Saturday, November 28, 2009

My latest work of art...

I figured that there might be some of you out there wondering how I am doing after my previous post. I'm happy to announce that Alivia was born just over a month ago and is truly a joy. She came into the world safely, but 4 weeks early. She did really well and was already 6 lbs 7 oz at birth. After all the complications with my pregnancy, I feel so blessed to have her here safe and sound. She is absolutely perfect! It has been 3-1/2 years since my last baby and I had forgotten how one little person can consume so much of my time.

I keep telling myself that someday I will make jewelry again...especially since I finally have a daughter! Maybe she will share my love for art and crafting. But for now I am perfectly content spending my days with my husband and three beautiful children.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Room to grow...

My family just relocated to sunny South Carolina. So far, we love it! It is a truly beautiful state to live in, and very much different than Massachusetts, though we will miss Mass for all of its unique beauty and qualities, especially those gorgeous autumn leaves!

During the move, all of my various websites went on "vacation". It was hard putting my business on hold, but also good to have a much needed break. Currently, all the websites are open again for selling in-stock items. Unfortunately, I don't have much inventory, and I'm not taking any special orders at this time.

Not that I don't have plenty of good reasons to be taking it easy. I am currently six months pregnant with my third baby. I've had many struggles with this pregnancy and found out recently that I have vasa previa, a very dangerous condition for the baby during the third trimester. Not to mention the fact that I have to keep up with my two boys (5 and 3) and unpack and reorganize my new house (quite the feat when I'm not allowed to lift anything).

Needless to say, my studio is still not set up. It's one of those things that has been set on the back burner for the past month. All of my glass, tools, and supplies are still boxed up, sitting in the art studio, awaiting my return. (You can see the room in the above picture, before our moving truck had arrived.) I miss the process of creation so much, but have so many other priorities coming before my work at this point. Only time will tell when I can start creating jewelry again. If all goes well with the rest of my pregnancy, and if my new little baby girl is easy-going and happy (as I'm praying she will be), then I can resume work. Until then, I will sit back and enjoy the time off while I can!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Becky Sharp Designs is Moving!

My family is relocating to South Carolina! Thus, my glass studio will be moving with me. We are packing up July 1st and won't see the moving truck again for 1-1/2 weeks. So, I will be shutting off my various websites for the duration of the move until my studio is set up again at our new house. I may not resume business again until the beginning of August. Please bear with me during this transition and thank you for your patience!

In other news, we found out that we are expecting a little girl in November! My two little boys are especially thrilled to add a new little sister to our family. And I am glad to say that I am over the nauseous part of my pregnancy. Yeah! Now if I can just survive this move, life will be good. :-)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Waiting for sunny days ahead...

Here in Massachusetts, we have been experiencing some patchy spring weather. It's been cool, cloudy and rainy for the most part. I understand the need for the rain, but look forward to the warmer, sunnier days of summer ahead.

I also look forward to not feeling so sick all the time! I am currently in the 10th week of my third pregnancy, and feel much worse than I did with my first two boys. Maybe this will be a girl? I can always dream... Also, my two little boys have been sick on and off for a couple of months. Needless to say, we have been cooped up in our house for a long time! So we are ready for healthier days ahead!

While I have been sick, my jewelry making and bookbinding have been put on hold, although I continue to sell the inventory I already have. I miss crafting extremely, but can't seem to find relief from my nausea long enough to get in my studio to cut glass. Besides, the moment I feel better I have about a billion chores to catch up on in my house. It's a never-ending job! Someday I will find the balance again. Until then, here are some sunny pieces of jewelry to brighten my day and yours!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Spring is in the air...

Happy St. Patrick's Day! I gathered these green pendant photos to celebrate the holiday and remind me of the new life and rejuvenation this season brings. I realized that many of my designs are nature oriented. So much inspiration comes from the beauty that surrounds me. I can't get enough trees, leaves and flowers.

I'm also so relieved this time of year when the snow melts, the air warms, and little green bulbs start poking up out of the once frozen ground. I love spring! I always feel like I am waking up after a long winter hibernation. And now it's time to wake up my jewelry too. I have slowed down my production since the holidays, but am gearing myself up to pull out my glass, heat up my soldering iron and fire up my kiln.

