Monday, December 19, 2011

Crafting as a Business

Crafting As A BusinessCrafting As A Business by Wendy Rosen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I just picked up a copy of Crafting as a Business, by Wendy Rosen. It's great, different than (and an improvement on) many other craft business books. Her insight and information base is amazing. I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads.  I would have given 5 stars if it were more up to date, since this is from 1998 and there has been a huge change in the internet and internet based business and marketing since that time. Everything from show applications and photos to wholesale practices have changed due to online and digital innovations. I would love to lobby for an updated version!

Whether you are just starting out in a craft-based business, or have been working at one for quite some time, I thing the perspectives here are excellent. Many well-known and highly experienced artists share their ideas and opinions here, making it a fascinating and valuable resource.  and it was only $4.99 from Amazon!! That makes it even better.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Skytop Holiday Arts Festival 2011

Skytop Lodge
Last year I came out of “show retirement” for the first time in about 5 years to show my jewelry pieces at the Holiday Arts Festival at the Skytop Lodge in northeastern PA. After being out of the loop for so long, doing a show took a lot of preparation, but it reminded me of the things I enjoy most doing shows. I like to meet the people who are interested in my work, and I like to chat with show-goers, because they tend to appreciate the same things that I do – well-made fine crafts. And of course, I really soar on all the compliments I get!

Silver Vine Jewelry at the Skytop Holiday Show
I decided to do the show again this year, and again, I put in a huge amount of pre-show preparation. I do think the booth ended up looking quite nice! It was a lovely weekend, and we had large Saturday crowds walking both the show aisles and the exquisite grounds of Skytop Lodge. It’s an impressive place, made of natural stone and timbers, set in rolling hills dotted with lakes. Fine art and craft are a perfect fit with the picturesque surroundings. It was a beautiful show, and a fabulous weekend.

Skytop from the air

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Earring Time

I have started to roll out some finished pieces of jewelry from my new cab haul at last month's Beadfest in Philadelphia . These cabs were cut by Jerry from S and S Lapidary, who is becoming a source for more and more of my earring stones. He does love to cut beautiful matched pairs for earrings!
The River

Here's a brand new pair featuring some gorgeous crazy lace agate. Keep an eye on Etsy in the next week or so; these, and more, will be coming up.

The Cosmos and Malachite

 And here is a pair of posts with a beautiful and unusual cut of malachite:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

With a Llittle help from My Friends

On the left is an earring sent to me by a customer. This is a nicely made sailboat, obviously fabricated, with silver sails and an amber boat. But there is only on earring. An emotionally charged piece, one of the pair was lost and I was asked to make a new pair as a close replica. I took on the challenge.

Really - how hard could it be?

The first step was to buy, cut, aand polish amber for the boats. One road trip later, I had a little (well, a lot!) of help from my friend Sue and her husband Tom. They shared a great meal, lots of wine, and lots of fun, along with their lapidary equipment and lots of support. I left the next day with a handful of polished amber boats, a new lapidary passion, and the feeling that the tough part of this job had been accomplished. Only the silver sails were left to make now. Not a problem.(Can you sense the set-up here?)

 Well, it wasn't as easy as I thought.Due to a fragile ego, I left out the photos of the mangled sails. No need to share all that. Everything kept falling apart. Nothing seemed to work. So what to do? Get a little help from my friends!

I passed around my sad, mangled sails at a dinner get-together with some jewelry buddies, and I listened to several possible solutions. Thank goodness for friends! A couple of mangly (yeah, it's a word. Now.) attempts later, I came up with the reasonable replica here. Whew.

My customer has happily asked for three pair of earrings to be sure the sentimental piece is always available. Here are the almost finished sails and boats for the 3 pair. At the left is the original earring, with a new bail for it's future life as a pendant.

Stay tuned to see the shaped and cleaned up pairs.
Boy, will I be proud (and relieved!).

Monday, September 12, 2011

NLP Mindfest

NLP is a powerful and interesting series of techniques to help gain control of your mind, reduce negative emotions, change old unwanted habits, and more. Listen for free for the next 10 days and learn along with me!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Straight from Iceland

First sight in the airport. We missed him SO much!!!
My son has taken the past 6 months to travel across the world, attending a semester of college in New Zealand, hiking, distance running, ice climbing, and helping with repairs through numerous serious earthquakes in Christchurch. On his roundabout way home, he visited Thailand, Greece, Poland, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Germany, Netherlands, and more. I'm pretty sure I missed a few countries in there. He returned to the states after spending several days in Iceland, his last stop,
Lava beads from Iceland


Dendritic Opal from Germany, in a lovely leather case!

