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


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 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!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Another Etsy Post

Two items listed this week. I took new photos of White Salamander and migrated it from my website. And I listed a brand-new pair of Disembodied Zombie Head Earrings, because it's the season for that sort of thing.

And speaking of the season, I couldn't just limit myself to making zombie skull earrings. I also had to curate a Creepy Eyeballs treasury, featuring eye-themed items from my FAE Teammates and other talented Etsy artists.

Which brings me to something cool that I didn't know about. FAE Team has this neat member list with an image from each member's store, so you can get an idea of what they make. What a cool way to browse the team!

And that's this week in Etsy!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Safe Drive, Awesome Show

Ok, let's get the important part out of the way! Obviously, since I'm posting this, I did not die in a horrible car crash due to the awful weather. Actually, the weather wasn't bad at all. But lest you think that I was freaking out about nothing, both of the friends that I was attending the show with contacted me yesterday afternoon to make sure that I knew how terrible the weather was in Phoenix, and to make sure I still felt OK driving up. But humorously enough, the only rain I hit was in my own neighborhood! Our weather in Arizona is fickle and prone to short bouts of violence, and by the time I hit the Phoenix area, the storm had died down. It rained a bit during the show, but no rain on the way there or back. So yay for that!

Now the fun part... the show! I'm so glad I decided to go! My friends Meghan and Jen (two awesome Anaya classmates) had pretty good seats, I guess maybe 8 rows or so back from the stage (I didn't count), so we had a good view of the show. Not close enough to count the sparkling crystals on the costumes, but close enough to not miss any subtle moves, which is really important. Belly dance is best when viewed from close-up, but not so close that the dancer is on top of you, because then you get a crick in your neck (been there, done that).

The show itself was great. There were a couple of numbers I didn't really like, and some truly misguided costumes (bell-bottom one piece pant suits gave us flashbacks to the 70s, even though we were all three born in the 80s), but the rest of it was fantastic. There was a mix of Indian-inspired pieces (to fit the Bombay Bellywood theme), Egyptian belly dance, tribal fusion, other fusion, and proptastic numbers. Many numbers featured multiple elements -- Egyptian and tribal dancers with props, all on the stage at once. I really like how the show choreographers manage to come up with ways for Egyptian and tribal-style dancers to perform at the same time, to the same music, and each showcase the best elements of their dance.

And oh my goodness, the costumes! Almost every number involved a costume change, and almost all of the costumes were incredible. The tribal gals of course went for lots of layers, as we are wont to do. The Egyptian dancers mostly had sleek, modern costumes with bead and crystal embellishments. The Indian-inspired numbers featured appropriately Indian-inspired costumes in eye-popping colors.

I totally recommend this show for all of my belly dance friends, as long as they have a tolerance for fusion. And I'd also recommend it for my beading friends, if you want a night of entertainment and eye candy! You can visit the Bellydance Superstars website to see if the tour will be in a city near you.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Super fun belly dance week!

I've been focusing most of my talk lately on beads and jewelry, since this is technically a blog for my Erthe Fae Designs business and not a personal blog for all the silly things going on in my life... but hey! Belly dance is still awesome and I feel like talking about it.

This week is the start of about a month and a half of awesome belly dance events almost every week! Tonight, I'm off to Mesa to see Bellydance Superstars Presents: Bombay Bellywood. I wasn't going to go, because there are so many other events coming up and almost all of them are in Phoenix, which means a lot of driving. But then I realized, what the heck was I thinking? This is THE big bellydance show, should I really let a little drive discourage me? Especially when the tickets were half-off if you knew the right coupon code?

Of course, Phoenix is experiencing thunderstorms and hail and flash flood warnings, so it's going to be more than a little drive... but I've already got my ticket so there's no backing out now. Wish me luck!

Thursday is my usual class night, beginner and intermediate Anaya Tribal. We've been learning and practicing formations in intermediate, as well as constantly practicing and improving the moves we already know.

Friday and Saturday is the Plaza de Anaya Intensive. Friday is an awesome show, featuring the workshop instructors and many PdA teachers. Saturday I'll be taking workshops with Deb Rubin, Zafira, and Jill Parker. I'm pretty excited!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Teal 'n' Green

Teal 'n' Green is a Lincoln Street Bracelet from Rachel Nelson-Smith's Seed Bead Fusion book. The only real change I made to her great design is that I of course used a button and loop clasp instead of a magnetic clasp. I worked my bracelet in teal on one side and green on the other, with white accents for both sides.
Green Side!
Teal Side!

This bracelet was a lot of fun to make. The directions make it seem a little difficult, but once I started weaving it, it really all made sense. And Teal 'n' Green has the special distinction of being my first (and so far, only) international beading project, as I did some work on it while I was in Aruba.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Sneaky Sunday

I don't normally post on weekends, since I'm usually pretty busy -- and definitely don't expect any more weekend posts from me for the rest of the month, as I have major plans almost every weekend. But! I'm having a quiet Sunday afternoon, so I thought I'd sneak in here and share a picture of Teal 'n' Green, my version of the Lincoln Street bracelet from Rachel Nelson-Smith's Seed Bead Fusion book.

More pictures tomorrow!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Let's talk about Etsy!

It's time for the weekly Etsy round-up! First, I migrated two items from the old website to Etsy, complete with beautiful new photographs. Pictured above is Medeine, and I also listed Queen of the Arctic Ocean.

I also took the time to make a new Treasury, Bellydance Daydreams. You can still view A Rainbow of Masks, too. I've been updating it as masks have sold, so it's constantly changing.

Next week should be even more Etsyful!