sometimes I had a hard time trying to figure out a thread path for them....yes, it stunned me that some patterns don't have a thread path and you're expected to figure it out for yourself.   So, having the Mavens do two free tutorials for the blog in their year stint let's you, the beady reader, see just how they write and if it's a style that works for you. You get a free tutorial and they get the exposure and maybe some new, right?

I personally have 12 free tutorials available right now over at Bead Mavens...and 13 if you count Crystal Corners on this blog. My spirit of sharing even though this is what I do for a living.

Anyway...that's one thing underway.

I also finally finished my Doodad trio of tutorials...YAY! and my Tile & Hinge bracelet tutorial...they are listed and selling well...thank you so much :)

Yesterday after some discussion on Facebook with other designers I was encouraged to open a discussion group so we could share information and ideas about how better to protect our written works.  There is much confusion about copyright law out there and I'm not sure it's yet caught up to our high speed world.  I do know that some unethical characters are taking projects published in magazines, scanning them and putting them up on their own websites and Facebook pages. Whilst looking at one of these after being alerted for someone else's work I found one of my own tutorials, my name taken off, no credit or link given. I certainly didn't give permission for that.

I'm not sure any designer would be for this kind of thing but maybe some don't need to make money from their work so it wouldn't matter to them. 
As tutorials are my sole income it matters to me.  I stopped submitting to magazines because of this kind of thing and I know a lot of designers who have done the same, some even stopping selling online or even posting pictures of their work for fear of losing their income, opting instead to teach locally where they have control but their income is then very limited. Sad!

I've developed a very tough skin lately. I just reached a point where I said "I quit!" and I thought about that. To quit doing what I love and what gives me and my Mom financial security is I decided to quit letting the unethical behavior of others get to me.  I'm chock full of designs...more than I can make if I never have another idea and I bead till I'm 100! 
So I move on when someone does wrong by me and I trust in Karma to take care of me as it has done in the past and I will not feel guilty if Karma has a heavy hand as it has also done.  Scares me for people but that's theirs to deal with.

In my old age...I'l be 55 this year...OMG how did THAT happen?....I have developed a full belief in myself that can't be shaken anymore. It's a great place to get be able to not let the bullies in the world get to you, to feel so confident in who you are as a person that you no longer worry what people think of you....and in fact when someone does say bad things it just makes you laugh and then maybe feel a bit sorry for that person who obviously hasn't reached that good spot in life.

I'm like Sheldon Cooper I have found my spot. Such freedom. Such happiness. Such joy :)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Saturday Morning Eye Candy

It's been a couple of weeks since I posted because there's been a lot going on behind the scenes.
I can now let you know I am bringing back the Bead Mavens, new people, new format, hopefully lots of good info and free tutorials you have told me you enjoyed so much :)  Relaunch date is August 4th when I will start introducing the new designers for the first year.  Yes, I will have new designers each year!
So many people wrote before wanting to know how they could be a Maven this time they will have a chance. More on that later.

As we have our first cool day, read under 100 degrees, we're planning to take full advantage of it and get rid of our cabin fever.

But I thought I'd bring you a little eye candy to start your day and let you know I'm still beading and writing tutorials.
This is the tutorial in progress right's in the testing/editing phase.

The Ric Rac Waterlily was inspired by all the wonderful work Kate McKinnon, and the world, are doing with her book Contemporary Geometric Beadwork.
I've worked hard to just take inspiration and create something of my own whilst also keeping things in my current style of bold color with black and white.....which people keep telling me to problemo, it's my personal style :)

The 3-layer and the 4-layer versions

The regular size ones with the bangle/wall wreath in progress.

And the 3-layer sitting on top of the bangle in progress just for fun.

And once that tutorial is finished I can start on the tutorials for these Doodads :)
Cone, Corkscrew and Pyramid.

Alrighty you have some good ol' bead porn to look at I'm off to the park :)  Have yourselves a great weekend!

Monday, June 17, 2013

I Lost My Virginity

Yes, I did! I am no longer a Bead & Button Show virgin.

BOY! Is that an event, the show, that is.  So many people wearing so many amazing pieces of beaded art, people wheeling craft carts, displays of the most gorgeous pieces designed to make your chin hit the carpet.