Among all of the cool and thoughtful bits he brought home to share his trip with us were head scarves from Poland, a reindeer hide and amazing sea glass from Iceland, and candy from everywhere. (I now love Minties from New Zealand.)

And special for me, there were lava rocks straight from Iceland!! Cut as beads, he said, "Mom, I didn't see cabs, so I got you flat beads. I figured you could do something with them."

Some earrings made with Icelandic lava stones

How many 20-year-olds would end their trip around the world by buying stones for Mom's addiction? I ask you? I am SO proud. He done growed up good.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New Stones, New Design Inspirations

  I picked up a small haul of new stones this past weekend, and  I decided that for a change, instead of pricing them and putting them away, I 'm going to put them on my bench and get to work on them immediately. Woo hoo, that motivation worked! 
I didn't even get all of them in this photo, some of them were AWOL on my bench in the happy design party that followed! I discovered whole new crop of ideas. Here are some of the new pieces I have been working on. 
I'm looking at some new chains, maybe with some stones interspersed in the links. I'm also considering some really cool clasps for this gorgeous new necklace. The silver components will get some patina, and then we'll see. I am really excited to come up with some more really cool designs. Some single components are going to make some kick-butt necklaces with more of the new stones. I want at least one of these for myself!
Coming soon: some more new pieces with these stones - check back soon to see.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

So this is Spring. I think.

Weather has been strange all over. I'm  in the Poconos, where it was 70 lovely degrees just 5 days ago. Yesterday, we got a foot of new snow, and we've had our 2nd (YES, 2ND!) snow day this week, with a 2 hour delay for schools this morning due to the extra snow that fell overnight! I know winter just loves to have his last hurrah, but....really.

I'm cozy and warm inside, recovering from arthroscopic surgery for my knee. It's been a week, and I am just amazed at how fast and painless the whole procedure was for me. I'm told I'm lucky, and I surely do feel that way. I mean - surgery- and no pain! I didn't even bother with the pain killers, there wasn't any to kill! Maybe now I'll enjoy hiking this summer with my family, and be able to do snappy roundhouse kicks (I never could before, but I can dream, right?)  In between rousing rounds of physical therapy, let me show off some of the pieces that will be coming to Etsy on FRIDAY (that's tomorrow)!

I'm so proud to include this Silver Vine Necklace in this latest Etsy release! I haven't put one of these up on Etsy in quite some time. This is a very special piece, an original design featuring a silver vine centerpiece with leaves, suspended from a wavy vine necklace. It looks like it was found in a silver forest.

Treasure in the Desert was built around this baby geode of natural black quartz crystals. The silver pendant  makes me think of wind, dunes, and shifting sands, with far clouds in the distance .It was was textured with a hand-cut dye made especially for this piece.

Below are Textures Earrings. 'Textures' is something I hope to see a lot more of. I plan to make a series based on these earrings, exploring different textured backgrounds set in interesting shapes.

That's all for now. Waiting for the melt, the sun, and the healing.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring Classes are Almost Ready!

Spring may not be quite ready to settle in yet, but spring classes at the Garden of Beadin are getting all set for a new season. My metals classes are nearly ready to go (schedule to follow), so here's a sneak peek:
Pebble Earrings

Pebble Earrings are a great way to learn to solder, even if you have never tried it before. It's perfect to begin a new spring with a new beginning solder class for anyone who wants to learn silver soldering for jewelry. This project is an easy way to learn, and you can make as many pebble rings as you can during class. Put them together into earrings, or try a bracelet. You can even attach some chain and a clasp for a fabulous necklace or choker!

Do you love wire? Are you looking for something new to try? Viking knit is a woven chain style that has been found in archaeological digs. Viking knit is a fantastic way to make truly time-honored hand crafted chain that is perfect for any level of skill. It's easy and fun, and a very portable project,. I take mine to the beach! So come on out in April and learn how to create viking knit chains of any length.
Viking Knit Bracelet

Rose Pendant
Just in time for Mother's Day, a brand new project to honor spring! This Rose Pendant looks complicated, but I created it as a simple solder project. It's a very easy and forgiving project, perfect for beginner and intermediate solder students. And it looks just beautiful!  This will be easiest for those who have done a bit of metal working before, but if you're a motivated beginner, don' let that stop you! Don't miss this one, you will want to tell everybody you made it your self!

Spinning Bead Ring
Another brand new project, for brand new metal workers, is the Spinning Bead Ring. With the bead of your choice, a bit of wire, and a torch, you can turn almost any bead into a sensational ring. You may be able to finish more than one during class, so make one for your self, and make one as a gift. You'll be surprised at how fun and easy it is to create these rings. Warning - be careful, this has been known to be addictive!

