Visiting the Graveyard
by Mary Oliver
Visiting the Graveyard
by Mary Oliver
This is one of the books I made as part of the class process. I always make my own books with the binding as I create the videos and instructions for the class, rather than just work with already finished pieces and written steps. This allows me to add in little tips and tricks as I go- things like how to repair a signature or folio cut by tightening the thread, or how to make a bit of trim more sturdy so it can be used as a support for binding. I love doing that, because those little tidbits can really help, and sharing them makes creating the class even more fun!
You will be able to sign up for the various Book of the Month Bookbinding classes at any time. The classes will remain available and registration won't be limited to just that month.
In other words, registration for April's class (the book you see above) will remain open! And, the cost of the class is only $15!
Also, your class access isn't limited; you will continue to be able to access the class forever! (or as close to forever as possible! Although, living forever doesn't sound too bad!)
I've been hard at work getting ready to start creating May's class! Here are some unbound books- pages and covers at the ready!
by Robert Frost
The line-storm clouds fly tattered and swift,
The road is forlorn all day,
Where a myriad snowy quartz stones lift,
And the hoof-prints vanish away.
The roadside flowers, too wet for the bee,
Expend their bloom in vain.
Come over the hills and far with me,
And be my love in the rain.
The birds have less to say for themselves
In the wood-world’s torn despair
Than now these numberless years the elves,
Although they are no less there:
All song of the woods is crushed like some
Wild, easily shattered rose.
Come, be my love in the wet woods; come,
Where the boughs rain when it blows.
There is the gale to urge behind
And bruit our singing down,
And the shallow waters aflutter with wind
From which to gather your gown.
What matter if we go clear to the west,
And come not through dry-shod?
For wilding brooch shall wet your breast
The rain-fresh goldenrod.
Oh, never this whelming east wind swells
But it seems like the sea’s return
To the ancient lands where it left the shells
Before the age of the fern;
And it seems like the time when after doubt
Our love came back amain.
Oh, come forth into the storm and rout
And be my love in the rain.
Late last summer, some enterprising birds made a nest on top of our garage door opening mechanism. After a few months, Joe removed it, and placed it on a shelf near the door, thinking the littlest little would find it fascinating.
Last week, a pair of robins decided it was the perfect location to start a family. This is crazy because the garage has a lot of foot traffic in and out, and we park right beside where the nest is placed! We also use the power tools located in that garage, and Sunny has a little kitchen play space in there, as well. I spent a good bit of time in that garage last weekend, using the circular saw and some other rather noisy tools! There was a pack of rambunctious 7 year-olds playing house and doing a great deal of "cooking" and tending to loudly wailing baby dolls. I have NO idea why these birds decided this would be a good nest, other than they didn't have to build it!
One day last week, as I went to get into my car, a robin flew out of the garage, zipping right by my head. When I looked the direction from where this bird came, I saw the nest, and thought, "Oh, no! Not there!" I climbed up on a crate and gently stuck my hand into the nest, and felt the smooth eggs.
The eggs gestate for 12-14 days, and then of course, there will be baby birds... We cannot avoid this space for over a month!! I feel badly, but either they will have to adapt to our presence or abandon the nest. On the upside, there is no shortage of robins around here, and certainly not in our yard, where I can see three other occupied nests in the backyard alone. Robins typically lay two to three clutches of eggs a season, and there are usually four eggs in each clutch.
Still, I feel guilty!!!
My inbox had an email from the Nevercenter folks this morning advertising a HUGE sale on their CameraBag 2.5 app for Mac & Windows.
It is normally $20, but is on sale for a very limited time for $8.
Nevercenter also has a free, 15-day trial version, so you can check it out before purchasing.
I'm not affiliated with Nevercenter in any way. I've purchased their apps for my computer, iPhone and iPad. The original Camerabag app was one of my favorite iPhone apps when I started shooting with an iPhone in 2009. It was the third app I purchased, and a version of CameraBag has been on my phone ever since! Their apps have been winning awards for years.
The computer version is available for Mac & Windows (PC) systems. It offers 150 filters, and the ability to create and share your own, as well as access the shared filters of other users. There are a number of great features, but the best part is you can keep it simple! You can just apply their filters, and play with your photos! Or, if you are interested, you can go in-depth with creating filters and using the photo editing tools. The computer version also supports the use of RAW image files, if you shoot your images in that format.
In my opinions, one of the best thing about Nevercenter's products is the information they include in the "Support" section of their website. I took a quick screenshot of their website from my phone. You can see they have tutorials and videos for whatever level of experience you have using these sorts of applications. I clicked on "Getting Started with..." which led me to a page that even explained how to open the app.