Of course, idiot me had phone and camera and took one solitary photo!
And not even of jewelry....not even a good photo!  Which only goes to show how overwhelmed I was!

There used to be a time I didn't go anywhere without a camera....methinks I need to get back into that habit!

Anyway....the show got off to a bit of a rough start for me....there was some not so pleasant stuff going on my first night that could have completely ruined my trip if I had let it.....but that seemed to be the idea. The next day my suspicions were confirmed by a few, it isn't paranoia if it's actually happening...I was met with it as soon as I walked into the showroom.  
But you can't let these things get you down and my work shone through it all and I had a brilliant time.

It is rather un-nerving to be stood in line at Starbucks and have someone suddenly scream your name, and to have people wanting to have their picture taken with you.!   Also an incredibly rewarding feeling that my designs are giving people joy. I feel so lucky to be able to make a living from doing something that brings me joy and then to know for sure, in my face, that my work is appreciated.  

I am now able to put so many faces/voices/laughs to the names on my Facebook friends list and include some people as firm real life friends. I met some of the most amazing designers...the icons of beading and you could have picked me up off the floor when they knew my work....and even 'admired' or 'loved' it!  

On the health front I did extremely well at the show, I had lots of energy and was literally running around at some jogging through the skywalks. The food issue was a little troublesome at first...I swear if someone else had suggested a gluten free soup and salad I would have rammed it.  My first day of GF food while travelling sucked however I got myself over to Millertime and found GF beer and bunless burgers...yay!
I did chance the fries....and they were a bit of a day I asked if they used the same oil for fries as he chicken nuggets and sure enough they do....bread crumb cross contamination!   So, I felt the effects of cross contamination each day but nothing that ruined anything.  Story got a little different when I got home and a week later I'm still recovering from the horrible effects of gluten build-up. shall pass!

The whole trip made me do a lot of soul searching and thinking. Yesterday I posted pics of my art on Facebook, something I tend to keep hidden because that was what I was taught to do.  I learned to hide my work/talent because a few people get all pissy about it...and sometimes take their frustrations out on my work by ruining it or stealing it. My first year's work at college at the end of year display was splashed with paint and every piece ruined. My second year someone went into the pottery studio and smashed a set of figurines I'd worked all year on.  It has been explained to me, sometimes years later by the people who did these things that they didn't like that I was always top of my classes. *sigh*

So I've decided to not hide in a corner anymore, there will always be the haters who try to intimidate you out of existence and they can only do that if we let them.  I have some interesting things coming up, some new things, some reincarnated things. 
Watch this space :)

So....a big thank you to all the wonderful people I met at B&B with a special thank you to Shelley Gross, Suzanne Golden, Jill and June Wiseman, Jennifer Erlichs, Leora Mattila, Mandie Ainsworth, Amy Royster, Perry Bookstein, Kelly Stevenson, Lisa Kan and a myriad of others.  Also a big thank you to the not so nice bunch as you gave me the push I needed to get out of the corner.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

PDF Tutorials....All Profit...Right?

Having just answered another inquiry about why I don't write tutorials for certain things I thought I'd explain the cost issues of writing a tutorial.
I had a conversation with the wonderful Mr. Patrick Duggan on this subject just last week.....a little brain picking as he moves into the world of tutorial writing., you want to write a tutorial.

First you need to design it, so that might take a day or two or a week or two for this example let's say it's a 40 hour week.
Design is getting the idea, developing it, beading it, making any changes and tweaks.  Designers in the 'real' world make good money so you you'll want to charge your time least $15 an hour.
So 40 x $15 = $600
Plus the costs of materials...including all samples, most designers make at least two and often three samples.
Say this piece isn't too spendy and costs $20 per sample.
Two at $20 = $40

Running total = $640

Next up is writing the tutorial so you better have your illustration/ photographic skills ready.

As I illustrate I'll price on that.
Graphic designers/illustrators make good money...I know I used to be one, and I know that if I farmed this out it would actually cost me hundreds if not thousands for this service.  But let's go with the $15 an hour.

Two days of illustrating, two days of writing, tweaking, photographing and editing. That's 4 x 8 hours @ $15 an hour = $480

Running total $1120
And this doesn't include overheads. much does it sell for.....price too high and it won't sell, price too low and you'll have to sell a LOT more.....for this amount of work I'd be looking at a $20 dollar price tag.

