Return of the Blog

bc9530dfa5d4df6d9924b198cdce14e9So looking at my wordpress it’s been over a year since my last post! I have been a bad blogger, my apologies friends! Last January, I made a pledge that 10% of all NiteDreamerDesigns sales would be donated to Shark Savers. I am proud to say that last year NiteDreamerDesigns donated nearly $400 USD to the I’m FINished with Fins campaign. It’s a small step in the right direction, and it’s all thanks to you guys! Thank you!

1598908_771769621158_1565926383_oA lot has changed for me over the past year. I found my strength and got out of a loveless relationship, figured out who I am and what I really want, met and fell in love with my soul mate, Patrick, moved in together, and today I am happier than I can ever remember being. It’s amazing how much changes in a year!

So now it’s time to shift some of my focus back into my company. The last 2 years have been great, but I definitely want to look towards the future and towards expanding. So I’m reaching out to you guys. What do you guys want to see more blog posts of? DIY projects/tutorials, fashion updates, ramblings of a girl in love, pet pictures? TELL ME! 🙂

Happy Beading!

Mandy of NiteDreamerDesigns

NiteDreamerDesigns

Handcrafted Swarovski Jewelry

Jewelry that Makes a Difference

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Jewelry That Makes a Difference

Whale-shark-enhancedHello Friends! Happy New Year! I hope everyone’s holidays were happy and full of love. Around new years I try to re-evaluate- like everyone else tends to do as well- and around the beginning of the year while I was setting my new business goals for NiteDreamerDesigns is 2013, I came across a photograph that changed my entire game plan.

735611_680159149278_1804332732_oThis photo was of a roof top in Costa Rica covered with hundreds of shark fins, laying out to dry for shark fin soup. For those of you who don’t know me, sharks have been a huge part of my life since I was 4 years old and saw JAWS for the first time. I’m studying biological sciences in college to one day become an elasmobrachologist (shark biologist). When I saw this photo, I was sickened. I remembered how I felt while watching Shark Water, a very controversial documentary made a few years ago. If you have not seen it, I highly recommend checking it out, it will make you think:  http://www.sharkwater.com/

268278_245088895507582_126075050742301_1174987_2569274_nThen night I saw this picture I had horrible dreams. I tossed and turned and dreamed of thousands of sharks being dragged on board a ship, tortured and stripped of their fins to be thrown back into the ocean alive to drown. I woke up that Sunday morning with a new model for my business. I researched a few charities and organizations working to stop finning and creating new protected waters for sharks. I found Shark Savers. They are an amazing organization that has been working with Discovery Channel for many years to bring us Shark Week every year. But that’s only a tiny piece of what they do. They’ve been working on several campaigns in Asian markets to put a stop to shark fin soup with their “I’m FINished with Fins” campaign.

il_570xN.365440857_di3dI am proud to announce that 10% of EVERY sale this year will be donated to Shark Savers to promote conservation and ban finning! 🙂 I’m so excited about this. I cannot wait to see how much we can raise this year for these amazing creatures that mean so much to me. I hope that every client will feel pride in wearing their new jewelry, knowing that part of their purchase went to this wonderful charity. Please help join the conservation effort. Visit http://www.SharkSavers.org to become a Shark Saver and check out all the local events you can take part in as well. Every little bit helps!

Happy Beading!

Mandy of NiteDreamerDesigns

NiteDreamerDesigns

Handcrafted Swarovski Jewelry

Jewelry that Makes a Difference

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Every Woman MUST Read This! It Could Save Your Life!

”THROUGH A RAPIST’S EYES” (PLS TAKE TIME TO READ THIS. it may save a life.) Reblog this!
It seems that alot of attackers use some tactic to get away with violence. Not many people know how to take care of themselves when faced with such a
situation. Everyone should read this especially each n every girl in this world. THOUGHT THIS WAS GOOD INFO TO PASS ALONG…

FYI – Through a rapist’s eyes! A group of rapists and date rapists in prison were interviewed on what they look for in a potential victim and here are some interesting facts:

1] The first thing men look for in a potential victim is hairstyle.
They are most likely to go after a woman with a ponytail, bun! , braid, or other hairstyle that can easily be grabbed. They are also likely to go after a woman with long hair. Women with short hair are not common targets.

