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Keep On Truckin’

Season is ending here in Southwest Florida.  The tourists and snowbirds are leaving.  I am no longer sitting in half hour traffic jams.  The Lee County Sheriffs Department squad cars are out ticketing again.  They won’t go after our visitors.  They make their money off the permanent residents.  Just being good hosts, one might say.

So what does this mean for a crafts person who sells jewelry or a Tennis Pro that owns a club or a restaurant owner that has had a record season. … Quiet Time… New Idea Time…. Time to reflect …. or Maybe just Time to Keep On Truckin‘.

For me, Keep On Truckin means time to get working on the web-end of my business.  I started this new old endeavor a week ago with my niece, Laura Pennisi.  Laura just graduated with an Art Education major.  Not only is she an artist, but she is good with computers and lucky me, she hadn’t found a job yet.  It was March 30 and I knew I had exactly one day left to make my new Facebook banner before my Heaven Lane Creations page got changed over to the new format.  I was frantic.  I could not figure out how to make a collage of pictures that would fit into the new banner size.  Laura patiently showed me how to do it.  Like a good teacher, she modeled how to do it several times, assisted me and then let me demonstrate my understanding.  Look what we came up with

With my mentor next to me, it only took an hour.  Today, I tried to shoot more pictures of my latest creations to post on my store which I am hoping will be ready very soon.  But the shooting of the pictures and the editing took me three hours.  Not very efficient use of a jeweler’s time and I am still not satisfied with the photo results.  I will share with you my new creations.

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Here is my latest idea.  I want to find a person who lives really close by who is a great photographer.  Once a week they will shoot pictures of my jewelry and help me post.  Until I start making money off my business, I will pay them with lovely jewelry.  Any takers?

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Bead Soup Blog Party Reveal Day is Here

This Bead Soup Blog Party is here.  This is my second time participating.  I must admit I had more time during the Summer Party than this Party.  You see everything slows down in Florida during the summer, but we are in season right now.  Season means lots of jewelry sales…Most of my sales have taken place on Sanibel Island at Traders, a very popular restaurant and gift shop owned by my good friends, Gretchen and Joe. Selling is good as long as you have time to make and replenish.  I have a show in less than two weeks and I am out of stock  That is a good problem.

On to the main event.  Amanda Tibbetts is my partner.  This is what she sent me. 

Here is a close up of the pendant she made.

Here is what I made

Floating Bead Necklace

Check out the rest of the Bead Soup Blog Party Participants. They hail from all over the world.  They are a group of talented beaders.

Hostess, Lori Anderson


Special Book Sneak Peeks, Cindy Wimmer

1.  Adlinah Kamsir (Singapore) and Hajer Waheed (Kingdom of Bahrain)
2. Adrienn Lukacs (Hungary) and Agata Grygiel (Poland)
3.  Agi Kiss (Hungary) and Carolien Muller-Genger (the Netherlands)
4.  Agnes Asztalos (Hungary) and B.R. Kuhlman
7.  Alicia Marinache (Canada) and Dita Basu
15.  Bonnie Coursolle (Canada) and Fay Wolfenden (Canada)
16.  Carmel McGinley (Australia) and Tracy Stillman (Australia)
21.  Cheryl Brown (Canada) and Diana Ptaszynski
22.  Christina Stofmeel (the Netherlands) and Eva Kovacs (Hungary)
24.  Cilla Watkins (Canada) and Elaine Robitaille (Canada)
25.  Sabrina Straub (Switzerland) and Kathy Combs
32.  Dee Elgie (UK) and Joanne Lockwood (UK)
33.  Dian Hierschel (Germany) and Eniko Fabian (Austria)
37.  Doris Stumpf (Germany) and Eszter Czibulyas (Hungary)
39.  Elke Leonhardt-Rath (Germany) and Marjolein Trewavas (UK)
41.  Erika Nooteboom (the Netherlands) and Giorgia Rossini (Italy)
43.  Evelyn Duberry (Canada) and Gaea Cannaday
45.  Ginger Bishop (military, Okinawa) and Martina Nagele (Germany)
48.  Helene Goldberg (Australia) and Karen Vincent
54.  Joanna Matuszczyk (Poland) and Julianna Kis (Hungary)
55.  Joanne Tinley (UK) and Michaela Pabeschitz (Austria)
65.  Kristina Johansson (Sweden) and Penny Neville (Canada)
66.  Krisztina Erlaki-Toth (Hungary) and Nicole Keller (Germany)
76.  Lori Finney (Canada) and Marie-Noel Voyer-Cramp (Canada)
78.  Marta Kaczerowska (Poland) and Milla Starchik (Canada)
83.  Michelle Jensen and Sandra Young (Canada)
92.  Rosa Maria Cuevas (Mexico) and Tejae Floyde
93.  Sabine Dittrich (Germany) and Sally Russick
95.  Shanti Johnson and Tracy Mok (Canada)
97.  Sonya Stille and Traci Zeller (Canada)
98.  Stefanie Teufel (Germany) and Tania Hagen (New Zealand)
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Private Universe

