Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Things that make my day

A while back, I sold this brooch, Soaring Wyvern. It was the only brooch I'd ever made. I listed it on Etsy with only one image, and I didn't even have it sorted into a category -- and it sold anyway. Yesterday, the buyer posted her "Best of Ets" blog post and gave me and the Wyvern a glowing review. I've been walking on air ever since. There's nothing quite like a happy customer to make my day, especially when they've purchased something that I wasn't sure would sell.

Ever since Soaring Wyvern sold, I've been thinking that I should make more brooches -- so that's my goal for after I finish my BFAC project. If there's a particular color or style of brooch you'd like to see me make, please leave a comment here or go over to my Facebook fan page and join the Brooch discussion I've just started.

As for today's Daily Special, it's the Automatic Ankle Accelerator! Only $25 for a gorgeous steampunk anklet.

Monday, June 29, 2009

...and back around again.

Today's Daily Special is Aviatrix, because I've reached the point where I have to start repeating Daily Specials! I only have 54 items in the shop right now, and I've realized that I can't really discount my earrings, because with free shipping, I'd actually be losing money on those.

Clearly, this means I have to start adding more jewelry to my Etsy shop. Luckily I have one new necklace ready to be photographed, and lots more items planned for after I finish my BFAC. For instance, I've noticed that I no longer have any spiral rope bracelets on Etsy. This is a situation which must be remedied! Luckily I'm making good progress on BFAC, so I'll soon be free to work on whatever I want again.

In the meantime, Monday is a boring day of laundry and other housework, as I tidy up the messes made over the weekend. Surprisingly, I find that I'm not too achey from yesterday's yoga workout, even though I didn't do nearly as well as I did last week (I made the mistake of eating too soon before it, and the heat nauseated me). I might even dance later, after the house is clean :)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

I hate the economy!

Before I start ranting, today's Daily Special is Unlock My Secrets, a beautiful key necklace in earthy orange.

Now, on with the rant. While I was dancing yesterday, I got a phone call from my Mom. She was at Chivalry Sports (aka the Renaissance Store), our local Ren Faire garb shop. They were in the process of going out of business and Mom wanted to know if I wanted any of the belly dance patterns that they had left.

Now, I can handle the fact that my own business is molasses-slow because of the economy. I'm fortunate to be in a position where I don't need to sell my jewelry. What makes me mad is when awesome niche businesses have to close down because no one has any money left to spend on their hobbies.

Chivalry Sports was an awesome store. You could go in there and walk out with breeches, a tabbard, a chemise, an overdress, whatever you needed, and it would be sturdy, well-made, and in most cases, you could throw it in the washing machine and dryer. Because my tastes run towards belly dance clothes, I didn't have much of their stuff, but it was our go-to place for my husband's garb, and I also got my mirrored black skirt there.

By the time Chris and I got there yesterday, the store was pretty picked over. I picked up a few belly dance patterns and one of the basic cholis that I'd been wanting (they were out of black, so I bought white and I'll probably tea-dye it). The mirrored skirts were long gone, as were the various belly dance scarves and veils. It was depressing, as I'd been wanting to go in and shop for months, but their limited hours meant they were always closed when I was in their neighborhood.

And of course, this phenomenon is not limited to Chivalry Sports. Everywhere I go in Tucson, I see empty spaces where small shops and restaurants used to be. Some neighborhoods look like ghost towns, the strip malls empty and in disrepair. I have to wonder how many more neat little stores will fall prey to increased costs and decreased spending.

I'm sorry to be such a downer today, but I think it needed to be said.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A quick post before I dance

The above image is Tribal Cameo, which I listed on Etsy yesterday. Today's Daily Special is another tribal design, Midnight Dancer. I'm really enjoying this line of jewelry. Next up I'm going to make a necklace with some Afghani coins and a mendhi-inspired lampworked bead by JC Herrell.

