November 30, 2008

Handmade Sunday

There hasn't been much extra crafting or any strides in my gift list this week as I prepare for the show. But I did manage to experiment with silk and beads, using a tiny bit of my silk dupioni stash. Above is a little bead stocking that I made. The front is a mystery fabric that is see-through. The back of the stocking is the silk dupioni in gold.

(Back of the stocking.)

I was telling my friend about ordering silk rippins from Bello Modo and she said, "You mean silk that is ripped? You could do that Heather." Uh, I can? And there, right during Thanksgiving, she pulled out some silk and showed me how to tear it into perfect little strips.
Above is a little ornament I made using an Illuminated Manuscript bead, chain, a lucite flower and glass bead along with a bow made from the silk strips.
I immediately thought of all the colors of silk I have and how I could use these strips in jewelry. Although I am concerned about the long term unraveling of the threads.
But that didn't stop me from experimenting. Here I used a torn silk strip with a brass chain for this bracelet that features one of my new beads. More trials will ensue, I'm sure. Have you ever made your own jewelry cords from silk, any advice?
Don't forget to join me tomorrow for my Cyber Monday Open House!

November 29, 2008

A Very Random Post...

Wow, how sad, a whole week without blogging. You'll have to forgive me, I am getting ready for a show this coming weekend. Free time is a rare thing in the Humble Home right now!
Jess is in the studio today keeping me company and making things for the show too. He is working on candle holders that are shaped like houses/altars. I can't wait to share pictures and he so better make me one for Christmas. I guess I should drop a few hints! Above is one he made this summer.

And have you been patiently waiting to find out who is this week's Funny Caption contest winner? It is AJ! A little purple bird will be flying your way soon.

Also I have to give a shout out for the Bead Art Originals Holiday Gift Guide. We are having an open house through Monday, so be sure to stop by and see if there is something that catches your eye for someone on your gift list. The gift guide is updated every Monday. And make sure to visit the Bead Art Originals blog, they have 12 days of prizes to give away!
I'm hosting a Holiday Open House for Cyber Monday in my etsy shop. I will have new beads, a few surprise deals for the day (make sure you are following me on twitter for some of those!) along with the free shipping discount that has been going on all weekend. I'm going to host a chat during the lunch hour with a drawing for a free holiday pendant! Details on the chat will be posted here Monday morning. Come and share your holiday ideas for gifts, decorating and celebrating.
(I heard a rumor that my Grandma reads my blog, if this is true I'd like to send a little hug her way!)

November 24, 2008

You don't say? Part 6

(Insert Funny Caption Here.)

Stressed about stuffing a turkey? Not ready to face less than 30 days til Christmas? In-laws arriving this week? We all need a distraction from the holiday bustle that is about to descend upon us!
Leave a funny caption for this week's photo. One comment will be randomly drawn on Saturday. The winner will receive a Purple Martin bird pictured here in the photo.
In Etsy shop news, I added my Illustrated Manuscript Beads since they received such rave reviews from everyone! Join me tomorrow for some holiday gift ideas.

November 23, 2008

Handmade Sunday

Today has actually been a fun day. No deadlines or orders, just a little organizing of the ol' craft stash and some sewing. My craft supplies have little homes all over the house. My yarn and knitting supplies are tucked in the bottom drawer of an armoire/tv cabinet in the living room. My sewing supplies and wool roving are in the dining room, tucked away in our family craft armoire. I guess I keep these things separate from my studio so that when I do pull them out it doesn't feel like work. I don't know, maybe I just need to mark my territory with craft supplies.

So today I kept it simple and made a few silk scarves. The one pictured above is a steel gray dupioni paired with an Italian tapestry fabric that is very soft and supple. I think I'm going to bead the end of it to hide my seam. I'm definitely not an expert seamstress. Thank goodness for beads, they cover a multitude of sins. The second one I created was a beautiful blue silk scarf that I did with a simple rolled hemmed and plan on beading a little snowflake on one end. I'm working my way up to tackle the pajama pant pattern that I picked up this week. Seems scary!

I was gifted with the luxurious stash of silk dupioni fabrics. Who knows what I'll whip up over the next few weeks. I was thinking today of making some monogram ornaments and using my new beads with them. Hmm, we'll have to see.

I leave you with a photo of my very hard working assistant from early this week:

Who felt he had to create a self-portrait on his glove, when he should have been busy rolling beads. Jesseeeeee...(that was me yelling like Dave in Alvin and the Chipmunks.) Now that, my friends, is handmade!

November 22, 2008

Winner and New Winter Beads

The winner from list week's Funny Caption contest is LavenderLizard. Liz won a Dove Ornament that was featured in this week's contest. On a side note, I highly recommend LavnderLizard's crocheted goodies. We have quite the collection of face scrubbies and love them.