I was teaching tonight. I showed my students, who are training to be science teachers a movie about student’s misconceptions. The premise of this fascinating film is that all of us form private theories about nearly everything (based on our experiences) and often those private theories are full of misconceptions and misinformation.  As a teacher, it is our job first to uncover this misconceptions and then help the students discover for themselves the truth.

It seems to me the classroom problem is in fact,  not just a dilemma for teachers, but for all of us who struggle to conduct our lives and businesses in a  meaningful  way.  I often think I am communicating clearly to my friends or my family, my clients and employers.  I see the world one way and I am sure that my perceptions are shared by these other people.  But they don’t agree, in fact, I am not even sure they hear me.  The techniques I use in a classroom to remedy this situation don’t often translate to the outside world.  Here is how it might look:

Teaching Scenario 1: Jewelry Business

Show them the necklace. Ask them the following question.  “What do you think this necklace is worth?”

They might answer, “I could buy on ebay for $25.00”

Follow up with a question to challenge their private theory.  “What if i told you I spent four hours making it and the cost of my materials were $10.00. Do you think I should charge only $25.00?” Let them feel the necklace.  Show them the technique used for making it.

Allow them to try making it to see how difficult the technique really is?

Teaching Scenario 2:  The value of eating healthy and practicing preventative medicine

I have been preaching healthy eating to my children ever since they were old enough to eat solid food. Two of my three kids get it.  In fact, my youngest son completely gave up all sodas, limits his snacks to one a day and reaches for bananas, peanut butter, carrots and yogurt when he is hungry and my husband and I are not available to cook. My middle son, on the other hand, flat out rejects all my preaching and teaching.  He has to learn everything through personal experience.  His private universe has recently intersected with his little brothers and mine in fact.  In the past two years, I have lost a great deal of weight and in general have been experiencing very good health.  In the meantime, his 13 year old brother is getting far more buff than he is.  I have watched my son start investigating healthier eating habits.

Tonight the teaching went like this?

Mom, I have got a really bad cold?  What can I do?

I start rubbing the bridge of my nose.  He gets on the internet and researches head colds and it shows a person rubbing the bridge of their nose.  He starts rubbing his.  Then he looks at me and says” You do that all the time.  I just thought you were crazy.  By the way Mom, can I borrow your Neti pot as well. ”

You get the picture.  Teaching and learning take time.  Human interactions are very complex and fraught with dangers. Do any of us take the time to interact in this fashion with our friends, partners, business associates? My friends and family think I am too pedantic as it is.  They will never let me get away with this behavior.  They will roll their eyes in their head as they hold on tight to their private theories on jewelry, health and life.