2] The second thing men look for is clothing. They will look for women who’s clothing is easy to remove quickly. Many of them carry scissors around to cut clothing.

3] They also look for women using their cell phone, searching through their purse or doing other activities while walking because they are off guard and can be easily overpowered.

4] The number one place women are abducted from / attacked at is grocery store parking lots.

5] Number two is office parking lots/garages.

6] Number three is public restrooms.

7] The thing about these men is that they are looking to grab a woman and quickly move her to a second location where they don’t have to worry about getting caught.

8] If you put up any kind of a fight at all, they get discouraged because it only takes a minute or two for them to realize that going after you isn’t worth it because it will be time-consuming.

9] These men said they would not pick on women who have umbrellas,or other similar objects that can be used from a distance, in their hands.

10] Keys are not a deterrent because you have to get really close to the attacker to use them as a weapon. So, the idea is to convince these guys you’re not worth it.

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POINTS THAT WE SHOULD REMEMBER:

1] If someone is following behind you on a street or in a garage or with you in an elevator or stairwell, look them in the face and ask them a question, like what time is it, or make general small talk:
can’t believe it is so cold out here, we’re in for a bad winter. Now that you’ve seen their faces and could identify them in a line- up, you lose appeal as a target.
2] If someone is coming toward you, hold out your hands in front of you and yell Stop or Stay back! Most of the rapists this man talked to said they’d leave a woman alone if she yelled or showed that she would
not be afraid to fight back. Again, they are looking for an EASY target.

3] If you carry pepper spray (this instructor was a huge advocate of it and carries it with him wherever he goes,) yelling I HAVE PEPPER SPRAY and holding it out will be a deterrent.

4] If someone grabs you, you can’t beat them with strength but you can do it by outsmarting them. If you are grabbed around the waist from behind, pinch the attacker either under the arm between the elbow and
armpit or in the upper inner thigh – HARD. One woman in a class this guy taught told him she used the underarm pinch on a guy who was trying to date rape her and was so upset she broke through the skin and tore out muscle strands the guy needed stitches. Try pinching yourself in those places as hard as you can stand it; it really hurts.

5] After the initial hit, always go for the groin. I know from a particularly unfortunate experience that if you slap a guy’s parts it is extremely painful. You might think that you’ll anger the guy and make him want to hurt you more, but the thing these rapists told our
instructor is that they want a woman who will not cause him a lot of trouble. Start causing trouble, and he’s out of there.

6] When the guy puts his hands up to you, grab his first two fingers and bend them back as far as possible with as much pressure pushing down on them as possible. The instructor did it to me without using
much pressure, and I ended up on my knees and both knuckles cracked audibly.

7] Of course the things we always hear still apply. Always be aware of your surroundings, take someone with you if you can and if you see any odd behavior, don’t dismiss it, go with your instincts. You may feel
little silly at the time, but you’d feel much worse if the guy really was trouble.

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FINALLY, PLEASE REMEMBER THESE AS WELL ….

I know you are smart enough to know these pointers but there will be some, where you will go “hmm I must remember that” After reading forward it to someone you care about, never hurts to be careful in this crazy world we live in.

1. Tip from Tae Kwon Do: The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do it.

2. Learned this from a tourist guide to New Orleans : if a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away from you…. chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or
purse than you and he will go for the wallet/purse. RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!

3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car: Kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy. The driver won’t see you but everybody else will. This has saved lives.

4. Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping,eating, working, etc., and just sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc. DON’T DO THIS! The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side,put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU CLOSE the DOORS , LEAVE.
5. A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage:
a. Be aware: look around your car as someone may be
hiding at the passenger side , peek into your car, inside the passenger side floor, and in the back seat. ( DO THIS TOO BEFORE RIDING A TAXI CAB) .
b. If you! u are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.
c. Look at the car parked on the driver’s side of your vehicle, and the passenger side. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out. IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)
6. ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. (Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot).

7. If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN! The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times; And even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ. RUN!

8. As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP IT! It may get you raped, or killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked “for help” into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.
Send this to any woman you know that may need to be reminded that the world we live in has a lot of crazies in it and it’s better safe than sorry.

