Thursday, April 28, 2011

Help! My Computer Has Taken Over My Life!

I'm still dealing with computer issues. Now, I can't upload my photoshop brushes... The transfer from CS2 to CS5 is a freaking nightmare.

I had planned to show off a new set today... but I can't....

I'm teaching or taking a class all weekend so... I'm just going to share this week's "Secret Sale"

This adventurine set is $15 off. I adore this set... but then, I always love things that sparkle. The photos do NOT do them justice.

Coupon Code: SPARKLE. And... fan page members get free shipping! Secret Sale price valid TODAY ONLY!

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Spring Beads

I'm S L O W L Y getting all my programs installed and  getting the big beast back online... what a waste this week has been!

In lieu of beady news, I can always count on my fellow Fire Diva's to provide some gorgeous glass bead eye candy in stunning spring colors!

This is actually and old favorite of mine. I just love the colors in this vessel shaped glass bead.

My friend Rose of Spawn of Flame has this bright and oh so pretty lampwork set in her shop:

Our fearless co- leader Lori of Ashlyn Design has this breathtaking lampwork glass bead set in her shop:

Talk about ready for Spring! One of our newest members Abbie of Abbielyn actually makes real terrarium necklace pendants from glass!

But enough with all this spring green! I always need a little pink and purple to boost my spirits! I can always count on the super elegant Lara Lutrick for that! Check this baby out:

If that's not good motivation for some spring jewelry making...nothing is!

I will be back tomorrow with a GIVEAWAY and... maybe a secret sale item ;-)

Have an excellent Wednesday!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Under the Weather

My computer is sick! I've downloaded a virus! OY....

So instead of stressing about ONE more thing...I'm taking today off.

Is it too daring of me to mention that I could use a donation to my sick computer fund???.... I can send you some pretty glass beads in return!

Hope to be back in the saddle SOON!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Confounding Conundrum

Do the prices of silver - $46 / ounce and rising - have you pulling your hair out??? They have me losing sleep!

As a girl who has purchased sterling by the POUND for my jewelry classes, the thought of buying silver for my students to cut apart is killing me!  And as for jewelry making, I just don't feel I can charge any more for my sterling silver jewelry than I do already. What's a teacher / designer to do???

................. Seriously, I want YOU to tell me!
Calico Kitty - Now in Galvanized Steel! (Snork!)

  • I don't like copper unless it's coated and I'm not delicate enough to make jewelry using that anyway.
  • I've dabbled with galvanized steel - which will rust eventually. But I figure jewelry isn't going to be left out in the rain! But it is too hard for my students to deal with.
  • I actually love the look of anodized steel and made my mouse ear pendants with that.
There has to be something shinier and silver "looking" that holds up to wear and doesn't cost a fortune. 

So what have YOU tried? Have you tried nickel silver? Or Stainless? How does it hold up? Is it easy enough for students to handle?? 

I really need some ideas here and would appreciate your input!

-------------SECRET SALE SHHHHhhhh!-------------
After much research in ebay, I was SO shocked at their fees! I came to a conclusion: I would rather save my customers money than give so much to the ebay crapfund! So, from time to time, I'm going to have a SECRET sale. It will be posted on my Fan Page first (hey, you gotta get something for being my fan, right???) and after a day or so, I will post it here.

I have TWO items marked 35% off on Artfire today ONLY. Together, they would make  an incredible set!
They are both Red White and Blue Sweet Treats:

You KNOW those red white and blue holidays are coming! These are 35% off today only code: RWBfan

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pros and Cons of Moo Cards

Last week Moo was having a sale and I've long wanted mini cards for my Creekhiker blog and since I had a bead show coming up, I thought it would be fun and eye catching to have lots of my bead images on my booth table.
File Tabs

But, largely due to feeling ripped off on the shipping, I ended up with cards for the blog ONLY.

They've arrived and I thought I would write a pro and con for other consumers.


