Sunday, December 26, 2010

Heather Trimlett Button Class at the Mandrel

If you are remotely curious about how to make a glass button, I cannot recommend Heather Trimlett enough as THE go-to girl and fount of button making knowledge! And - as luck would have it - she's coming to The Mandrel January 8 - 9 to teach button making!

Heather's buttons are to die for!

And, Heather is simply THE best teacher no matter what level you are at! Go check out my class review from last year. Sign ups end this week so don't miss this!! Call the Mandrel to sign up!

Trying to Think Small

I've openly admitted my penchant for LARGE beads... both the ones I make and the ones I (used to) buy. But I recently tried my hand at making a tiny "focal." I feel the need to put that in quotes because to me, if it doesn't fit nicely in the palm of my hand... it ain't a focal!

But that doesn't leave a lot of room for folks who work on a different scale. Every artist I've known has a scale they are comfortable with and as a beadmaker who would love to have many customers - I know it's a matter I need to address. So, I made a tiny little glass focal bead. Whoo Hoo!

This baby measures Measures: 14mm hole to hole x 17mm which is minuscule in my world!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Think Pink

I've always openly admitted to NOT being able to think ahead. It's just now crossing my mind that "maybe I should make some Christmas beads!" Too little, too late, girly!

So I was pleased and amused when I realized I had inadvertently made a Valentine's set. Don't worry! I didn't do it intentionally! ;-) It was shear happenstance!

I was dying to try out the new frits my friend, Donna Conklin, made. And the Berry Liscious (I keep telling Donna, that should be Luscious!) made me so happy watching those pink colors just POP as they were blooming in the flame! I knew it would make a gorgeous heart glass bead set.

I also tried some of Donna's other colors including  Purple People Eater and Wisteria Lane. All gorgeous! Put 'em on your list for Santa!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tree of Life

I totally forgot to blog about my entry (Yay! I finished on time!) to last month's Art Bead Scene! This was inspired by Klimt's Tree of Life Painting.

ABOUT THE BEAD: I pictured the bead in my head immediately but Klimpt's work inspires me like that. The glass bead came out even prettier than I'd expected!
ABOUT THE NECKLACE: I lucked out and found a bowl full of threaded e beads ready to crochet! I sort of wish the pattern was a bit more random with this bead as the focal but... I wasn't about to restring! The five bead pattern whipped up in under a week.
I knew I wanted copper findings and was THRILLED to find the little tree branch motif toggle in my stash! It's sewn on the ends with copper bead caps.
But that's where my luck ran out. This bead had holes a little bigger than I would have liked and I had no copper molded caps so I tarnished sterling ones which, in the end, matched the metallic limbs of the tree branches.
I like jewelry that can be interchanged... different drops, plain or fancy and I knew I wanted to be able to wear the crochet alone or with other beads. I shaped 16 gauge copper on a sharpie and spiraled it onto the crochet cord.
When I wire wrapped my bead - also on 16 g. copper, I wrapped a tarnished silver giant lobster on to the pendant. This way I can wear whatever pendant strikes my fancy with my crochet necklace!

tree of life1 by HollysFollyGlass

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Just for Me

I have LONG admired one of my own earring designs but, busy dingbat that I am, would you believe I've never made a pair for myself???

My bestie has these in hot pink and they look so good on her. I often start to compliment her when some part of my brain snaps in and says, "Hey! I made those!"  I have another friend with purple ones and still another with denim blue ones. This design just looks so good - if I do say so myself!

But I wanted mine in my favorite color of "mood glass." And when I taught my holiday earring class recently, I decided to demo with a set that I could keep. As my luck goes, I didn't have the tiny crystals I like to use on the sides but I ended up liking the big crystals too.

So what's my favorite color??? It's called Rhubarb and it's made by Bullseye Glass. I adore it because it changes color depending on the light.

If the lighting source is fluorescent, they are green:

In daylight, they are kind of gray:

And incandescent lights turn them pinky peach:

I use Swarovski crystals in cantaloupe as their color mimics the same properties. I just love my new earrings.

