Monday, December 31, 2007

Good bye, 2007!

Well, this has certainly been an eventful year! It's been a year for change and progress... Lots of changes over at my website, Chris losing his job and starting his own business, my various attempts to take my business in new directions, studying Chinese, etc etc. I think that 2008 is going to be even more exciting, though, so I am looking forward to it!

Just for fun, I think I'll post a list of my goals for 2008, and in a year, we can revisit that list and see how I did! This list is in no particular order, of course.

1. Move into a house. Okay, this is quite literally number 1. I hate my apartment, and Chris is finally on the same page with me on our need to move on.

2. Do at least one Faerie Festival or Fantasy Convention or some such. I've got to stop relying entirely on my website to generate business. And while we're on that topic...

3. Open an Etsy shop. This is the first 2008 goal that I'm likely to fulfill. Watch this blog for more news on that!

4. Explore new-to-me materials and techniques. I want to increase the variety in my selection. I've already started that with the addition of Earthenwood Studios beads and pendants (which you'll start to see in my next update), but I hope to do even more expansion in 2008.

5. Do more polymer work. I've barely touched my clay supplies all year. This is another one that I'll probably get to early in the year -- maybe even starting on the 2nd.

6. Get published in at least one bead magazine. I've made some attempts in that area this past year, but in the coming year I'm going to put a lot more effort into it.

7. Network. I worry that I've become too insular. I need to make more friends and business contacts, and spend more time communicating with the ones I already have.

8. Dance. I haven't danced in months, and I really miss it. One problem is that sometimes I get bored just dancing for myself and/or Chris. I know I'll never dedicate the time to being a professional dancer, but it would be nice to find a few opportunities to dance for other people. Whether this turns into dancing for my friends, or the residents of a senior center, or dancing like a madwoman in my front yard, the change would still be nice.

9. Organize my time better. I have a lot of hobbies, and I can't seem to find the time to juggle all of them AND the things that I have to do (stupid housework). I know that there are people out there who do even more than I'm trying to do, and they're serving as my inspiration. In 2008, I will waste less time and accomplish more things.

10. Various and sundry personal goals. These are all too private to post about here on my blog where the whole wide world can read them. However, there are a lot of little things about myself that I'm dissatisfied with. Things I've never learned or accomplished, personality flaws that hamper my social life, that sort of thing. I hope that by the end of 2008 I'll be a better, more well-rounded, happier person than I am at the end of 2007.

Everyone be safe tonight, and I'll see you in the new year!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Oh, hey, look... a blog!

I've been back since Wednesday night, and I am just now sitting down to blog. The past week has been busy, busy, busy! I had a great time dogsitting and a wonderful visit with family in CA. It was especially nice to reconnect with my aunt and uncle whom I hadn't seen in over 10 years. And weird to see my cousins, who are now all grown up with kids of their own. They're all older than me, so I don't think of them as kids, per se, but it's still weird when almost all of your cousins are parents. Better them than me!

On the way home from CA, we stopped at a bead store in Quartzite... It was disappointingly overpriced, so I didn't get any beady souvenirs of my trip. At least my Dad and little brother brought me back a plush dragon from Magic Mountain, so I'm not entirely souvenir-less.

Wednesday night was spent at our friend Alex's new place, playing Apples to Apples with our friends and his friends who were in town for the holidays. Good times all around -- we had so much fun that we went and bought our own box of Apples to Apples.

Yesterday was errands, and lots of them. Late holiday shopping, grocery shopping, that sort of thing. I indulged in my not-so-secret addiction... Wrapping supplies. I just love wrapping paper, ribbon, bows and tags. The artist in me delights in coming up with different combinations when I wrap. That's what I've been up to today! My family celebrates on New Year's Day, and we're hosting... So I figured I'd better do all the wrapping today so I could have time to clean up all the mess before Tuesday! Of course, I also have to wrap all the late Channukah/Christmas presents for Chris's family. I still have 7 gifties to wrap (and one more to buy and wrap for Chris!), but I desperately needed a break. Only so long I can bend over the table cutting paper.

Aside from the ornaments, I have barely beaded at all this past week... blah. Gotta remedy that this weekend!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I am a lazy blogger!

Sorry about the lack of posts lately, I've really been caught up in everything I've been doing... which for the most part, has been hibernating. Stupid Winter! Why must you make me so sleepy?

Anyway, I'm running late for dog sitting, again, due to hibernating. I'll be back on Saturday... and after that, we'll just have to hope that I have WiFi in CA!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Not entirely a vacation....

Recently, I've been unable to find all kinds of things. It's starting to annoy me. As such, one of my goals for my vacation is to do some serious tidying up and de-cluttering of this apartment. Of course, with dog sitting and CA coming up, it'll probably turn into a project for the between-semesters vacation as a whole, as opposed to this little break. Still, I'm going to get some of it done tonight and maybe tomorrow.

Another thing that I want to do is break out the polymer. I still haven't used my PearlEx powders yet... and I got them back in May! Plus I've barely used the cool tools that I got last holiday season. I'd like to make some gifts for a couple of people... Though nothing as involved as last year's Octopus from Hell. That's not something I'm likely to ever repeat. I was thinking about a cuttlefish, though. Freaky looking things that they are, they'd be interesting to make in clay. I saw a lampwork at To Bead True Blue in February who had cuttlefish, but I bought a dragon from them instead.

And I want to find time to DANCE! I miss dancing. This is good weather for it, as it's even cool enough during the day to do so, which means I don't have to wait until late at night.

With all of these plans, what have I actually been doing? Playing Guild Wars. I am so lazy.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

And now, I am closed!

Erthe Fae Designs is now closed for the holidays. You can still buy things, but I will not be sending your order out until the 27th at the earliest. I have dog-sitting and a trip to CA to see family coming up, so I can't even really consider in-person delivery if you're in Tucson. The next ten days are just too chaotic!

I've been playing with my Earthenwood beads. I had trouble yesterday with not being able to match seed beads to the glazes... but tonight I strung a cute necklace with a pixie face. I'll definitely work on more things during my little holiday vacation, so that I can have a great update when I get back.

Due to the above-mentioned sitting and traveling, blog posts will of course be sporadic! Hopefully our hotel in CA will have Wi-Fi!

Oh yes, and congratulations to Britany M. for winning the holiday ornament drawing! Yay!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Holiday Sale Run-Down.

Here's your quick and easy guide to the various Erthe Fae Designs holiday promotions.

All orders must be placed by 11:59PM MST tomorrow night to be mailed before the holidays. All such orders will be mailed on Monday, the 17th, and will receive a free upgrade to insured Priority mail. This only applies to US orders. It is far too late for International orders to arrive in time for Christmas -- but I will mail them anyway if you place them.

Use code lastmin for 15% off of your total order. And if your order is $50 or more, you can say "Ornament me!" in the comments section of the PayPal cart to receive a free 30mm beaded holiday ornament. Also, all orders, regardless of size, will be entered into a drawing for a large beaded ornament. The drawing will be held before I go to bed tomorrow, and the ornament will be mailed out on Monday.

After tomorrow, items will not begin shipping again until the 27th or later. Also, I will only be adding new items to the Gallery. I'm looking forward to having a little time to bead a few things for myself!

It's a beautiful day here in Tucson... I hope you're all having a wonderful Saturday!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Beads, beads, I love 'em I need 'em...

(Ok, so the original song is about brains. I can take a little liberty, right?)

I managed to get down to the Post Office today and finally get my hot little hands on my box of Earthenwood Beads. They're all gorgeous and I can't wait to make things with them. I always love it when I can add a new artist's beads to my selection, and when it's a new medium, even better!

I've got hearts, robots, skulls, faeries and so much more. This is going to be great!

Today I also had to break down and buy some new Fall clothes. Dear Fashion Designers: Please stop trying to make me wear ugly 70s-inspired designs made out of cheap fabric. I'm rather image conscious and I know what looks good on me. I also know what won't last more than 3 trips through the washer and dryer. I'm not going to waste money on garbage and I'd really like to be able to buy some tops other than plain long-sleeved tees. Thank you, that is all.

Oh yes, and as it turns out, Lebanese food wasn't quite as exciting as I hoped. It was tasty, but the nearby Greek place offers similar fare in a larger variety and a nicer ambiance, for about the same price. Still, it's good to try new things, and beef shawarma is quite delicious.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Stupid Post Office

As I've mentioned, this has been a somewhat crummy week. As such, I was really looking forward to receiving my package o' beads and using them to make beautiful things. Today I went out to the mailbox, certain that my beads would be there. And what did I find instead? An orange "sorry we missed you" slip. I would like to point out four problems with this:

1: The package would probably fit in my mailbox.
2: If not, there are two boxes for packages, and they were not in use.
3: It's a beautiful day and it's not very far to walk from the mailbox to my apartment and give me my package!
4: I was home all day, so they can't claim they missed me.

