Friday, February 29, 2008

It's leap day... yay?

I'm not feeling very enthusiastic about Leap Day or anything else right now. I'm still sick, and I'm at that point where I'm tired of it. I want to be better and be beading, darn it! I feel like I've wasted this entire week, when I could have been making cool stuff. I was going to make a cuff bracelet and everything.

I shouldn't consider the week a total write-off, though. I did meet some nice people in the USO voting chat, and I've decided to join the little group of my friend's friends who move from worthy cause to worthy cause, voting for it until it wins. It's a nice thing to do and a cool way to meet interesting people. Yesterday I was talking to someone who does Sanskrit chanting.

Also, I did a lot of behind the scenes BFAC stuff. That's one thing that I can't ignore when I'm sick, because it really piles up! Our auctions start this weekend, so there were lots of last-minute things to take care of, plus making decisions on next year's challenge. I am really excited about the auctions! You can expect me to go on and on and on about them starting Sunday. You have been warned!

While we're speaking about BFAC, the vow of silence about the kit is lifted on Monday, so I hope to be able to post an image then. Yippy!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Something to click on.

If you are at your computer, and can spare a few seconds every two minutes to help a good cause, then please come join me and my friends at Vote4Cause. My friend and editor Sheryl has recruited me to help USO take the number one spot, and we're currently lagging behind by over 700 votes.

If you have more than a few seconds to spare, there's also a built in comments/chat feature. I'm there under the clever and unique name "AJ" and will be for most, if not all, of the day. Hey, if I don't have the energy to bead or take photographs, at least I can click to donate money to charity!

I hope you'll join me!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Not at all productive.

I had a lot less energy yesterday than I thought, and today I'm really beat. Blah.

I don't like to bead when I'm sick, because I just feel gross and it's like I'm going to transfer that grossness to the beads... Much in the same way that a lot of creative people don't like to create when they're in a negative mood, lest the negativity affect their art.

I'm not sure if I agree with that concept whole-heartedly, but I often find that I CAN'T create when I'm upset. My muse just shuts down. There are rare exceptions. I have a beautiful necklace that I made for myself one day when I was feeling down because someone was tearing into me on-line. It remains one of my favorite necklaces. The person, the forum, and the game tied to it are long gone for my life, but the necklace remains.

I have found that if I write when I'm in a bad mood, it has a negative effect on my characters. All of the sudden, even the nice ones are getting snarky, and everyone gets into fights with each other, and then I have to re-write it all next time I'm at my computer.

And Chris wonders why I usually sit around doing nothing when I'm mad or sad...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Simple Transformation.

This is a necklace that I've been wearing a lot lately. It's actually an old necklace, with a new component added.

You see, I've had this copper leaf for a long time. At one point, I was going to hang it from my really cool staff that I used to take to Ren Faire, but then I stopped taking the staff. Well, I found it when I was cleaning and I said "Hey! Wouldn't this look cool with a faerie on it?" First I tried the pretty green super model faerie that I bought at the September show (don't remember her? see her here!). Well, she didn't quite fit, due to the angle of her wings. Then I found this golden faerie, which was part of my secret birthday buddy present last year, and she lined up perfectly. I wired them up, and then figured I'd make a necklace eventually. In the meantime, I could wear the pendant on a ribbon.

When I did the wire, I shaped it into sort of a closed hook in the back, but it could be pushed open. Well, conveniently, that meant that I could hook it over this herringbone spiral, which has been part of my collection for 5+ years. I like how it looks so much that I think I'll leave it like that. The nice part is, I can take the pendant off whenever I want, and wear the spiral as a simple necklace like I used to.

Anyway, today is somewhat annoying because I'm sick. Blah. I have a bad sore throat, but I'm alert and coherent, so I'm going to try to get a lot done today... that way if I start to feel worse, I can get away with being lazy. Of course, so far all I've done today is a ton of e-mail and forum posts!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Faerie Meadows and Faerie Movies.

This is my necklace Faerie Meadow. It features lampworked beads by Lois Oster. These beads were a sort-of custom order, as I needed 3 lentils and 5 spacers to make something similar to a necklace I'd already sold. I told her to make me something pretty in colors that I liked, maybe with some frit or something. This is what she came up with, and we're both quite pleased with them. The little flower drops are Thai silver, and I bought them at the 2007 gem show. It's only fair that they're in this necklace, as Lois is the one who enabled me to buy them! At the same time, I picked up the leaves that I used in Sylvan Jewels.

