Monday, 25 May 2015

It's all about the bead

Last week I spoke about the tools and findings you will need to make and complete any beading project.  This week I look at the most important component of your project. The BEADS.

Here we find my biggest weakness, there are sooo many pretty beads in all sorts of shapes and colors and sizes and components, from crystal and plastic to stone and pearls and everything in between.
This is not a shop display, this is my work room!

One of the first things you should know, and about the last thing I learnt, is the size of the bead and also the type of bead.  There are so many that I can't list them all here.

Depending on what you want to create, size does matter.

These earrings were a learning project for me so I used the crystals I had on hand, as you can see they are huge!

Precision cut seed beads

Mixed beads
Seed beads come in different qualities as well as shapes and sizes. The cheaper beads are not all the same size and are sold by the Kg. The more expensive precision cut beads are machine cut and exactly the same size.
This is a ring I made when learning Peyote stitch, as you can see it is uneven and not pretty, the beads were the cheapies and in different sizes

This is what you make with precision beads!

Clay Beads

Glass Beads

Paper beads, easy to make at home from old magazines or news papers, glue and clear nail polish
It is very important to know what you want to make, not so much whether it is a necklace or bracelet orearrings, but it is also about whether the item is to be worn for everyday wear or smart only, is it to be a statement piece and is it for an adult or a child, a man or a woman.

When I first started I mostly used cheap glass pearl beads and as I became more confident I moved on to stones, like Agate and even fresh water pearls.
Small glass pearl beads, look good and are great for beginner projects when you don't want to spend a fortune

Beautiful pastel Agate beads

glass pearl beads, with Czech crystals and silver tone balls and flower spacers, it looks elegant and expensive. 
I have a hard time choosing beads and now have a collection to rival a bead store! If you have an old necklace or bracelet that is out of style, remaking it with a few little updates is a great way to experiment without going looking,

A lot of beading supply places will have 'kits' that you buy to make a specific project. This saves you a lot of time and money as these kits come with exactly the beads and findings thaare needed. As we progress with learning I will make kits available in Adiesdesigns for purchase.

From the 1st June 2015 I will be stocking basic tool kits in Adiesdesigns.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Lets Begin!

It is time for my blog to move forward, I will starting a weekly tutorial on my blog as well as having kits to make your own jewelry with. I will be posting video's to Youtube on each topic with a link in the blog .

Lets start with your equipment. These are must have items, things that you will use with almost every project.

The first is your pliers, I suggest starting with these three.
From left to right; round nose pliers (pink handle), wire cutters (lilac handle) and flat nosed pliers ( green handle). You can buy these at any bead shop and hardware store. Amazon also has them as sets. Feel free to order full kits as we will cover all types of pliers along the journey.
What are they used for:
The round nosed pliers will be used when you need to curl wire to make loops or even make your own jump rings.
The wire cutters are exactly that they are used to cut you tiger tail and other wire products you will use in future projects.
The flat nosed pliers are used to open and close jump rings and working with wire.
In the beginning I used my flat nose and my round nose to open and close jump rings, as you grow your jewelry making you will often find that you will acquire two or more (like me) of everything. I will show you how to open your jump rings in the next tutorial. This week is all about your tools.

You now need a storage box, a smallish plastic sorter works well and can be stacked when you have limited space.
Available at most hobby, craft and bead stores
Here are some different ideas for storage.
Available at stationary and hardware stores
clear sorter (found at craft stores, grocery stores and even stationary stores)
small draw tool box (found at hardware stores)

 I also use tubs from salads and food bought from the store and washed after the food is eaten, this is a great way to recycle.

The next thing you need is your findings, there are a lot so you will need to plan your products or keep a lot around.

Jump rings- these come in different sizes, thicknesses, shapes and colors.  The most common are silvertone and goldtone round split rings. 
Jump rings
These can be used to complete projects or be the main ingredient in a project.

How do you finish off your work? Depending on what you want to make and what materials you used to make it will decide how to finish it off.
The very minimum you need are 
Left to right : crimp, crimp cover, jump ring, claw clasp
There are many other findings/finishings which we will cover with each project that you do.

Next are your strings, depending on what you are stringing i.e. crystals, pearls or glass beads etc. Will depend on what type of line you will use.
I mostly use tiger tail and elastic. In America I know it is called beading wire/ beadalon and it is available in clear or color.
Tiger tail is finely woven metal beading thread and works best with heavier beads as it is strong.

Beadalon/pearlon thread is a plastic thread also very strong and durable, it is not something I use often as the equivalent available where I get my beading supplies from is too thick and they don't have other sizes.

Elastic is a great and durable way to may simple easy to wear jewelry and is a favorite of mine, it comes in varying thicknesses. 0.6; 0.8 & 1 are the sizes I use based on the bead and project and it is relatively cheap.
This is a thick colored elastic, it is great to use when the elastic will be incorporated into your design as is meant to be visible.

