Thursday, September 30, 2010

Beetles Are Lovely, Too!

You saw the sneak peek last night, now here's the real deal! My newest necklace, Beetles Are Lovely, Too. It was created for the MZ Glass Design challenge and features one of Margaret's Doodle Bug focals. I simply had to have this bead when I saw it and I've been toying with design ideas ever since I brought it home. I knew it would involve spirals, leaves, and would stick to the simple black, white and green palette of the bead.
I settled for doing something very similar to Elvensoul, except that I reversed the strung and woven sections. Since the focal is pretty substantial, I wanted to wire-wrap it and suspend it from SoftFlex instead of trusting its weight to beading thread.
And since I needed some nice shots for the design challenge, I got to experiment with photography. I really love this textured green paper! It provides some color and pattern to the image without detracting from the necklace.
But the black-to-gray gradated photography background is really where it's at when it comes to challenge entries. Nothing says "I am a serious jewelry artiste" like an overpriced photography background :)
And here's where the necklace gets its name! I love beetles, so of course I had to have a beetle that says "lovely" on its underside :) Plus on bad days, I can pretend that the bead is reminding me of how lovely I really am. Hey, we all need an ego-boost sometime!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Here's an awesome photo I just took of an awesome necklace I just (ok, like three hours ago) finished! More tomorrow :) Or more likely later today by the time most of you read this.

Can you tell that I just ate two decadent cookies and I am SO hyper? Oh my goodness.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Photography, my old nemesis, we meet again!

It's been brought to my attention that I might do better business if my photos were better. Ah, here we go again. The never ending quest for better photos. Every time I hit on something I think I like, it turns out to just not quite be right.

Above is an example of the crisp white background. It takes a lot of photo manip to make that happen, and it's almost impossible if the item in question is white. I don't want to go back to that.

(Item: Mr. Skully-Man)
The gradated background came about from my stint photographing the Layne's Legacy -- Beading For A Cure auctions. It looks professional, but also boring... too boring for Etsy, perhaps. But these photos are admittedly easy to do, which makes the time from completing the item to getting it listed on-line much quicker.

(Item: Her Airship Sailed Through Time)
Sometimes, for no apparent reason, Blogger decides an image needs to be sideways. This was one of those days. Anyway, I've been taking a lot of pictures on the brick planter outside my front door. The benefits are that it's a neutral but not boring background and natural sunlight is the best. The bad part is that there's a few-hour window of good lighting, and sometimes the bricks are gross and dirty.

(Item: Midnight Dancer)
I used this wooden box as a background for a while. It provides a nice, natural-looking backdrop for earthier pieces like this one. On the other hand, sometimes it comes out a weird, gross yellow... and the dimensions of the box mean I have to lay large necklaces out at a weird angle.

(Item: Elvensoul)
And then there's scrapbooking papers. They're large, they're cheap, and they have some pretty patterns on them. I enjoy choosing patterns that compliment the item being photographed. But some may find this a little too "busy." Plus if I choose different ones for different items, it gives the shop an eclectic look that may or may not be good.

(No item link for this one, it sold a while ago but remains one of my favorite photos)

So what do you think, blogosphere? What style of photos floats your boat? Or do you think I should discard them all and take a different approach altogether?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Buried in beads!

I'm currently in a battle against bead clutter. I have beads in at least three rooms of the house, and they're not particularly organized, and I keep having trouble finding what I'm looking for while working on projects. Then I go out and buy MORE beads, which just makes things worse.

So it's time to spend more time beading, and putting beads away, and getting rid of excess beads. It's time to stop putting off major projects, but to also work on some smaller, easy-to-sell projects. It's time to organize, and condense, and get a better grasp on what I have and what I need more of.

In the following weeks, you should see a lot more new jewelry on this blog, and a few new listings in the Etsy shop. And I might even do a bit of vending this Autumn. GASP! Stay tuned.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Don't forget MZ's challenge!

Margaret Zinser of MZ Glass has extended the deadline on her design challenge! She's now accepting submissions until October 1st, so you have one week left if you had something in mind but thought you'd missed your chance.

Don't forget that you can submit multiple designs! I already submitted Inana at Dusk (pictured above), and I may enter a second necklace if I have time to finish it.

