Friday 25 May 2012

Rainforest Gold necklace & some skull chokers for the kids...

...although I suspect some of those kids will be old enough to shave, if not semi-retired. Sigh......... I try.

On a more serious note, I remembered to buy some brass cones in Toronto on Tuesday and was able to finish this necklace. The seed bead mix is called Rainforest Crunch and I bought the beads from Spirt Bear Beads. I didn't get too creative with the beads themselves -- I wanted to see what they would look like as is. Pretty fine, I think.

The brass clasps I made three or so years ago when I first started hammering. I got sidetracked into using silver and copper -- kind of gave up on brass mainly because it's so frickin' hard to hammer! -- but I'm definitely going to be doing more with mixed metals. I still like these. The bought gold donut slides off easily. I like how it has an uneven surface -- it's quite heavy, not tinny -- and it also picks up whatever colours are around it, too.

The necklace is 24 inches long, with the donut, 25.5 inches. It could be temporarily extended very easily with two leather ties.

Howlite skull chokers (while they last), $5 each, plus $5 for shipping and handling.
Rainforest Gold necklace (OOAK), $55 plus $5 for shipping and handling.

Well, now to go make a ring and maybe get to bed before 9:00 p.m. Up at 3:45 a.m. and another market day will begin...

Thanks for looking!

PS: As of right now, 6:45 p.m. on 25 May 2012 I'm at 4,947 page views! Almost FIVE THOUSAND. Whoo hoo! Thanks, everyone!

Sunday 20 May 2012

Setting up my table every Saturday morning... & a copper wrapped smoky quartz ring

The other day I was poking around in an old folder and found a picture from my first year as a market vendor back in 2009. I started selling at the market in late November 2008.

19 June 2009
 Things have changed substantially in three years. If nothing else, I certainly am more substantial. ;-p

January 2012

I thought it would be fun to show you how I put my table together every week. My greatest innovation was adding a spotlight before Christmas. Over Christmas I also had tiny white fairy lights threading through the top of the grid.

This is how I put my table together on Saturday 19 May 2012. The market is open from 7 a.m. until noon 50 weeks a year. The other two weeks we're turfed out to make room for the fall/Labour Day fair at the end of the summer and the Woodworking Show at the end of... September? Particularly now that it's summer, I try to get here by 5 a.m. in order to be able to pull up close to the market doors, but still keep out of the way of, if not actually beat to the market, the produce vendors with their big trucks and tents and tables.

The grid is stored out of the way during the week against the wall beside the white framed blackboard in Fish Guy's space. It's hard to tell, but there are actually two triangular grid shelves slotted into the corner, the top one of which the lamp is clamped to. I use very low tech fat green rubber horticultural wire (remember Gumby?) from the dollar store to tie the grids together. I can just lift the two end racks tied together, and the rubber-coated wire allows me to quickly twist tie the third grid on. With the triangular corner shelves slotted in, this is a very stable setup.
If I'm doing a show elsewhere, these grids slide perfectly into my Blazer -- I should take a photo next week of my truck loaded up.
Chris the Honey Guy made the black shelving unit for me. This unit fits perfectly into the back of my truck and also fits standard 3-foot deep banquet tables.

Those three boxes with plastic covers are fancy partitioned soap boxes that a consignment store owner gave me, and I keep loose beads and pendants in them.

The clear plexi things you see in the middle of the table are picture frames/menu card holders that I get at the dollar store and I use those for risers to angle all my trays and boxes on the table.

I have added the permanently-loaded boards that live in a plastic shopping bag separated by 1-inch foam.

The boards I pin all my jewellery and beads to actually all fit into custom carry boxes I used to use for storage, and then at the market they would stack at one end of the table and the boards would lean against them -- this was before I decided to bring in the rack.

In another bin live all my turquoise and coral strings pre-strung on curtain rods, ditto two rods with pewter and glass necklaces. Using the curtain rods alone has saved me more than half an hour of setup and takedown time. I use a mix of long and short brackets upon which I also string bunches of necklaces sorted by "theme" and materials. There are closeups of these below.

The two small busts have had their necklaces placed on them and they go on the middle shelf

I've loaded necklaces on all the brackets, and set up the tall earring rack on the back right and which is C-clamped to the shelf. Today I brought a tall bust to show my long "patchwork" seed bead and turquoise necklaces.

The feather earrings and super-long bead, leather and feather necklaces and glasses lanyards are added to the two triangular shelves, either tied to the edge of the shelf or suspended by little S-hooks. It's a little hard to see, but there is a hand-towel holder right out front there on the left which is where I put my newest items, in this case, new "guy/kid" pendants, like fossils, shark teeth, skulls, etc.

