Friday, June 30, 2006

To Ward Against The Evil Eye

In various cultures, eyes and hands are said to ward off the dreaded "Evil Eye." A friend of mine had complained of getting glares from a mutual acquaintance. While I don't know if this necklace will actually stop the glares, maybe it will at least make her feel better.

Made with Czech glass, Bali-style silver spacers, and glass beads and eye beads of mysterious pedigree. All topped off with a high-quality pewter hand pendant and sterling silver findings. It's exactly what I wanted it to be! With any luck, she'll like it. I don't know her tastes very well, but all week I've had this nagging feeling that I should make it.

Of course, it required a trip to the bead store to get more eye beads (and the pendant, too. I had a hand at home, but I liked this one better). While there I found all kinds of awesome beads for myself, too, including some rhombus crystals in clear and palest green, and some awesome carved bone beads. I think there is more stringing in my future.

I didn't post last night because I decided to read instead. I'm finding that Barbara Hambly does some things that we were told not to do in class. I'm also finding that I don't care. I love Hambly's stories and the characters in them, and if she wants to use substitions for said, and lots of adverbs and adjectives, well, more power to her.

Today, I danced myself to near-exhaustion and loved it :) My teacher had some very good things to say about my progress. YAY! I have some new things to practice before our next meeting, including some cool shoulder rolls.

Tomorrow could be very drama-ful. I'm hoping for peace. Either way, I'll be posting in the evening.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Lazy day.

Well, I didn't do my stringing project today. In fact, I didn't do much of anything. A couple of friends came over and spent most of the day here. I should have brought out the beads and worked while we talked, but I was lazy instead. I'll definitely do it tomorrow.

My husband surprised me by bringing home Circle of the Moon by Barbara Hambly today. I didn't know that the book even existed, so I'm pretty excited to crack the cover for my pre-bed reading (sorry, Lovecraft, it's time for us to start seeing other people!). At the same time, I have a bit of dread. My writing class taught me to be a rather critical reader, and I'm worried that this new technical eye will take some of the enjoyment out of my favorite authors. Gaiman still stood up to my standards... will Hambly? I have some faith in her.

To keep things bead related, I am on a quest! My quest is to find reasonably affordable 1920s Czech Egyptian revival beads, especially the pendant-sized ones. I've long drooled over them on expensive internet auctions and I've decided that I really need some for my collection. Because I just don't have enough pseudo-Egyptian jewelry. *hides broadcollars and ankh-and-scarab-bedecked chokers behind her back* My forum pals have already helped me out a bit, but if anyone out there in blog-land has a source they'd be willing to share, I would be most appreciative.

Time to go work on my book!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Busy, busy...

The end of the month is always busy for me, since I write for an e-zine that goes up on the 1st of the month. I just wrote a couple of columns and would probably do more, except I want to have time to dance and work on my book tonight.

Prior to this writing binge, I worked on my BFAC project. It is coming along well and hopefully I'll do a lot more work on it tomorrow. The deadline is the 15th of July, so many of my fellow contributors are finishing up, too (some of them are actually already done). This is always an exciting time of the year. I just love seeing what everyone else comes up with. What I've seen so far has been great. I'll be sure to post when the 2006 gallery is added to the site.

I have an idea for a simple strung gift for someone, so I might do that tomorrow, if I have all the right beads.

I'm very happy with how my book is coming along, and I have ideas for other books later in the series. I've been getting positive feedback on this book so far, which is very encouraging and helps me keep focused on the writing.

I've been striving to write and bead every day, and so far I'm doing pretty good. Now I just need to dance every day, too. My teacher is coming over on Friday and I want to feel that I've improved in the 2 weeks since we last got together!

A few more things are going on, but nothing that I'm ready to talk about yet ;)

Time to dance before I get too sleepy to move!

Monday, June 26, 2006


It's been raining a lot here lately. Raining. In Tucson. In June. I'm not complaining. I like rain, love the smell of it, and am enjoying the fact that the temps are about 10 degrees lower than they normally are. It's just... weird. Really, really weird.

