Monday, August 30, 2010


I love Mondays. No, seriously. Especially after a weekend of shows and running around and heat and craziness (it was 95 degrees when I left Marcy Field yesterday afternoon!!!!), it's nice to be able to just relax a bit, get organized and make a plan for the rest of the week.

Of course, then there's always Fridays, when I sit and panic at what I have not accomplished during the week...

But anyway. This Monday was particularly good. I decided to take a break from all of the custom orders and make something that I wanted to make! I started the flower for this piece a long, long time ago - pre-Colden - and it has been sitting in the top drawer of one of my bead cabinets since then.

I was inspired by Laura McCabe's new book to add an embellished spiral rope to the piece, and then I found an old vintage button amongst my stash that works perfectly for a clasp! Since there are three loops on the back of the flower, I will also add a dangle of embellished spiral rope that hangs from the center. I worked the spiral rope with size 8 beads for the core, because I was a little nervous about breaking beads if I used size 11s. What I discovered is that the size 8 beads make the rope very, very loose - that's not necessarily a bad thing. And it worked up super-fast, too.

Today was also a good day because my new (to me) digital SLR camera in the mail today!!! I'm so excited - I can't use it until the batteries and charger arrive late this week or early next week, but it came with a MACRO LENS. A REAL macro lens! I am so excited about the prospect of being able to take good closeup shots of my beadwork - at last!!!!

It's very late right now - about 10:45 - and Colden JUST went to sleep. I am near exhaustion myself, but the question remains: do I go to sleep and try to get more than five hours of sleep before we have to get up and start running around tomorrow, or do I stay up for another two hours and try to get everything finished today that I was supposed to do?! Hmmm...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

2010 High Peaks Art & Antique Show

Well, the show was a little slow. A lot slow, actually. It started out as a gorgeous day as we were setting up - a little bit of wind gusting through Marcy Field, but I put up the back wall of my tent, and that took care of that. It was nice and cool, but as the day wore on and the sun came out, it got hot, and I was very glad for the shade under the tent and the cool grass on my feet when I kicked off my shoes around lunchtime.

Sales were just okay, but what was better was seeing all of my friends and customers from the last few years at the farmers' market. Since the Art & Antique show is held in the same place as the Keene Valley farmers' market, there were lots of friendly, familiar faces. I love that - my customers really know me, and some of them come to the market looking specifically for me.

One of the vendors is a husband and wife who are silversmiths and make and sell some incredibly gorgeous silver and gold jewelry. Lots of big, bold gemstones and beautiful Native American style work. I think the husband is actually Native American, but I can't be sure. Anyway, he came to admire my work this morning, and we chatted, since I'd only seen them once or twice this whole summer, and he mentioned that he had a couple of trays of cabochons for sale. On my way to grab a bite to eat, I took a peek at the trays - boy, oh boy. That was a mistake.

This is what I wound up taking home with me. I was just in love with the cabs that had the druzy (crystals) in them, and the gorgeous green one in the upper right hand corner is actually a drilled bead! The big agate cab in the center is going to become the focal point for one killer necklace... I've got some beautiful agate beads that will match it perfectly!

Aaaaah, now to just find some time to bead them all up!

One of my customers today had emailed me a few days ago about the possibility of doing a jewelry party at her camp in New Russia in October, and she mentioned it again today when I saw her. If we can get it together, this will be my first home jewelry party! I was really excited about the idea - I may see about having a few of these over the winter. It would be a great excuse to get some people together, have some food and some wine and put out some of my new work...

And speaking of new work... I've been working on lots of new projects lately. I need to do some photos and some blogging about them, and then I need to actually finish them!

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Milestone...

The other day, I reached the 50th sale on my Etsy shop! It was the sale of one of my Back to Byzantium beading kits - a favorite of mine.

Kind of a big milestone for me. I celebrated by giving the lucky buyer a nice package of goodies including some of the goodies I recently bought from Laura McCabe's eBay store!

Who knows what I might do for my 100th sale?

Big weekend this weekend. After spending 7 incredibly tortuous hours in the ER yesterday because my doctor's office said they couldn't give me an appointment until Monday, I am looking forward to setting up at the High Peaks Art & Antiques Show in Marcy Field. It's going to be a beautiful weekend with two days of sun and warm temperatures forecast, my friends Heather and Robin will also be setting up at the show, and I get to spend the weekend outside with my friends and my beads. And maybe a few customers, too.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Pardon the Name of This Post...