I should mention, I have glass bead kits in all sorts of colors and will entertain remakes!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gotta Vote to Win!

I just had my monthly $50 Gift Certificate drawing and a repeat winner won. She has won several times this year... because she votes and takes the added step of emailing her entry. I have voters that often forget that step.

She also votes several times a week (totally allowed). If YOU vote, YOU could win too!

Here's what my current winner chose for her prizes:

A lovely silvered ivory Kalera shaped focal:

And a focal I call Magic Carpet (inspired by a rug!):

I would love to see more voters in the next drawing!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Beads of Courage Video

I wanted to share the video. This is so amazing!!! If you want to know what all the fuss over Beads of Courage is about, PLEASE check this out!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Special Announcement - Beads of Courage on Sunday Morning

I putting this on both my blogs. Please set your VCRs / DVRs tomorrow to check out CBS News' Sunday Morning profile of Beads of Courage.

I know many of my readers were voting back in the summer to help Beads of Courage win a $25,000 grant from Pepsi (which they are putting to use by starting a new BoC program in Anaheim, CA. I will be helping with a workshop there in April!). I thought you might like to see what it's all about - you are sure to shed a tear.

And... if you are a glass bead head - you can see some glass beads being born!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Truth Be Told

I usually start a post after I've disappeared on you with an apology... but I'm not feeling so apologetic for my much needed time off, so weirdo that I am, I will apologize for the lack of an apology.

I've always been brutally honest with my reader(s??){Is anyone out there?} and this blog is also about the challenges of being an artist and making glass beads so it's time for me to taste the bitter pill of truth.

What sent me off on my disappearing act was the heartbreak of having a "big sale" and no one showing up to buy a damn thing. Truth be told, I am tired.

I am tired of trying to figure out what will sell. I hate thinking that way - the figuring out what will sell way - because, in my mind, what will sell is boring to make and is boring to look at. I never wanted to make beads for boring jewelry designers.

I am tired of tweeting and facebooking and plurking and talking about myself and my business. But I know from hard knocks that just because I built it, doesn't mean they will come.

I am tired of blogging and blithering on and on for... no one. No one comments here so I ASSUME no one is reading a damn thing I write.

I am tired of making quality in a world where people want junk.

I am tired of competing with Suzy Q Crafter for customers; These women apparently have rich husbands or some other means of support and clearly have no concept of what it takes to run a business. I know what materials cost; I know how much time it takes to make what they sell. What I don't get is how they keep a roof over their heads paying themselves less than minimum wage!

I am tired emotionally... the struggle to make ends meet when my two ends get further and further apart keeps me in a near constant state of panic.

I am tired physically - both of my arms are in braces to deal with the constant pain of tennis elbow as I try to type this. I am tired from the twice weekly visits to the Physical Torturer whom I have to pay $107 for the privilege of being tortured.

I'm tired of wondering what the hell I'm supposed to be do with my life.

All that being said, I have a writing project I "hope" to be paid for and I need more time off to continue to heal... so while I have a smattering of posts already in the works... I will post them when it suits me and not on any schedule. Since I'm apparently my only reader - it shouldn't really matter at all, now should it.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cyber Monday Deals

In case you've been in a turkey coma for the last four days, today is the last day of my Black Friday / Cyber Monday coupons and specials going on NOW through midnight PST Monday night.

Holly's Folly Glass Bead News

Beads: Save 20% off my Artfire, Etsy or with the coupon code THANKFUL

This sale is on EVERYTHING in the shops including tools, jewelry and my latest favorite - a sparkling bronze made to order set!

Subscriber / Fan Page ONLY Specials

IF you are a Fan Page Member, use coupon code THANKFULFAN for an additional 10% (30% total!) savings.... valid only for FANS! Join my Facebook Fan Page
You must be a subscriber on a mailing list / fan page to get the discount. Mention this deal for your discount! If you are reading this online and are not a subscriber, no discount will apply!

****Free shipping on my rubber stamps!****

And I'm also having a special on my FoodSafe & Art Rubber Stamps:

FREE SHIPPING now through Midnight PST 11/29 on UNMOUNTED rubber orders of $5 or more AND on Wood mounted stamps orders of $20 or more.

