Monday, December 28, 2009

A Letter to Nick and Joe

Many of you already know that sadness struck our family a week ago tonight. My darling, loving, talented father passed away very suddenly from an aortic aneurysm.

Tomorrow is this wonderful man's funeral, and I'm to give the first eulogy. Since many of you won't be able to come to funeral mass itself, I thought that I would share what I'm going to say.

Dearest Nikolaus and Joseph,

Let me first say that I'm sorry. I'm so very sorry that you only had 3 short years with your loving Grampsy Marlin, even if those years were filled with love, joy, and laughter.

In years to come, I'm sure you will come to wonder who your Grampsy was. You hear many of the same words used over and over that described him: gentle, kind, giving, and loving. These are all true, but if you really want to know who your Grampsy Marlin was, all you have to do is look inside yourselves and at each other. Everything that your Grampsy was runs strong in each of you, and we all can see so much of him in you.

Joseph, in you can see your Grampsy Marlin's love of building. When you very precisely build your Lego pyramids, or block towers, that is your Grampsy's love of building coming through. All corners are square, and everything always needs to be “just so”. As I leaf through your coloring books, I always know who colored what. If a picture is colored precisely in the lines and is done in one color, I know that my dear Joe colored it, making his Grampsy proud, by always coloring in the lines. The concern you show for the neighborhood children when one of them falls down and gets a “boo boo” is also something that your Grampsy would have done. Reaching out a hand, to lift someone up.

Nikolaus, your sense of humor is so much like your Grampsy Marlin's, I find it startling at times. Like your grandfather, you walk through life with a mischievous twinkle in your blue eyes, and a smile on your lips that radiates to the entire world, welcoming them in, and wanting to be friends with everyone. The houses and rooms you design with your Lincoln Logs made him so very proud, and he loved playing with you. Nothing would make him happier, also, than having you crawl into his lap with a book and ask him to read it to you. He, too, loved to read, and loved books.

But the similarities aren't divided between the two of you. Some things you both share equally.

The small things, like your love of wearing hats, your love of singing and music, and of always wanting to have clean hands you share with your Grampsy. But there are bigger things, too. The empathy that you share so readily with everyone—when those around you are happy, you're happy. When those around you are sad or upset, you want to cheer them up, or console them. Grampsy hated seeing anyone sad.

Your deep and abiding love of family and the human race in general reminds me everyday of the legacy your grandfather has left us.

Nothing made Grampsy Marlin happier than when he was fixing something at our house, or Grammy Rose's, and he had his two little helpers. Like the day the three of you replaced the faucet in our kitchen. And then it “magically” turned into a fountain, soaking everything and everyone. He taught you that day that it's important to make sure a job was done well, and completed.

Having the two of you toddle after him, handing him tools, whether he needed them or not, and perhaps picking up some of his expertise along the way, gave him more joy than you will ever know.

As your mommy, all I can do is hope and pray that all those things continue to live strong in you. A strong and abiding love of family and friends, a respect for authority, a lot of fun and humor, and a strong sense of community. To grow into fine men, with all of these qualities would be the greatest gift you could ever give your Grampsy and yourselves. I love you Nikolaus and Joseph, and know that your Grampsy Marlin is smiling down from Heaven, and helping to guide you everyday of your lives.

All my love,


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Operation Utilize Supplies (OUS)

I have a confession to make.
I'm a craft hoarder. The reason why my office/craft space is such a terrible mess, and terribly out of order is because I can't seem to stop buying craft supplies of many, many different kinds. I can't seem to settle on one craft. Sigh. And after I buy more supplies, I wind up not using them because I don't want to waste anything. I don't want to screw up, make a mistake, and waste (gasp) the supplies.
I have paints. I have paper. I have old books for altered book projects. I have polymer clay. I have ArtClay Silver. I have tools. I have gold and silver leaf. I have a kit to make resin cabochons, etc. I have beads. I have findings. I have wire. I have fabric. I have yarn. I have embroidery supplies. I have soap supplies. I have old watches that I have taken apart. I have stamps. I have stamp pads, inks, dyes, scissors. Pretty much, it's almost a case of if you need it or want it, I have at least a LITTLE bit of it. Somewhere. I even have old Friendly Plastic pins that I can melt down and reuse. Pens, pencils, chalks, oil pastels. Really the list is quite endless.
Crashing head to desk.
I also have about a million half finished projects. Or a quarter finished projects. Or un-started projects. Okay you're getting the picture.
So what?
Well, I came across a group of friends on Plurk who suffer from the same problem! (Yeah, I know. No big surprise.... Crafters are an odd bunch.) And one person has stepped up and issued a "Rehab" for all of us.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Beaded Branch...Not Just Jewelry Anymore!

Over 10 years ago, when I started The Beaded Branch, I focused mainly on beaded jewelry. If it had beads, and was jewelry, I was willing to try to make it. And I have made some pretty stunning pieces in my life, if I do say so myself.
However, I never gave up my love of doing other kinds of crafts, and continually experimenting. During one of my experimenting phases, I developed a brand new technique for making pendants. I thought they were pretty, and kind of unique, but I didn't know how to finish what I had started, so I set them aside.
A couple of years later, I started experimenting with them again, trying to figure out how to finish them. Once I figured out how to finish them (adding leather onto the back, and ribbon around the edging), I decided to go ahead and make them into pendants. I did, and I started offering them at craft shows. I initially called them "Faux Enameled Filigrees", but that wasn't really very catchy. So, I started talking to Melanie about what we could call these pretty pendants and pins. They had a Victorian air about them, but weren't really Victorian. They were modern looking, but still old-fashioned. We finally settled on the name Present Past Treasures.
At craft shows, they became increasingly popular. People would ooooh and aaaaah over them, and always ask how we made them. After being asked this same question several hundred times (okay, so I'm a little slow...) I decided that maybe, just maybe, writing a tutorial wouldn't be such a bad idea, so I started jotting down ideas on what goes into making Present Past Treasures. I told Melanie that we were going to write a tutorial, and start selling it. She was very excited about the idea.That was two years ago.
For two years, we struggled. We fought. We argued. We made up and would get back to work. It started out as one page of basic directions on a legal pad. We fleshed them out, sending emails back and forth on a weekly basis, and meeting almost monthly to make Present Past Treasures, taking notes of what we couldn't forget to include, where we wanted pictures, what tools we used, what worked, and what didn't. During this time, Melanie was working full time as a teacher (she still is!), and I was a full time, work from home mommy to the twins (I still am!). Once we had the directions and lists of supplies and tools written up, it came time to take pictures. For this, I enlisted my darling hubby. On his one day off, he took photos of me making a tray of Present Past Treasure pendants. He patiently shot the entire process from beginning to end.
Melanie and I then went through all the photos, found the perfect ones, editted them, and put them into the manuscript. As we were going through the writing process, we kept track of helpful hints, safety hints, and the common problems we ran into. At first, we incorporated them into the directions. We then decided, after reading through it, it was too confusing. So we took the hints out, and put them into a seperate section. Then, after reading through it again, the common problems and how to correct them became their own section.
We were never more proud than the day we designed the cover page, added our names as authors, and finished it. We sent it off to several friends of ours to be read to make sure it made sense. After a few minor grammatical changes, we sighed a huge sigh of relief, and got it ready to be listed on our Etsy and ArtFire sites. We couldn't have done it without a lot of people helping. So, we send a special shout out to the following people:

Andrea Baker of Handmade by Andrea Baker:Thanks so much for your proofreading and your wonderful suggestions!

