Thursday, January 31, 2008

I like insects!

It's true. I like insects. I think it all started when I read a National Geographic article about beetles, and found out how diverse and nifty they really are. That's the big reason why I have a bunch of scarab beads, pendants, and cabochons in my collection -- sure, I like Egypt, too, but mostly it's because they're beetles. But even aside from beetles, most insects are just awesome when you look closely at them. And that's why Insect Picture of the Day is in my blog roll over there on the side.

Now, normally I don't consider myself a very good photographer of anything but jewelry, and I have a hard time taking pictures of the tiny jumping spiders and little brown beetles that are in my apartment. But one day I went outside, and this huge green larva was outside, so I ran back in, grabbed my camera, attracting the attention of my husband Chris and our friend Rene. All three of us went outside and pestered the bug, taking pictures of it. Some of them actually turned out well, so I sent them to David Brady.

And today my picture is on InsectPOD! Yay! David picked the best of the three photos for his blog. The above image on my blog also isn't too bad, which is why I posted it. There have been too few photos here recently!

If you check out the previous three entries, too, you'll see some really beautiful butterfly pictures. Even if you don't share my love for beetles, spiders, and other creepy-crawlies, I think everyone loves butterflies.

Today I'm going to finish up my custom order (I was supposed to finish it last night, but some of the beads didn't work out) and pack up some BFAC items to mail out, and hopefully also start on my gem show necklace. I'll post some in-progress pictures, because I want to write a tutorial to possibly submit to a magazine while I'm making this necklace.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Best Laid Plans.

Well, I didn't get to work on my book or my gem show necklace last night! Instead, my brother and his best friend came over, and we stayed up way too late playing Apples to Apples. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. I'd actually been wanting to play the game lately, and there's no way to play it with only 2 people. Even though Apples to Apples is best with a lot of people, the four of us still had a great time.

I did manage to get all of my housework done yesterday while waiting for Chris to get home, so today I have more time to bead. And by bead, I mean sleep. I expected to get up at 8:30am with Chris (who had a phone call scheduled then), but instead I kept falling back asleep until almost noon. This doesn't bode well for my ability to get up early for gem show! I hope my boss doesn't mind having a zombie booth slave.

Have I mentioned how excited I am that it's almost gem show time? WEEEEE! It's all going to start on Saturday or Sunday, when I'll go to Gem Mall to stock up on crystals and say "Hi" to a few favorite vendors. Saying "Hi" involves buying beads, by the way. I can't wait to get my vintage fix from East of Oz and snag some pressed glass leaves from Raven's Journey! If you're hitting Gem Mall, and you're not already familiar with either of these vendors, I highly suggest that you seek out their tables and check out their awesome wares.

My iPod is driving me crazy. It keeps playing all this awesome music that makes me want to dance. And the living room is actually de-cluttered enough to dance in. And it's not too cold to put on a skirt. And I haven't danced in a couple of weeks. And I know I'll be too tired to dance during gem show. I really need to make a playlist called "Music to hold still by" so I don't sit here doing ab and arm isolations at my desk like I'm under the effects of "Otto's Irresistible Dance." By the way? My rib circles ROCK! My teacher would be so impressed. When she first tried to teach me how to do rib slides and circles, I was convinced that my ribcage could not move from it's usual position of being aligned with my hips.

That's it... I'm gonna go dance!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A busy day.

I dragged myself out of bed at a little after 10am (early for me) and I've spent most of the day since then working on one thing or another. I'm trying to get done everything that I need to do before I start working at the gem show next Wednesday. That includes the custom order (almost done), the BFAC stuff (almost done) and hand-washing all the nice clothes I want to wear to work (not even started). I'm also hoping to make myself a necklace, as I always like to have something new to wear to "bead dinner." I might start that tonight, after dinner, if I don't get another "Haven't slept well for three weeks" headache.

Anyway, in the really good news department, Chris seems to have a new job, which if it works out, is going to be really awesome for him. There were two positions open, and when the company heard that Chris had a former co-worker who was also qualified for the job, and that they had programmed together for their former company, they snatched them both up. I really hope that the job turns out to be as good as it sounds. Of course, after 3 1/2 months of having him around all the time and being able to do whatever we wanted whenever we wanted, it's going to be hard to adjust to him working full-time again, even though he'll be working from home.

