Thursday, December 31, 2009

Best of the ABS - Create a Business Plan

Jennifer shared this post with us last January.  'Tis the season for planning, refocusing and setting goals, so I thought it would be a good one to share again today!

This is the time of year I start thinking about my goal and aspirations for the year. Personally, I am a big list maker and goal follower. I believe you have to know where you're going to get there. If you don't have a business plan, now is the time to make one. If you're thinking, how do I get started, what do I need to know, oh my gosh I just make jewelry to sell every now and then, do I need one of these? Yes you need one and the good news is they are not hard to write.

The best part is, it's your business, so you can make your business plan as complicated or as uncomplicated as you want. So what do you need in this plan? Here we go….

Define what you make and sell. Describe in depth what you make. Maybe you make custom jewelry, or just earrings, maybe children’s jewelry. If you know what you make, then you can stay focused on those products and keep you business heading in a consistent direction. Also make sure you think about your competition. Make sure you are making something different than everyone else.

Marketing: Marketing is how you will sell your work. Will you travel to shows, will you have home parties, will you advertise in magazines? These are all things to think about. Maybe you want to expand where you sell your work or add a few more shows this year. Here’s where you
would want to brainstorm and then refine your plan.

Operations: This is how you work. Is this a part time job where you will devoted ten hours a week or is this a full time job? Based on your hours, you will then need to create goals like three necklaces a day. This way you can work out your production schedule. You'll need to know you have enough time to make everything you will need to sell.

Finances: You will need to make financial goals. Even if this jewelry business is just for fun. You obviously want to succeed so you have to create sales goals and keep track of if you are achieving them. It really is the only way to know if you are charging enough and if you are on
track to meet your goals.

Once you have brainstormed about these categories, you can write a paragraph about each section. At this point you might just have enough to be done. However, it might not hurt to make it official. If down the road you ever want to borrow money to expand your business, your banker will want to see a plan. Another reason to have a written plan, when you're feeling unmotivated or lost you can pull it out and read it. It will immediately remind you what you want to achieve.

For more information, about writing a business plan, you can visit:

Good luck following your goals in 2010!

Written by Jennifer Heynen of Jangles.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Best of the ABS - Throw a Bead Soup Party

This post first ran last May, but wouldn't a New Year's Day Bead Soup Party be the perfect way to celebrate the New Year?  Gather together a few beading buddies and make a batch of black eyed peas to serve for lunch!

Here are the basics to throw a little beady soiree of your own:

How to Throw a Bead Soup Party

1. Invite a few of your Beady Friends.

2. Each person needs to bring a strand of beads to share. (You can suggest a color scheme.)

All guest will also need to bring:
focal bead
spacer beads
beading wire
crimp beads
crimping pliers and wire cutters

3. When everyone arrives, dump the strands of beads into a large bowl. Divide the beads up randomly among your group.

4. String a memory necklace or bracelet using your bead soup.

*provide chocolate for best results!

Pictured above is a work in progress that I started at our last Bead Soup party. We went with a silver/grey/purple color scheme. You can use for simple online invitations. Don't have any beady friends? Invite a few gals over and teach them how to string!

Have any ideas for a bead party that you'd like to share? I'd love to hear them.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Best of the ABS - Transforming Inspiration into Design

This post first appeared last January in response to our challenge themes for 2009, which were all from art history. I shared some thoughts on my creative process of transforming a painting into a jewelry design.
Inspired by the movement of the brushstrokes, I want to create a design with movement and texture. I would use lampwork disks by Blue Seraphim in the colors of the painting, wire-wrapped with silver to show off their swirls. To emphasis the feeling of a garden, I'd pair them with leafy green freshwater pearls. To finish the design I'd return to the theme of abundant texture and use one of Mamacita Beadworks floral inspired buttons as a clasp.

