Thursday, November 30, 2006

Of dragons and photography

At long last, here it is! The necklace that I made during the Thanksgiving weekend. I made the dragon and the sea star and then created the necklace for them, all over a period of two days. I'm pretty proud of myself! ;) The focals are made with Premo! clay. The dragon is accented with mother-of-pearl, Czech glass, and a seashell. His little starfish buddy is accented by a single mother-of-pearl bead. The necklace has freshwater pearls, mother-of-pearl, lapis lazuli, Czech glass, seashells, and Swarovski crystals.

I wish I'd decided not to patina the dragon, though. I'm not as good at patinas as Christi Friesen is, and they always seem to mess me up. I didn't intend for my dragon to be so sparkly and silver! Ah well. He's still cute.

Today I did my photography, which leaves me with one less thing to do for tomorrow's website update. Hurrah! As you can see, I now have real necklace displays to fascilitate picture taking... oooh, fancy! Of course, before I used them I had to brush the cat hair off of them. Black velvety surfaces and fuzzy cats are just never a good combination.

The only beadwork I got done today was some repair work that I'd been putting off. I might spend the evening fringing my bead belt, though.

Today's cool thing is The Daily Kitten. Awwww, so cute!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


You know what? It's cold today. It's so cold that my font turned blue! Of course, those of you who live anywhere other than the desert or the tropics will be mocking my idea of cold, but it was 55 degrees and windy today, and in my book, that's just too cold. My husband, on the other hand, is from Long Island. He wore a t-shirt today and drove home from work with the windows down. I suspect that this has something to do with the time that he bonked his head on a kitchen counter as a child.

To distract myself from the fact that I am cold and as such, somewhat close to miserable, I kept busy today. I've been working on my beadroom. I put away some beads and magazines and sorted out some books to get rid of (why did I still have 3rd edition D&D books? Because I am a geek), that sort of thing. I also found a necklace which had been sitting unloved on my bead desk for most of the year and finished it. While I was at it I made a bracelet that I thought of last night, and I'll probably make some matching earrings tomorrow. All of this and more will be part of Friday's update.

It's supposed to drop below freezing tonight. Oh yes, and with all this cold wind, I discovered that my front door is drafty. The problem with getting a cheap apartment is that you end up with problems like a front door which isn't hung straight, and as such, has spots through which you can see daylight. 3 or 4 by my reckoning. Oh yes, and my desk is straight across from the door, about 5 feet away. Brrr. This will at least deter me from wasting all of my time browsing the web.

I didn't end up dancing today, but I will tomorrow. Gotta keep moving to stay warm, you know.

Oh, stop laughing at me! I live in the desert because I don't "do" cold.

Today's Cool Thing shall be... Mistress Mousey Designs, who has some really awesome rag skirts. I would absolutely wear one of these, and I don't usually go for short skirts. They have a great goth pixie look to them. Go forth and look!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

My cat is helping me type this.

Yes, there is a very fluffy, friendly cat sitting in my lap as I type this message. He has a bad habit of biting my fingers as I type, so any typos are his fault.

So, first the important stuff. My new website is still not done and I'm not going to say when it will be done, so I'll stop looking like an idiot when it isn't done when I say it will be. Does any of that make sense? Luckily I convinced my webguru that a night of downtime in the middle of the holiday shopping season was not acceptable, so he'll be making sure that doesn't happen.

And now, the dancing stuff. So lately I've been feeling all cool because I'm dancing and trying new things. I did a little floorwork the other day. I decided to do more today, and I decided it would be awesome if I went to the floor at the end of one song and then danced my way up at the start of the next song... really snazzy, right? So I get up to one knee, and try to get up to the other knee, and something goes wrong and my leg says "Nope, not doing that!" and somehow I fall backwards into the couch with a little yelp. This freaks out both my husband and the cat, who seem to think that I have greviously injured myself. Luckily the only thing that hurt was my pride. So today's lesson is: I am not nearly as cool as I think I am. I couldn't even act like I meant to do that. Stupid reflexive yelps.

Today's Cool Thing is Miss Doxie's Holiday Shopping Guide! It is cool because not only are my earrings listed in it, but lots of great products from other Indie businesses are listed as well, and many of them offer discounts! Plus it is funny. I suppose maybe I should warn you that it is also peppered with expletives, so if that sort of thing offends you, stay away. Otherwise, click, read, and shop!