Now it's back to the grind for me!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Layne's Legacy -- Beading For A Cure -- 2008

The 2008 Layne's Legacy -- Beading For A Cure gallery is up, complete with a slideshow! Now you can see all the photos I was working on, and all of the simply gorgeous items that I've had the honor of seeing in person. There's an amazing amount of variety, which hearkens back to the earliest little seed of an idea that started BFAC... what would happen if different beaders were given the same beads to work with? This is a popular theme that a lot of bead magazines and groups play with. Everyone likes to see the artistic inspiration that comes from different muses being presented with the same material.

I'm already gearing up for the 2008-09 challenge. I do hope that this year's bead kit is more to my liking. I'm hoping for greens or teals or blues. Maybe with some bronze thrown in. Bronze makes everything better!

I'm not sure when the next update for the site and Etsy store will be. To be honest with you, I haven't been sleeping well for the past few weeks and I am always tired. Hopefully I can get my sleep under control before gem show, when I'm going to need all my energy!

I did end up writing last night, which was great. I did a couple of pages in a couple of hours, not too bad since I had to spend a lot of time refreshing myself on what I'd already written. Sometimes it's good to take a long break from a story. I found myself writing things that I had never even thought about the last time that I worked on this book, and I now like the direction it's going in. I plan to spend some more time writing tonight.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Raining all day.

It's been raining all day, or at least as long as I've been awake. It never fails -- gem show season approaches, and the rainclouds roll in. As much as I love rain, I do hope that the weather dries out a bit. I always feel so bad for tent vendors when it rains. Some tents -- like the one that I used to work in at Gem Mall -- are really nice, with cement floors and good roofs. Other tents -- like the one outside of Manning House -- are really bad, with dirt floors that turn to mud and roofs that leak. Plus, no one wants to go outside to a tent when it's raining.

Whenever it rains, I want to write. I've been feeling the desire to write a lot lately, anyway, so I think tonight I might boot up the laptop and get back to work on one of my books. It's been months and I feel a little guilty about it. I've really missed my characters. I'm just not sure about the current story I've got them in.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I shouldn't be here!

It's almost 2pm, so instead of sitting at the computer, I should really be getting ready for gaming. Of course, Chris is still at HIS computer, so it's not like we'll be leaving anytime soon.

I read most of my Faerie magazine last night. They have a really good article on Arthur Rackham. I was already familiar with his art, from the "Fairy Art" book that I bought last year, but this article covered different ground. At one point they were talking about his work and the Art Nouveau movement. There's a picture in there of this bracelet that was designed for an actress playing Cleopatra. It's this snake, all in gold and opals and other gems, with an attached ring and all these chains, and WOW! It treads a fine line between gorgeous and gaudy, and I can't imagine wearing something like that, but it's really beautiful to look at.

Ok, Chris is actually getting ready now. I'd better go change out of my PJs and pack up some beads!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Ghosts and Faeries.

As planned, Chris and I had another movie date today, and we saw "The Orphanage." I'm happy to say that it did not suck, and in fact, was every bit as good as I heard that it was. It had a nice creepy, tense atmosphere, a lot of sadness, and a few scares. Much better than the "Oh no! Children are SCARY!" film that I expected from the trailers. If you're a fan of stories that inspire a lot of emotions, including fear and tears, without an overload of gore or jump scares (of which there was admittedly, just a little bit), you should definitely go see this film.

Before "The Orphanage" they played the trailer for "Hellboy II: The Golden Army" which I am still not tired of seeing. In fact, it only gets better. This time it was EVIL FAERIES on the big screen! I'm so excited! This is a good year to be a faerie lover, because of course, "The Spiderwick Chronicles" comes out on Valentine's Day. When I first saw that trailer, I dismissed it as a kid's movie, but it started to grow on me. Then I read that it was by Tony DiTerlizzi!* I really, really, really love the artwork that he did for the old D&D and Changeling books, so I really want to see his work on the big screen. I don't know if it will convince me to read the books -- I'm generally not too into kids' books -- but it may convince me to buy them for my niece when she'd old enough, which should be soon.

