Monday, September 22, 2014

InspirationFX: Champagne on Ice


Get your creative juices flowing

Champagne on Ice

by: Lee Metsalo

This bracelet is inspired by a necklace worn by a model in a champagne ad.  There were many references to the elegance of the champagne – and the model looked lovely – unfortunately there is no way to give credit to the artist who made the necklace worn in the photo shoot.  The best we can do is crack open some bubbly and drink a toast in the artist’s honour.

To assemble:

1.      Cut four strands of Softflex three inches longer than you want your bracelet to be.  The finishing is slightly fiddly; you will appreciate the extra cord to work with at the end.
2.      This bracelet is constructed starting from the centre, and working your way out towards each end.  I strung the centre columns first, put bead stoppers on the one side, and strung the pearls/donuts onto the other side.  Then put the bead stoppers on the ends of the cords on the complete side, and string the pearls/donuts onto the other side.
3.      Test for fit, add or subtract a row or two of pearls if necessary.  Use crimp beads and wire guardians to secure the Softflex to the clasp, ensuring that all the strands remain in the correct order.  Tuck in any extra Softflex into the pearls.  Slide the beads down against the finished side of the bracelet.  Make sure the clasp is closed.  Use crimp beads to secure the Softflex on the other side of the clasp, ensuring again that all strands remain in the correct order, and ensuring no gaps appear between the pearls.  Cover all squished crimp beads with knot covers.
4.      Uncork the champagne, pour and celebrate!

Tools used:  cutters, flat pliers, crimp pliers



Go to our components list for this project and to buy what you need!
Need some help with some of the techniques? Check our tips page.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

InspirationFX: Saharan Sands


Get your creative juices flowing

Saharan Sands

by: Rosemary Beasley

I started making wrapped leather bracelets and got carried away experimenting with making them wider instead of longer. The great thing about making these wrapped bracelets is that there is no end to the colours and types of beads you can use.

In this bracelet, I combined the red earth tones of the Aqua Nueva Agate, symbolizing the rocks and sands of a harsh desert with the rich yellow of the New Burma Jade (serpentine) - symbolizing the sun which can heat up the desert air to more than 50 degrees F., and certainly heats up this design!



Go to our components list for this project and to buy what you need!
Need some help with some of the techniques? Check our tips page.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Business Chat - And the survey says...

Pssst, let’s talk about... money...

It’s one of those dirty words in the arts and crafts business. Money. There are those who feel that you should be doing what you do for the love of it. There are some who feel that they can’t charge much because it was so easy to make. And there are some who realize that what we do took a long time to learn and that we deserve to make a living wage. 

Whatever your feelings about money, the topic is not often discussed. We talk about our expenses, we talk about how we did at a show in a very general way, “oh sales were up! down!” but we don’t mention numbers. We can find talk online about salaries for regular professions but not for crafters, and rarely do small business websites talk about the arts. 

The topic of money is one that came up in a group that I belong to. This is an group of Canadian artisans and crafters where we freely share information yet rarely talk about the big dirty subject of money. One member took it upon herself to put together a survey for the group. This survey was anonymous and completely informal. Just under 100 people filled it out. It is not scientific. Yet it is one of the only times that real people working in the field talk together about money. And for those just starting out, it is a great window into what you can expect. 

So here you go. 

Is your business your full time job? 
75.9% yes
24.1% no

What category do you work in?
5.7% : body care
4.6% : ceramics
5.7% : kids' clothing and accessories
12% : fabric and textiles
8% : fashion accessories
14% : jewelry - fashion
6% : jewelry - fine
5% : original art

What is the main source of your income? 
73.5% : craft shows
12% : wholesale
3.6% : etsy
6% : own website
1% : consignment
3.6% : commission

How old is your business? 
less than 1 yr  : 3.6%
1 - 2 yrs : 8.4% 
2 - 5 : 28.9%
5 - 7 : 13.3%
8 - 10 : 12%
10 - 15% : 20.5%
15 - 20 : 4.8%
20+ : 8.4%

How many shows do you participate in annually?
1 - 5 : 28%
5 - 10 : 45.3%
10 - 15 : 12%
20 - 25 : 1.3%
25+ : 4%

What is your average sales TARGET per day per show?
$100 - 500 : 9.3%
$500 - 750 : 17.3%
$750 - 1000 : 14.7%
$1000 - 1250 : 25.3%
$1250 - 1500 : 6.7%
$1500 - 2000 : 13.3%
$2000 - 3000 : 8%
$3000 - 4000 : 4%
$5000+ : 1.3%

