Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Good things coming tomorrow.

I finished my choker this afternoon, and I have to say, it looks incredible. It's another one of those "wish I could keep it" sort of pieces, not that I have anything to wear it with. I'll be posting it on my website tomorrow. It's been a fun past few days working on this piece -- except for the fact that my thread kept catching on the chair lever. Stupid lever!

With that done, I need to put my focus back on Locked Away. I have an order from Earthenwood Studios due within the next week or two, and I want to be free to play with those beads when they arrive. That means that I need to finish what I've got going on right now! Hopefully this time around the beads will behave.

I picked up The Beaded Garden by Diane Fitzgerald last night. I think that between it and Barbara Grainger's book, I should he able to make just about any sort of flower, leaf or vine that I want, plus a few insects.

In the meantime, I've got to go get ready for tonight's game. Once again I'm playing a new character, and this one should work out better than Saturday's did.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I'd still rather be reading.

Iron Council is long. I've been reading it since Friday night and I'm still not done. So I'm sitting here making myself do stuff that I should be doing, instead of spending all night reading. Clearly, I have decided that I like the book after all. The third section turned out to be a helluva lot more interesting than the first and second.

Last night we took our friend Alex out for dinner and a movie in honor of his birthday. Usually we just do dinner, but we all wanted to see Forbidden Kingdom, and it was more convenient to do both on the same night. The movie wasn't as bad as I expected, and one of the things that I need to do tonight is write a review of it. I'll post a link to it on Thursday, when it should be up on the 'zine. Dinner was Thai food. Of the three Thai places I've tried in the past few months, this one was clearly the best. The food was amazing, the portions were generous, the service was good, and even though it was crowded, they brought our food quickly and kept our drinks full. All in all, a good night.

The choker has been coming along very well. It will also be posted on Thursday, when I update my site. I'd hoped to finish it today, but my eyes are feeling a little tired so I'll probably do it tomorrow. It's a bit of an unusual color palette, but I think it's very elegant. After that it will be time to finish Locked Away!

Oh, and Chris is awesome because he bought me 4 issues of Steampunk Magazine. I am a happy little geek.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Another night out.

To sum up: Thai food is delicious. Forbidden Kingdom is better than I thought it would be. The choker I'm working on is coming along quite well, and should be finished tomorrow. Chris is awesome. I would rather be reading than blogging right now.

More tomorrow :)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Spending the night out.

Just a quick post. I'm on my way out soon, to spend some time with my family. Then us young folks (that is to say Chris, myself, my brother, and his crazy friends) will go burn stuff in a strictly non-arsonist sort of way. We're the kinder, gentler pyromaniacs!

I'm still mulling over necklace ideas. I think I'll get some good beading time in tomorrow, I don't have too much housework to do. I'll probably also get some more packing done. Everyone knows, though, that beads are the last thing you pack! You never know when you might need them.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Ideas spring to mind.

I'm in a somewhat better mood today than yesterday. Still overwhelmed, but that's not going away anytime soon!

I had a nice flash of inspiration in the shower (my mind wanders a lot when I'm washing all this hair!), and I figured out how I wanted to do a certain necklace... The one involving the pretty hammered brass key that I bought at gem show. I'll probably make it tomorrow. I thought of taking it to the game today, but I'd rather do it at home where I can change things around more easily if need be.

Last night I went ahead and started Iron Council, because I couldn't sleep. I'm finding that it's not quite grabbing me in the same way that the previous two books did. Maybe it will get better. One thing that I do like is that the author chose to let his city evolve and change in the 20-25 years between the first two novels and this one. Some fantasy worlds get locked into too much of a status quo, and they feel stagnant. There was just enough change that it feels like a believable level of advancement, and keeps the same feel of the city. New technology, social changes due to events in previous books, interesting stuff like that. If only the characters didn't feel so boring and distant.

I need to go get ready for today's game. I'm playing a totally atypical character for me, in many ways. We'll see if that works out.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Tug of war.

Ugh. I feel like I have too many things to do, and that I can't focus on any one thing. I want to bead, but when I go into the beadroom, I see the mess and I start to try to clean and pack, but then there's no place to put things, or I can't get to where they belong, or I'm worried I might need it before we move...

So instead I spent most of today working on a character for a game that I don't even know if I want to play anymore.

I'm really not in a great state of mind today. I did go to B&N and finally pick up Iron Council (the next Mieville book). I think I might go start reading it, which pretty much guarantees that I won't feel like packing or gaming or beading.

Willpower? What's that?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

How do you like them apples?