 

 

 

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Art Alliance of Lee County draws a crowd

The skies were blue, the sun was shining and for the most part there was only a gentle breeze–Southwest Florida at its finest.  Saturday, October 22nd, the Art Alliance of Lee County held their second annual Fall for the Arts.  I knew it was going to be a good day, when my booth was stationed right next to one of my icons… Doug MacGregor, a political cartoonist and author. I figured if I didn’t make any sales or have a customers, I was in for great conversation.  What I love about events like this is that it attracts people who appreciate art and recognize people who have turned their passion into a potential living.  The other great thing about this event is that it encourages demonstrations.  I demonstrated bead crochet and actually completed a bracelet during the day.

Teaching and Selling at the same time works for me.

So now I am going to stop talking and show you a few pictures from the event.

My Banner adds a Nice Touch Photo by Mark Trank

 

By the time Mark got there to shoot the Crowds had thinned out

I really enjoy talking with customers. Photo by Mark Trank

By the way,  I have to share something really interesting.  There is a growing trend among jewelry artists to combine efforts to increase sales for all.  I saw evidence of this at the show… when a a few artists came up to me and offered to share space at a store or even give me a heads up on future events.  This is happening on line as well.  Check out Melinda Orr’s blog at http://orrtec.blogspot.com/ to be part of a Big Yard Sale and Give Away.

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Jewelry Show Disasters Part 2

In Florida, October through April is considered the craft show season.  While I am still not ready to commit the $300 plus to enter the bigger shows,  I am always looking for smaller venues during these months.  Sometimes, they are too small.  Take this past weekend for instance.  My son’s Middle School was hosting a Flea Market to raise money for their science field trip to the Keys.  Well, the price was right $15.00 for a spot and it was benefiting my child’s school– “a win/win”  you might say.  Now this week was a typically insane week involving work, family responsibilities and an unexpected visit from one of my 9 siblings.  I pulled everything together late Friday night including making up Halloween earrings and school spirit jewelry for the 800 or so families that have children at this school.  At the crack of dawn, I woke my husband up to load me into the car and drive me to the Middle School Parking lot.

Andrea at Middle School Flea Market photo shot by Mark Trank

 

My Competition Photo shot by Mark Trank

When we arrived, I noticed that all the other people set up were basically selling chaserai –old shoes, old toys, old clothing and old household items for 50 cents to $1.00 each.  I was still undaunted.  My beautiful jewelry would still make great holiday gifts. And I wasn’t planning to lower my prices to $1.00. I did not have time to go to the bank, so my dear husband ran off the bank to get me money, in case I needed change.  Round trip one for the first hour.  After  Mark went home the second time, I proceeded to set up meticulously.  And then the winds came.  My jewelry stands were flying, my jewelry was flying and I had forgotten the duck tape.  So I called Mark up and he ran around looking for suitable weights and the duck tape needed to hold jewelry stands.  Trip number 2 to the craft show. By this time, he gave up on going home and sat with me.

During the last hour in which no one even came over to see my jewelry, he asked me three simple questions.  In the sweetest voice he could muster, he asked “how many degrees do you have, my dear?”  I knew where this was going, but I played along.  “Three,”  I answered with a sigh.  “Tell me what those degrees are in?” he asked.  “B.A. in Speech Communication,” I said. “From where?” he asked rhetorically. “University of Virginia,” I announced with a laugh.  “And your next degree?” Mark asked.  “Masters in Science Education,” I laughed.  “And where is that degree from?” he mocked. “University of Virginia,” I answered a bit more quietly.  “Your third degree?” he asked.  “Educational Specialists in Curriculum and Instruction,” I announced. “From where?” By this time, my voice was a bit tight. “the University of Virginia.”  So how is it that a girl with three degrees from one of the highest rated Universities is stupid enough to try and sell her Jewelry that looks more like art to a crowd that won’t even buy items for .50?” he concluded.  “Maybe you should stick to art shows!”  This coming weekend, I will be at the Alliance for the Arts Annual Festival.  Last year it was a good event for me.  By the way, I did sell two people some jewelry.  Both happened to be teachers and both were my student teachers that I had supervised.  So my education degrees came in handy after all. Tonight we were discussing this event and I had to laugh, when Mark said”  What’s next, a truck pull in Okechobee?”