Monday, November 27, 2006

And now... holiday shopping.

Today was largely spent on-line, doing my holiday shopping. Honestly, even with having several items already bookmarked and a really good idea of what I wanted to get and where I wanted to get it, it took me hours to get everything ordered. Not only that, but I spent a good $25+ on shipping alone, and that was with getting free shipping on two of my orders.

And you know what? It was still better than going to the mall. I dislike the mall under the best of circumstances (honestly, these days it's just 50 stores selling variations on the same clothing, which I could just wait and get at the thrift store next year for $5/piece), but during the holidays? Forget it!

On-line shopping is not without its problems. If I go to a store, I just give them my credit card, sign the slip, and it's done. On the internet, I have to fill in my contact information and payment info, and some sites want you to even sign up for an account before you can so much as get a shipping quote and decide if you want to order after all. I signed up on one site, got ready to check out, and only as I was poised to type in my credit card info did I see that they wanted to charge me $20 to ship $35 worth of stuff. It's not like I was ordering bricks, either. Luckily a friend was able to hook me up with another source, with better prices, selection, and reasonable shipping. Hurrah!

The good news is that my holiday shopping is mostly done. I even purchased a few gifts for my in-laws, though the brunt of that will still fall to my husband. Now I just have to do my holiday crafting! I'll start tomorrow by making a present for the Secret Santa swap I'm taking part in. After that, it will be time to clay it up. Unfortunately, I won't be able to post this stuff until after the holidays, as some of the gift recipients have been known to peek at my blog.

In other news, the new website is not done yet. Hopefully tomorrow. I am assured that it will be cool.

Speaking of cool, today's Cool Thing is Legends by Valkyrie. I admit it, I played with Barbies when I was a girl, but these are way beyond that. Very cool custom dolls with clothes, weapons, and sometimes even beaded jewelry. I especially like her faeries and goddesses!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Who told the weekend it could end?

And here it is, Sunday night already. In a few more hours my super-long weekend will be done and it'll be back to the daily grind, such as it is. The nice thing about being a self-employed artistic type is that the daily grind mostly consists of things that I like to do. And since I have ideas for new jewelry, it should be a great week.

I finished the anklet I was working on, and while it's quite cute, I'm a little bored with the technique I used. I'll be trying to make some anklets in other styles this week, which should result in a good variety for the website and maybe a couple of prototypes for my own personal wear. I also had an idea for a lariat which I'll have to gather the appropriate materials for.

As I type this, my webmonkey husband is hard at work on a new version of my website. Hopefully I'll be blogging about that tomorrow! It should be really awesome, assuming there are no icky bugs to be worked out. You never know with new websites. Once all the technical stuff is done, it will be time to focus on the artistic and get some pretty graphics up!

Today's Cool Thing is Dornick Designs! She has some really cool jewelry. I especially love her pendants and see a few that I might like to buy for myself. My willpower is still holding strong, though, so I probably won't shop until after the holidays. My willpower doesn't have to stop you from shopping, however, so have a little look-see!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

I'm having such a good weekend!

So, yesterday I finished my sea dragon, but just as I was putting the finishing touches on him, the mail arrived and there was Christi Friesen's "Under The Sea" book. I read through it while the dragon was baking and well heck, it was so much fun that I just had to make something from it. So my sea dragon got a little starfish buddy. And then once he was baked, well, the two of them needed to have a necklace together. But I realized that if I made a two-strand necklace, I'd be really limited on what I wore it with, so I decided to be all sneaky-sneaky and make two complimentary necklaces that could be worn together. AH HA! And that was essentially my day yesterday.

Well, there was also the late-night Legend of the Five Rings game with my crazy friends which involved much laughter and mayhem. And there was also the housework, but I'm not about to blog about that because it's boooring.

Today has been pretty lazy so far. Hopefully I'll get a few things done after I fortify myself with pizza. There's an anklet which needs to be finished, after all, and I need to start planning some more projects and thinking forward to the holidays.

And here is your Cool Thing: Reel Opinions is my go-to spot for movie reviews. It's hard to find a good reviewer who will tell you straight-up whether a movie is good or lousy, without getting bogged down in subtext or gushing like a fanboy over every single movie. Ryan Cullen does a great job of giving you an honest review and being entertaining at the same time.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Fashionable Friday -- Black Friday

Yes, here it is, the dreaded Black Friday. It's about 3pm, so the usual madness is long past. For the record, I've spent the entire day at home, and won't be leaving until almost 10, when I have a game to go to. Black Friday sales are not worth the mayhem.

