2003 Beading Diary - next year
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June 1, 2002: I have decided to take up beads.
My reasons are simple:
* Bead lust
* A desire to occupy my daughter this summer
* The back of my mind thought that beading might make a nice tangential business for us - in our spare time?
* I can write articles about beading that will pay money
* My love of shiny objects
* Something will be tax deductible – it always works for Dave Barry
* Maybe the kid will earn enough to put herself through college
First step: Enlist the kid and Jane Marie. Piece of cake. They like shiny objects too.
Second step: Ransack the old jewelry drawer for recyclable goodies. The pickings are slim.
Third step: Search the net for sites that contain how-to info and prices.
June 2, 2002: It is after 1 a.m. and I’m still online. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of bead sites out there. While we consider our budget and our first purchase, I’ve got the kid at least thinking about making paper beads. I have my doubts about how good these can look, but I haven't seen any – except in the preschool jewelry the girls made.
June 3, 2002: We order. Now we wait and buy supplies at local craft stores. This will give us a chance to check out the bead shops and craft stores in this, our Summer of Greed.
June 4, 2002 - The kid refuses to make paper beads.
And buyer's remorse has set in. I found a site, General Bead, that might have even cheaper Czech glass beads than All Seasons though they only seem to carry the 6mm size. Also, the findings might be cheaper. But the site is confusing and the pics are not located next to the products.
Genbead.com - Findings and supplies. Plus Czech and Indian [from India] glass beads and more, all in a site from hell. (They are worried about page loading time when they should be thinking about navigation.)
Most of the beading sites I've visited have high prices as well as a few deals - either bargains and/or one of a kind stuff. We haven't had time to visit any local bead stores, but I expect the situation there will be the same.
June 5, 2002: I began the process of ordering findings from General Bead and entered the nightmare portion of online shopping.
The item photos are so small and so far away from the prices and quantities that I selected more stuff than I could afford. When I went to the checkout page, I couldn't find my order and fix it. I ordered nothing.
June 6, 2002 - I finally figured out how to work the order mechanism at General Bead. Maybe I'll try again.
Chain craft shops have incredibly high prices and low quality. Should be interesting to see if the quality is better online. Actually, it's got to be. My only purchase (with a 40% Michael's coupon) was elastic cord so the kid could begin indulging her mania for seed bead bracelets. While these have gone out of style (like I know at this point) they're still a good place for her to practice combining colors.
June 7, 2002 - A phone call to General Bead has set us on the right path. First the excellent Joey and then expert Kong Thau helped me order the findings we'll need to really get started properly.
Kong knew the proper sizes and weights and was absolutely fantastic. Thank goodness the General Bead website sucked or I might have ordered the wrong things.
June 12, 2002: The order from AllSeason arrived yesterday. I will not get the light purple amethyst chips again. Otherwise, things look just fine though all the chips have a smaller diameter than I expected.
Our next project is to figure out our cost per bead and set up good records so we'll know the exact cost of materials on anything we make. The kid is not thrilled. The kid is snowed under. Good.
June 14, 2002: We rounded out the first bead buying go-round with some glass (mostly) bead packages from Hobby Lobby because
If we proceed with this project as a business, I will have to get a sales tax permit so I can buy wholesale, which should be the cheapest method of bead purchase. However, half of the e-bead stores I found said they were wholesale and still charged some hefty prices.
June 17, 2002: Finally got the order from General Bead. Hmmm.
June 18, 2002: The problem is when the order arrived from General Bead, I wasn't really thrilled. They seem to have the best prices for Indian (from India) glass beads around, but the lobster clasps (12.5 mm) look skimpy. I spent a lot of time looking through websites though, and maybe this is the standard - I still hate hate hate hate the General Bead website - don't go there. The only remedy that comes to mind is a quick trip to the local bead store to see what the experts say. I probably should have done this already, but I didn't. Oh well.
Indian glass beads, by the way, can be beautiful as well as lumpy-ugly. In comparison, the Czech glass is gorgeous.
June 19, 2002 - I am in love with Elements Beadery in Bethany (OKC), Oklahoma. They have an extensive, drool-worthy inventory of gorgeous beads. I think it will be better and cheaper to finish off my necklaces with a special bead or two from Elements rather than to try to come up with the cash for a full order from the art glass bead sites whose wares I can't see in person.