So....the first two tutorials I sell will pay for the supplies and I have to sell 56 tutorials before I'm paid for the work.  And that can take a week or a year or more.

If you work a regular job, you work for a couple of weeks or a month and get paid...and many times you can't wait for payday to get here. You work and you know you will be paid for that work....not in this business, the reality is you may have to wait 5 years to be fully compensated for a piece.
When you release a new design you hope and you better have a lot of patience, and belief in yourself and your design...because lack of sales is tough on the ego as well as the bank account.

Some designs don't make it to tutorial simply because when tested, photos posted on Facebook, they get a cool response which doesn't bode well for sales.  Sometimes that just requires a change of palette but it does mean back to the drawing board.

Some designs like the one I was asked about this morning, my Armadillo Blossom purse, will never be tutorials because they would take way too long to write and not many people would want to put THAT amount of work into something let alone the $80 the tutorial would have to cost.

For me this is a business, my sole income and when you have no financial back-up (husband, pension, lottery winnings) you have to step back a little from the artistic and let the business side come to the fore.

Some designs are just not financially viable no matter how much you and everyone else likes them.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Unregulated Beads or Why I Don't Design with Gemstones

Conformity is what I'm talking about.
Uniform sizes.
Holes in the right damn place!

Yes....I've been struggling.
Bright little spark that I can be, I decided to work with of those "What were you thinking?" moments after the work was half way done.

Ok...this is the deal:

I designed my Celtic Knot necklace while I was ill last year and am only now getting around to writing the tutorial and of course I needed a refresher on it not to mention a piece to test the tutorial. I made the first Turquoise Howlite version from some beads I picked up at a bead show.
And right there is a what was I thinking a designer who sells a lot internationally I have to use beads that can be easily found or offer 
up a supplier or carry the special beads myself.

So for my second version I found that Artbeads carried the shape and size of gemstone I needed albeit in limited colors....I bought the three they had.
Well....I've been working with them this week and so I could test the tutorial I illustrated the major components before I began beading.

Imagine my horror when it just didn't work.
The holes in the Coral Quartz are about 1mm higher into the stone than with the Howlite.  1mm is not much, a teensy measure but OMG!
It can totally mess with your design.

The result is I've putzed around for a couple of days this week, procrastinated like crazy, been very unproductive and then, of course, guilty for the lack of productivity.

Finally, yesterday, I sat down to work on the 'fix'.
I realized I would have to create a 'flexible' fix because who knows where the holes in you're gemstones are going to be?
The result is good, you probably can't tell the difference....yeah, part of that is due to the colorway change...but had I started with the Coral Quartz this is exactly what I would have done in the first place and the 'fix' would have been just easy and obvious.

My blog is about the trials and tribulations of this business and the problem with holes is definitely one of them.....we all know about the second blocked hole in a super duo bead....if you hear a beader scream these days that's probably why.

Anyway....problem solved.
I'll have to do some more illustrations on the 'fix' but I'd rather do that than have to go through tweaking everything.  On Monday I thought this one was going super fast and easy and would be in my store this week.....oh, how the Powers That Be like to play with me!

And it's always when I'm chomping at the bit to move onto the next project...which is the patterned version of the new Padlock Pendant.

I need to take some new shots with it's rope, a 36" half twist herringbone.
I need so many more hours in the day....especially when a 1mm difference  can take me down!

Oh....and I just opened a Twitter account.
So, do a search for my name and follow me, you never know what you might get to know.  I plan on using Twitter while I'm at the Bead & Button Show so that if I'm sitting beading and someone wants to join me they'll be able to find me.  I plan on doing a lot of my corrugated peyote while I'm there and it's the perfect time to demo the technique....and with the long term project I'm working on you might want to take advantage :)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

What's The Deal About Teaching?

As it came up again yesterday I thought today I would post my feelings about teaching....this is why I don't care to teach anymore and why I don't permit teaching of my designs.  Your opinion may differ.

After teaching for a few years and quitting teaching a couple of times due to the demands of the stores I taught in and frankly a group of beaders who seemed to think if they paid $10 for a class it meant I would drive to their house anytime they wished to give them extra private tuition. And, no, I am not kidding.