I had CameraBag 1.5 on my laptop. When Nevercenter updated to 2.0, the update was so huge, and offered so much more, you had to purchase the update. It wasn't expensive, but I didn't want to spend the money at the time. When I finally wanted to update, the offer had expired. I didn't want to pay $20 for the new version, so I just kept the old, which of course, I didn't use as much.
But, $8?! Heck, yeah! That's a hella deal! (it's what? 60% off?) I thought I'd pass the info along to all of you, just in case you might find $8, for a terrific piece of photo software, appealing!
If you are using a Mac, then you already know about the Mac App Store. You can buy it there for $7.99 using your iTunes account. If you are PC/Windows, you can buy it directly from Nevercenter, and use the sale code SPRINGSALE when you check out. You can pay via credit/debit or Paypal. I used the Mac App Store. What? It's a penny cheaper there! Just kidding, using the Mac App Store was easier - just needed to enter my iTunes password instead of entering all my address and billing info into the Nevercenter site checkout form. (yes, I AM that lazy.)
Starting with April, I'll be offering a new online bookbinding class each month!
I love teaching bookbinding! I'm a mellow, easy-going, patient bookbinder and instructor. I make sure you understand the stitch before you begin sewing your book! You'll practice the sewing, and create a sewing "sampler" which will become a wonderful reference tool. I keep my samplers in a binder, so when I need to choose a binding to use for a new journal, I have a collection of 3-d visual references of bindings to peruse!
Each class will cover a binding technique I have not taught on line before! Focused specifically on making a handmade book, this class will cover the steps needed to make the book using that month's binding from start to finish.
Each Book Of The Month class will be available to purchase separately and/or individually. The Book Of The Month classes aren't sold as a subscription, so you are able to choose what bookbinding class you wish to take. As the months go by, the classes from each month will remain available to purchase.
While the Book Of The Month classes won't be covering surface treatments for paper, I do offer a wonderful class that covers a number of page surface treatments to use to prep papers for use in your journals. It also covers two of my favorite binding techniques. (info is on my online workshops main page under Painted, Patterned, Printed Journals)
April's class - The BIG TIME BOOK!
Check out the book and it's binding in the video below:
This fun journal lies flat when opened, making it easy to work in!
Make your journal any size you like.
The class will cover the sewing and assembly for this book, along with how to fold your papers to create the various flaps and fold-outs for your pages. Using videos, photographs, and written instructions, the class guides you step-by-step through the binding process, including practicing the stitches before sewing the book, and creating your sewing stitch sampler. All bookbinding terms are clearly explained.
The class website will open on April 24, 2014, and remain posted. Your access is not time-limited.
You can use any sturdy, heavier paper of your choosing for your pages. Use a mix of papers, if you like. Covers can be made from a variety of materials, including book board, recycled old book covers, or canvas boards. The supply list is fairly short and will be emailed to you with your registration conformation and class access information.
Please be sure to read the "Class Policies" section at the bottom of my main Online Workshops page.
Cost: $15 via Paypal.
You do not need a Paypal account to use Paypal. You can check out as a guest, and use a creditcard.
I like using cheap composition books for various writing, research, and class planning projects. What this has meant is when I've needed to write something down, or look up something, I've had to sift through a pile of notebooks to find the correct one. You know how that went, right?
So, I pulled the covers off of the composition books I was using and extras I had on hand, and bound them into two journals. The composition books became the signatures of the journals. (the sections/stacks of folded papers are called signatures, individual folded papers are called folios.)
I wanted to make a smaller journal of this style, and decided this would be a great chance to create a tutorial for those of you who might want an inexpensive, lined-paper journal.
This will be a 3-part tutorial.
The tutorial format is predominantly photos & text, with one video (of the sewing for the book), which is different than my typical bookbinding classes. I really wanted to be able to post this tutorial, and that meant working on it over the weekend with house full of children at home. This binding is very easy, which means a tutorial with mainly written instructions and photographs (except for the sewing video!) will work quite well.
Spring is finally here! Yesterday, warm, magnolia-perfumed breezes floated through open windows. The high for the day was 80 degrees. Tomorrow will bring rain, followed by snow. Yes, spring has come to western Pennsylvania.
In celebration of green shoots and magnolia blossoms, the Easter holiday, and Mother's Day, The Wishmonger is having a huge sale!
Prices have been reduced on all jewelry items; some a little, but most a lot!
A quick word about the earrings:
I am really fussy about the weight of dangly earrings I wear. I don't want my pierced holes to end up damaged from the weight of heavy earrings. My earrings are very lightweight in your ears, but the shapes are plenty sturdy. (the shapes are constructed from 16, 18, or 20 gauge half-hard sterling, that has been further work-hardened by being hand-hammered, & hand-formed.)
To give you an idea of how the earrings look on, the pair I am wearing in this photo are the same as this pair. I wear them all the time.
You can click on the photo on the left to enlarge the image.
