Friday, June 29, 2007

Summer Doldrums.

Ugh. The same thing happened to me last year. The heat hits and I just turn into a zombie. I'm sorry to have acted like I fell off the face of the universe. The truth is that I haven't beaded in a week and I was ashamed to come here and admit that I haven't been updating the website, or making jewelry to sell, or really doing anything other than impersonating a rock.

I'm slowly adjusting, and I'm determined not to let myself laze around and let the site suffer because of it. Thanks for your patience with me.

There will not be a website update this weekend. A very good friend of ours is coming to visit, we only get to see him for a few days a year, so Chris and I will definitely be chilling out with him and our mutual friends. On Sunday our plan is to get a TON of us together and go out for teppenyaki at our favorite Japanese restaurant. Some of the people invited have never even been there before, so it's going to be quite the treat for them.

I'll try to update during the week, but Chris is going to be home most of the time and we have a lot of plans, including a 4th of July potluck and lots of gaming on Friday. There WILL be a big holiday sale, though, even if there isn't new jewelry, and I am going to settle down and make stuff so that when I do finally update, it will rock.

Today's Cool Thing is the chainmaille tutorials at If you're interested in making your own maille, you want to check out this site! The illustrations are very clear, and there's a lot of very cool weaves. I need to get Chris to make me a whole bunch of bracelets now!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Trends I just don't get.

I've put this post off for a while, because I didn't want to sound snarky or curmudgeonly... But I just don't "get" a lot of current accessory trends. Maybe it's a symptom of my Goth-Hippie-Geek-Faerie ways. Perhaps if I were more mainstream, I would be in love with the same things everyone else was. For instance, when I was about 14, I went through a brief stage where I wanted to be like the other teenagers, so I convinced myself that I loved ringer tees with smiley face daisies on them. Now, of course, I don't own a single smiley. I don't even have a smiley button on my messenger bag (Heavens know I have every other sort of button!).

The big trend that I don't understand is flip-flops. Not the shoes themselves, I wore my fair share as a kid and a teen and the only reason I don't wear them anymore is that they don't last long when gravel is involved, so I prefer sturdy leather sandals these days. What boggles my mind is how they've gone from being a cheap Summer shoe to some sort of bizarre cultural icon. I've seen flip-flop jewelry, beads, cell phone dangles, cell phone cozies, party invitations (made on actual flip-flops for some unfathomable reason. Who uses a shoe as a part invite?), and heaven only knows what else. What is it about those simple little shoes that makes people say "Not only do I want to wear that on my feet, I want to surround myself with it!"?

I mean no offense to those of you who are currently enamored of flip-flops, but I'm pretty sure that within a few years, the culture as a whole will ask "Why were we so into that?" Kind of like how I look back at the 90s and wonder why I thought that suede lace and pony bead necklaces were so cool.

Another thing that I don't understand is cupcakes. I've seen a lot of cupcake stuff lately. Don't get me wrong, I love cupcakes. As a food. They're delicious, just the right size, and yes, they're even cute. But cute enough that I would want to wear them? Not really. Food is for my belly, not the outside of my body. Maybe I'd be more into it if I was part of the culture of cute, but I tend more towards the Gothy "These skull beads are the coolest thing ever" mold of fashion. The Lady of the Manners may have adopted the term Cupcake Goth, but I'm afraid it really doesn't apply to me.

And the last thing that I don't quite get is the connection between indie designers and cute forest animals. I mean, I like it. A lot of the jewelry and other things I see with sparrows, owls, deer and such really appeals to the nature-lover in me. I just don't understand why it's so prevalent. Sometimes I feel out of place when I look at other peoples' sites and they've got trees with birds, and little loopy vines, and I have... a really Gothed-out faerie. I guess that's the same part of me that felt like I had to buy ringer-tees as a 14 year old to fit in (for the record, it didn't help). My main thing is that I'm curious as to how it started. Did one or two people make products with cute woodlands creatures, and then a bunch of others decided to follow suit? Or was it one of those spontaneous inspiration things? Or are the sort of people who like to run indie businesses also the sort of people who love the adorable wild animals?

