Monday, August 24, 2015


Continued from previous post
Eagerly I rushed to verify if my revelation was correct or not.  Removing the pile of clothes from the top shelf of the cabinet, I could tell it definitely contained  some pattern pieces but as I withdrew the pieces I realized they were pinned to fabric and were not of the pattern that I had been looking for.  This pattern had been pinned to a kitschy, cute pineapple print, fabric and had even been carefully cut out.  But then, in the flurry of getting our home ready to put on the market, I had tossed it in with a bunch of  clothing that I was going to repair "someday", and for the last 10 years or so it had sat around,  forgotten and with pins and tissue pattern still attached, waiting for me to "someday" put it together. 

To my surprise, as I extracted this unfinished garment from the pile, there, buried with it, was the pattern package that I had spent hours searching for. 
Of course now my priorities had changed.  After all, this unfinished garment had been waiting far longer and deserved to be moved to the top of my to do list. 
Yes I finally completed the dress with the sweet pineapple print . . .
 and the first time I wore it, my daughter asked if it was new and if I had made it.  I replied; "Yes. Yes I did make it and it only took me 10 years."

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Misplaced in the Move

Searching for a lost pattern
In my last post I explained how  had I ruined a favorite dress, so it was only natural for me to decide to make another dress like it.  Somewhere there was a pattern but exactly where?  
Back in 2005 we had put our home up for sale and, trying to make my home real estate perfect, I gathered up all clutter and anything I felt was extraneous; furniture, books, cookbooks,  brick-a-brack.  This included all  (yes ALL) of my craft supplies, even my sewing and sewing machine. 
Our home sold quickly, too quickly really, we had to rent a tiny villa while we searched for a place to live full time.  We ended up buying close to 3 acres of land and building a modest ranch style house.  This took about 18 months, more or less. Meanwhile most of our belongs remained in storage.
We finally moved into our new home in July of 2007.  Even though that was 8 years ago much of my craft supplies are still stashed in miscellaneous boxes that are scattered about in various closets.  It was like an Easter Egg Hunt, trying to locate this particular pattern.  I looked in box after box, searched through drawers, plowed through every cabinet that I knew I had stashed crafting supplies within and . . . Nothing !  The pattern could not be found.  Then I remembered that in my personal closet, within a cabinet that I use to store hats and sweaters, I had seen a piece of pattern tissue sticking out from under a pile of clothes that needed repair.  Could this be my missing pattern ?
To Be Continued . . .

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Skirt Tail

My favorite skirt - no the ruffle doesn't really hang lopsided, it is just the way I attached it to the hanger.
In my zeal to finish some long standing projects, I deviated frequently from jewelry revamps to revamping my wardrobe. 

We all have favorite garments, something we tend to wear over and over again.  For me it's a mid-calf length, blue denim skirt that I truly adore because it looks good on me and is very comfortable.  Unfortunately a greasy stain marred the front of the skirt.  Before laundering  I tried to remove the stain with a stain stick and a great deal of  scrubbing.  Once the garment had gone through the wash and dry cycle, I was dismayed to see the stain was gone but in its place was a very light, almost white patch of fabric.  Perhaps the stain would have been better?

The skirt was put aside as I decided to "someday" try dying it with Rit fabric dye.   Finally that "Day" actually came.  Having bought a package of Rit, powder dye, in a dark denim blue, I proceeded to follow the instructions very carefully.  Naturally, like the idiot that I can often be, I failed to don an apron or change into the grubbiest of my grubby, "Never to be worn outside of the house" clothes.  Instead I was wearing a comfortably old, yet relatively nice, A-line dress.  It was one that I had made from a Simplicity pattern, using a soft, comfy, cotton interlock knit, in a pastel, apple green.  The dress, much like the skirt, was a favorite of mine and was worn often.

I had made the sleeveless, short version (shown in white on pattern).
Honestly I was trying to be very cautious but as I lifted the wet, freshly dyed skirt from its steaming hot, dye bath, it slipped and flopped back into the basin with a mighty splash.  Naturally the splash of indigo dyed water targeted my apple green dress.  At the moment there was little I could do except remove the dress and toss it into the basin along with the skirt.  Anyway, the skirt turned out beautifully . . . the apple-green, A-line dress however looked like c_ _ p ! 
Since I hadn't  time to prewash it (as the dye bath was still nice and hot and would be cold had I taken time to properly launder the dress)  the dye took unevenly, also my dress came out a shade of drab, charcoal gray rather than a clean denim blue.  :(

Okay, so now I had yet another project on my list . . .  make a new A-line dress like the one I had just ruined.  Some days it just doesn't pay to get out of bed !

Monday, August 17, 2015

A Cornucopia of Not-Quite-Right Pieces

My stash of Superduo mixed mettalics purchased many months ago for a project that I  have yet to make . . . perhaps mañana !

