Curtailing Inspiration Overload: Inspiration Part 2

This week I started a new project because of this: magazine stack   Let's have another look at that...shall we? magazine stack Let me be perfectly clear...this isn't even all of it. Just one section of the mess. I'm amazed it doesn't topple over because I just keep adding on to it. Thus started the cutting out of photos from all those magazines that inspire me, and taping them into this: inspiration journal I have always wanted to do this, but the idea of all that gluing was stopping me cold. I didn't want to get rid of magazines that might inspire me to go in a different direction or think of things a different way. Then I had an ah ha moment...use tape. Such a silly thing to not think of before. So I cut out photos (not just jewelry, but color, texture, pattern, pretty things, etc) that I love. Then I make a very quick jot about why I like that photo. inspiration journal

My Little Black Book: Inspiration Part 1

Tonight I am going to give you a sneak peek into my little black book. It's contents are top secret and I have never allowed anyone to see the secrets it contains. Ok, maybe that's a bit dramatic. I've let my 10 year old daughter doodle in it... Here's the deal. You know how the experts tell you to carry a notepad around to catch floating ideas before they float out of your brain? That's what my little black book is for. Moleskin book for inspired thinking or uninspired because it could go either way Specifically, it's a black Moleskine because it probably makes me look more cool and artsy (in my mind at least) to be using a moleskine rather than a little spiral notepad. I mean, Ernest Hemingway used Moleskine. What better recommendation than that? It's the perfect size to carry anywhere at about 3.5" x 4.5" and is lined. Here are just a few uses for my little black book: -I keep enamel "recipes" in it. -I have written out step by step details for how to recreate my various wholesale pieces so I can reproduce them exactly in case it's a while between production cycles. -I have also figured out the exact cost of each wholesale piece, the amount of time it takes to create each one, and how much I need to charge to make money on each one. -blog post ideas -to do lists -design ideas -customer contact info when I meet them in person rather than online -who I sent Christmas cards to. And so much more. Yes, it's a mish mash. But I love it. Leave a comment telling us if you keep something with you to jot down those jolts of inspiration. What do you carry and what do you use it for? Maybe there's something even cooler than carrying a moleskine?  

Party Appetizers and Drinks

When having a party, I like to keep it simple because I am busy. I don't have time to make gourmet meals and appetizers. Here's what I do... I set out all the wine glasses and a couple bottles of wine. Usually others bring bottles too so that by the end of the evening, we have a lot of wine flowing. For appetizers, I choose quick and easy because I do not want to be stressed more than necessary when entertaining. Chips and salsa, cheese and crackers, fruit are typical. When I have time to make something more complicated, one of my all time favorite recipes is Apple Berry Salsa from the Pampered Chef cookbook called All the Best. The Hot Artichoke and Spinich Dip is a close second favorite.

Recently, a friend introduced me to this drink and I just LOVE it, and it's so easy to make. So I keep inviting people over so I can make it for them.

Cranberry juice and coconut rum mixed drink

Ingredients: -crushed ice -diet sparkling cranberry juice -coconut rum To make, add a some crushed ice to a glass, then pour entire contents of cranberry juice into the glass. Add approximately 1 oz of coconut rum and stir a little bit. Drink. Leave a comment below telling us what you like to serve at parties.  Links to recipes would be a big bonus!

Welcome to the Party!

Glass Addictions sign constructed of upcycled parts

Welcome! I'm so glad you're here. First of all, I want you to be comfortable. Grab a drink, some snacks, a comfy chair, and your computer. There will be a new post about every 5 minutes. Crazy? Yes. Fun? I hope so...

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE interact. I've turned off comment moderation for tonight so I won't be hindering the comment process. But you still need to be nice.

Here's what I'm having. I'll share the recipe in a few because it's DELICIOUS.

Party drink

It's time for introductions. Introduce yourself! I want to know who is here and why. Do you make jewelry? Or beads? Or are you here for the door prizes? Married? Kids? Grandkids? Job outside the home? Self employed? We want all the details.

I'll start since I am the hostess.