One other nerdy movie confession: I really love that Coke commercial. You know, the one about the weird little guys living in the Coke machine? With the willow tree with the steampunk-inspired mechanical arms? It is seriously the single coolest commercial I have ever seen, and it makes me wish that I liked cola so I could drink Coke. It played before both of the recent movies I saw. At the "Cloverfield" screening, at the same time I was telling Chris "This is the best commercial ever!" a woman two rows up was saying "I don't get it." I'm so sorry for you, ma'am. It must be sad to live in a world without wonder and imagination.

*I read this in Faerie Magazine, because I finally got my first issue yesterday. GLEE! There's an ad for a faerie event in Oregon that I desperately want to go to, but it's 1 week after Comic Con. Qntal is playing there. QNTAL!!!! And other cool bands! I think I've got to start going to these faerie festivals. They might be even better than Ren Faire.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Anticraft review.

So, the other night I curled up on the couch and read through that Goth-y crafting book that I mentioned on Sunday.

The book is called "Anticraft: Knitting, beading, and stitching for the slightly sinister." This title, on a black, white, and gangrene cover, was what caught my eye as I was leaving the craft section of Barnes and Noble. There's something I need to make clear about myself: I am very easily distracted, especially by visual things. A normal conversation in the car goes like this:

Chris: So, what do you want to eat tonight?

Me: Well, I was thinking we could have -- ooh, nice, a Mustang -- sandwiches, or maybe we could splurge and go to -- CORGI! Awww! So cute! Can I have a puppy? Hey! That guy didn't use his turn signal. Oh, there's a new book store, we should check that out. What was the question?

And it's also pretty normal for us to be in a store, talking, and I suddenly veer off to look at something shiny. Chris is used to this, and doesn't mind it, except when I randomly shout out "Puppy!" or "Kitty!" and he thinks that one is about to dart in front of the car.

Anyway, I picked up the book, flipped through it, and saw that it was mostly knitting and crochet, so I was going to put it back. But then he saw Cthulhu in it and insisted that I should buy it. Note to self: carry Cthulhu post-its and stick them on anything that I want to buy, thus ensuring no arguments from Chris.

While most of the projects ARE knitting, with a little crochet, sewing, and jewelry thrown in for good measure, the book is pretty entertaining. There's a lot of general craft info, including some helpful first-aid hints for those inevitable craft disasters. There's also recipes, a guide to throwing a party, and silly comic strips throughout. Because the book is geared towards Goths, Punks, and anyone else who likes to craft but doesn't like the frou-frou pink preppie look favored by many craft books, everything is served with a healthy dose of snarkiness. And because I love to snark, this really won me over.

There's really only one project in here that I'm likely to make, and that's the duct-tape corset. I don't even know when or where I'd wear it -- maybe to Comic Con, or to whatever haunted house we go to next Halloween. There's just something appealing in the idea of being able to say that I made a corset out of duct tape.

Since I haven't tried out any of the directions, I can't say how well-written they are. There are few how-to illustrations, except for the basic techniques section in the back, which has copious photos. Even if the insutrctions do prove to be not so great, I'd say the book is humorous enough to go on the bookshelf of any "slightly sinister" or otherwise darkly inclined crafter.

By the way, this book is the product of the website which I have not yet checked out, but will soon. I'd imagine that a visit to it will help you decide whether or not you're interested in the book.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Pre Gem Show Crunch

I'm not sure if there's going to be an update this week. I have a lot of things that I need to take care of in the next 2 weeks to get ready for gem show. I have to wrap up all of my BFAC responsibilities, fill this custom order, and take care of planning for the show itself. I've got almost all of that under wraps already, so I want to spend the next couple days getting it done so I don't have to worry about it anymore.

It's hard to believe that gem show is almost here again! I'm so excited! Of course, I'm also a little sad, as a couple of my friends and favorite lampworkers won't be there this year. It seems like with the current economy, a lot of artists are finding that it's not profitable to come all the way out to Tucson anymore.

Although I'm sad about the people who won't be here, it does leave a chunk of my budget free, which I think I'll spend on beads from new-to-me artists. This will be a good way to work on my goal of adding more variety to my work.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

We now return to our regular scheduled programming

After a fun jaunt into the realm of movie reviewing (which is one of my numerous hobbies), I'm back to what you expect from me -- talking about beads and beading.

Today Chris and I went over to the 2-story Barnes and Noble across town. I picked up the latest Beadwork magazine, which has some great techniques in it. I'm glad that they've had more innovative beadweaving in there recently. Don't get me wrong, I love spiral rope, but there's only so many variations I can see published before I'm tired of it.

