Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring Fling Earrings

It is going to be 65 degrees in Western Massachusetts today - and likely 70 on Saturday. Spring is definitely in the air. Of course, living in New England, one knows that the weather changes quickly, and we could have snow next week....but for now the weather has been glorious. I am so ready for spring! As Sheryl and I get ready for the craft show season, we've been coming up with some new designs that we are very pleased with. These earrings are one of them.

As many of you know, Sheryl and I participate in Artbeads Blog for Beaders. Every couple of months or so we are given the opportunity to choose beads from different categories of beads and supplies on the Artbeads website to use in our creations. We then write an honest blog post on the process. Last time we made an amazing piece using a Murano Glass pendant that we chose from the Artbeads website. This time we chose Swarovski Crystals to use with some sterling silver chain we had to make some unique, funky earrings.

Whenever we work on the Artbeads creations together we get so excited and energized as we work together from beginning to end. We sit together at the computer deciding what components we want to look at, each of us picks beads we like and then we discuss how they would work in a piece. Once we've decided what we want to make, we send in our order and wait for the package to appear. Once it does, we are like two school girls let loose in a candy store. It really is a fun experience for us. Am i using the word "fun" too often? It best describes the process for us.

We love Swarovski Crystals, of which Artbeads has a great selection, and we especially love finding different combination's of color that we both like and find pleasing to the eye. Sheryl leans more toward Topaz, Golden Shadow colors, and I'm the blue and purple one. As you will see from the pictures the look is totally different in each pair of earrings because of the different color choices, even though the pieces are basically the same design.

Disclaimer: sometimes sends us products to review on this blog. We are free to choose from designated beads/findings and are free to make whatever we choose. We do not receive any compensation from Artbeads and we are expected to review their products honestly.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

New England Home Show - Craft Area

This is going to be a long post. Sheryl and I were in Boston (February 24 - March 1) for the New England Home Show, which for the first time had an Artisan Aisle. We had planned on leaving about 9:30 am on Wednesday so that we could set up our booth, have a good night's sleep, and then put out the jewelry on Thursday before the show opened at noon. The show hours were brutal - 12:00 - 9:00 on Thursday and Friday, 10:00 to 9:00 on Saturday, and 10:00 - 6:00 on Sunday.

This was the week of hellish weather in New England and by the time we got there it was too late to set up so we went to the hotel, arriving at the show at 7:00 am on Thursday to set up. Turns out our booth was as far away from the doors as possible and we had to walk back and forth what seemed like a hundred times to unload. Our one smart move was that we stayed in the hotel right across the street from the show which was in the Seaport World Trade Center. We were given a reduced rate on the room because of the show and the room was lovely. Of course not until we checked out did we find out that they charge $41.00 a night for valet parking, even though we only took the van out to unload and load but I digress.

I must tell you about leaving the show the first night, which was after 9:00 pm. The wind was so strong that neither of us could make it across the street. We are not small women. The wind was so strong (gusts of 50 mph) that both of us were walking sideways, having trouble getting across the street. I felt like I was in a wind tunnel....and of course it was also raining so we got soaked - and that was just to cross the street!

Here's a picture of the street to the hotel. Wonder where we would have wound up if we were smaller?

Here is a link to the vendors that I think deserve to be noticed. Other than the first two pictures to give you an idea of the show setup, and a picture from our setup, the rest are in no particular order.

Craft Area:

The craft aisle, long view.

Of course I am starting with our display - which looked so good, although I may be a bit biased. You can visit our website at

Great hardwood lamps and vases -

I love the name Cynthia chose for her jewelry business - Original Cyn Jewelry.

These felted designs are gorgeous - I particularly love the trees - Shades of Nature.

Mark's furniture is unbelievable. Talk about a Master Craftsman! Far Beyond Woodworking

Beautiful clay pieces, especially the birds. Visit Flynn Clay Studio to see Sheilagh's work.

Stone Puddles is a great name for these bird baths - they are primitive and wonderful. Their display was so cool - as you can see by the photo they lugged in earth to create a realistic backyard experience. Stone Puddles

Funky paintings that made me smile - love the cows! Kim Forney

Lisa is someone I talked with a lot - one of the many fabulous jewelers at the show. Two Son Jewelry

Beautiful rolling pins in a wide variety of woods. Vermont Rolling Pins

Ted is the artist that was staying in the same hotel. His photographs are amazing, especially the ones featuring the eyes of wild animals. I loved his work. Image Artisan

This was our neighbor at the end of the aisle. His stained glass work, especially the large Green Man piece, was so eye-catching. Chippaway Art Glass

I love Bonsai Trees and it was great to see them in the show. Nature's Highlight

Food Vendors:

Pumpkin Butter to die for! Tyler's Sweet Revenge

This was the best marketing I've seen - people seemed to love the dog treats - of course we all want to buy special treats for our pooches. Annies Pooch Pops

I didn't eat any of these whoopie pies, but I looked at them a lot. I've never seen anything quite like them. the Queen's Taste

I also need to mention the nut guy, who had the best nuts. I thought I had taken a picture of his booth but don't seem to have one. Heitmann's - Gourmet Nuts & Specialties


The view from our room of Boston Harbor:

Seaport World Trade Center:

Our hotel:

Boston Harbor:

We expected a lot from this show but it didn't happen. It was the first time that the New England Home Show had a craft/artisan aisle. Some did okay, but the show was not a hit for most of the artists. I decided to write a blog post about the experience with pictures and links to the artisans whose work I respect. I am hoping that folks will go and check out their websites.

There are many lessons learned from this experience. Top on the list is that it's not a good thing to mix Art/Craft Shows with other groups - no Home Shows, Antiques, Wine Tastings and State Fairs.

Sheryl and I joke about changing the name of our business, from Magical Beadstalk to Two Old Broads Beading. We definitely felt like two old broads by the time we had packed everything up and were ready to go home. What a long trip this was, and so physically demanding. Many of the home show folks were saying that they are often in shows that are nine days. Not something I would want to do, nor do I think I would survive!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Artbeads 10th Anniversary Sweepstakes

Magical Beadstalk is one of the jewelry designers that Artbeads has asked to be a part of their beader blogging list. Every couple of months we receive some product from them and Sheryl and I create a piece together and write a blog entry about the process. It is such fun.

Artbeads also has many gift certificates and giveaways and we try and post the information here for those who may be interested in entering.

This is a great one! But you need to act quickly because it ends Thursday evening.

Win a $1000.00 shopping spree from Artbeads. The contest is open to United States and Canadian (excluding Quebec) residents. You must be over 18 to enter.

The contest ends Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 11:59pm (PST).

THE CONTEST IS OVER - GOOD LUCK TO THOSE WHO ENTERED TO WIN! Disclaimer: Artbeads sometimes sends us products to review on this blog. We are free to choose from designated beads/findings and are free to make whatever we choose. We do not receive any compensation from Artbeads and we are expected to review their products honestly.