Saturday, January 31, 2009

Gem Mall Haul

Ok, clearly I need to stop taking lazy pictures on my desk, because they turn out all blah-like. Nonetheless, here are some goodies from my Gem Mall trip. From left to right: A green stone carving of a bug on a leaf; an opalized ammonite, a teardrop of some pretty green and crystal stone, a turquoise carving with a lizard and flowers, a boulder opal, and another turquoise lizard. I picked all of these up from Intrinsic Trading, and they're all drilled to be used as pendants. With the exception of the first two, they're also all flat enough to be used as cabs if I prefer. I love versatile components!

So. Gem Mall. Always a must-shop for me. Has been ever since my friend Schermo snuck Chris and I in because she wanted to go say Hi to her friend Marie (yes, Marie from East of Oz, my favorite vintage supplier!). It's a very nice tent show, with a real floor and solid-ish walls and climate control and good lighting and good parking, and lots of quality vendors whom I frequent year after year.

After waiting in a long line to register, we popped in to the usual entrace, which I always go in because it's right next to Lanshang, where I get my crystal fix. I only needed a dozen colors of crystals this year, and they had them all. Nice. Then it was around the perimeter. Hit Sandy Schor again for more vintage keys. There was someone already digging through the keys when we got there. She proceeded to move on to watch movements. Clearly, a competitor in the steampunk jewelry business. Luckily, she did not take all of the good keys. I found some beauties. Chris helped. We even found a couple big, manly keys.

Next stop, of course, was Raven's Journey, where I chatted and shopped for pretty glass. I got some firepolished, some leaves, and these weird little spade-shaped drops in a weird shimmery green color. Plus gorgeous buttons and a ceramic raven pendant. At that point, I had purchased everything that I went to Gem Mall for, and intended to just browse the rest of the show.

The flaw in this plan is that I had Chris with me, and he is quite the little arm-twister. That's how I ended up with half a dozen stone carvings that I originally had no intention of buying, plus some pyrite, green kyanite, and seraphinite from the same vendor. I don't normally buy a lot of stone beads, but these were very high quality for what struck me as a nice price, and the pyrite and seraphinite match cabs that I already had at home. The kyanite is just something that I've personally wanted for a while, and since it's green, it will get used.

The other impulse stop was Da Beads, where there was lots more Czech glass to be had. Because their beads were by the strand, instead of by the hank, I was able to pick up some weird beads that I will really only use a few of. Plus more nice Czech buttons, and a handful of made-in-the-USA dyed silk ribbons, which are nice to put things like rivoli pendants on (I've wanted some for a while, and the price was right).

After that, I was pretty much done shopping. I looked at some cabs, but ended up deciding that I would rather buy a few very nice cabs (like what I got from Gary Wilson at the September show), than a lot of < $5 cabs that had no real "wow" factor. We didn't even go to the second tent, as it was a lot warmer than I had expected and I was roasting alive in my long-sleeved tee and just wanted to take my heavy bag-o-swag home.

Tomorrow: To Bead True Blue!

Friday, January 30, 2009

I'm tired just thinking about it...

Gem Show starts in the morning! Here's my schedule for the next week and a half:

Saturday: Go to Gem Mall, stand in line, register, buy crystals that I need, Czech glass that I want, other things that I'm inspired by.

Sunday: Take dogs to class. Take dogs home. Go to To Bead True Blue. Get steampunk bead from Christi Friesen, steampunk beads from Green Girl, and look around for other things of interest. Go grocery shopping.

Monday and Tuesday: Get things done around the house, finish planning out what I'll wear, find insulated lunchbox, put away weekend purchases.

Tuesday evening: Crafting time with Mom, if neither one of us is too tired or busy.

Wednesday: Get up at 8am to get into work (Beyond Beadery at Best Bead) at 9am, so I can be prepared for the opening-day rush this time. Work until 8pm. Come home, eat food, game for a bit, probably be snappish at the group because I'm tired. Make sure to apologize beforehand.

