I love to read thanks to my parents and their example, do you love to read a good book? I wonder how many still like the feel of a book in their hands and not some electronic device?
Do you read for fun?
My Mom and Dad were always reading for fun and through books I was able to expand my imagination and sometimes escape to magical lands.
We had a large bookcase with many books, including an old Encyclopedia Set – remember those? I did many a school report using those Encyclopedias!
Now you can read books online, purchase ebooks and download them to whatever media device you like, but for me there is just nothing like holding a physical book and turning each page. I can see how much of the book I have read, and how much of the story is left by viewing where the bookmark is located.
Some of my favorites
There are so many great books, and over the years I have gone through many different authors and subjects like:
Stephen King Books
Science Fictions Books
Great Love Stories
Bookmark your place
I started making beaded bookmarks a few years ago, using art beads and charms that were left over after a project.
These bookmarks or book thongs add a little personality and decoration to books and also mark your place.
Bookmarks also can be a great small gift idea for readers at just about anytime of the year. My Mom loved them and became my best customer! In todays electronic age they are a unique gift and perfect for:
Gifts for children
Friends at work or church
A small thank you to someone who has helped you out
Stocking Stuffer ideas
and many more…..
Do you still read books?
I would love to know how many people still love to read books. What are your favorite types of books to read and how do you keep your place? Leave a comment and let me know!
If you are wondering how to take pictures to improve your online sales but have no photography background, look no further and check out my photography tips below.
I have been selling online since 2001 and have learned quite a lot about how to take pictures of products so that customers can see the detail and not be disappointed when they receive the item.
I often get compliments on my product photography and comments about how detailed and professional they look.
I decided to write this blog post as a sort of “Photography for Dummies” and share how to take pictures so that others can learn my process and get excellent pictures without being a professional photographer.
How to take pictures for Etsy, Ebay, etc.
When I began selling online I would take a picture on a textured surface but I have since learned how to give it that photo studio look using a white background, and I have been re-shooting everything. You can check out some of my new photos in my Etsy Shop.
I have read many blog posts on photography, and most of them go way deep into stuff I didn’t want to know. They suggest special light boxes, lighting and other fancy gear. That wasn’t for me.
I have NEVER read my camera manual and do not know any of the technical stuff about light, shutter speed, blah, blah, blah…. but I DO know that natural lighting is THE best way to photograph beads, jewelry or just about anything.
Check out my photo studio below.
Photo studio set up
My photo studio set up is in my driveway!! I always try to take advantage of the natural light outdoors. I currently use an orange storage box with a piece of tile on top to make it a flat surface, and a piece of white paper is covering the tile (see photo below).
Many items that are seen online have a white background or something really light. Ebay encourages a clean white background and Amazon requires it. In fact Amazon even patented their technique. Maybe I should patent mine!! No seriously, my process is simple and is not patented!!
The beach towel is there to keep me from getting dirty, and the concrete is really not friendly on the knees so the towel helps 🙂
This set up is portable, keeps me flexible (having to get up and down), and was totally FREE since I already had these items. No expensive light-box, lights or other fancy equipment.
Indoor pictures need special lighting or they might turn out yellowish, have reflections of the surrounding items, flash or annoying shadows.
I take nearly all of my pictures outdoors on a cloudy or overcast day, sometimes I get good shots first thing in the morning before the sun comes out, but many times that is too blue. Light cloud cover is the best.
I have an Olympus C-4000 Zoom, 4.0 Megapixel, Optical 3x Zoom/Seamless Zoom 10x Optical x Digital. Not sure what all that means, but the optical zoom gets super close and super resolution! When I download the pictures onto my computer I can then zoom further with Photoshop.
Let me repeat my previous statement above:
I have NEVER read my camera manual and do not know any of the technical stuff about light, shutter speed, etc.
I only read the quick start guide and I have never had a photography class.
When I bought my camera it was set to take pictures on a really large format (like a poster), and I have never changed anything. This way I can have a really large picture with high-resolution at then resize it as I choose.