Debbi Andersen:Your support and cheerleading has been completely invaluable!

Jennifer “Coach Ferfer” Stoll: Thanks for teaching us to dream big, and your unwavering belief in us. The Dream will come true!!!

Amanda Day: Your sense of humor, proofreading skills, and believing in us from the first time you heard of this project has been wonderful!!!

Shelley Bossert: Thanks so much for you fabulous advice on copyrighting and being such a lovely lady!

Janine Rowson: Thanks for your proofreading and keeping Theresa from becoming way too comma happy!

The Sassy Sisters in Sales: You ladies ROCK and your support and belief in us is more uplifting than we can possibly explain. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

To our Plurk Buddies: Smiles, laughter, tears, heartache, joy, celebrations. We do it all! You folks are FANTASTIC!!!!!!

Rose and Marlin Meese: Thanks for making sure everything made sense, watching Da Boys when they needed watching, and for being a wonderful inspiration to me to always reach beyond. I love you Mom and Dad.

To Melanie’s family (especially Carolyn Monger, Pamela Jessee, and Rachel Mays): If it weren’t for you bringing out the crafter in me from an early age, who knows if this ever would have been written! Thank you so much!

Tim Landow: Thanks for saying “What ever you want to do honey, you can do!” And for taking AWESOME pictures whenever I asked. And getting dinner when I was intensely writing, editing, or tired. Thanks so much honey! I couldn’t have done it without you! I love you!

Wayne Ellyson: Thank you so much for your support in everything I do. You are my number one cheerleader and I couldn’t do it without you! Love you! (“Quantum!”)

Nick, Joe, Hunter, Stonewall, Sylvester, and Tiger: to all of our kids, 2 and 4 legged. Thanks for your patience while your moms were working on this!!!! We love you more than anything or anyone!!!!!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday Challenge Update and Celebration!

First thing I'm celebrating this week is BEING OVER MY COLD!!! WOOT!!! I hate having a cold worse than anything in the world, so when I recover from one, I'm very happy!
A second thing I'm celebrating is yesterday I got my hair cut. Fairly short. It hasn't been this short in years. But it will help when it comes to time-saving. After I get out of the shower, I can have it dried and styled in about 10 minutes. LOVIN' IT!!!!

Now, onto my big celebration! My "Organization Challenge"! I have a lot to celebrate this week when it comes to that! The great thing about this book (Organize Now!) is that it has checklists. I follow the checklists, and can show you what I have accomplished and how I accomplished them!

Week 1: Organizing the Mind

1. Get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep a night.
Wow has this helped me get a better perspective on life in general! I wake up refreshed, instead of already exhausted. I feel like I can take on the day much better. I don't need as much coffee. (Okay, I still drink a lot of coffee, but that's just because I love the stuff!!!) And I feel MUCH healthier all around. Sleep is a good thing. Get your seven hours a night. Your body will love you for it!

2. Jotting down a To Do list every morning and
3. Keep a journal
I've always had a journal of some sort, and always wrote out a To Do list first thing in the morning. However, I always made the mistake of having a To Do list with over 30 things on it. Not very realistic, considering I have a house to keep in order, and kids to chase after. So, I have now combined my journal and my To Do list. It really helps to keep things more manageable. I do a "mental" dump every morning of everything that eventually needs to be done into my journal. I then take a look at the big picture, of what big projects are coming up, craft shows, and things like that. I pick out the 5 things from my journal that MUST be accomplished that day. Those 5 things become my To Do list. If I finish early, I can always add something. But if I only accomplish those 5, that's okay, because I have completed a list. And that is something to celebrate!!!!

4. Limit the amount of TV you watch
The TV in our bedroom died recently, so that helps. But the big thing is, I haven't been watching that much TV lately, except for PBS Kids and PBS Sprout. Great shows for kids. Less so for adults. VERY annoying. So, I now schedule TV time for ME! Now, I get to watch one or two shows that I like every afternoon. Which is a good thing, because I think our DVR was about to explode from all the shows that are on there. And it's a wonderful panacea to my frazzled brain. Watching an episode of Ghost Hunters or Dr. Phil or Destination Truth clears my brain of The Little Einsteins, Clifford the Big Red Dog, and The Wiggles.

5. Schedule 2 or 3 two-minute breaks throughout the day and
6. Practice meditating

I have started combining these two. I sit on my screened in porch, and clear my mind for a couple of minutes. I breathe deep and slowly, with my eyes closed, and listen to the sounds of nature around me. I allow myself to relax. This has been so very helpful, and I can get back to my "center". It invigorates me when I return back to whatever task I have next on my list of things to do.

7. Schedule exercise time.
Bad me, I haven't done this yet. But I will. As soon as life calms down a little bit.

8. Schedule "Me Time"
I've always been an advocate of this for everyone. After a day of being on call to what seems like everyone in the world, I need some time away from everyone and everything. Every evening, after dinner, my hubby is now in charge of getting everything ready for bedtime for the boys. He has to prep the nursery, get sippy cups filled with water, and start to pick up toys. I get to go take a long, hot, bubble-filled bath, with a good book or relaxing music. It's always been my favorite time of the day.

9. Eliminate energy drainers--clutter, trash, projects that will never get done due to loss of interest, things like that.
Okay, I'm still working on this. Pretty much, this encapsulates my entire house. But I'm working on it. Slowly.

10. Take better control of your time.
I'm having a little trouble doing this. The boys are very demanding at times, and it really interrupts my work flow. HOWEVER--since I have only 5 things on my To Do list at any given time, I'm getting a little better at this. I'm hoping that soon I'll be able to find a schedule and stick to it!!!!

Now we skip ahead to:

Week 14: Organize you Crafts

This project I'm realizing is going to have to be on going though out this challenge. There is so much STUFF in the craft room/office that sometimes I can't see the forest for the trees. I am trying to cut down some of those trees, however.