And don't forget, all of my glass jewelry is 25% OFF at

Friday, March 13, 2009

Where do you find inspiration...

...when you're not feeling very inspired?

If I were a writer, I would say I have "writer's block". But I am an artist, so do I have "artist's block"? Sounds about right. It just seems like lately I haven't been in the mood to create anything new. Maybe I pushed myself too hard during the holidays and now I just need a break? Or maybe I feel discouraged by the decrease in sales? I can't blame the economy, because that is what everyone is doing right now. I'd like to believe that there are still people spending money out there. Or maybe I have PMS! Either way, I just haven't been feeling inspired lately. I'm sure you've all been there before. So I'm looking for some advice on how to get through slow times. If anyone out there has been through this before, please feel free to comment...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Becky Sharp Designs Facebook Page

I created a Facebook page for Becky Sharp Designs a couple months ago. I am in the process of figuring out how to use it as a promotional tool. I already have several fans (mostly Facebook friends), but am looking forward to drawing in new people who could potentially be future customers.

And for any of you who are familiar with Facebook, they have revamped the pages to look just like profiles. It is a much more consistent and less confusing look. They also offer advertising for businesses. I've looked into it, but can't figure out exactly how much it would cost me. It's based on number of clicks, or number of times it appears on someone's screen, or something like that. But I believe they won't let you spend less than a $1/day for a basic ad. That comes out to a minimum of $30/month, which I don't think I'm ready to spend quite yet...maybe someday. I've gone ahead and added the link along the sidebar of my blog.

I will use my Facebook page to post photos of new products, as well as update fans about sales, etc. Also, fans can take pictures wearing their jewelry and upload it to the page. They can also write reviews. So please come be a fan of my new Facebook page!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Freebie from FoundHandmade

FoundHandmade is a site devoted to advertising your online shop, wherever it may be: Etsy, ArtFire, 1000Markets, personal website...

Normally, it is $5/month to buy one "block", which is basically a small image of one item that you are selling. They also offer larger blocks and featured item blocks at higher prices. If someone clicks on your image, it links them directly to that item in your shop. A great tool for bringing new customers to your website!

Right now they are offering a free 1-month block to anyone who posts about FoundHandmade on their blog. So, if you want a chance to advertise your handmade goods, vintage wears, or supplies, write your post and link back to by 2/28/09. Then e-mail your blog link to They'll send you details about how to upload your free block. Click here for more info about this freebie.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Slow, slow, slow...

Do you ever have those days where you ask yourself: "Why is it that I am doing this again???" I'm talking about this whole jewelry business thing. Don't misunderstand; I LOVE what I do. I'm not planning on stopping any time soon! But some days (or weeks) are harder than others.

Recently the economy has been going down the toilet, as most of you already know. But I told myself I wouldn't give up. I've continued to work as if nothing is different. I have made several new pendants and have daily updated Etsy, 1000Markets, and my main website. Granted, there's always more that I could be doing. I'm not too savvy when it comes to marketing. I really do the bare minimum: Facebook, Twitter, my blog, etc. BUT, it seems like I have not been making my normal amount of sales each month. At first I thought, maybe people are just being cautious, and not spending money. But as I scan other shops, I see sales everywhere!

Ok, I should stop the pity party. I have to confess that right before I planned on writing this post, I got a sale from my Etsy shop. Yippie! It had been almost three weeks since my last one. That is quite a dry spell for me, especially with how much listing I have been doing this month. At least I know the buyers are still out there.

So, I will keep plugging along, because that is what you have to do in a business. Someday I will discover the secret to successful online selling. It could be that I just don't have adequate time or energy to invest at this point in my life. I have to remind myself that it's OK. I do have two cute little boys to take care of every day. I can't spend every waking minute on the computer!