Got some more work done on my BFAC project. I'd like to finish it this week, so I don't have to worry about it over the holiday weekend. I'll be spending the weekend at home, no real plans other than my usual Saturday gaming. Should be nice and relaxing.

I'm going to go work on my book now. Trying to write more and spend lest time browsing around on the web.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Weekend gone already?!?

I fully intended to continue my Artist Spotlight series over the weekend. That was before I got utterly hooked on a new video game, however. I'm better now, really I am!

The good news is that the game is turn-based, so in between my turns I worked on my BFAC project. The base is pretty much done. Tomorrow I'll start on the embellishment again. I really want to get it finished so I can work on the other ideas that keep filling my head up.

I enjoyed writing the Artist Spotlight posts, so I'll do a couple more this week and then more in the future as I find other awesome artists.

More tomorrow!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Artist Spotlight -- Beki Haley

Tonight's featured artist is a woman whom I feel very lucky to be friends with -- Beki Haley. Some of you may know her as the owner of Out on a Whim, whereas those of you from All About Beads also know her as our forum hostess. Still others may know her as an up-and-coming bead teacher at such illustrious shows as the Swarovski one in Tucson and the Glass and Art Bead Festivals hosted by Bead Unique Magazine and SoftFlex. Personally, I know her as a talented artist and all-around awesome woman who cares very much about the beading industry and the beaders who keep it thriving.

In addition to the wonderful beadwork that you'll find in her unfortunately out-of-date website, Beki works in other mediums as well. Recently she has become certified in Precious Metal Clay, and I've also seen work that she has done with rubber stamping techniques, fibers, and bead-quilting. If ever I doubted that creativity could be stimulated when an artist tries out a new material or medium, Beki has certainly chased those doubts away!

Beki can be found at many bead shows around the country, either as a vendor or a teacher or an attendee. Having been in her class at the Las Vegas Bead Retreat, I can certainly recommend her as a teacher. And as a vendor? Well, many of my beadwoven pieces are made with seed beads from her on-line store!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Generic Blog Post!

I don't want to get my artist spotlights all mixed up with my standard news, so here's a seperate post!

Feedback so far has been great for the Dream Collar. I have some other variations in mind. If I could just finish that BFAC. Of course, I'd have to start it back up first. Past couple of days have been pretty crazy. Spent most of today hanging out with my neighbors, who happen to be a couple of my best friends.

We saw District B13 today. It wasn't great, but it was highly enjoyable. Cyril Raffaeli and David Belle both have some serious skills and definite charm. Ok, it helps that they're also young and toned, and Mr. Belle spends much of the movie topless. The action never exactly thrilled, but it did please. Because I'm used to watching foreign films, the fact that the movie is in French with English subtitles did not detract from the action for me.

I am a bit disappointed to see that this movie was made in 2004 and just now made it here. I realize that it must have taken some time to subtitle the film... but why almost 2 years to get it to American theatres? To make matters worse, in the entire city of Tucson, it is playing on one screen in one theatre, only twice a day (it shares that screen with The Proposition, another film I want to see). I wish foreign action films would get more love -- they're generally better than American films, IMHO. Now that the theatre which most often played foreign films has closed down, I worry about my ability to see the movies I love.

Yikes, when did this turn into a movie blog?

To stay more on topic, my friends are all returning from the Bead and Button show and it sounds like there wasn't really a lot of new and exciting things to be seen. On one hand, it's a shame because I'd like to see new things on the market, but on the other hand, now I don't mind as much the fact that I didn't get to go.

Time to get these posts posted and then go dance and write!

Artist Spotlight -- Blend Creations

Whereas yesterday's Featured Artist is a friend of mine, today I'm discussiong a pair of artists whose work I discovered on a forum -- Eric Jean-Louis and Vivian Cheng of Blend Creations. I started drooling as soon as I saw these pendants! Ox-bone carvings set in stainless steel! The possibilities for beaded necklaces are plentiful. I have some faceted jade that would pick out the greens in those colors just perfectly.

