Friday, September 30, 2011

Metal Clay Playday this coming Sunday

Hi all,

We had planned to run a metal clay playday on Sunday October 2nd. I just heard from the store that no one has signed up yet, and we're wondering if we should cancel it. It's not too late just yet! If you're interested in coming by - please call the store today to register. 416.701.1373 or 1.877.473.2323


Pssst...Hey! Wanna cute free blog?

So, this morning while I was forced to wait for something - I decided that I should redesign my blog....again.  I have a bad history with my personal blog. (not this one!)

1) I'm not so great at keeping it updated. I have great intentions, but updating it is always so far down the list of priorities.

2) Stupidly at some point I decided to go with a pay for use blog. I have no idea why I did that, but when it came time to renew recently, I was seriously wondering why I ever thought that was a good idea. I'm now back to using blogger. And blogger is just fine! I mean really, why on earth would I pay to use a blog that I'm rarely going to update? (trying to be honest with myself here)

While over at the graphics fairy looking for ephemera backgrounds to use in photography, I came across a link to The Cutest Blog on the Block . They have a ton of free templates, backgrounds, animations, banners, etc to use in your free blogger blog. Especially handy for those of you who aren't technically savvy - they actually show you step by step how to apply and use any of their blog goodies.

If you've been thinking of getting a blog, or updating your current one, be sure to check it out!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Bead Soup Blog Party

Have you ever participated in a Bead Soup Blog Party? Sounds like a huge amount of fun! Lori Anderson from Pretty Things has been organizing these for the past few years. The 5th one will start in January.  If I can remember, I think I'd like to join in. The party has become extremely popular, so popular in fact that this coming year - entry is by lottery!

Click the image below for more information, and spend a few hours/days checking out the previous years entries. Inspiration abounds!

New This Week!

Capturing Your Attention

s30491 Silver Silk - Knitted Wire -  Capture - Urban (1 foot)And now that we have your attention, how about some Capture Chain? Two more additions to our Capture s30492 Silver Silk - Knitted Wire -  Capture - Khaki (1 foot)Chain selection, actually - Urban, which is a silver wire knit tube over a gunmetal ball chain - very chic, and Khaki, which is a bronze over a black chain, for a more earthy look.

s30493 Silver Silk - Knitted Wire -  8-Needle Flat - Rose Gold (1 foot)If you prefer - there is also the new Knitted Wire tubes - well - flat tubes, and if that doesn't grab you - you can always make yos30490 Tools - 1/2 inch Lazee Daizee Viking Knit Wire Weaving Tool -  (1)ur own knitted wire tubes, as we now have the Lazee Daizee Viking Knit wire weaving tool in two sizes!

s30464 Findings - Vintage Stone Mount - 19 x 25 mm Filigree Rectangle - Raw Brass (1)The stones that we brought out two weeks ago just cried out for some metal settings. However, finding settings that fit the stones, or vice versa, seems to be more of a challenge than you might think. We found these mounts - but they don't fit many of the stones. But - we've found other things to do with them - check out this week's Inspiration!

Some of these mounts are unfinished, and come looking almost black with patina - but you can remove it if you want, or part of it, or leave it - depending on your preference!

s30472 Stone Beads - 30 mm Flat Pear Drop - Red Creek Jasper (Pair)If you are itching for some more stone stuff, how about these Red Creek Jasper matching pairs of stone pendants. Small enough that you could make some killer earrings with these - and it's not often that we find stone pendants this small and thin and actually useable for earrings.

s30477 Stone Beads - 31 x 55 mm Oval Drop - Sonora Dendritic Rhyolite (1)And in the new to us stone department - Sonora Dendritic Rhyolite. Browns, greys and caramel colours form crazy-ass map-like images.

s30496 Wire - 22 gauge Square Wire - Bare Copper (1 foot)And, if wire wrapping is your thing, but the thought of practicing with the silver wire is making you choke, we have more of the Square Copper Wire in 20 and 22 gauge. Practice makes perfect!


We've done some serious re-organizing of our Findings and Metal Beads pages. We now have such an extensive selection of Copper and Brass findings - we just can't keep them all on one page any more - it makes it too hard to find what you are looking for, and takes too long for the page to load.

and for even more copper, added to our Metal Beads section.

And we had to do some re-org'ing in the Brass section too.

Somebody stop me before I reorganize everything and you can't find ANYTHING!

