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Dolce Beada’s Valentines Day feature in Giftware News Magazine

Venetian glass heart jewelry for Valentines Day by Dolce Beada Perfect for Valentines Day – or any day for that matter because who doesn’t love a big fabulous glass heart!

I just saw my necklace featured in the latest Giftware News Magazine From the Heart Section.  It is always a thrill to see your work displayed in print and I am honored to be included with such a lovely selection of gifts.

I have been working with wholesale clients since I did my first show in San Francisco in 2004.  Because my jewelry features the highest quality glass beads handmade in Venice and Murano, I have been featured in some wonderful museums including The Field Museum, The National Gallery of Art and The Frye Museum.  I also have several boutiques and gift shops that I have worked with for a number of years including Delaney Street Mercantile in Lake Geneva, WI.Venetian glass jewelry set on display card by Dolce Beada

My jewelry is not trendy, it is classic and elegant just like Italy.  Yet I always carry the latest in bead designs and colors from the most skilled Venetian bead makers.  All of my jewelry pieces are handmade in my California studio in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  All Pendants come on slip knotted leather cords and on display cards which tell the story of Venetian glass bead making.  Perfect for gift giving.  Please check out my Etsy shop to see a sampling of my current offerings.

If you are interested in consideration as a retailer for Dolce Beada, please feel free to contact me at angelakeller(at)dolcebeada.com, I would love to talk with you about the possibilities.

Ciao,

Angela

My pep talk to show newbies.

Dolce Beada outdoor booth photo

‘Tis the season!

I know many of you may be doing your first ever Art or Craft show and I just thought I would share a few tips and thoughts I have for you.  (it’s the mother in me!)

BE Confident!  You know your product and you believe in it – share that with your customers.  One of the first few shows I did, a customer muttered under her breath that my prices are high and you can buy these beads at Michael’s and do this yourself.  This was an ah-hah moment.  I realized that my customers were not familiar with Venetian glass beads and therefore did not see the value in them.  I learned that I needed to educate my customers on what sets Venetian glass apart and now I hear, “oh, these are very reasonably priced.”

BE Flexible!  Things happen at shows – sometimes your set up is not exactly what you had envisioned.  Sometimes you forget something.  Maybe the weather is not cooperating.  I try to have a couple of different options for my setup.  I also highly recommend velcro, fishing line and duct tape.   These things have saved me on many occasions.  Also – don’t be afraid to ask your neighbors if you can borrow something – we’ve all had days where we forgot a mirror.  It’s okay to ask.  And that brings me to my last point…

BE Happy!  Even if you are not having the best day – pretend to be happy.  The attitude and energy of the show are set by those in attendance.   If you have your arms crossed or you’re bored and you don’t engage your customers, they pick up on that.  If you complain to your neighbor about your bad sales – it brings their attitude down.  So stay positive and always HAVE FUN!

Best of Luck!

Venetian glass and seed bead earrings – project #2

  Okay, I think I have found my new hobby – not that I have time for a hobby ;-).  This pair of earrings was project #2 in my bead embroidery exploration.  This technique is so much fun!  It is very free form and you just kind of go where it takes you.

I started with a Venetian bead cabachon that I glued down to the backing and then did a peyote stitch around it to “secure” it.  From that point it just becomes a matter of choosing various size beads and finding a pattern that is pleasing to the eye.  I love the varying texture that comes from the different beads.  A fish hook style earwire is attached to the back and then covered in ultrasuede making the whole backing very neat.

I think I enjoy this technique so much because it is basically hand sewing beads and reminds me of quilting.  My first job was in a small quilting shop and all of my great grandmothers were prolific quilters. This pair of earrings probably took me about 6-7 hours!  I completed them in a couple of very late nights while my husband was out of town.

Stay tuned for my next endeavor!

The story behind the blue necklace

It’s done! and I just had to tell it’s story.  I actually completed it and wore it to our local school fundraising gala on October 1.  I was quite glamorous.

