Thursday, June 30, 2011

Where to find me: Desert Shakedown!

Yesterday I signed up to vend my jewelry at the Desert Shakedown! I set up at this event last year (when it was called the Fall Festival) and I didn't really do well, but this year the event will be at a nicer venue and I have ideas to add some lower-priced items to my selection in recognition of the fact that Arizona's economy is still depressed and most of us do not have an extra $50 to drop on an awesome tribal necklace.

One thing that I'm very happy about is that this year, the vendors will be in the same area as the stage, so I'll be able to watch belly dance ALL DAY while I sell jewelry! Last year my booth was facing the street, and there was a building between the vendors and the dance stage. It was fun to see a small parade of classic cars drive by, but it was annoying to only get to see a few people dance, and then only because I kept asking my booth neighbors to keep an eye on my things.

Anyway, I think it's going to be a really good event, so if you're in the Phoenix area on October 8th, you should stop in to see some dancing and do some shopping.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Treasury Tuesday Makes Me Dance!

Ok, so I felt like making a belly dance treasury. I decided to step out of the FAETeam box again and just make a treasury full of whoever I felt like featuring. I did put fellow FAE Mermaiden in there, because every dancer needs at least one of her chiffon roses. I have two and they are LOVELY. I will have to get more, to match my other costumes. The two I have are, big surprise, green, but I do occasionally wear other colors when I dance.

This particular treasury was inspired when I saw the silver hair pin and silver bindi in my suggested items feed on Etsy. They just went perfectly together, and I knew there were plenty of items in my favorite belly dance shops that would go with them. I played "Monochrome" by Collide to help inspire me.

I was also included in a Treasury, which was made before Tuesday, but I'm going to include it in this post because it's so pretty:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Operation: Buried in Beads III -- Code Name Muffin Tin

 I'm starting to imagine Operation: Buried in Beads as a series of really bad 1980s-style action movies. For those who are new to my blog, Operation: Buried in Beads is what I call my ongoing project to use up my ridiculous stash of beads. My efforts are thwarted by my own bad habit of buying more beads even when I haven't used or put away the results of the last few shopping trips.

The Muffin Tin Challenge was a really good way for me to use up a lot of those extra beads. For instance, the necklace above (called Whatever Faeries Think About, but not yet listed) used up an entire strand of black lava beads, and a polymer focal that I bought years ago.
 Catch of the Day, which I just listed on Etsy today, allowed me to not only use a really cute octopus clasp from Green Girl Studios, but also the rest of the black lava strand that I used most of the other week, and the last of some tiny green glass beads that I've had forever.
This necklace is neither named nor listed yet, but it allowed me to use up two partial strands of glass beads, the last of the chartreuse luster ovals, and the last of the golden bronze pearls that I've been nursing along for almost as long as I've been in business. Well, not quite. There was an odd number of the glass beads and pearls, so there's one of each left, but don't worry, I'm going to hang them from a hair pin, so they'll be used up soon. Oh yes, and the pretty olive and gold polymer dragon was also purchased years ago. I probably intended to keep it for myself, but let's face it, I have WAY too many necklaces and the other green-loving dragon-lovers of the world deserve some one of a kind jewelry, too.

I actually used up a lot of other stuff that has been around for way too long, but I ran out of time to edit pics today, so I'll get to those later this week.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Muffin Tin Challenge -- Completed!

Despite being too busy to bead this weekend, I completed the Muffin Tin Challenge today! My project tally: 5 necklaces, 4 pairs of earrings, 2 hair sticks, and a bracelet. And by the way, do you know how hard it is to fit a dozen pieces of jewelry (some of them quite large) into one photo?

I didn't quite stick perfectly to what I put in my muffin tin. For the big pair of earrings, I had picked out some malachite tear drops, but they didn't fit on the copper headpins! For the olive dragon necklace, I didn't have quite enough beads to make it long enough, so I added some bronze pearls to what I had picked out, and I also changed my mind on what style of clasp to use. And for the big dzi bead necklace, the focal was more red than I thought when I looked more closely, so in addition to the tiger's eye I had planned to use, I also used some red tiger's eye, which was actually in my tin because I used it for the key hairstick.