As mentioned in my last post, I've been busy catching up on many projects, most of which have been long overdue for my attention.

A drawer, filled with necklaces, bracelets and earrings all begging to be revamped, fixed or totally disassembled and re-fabricated.  Over the years I had stashed these pieces away with good intentions and the promise of  mañana, but as that old song goes; "Tomorrow  never comes".

Quite often the problem with the piece of jewelry was that the clasp was difficult to close.  Difficult enough that a customer would prefer not to purchase it.  These were the first pieces I decided to tackle, replacing obstinate  clasps with something more user friendly.


Pretty toggle clasp on beaded rope necklace - pretty but a pain to close and to open.
I've removed the difficult clasp and made a sweet, beaded button clasp to replace it. Now it is much easier to  put the necklace on and take it off.

Then there were those pieces that were okay but just not note-worthy. They were the pieces that when  completed I hadn't felt that flush of joy at how they turned out.  In the back of my mind they were okay and sometimes "okay" just isn't good enough . . .  if you know what I mean?
This choker started out as a pair of hoop earrings.  The earrings were "okay" but not much else.  Granted I had to make up and add a whole lot more of those pearl embellished, turquoise blue, glass beads, but I think it was worth it. 
Matter-of-fact, I liked the choker design so much that I took a plain necklace of Unakite teardrops and remade it into a similar choker using different colored accent beads (below).


This piece was a simple beaded rope with a drab, silver glass, disc bead at its center.  Revamping entailed taking it completely apart as I decided upon an asymmetrical design.  The drab, silver focal bead was replaced with a Swarovski Crystal Pearl in a soft Jade blue-green, and sits in my hand beaded bezel (above).  Opposite the bezeled pearl are multi-strands of teal, seed beads held in cute, tulip shaped bead cones (below).


These are just a tiny portion of the remakes that I've been preoccupied with, and  no, I haven't cleaned out that "Fix-it or Remake it" drawer.  Probably I will never see the bottom of that drawer, but at least I've managed to make a dent in it . . .  albeit a small dent.  Have you experienced that sensation where you're not really disappointed in something that you've made but you're not ecstatic about it either ?

Saturday, August 15, 2015

In 800 Words or Less

August is just about over and Autumn is just around the corner.  Soon children will be returning to school, but before school actually begins there will be that yearly, mad rush to purchase a mile long list of "needed" school supplies, along with new shoes and new school clothes.  It's a cycle that starts when a child enters kindergarten and doesn't cease until they either graduate from college or get married. 

Thinking about the start of the school year brings back memories.  Perhaps it was just a coincidence but it appeared to me that it was more like a tradition, the first thing that everyone of my elementary school teachers would request of her students was for us to write about "What You Did During Summer Vacation".  Does that sound familiar to any of you ?

Well my summer vacations were usually boring as we seldom went anywhere and I spent most of my days playing various outdoor games, such as hopscotch or jump-rope or, quite often,  just  goofing off with my friends.  This never made for interesting literature, unlike the kids who had been lucky enough to journey to other cities, states or far-away-places.

So this leads me to the question of "Just What the Heck HAVE I Done This Summer?"

I know that I've been away from blogging for quite some time and must confess it wasn't due to taking long trips to exciting or exotic places.  For me it was a summer of staying close to home and catching up on a lot of projects.

Over the course of 15 plus years, I've accumulated a lot of unfinished projects.  Pieces of jewelry that I had stashed away to remake and things I wanted to make but never began.  Unfortunately I plowed into these projects and never thought to take before or after photos.  Of course had I taken time to photograph the before and after of all the projects that I managed to tackle I would not have completed nearly as many as I did and I would probably still be editing photos.

Hopefully in my next post I can provide more details.  Meanwhile, in 800 words or less, let me know what you've all been up to this summer.  :)

Saturday, April 25, 2015


We've all seen those empty storefronts in shopping centers and malls, perhaps we've even toyed with a dream of opening our own little shop.  Unfortunately all the technicalities, legalities, and uncertainties prevented our dream from going from fantasy to reality.  Recently I searched online to find more information regarding pop-up retail and came across this interesting website:

A  crafter who is able to mass produce their products could probably fill an typical sized mall storefront with little problem, on the other hand a small time, cottage  business would find it difficult to fill a few shelves.  GoVacant seems to have the answer and can accommodate both the big time entrepreneurs that require a spacious storefront,  or  the little mom and pop visionaries who need little more than a small kiosk.

I could also see how something like this could benefit a group of artists and crafters, working together to fill the shelves of retail business.

Patty  Gasparino  was lovely to drop by and give me additional information about Pop-Ups that's happening in her area. The idea of a shop within a shop sounds both promising and exciting.  It's definitely something worthy of consideration.