I also picked up a cool Gothy crafting book that I'll post about in more detail after I've read it. It was a total impulse buy. If I was going to buy any sort of how-to, it probably should have been "Sewing For Dummies" or that new Zulu beadwork book that I've had my eye on, but oh well. Chris talked me into buying that instead.

Chris picked up "The Deep" which is a huge coffee-table type photography book of creepy deep sea critters. He spied it back before his birthday and hinted about wanting it, but I bought him other presents instead. So today I told him he should buy it for himself (in addition to the usual science nerd books that he was picking up). He's sitting there reading it now, and telling me about the various freakish jellyfish contained therein... thus further convincing me that I should stay on the land.

I've been working on some spiral rope bracelets for the Etsy shop. Not sure what I'll put on the website tomorrow. We'll see what I feel like making when I get up.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Cloverfield Sucks.

Do not buy into the hype. Cloverfield is a lousy, stupid, pointless movie with shaky hand-held camera shooting the whole way through. I am so annoyed that we wasted our date night on such a lame movie. I hate it when the ending of a movie or book leaves me sitting there saying "What? This is all I get?"

Chris and I had both been convinced that it might be a cool movie. The buzz around the Internet was really good. Unfortunately, the non-disclosure acts surrounding the movie kept us from hearing that it was not nearly as awesome as they wanted us to believe that it was.

Oh well.

Next week we're going to go see The Orphanage, because I've heard that it is really cool. So far, I've been really impressed with Guillermo Del Toro's other movies. Hellboy was fun, Pan's Labyrinth was amazing, and the second Hellboy movie looks like it is going to be AWESOME! (Ok, seriously, I can't get over the evil faeries in the trailer. I could watch it a million times. I'm not even sure I need a movie. I'm just all: EVIL FAERIES! and that's enough for me) Although the trailers for The Orphanage struck me as lame, I've heard that it's a nicely scary combination of horror and drama, and Chris wants to see it. Of course, he wanted to see Cloverfield more than I did, so if The Orphanage strikes out, he loses movie-suggesting privileges!

After the lousy movie, we went out for Indian food, which was incredible. I am so stuffed! Murgh Tikka is the best.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The five minute necklace.

The necklace that I made yesterday with my bat bead was actually quicker to make than even the simplest earrings. My original plan was to just hang him from a pre-made box chain, but I'd worn that chain last week with the same shirt I was wearing, and it was an awkward length. That was when I noticed the 12 inches of over-priced chain that I'd bought to use as anklet extenders, then stopped using when I bought some chain wholesale. I'd been reserving the chain to make something for myself, as it was really to pricey to use in anything I wanted to sell.

The nice thing about being slender is that 12 inches of chain plus a bead that's a couple inches wide, plus a clasp, equals a choker. I cut the chain in half, used two jump rings to attach it to the loops in little batty's wings, and attached an S hook to the ends of the chain. Instant necklace! It's such a nice, clean, simple design that I'm going to leave it like that until I come up with a fun way to really utilize the three-part nature of the bat. And the best part is, I can repurpose all of the other parts when that time comes.

As a warning, I have a big custom order to fill, so next week's updates may be a bit small. We'll see what I can cook up between bouts of working on the order.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Nanananananana -- BAT BEAD!

I used some of my holiday money to buy a 3-part bat bead from Melanie this weekend. The bead just arrived today! He's really cute. I'm going to wear him to tonight's game, because last game, my character was invited to join the Bat Clan. I'm a nerd like that. My character probably won't join said Bat Clan, as much as she likes them, because she'd rather go study with the Ratlings and learn their name magic. My character is also a nerd like that. As a roleplayer, I find it's good to share a couple of traits with your character, so you can get into playing them a little better.

Oh, the other reason for not joining the Bat Clan is that it causes all of my friends (me included) to sing "Nananaanana BAT CLAN!" every time it's said, and that derails the game pretty quickly.

This is why I almost never talk about the details of my gaming life on this blog, by the way. It makes me look like a big geek!

