Saturday, April 30, 2016

April is for Amulets! The COM reveal...

The COM this month - these mixed media amulet beads - went out to team members and guests! A huge thank you to all who participated; I look forward to seeing your creations! 

Here are the participating blogs: 

Alison of Alison Adorns

AJE Team: 

Friday, April 29, 2016

Enchanted by enamel - an earring tutorial

Sometimes my Muse takes me on a scavenger hunt. Dropping little clues in front of me until I piece it all together. This happened recently at Bead Fest spring - let me take you through the process.

It started with these delicious enameled discs by Anne L. of Gardanne Beads. She had posted them in her FB sales group and I loved them - but what to do with them? So at Bead Fest I go to see them in person...

enamel discs by Anne of Gardanne beads

In my travel jewelry tote - because OF COURSE you pack really cool stuff to wear when vending (or attending) a bead show - I had these earrings by Melissa Manley. I met Melissa as I took her classes at Art Bliss a few years back. We have been friends and kindred spirits since that night! (Note to self - do not stay up too late drinking wine with your new friend when you have to be hammering in her class the next morning...) I adore her sense of color, and use of translucent enamels.You may have seen her book, Jewelry Lab?  
Inspiration earrings by Melissa Manley
Hey - Muse lights the light bulb! THIS style earring construction with THOSE enamel discs. OK! And it suits me - I like the inside of the discs where there are subtle color variations. You could use these discs facing either way... hang on. I will show you what I did. Its simple and ingenious!
(Thanks Melissa!)


20 gauge sterling wire
torch/green scrubby/polishing pad
miscellaneous beads: spacers and gems
size 8 seed beads (matte black)
size 2 crimps/pliers
bur cup tool thingee
chasing hammer/bench block

To engineer the earring.... 
1. Cut 6" lengths of wire. Ball the ends. Pickle and or polish as you normally do... 

2. Play with possible arrangements. I wanted to have a pop of interest inside the disc, but not take the attention away from the enamel. And not cover too much either...
Endless opportunities: (from top left) copper flower spacer, vintage Lucite flower, turquoise, hematite flat rondelle, sterling bead cap, copper and mother of pearl heist bead. 
I have a motley collection of leather bits and pieces - from Lindsay and other friends that work in leather. I love a little piece as a contrast, and a new texture. Now - using this amount at a time I have enough to last me a dozen life times...

Leather scraps
3. Decide on your combinations and thread them all together on your balled wire.
first batch ready to go
scraps of leather for a visual contrast
4. Slide on an 8 and a crimp, snug against the disc. Squeeze it flat with pliers. Hard. This secures your pieces against the head pin.

5. Shape your ear wire. Hammer/ work harden the ear wire at the bend with your chasing hammer. Now your ear wire will maintain its shape during wear. 
6. Trim wire to desired length - leaving a bit long as the counter balance to the earring. Smooth wire end with bur cup so it will be gentle on you ear.
Form the ear wire shape. Get a manicure!
Now - my local gallery had been asking me for more enameled earrings... so this is very timely. These pretties are off to The Palette and the Page this week! Its a pleasure to work with such gorgeous components and I hope you find this informative and/or inspirational. Until next time...
Ready to deliver to the gallery

Thursday, April 28, 2016

May Component of the Month Giveaway and Challenge - Baby Cabochons!

It's my turn to do the Component of the Month, and I have selected Baby Cabochons!  Since everyone here at AJE is mad for seed beads, I thought these would be a good challenge! 

Of course, you don't have to use seed beads - you can bezel set these as well.  I'm sure you can also come up with even more uses for them!  These cabochons measure between 9 and 12mm.  They vary in height as well.  Do you want to play?  Here are the rules: 
  • I will give away 2 sets of 3 baby cabochons (you will receive a random set) to 2 winners selected randomly from those who leave a comment below this post. Your comment MUST include your EMAIL AND BLOG address so we can contact you should you win.
  • Please — only leave a comment if you can commit to creating a finished piece and blogging about it on the reveal date.
  • The names of the 2 winners will be announced on Monday, May1, 2016.
  • This giveaway is open to US and international countries, but please be aware that these will be posted from the US and international addresses will have longer postage times… sometimes up to 3 weeks.
  • The blog reveal will take place on Tuesday May 31, 2016.
I will also have random sets of these baby cabs available in my SueBeads Etsy store for purchase if you don't get chosen but want to play along as well.