Thursday: Work from 10-6, then head out for a nice dinner with my employers, fellow employees, and interesting bead people who I don't already know but am looking forward to meeting. Chris gets to come along, too, as he is marginally beady ;)

Friday: Work from 10-6, then go to the Swarovski party. Oooh! I hear that it is quite swanky there. I don't normally get to go, but my wonderful boss Betcey wrangled an extra invitation, which she extended to me. A chance to dress up and spend the evening making small talk about beads? Who would turn that down?

Saturday: Another 10-6 day, followed by another dinner, this time with people from my on-line bead forum.

Sunday: Working 10-5, with a break for dog class. May get together with my friend Deb of Bead Indulgences, if her schedule allows.

Monday: No work! Taking a dragonfly class from Christi Friesen in the afternoon. Mom is also taking the class. Much fun will be had. Possible get-together with Deb if Sunday doesn't pan out.

Tuesday: I collapse from sheer exhaustion.

I'm going to go get some sleep now while I still can.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Beading. And Shopping. But not shopping for beads. Yet.

I've spent the first half of this week doing housework. Since I know no one comes to this blog to read about housework, I won't bore you with the details. I'll only say that I was bored with the details. Too much domesticity does not do an artist's mind any good. I kept trying to set time aside for beading, and failing miserably, so last night I put my foot down. I delcared that today would be a day of no housework. It was a day for beading!

True to my word, I picked out beads for a project. I have this shell cameo that I picked up at Michael's on Thanksgiving, and I wanted to bezel it to make a neo-Victorian necklace to go with the steampunk outfit that I want to wear to next Thursday's dinner. I picked out some Delicas and size 15 seed beads and got to work. Of course, the first 15s turned out to be galvanized, and thus I knew they would flake all to heck. Ok, I picked out some Charlottes instead. Those proved to be too light. Then I picked out some other 15s, and they looked nice with the Delicas, but not necessarily with the cameo. I decided to soldier on anyway. Then I realized that the bezel was going to be much too wide for this super-thin cameo, so I scrapped it. Now the cameo is glued down to some felt, I have 4 colors of beads picked out (thus drawing out more of the colors of the shell), and all of the beading that I did this afternoon was for naught. Oh well, I've got plenty of time this evening!

And then there was shopping. Actually, there was shopping throughout the day. While I was working yesterday, I kept thinking about how I really wanted a pair of TotusMel's tatted cuffs to wear to gem show. So today I treated myself to a pair, as a reward for all of my hard work. But while I was logged on to Etsy, I also had to buy some cool carved wooden earrings, and a present for Chris (can't tell you what, because he reads my blog and wants to be surprised, but he can just not click on this link), and then later I had to go back and buy myself a hoodie, because I keep stealing Chris's hoodie that I bought for him as a present. And I had to buy socks, to go with my steampunk outfit (because neither of the two pairs of steampunk socks that I already had would look right).

After dinner, we had to go to Target, for important things like cat food and dog toys, and while there, I had to get pants, because skirts really aren't practical for cold weather or dog training. I got two pairs of practical jean-weight pants, and one pair of dressier navy blue slightly shiny wide leg indescribably cool pants, which probably don't go with anything I own, but I had to have them anyway. Plus we got three plain-colored dress shirts for Chris, so he can wear all of his stylin' pin-striped vests. Oh yeah!

Hey economy, you feeling stimulated yet? Or do I need to go buy more dog toys? (the dogs say: buy more toys!)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Almost that time again...

Yes, it's almost gem show time, which means that I will be blogging more again! Is it bad that I found myself wishing that I had something nicer than my bottom-of-the-line flip-phone, so I could do live Twitter coverage of the show? I will say yes, it is bad, because my boss would probably prefer to pay me for packaging crystals, not posting "Wow! I am packaging so many sparkly crystals today! Come to the booth and buy them!" On-line marketing is good, but doing the job you were hired for is better.