Recently, I cleared a small space in the middle of the craft room, and did a slow 360, really seeing things as they are, not just looking around. One thing I saw was a box of soap making supplies that have been through 2 moves, and are now collecting dust. I got online, contacted one of my soap-making friends, asked if she wanted a bunch of old supplies I don't need anymore, and now they are boxed up, ready to go into the mail next week. She called it a "Random Act of Kindness". I call it "Decluttering" and "Moving Stuff to Someone Who Will Actually Use It." But, whatever works! LOL. So, soon I'm hoping to see some more pretty soaps coming from Mary at Satisfy Your Senses. I can guarentee she'll be having some new soaps sometime in the future! (LOL)

So, what's the message there? If you have a bunch of old supplies you don't need or don't want--find someone who does. Find someone who has that interest and pass the stuff on to them. It's a twofold reward: You clear out space, and your friend will aquire new supplies, at no cost. (Yeah, that's the key--GIVE the supplies. Don't SELL them. The karma that comes back will be wonderful! Plus, it gives warm, fuzzy feelings for all involved.)

My jewelry supplies are an ongoing battle. And will for awhile. But small dents are being made, and everytime I bag, label, and put away another set of beads, or piece of jewelry, I'm one step closer to my goal. Baby steps. Not huge strides. But even baby steps can get me somewhere.

Next week: Week 14 (Organize your Crafts) (I did say this is going to be ongoing!!) and Week 2: Organize your Schedule.

Keep your sand blue and have a great week!!!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Challenge Update and Celebration Friday

Hi all. I know I promised an update on the "organizational challenge" to myself. Whoops. Guess what? As a lot of you know from Plurk, I was sick all week. NOT a good time to start a project.
However, it is Friday, and I do have a lot to celebrate, so I will be celebrating today!!

I am celebrating that I am almost over my cold. Still a little snuffly. Still a little cough. But a LOT more energy than I had before. Which is a great thing. Because that means I can still accomplish a lot today. (If I can get this monkey off my back, namely Nick! LOL)

I am celebrating my wonderful friends! Mostly, my WONDERFUL friend Andrea Baker. She pretty much emptied out her Etsy store so that I can try to sell some of her wonderful products at two of my upcoming craft shows, Old Farm Day at Pleasant Grove, in Fluvanna County, VA and the Halloween Festival at Lake Monticello in Palmyra, VA. Who knows, this might be the start of something big!! I have a whole box full of goodies from her shop, business card cozies, pins, totes, bags, checkbook cozies, you name it. And each one is more beautiful than the last one. Plus, she included my custom made consultant tote. And matching pin. And matching business card cozy. I was so surprised when I opened the box and saw those, I cried.

I am celebrating my wonderful, loving family. I just feel an overwhelming amount of love for my family today. Some days are like that for me. I always love them, but sometimes, especially when I've been sick, I'm even more grateful to them for putting up with my crankiness and exhaustion.

Next week, I will be back on track. I will have a huge amount of organization done, and will be rockin' and rollin' and ready for my show next Saturday.

Until next time, keep your sand blue!!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I've Been Tagged!!

I've Been Tagged!!! I was tagged by Gail of The Blue Daisy Designs. Now I need to come up with 10 interesting facts about myself, and tag 10 other people.

Here are some interesting facts:
1. One of my early jobs was making mircofilm and microfiche.
2. I have been married for 5 wonderful years to my hubby Tim.
3. My hubby and I actually met 20+ years ago, when we were both hanging out at The Rocky Horror Picture Show in northern Virginia. We reconnected and started dating 10 years ago.
4. I collect souvenir spoons. (Or at least I used to.)
5. My two favorite colors are sage green and rose pink.
6. I am a recovering agoraphobic, drug addict, and alcoholic.
7. I have been a theater geek since I was in elementary school, and only gave it up after I had the twins.
8. I a degree in History, with a minor in English (so I can give you a well organized, well written speech on the history of the potato when asking you if you want fries with that! LOL)
9. My favorite meal is homemade root beer, macaroni and cheese, and fried fish. (The only things my mom could eat when she was pregnant with me!! LOL)
10. I have more hobbies than should be legally allowed, and am still trying to find where all of my talents lie.

And now, for those that I am tagging!

1. This Mom's Life by Andrea Baker
2. Deb's Gift Boutique by Debbi Andersen
3. Dawn Correspondence by Amanda Day
4. Alexmani Events by Kattia Gordon
5. Satisfy Your Senses by Mary Reid
6. Bold and Beautiful Party Girl by Christina Strickland
7. A Day in my Life! by Jennifer Flory
8. Fabulous Food and More by Melanie Ellyson
9. Coffee Talk with Ferf by Jennifer Stoll
10. Candles Galore and More! by Rose Stolarz

To all of those who have been tagged, simply copy and paste the "Tag your It" badge to your blog, tell us 10 interesting facts about yourself and then tag 10 others.

Remember to keep your sand blue!!!!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cranberry Tea and the Common Cold

Okay, now you've done it. You've gone and caught a cold. Just like I have. Right now. Two weeks before one of my major craft shows. Oh BLEH!!! Now what do I do?
Increase my vitamin C and zinc intake. Check.
Drink lemon and ginger tea. Check.
Call my mom and have her bring over some regular old cranberry juice to make one of the best helps for a cold possible. CRANBERRY TEA!
Mom and I swear by it. It's warming, it's comforting, and it's chock full of all those groovy things like Vitamin C and anti oxidents and all that other good stuff that cranberries have. Plus, it is YUMMY, if you like cranberries.
There are two versions of the recipe here. One is the original, and one is the updated, easier version. Here they are:


4 C water
12 whole cloves
2 short cinnamon sticks
4 Tbls honey or sugar
4 regular teabags (black tea works best)
2 C cranberry juice

Heat water, cloves, cinnamon, and sugar to boil. Remove from heat, add tea bags, cover pan and allow to steep. When steeped for as long as you like, add cranberry juice, and reheat.

and now,

Follow recipe as above except OMIT the cloves and cinnamon sticks. Exchange the regular black tea bags for Chai tea bags. Make sure you use honey, not sugar.

That's pretty much it. It makes so darn much that while I am drinking my first cup, I will put the rest in the refrigerator. It tastes just as good in the microwave. It's a yummy treat on a cold day, or when you have a nasty cold.

(cough, hack, wheeze.... aaaahhhhh chooooo!!!!) Excuse me, I think I'm going to go start brewing the chai so that it will be ready when mom shows up with the cranberry juice!!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Who's up for the challenge?????

Greetings all! Yes, it has been awhile since I've posted, but life does get in the way something! ;-)

Because of this, I have decided to issue myself a challenge. This is multilevel challenge, and here is how it is going to work, and the reasons behind it.

The first part of the challenge encompasses my house and life in general. Quite awhile back, I posted that I wanted to organize my office/craft space. Since that time, it has NOT gotten better. In fact, it has gotten worse. My entire house seems ready to implode with mess and disorganization. It has gotten to a point where even my mom has made some comments on it. And, bless her heart, has decided to help me out. She purchased this WONDERFUL little book for me, "Organize NOW!" by Jennifer Ford Berry. (It can be purchased here through Amazon)

This fabulous book is broken up by weeks. 52 chapter, 52 weeks. One week to organize one room or section of my life. Okay, I'll admit, some sections might take longer than one week. But for some sections, it will take less, so it will all even out in the end. I hope. :-)

Because I know what my bigger problem areas are (coughs, sounding just like "craft room"), I will be skipping around in the book, somewhat. I kind of have the feeling that once I get those areas organized, and everything dealt with, the rest won't seem so daunting.