To those of you who may be offended by a swear word, I mean no harm, but I wanted to call this post "More Hormonal Fuckery", because that is what I am dealing with the last two weeks. Actually, the last two months, now that I think about it.

The doctor thinks I had a period about two weeks ago. Then I stopped bleeding for about three or four days. Then it started up again. Now it's stopped again, but I'm still passing uterine lining. Tonight I have a hormonal headache. (I know that's what it is, because it feels exactly like the headaches I get right before my period.) The bleeding isn't heavy or bad - it's just annoying. When I was having my period, or what the doctor thinks was my period, I was scared to death that I was going to start hemorrhaging at any second. I'm sick of wearing pads every single day. I'm sick of worrying about what my body is going to do next.

My hCg levels have gone back down to zero, which is a good thing, because it means that there is no more tissue left from the pregnancy. And we think that now it's just a matter of waiting it out to see when my body will get itself back to "normal", whatever that is for me. It's just the waiting that is driving me out of my bloody tree.

I have total faith that my body will do what it needs to do to heal itself. The acupuncture and the Chinese herbs are helping me tremendously, as are the antidepressants that I was given to help me get over the hump so that I stopped crying all day, every day. But my body has always been a bit slow in the healing process, so it's really just mind over matter at this point, I think. I know my body will heal itself. I just wish it would hurry the hell up.

That said, I've been taking my multivitamins every day and trying to eat lots of iron-rich foods with a side of foods rich in vitamin C to help me absorb the iron so that I don't become anemic or iron-deficient. (Think lightly steamed, tender leaves of kale with chopped up tomatoes and balsamic vinegar - one of my favorite ways to get more iron!) I don't want to take an iron supplement because frankly, I can't swallow those huge horse pills, and I certainly don't want to have to deal with constipation at this point.

I have definitely noticed an increase in my energy levels lately, even with all the crazy running around and my insane work schedule. So I think that's a good thing.

Maybe it's just a matter of giving myself some more time to relax and heal. And that's always been a hard thing for me - the waiting. I have always been terrible at waiting for things.

I did have a good post office day today, though. In my mailbox, direct from England, was my copy of the latest in the Adrian Mole series: Adrian Mole, the Prostate Years. I can't remember exactly when I fell in love with the Adrian Mole books by Sue Townsend, I can only remember them being a huge comfort to me during my times of unemployment and uncertainty. I can remember reading, in one day, the entire book "Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction", a book that I re-read several times during the course of my pregnancy with Colden when the nausea was almost too much for me and I needed something to take my mind off of things. I have all the other books in the series, too - including a hardcover copy of "Adrian Mole - The Cappuccino Years" which is one of the best-loved books in my little library. My original copy of "The Diary of Adrian Mole" is so worn by now that I should probably replace it.

There's something I just love about the character of Adrian. He's totally clueless - and he doesn't really know it. His love life is almost always a complete disaster. His family is the very definition of dysfunctional. And yet somehow, Sue Townsend has kept him as a disarmingly innocent, charming and intelligent man who loves his family and always finds a way to redeem himself throughout his misadventures in life.

So, there. That's my little book review for the evening. If you want to read more, start at the beginning and pick up a copy of "The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4". I don't know if there are e-reader versions of it available - go for the hard copy. There's still something utterly comforting and satisfying about holding a real book in my hands...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Start the Music from "Mission Impossible"...

That's what I'm going to listen to all week, because I've got a ton of work to do and a very limited amount of time in which to do it!

I went to the farmers' market this morning in the pouring rain. When I got there, I debated just turning around and going home - I had Colden with me, it was cold and gray and raining - but at the last minute, I just decided to set up and see what happened.

Colden was such a good kid! He wore his raincoat, we walked up and down the market a couple of times, and then he started dancing to the live music that was being played by a two-man-band down at our end of the market. After Tom came and got him, I got four more cabochons bezeled and glued to Ultrasuede, so that's what I'll be finishing the rest of this week!

This Saturday, the 28th of August, is the annual High Peaks Art & Antique Show at Marcy Field (where the farmers' market is held), and I need to replenish the inventory that has been selling so well this summer. It's a big show - it literally takes up the entire airfield - and I've always done very well there, so I want to make sure that my tables don't look quite as empty as they looked this morning.

