Monday, December 29, 2008

Holiday Project: Neckwarmer with Lampworked Button

Being sick and having time to curl up by a fire lent itself to some holiday projects. This is a little neck warmer I made for the BFF. She's very cold natured and wears her coat all winter. I thought this soft, fuzzy neckwarmer in her favorite colors of blues and browns would be just the thing.

I picked out the yarn and then picked out my rods. I do apologize for the photos...I've yet to find a camera that photographs cobalt blue well... The button is heart shaped on a two-hole lampwork button mandrel with a cobalt center, dark brown and transparent cobalt on the outer edges.

The scarf was worked on the largest Knifty Knitter loom. You can't really get a nice scarf that doesn't curl using only a knit stitch so I had to teach myself to purl! It's a great little piece that worked up in around six hours (not counting the handmade button).

The BFF loved it!


The sales is still on over at Holly's Folly. Check it out.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas Everyone! I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday.

There's a little sale going on over at Holly's Folly in honor of our holidays. Hoping to clear out a few things before adding more goodies.

I want to send out a special thank you to all the customers that supported me in the past year. You have no idea how much that means!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

When Creativity Takes a Vacation...

I have no creativity left in me bead wise. What seemed an endless fount of ideas when I first got my torch has dried up and filled with ...nothing! I seem to be paralyzed by fear. Fear that I'm wasting my time - making yet another bead that won't sell or not looking for a job that will actually support me.

As my stamp business started to decline, I had hoped bead making would pick up the slack. But it hasn't. Truth be told, I've hardly sold any beads online. My sales are much better in person for some reason, yet with my handicapped feet and back...I physically can't do many shows.

And with the time it takes to photograph beads, write the code for a website and get beads listed on line... I feel like my time would be better spent looking for a job.

I've always just made beads I like, hoping that some designer would have a similar tastes. I've never liked cute little sets and they are a struggle for me to make. And when I start worrying about what sells what little creativity I felt when I turned on the torch seems to evaporate.

I don't have any answers...I just keep looking for work every day...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cyber Monday Lampwork Sale


BOGO25: Use this sales code when purchasing two items. Buy one at the regular price and the lesser priced item will be 25% off.

BOGO50: Use this sales code when purchasing THREE items. Buy one at the regular price and the next lesser priced item will be 25% off and save 50% on the least priced item.

Come check it out and help me make room for new beadies on the site!

Kim Field's Class at the Mandrel

I've been dying to write about my mid-November class with Kim Fields for ages but had some really hectic and large classes of my own to teach and then, I got really sick!

I really enjoy taking classes and learning from a well-known artist. I enjoy their different philosophies on color and design even pet peeves in lampwork. I really enjoyed Kim's technique for leaf cane which creates more leaves that look similar and not identical on the same bead.

The Mandrel owner Donna Conklin and Kim Fields sharing a laugh at lunch.

Another technique Kim shared is her technique for making her petals and leaves look more natural. At first, I found it a bit tedious but can see the results. Kim's work is just gorgeous and that skill is all part of it.

She told us it was just frustration... real leaves don't look like they have a ball at the end. And she worked and worked trying to figure it out. It was in a Loren Stump class where Kim was watching him work on an eyeball that she realized the same method would for leaves and flowers.

That is the real fun of taking classes: learning some new technique that applies to something in your own work.

Kim Fields demoing for the class.

Another wonderful thing about taking classes from a pro is the wonderful trays of beads they bring. It's a great opportunity to see lots of expert quality beads up close.
I adored these large focals. They fit in the palm of my hand!

The bead I most lusted over were these little pine covered beads. They remind me of the pine tree canyons I grew up in.

Kim is renown for her birds but it was these two part penguin beads that took my breath away.

The only bad part of the whole weekend was the fires that were actually burning up by my house. The winds blew the smoke all the way down to Redondo Beach. The first day, right after lunch, it looked like it was getting dark but it was really the smoke. I wrote about that on Creekhiker (Nov 19 08 post) a few weeks back... the pictures are pretty eerie!

Ming with her mom.

One of the best parts of the weekend was Ming! She's Donna's little Shar pei puppy and she's so sweet! She visited us several times a day and always made me smile!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fire in the Hole!

When a friend taught her first lampwork class, she asked me to proof her handout. She had something in there I thought was hilarious. It was about wearing a low cut shirt while lampworking.