I guess that's enough about me feeling out of touch. Now allow me to make up for it with some Cool Things! The first is this awesome Raven pendant. Ravens are something that I "get!" The second is Tea Forte. I'd love to try their teas, just to see those cool bags in action! And the third is this really wicked Skeleton Angel t-shirt. Wings and skeletons! Two of my favorite things together in one awesome shirt!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

It's Tassel-Riffic!

Not much to report today. I'm working on a decorative strip to attach to a choli top. It uses some antiqued copper chain tassels that I've had for something close to forever, and some antiqued copper chain that my secret birthday buddy sent to me. It will also involve some polymer cabochons that I will make, and some fibre tassels that I will make. Unfortunately, I don't think I have anything here that will make appropriate tassels, so I'll have to go out and buy something.

In the meantime, I'll make the cabochons... And also work on other projects, of course. But this will be very cool. I love the look of tassels or fringe hanging down an otherwise bare stomach, it really accents a lot of belly dance movements.

No Cool Thing today, I'll try to make tomorrow a two-fer :)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Polymer Book Reviews.

This weekend I acquired two polymer clay books. There's nothing quite like the joy of having new books, especially how-tos for arts and crafts. I had the time to flip through both books, although I haven't had the chance to test out the quality of the instructions yet. Nonetheless, both books look pretty good.

My first new polymer book is Cats: Big & Small by Christi Friesen. This is the fourth installment in Christi's "Beyond Projects" series of books, and it continues the trend of being entertaining, informative, and enticing. I never intended to make polymer clay beads, but these books tempted me into it! I bought the Dragon one just because I wanted to look at all the pretty pictures and support a great artist, but then I looked at it and said "Hey, I CAN do this."

As the title suggests, this new book teaches you how to make wild cats and house cats. The projects include beads, sculptures, wall-hangings, and pins. There are even instructions on how to make yarn balls and mice, the perfect accessories for crafts. One thing that I really enjoy about Christi's books is that even if you don't want to make the particular subject of the book, there are lots of little tips that can be integrated into other clay work. In the case of Cats, there's information on how to make an eye cane and how to add artistic fibers to clay pieces.

The second book that I picked up is The Polymer Clay Techniques Book by Sue Heaser. The name says it all! This is not so much a project book as a how-to on various ways to work with and modify clay. I bought it because I jumped right into making sculptured dragon beads without ever learning the basics of polymer clay. Of the small collection of polymer-related books at my local B&N, this looked like the best for my needs. After reading through it at home, I'm pretty impressed. It covers making molds, adding various inclusions, how to mimic stones and other natural materials, how to use embossing powders, mica powders, enamels and more with polymer clay! In addition to showing the bead techniques that I'm most interested in, it also discusses how to use polymer to make sculptures, mosaics, boxes, miniatures and more. It's given me a lot to think about, and I am looking forward to trying some of these techniques out!

Both books are clearly written with lots of photographs of various steps to help you out. If you're looking to try polymer clay, or expand your existing knowledge of it, you can't go wrong with either of these books!

Today's Cool Thing is this beautiful Nymph corset top. I'd love to see it paired with a handkerchief-hem skirt and a pair of delicate faerie wings!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Hanging my head.

Ok, I have a shameful confession to make... Instead of doing today's website update, I spent the afternoon and evening playing video games with my husband. Pretty immature of me, I know, but after both of us worked hard all week and then spent the first half of the day doing errands out in the heat, I couldn't bring myself to get enthusiastic about more work.

Go ahead and shake your finger at me if you have to... I earned it. But I promise lots of lovely jewelry for next week's update, and maybe some other bonuses!

Not even a Cool Thing today, that's how lazy I am!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Shipping Is Back.