So where the heck have I been? Buried under a pile of beads, in a faint voice crying out, "help, I've fallen and I can't get up..." Okay, it's not that bad. But I have been a beadmaking fiend this week. Plowing through orders, stocking up on ornaments and best sellers and working on some new jewelry. Along with that I have also updated my website to include more of the Kiss beads, like the disks and a few of the cuff beads. Along with those I've added the Branch Lentil and Disk Beads in copper, lime and purple to my Humblebeads site.
I'm having a sale this week on my website only, 20% off all orders. Use discount code Thanks08, sale ends this Wednesday.

In other Humblebeads news, you can see my beads in the December issue of Simply Beads. Melanie from Earthenwood Studio created an awesome scarf pin using our beads together. Above is my version with one of my limited edition Frost beads. You can find the pin and the beads in my etsy shop.

Have a great night. I'm going to go dig into my fabric stash and start working on some gifts, more on this tomorrow!

November 19, 2008

Illuminated Manuscript Beads

I thought I'd give you a little peek into some more items from the Humblebeads Garden Party line, coming at the end of the month. I'm calling these Illuminated Manuscripts. They remind me of the Renaissance.

What's up the classic pearls Heath?

Well, I thought it would be funny to copy Anne Boleyn's famous B necklace. I'm thinking of making a few of these for some pre-teen nieces on my gift list, of course using their initials. The monogram beads are an antiqued gold with touches of light blue and white washed. The back are the lily pattern that you've seen on some of my other beads.

A complete view of the necklace. Finished off with chain for an adjustable length.

Another design possibility, a little more me. I used brass chain & rings, pearls in gold, lemon faceted glass and a few stones.

And a detail of the monogram bead.

So what do you think? I love them for gifts. They are bit subdued and abstracted. I could also see them used in some non-jewelry projects for a new bride.

November 17, 2008

You don't say? Part 5

(insert funny caption here)
I need to laugh this week, so it's another funny caption contest! Leave a comment on what you think is being discussed between these two. On Saturday I'll randomly draw a winner from the comments for one of my dove bird ornaments. Have fun and enter as many times as you'd like! Don't forget to check back later this week to read the comments. You guys crack me up.

November 16, 2008

Handmade Sunday

There is an ever-ticking holiday clock looming over my shoulder. I really have to start earlier with Christmas planning and gifts in the Humble Home. Along with the regular holiday craziness and traveling, I do one huge show, take new work to the gallery and squeeze out as many online sales as I can before I slow down and enjoy the season.

So what is on my mind today? Advent calendars! I loved advent calendars when I was a kid. Artwork of any kind has always been magical to me. So I enjoyed the combination of art and one day closer to the big 2-5 each December. My favorite calendars were those picked up in our local Hallmark store. Watercolors of wintery scenes; a forest with woodland creatures decorating a tree or a snow-covered hill with children enjoying sledding, ice skating and other holiday merriment.

On my to-do list is to create an advent calendar in my illustration style. This will be my in-between the commercials project this week. Yes, I do watch TV. At least one good show a night! (Terminator and Life on Mars are my favorites until Lost returns!)

Pictured above is a paper advent calendar I made one year for the girls. On the back of each one I had a holiday activity for us to do for the day. Things like drink hot chocolate, watch a Christmas movie, make paper snowflakes, send Christmas cards, bake cookies, wrap gifts, etc. Just fun family things to slow down and enjoy the season.
Want some ideas for different interactive advent calenders? Here is a crafty Flickr group with lots of creative ideas. I hope you have had an enjoyable weekend and found some time to create!

November 12, 2008

Humblebeads Garden Party

Yesterday I mentioned a new marketplace. Thanks to Lorelei, I will be opening a Lollishop at the end of the month. The Humblebeads Garden Party will be filled with beads that are a lighter color palette and in general sugary sweet. There will be more seasonal beads offered there as well.

To peek your curiosity, on the bead table getting ready for Lollishops:
*Snowflake Beads in soft shades of teal, purple and blues.
*Dogwood Flowers
*Garden Statue Pendants
*Vintage Poppy Beads in new colors
*Urchins and starfish in shabby chic colors, would that be shabby chic beach?
And more!

Here is my packaging for the new shop. More on branding and packaging tomorrow.

Lollishops open on November 28th. Until then you can see what's in store on their blog and at the Lollishoping Forum.

Changes for Humblebeads

I've been working feverishly over here - on orders, deadlines for magazines and coming up with a better game plan. The last part is always the hardest for me. Taking stock, seeing what is really working in my business, what is just keeping me busy vs. what is really bringing in an income.