She says, "A piece of hot glass may pop off when the rod is introduced to the flame. If you're wearing a low cut shirt, you know right where it's going to land, don't you? In your bra!"

I thought that was the funniest thing. Glass tends to fly away from me. And while I once stuck the hot end of a rod under my bare arm (two burns for the price one!), I've never really had hot glass fly down my shirt.

Until yesterday...

I was with that same friend. She had asked me to show her how to make an ornament. A little piece of my clear rod flecked off the side and flew right into my bra. Had I been home, my instinct would have been to strip. But with my friend and her son in the studio, not an option.

I got it out quickly and have no significant burn but boy, have I learned a lesson!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New Auction

All is kinda quiet on the bead front as I've been working on custom orders. My focals section of my website was getting a little heavy so I moved a favorite bead over to ebay for auction.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Koi Joy Part 2

I had mentioned my customer wanted the fish to hang so they looked like they were swimming, top down view. I thought it was a fantastic idea. But, great idea and execution are two very different things.

I found working with the mandrel going through the side of the fish much more difficult and it added a good ten minutes to my working time. And in lampwork, time = money.

My first attempt, I started a bit too far down the mandrel to get the tail to look exactly as I wanted. It still came out nice and that is the one my customer bought.

The second one, I started near the end of the mandrel and did get a nice bend in the tail.

But the longer working time on both made the frit stretch a bit more than I would have liked.

All in all, I really do like this look but I'm uncertain if the higher price tag will find a market in this economy.

The orange one is available on and all Halloween beads are 10% off.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Showoff: Custom Orders - Koi Joy

I had an acquaintance approach me at the show - funny how someone knows of you, knows you make lampwork beads but then sees all your work at a show and suddenly need you for some custom piece. She fell hard for some of my fish but was looking for a Koi for a friend.

A koi? I had never thought of doing a koi. On Sunday, I researched all kinds of photos of koi, making note of things to add or change...most notably, their tails are different. I printed a few references and hit the torch.

I can never do just one bead for a custom order. I like having a choice...why wouldn't my customers?

My first attempt was really basic and natural looking. Then I tried one a bit more lifelike. And finally, I tried one that's more of a fantasy fish. I like making these because, if made right, they stand up on their own. That's great if you have a customer who's NOT into jewelry (hard to imagine, eh? But they're out there!).

Anyway, I'm so proud of them! They're buried in the Holly's Folly site for now for my customer to make a pick and then the other two will be up for grabs. NOTE: My customer asked me to re-do the way they hang... I think this is a fabulous idea. I can just picture it hanging that way against a blue / teal blouse... Ooh. I will post more pics. And in the meantime, feel free to contact me if you are interested in these.

And, I put up a few pendants for Halloween.... Get 'em fast before they disappear into my show stash.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Lessons Learned: The Outdoor Show

Welp, I did my very first outdoor show in conjunction with our local Sunland -Tujunga Art Association and, needless to say, I learned a LOT! Here's a rundown:

1) Ask if the location is handicapped accessible. That means there will be ramps for you to roll your gear on instead of lugging it up steps. Our location was a historic museum from the early ramps!

2) If someone else is providing your tables, be sure to ask what size they are. I "assumed" I would have one eight foot table. Instead, I had two four foot tables, meaning I needed an extra set of risers to have a taller table.

3) Ask is the ground is close to level. We were on a where close to level. I'm not talking inches... close to a foot! I had to dash down the street to a hardware store to buy plastic planters that were twice the size as my risers. I ended up with a tall set on the downhill side and the regular risers on the uphill side! The land was so uneven under my other table, I couldn't use risers at all. And, I had to climb through their flower beds to find a thick rock to level out the second table. Which leads me to...

4) Bring a change of clothes. I got filthy setting up! I did a quick wipe down with baby wipes but really couldn't do anything about that grass stain on my knees!

5) Stick some carpenter's wedges in the car. These are little slivers of wedge-shaped wood to level out lumber when building a house. They work great on tables on uneven ground!

6) Think about shade. I don't have a tent for the simple reason: I live alone and have no one to help me set up at shows. I've yet to find a tent that can really be set up by one person. But, I'm thinking a nice big sign that could be moved could provide some decent shade. Still, on a lovely fall day, this wasn't a big issue. It only got hot when we had to pack up and leave.

