Sunday, May 31, 2009

Another first birthday party!

Now that all of our friends have kids, we've been going to a lot of first birthday parties lately. It's a lot of fun - we love seeing Colden play with other kids, and I like talking to other moms.

Yesterday, we drove down to Dolgeville for Cody's first birthday party! Cody is the little boy of our friends Amy and Andy, and the last time we saw him was at Tom's surprise birthday party last July when Cody was only about seven weeks old. He was so tiny! Yesterday, he was walking around and giggling and mixing it up with the dogs. Tom and Amy tried to get Colden and Cody to play together, but they were't having any of it with each other. Too cute!

Colden was great in the car. It was a long ride from Jay - almost four hours. Colden didn't start to fuss until about the last half hour of the ride when he just wanted to get the heck out of that car seat. I can't blame him - I get antsy when I sit too long, too. I finally appeased him for the last leg of the journey by giving him a box of Kleenex and just letting him take out tissue after tissue after tissue. It was actually kinda cute - he kept wiping his nose with his finger like he was trying to use the tissue but couldn't figure out how to get it up to his face.

At the party, Andy brought out Cody's little "four wheeler", and Colden loved it. There were little buttons on it that made noise and Colden loved climbing on and off of it. I think we're going to have to get one for him now!

We left after the cake, since we had a long drive ahead of us, and I was sure that Colden was starting to get worn out. Sure enough, we were no sooner at the end of their driveway when I turned around to look at Colden and he was completely conked out. Note the pile of Kleenex on the seat next to him!

So today Tom was going to plant the tomato, eggplant and pepper seedlings in the gardens, but there is a frost warning for tonight with temperatures supposed to be in the twenties, so no seedlings today. He might cut the grass later, but the sky is full of low, black clouds, so that might not work, either.

Whatever happens, after he gets done in the garage, he has promised me as much time as I want at the torch today. Yay! So I hope to have some new glass beads done today. I've been thinking that I am going to make some pendant and earring sets - one big focal for a pendant and two smaller, matching beads for earrings. I've got a lot of work to do before my big show in Glens Falls on the 13th and 14th of June!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

My new job!

Back in January, I noticed a post on the website Beader's Showcase that the website was looking for a new Guide to beadwork. It looked like something I'd be able to do, so I filled out an application one morning while Colden was napping and Tom was at work. It said that it could take six to eight weeks before applications were reivewed, so I figured it would be a while before I heard back. Still, the OCD-part of my personaliy kept sending emails to to check the status of my application! Finally, in April, I was notified that I had been accepted into the first part of their training program, where I would create content for the website and then have it reviewed by an editor.

After I finished that two-week program, I was notified that I had been accepted into the second part of the training program where I would publish my content to a "dummy" site set up for me. That, I have to admit, was a little harder. I had two tutorials - one for a bracelet and one for square stitch - and they had lots of photos to upload. There was a batch upload tool, but it didn't work for the training process, so I had to upload each photo one at a time. I did most of the uploading late at night after Colden and Tom were asleep. And I thought the content that I wrote looked pretty good on the website. Still, there was that part of me that kept thinking that the job was going to go to someone else. At least, I told myself, I would have lots of great posts for my own blog if I didn't get the job!

But then after I submitted everything and got the kinks worked out (which there always are when publishing to the web), I got the notification that I had been hired as the new Guide to Beadwork!

I am so excited to be the new Guide! I have so many ideas for projects and tutorials for stitches that I love. I have a million projects that have been sitting in my sketchbook for such a long time now, and now I get to bring them to life to share on I really want to make the site accessible to both beginner as well as more advanced beaders. I also want to have a lively forum going on there where people can post about the projects, the products or anything they have on their minds that is bead-related.

The site isn't live yet - I've been working on creating some new content and getting it on the site. I'll get the first set of instructions from my editors either tomorrow or early next week, so I'll be sure to let everyone know when the site goes live!

My show season continues this week and next week on Fridays at the Adirondack Farmers Market in Elizabethtown. Then on June 13 and 14, I will be showing at the Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council's Spring Craft Festival in Glens Falls. You can find more information about the show and get directions on the website for the Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council. This is the first time I have done one of their craft festivals, and I'm really looking forward to it!

