Phew!

With all 2017 bead fairs done and dusted it’s time for me to review/revise/update things.  Over the past year I’ve listened to comments from customers and peers and realised that a complete overhaul of The Jacobeadery is required – from products to website.  And that is what I have been doing this last few weeks.

People have been wary about tackling what looks like very complicated bead embroidery so I have simplified (or working my way through simplifying) all the current products.  These will be made using patchwork cottons and just 3 or less bead embroidery stitches.  There will also be a new range just for pincushions in this category.

The next level of kits will include up to 6 different stitches and the level after that is what is already available.

So – 3 levels for most of the current kits.  Step 1.

Step 2 is to convert the CD of instructions into written instructions which can then be available in printed format.  That is proving to be a real challenge.  However, when all are converted each theme will then be available as a book on Amazon Kindle/iPad etc.  The next challenge!

Step 3 is to re-do the website.  This can be done almost immediately as I have planned all the pages out.  But I’m in creative mode so this admin-ish side will be done in a few weeks’ time.

Next year will also see a few more changes to the business, but that’s still in the pipeline and not totally formalised yet.  TBC!

So it’s back to beading for the time being!

Sort of back to where it all started!

Recently I was in contact with a good friend from Networking days – and when I say Networking – it was serious networking – (very) early mornings not really compensated by cooked breakfasts.  But my change in career meant that this part of the business wasn’t necessary any more and I lost contact with many in the local business community.

But then this good friend made contact about a new group he had started, which was definitely not run along the lines of previous groups we’d both been involved in.  I was intrigued so decided to go along.  And of course, I had to have all the usual bits that go with networking, didn’t I.

  • Business cards – check
  • Business card holder – check
  • Business card folder – check
  • Name tag – ………blank!

I couldn’t use my old name tag – it had the network name blazoned across the holder.  I didn’t want to use a bland, plastic sleeve hung around my neck – I had to make one – a Jacobeadery one!

Frantic printing, drawing, scanning, reprinting, then sewing and beading.  All done.  Phew!

The day before said networking I was meeting a female friend for lunch and took name tag along to show her, and she said she was duly impressed, bless her.  When I got home I thought I had lost it – handbag rummaging came up with nothing.  Phone calls to the restaurant – they’d not found anything either.  Last rummage in the handbag – there it was, hiding in a pocket with a hole in it and it had fallen through the lining.  Another phew!

So the networking meeting day came along and I duly suited up – dressed to impress of course, complete with name tag.  Now the way this networking group is being run is all down to recommendations from the members themselves – a lot of the ‘old’ ways were definitely off the list.  And, guess what?  Yes, no name tags.  So I was the only one there proudly displaying my name to the world.  Which I didn’t mind really because it showed what The Jacobeadery was all about and a name tag has been on my To Design list for a good few months now.

So here it is in all its glory.

Name Tag

Photographs and instructions will follow probably next month (December) as I’m now cutting kit stuff for the Nantwich show next weekend.

Mini Stocking Advent Calendar Workshop confirmed

Yay!!  Pleased to announce that we shall be running a Mini Stocking Advent Calendar workshop at Halfpenney’s Beading Room on Sunday 5th November from 10.00 a.m.

Cost will be £45 which covers all materials for making 24 mini stockings in either a red or green colourway.  Light refreshments are provided but please bring your own lunch.

Advent Calendar Red
Advent Calendar Green

To book (places are limited) please go the link below.  Green colourways are going fast but if you book late and can only get a red option then please phone Kathryn to tell her you’d prefer a green one – 01254 236049.  The actual greens you get though may well be different to the ones shown in the photograph.

http://virtual.halfpenney.co.uk/index.php/workshop-bookings/the-jacobeadery-advent-calendar-workshop.html

The kits for this item will be available after the actual workshop but again, colours may be changed due to demand on the day.

On another note – we were at the Midlands Bead Fair on Sunday.  Quite a busy day and we met a lot of lovely people who expressed an interest in our wares, especially the Beadability Bead Embroidery Course.

Our next fair isn’t until 26th November when we’re at Nantwich.  Plenty of time to restock the kits – hubbie better get cutting soon!

As written about in …….

Well, I’ve just unwrapped the latest version of The Beadworkers Guild quarterly Journal – and The Jacobeadery is featured in it!  Shock, horror – is that really me and what I do?  (Mind you , hubbie Mac commented on the ‘one-woman band’ bit – ‘What about all the things I do – like making tea, going fishing to keep out of your way – doesn’t that deserve a mention?’)  It is always good to get feedback from other people as to how they perceive you and your work – both good and bad, and I welcome it gladly.  If it’s good then I can carry on doing what I do.  If bad then I have to change something to make it right.

On an encouraging note – the Mini Stocking Advent Calendar will be available for sale next week.  Halfpenney’s Beads (Kathryn & Gordon) and I are hoping to hold a workshop on November 5th making (or starting to make) this calendar – places are limited and the cost should be around £45 which includes all refreshments but not lunch.  (If you’ve not been to a workshop at Halfpenneys yet then you’ll be in for a treat – Gordon is a wiz baker!)

Advent Calendar Green
Advent Calendar Red

Next in line to be on sale will be the wire edge ribbon brooch kit – that hopefully will be the week after the advent calendar.

Wire Edge Ribbon Brooch

So now going to go back through the Journal and read all the other articles while hubbie’s watching football.

Return to reality!

Our tour around northern and mid France was absolutely fantastic!  Had a wonderful time – saw everything that was on my list and the driving turned out to be no problem whatsoever.  Weather was just like the UK at first but it eventually brightened up.  I think most parts of Europe were suffering the side effects of Hurricane Irma et al.