And who am I kidding? This project for the kid is now my new business. Nancy will be the one designing and making the jewelry. Nancy will do the paperwork and the accounting and shipping. Nancy was the one who trotted down to the Tax Commission office to get official paperwork in motion. I should have known.
Alas, the kid is not currently inclined to actually work. When things (her motivation and my sales figures) change, I'll put her on the payroll.
June 20, 2002: Another portion of this website contains my weblog (Diary of a Mad Web Lackey) a chronicle of my adventures as a webmaster wannabe. Today I wrote about branding (article deleted from site - contact me for details) and why I've decided to call the new business NancyKamp.com. Choosing the name of a business is an important marketing decision, but sometimes it's OK to take a chance and follow your different drummer. Since I expect to make the majority of my sales on eBay and through this website anyway, I truly don't think I'll have regrets. Besides, if Shell can just throw away all those years of high dollar Texaco branding, how can I be wrong?
June 23, 2002: I make most of my decisions based on my own unique standards of relative value and cost savings. Those of you who've asked why you aren't seeing any pictures of my finished work should know I don't have any finished work. This is because I don't want to spend any money I don't have to on the tools I'll need. I'm pretty much waiting for the 4th of July sales at the local craft stores.
In the meantime, I'm studying every book and every piece of jewelry I can lay my hands on so I'll be able to be more successful in my initial endeavors. Also, I'm swamped with writing projects and my duties with this site.
My other preoccupation is eBay. I don't want to end up selling a necklace that contains $9 worth of materials (plus labor) for $4.99. And then there's the shipping problem: how to cover the costs, should I have mandatory insurance, how do I package, etc.
Apparently deciding to be in the beaded jewelry business doesn't mean I get to spend careless hours playing with pretty beads. I guess I knew that, but jeez.
June 24, 2002: Having conned my wonderful neighbor out of her Michael's coupon, I am now equipped to repeat yesterday's visit where I was able to get two kinds of necessary pliers at 40% off.
Unfortunately, my fax machine decided to use up its cartridge, and I won't be able to make copies of my sales tax permit until I replace the thing. (And when was the last time you faxed me anything?) Michael's was kind enough to allow me to fax them a copy of my sales tax permit, but THE FAX MACHINE WON'T SEND WITHOUT A PRINTING CARTRIDGE???
So the score is this:
June 25, 2002: I hate memory wire*.
June 26, 2002: Making necklaces for fun and profit is not as easy as I thought it would be.
While I've never been viewed as the most creative member of the family (that would be Jane Marie or perhaps the kid), over the years I've come to realize that I do have a good eye for line, color and proportion. Naturally I thought I could just throw a few beads on the thread, finish up the ends and sell, sell, sell. What I've discovered is that in order to do this right, to make a finished piece of jewelry that one could buy in an upscale gift shop, I have to work and rework each idea, each necklace.
That must be why everyone isn't doing this.
June 28, 2002: Back to Elements Beadery with the kid - she loved the place, but has little interest in what I'm doing????
June 29, 2002: I suddenly realized I need to complete a full inventory of all the beads, etc. that I've acquired for this enterprise. By tomorrow. That should keep me nicely occupied. (Like I don't have enough to do.)
July 1, 2002: Earthstone.com (wholesale only) has a great selection and high prices. I mention them because they say 5 to 10% of any lot of beads will be unusable. I'd pretty much figured that out, but I hate to see it confirmed online.
July 5, 2002: I made another trek (it is a 21 mile round trip) to Elements Beadery on the 3rd, which is the closest bead store in the OKC area. This was a better thing because I not only got the last pair of crimping pliers in a 12 mile radius, but I also got some silk cord on which to string semiprecious stones, blue topaz and chrysoprase. These came on colored string (beads often come in rough strings), and I think they will look very well against the silk.
I also picked up some seed beads to complete a citrine necklace I'm doing on a double strand of tigertail - the idea was to split the strand and have some sections of the necklace in two layers. Sadly, this is not working out. I know I'm on to a better thing here, but either I need more experience or different materials. Sigh.
July 7, 2002: I've discovered longer necklaces really need some drama. I also have been thinking too much color mixing is a bad thing in most cases. When I get better at this (and beading is definitely a practice makes perfect craft), I know I will be combining more colors. Right now, I keep looking at pieces and asking myself if I would wear them to work if I still wore suits.
July 10, 2002: Finally made it across town to Spiral Beadery. They have a wonderful selection, some real bargains and some prices that make me wheeze.
