Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I made this brooch for the swap in Tahoe! Isn't it beautiful? I love Dolly Ahles's lampworked cabochons.

In just a moment I'll be taking off for the airport, where I'll take off for Reno, by way of Phoenix, and then I'll be praying that the lovely friends who are giving me a ride will not have to drive through sleet or freezing rain or anything scary like that.

I'll try to keep up my daily blogging while I'm at the Retreat!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

In all his hideous glory!

Yes, at long last, Cthulhu is complete! I stitched the last beads on early this afternoon, clipped all the stray threads, and basked in the afterglow of the largest, most involved project I've ever done. Just look at that malevolent glare!
All those beads! He's surprisingly heavy now -- I'd estimate he has at least 50 grams of seed beads stitched down to his body.
His back is only lightly embellished, and good thing, too. The closer I got to his head, the harder it was to manipulate the needle, and I managed to snap another one! His dorsal ridge is accented with the same bugle beads that outline the veins of his wings.

I'm really proud of myself for completing this. Yes, I had to scale back from my original plan, and yes, there are some goofs, and yes, I may go back someday and add more beads, but... I beaded Cthulhu! And completed him on time! And only lost 1d100 sanity points in the process.

Monday, September 28, 2009

I'm such a tease...

I was recently invited by the lovely folks at to participate in their blog partner program. They send beads, I blog about them... what more perfect arrangement could there be? Of course I said yes! And look at what arrived in my mail today, all wrapped up like a present...

I bet you're wondering what's inside, but because I'm a wicked little tease. I'm going to make you wait to find out until I get home from Tahoe and make them into jewelry. In the meantime, if you want to see what another Artbeads partner made, you should head over to the Earthenwood Studios Chronicles and see Melanie's jaw-droppingly beautiful necklace.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Beading break

I decided to take a short break from beading this evening, since I spent all of yesterday evening and this afternoon (minus Yoga class) beading. Cthulhu's right leg is almost done, as is my brooch for swapping. Though I like this brooch so much that it will be hard to let it go! I'll have to get more cabs from Dolly in February, they're simply beautiful.

Tomorrow, Chris will be in CA for a business trip (flying out early morning, flying home late at night), so I'll again spend almost all day beading -- though time will also have to be made for laundry and packing. I have to get out my winter clothes, because it's going to be COLD in Tahoe. I have to find the pretty chenille scarf that Mom made for me, which I've worn all of once because I live in the desert. And I have to somehow fit 5 days worth of clothes, beads, jewelry, oatmeal, tea and toiletries plus my laptop, digital camera, and a book into one checked bag, one carry-on, and one personal item. Too bad Chris won't be home to help me pack, he's really good at it. I always say "You'll never fit all that into one bag" and yet he makes it happen.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Stupid ankle

Back on Tuesday, I hurt my ankle at the gym. I don't know if it was too many box jumps, or if I stretched it too far doing dead lifts, but it definitely feels like I jacked up my Achilles tendon. That tendon, by the way, is my body's main way of trying to sabotage my attempts to work out. I would have expected my lack of upper body strength to be the big hurdle, but no, it's my stupid, short Achilles tendon, which keeps me from being able to squat and which now is keeping me from doing anything more active than limping back and forth across the house.

In all fairness, my ankle would probably be fine by now if I hadn't had the brilliant idea to take my injured ankle up to Tempe and dance on it for an hour. I didn't want to miss my belly dance class, since next Thursday I'll be in Tahoe. And honestly, it was an awesome class. Something clicked and I didn't really struggle with any of the moves, and my arms never got tired, and I had fun. The four students in attendance were doing so well that Cari, our teacher, kept picking faster and faster music and changing up which moves we transitioned to and from to keep us on our toes. It was amazing. I feel like I'm really progressing in my goal to dance well enough to perform and teach, instead of stumbling my way through class. I still have a long way to go, but the forward momentum is there.

Now if this stupid ankle would just catch up with the rest of me!

Friday, September 25, 2009

So very close...

Cthulhu is so very close to done... Just his right leg and his back left to do! I might even finish him over the weekend.

For his leg, I did concentric rings of beads around a Czech pressed glass bead with a spiral pattern. I used those same pressed glass spirals to accent the wing tips, then outlined the veins of the wings with bugle beads. I also put bugle beads on his toes, so they weren't beadless.