Other things I want to mention:

Scarlett Lanson of Beadwork magazine has launched her second design competition, Use the Muse II! I participated in the first contest and had a great time - I'm looking forward to ordering my kit for her second contest. I don't know if I'll actually submit something this time, but the kit for the first contest was loaded with gorgeous beads, and it was a fun challenge to use the Muse component. You can find more information by checking out Scarlett's blog, "The Beader's Muse".

And on a more musical note (get it - musical note?), my little folk band, Sounds of the Northway, has received a second grant from the Open Meadows Foundation to help us with our newest recording project. We are compiling a repetoire of songs all about women's history. These are songs that we have been singing for years, and it is our plan to distribute the CD to local schools and do a series of live performances to promote the disc. We'll probably be going back into the studio in August or September to start recording. We'll be using Charless Eller Studios of Charlotte, Vermont again - they were the studio we used when we recorded our 2006 CD "Water, Women and Song". You can see more about the group on our website (which I really need to update!),

I think that's long enough for today's blog post!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What a nice weekend!

So, on Friday evening, we dropped Colden off at Tom's parents for a little while and attended the opening of the Adirondack Art Association Gallery on Main Street in Essex. It was great to see Dee Myers, Sharon, and to meet Connie, the new gallery director. Dee's work was just gorgeous - there was a beautiful watercolor piece of a flock of sheep that I would love to own when I get rich and famous, but for now, I'll just have to make a few more trips back to the gallery to see it before it comes down.

This is a picture of Lake Champlain, taken from the deck of the gallery. It was a beautiful night. We didn't stay too long, because we needed to get Colden before bedtime, but it was a nice night for a drive, and Tom got to meet all the folks that I've been talking about since last summer.

On Saturday, Colden and I went into Lake Placid with Tom and Colden and I went for a walk around Mirror Lake while Tom worked at the plant. Sunday was a nice, laid-back day, too - we did some work in the gardens and made preparations for dinner on Monday with Tom's parents.

Monday was great. In the morning, I put a load of glass in the kiln and did something a little different. I had this bag of millefiore that I got from Delphi Glass back in March for the class I taught at North Country School. The kids had a great time with them, but they didn't use them up, and I had no idea what to do with them, until I decided to just throw some on a piece of glass, fuse them, and see what happened! The results were quite nice, I think. I made nine pendants, and one pendant and earring set that I think I am going to keep for myself unless someone offers me mad money for it! Ha ha ha! Oh, and I forgot to mention that these will be for sale shortly on my Etsy shop and at my farmers' markets. If they sell quickly, I may have to get more millefiore or learn to make them myself.

Then on Monday afternoon, we went over to Tom's parents' house and hung out for the afternoon. Tom and his dad put a swing up in the backyard for Colden. It's one of those plastic bucket seats, and his dad got it from (where else?) the thrift shop in Wilmington. We put Colden in there in his little sun hat, and pushed him around for a while, and he just loved it! It was so cute! He loved it so much that we brought the swing home, and Tom is going to put an extra beam on the pole barn so that we can hook the swing up here for Colden. Once we managed to coax him out of the swing, he tore around the living room, trying out his newfound climbing skills on whatever was standing still - including me, Tom and Opa! What a cutie pie...

I sold two beading kits over the weekend on my Etsy shop, which was a nice surprise. I have to ship them out this afternoon on my way to rehearsal with the ladies in Willsboro. I also have to remember to take the books and movies back to the library and return the Netflix. And I wonder why I can't remember things lately.

Anyway, I've got a wonderful announcement to make later on. Hope I can do it today, but if not, definitely tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Busy, busy week!

Now that my market and show season is here, I have to try to get back into the routine that I had down last summer - although this time around, it's a little trickier with a toddler running around! Anyway, this past week has been a blur - I've been trying to get some new pieces finished to put in the Adirondack Art Association gallery in Essex. Their grand opening in their new gallery space - the Olde Firehouse Gallery - on Main Street in Essex is this Friday, May 22 from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. Since it is a fundraiser for the Art Association, there is a charge - $25 per person or $40 per couple, which includes a food and wine tasting and a fine art print as a souvenir. I am very much looking forward to going to the opening with Tom - Colden will be at Oma and Opa's for the evening.