Last night, instead of our usual roleplaying, six of us played a rousing game of Apples to Apples. Much fun was had by everyone! It's good to get together with a group of friends and be silly, especially since I've had to spend so much time being mature and responsible with the whole housing thing.

Speaking of that, it looks like everything is going great, and we'll be closing on June 11th. I spent some time this week packing, and now I've filled up all the boxes I had (I didn't have very many). One problem with packing early is that I now have to deal with stacks of boxes for the next month and a half. For now they all fit under my beadroom desk, but it's gonna get ugly soon!

In anticipation of my new home, I bought myself a beautiful print by Meredith Dillman. It's called Throne of Ravens. I love ravens and crows and pretty winged ladies, so I just had to have it. I purchased it on Monday and it arrived today, so I'm very impressed with her speedy shipping! I'll definitely be buying more from her in the future.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I should be doing this every day.

I spent most of today working on this necklace, and you know what? It felt wonderful. I don't know why I've fallen out of the habit of putting in a serious amount of beading every day. I mean, sure, a lot of times recently I've been out doing house stuff for half the day, but that excuse only goes so far. I've got to rededicate myself to making beautiful jewelry!

That said, I'm in love with this necklace! It features a rivoli in a Laura McCabe-style bezel, with an Earthenwood Studios "dream" charm hanging below it, and lots of pretty beads hanging below that. The pendant is strung onto a necklace of Czech glass and Swarovski crystals. The idea was that the pendant would be removable, but it's a pretty tight squeeze over the 6mm beads. Next time I should give it more wiggle room.

This will be going onto the website tomorrow. I think I'm probably going to move to only updating once a month for the next few months. With moving and BFAC and Comic Con, I'm going to have a hard time keeping with the once-a-week schedule. The fact that I haven't put new jewelry up all month serves as a testament to that!

Monday, April 21, 2008

The beads aren't playing nice!

Last night I sat down to work on Locked Away some more. Well, after how perfectly the first side came together, with such graceful curves for the wing... the second side had to be all "Blargh! I am ugly!" The beads just refused to stitch down nicely, and I kept having to remove them and do it over, and then it would look even worse. In an amount of time that I expected to do 1 1/2-2 rows, I got less than one done, and half of that will have to be ripped out again.

So today I decided that I was about due for a break from Locked Away. After all, I haven't beaded anything else since I started it (other than that 1-hour pendant), and my website was suffering from the lack of new jewelry. Plus I had a nice idea for a rivoli pendant that I could put on a strung necklace. And you know what? The colors that I picked look absolutely gorgeous together. Too bad the bezel is too small.

Someday I'll learn to keep double-checking the bezel size as I work!

I think that tomorrow I'll be able to get the bezel right, but now I'm just feeling frazzled.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Flaming Teeth now on eBay!

Flaming Teeth, my 2008 LL-BFAC project, is currently up for auction! Go, look, bid! Remember that all proceeds (minus our small operating costs) go to the National Colorectal Cancer Research Association. You're not just getting a gorgeous and unique piece of jewelry, you're helping a good cause.

Please be sure to check out all of the other auctions, too. We have some great items going up this week, including necklaces with polymer focals by both of my parents. This was their first year participating and I'm very proud of them!

I know that in today's economy, money is tight for a lot of people, and luxuries like beadwork are hard to budget in. But if you've got a little spending cash, please consider bidding on a Layne's Legacy -- Beading For A Cure auction this week.

Ok, ok! I'll stop before this turns into a pledge drive!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

I'm on Facebook!

Well, actually, I've been on Facebook for a while. But now I have an official business page on Facebook! You can see it right here. For the most part it will probably just have things that you could see here on the website... But I'm sure that in the future I will want to use it for special sales, maybe give-aways and other things, so if you're a Facebook member, you may want to "Fan" me. For that matter, you can go to my profile and "friend" me, too. I won't mind, honest!

I'm still figuring out Facebook. I don't fully understand the whole social networking thing. Most of my time there seems to be spent sending karma back and forth with my friends! And while that's all well and good, there has to be more to it than that. Perhaps having a page for Erthe Fae Designs will add a new dimension to it.

Friday, April 18, 2008

I want to play with clay!

I'm not going to talk about more house stuff, but this is a picture that I took outside of the house. Isn't it a pretty flower? I should really learn to use my macro mode, so pictures like this would come out even nicer.

