Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy NaBloPoMo, or something

I would just like to note that I successfully finished NaBloPoMo! I haven't really been making a big deal about it, but I did post every day in November (well, more or less - I had that little blip on Friday where the entry didn't post, but since I had it written it counts as far as I'm concerned!) and I have put up a new badge to commemorate the occasion. My rate of posting may slow down a bit once November is officially over, but I am intending to keep posting regularly and I want somebody to come punch me in the arm if I don't, ok?

Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday deals I've seen so far:
  • Don't forget the Artbeads one mentioned in the post below - ends at 11 this morning, Eastern time (which is a bit odd)
  • Lillypilly Designs: save 20% on entire site and receive $2 shipping (in US) - code 20thankyou
  • Patterns from Bead & Button/BeadStyle are 50% off
  • There are lots of Cyber Monday sales going on at Etsy (including mine!) but here are a bunch of them.
  • Happy Mango Beads has 20% off gemstone beads today only, and 20% off their great recycled glass beads (and their shipping is always free in the US)
  • Magpie Gemstones has 10% off (and free shipping in the US & Canada) - code thanks09 (and I'm guessing that one might be good longer than just today)

I'm sure there's more but that's what I found in my in-box and a quick surf around. Happy shopping!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Shopping mania

Well, so I behaved myself pretty well on the round of bead stores on Friday, but I saw somewhere that Artbeads was having a 20% off sale this weekend (on a $60 purchase - and I think it's through tomorrow, actually*) and I have been meaning to stock up on these little rondelle beads anyway, and I haven't really been able to find them anywhere else, so it seemed like a good time to do that. They were 4-7 cents apiece, but I bought a selection of colors and sizes (4mm and 6mm) and I bought 50-100 of each so it added up to $60 pretty fast. And I did add in a few other things, I have to admit - but not too many.

I don't really understand the way people behave on Black Friday. A guy at Hobby Lobby told my sister that they had opened an hour earlier than normal, and there were 20 or so people lined up when they opened, even though they didn't have any sales that were any different from the sales they have all the time. (They had, y'know, 50% off Christmas ornaments, just like they have had for weeks.) It seems to me sometimes that people just go kind of crazy when they think they're getting a bargain.

I like to shop, don't get me wrong. (I imagine if you've been reading here for a while, that's obvious enough!) I just think people get kind of carried away. They get up and go to Wal-Mart at 3am to get a flat-screen TV for $599, or whatever, then half the time they probably buy a bunch of other stuff that negates whatever they saved. Let's face it, that's what the retailers running those sales count on. People just aren't very logical, a lot of the time. And I'm not saying I'm immune from this, not at all - I just don't do it at 3am on Black Friday.

*I checked on the Artbeads sale: it ends at 9am Pacific on Monday. So get in there early if you're interested!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Home again

So we made it to three Austin bead stores yesterday (Nomadic Notions, Sea of Beads - which are right down the street from one another in North Austin - and Bead It, in South Austin) plus a scrapbook store which might have been called Memory Depot. I really didn't buy a lot of stuff, though - a few odds and ends, but nothing big, and not so much as a single string of beads. (Single beads, yes, but strings, no.) What my sister really wanted was a tutorial on how to finish her decoupage beads, and people at all three places were really helpful, so she was happy.

We had a lovely Thanksgiving, but now that it's over, what I really would like to do is to sit down and make some jewelry that's not donuts. But I also have studying to do, and before you know it, it's gonna be Christmas! Still, hopefully I can make some time somewhere in there.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday

There will not be much of an entry today because my sister and I are going bead shopping - w00t! (I think she has drunk the jewelry Kool-Aid. At least she is showing signs of it.)

Like a lot of people, I guess, shopping on Black Friday has a long tradition in our family - since long before anybody started calling it that. When I was a kid we usually spent Thanksgiving at my grandparents' house, as I mentioned yesterday, and this meant that the post-Thanksgiving shopping was generally conducted in Bryan, Texas - hardly a shopping mecca, back in the day, but we managed. I am old enough to remember when shopping malls were a new invention and going there was still very exciting. (Even when it was Manor East Mall in Bryan - anybody who's familiar with Bryan/College Station will probably think that's funny. I haven't been there in years but I gather than Manor East is pretty down-at-the-heels nowadays!) I also remember going to this sort of semi-hippie store that I swear was called Sokowiki or something like that. I'm surprised my grandmother and aunt would set foot in that kind of place, but they did. Like I said, the options were somewhat limited. And before there was a mall, we would go downtown to the big Woolworth store. Man, that seems like a long time ago, and I guess it was!

Note: I wrote this entry and it was supposed to have posted yesterday and for some reason when I looked today (Saturday) it was back to saying "draft" again. It posted with the right date and time when I re-posted it, so I don't know what happened, exactly - but I tried to post yesterday, darnit! So if you're looking at the time on this and wondering why you didn't see it yesterday, that's what happened, just for the record.  :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Over the river and through the woods

So, Thanksgiving. We mostly did go to Grandmother's house for Thanksgiving, actually (I'm thinking of the song, up there in the title) - or rather, Grandma and Papa's house, that's what we called my mother's parents. I don't think we ever went to my other grandmother's house, the one who lived closer - we had dinner with her all the time, so as I recall, she usually got short shrift at Thanksgiving. Both my grandmothers were pretty great cooks, but Grandma and Papa's house was the place that was more fun. I think that was quietly agreed upon by everybody. They lived out in the country in a big old rambly house, and all the relatives came by, and it was just more fun than anywhere. It's hard to explain it, really - it just was.

