Friday, January 21, 2011

Almost ready to leave

Tomorrow I'll be heading off for a month-long business trip. If you have anything left that you want to purchase from the Laurel Moon eBay store or the Laurel Moon jewelry Etsy shop or the Laurel Moon beads Etsy shop, then you should do it ASAP. I'm closing the shops down for a month.

I'll still blog while I'm away, though not as frequently. And I plan on buying a lot of new beads and fun things!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday

Heather Powers of Humblebeads started a meme called Bead Table Wednesday, and it sounded like so much fun that I decided to play along!

Bead Table Wednesday logo

Sadly, my desk is not very photogenic, and my pictures definitely reveal all of its undusted glory. But I'm going to soldier on. For the Meme!

My jewelry desk is actually my study desk, given to me when I was thirteen. It's just a typical presswood Sauder piece of furniture, with a work surface and an elevated shelf above that. It was the desk that held my typewriter for many years (my manual typewriter, at that), and eventually when the beading bug hit I pressed it into service (get it? pressed?) as my jewelry-making spot.

It has a couple drawers that are full of stuff I never touch, amusingly enough. I really should organize it better at some point.

Here is the first pic. This is the main area where I work. I've never used a towel or bead mat or anything fuzzy for beads, and they usually end up rolling all over, which is why I sometimes use lids from tins. I have a big collection of them at this point. I also use the little triangular trays, though I have a tendency to tip them over constantly. The white postcard is just so I can double-check colors, because with a background as aggressive as this fake wood-grain is, it can sometimes kind of shortcircuit my already wonky color perception. You can see my fantastic Eurotool pliers and my ancient ruler, which I apparently stole from someone named Kevin, probably in 1978.

There's a pendant from Earthenwood Studio and a couple of bracelets that I'm about to restring for a good friend of mine. There's also a collection of bits of chain, funky headpins, and a few leftover pearls from my last mermaid necklace.

The Laurel Moon Desk of Too Many Things

And now the next portion. The Back of the Desk.

This is a scary No Woman's Land, let me tell you. The tin lid on the right (remember my obsession with tin lids?) is full of leftover...stuff. Beads, single earrings, giant fine silver shell of hugeness, strands of offset pearls, crystals, headpins...anything that just hasn't been put away yet. I have a huge bag of this sort of thing, stuffed full of leftover beads and bits and bobs. Eventually I'll get in an organizing mood and put most of the stuff away where it belongs, but there will always be a few beads that stay in the dish. Forever.

The dish to the left contains some fantastic druzies set in sterling silver. I really have to get around to making something out of them. In the middle, you can see beads of Czech firepolish, meant for my made-to-order charm earrings. In the very far back, you can just barely see a plastic bag full of awesome vintage Japanese shell pendants that I totally will make into jewelry, I swear. Just not today.

The Laurel Moon Desk of Too Many Things...The Back!

Let's see. The right hand side of the desk isn't much better. There's a long train of charms, meant to be made into charm earrings, but I haven't gotten around to it. I might just polish them and put them away. There's a glass crescent moon pendant and a few Irish stamp pendants, all meant for eBay auctions, and a set of Swarovski vintage pagoda/potato chip beads, also meant for eBay. And my Soft-Flex cutters and crimpers. To the back you can see three bags of the last of the amazing Czech lead crystal that I auctioned off for (literally) years. I think I might keep it for myself. On the right, you can see a funky ceramic cup that Melanie from Earthenwood Studio gave me years and years ago, which holds pens, markers, screwdrivers, bead reamers, and a hatpin, naturally.

The Laurel Moon Desk of Too Many Things:  Right Side

And that's it. I could show you the Giant Wooden Rack of Doom (But Mostly Of Beads), but that's for another day.

If you're interested in seeing other Bead Table Wednesday photos, the Flickr group for BTW is here!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I wish there were more hours in the day

I sent my sterling silver and goldfill scrap into Rio Grande recently, and used the credit to order a passel o' chain. And it's arrived!