If u have a heart or compassion reblog this post.
‘Helping hands are better than Praying Lips’ – give us your helping hand.
REBLOG THIS AND LET EVERY GIRL KNOW
ATLEAST PEOPLES WILL KNOW WATS GOIN IN THIS WORLD.
So please reblog this….Your one reblog can Help to spread this information.
I hope you all will Reblog. Lets See how many of you really care for this.

DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT NOT REBLOGGING THIS! IT COULD ACTUALLY SAVE A LIFE.

 

Mandy

NiteDreamerDesigns

Handcrafted Swarovski Jewelry

Jewelry is More than a Pretty Piece

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Custom Jewelry for the Perfect Holiday Gift!

We’ve made it to November-already somehow! If you’re anything like me, you have NO IDEA what you’re going to do for your loved ones this holiday season. I have a couple of ideas for people this year, but no real ideas that have really struck me yet. I try to shop small during the holidays. It’s easy to go to a big box store and get meaningless gifts for everyone on my list in one trip. But it’s never really what I want to do for those I love during the holidays.

Thankfully, there’s Etsy and so many mom and pop stores locally here that I can find items that will really mean something and have a lasting impression for years to come. If you can, try to shop small this holiday season. You’ll be surprised how cost effective shopping small can be and how much of a difference you’ll make in the lives of small businesses/artists when you do. Also, you’ll be giving a gift that is unique and special and actually says “you mean something to me.”

Many Etsy stores take custom order requests. but during the holiday season make sure that you give the artist time to create your piece and get it shipped to you in time. Last season I had a customer contact me on December 23rd and wanted to know if they could get a custom created piece to them before Christmas day! SERIOUSLY?! I try to work with my customers as much as possible, and the holidays are no exception, but it just wasn’t possible! I felt terrible, but there was just no physical way to make that happen.
This year, I am requesting that all custom pieces be placed with me before or on December 1st to guarantee completion and delivery prior to Christmas. I will still take custom orders year round, however I may not be able to have the item to you if an order is placed after the 1st. I try to plan for USPS taking up to 2 weeks for domestic items during the holiday season. I have yet to run into an issue with USPS, however I hear so many horror stories from so many others! I’d rather be safe than sorry! :p

Shop Small! It really means a lot to everyone involved! I accept a number of payment methods including: personal check or money order; credit card payments via Paypal and Etsy Direct Checkout; I am now accepting Etsy Gift Cards as well! Stop by and share the love this season!

Happy Beading Everyone!

Mandy of NiteDreamerDesigns

NiteDreamerDesigns

Handcrafted Swarovski Jewelry

Jewelry is More than a Pretty Piece

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Know Your Camera to Make Your Jewelry Pictures ROCK!

So you’ve made a stunning piece that you need to photograph, but the pictures just don’t do it justice. Why not?   

A lot of people jump to the conclusion that the problem is the camera itself, it’s too old, it’s not expensive enough, the lens isn’t good enough. I beg to differ. Chances are  it’s not the camera, but the settings on the camera that haven’t been adjusted for the piece.

Initially I thought as most people did: My camera just sucks, I need a new one! Luckily, before I shelled out another $200.00+ on a new camera, I decided to browse the Etsy blogs to see if there were any tricks I needed to try. I am so grateful to those that took the time to post their tips and saved me the extra money! So I’ve complied my favorite tips here so hopefully others can run with these and take great pictures too!

LIGHTING– While I was reading through the Etsy tutorials on photographing, one thing everyone seemed to agree on was use of a light box, a daylight bulb and a pleasing background. So after seeing CRAZY prices for a light box, I decided to create my own, as I wrote about in my blog post.

If you’re not working with a stable lighting source, like a light box, it’s time to invest in one. I created mine for less than $10.00 and took less than an hour to put together! It doesn’t have to look pretty, it just has to work!

MACRO MODE– Macro mode is your best friend when photographing anything up close. “Macro” actually means large, so it’s unusual that you’d use a “large mode” to photograph something small and up close. However, what this mode is doing is it’s allowing the smaller objects you’re photographing to come into a larger scale.

This setting can be found in a number of places depending on the make and model of your camera, however, it is always designated by a flower symbol (pictured). Most cameras will have it along some sort of dial option, or else listed under settings.

Some older or cheaper cameras won’t have a macro mode. Now a days though, you won’t really find a camera that won’t have this option somewhere, even most camera phones have them now. My Android does, it’s actually my back up camera for when my Nikon lithium battery dies!