The above image is of a pendant named "Midori" which I especially love. Fans of Asian culture will likely enjoy all of the pendants, however. They have more with ox-bone carvings, some with mah-jong tiles, other with washi (Japanese paper in beautiful colors which would be delightful to match to beads), and still others set with shells, coral and bamboo, respectively. These pendants masterfully combine the natural materials with the modern influence of the steel settings.

Someday, I hope to own one of these focals!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Artist Spotlight -- Lois Oster

I'm kicking off my week-long Artist Spotlight series with my dear friend Lois Oster of Wolf Song Designs. Lois is a lampwork beadmaker who has been in the business since 2002. Before taking up lampworking, she was a jewelry designer (and still is). Due to this background, she makes all of her beads with the thought of how they'll be used in jewelry. This results in beads that hang straight, mesh smoothly with other beads, and are comfortable against the skin. Most importantly, she understands that if you're making jewelry to sell or give as a gift, you want it to LAST. Her beads are durable and well-made. It is this commitment to quality, combined with her artistry, that has won my respect.

Although Lois makes spacers and focals like most lampworkers, she has two special lines of beads that her customers really seem to go nuts over. The first is her "novelty" beads, including the above turkey. Lois has novelties for every season, and usually has several designs per season. Want to do an Easter bracelet? Pick up a chocolate bunny, a couple chickies, and a handful of Easter Eggs -- you're all set!

Secondly, she has "rack" beads (so called because she displays them on beautiful wooden racks designed and made by her husband). These are medium sized round beads in a variety of colors and patterns. Lois always has a wide selection of these, in classic combos as well as colors plucked right from current fashion. Although she sells them individually, most customers opt to buy multiples, so as to make stylish bracelets and necklaces (or a pair for outstanding earrings). I love to match them to focals, to make accents that aren't overpowered by the main bead.

If you live on the East Coast or the South East, you may find Lois exhibiting at a bead show near you. She can also be found at the Tucson Gem Show in February. Beyond that, her beads are also carried by quality bead stores across the country.

Thank you for reading my Artist Spotlight. Tune in again tomorrow evening when I will feature another fascinating artist and their work!

The Naiad's Dream

I didn't post last night because I was too busy finishing the above necklace! I had hoped to finish it in time to blog about it before bed, but my eyes got all blurry and then I lost my needle and I decided that it was just really time to sleep. So here it is now.

I've titled this necklace "The Naiad's Dream" because of it's aquatic colors. I'm going to call this variation on my Faerie Collar the Dream Collar. It all came about because when I was teaching my friend how to make the collar, she said she wanted to give it a V shape in the front instead of having wide netting all around. I thought and improvised this as a possible way of doing it. Not really a V, but it does make a nice pattern, more jagged and Gothic. Of course, whenever something becomes more Gothic, I am happy.

Once I've played around with it and found a configuration that I'm truly happy with, I'll start writing directions for this variation. I'd like to have several collar variations for when I finally publish it (possibly as a small book).

My "Artist Spotlight" series will start tomorrow!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Open mouth, insert foot

Well, I wouldn't be posting at all right now, if not for my dedication to updating this thing once a day.

Basically I was a total loser tonight, said some things I shouldn't have, hurt some feelings, caused some people to lose face, etc etc.

Feeling pretty low.

That about says it. More relevant, bead-related bloggage tomorrow, unless I manage to muck something else up.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Yay for Friday!

Well, today was pretty awesome. My friend/teacher/student came over and there was much talking, beading, and dancing. I have dance homework to do this week! Yippy!

Tried a little different variation of the faerie collar which may prove to be pretty nifty. I haven't finished it yet -- probably will on Sunday. My usual Sunday plans have been changed, so I should have plenty of great beading time.

Next week is going to be all topsy-turvy to me. To celebrate that fact, I'd like to do something different with my blog. Every day next week I will feature another artist or craftsperson whose work I enjoy/admire. Some days I may even feature several. I hope you'll check in and visit all their sites.

For now, I feel the need to go find and read The King in Yellow. Hopefully, my sanity will survive the process.

Such a night owl!

I dunno, maybe the post-midnight posting thing will become a regular habit for me.