I look forward to the reveal!

Susan Kennedy

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Paper cutting

I don’t know about you but I consider myself some what of a craftaholic!
Every few months I stumble upon some form of craft (thank you Pinterest) that I want to try and then before I know it I am weighing up the pro’s and con’s, which go something like this…. Do I have enough room for the materials required (properly not, I have beads and jewellery tools every where), Is it going to cost me a fortune to get started (normally yes), Is it some thing that I will lose interest in after just one go (more then likely) etc….
and then there was paper cutting!!!!!

Basic Supplies
Cutting mat, blade and paper surely that won’t take up much room or cost a lot!??! And thats where I was wrong! Yes the stuff to start you off is very cheap compared to most hobbies but then like all good crafts the better you get, the more you learn and the more expensive things become! You start to want better quality paper… Oh, that hammered paper has such a lovely texture and then there is coloured paper and you know you need ALL of the colours....

So Much Colour
Then what are you going to cut? So you go in search of templates, first off it’s the free ones and there are LOTS and LOTS of them and yes they are great but they are just a way to get you hooked because once you see the AMAZING designs and templates the professional paper cutters are selling well it’s the same feeling when you see amazing beads! I really do NEED that one!!!

Free Templates by Paper Panda and SLS Creative
You see how much the originals sell for and gasp, thats a lot of money, so a few pounds for a stunning template is a bargain really! You choose a few that you like and happily cut away for hours and the fun dose not stop there….

"Whiskers" the hare wonderful design by Paper Story
Because then there are infills, oh the colours to choose from and glitter paper!!!

Design by the Amazing Paper Panda
And framing, what kind of frame to use? Should I use that cool floating idea that I saw on one of the many Facebook paper cutting groups that I now follow? So many choices, and if there are no infills and if I am not going to float it then I need to choose backing paper (paper stash just increased ten fold).

Paper Panda Wizard of Oz Collection (backed with an old looking map and ruby slippers)
Next comes the where to hang it, then before you know it you are out of places to hang any more so they become birthday/christmas gifts

Designs by Wild Child Design
and you suddenly have a folder full of cut designs and several books on the subject with no idea of what you are going to do with them all. But in defence of my paper cutting addiction it is very relaxing and cheaper then therapy!!!

I would love to know if any of our readers are serial craft-a-holics too?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Birthday Celebration Winner!

As you may recall, we decided to celebrate our 4th birthday by surprising one lucky person who commented about why they like to read AJE. 

And the lucky winner is....


Sasha Crow! Congrats Sasha! If you see this, please email with your snail mail address at jennifer.glassaddictions @ (remove spaces) 

Thanks for helping us celebrate! 
Your AJE Team

Monday, April 25, 2016

Use Paypal Invoicing!

Recently, in a selling group on Facebook that I belong to, the topic of using PayPal INVOICING (instead of REQUEST MONEY) to make it easier for your customers to determine what the invoice is for, and who it was from, was brought up.  I thought this was a great topic and thought I'd show you how easy it is to use.

When you log into your paypal account, you have the following screen:

Go to the TOOLS section, and choose INVOICING.

In the upper right hand corner, you will see a tab CREATE NEW INVOICE. Click on that option.

Here's what you will see.

You can go through and customize your templates, but you don't have to.  If you don't want to upload a logo, you don't have to! 

To begin, click in the BILL TO: section and add the person's email address that you wish to send the invoice to.

I just put in for an example!  Next, go down to the row that says DESCRIPTION.  Here is where you will list what the person purchased.

Notice there are two ways you can do this.

1.  Add the item (in my example, Headpins x 3) and add the total for all the headpins in the price section (in this case, $30 for three sets of headpins).

2.  Add the item (in my example, Beads - Sets of 5) and then add how many in the quantity line (in this example, 3) and paypal will add the total for you. 

If you click on ADD/REMOVE DETAIL you can customize your invoice and your view.

