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Category Archives: Talking Business


So, like – this happened again! JTV had me down to Knoxville again, this time for two shows on Jewel School. And yes, that says October. I’m a little slow, so sue me ;)


Their lobby sign is still fascinating to me:


Christiane had me into her newly-reorganized workspace and I was overcome with plier envy:


Being on set and seeing my pieces in that space with all those nifty cameras and electronics around, is perpetually cool.


I really liked watching it live on the monitors when I wasn’t directly on camera!


Aside from the cool factor and the pretty good sales of the book, the trip was a bust overall – I got super sick and CVS made me sign away my life to get drugs which didn’t even work, so I was miserable on the second day of the show and on the way home, I didn’t get to spend any time doing anything fun because I was so sick, and due to my own boneheadedness I had booked the wrong week so it cost me far too much money to get there – even with the partial sponsorship from Parawire, which was extremely appreciated – and ended up with a 12-hour layover on the way home. I think I’m not really meant to travel  so much. I get sick every time!

Otherwise – very cool that they wanted me back :) Glad I did it! Maybe I won’t again though lol ;)

Creating a Cohesive Display for a Jewellery Booth

Sales weren’t as high this summer as in other years – partly, I think, because I strayed too far from my core silver + beach glass for tourists kinda thing. Whatever it was, I realized I needed to increase my income a bit – and so I signed up for FOUR craft shows this fall/winter season, and made more jewellery in silver to try and compensate.

Preparing for this many shows was a little daunting. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t hurt myself, cause a fibro flare, or drop dead from exhaustion; so I had to make a plan to set up, man, and tear down four shows in four consecutive weekends.

As I made jewellery to stock the shows, I took breaks to sort out what my display would look like. I figured out the display pieces I ACTUALLY needed, BEFORE I packed up, so I wouldn’t be carrying unnecessary items. Then – I spray painted as many of the items as possible the same flat grey.

I did a little mock setup, testing the cards, jewellery, and chains on my now-matching jewellery displays.


Satisfied with the way the background would work together, I next went into my local big box store and found a luggage set that seemed like it would hold a lot, then dragged it to the container section and played tetris in the aisle until I found a combination of acrylic boxes with lids that would fit snugly into the luggage – which had rolly wheels and pull-out handles. I bought the set I’d built, got it home, and began packing. Using the luggage and some offcast shopping baskets, I managed to put together a jewellery booth setup that required only 4 trips if I was alone – two if I had help (which I did – my dad showed up at the beginning of every show to help me unload <3 ). Not bad!!

The first show took a little finagling once I got there, but I managed to figure out what was working and what wasn’t. I was able to remove a few items from the baskets for the next set of trips with them. Here’s how it looked!


The venue here was completely amazing. One of the oldest churches in town – built in 1826ish – it has been converted into a museum / theatre venue / wedding chapel. The huge ceiling beams, quaint atmosphere, and amazing marketing/decorating efforts by the show’s creator turned it into a SMASH HIT of a show. I will likely only do this one show in the future. (St. Pat’s is the venue, Deck the Halls is the name of the show, if you’re wondering).

Based on this 6-foot setup, I had to extrapolate outwards to 8-foot tables at some of my other shows. I added an extra display piece which was a little easier to set up but I don’t know – it might be too crowded. I’m not sure if it was the audience, the marketing, the less-tight setup, or what – but the remaining three shows were nowhere near as successful for me. But – I stayed calm, I was able to set-up and tear down without pain or stress because I had planned ahead and knew where things go, and by the end, I was happy I’d done the lot. And even happier that my planning had worked!

Here’s the empty setup at one of the later shows:


And the same setup populated with jewellery; this was the Renegade Craft Fair. I felt that there was not enough marketing for this show and suggested they increase the price to vendors in order to get the word out – but they weren’t having it. I will likely not attend again, because despite it being a show of higher quality than usual, with unique vendors, a weekend at a show that nobody knows about is a waste of my precious energy. It’s a shame!


Meantime, I learned that I really DO need two lights. Maybe three or four, to be honest! St. Pat’s has built-in track lighting that was gorgeous and didn’t require extra lighting whatsoever.

