May 4, 2011

Motivation

Help, I think I am losing my mojo. My motivation is low and I can’t seem to get stuck in to anything. I look at all my jewellery making supplies and I can’t find any inspiration. I look at my to do list and it gets longer and nothing seems to get done. I am having difficulty keeping up with it all, blog writing, adding items for sale to Folksy, Misi and my website and keeping up with my Facebook page. How do I really get stuck in and motivate myself to do it all as well as make jewellery for my upcoming craft fairs and for sale on the internet. It’s not even a case of time management , I have loads of time, it’s simply a severe lack of motivation and a lot to do with the sheer volume of things to do.

I thought that this little business of mine would be a simple affair and I suppose it is as difficult as you make it but sometimes I think I have bitten off more than I can chew and that I make life too difficult for myself. Considering my sales this year have been approximately £350, I put my heart and soul into my business for little return. My supplies have totalled £3000 since February 2010 and my sales have been in total about £600. I cant put my prices up, I already make my prices up using cost of supplies plus an hourly wage. So my focus must be on selling.

To sell I have to put myself out there, make a name for myself, so my lack of motivation is not helping my sales. All in all it is time to knuckle down to the business and admin side of things, before I can enjoy the jewellery making part of the business which is my hobby and what I like best.

I did have 21 craft fairs booked for this year but I now only have 8, because I had an e-mail saying that my payment for the pitches could not be accepted due to the organiser already having enough jewellery stalls. I am now searching for more craft fairs and I am making enquiries about having a stall at my local market a few times a week selling my jewellery and jewellery making supplies. I have put my name down for next years craft fair list so hopefully I will get in early and avoid the disappointment I had when I lost 13 craft events.

I have decided to close my website http://www.incantationjewellerydesigns.co.uk at the end of the month. The website is not bringing me any sales and is not cost effective. I will instead, be selling on Folksy, Misi, Facebook and http://www.incantation.weebly.com on all sites you will find me as Jane Marley or Incantation. I will put links on here soon to these new places.

Oh well to summarize, business is a gamble which takes a lot of hard work which doesn’t always pay off and sometimes you lose. Sometimes you lose and then begin to break even and then begin to profit and I hope I am one of the lucky ones. But at the end of the day I will not give up making  jewellery it is my hobby and I would be lost without it.

Until next time, take care 🙂

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April 27, 2011

These are a few of my favourite things

Firstly, running my own little business is one of my favourite things, not very profitable, I certainly couldn’t live on my earnings that’s for sure.
Take last weekend for instance, I had a stall at a craft fair at my local shopping centre, thecentre:mk, in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire. The weekend was great, I met some lovely people and I took £276.
This Saturday I had a stall at a craft fair in High Wycombe High Street in Buckinghamshire and I actually ended up making a loss. I made £10 in sales, but my stall cost me £20! High Wycombe is an hours drive away from my home so there was the fuel cost of getting there and back. Naturally during the day we (me and my Husband) had to eat and drink so that was more expense. To wind up an already bad day I found that a pair of earrings belonging to one of my jewellery sets had been stolen. Needless to say I will not be returning to High Wycombe, even though I had pre-booked a stall there for May 21st which was to be the changing of the Lord Mayor ceremony and the whole town was having a medieval theme for the day. I will lose my £20 which I have pre-paid for my stall but I can’t afford to run at a loss, no one can and even more precious is my time because I have so many events booked for this year that I need to make some more stock to sell.
 Whilst at the market in High Wycombe I was approached by a shopkeeper who liked my jewellery so much that she wanted to sell it in her gift store. She wants to put a display in the shop of two shelves full of my jewellery and she has specified what she would like to have made for her shop. The sales will be on a sale or return basis so if she sells any of my items, I will then get paid. I was also  approached by a lady who wants my stall at her school fayre.
 I have an event on the day I come back from my holidays. I am having a stall at a biker’s rally, so I have to make stock for that event too. I am going to need a stall full of Gothic, steampunk, and rock chic styled designs to suit the tastes of the bikers. I am going to be busy braiding leather over the next month in preparation for this event !!! As you can see I am very busy at the moment and I can’t afford to spend time in places where there is no profit to be made.
 Okay so now as well as running my own business, my favourite thing is making jewellery and I have some favourite designs which I have made and I would like to share some of them with you, I hope that you like my images and captions/titles for each image.
I love the colours of this necklace and the vintage style. I was very pleased with how this came together and looked so great.
Mmmm sweets, I made one of these for my Daughter-in-Law and she loves it. I love it too and it is made using polymer clay to make the mini licorice allsorts and the other charms are crystals and silver spacer beads. A quirky summery favorite.
Hard to see on a photo but the colours in the handmade lentil beads are beautiful, and there are little flecks of black and white which make each bead look very sea-like. The necklace is really long and feminine and reminds me of a crystal sea in the Caribbean.
My 16 year old cat, Max guarding my newly made glitter ball chokers. I love the chokers but I love my cat even more, miowwwwww.
Craft fairs and events are great fun to do and it’s lovely to meet people and get positive feedback about my jewellery and of course it’s even better when I sell some !