Zoom in on a detail of a painting for unexpected results. Not every design inspired by Van Gogh's Irises need to have irises, blue or purple! By taking a corner of the painting that you find visual appealing, you can come up with a striking design that is a little off the beaten path. For this necklace I focused on the upper right corner of Van Gogh's painting to explore a design using those lush greens and sunny yellows. For this design I'd use a ceramic pendant and connectors in green from Chinook Jewelry. I'd connect them together with hammered silver links from Prolifique. On each link I'd add dangles of yellow crystals that remind me of the flowers in the painting.

While it's not necessary to take a literal approach to interpreting a masterpiece into a jewelry, you may find just the right bead for such a design. Lampwork artist Hannah Rachel offers sculpted iris beads that are made to order. Could there be a more perfect bead for this challenge? I'd make a tassel of pearls, crystals and stones in greens to create the "stem" of the iris. To carry on with the bold and organic theme I'd use peacock stick pearls mixed with silver beads. A handcrafted clasp from Cathy Dailey's shop would compliment the shape of the pearls and the earthy feel of the design.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Designer of the Week - Lori Anderson

Each Monday we feature the Designer of the Week. One of our editors pick their favorite from the Monthly Challenge entries. 

This week I picked Lori Anderson's Castelo bracelet. "The raku beads are great compliment to the colors and abstract quality in this month's challenge painting.  I like the play of the shimmer of the pearls with the bright pop of red from the glass, it's a lovely study in texture and color! The clasp is also a nice final touch with a nod to the graphic quality of the inspiration." To see more of Lori's work visit her blog.

You still have a few days left to enter this month's drawing.  The prizes are amazing and your odds are pretty good! 

The inspiration for December is an Untitled painting by Lee Krasner. Read about the challenge details here and check out the prizes from Cindy Gimbrone, Mary Harding and Marsha Neal here.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sundays with Cindy

Good morning, Beady Readers! Wondering what's going on in the bead and jewelry world? Take a peek at our links and see.....

A Bead A Day
There is still plenty of time to make some New Year's Eve jewelry! Lisa shares an eye catching bracelet using velvety hearts and chandelier-like egyptian crystals. Jewelry Making
Yellow facted CZ fan pendants become gorgeous earrings with just a little chain.

Art Bead Scene
It's the ABS annual 12 days of Christmas free projects. Twelve days of last minute holiday gifts!

Barbe Saint John - New Jewelry from Forgotten Artifacts
Eco-Friendly Gift Wrap.

Beading Arts
Sweet, simple, and silly! Make a barrette that will delight a young girl in your life.

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi makes huge resin baubles from an ice tray.

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
Cindy shares her favorite things this week. You might be surprised to find out what they are!

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie makes a chunky, funky necklace with some unusual wooden chain and findings

Jean Campbell
Jean shares a free sparkly necklace project, just in time to whip up for your New Year's Evening wear

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
Lorelei goes back in time to remind fellow Etsy sellers about Heart-o-Matic!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean offers a project called Supercool which features a great focal by Dustin Tabor!

Strands of Beads
Melissa shares some whimsical lampwork artistry by Debi Cogwell.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Using a drilled resin piece from Lynn Davis and some filigree, Andrew creates a necklace paying homage to the faeryworld sanctuaries.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Studio Saturday - Baby It's Cold Outside!

Welcome to Studio Saturday! Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you'll leave comments! As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner.

This week's winner is Alice Howe. Congratulations!  You have won a set of ladybug buttons from Creative Impressions in Clay. Send Tari an e-mail with your address and she will get it right out to you.

Welcome to the Humblebeads' Studio.  Christmas was so much fun, but it's not over yet!  We like to extend the celebration through the New Year.  We relax.  How often does that really happen?  You know, we turn off the phone and computer.  Pull out the board games or craft projects.  Give the kids our undivided attention.  Watch our favorite holiday movies, which for my weird family includes an annual screening of Die Hard.  Yippie Kay-Ah!  The kids are home for the week and enjoy an unrushed pace that is welcomed after the craziness of getting ready for the holidays.  I'll tell you this has always helped with those post-Christmas blues.  We enjoy this time like we are all on vacation.  Even if I do get up and work before anyone else is out of bed, they will never know!