What are your average ACTUAL sales per day per show?
$100 - 500 : 19.2%
$500 - 750 : 20.5%
$750 - 1000 : 24.7%
$1000 - 1250 : 11%
$1200 - 1500 : 8.2%
$1500 - 2000 : 6.8%
$2000 - 3000 : 6.8%
$4000 - 5000 : 1.4%
$5000+ : 1.4%

Do you base your sales expectations on the craft show fee? if so, what are your expectations? 
1x - 1.4%
2x - 2.7%
3x - 5.5%
4x - 4.1%
5-7x - 8.2%
7 - 9x - 6.8%
10X - 27.4%
Don't know - 42.5%

What is the production time for your average piece?
less than 5 minutes : 2.6%
5 - 20 minutes : 22.4%
20 - 60 minutes : 28.9%
1 - 2 hours : 13.2%
2 - 4 hours : 10.5%
6 - 7 hours : 1.3%
 7 - 10 hours : 1.3%
10+ hours : 5.3%
varies considerably : 14.5%

How have your sales performed in comparison to last year?
increased 46.6%
decreased 15.1%
the same 30.1%
n/a 8.2%

What is your lowest price point?
$1 - 5 : 22.7%
$5 - 10 : 21.3%
$10 - 20 : 28%
$20 - 30 : 12%
$30 - 40 : 9.3%
$40 - 50 : 2.7%

What is your average price point?
$1 - 5 : 1.4%
$5 - 10 : 8.2%
$10 - 20 : 9.6%
$20 - 30 : 9.6%
$30 - 40 : 17.8%
$40 - 50 : 15.1%
$50 - 75 : 19.2%
$75 - 100 : 6.8%
$100 - 150 : 2.7%

What is your highest price point?
$1 - 5 : 1.3%
$10 - 20 : 2.7%
$20 - 30 : 5.3%
$30 - 40 : 8%
$40 - 50 : 8%
$50 - 75 : 10.7%
$75 - 100 : 5.3%
$100 - 150 : 8%
$150 - 250 : 30.7%
$250 - 250 : 4%
$450 - 600 : 1.3%
$600 -750 : 4%
$2000 + : 5.3%

What is your average sale?
$5 - 10 : 5.5%
$10 - 20 : 6.8%
$20 - 30 : 17.8%
$40 - 50 : 23.3%
$50 - 75 : 21.9%
$75 - 100 : 8.2%
$100 - 150 : 9.6%
$150 - 250 : 2.7%
$350 - 450 : 2.7%

Do you have employees/contractors or do you do all the production work yourself?
seasonal help : 13.2%
part time help : 18.4%
full time help : 3.9%

solo (or partnership) : 64.5%

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Whew - what a party ...

Thank you for helping to wish Marg a wonderful 70th birthday, and many more to follow!  
We do anticipate that shipping will most likely be delayed by a day or two from our usual timeframe while we catch up!

We now return you to your regular scheduled updates!

And what do we have new for you this week? And how the heck do we manage to actually have anything new after the craziness of last week? That's a good question, but it will remain our little secret.

s41118 Stone Beads - 6 mm Round - Purple Dumortierite (strand)
Anyhoo - if you are hankering for a soft-purple stone bead - then how about our new Purple Dumortierite? You may have seen it in our denim-blue variety, but here it is in purple. And quite frankly - the two varieties would look nice together too - just sayin'.

s41209 Stone Beads - 16 mm Donut Rondelle - Turquoise Impression Jasper (1)A few other yummy new stones - I particularly like these Turquoise Impression Jasper donuts. 16 mm of calm blue goodness!

Also new, some Quartz Crystal spikes, some Lapis Random Bars, some Textured Quartz pendants, and some Freeform Iron Zebra Pendants (with bails already attached, for those last two.)

s41210 Stone Beads - 22 - 34 mm Crystal Spike - Rock Crystal Quartz (1) s41215 Stone Beads -  Random Bars - Lapis (1) s41212 Stone Pendant -  Rough Quartz Pendant - Natural (1) s41213 Stone Pendant -  Freeform Pendant - Iron Zebra Jasper /  Silver (1)

s41142 Swarovski Rhinestones - 10 mm Trillion Cut (Article 4722) - Aquamarine (1)

And in the Fancy Stone department - flashy, Swarovski Rhinestones - we have the triangular Article 4722, or Trillion Cut. You don't see these in too many places! We also added a couple of Baguettes - not - that's not a skinny french loaf, but a long, thin rectangular stone. These came from an old warehouse stash, and some of them are quite old. s41153 Swarovski Rhinestones - 3 x 10 mm Baguette (Article 109/4500) - Siam (6)

