Friday, December 31, 2010

Farewell to 2010- A Year Full of Change

As we leave 2010 behind, I am struck by how much life has changed for my husband and me this year.  We moved last January from St. Louis, MO to Severance, CO.  To do that we drove both vehicles across icy windy highway.  Once we settled here, I started work.  Hubby is retired.  Shortly after that I found I had breast cancer, and that knocked me for a loop.  I had surgery, and no chemo or radiation was needed.  I am so thankful to the Lord for that.

We spent time taking drives to new places here in Colorado and enjoyed the spectacular scenery.  This fall I did three craft shows from November 19 to December 1.  It was crazy working full time, plus hauling my things to these places.  Bill, my husband, was an incredible help with this, and we found that we have fun working a craft show together.

Neighbors we barely know came by and gave us a fabulous platter of goodies.  It was so pretty I took a picture of it before we ate any of it.

After the craft shows, I got sick with a cold and then bronchitis.  Somehow we got prepared for Christmas, and had a wonderful time with our family here. Our son came in from California to join in the festivities.

I had neglected to come up with a nice centerpiece for the dining table, but crafty as I am, I managed to piece together a really nice one about two hours before the meal.  I found an inexpensive wreath we have, some white trim, a long red candle, a square vase, and some marbles. The marbles went into the vase with the candle in the middle. The wreath was placed on the table, and the white trim was draped around it.  I was quite happy with it when I finished.

I learned  a lot this year, and am so happy to be close to my daughter, Mary and her family.  Our grand-baby turned one in September, and we were able to participate in the party.

When it was time to decorate the Christmas tree, I put up the ornament I got for Mary when she was a baby.  Today I took the Christmas tree down, and as I removed that ornament it crossed my mind that I had not cried when I put the ornament on the tree weeks ago.  Now, you need to understand, that for the past 8 -10 years I always had a good cry when I laid eyes on that ornament.  Mary, my daughter, was not at home and was living in other states.  I missed her.  How significant, that this year I did not feel the need to cry.   I see Mary all the time, and her husband, and her step-children, and our fabulous new granddaughter.  No tears needed!

Life is good, and we are blessed by the living God!  Let's all look forward to 2011 with anticipation and hope.  Happy New Year!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday's Mentors - Good Ideas from

Necklace Lengths

There is much to know about jewelry, how it relates to your personality, clothing and feeling good about yourself.  Here are some articles about choosing the right necklace that appear on

How to Choose a Necklace Length  
Purple Matinee Length Necklace
Flower Princess Length Necklace

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Do You Like My Hat?

I found the most fabulous crocheted hats at a shop on ArtFire, GalleriaDeArta.  Monica is the artist and is creating 1920's inspired retro hats.  Here is a picture of the one I purchased from her.

I love the colors in this one.  I will wear it with my brown tweedy coat.  I tried it on when I received it.  You can play with the brim and turn it up or down.  I kind of like it with one side up and one down, a little jaunty.  My bangs peak out a little from one side.  Look out here comes grandma in her new hat!

Please visit Monica's shop.  She has some delightful children's hats as well.  In addition, Monica makes jewelry.  She gave me a sweet present of earrings with my purchase.  Visit her jewelry shop as well, 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Little of This and That ~ December Giveaway

Have you visited this wonderful blog?  It is called A Little of This and That.  It is full of wonderful recipes, ideas, and lots of yummy handcrafted items.

Julie is the blogger and she is doing a December Giveaway of a wonderful mix of beads.  Hop on over to her blog and maybe you can win!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fort Collins Colorado Craft Shows

I will be selling my jewelry at three events in the Fort Collins and Loveland area of Northern Colorado.  If you live in the area please come by and see me.

Poudre Valley Hospital - Holiday Craft Show
Cafe F - Basement near cafeteria
1024 South Lemay
Fort Collins, CO
November 19, 2010
7:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Holiday Market - Fort Collins Senior Center
1200 Raintree Drive
Fort Collins, CO
November 26 & November 27, 2010
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Medical Center of the Rockies - Holiday Craft Show
Long's Peak Room
2500 Rocky Mountain Ave.
Loveland, CO
December 1, 2010
7:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Handmade Halloween!

We have beautiful weather here in Northern Colorado today, and I am sure the little trick or treaters will be out in large numbers this evening. Yesterday my husband and I were at a shopping plaza in Loveland, and they were having a special event for the children. The stores were handing out candy, and they had some sort of events for children in one area. We couldn't get close to whatever the event was due to the throngs of children in their halloween costumes.

We had so much fun watching the children. There were so many creative costumes. One little kid was dressed as a pelican. Pelicans are frequently seen at the lakes in this area. There was a tin man, cowardly lion, scarecrow, and Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. Lots of princesses, a well muscled police man costume on a tiny boy, and much more. The sun was shining. It was the perfect day to be out and about.