Forged Leaf Pendant
 Back by popular demand, the Forged Leaf Pendant is coming back in June. Yes, I know the picture shows earrings. If you have time for two, by all means make a pair! But just one becomes a lovely and artistic pendant, which hangs from a jump ring. Just imagine how luscious it will look in your bead work! In this beginner-friendly class, you can use your choice of silver, copper, or brass. Learn to anneal metal with a torch, cut and file it to shape, and forge it for strength and dimension. Learn finishing and patina techniques, and leave class with your own little hand-forged sculpture.

Finally, for beaders who would like to make their own links for securely adding jewelry components, the Wrapped Loop Bracelet is just what you may be looking for. If you are tired of flimsy loop links that fall apart when you least expect it, this is for you. Learn to create a secure and attractive wrapped loop from any wire while building a lovely bracelet with the beads of your choice in this beginner-friendly class. This one is camera shy right now, I'll have a photo for you soon. 

And if you are near Stroudsburg, PA, stop in at Garden of Beadin and see these samples for yourself! They will be there by the beginning of April, all ready to welcome in a new spring for aspiring metal workers!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cathedral of the Forest

In the cathedral
Of the forest it stood
Awaiting the spring.

Sometimes I see winter in this little piece, sometimes spring, and sometimes fall.
But today, I stand in the forest, awaiting spring. I can feel it, I can smell it.
The geese have returned, the crocuses are barely pushing out of the earth.
The forest seems to hold it's breath. Together, we wait.

The forest at my back door.
For me, the forest is the only cathedral.
It is in the forest that I seek spiritual communion.
It was in the forest that I took my wedding vows.
Several years later, we moved to the forest, where I am happy.

I am thinking about making a series of these pieces. Quiet pierced trees on a variety of backgrounds. Or maybe exploring the forest as a cathedral. As soon as the mucky ground dries, I'll take a walk out back, in the forest. Let's see what develops.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


A wood stove is a wonderful thing. The wood warms you up again and again, way before you ever burn it. Stacking it is always a good warming workout. If you're cold, go out and stack the wood. You'll be sweating before long. Every couple of days, you have to bring in loads inside, to stack near the wood stove. That'll warm yer jets. Back when we used to cut it and split it, it just warmed us up all dang autumn!

This was home two weeks ago, on yet another snow day. The wood was all stacked, the stove was up and roaring, the house was toasty, and the snow was falling.

I love to sit in a rocker by the fire with a good book. Or knitting. All those wicker baskets are full of yarn (and a few half done projects. I'll admit it.)

 For a city girl from Brooklyn, this is a really good day. Cozy. Warming.

Think about warmth.
What warms you up?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Our place looks great in the snow. Even the turkeys like it! I stood at the counter to pour another cup of coffee, and noticed that we had visitors. Here they are from my kitchen window. (Yeah, I know, I need to clean the window again. It's too cold, though. Shhhhh. It's a perfectly good excuse.  Really. ) 
They were just hanging out in the driveway this afternoon, sniffing around and napping. Seriously, three of them were really napping, for about 10 minutes. Heads down, eyes closed. Sort of. Then their compadres came along. They kept popping their heads into the snow, and under the rear tire of my car. I wonder what they wanted down there? Ice?

Well, it seems as though these are the only visitors I'm going to get for a while. I got a call from my UPS delivery folks. They were very nice. In short, they are afraid to drive up my icy dead end dirt road, so I may not have any new metal for a while. My silver shipment will be sitting in the UPS office. Did I really want to make any jewelry today anyway?

That's OK. I can pick it up tomorrow.  For now, I have visitors to attend to. Where did I put the bird seed?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Treasury Widget!

Ever see an Etsy Treasury?
They have come up for me as delightful little surprises over the last few years. Among others, my Spiral Geometry Bracelet, Fusion Tree Brooch, and little Black Dress Pendant have all been treasured by Etsy members.

Today. I learned how to include some of these treasuries in my blog! You can click on these treasury images and go right to the actual treasuries, visit the shops, and see what other treasures await in the artist's shops.

 Etsy Treasuries happen when an Etsyer decides to create a collection of favorite Etsy items, usually centered around a theme. Out of the blue, I have gotten notices that someone has chosen one of my jewelry items to include in their Etsy Treasury. What a really lovely compliment!

 Whether you are a seller or buyer, treasuries are a fun way to browse the many handcrafted items on Etsy, and to check out the work that others admire.

Have you ever been "treasured" on Etsy? Here's how you can include treasuries on your own blog - it's easy!

Want to find some treasuries to browse? Go to
Look around and enjoy!