My name is Jennifer Cameron. I create with fire, glass, and metal. I started Glass Addictions in 2005 or so. However, back then I was also selling fused glass creations. I am now up to 4 kilns as a bead annealer (my beads are popped into the annealer immediately and not batch annealed if you're wondering) and only use one of them because I no longer fuse glass...just melt it in the flame. Also, I have added a lot of metal work since the early days. Sometimes I feel like I've outgrown my biz name, but it's comfortable to me and feels like part of my identity.

Before my daughter was born I was a surgical technologist (aka scrub nurse) for about 10 years. It was an adventure...and not one I ever intend to go back to. Circumstances were such that I had to be a stay at home mom after she was born. The daycare situation was so bad and so expensive, I didn't go back to work.

I am married to the awesomest man on the planet (in fact, he's being understanding of me partying without him tonight) and have 2 fab kids ages 14 and nearly 11.

We have 2 dogs, 1 cat, 1 guinea pig, 1 leopard gecko, and a sugar glider.

We are in the exciting, but at the same time stressful and crazy process of building a lake cottage about 45 minutes from our house.

I color my hair red because hubs goes on and on about how hot certain ginga women are. Plus, people who don't know me think my hair is naturally this color. Awesome. Guess I am just doing what I should have been born with anyway.

I love making and buying jewelry. I don't actually like wearing it and rarely do...which is my #1 business mistake.

Leave a comment below because now it's your turn to tell us about yourself!

Bead Porn (G-Rated)

You can find all these listed on my Etsy shop. Yes, I need to build inventory for Bead and Button. Yes, it's crazy to list these. However, I have adopted a different attitude about my business. And it starts with the sentence "I am the CEO of my company". I will explain further another day. Today I have too much work and a desperately needed massage for the knots in my neck and between my shoulder blades (from lampworking and jewelry making).

Nightmare Insomnia Series lampwork glass focal bead jennifer cameron glass addictions

Nightmare Insomnia Series lampwork glass focal bead jennifer cameron glass addictions

Nightmare Insomnia Series lampwork glass focal bead jennifer cameron glass addictions

Smooshed focal bead jennifer cameron glass addictions

Smooshed focal bead jennifer cameron glass addictions

Egg shaped focal bead jennifer cameron glass addictions

Booth and New Jewelry Photos

May 1st? What happened to April? Ugh. My show last Friday was pretty good. It was definitely a different mindset crowd compared to the Indiana Artisan crowd a month ago. The last time I did Tapestry was 3 years ago and I have evolved since then (thank goodness! I would hate to stay the same forever). The price increase was not popular. However, a few shoppers did appreciate the time, materials, design, and expertise it takes to create what I do. Interestingly, those who complained about the pricing ignored my pieces that had a lower price point. (by the way, I will be writing about handling customer criticisms gracefully on the AJE blog and will let you know when that's posted). I actually remembered to get a pic of my booth this time. I wanted to take it when there were no customers. The only time I didn't have customers was during keynote speakers. They turned the overhead lights down to nothing. It was eerie. I was definitely glad I paid to have electrical (the lighting in that room isn't great anyway).  

Glass Addictions by Jennifer Cameron jewelry booth Tapestry 2012

This next pic is a couple corner unit bakers rack type shelves and a mannequin I picked up at Hobby Lobby.

Glass Addictions by Jennifer Cameron jewelry booth Tapestry 2012

I also had this mannequin to the front left opening of my booth, but being black and without lighting, it looked like a black hole in the photo

mannequin for art show booth

If you have "liked" my Facebook page, you might have read that I stayed up most of the night before the show trying to finish up some in progress pieces. I sold one of those (which I didn't get a photo of). Here are 3 of my favorites from that night. All of them are listed on etsy.

My absolute favorite bracelet ever. At least, for now. And it doesn't use a speck of glass. The one section is a dragon scale chainmaille weave with niobium rings, flanked by Egyptian coils in sterling silver, and an amethyst box clasp.