7) Snacks... always pack something to eat. Some shows have food on the premises. Some don't. One show I did this year had the caterer back out the night before! They would have bagels but no cream cheese. Coffee but no cream and sugar. You would go back an hour later and they would have cream cheese and no bagels; sugar and cream but no coffee.

8) Be open to custom work. I will make more from custom orders following this show than I did at the actual event! Don't be afraid to take on a challenge. Someone else may see something in your work that you don't see...yet!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Tag- I'm It!

Tag is a blogger's game, which is similar to the kids' game we played so many zillion years ago.
One of my favorite lampwork bead artists, Marcy Lamberson of has tagged me. (Visit her blog and Etsy shop for some wonderful info and jewelry!)

Here's how the cyber-version of tag works;
1. Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by including links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs.

Seven things about Holly Dare:

1). I used to be a t.v. producer (and may be again real soon if the economy doesn't stop sliding!).
2). My mother used to let me skip school to finish art projects. (Hey, I made straight A's - unless I was bored. The way to keep me from being bored? Art!)
3). I was a hopeless Brit Pop fan in the 80s.
4). My favorite tv show is Dexter. (Which kills me because I had to cancel premium cable!)
5). I design & manufacture rubber stamps for my "day" job. (Sweet Stampen)
6). I would rather spend a day with my dog than most people. (Can't someone pay me to be a stay at home dog mommy?)
7). I still love going to the movies. (Thank goodness Costco still has reasonably priced movie tickets!)

Edit: Tags removed.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Best Practices: Spacer Beads

I must admit, I've always struggled a bit with spacer beads. Getting them even close to the same size confounded me. Then I learned a cool trick.

I was signed up to take Margaret Zinser's class and as luck would have back went out. I knew I couldn't make the drive, much less sit through class. I called a friend and she took my place in class.

She told me that one of the coolest things she learned was how Margaret makes all of her gorgeous spacer beads.

She makes 10 or so on the same mandrel! I've only gotten up to seven or eight but here's some of mine:

And while this is very helpful when making spacers, working like this is a great basic technique in heat control. Controlling heat is vital in the sculptural big beads I love so much. By going back to something so basic, it helps with more advanced work. I just love how that happens!

And as far as spacers being perfectly alike, Margaret gave the class a few pointers on that as well: handmade beads are not supposed to be perfectly alike...they are handmade, you know!

I have to say, I'm finally enjoying making a really basic bead!

These below are on the Holly's Folly shopping pages.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Are You Tuff Enough?

"It's cancer."

That has to be one of the hardest phrases in the world to utter. And even harder to hear. That phrase can send your world, your head, your gut spinning.

My own precious sister has had to hear that phrase twice in her 65 years. In November of 1993, we found out she had stage four breast cancer. By December, she'd had a radical mastectomy and the fight was on. Chemo took her hair and brought so many tears. Radiation burned the flesh off her chest. And then, she was better.

Ten years of check ups followed. Every three months for two years, then every four, then every six. At the ten year mark, she was released to yearly checks and taken off Tamoxifen. She credited that drug with keeping her alive and confessed to me she was terrified of stopping it.

And for one precious month, we breathed. That great communal exhalation of "maybe, she's fine now." And then she wasn't.

Her new puppy kept sniffing one spot on her neck. Strange. And then she fell out a van - being a klutz runs in the family - and her neck started hurting. One thing led to another and finally we heard those terrible words again. "It's cancer."

Her breast cancer had returned as a tumor in her neck and it was wrapping around her spinal cord and choking her nerves and if she didn't do something NOW, she would be paralyzed from the neck down! Yes, I know she had a PET scan ONE MONTH before and it was all clear but now it wasn't.

Because of the proximity to her spinal cord her only option was a type of miracle radiation known as Proton radiation. In 2003, there were only two facilities using this revolutionary treatment that can get radiation into the body with pin-point accuracy. And one was Loma Linda Medical Center, 70 miles from my home.

I was recovering from my own surgery when my mom and sister moved in. For over three months, we made the daily trek to Loma Linda. I was so privileged to witness miracles there. I saw a blind person's vision return. I met many, many wonderful men of all ages dealing with prostate cancer - proton was the only treatment option for many.

Daily, my sister was strapped to a table by a custom made mask. The mask was placed over her face and screwed down to the table to keep her from moving during treatment. She was x-rayed and the techs would move the table across several axis' to ensure proper placement of the proton beam. Then they left the room and zapped her and it was over. They had it down to such a science that often, I would still be looking for a parking spot when she would appear, ready to go home.

