Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Wuv.... twue wuv... that dweam within a dweam...

Valentine's Day is just a month and a half away, which means that most people aren't even thinking about it yet -- we're all basking in the post-Christmas afterglow, enjoying our gifts, getting ready for New Year's revelries. But as a jewelry designer, I have to think ahead and decide what I'm going to create to capitalize on the holiday. To inspire myself, I created this Thoughts turn to romance... treasury. It features elegant designs that evoke a Valentine's Day feeling, while still holding a year-round appeal. I've never been one for making blatant holiday jewelry, maybe because I've never been one for wearing it. So I'll design with hearts and flowers, and in red or pink, but not all of those elements together. Starting next month, keep an eye on Handmade Jewelry by Erthe Fae Designs for new one of a kind pieces evoking a sense of Victorian romance.

This was supposed to post while I was in Vegas, but it didn't. Apparently if you accidentally post something right away, and then try to change it to post later, it doesn't work. So I apologize for the long silence here. I had intended things to be slightly more entertaining while I was gone!

Vegas was fun, it was nice to spend a few days with one of my friends, just shopping, enjoying the sights, and hanging out.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Post Christmas Shopping and Shipping!

Please note that I am in Vegas with one of my dancing friends and have only brought my phone along. I haven't yet tested how well I can comment on my blog from the phone, so don't feel slighted if I don't respond to you. I'm pre-scheduling this week's posts because I don't want my blog to lie dormant for 5-6 days!

As I am in fact out of town, I will not be able to ship any jewelry that you might purchase at this time. But if you do want to buy yourself something -- if, for instance, no one was thoughtful enough to give you handmade jewelry and you feel like you need to buy some for yourself -- rest assured that it will go out on January 3rd and be on your doorstep by the end of the week! (Assuming your doorstep is in the continental US, otherwise it might take a little longer.

So just mosey on over to Handmade Jewelry by Erthe Fae Designs and see what's waiting for you!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve, and a new blog!

I don't really have any Christmas-y pictures on my computer, so here's good ol' Snowdrop, my go-to winter necklace. I hope that those of you who celebrate Christmas have a wonderful one, that those of you who don't just enjoy a nice, relaxing Saturday, and that no one gets into too much trouble while I'm gone! I will be in Vegas from the 26th to the 30th, and I'm just taking my Droid with me instead of my laptop, so I won't really be in touch.

As for my Christmas, instead of dog sitting like I normally do, I'll be going to Christmas dinner at a friend's house. Actually, the same friend who I usually dogsit for! But instead of being there alone with 3-5 dogs, I'll be there with Chris, and my friend and her husband, and several of their friends, so it will be very festive and there will be tons of food. I honestly can't remember the last time I had any sort of large, traditional Christmas dinner, so I'm really looking forward to it.

On a completely unrelated note, last night I started my new blog, Confessions of a Dance Pants Addict to track my 365 days of practice and generally blather on about belly dance. If you are more interested in my dancing life than my beading life, you will want to follow that blog. If you are more interested in the beads and jewelry, you'll want to stay here. And if you're interested in both, then you'll just have to read both blogs!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Picture from recital

This picture was snapped by my friend Jen while we were in the dressing room before recital... I wanted to make sure I had at least one picture of me wearing the necklace that I designed to go with my costume. I still need to get some nice photos of said necklace, but my usual photography table is sort of buried under an explosion of holiday shopping, cookies, and wrapping paper.

My daily dance practice has fallen by the wayside due to extreme amounts of holiday stress. It looks like I will have to tackle it for earnest on the 1st. I've decided that I'm going to go ahead and make a separate blog for tracking it -- I'll still mention my major dance milestones, like performances, here on this blog, but I don't want the beads and business to get lost in the chatter about dance practice and inspiration.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Farewell Medusa!

Well, I *said* I wasn't going to do any more shipping this month, but when a gentleman contacted me on Etsy asking if I could mail this necklace because it was the perfect Christmas present for his girlfriend, I couldn't say no! So off I went to the post office.

Both of my Medusa necklaces sold this year, which tells me that I had better get some more Medusa pendants from Green Girl in February, and maybe shop around for some other Medusa focals to add to my line.

And now, back to the present I was working on when I had to drop everything and rush off to USPS!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Recital Video!



Ah ha! This time, the video of my recital is just short enough to actually upload on Blogger! So here it is. I actually messed up a lot this time around, but oh well. We learn from our mistakes, right?

I'm performing with my fellow Anaya Tribal classmates, from levels 2-4. We're dancing to Mausam and Escape by A.R. Rahman from the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack. And it was my first time performing ITS with zills, and my first time performing in a 25 yard skirt (well, unless you count the one song that Ghazaal Beledi pulled us on stage for at Ren Faire).

Anyway, in other news, I am more or less on vacation from my store, Handmade Jewelry by Erthe Fae Designs for the rest of the year. I had a customer (ok, my mom!) over to purchase a couple gifts for co-workers yesterday, and I may work on some jewelry to get ready for Valentine's Day, but for the most part my focus is going to be on creating last-minute gifts for friends, working on Wings of the Morrigan, getting some dance practice and tidying up the house. I'll try to keep updating the blog, but I will be in Vegas for most of next week, so I might just pre-schedule a few fluffy posts.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Custom Owl Necklace!

Last night I wore a necklace I made years ago, which features a bone carving of a raven sitting on a skull. It was a hit at dance class, and one of the dancers was especially keen on it. When I told her that I had a carving with owls sitting on a skull, she liked that even better because she's on an owl kick! So today I made this for her. The carving is joined by beads of bone, horn, and red tiger's eye for a very natural, very tribal look.

I also made myself a new necklace for the recital, which I will try to get photos of this weekend.

Aside from going to class last night, dance practice has been rather derailed by a sudden obsessive need to clean my bedroom. I am happy to say that the bedroom is now very clean and I can hopefully return to a normal state of mind now. Or maybe obsessively clean my desk. But there will be dancing, too!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A zebra in a dirigible!

I don't normally decorate for the holidays. Chris and I don't "do" Christmas, and even if we did, where would we put a Christmas tree without it getting destroyed by the cats and/or the corgis? But this year I was feeling sad about my lack of decor, so I decided to do something about it. After hitting JoAnn's and World Market (armed with coupons and sales fliers, because I am a savvy shopper), I put together this adorable semi-steampunk wreath.