For details on prizes and how to enter the contest, click here to visit MZ's blog.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Another picture from Aruba. My favorite part about the trip was going to The Butterfly Farm. I'm such a girly-girl about some things and butterflies are definitely one of them. They're simply so beautiful, delicate and ephemeral. To view them in a habitat full of their natural food, and have them flying right around me was just perfect. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me, so we have to rely on pictures from Chris's iPhone.

This was of course my favorite butterfly, because black and green is my favorite color combination. And oh, the green! The photo doesn't do it just -- the vibrancy, the iridescence... *sigh*

Monday, September 20, 2010

A picture from Aruba

I just realized that I hadn't posted any pictures from Aruba yet. Of course, I only got them from Chris last week, and I had a lot of other stuff to post then. But here's one now! A sunset with a sailboat. Please forgive the low quality, it was taken with Chris's iPhone, which doesn't have a zoom or a flash.

Friday, September 17, 2010

This Week in Etsy

I'm toying with the idea of doing one weekly Etsy round-up post, that way I don't spam my blog with new listings, treasuries and team-related stuff. I don't know if I'll pick one day of the week to have it on, or just post it on whatever day I have a lot of Etsy-related stuff built up and nothing else that I feel a strong urge to blog about. Anyway, less rambling, more linking!

First, I've started the slow process of migrating items from my old website into my Etsy shop. This week I re-photographed and listed Phoenix Feathers and Sacred Grove.

I'm still attempting to weed out my bead stash, with the hopes of funding my further belly dance education and costume growth (yes, that's right, I'm thinning out one stash to increase another). This week I listed a grouping of yummy green leaf beads.

Today I was notified that I was in a Treasury! Andrea of Beadmask included me in What The Moon Saw. This reminded me of two things: I haven't made a Treasury in forever, and I really love masks. So I created A Rainbow of Masks.

And that's This Week in Etsy!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Model

Ok, I was supposed to post this yesterday, but time got away from me.

Here is the necklace that I used some of my apatite beads in. It also features a lampworked faerie bead that I purchased at the September Best Bead Show a couple of years ago, and a lampworked bead made by a guy who was in the lampwork class that I took through Parks and Rec a long time ago. Plus some unidentified green stones -- guesses range from green turquoise to serpentine to Australian chryosprase. And there's just a few Swarovski crystals accenting the focal.

I strung this necklace Sunday morning before work, to go with the dress I was wearing. I've actually known for a while that I wanted to use the faerie and unidentified green stones to make something to match that dress, I just didn't have heavy enough SoftFlex to handle those heavy beads. So it's quite fortuitous that I waited to order it until after I got back, because otherwise I wouldn't have that beautiful apatite in the necklace.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

September Best Bead Purchases

You'd think with how many tribal necklaces I already have, I wouldn't even think about buying more... but I had to have this one. I love those green dangles, and in fact, I'll probably eventually cut the necklace apart and use the dangles in a new necklace, or attach them to a bra.
And yes, the title says purchases, plural! After spending the weekend working next to Janice Evert Opals, I had to have an opal. The only reason that I didn't get one during my shopping on Friday is that when I walked by the booth, my eyes were naturally drawn to the nicest, flashiest, most expensive opals which were way out of my budget, so I assumed that they were all out of the budget. But this one was very beautiful, and very affordable... and you'll hopefully get to see what it gets made into in a month or so!

I had a nice time at the show, working for Anne Mitchell. I don't like having to run an entire booth by myself during the February show, but the September show is laid back enough that I was able to handle everything myself without feeling overwhelmed. Besides, I got to spend the entire time looking at Anne's gorgeous jewelry.

But the most interesting thing about the show was definitely watching a shoplifter get apprehended... and not a small-timer, either. The police found $10,000 worth of beads and supplies in her purse and in her car. Bravo to the vendors who caught and detained her and called the cops.

Monday, September 13, 2010

NY Bead Purchases

As you can see, I did a lot less bead shopping in NY this year than in previous years. I have an excess of beads waiting to be put away right now, so I didn't feel like making the problem too much worse. I only purchased things that caught my eye.

There's a strand of imported lampwork that reminded me of trade beads, some neat flowers that look almost like gears, some really cool faceted drop beads, some apatite (the strand was longer, i already used some. I'll post the necklace on Wednesday), a filigree stamping I liked, and two pretty strands of freshwater pearls.

