Saturday, April 28, 2012

Craft Show! (Part II)

In this post, I announced that Mr. Sequin and I would be participating in our first craft show together. Well, the frantic making of things is finished, the show has come and gone, and I have plenty of things to share.

What Sold...

I'm happy to say that Mr. Sequin and I more than made back our entry fee. He sold some of his recycled silverware pieces, including my favorite spoon pendant. I sold some (pink!) Barbie shoe earrings, a few miniature notebooks I'd made out of hula hoop take and playing cards, and some sequin earrings, and I also said good-bye to a few of my favorite pieces.

I sold the thinner version of this sequin cuff. In fact, it was the first piece I sold... and I sold it before the show technically started. A very nice lady came in early and fell in love with it -- and away it went!
The darling little button ring found a home with a lovely woman. It fit her like it was meant for her! It's easier to let go of things I make when they go to people who love them as much as I do.

The Best Part of the Show...

The best part of the show, though, wasn't financial -- it was social. As I mentioned in my birthday post, two of my favorite people showed up, one of whom had a birthday present for me. Around this time, two of my other favorite people showed up, and I finally got to make introductions.

I also made new friends. What are the odds of every single vendor in the show being completely awesome? I'm not sure, but it doesn't matter... because they were. I wanted to adopt them all into the Sequins family, including an adorable jewelry arts student, a writer who makes awesome bags and shares my love for Thai food, and Sheila of Cheeky Magpie, who was delightful and bubbly and made any slow periods pass quickly.

What Didn't Sell...

There were things that didn't sell. I got some compliments on my hand-painted scarves, and people had a lot of questions about the techniques I used, but both scarves went home with me at the end of the show.

Including this one, my favorite so far. Made with techniques from Cyndi Lavin's beading ebook, and also my own medicine dropper technique.

Some of the safety pin earrings sold, but I have tons left over. This pair might make its way into my personal collection -- especially since I figured out how to clamp the pins with my flat-nose pliers so they can't open up again!

I still have some Barbie shoe jewelry left. People loved the Barbie pumps, but this kind wasn't quite as popular:So cute! So pink. I also have a white pair and a Barbie shoe bracelet.

What I Learned.

I learned some interesting things that I hope to carry over into the next craft show.

  • It's about the friendships and connections as much as the income.
  • It's easier to let go of pieces when I see how much customers love them.
  • I should list the prices up front instead of having a behind-the-counter price list.
  • Earrings and necklaces tend to sell more than bracelets -- possibly the size thing?
  • I should bring a project to work on so I don't stare at customers (thanks, Vanessa!).
  • A practice run of setting up my table at home is a smart idea (thanks, Mr. Sequin!).
  • New to doing shows? Having a show partner helps so much (thanks again, Mr. S!)
  • I should resist the temptation to run off and spend my money when the show is done. Oh, four pounds of rainbow fabric... whatever am I going to do with you?

Your turn: What are some things you've learned from selling your work? Thanks for reading, thanks for commenting, and have a sequintastic day!

PS: Also, check out this great blog post from Michelle Mach on how to find craft show!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday: Bead Weaving!

Welcome to another Work in Progress Wednesday!

Ever since I discovered Karen Williams of Baublicious and her amazing freeform peyote beadwork, I've been itching to give it a try. After struggling to make more beaded button rings like the one in this post and declaring dramatically that I was done with beadweaving and would never try it again... I started work on a necklace.

(To be fair, I waited an entire day before I started it. How's that for resolve?)

(Here's what it looks like so far!)

It turns out that freeform beadweaving is perfect for me! The improvisational nature makes it a lot of fun and less headachy than circular peyote because it doesn't matter so much if the piece behaves itself. It can be crazy and wavy, and it actually looks better that way.

(Here's a closeup of a beaded section.)

I plan to use the two strands with one of my beaded-embroidered focals. Maybe a beady heart? One that's a little less complicated than the ones I usually make so that the weaving can take center stage.

It was so much fun to work on this one, I decided I needed another one in blues, greens and purples.

(And here it is!)

(And here's a closeup.)

This one is far from finished, but I love the direction it's going in. I may add a bead-embroidered focal, I may add some sequins or buttons, and I may do something really fun... like add some colored copper wire. Only time and my mood will tell!