So now, instead of having fun beads to play with, I get to go to the PO tomorrow -- 11 days before Christmas -- and wait in line to get my package. This means that I will not be able to include anything with these new beads in tomorrow's update. Maybe I'll just update on Sunday and have a super last-minute buy these now for the holidays post. How does that sound?

Speaking of Last Minute, you can use code lastmin for 15% off your order until December 16th. It's not too late to shop! All items will be mailed by Dec 17th, and I will upgrade them to Priority to try to make sure they arrive on time.

Gotta leave for my Chinese final in 1 1/2 hours. I'm unsure on how well I'll do -- it all depends on what words are on the test. There are some that I know as well as English now, and some which just won't stick in my head. However, my grade so far is really high, so I can afford to miss a few things and still get an A. As such, I refuse to stress about this test... I'm stressing about too many other things!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Some New Earrings!


I just added these pretty earrings, called Sea Gems, to the website. More items will be coming later this week -- probably Friday. Don't forget that this weekend is the deadline to place holiday orders! I'll be making one last trip to the Post Office on Monday the 17th and then possibly not again until the New Year.

Today it is cold and wet and rainy. There's even snow up on the mountains. It's really good weather for beading, but unfortunately my muse has been stubborn and silent all week (still sulking over the missing pendant, I think), so I'm doing laundry instead. This is not good laundry weather, by the way. It's also not good going to Chinese class weather, but that's what I'll be doing in a little over an hour. This is the penultimate class!

My package o' beads still hasn't arrived. I'm hoping for tomorrow, that way I can come up with a nice project using new beads to take to the game, and then I can have it done in time for the update on Friday.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Update delayed.

Today has not been a very great day. I won't bore you with the details. One thing that I will say is that my site keeps temporarily going down, which does not make me happy. It also makes it difficult to update.

This week's update is getting pushed back a day or two, while I deal with obnoxious real life stuff and study for my final. Thank you for your patience!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Street Fair and Studying.

It wasn't raining today, so we went to the Street Fair. It looked like a couple of vendors had packed it up and left after yesterday's bad weather, but most were still there. It was a cold, overcast day, but the walking kept it bearable until the end, when a chill wind started to blow.

I was sad to see that a few vendors who I like to shop with weren't there, but there were still a lot of nice things. I kept myself on a tight reign and only made a couple of purchases this time! I found someone selling stained glass bracelets for 3/$20, so Chris helped me pick out three really pretty ones. And I bought some simple blue-green niobium earrings. When I was a teen I found I could no longer wear earrings. Many people had recommended that I try niobium, so today I finally decided to. These earrings were pretty, but affordable enough that I wouldn't feel bad if I couldn't wear them, and the vendor had enough cool stuff to make me really want to wear earrings again! Anyway, I've been wearing these all afternoon and though it hurt at first, I can barely feel them now. Yay! Earrings, how I've missed thee!

My favorite thing that I saw, but did not buy (because it was $550!) was a painted woodblock image of a medusa's head. The snakes were all different colors, and layered and intertwined. It was seriously awesome. Although I'm afraid of snakes, I really love medusae and it can be hard to find good artistic interpretations of them.

Anyway, prior to popping on to blog I was busy studying for my Chinese final. I'm just worried that all of the words that I've forgotten will be on the test! Seriously, when am I going to need to say dorm?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Sparkle Saturday Sale!


Bah. It's raining. As such, I'm not at the Street Fair. Stupid rain! Couldn't it have waited a little while? I really feel bad for the vendors, who are surely stuck out there with no customers. Many of these sellers come from around the country. Of course, I suppose that's the risk you take when you do an outdoors show. In December.

But! Enough of that! As hinted at last night, today I am having a sale! It's the Sparkle Saturday Sale! All Crystal Bracelets are 20% off... Thus bringing their usual $50 price tag down to $40. I have a great selection of beautiful colors. These bracelets make a wonderful gift, and they're also perfect to wear to swanky holiday soirées. Pick one to match your favorite party dress and watch the compliments flow! Just use code "sparkle" to receive the discount, or use this handy link. Remember that all of my jewelry is unique, so if you see one you like, grab it now!

This sale will run until midnight my time, which is 2am EST. All orders placed today will be mailed Monday!

Friday, December 07, 2007

The weekend ahead.

I still can't find that misplaced pendant. I was carrying it around with my traveling bead projects for a while, so I'm worried that I may have lost it someplace. I'm going to come up with something else to work on instead and hope that it just pops up in an unexpected spot.

Got a bit of a busy weekend ahead of me. A member of our gaming group is moving out of state and is having his going-away party tomorrow. Before the party, we're going to the 4th Avenue Street Fair. I really love the Street Fair, it's so full of awesome arts, crafts, and imports. Supposedly I'm going out there to do holiday shopping, but I always find more to buy for myself than for anyone else. We've also got to run some errands, but who wants to talk about that?

I think I'm going to have a special one-day sale tomorrow or Sunday. I do love sales, don't you?

And if the Post Office is kind to me, I'll have new beads tomorrow! Woohoo! That ought to distract me from the stupid missing pendant.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Crammity Cram Cram!

I was under the mistaken impression that the skit that we'd slaved over for the past couple months was our final for Chinese... As it turns out, we have a test that serves as our final in a week. So I'm going to need to study a lot for that. Gotta make myself remember all those odd words that I learned near the start of the semester and haven't used since. After that, though, it's over a month until Chinese 102 starts. I fully intend to use most, if not all, of that free time to bead like a madwoman.

Last night I unfortunately did not bead. An annoying thing happened to me. You may remember that sometime back, I wanted to make a necklace with a pendant that I'd purchased at the Sept show, but I didn't have the right shade of orange seed bead. So when I ordered seeds a couple weeks ago, I picked up several likely oranges. Thus, last night I went to get all of the beads for that project together. I was ready to finally complete something that had been floating in my mind for months. Guess what? I can't find the pendant ANYWHERE! I looked everyplace that it should be, could be, and probably wouldn't be, but I was there so I looked anyway. I'm so frustrated! I have no idea where it is! By the time I gave up I didn't have time to pick out another project, so I just spent the night being annoyed and practicing Chinese instead. At least that helped me do good on today's test...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Hot Earrings!


I made half a dozen pairs of earrings today, but only had time to put two of them up on the site. The rest will be part of next week's update. The new additions are Fireball (seen above) and Rhapsody.

The Fireball earrings are perfectly coordinated to Phoenix Feathers... The Sun crystals are one of the 4 colors used in the necklace, and the crackled glass is the same hue as one of the other crystal colors. And they're made with gold-filled findings, to compliment the gold-accented button clasp.

... my cat Lira has just decided that my photography backdrop is the perfect place to lie and take a bath. Never mind that there's a whole rest of the apartment for her to be in. *sigh* I'd better go chase her off and hide the cloth.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

So good to be done!


Tonight was skit performing night at Chinese class! Almost everyone did a great job. I messed up a bit on a couple of lines, but over all I'm pretty happy with how our skit went, too. The skits didn't take all night, so we also had a nice time chatting with our classmates before we buckled down and studied. Previously there hasn't been too much talking in class, because we've all been a little focused and insular, but everyone was nervous about our skits, it seems, so afterwards we were all relieved to be done and feeling more open. Anyway, we have another week and a half or so of class, with two more tests (one for the last chapter and one for the semester as a whole), but the skit was the big thing I was worried about!

The above necklace is Sacred Grove, which you may have already seen yesterday. I've entered it in Art Bead Scene's December contest. The theme is All Wrapped Up and the idea is to combine art beads with fiber... However, they've deemed that beading thread counts as a fiber, so any beadwoven piece with an art bead qualifies. Needless to say, I have a lot of jewelry that qualifies. The prize is a beautiful mix of wintry white ceramic pendants and beads by Gaea, and gorgeous fibers picked out by Melanie of Earthenwood Studio, so if you have any jewelry that qualifies, you should definitely enter, too! And if you don't, you should just keep an eye on the entries. I can't wait to see what Art Bead Scenes other very talented readers submit.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll have time to do that earring update... Though I also have to do all of the homework that I ignored while I was memorizing the skit!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Phoenix Feathers!


Well, I didn't get the website updated until almost 9pm because I wanted to finish Phoenix Feathers -- I think it was worth it! I love this necklace! Not only does it look nice on the black neckboard, but it is absolutely stunning on a neck. The fringes are long enough to really have some presence, without requiring you to wear a top that's TOO low cut.