The drops will definitely be part of my Wings of the Morrigan collar, which I'll have to start soon if I want to have it done in time to wear it to the February gem show.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sad about the bead show

I went to the Best Bead Show yesterday... and I didn't buy any beads. I did spend $20, but it was on an Afghani necklace that caught my eye because it was made with some sort of green stone (maybe serpentine?) instead of lapis.

I feel like the September show is shrinking every year, and the vendor quality is definitely going down hill. There are less and less artists, and more and more importers. This is fine for people who want Chinese lampwork or Indian stone briolites, but I am not one of those people. I want artist beads! And unfortunately, while the few artists who are left are in fact nice and talented people, I either have enough of their beads, don't like their style, or get their beads by working for them.

So I'm actually coming out of this show ahead of the game, because I got called in at the last minute to booth-sit for a friend. This is my first time working a September show -- I haven't bothered seeking out work for it before, because I don't do a lot of shopping so I don't feel the need to make spending money. But if you're in Tucson and want to say Hi, you can find me at Anne Mitchell's booth in the afternoons.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Cicada Interlude

Ok, I know you're expecting vacation pictures, but check out this totally wild cicada that was on my screen door the other day! I like cicadas because they are so quintessentially insectoid -- the giant eyes, the shimmery wings. During monsoon season, they fill up out trees with their constant buzzing (which sounds absolutely nothing like the constant buzzing of Japanese cicadas in anime, in case you were wondering), but you almost never actually see them. In fact, I've lived here for over 16 years now and I think the first time I saw one of our cicadas was last year!

Sadly, this one died shortly after I photographed it. I almost wanted to pick up its little bug carcass and use it for some sort of jewelry project, but I know nothing about proper insect preservation techniques and I figure that MZ would not appreciate me showing up at her door step and saying "Teach me your bug taxidermy ways!" (for reasons including the fact that I'm pretty sure it's not called "bug taxidermy.")

So instead I'll settle for having photographs of its vibrant black and yellow body and beautiful cicada wings.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Colorful Bellydancers

Chris snapped this picture for me at the NY Renaissance Faire. I'm posing with one of the two belly dancers, though I regret to say that I forgot her name. She had a great gypsy persona and I think that her aqua and purple costume really suits her.

I'm pretty sure she was doing gypsy-style belly dance as well, though I'm not very good at identifying the various styles of dance. There were some hand movements that were very different from anything I've seen in tribal or Egyptian, including bringing her fists together and making a chopping motion up her arm -- they really weren't as violent as I made them sound, just very energetic.

As for me, I'm wearing a very orange skirt. When I purchased that Gahwazee vest, I decided that I really needed to wear it with colors other than green -- the orange and yellow paisley pattern gave me a good opportunity to branch out a bit. The orange skirt was a lucky $5 find, and while it's not full and floofy like a good tribal skirt, it did easily fit in my suitcase ;)

Monday, September 06, 2010

Back from vacation

I know, I know, I didn't even tell you guys I was leaving! I've decided to be a little more cautious about sharing too many details of my personal life on my blog, since it is open for the public and has my full name and whatnot on it. So from now on, you probably won't hear about my vacations until after the fact.

I had planned to be tricky and pre-schedule a few posts ahead of time, so my blog wouldn't be silent for weeks, but preparing for my trip just took way too much of my time!

And where, pray tell, did I go? Well, of course we spent a week in NY with my mother-in-law and that half of Chris's family. We went up to Sterling Forest for the Renaissance Faire, visited an arboretum (not The Planting Fields, a smaller one that we found on accident while looking for something else), took a ferry to and from Fire Island, and went on a pizza tour of NYC. Among other things. There was a little bead shopping as well! I'll share pictures later this week.

After that, we spent five days in Aruba with members of the other side of Chris's family. It was our first time traveling abroad (well, Chris has been up to Canada, but before you needed a passport to cross the border), so it was a new and exciting experience for both of us. Most of our time was spent on the beach, and painfully white girl that I am, most of MY time was spent under a chickee (giant umbrella made of palm fronds) slathered in SPF100 in a failed attempt to avoid sunburn. We also visited a butterfly farm while we were there, which was all sorts of awesome. Unfortunately, my camera did not like the extreme humidity there, so the only pictures we have were taken by Chris's iPhone. I'll also be sharing those.

Now that I'm back home, it's time to get the house in order, get back to the gym, get back into dancing, and prepare for the September Best Bead Show this coming weekend!