Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Wishing you all the very best holidays ever--full of all the things you love most!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The importance of objects

It's been another busy month for me. I've been trying to get all sorts of listings done and expand my selection in different ways.

I've almost gotten to the point where I can relax. Just two more large sets of listings and I could take a small break.

Only the universe has other plans, apparently. Yesterday I received a phone call that I did not expect; something that might mean restructuring my entire eBay store.

Later that day, I ran downstairs to look for a bag, and I found a leaking pipe instead.

It could have been much, much worse. It hadn't been going on long, and the damage was limited to a small area. Sadly, it was a small but vital area, where I had artwork and mementos stored along with my jewelry boxes. I moved things last night and called the plumber, and then went and ran a necessary errand, trying to keep a brave face.

Today the plumber arrived, and the news was very good. The repair was swift and easy, and it's all done. So tonight I braved the mess again, wanting to organize things.

Each new ruined thing was a wave of sadness; each salvageable thing a small victory. I found that more was ruined than I had originally thought; I found things which somehow were protected by a lucky coincidence like a plastic bag inside a box. Posters and artwork and beautiful paintings by my great-uncle were destroyed; photographs from my late grandmother's house were miraculously preserved, having perched on top of a ruined album that took the brunt of the water. The strange twists of fate were illuminated as I opened each box.

Now it's just a matter of drying out the ruined jewelry boxes and paper. I think most of it can be recycled, at the very least. I am borrowing an industrial dehumidifier from my sister, who has weathered several floods. We'll wrestle it into place tonight and hope for the best. It could have been so much worse and I take comfort in that.

I'm just trying to look out on the pond today and feel peace.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

So. Much. Brass.

I just bought a new set of brass stampings. Pendants, charms, components, links, name it.

There are zodiac signs, reindeer, teddy bears, turtles, bulls, Scotties, flowers, cats, saddles, tennis racquets, and seals.

I spent today taking 280+ pictures. Yes, you read that correctly. And then, because I just couldn't stop there, I edited them all, cropped them all, saved them, and then uploaded them. So tomorrow all I have to do is write the listings. New listings take a lot longer than existing listings, but hopefully I will be able to share these all by the end of tomorrow, or at least Thursday night.

After that, I will be tackling the huge job of the new semiprecious cabochons. whew!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

New and fabulous beads and cabs

I'm back from my last buying trip until February, and I really outdid myself this time. Waaaay outdid myself. I could barely lift the bag, honestly.

But that's a good thing, right? Wait until you see these yums.

From left to right: sage amethyst briolettes, fossil coral, lodalite, faceted lodalite, sunstone, fossil coral, rhyolite, amethyst, GARNET EEEEE LOOK AT IT SO HUGELY WIDE, rutilated quartz, amethyst

I also picked up many more beautiful vintage reproduction beads:

I adore these gorgeous jewel tones so much--so beautiful and vivid and the amazing floral designs are scrumptious!

I've been really thinking about expanding my business and selling different things, and I've decided to try selling a new category of merchandise. Semiprecious stone cabs, present yourselves front and center:

This is a small selection of what I bought. So many delicious stones here--quartz stalactite, rhyolite, Botswana agate, bloodstone, rutilated quartz, chaorite, fossil coral, and more. I can't wait to start listing these!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I'm off..., not my rocker, off for the weekend!

My dear friend's birthday is this weekend, and I'll be visiting her so I can join in on the celebrations. And also indulge in a quick buying trip! I can't wait to get more awesome beads and cabs.

It's nice, being able to take a long drive here and there. I find that having a nice block of time that is just me and my thoughts and my music can be really energizing and inspiring. October was a mad scramble, and November was pretty busy in a different way, so I'm really looking forward to having a nice little weekend vacation.

Have a lovely weekend, and I'll see you next week!

Here's a picture of my pond from yesterday to tide you over:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Jewelry for Mom

My parents stayed with us this weekend, and my mom reminded me that I hadn't made anything out of the pendant she'd bought from Nawbin earlier this year. It was made of Tiffany Stone set in sterling silver, and it's been sitting on my desk for months.