We went to Chinon castle – don’t bother going.  I am ‘into’ history, especially the Plantagenets and have visited Fontevraud and other places before and thought we’d go to where Henry II died.  Perhaps it was just me but I felt there was no historical atmosphere  (or perhaps that particular king wasn’t important to the French!).  A big plaque on the floor saying this was where the chapel in which he died used to be situated.  Very disappointing.

We stopped off in Brittany – Mont St. Michel being one of the places to see.  I’d been there back in the 1970s as a young teacher herding school children on a visit – I didn’t get to see much that time.  This time I got to the very Abbey itself – very imposing.  Took lots of photographs of wood engravings and plaster mouldings to inspire future projects!

Another stop was Bayeux – to see the tapestry of course, but also because my father was given a free haircut there! (More of that later).  I was in total awe of the tapestry – or rather embroidery to be more correct.  The only downside I felt was that we were given audio guides that you couldn’t stop and start so to get the full story you had to move along at the pace of the guide.  And then you were at the end and you were in the gift shop!  I’m going again at some future date and will use the audio guide as before but this time, will backtrack to have a better look at the embroidery – the stitching, colours, techniques etc.

After Brittany we pitched up in Normandy near the D Day landing beaches.  This has been on my list to visit for many years ever since Dad let slip that he was involved in these landings and had landed on Gold Beach.  He never said anything else about this event except that he had been given a free haircut by a very grateful French barber in Bayeux (see above!).

What can I say?  If you’ve ever been then you will know what I mean.  I stood on the beach and tried to imagine thousands of young men attempting to wade ashore – men like my dad who was just 22 at the time.  It was impossible for me to begin to feel how they must have felt.  Although there have been many disagreements between my father and I, this made me feel so very proud of him.  I couldn’t have done what he and all the other very brave men did then.

Remnants of Mulberry Harbour

If you never visit any other French site, do go to the beaches and the museums.  You will not come away unaffected.  And the French still commemorate VE day every year in every little village and town.

What a to do!

Well, things have really been happening here – and not all to the good.  We recently had to change our car, which meant a new tow bar for towing the caravan (obvious?).  We are going to France for a few weeks soon but decided to have a Hudson Bay Start (dry run, sort of) to check everything worked OK.  We’d already established that the lights on both car and caravan were in synch, so we packed the caravan, hitched up to the car and started off – but got no further than that.  The electrics on the car just went!  No lights, no dashboard stuff – nothing.  So there we were in the middle of the road and unable to move either caravan or car.

Did I fall apart?  Just a little.  I phoned the tow bar people who eventually sent the boss out to have a look.  It turned out they had connected the tow bar electrics to a fuse in the car that couldn’t take it and blew as soon as the engine started.  New fuse duly fitted and off we went only to sit in a motorway queue that took 2 hours to cover 10 miles.  Happy summertime motoring.  Eventually got to the site and had a good rest.

Come going home time, hitching up the caravan caused another problem – the jockey wheel on the front of the caravan came apart in hubbie Mac’s hands – literally!  Luckily it’s not needed to tow the caravan so we hot wheeled it back up the M6 to the caravan dealers who put it all back together again in a minute flat!  #feeling foolish!

But better all that happening before our trip to France, which is going to be a challenge for me, never having driven on the wrong side of the road before – at least, not intentionally!  Hey ho.  What will be …….

Back in the saddle!

Well, these last few weeks have been a roller coaster of things happening – good and bad.  The good news is that Life now is as back to normal as it can be and I can concentrate on all things Jacobeadery (and Beadability) now.

I was really excited to see The Jacobeadery advert in the Beadworkers Guild Journal this month – brought it home that the biz is real and not just in my head!  We’re now ‘out there’ and live – scary!

I’ve been working on the wire edge ribbon brooch and, although the first and second versions were not totally up to scratch I’m going to include the second version in the kit.  A different beaded centre is going to be shown as an alternative to the bud centre – no photos of the beaded centre as yet!

Wire edge ribbon brooch

Another project I’m working on is a box with my first major embroidery piece Daphne on the lid.  That’s still in drawing format and I have yet to cut any materials yet.

Daphne

I’ve also got an advent calendar lined up for getting ready this week – hopefully it will be ready for Haydock Bead Fair on 1st October even if we do go to France.    Will post details as and when ready!

But for now, it’s back to repacking all the Basic Kits into A5 bags – they look much more professional than the bigger A4 ones used to date.

And for my next project …..

I’ve decided to use some of the wire edged ribbon I have and make a beaded ribbon brooch.  My first attempt was this

ribbon flower 1

Which wasn’t quite the effect I wanted.  The leaves were too big and had to be folded under, and the whole thing was not right.  So I’m now going for a different colour ribbon and beads.

ribbon flower 2

I’ll let you know how I get on.

 

I’ve decided to sell up!

But not for about 10 years yet.

So after making that decision I realised I had to get the business in order and systemise it.  I have long been an ardent fan of Michael Gerber and his E Myth series of books and have even attempted to put his advice into practice.  Without success however.  This time I will succeed and when the time comes to sell the biz, The Jacobeadery will be known as the McDonalds of bead embroidery!

So far I’ve made copious notes, highlighted paragraphs in books and written a couple of blogs on my new website (not yet live) about the progress I shall be making.  I have decided to blog about systemising my business because, as a right brain creative, I realise that not all other right brainers can organise.  I am lucky in that I am a multipotentialite which some people might call a Jackie-of-all-trades but I argue that I am a master of some – or at least as much as I wish to be a master!  I hope to help/inspire other right brainers even if it’s only one.

More on this soon

Bead Embroidery with a Jacobean Twist