When my sister first arrived in L.A., any bump in the road would cause her to scream at the top of her lungs! She was in so much pain. I drove with a constant cringe on my face, waiting for her to scream. And after only five treatments, I hit a huge pothole. I crouched, waiting. And nothing. I looked at her...half afraid I had paralyzed her. She was just sitting there.

"You OK?"


"That was a big pothole. Did it hurt?"


I knew then, she was already getting better.

She just had her PET scan (five years and counting...) and she's still all clear. And yet she knows, we all know - This is what will take her from day.

So with that, I urge you all to go get your yearly mammary-gram. It's October. Breast Cancer Awareness month. Do it. NOW!

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, my Lest Beads Team is hosting a special beady event called Are You Tuff Enough to Wear Pink? Each of the team participating members have special items in their Etsy shops and part of all of the profits will go to selected Breast Cancer charities. Here's the thread on Etsy where you can link into participating shops.

Buy beads and fight cancer, how cool is that!???!

And go get your boobies squished! NOW!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Quick Redo

If you're going to sell jewelry, you need to have a few pieces in your repertoire that you can reproduce.

For me, one of those is my lampwork tassel earrings, made with simple sugar beads in vibrant colors. I always try to make these beads in colors that I know I have matching Swarovski crystals in my stash.

The hardest part of this design is the handmade tassel... not really hard but time consuming. It's a classic case of how really simple beads can make a stunning piece of jewelry.

Here they are in Fuchsia and Amethyst.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Showoff: Custom Galaxy Redo

I thought I would create a new tag for pieces I'm exceptionally proud of. So those pieces will be found under "Showoff" in the future.

This is a redo of my Galaxy necklace. That necklace was purchased by the same customer that ordered this necklace. She purchased it for her mother-in-law and admitted she wore it around the house several times. She loved the feel of the necklace but my glass bead choices were not quite her style.

Those lampworked beads were made with rich transparent amethyst and cobalt glasses, rolled in fine silver foil and cased with a reactive clear. The beads appeared to contain their own little universe...hence, the name.

My customer is more a fan of my organic silvered ivory beads. (There are several focals in that style on the Holly's Folly site right now. See "Bead Sets - Page 2.") She wanted a necklace like her mother-in-laws but with those earthy beads. Here it is. It is a long lariat style that closes mid- tummy.

It features a floral design drop - through clasp, Swaroski crystals in Colorado Topaz AB and Jet AB2x, lots of sterling including a hand made tassel.

I delivered it this morning and she phoned to say she feels like a million bucks wearing it. That makes me very happy!

This is the long skinny focal.

The large stop bead and drop through clasp.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Martha Stewart's Blog Contest

Martha Stewart is hosting a blog contest to teach her viewers about blogging. Go post a link to your blog, post a link back to the contest blog and you could be chosen to be featured blog. There are thousands of entries but you never know!

Here's the link to Martha's blog.

And for all those newbies that this contest is going to bring to the blogosphere, a few words of advice:
1) Blog in the proper usage of your language. Slang is not fun to read.
2) Check your spelling and word use. Sure we all have an off moment but if you consistently use there when you mean their or then when you really mean than, people are going to think you are a dummy...rightly so.
3) If you start a blog, KEEP IT UP. I was shocked this week to find someone on a board I frequent was sending folks a post that was actually a month old. If you want to develop a following, you have to post and post and post. It's time consuming and in this busy world, it can start to feel like one more thing you HAVE to do instead of something fun.
4)If you want people to read your blogs, you have to read blogs. It's the age old writer's dilemma but it's true.


And a note about our enemies at, the website that steals content from hardworking bloggers and makes their own ad revenue off our words. As a professional writer, I feel so violated by this and that's why the message below has appeared at the bottom of every post.

I recently learned that the web spiders - those things that crawl the net looking for content for search engines - have figured out who is the original poster of the content and basically ignores duplicate posts on other sites!

So, today I checked. While Bitacle is still in business, updating their ICANN records less than two weeks ago, the site is DOWN! Therefore, today is the LAST post with the following least until it's resurrected again.

BITACLE.ORG steals content. JESUS GLEZ is a THIEF. If you are reading this post on BITACLE.ORG, you are supporting theft of intellectual property. This post was written and copyrighted by CREEKHIKER, who has not given consent for material to be reproduced. Please visit Holly's Folly Bead Blog to enjoy this content LEGALLY.