Over on Facebook, I'm friends with a couple of other dancers, and as such, I keep seeing various dance troupes and organizations in my list of recommendations, but they're all across the country from me. So today I realized that I should search and see if Plaza de Anaya -- where I'll be taking classes starting next month -- was on Facebook, and I was happy to find that they have a group, fan page, and gift application. Hopefully this will help me network with other semi-local dancers, both in and out of the classes I'll be taking. I'm so excited!

The classea are in Tempe, which is about 1 1/2 hours from Tucson. It is a bit of a drive, but my Dad used to commute 90 minutes each way to work 5 days a week, and then we'd frequently make a similar drive to visit grandparents and aunts and uncles on weekends and holidays, so when compared to that, driving to Tempe once a week doesn't seem too crazy. Especially when you look at how the local belly dance class offerings compare to what's available at Plaza de Anaya. Members of the group I'll be learning from are also in my favorite belly dance troupe at Ren Faire. That pretty much made my decision right there.

Anyway, even though it's a hot Tucson afternoon, I'm going to go dance now before we have to start tidying the house up for tonight's game. And tomorrow is yoga! My days are filling up with fun activities.

Friday, June 26, 2009

For all of you steampunk bellydancers

I just listed Automatic Ankle Accelerator on Etsy today! I plan to take more pictures of it, but I figure there's no harm in listing an item with only one picture. That one image might be enough to convince someone to buy it, instead of it sitting around here, unseen and unloved.

The story that prefaces the item description is part of my ongoing attempt to build a world and cast of characters around my steampunk jewelry line. There's Professor Langstrom. Some of his inventions -- such as the Aetheric Chronology Manipulatronic mentioned in Her Airship Sailed Through Time -- are actually effective. Some -- like the Automatic Ankle Accelerators -- need a bit more work. Halcyon Greene, the lady adventurer who owns the time-traveling airship, is based on a roleplaying character of mine. Next, I believe I need a name and persona for a lady inventor, as I keep mentioning them in item descriptions as well.

I also listed Mysterious Portrait today. And today's Daily Special is also one for the bellydancers, the Spiral Journey gothic tribal anklet.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Happy Fairy Day!

Yes, today is Fairy Day! You know I can't let a day like this go by unremarked. To celebrate, I'm having a sale in both my Etsy shop and website. Lots of faerie jewelry on sale, in lieu of a normal Daily Special :)

I'm also going to celebrate by wearing my wings (as seen in my profile picture). I'll definitely wear them for tonight's game, but I'm torn on whether to wear them out for sushi. I think they might be a little too big and I don't want to get in the way of the nice waitstaff at the sushi place. As much as I love the look of BIG wings, I really need to buy a pair of small wings for when I want to be a faerie without also being a nuisance. Because I'm so happy with my current pair, I'll probably buy my little ones from Fancy Fairy.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

So very sparkly!

I've just added a listing to my Etsy shop for a custom crystal bracelet. You choose the colors, the length, and what sort of clasp you like, and I make it happen. I love these bracelets! I have several in my own collection, and I've made them frequently as gifts. I've also sold dozens, and I never get tired of making them. Who could get tired of sparkly crystals?

And speaking of bracelets, today's Daily Special is Within the Waves. A great deal on a cute bracelet that would be perfect for a day at the beach.

With just a few weeks left until the deadline, I'm finally moving along on my Layne's Legacy -- Beading For A Cure project. I got a lot done on it yesterday, in between dealing with various house emergencies that kept popping up. I'm hoping to finish it in a week or so, so that I can mail it with time to spare.

Monday, June 22, 2009

More Owl Love

There's a quirky Chicago-style pizza and Italian food restaurant a few blocks from my house that always has silly phrases on their marquee. This weekend it read "The Owls Are Not What They Seem." I'm not sure if that's a pro- or anti-owl statement, but it made me decide that Athena's Familiar should be today's Daily Special!

Not only am I happy with how this necklace came out, but Chris really likes it, too. It's sitting here on my desk, and the other day he said "I do like that pendant... in fact, the whole necklace is pretty cool." Of course, it's also far too girly for a meaty-thewed barbarian like him to wear. Some of my work is unisex, but this is definitely one for the ladies.

