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!!!!!


  1. WOW!!! I am so proud to know such talented and determined women! I have heard you both talk about doing this tutorial and how it was time consuming but I never really stopped to think about how much really went in to it! I think you should include this blog in with the tutorials you sell. You know like the Intro or About the Authors! Congrats on finishing the tutorial!

  2. awwwwww Ok I have tears in my eyes with pride and joy! You Ladies Rock! Your Tutorial is fantastic! And I agree with Chris you should have it as the FWD on the tutorial!!! ::wipes tears form eyes:: and extends arms for a HUGE hug!!!

  3. What an amazing post!!!! You did an AWESOME job with the tutorial, Teri!!! xoxo

  4. I tried to post last night, but I have a hard time accessing anything from my office. It feels great to have accomplished something, and see all your hard work come to fruition. I am very proud of all of your hard work. You should be too!


  5. Wow, I missed out! This sounds like a must have tutorial--even if it is just for the blood, sweat and tears!! I'm excited to get my hands on this. Good job, ladies!

  6. Congratulations to you ladies for setting your mind aiming and completing such a massive undertaking. You ladies rock

  7. *Applause!* I'm so incredibly proud of you. There's a boatload of behind-the-scenes work involved in a project of this caliber. Dern tootin' that dream will come true and I can't wait to visit with you upon completion. BIG Ferfie HUGS to you!!

  8. I was so honored to be able to help you sweetie. You and Mel have done such a beautiful job with this! Thank YOU for being YOU!