It's very interesting that every shop and online site I've seen is a mixture of these same things. But each is a different mixture. And there is always a new treasure to be explored. It may be years before I make it to all the bead shops in the area because the others are so far away. But I can dream.
July 14, 2002: When you finish off a necklace with tigertail, you squeeze a crimp bead just before the clasp or ring instead of tying a knot. Since I'm not too sure about the security of this system, I'm going to the bead shops tomorrow to pick their brains. I think a drop of solder or jeweler's glue would add security. After all, who wants to buy a product that doesn't hold up?
July 15, 2002: Apparently, the secret to crimping is to absolutely flatten the crimp bead. I can do that.
Meanwhile, I have design problems. Even though I have a pretty good eye for what works with what, sometimes things just don't feel right. I just made two necklaces that I wouldn't wear, but the kid (CDO - chief design officer) and her friend like them. So is their taste cutting edge, or do I scrap the two in question and begin again? No problem - our other sister is arriving today. If she wouldn't wear them, they go.
I will probably not repeat yesterday's order with eBead. They didn't answer my e-mail question and I don't think I ever got a figure for the shipping charge. Speaking as an expert in customer service, I know these things are not acceptable. Today's lesson - just because the holiday shopping season is looming, don't panic. Deal with people who treat their customers the way they deserve to be treated.
July 19, 2002: Do NOT buy sterling lobster claps from General Bead. The ones I got all seem to be defective.
July 20, 2002: I have to remake the most gorgeous necklace by cutting through the tigertail. When I got a close look, I realized I had messed up the pattern. Wah!!!!
July 24, 2002: Perhaps I should apologize to General Bead.
We got some big chunks of Amazonite and medium chunks of turquoise from eBead. I have no doubt that this "natural" turquoise was treated because the color is so strong and deep. Since most/all precious and semiprecious stones are treated (heat, chemicals, oil baths), I can hardly complain. This must be like the "scratch" bakeries that use mixes to produce their products.
July 26, 2002: Pat, at Elements Beadery, says with crimp beads you have to make absolutely certain they are flat with NO OPEN SPACES whatsoever. Then they hold. She even suggested using needle nose pliers after crimp pliers to make very sure of the tightness of the crimp.
Finally, the light goes on.
August 4, 2002: There is nothing like a trip to the Rocky Mountains to inspire and inflame the soul of a beader.
We've just come back from Beaver Creek, Colorado where I lapped up gorgeous and expensive jewelry styles and designs. Gemstones are, of course, eternally beautiful. Even if we can't afford yellow diamonds or huge black pearls, we can revel in their perfection, and I reveled a lot.
August 7, 2002: The most beautiful things I discovered while on vacation were a $17,000 necklace I can't reproduce here because of copyright laws and gaspeite. I tried on a $600 sterling and gaspite bracelet that was simply incredible. Since it got stuck on my arm, I wouldn't have purchased it even if the budget had allowed, but it was a joy to own for just a minute.
The store owner told me I simply had to learn the proper motion to remove the bracelet, but I say, if it gets stuck, the bracelet is too small. What do you think?
August 12, 2002: Bad weather is beading weather because I won't turn my computer on during thunder storms. At least I've been able to spend some necessary hours with the beads. And it shows.
I feel like I'm finally making real design and workmanship progress. Whew. I don't even want to think about the investment in beads I would have had to explain to the tax people (not to speak of my husband) if I weren't now making a highly wearable product. Of course the bad news is I haven't had time to take the photos I've been promising. And those of you who've been holding your collective breaths since my older daughter got back from Italy to see the excellent pictures she took there know just how prompt I am about self-imposed picture deadlines.
Kindly bear with me. Jane Marie and I need eight hands each (just like you do) to keep from drowning in essential tasks. It is, however, nice to think we're making progress.
August 16, 2002: The end of the year just loomed up and bit me pretty hard (you know where) when I realized I will have to inventory every single bead that isn't sold as of December 31, 2002 for tax purposes. The trick is to buy exactly as much raw material as I will be able to make into product (which will of course be sold) so bead counting is not an issue. With that in mind, I still need to place at least one more online order this year.
You see, because I'm using transparent semiprecious stones like citrine in some of my jewelry, I don't always want to string the beads on tigertail. (Well, sometimes I do - it depends.) The problem is I need silk, which is wildly expensive in the local bead shops, so I must buy it online.