 

My second Licorice Allsorts Charm Bracelet, this one has the whole range of allsorts handmade by me from polymer clay and again it has coordinating crystal charms, simply delicious !

Well there’s just a tiny insight into what I like at the moment.

 

I was really pleased this morning when two parcels arrived full of supplies that I had ordered the contents were gorgeous and really good value for money. I am so excited now because I have collected all the supplies I need to make some jewellery which is a little different for the Biker’s Rally which I am having a stall at in July. I will post some pictures on here once I have made a few jewellery pieces, so watch out for snakes, dragons, skulls and leather !! Well this is the end of this post, it’s a bit shorter than my usual ramblings because my computer is playing silly beggers and there are so many more favourite things that I wanted to add, never mind I will try again next time, until then farewell my friends.

April 2, 2011

Have a look at my stash

Hi folks, I have showed you my studio and now I am going to show you my stash of beads and other bits and bobs. I am a bit of a freak when it comes to collecting beads and I have bought a few more since these photos were taken and I have some more on order. I love it when I have made an order, I wait for the postman like a big kid and when it comes I open it real careful like there’s treasure inside. I then lovingly go through each part of the order and then find homes for it all in my studio.
Before putting my new beads and stuff away, I label it with where I bought it, how many I bought, the price and price per piece so that I can easily work out my materials cost when I make anything and so I can reorder it easily. I made a beautiful charm bracelet last week and my Daughter bought it and now wants a necklace and earrings to match, so I know where to go for most of the components because of my labeling system. I do have a slight problem though, my Daughter wants a large ship’s wheel as a focal for the necklace and I am having problems sourcing one.
If any of you readers of my blog can find one that might suit then please leave a comment as to where I can find it, many thanks. Okay so now I will add the pictures of my stash and a little description of what they are, I think it’s great looking at other peoples studios and their collections, I hope you like looking at mine.

The bracelet my Daughter bought from me, it's called the Sail Away Charm Bracelet, don't forget to look out for that pendant for me folks.

A beautiful rainbow of Peciosia Crystals from the Cxech Republic, these are almost as good as Swarovski crystals but less expensive.

My glass pearl collection, I also want to begin collecting Swarovski pearls in all sizes and colours. Pearls look great for springtime and wedding jewellery.

Handmade by me, my polymer clay bead collection, some are unsanded and some are smooth and glossy and ready to be used.

My main bead boxes with all different types of glass, bone,wood and shell beads in colour order in the boxes

All my beautiful, natural semi-precious gemstone chips and beads.

Miyuki, Japanese cube beads in a lovely selection of colours, these 3 and 4mm beads make lovely flat peyote stitch bracelets.

Swarovski crystal collection in the foreground, these are so sparkly, the Preciosia ones in the background are a really good alternative though.

A mixture of beads incuding, wooden, Czech unbranded crystals, glass chips, pendants and more.

Little poly bags full of pretty little Czech glass dagger beads and some glass cube beads too.

