Thursday, January 27, 2011

Jewelry Lessons and Why Snow is Hypnotic

OK, I'm just sitting here looking out the window at the snow falling and getting sleepy. The snow is whispering to me, "Dana. It's time to go to sleep," and as it falls, I am headed more and more towards snoreville.

So, I thought I'd blog a bit and wake up my brain.

I've had a few people ask me how I started making jewelry. It sort of started by accident. I was a wine consultant at the time and wanted to make wine glass charms for my hostesses, but one day I really noticed the beads I was using and thought they'd look good on a bracelet. Now, mind you, I've never really been big into jewelry. Didn't even wear much of it. But as soon as I put that little bracelet together with wire (it looked horrible and I didn't do it right), I was hooked.

So, I was off to Hobby Lobby.

After buying a bunch of beads and stuff I didn't know how to use, I went home. My Hobster Lobster didn't offer any classes, so I turned to the internet. You wouldn't believe how many websites are dedicated to making handcrafted jewelry! Here are some great tips and websites that helped me along my jewelry journey.

First, for those of you who would like to learn to make your own jewelry, I'd suggest getting a subscription to Bead Style magazine. They always have great tutorials and differing levels of difficulty, so you can start and keep learning as you progress. They also have a great list of tools that are neccessary to making jewelry and describe what they are used for.

Second, look for a good bead store. Hobby Lobby is OK, but they have limited stock. A real bead store dedicated to jewelry components (also may offer classes) is where you will fall in love with all the gemstone beads strands, the silver bali beads, the lampwork beads, the swarovski crystals, and... well, at this point, you will decide to never leave.

Third, go to the internet. is a great place to start. They have beginning tutorials all the way through Very Advanced. Some cost a few dollars to purchase, but most of the basics are free. Each tutorial is written by a person who loves to make handcrafted jewelry and wants to share what they know with you. is another good website. They have online tutorials that show you exactly how to create beautiful jewelry. And they have wicked tools for sale. :)

You can purchase gorgeous beads at Firemountain Gems. I could browse there for hours. They have everything you would ever need to make beautiful jewelry.

Fourth, join an online group about jewelry-making. There are tons on Facebook and yahoo. Just surf the web and you'll find something. If you find a group near you, it is worth your while to join and go to meetings. Women sitting around talking about beads and jewelry is a wonderful thing. You can learn something and make friends. And if there aren't any groups near you, start one! is a great way to do that.

Finally, look for jewelry classes near you. Craft stores may offer them, community colleges, city recreation departments, etc... taking a class can be really fun! There are so many different ways to make jewelry and learning new techniques can so interesting and rewarding. Besides beading, there is wire-wrapping, metal clay, polymer clay, regular clay, glasswork, hemp braiding, silversmithing, etc.

There is always something new to learn.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year Y'all!

The new year brings a lot of things: the taking down of the Christmas tree, the packing away of the decorations, new year's resolutions, and the building of Pinewood Derby cars.

The latter being my husband's big ticket item.

It's the one thing every year he really enjoys doing. He and my son collaborate, purchase supplies, and get to building every January 1st so they can compete with the other Scouts and their dads come Pinewood Derby day. And I have to say, they are good at it. Most years, my sons have come in first in their dens and pack.

For me, the new year means making those resolutions that sometimes I never keep, such as weight loss. I always say, "this year I'm gonna lose those thirty pounds!" And it never happens. Instead of making my new year full of anxieties that I won't meet my goal of weight loss, this year I am starting with positive goals. Some fun things that, if I succeed, will contribute to weight loss, a new ability, and business growth.

I only have two resolutions: to become better at wheel-throwing pottery, and learn to bellydance.

That's it.

Doesn't it sound fun???