I've entered Faerie Meadow into Art Bead Scene's February Challenge -- Chains of Love. You should really check out the other entries, there's a lot of beautiful things. ABS continues to attract the attention of a lot of talented jewelry makers who are using the work of equally talented bead makers.

Last night, we saw The Spiderwick Chronicles. I'm not usually a fan of kid's movies, but they did a good job of allowing the film to have some dark and violent elements. I guess this may in part be because it's a Nickelodeon movie, when I was a kid they had some shows with horror themes and such, so I think they realize that kids can handle a little scariness and a little intensity.

The movie had some pretty cool graphics, and I loved the character designs for the faeries. My favorites were definitely the sylphs, which look like dandelion fluff until you see them up close. More importantly, they aptly illustrated the traditional personality of faeries -- alien, sometimes kind, sometimes malicious, always doing things for their own reasons.

Over all, I was a bit disappointed with how the movie played fast and loose with faerie lore, picking and choosing which bits it wanted to incorporate, and then re-interpreting it to suit the story. Most viewers won't even notice, of course, it's just a personal pet peeve of mine. The important thing is that the movie made the faeries awesome, and it may inspire kids and adults alike to research the lore on their own. I consider it a fascinating subject.

Friday, February 22, 2008

One post, lots of things!

I finally took some pictures! And there will be much more photography done on Monday, oh yes.

This necklace is the one that I whipped up one morning to go with my brown and silver sequined skirt. It's a really beautiful skirt... Somewhat full, ankle length (and I have long legs!), with silver paisly-ish designs. I didn't have a necklace to go with it, so previously I'd just worn this Lillypilly pendant on a silver chain. However, I simply can't go to a bead show without a beaded necklace, so I had to make this.

Sometimes simple is best. Even though this is just a strung necklace that I made in less than an hour, I've received a lot of compliments on it. While I do think that I did a very nice job of matching the color and theme of the pendant, I think people really love the pendant itself. It's much prettier in person, because the shell is lighter in the center and dark at the edges. Combined with the Celtic spiral pattern, it makes for a very attractive piece.

The necklace is strung with three sizes and colors of Czech firepolished beads, smoke topaz Swarovski crystals, and "Celtix" pewter beads that we're given to me as a gift. I think the various topaz shades look very harmonious together, and they're a pretty good look for me, with my brown hair.

I finished the necklace I was working on this afternoon, but the photo didn't turn out, so I'll try again on Monday. I am very happy with the necklace itself. It's using a technique that I haven't done for years and did from memory, without even looking at my old examples, because I wanted to see if I could. My bead count might be a little different than the original, but it still came out looking nifty.

Most importantly, my BFAC kit arrived this afternoon! I can't talk about it, though. I have to keep the colors and styles secret until everyone has received theirs. But I can design all I want! I've already picked out a few things to add to the kit... a rivoli, a druzy cab, and a key. Although I'm thinking that I might do two rivolis instead, but they'll definitely be the color of this one that I already have (which is chipped, so I don't want to use it in my BFAC project anyway).

Christina of This Girl Beads did an open blog tagging this week, and since I've never been tagged, I'm taking it and running! If you want to play, here's the rules:
  1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
  2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
  3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
  4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
Anyway, I don't KNOW seven people who blog and haven't been tagged yet, so just like Christina, I'm going to say, if you want to play, do so, and if not, don't feel pressured! Now let's see how interesting I can make my facts.

1. My eyes change color, possibly dependent on my mood. My ID says "green" because that's my favorite color, but sometimes they're hazel, and sometimes they're grey.

2. I wrote my first story when I was 8 years old or so. It was written from the POV of a super hero I'd made up, and it was about a species of fish she'd discovered. I wrote two or three of those stories, and I still have them (no, I'm not going to share them). Why would a super hero go around looking for fish? It made sense to me as a kid, now I just shake my head.