Closeup, in which you can see that the lighting is extremely uneven:


Here’s a similar setup at the CBU show:






It was a crowd of students and professors – not a lot of traffic, but lovely nonetheless.

I also did a show at the library, but I don’t seem to have any photos? Weird. I was tired by then, I think :)

Here’s the upside to these less-busy shows – I was able to complete huge chunks of half-finished pendants that I hadn’t had time to get to before the shows began. It was kind of nice to work in such a constrained space, to be honest! And with nothing to distract me (I’m looking at you, Netflix), I was very, very productive. In fact I did so much that by the last show I had no finished components left needing wire, so I ended up bored! There are certainly worse problems to have, let me tell you ;)


Joan at My Fair Ladies (a downtown fair trade shop here in Cape Breton) had requested more of those “steampunky flowery things, with the feminine colours that contrast so nicely with the copper and brass metals”, so I was able to get her a good series for her to choose from for her consignment section in the shop.

show-work2 show-work3

And, since these simple gemstone pendants sold so well LAST summer, I made more of these for NEXT summer. Here’s hoping!


My last show was December 11, and since then it’s been Christmas-City around here. I’ll do a personal update soon!

Wire Wrapping Tutorial Bundles

As part of the very slow shift in my business practices, I’ve happily begun bundling my wire tutorials with wire and beads or components from my own personal stash – giving you everything you need (but the tools) to create some of my most popular tutorials right away.

Even better, you’ll be getting the benefit of my colour-matching madness with limited-run colourways and bundles.

There are just a couple to start with – they take a while to produce – but as more are added, you’ll see them at this link: Wire Jewelry Tutorial Kits

One slow, small, step at a time. I know where I want to be. I’ll get there. One step at a time.

Production Update

No time for writing today! Just some photos from the weekend. Back to silver – gotta make lots of things FROM the book to go along with SELLING the book. Yippee!

Beach glass bib necklaces:

PSX_20150328_111933 PSX_20150328_112033 PSX_20150328_112112 PSX_20150328_112207


Polymer clay bib necklace:



Steampunk assemblage pendants:

PSX_20150328_115321 PSX_20150328_115755 PSX_20150328_115929 PSX_20150328_120024 PSX_20150328_120134 PSX_20150328_120224


Lampwork simple bead pendants:


That’s it for now! Told you there’d be a wire explosion soon :D

Inspiring Insect Jewelry


I may have mentioned before, but Craftsy – one of the largest craft blogs around – recently engaged me to become a jewelry blogger. And here’s my first assignment!


When I want to create something inventive and new, I turn to inspiration from some unlikely places – like the insect kingdom. Even if bugs normally give you the creeps, I think you’ll be surprised at how beautiful they can be when used as inspiration for jewelry. Amazing things can happen when you keep an open mind.

Here’s a roundup of various insect jewelry – from ladybugs to beetles, inspiration to tutorials, beading to steampunk, we’ve got it all!

Read the full post here »

Focus @ Little Mysteries

I’m super pleased with this batch of Focus jewellery, ordered by Little Mysteries in Halifax. I’ll be sending them off soon!

It’s funny… the first ones I made I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be making them so well… by halfway through I was feeling the groove… and the last few I made I am SUPER proud of.

Product, Photos, Design, Show!

About a month ago I suddenly decided that with two shows this season, it was time to get some professional photography done on my jewellery. It came together extremely quickly, with my friend Jayme Burns agreeing to take the photos, which I’m lucky she had a slot open; and my husband’s lovely co-worker Sarah-jane agreeing to model for me – and despite never having done such a thing before, she was amazing.

One of the reasons I wanted to do this was the new work I’d just started figuring out.

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Copper, which is so warm and calling to me lately, with some filigree.

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Someone basically stopped me on the street recently to say that my large pieces need to be shown ON MY NECK because she’d never have bought it on her own but seeing it on me showed how it could look. That’s really what prompted this whole thing, because well, my neck isn’t so photogenic:

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And my camera phone clearly wasn’t cutting it:

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But something needed to be done because I honestly think this is the best I’ve ever been. I am loving this line and I’m excited to find the time to get more of it done. I think it deserves to be showcased. So I got together my team. Getting the timing together was fast and furious but a few days later, I was frantically gathering some stock I wanted to try and capture.