This was a great challenge. Picking out the beads for a dozen projects in one afternoon allowed me to sit down and create lots of jewelry at once without constantly interrupting myself to dig around in my collection for just the right beads. And it also took a way a lot of wasted time on decision making. Instead of wondering what I should make, I knew that I had to make something that was already in the tin, so I just sat down and did it. I'm pretty sure I'll do this again, even without a contest to urge me on. Thank you Art Bead Scene for turning me on to this idea.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Happy Fairy Day!

Did you know that today is Fairy Day? Well, you do now! It's also Pollinator Week, which seems fitting because I'm sure that if faeries were real, a lot of them would spread pollen about. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Is that a muffin tin full of beads?

Why yes, it is in fact a muffin tin full of beads. If that doesn't make any sense at all to you (because it certainly wouldn't, under normal circumstances), then you should check out the Muffin Tin Jewelry Challenge over at Art Bead Scene. I decided to give it a shot since I do need to get some fresh new stock in my shop Handmade Jewelry by Erthe Fae Designs, and it is way too hot to use this pan to actually, you know, bake muffins.

(Also, yes, that is Lira's tiny kitty paw in the top corner of the image)

Not all of this will actually end up in my Etsy shop, though. One necklace is a custom order for a friend, there's a necklace and a pair of earrings for me, and a few things for my secret new retail location.

I like how a lot of my projects are overflowing from their muffin cups! The beads refuse to be confined.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Stripey Beads!

Yesterday I mentioned that I had used the last of those striped beads to make a pair of earrings. Here they are! Stripey ovals, Swarovski crystals, and brass keys come together to create The Key to My Armoire Full of Striped Bloomers. Steampunk jewelry just lends itself well to ridiculous names, don't you think?

I really do have way too many different key charms and pendants right now. Pretty much any time I find a new one that I don't already have, I have to buy it. And I'll usually buy it in silver, gold, and maybe even copper if available. These particular keys came from Ace Handicrafts, the one bead shop that I always visit every time I go to NY. I like how ornate they are, and that unlike some brass stampings, they have a design on the back as well.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New Things

 I've had so many fun and exciting things going on lately that I haven't quite kept up with blogging about new jewelry! I listed the Smug Hipster Owl necklace and earrings set on Etsy last week. Between the set and a pair of not-yet-listed earrings, I managed to use the entire strand of brown and grey oval beads, which I just bought at the Rings & Things show last week.
These hamsa earrings, called Thrice because they have three different elements believed to ward off the evil eye, are brand new today, although I made them at the same time as the owl set. Since the first set of hamsa earrings sold before I could list them, I figured I needed to make another pair.

By the way, I'm not ready to make any announcements yet, but I'm working on various business opportunities. Although Handmade Jewelry by Erthe Fae Designs will remain the primary source for my one-of-a-kind jewelry, I'm looking into some vending and some consignment, to get my work out there and connect with new customers.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Return to Renaissance

Have you seen the latest FAETeam Exhibition yet? It's called Return to Renaissance and there are many elegant items included! As usual, Aquariann has done a wonderful job of tastefully arranging the selections, treasury-style. If you're planning a trip to the Renaissance Faire this summer, you should go take a look and see what you'd like to ad to your garb.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Just for fun

 It seems like I don't do a lot of beading just for the fun of it anymore. Everything that I make is either to sell, to use my beads from Artbeads, or to fill a spot in my wardrobe. But this ring was created just because I saw the pattern and I wanted to try to make a ring. I used five colors of Delicas, and by colors I of course mean "shades of olivine." The sad thing is this is probably not even close to all the shades of olivine I have. I added some 2mm Swarovski crystals in olivine to the edges and the center, because I felt like the design needed some embellishment and if I'm going to wear a giant cocktail ring, it should have some sparkles.