My Favorites collection of links under the Beads folder on my computer probably has a hundred links or so, but each website has different offerings with different terms and lots of interesting ways to buy - this in itself is important because I have to figure out an easy purchase system for our site, but I digress. The point is I've been spending odd moments surfing for silk and have discovered a site, Beadsource.com, that has most of what I need at the best prices I can find. The problem is their ordering system is, at best, discouraging. Frankly, I don't see how they sell anything - I think I have to fax them my driver's license and sales tax permit, e-mail a list of what I want and then figure out how to send in my credit card information. Sigh. Who has time?
August 17, 2002: I had a request for black beads, couldn't fill it and gave up. Then, while working on the ads for GraciousJaneMarie, the newsletter, I remembered we used to have an affiliation with BeadRoom.com, a site I haven't visited in months. Would you believe they have just what I need at a great price? So we're back with the BeadRoom program. Whew.
I am convinced you can't use just one supplier in this business - no single company has everything.
August 19, 2002: After what seemed like hours on my knees photographing jewelry, I came up with a whole batch of washed out pictures. Since camera work should best be done outside and in morning light, I will try again tomorrow. Next time, I will take the camera instructions along as clearly, digital cameras and 35 mm cameras have very little in common.
August 20, 2002: Today's pictures are much better - still not good enough though. The daylight seems to leach out most of the color of the beads and stones. Back to the shutter.
August 21, 2002: I'm still not happy with the photos I've been taking. I think black and white backgrounds are in order as well as a rigid adherence to symmetry. In other words even though it's fun to drape jewelry on rocks, it will photograph better laid out in regular shapes on neutral backgrounds.
Caution - After spending a couple thousand hours making the three strand amazonite necklace below, I found the clasp won't work with three strands (or large beads). The clasp I choose was a T that fits into a circle O. The three strands made the necklace that is directly attached to the T too fat to fit through the O. The necklace will have to be remade. (Oh joy.)
August 28, 2002: I'm trying to design the nancykamp.com jewelry pages and I've (re)discovered two things:
The good news is that I've made a start in the right direction. If I set things up properly, I'll be able to add information and new product designs. The current plan is to name each design group after a famous woman and give some interesting info about her. While this would work better if I bought supplies in mega-quantities and if I were an assembly line, I believe I'll be able to keep at least one piece in each design group - or at least attempt to do so if there is fresh buyer interest. We'll see how it all goes.
September 2, 2002: The trouble with having your own business is you absolutely have to attend to details like setting up your jewelry web pages and doing books. All I ever wanted to do was play with beads. Alas, the real world intrudes.
September 5, 2002: I'm still working on those %$#% web pages. But the very last bead shipment I'm going to get this year is on it's way so I'll be back to beading very soon. In the meantime, I still have a few things to make when I take a break from the computer.
The problem is you're supposed to make lots of the same design over and over - like a factory. But that would defeat the fun part completely so I'm concentrating on making stuff I would wear in all the ways I can come up with. Theoretically, one lottery winner could buy every piece of jewelry I've made and am making. Have you won a lottery lately?
September 7, 2002: You'd think a writer would know how important it is to be sure to use the correct word, but guess who didn't get her terms right and just received the wrong item in place of the desperately needed item.
I ordered "soldered spring rings" when I really needed "soldered jump rings" and ended up with a bunch of clasps instead of the Os I gotta-gotta get yesterday. As punishment I have to trot down to the local bead store AND take a group of girls shopping. Serves me right.
By the way, when ordering from a new merchant, keep in mind that what you see in the picture is not always the way the thing actually looks. I got some gorgeous stones from Wire-Sculpture.com and some truly hideous examples of the same thing from BeadSource.com.
September 8, 2002: The other problem with BeadSource (aka Monster Slayer) is when I made up my own order form (their system?!), I miscounted items. I wanted 10 for $13 and only listed nine so they charged me the single item price instead of asking me for clarification when they called me to get my credit card info.
While I can hardly fault them for not having a shopping cart that would have made this problem clear to me, I can still feel righteously ripped off. This is bad customer service.
September 9, 2002: The jewelry photos still aren't online. Why? Because they don't exist. I've deleted all pictures taken to date and the weather has been gloomy so I can't take any more. On the other hand, I did get some black velvet and some absolutely incredible white velvet for backgrounds. Now the sun is in charge of timing.
Update: In photos, the black velvet looks like it's covered with dog dandruff and the white looks gray. Now what?