  • I'm giddy over the little file tabs making it easy to separate my cards from the cards I collect at a show.
  • Moo allows you to put up to 50 different images on one side of your cards. The other side must be the same image. 
  • Moo can use photos from your online photo albums! They have links to Picassa (Blogger's album), Flickr and more. Or you can upload from your own computer.
  • Easy editing. Moo's software allows you to move the pictures to frame each image and flip the cards from vertical to horizontal.
  • They have all kinds of accessories for your Moo Cards:
Key chain card holder
  • They are darn cute!!!
Just SOME of the 50 images


  • The cards are pricey at .20 each. My full size, double sided, UV coated business cards are about a penny each (
  • Software does not allow you to choose the same photo multiple times. I have a logo photo from my other blog and I would have loved multiple duplicates of that. In the end, I worked around this by uploading the photo several times under different names! But I would have loved it if their software would have allowed me to just say...Print more of this one!
  • Their access to the online albums only go back so far. I was frustrated that I couldn't access some older photos.
  • I was also frustrated that I couldn't combine resources i.e. pull pics from blogger AND flickr or blogger AND my computer. I realized I don't have all my pics in any ONE spot!
  • I found their shipping outrageous! To order 300 mini cards and a holder was going to run me 18 bucks! Not in the age of flat rate shipping! I kept playing with different configurations and the price would drop low or go way high. I wrote to their tech support and they openly admitted "a glitch" in the cart calculation. Glitch aside - their shipping costs are off the chart. 
  • This is my package - It weighed 9 ounces (2 sets of mini cards and a holder):

This should have cost them 2.73 to mail (actual postage) and around 3.45 to allow for the packaging material, yet I was charged 6.50

Just to compare, all my items would have fit in a priority mail box (the small one!) which is around 5 bucks and the post office provides the packaging: 

I picked up the orange box without moving the green to be sure I could get THREE boxes of cards in there:
It fit with room to spare! This combination - which could ship for $5 - would have cost me $18 at Moo. 

All in all, it really tortured me purchasing because I always felt that the shipping was a HUGE ripoff. If I worked at Moo, this would be Item #1 on things to improve! 

I will say, IF you are photoshop savvy, is a much more cost effective option. 16.99 / 100 and FREE shipping!  The downside is they don't allow you to upload from your web albums. But if you know anything about graphics...this is a good thing! Some of my Moo cards are pixelated from being too small! If I had it to do over, I would download the templates at MyMiniCards, prepare a file of 50 images in one place on my computer and go that route. It's a little more work but... in this crappy economy, I have more time than money! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Lot Behind - OWOH Winner!

Do you ever have some little task you should do but you are really busy and just don't get to it? And then when you do have the's embarrassing how much time has past? Welcome to my embarrassment!

One World One Heart - the blog hop event was back in February. You know... the month I lost to commercial advertising and working / commuting 16 - 18 hours a day?? Yeah, that month! Anyway, I was overly efficient in making sure my winners got their prizes - I even helped with the distribution of the Fire Diva's Prizes!

While I helped compose the post about the Diva winners, I've never posted my own!! OMG! [Scrapes egg from her face]

The  winner of this heart was Jodi of Jodeao Design:

Jodi is a multi talented artist who knits and makes hats and beads and works in an art gallery and raises a toddler!

Ok... I need to go wash my face... Or maybe I should post something similar on my OTHER blog!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Beads of Courage Event

The Beads of Courage event in Orange on Saturday was very successful! We had a great turnout and raised money and awareness and got lots of beads made!

For me personally... the morning did not go as planned. I was on the freeway, driving down the backside of our mountain when my check engine light came on! My car sputtered and smoked as I exited and took surface streets back up the mountain and home. After getting some help from my new favorite mechanic, Bessie the Jeep was feeling dandy enough to make the trip to OC... an hour and a half late! OY!!! Of all the days! Being late threw me off my game and I forgot the camera in the car!

I arrived too late to donate the necklace I had made to the raffle. But they had SO many gorgeous entries... it was no biggie.

Luckily I was there in time to set up my part of the boutique and get to my job at the bracelet making table. People purchased a bracelet kit containing two elastic beading cords...prepared with a rainbow stop bead to make it easy for kids. They got to make a bracelet for themselves and one for the kids in the program. I was amazed at how many made both for the kids! We had some really talent bracelet designers come through.

Next, I was on the torch for two hours and what a hot day it was! I think I drank three bottles of water while torching and I only got up to put beads in the kiln! My group was so amazed at how many beads the previous group had made. By the beginning of the third shift, our team leader was purchasing MORE mandrels for us to use in the event! We made 150 beads (I think it was closer to 200) for the Beads of Courage program!

