Banner from my Etsy shop

Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year Happiness

The beginning of a new year. Bright with promise....Bright with hope. Do we know what will happen?  Do we want to direct the happenings by making resolutions and goals?  It is all up to us and our personal beliefs.

I want mysteries to unfold....I want to play with my beads and string and find out where jewelry making is going to take me.  I also want to set some goals for my job.....for my health.....for my fitness....and my business:  I also want to work on my long term obligations.

I am excited for the new year. Had a glorious old year and am glad for what I have, who I am, my family and friends. I am fortunate to have had some good customers and hope they are wearing their BluJeanBeads jewelry into the new year.

Good Health everyone!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas to my Readers

Merry Christmas!

I have been decking the halls, baking, cleaning, cleaning.....putting together a jigsaw puzzle with a Santa Claus picture, walking the dogs, shopping and working at my "fo money" job.

Oh....I have also been reading craft books and beading magazine and am getting my creativity all ramped up.  I had a slump for awhile....typically happens after I do a jewelry show/sale and I am bummed out because people buy Cookie Lee jewelry and not mine. Then I just go into the studio and stare at all my stash....annoyed.

But like love....beading creativity always kicks back in as strong as ever.  I am really inspired by my new book: "The Big Ass Book of Crafts 2" by Mark Montano.  I wouldn't ever make everything in his book but it is sure fun to look at what he made. Then try to imagine what his place looks like.  He must have the funkiest, most fun little place.  Maybe it is not so little....I am presuming.  But could you imagine a dolls head nightlite in your bathroom?! 

I made as many gifts as I could. They came out very nicely and even put together a stash/creativity bag for my friend JoAnna. Instead of making this creative gal a piece of jewelry I gave her good stuff to make her own.  I threw in beads, hemp, all kinds of interesting yarn scraps and findings.  She will have fun!

Check in with you soon. I want to know what you are doing for your holiday gifts and what you have made.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cyber Monday

I decided that my blog readers need the affordable and a little fun. I am offering a Pre-Cyber Monday, Cyber Monday and Post-Cyber Monday sale for those of you who want to get your game on with your holiday shopping. Save some monya and spare yourself the onslaught of that large box Mart store where people acted a fool. 

30% off all stock today, Monday and Tuesday.....

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Shop Local Saturday

I love the way the business community just keeps coming up with these nice little "days" to help us spend our money.  I have been doing "Shop Local Christmas shopping" for years and years and years.  My sister Beth and I, take time to spend a day visiting small communities around where we live and we shop small stores.

Have I told this to you before, reader?  I apologize, if so, but it does bear repeating. Take the frenzy out of the holidays.  Yesterday, I went to our local beadstore, Shipwreck Beads, and bought some beautiful beads. I came home and made 5 gifts for the total cost of 30 dollars of materials (gemstones and silver wire) while hanging out in the family room with my sister and daughter. 

I was watching television and instead of just mindlessly watching Sherlock Holmes solve a case, I solved a gift idea dilemma.

I have also bought some pendants and charms from local artisans to make other pieces. Inexpensive, handcrafted, made in the USA, one of, signature pieces for only about $5.00 a component.

My next big thing to do is to create something for the men in the family. Hmmmmm....One brother will wear a bracelet....the other not so much....brothers' in law are practical men.  Nephews, nah!!!! 

Thank goodness I can cook.  I think I will put together some soup mixes, rub mixes for steaks and roasts, and maybe some herb flavored oils.  Oh....not to forget, packages of my killer peanut brittle.

Yeah....that is what I will do....Don't tell.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving from BluJeanBeads

It has been a great day....Thanksgiving with old friends, new friends and family. We have filled up on the traditional roasted turkey, cranberry sauce, candied yams, steamed green beans, rolls, and a delicious wild mushroom soup. Soooo.....Good.

Now we are on the couch watching The Number One Ladies' Detective Agency waiting for our bellies to go down so we can fit in some pie. We are solving crimes in Botswana and enjoying the beautiful views of Africa and the beautiful colors.

The women are always wearing jewelry: earrings, necklaces, bracelets and colorful scarves. We American women should do the same.  And in the tradition of the ancient world we should wear handcrafted adornment. We should wear rich colored glass beads, pearls, and other colorful gemstones. We should drape scarves around our necks and sail forth like the queens we are.

Wouldn't this be just lovely on you with a creamy, silky blouse?  Of course it would.

You may also want to check out something a little more funky.  What would this do for your outfit:

Have fun with your adornment and step out proudly, looking your best.

Happy Thanksgiving....Walk in beauty!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ways to Save Money and Look Great Doing It!

How can jewelry save you money?

I love clothes but in this economy I have made myself stop frivolously shopping.  If I need a basic item (black slacks) I try to find them at alternative outlets: thrift stores, outlet malls, discount designer shops. I just found a pair of black wool slacks from Banana Republic from the Goodwill for $6.99.  Had them dry cleaned for another $6.00 and for an under $13.00 investment have trousers I will probably wear for the next 10 years or more. They are classic in style, have a great lining and look brand new.  Not bad, eh?

