Friday, March 26, 2010

Spring Sale

It's Spring, it's sunny and I am pretty sure my husband is tired of all this wonderful Jewelry lying around.

So this weekend I am haing a sale, 15% off store wide.  This woule be a good time to get some of the more expensive stones like Opal, Jade and Shell Pearls.

As an added bonus, anything I make throughout the weekend will be priced properly then reduced by 15% as well.

I just have to make room for new stuff, so that Matt starts taking his wonderfully engaging pictures again.  I am thinking of holding this out until the end of the week--for those who get paid on the first of the month.  Give me a buzz at twitter @maggiesjewelry  or on Facebook Maggies Jewelry if you think I should extend it.   I want to hear from you!

Thanks and here is a quick link to the site:  Maggie's Jewelry

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I have a thing for history and historical figures.  So lately, as I have been perusing the the internet for beading supplies--yes I am always looking for new suppliers so if you're one--comment me and we'll converse.

But I keep running across history of beading articles--its quite facinating, I just wish we had some history of how the color enhancement of gems began.  Maybe I will look that up. 

But here is an interesting article I found--its a quick and easy read.

A Brief History Of Beading: Ezine Article.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

International Gem and Jewelry Show

So this weekend Austin has a International Gem and Jewelry Show at Palmer Center.  Madison and I are going because the Tucson shows ended up being a bust to get some Pearls for Sarah. 

Pearls are just one of those things that almost can't be bought online--its a personal preference, I suppose...but I need to see each individual pearl on a strand to ensure it is good enough to make.  Plus, even when getting shell pearls, I like to know the quality I am holding.  Sarah--when wearing some of the Shell pearls I get to make calls the feel "substantial".  That's probably a good word.  Just as pearls need good nacre, Shell Pearls need weight--they have to feel like they were once mother of pearl shell before they did whatever thing it is they do to make them Shell Pearls.

That's the main reason Madison and I are going.  At least that's what we are telling ourselves :)

The real reason is the shiny goodness that comes with shows.  We can look and oooh and ahhh, hopefully without over bombardment of boredness from the boys.   Plus--we can get fantastic stuff for great prices and keep our prices way down. 

That's one thing I think I am pretty bad at showing people on my site--my jewelry is high end.  It's high end at really good prices.  Each piece can easily become an heirloom piece, something that is handed down.  I know this because when I worked on commission and as solely a designer and not a designer and seller--my items sold for about 5 times what I sell them for.  The jade alone is a steal, let alone the other fantastic gemstones I peruse the internet and Jewelry shows to find.

Why then do I sell my items for almost at cost?  Well, because I want everyone to have fantastic jewelry.  I want them to have heirloom pieces.  It started on a military installation, where I wanted the E-4 to be able to afford the same wonderful pieces as the General bought.  I simply do not feel the need to overprice stuff--because I do it for the love.  The love of playing with the stones.

It's cathartic and natural, and somehow calming to just hold the stones in my hands.

So I go to shows and get the beads cheaper from the source (sometimes ;) and I still get the benefits of playing with high quality while not having to sell for an exorbitant amount.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It's a Credibility thing...

I admit, I am new to the Facebook Fanpage and Twitter Marketing world. Frankly I am new to facebook and myspace in a way.  It's not that I do not see the merits of social media--certainly most people out there with a product or service do.

But I wonder--even with all the how-to's of social media marketing, are we as people losing sight of what we are trying to accomplish?

Some how-to's tell us to follow those who are like us on twitter, so that they will in turn follow us back.  Yes, Okay I can admit, a community may be built in this fashion.  But how deeply entrenched of a community is it?

An example:  I made jewelry by hand for a friend of mine at Fort Lewis.  She was Irish and I loved that woman like a second mother by the end of my time there.  She had some hard times with her mother back in Ireland--and even though she was there visiting for not happy reasons, after all we had been through together, she would still bring me back fantastic Irish exclusive beads to work with.  And another woman would bring me back fancy Hawaiian KaKui nuts to play with.

That was a community I built by really taking care to understand and grasp what everyone who paid attention to my jewelry loved.  I had learned how to set stones so that I could make Tiana a set of salt water pearl earrings to match her pearls she wore at her wedding when she was not as monetarily stable--and she wore them all the time.   That is the reason why I got into Etsy now--for that community involvement.

But, even new at this--I see us following each other, watching for #etsy tags on tweet deck or whatever program we use.  I see us telling each other what is beautiful in our pieces--but I do not see us opening ourselves up to a greater community.

I see exclusivity limiting our creative outlet because that is sort of what we are told to do.

I am currently reading a book on "Credibility" for my Masters Program.  It's pretty interesting escpecially if you take some of the ideas in there and transform them to your personal relationships in selling your product.