If you reside in the continental US, and would like any purchases to arrive for Easter, you should order by Wednesday and upgrade your shipping to Priority mail.
Also, I will gladly provide free gift packaging and ship directly to your recipient.
Unfortunately, I am unable to make price reductions for any past purchases.
Besides getting questions asking about which stones are actually gemstones, and those sort of queries, I have been asked about buying gemstone beads, and about how to price jewelry. I'm no expert, but I'll share what I can. And, given how I price my items, you might not want to take my advice. Since the cost of the gemstones directly affects the cost of jewelry, those questions are connected.
SOURCES for beads:
I purchase quite a bit from Etsy. I search for a specific stone, look at different vendors, their shipping costs, and their reviews, and choose based on that information. I also like being able to see images of the actual beads, or at least a selection from the same lot of beads as those I am purchasing.
I also have looked into Etsy shops and online vendors that were recommended in by other Esty sellers in these two discussion threads. (rather than list each vendor, I'm linking to the discussions.)
In general, beads being sourced from wholesalers in India are different than those sourced from wholesalers China. Beads from India often have smaller holes, and the size and shape of the beads on a strand may show greater variety. I always check, regardless of origin, the size of the holes, and if it isn't noted, I convo the seller.
I know a lot of people buy from Fire Mountain and Artbeads. I haven't found the beads to be very nice. They are too expensive for the quality. You also don't see the beads- just a stock photo. The best way to go with Fire Mountain is to be able to buy at their highest bulk rates, but most people don't need that many of their beads, or can afford to purchase at that quantity. However, there is a community on Etsy that functions as a co-op and coordinates bulk buying from Fire Mountain; it is called the Buy Fire Mountain Gems Co-op.
I've been told that gem and bead shows are a good source. I haven't been to any shows. Financially, I'm only able to buy beads a few strands at a time, for specific projects.
The other source I use for beads is a local store. I am lucky enough to live near a shop that specializes in minerals, called The Appalachian Rock Shop. Given that there isn't an art supply store with in an hour's drive, having a store that sells gemstone beads by the strand is kind of a miracle.
PRICES of gemstone beads:
Prices of gemstones are based on rarity, difficulty in mining, difficulty in exporting (politics), and capitalism. The "demand" portion of supply and demand plays a large role in the expense of certain stones.
Diamonds are a great example of how capitalism determines pricing!
After the discovery of the huge South African diamond mines in 1870, diamonds were being dug out of the ground literally by the ton. There was such a glut of supply and so little demand that the British financiers of the South African mines were in danger of losing their investment. Their solution was to create the powerful De Beers cartel that to this day controls worldwide diamond production and supply. Quality diamonds are actually not scarce at all. But De Beers controls how much supply comes on the market at any one time and that keeps prices high.
Marketing and promotion also raise the prices of gemstones. The greater the demand, the more fashionable the gemstone is considered, the higher the base price. Currently, we can see this happening with stones like tanzanite, moonstone, fire opal, sunstone, and labradorite. Gemstone beads and stones are quite pricey to begin with, so when demand increases the prices, things can get a bit wold!
Labradorite is a good example of a stone whose popularity is responsible for dramtically increased prices.
A beautiful stone, labradorite, is from Labrador, Canada. The stone comes in a range of colors- blues, greens, greys, yellows, even colorless. Labradorite is famous for it's labradorescence. Labradorescence, also called "The Schiller Effect" referese to the iridescent play of colors, or flash, seen in the stone as it moves in light. Really flashy labradorite is also called spectrolite.
Currently, finding inexpensive labradorite with good flash to purchase is a lot like trying to buy ice in hell. Even excellent vendors are selling labradorite at relatively high prices (in comparison to past prices or gemstones of similar rarity/quality/size).
A vendor from whom I sometimes purchase beads, is currently selling the same size/quality/cut of labradorite bead used in the two wrap bracelets containing labradorite I have in my shop. They are selling 2 inches of these beads for $11.50; 4 inches of the beads are $21. This vendor is doing nothing wrong; this is a typical price at which labradorite with good flash is selling. Add in that rondelle beads are typically more expensive that round beads, and faceted beads are more expensive than smooth, and the price increases.
I currently have two wrap bracelets in my etsy shop. One bracelet is a 5x (five times around) wrap and has 29 inches of the labradorite beads in the example above. The other bracelet is a 4x wrap and has 14 inches of the beads.
To tie this into pricing jewlery for sale, let's calculate the cost of the 43 inches of beads at the pricing noted above:
4 inches of beads @ $21. 43 inches of beads used. To calculate the number of 4 inch lengths I would need to purchase :
43 /4= 10.75 I would need 10.75 of the 4 inch lengths. At that vendor's pricing, 43 inches of beads would have cost $225.75.