Sterling silver chain

This is just the tip of the iceberg!

This photo doesn't do the chain justice--it's all so delicious and teeming with possibilities. My mind is awhirl with things to create. Tiny key necklaces with a few beads for a splash of color. Tree of Life necklaces with rhyolite and faceted pearls. Decadent chain-dripping bejeweled earrings.

I also picked up more ball headpins, new earwires, and a teensy pinch of hook clasps.

Now if I could only order some free time!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Earthenwood Design Team

I was delighted when my friend Melanie of Earthenwood Studio invited me to participate in her Earthenwood Design Team! I have loved Melanie's work for a very long time. I met her many years ago when we worked at a bead store together, and I immediately fell in love with her amazing ceramic beads. Since then, I've watched as she's expanded her artwork and created lots of wonderful new beads and components. So this is a very special challenge for me!

When I opened the package of beads she sent, I was immediately struck by the interesting texture of the lumber links and the toggle clasp. I liked the copper of the toggle clasp.

Earthenwood project, lumber links

I started gathering beads to match. At first I pulled out my semiprecious beads and started to match. Garnet and fossil coral were some of my first choices, but I put the garnet back because it didn't have the right look. The fossil coral, however, had patterns and striations that looked similar to the look of the links. I also thought that some of the Czech beads that are made from vintage glass that I've bought from Raven's Journey had some interesting parallels as well.

My next hurdle was trying to decide whether to use wire or Soft-Flex (flexible beading wire). I'm in between orders on my Vintaj supplies, so I had only a small assortment of base metal to choose from. I thought of using sterling silver, but it didn't have the right look. So I ended up using goldfill wire instead. I was worried that it wouldn't have the right look, but I think it actually brightens the tone of the necklace.

I used large fossilized coral discs which had a great rust color and terrific textures.

Earthenwood project in progress

I began to bead, and I got about halfway done before I realized that I'd put the link components too high in the necklace, so I repositioned them. I added a few Czech beads made with vintage glass, and round fossilized wood beads that had beautiful colors that matched.

Earthenwood project in progress

After repositioning the links, I finished wirewrapping the necklace to the right length.

Earthenwood project necklace by Laurel Moon Jewelry

Earthenwood project by Laurel Moon Jewelry

Thank you, Melanie, for the opportunity to have fun with these components! This was a great challenge!

Melanie's blog is located at Earthenwood Studio Blog. Shop at Earthenwood Studio

*FTC compliance disclosure: the ceramic links mentioned in this post were provided as a promotional gift for review or design purposes from Earthenwood Studio

Friday, January 14, 2011

The crush of everyday life

I've been working extra hard for the last six months. I've started a website, started advertising online, and I've kicked up my jewelry production. I've changed both the text portion of my eBay listings and the pictures; I went from scanned images, which are faster but not as nice, to taking camera photographs. I've had to create a settings formula and a light positioning system to make it work. I've started moving my Etsy listings toward the same thing and have been revising them slowly but surely.

I've also auctioned nearly my entire backlog of industry magazines. I've inventoried beads, processed beads, and changed the way I store them. I've changed to a labeling system for my outgoing packages instead of hand-addressing the boxes.

For me, there are two "poles" in the year; January-February and May-June. During both of these times, I'm gone for an entire month on business trips. So they serve as markers for me, two lines of demarcation that separate portions of the year. There's the first half of the year, which is a little shorter and has spring shows and the last of the winter eBay sales, and then there's the second half of the year, which slowly builds into the holiday season.

I'm quickly heading toward the Jan-Feb trip. In fact, I leave a week from tomorrow. I always have high hopes for accomplishing a lot during the second half of the year, and this time I feel fairly good about what I've managed to get done.

This week I was hoping to get more magazines auctioned (non-beading this time) and finish some other nagging details, as well as clean things up and pack and do the usual things I need to do before I leave for a month. Unexpected things have come up, and we have unexpected houseguests, which would normally be a nice thing, but because it is due to the passing of a relative it is a sad thing. My optimism about this week has been sunk. At least I am home so that I can show my support; it feels so much worse when I'm out of town and things happen, and it all feels scary.