It's a nice feeling to have my goal in sight at long last!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Time for a new pic

Take one last look at these earrings -- they've found a new home!

Tomorrow I'll have to pick a new photo for the right-hand sidebar :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Still my favorite

Elvensoul is today's Daily Special, and it's also still one of my favorite necklaces ever. The colors, the style, the rich, leafy fringe... It's pretty much the essence of my work and inspiration, all in one little necklace. Someday, it will find a good home! If it doesn't sell this week, it will definitely come to Tahoe for Show and Tell!

Speaking of Tahoe, I leave in ONE WEEK and I think I'll actually get Cthulhu done in time! Hooray! Now to see if I can also get my brooch, necklace and Super Secret Jammies done in time. I'm going to try to work on the pajamas in the car on the way to Tempe tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Something special

This necklace is very special, because it's for an artist collective that I'm joining! The Shelley House is a cooperative effort by a number of very talented Etsy sellers, a shared shop where each item is inspired by the previous one. Because we'll only be adding two items a month, it was decided that we should "seed" the shop with some pieces inspired by Mary Shelley (our namesake!), so that our shop won't look so empty for the first month or two.

In honor of Shelley's heartbreaking life and her most famous story, I made a Gothic necklace featuring a stitched-together winged heart. It will be for sale when The Shelley House opens on October 1st!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Significant progress

The last time that I posted about Cthulhu, I had just started on his torso... Well, the torso is done and now I'm working on a leg! I need to buckle down and work hard this week if I'm going to finish him and all of the other projects that I want to do before I leave on the 30th! I may very well be stitching beads onto Cthulhu on the flight to Tahoe!

I broke two more needles on Saturday night, as I attempted to finish the torso and accidentally found myself stitching along a seam. That brings the total needle death count to three.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday Blogginess

I didn't do much worth blogging about today, so here's a picture of Maggie, captured mid-bark. It was taken last month not long after her dental cleaning -- hence the bald patch on her leg where they shaved her for the IV! Those are all grown back in now.

Remember! Tomorrow, I'll post a new picture of Cthulhu!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

No Cthulhu Here!

Today was supposed to be a Cthulhu update, but I didn't get a chance to photograph him. It was a busy day of beading his belly (so close to done!), going to the gym (fun but intense workout), stringing crystals while watching Monk, and then cleaning house. Actually, I'm still supposed to be cleaning house.

I seem to get more blog action during the week, so I'll probably go ahead and save the next bit of tentacled goodness for Monday. That will give me time tomorrow to finish his belly (assuming I don't do so during tonight's game) and start on a leg.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Belly dancer shoes

I bought these shoes not to actually dance in (I dance barefoot whenever possible), but to wear to and from class and maybe to other dance-related things. They're very cute, and they were very affordable. The antiqued metal sequins would even look appropriate with a steampunk belly dance costume, and they're easier on my feet than pointy-toed, high-heeled boots.

I also bought a night gown for my Super Secret Jammies for the pajama party at the Tahoe retreat. I was just going to wear my normal fleece pants and thermal shirt, until I was struck by Brilliant Inspiration yesterday. Now I just need to find time to assemble the Super Secret Jammies while finishing Cthulhu, making a brooch, beading a necklace, packing for the trip, and cleaning the house. Time to get focused!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pretty copper

I don't use a lot of copper, but I'm still so happy with this necklace that I feel like I should design with it more often. Mysterious Portrait is not only a beautiful tribal piece, it's also today's Daily Special!

There's not a whole lot I can blog about right this very moment, but I will say that I have a lot of new and fun things coming up later this month! No more boring ruts for me, though my life is now busy enough that I'm definitely falling into routines. It's the only way I can make sure that everything gets done.

It's less than two weeks until I jet off to Tahoe. I still have to figure out how I'm getting to the retreat from the airport. Also, currently they're experiencing lows in the 30s. At least the days are a very tolerable 70s, but I may be freezing the nights away. I wonder if I can sneak Topher along with me so I at least have a warm, fuzzy cat to keep me warm when I sleep?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Daily Specials are back!

