Want to learn something new?

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Want to learn something new this fall? Let your creativity loose and explore these different art forms to use in your jewelry making!

As the fall approaches and kids return to school, many of you may have a little more time each day. Learning a new skill to incorporate in your beading craft is a great way to spend that extra time!

Learn something new to enhance your jewelry designs

Below are three different techniques that you can learn to enhance your jewelry design and skills. Make really unique gifts to give as gifts or sell at crafts fairs or fundraisers.

Learn Kumihimo
Learn to make a Kumihimo braided bracelet

Kumihimo

Kumihimo is an ancient Japanese braiding technique that lends itself well to modern jewelry design. These beautiful braids are made using easy-to-use foam disks, spool-taming bobbins and other convenient tools, and can be embellished with beads and findings.

Resources & Supplies

Kumihimo Braiding Chart
Square Braid Tutorial
Kumihimo Design Ideas

Learn Macrame
Learn to make beautiful Macrame jewelry

Macrame

Macrame is a technique of knotting cord to produce a lace-like pattern. It’s often used to make jewelry, belts, purses and more. It is a versatile technique that lends itself well to gender neutral or masculine designs, especially when woven with darker color tones and paired with metallic findings.

Resources & Supplies

Macrame Video Tutorial
Macrame Charm Bracelet Tutorial
Macrame Design Ideas

Learn resin
Learn to make a beautiful resin pendant

Jewelry Resin

Learn how to use jewelry resin  to preserve and create beautiful, original components. You can make lockets, bracelets, frames and more with a clear, glass-like coating.

Resources & Supplies

How to Use Ice Resin Video Tutorial
Creating a Jewelry Resin Frame Pendant
Jewelry Resin Design Ideas

All of the above will teach new skills and make your handcrafted jewelry stand out from the crowd!

Leave a comment and let me know what new technique you are learning 🙂

Is it coincidence or God speaking through nature?

Do you believe in coincidence? Does God speak to us through signs and symbols in nature? How does God speak to us? If God is speaking and we don’t listen, how does he get through to us?

I don’t believe in coincidence and think that everything happens for a reason. Over and over our higher power, whom I choose to call God, is constantly trying to communicate through any method available.

Is it a coincidence when animals appear?

Native Americans believe that animal spirits or totems appear in our lives to give us messages, and in my opinion it is God trying to get through because we aren’t listening to his voice.

I recently began trying to walk 10,000 steps a day to counteract the midlife bulge developing around my waist. This puts me out into nature a lot more since my home is tucked into the Central Florida Wetlands.

Huge-Rattle-sanke
I nearly stepped on this rattle snakes tail while on my morning walk. (Photo taken by Bead Lovers Korner in Central Florida)

Last week I nearly stepped on the tail of a huge rattle snake, it never saw me, but seeing the snake had me shaken!! The rattle was the first thing I saw, not a footstep away – eek!!

Then two days later the sunlight was shining at just the right moment for me to see a beautiful spider web in the trees.

Spider web seen in the rays of sunlight.
Spider web seen in the rays of sunlight. (Photo taken by Bead Lovers Korner in Central Florida)

I tried looking for the web again the next day, and could not find it. It seemed as though God was shining the light directly at the web at just the right moment for me to see it.

Were these two random sightings connected? Was it odd that after seeing the scary rattle snake I was allowed to see the delicate web?

Does this have meaning?

You might be laughing right now, but I began to think this was no coincidence and that this might have meaning. So I decided to look up the snake and spider and see what their appearance might mean and how it relates to my life.

Here is what I found:

Snake key meanings are transmutation, change and to be reminded to stay connected to the self and my surroundings to continue on the path of growth.

Spider and it’s web is bringing attention to my creativity and asking if I am ignoring my ideas and dreams. Go figure!

My inner spirit has been nagging at me to get back to making rosaries, prayer beads, meaningful jewelry and to practice wire wrapping and wire weaving. I have not been making time for that, and have just pushed those thoughts and ideas aside.

Knowing when God speaks

Was God speaking and I wasn’t listening? Did he use the symbols of his creation to tell me in another way? I believe it’s true: when I ignore my inner Good Orderly Direction (GOD), nature takes over to tell me again!

What are your thoughts on how God speaks to you? Have you had any strange encounters in nature like that? How did you use that experience?

Read any good books lately?

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.

memento-more-book-thong
Memento Mori book thong shown with the best-selling book “The Shack”.

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
  • Ghost Stories
  • Spirituality
  • Great Love Stories
  • Mystery Novels
Egyptian Scarab book thong
Unique Egyptian style sterling silver scarab book thong with “evil eye” and crystal beads

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!

How to take pictures for selling online

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.

Texture vs white background
Textured vs White Background Before and After

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.

Outdoor photo studio
My outdoor portable photo studio, nothing special

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.

Taking Pictures of beads outside in natural light

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.

Camera

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

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.

Photoshop leverls
Setting White Levels in Photoshop

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.

Before-After-white-levels
Using White Levels in Photoshop

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!!

 

Packaging photos – are they important?

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…

Old Packaging
Old photo of product packaging

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.

packaging
Gift bags in organza and silk

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.

Gift box
Rosaries and delicate items come in a gift box

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.

Top 5 minerals to use in jewelry design

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
Fluorite

1. Fluorite

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.

Pyrite
Pyrite, also known as Fool’s Gold

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.

Quartz
Quartz

3. Quartz

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.

Malachite
Malachite

4. Malachite

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.

Labradorite
Labradorite

5. Labradorite

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.