But how will I take these trousers and make them a part of my “uniform” without adding to the cost of buying more pieces to wear with them?  By shopping my closet and by shopping my jewelry boxes for accessories to set off my outfits.  I can wear them with a red jacket and a white blouse, a green jacket with a green blouse or just wear with a number of blouses and tops I already have in my wardrobe or one of my vintage cashmere sweaters. I will always look smart if I also did into my jewelry chests and pull out my pearls, illusion necklaces, black jet beads, gold earrings, silver earrings, ruby earrings, garnet earrings.  Then if I really want to look sassy, I can layer the jewelry.  I love putting together gold and silver earrings with a gold bracelet, silver toned watch and a funky silver ring on my right hand.  I also love to wear black and white outfits and red jewelry. Or sometimes I will pair turquoise with old gold and black just to switch it up a little.

Being a jeweler means I always have an avenue to make a sassy pair of earrings, a bracelet or a necklace to update my look. I don’t even have to commit to the piece as I know I can take it apart and make something else when I want. I can also take the pieces I have had for years and refashion them or add a new pendant to an old necklace. 

Another good wardrobe extender is scarves. You can wear any number of scarves that match or add contrast to a variety of outfits.  My niece showed me a trick in scarf wearing – you can take the fringe ends of a scarf and tie them together….then put the scarf around your neck like a mobius strip. The fringe will not interfere with your day and you won’t have to spend time readjusting  your scarf every time you bend down.

Scarves come in all types of fabrics and textures so if you had three red scarves you can wear them differently as one may have a sheen, one may be a fluid silk and one may be hand woven and nubby.  Giving your outfits a different look even if you have the same trousers and blouse on.

Handbags can also pull an outfit together.  Think of the black and white ensemble with a gold bag.  How would it look with a green bag or a vintage bag from the 60’s?  What if you only had one bag, like say in black.  What could you do?  Go back to your scarves.  You can tie a different color scarf on the handle of your bag or tote and create a whole new look. 

Pins are another great update.  I have a little converter that I can put on a pin and turn it into a pendant to wear on a sterling silver collar.  I also am not afraid to wear a pin the standard way or to put it in an unexpected place – the hem of my cashmere sweater….  On my jacket pocket…even on my cloth tote or bag.

Shoes can also be thought of as a wardrobe updater.  You will need to check heel length. I have to wear flats so my pants work with most of my shoes.  I will wear pink loafers with my black slacks,  black ballet slippers, Mary Jane’s, a slide or a pair of boots. I  have loafers in  unexpected bright colors just for those moments when I need some pizzazz. 

Every basic you have in your closet should have 5 or 6 ways to accessorize and there should be four or five blouses, several sweaters and jackets currently in your wardrobe to wear with it or it is not a basic.

Recap:  shop your closet, try different accessories with your basics to update your look. Pull out your wardrobe of scarves as  a quick updater. Use the accessories you own, in unexpected ways, to jazz things up.  Make something.

Have fun….save money and shop local (your closet)!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Save Money During the Holidays

The best, I mean the very best way to save money for the holidays is to shop local, shop on line at and use coupon HS2011 to get 10% off your purchase price at check out.  This is also a time to buy that special accessory to go with the holiday outfit for that work party. It is also the time to buy that special accessory for that special romantic holiday supper with your honey.

Shopping local just makes sense and doing your shopping early makes even better cents. I mean sense.

My sister and I have a tradition to go out the day after Thanksgiving and enjoy shopping at local independent shops within reach of our homes.  We try to buy local products and handcrafted products as well.  It is fun....we find nice, meangingful gifts and we also strive to slow down our pace and not chase every sale. Who cares that you have a thousand gifts under the tree?  It is more meaningful to have the nicest couple of presents under the tree.

The time spent with family and friends is more important than the relentless shopping for useless items.So this year, I have favorited all the gifts that I think my family members will like on Etsy. I am focusing on my OlyTeam members as they all live within mere miles of my house and they are my friends and or family.  I am crafting my list this weekend for giving and will start my shopping in a matter of days.

By Black Friday, my shopping will be more or less complete and I can put all my focus into putting together your sale items, wrapping them so you don't have to and shipping in time for you to make your friends and family happy.  Easy peasy.

Join me in having time for family and friends and in saving money and sanity. Let's make the holidays about more than frenzied last minute shopping.  I'll help you to have the holiday of your life:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

This is what I have been working on....memory wire bracelets. I am at that place where in-between fancy, schmancy inspiration I am looking for an easy project, that is fun, wearable and fits the tenet of my shop.....Fun, Funky and Affordable.

Memory wire bracelets fit most wearers and you either slip your hand between the rounds or you can loosen the rounds and wrap it around your wrist. The memory wire does not lose it's shape and if you are using heavy beads it will not slip off if you have more than three rounds.

I made a cute little one for kids and you can see it in my etsy store: It is made from cute little wood beads and larger wood animal beads.  I think a little one would like it.

In early December, I will be doing a bazaar at McLane Elementary School in Olympia (December 2- 4-8 PM) and have been putting together items to sell. I know that at bazaars you get people with a range of budgets and holiday needs.  I put together a little basket of bracelets priced and geared for children's giving to parents and siblings.  I think it is very important that children think of others during "gift getting" time and start to give from a very young age.  My daughter had to start gift choosing and surprises for her grandmother's, her father and her brother, starting at age two.  She is the most thoughtful of gift givers.  The chosen item may not be expensive, it may be handcrafted, it may be an experience but it is always given in good spirit and it is always "right."  I think it is because she has had good practice in selflessness.

