Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Filling of the Printer's Cabinet!

To re-cap, I got a printer's cabinet last spring from my neighbor. I cleaned it up then refinished the wood. In the process of cleaning, some of the drawers got splintery. So I lined those drawers with little pieces of paper. I'd say about 10 drawers needed the paper lining, so doing that probably took me a month to complete. And I've been working on filling it with beads since then (October).

If someone would have told me how many hours it was going to take to get my bead stash into the drawers, I would not have believed them. I already had much of my stash of beads loosely organized by color. The beads, either as a strand or in a small bag, or both, were in plastic bins labeled with the color family they belong to. So, the basic sorting of maybe 75% of my stash was already done! Easy, right?
Not so fast...
To put the beads into the drawers, you first have to get them out of the baggie or cut the strands. Some of the beads on the strands are next to impossible to get loose. They are knotted and run back through the end bead (sometimes twice)! I also had zip-lock baggies that were so thin (do they come in .25 mil? lol), it took all my eyesight and fingernails, and sometimes I resorted to scissors, to get them opened! Don't get me started about bags that are zipped AND stapled! It was challenging at times.

The compartments in some of the drawers are different sizes, so once you have the beads loose, you try to guess which compartment they'll best fit in. Of course, sometimes you don't guess correctly, and then you have to scoop the beads out of the compartment (with a spoon or your fingers), to put them in a more fitting sized compartment! ARGH!

Anyway, there are 25 drawers in the printer's cabinet, and I have filled all but 1-1/2 drawers. One of the drawers that I haven't filled had been painted inside with bright red paint by someone, so I thought it may be distracting to whatever I put in it. So, I'm thinking that one over a little before putting things in it.
I took a photo of every drawer, but 25 photos is too many, so I'll just show you a few!

These are Reds and Pinks!
Here we have Greens!
This drawer is Earthtones.
These are all Czech glass. Notice all the compartments are the same small size.

I have more photos, but it's just more of the same, only blues, purples, yellows, oranges, multi, etc.
You get the drift! If you comment you'd like more photos of the other drawers, I'll post them.

All in all, I'm very happy with it. It's been a labor of love!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Vintage parts

OK, so I have made a couple things with my loot from CJS in NYC. I've been busy since October filling my printer's cabinet. (here's the post about that) I will write a post about the filled cabinet later. But, it took A LOT of time to fill the drawers, and I really hardly made any jewelry for 4-5 months! It's nice to start creating jewelry again.
These earring components are from CJS, as are the cabochons. The little hearts dangle inside the circle, and this is how they came. I got a baggie full of them. I'd say the circle is about 18mm wide. I glued the cabochons on to the hearts, and added earwires. The patina you see on the circles is just how they came.
The heart focal is from CJS. It is plastic that's been metalized. And then it appears to have had a very hard life! lol. It is tarnished and worn, but I like it the way it is. I also found the little swirly heart connector (in the center, above the focal) as an odd little piece in a different bag of beads. It was just in there, so I thought I'd use it. Everything else is from my stash. The oval peacock dot beads would never had been used if not for my recent printer cabinet organization blitz!

These are quite similar, but different. At CJS, I bought a baggie (about a Quart size) of these green plastic charms. They are all the same shape, but different sizes and colors (both transparent and opaque). So I played around with layering the smaller ones on the larger ones, and came up with these two necklaces. Because they are plastic, they are feather light, which makes them so comfortable to wear. They make a fun clickty-clack sound when you move.

 The CJS beads in these two necklaces are the oval wooden beads. They vary in size and have slight variations in color too. I've had both these focals on my desk for a long time, just waiting for the right idea to come along. The round raven focal is from Humblebeads. The diamond Raku focal is from Oscar Crow (on Etsy). The wood beads are a grayish blue, and work with both focals, even though they are different colors.

This necklace has beads from various places. The beads from CJS are the long silver beads with the rose embossed into it. These are metalized plastic! The quality of the metalized plastic at CJS was really good. If they weren't so light weight, you'd think they were really metal! The glass heart was picked up at a small bead show. The 2 round red rose beads are from Jesse James. They are all metal and super detailed! Oh oops, I lied. The red fire-polished crystals were also from CJS!!
I don't work in silver tones much, but this was a gift for a friend that likes silver, so I forced myself to do it! LOL.

Well, believe it or not, that's all I've made with my suitcase full of beads, so far. But like I said, I've been in organizing mode lately! More to come!!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Bead Hoarder's Heaven: CJS

The minute I read a blog post (on Interweave's blog, in September I think) about CJS in NYC, a wholesale jewelry supplies warehouse, I dreamed of going there. It truly sounded like heaven to me. I'd really wanted to go, but I wasn't likely to go to NYC (from Philly area) by myself. Luckily for me, I have a friend that feels the same way about beads, and bargain hunting. Together, we hatched a plan to go.