I always like consulting with the person the jewelry is for, so it was great to have her opinion and incorporate the beads she wanted. Here's the final piece:

Even more fun, I got to repair a vintage piece! My mom loves this bracelet, which she got from her mother, and wore to prom:

I've always loved it, too. The band is so clever; it's incredibly comfortable to wear, doesn't pinch at all, and opens and closes so beautifully and smoothly. Plus, it's incredibly flashy and fun.

Sadly, I didn't have the exact vintage crystals to match, but I did have other vintage crystals that were the same size. They aren't AB coated, and they're a slightly different cut, but I think they still had enough light and facets to do the job.

Interestingly enough, it turns out the band was made in Japan:

The original beads are Swarovski, of course, that divine bicone/round hybrid that I adore. It was marvelous fun to make the bracelet whole again; it was missing nearly twenty of its sparkling baubles, but tonight it looks great again.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Jewelry Sale This Weekend!!

This weekend only, I am offering 20% off in my Laurel Moon Jewelry Etsy shop! This is the discount I usually give to family and friends, so this is a very special deal. It expires Monday night, so hurry over to my shop and pick out your favorite treasures! All of my jewelry items come with a gift box.

Just use the coupon code CYBERMONDAY and you'll receive 20% off your entire order!

Owl necklace in my Etsy shop

Celtic heart earrings with silver hooks and Swarovski crystal beads

Horse necklace in my Etsy shop

Stop by, and don't forget to use CYBERMONDAY to save 20%!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

5 Best Business Purchases I've Made

We all buy things for our businesses. In fact, it seems like a business always needs something! There are always expenses. Sometimes the things we purchase end up being useless; sometimes the things we purchase help us far more than expected. Below, a list of the five best things I've purchased for my business.

1. A good camera. I've used two cameras for my business, a Sony DSC-F717 and a Sony DSC-H9, and both have been pretty reliable. I've been using the H9 since the first week of August, and I've already shot 7500 pictures, most of them for eBay or Etsy. I need to have a good camera on hand at all times, or at the very least a scanner, but I prefer a camera for the depth of the shots. Changing my pictures from scanned images to camera shots really opened up my business and gave customers a much better idea of the appearance of the beads I sell.

2. A cart. I bought a cart in 1999, and it's been my trusty companion ever since. I bought a medium-sized cart, one that can convert between two-wheels and four-wheels, and I use it all the time. Whether it's hauling jewelry and displays for an art fair, or beads and cabochons for a bead show, or even helping me move inventory around in the basement, it is absolutely indispensable.

3. A computer. Buying a new computer last year was one of the best investments I've made. My old computer could not keep up with my Photoshop needs; I often edit a couple hundred pictures at a time, and I needed the processing power. Now that I have the new computer, I've cut out time here and there, and those seconds really add up at the end of the day. It's made me more efficient!

4. Organizers! I've purchased three "mini stackables" from Best Craft Organizers, and they really are fantastic. I'm even considering a fourth!

Before I bought these organizers, I wasted time trying to find backstock in various containers. Now that I have these organizers, I can find what I need easily, and it keeps all of my listed items neatly sorted. With their vast array of sizes and inserts, they really make it quite easy for us beaders to store our lovelies.

5. High speed internet connection. For nearly three years I struggled with a cellular line based internet connection that was unreliable and very slow. I had no idea how much it was impacting my business until I went back to a cable internet connection. Now that I have an internet connection that can keep up with my needs, I can list much more quickly, and I don't have to worry about losing my connection for hours upon end.

What are the best purchases you've made for your business?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday


My desk is even cleaner than it was last week. How is this possible? Makes me think that someone switched my desk with the desk of a clean and organized person.

I'm making a lot of jewelry right now; I've been enjoying putting together mermaid necklaces and tree necklaces. I've also gotten the urge to make something new. I think I get a little stuck in a rut sometimes, so I decided to try something different for this lotus blossom necklace:

Lotus flower necklace on Etsy

I like how this turned out! I'm also working on a new bracelet, which you can see in the desk photo.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mermaid jewelry ahoy!