Today's other new addition is Sacred Grove. I had hoped to have some earrings done today, too, but then I wouldn't have updated until 10. So right now the plan is that I will make some earrings tomorrow, and post them on Wednesday. This will be a double update week, because, after all, Christmas is coming.

Speaking of Christmas and other Winter Holidays, I will not be shipping anything after the 17th, so the ordering deadline is the 16th. I'm going to California for Christmas, so I probably will not be shipping again until at least the 27th... That means that if you want something to wear on New Year's Eve, you should also order by the 16th.

I'm now officially in the holiday mood, because while I was editing photos and updating the site, I was also listening to A Very Scary Solstice by the HP Lovecraft Historical Society. Good times, good times.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Flappity-flappity!

Just taking a little break from working on Phoenix Feathers. Those of you reading this who are beaders know the importance of resting your eyes and shoulders to avoid straining them both. The rest of you probably know that it's easy to find an excuse to go update your blog... LOL.

As I'm working on this necklace, I keep thinking of the story Sunbird by Neil Gaiman, and how I should really make Chris read all of the good stories in Fragile Things. And how I really ought to read more in general. Other than bead magazines, I haven't read anything since my dog-sitting weekend.

Memorization of the Chinese skit is coming along pretty well. I'll be glad to have that done so I can move on to worrying about getting ready for the holidays. Today we had some fun and got silly, reading it "with feeling." It's kind of hard to act in Chinese, since it's a tonal language, you have to be careful not to use the same sort of tone that you would to emphasize something in English. Also, it's hard to act when you're just trying to remember what you're supposed to be saying -- as has been proven by numerous movie and TV show outtakes where the actors flub their lines and totally fall out of character.

My Topher-cat is sitting in my beading spot. I suppose I should go ruin his night by making him move. He looks so cute and content!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

It's COLD in here!

I'm blogging from the game store on my laptop. I got elected to stay behind and guard our stuff while everyone else goes out to get food. They've got an auction going on, so they've got the back door open so people who are outside smoking can hear what's going on. I really wish I had brought a jacket! At least I've got my awesome spiderweb arm warmers to keep my hands cozy. Mmmm.

Phoenix Feathers is now in the works! I don't think I'll finish it tonight, but probably tomorrow. I think it'll turn out pretty nicely.

More tomorrow, I can't think with this other group chatting away.

Friday, November 30, 2007

So many photos!

I've been working on getting all of the photographs done for the 2007-08 Layne's Legacy -- Beading For A Cure challenge. 50+ items, 5+ images per item... it's a lot of photographs. I'm almost done though, yay! Of course, then I have to edit them all... But all this hard work is for a good cause, and well worth it!

I haven't beaded as much as I'd like this week. I got all the beads picked out for the Phoenix Feathers necklace, only to arrive at my friend's new place for the Wednesday game and realize that he had no light in his apartment! I'm hoping to get it started tomorrow, and finished in time for Monday's update. I also plan to make some new earrings for the update, and maybe another spiral bracelet.

Yesterday it started raining, and today has been very grey and very rainy. I love this weather! About an hour into tonight's photography, I was roasting from being under those lights, so I just opened the front door and let the cool air wash over me. It felt wonderful.

Last night we finished our final chapter in Chinese class! On Tuesday we all perform the skits that serve as our finals, and after that it's all review. Unless I bomb the skit, I'm pretty sure I'll be getting an A. Since I went into this with the idea that I'd probably only be able to manage a B, I'm really happy with how well I've done. I still get frustrated with all of the words and concepts that I don't know, but it's a lot of fun to be able to express myself even a little bit in another language... and to figure out how to say silly things like "I am DEATH PONY!!!" Thank goodness our teacher didn't ask what we were giggling about...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Woohoo, socks!


This weekend I finally gave in and placed an order with Sock Dreams. True to what I've heard, their shipping is quite quick... My socks arrived today. Hurray! Impatient thing that I am, I'm going to wear a pair to tonight's game. I'm torn between the over-the-knee lime green and the thigh-high black and grey stripes. Decisions decisions.

I just finished working on a great woven necklace using a polymer pendant. I need to track down the identity of the artist before I post it on the website tomorrow. I'm pretty happy with the necklace, so I'm looking forward to showing it off. I have two more woven necklaces planned for this week. Here's a little teaser: One of them will be named Phoenix Feathers.

The above earrings are Shadow Vines, which were part of this week's update. When I saw these black and white beads at Lois's booth back in February, I knew I had to have them. So did some other customers, though, so I only ended up being able to snag two. I'll have to get a full set of five or six sometime and do a necklace. I really love the black-and-white floral/leaf patterns that I've seen on a lot of clothing this year. It's just so elegant.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Mythological Beasties.


Pegasus Flight is the result of my realization that though my jewelry is fantasy-themed, right now I have a pretty limited amount of fantasy creatures represented. Mostly just faeries and mermaids, and then jewelry inspired by legends of dryads and naiads and salamanders and gods. Part of this is because it's a little hard to find good fantasy-themed focals. Most of them ARE faeries and mermaids. Plenty of dragons, too, but somehow I hog all of those to myself... Anyway, now that I've noticed the problem, I'm going to work on solving it. Oh, I'll still buy faeries and mermaids, because I love them, but I'm going to look for dragons and unicorns and pegasi and whatever else I can find.

The Pegasus charm in this necklace was a random buy at a random gem show in NY last year. I think the lampwork is from one of Laurie Byrne Smith's Random Bead-Freeing incidents, too, so it's a very random necklace. Ok, really, really random. Maybe this will ruin the mystique for you, but this is how the necklace happened:

I was running out of room for beads, so I decided to try to use up some beads that I only had a few of. Usually I do strand collages for that, but I wanted something quicker, so I decided to do a strung necklace or three. I was going through my blue beads, and then I went looking for blue focals, and I found a few. I really thought that this one needed something dangling below it. Originally I was thinking just some wrapped crystals, like in Pan's Grove, but then I saw the Pegasus and I was all "Heeeey...." The cobalt and the white are to match the bead, and the light sapphire and opal blue are to suggest the sky.

All of the pictures that I took of it have that weird glare at the center. I think a sunbeam must have been coming through my kitchen window at just the right angle, because I've never had that happen before. I'll try for a new image next time I'm doing photography.

So what mythical beast would YOU like to see worked into a piece of jewelry?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Cyber Monday Blues.


Cyber Monday is essentially a myth perpetuated by retailers who seem to want to convince us that it's a big shopping day. The sad thing is, most of the Cyber Monday advertising that I've seen is from large chain stores. It isn't enough that they have Black Friday, and in some cases are even open on Thanksgiving itself, now they want us to shop on-line after our holiday weekend is over. Well, bah on them.

I don't really have the blues about Cyber Monday not being an amazing day of sales for me... This is the Cyber Monday Blues post because I made three blue necklaces for this week's update. Next week I hope to have some earrings to compliment them, but after these and a custom-ordered blue badge holder, I need a few days off from blue. I also added two spiral bracelets and two pairs of earrings today. Maybe after seeing all of this week's new beauties, you'll find yourself inspired to do a little Cyber Monday shopping of your own!

Atlantean Treasure (pictured above) Necklace featuring a lampworked bead by Ann "Schermo" Baldwin.

Dark Jester This one also features a Schermo bead!

Pegasus Flight A Sterling Silver Pegasus and lampwork by Laurie Byrne Smith.

Spirit Dancer Black, rusty red and golden bronze iris look stunning together. Yum!

Lilac Whisper If you have a purple addiction to feed, this one is for you.

Shadow Vines As promised, gold filled earrings... And with lampwork by Lois Oster!

Rain of Blood
Named after that Die Form song. Also gold filled.

By the way, the sky is turning awesome colors right now. It's been overcast all day, which makes for a gorgeous sunset. Wow. If I wasn't nice and cozy with a warm kitty in my lap, I'd rush out and take some pictures.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Busy Sunday.

The weird thing about being self-employed is that you don't always have a clear-cut work week and weekend. I've tried to put myself on schedules where I only do business stuff Mon-Fri and then fun stuff Sat-Sun, but it never quite works out. Sometimes I'm inspired to make something personal during the week, and sometimes I want to take a business project to D&D with me. I think that since my business is so heavily reliant on inspiration and creativity, it's important to work on what I'm moved to do, when I'm moved to do it, rather than putting myself on a set schedule.

That said, today is a busy day. I want to make some jewelry, but I've also got to put the finishing touches on my Chinese skit, and do some photography, and tend to some housework. I do hope to find time to work on some ornaments today, and make some gold-filled earrings for this week's update, which should happen tomorrow. There's also a woven necklace that I want to make, but I have a feeling that it won't be done in time to be added this week -- hopefully next week.