So this week, before Saturday, I want to finish the four cabochons (plus the other three that I have had sitting on my work pad), make three more Venus necklaces in different colors (I am consistently selling those every single week at the markets), and get a couple of new beading project tutorials done for

It is most definitely going to be a challenge. But I can do it, oh, yes I can!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

How Much is an Artist's Time Worth?

I've been contemplating this a lot lately. Ever since I made the decision to not do the fused glass this weekend, I've been thinking about the prices I put on my beadwoven and bead embroidered pieces.

Back when I owned a fine craft and bead shop, I wanted to try selling my finished beadwork. When one of my business partners saw the price that I had put on one piece, I was told:

"You can't put that price on your work because you don't have any name recognition."

Huh? So, just because no one knows my name, my beadwork isn't worth anything?

I hate to admit it, but that's a comment that still stings when I think about it. It implies that my time is worthless because I am, for all intents and purposes, a nobody.

When I was set up at the Jay Day festival a few weeks ago, there was a goldsmith set up across the green from me who was selling her handmade gemstone jewelry. She came up to my booth and looked at my prices and then asked me if I had sold anything and if anyone was complaining about my prices.

I told her that I hadn't sold anything, and that I didn't let the complaints about my prices bother me anymore. If someone complains about my prices at a show, then they aren't going to buy from me, anyway.

She told me that she had people who were complaining about her prices so badly that she was beginning to feel like she was trying to steal money from them.

I've probably said this on here before, and I'll probably say it again, but this is how I feel about including a charge for my time in my work:

If I worked in an office or in a place like a hospital, I wouldn't work a 40 hour week and then tell my supervisor, "Hey, that's okay - just pay for the gas I used to drive here and my lunches this week and I'll be okay with that." But by not including a charge for my time in my work, this is exactly what I would be doing.

My time is precious. If I sit and put in the 10 hours it takes to make a handmade piece of beadwork, why shouldn't I be compensated for it? Is the time of an artist worthless when compared to the time of a secretary or a nurse?

Maybe you can't compare beading for a living to being a doctor or an attorney or working to save the rainforest. But I feel like I am still doing something worthwhile with my time when I sit down to bead. I'm creating a piece of art, something of beauty. In some cases, I'm designing a project that may appear in a magazine or as a pattern in my Etsy store - and in those cases, maybe I'm helping someone who uses beadwork as a way to relax. I'm making someone feel special and unique when they wear my one-of-a-kind pieces. Maybe I'm even teaching someone about the significance and history of beads and how they make the human species very unique. (We're the only species on the planet that creates and uses objects purely for self-adornment.)

Whatever the case, I am tired of the stereotype of the "starving artist". Artists shouldn't have to be poor if they choose to pursue their craft - they should be encouraged to create and compensated fairly for their time, just like anyone else who holds down a job.

I hate when I go on Etsy and see someone selling a peyote-stitched bracelet or a hugely intricate beadwoven necklace for a pittance. I understand that some people consider themselves hobbyists, and they "don't care" if they make any money selling their work. I don't think they are doing anyone any favors, least of all those of us who are trying to earn a living with our craft.

My advice to them? If you "don't care" about making any money from your work, then don't sell it at all.

I know that my feelings on that matter are hardly going to win me any friends, but it's how I feel about the whole thing. I ask for what I feel is a fair price for my work, and that includes a charge for my time.

What I really hope for is that more artists will follow suit and start to treat their work like it's the precious commodity that it is.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hard Work

I know it might sound crazy, but on my way home from the Salute to the Arts Day yesterday afternoon, it occurred to me that beading for a living is hard work. Now, don't get me wrong - I almost feel guilty when I need to make time in my schedule to sit down and work on a beading project, mainly because I love beading so much and I find it so relaxing (most of the time) that it just doesn't feel like "work".

But after the beading is finished, there are other things that need to be done...

Photographs need to be taken, uploaded to the computer, cropped and adjustments for light and color levels need to be done. If the piece is for sale, I need to list it on Etsy. If it's a project or tutorial for, then I need to include that on my work list for the week. If it's for a magazine or pattern that I intend to teach or sell, there are directions that need to be written and diagrams drawn.

There are the shows and markets where I sell my work. That's a lot of physical activity - hauling around a 65 pound tent and setting up and breaking down all require a lot of energy. If I'm lucky and it's a busy day, I will be on my feet most of the day talking to customers and handling transactions. Then when I get home, there's the time it takes to process the credit card payments and preparing the bank deposits. There are taxes to be filed and paid. Inventory needs to be taken periodically so that I don't run out of important things like business cards, boxes and bags. (And beads, of course!)