I did say that this is a multi-level challenge to myself right? Well, here is the second part of my challenge. Each week, I will give an update on this journey of organization, and I will take you, my readers, on this trip with me. I will share with you my successes, joys, heart aches, and pitfalls of this journey. (This will guarantee that I will blog at least once a week. At least for a year.) I will include before and after pics of the rooms. I will even try to keep a running list of supplies that I used. And stuff that I'm getting rid of. (Who knows, I might even offer some of it up for sale....) I'll try to include places where some of the things can be bought. Be forewarned however, that I might not always do that. I have TONS of organizing stuff around my house that is NOT being utilized right now. Most of it, I'm not even sure where I got it. Or if it's available anymore. However, I will try to do my best. ;-)

Each Friday, I will try to post, let you know what I have accomplished, and what my next challenge will be. If you decide to join me on this year long challenge, you can get the book, and join in, creating a challenge of your own.

I am hoping that on this trip, I will learn more about myself, and learn how to let go of things. I am sure that I will scream, cry, and cuss a lot. But I am equally sure that by the end of the year, life will be a little easier, and my house will be a little easier to take care of.

Since I have cheated a little (you folkes that I talk to on Plurk already know this!!) next week will be a two for one special deal. I will be covering TWO sections:
Week 1--Organize Your Mind AND Week 14-- Organize Your Crafts

A lot of you know that the company that makes my jewelry pricing software went belly up, and can't be found anywhere. Instead of trying to struggle through with software that has many glitches in it, I am now utilizing two pieces of software: one for the actual jewelry I make, and the other for pricing out jewelry PARTS that I make (pendants, beads, chain maille rings, etc.). It will cut down on the confusion in my mind. But since I have already started transferring data, I'm also having a perfect opportunity to update, consolidate, and organize a lot of my supplies. So, yes, the journey has begun. And like I said, I will be keeping you up to date on everything.

Until next week, keep dreaming of blue sand!

Monday, July 20, 2009

The OMG, I Couldn't Be Happier Purchase

Have you ever come across something while shopping, either online or in a store, and KNEW that if it was yours you'd be so very happy? That one special thing, whatever it was, that you look at, smile, and say "That would really brighten up my day!"

I had something like that. I came across it while "window shopping" on Etsy. I had been looking for a purse. And not just any purse. It had to be fun. It had to be big, but not too big. It had to have pockets. It had to have color and pizazz. I like pizazz. And it had to be something different. Something I hadn't seen before. Something new and unique. (Since entering the world of handmade selling, I have gotten the bug of liking "unique" more and more.)

And then, I discovered it. The elusive bag I had been hunting for. And I knew that oh, yes, this bag, this gorgeous, fun creation would one day be mine.

I love the polka dots. I love the brocade look. I love the hot pink. I love the denim.

When the day finally came that I could order it, I was walking on cloud 9! I actually got a little giddy and light headed I was so excited! And the day the purse came in the mail, I though I had died and gone to heaven. I darn near slept with it that night. But my hubby wouldn't let me. I had never found a purse so perfect for me. Look at the number of pockets inside!!! It's awesome! I can cart my wallet, my cell phone, my checkbook, all the little "necessities" of being a woman, and I'm not loaded down. I can even fit a small notebook in it! WHOO HOOO! And when I'm running out the door with the twins, I can shove their sippy cups in the there, too, and not have any problem what so ever!!!

Who made this wonder of wonders, this purse extraordinaire? None other than Andrea Baker of Andrea Baker Designs ! Her sense of color and style is so unique and fun, you just have to see it to believe it! The quality is AMAZING, as is her customer service. I HIGHLY recommend purchasing any of her products. You will NOT be disappointed.

As a matter of fact, I'm now trying to get together the money to get a couple of business card cozies from her, a consultant tote, and a couple of her custom designed aprons for when I do craft shows. Take a look around at her shop. She always had new goodies coming up!!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Independence Day/Christmas in July Sale

Everything in my both of my stores is 20% off for the entire month of July!!!!

Here's a successful July for all of us!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Scottsville Batteau Festival

For 24 years, there have been groups of people that have recreated a trip along the James River in central Virginia in boats called batteaux or bateaux. (There seems to be some debate if there is one "t" or two. )

What is a bateau?
From Wikipedia :A bateau is a shallow-draft, flat-bottomed boat which was used extensively across North America, especially in the colonial period and in the fur trade. It was traditionally pointed at both ends but came in a wide variety of sizes. The name derives from the French word, bateau, which is simply the word for boat and the plural, bateaux, follows the French, an unusual construction for an English plural. In the southern United States, the term is still used to refer to flat bottomed boats, including those elsewhere called jon boats.

In the 1800's, they were used to transport tobacco and other cargo along the James River, and today, there is a week long festival and batteau (bateau, or even batoe, take your pick!) race. The crews of the boats travel for seven days, and leave from Lynchburg traveling to Maiden's Landing in Richmond. It's a week long celebration of the rich history of the river, and the people who worked on it.

One of the stops along the river is a small town named Scottsville. It it is about midway through the trip, and the town hosts a wonderful craft show, complete with music, activities for kids, and yummy food. It is a delightful day, held in Canal Basin Square, a lovely park, dedicated to the history of Scottsville, and not surprisingly, batteaux.

This will be the second year that The Beaded Branch will be a vendor at the craft show. If you live nearby, and have a chance to come on down, please do. It's a great day/evening for the family.

Here is a link with more information on the batteau festival:
Here's a link for the town of Scottsville's participation:

We hope to see you there!!!!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Sassy Affair Shopping Extravaganza

Mark your Calendar and plan to attend:

A Sassy Affair Shopping Extravaganza

Sponsored by Sassy Sisters In Sales

June 27, 2009

11:00- 3:00 pm EST

Various vendors representing a variety of products. There is something for everyone. Games, Prizes, Special Deals, Exclusive Savings! Invite your friends - they won't want to miss this either! All of our guests will be entered for a chance to win fabulous prizes , but you must REGISTER !!!!!!!

Event will take place on In the menu select Chat rooms, enter your name, no password needed. Once logged in you'll be in "the lounge". At the top of the box click on the arrow & choose the room assigned to a Sassy Affair. Sit back and enjoy the fair! Chime in with questions or comments anytime.

If you are a vendor and are interested in participating, go to Sassy Sister Events and submit a vendor form. This is a free event. Your only requirements are to submit a prize (see terms for more details ) and you must publicize the event on your blog or other social sites.

Here's the schedule so far!

You will have to visit the site, or come to the party to get full details of each special.