At the bazaar I also hope to have varying price points in items for adults and jewelry pieces that can be worn by men and women. I have started using larger lobster clasps not just as a "funky" item and a signature statement for BluJeanBeads but to make my jewelry accessible to folks with different abilities to fasten clasps. I also have pieces with magnetized clasps or no clasps at all (elasctic bracelets). Not every family celebrates Christmas so I try to keep my tags and jewelry boxes neutral.

So onwards to the joy!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Where is the Work Man?

So....this guy who says he is coming to work on the house said he would be here at 7 am. So I get up at 6 am let the dogs out.  Put them back in their crates and sit down to work on my website:  Pretty dedicated wouldn't you say?

But I digress.....

Here it is quarter to 8 am and he still hasn't arrived. I know, I know....he said between 7 and 7:30 but what the hay?  I'm up....I don't want to be up. The dogs are imprisoned and he is now 15 minutes late.

Oh am I being a Miss Crabby Pants....Yes...I was out at an event last night and arrived home at 10:30 PM.  Had to eat and unwind....a mere 5 hours of sleep.  You are darn right I am a Crabby Pants.  Crabby Pants girls have trouble being creative and staying focused.  All that yawning, eyes watering, make it hard to get wire wrapped. 

I have product to put together for a December 2 show.  I don't have time to waste!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Web Presence

I have been working really hard to update my BluJeanBeads website.  Can you take a look and give me some feedback?

I find that even with the plug and play feature, I still had trouble linking this up with my Etsy site but finally managed.  Whew!  Three days of work.

E-Marketing is necessary but be warned it takes a little time when you are getting everything launched.  Then you have to make a schedule to keep everything up to date - which I have not done yet....that is why you see crazy random postings when the muse bites me in the butt. Lol.

Site:  oh yeah, easily distracted....It is

Monday, October 3, 2011

Shop Identities and Your Style

I was going over my Etsy shop: and was amazed at some of my products.  I really love some of my older products. They are so beautiful.  Like this necklace:Garnet and Gold Necklace

I made it in the spring. I had gone on a business trip to the coast and stopped by a little bead shop on the way (in the little tiny town of Grays Harbor) and found these gorgeous garnets.  I had arrived at my destination in the afternoon and after dinner had some time to kill, so I pulled out my travel pack of beads and tools and created this beauty.  I just love the asymmetical gold clasp that looks positively lacy.

Then I continued looking and my eye landed on one of my newest creations. A bracelet. It is tone....but beaded.  Still a singular strand of beads. No chains. But the colors vibrant and candy colored. The necklace is a gemstone and this is glass. Round and smooth characterize both.  I'll show you:

Are they really that dissimilar?  I don't think so.

I recently read a blog where the woman was suggesting that your shop has one style. Like if you made goth jewelry it should be a goth shop. But I don't know....I like wearing subdued, traditional jewelry with my blue jeans and my tee shirts and I love pairing crazy heart collage earrings with sheath dresses and sometimes a blazer and a skirt.  My ideal customer is a college student, living in a college town, like where I live here in Olympia Wa. Young people are still trying on identities and older folks, like me, who work with them - still are having fun.

How do you pair your jewelry with clothing?  Are you trendy? traditional? bohemian? hippie?  All the time? Some of the time?  Because you are young is it all trendy and inexpensive? Because you are old(er) is it signature gold and silver? 

Do you have one signature style in your shop or lots of things that speak to you - and hopefully your customers? 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

It is Officially Fall

Fall is here.

Farmer Brown (me) has harvested her five little squash and brought them into the pantry from the garden. I have three acorn squash and two other fancy varieties that I have forgotten the names on.  The garden will soon be put to bed under a pile of mulch...weeds and old plants removed. Ready for the next garden season.

As the days grow colder and the outdoor season winds down. It is getting time to take that cup of coffee and tea and sort through all the autum colored beads - seeking inspiration from the leaves that are turning gold, russet and red outside the window.  It is time to scan the skies for the first birds to leave town for southern climes, and admire their tawny feathers. They will be the inspiration for some great color combinations.

Yes, Fall is here!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Living in the Moment

Somedays when I am feeling snarky and I have tried to do a wire wrap for the umpteenth time and the wire has flown across the room or wrapped wonkily....I want to sometimes throw Etsy into the corner. 

It is like the customers don't know great jewelry when they look at it, they prefer to buy ugly cars when they could be buying carnelians and sapphires; when they won't open their pocket books I hate them.

Then I go into my little studio lair and pull out the little book that sits besides my computer by Byron Katie, entitled, "Loving What is" and I have to reexamine my emotions.

When I think "my customers hate my stuff", I remember to ask myself the four questions:

1.  Is it true?
2.  Can you absolutely know that it's true?
3.  How do you react when you think that thought?
4.  Who would you be without that thought?

Turn the statement around.

My customers hate my work. Some might hate it but others put hearts on items I have to sell  in my Etsy shop. When I get all negative my wire goes wonky and I feel defeated and mean and I resent that I started an Etsy shop during a recession.  Without this thought I'd probably just retrieve the flown wire, stop twisting wire and go do something else like garden, read, or take time to look at the beautiful pieces of jewelry I already made.  I would be calm and peaceful and creative if I didn't think my "would be customers"  hated my jewelry.

Now I have to turn the statement around.

I do not like my work - when I work in wire. I need to make something else!

So that is that...

Is it true? Can you absolutely know that it is true? How do you react when you believe that though? Would would you be without that thought? and turn it around.

Try it!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Easy Peasy Pieces

I was on Youtube tonight and actually learned how to do a basic macrame knot....this is not significant in itself but I think I related early in this blog that outside of writing....I thought I had no skills, talent, or imgination for crafts. 