3. I've never been outside of the US. One time my grandparents took me to San Juan Capistrano, but they didn't tell me where we were going, so for some reason I was convinced we were going to Mexico. While in San Juan Capistrano, I got a book of really nice paper dolls, and all their clothes were Victorian. I wish I still had those!

4. I like to dip french fries in honey, but only at fast food places, because it's too messy at home!

5. Peach is my least favorite color. I accidentally bought some peach beads, and now I have to sell them on Etsy because I know I'll never use them.

6. Although I like skulls, graveyards, macabre stories, and other such morbid things, I am afraid of actual dead bodies.

7. My husband and I met in an on-line roleplaying channel. If not for the fact that some guy that he didn't like decided to pick on my character, we might never have become friends! Also, my character had lost her clothes during the course of the picking-on, so Chris likes to tell people that I was naked when he met me. I, obviously, do not like his version of the story, because it makes me sound like a stripper.

Ok, I think that's about as random as it gets!

Tune in tomorrow for more jewelry pictures!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Almost midnight!

Ok, great, I've been listening to too much Voltaire lately, because all I can think is "And all that I know is it's midnight and you haven't blogged."

So. Thursday. What a lame day, this Thursday! Almost everyone else got their new BFAC kits today, but mine did not arrive! That pretty much ruined my whole day. Well, not really. I got a lot of beading done, and a lot of e-mailing, and a lot of chatting in blog responses, and all that good stuff. But the lack of the much-anticipated kit cast a pall over things. The kit SHOULD be here tomorrow.

On the beading front, I'm working on a necklace with one of Melanie's awesome water goddess pendants. I'm over halfway done, probably closer to 3/4. I'm going to wrap it up tomorrow, and then darn it, I'm going to clear off the table and take some pictures. I might make some earrings in-between those two tasks, depending on what else I've got going on tomorrow.

Tonight, we were kind of bored. We haven't had any Netflix to watch, because we've been too busy to go to the post office (we can't mail anything out from our apartment for some unfathomable reason). As such, we decided to take advantage of their streaming video option, which has a much smaller selection than the mail order side of things. We narrowed it down to watching Sliders, another one of those shows that Chris caught when it was on and I somehow missed.

There are a few shows from my teenage years that have aged well and are still enjoyable to watch -- Babylon 5, for example. Sliders is not one of those shows. It was so laughably bad, from the 90s technology to the cliche dialog to the freakishly smooth faces of the lead actors. Seriously, how much makeup did they spackle on to those two? We got through the pilot and decided that was all we could take. Oh well. We had fun giggling over the dated computer references and the horrible CG. That's one way to kill the boredom!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Another bookstore trip.

First of all, tonight our Legend of the Five Rings game was canceled. Our host was having home renovations and forgot to tell us until today, when his home was too chaotic to have a game. Most of the group was under the assumption that we could play at our friend Alex's place... because none of them have listened for the past two or three weeks when he's been going on and on about how he wouldn't be at the game because he'd be in HAWAII! We maybe could have crammed everyone into our apartment, but I wasn't about to go into a panicked cleaning spree on such short notice. So, no game. Bah.

Anyway, Chris had another commitment, which he was going to bow out of early to run the game, so this freed him up to be there as long as he wanted, and I guess that's a good thing, because it was all the way on the opposite side of town as our host's house. The brewery that he was meeting his friends at is in the same mall as the 2-story Barnes and Noble, so I tagged along, with the idea that I would shop and read books, and we'd do dinner when he was done.

I had an AmEx gift card sitting on my desk, so I decided to take it with me and buy a couple more beading books. Ever since gem show I've had this insatiable desire for new books, because I kept hearing how good they were. Today I picked up Diane Fitzgerald's new book on Zulu beadwork, and Sherry Serafini and Heidi Kumli's book on bead embroidery.

The Zulu book was one that I hadn't really heard anything about, but really wanted. There are a lot of really interesting, unique techniques in there that I'm eager to learn. The book has a nice introduction about the Zulu people and the history of their beading tradition, and then lots and lots of tutorials. Each technique has a photograph of a piece made in Africa, and then some photos of examples that the author made. It's cool to see how the stitches and cords can look so different depending on the beads you use.