11:00 - 11:15 Meet & Greet

11:15-11:45 Inspiranza Designs with (Independent Consultant) Jennifer Stoll

11:45-12:15 Jean May Originals with (Business Owner/Creator) Jean May

12:15-12:45 Perfect Party By Cody with (Representative) Kattia Gordon

12:45-1:15 Satisfy Your Senses with (Business Owner/Creator) Mary Reid

1:15-1:45 Mommy's Sunshine Designs with (Business Owner/Creator) Christina Strickland

1:45-2:15 Handmade by Andrea Baker with (Business Owner/Creator) Andrea Baker

Special: Free Shipping All day during the event Saturday!! Must put sassyeventfreeshipping in the notes to seller.

2:15-2:45 The Beaded Branch with (Business Owner/Creator) Theresa Landow

2:45 - 3:00 Closing & Prizes

Come Join The Fun!

Friday, May 29, 2009


The FREERIDE is back at Artfire. Sign up 12 friends and you AND a friend of your choosing get a free account for life.

I'm also looking for a free ride.
Sign up under one of my friends links and as soon as they verify that you joined under them I will add your name to my list of friends to help. Also, let me know as soon as you have reached your Free Ride so that I can take your name off the list, so everyone gets a fair chance at it!!!

Register on smiss00
Register on Wooleycreek
Register on Baciscreations
Register on TheBeadedBranch
Register on ElegancebyMode
Register on Lovetostamp
Register on LaDeDaCreations
Register on WhimsybyMari
Register on CreativeCoveJewelryDesigns
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Register on BirdysKnits
Register on LiberTeas
Register on inkwear99
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Register on dreamweaversculpts
Register on Wilmothfarms
Register on LiciaBeads
Register on soopajdelux
Register on Blockheadradio
Register on AllAboutTheBeads
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Register on DortheaKing
Register on VintageRain
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Register on jennuinecandles
Register on DontKnowPub
Register on LadyBands
Register on TheBlueDaisy

Here are the benefits of becoming a verified user...

* US $12.00 Monthly For life!!!!
* No Fees for Sales
* Sell Unlimited Items
* Make Your Own Categories
* Full Community Interaction
* Up to 10 Pictures Per Product
* Prefered Placement in Searches
* Shop Banner
* Forums
* Custom
* Google Analytics
* Global Shipping Profiles
* Social Media Promotion Tool
* Social Media Resource Library
* Real Time Statistics
* Instant Flagging
* Categories Displayed Randomly(No Relisting Needed)
* Fast, Clear Checkout Process
* Fast, Accurate Filtered Site Search
* One Button Relist
* One Button Vacation
* Sales Mode
* Education/Training
* Green Impact
* View Prices in Any Currency
* Google Base (Autofeed Every Item)
* Kudos
* Guilds
* Artisan Councils
* Artisan Profile with Photo
* Market Hub
* Site Participation Rewards (Artifacts)
* Automated Markdown Manager
* Rapid Cart


Thursday, May 28, 2009

New Selling Venue--ArtFire

Hi everyone!!!

Are you looking for a new place to sell your handcrafted items? Someplace that's inexpensive, fun and helpful? A place where you can actually customize your store so that it can match your logo, your banner, and your general color scheme? Look no further! ArtFire is the place for you!!!

With a wonderful verified account (for only $12.00 per month) you can upload up to 10 pictures of your products. Write out wonderfully long descriptions, submit directly to a bunch of different social networks. The list is endless for what ArtFire helps out with. They make promoting your products as easy as a click of a button. (Because most of the time, that's all you have to do!!!)

They also have a really cool gizmo called "rapid cart". You can put this on your blog, your website, where ever you can insert different widgets. People can buy your products directly from the rapid cart. No need to register on the ArtFire website first. How cool is that? No need to register to buy stuff? A lot of custotmers are going to like that!!! (You can see what my rapid cart looks like over on the right hand side!!!)

So, is this tempting to you? Are you ready to sign up for a fabulous studio of your very own?

Register on

Saturday, May 23, 2009

What's for Sale Saturday

Hi all! Teri here, once again. I've decided that on Saturdays I will start to take a little time and tell you about new products that have been added to The Beaded Branch, new selling venues, and whatever else is new the world of The Beaded Branch.

So, what's new this week. A lot actually. This week, we have done some serious branching out, as it were.

New products: We have added some of the cutest bags you have ever seen, and hope to be adding many more in the near future. We call these bags our "bug bags", but they have also been known as "cicada bags". They are perfect little bags for when you need to run to the store, but don't want to have to take your entire purse with you. Big enough to store keys, credit/debit cards, cell phone, drivers license, and some cash. Small enough to not encumber you. Just slip it over your wrist and go! We have them in a variety of colors and hope to add more in the near future.

New venue: The Beaded Branch has also opened a store on ArtFire, which is another online selling venue. We will not have as much in our store to begin with, but hopefully, as we make more sales, we will be able to more pieces.

Between these two new additions we hope that we can make your shopping experience with us a little easier, and a little more pleasant, by offering you a wider variety of choices.

This isn't really a new venue, as I have talked about the Palmyra Country Store before, but now I have a new display up there, with all new jewelry.

Just to reiterate, the Palmyra Country Store is not only a fabulous place for local crafters to sell their wares, it's also a great place to buy bulk food. It's very family oriented, and they have wide aisles that the kids love running up and down. (Yes, that's my darling hubby, Tim, trying to wrangle our two kids.)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sand Is Always Blue

A little girl sits alone in her room coloring. Her coloring book is open to a page that has a wonderful picture of a seagull, flying over a stretch of beach. She can picture in her mind what colors to use. The sand, a soft lovely cornflower blue. The ocean, a beautiful shade of pink with green foam. The seagull, all the shades of purple and lavender her crayon box holds. The sky, a deep forest green, with bright yellow clouds. The lines are only suggestions of where the colors should go. The colors will blend one into the other, and create a kaleidoscopic picture.

Just as she finishes the sand, with nothing else colored in, another child--older and "wiser"--looks at the picture.

"Sand isn't blue."


"Sand isn't' blue. It's tan, white, black, or brown. But it isn't blue. And the lines are there for a reason. Color in the lines."

Since the little girl values the opinion of the older child, she tears out the picture, crumples it up and throws it away, humiliated. The rest of the coloring book is colored in "normal" colors, and always inside the lines.

The girl grows older. She takes some summer time art classes.

"Find a picture of an animal in one of the magazines and draw it exactly as you see it."

She finds a picture of a giraffe, with its' tongue out. She takes her paper, colored pencils, and the picture and starts to sketch. Exactly what she sees.

"I told you to copy the photograph."

"No, you told us to draw what we see."

"Giraffes don't have purple spots. They aren't green. They don't have blue eyes and sparkling eyelashes. Their tongues aren't bright pink. Draw what you see."

"But this is what I see."

"I told you to copy the photograph. Now, if you can't follow simple instructions, then you will never be an artist. Do what I say."

The girl wants to be an artist, so, once again, the paper is crumpled up and thrown away. She then draws a tan and brown giraffe.