But at a ripe old age I am finding that this is not true.  I can do things. My future in the home is secured....I will be able to do crafts with all the other blueheads.  Hooray for me.

Check this little video out. This woman is such a placid and steady teacher....

Get yourself some string and see what you can do.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Scoping out Google Analytics

So I tied my Etsy shop to Google Analytics and then everyday I look at it and see if I can determine a new strategy for success.  Of course, I am far from an expert.....I mean really far....I have had this link for awhile and I am now realizing that whenever I post an item on Twitter or Facebook people go to that one further.....So now I am beginning to understand what the Etsy forum was talking about:

"Using Twitter to announce your new product is like shouting over a cubicle wall"!

That is all people hear and their ears are getting tired of the shouting. They may click the linkbut shoppers are not necessarily going to my shop.

Now, why did it take me so long to make this connection?  I think maybe I am a little slow.  So now, I need to think in a bigger way.  How do I get people to go to my site and poke around so that they are interested in my fun, funky, affordable BluJeanBeads jewelry?

For instance, I am using paper (tag board) to create some new pieces.  I want you to look at that.  But I don't want you to stop there....I have a cute pearl necklace with the most darling cast silver rabbit on it.  The rabbit is scratching his or her ear and is just darling. You are not going to see this if you just look at my POG earrings or my POG bracelet.  What is a POG earring?  Go look but don't stop there....look at other things....poke around.....try things on....put them in your cart....contemplate which gift will look great on Mom, Sister, the dog?!  No not the dog....

So how do we as crafters and artisans bring shoppers to our site?  That is the million dollar question and I hope you respond to this blog post and let me know what you are doing.  Let's strategize and blitz the world with beautiful jewelry so people can look good out real time....

Monday, August 15, 2011

Getting Ready for The Show

It seems whenever you get ready to do a show (August 20th Downtown Olympia WA) it generates another round of buying supplies, having to take inventory and to make something that may be especially appealing to this next market.  When you create for your design more for the unknown customer and you find something that sells so you make a little bit more of it.  When you are just creating, you find yourself making the type of thing that you love to wear.  When it comes time for a show - you have to stay true to your vision - but still make something that will satisfy the market place.

Then you have to think about set up. What were the gaps in your tablescape at your last show? What worked well?  What might create more of a draw?  In a world crowded by beautiful jewelry, how do you draw the customers to the best jewelry in the whole show - yours?

The next step is to pull your inventory together for the show. Should you take what you posted in your Etsy shop or not? What if by chance someone bought online what you had just sold in person?  Would this mess you up?  Should you risk the fact that your inventory which hasn't sold for months from your online shop may infact finally sell? Should you make and/or pull together inventory you had scheduled to put online?  So many questions to answer.  So much to do....

Please visit if you are in Olympia on the 20th....bring your wallet and be ready to turn loose of your money!  Let me know, how I answered all my own questions.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Accessories, Accessories, Accessories

How many of us have the money to run out in September and buy new outfits for the year? 

Well, that is no longer cost effective or feasible for most of us who are struggling on limited incomes.  We have to strategize on other ways to look our best.  Don't get me wrong, I am not destitute, but when the interest rates on savings accounts is soooo darn low, I too, am economizing.  I find that if I go through my closet and take a couple of hours, I can put together "new" outfits.

But I can also go through all my accessories and pull them out.....try them on.....imagine wearing them in different ways....can that necklace become a bracelet?  Will this pair of earrings go with that necklace? Bracelet? Outfit?  Try it on in front of the may be genuinely surprised.  Jot it down on a piece of paper so you will remember your smart combination or take a digital picture. 

But what if you do need something new...because everything is looking a little tired?  Start with accessories....sometimes you can get away from a huge clothing expense if you just embellish and enhance what you have with a little sparkle, some glitter and some glow.  I love retro pins.  I find a new pin can be just the thing to jazz up an old jacket's lapel or I can wear it at my waist or hem of my dress to draw interest.  I have been known to put a brooch on a hat band or buy an adapter so I can wear it on a silver collar as a pendant. 

Sometimes all I need is a new scarf to go on top of the winter coat (I knit) or a funky necklace draws the eyes in new ways and makes me wear something deeper down in my drawer that has the perfect neckline.  What about hair embellishments?  On Etsy, a number of my fellow artisans make pretty little hair ties, headbands and fascinators.  They are cute, affordable and very, very clever.

So look at accessories before a big purchase you can't afford.  Go through your jewelry box....go through your scarves.....(look in your sister's jewelry box when she isn't looking)!  Try to put together a new and inspiring accessory wardrobe from pieces you already own.  Then if you find you need a new piece, get to your computer and instead of buying the latest "trend" item get something interesting, fun, different, signature from an artisan. Etsy shopowners are waiting to fill your orders.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Make It Olympia

The proprieter of BluJeanBeads will be helping the proprieter of Ashar gems ( in a booth at Make It Olympia next Saturday, from 10-4 pm.  Hope you can stop by.  Ashar has some of the nicest pieces, they are elegant, made from silver, handcrafted clasps....if you want a piece for your favorite evening ensemble....get it at Ashar.

I hope the sale goes well.  Last year, we did a booth at the Festival of the Rivers and though we enjoyed the was hot.....almost 100 degrees....dusty.....and no buyers.  Came back with a deficit instead of any profit.

