Sunday, August 30, 2009

Weekly Wanderings Around the Beadosphere

It's another Sunday, so grab your walkin' shoes (aka, mouse) and let's go wandering around the beadosphere...
Just A Tish is having a giveaway (and hurry - must comment before Tuesday!), had an ee-piff-any about using tags (the blogging kind) and talked about developing one's own design style.

A Bead A Day ponders how to spice up some wooden crafts bracelets, what to do with curled sterling silver tube beads, and some 5 hole spacer bars (among other posts - she does post daily!). I mention those 3 because I made some suggestions in the comments - you should, too!

Blanche's Sha-sha Handcrafted Jewelry Blog has been quiet this week. I hope she'll be posting again soon!

Jessica at SmuTopia will be at Designer's Downtown Market in Raleigh, NC, Sept. 12th and shared this gorgeous seahorse and labradorite necklace she'll be featuring as well as a peek at some of the earrings that will be there, too.

Over at Silver Parrot, Friday is "New Bead" day - and wow, what a beautiful haul! The earrings she features at the top of the post are really lovely, too.

At This Artist's Journey she shares about easy, safe and natural way to oxidize silver. Anyone know if you can oxidize other metals this way?

One of the designers I follow on Twitter would like you to become a fan: Shiny Adornments on Facebook.

How about getting in on another giveaway? Really fabulous prizes! Jeannetebix gives you 3 ways to enter!

and one more: Art Bead Scene Blog giveaway.
Here are some of the designs created for the Artbeads' Blogging for Beads seen last week
A beautiful design from designer, Staci, Pink Pooch Design, with a beadweave bezel set rivoli.

And Katie Hacker used a Crystal Red Magma disk pendant bead for her Artbeads Blogging for Beads design, with a tubular peyote stitch bail.
Supplier Blogs
The SoftFlex Trios Flex Your Creativity contest deadline is almost here! See Soft Flex Girl's Seven Days of Inspiration.

The Rings & Things blog talked about dapping and hollow silver beads last week.

The Artbeads Blog featured an amazing, gorgeous Montana Sapphire necklace from their Customer Gallery of Designs (I keep meaning to of these days!)

The Beadin' Path's Dara and her Weekly Beadditude talk about collectable vintage beads

Thanks for keeping me company on the journey!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thursday Feature: Reviews & Interviews - How My Book Didn't Get Here Yet, So I Imagine a Roadtrip to Dollywood

"Mail Chute" Image from Wikimedia Commons
Image file is in the public domain in the United States

I had hoped to have a very special book review this week, but instead I'm going to rant a bit about my experience with it being shipped via DHL.

I got a gift card for my birthday (thanks, sis!) and went online to get the aforementioned book, plus another one I wanted to read. I also renewed my B&N membership. All in all, just getting the order done was cumbersome with much back and forth and restarts. Perhaps more my problem than B&N's, but really, their order entry site could be easier to use. Anyway, I got free standard shipping for some reason, so I selected that.

Finally, all done and confirmed, I just need to wait for the delivery. Free standard delivery, they say, takes 3 - 8 business days. I made the order on the 17th, today (as I write this the night before posting) is the 26th. That's 7 business days for the books to reach California from Kentucky - which they've done, though I don't have them yet - I'll get to that in a bit.

In that amount of time, I could take a leisurely drive to Kentucky with a couple of day long stops, because, remember, they didn't count the weekend, so it has actually taken 9 real days, so far. I'd have gotten a chance to check out the sights in Salt Lake City, then I think I'd have visited Mt. Rushmore, seen a bit of Chicago, maybe even visited Dollywood before I turned around to come home...perhaps that's what the DHL driver did - and I say driver because it certainly wouldn't take 10 days by air-freight to have gotten here.

Image by Brian Stansberry. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License.

To be specific about the routing, it took two of the days for the books to reach the DHL hub in Kentucky and the rest of them to reach Union City, California (this morning) where, and this is what stunned me, at 6 am this morning, they hand over the package to USPS to deliver. Union City is 24 miles away. I could have driven there at lunch (it's even closer to where I work, maybe 15 miles) and picked it up faster, but instead the Post Office gets to haul it the last 24 miles down the road and that, of course, means they will take it somewhere to be sorted first, so it didn't get into today's (the 26th) mail. *sigh*

It will probably show up tomorrow. It just befuddles me. Next time, I either can't care about how long it takes or pick faster shipping.