Now that I think about it, I think this picture was taken at Thanksgiving:

See, you can tell there we're having fun! This is what I usually refer to as "the kitten picture" for obvious reasons. That's on my grandparents' back porch, and I think it was 1965. I'm the bigger one - I was in kindergarten, and my sister Paula would have been four.

In our part of Texas, it's not usually especially cold at Thanksgiving - more often if the weather's bad, it's rainy and overcast rather than really cold. You can see that we didn't have coats on there, either. (I just put a coat on for the first time this year, last weekend.) This year we are going up that direction, where my grandparents used to live, to have lunch with the relatives, and then we're going to Austin to see my sister. So happy Thanksgiving, all!

Added, because I feel like something's missing without some reference to beads.... get a load of this gorgeous quilt! (Hey, it has beads on it, it counts!)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sugar skulls

I've got my "Black Friday" promo up on Etsy - I'm offering free shipping anywhere in North America, and reduced shipping elsewhere (either $3 or $1, depending on the item). And I reduced the price on the wirework pendant - I knew I had set it a bit high in the first place!

I gave in yesterday and went to the Michael's store in Houston that's carrying the Crafty Chica stuff. It seemed kind of silly to drive up to Houston just to go to Michael's (considering that there are Michael's stores within 5 or 10 miles of my house in about 3 different directions) but the more I thought about it the more I really wanted to check it out. If anybody local happens to be reading, the store is at Bissonet and Weslayan - it's a nice big store, considerably bigger than the suburban ones I usually frequent. Because it's big (I guess) it's arranged a little differently - it has the scrapbooking stuff on the left as you come in, and the jewelry stuff is on the right, instead of being on the left where it is in the store I go to the most often. Which meant I automatically veered to the left, and the jewelry - and the Crafty Chica display, which was nearby - was practically the last thing I came to. Never fails. But it looked good, when I finally found it, and a lot of the stuff was nearly gone so I guess it's good that I didn't wait any longer!

There were Day of the Dead charms! I had to get those!

I don't know how well you can see the little drawings, but they are all little line drawings of skeletons - Catrina and the like. So cute! (There was another set that was color, but I've forgotten what they looked like already. Aha, here are both sets, and yeah, that's what I was thinking - they weren't Day of the Dead related so I forgot what they looked like immediately!)

Then there was some non-bead stuff: papers

with sugar skulls and hearts and such, so of course I had to get them too. And then there was the great big sugar skull (an iron on):

I have no idea what I'm going to do with it but I had to have it. Actually there are two: the big skull and a smaller loteria-card skull. I could put them in my long, long delayed Day of the Dead quilt that I've been saying for years I was going to make, or I could put them on a tote bag or something. I haven't made up my mind.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Still donut-obsessed

Here's a progress picture on the crystal donuts, although actually I've gotten another one finished since this was taken and started on one more. These things make up pretty fast. The new ones above since the last picture are the one on the far left, which is Siam (dark red - you can't see it very well in the picture), and then the bottom row: vintage rose and crystal luster Delicas, erinite with gold Delicas, and padparascha with gold.

On the subject of Swarovski vs. Crystazzi-brand bicones (as discussed yesterday) : I figured out one thing, and that's that the Crystazzi colors don't necessarily match Swarovski colors, even when the names match. I had some of the same colors in both brands, like erinite and tanzanite, and they visibly do not match one another. (The erinite, for example, was a much brighter green than the erinite above.) Not that I was intending to mix them together anyway, but still, beware. One of the things I really like about Swarovskis is that the colors always seem to match perfectly. I don't think you could count on that with these others.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Crystals and clay and Czech glass

I started making another donut with some of the crystals I bought at Michael's - these are not Swarovskis (which Michael's does sell, under the Jolee brand) but Chinese crystals sold as "Crystazzi" brand. But I've used them before, and honestly, to the naked eye you can't really tell the difference. I'm sure an expert could, but I really can't. I have to admit that I like to use Swarovskis, just the same - whether it's a touch of snobbishness, or just because I like to know what I'm getting - but they can get very expensive and once in a while I break down and buy the others. (I am very careful about keeping them separate, though. I want to know which is which!) Anyway, one of the colors I bought is Champagne, which apparently is not an active Swarovski color, as far as I can tell. It's sort of a pale gold, and it's making up really pretty with the gold Delicas.

My experimental polymer clay piece is not what I'd call beautiful - you notice there's not a picture of it - but I'm not unhappy with the results, on the whole. The clay was harder to work with than I anticipated, but it did soften up eventually. (I guess this is why everybody gets pasta-makers!) What I made was sort of a spiral piece out of a long thin rope of clay. It's just an unacceptably lumpy piece, as far as I'm concerned. It did harden up like it's supposed to, so I have to call the experiment a success. Oh, and I also tried staining it darker with acrylic paint, and that didn't come out too badly, either.

I never did say that I finished my spiral Christmas ornament. I haven't decided if I'm keeping it or putting it on Etsy. There's no way I can sell it for enough to make up for the ridiculous amount of time I put into it, but that's just me being obsessive-compulsive. I just have to think of it as another experiment - just a more successful one than that first attempt at polyclay!