"Hey Anna Thanks so much for the shout out! Well as I have been seeing it the "new" Pop-Up shop is INSIDE another current retail location OR a purposeful set up in an ongoing location. IE There is a bakery that on the first Thursday of the month sets up a "Pop-up Shop night" and stays open late with cupcakes, drinks and music for a little extra shopping. I love these type of pop-ups as I think it could be a win-win for all concerned. The second I've seen is the "Once a month pp up" in a specific location. Think Farmers Market for crafts! I like this idea too - if you have the right venue people will come to seek you out. I actually haven't come across any around here of the vacant shop variety and I might be less enthusiastic about that unless it were a regular thing that would build a clientele. So maybe what is old has a new life again? XO"
Patty's facebook page can be reached HERE.

Below are a few of the comments I've received  regarding my post on Pop-Up Shops.

 Kokopelli Design  

"Sounds interesting! Following......"


"That's pretty cool! We have quite a bit of empty store front around here that'd do well with a pop up shop, but the landlords around here are too greedy I think."


"Well, I'm intrigued! I haven't heard of them, but after doing some research, it sounds like a big thing. I don't think it would work where I live, but I'm in a kind of rural area. Would love to hear if anyone else has done this."
Plowing Through Life (Martha) 

"This is a great idea!"


"We've been pondering this for our do an "occasional sale" maybe bi monthly, quarterly or even once a month. I had a retail store for 10 years and do not want to go back to being that tied down. I think it would be cool to get a few other antiquers to "go in with" but I KNOW you have to be really careful about that. Perfectly nice people can turn out to be closet crazies. There are a couple cool empty (expensive to rent) store fronts sitting in my town , but I don't know if they would be keen on turning on the power for a pop up..and being liable for insurance etc..hmmm..a thought though. You'd think some rental income would be better than none."

Pearl of The BeadingGem'sJournal

"I haven't seen any pop- ups into area yet. But they are a great alternative to long term rent."


So all-in-all, dear readers, this is an exciting prospect and another avenue in which to consider exploring.   With my very best wishes that good luck and a good life may always be yours.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Searching for Venues

Recently I visited My Life Under the Bus,  a lively, fun blog by PatriciaGasparino.   She asked if any of her readers had experience with "Pop-Up Shops".  Truthfully I had never heard of them but decided to check it out.  Seems it was a big trend several years ago and is still going, though perhaps not quite as strongly. 

The premise is that there are a number of vacant storefronts and rather than have them remain empty and losing money, people can rent these vacant shops short term and sell their products directly to their customers.   Rent is supposed to be below market pricing and one isn't locked into a lease.  Sounds great but I'm sure that back a few years ago, during the depths of our last recession, there were a lot of storefronts that were unoccupied and leasing firms were probably desperate to have these places rented and bringing in a flow of cash.  Today they may not be so eager and their rent could be considerably higher.  Still it is an interesting premise.

If any of you have had experience with pop-up shops or pop-up stores or pop-up retail (they really are all the same animal) , or if you know of someone who has had experience in renting a pop-up space, would you please share your thoughts and opinions on this subject ?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

All My Eggs In One Basket . . . conclusion ...

As you've probably noticed I've broken up my story into 3 segments.  Having it all in one post would have been much too long and, understanding how valuable one's time is, I didn't want to make my blogging friends feel trapped reading a mile long post.

Anyway to continue onwards ...

 Photo of my beadwork lariat necklace.  Super long at 72" and embellished with  tassels of beadwork fuchsia flowers and leaves, this necklace sold in less than 3 weeks at the ArtCenter Manatee.

With reservations the ArtCenter Manatee agreed to give my beadwork jewelry a chance, so from September through November I was on trial.  I think they were surprised to find that my jewelry was actually selling and when the curator of the art center's Artisans' Market, printed out an invoice for all the items of mine that had sold during that time frame, she was pleasantly awed to see a grand total of  over $1,000. 

Needless to say there is no longer a question of whether or not they will be accepting my beadwork jewelry into their market. Of course the ArtCenter receives 40% of my sales but since they're the ones collecting the sales tax and paying the fees that credit card processing incurs and, most importantly, since they are a nonprofit organization, I have no qualms with their cut of the pie.

So in the end I still have all my eggs in one basket but I will continue to keep my eyes open for any new venues that may look promising.
Close-up of the beaded fuchsia flower tassles.

Monday, April 6, 2015

All My Eggs In One Basket - continued...

Know it's not a basket full of eggs but I was out of eggs  and my sea shells makes for a prettier picture.  :)
All my eggs in one basket . . . continuation ....

In years past I had belonged to a local art club and decided to rejoin this group, it had originally been open to all local artists and crafters, bar none.  However times had changed and the president of the club told me that they had passed a new bylaw stating that membership would be denied to anyone whose media represented an over saturated field as they were attempting to curtail "over representation" of any one media . . . namely "Jewelry Makers".  Of course this had been voted on unanimously by all the current jewelers in the club. 