So go ahead, click on a link or a picture above, or start with the Main Page, if you are feeling intrepid, (there is a LOT of stuff there), or chunk it down into bite-size portions by checking out the categories: Click on a link and go crazy! Firepolish, Pressed Glass, Swarovski Crystal, Seedbeads, Stone and Pearls, Preciosa Crystal, Metal Beads, Other Cool Beads, Findings, Metal Clay & Supplies or Books, Kits, Tools. Look for the "new" tags!

Or maybe check out all our free, yes, free projects. A new one every week.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Paula Radke - Art Glass Clay

I may have mentioned this before, ever since Marg popped this in with a package of other less interesting things (paperwork) ;-)  - I've been just itching to to try it out. I finally had the opportunity this week.

One very important note regarding the instructions - it mentions to not breath the dust. I think this is understating the importance drastically. This product is very similar to enamel - it's glass dust. DO NOT BREATHE this in. Wear a respirator, and keep a damp towel handy while you work to wipe down any particles that could become airbound as it dries. These are your lungs - take care of them. :-)

The clay is easy to mix. I carefully poured out the full jar into a small bowl, and mixed with the back of a spoon. Initially, I used far too much water, and had to wait for the clay to dry somewhat before I could press it into a mold. It needs to be far drier than you think it does!

The clay only needs to stay in the mold for a moment - pull on the sides of the mold, and pop it out. Smooth out any rough bits with a damp sponge, or use a toothpick in the little nooks and crannies. Allow to completely dry. I left mine for quite a while, but I suspect overnight would do just fine.

Once it's dry, you can sand or carve the glass clay as it will be quite hard. Keep in mind the safety precautions above when sanding!

Here are my first pieces - they could have used a slightly longer final firing time for a bit of extra shine, but I got distracted at the end of the firing session and missed the opportunity.


All in all, it's easy to use. You will of course need a kiln, and I think for the mixed media jewelry artist having one more type of medium to add to your work is worth it. I believe we are planning on bringing this in, but as I was just doing the initial testing - we don't yet have a date. If you are interested in us carrying the Glass Clay - send us a note to let us know!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Kellie De Fries

Yes, that Kellie!  The Crystal Ninja herself will be in the house October 13th and 14th teaching her flatback application master class. Now, don't get yourself overly excited as obviously you will not be making the Mad Hatter in class. You will however be well on your way to creating your own fabulous designs on your cell phone, shoes, clothing, hairbrushes, your nails. Just about any surface you can imagine can be blinged up with Swarovski Crystals!

The details are not yet on the website, and we imagine that spots will fill up insanely fast.  Here's your chance to get in before the class gets posted.

October 13th from 6 - 9pm  $40 plus a $25.00 kit fee

October 14th from 12 to 3pm $40 plus a $25.00 kit fee

See image below for more details about the class and kit fee's. Please call 416.701.1373 or 1.877.473.BEAD (2323) to register.  Click on the image below to make it bigger (and readable)

Monday, September 26, 2011

The New Espresso Machine

We got a new espresso machine for the store - one of our regular instructors, Catherine, who runs like the energizer bunny and never seems to stop, convinced Marg - a committed tea drinker - to get an espresso machine for the classroom. It arrived - all shiny and new and complicated - and sat unopened for several weeks while we decided what kind of coffee to get it and where it was going to go.

Catherine came in, and was "Oooo - we must set this up!" so out it came from it's box and off we went and cleared a space, and found some coffee, and then had to locate milk and we were all set - except that no one but Catherine knew how to use the machine, and she had to do some experimenting too. (Hint - not all espresso machine stop dispensing coffee automatically.)

Soon it was espresso making lessons - here at beadFX, we believe in being well-rounded. Beady baristas! Caffeinated and Crafty. Or, at least - well-caffeinated.

In the process of said experimenting, we discovered that the little-used kitchen sink in the class room was - well - not draining that enthusiastically. Note to all - coffee grounds need their own container. (See how much learning was going on?)

Aha - I know how to fix this! The wonder product for this is "One-Second-Plumber" - an aerosol can that shoots into the drain and mixes a couple of chemicals that combine and create a burst of air that rams the blockage out of the way. This stuff is awesome - it is so awesome that I suspect it will go off the market, so I am hoarding it and stashing it at home. Unlike some drain openers, you don't have to bail the water out of the sink, a definite plus in this case.