I've been working on new jewelry for the past week. It's been so nice to sit at my very clean jewelry desk and work with my friendly pliers. I've been listening to Pandora Internet Radio again for the first time in ages. I signed up with an account years ago and then didn't use it until just a few days ago. Now that I have a good internet connection again, I can tune in and create Tori Amos and Kate Bush stations. Awesome!

Since my Green Girl Studios order came in, I've been having lots of fun working with new mythic elements. I've been making mermaid jewelry, owl jewelry, and tree jewelry.

Mermaid necklace at the Laurel Moon Etsy shop

Owl necklace at the Laurel Moon Etsy shop

Tree of Wisdom necklace at the Laurel Moon Etsy shop

I'll just be at my desk, grooving to Tori and Kate while I string more mythic jewelry. Keep watching my Laurel Moon Etsy jewelry shop for more!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

And the winner is...

I've drawn the winner of the Leah Fairbanks bead giveaway!

Here is the number:

And the winner is RockCreekCreations!

Thank you to all who entered!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The puzzle of vintage seed beads

For some time I have been selling vintage Italian seed beads. When I bought them, I was told they were from the twenties/thirties. About 75% of it was still in its original kilo packages (which included yellowed slips of paper with instructions in Italian on how to complain if you didn't like the quality ). There was a bin with a huge cluster of hanks, all in a big pile.

Well, I've been putting off sorting the cluster of hanks for some time. I've been opening the kilo packages and bagging the beads by the hank instead. There were three colors on the labels, yellow, pink, and blue. Within a few packages, I could see that the color was not uniform from package to package. Some of the blue kilos were bluer than others; most of the pink packages were actually peach. Most of the yellow was a bright yellow with a hint of green, but there were a few hanks that were pale yellow with a hint of green.

Yesterday I tackled most of the bin with the tangled hanks. The threads are old, so it's a challenge to separate them, and often the merest touch will break a strand, sending seed beads everywhere. However, I was delighted to find a group of true pink hanks, and a few pale yellow hanks, both colors I'd thought I'd sold out of.

I also discovered a small set of necklaces made with these seed beads, all labeled with tags that read "Laguna." I did a quick Google search and found that the Laguna jewelry company came into being in New York in 1944, and produced jewelry until the eighties.

An interesting puzzle! Upon looking at the packaging again, I believe I have an answer. The beads are definitely Italian, and the packaging is old. I have a feeling that Laguna purchased these seed beads, and then eventually they fell into disuse and were stored in a warehouse somewhere on the east coast until the vintage bead resurgence in the eighties, whereupon they were purchased by someone and sold at bead shows before my source purchased them. At the very least these beads are from the forties; I think they are older, though, from the twenties or thirties.

I'm very glad to be able to put these beads into my store, and to offer a few of the more unusual variations!

Italian seed beads in the Laurel Moon eBay store

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday

This Bead Table Wednesday finds me with a clean desk! I have spent part of the weekend making new jewelry sets, and I decided to work on my desk when I was finished. I spent a few hours sorting and putting things away, and here's the result:

I love the tin lids in the right hand side of the picture. Over the years I've amassed a small collection of lids of all different sizes. They're very helpful for jewelry-making and sorting, and some of them I've used for over a decade. I'm glad to have so much space again! I really need to get to the rest of the desk, which is a little dusty, but that shouldn't take too long. Hooray for clean desks!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Leah Fairbanks bead giveaway!

Over the years I have hoarded many, many beads. As I was poking through my stash recently, I realized that I have a lot of lampwork beads, and I almost never use them for designs. And I immediately thought that it would be nice to rehome some of them to people who would love them and use them!

The first bead that stood out to me was this absolutely amazing bead by Leah Fairbanks (Leah Fairbanks website). I bought this either at the first or second Tucson I ever went to, in 1997 or 1998. I remember that this bead stopped me in my tracks. Leah's work is absolutely amazing; her beads have such beautiful flowing designs and the colors are lovely.