The pattern was posted on Facebook to promote Geometrics by Dustin Wedekind and Kate McKinnon. I'm pretty excited about the book, I think it will probably be just about everything that a bead book should be, and it's being written right here in Tucson!
Speaking of things made in Tucson, on the lefthand side of my blog you will now find a Kickstarter link for Autopsy Bears. This morbidly adorable (adorably morbid?) project is the brainchild of my dance teacher Fonda and one of her friends. I've already made my pledge and I really want my bear, so if you'd like to support some crazy Tucson artists, please consider singing up to be a backer.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tribal Magic

My husband actually found this cool pendant on a shopping trip. I just had to have it! It looks sort of like a pentagram, but the lines don't actually form a star. Still very strange and occult looking. I used some black lava, fired agate, and faceted glass beads to make it into a nice Gothic Tribal necklace. I call it Black Magic and it's currently available in my Etsy shop.

I'm having so much fun designing tribal necklaces, it's giving me a chance to use a lot more stone beads. When I was primarily doing beadwoven pieces, I had to use stones sparingly, and only small ones, or run the risk of them damaging the thread. The stones in this piece came from a couple different Rings & Things bead shows. I used almost all the lava in this one, but there's plenty more fired agate waiting to be used in other designs.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mermaids and Octopuses

I made this for Treasury Tuesday! No features for me this week, again. Most of FAETeam has been too busy to make treasuries, it seems.

On a completely unrelated note, today is the last day to enter the giveaway for my leaf anklet, hosted at Aquariann's blog. Click this link, or the handy button on the right. I'd like to thank all of you who have come to this blog via the giveaway! Good luck :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

It's Steampunk Day!

 According to the Internet, today is Steampunk Day. And apparently July 10th is "Strut Your Steampunk Stuff Day" so I suspect we will be seeing a lot of unofficial steampunk holidays as various groups decide to announce their own day. Regardless of the validity of the day, it seems like a really good time to finally introduce the new offshoot of my line of crystal bracelets! They're still created with Swarovski crystals and tiny seed beads, but this series uses metal seed beads instead of glass, and I'm finishing them with steampunk clasps, too!

Shown above is Green Energy, a name that amuses me because there's really nothing green about coal-fed steam engines.
And this is Rusty Gear. The clasp is enamel over brass and I think it looks pretty awesome.

Of course there's plenty more steampunk jewelry to be found at Handmade Jewelry by Erthe Fae Designs. Feel free to go have a look.

Monday, June 13, 2011

What's Old is New Again

 The most recent challenge is titled "What's Old is New Again" and the idea was to use vintage components (from your own collection or purchased from Artbeads) to create something new. I love designing with vintage beads, cabochons and whatever other old things I can get my hands on (keys, chandelier crystals, pendants...), so this theme really grabbed me! The hard part was deciding on just one idea so I could figure out what to order.
 Then I saw this beautiful LillyPilly lotus in the Pendants section, and I just knew that the black lip shell would be perfect with the vintage glass (or possibly crystal?) beads that I had received from a family friend in New York. Her mother had passed away and left her a lot of costume jewelry. After it has sat for a while, unsorted and unloved, she thought "Oh, AJ makes jewelry! Maybe she would like some of this" and brought bags of it over to my mother-in-law's home for me to sort through. These crystals were definitely the very best thing in there. I salvaged them from a two-strand necklace strung on the weirdest super-fine chain, which was so old and fragile that it disintegrated in my hands as I pulled beads off of it. There's even a vintage two-strand clasp with a crystal set into it, which I will have to save to use with the rest of the beads.

Searching around the site, I also found some beautiful brass links in the Base Metal section, which I felt nicely echoed the lotus design but also gave it a Victorian feel. Then to pull in the pure gold color of the lotus, I picked out some pearls from the Swarovski Beads section. I also got a few Findings to finish everything up.
When I came up with the necklace, I was torn as to whether I should sell it or keep it for myself... but then I realized that it was *perfect* to go with the costume for my solo this weekend, so that settled it! Here's a little close-up of how nicely it fits with my halter top. What you can't see is that the top has teal and brown beaded trim, and my pants have a teal and brown and black swirly print, and that I was wearing a ridiculous brown feather headpiece. I felt so pretty!

