Saturday, January 28, 2012

I Sold Something!

This morning, I woke up to a sale in my Artfire studio. This necklace:

and these earrings:

will be off to the USA on Monday morning!

Now I have a decision to make. I was in the process of moving everything over to my Etsy shop and my soon to be launched Bluetina website. Should I stay or should I go?

Will there be more sales or is this just a blip?

Decisions, decisions......

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Commissions are great but....

they can be fraught with peril!

My friend Ingebourg spent many years in India. She came back to Spain loaded down with gem stones and I've been using them to make jewellery for her. Mostly elasticated bracelets, I'm afraid, but we won't go there.....

My friend also has a friend who is visiting from Canada. This friend, having heard of my handmade jewellery, brought with her some lovely little peridot faceted briolettes.  I was charged with producing a suitably gorgeous necklace, using the peridot drops, pearls and gold vermeil. Oh, and an elasticated bracelet to go with.

I spent some time designing said necklace and took it to Ingebourg for approval before finishing. I quoted a price based on the work I had already done plus a bit for adding the clasp and extender chain. Approval being forthcoming, I took the necklace home and set to with my crimpers.

Then, and only then, did I remember to double check the number of spacers and pearls I had used. It all goes into my pricing spreadsheet - once a bookkeeper, always a bookkeeper!

I counted 39 little gold vermeil spacers. Hang on a mo, shouldn't there be 40 of them? Let's have a recount. No, only 39. There was one missing - a peridot drop was nestled right next to a little white pearl and that would never do!

Ok, I thought, I'll have to bite the bullet and restring it. Can't let it go out like that! I made the cut and started to restring on new wire. It was at this point in the proceedings that my tired, sixty year old eyes finally noticed that the little peridot briolettes were not all the same size. They were a graduated set of twenty.

Ok, I hadn't actually used my crimpers yet so all was not lost. Except some time, of course. It took me about twenty minutes to line them all up and decide what order they should be strung in. This is the final result:

and this is the bracelet:

I also had a moment or two of panic with the bracelet. I had promised to use freshwater pearls and the same 2mm peridot beads I used in the necklace.  They have very small holes and not all of them would fit over the elasticity.  Just enough of them fitted, fortunately!

The moral of this story, which I will no doubt forget immediately I have finished typing, is to always double check your components BEFORE you start crimping and wear your best glasses at all times.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Living in Spain.....

can sometimes be a complete pain in the arse!

During the latter part of 2011, we went through loads of hassle with our electricity supply. Eventually, it was all sorted out and we are now on mains electricity.

Yesterday afternoon (Friday the 13th, no less!) our water supply was cut off!

I cannot have a shower. I can't wash any clothes. We have water in bottles from our local "fuente" so I can boil a kettle to have a wash or wash up the dishes. Bryn has taken the lids of the toilet cisterns so we can fill them up every time we flush. Oh, what fun!

We are popping into town to see our solicitor on Monday and, hopefully, she can help us sort out this mess. In the meantime, I am sitting here, stinking to high heaven and getting depressed.

Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Taking stock.....

in more ways than one!

I'm counting beads. It's that time of year and the bookkeeper in me has to take stock. I know I'm a bit OCD about it. I pick up a packet of beads or findings and I know I could guess the contents pretty accurately but no, I have to count the bloody things! It's going to take me days at this rate.

I am also "taking stock" in another sense. There has been a lot of fuss on Artfire lately regarding their proposed "Assurance Scheme". I have read many of the forum threads with a sinking heart. I do hate it when people I know and like start ripping each other to shreds in public.

The upshot of this being that I have reopened my Etsy shop. I am not leaving Artfire - I've put a lot of work into my studio there. But, so many sellers were upping sticks and leaving for Etsy, that I decided to revisit the venue. I haven't been there for aeons. It's another country altogether these days. Totally unrecognisable.

However, they appear to have done a decent job of overhauling the site and there are some new features with which I am muchly impressed. I only have one item listed as of today's date (my Solar System necklace) and that was just to test out the listing process. I will add more when I have familiarised myself with "circles, teams and treasuries" etc.

My Solar System necklace on Etsy

2012 is also the year that Bluetina will have her own website. At last! Finally! I have snagged an account at, a platform for building one's own boutique on line. The templates look very professional and customer service would appear to be second to none, according to friends of mine who have taken the plunge already.

All I have to do then is market them all to death with Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus! Oh, and blog, of course. Oh dear, I have my work cut out for me, don't I?