Roll forward a couple more years.

The girl is now in high school. Once again, she takes an art class. She follows directions. She plays by the rules. She does exactly what the teacher asks for.

Then one magic week happens. They study surrealism. Salvador Dali. The amazing pictures he created.

"Paint something surreal. Make it as symbolic as you want."

She paints a picture, fingers turning into paint brushes, eyes turning into paint colors on a palette. And incomplete canvas in the background, with the incomplete words "An artist lives...". Parts of the body she uses becoming the extensions of an artist. What she longs to become.

"I told you to paint something surrealistic"

"I did. See the symbolism?"

"That is disgusting. Cut off fingers and plucked out eyeballs are not symbolic of anything except possibly a disturbed mind. Do the lesson the way I told you to."

Another frustration. Another crumpled paper. Another failure.

She does another painting. Easter eggs for the paint colors. Flowers for the brushes. An unfinished bowl of fruit on the background canvas.

"Now. That's better. And now you understand what I was telling you."

Yes. The girl now understands. Conform. Bend to their rules. Become their vision or get the hell out. She gets the hell out. She hides her art. She feels lost, but never quite knows why.

She drifts for years. Unending, unsatisfying, boring office jobs. Always searching for the magic she once had in her life and never knowing where it went. Memories of disappointment and failure are buried deep.

One day, as she and her mother are watching her twins draw and color, one of them approaches and says "Grammy, draw ladybug?" He holds out a big purple crayon and a piece of paper.

"Sweetie-boy, ladybug's aren't purple. Don't you have a red crayon and a black crayon?"

Memories come crashing into the once little girl, now a grown, lost woman. She stands up, takes the crayon and piece of paper. She draws the biggest purple ladybug on the paper she can.

"Don't EVER tell MY children that ladybugs aren't purple!!!"

Her mother stares at her in disbelief.


"Don't ever tell my children to color in the lines, that anything is a certain color. If the sand is blue in their eyes, then let it be blue!"

"What on earth are you talking about?"

"I never realized where my problems were. I was always told--sand isn't blue, giraffes aren't green, fingers and eyes aren't the extensions of an artist. Do NOT fill my children's heads with that nonsense! Anything can be any color, and lines are only suggestions, not rules."

I then proceeded to go to my computer, and find a photo of a seagull on the beach. I edited it so it would be black and white, then colored the sand a soft, cornflower blue. I printed it out and hung it on my refrigerator. My husband came home from work that day, took one look at it and said "That's awesome!" I explained what happened, and he responded, "Well, it's about damn time!"

I had found my creative block. Now I chip away at it daily, almost hourly. I'm still overcoming it. But through my children's eyes, I can see purple ladybugs, blue sand, purple and green giraffes, and extensions of the artist.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Here's a quick short one.

I don't have much time today. I just thought I'd give a little update. Life is so hectic!!!
Thanks ladies for showing the world about my business.

I'm really excited, because two different people have now featured me in their blogs!!!
This one is written by liberTEAS! Thanks so much for the plug for my business!!!
The second one is from Andrea Baker, who is one of my Sassy Sisters in Sales.
Here's Andrea's Blog!

Thanks for looking!!!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Beaded Branch goes International!!!

Just a quick note to let everyone know that The Beaded Branch now ships internationally!!! SOOOOOOO, for those friends and followers who do not live within the borders of the USA, feel free to shop and buy!!!

Hugs around the world,

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Promoting Schedules.

Since I have already recieved one request for the Promoting Schedules, I have created a page on my website to download the templates.

I have them in Excel 97, PDF and the current version of Excel.

There are two ways to get to the page. Either go here , scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the "Click here for download page" link. Or click here: which should take you directly to the download page. Click on the version that will work, save it, and there are instruction for each spreadsheet on that spreadsheet.

I'm glad this is a help. Since people seem to like this, I will continue this topic for the next several weeks, or at least until I list something new on my Etsy store. ;-)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Time Management and Promoting The Beaded Branch

When it comes to promoting online, I often here the same complaint over and over again-it takes too much time, I'm never left with any time to create! This can be very true. With all the options out there for free advertising and promoting one's business that it is easy to caught up in the whirl of blogs, forums, chat rooms, and the endless list of other social networks. I jumped on the bandwagon recently and started promoting my business at every free site that I could. It soon overtook all my time. I'd find myself on the Etsy forums, reading and answering questions if I could. I'd be on Plurk chatting with my friends there (Hi Plurkrs!!! You know who you are!) I'd be visiting shops oooh-ing and aaahh-ing over the beautiful, fun, unique products I'd see. The list would go on and on and on.

The next thing I knew, my hubby would be home from work, and he would find me much as he left me in the morning. After a couple of weeks of this (yes, weeks) Tim called to my attention that things were getting a little out of control, and we needed some organization back in our lives. (Basically I think he was tired of sandwiches and mac-n-cheese for dinner!) So, I got myself back under control. I sat down, created a house cleaning schedule and checklist for the week, and a schedule for the sites that I promote on.

I opened my handy-dandy Excel spreadsheet program and got to work.

My first incarnation looked something like this:

Pretty basic, huh? All it consists of is a simple chart, that includes: Piece name, Piece Number (from my Etsy shop), Section (where listed in my Etsy shop), number of hearts each piece has, date listed, date sold, and all the sites I've promoted on.

However, this week I've realized that I belong to several more free advertising places that I had forgotten about. (Big DOH! moment for me!) Once again, I was feeling overwhelmed. Then it hit me, kind of like a giant dope slap upside the head. Until I got everything in the business under control, I did NOT need to post in these forums, etc, every single day. Time just doesn't allow for it in my life right now. So, I changed my Excel spreadsheet around a little. Here's the next incarnation of it.

Here is a list of the places that I promote on currently:

Indiespotting : This is a fun little spot where you can submit one piece a week. It gives some extra exposure to your shop, and takes about 10-15 minutes to do. There are also a lot of great things on there to see, so take some time to look around!

Indiepublic: To quote Indiepublic: "Indiepublic is an independent art and design community. If you're an artist, designer, retailer, blogger, or just someone who gets giddy when they buy indie, we've saved a seat for you!" It's a fun place, and a very warm, welcoming group. I haven't fully utilized everything that they offer, yet. I'm still trying to get all of my scheduling under control.

TalentDatabase: is another site where you can get your products seen, develop followers. This is one of the ones I forgot about, but recently have started to work on more.

MerchantCircle: is a site where you can set up all the information about your shop that you would like, post pictures, blogs, create coupons, and all sorts of interesting stuff. One of the coolest things about this site is that you hook up with other businesses that are local to you. It's another cool way to market your stuff. And if you do custom work, it's a great way to remind local businesses of this fact around the holidays, or when they are giving rewards.