My free shipping sale is now officially over! I may have to tweak shipping rates over the next month or two to fit in with the new costs, if so I'll be sure to make clear what the changes are.

I will be having another sale at the start of next month. I just love coming up with ideas for sales!

Not much else to say today, I didn't get enough sleep so I'm tired and cranky. I won't subject you to THAT!

Today's Cool Thing is a raku-fired Dragonfly! I love raku, and the beautiful iridescent blue shade of this particular glaze is just perfect for a dragonfly. This would make the perfect gift for several people that I know, and I'm willing to bet that you know at least one person who would love it, too. Be sure to check out the seller's other items. I'd like to buy some of her pendants to use in my jewelry!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

My fight against chaos...

...also known as cleaning my beadroom. Once again I've managed to get fed up with the clutter in my beadroom, and I've spent the past two days trying to do something about it. I say "trying" because really, it's like that traffic jam game. I can move the pieces around all I want, there's still only going to be one empty space! At the very least, my clutter is more organized now. I managed to put a bunch of books away on my super-cute book case, and put away some beads that have been homeless since gem show, and re-organize some findings. One reason why I've been doing this is because the beadroom is currently too messy to work in, which means I have to work at the kitchen table. That means that this happens:
Yes, that is my cat Topher sitting smack-dab in the middle of my beadwork. He has this really fine hair, and it gets all over the beading pad and caught up in the beads when I weave them together. Also, it's hard to make jewelry when he is on not just my beads, but often my needle as well.

It's a constant battle between Topher and I. I want to make jewelry, he wants me to pay attention to him. Sometimes we come to a compromise and he lies down next to my Vellux work pad. In fact, I was just beading a few minutes ago, and he's still waiting there for me, dozing off with the expectation that I will come back and shower him with affection. He's insanely cute when he's asleep, so even though I'm done with beads for the night, there will probably be some petting in his future anyway.

Because I've been focused on beadroom cleaning, I don't have anything made for this week's update. I was just struck by an idea for a really cute bracelet, so I'll probably make that tomorrow. I also have a few ideas for nice woven necklaces and lariats, but I don't think I'll have any done in time for Sunday's update.

Today's Cool Thing is this Triple Fuse Necklace. It reminds me of something that some awesome raver chick would wear in a cyber-punk movie! Yeah!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

More new photos.

Slowly but surely, I've been replacing all of my "blah" old photos with nicer, newer ones. Jewelry-buying is a highly visual experience, so it's very important to me that I have the clearest, most accurate pictures that I can. This week I've updated the pictures for the Dragonscale Bracelet section. I really love these bracelets! They're comfortable, easy to wear, and texturally pleasing.

Next I'll be replacing the old Collar pictures. New ones have been taken, but I haven't retouched them yet. I tend to take a few dozen pictures in a sitting, but then it may be a few weeks until they're all prettied up and ready for the web!

You may recall that yesterday I mentioned the indie*galore blog. Well, after I posted, Jenn did an excellent write up on Erthe Fae Designs! You should all go over, read her kind words, then explore her blog, visit her sponsors, and check out her shop, too!

Today's Cool Thing is Handbound, a blog/shop for handmade books. I love books, I think you all know that by now, and I have a soft spot for handbound books. They're simply beautiful. This artist uses some gorgeous papers in rich colors to make particularly elegant tomes. I mean, just look at the jewel-like teal and gold of this one! Yum.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Jewelry for Kidneys!

Ok, I know, bizarre header, but hopefully it will get your attention!

Elijah Wyman is a musician and indie shop owner who is trying to raise money to cover the medical expenses to get a new kidney. Many other indie shop owners are trying to help him in his goal, because they're awesome like that. One such good-hearted person is Jen of Tilting Swiftly/Indie Fixx. You can see her necklace auction here! I love the beautiful combination of wood, peridot, and silver, so I have the current high bid. As much as I love to have gorgeous jewelry, I love it when charities make lots of money even more... So please feel free to attempt to out-bid me! And spread the word!