I whipped these up last week, a few designs inspired by projects in 101 Wire Earrings by Denise Peck.

They remind me of icicles.  Wouldn't they look great for New Year's Eve? 

Which brings me to my question of the week.  What do you do to ring in the New Year?  We spend a quiet evening with our dearest friends, sharing drinks and a beautiful meal.  At midnight fireworks are let loose in the neighborhood.

One comment will be randomly drawn as the winner next week, the prize - a set of my branch disk beads.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Merry Wish

I want to thank the designers and beadmakers that help make the Art Bead Scene a creative and vibrant community.  I've enjoyed another fun year playing along with the monthly challenges, being inspired by your jewelry and beads and hearing from you everyday!

The Art Bead Scene editors are going to take a much needed break until the new year. 
In the meantime join us over the next few days for our favorite Best of the ABS posts from 2009.

I wish you all health, happiness, creativity and an abundance of beads for 2010.

Enjoy a peaceful and meaningful celebration with your family and loved ones this holiday season.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

On the 12th Day of Christmas: Squirrelin' Away Pendant

I love this tiny charm from Hint.  That little guy has some moxie as he squirrels away nuts for the winter! 

I made this as a gift for my youngest daughter.   I'll slip it into her stocking as she dreams of sugarplums tonight.

Silver charm from Hint
Disk bead from Humblebeads
2 sterling silver 4mm flat spacers
1 sterling silver 6mm flat spacer
4 silver ball headpins
1 brass 15mm jumpring
2" sterling silver 22 ga wire
2 Czech glass flowers
1 lapidolite 6mm bead
1 glass rondelle
1 bicone 4mm crystal
1 brass flower bead cap
18" gunmetal brass chain

Brass is Vintaj from Bello Modo.

1. String accent beads on the silver headpins, as shown above.  Trim wire and make loops.  Attach to large jump ring.

2. Create a large wire-wrapped loop, slipping the squirrel charm on before making the coils. String a flat spacer, disk bead, flat spacer.  Complete the wire-wrapped loop on top.

3. Add the brass jumpring to the bottom of the squirrel charm.  String the chain through the top loop of the pendant.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

On the 11th Day of Christmas: Beaded Garland

Do you have left over beads? Do you have too many beads but can't figure out what to do with them? I often sell "grab bags" at shows made up of art beads that didn't sell, or are one of a kinds that don't fit in with the rest of my art bead line. This is a good use for left over art beads, accent beads or in my case, prototype beads and seconds.

This is an easy wire project. You'll make loops and string them together.


Your favorite gauage wire in your favorite metal. I'm using 18 gauge red brass wire right off the spool.

Beads - lots of them! You know you have them!


flush cutters for the gauge wire you're using

wire straightening pliers

round nose pliers

chain nose pliers


1. String a bead of your choice onto the wire.

2. Make a loop at the end of the wire.

3. Cut 1/2 inch length at the opposite end of the wire and make another loop using your round nose pliers.

4. Make as many of these as you have beads and then string them together by opening the loops with your chain nose pliers.

Before you know it, you've used up all your extra art beads and you've got a lovely art bead garland or a free form art bead necklace.

Happy Beading!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

On the 10th Day of Christmas - Art Bead Cards

I made some unusually large beads, covered with decorative papers and images, and wasn't sure how to use them. Then I remembered a Christmas project I made some years back, and instead of using buttons for the closure, I used one of my large art beads. Any art bead would work.

The design is for a Christmas or holiday card, that opens up and fastens using a loop and the art bead to become a holiday ornament for the house or tree.

It calls for paper, decorative stamps and other fun things. This might be a good project to do with kids, letting them help with the decorating of the papers. And it's a good opportunity to recycle, using last year's holiday cards and other cardboard you may have around the house.