In other news, my abs and shoulders are hurting from yesterday's yoga work out. I like to think that my abs are in better-than-average shape, what with my love for chest lifts and rib circles in my dancing, but clearly I was using them in new and unusual ways yesterday. I'm hoping to dance tonight, and hopefully that will work some of these aches out.

Also, Up was pretty good. A little too silly at points, but I enjoyed the fact that it wasn't afraid to be sad or serious at times, it has a big airship, and lots of dog humor.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Yay, yoga.

A really quick post because we're about to take off to see Up.

First, today's Daily Special is Pearl Branch. I love this bracelet, but it's very short, so it's been waiting for the right person with the right tiny wrist!

This afternoon Chris and I went to a yoga class at his gym, and it was a lot of fun, so we'll be going every Sunday. Yoga is great for bellydancers, as it increases flexibility and balance, so I'm very happy to find a place to take it just a few blocks from my house.

And now, movie time!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tinkering around.

Today's Daily Special is Subtle Charm. $20 is a great deal for such an elegant necklace and earring set!

I've just finished doing a little work on the blog, tidying things up, removing links to blogs that I don't read anymore, that sort of thing. I also provided convenient links to all of the places you can stalk, er, find me around the Internet. Twitter, Facebook, my writing blog, all had been strangely absent from my links. Sometimes it's hard to keep track of all this social networking.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Home and Inspired

Now that I'm back home and have a good internet connection and a PC, I can get back to having Daily Specials. Today's special is Misty Isle, a nice subtle grey crystal bracelet that is well-suited to the rare rainy June day we're having here in Tucson.

The above-mentioned inspiration is that I have finally settled on a plan for my 2010 BFAC project, which is due in less than a month. The idea that I came up with when I first got the kit lost its appeal in the intervening months, and I've been cycling through various ideas over the past few weeks, each time thinking "Oh! That would be perfect... no, wait, there's no good way to use the focal/bugles/rose montees." But I finally have an idea that should use all of the beads in a nice way, look good, and be easy to finish in the 3 1/2 weeks that I have left, without me completely giving up all of my free time to work on it. I'm hoping to start it today, after I put the finishing touches on my coin bra.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Well, this is weird

I'm on a Mac.

You see, my friend has a wireless connection. But she forgot to leave me the password, so I can't log on with my laptop. She did, however, kindly leave me her pretty Mac laptop (with its nifty light-up keyboard... tee hee! Why yes, I am easily amused) and said I could use it. So I am.

But... it's weird! Safari doesn't have tabbed browsing... or if it does, I can't find it. And when I tried to load up AOL mail, I spent a good five minutes staring at a spinning color wheel, unable to close my browser or hit stop or anything. And it keeps disconnecting me from AIM, but I think that might just be her connection.

Anyway, I'm going to be out of communication until Thursday evening. No Daily Specials, no bog posts, no Facebook or Twitter or e-mail. Good thing I brought beads!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

It's dogsitting time again!

From Monday to Thursday I'll be up in Marana sitting my friend's three awesome dogs -- and bringing my two crazy corgis along for the ride. Will I survive 4 days with 5 dogs? I sure hope so!

Anyway, I'm bringing my laptop and I should have internet, if I can get onto my friend's network. She said I could use her Mac, but I've never used a Mac in my life and I'd be worried that I'd mess something up.

I had planned to bring my BFAC kit along and work on my project, but I'm still up in the air about what I want to do this year. I had an idea right away, but I've really been second-guessing it. Unfortunately, every new idea that I come up with is stymied by one or more of the difficult-to-use beads in the kit. Hopefully I'll daydream something while I'm gone. The deadline is fast approaching.