The base is a pre-made fake evergreen wreath. I didn't realize how off-round it was until after I took the photo, so I may need to bend the wire frame a bit to fix it. I added a bunch of picks from the holiday floral decor section, and a couple ornaments from World Market (the zebra in the dirigible and the starburst). It's green, it's festive, it's sparkly, and it's non-religious. Perfect for my non-descript winter holiday celebration!

My Maine Coon mix Topher was very interested in it while I was assembling it (I hung it on the door and stuck stuff on it and rearranged until it look right), but he's been ignoring it since I finished, so hopefully I won't come home from class tomorrow and find that he's taken a flying leap from the couch and pulled it off the door!

Don't forget that it's not too late to make YOUR holiday more green and sparkly with a purchase from Handmade Jewelry by Erthe Fae Designs (I think that's my most shameless plug yet).

Dance goal update: Last night's practice was running through our song for recital a couple of times. Not anywhere near half an hour, but there was all that chair dancing earlier in the day.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Winter Colors

I'm almost done listing gray items in my shop, Handmade Jewelry by Erthe Fae Designs. Of course, Guildmistress (shown above) also has blue and brass in it, in case you find monochromatic pewtery color schemes boring. Make sure to check out the link, there's some great close-up shots in the listing!

Now is probably a good time to mention shipping deadlines. Christmas is less than 2 weeks away... yikes! It's 79 degrees here today, so honestly, it feels like it should be more than a week until the solstice. Anyway, I'd recommend that international buyers not try to purchase any Christmas presents from me right now -- they'd likely not arrive in time. For domestic customers, please make your purchases by the morning of the 17th so I can get them packaged up and mailed out before I leave for my recital. Tucson-area customers, I may be able to deliver your items up until Christmas Eve, but please contact me to make arrangements before purchasing.

Dance goal progress: Last night's practice was divided between practicing for recital (complete with zills), doing an exercise from the Daily Bellydance Quickies e-mail, and typing with a sword on my head. I decided the last one counted as practice at least for yesterday, because my shoulder was a little too sore for 30 minutes of actual dancing. I guess it objected to the 120 push-ups I did yesterday or something. So far today I've just done a little dancing in my chair while working on Etsy things :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

A new dancing goal

Today, as I was doing my daily-read through of blogs, I came across this post by my friend SaraBeth (fellow beader and dancer, and thus awesome). Inspired by a post that Lisa Zahiya wrote, SaraBeth has decided to make a commitment to practice belly dance for at least half an hour every single day in 2011. I've decided that this is an admirable goal and I'm going to make it my own as well.

There's no denying the importance of practice in any discipline. Even when I only practice once or twice a week, I notice remarkable improvement in my dance... Not just in physical skill, but in actually remembering combos and catching subtle cues. I have no doubt that if I practice every day, as I've been wanting to, that I'll get even better, and be much happier, too.

That just leaves ironing out the details... Will I dance for 30 minutes at a time, or break it down into smaller chunks throughout the day? What counts as practice... Do exercises designed to make me a better dancer count, or only actually dancing or drilling dance moves? Should I reward myself for my progress, or is dancing a reward enough in and of itself? Should I track my progress on this blog, or finally split off a separate blog for my dancing?

One thing that I do know is that I'm going to do a little test-run this week. I've got a recital coming up on Saturday, which is good motivation to practice hard and watch myself improve!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Feast your eyes

My friend Julie the Mermaiden has been after me to take more macro close-up shots of my bead weaving and embroidery. So the other day, when I casually laid this necklace over this box to get it out of the way while I was photographing other items, I realized that this was the sort of picture Julie wanted to see. So I took it! Beautiful details. Beautiful prop. Deep black background. Not to toot my own horn, but I think it's an amazing photo. And I got some even closer, but less fancy shots as well. Visit the listing for Ghost Portal Gothic Choker to see them all! Then wander over to the rest of Handmade Jewelry by Erthe Fae Designs to see what else I've been listing.

I'd chat more, but I'm off to do a little holiday shopping at the 4th Avenue Street Fair!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Genuinely New

Lately, most of my time has been spent photographing, listing and editing older items. I haven't been able to create much -- I spend maybe an hour or two most nights working on Wings of the Morrigan while watching DVDs, but that's a long way from being done. I needed the satisfaction of sitting down to make something new. And so I quickly strung up Mysterious Sphinx Bracelet and photographed it along with all the gray jewelry. Speaking of which, you can of course keep an eye out for gray jewelry and still more earrings at Handmade Jewelry by Erthe Fae Designs.

But really, enough with the jewelry talk. Between being sick and drowning in earrings, I feel like my life (and especially this blog) has revolved around business a little too much lately. Today, finally, I am going back to dance class. I'm taking a private lesson with my teacher to catch up on what I missed and then I have my regular two hours of class. It will be exhausting, but I'm looking forward to it. Practicing at home just doesn't cut it. I need to be around others, so I can both lead and follow. I need a teacher to correct my errors. And I need reminders on exactly how many counts certain complicated combos are. Most importantly, I need some human contact, socialization, and maybe just a little bit of shopping to get my costume ready for the recital. It's going to be a good time!

Next week is the last class for the year, then it's the long holiday break. I don't begrudge the studio owners their break, and I'm sure that classes would be pretty empty if they were open for the last two weeks of the year... but that doesn't mean I won't miss dancing!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Gray Days

Gray is all over the place right now. It's in the weather, it's in the stores, it's on the front page of Etsy. I have some really nice gray jewelry that I've made, but most of it wasn't in my Etsy shop. Today I decided to take a much-needed break from earrings and photograph some pretty gray things. I haven't listed any yet, but I was able to update Misty Isle with some yummy new pictures.

I plan to list more tonight and tomorrow before class, so keep an eye on Handmade Jewelry by Erthe Fae Designs for gray necklaces and bracelets!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Bored of earrings

I kind of never want to see another pair of earrings again. I'm bored of editing photographs of them. I'm bored of describing them. I'm bored of posting them on Facebook and promoting them on my blog. Don't get me wrong, I love earrings, and I'm happy to have beauties like Dawn Flowers (shown above) available in my shop Handmade Jewelry by Erthe Fae Designs. There's just such a thing as too much of a good thing.