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The Big Boy Expo or Nothing Ventured… nothing gained

I ventured out today to sell my jewelry at a very unusual venue… The Big Boy Expo.  Now you might ask “what was I thinking?” Well, there is a story here.  It all started two days ago, when the house phone rang.  We never answer our house phone, but Mark, my husband, decided to pick it up.  On the phone was a very nice woman, who tracked me down after searching the web for Fort Myers Jewelers.  (that’s the good news… my name comes up in a search of Fort Myers Jewelers). She had purchased space at an event in Fort Myers for this weekend and was looking to share her space because someone backed out.  Now, there are many events at the Germaine arena.  In fact, I kept seeing advertisements about a Women’s Event that focused on fashion and health.. so I automatically assumed it was this event.

So I called her up and said yes and then I looked up the event and found the description “It’s the perfect opportunity to show off your guy stuff… All those gizmos, gadgets and thingamajigs guys can’t wait to get their hands on.” Now that doesn’t sound like a women’s fashion event. However, I am a woman of my word.  I could not back out on this very kind lady now.  I started rationalizing how this event  might be a success… my thinking went like this.  All those guys have to have women either at home or being dragged out to the Big Boy Expo… maybe they will flock to my booth and buy my beautiful jewelry.

The weather report called for off and on thunderstorms throughout the day.  Have you ever experienced a South Florida thunderstorm in September?  We are talking pretty much hurricane without the hype…. torrential downpours, instant flash floods, frequent lightening and wind that can blow down outdoor tents and send them into the next county.   I remained optimistic.  I had less than 24 hours to get ready, so I frantically sent out an SOS to all my new Bead Soup Blogger friends, who gave me helpful suggestions for last-minute pricing. I threw together my display, which I hadn’t used in six months.

Six a.m. Saturday morning.  My husband has been coughing most of the night.  I was pretty much packed up, but someone would have to carry it out to my car, drive me  there and help me set up.  Sick Mark got elected. One of the joys of being married to me for nearly 30 years.  We showed up just as the skies were blackening.  Never a good sign.  Another bad sign, the information said a table would be provided, but unbeknown st  to my space sharer or me, that was for the inside vendors.  So guess who got elected to go back home and get me a table.  The day continued on like that. There was the trip to Walmart to get me tarps in case the rain came and to the Smoothie place because I didn’t bring enough food or drink. All day long,  my sick husband running back and forth.  At one point, the sky looked so threatening, he went to the car and fell asleep thinking he would have to rescue  me at any moment.  Well the rest of the male population was smart enough to stay home or just visit the vendors inside.  At one point, I was sweating so badly, it was like being in my own rainstorm. 

So by now, I am sure you are wondering what was gained.  Here is my list.  I met some nice people who were also struggling to make a living at their craft.  We told stories.  I learned that juried shows might not accept my tent because its blue.  I learned that I need to get weights to hold down my tent in case of inclement weather.  I learned that sharing a booth might not work because my table was facing sideways and I need to face the crowd for them to see what I am about.  I also need a banner. i have gained knowledge of all these things and a few pictures of my rudimentary set up.  So like all adventures, there is something gained and guess what else,  its poured all over Fort Myers except where we were set up at Germaine arena.  By the way, I did not sell one item, but gave out a few business cards.  When I got home, my 13 year old looked up at the sky and said ” Mom, look a double rainbow!!!”  I am thinking that means the pot of gold is still out there.