"Until we all, consituients and leaders alike, grab our picks and shovels and work to repair our interpersonal infrastructure, style will continue to succeed over substance, and technique will continue to triumph over truth." (From "Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose it and Why People Demand it," by, James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, 2003, John Wiley and Sons, Inc.).

Now take that thought above and change it to your etsy shop--or any online business.  How can we repair this issue before the social media explosion implodes--or is it destined to end, leaving only those with big bucks to be able to afford high quality, targeted marketing of products or services?

Can we as individuals still market our products--AND build community that is not dominated by what we are taught now.  I don't know the answers yet, I just linger over the questions.

For Further reading, I found this from another social media marketer on Facebook Fan Pages: Enterpreneuers Question Value of Social Media

And now it's time to make more jewelry, ponder these questions and prepare for another Jewelry show this weekend.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spring Cleaning...

I was going through my stash yesterday trying to organize it, because we humans get in the mood to clean during Spring. So I did what any good jewelry maker would do--I instant messaged my closest friend from high school--who incidentally makes jewelry for her Etsy site (  and asked her if I should write a blog about Spring Cleaning your jewelry supplies.

Of course she jumped and said "YES"

So here I am admitting to the world that I have no idea how to 'destash' without making myself crazy with little bags and bottles for beads.

But have no fear I have clicked into some great articles for you all--even if I don't have a clue myself (I just rearrange it in little bags and start sitting at my desk instead of on the couch or in my bed).

Don't worry I will come back and show what I chose--eventually.

After I do what I normally do--which is ship stuff off to friends and family.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


I saw a tweet today that stopped me dead in my tracks: "Etsy was so magical in the beginning."

It stopped me dead because while I am new at the Etsy and Tweeting thing--I am not new at my chosen art: Jewelry Making and Designing. But, that's another story.

I have been watching the tweets from fellow Etsy sellers--and I love you all and love looking at your stuff, but are we missing the mark?  How is tweeting to each other actually helping our sales?  Yes, yes I see that we have views...and for the lucky few that are in Treasury's or have the ability to sit and wait to make their own treasury--is tweeting, and often over tweeting and over retweeting really going to increase sales?

I honestly don't know.

But I come from old school--not online.  When we lived in Fort Lewis (yes we are a military Family and move from post to post) People could touch and feel my pieces--they could really see the intricacy I put into making them--For I personally do not slap together pieces, as I am certain most people on Etsy do not either.

But how, other than an extreme close up on the finish of a necklace--can I show how much effort I put into making sure that the customer will not only love the piece--but also love the absolute technical craftmanship I put into it?

I can not exactly tweet:  Hey look at this fantastic new piece--and the craftmanship that finishes it.

Nor can I waste one of my five pictures to show how much I work on making sure these pieces will last--and last forever.  Trust me I know they will--I have tested them playing with my kids when I have crafted my own necklaces and earrings--I have made pieces in the same manner and sent my 9 year old off to school in them--and boy do they last.

But on Etsy it's difficult to explain that to my customer who is viewing my piece--I can not stand with them and show exaclty how well it is made.

Perhaps that is not the magic the tweeter is speaking of.  The magic, the newness, the excitement of seeing your art or craft viewed (and "hearted") is great for Etsians.  If fills us with a rush of excitement--of knowledge that our art is worthwhile and meaningful to others.

But are we overdoing it and pushing the magic of the Etsy community away? defines community as: a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists (usually prec. by the): the business community; the community of scholars. 

So we are a community of Etsians--but are we still part of the greater world community as a whole?  Or are we tweeting to each other, and leaving out the bigger picture? The bigger community?

We tweet that this is a beautiful piece all the time--is that it?  Or is the craftsmanship that each Etsian exudes more important?  Is the fact that we have a store, or that we shop on Etsy an exclusivity feature of our "Community"?

Who are we leaving out and can the magic be brought back?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Double Knotting

Pearl Knotting is tedious sometimes--we do it for the elegant look as well as security and strength--and sometimes it extends out 16 inch strands we buy at stores or shows to a wearable length without the necessity of stringing with other materials--and leaving jewelry makers with leftover stash.

This is a really good example of how to do single knots:

Single knotting is great--but when you are starting out with the knotting, sometimes it is difficult to get standard size knots--and further--to get knots that will immediately lay straight like a professional knotted necklace or bracelet.

Now double knotting (or triple, or quadruple knotting) can give you an even knot each time, allowing the stone to have something to lay on, that is almost perfectly square, making a completely uniform knot.