The bead embroidery book came highly recommended by Betcey (my boss at gem show) and by Charlene (who I had lunch with), and really, I just kept hearing good things about throughout the show. The two authors are both masters of the technique, and I've especially admired Serafini's work because her sense of style and color really appeals to me. There's basic how-tos, an assortment of projects, and lots of information on design and inspiration. Even if I never take advantage of the technical information, the eye candy was definitely worth the price.

I'm really excited to start putting all these new techniques to use! I got a lot of cleaning and organizing done in the beadroom today, which also has me feeling inspired. As long as I'm not coming down with the cold that Chris had (for less than 24 hours), I'm going to be beading like crazy for the next couple of days!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I've got to take some pictures.

Okay, maybe tomorrow I'll clean the gigantic stack of books off of my kitchen table and actually have room to photograph some new jewelry. Seriously, I think there's more than 20 books in that stack. Mostly it's the various gaming books that we cart with us, depending on what game we play. This is why I throw myself off balance whenever I pick up my messenger bag... those sourcebooks are HEAVY!

Today the flippie boxes that I ordered from Out on A Whim arrived, so I got to put away some more beads and rearrange my collection a bit. I didn't quite finish the job. The lids were pretty tight on the little flippies and my fingers started to hurt after a while of tugging them apart. I actually managed to buy more boxes than I needed, so I'll have excess storage for a while. Of course, I still have a lot of larger beads (8mm mostly, and weird shapes) that don't fit in the flippies, so I need to decide where I want to put them. Currently they're all in drawers, sorted by color, still on their strands, but that's not the best solution. I don't tend to think about the beads in those drawers, and when I do use them, I don't use an entire strand, and then I have to tie a knot at the end, and it's just sloppy.

Going through my beads, I realized that it's about time that I did some more "strand collages" or something else which will allow me to use up some miscellaneous beads. It's really just not worth keeping 8-10 beads around when I'm not ever going to restock them!

Mainly, though, my muse wants to play with those new keys, which means I've got to clean them up. I think I'll try the Naval Jelly that Chris used to de-rust his axe. This will be an adventure for me. I'm used to trying to clean up silver, not steel!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Stubborn book.

I'm having a little trouble with my writing. After doing some great dialog before gem show (that really is my favorite thing to write), I can't seem to finish the scene and move the story forward. It would help if I knew what the story was. I know that eventually I'll hit my stride and get going, but right now it's just not happening.

Anyway, today I went out for lunch with one of my bead forum friends who was out for gem show, and her mom, who is turning into a bead fiend. First we went to the bead store, to find a few things for necklaces that Charlene was making for her mother. I got to help pick beads, and I picked up some things for a bead swap I'm participating in. Plus some cobalt blue beads, modern reproductions of those Russian cuts. I really love that shape.

During lunch we talked about all kinds of things, which was a lot of fun. Sometimes it's nice to get together with people and just hear the random stories about their lives, all kinds of experiences that I've never had and never thought about. And of course, it's always nice to get out of the house when I should be at home cleaning!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Writing time.

I've been in a very writing-y mood over the past few days, so I'm about to sit down with the laptop and either work on my current book, or work on notes for that other fantasy book that I keep struggling with. Either way, it will be good to get back into the swing of that, and hopefully it won't lead to more nights of staying up until 4am.

We just got done watching 3:10 to Yuma, which I didn't think was that great. Don't get me wrong, all the actors did a good job and such, I just didn't care. I'm not much of a Western person. I did watch The Proposition, but that had two things going for it: Nick Cave, and Australian accents. 3:10 to Yuma had neither.

Not a whole lot else happened this weekend. My ill-fated henchman died in D&D again, I got into a bit of a tiff with one of my fellow gamers about some tasteless jokes, and I read Laura McCabe's book and worked some more on my rivoli pendant. I'll probably finish it tomorrow.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Movies 'n' things.

Yesterday, Chris and I returned to our Friday date routine (previously interrupted by his new job and gem show). There were two new releases that we wanted to see for the movie part of our date: Jumper, and Spiderwick Chronicles. Well, due to timing, Jumper won out.

Jumper was everything I expected it to be, which is to say it was silly, shallow action entertainment. While I would have liked for the movie to go deeper into the characters and the central conflict, I knew that it wouldn't, because basically the film was just an excuse to have lots of teleport-heavy action sequences. I think it was a pretty interesting and realistic example of how people would use and abuse such an ability. I just wish that the characters had been a little more likable and believable. Well, that and I wish that almost every single cool scene hadn't already been shown in the trailers.

