Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Gem show is awesome!

The title says it all. Well, I suppose there is lots more to say, but to be honest, I am exhausted. It's almost 11:30 and I could go to bed right now. Normally I'm up until 3 or even 4 am. Working and shopping all day wears me out!

I've been working out at To Bead True Blue for Wolfsong Designs. If you happen to be in Tucson, come out and see us! We're in the Morning Star Ballroom. TBTB is a confusing show to get around, but well worth it. There are so many awesome vendors, including my employer (duh!), our booth neighbor Jeremy Sinkus (not only does he make great beads, but he brought in an extra table to put in behind all of our tables, so we the three of us at the end have extra space to work), Christi Friesen (who said nice things about my humble sea dragon! she's so sweet!), and Kyoto Kimono, where I bought a haori jacket today. Woohoo!

Tonight was the night that Best Bead was open late, so after work my boss Lois and I went over there. We did some traffic ninja moves and made it down there in an amazing 18 minutes during the end of rush hour. Go us! More amazing was the fact that I managed to do all of my shopping there in a little over an hour. The show is great and deserves more time than that, but since I would have to take 3 shuttles to get down there again, I decided to rush and get it all done at once.

I would love to blog at length about my awesome purchases, the cool people I've been hanging with, and the interesting things that have happened, but I am so tired that I can barely focus on the screen. It is time to crash!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Gem Show is HERE!

Whew, am I tired! Today was the first day of Gem Show for me. That meant shopping. Lots of shopping. We only hit the G&LW Gem Mall, but that was enough to wipe us all out.

We happened to walk in right next to the place that I always buy my crystals from. So the first order of business was to get crystal. I had a list of what I needed. I purchased everything on that list, and then a few other very cool colors. Swarovski is raising their prices in February, so I figured I might as well buy a little more than I was planning. Besides, all of the colors were so beautiful! I always say "I'm not going to buy so much crystal this year" and then I see that wall of sparklies, and I just can't help myself.

I actually did exercise a little more self-control when it came to Czech glass and vintage, though I did let Chris talk me into this really cool strand of slightly twisted green and black triangles. What will I do with them? I have NO clue. My other awesome vintage find was a bag of domed tortoise shell glass disks, with a hole at the top. They will make great dangles in something, but again, I'm not sure what.

Other purchases included some Thai hill tribe silver, not a lot but some really cute little dangles which I'll probably add to collars. Then there's my secret weakness, Chinese carvings. Not only did I get another crow seated on a skull, but I got a skull with two owls sitting on it. How wicked is that?!? Plus I got TINY wooden skull beads. I'm used to seeing the big ones, strung up all mala-style, but these are little 5mm guys. So sweet! And I got some really pretty Sterling chandelier findings, so as soon as I buy more headpins, there will be great new earrings.

My best purchase, however, was BELTS! There was this booth that had all of that tribal jewelry stuff, including lots of belts. I was admiring them, and they didn't have any prices, and I thought "They're going to be too expensive, I should just get a necklace or some bracelets." Then a lady asked the guy working there how much one style of belt was, and he said $20. I thought "Wow, those must just be the super-budget ones, surely this cool style that I like must cost $75-100." I was prepared to maybe spend a lot anyway, since I had, after all, saved my Christmas money for just this purpose. So I asked how much the belt I was holding up was. He said $30. Then I asked him about the other belt I was eyeing. He said that it was $25. So at that price I naturally decided that I had to have BOTH. I now have a silver-metal and blue glass belt with chains with little jingly hearts dangling them, and a cord belt with "amulets" hanging from it, including two mirrors. Nevermind that I already had two belts.

The blue belt is actually too long, but it should be easy to remove a segment or two, and then I can use that to make a necklace, or since I already have a necklace which will look awesome with that belt, maybe I can figure out a way to attach it to my turban, or I could sew it onto a bag, or make it into a necklace to sell. Either way, the extra piece will not go to waste.

By the time we were done at Gem Mall, we were all beat and starving, so we decided to forgo "Metaphysical Row" which is OK, because the main thing I was going to buy there was tribal jewelry, and I already got my belts, da ha! Now I am here at home, struggling to stay awake because I got almost no sleep last night. I just lay awake thinking about gem show.

Tomorrow is set up for the show I'm working at, and it's also when I'll be dancing for my friend/boss Lois. Should be fun!

No Cool Thing today, Gem Show is so cool that everything else pales in comparison!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Way too busy

Erf. I was going to have a website update and a Fashionable Friday column today, but it's just not happening. Doing the BFAC pictures took longer than I expected, I ran into some trouble with my jewelry project this week, I had some columns to write, and today is my last day to do things before gem show starts. That means lots of housework, laundry, and searching through my inventory to see what all I need to buy more of. Plus running errands. If I wasn't the only healer for my large D&D group, I wouldn't even go to gaming tomorrow.

The good news is that the BFAC projects should be up on the website soon, and also, of course, that the Gem Show countdown is now at 1 day!!!

I have to go get back to work now. I will pop in and out with some blogging throughout the show.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Blogging on my laptop!

Ahhh, this is the life. I'm sitting here with a nice mug of pina colada/peach rooibos tea, typing away on my laptop. The laptop is so nice to use in the winter, it's much like having a cat in my lap, except that there are no sharp claws and it doesn't bite me when I type (my cat Topher likes to attack my fingers when he thinks I should be petting him instead of doing my e-mail).