If you want to know why this message is at the bottom of every post, read this post.

Glass Galore!

Saturday was a great glass day in sunny Southern California!

The CA flame surfers had a meeting in Brea and several of our members demoed vessels. Vessels will be the theme of our next bead swap and I must say, I learned a new and much easier way to create handles for my lampwork vessels during the demo!

Then we hopped on over to Glass Obsessions in Yorba Linda for their big anniversary party. All kinds of food and demos and GLASS! They have a new Glory Hole they are manufacturing and were demoing there. And we saw Janet (one of my favorite teachers) working on encased florals. Another fellow flame surfer, Mike, was demoing his gorgeous marbles.

We stocked up on Moretti stringer and Vetrofond basics while there.

Then a quick jaunt across the 91 to the 110 and we were at the granddaddy glass bash of them all. Pacific Art Glass was celebrating more than 30 years in business and were giving away all kinds of stuff... WE got there too late to enter the drawing but, as the crowd wound down, we had three different artists demo for us and two others... it was like a private class! The best part was learning to blow shards and seeing someone make a dragonfly on a bead.

While we were there, I purchased more Bullseye rod and frit and few rods of System 96 to work with my new Remschneider high silver glass.

I was just exhausted that night, but SO happy. So. Cal. is just glass heaven!!!


BITACLE.ORG steals content. JESUS GLEZ is a THIEF. If you are reading this post on BITACLE.ORG, you are supporting theft of intellectual property. This post was written and copyrighted by CREEKHIKER, who has not given consent for material to be reproduced. Please visit Holly's Folly Bead Blog to enjoy this content LEGALLY.

If you want to know why this message is at the bottom of every post, read this post.

Friday, September 19, 2008

CorinaBeads for Sale

I'm trying to destash and clean bit and have a lovely set of Corina Tettinger's lampwork beads for sale. They are from her Tidepool series and she sells them for more now. I am asking what I paid: 100 for the lentils and 60 for the focal. 150 for all. They are for sale on my Buy Beads page.


BITACLE.ORG steals content. JESUS GLEZ is a THIEF. If you are reading this post on BITACLE.ORG, you are supporting theft of intellectual property. This post was written and copyrighted by CREEKHIKER, who has not given consent for material to be reproduced. Please visit Holly's Folly Bead Blog to enjoy this content LEGALLY.

If you want to know why this message is at the bottom of every post, read this post.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Interview with Gina DeStevens of GMD Lampwork

I want to make this blog informative and fun. Since lampwork is one of my favorite things in the world, I want to share some of my favorite artists with you from time time. I'm very thrilled to have one of my favorite artists inaugurate the interview section.

Gina DeStevens was one of the first lampwork artists I fell in love with on ebay. Her work is elegant, precise and often leaves me scraping my chin off my desk. I own several sets of her beads and they fall into the category of "so pretty I don't know what to do with them!" I have the following set framed alongside my other "collector pieces."

But this animal print Kalera set is my absolute favorite.

Now onto the interview:

What attracted you to glass?

I happened upon lampworking by accident. I had never heard of it, and one night while looking on the net for seed beads, I came across this "lampwork" stuff, and immediately fell in love! The whole idea of working hot molten glass was (and still is!) very exciting, and read everything I could find on the subject. I've been hooked ever since.

Many glass artists have training in other art mediums. Do you? If yes, please explain.

Hmmm, I can't really say I've even had any training in this one! LOL! I'm self taught through books, info on the net, and trial and error.

Describe the first bead you made that you were really proud of? Are you still proud of it now?

Oh, the 1st bead I made that I was really proud of was in fact, my 1st bead! A little opaque dark turquoise spacer.

What inspires you?

Color! It's all about color, baby! LOL! I usually get into a "groove" with a certain design, and make it over and over, exploring different ways to combine and/or blend colors using the same design. I get a lot of ideas from fabrics, home decor magazines, flowers, trees, even sometimes food!
[NOTE: As of 9/13/08, Gina has several auctions featuring this very design! Check 'em out with the links below]

Do you have a plan when you sit down to torch? Do you sketch beads or have photos around for reference?

I try to have a mental plan, an idea of what I'm going to make that day, but that's about it. No sketches or photos. I like to brainstorm with the glass as I work with it.

Photography seems to be a key element for any glass artist. What type of camera / lightbox set up do you use?