This is the elastic I use on most of my projects, especially my watches, it is durable and last a long time. It is also available in colors. Elastic is great when making bracelets and necklaces for kids and family members who have arthritis and tremors and are unable to manipulate clasps.

And last but not least, Super glue or Crazy glue, E6000 are all great, but cannot be used on the elastic as it makes it friable (breakable)

All these items for your jewelry are available through online craft supply shops, from places like Glitterama Crafts on Etsy, beadaholique and Fusion beads online shops, in the USA or Beaddirect or House of Beads in South Africa.

Next week we will talk about choosing your beads.

Monday, 18 May 2015


It is time to spread my wings a little and attempt something new.  I am going to start giving classes in jewelry making and blogging on simple beginners techniques and tools required. Over the last 5 years of jewelry making I have learned a lot but not nearly enough, I feel that giving classes and having to research techniques and ideas for these classes will improve my jewelry skills.

These are the first things I made when I started making my jewelry. As time has gone on I still prefer making watches as this is the jewelry I like the most, but I have also learned how to photograph my items to display them to their and my advantage.

I have been playing with the idea for awhile now and last week someone asked if I could help her with some jewelry. I enjoyed being able to help her create something special for her.  I feel I am ready for basic classes and also to put some of this into a blog.  Eventually I will then move to YouTube in the distant future still.

About a month ago I even wrote the beginning of a tutorial blog on the tools you need to start making jewelry.  I still have to refine it as you will be reading for weeks with just the start.

With my first lesson we made a simple glass pearl bead watch for my pupil, my "student" came to me through Facebook asking for someone who could help her finish off some jewelry she wanted to make, we landed up with a 2 hour lesson.  The watch came out beautifully and I think it gave her pleasure to walk out wearing her creation.  I know it gave me a little ego lift to see her wearing it.

The watch consisted of a small watch face, white glass pearl beads, 0.6 thickness jewelry elastic and silvertone spacers.

We also since the watch was simple and quick made a small necklace to go with it.  The necklace is the same white pearl beads strung on tiger-tail beading wire and a claw clasp.

Have a good week everyone.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Growing Pains

Part of growing any business is dealing with stock and damage.
One of the first things Etsy tells you is that you must write your policies clearly. This is to protect you as a seller and to let buyers know what to expect.  This does not, however, take into account human emotions.
I recently sold and mailed an expensive handbag to a client, I have mailed 5 in the same manner, this one however arrived severely damaged. Despite my policy of no refunds for goods damaged in transit, I did refund the client as I felt so so so so  bad about how severely damaged the bag was. Thank goodness this has never happened with any other item before! I do however have something in place for customers who's items are not totally happy with their purchase (it is something that will only be revealed to the customer with a genuine issue/complaint).

I have listed my policies below for others to use as guidelines.

This is my Shipping Policy.

We ship through the South African Postal service as they are the most cost effective, their shipping time is 10 working days but it can take up to 8 weeks, if your order has not arrived in this time frame please let us know, so we can try and follow up . If you would like insurance or express delivery please email me before placing your order so that we can get a quote and inform you of the cost of this. All shipments will have a tracking number so that you can follow your purchase to your door. Once the parcel lands in your country the Postal Service of that country takes over and we cannot say how long it will take from there to reach you.

I understand theoretically it was not my responsibility to refund the client but emotionally for me I needed to and I feel better for it.  I have made a promise to myself to avoid this in the future (in the event something similar to this ever happens again).

When you write a policy for your business it is good to look at other shop's policies to give you and idea, they may have thought of something you didn't. Theses are my policies which cover the most important aspects of online shopping. In your policies you need to cover the following things:

Your business philosophy:- This is mine:

Welcome to Adiesdesigns, we are committed to creativity of all kinds, but especially the kind you can wear. We believe in up-liftment of the disadvantaged and therefore we donate $10% from each sale to charity that addresses this issue. We do not support one specific group but try to spread the wealth, if you have a specific South African charity that fits with our criteria that you would like us to give to please feel free to ask when you place your order. No politically affiliated charities allowed.

Payment options and cancellations-:
We accept PayPal for all international sales. We charge a cancellation fee of $2 (donated to charity) if you cancel your order within 48 hours, no cancellations after this as we try to have your goods shipped by then. For South African buyers we accept EFT's but please allow 3 working days for payment to  reflect, No goods will be shipped without payment.

Refund Policy:- what happens if the client is unhappy with their purchase. This is my refund policy.