It's two sided - I alternated between adding the beads on one side and then the other. The beads are an assortment of stuff, but the bulk of it is Czech glass of various kinds. There are a few glass pearls and a few shell coins and even a couple of miracle beads, but mostly it's fire-polished beads and druk beads and some pressed glass, in a variety of colors and finishes. I just made a little bowl full of "bead soup" and went fishing in it whenever I got ready to add another bead. I wouldn't say I added the beads entirely randomly - in fact I definitely didn't, because I wanted a lot of variety and I was careful not to repeat things too close together. But I like the way it looks, overall!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Organization Sunday

Here's my worktable, still in the process of being cleaned up:

These little tubes of beads were scattered out all over the place - wherever I had last left them, I guess. The welter of silver pins and beads on the front left is where I was working on my Icicle necklace. And you can see the Fireline in the back that I was using for the donuts.

This kind of thing is part of my organizational system, such as it is. For things I'm "actively" working on I keep these little containers of beads around. And I picked up all the assorted findings that had gotten scattered around and filled most of one with headpins and another one with earring wires.

Those things in front are little "butter pats" that belonged to my Mom. They can be very useful. Behind that are those little square boxes that sit flat - I really like those, and would like to get some more.

I did get a little bit of experimenting with polymer clay done, too, but nothing I'd care to share just yet!

Saturday, November 21, 2009


I went up to Houston yesterday and went to Z Bead. The funny thing is that I haven't been there before, but I felt like I had the minute I walked in, and I guess it's not surprising, because it has the same owner as Nomadic Notions in Austin and San Antonio. It's somehow very obvious - the girls working there said they hear that a lot, even when people don't know ahead of time that it's the same. (I asked them if they knew why it wasn't just called Nomadic Notions like the other stores, but they didn't know. One possible theory I came up with: it doesn't sound hip enough. It's close to Rice U. so maybe they thought "Z Bead" sounded more young.) Anyway, I bought a few things - most notably, several stone donuts in different sizes - and I also signed up for a class in December; it's to make a beaded cuff. It's not all that far to go for a class, really, but I will have to make sure and go early to account for traffic, because it's always bad coming up Highway 288. Seems like no matter what time of day it is, there's always a slowdown somewhere!

Anyway, I don't have to worry about that for a month. In other news, I finished the donut (this is the non-stone, crystal and delica kind I'm talking about now) that I was working on, which was the vintage rose and clear one. (The Delica color may have been called luster crystal, actually, which is confusing.) It looks cute, in any case. Maybe I will do one set of the very pale ones. (I'm thinking of 3 or 4 of them as a set, strung on black linen cord, maybe.) Then I started another one, which will not be going with that set - it's erinite (green) and gold Delicas. That will be another set, the ones with gold Delicas, and the dark dark ones I did with the chocolate Delicas will be another. And then there's another set that's color-matched - pink crystals and pink Delicas, and so on. So I guess I will have four sets altogether if I finish all those.

Instead of taking pictures tonight, I worked on cleaning off my jewelry table some more. It's amazing how messy it gets for how few pieces of jewelry I actually finish. But I am thinking about finally actually working with the clay that I've been collecting up, so I figure I need a clear workspace for that.

I'm still experimenting with a lot of different techniques - you may have noticed. I have yet to really settle on one thing that I do exclusively - I don't know if I ever will, really, because what fun is that?

Here's one experiment I did lately: braided hemp. I tried little wooden beads and little copper washers, and I think they both look cute. I'm still working on how to finish things like this, though. I've had trouble with cord-ends that don't hold. Anybody got any advice?

experiments with hemp

Friday, November 20, 2009

Polymer issues

I guess I ought to do a post - if I wait until later today I'm liable to get busy and forget! The only beading-related activity that went on today was a trip to Hobby Lobby and Michael's. This mostly came about because I have been watching for Hobby Lobby to put polymer clay on sale and they finally did. I went ahead and bought Kato, because that is what I already had. I looked at Fimo and it has a lower recommended baking temperature so you can't really mix the two. And I went looking around for a teflon sheet because I thought that might do for a work-surface. I know they sell them for quilters, but HL didn't have them that I could find. I finally bought a sheet meant for doing fondant from the Wilton aisle - I think it might do. I want to start playing with this a bit. The only other jewelry-related thing I bought was some (non-Swarovski) crystals to try in the donuts. Oh, and I bought some acrylic paint to "age up" my theoretical polymer clay beads with, too. We'll see how all that works out. I will definitely report on my clay efforts when I get there.

I have decided that I'm not going to try to get a lot more jewelry up onto Etsy right away. All I said originally was I wanted to get the shop up and a few things into it before Christmas, and I've done that. I'm spending too much time on jewelry when I really need to be studying. If I get a few more things in, fine, but if I don't, that's fine too. (I may put some stuff on sale right before Thanksgiving, actually - or offer free shipping. I haven't worked out which, yet.)

Thursday, November 19, 2009


You really need to read 2012 in Fifteen Minutes. (And by "you" I mean "everybody". Because it's funny, and especially because it may save you from actually having to see 2012.) Also, in other movie news, we went to see Pirate Radio last weekend, while everybody else was apparently going to see the aforementioned disaster-of-the-month thingamajig, and I really liked it. If you hate 60s music, you will probably hate it. Otherwise, it's not a bad way to spend a couple of hours.