Naturally - we don't have any on hand, so off I go to get some. Next day, first thing in the a.m. - I'm there to clear the sink, and make coffee. I line up the can in the sink, plunge, and whoosh, and all the water drains away. Excellent! High fives all around.

"You know," Jenny says, "The big sink that Donovan uses isn't draining well either." (Donovan is our cleaning dude. Yes - we have a guy that cleans for us. We like it that way.)

Jenny and I troop 'round to that sink, which is in the "online fulfillment" area - packaging and shipping. You want open concept offices? Oh, we got 'em. The only office with walls is the bathroom.

So I run some water into the sink - one of those big, plastic laundry sinks, and yep - it's not emptying that fast - so I line up the one-second plumber and give it a shot. There's a whoosh, and not quite as dramatic a draining as I'd like, and a little sixth sense nags at me - because - you know - I've been down this drain-opening road before.

"Jenny, can you just check the bathroom?" I say, suspecting that the washroom that is right next to this sink I'm standing at, may be sharing some common plumbing.

Round she goes, and I hear a simultaneous scream and a slam. I follow her and she's standing in the middle of the office screaming and pointing at the washroom door, "Oh my god, it's awful, don't go in there!"

At that point, there was nothing in the world that could have compelled me to NOT open that door. So, braced for the worst, I swing open the door, and it was an impressive sight, to say the least. Black sludge had erupted, Vesuvius-like, from the washroom sink, and splashed up the walls, over the mirror, across the counter, across the floor. Big chunks of sludgey black stuff - looking like a possible combo of more coffee grounds and maybe some accumulated years of bead-release was stuck to everything. The smell was none too wonderful either. However, I remained calm, as my first thought was, "Oh good - the toilet didn't explode!"

Lee - attracted by the screaming - was now sitting on the desk hooting with laughter and threatening to videotape us and put it on youtube.

Having caused this impressive amount of destruction, we had better finish the job. We had another go at the drain, this time with Jenny firming holding the washroom sink plug in place with one hand, and her resolve not to run screaming off into the distance with the other, and me at the laundry tub. This time, we had success, and all the water ran gurgling away.

That left us with merely the bathroom to clean. Wash the walls, the mirror, the counter, the sink, the floor, clean off the accumulated bottles of soap and lotion, toss the un-salvageables, note that Donovan had been missing a few spots in the weekly cleaning, etc. Now that bathroom is so clean, it's blinding.

We started the week doing an emergency bathroom cleaning - all because we got an espresso machine. Catherine - this is all your fault.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Joy of Metal Clay: Challenges. they can inspire - Knobs anyone?

Entering challenges or contests, admiring entries or even just browsing contests themes can be a source of inspiration for many.

I just got sent this one to me BRONZCLAY CHALLENGE (thanks Marg). It's a challenge to make Bronze knobs. OOOHH, ahhhh that could be interesting. I must admit I have thought of this one before but it has remained on my list. This little contest may just inspire me to make something. Of noted the deadline is October 6, 2011 which is a little tight.

The other cool thing about this challenge is that it includes instructions on how to make one. Brilliant as when I was thinking about making some I was playing around in my head with what type of screw to use ect... this one give you directions too. Thank you RioGrande.

Contest themes can get you thinking or challenge your creativity. Even if you don't want to enter taking a peek at some of the contest guidelines can give your creativity a little kick.

Share with us any upcoming metal clay contest you have heard about.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Business Chat - Holiday Bootcamp 3 - Your holiday booth

OK people, if you’re following along you now have a plan for your inventory and supply shopping, and you’re spiffying up your online presence. Now let’s glitz up your holiday booth display.

Your booth is your store, even if it’s only for an afternoon. How your store looks absolutely affects your sales. Your display will make your store’s first impression on your customer. For the basics of booth display you should read Booth Display 101 and Booth Display 201. Today we’re talking about how to display for a major holiday season. Now is your chance to shine!

Speaking of shine – it’s Christmas, go ahead and add some glitter to your display and get festive. A lot of people find shopping tedious and by the time they get to you they’re fed up. What can you do to make them feel happy and festive? Maybe a little tinsel or some twinkly lights. Add something special – how about a bowl of candy? (Keep it high so the kids don’t grab too much).

If you make holiday themed work, why not try and use holiday themed display items? Christmas tree earrings can be clipped to a small plastic tree. If you’re making ornaments set up a mini-display using those ornaments.