First the supplies:  A strand of beads, clamshell terminators (these are just my favorite for the strength as I use some heavy stones--that need a perfect length to lay without weight on your collar bone--hence the 2 inch extender I add to my necklaces), a lobster claw and jumpring (or a clasp of your choice) and bead cord ( I like Griffin Bead Silk so that I can match the cord color with the stone/bead, plus the sizes are great--I stock up on size ten when I am making a stone necklace.).

Now to start the piece--may I suggest trying this with something for yourself first, so that you can learn as you go and not have to redo something you intend on selling?

 Step By Step:

Take all the bead cord (if using griffin, just take it all off) you need to knot with--1-2 meters is good for a nice 18 inch necklace and start your first knot by wrapping the cord around your index finger and middle finger twice.  

Now wrap the cord over your fingers like you are going to make a single knot:

Pull it through, rolling the double wrap over itself so that the top knot is now the bottom and the bottom knot is on the top.  After this step you will close the bottom knot (which was the top) first and then close the top knot over it, making a square (shaped) knot. 

No put your clam shell on the end of the cord and slide it to the end so that eventually you can close the clam shell over your first knot.  Then repeat the knot process on the other side of the clam shell for this look:

Slide a bead or stone on the end of the knot, pushing it down with your fingers or nails to make a tight grip--this is where triple and quadruple knotting may come in.  When you have super chunky stones they may have HUGE holes and need more knots so they don't slide around your knotting.

Now knot again on the other side of the bead, add another bead to the cord, and continue:

Once you get the hang of this technique you won't be using your knotting tool or your tweezers anymore.  Plus you will notice that your knotting is not only perfectly uniform, but easier to do--making it so you can knot a piece while doing almost anything.

Happy Beading....Here's the Final Product:


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Eeee! I went outside today...

I am very excited, I went outside today for the sole purpose of retaking pictures of my jewelry.  Don't get me wrong, most of the pictures I took were 'fine,' but I really wanted to show the true colors of what I have been making--and well being stuck indoors it not really condicive to that...

An Example: 

Here are some fabulous faceted Chunky Tourmaline Rounds,  I hand knotted and finished with gold before:

That's some pretty stuff--I know I know, I sound like the ultimate arrogant geek...but just you wait for the AFTER picture:

I changed little in the picture--even kept a similar 'pose' for the piece--The difference?

Mere Sunlight.

Hey it makes us feel better too, so why shouldn't it make our pictures 'feel' better also?

Hmmm, food for thought. 

Speaking of food, German is on the menu tonight.

You can check out all the pics I updated today at

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ah the stress...

I get stressed just as much as everyone, though sometimes people don't see that.  Right now for example, my son is home being homeschooled--probably badly--and my other two munchkins are still in elementary school.

To add insult to injury I just found out my 9 year old daughter 'borrowed' (stole) my brand new prehnite earrings.   They look like this, only made in silver as I am actually allergic to gold:

But as I sit here--marketing and linking my sites because I am new at this...the little one, Aidan, keeps kicking out my wireless router as he does his schoolwork online. (I have got to get a notebook for organization of my webtrek through this self marketing journey--yes I am that obsessive with organization.)

And last night, in a desperate attempt to calm my stressed bones, I took my new multi tourmaline briolettes and organized it by color.  Man I was thinking I should do mixed color earrings, but now I have it all organized by color and shade of color--AND in tiny little bags.

Things I do to calm my overactive body and mind:

1)Take a Hot Bath
2) Read a Book
3)blast some music through my ipod
4) play with some fiber--yes I do knit also, it's my tactile nature.
And Finally:
5) Organize my beads.

I may just overdo that last one a bit.

Cest la Vie.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sometimes the mail brings gifts...

I have been waiting for a set of prehnite and tourmaline coming from Thailand for about three weeks now.  Finally yesterday it came.  As it was unwrapped (I really didn't know anything that small needed that much bubble wrap--I am certain the ozone lost an inch of coverage from that box alone) I was shocked.

But wait, wait, wait.  Not all mail order places rip you off.

No, no that's not what I was saying.  I was shocked because oh wow these are more stunning than the pictures.  So fantastic and wonderful and I can not wait to get more of the ordered stuff in the mail. 

On the same day mail delivery brought me fantasic mini coin pearls from another Etsy retailer ( and I simply couldn't contain myself.  I actually made myself a pair of earrings I would not take off all day, so much fun to wear.

But now I sit here--ready to make fantastic jewelry from my fantastic horde of new jewels.

And My Mind is completely Blank.

What happens when my other jewels arrive, maybe today...maybe tomorrow?  Will I still be blank for the fab designs I could be making?  Ught oh. 

So where do you get inspiration??

Monday, March 8, 2010

Kiss My Beads (Review)

I had a rough time last week--trying to find an (almost) local bead and gem store. I drove north to find something new because I had researched some online and decided to go north, rather than south toward Asutin.  That didn't exactly work out.