I've done a whole bunch of nothing today, except for responding to a lot of BFAC e-mails. Oh yeah! The 2008 BFAC gallery will be live soon, so I will definitely post that here. I'm really proud of some of my awesome photographs. Not all of the photos are awesome, but none of them are bad, so I feel really good. I'm doing the 2009 photos, too, and it will be much easier now that I know what I'm doing.

I have to figure out what I'm going to bead during tonight's game. Probably something not-green, since this week's update was pretty green-heavy. But if that's the only color my muse wants to work in, that's what I'll have to go with.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The fruits of my labors.

Sorry about yesterday's rather short post. I was so tired, and today isn't much better! I've been sleeping terribly. Our phone number is one digit off from a large hotel here, and we keep getting people who have mistakenly dialed us instead of the hotel. 4:20am on Monday morning, I get this guy calling for the Doubletree. Seriously! I think I'm going to start just unplugging the phone when I go to bed.

The image above is Fields of Arcadia, which I made yesterday morning and posted on the site last night. I love the necklace, but I'm not thrilled with the photograph. I kept getting a lot of glare... the other pictures I took were even worse. I also posted Budding Leaves on the site. The two of them go quite well together.

I guess I'm ready for Spring already, given the bright greens I'm working in. Or maybe I just can't get away from green no matter the season.

The Etsy shop is coming along quite well, too. I'm really happy with how easy the store is to manage, so I hope that it actually works out as a good venue for me. Head on over and check out the new items. You really have to check out Broken-Hearted Robot, I had too much fun writing the description.

If you're looking for Valentine's jewelry, definitely head over to Etsy. I put up some really cute heart earrings yesterday. And check out my friend Deb at Bead Indulgences, she has some gorgeous maille earrings accented with Swarovski hearts!

I'm not sure what's on the slate for today, other than laundry (bleh). Hopefully some dancing and working on my pants later tonight!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Shiny New Things!

There's gorgeous new jewelry on my website and in my Etsy shop! Hurray! Also, because Chris rocks, there are now Etsy widgets on this blog and my website. Hurray!

I have spent almost all day beading, taking photos, editing photos, and adding things to Etsy and my site. I am so beat! As such, the usual long post with lots of chatter about the new jewelry will happen tomorrow. Tonight, I just want to collapse into a puddle of laziness.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

At last!

So, for the past few weeks I've been trying to come up with a necklace for the Earth Goddess pendant that I bought from Melanie. It's very tricky matching glass to ceramic glazes, so the first two combinations that I tried ended up looking really bad with the pendant. But yesterday, I finally came up with the perfect blend of colors and a cool design, and then I made the entire thing during gaming. I forgot to pack a clasp, though, so I need to attach that today.

Tomorrow, I hope to update my website and my Esty shop, but first I need to make more jewelry. I've only finished two things this week, and I hope to put them both on Etsy. Today I'll try to come up with something to put on the site.

I'm also planning to cut out my pants and dance today, so I'll be pretty busy. Seeing as how it's almost 3pm already, I guess I'd better get a wiggle on.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

What did I tell you?

If you'll recall, when I posted about how I was going to start sewing, I predicted that Topher would "help." Here it is, the photographic proof! Coincidentally, it's also photographic proof that he is one gorgeous boy! His markings are what made me pick him out of the litter, and he's grown up into a rugged example of tomcattery.

Anyway, it doesn't help that the pieces for these pants are so big that I had to put the cutting board on the floor... no way it was going to fit on my kitchen table. So there I am, sitting on the floor, putting tissue paper on cardboard! This is absolutely a place that Topher must be, because tissue paper and cardboard are his two favorite things in life. When he wasn't sitting right on top of the project, as seen here, he was sitting on the empty end of the board, swatting my hand as I tried to pin things down. And as you can see from his expression in the photo, he wasn't the least bit ashamed of himself.

That was only one of the problems that faced me with making these pants. First of all, measurements and sizes. WTH, Simplicity? According to my waist measurements, I'd need to cut out something like a size 20 to fit my waist. To get an idea of how patently ridiculous that is, here's my picture from Ren Faire 2007. Oh yeah, and by my hip measurements... I'd need a size 10. *sigh* Thank you, Simplicity, for rubbing in the fact that I have decidedly unwomanly hips. Since my particular instance of this pattern only goes up to a size 10, that's what I'm cutting out. I seem to recall from my Mom sewing my wedding dress that their measurement/size charts tend to be grossly inaccurate, so I suspect these pants will be too big. This is why I'm starting out with the cheapest fabric I bought!