Czech fire-polished crystals, they make these by heating the beads and taking them off the heat and rapidly cooling them just before they melt. There's some other beads in the pic too.

Some gorgeous blue lampwork glass beads that I recently bought, I want to take lessons in making lampwork beads very soon, I met a ldy who offers lessons so I am going to book some with her.

Some recent additions to my stash, some dark red Czech glass pansy beads and some red and white acrylic striped beads.

 

Purple glass pansy beads, shiny pink long beads and tiny purple drop beads, these are new additions to my collection.

 

My whole crystal collection all together.

 

Top to bottom, silver plated, gold plated, black plated and brass findings.

 

From top to bottom, Tibettan siver charms and earring connectors, copper and brass findings, Tibetan silver beads and steampunk watch cogs and gears.

Here are my chains and connectors, mostly silver plated and Tibetan silver with a few gold plated chains too.

Silver plated and copper watch faces, brooch pins, ring blanks, bracelet blanks and wedding tiaras and hairclips.

My collection of British 925 sterling silver wire and findings, I want to expand on this collection but real silver is expensive.

This metal is called Niobium, it is virtually allergy free to everyone, it is very expensive, even more so than real silver which is why my collection is limited. I really want to expand on this as it comes in all different colours, this colour is dark bronze.

Alumininum jump rings in silver and multi coloured packs. These are used to make chain maille jewellery and I confess I have not made any yet, I really must give it a try.

This is all my wires, ribbons, cords and hemp, I have some more including tiger-tail and beadweaving threads.

Well that is my collection or should I say part of it. I also have a huge collection of seed beads in different makes such as economy brands, Czech seed beads and the best makes which are Miyuki, being the best and Matsuno and Toho all of which are made in Japan. I have a collection of Miyuki Delica beads which are the best seed beads in the world they are expensive but the effect is well worth the money.

I hope that you have enjoyed having a nose around my bead and findings collection. My next post will be a look at the favourite jewellery pices I have made so far and my reasons for them making it into my favourites collection. See you all soon.

March 21, 2011

Incantation Jewellery Designs Studio Tour

Better late than never. Today I am going to give you a in depth look at my studio and explain each image and tell you what goes on in each area of my studio. First of all I must tell you that my studio is in fact a garden shed !!! The shed has been fully plasterboarded and plastered, has a plasterboard ceiling and skirting boards. The walls are pink and everything else is white, the only thing that resembles a shed from the inside is the door. I have no less than 14 plug sockets, a phone socket and CCTV set up, my studio has its own fuse box and an electrical smoke alarm. I have fluorescent lighting and several desk lamps, I have an outside light as well as floodlights for getting backwards and forwards to my house for the necessary hot beverages. I have carpet tiles on the floor of my studio but my feet get very cold in here, even with my heating on, so I tend to wrap them up in thermal socks.
Okay so I guess now you would like to see the garden shed in all its glory, from here on I will add images and explain each one, I hope you enjoy the tour.

Just an ordinary garden shed from the outside

This is where all my designs are made, in my little garden shed, my sanctuary, in fact I am writing this blog post in my shed now!

Come inside my little sanctuary and see where it all happens, where creation begins and stress ends!

A view through the door of the shed/studio interior

The view from the back wall of the shed to the door which as you can see is the only clue to the fact this is a garden shed!

A view down part of one of the studio walls showing the claying area with the pasta machine attached and the jewellery making desk near the shelf unit.

The view of the opposite wall to the claying area. This is mostly my office and admin space with my desk and books.

Part of my clay collection in a beautiful rainbow of colours. There are several different brands of clay here including, Fimo, Premo, Cernit, Sculpey and Hobbycraft's own brand polymer clay.

My collection of Premo polymer clay in a gorgeous range of colours. Premo now has a lot of new shades out and I have been recommended to try out the new copper shade with peacock blue, sounds yummy 🙂

These boxes all contain open packets of polymer clay, I always try and use what's open, even mixing colours before I open new packs, polymer clay is not cheap!

Some ready made polymer clay canes ready for slicing and using to make gorgeous jewellery and beads.