Allow me to wax nostalgic. No more than 10 years ago, Black Friday didn't seem like such a humongous deal. For my mother and I, "getting up early and hitting the sales" meant that we were up at what, 6am, to go wait outside Target. The people who really wanted the bags of free samples and junk would mob the front door. The clever people like us would wait outside the garden department. I can't even remember what the heck we'd buy. We didn't do it very often, being fond of sleep on long weekends.

Nowadays, "getting up early and hitting the sales" means that at midnight, you're camped out hoping that you can get one of those $250 laptops. When the doors finally open, everyone's shoving and being nasty. People get hurt sometimes. The lines to check out stretch through much of the store. All for stuff.

Don't get me wrong. I love holiday presents and good deals as much as the next gal, but I think that the Day After Thanksgiving sales have reached a level of insanity usually reserved for villains in Batman.Honestly. Is it worth getting trampled for a really good deal on a TV?

And then there's the concept of Buy Nothing Day, which suggests that we should not make any purchases today. Meant as a protest against consumerism, it's supposed to send a message to the merchants. All very good and nice, but people who buy holiday presents are going to buy them anyways, whether they buy them today, tomorrow, or already finished their holiday shopping back in March because they're so much more prepared than the rest of us. However wonderful a concept Buy Nothing Day is, the crazy people will always camp out in front of Best Buy, because that's what they do. If they weren't waiting to get a $250 laptop, they'd be hoping to get one of the 12 Playstation 3s in the store.

Don't even get me started on the militant anti-consumerism activists who go so far as to fill store locks with glue to try to prevent people from shopping. I will always believe that turning to violence or vandalism is not the best way to get your point across -- it just makes people think of you as a bad person or organization.

A recent development is the so-called Cyber Monday. Supposedly the on-line equivelant of Black Friday, it seems to really not be all that it's cut out to be.

So what's a socially conscious shopper to do? I believe that rather than focusing on when you shop, you should think about where you shop and what you buy. And while I'm not going to say that you should avoid all large retailers, because there's a few I shop at myself, I do think that one of the best things you can do is shop locally, and/or support small and independent businesses. As much as possible, support artists and those out trying to make it on their own!

I link to a lot of small businesses, indie shops, and artists in my blog. If you search past posts, you can find a lot of great things. You can also seek out your own new and exciting shopping spots! You can check eBay or Etsy for listings by artists in a variety of mediums, or small businesses which do their selling through auctions. Shopping blogs are a great spot, too. Check out Rare Bird Finds; Indie Fixx; Artisans, Artists, and Anything Indie. Explore the Links pages of your favorite artists and small shops. Click through some ads on Indie sites. Or ask your friends about their favorite shopping spots.

During the holiday season and beyond, it's important to support small businesses and artists however you can. And of course, as an added bonus, you find gifts far more unique than anything in the department stores. Happy shopping!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

MMmm, so full!

Thanksgiving is such a fun holiday! I might feel differently if I had to cook the giant meal (especially since I'm a lousy cook), but I just love getting together with my family and not worrying about presents, just relaxing and joking and catching up. As an added bonus, I got to play with the dogs. Dogs adore me and the feeling is mutual. Mom and I spent a little time looking at Petfinder, but honestly, I live in a two-bedroom apartment, what am I going to do with a dog? There was this adorable Aussie mix whose ears were kind of rounded so he looked like a bear. SO CUTE!

Yes, I am highly susceptible to cute animals. It's been months since I saw that chinchilla in New York and I still want one.

Anyway, since I had a few hours before going to my parents' house, I played with clay. I was going to cover some Altoids tins, but a search of my beadroom revealed that I don't actually HAVE any Altoids tins. Refusing to be thwarted, I decided to make a sea dragon instead. He's my best dragon yet! I'll put the finishing touches on and bake him up tomorrow. Pictures will be posted this weekend. I had so much fun that I might even make another dragon this weekend.

Today's Cool Thing is Christi Friesen's books, which would teach you, yes you, to make cool polymer critters and leaves and things, too. Believe me, if I can learn how to do it, so can you!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Pleasant Wednesday.

