Monday, January 19, 2015

Good intentions, bad timing

It didn't take me long to blow my blogging trend, did it?   Well, my intentions were good, but I caught an ugly germ and that knocked me out good for a couple of weeks.   And now that I'm just getting back to normal, I'm going to be away for a little while again.  

When I last wrote, it was was early in January, and I was so happy that it was starting out so well!   I had several really lucky things happen in a row that I wanted to share with you.  It's a bit late now, but I'll share anyway!  

First, I had some of my polymer clay beads included in two Etsy treasuries, both curated by Chris P. from DunroaminFarmDesign:

Fall harvest and berry colored polymer clay bead set, 13 beads + pendant  BS14-011 E

Fall Harvest Polymer Bead Set with Oblong Purple Poly Pendant    BS14-007 E

The next big thing that happened to me was that I entered the ABS Dec. challenge.   Not only did the necklace sell to one of my "new good friends" overseas... 

..but I won a random drawing for a $50 gift certificate donated by Stone Designs by Sheila!

Lucky me!  I had been admiring Sheila's work and was so pleased to go for a spending spree in her shop!   I couldn't decide what to get though, and spent a couple of days trying to make up my mind!   In the end, I added just a little bit more to Sheila's extremely generous gift and got these awesome beads!

I photographed them together with her lovely cards, but to fully appreciate these beads you must see each one close-up!

My sincere thanks to Sheila and to ABS for making the start of my 2015 such a good one!

While I'm still on the topic of Art Bead Scene, I'm so excited about the January challenge!   I hope some of you will participate!

I had beads already made I hoped to put in my stores that I thought would be great for this challenge!   But alas, my good luck ran a bit short.   First the germ, and now I need to take some time away for a week or two.   

Here is my plan for the stores:

Metapolies on ACM will be closed with expected reopening Jan. 30.

The other 2 stores are open for sales, but shipping may not occur until Jan. 30. If I can ship and/or reopen sooner, I will.   

For links and the most current updates please visit

Best wishes to each of you for the coming weeks! I hope they are good ones for you!


photos by sharyl
Clipart by

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Looking back on blogging, looking forward...

Looking back at blogging...

My very first blog entry was June 16, 2011:  "Jewelry Design - My "Unique" Philosophy."  

When I look back at that entry, every bit of what I wrote was true then, and true now.   So much has changed, but my vision of what I wanted to accomplish with jewelry design is exactly the same as when I started.   I find that rather remarkable. 

Not all my early blog posts were something I'd still be proud of.   I was very "green" and feel a bit horrified about how I spoke with authority about things I didn't know enough about.   My photographs were terrible. (It took me 6 months to take a remotely decent photo!  I blogged about that on Jan. 14 and Jan. 18, 2012. Many of my blog posts in the first year focused on photography practice!)  

But to back up a bit, as I recall, I had no followers at all until I had blogged for about 6 weeks.   I just kept writing, hoping someone would appear.  And finally, it happened, one day, someone finally made the choice to "follow" my blog.  And about a week later, another, this time a young man from Russia.  I never forgot about him.   I was so thrilled to have these 2 pay attention to what I wrote!   And eventually more came, and when I hit 10, I felt I had finally "arrived!"  ha!  

In the early days, I greeted each new member with a welcome paragraph!   Eventually, it became impossible.   Blog hops would bring new members in larger numbers all at once, I couldn't keep up.  What a shame about that.  My blog membership numbers are still not stunning, but they've been "hard-won" and I've always deeply valued each person following and sharing  your comments.  I always intended this to be a very interactive space.  

trend graphI must admit that in the first few years of blogging,  I was more creative in my writing, more engaging, and certainly more frequent.    The heavy use of Facebook to share ideas and new items, and the ever-increasing use of mobile technology to read messages seems to have shrunk blog participation and comments.   Posting messages and getting no response was disheartening, and I got to where I mostly posted about sales in my stores.   (Boring, and a self-fulfilling cycle which left little incentive to want to read my blog!)

Blogging today...

Recently, I announced that the blog had it's 175th member, and we celebrated that with a gift to the participant and a give-away winner.   I decided to briefly highlight those involved in that event on my blog today!