Something I add to my booth for this season are extra signs. Signage is non-verbal communication to your customer. Here are some signs that are really important at this time of year.

1. People are buying gifts now, have a sign about your gift wrapping. (if you do it, which you should).
2. Another excellent sign is your exchange policy, what if the recipient doesn’t like it, or it doesn’t fit, what does the recipient do?
3. Where can the customer find you for the remainder of the holiday buying season? If you have a craft show in the middle of November there are still a lot of buying days until Christmas. And yes, some people will leave buying until December 24. Have a list of your other holiday shows and your contact information (such as web address and email) readily available.
4. Put suggestion signs on various products. Examples of a suggestion sign is “A great hostess gift!” or “Perfect for the teen in your life”. If you look at the customers at some point they’re glazing over with overload, lead them to a decision.
5. List your payment options prominently. If you do not take credit or debit cards find out where the nearest ATM is so that you can let your cashless customer know.

Chances are your holiday show is inside. Most indoor shows offer hydro (check with the show organizer). Lighting your display is VERY important. No matter how bright the hall is, it isn’t bright enough. You need to spotlight your work. Hardware stores such as Home Depot are good sources for lights. Also check Ikea. Check the whole store, many vendors use “work lights” which aren’t in the lighting department.
Make yourself a lighting diagram of your space and from this calculate how many lights you will need and where they will go. Now double that amount and put the extra lights in your diagram. Draw in how many extension cords and power bars you will need. Don’t forget to take extra light bulbs or batteries if your lights use them.

At every show you do it’s really important to have a cash and packaging area away from your display. Try to make it a little bit larger than normal as people will have a lot of bags and they may not want to put them on the floor while paying you.

Of course the best holiday display for your booth is YOU. The closer we get to Christmas the more people will be tired of shopping, tired of crowds, tired of all the other vendors hawking their wares. At this time of year it’s extra important to smile and be nice. And have twinkly lights.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Inspiration Friday

Happy Friday! I've got a full weekend date with the torch, and I'm hoping to make some woodland themed beads this weekend - and with them, some woodland inspired jewelry. Perfect for fall, and of course for today being the first day of glorious fall. My absolute favourite time of year. I've gathered up a few wonderful fall inspired colour combinations. Enjoy, and I hope you get as inspired as I am. Have a fabulous weekend!

                                                                                                Source: via Keisha on Pinterest

                                                                                             Source: via Teresa on Pinterest

                                                                                            Source: via Leslie on Pinterest

                                                                                             Source: via Vienna on Pinterest

                                                                                        Source: via Ariane on Pinterest

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Using Art Beads

This morning, I was  thrilled to discover that Shannon LeVart of MissFickleMedia featured some of my worry beads in a blog posting at Art Bead Scene - I was quite surprised, as of course I haven't listed much on etsy in quite a while...You know all the usual excuses (kids, no camera, blah, blah, blah). Now I must go get busy and try to get a few new things listed, and attempt to do it on a more regular basis.

Question of the day - Do you purchase art beads? If so, do you primarily purchase a certain type, or do you like to collect all different types and mediums?  Personally, I'm usually drawn to beads or components of a type that I don't personally make myself. Ceramic, wood, polymer clay, lampwork beads that are way out of my skill range, are just a few of the ones I covet.

Forgive me if I've asked this one before - It's quite possible ;-)

Next, we want to see which beads you love the most. We all love eye candy! Post links in the comments below so that we can all see.

Here are a few of my favourites:

New This Week!

Back to Beads

3476301s30386 Swarovski Elements - 6 mm Top-Drilled Bicone (6301) - Padparadscha AB2x (1)Last week's update was all about the metal and vintage rhinestones - this week - we're back to beads.

3476301s30389 Swarovski Elements - 6 mm Top-Drilled Bicone (6301) - Jonquil AB2x (1)New colour and "effect" combos in Swarovski beads! Check out these new Top-Drilled Bicones (they are the ones with the horizontal hole, near the top, so they are a drop shape when strung.) These are all Double AB colours, so they are extra-marvelous.