Well, I didn't do a whole lot today. Mostly spent some time on-line, received my package of displays and supplies (yay!), and watched some Babylon 5 on DVD. I also went to my local bead store, where I purchased scandalously expensive chain. This is why I prefer to shop on-line! After I post this, I'm going to relax and enjoy a nice cup of tea. Afterwards I'll either work on an anklet or play a video game, depending on how motivated I feel. Holiday weekends were made for laziness, after all.

You may notice that my website is now green. Its appearance may change several more times in the future, but for now it is a pleasant shade of green. I guess it's a little more cheery than the old black.

Tomorrow I'm going to play with some polymer, unless something comes up. We're not due over at my parents' house until late afternoon, so even if I sleep in, I have a few hours for clay fun. Besides, it's about time I start my holiday crafting!

I hope that everyone enjoys the holiday tomorrow -- and if it's not a holiday where you are, just have a beautiful day.

Oh yes! Today's Cool Thing is Project Gutenberg. FREE BOOKS! Ok, they're e-books, but still. FREE! For you to read! Lots of cool old books. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Looong weekend.

Tonight marks the beginning of the long holiday weekend for my husband and I. Of course, I'll still be doing my work on the weekend. I have stock to make and an apartment to keep tidy.

We don't really have any big plans for the weekend. Tomorrow I'll go to the bead store to pick up some chain. I'm planning on adding anklets to my stock soon, and I'd like to make them adjustable. Ankles are a pretty varied and fickle body-part, so it's good to have a little leeway on sizing.

Today's Cool Thing is Forgotten Toybox. Ohmigosh their books are awesome! After the holidays I plan on buying myself one of their book pendants. I'd love to have a full-size book, but honestly, what would I do with it? I tend to buy journals and never use them. A book pendant, though, I could wear, even to Ren Faire! If you visit their site, be sure to drool over the gallery, too.

Monday, November 20, 2006

I'm a dancin' fool!

First of all, I finally finished the lariat I've been working on all this time. Hurrah! It will be in this week's update. It looks like the update will happen this weekend; my husband decided to take Wednesday off to make for a super-duper long holiday weekend, so I'll probably spend the day lazing around with him instead of updating. My new displays are scheduled to arrive on Wednesday as well, which means I should be able to get some nicer pictures. Woohoo!

It turns out that I'm not sick, thank heavens, so I celebrated by dancing hard tonight. A good 20+ minutes of dancing, and it was the first time my abs have hurt in a long time. It felt great. The dancing, not the sore abs. Almost every time that I dance, I start off with QNTAL's "Levis" which is currently one of my husband's top 3 favorite songs. I followed it up with Wench's "Voodoo" which gives me goosebumps when I really get into it. Tonight was a goosebumps night.

This bout of dancing was partially inspired by today's Cool Thing: a great gallery of photographs from Pennsic 2006, by Ron Lutz II. I looked through the Musicians and Dancers gallery, and I have to say "WOW!" His excellent photography perfectly captures the grace and beauty of the dancers. I found myself saying both "I want to dance like that!" and "I want to dress like that!" Enjoy!

In other news, there are only 10 days left to vote in the Rare Robin Awards! Remember to vote for me and any other great shopping site that you'd love to brag about!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Nameless Blog Post

Well, let's see. My gaming on Friday and yesterday was good, for the most part. My tea leaf cookies were delicious. And my dichro lariat still isn't done. That's about the size of what's going on in my world right now.

I feel like I might be coming down with something, which would of course suck. If I am sick, I need to at least be better by Thursday, to fully enjoy the turkey and puppy-filled experience that is Thanksgiving with my family. I'm hoping that I'm just dehydrated and will be all better in the morning. The tasty tea that I'm brewing right now will help me with that plan.

I'm hoping to do some writing of some sort tonight, either working on the collaboration with my husband or tinkering with my second draft. I took a few days off from that since I hit the part where I have to write new material. It was such smooth sailing before then!

Nothing else really to say, so here's today's Cool Thing: Kimono Source. Oh, how I love to drool over vintage kimono, obi, and other awesome Japanese clothing. So shiny!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Fashionable Friday -- Seeing Red

Red is a traditional Autumn and Winter color, perhaps because of red falling leaves and the red and green of Christmas. I've seen a lot of red on display recently, so I guess the tradition is still holding on. Now, I personally don't wear a lot of red. I'm one of those pale, freckly Irish kind of girls, so only a few shades of red look good on me. However, red (especially paired with black) is one of my best-selling colors, so I buy and use a lot of red beads. Best of all, I'm never tempted to keep them for myself!

