Archive for January, 2013

52 earrings: #4 Red Queen and #5 Lime Twizzlers

I made two pairs of earrings this week. First I made a pair of little lampwork hearts with the luscious Lauscha transparent red (I love this, it’s actually semi-opaque when used in any volume, but keeps a whole lotta depth and juiciness).

#4 Red Queen

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Red lampwork hearts by me, sterling silver.

I had another go with my rubber tube – I like spirals so made some with the frosted lime tubing. I had some little o-rings in tangerine that fit on the tubing so added those for some zing. Then I decided that I wanted little lampwork dangles in the centre, so made a pair of orange and green encased dotty beads. I messed around a bit with different types of endings on the brass – tried some spirals but didn’t get them centred in the orientation I wanted, so in the end I went for a hammered widened end and added a little green seed bead to stop the lampwork sliding off.

#5 Lime Twizzlers

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Green and orange dotty lampwork beads by me, lime rubber tubing, tangerine o-rings, brass.

I think these could look good in a bunch of different colours.

(I also made the earring tree to have a nicer display to hang earrings on – the bit of wire I had hanging from my lamp was functional but doesn’t look great in photos! I might do another with enough wire for roots and glue it to a rock, but this one works)

52 little things links
Craft Pimp Week 4 thread
• Linda of Earthshine Lampwork Bead and Jewellery Design: http://www.earth-shine.co.uk/
• Sue of BlueBoxStudio: http://www.blue-box-studio.blogspot.co.uk
• Jolene of Kitzbitz Art Glass: http://kitzbitzartglass.blogspot.co.uk

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52 earrings: #3 Tangerine Tangles

I have some different types of rubber tubing and have been meaning to do something like this for a while. Inspired by Yvonne Irvin-Faus, who also sells the tubing and all kind of other bright components.

#3 Tangerine Tangles

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Brass wire and orange tubing. These aren’t my usual style AT ALL and are part of what I’m wanting to do with this challenge. I deliberately didn’t try to make the freeform tangles the same shape. I made the earwires rounder than usual to go with the tangles (am also going to try some different earwire designs, these were just a very quick variation). I have some plans to play with the design further, with more visible wire-wrapping, perhaps adding dangles…

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52 little things links
Craft Pimp Week 3 thread
• Linda of Earthshine Lampwork Bead and Jewellery Design: http://www.earth-shine.co.uk/
• Sue of BlueBoxStudio: http://www.blue-box-studio.blogspot.co.uk
• Jolene of Kitzbitz Art Glass: http://kitzbitzartglass.blogspot.co.uk

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Small craft business accounting and tax returns!

Note: this is a 2013 post. Cash basis is currently allowed if you want to use it (but accruals suits me better – it means in years that you sell more, you claim back more of your material costs, reducing your bill).

Given that I’m doing my first tax return, I thought I’d mention a few things that are handy to know for small craft businesses. Craft businesses in particular have some extra complications, because we do things that HMRC only expects big businesses to do, just on very small scales. (We have a great deal of very slow-moving stock that we haven’t made into anything yet and which doesn’t depreciate much. Items we have made can take years to sell. We can end up receiving money in Paypal in dollars, keeping it in dollars for some time, then either spending it in dollars or converting it to pounds, thus having to pay attention to foreign exchange rules…)

I’m going to point to Lois Designs UK Tax for Small Crafting Business Series. These are a really useful series of posts!

The big unintuitive thing, and one I really wasn’t expecting, despite having done some reading before December on tax returns, was the difference between cash basis and accruals basis accounting. Cash basis is what you probably think of first: you take this much money, you spend that much on stock, you can claim this much on the stock you’ve bought. But HMRC doesn’t allow *anyone* to use cash basis accounting. (If you are and you’re tiny, you might get away with it if they never audit you. I do not think it’s worth the risk).

So, in accruals basis accounting, you record things when a transaction takes place, not when you spend the money. The usual example given is magazine subscriptions – you can pay a lump sum in advance, but when accounting for it, if it goes over different tax years, you need to split it up based on how much of your subscription you’ve received in each year.