Today was a pretty good day all around, actually. The weather warmed up and Mom and I went out for lunch and shopping, which we hadn't done since well before the holidays. We hit our favorite thrift store, where I picked up a bit of clothing (some of which I can wear for gem show, yeah!), and then we were off on a quest for Bead Unique! JoAnn's didn't have it, but Mom found some fabric to make herself some nice pants. Michael's didn't have it, but we killed plenty of time browsing. And then, we hit Borders, which actually had it! Hooray!

So are you ready for the big news?!? My BFAC project is on page 66! As I mentioned in an earlier post, I really did not expect to be one of the people featured -- my necklace is nice, sure, but there is some downright phenomenal beadwork done by BFAC contributors! Of course, they also chose some of the very best items to showcase, including Jen Kuhns' beaded baby dragon and egg.

Well anyway, I also picked up an awesome album, covered in sari-style ribbon and little mirrors, and we hit the check out. I was wearing my tribal necklace with the bone crow, and the cashier complemented me on it. When I said my standard "Oh thank you, I made it myself" she seemed impressed, and then Mom did the Mom thing and said "Well, she had to come in and buy the magazine because she's in it!" So the cashier turned to the article and ooh'ed and aah'ed. It was a very nice ego-boosting moment. My real hope is that she'll remember, check the magazine out, and go bid on our auctions when they start ;)

Tonight I started a new necklace for Friday's update, something with a little "Asian Flair" as my friend Deb likes to say. I'm hoping to finish it tomorrow at the game, and then Thursday I might make a couple more little things, and then I have a necklace that I need to make to go with something I bought today. Gem show demands cool clothes AND cool jewelry.

Speaking of which, gem show countdown is down to FOUR brief days!

I don't have hardly any bookmarks on the laptop, so for tonight's cool thing you are going to have to settle for the fact that I am in a magazine! Hey! I think it's cool!

Monday, January 22, 2007

I kid you not, it snowed!

Yes, you read that right. It snowed in Tucson. If you don't believe me, read this article and look at the picture of snow on saguaros. I missed most of the snowiness, because I decided to stay inside and be warm, and sleep. But even at 3pm when I went to get the mail, there was still a little scrap of it in the lee of the building. We haven't had any snow here in a really long time, in fact, I think that in the almost 13 years that I've lived in Tucson, the winters have grown progressively warmer. I'm really not used to this really wintry weather.

All weather chatter aside, things are great here. On Saturday night, I finished the second draft of my book! This means that I feel free to start work on my next book, which I've been wanting to do for a couple of months. I also did a little beading in the past two days, which resulted in a nice Tribal necklace for me. I'll post a pic later this week.

The main thing I've been doing, of course, is finishing up the BFAC pictures. I'll be done with them tonight or tomorrow, depending on whether I decide to give in to the urge to write tonight. I want to get them done early in the week, so if there are any problems I can correct them before gem show.

Speaking of... Gem Show Countdown: 5 days!

One more random thing: Last night we watched a movie called Kill! It's a parody of the 1960s Samurai movies, from 1969. Even though it has parodic elements, it also stands pretty well as a serious movie. It helps that it's based on the same book as Yojimbo and Last Man Standing, which is just a good story. Definitely something to watch if you enjoy Japanese movies.

Today's Cool Thing is Rainbow Flame Crystals. I can't remember where I saw them (maybe in Rare Bird Finds?), but I think they're pretty awesome. If I ever go to the bonfires that my brother and his friends have, I want to bring a can of these. Heck, I might just buy my bro some for his b-day in a couple months. Lucky for me he doesn't read my blog, ha ha!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

I am a nice, normal post.

Ok, so Thursday's update came dangerously close to waxing melancholy. Today's post shall be more upbeat. Oh, and I hope you enjoyed the Fashionable Friday yesterday!

Today doesn't feel much like a Saturday, because D&D was canceled. Our GM wanted to go to some miniatures tournament or something instead. To him I say BAH! And just for that I'm not going to his next game. Well, actually, I won't be at his game because I'll be working all day at gem show and spending most of the night having dinner with beady friends.

Speaking of gem show, are you ready for the countdown? That's right, only SEVEN days left. One glorious week! Oh, the fun I am going to have!

If you have been to my website recently, and if you looked at the proper items, you may have noticed that I now have similar item recommendations! My amazingly coding-savvy husband got that all set up for me, and someday I hope to have at least one recommended item on every product. For now, if you want to test out just how it works, I recommend looking for a black-and-red item. I linked them all together in an unending chain of Gothy goodness.

I think I've had too much sugar today, I am in a pretty goofy mood.

I've got to go brew myself some tea and get back to work now, so I will leave you with today's Cool Thing, which is a very informative blog post about one of my favorite things in the world: green beads! It makes you look at those vintage green beads in a whole new light, doesn't it? Of course, it's a little hard for you to look at MY vintage green beads, since I hog most of them to myself and don't use them in website stock ;)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Fashionable Friday -- Thoughts of Romance

Valentine's Day is almost upon us, and so our thoughts turn to romance. The stores are full of chocolates, heart-shaped candies, and cards with sentiments that range from sweet to raunchy. Perhaps you and that special someone are already planning on how to spend the evening.

Jewelry is a natural part of Valentine's Day. The large jewelry stores would of course have you believe that gold and diamonds are the perfect gift, but a lovely handmade necklace can be even more wonderful. What better gift than something unique, something that stands out from the crowd?

My latest creation is The Queen of Love and Beauty, seen above. Although it doesn't have the traditional hearts, its colors and styling are nonetheless incredibly romantic. This may very well be the most beautiful necklace I've ever made.