September 12, 2002: My Chief Design Officer (CDO - the dear child for whom I started this whole thing and who now confines herself to the occasional "That looks great") made herself a bracelet out of scrap (ugly) beads that I got as part of bulk purchase. Since they were heavy, I showed her how to string them on wire and add a sterling silver clasp. Last night, she told me the bracelet had broken, but the problem was simply that she'd somehow squished the clasp.
Sterling is beautiful, but it's soft. the CDO's clasp can be bent back into shape. Now I worry that customers will do the same. But I don't want to use base metal findings - I hate it when they tarnish. (Silver is easily polished.) Looks like I'll have to add Beware of Soft Metal warnings to each shipment.
September 18, 2002: I've taken thousands of photos over the years and my husband took over 300 hours of photography training in the navy and at the University of Oklahoma. So why aren't you seeing pictures of jewelry yet? If you've been reading this weblog, you know I've been writing about it long enough, but the answer is simply bad weather + too much to do + inappropriate backgrounds.
Just so you know I haven't been slacking off, here's a cactus flower I noticed outside my window the other day. We're using it in our EternityGarden section, but this is a sample of the quality we're aiming for in jewelry photos.
On the beading front, I've fallen in love with unakite. You will too when we perfect the pictures.
September 23, 2002: Whenever I have the chance to see a special museum exhibit, I don't hesitate and I've always come away thrilled with the curator's efforts.
A Saturday visit to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston revealed emeralds and rubies the size of song bird eggs at the Jeweled Arts of India in the Age of the Mughals exhibit sponsored by Kuwait's Al Sabah family. If you get a chance, go. You'll be amazed at the craftsmanship and glorious sparkle of diamonds you won't believe are real. I can't wait to start using greens and hot pinks in upcoming necklaces and trying clear beads in new combinations.
We also saw a photography exhibit, Paris Photographs from the Manfred Heiting Collection, that featured a photo of a woman adorned just like our own Chief Design Officer - arms covered in bracelets. Of course, several of our CDO's bracelets are actually boiled and bent toothbrushes with the bristles removed, so we retain our claim to cutting edginess.
September 26, 2002: I'm having a mountain jade block. I like it. The CDO likes it. Everyone likes it, but I'm just not sure what to make with it. Between that and the still not good enough photos, I'm ready to scream. Or at least growl.
October 1, 2002: The %$#$ jewelry photos are coming along slowly, but someday soon. I promise. In the meantime, I missed National Wear Your Beads Day, which was September 29. No time to be devastated about that - too much else to do or worry about. Pant. Pant.
Just got a nice note from Mike at General Bead. If you scroll back to June's Diary, you'll see I was not pleased with their website. Mike says they've made some changes and he hopes I'll shop there again.
My e-mail to Mike came back so perhaps he'll read this and he'd discover that I appreciate cordial customer service so I will certainly visit that site again when I need beading supplies. Whether I spend money or not is a whole other thing.
October 4, 2002: The photography process is revealing that some of my jewelry is flawed. I've made pattern repetition mistakes. I've also left too much wire exposed - this is a real problem because you want to have a little give, but not a lot of bare wire.
I had thought of selling the mistakes as seconds or irregulars, but that doesn't feel right so for now, everything I don't want you to wear goes in a drawer until I have time to remake it.
October 9, 2002: Thinking about beading is not the same as beading.
On the other hand, I believe I've stumbled across a better way to crimp - you crimp, flatten and round the crimp bead - so I will be improving the quality of my jewelry in my spare time. But most definitely before I ship anything.
October 12, 2002: I'll probably regret this, but I've taken a photo that does not look like any jewelry I've ever made, including the bracelets in the picture. Something went flooey, and I like the result. With my luck, though, someone will want it buy as is.
Well, the CDO didn't like it, but I still do so here it is.
October 13, 2002: I've just completed the page for Patriotic American Flag Jewelry (see note below on October 28). Jane Marie has had tons of compliments on her bracelet, and we want everyone to have a chance to show their true colors.
October 15, 2002: The new crimp bead finishing method works great and looks great ... except I was just finishing up a very pretty mountain jade necklace with a gold seed bead on each end when I re-crimped the crimp bead and broke the glass seed bead. I had to break the seed bead on the other, already finished, end. Fortunately, I had strung the whole thing very (too) tightly and the missing seed beads gave the necklace just enough play to be perfect. Too much wire showing is not good, so I lucked out.