Somehow, I forgot to restart the Daily Specials when I got back from vacation. Well, after their long absence, they're finally back today! And Verdant Pageantry is today's special.

I'll be glad when Cthulhu is done, so that I can get back to giving my shop the sort of attention it deserves. I miss adding new items!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Custom Earrings

Today I took a little break from working on Cthulhu to take care of a couple of commissions, including these earrings. Made for a friend of my mother-in-law, they're designed to match a pretty fused glass pendant that she loves. I used Czech firepolished, rounds, and crystals in three different shades of greens. They look very much like something I'd wear, so of course I'm very happy with how they turned out!

It was fun to work on a simple project, so I might make some more easy earrings later this week to go in the Etsy shop. I should really be working on getting the shop ready for Halloween and Christmas. Hard to think about those when I'm still running around in tank tops, but since when has Arizona's weather ever admitted the existence of Autumn?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Good bye, Wasteland Tribe

My Wasteland Tribe necklace is going to a new home, living with a fellow steampunk belly dancer. In return, I'm getting a bunch of beautiful hair accessories. It's just the sort of trade I love.

It's always a wonderful feeling when one of my more involved pieces sells (or trades, in this case). It validates the hours that I spent on it, knowing that someone else loves it as least as much as I do, and that it gets to go out into the world instead of hiding out in my jewelry case.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Best Bead Today!

It was a small show today, and not very crowded at all. There were no cheap Afghani coins (I really should have bought several strands last year!), the cab guy from last year wasn't there, and Jane's Fiber and Beads did not have the seeds I need for Cthulhu.

That said, I still had fun! Chris talked me into buying a glass ring as my first purchase. Then I purchased the beads on the right, a mini-focal and four spacers in black and raku. Lousy picture, so you can't see the beautiful rainbow colors. They'll make a nice goes-with-everything necklace. In the center, some new beads from Green Girl Studio (well, the Medusa coin isn't a new design, but I like mine so much I decided I should make one up for sale, too). On the left, three gorgeous lampworked cabs from Dolly Ahles. The top two are for me, hopefully I'll have time to make them into something before Tahoe, because I have the perfect dress to go with. The bottom one is for the brooch swap at Tahoe.

I'm very happy that Best Bead has moved the September show to the same location that the February show is held in. It's more convenient, the perfect size, and the vendors who I spoke to all seemed to be happier with it. Now if they could just attract a few more awesome vendors for my shopping pleasure!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Best Bead Tomorrow!

Tomorrow I'm going to the Best Bead Show for a little shopping. Only a little, because the Tahoe retreat is less than 3 weeks away, so I really need to save my money for kits, souveniers, oh yeah, and food. I guess I'll need some of that.

I'm looking forward to the show, not only because I'll hopefully score more Cthulhu-green beads, but because Green Girl Studios will be there, and of course, awesome local lampwork artist Margaret Zinser. I'm sure there will also be lots of other great vendors to tempt me with their wares. After all, last year I came home with gorgeous cabochons and a strand of Afghani coins (most of which went into my bra, so if I get the chance to replenish my stash, I will).

Friday, September 11, 2009

Tentacles All Akimbo!

I've been pushing Cthulhu's tentacles out of the way so that I can work on his belly. I decided to make things more interesting by doing a free-form branchy design, like some sort of bizarre kelp washed up on the shore of Ryleh. I'll probably fill it in with more of the opaque green that's become the main color on his body, assuming I can get my hands on a tube or two at the Best Bead Show this weekend.

While I was editing this photo, I realized that I haven't yet taken a shot that shows his completed arms (they're sort of hidden in tentacle-shadows here), so I'll make sure to include them in the next Cthulhu update.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Blog Feature and Treasury

My Turtle Talisman necklace was featured by fellow Tucsonan and FAE Team member 88Links in her Tucson Thursday blog post! Make sure you check out her shop; her maille and wirework are beautiful!

While we're on the subject of Etsy, I'd like to direct you towards my latest Treasury, A Murder of Crows.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Driving like a driving fool.