I am still full of sushi and tempura-fried ice cream. Soooo tasty. I took my polymer dragon to dinner with me. One of my friends is a big dragon fan and he just loved it. Always good to have that little ego boost.

Turns out that Michael's has Premo! on sale for even cheaper than JoAnn's will have it this weekend. Too bad EVERYONE ELSE in Tucson realized this as well. Not only does Michael's only have a dinky little supply of Premo! (but 2 aisles overflowing with scrapbooking... you'd think that with such a large store they'd have room to have a decent selection of more than just the trendy crafts), but they were already sold out of all the metallics, translucent, pearl, and white. I managed to pick up a few colors, but nothing that I'm thrilled with.

I've been shopping around on-line for a sword for belly dancing. There are few things more awesome than the idea of dancing with a sword balanced on one's head. After going through literally dozens of belly dance supply sites, I think I found what I wanted on a weapon site that a friend randomly linked to. They actually discuss the balance-ability of a lot of their scimitars. I like this one. Affordable, and with a huge and very cool blade. I was hoping for silvery accents instead of brass, but it's hard to beat that blade. I LOVE this one, but it's quite expensive, quite sharp (have I ever mentioned that I'm a klutz?) and since it doesn't have a scabbard, I couldn't take it to Ren Faire.

Because I spent most of the day drooling over swords, I now have to finish a little housework before I hit the hay. Tomorrow: dancing and beading and maybe a movie! Huzzah!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

It's still sort of today

Whoops! Almost missed my daily blog post. It's past midnight, but I'm still up, so I say it's still Wednesday.

On Friday I'm teaching a friend how to make one of my faerie collars, so I've spent today working on the base row for that. I chose two nice aqua/teal colors. I've been using those a lot for the past year. I mean, I had three greens picked out and I saw these colors and decided to use them instead. I must like them. I figure I'll accent it with some indicolite and pacific opal Swarovski crystals. Scan will definitely be posted when it's done.

After that, well, it's back to the dreaded BFAC project. I've decided to give my original idea another try. I've got a month until the deadline, so I need to get myself busy on that.

Time to work on my novel a bit and then hit the hay. Busy day tomorrow, culminating with happy hour sushi with "the guys." Mmm-mmm Vegas Roll!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Draconic Achievements

Well, I had all of these things I was going to do yesterday. What did I end up doing? Making a dragon. I spent HOURS shaping and decorating my little polymer dragon. I learned a few important things, including the fact that my fingernails really are not ideal for clay work (I kept having to smooth out little gouges in the clay) and that cat hair and lint are omni-present in my home.

But despite all that, I think my little dragon is pretty darn cute. He looks very sad. I had trouble giving him ears, so instead I gave him a stylish little mane. He's accented with green goldstone and lab-created tourmaline. I need to go pick up some varnish, and then once he's all protected I can put him in a matching necklace.

Fingernails and cat-hair aside, I think I could get into this polymer thing.

Funny how up until this year, I resisted getting into any art or craft other than straight-up beadworking. I mean, I'd dabbled in lampwork beadmaking, but I knew I couldn't actually get into it (due to living in an apartment and whatnot). Well, this year I've tried out Chinese knotting, Japanese braiding (aka kumihimo), bead quilting and now polymer clay. I have NO idea how I'm going to fit all these supplies in my beadroom, but it sure is nice branching out.

This actually seems to be my year for trying new things... in addition to new crafts, I've tried college, belly dancing, and sushi, and found most of them to my liking. What wonders will the second half of the year hold?

Monday, June 12, 2006

Cheer up, sad emo kid!

Ok, I spent about a week moping around going "I don't know what to do, waa waa!" Enough of that. I really hate that sort of thing. I pretty much wasted a week and didn't get hardly anything of note done. Of course, part of that can be blamed on the fact that we had daily thunderstorms. In Tucson in June. Our rainy season usually doesn't hit until August, July at the earliest. It has been yuck city around here... 100 degrees AND humidity.