My photo set up is a homemade light box my husband David made for me out of white plexiglass, a couple of clamp lights, and a fluorescent bulb running through the underside (lighting from underneath helps to eliminate shadows).
My camera is a Kodak Z612.

If the issue of finances (i.e. will it sell?) were of no consequence, what would you spend your time making?

Well, I'd probably make time for more sleep! LOL! But as far as beads, I'd probably explore the more expensive silver glasses even more often, and experiment with them without the worry of "wasting".

What kind of jewelry do you wear? Everyday vs. out on the town?

I love sterling silver and dangly bold earrings. I usually wear one of my lampwork bracelets and occasionally a lampwork necklace. Oswego is a small town, so every day wear is "out on the town". ;-)

What is the one skill you wish came easier to you?

Oh, that's easy.....time management. 24 hours just isn't enough time!

What do you love about marketing your business? What’s the hardest part of marketing it?

The part I love about marketing my business is that I can do it from home. I've been a stay-at-home mom, but a business person at the same time. I can go to work in my jammies if I want to (and many times, I do!).

The part I find the hardest is a catch - it's hard, because I'm at home, and never really leave my job. The ongoing dance of balancing career, personal time, and family can be tricky sometimes when it's all in the same place.

What made you decide to start marketing frits?

At first, I just wanted to buy a few frits that I couldn't find at any of the places I had purchased before, so I bought a few kilos in bulk, took out what I wanted and figured I'd just sell off the rest. Well, that was COOL! So I bought more, and sold more, and......;-)

Please include any links you would like my readers to know about.
My website - GMDLampwork
My ebay -
The Frit Shop
GMD on etsy

Take a moment to check out this fabulous artist's work!


BITACLE.ORG steals content. JESUS GLEZ is a THIEF. If you are reading this post on BITACLE.ORG, you are supporting theft of intellectual property. This post was written and copyrighted by CREEKHIKER, who has not given consent for material to be reproduced. Please visit Holly's Folly Bead Blog to enjoy this content LEGALLY.

If you want to know why this message is at the bottom of every post, read this post.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Bead Show Prep

I'm still processing what I've learned from the two bead shows I did this summer. One of my Lest Beads Team members, Inferno Glass posted a few great tips from her recent experiences - all wonderful points and I wanted to add a few more.

1) To pick up where Inferno left off, I cannot emphasize enough the Be Friendly part. I recently attended a local show to see if it might work for me in the future. A local beader I know had purchased a craft kit and sat there working on her new project. The booth right past hers had much simpler beads but the artist was so engaging! The line at her booth only proved the point!

I find myself a bit shy at these things. It's easy to sit there and think "No one likes my beads. Why am I here?" So I give myself a chore to get me out of my own head. I make a goal to add at least 40 new people to my mailing list every show. How do I get people to sign up when we're all on email overload??? I have a drawing in my booth every hour!

2) Which brings me to marketing secret #1 - Gift Certificates. I used to give away jewelry and beads and my rubber stamps for PMC but I ended up mailing them after the show which cost me more money. Then I remembered the great gift card secret. Depending on which survey you believe, anywhere from 10 - 80 % of all gift cards are NEVER cashed. On my own websites (Sweet Stampen and, it is closer to 80%...seriously!

My beadie buds have very mixed feelings on this. I give certs out to my winners in amounts ranging from $10 to $50. My friends all fear their online shops getting cleaned out with give aways... but it rarely happens like that for me or my best friend (who runs a golf business. She too estimates that over 90% of her gift cards are never redeemed.)

I look at it this way: It at least gets them to my store to look around- possibly several times. Do I care if they cash it in? Heck NO! I WANT them to! What better advertising is there than, "Hey, where'd ya get that cool bead?" "I won it on" ??? NONE! It's priceless! But that has to be a risk you are willing to take. I'm still new at this and have nothing to lose.

3) Table Height - Bead shows are tiring for everyone. Most shoppers are bent over tables for hours on end. It's one thing if you're looking at piles of stone type beads where they're all kinda the same. But lampwork requires more attention. You want the customers to linger. They have to if they're going to see everything. If you raise the table so they don't bend over, guess what? They stay longer! They stay longer, they buy!

4) Visual Interest - Make your booth interesting to the eye. Find something to add vertical height (and increase your sales "real estate") and interest to your booth. My friend Bindy Lambell uses palm trees. I found some interesting jewelry trees shaped like women (more like Barbie than any actual women!). I mix those in with the boards I mentioned in an earlier post. I even have a card display made from a china teapot from my rubber stamp show stash. The wires that hold cards, hold beads pretty well too. It's dead center in the front of my chair.