FTC disclaimer: Certain beads used in this project where provided for free by in return for promotional consideration.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Make a statement

So. Usually I make small jewelry. But not this time. This is a big, crazy statement necklace! The statement is "RARH! I HAVE CLAWS!" Or maybe fangs. Anyway. I think it's pretty awesome :) It's called Shield of the Sunset Warrior and if you click the link, you can see it on Etsy. Maybe you'll even decide to buy it.

The cool crackled-looking orange beads are part of my purchase from the Rings & Things show late last month. I also got some in green and in black. I think they're absolutely perfect for tribal jewelry, they have such an old, earthy feel to them.

More new jewelry coming on Monday, I've got it all photographed but I need to take the time to get them edited and then list them on Etsy. At least they rolled out the new, more streamlined listing page so it goes much more quickly now.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

On a creative roll

Wow, big creative day! I finished a beadwoven ring I'd been working on (for me), strung a black tribal necklace (for the shop), made something with my latest Artbeads blog beads (for me), and strung a orange tribal necklace (for the shop). The only reason I'm not making more things is that I really should get some housework done before I go to dance class tonight.

Tomorrow I'll photograph the new stuff and maybe list a couple of pieces in my shop, Handmade Jewelry by Erthe Fae Designs. In addition to what I made today, I also have another pair of Hamsa earrings ready, and the two crystal bracelets.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Only one this week!

Just one lonely treasury, curated by me. I didn't even feel like making a treasury, so I didn't put a lot of work into it, but people seem to like it, so yay.

Keeping this short, I have to run errands, practice dancing, and work on new stock for Handmade Jewelry by Erthe Fae Designs.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Good bye, Tribal Orchid!

Sometimes, I'm actually a little sad to sell a piece of jewelry. I love my Tribal Orchid necklace and I don't want it to leave me! But it sold last week, so off it goes in the mail! And it's going to my mother-in-law, so I know it will have a good home and I can visit it when I go to NY this Summer. Mainly I'm just sad because Thai silver is SO expensive now that it's unlikely I'll be able to make something like this again!

Handmade Jewelry by Erthe Fae Designs is actually looking a little picked-over right now. I only have one spiral bracelet left. One! I need to do some serious beading this week, in between all my dance stuff and errands and housework. If there's any section that's too skimpy for your liking, let me know and I'll brainstorm new designs to fill it back up. I already made a pair of hamsa earrings today and picked out beads for a couple of new tribal necklaces.

Thursday, June 02, 2011


I've got rings on my mind. I'm working on one based on a preview tutorial posted to promote Dustin and Kate's Geometrics book, and trying to dream up my own designs that I could make and sell. Rings are all over the beadosphere right now, but my treasury is mostly full of chainmaille and wirework. And of course, they're all from FAETeam!

Last week, I also made Look, I just really like green! A few FAETeam pieces are included, but the main theme is green things from my favorite items and favorite shops.

One of my tribal necklaces is included in Peacock Tales by Mermie. Apparently peacocks are in, of course, in belly dance land they're always in. We love decadence!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Do you want to win an anklet? Of course you do.

I'm so excited that I can finally announce this! The wonderful Aquariann is hosting a giveaway of the above anklet at her blog, The Art & Tree Chatter of Aquariann. Just in time for Summer weather, too! I actually wasn't sure what I wanted to offer for the give-away (I was thinking maybe a gift certificate), but when Aquariann suggested this anklet would be perfect, I knew she was right. Not only does it go well with the theme of her blog, but it helps to promote a line that I'd like to draw more attention to. And it's very representative of what to do, which is to say that it is 1: green 2: leafy and 3: something you could wear to belly dance.

And would you believe that there's more exciting news coming down the pipeline for me and Handmade Jewelry by Erthe Fae Designs? I have been a busy little gal behind the scenes lately! Oh sure, it seems like I spend all my time hanging out on Facebook, going to belly dance classes, and reading China Mieville novels, but I really do get some work done sometimes.

By the way, I've decided to continue my weekend sale all through the week! I really want some spending cash for the belly dance workshop I'm taking this weekend, which is probably the last big workshop I'll do until November (probably). So remember that if you want to buy something, you should use code DISCOUNTME for 20% off!