Gothic Romance, the above earrings, are one of my newest red items. I also just added the Vampy bracelet, featuring plenty of lovely red crystals. And if it's a red necklace that your looking for, I recommend the Midnight Passion collar, which is both sparkly and dramatic. There are many other red items on my site, some of which have been featured in past blog posts. Just a few minutes of browsing will help you find them!

Sometimes one needs to dress up this time of year. I tend to like to wear something out of the norm -- case in point, I showed up to my husband's company's Christmas party wearing my hand-painted dragon cloak. If I wore red, I would definitely look for an excuse to wear this dress.

Of course, it's hard to find an occasion for such an elegant dress. For more casual gatherings, I like long, flowing skirts like this one. And if you need to look mature and professional, you could wear this stylish vintage blazer.

As far as other jewelry artists working in red, well, Elle B comes through as usual with some awesome earrings. And I also found this great necklace from Tomoko, a Japanese beader.

There's plenty more red to be found, whether it's at your local mall or your favorite web merchant!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Little stuff.

Whoops, I sort of forgot to blog yesterday. I got caught up in editting my story and playing video games. Actually got the first two chapters worth of revisions done, GO ME! Now that I've finally started, it's not too hard to do. I'm making changes I didn't even expect to, which will hopefully improve the flow of the story.

Today I made two items for tomorrow's update, and they look pretty awesome. I'll try to get the update done a little earlier in the day than usual, as my Wednesday game has been moved to late Friday nights, so I have to bake cookies tomorrow. Mmmm, cookies. I'm going to try a recipe which has tea leaves mixed in. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I LOVE tea! Luckily most of my friends enjoy tea, too, so everyone should like the cookies.

Oh, and just a head's up, while I will be doing my usual Fashionable Friday column on Friday next week, I think I'll do the jewelry update on either Wednesday or Saturday, depending on how soon I get jewelry made. Thursday is of course the big dinner with my parents, which promises to be delicious. My Dad will BBQ the turkey, and Mom will make a ton of fixings, and Chris and I will bring pickles and lots of olives (Chris and my brother Joe usually manage to eat an entire can while dinner is cooking). Also, I'll get to meet the new puppy, Storm. I do so love puppies!

The cool thing for today is Gothic Charm School, an etiquette advice site for Goths. It's at once amusing and informative. The Lady of the Manners has Faith and the Muse in her music links section, which makes her instantly awesome in my book. Come to think of it, it's been way too long since I listened to said band, other than their cover of Dead Can Dance's "Mesmerism" which is on my belly dance practice CD. Time to break out some music!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Well, today I finished up the gift I was working on yesterday, and finished the earrings that I was working on last week. I also prdered some business stuff, displays and the like, and finally got to work on the second draft of my book. I'm feeling pretty good about actually getting a lot done.

Last week, someone on one of my forums posted an article about time management at the office. It was more geared towards people with traditional dayjobs instead of a home business like mine, but it's still good advice. They suggested that every day, you should get something done before you check your e-mail. And you know what? It's true. I get so caught up in e-mail, IMs, forums, and other web stuff that some days, 2 or 3 hours pass before I even think about getting anything done. So today before I even started the computer, I did those earrings and some housework. I'm going to continue this for the rest of the week and see how it goes.

Today's Cool Thing is the artwork of Nedda Angelina Shishegar. I mentioned her leaf jewelry in my Fashionable Friday column, but I also really love her faerie paintings. In fact, the very first button on my infamous button bag was one of hers. Be sure to also check out her guest galleries, where she features other faerie artists.

Monday, November 13, 2006

WOOHOO! 100 posts!

Normally I might do something special for my 100th post, but I didn't realize it until I went to post, and it's a little late to come up with anything nifty. I guess I'll wait for a bigger milestone, like 500.

Today I did a bit of beading, but it was a gift, not website stock. Still, it was good to get something done. I hope to get even more done tomorrow.

I did start the new collaboration book with my husband last night. We only got 1 1/2 pages into it, but it's a start. We'd hoped to do more tonight, but things kept coming up. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. And hopefully I'll also find time to work on the second draft of my first novel. I really hate doing second drafts. The story's already told and I want to move on to another story, not refine this one.