In my case, I'm happy with the way the invoice already comes from PayPal, so I'll stick with that.  Next, you can add a DISCOUNT - say you are giving someone a 10% customer loyalty discount (or whatever) just add the discount percent in the correct box.

In this case, I showed a 10% discount.  Next, add your shipping.  I'm going to add $4.

Notice how the application is adding everything for you - you barely have to do any work except for typing in your items and numbers!

Next, add a note to make the invoice more personal!

You can also add terms and conditions, if you like.  I chose not to do this.  Finally, you can even add photos to your invoice.  The item called ATTACH FILES will allow you to add a photo(s) to your invoice, so you customer can reference exactly what they are paying for!   Just click on ATTACH FILES, and it will allow you to access your photos - choose one or several to add them to the invoice. 

Finally, you have the option to PREVIEW, SEND or SAVE your invoice. If you PREVIEW, you will see what your customer will receive - minus the photos; they can click on the photo image icon to see the photos.  If you SAVE, you can save it as a draft or a template.  And then SEND will send your invoice right away!

There are other options within this INVOICE application, things you may or may not need to run your business. You can explore them as your time permits; I hope this small tut helped you see that using the INVOICE option in PayPal is quick and easy, and really a good choice for your customers.  It allows them to see who they purchased from, what they purchased, and the totals in an easier manner - some people buy many items on Facebook and this makes it easier to see who is requesting money from them! 

Susan Kennedy

Friday, April 22, 2016

Beadslide! Torbeado! Beadvalanche!

Natural disaster has struck my beading world!  The byproduct of working full-time, dancing several days a week, and having multiple creative outlets means that sometimes I skip that necessary step of creating...putting things away.  I have so many ideas and so many projects I want to work on...but it's so hard to get motivated when you know that even one bead you need for a project is buried in a heap of things waiting to be put away (not to mention the needles and thread!).  It's gotten more out of hand than normal the point that I really HAVE to get all this dealt with, just so that I can walk into my craft room and use, well, anything!

So today, I thought I would share with you how I take this crazy, overflowing, beautiful mess, sort through everything and get it all put away.  It all starts here:
This is a 24x48x8" under bed box, overflowing and stacked about 12" higher than the sides of the bin.  As I work on projects, pause, or finish, the overflow beads end up in here, along with materials, beading tools and supplies, and sometimes partially finished projects do too!  Normally, I tend to put everything away about every 4-6 weeks (or when we have a guest) - that seems to be a manageable time frame.  In that time frame, my overflow box will end up being a bin closer to shoe box size.  This mess though...has been developing since before Christmas, which means it's going to take more of a strategic attack to sort and put away.
I store all of my beads very compactly in regular storage boxes on a big shelf (pet peeve - I detest storing air).  For the most part, I have each box labeled, and shelved with other boxes in the same broad category.  This means that the easiest way for me to sort out a disaster and put things away is to start sorting into broad categories:
Seed beads, glass, ceramic, metal, organic, stone, plastic, stringing material, tools, ufo/wip, etc.
Also, apparently I left my floor cushion unused for too long, and my supervisor took up residence...

I start out designating open bins for each broad category.  I know some categories will need bigger containers than others, so I try to plan accordingly because it's disruptive to have to recontain or add a new container for a category in the middle of sorting.
Eventually I get down to just the loose beads and bits and bobs in the bottom of the container.  I scoop it all into a smaller container to sort later so that I can get into the main part of the project - putting things away!  This part is both the most work, and the most fun!  I choose a category to start with, and pull the pertinent boxes off the shelf.  Depending on the category, each box will either be material or color specific, so I will sort each bin into the correct box as I pick up each item/bag/strand/etc.
Stray seed beads, seed beads sorted into boxes.
Glass of all types ready to be put away, organic materials and stones/fossils, all ready to be sorted into the boxes.
Sometimes this step in the process doesn't quite go as planned...usually due to shopping.  Even when I'm not beading regularly, new beads still end up making it into my collection on a regular basis.  This can become problematic when I end up with more beads than I previously had stashed in the appropriate box.  Now I have to decide - do I stash the overflow in a different box?  Or, do I rehome the whole category into a new box?!?  Oh, the dilemma!