Val of Miss Val's Creations was the 175th member.  I wanted to show you these classy earrings I found in her store.   The ear wires are such a fantastic shape!
hematite sterling silver dangle earrings

hematite sterling silver dangle earrings

Catherine of Shadow Dog Designs won the random drawing.  Catherine's store is on  Artfire.  I think these pearls and the amazing pendant go perfectly together!
Handmade Tree Pendant Necklace Rustic Green Pearls Bali Beaded Jewelry
Handmade Tree Pendant Necklace Rustic Green Pearls Bali Beaded Jewelry

Since then, we've gained one more member.   And so, in the original spirit of this blog, I'd like to welcome our most recent follower, Meridy Migchelbrink of Two Trees Studio.   Among her always-impressive designing techniques, Meridy creates many of her earthy looking pieces using waxed Irish linen thread.  Take a peak:
The Word for World Is Forest:  Petite, lightweight artisan ceramic earrings, with an earthy, rustic, foresty vibe

The Word for World Is Forest: Petite, lightweight artisan ceramic earrings, with an earthy, rustic, foresty vibe

Now that I've given you a small sample of each of these artist's work, I hope you'll go look at the rest of their collections!   I'm so honored to have these three jewelry artists, as well as all the rest of you talented people, following my blog!

Looking forward...

I hope you'll come around again!  I'm planning more features, focus sessions on other bead and jewelry designers, discussions on techniques, business matters, and more!   I'll be here, writing away, just like in the beginning, hoping someone drops in and leaves me a note!  

Wishing a very Happy New Year 2015 to all!  


P.S.  Just as I'm about to post this entry, I've received 2 pieces of good news to share today!  I'll hold it until next time.  Expect another post soon!  

Image Credits:

All jewelry photos taken by the jewelry artists are copyrighted and used here by permission.

Clipart is from

Saturday, December 27, 2014

ABS Monthly Challenge: Dec. 2014 Cathedral Arches in Polymer

It may be hard to imagine how a painting of a nearly empty building could inspire in so many ways.   But when I first saw the latest piece of art for the monthly Art Bead Scene challenge, I was immediately drawn in!   It's no ordinary "empty hallway."  It's a painting of an amazing piece of architecture, full of history, with interesting shapes, and many variations on the color gray!

Some of you know, I used to frequently participate in the ABS monthly challenges, but have taken a self-imposed break from blog hops for a while.  Then I saw this, and couldn't stay away!

Choir of Sint-Bavokerk, Haarlem" 1635
by Pieter Jansz Saenedam
Read more about this painting on the ABS page.

Once I saw the photo, I couldn't get it out of my head!  It reminded me of some of the  architecture we saw this Spring in Europe! 

Notably terrible photography on this one,
but look at the similarities!

So I immediately went to work on a design!

I'd like to claim that I made each of these beads just for this challenge, but it's not true.   I've been into a "gray" mood lately and making lots of polymer clay beads in shades of gray and a granite-like glittery gray.   Some I leave as is, some I paint with metallic acrylic paints, then seal.    I made this batch and more just before seeing this month's Art Bead Scene Challenge photo.

I had intended them for pairs of earring charms, but looked at them all spread out on my counter and started picking the ones that reminded me of the curves in the architecture, the arches, the round pillars, and the multiple shades of gray.


I strung the beads on gray Irish waxed linen thread (from WhiteCloverKiln, Mary Hubbard), some with antiqued brass jump rings. There are dark metallic seed beads used as spacers.  Then I added a bit of antiqued brass chain in the front.    

A lovely soft bit of gray Sari ribbon for the back.   (The ribbon crosses through another handmade polymer bead in granite working as a tube bead so that the length is adjustable, and can be tied to keep in place.)  This lovely soft Sari ribbon comes from TheJewelleryQuarter (Anne Betenson, Cardiff, Wales, UK). 

I used Wooly Wire by Eleanor Thomas on the pendant and at the rings where the ribbon loops through the large jump rings. Wooly Wire is also in shades of gray and serves a practical as well as ornamental purpose.   

I just loved this month's challenge and also that's it's now posted on Pinterest too!   It's inspiring and so much easier now to share our creations!  Thanks to all involved with ABS!   

I made this pair of earrings too,
using many of the same beads and materials.
It doesn't have the "sleek lines" of the painting,
but could be worn with the necklace!
I am proud to say that I think this is the first challenge where
I've made all the beads myself!

Listed in my Metapolies™ store on Etsy!

UPDATE 12/31/14:
Challenge recap and video now on
ABS page!