Blog: There are a large number of blogging places on the web. A lot of people seem intimidated by the idea of starting a blog, especially when they hear that they should post to their blog once a day. I know that my schedule doesn't allow for that. So, I post once a week. To keep ideas rolling, I have a notebook that I keep handy so that I can write down ideas as they come to me. Waiting rooms in the doctor's office is a great place to do this. Okay, waiting rooms anywhere. I jot down notes for possible blogs, flesh out when there is time. And whenever you post a new piece or product or line, you automatically have something to write about. Talk about what issues came up, how you overcame them, how much fun it was to make it, what inspired you. Whatever! People like to hear about it.

Facebook: Think MySpace, or any other major social network page. It's a great way to keep touch with your friends and family, plus you can show off what you are working on. I have my basic Facebook page, but they also have business pages where you can advertise you business, post a blog (mine is linked to this blog, but more about that later), business information, sites you sell on, develop fans, the list is pretty much endless.

Plurk and Twitter : These are both basically social networking kinds of places. Plurk is defined as "A really snazzy site that allows you to showcase the events that make up your life in deliciously digestible chunks. Low in fat, 5 calories per serving, yet chock full of goodness." Twitter states: "People are eager to connect with other people and Twitter makes that simple. Twitter asks one question, "What are you doing?" Answers must be under 140 characters in length and can be sent via mobile texting, instant message, or the web." They are both great sites, Twitter being the more popular. I do utilize it, but not as much as Plurk, which I addicted to. I find it a little less confusing, and easier to keep up with the flow of the conversations. I keep my web browser open to Plurk all day long, and chat on and off with the friends I have met there. (Hi guys and gals!) I've met a group of wonderfully talented, caring, warm, and friendly people there. I'm learning a lot from them, and they are truly generous, fabulous and fantastic. In the future I will be introducing you to some of these totally great people! This is a great site! In their own definition: "ByHand serves as a free social network for those who make handmade and those who buy handmade." Adam and Rebecca are the geniuses behind this fabulous site. I try to post in their forum on a regular basis, and keep adding to my page there. I greatly admire them for what they have accomplished here, and the opportunities that they have given all of us! Their spotlights are fabulous too, and they always seem to be adding new goodies to their site. Just this week they have added a "wish list" feature, so you can show all of your friends what handmade products you want! (Great around birthdays and other gift giving holidays!) Thanks Adam and Rebecca, we love you guys!!!!

Handmadeology forums: This forum is just one, tiny little section to Tim Adam's huge site Handmadeology. What can say about Tim, other than he is another inspiration to all of us in the handmade world. He probably wouldn't admit it, but he is a marketing guru beyond belief, along with being a wonder metal artist. He defines his site as follows: "Handmadeology exists for the purpose of teaching artists how to successfully sell their handmade goods online. Through articles, blogs, video and screen shot tutorials, and Q & A dialogue between Timothy Adam
and followers of his work, the formula for selling handmade goods online can be learned." On Plurk there are rumors going around that he is a caffeine-driven robot, with the amount of work that he does, but it's really obvious that he is just very passionate about helping all in the handmade world, and wants us all to succeed. Thanks Tim, for all that you do!

Etsy forums: Etsy is the venue where I sell, so it makes sense to post in the forums there. They can be a great place to market, and get critiques and suggestions for bettering your store.

Well, if you add up all of these places, you will realize that there around 11 places (and counting) that I advertise. All for free. However, if I spend 1 hour a day on each site, I'm up a creek without a paddle, and will never get anything else done. So, by scheduling my time a little more wisely and only hitting one or two of these sites a day, my time is a little more widely managed. Along with using the Excel spreadsheet, I also utilize my Outlook calendar to help with "reminders". I list everything I need to do under "tasks" that are "recurring" and I'm good to go. I can mark stuff off when it's done' for the week, and I know when I'm finished for the day and go play with my pretties and create more.

I hope you have found this a little helpful. Drop me a private comment or an email if you would like a copy of my spreadsheet. We'll see what we can do to get you a copy of your own!

Until next time, keep crafting and dreaming!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Pitter Patter of Little (Angel) Feet

Angel Feet Charms have quite a history in our business.

Just over two years ago, a friend of mine told me she was pregnant, and started sending me pictures of her ultrasounds. (Okay, I'm weird, I love looking at pregnant women's ultrasounds!)
In one of those pictures, there was the perfect image of the bottom of the little guy's foot. My mind started working (always a scary prospect!), and I dug out the ultrasound pics of my own two boys. There they were, the bottom of the feet. Not as clear, but still all five little toes on each foot. Tiny little heel. Precious arch. (Smoke was pouring out of my ears at this point, I was thinking so hard!)
I grabbed a lump of polymer clay, and from those pictures, started to sculpt a tiny little foot. First, I figured out what would be the perfect size charm for a charm bracelet or pendant. (About 18 mm long) Then the research started to find an age correlation to the size of the charm. Low and behold, 15 weeks into the pregnancy, a baby's foot is about 18 mm long.
I then decided that polymer clay just didn't do it justice. It needed to be metal. Precious metal. Precious metal clay. (Okay, I actually use Art Clay Silver, but it's basically the same thing.) So, I made a mold from the polymer clay version. One mold. That's it. (I sincerely hope that I never lose it, or wears out!!!) And I started making these beautiful, tiny, fine silver feet.

The next step was to name them. Many emails among my friends. A lot of posting to my old website. About a month later, after much wrangling and thinking and talking, it was pretty much unanimous, and Angel Feet Charms were born. And it really only took about 6 months.

Now, I'm starting to offer my Angel Feet Charms and jewelry in my Etsy shop. So far, I have the twelve birthstone charms, and the five different bracelets up. I will be finessing the pictures as I go along, and improving them. But for right now, they are there, looking pretty.

By the end of next week, I'm hoping that I will have gotten the pins and the necklaces up and ready for sale, so keep checking back. I will, of course, be letting you know here, when they are up.

Until then, keep crafting and keep having fun!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

And The Changes Keep Rolling Along....

Good Wednesday morning!!!

Teri here, and I am determined to keep the changes rolling along for The Beaded Branch. So far, I have managed to move all of the chainmaille jewelry over to our Etsy shop.

When Tim gets some free time, I'm sure he'll be working on some more pieces, including earrings and necklaces. We're also hoping to be able to expand into some less expensive metals, to make them more affordable.

Here are the pieces that I have moved over to

Sterling Silver Round Maille Bracelet

Sterling Silver Heavy Flower Garden Bracelet

Sterling Silver Classic Byzantine Bracelet

The links above will take you directly to our pages in Etsy. Once there, feel free to browse around!

I am also in the process of getting ready to move my Angel Feet line over to Etsy. I'm rephotographing everything, so it's taking a little bit of time to get it all done, but I'm hoping that I'll be able to have the charms themselves moved over by the end of this week. Next week I will work on the necklaces, then the bracelets, then the pins. If I can get a little bit a head, that will be a good thing.