As the years have past (barely five now) I have learned a lot about myself. I am a designer/inventor.  It's my love, my drive.
Teaching is very time consuming and while I can enjoy teaching a class of advanced beaders someone asking me "What is peyote stitch?" in a class stresses me to panic levels.  I used to have the patience to teach basic stitches but it flew away.

So, designing, illustrating and writing tutorials is what I do now.
Will I ever teach again, never say never, but any student signing up would have to know the stitches in the project or they'd just get handed a basic stitch sheet, some beads and be told to! 

Ok...teaching of my designs.
Quite simply I don't allow I'm told I can't stop someone as long as they are using an authentic tutorial, ie one purchased from me or they have their own copy of a magazine project by me.  
I will argue this point as I don't believe teaching someone else's work is "Fair Use" as it means someone else is making money from my hard work and if I decide to teach then they're in direct competition with me. Or should I sell a license to teach, once again I'd be losing money.  

Whether it's legal or not its highly unethical to use someone else's work to make your money especially when it's against the wishes of the designer.
If you are teaching someone else's designs without their permission you have to ask yourself this question:
"Why don't I design my own projects, write my own tutorials  and teach them?"
If your answer is "I don't have the talent" or "It takes too much time" or "I don't have the name to get me students" or "I won't make enough to pay for all the time it would take to do that"

Then you need to go to the mirror and take a good, honest look at yourself, that is one very unethical person you're best!

Next....why don't I sell a license for someone to teach my designs?
This one is a matter of trust. I don't trust people, I have many, many reasons not to trust people.  I have people say, "But you know me" and I have to say....I knew my father too, didn't stop him from taking from me.  And I won't go into the number of 'friends' that have taken from me.

Trust is important when it comes to allowing someone to teach your work.
#1 you have to trust that they know the design well enough to be able to teach it.
#2 You have to trust that they do supply every student with a tutorial so they can finish the project.
#3 you have to trust them with your tutorial...that they won't go print off as many copies as they like, and when someone says..."I don't have time for the class can I buy the pattern" that they say "No, I'm not permitted to do that you can buy it directly from the designer, here's their shop info" and not just sell it them and put the money in their pocket.

That's a lot of trust.

I did come up with the idea to do a "Teachers" workshop, where I would teach three or four designs that the students would be authorized to teach after the workshop.  That seemed like a practical solution, I'd be able to look into the eyes of the person I'd be trusting with my designs and make sure they knew all the ins and out of the designs.  However, when I mentioned this on Facebook I was met with a lot of people telling me how they would prefer I did, no workshop, no restrictions, they could choose what designs they wanted. There was even mention of forming a committee to decide how I would run my, no!
So, that idea went into the trash can.

So as it stands at this moment no one has my permission to teach my designs.

One thing I am working on....bead store adoption....because it isn't easy running a bead store, especially a bricks and mortar one.
I have already started working with an online store,
I met Sherry who runs it and we got along great, discovered we approached business the same way and when she became sole owner of Beadstalkers I knew I wanted to offer as much support as I could.
I do list Beadstalkers as a bead supplier in my tutorials when using the beads Sherry carries and she in turn will stock specific colors/beads I
When Sherry showed me her bracelet design which became "Pyramids of Giza" I knew another way I could help, so I am now putting together a tutorial a month of her designs which she offers free with bead purchase or for sale.

For my bricks and mortar store, I chose Bead Artistry, which is just a couple of blocks away, I am in process of going through my designs to see which I think would work as classes....and then Bead Artistry will choose a few that they want to teach, and I'll make sure they know all the ins and outs.

I just handed in a Clasp tutorial to be taught by someone else at the bead society too....and sometimes I am willing to do things like that for bead societies.

I do think it's important for us to support each other in the beading community, yesterday I heard of another store closure and that made me sad.
As a designer I do have to make a living from my work and I do feel that by permitting people to sell what they make from my tutorials I am helping them make an income....but I draw the line at people teaching my designs and I hope people respect that. The ethical will. The unethical won't. Just like having laws, the decent respect and abide by them, the criminals don't.