Ta-da! The table is complete, the ring box is out, the cool partitioned bamboo box I got from Value Village for $3 is out, the boxes containing better jewellery are all neatened up, leather cord is put out, bracelet T-bars are positioned. You can't see it, but there is a long bracket sticking out up top behind the grid from which I hang all my skeins of Greek leather.
It's now about 6:30 a.m. (I got here late today). Notice how during my setup the coffee pot has miraculously appeared on the table to the right courtesy of Peter's Bakery and is now half-empty, and Chocolate Guy has just arrived. Yep, that giant red box and those cardboard boxes on the back table are all full of freshly made and delicious chocolate!

Taking my time, this setup takes me about one hour to put together. Everything has a specific place in each box, bin or bag, ditto on the table (although that is currently being tweaked), and at noon I take the display down in reverse order. Note that even though you'd think packing up the earring carousels would be a quick and logical first step in order to get them out of the way, they are the first up and last to go into their bins as I get a lot of sales from early and last-minute shoppers.

In between or as I'm chatting with customers, around 11:30, I gather up all the plexi "risers" and by 11:45 I start consolidating all of the necklaces onto a storage T-bar:

It looks like a mess, but there is method to my madness. I alternate placing clumps of necklaces on this T-bar and taking them off during setup, each handful goes on a bracket or onto a bust, like with like -- within a minute, I don't know, 50, 60 or 80 necklaces are on display, and then at the end of the morning within 2 or 3 minutes all the loose necklaces are off the table. The larger T-bar prevents those irritating goinks that happen in cords and especially stringing wire if they were left hanging for weeks and months on end in storage on something very narrow in diameter, like the towel rack on the left.

Once that's done, usually around 11:50, I start taking the feather earrings down (they live in a shallow plastic box), the lids get put on all the boxed jewellery, and the plastic lids go on the trays of loose beads. Note that all my plastic boxes now are the same dimensions. I used to have all sizes and shapes and it makes for really difficult packing up and storage.

This is very professional-looking, no? But the size is perfect. This is partly my office box and... shhhh... where my water bottle, purse and camera live when I'm packing up, and it always goes on the front seat of my truck. It's covered with a plastic garbage bag to protect the earrings from dust and whatnot and prying eyes from seeing what else is in there. Those bulldog clips are really useful little suckers to have on hand.

Everything wedges in very securely. Do not leave home w/o a box of Kleenex! Your fellow vendors will love you. In the bottom is my spare change/money box (I now use an apron with three pockets in the front for bills, change, pain pills, lip gloss, etc.), on top of that a cigar box holds a lot of expensive carved turquoise skulls, the C-clamp is wedged into the bottom, ditto the mirror, and any odds and ends that I need to bring live there, too. If I think of something while at home, it goes in there immediately, at least that's the plan -- reprinted business cards, etc. -- before I forget... again.

Notice how every other horizontal bar has been snipped away at the top so I have two rows to hang my long dangly earrings so they can easily be seen. This rack has curly feet like up top, as well, which makes it very nice-looking but completely unstable once it's fully loaded. And at outdoor markets in the slightest breeze? Oh, my... I got the same guy who did the snipping to spot weld two flat strips to the bottom curly things and I C-clamp the rack to the black wooden riser.

I didn't photograph it, but I have a medium-sized two drawer plastic bin in which I keep pens, invoice books, extra price tags, scissors, all my tools, most of my orders I've made over the week, plastic earring nuts and sterling stud nuts if people need them (I usually give them away if someone requests them... well, not the sterling nuts...) and other odds and ends. In the flat-bottomed Tyvek shopping bag it lives in  is also a large ziplock freezer bag containing all my paper bags, tall, clear cello gift bags that I put the feather earrings in when I sell them. I also have another flat plastic bin I keep all my gauze gift bags. At first, in trying to be elegant and orderly, I tried to stick to one colour, but now there's every colour and pattern you can imagine. I have found that people really like them, and for the relatively low cost (way, way cheaper than a box), it's worth it in repeat business that's generated. Sometimes I think some people come and buy something just to get the gift bag.

I've thought about using one of those three-drawer plastic bins on rollers in order to consolidate a lot of the above. I've seen great use made of two of those with a board across to make an extra table top to add space for wrapping things and keeping receipt books, cash box, etc., particularly at shows where you only get the one table. One of these days.

Closeup of the feathers all laid out, and the curtain rods of beads (note the use of shower curtain hooks) hung on brackets, which are also loaded up with necklaces, all in an attempt to get things up at eye level in the most expedient way possible. During the week, all four rods rest across a plastic storage bin so the beads dangle freely. Loaded boards are wedged in on either side by 1 inch foam cut the same dimensions.

  This photo gives a better sense of the richness of colour. A cacaphony of colour...

...although some might say confusion. Phhht... works just fine for me. Now to figure out how to get MORE on the table...