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I picked up the lovely Sarah-jane and met Jayme at my house. We started figuring out which outfits might go with which pieces.

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In no time Jayme had our living room completely transformed into a photo studio and they got to work.

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We even went outside in the yard for a bit!

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Which resulted in some super great lookbook-like shots, like this one:


Jayme even took a couple of adorable “boudoir” pics of our kittehs!

GayleBirdDesigns-0327 GayleBirdDesigns-0376
 (All together now: Awwwwwwwww.)

We worked until the light failed and then the amazing Jayme managed to get the pics edited and returned to me the very next day! With the shows coming up it was a race against the post office to get the marketing collateral I wanted printed and shipped. What I really wanted was a banner for behind my table. So I think I probably designed a jillion of them and I reached out into my super supportive crafty community with some ideas and got feedback to help me figure out where I was going with this.

It’s weird that I literally spend my week critiquing my students’ designs but I couldn’t narrow down one of my own.

Screenshot 2013-11-04 21.29.03 Screenshot 2013-11-04 21.50.36

I was torn and a little burnt out on design so I gave it a rest, and the next day finally came up with something that I’m sure still has flaws but by gum it was workable and printable! So off it went to the printers.


Isn’t that stunning? While I was at it, I made up some Moo cards with all the great images I couldn’t get on the main banner! I picked a fun purple back and a pile of fronts that make me smile. I see now that I should have done more work cleaning up the images to make them more consistent but I was getting really sleepy ;)

moomini9 moomini8 moomini2 moomini1 moomini4 moomini6 moomini11 moomini_back

The banner came and it was all I could want. So I popped it up at my show last weekend, and lookit how great! I made a lot of other changes to my display as well – I’m looking for a more cohesive grey background – and except for the mishmash of mixmatched busts in the centre, I’m pretty pleased with both the simple look and the simple setup and teardown.

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It was an amazing process for an astounding result. Thanks to Jayme and Sarah-jane for helping me pull this all together into just what I wanted!!! I feel like my work is now being shown at a level of sophistication which matches the changes that have been happening in my work lately. It feels good.

Show Prep

Yesterday was SO productive! I worked 8 full hours in the studio, with hardly any lollygagging or shenanigans. It was all about preparation for the four shows I have in the next 5 weeks, to make setup as painless (literally) as possible. I:

Covered one of the presentation boards I got on the cheap with fabric that I guessed at the length for and was an inch shy of being not enough. This process caused me to stretch in ways I haven’t stretched in a while. Today I am paying for it with aches and pains. But it’s totally worth it! Then I loaded the presentation board so I can just slip it into its case and have the world’s easiest set-up.
Show Prep

Completed a wholesale order for… wait for it… Little Mysteries in Halifax!!! Squee! They took one each of my new Focus line, as well as a dozen simpler gemstone pendants with meaning cards attached. I’m so delighted with this I can’t even think straight. The photo below – of simple gemstones with simple meanings – is the culmination of my career. Literally, this is all I’ve ever wanted to do but could never figure out properly.
Show Prep
Printed cards for my rare beach glass pendants that fit into the new boxes I have on hand and loaded them up. They look so fancy!
Show Prep

Created new STEAMPUNK cards and loaded my clay steampunk into boxes.
Show Prep
Loaded some beach glass onto cards.
Show Prep

Loaded my ring tray.

Counted and sorted my inventory.

Did a dance of joy.


A dozen new items up in the shop today! Wow, I would have thought it was a lot more than a dozen, I feel like I’ve been doing this all day.

I hope to have more common colours up next week… I’m still working on a more affordable shipping option.

Holiday Spirit / Christmas Loft

This week is the Christmas Loft craft show, kicked off by the Holiday Spirit martini shopping party Thursday night.