Eventually the law will catch up, I do believe that, but what is a law?
Something a group decides is a rule to be followed or be really, if the bead designers could agree and get together on this we could make law. It only takes one case in our favor to set a precedent.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday Morning Latte

Yesterday saw me do one of my reward thingies, I'd been meeting and passing my goals so the fund for a new espresso system had become fully charged...YAY!

I'm not a huge coffee drinker but I do have to have mu morning latte. Times past I would stop at Starbucks at 6am before getting on the freeway to drive from Santa Monica to Disneyland for work.  It's my treasured morning ritual.
Of course, even at one a day, it's not an inexpensive one and being a frugal Yorkshire lass investing in a machine seemed like a great idea.

When my first espresso machine literally blew up, spewing parts across the kitchen, it had saved me a few thousand dollars during it's life. I actually sat down and figured that out...ok, so it was to justify buying a new one on a tight budget.   Of course that one eventually died too and it was during the dark days when I couldn't afford a new one.  So, I picked one of those non-pump ones up at Big Lots for $10 and have been making do.

In January I started saving for a new one.  When Starbucks came out with their Verissimo I was excited....and when they were going to be demoing it just down the street I was there. But all it netted me was disappointment, did not care for it at better flavor from my $10 one.
I was window shopping in Williams Sonoma when I saw the Nespresso machines and thought the Pixie was just so dang cute and neat but couldn't imagine getting a decent espresso from it.  The guy that came over to help me asked if I would like to try it...well, ok.
I was very surprised at the espresso he was good, really good.
Then he showed me the Aeroccino which I truly wasn't interested in but that blew me away too.
So now I knew what I was saving for.

When we went to Williams Sonoma yesterday while I was showing Mom
the gal came and demoed the machine for us and even Mom was impressed, not by the coffee, she's not a fan, but by how dang cute it was.
When the gal told me they had one on sale because the color was being discontinued and that color was lime green....that was it. SOLD!

It works with pods, which if you join the club aren't too expensive but frugal little me did find some refillable pods I can put my own coffee in and Amazon are shipping them out to me today :)

All well and good, you say...happy for you, you say...but gee wish I had something nice, you say.
Ok....but you have to keep it a secret, this is for people who read my blog only.
All this week Sunday, 4/21 to Saturday 4/27 when you buy one tutorial I'll let you choose another of equal or lesser value for free.
Here are the have to leave a comment on this post, and in the "notes to seller" when you order type
along with your choice of freebie :)

Just's a can tell people...."Mikki wrote a great blog post" but you can't tell them about the secret....ok? Cool!

Have fun...I'll be sipping on a latte :)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Q: How Do I Make It Pay?

As this is a question I am asked a lot, how to make a living from beading, I thought I'd address it here.

The most important thing about any business is the product, if you don't have a good product no amount of 'business tips' will help. Whatever it is you make/sell be sure it's original and well put together/crafted. that's out of the way....

When someone asks me how they can make more sales/money from their business these are the questions I ask

What's your daily/weekly/monthly goal?
How far short of it are you falling?

Imagine you're going on a road trip, do you know where you're leaving from...A? Know where you're going....B? Plan a route to get there...A to B?
We all answer those questions just to go to the grocery store and yet, when it comes to our business they tend to not be thought about by many.

What are you making now?

How much are you making right now?  How many sales?  You need a starting point and what you're making right now is your A.

How much money do you really need to live and do this?

You need to start by figuring this out, be realistic, allow some $ for the unexpected and some for savings and don't forget a tax fund, because paying taxes should not be unexpected.

Once you know what you need you have a goal....your B.

Plan your route!

Let's say your sales are $1000 a month and you need $2000 a month, that means you have to double your income!!!  And it may seem impossible when you look at it in that big lump.
You're probably not going to make that increase in a month....but how about in a year?
Get your sales make that $1000 a month solid.
Once you are regularly making that start increasing your goal.
Add $100 to your goal for next month. If you meet it, add another $100 the next month, and every time you meet the goal add $100 for the next month.

If you make more than your goal one month....then you have a head start for the next.

"Ahh....but how do I do that?" you ask.

Well...that depends on you product. What's the average price of what you sell?  If it's $100 then you need to make an extra piece a month to be able to sell it.....or if you have lots of stock you need to make that extra sale.

