Monday, November 2, 2009


For a change of pace, I'd like to pick your beady brains!

I know that someone out there knows this stitch! I made this rope years ago, learning the stitch from an online tutorial. From there, "mature memory" sets in! I can't remember the name of it, nor can I figure out exactly how I did it.

The copper beads are the only "solid" woven part. I do remember that I worked an inch at a time, slowly increasing the loose blue and green beads in number until I got to the center - and then I decreased back down the other side. The spiral began to show after a few inches.
It looks like a variation on peyote to me...but having made a number of little bead and thread messes, I still can't get it.

I'm dying to make something using this. Can anyone identify it? And point me to some instruction?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

I hate/love/hate the business end of it all

Laura McCabe got to my idea of the best business name ever before I did. She called her business, "Just let me bead."

I hear that spoken as a plea, "Just let me bead!" As in - please, please, don't make me market! Don't make me do bookkeeping! And so on...

Some of you, I know, are geniuses at the other side of the beading biz. Some of you may even actually enjoy it. But, if I'm right about how Laura McCabe meant it, I can certainly relate. Most days, I'd rather have a root canal than market - but short of developing a sugar daddy or winning the lottery, I'm pretty sure I'm stuck with having to handle the business end whether I like it or not. So I'm always pleased to hear the voice of experience speaking.

Stacey Cornelius is self-confessed "raving idealist and idea junkie." Fortunately, she's begun to leak ideas at her seams and they have flowed into a blog called, "The Studio Source."

Her banner announces her purpose:
"Do what you love and make a living at it. The Studio Source is here to help build extraordinary businesses by focusing on approach - how you show your stuff, how you connect with your customers, and how you manage the business side of creativity."

Stacy has a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design, solid experience in retail management, the IT industry and she owns and operates her own successful business. As someone who knows her, I can tell you she has impeccable taste, huge creative talent and a solid grasp of the business end of craft. Stacy Cornelius is one smart cookie.

The Studio Source could be the poster-blog for good blogging practice - Stacey offers solid practical advice and food for thought - but she also challenges us to think for ourselves - How do we market our work? WHO is our marketing target? Do we know the 15 tips for an effective website? Does our website and business card reflect our individual sense of style? Whose advice do we take? Do we listen to our customers and if so, what can we learn? The blog is presented in short, well-written and readable bites. I've found that I come away from even some of the briefest entries with plenty of food for thought.

And she's funny. Human. This may be the voice of some hard-earned wisdom, but she's as beleaguered and beset with the vicissitudes of life  as the rest of us. Witness a note from the beginning of her latest entry:

"Editor’s note: I am in a state of what my friend Thea calls “crankass.” Ants are jumping on my head as I write this. I am only exaggerating a little—we are experiencing a small ant invasion, and my desk sits directly below a beam where the little monsters are jumping off to get access to the rest of the house. Mostly I hear a tiny “thwap” as they hit the desk and try to meander off, but occasionally one will land on me. It’s a little disconcerting."

Perhaps you'd like to check for yourself. Participation is encouraged, so please, if you have a personal experience to share, or a question - feel free. Subscription to The Studio Source is easy. It will NOT garner a flood of unwanted spam or solicitation, will not ask for your cash, but will bring alerts to your email as entries are published.

Happy reading!

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Swarovski amethyst 5201 - the old stock being replaced by...

Swarovski amethyst 5238 - more cuts, more light reflection

Hands up everyone who loves Swarovski crystal. That's what I thought.Hands up anyone who has considered taking out a second mortgage on their house to buy enough Swarovski crystals or pearls to complete a big project. Uh-huh.

I decided to do some price comparisons.

Using suppliers I'm familiar with and Smadar's suggestion, I used two colors in the same price range: amethyst & violet 4mm in plain, AB and AB2x. Because suppliers sell in varying quantities and some give a price break for quantity, you'll see highest price first and the lowest price, applied to quantity breaks, second.

To eliminate the confusion created by trying to compare lots of different sizes,
I calculated the price per single bead.

Here we go!

E-Crystal Beads (Hong Kong)   I used the lots of one gross – 144 beads  
4.8 cents Plain    5.5 cents AB         6.2cents AB2x

**e-crystals also sells in smaller lots – and at under a gross, their price is not much of a bargain, but they offer some colors in wholesale lots of 1440 and those break down as low as .04 cents per bead.

In addition, for an order of $80-$150 U.S., they offer a 5% discount; $150 - $200 U.S. they offer 7% and over $200 U.S. – 10%.

This was by far the most interesting site. Check the sales. And note: They ship free all over the world and say, “Contact us if you any inquiry or need more bigger support.” Smadar
has dealt with this company successfully and this link is her recommendation.

5.6 cents Plain  6 cents AB  8 cents AB2x

Jewelry Supply

8-7 cents Plain 10-09 cents AB14-10 cents AB2x              

Crystal Bead Shop
8 cents Plain  10 cents AB  13 cents AB2x


9-7 cents Plain  11-9 cents AB  14-12 cents AB2x

9-7 cents Plain  11-9 cents AB  12-10 cents AB2x

Firemountain Gems    (48 pc price to larger price break)
13-6 Plain  8-7AB cents AB 9-.8 cents AB2x

**I had an AWFUL time trying to figure out Firemountain and might be just plain wrong about this breakdown. I find their online catalog so rambly and their pictures so low quality that it's difficult (10 pages later) to remember if you are looking at the same bead in a different quantity. On the other hand, their print catalog is gorgeous!

11-9 cents Plain  13-11 cents AB  15-13 cents AB2x

BeadFX     Canada
.19 cents Plain  .23 cents AB  .27 cents  AB2x 
Go Canada? I love BeadFX but this was a shocker.

When you look at the per piece prices, it may seem that the suppliers differ by very little,
but imagine you are beading something that requires 800 4mm bicones - If you purchase an AB from E-Crystal at 5.5 cents each, it will cost you $44.00. If you purchase from a supplier who charges 9 cents per bead, the cost is $72.00 - and once you add shipping, the cost of your time etc. that will obviously push the selling price up by a hefty chunk.

A note in closing on Rivolis. I was having a difficult time finding larger Rivolis in a variety of colors and these are the sites I've found doing a quick search:

Thatbeadlady (Cathy Lampole) has a good assortment of sizes like 27mm in lovely colors
like Vitrail Medium and Volcano. She carries some vintage and different shapes. I've dealt with Cathy and can recommend her from experience. She's a delight to deal with and ships
very quickly. Cathy is in Canada - and her prices are in Canadian dollars.

Dee's Place offers a range of Swarovski cabs in the larger sizes - both new and vintage, and also has a variety of shapes. Dee's looks interesting but I haven't ordered from this shop so I'm simply sharing the find.

If you need "more bigger support" please contact me!