Of course, I have many heart-themed jewelry items on my site. Midnight Passion is a darkly romantic collar. Blue Heart and Opulent Romance are two delightful bracelets. And True Love and Gothic Romance are both lovely earring pairs.

I'm far from the only jewelry artist with perfect Valentine's Day offerings. Dornick Designs has I'm Burning For You, a tribal heart necklace. Tomoko has Black Heart, which appeals to my Goth side. JewelLace has Old Gold & Pearl, which is quite elegant. Dreams and Jewelry has a Blackened Heart Lariat that I really like. And Paper Jewels has Chinese Kiss Heart pendants, which are way too sweet.

Of course, romantic jewelry is even better if you pair it with romantic clothing. I simply love this Juliet gown by Martin McCrea -- In fact, I think it would go perfect with The Queen of Love and Beauty. For a slightly more casual, but still elegant look, I love this burn-out velvet blouse. If you'd rather just carry a romantic handbag, this Knight and Lady bag is perfect!

Sometimes romance can be silly, too, which is why I like the Skelly in Love card.

Love is everywhere!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

I missed yesterday!

I fully intended to post yesterday, in the afternoon before I left for my L5R game. But first of all I got really absorbed in the bead project I'm currently working on... Then a friend came over. I think we were all only planning on her being here for a few minutes, but then she noticed the thing about bead crochet on the cover of the latest B&B, so I showed her the article, and then we spent a good half-hour sitting on my living room floor trying to figure out bead crochet. One beader, one crocheter, and we still didn't figure it out! It was fun anyway, though, and we might give it another try in the future.

I am going to be super-busy for the next few days. I volunteered to take over editing all of the pictures of this year's Beading for a Cure projects. Little did I realize just how many pictures that was! I received the disc today, spent a while looking at the projects (they're phenomenal), and tonight I will start the long task of getting them ready for the website. I will of course let you know when they are up, so you all may go "Oooh" and "Aaaah" appropriately. The auctions, by the way, will be starting in March. Start saving your pennies now!

Beading for a Cure is done in the memory of a woman named Layne, with whom I was friends for a few years. I was thinking about Layne
yesterday, as I was working with peyote stitch. She lived in California, but her parents lived in Green Valley (the next town over from Tucson), and so it wasn't too unusual for her to come out here and visit, when her health allowed. One time she tried to teach Chris and I peyote stitch, with giant needles and plastic pony beads. I didn't fully grasp it at the time, but I kept at it. Whenever I saw her after that, I'd show her the projects I'd done with tiny bits of simple peyote stitch. As I was sitting there, making a peyote ruffle around the edge of a cabachon, I started thinking about how I wished I could show her that it had finally "clicked" and I could really do the stitch now. I like to think that she'd be pretty proud of me. And in fact, one of the colors of beads that I'm using in the project was part of the sizable bead collection she left me after she passed, so I guess in a way, there's a little bit of her in this necklace.

I'm hoping to finish the necklace tonight, so it can be part of tomorrow's update. And just in case Layne is out there somewhere and able to know when she's thought of, I'd like to say: Thank you for everything; the teaching, the beads, but most of all the friendship and being there when I needed you.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

How are you today?

How's it going out there in the wide internet? Things are going good here. I had a pretty nice day, actually. Chris and I went out on a rare date. We saw Curse of the Golden Flower, had dinner at Texas Roadhouse, and went over to Barnes and Noble. My parents used to joke that it wasn't a date if they didn't go to Wal-Mart. For us it's quickly turning into not being a date if we don't hit B&N.

So first, the movie. It was beautiful but also very boring in some parts. I'm not much of a drama person, and I figured most of the intrigue out pretty quickly. There were a few good action scenes, however, and you have to see the costumes to believe them! WOW! The Empress especially has some beautiful outfits, amazing hairpieces and jewelry, too. I may have to see if I can find a screen-capture of her gold necklace and see if I can recreate it in beads. China has been making some incredibly attractive movies in recent years, with sets that are almost over-the-top and clever use of color. I found that there was almost too much color in the palace where 99% of this movie takes place. Over all, I am not sure if I liked the movie, but I enjoyed watching it from a sheer eye-candy point of view.

Next, dinner. My parents have been not really bugging us to try Texas Roadhouse, but every few months they ask if we've been there yet. So since we were in the neighborhood and wanted to try a new restaurant, we finally went there. The service was good and surprisingly fast for a crowded sit-down restaurant. My steak was good, my sweet potato was beyond delicious, and the sweet tea was just like what I always drink way too much of when I visit North Carolina. Chris, on the other hand, was disappointed with his meal. The steak was almost half fat, and the fries weren't that great, he said. He did like his chili, though, and we both liked the rolls. Neither one of us really dug the country-western atmosphere (I grew up on C&W and the music was inducing flashbacks). If you like southern American type food and country music, you'd probably enjoy your dinner there, but we'll probably be going out for teppenyaki at our favorite Japanese restaurant next time we crave steak.

And then, the book store. They didn't have Bead Unique either! I asked at the information desk and the nice man there said that although it was supposed to go on sale today, they didn't have their shipment yet and hopefully would next week. Of course we couldn't leave Barnes and Noble empty handed, so a trip to the bargain books section was in order. The first thing I found was this cool deck of stretch cards. Each deck shows how to do one stretch, lists what muscle groups it stretches, what its good for, stuff like that. I'm sure I'll get some good use out of it, as I'm always trying to learn new stretches to improve my range of movement and muscle control for dancing.