2775301s30433 Swarovski Elements Bead - 4 mm Faceted Xilion Bicone (5328) - Crystal Brandy (36)Looking for some nice warm colours to start planning your fall projects? How about these colours, Crystal 2775301s30434 Swarovski Elements Bead - 4 mm Faceted Xilion Bicone (5328) - Crystal Chili Pepper (36)Brandy - a champagne colour, and Crystal Chili Pepper, richer, deeper cognac colour.

s30391 Swarovski Elements Pendant - 18 mm Dove Heart (6226) - Crystal (1)Or how about this charmer? A heart, with a dove! Could it be more symbolic? This is a special edition - not part of the regular line up, and not readily available. What a sweet pendant it would make on a chain, and a lovely gift, maybe for someone you are thinking about that needs an extra boost?

2775301s30442 Swarovski Elements Bead - 5 mm Faceted Bicone (5301) - Aurum 2x  (10)Feeling like you need a hit of gold in your life? Aurum 2x, 2775301s30441 Swarovski Elements Bead - 3 mm Faceted Xilion Bicone (5328) - Crystal Rosaline Gold (36)or maybe the more subtle Rosaline Gold?

11728540020001 Swarovski Elements Rhinestones - 8 mm Flatback Butterfly (2854) - Crystal AB (1)Inspired to bling something up with flatbacks (You should be! Wait till you see the class we have lined up!) Want something a little less, well, round? How about crystallizing with Butterflies, 11728160020001 Swarovski Elements Rhinestones - 5 mm Flatback Star (2816) - Crystal AB (12)Stars, or these hybrid Snowflake/Flower dealies? 11728260020001 Swarovski Elements Rhinestones - 5 mm Flatback Snowflake Flower (2826) - Crystal AB (12)

I put a single butterfly on my bluetooth headset. Now it's jewelry!

157620300710011 Swarovski - Applique -  Crystal Tex (62030) - Crystal AB (1 cm)And for hot fix bling applications - what about Crystal Tex? This is a hot-fix tape with rows of rhin157400010582001 Swarovski - Applique -  Crystal Mesh (40001) - Crystal / Silver (1 cm)estones, or Crystal Mesh - also hot-fix, but the stones are in a little metallic cup. Go bling or go home!

So go ahead, click on a link or a picture above, or start with the Main Page, if you are feeling intrepid, (there is a LOT of stuff there), or chunk it down into bite-size portions by checking out the categories: Click on a link and go crazy! Firepolish, Pressed Glass, Swarovski Crystal, Seedbeads, Stone and Pearls, Preciosa Crystal, Metal Beads, Other Cool Beads, Findings, Metal Clay & Supplies or Books, Kits, Tools. Look for the "new" tags!

Or maybe check out all our free, yes, free projects. A new one every week.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Short and Sweet

Happy Wednesday! You all know what happens at midnight tonight - What new goodies are in store for us this week. Your guess is as good as mine, as I don't know yet either.  I'm off to work on the inspiration for tonight - as I got seriously sidetracked with the back to school flu bug. I think I'm better now (fingers crossed)!

A couple weeks ago, Dwyn sent me a little goodie bag to create something awesome for the inspiration.

What shall I make? Hmmmm....lots of possibilities!  And I actually finally have a camera to take the inspiration pics with. I may have mentioned before that I have misplaced the camera charger for my good camera. It's still missing, and getting a replacement is proving to be quite difficult. No one has it in stock, and the universal ones don't work. I finally broke down and got a new camera for around the same price as the battery charger would have been.  I'm curious to see how well this new camera takes pics of jewelry and beads.

And yes, mine is pink as well - the girls were with me at Walmart last night picking it out....didn't have much of a choice ;-)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Chainmail and wireworking classes

Sorry for the tardy post today - It's back to school, and flu season has hit us early. Since Thursday, at least one of us has been sick. I think we're finally almost through it... crossing fingers!

Have you been considering adding wire working to your jewelry making repertoire? While not wireworking per se - chainmail is an excellent way to add exquisite metal designs to your beadwork. It can be complicated - but the example above is actually quite simple in construction. Best of all, working chainmail does not require a lot of expensive tools or materials.

Start with Marilyn Gardiner's Japanese Flower Chainmail class - It's a beginner class, and all are welcome regardless of experience.  Next thing you know, you might be creating something as elaborate as:

Lots more wireworking classes coming up with Rae, Malliga, and Marilyn. Be sure to check through our upcoming classes for more info!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rrrr Mateys, Talk Like a Pirate, Leah Fairbanks Class Picture

RRRRrr Mateys - it be "Talk like a Pirate" day - a day to celebrate all things knot-ical. I'll be just a waitin' here while you be checkin' out that website thingy to confirm what I be sayin'.