Perhaps it was all of this constant rejection that put me down in the dumps and I lost interest in just about everything (including blogging).   I didn't want to go anywhere or do anything and found myself moping around and feeling sorry for myself.

Finally a friend encouraged me to try the local art center, ArtCenter Manatee.   Hope had been renewed and I called to set up an appointed with the curator of the art center's Artisans Market.  At the beginning of our meeting, things didn't start off well.  First I was told that the art center had accepted beadwork jewelry in the past and it just did not sell.  That's when I began to beg.  Just give me a chance, my jewelry used to be a hot seller at all of the fairs and exhibitions and had been the top selling item at the last gallery that featured my work.  Reluctantly they agreed to give it a shot.  I would be on a probationary period and if nothing sold in those first 3 months then I would have to come in and pick up all of my products.

To be continued ......

Saturday, April 4, 2015

All My Eggs In One Basket

The world of Arts and Crafts is super-saturated with jewelry designers/makers.  I've known this for years but it never became more apparent than after I lost my one and only source of  selling.

 Years ago I used to do the art shows and fairs, granted it was a lot of work to haul everything from my  vehicle over to my assigned booth location and then hassle with getting the tent set up, the tables in place and then arranging an assortment of displays and all the various pieces of my work.  It was easy to envy those who didn't have all those little bits and pieces to fuss over, seemed as though they were able to get in at the last moment, set up and were ready for business in a matter of minutes; likewise they packed up at the end of the event and were long gone whereas I was still packing up boxes of jewelry and displays and still had to face hauling tables to my car and taking my tent down. 

Having my jewelry in a shop or gallery was a lot less work, a lot less hassle, but not totally hassle-free.  Occasionally a jewelry tag went missing and the jewelry was sold with the wrong ID number. Then it required detective work to figure out what piece was actually sold and at what price.  That's when I decided I did not wish to have my jewelry spread out all over the county.  Yes I know that having all my eggs in the one proverbial basket was not a good idea but the thought of trying to keep tabs on a number of items placed in several different shops overwhelmed me. 

When my one and only resource had to relocate her shop and decided to discontinue having an Artisans Gallery, I was forced to look around for other venues.  That's when I was truly struck by how saturated the market was with handmade jewelry.  Shop after shop, boutique after boutique, gallery after gallery met with me and shook their heads saying they already had far too much inventory from local jewelry makers and just could not take on any more.

To be continued ....

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Little Bit of Nothing

Photo taken in Tucson Arizona of my great-granddaughter, my grandson and me and my fantastic hubby (we've been married now for 45 wonderful years).

So what have I been doing ?  It's been months and months since my last post and all I have to show for that lost time is . . . well very, very little. 
Over the past few months I've been trying to find resources in which to sell my handcrafted jewelry.  My primary source, a studio/gallery in Bradenton's Village of the Arts, has moved and the owner is no longer maintaining a gallery featuring items made by local artists.  Keeping all of one's eggs in one basket is never a good idea but I really didn't want to have to keep track of inventory scattered about in several different boutiques and galleries, it was hard enough keeping an account of pieces at just one venue.  Perhaps I'll post more about those trials and tribulations at another time.

Recently I had a heart stopping experience.  One of those moments when that little voice inside my head screams out; "OMG !  What have I done ?"
A couple of days ago I decided to delete an old email account that I never use.  I sat up the account with Gmail because , at that time, I wanted to open another Etsy shop and needed a second email address in  order to  do so.  That was several years ago and the GMail  account was never used.  Since it was occupying space on my computer desktop it seem logical to delete it.  A couple of days later I tried to access my blog and got a white page informing me that ABeadersBlog did not exist and did I wish to use that domain ?  That's when my heart went crashing down to my stomach. Good grief what in blazes had I done ?  Unfortunately when I thought I was deleting my GMail account I was inadvertently deleting my whole Google account instead . . . including Blogger!
Therefore my blog vanished from the Internet for several days before I discovered what I had done.  Trying to restore one's Google account is doable but believe me it is one big, freakin' hassle.   I went around in perpetual circles, like a dog chasing its tail, and was getting nowhere.  Time and time again I went through their procedure to restore my Google account and spent hours accomplishing nothing.
To make an extremely long story shorter, let me just say that through some bit of Google website magic the mysterious "verification page", that I had so vainly sought, finally appeared and allowed me to submit my request to restore my account.  All of this required my changing my password a couple of times, filling out a form, getting an automated phone call with a "magic" code and then inserting said  "magic" code into its proper box.   Afterwards my blog reappeared as did several new gray hairs and a couple of wrinkles that I didn't have before all of this rigmarole !
But an invaluable lesson was learned;  Look, not once but twice or even thrice, before hitting the delete button !!!


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