Oh yeah! My bra is mostly finished, just needs the central motif attached. I'll get pictures when I get back from dogsitting. I'm very happy with how it turned out, though I ended up using a lot more coins than I had planned.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The day I found out that owls got a bad rap

You may remember this necklace from a while back. Well, Athena's Familiar is finally on Etsy, thanks to the fact that I took this nice picture of it back on Monday. Natural sunlight is so good for getting true-color images of jewelry. You can really see the beautiful grey and black mottling of the black labradorite/larvikite (which I finally identified thanks to the Rings & Things gem stone index and confirmed by seeing more of it at their show last month).

Anyway, about owls and how they don't get any respect. As I've probably mentioned before, I like to do little bits of research on things. For instance, even though I don't necessarily believe in such things, I like to find the mystical associations of different stones, animals and symbols that I use in my jewelry. I'm fascinated by belief, and about the stories that surround the beliefs.

So today, I wanted to find some nice beliefs about owls to work into the description of Athena's Familiar. Obviously I already knew about the association with Athena, and through that, the association with wisdom. But surely, I thought, someone other than the Greeks must have felt some owl love.

How wrong I was. Everything else in my Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures was about doom and gloom. In China, Japan, Africa, and America, owls were seen as bad omens, harbingers of death and illness, and more. In Australia, they knew the proper dirge to sing at funerals, which while nice, is a further association with death.

Nocturnal creatures in general were traditionally feared or reviled. I guess early man was so afraid of the darkness and the nighttime that anything that was active during that time had to be an extension of evil.

Nowadays, the owl gets a little more love. Cute idie girls wear t-shirts and jewelry adorned with various owl motifs. Etsy is replete with owl merchandise. In fact, owls are so trendy that I actually questioned making this necklace, but the owl seemed like the perfect way to complete the dark palette of beads I'd chosen (inspired by the tiny dark blue metallic Swarovski crystals. I asked myself "what will go with these?" and ended up with Athena's Familiar). I like to think that my necklace acknowledges and even embraces the owl's unfortunately dark path, and gives those of us with a darker aesthetic the chance to say "I liked owls before they were cool."

In other Etsy-related news, I also listed Subtle Charm, and today's Daily Special is Verdant Pageantry.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Things I do when I'm sick

Today's Daily Special: Gothic Romance Earrings!

As the title suggests, I'm sick again. If you're wondering why there was no blog post yesterday, well, there's your answer. I tagged along with Chris when he drove a friend home from the airport, and that friend was sick, and now so am I. Joy.

In addition to being mad and wallowing in self-pity, I've been reading Nightwatch (as usual, the book is better than the movie), and I just put together another Treasury: Every leaf on every tree. I might even get as far as listing new items on Etsy, but probably not today.

Of course, I've also been flooding my body with fluids and vitamins like a good little girl, which is probably why I feel better today than yesterday. Come on body, let's continue this upwards trend!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Tribal Jewelry Part 2

In this installment of my series on Tribal Jewelry, I'd like to discuss different styles Tribal. It's a little dizzying. When I first started dancing, I didn't even know there were different types of belly dance. Then I thought there was just Tribal and Cabaret. Eventually I learned about Turkish, Egyptian, Gypsy, and more, and then I found out that there were different types of Tribal. American, East Coast, Gothic, Steampunk, and most recently, I've learned about Tribaret, a hybrid of Tribal and Cabaret traditions. I can't keep it straight! But I can design jewelry based on aesthetics that I enjoy.

These earrings, which are today's Daily Special, are called Midnight Dancer. Like their sister necklace, Avatar of the Moon Goddess, they were inspired by the nickel silver and lapis Afghani jewelry that many tribal dancers of all walks love to wear.
Inspired by the black and red color scheme favored by many dancers, and by my Gothic roots, I created Spiral Journey. The dramatic colors and woven design make it look almost like you have a tattoo around your ankle, and the quiet bells make a subtle sound as you dance.
This tribal cameo necklace is a bridge between traditional tribal and steampunk belly dance. Black lava, faceted Thai silver beads, and malachite feel very tribal to me, as do the spiral pattern of the copper beads and the African-looking cameo. But copper is a very steampunk material, and though the cameo is tribal, she also reminds me of the elegant Victorian cameos. A fun fusion piece.
And of course, Wastelands Tribe is all steampunk belly dance! Bells to jingle while you dance, and gears, a key, and brass to make it steamy. I also tried to do an unusual steamy color scheme -- rusty red, warm amber, and brown.

