Thursday, March 31, 2011

FAETeam goes to the Faire!

For Treasury Tuesday this week, FAETeam had a Renaissance Faire theme (suggested by yours truly!). It was a big hit -- I know, it's so surprising that a team of fantasy artists would be so enthusiastic about the Faire! My steampunk pirate necklace Piracy in the Age of Steam was included in Pirate Invasion at Ren Faire! by the lovely and talented Lithia. The equally wonderful Mermaiden included my The Sweetest Lady steampunk necklace in her treasury Huzzah! It's funny, I would have expected some of my tribal or fantasy jewelry to be chosen for the treasuries over my steampunk designs, but I am not about to complain! And really, that's one of the best things about jewelry -- you can make it your own and make it work with whatever look you want.

Of course, you know I also had to make a treasury! Mine is called Are you ready for the Faire? and it features costumes, jewelry, and images to inspire.

Sadly, our local Renaissance Festival ends this weekend. It's so warm here that we run in February and March, whereas most other Faires seem to be scheduled for late spring, summer, and even into early autumn. I may hit some other festivals and faires later in the year, but the AZ event will always have a special place in my heart, as Chris and I had our first date there!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

LL-BFAC, Week Two!

Don't forget to check out this week's Layne's Legacy -- Beading For A Cure charity auctions. There's plenty of unique jewelry, a beaded lamp, beaded windchimes and more! Something for everyone, and all proceeds go to the NCCRA to fund colorectal cancer research. Beautiful beadwork for a good cause -- what more could you want?

My necklace will be up the week after next, so make sure to save some money if you want a chance at Salome's Dance. Otherwise, bid til your wallet BLEEDS!!!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Treasuries and Things

Elvensoul beadwoven fantasy necklace (shown above) was included in this beautiful Faery March Madness treasury. Much more interesting to me than all this NCAA basketball March Madness! Thank you rainwaterstudios for including me.

For Treasury Tuesday, we had a Spring theme, so I created Spring Flies In, celebrating faerie wings.

Not a treasury, but one of my anklets was featured in Aquariann's Friday Finds post, which had a belly dance accessories theme. She attended Art of the Belly this past weekend, and I have to admit I'm a little bit jealous! The line-up of workshop teachers and performers was really impressive, and I bet there was some nice vending, too! I had really hoped to go to a major belly dance festival this year, but home repairs got in the way, so I'm staying home and taking workshops in Tempe instead. Maybe next year!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Check out the blog hop!

aquariann's Spring Blog Hop
My friend and fellow FAETeam member Aquariann is hosting a blog hop! Click the image to view her blog and read all about it. I've also added a little button for it to my side bar, in case you want to check it out later.

If you're coming over from the blog hop... Hi! You'll quickly find that this blog is mainly about beading and jewelry making and my Etsy shop, Handmade Jewelry by Erthe Fae Designs. However, I also have a blog about my passion for belly dance, and a link to that can be found on the left side of this blog.

In other news, hooray, it's Spring! We had a very unseasonal (for Arizona) rainstorm over the weekend, and when I went outside today I saw little green leaves on my huge mesquite trees. I'm so happy! We had a false Spring in January, so my trees sprouted new growth, then lost it all suddenly in the hard freeze that followed. I was worried that my beloved trees (one of the big selling points of this house) were dead, but they are just covered in life today.

Monday, March 21, 2011

LL-BFAC Auctions Have Begun!

My friend Deborah Gray-Wurz's "Regal Moon" necklace is just one of the beautiful hand-beaded objects up for bids in the first week of Layne's Legacy -- Beading For a Cure auctions! If you're not already familiar with LL-BFAC, please visit the official website. I've been involved with this charity in one way or another since day 1, and while I'm no longer serving on the committee it remains close to my heart! I do hope you'll take a look at the auctions and bid if you see something you like. I'll post every Monday that the auctions are running to give you a reminder!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy Green Day!