Please remember that today is the last day to take advantage of the Thanks2007 coupon code for 15% off your entire order. You can also say "Ornament me!" in the comments section of the shopping cart and receive a bonus beaded ornament with any order of $50 or more. These deals are not mutually exclusive! You can do both! Isn't life grand?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Hey... it's cold!

The weather finally decided to cool down to acceptable November levels, so of course I'm cold. I mean, I'm happy that it's not unseasonably hot anymore... but I'm COLD! I need to dig out all of those cool-weather clothes that I've been wanting to wear. They're probably buried under the shorts and tanktops that I've been wearing.

The nice thing about cold weather is that we went out and bought hot cocoa and marshmallows today. Ah cocoa, it's been way too long! As soon as I finish blogging it up over here, I'm going to make myself a mug... oh, and one for Chris, too. After all, he did take me to JoAnn's!

Our game today was canceled due to practically everyone having other plans. A bit of a bummer, because I wanted my EarthDawn fix, but what can you do? Unlike some people who also play at our local game store, I do believe that real life comes before gaming, and I don't begrudge any of my friends who had to work, fulfill family obligations, or do homework. I just wish they didn't all have to do it on the same day!

Anyway, deprived of our usual Saturday plans, I decided to make new plans. This involved taking Chris out for a nice Greek lunch and then dragging him off to JoAnn's. The store was crowded, but not unreasonably so. I picked up some bead magazines and holiday presents and such. I wanted more 30mm ornaments for the 2007 Holiday Ornament Give-Away, but they didn't have any. I did get some cute ornaments, but I think they're only 25 or maybe even 20mm.

Bead Unique, Bead and Button, and Beadwork all look good. Lots of things I'd like to try out. Beadwork has their Gem Show 2008 preview already, which tells me that I need to line up employment and start thinking about where I'm going to shop and what I want to buy. Luckily I won't need findings, but I'll need a lot of crystals and focals! I've put quite a dent in both collections this year, and I know I'll use a lot more up before February.

Hot cocoa, here I come!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Staying In.

When I was a kid, Black Friday was a fun time. Oh sure, the stores were crowded, but it was bearable. Mom and I used to go hit a department store or two. Nowadays, though, the shopping has become so competitive that it's not even worth it. When people go stand in line for 12 hours just so they can get a "door buster" at a particular store, things have grown out of hand.

So today I stayed home. I did consider heading over to the bead store, since they usually have sales on Black Friday, but Chris and I were both in a pretty lazy mood. It was so much nicer just to stay home, get a little work done, and have some fun. I finished the two bracelets that I'd started on Wednesday, and gave some thought to future projects.

Thanksgiving itself was good; we had a nice time with my family, and a great meal. My parents have a new cat, a half-grown Siamese mix named Loki. He's simply adorable. Of course, my own cats are pretty darned cute, too!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Giving of the Thanks.

Ah, Thanksgiving. A day to spend with your loved ones, enjoying a feast, and thinking on what we're thankful for. For some it's also a day for football, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a family more apathetic about sports than mine. If the TV gets turned on at all today, it'll probably be to watch a DVD. Our holiday gatherings are small. Just my parents, my brother, Chris and myself.

I have a lot to be thankful for this year. This month especially has been good to me: The Collaboration Exploration, the Art Bead Scene interview, the Anime NebrasKon auction. I feel like a lot of opportunities are opening up to me. In the meantime, Chris has taken his lay-off as a chance to pursue his dream of running a business with his best friend, and opportunities also abound for them. If there's one thing to be thankful for this year, that's it.

But there are lots of other little things to be thankful for! I found a great new finding supplier at the start of the year (thank you, Lois! I never would have checked them out without you!). Art Bead Scene has rekindled my love of designing with art beads, instead of hoarding them. Layne's Legacy -- Beading For A Cure raised more money than ever this year. I read a lot of good books, played a lot of good games, and saw a lot of good movies. And there's still a little more than a month left in the year for further excitement. Best of all, I've been blessed with the good health to get out there and really enjoy my life.

I hope that this post finds all of you, whether you're reading it today, tomorrow, or sometime in the future, happy and blessed with a number of things to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

As Promised, New Jewelry!


I just added the above bracelet, Brass Vein, to the website. It lies really comfortably on the wrist and looks great. I don't know why I've waited this long to make a bracelet like this for the site. I made one for myself a long time ago, and then stuck to using the technique for necklaces. Expect a couple more bracelets along these lines in the near future. The Woven Bracelets section really needs expansion, after all!

My findings order arrived yesterday! As a wholesale company, my supplier has a minimum... and I usually don't "need" enough stuff to meet that minimum, which means that after I take care of restocking everything that I'm running low on, I get to have a little fun picking out new things. This time around, I picked up two new colors of crystals, some really pretty new clasps, and Gold Filled findings! Yes, just in time for the holidays, I will have some lovely golden jewelry for sale. I expect to have some Gold Filled earrings in the next update, which should be on Monday.

Don't forget about my current ongoing sales: 15% off with the code Thanks2007 and a free beaded ornament with every order over $50, just mention the promotion in the comments section!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Shipping and Sales and Stuff, Oh My!

Ok, first of all, I spent some time today and managed to fix my shipping in PayPal. Basically I had to delete my profile and start all over. But while I was at it, I set up Priority and International shipping. I might add some more options in the future, such as a Pickup for anyone who knows me in person and wants to shop through my site. But for now, shipping should be working, which means no more Accidental Free Shipping Sale. It was fun while it lasted!

But! Don't despair! While I was fixing the shipping preferences, my awesome husband was putting the finishing touches on the latest feature for Erthe Fae Designs: Discount Codes! Simply enter the code in the box under the Add to Cart buttons on any item on my site, and the discounted price will be applied in the shopping cart. Furthermore, my site will remember your code until you close your browser, so you only have to enter it once. How cool is that?

So, to celebrate this awesome new feature, I'm having a Thanksgiving sale from now until 11:59PM EST. All items are 15% off! Just use the discount code "Thanks2007." And if you click this handy link, it should already be entered for you. How cool is that? It rocks to be married to a programmer!

And as to the "Stuff" mentioned in the title, yesterday I placed an order for a whole bunch of great findings and beads, all the better to make exciting products for the holidays! Because my findings supplier is in Phoenix, and because they have a great shipping department, my order is supposed to arrive today. Woohoo! I hope the UPS man arrives before I have to go to class. I just love receiving a box full of new supplies!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Finals are evil!

Whew. We just put the finishing touches on the second draft of our skit for Chinese. This is the first time in my life that I've ever had to do a final project, and I have to say... man, these things are a lot of work! I have so much more respect for college students now. We have to do the last draft of the skit over Thanksgiving break. No rest for the weary!

Today was super-busy, and I haven't had a chance to find batteries or an AC adapter for my camera yet, so I did not update the site. Shame on me, I know. But on the bright side, I also didn't have time to wrestle with PayPal -- don't get me started on them -- so the free shipping sale is still going on! And you can still get an ornament with every $50 purchase just by asking nicely! There should be new jewelry this week. I'm thinking Wednesday. How does Wednesday sound to you?

I am happy to announce that all three items which I sent to Anime NebrasKon sold this weekend! Hurray! Dylan-the-con-organizer said that they received much attention and drooling, which was a happy boost to my ego. I wasn't sure how my jewelry would go over at an anime convention, but now that I know, I'll have to consider exhibiting at one of the ones we have here in AZ.

Speaking of anime, I'm going to go veg out and watch some Mushishi. It's some freaky-weird show that our friends Alex and Casey insisted that we watched. I'd been burned out on anime for a bit, but this series is different enough that it piqued my interest. Afterwards it will be time to bead a bit -- I've sold 3 spiral bracelets in the past week, gotta start restocking!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Time to sit some dogs!

Just a quick note. Today I'm heading over to my friend's house to watch her dogs for the weekend. I intend to spend my internet-free time getting all sorts of things done while I keep the dogs company, including beading. The nice thing about dogs is that, unlike some pets, they don't walk all over your beadwork and play with your thread. At least, Border Collies don't. It'd be disastrous if they did!

I've got to go pack my over-two-nights bag now. I'll be back on Sunday!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Collaboration Exploration! AKA, my secret project!


At long last, my secret project is revealed! Last month, Melanie from Earthenwood Studios approached me to be part of a Collaboration Exploration. She and one other bead artist/jewelry maker would provide beads, and then all three of us would make jewelry using those beads. I love the challenge of working with beads that someone else has picked out (such as the Layne's Legacy -- Beading For A Cure challenge!), so of course I jumped at the chance. The fact that I love Melanie's beads and had been daydreaming about playing with them some day certainly helped my decision. The third partner for this fun experiment turned out to be Pam Brisse from The Blue Between, a new-to-me artist, even more reason for excitement!