The verdict? I must continue to experiment with this fun, fun technique. One day, when I am not Dirt Poor, I will have to buy Karen's book. Until then, I'll have to play around and see what I come up with.

Thanks, Karen, for being such an inspiration! And thank all of you for reading, for commenting, and by stopping by Karen's blog to shower her with compliments.

Have a sequintastic day!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Birthday Post

You might notice that I'm writing this post a little later than usual. That's because today wasn't just the second day of the creative reuse craft show... it was also my birthday! This is the first quiet time I've had all day.

I have so much to say about the craft show, but I'm going to make a separate post for that. Today I'd like to share a moment when today's events came together... and I got a sequintastic surprise.

Of course, Mr. Sequin and I told all our friends that we'd be doing our first show. Several people showed up, including my friend Audrey of Hot Pink Quilts. And she had a present for me! This amazing quilted wall hanging, made by Audrey's hot pink hands and fantastic sewing machine (whose name is Agatha, in case you were curious).

(Front view of the quilt.)

When she showed up, I have to confess that I was caught up in the excitement of the show, and I'd forgotten it was my birthday. What a beautiful reminder! I love the colors she used, especially the middle square. 

(The fabric looks like pink sequins!)

(Back view of the quilt.)

Thank you, Audrey, for a wonderful present, which I will proudly display in my room!

Today there was also leftover Thai food for lunch, a trip to the IDEA store where I bought some incredible rainbow fabric and some shell-shaped sequins, and a dinner of Greek food from our favorite Greek place, courtesy of Mr. Sequin.

There were also birthday wishes from our friend Andrea and several of my beady friends, which warmed my sparkly little heart. I'm a lucky gal to have so many amazing friends! 

Stay tuned for a post on the craft show. I'll start writing that tomorrow, once I've slept a dozen hours or so. Thanks for reading, thanks for commenting, and thanks for helping to make this birthday a special one! 

And as always... have a sequintastic day! <3

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Craft Show!

Welcome to another Saturday at Saturday Sequins!

A huge thank you to everyone who left such wonderful comments on this post. You expanded on what I had to say and brought up some things I hadn't thought of, which I appreciate. You also showed me that I have a great support system. How can a girl feel bad about rejection for long when she has so many friends cheering her on?

I'm happy to report that I've been taking my own advice. I've moved on to the next thing(s). I've eaten cookies, I've hula hooped in the park to balance the effect of said cookies, and I've also been working hard, getting ready for next week's creative reuse-themed craft show.

Craft Show!

Hearing about and signing up for the craft show at the last minute has meant lots of frantic making! It's also meant rummaging through my studio, trying to remember what's new and what's reused, and deciding on things to make that are simple-ish, but still nice.

(Cuff bracelets. No beaded collars this time, that's for sure!)

I'm going in some fun directions. Sequin cuffs are getting thinner, and button cuffs are making an appearance. I've decorated some reused boxes to make jewelry boxes, and since I found a ton of muslin fabric at the creative reuse store yesterday, I'm branching out into painting fabric to make scarves. I'm using stamps, sponges, and even medicine droppers to create some interesting patterns.

(We'll see if my fabric survives my sewing skills!)

(Cuff pile!)

And that's why I've been quiet this week -- and why I might be quiet this coming week, too. But once things calm down and I've gotten all the paint out from under my fingernails, I'll post more photos of things I've made.

Your turn: What do you do to get ready for a craft show? Do you use shows as a chance to try new things? And... do you get nervous? I'm nervous.

Thanks for reading, thanks for commenting, and have a sequintastic day!

Monday, April 9, 2012

On failure and rejection (part II).

Rejection sucks!

In March I submitted two of my favorite necklaces to the Bead Dreams contest. On Friday I got my letter, politely telling me that they couldn't accept either piece.

Was I disappointed? I sure was. When I submitted my proposals to teach at Bead and Button last summer and was turned down, I was almost relieved because they didn't represent my best work. But these two necklaces are the coolest things I've done so far. I had high hopes for them.

I wanted to see them behind that glass display case in Milwaukee, next to all the other incredible designs. But most of all, I wanted (or craved) some excitement. That's the nature of my sparkly noggin -- it always wants to experience something new and gets cranky when that doesn't happen.

Moving on.

Honestly, there was some moping. And pouting. There was something else too, though -- a feeling that I could NOT dwell on this rejection the way I would have when I was younger. No telling myself that this was a sign that I wasn't meant to be an artist, and no giving up in a huff. I revisited this post, and I still agree with what I wrote.

