Monday, 20 February 2017

2,300 Pinterest Saves To Date -- Crystal Suncatchers


Crystal & copper suncatchers on Pinterest and here on my blog.

I can't believe how popular these little suncatchers have been. I still have lots more for sale at the Woodstock Farmers Market every Saturday morning. They're so easy and inexpensive to make: use up scraps of wire and stray beads.

I'll be teaching you how to make these and all kinds of dangles, ear wires, chain wraps, etc.in my class:

on Saturday, March 18th

at the

Hyatt Regency Ballroom
King Street West, 
Toronto 

Class size is limited, so sign up early. Bonus: you get free admission for all three days of the show when you sign up for any class. Subscribe and get up-to-the-minute info by email on everything Gem Expo: vendors, classes.

I hope to see you there!


Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Gem Expo Classes are Posted...


The Gem Expo 
Toronto Hyatt Regency 
King Street West
March 17th, 18th & 19th, 2017

Sign up early! 
Take any class and get three full days' admission!

Questions about my classes, 
please email me 
or ask below. 

Totally Addicting Stretch Stacker/Mala Bracelets




Tools, Tips & Tricks


Wednesday, 25 January 2017

March 2017 Gem Expo in Toronto... & Class Info...

Yes, it's confirmed -- I WILL be at The Gem Expo at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on King Street in Toronto March 17th, 18th and 19th. Hope to see you all there. It's on the final weekend of March break when everyone -- well, a lot of you -- will be back from holidays, Sign up for any class(es) and get free admission for all three days.

In addition to all the usual goodies at my table, I'll be offering two classes:

Totally Addicting Stretch Stacker/Mala Bracelets


The Totally Addicting Stretch Stacker/Mala Bracelets class is intended for complete and utter beginners, but it'll still be an interesting and informative class for anyone of any age who wants to learn a new technique. I'll supply beads and Stretch Magic in the kit and there will be plenty of beads to buy, but participants are encouraged to bring their own beads and findings -- and there's a whole ballroom full of vendors with beautiful beads, too.

Class size will be limited to 8 participants, so sign up early. 


Wire Tips & Tricks





My Wire Tips & Tricks class is for not-so-beginners to intermediate students. You've already taken some classes, maybe you're new to wire or looking to improve your techniques to attain a more professional, finished look to your jewellery, or maybe you're ready to turn your hobby into a business and need to develop more efficient production skills.

We'll walk through an overview of tools, different wire and findings properties: features to look for, what's good for what, what to avoid, where to buy, the pleasures and pitfalls of buying online, how to buy wholesale, etc. If you're curious about what's involved in selling at craft shows or store/consignment venues, we can talk about that, as well.

Because you're a not-so-beginner, I want to move fast through the yackety-yack in order to get to the making part of the class.

I've been an artist most of my life, and have made and sold wire and semi-precious jewellery for about ten years, Since I'm a production person by nature and because time is money, I figure out the easiest way to make something and then I get really fast at it.

I'll show you techniques I've developed so you can quickly and consistently make your own ear wires, dangles and other findings, wire-wrapped beads for earrings and chains, and we'll cover some very basic wire-weaving tips and tricks.

Please feel free to bring a project with you for either a quick critique or help if you're stuck.

Class size will be limited to 8 participants, so sign up early. 

I'll let you know here and on my Facebook page when the classes are posted. Subscribe to The Gem Expo to get discount coupons, vendor list and info on the other classes being offered.

If you have further questions please ask below, or email me.

In the meantime, see you every Saturday morning at the Woodstock Farmers Market. Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Good Bye 2016... Hello, 2017, Year of the 2Daycation...

2016 was a miserably painful year on so many, many fronts. Good riddance, I say.

My Christmas Tree table at the market this year:




My new invention is the 2Daycation wherein I leave home around noon on one day and leave Toronto the next day noonish, to get back late afternoon or early evening. Gone only 24 hours or so, but straddling two days, it feels satisfyingly substantial.

Tuesday after Christmas I checked into the HI-Toronto Hostel on Church Street  (yep, with three roomies, bunk beds, etc.) and proceeded to have myself a very, very nice time.

The great thing about this hostel is that it's walking distance to just about everything I wanted to do. I met up with Ruth and Christopher, for whom I was bringing lots of fetishes, a few blocks away at the St. Lawrence Market, we did some oohing and aahing over all the bead and crystal goodies, and then Ruth and I went to The Jason George for dinner. It was so freakin' GOOD and very relaxing. Knowing I didn't have to spend three hours driving home in the dark afterwards like I'd normally do, a 1/2 pint of Alexander Keith's was involved.





