Sunday, January 31, 2010

It's gem show time!

The wave of gem-mineral-fossil-bead shows hit Tucson this weekend. When I drove home from belly dance class Thursday night, I saw tents all over the place. One vendor even looked like he was doing business at 10:40pm, but I suspect he was probably just chatting with fellow vendors after a late evening of setting-up.

I'm actually taking a more low-key approach to gem show this year. I haven't even touched a lot of what I purchased last year, and right now I'm a lot more interested in investing my spare cash into belly dance costumes and accessories than in more random beads. As such, I decided to completely skip Gem Mall this year. I may come to regret this if I have a sudden rush of crystal bracelet sales, but oh well. If I have a sudden rush, I can afford to restock from a slightly more expensive mail-order source.

But that's not to say that I'm skipping the shows entirely! I'm just being more judicious in what I purchase. Today I went to To Bead True Blue, because I wanted to get the new Green Girl designs before they sold out. After chatting with Andrew and Greg and getting what I came for, I browsed the rest of the show, where the only thing I purchased was an $8 boxwood netsuke for Chris. I was tempted by some unusual jingly rings, but I'm not buying any jinglies until after I've been paid for my Best Bead job.

While at the show, I ran into frequent blog commenter Jolene, of Funky Monkey Girls! She recognized me from my profile picture and introduced herself and her Mom. This encounter reminded me that I really need to stop being so anti-social, it's silly for me to live in the same city as someone and only see them at gem show!

I'm going to try to make daily updates during the show, for those friends who are living vicariously through me, but it may be hard. My schedule for the rest of the week:
Monday: Gym, grocery shopping, finish "Luna Fae" necklace, string three packages of crystals, do laundry.
Tuesday: Show set-up starts at 10am. Beadwork magazine party afterwards.
Wednesday: Working Best Bead Show, 10am-8pm. Oh, how I hate Wednesdays! Afterwards, gaming at my place, finish "Luna Fae" if I failed on Monday.
Thursday: Work Best Bead, take off early at 5 to go to dance class in Tempe.
Friday: Work as usual, followed by Swarovski party. Probably grab food on the way home, if last year's party is any indication.
Saturday: Work, then awesome dinner!
Sunday: Show closes at 5, possibly stay for tear-down.
Monday again: Run over to To Bead True Blue, except it's called Tucson Bead Show, and hope that Christi Friesen has a bead left with my name on it. Possibly also hit "metaphysical row" in search of jinglies. Technically I should also go to the gym, and go grocery shopping -- any bets on whether that actually happens?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Stuck with it!

This is my current project. I abandoned the failed beaded motifs, and decided to go with my current beading love, embroidery! The problem with my inspiration is that I had to glue the precious faerie pendant down to the felt to embroider around her. There's no going back now! If this idea doesn't work on, she'll be all besmirched with glue and felt, and I may not be able to salvage her -- short of cutting away most of the felt and never letting anyone see her back!

The cabochon was sent to me by my secret birthday buddy last year. I'm pretty sure that it's petrified wood. The warm honey color with traces of rust nicely fits with the color scheme I had picked. It's a very thick cab, so I need to bead fast to get it properly bezeled into place before I can move on to the rest of the embroidery.

I left the faerie's wing-tip-loop below the felt, because a bezeled rivoli will be hanging from the bottom.

Did I mention that I have a week to finish this before gem show starts?

Monday, January 25, 2010

FAE Team Howls at the Moon

I promised you more wonderful Wolf Moon and Old Moon beauties today, and I always keep my promises! The above image is Carapace's "Snow White Wolves Dance Around the New Old Winter Moon." I love Cara's use of color here. The wolves look ethereal, like spirit guides, as they flank the full moon.

I was not the only one who wanted to pay homage to the Old Moon, however. Mermaiden created this Talisman of Minas Ithil, Tower of the Moon, drawing on the lore of Tolkein. She also made a beautiful blog post about Earthshine and the Old Moon. The poem she featured could have been the inspiration for my Mother Moon at Dawn necklace, except that I'd never read it before today.

