Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Back for an Artbeads Review.... Colors of Fall

Once again, Artbeads has invited me to do a review of products on their website: and I was very happy to oblige! I have ordered supplies for my own personal jewelry making and my business Beadin' By the Sea for many years and have always been very happy with their products and their wonderful customer service. I also have the added benefit of being in the same state (WA) and I receive my order very quickly; usually the next day after they ship. The theme for this review is the "Colors of Fall". I was encouraged to use Pantone's Fall Color Report for 2010. Here is the link to view it online:

The traditional colors of Fall; warm browns, reds, russets and golds, remind us of the glorious displays we see in nature as the temperatures cool. I have been using more brass elements in my jewelry lately and paired with Swarovski pearls from Artbeads, this metal just seems to capture the feel of Fall with a vintage vibe. I also love working with the pearls from Swarovski. They are so reasonably priced, they have a gorgeous luster, are perfectly round and they are weighty just like the real ones (without the price or care needed in cleaning).

Although Artbeads does not carry these exact bead caps used in these "acorn necklaces", they do carry a large variety of brass findings and chains that are perfect for Fall themed jewelry.

The antique brass filigree components that I used in these vintage-style earrings (below) are available at Artbeads. I was very impressed with the detail and quality of these findings; just beautiful paired with Swarovski pearls in light gold and lever back ear wires.

I found this page inspiring by BabyPhat in the Pantone Fall 2010 Color Report. I have always been fond of the color purple and I was inspired to combine Amethyst Swarovski crystals and gunmetal components in this necklace. This one is for me, but I also received some of the Swarovski teardrops in Siam AB ( a gorgeous dark red) that I plan on using for a similiar necklace, perhaps to list on my website.

Here is a better photo that shows how this necklace drapes. I actually started to make this necklace using oxidized sterling silver chain but I found that I needed something that had some weight to it, as the "swags" tend to get tangled up with a very lightweight chain. I changed the entire design to gunmetal after running into this little problem and consequently spent way too much time on this design. Hopefully the next one will be easier!

Well, that's all I have for now. I need to submit this article before this Fall season turns to winter! Please be sure to check out Artbeads for their great prices and awesome selection of jewelry making supplies!

FTC disclaimer: I have received these products free of charge from . I am honestly reviewing the products and have not been paid for this endorsement as it pertains to the products received.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Real Deal... Hawaiian Petroglyphs

I am back from vacation... oh, you didn't know I was gone? Yes, our family took some much needed down time and went to Maui for 10 days. It was the first time since starting my jewelry business that I put my Etsy shop, Beadin By the Sea, in vacation mode, and it was absolutely glorious to do nothing but read books, explore the island and best of all, enjoy swimming in the beautiful warm Pacific Ocean.

It didn't take me long, however, to start thinking about my jewelry. While looking at the rental car map of Maui, I noticed a couple words that caught my attention- Olowalu petroglyphs, and I knew I had to go see them. These are drawings done by the ancient Hawaiians by carving into rock. The word comes from the greek words, "petros" for rock, and "glyphein" to carve.

Some of you may have seen my pendants made from precious metal clay that are engraved with an image of a Hawaiian petroglyph. I began making these when my son requested a necklace of the paddler (photo above) that was on a baseball cap we bought in Kauai. I then listed one in my shop and since then I have had requests for custom pendants- mostly the kukini runner (on right), but I've also done the paddler again and the surfer (below).

The largest concentration of petroglyphs can be found on the Big Island and they are estimated to be about 300 years old. The drawings on Maui have been hand carved into the face of Kilea, a volcanic cinder cone in the v-shaped Olowalu Valley.

Sadly, it looks like this ancient site is suffering from neglect and vandalism. A once helpful staircase in now broken and one must circumnavigate the rocks to get a closer look. There are also signs of amateur graffiti mimicking the genuine petroglyphs so one doesn't know which ones are indeed "ancient" - although it's fairly easy to tell. It's definitely not one of the main attractions of the island but we saw several couples make the 1/2 mile trek each way to view them. It is inland and much hotter without the ocean breezes so we found ourselves at Olowalu General store (at the 15 mile marker) afterward for some refreshment. If you go there you must try their Hawaiian shaved ice done the old fashioned way. My husband and son will testify that they are the best they've ever had!

Aloha, and until I have something else to say...
Have a great day!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Waiting for Summer...