I’ve been making rings and earrings, pendants and hair clips like crazy. I wish I’d had time for the fancier pieces but it just ran out all too soon. I do have the faery necklace created for the CBCCD Myth in the Mist exhibition, however.

In any case, this is the most exclusive, high-end shopping experience on the island and is perfect for finding one-of-a-kind Christmas gifts. Hope to see you there!


My fall collection is a little late, but I think these colours work well all year round anyway:



I’ve got some winter-y colours in production as well:

Some of yesterday's earrings


Lots to see at the upcoming craft fair – the Christmas Loft at the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design, the last weekend in November. It’s a fundraiser too, and the CBCCD is one of the best organizations on the island and worth giving some funds to – that’s why I do their show only!

Girls’ Night Out

I didn’t have the most lucrative night, but it was kind of fun, I saw lots of people I knew, and I did make a good donation to a great cause (Transition House).

Here are some pics of my booth, from one end to the other!









Christmas Loft, 2008, for the last time (I promise)

OK, a final update/conclusion to the whole show saga for the year. In terms of how it went, it was fantastic!! The staff at the Centre for Craft & Design are simply amazing. Getting to the third floor was literally painless, as they had hired/recruited two guys to help us load the elevator with dollies and our own time slot; and the reverse process was just the same. They even helped load our car!

By the end of the third day, I was completely stress- and pain-free. I was relaxed, I actually enjoyed talking to everybody I met, every single person who stepped into my booth had something nice to say and a smile to return, the space was incredibly gorgeous, I had amazing company and wonderful neighbours, and really, I just can’t say enough about this show.

So let’s talk profits, shall we? Well, generally. I did as well as last year, plus half that much again. And last year was pretty much in line with the year before. SO exciting. That house downpayment keeps getting bigger, and bigger, and bigger again.

My coal pendants just about sold out – I ended up making about half a dozen more throughout the show, but at least a dozen sold and from what I hear, they’re traveling all over the globe to ex-patriates. Check out the amazing cards I created to go with them and the beach glass (which also did really well):

CapeBretonCoal       CapeBretonBeachGlass       CareCard

I felt like a freaking genius over these cards. Unfortunately, the design for them came into my head as I was trying to sleep. I should have just gotten up and done them then because I subsequently stayed awake for three more hours.

People bought tons of earrings and rings, tons of my inexpensive pendants, and tons of hair pieces. Only one person bought anything worth more than $30, which is right in line with what I expected from the gallery experiences I had over the summer; a commentary on the mindset we’ve gotten ourselves into.

OK, time for some pictures I think.

First of all, look at the beautiful weather we had! The only yucky time was when it rained all over the Santa Claus parade:

I took some better photos of the interior of the booth, as the ones that came out earlier just didn’t do it justice. These don’t really either; I sort of felt like my booth was both epic and magical.




And some closeups of the little groupings I had all over the place. The perspective is weird on some as I only had my wee gorillapod for a tripod, and I was either resting it on the table or on my chest:


See the wee hair pins? That came to me just a few days ago and I spent a lot of the show making more as they seemed quite popular. The hair combs also sold out – there’s only one left!

I had made four “half-necklaces” as I had been calling them, but I always thought you could put them in your hair… so I renamed them “Tiara Necklaces” and pinned one to my head. People got a kick out of them. One lady even said, “We all need more tiaras in our lives!”, which was awesome. Check a few out:


My focus necklaces. I wasn’t entirely happy with how these were laid out, but it had been six hours and I was getting low on ideas for displaying them. I did sell a handful though!

Here’s what the beach glass box looked like lit from the front:

I really wanted it lit from the back, but it just looked so very blue and dim I had to spotlight it. Here’s what it looked like with the front spotlight off:

The idea was to have the beach glass lit from behind, which it did, but too dimly.

I had dozens of these labryinth necklaces and I came home with I think six. Sold like mad!:

One of these things just doesn’t belong here….


I later moved my labradorite to the front table with some raw chunks of it and a book open to the labradorite page. A lady bought the one piece in the whole show I was hoping nobody would get. Serves me right for putting it out!!