The real find of the night was spotted by Chris, however. It's a book called something like "The Secret Lives of Faeries and Elves" which purports to be transcribed from the journal of a 17th century Scottish reverend who actually traveled to Faery. The man in question, one Robert Kirk, apparently actually existed and his writings are said to be referred to in other texts of faerie lore. I own a copy of one of the books mentioned in the reference section, so I'm going to look him up in there later.

I have my doubts as to the reality of this so-called journal, however. The reverend records some faerie stories that he's heard, and the two that I've read so far are pretty well-known to me, having been mentioned in several different books. The second one concerned the tale of the faerie wife who gave her husband the following taboo: If he ever struck her three times, she would leave him. In the stories which I'm familiar with, her husband struck her three times in anger, and she left. This story takes a far more politically correct bent, one time he strikes her playfully, the other two are on accident. The way the story is changed to reflect contemporary mores makes me question its authenticity. Regardless of whether it's true, it's still proving to be an enjoyable read.

A few other things of note: I did end up dancing last night, and warmed up enough that I actually stayed warm for a few hours. This has encouraged me to not be so lazy, so as soon as I finish this post I'll dance again (it's taken this long for me to not feel like I was fit to burst from dinner!). After I got tired from dancing, I practiced with my fire fans a bit. Had they actually been lit, I would have scorched the ceiling, the carpet, my shirt and my pants. I need more practice! I also worked on my book a bit. I only have a few chapters left to edit -- thank God!

Inspired by last night's fannage, today I finally watched the DVD that came with the fans. I was hoping for some how-to info on cool fan moves (my brother sent me a video today of this guy doing some amazing dancing with paired fans), but it was all safety tips and interviews. The tips were of course good, and the interviews were interesting, but I'm still left unsure of how to properly spin a fan without dropping it or wrenching my fingers. Lots of practice will be in order, it seems. There's supposed to be a fire-spinning group here in town, so maybe I can find someone local who can give me some pointers. My brother unfortunately only spins a great big quarter staff.

Wow, did this post go on forever. I'm going to finish it up, because if I wait any longer, I'll be too sleepy to dance. Today's Cool Thing is Flexi-8 Barettes. I purchased one at the Winter 2005 4th Ave Street Fair and wore it almost daily for a couple of months. I only stopped because it had rhinestones and one fell out and I've been too lazy to replace it. I really should fix it and/or buy some new ones, because it is super comfortable!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Magazine shopping

Today I tried to get a copy of the Spring 2007 Bead Unique so I could read the BFAC article, but JoAnn's didn't have it yet. Instead I had to content myself with the latest Beadwork and Bead and Button magazines. Not quite as cool, but at least I got an evening of reading out of them, and there are a few projects I'll probably do. There are even a couple of chaimaille projects for Chris.

But I want my Bead Unique!!! Hopefully Barnes and Noble will come through for me.

Before it got really cold (that is to say, before the sun went down) I glued down a bunch of cabs. When I want to bead a cab, I don't want to sit around waiting for the glue to dry. It made sense to do half a dozen at once so I have a few projects ready to go. There are two projects worth for website stock and two projects worth for me. Now I've just got to thaw out enough to actually get the work done.

I know I shouldn't complain about the cold in the face of the bad storms that are happening out East, so I'm trying to keep it down. I just wish that I didn't get so sluggish in 50 degree temperatures.

The other thing that I did today was play with my Mohop shoes. I tried out a couple of different types of ribbons and experimented with different ways of tying them and discovered that yes, I can walk in high heels without breaking my ankle. I want to add some bead accents to my ties, of course. If the weather is warm enough, I plan on wearing my shoes with bright green ribbon ties to the Bead Dinner I'm organizing. Bead Dinner and show-and-tell go hand in hand, after all.

I'm going to go make myself dance, which will definitely warm me up once I actually get moving, and then I hope to finish my two spiral bracelets from Saturday. In the meantime, I'll leave you with today's Cool Thing: Table Travesties -- a webcomic by a friend of mine who happens to also be named AJ. There's only one strip up so far, but it is going to be a fantasy/gaming themed comic, and as you can see, AJ (not-me) has some awesome art.

Gem Show Countdown: 12 days!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

An Earring Invasion!

Chris and I slept in and decided to stay home today instead of running errands, since he took Tues and Weds off work anyway so we have another nice 5-day weekend. So, with all that abundant free time, I decided to go ahead and add 5 new pairs of earrings to the website!

And to almost make up for not having a Fashionable Friday column for the past month, I now present to you... The Earring Invasion!!!! *cue the sixties sci-fi music* I combed the web to find great earrings by other artists for you to enjoy.

Dusty Road

Antique Angel

Plush Skulls

Sparrow Egg

Micro Macrame


Evil Eye's Earrings

That should keep you browsing for a while! I'll check back in tomorrow. Oh, and by the way... Gem Show Countdown: 13 days!

Friday, January 12, 2007

New Jewelry TODAY!

If you mosey on over to the site, you will find one new woven necklace and one new spiral bracelet. You'll also find that the View Cart buttons have returned to their rightful spot. I was going to get more done, but Chris had to tweak a few more things to make item listing work properly, so I got a very late start. I'll either list more on Sunday or Monday, or there will be a huge update next week.

Also next week, we will see the return of the Fashionable Friday column! I've missed writing them and I hope you're looking forward to reading them again.

Yesterday I made earrings. You may recall that I said that I wanted to have a few new pairs for the update... A few turned into 7. It's a good thing that it's almost gem show time, because I am nearly out of earring supplies. I just stocked up in September! The funny thing about earrings is that I usually go into the beadroom with the intention of picking out beads for one or two pairs, but then as I'm trying to match things up I just find more and more great combinations and I end up making half a dozen pairs.