While I did not raise my table at this show, I did have some interesting vertical displays to make the most of my real estate at the table.

5) Show length... ask around to other friends in the field... is the show too long? Too short? My last show was a two day show but day two was dead. I made exactly the amount I needed to pay the second night of my hotel and no more! I would have been in the same financial spot to go home the night before. Others were in a similar spot. Sellers were wandering around, not even concerned that a customer may pop by... it was that dead! This show could clearly be one day only.

6) Food and water - You will never get to take a break when your tummy tells you it's time for lunch. Pack some almonds, a protein bar cut into bite size chunks and some water bottles. Throw in some wet wipes too. Handling money is a filthy job!

7)Booth sitters - some shows provide volunteers to give you a minute to get some food or run to the bathroom. But not all allow their volunteers to handle money. Ask before the show. At my last show, I was told they come around regularly. They didn't. The first day was busy and one made an appearance around 2:30 - 4 1/2 hours after the show opened. I had seven shoppers in my booth with beads in their hands and trays when she asked if I needed a break. I motioned toward the customers as I said, "I desperately do, but not NOW." She didn't return for hours.

If possible, arrange to have a friend or customer you trust come by and relieve you. Or make good friends with your booth neighbors.

8) If you are a beadmaker, you MUST have some jewelry made from your beads. Finished jewelry at a bead show??? Yes! It inspires them to create something similar with your beads. It makes them buy! And, there are jewelry buyers at bead shows too. One of my biggest sales came from someone who just had to have my sample bracelet!

One lampworker friend confessed, she really doesn't care if her jewelry sells or not. It's there to sell her beads and if the jewelry does sell, she looks at it as a bonus but knows she'll need to make another display piece.


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Sunday, August 24, 2008

New stuff

Hello! I spent the day listing new Lampwork goodies on the HollysFolly site. And I moved an older set, Sweetie, to Etsy. I added new buttons and a sweet set of squeezed hearts in Denim frit -my own blend ;-) - on a white background.

And, I put up last winter's holiday beads for one last chance for my regulars. Time to start clearing out last year's designs. I also moved some beads over to my SALE page.

Hope you bead heads had a wonderful weekend. Busy week ahead for me... but I hope to be back on the torch real soon. Have a good one!


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Saturday, August 23, 2008


I've had a really hectic month. In addition to taking a job in the film industry, doing my first solo bead show, a death in the family, I've been teaching my tushie off! For the past few weeks, it's been a class every two - three days!

Since I often teach in a college setting, I have to bring tools to sell. My jeep turns into a traveling bead shop! Lots of loading and unloading and setting up. And while all of this can be very time consuming, it's also very rewarding.

I taught beginning bead stringing for the first time in a few years this week. It's so fascinating to see these ladies who know they like jewelry or beads but aren't quite sure how it's all put together into wearable art. Their eager faces and excited eyes dance with the possibility of making their own jewelry.

Some come with a few tools. Some have boxes and boxes of beads but have never even thought about making jewelry before. Others have no clue and leave so excited.

So, how did it happen for you? Anyone out there care to comment on their first jewelry making venture?


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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sea Dreams

My back is still on the mend but I wanted to move some stuff around on the site. Waterworks has moved to Etsy and I've added Sea Dreams.

This XL raku seahorse, trimmed in lavender is my very first! And I have to say, one of my favorities. I love the texture of his tail, his fat belly and his perfect little nose! He is a major large focal!

With him is a matching fish, an octopus sitting on a raku bead with her big red lips, two etched sand dollars, a shell and one little raku round. A nice set all around.

For Waterworks, I pulled stringer for well over an hour before starting these puppies! An abstract series of teals, blues & violet. Formed in straight sided lentil press (Spree) and then gently "puffed" in the flame. I used all three sizes of the Spree press: 13, 15 & 18 mm.


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Friday, August 15, 2008

New Auction: Snakeskin

Sorry so long since I posted. My back is out and sitting at the computer (or the torch) is torture!

I did get a new listing on the bay! Here's Snakeskin on Ebay:

This is one of my favorite styles of beads to make. It's a silvered ivory technique and I LOVE how it looks like reptile skin in the glass... It's mesmerizing!


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