Today's Cool Thing is jrosebud's Indie*Galore Blog. Of course, I'm a little biased as to the coolness due to being an advertiser there... But I'm allowed to be biased! Indie*Galore is a great source for nifty items. I like how she posts a lot of adorable nature-themed goodies.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

More new earrings!

This week there are two new pairs of earrings up on my site, including these beauties, which I've dubbed "Sunset Shimmer." I'm now a little bored of making earrings, so I think I'll do something else this next week. Maybe a Lariat, my selection of those is pretty sparse.

I've not done much this weekend. Yesterday we had a character creation/learning the rules day for EarthDawn. Unfortunately, I already know the rules and had made my character, so I didn't have much to do. I packed up a bead project, only to leave it on my desk. Bah! There were a few people who needed my help in making their characters, but there was only so much I could do. I'm really excited about the game, however, and looking forward to playing it for real.

Today we were going to get together with my parents, but they rescued a new dog this weekend and thus things were a little crazy. Sadly, this 6 month old dog has NO name! I ask you, how can anyone own a dog for 6 months and not name it? It's beyond sad. Mom is calling him "Moosie Dog" until she figures out his real name, but I have decided that Moosie should be his name, and thus it shall be. My family names their pets with the best intentions, but they always end up with silly nicknames that they get called instead. Thus "Bubsy" became "Bubba" and "Caleb" became "Poofy" and so on. Moosie should probably get several names to make up for not having one for so long anyway.

Today's Cool Thing is Cartwright's, an awesome site for sequins, but also with some cool vintage buttons, beads, glitter, and more. Lots of sparklies!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Fashionable Friday -- On The Beach

Ahhh, Summer. Kids are out of school, the weather is warming up, and many peoples' thoughts turn towards the beach. Now, personally I avoid the beach, due to the fact that I burn if I even look at the sun, and I'm pretty sure that the ocean's denizens are going to rise up and wipe out mankind any moment now -- no need to let them start with me. But I still love tranquil, aquatic hues and depictions of fish. I'm a very conflicted person.

If I was going to go to the beach, or the swimming pool, I'd be very tempted to wear this little number. The newsprint fabric really appeals to me, and of course, I always like black. I'd probably also want something to cover up with. A lot of people like sarongs, but I can never get them to stay up. I think that these Thai fisherman pants would be great to wear over a swimsuit! To carry all my beach gear, I'd like a bag like this, cute, colorful, but also practical.

But if you're like me and you won't be going to the beach this Summer, you might just want to settle for things that will remind you of it (but without the annoyance of hot sand in your sandals). You could hang this Ponies on the Beach print on your wall. They're just so cute! Or you could knit and felt some adorable sea critters.

Alternately, you can adorn yourself with beach-y jewelry. I like this Seaglass Charm Bracelet, which is extra cool because the artist used found objects from the beach. These Sea Glass Barrettes are really cute, too. I'd wear them in a heartbeat. I'd also wear an Ocean Rider Fairy pendant, but you probably already knew that. For an elegant touch, I like Where the Ocean meets the Beach.

Of course I have numerous oceanic pieces on my site; I can't seem to stop working in aqua lately. One of my favorites is the piece pictured above, The Ocean's Treasures. I love how the seashell pendant frames the dangling beads. I'm also fond of Ocean Jewels, which features lampworked beads by Joan Eckard. Carribean Spirit boasts a beautiful lampwork focal by Elaine Green, in lovely beach glass hues. And Undine has soft water shades, for a subtler statement. You can find many other perfect beach jewels linked off of these items.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


This week has not gotten any better, let me tell you! I've only been able to get a little bit of beading done, although hopefully I'll do some more tomorrow. At the very least there will be one new pair of earrings for Sunday's update, and a lot of nice new pictures. And tomorrow, I will post a Fashionable Friday column.