Today's Cool Thing is Monkeyshines' awesome ephemera buttons. You know that I love buttons, and these have some very cool recycled images on them. I like the geisha images best of all, and will probably have to purchase some soon. I haven't purchased any buttons in months and I think I might be suffering from withdrawal.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

New jewelry on its way!

Just prior to sitting down to write this post, I put the finishing touches on a new woven necklace for tomorrow's update. That puts me at three items already, and I'm going to make at least two pairs of earrings for the update, too. I also have some more woven projects planned, but I don't think I'll get them done in time, since I have a few non-beady things to do tonight and tomorrow will of course be taken up by photography and suchlike.

That said, of course whatever doesn't get done in time for tomorrow will be in next week's update! I am feeling pretty inspired lately and am hoping to dedicate less time to sleeping and more time to business. I have a whole lot that I want to get done before gem show, and only 16 days left to do it.

Hmmm... I think I'll start a gem show countdown in my blog! You can bet that with as much as I'm talking about it now, I will have tons to say about it during the show, or after, depending on how busy/tired I am.

Ok, on to very cool but non gem show things! Keep an eye on your favorite newsstands, because there is an article about Beading for a Cure in the Spring 2007 issue of Bead Unique! Some people already have their copies in hand, whereas others expect to not be able to get it until the end of the month. I personally don't have mine yet, but I plan to look for it this weekend. Everybody who's seen it has been hush-hush about whose work was included. I'm pretty sure mine wasn't, since I'm small potatoes compared to some of the truly awesome work done by my friends, but I still have to seeeeee.

Other-other cool news is the fact that I just found out that the animated version of Beowulf that is coming out later this week is Produced by Neil Gaiman! WOOHOO! Previously I was thinking that it was going to suck, because many animated movies lately have, but now that I know that Gaiman is working on it, I have pretty high hopes. Not that I'm a fangirl or anything. Not at all. What I found stupid, however, is that the MovieFone listing for the movie only made mention of him as a "graphic novelist" and Sandman. Aside from the fact that his novels are incredible, you'd think maybe they would mention MirrorMask, seeing as how it is a movie and thus quite relevant to the subject at hand.

As usual, I digress. Today's Cool Thing is shamelessly taken from another blog, because this jewelry is just so pretty that I want to show it to everyone! Ananda Khalsa's jewelry takes my breath away and fills me with covetous feelings. It may cause you to drool on your keyboard. You have been warned!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Tales of gem show madness.

Today it's grey and windy in Tucson. The forecast for the next few days calls for rain. Well, we definitely need the rain, so I don't mind, even though I have to do laundry tomorrow. I'm hoping that we get plenty of rain for the next week or two, and then it dries back up for gem show. As anyone who lives in Tucson knows, we almost always have the worst weather of the year during gem show season.

In case non-Tucsonans doubt me, let me tell you a story. Back before I started beading professionally, there was only one gem show that my family went to (this happened probably back when I was about 14), and that was the Congress Street Expo, which was right off of the freeway. It was one of those big tent shows with a dirt parking lot, with transient-looking people camping out in the patch of trees on the edge. It was the sort of show with cheap beads, hippies, and general "cool stuff." It was also far less crowded and easier to park at than the big show at the Convention Center, and free to get into. Basically a good way to kill an afternoon and pick up some jewelry and beads and doo-dads. This show has since moved to Tucson Electric Park, changed its name, and become more like a swap meet in a tent, but I digress.

During one of the last years that the Expo was on Congress Street, we had these huge storms. Being a cheap show, the Expo didn't have a real floor, so it was basically soggy, muddy astroturf, and it was kind of cold and drafty in there. But that wasn't the worst of it... One night, the tent collapsed. The high winds and the mud were too much, and it just came down. Luckily it was after hours so no one was physically hurt, but a lot of the businesses had it pretty bad. The supports for the tent fell down on peoples' booths, destroying displays and products. Tons of water got in. It was a MESS.

And I hear that a couple of years before I moved out here, there was an even worse storm-gem show debacle.

Needless to say, I'm very happy that I work at an indoor show these days, with a paved parking lot. I used to work in tents, one of which was a little better than the Expo and one which was really nice, but still a tent.

I spent a nice chunk of this afternoon on the phone with my boss Lois, making plans for said gem show. We've got it all figured out. With only two people working the booth (last year we had three) we had to plan things in such a way that we could both shop and schmooze, two very important elements of gem show. And of course we had to plan out our pre-show shopping, hitting those shows which will start a few days before the one we're working at.

I could talk all day about gem show, but honestly, since it's still almost 3 weeks away, you'd probably get sick of it fast if I talked about nothing but shows every post. That said, I will mention that today I am once again baking delicious tea cookies. The weather couldn't possibly be better for cookie-baking, and of course, I have L5R tonight, so there will be plenty of people to devour said cookies. Last time the entire batch went in one night, and this time I have to set some aside for Chris's tea-buddy at work.

My cookies need my attention now, so I'll leave you with today's Cool Thing: Delightfully Sinnful gothic dolls! If I had more room, I would spend some of my holiday money on one of these dolls. They're so cool!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

On what happens when AJ doesn't sleep.

Wow, was today boring. I did housework. I won't bore you with the details. Instead I'll tell you about last night/this morning, when I could not sleep. It took me a good two hours to fall asleep. It could possibly be blamed on the tea I had, but that was only one cup and it was several hours before bed, and it wasn't even that strong. No, I think it can be blamed on the fact that it's almost gem show time (and by almost, I mean gem show is still three weeks away).