The thing about a long trip is that it really forces you to pause and change directions. I just wish that I could have spent a little more energy in this direction before switching, but honestly, overall it's been a good second half of the year. I look forward to the spring half of my year when I get back.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A little glitch on the website tonight...

There was an issue with my website tonight, and I apologize if you had any difficulties logging in. It's been ironed out and hopefully it won't happen again.

The latest eBay auctions are up! You can check them out here. This is my last set of auctions until late February, as I'm going out of town on a very long business trip. I've put up another set of the Japanese trumpet flowers. This set is red and topaz and clear glass, all blended together beautifully.

Vintage Japanese glass flowers from Laurel Moon Beads

Such gorgeous beads! I have a small assortment of them in different colors. They're wonderfully detailed.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Beading and hot chocolate

Sounds messy, but really it's a natural combination. This morning, the snow was falling, and now, even though the sun has come out, I am craving a nice cup of hot chocolate and some quality time with my pliers.

My sister, who knows me oh so well (and hopefully will not reveal what really happened in the Shoebox Incident so many years ago), gave me a lovely gift this Christmas:

Hot chocolate

An assortment of yummy hot chocolate flavors!

Today's choice: tiramisu. I am looking forward to designing while sipping yummy hot chocolate and looking out over the glittering snow.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Fossil coral love

One of my favorite semi-precious stones is fossilized coral. I love the way it looks like chrysanthemum blooms, all crowded together. Such a beautiful set of patterns!

I've bought fossil coral beads for years. I've seen dyed versions hit the market recently, but you can still find a lot of the natural colors. Beige and grey are the most common.

A few nights ago, I was making a necklace, and got inspired to use some of my favorite beads.

Tree of Wisdom Necklace & Earring Set by Laurel Moon Jewelry

I love the way it turned out! And now I have an excuse to find more of my favorite beads...

Monday, January 3, 2011


I noticed recently that the price of sterling silver has gone through the roof. This prompted me to take a hard look at how much scrap I've accumulated.

I went through all of my supplies and pulled together all of the sterling scrap I could find. I even grabbed chain and headpins and findings that I'd bought when sterling silver was $10 per ounce.

There was one spool of charm chain where I'd ordered the wrong size, and I'd made all sorts of airy lovely plans about how I was going to use it. Yes, and it was exactly in the same spot where I put it down four years ago. Begone, bothersome chain! Begone, misshapen decorative Bali-style headpins! Begone, finished silver chains missing half their clasp! Begone, silver beads with missing granulation, or closed holes!

I went even further, and got rid of a bag of goldfill chain and wire. Much of the wire I'd ordered years ago, when I had no idea what I was doing, and I thought that I'd be doing fancy square wire wirewraps. I don't know what possessed me to order so much of it, but it's gone now. Along with more charm chain in the wrong size. And some chain so delicate it's difficult to get wire through. Begone!

I felt lighter. Free. Past mistakes, banished to Rio Grande's scrap program. I filled out the form, taped the box shut, and shipped it off.

And then I looked under my desk for something, and found another box full of silver scrap. Argh!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Beading magazine clearinghouse!

I have (with my husband's help) brought up several boxes up magazines in the basement.

Yes, in the interest of not being profiled on a hoarding show, I have decided to get rid of stuff. Starting with magazines.

I have years and years of Bead & Button, BeadStyle, Ornament, and Art Jewelry, and I am going to sell all of them on eBay. Yes, all of them. Even the early years of Bead & Button. Every last one. I have too many magazines, you see.

Beading Magazines

I've organized them by title and year. I'm surprised at how many I have! Hopefully I'll be able to photograph them all and list them today.

I just feel so much lighter, having cleared another set of boxes out of the basement.

And yes...they're now up in my eBay auctions! If that link doesn't work, head over to my eBay store and they should be listed there.