I was impressed with the creativity of parents and children in the costumes. We moved here from St. Louis last winter, so this is my first Halloween in this area. People really get into the spirit of the holiday here. When talking to people at work over the last few weeks, I have heard how moms and grandmothers were sewing and creating costumes. My beautician created flying monkey costumes for her two dogs.

It shows the spirit of HANDMADE is alive and well!

Enjoy all the little people who visit your home tonight, and remember those adults who make it happen for them. Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 11, 2010

ArtFire Collections Featuring My Jewelry

I just opened my ArtFire studio again on October 1, and my work has been featured in two collections by two different artists.  This is quite exciting to me.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Daily Jewelry - Beaded ID Badge Lanyards

I am focusing much of my beading efforts these days on creating beautiful beaded id badge lanyards.  As a person who works at an organization that requires me to display my id badge at all times above the waist, I find that having an attractive way to do that makes me feel good.  I have created five different ones that are in my own personal collection.  Now I have created many more to sell.

I have come up with several different styles of these.  One style I really like is to use a large lampwork bead as the focal bead, and then use smaller beads on the strand of beads.

Some people may not like a large lampwork bead, so I have made some lanyards with smaller beads such as the one below.  Realizing that many people cannot afford or want to spend money on multiple lanyards, I am trying to make some that are fairly neutral that can be worn everyday.

For those who love to wear chain necklaces, I created chain lanyards.  

And finally, the holidays are just about here.  For those who love to wear holiday apparel, I am beginning to make lanyards for Christmas.  Here is the first of those.

Each of these is carefully handcrafted from strong materials to ensure durability and safety.  

Do you wear an id badge lanyard to work?  What kind do you like to wear?  

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Teddy Bear's Picnic

If you have been following this blog, you know that my daughter had her first baby last year.  I was so enamored of the baby who lives here in Colorado, that I packed up all my worldly goods and moved from St. Louis to Colorado to be near her and to watch her grow up.  It's hard to believe, but one year has passed since her birth.  I don't regret a moment of making this move out to Colorado.

My granddaughter's name is Maggie, and we celebrated with her in style last week.  Her mom created a Teddy Bear's Picnic for her and the family.  First Mary, my daughter, created darling invitations that she mailed to us.  They were on pink card stock, with a cute poem inside and the dates of the picnic.  She used Maggie and her bear friends in a picture that she glued to the front of the card.  Don't you wish you could be at their picnic? :-)

The weather cooperated beautifully for the party outdoors in Maggie's back yard.  We had some of a bear's favorite foods, salmon salad, lox, cream cheese and bagels, berry salad, and of course cake.  What bear would ignore a good chocolate cake?

Maggie got all dressed up in a sweet purple and white dress.  For those of you into "all things handmade", this is a handmade dress that Mary bought at a small shop in Salida, a quaint town nestled in the mountains.

Then Maggie enjoyed her first birthday cake, and I mean she REALLY ENJOYED IT! She totally immersed herself in the experience.

What a memorable day!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Apples Hangin' from Your Ears?

Apple Love Earrings

It's apple time!  Pick them, eat them, cook with them, and wear them from your ears or on your wrists.  I found some cute silver apple charms and have combined them with red beads, green leaf beads and silver to make some fun jewelry for this autumn.  Check them out at Plum Beadacious!
Apples for You Earrings
Apples for You Bracelet

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Jewel Tone Colors in Hot Air Balloons

Over Labor Day Weekend I had the pleasure of getting up early and heading over to Windsor, Colorado where a hot air balloon event took place as part of their annual Harvest Fest.  There in a small park they had about 10 or so hot air balloons.  When I first arrived they were laying totally deflated flat on the ground.  It was early in the day, about 7:00 on a Saturday, and I had rushed to get there by 7:00 thinking that these grand balloons would all lift off into the sky at that moment.  When I saw that they all needed to be inflated first, I was a bit disappointed thinking I would be standing there all morning, waiting for them to lift off into the sky.

Boy, was I ever wrong!  Shows how much I know about hot air balloons.  Shortly after I got there several of the people began inflating balloons with huge fans and flames.  I wasn't close enough to figure out exactly how this happens.  It was so much fun watching these large balloons lift up onto their sides one by one, stand straight up full and proud, and then quickly rise into the sky with hot flames shooting up inside of the balloons.

Here are some of the balloons I saw.  The colors are fabulous, and one is quite fun.  The balloon represents the moon, and a cow is jumping over it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Photos of Jewelry in Natural Sun Light

Since I moved to Colorado, I have many more opportunities to take photos of my jewelry in natural light.  My key light sources through windows are to the east and to the west.  Both are good, but in different ways.  When I lived in St. Louis, I took my photos for my shop, Plum Beadacious, in the basement with a homemade lightbox and artificial lights. I had everything set up for me to place my jewelry for the shot.  I did occasionally change background surfaces, and programmed my camera for the type of light I was using.  I think I got better over several years at doing this, but the pictures still had a harshness to them that I never did eliminate.