For the AAA gallery, I made three more pairs of Swarovski crystal earrings in crystal AB, blue zircon, and my favorite, padpradascha.

I also created this beautiful embroidered pendant with a custom-stitched toggle clasp made from a yellow turquoise (which is actually a form of the stone serpentine with a matrix of hematite) cabochon and various yellow turquoise beads. It was so much fun to make - it kind of made itself! I named it "Not of This Earth" because it just looks so alien to me.

I am also going to display this red and gold bead embroidered piece that I call "Sangreal" for "royal blood" because it looks to me like a beautiful piece that ancient royalty would have worn. The straps were fun to come up with - for inspiration, I went to one of my favorite books, "Beaded Cords, Straps and Fringe" published by Interweave Press. I was looking at the satin beaded cord, and got the idea to make peyote stitched sliders embellished with red Czech glass drops for the bottom. I also had the idea to make a series of satin necklaces using the same technique - I'll post those and directions for them when they are finished.

Oh, and one more piece that is still in production. This one has kind of a funny story to it. I had this wonderful idea for a piece using Swarovski crystal frames and tiny 12mm Rivolis. I went ahead and bezeled 25 tiny little Rivolis and ordered the crystal frames. When I tried to assemble it the way I had envisioned it, nothing worked. I finally said to heck with it, and tried to figure out what to do with 25 tiny little bezeled Rivolis! So here is one idea that is working quite nicely. Not my usual thing, the Swarovskis, but I kinda like it. If I finish it, I have a beautiful pink taffeta blouse that it will go with very nicely at the opening tomorrow night. And I had an idea on how to use the crystal frames, but that's a post for another day.

I'll be at the Elizabethtown farmers' market again tomorrow morning from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. selling my handmade jewelry. It's Memorial Day weekend, so it should be a busy market. I am really looking forward to seeing all my farmers' market friends, including the woman who sells locally produced fruit wines. My favorite is a green apple Riesling that goes down way too easy - I just might have to buy a bottle for this weekend and next weekend when we are going down to Dolgeville to help our friends celebrate their son's first birthday!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The farmers market season is here!

Wow. I ran around like a madwoman on Thursday night, trying to finalize what I needed to bring with me, and I knew in the back of my head that being the first day of the market, I might not have any sales at all. I don't care who says what about a show where you are trying to sell products, any kind of products, there is always just the chance that even if you do everything right, you won't have a single sale. I've had shows like that.

At any rate, I wish I had taken some pictures. It was a great time. I saw a few of the nice folks from last season in Elizabethtown. Maple syrup, beautiful hand-turned wood bowls, lots and lots of flowers and baked goods were all for sale. It was, admittedly, a slow start to the day. One of the vendors quipped, "Why did we set up today?" But it turned into a busy morning a little later on, after the sun came out and people realized that the markets were open.

Next weekend will be a busy one for me. I will be back at Elizabethtown on Friday morning, and then Friday evening I will be attending the grand opening of the new Adirondack Art Association Gallery on Main Street in Essex, where some of my work will be on display along with that of lots of other talented North Country artists. I can't wait to see - they have moved into the old Firehouse gallery on Main Street this year, and the building is gorgeous. Beautiful, open, light interior with a lovely deck overlooking Lake Champlain and - best of all - an apartment on the second floor where artists (like me!) will be holding workshops all summer! I can't wait for Tom to see it, too. It's just such a gorgeous space, the Art Association really did well to rent it for the '09 season.

So, with that, I will be signing off for now. Colden is fast asleep next to me in bed here, and I have a little more writing and figuring out to do before I can try to get some sleep. Lots of exciting things to write about in the next few days, and some project instructions are coming, too!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Interview with Right as Rain Creations from Etsy!

Well, since it's been a while, and I really can't talk much about some of the projects I'm working on right now, I'll post another interview with one of my fellow Etsians!

This seller, Right as Rain Creations, is a fellow Etsy mom! I came across RARC when we were chatting in a "Springtime Babies" thread on the Etsy Forums. She makes great bath and body products, many of which I have listed on my Favorites on Etsy. (And one of these days when I have a little extra cash, I am going to treat myself to some of her milk baths!) So, without further ado, here is the interview with Right as Rain Creations on Etsy!