WHITE BALANCE– The white balance option on a camera allows for the camera to adjust the color contrasts in a photo. Most cameras now will have specific settings depending on the type of light: night time, daylight, florescent, etc. If you’re working with a light box and have purchased a daylight bulb, you may wish to set you camera to daylight.

However, I recommend that with any piece, set up you photo first using the positioning, background and lighting that you will actually be shooting with. Then turn on your camera and look through your view finder or screen while adjusting your white balance settings. You want to chose the setting with the LEAST amount of yellow tinting. You’re colors should be crisp and clear; your whites should be WHITE, not yellow or cream. If you cannot find a white balance that is completely color balanced, chose the best one, and you can edit it later using Photoshop or another photo editor.

PHOTOSHOP– Photoshop is your BESTEST friend in the business. I used to think that editing your photo in any way was sort of cheating. However, as I’ve begun to use Photoshop, I realized how great of a tool it can be to making your jewelry really pop and giving your photos that finalized professional look!

If you’ve never used Photoshop it can be a little intimidating. There’s so many settings it can get confusing! So here’s all you really need to know:

1. Adjusting your Levels. You’ll find this option under IMAGE>>ADJUSTMENTS>>LEVELS

2. With Levels open, you’ll see a mountain type arrangement showing your spread of black and white levels- Foreign language? All you need to know is the little white triangle (marked in red below) under the right hand side of the mountain needs to be moved until it is under the right hand side of the black mountain.

3. You’ll notice that you’re image has brightened up by a decent amount. The more you had to move the white triangle, the greater the different will be in your photo.

4. Now that your levels have been adjusted, it’s time to adjust the sharpness. Go to FILTER>>SHARPEN>> UNSHARP MASK.

5. Your amount should be set to 120%; Radius to 5.0 pixels; Threshold 8.0 pixels. You’ll get a preview of what your photo will look like after the sharpening has been applied.

6. Apply the changes by hitting OK.

7. If your photo isn’t as white or bright as you wanted it, try adjusting your levels one more time. You may also play with some of the brightness and contrast settings until the photo is exactly the way you like it.

I hope some of my tips and tricks help all my crafty beader friends in their journeys to creating better photos to really wow the crowd this holiday season and make the most out of your online store! Remember that while your pieces may be stunning in person and sell like hot cakes off your wrist, it’s harder to imagine the piece as YOURS when you view it online. Your photos need to tell the story of your piece and create an emotional connection with your buyer that makes them go “I NEED this!” Make your store stand out with stunning photos that speak volumes about your pieces.

Happy Beading Everyone!

Mandy of NiteDreamerDesigns

NiteDreamerDesigns

Handcrafted Swarovski Jewelry

Jewelry is More than a Pretty Piece

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DIY Chalkboard

Ah thrift stores!! I am absolutely in love with the new Savers that’s in town. We found fantastic pieces there, including our new couch for $24.99 and an awesome vintage distressed coffee table for $11.99.  So when I decided to make a chalkboard for our new kitchen, there was no doubt I was headed for the thrift store.

I found a great- and by great I mean GAUDY AS HELL- vintage frame at Savers for only a couple of bucks. It was an antique gold that had begun to flake and peel. But the designs along the edges were ornate and the the size was perfect. So we picked it up and headed to Walmart for the chalkboard paint. This was the most expensive part at $3.97.

I began by painting the frame with this lime green I already had on hand from another project some time ago. This color went perfectly over the gold of the frame, I am so happy with how it turned out! It took a couple coats to get the frame the color I wanted. I left it out overnight to dry before attempting to work on the chalkboard itself.

W..a..i..t..i..n..g… is the most horrible experience for any DIYer! It’s so hard to not rush through just to get it done and enjoy it NOW.

The next morning, the frame was dry and the perfect shade. So I decided to tackle the chalkboard. I taped up my frame and was on my second coat of chalkboard paint over the smooth glass top when everything went wrong. 😦

The paint was drying on the patio, I had JUST sprayed and stepped back inside when my neighbor in the unit above me decided to clean out her pots and dump soil ALL over our balcony! It destroyed the glass top because now everything was covered in soil which stuck like glue to the drying paint.