There have been a couple of good things this week. I get to play EarthDawn, my favorite roleplaying game ever. I'm going to play a belly dancing Troubadour, a character which I've wanted to play since before I even started dancing. Also, my friend who I housesit for said that her neighbor who trains Paso Finos said that I could come over and watch them train sometime. The thought of beautiful horses makes almost anything better!

I'm just hoping that next week is an improvement over this one. It's not as if anything awful or Earth-shaking had happened, it's just been little lousy things here and there, and a general lack of awesomeness.

No Cool Thing today, my random browsing hasn't turned up anything of great note lately.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Chaos 'n' Stuff.

This week hasn't quite gone as it should so far, and it's only Tuesday. Things have been a little off-kilter. As such, I haven't even done any real beading yet. I tried to put together some earrings yesterday, but they didn't quite cooperate. I'll definitely try again tomorrow, if I don't decide that I feel like making something else.

Dragonfly Pond is up on my website now. That's the pretty green-and-brown necklace. You can see the full image there, which also includes a different view of the carved dragonfly bead. Also, I'm happy to say that Princess of Atlantis (the aqua lentil necklace) has already sold, coincidentally, it went to the lady I bought the Bali fish from. It's funny when beads go full-circle like that.

Today I picked up the latest issues of Beadwork and Bead and Button, and I've been browsing through them. There are a lot of things I'd like to try in both magazines, but it may be a while until I get to any of them. There are also some very cool articles on various artists to be read this month. I was happy to see Jeremy Sinkus -- my gem show booth neighbor for the past two years -- featured in Beadwork.

And while I'm talking about guys who make awesome pendants, I'd like to share today's Cool Thing: Electronic Ouroborus! These alchemical designs made from recycled electronic parts really appeal to me. I'd love to incorporate one into a beaded necklace. I'm especially fond of "the dis-armature patterns" which has a very eldritch look to it.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

New jewelry!

Here's the other new necklace I was talking about on Friday! Her name is Princess of Atlantis, and you can read all about her by clicking on the link. I'm simply thrilled by how she turned out, to the point where I just want to leave her on the neck board and place it someplace within eyesight.

There's a little story behind her creation. I bought the lentils and spacers from Lois when I worked for her at Gem Show 2006. I thought that they'd make a nice bracelet. Well, I lost one of the spacers and had to get another one at Gem Show this past year, and I finally got the beads out to make the bracelet last week. I was well over-due for another Strung Bracelet, after all. The problem was, when I finished it, it just looked kind of "blah." Then I saw my bead-stringing chain sitting there, and my headpins, and an idea formed in my head. You're looking at the end results of that idea now. Far better than a bracelet, I think.

I got home later than I expected from house-sitting (spent a few hours chatting with my friend before I left), so I did not get a chance to rephotograph the other necklace. That will be tomorrow's top priority, so it will be listed on the site tomorrow afternoon. I might also make some earrings while I'm at it, we'll see what my muse feels like.

Today's Cool Thing is Wilde Jewels. I actually saw the necklace in the bottom righthand corner in person at gem show this year. The artist was very nice and even let Lois take a picture with her cell phone camera, but of course, the pictures on her site are so much nicer! Enjoy the beautiful and unusual beadwork.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Just a taste.

Well, the main image I took of this necklace came out a little fuzzy, so I'm going to leave you with this teaser image to tide you over until Sunday. Here is my as-of-yet unnamed green and brown necklace. I am extremely happy with how it turned out, especially the pendant. It has a lot of texture and movement.

For a while there I was not very inspired by all of the lampwork I had at hand. I mean, I still loved it all, but I didn't feel like making anything with it. But in the last two weeks I've made three items using them, plus I finished Flaming Teeth. Interestingly enough, all four of these projects involved lampwork by my great friend Lois. Just goes to show how awesome her beads are! I hope to use some more artist beads in whatever I create next week.

In the meantime, I'm off for a couple of pleasant days of house-sitting. I'll be back on Sunday with new jewelry for the site. Just wait until you see this necklace in its entirety, and the piece I made today!