The End

It’s over. I have lots to say but too many places to say it. I have another blog where I’ve been doing much more writing and I’ve decided to continue with it. Part of my decision is that recently WordPress has been going through a lot of changes and I admit to not being able to keep up with those changes. Instead of getting easier it feels like this blogging is getting harder.

It’s been a good run and I thank all of you for your participation.



Interview with a Spiritual Influence

Meet Meagan, a person I met on SwapSity.  Meagan knows how to say just enough and leaves you wanting more. Without giving anything away I can tell you I benefited when Meagan recently reduced her glass beads  ‘stash’. As soon as I can I’ll be making some glass bead artisan jewellery.

H: Who are you in your ‘real’ life?

M: Good question! My real life is a work in progress. All I can say is that I am interested in tons of different things.

H: What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it? Do you still have it?

M: I remember making cloud nametag pins with my mom when I was a kid. She’s a big crafter of all sorts of things. I think she still has the pins in her house womewhere.

H: Describe your work area: what is the best thing and the worst thing about your space?

M: I work at my desk. I like to be able to look at my computer because  I’m still learning some of the finer aspects of making prayer beads and I use lots of tutorials and pictures for inspiration. I have one of those slide out keyboard trays and my bead cloth is on that. It’s a good use of the space, although I wish the lighting were a little better.

H: What is your medium of choice?

M: I’m a beader. I used to make fashion jewellery and I’m starting to make prayer beads now.

H: What are your favourite materials?

M: I love natural materials. I’ve always been drawn to simple, functional things that are close to nature. The less polished the better! It is my dream to learn to whittle my own wooden beads.

H: What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from? Do your other interests play a part in your designs?

M: I often get ideas just from seeing interesting shapes and colours in my daily travels. I am a very spiritual person.

H:  For whom do you do your designs?

M: I think I mostly design for myself.  I give a lot of my work away as gifts.

There you go! Didn’t I say she is interesting! Meagan and I ‘swapped’ her beads for my money. I’d be lying to say these beads are nice: they’re great! 

Thanks, Meagan, for this interview. While your answers got me to a-thinking so I hope you found yourself happily reminiscing.


I am so happy that Meagan sent her answer to a follow up question I had.

H: What influenced your change of focus?

M: I guess I decided to start with prayer beads because spirituality is becoming more and more important to me. To be honest I liked making jewellery but not so much wearing it, so this is something I can also use myself.

Good or bad, Life is Growth. When we stop growing is the day we die. Some change is easy but it is the hard to accept change that builds our character.

Notes to Self ~ Pet Peeves April 6 2009

We all have them: pet peeves. Sometimes it’s really puny stuff that we should learn to ignore:  like being upset when somebody borrows something and doesn’t return it from where they got it ~ or sits at your desk and moves stuff but doesn’t put it back as they found it.

Today I have 2 pet peeves: and combined make a great reward of failure. 1 + 2 = 3.

  1. People who won’t reveal their sources. I spent a thoroughly wonderful time wandering through the Toronto spring One Of A Kind (OOAK) show, got a lot of business cards, and chatted with some wonderful artisans. I found some really interesting wires being used by some of the jewellery makers. I asked several where they found their wire and the stock answer was ,’oh, I get it from so many places.’ Yeah, right!! Who are you trying to protect: the manufacturer of the wire ~ Not. Your business? That backfires when you give me that answer: I put down what I was looking at and admiring and considering buying, turn and walk away. I enjoy buying other people’s jewellery~~ we all have such different styles. Even if we all make artisan jewellery, we aren’t necessarily in competition with each other. I love beads.  Lotsa beads. You prefer wirework. Or you use precious metals. Or you do bead making, lampwork, and such. All the same stuff but different from one another. Share information with those who ask and build a stronger artisan jewellery makers’ community. Now I won’t be sharing information I found that may helpful to those 2 people. Share and grow.   PLUS
  2. I hate getting a helpful information and there is no website or name or anything to remind me where, at which booth , I got it. Case in point: yesterday I got a business card size recipe for sparkling up copper. I didn’t take the time to write down the name or booth number of the artist and now I have a wonderful recipe and no way of contacting the individual. Her work was wonderful. Too bad. Put your name on everything. I have a helpful table of necklace lengths and bead numberson the back of my business cards. The information is helpful and everytime it is viewed there is the place she got it from.  I wrap my packages in cardstock that has my name on it and I add a business card: the package is kept closed with return address labels I printed with my website and email listed on it. Put your name on everything!   EQUALS
  3. 1 + 2 = 3.   This year’s OOAK had something revolutionary: a big plot of real estate for winners of a juried show sponsored by the Eastern Ontario Community Futures Development Corp. There was a First Nations booth showing the work of an Ojibway ~ Todd Jamieson ~ and a Salish ~ Alfie Fishgap. When I got home I emailed another contact who was not at the show,, to ask him to research the CFDC for his work ~ he does some remarkable West Coast designs in his clothing. I had his card, he was interesting and intelligent; I remembered him favourably, and I have followed up with him after more than a year with no contact. He put his ‘brand’ on his work and he wasn’t afraid to talk to me about his work.