I was not about to give up on this project however. I decided to take off the back of the frame and use the board backing for the chalkboard instead. I must admit that I stabbed myself with a few of the staples as I was pulling them out of the frame. I also noticed a crack beginning in the glass, so out of this mess up, it probably saved us a bunch of broken glass all over our kitchen floor… again. (Kitty broke my serving plate yesterday!)

So I flipped over the backing, sprayed a few layers of the chalkboard paint and again w..a..i..t..e..d.. I finally got to place the board back into the frame and secured it with glue around the edges.

I love creating these projects but OMG do I hate the waiting! I always feel like I’m in the JGWentworth commercials when I’m doing these projects because it’s my project and I need it NOW! But I must say it is well worth it, if you can just get over the waiting period. 🙂

Happy Beading Everyone!

Mandy of NiteDreamerDesigns

NiteDreamerDesigns

Handcrafted Swarovski Jewelry

Jewelry is More than a Pretty Piece

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Photographing Jewelry in a Light Box for Maximum Benefit

Being in the jewelry/crafting community, you begin to see so many people that have stunning pieces and amazing talent, but have NO IDEA how to photograph and edit their photos to get the most out of their pieces. When I first began photographing and listing my piece, I was one of the worst photographers ever! I had no idea how to use any of my camera settings. I used busy backgrounds that didn’t flatter my pieces, but in some cases actually overtook my designs in the photograph. My lighting was terrible. I relied purely on direct sunlight, which is not exactly flattering all the time for crystal jewelry. I did everything wrong!

While browsing the Etsy and ArtFire communities, I saw how lovely some shops are and how put together their photos seemed to be. So I started looking into how to create a well polished store front with pieces that took center stage in my photos. I wanted to have a store that really looked professional and would actually SELL something! After all, what’s the point of having a store front if it never actually sells anything right?!

Google searches and Etsy forms became my best friend. Everyone recommended shooting in a light box to have controlled lighting settings, regardless of the season or the weather outside. That was certainly going to make my life easier. I was trying to shoot my pieces on my exposed patio in some of the hottest days of the year. I swear I lost 10 pounds just trying to photograph! I looked into purchasing a light box, but the cheapest ones I found were around $100.00! NO WAY! Luckily, I found a fantastic tutorial on creating a light box for less than $5.00!

 

To create my light box I used:

  • A shipping box that I got from the trash at my work (FREE)
  • Masking tape that I had on hand (FREE)
  • A single sheet of white poster board I got at the dollar store ($1.00)
  • A sharpie, glue, on hand (FREE)
  • A box cuter, again that I had on hand (FREE)
  • Tissue paper ($1.00)

I first measured 2 inch boarders around four sides of the box (front, top and both sides) and marked them with my sharpie. Then, carefully, I cutout those panels using my box cuter. I kept the two inch boards in tact so that it provided support around the box.I reinforced some of the thinner areas of the box with some duct tape

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I cut strips of my poster board to line the inside of the box and glued them in place. The white board allows the light to be reflected back up into the box.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I laid my largest piece along the back of the box starting at the bottom front of the box with the top resting against the top back of the box.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There should be a nice curve at the back of the box. The board will not sit flush against the box. If you were to place the board flush against the box, you’ll get a shadow in your photographs where the back of the box meets the bottom. Keep a nice curve along the back of the box to prevent any shadows.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally I attached my tissue paper around the open edges of the box with my tape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I went to my local Joann’s looking for a flower and a single sheet of scrap booking paper that would make for a lovely, subtle background for all of my photos. I wanted my store to look polished and unified by choosing a background that would work well with all of my pieces. I chose a subtle scripted piece of scrap booking paper for $0.55, and a fluffy white fake flower for $3.99 to create my background. These were the most “expensive” part of putting together my light box.

Hopefully creating your own light box will be a great first step to taking beautiful pieces of your pieces!

Happy Beading Everyone!

Mandy of NiteDreamerDesigns

NiteDreamerDesigns

Handcrafted Swarovski Jewelry

Jewelry is More than a Pretty Piece

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The Jessica Collection: Swarovski Pearl and Crystal Floral Bracelet

In between unpacking boxes, I’ve been hard at work on a new collection that I absolutely love and it’s been getting a lot of attention too! Introducing the Jessica!