This bead features her well-known flower designs, beautiful wings of amethyst-colored glass, and gold leaf. It's a marvelous creation, and it originally retailed for $122.

So how can you win this stunning bead? Comment on this entry for a chance to win. But wait--if you'd like extra chances to win, then you can share a link to this blog entry in a blog entry of your own, as a Tweet, as a Facebook status, or "like" the Laurel Moon Jewelry Facebook Fanpage. Each time you do so, stop back at this entry and add your link in a comment (or mention that you liked the FB page). The contest closes on Saturday night, November 12th, at midnight EST. This contest is open to international readers as well! Good luck, and happy designing!

Friday, October 28, 2011

The end of summer

Over at my pond blog Your Daily Pond I have been chronicling the seasons. Almost daily, I lean out my kitchen window and take a picture of the pond in my backyard. I've been doing this for two years, now, and I really feel closer to the seasons, and more aware of the everyday beauty of this little slice of happiness.

Longtime readers will remember that my father created Turtle Island for my birthday, a little raft that the pond's turtles could use for their sunbathing. I've watched the raft avidly for the past two months and had a great deal of delight from it. Here's a recap of the three best turtle pictures (I apologize for the picture quality; I do not have a telephoto lens for my camera):

Today I reeled in Turtle Island, and I did so with a touch of sadness. I know that I'll be able to relaunch it in spring, of course, but I will still miss the turtles very much.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I keep telling myself that October is nearly over. Just one last week of crazycakes, and then I will go back to slightly-fewer-crazycakes.

One last show for the year (unless I decide to find a last-minute craft show). One last week of scrambling to put together the merchandise and figure out display options and find projects to do while I sit there. After that, it's back to the home base. I've cut the day job down to four days a month, I have lots of supplies to make jewelry, I have lots of beads to list, and I'm home for two and a half months. I'm really looking forward to diving into everything headfirst. First, though, on Monday, I will take a deep breath or two, or maybe fifty or sixty, enjoy the pond, spend some time just relaxing.

Today was a small triumph, at least. I finally managed to get the vintage Czech headpins into my Laurel Moon eBay store! At this point they're nearly all gone, but now that I have the initial listings done, they will be easier to list.

Who knew how difficult it would be to make a listing for glass that changes color? I ended up redoing the pictures for the alexandrite flower headpins twice because I was so worried about causing confusion.

In daylight or under incandescent lights, they look like this:

Under fluorescent lights, they look like this:

You see my problem. :) I think I have it all sorted out now, though.

I just need to take a big breath and wish for Monday to get here.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Preparing for the Rustbelt Market

It feels like my to-do list is insurmountable right now. Boxes, displays, pricing jewelry, head is swimming with all of the things I need to do before tomorrow.

Yes, on Saturday and Sunday I'll be at the Rustbelt Market in Ferndale! I'll be there both days from 11 am to 7 pm.

I am very excited about this. It's been ages since I did a show with only my jewelry. It will be so interesting to see what happens! I'm going to bring all of my jewelry and my new displays and hope for the best.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Beads, exciting and new...

I am back from one of my last buying trips of the year. On one hand, I am absolutely delighted because I bought an amazement of beads (that is the proper term for a set of beads, of course). On the other hand, I am sick with some sort of yucky sinus infection, probably triggered by allergies. I seem to get one every time this year!

I have to share pictures of the new amazement. I found the very last of the Buddha cabochons I was sad about in a previous entry, and I also bought more of the lovely German-made glass reproductions of vintage beads:

I swear, these are some of my favorite beads ever. (I know, I know, I say that about all of my beads.) But they really are gorgeous! The colors of the glass are stunning.

I also bought more semiprecious stone beads, of course. Some old favorites, and some new beauties:

From left to right: rutilated quartz, sunstone, faceted lodalite quartz, ammonites, lodalite quartz, ocean jasper, red creek jasper, laguna agate, turitella agate, Norwegian moonstone, fossil coral

Look at these glorious headpins! They are made from the most GORGEOUS glass, so clear and luscious and swirly and decadent that they shine. I adore them. They colors are amazing.