And speaking of cheap fabric... As you can see, my fabric is very pretty. It's also very soft. If they turn out, these will be wonderful Summer pants. However, it's also terribly unevenly cut. You'd think that after spending 10-15 minutes in line to get my fabric, I could at least get some straight fabric. I didn't realize just how uneven it was until I was over halfway done pinning everything down, and realized that with how it was laid out, I was never going to be able to cut these pants out. That realization came at 12:20am, and this was the point where I said "To heck with this, I'll try again some other time."

That some other time will probably be tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Introducing my Etsy shop!

I am pleased to announce the grand opening of my Etsy shop, which can be found at You can find the above earrings at my shop, and three other items. I will be adding a lot more on Monday or Tuesday. My plan is to migrate a few things off of my website to Etsy, to help fill in the shop, but there will also be brand-new items in there at least once a week.

I am very pleased with how happy it was to set up my shop and list my items. Much easier than eBay!

I am very, very pleased with how the above picture of the Sacred Cloud earrings came out. I love my camera!

I am extremely pleased to say that I now offer free shipping from my Etsy shop and my website.

All in all, I'm feeling pretty pleased.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


I'm excited, because I'm going to San Diego Comic Con this year! As you may already know, I write a gaming column for the e-zine Collector Times. Our incredibly awesome editor wants a strong CT presence at the convention this year, and is generously covering the hotel rooms for her staffers. Comic Con is a lot of fun, and I believe that this past year, I posted here about how bummed I was at not going. So I'm very happy, because not only do I get to go this year, but it's very likely that I'll get to meet several people who I've only known on-line until now. Yay!

Oh yeah, and it's an excuse to wear COSTUMES! By then I might even be sewing my own!

Speaking of which, today I get to go to JoAnn's and pick up some fabric so I can try to learn how to sew. You know what is going to be fun? Cutting out patterns with my cats. Not only does Topher like to help me craft (remember this picture? and this one?), but he is a tissue paper fiend. Lira is a little more laid back about it, at least, and I can probably count on her preferring to sit in Chris's lap. Note to self: make sure to only cut out patterns while Chris is sitting at his desk.

Yesterday, during our Legend of the Five Rings game, I did a lot of kumihimo. I haven't measured, but my cord has to be about 30 inches, so I think I'm going to make it into a two-strand necklace, with the skull hanging from the bottom strand. I just need to decide on a bail design. Anyway, it's kind of cool. The yarns were all variegated colors, so the cord looks different every few inches. Plus it has a lot of texture due to the different types of yarn. It also reminded me about how fun kumihimo is for gaming, so I'm going to have to do more of it in the future.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

What I did today.

I've got to leave in just a minute to go to my usual Wednesday night game, so this is really brief.

Today I made a necklace called "The Day My Robot's Emotion Chip Malfunctioned." It's perfect for Valentine's Day, and will likely go into my Etsy shop. Tonight, I'm going to work on a kumihimo cord using fibers from the ABS prize that I won. One of the pendants from said prize will hang from the cord. It will be pretty cool.

Last night I read the manual for my sewing machine. Of the 17 safety warnings, 3 of them were telling me not to let children play with or use my machine. IE: If your kid sews through his hand, its not our fault! Luckily I don't have kids, and the cats will probably be scared of it.

And with that, I'm off!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

About those fish.

Here's Swimmingly! which was posted on my website yesterday. For some reason, I started collecting fish beads. I think it was because I liked lampworked ones (glass makes such pretty fins), and from there I just picked up lots of others. The Green Girl bead is just one of the many that I've purchased at various shows and shops around the country.

As I may have mentioned in the past, I don't really watch TV. However, when we were in CA for the holidays, we were at the hotel on Christmas night, no internet, The Difference Engine was boring me, and I'd finished all my beading projects. So we found a marathon of Blue Planet and we watched a few episodes. They kept showing all these shoals of fish. Just like flocks of birds, it's fascinating to watch an entire group of animals move as one. It's also amazing to see a whale come by and eat the entire lot of them in one big gulp! Yikes!