Back in 2008, I had a great re-design done of my website, a beautiful portfolio created and new business cards done by Stellar Marketing Solutions. But since I've sort of changed my focus from the glass work and the beadwork to just the beadwork, I think a new set of designs should be done this winter. Since I can't afford to hire the wonderful folks at Stellar Marketing again (it was part of a business mentoring program that I am involved in), I'll be doing that this winter as well.

So there's a lot more to it than just sitting around making pretty things all day. Of course, in between everything else, there are diapers to change, dishes to wash and laundry to be done. And with Colden running around, some days, things just get put off until we can't put them off any longer. (Like getting and installing a new dishwasher.)

That said, I wouldn't trade this job for anything in the world. I love being able to stay home with Colden, even if my days are a little more stressful than they used to be, and I love what I'm doing now to earn my income. I wouldn't change it a bit!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Another Piece Gone to a Good Home!

So there I was last night at 10:30 p.m., stitching away on the last of seven new Swarovski crystal bracelets for the Salute to the Arts event at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts. I was making them because I didn't want my bracelet tray to look empty - with only four bracelets, it was looking pretty empty - and because I wanted to make some lower-priced items, just in case.

Imagine that swooping in my stomach when this petite, funky woman with beautiful blonde, spiky hair came over to my booth, picked up "The Thief", wore it for about thirty seconds, and then asked me if I could make it smaller. I almost didn't know what to say! But of course, it was just a matter of removing some of the bamboo beads on the back of the piece to make it smaller, and I had it all done within an hour.

The Thief

Once again, when she tried on this necklace, it looked as though I had designed it just for her. It matched her coloring, her style and her hair perfectly. It was one of those moments when everything just sort of...clicked.

Of course, I was a little sad to see it go. I made that piece for a wedding that I never got to attend because it was the summer that I was sick when I was pregnant with Colden. And I finished the fringe after I found out that I was pregnant with Colden, when the exhaustion was so bad that it was hard to just lift my arm to thread the needle. It was also the piece that resulted in many lovely emails and convos on Etsy from admirers, including Carol Dean Sharpe of Sand Fibers.

As a little gift to myself, I picked up this ultra-funky, long chain necklace from Edison Collections. I wasn't planning on buying anything for myself today, but when I saw this necklace, it just reminded me of all of the pieces of my grandmother's jewelry that I used to play with when I was a kid. It's made with vintage chain and a recycled watch face that still keeps time! And of course, there was that cool, sparkly Swarovski crystal hanging from the bottom...

And it's getting very late now. 10:30, and we finally just got Colden to sleep, so I need to go write a couple of blog posts and then get some sleep!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Finding a Good Home

Well, it was a crazy day at the farmers' market yesterday. When I arrived at 8:30 to start setting up, the wind was already tearing through the valley. I guessed that some of those gusts were pushing 35mph or more. The canopies on the tents were flying right and left. Anything that was rubber-banded together, under a rock, or glued down was being knocked about in the wind. The woman who had originally started to set up next to me was selling stationary and paper goods - her metal racks were falling down, her inventory was being scattered everywhere, and she finally decided to pack it in at 9:45. (The market opens at 9:30.)

We kept seeing these dark gray clouds to the south, blowing over the mountains. We all kept waiting - hoping that once the rain came, the wind would stop. But the rain never actually got there. Just those dark, gray, threatening clouds and lots and lots of wind.

Early on in the day, a young woman came by my booth and was absolutely in awe of my piece, "A Distant Star System". I originally made this piece for a science fiction art show, and it used some of my best black onyx and carnelian cabochons, with some little 4mm amethyst rondelles. Well, this young woman came and tried it on and she was wearing a little black dress - and with her dress and her coloring, she totally rocked this pendant.

What I didn't realize was that she was another jewelry vendor at the market! She makes some incredible recycled and up-cycled jewelry - I'll have to post a link after I find her business card. She came back at the end of the day and told me that she had had a good day at the market, and she decided to buy the necklace as a 30th birthday present for herself. Good choice!

Now the race is on for my next show - I decided, at the last minute, to do the Lake Placid Center for the Arts' "Salute to the Arts" day and market this Wednesday. It will be great if I have a few sales - but now I have to stitch up a quick couple of necklaces and finish a couple of bracelets to replace what sold at the farmers' market yesterday. Could be worse - if I can't make enough to keep my table from looking empty, I'll just work on my custom orders and skip the market on Sunday!

