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.