Ok, yes, technically it's St. Patrick's Day, not Green Day, but I am really, really, really not Catholic. My family is so predominantly protestant that I don't think I'd even met anyone of the Catholic faith until I was around 15, and that was only on the internet. And though I do credit my Irish heritage with giving me pale skin, freckles, and red highlights in my hair, Irish is only one of about 8 nationalities that make up my heritage, so I wasn't even raised with Irish cultural heritage. I think my Mom made corned beef and cabbage once in my childhood -- and I hated it. I still refer to corned beef as "zombie beef" due to the fact that I was reading Xanth books at the time, and zombies in Xanth are pickled.

So to sum up: I am not Catholic. I am Irish, but they are probably going to take away my Irish license for the zombie beef joke. And I am a colossal nerd.

So I like to think of March 17th as the day where everyone pretends to love green as much as I do! Hooray! Let's all wear green! And eat green food! And drink green beverages!

To celebrate, let's look at some beautiful green jewelry from my shop! Above, the always-popular Turtle Talisman necklace.
Medeine, a woven spiral rope necklace in soft shades of green, perfect for Spring.
This crystal beadwoven bracelet is made with two richly saturated shades of green. I call it Marsh.
Verdant Pageantry is a very elegant pair of chandelier earrings, adorned with drops of my favorite stone -- malachite!
Eternal Spring earrings feature crystals, cane glass, and lovely opalescent green leaf beads.

This is just a small selection of the beautiful handmade jewelry available from Erthe Fae Designs. There's plenty more in green, and even some in other colors, too :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

WWWC Costumes: Casual Friday

Chris didn't have a costume yet when we hit WWWC for the first day, so I decided I didn't want to seriously outdress him. As such, I declared it "casual Friday" and put together a cute, simple costume out of every day clothes and steampunk accessories. The cargo pants and aviator cap came from Buffalo Exchange, the lace tanktop and corduroy vest came from Target, the boots were $25 on sale at Charlotte Russe, and of course the stripy socks are from Sock Dreams.

The accessories are what really make it, of course. Brass pins from Creative Etching and Airship Entertainment (aka the Girl Genius store). Awesome goggles from Brute Force Leather. And of course, my necklace, Time's Dead Flowers.
You can find more handmade steampunk jewelry at my shop, Handmade Jewelry by Erthe Fae Designs. I'm catching up on my jewelry-making to-do list, so hopefully I will have new one of a kind necklaces up soon! Yay!

Friday, March 11, 2011

WWWC Costumes: Orientalism

This was my costume for Sunday. I knew I wanted something I could dance in, because I was taking a belly dance workshop, and I also wanted something without too many layers because it was hot and I had offered to help a friend tear down her booth (luckily she got someone bigger, stronger, and less costumed to do it instead). So I decided to emulate some of the Orientalist paintings of the Victorian era, and go as a Victorian perception of a belly dancer, but steampunked! My concept here was that my steampunk persona had recently returned from the Orient and decided that their clothing was much more comfortable and appropriate for the desert than bustle skirts and corsets :) Because my persona is a former saloon girl, she doesn't mind showing a little skin, and she's already been running around an airship in pants, so pantaloons are fine by her.

I put this together out of stuff that I already had on hand, but I like it enough that I'll start buying things specifically for it, to have for the next time I need to be a steampunk. I'd like to get some much poofier pantaloons, preferably made out of something shinier. And maybe replace my entari (the long jacket-y thing) with a more diaphanous one, to be closer to what the painters portrayed. Of course, brown and gold stripes are pretty steampunk and they kept the sun off of me, so who knows. But pantaloons are a must!

The components:

Entari, turkish vest, and pantaloons all purchased from Anaya Tribal, all part of my regular belly dance wardrobe.

Homemade steampunk tribal belt. I started with a woven belt that I bought at a thrift store and added a drape made of chain, chain tassels, and keys, with a huge kuchi pendant thingie front and center.