It's reached the point where too many trailers show you all of the best parts of the movie, and then when you actually go see the film, it just fills in the blanks and establishes a chronological order. There's no longer that "WOW!" moment of seeing an awesome sequence on the big screen, because you've already seen it over and over again in the teaser.

That's why Cloverfield still stands out as an example of an excellent trailer, despite being a lousy movie. The trailer told you everything you needed to know: there's some people at a party in NY. Their party gets ruined by a monster attacking Manhattan. Chaos and madness ensue. If you wanted to see the monster and the chaos, you had to go see the movie.

I think another example of a pretty good marketing campaign (despite having not seen the movie!) was I Am Legend. The animated shorts were designed to set the tone of the film, and give you an idea of the backstory, without giving away all the good parts of the movie itself.

Anyway, I did have fun watching Jumper, and while it could have been better, it wasn't a huge waste of time.

After that, we went to the bookstore where I picked up that Laura McCabe book on beading with crystals, mainly rivolis. It looks pretty awesome, and I might take it to gaming today to read while things are slow. As I've mentioned before, the lighting there is too bad to really bead all night, I end up with a nasty headache.

I'm hoping that if I pick up one beading book a month, that I'll catch up with everything I've missed and not fall too far behind on the publishing schedule. I also want to pick up some sewing books, I saw some pretty good looking ones at B&N last night. I might fill out my polymer book selection, too. Not that I have room for the books I have, so most of this will have to wait until I move into a house and can have more bookcases than I have now.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Math is my nemesis!

So, I've been trying to bead a rivoli today. The tutorial that I posted yesterday is designed for a 16mm stone, but I had an 18mm. No big deal, I figure, I'm a reasonably smart girl, I can figure out how to do a different size. A 16mm stone uses 40 base beads, and I know that to do tubular peyote with a step up, my base row needs to be divisible by 4.* First I tried 48 beads. Way too big. Then I tried 44. That seemed right, so I continued on. I get it done, try it out, and it's TOO SMALL! Nrar! Why must math defy me? I'm going to have to do 46, which means I'm going to end up with spiral peyote, which isn't nearly as attractive. Stupid peyote stitch. This is why I never do you. You always bite me in the end.

*When I explained this concept to Chris, he quickly did some math and said that if 40 beads go around a 16mm stone, then an 18mm stone would need 45 beads. This proves that he is better at math than me, but I am better at beading. 45 is not an even number, and thus, useless for doing tubular peyote.

So anyway, I got frustrated with that and strung a necklace instead, and it turned out quite awesome. I'd photograph it, but there's a big stack of gaming books in my photography spot. *sigh* I've got to find someplace better for them by Monday, when I hope to start updating my website and Etsy shop again.

I'm going to try the rivoli again at gaming tonight. Stupid 46 beads. I wonder if I could use Japanese 11s instead of Delicas and have 44 fit? Hmmm...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Almost all put away.

You know what's amazing and wonderful? Not being sick after gem show. If you were reading this blog around this time last year, you know that I got crazy-sick during the show. This year I'm healthy and energetic, and it shows. Almost all of the beads that I bought have already been inventoried and put away. I'm so on top of things, that I'm ready to start beading tomorrow. Heck, I'd bead tonight, except that I'm not back to my natural night-owl schedule yet and I get drowsy at 10pm.

I think the first thing I'll do is bead a rivoli! Beki at Out on a Whim just posted a basic rivoli bezel tutorial today... mere days after I got done buying rivolis at gem show. Coincidence? I think not. The universe is conspiring to get my addicted to rivolis, the way the rest of the beading community seems to be. If I enjoy my bezel experience tomorrow, I'm definitely going to pick up Laura McCabe's book. I was planning to do so anyway, so now if it turns out that I hate bezeling rivolis, I can save myself the money and buy a different book instead.

I think I've said the word "rivoli" enough for one day.

Actually, I'm feeling very inspired and there's a lot of things I want to make. All of these new gem show beads are very exciting, and since I mailed all the BFAC projects off, I actually have room to get into my bead room and get to all the beads I need. I also feel like doing some polymer work and getting back to work on the Pants of Doom. Too many hobbies!