You see, whenever something big and exciting is coming up, instead of sleeping, I lie awake thinking about it. So of course since gem show is fast-approaching, I started thinking about the beads I would buy, which led me to thinking about the beads I bought last year, when led me to thinking about what I could make with some of those beads which hadn't been used yet. I came up with several good ideas, two of which will be for personal jewelry for me, but I still might use the techniques for some website stock as well.

Inspiration is nice, but I wish it wouldn't come knocking at 3-4am when I was trying to sleep!

My gem show schedule is falling nicely into place. Today I looked up colors for Spring, so I know what to keep an eye out for when I shop (otherwise I will buy nothing but green and black). This week and next I'll be combing through my current bead stash to get an idea on what I need to stock back up on and what sort of color gaps I have to fill. I might even get super-fancy and set a budget for myself, regarding how much I should spend on certain types of beads. We shall see.

In somewhat related news, I promised my friend and gem show boss Lois that I would dance for her while she's in town, which means I need to keep in practice! This will be made more fun by the fact that my husband now has a subwoofer on his computer... mmmm, loud dance music! I even found the missing iPod cord today. Go me!

Today's Cool Thing is the Gallery of Regrettable Food. Some of it is gross, and some of the commentary is inappropriate, but my goodness did Chris and I laugh our heads off at this site.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Ohmigosh, it's a SALE!

Yes, my New Website Celebration sale is going on NOW! There are items on sale in almost every category! Go, go, look!

Ok, I'm excited because I've never had a real sale before... it's always been silly stuff like "free shipping." Also I'm excited because it's almost gem show season, and the more jewelry I sell, the more new beads I can buy and the more jewelry I can make. I'm really in an "out with the old, in with the new" sort of mood.

Today was spent working on the website. I literally spent hours putting all of the necklaces back into their proper place, spellchecking things (I do so love Firefox 2), and putting items on sale. Then I decided to edit most of the text on my website. Plus I had to fix some errors, while my husband fixed bugs. Unless I sell anything, I'm not touching the site again until Friday... I am so tired of looking at my admin site, ha ha!

One thing I noticed today was whoops, there's no more "view cart" button. That will be fixed by Friday. Also by Friday the similar-item-linking should be implemented. And, of course, there will be new jewelry. I know, I know, it's about time. Hasn't been anything new since before Christmas, and that's just not right.

Today's Cool Thing is this awesome video of a man and his horses. It reminds me of those circus trick riders, only cooler.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Please pardon my dust!

There is some serious construction going on at my website! So far I've spent my afternoon poking around, getting things done behind the scenes, and discovering bugs for Chris to fix. Of course I would rather be making jewelry, but this is work that needs to be done ;)

Would you like to know what you can expect from the new and improved Erthe Fae Designs website?

-A search function! Since I have an average of 100 items on the site at any time, I thought this might make your shopping experience a little easier.

-The gallery will finally work! Now you will be able to see things like my Beading for a Cure projects, personal jewelry, and clay work.

-Similar-item linking. Now when you view an item, you'll also be provided with a few links for related items. Thus if you are looking at a nice black and red necklace, you might get links for a black and red bracelet and two pairs of earrings in the same color scheme as well. Purchasing coordinated jewelry has never been easier!

-Generally improved usability. The website should be faster, more efficient, and in some cases, laid out a little better.

-A big sale to celebrate! This week I am going to put so many things on sale. I'm slightly changing my focus, and so I'll be clearing out some things that no longer accurately portray my style. I'm also going to put some fall-and-winter hued items on sale. And I might put random things on sale just because I feel like it.

Most if not all of this will be showing up on the site throughout this week, hopefully culminating with new jewelry on Friday. Until then, you may notice some small problems with the site. For instance, today I discovered that when we made some changes to the order of my necklace categories, the necklaces themselves stayed in the same position... so my collars are the only necklaces that are actually in the right category right now. We're going to get that fixed today, though. In fact, depending on when you read this, it may already be fixed.

I must apologize for yesterday's brief post. My brother had been riding his bike home from work at 10pm and got a flat. Because we game on Saturday nights, he didn't call us for a ride until 11:30! Poor guy didn't realize that we'd been home since a little after 9. So of course I wasn't going to make him wait at 7-11 while I blogged! It WAS fun, however, trying to get my 6 foot tall brother and his mountain bike into our back seat... Good thing he was only 5 minutes away from home by car!

So, as promised, today you get two cool things. The first is The Toy Maker's free paper toys section! If you have a color printer (instead of a boring B&W like I do), you can print these up and assemble some cool little toys. How nifty is that? The other is this Knitted Albert Einstein hat. How cute! It really brought a grin to my face.

Back to working on the website for me! Have a wonderful day.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Ha ha! A Saturday update!

So, I'm trying to remember to actually post on Saturdays. It was quite easy to do so today, since my D&D game was over by about 8. Kind of anti-climactic, that, since we didn't start until after 3 and there was a dinner break in there, too. Oh well. During the game I worked on a new spiral bracelet for the site and I finished it when I got home, so that will be in this week's update.

The above necklace will also be in this week's update! The centerpiece is made from leaves designed by Barbara Grainger, all stacked up and stitched together, with a pearl in the center for extra class. It looks rather orchid-like, so now I need to do one in purple. I'm thinking maybe I'll attach it to a bracelet for a corsage kind of look.

I'd post more, but my little brother just calls and needs a hand, so I'm going to close this up now and not even give you a Cool Thing... so tomorrow I will do two to make up for it!

