Thursday, October 20, 2011

How To Design Your Own Jewelry

Coming up with my own design is something I really like to do but it’s a challenge. Making jewelry, for me, is a little like cooking. I usually try an existing  recipe first following the directions to the letter. After I eat my new meal I think about how I would change the recipe to make it a touch different or, in some cases, better. If I didn’t cook all the time, trying new recipes, new ingredients, I wouldn’t have the ability to change a recipe from lack of experience. After cooking for a lot of years and trying many recipes, I’m more comfortable now and readily omit and add ingredients. Sometimes I’m successful, sometimes not, it just takes practice and a willingness to fail sometimes.

Making jewelry is very much the same. In the beginning I just followed directions. I’d find a pattern I liked and ordered exactly the beads they told me to get, the sizes, and sometimes even the colors they specify. I would follow the pattern religiously and rip out any time I discovered I had made a mistake. Until I had mastered a stitch (Chevron, RAW, Herringbone, Crossweave) I would not alter a design. But now I’m a few years into beading and have become more adventurous. Sometimes I alter designs and then realize *why* it had to be a size 15 delica and not an 11 round seed bead. Sometimes it doesn’t matter at all. For me, it’s how I like to learn—trial and error.

Recently I found this free earring design on Bead & Button’s  website. They’re called Mosaic Medallions. It uses RAW and doesn’t take a lot of beads. I never really make earrings—it’s pretty rare. But, I usually have a few leftover crystals from bracelets and necklaces laying around and thought this would be a good way to use them up.

But the design wasn’t exactly what I liked. However, I did the design first as instructed.  Ten minutes after I finished them, I ripped them out. I modified the design and made these instead.



Personally I like mine better. But if I hadn’t made the first design it wouldn’t have occurred to me to make these.

How do you come up with designs?



Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Accepting Credit Card Payments

Claudine & Max at the ExpoTomorrow, October 6th, is the Women’s Expo at Middle Country Library in Centereach. It’s from 10am to 6pm. If you’ve never been to it—make some time in your day to attend (and if you are a vendor, definitely DEFINITELY put this one on your list for next year).

I don’t do a lot of fairs but when I do accepting credit cards is a must. I have a few low-priced items but mainly, the stuff I’m dying to sell is pricy. If I didn’t accept credit cards I’d lose a lot of sales.

Last year I did some research on accepting credit cards. I’ve used PayPal for years as an ETSY and EBAY seller. It works great for online payments. But if I wanted to use them for credit cards at the expo, they would charge me a monthly fee in addition to all the other fees built in per transaction. Right now, I average 2 fairs a year. Why would I sign up for a monthly fee? Last year I tried a company called ProPay. Instead of a monthly fee they do an annual fee.  I used to write down the CC info on those carbon papers you can buy at Staples and then input the information on the web once I got home. Taking a risk? Yes, but I’ve never been burned (yet).

Now with smart phones it’s even easier (IF you have connection) to capture credit card info at the fair. If you don’t have connection, you’ll need to get the information somehow, so that’s when I use the carbon imprint papers. When I went to sign in for the fair this year I noticed that my ProPay membership had lapsed and I’d have to renew—for $50 bucks.

So I went to twitter and asked the masses. I have a TON of fellow handmade crafters and twitter friends that were really helpful. Check them out: @ittybittybag, @easton_place, @cheekymaiden, @uffishL, and @thecoastalchick.  Overwhelmingly they all said, “I use @square.”

Here are the benefits to Square:

  • No annual fee
  • No monthly fee
  • Pay small fee per transaction (and you don’t need a flowchart to figure it out) 2.75% per swipe for all cards
  • Next-day payout with automatic direct deposits to your bank account
  • Free reader, free app for iPhone, iPad and Android
  • Available when your friends that stop by your house and do some “shopping”

I signed up on Sunday and had an official account linked to my checking account in minutes. I don’ t have the swipe thing yet and the fair is tomorrow—but I can still accept cards. I will just input them later (with a slightly higher fee at 3.5% + 15¢ per transaction.) It’s STILL better than laying out $50 bucks before making any sales. I’d have to have more than $1500 in credit card charges to hit $50 in fees. While I like to be optimistic—I doubt I’ll sell $1500 worth of jewelry (but boy—wouldn’t that rock?)

Hope to see you there tomorrow!!