Just think about what I said. Generosity and Planned Opportunity can make the difference.

Helen – off her soapbox.                      ……………For Now.

It’s WEDDING Time!!

How exciting! Everybody’s busy and focused on THE wedding. Emotions run high. You learn all over again how wonderful your friends are.

People are watching their spending closely. It’s no different for artisan jewellery being worn by this year’s brides. Try DIY ~Do It Yourself~ kits.  You’ll learn a new technique that may send you down a path you thought you’d never follow. A new hobby is in the offing, perhaps. The DIY kits I write give you the instruction cards and some inexpensive beads to make the kit. If you already have the beads you want to use and really need only the instructions, the price would be less: it makes sense. It is hoped that the experience for the beader will be good enough that she will carry on with her own variations on the technique.

If you are like me, you work well under pressure and everything needs doing NOW.

Well!  I’ve been commissioned to work on the jewellery of 2 weddings. And for the person who wants to do it herself, I am working on a tutorial for an illusion-floating necklace. But I don’t have the exact illusion necklace made in 3D; just some rough sketches. However, as I write the tutorial I’ll be doing the steps myself to ensure nothing important is left out. When the tutorial is finished, so will be my illusion necklace.

Okay, Beth, get yourself to London and find the beads you want. Here’s a list of the bead shops in the London area I found. I don’t know London but I’m sure you do so you can map out your day.
Businesses Serving London ON

Beads & Plenty More519-472-3237  

317 Adelaide Street South , London , ON N5Z3L3
London’s Original Bead Shop(Over 20 Years)
Classes (Individual Glass Fusing) • Costume Designed Jewellery for all…
Category : Beads, Arts & Crafts-Retail
Map & Directions   Save   Share   Add to Facebook  


Edwards Glass Co Ltd519-649-7225  

471 Newbold Street , London , ON N6E1K4
Category : Beads
Map & Directions   Save   Share   Add to Facebook  


London Beadery519-652-2235  

3392 Wonderland Road South , London , ON N6L1A8
SW Ont’s Largest Retail/Whol Classes & Parties
Category : Beads
Map & Directions   Save   Share   Add to Facebook  


The Beading Bug519-633-2345

368 Talbot Street , St Thomas , ON N5P1B6
Category : Beads
Map & Directions   Save   Share   Add to Facebook

If you are like me, you will stand amazed at all the pretty stuff. Take your shopping list and, for this trip at least, stick to it. If you decide you want to do more beading after the immediate jewellery emergency, then go back to the shops you liked best and stock up.
You will need a filament that is clear and skinny and strong. Hit the local Wal-Mart or Canadian Tire: find the fishing gear and get the smallest and least expensive reel of Monofilament Fishing Line. It’s a plastic line ~ I have 15lb test/tension but 6 or 8lb is just as good. Run out a small section of the line and knot it: does it hold the knot or does it begin to un-knot itself? You want to be able to knot it. Remember, you must go cheap or live with all kinds of the stuff left over.
You will need a string of pearls and another of crystals. How many will depend on  how close together you want the pearls to be spaced. Don’t forget that if you do the bracelets you have the same consideration of how much is needed.
Bracelet length:
8 inches ~ 20 cm     This measurement  includes the clasp
Necklace Lengths:
Choker = 16 inches ~ 41 cm
Princess = 18 inches ~ 46cm
Matinee = 24 inches~  61cm
Opera 32 inches ~ 81 cm
Rope 48 inches ~ 122 cm