Just a quick update for those who are cheering along my driving progress... Though I'm not quite ready for rush hour yet, I'm at the point where I'm confident enough to drive on any road in Tucson now. I'm still having a little trouble getting the right speed for turns, and my parking skills are atrocious, but I can get around town. Chris is of course taking advantage of this ;)

In other news, we saw 9 today, and it was really awesome. Gorgeous graphics, engaging story, lots of suspenseful action. I'll save my full review for the e-zine I write for, but I do highly recommend it. Just bear in mind that it may be too intense for little kids! There's plenty of death and scary robot monsters.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Tonight, two of our friends came over and helped to hang the rest of the drywall in the game room -- finally. We've been working on thos project for eons, it seems. Next up, mudding!

But next up right now... sleep!

Monday, September 07, 2009

One year of puppies!

Last year, Chris and I spent the Labor Day weekend driving up to the northwestern corner of New Mexico to adopt Daisy and Maggie. Here's the picture I snapped of them in our hotel in NM -- as you can see by those smiles, they'd already accepted us as cool people, and were clearly prepared to teach us how to spoil them rotten.

Bringing these two cuties into my life is one of the best decisions I've ever made. They cause me so much happiness, with their silly antics, unconditional love, and adorable faces. Here's hoping they'll be with us for many more years!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Nose in a book

Well, I didn't intend to, but I somehow spent most of today reading, and just finished the book I was working my way through. Of course, I have about four more lying around the house to read...

Also got a little more work done on Cthulhu, though not as much as I should have. I'll be able to dedicate more to him tomorrow, as I don't intend to start another book yet.

Saturday, September 05, 2009


Almost forgot to blog today. My schedule is still messed up from being in NY -- would you believe that I got up at 8:30am today? Ridiculous.

Just got done enjoying a nice evening of gaming with friends. I got some work done on Cthulhu, finishing his arm/hand *and* his face. Tomorrow I'll do the other arm, I hope. Would have started it tonight, but I was already sleepy and decided to just focus on the game.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Cthulhu is Well-Armed

Finally! At long last, I've finished Cthulhu's head (except for that pesky blank spot on the face that I need to break down and fill in) and moved on to his arm! This shot allows you to see the stripes that I did for the side of the head -- they wrap around the back and to the other side -- and the spiraling beadwork around his right arm. All of the arm work has been done today, and I'm pretty sure I can finish the arm before Chris finishes work today.

After that, I need to decide what to do with the hand. I'm thinking I might just accent it with beads. Given the fact that I only have a month left, I'm not sure if I have time to fiddle around with a good way to completely cover the hands. Not since I still have the other arm, both legs, the entire torso and the wings to work with.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Ear Goodies

There's a special benefit at Plaza de Anaya this weekend, and since I can't make it there, I decided I would make some jewelry to donate to the raffle. So today I took a little break from working on Cthulhu and made the above items.

One pair of earrings with jade from the Rings and Things show, bronze freshwater pearls, and some pyramid pendants that I bought in NY last week.

One pair of earrings with Mingo and Asho cane glass and Swarovski crystals.

One ear wrap thingie with a goddess pendant, moonstone pendant, and moonstone and Swarovski pearl beads.

To learn more about the benefit, donate, and/or attend if you're in the Phoenix/Tempe area, click the above link!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Moonbeams, Stars and Comets

The latest FAE Team exhibition is live, with the theme of Moonbeams, Stars & Comets. It's a very beautiful collection of celestial-themed and inspired objects, so please give it a look. I missed the initial deadline due to my vacation, but three of my items will be added later in the month.

In other news, I appear to be mostly over my cold, and I'm working on Cthulhu again, with the hopes of finishing his head today.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Back in business!

Not only am I back from vacation, but my Etsy shop is, too! I just re-opened it this afternoon, and as soon as I'm over my airplane cold, I hope to start promoting it heavily in an attempt to make some spending money for my trip to Tahoe.

There are a couple of changes you should be aware of, however.

First, I'm no longer offering free shipping. Instead, I will be shipping all of my items via Priority Mail, for $5 for US customers and $8 for international buyers. I will have the occasional free shipping sale, so keep your eyes open for those.

Second, I have left the Etsy BeadWeavers' team. For various reasons, I decided that it was not for me. Instead, I'll be focusing more of my attention on the Fantasy Artists of Etsy team, and on an exciting new group venture that I'll be able to tell you more about soon.