I spent about $500.00 on this camera and have had it for over 10 years. So today you can probably get an even better camera for less money. In fact many of the smart phone cameras are pretty good!
Photo editing is a very important part for me. I have Photoshop, which was quite expensive when I bought it, but all photo editing programs have some sort of brightness and color features to edit photos.
This is what I do for pics that are a little too gray or blue. In Photoshop I use the levels tool to set the white point which will adjust the picture.
To set the white levels in Photoshop you select: image>adjustments>levels and then you will see the setting box like above. The eye dropper on the far right is for white.
Select the dropper for white and then touch the area of your photo that should be white. See what a difference that makes??
You can then clean up any dust or particles surrounding the item with the paint brush. Crop your photo and then make it any size you need!
I hope this information on how to take pictures has helped simplfy things for those who want to keep it simple. Happy Photographing!!
Showing photos of product packaging when selling online is important if you have room to display the photos. Some people don’t really care how the items come to them, but many people are swayed by attractive packaging.
Show photos of your product packaging to improve online sales
Many of you have read different articles about creative packaging and if you sell on Etsy you have probably read articles in the sellers handbook about branding, packaging and so on. I have read them all too!
I even took a photo several years back while I was in the middle of shipping packages so that I would have a picture. However, it was pretty lame. See below…
Looking back now I see how lame that photo was, but at the time I took the photo above, I was thinking
“This is great, it shows how the product is mailed, and what the bead or item purchased would look like when it arrives!”
However this was only a small representation of how items are packaged and mailed from Bead Lovers Korner. Then I set out to improve the photos.
Take time to shoot new photographs
I took some new photos to show the different ways that beads and small items are sent to customers. Most of my products ares small and are sent in organza bags like in the example above.
I use gift boxes for Rosaries most of the time, and some jewelry items also come in a gift box. This helps to protect the item in shipping and is also convenient for customers who are giving the item as a gift.
In this new era where everyone has a smart phone, it is really easy to take photos that are worthy of posting in a listing.
That extra photo in your Etsy listing just might seal the deal and convince a customer to buy from you!
Think about how you like to receive products that arrive through the mail? Is product packing important to you? Thanks for stopping by and please leave a comment with your ideas for product packaging.
I have always loved rocks and minerals, and as a bead and jewelry enthusiast, I have used many awesome stone beads in jewelry.
I am happy to introduce Jessica Kane as my guest blogger for this post. Jessica is a professional writer who also shares a love of handmade jewelry. This informative article includes details about 5 particular minerals that are great to use when making jewelry.
5 Minerals that make beautiful jewelry
by Jessica Kane
Though gemstones can make breathtakingly beautiful jewelry, minerals create an intrigue all of their own.
A rainbow of color variations brings uniqueness to a piece of jewelry; and the healing properties of crystals and minerals have been utilized for centuries. In fact, gemstones are merely highly attractive—and pricey—variants of minerals. For example, the precious sapphire is actually composed of the mineral corundum. Both can be used in jewelry, but since sapphire is more spectacular, it is dubbed a ‘gem.’
What many people do not know is that there are many stones that make better friends than diamonds ever will.
Fluorite is known as the “Genius Stone” and the “most colorful mineral in the world.”
Loved by mineralogists and metaphysical healers, fluorite is a favorite when it comes to jewelry and spirituality.
No matter the color—blue, green, clear, yellow, pink, mixes—each crystal has the same stable energy. A perfect solid structure makes fluorite luminous; glassy yet soft in luster.
Staring into fluorite is said to bring order to chaos and fine tune concentration. For example, blue fluorite is a calming stone, due to the luminescent blue shade. Rational energy flows from the stone, tidying up a disordered mind and allowing for pursuit of purpose. Since blue fluorite connects to the Throat Chakra, it is said to promote smoother speaking skills.
Blue John fluorite (Derbyshire Spar) is famous for its striking appearance. The unique purplish-blue and creamy yellow hue makes it a decorative stone to wear, while it charges the Third Eye and Crown chakras and encourages adventure and personal growth.