Some more lovely clay canes ready to use. Clay canes keep very well and only need a little warming with your hands before you slice them if they have been sitting around without being used for a while.

Some of my clay tools including clay modelling tools, acrylic roller, brayer, and a pot of paintbrushes for applying glitter, and varnish with.

Polymer clay texture sheets and cookie dough and clay shape cutters.

Handmade polymer clay moulds, clay extruder and various bead making tools including make-up sponges and cocktail sticks!

My clay oven where my polymer clay pieces are baked to harden, the pieces are then cooled and sanded and buffed or varnished. My favourite little box is next to my oven, it's my "SOLD" box 🙂

My shelf full of bottles, jars and containers. The shelf contains varnishes, adhesives, glitter, liquid clay, solvent inks and much, much more.

This shelf has my spare rotary tool kit on it and also my bead loom, lots of craft supplies such as silver and gold outline stickers, sheet metal, handmade paper and more. On the left of the shelf there are some plastic boxes containing some of my bead collection.

The containers on this shelf all contain beads. There are glass beads, wooden beads, acrylic beads and bone beads in this collection.

On this shelf there is my spare pasta machine which is used to roll my polymer clay. In the red plastic box there is a selection of items which I use for displaying my jewellery, like little cut crystal vases to hang crystal earrings from. The blue carrier bag contains wool and a crochet hook, another craft which I hope to learn soon!

Okay, let's take a look at some equipment and supplies which I use for hand beadweaving. In this storage system I have my tapemeasure, beading needles, beeswax, threads and a bead scoop all in one handy place 🙂

A selection of little coloured boxes which contain seed beads, each box is labelled with the bead size, the colour and where I purchased them and for how much. Labelling boxes like this enables me to work out how much is has cost to make an item of jewellery.

This is another lot of seed beads in packets and tubes, these are also all labelled. The beads in the white cubed display are all top brand names including, Toho, Matsuno and best of all Miyuki. The Miyuki Delica seed beads are the most expensive and best seed beads available and my collection is growing 🙂

A close up image of some of my seed beads including my Miyuki Delica collection on the right.

My size 11 seed bead collection, this is expanding and will need alternative storage quite soon. There are mixed brands of the top quality seed beads in this photo.

My Miyuki seed bead mixes, these were purchased as mixes and I am waiting to design a project which will use them as a mix.

Another seed bead storage system, this one has a mixture of beads from China, and the Czech Republic, again they are labelled for convenience and of course for my obsession for labelling 🙂

These boxes contain all my jewellery findings such as chains, clasps, ear wires and jump rings. There are also boxes with jewellery wire, ribbon, cord and other bead stringing materials. In this stash of supples I have a growing collection of sterling silver, niobium and copper findings and wire. One of the boxes is a treasure trove of Tibetan silver charms for charm bracelets

Just a closer view of some of my jewellery findings.

A small bedside chest of drawers sits under one of my desks and houses my spare storage containers, my sandpaper, my aprons and paint pallets.

My homemade jewellery displays which I use for my jewellery parties and craft fairs. Ooops also my pink rubbish bin which needs emptying 🙂

Below my desk where I do all my bead stringing is some more storage which is home to a drawer full of sequins and a draw full of tiaras, hairclips, bangles and kilt pins which are all ready to be made up into beautiful jewellery.

Some packed bags ready to take part in a craft fair, these are on my comfy hand bead weaving chair.

My growing collection of books and magazines, this is where some of my ideas come from but I mainly use them for suppliers information, new techniques and ideas for colour schemes.

My drawing boards which I use to create designs and put together design boards and ideas.

Large white plastic boxes which contain all of my finished jewellery. The jewellery is all in plastic zip bags, each piece is labelled with a price tag, the jewellery piece name and a catalogue number. There are over 300 pieces of jewellery in these boxes.

On my jewellery desk I have my Dremel Stylus rotary tool and all its accessories. I also have a shoe box containing jewellers hammers, doming punches and blocks, files and other tools. On my wooden stand I have an assortment of pliers a wire jig and and some more tools.