That day...there were vendors from as far away as Sante Fe and they fared no better.  I know that is the nature of retail but'd think someone would have wanted some pieces to make themselves look good.

Anyways we are excited and hope you will join least to say hello and to look at the merch.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Friendship Necklaces and Bracelets

Check out this website.  This is cool.

Shopping and Silly Husbands

K., and I went to Seattle to celebrate our 12th anniversary this past weekend.  Seattle is approximately 1 hour from Olympia on a good day and it was a so so day so we made it in 1.5 hours.  We settled into the Sheraton....rested a bit, puttered across the street to eat at Palamino's one of my favorite restaurants.  Then coffee and back to the room to read, and relax.

Saturday we get up and head towards the Pike Place Market and food.  Breakfast time. We hop a Metro bus which is free in the downtown corridor so we do not have to fight for and pay for parking.  We wander along the market looking for a suitable breakfast spot and my husband settles on Chinese.  Until,  I look at the menu and decide I would prefer a typically high fat American breakfast: eggs, toast, jam, coffee, hashbrowns and bacon.  We wander through the market and head for the Sanitary market across the street and find the perfect little hole in the wall cafe with great breakfasts and crappy coffee.  Just what you would get in a diner of it's size. 

We wandered about a bit and checked out the fruit at the stalls. I was quite taken with an Aubergine (eggplant that was extremely beautiful). Then we went after a new bottle of Basalmic vinegar in the high hopes that the sun will come out and we can enjoy fresh tomatoes, basil, mozzerella and basalmic vinegar in August. 

My husband, hates shopping if it is not for food.  AAAAArrrrrgh!  I wanted to scream but held it in.  I got him to go into an antique store with me and he seemed to enjoy that and the little stool he found to perch on while I looked around.  Then he was tired so we headed back to the Sheraton by bus.  I went up with him, although it was sunny out (rare these days) and I was in town.  I set at the little table in the room and got out my beading supplies and made three bracelets out of blue glass beads and blue crystals - reminiscint of the sun shining on blue water. They are lovely and I wore them for the rest of the afternoon although they did not go with my earrings or outfit.  I will be posting them for sale this week on

Then I got out of the room and commenced to walk and shop. I had such a good time looking at clothes, jewelry and trying to decipher the going "looks" in accessories.  I took in the colors that were beginning to come in for fall and the fashion trends coming up.  While I do not like trendy jewelry I will use the color of the day to imply the trend....but make something that can become a signature piece and worn for years.

Back to the room, read a crime novel and a fashion out to dinner to a brew pub.

Sunday morning....headed for home.... Still married although he hates shopping.  AAAAARGHHHH!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hello Blog

I went to Victoria BC last Thursday with my mother and neglected my blog.  Sorry Blog....I still love you and still love all my readers.

The Victoria trip was wonderful. We left Seattle at 8:30 am on the Victoria Clipper and quickly found ourselves in rough water.  Could not cruise open waters so the boat routed itself through the San Juan Island's, went through Deception pass and on to Victoria. The closer we got to Vancouver Island, the sunnier it became.

When we arrived we were whisked from the dock on a Victoria Clipper tour bus to Butchart gardens. Fabulous....we saw delphiniums that had to be 6 feet in height, roses to die for, a beautiful sunken garden that featured beautiful maple trees and begonias with blossoms the size of dinner plates.

We learned that Victoria is in a rainbelt - surrounded by mountains and normally gets 33 inches of rain a year, typically houses cost $700,000, and they have not been hit hard by the recession. Commercial building is still strong and because of a high tourist season - spring thru fall and then the onslaught of students from September to June they are able to manage fiscally.

We visited the BC Museum and saw artificats from the Haida people and marveled at the lion skull that was on display.  This was a large lion like you see on the savannahs in Africa.  A reconstruction showed mane and all. Skull was found in a cave on Vancouver Island.  Who knew?

On Government street their are two galleries side by side that feature Native art. One showed contemporary jewelry created by First Nations artisans and featured gemstones, wire wrapping, metalsmithing and lampwork beaded jewelry.  The other was filled with more traditional arts and crafts. Equally as beautiful but more earthy.  I bought my grandson an Orca Whale puppet.

You should visit Victoria and tour the gardens and the city. It is a wonderful adventure - close to home.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Other Websites and What What

When I was a poor downtrodden military wife....29 years ago....I worked really hard to make ends meet, keep us fed and clothed and the bills paid.  Well, I did just that and did pretty well. Had a little fun along the way by being creative and finding affordable/free or cheap adventures for my kids. 

I kept a little book where I wrote down everything I was doing and about 15 years ago I typed them up and kept adding to them. I thought you know, I should publish this....other people might be able to use these tips.  But I never finished editing....I edited about 100 times and then....

I joined Etsy and created my shop, "BluJeanBeads" and started poking around in other people's shops.  I wandered into Ezines and Books.  Oh my goodness, I realized I could get this book  to people who really need it, in a much more affordable way then if I published it as a traditional book. 

So I opened a second shop, called MizHarrison on Etsy for that purpose.  Check it out:  I broke my work into two volumes to cut the expense and put it up for sale.  The kind of tips you will find in Sista's Guide to Turning a Nickel Into a Dime:

... Purchase shampoos, conditioner, handlotion, bar soap, tissues, swabs, cotton balls, and other hair products in bulk at wareouse stores, discount shtores or this big have everything drugstores. (take a list and only buy what you need or what you use);

General tips for saving money:

...stop shopping for recreation, today.
...Try cost cutting before you take on the expense of another job.