With one week left before school's out here in the Pacific Northwest, we are not seeing many signs that summer is near. Sure the flowers are blooming, the days are getting longer and the birds are singing but we have been getting a rather large dose of rain and chilly temperatures this May and June. We do get the occasional sun break to tease us that summer is coming but it's been pretty short lived.

I think this picture of my cat Ace illustrates it well. When the sun shines here in Washington state we make darn sure that we bask and revel in it, even if it's just for a fleeting moment!

... may you have sunshine this weekend!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Czech glass & a little bird.. an ARTBEADS REVIEW

Hi everyone! Here I am for another review. This time, I was asked to select some beads from their glass bead products and pendants. I opted to spend the bulk of my "allowance" on the sweet little sterling and resin bird pendant you see pictured above. With the warmer weather approaching, I thought it would be the the perfect accent for a summer necklace (for me!). I also ordered some czech glass rondelle beads in various sizes and colors.

Here are a few more detailed photos of the necklace. I paired the off-white pendant with a mix of brown and off white owyhee jasper beads from my bead stash and interspersed them with blue opalite czech glass from Artbeads. I was originally going to use all glass, but I needed something to tie in the white from the pendant- also the beads I ordered just seemed a little too large except for the 5X4mm czech glass roundelles which were perfect.

In an attempt to go for a natural look, I used Griffin silk cord (also available from Artbeads) and created a floating bead design with knots. I'll just say that this technique is harder than it looks! It's the first time I've tried it and I definitely have a new appreciation for those who make knotted necklaces!

The larger beads are perfect as an earring accent especially when paired with fine silver charms made from PMC. Artbeads also has a wide variety of beautiful sterling silver charms that can be used in place of my handmade components. Below are some earrings that I made with 5X7 mm Czech glass rondelle beads in turquoise. I just love this color!

One more pair: These use the opalite blue/purple beads that I used in the bird necklace with more pmc components. The glass beads I chose have the "Picasso" finish, meaning that the ends are a different color that the middle of the beads. It really gives the glass interest and a more rustic look. I opted to oxidize all of my components with liver of sulphur and rubbed them for a soft antique finish.
Well, I hope you are inspired to try out I have found their customer service, prices and quality of products to be outstanding, and I often shop at their website for products for my jewelry business Beadin By the Sea.

And until I have something else to say...
Have a great day!

FTC disclaimer: I have received these products free of charge from . I am honestly reviewing the products and have not been paid for this endorsement as it pertains to the products received.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


I'm so sorry it's been so long since my last post! As the byline on this blog says, "I might have something to say" and more often than not, I really don't! I'm the type that prefers to keep to myself and sit in the background, listening but not talking much.

I'm not sure why, but I've been getting more custom jewelry requests lately. For me, it is both exciting and scary- exciting and flattering that someone thinks that I am able to do the work they have in mind and scary because sometimes their suggestions are so vague and I must come up with the idea. This is when being a mind reader would really come in handy!

Normally I require to have full payment before I begin work, but sometimes, when I'm not sure I can even fulfill the request, I am inspired to try it out on my own first. I feel less pressure this way- knowing that it MUST turn out when they've already paid can stifle my creativity.

Below is a photo of 2 necklaces I made because I wasn't sure what the customer wanted. She ended up buying one of them. Both turned out beautifully and now I have another new item for my shop! The one on the left is made from fine silver wire and the cross on the right is made from precious metal clay and hammered after firing.

With a little experience under my belt, I thought I'd share a few thoughts/tips for custom orders for a customer which you can easily adapt if you are the seller.

1. Be as detailed as possible. We need adjectives like large, small, delicate, bold, dainty, rustic, smooth, shiny, matte, etc. Having the actual dimensions is ideal.

2. Support your idea with sketches or photos of a similar piece for comparison.

3. Don't ask a seller to copy someone else's work. Just go to the original artist and purchase it.

4. Expect to pay the full amount or at least give half for deposit before work is completed. Also expect to pay a little more than a ready made item as it takes us time to research and/or buy materials needed for the project. We may even need to educate ourselves on a new technique or buy a new tool. Be upfront, with the amount of money you are willing to spend.

6. Answer emails that contain questions in a timely manner. That way you will get your order quicker too.

5. In general try to convey your ideas as clearly as possible for the artist. We cannot read your mind and you will be much happier with the result if communication is open.