Unique tribal beetle necklace made by yours truly, AJ of Erthe Fae Designs, with an MZ Glass beetle focal. For some reason, I don't have a steampunk tribal necklace. This must be fixed.

I also made the yarn dreadfalls, which you can barely see in the picture. Some people are of the opinion that steampunks should not wear falls. I am of the opinion that those people should take their costume snobbery back to whatever reenactment group they originally belonged to. Ahem.

The scarf I'm wearing around my head was a few dollars at a cheapy mall store. It's held in place using a flower clip that I bought at the dance studio and a feather fascinator from Kyla's Keepsakes. You should see that thing -- it's got a locket, and leaves, and a vintage button, and a tiny shrew skull!

This was probably the most comfortable costume that I wore all weekend, if you ignore the fact that those dreads weigh a ton, and that I am in fact wearing the scarf to help distribute the weight a bit :)

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

WWWC Costumes: Formal Steampunk

I'll be doing a series of posts about my WWWC costumes, for several reasons: because I know some of you want to see them, because I want to give shout-outs to the vendors that I got some of my pieces from, and because I want to show that you do not have to be a master seamstress/tailor or have a ton of money to put together a fun costume that will garner you a lot of compliments.

This is what I wore for Friday night's Chrononaut Ball, with performances by The Mission Creeps, The Strand, and Voltaire! It isn't even what I was originally planning to wear, but then I saw the ivory lace skirt in my costume closet and remembered that I wanted to build a costume around it, so I did. That very night. The key to pulling a costume together at the last minute is having a well-stocked closet and a good imagination.

Costume components:

Ivory lace skirt and black strapless top from Buffalo Exchange. I totally recommend resale boutiques and thrift stores to find things that you can wear as-is or easily modify.

Bronze taffeta bustle skirt from Damsel in this Dress. I bought this from Michelle's Etsy store over two years ago and I love it! I met Michelle in person at WWWC and got more great costume pieces from her. I highly recommend this vendor -- she's sweet, talented, and her garments are well-made.

Tatted lace cuffs by TotusMel Tats. Honestly, why would you buy tatted lace from anyone else (unless you managed to score some sweet vintage/antique tatting). Pamela is the best!

Flower, lace, and butterfly hairstick by The Gypsy Kiss. You can't see much of it in this photo, but trust me, it's really pretty! Amy is my go-to girl for tribal and steampunk hair accessories, as well as my primary bindi dealer as well.

Steampunk cameo necklace by yours truly, Handmade Jewelry by Erthe Fae Designs. Of course, you can't really see that either, since my arm is in the way.

Also not visible in the photo: cute lacy black and bronze socks by Sock Dreams and pseudo-Victorian boots from JCPenney. Yeah, that's right, my steampunk boots came from Penney's and I have danced for hours in them at numerous parties and they've still held up. They were $40.

See, with some smart shopping and good luck and an eye for interchangeable items (I've worn everything except for the ivory skirt with other costumes/party outfits), you too can look sharp at a steampunk convention!

Monday, March 07, 2011

My Muse, on Different Backgrounds

So. I think this was my second embroidered piece ever. It's so old that it's done on awful cheap fabric store suede cloth instead of real Ultrasuede. I embroidered it, but then never finished it, however I did decide that when it was finished, it would be called "A Portrait of My Muse." So during gem show, I stitched on a quick bail so that I would have something "new" and shiny to wear for the Swarovski party. I also wore it to Wild Wild West Con this weekend.

The vintage matte black glass cameo is surrounded by embroidery and peyote stitch done in Delicas, hex-cut Delicas, size 15 seed beads, and of course a border of lots and lots of jet Swarovski crystals. I wear it on my basic black herringbone cord.

I photographed it on all three of my wooden necklace displays (I bought two new ones during gem show!) to see how I liked them. Above is the basic natural color, a nice, clean neutral that seems to work well with all colors.
This is more of a dark ebony color. I bought it primarily to use with lighter-colored jewelry. I think this image is nicely dramatic, with the black backdrop and the ebony display and the black necklace, but it would make a pretty muddy thumbnail.
This cherry color is very rich and the black pops nicely against it! I think I like it better than the natural color for black jewelry.