Meri Greenleaf lets you channel your own inner wolf with her awesome and fuzzy Crocheted Wolf Ears! They're perfect for cosplay, Halloween, or just letting the world know that you're feeling a little wild today.

There's more lunar-inspired items coming up, so keep watching this blog for eye candy from the Fantasy Artists of Etsy.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mother Moon at Dawn

As I mentioned before, I decided that for January's FAE Team Challenge, I would go with the Old Moon theme instead of the Wolf Moon. Mother Moon at Dawn has actually been done for a while, but cold, rainy weather does not lend itself well to outdoor photography. Luckily today is a beautiful day, because today is also the deadline for the challenge!

February is Snow Moon or Hunger Moon, and I think I'll do one of each. Snow Moon will be a good excuse to motivate me to put more white jewelry in my shop, and Hunger Moon will be a good excuse to use my Green Girl pomegranate faerie pendant.

Tomorrow I'll share some Old Moon/Wolf Moon beauties from my fellow FAEs.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Super storm!

I didn't go to dance class tonight. Why? Because I didn't feel safe driving in rain and wind with gusts of up to 60mph. And it's a good thing I made that decision, because half an hour after I would have left for Tempe, the owner of Plaza de Anaya went to open the studio for the night and found there was no power -- so all the classes were canceled anyway!

There's a crazy storm in AZ today. The Bead Museum in Glendale closed early. Halstead Bead in Prescott was sandbagging their loading docks in preparation for flooding. Funnel clouds were seen in Gilbert. There's possibly a tornado watch between midnight and 2am here in Tucson.

All I can say is that I really hope the weather is getting all of this out of its system, so that we can have a beautiful, sunny gem show and lovely weather for my mother-in-law's visit. After all, I had to slog through the mud at the NY Ren Faire, I'd really rather not repeat that experience at ours!

In totally unrelated news, I got my hair cut yesterday. No, I did not get it all cut off, I did not donate it to Locks of Love, all I did was get several inches of frazzled ends lopped off, and got a few layers. I'll post Before and After pictures soon!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

That didn't help...

Well, I found the missing piece of beadwork, reverse engineered it so I could make little elements for my necklace... and then decided that I didn't like how they looked for this design.

Back to the drawing board!

I have all these gorgeous beads that I want to use in the necklace, and I've just been banging my head against a virtual wall on how to use them in a way that will be beautiful, elegant, and suitable for the focal.

In other news... yay, it's raining! We haven't had any rain here for quite some time.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Ugh, where is it?

I decided that I wanted to use motifs from a kit I purchased a while ago as part of the necklace I'm working on... But I can't find the kit instructions, or the half-completed item for a little reverse-engineering! I can't really get away with tearing the house apart looking for them, because after all, I'm supposed to be cleaning, not making a bigger mess.

Don't you hate it when mundane reality stands in the way of your inspiration?

Beads and Homework

Hey! I beaded! Honestly! I finished my necklace for the FAE Team Challenge, and started something pretty and coppery and Victorian-y that I'll hopefully have ready in time to wear to the Swarovski party next month. Tomorrow I shall attempt some photographs.

I also did my belly dance homework. We were assigned to do 100 little shoulder rolls on each side every day, to improve arm fluidity for those dreaded snake arms. And while I have been doing rolls every day, they've mostly been while I was watching TV or talking with Chris and couldn't really focus on counting. Today I actually counted, so that I could be sure that I did my homework as assigned at least once. Daisy greatly approves of this particular drill, as I can do it seated on the couch with at least one corgi in my lap. Usually she has to go in her crate when I practice, because the dogs believe that dancing is a sign that I want to wrestle with them.

And that is pretty much my weekend, aside from the time I spent running errands and reading magazines yesterday. Oh, the excitement!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Oh yeah, beads. I like those.