The next installment in this series will cover Afghani jewelry and maybe some other treasures from my personal collection!

Monday, June 08, 2009

What Copyrite Isn't.

No, no, this isn't a post about whether or not you can copyright your jewelry designs. It's a post about the mysterious copyrite beads that I bought at the Rings and Things show last month, and am currently using to embellish my coin bra.

Wikipedia and Google gave me no answers, so I decided to ask Dave, the Rings and Things Twitter (and blog and website text and more) guy. He didn't know, so he asked around. No one knew. They could only narrow down what copyrite isn't.

It isn't copralite, aka, petrified dino dung. Dinosaurs were awesome, but they didn't poop out sparkly rocks.

It isn't cuprite, aka ruby copper, because that's far too brittle, and the wrong color.

It could possibly be chalcopyrite, but I'm not sure that's as black as these stones. It does seem like this stone might have pyrite of some sort in it, though, due to the gold flashes.
It doesn't really show in the photos, but the stone has a bit of chatoyancy and flashes of gold sparkle below the surface. It's a very unusual stone, perfectly suited for the fantasy designs I like to create. It seems like the sort of thing a dark wizard or an unseelie faerie would wear.

As Dave asked around at Rings & Things, he did discover that this bead came from some old stock, and was sold to them as Copyrite, but since they had no idea what that was, they put the question mark on the tag. Like most stone beads sold in the US, they were cut and shaped in China, and sometimes the language barrier results in stones labeled with unusual and/or incorrect names.

The next step in the ongoing investigation of this bead mystery is to mail a "copyrite" bead back to Rings and Things for the owner Russ (quite the stone connousieur, I'm told) to have a look at and offer his expert opinion. I'll be sure to blog about what he says!

Speaking of stones, today's Daily Special is Medusa Turning to Stone, which actually doesn't have any stone beads in it, but is awesome nonetheless.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Swingin' Earrings

Today's Daily Special is another favorite: Webmistress. I seriously think these are the most awesome earrings I've ever made and I can't believe that no one has bought them and worn them out dancing. C'mon, what's not to love? Artist-made lampworked beads, swinging chains of vintage beads... and long enough to practically brush your shoulders! I'm about ready to take them out of my shop, put them on Niobium wires, and make them my own. That's assuming, of course, that no one buys them while they're on sale for a modest $30. That's right, $30 for a very unique pair of designer earrings. You can't beat that!

It's beginning to look like I won't do any photography until tomorrow, but on the other hand, when I do start taking photos, it won't just be of jewelry. I'm going to be reviving the "Beads" section of my Etsy shop as I go on a massive mission to destash! Be ready to be dazzled by artist beads, unusual focals, and all sorts of Czech glass, stone beads, and more.

Meanwhile, I've been making good progress on my bra. I replaced the troublesome cowrie shells with some stone beads -- the mysterious "copyrite" to be exact. The silvery-grey and golden flashes go well with the mixed metals I'm using, while at the same time adding a different touch than I'd get from a pre-made coin bra. That's the nice thing about being a beader. I have a lot of unusual materials at my disposal!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Got a new tripod!

Today's Daily Special is The Inventors' Gala Ball. I know I always say something is my favorite, but I really am in love with this one. Those vintage West German disks were something I just had to have. It was hard to work them up into something to sell, I wanted to keep them so badly. But part of succeeding in jewelry is having unique and unusual components, so I made the sacrifice for my art.

In other news, last night I was at Target, walking by the electronics department, and I was reminded of the fact that it had been quite some time since my tripod broke mid-shoot, and that I was way overdue for a replacement. The selection at hand wasn't great, but I picked one up and hope to test it out this weekend. There's a small pile of recent jewelry just waiting for photographs so it can be listed on my website and Etsy.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Busy Friday

Tiger in a Taffeta Dress is the Daily Special for today! An impressive pair of steampunk earrings, just waiting for the right home.