All Food kits ship free this weekend! Valid only with credit card or RME payments

Thanks as always for l@@king!


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Black Friday / Cyber Monday

The Fire Divas are having a sale for the Black Friday / Cyber Monday promos going on over at Etsy and Artfire. I've also got an extra 10% off sale for my FANS ONLY going on now! So fans get first pick and save more! Whoo Hooo! Just my way of thanking those dedicated followers!

So this means my fans can get my new favorite made to order set for 51.09!!! Saving over $20!!!

I want to add - I am so thankful for all of you. Your support and friendship is much appreciated!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

1) Holly - 20% off my shop or Artfire shop or my Etsy - use coupon code THANKFUL upon check out. Addition savings for fans.

2) Lori - 10% off my Etsy and ArtFire shops from Friday to Monday

3) Kathleen -10% off

4.)Sonja-10% off and

5) - Lara - 10% off at Artfire and Etsy + free shipping

6) Janel 20% off at Etsy from Friday to Monday

7) Patrice - 20% off my ArtFire shop: : Use coupon "FIREDIVASTHANKSGIVING2010"

8)Barb - 15% off on my AF shop from Friday-monday
9) Melanie - 20% off on ArtFire or Etsy

10)Amy 20% off on ArtFire shop coupon code TURKEY:

11) Theresa - Free shipping on all items in my Artfire shop until Monday:

12) Lea - 20% off my Artfire Etsy from Friday to Monday - use coupon code HAPPYTHANKSGIVING upon check out.
13) Karen - Friday - Monday, 10% off in both shops, and

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Art Bead Scene - In Progress

Well, whadayaknow? The jewelry muse has struck! I actually ran across a crochet project I threaded about a year ago - which as any bead crocheter knows is half the battle! The cord is now as long as my arm and I'm nearly done in less than a week!  Whoo Hoo!

I'm taking tomorrow off from the bead blog but will be back Thursday with a special announcement and coupons for Black Friday / Cyber Monday.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Marketing on the Web

You're making beads or jewelry or quilts or... whatever. You hang out your little web-shingle and ... you wait. You've built it. But they don't come.

There's lots of reasons for that... so I thought I would share a little bit of what I've learned the hard way.

Google Limits
What any web vendor wants is a decent Google Rank. And there are any number of ways to work on that. The most important of which is using keywords. That is a topic that I could write about every day from now til Christmas and still not be done... But your keywords are important.

But let's say you ARE using your keywords well. Even if you doing EVERYTHING right on your site, as a general rule, Google will only give you the TWO listings  per website in any search. There are exceptions but as a marketing person who wants to control your public image, how do you maximize your hit potential and dominate the other listings on the search page? How do you prevent those listings from going to your detractors (think Regretsy)?

Have you ever wondered why Ford or Pepsi owns several websites? Have you ever clicked on any of their other sites? They often lead you to the same place. But let's face it...websites cost money. Maybe not a lot of money but...we're starving artists, right?  But you can still diversify. Here's some solutions:

  • Blogging - NOT on your own dot com - legitimizes your own website to the web spiders and it gives you one more address in those Google rankings.
  • Tweet - Twitter under your business name - yet another address for Google to find you.
  • Sell on other venues - not just on your own website. I sell my older designs on Artfire and Etsy - two more web addresses.
  • Don't count out Ebay - Use your business name for every thing you sell on Ebay whether it's related to your business or not. Ebay consistently comes up high in google rankings.  So whether you are getting rid of old inventory or cleaning our your closet, it's one more way they can find you! 
  • Facebook - This powerhouse is the ONLY website Google is afraid of and they should be! Be sure to start a fan page for your business there and check it often. And again, this is one more piece of web real estate with your company name on it.
  • Blog Networks - Feed your blog to other sites but be sure they give you proper credit. Or be sure to build links to your actual blog into the first few sentences. Networked blogs app on Facebook, Blogher (for female bloggers), and BlogCatalog are all legit and give you credit for your work without looking to simply steal your content to make money.
  • Guest blog - If you are a good writer, write articles for other (more heavily trafficked)  blogs than your own. They often mention your business and link back to you.
  • Network Specifically - I network on boards devoted to glass bead making and I use my business name as my i.d. Find Social media groups geared toward your business and create even a small presence there. Even if you only post once a month, it's one more time your business name is out there.