The other thing that I started last night was that I began to read a Laurell K. Hamilton books. I'd always seen them, because they're shelved next to one of my favorites (Barbara Hambly), but never read one. Well, my friend and fellow Dread Genre Writer Helen had picked one up as "market research" and so I borrowed it from her to do some research of my own. You see, I mostly read High Fantasy, but my book is Modern Dark Fantasy, so I need to see what's being done in the field. There are some definite parallels between my work and Hamilton's. The difference is that ohmigosh is there a lot of sex in her books. I mean, I'd heard that they were steamy, but there's more steam than story here! I'm not a prude, so it doesn't offend me. Instead, it sort of amuses me. But the writing's enjoyable at least.

Today's Cool Thing is Button Arcade, because I love buttons! I haven't ordered from them yet, partially because my "button bag" (a cheap department store messenger bag) is running out of room for buttons. I need to find new things to put buttons on. My husband's laptop case/messenger bag is looking mighty tempting... hmmm. Yes, anyway, Button Arcade has an awesome selection of "I Heart ..." buttons which I need to buy. Oh yes.

Aaaaaand let me remind you once more to vote for ME and any other cool Indie business sites in the Rare Robin Awards!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Awwww, isn't it cute?

I got my very first blog spam post today. The person who posted it managed to post it about 8-10 times through 3 or 4 different posts. Honestly, why put the same message, from the same person, five different times on the same post? I had a good laugh while I was deleting them.

Today was a very lazy day. I slept for about 12 hours, and it felt so good. I was going to work on some prototype earrings, but I'll admit it, I played video games instead. But I also spent some time with my husband, discussing our shared writing project, and as soon as I finish this tasty mug of hot cider (I'm pretending that it's actually a chill Autumn evening), we'll get to work on actually writing.

I'm determined to bead a lot this coming week. I need to get presents made, repairs done, and web site stock created, and as far as I know, I've got nothing going on this week other than the usual games.

Today's Cool Thing is Stuff On My Cat, because it makes me laugh so hard. If you love cats, and enjoy silly websites, you'll like this one.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Trying new things.

Today my husband and I, along with our friend and neighbor Alex, went out to an SCA battle. None of us had ever been to one before, and some friends kept suggesting that we check it out, so we did. It was held out in a little town called Winkelman, AZ. Winkelman is at a higher elevation than Tucson, so it was nice and green, and the drive was really awesome.

We had fun seeing friends and watching jousting, but due to being generally exhausted, we headed home after only a few hours. I'd hoped to stick around for the dancing at night, but I probably wouldn't have been alert enough to appreciate it. I've spent all night feeling almost dazed.

Part of this I can blame on the sun. I spend almost all of my time indoors, and so when I go outside for more than a few minutes, my body gets unhappy. I managed to avoid sunburn, but I've still got a headache. Bah.

Surprisingly, there was not a lot of jewelry on display at the "merchant's row" but there was a lady who had some wonderful chainmail that she and her husband had made. Very professional work, nice jewelry designs and they'd tumbled the maille so it wasn't all nasty and scratchy like the first bit of maille I bought. I would have liked to have brought some home, but it was a bit out of my limited budget for the weekend.

In keeping with the day's events, today's Cool Link is to Chivalry Sports, a local store that also does mail order, specializing in Renaissance garb and related items. Cool stuff, awesome people, and some informative articles. Enjoy!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Fashionable Friday -- Falling Leaves

Living as I do in the desert, I don't really experience Autumn much. We had a high of 89 degrees here on Wednesday. 89! And while -- contrary to popular belief -- we do have leaves out here, they're all rather small and they stay the same sagey greens year 'round. This is probably because our Winters are as warm as some peoples' Summers. What do the trees have to worry about? Ok, ok, our nights do drop to freezing during the Winter. Sometimes. But the biggest deal about Autumn here is that it's Not Summer.

This does not stop me from loving Autumn leaves. Sometimes I visit my in-laws in NY and NJ during October. In between complaining bitterly about the weather (honestly, it's not in the 80s in October? What is up with that?), I enjoy the changing leaves. Since I'm only visiting, I never have to deal with the hassles associated with said leaves, such as raking and blowing and disposing. I just admire the pretty colors. Of course, I like leaves of any sort, even our tiny little desert leaves, and I look for excuses to buy leaf beads and use leaf motifs in my jewelry.