The big change is to do with stock. You should only be claiming for stock you’ve bought when you have sold an item made with it. That is a HUGE difference. Got beads you bought years ago and used half of them in a necklace last year that sold this year? You can now claim for half of them.

This means you have to keep track of what materials you used in what item, and when you sell it so you know what you can claim for and when.

You also need to do an annual stocktake of everything – all your finished items, all your supplies, all your WIPs. (If you can manage not to have any WIPs at the end of the tax year, so much the better!)

This is Lois’ post on stock, which lays it all out very well: TSCB 6: Expenses – Stock, Work in Progress & Appropriations.

Advice To Myself In The Past
1. Do a full stocktake the minute you become self-employed. Then you know exactly what you’re starting with.
2. When you make something, write down what was in it. (Time taken is also handy for pricing, not for the tax return). I’m not too bad on this one – I keep a record of what I do in each beadmaking session, with recipes, so I do know when I made each bead and what was in it. I also have a notebook with jewellery designs where I note what I’ve used (and the time when I remember…). I think what would help is weighing seedbeads before and after use in a piece. That way I know exactly how much of them I used. Larger beads are easier to keep track of! How much of each colour of glass was used in a lampwork bead is trickier, but there are reasonable and consistent estimates I can make.
3. The usual, keep my accounts up to date as I go along. That’s not nearly as big a deal as the stock issues, though.

I’ve finished cataloguing all my bought jewellery supplies. I am almost finished doing my personal lampwork glass rod collection (there’s always another jar :p) and I have the Lauscha to do. The Lauscha’s simpler because I know how much I bought and how much I sold. There’s some I used myself for my test beads which aren’t for sale, there’s some I used in beads which are for sale, there’s some I gave away (advertising!) and there are the single rods I sold which I have average weights for, so aren’t a problem.

In terms of lampwork rods, I’ve weighed all the bundles in my glass storage so I know how much I have unused of each colour. In terms of the jars on my desk, I’m splitting them into unused, longs (more than half a rod) and shorts. Unused gets an average price for a bundle of mixed rods. Longs get a reduced value, because they would still be sellable at a discount. Shorts I am considering unsellable (I mean, you maybe could, but we normally give them away to newbies or just for the price of postage). Silver glass shorts are an exception and get a further reduced value.

I began in time and have enough time to finish. It really does take a while if you’re not up-to-date, though! I’m going to be counting and weighing things for the rest of the evenings this week.

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52 earrings: #2 Purple Saucers

If you didn’t see, I added other blogging people doing this challenge to my previous post. They’re in at the bottom here too, and here is the Craft Pimp week 2 thread with other non-blogging entrants.

Art Jewelry Elements are also doing an earring challenge, split into 13 week segments. I’m not joining in to begin with because it requires artisan beads or components in every pair, and I don’t want to restrict myself from using anything in my stash that I feel like, right now. I may join a later quarter and do all lampwork earrings for that time.

So, week 2! What I am finding is that doing this challenge shortcuts a lot of the agonising over finding the ‘perfect’ beads and design to go with the main element I’ve chosen, because that’s what makes jewellery take a long time for me. (I also don’t do it too often, so nearly every item involves designing from scratch rather than putting different colours into a design I’ve developed already – that’s not very time efficient!). Instead of looking through all the beads I own to find the best combination, I can say “I am using these discs, and I will pick something good enough to go with them”. I can make a different combination another time.

#2: Purple Saucers

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These beads use leftover pink lampwork discs I made for a commission necklace, along with purple dyed semi-precious stones* and sterling silver saucer beads and findings.