Now I have been playing with taking pictures in natural light.  I can get fresh crisp color that is not harsh, but I can't get it consistently.  The light changes from hour to hour and day to day.  Take a look at the pictures of a beaded id lanyard I made for a special order.  These pictures were all taken about 5:30 PM after I got home from my day job.

The first picture is one that was taken in my east window, somewhat shady at 5:30, but it has been a beautiful sunny day.  I placed the lanyard on the white painted window sill.  The blinds were lifted to allow as much light as possible to spill through the window.

Nice, but a little blue looking.  This is because of the shade at this side of the house at 5:30 PM.  However, by adjusting the lighting level on Photoshop Elements, I can improve this picture dramatically.  I do this by using the Full Edit function and going to 
  • Enhance
  • Adjust Lighting
  • Level 
There you will see some icons that look like eye droppers.  I clicked on the white one and then moved my cursor over my photo to a place on the white background that is closest to true white and is not too close to the item or any shaded areas.  I then clicked my mouse, and magically the entire picture lightened up.

I then went to 
  • Enhance
  • Auto Sharpen
This provided crisper edges to my jewelry photo.

Next I selected the crop tool and cropped the picture to a square.  

Once I do all of this, I select File, Save for Web.  This allows me to tell the program what size picture I want.  Since Etsy recommends 1000 pixels, I type in 1000 pixels, and since the picture is square, and it is constrained to proportion, the picture ends up being 1000x1000 pixels.  I can then save it into my pictures folder in Windows.  It is ready to post on Etsy or anywhere else I would like, such as this blog.

Here is the edited photo - same one as above.  It is much brighter, but is it the best it can be?  Not really!

Let's take a look at a photo taken minutes later at my west window.  The sun was quite intense there at 5:30 PM.  I lowered my nice honeycomb blinds about 2/3 of the way, and I placed my item on a table about two feet away from the window sill.  The light was more intense than the east window, but not glaring.  I also used a soft decorative floral background.

Look at the first picture here taken at the west window, unedited.  Notice the crazy angle.  This is how I took the picture.

Now look at the edited version of the same picture.  I changed the orientation by going to

  • Image
  • Rotate
  • 90% right
Then I did the same edits with the lighting level using the white eye dropper, and auto sharpened.  Don't you think it looks much better?

These edits are quicky fixes to immediately enhance your photos.  There are more sophisticated techniques to make them even better.

Natural light is my friend for my jewelry photography, and besides that my life is definitely enhanced by taking pictures in the wonderful sunshine instead of a dark basement with artificial light.

I invite you to share your experiences with photographing your jewelry, whether done in natural or artificial light.  We can all learn from one another.  I hope this is helpful to some of you.

More about Beaded Lanyards

Monday, August 2, 2010

Handmade Spark - You Gotta Love It!

I can't prove it, but I think Handmade Spark is one of the best things going for Etsy sellers!  I joined Handmade Spark on July 29, 2010 paying only $6.00 for a month's membership.  This site allows an Etsy seller to have a mini-site on

This site has good articles and SEO, which means it gets traffic!  So....

I signed up on 7/29/10.  At that time I had sold 23 items on my Plumbeadacious Etsy site in two years.  I have been listing/relisting about five items a day for several months, and my last sale was on July 15.

DRUM ROLL PLEASE! I sold three items to different new customers from the time I signed up on 7/29 through yesterday, August 1.  Hooray!

Take a look at what I sold.  Each of these items has been listed on Etsy for a long time.

Under the Sea Earrings sold on August 1

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunshine Inspired Earrings

What a fabulous day this has been!  It is one of those at home days where I got some things done around the house and found time to create some new jewelry.  Here in Colorado, we often have breezes even when the weather is hot.  Such was the case this afternoon.  One of my favorite activities is to take a beading project out on the deck and create beautiful jewelry while I enjoy the beautiful weather.

The lampwork beads in these earrings have been sitting in my collection since early last fall.  The black eyed susans and shasta daisies blooming in our yard inspired me to create my own sunny garden earrings.  These earring are spicy hot, with fabulous movement in the way the crystals dangle beneath the lampwork beads.  

Enjoy the eye candy!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sugar Plum Delight

I totally enjoyed designing and creating this necklace.  For those of you who enjoy creating jewelry, this type of necklace is a great way to improve your wire wrapping skills   Each of the sweet plum colored Czech crystals are individually handwrapped with sterling silver 24 guage wire and dangle from a strand of delicate pink seed beads.

For more information and to purchase  - Sugar Plum Delight 

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Crystal Dreams - Very Vintage and Victorian

I made multiples of the earrings below.  They are just so Victorian and vintage looking to me.  I call them Crystal Dreams, and I posted them today on Etsy.  Hope you like them!  Happy Independence Day!

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