If any of you have any easy, non time consuming tips you can share, I would love you forever! In the meantime, here is my latest creation. I love, love, love these colors of glass!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Custom Design

I love to get special orders from customers. It's easy when they request a previously sold item, or if they want something in a different color. But sometimes, custom orders can be particularly challenging if the customer really doesn't know what they want. They give me a few guidelines, but ultimately tell me that I'm the artist, and to use my best judgment. I don't know why this intimidates me so much. I design things from scratch all the time without anxiety. I guess it's because if I make something on my own, and it doesn't turn out like I'd plan, I just scrap it and move on. But when there is a customer on the other end waiting for some fabulous creation, I really feel the pressure. It's good for me, though. I have to force myself to be inspired, even when there is no inspiration there.

Recently, I was asked to make a pendant (a gift for the customer's wife) using birthstone colors for three different months. One of the months also happened to be their wedding anniversary. First, I had to check the months and see if I even had glass similar to these colors. Thankfully, I lucked out there. I had three transparent colors similar to amethyst, ruby, and blue sapphire. The colors would have looked better in opaques, but the closest stained glass store is an hour away. So I used what I had. The next step was to design a pendant that would combine the three colors in an attractive way. I've done two-piece pendants before, but never three. I tend to avoid multi-pieces in general because smoothing out the solder between glass pieces is very difficult. So this was definitely a challenge.

Attempt #1

The overlapping rings were to represent the wedding anniversary. I felt like it was a clever idea, but it ended up looking too cluttered, especially with all of the uneven solder seams underneath. I could tell that I just wasn't "feeling" this pendant, because the craftsmanship wasn't quite up to par, and it didn't really represent my signature style. So I scrapped it and tried again.

Attempt #2

This second one felt more like me. The shapes are more modern, and my soldering was much smoother. I scrapped the "rings" idea altogether and just went for spirals. I decided that I shouldn't try to cram too much symbolism into one pendant. In the end, what matters is that the customer is happy, AND that it looks pretty around the recipient's neck.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Painting as therapy...

"Squares" - acrylic on canvas board

I used to paint highly detailed, labor intensive still life's and master studies in oils. This type of work usually only caused anxiety and frustration in me. I would get to a point during the painting where I wanted to throw my brushes across the room and slash a large hole in the center of the canvas. (I'm sure all of you painters out there have been there...) Nevertheless, I would always trudge through the frustration and finish the painting anyway, sometimes happy with the results, sometimes not.

Those days are over...for now, at least. Lately, when I feel like painting, I squirt a bunch of random colors out, grab my palette knife, and have fun. It's such a release for my mind to not have to think about what I'm doing. I love letting the color and texture take over. The process really does put my mind at ease. And even if I don't produce a great masterpiece, I still end up with something that's fun to look at. Which, in my opinion, is the whole point of visual art.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Bookbinding as therapy...

Ahhh, yes...I'm making books again. I took a long break from bookbinding due to my recent obsession with promoting my glass jewelry line (which I will continue to do also, btw...I know, I'm crazy). But I really need to make books for my peace of mind. There is something very therapeutic about the cutting, folding, gluing and stitching of a book. And then when you are finished, there is this amazing sense of accomplishment as you hold it in your hands, open and close the covers, and feel the smooth blank pages just waiting to be filled by someone (other than me, of course). For some reason, I don't actually want to write in my books. I do have one that I kept as a journal, though I rarely write. Shame on me...

I just needed a little inspiration to get started making books again. I happened to meet a fellow Etsian who makes the most amazing marbled paper in bright, vibrant colors. So I went ahead and bought some full sheets from her Etsy shop: PersistenGreen. These are some examples of her paper.

The very day that the paper arrived in the mail, I went to work. I already had some textblock paper cut and folded into 5x7 sections. I just had to trim the edges, cut the covers, punch some holes, glue on the marbled paper, and stitch it up with some bright orange thread. And voila! Here it is:

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Valentine Giveaway!