I began working on this piece as a way to distract myself from how many boxes were still laying around the apartment. :/ It was bumming me out, so I wanted to create something sparkling and fun to wear. I used a beautiful champagne colored Swarovski Crystallized Glass Pearls called Crystal Gold. I’ve had these pearls for sometime now, but never really found the perfect project to use them for. So I saw them sitting there, lonely in their tray, and thought “Why not?!” I also had these stunning crystals by Swarovski that change colors based on the light and what color they are placed next to. I picked these up a while back at a local bead shop, I try to shop small when I can :).

When I started working this piece up, I really had no idea what pattern I was going to be working with, I just cut my thread, added my needles and started working. It was more like the piece was creating itself rather than being created by me. I love those moments! For this piece, I really focused on using a two needle right angle weave. This is one of my favorite techniques, it never goes out of style, and I honestly don’t see ever coming to an end with this stitch. It’s like once I think to myself “I’ve found the last possible use for this stitch” I’m completely proven wrong! And man do I like to be wrong… at least in this case :p

I wore this piece to work the next day, I figured even though I’m in scrubs all day, doesn’t mean I can’t have something pretty. I got so many compliments on it from my patients and from my coworkers. I knew I had to share this piece and the pattern for it as well! So I worked up a second piece using a deep Smoked Gray pearl by Swarovski called Crystal Black. I also found these fantastic light sapphire AB2X crystals to offset the pearl. The color combination is really stunning together, I was really happy with it. Both of these pieces are now available in my Etsy Studio.

While I was working up this second bracelet I took photos of each step and began working on a new tutorial to share. There are two variations of this project, one with the crystals along both sides in between the pearls, and one with seed beads between each pearl. This variation I also have for sale, the Madison, in my Etsy Studio. The tutorial includes both versions of this piece! The tutorial is available now in my Craftsy Patterns Studio.

I hope you enjoy this pattern as much as I do, whether you’re wearing it or crafting it!

Happy Beading Everyone!

Mandy of NiteDreamerDesigns

NiteDreamerDesigns

Handcrafted Swarovski Jewelry

Jewelry is More than a Pretty Piece

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http://www.NiteDreamerDesigns.Etsy.com

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Beader DIY Projects to Make Life Easier!

Began setting up the studio today. There’s still so much work to be done, but at least it’s a start. I can start working again. I only lost a weekend but I feel like I’ve lost weeks worth of work. The weekends are really when I get the majority of my work done, so to miss out on the first weekend of October is just a bummer. But October is still off to a great start. I’m hoping this year will end with a bang! Knock on wood!

I have big plans with room, beside creating my new crafting table. Because this room has no windows, I plan on creating a wall of mirrors along the white wall, using 3 full length mirrors laid horizontally. This will give the room a lot of light reflected from the patio (directly behind me when I took this picture) giving the room more depth and dimension.

Along the slate wall we plan to hang a world map so I can track my sales across the globe with fun push pins. It’s neat being able to reach people thousands of miles away with my tutorials and jewelry. It’s really amazing. 🙂

On the smaller wall across from the slate wall (not pictured) I plan to put the movie posters of my two favorite movies: JAWS and Finding Nemo!

While some of these are easy enough to fulfill, some of the items I need in order to finish my studio have not been moved or unpacked yet. So in the meantime I thought I would work on a couple of quick projects that would make my life as a beader SO MUCH easier! These little easy cheats are something I should have done years ago, but haven’t gotten around to until recently. For those crafters out there that haven’t invested in these two very simple projects, I HIGHLY recommend them.

The first is creating my own bead board. I had a cheap foam board that I had purchased from Michael’s for about $5.00 a few years back. It’s been to hell and back and the sides have been cracking off slowly but surely. I was about ready to give up on it until an old cork board/dry erase board began to crack apart.  So I turned both “broken” pieces into one new nifty piece. (Sorry there’s no pictures of the process here!)Because the sides of the bead board were already cracking off, I cracked the rest of them off. Then using my E6000 glue I glued the base of the bead board to the top of the cork board. I left more of the cork exposed on the right hand side of the board because I’m right handed. Most of my needle work and such is done with my right hand. There’s also plenty of room along the top and bottom of the boards. Once the glue was dried, I cut down some of our packing boxes to support the sides of the bead board that didn’t sit flush against the cork. I used a knife to make sure the cardboard didn’t stick out along the sides. Once these were the exact size I wanted them, I glued the cardboard in place.