The full instructions are on my blog, I didn't want to take up too much room here, so I put the measurements and extensive step by step how-to photos there.

The fun thing is that any type or style of art bead can be used, to reflect your personal decorating style. I like rustic, vintage looks but if you like something modern or graphic, use a different type of art bead for the closure to suit your own visual style.

These are a multi-purpose gift, doubling as a holiday greeting card that keeps giving by becoming an ornament for the tree, or even a centerpiece for a holiday table setting.

The one pictured is 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" square, but they could be made even smaller if you prefer. Teensy little mouse books!

They're simple, they don't need a lot of supplies, and they give another use for special art beads.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Featured Designer of the Week: The Joy of Nesting

Each Monday we feature the Designer of the Week. One of our editors pick their favorite from the Monthly Challenge entries.

This week, Tari Sasser of Creative Impressions In Clay chose Pattie Wells of The Joy of Nesting as the featured designer.

"The focal bead echoes the etched design of the painting wonderfully. I really enjoy the unrefined roughness of the beads chosen in contrast with the clasp. Great piece Pattie!"

See all the current entries for this months inspirational painting "Untitled" by Lee Krasner at Art Bead Scene flikr page.
The find out about our monthly challenge and how you can enter at Art Bead Scene.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sundays with Cindy

Good morning, Beady Readers! Wondering what's going on in the bead and jewelry world? Take a peek at our links and see.....

A Bead A Day
Lisa shares a special gift she received from a friend, SHRINKY DINK earrings!! Still a great product after all these years!! Jewelry Making
Sparkle plenty with this endless knotted red crystal necklace project!

Art Bead Scene
It's the last ABS monthly challenge of 2009. Are you running out of ideas and inspiration? ABS has just the antidote!

Beading Arts
If you can string stone nuggets onto wire, and if you can crochet a simple chain stitch, then you can make this pretty necklace.

Carmi's Art/Life World
One shrunk sweater equals felted beaded mits for me!

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
Cindy explains why she chose Lee Krasner's painting "Untitled" for this month's Art Bead Scene Challenge.

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
Lorelei tested out some cool chain from Rings and Things.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Would you like to investgate a lyrical book which explores all areas of your imagination and challenges your creativity? Try Lisa Crone's!

Strands of Beads
Melissa shares a cute find - sterling silver elephant clasps.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Thinking deep thoughts, Andrew offers up a sumptuous bracelet and adds a new bronze charm to his shop

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Studio Saturday-Button Earrings, 5 in under 5


Welcome to Studio Saturday! Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you'll leave comments! As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner.
This weeks winner is Heather Cote of Azure Island Beads.
You have won one of Jangles Holiday Beads from the studio of Jennifer Heynen
Send Jennifer an e-mail with your address and she will get it right out to you.

This week we visit the studio of Tari Sasser at Creative Impressions In Clay.

As we are doing the sprint into Christmas, I wanted to give you ideas for quick earrings. Since I mostly make buttons, I wanted to show 5 Button earrings you can make in under 5 minutes. It is possible. I am into simple.

Locate your supplies, you need: buttons, jump rings, charms and earwires.

Pair number One is made using beading hoops and layering the Lady Bug buttons over the Leaf Buttons.

Pair number Two. These are charms I use for stitch markers. I attached the enamel charm  and ceramic charm to the earwires. I like that they aren't exact matches.

Pair number Three. My favorite and my daughter's favorite. She asked to wear them before I had photographed them. Use a jump ring that is large enough to through the first button hole and close. I put the jumpring through the charm and the Tie Dye Button hole, attach to the earwires.

Pair number Four. I used two jumprings per anodized aluminum washers, attached one jumpring to the earwire and the other to the Layered Bead Button. Very swanky!

Pair number Five. Twisted jumprings are used in each of the two button holes. One attaches to the earwires and the other to charms that hang off the bottom of the Dot Buttons.