I am "of a certain age," as they say - ok, I am 49 and I was born in 1960, to be exact - and so I have a fondness for 60s music that I don't think I'll ever lose. It's the music of my childhood. I've never really identified as a Baby Boomer even though I technically am one, I guess - possibly I'm not the only one who feels that way, because lately I have heard "Generation Jones" as a name for the in-between ones like me, sandwiched between the Baby Boom and Gen X, although I'm never sure quite what that's supposed to mean, exactly. (Huh, Jones as in "keeping up with" according to Wikipedia.) Since I was born in a nice round year, for me the 60s were grade school, the 70s were junior high though my first couple of years of college, the 80s were my 20s, and so forth. Regarding music, I think I'm pretty eclectic - if you look at my iTunes list I think you might have trouble figuring out what I like, exactly, because it's all over the map. I have country and rock and all kinds of stuff from "American Idol" and soundtracks and - well, like I said, eclectic.

I don't know much about how generational differences intersect with people's taste in jewelry - I'd like to know more about that. (I clicked from Wikipedia over to this page, and I was watching one of the videos there, which said that Gen Jones is "more persuadable" than Baby Boomers or Gen X - which is interesting. I know that I put more of a premium on being open-minded than a lot of people I know. Maybe that's part of the same thing!)

I'm still making donuts - it's an obsession. I made a siam one (with the chocolate Delicas) and then a padparascha one with gold Delicas, which was really glitzy. I'll probably be making more with the gold ones, but meanwhile I picked up some "vintage rose" bicones, which are really pale and I'm trying them with white Delicas instead.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Here is the aforementioned haul from the Houston Bead Society Show. (The flickr version has notes.)

I made a really cute pair of earrings out of those dark red rondelles. And I also got a finished version of one of the necklaces with the decoupage rounds, finally. I'll work on pictures tomorrow. (And inevitably, I started working on another donut. This one is Siam.)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Donut mania

Here are the new "donuts":

I talked about the top two here so I won't repeat myself on that!
  • The yellow one is jonquil (4mm) bicones and Delicas in "lemon ice". These two colors are so similar I can't tell looking at the picture what part is crystals and what is Delicas.
  • The purple one is cyclamen opal and the Delicas are silver-lined purple. (So far I think the opals look just as good as the non-opal ones.)
  • The dark one is Swarovski "mocca" bicones and silver-lined chocolate Delicas.
  • The last one (which is unfinished in the picture) is my favorite, I think. The Delicas are the same color as the last one, SL chocolate, but they look rather different next to the oranges, it seems to me. (They look sort of bronze.) I didn't have enough fire opals to do one with them only, but I had extras of Indian red and padparascha, so I decided to use all three, instead. I just made sure I staggered them out.

(I was going to add the picture of the stuff I bought this weekend, but the computer just ate it. I'm sleepy so I think I'll save it for tomorrow.)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday morning

Trying to study in the middle of the night, I have to have noise of some kind. Occasionally I listen to music; more often I turn on MSNBC and let it run (my nightly fix of liberalism). Tonight, though, I watched most of "Torchwood: Children of Earth" - I'd seen it before, of course, but all the better because I don't have to try to catch every second. I keep wanting to go make jewelry instead, though - those donuts really are contagious. I made one with cyclamen opal bicones (is that a new color? I don't remember seeing it before) and now I'm working on a very pastel jonquil-yellow one. Anyway, I did get some productive studying done, in there.

I tried my sister's decoupage beads out with 2mm black leather cord knotted in between the big beads, and it's the most promising thing I've tried so far:

These beads are about 1" - beads that big are not really my thing, in general, but I think these are cute. I bought some sterling bead tips so that should give them a nice elegant finish!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Calorie-free donuts!

This is what I made in the class today (plus one I made after I got home), using some of those Swarovskis and Delicas I was talking about yesterday:

I love these - except maybe the one on the bottom left which I admit looks kind of odd, especially in this picture. Here are the colors I used:
top: bicones are palace green opal, Delicas are color-lined leaf green
bottom left: bicones are rose, Delicas are hot pink (I think color-lined also)
bottom right: bicones are Indian red, Delicas are yellow silk

(If anybody is a Delicas junkie and really wants to know, I can get the color numbers for you - just ask me in comments. I'm not holding my breath for that to happen, though!)

I suspect that I will end up dismantling and recycling the orange-and-yellow one, because even though I rather like it, I don't quite know what to do with it and Swarovskis are too ridiculously expensive to just leave sitting  around in an I-like-it-but-it-doesn't-quite work kind of project. And I have some ideas for other things to try!

These are maybe a little over an inch wide, by the way, although I didn't think to measure. The bicones are 4mm. And the idea is Kay's. She had done some with bright colors and gold Delicas that were adorable - that's another thing I'm going to have to try.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Bead Society, and other methods of stash enhancement

I came home from the Bead Society Show with a very small bag of beads that cost quite a lot of money, all told. I was trying to restrain myself, but somehow every time I bought something, it ended up being several somethings costing anywhere from $20-50 at each vendor. Really, I did restrain myself, because I could have bought so much more - I think I only bought things from four different vendors, and I spent something like $150 altogether. (Really, somebody needs to buy some of my jewelry, so I can tell myself I have an income to pay for this stuff!) I'll try to get some pictures of what I bought later.