My friend Jess and I are in cahoots to give away this lovely necklace for Valentine's Day. Check out her blog to find out how you can enter for up to five chances to win this pendant. And receive 25% off your first order from my website just for entering the contest! Good luck!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

An honest review: Selling Venues

1000 Markets ArtFire - Buy Handmade - Sell Handmade

There are some great new venues for selling hand-crafted goods online. Some are established and many more of the websites are still in the Beta phase of their design, so they are offering free sign-up, free listings, etc. It's a great opportunity to open up shops all over and get more exposure. Here's the run-down of the different selling venues I have come across, and their pros and cons (in my opinion):

1. - est. 2005, for selling handmade, vintage, and supplies
--Free to open a shop, $.20 per listing, 3.5% commission per transaction, uses Paypal (who also charges a commission)
--Pros: well established website, large customer base, very friendly and helpful forums (unlike any I have ever seen)
--Cons: very competitive - over 308,000 sellers, check-out is confusing - results in non-paying buyers
--My Etsy URL's:

2. - est. 2008, in Beta, for selling handmade, vintage, and supplies
--Free to open a shop, free to list, no commission (during Beta phase), optional $7/month for life account with added benefits, uses Paypal
--Pros: no risk because it's free, set up similar to Etsy (use your same shop graphics, etc.), provide shop stats through Google Analytics with verified account
--Cons: still very rough and doesn't "look" as nice as Etsy, many hiccups in site programming, for example: tagging, search engine, and shipping profiles do not work properly, many features say "coming soon", forums are pretty confusing to use
--My Artfire URL:

3. - est. 2008, in Beta, for selling hand-crafted goods
--Free to open a shop, free to list, 5.5% commission per transaction, uses Amazon payments (fee included in the 1000Markets commission)
--Pros: Juried site - only top-notch sellers allowed, beautiful platform - very streamlined site with virtually no hiccups (that I have found), more artistic and less "crafty", contains juried Markets that contain similar merchants - higher chance of being seen, shop stats provided for free
--Cons: very new site - small customer base, only uses Amazon payments which isn't as common as Paypal, and thus can't support international sellers or customers
--My 1000Markets URL:

4. - est. 2008, in Beta
--Free to open a shop, free to list, no commissions (paid by sponsors during Beta phase)
--Pros: no risk because it's free, and supposedly, they save 25 sq. ft. of endangered rain forest for every item sold, other than that, I haven't found many pros on this site
--Cons: shops are awkward, strangely organized, distracting and slow java scripts, many hiccups in programming, no forums or community support, little activity on the site
--My ShopHandmade URL:

There are other sites as well. I had a shop at Mintd (based in Australia) for a short time, but it was even more awkward and badly designed than ShopHandmade. After reading a couple of the forums there, and noticing that many threads had posts that were two months old, I discovered that the site is basically stagnant (not well-maintained or promoted), so I closed up shop.

And of course, there's eBay, but I feel that it is not the best site to respectfully sell fine art. I think e-Bay looks and feels like a flea market. So, I choose not to sell there. Although, I'll gladly buy supplies there.

I've heard of, which is a juried site which is very reputable. But, they deal mainly with connecting artisans with wholesale buyers. That doesn't work too well with small time producers like me.

So, that about sums up my list of selling venues! After reviewing all of these sites, I can clearly see that besides my personal website, it would be best to promote my Etsy and 1000Markets shops. Etsy has already proven itself to me, since I have had over 100 sales in the last year. And 1000Markets has the most potential for future success as I see it. I hope this has helped any of you that are considering opening up more stores! It has certainly helped me to sort this all out in one post.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Don't drool on your keyboard...

My second treasury. I must have been really hungry when I created this theme. Did you know that people sell baked goods on Etsy!? Handmade indeed...

View it full size HERE to see ooey gooey detail. It will expire Thursday night.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Look for a New Year

As most of you have probably noticed, I have started using a new shop name at many of the new venues I sell at. It started back in October, when I first came up with the name Short Fuse Jewelry. I opened a new Etsy shop at first, and now have signed up at Art Fire, 1000 Markets, and Shop Handmade with the same name. Only time will tell how successful these new selling venues will be. Regardless, the name is catchy, and I like it. So I think I'll keep it.

I went ahead and bought the domain name: and currently have it linked to my Becky Sharp Designs main website. So, you can type either name into the URL address and still get my website! How cool is that? I have even uploaded a new logo to my main site and changed to a great new turquoise blue color scheme. Check it out HERE if you haven't already seen it.