Today I received my copy of Christi Friesen's Down Under book, which shows how to make lots of Australian-themed polymer pieces. It was fun to read, and now I want to make an echidna. I fell in love with them years ago, when I read about them in some school book. I really don't have a good spot to work with clay right now, though. Maybe once I get things a little more cleaned up.

I'm feeling pretty tired. I'm glad that it's Friday, so Chris won't be getting up early and phoning it up all morning, so maybe I can get some good sleep. We also don't have any gaming, so I think we'll be home-bound for most of the weekend, other than a couple nearby errands. I have a lot of things I want to do around here, including hopefully some work on Locked Away, which I haven't touched since I posted the last update on it.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The house!

Weee, I am beat. Last night was some epic gaming as we ended a two-year-long storyline, and we stayed up way too late to do it. Then today we had to go have inspection day at the house! While I was there I snapped some pictures, and here is a front shot. I probably should have snapped it right when we got there, so half the house wouldn't be obscured by the shade of the giant mesquite tree. Have I mentioned how much I love trees? The house has a lot of them, including orange, peach, and kumquat trees!

The inspection went well and so far everything is looking good for our future as home owners. Hurrah! I'm afraid I have to keep this short, though, as now I have to go send out a bunch of e-mails with nitty-gritty details.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Wings and Gods -- Locked Away, Part 6

As I worked to fill in the background around the wing here, I was struck with an different inspiration for these colors. They remind me of Incan and Mayan jewelry, with the turquoise set in gold. The wing shape that I was stitching put me in mind of Quetzalcoatl.

Anyway, I kind of had to stitch in weird ways to fill in the empty space, but I think it turned out well, I've decided to be OK with tiny bits of black showing, because otherwise I'd drive myself crazy. I realized that what I could have done was started at the middle and worked out to the edge, but if I'd done that, I never would have made these wings.

I probably won't post any in-progress pictures for a bit, as they'll just be a repeat of what I've done on this side. I do hope to bead a little more quickly now that I know that I'm doing and won't be undoing so many stitched or pondering design ideas. Ok, I will be pondering, but only in a thinking-ahead sort of way. I have to consider the necklace and the fringe and the edging, and the possibility of earrings.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Settling down to bead.

I'm about to work some more on Locked Away. I did a little bit last night, but wasn't happy with most of it, so I undid it. Hopefully tonight will be more successful. I'm trying to figure out exactly how I want to fill in the area around the wings. I'm trying to use the amber 15s, because I'm not really thrilled with the terra cotta lined lime beads. I think the amber looks much nicer with the teal-turquoise.

I haven't really been able to bead much during the day lately. Having Chris home all the time really throws me off and I find that I have a hard time concentrating on anything when he's constantly on the phone. One of the best things about having a house will be having our respective work areas on opposite sides of said house, so we don't interfere with each other. Don't get me wrong, I love him and I love the idea of having him home, but the reality doesn't work out so well.

Tonight I did a little dancing, since I've completely kicked the cough that my cold left me with. With any luck, I'll stay healthy and I'll be able to dance on a regular basis again. I can feel myself slipping out of shape, and I don't want that to happen!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Nothing to say, but I'm saying it anyway.

Well, I had a decent weekend and I have a busy week ahead of me. I'm hoping to set aside more beading time this week, as I'm pretty disappointed with how little I've done lately. I miss making things! I've also been thinking about writing again, but I don't know how much time I'll have for that.

I would like to point you in the direction of this week's BFAC auctions! Spam Guard is a personal favorite, and I had a lot of fun photographing him and writing his description, so you should definitely check him out.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The one-hour necklace.

So, I had a dinner to go to on Thursday night. I'd never been to the restaurant and had no idea how nice it was, so I decided to play it safe and wear a pretty skirt and a nice top. I had this gorgeous burn-away velvet skirt that I'd never worn, which is black with silver and blue flowers and leaves on it. Since I'd never worn it, I'd also never made jewelry to go with it, and it didn't go with any of the blue jewelry I already had. I'd made the what-to-wear decision just an hour before I needed to leave, so I needed a necklace fast.

As it turns out, there's not a single blue bead in my collection which would match either of the two shades in the skirt. Luckily, I had lots of nice black and silver-grey and clear beads to choose from. I opted for some vintage faceted lustrous clear beads, some black Swarovski pearls, my favorite little black vintage flowers, and some pretty grey dime-shaped beads... plus a PMC-coated leaf that my friend Deborah at Bead Indulgences sent me.