1. What is the name of your shop and what items do you sell?
My shop name is Right As Rain Creations and I sell handmade bath and body products, which I make from scratch!

2. How did you get started in your craft?
My husband is an artist and photographer, and we did the craft fair circuit for a few years when we were first married. I noticed that items under $10 sold best so I looked around to see what wasn't represented. I saw lots of soap sellers, but no lotion sellers and since I am very particular about lotion, I thought I'd try my hand at making my own! After considerable research and messing around with a recipe, I had perfected it by the next holiday season and was ready to sell! By the following holiday season, I was online and started adding many more products.

3. Where are you located?
I am in beautiful Bellingham, Washington, USA

4. Do you have a day job or is your craft your primary source of income? If
you do have a day job, what is it?
In addition to running my business, I am an at-home mom to two little boys and a baby girl!

5. What is your favorite part of your craft?
I'd say my very favorite moment is when I am stirring a fresh batch of lotion and it turns creamy. It is tough to describe, but beautiful to watch!

6. What is your least favorite part of your craft?
Cleaning up afterward, hands down! :)

7. Do you listen to music or watch t.v. while you work? What do you like to have
on in the background?
Personally I prefer music, but since I usually work after the kids are in bed, my background sounds tend to be whatever my husband is watching on the DVD player (we don't have television channels).

8. Given all the bad news circulating about the state of the economy lately, how
do you see handmade items fitting in? Are they more or less important?
My hope is that as the economy turns down (hopefully only temporarily!) that people will see the value in handmade. Sometimes spending more is the economically best choice if you are getting a quality product that will last much longer than the commercial alternative.

9. What inspires you? What motivates you to create?
I am inspired by the endless possibilities of products and scents out there! I am motivated by my kids, as my income is our fun money! :)

10. What are your favorite materials to work with? If you are a visual artist,
what colors inspire you? If you are another type of artist, are there any
scents/sights/sounds that inform your work?
My favorite thing to make out of my product line is my lotion - it was my beginning, after all! I love discovering new scents. I have to rein myself in, because time-wise I can only offer so many choices and I only have so much room in my cupboard, but I still find that every time I run to my local supply shop, I come home with a new scent, whether I need it or not!

11. What is your favorite season and why?
I am a total and complete autumn girl! I love the turning colors, the crisp air, and the crunch of leaves beneath my feet.

12. And because I’m such a foodie, if you could have anything you wanted fordinner, cooked to perfection, exactly the way you like it, what would it be?

Oh, crab and brie bisque for starters and a medium steak with melted bleu cheese on top and a buttery twice-baked potato on the side! I gained at least three pounds just typing that, lol!

So make sure you take a gander at her shop, which can be found by clicking this link:
Right as Rain Creations on Etsy

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Some funky new colors!

So, now that I'm a few months into my color studies with Margie Deeb, I felt like experimenting with some of my new-found color skills!

I've been trying to work on a new series of bead embroidered pendants, and this one with the red stone is so not like anything I've ever done before. I had originally thought of doing red and black, but after doing the coloring exercises from Margie, I decided to use a beautiful, bright, light gold to contrast with the red, and I threw in a little bit of bright, sparkling pink. The cabochon in the center is a piece of Malyasia "Jade" that I've had in my stash for a while now. It just seemed to work so well on the shape of the brass form from Diane Hyde. I'm going to try to finish stitching the other half of the piece tonight so that I can back it and start fringing it. Here's a shot with the palette of beads that I chose to use for this piece.

As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, I am in the middle of doing some one-on-one color work with Margie Deeb. So far, it has been a fantastic experience, and has been as much fun as it has been enlightening! The coloring exercises she has given me are so much fun - it's like I'm five years old with my crayons all over again! Margie does some incredible work, and I am thrilled that I have been able to get her feedback on my work and my use of color. Her website is, and you can find lots of great information there. Her Podcasts are great, and her books are even better!

I have to apologize for the delay in getting that project up here that I promised in my last blog post. I have been working on something sort-of-top-secret (which is, I suppose, like being a little bit pregnant) and I've been directing more time to it than I thought I would. But if it all works out, I might have something very exciting to post here in a couple of weeks.

I hope everyone is enjoying the weather in their part of the world. It is beautiful here today - a little bit sunny, getting warm, and all the green buds are out on the trees! Hooray!