From something old to something new - 3476480s41197 Swarovski - 28 mm Spike Pendant (6480) - Bermuda Blue (1)a new pendant shape from Swarovski - the Spike Pendant! In keeping with current fashion trends to spikes and studs on everything from jewelry to clothing to shoes to purses, the Spike Pendant is a wedge-shaped arrow with a front to back hole. It has a slightly truncated tip, to prevent chipping, and stabbing yourself.

s41233 Sterling - Box Clasp w Swarovski Elements -  Faceted Round - Cobalt (1)We also have a bunch of new fancy clasps - because nothing finishes a necklace or bracelet with more panache than a coordinated (or contrasted!) clasp!

s41294 Book -  Making Etched Jewelry - by Kristen Robinson and Ruth RaeWe have a whack of new books too, and in particular, if you are interested in the designs you can make with etching metal, but can't make it in for Rosemary's classes on this, Rosemary highly recommends this book: Making Etched Jewelry. She says it was so engrossing that she missed her subway stop by TWO stops - and that says a lot about a book!

All sorts of other new goodies too, so as always - you can click on a link or image above, or get started with the new items here. Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Getting to know...Bonni Poch!

Bonni Poch is a relatively new instructor at BeadFX and has brought us classes that have been well-received! This week we'll find out a little more about Bonni. 

"As long as I can remember, I have been involved in crafts," says Bonni. "The first craft that I learned was knitting, taught to me by my mother when I was roughly 7 or 8 years old. Since that time, I have dabbled in pottery, ceramics, fabric painting, needlepoint, cross-stitching, and stained glass art.

"I got into jewellery quite by chance, actually. After growing tired of stained glass art (actually tired of constantly having cut hands), I decided that I wanted to still work with glass but in a different format and took a private lampwork class at BeadFX. I didn’t connect with the process, but while at the store, started exploring and fell in love with the colours and textures available. The rest is, as they say, history. I’m mostly self-taught. YouTube and internet classes are terrific. I’ve taken a few classes at BeadFX, but again, mostly self-taught."

When asked what inspires her, Bonni replied, "Being challenged inspires me. Seeing something very complicated and intricate is exciting to me and stirs up the need to create (or sometimes replicate). I don’t inspire easily, but when it hits, the need to create and master the technique is overwhelming."

"I don’t know if this is typical or not, but I don’t have a set formula to help me decide what to make next. I go with my inspirations. Of course, there are exceptions. For example: I hate making earrings. I don’t wear them and generally don’t like them, however, they do sell at shows and should be a staple for any jewellery designer, so I make just enough to get me through any shows I’m doing and focus the rest of my time on bracelets and necklaces…my real passions."

Do you actively collect and record ideas for future projects? "Future projects…no," says Bonni. "I act on my inspirations and when I’m inspired, the desire to create is immediate. I can’t have something in my head to work on at a later date. That would make me crazy…I’m very self-indulgent that way. Everything is immediate"
"I love 99.9% of the teaching process," states Bonni. "The absolute best part, however, is watching students learning a new skill and being proud enough of their end product to wear it out of the class. I get a lot of satisfaction in sharing my knowledge and experience with others, and a real feeling of accomplishment when the students’ projects turn out well."
Bonni's advice to others who create? "Never underestimate your talent. Talent needs to be nurtured. With patience and practice, you can do just about anything you put your mind to!"
Upcoming classes with Bonni Poch:
Saturday, September 20
Colour Medallion Beaded Pendant

10:00am - 5:00pm 
Saturday, October 18
Wire-wrapped Stone Bracelet

10:00am - 1:00pm

Sunday, November 2
Tree of Life Pendant

11:30am - 2:30pm 

Monday, September 15, 2014

InspirationFX: Southwest Shield


Get your creative juices flowing

Southwest Shield

by: Pam Kearns

I loved the texture and colour of the recent resin fashion cabochons that came in. While my strength is not in bead embroidery, I knew that combining the cab with the dragon toes beads would be a great combination. The shape of the dragon toes lent themselves to 'holding' the cab in place and for edge of the shield itself. The base is Lacy's Stiff Stuff; the back is covered with ultra suede. The pinback is stitched on to the ultra suede. I already had most of the beads on hand, left over from other projects!

The cab is glued in place and the beads are stitched using 6lb Fireline. I stitched the backing using C-lon thread, D weight.

To learn about bead embroidery and some of the techniques that you can use, check out Anne Marie Desaulniers' intuitive bead embroidery class coming up in November 2014.