We met up very early in the morning and caught a train into the city at Princeton Junction. One short hour later, we were in midtown Manhattan! We made the mistake of getting in the "quiet car", so we had to move down a car, so we could talk excitedly about our fun adventure. The people on the train probably thought we were absolute hicks - talking on the train, and asking questions, not knowing where to put our tickets, etc...we weren't as blasé about going to New York City as all the "regulars" were.

I had done my research before going, so I knew exactly where we needed to go. Coming up from underground onto the streets of  New York can be confusing, but once we figured out what block we'd emerged on, we took off on foot. CJS is only about 4 blocks from Penn Station - how convenient!
And it was a weird mild weather day for November, so we didn't even need to bundle up! In fact, we got too hot!

My friend brought her rolling carry-on suitcase, but I had convinced myself that I wouldn't buy too much, so I brought a collapsible wheeled tote, the kind you'd use to transport a knitting project. We didn't know what to expect, really.

We arrived at the building and took the elevator to the 2nd floor. The doors opened and it was unbelievable! There were beads and jewelry supplies everywhere! And I do mean everywhere!! They were stacked up in boxes in hallways, on the floor, even on the air conditioner in the window! (heaven!)

Carl, the owner, gave us the tour....the finished jewelry room, the pearl nook, the metal room, the plastic room, the shell and wood room, the chain room, etc. Every room was filled with boxes full of jewelry supplies, with the boxes stacked 4-5 deep, with just skinny paths through the rooms. The main room near the elevator had old Swarovski stuff, and fabulous vintage cabochons. The pricing was by the pound, for the most part. He handed us an empty box, and left us alone to explore.
So, we started in the metal room, rummaging through box after box after box, throwing bags of stuff in our boxes as we  worked our way through the rooms. Metal, then wood and shell stuff, then to the chain room, which had lots of glass beads and plastic beads as well. As our boxes filled up, we'd take them to the main room, to stack near the elevator, and to grab a new empty box!! (this is when I should have realized I was in trouble!)

We were there from about 9am until about 1pm. We kind of both looked at each other at the same time and said we were ready to call it quits. I was completely saturated in all things "jewelry". We were hot, tired, thirsty, hungry, and completely thrilled. Carl weighed our boxes and tallied the results.

The good news was that all my stuff fit into my tote. The bad news was my tote was not up to the task. I don't remember how many pounds of stuff I got, but it was more than I thought it would be. After leaving CJS, we ate lunch nearby and attempted to go to some of the actual bead stores in the neighborhood (in the garment district), but my bag, while it did roll, was too heavy for me to go too far. So, we headed back to catch the train. I was able to get my bag onto the train, but as I made the final shove, to get in my seat with my loot, I heard the sound of breaking plastic. Uh Oh! We rode the train back to NJ, and I dragged my bag off the train. The wheels were all but gone.

At this point, I should mention that I'd parked the car expertly, as close to where we boarded the train as possible. Of course in hind sight, it would have been advantageous to have parked on the other side of the tracks in the morning, so we'd be parked on the correct side when we returned. Lesson learned.

So, my bag needed to go down the steps, through the tunnel under the tracks, and then back up the other side....My friend offered to help, and we both grabbed the handle and started dragging it. We were doing ok, and I didn't really care if the bag got scraped up from the sidewalks. We got almost to the bottom of the stairs when a young woman walking behind me said "Excuse me, ma'am, I think your bracelet broke". I turned around and saw beads all over the steps. My bag had busted open, and beads were bouncing down the stairs! My Precious!!!! All the people on the stairs were nice enough to pick up beads and hand them to me. I got my bag down to the bottom of the stairs, shoving the loose beads back into the hole. At that point, I literally had no idea how I was going to get the bag the rest of the way to my car. It needed to go through the tunnel, and then up the stairs on the other side!! I was feeling hopeless, and panicked when a young man stopped and said "Do you need help with your bag?". Now, I consider myself an independent woman that has never needed a man's help, but in this moment, I think I saw a halo around his face and heard angels singing! I said "Oh my God, yes. Let me carry your soda.". So he handed me his Mountain Dew, and he picked up my bag and carried it up the stairs and to the curb on the other side. He even offered to take it all the way to the car, but I told him we could handle it from here, and thanked him profusely!! So, I brought the car over to the bag, and we loaded my pitiful bag, and my friend's rolling carry-on (which actually worked well, but one wheel suffered an injury under the weight of the beads) into the car.

Exhilarated! Exhausted!

Now, you deserve some photos!

The metal room

That's my foot - this is the floor of the plastic room!

My foot again! This is the floor of the chain room. The pile of chain was probably about 6 inches deep!

That's me in the chain room - like a pig in mud! OMG!
Sadly, CJS has lost their lease and will be forced to move, although I don't know how they'll possibly move everything. There is so. much. stuff.
Hope you enjoyed hearing about my "adventure"! Thanks for stopping by!

Next post I'll show you some jewelry I've made with My Precious from CJS!