While this 'review' has nothing to do (at least directly) with beading, although the book I'm waiting on does, there is a valuable lesson (well, for me). I've never had a complaint from anyone I've shipped anything to when I use USPS Priority Mail. It moves much faster than you'd expect - I've heard tell of things getting from coast to coast in 2 or 3 days. It's easy - you can get the boxes free (they'll even deliver them to you), do the postage online and track the progress, too.

I'm hopeful I'll have the book in plenty of time for next Thursday's review.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Dawno's Weekly Wanderings Around the Beadosphere

Welcome back! It's been a busy week out there in the beadosphere, and without further ado - read all about it:

  • Tish of Just a Tish explains the artist exchange she's launching at her blog & gives a tutorial on the earrings she's made for the Beading Daily earring exchange.

  • A two for one deal over on Lisa's Friday Bead a Day post about Melissa Lee's designs for Soft Flex Trios over on Strands

  • I'm not the only one wandering the beadosphere! Wendy T. Gibson at Craft Dinner does too, on Wendy's Wednesday Web.

  • A gorgeous Alice in Wonderland necklace from a fellow Artbeads Blogging for Beads partner Blanche at Sha-sha Handcrafted Jewelry Blog.

  • Janeen from Janeen's 365 grabbed a picture of this gorgeous plate with patterns and colors that could inspire all sorts of creative ideas for beadweaving, stringing or polymer clay designs.

  • Zoya Gutina has a blog called Gem and Beaded Jewelry where she's shared how the Artbeads picasso painted onyx pendant necklace inspired her.

  • Silver Parrot's fabulous bead haul - it's all wonderful, but those polymer clay beads are just *wow* -

  • Don't miss Lampwork Diva Cindy Gimbrone's gorgeous Art Nouveau bronze metal clay pendant either. If I had more free time I would so love to start working with the different metal clays.

  • Melanie Brooks at Earthenwood Studios did a Rings & Things 'product playtime' post featuring the R&T copper blanks and had Russ Troll standing by to check out the results.

  • Now and then I sneak in a blog that has nothing to do with beading but another artistic endeavor, like this picture posted by Nikon Sniper - what an inspiring palette of colors - I imagined this inspiring a design in Swarovski colors of padparadscha, golden shadow, chrysolite, olivine, light sapphire, light peach...

  • Magazine posts

  • Katie Hacker shares about her Beading Daily featured download necklace pattern

  • Great article from Bead and Button on using dyed beads

  • Lori Anderson talks about her Beadstyle Magazine 52 Bracelets feautred bracelet which she's now got on sale (as well as a version in coral and turquoise)

  • Suppliers & Manufacturers

  • Want to know more about the Swarovski Create Your Style Ambassadors?

  • Great pictures and story about the Rings & Things Alabaster Anniversary.

  • The Beadin' Path's Dara talks about how to buy vintage beads in this week's Weekly Beadditudes.

  • Sara the Soft Flex Girl with a great new Soft Flex online feature & a post featuring one of my recent re-work designs with Soft Flex Trios Romance colors. Thanks, Sara!
  • Sunday, August 16, 2009

    Well, are we ready to wander? Another fun week to share:
    Supplier Blogs/Blog Partners
    Not beading posts but good reading for beaders anyway:
    Well, that's it for this Sunday's Beadosphere tour - if you've missed any of these in the past or my Thursday Reviews & Interviews they're all archived at Dawno's Beadosphere.

    Thanks for Wandering the Beadosphere with me today!

    P.S. I've caught up with my Art Fire listing goals - here's four new pieces:

    Thursday, August 13, 2009

    Thursday Feature: Reviews & Interviews - Steve Groenier of Artbeads

    Today I present an interview of Steve Gronier, VP of Search Marketing and Customer Service at Artbeads.

    I'm so very honored to be part of Artbead's Blogging for Beaders program for almost a year now. While I knew that some of the 'stars' of the beading world did designs for places like Beadalon, Soft Flex, and other suppliers, I'd not imagined that a relative newbie like myself could have this kind of opportunity.

    Artbeads was the first to reach out to me and that opened many new horizons. It gave me a chance to explore new materials I might not have thought about purchasing, and provided me a great deal of inspiration via the others in the program whose blogs I now follow. It really was a turning point in my blogging and the start of making jewelry become more than just a hobby for me.

    I want to take this opportunity to thank Steve, the creator of, and Duchess, the current community manager for the program, for their support of my efforts and great partnership.

    Now, let's learn more about Steve!

    Dawno: Your bio on Twitter says "I enjoy amazing beadwork and beaded jewelry, collecting cool beads..." Is this something you became interested in because of Artbeads or is there a story you can share behind it?