I could have done a simple strung necklace, but I felt like doing something different. I'd seen this style of pendant before, and I decided it was definitely something I could do in an hour and have look all cute and trendy with my little black blouse. A few wrapped loops and a couple of jumprings later and ta da, it's a necklace! It didn't even take quite an hour, and that includes finding the beads I wanted to use, polishing the leaf, and trying it on two different pre-made chains to get just the right length to go with the blouse.

I think that the monochrome palette makes it modern and understated, whereas the leaf and flowers still pay homage to my love of nature. I expect to get a lot of wear out of this one!

Friday, April 11, 2008

One-Winged Angel -- Locked Away Part 5

Last time, it was a heart. Now it's a one-winged angel with a keyhole for a head. As I was stitching the teal beads down, I noticed that the shape looked like a feathered wing, so I decided to go with it. Now I wish I could add another bead type -- I'd do black, probably matte black even, to really make the wings pop. I don't know how it will look to do the red or the amber. If I'd used Ultrasuede or even normal suede for the base, I'd just leave the area around the wings blank... But I don't think that the felt is attractive enough to be left "naked."

If I was more experienced with this sort of technique, and I hadn't already stitched down the center line of hexes and 8s there, I'd actually cut away the felt around the wings, making it a shaped pendant. Maybe for a future project! As it is, I've come to realize that this is going to be huge by the time I add the fringe, so I'm thinking of cutting the top off closer to the keyhole cab. Maybe I'll go ahead and cut around the top curve of the wing, and maybe attach the necklace there at the "shoulder." I think it might look pretty cool. Hmmm... brainstorming!

The angel with the keyhole head idea makes me think of MirrorMask. I can't remember if anyone in there had a keyhole mask. Gee shucks, I guess I might just have to watch the movie again to see. I know that some people are disturbed by masks, but I personally find them beautiful. Right now I'm enamored of the work of Merimask. I never wear the leather Green (wo)Man mask that I have (it doesn't quite fit my face and gives me a headache), but I'm still tempted to buy one of her masks. Maybe it would fit me better!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sign this, initial that.

This whole house-buying thing has totally taken over my life. I had no idea that there was so much paperwork. I mean, I expected a lot, but we spent 3 hours going over it yesterday and another hour today, and I know there's more yet to come.

The good news is that we put a bid in on the house we liked yesterday, and the seller accepted it! The bad news is that we won't be closing until mid-June, which means I have a couple more months in this apartment, and we'll be moving in some pretty serious heat. But I'm focusing on the positive. We're finally getting a house! Hurray!

Things are actually going very well for us in general, which is a strange feeling. I'm a pessimist by nature (I prefer realist, and my friend Solomon backs me up on this, but Chris says pessimist), and I expect the worst out of almost every situation. When things go this well, I really start to worry -- but I'm trying to actually enjoy this. Buying a house is a very large and exciting step in life, and one that makes me feel like more of a responsible grown-up. I'll be 26 by the time the house closes, and I know a lot of people don't buy until they're 30+, so I feel like I'm a little ahead of the game on this one.

Of course, you might be as bored of hearing about my house buying adventures as I am of signing paperwork, so I'll try not get too caught up in it. I got some nice work done on Locked Away Tuesday night, and I made a cute little pendant to wear to dinner tonight, so I'll try to get some photos and bead chatter up here tomorrow and Saturday.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

My cats... getting along?

Yes, I'm afraid the end times are upon us, my friends! On Sunday I snapped this shocking photo -- my two cats, lying pleasantly side-by-side! Usually Lira can't stand Topher, and will stay quite far away from him. For them to be lying next to each other was quite shocking. At first I attributed this to some magic power of the pants they were lying on (someday, Chris will stop leaving his dirty clothes on the couch). However, hours later, when the pants had been removed, I found them like this:
What could cause this sudden and unexpected feline unity? I'm fairly certain that they've heard me talking about my desire to get a dog, and they've decided that they must join together to combat the canine menace. It was a warm day, so it's not like they were snuggled up to share body heat.

They've since returned to their usual animosity, so I suppose whatever truce they had shattered quite quickly. It was nice while it lasted, though.

Anyway, I'm about to head off to the bank to sign some home loan paperwork. It's quite exciting!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Moving Sale going on NOW!

In anticipation of purchasing a house and moving out of my apartment, I am pleased to announce my Moving Sale! The less that I have to pack up and move, the better, and you can help me by getting jewelry and packaging materials out of my home ;)

From now until at least the end of May, you can use the code "moving" to get 20% off of your purchase at Erthe Fae Designs. And remember, shipping is always free within the US! Now is the perfect time to buy some gorgeous new jewelry to go with your Spring and Summer wardrobe, or to buy Mother's Day presents!

