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!