Friday, January 05, 2007

A regal unicorn.

The above pendant is what I made my Mom for the holidays this year. I am really happy with the color scheme here, it's so beautiful and regal. My Mom works hard and deserved something pretty and just a little luxurious. The cabachon is porcelain, and I've actually been saving it for a few years, waiting to be able to make something nice. I like the color scheme so much that you'll probably see it again in the future.

Ok, ready for the big news? The new version of my website is basically done. WOOHOO! If you go there right now you'll notice some changes right away, and over the next few days there will be a lot more changes as I take advantage of the new features available to me. Next week I'll go ahead and get all of my sale items set up, so that will be quite awesome. And late next week there will be new jewelry, finally, after way too long. Yay!

And now, I ramble about life stuff. First of all, I finished reading The Prestige. Wow. Awesome book. Although I really enjoyed the movie and I still think it's great and I'll recommend it to everyone I know, the book comes out better in the end. I enjoyed the writing style, I enjoyed the slightly different twists, and I really enjoyed the pure creepy moments that simply weren't in the movie. The film was a wicked tale of escalating revenge; the book had some elements of true horror which appealed to this Lovecraft fan.

Speaking of books, we went to Barnes and Noble today because I wanted to pick up this encyclopedia of mythological creatures that I'd been eyeing for months but hadn't purchased because it was the sort of thing that someone might buy for me as a present. It's a good thing I went and bought it today, because after previously having stacks and stacks, they only had 3 copies left. I nabbed one up. Then while looking for something in the craft section, my eyes strayed over at the nearby occult section, and I saw a copy of the Necronomicon. I pointed it out to Chris and he of course had to buy it. Nothing good can come of this, I am sure. Instead of keeping it under lock and key, we've got it sitting in the middle of the living room under the class schedule for Pima Community College.

Having sated our desire for books of varying degrees of occult nature, we went over to Chivalry Sports, wherein I purchased a skirt with mirrors on it and a green turban. I figure a turban will be a good way to wear my hair up when I want to dance with fire. It will also be a good thing to wear when I just want to look cool, which happens to be a frequent occurance.

I was going to dance tonight, but Chris had to set up his new computer which required cleaning off his desk, which somehow turned into "I'm going to pile all the stuff from my desk onto the living room floor." Between his desk and the empty packaging from the computer, there's approximately one square foot of floor on which I could dance. This is a real shame as his new computer came with a subwoofer, which practically demands that tribal drums be played.

In other totally not related to business or beads in any way news, I've been hard at work editting my book. I'm hoping to be done with this draft soon, which will allow me to start on my third book without any guilt. I really want to work on book three, as some wicked stuff will happen in it and it's sitting there in my head going "wriiiiite meeeeeee" which of course makes it hard to concentrate on boring edits to book 1. Such is the life of a writer.

Today's Cool Thing is just as random as this post: The 1936 Stout Scarab. This car is at once bizarre and awesome. Mostly awesome, because it has a scarab on the front. As a woman who owns a ton of pseudo-Egyptian jewelry and who spent way too much time playing Wolrd of Darkness's Mummy game, of course I would love a car with a scarab on the front.

Hey, I never claimed to be normal!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

I made an octopus!

True story: Once upon a time, my parents had a pet octopus. His name was Fred. This might seem a little weird to you, after all, the Addams Family had a pet octopus, but no other popular TV family did. But you have to understand that my parents had numerous aquariums and all sorts of ocean-dwellers as pets. Fred was just the tip of the iceburg. Although I never knew Fred, I grew up dealing with aquatic creatures which ranged from feeder goldfish to sea anemones.

Of my two parents, my father is really much more in to the whole ocean and aquarium thing. I've been buying him gifts related to various sea creatures for years, and so this year I decided "Hey, I'll make Dad an octopus!" Christi Friesen's new book had instructions and they looked easy. I decided I'd even get fancy and put said octopus on an Altoids tin, so he'd be functional as well as nifty.

Armed with this confidence, I set off to Wikipedia where I researched octopus, because I really didn't know what color they should be. It turns out that octopus can be any number of colors due to their natural camoflage capabilities. I also learned that octopus are darned scary. They have no bones. They have three hearts. They're scarily intelligent. If they lived for more than a few years, they'd probably have taken over the world by now.

I decided I would make a red octopus, because that would be pretty striking and within the realm of natural cephalopod hues. But then I remembered that because I'm not a huge fan of the color red, I don't actually own any red clay. Drat. So what the heck, I decided I'd go for broke and make the Blue-Ringed Octopus. The funny thing is that I knew exactly how I would make an accurate depiction of those rings in lampwork. Too bad I'm not a lampworker.

I could go on at length about the difficulties I encountered while making this octopus. I could complain about the brittle translucent clay, the way the suckers kept falling off, or the fact that the best way I could come up with to make the rings was to make a tiny ball of blue pearl clay, flatten it out, and then poke a hole in with a sharp little tool (with the dot resting on my fingertip, which also often got poked) and then wiggle the tool around to enlarge the hole. I could even mention the fact that the octopus developed a few cracks when I baked him.

But you know what? The important thing is that my Dad opened his present and loved it, started talking about how cool octopus in general were and how beautiful blue-ringed octopus were. It was a good feeling, just like being a kid again and having either one of my parents say nice things about the drawing I did, or the little chunk of loomed beadwork, or the short, short stories I used to write.

So there you have it, my tale of octopus creation. I might make another one someday, for Chris who also loves octopus, but I'll be using a different clay blend which will hopefully behave better. I also had an idea this week for how to make a nautilus, so I might try that soon.