October 21, 2002: I started off the weekend at the Grapevine Mills Mall (huge outlet type mall) in Grapevine, Texas where I met Teresa who runs the Emerald Collection & Gift kiosk. Teresa makes some of the jewelry she sells in this very interesting retail concept. Since I later saw other kiosks littered with jewelry making tools, I think the plan is to hire people who have some interest in jewelry and keep them busy during slow periods adding to the stock. Anyway, Teresa was very nice and had some good stuff including multi-strands of colored wire twisted around intermittently spaced beads.
Then it was on to the Whole Bead Show in Dallas with the CDO's sister, Jill. I didn't quite know what to expect, but I can say this show was not like any other trade show I've been to. There were no signs announcing the company or the seller or the person to contact. There was very little literature - not even business cards! - and much of the stock was not labeled, so I'm going to have lots of fun getting prices and products straightened out.
Having said that, I can say I bought more than I'd planned and very little of that was stuff I needed. I could not, however, find reasonably priced dark amethyst chips for Susan in Toronto who wrote and asked for a good source. I also saw no findings or sterling beads though I admit I didn't ask the one vendor who had silver beads whether his were sterling or silver tone because I couldn't get his attention.
Tip: If you go to a show, take your business cards, sales tax permit and cash. And don't get carried away by the beads - not everything is a bargain.
October 25, 2002: I'm finally getting photos up on most of the pages. These are not pictures I'm proud of, but at least you can get an idea of the jewelry. I suspect there will be retakes down the road though.
The key seems to be multiple light settings on each item - glare, washing out and the too dark problem are different for each piece.
On the other hand, I've made three necklaces from the Dallas jewelry show goodies and they all look gorgeous. Whew.
October 26, 2002: It's really easy to get carried away with possible color combos. I've taken to gazing at neon signs and rushing home to put unlikely colors together - only to have wiser heads advise me not to bother actually making the piece I've laid out. They're probably right, but I can't stop. It's just like eating chocolate, but without the calories.
October 28, 2002: Wouldn't you know? Our supplier has discontinued the American Flag jewelry (mentioned above) and all our links must go away. Back to the beads.
October 30, 2002: Whew! The photos of the first lot of jewelry are now online. Next comes the descriptive copy. Then it's the PayPal "Buy" buttons and the rest is up to YOU. (Or so I'd like to think.) Anyway, phase one is almost finished - and before Thanksgiving.
November 3, 2002: We just got back from Kansas City and a BEAD SHOW - the Bead Renaissance Show in nearby Olathe. I took sister Peggy, my NIECE and the CDO. NIECE and CDO went nuts for expensive furnace glass (clear rods with colored stripes) and Peggy got a ton of Bali beads, the better than sterling beads from Indonesia. Sadly, we were unable to complete more than four pieces of her jewelry before we had to head home. Must mean we'll get together again soon.
Some things I learned:
November 7, 2002: Lots of new jewelry made, but who has time to photograph it until the original pages are finished? Have I bitten off way more than I can masticate?
The good news is that I've been making some red, white (clear actually - it looks better in my designs) and blue necklaces to make up for the American flag bracelet we lost last month.
November 10, 2002: The slow process of completing the jewelry pages continues. (Have you noticed everything I tackle is a slow process?) Now I find myself running out of findings. That means still another order to place, wait for, and pay for this year. Wah.
I can make jewelry without finishing it, but it's very easy for necklaces to become unstrung. Sometimes I put masking tape on the ends, however, it is icky-sticky and will pull off wire. What to do?
November 17, 2002: I can't believe it took me this long to complete the initial round of the jewelry web pages. I still have to set up the PayPal buttons, but I feel as though a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Perhaps I finally got the job done because I've allowed myself to run out of clasps and heavy duty wire so I haven't been able to make any more necklaces. The new materials should be here this week, in time for me to add the BUY buttons and tweak things before I get back to the fun stuff - making jewelry. I also have to put my first item (my baby - arrgh) up for auction on eBay this week. Always something to do.
November 18, 2002: We all knew putting the BUY buttons on the jewelry pages wouldn't be easy and we were right. I need to upload a small (150 X 150 pixel) logo as part of the process and our current logo won't work. The print will be too small. Also, if you read Jane Marie's newsletter this month, you'll find a hint that we're thinking of tinkering with our logo again. I'm not good with the limited graphic design programs available to me, but it occurs to me that what I really need is a blank green ball with shading so I could do text variations depending on the section of the site where the logo will be placed.