I have been wanting to try some bead embroidery since I saw a purse done by Sherry Serafini in a magazine several years ago.  The one with the skulls – but they are all so amazing.  Check out her handbag page and be prepared to ooh and ahhh.

The opportunity to try some bead embroidery presented itself when I came across the large Venetian disc which had a chip in the edge.:-( Because of the chip in the glass I could not use it in my usual pendants but I had hung onto it because I hate to waste ANYTHING.  With bead embroidery you glue the cabachon or bead onto a backing and then bead around it so the chip would be completely covered.  Perfect solution!

So my plan was to make a bracelet but as always happens when you start on these things, they begin to take on a life of their own.  I found a peyote stitch pattern from a necklace entitled Pearly Mosaic by Lisa Kan which I modified for the circular links surrounding silver foil venetian glass beads.  I did not want to take these all the way to the back of the necklace so I made up a chain pattern again by modifying the original Lisa Kan necklace.

work in progress

 

I began this project in June (and we were in Alaska for the entire month of July) and I worked on it sporadically partly because I was trying to decide how to proceed, partly because it was all new techniques for me so there was a learning curve.  Even though I kept the bead embroidery portion pretty simple it was a great project to get started on.  I have already completed my 2nd bead embroidery project which I will post soon.

Red Venetian hearts featured in Hey Handmade!

Now featured in Hey Handmade!

Hey Handmade is on a mission to encourage people to buy handmade this holiday season.  With that in mind Timothy Adam has produced an e-catalog with a variety of handmade items.  You can find unique jewelry, clothing accessories and home decor just to name a few.

Express your love with these small Venetian glass heart earrings.  The color is fantastic!  Gold foil is encased in red glass giving this pair of earrings a rich ruby red coloring.  They dangle from sterling silver fish hook earwires for a simple yet elegant look.  Many other colors available as well.  Check it out on my Etsy shop or contact me to request a color.

Driving with my lights off

I was working on this post earlier and it was just too bland – then a funny thing happened as I was driving home.  I don’t normally drive in rush hour traffic but I was on the highway and it was beginning to get dark and it’s bumper to bumper and this man pulls up next to me and starts waving his arm around at me .  So naturally I think he’s a freak or he just doesn’t like my driving so I ignore him and pull away.  Well he ends up next to me again and still he had his window down and he’s pointing at my car and waving his arm around.  Oh my gosh, what’s wrong with this weirdo, right – oh wait, he’s trying to tell me that my lights are not on!  Okay, I would have figured this out eventually, but he has saved me some grief and now he is not a weirdo, he is my friend.

And that’s what my post is about.  As a sole proprietor of a small business I am always going it alone and trying to stay focused on what needs to happen next.  And sometimes it’s a lot of things!  Especially at this time of year because I am gearing up for the holiday season. This means I am making lots of pieces some new designs but also many of my most popular items as well to get ready for upcoming shows. I am also shipping orders to my retailers such as Delaney Street Mercantile and working on my online presence at my Etsy shop.

So I’ve got lots of things going and sometimes it is hard to stay on track – kind of like driving with my lights off!  So this year I have enlisted a couple of new friends to remind me to turn on my lights and stay on track.

I have enlisted myself in Etsy’s Holiday Boot Camp and it has been great. They have a checklist every week to get ready for the holidays and then my 2 excellent buddies SSMDesigns and ThoroughlyModernMommy and I check in every week to make sure we are doing what we are supposed to do. So far as a result of boot camp I have greatly improved my photos and the look of my Etsy shop and I am up to 90 listings now.   My goal is 100 by Saturday. Almost there Woo hoo.

I have also signed up with Tara Gentile to work on merging my website and my blog so I can communicate with you in a more cohesive manner – or something like that.  The plan is that you will see how that goes by December.