I'm going to go ahead and end this post now, before I decide to go off on a rant about my personal life, so I'm going to leave you with today's Cool Thing, which is the Vampire Squid. All this research on Wikipedia, by the way, has convinced me that the vast majority of what lives in the ocean is creepy. I'm never going to the beach again!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Jolly Belt of Doom!

If you're a regular on my blog, then you probably remember me talking about the belt that I was working on, and working on, and working on. Well, here it is at long last! The Belt of Doom! It probably deserves a better name, but after how many hours I worked on it, it also deserves its doominous status. I finished it a couple of days before Christmas and wore it for my Christmas Eve dancing. I am very happy to say that it is not so heavy that it slides right off my skinny little hips, which was my worry.

The Belt of Doom is made with Japanese seed beads in black and a whopping 9 shades of green (which is only a tiny sliver of the amount of green in my collection...) and then accented with peridot, aventurine, and silvery bells. It makes quite a bit of noise when I dance in it. Heck, it makes noise when I walk in it.

This is the sort of thing that I will probably never make up for sale. It took simply too long to be economically feasible. There are much cooler belts on the market that one could buy for far less than it would cost to pay me for all those hours of work. But for my own personal enjoyment, it is nice to have a truly unique belt unlike anything that any other dancer is wearing, and to be able to say "Hey, I made this."

In other news, one of my more minor gifts from Chris was a copy of "The Prestige" -- the book that the movie of the same name was based on. I decided to kick back and start reading it last night, and so far I'm pretty happy with it. There are definite differences from the movie, and because it's a novel instead of a 2-hour film, the story and the characters have more depth. With how many other things I have to do this week, it'll probably take me at least a few days to read, and I'll be sure to keep posting my thoughts about it.

I'm in a Japanese kind of mood, since the L5R game is tonight, so today's Cool Thing is Metalgami by Hapa! I've seen sterling origame cranes before, but I've never seen sea turtles and ninja stars like she has. Very cool!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I'm back!

Well, it was never my intention to take half of December off from blogging, but I got distracted that that's exactly what happened. I got busy with holiday preparation and gaming and generally being cold and lazy. I suspect that I may actually be a cold-blooded creature, as I become unbelievably sluggish when winter rolls around. I sleep for 11 hours some days! Ok, so only about 8-9 of that is sleep, and the rest of it is me going "Bed so warm... world so cold..." and snuggling deeper into my coccoon of flannel sheets and fuzzy blankets.

I have not been idle, though, even if I do spend half the day in bed! This week I'll be posting a pic every day to show you all what I've been up to. The above actually predates my sudden hiatus. I'd like you all to say hello to Mr. Crimson, the dragon I made for my friend and D&D GM Rene. Basically I blended some crimson and gold clay to make my MIL's present (which I forgot to photograph, DOH!) and said "Wow, this would make a cool dragon" so I used the leftovers to decorate Mr. Crimson. His body and wings are black swirled with gold, and the other accents are straight gold. Because he's designed to just hang around (reportedly he spent Christmas on Rene's tree), I was able to do things that I couldn't do on a bead, like make a delicate crest and gigantic but thin wings. He is without a doubt my best dragon to date!

One of my New Year's presents from my undeniably cool parents was the set of tools I've been wanting for clay work, so I will be able to do even better things in 2007. I'm really looking forward to that, especially since there's all kinds of things I've been wanting to try in Christi Friesen's "Under The Sea" book. I might even get bold and do one of those wall hanging with lots of sea critters on it.

My family came over on Christmas Eve and I finally danced for them -- that's one of the really big things I did last month. It was my first time ever dancing for more than one person, which made for an interesting challenge since they were sitting at two couches which are at 90 degree angles from each other. Also, my living room is already small, and when you factor in leg room for 4 people (my dad and brother both being in the 6 foot range), I had less room than usual to dance. Nonetheless, I feel that I did pretty well and everyone had a good time. It was a great feeling! Of course, because of said sluggishness, I haven't danced since...

But that's all going to change, oh yes! My wonderful husband Chris gifted me with a pair of fire fans for the New Year! Yes, FANS that you light on FIRE! Ok, so you light the wicks on the ends on fire, but still. There is fire involved! What, did I forget to mention that I am a (socially responsible) pyromaniac? I love fire. And I love fans. And these particular fans are designed to be held while one is dancing. So now I must practice dancing and practice with my fans (they are kind of heavy) so that someday I may do awesome fire dancing. I did just a little bit in my parents' front yard last night (don't worry, it's all dry gravel and we had a fire extinguisher on hand) and cars who were driving by slowed to nearly a stop trying to figure out what was going on. Good times, good times!

Anyway, now on to some business-related stuff, since that's really what this blog is supposed to be about. You may have noticed that my website hasn't been updated since about the 15th. That's because Chris is still working on the new version, and I can't currently easily access my editting features. The site is almost done, or so he keeps telling me, and when it is finally up, there will be nifty new options for you, the shopper, and me, the content creator.

Ok, so maybe nifty new options aren't quite enough to pique your interest, so I'll say this as well: Once the new site is up, I will be having a SALE! Discounts will abound! Out with the old, in with the new! I love sales and I'm pretty sure that you do, too, so watch this blog for a big announcement when it happens. I'm hoping for sometime this week, but I can't pin down a definite date.

Today's Cool Thing absolutely has to be a video of fire fans in action, so here you go! I really like this one because the interplay between the two dancers is wonderful. Enjoy!