So today it's time for a little break. I've already listed a few pairs of earrings and I can't see myself listing any more. If I do, my ennui is going to show in my descriptions. I need to work on something else. Make a necklace, or a bracelet. Do SEO on other jewelry in my shop. Organize beads. Basically, anything but what I've been doing since Thursday!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Earrings, Blog Features, Treasuries

What an eventful few days it's been! First, the earring invasion has continued along. Bone Dancer Earrings, pictured above, are just one new pair in my shop. To see more, visit Handmade Earrings by Erthe Fae Designs. I've still got plenty of pairs to list!

On Friday, my business was featured on Search by Burke's blog. I got to talk a bit about my recent experience with SEO and my constant struggle to promote myself (like I'm doing right now).

Thanks to Etsy's new activity feed, I was alerted to the fact that my Tribal Showgirl Sequin-O-Rama necklace was featured in the Have a Very Fairy Christmas A FAE Gift Guide in Blue treasury. There are a lot of other gorgeous items by my teammates in this one!

On the complete opposite side of the color spectrum, I created Warm Yourself By My Fire, an orange-dominated collection of hot, hot items.

I wish I could stay and blog longer, but those earrings aren't going to list themselves!

Friday, December 03, 2010

The Earring Invasion!

One of my goals for this week was to get back to SEO and updating my item images. Then I got sick and lazy, and nothing got done. During that time, I sold a pair of earrings, which reminded me that even though I love making necklaces most of all, earrings really seem to be one of my best sellers, especially around the holidays. I think it's because they're one-size-fits-all (provided the person has pierced ears and hasn't gauged them), and the less expensive ones make great stocking stuffers.

So yesterday, when my energy level was finally back up, I had the crazy idea to go ahead and photograph ALL of my earrings. Well, it ended up not being quite all of them -- I forgot that there are a few pairs in with the necklaces, instead of on the earring racks. But I took 231 earring pictures in one day.

Now I'm slowly going through, editing them, updating my current listings and creating new listings to migrate earrings over from my old website. Sunset Shimmer (as seen above) is new to Etsy.
Whereas Forest Singers were one of the first items I listed on Etsy, but the photos were never great. Today they got this dramatic new image. I love how well the sparrows stand out against the black!
Enchantment is one of my favorite pairs of chandeliers and I can't believe I didn't migrate them over to Etsy before now. They're so elegant!

If you want to watch the progress of the earring invasion, just keep an eye on Handmade Earrings by Erthe Fae Designs. I suspect I'll be listing new earrings for the rest of the weekend, possibly on through next week.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Wings of the Morrigan, Progress Post 3

Most of this new beading was done on Saturday. I beaded a lot on Saturday. Then I got sick and I haven't really beaded since. We can also thank whichever one of my pets bumped my beading palette, mixing the beads up and spilling some of them on the couch. I haven't sorted that mess out yet.

But anyway, about the new beading. Because of the rough, organic shape of the central focal, I've been drawn towards rounded shapes and flowing lines in this collar. On Saturday, I took a meandering path up one side of the collar, like a stream of ink flowing around silver stones. The stones in the stream are actually gorgeous flat-backed pearls.
This close-up isn't really good, but it gives a sense of the detail.

So far this necklace includes:
-1 Black Kyanite specimen
-2 Swarovski Elements Pegasus Pendants
-1 Color of Czech size 11 seed beads
-4 Colors of Japanese size 11 seed beads, including permanent galvanized.
-1 Color of Japanese size 15 seed beads
-1 Color of size 15 Charlottes
-4 Flat-backed freshwater pearls

Want to support my beading habit? Please visit my shop Handmade Jewelry by Erthe Fae Designs.

Disclaimer: FTC regulations require me to mention that the Pegasus pendants in this necklace were provided for promotional consideration by Artbeads.com.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I am doing the Cyber Monday thing

I don't usually bother to do much on-line shopping on Cyber Monday, but this year I'm not only trying to shop smart, I'm also stuck at home sick, so I figured I might as well indulge in a little retail therapy of the virtual variety. I took advantage of a few sales and got a chunk of my holiday shopping done, all while sitting at home in my pajamas and enjoying a variety of healthy beverages.

Of course, a lot of my favorite shops are also having on-line sales, and it's hard not to tell myself that I deserve a reward for my smart shopping and a pity prize for being so unwell today. So far my willpower has held out, but we'll see what the end of the day brings.

And now, the part where I plug my own sale! There's still time to use code discountme for 20% off everything at Handmade Jewelry by Erthe Fae Designs. Help make the myth of Cyber Monday come true for me, too!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Escutcheon is a fun word

I really love these steampunk keyhole/escutcheon pendants by Melanie from Earthenwood Studios. They stand really well on their own, so I just have to add a little accent to make them my own, hang them from a chain and then presto, an affordable steampunk necklace! I accented Piracy in the Age of Steam (shown above) with a skull, because I had just the single skull in brown with gold accents and it looked perfect with the warm sandy colors of the escutcheon. And Waiting for a Key of course has a lava accent, because lava is one of my current favorite beads.

I have to thank Melanie for teaching me the word escutcheon, I learned it when she started making various keyhole pendants. I have one of her pendants that is based on the decorative escutcheons that surround keyholes, in browns and greens with a floral pattern. I'm saving that one for myself, it will make the perfect steampunk faerie necklace. I'll of course need to hang an especially cool key from it -- probably something vintage.

Don't forget that I still have a sale running today and tomorrow! Use coupon code discountme for 20% off everything in my shop Handmade Jewelry by Erthe Fae Designs.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Still making tribal jewelry

My tribal designs don't really seem to sell. The sad truth seems to be that tribal dancers don't really splurge on jewelry unless it's vintage Afghani silver or something awesome like that. Modern handmade jewelry, even if it's one of a kind, doesn't seem to be in the budget. But I'm going to keep creating and hoping, because my muse is inspired by tribal costuming and I like having an excuse to buy cool inlaid beads and kuchi pendants and all that good stuff.

Fusion Orchid has inlaid beads and a Thai silver orchid. I have had this orchid for years. It's so beautiful, but I was never really sure what I wanted to do with it. I think it looks good in this necklace, and it strikes me as very tribal, because I love to wear fake orchids in my hair when I dance. Who knows, if it hasn't sold by the 18th, I might wear it for my recital!