This is why I have a love-hate relationship with the ocean. There's so many cool, beautiful, and unusual creatures. There's also a whole lot of creepy, scary, unbelievable creatures. I'm still going to stay on land, but I love to watch specials about underwater life. I think the coolest part, though, was watching these seabirds that could dive deep, deep into the water in search of fish. Seriously, what is weirder than watching a flock of birds under the water?

So yeah, Blue Planet was pretty cool. Dad was watching the same marathon, so the next day we kept saying "Did you see...?" "Wasn't... awesome!?" It's pretty obvious where I got my fascination for marine life :)

Monday, January 07, 2008

Faeries and Fish!

Hurray, new jewelry! It's been a long time. I've just added two new necklaces to my website -- Maiden of Summer (seen above) and Swimmingly! All other jewelry is being reserved for my Etsy shop, which I hope to open at the end of this week or the start of next week.

This update is a pretty good example of the extremes of how I work when it comes to art beads. The pixie face in Maiden of Summer was part of the order I made from Melanie at the end of 2007. I made that necklace within a week of receiving the beads. The fish barrel in Swimmingly! has been in my collection for years, however, and I finally found the perfect use for it. Some beads come with instant inspiration; others have to lie in waiting for a while.

Of course, in all fairness, I bought that pixie face specifically to go with those crystals. There's not a lot that goes with Padparadascha, and I noticed the lonely crystals when I was doing some reorganization in November. I thought to myself "What could I do with these?" Then when I was making my Earthenwood Studios order, I couldn't help but notice that the flowers in that pixie's hair were just the right color.

I'm trying to work more with chain, since it's been so popular for the past couple of years. I like the little chain fringes on this necklace, and I might do something similar with future pendants.

Tune in tomorrow for my thoughts on fish!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Sorta Grey.

Not a whole lot to say today... I'm just trying to get back into the habit of daily updates.

I worked on the necklace during gaming yesterday, but the lighting where we play is really abysmal. Not as bad as the other store we played at, but the place is still a cave. As such, my eyes get tired sometimes when I'm doing seed bead work. I'm going to try to finish the necklace today, so it can be in tomorrow's update.

I'm glad that I'm doing photography tomorrow, because this blog has been sadly devoid of pictures for a long time!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The rare and elusive Saturday update!

Well, I bought Chris "Portals" for the holidays, so he's in no rush to leave for D&D... that means I have time to blog!

Yesterday was a good and productive day. I did a lot of work on BFAC photos, made a necklace, and danced! I also received my Art Bead Scene prize package, which is seriously awesome. I plan to play with those beads and fibers during the coming week. Good thing I ordered those cord-ends last time I bought findings.

Speaking of which, I just got the 2008 catalog from my findings supplier. I love to shop on-line, but I really like to browse through catalogs, too. I always see things that I manage to miss when I'm on the website. And there are some really cool new things in here! I can't wait until the next time I need to place an order. Of course, I'm really well-stocked right now, which means it may be months until I can make an excuse to buy more findings.

As planned, I have the earth goddess necklace packed up to work on today. And I'm wearing a water goddess pendant, because the glaze goes really well with the top I'm wearing today. Color coordination is everything! If you want your own water goddess, I really think you should buy this set, so I don't feel tempted to buy it. The two that I have are single-color glazed... I really love how she painted that pendant in multiple colors to highlight the design!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Back to beadin'!

I couldn't do any beadweaving last night, because my eyes were too tired, but I did do a little stringing. I made a heart necklace in honor of the fast-approaching Valentine's Day. I think it might be one of the first things that I list on Etsy. I've just got to try to find the name of the artist who made the focal. Why oh why didn't I keep better track of these things in the past?

Today, I think I might work on a necklace with the Earth Goddess pendant that I bought from Earthenwood. Because, you know, I simply don't have enough dryad-y jewelry available already! Of course, I might also save that project for tomorrow's D&D game, and work on something less portable hear at home. We'll see what direction my muse goes in, after I'm done with all the stuff I have to do.

Last night it rained a bit, and today it's pleasantly warm, a nice change from the cold weather we've been having. Because I feel more energetic in this sort of weather, I am determined to dance tonight. Yeah! It's been way too long.

But first, I must work! Off I go...

Thursday, January 03, 2008

A trip to the bookstore.