November 23, 2002: The new logos are going up and so are the BUY buttons. Now if I could just get the shipment of findings from Fire Mountain, I could make some more jewelry. They are definitely the slowest shipper I've dealt with so far.
November 28, 2002: Well, the first design pages are up, but we've had all kinds of techno problems so this diary has fallen by the wayside. Still, I made a great new necklace while watching the appalling (is there any other kind?) news this morning. No cooking for Nancy today - we're going out! Happy Thanksgiving to all.
December 7, 2002: Pearl Harbor Day. I hope that's not an omen for all the things I plan to do today like launch my first eBay auction and make sure I comply with all the eBay and PayPal standards for certification as an honest businessperson. Fortunately, most of this is free.
Right now our eBay pages are set up pretty well, but as I go deeper into the process I find myself getting caught up in complicated verbiage. Aaaaarg. They need a good writer to clarify things.
Lots of jewelry is not online. Hopefully soon. Lots of jewelry is in my head too. Time is not my friend.
December 10, 2002: Don't let anyone fool you. Selling anything is much harder than any other aspect of business. I've spent the last 500 years trying to set up eBay and PayPal stuff so we can clearly stand out as a reputable business. I'm pretty sure I'm close to getting there, but I was sure of that a week ago. What happened to the mom who just wanted to fill her daughter's summer with a simple creative pursuit?
December 13, 2002: No bids yet on the vintage jewelry I'm selling on eBay. I think you have to have a featured listing. And I forgot to state that one of the pieces was plastic because I assumed listing it under Jewelry - Plastic was sufficient. It's not. Nothing is ever as easy as it seems.
Today, I need to put up more jewelry on this site. It does no one any good sitting in a drawer.
December 16, 2002: After I wrote the last entry, I started to think about the fact that I've accumulated a nice little inventory of jewelry here, so as soon as I publish this, it's off to the bank for a larger vault box for Nancy. This won't be as much of a hassle as it seems because I go there almost daily anyway, and the bank is very near the post office. From now on, I'll prepare the shipping label, USPS Priority Mail box and packaging at home and go to the bank just before I go to the post office to grab whatever jewelry needs to be mailed.
I'm not too worried about break-ins in any case. We live in a neighborhood that a lot of police officers have chosen as well. The one time we had any trouble, our neighbor called in a helicopter and police dogs within seconds. The perps were caught in the act.
December 18, 2002: The system works! I took prepared Priority Mail boxes to the bank, popped the jewelry from the vault box into the mailing boxes and hit the post office. No problems, no time loss and no jewelry sitting around Nancy's house as a lure for burglars. Heh. Heh.
December 20, 2002: I'm not doing too well with my eBay auctions, but for less than $4, I've had a lot of attention. Maybe that's what I really need from eBay.
December 24, 2002: Online retailing is not the piece of cake the spammers who are out to sell us all something would like us to believe, but I do think we're on our way. I'm not too sure about the cost (?) of being listed among 30,000 (?) PayPal shops since this has generated no hits to date. Why bother?
December 26, 2002: I got two (wow!) of the much longed for Chia Pets for Christmas, but my other secret wish is probably up to me. I want a beaded curtain. I actually had one about a hundred years ago in another life, but those were wooden beads. Now I want real glass beads in my curtain and while I know where to get the makings, I can't quite figure out where to put one or how to hang it. In the meantime, I'm gathering up some beaded ornaments to stick around the ole homestead, but beaded curtain lust is raging.
Don't look here for a quick quenching of my desire. I specialize in warehouse living at its finest ,and we don't have an extra inch that requires curtaining of any kind and/or variety.
2003 Beading Diary - next year
Click on the photo for a closer look at Bear With No Name, his friends and some of the semiprecious chips and beads we've received.
*Memory wire comes pre-shaped in continuous loops, bracelet or necklace size. You just string on the beads. I had trouble because I tried to bend the ends to finish a bracelet. This stuff doesn't bend easily.
Tigertail is nylon coated wire. Beads slide smoothly and it's strong. It will not knot easily, but if you kink it tightly (bend it sharply), you will weaken it. You use crimp beads to finish a piece. Beadalon is the brand name I've been using. It's expensive, but seems to be very good stuff.
"Life is like a bracelet ... it has little jewels around it which are like the little bright moments that come along in our lives every now and then." Peppermint Patty in Charles Schulz' Peanuts
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