This is supposed to be a beading/jewelry blog, but I don't seem to be talking about those things lately. Here it is, more than two weeks into the year, and the closest I've come to making jewelry is swapping out some earwires on some cheap World Market earrings that I wore to class on Thursday. Well, that and picking out all the beads for my Old Moon necklace.

It's not that I don't like beads and jewelry anymore, it's just that my life feels so full of belly dance, gym workouts, and gaming, all of which have their own specific times. Meanwhile, beading doesn't have an assigned time slot in my life, and all my free time gets wasted on silly things like Facebook. It's definitely time to fix that.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

My Zills Hate Me

Zills, for those of you just joining us, are the little finger cymbals that many belly dancers play. When done really well, they're awesome, like in this video. But when they're not done well.... let's just say there's a reason why there's no video of me playing the zills. Like any musical instrument, when played poorly they create a really cacophonous sound.

I've at least reached the point where I can play them pretty decently while sitting, standing still, or walking around the house. However, as soon as I start dancing, my fingers get all confused by the motion of my body, and my snappy right-left-right right-left-right turns into something more like right-right-left-rightyright-left-left-aw-crap.

At this point I think it's safe to say that in my future solo career, I will rarely if ever make zills part of my performance. But as part of a class, I have to play them in class, and I might need them for a future recital or student performance. So I soldier on, even though I sound horrible and the elastic is so tight that my fingers turn purple.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The usual Wednesday

It's a Wednesday like any other... gaming group will be here within the hour, we'll do some gaming, I'll string some crystals, etc etc. Things are finally back to normal after the upheaval of the holiday season.

Mostly my mind is looking ahead, to dance class tomorrow night. Despite my crazy-sore abs (darn you, CrossFit gym!), I need to go practice my new moves before people show up, and get a little zillage done, too.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Old Moon

Have I mentioned how much I love Creative Commons images on Flickr? Today I searched for Old Moon, and found the above beautiful image in Grafik Mekanik's photostream*. It's so perfectly haunting.

So anyway, I decided that the Wolf Moon theme wasn't doing it for me, but Old Moon... that's something I can work with, because vintage beads are old. And I found a pretty moon face pendant that I forgot I had, so I'm set. Just gotta pick out the right vintage beads, decide whether I'll weave or string, and get to creating.

*This link has some pictures of a girl wearing a shirt with a certain F word on it, so I suppose it's NSFW.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


I have a bra that I hate, but because I hate to throw away perfectly good bras (darn things aren't cheap), I decided maybe I could modify it enough to turn it into a steampunk dance bra.

The first step, though, would have to be changing the color. It's that hideous peachy fleshy beige-y tone that only a bra could be. There's no pretending it's any sort of outerwear when it's that color. My first thought was to tea-dye it, and a quick Google search revealed that tea-dyeing is so easy that I really had no excuse not to try it right away. So I brewed up some cheap tea, snipped off part of the bra, and went on my merry way.

Of course, this bra isn't just hideous, it's also synthetic. The tea dyed it, but only to a slightly darker, still fleshy tone. Drat.

I'm now examining my options... I could try dying it with coffee, which supposedly makes a deeper brown. I could try making some Kool-Aid dye (Grape + Orange = brown sludge, right?). I could apparently use Lumiere paints (I found directions for using them to paint/dye bathing suits). I could use Rit dye. I could cover it with more attractive cloth. Or I could say that this is all a lot of work for a bra I don't really like anyway, and go down to Target to buy a white cotton bra that would take better to tea-dyeing.

And that is the story of what I did this weekend. I played with my bra. What did you do?

Saturday, January 09, 2010

New moves

At Thursday's class, we learned three intermediate moves, which was great. Today I was practicing them, and I did fine... but I found that I couldn't remember how to do some of my OLD moves! This is what I get for slacking off over the holidays. I'll have to pop my Beginner Overview DVD in this week and run back through everything to refresh my memory.

In the meantime, I need to find a beading project to work on during tonight's game, maybe that will get me back into the habit of beading more regularly!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Back to Class!