By using these tips, I have Google links 1-10 all pointing to me or one of my other venues. In creating a web presence, you cannot care HOW they found you. And you can't HOPE they will find you on their own. You have to leave breadcrumbs everywhere.

Which leads to the question "Do I need my own website at all?" Yes! You do! Even if you don't sell there, it can be the jumping off point for the places you do sell.  Think of it as the central hub with all your other venues, sales or information, rotating around it.  Your own dot com is vital to your web presence too!


If you found this tutorial helpful, please consider making a donation to the artist. Thank you!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

AGLF 2011 Calendars

I just wanted to mention that I have two beads featured in the AGLF 2011 calendar on sale now. The crazy lawsuit targeting glass workers and other Etsy artists is ongoing. How on earth someone could just start slandering other artists is amazing to me and that it got this far in our courts system... SIGH...

Anyway, the calendars are GORGEOUS!!! And hey, you NEED a calendar. Why not one where the proceeds all go to a good cause AND you get some great eye candy???

Have a glorious weekend!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fire Divas Christmas / Hanukkah Glass Bead Challenge

It's time for another Fire Divas Bead challenge! This month's  theme is Christmas / Hanukkah. We have many incredible glass bead entries! You can browse them all below, then vote for your favorite over on the Fire Divas Blog - right side of the page!

Entry 1
Entry 2
Entry 3
Entry 4
Entry 5
Entry 6
Entry 7
Entry 8
Entry 9

I have my favorites... Do you???

In other news... I've actually started my Art Bead Scene entry! 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fresh Glass

I usually don't post about things in the past but, a dear friend bought one of Kim Neely's tutorials for me and I made these beads my first time out:

Extra Large Kalera Focal
Same Bead Outdoors

Mini Matching Set

I put them up on my fan page the night after I made them and... they sold! Whoo Hoo! That was so exciting!

Kim's Patina Florals is such a neat tutorial, I can't wait to make more!  I heartily recommend. The only down side to these beads is... they are so shiny sparkly magnificent... You can't photograph them well! I even shot a video to show that focal off!

Monday, November 15, 2010

New Holiday Sweet Treats

I started making beads to make desserts for my food shows.  It was great to have a little high end impulse purchase near the register when chefs and cake decorators had spent a weekend or more dedicated to their business. They would get so excited to see my cupcakes, cakes and candy glass beads.

They are still some of my favorite beads to make! I list all my holiday stuff on Artfire first these days. It just seems best to get the time sensitive stuff out there where it will get the most views. These are my latest cake beads:

I sort of miss doing food shows... not the WORK but I do miss the joy I would see on a foodie's face when they saw the jewelry I made.

And this has me thinking about marketing... Do you market to any one specific group of people???

I have a friend who loves to scuba dive and her beads reflect that passion. Some of her best sales come from scuba / fish shows! Yet another loves making buttons and focuses on quilt and fabric shows.

Have you ever thought of specializing in this way???

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Yada Yada Yada

My saga continues...yada yada yada. But I'm too darn tired to talk about it! Let chat about something FUN!

The Art Bead Scene picked a painting by one of my favorite artists for inspiration on this month's contest! YAY! I haven't been rocking on their choices this year at all! So it felt great to look at the painting and just "see" the bead I wanted to make and then go make it!
 HUGE lentil!!

The inspiration painting is Tree of Life by Gustav Klimpt:

Now let's just see if my jewelry making muse shows up in time to meet the contest deadline!

Just a couple of reminders as we head into the weekend:
  • The Fire Divas will start voting on the holiday bead challenge any day now, so I hope you will check in over the weekend and vote.
  • I'm giving away $50 Gift Cert on the 15th for my faithful voters! I hope you will pop over, vote and enter the contest!
  • Have a wonderful fall weekend! If you are out shopping for the holidays, I hope you will consider buying something handmade !