When my beads arrived at the start of this month, I was inspired right off the bat. I knew that I wanted to stack the lampworked flower, the poppy shield, and the poppy faerie to form the focal. At first I wanted to use the links as stations between sections of woven beads -- maybe a spiral rope -- but after a little bit of thought, I decided that was too obvious. Sure, they're meant to be links, but what if I used them as dangles, and hung accent beads from the second loop? I quickly decided on a Nepal chain, as it really compliments the floral theme of the beads. After that, it was just a matter of picking out the beads to use!

My first thought was to use black for the base, and do the flowers in purple and red, because I don't normally like to put green with red and purple. Then I said to myself, "Self, don't be a wuss. This is a challenge. Challenge yourself!" So green it was for the base. I've had these green metallic iris beads, with hints of red, for a while, and they were perfect for this piece.



One thing that I really like is how the lampwork spacer dangles ended up looking like pomegranates. Pam's spacers are rounder than most, which gives them the lush look of ripe fruit. I think that the whole piece has a decadent feel to it. I was going for a Victorian look that would be at home with Gothic styles, without yelling, "Hey! Look at me! I'm SPOOKY!" I think The Lady of the Manners would approve.

Partially inspired by Melanie's post earlier this week about her inspiration for the poppy beads, I've dubbed this necklace "Keeper of the Garden of Forgotten Memories."

Please visit Melanie and Pam's blogs to see their own beautiful inspirations with these beads!

(PS: The current photo is bad, but my camera is out of battery juice so I'll have to take a better one later! I'll edit it in when I get the chance)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Free Shipping Just Won't Stop!

Neither Chris nor I could get PayPal's shipping system to work last night, so I had to e-mail their tech support. They say it will be 2-3 days until I got an e-mailed response, and it's hard to say whether or not that will fix it. So the Accidental Free Shipping Sale will likely continue on for the rest of the week... Possibly even through Sunday, since I won't be home on Friday or Saturday to act upon any e-mailed advice.

So, allow me to reiterate: now is the perfect time to shop at www.erthefae.com! All orders will receive free shipping and be entered into the drawing for a hand-beaded holiday ornament. All orders over $50 will come with a 30mm beaded ornament. And any order placed through Friday morning will be mailed Friday afternoon, so your jewelry will be in-hand next week!

With only a month and a half until Christmas, and less than a month until Chanukkah, it's time to think about the holidays! Jewelry makes a great gift for mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, aunts, nieces, girlfriends, co-workers, everyone! And don't forget something for yourself, to wear to holiday parties and gatherings!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sale Continues!


I'm not going to have time to wrestle with PayPal's cart until after class tonight, so I am going to say that the Accidental Free Shipping Sale will run until at least 11pm EST tonight. That's right, there's still time to buy jewelry and get FREE shipping!

The above image is the bracelet Gloaming, which I added to the site yesterday. I don't think the image came out quite as well as Galactic Beauty did, but it's still very nice. The colors are dark, but the detail on the crystals and amethyst is superb.

I'm almost done with my secret beading project. I'm going to hopefully finish it tonight, and I'll post it on Thursday. Now I just need to think about what to pack for my dog-sitting adventure this weekend. Maybe a strand collage... I haven't done one of those in a while. I'd like to do one in purple, or maybe red. Possibly black and red.

In the meantime, I've got to study for tonight's Chinese test, print up the first draft of my skit, and take an exciting trip to the PO. I get to have all the fun!

Monday, November 12, 2007

New Bracelets!


Today I added two new items to the Strung Bracelets category: Galactic Beauty (seen above), and Gloaming. As you can see, I'm once again experimenting with the photos. I can't decide if I prefer the plain white backgrounds that I've been doing before, or the fancy backgrounds that I see a lot of people doing on Etsy. Anyone want to weigh in with an opinion?

Both of these bracelets use lampworked beads. I've really been using a lot of lampwork lately, which means I can justify buying more at the gem show in February. Of course, I'm also trying to diversify and use other art beads. I think lampwork will always be my primary addiction, because I love glass, but variety is the spice of life, and I really enjoy the effect I get by combining many different materials in one necklace.

If you haven't already, please scroll down to the post below and find out all about my Accidental Free Shipping Sale! Also, if you're looking for details on the 2007 Holiday Ornament Give-Away, please click here.

Accidental Free Shipping Sale!

This morning I had a sale come through my PayPal cart, and it hadn't been charged shipping... So I logged into PayPal and saw that currently all of my shipping values were set to 0.00. They've apparently recently made a lot of changes to their shipping center, and must have lost my shipping costs somewhere along the way. No big deal, I'll just set them back up, right?

Oh no, that would be too easy! PayPal is giving me a stupid error message whenever I try to set up my shipping. Since I have other things to do today (like update my website), I'm leaving it as-is. That means that I am happy to announce the first-ever Erthe Fae Designs Accidental Free Shipping Sale! Every purchase made at www.erthefae.com will receive free insured first-class shipping! This sale will continue until I fix my shipping cart... And just to make things fair, I won't even try until sometime tomorrow. That means that today is the perfect day to either do a little holiday shopping, or buy yourself a special "It sure is Monday!" present. All items purchased today will be mailed tomorrow!

Don't wait! Act now! Take advantage of PayPal's inability to calculate my shipping rates!

(another update coming later today with new jewelry!)

Friday, November 09, 2007

An Eventful Day!

First and foremost, the image says it all. Today, I was interviewed over at Art Bead Scene! Ok, actually, I was interviewed a bit ago, but I kept it under my hat so I could surprise everyone when it was posted. If you've been reading for a while, you know that I really enjoy the ABS community, so I was really thrilled to be invited to talk about myself and my business. Thank yous go out to Melanie and all the great gals at ABS!

And that was just the start of the day. One of my friends gifted me with a subscription to Simply Beads, and the December issue arrived today. I flipped through it and while most of the projects are very simple, they are also quite attractive. The designers have a good eye for color, balance, and trends. I've heard that there's going to be more seed bead work now that Barb Switzer has taken over as editor, so I look forward to that.

The afternoon was spent running errands, including mailing out the jewelry for the Anime NebrasKon auction. We hit Bookmans, where I picked up some old bead magazine issues, a cool encyclopedia of faerie lore (because I don't have enough already), and two books to read while I housesit next weekend. One is a collection of Lovecraft/Sherlock Holmes crossovers, which means that within one month's time, I went from having zero instances of A Study in Emerald to having two. The book also has stories by Barbara Hambly, the author who got me hooked on fantasy, and Poppy Z Brite. I think I like her, but I might just like her name. C'mon! Poppy Z Brite. It's the most awesome name ever. I wonder if it's a nom de plume? And if not, what does the Z stand for? Zinnia? Zenobia? Zelda? I could go look it up on Wikipedia, but every time I do that, I get distracted by twenty other things.

I realized today that I have nothing prepared for next week's update yet, which means that I need to be beading instead of playing on Wikipedia. I allowed myself to get too distracted by ornaments and anime conventions!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Swirling Flames.


These earrings are called "Swirling Flames" and they're also going to Anime NebrasKon. They're made with a pair of Joan "Mothwoman" Eckard's lampworked beads, in fact, the same beads that I used in All Hallow's Sprite. It seemed silly to have a pair of little lampworked beads just sitting around, and I happened to have four opal-red beads that matched the red in the lampwork nicely, so ta da, earrings!

In totally unrelated news, I finished reading Fragile Things this week. I have to say that it did get better. Not only is Feeders and Eaters (a really disturbing little story) in there, but I really enjoyed Sunbird, and a couple of the poems. And of course, the novella Monarch of the Glen is in there, so if you don't already have the Legends volume which contains that story, it's a good way to catch up with Shadow from American Gods.

In the back of the book there's a little interview with Neil Gaiman, and he talks about the next book he hopes to write, which will be about a boy who's raised in a graveyard. This interests me, as it's a similar theme to the overly lengthy background story I wrote for a roleplaying character a few years back. I never finished the story, and the game is long since over. In some ways that makes the story a waste of time, but on the other hand, I enjoyed researching and writing it. It's one of the things that rekindled my interest in writing anything longer than a one-page background.

I've really felt like writing again, but I don't know if I'll find the time. At the very least I'm house-sitting next weekend, so maybe I'll take the laptop and get some quality writing time in then. It's easy to get a lot done at my friend's house, since she has dial-up so I don't even bother trying to get on-line (yeah, I'm a snob). Maybe the writing that I do then will tide me over for a while, or it will inspire me to rearrange my schedule and make time for writing.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Camera Love.