Autumnal leaves are easy to find on my site. There's the necklace above, Autumn Dryad. And there's still Dame Autumn, whom I love to link to at the drop of a hat. Leaf Fall is more simple, but still visually stunning. I have many other leaf necklaces, and more yet planned, but these are the most Fall-friendly of the bunch.

Many other jewelry artists find inspiration in the changing colors and falling leaves. Blend Creations has this beautiful washi pendant, made with maple leaf paper. Enchanted Leaves has an entire selection of Autumn Leaf jewelry. Dreams and Jewelry has a Leaf of Fall necklace which makes a lovely understated accent. And if you want to really be blown a way, check out Christi Friesen's Amazonia Unfurled. Wow.

Of course, if you live someplace other than the desert, you might actually be feeling a chill in the air. You could keep warm with this gorgeous hand-knit sweater from JewelLace. Or maybe you just want to keep your neck cozy. Well, instead of a more traditional knit scarf, how about a stunning red leaf scarf, made from kimono silk?

Next to the Amazonia necklace, my favorite leafy item for today's blog is Andrea Adams' leaf mask. I really love her leather work, and I think this particular mask is just a knock-out.

Finally, for my fellow artisans, I offer up this great link to C.A. Therien's eBay store. I've conveniently sent you right to the "leaf cane" section, where you'll find a great variety of polymer leaf canes, just waiting for you to try them out.

Looking for awesome leaf products on-line is certainly a lot easier than taking a sight-seeing trip to see the changing colors, and more fun than raking your lawn. I'm sure that with a little browsing, you'll find things even cooler than what I've shared today. Have fun!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Good shopping trip!

Today was lunch and shopping with my Mom. As I mentioned before, we hit the big JoAnn's sale. I didn't even bother looking at beads, but I did get some other cool stuff. A few bricks of clay, some ribbons for kumihimo, and fabric for a bead quilt. Plus a couple of magazines. The latest issue of Bead Unique has a tutorial on doing glass slide pendants, something that I've been wanting to try.

I realize that the blog has been a bit, well, boring lately, so I'm going to try to spruce things up by sharing a cool link every day, in addition to the explosion of cool stuff on Friday. Whereas Friday is all things to buy, the rest of the week will be whatever is cool... a funny time-killing site, a happy news story, a gallery of eye candy. And sometimes, things to buy. Today's cool thing is Tea Perfume by SBS Teas. I love this idea SO much! Normal perfume doesn't do much for me, but smelling like a cup of chai? I like that idea, and I'm sure my husband would like it, too. SBS has a bunch of really awesome sound teas, chais and cocoas, too. I'm planning on buying some for the holidays (I know an insane amount of tea drinkers) and I'll just have to get some for myself, too. Just to, y'know, make sure that it's good enough for my friends. Not like I'm a tea addict or anything...

And of course, the other Cool Thing is the Rare Robin Awards! Remember to vote for me, and if you vote for at least two other sites, you can win some awesome prizes!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Repricing and Things.

I spent this afternoon repricing my entire earring selection. I intended to get to a couple of other categories, too, but something came up. Hopefully I'll be able to do more tomorrow and Friday, then finish it all up at the start of next week.

Today's mail brought some vintage nailhead beads which I'd purchased from eBay. Nailheads are really cool flat-backed beads which were traditionally used to embellish garments. They're usually faceted or otherwise patterned on the top. This time around, I bought some lovely transparent red faceted ones, and some that are a light tan with two holes and a nice floral pattern on top. I haven't treated myself to any nailheads in a long time, so I was way overdue on these. Whether or not I'll actually use them to make anything remains to be seen.

I don't know if I'll have any new jewelry in Friday's update, or if I'll just focus on pricing. I haven't beaded anything yet this week, and tomorrow I'm going to be out with my Mom. JoAnn's is having a big Veteran's Day sale, with polymer for cheap, so we're hoping to get there before the good colors all sell out.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

In a funk.

I haven't been feeling very creative lately. I've been spending way too much time playing video games and browsing the web and not nearly enough time beading and writing. This happens every now and then, and seems to be a normal part of life for many creative people. I need to get myself motivated again, especially since the dreaded holiday shopping season is upon us all!

Just a bit ago I went out and voted like a good girl. I'd been hearing that the polls were really crowded, but we didn't have to wait in line or anything. I guess most people prefer to vote early in the day. There were almost 20 propositions on the ballot, so I had a lot of reading to do before I voted. I'm glad that it's all done now. I feel that voting is important, but all of that dry reading... ugh.