Beads, jewelry design, and photos by Sharyl McMillian-Nelson, Metapolies™, Dec. 2014.


Monday, December 22, 2014

Getting my (Business) Act together + Give-away!

calendar December 22Just as 2014 is about to come to a screeching halt, I've managed to meet one more of my goals for the year!   (No need to add comments such as "It's about time!" or "Cutting it mighty close there!"  ha!)  

house with treesI've long wanted to get my own business domain name again.  I had one back in 2011 and let it go with the website I had.   I started on Artfire then, and went with theirs.

The truth is, as I've expanded this year from one store to three, I've found it rather clumsy trying to direct people to "where I am."    3 stores, 2 store names, all those urls!

arrow black gloss Uturn down fat arrow black gloss Uturn up fat  arrow black gloss counter clockwise fat
Sharyl's Jewelry                                                                   Metapolies
(Art Fire)                                                                                            (ACM)

Having 3 online stores may be an odd thing to do in the first place, but it's an experiment of sorts, and I'm determined to play it out a little bit longer.   

 You might recall that in May of 2014, I did some branding work and redid my business cards, (and banners, virtual and physical table ones).  Of course I did that just before deciding I would like to change my business name and open more venues!   Well, as I've been in flux, I've continued to use those cards, adding stickers on the back with the two new store urls.   (Yes, yes.  Tacky, I suppose.   But think of it as moving to a new location.  You "make do" until you get settled in, right?)

The other evening, I finally decided to get the domain name and create a one-page landing site (home page) for all my business needs.

  The url is:  

I do hope you'll check it out 
and give me feedback!

From the one-page website, you can (hopefully) easily get to all my stores and my social media (Blog, Facebook, and Pinterest).
I've tried to optimize it so it works well with computers,  tablets, and phones.    That's made the layout a bit tricky and not quite what I had hoped for.  I'd really like it to be attractive/inviting AND intuitive/functional.   I'm not sure if I've made the mark yet, but I'm going to begin using it.

Some things I can change, but others I'm limited by what this simple system can do.  

Please, please, please...
If you have ideas, suggestions, complaints, do let me know! I'm very eager for feedback so that this works well for YOU and anyone one else trying to find their way to my stores and social media contacts.  How can I make it better for YOU to use?

My main goal is, instead of directing people to 3 sites, I now will direct them to one only. ONE on my business card, ONE on Facebook announcements, ONE when I run into friends and family.  All the same ONE!  

arrow black gloss rightJust:

Hopefully, it's all easy after that!   

As always, thanks for helping me out and sticking by me as I evolve!


We just hit 175 participants on this blog! 

was the 175th person.
Welcome, Val!

I've sent her a small sample packet of Metapolies™ goodies, but want to give the other 174 a chance too!    A look at and a comment on my blog here by 12/26/14 will get your name in the drawing!   (Please make sure I can find you again on Facebook or  email, store, etc.)   I'll announce the winner on 12/27 and attempt to notify the winner.  If the winner hasn't claimed the prize by 12/30, I'll draw again.

I'm hoping to renew my blogging efforts in 2015 and if you are not a member, I hope you will join us!   

Business card/photo:  Sharyl McMillian-Nelson, 2014.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Current Holiday Sales Calendar and Special Deals!

Current Calendar of 
Holiday Sales Events:

(Links to all my stores are on blog menu above!)

Ends Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014
Use code:   MERRY25
Discount:  25% off every item
(Only components sold in this store)

Ends Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014
Use code:  SPECIAL25
Discount:  25% off every item
(Jewelry and components sold in this store)

Ends Monday, Dec. 22,  2014
Use code:  HOLLY25
Discount:  25% off every item
(Jewelry, components, and holiday ornaments sold in this store)

Additional Savings Reminder:

Shop more than one of my stores on the same day and receive discounted shipping for combined orders!   Savings will be refunded through Pay Pal.

Gift Certificates:

I'm also happy to create gift certificates.  Please send me a personal message on Facebook or a note through my Etsy or Artfire store if interested.   

Happy Holidays!   

Image Credits:
All photos and graphics by Sharyl except
Holly graphic:


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Metapolies BIG Winter Sale and New Earrings on Etsy!