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Boutique Glass

Boy, I don't mean to be a grump fest this week but yes, I have another gripe. I'm partially responsible but I also feel the boutique glass I used is mostly responsible.

First a little background. I'm a firm believer in seeking inspiration ELSEWHERE... i.e. not from other beadmakers. And I was majorly impressed with this set of sheets from Crate and Barrel.

I just knew they would make the perfect bead... and they did!

 It was big and fantastic and opaque yet transparent. It was amazing! WAS???? Yes, WAS!

It's full of cracks:

Why? Not because of heat control. No, as I mentioned earlier, the fault lies in the way I make large beads and the fact that I used boutique glass.

A bead this large uses just over a whole rod of glass! And, to save money and not waste pricey glass, I make a smaller core using "trash clear" - the ugly, cheap, not-clear-enough-to-case-with clear. I then reverse case with the pricier stuff. I get the same effect but I don't waste money... generally. With the prices of beads dropping lower every day, it makes sense. Also, I like using a clear core because it holds the heat of a large design well! Softer cores can get limp under that much heat.

But to get that shade of purple... translucent and opaque at the same time... I foolishly chose a boutique glass color.  This particular glass (And please, beadmakers... if you out them in your comments, they will be deleted!) is known for it's spotty annealing schedule with temps ranging from 940 - 1070!

That is the very reason I buy so little of the boutique glass. We have a fellow Fire Diva who makes gorgeous stuff with boutique glasses mixed with other 104 glasses. But when I try... I get cracks! Between the higher price and the fact that I feel many of the colors produced by boutique companies are near identical to the Italian glass that has been produced for generations, I just can't justify it.

And as a fickle artist, I often don't know what I'm going to make when I sit down at the torch. How DO you plan for quirky annealing temps?? Make a plan and work from high to low? But how do you keep track of the temps??? A schedule in your shop, over the kiln? I just can't wrap my brain around it.

Save for the fact I love this color purple, I've not invested in much of the stuff... thank goodness. And even this color really gets my dander up... sometimes it's rich and lovely. Other batches I've seen are pale and icky! And I'm expected to pay more for this... something I can't just call up and order. I have to see it to make sure it's the version I love? No thank you!

But all is not lost. I made a matching set of SMALL lentils using only the purple clear core.

And a matching set of spacers.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Plot Thickens!

Welp! After I left her negative feedback and cc'd her on my letter to Etsy, (in yesterday's post) all kinds of sellers (including ones I KNOW) have come out of the woodwork to tell me of similar experiences. I did NOT OUT her... against Etsy policy. People can guess who she is! What a rep!!! The plot gets thicker still but, I'll get to that in a moment.

I love how - once I open my big mouth - others speak up! Am I just an enabler or an inciter??? The other thing I've learned is that many sellers are afraid to ding someone like this with negative feedback for fear of buyer returning the favor.  I say, right is right - negative feedback be damned! Does anyone even look at it until it's too late anyway????

And while one person commented that this is the sellers fault... that maybe I shouldn't come down on Etsy, I do agree. People like this have impulse control issues and yes, that is the buyer's problem. Which makes it the seller's issue. Still another seller wrote to me, "Etsy owns the country club. We just get to play there."

That's part of the problem. Etsy makes money either way. But until they give sellers more control over our shops and who we want to do business with, Etsy will never be great!

I hate to point out the behemoth Ebay, but back in the day when you didn't have to sort through tons of Chinese crap to find good lampwork (always, always search "sra" when shopping there!), even they realized that sellers didn't want to be hassled by "problem" buyers. There, you have the option of not selling to people with no feedback, negative feedback or to block an user entirely. I blocked a number buyers on my account there who cheated my friends. This feature is the BEST thing I can say about Ebay.

And now, back to our plot: After all of my letter writing and being contacted through out the day by other wronged sellers, SHE PAID ME! Instant payment, OK to ship!

Do I dare take bets on whether or not she asks for a refund???