Very quick and easy. Great for when you need a gift fast. I have had a guest show up and I did the "uh-oh" I don't have a gift. I am out in my studio frantically making earrings or ornaments while my husband entertains.
Just keep smiling!

My question this week is:

What last minute gift have you had to create?

Leave a comment and...

You can win your own set of Lady Bug Buttons, so you can create your own earrings.

Happy Holidays! 
I have a very hard time dealing with the holidays. I'll be standing over here with the fake grin pretending "It's the most Wonderful Time of the Year."
I wish you warmth, happiness and your best coping mechanism...pajamas and a glass of wine.
I got a new camera...I'm trying hard to improve my photography!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

On the 8th Day of Christmas: Simple Silver Earrings

Very simple earrings that uses finding most of us have lying around in our studios.

3 sizes of Sterling Silver Jump Rings (total of 6 Jump Rings)
6 small Jump Rings (I used twisted jump rings)
Ear Wires
Bench Block
Chain Nose or Flat Nose Pliers

These are great for when you need a gift fast. Plus they look fantastic.
You can use as many Jump Rings as you would like. Graduate the sizes either up or down. Beads can be added but aren't necessary. Especially if you are in a time crunch.

Hammer the 3 different sizes on your bench block. Try not to distort roundness much if possible. The rings will open up. I held the rings with my pliers and tapped them closed. I also tapped them back in round.
Use the 6 small jump rings (twisted jump rings in the photo) to connect the 2 sets of 3. I needed to tap my small jump rings on the bench block to make them oval shaped. I didn't have the next size up.
Attach to earwires.
You're done! I'm a lazy beader, so this works well for me. No muss, no fuss.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

On the 7th Day of Christmas: Cardinal Pendant

I like holiday inspired projects that can be worn long after the season.  This necklace hints of the red and green of Christmas, but it's subtle enough to be seen as natural elements and worn all year round.

Cardinal - Humblebeads
Ceramic bead cap - Elaine Ray
Skeleton key
Crystal rhinestone bead
Czech leaf bead
Botswana agate 8mm faceted coin
red 6mm crystal bicone
brass leaf charm
1 brass 8mm jumpring
2 brass 15mm jumprings
1 brass 5mm jumpring
3 brass headpins
2 brass eyepin
Swirl clasp

Resources: Key, rhinestone bead and Elaine Ray beads: Ornamentea. Brass: Vintaj from Bello Modo. Chain: Hobby Lobby.

1. Create dangles from the glass leaf, rhinestone ball and agate bead: string onto a headpin, trim wire and create a loop.
2. On an eyepin string the red crystal.  Add the leaf to the bottom of the dangle.
3. Attach the key to the large jumpring using the small jump ring. Attach all of the dangles to the large jumpring.
4. String the bead cap and bird onto the headpin, trim wire and create a loop.  Attach the large jumprings to the bird. 
5. Attach one end of the chain to the large jumpring.  Attach the jumpring from the clasp to the top jumpring.  Attach the swirl clasp to the chain using a 5mm jumpring.  (Use the length of chain that you'd like, this one is 28" for a longer design.)

Excuse our double post today, we are just too excited about the holidays!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

On the 6th Day of Christmas: Handmade Ornament Hooks

As we get closer to the holidays it's time to start thinking about gifts. I always make ornaments every year. I can't seem to get out of it and everyone expects one every year. Here is a decorative hook that can be used to hang many things. Using copper looks great and it's inexpensive.

Start with 4" piece of 18 gauge copper wire. I picked a spool up at Ace Hardware. Don't try to straighten the wire too you will put kinks in the wire that you can't get out.

With the curve of the wire facing away from you, use your round nose pliers to make a small loop at the end of the wire. Always roll your wire away from your body.

Using the handle of a large paintbrush, about 1/2" up the loop end of the wire bend the wire over handle. Do this by smoothing the wire as you bend it. Bring the wire slightly under the handle and begin curving the other end to form an "S".