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Bead Soup Party 2011 Official Site is

http://lorianderson-beadsoupblogparty.blogspot.com/

  Well its finally here…Bead Soup Blog 2011 Party Day.  In the end, I made two necklaces out of my wonderful ingredients sent by Jayne aka Boot C .  The first necklace was my effort to be symmetrical.  I wrote about my need for symmetry in my last blog.  I would actually call this reverse symmetry…   I was challenged by how to use the hammered piece of copper and ended up using my new wire wrapping technique to make it a pendant.  Then I used the ribbon Jayne sent to connect her wire wrapped semi precious stone flower in front.  But there was still one more centerpiece that I could not fit into this design, so I designed an entirely different necklace for that. I used Bead Weaving techniques.  Jayne had wire wrapped a lime green pearl in the copper.  I played upon those two colors in choosing my seed beads and glass pearls.  I ended up using Jayne’s clasp as a connector on the first necklace, so I used a button to clasp the second necklace. Let me know what you think please.  I wish every party was this long and fun.  Thanks Lori.

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Necklace 2 started off as a bracelet, but it was too big for my wrist, so being a fan of symmetry, I repeated the pattern on the other side and voila, it was choker.

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The Value of Having a Mentor

Twenty one years ago, I walked into a classroom for the first time. I was the mother of two children. How hard could teaching 20 children be? I had already spent ten years as a succesful journalist. Teaching was a second career. I wasn’t young, but to the students I was fresh meat. My students seemed determined to make me leave the field of teaching by the end of the first year, atleast that is what I thought as I cried to my husband each and every night. Why had I decided to be a teacher? Why couldn’t I impart all of my knowledge and passion to eager minds? What made my first year so horrible was that I didn’t have a mentor. If someone had just guided me a bit, helped me through the myriad of issues that teaching entails, that would have made a difference. I currently mentor new teachers now in a program at Florida Gulf Coast University. I am determined to help them avoid a few of the pitfalls that I fell in, such as starting off too leniantly. You can always get nicer, you can’t get stricter. So what does this have to do with beading? This summer, I have discovered the wonderful world of beading bloggers, thanks to Lori Anderson and the Bead Soup Blog Party.


Through this event, I have found mentors… wonderful jewelry designers who are lightyears ahead of me and are willing to guide me through some of the obstacles that they successfully overcome. So check out my mentor’s etsy stores and blogs. Support their beading or jewelry businesses, including Lori Anderson, whose blog is mentioned above. Charlene from the Bead Dreamer is helping me with my blog and with ideas on how to improve my etsy shop. Check out her shop at http://www.etsy.com/shop/CharleneSevier Christina Miles who gave me tips on photography http://www.etsy.com/shop/wingsnscales and Marsha Neal, who inspired me by teaching about the Etsy Treasury (a wonderful marketing tool that I will try as soon as I revamp my Etsy store. http://www.etsy.com/shop/marshanealstudio. There are others too. Thanks to all you Bead Mentors for paying forward and inspiring me to do the same.

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Getting your first gig

I remember when I decided I was going to break into TV news.  I was a radio reporter in Miami, Florida (1983) and I started looking for TV jobs.  The key to applying for a TV news job was to have a video tape of yourself doing TV news.  Well there was just one problem, I was a radio reporter. I had plenty of audio tapes of myself reporting the news.  I had even won an Associated Press award for my investigative reporting on asbestos in a public building.  Finally, I borrowed my husband’s news tapes (he was a TV reporter at the time) and I dubbed my voice over his pictures and we shot a stand up with me.  I got my first gig on TV in Jacksonville, Florida.  Fast forward more than 25 years.  I am ready to do some of the local arts and crafts shows selling my jewelry.  In the 50 miles around where I live, there are atleast one or two shows a month between now and April.  One problem, all of the applications are asking for a picture of my professional booth.  Well I don’t have one.  I have a hand-made job, but that is probably not going to get me into any of the shows, no matter how pretty my jewelry is.  So anyone out there have a beautiful booth I can borrow to put myself and my jewelry in front of, so I can be considered for these gigs.  Then I will have to actually figure out how to put one together before the first show.