This new board allows me to pin threads along the side to keep m pieces taught while working, or gives me a pin cushion for my beading needles while working on a project. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve nearly lost a needle in the couch or table or the floor! I cannot imagine how terrible that would be to find with our feet, or with the pets paws! YIKES!

The second mini project, isn’t really a “project” really, it’s just a little life hack for crafters. 🙂 A beading mat is always a good idea for beaders; it keeps all your stray beads safely on your work surfaces. A requirement for working on a hard surface as beads can bounce away way too easily! I’ve seen these sticky bead mats go for $20, $30, $40 online and in local stores. I always wanted one but never wanted to spend that much money for one! But at the same time I really don’t even want to think of how much money I’ve lost in stray beads or how many times Mike has brought me a bead after stepping on it! Anyway, I went to my local dollar store and picked up a fun colored yoga mat. I simply folded the mat to the length of my table and VIOLA! Sticky beading mat without the cost! $1.00 spent, hundreds maybe thousands saved!! Nice little life hack 🙂

Happy Beading Everyone!

Mandy of NiteDreamerDesigns

NiteDreamerDesigns

Handcrafted Swarovski Jewelry

Jewelry is More than a Pretty Piece

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Getting Settled and Ready to Start DIY Projects!

::::Sigh of relief:::: The move is finally over! But now begins the unpacking process. UGH! I really don’t know which I hate more, packing and moving or unpacking. I always feel like it’s more to unpack than I packed away. Not sure why, obviously it’s the same amount of stuff, it just feels like so much more to put away.

But moving is a chance to start fresh, try new ideas that you’ve wanted to and never got around it, or never thought would work before that suddenly do. This new place is like a fresh canvas and we get to scribble whatever we want on it. It’s fun to think of all the things we’d love to do, especially with my soon-to-be crafting studio.

Tonight, though, we are taking a breather from the unpacking process to have a nice relaxing night. Since moving on Friday, it seems I’ve come down with a nasty little cold. I’ve had a fever, body aches (unsure if these are from the cold or moving or both!) and sneezing like crazy. So packing is the last thing I want to do, though I have spent all day doing just that. So tonight, it’s time to relax, do some mild crafting (I’ve got a few orders that need to be shipped out tomorrow), while the boy plays some games and we watch Pixar movies all night! We’ve already gone through Up, Monster’s INC and now we are watching Wall-E. 🙂
So while we unpack and get settled we are going to be working on a few DIY projects to make our place uniquely OURS. Here’s a small preview of the DIY projects we are planning on tackling in the next couple of weeks, all of which I will share as we create them!

The crafting table

I wrote about our plans for this in my last blog post. We are going to modifying our existing kitchen table to have cabinets along two of the sides so that all of my jewelry supplies and tools may be stored safely along the sides, rather than in a million places, including the floor where our feet find them. OUCH!

DIY Kitchen Chalkboard

Recently we’ve discovered how awesome thrifting can be. We even bought our new couch and distressed vintage coffee table at a thrift store for only $40 combined! So we are going to be keeping an eye out for a fantastic- and slightly gaudy- vintage frame to turn into a chalkboard for our kitchen!

Taking it back to grade school with Elmer’s Glue and Canvas!

We are going to be using an old technique learned in grade school, letting Elmer’s Glue dry in awesome designs over canvas and then spray painting over the entire piece to create cool wall art. In our case, we are going with old school video game characters/designs!

DIY Wine Corkboard

This nifty little project is finally going to put those old wine corks to good use. We have a cute little breakfast bar in new place, so we are going to be creating wine cork boards and cork boards along the side walls of the breakfast bar to give our place some winery flare and also a fun place to pin our Christmas cards!

Along the way, I will be sure to take plenty of pictures so that I can share each DIY project with you all and hopefully inspire some fun crafting projects of your own! I’ll be posting everything on my Pinterest as well! So follow along. 🙂

Happy Beading Everyone!

Mandy of NiteDreamerDesigns

NiteDreamerDesigns

Handcrafted Swarovski Jewelry

Jewelry is More than a Pretty Piece

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