Begin making the coil on the end by using the large end of your round nose pliers to create an open loop.

Complete the coil by rolling it upwards towards the top of the hook with your fingers.

I like my hooks hammered. Use a hammer and a striking plate to hammer the small loop and coil.

Completed Hook.

Combining your hook and ornament.
Cut 10" of sheer ribbon. I get mine at Michaels. To give the ornament and ribbon a nice finished look and to keep the ribbon from doing the annoying split, I slide a 10mm glass donut over the ribbon. Fire Mountain Gems has a great selection. The clear glass donuts go best with all ornaments.

Don't forget to add your artist tag so everyone knows they have a hand crafted item by you. This one is 1" x 1"

Tie the ribbon onto the bottom of the hook using an overhand knot. This keeps your ornament and hook together and secure.

You have a beautiful finished product hanging from a handmade copper hook. Colored wire works wonderful also. Just don't hammer it. 18 gauge wire will hold most ornaments. The heftier the ornament the thicker your wire needs to be.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Designer of the Week

Each Monday we feature the Designer of the Week. One of our editors pick their favorite from the Monthly Challenge entries.

This week Jennifer Heynen picked Marcie A.'s Geometric Blocks Bracelet.

Jennifer notes that Marcies bracelet must have taken a lot of work and attention to detail. The ceramic button works really well with the design.

You can see more of Marcie's work at her blog.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday with Cindy

Good morning, Beady Readers! Wondering what's going on in the bead and jewelry world? Take a peek at our links and see.....

A Bead A Day
If you find yourself in need of a quick holiday gift, don't overlook memory wire! With this simple design, you can make one for all your friends. Jewelry Making
Thinking of making some beaded ornament covers? Then you'll need to know the size bulb to use too.

Art Bead Scene
It's the first day of Art Bead Scene's annual Twelve Days of Free Projects!

Barbe Saint John
Barbe gets all steamy over the new Steampunk Style book!

Beading Arts
Cyndi shares a new tutorial featuring one of Earthenwood Studio's fabulous new pendants!

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi wonders if anyone else is working on Spring.

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
Inspired by Grandma's necklace, Cindy creates an edgey look with CZ's.

Earthenwwod Studio Chronicles
Melanie shows a sneak peek of a pair of earrings she made for the upcoming book Steampunk Style by Jean Campbell

Jean Campbell
Jean shares 3 easy tips for making holiday gift production a little less stressful.

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
Lorelei is saying Thank you and Merry Christmas by giving away a gift certificate to!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
When you check out this ornament kit which is available for you to make, it will REALLY put you in the spirit!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Each representing a different spectrum of lampwork glass, Andrew shares the new additions to his bead collection from two different artists.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Studio Saturday with Jangles

Welcome to Studio Saturday! Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you'll leave comments! As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner.

Last weeks winner is Iris. Congratulations you've one of Cindy's "Untitled" art bead pendants. Send Cindy an e-mail and she will get it right out to you.

Welcome to the Jangles Studio!

Hey there and Happy Holidays!
Wow, what is going on this week in the Jangles studio? What is not going on in the Jangles studio? It's busy here. I am filling orders, making beads, making presents, and going to holiday parties and open houses. Whew! I have had some late nights and I am guessing there will be more in the future.

I am not really working on anything new right now since it's time to start wrapping things up for the year so I thought I would show you some of my past work. I have pulled at some of my holiday jewelry to show you.

Candy Cane Necklace
I love snowmen ornament
Holiday Pearl Bracelet
Pointsettia Necklace
Holly Necklace and Earrings
Holiday Necklace
Tree Bracelet
Snowman Ornament

For my question of the week I want to know what you are working on for the holidays. What kind of gifts are you making this year? If you're not making gifts, tell me how you've been spending your time getting ready for the holidays.

Leave me your answer in the comments and you will entered to win some Jangles Holiday Beads of your own.

Happy Holidays!