The new necklace displays, as well as some teak earring displays, will start to make their way into the listing pictures over at Handmade Jewelry by Erthe Fae Designs soon. You know, once I actually make some new jewelry!

By the way, Wild Wild West Con was a lot of fun! At some point this week I'll post photos of my costumes, complete with links to some of the vendors who I buy costume components from!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Earthenwood Design Team -- Time's Dead Flowers

I'm honored to have been chosen to be a member of the Earthenwood Design Team for the month of February (yes, I know it's March now, I fell behind). Melanie sent me a great assortment of new components to design with. I used half of them to create this piece, which I call Time's Dead Flowers, inspired by a line in a Faith and the Muse song. Be sure to click on the link so you can see what the other Design Team members have done so far. It looks like everyone got the same elements but in different glaze combinations, which gives the designs great variety -- but of course, mine is the only one that is green ;)

This was very much a design-as-I-go sort of piece. I knew that I wanted to use the Clock Face Link and the pair of pewtery links to design a steampunk necklace to wear to Wild Wild West Con this weekend. I also knew that I wanted to use the bits of leftover chain that had been floating around on my desk for a couple of months. Other than that, I wasn't sure if I wanted to put in some bead weaving, or some strung elements, or what. I went into the beadroom to find what I could find.

One thing that I love about working with Melanie's components is that they're easy to work into any sort of beading. The wire loops are especially versatile; they can be linked onto a chain, hung from a strand, crimped through, or woven through. The punched holes in the pewtery links were a little more challenging -- My jump rings were a tight fit, which meant that I ended up substituting ribbon for chain.
The ribbon was wound around a card, so it looks funny in this picture, but the weight of the necklace pulls it straight when it's being worn. I originally had it hanging from a brown ribbon, and it looked nice, but then I said to myself "Wow, this necklace is really brown, and I'm a proponent of color in steampunk... I should add some green." So I grabbed the green ribbon, wove it through the chain and links, and added some green dangles, with vintage flower beads to echo the floral theme of the brass stamping.
Closeup! I decided that this was a perfect opportunity to use some of the new TierraCast brass oxide Metamorphosis components that I picked up during the gem show. The clock drop was a natural companion for the clock face link!
Another close-up! See what I mean about how easy these links are to work with? I simply used jumprings to attach the link to the brass flower. The entire necklace came together in minutes, if you don't count all the time I spent redesigning it and changing things and looking for things.

Melanie also sent these two red components with lovely heart themes. I have plans for them, plans involving beadweaving, red satin 3-cut seed beads, a black enameled key... It's going to be luscious! And another steampunk design with color!

If you'd like some Earthenwood components to use in your own designs, you should visit Melanie's website or Etsy shop. If you'd like to see more of my jewelry using Earthenwood components, you should visit my shop, Handmade Jewelry by Erthe Fae Designs.

Disclaimer: FTC regulations say that this post isn't long enough yet and I need to make it abundantly clear that I received some of these items for free in return for promotional consideration on my blog. Consider yourself disclaimed.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

A garden full of treasuries!

Yesterday was Treasury Tuesday once again! This week, I was in two treasuries, both with the same name! Lithia's Creations included my Tribal Orchid necklace (shown above) in How does your garden grow? and Mermaiden Creations included my Trundling Beetle spiral bracelet in How Does Your Garden Grow?

Keeping with the garden theme that was chosen for this week, my treasury is called Faeries help my garden grow and it has a cheery palette of blue, green, and a touch of pink for contrast.

Want more treasuries? You can also visit the official FAETeam Blog, where FaerieKat posts all of the treasuries featuring FAETeam members, or you can visit Aquariann's Treasury Tuesday post, which has a cool Linky for treasuries.

And if that's not enough fantasy goodness for you, you can always take another browse through Handmade Jewelry by Erthe Fae Designs!