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Gem Show Recap -- in photos.

Ok, I've somehow lost the ability to change my font, so we're going to have to live with this one. That's alright, though. The main attraction here is bead photos!

First, the above image. My vintage haul from East of Oz! In the center, some really wicked Japanese beads, black spiderwebby lampwork. They're actually hollow. I've had just a couple of these in the past, in light pink and light blue. To have a full set of graduated black ones is really cool.

On your left, some huge green satin drops. I forgot to ask where they were from. I'm going to guess maybe they're Czech or West German. Even though I buy a lot of vintage, I am not any sort of expert on it. I just love green satin glass, and these look like the antwerps from the old Quest For Glory games, which is funny.

On your right, some opaque green Czechoslovakian drops. They have a really cool deco look to them, and they also remind me of cicadas. I think I'm going to hang them from some sort of collar... Maybe something inspired by Flaming Teeth.

And along the bottom, some luminous foil-backed flowers. Look how they shine! Chris actually picked those out. Marie also had some in emerald green, but the darker glass didn't glow like this aqua does.
Next, my Green Girl Studios goodies! This grouping of beads didn't photograph well, most of the details just don't show up at all. Anyway, I've already got a plan for that mermaid ring. And the cool thing about a lot of these, mermaid included, is that they have words or even entire quotes on the back.
The dryad pony! She has a garnet eye and coral accents in her mane. I'm going to have fun matching leaves to her to make an awesome necklace. Because, of course, I don't have enough leafy necklaces already.
Mini-beetle! And matching spacers! Pretty cool, huh? This was actually one of the simpler and smaller mini-beetles. I almost bought a black one with green and black wings, but I am a real sucker for that green opal glass. Also in this picture, two ridiculously cute Japanese lampwork beads. They had all kinds of little animals, even a baby seal.
I bought way too many seed beads at work, there was no way I could photograph them all. Instead, here's the highlights! On the left, a very nice green-bronze marble. The most expensive seed beads I own. I didn't even add them to my database, because I'm going to be greedy and save them for myself. They're actually brighter than the photo. The middle two are Czech size 6 seed beads that have a mottled, stone-like appearance. I have some pressed glass leaves (and maybe some fire-polished) the same color as the blackish ones. On the right, magic-lined size 6! These dichro-like seed beads are unbelievably awesome.
And last but not least, some goodies that my friend Deb from Bead Indulgences gave me! Very cool ivory pressed glass skulls, a malachite cab, a serpentine donut, and Swarovski crystals. They have an official name, but I call them "dust grey opal." I was hoping for an opal version of shadow crystal, but they have a decidedly beigish cast. I've heard they look better if you string them on gold wire, so I'm going to try.

I forgot to photograph my rivolis and Czech glass, so I'll probably post those later this week. Also, I didn't photograph the crystals, because there's a lot of them. Most of them are colors that I already had anyway. And speaking of crystals, I'm going to try to put them all away before I crash tonight. I'd better get started!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Done with gem show!

Well, the shows are still going on, and I might go buy some cabs (but probably not), but I am done working! Today was the last day of Best Bead. It really flew by. Betcey and Mark kept me so busy that I had no time to be bored. We were all happy with the arrangement, though, and they already asked me to come back next year -- to which I said yes.

I've picked up a few more nice things since my last blog post. I'll try to take some photos and do an end of show recap tomorrow. Tonight, I am really, really beat.

The apartment is such a mess. Chris and I were both so busy with work and socializing this past week that no housework got done. Yuck. Guess what I'll be doing tomorrow, in addition to photography and blogging?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Real update tomorrow -- gem show day 5

Whew, I am one busy gal! Work has been good the past two days, there's been plenty for me to do, whether it's packaging crystals or bagging peoples' purchases. I've met a few cool people, and touched bases with some friends. Tonight was Bead Dinner. Almost half of our attendees backed out, so it was just 6 of us. We had a great time, though, chatting and eating delicious Chinese food.

Yesterday I bought one of Margaret Zinser's new mini-beetles. It's amazing! She had a WHOLE BUNCH of them, and each one was a tiny marvel. I wanted them all!