RRR - you're back now are ye? Pirates be our kindred spirits, what wi' th' love o' treasure an' jewels an' th' whole general booty thin'. We be havin' a soft spot for those black-hearted buccaneers*.
And we all thought Johnny Depp looked pretty cool with beads in his hair too. ;-)
Speaking of beads - I've been taking the Leah Fairbanks' classes. (Any relation to Douglas Fairbanks - who portrayed pirates on the silver screen - do you suppose?) What an awesome class. We have learned sooo much about stringer and colored cane and using colours together that it would never have occurred to me to use.

Here - she shows us how to make a fern.

And here - we pull stringer - that's Catherine "Sailor Girl" Winter holding one end - and you can't actually see the other end of the string because I didn't have a wide angle lens with me.

Here - Leah on the left and Catherine on the right - examine the results of the stringer pull.

And this is the totally awesome Rainbow Twisty - which we are all now privy to the secret of.

The class has been a great deal of fun, and it's so nice to just dedicate a few days to doing something fun with other great folks. Absolutely as good as a vacation.

All this stuff goes into my subconscious and kicks around for a few months and then, pops out as something else. I can hardly wait to see!

*Definition of a buccaneer - too much to pay for corn.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

No Happy Hour Torching on Monday

just a reminder - due to the Leah Fairbanks class, there will be no happy hour torching on Monday evening.

The Joy of Metal Clay - Sharing my display

This weekend I am participating in the Danforth East Arts Fair at East Lyn Park in Toronto. It is my community so I especially love to be there to meet new and old neighbours and promote the joys of metal clay. If you are in the area, come by and say hi.

I thought I would share pictures of my booth. Although my booth is far from perfect it works for me. It is transportable, easy to set up and flexible and interactive. There are many things I may change if I had the time and money but for now it is what it is and perhaps may give you ideas.

Here is a picture. Sadly my son spilled coffee on my white table cloth right after setting up!!! Oops. Note to self don't place coffee on table. (it is in the wash as I write this and I hope the stain is gone for day two of sales).

The set up is made up of two collapsible aluminum tables bought at Lee Valley Tools, table cloths, two wooden modular boxes, Ikea picture frames (with dowels added to make hanging surfaces) and two fabric covered pieces of insulation foam (one inch thick pink stuff bought at home depot - that I can push pins into). I won't go into details but the latest and greatest idea was a simple that struck me last weekend regarding my tags. The old ones (although great)were printed with all my information and is a better option for marketing but since I did not have them professionally printed there were problems. One the time in printing them out was labour intensive and I had trouble with the ink coming off at times making them not "
wear" well. Finally the computer program I designed them in won't load on my updated computer and I haven't had a chance to address this.

The new ones I made were quite simple and well resulted in a lot of compliments today:

They are made with card stock and a small hole punch. For me the little girl was perfect! Such a simple solution to a problem that I don't think I will return to the old cards.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Business Chat – Holiday Bootcamp #2, your online business

Did you do your homework from last week people? I left you with a few tasks, such as listing your sales plans, deciding on your sales goals and thinking about your holiday product line.

Now it’s time to let the world know about all your fabulous creations and give them a variety of ways to buy your work. Here are 11 steps to help you build up your online business for the holidays.

1. Make it easy for a customer to find you. Your website address, email address and phone number should be listed EVERYWHERE. Put these on your business card, all over your website, on your facebook profile and in your email signature. If they can’t find you they can’t give you money.

2. List any shows that you are doing on your website. Make sure you list the times and dates and locations of each show. As soon as you know your booth number list this as well.

3. Let the customer know about shipping deadlines. This is critical for the holiday season! Have the cut off date for shipping on the front page, especially as that date gets closer. The post office gets slower as they get busier so err on the side of caution.

4. Post your shipping information somewhere accessible. Make sure you list your shipping options and give them a choice.

5. Have a picture of your shipping packaging. Do you gift wrap? (an excellent option to offer at Christmas). Let them know. If you don’t have a picture of your packaging describe it well.

6. Take a good look at your shop policies. If they aren’t clear now is the time to rewrite them. Can they be easily found?

7. What is your refund policy? At this time of year people are buying gifts and one thing on their mind is “what if my sister doesn’t like it? Or if it doesn’t fit?” So what are you going to do if the recipient doesn’t like it? How will you exchange it? In what time frame? Decide now and let your customers know. Post this information somewhere prominent.