One thing I've decided is to scale back the beads in my etsy shop. I will keep a few of the best sellers, but it will mostly be limited editions, one-of-a-kinds and jewelry by the end of the month. Some of the items in my etsy shop have been made to order, but with the exception of the personalized ornaments everything over on etsy is now in stock and ready to ship.
I've been updating my website and have more beads to add to my line as a part of the Humblebeads collection, this includes some of the tops sellers from my new Kiss series! I've redesigned my bead shop page for easier ordering.
My website offers my favorite beads and those that have proven popular sellers. Most of the beads are made to order. I keep my best sellers in stock, but it never fails that someone will order something that I just ran out of or was wiped out by a rash of wholesale orders! So I decided to face facts and give myself a reasonable amount of time to fill my retail website orders, which is 5-7 business days.
I also decided that due to the intense nature of handcrafted art beads, there had to be a minimum order on my website of $30. For those looking for just one or two Humblebeads there is the choice of what is on hand in my etsy shop, a new line of beads that will be in a new marketplace at the end of the month and also Bello Modo carries a nice selection of my beads with no minimum order and free shipping.

My ultimate goal is to find a balance between work and spending more time with my family and friends. It's hard to admit that I can't do everything and there are only two hands making these beads. (Jess helps with shipping at night and on the weekends, God Bless him!) Hopefully my new plan will relieve some of the pressure!

November 11, 2008

Deckin' the Halls?

Sorry for the delay in the winner of the last week's Funny Caption contest. I needed a break from the internet to get caught up here in the studio. I love you Humblebeads fans!

Without further ado, the winner is Joan Tucker. Congratulations Joan! Joan won a Cardinal Bird Ornament, pictured above.

And speaking of ornaments, check out the free $10 Tuesday project on the Art Bead Scene featuring my cardinal.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Humble-topia!

November 7, 2008

Collaboration Exploration - Garden Party!

Oh, I have some fun things to share with you today. It's the big reveal of the latest round of Collaboration Exploration! What is that? Two beadmakers create 3 sets of beads, we pair up with a jewelry designer and each of us use the beads to create a collaborative piece of jewelry or two. The only rules are that we have to use at least one bead from each artist and we don't share the results until the reveal. It's my favorite game! The players this round are myself, beadmaker Gaea and designer Lorelei Eurto!

My first design features one of Gaea's Lantern pendants, my Lily bead and copper disks, along with a raku disk, copper metal disks, brass chain, faceted pearls, a few coin pearls. I ended the necklace with a silk ribbon for the closure.

When I first saw Gaea's lantern pendants they reminded me of my favorite painting from Sargent. Which has inspired a line of beads. I wanted this necklace to have the feeling of lanterns swaying in a garden, but I didn't want the piece to scream summer, so I paired it up with the coppers of the fall season and some subdued gray/blues.

The next necklace is a fun pendant with the lanterns, my garden lantern beads, a gunmetal tassel, and a copper pearl. The top part is something different, I used a hardware retaining ring, which I love them and need to find more! I added Green Girl's Lotus pendant with two jump rings and a chain attaches there to create the necklace. Although I think I may redo the chain to a larger size to better compliment the scale of the pendant.

Please visit Lorelei and Gaea's blogs to see their amazing results!

November 6, 2008

Gift Guide Research

As you might already know Etsy's gift guide is a great collection of favorite picks from the Etsy Administration. Did you know they recently added a Hot List of different trends to their gift guides? The Hot List categories were picked by what items are most frequently searched and purchased on Etsy.

Does your work fit into one of the categories? Make sure you add the appropriate tag then. When I saw the woodland category I realized I had quite a few items in my shop that would fit but didn't have that tag.

A little snooping around in the gift guides can give you some ideas of what people shop for the holidays. Why not create your own gift guide on your blog featuring some of your favorite sellers or a gift guide of your own products in helpful shopping categories?

November 5, 2008

Oh Deer and Other Holiday Trends

Wondering what the current holiday trends are for those selling on Etsy? I'm not an expert, but I do keep my eye on themes, notice designs reoccurring in magazines and read the trade reports.

1. Woodland - Birds are still going strong. Deer, whether it's reindeer, fawns or bucks I keep seeing them! Acorns, pine cones, feathers, trees - these are themes I've noticed on everything from housewares to stationary to jewelry and more.

2. Sugar-coated - it's a candy colored world out there. I've noticed this trend leaning more toward vintage, like old-Hollywood meets the North Pole. Glitter, tinsel, paper ephemera from Christmas past are paired up with vintage trims and sparkly baubles.

3. Christmas is more Christmasy this year with a nod toward holidays past. Classic red and greens with nostalgic motifs like mittens, snowflakes, trees and stockings can be seen in many magazines this season.

4. You big softie! Felted ornaments, crocheted snowflakes, soft and cuddly accessories in wool and cotton are big for decorating our homes and ourselves this chilly season.