So far, I don't have any plans for tomorrow night after work, so hopefully I can do a more detailed blog post then. Tonight I am just beat!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Too busy to blog -- Gem Show, Day 4

I've got to be at work in half an hour, and I still need to do my hair, put on some jewelry, oh, and pack some lunch. As such, this is a really quick blog post.

Had a nice dessert with my friends last night. We talked about the shows, beads we'd bought, mutual friends, and computers. Deb brought a bunch of her beautiful wire work for show and tell, and I gave her a sneak peek of Peacock Feathers. We also swapped some beady gifts, and mine from Deb included some really cool pressed glass ivory skulls. YAY!

By the way, I made a Sock Dreams order for some things to wear to the shows... The Harajuku Steampunk arm warmers are just as awesome as they look on the page, although they're very prone to snagging on any rough edge. Today I'm wearing some purple over-the-knee tube socks. They're warm and comfy on my legs, but HUGE around the feet. I think the toes are going to bunch up and give me some serious blisters. Definitely not a good buy if you have size 7-8 or smaller feet.

Tonight I am going straight from work to gaming. If you're going to be at Best Bead, come into Beyond Beadery and say "Hi!" I'll be the 16 year old looking brunette in lots of purple.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Shopping and Socializing -- gem show day 3

My apologies for the lack of pictures. I need to leave in 15 minutes, so I don't have time to photograph anything for show-and-tell.

As it turns out, I didn't need to go into work today. So I chilled out at home, and made a necklace to go with the skirt I'm wearing, then in the afternoon, Chris drove me down to Manning House, because he's awesome. Manning House is the home of To Bead True Blue, a show with a wide variety of vendors. Some of my favorites are there, so I was really happy to have today off to shop.

My first stop was Green Girl Studios, where I stocked up on a LOT of beads and pendants. I couldn't afford to make the wholesale minimum, but the guy there was really sweet and cut me a nice deal anyway. It's so good to deal with vendors who understand how hard it can be when you're a designer. I almost bought one of the beautiful shibiuchi Moth faerie pendants, but I'm trying to cut down on impulse purchases for myself, and there's no way I ever would have allowed myself to sell it. Hopefully, they'll still have them at the September show.

Then it was just 10 feet or so to the Christi Friesen booth! Christi is such a sweetie, and I was lucky enough to arrive when she wasn't teaching a class or swamped with customers. She not only complimented my necklace, but oooh'd and aaah'd over Sky Dancer. I'd saved up some of my holiday money for one of her beads. I took a break from my tradition of buying dragons from her, because she didn't have any green ones, and instead bought a horse. Not only do I love horses, but this one has a mane of leaves! It's a dryad pony!

Then I proceeded to wander about. I ran into Betcey and Mark, my bosses for this year (and my friends all other times), then 5 minutes later I ran into my friends Deb and Dave at my old booth neighbor's table. I helped Deb decide that she did, in fact, need one of his jellyfish. Even when I'm not working there, I sell Jeremy's beads! After solidifying tonight's dessert plans with Deb, I continued on my merry way. I picked up anodized findings to make myself earrings, purple wire lace for Marilee (it's REALLY purple, you'll love it!), and said Hi to my old boss Norm. I also said Hi to the nice lady from Beads of Courage!

All in all, I had a great time at the show. Due to some poor management, there's been heavy vendor turnover. I'm guessing word has spread in the bead world, because most of the new vendors didn't have beads or beading stuff -- they had clothes. Really beautiful clothes that I lusted after, but refused to buy. I've already run roughshod over my budget.

Tomorrow I start work! Hopefully I'll be able to sneak off on a few shopping breaks. At the very least, I have to go snag a bead from Margaret Zinser!

In the meantime, I'm off for dessert. Mmmm, chocolate!

Monday, February 04, 2008

The Day Between -- aka gem show, day 2ish

It always feels weird to have gem show in town, and to not be doing anything gem show related. That's what today is like. This is the day where I have to do all of my chores and errands before I really dive into the shows. Of course, I'm not going to bore you with the nitty-gritty of that, so let's move on.

The above image is the dish of beads that I'm working from right now, and a little piece of the necklace. That base strip is actually done now, and today I'm going to try to add the fringe and finish it up. That's right, it's Peacock Feathers, the cousin to Phoenix Feathers!