When I came home I was angry, and didnt get my tactile nature nurtured--but the kids were about to get home so I would not be able to go out again until they did.  So I researched AGAIN, this time for southern bead stores.  I also had to bribe my husband with a trip to Best Buy in Georgetown, Texas.  It worked.

In Georgetown I found Kiss My Beads: . 

Fantastic.  A Little store, smaller than I am used to, but the owner is about to expand.  And, while we are on the subject of the owner--fantastic customer service.   She knew her stuff about beads and gems and exuded a general love of the craft.  I was happy and content in the store, and she treated my kiddos with the respect I love to see in a retail store. While she didn't have a play area (usually a criterion for me to label a store great) she is still one of the most perfect retailers I have found in the Central Texas/Austin area.

I will probably shop almost exclusivly there at Kiss My Beads, just because the owner is so warm, and the gems are so wonderful and placed in great small packages with nearly perfect prices. (Of Course we would all always like supplies to be cheaper, but she had great pricing and really its my cheapness saying the 'almost here.)

Here are a few of the items I made after returning home:
I swear if I had made these in Silver I would never sell them.  They are perfect green Onyx, which she sold in matched pairs birolettes, so inviting and perfect Emerald Green. 
I also bought a fe pieces of Green Chalcedony:

These are almost the same color--the things stone manufacturers are doing with Chalcedony these days!
I am just so exited about finding a great local bead store, and I can not wait to make the fabulous Chrysoprase I bought also.  
Can not wait to go back to Kiss My Beads:

Friday, March 5, 2010

Jewelry Supply Stores--make yourself easy to find...

Here's a dirty little secret I hide as a jewelry designer--I hate to shop.   I know, I know, that's terrible, but it's just my nature.

But, then again, as a jewelry designer--I need suppies, and for said supplies I must venture out into the world--or online--and get the good I need to make the goods. 

Another seldom realized personality trait of jewelry designers--well two really:

1) We look--the look of an individual stone can ignite a wonderful bastion of creativity building up to our very core--until we buy either the singular piece or a strand--or even any given components we may use.  That's why if you are gearing your sales to us designers online--take nice pictures and give us good descriptions.  If you can pull off an extreme close up (as I make my husband do) tell us the exact size of those beads--because we are going to get very angry if we buy something that arrives to us smaller than the eye on a needle and it looked ginormous on your picture.  We probably will not order from you again.

2) We are generally a tactile bunch: feeling, touching and realizing the wonderful textures of the stones, stringing or knotting materials, or even the deep cold of the metal we use.  This is intragal in our nature.

So, if you have a hard storefront--and a web page we can search--Make it easy to find you. Really, Really Easy.

This post is not so much a condemnation of a particular store--everyone knows I love my local bead shops. But today, I went on an actual jewelry adventure--and the store was impossible to find--I don't mean hard and I finally got to it, I mean after driving around for an hour, I gave up. 

It was located on Hewitt Drive, in Hewitt, TX.  I am sure its a wonderful store.  But some of us are not from this area--and if there is something funky about the town, like say there are three hewitt drive's, a north, a south and a regular hewitt drive--each of which has a numbered place of your address, TELL US HOW TO GET THERE.  Tell us there is something funky--not just the shopping center you are in--not enough information for someone who does not live in the town with three streets of the same name. 

Yes, some of us rely on GPS.   But if your hard store front is hard to find--please tell the customer who may google you, you might actually get more customers.

I would like to place in a few choice expletives here--however, I will just go find another store nearby in Austin/Georgetown, TX so that I can get my tactile nature nurtured.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sick as a Dog...

So I have been bad lately.  Sick as a dog and unable to move from my bed. It's terrible.  But luckily my husband was nice enough to bring me my beading stuff in small amounts so I could keep going.   And I spent some time on Etsy watching what other people are designing.  Looks like there are some interesting trends this year.

1) The fashion year coming up is old school conservative--which honeslty makes sense considering the economy.   A lot of warm rich browns and wear forver clothing seems big in major designers like Ralph Lauren, the Gap--everyday attire.

2) The jewelry out there is either beautiful art work with wonderful findings, big pieces that are showcases to backdrop against the conservative fashions or tiny pieces with special meaning, i.e., one small pendant on a simple chain.

That's okay though, we have some fun coming up as designers, lots of leaves, flowers a big tree of life I bet this summer/fall.  Call it a hunch.

While In bed I did luckily get to make a few things:

This is good for us designers--we can really spread our wings in the design department--playing with unique designs, especially in earrings and necklaces.  Also, the show pieces should be fun to make, playing with big pearls-costume or real.  Also, playing with big stones should be fun, although making the weight just perfect is all in the length.