You get the jist.  I even have a statement that buying jewelry can be a much affordable way to spark your attire than shopping for a new outfit or spending on credit cards.  Jewelry that can make a statement and that is trend/fad free is very affordable in the long run.

Happy sensible shopping.  Happy sensible savings!  Check out my guides!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

On Summer's Eve

Tomorrow is the first day of summer for the year.  Yowza!  I am so excited. I love summer...can you tell?  I have done enough whining about the cold, gloomy weather to let you know!

I  have been creating all kinds of pretty bracelets. Just ready for the season. I created one that has varying shades of lavender and pink and I am so excited. It will look so cute with one of my favorite summer dresses.

I've also been thinking of brides....June is a great month for weddings and all those beautiful shades of white that go into gowns, bouquets and hair ornaments.  My sister, of Ashar gems ( has been busy creating the most beautiful wedding ensembles for brides.

The season has also inspired me to write. I have written a book on budgeting and posted it in my etsy shop: For years I have collected all the little tips I used to get through the hard times and I have been writing them down. Well, Sunday, I took the time to take my jottings and put them in a downloadable format and posted them for sale. 

Budget books and jewelry?  Do you see the connection?  Well, when times are tough, many of us have to give up our "shopping" and "mall" addictions to make ends meet.  An affordable piece of jewelry is just the ticket for jazzing up what you have in your closet. I love fun and funky jewelry but many of my pieces at are more classic in design then funky. I want my customers and friends to wear my creations for years instead of having to replace a trendy design in a year or two. That definitely is not frugal or cost effective in these tight times. to you soon!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Thieves are Running Amok

I went to one of my favorite local beadshops and I had to heave my large and I mean, large, bulging with junk and crap, handbag into a little locker.  All because, of theives.  It seems that people walk into beadshops create a distraction, whilst their comrades steal 100's of dollars of stock.

This is just a tiny little store on the westside of our little town. It is run by a family who probably bring in a little over $2,000 a month.  And they have to be robbed. Really?

All they are trying to do is make an honest living to support themselves and their grandchildren.

My other local bead shop is about 3,000 acres big. It has beads, crystals, leather, wire and tools from all over the world in it.  They had this nice silver display of findings....of course some dastardly folks had to pocket the goods there, too. So they had to move some of their nicest stock to an out of the way location, behind a counter, where we honest customers can't readily pick out what we came to purchase.

In this economy, in fact in any economy - why do people have to lose their moral compass and steal? I don't want your jewelry item made from stolen merchandise. I don't know how you in good conscience would think this would be an item to wear. If you steal....and you make jewelry from your ill gotten gain, keep it.  No one else wants it.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


It always amazes me when I look at onsite shopping sites such as the one I belong to, Etsy, and realize that my "competitors" (fellow artists) sell their items for less than market price.  A $2.00 bracelet - 20 cents cost for posting on site, shipping cost not to mention the price of the product, the price of the artists time, and the expenses that are incured in making the product: gas to go to the store to purchase components, and electricity- is worth so much more than $2.00. What are they really getting for their efforts?

Oh yes, the satisfaction that someone will beautify the very air around them, because they look so good in the two dollar bracelet. Oh yes, the joy they bring to others because that bracelet really sets off that thrift store outfit making it look like it originally cost a thousand bucks and was tailored just for you. 

But seriously....

 I still don't think I would price my items that low.  I am seeking to make a profit on my beautiful bracelets because one of my goals is to be self supporting.  I desire to fund my child's education and I eventually dream of creating a fund where I can help low income families around the world, acquire microloans, so they can better themselves and their families through good nutrition and education. I want to support one of my favorite charities. I want to do this through this work.

I also do not think of my jewelry making as just a hobby. I am an artist and I have vision. My time and talent is worth more than a few cents an hour just as the $2.00 artists' talent is worth more than what she is charging for it.  Personally, I think undercutting prices this low is an insult to everyone who is trying to make a living through their art.  This tells us all that we are a site filled with hobbyists and that a person who takes the time to design a piece, do the wire wrapping, charges for her time (and she doesn't come cheap) and takes in account postage and overhead is overpaid or is overcharging.  I don't think so.  This is not a dollar store filled with mass marketed and produced machine made products.

Please at the least....take in account your product cost and your designated time per hour and times it by three.  Be fair to yourself and the work of others.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tired Jeweler

The weeds in my garden were getting to the point where they thought they were family. "Can we come in?"  Bold...setting seed.

Memorial Day family picnic was held on Sunday, so I had a glorious and unexpected dry day to go out and reclaim my backyard and tame it's jungle look.  I weeded, I spread compost, mowed, hoed, crawled, amended, baited and put down a beautiful layer of mulch.  The dark of the mulch really sets off the colors of spring....the blues of the geraniums, the lilacs, the red of the heuchera and the young green leaves.  Gorgeous!

Anything to do with jewelry?  Yes...fresh eye for new color combinations. A place to relax the eye after a day of beading in my studio under the artificial light of a lamp. A chance to concentrate on the next design instead of worrying that I should be mowing when it is not raining. A place to be happy. I am very happy in a garden and a happy gardener is a happy jeweler.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Mixed Media

I recently bought a new sewing machine and I can't wait to put it to use.  But I make jewelry....Hmmm....I can see myself making mixed media/fiber art pendants to go on chokers.  I have not had a sewing machine in 20 or so years. I had one that had tension issues but I was able to make my son his first little comforter and curtain valances for the various apartments we lived in as a military family.