Originally, There was going to be some black in there, because I really don't like working without a neutral. However, I'm almost out of black size 11 seed beads (again?!), so I let Chris convince me that it would be better without... He felt that the black made it too dark for a peacock. At first I doubted the combination of cobalt, gold lustre olivine, and iridescent dark tealish green without any neutral serving as a barrier, but it quickly grew on me. It definitely has the rich, decadent look of a peacock's tail plumes.

Oh, and it never fails... gem show is in town, and it's pouring rain today! I sure hope it clears up soon! I feel bad for all the vendors who are setting up today.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Look at these KEYS! aka Gem Show, Day 1

We just got back from Gem Mall a little bit ago. Man oh man did I blow my budget. As usual, my first stop was Lanshang for crystals. The only problem was, I forgot to bring the list of what colors I needed to buy! At first, I just picked out some colors that I knew I needed... but then, I decided to just stock up on everything. Due to the international market and the dollar being weak versus the euro, the price of Swarovski crystals is supposed to go up significantly this year. So in the long run, it just made more sense to buy loads of crystals, and then I won't need as many when the September shows roll around.

After that, I was making my usual circuit, heading over to see Raven's Journey and East of Oz, when I passed by this place that sells a lot of vintage, and they had tons of brass stampings. Well, I started looking at stampings, and was debating whether I wanted any, when I saw a tray with a single vintage key in it. And so I said to Chris, "we should see if they have any more!" That's when we saw it: a plastic shoebox 3/4 full of old keys! Well, we both descended on it with great glee. There was a mix of your standard modern-style keys and the older, more elegant style. Of course, there were no prices, so we had to ask, and discovered that we had $50 worth of keys, so I winnowed them down a little bit to what you see above. Aren't they beautiful?

The funniest part was at lunch, when I called my friend Lois to let her know that I'd only been able to get half the crystals she wanted. She asked how the show was, and I gleefully told her about my shopping, and how we scored a bunch of vintage keys. The conversation went like this...

Lois: "Keys? Like the kind you open things with?"
Me: "Yeah! But vintage skeleton key style ones!"
Lois: (in a not very convinced voice) "Oh-kay."
Me: "It's a Goth thing!"
Lois: "Oh, okay, I see."

I love Lois like another mother, but she and I have completely different tastes. Unfortunately, she's not at Gem Show this year, but in previous years, we'd hit Gem Mall together, and show each other things. There were a few things we'd agree on, but mostly she'd respond to my enthusiasm with "Sorry, it leaves me cold" and I'd respond to hers with "Eh, it's OK, I guess." Of course, the nice thing about that is that when there's a limited amount of something, we don't have to fight over it.

Anyway, keys in hand, we continued on. At Raven's Journey, I said "Hi" to Jamey and Lenka and picked up some gorgeous Czech beads. I actually only picked up one type of leaf this year, but I also nabbed some beautiful lentils and windows. Then I went over to East of Oz, and I chatted with Marie, and I got some great vintage beads. Black glass Japanese spiderweb-y rounds, and huge green droppy things, and some opaque flat drops with a Deco look to them, and some foil-backed flowers... All very nice stuff. Plus I found a vendor with some cool bells, and brass and copper clasps that practically glow.

By the time I bought all that, my bag was heavy (actually, the strap came unstitched!), I was starving, and I'd spent more than twice what I intended to. We didn't even go to the other tents -- I had all that I'd come looking for, and then some, I didn't need any impulse buys!

Now I have to figure out where to put all these beads! Yikes!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Beading right along.

My special gem show necklace is coming along quite well. I did take an in-progress photo, but I haven't had the chance to pull it off the camera and edit it yet. Had a pretty busy day.

I did find time to dance, during the afternoon when it wasn't ridiculously cold. Feels good to be active again, sometimes I fall into too much of a rut and spend all my time at the computer.

The past 3 days have been so busy and chaotic with Chris's new job, so I'm really having a hard time gathering my thoughts to make a coherent blog post. I'm going to go veg out now. Should have more to say Sunday, when I get back from Gem Mall. Tomorrow I've got to run errands before D&D. Bah.