On my jewellery desk I have my Dremel Stylus rotary tool and all its accessories. I also have a shoe box containing jewellers hammers, doming punches and blocks, files and other tools. On my wooden stand I have an assortment of pliers a wire jig and and some more tools.

In this cheap Ikea chest of drawers I have lots of packaging materials for preparing customer's orders. One of the drawers containspens, pensils and rulers and more and one drawer contains an assortment of boxes, photo frames and other things that will eventually be covered with beautiful polymer clay and added to my stock.

My neat and tidy desk, I just cant work in clutter and mess, this is where I am now writing this blog post!

Just another view of my desk.

My cute handmade beaded little desk mascots 🙂

 

Lastly, this is my metal filing cabinet containing newspaper and magazine cut outs, and my stationery including paper. The strange white box on the top of the cabinet is my photographic light box which I made from cardboard boxes, paper and tracing paper, it works and makes good photos!

Well that’ all folks. I hope that you have enjoyes your tour of my studio and that it might have helped you to set up your own studio or give you some ideas about storage and organisation. My next blog post is going to be all about my bead collection, it’s going to be a real nosey into my bead boxes and into some other boxes of goodies. See you all soon folks.

 

March 17, 2011

A peek into my studio

Sorry it’s been a little while but I have been very busy. I have been making new jewellery for my Spring 2011 Collection. I have been adding to my bridal collection and making some more seasonal type designs.

I had a stall at a Craft Fair last Saturday in West Bletchley, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire. It was a bit of a disaster at first, the keyholder for the hall where the fair was being held was supposed to be there to open the hall at 12 noon but didn’t show up until 2pm. We (16 stallholders) were supposed to set up our stalls between 12 noon and 1pm for the customers to arrive at 1pm. We ended up sending people away because we couldn’t get into the hall. At 2pm all the stallholders eventually began to set up their stalls and manged to get set up for 2.45pm, the craft fair was due to finish at 4pm. There was not good attendance at the fair despite good advertising and it being a beautiful Spring day, only about four sets of people turned up to browse and buy. Despite the poor attendance I actually managed to make £84.00 on the day.

I am now preparing for another event, a Craft Market which is located underneath the Guildhall in the High Street in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, it is on Saturday 19th March and starts at 10.30 am until 4pm. I will have a stall at the market and will be having full price stock and sale stock. The sale stock is last year’s designs and will be in rummage boxes which I will label with prices of the items in the boxes, for example “everything in this box is £1.00”.

I have called this post a peek into my studio, because I have taken over 40 photographs of my studio where all my jewellery making and admin goes on. I want to show you all my studio and explain the contents of each photo to give you all an idea of how I work and how I organise my workspace. I think it’s great looking at people’s studios, it can give you great ideas of how to improve your own one or indeed how to begin to create a studio or workspace for yourself. I don’t want to add it all now I want to create a whole post with lots of images for you all tomorrow, sorry to tease you all !! I hope you will come back tomorrow for a real peek into my world, my sanctuary, my studio. See you all tomorrow

February 10, 2011

Welcome to my Blog

Hi folks and welcome to my new blog. I am going to start blogging about jewellery making and designing, and about life, and creativity, inspirations and ideas and anything else which may be interesting. I will write about my experiences, my feelings and my work.

I am new to all this so I hope it’s something I will be good at.

I will add a section all about me soon, to introduce myself properly but for now I will give you a short description. Born in 1965, slightly crazy female, with an artistic and creative personality which I use to create beautiful jewellery. I am crazy about nature and animals and love my pets. I love spending time with my large family and my other passion is being creative. Learning new skills is also what I love, I am self taught when it comes to my jewellery, I learn from books, the internet and from just playing around with my supplies. I have some plans for the future, I would like to teach jewellery classes and exhibit at more craft fayres and eventually have a market stall. The big ambition I have would be to own a shop and teach classes in it as well as selling jewellery and craft supplies. More about me in a separate section in the future with pictures of me and my studio. I hope that you have enjoyed my short introduction. Come back soon 🙂