The beauty of custom work and dealing directly with the artist is being able to have an original design made to your specifications and it's also very inspiring for the artist!

and until the next time I have "something" to say...
Have a great day!

NOTE: The first photo is custom order order pendant made from metal clay. A customer supplied me with a photo of a Hawaiian petroglyph which I drew on the clay, engraved with a lino cutter, finished and fired.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


two years on Etsy, which happens to be 2 years from starting my handmade jewelry business. I also have shops on 1000 Markets and ArtFire now, but Etsy holds a special place in my heart, because it was here into which I stumbled, and realized after being creative my whole life, that there was a place that I could sell my wares to a worldwide marketplace. Despite its flaws (which most of you Etsy sellers know about) it brings in the most traffic and generates the most sales for me.

I really got off to a snail's pace start and reached 100 sales by March 2009 when I celebrated my first year. I remember my goal was to reach 300 sales by my 2nd anniversary and I'm so happy to say that it is now well over 400. My greatest wish is that it continues to grow and I am able to channel my creative energy by doing something that I love to do!

Many thanks to all of my customers, new and returning, blog readers, family and friends who have supported and encouraged me. It's been a fun ride and I can't wait to see where it goes in the coming year.

To celebrate, I am offering free shipping to those that write "celebrate2" in the notes to seller when checking out with a purchase over $10 from my Etsy shop from March 28th through March 31, 2010. I will refund the savings promptly through Paypal. This offer is for US and Canadian customers only.

Once again, thanks so much for your support, now I'm going to see if I can find me some cake!

Friday, March 26, 2010


and obviously not blogging. I can't believe I haven't written for over a month!

I do have a good excuse though and that is that my Etsy shop has been quite busy! I've been coming up with new designs and keeping up with orders. I've had a lull for the last few days (which feels sort of strange) so I thought I'd take the time to drop in and say "hello" and show you some new items I've added to my shop. I've also had a few crafty projects going; like sewing a formal gown for a dinner we attended and making curtains for our downstairs media room, as well as the usual everyday stuff associated with having a teenager!

In the above photo, you'll see some new pieces that are created with metal clay. What I love about this medium is being able to impress patterns and designs directly into the silver clay in it's "wet stage". I just ordered a few more decorative stamps and can't wait to see how they come out. My familiar "organic hoop earrings" are included in there too, because I have made so many of these in the past few months! They are what I call my "bread and butter"; the tried and true favorites of every woman's jewelry box! They seem to do very well in my shop and allow me the funds to expand and buy more tools and supplies.

I also can't believe that I will be having my 2 year " Etsyversary" this Sunday, March 28th. It has been such a treat to be able to do something I love and send my jewelry to different parts of the globe. I'm not sure what I'm going to do to celebrate but I'll think of something and get it posted soon.

Meanwhile, enjoy the beginnings of Spring, longer days and so much more color around us to brighten our spirits!

Friday, February 12, 2010

GO FOR SILVER... an Artbeads Product Review

Recently, I was asked by to review some of their silver products from their website store. Again, I was delighted, as I already purchase many of my silver findings, beads, and chain there to create designs for my jewelry shop Beadin By The Sea.

With the opening ceremonies beginning this evening for the 2010 Winter Olympics, in my hometown Vancouver BC, I know that everyone is focusing on gold, but clearly it is silver that seems to be the metal of choice right now for jewelry wearers.

Here are some of the jewelry pieces that I created using sterling silver from their website:

The following 3 photos show earrings using an 8mm round link sterling silver chain found on This is a rather light gauge chain that I felt was a little too delicate for necklaces, but just right to make lightweight earrings. I used ball headpins and wire wrapped silver mirror beads (pic.1), amethyst rondelles (pic.2) and more twist silver beads (pic.3.) in between the links. I was able to make 3 pairs from 1 foot of the silver chain. You can find a large variety of sterling silver beads on Artbeads from plain to very fancy.
The earrings below are made with my own metal clay component and accented with ribbed barrel beads from Artbeads. Another example of the wide variety of silver beads that they carry.

Another chain I received was a foot of oval link sterling silver chain. This one is much heavier and more robust, just perfect to complete a new bracelet with a decorative oval toggle clasp made from metal clay.

Okay are you inspired now? For further inspiration and ideas check out yourself. And... it looks like they are having a sale this weekend for President's Day! If you are interested in finished jewelry please check out my shops on either Etsy or ArtFire.

