Monday, January 14, 2013

Love is in the Air

 Valentine's-themed treasuries are already cropping up on Etsy, and have been since around the start of the year. I'm really not prepared. My heart jewelry is really picked over, in fact, I think these two bracelets might be all I have left! I'll have to add romantic jewelry to my list of things to make this week, right up there with steampunk jewelry and hairsticks. Maybe I can triple up and make a hairstick with a heart key hanging from it?

If you're looking for a unique Valentine's Day Gift, you can pick up Blue Heart Spiral Bracelet or Lovestruck Crystal Bracelet in my shop!

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

On my beading tray -- Jan 9th Edition

Welcome to the first edition of On my beading tray, a new blog feature where I will show you what I've got in the works!

Today there are three projects on my tray:

1. I'm embroidering away on the cabochon pendant that I'm making with the bead mix from Allegory Gallery. The onyx cab has been bezeled with bronze Delicas and matte crystal AB size 15 Japanese seed beads. Now I'm adding a row of embroidery using the bead mix. I was frustrated to find that I don't have size 11s to match any of the red beads in the mix, which shows me that I should really buy more red 11s at gem show this year.

2. The marbled green leaves were my first attempt at making beaded leaves using this particular technique, and I will be turning them into dangly earrings. If I like how the earrings wear, I'll make them in different colors for the shop.

3. The three silver-y green leaves will be part of a necklace. There's also a partial matte green leaf. It didn't turn out well and the matte green doesn't go at all with the other green (inside the tubes, they were lovely together).

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

My family rocks!

Let's take a little break from talking about business to talk about how much fun last night's holiday gathering with my family was! It will also serve as an explanation as to why I won't be posting any new jewelry today. You see, my brother Joe and his girlfriend Michelle challenged us to a gift wrapping challenge. We lost mightily because I waited too long to start, but I did get props for hiding their present (a Groupon for an event they wanted to attend) inside last year's pocket calender, which had all the pockets stapled shut and decoy papers in most pockets. The calender was in turn covered in tape, wrapped, put inside a laptop box over-stuffed with bubblewrap, which was in turn wrapped twice.

But Joe and Michelle brought in a box larger than my washing machine, which had layers of boxes inside, including one in paper mache made of the paper leftover from her family's Christmas. And inside that, the best thing ever... a box wrapped in candy. Michelle did this for Joe last year. It was the first time we met her and needless to say, it made a great impression! We were very happy to be this year's recipient of the candy box :) It has sweet, fruity candy for Chris and chocolate for me, yay! Inside was about 7 more layers of wrapping (including two of tinfoil), and inside that, individually wrapped presents to make for the perfect game night -- a fun nerdy game, ginger beer and rum to make Dark and Stormies, hot chocolate and homemade marshmallows from Michelle's family's chocolate shop, caramel corn, and so much more!

What does this have to do with listing items? Well, all of those treats and the paper they're wrapped up in are covering the dining room table where I do all of my photography! Today is going to be mainly dedicated to cleaning up the post-holiday mess, although I will also work on making some jewelry, too.

In other news, my Mom is awesome. You might think that the above mask is leather, but no, Mom made it from polymer clay! It's the perfect blend of black with some iridescent green-gold clay in it, echoing the shimmer of raven feathers. It's so gorgeous! I'm already thinking of all the occasions I could wear it for -- a Gothic bellydance performance, masquerade at Wild Wild West Con (and any other conventions with masquerades), handing out candy on Halloween, etc etc. I really love masks and this one is extra special because it was handmade with love by my mother.

There were a lot of other cool handmade gifts. My brother has really gotten into leatherwork, so Dad and Chris both got awesome belts with lots of accessories for their steampunk costumes. Mom made Dad a sporran to go with his Utilikilts, and Michelle a black and red kitty hoodie. Michelle assembled and painted a Warhammer miniature for Joe (he was really touched, which made me exclaim "Nerd love!" I have joke immunity, after all, I was excited about the Goblins of the Labyrinth book that Chris gave me). And there was so much more! So many of this year's presents game from artists and crafters, whether made by one of us or purchased at Etsy or local conventions. I love how dedicated my family is to supporting artists!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Welcome to 2013

Happy New Year! I've been impatiently waiting for 2012 to end -- not because I really put much importance into the changing of the year, but because it marks the end of the holiday season. Ugh, that makes me sound really Grinchy, doesn't it? Allow me to clarify: There are things I LOVE about the holidays. Time with family and friends, exchanging gifts, indulging in treats, hanging my zebra-in-a-zeppelin wreath and my glorious scarab stocking. But there are also things that I HATE about the holidays: The barrage of sales-related e-mails, awful renditions of Christmas carols playing everywhere you go, increased traffic on the streets, crowds in the stores, the constant worry of whether the gifts I'm buying are "good enough."

Add to that the fact that I am a creature of habit. I do not like that I haven't had any dance classes or troupe practices for the past couple of weeks, or that our jogging schedule is messed up, or that I have to deal with weird holiday hours at stores and the mail not being delivered on Tuesday two weeks in a row, silly things like that. The New Year marks a return to normal, but still buoyed by the happy feelings from the fun part of the holidays.

The New Year also marks the time to start working on all of the things I've been thinking about during the lull over the holidays. I don't make resolutions, but I do like to use the start of the year as a time to think about what I'd like to do in the coming months. This year, that includes some changes to my business:

1. More elaborate beadwoven and embroidered pieces like the one above. I feel like I have enough basic items in my shop, it's time to let myself create more artistically without worrying about the end price.

2. Explore the idea of Art Nouveau aesthetics in beads. I'm obsessed with Art Nouveau jewelry right now. I spend a lot of time on Pinterest sighing over vintage Lalique pieces, wishing they would magically appear in my jewelry box overnight (oh! fighting stag beetle hair comb! you are my one true love! don't tell Chris!). It turns out that all this time, I've been drawn to things that had a Nouveau style to them without knowing that it was a unifying theme in the things I love (up to and including the jewelry worn by the elves in Lord of the Rings).

3. Add hair accessories to my Etsy shop. I've actually been making hairsticks for over a year but I never added them to my shop. Then I sold almost every single one of them between the Desert Shakedown and my open house party, which showed me that I really needed to further develop that line and put them up in my shop. Look for those starting possibly as soon as tomorrow.

4. Add some tribal bras to my stock. This may or may not happen, but I've had a couple of requests for it. Making bras is a bit of a pain (literally, I usually stab my fingers), but I seem to have as good of an eye for composing a bra as I do for composing jewelry, so I may start to do a very limited run of one of a kind bras.

5. Cut down on custom work. To be honest, I really don't enjoy it, and as I put more time into dance and other pursuits, I don't want to have to carve out time to make a custom item. This doesn't mean that I won't do it at all, but it means that I will be more likely to turn down requests.

I have other ideas floating around in my head, but they're less concrete. The future of Erthe Fae Designs depends a lot on how other things in my life go. I may work to grow my business, or if other ventures take off I may shrink it a little bit, but I'll still be around.