We met some incredible parents and kids dealing with cancer. More than a few tears were shed too!

The boutique was really successful too! It was rather interesting to watch folks wander through and purchase nothing. Then they would go watch the bead making demo and they would come back and buy, buy, buy!
I was so excited to come out of my demo and see my Eggster Bunny had found a home! I sold quite a few items ... all for a good cause.

It was a very fun and meaningful day!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Final Show Prep - Tagging & Inventory

I finished up the few pieces of jewelry I had to make yesterday. I've been slowly making the switch to steel in my jewelry with silver running $40 an ounce. It just doesn't seem right in this economy to charge so much more for sterling.

I really love how my mouse ears came out:

OMG! Creating tags by hand is PITA! I spent over an hour on photoshop trying to print the front and back in alignment. Once that was working, I printed the tags on heavy matte cardstock and that left cutting. I got out my Sissix... but I didn't have a 1.5" circular punch. I tried a heart shape... too small and weird. Then I tried a Christmas ornament and hand cutting off the top part... too crooked and weird!

Back to the craft studio and a found a HUGE punch by emaginations. I got lots of supplies gifted to me working on a crafting tv show and this punch was one of them. I had never used it. I made ONE punch in my cardstock and the bottom broke! By the third tag, the whole thing came apart. emaginations appears to be out of business and if this is the quality of their products, I can see why!  I saw someone re-selling some of their punches but even at a buck apiece... they are OVERpriced!

I finally found another square punch...not the look I was going for but... whatever...I'm on deadline!
Here's one of the round tags:

I thought I would share with you the inventory sheet. It's not unusual for any boutique to ask a supplier for an inventory. But I've found, when others are selling my work, it's best to have a photo of the piece in the inventory as well. So I took the form supplied by Beads of Courage and flipped it on it's side to add another column for the pictures.

Looking at this picture reminds me of one more thing I need to tweak. Since I was too busy with taxes to deal with a lot of new inventory, I pulled jewelry or things I wanted to wrap from my existing glass bead shops. The first two letters of the inventory number were to be my shop name; the next two digits are the number of the item (we are each allowed 25 items). But I added one more letter. h refers to, a refers to Artfire... so now I know which inventory box to return them to! Only, I stopped doing that about halfway through my prep.  I better get back to work! 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Fresh Glass 4/13/11 Wordless Wednesday

Still deep in show prep and mailing taxes, etc. Made a few beads yesterday...most of which I hated! It's been too long for me to be away from the torch! I did end up with a few perfect "that rat" ears and a decent puppy paw print bead. Gotta get those cleaned and wire wrapped for the show!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Since I will be sharing booth space with many other artists in the Beads of Courage Boutique this weekend, I felt I needed smaller tags to save on precious real estate on the table.

I got busy and designed something smaller and simpler than the business card and bookmark size cards I already use in my own booth. The plan is to use those when I'm alone but they would not work for this next show.

My favorite printer is you cannot beat their pricing and I've had tremendous experience with their quality! And, I can pick up, saving on shipping. Best of all, GotPrint added some new custom shapes to their repertoire. They are a bit more costly but... they are really eye catching!

I quickly designed the front of a circular card:
And the back:
I left a nice area in the middle to write the name of the piece, the stock # and the price.... all required by the boutique. And I ordered it on matte paper instead of my usual high gloss. 

The bad thing is... my usual speedy printer has no instructions letting me know that those choices take more time. They won't be ready in time for the show! (Since Beads of Courage now has a home in So. Cal, I think I will be doing more of no biggie!)

But what does that mean for me now??? Hand making logo cards for the show! OY!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Beads of Courage Challenge and Fundraiser

I will be participating in the Beads of Courage Bead Challenge this coming weekend in Orange, CA at Coatings by Sandberg. There will be all kinds of beady happenings from glass bead making demos to make-it-take-it bracelets. My fellow Southern California Flame Surfers are also hosting a gift shop and a raffle! All of this is to benefit the new Beads of Courage programs in Southern California hospitals: Children's Hospital of Orange, Rady Children's Hospital and City of Hope National Medical Center.

To learn more about Beads of Courage and the children it helps, watch this video!