It really is a nice show. It was on two different levels in a lot of different rooms - it seemed like the real business was getting done on the 2nd floor, though. I bought several different styles of things - I bought some charms, and some cute polymer clay beads, and then I bought some strings of glass that were on sale, and a cute clasp, and then my last stop was downstairs where I had seen some rather gorgeous pendants with bali-style silver on them. I forgot to ask about what kind of metal I was getting - I don't think it's sterling at that price. But it's damn pretty, whatever it was. (I didn't buy any lampwork, which I'm sort of sorry about. I love lampwork.)

My Fire Mountain order did show up today, which is good because I am intending to use some of that stuff for the class tomorrow. I got utterly carried away ordering Delicas - I wanted a range of colors but did I really need two tubes of yellows and three tubes of purples? (The yellows especially make me annoyed with myself because they don't look very different, unless you look very closely.)

(One yellow is "yellow silk" and the other is "lemon ice", as I recall. You can tell they're not exactly the same, and it's even more noticeable close up, but will it show up different in a piece? I have my doubts.)

I didn't quite get as carried away with the 4mm Swarovski bicones that are the other thing needed for this class - partly because I already had several colors. The colors I have are primarily pastel colors that I use for accents on earrings, and I wanted some brights.

One of those darkest colors is mocca; I'm not sure about the other one but I think it may be siam. The red-oranges on the right are padparascha and indian red. The pink is just rose, I believe. I'm blanking out about what the purple one is, but the blue is Capri blue AB because they were out of regular Capri blue. And the two greens are palace green opal and erinite, I believe, and they really don't look that different from one another in the picture, but they are.

(Obviously I don't really think I'll use all 14 delicas and all 9+ colors of bicone tomorrow at the class, but at least I'm prepared! And I have an idea that I want to make some more of these, maybe for Christmas gifts.)

Oh, also, notice the fancy-pants packaging that Swarovskis come in, now. I can see that it might cut down on theft in retail stores, but otherwise, I think it's kind of overkill. Even a single "cosmic crystal" oval or whatever they're called, comes like this. It seems silly.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Adding to the stash

I'm planning on going to the Houston Bead Society show tomorrow. I should probably hide my credit card beforehand. (I'll report back on that.)

I went to Hobby Lobby today, primarily to get another spool of copper wire to finish my ornament with. Other than that, I really restrained myself pretty well. Their Vintaj stuff was on sale, but I really didn't see anything I wanted immediately. I bought a few odds and ends of other things - some clear FireLine to use in the class I'm taking Saturday, for example - but nothing else major. I had some FireLine, but what I had was smoke-colored, and I suspect I'm going to want the clear. We're doing these donut things that use Swarovski bicones and Delicas. Which is unlike me to want to do, really, but the class samples were really cute. I keep saying I don't "do" seed beads - and I certainly think it's true that I'm never going to be a serious beadweaver or anything like that, but still, I keep dipping my toes in from time to time. And I don't think that's a bad thing.

Oh, I got a little package in the mail from Winchell Clay Works - I got another pair of little clay rounds (like the ones at the bottom of this entry, except blue) and also she was doing some destashing and I picked up some sterling chain that I really like, and a strand of sodalite beads. (Sooner or later I ought to do some destashing of my own. Except I'm not so good about letting go of things, as I talked about yesterday!)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dying with the most toys

Oh y'all. This is about quilts, but I think every crafter can identify. It also makes me think of my mother, who spent most of her time during the last 10 years of her life making quilt after quilt after quilt. Of course, in many ways, that lady wasn't like my mother at all, since my mother had a significant other and tons of friends, not to mention me hanging around all the time. And my mother was also a big finisher, generally, and didn't leave many things unfinished at all. But still... I feel like I knew this woman.

I still have a ton of fabric. I have some of my mother's, but I also have plenty of my own. And it's going to be a while before I'm ready to part with that - even if I don't sew a single stitch (and I haven't in over a year now), I can't imagine letting go of much fabric any time soon. And of course there is my ever-expanding collection of beads. Ever, ever expanding, let me tell you. (I haven't even mentioned the Fire Mountain order that's somewhere in transit, for example.) I partly started the whole Etsy thing as a way to destash, although I think it's a big failure on that score; it just gave me an excuse to buy more stuff, instead.

I guess almost every crafter is a hoarder. Once I was at a quilt class, and somebody in the class said that she didn't have a stash, that she only bought exactly what she needed for each project and no more. Let me tell you, it was comical, watching everybody else's jaws drop. I think people like that are very very much a minority. (And what, she didn't buy any extra at all in case of mismeasurement and mistakes and such? What did she do with anything left over? Throw it away?)

I was primarily a scrap quilter - I didn't like things to be too matchy. Which meant there was essentially no way to operate without a stash. I do this to some degree with beads, too - at least, I like to make things that have an assortment of beads. For example, I really like these little earrings:

The beads don't really have anything in common except color, but I think it works. (I don't generally take this so far as to make my earrings really asymmetrical. Mostly I like pairs!)

Here's one of my "scrap" quilts: I collected greens for ages, and then chopped them up and this was what I ended up with. There are no repeated fabrics in this.

