I have been busy with several new classes (blogs hopefully coming soon) and organization of my business.
Unless you have a business of your own, you can't imagine the amount of time it takes to keep a home based handcrafted business organized and running smoothly and balanced with your home life. My husband, on too many occasions to mention, has had to come get me at 2:00 in the morning and say ENOUGH! I just get so lost in what I am doing that the time just goes by.
So, anyway, I have been re-inventorying all my jewelry components, organizing my tools and supplies by type. The enameling tools and supplies are in their own corner, metal smithing and torches are in their own space, etc....to be more organized and efficient with the use of time.
I have also been working on my webpage and learning the SEO aspect of designing your own page. You wouldn't think it would be sooooooooooo hard to write about yourself, but I find that that is one of the hardest things to do. Because in my business I am not only selling a product, I am selling myself and my handcrafted piece of art.
And designing my own webpage takes TONS of time. Just adding one item to my website takes close to an hour. There are so many things to be considered - taking the perfect photographs, what is best description for your product, layout of the page and keywords. KEYWORDS!!! It really taxes my brain sometimes trying to figure out keywords and what you as a consumer will be typing in your search engine that will lead you to my page and getting my page on that front page. Because how many people truly go to the second page, let alone 5, 6 or 20?
On top of the designing of the page, you have to advertise on all the social media to try to get more traffic. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, yada yada yada..... And timing, making sure that you find the correct time to do these posts to get the most views.
I am also re-photographing all my jewelry and custom wine bottle serving trays to make sure they show to their best advantage. Here is an example. Fill free to share away and pin to PINTEREST!!!!
So to make a LONG story short, I am so hoping to get back into the creativity of making my jewelry soon and to get my blog updated to show off the the new techniques I have learned!!! Not to mention the Bead Soup Blog Party hop. I so need to get to all the 400+ participants blogs and see all the beautiful jewelry and let the inspiration flow!!!
Okay, now that I have that off my chest, back to work :)
One of my best friends, Catherine King, suggested that I join the Bead Soup Blog Party. Having never been in a bead party, I was very anxious to see if I was accepted in this HUGE event! In order to participate in this event, you have to have a blog! One of the purposes of these parties is to get you to blog and to get out and meet other jewelry crafters.
There was only ONE DAY to sign up for this event and then Lori Anderson matched all the partners. She prepared a HUGE spreadsheet in order to make sure newbies (that's me) got paired with someone who had already participated in a previous blog party; make sure that no-one got paired with a previous partner and then to make sure that they were paired with someone who could help them step out of their normal box. Even through major medical issues and pain from Lymes Disease, Lori has weathered on to make sure this year's party is a huge success!!! I don't know how she did it, I was having trouble just doing my soup - not doing a soup and trying to match up and assist 469 participants!
YOU READ THAT CORRECTLY!
SO BEFORE YOU READ ANY FURTHER, GRAB SOME COFFEE AND A COMFORTABLE SEAT AND SETTLE IN FOR A LONG JOURNEY!!!
This BEAD SOUP BLOG PARTY has participants from all over the world! It spans 4 continents, 30 countries and 48 states. Participants have to be paired up, taking into consideration those who only use seed beads, those who will and won't ship internationally, and not being paired with previous partners. Talk about a MAJOR undertaking!!!! Due to Lori's health, this may also be the last party! I hope that is not so, but her health comes first. So pray hard for Lori!!!! So here are the RULES:
1. You have to have a blog! 2. Once you get a partner, you must email them. Learn a little about them and then you'll then send that person a Party Pack: A quality focal (pendant, large bead, etc); some coordinating spacers or beads; and special clasp (not a lobster claw). 3. You must use the FOCAL BEAD, CLASP and a PORTION OF THE COORDINATING BEADS you received from your partner in your finished piece.
My partner for the 8th Annual Bead Soup Blog Party is Elizabeth Bunn! Before emailing Liz, I read through her BLOG and visited her WEBSITE, FACEBOOK, and ETSY pages. I became scared! There was NO jewelry to look at for inspiration!
NOTHING, NADA, ZILCH!!!
I had NO CLUE what type of jewelry or techniques she preferred. All I could gather from her pages was that she was an absolutely AMAZING lampwork artist! Her glass beads are some of the most beautiful I've seen!
So we contact each other by email and I find out (gasp) SHE DOESN'T MAKE JEWELRY!!!!
Oh, no, WHAT am I going to do?
This is my first bead soup party and I have no clue what I'm doing!
But, through our emails I learned that Liz and I have a great deal in common. We both have a legal background with real estate. She was a Legal Assistant for an energy company and I was a Real Estate Paralegal.
We are both task oriented and get totally out of whack when our routine is derailed. We both have cats and love animals and we both love to write. She is much better than I am. I tend to just ramble on!
She grew up just blocks from Shea Stadium and probably watched my husband pitch for the Mets in the early '70s.
And we both love GLASS! Lampworking is something I haven't mastered yet, but I truly appreciate all the hard work that is put into each and every bead. I was taking lampworking classes at our local Club three years ago, but had to discontinue them due to medical problems which finally led to neck and shoulder surgeries. I do work with fused glass and I am totally in love with it!
So here are photos of the ingredients that I sent to Liz. I was so worried about making sure I had all the ingredients that I forgot to send her a business card!
Here are my masked ingredients!
And here is my reveal!
You can read Elizabeth's blog post after receiving her ingredients HERE!
Now for the ingredients I received from Liz for my POT of soup! I am overwhelmed with her generosity!
Along with the wrappings were candies and chocolate! I love, love, love chocolate!!!
Liz sent me TONS of beads!
She hit it on the nail with color - I am a blue/green kinda girl!
I am absolutely in love with the gorgeous focal bead that I am guessing was made by Liz herself. There are also copper beads, gemstone beads, pearls and crystals. There are several focal options within this group of beads!
So I put all my beads aside on a large tray so I could sit and look at them everyday so inspiration could hit.
So I gathered up some basic tools and supplies.
I decided to start out with an instant gratification piece and made a fun memory wire bracelet with matching earrings.
Then I started focusing on my two main pieces.
My first main piece "Springtime" focuses on the BEAUTIFUL lampwork bead made by Liz! A photograph cannot express the true beauty of this bead! I also used the copper butterfly she sent as an abstract accent. I added some copper colored pearls into the mix and made a matching pair of earrings.
The petal beads had me stumped. I knew I wanted to use the central bead as an accent, but it took awhile before a flower started to bloom into "Daisy". I originally intended to use the butterfly in this bead embroidered piece, but since it was my first completed embroidered piece, I thought I would keep it more simple.
This is the backside of my piece. Not back for my first attempt!
So I made not one, not two, but FIVE pieces from my soup ingredients!!! I am hoping that my partner, Liz, enjoyed her ingredients as much as I did mine!!!
THANK YOU, LORI!!!! This has been a wonderful experience for me and I am so glad I was able to participate in this 8th Annual Bead Soup Blog Party!!!
AND NOW THE FUN BEGINS!!!!!
Remember those 469 participants? Here they are, start exploring and see what everyone made out of their "soup". You can also check out our Pinterest page!
Please check out these blogs first before hitting the rest!!!
Make sure you leave a comment for me, so I know you visited!!!! Let everyone else know that you visited also! As I begin to explore these blogs myself, I will be converting their links to their name, in order to keep up with what I have already read!