So I am pretty psyched.  When I was in high school, I used to sew basic little tee shirt tops and little A-line skirts with elastic waist bands.  They were so cute. (I was only 68 lbs when I entered high school).  So I am looking forward to recapturing that skill, although it has been 20 or more years since I have used a sewing machine.

Learning to make jewelry about two years ago set off a firestorm of creativity in me. Up until that time, I spent my creative time gardening and planning gardening beds, writing political poetry and knitting scarves.  I worked at a job that was  emotionally draining and often couldn't do much creativly as I was burned out when I got home....I did keep the gardening up. That was merely a therapeutic exercise and I loved the results of creating vignettes in pots for my deck.

Then my sister in law taught me how to use crimp beads, and I created, under her tutelage, my first necklace.  That lit this spark and now, I am viewing art differently, decorating my house differently and creating a piece of jewelry almost every day.  I am absolutely enchanted by my sister's Etsy shop ( and love working on mine - posting product, designing, marketing and thinking of what item my next customer may buy (  I love to look at artisan created items made by my team here in Olympia or my team in Seattle.

I never copy but allow the creativity of others to seep into my creation bones.  What can jumpstart your creativity and get you to look at all the beauty in the world?  Something from my shop?  A lovely bead?  A beautiful fabric or art book?  A poem, a picture, or a beautiful child?  Find your

Monday, May 16, 2011

African Beads

I was reading a few bead books yesterday and I learned that African trade beads were made in Europe and carried to Africa to trade for all types of products: food, clothing, dyes, people, and other cargo. They were made in Europe from glass and they were highly prized. 

The Taureg people made beads from silver that were intricate and favored a five point cross symbolizing their faith.  You can still see women swathed in various beaded necklaces of glass beads and silver. This forms a dowry that can be used in trade for goods and symbolizes a woman's wealth.

Sometimes beads were made from cattle bones and dyes were used to create intricate designs.  Seeds and fruit pits can also make a fine bead.

Beads have been worn for thousands of years and I bet the earlier wearers would be staggered by the colors and materials that make up our beads today. I can find beads made from everything from acrylic to bone, leather to gemstones, pearls to crystals at my two local beadshops here in the Olympia area of Washington: Shipwreck Beads and Unique Beads.  Online, I have even more choice atstores like Cathy Dailey, FireMountain Gems, Lima Beads, and handcrafted at various fine shops on Etsy. 

If we look at our bead stashes and the availability of beautiful beads - we are wealthy indeed.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

What a Week

Well this week was interesting. A full moon.....a Friday the 13th and mucho craziness.

It was interesting out on the road.  I saw a driver try to get on the south bound exit of the freeway intenting to go north. Then when he saw the error of his ways he made a huge u-turn across many lanes of traffic almost running head on with a woman in a turning lane.....and in a much smaller car.

Keep on creating everyone and stay stafe!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day Is Gone; Next!

As a shop owner it is important to look ahead to the next holiday and also the next big holiday gift buying season. It is not too early to start thinking about Christmas events, you may want to attend for sales or even plan on what you may want to make for the holidays.  I was looking at some Halloween beads the other day, my friend who sells hats, was looking at beautiful fall colored yarn.

Plan ahead to keep things from being "holiday" crazy.

It's sister who works in retail came across some lovely little boxes for jewelry made of velvet. They are deep red and that Christmas shade of evergreen. They are beribboned and absolutely lovely.  I am ready to fill some of them for beautiful gifts - so as soon as the fourth of July is over....I can get people in gear to do their Christmas shopping.

My motto is save time, save money, buy local, buy early for holidays. Include save your sanity. Shop Etsy. Shop your local stores and buy at

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Well It's Mother's Day

Well It's Mother's Day.  My cat, Bandit, aroused me from bed to get his breakfast...a fine bowl of kibble. I stumbled through the house, let out the dogs, made coffee and ate a bowl of cereal...before I realized that I should be having breakfast in bed.

But it is not to son is in Hawai'i and my daughter came down on Wednesday and spent till Friday with us.  I had a whole basket of goodies.  Her presence was present enough so I am sustained until my birthday in a few months!

Happy Mother's Day to Mom's out there.  Enjoy the beauty of your children!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mother's Day

Your mom likes jewelry that is handcrafted, made from beautiful semiprecious gemstones with sterling silver wire wrapped findings?  Then why in the hell do you keep giving her a crappy old breakfast in bed with eggos waffles and orange juice from a jug?  Get on and buy her something she would really like. Something she could brag about in the lunch room or the bingo hall or out at cards with the girls. Quit doing the same o, same o!

My son, bless his heart, went to a neighborhood yard sale a Saturday before Mother's day and spent his little bit of money on some wonderful junk jewelry. Then he wrapped it up and that is what I got for Mother's day. But he was 11 and that was wonderful. I still have and wear a few of the pieces because they are funky enough to fit a bohemian/hippie vibe when I am at home, weeding the flower beds.

But my son grew up, and he buys my bobbles from Ashar and I look fabulous. I wear my new jewelry to work, to the store and out with my girls (we don't play cards)!

Happy Mother's Day and do, please Mom with a gift from Ashar. She is tired of toaster waffles!

Ms. T-Kim

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Turquoise is one of my favorite colors. I find it such a refreshing color and believe it or not, I look great when I wear a turquoise blouse or sweater. 