Ahhhhhh, when it's done, it's so beautiful -carpet to walk on and nice orderly boxes full on the shelves.  There is so much potential tucked away in these boxes!  And now that the beads are out of the way, I have a lovely empty bin that I can store my fabric that I can access it easier for sewing new doll clothes...which reminds me...I need to clean off the sewing table...
Surely, I'm not the only creative person that has these issues!  What do you do when your materials take over?  Do you have any tips or tricks to share?  Any brilliant idea for storing spools of wire and leather, because I'm still stumped on that one...  We would love to hear from you!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Quick Trip To Bead Fest Spring

Back on April 9th, I took a trip out to PA for the final Bead Fest Spring (don't worry, the August show isn't going anywhere). April
When we crossed the NJ border into PA, it started snowing.  As we got closer and closer to the show the weather got worse.  Mother Nature was not kind.

Scenes from the show
In my short 2.5 hours at the show, I was fortunate enough to see some friends including Jenny Davies-ReazorStaci Louise SmithLeslie Rogalski/Sleepless BeaderGreg Ogden/Green Girl Studios, Claudia Warszawski, Linda Escobar Panagopolus and many more!

MyElements by Yvonne
It was also great to see Yvonne Irvin-Faus/MyElements back vending the show!  She brought a TON of her YUMMEEz with her!  I couldn't resist them!

The Haul
As you can see, I wasn't lying when I said I couldn't resist them!  I also came home with goodies from Jenny and some Green Girl pieces.

Ezel Findings Beading Pal
This was the big purchase though.  I FINALLY got an Ezel Findings Beading Pal.  My friend Meg at Bead My Love was at the show and she had a nice selection of them for sale.  I decided to go with hot pink.  I love this thing!  It makes traveling with your bead project so easy and convenient! I'll be taking this on the bead cruise for my bead embroidery/weaving class.

So this may have been one of the quickest trips to BF Spring ever, thanks to the oddly-timed spring snowstorm.  I'm just glad I got to spend a couple hours with my bead friends.  Looking forward to spending a weekend with them at Bead Fest August!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

It's Our 4th Birthday and We Have a Surprise!

Thanks to Facebook's memories app, I was reminded that we kicked this project off April 17th, 2012. In that time, we've published over 1200 blog posts, hosted about 40 Component of the Month design challenges, an earring challenge, and several other challenges. We're written a plethora of tutorials, shared successes and failures. We love what we do and are so excited to continue. 

So to celebrate our birthday, we are going to select one lucky person to win all the components shown below:

How do you win? Leave a comment by this Saturday, April 23, 11:59 PM telling us why you like to read AJE. Edited to add: PLEASE leave an email or some way to contact you as clicking your name doesn't always give us any way to contact you! 

Monday, April 18, 2016

A New Joy

I have always loved teaching friends whether it was sewing, cross stitch or even making paper twist dolls.  It was fun to see the A-HA moments they have had.  I had wanted to get into teaching beading but the opportunity has never worked out.  So when the opportunity came to teach needle felting I jumped at the chance.

I told you in my last post about visiting a local shop looking for wool roving.  The owners Libby and Deb are so welcoming and they both have their specialties,  Deb is the rug hooking teacher and designer and Libby is the teacher of all things knitting and crochet.  They were both very enthusiastic about needle felting but neither had the time to learn so they approached me. The first thing I needed to do was pick a project.  I needed to pick something that I felt would get people excited and have all the elements to get them started with needle felting.

I choose the bear as the first project.  I knew it would be a challenge but it had so many of the elements needed.  Attaching limbs, shaping the head and adding eyes and noses.  The next step was to get a good idea of the amount of supplies needed.  I thought that would be tricky but I realized while I was making the samples for the class I just made equal amounts of wool for each element, one for the sample and the extra to be able to give each student the right quantity,  I was so nervous.  I had never taught strangers before.  I didn't know how it would turn out.  These ladies were awesome.  They were so much fun and and very enthusiastic.

I have really found a love of teaching.  I have taught 2 sets of classes and I even had one of my student repeat the class because she loved it so much.  Here are some highlights.

What was so much fun was seeing all the personalities that each bear became.

I cant wait to teach another class.