Dragon Scale and Egyptian Coil bracelet Glass Addictions by Jennifer Cameron

The next two necklace designs are the same except one is in copper (with a little silver), the other in silver (with some brass and copper)

Celtic in Copper Glass Addictions by Jennifer Cameron

Celtic in Silver Glass Addictions by Jennifer Cameron

Inspired by...Weeds

Today is Inspiration Monday at Art Jewelry Elements where people share what inspires them and how it inspires them. I created a bead based on this photo by my friend Carol Dean Sharpe:   First dandelion in spring by Carol Dean Sharpe Sand Fibers   Here's the bead:

Dandelion in Spring

And here it is when not backlit:

Dandelion in Spring Glass Addictions by Jennifer Cameron

Join the blog hop by visiting AJE and linking your inspired by post to AJE.


Exactly 4 weeks ago to the day, I was setting up for my first show of the year. In fact, it was the first show I had done in about 3 years. Amazingly, this afternoon will be spent setting up for my 2nd show of the year at an event called "Tapestry: a day for you." The "you" being women because this is not really for men. Anyway, it's a fun show to do because it doesn't get any more low key. I will be there on Friday from about 7am til about 5 pm. There are set shopping times where I will be very busy, but then the conference goers go to their breakout sessions and I can sit and catch my breath for a minute, straighten up the booth, do some viking knitting, etc. You would think with only a few hours to shop, it wouldn't be profitable for the vendors. However, I have always done very well for the few hours of work and low booth fee. Here's a piece using a Jade Scott pendant, one of my lampwork beads, and some swarovski chain I will have with me tomorrow that I have never shared with my online friends:

Necklace with jade scott pendant and glass addictions by jennifer cameron lampwork bead


As many of you know, I don't really "do" men's jewelry. The men in my life tolerate their wedding rings and sometimes even a watch. That's about it. However, last fall, the Iowa chapter of the March of Dimes asked me to please make something for their male ambassadors. This resulted in a leather wrap bracelet customized with their kids' names hand stamped on sterling silver pieces. The wife of one of the men who received this gift from the March of Dimes emailed me about how much her husband loves it and could I make something similar for her friends. Without going into too much detail, her friends have a very sick little boy. He spent months in the NICU. After years spent in and out of several hospitals, multiple surgeries, and all the horrors involved with that, he has been sent home on hospice care because there is nothing else they can do for him. Of course this story just broke my heart and I wanted her gift to her friends to be perfect. For Kyle's dad, she wanted a wrap style bracelet like her husband's with all the kids names on it.  

 Custom men's wrap bracelet glass addictions by jennifer cameron

She also wanted something for Kyle's mom. However, she already has a necklace with all the kids names. So she requested a bracelet with just Kyle's name and somehow incorporating orange, which is his favorite color.

mom's custom bracelet by glass addictions by jennifer cameron

I saw pictures of mom, and she is teeny tiny and I learned that a bracelet she regularly wears is 6.3" and huge on her. I wanted to make sure the bracelet I made for her was to scale with her tiny size and also adjustable since I didn't have her actual wrist size. I also had to scale back on my grand plans of adding a bunch of frills to it because it was just too much. I think I took this apart and redid it a few times trying to get the scale right, but found this chain hiding in a corner and fell in love instantly. The key was to keep it simple. This is how the back looks:

 Clasp of custom bracelet

How to Display Jewelry when using Large Hang Tags

My hang tag tutorial was a little popular...getting over 500 hits a day for several days...which was super exciting for me. I had no idea it would be so popular and I'm glad some of you found it useful. One of the questions I was asked was how I was able to display my jewelry effectively with such large hang tags. The answer is: it depends. For necklaces on busts or mannequins, it's a no brainer. The tag goes behind where it can't be seen. I tie them onto the necklace so that it stays in place, but doesn't interfere with trying it on. A few pieces (mostly bracelets) were laid out straight on cloth covered trays with the tags continuing the line of the piece. Not ideal, but it worked. These did require lots of straightening, but it still looked fine.

Hangtags with earrings on wire structure from garden section of store

My favorite method for display were these wire structures...maybe called a cloche? I found clearanced in the garden section of Meijer. I simply attached the hangtags using clothespins. You cannot fit a ton of pieces on a single cloche, but I am of the school of thought that less is more in a booth display. I have found most customers get overwhelmed when faced with too many choices and then walk out with nothing. If they ask for more choices, or want a specific color, then I get out more inventory for them to look through. Anyway, anything you can either clip the tags to or add a nail into to hang the tags from (pre-punched holes!) is fair game. Be creative.  
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