Oh... if anyone is interested, I made these two wrapped rings on spec for a customer who ended up buying the turquoise ring. The copper-wrapped smoky quartz size 10 ring is still for sale. ($10 plus $5 shipping and handling).

Yep, I got those cuts from making the rings, and the quartz is hiding a massive blood blister from my pliers.

Thanks for looking!

Friday 11 May 2012

Peacock Solar Quartz with Peacock Dyed FW Pearls

Boy, I dunno about this. The photographs are not doing this any justice at all. I think it looks much better on! Time to find a model. Certainly, I will get some opinions tomorrow at the market.

Choker with peacock dyed faceted solar quartz briolettes, peacock dyed freshwater pearls, sterling silver findings and a sterling heart clasp. Approximately 18" long, but an extender can be added. The earrings are the same pearls with sterling silver findings.

The set is $95. Please email me for the exact shipping cost, as I recommend insurance coverage.

Thank you for looking!

Thursday 10 May 2012

Another glasses lanyard

This time in pearl and orangy-pink seed beads...

...and pewter flowers to finish off the ends. Of course, now I have to find out if I can get clear or white rubber thingies.

$30, plus $5 shipping. I take Paypal. Please email me for for availability or to order in another colour.

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday 9 May 2012

Forgot something... more dangles

These are kind of the Tibetan silver style, but I think they're zinc, maybe silver-plated. The beads look good anyway and have a nice weight to them; copper accent beads; wire-wrapped and hammered tinned copper art deco roses. Set of seven. Longest one is about 1-1/8".

These are for sale, but I haven't figured out a price for them yet. Please email me if interested in these specifically, or you would like to order something a little different.

Thanks for looking!

I was told these are for old people...

My sunglasses live on top of my head so I have no use for glasses lanyards myself... not that I'm old or anything.

The specific request was that this be light in weight, hence using size 10/0 seed beads (a size 8/0 seed bead necklace in a similar length was deemed too heavy), and the string ends are finished in tinned copper and small pewter beads. Before I bought the bag of rubber thingies I wished I'd looked more closely at them. I know I've seen coloured rubber rings somewhere and I could've made these easily enough. Hot pink would've been good...

Two selections for a customer's approval. Sure hope she shows up on Saturday.

This was the first lanyard I made. Dunno if I like the spiral beads I used here. I'm also going to use a stronger, larger gauge jump ring to hold the lanyard onto the rubber thingies.

This was the actual commission -- for the patchwork seed bead style of lanyard and using pewter flower beads on the ends of the stringing...

These are about 26" to 27" long, $30 plus $5 shipping and handling. I take Paypal. Please email me for details and availability or a custom design/length.

Thank you for looking!

Monday 7 May 2012

Silly seed beadiness...

I don't know why I keep making these, but the kids like them and are buying them, so.......... here are some more:

It's very difficult to figure out what people might want at any given time, and I often wait for people to request things. On Saturday, I got a request for eyeglass holders or necklaces, whatever they're called. But it has to be lightweight she said. Unfortunately, the patchwork seed bead necklace she wanted was the perfect weight but several inches too short. I'll be doing another one of those for her this week, but in the meantime I started one with these multi-seed beads to see what she thinks. 

I only need a few of the rubber grips for the arms of the glasses, but had to buy a bag of 100 in a local store. I could to the next town and buy a few, but then have to account for gas and driving time. Cheaper to buy the big bag... I guess I will be making a lot more of these. I remember seeing a whole table full of them at a craft show several years ago, and while I thought they were really beautiful, I don't remember ever seeing anyone wearing them. Is it because more and more people have progressive lenses these days and don't need to be switching between different glasses? Quite possibly, as per this customer, the original ones I saw were too heavy to actually wear. Sunglasses have lived on top of my head my whole life. Currently, they're the kind that are worn over regular glasses so I can dispense with needing prescription sunglasses.

What's taking me time right now is figuring out how to make these holders multi-purpose. I'd like people to be able to take off the rubber thingies and easily turn their holder into a necklace if they want.

I also got an order for a dreamcatcher for a guy's rearview mirror. For the past couple of days I've been researching how to make them, as well as find out if there is any significance to the weaving patterns or other considerations. There are some really gorgeous variations out there. He kind of left it open as to what I end up doing: he likes my style, do whatever I think is best. I can hear all of you who do commissions immediately thinking, "Uh, oh... Been there, done that, don't do it anymore." He likes my style, does he? Hokayyyyyyyyy...

As well this week, I will be going ahead and making another solar quartz necklace with "peacock" dyed freshwater pearls for another tentative commission. This should look really interesting and a total contrast to the one with the natural pearls, the natural pearls picking up the white of the quartz, the dyed pearls picking up the centre patterns in the quartz.

Stay tuned for photos... and thanks for looking!