Friday, August 13, 2010

What? Friday Already?!

I can't believe the week is GONE. Just like that - GONE! Last I remember, it was Tuesday, and I was trying to keep my head above water while keeping Colden amused and get some work done. Next thing I know, I wake up this morning and it's Friday again! I think the nice weather makes the days go by faster, too... Just sayin'.

Anyway, my farmers' market weekend last weekend was great. On Saturday, I set up at the annual Jay Day festivities down the road from my house. Like, literally thirty seconds by car down the hill from where I live. I didn't really expect to make any sales, and I didn't, but it was still a nice day to sit outside and bead. I got to hang out a little with my friends who live in Jay, saw Colden's friends from playgroup (and their Mommies!), and got to hang out with my friend Heather, who also makes jewelry, and who was also set up on the Green with us.

Sunday morning, I headed over to Keene Valley for the Keene Valley farmers' market. The weather was beautiful, and I felt very optimistic about setting up without my fused glass inventory. And I was right to feel that way - I sold a whole bunch of pieces and took deposits for two special orders. It was a wonderful day, and my other vendor friends were all glad to see me back in action. It didn't hurt that it was the 20th anniversary of the Adirondack Farmers Market Cooperative and they were handing out free cake, coffee and tote bags!

This is my new display, using risers that are actually wall shelves that I found at Bed, Bath & Beyond. They work perfectly for displaying the smaller necklace busts that I have, and they stayed up nicely in the wild wind that sweeps across Marcy Field where the market is set up.

Oh, and I should also mention that two of my sales were to repeat customers who come to the area every summer for vacation and who come to the farmers' market to look for me! Wild, huh?

I have other things to write about last weekend, but they'll have to wait. I'm feeling absolutely exhausted tonight, and even though I wanted to at least give a brief update on the blog here, I really think I need to go home and get some rest. It's been a crazy week of trying to balance Colden, work and housework, and I need to just go chill out with my boys for a little while.

More farmers' market goodness this weekend - I can't wait!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My Day Has Gone Like This:

I was going to write this nice blog post about the farmers' market this weekend, but I have been so stressed out today, I just need to vent. Anyone who is a work-at-home mom or a stay-at-home mom, I know you've had days like this:

  • Woke up way too early, but couldn't fall back to sleep. Figured I might as well get up and going, so got up and went.
  • Colden woke up and wanted waffles, again. No problem. I made some waffles for us. He ate about four bites and then decided that he had had enough. Cleared off the breakfast dishes and sat down to get some work done. "Beads!" Then, "Piggyback!" Numerous requests for juice and milk, which was okay, since it's about 90 degrees and humid again today. Numerous diaper changes. Huge, smelly poop in Colden's diaper less than five minutes after a diaper change.
  • Colden takes a small Ziploc baggie of small cabochons and empties it onto the beading mat he's put on the floor under the dining room table. Then he dances in them. Cabochons are flung into every corner of the house.
  • Finally decide to have pizza for lunch - have to go to the store for cheese and sauce, but that's okay. It will get us out of the house for a few minutes. Put on shoes and get buckled into the car.
  • Two minutes before we reach grocery store, Colden falls asleep. Really asleep. Eyes closed, hands limp kind of sleep. Make u-turn and go back home. Remove sleeping child's sandals and unbuckle car seat. Sleeping child opens eyes for a second when I remove him from car seat, but he snuggles into my shoulder and I think he will go back to sleep. I am wrong.
  • Colden lies in bed and asks for a cup of milk. Give him milk. Asks for blanky. Give him blanky. Asks me to lie down with him. I lie down with him. Colden finishes milk. Colden opens eyes wide and starts giggling.
  • At this point, very hard not to lose my shit and start throwing things. Go back to store and end up buying pizza fixings, Nutella, chickpeas, crackers and tahini. Get home and realize do not have any tin foil to cover pizza pan and no olive oil to make hummus.
  • Call from doctor's office regarding my hCg levels: levels are going down, which is good, but they are at 7. Need to be at 5 before they are considered normal. Need "one more" blood test next week. (This is, oh, fourth time I have heard, "One more blood test". Veins in arms cry whenever I go to Plattsurgh.)
  • Come home and make pizza. Colden doesn't want pizza - takes box of waffles out of chest freezer. Make Colden a waffle. Eats two bites and doesn't want any more. I have 1/4 of pizza that I have just made. (Too much pizza.)
  • Pile of work is still sitting where I left it this morning when diaper changes and piggyback started.
  • Colden asks for milk. Give him more milk. Moose eats remainder of Colden's waffle and tries to eat fork as well. Wrestle kiddie fork out of dog's mouth.
  • Realize that dishes are still piled up in sink, where they will remain until either Tom washes them or a miracle occurs and they wash themselves.
  • Hang laundry from this morning outside to dry, thinking maybe Colden and Moose will run around a bit. Moose runs into neighbor's yard. Drag Moose back. Moose runs towards street. Drag Moose back. Finally give up on hanging laundry and lock Moose on back porch while hanging laundry.
As of right now, I have given up on doing anything that resembles work. I am going to just clean the dishes and kitchen and wait until Tom has come home, showered and changed before I sit down and try to get anything accomplished. It's just been one of those days...