(I never have quilted this - it's still just the quilt top. I really am gonna have to do that one of these days.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I was working on a Christmas ornament last night - I'm using 24 gauge wire on it - and before I knew what I was doing I practically sawed through my thumbnail. Not to the quick, at least, but darn near. I did that lately on the other thumbnail and it was painful. (When I've been keeping my nails painted, like I have been lately, they get really long, and that's when I start having problems with them breaking in the wrong places.) Here's the ornament, taken a week or two ago:

I've been calling this "my obsession" lately, because once I start working on it, I can't seem to stop, and I've used up almost a whole spool of wire - it's one of those spools of copper wire you get at Hobby Lobby, you know? I think I'm going to have to start in on a second spool if I'm going to finish. The really obsessive part is that I'm trying a little too hard to cover up every single bit of the steel frame. I may not have any fingernails at all by the time I finish.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Earrings, and a necklace

I made another pair of decoupage cylinder earrings:

Actually I don't know that I ever put a picture of the other pair like this here, although they're in the Etsy shop and you should be able to see them in the widget over to the right of this entry. Both of these are completely unrelated to the round decoupage beads which my sister has been making, and which I have not managed to get into a completed form yet. I bought these beads - the paisley cylinders - from Etsy seller ParrishLin a few weeks ago. I bought a wholesale lot of earring pairs, basically - there were nine pairs and they were all different. Furthermore, she said that this was a trial run, that it was her original design and she does not intend to make any more of these, which means that each pair is genuinely one of a kind. I like them, they have a fun sort of hippie-boho vibe to them. Hopefully somebody besides me will like them too! However, the pair above is the one I decided I'm keeping for myself. (You can also get a view of parts of my organizational system on top of my jewelry table, there. It's still not terribly well-organized but it's improved greatly from a few weeks ago.)

Here's a pair of earrings that probably will be showing up on Etsy - they are also a bit different, but I really like them:

They are rough-cut stars of some stone, and I put gunmetal findings on them. I think it matches perfectly.

This pair will also be going up, I think - dark red lampwork beads by Amy Houston:

Oh, and here's the necklace I was talking about the other day, with the crystal beads:

It's not anywhere near finished - I'm trying to figure out how to space out the beads and how far up to go with the beaded dangles. It goes pretty fast, though, and it's giving me a lot of good wire-wrapping practice!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Blogs, blogging and other people's blogs

I don't usually get tired of talking about myself all that easily, but tonight I'm having trouble thinking of something to say about myself and my jewelry. So I went looking through other people's blogs for inspiration.

Aside: here's a question: how do you define the word "blog"? My friend Col, who I play WoW with, hates the word and won't touch it with a barge-pole. I sort of agree with him in the sense that it's really sort of an ugly, ungainly word, but I use it anyway because it's become part of the language and well, what else am I going to call this thing that I write all the time. But anyway, that's not exactly what I meant, even. Here's the real question - is a "blog" the site as a whole or a single entry, to you? Because there seems to be some disagreement on that point. My opinion is that the blog is the whole "site" - or subsite, in this case, i.e., It's all of my entries considered as a whole. But increasingly you see people using it to mean what I would call a "blog post" - one single piece of writing within that site. People say "my blog that I wrote tonight" or "so-and-so wrote a blog about this subject" and it sounds odd and wrong to me. Is that just me?

Anyway, getting back to the subject of other people's entries, one thing that I noticed in jewelry-blog-land in the last week or so is several reviews (including this one) of this book:

As a matter of fact the book is in my little Amazon store also: Enchanted Adornments. I haven't actually seen it for myself yet, though, so I'm not actually telling you to go buy it! I'm just noting that I have seen several extremely positive reviews and so clearly it's worth checking out. (I might try to get in a side-trip to B&N or somewhere tomorrow, to see if they have it so I can check it out in person.)

Shifting to another kind of jewelry: I have very geeky friends and I know some of them would love to have this pendant of Melissa's with 8 digits of pi. One of these days I may have to have a go at perfecting my metal-stamping, just so I can stamp geeky things like that on metal. I suspect they'd sell extremely well among what my mother used to call "those internet people of yours" (she never did know what to make of my online friends).

Etsy goodness:
(This is making me want to go make jewelry, which is a good thing. Yay!)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

New designs

I have a bunch of necklaces hanging on my big Ott-light - things I've made lately and things I've been working on. One thing that's been hanging there a few days is a length of silver chain with nothing on it but an s-hook. To tell you the truth, I'm not entirely sure what I was intending to do with it when I put it there. But instead, I started working on an idea I had when I was putting away beads last week. I have so many white and clear beads I had to have two separate boxes for them. I moved white and off-white into one box and clear and translucent ones into another box, and while I was working on that latter box, I looked at them and saw a color-scheme all of a sudden. I'm thinking of it as icicles although it wouldn't necessarily be something you could only wear in the winter, really. But what I've got so far does look a bit icicle-ish, with the silver chain and the clear and matte white beads in sort of a fringe pattern. I'll get pictures later.

I was going to make another necklace like the "Halloween Leftovers" one - that is, the chain part, with a different focal - only I haven't figured out yet what would look good there. I had some really rough-cut stone stars that came with the October Botmo stuff, and I thought they might work, but I couldn't figure out how to get them to hang right. (I broke one in the process, and two more became a pair of earrings. They look cute.) (And hmm, I wonder if I could use several of the little star beads from that same bunch ... maybe with some chain?)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

In my non-beading life...

It may be November, but it's not really what you'd call cold yet, here on the Texas coast. I haven't even put on a sweater yet, although I have been grabbing an extra throw when I go to bed. (It doesn't help that my husband keeps turning the a/c back on every time he gets hot.) We've had lovely weather the last few days but apparently we're supposed to be getting rain next.