I have a bunch of novels to read, which should help me recover from the political overload and maybe get me feeling creative again. Plus I have a fun weekend coming up, so at the very least that should kick me back into gear!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Interesting Weekend

Yesterday was one of those obnoxious days where I was in a bad mood and couldn't think of anything positive to say here. Basically, someone said and did some unkind things and tried to ruin the day for the rest of us, and while I think that most of my friends managed to salvage the day (my husband, our carpool pal, and myself went out for Japanese, for instance), it still got under my skin.

Today, however, was a wonderful day. Chris and I went out to visit my friend who lives in the desert. It was a beautiful day, everything is surprisingly green from all the rain we had this Summer, and my friend is such a warm person. So we sat in her Arizona room, enjoyed the view, played with the dogs (she has two Border Collies and a Border Collie/Queensland Heeler mix, all very sweet), and talked for several hours. It really lifted my spirits and has left me feeling refreshed for next week.

I'm hoping to get some more beading done in the next week. I intended to work on the black-and-orange lariat yesterday, but I don't bead well when I'm in a bad mood, so I'll work on it a bit tonight instead. Also on the agenda for this week is looking into a different shopping cart for the site. PayPal's cart is very easy to use, but it's also very limiting. I'd like to be able to offer discounts and such, and I just can't do that right now.

That's all for now. More tomorrow.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Fashionable Friday -- Ensembles

Many jewelry designers sell coordinated sets. A necklace, earrings, maybe a bracelet, too. I usually don't, for the simple reasons that I recognize that sometimes you want just the necklace, earrings, or bracelet on its own, or that you can't wear earrings, or that the necklace is the right size, but the bracelet is too small. I want my customers to buy just what they want. However, I do still make a lot of coordinating jewelry, so that if you want a set, you can assemble it.

For instance, take the Carribean Spirit necklace above. It's lovely on its own, but my Oceanic Earrings would make the perfect accent for it.

Lady Ghost, which was featured in my Fashionable Friday column a few weeks ago, also has a pair of earrings made with her in mind, appropriately named Ghostly.

Some items have multiple accenting options. The Tranquil Butterfly necklace would look equally perfect with Ornate Butterflies or Teal Trio. The choice is yours!

Death's Garden would look just right with my Gothic Garden earrings, and the Scarlet Shadows bracelet makes it a complete set.

If you prefer a necklace and bracelet combination, might I suggest the Purple Dawn necklace with the Purple Illusions bracelet?

I do have a few pre-made sets on my site, if you prefer things that way. I'm partial to Dancing Butterflies and Turquoise Starshine.

Remember, color coordination really is everything, whether it's in clothing, jewelry, web design or interior decoration. A well-matched set of jewelry gives you a polished, finished look that will impress those around you!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

This is Thursday's post.

Well, let's see... what is going on today?

-Last night I started a lariat in black and orange, with those awesome dichroic seed beads.

-I've received a request for black and white earrings, so I'll be including a few pairs in tomorrow's update.

-This morning I dreamed that I was finally working on the second draft of my book. Maybe it's a sign that I should stop slacking off.

-The Rare Robin Awards are still going on, you can vote for me and make me happy! Remember, vote for 3 or more awesome websites and get entered into a drawing for phenomenal prizes!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Welcome to November!

Hard to believe that it's November already. This month has really flown by.

Yesterday was fun, although the problem with living in the desert is that it's still warm on Halloween. I couldn't wear my cloak, instead I wore belly dance clothes, including a backless shirt. And I wasn't cold. That's Tucson for you. Anyway, the cookies turned out OK, though I won't be using that recipe again, and everyone had a great time at the Call of Cthulhu game that my husband ran. Now life goes back to normal until Thanksgiving...

In actual jewelry-related news, this week will be a bit of a sparse update. I have some things that I really need to do, including repairs, a present, and reading all of this election literature. On top of that, after the mad amount of beading and writing that I did last month, I'm now in a bit of a creative low. I think I need to spend a bit of time exploring my bead collection and maybe looking for more new techniques to try.

There will be at least one new item this week, maybe more, and a small Fashionable Friday column. Plus, of course, I'll be starting my repricing. But don't expect a 10-item update full of spectacular woven necklaces, and a column bursting at the seams with awesome links. I'm saving all of that for next week ;)