For more handmade tribal jewelry, you can of course visit my shop Handmade Jewelry by Erthe Fae Designs. Even if you've blown your costuming budget on pants (I sure did!), you can still drool and daydream ;) And don't forget that if you do decide to buy something, you can use code discountme for 20% off. Yay!

Friday, November 26, 2010

...and Sunday's just along for the ride

If you would like to do some holiday shopping, or maybe buy yourself a present to reward yourself for the massive amounts of housework surrounding Thanksgiving, you'll be pleased to know that you can use the code discountme to get 20% off of everything in my shop Handmade Jewelry by Erthe Fae Designs this weekend. Sale ends 11:59pm MST Monday Nov 29th.

This sale runs all weekend so I can hit all of the big sales days. First, there was Black Friday, the day when retailers supposedly made most of their money. Then someone decided that even though many on-line business ran Black Friday sales, they needed their own imaginary big sales day... Cyber Monday, when everyone goes back to the office and shops on-line on company time. This year, there's a big push for Small Business Saturday as well, with some credit card company sponsoring free Facebook ads for small businesses.

And then there's Sunday. Poor, lonely Sunday, just waiting to be acknowledged as the last day of Thanksgiving weekend. Why doesn't Sunday have its own special label? Is it because of the religious importance of Sunday? Or has no one gotten around to deciding what it should be? Maybe Thrift Store Sunday? OOH! Second-Hand Sunday! There we go. Let's all spend the Sunday after Thanksgiving hitting up the thrift stores, yard sales and resale boutiques in search of slightly-used treasures and vintage goodies.

By the way, the necklace above is new! It's called The Traveler's Key and it is part of my budget-friendly steampunk jewelry line.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wings of the Morrigan, Progress Post 2

The problem with doing black bead embroidery on black felt is that it's hard to photograph the progress. But this is where I'm at! And this is where you can start to see that I have decided not to make this necklace symmetrical. Balanced, yes, but not entirely symmetrical. It would have been boring to do the exact same thing on both sides!

I hope to get a lot more work done on this project over the holiday weekend. I don't have a lot of big plans -- small family gathering at my house, no Black Friday shopping, a little work on my business Handmade Jewelry by Erthe Fae Designs, and lots of dance practice. But that leaves plenty of time for beading.

So far this necklace includes:
-1 Black Kyanite specimen
-2 Swarovski Elements Pegasus Pendants
-1 Color of Czech size 11 seed beads
-4 Colors of Japanese size 11 seed beads, including permanent galvanized.
-1 Color of Japanese size 15 seed beads

Disclaimer: FTC Regulations require me to tell you when I get beads for free. I got the Pegasus pendants from Artbeads.com and I already reviewed them last year, but I am making a disclaimer just in case. They were free. I like them. Happy, FTC?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Colors of Fall -- Artbeads.com Blog Partner

I made this necklace a while ago, but it was a surprise for a friend in Canada, so I had to wait for the sloooow post office to get it to her! Now that it is finally in her hands, I can post it all over the internet!

Back at the start of Autumn, Artbeads.com invited its blog partners to pick out items for a Colors of Fall theme. One of their suggestions was to use the Pantone Fall 2010 Color Report as a guideline, and that was the option I chose. I really liked the color Woodbine, a warm and rich olive, so of course I made that my focus by choosing a focal and accents from the Ceramic Beads category and some really saturated Czech Glass. The focal also has touches of Endive, and on-line the brown looked similar to Chocolate, but it turned out to be more red in person, so I put some very chocolate-y brown lava beads from my own stash into the mix, as well as some red tiger's eye to draw in the warm red-brown in the ceramics, and some pearls to pull everything together. You can't see it in the image, but the necklace is finished with a bamboo-patterned, gold-plated Pewter Toggle Clasp.

My original plan had been to do a bead embroidered focal with the bamboo pendant, but it turned out to be much too large, thick and heavy to use as a cabochon. This is a high-quality focal that is nicely detailed on both sides. The focal and the accent beads both have generous amounts of gold paint accents, and I was overall pleased with the quality. The Czech glass and Tierra Cast brand toggle were both up to the high standards I expect from those materials as well. As always, Artbeads.com packaged everything up nicely and shipped it in a timely manner.

And speaking of the lovely folks at Artbeads.com, they're kicking their Black Friday sale off early! If you feel like taking a break from getting ready for the holiday and doing a little bead shopping, you can use code ZZ-THANKSGIVING-SALE to get 20% off your order of $60 or more.

FTC Disclosure: Federal regulations stipulate that I need to tell you, dear readers, that Artbeads.com provided the items from the above-linked categories to me for free, in return for review and promotional consideration. I receive no additional compensation for my reviews, and I of course give my honest opinion of what I receive.

Now if you'd like to see more of my work, please head on over to my Etsy shop, Handmade Jewelry by Erthe Fae Designs.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Wings of the Morrigan, Progress Post 1

This project is long overdue -- I got the Swarovski Pegasus pendants as part of the Artbeads.com Beads for Bloggers program last September, and the central piece of black kyanite at the neat little metaphysical gift shop in Squaw Village during the Tahoe Bead Retreat last October. After purchasing the kyanite, and seeing it with the pegasus wings, I knew it had to be part of my first bead embroidered collar. Then I procrastinated. For over a year.

Well, no more putting it off! I want to wear Wings of the Morrigan to the Swarovski party at the gem show this year, which means that I have less than 3 months to finish. The past two years, I've put off my gem show necklace project to the last minute, finishing it during the show. This time I'm giving myself more time, because it's a huge project and I want to do it right.

So I researched how to make a collar, and on Friday night I drew my outline (which I'll probably adhere to only loosely) and glued down the focals. Yesterday and today were spent outlining the focals with backstitch. The kyanite was really tricky. In the past I've always embroidered around nice round and oval objects -- this piece is a real challenge because not only is it big, but I'm working with weird shapes. Of course, from a design standpoint, that was the easy part. Now I have to decide how to fill in the rest of the space!

This project is going to involve a lot of different types of beads. Each progress post will include a list of beads/objects added so far.
-1 Black Kyanite specimen
-2 Swarovski Elements Pegasus Pendants
-1 Color of Czech size 11 seed beads
-3 Colors of Japanese size 11 seed beads, including permanent galvanized.

Future progress pictures will be nicer, as I'll take them at the same time that I photograph new items, with all my nice photo stuff, but I wanted to start recording this before I got too far into it!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Special Weekend Etsy Update

It's been a busy, rather emotional week, so I unfortunately did not list any new items on Etsy, but I do have a few Etsy related things that I'd like to share with you.