What is not to like?  Turquoise reminds you of water, it reminds you of gemstones and it reminds you of the sky.  Turquoise will also let you think of Sante Fe or Taos, and it will make you think of Persia or even Egypt.

Facts I found from

  • Turquoise has been worn since approximately 3,000 BC
  • Persians thought it protected the wearer from an unnatural death.
  • Persian scholar Al-Quazwini wrote "that the hand that wears a turquoise and seals with it will never see poverty."
I have always loved turquoise in southwestern jewelry or in big nuggets strung on a single strand. It can look elegant or it can look Blue Jean casual.

Common substitutes for natural turquoise is magnesite.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Etsy or Facebook

I love Etsy.  It is this incredible community of artists who love to join circles, get into teams and basically hang out online sharing their favorite finds throughout the site.  What is not to love?

Then there is Facebook.  An incredible community of folks who love to chat and basically hang out on line.  Some may be artists and some may be perusing their favorite finds online.

But their is a difference.  Etsy is all about E-commerce and Facebook is about friendship and connections.  Oh wait...Etsy is about friendship and Facebook is about what????

 I am so confused.

The confusion comes from our lovely U.S. economy.  It has been such a long time between sales, I get on Etsy to catch up with fellow Etsians to see what they have been creating in their solitary little studios and to show them what I have made in my solitary little studio.  Then we all join circles and do show and tell, give each other advice in our teams and post all the things we have found in our surfing.  We also get to post all the things we love by category in a thing called "Treasuries."  If only Facebook had a treasury....we could really do show and tell to people who are not artists.

Anyways....check out my Etsy site.  And if you are an Etsian (either artist or shopper) join my circle.  Let's share!

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Bunch of Jump Rings

I am so fickle. My last post was all about spring but I am so over spring....rain, every damn day, rain. Yeah, I know I live in Washington State, but a girl can have enuff....not shoes....not handbags, or beads....but rain. Every day rain. More rain....rain....

So what to do?  I pulled out two different sizes of jump rings and found two pairs of chain nosed pliers and pulled up to the kitchen table.  This was my place to work as I watched Clash of the Titan's on DVD.

I created a beautiful chain maille bracelet and earrings that can be paired with it -oh and another pair of earrings that featured a bone bead. The silver reminds me of rain....glistening rain drops. Tomorrow in honor of the rain I may dig out some green beads from the stash and pair them with some silver. Green leaves with glistening "rain" drops.

Next....brown beads....mud puddles with splashes of silver beads....rain, more rain....rain....more rain....

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Feeling Sunday

Today was a day to use for inspiration. No rain, a little wind and a chance to do some much needed yard work. The roses are trimmed, the beds have been weeded and windfall picked up.

The daffodils are up, the crocuses are in bloom as is the hyacinth: yellows, deep purples, and deep reds. Tomorrow I will make a piece of jewelry in honor of my first blooms.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

It's Getting on to Spring

The calendar shows me that spring is on it's way. I have seen a few blossoms and I have two jonquils in bloom at the end of the driveway. But it is cold and raw, the wind is blowing, and my fancy wants to turn to all things frivolous and summer- like but in reality it is too cold and I need a new winter jacket. My body still wants the heavy comfort foods we associate with colder weather: chili, brisket, potatoes and roasted vegetables.

My beads tell me it is time to put together fripperies in the lastest spring colors: melons, deep yellows, blues without a hint of gray, spring greens. I say wait! I'm still clad in black, navy and heavy boots.

But it is getting on to spring!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Skills Gaps and Your Second Wind

I am watching the House Higher Education Committee on television talk about the cuts to community and technical education and they are going on and on about skills gaps. (I think there isn't any as people have transferrable skills but that is a discussion for employers....not us)!

I have a skills gap, some days, when it comes to putting together my creations. Have you ever had that day when you are working on your craft and nothing works right?  You know, beads break, wire bends in a way you never meant it too you drop the last crimp bead you have and you can't find it on the patterned carpet? 

There are times when I wondered why I took on this endeavor because nothing works right and nothing sells in my shop...

But then I catch (you probably have too) my second wind and creativity rains over my head and I am back in the game. Last night, I was on a creative streak and my work turned out as envisioned.  My beads were my muse....

The message is....stay in the game and when it all goes awry let it to the beads....

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Books and More Books

Today I went to my local bookstore and wanted to purchase a beading book I  had my eye on for sometime. No such luck. It wasn't at my two local beadshops or at either bookstore that sells current "best sellers" in this area. I was not seduced by the other books I picked up and considered.

Then I got to thinking...."do I need a book or do I need to experiment and see what my own creativity can come up with, using the techniques I learned in class and from other printed sources?"

I remembered that when I started making jewelry, I didn't rely on books. I did what was intuitive, organic, creative and was something I would wear, proudly, on a daily basis.  My first year, I didn't care what was in style or what would sell. And it did sell.

I need to recapture that magic, and look to my surroundings and what the beads tell me....

The Blog is Launched!

I wanted to start a blog for sometime because I love writing, beads, jewelry, creating, reading, gardening and my etsy shop at, but I couldn't get started I thought it was going to be a complicated propostion.  But I find it isn't!

I am so excited to be here ot share what I know about shop creation, beading, jewelry, and all that is fun, funky and affordable.

You can read my profile and get to know me....I hope you stay so I get to know you.  Let's have fun!