So bottom line, sometimes you think you are cruising along okay but you realize that maybe you could use a little input from some outside sources to keep you on track.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month Campaign

For the month of October I am donating 10% of all my retail sales to Breast Cancer Connections.  This is a San Francisco Bay Area non-profit that provides education, counseling and assistance to those dealing with breast cancer issues  including those outside of the Bay area.   They provide free diagnostic services to those that cannot afford their own services.   They were instrumental to me in dealing with my cancer diagnosis.  Please help me send them a nice check this year.  Visit my Etsy shop or my website – get an early start on the holidays and support this excellent organization.

How does it feel to be diagnosed with breast cancer

I just read the most amazing story about breast cancer. It brought back a flood of emotions from my own experience. Her story resonated with me. She was trying to be so strong and make all kinds of deals with God. Trying to downplay her cancer not even admitting to her kids that she had cancer. Not taking care of herself, not telling people and not asking for help, not even talking about it with her husband. And then she finally burst.

This was not my story. I did reach out to people. Chris was my rock. I watched what I ate and I exercised. However, I also got depressed and angry with God and life and felt like this was not fair. I got mad at the things people said to me about having a mastectomy. Many tears were shed. And I felt bad for having these negative feelings. I was disappointed in myself for not always being positive and upbeat. For letting myself wallow. But I read this woman’s story and it made me cry for those feelings all over again.

I went to a support group for a while during my treatment. Everyone would share their stories and talk about their situation. One day I was sitting next to a woman who explained her story and was debating whether to have a bilateral or unilateral mastectomy and she talked about it in such factual terms. Like this was purely a practical decision. I felt so completely opposite of this woman that I was not even sure we had the same disease.

Reading this article helped me to see that not only does every woman have her own story but also her own reaction to her diagnosis. And sometimes that reaction even changes. I know now that I can’t plan or control how I will react to anything. But I can allow myself the space to have the feelings that come and I can forgive myself for not acting “perfect”. Today I am just happy that my story continues.

If you have anyone in your life touched by breast cancer I would absolutely recommend this article for a little perspective.

The article can be found in the Oprah magazine October issue entitled “your story will be unique”

The price of sterling silver – ouch!!!

I just placed an order for sterling silver components.  How quickly $1000 can slip through your hands!

One of the many lessons I have learned in this jewelry making business of mine is that I have to stay on top of my inventory. Between the Venetian Glass Beads and the sterling silver components, the supplies that I use in Dolce Beada are pretty expensive.  Whether it be the supplies or the finished product, if I don’t know what I have already I end up spending a lot of money unnecessarily.  And I have had to learn this lesson the hard way.  For example last week I discovered that I have 1000 2″ sterling silver headpins – that’s probably 3 years worth – just sitting here.  Oops, how did that happen. When I order supplies, I try to think of my supplies as money – I wouldn’t leave $1000 just sitting under my desk right??  So I try not to over do it when I place that order.  The other thing I really try to be careful about is that I am really ordering the component that I need.  There is nothing worse than ordering a bead for a specific project and then discovering you ordered it in the wrong size!

I think it mainly comes down to being organized.  When I have a place for everything, it is much easier to see when and what I need to reorder.  The other thing that I did a few years ago was to put all of my inventory on Quickbooks.  This was an extremely tedious process but it has definitely helped me to track what I have and also how much each piece of jewelry costs.

Now, perhaps I should clean up my desk – I may unearth some more treasures I have forgotten about.

Alaskan wrap up

so I think I last left everyone hanging in Juneau…  so I just wanted to let you know we did make it home.  In fact we made a pit stop at home and then were off again for our annual visit to Illinois to see the grandparents.  So before everyone is back to school and the usual routines I thought I would wrap up our trip.

the stats:

we were gone for 29 days, we spent 7 in hotels, 2 on the ferry and 20 days of camping – 4 people and 1 dog in a VW camper.

we drove 8,012 miles – 1875 over the last 2 days as we were racing home.

we counted 99 VW campers on our trip.

we averaged 18.77 miles to the gallon.

Between us – 14 books were read.

We only had one minor injury and one scary adventure see 2nd attempt Good Samaritans of Juneau.

we learned how little stuff we actually need to be happy together.