Go to our components list for this project and to buy what you need!
Need some help with some of the techniques? Check our tips page.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

InspirationFX: Good Things in Small Packages


Get your creative juices flowing

Good Things in Small Packages

by: Lee Metsalo

Why should the big Swarovski beads get all the attention?  The tiniest ones can also make pretty pieces!  This bracelet was made using two strands, two needles.  As shown, this bracelet is 19cm (7.75 in) long.

  1. Measure two strands of Fireline, about 75cm long.  You won’t use all of this, but it makes it easier to handle, and to do your knots for the closures.  Thread your needles.  Put some sort of a stopper on the Fireline about 10cm away from the opposite end of the needles.  String one bead onto each strand.
  2. Take both needles and go through a third bead, one going left to right, the other going right to left.  You will probably have to do these one at a time.  Pull the threads until snug.
  3. String one bead onto each needle and pull down to meet the other bead.
  4. Take both needles and go through a third bead, one going left to right, the other going right to left.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4, making sure your tension is even and there are minimal bits of thread showing (you don’t want to pull so tight as to scratch your beads against each other), until the bracelet is about 30mm shy of how long you want it to be – the clasp assembly as shown is 30mm.
  6. When you’re ready to attach the clasp, take both needles through the hole in the convex side of the clamshell tip through to the concave side of the clamshell tips, and slide it down.  Make several knots with both threads together, to make a knot big enough for the clamshell tip to clamp over. (You can string on a size 11/0 bead and knot around that to help you get to that size faster).  Add a dab of glue, and clamp the clamshell shut over the knot.  Trim off excess threads.  Repeat on other side.  Link the clasp pieces together and the main part of your bracelet is ready.
  7. To make the dangles, string the beads onto the headpin,  make a wrapped close to the top, and link the dangles to whichever side of the clasp you prefer with a split ring.

Tools used:  needles, scissors, flatnose pliers, E6000, Japanese size 11 needles



Go to our components list for this project and to buy what you need!
Need some help with some of the techniques? Check our tips page.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Our Gala Birthday Sale-a-bration continues

But only until Sunday night! (Midnight, Toronto time) - so get your orders in!

Because we know you are busy shopping - we don't really have anything else to say, except we have added a new feature to the website - a wish list! Now you can save stuff for later, move it from your shopping list to your wish list and back again with a simple click.

To use, you need to be logged in on our website, and when you access your shopping cart list, you will see a big arrow to the left of each item. Your shopping list is at the top of the page, and the wish list is below that, so to move an item from your shopping list to the wish list to save it for later, then just click on the big arrow. The same applies for moving from the wish list to the shopping list.
(Items that are out of stock that are in your wish list will have *** after them, you can just leave them there and wait to see if they become available.)

Or you can watch the two minute video.

As for the sale - it continues - so happy shopping.
There are a few little rules, so here they are.
30% off everything* in the store. (*Ok, almost everything. Some select items excluded.)

The exceptions are:
  • No discounts on class fees  
  • No discount on gift certificates. 
  • No discounts on Studio time/lampwork cards, lampwork tools, glass and lampwork supplies.  
  • No discounts on special order merchandise, or special bulk orders.  
  • The discount cannot be combined with Art Clay large volume or instructor discounts
  • Exception: Some items ARE excluded. Some metal clay items, some tools, and previously discounted items, and a few other items. You will be able to see online if an item is discounted. Remember - you always get the best possible discount - so if something has been discounted more than the sale discount - you will get the greatest possible discount.
Things tend to get a little crazy around here during a sale, so we have a few rules to make it go more smoothly.

  • No frequent beader points awarded on sale or discounted merchandise 
  • No frequent beader points will be redeemed during the sale 
  • The discount is NOT retroactive and does not apply to previously purchased merchandise.  
  • No special orders or special bulk orders will be accepted at the sale prices. 
  • No Rain Cheques. No backorders. When it's gone, it's gone. The early bird gets the beads. Online orders will be picked in the order in which we receive them.  
  • Sale ends Midnight, SUNDAY, September 14, (Toronto time) (Well - in-store it ends at closing time - because we won't make the staff stay until midnight.). If you haven't checked out by then - the items in your shopping cart will revert to regular prices. (Like the pumpkin turning back into a coach. And we can't change that - sorry.)  
  • If you are placing a phone or fax order, please ensure that you have the sku/product numbers ready, as well as the description. Same goes for email orders - as we'd prefer to not have our order picking staff have too many nervous breakdowns. It's always painful to find them hiding in the kitchen, facedown in a box of Tim Horton's donuts and crying.
  • We will be VERY busy during the sale. Having this information ready when processing your order, will help us get your order out the door in a reasonable time frame.

We do anticipate that shipping will most likely be delayed by a day or two from our usual timeframe.
So click on a link and go crazy!