Wednesday morning, I hung out at Pusateri's in Sak's for an hour or two drinking cafe latte and watching all the people speedwalking through the underground tunnels to work. There's something so mesmerising about watching people go to work when you don't have to. Stocked up on goodies (vanilla bean paste, in particular) at Pusateri's, then on beads and findings when the wholesaler opened at 10:00, then met Ruth at Little India on Queen West where we had another fantastic meal, and then headed home -- in daylight.

I highly, highly recommend the 2Daycation concept to anyone who is going more than a little nutso with whatever pressures they're under but with little time to vacate.

In the interest of escaping further, even for a few hours, one morning after New Year's Lianne the Vintage Lady and I had breakfast at Burger Barn on the Six Nations Reserve south of Brantford. Fabulous, fabulous food, all locally sourced, and super high octane coffee.



Yesterday -- because 2017 has hereby been declared The Year of Being Nice to Me -- I decided that the grey hair had to go and tried out Allanti, a school here in Woodstock that I had never heard of before. Such a beautifully renovated old barn, and they do everything from basic hair cuts and colours to mysterious spa thingies. Allow (a lot of) extra time for your appointment because these are students, after all, but they really do a fine job and for very, very reasonable rates.

Five hours later...


My face was kinda frozen here, it being outside and all, but I'm doing a happy dance inside.

Happy New Year to everyone, and pleasepleaseplease let 2017 be a much better, if not absolutely great year for us all. I promise to make more and post more, too.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Just to let you know...

Due to an unexpected family emergency, I am unable to go to the Gem Expo this weekend. I apologise to those who had planned to see me at the show to buy beads or to take my classes. Please don't hesitate to contact me by email to order beads, and I hope to see you all in March.

Thanks,
Barbara

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Gem Expo Classes Are UP!!!

Sign up soon! 8 students max in my classes. I have three classes to choose from running back-to-back on Saturday, November 26th, but there are many more on offer all weekend. Book your classes online.

A class would make a great Christmas gift, too. Come with a friend, plan a day at the show and then take yourselves out for a leisurely lunch or dinner before the Christmas/New Year's time crunch starts. Learn a great new skill, and make some new friends around the table.

Leather Wrap Bracelets: 
These are so easy-peasy: if you can tie a knot, you can make these bracelets. Bring your own beads (1mm+ holes) and coloured leather to supplement the black leather and beads in the class kit. Add length to the leather to make a necklace. These are super easy to make and because they are somewhat adjustable would make wonderful Christmas gifts for everyone. Dress them up or down.

Just a few of the endless possibilities:








Jewellery-Making Tips & Tricks for the 
Not-Quite-So-Beginner: 
When I started out making jewellery ten years ago, many people would ask me, "What are you working on these days?" I'd show them, and then they'd say, "Okay, then you need to know this." Now it's my turn to pass all those "thises" along.

This class will move really fast. Learn about different wire, tools and hammering techniques, crimping and stringing tips. Make your own earwires, decorative headpins, connectors and dangles in the class. Learn where you can save money for your customers. Bring your questions or a project that you'd like help with.

If you have a bench block and hammer, please bring them along with pliers and cutters. We will be working with copper wire of various gauges and tempers.





Totally Addicting Stretch Bracelets: 
Super quick and easy to make bracelets for kids and grownups to suit all tastes and budgets. Great for Christmas gift-giving.





If you buy beads to use in the Totally Addicting Stretch Bracelet class, make sure they have minimum 1mm holes to slightly larger. Stretch Magic cord is provided in the kit, and more will be available for sale. If you want to bring your own, make sure it's Stretch Magic, 1mm diameter.

If you have any questions about my classes, please email me for the quickest response.

Don't forget: book any class and you get free admission all three days of the show. Look forward to seeing you at The Gem Expo the last weekend in November!

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Taste of Poland at the Woodstock Farmers Market...

Yesterday the vendors moved inside the market, officially marking the end of summer. But... to make us all happy, there was a new vendor running the snackbar. Taste of Poland from Hamilton. They were giving out free samples of perogies and cabbage rolls. Holy moley -- soooooooooo good. I am not normally a fan of cabbage rolls but these were fantastic. Everyone was raving about the samples.

If the thought of perogies is a bit much so early in the morning, they have some good-looking breakfasts, as well.

I bought a bag of frozen perogies, fried up some Miedema's bacon and onion, splurged on a tub of sour cream, and a few minutes ago had myself a little Sunday orgy here at the computer...



On other fronts, I am already booking custom orders for Christmas. There are tons of gift ideas from food and craft vendors (several new vendors) in two large rooms. Come to the market on Saturday morning, get all your Christmas shopping done and done early!

