November 27, 2007


This is the inspiration for my latest beads. I wish they were as beautiful and intricate as this print, but "inspired by" will do for now. It's a wall paper design from William Morris. Could you image a wall filled with this?
I know, I'm so mean not show you pictures, but you'll have to come back on Monday to see all the new beads. Which also includes a new round of beads inspired by Gustav Klimt's painting, The Kiss. Good stuff!

November 26, 2007

Upcoming Holiday Events for Humblebeads

Where have I been? Getting ready for my biggest show of the year!

I learned a few years ago that I'm happiest if I only concentrate on one show each holiday season. It's a gamble, but it does keep me sane during the month of November!

This year I will be returning to the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center in San Antonio for their Hecho-A-Mano/Made-by-Hand show. This will be my 4th year for this event.

So many new things are flying out of the bead oven. I wish I could show them to you - maybe if I have time to take photos later this week. I created an incredible new version of my William Morris beads in shades of blue, loving them!

In the meantime, today is Cyber Monday and I have free shipping today in my etsy shop or use promo code M2007 for my humblebeads site.

Next Monday is the Etsy Texas Crafters 1st Monday Event. Stayed tuned for more details!

November 8, 2007

Etsy Banner Workshop Review

Yesterday I attended an online workshop at the Etsy Virtual Labs on how to create banners. Now, I have photoshop and know how to use it to make a banner, but I always learn something at the workshops so I was there ready to take notes!

Here are a few pointers:
*A good banner can be graphic, all text.
*It's nice to have an image of your product in your banner, so shoppers see your work right away.
*For branding, your avatar & banner should match.
*Make sure your banner fits in with the theme of your shop.
*Use the banner and avatar to brand yourself, this is very important when you are starting out.
*Play with the scale of your images for the background of your banner. (like I did for my holiday banner)
*Gimp is a free photo editing software that works like photoshop.
*dafont is a great source for free fonts.

Here are a few of the shops they showed as examples of effective banners & avatars:
MaryInc. - used a close up photo of silk-printing screens with a simple logo, that cleverly ties into their silk-printed items.
Megan Auman -used her jewelry and graphic lettering, keeping things clean and bold, just like her shop.
Savor - used a close up of her packaging.
Your Secret Admiral - drew her own lettering and illustrations with a sharpie marker.

My old avatar and banner:

November 7, 2007

the photo jackpot

I've been going to the online critiques that the etsy lab has every Friday. They pick two shops and go through what's working and how to make them better. I've learned something every time I've sat in on one and thought I'd share some of the photo tips with you.


Last year's photo of my snowmen pendants, background is way too busy and I used lamps for the lighting.

In natural light, but need to have the photo lighter and the background was too washed out. One of the problems of this photo is the light is coming from the back.

So what's my secret now? 1. Natural light, I set up right next to the window sill and 2. Contrasting background for extra pop! I've been photographing most of my items on white paper, but found my camera's color balance works better if I use a background with some color.

I've been using books, which is the green background here.

scrapbook paper in a dark grey

and a rusted sheet of metal.

Another thing to consider when choosing your backgrounds and props is what kind of theme works best for your product. I felt like things that looked ancient, like items from an old library, worked very well with the natural colors and textures of my clay.

Here are two videos on taking better photos.
Photographing Your Items from the Etsy Labs
Photo Tips from Gemmafactrix

Natural light is the key! I will never take pictures with a lamp again, there is just no comparison for me. I also spend much less time fixing up the light and colors in Photogshop. Since I've been using natural lighting for my photos my work has been featured on the front page of Etsy twice, so I must be doing something right!

November 6, 2007

Cover Girl!

My advanced copy of BeadStyle's 365 Earrings arrived yesterday. Sweet! There I am, right on the cover. Granted it's with 30 other earrings, but still, it's there on the cover!!! Well that was enough to make my day.

I taught this earring project last month at our bead society meeting. It's a fun way to show off your art beads and whip up some quick and easy holiday gifts.

Winter Frost beads on etsy.

November 5, 2007

Handmade Pledge

I've taken the pledge to support small businesses and buy handmade this holiday season. I know most of my purchases will be from etsy, as I've been hearting sellers and favorites for gift ideas all year round.
I love Cuteable, Modish and Trunkt to see what is being offered in the indie market place. They do all the hard work for us!
Take a few seconds to Take the Handmade Pledge!

November 3, 2007

Holiday Chat

As part of my Holiday Open House on Monday, I'm going to host a Handcrafted Holiday chat. Join me for holiday decorating and gift ideas, how-to's and inspiration. Bring your favorites to share too!

Join me during lunch at 12pm (CST). We'll meet in the Red Room in the virtual labs Monday, Nov. 5th.
You must have an etsy account to login to the chat.

November 1, 2007

Too Soon?

To pull out the holiday fanfare? Not for me! I am an official Christmas nut. I watch Christmas movies all year round. I start listening to Christmas music in October. Bet you didn't know your beads last month were being made to the tune of Jingle Bells and Winter Wonderland!

I've been making these little guys and special holiday earrings all month, getting ready for my Holiday Open House in my Etsy shop on Monday. I'll post more details about that later this weekend.

Do you start planning early, with the twinkle of Christmas lights in your eye?

If you want to listen to some holiday music, check out accu radio. It's free online radio, I listen to it all the time.

Have you taken the pledge to buy handmade this holiday season?

And worried that Christmas is too commercial? I've been reading Unplug the Christmas Machine and recommend it to anyone who wants to have the holidays about more than just buying the latest and greatest. What I really have been enjoying about the book is how they identify the needs that Christmas celebrations fill for us and how to truly meet those needs through ways other than shopping. It's not a scrooge type book either as they have you identify what you most enjoy about the holidays and how to keep what is working and weed out the causes of holiday stress and depression.

And it is only November 1st, so be sure to take time to enjoy the crunch of acorns and leaves as you take walks on brisk days. Sip some apple cider that you warm up in the microwave on a cold evening (especially tasty if paired up with a plain donut.) Take a drive or hike in the country to check out the leaves as they change colors. Make sure to take a moment to enjoy today while you are feverishly planning those tomorrows.

"The world is full of a number of things, I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings." - Robert Louis Stevenson