Monday, June 27, 2011


The Joy of Creating!

How do you explain to someone the sheer joy you feel after taking a bunch of beads, some sterling wire and some findings and seeing that you have created something magical?

How do you convey the pride you feel seeing one of your creations bring a giant smile to someone's face? To the look of "Wow" you see in their eyes. That's joy!

Oh, I'm sure a painter feels it when they see their finished piece hanging on a wall - but for me it's the feel of the beads - the smoothness, the coolness of the stones, the textures of the rough pieces. Sometimes I can just run my hands through a bowl of beads of different sizes, textures and shapes and feel certain beads telling my fingers "pick me, pick me" and the finished piece takes shape in my head before I've picked another bead. That's joy.

I think what has always drawn me to beading is the number of components that go into making a piece. Pick the beads by texture, color, shape, weight. Pick the complementary colors, the shapes of the spacers that highlight without distracting, the sterling silver wire and beads that complement, and the clasp that adds beauty without overpowering everything else. Finding a balance that's almost mathematical.

The joy of creating! It is Magic.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

I Once Had a Friend!

I Once Had a Friend –

Well, actually I once had a student. Her name was Gail. It was my first year of teaching in an Addiction Counseling Program in Toronto and I was such a newbie in 1986. I suspected everyone could see how scared I was. Gail was different (I didn't know then how true that statement is.) And she was a good student, who challenged me as much as I challenged her. Somehow we became friends. And over these many years we have kept in touch. As she worked as an addiction counselor we shared horror stories and commiserated about the stresses of the job. We’ve maintained separate lives but have always kept the lines open. Well, Gail gave up her life as an addiction counselor (or, as they write in Canada, Counsellor) and has blossomed into an amazing exceptional artiste.

As she likes to say she draws her work from some of the experiences of her past work. I am hoping some of her pieces are not reminders of the horrors she suffered in my class. To say her work is offbeat would be an amazing understatement. Some of her pieces have given me nightmares. And some have so touched my heart. (My house is chock full of her paintings and painted boxes and painted sneakers. The woman will paint anything that isn’t moving.)

I have watched her grow from an artist who painted in her spare time to, as she says, keep her from sending her husband through a wood chipper, to a private show in a gallery in Toronto, to exhibiting in a juried show in Caledon, Ontario at the Headwaters Arts Festival ( September will be her third year) where last year one of her paintings won a juror's award, to this year where she is in two major shows on the same weekend. The second show is the Silvercreek Open Studio Show ( Her work has been exhibited and sold from several galleries in the Greater Toronto area.

I love having artists in my life. They fill me with hope, they are there to commiserate when the inspiration has flown the coop, and they are there to share the joy when a piece is completed and someone loves it.

I invite you to visit her website (, or check her work on Facebook, or look her up in the show listing for the Headwaters Arts Festival ( She is an amazing artist and I know you will enjoy seeing her work.

Painted Bags:

Painted Boxes:

Friday, June 17, 2011

Beat the Heat!

Blow-Out Summer Sale!

Shop from the comfort of your home. No tents, no rain, no heat, hail or tornadoes. Terry and Sheryl want to make your shopping experience easier this summer. We are having a huge sale on our website –, with 25% off listed items. They are in the Sale Items section of the website, which is on the left side panel. There are a variety of necklaces to choose from. You'll find semi-precious gemstone and sterling necklaces, freshwater pearls, handwoven seed bead pieces, and lots more.

Each piece on sale has the sale price listed so it's easy to purchase. Just click on the item to buy, and you can pay with Paypal or a credit card. Items purchased will be mailed within two days of purchase.

Some of the necklaces have earrings to match, and almost all of them are also 25% off.

Take advantage of the fabulous selection and the great savings.

Happy shopping.

Terry & Sheryl

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Business Ethics?

What do we do?

The price of sterling silver is at an all-time high - (needless to say I can find no logical reason for this jump in price - have to admire greed, don't you?), and silver is a major component in the jewelry we produce.

Because of the high price of silver, it makes it very hard, if not impossible, to price our jewelry competitively. We cannot compete with the $5.00, inexpensively made, produced overseas buy/sell jewelry. And there are customers who do not want to pay for quality handmade jewelry, who will walk right past our booth being drawn in by the “sale” signs at other jewelry booths. I don’t want to discount the customers who come to craft fairs because they are looking to buy handmade jewelry – they are the ones who make it all worth it.

Sometimes it feels like a struggle to get us energized for a show. Even the ones that have juried us in seem to be allowing poor quality jewelry to be sold at booths all around us. Sitting home, creating jewelry, or watching NCIS reruns seems so much more emotionally rewarding. How sad is that?

The ethical business dilemma (you know this had to tie into the blog title somehow) for us becomes how do we price jewelry we have made using sterling silver we bought when it was less expensive to purchase? Now a gas station raises the prices at the pump the moment there's a rumor of an increase in the price of crude oil. If we followed suit, we could charge at current prices -- but do we want to base our business model after people we all consider to be gouging the consumer?

Do we figure the selling price based on current prices to offset the fewer sales we've been having because of the economy drop, and the competition from the buy/sellers?

Do we sell at prices based on what we paid in the past and make a real price jump on the pieces made with current priced silver? This creates another dilemma. If we use up the "stash" of sterling purchased before the price jump, to restock will be more difficult because we won't have made the money from our sales which is needed to replenish our sterling and will have to use less in our pieces - which will be difficult as we love the look of sterling silver with gemstones, freshwater pearls and Swarovski Crystal.

We don't have the answers - but am hoping some of you can offer suggestions, or get us all into a discussion of this.

Business ethics! Is that an oxymoron?

Monday, June 6, 2011


Synchronicity is an odd word, defined as two odd, unrelated events suddenly seeming related. I have had that happen several times in my life and it happened again this week.

By far, the hardest part of my business is marketing. And one of the most difficult parts of marketing is keeping up with my blog.

Earlier this week I was being hard on myself yet again about letting my blog become the lowest priority - right after organizing my Q-Tips. While killing valuable Q-Tip organizing time surfing the web, I came across a series of lectures and discussions about marketing and the newest theory that blogging and Facebook are the keys to a successful marketing strategy for small businesses.

Seems that bunches of folks now firmly believe, and they have the graphs and statistics to back up their beliefs that blogging is a very valuable tool - but that the blog must be on a regular schedule and timely in its content.

So I hereby vote to re-direct my thoughts and time to writing my blog.

So, see the synchronicity here? While out surfing to get away from the guilt of not blogging, the web redirects me back to my blog and gives me statistics (and I love stats) to prove I must not ignore my blog.

OK, I get it. A weekly blog. I get it!