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Copper Curl Pendants...

One of my favourite sources for wire weaving tutorials is Oxana Crafts over on YouTube. I watched this tutorial yesterday, and then this morning at the market tried making it from memory. Let's just say that overdue library books aren't the only things I've not been remembering lately.



My first attempt was an epic FAIL, if for no other reason than I ran out of wire. The bead doesn't look very good with it, either -- white stripes, not blue like in the photo (blame that on my idiotPhone camera):



2nd attempt turned out the best -- it has two distinct layers of wire as one side tucks in behind. The copper looks good with the red glass:



3rd attempt is okay-ish... maybe:



Comparing mine with the original design here shows I really need to tighten up my twirls. My beads are a bit larger than the one used in the original video, and I found that 2 pieces of 30-inch 20 gauge gave me enough wire.

Well, that was interesting exercise... but definitely back to the drawing board. Do check out Oxana's tuts. They're very easy to follow.

I've been told the November Gem Expo classes will be posted later this weekend. Sign up at the Gem Expo website and you'll get an email notifying you as soon as they're up. Lots of fun classes and you get a three-day show pass with your class fee. Where? Downtown Toronto at the Hyatt Regency on King Street the last weekend in November.

Thanks for stopping by and see you at the bead show!

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Playing with Leather Wrap Bracelet Designs...

These are four bracelets I made yesterday morning at the market. I've been working on asymmetry lately. For the bottom two bracelets I used randomly selected beads from my bead soup bin. Well, okay, sometimes I specifically choose the beads but they're so wonky it's virtually impossible to find two beads that look the same so I'm forced by necessity into asymmetry. I think these beads might be from India. There are a zillion shapes and such rich colours -- and I love the wonkiness of them. They also for the most part have large holes which makes them perfect to string on leather.

I'm also trying not to think too long and hard about the end result -- just tying knots, playing with buttons versus clasps and seeing what happens, except what often happens is I've cut the leather too short for some great idea that's evolving and I have to start over. Back of mind is always wearability, do-up-ability and adjustability. These all are adjustable to about an inch either way, so in that regard they'd make great gifts (Christmas, birthday, grad...) without being too-too worried about fit. The recipient could loosen the knots, move them a bit, or remove beads (as in the case of the top bracelet), retie the knots and/or cut off a too-long tail.






These and other bracelets are available for sale, please email me for prices or to order a custom design -- or try them on in person at the Woodstock Farmer's Market any Saturday morning, 7:00 a.m. until noon.

Thanks for looking!

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Fab news...

The Gem Expo in July was a total hoot, met lots of new and returning customers and friends -- and the class I taught went really well, so much so I plan to offer two or three different classes at the November Gem Expo. Stay tuned for advance announcements on that front, and I'll give you a heads up once the classes are posted. This time, though, the classes will be capped at 5 to maybe 8 students, so don't delay in registering. If we know far enough in advance that there is sufficient demand additional classes can be scheduled.

In fact, think about giving the gift of learning to a friend as an early Christmas present. There are jewellery-making classes at the show for every skill level and interest. You'll definitely make new friends and jewellery buddies in the classes, as well.

My fab news is this summer I sold the smaller copper swirl citrine pendant and the wire-woven Sleeping Beauty turquoise nugget ring. Then yesterday I sold the larger swirl citrine pendant.




Aaaand... three weeks ago I sold the double-sided dragon-skin/crackle agate Backside of the Moon pendant.





People who know me know that I am a big fan of more is more, which means my market tables are usually crammed with stuff. Well... the past few weeks I've been experimenting with putting on the table just one or a few items in a style instead of the five, ten, dozen or more that I have... and it seems to be working. There is breathing space now between each item and sales seem to have picked up. There might be a little of the "uh, oh -- there's only one left, I'd better buy it now" scarcity strategy going on, too... maybe.

We also got new lighting in the market building a few weeks ago thanks to a grant. Makes a HUGE difference, so much so that I don't have to put up spotlights all over my table. Instead of walking from sunlight into a dim and depressing building, it's like walking from sunlight into sunlight. It's quite spectacular, actually, and all the jewellery across the table looks ten times better instead of the spotlit puddles I had before.

This summer I acquired some really great crystals and unusually-shaped tumbled and raw semi-precious stones. I'll be posting pictures when I get them made up into pendants. Meanwhile, you can always contact me here or by email for special orders, and you can find me at the Woodstock Farmers Market every Saturday morning, 7:00 a.m. to 12:00.

As always, thanks for stopping by!