A tip here is that not everyone has $100 to spend so can you develop something that can be sold at, say, $25? It can be easier to sell four $25 pieces than one $100 piece because more people can afford to buy.

Maybe you can't make anything small like how about investing in a bulk buy of a special bead or fabric you use? And sell that in your store, it might just push you over that goal.

Another tip is to do new photos, use different props and switch them out so your piece looks fresh and maybe catches the eye of someone who overlooked it before.

If you do what I do, write tutorials, then it might be as simple as making a sample in a new, on trend colorway.

Customer Service doesn't matter how great your product is if you don't fulfill orders quickly, answer customer contacts promptly or are too full of yourself it will effect your sales.  It truly does not pay to be an asshole :)

Break it down

That extra $100 a month breaks down to about $3.33 a day, now...does that look more doable?  Have a daily goal and be determined to meet it.

If you miss it one day....maybe an extra posting on Facebook or Pintrest will bring you back up to speed.  Miss it for a few days straight? How about a 'flash sale'?  For those of you thinking "What's a flash sale?"
A "flash sale" is a sale like '20% off the next item or say five' items sold or 'buy one get 50% off one on the next five orders'. 
It can bring you back on track just like that!
Now, that's not to say you want to be doing them every day or even every week, because if you do that you will train people to wait for the sale, in effect devaluing your product.
You also might try e-mailing your previous month's customers with a discount code.


I am a firm believer in visualization, I do think it helps.
See your sales grow in your mind....but, once again, do it in baby steps.
Don't go imagining your next day being double your last because you'd be setting yourself up for defeat.  Breaking things down to a daily goal makes the increases small and achievable. Small steps to a big goal.


Plateauing is a good thing, it is what will keep your business growing and earning. After you meet a big goal, don't go setting another one right away, give it time.  Make it consistent. Have the same goal for a few months.
After that, don't make your goals as big......if you have grown $1000 a month to make what you need then maybe set the next goal as an extra $200 a month....which at the end of the year would pay for a vacation....or a new wardrobe :)


Rewarding yourself is important.
So, you managed to double your income, YAY you!
Reward yourself...just don't go overboard.....maybe 5% a month can be allotted to your shoe fund or dinner out....or maybe just that bead storage system you've been dying to get :)

Anyway...these are my tips, I hope they help you, and if you follow me you'll see me use them, no doubt :)  

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Beading Space

Beading spaces tend to attract clutter (come on, I know it's just not mine), the put aside projects, beads from the last project, or three, that didn't make it back to their allotted place, those invoices that need to be filed, tools, thread and the scraps of paper or note books ideas get hastily scribbled into.

If you're lucky enough to have a beading room you can close the door on that mess when visitors stop by but if you bead in your living room you may find yourself pretending not to be home.

I am lucky enough to be able to use my second bedroom as an office/bead room however when I was ill sitting upright in an office chair was painful and I wasn't able to do it for more than 30 minutes at a time. I had planned only to use my office to write tutorials, the beading would be done in the living room from my spot ("it faces the television at an angle that is neither direct so that it would discourages conversations nor at an angle that would causes a parallax distortion"...Sheldon Cooper).

So this is my spot.

And as a beader my spot has to have easy access to my beads, all my go to beads are right there and .....hidden here...

To keep it all tidy I found the wonderful 'Bento' boxes, this one not having any projects in it's pockets so far :) And those pockets fold away too.

The tray lids have become my new project boards, lined with a bead mat and I have more lids than boxes because they stack nicely and I can have multiple projects going without having work trays everywhere.

Now, I will tell you there is a down side to this....the corners on these trays can grab your thread as you work, if you're anything like me my thread manages to get wrapped around anything within three feet. That said, it gets less so the more I work with them and the tidiness I get from the trays outweighs the thread catches.  And yes...that little white tray holding the current beads in use is a water color palette, 79c from the art store.

Another little thing I have at my beady little fingers is a thread catcher.

My! Just a sticky paper rolled on itself and stuck on the side of my cube shelf but boy, it's great for storing the usable bits of fireline that used to get lost or trailed across the room.

So, there you have I keep my beading area tidy enough for visitors.  Of course the rest of the living room is covered with Bella's toys and the kleenex she just tore up so I may pretend to not be home for that reason....but Bella's fault!

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.