So, as I said yesterday, I really love my new camera. I purchased a Canon PowerShot A570IS. It has lots of nifty features that I look forward to using, and if I just let it use the default settings, items on the black neckboard come out perfectly. I'm still having trouble with the white neckboard, and small displays, but that can easily be fixed. And even those images are super-sharp, they just have an annoyingly dark background.

The above necklace was photographed with the new camera yesterday; all I had to do was crop, resize, and do some quick background clean up. None of the usual playing with brightness and contrast and sharpening, and still not being happy. As for the necklace itself, it's called "Tears of the Earth Dragon." I made it for the Anime NebrasKon art auction. If you're going to be in or around Lincoln, NE the weekend after next, and you like anime and/or manga, you should definitely go to the convention. Not only will three of my jewelry pieces be up for auction, but my awesome friend Dylan is one of the organizers and he deserves your support. Keep up the good work, Dylan!

I have so much housework and homework to do today, hence getting the blogging done early. Chris and I decided on a time travel theme for our Chinese skit final, and we have to have the first draft of the script done by next Tuesday. That's on top of our existing homework, ugh. It's going to be some hard work, but I think it will be a really fun skit and will stand out from the crowd.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Ornaments!


As promised last week, here's an image of the ornaments involved in the 2007 Holiday Ornament Give-Away! Remember, any purchase of $50 or more made before December 15th 2007 is eligible to receive one of these beauties. Just say "Ornament me!" in the comments section of my shopping cart. This offer is good while supplies last, of course. Also, I will be giving away a larger, more ornate ornament, drawing to be held December 16th. All orders, regardless of size, will be placed into that drawing. You may also enter the drawing by posting about the Give-Away in your own blog, and contacting me with a blog link!

I updated the site today with a necklace called Eternity. You may recognize the Czech rectangles as being part of my September gem show haul. I really love how they look with the rectangular carving.

I'm not quite sure when the next website update will be. I may go back to Sundays, since I no longer run errands on Sunday, or I may stick with Monday, or I may go back to Friday... I'm having a little trouble adjusting my schedule to having Chris home all the time, on top of having class 2 nights a week, and gaming two times a week. I may fiddle around with the update schedule for the next few weeks until I find a day that I'm really happy with, but no matter what there will be jewelry every week.

One last thing: I LOVE MY NEW CAMERA! :D

Monday, November 05, 2007

I'm going to buy a camera.

It's settled. I've just done some research on-line and picked a camera that looks good for my needs and my budget, and found out that my local Office Max has it on sale. So tonight I'm going to go look at it in person, and if I like it, it will come home with me. This means that I'm going to put off the website updates until tomorrow or Wednesday. After all, why take photos with my current camera when I'll likely have a shiny new one that will take better pictures?

My current camera was a surprise gift from a friend, and has served me really well. Before then, I had to scan all my jewelry... it wasn't pretty. I've felt so much more free to use larger focals now that I'm not constrained by a flatbed scanner. I'm probably going to find some sort of charity to give that camera to, so that someone else can benefit from it as much as I have.

I'm pretty excited. I don't often make electronics purchases. My last one was a printer, almost two years ago, and that wasn't very exciting at all. And of course, there was the laptop, but I share that with Chris and he made most of the decisions on it.

Tune in tomorrow, when regardless of what camera I have, I will post ornament pictures!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

A Day Of Getting Things Done.

I woke up today, and just decided that I didn't feel like going to D&D. Not only am I a little tired of the Dungeons and Dragons system, but I was feeling a little blah. I knew that if I went to gaming, I'd be uncomfortable, start to resent being there, and possibly take it out on my friends. So instead, I just stayed home. And while I was home, I figured I might as well us all of this unexpected free time to get a few things done.

One of the things that I did was finally add a list to the blogs that I read every day. Some are shopping related, some are bead and jewelry related, and some are not. Insect Picture of the Day, for instance, is exactly that. Pictures of bugs. Hey! I like bugs! And Gateway to Doom is the blog of my friend and fellow AJ, who does fantasy artwork. Oh, and Miss Doxie is just plain funny, though her language is a little salty. You have been warned!

I also set up my own playlist on Chris's iPod, which I've taken over ever since he got his silly iPhone. Previously, the only list I had was my dancing list, which had just a fraction of the music that I like. Now, don't get me wrong, for the most part our music tastes overlap, and I don't think there's anything I like that he doesn't. However, he has a few bands on the iPod that I really don't like, and some that I have to be in the right mood to hear. I really got sick of getting up to skip past Rage Against the Machine whenever they came up. I don't have all the music that I want in the list yet, but I've got a day and three hours worth so far, which means that today I can bead unmolested by Corrosion of Conformity.

The other thing I kept putting off was signing up for Facebook. Our D&D GM has been using that to post exp and other game info. I'd resisted signing up, simply because I already have two e-mail addresses, a blog, several forums, etc to keep up with. But everyone else gave in, so I caved. Now I just need to figure out how it works.

With all of that done, I have hours and hours of good beading time ahead of me! I'm halfway done with another ornament for the 2007 Holiday Ornament Give-Away, and once that's done I'm going to work on my top-secret project. I started it last night. I might take a break and play a little Guild Wars between beading, or maybe dance a bit. I danced last night and surprisingly, I don't hurt today.

Friday, November 02, 2007

I've got BEADS!

Ok, so the topic is a little obvious. Of course I've got beads, otherwise I couldn't make jewelry. But what I'm actually referring to is the fact that I received the special beads I was waiting for, to use in a special project. They're really awesome, too, but that's all I have to say until I finish the project.

Anyway, things have been going fairly well in Erthe Fae Land. Halloween was fun; I made great yarn hair ties and a yarn fringe belt for my Gothic Tribal dance costume. The whole costume turned out really well, so I look forward to wearing it again, I'm just not sure when. I can't wear it for dancing at home because my cats + yarn belt = disaster waiting to happen. And I can't wear it to the Renaissance Faire, because straw bale seats + yarn belt = straw belt. I'm house-sitting for my friend Helen in two weeks, so at the very least I can wear the belt then, when I take advantage of her large living room and dance it up a bit. I'm pretty sure that her dogs will not be as entranced by yarn fringe as my cats are!

Things also seem to be shaping up well for the business my husband is trying to start, which is definitely a relief for both of us.

The final for our Chinese class is a skit, and we've already been assigned work to start on that. It's going to take an insane amount of practice -- especially since we're not allowed to have a script to read when we perform, it has to be by memory. I'm not that great at memorizing English, so Chinese is going to be rough. The good thing is that we were allowed to choose our partners, so I'm working with Chris. It will be really easy to come up with a concept and practice together that way!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Holiday Ornament Give-Away!

Erthe Fae Designs is proud to announce the 2007 Holiday Ornament Give-Away! From now until December 15th, all orders over $50 will be eligible to receive a complimentary 30mm hand-beaded holiday ornament. Each of these ornaments is unique, just like my jewelry. I'm using a variety of beautiful, non-holiday-specific color combinations. You can happily display these ornaments in your home, no matter what you celebrate. They also make great gifts! To receive your free ornament, just say "Ornament me!" in the comments section in my PayPal cart.

I will also be giving away one large, elaborate ornament. All orders, regardless of cost, will be entered in the drawing for this prize. You can also enter by blogging about the
2007 Holiday Ornament Give-Away. Simply contact me with the link to the post and I will enter you in the drawing. Said drawing will be held on December 16th, 2007, and the winner will be notified via e-mail.

Ornament pictures are forthcoming!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Should I be scared now?

In case you missed the link in yesterday's post, the above image is Belen-Gaard, my own personal bat necklace. Hurray! It combines several things that I love: lampwork by my friend Lois, a bat, the color green, indicolite crystals, and sardonyx, which I have only recently decided that I love.

So, last night was our trip to Nightfall. If I could sum it up in one word, it would be "lame." It relied too heavily on strobe lighting and really fake spring-loaded plastic skeletons. Even the supposedly scariest walk-throughs and shows couldn't elicit so much as a jump-scare from us. Now, granted, my friends and I are all pretty jaded, having watched too many horror movies (and in some cases, read too many horror books), but I can say that at the very least I can be startled... and I just wasn't. Everything was too corny. There weren't a lot of actual people working the attractions, and those that were just didn't even seem to care. All in all, it was very disappointing and a waste of money that could have been spent on beads or books.

The night wasn't a total wash, though. We did all have fun hanging out with each other and complaining about how bad things were (especially the vampire show... ugh). One of my guy-friends was wearing an awesome Jedi costume; the other gal and I were Gothed up, and the two other guys, well, they just wore normal clothes, but we let them hang with us anyway ;) There were a few other people in costume, which was nice to see.