Now, I shall move on to more positive things. On Saturday I opened my mailbox and found a package. Hey, I had almost forgotten that I pre-ordered Christi Friesen's new polymer book: Welcome to the Jungle. Between that and her dragon book, I really want to start playing with clay. I got a little clay as a holiday present, and wouldn't you know it, JoAnn's has clay on sale right now. I might dabble that that a bit today.

At risk of sounding like a raving fan girl or a paid advertisement, I really do love Christi's work. I own two of her dragon beads -- one is seated on my desk, staring at me with malachite eyes. She's been at the Tucson gem shows for the past two years. I was really impressed this year when she remembered not just me, but my name (ok, maybe she cheated and peaked at my name tag, I dunno) after having only met me once a year prior. She's a real friendly person and it shows in her books -- they have a light-hearted, chatty style that doesn't keep them from being instructive.

Moving on...

One of the things that I've really come to realize that I like doing is teaching beadwork. My belly dance teacher is also my beading student. After we've danced ourselves silly, we sit down with some beads and I get to share my knowledge, some that I've learned the hard way and some that I've gleaned from the wise beaders on my favorite forum. It's really been a fun experience and I think it's something that I'd like to branch out into. In the course of this teaching, I also dug out the directions I'd been writing for my Faerie Collars and I realized that I really want to get the ball rolling again on publishing that in some form or another.

One way or another, I'm still going to be in on this whole beading thing. I've really been in it too long and love it too much to give up. Erthe Fae Designs is still on hiatus, but oh what a productive hiatus it will be!

I'm back to daily blog posts, too. I should have some interesting things to share ;)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Summer vacation...

... or something like that.

After almost 8 years of running Erthe Fae Designs, I'm really losing steam. I love beading but the business aspect of things really overwhelms me at times. Lately it seems like I've been stressing so much about making new website stock and trying to make my pictures look nicer that I haven't been able to enjoy beading.

So my tenative plan is to take the Summer off and refocus. Spend some time developing new products and also just beading for fun. I haven't even had the chance to finish any of the projects from the classes I took way back in February! I'll also use this time to try to get a better handle on the business side of things and look into the possibilities of branching out. At least, that's the plan.

I might just end up deciding to scrap this whole thing. Beading is so huge right now and I have a ton of competition, many of them with nicer sites and beautiful pictures and great business plans. I'm feeling kind of puny.

After taking a writing class this Spring, I feel like my writing skills may be a lot better than my beading skills and maybe that's what I need to focus on. Because, you know, it's just SO easy to sell a book and be a successful author (there's your dose of sarcasm, folks).

Erthe Fae Designs will remain open over the Summer. Just don't expect to see a lot of new stuff on the site.

Continue to watch this space to see what I bead when I just have fun.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Jingle, jingle, jingle!

Here's the new anklet style I was talking about yesterday. I finished this at about 2:30am. I wanted to have it done since I wasn't sure when I would get up today and whatnot.

It's woven from Japanese seed beads in two shades of green, and accented with silver-tone bells from India and some freshwater pearls. It makes a very delicate tinkling sound whenever I move my foot, a little softer than the metal anklets that I also make a habit of wearing.

This anklet is a lot more comfortable than the metal ones, too, no scratchy edges to irritate my skin. Once I get some nice Sterling lobsters and extender chains (and some more silver bells, I'm almost out), I'll definitely be adding these to my website stock.

Gotta go for now, busy day ahead! Catch you on the weekend :)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

How Seed Beads Are Made!

Have you ever wondered how they make those tiny seed beads? Since I use them all the time, I think about it pretty often. Well, this page has a basic rundown and a cool video on how Toho does it! Now, when I clicked on the video links, it brought up some HTML instead of a video, but I was able to copy the URL from there, paste it into my browser, and watch it that way. It might be a Firefox issue.

I love the parts where they have things pixelated and it says "SECRET" in big letters :D I also love the parts with the hot molten glass... mmmm, burning.

I've been sitting here working on a design for a bell anklet. These will eventually be on my site, after I purchase some nice anklet-friendly clasps. I'll post a picture of my prototype when it's done. For now, I'm going to take a dancing break.

Watch the video!!!