First, my SEO efforts on items like the above-pictured Beaded Pomegranate Faerie Necklace (aka, The Hungriest Pixie Ever) are starting to pay off. I did a little Googling last night and was pleased to find that Handmade Jewelry by Erthe Fae Designs is the #1 Google result for handmade fantasy jewelry! My visits are still low, but at least I know that it's getting easier and easier for people to find my shop. I even found a pair of my Steampunk Key Earrings on a search for handmade steampunk jewelry.

Then today, when I logged into my shop to do more SEO work (it never ends!), I found that Etsy has given me the capability to offer coupons! I'd like to be able to use this to do some great holiday sales, but if you'd like to get a head start on the other shoppers and help me test the system, you can use the code "yaycoupon" to get 10% off your order!

In FAETeam news, our latest Gift Guide is Decorate for the Holidays with FAETeam. Although the main focus is ornaments, there's also a tree topper, a few holiday-themed prints, some greeting cards, and a few decorations well-suited for your mantle, centerpiece, or desk to lend a little festive cheer.

I also curated a treasury just for fun. Green and Magical is pretty self-explanatory, I think.

This week's cool find is VooDooBunny. I saw her featured on another blog and her shop has several items that I might have to buy as holiday gifts!

Friday, November 19, 2010

SQUEEEEEE!

Why has my blog been so quiet these past two days? Because I've been out of the house for most of that time! I spent Thursday out and about with friends who were down from the Phoenix area, culminating in an absolutely amazing experience seeing Le Serpent Rouge.

If you'll remember, last month I drove up to Mesa to see Bellydance Super Stars, which was an amazing star-packed production. As much as I loved that show, Le Serpent Rouge was even more fun. It was a more intimate experience -- not only were we close enough to really enjoy the details of the dance and the costume, but afterwards, the performers were hanging out in the theater and we were able to meet them, thank them, and get photos, signatures, and even some hugs! Because Le Serpent Rouge is a vaudeville-themed show, it was also less serious. There were a lot of jokes, light-hearted numbers, and fun times.

But most importantly, ohmigoodness the dancing was amazing! Rachel Brice was my first belly dance idol and remains one of my favorites, so to not only see her dancing live, but to be so close that I can see every isolation, and every detail of her intricate costuming, was amazing. Likewise for Zoe Jakes and Mardi Love, who are more recent idols. The Indigo and its individual dancers sometimes get accused of going too far afield in their tribal fusion, to the point where some consider them to no longer be true belly dancers, but their belly dance roots were still very much apparent in this show. There was also a touch of burlesque -- nothing naughty, but the stylings and the HUGE ostrich plume fans gave it a bit of old-time sensuality.

The music was a mix of live numbers by The Crow Quill Night Owls and the Gallus Brothers, and pre-recorded tracks. The live music was ol-timey bluegrass and other related genres that I don't know the names of -- clearly I'm not a music expert ;) If you enjoyed the soundtrack of O Brother Where Art Thou? then you'd love both bands. The Gallus Brothers also blended a bit of acrobatic antics and juggling with their music, in keeping with the vaudeville style of the show.

The event was held at Solar Culture, a gallery full of art which I never would have visited if not for the show (I hate driving downtown so I never go anyplace cool). There was even a mosaic bathroom with a beautiful mirrored sun design in the tub *sigh* which prompted all of us to wonder why WE didn't have mosaic bathrooms.

All in all, it was an amazing night, and I hope the pictures of my friends and I with Zoe Jakes and Rachel Brice turn out, because I know the internet motto is "pics or it didn't happen" but I am telling you, these ladies were super nice about posing for pictures and hugging their fans! Really warm and welcoming dancers, and I am still floating on cloud 9 about meeting them and not saying anything dumb.

If you enjoy reading about my belly dance adventures and would like to support my endeavors, please take a moment to visit my shop Handmade Jewelry by Erthe Fae Designs.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How far I've come

This picture is horrible. Why is it horrible? Because for years, I scanned my jewelry to list it on my website. That hideous greyish background is the white lining of the scanner lid. Yuck. Back then I had to choose my focals based not on how much I liked them, but whether they were flat enough to be scanned!

Last night, I was lying awake, thinking about my business, and my thoughts drifted back to my beginnings. More than 12 years ago, I started out stringing cheap jewelry and listing it on eBay. And I mean cheap. I used cheap beads, cheap plated findings, and I strung everything on fishing line. We actually had a digital camera for a short time. I don't have any photos of my jewelry from that far back, as I was 16, living at home, using my parents' computer, and that was back in the days before thumb drives and home wireless networks made it quick and easy to transfer your files from one computer to the next.

Anyway. I was thinking how I used to make my cheap jewelry, get Chris to take a photo of it, put it on eBay, and then... it sold! Just like that! There was no blogging, no mentioning it on Facebook, no Project Wonderful ads, no worrying about SEO. Back in those wonderful days, before everyone realized that you could make money on eBay, you could actually... make money on eBay. Without even really trying. A 16-year-old girl could make cheap beaded jewelry and sell it for enough money to buy more cheap beads and holiday presents for her entire family.

Now I use nice materials. I still bargain hunt, but I look for good deals on good beads. I use sterling silver clasps. I string my necklaces on SoftFlex. I do a lot of beadweaving. I stress about photos, I advertise everything on my blog and Facebook... and it doesn't sell. The internet has moved on, and it's no longer a simple matter of listing it and knowing buyers will find it. You have to actively promote, and try to be heard amongst a sea of other people actively promoting their work.

I don't want the good old days back. I don't miss my flatbed scanner and my dial-up internet and my cheap beads. Nostalgia hasn't yet made me forget all of those annoyances. But I can't help but wish that I didn't have to spend so much time promoting and more time creating.

Oh yeah, speaking of promoting, visit my shop Handmade Jewelry by Erthe Fae Designs, or at least tolerate the fact that I have to link it every day.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I just really like this photo

I thought that improving the photos for my shop, Handmade Jewelry by Erthe Fae Designs, was going to be a long and arduous process, but really, all I had to do was stop being lazy about it. It was a simple matter of getting out all my props every time, and taking my time to line things up nicely and take a few extra shots in case a couple come out blurry.