And lastly...ocean jasper. It's mined only in one place, Madagascar, and from what I hear, the main deposits are tapped out. I would believe that, because the new ocean jasper beads I see on the market don't have the same strong colors and distinctive look as the material I was seeing in past years. I found these, however, and they were awesome, from about six years ago:

I am working like mad to get these new yums into the Etsy shop and eBay store soon! Watch my Laurel Moon Twitter feed for links to new listings.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Off again to a bead show!

Tomorrow I will depart at too-early o'clock for the West Michigan Bead Expo in Grand Rapids, MI!

I ended that with an exclamation point so it would sound like I was super excited. Well, I am super excited about the show, but maybe not about getting up early. After that, I will jog over to WI for my nephew's birthday, and then it's back home again. I'm looking forward to restocking my eBay store and Etsy shop with scarab cabs and the like, and I will have some new treasures, too!

If you're in the neighborhood tomorrow, stop by and say hi!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Flashy scarabs are invading!

I love getting new merchandise. I especially love getting new old merchandise. I know that sounds like a contradiction, but I'm just referring to buying vintage that I haven't had before--it's new to me, even though the beads are vintage.

I had the great fortune to find these amazing foilback scarabs recently:

These are small but really stunning scarab cabochons in some great bright colors. I love the detail and the deep flash. These are really great flatbacks and I've already seen them flying out of my Laurel Moon eBay store and my Laurel Moon Etsy shop.

I also found more beaaaaaaaaaaads. Yum. Who doesn't want more beads? I found opalino beads with aventurine:

I'm not sure that I can adequately convey my delight. You see, opalino glass, a semi-translucent white glass, is awesome. And aventurine glass, which contains specks of copper for amazing sparklage, is awesome. Together, they are so exponentially beyond awesome that, as I said, it's difficult to convey the actual awesomeness of said beads, because they kind of short-circuit my ability to describe their vast awesomenitude.

I picked up some great little baroque filler beads in tanzanite and montana glass. You know, the kind of bead you always need to finish a design.

And I haven't even started talking about the numerous porcelain bead lots I've listed! It's been a busy couple weeks here. Stay tuned--I'll have more scarab lots up soon!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Treasures from the Bead Bonanza

I had a lovely day at the Bead Bonanza yesterday! Lots of familiar faces and favorite customers stopped by my booth to chat, and I had a great time. It seemed like a busy show, with lots of people clustered at the table at many points, and I seemed to be in motion for nearly the entire day.

I did have a little bit of time to visit a couple vendors. My neighbor Kristi is the artistic force behind Coliebug Beads (CB&Co), and her work was enthralling! She uses so many techniques to create her multilayered pendants, and she's such a great neighbor. I had a wonderful time talking to her about etching techniques. I bought this absolutely wonderful crow pendant from her:

I also stopped by Earthenwood Studio to see Melanie, of course! We've been friends for ages, and I love her work so very much. I had to pick up a "D" pendant...D for Detroit! I also grabbed a few new sugar skull components, a keyhole pendant, and a crow pendant. I can't wait to use these!

This weekend I have another bead show in Grand Rapids. After that, I'm going to spend time with my new beads. I really can't wait to design new pieces of jewelry!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A trip to the cider mill

Today I took a much-needed break before the Great Lakes Beadworkers Guild Bead Bonanza and went to the Paint Creek Cider Mill for some yums and to see the creek.

The weather was glorious! The fall colors have not yet hit their peak, but they were still beautiful. We went inside and ordered our food. The ceiling is interesting, covered with signed dollar bills. We ate our donuts and sipped our cider while listening to a local musician, and met a sweet pupper. Afterward we went behind the mill to walk along the trail that runs next to the creek.

Hope to see you at the show tomorrow! If not, I hope you're enjoying the weather!