We will gladly refund your purchase, (minus the shipping fee) within 60 days of you placing your order, all  you need to do is let us know what is wrong and why you wish to return the purchase. We are not responsible for loss or damage caused in transit and take every precaution to package the goods safely. Our watches fit wrists of 17 cm /6 1/2 inches, if your wrist is bigger or smaller please let us know when you place the order. if the size is wrong we will not refund your money without proof that you supplied this information

I understand theoretically it was not my responsibility to refund the client as the parcel was in good shape when it left, the parcel was packaged in exactly the same manor as all my previous ones and it was damaged in transit, it is also written in my refund policy, but emotionally for me I needed to and I feel better for it.  I have made a promise to myself to avoid this in the future (in the event something similar to this ever happens again).

I think with the South African Post office I have been lucky as it is almost a standing joke on how inefficient they are and how much goes missing (although I think this is more incoming than outgoing parcels, I am still waiting for a parcel from US after 8 weeks).  I like to follow up on my orders and the tracking number helps with this, although it does not always show where the parcel, I sent one to England and the tracking number says it never even left the post office, but my client has her item! The other thing South African online companies have to deal with is the inconsistency of pricing unless they use a courier.  I send my parcels the same way every time and at one post office they charged my +/- $18 for shipping, the next time I sent the exact same item to the same country from a different post office and they charged me $12. I now only go to the cheaper post office! UPS, DHL and other courier services charge more than  my most expensive item! So the postage is more than the product.

Learning to be a business mogul is hard work, learning to price your items is an experience assessing your self esteem, and making products that sell is a lesson in the "every pot has a lid" theory. I will cover other aspects of business that I am learning in the coming months.

REMEMBER: 12 MAY IS NURSES DAY and I am offering free shipping on all items $10 and over for that day only in honor of International Nurses Day.  Just enter the coupon code 05121820.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Yin and Yang or just opposites?

Today I decided on something a little different.  Usually I only write about one color in my weekly blog, but black and white are partners, opposites and always make a statement.

Yin and Yang the symbol often interpreted as day (yang) and night (yin). White for during the day when we are more active, representative in the western world as purity, innocence and goodness then we have black for the night mystery, power, formality and evil.

When used in business most commonly with household appliances it is associated with cleanliness, coolness apparently because it's the color of snow, (those that live in areas where there is snow, know exactly how long that whiteness lasts! - Until the first thaw).
White is often used by charitable organizations.  In South Africa nurses are wearing white uniforms again (the modern trend world wide has been to move to colors) as this makes the patients feel safe, it is a clean color.
It is commonly the color of western brides, in the past to represent purity and virginity, now it represents a new page in life, the beginning of your journey.
In Judaism it appropriate to wear white for both weddings (the past is over and it is fresh start) and funerals. It is also worn on the most holy of Jewish days the day of Repentance as a sign of purity and mercy as this is the day we are asking for G-d to spare us for another year.
Flags with white in them obviously the first that comes to mind is the International red cross.  72% of all world flags have white in them.

Moving on to black. Black is the unknown, the mystery, the evil the color of grief. Positively it is known as elegant and formal depicting power. It is also the in appropriate black humor, the embarrassing blacklist and the tantalizing ubiquitous black book.
Black gives you perspective and depth but if it is advertising a black background make reading difficult.
Supposedly black makes you look thinner. It does look great with other bold colors like red, orange, emerald green and occasionally bright yellow (try an avoid looking like a bee!)
Flags that are black bring to mind Priates! Only 30% of countries have black in their flags.

We all know that white and black are the gold standard when looking elegant.  So here are some in black and white from my Etsy, shop Adiesdesigns

3 Strand glass pearl bead necklace

Black and clear crystal fringe necklace

Black bracelet

white glass pearl bead and swarovsky elements cluster ring

black bead watch

white wood bead bracelet

Black and grey glass pearl bead cluster ring

Just for fun which would you wear?

Monday, 4 May 2015

Conquering the world!

I am conquering the world one sale at a time! My nurses watches (brooch pins) have sold on all but 2 continents Asia and South America! What a privilege and an amazing feeling of accomplishment!  I get so excited (in case you don't notice all the exclamation marks!) when I sell to a new place, especially the nurses watches as this is obviously close to my heart as a nurse and May is nurses month! So any people ordering on International Nurses day through Adiesdesigns on Etsy should put in this coupon code for free shipping 05121820, this is Florence Nightingales date of birth. The 12 May is International Nurses day! 

I spent most of the weekend photographing some of my finds, ie. the jewelry that somehow never made it onto Etsy. I also made some men's bracelets and two new necklaces.

My kids are getting slightly irritated that I interrupt their TV time on a Sunday afternoon by making them fit the jewelry! They refuse to be models for the photo's.

I am giving my first class next week Wednesday which will give me an idea on how to make tutorial videos, which I would like to start posting by November 2015. I would like to try and also do a tutorial blog post, but as I was typing up the "first installment" I realized it will make a very long read, so it is back to the drawing board.

Here are the new items I made this week and two of the old watches that I have posted to Etsy.

Men's cat's eye bracelet

Men's wood bracelet with a twist