So I've been getting a lot of good pictures, and every now and then I get a really nice one, like this close-up of The Sweetest Lady. The angle is just right, and you can see every detail of the brass stamping, and just how lovely those vintage beads are. There's even a hint of their translucent glow. It makes me happy.

Of course, I still have a lot of jewelry to rephotograph, and I try to do at least one old piece whenever I'm taking pictures of new items.... but at least all the new stuff looks great!

Thank you again to all of my friends who pitched in with advice and opinions when I was trying to decide what direction to take my shop photos in.

Friday, November 12, 2010

SEOhmygoodnessthisisgoingtotakeforever.

Yesterday, I started on a project I've been putting off for a while -- doing Search Engine Optimization (aka SEO) on my Etsy shop. It started out easily enough... Changing up my shop title, the names of my shop sections, and the welcome announcement. Just little re-writes here and there to take advantage of how Google and other search engines actually work. Go ahead and visit Handmade Jewelry by Erthe Fae Designs and have a look-see.

But then I hit the hard part... re-writing all of my item titles and descriptions!

I currently have 70 items in my shop, and my method of presenting them is about as un-Google-friendly as you can get without doing it on purpose. Little did I realize that by trying to make myself stand out from the crowd with lyrical item names and short story snippets at the start of each description, I was actually lagging way behind the crowd. In fact, I was probably in an entirely different country from the crowd. Maybe a country with no Google.

I may continue to tweak things as I watch my site stats to see what actually works, but for now I'm working the title into the description, and placing the stories at the bottom of the listing -- I do not want to get rid of them entirely, because some people come to my shop specifically to read them. Check out Her Airship Sailed Through Time Steampunk Necklace to see the difference. Please let me know if you think the new format is too awkward or see room for improvement.

And now, a little apology in advance. Apparently the most important step in SEO is building lots of links to your store. Blog posts count towards this, even if they're your own blog, so I will be promoting my shop a little bit in every post from now on. I will try to keep it minimal, and make it an addition to what I'm already writing instead of the focus. I want to keep this blog interesting for those of you who've decided you like to know what's going on in my life. Please whack me upside the head if I go too far in the wrong direction.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A big week on Etsy

As promised, I listed all the new jewelry I made for Fall Festival! Shown above is Tribal Showgirl Sequin-o-Rama, for the tribal dancer with a little Vegas in her soul. For the budget-conscious steampunk, I have Waiting For A Key and The Sweetest Lady. Lastly, Celestial Goddess earrings can be tribal, steampunk, or just a beautiful accent to your Autumn wardrobe. I also renewed a lot of my budget steampunk line that had expired, so you may want to poke around the shop and see what old things are new again.

While I was busy getting all of these photographed and listed, the lovely and talented Mermaiden included me in her Once Upon A Stunning Autumn treasury, which has been getting a lot of views. One of Julie's treasuries was on the Front Page of Etsy this week, so clearly she knows her stuff!

Speaking of treasuries, I had to make one, too! Etsy's new You Might Like feature inspired it by showing me a couple of items along the same theme, making me think I want some green tea.

I also curated Manly Men Like FAETeam, Too! in support of this week's Gift Guide, which is of course themed around gifts for the men in your life.

This week's cool find is Untamed Menagerie, who has a lot jewelry that I'd like to get my hands on. Because, you know, I don't have enough jewelry.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

My MZ Glass Prize

You may recall that back in October, I took 2nd Place in the MZ Glass Design Challenge. Well, I finally collected my prize winnings this past weekend! Margaret was clearing out some old beads, so my $300 credit went a long way! Doesn't the central beetle remind you of old trade beads? He's definitely going to be made into something tribal.

The 3d butterfly is a new design and I knew I had to have one. If you want one, too, you can visit MZ's Etsy shop, where you can also see the new bees and caterpillars!

And just because I like showing off, here's the winning necklace again:

Monday, November 08, 2010

Vending! Dancers! A Parade!

Here it is, the result of all of my crazy running around last week... my booth at the Fall Festival! Big props to Evan and Meghan who helped me with set-up and tear-down and were around throughout the day to keep me company.
Meghan was getting ready for her performance when she realized that she'd left her necklace at home. Oh no! What's a girl to do? Naturally, she came over to my booth and asked to borrow a necklace she'd had her eye on. After the show, she decided that said necklace had to be hers, so now Necromancer's Mirror has a new home!

Unfortunately, Meghan was my ONLY customer. Sales were down for everyone. Other than dismal sales, it was a fun event... a beautiful day, lots of my belly dance friends around, live music from the drum circle, and I took a couple of breaks to go watch the dancers on the community stage.
Of course, I had to go see Meghan and my other friends Jacque and Rosemary, performing under the wonderful name Vorpal Shimmy! Meghan and Rosemary did a beautiful sword performance to Endless Reverie by Azam Ali (currently my favorite song), and then all three of them did a very energetic skirt dance to a rap about Ganesh. A lot of my pictures came out blurry because of how fast they were moving, but I think this photo is beautiful.

You'd think that after a busy day of vending on Saturday, I'd spend Sunday relaxing... but then you'd be forgetting that I live in Arizona, and that we cram all of our fun events into the few months when the weather is actually nice! After visiting the MZ Glass Open House (I'll post my glass goodies tomorrow!) and eating a big lunch, I hastily put together a costume and headed downtown to meet a group of Tucson belly dancers for the All Souls Procession. The costume theme was aquatic, and as you can see, I embraced it whole-heartedly. Not only am I wearing water colors, but my belt has shells and my hat and necklace have fish.

The parade was a lot of fun. I've never walked in a parade, let alone danced one. I have no idea how long the Procession was... it didn't feel too long at the time (though my arms sure got tired!), but walking back to the car felt like it was about 100 miles. The parade terminated in a huge finale, complete with fire dancers and stilt walkers and aerial silks performers and live music and did I mention fire? It was hard to see through the crowd, but still very impressive.

And now it's back to life as usual... except that TusCon and workshops with Mahin are this weekend, and next weekend is Phoenix Faerie Festival... I guess busy is the new norm for me!

Friday, November 05, 2010

So Busy!

Sorry the blog has been so quiet, I've been very busy getting ready for Fall Festival this weekend. Hopefully I'll come back with much less jewelry than I'm leaving the house with. Honestly, I have way too much stock. I have no idea how I'm going to display it all!