8. Make a list of the new work you have for the season and make a schedule for putting this online. Each piece needs photos and a description. Put this on a calendar and get the work online. Listing a piece on December 10 is too late, people are actively looking now even though they may not click that Buy Now button until late November.

9. Speaking of photos, how do yours look? Photos can always be improved, if you have some time, try shooting different angles or putting them on a different background. If you are making wearables it’s always a good idea to have one photo of the item on a model. Round up a good-looking friend and see if they’ll model for you.

10. While you’re looking at improving your photos, read through your product descriptions. Are they all that they could be? A good description provides all the necessary materials, dimension and size information. A good description includes an interesting story or quirky detail. It’s always good to suggest who this item would make a great gift for.

11. Communicate your payment methods. They like it, is it clear to them how they can give you money?

Your website is always a work in progress, one thing that keeps people coming back is having new work or information there every time they stop by and visit. Rather than updating everything all at once, my goal is to update my website in at least a small way every single week between now and Christmas. It’s easier on my workload and it keeps my website nice and fresh. A weekly web workout.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Well, just cuz.

My planned blog posts for this week are delayed due to technical difficulties, and this silly human is just a little too excited about the Leah Fairbanks class tomorrow to concentrate on coming up with anything else ;-)

I just happened on this one, so I went looking for more. Now we all know that kitty's love to get in our beads. I can't find any pictures! Nothing, nada. Weird. So how about I just make you all really, really hungry.....

                                                                                   Source: via Kayla on Pinterest

We'll just pretend this one is low fat - and hey there's it's good for you. really.

                                                                                     Source: via Erin on Pinterest

Ah, forget healthy....

                                                                               Source: via Nicole on Pinterest

New this Week!

Stamping Around

Are you stamping around, looking for something to punch? Do you just want to flatten something, hit something with a hammer, or just make your mark?
74550021-01 Tools - 6 mm Shape Stamp/Punch Collection - Astronomy (Set)Well - have we got the update for you! A whole new "whack" of new metal stamps for you to hammer in the morning with. Or the evening, depending on your preference. Last week, we rolled out the heart stamps early - but this week, we have
And we have letter sets. A through Z plus "&"
So, now you need something to stamp on!
2472406106-02 Metal Sheet - 17 mm Square Washer Blank - Copper (1)2472409102-01 Metal Sheet - 22 mm Flower Blank - Brass (1)What luck! In addition to the myriad array of metal blanks that we already have to stamp your heart out on - we have a bunch more new ones! Including Squares and Flowers!

74529499 Tools -  Glasses - Safety (Pair)Don't forget the Safety glasses!
Other tools, like hammers, bench blocks, hole punches, are also available too !

Where's the bling? Hammering not your thing? Vintage Rhinestones make you sing?

s30395 Swarovski Vintage Rhinestones - 6 x 8 mm Faceted Rectangle Cut (4600) - Smoked Topaz (1)We have some new vintage ... wait a minute. Can we say that? New s30404 Swarovski Rhinestones - 23 mm Faceted Trillion Cut (4727) - Crystal Golden Shadow (1)Vintage? New-to-us-but-old ... never mind - New Vintage Rhinestones. Some of these are quite old, some are merely old-ish, and some are new. We decided to put all the really fancy, flashy rhinestones on their own page - regardless of their age. Except for the rivolis - which also have their own page! We s30427 Swarovski Rhinestones - 12 mm Rivoli Cut (1122) - Fuchsia Glacier Blue (1)have some AMAZING colours in the rivolis - like Fuchsia Glacier Blue and Jet Glacier Blue.
As for what to do with them, well, perhaps this week's project will furnish you with some ideas!

All that - and not a bead in the lot! That's ok - there will be beads next week, we promise! Until then, click on a link or a picture above, or start with the Main Page, if you are feeling intrepid, (there is a LOT of stuff there), or chunk it down into bite-size portions by checking out the categories: Click on a link and go crazy! Firepolish, Pressed Glass, Swarovski Crystal, Seedbeads, Stone and Pearls, Preciosa Crystal, Metal Beads, Other Cool Beads, Findings, Metal Clay & Supplies or Books, Kits, Tools. Look for the "new" tags! 

Or maybe check out all our free, yes, free projects. A new one every week.