In other non-jewelry news, I finally got my WoW character to level 80! This is a big deal. We - my friend Col and I, that is - have been playing WoW off and on for a year and a half, now (we took some time off to play LOTRO for a while). We were trying to finish Northrend by next week when our memberships run out, but I think we're going to give in and pay for one more month, rather than rush through the endgame. I feel all leet and stuff, though, which is not a feeling I'm used to. There are plenty of people in WoW who would laugh at that idea, though, level 80 or not - I can't be 'leet because we don't raid and thus don't have the fancy gear that you get from raiding. But I could care less about that, really.

I went to Tuesday Morning earlier, and I found a jewelry kit meant for kids with the papers and stuff to make rolled paper beads, which is something I've been meaning to try, so I bought it. (The kit retailed for $16.99, which I would not have paid, but for $6.99? heck yes.) I will report back on the results.

And because it's not an entry without a picture, here's the earrings I made from clay rounds I bought at Winchell Clayworks:

Friday, November 6, 2009

Elise's sale, and Botmo signups

I've talked a good bit about Botmo (that is, Elise's Beads of the Month program, on LJ) here, so I thought I should pass the news along that she is having a sale. She makes lovely stuff and her sales are fun because she keeps on marking things down unexpectedly until the end of the sale. So it's almost like a reverse auction, really. Also she is going to start taking signups for next year's Botmo starting today. I'm trying to decide - in 2008, when I joined, I got the little packages every month; last year I got the medium size, but not every month. So that was a bigger package less often, which was more fun, really. So I think I will do something like that again next year. I mean, really,where else can you get bits of meteorite and dinosaur bone, except maybe Tucson or someplace like that? And I sure can't afford to go to Tucson, more's the pity!

Oh, also, be sure to look at the names of her pieces. They are poetry, it's great.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Things that might be for sale

I have four, count 'em, four Etsy items up now. I don't know why that makes me feel so much more like I have a legitimate store than I did a couple of days ago when there were only two items, but it does. I have a 5th item (the onyx wirework piece) ready to go as soon as I can get decent pictures of it. I think I'm going to have to have daylight - the onyx is so reflective that photographing under Ott-lights like I've been doing just doesn't work well at all. You get a piece of onyx and the reflection of the light bulb - it's very odd-looking. Here's an example:

(That's actually the back.) Come to think of it, I guess item #6 (the aqua beaded necklace) will be ready to go as soon as I find or make some copper jumprings and make an extender for it - right now it's not quite 16" and that's too short. And actually I was thinking about putting the bracelet I made in my last class up, too - I don't think I've posted a picture of that one yet:

So that would make 7 items. (I think I need to start putting one of those "your monitor settings may vary" disclaimers on my listings, because it's so darn hard to get colors right. I don't know that these colors are wrong, but the green beads look a lot more neon-green here than I think they are in real life.) Although I haven't quite decided about the bracelet, for sure. I'm waffling.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Is anybody out there?

Just nodcomment if you can hear me, ok? I just get to wondering if anybody's actually reading this, from time to time! (I'm not intending to let it stop me, but some feedback would be most welcome.)

Here are some of the decoupage beads my sister sent me:

These are supposed to be prototypes - some of them are quite bumpy - but I think they are really pretty just the same. I'm intending to put some of them up on Etsy eventually if I can figure out how to get them into necklace form. The main problem is (I think I mentioned this before) that some of them have really huge holes - like, a 10mm rondelle fell INSIDE the hole! And then the smaller ones don't have big holes at all. I am experimenting with chain and cord and such, and we'll see what I come up with.

The aqua-colored beads that I thought were so beautiful turn out to have some fairly serious scratches on them - it doesn't stop them from being beautiful but I think it's going to stop me from asking as much as I would like to for this necklace, when it's finished:

Anyway, the beads are still awesome, and the scratch doesn't affect the color at all, so I'm intending to go ahead and list it - maybe I'll create a "SALE" category just for this, and say it's As Is. I would just take off the one that's got the most serious scratch, if I had more of them, but these five are all I have - I think these may have been Botmo beads - and I don't think it'd look as pretty with less than five. I have no idea where the scratch came from - I actually tried to mar another one up, and I couldn't even make a dent in the thing.

(I would rename this entry something like Imperfect, since that's what it seems to be about, except I sort of like the title I started with, too.)

Off to work on more jewelry!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Wired and wirework

I just took a test for my class (medical coding) and I'm too wired to sleep yet, so I'll write for a while. I made a 92 on the test, so I'm happy. This is not an easy class.

Let's see, I was productive on my schoolwork but I didn't get any jewelry-making (or photographing, which I also need to do) done today. I had what I thought was a really good idea about what to do with some pretty aqua-colored beads I have - only then I got sidetracked and never tried it out. I am a major procrastinator so that's not unusual, but on the other hand, I find that if I go and just do something right when I have an idea, that often has a better outcome!

I didn't mention earlier that I did work for a long time Sunday night on a wrapped pendant - it looks pretty good but of course (as mentioned above) I don't have pictures yet. I do have one of the piece before I really got started with the wirework:

I really love that teardrop-shaped piece of onyx, and I'm happy with how the bezel was going, although I think I made a mistake with the wirework late in the process. It's yet to be determined if that's fixable - it was late by the time I got to that point and I decided to put it down since I was tired. I figured my judgment was a bit suspect. (I know with quilting I used to think that if I worked too late at night I started making mistakes, so I figure jewelry is probably the same.)