Let me share an experience I had several months ago. A lady with a very small frame commissioned a choker necklace. I made the mistake of not measuring her neck ~ not a mistake I want to repeat. I re-did the necklace 3 times because the ‘standard’ choker length of 16 inches was too big. Finally the piece measured 14inches and my client was happy.
So !! Measure twice and string once. Measure it again.
The measurements are for that mythical being, the  ‘Average Woman.’  If the recipient has a big wrist then the 8inches might be too snug. A 16inch choker will be too tight for a large woman and too loose for the woman with a tiny neck.
You can do a multi strand necklace.
Sit down with paper and pencil ~ you can do it in front of the TV!
What have you in mind for the bracelet and necklace?
How few or many stations (pearl component) will you want?
How fancy will each pearl component be?  Multiple pearls with a single crystal? or the other way around? or 1 crystal / 1 pearl  / 1 crystal / 1 pearl spaced out along the line?
Measure 2x and bead once. The more planning you do here, the faster the process will be. Take your time in the planning stage and do it well.
Think of your choice in clasps now, before you buy them, so they look proper in the piece of jewellery ~ neither too big nor too small. It has to look appropriate for its job of supporting the filament/s.
Remember that if you are doing multiples of the same design, such as all the bridesmaids, then you will have to take what you need for 1 bracelet or necklace and multiply it by the number of people receiving this wonderful gift.
One last thing to consider! The size of the beads.
A 7mm bead looks wonderful in a floating or illusion design. A 16mm bead would probably be too big.
You need  a clasp, 2 clamshell beadtips, 2 jumprings or springrings, crystals, pearls, seed beads, clear monofilament fishing line.
You need a measuring stick. A ruler is fine. I use a retractable tape measure. I really don’t know what I would do without my local hardware stores. So much of my equipment and findings, etc. I buy at the hardware.
You need a bead tray or cloth to lay out your beads.
You need a couple of dabs of glue.  And the glue must not damage the monofilament. Read the information and check that it can be used with glass, plastic, metal.
This really isn’t an ad and I haven’t received any money, year’s supply of !
 I use Household GOOP (hardware again) or Beadalon’s Bead Stringing Glue. Check with the bead shop staff to get their opinion on glues.
You need  peace and quiet (maybe with your favourite music playing?).
You need to have your social secretary ~ or child, or husband, or ….,handle all your phone calls.
You need your favourite non-alcoholic beverage.
You need to keep your adorable pets safe from what you are doing. You will be working with small bits and pieces and they can kill your cat/pet. Same goes for wee kidlets.
There you go. You are on the road to beading heaven. It can be a very expensive hobby if you are not careful. If this is your first foray into beading artisan jewellery it’s important not to spend money too freely. Get what you need and leave. You can, and probably will return.
I wish you joy and a new hobby you can enjoy for many years to come. Working with your hands and brain both engaged produces some really marvellous pieces of wearable art.
Will you send me pictures of your finished pieces? I’d like to add them to this blog.
All tied up in beads    …Helen

Thank You

I am back from the Show and beginning to scribble down my thoughts. Top of the list is to thank all of you who visited our booth ~Glass0Beads~ and shared their jewellery and their lives with us.

And for those who have taken the time to visit me here and leave their comments ~ thank you.

I have a new interview lined up and that means you need to check back to read it. The person? Meagan Shaughnessy. The reason? She is in the midst of a major shift in her approach to life and her artistic direction. A delightful young lady, I met her at the Show. Thanks, Meagan, for meeting me there: I appreciate it.

And I have a new bridal commission. Thanks Sarah. It’s her mother’s fault that Sarah came to me: thanks Jessie.

To the other artisan jewellers and bead makers who shared their experiences and information with me: THANK YOU. That’s a biggie because the education was free and with no strings attached. I was looked after, watched out for, shared and cared for.

We had a wee elf in our booth going by the name of Vanessa. A young whipper-snapper with all the exuberance and capabilities of the young. She brought me down to reality: I really am not as young as I think. But that’s not her fault, you understand: it’s mine for thinking I was still young. She taught me some functions of my camera that I didn’t know it has. And she took some of my pictures. Pretty good, don’t you think!? She was a delightful booth mate and a house guest that wasn’t noisy. Thanks Vanessa for everything.

The kits by Joannlx at were offered at our booth. Thanks Joann for trusting me.

Will I do it again? You bet. In a heartbeat. My next show is in May and I’ll be volunteering there. Learning should never stop: if it does, you’re dead. And volunteering will give me the lessons at no charge.

That show? Toronto Bead Society’s Spring Bead Fair on Saturday, May 2, 2009 at Toronto’s YMCA, 20 Grosvenor Street (west of Yonge). It runs 10am to 5pm. This show is just like  the Bead Oasis Show but on a much smaller scale. You won’t regret your visit.