I'm waiting to receive some beads for a special project. If they don't arrive today, I'll spend a little time working on some accessories and/or jewelry for the belly dance clothes I want to wear tomorrow. I'd like to do some yarn hair ties, but I dunno if I have enough yarn and ribbon. Have to dig through the beadroom and see what I can come up with.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Queen of a Forgotten Era.


I'm so happy, I've finally made something with some of Margaret Zinser's beads! I love them, and I've been collecting them for a few years now, but I never use them. The colors are a little difficult to match to seed beads or Czech glass, and I am a stickler for matching. This time I lucked out, and found that Jet Nuit Swarovski crystals went perfectly with the black-and-goldstone coloring of this set. The vintage bronze iris faceted beads pick up the lighter sparkles within the glass, and add a touch of elegance. I call this one Queen of a Forgotten Era.

The image is a result of my continuing effort to get decent pictures of jewelry that's too dark for the black display. The beads photographed reasonably well on this board, but my gosh, is the board itself horrendously ugly! And so the quest continues... This wouldn't be such a problem if I didn't have a strong love for black beads.

I also added two new items to the Gallery today, Belen-Gaard and All Hallow's Sprite.

Last night's Nightfall trip got postponed until today, which means that I have a lot less time to get my usual Monday stuff done than usual. Off I go, more tomorrow!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Ooky Spooky.

In an hour or so, we're going to head out with a bunch of friends to go to Old Tucson Studios' "Nightfall" Halloween event. I haven't been since I was a teen, but back then it was a pretty good time... Hokey gory shows, a haunted house or two, and of course, touring the studios themselves. Many movies and TV shows (mostly westerns) were filmed at Old Tucson. Of course, most of the original stuff burnt down about 10 years ago in a fire, and it wasn't quite the same after they rebuilt it... But hopefully we'll have fun tonight.

Don't tell Chris that I'd kind of rather spend the admission fees on beads :P

I had to give up on the Nightmare Eyes project. I might have been able to make it work, but it reached the point where I realized that it would just be more trouble than it was worth. Too bad. In the meantime, I've strung another necklace or two, and started working on something fun for November. Tune in on Thursday the 1st to learn more!

Time to go decide if I want to wear pants or a skirt tonight...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Why I love what I do.

Ok, the header is a little misleading; there are a lot of reasons why I love running Erthe Fae Designs, and I'm only going to talk about two of them in this blog. But if journalists can have inaccurate headlines, then so can I!

One thing that I love about being a jewelry designer is the ability to make things to go with my favorite outfits. Today I made a great black, purple and white necklace to go with a black, purple, and white blouse. They're perfect together and I can't wait for the temps to drop so I can wear the whole ensemble (it also involves a heavy purple stretch velvet skirt).

Another thing that I love is the ability to occasionally barter my products for the products of other Indie business owners. Over the past month I've had the opportunity to do this twice (three times, if you count the writing trade), and the second package just arrived today. I now have a handful of adorable "Cute as a button" hairpins from Gerbera Designs. Not only are they cute and well-made, but the base pins are a lot sturdier than normal bobby pins. If you love awesome hair accessories (and bags, and iPod cases), you should definitely check her site out.

My other trade was with Jenny at Kristine's Shower. Not only are her products amazing and professionally presented, but they're very well-packaged too. I had almost as much fun opening my package as using the items! Her Shea Butter Body Frosting is to die for -- even Chris likes it, and he's not one for frou-frou bath products. I've also tried the Lava Gloss and Soy Candles and have been universally pleased.

I hope that they both enjoy their jewelry as much as I enjoy my goodies!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bats and Queens and Nerdery.

Is "nerdery" even a word? Spell-check doesn't think so. I suppose "nerdiness" is more appropriate, but spell-check doesn't like that one either. I've always wondered... Is it a good or bad sign when you make up words? Does it show cleverness, or make you sound stupid, like you're not smart enough to know the real word? I suppose it depends on the context. Oh yes, and Marilee? Squaredelles. Yeesh.

Anyway, yesterday was nice and productive, mainly because I blew off doing my homework. I strung two great necklaces, including my own personal bat necklace. I was going to string a third, but the beads didn't quite work out, gotta come up with something else. I'll probably do that tomorrow. I also came up with another possible way to do the Nightmare Eyes bracelet, which I will work on tomorrow, too. I will not be defeated! Oh, the other necklace has the word Queen in its name, hence the Queens in the title (that and I've been watching Dr. Who, and I just saw an episode about the queen being coroneted, so there you go).

And the nerdery comes from me being a total nerd and spending $10 on a magazine about Guild Wars, my on-line game of choice. I basically spent that money to get the "free" miniature. I mean, sure, the concept art and articles are fun... but mini-pets! I love 'em! Nerdery also comes from reading more Gaiman. I wasn't too impressed by what I read last night. Other People might have been good if I hadn't figured out the central conceit one page into it. Ah well. I'm still holding out hope for more good stories later in the book.

I'm now going to go nerd it up in my video game!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Hello? Powers That Be? I'd like my Autumn back, please!

Bleh. It's 80+ degrees today, and windy. My friends in NM have been complaining of wind, too, and I know wind is contributing to the CA fires, so it feels like there's just this huge wind blowing across three states. It could at least have the decency to be cool, and bring some rain with it. It doesn't feel at all like October. I have a feeling that I will not be wearing my cloak for Halloween, which means I have to decide which dance clothes I want to wear instead.

The Nightmare Eyes bracelet project isn't working yet. I may have to come up with some other way to do it. I'm considering trying to come up with a concept that uses these red nailheads that I have... but first I'd have to find said nailheads. I'll probably let the whole idea simmer in my head for a bit and work on something else instead. I'd kind of hoped to have it done before Halloween, since it has a creepy vibe, but then again, nightmares are creepy all year 'round.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Tainted Love


Once again, I am not happy with today's picture-taking endeavors. I think I'm going to upgrade my camera soon. The one I'm using now is cool, but I think I want something with a higher mega-pixel-ness to get more detailed shots of beadwork. I'm going to spend some time this week doing a little research to see what models have a good customer satisfaction rating, and then make my decision.

Anyway! The above is my latest necklace, Tainted Love. It's a spiral rope accented with green gold stone, firepolished glass, and of course, lampworked hearts by Joan "Mothwoman" Eckard. Green and black if my favorite color combination. When I first started making jewelry, almost everything that I made was green and/or black. I've since branched out quite a bit, but I do like to return to my roots every now and then. These incredibly attractive heart beads, with their dark sparkly core inside a lime green casing, made it very easy. The rest of the necklace pretty much built itself around them.

The picture I tried to take for the Gallery didn't turn out that great, so nothing new there this week.

I had a fairly busy weekend, as evidenced by the lack of blogging. We spent a few hours visiting my family yesterday, which sort of sparked my new-camera-lust. This week should be pretty busy, too, especially since it's 4pm on a Monday and I haven't done any of my homework which is due tomorrow, or studied for my test. I'd better get cracking!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Technically, it's Saturday now.

Well, Friday just totally slipped away from me. I spent the whole day with Chris! I need to have more discipline if he's going to be home, and do my work before I start goofing off with him. Today was a really nice day, though. Early in the afternoon his former co-worker Rene, who also runs our D&D game, called and asked if we wanted to do lunch. So we all went to this new Greek restaurant that opened just down the block. Ohmigosh it was so good! I was stuffed for hours afterwards, and I didn't even get baklava. It took forever for them to bring the food, but otherwise the service was great. We had two servers keeping our drinks full and whisking away empty plates. And our waiter was so tall. It was another one of those trying not to stare situations!

Anyway, the cool thing about going to lunch with two programmers who've spent the past couple years working together, is when you make an off-handed comment about maybe switching to a better shopping cart, they come up with tons of ideas on how to improve your site. So assuming Chris doesn't start a new, demanding job right off the bat, there may be some awesome additions to www.erthefae.com soon!

I did finish the necklace I was working on today, which means tomorrow I need something new to make at D&D. I think I'll do a bracelet, a specific bracelet that just popped into my mind. Usually I talk about inspiration after a piece is finished, but tonight I'm going to tell you the inspiration first! The other night I had a very strange dream, where I was in my parents' neighborhood, on the way to their house, and there was a huge storm brewing. The clouds were swirling dark grey, and in the swirls, there were shadowy demonic/ghostly shapes with glowing red eyes. This was not a new thing to me, as in my dream I said "I always get scared when the storm clouds look like that." That image has been in my mind off and on all week, along with other, more disturbing ones that I haven't even wanted to talk about. But the demon-clouds will make for a cool bracelet, I think. And they may pop up in a book someplace, just like the other two vivid dreams I've had in recent months.