And that reminds me that I was putting out a few fall decorations (they always go up when the Halloween stuff comes down) and one thing that I put up was a little quilt of my mom's:

It was hanging on her door when I took this picture; she had a double door - a wooden one behind a glass one - that was perfect for showing off little quilts like this one. I could have brought the quilt hanger you see here home with me when we were cleaning out her house, but it was rusted and I decided to throw it away, since I didn't really have a place to use it anyway. (I really ought to get another hanger setup, though, and find a place inside the house to hang these.) But since I didn't have anything set up to hang it with, I draped this little quilt across the back of a recliner that we don't usually sit in, and it looks very nice.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Monday misc.

1. I had a minor freak-out yesterday about wrapped loops - mine are just not as perfect as I want them to be. I'll get there with practice, I guess, but I also decided that if I have to put some stuff up on Etsy with simple loops, so be it. I've never had any trouble with my simple loops coming apart, so I don't know why I think there's this unwritten rule that says I can't use them. I need to get over it.

2. (I've actually had these a week or two, but I know I haven't posted the picture!) Here's part of the stuff that came in the Beads of the Month package for October:

Beads of the Month for October

(Blogger's photo-downloader is being wonky, so this is direct from Flickr, and if you click on the picture it should take you to the bigger version!) There were some great beads - I've already made earrings out of some of the agate leaves, and I really love those moons. There were more skulls besides the small ones pictured - there were some more of the bigger ones like I had on my necklace, in the 1" range. Which is cool because I'm thinking I definitely want to make one or two more of those necklaces next year!

3. Today I got a huge package full of decoupage beads in the mail. They're beautiful but I'm going to have to figure out what to do with them. Some of them have really gigantic holes, so I'm thinking cord may be the best solution. (The person who made them, however, has voiced the opinion that they should be on sterling. I'm inclined to think that that would be a waste of sterling wire, since you wouldn't be able to see it under those huge beads, anyway!)

(There's a saying around the internets that "5 random things make an entry" - I've always wondered who made that rule. What, 3 random things isn't an entry?)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Funky Charm Bracelet, sans charms

I wrote an entry where I talked about two of the three classes I took from Kay Hand - then I ran out of time and never talked about the third. So here's that, for the first day of NaBloPoMo!

The name of the third was Funky Charm Bracelet, and it's, well, just what it sounds like, a funky charm bracelet - it's a sort of multi-part wirework base, with (naturally) charms of various kinds. The supply list called for bringing a focal or two to put between the wirework pieces, and the night before the class when I was looking through all my stuff, I found a copper watch face I had almost forgotten about, so I decided to make one of the focals a watch face. Or in other words, I'd be turning my charm bracelet into a watch/charm bracelet. Kay thought this was a great idea, as I had sort of assumed she would - she's very open about things like that. For the other focal I bought a big green stone flower bead. (Actually it was out of the same bag as the one that ended up in my "Leftovers" necklace.) And I brought a variety of charms and beads with a green theme, because I just like green and because I thought it would look good with the copper.

And here's what I came home with:

We had time to make the three wirework pieces, plus the clasp, and get it all assembled, and get started on the charms. (As I recall, other people got a bit more done than I did - I always do work rather slowly.) The wirework parts are made of 16-gauge wire, as I recall. And it's really very freeform - I had the watch on the other day, and somebody asked me how it was made, and I sort of went blank. I really couldn't think what to say. You just kind of bent the wire back and forth around your pliers, and you sort of had a basic idea about the dimensions you wanted - sort of 1" wide and maybe a little longer than that - and you just made a squiggle til you got there! (I hope the person I was talking to didn't think I was hopelessly rude. I just have moments like that, I'm afraid.)

Well, so I came home really happy with what I'd done so far, and intending to add more beads according to plan - and then somewhere in the next day or so I changed my mind. I think part of it was because I was thinking I'd get more wear out of the watch if it didn't have colored beads on it. And besides, I thought the wirework looked really pretty - so the end result was that instead of adding more beads, I disassembled it and took all the beads OFF. Even the stone one, which I also liked a lot.

So here's the state of things after I took it apart:

I knew the two segments attached to the watch-face were fine as they were - and in fact, they needed to stay put because I had specifically made them so they'd match up with the connectors on the watch. (Oh, and it looks at a glance like the stone flower is still attached, above, but it's not. It's just sitting there loose.)

Here it's partly back together again - I'm trying to remember why, exactly, but I decided to put the clasp on the side instead of the bottom. Maybe it was just because I liked the way it looked!

And here's the final product, more or less - although I know I tinkered with it in small ways for days after this. Notice that I had to make another wirework segment, since I didn't have any focals. I made all the jump-rings myself - and I used them in pairs, both for strength and because they looked good that way. And I also fashioned sort of an extender on the end, to make it adjustable, a bit. So except for the watch face, I made every bit of this myself, out of wire. I was very proud of myself!

Oh, and I did start on another bracelet, to be a proper charm bracelet this time - but so far I haven't finished it. I decided to use silver instead of copper for this one.

It did get a little further along than this, actually. And one of these days I'll pick it up and finish it!