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Public Flogging for Etsy

Believe it or not, I'm actually in the midst of writing a post comparing Artfire, which I'm 90% in love with to Etsy, which I run hot and cold for. But this issue is SO BIG, I can't hold my tongue or wait for my clever muse to finish the other post!

The subject is SICK buyers on Etsy! I have encountered my actual first - as opposed to the nut job that hit many of my friends. Someone bought my Tiger Eye bead yesterday. As this is a bead I loved and it took a LONG time in the flame to get it right, I had serious doubts as to whether it would EVER find a home!

And I was overjoyed when I got the email it had sold...but there was no payment. I foolishly sent her a convo explaining how Etsy works. I have had customers not make it all the way to check out in the past - so I assumed.

But last night, something told me to check her feedback. She had 109 and negative and 21 neutral feedback! In all my years on ebay, I only got one negative (from a seller who changed the list of items AFTER I auto bid. I stopped payment through PP and she stopped taking PP!). As I read her feedback, my heart sank. She clearly buys stuff and doesn't pay FREQUENTLY. But her rating is still 95% positive thanks to over 2100 positive transactions.

Clearly Etsy is making money because this woman shops A LOT! So they have no reason to care.

But let's look at the issues created by someone who puts an item in their cart and mere SECONDS later, decides not to pay for said item.

The seller has to:
  • waste time trying to contact a buyer they may think is legit (if they haven't read her feedback).
  • lose money in Paypal fees if she initiates payment and asks for a refund...which this buyer has done! 
  • lose hits and views while the item is not listed, therefore missing potential income. 
  • has to cancel the sale and explain to Etsy why the listing fees and sales fees should be refunded.
  • Relist the item
  • All previous hits and, more importantly, hearts from LEGITIMATE customers are lost! REAL customers assume incorrectly their hearted item is gone!
The woman who did this to me stiffed another seller yesterday for FOUR items. She does this all the time!

So, this is the letter I wrote Etsy. I implore other sellers to beseige them with similar letters.

I am writing to you in regards to my most recent sale!

Etsy, you MUST give sellers the option to BLOCK A BUYER. This woman has SERIOUS impulse control! With over 100 in negative feedback for non payment issues, she should be permanently blocked by you. Since you make money off of her, you won't grow a pair and do it and protect your sellers!

But you should give us the option to BLOCK such sick people!

There are mere SECONDS between purchase and payment. This woman KNOWS she has NO INTENTION OF PAYING!

But it is us lowly sellers who have to take the time to relist - LOSING ALL OUR HITS, VIEWS AND HEARTS!! (Hearts from LEGITIMATE PAYING customers)

Then we have take more time to get our LISTING FEES AND SALES FEES -she caused us to pay - back! Who has the time to deal with such sick people!

Seriously, if you were a seller and saw her feedback, would you want to risk doing business with HER? I DON'T! It's hard enough to make a living without dealing with this crap!


Thursday, November 4, 2010


Coming into the holiday season, everyone is so busy. We rush to and fro, picking up this and that and rarely take a moment for ourselves.

But let's make this holiday season a little different. I hope everyone will realize, it is the little moments that those we love will treasure. It's not the presents; it's YOUR presence.

But I'm hoping to be present, aware and relishing the moment not only for those I love, but for those little quiet stolen moments for me.

I promise, I'm going to curl up by my fire and make toasted marshmallows for my pup and I'm NOT going to worry about all I have to do.

I'm going to linger in my creek and feel the joy that wells in my soul when I am there. I'm going to stop  for just a minute and celebrate the end of another day.

I vow to spend this holiday season finding joy along my path, celebrating my loves as well as my passions-

 I will seek out laughter and joy. I will celebrate life. I will celebrate me.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Few New Things

I've put a few new things up on the glass beads website and on Artfire.

I found this set of black and white Sweet Treats in my teaching stash!

and I finally made something pink for Breast Cancer Awareness. The Fire Divas are having a promo in October and many of the Divas are donating proceeds to various charities.

Here is the pink dichroic heart I made:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


My sister is visiting here for the first time in years. Her birthday is approaching and we will be out seeing the sites. Orders are still shipping but... I won't be blogging for a week or so...

Sis at Laguna Beach, circa 2003