I will be at the bracelet making table with my good friend Bindy Lambell from 10 - 12 and will demo bead making from 12 - 2. My friend Donna Conklin (among others!) will also be on demo duty from 10 - 12.

This is a great chance to see some talented bead makers in action. Heather Trimlett will be demoing from 10-12 and Barbara Birbeck (her fabulous shells are amazing!) will be demoing from 2-4.  There are going to be six torch set-ups with demos going all the time!

The volunteers will be bringing a selection of their work to sell with proceeds going to the charity! It's a great cause and a fun day!

The Details:

  • 4/16/11 
  • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • 628 N. Eckhoff, Orange, CA 92868 (Please note: this is the Coatings by Sandberg Classroom, not the factory!)
Ya'll come!!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bead Bowl - Sarah Hornik Barbie Focal

Sometimes the bead bowl has beads that...there's just something wrong with. We had a strange batch of dichro in this class and I've noticed that over time, the bead has some hairline cracks. It's a good reason to hang onto any bead you are unsure of - for just a little while - to make sure cracks aren't developing.

My jewelry box is actually filled with beads I wouldn't dare sell because of a hairline crack...pieces I've worn for YEARS! It gives me one more piece to wear in my "rotation" of my own hand made work but I do get a little nervous when someone inspects them closely. I feel the need to tell them "I only keep my boos boos!"

But this bead -I hang onto it - in the bead bowl - for other reasons. This bead taught me about gravity and extending the length of my bead. I also ponder creating a realistic looking bone with this technique. It's a fascinating study in the way hot glass moves! And the temperament and control the artist needs to make a bead like this... and courage! I could have never made a bead like this when I started!

It's also a visual reminder of the way I over work rubino...HATE the devit! I will probably try to get the devit off and make something for myself with this one.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Inside My Jewelry Box - Diva Brooch

Still doing taxes...but nearing the end! Whoo Hoo!

I love brooches and it's really a shame I don't wear them much any more. In my days as a Hollywood producer, I kept a litany of nice suit jackets in my coat closet to grab on my way out the door. Long gets cold at night. Plus, they made me look more "suitable" in meetings.

Every coat had it's own little brooch. An antique Swarovski number rescued from my mother's jewelry box, a dangly metal number that was oh-so-eye-catching. Sadly, I never wear jackets anymore, even when I can be bothered to get out of my pjs! But this piece really caught my eye!

Even though I dabble in fusing... my fusing never had vision! But artist Florence Niven of Niven Glass Originals certainly does. I purchased this treasure from her a few years back. People often stop and ask me where I found it. Her work is available on Etsy.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Why Etsy "Improves"

I had some comments and emails yesterday asking my opinion as to why Etsy messes with things. I only have my ideas but as I don't work at Etsy...I don't really know. Let's take another look at the feedback image from my customer's buying page:

This useless piece of crap replaced the following valuable tool:

I tweaked this google seller feedback image to hide names but seller and buyer feedback used to look the same. There were links to the item sold and an little picture, the date and a link to the buyer's account. While I miss this set up terribly, I can see the potential for abuse and I suspect that's why Etsy made the change.

Abuse? I can imagine a seller... let's say a soap maker for example... could go and check out her competition's sales feedback. From there you could see who is buying what and within a few clicks, be sending the competitor's customer an Etsy email saying "I see you love handmade soap. Come check out my shop!"

While I don't know if this is what happened that made Etsy make the change I do know of something similar that happened a few years back.

In lampworking circles, you often hear of the "crazy woman from Texas" who is currently suing lampworkers and other Etsy artisans! This all started a few years back when a glasser caught Miss Cookoo selling glass beads as her own, when in fact she had bought them on Ebay. The glasser filed a report with Etsy as this is a clear violation of Etsy policy. There was a big stink and it died down. The following summer, the nutjob decided to start a website and expose Etsy artisans as frauds.

She began making shill purchases under fake names all to get the name and address of the seller. She would then return the item or file a claim with paypal to keep from paying for the items. Supposedly, she called the tax boards of each and every seller to turn them in for tax fraud.

Full disclosure, she reported me. I have no idea how she got my address but I became a target after writing supportive posts about the artists she focused on. Funny thing: I'm the most overly honest human. The FIRST thing I did when I learned I was about to own a rubber stamp business is call my local tax board to see if the business license I already had to work as a freelance film and tv producer would be valid for selling merchandise. It was not and I was in their office the next day to get all paperwork in order a full month before I had any inventory to sell!  But I digress...