Colors that seem trendy for jewelry this holiday - elegant designs in black and shades of plum and berry. Purple is THE color for fall and it will transition into winter too.

Well, that's it for now. What trends have you noticed or maybe you'd like to just announce a trend you plan on spear-heading this holiday season?

November 4, 2008

Twitter Tips for Artists & Designers

What is twitter? Micro-blogging in 140 characters or less, answering the question, "What are you doing right now?"

Why twitter? For the same reason we do anything online: for entertainment, information and connection to a global community.

As a small business I twitter for a few reasons. I use twitter to keep up on industry news, inspiration and ideas for running my business. A few of my favorites:

Interweave Press:
Whip Up:
Croq Zine:
Softflex Company:
The Blog Squad:
Rings & Things:
Timothy Adam Designs:
Crafty Chica:
Margot Potter:

I also use twitter to connect with customers who are following me, my friends and even a few family members.

I check out twitter every day at lunch for "lunch and links." I skim through what everyone has posted and click on the links that catch my eye. Even though I follow over 100 people, there are rarely more than 25 twittering on a regular basis. If someone is twittering too much for me, I simply unfollow.

When I blog or have some news to share I go to to make a post to both twitter and facebook at the same time. It takes a minute to set up and has been a handy time saver.

What to twitter?
Your latest blog entry
Good news & important updates
Interesting events in your life
Occasional sales and specials
Listing of new items (although I'd rather click on a link to your blog that talks about your latest item and your inspiration behind it.)
Links from other places that have caught your eye
Good deals you've found or shops you love
a few random tidbits that let us know the person behind the computer screen
You can also use twitter to get feedback on ideas and your latest creations
Ask questions - I like to twitter back now and then.

Please, I really don't want to read about errands, household chores or what you had for lunch unless you are related to me! Of course if you can write about those in an entertaining and funny way I may make an exception. Food items are okay if they are seasonal, quirky or could inspire a recipe search. No "I just had a bowl of oatmeal." A better tweet would be, "hmm, just pulled the pumpkin bread out of the oven!"

Should you Twitter? Maybe! All you can do is give a try and see if you enjoy it. If you are twittering to promote your business, remember with social networking getting your name out there is the goal. Don't be pushy, don't contact people directly asking them to visit your shop. And for goodness sake, don't turn off followers by being aggressive with the listings from your shop. You are building up awareness of your brand and making connections.

Etsy had a great article about Twitter yesterday, which yes, I found out about through Twitter!
Timothy Adams also has some good tips for branding your business with Twitter.

If you Twitter, do you have a favorite crafty, bead or business that you follow that you could recommend?

November 3, 2008

You don't say? Part 4

(Insert Funny Caption Here)
We need to start out our week with a good laugh, don't we? So it's round 4 of my Funny Caption Contest. Leave your suggested caption in the comments section. On Saturday I will draw one random entry to win one of my new Holiday Bird Ornaments featured in today's photo!

November 2, 2008

Handmade Sunday

A little squirrel I needle felted for my youngest daughter a few years ago.
I read a great post this week over at the Croq Zine blog on 15 Reasons to Bust Your Stash. And don't we just have a mountain of crafty supplies here at the HumbleHome! When I started this new series, I was making mental notes of everything I wanted to make and what supplies I needed to go buy. But after reading this post, I thought about what I already have on hand and how to use that.

I have wool roving, yarn, fabric, trims, beads, pine cones (?), beads, chain, paint, clay, printmaking supplies, wire and tons of paper. So all of these treasures will be transformed into gifts and ornaments over the next 6 weeks.

One project I am going to tackle is a version of this artist's kit that has pockets for a little sketchbook and art supplies. We have a thing for sketchbooks here, you can never have too many! This will be a good way to use up some of the fabric leftovers from our Halloween costumes.
Have a fun and crafty Sunday with your loved ones!

November 1, 2008

A flurry of beads

The winner from this week's funny caption contest is Alisa. Alisa check your email!

Today I am a factory. I have a little back up here and working through some big orders as quickly as I can. But trust me, this is no complaint. I'd rather work weekends and nights than work for the man. Whoever he is!

And let's face it, I'm over here making beads and that is fun stuff.

Speaking of fun stuff, I was featured today on the etsy blog for my weekend special. Weekend special? Do tell...
Well, I am offering free shipping all weekend to kick off the start of Holiday shopping.

Be sure to stop by and see what kind of goodies I have, beads for those making their own gifts and ornaments and jewelry for those shopping for gifts.

And because I'm really feelin' the Christmas crafties coming on, I'll share a bit from my favorite holiday movie, The Snowman. Made in 1982, a wordless animation. It's so charming. If you haven't watched it before you need to see it on DVD, each frame is hand-drawn and completely enchanting. Okay, back to the bead table for me.

(Watch The Snowman video on my blog those who subscribe by email.)