Last night before the game, we made a quick trip to Borders. Usually Barnes and Noble is my bookstore of choice, but their selection of day planners isn't that great, and that's what I wanted to buy. I finally got the pretty, shiny green one that I've wanted for years. Of course, I think that next year I'll be a good girl and buy one from an Indie artist. I just didn't think about that until AFTER I'd bought said green one.

I also picked up the 2008 Bead-A-Day calendar. So far it's disappointing, but I heard that the 2007 was fairly good, and I'm only 3 days into the year, so it could get better. Besides, it only cost a little bit more than a bead magazine, so I'm not out too much if it does turn out to be lame.

There were a few other things I wanted, but I didn't want to be late to the game. I need some more reading material. I was hoping that maybe Chris would get me The Ladies of Grace Adieu for the holidays, and since he didn't, I'll have to pick it up myself. I also need to hunt up some new authors to read, as my current crop of authors hasn't been producing new work fast enough to sate my hunger for books.

The last book I read, which I finished a few days ago, was The Difference Engine. I wanted to read it because it's a steampunk book, and I would like to get into that genre (other than just reading Girl Genius), but man, that book was dense. I couldn't get into the characters or the story, and at times it felt like although I understood all the words being used, I didn't understand the way they were strung together. At first I thought it was a problem with me, but Chris said he'd been similarly unable to fully get into the book, which is why he hadn't whole-heartedly recommended it. Oh well. My every random reading decision can't prove to be an awesome one.

Anyway, I think I'm going to do a little beading before bed tonight, start working on things for Monday's update. Well, I do already have a necklace and a few pairs of earrings... but I also need to start setting things aside for Etsy. I need to step up production!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

I've got a sewing machine!

Weeee! My parents gifted me with a sewing machine last night. I've been wanting to learn to sew for a long time, especially since I started dancing. Mom knew this, and kept an eye out and found a really good sale on a nice beginner machine. I think she'd had it saved for a while, because she made me open it first, because she was impatient :D I also got some patterns and thread and tools, so all I need is fabric. Oh, and time. Remember my goal to balance my hobbies better? Ha! Now I have another one to balance!

Anyway, it was a very good New Year's Gift Extravaganza last night. Everyone gave and received great presents, we ate delicious pie, and we introduced my family to Apples to Apples, which was a big hit. Dad pointed out another nice thing about it that I hadn't thought about... the rules are really, really simple, which makes it easy for players to jump right in.

One thing that I love about my family is how much everyone likes handmade gifts. I'll admit that I didn't make anything for anyone this year, for various reasons, and neither did Chris, but Mom, Dad, and Joe did. Dad made my mother a wonderful music box with a polymer dragon on top, and he and Mom collaborated on a polymer "Gaming Gargoyle" for Chris. Joe made Chris some awesome mad scientist goggles. And Mom crocheted scarves for Dad and Chris, made me a fleece pocket scarf with embroidered dragons, Joe an embroidered welding cap, and Dad an embroidered wall-quilt. Next year, I'll definitely have to go back to creating gifts as well as buying them.

I spent today cleaning up the mess from last night, and starting my gem show preparations. It's still a month away, but our usual bead group dinner restaurant has closed down, so I needed to get an early start on planning this year's dinner.

Oh yes, and before I go, I should actually talk about business. I AM currently able to process and ship orders, should you feel the need to treat yourself to some jewelry. And there will be NEW jewelry on Monday. Huzzah!

And now, time to get ready for gaming!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Hello, 2008!

The New Year is already off to a good start. This morning, Snow Angel won Art Bead Scene's December contest! I'm really excited and I can't wait to design with Gaea's pendants!

Last night was pretty nice, too. We went out to our favorite Japanese restaurant, then came home, played video games, and rang in the New Year with gourmet root beer. We also watched some Qi on YouTube. It's this hilarious British game show where all the contestants are actors or comedians, and they spend most of the time just joking around instead of answering the questions. I recommend looking it up on YouTube if that sort of thing is up your alley.

Today, my family is coming over. We do our winter holiday celebration on New Year's Day -- it's just less stressful that way! This is my first year hosting it. It's going to be a little crowded in my apartment, especially if my brother brings his best friend, but it will be nice to have everyone over. I just need to tidy things up a bit first. I know that some traditions hold that it's bad luck to do housework on the New Year, but I'm not very superstitious. If anything, I think it's good to start 2008 on the right foot... keeping things neat and clean!

I hope everyone is having a great holiday!