The picture above is the steampunk beetle assemblage necklace that Chris gave me for the day after Christmas (since I wasn't home on Christmas). I figure it fits the post title, since, you know, it has little watch pieces embedded in it. Of all my holiday presents, this is the one I've worn the most, because it goes very well with a casual pants and tee sort of outfit, where my crystal jewelry might be a little overkill. Plus, since it's mixed-metal colors, it also goes with whatever color I'm wearing. It's a good necklace for when I'm feeling lazy, which is all too often lately.

I'm almost done with my kit bracelet, which has morphed slightly from the original kit design. I'll probably finish it tomorrow or Wednesday, and post pictures... sometime.

Anyway, back to the subject of gem show! Gem Mall, my source for Swarovski crystals, Czech glass, vintage glass, and random vintage keys, opens on Saturday, and I hope to go there opening day. Unfortunately, my favorite vintage seller, East of Oz, will not be there, but I can still fill all of my other needs. Then on Sunday, I will go to To Bead True Blue, which has very conveniently moved to within walking distance of my house. Monday and Tuesday will be days of getting things squared away at home, and then Wednesday begins my exciting work week. Hooray!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I built a desk!

With a little help from Chris, I finally completed the desk tonight. Woohoo! It's a very nice sense of accomplishment, especially since I found several steps in the instructions to be stupid, and I decided to do them my way instead, and it worked. That's the DIY attitude! Also, I avoided further injury, which is good.

I'm working on filling the desk with assorted beading and craft supplies which are scattered around the house, and once that's done I'll take a pretty picture of it. It will be nice to have things put away. The cabinet on my computer desk that should be holding my laptop and gaming bag is rather full of packages of beads and things, and the guest room has a few craft store bags full of miscellaneous stuff.

I am still sick, but sometimes when I have a cold I have a sudden burst of energy which makes me want to do something, like build a desk. Actually, I do feel almost all better, so hopefully I'll wake up healthy. I have big plans for tomorrow (ok, it's 1:30am, technically today), which involve friends and sushi and Mom and crafting, and maybe Chris and drywall.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A picture of my nemesis.

Yesterday I decided that I was going to assemble my new crafting desk/table. The box was inconveniently in the walkway, and it was way past time to open that box and put the thing together. I planned to do it by myself, for two reasons: because I could, and because Chris was sleeping off his cold in the bedroom. Daisy assisted me in her capacity as Construction Dog* but since she doesn't have opposable thumbs, all she could really do was offer moral support.

Things were going fine until I got up to adding the slider for the drawer, and I discovered that the tiny screws used (of which there are about 50 used in various places) are made of cheapola metal, and that using a power screwdriver on them totally strips the head. So I soldiered on with a manual screwdriver, which also occasionally stripped the head. What the heck.

Many curse words were uttered, but I was resolute. I was going to finish the desk! I felt like even with having to do almost everything manually, I could probably finish it before bed if I stayed up a little late. I was feeling energized, partially by the great feeling of putting something together by myself, with no male intervention, and partially by the two liters or so of white tea that I had drank throughout the day, not to mention the holiday chocolate that I'm still working my way through.

And then -- disaster struck! The top of the desk/table features a little side table that folds down when not in use, thus taking up less space. I had already attempted to attach the main top to the base first, and then attach the side table, but this required upside down screwing, which the cheap screws could not withstand. So, as per the directions, I assembled the two-part hingey tabletop and prepared to place it on the base, which would require lining up 8 holes with their associated pegs.

The assembled tabletop was rather heavy and awkward, perhaps too much for a 5-and-a-half foot tall, 110 lb, pipe-cleaner armed young lady to handle on her own, but fueled by my pride and the success that I'd already have doing things All By Myself, I did not listen to the little voice that told me to ask Chris to give me a hand for a moment. Hey, the man was sick, I figured I should let him enjoy his video game, and I, being perfectly well**, could handle the grunt work.