FTC disclaimer: I have received these products free of charge from . I am honestly reviewing the products and have not been paid for this endorsement as it pertains to the products received.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Swingtime... in Purple Velvet and Violet Satin... $27.00

Inventory is done and I have to admit that I have more beads than I thought! Surprise, surprise. I think I'm going to go on a bead buying freeze until I use some of this stuff up, especially as I cannot deduct it as a cost to my business until it sells!

As I shared in my last post, going through and counting inventory was very overwhelming at first, but also very inspiring for me. I found some findings and beads that I had totally forgotten about. I also didn't realize how many Swarovski crystals I have accumulated over the years. I absolutely love to work with Swarovski crystals because of the vast selection of color, shapes and sizes and how they sparkle... BUT I have to admit they don't sell very well in my shop! I really don't know why!

Still, I couldn't resist making some chandelier earrings which I thought were such a clever use of bits of leftover chain, 3 and 4mm bicones, and some sterling tube beads I purchased a long time ago. After I ran out of tube beads, I wired the crystals for the center bar. They turned out beautifully and I've decided to keep a violet satin pair (like the last photo) for myself! The others are for sale in my shop and we'll see if they find homes. Don't you think they would make perfect bridesmaids or prom earrings too? They could be made in any color!
Swingtime in Indian Pink and Rose ... $26

Swingtime in Coral Pink or Padparadscha... $24
Well, here they are. What do you think? Any tips/ideas for selling Swarovski jewelry from fellow bloggers out there? I'd appreciate any constructive comments or suggestions.

Meanwhile, I'm going to go back to digging through my bead/findings stash for some more ideas. If you need to add some "sparkle" to your step you can visit my shop on Etsy here.

Friday, January 8, 2010


I feel like I've been in a vortex these last few days while I've been taking inventory of every bead, finding, and foot of wire and chain in my possession! This is the first year that I will be filing tax forms regarding my jewelry business, so this is all very new to me. I'd thought I'd emerge into the real world for just a few minutes to share what I've learned from this seemingly daunting task.

This is not a "How to" but I found these steps helpful to getting started.

1. Organize:

Purge out old beads & findings that you don't think you will use. I've put these in a separate box labeled "Do Not Inventory" that I will hang onto for a while and then most likely give away or keep for personal use. These are items that I purchased before I started my business and they just don't fit in with my theme or style anymore.

2. Inventory software program or spreadsheet:

Get a good computer program to enter data. I bought an Excel spreadsheet program from an Etsy seller that seems to be working out very well so far. I had to tweak it a little but so far so good! Here is the link to the item:

You can also make your own spreadsheet in Excel, but this program includes a jewelry cost worksheet that is linked to the prices of your inventory so that you can more easily figure out the cost of the goods you've sold. I'm excited to try that!

3. Just start:

Start counting and jump right in! I had all my beads mixed by color in a box, but now I've separated them into small ziploc bags to make everything easier for next year. When I receive orders from now on I have learned that I will keep it in the original bag with the coded label so that re-ordering the same bead/finding will be so much easier. I will also enter the price/code information onto my computer spreadsheet so I have all I need right there. You'll also need lots of small ziploc bags for storage and adhesive labels to label items for easier reordering.


I dreaded this task but now after diving in I must say that I am so inspired! I have discovered beads and findings that I purchased and had every intention of using, that have long been forgotten. I have my sketchbook out and am collecting ideas for ways to incorporate stock that I already have into new jewelry designs. The best thing is that they are already paid for and if I use them I won't have to count so many next year!

Okay, back to my counting. I want to get finished so I can start creating again...

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Saturday, January 2, 2010


I know Christmas has been over for a week already and the tree is coming down today, but I wanted to share this thought I had on Christmas day with you. I woke up on Dec. 25th and I was giddy with excitement, not because of the presents that were under the tree for me; instead I was imagining all the people who were going to be opening little boxes like these on the right and receiving my jewelry as Christmas gifts. How cool is that?

As I reflect on my business last year, I have to admit that the most fulfilling thing about sending my jewelry around the globe is knowing the enjoyment that it gives to those wearing it. Adorning yourself, I know, isn't the most important thing, but it gives me satisfaction to know that it puts a little smile in someone's day.

Many thanks to all of you who have supported me as customers, blog readers, my family and my cheerleaders.

Wishing you all much happiness, good health and success in 2010!