Today is a busy day for me. The house needs some cleaning (dogs are shedding everywhere!), I need to mail the last of the BFAC auctions, and there's lots of other little things that I'd like to do. I'm hoping to be able to get some new items listed on Etsy within the next few days, and do some work on this blog (my link sections are really out of date). And of course, I want to finish my bra.

So I'll keep this short, and post more over the weekend.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Belly Dancer Dreams

Today's Daily Special is Neon Dragon, a glowingly gorgeous woven bracelet over a memory wire core!

Setting up my now-expired Mermaid-themed Treasury was so much fun that today I jumped at the chance to make another Treasury. This one is called Belly Dancer Dreams and it's all things that I would love to wear and dance in. Clothing, jewelry, hair accessories, even some perfume. While I was looking for the right items to feature, I even found some new sellers to add to my ever-growing Favorites list. Oh, how I wish Etsy let us sort our Favorites!

Speaking of things that belly dancers dream of, I'm making good progress with my coin bra. I'd be making even better progress if not for the fact that I decided I didn't like how the cowrie shells were hanging, requiring me to undo all of the dangles I added last night. Need to find something to replace the shells with. It's a shame, because cowries are such an ubiquitous tribal adornment, and they made my bra look a little less cabaret. But I'm sure I'll find something appropriate somewhere in my collection.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Special For Today Is....

Summer Dragonfly is today's Daily Special! I know it's still cold in some places, but it's felt like Summer for more than a month here in Tucson.

With that, I'm off for more gaming-related nerdery and bra beading (at the same time. Let's see what the guys have to say about that...)

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The day flew by

Here to distract you from the fact that I forgot to make a Daily Special today is Maggie! I snapped this picture of her daintily licking her paw in her crate. She used to hate her crate and refused to go to bed every night, until I made her a nice, fluffy fleece blanket. Now she'll go in there randomly during the day to nap or chill -- though half the time, I'm pretty sure she just goes in there so I'll leave her in the bedroom and she can sneak onto the people bed. She's a wily one, that Maggie dog!

As a side note, the crates are plenty long enough for them to lie comfortably in, but for some reason, she and Daisy almost always lie like this, crammed into the back. Do they feel more secure that way? I don't know. It doesn't look comfortable to me.

Anyway, I spent today hanging out with a friend, who has been keeping me company while Chris was away on a business trip (he gets home tomorrow morning, yay!). She arrived before noon, so I didn't get around to my Etsy shop at all. However, I did dance. A lot. Oh, my aching abs! I always dance more when other people are dancing with me, whether it's one friend coming over to dance in my living room, or if I'm on a dance floor at a party. If I dance alone, I'm more likely to stop when I start to feel a little tired, instead of going on until I can't any more.

Tomorrow, life returns to business as usual and I'll have a Special up sometime around noon. But for now, I have a bra to work on!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Today's a day for mermaids

The Daily Special for today is Moonlit Seductress. A $25 discount brings her down to a nice, round $100. I think she's just perfect for Summer. Wouldn't she be great for a beach or pool party? Just make sure you take her off before you take a dip -- mermaids love the water, but beads and Ultrasuede prefer to stay dry.

Moonlit Seductress isn't today's only mermaid, however! Last night I had the chance to snag a Treasury on Etsy, so I did. I like to do an actual theme when I curate, instead of just "here's a bunch of stuff I like" so I chose mermaids for last night. My Treasury is called Seduced by a Mermaid and while it is a bunch of stuff that I like, it's also stuff that looks beautiful together.

In other news, my bra got off to a slow start yesterday. My package of sewing needles disappeared! After an hour of digging through the house, I found a short Big Eye needle which I decided to try. It sort of worked, but it poked my fingers a lot and bent a lot. Then late at night, I found a lone sewing needle hiding in my bead needle case, and I was in business! The black and gold ribbon is now sewn down to one cup, and it doesn't look half bad for a beginner job.