I'll probably also run a sale on my Etsy store items, but I haven't set that up yet. In the meantime, if you would like to purchase any jewelry from my Etsy shop, let me know and I'll give it a 20% discount.

Tell all of your friends!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Looking at houses.

Today we went looking at houses, and we found one we might want to buy. Yay! It's pretty exciting to really and truly be preparing to move out of this apartment. Especially since the weather has warmed up, so the screaming children have once again returned to the swimming pool.

One house that we looked at and definitely didn't want (it was significantly smaller than what we were looking for, and at the upper end of our price range), had a very nice back yard and some nice landscaping, except... this tree. The tree looked nice. It was covered in little white flowers. Little white flowers that reeked. And not even in a too-strong perfume kind of way. Chris described it as wet dog. Our friend who was with us said rotting flesh. And I say it smelled like half-dried dog poo. I can't imagine why anyone would plant such a tree. It was terrible. If the house had otherwise been something we were interested in, I think that would have been the deal-killer.

Anyway, I'm already daunted by the idea of packing up and moving. I have way too much stuff, especially books and craft supplies. It's definitely time to start going through and getting rid of the things that I don't really need or want. And also, I think I'll be having a moving sale over at the website. Jewelry isn't hard to move or anything, but I need an excuse for a sale, don't you think? I'll start that up soon.

There should hopefully be new jewelry on the site tomorrow. Things are crazy here this week, but I don't want to miss another update!

Friday, April 04, 2008

So much better.

Ahhh, the cold is pretty much all gone. Glad that didn't linger much, I have plans for this weekend.

We went out for Malaysian tonight, which was OK, and then we went to the bookstore. Rather than buy more novels, I just picked up the latest Beadwork magazine. I also got a cool crochet hat book for my Mom, who is going to be recovering from surgery for a little while. I figure she might want to do something with her hands, and I know she really likes to crochet hats. I admit I have a little bit of an ulterior motive, because there were some pretty cool looking hoods in there that I wouldn't mind having!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

A (crane)fly on the wall.

If you'd like to see a bigger, better image of my friend the cranefly, you should pop on over to InsectPOD! Although David seems to think that the good shot of the halteres is the best part of the image, I personally love the wings. They look like evil faerie wings, don't you think?

Anyway, David over at InsectPOD is a great guy, he gave me a lot of advice on how to use the macro mode on my camera. Getting a good shot of the cranefly wasn't hard, because it's huge (body alone is 1" long!), but the tiny beetles and spiders that I find turn into blurs. Hopefully by using his handy tips, I'll be able to take clear images of bugs that are smaller than 4mm Swarovski crystals.

I'm really enjoying my camera. I want to pick up a camera case and start taking it with me everywhere, for when I find cool or ironic things to photograph. For instance, the other day when we were out to lunch, we saw a guy who looked very much like a professor crossing the street to the college. The thing is, he was walking straight towards a no crossing sign. Oh, how I wished I'd had a camera with me!

As you can probably tell from the tone of my post, I'm feeling much better. I'm still sick, but at least I'm functioning.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

A heart? -- Locked Away, Part 4

A little more beading done. As you can see, I continued the line down, and abandoned the idea of some bugles. I tried it, but they didn't line up well with the cab. Instead, there's a row of alternating size 8s and hexes leading up to the cab, with just enough space for another row of beads to go there. I started filling it in with more of the turquoise-lined amber, which I think is going to be the main color, because I like it the best.

If I do the same thing on the other side, and I probably will, because I love symmetry, then it's going to look kind of like a heart. I may or may not play up on that. I haven't decided what I want to do with the top yet.

Speaking of BFAC, have you checked out this week's auctions yet? Because you really have to see Jen's dragon! I'm currently high bidder, but you're welcome to try to outbid me. Really, it's okay. I like the competition! It's good for BFAC. Or you can bid on another item, if you can't stand the idea of depriving me of a seriously awesome dragon.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Still sick, but good news anyway!

Seriously, I turn into a big baby when I have a cold, so it's a mercy that I'm keeping this brief.

Less about me, more about good news.

Good news item the first: My husband Chris is an official employee at his new job. Hurray for that!

Good news item the second: My Aunt B, aka my favorite aunt, just opened an Etsy shop. She makes gorgeous pendants. I have her one and only pendant with a cab set in it, and it's malachite. If you're wondering why she's my favorite aunt, it's because she's fun, loving, artistic, and makes good burritos.