2. Pyrite (Fool’s Gold)
There is nothing foolish about the positive powers of this brass-colored mineral!
The gorgeous metallic gold of pyrite is a stunning addition to rings, bracelets and pendants. In the 1800s, pyrite was a coveted addition to Victorian fashion and used in rosettes, buckles and rings.
Native American tribes value this stone for its magical properties. Pyrite lends strength to spiritual talismans by tapping into the wearer’s latent potential, unleashing a flow of ideas and increasing self-confidence. This stimulation of the Third Eye and Throat Chakras can also strengthen will power. Those suffering from psychosomatic and environmental diseases will find relief when wearing a pyrite amulet.
Probably the most utilized mineral, quartz is also the second most abundant mineral in Earth’s soil.
Since antiquity quartz has been used to make jewelry, used in carvings and even modern technology.
Spiritualists believe that quartz has energy-channeling properties, making these crystals an indispensable tool during meditation and Reiki healing.
The beauty of quartz creates a diamond-like highlight when added to jewelry. Variants of quartz include onyx, jasper, citrine, carnelian, agate and aventurine.
The beautiful green featured in malachite is undoubtedly alluring. The mesmerizing patterns are soothing to the viewer, and there is a healing quality that is said to represent the effects of nature on the human soul.
Malachite is also called a stone of transformation, for it promotes spiritual growth when worn. Much like nature, malachite draws out impurities from the body and cleanses one’s Life Force.
Malachite has been worn for centuries by the Egyptians, ancient Greeks and Romans to ward against the “Evil Eye.”
Deeply associated with the Heart Chakra, the green energies of malachite promote balance. Due to this connection, the stone is often used as a pendant on long chain necklaces. Wide-band bracelets and simplistic brooches are another way to show off malachite’s splendor.
Known as “the stone of the Northern Lights.” Inuit folklore states that this stone fell from the Aurora Borealis and emits a mystical glow that separates this world from the next.
A member of the feldspar family, Labradorite comes in a variety of cooler color shades—grays, greens, blues and blacks—intermingled with cyan, coppery red and gold.
The beauty of Labradorite makes it ideal for statement pieces, like chokers and bracelets.
It is believed that Labradorite brings out the best in people and for this reason it is often worn or carried to reduce anti-social or reckless behavior, and to aid in addiction rehabilitation.
Whichever way you decide to wear these visually appealing minerals you will obtain a host of benefits.
About the Author
Jessica Kane is a professional writer who has an interest in arts and crafts, DIY, and other handmade products. She currently writes for Indian Traders, a leading vendor of pendleton blankets and jewelry.
This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links.
Searching for fundraiser ideas that are easy and quick? Many jewelry designers and artisans use their talents and time to raise awareness and funds for a cause. Below are some ideas and inspiration!
Fundraiser ideas that are quick and easy
Want to make some jewelry for a fundraiser, but are short on time? Try easy to assemble jewelry such as Almost Instant Jewelry®. This line of metal settings is calibrated to specifically fit Swarovski® crystal fancy stones or other components. You’re able to produce a professional-looking piece of jewelry in 3 easy steps!
You can also use the settings as a base for other jewelry media such as Magic-Glos® top coat, Apoxie® Sculpt and your favorite polymer clay. Some settings don’t even require glue!! These open-backed settings are held securely closed by stringing onto a chain or cording. Want to switch out the pendant? Unstring the pendant and open the setting back up.
With such a vast selection of settings and Swarovski colors/effect, it’s fun to let customers customize their own jewelry. Lay out the options and allow customers visiting your fundraiser pick their favorite setting, chain and matching Swarovski crystal. They get a piece of personalized custom jewelry and your cause reaps the benefits.
Bracelets full of charms and beads
Charm bracelets are a fantastic and fun way to show support for a cause. Attach lobster claw clasps to charms such as awareness ribbons plus other dangles in matching colors. Add hearts, angels, affirmations and more for a full selection of charm options.
