Monday, August 24, 2015
Sunday, August 23, 2015
To Be Continued . . .
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
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.
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
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.
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?
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
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.
Below are a few of the comments I've received regarding my post on Pop-Up Shops.
"Sounds interesting! Following......"
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."
Monday, April 13, 2015
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
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 ...
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.
Monday, April 6, 2015
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.
Sunday, April 5, 2015
Saturday, April 4, 2015
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.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
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!
But an invaluable lesson was learned; Look, not once but twice or even thrice, before hitting the delete button !!!