I'd like to ramble on more about dream imagery, and the awesome music that played while I blogged (Radio India by Wench. I dance to their Voodoo song all the time, but I forgot that their other stuff is great, too), but it's past 3am so I'd really better get some sleep.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Of Piranhas and Ghost Stories.


Image: Angry Piranhas

Angry Piranhas! is a necklace that I made some time ago, using this set of really awesome piranha beads by Chase Designs. Piranha beads! How often do you find something like that? My only complaint is that I'm not a huge fan of the brown color of their bodies... But the beads themselves are just too cool. Wicked little fish with giant teeth!

I've been reading my way through Fragile Things. There's nothing like a good short story collection, be it by one author or many, to keep me happy. I can sit down and read whenever I want, but not get sucked into a huge plot that will keep me from getting anything done. So far, A Study In Emerald has been the best, it made me smile the entire time I was reading it. There's just something about stories set in Napoleonic through Victorian era England that I love, and adding Great Old Ones into the mix is a recipe for happiness. So far there have been a lot of ghost stories, too, which is entirely fitting for this time of year.

I love ghost stories. When I was a pre-teen, I had a book called Ghost Words, at least I think that's what it was called. I can't find it in Amazon, so either I've got the name wrong or it's long-since out of print. I can't remember the author's name, it was just some young adult book that I picked up at a used bookstore, and it entranced me. I read it three or four times, and I'd probably read it again if I still had it. Somewhere along the way I lost it, or maybe decided I'd outgrown it. It was a very sad little story about a girl who had been given a name that her mother saw on a tombstone, and the ghost of the girl who had originally had the name. I was captivated by the horror of the ghost's existence; there was some passage where her foot started to fall apart or something like that, and I loved the creepiness of it. It shaped a lot of my current taste in books, to be certain.

I think that the main appeal of ghost stories is that whether the ghost is malicious or benign, there's always a sense that they are a ghost due to some sort of tragedy. I'm very drawn to tragedy in writing and roleplaying (to the point where I mock myself for it), and ghosts fulfill that need perfectly. Not only was their life cut short for some reason (for ghosts are rarely people who simply died of old age), but now the spirit lingers on in life for some reason. It's quite touching.

Someday, I hope to write a really good ghost story, but until then I'll settle for reading the works of better authors.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Snow Angel.


Image: Snow Angel

I'm in a much better mental state today than yesterday. Thanks go out to all my friends and family for their encouragement, thoughts and prayers. I tend to be a real worry-wart, so I appreciate everyone's patience with me freaking out over something which is shaping up to probably actually be a good thing in the long run.

My first priority today was updating erthefae.com. The above image is my most recent lariat, called Snow Angel. I'm really happy with the fringe I designed for it. I'm sure I'm not the first person to do that particular configuration of fringe, but it's new to me. I love how it evokes images of feathers. I want to work it into some other jewelry, probably involving faeries and more crystals, for a decedent Gothic look.

Snow Angel is the light counterpart to a previous lariat, Fire Dancer. I bought both sets of Robert Jennik's spiral beads at the same time, with the intention of making lariats. It can be really hard to find paired artist beads of the right size to be lariat ends -- usually they're smaller, intended for earrings. I really love how these flat spirals look at the end of a highly textured spiral rope lariat.

I also posted Angry Piranhas! in the gallery. I'll talk more about that tomorrow, though.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Update Postponed

Today my husband was told that he's being laid off from the job he's held for 9 years. They still want him through December, and there's a severance package involved, so we're in no financial danger. Nonetheless, change is always hard so we're both very stressed out. I spent the first half of today worrying about whether or not he was going to lose his job, and the second half dealing with my feelings over it actually happening. And hey! Now I have to go take a Chinese test. Must focus...

Due to this, the website update has been postponed. I couldn't settle down enough to break out the photography equipment today. I should hopefully be able to tomorrow, but I won't make any promises. I do have to say that I'm really, really happy with the lariat that I'll be posting. Still trying to decide what I want to add to the gallery, though.

Night Into Morning.

My night owl traits are back in force, as evidenced by the fact that I'm here blogging it up at 2am. I haven't done this for a while. Today was an atypical day, however. Chris was home from work, but I had a lot of work to do so we didn't goof off much. This was the first day of my new effort to stay on a schedule, and I have to say that I got a lot done. I did an insane amount of Chinese homework, lots of housework, finished one necklace and made significant progress on another. All this, and we went out to dinner with a friend and spent 1 1/2 hours at the restaurant.

What I haven't done yet is read Fragile Things. It's still sitting there, in the Barnes and Noble bag, tempting me to say to heck with sleep and stay up all night reading. If I didn't have a test tomorrow, I'd probably give in.

Anyway, the good news is that it will only take me about 5-15 minutes to finish my homework tomorrow, and then study a bit for my test (the tests are easy, so it won't be much studying). I should have plenty of time to update the site. Hurrah!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Blogging About A Zillion Things!

It's been a very interesting weekend so far, so I have a lot of little things that I want to talk about. Let's go over them in no particular order.

Today Chris and I went back to Barnes and Noble, which had a much more reasonable Sunday afternoon crowd. He picked up his science book, and I bought Fragile Things, by Neil Gaiman. I'm so happy that this book is finally in paperback! Granted, I've already read a few of the stories, but the vast majority are new to me. I'm really looking forward to reading them, especially since I know at least one of them has a Lovecraftian vibe (I read the first page of it one time when I was stranded at B&N, but then I got un-stranded right after I started it). Oh, and I'm really hoping that the creepiest story that I ever read is in there, so I can make Chris read it.

Afterwards we took a trip to Target for boring necessities, and I decided to look for clothes. It is almost time to put away my Summer clothes, so I need some Autumn stuff. I didn't see much that grabbed me, though. To be quite honest, a lot of the clothing that's being marketed at my demographic is downright ugly. Not just ugly, but so unflattering in cut that it's destined to make me look ugly. However, they had some blouses that looked nice enough, and this one line by some designer named Alice something, which had a really nice Victorian/Edwardian Gothic feel to it. There was this gorgeous black blouse with lace and ruffles and a high neck... and of course, they didn't have it in my size! I WILL own that blouse before the end of the month, and I WILL wear it with my elegant black velveteen skirt, and I WILL look smashing.

Oh yes! And this morning, when I woke up, I had the pleasant surprise of seeing Night Shift at the top of Art Bead Scene. This humble little blog got a shout-out in their "As The Bead Turns" blog post about blogs. So yes, I am blogging about how another blog blogged about me blogging about bat necklaces last week. Anyone want to blog about me blogging about this? :P

Anyway, Art Bead Scene has really been inspiring me to use up more of my stash of art beads. Yesterday I worked on a really cool Gothy green necklace, but the tiny lampworked hearts that I'm using didn't want to hang straight. I'm hoping that I can find a way to make them play nice, because honestly, I don't think I have anything else that matches the rest of the necklace... whoops! More on this story as it unfolds.

In other weekend news, and continuing with the largely overwhelming theme of things Gothic and/or Lovecraftian, the excellent people over at the HP Lovecraft Historical Society have just posted a teaser trailer for their next movie: The Whisperer in Darkness. While that's honestly not one of my favorite Lovecraft stories (honestly, I think the main two characters were kind of stupid and set the standard for characters in horror movies making dumb mistakes), I'm excited to see the movie. Note that while Call of Cthulhu was silent, this production is one of those new-fangled talkies. Clearly, this is so they can attempt to portray the eerie buzzing voice that forms a central part of the plot... I've not decided yet, based on the trailer, whether it would have been better to leave it the imagination. What I have decided is that I like the starkness of the title/logo.

In completely unrelated rambling, I saw a simply gorgeous woman at the grocery store today. She was middle-aged, with tan/olive skin and dark hair, slender. Though her looks were not what most people would consider exceptional, I was very struck by how she was dressed and how she carried herself. She had a long sage-green skirt with darker green trim along the bottom. Her top was a dark forest-y green with a touch of olive, sleeveless and low-cut. This deep neckline was largely taken up by a bib necklace of disks of paua shell that reflected the green of her clothes. I find that Trader Joe's is a great place to see women with stunning fashion sense, and today was just one of the many days when I've found myself envious of how beautiful and put-together someone looks!

One final thing: my weekly website update will probably be this Tuesday, not Monday. Chris is off of work tomorrow, so I'll be hanging out with him instead of doing photography. I may possibly have to push it all the way back to Wednesday, but only if my homework takes longer than I expect it to.