Customers will love being able to quickly and easily create a bracelet that stands for a cause they support. Plus, since the bracelet is interchangeable, charms can always be added later giving you the opportunity for repeat customers.
Large-hole beads are favorites for creating personalized jewelry. Dione® Easy-On Chains have threaded ends that twist off and on for putting on or taking off beads. There are even ring settings specifically made to accommodate a large-hole bead and are created simply by unscrewing the decorative top, adding the bead and securing the top back on.
You aren’t limited to just using metal bases though. If you’re a fan of custom cords such as macramé and kumihimo, make colorful cords at least 3mm in diameter and large-hole beads slide on perfectly.
Non-metal options include cord and simple loops or knots. Some metals can cause allergic reactions to metal-sensitive individuals, so having a selection of metal-free jewelry ensures no one gets left out.
Knot closures are an added benefit as well since they slide to fit a range of neck or wrist sizes. Fundraiser attendees can then purchase jewelry not only for themselves, but also as gifts for friends and family without worrying about the jewelry not fitting. On the other end use a lark’s head knot to attach gemstone donuts, go-gos and other shapes with center cutouts. This type of jewelry is also a fan favorite with males–further expanding the reach of your cause.
Something for everyone
Want more ways to appeal to both the male and female demographics? Consider quick-and-easy pendant jewelry. Choose pre-made colorful multi-strand necklace cords or metallic chains including ever-popular ball chain. Then let customers select a pendant to match. Voila!
Other potential sale opportunities for men also include tie tac and cuff link settings made handsome by simply gluing a flat-backed component on the pad with a strong jewelry-making adhesive.
While we’re on the subject of gluing, bails turn beads, donuts, cabochons and more into pendants with just a dab of adhesive. You’ll be able to create more, in less time, for your favorite charity or community fundraising event. Decorative bail options give you and attendees more to choose from so everyone gets a piece of jewelry they’ll wear again and again. Want even simpler? Try pinch bails. No glue required. Simply select a bead, charm, drop or other component with a hole and align the prongs of the bail. Squeeze with a pair of pliers and you have an instant pendant to attach to earwires or slide on chain as a pendant.
What to expect from the crowd
Now that you’re prepared to create for the next event, what should you expect? There are 3 possible outcomes.
Some people will walk away–that’s okay.
Some people will offer a donation without wanting a piece of jewelry–that’s great.
Some people will buy your jewelry to support the cause and spread awareness by wearing it–super!
Not only do you end up helping your cause, but you also end up meeting a lot of caring people. You’ll also form a newfound appreciation of your own talents as you create fundraising design lines. Charity events and community fundraisers are sure to attract attention for your cause when tables are lined with your sparkling jewelry creations to buy or bid on.
Make it your mission to engage in deliberate acts of kindness and use your jewelry-making talents to foster a better community, nation and world one jewelry design at a time!
I am excited to share this collection of items in The Artisan Group® swag bag that will be given to attending celebrities at GBK’s Celebrity Gift Lounge honoring the MTV Movie Awards Nominees and Presenters.
Celebrities and members of the press will be given these popular gift bags which always contain finely handcrafted products from participating members.
This years invitation-only luxury celebrity gift lounge, hosted by GBK Productions, will be held on April 8-9, 2016.
The difference this year is that each pendant is made with a hand-knotted wire and wrapped bale that attaches to the chain, finished with a swirl!
Celebrity pendants are made with a variety of semi-precious stones and colors which includes:
Chakra balancing (three different stone selections)
Golden Cream Quartz
Members of the press and media organizations that attend will also receive the same pendant in one of three different types of stone beads: Chakra stones, Tigers Eye, and Black Obsidian.
Side Note: Why I have not posted to this blog in over a month
I really try to post several times a month, but last month there was a death in my family that caused me to be absent. Between wrapping up final affairs and making pendants for this event, I just had no spare time.
It is extremely likely that my posts will be sparse for several more months, but I was super excited about this upcoming event and wanted to spread the word!