That is just the cost of the beads, not the cost of the leather, the button, the thread, any other supplies...
So, that explains why pieces made with labradorite are sooooo pricey!
Pricing for jewelry:
I find determining prices for my pieces to be anxiety producing. If you research online or in books, how to price your jewelry and other craft items for sale (not art, mind you, art pricing is something very different), you will find that you are to add up the cost of your supplies to create the item (including the cost of having those supplies shipped to you), and the cost of your overhead (including things like shipping containers, packaging, gasoline, etc.). You are then to take this number and multiply by 3. Never in a million years have I ever multiplied the expense of an item by 3 to create a price. While it might sound good, I would never sell anything!!
Your total cost of creating the item is basically it's wholesale price. In retail, the most common method of marking an item for sale is to take the wholesale price and double it; this is called keystone pricing.
I found this article, Finding the Right Price for Your Retail Products, by Ronald Bond, to be very helpful. Here's an excerpt:
Although it is true that higher volumes will make up for lower prices to some extent, unless you can sell as much as a Kmart or Wal-Mart, you absolutely need at least a keystone markup to survive in a small retail shop. Although doubling the price may sound outrageous, it does not result in excessive profits when you consider the expenses for rent, taxes, insurance, supplies, labor, etc., that you must pay.
Sometimes you will have to sell an item at a lower markup, if you believe you cannot compete at a full keystone markup. Be careful, however, not to price too many items this way or you'll find nothing left for yourself at the end of the year. You can try to balance it out by marking some items up slightly higher to compensate for the lower markups on others. You can do this when you get a special discount or are able to buy items direct from a manufacturer. If you decide to use a markup other than the standard keystone
(50 percent), here is a quick way to calculate your selling price:
Selling price = [(cost of item) ÷ (100 - markup percentage)] × 100
For example, assume an item costs you $10 and you want to use a markup of 35 percent. The selling price would then be calculated as follows:
Selling price = [(10.00) ÷ (100 - 35)] × 100
Selling price = (10.00 ÷ 65) × 100 = $15.38
Do not multiply the cost by 35 percent and add that amount to the cost. That will produce a retail markup of 17.5 percent, not the desired 35 percent.
My wrap bracelets typically have between $20 and $35 worth of beads in them. I am clearly not using keystone pricing.
One of the learning experiences I had when I first opened my shop, was that after covering the cost of making the item and offering free shipping, I was making $3 to $6 an item, which in no way included any of my time or energy in creating the item, so I had to increase my prices. I felt so badly about needing to do so, I recalculated the pricing several times, trying to figure out how to make the items less expensive, but still make enough money to have this be worthwhile. (three children and one salary makes that an important consideration.)
I ended up editing the price of each item to reflect the exact costs of the supplies, which means similar items have different prices because the prices are based on the exact cost of the materials used. This feels the most ethical to me, and following that feeling helped me find my way through the pricing process.
Since launching The Wishmonger, I've gotten quite a few questions about gemstones from friends and readers- questions about what stones are gemstones, sources to purchase stones, the cost of stones, and how I determine the prices for my jewelry. I'm going to do my best to answer over the next couple of posts.
I have done quite a bit of reading regarding gemstones. Being the ever-nerd that I am, my reading has included some books and manuscripts that date back to the 1600s found in a wonderful online library of rare antique books on gemstones on the Farlang website.
Many of the metaphysical and healing properties attributed to gemstones and precious metals, which are often thought of as concepts created by practitioners of "new age" spirituality, actually date back through antiquity to the scholars of ancient Persia, Egypt, and Greece. (including Aristotle.)
Gemstones are, simply put, minerals that when cut and polished are used to make jewelry, adornments, and decorative objects. Minerals are naturally occuring, inorganic substances that have a specific chemical formula and a specific crystal structure. There are a couple of exceptions; organic substances like amber and jet, along with certain rocks, like lapis lazuli, are included as gemstones since they are also used to make jewelry, etc. (a rock is an aggragate of minerals/non-minerals, so doesn't have a specific chemical formula.)
Gemstones are typically broken down into precious or semi-precious stones. Precious stones are diamonds, sapphires, rubies, & emeralds. This distinction is based on history- the rarity of the stones in ancient times. Currently, a Tsavorite garnet (a green garnet) can cost more than an emerald of comparable size, clarity and cut.
Rubies and sapphires fall into the mineral gemstone group of corundum. Emeralds are part of the beryl group. Diamonds are their own thing. Classification into a group is based on similar chemical composition.
The list below is by no means definitive; I used group designations I found in my reading. It is also in no way an exhaustive list; I tried to include stones I see often as faceted stones, cabochons, or beads.
For some of the less common stones, I linked to google image pages of jewelry made from those stones.
Some natural gemstone groups & their commonly-used gemstone species:
Next, we'll talk sources and pricing!