I made a few new items for the show, a tribal necklace and a couple steampunk necklaces and some pretty earrings... Whatever doesn't sell will make it onto Etsy next week, so keep your eyes open!

Speaking of Etsy, the necklace above was featured in a beautiful Fantasy Wedding Treasury curated by the lovely and talented Mermaiden.

Have a great weekend, everyone, and don't forget to come to Fall Festival if you're in Phoenix!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Gift Guides!

Every Tuesday this month, I'll be posting gift guides over on the FAETeam blog. Click here to read the first one!

Posts on this blog will be short and sweet this week... I have a lot to do to prepare for vending in Phoenix this weekend!

Friday, October 29, 2010

One Thousand Posts! (Plus Etsy Stuff)

Woohoo! My thousandth blog post, at last! I thought about putting some animated confetti images in here, but they're really annoying... so let's just pretend I'm throwing confetti and beads. Thank you all for following my blog, reading it, and making the occasional witty, encouraging or insightful comment.

And now, Etsy! Unfortunately, the only item I got listed this week was Necromancer's Mirror, which was created for FAE Team's Hunter's Moon/Blood Moon Art Dare. You can see the first of a series of blog posts about the Dare here -- my teammates have really outdone themselves this month!

Speaking of FAE Team, our latest Exhibition is up! Moonlit Masquerade features a beautiful array of moon and mask themed items. Of course, my current favorite mask from FAE Team is this brand new, stunning Raven Queen mask by Beadmask.

This week's cool Etsy shop is EnchantedCrafter, the shop of fantasy artist Jessica Galbreth. I've seen prints of her work before, but this shop features mixed media collages with her work as well as some pretty fantasy jewelry.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Advancing to Advanced

I'm very excited about tonight because I will be taking my very first advanced-level belly dance class! Woohoo! I've spent the past year in Beginner and Intermediate classes, learning just how much I didn't already know (when I first went to Plaza de Anaya, I was convinced I was ready for Intermediate tribal classes... and ended up humbly stumbling my way through a Beginner class!). The past two months have been all review and I have to admit I've been very impatient to get back to learning new moves! Review and practice are important, but sometimes they're also a little boring ;) So I'll be continuing with Intermediate classes to get the all-important practice in, while Advanced class will feed my need for new knowledge.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fall Festival!

If you live in or around Phoenix, please consider coming to Levant al Sonora's Fall Festival! Your $10 admission will get you access to a festival with 10 vendors (including me!), food and hookahs, a drum circle, and live performances from professional and amateur local belly dancers -- plus the Gala Show, featuring Princess Farhana! The event runs from noon to 9pm on Saturday, November 6th.

Come out to shop, dance, and support your local dance community! And your favorite belly dancing beader! I will have all my stock with me at the show, and I'm making lots of new things in preparation. I look forward to seeing you there.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Skulls!

Necromancer's Mirror is all done. I'll blog more about it when I do my weekly Etsy round-up!

I really want to do more bead embroidery now, though. I think it's finally time to start Wings of the Morrigan, which will be my first beaded collar. If I start now, I might finish it in time to wear it for the gem show!

Monday, October 25, 2010

One Meeeeeellion Beads!

I just got back from spending the weekend in San Diego, where Chris and I visited a couple of museums. Now, of course I expect to find beads in a museum... people have been making beads forever, so there's always some old beads made out of natural materials, maybe some Egyptian faience, some Victorian beaded purses, you never know. But at the Museum of Man, I found beads cleverly used to represent years.

But where are the one million beads? Guess they didn't fit on the board.
Oh. THERE they are! One million beads makes a nice little wall, don't you think?

(For all you beaders who are surely wondering, the beads were a size 6ish vintage-style white heart).

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I'm wearing purple

I'm wearing purple today, in observance of GLAAD's Spirit Day. Unfortunately, I'm a cynic. I don't think that my purple fishnets and t-shirt are going to stop anyone from bullying anyone else. I don't think that it will make anyone who is being bullied say "Well, at least that person supports me." But I do think it's just one little way that I can show that I do care, and I want the world to know that I care.

Because I'm straight, I've never been bullied because of my sexuality. But I have been bullied for stupid physical characteristics beyond my control. I've been picked on because I couldn't afford the nice clothes that the cool kids wore. I've been teased because of things my brother did. I know all too well the pain of being ostracized for stupid things that don't matter, and that you can't change. All of those stupid, hurtful left me with little sense of self-worth for most of my teenage years. Even when you know, intellectually, that the opinions of small-minded people don't mean anything, they leave nagging doubts in the back of your mind.

The prevailing message right now for bullied gay teens (and I think ALL bullied children and teens should take it to heart) is that it gets better. It does. Honestly. It's never perfect. You'll still run into prejudiced adults who can't keep their mean thoughts to themselves. But you'll grow into your own wonderful person, you'll get past the teenage awkwardness and angst, and you'll be surrounded by people who love and care for you, and you'll find that you care less and less what the stupid jerks think. You might even find that some of the things that people teased you about become your greatest strengths -- I still wear cheap clothes, but I get compliments on my outfits all the time. You can't buy style, you can't buy taste, and you sure as hell can't buy tact.

So I'm wearing a very stylish purple outfit, culled from the clearance racks of Target. And I feel good about it. And my wish for all of you out there, who are being bullied, or who are still carrying the scars from the wounding words of your youth, is that you will take this moment to think about your strengths, and all you have to offer the world, and know that there are people out there who see the best in you and want the best for you. Hang in there.

Monday, October 18, 2010

OMG, cabs!

Remember when I said I was trying to put all of my beads and supplies away in a nice, organized fashion? Here's some photographic proof! My cabochon collection was spread all over the place -- some were in a divided plastic box, some were in the same hardware drawer system as my focal beads, some were just lying around in the baggies they came in. Not acceptable at all!

When I started this current quest for organization, I put a lot of my cabs into a flat box designed for storing craftbooking doo-dads or other small crafting supplies. I decided that was perfect, and JoAnn's is having a big storage sale this week, so I went out in search of more. They didn't have the exact same box, but they did have a little three-drawer unit, and that is where all of my cabs and rivolis will now be stored.

This isn't even all the cabs... the black and white ones will go in a separate drawer, because they wouldn't all fit in this one. And I know there are more cabs hiding around the house. And then there are the cabs that are already glued down to be embroidered around, or that I've been actively matching beads to for large projects.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Kitteh in a box!