I've updated my Metapolies™  banner on Etsy ...

and I'm announcing a new holiday sale there too!
Use coupon code at checkout:
to get 25% off all items!  
Sale runs through Dec. 16! 
It's my biggest sale of the holidays,
so shop for gifts,
shop for yourself!
Find that special-handmade, 
one-of-a-kind treat
for the holidays!

  • All jewelry comes in gift box with paper and ribbon. 
  • I can send directly to a gift recipient with gift card. 
  • Please read my "shipping" and "gifts" policies for details or ask any questions at by Etsy store!
For jewelry-designers, there are components in  that store, as well as my others.  

For jewelry-shoppers, I've been adding new jewelry items there for you too!

(You may notice me having some fun with wire and metal in each of these!)

Artisan-made Winter Pine Tree Earrings

Tree charms by Mary Harding, lampwork by CrazyLadyGlass, 
WoolyWire by Nellie Thomas

Pale green elongated Amazonite, red cloisonne, light green patinated beads and copper earrings

Silver and Copper Hammered Wire Dangle earrings with Green Ceramic Ear Charms

Emerald Green Charms by Sheri Mallery

Patinated Copper and Brass Hammered Wire Dangles with Embossed Brass charms

Please let us know what YOU'RE working on these days!  Leave a comment!

Thanks and Best wishes to you!     --Sharyl

Photos and banner by Sharyl McMillian-Nelson, 12/14.

Clipart from


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Happy Almost-Thanksgiving, Traditions, + Holiday Sales Update!

Happy Almost-Thanksgiving!  

For those who celebrate this holiday, many people have their own ideas about how to celebrate (time for eating, for family, shopping, resting, recreation).   

For me, above all else, I like to think of this holiday as a celebration of peace and goodwill among people with differences.  There is a lot of room for that in the world today as much as in history.

But given the more current traditions I mentioned earlier, I thought I'd share with you a few things about how I celebrate:   

1)  I enjoy Thanksgiving feasting too, but as a vegetarian, don't partake in the most traditional of foods, the turkey.   I'm often asked what we eat for Thanksgiving.   (In essence, everything but the turkey and gravy!   Kindly, our family cooks substitute vegetable for chicken broth in dishes.   It's pretty much starch-heaven with a few veggies thrown in!  Yummmm!)

"Eat More Potatoes!" 

2)  Family time-- I have a small family.   Sometimes we gather with my sister and  her small family.  We're still a small group, but it more than doubles the size!  

3) Shopping-- I hate getting out and fighting crowds  in large stores so much that I don't do it much any time of the year, much less during the month of Dec!   I do enjoy shopping small local stores and online though!   There will be plenty of sales this weekend. (I'll help out the economy as best I can!  ha!)  Watch for the upcoming ones at the Artisan Component Marketplace, as well as others of our friends who sell their handmade goods online in any number of venues!    

4)  Resting?  I doubt it!   In addition to my handmade jewelry business (and I'm hoping I'll have lots of visitors this year), I work for a company that provides online chat Reference service to libraries around the world 24/7, including holidays!  We'll be VERY BUSY since most libraries in the U.S. will be closed. 

5) Recreation?   My husband will likely watch sports.   If I'm  lucky, I can squeeze in the watching of a movie at home!   Hope so!    I'll also be online checking my stores and Facebook, to see if anyone has questions.   

6)  Sharing my handmade creations (aka, Selling!)--  Let the sales begin!   I didn't include this in my previous list, but slipping it in now!  I have 3 online stores plus items in a new local art gallery, Art by Avis & Others.   

My online stores are listed below with links.   You can  get 20% off at all of them by using the code  THANKS20.   Sale begins Wed. 11/26 and runs through Mon., 12/1. 

Metapolies™    (components only)
 Artisan Component Marketplace

Metapolies™     (jewelry & components)

Sharyl's Jewelry & Metapolies
 Artfire               (jewelry & components)

Also, if you buy from more than one of my online stores in the same day, I'll combine the shipping and refund you the additional amount!

I'll put out a "shopping guide" in the next day or two to offer some suggestions from my stores and others!    So if you haven't signed up for my blog, please do! (Upper right on this page.)     Also watch my Facebook pages  (personal & business) for holiday sales events!  (Please click "get notifications" after liking so you receive updates!)

I hope you'll share how YOU spend Thanksgiving in the comments!    And whatever you do, hope your day and weekend is grand!

My sincere thanks to all of you!

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Clip art from
Logo by Sharyl 2014
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