Most of you already know what happened next, thanks to e-mail or my Facebook status. The hinging desk hinged, and pinched both of my forefingers. OW! My right finger got out of it with just a little pinch. My left finger, however, got a huge, nasty gash which is currently wrapped protectively in a magical pink-and-purple faerie bandage. And thus ended my desk-constructing dreams.

So now it's sitting, mostly completed, in my living room. But wait... is that a cat in that cubbyhole? It certainly is. Topher wasted little time in discovering that there was a perfect kitty-sized cave in the new desk.

*Daisy is a dog of many talents. She's also the Science Dog, the Cooking Dog, and the Laundry Dog. She pretty much likes to be wherever we are, and will sit there and watch very attentively, in case there is any dropped food or petting involved.

**Yeah, that didn't last. I woke up today and found that I had Chris's cold.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bracelet in progress.

Here's an in-progress picture of the bracelet I'm making from a kit. Since taking this picture, I've added one more medallion. I really haven't been beading much lately!

I'm not at all happy with this picture. Way too much light for these super-sparkly beads. In fact, I think most of the photos from that shoot look a little washed-out. This is why I usually prefer to rely on lighting and not use my flash. Ah well.

Once I've finished this bracelet, I want to make a necklace with the same technique, but less bright colors. I just haven't decided what colors yet. I'm leaning towards my old stand-by of earthy greens, but I could also go with browns for a steampunk look, or maybe saturated teal and chartreuse, a color I've been wearing a lot, or maybe purple to go with the purple top I bought last month. I may even wait until after gem show, and buy some beads specifically for it. It uses Japanese 15s, which I was planning on buying a lot of anyway.

It's just over 2 weeks until gem show! I can't wait.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Falling through the cracks

As promised some time ago, here's a slightly better images of my faerie button pendant. I think there was a little too much light. I'm still adjusting to photographing in the dining room instead of the game room. Sure will be glad to have that project done so I can go back to the way things were.

I know I've really been neglecting my blogs as of late. Actually, I've been neglecting pretty much all of my on-line stuff except for e-mail. There's a lot going on in my life right now and I'm feeling rather overwhelmed. Erthe Fae Designs and the Internet have both kind of been put on a back burner as I tend towards matters of home and health.

Of course, I am still excited about gem show coming up in less than one month -- woohoo! -- and most of the issues I'm dealing with right now will be cleared up by then. I just let too many things pile up and now I have to deal with everything at once, as deadlines rear their ugly heads.

I'll try to be more chatty. There are cool and interesting things going on in my life, I just don't seem to have the energy to write about them anymore.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Take a picture of ME!

Earlier today, I was taking BFAC pictures, and I thought I was all done, but Topher disagreed. There was one more important item to photograph -- HIM! Actually, he really likes to get into my photo tent. I had to lock him into the office while I was actually taking the pictures, because he wanted to get inside with the items. *sigh* Luckily I grabbed him before he could sit on anything important.

Oh yes, he's sitting on my dining room table. Isn't it pretty? It has a row of big metal studs running along the edge, which gives it a rustic medieval look. The chairs are made out of the light wood, with studs along the back, and have puffy cushions in micro-seude that almost matches the dark wood. It's a spiffy dining set. We love it.

I'm really quite tired now, and I can't coherently organize my thoughts, so I'm going to wander off.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Progress, but not much.

The game room project continues at a snail's pace. Would you believe that Chris's job called him while we were hanging insulation, and made him work 4 hours, on a Sunday? Then today, he tried to get off at 3pm, which would have given us a couple of hours of daylight* to work in there before dinner, but he got stuck working until almost 4. Ugh. We're hoping to get a little bit done tomorrow, but we probably won't have time to put serious work in again until Saturday.