It's a special Sunday blog post! Just wanted to share this picture of my big fluff-monster Topher squeezing himself into a shoebox. All boxes that come into this house immediately belong to the cat, whether or not he actually fits in them.

Friday, October 15, 2010

It's a wonderful week on Etsy!

I'm having a busy, productive week. Lots of jewelry being dreamed up, and some of it being brought to life. There are two brand-new items in my Etsy shop this week. Bombay Princess, pictured above, and Fractured Tribe, which I previewed in yesterday's post.

Both of these gorgeous new necklaces contain lampworked beads by artists whose work I love (and who happen to be great people, too!). I'm still very sad that JC discontinued her Mendhi series, so it's hard for me to let them go -- but let's face it, when would I ever wear a purple costume? I just know there's a dancer out there who will love Bombay Princess and wear her all the time!

Now that Etsy has changed Treasuries so that you can make one whenever you want and they last forever, I've been trying to make one a week. This week's collection is FAESteam which naturally features items from FAETeam with a steampunk theme. I'm really happy that I was able to find a lot of wonderful items in the $20 and under range, as well as some mid-range items and a couple of expensive but worth it items!

Etsy has also rolled out some new features where they recommend items and shops for you, so I've been finding lots of new goodies to "heart." I think I should share some of those in these posts, too, so it's not all about my shop and my team! This week's find is Stiletto Heights. Just look at how beautiful those prints are! I'll be buying at least one when my dance space is finally finished.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Operation: Buried in Beads

Operation: Buried in Beads began when I decided it was time to clean and organize my bead collection. I quickly became overwhelmed by the amount of bead clutter that I had accumulated and joked on Facebook that it might be easier to use up all my beads than put them away. We all had a good laugh, but the truth is that I did have an awful lot of beautiful beads just sitting around, and it really seemed a shame. They needed to be made into jewelry.

So I've been quietly working on this goal, occasionally posting about it on Facebook. My latest Artbeads.com project (which I can't post yet because I need to mail it to someone and I don't want to spoil the surprise) kicked it off by not only using all of the things that I had just received from Artbeads, but also some nice stone beads, and then I put everything away right afterwards. This was followed by the two skull projects, and now today's two necklaces (which I'll talk more about in tomorrow's Etsy post).

The above necklace is one of two that I made today, and it serves as the perfect illustration for the importance of this personal challenge. The lampworked beads are from the first purchase that I ever made from MZ Glass, so they've been in my stash for years. They're accompanied by some glass from last year's NY trip and lava from the Rings & Things show in May. Old and new came together in a beautiful way, and I put a little dent in my pile of beads.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thinkin' about skulls

The skull beads featured in my Disembodied Zombie Head Earrings came from a strand of skulls in various colors that I picked up at the Rings & Things bead show earlier this year.

Five more skulls, in red and dark gray with silver details, are going to be part of the current project I'm working on. Unusual colors, to be sure, but they go perfectly with a Tiger Iron cabochon that I've had for years, and I threw in a hematite cab, too, for good measure. The embroidery is coming along well, and I hope to make a lot more progress on it tonight. I've really missed bead embroidery, and this little project is just the start. I have some big and even huge embroidery ideas that I need to get started on soon.

I know it's a little late in the season to be breaking out the skulls, since Halloween is almost here, but I'm one of those girls who likes skulls year-round... so expect some more skully designs from me even as we move away from Autumn and into winter.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dance Recap

I may go back and edit this post later to add a pic or two, but the pics from the workshops haven't been posted yet.

My dance weekend in Tempe was both invigorating and exhausting at the same time. There's nothing quite like a great show and 6 hours of workshops to really inspire a dancer, but by the same token there's nothing like excitement-fueled insomnia and 6 hours of workshops to wear a dancer out!

After my usual two hours of tribal class with Anaya Tribal, I went home with my awesome friend and classmate Meghan, who has generously offered up her sofa as my home-away-from-home for belly dance weekends (I say generous because I'm going to be up there for 3 weekends out of 5!). We had fun times talking about dance, costumes, jewelry, and all the things that make tribal dancers happy.

Friday was shopping with Meghan and Jen. We went to Beads Galore, where I picked up some great tribal beads. I guess I could have photographed those and used them on this post! We also went clothes shopping, where I picked up a couple of scarves, because being a dancer makes you a scarf addict. It's true.

Friday night was the super cool and amazing show! Many of Plaza de Anaya's teachers and the workshop instructors took to the stage, each doing what they do best. There was Egyptian style belly dance, ATS, ITS, Tribal Fusion, Bollywood, and fire-spinning-without-the-fire. I even got to see Helena Vlahos, who you may be familiar with even if you're not a dancer -- she holds the world record for flipping coins on her belly, and can do crazy things like line up a row of quarters on her abs and flip every other one. But for this show, she focused on good old fashioned belly dance.

And Saturday was workshops! Dance Therapeutics with Deb Rubin, focusing on the upper body, gave us some great yoga and stretches for warming up and taking good care of the spine and shoulder girdle. It reminded me how badly I really need to get back into yoga on a regular basis. Supah Saucy Spins and Kicks with Zafira featured Spanish-inspired choreography and lots of fun belly dance roleplay exercises, including a belly dance gang fight. Ooey-Gooey, Slow and Slinky with Jill Parker wasn't nearly as slow as I expected, but Jill taught us some great traveling moves inspired by vintage belly dance, two fun combos, and gave us some time to just play with gliding around the room with whatever traveling steps we wanted and then dropping into the combos.

Because I'm really used to workshops that cram too much info into my head, causing me to forget all the combos, I loved that Zafira and Jill both gave us the chance to take what we had physically learned and apply it creatively, and explore our personalities as dancers. All of the teachers and their assistants did a great job, and I'd happily take workshops with any of them again.

Now it's back to normal life as we know it... of course, there's a three hour Turkish Romany dance workshop I'm considering this weekend!

Monday, October 11, 2010

I feel like a winner!

I am pleased to announce that Beetles Are Lovely, Too won Second Place in the MZ Glass Design Challenge! If you'd like to see the other winners and read about the judging process, MZ blogged all about it. Spoiler alert: all of the winners used beetles! They must be MZ's most inspirational beads ;)

That was just one highlight of my awesome weekend... I'll post about the belly dance tomorrow!