During this time, many people watched her purchasing accounts and as soon as she made another purchase, the seller was contacted... IN ORDER TO PROTECT THE SELLER FROM FRAUD! Yes, this was a violation of Etsy policy. But Etsy wasn't protecting anyone from this person! I'm sure people did what they felt they had to in order to protect the community at large.

All this is going to do is drive the sellers (and buyers) underground to protect one another. I belong to several glass bulletin boards and... we OPENLY post lists of sellers to avoid! I imagine, with Etsy rendering it's feedback tool useless, those boards are going to be very busy!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Etsy - From Bad to Worse with Every "Improvement"

Well, Etsy has done it again! They've made yet another "improvement" which has decreased functionality of the site! What have they done NOW???  They're rendered the feedback tool completely useless!

Feedback on Etsy used to have links to the item people bought. The name of the buyer and seller was visible depending on whether you were looking at the buyer's profile (seller's name visible) or the sellers (buyer names visible) and now... they are GONE! It's like the folks at Etsy have NO IDEA how buyers and sellers use feedback!

This is how my friend Giapet's (a/k/a Fire-n-Sand lampwork) feedback looks now:

Giapet is an up and up seller. Her feedback causes no concern to me as a potential buyer. But what if there were something there??? In the old format, I might flip over to the customer's feedback and see what that customer says about OTHER sellers. Maybe the customer is a grumpy grumperson who's never happy. Or what if they had a legitimate concern? Then I might not buy the item right away. I might wait for more feedback or look for another seller which is my right as a customer

But let's look at this from the seller's view point. This feedback is from my problem customer from last year. Name blurred her name for her privacy: 
You may immediately notice that her negative feedback is 123 and her neutral is 42 (gotta love seller's with NO guts!). The screwy thing about the feedback system is she buys so much that her feedback overall score is 96% positive. It's hard for me to fathom that 123 negatives can equal 96% positive! 

But do you notice what else is missing??? No  item pic, no description, no seller!!! Your ONLY option is to see the feedback she left for other info at all on where / how those 123 negatives occurred. And don't you just imagine that she doesn't bother to leave feedback for the people she screwed over? She didn't for me!

As a seller, the minute I read her feedback, I KNEW I had a problem. I had to take action to get my seller fees back and relist my items (although, I cc'd my buyer on every email to Etsy and she not only paid me, she bought more stuff and paid for that too...after some prodding!). I could tell from the old feedback system that this person just went around buying and buying and buying and frequently didn't pay! Now, I would not have that knowledge as I can only see the positive feedback SHE left! 

I don't know what those folks at Etsy are smoking, but they just don't get it! And Artfire still has it's quirks (blaming Hughes net for some customer's failure to upload and now... twitterfeeds no longer work for AF, so it must be twitterfeed's fault, right?). But it's just so hard to get attention for my own glass bead website.... what's a lowly seller to do?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Just Couldn't Resist

A few months ago, I had a snarky seller write to me and claim this picture of my friction clasp necklaces was "stolen" from her.
I knew it was not. But, I also don't save the large original files from my accessories products to cut down on file space. I will admit...I do steal photos from time to time of the accessories I sell... from the manufacturer I purchase them from. I ask before I do and the attitude is always... if you sell more, we sell more. But this picture was taken on my own back porch.

I told her over and over I had not stolen anything from her. They are rubber and come tightly coiled from the manufacturer...that's the way they lay. But nothing doing... she just insisted. Tired of dealing with this little pest after her emailing me ALL day long, I grabbed a necklace and some red background paper. As I was editing the photo, I looked around on Etsy. I must have a direct link to the manufacturer because my price is cheaper than any other there.

And since I love having a go at someone who tormented me by wasting a day of my life, I couldn't resist a little photoshopping! Here's my NEW photo:

I couldn't wait to send her my new picture! Kinda cheeky but hey, payback is a rude girl! 

I sell these rubber necklaces to go with my off mandrel hearts: 

And as always... the price is much better on MY glass beads website!

I'm going to be crazed with taxes over the weekend but... the big customer appreciation sale goes on. Coupon code ThanksFans gets the maximum discount on my Artfire and my website: 25% off!