Today I'd like to expand on it by going a little further. I want to explore how to move past rejection besides learning from the experience. Not just to help me, but to help you, too. As much as it sucks, rejection is an inevitable part of being an artist -- and I don't want it to bother either of us more than it has to!

The super awesome sparkly secret to moving on.

I've been thinking long and hard about the secret to moving on. Yes, it's in the lessons we learn, and it's in the acceptance of our feelings about the rejection, whatever they may be. And it most certainly is in realizing that rejection is subjective, and never as personal as we think it is.

There's another, bigger secret, though. One that keeps us from giving in to the temptation to give up and spend our days on the couch sobbing. Want to know what it is?

The secret to overcoming rejection is to start on the next thing.

In other words? To keep going, keep doing.
I didn't get into Bead Dreams this year. I've moped, I've pouted, and now it's time to...

  • Submit my pieces to other contests.
  • Create other pieces -- I have two awesome ideas already.
  • Prepare for the craft show I'm doing this month.
  • Prepare for my birthday, which involves making tons of cookies.
  • Work on some fun new blog posts.
  • Save money for Bead and Button this summer.
  • See if I can take a tambour class this year.
  • Play around with painting fabric.
  • Revisit some other things I love, like hula hooping in the park.

These are just the things I know about right now! The great thing about life and art is, new opportunities are always popping up. We just have to be on the lookout for them, and to be in the best place to discover them -- which is not sobbing on the couch.

(If the couch is your workspace the way it is mine, though, it's acceptable to hang out there -- as long as you're working!)

When it happens to you...

So the next time you're rejected, I give you my permission to be upset. And to sigh dramatically, and to stick that bottom lip out as far as you can get it. Do this for a day or so. But once that time is up, it's up -- so put on your problem solving hat and start thinking of the next exciting step.

Your turn: Have you encountered rejection lately? If so, what steps are you going to take to move past it? Thanks for sharing, thanks for reading, and have a sequintastic day!

Update: Oh, wow! Check out this article on Expert Enough on how to fail successfully.  It's everything I've been saying about failure and rejection, but in a concise list form. Super duper valuable.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Tambour Embroidery Resources

Tambour Embroidery Resources

(Tambour embroidery by Bob Haven.)

Thanks to my most recent Featured Friday artist, Shirlee Fassell, I've developed an interest in tambour embroidery -- using a tambour hook to attach sequins and beads to fabric, in place of a needle.

The more I learn about it, the more I'm determined to give it a try! If you feel the same way, you're in luck -- I put together a list of resources, once again with help from some amazing people.


Lacis sells tambour hooks and frames.

Brodely is another source for hooks and for sequins. Shirlee prefers their hooks to Lacis.

I updated Bead Embroidery Resources with some other resources Shirlee shared with me. There are new sequin suppliers!

(Note that when you're looking for sequins for tambour, you'll want them pre-strung in worms. These are different from the decorative trimming you can find in fabric stores. They are also different from actual worms!)


(Class project by Shirlee Fassell.)

Shirlee Fassell lives in Massachusetts, and she offers classes. Email her for details!

Ecole Lesage in Paris, France, is where Shirlee and Bob Haven learned tambour embroidery.

Hand and Lock in London offer classes.

Bob Haven, associate professor of costume technology at the University of Kentucky, teaches classes on tambour, both in his home studio in Kentucky and in San Francisco, which you can learn about here. My friend Susan Elliot took a class with him, which you can read about here, here, and here.

Bob also has a series of videos on youtube, as well as an instructional DVD, which you can find at the bottom of this page. There's also this clever tutorial! Courtesy of Interweave.

He also has an article in the March/April 2012 issue of Piecework.

(Flight of Fantasy by Bob Haven.)

New: Jennifer Stumf is a former student of Bob Haven and also a tambour instructor in Virginia, willing to travel. Contact her for more information. Thanks, Jenn!

And there we have it! Your introduction to tambour. If you find it as beautiful as I do, I hope you consider giving it a try! When I do, rest assured, you'll hear all about it.Link

Thanks to Bob and Shirleefor their input and the use of their fantastic work, and to Susan for her excellent blog posts. And of course, thank you for reading!

Have a sequintastic day!