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* Oh, let me go on a rant here. They’re named as dyed purple jade. Now, these aren’t jade. Most semi-precious beads sold as jade aren’t jade – ‘new jade’, ‘honey jade’… They’re pretty and I like them, but I wish suppliers would name beads what they actually are! eBay really doesn’t help – I have some lovely deep purple beads that were sold as ‘Russican amethyst’. Now, ignoring that the real name is Russian amethyst and they patently aren’t that either – they’re some kind of dyed semi-precious cloudy-clear stone, possibly quartz. I knew they weren’t amethyst when I got them. I would still have got them if they’d been described correctly. It isn’t even that they were passing them off as amethyst to make more money from them, because they were cheap – just “These are purple, we’ll call them amethyst”. (If they’d called *those* dyed purple jade, it might even be more accurate!) It isn’t just eBay though, that’s at least expected. It’s UK sellers who are naming beads what they’re told they are, without mentioning provenance or that ‘new jade’ isn’t actually jade. Some places do, and that’s great. An awful lot don’t. There’s a great deal of ‘turquoise’ out there that is actually dyed howlite, and howlite that’s something else because it began to get rarer…

(F’rex, http://www.beadshopuk.com seems pretty good. Dyed beads are split out from non-dyed, regions are mentioned, the turquoise is split into stabilised and reconstituted, and it is explained what those mean. It tells you that the New Jade is bowenite, a form of serpentine).

In terms of jade, that *is* partly a cultural issue – in China, jade did refer to all those types of greenish stone, and the traditional jade carvings frequently were made from serpentine. When it comes to other semi-precious mis-namings, that’s not usually the case. And when you’re selling over here, you ought to be sure of the difference.

52 little things links
Linda of Earthshine Lampwork Bead and Jewellery Design: http://www.earth-shine.co.uk/
Sue of BlueBoxStudio: http://www.blue-box-studio.blogspot.co.uk
Jolene of Kitzbitz Art Glass: http://kitzbitzartglass.blogspot.co.uk

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52 (earring pairs) in 2013 challenge

It’s a new year, let’s get this blog restarted! I’ve got a bit stretched thin with various media, with some things here and others there… I should sort that out.

Anyway, there’s a plan in the works that should get me doing regular blog posts here.

Over on the Craft Pimp forum some of us are planning to do a 52 in 2013 challenge. The idea we’re borrowing is to make one pair of earrings per week, so 52 in the year. You don’t have to be making earrings to join in, though! Any small crafty project will do. (The original challenge was by Anke aHa and her flickr group is at http://www.flickr.com/groups/1867825@N21)

I will be making mine in small batches and then posting one a week, because I know that’s the way I work – some weeks I’ll definitely have other things that need doing or that I’m concentrating on. (And when I’m fired up about something, I don’t want to only make one!). I might end up with more than 52 by doing it this way: unless I get buried in earrings, that’s not really a downside :p

I think it’ll be a lot of fun and I’m going to come up with a bunch of different designs. I made some commission jewellery over Christmas and I want to make more, so this is also a good kick-start to that, but with the freedom that these designs don’t have to be perfect. I expect to end up with some that really don’t work, but the point is not to be stressed about that because next week there will be another. I think it’ll be good for me.

(I reserve the right to switch away from earrings to make something else if I get absolutely sick of them, but I’m thinking that’s not too likely – there’s a lot of scope in them for all kinds of techniques and materials).

I’ll be linking to some of the other people doing the challenge as we get going with it, so stay tuned!

Now, without more ado:

#1: Rainbow Bright

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Another view, because they’re only as bright as the first pic in really bright direct light. The second pic is more representative.

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Flame patinated (by me!) brass discs, brass earwires, copper dangles with faux turquoise beads.

I’ll be watching these to see how the patina changes over time. The discs and other components I patinated have been sitting about for a month since I did them without any appreciable difference. I haven’t coated them in anything – I do have some Renaissance wax, but wanted to see how they did on their own, because in my reading about flame patination some people say waxing darkens the colour and others don’t add any surface coatings. Since they won’t have much contact with the skin, they may well only change very gradually. Change is a feature with any patinated copper or brass, besides. (Wouldn’t they look pretty with verdigris on them?)

Other blogging participants!

Linda of Earthshine Lampwork Bead and Jewellery Design: http://www.earth-shine.co.uk/2013/01/52-pairs-of-earrings-in-year-2013.html
Sue of BlueBoxStudio: http://www.blue-box-studio.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/the-52-in-13-challenge.html
Jolene of Kitzbitz Art Glass: http://kitzbitzartglass.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/52-little-things-week-1.html

Week 1 thread on Craft Pimp.

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