    Steve: I’ve always admired beaded art that I’ve seen in various galleries or from independent artists at summer fairs and music festivals. But, I had no idea how much I was missing until I started working for Artbeads. I’m still overwhelmed by how many beautiful beads I’ve seen from all over the world and made from so many different types of materials.

    Dawno: You've had an interesting career in varied industries - I noted on your LinkedIn profile that you've been with Disney & a wireless company, among others, and now What is the common thread that ties these together and what did you learn from your past roles that has helped you be successful in your current role?

    Steve: What ties these all together is my work in online marketing and advertising. For the past 13 years, I have been focused on helping companies market online. I think what has helped me grow most in my career is having a passion for learning new things, being creative and taking action. Online marketing is always changing and you’ve got to stay on top of it to get the best results.

    Dawno: Do you think businesses, like Artbeads, can improve the customer experience by using social media? How would that work?

    Steve: Absolutely! In any business it’s critical to listen to your customers and build strong relationships. Social media has enabled us stay more connected with our customers and listen to what they want and what they don’t want. It’s also allowing our customers to be better connected with each other. Buying beads and jewelry supplies online can be very confusing for people. The quality of products, service and pricing can vary by a large degree. If a supplier fails in any of these areas, people talk. I think this has worked to our advantage because we do put so much time into making sure our products are of the best quality and that our customers are 100% happy no matter what.

    Dawno: Do you think independent artisans can/should leverage social media better? How do you think building community or being part of the conversation is important to that.

    Steve: I think social media is helping independent artisans get their work in front of more people. Usually when you see or buy something that you’re excited about, you want to tell others and show it off. I see this process happening more and more on social media sites as photos are taken with cell phones and posted to Facebook with the links to an artists site. When artists stay in touch with their fans through social media they increase the chances that word about their work will spread. I would definitely recommend all artisans have a Facebook profile or fan page and a Twitter account and promote those anywhere they can - websites, email, business cards, etc.

    Dawno: Should the independent artisan perhaps brand themselves (I'm thinking of Margot Potter, who does this very well) to be more successful in their niche?

    Steve: It’s important for people to easily understand what it is that you do, what you stand for and then to be able to connect that with your name. Part of this means carving out that niche for yourself. The other is creating a name for yourself. For jewelry designers, this brand image could be their personal name or a business name. Margot’s got a bit of both going on. She does a great job of promoting her name and explaining what she is about with her tagline, “The Impatient Crafter” which by itself is presented as a brand. She’s then used the “Impatient” idea in her books with titles like “The Impatient Beader.” All of this branding works to help make you more memorable, findable, shareable. So yes, brand yourself.

    Dawno: What types of things is Artbeads doing to support independent artisan jewelry designers?

    Steve: Independent jewelry designers are really our core customer at so on a broad level everything we do from products we purchase to our wholesale volume discounts is designed around their needs. Something new that we recently created is a section on our site called Sellers’ Secrets to provide resources that help jewelry designers grow a successful business. It includes things like tips for preparing for the holidays, pricing your jewelry and discounts on services. To get this started we’ve partnered with Ruby Lane who has lots of experience working with artisan jewelry designers.

    Another thing we have done is put even more focus on our Learning Center which provides inspiration and education. This section has been given a complete facelift recently and now includes over 500 jewelry design ideas, ideas for upcoming events, handy jewelry making tips and video tutorials.

    Something else that’s exciting is to see how the Facebook fan page has become such a great gathering place for jewelry designers to connect and share ideas. We now have over 7,000 fans posting comments on everything such as how they get inspired, favorite findings, tips on selling jewelry, etc. They also share a bunch of their jewelry photos and links to their Etsy shops and websites. It’s great fun.

    Again, thank you, Steve, for taking the time to answer the questions and provide your insights. You can follow Artbeads and Steve on Twitter @Artbeads @BeadGuy.

    This post sponsored by:

    Sunday, August 9, 2009

    Weekly Wanderings Around the Beadosphere

    Good morning! This Sunday it's a beautiful, sunny and warm day here in Silicon Valley where I live. I've still got a ton of work to do to finish my workroom re-organization and clean up, but I've taken a bit of a break to wander around the Beadosphere and share some great spots to visit!

    Hope you enjoyed the trip - have a wonderful week, 'til next time!

    This week's wandering sponsored by:

    Sunday, August 2, 2009

    Dawno's Weekly Wanderings Around the Beadosphere

    After a two week break, I'm back to Wandering Around the Beadosphere and sharing my favorite finds!

    Over on supplier's blogs we have

    Well, hope you've enjoyed the wandering and will visit again!

    Blog Widget by LinkWithin