Social Marketing – 02 11 09 LinkedIn, StumbleUpon

So! Let’s go. This is one artisan jeweller who is making an enormous effort to focus on business.  Why do artisans seem so scatterbrained? Our minds are whirling around like a Whirling  Dervish, with wonderful and beautiful ~ beautiful to this artisan ~ ideas for things to make.

When you look at a tree, do you ask yourself how you could render the tree in your favourite techniques? If I use this bead colour for the leaves and these triangle beads for the trunk of the tree and something pretty in pink around the trunk for those pretty pink flowers, I can do it all as a Dorset Button!

That takes brain space so business stuff ~ the left side of your brain is the logical side ~ gets pushed around to allow more space for all the artsy stuff.  The artsy stuff on the left side of the brain is manipulating my great ideas within a defined space: that is the logical part of the artsy stuff.

With all that going on, is it any wonder that the business acumen suffers so much in the brain of the artisan jewellery designer and manufacturer!?

But today I’ve promised myself I’ll focus on business. Today I am filling out my LinkedIn profile. And, if there is time, I’m moving on to do the same stuff, I mean business, on my StumbleUpon profile.

If there is still time, I’ll be investigating ‘ning’ accounts vs. Blogger vs WordPress for my brand new group, Love Beads. That’s all about beads. I really want to keep this group, still in its infancy, vibrant and a place to go for bead works.

I think I have my work cut out for me. I may be logical and have business skills ~ some skills but not a lot of them. I may be able to reason out a problem put before me.  I may be able to identify what needs doing next. But all that is shoved back to make room for  designing, creating, making and embellishing with glass beads.

Even this post has a better reason than just listening to my thoughts: it is the way I can link with LinkedIn. This is an experiment and I hope it works.

Go to and see if there’s a link to BaubleBabble’s WordPress account.

PS  IT WORKED!! My WordPress post shows up in my LinkedIn profile.  YIPPEE!!

Marketing My Artisan Jewellery Business

“How to Stop Social Media Taking Over Your Day

  • ONLY SHARE WHAT IS SAFE TO SHARE – Once you connect to people outside your close friends and family you need to restrict the information you place in these networks. If in doubt, keep it to yourself.
  • Observe before following.
  • If people are taking too much of your time, drop them, and do not feel any guilt about it. There are no rules that say you have to follow everyone who follows you!
  • Pick your venues and do not try to be active in all of them.
  • Do not take part in time-wasting activities, such as quizzes and zombie games.
  • Set Social Media time and log off when that time is over.
  • Grow your network selectively and steadily – Learn how much activity you can manage.
  • Use tools where appropriate.

Turn off beeps and popup message alerts, they just take you away from work. In my case using TweetDeck has helped me a great deal (when the thing doesn’t freeze on me) because it puts front and center the most important stuff while keeping less priority stuff accessible.”    ~excerpt from

There’s more where that came from but I’ll let you go through it yourself.

There are a bazzzillion companies out there, at least it feels like a bazzzillion, selling you stuff you can do for FREE.  I agree that, if you can afford it, they will bring the job back on time and within budget. But you need to know so much just to pick the successful candidate company. And you run the risk of being taken for a ride you can’t afford.

That has been my bete noire: I trusted the wrong people and I’m in the hole now. It’s a deep hole, too.

I subscribe to the philosophy of  the Renaissance Wo/Man:  be the expert of only one thing:   knowing where you can get the answers to your questions. That will make you an expert of everything.

The answer? Here are my do’s and don’ts:

Do the research yourself.  Hunt up as many forums on the subject and ask questions. Check out Google Asks and Yahoo Asks.

Do ask questions.

Do as much as you can yourself.

My Biggest DO? DO use the common sense you were given at birth.

Don’t  hire the first company that reaches you.

Don’t believe that only they can do things you are perfectly capable of doing yourself.

There is so much to know that it is easy to become frozen, not knowing where you should take your first step.  It can be overwhelming. Each evening, before closing down for the day, decide what your goal for tomorrow will be.  Scribble a quick reminder on your computer so you can get to work on that goal even before you finish your first coffee.  

Now, focus on that one thing.  There will be lots of things to distract you but always come back to that one goal. If achieving that goal will take several days, then stick with that goal until it is completed.

Send yourself a ‘status report’ at the end of each business day. Read it the next morning while wearing your ‘CEO Hat.’ 

Stay Focussed.