And a few photos of the rest of the show:

Bev Niven & Ancient Treasures:

Wildfire Pottery:

Hugh Ross, Jim & Judy (funny, I don’t know their business name!), and a corner of Lynda Lou MacIntyre:

The long hallway, which included Piper Pewter, Michique Bags, Carol Kennedy, Kenny Boone, and I can’t think who else (I mostly stayed up our corner):

And around that last corner were more booths, including Sew Inclined and more artist demonstrations.

Finally, here’s a picture that sort of captures the delicious mood that permeated the whole place for three days:



Christmas Loft, last day!

Monetarily, I’ve done as well in two days this year as I’ve done in the past in three. This is boding really well for today, which is a Saturday and also the Christmas Parade. I’m really hoping the parade sends people our way! I plan to send Laird onto the street with sandwich boards and a bell ;) 

Right now I’m printing out Care Cards and Informational Cards for beach glass and coal pendants. And desperately trying to figure out what to wear!

I was going to share photos now but, NO TIME!!

Christmas Loft 2008

What an AMAZING evening! I hope it can be called a categorical success so they can do it every year! I hope all locals will take a trip down today or tomorrow. The $2 cover charge gets you in and also gets you a ticket for the door prize, which is a donation from *every* table. We’re talking jewellery, paintings, painted silk scarves, pottery, photography, purses, wood carvings, and a whole pile more.

Here’s my booth! This took about six hours to put together, on top of the time spent preparing. Thank heavens for my people, is all I have to say! Take note of the fabulous track lighting and the excellent track-based gallery system from which my sign is hung. You can’t see here but people were hanging ladders for silk scarves, photographs, bamboo mats for ornaments, as well as signs like mine (but really, nobody has a sign like mine!)

My beach glass display:

The army of teeny busts I made:

The RED beachglass pendant!!!

[this sign sucks because I made it in a hurry, unlike Angie’s gorgeous ones]

My aqua beach glass, including one of the fabulous signs Angie made for me:

All of my cobalt blue beach glass pieces, on a fantastic beachcombed log:

Angie and I, looking cleave-tastic, she more tastic than I:

Really fun box Angie and Laird put together. It didn’t come out quite the way we’d planned but I think it’s still working:

A not-the-best view of the gemstone table:

More photos to be taken today and tomorrow! It was hard to get good photos without a flash and no tripod.

Christmas Loft

I’m trying not to stress about the show. It’s much, much easier this year because I have a new little helper elf who likes to take charge. Angie has grabbed all my little vague half-started projects and either made them better herself or directed me how to finish them. I’m actually almost prepared for setup tomorrow!! 

The place is a freaking mess and it’s stressing me no end as I haven’t time to clean it, and won’t for at least another week. 

On the bright side, the show itself is going to be amazing. Tomorrow night we’ve got the jazz band, I’m going to be fancy’s older sister, Elegant, and it’s going to be a great time.

Here are all the rings I managed to complete after Scotian Ocean bought 3 dozen from me! Want one? See you at the CBCCD! Special preview fundraising, Thursday Nov 27 5pm-9pm; open to the public Friday and Saturday, 10am – 6pm. 



Christmas Loft 2008

Christmas Loft Invitation 2008
(Click for Larger)

This private shopping party at the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design is going to be totally fabulous. I will be dressed to the tens (the nines aren’t fancy enough!) and we’ll have a jazz band and martinis, and it’s going to be beautiful and intimate and a fantastic way to buy holiday presents this year.

Hope to see you there, but if you can’t make it Thursday night, remember the craft show will be open to the public all day Friday and Saturday! No fancy jazz band and I’ll be wearing sneakers, but my jewellery and all the other artisans’ work will still be on display at the gorgeous new CBCCD building.

Rack Cards

The very kind people at the CBCCD, through a funding program, have allowed me the financial ability to have rack cards printed – plus business cards and the Moo cards I talked about this week. I spent far too many hours designing these things – struggling with niggly details, staring dumbly at them until my eyes dried out, looking for feedback from everybody, being a little stupid about CMYK, and finally getting them off to print. The final card has some slightly different text, but here’s what they look like!

RackCard-FRONT-081016b RackCard-BACK-081016b