Step by step, The Beaded Branch is getting noticed more and more. We have, once again, been spotted at IndieSpotting, a great place to see what's being made in the handmade world! If you click on the "I've Been Spotted" box on the right, you can go right to the IndieSpotting site. It's great fun to look around.

Organizing has come to a standstill this week. Just too much other fun stuff going on, but I hope that by the end of spring I will have organized workspaces, just begging for new, beautiful pieces to made at them!

Until next week, have fun, and keep on crafting!!!!

Monday, February 16, 2009


Teri here!
New changes are coming to The Beaded Branch.

After much contemplation, and crunching numbers, and all the other fun stuff, we have decided to mover our entire stock over to our Etsy store. It will take time, because we need to take new photos of everything, and figure out more current pricing, but in about two months, it should be done.

The Beaded Branch website itself will not be shut down. It, along with here, will be a clearing house for all of the information on where to find us, and what is going on with the business. We will also have photo galleries of pieces that have been special ordered, sold, and are on sale at The Palmyra Country Store.

Right now, I am in the process of moving Tim's chain maille jewelry onto Etsy. Two pieces have been rephotographed, and listed, and I hope that in few days I should have the other 5 done.

Here are the two pieces that I have moved onto Etsy:

Carnelian Flower Garden Bracelet--A vintage carnelian bead, and handcrafted sterling silver rings woven in an ancient Japanese pattern.

Of course, along with the shift of pieces to Etsy, we are going to be implementing international shipping, once I have a few sane moments to figure out what the pricing is going to be. It is coming, I promise, and I hope that within two months we will be able to implement it.

And here is some other news:

We've Been Spotted on IndieSpotting

IndieSpotting is a site where Independant Artists and Crafters can submit pictures of their work and it can be chosen. We were lucky enough to get our Rose Shades Necklace to be on the front page today!

Well, for now, the sun is shining through the dining room window, and I don't know when that is going to happen again, so I'd better get to shooting some photos so we can offer you more goodies.

Have a good week, and I'll update you next week to everything that is going on.

PS--I'm still organizing. It has not come to a standstill, I just haven't had time to take any updated pictures. ;-) Maybe next week....

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Project Clean Up is under way!!!

Well, I promised that I was going keep everyone posted on the whole Project "Clean Up This Godforsaken Mess!". Here's the latest update.

Everything is still a mess. However, progress is slowly being made.

I have to admit, these shelves look better already. The top shelf used to hold picture frames. They are now tucked away in a closet, far out of site. We now have space to keep our mailing boxes and packing material (on the top shelf, far left). Also, we have a space for our leather scraps (second gray box from the left). The boxes are labelled, so we can see what's in them, and will take only the box we need at that moment.

These boxes are a big help (and also labelled). There are several steps that we need to take before a piece of jewelry gets to the store or on Etsy. The first box is for pieces that are finished, but need to be put into our inventory software. The next box is the "waiting room" for pieces that need photos taken for a websale. There is another box for pieces that are currently on sale at Etsy. There is a box for pieces that don't meet our expectations and need to be re-worked. There are a couple of smaller boxes for supplies. This might not be the final resting place for these boxes, but it's a start and at least they are out of way while we're cleaning. It also enables us to put pieces away that we come across while we are organizing everything.

Finally! I have found a place for all of our embossing powders and supplies. Nice, neat, and all together. This way, we can pretty much see what we have at any given moment.

Today I ordered some boxes to keep our scrapbooking paper in, which will also be a big help.

Another big step will be actually getting all of the jewelry making supplies put away into nice neat drawers that I have, I just haven't gotten organized or labelled yet.

Even though, we have been working on straightening everything up, we have not neglected our Etsy store. Teri is the process of retaking a lot of photos, because the original ones she posted on Etsy were bad. And she is also trying to get photos taken of new pieces and getting them listed.

Here is a photo of the new necklace added (Rose Shades Necklace):

Here are some pictures that have been retaken, and are about a million times better than the old ones!

Winter Snow 2 Present Past Treasure Pendant

Shades of Purple Present Past Treasures Brooch

Caribbean Summer 1 PPT Pendant

We're hoping to have more pieces up by the end of the week. Teri is working diligently on this, along with cleaning up the work areas and gettin gthem organized. It's a long, slow, uphill battle, but when we win it will be worth it!!!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Beaded Branch's Dirty Secret...

In this post I am revealing the The Beaded Branch's Dirty Secret.

WARNING: Some of the photos might cause some people a great amount of anxiety, and stress, due to a TOTAL lack of organization!!!

After reading a bunch of the forums on Etsy, I started seeing all these people that had great crafting spaces, organized, clean, and neat.

I became jealous.

Here at The Beaded Branch we don't have one nice, neat craft area. We have four areas designated for our business that is comparable to a craft bomb going off in the middle of my house.

Here's the first area, the screened in porch. This is one of the favorite places to work for me and my hubby, especially during the fall and spring. In winter in can get really cold, and in the summer it can get really hot. But those are problems easily dealt with. However, right now, it is a mess, in dire need of organization and cleaning, as can be seen here:

As you can see from these pictures, life is NOT rosy. If you look close, there is a rotary tool stand and a bench vise that are waiting to be attached to the table. There are catalogs and magazines stacked all over the table, along with mail and trash that we were too lazy to throw away. SHAME ON US!!!!

On to problem area number two, the computer area, in the living room.

The computer area, is needless to say, a mess. Nothing has been filed. It's all piling up and I'm pretty sure that we're all going drown in paper eventually. There are even jewelry parts hiding in the wreckage of the paper avalanche. Disorganization at its finest!!!! Hang our heads in shame, once again.

Onto the third area, and can you tell that it's just getting worse. Hold onto your hats! Here's the dining room table horror:

Repulsive, isn't it? Piles of supplies, beads, tools, displays, and paperwork piled up on half the table (thank goodness our kids have their own table that they eat at, or in their high chairs!). That's a microwave cabinet over there in the corner on the left. THAT is supposed to be my workstation outside the office. You'll notice that it, too is covered in random "stuff" that needs to be sorted through and thrown out. I also have a jewelers tool chest on top, but there's nothing in it right now. FOR SHAME ON ME!!!!
And now, onto the greatest horror show of disorganization of all. The office. What is supposed to be my studio. My haven. My workplace, where I can go, shut the door, shut out the world, and create to my heart's content. Yeah. Right.

Ever try to create in a space like this? Our office has become a catchall for all sorts of junk, toys that need to be repaired, half finished projects, clothes that need to be repaired, jewelry supplies and tools, and goodness knows what all.
After seeing many organized, beautiful craft spaces, I have made a New Year's resolution to get this organized, de-stashed, stuff thrown out, and everything streamlined.
So why am I revealing The Beaded Branch's dirty secret? Because, I am going to chronicle right here on this blog everything that I do to get things back in working order!
Keep checking back for updates on Project "Clean Up This Godforsaken Mess!!!", and all the steps that happen as I travel down the road of organization.
Have a good evening, and I hope the pictures weren't to frightening.

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