Tonight is the first night of the Plaza de Anaya New Year's Session! I've missed class so much. Learning new things and hanging out with my fellow dancers, it really doesn't get any better with that. And I really need the structure of class to force me to keep practicing and improving, otherwise I procrastinate.

Most of last session was spent learning what we needed for recital -- formation, switching leaders, paying attention to the leader while still being cognizant of your place on stage, getting on and off stage, lots of important stuff for performing... But not a lot of new moves. So I'm very excited about finally getting some more intermediate moves in my repertoire this session.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Through Glittering Trees

The latest FAE Team exhibition is live! The theme is Through Glittering Trees, and some people focused more on the glitter, and some on the trees, and all submitted beautiful work!

The exhibitions are entirely separate from the new monthly challenges. We only have new ones every other month, and they're open to old items or new items created especially for the theme. The challenges, on the other hand, are designed to inspire us to make at least one item along the moon-theme for the month, something new and exciting.

You can see past Exhibitions at our Squidoo lens!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


I'm finding it hard to blog lately, don't know why. I guess that's what I get for taking so many days off for the holidays, now it's not a daily habit anymore. Got to get back to it!

So, recent goings-on... Last night we went and saw a movie called Red Cliff, which was based on a famous battle from Romance of the Three Kingdoms. At times it was very good, and at times it was not, and at times I was like "Huh, what just happened?" Then I looked at IMDB and saw that it had been two movies, which they spliced together into one for Western audiences. I for one feel shorted.

Our gym started a new schedule, where you have a "home class" on certain days at a certain time, and that's when you go to the gym. No more 2:30 one day, 5pm another. On the other hand, no more having to keep each and every trainer in the loop as to just how bad I am at squats, so I guess that's good. Plus the trainer for the class I chose is the same one who has been doing Chris's personal training while his thumb heals, and he said that Chris could just come to the same class as me.

Speaking of the broken thumb, tomorrow the doctor will have another look at it and see if it's healed yet. If not, Chris may be able to just have a soft cast, instead of the ugly, smelly hard one that gets in the way of everything.

I haven't beaded or danced yet this year, and I definitely need to change that.

Well, that's about all for now...

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Wolf Moon

Starting this month, FAE Team is having new monthly challenges. For 2010, our themes are all drawn from old names for the lunar months. January is Wolf Moon or Old Moon. In searching for the perfect image for this blog post, I found the above Photoshop-enhanced photo by Ghetu Daniel. Could there be any more perfect evocation of the Wolf Moon?

I'm not sure yet what I want to do with this theme. I don't do a lot of animal jewelry, and I can't just wait until gem show to find the perfect wolf focal. Maybe I'll do something Old Moon inspired instead. I'll have to see what I can come up with in the next few weeks.

Stay tuned for more developments from FAE Team!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Hello, 2010!

Yes, I probably should have made this post yesterday, but I was busy cleaning and hosting and being tired. Today I was also busy, but I'm not tired, which makes a big difference when it comes to blogging.

I'm very excited about 2010. 2009 was such a good year for me, because I actually did things. I guess I have a bit of a passive personality, too often I'm content to just drift through life and not accomplish much. But not in 2009! I started taking dance classes (to pursue my goal of teaching someday), finally learned how to drive, and started going to the gym. Actually, when I look at it, that's a pretty short list of accomplishments, but it's a lot more than I did in 2008.

This new year is all about continuing this momentum, and building on it. Not only will I move forward with dance classes, but I'm also going to attend some workshops to pick up some special skills (floorwork and fire fans, maybe others if the chance arises), and look for more opportunities to perform. Not only will I keep driving, but I've already done some research on a new car for my weekly drives to Phoenix (and any other long-distance trips we want to take). Not only will I continue to go to the gym, but I'll actively strive to get better at the things I suck at.

And then there's the new things. Lots of home improvements, lots of self-improvements, maybe a few adventures. Who knows what this year holds?