Meanwhile I've been working on other stuff. The BFAC pictures, which I am way behind on (thank goodness someone is taking them over for the next round. I'm not cut out for semi-professional photography). Beading my kit project (the necklace morphed into a bracelet). Keeping the house from sliding into general disarray. All that good stuff.

Tomorrow I'll be taking pictures, and while I have everything set up (probably in the dining room, because the game room table that I usually use is piled up with power tools, hardware, safety gear, and miscellaneous game room contents), I'll be taking a better picture of the faerie button necklace, some jewelry gifts that I received, and the bracelet I'm working on, all of which will be posted in this blog throughout the week.

*The game room's well-lit and all, but it gets COLD out there when the sun goes down.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Belly rubs, please!

Ah, dogs. They're rarely shy about letting you know what they want. Here, Daisy and Maggie show us how much they'd like to have their fuzzy bellies rubbed. Actually, I think Daisy is sleeping in her picture, but there's never a point when she doesn't want a belly rub (except perhaps when she's eating dinner, which takes her 30 seconds), so it's still accurate.

Tomorrow we get to go down to the park and start obedience lessons. Both puppies desperately need them for various reasons -- Daisy because she won't stop barking and nipping, Maggie because she doesn't listen. Plus it will be good for them to socialize with other dogs and people, and learn important commands like "stay."

Sorry to have been so quiet lately, life has been crazy with cleaning, renovating, and New Year's Day gift-giving. I'm hoping that by this time next week, things will be closer to normal. Of course, then it will be time to start preparing for gem show!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Daydreams for 2009.

Well, so much for Thursday Thirteen. I went to their site today and I got a Godaddy page instead. Looks like someone forgot to renew their domain or hosting (then, the pot proceeded to call the kettle black). I'll still stick with the theme that I had in mind for today, however!

I've never been a New Year's Resolutions kind of gal. My family didn't do them growing up, and while there's a lot of things that I do differently than my parents do, resolutions were never something that I felt like adding to my holiday celebrations. But I do like to start the year off by thinking about things that I want to do in the following year. Today, I'd like to talk about fun things that I'd like to do this year.

1. I'd like to go to the San Diego Comic-Con again. I had so much fun in 2008, that I really want to go back. Besides, my little brother is getting a fan booth for the Toy Soldiers (the fan club of the musician/performing artist Dr. Steel), and I want to be there to offer him a little support and help if he needs it.

2. I'd like to go to the Faerie convention in Phoenix. I wanted to go in 2008, but then I got corgis, and I didn't want to leave them home alone. This year, they should be settled in and able to go to a boarding kennel for the day.

3. I definitely need/want to go to NY this year! 2008 was too chaotic, so we didn't go visit Chris's family, and I feel bad about it. I missed them, and I missed all of the fun things that we do together while we're out there. His Mom and Stepdad are coming to visit next month, but let's face it, Tucson just isn't as exciting to visit as NY!

4. There's a bead retreat in Tahoe in October that I'd like to go to, if time and money allow. I really enjoyed the Vegas retreat that I went to a few years ago. Bead retreats are just a great way to meet new people, learn new skills, and also hang out with old beady friends that are spread out across the country.

5. I'd like to bead at least one coin bra for belly dancing. I'm terribly unhappy with the selection on-line, and I've got the skills to make my own... and I bought the right coins at the September gem show, too. Now it's just a matter of buying a bra that will be able to support their weight, and deciding what else to add to the mix.

6. I have this necklace planned, called Bioluminescence, and I want to finally make it. It's going to be a very large project, but I need to do more large projects.

7. I'd like to have a short story published somewhere in 2009, even if it's in a very small magazine.

8. I'd like to get my corgis well-trained enough that I feel like they can go places with us. Right now they're kind of bratty, but they're such sweet, friendly girls. I think they deserve to be out in the world, meeting new people and experiencing new things.

There's more, but I'm starting to drift into goals instead of daydreams. I'll discuss goals in another day or two.