Monday, August 09, 2010

So Much Beady Goodness!

It was a crazy weekend. First, I set up at the annual Jay Day community celebration sponsored by the Jay Entertainment and Music Society. I didn't expect to make any sales, but I figured since it was right down the hill from me on the Jay Green, I might as well. Then on Sunday, I FINALLY got set up at the Keene farmers' market in Keene Valley. That was a great day, too, and I'll write more on that tomorrow, but for now, this is what was in my post office box this morning...

This silky, soft, beautiful lariat from Sand Fibers! I won this piece in a giveaway that Carol Dean Sharpe had on her blog to celebrate her 1,500th sale on Etsy! (I had hoped that it would have been there on Saturday, but Saturday is such a weird day for our little rural post office, since they close at 11:00 a.m., and mail doesn't really get put into the boxes until Monday morning, anyway.)

And then there was another package stuffed full of beads for me from Laura McCabe's eBay store:

Four big sandwich bags stuffed full of Czech beads, each in a different color palette; a few bags of some funky peach and gold Czech glass beads; and a huge hank of black and silver peacock "petal" beads. (Wait 'till you see what I do with THOSE!)

Lots more to write about, but it will all just have to wait until later this week. I have finished the bezel for Catherine of Aragon; I taught two bead classes at JEMS; and I'll share everything about my first farmers' market of the season!

Friday, August 06, 2010

Etsy Beadweavers' Challenge Piece - Finished Before the Deadline!

And I am so happy with the results! I stayed up late, way past my bedtime to finish this piece - lucky for me, Colden decided to make that night one of the rare nights when he sleeps straight through without waking up, so I actually got six full, uninterrupted hours of sleep after I finished it.

The gorgeous Red Magma Swarovski crystal stone in the center as well as the Red Magma rounds were courtesy of Artbeads "Blogging for Beads" program. I have been trying to find a project for them for MONTHS now, seriously, and when I found this bag of leftover Czech glass pearls in my stash, well, it finally hit me. (Took long enough, right?)

I was absolutely thrilled to be able to post the piece in my Etsy shop before the deadline of August 5th to enter it in the Etsy Beadweavers' Challenge! I've been a member of the Etsy team for quite a while, but have never been able to get a piece in for their monthly challenge. Now the fun part begins - the piece will be posted as part of a blog post on the Etsy Beadweavers' Blog, and you can go vote for your favorite piece. The winner gets to pick the theme for a future challenge.

The theme for the September challenge is "Bollywood" - and boy, does that sound tempting! I'll have to dig back into my stash of Swarovski and gold-plated Delicas and see what else I can come up with!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

I am Going to Make a Deadline for Once in My Life!

Wow! I decided that this month, I was absolutely positively going to make the deadline for the Etsy Beadweavers' Challenge - the theme is "Silver and Gold", and the idea is to try to make a piece of beaded jewelry that resembles more traditional fine jewelry.

This is what my piece looked like last night:

And today, while Colden was busy amusing himself with his toy cars and his bubble machine, I managed to get the Swarovski stone attached to the pearl strap and the crystal rounds stitched on as embellishment. I started the clasp while he was taking his nap, but didn't get a chance to finish it - but I will when I get home this evening.

I have absolutely no idea what to call this piece, but I'm thinking about it. It was inspired by the Renaissance and the opulent jewelry worn by the wealthy and the privileged of that period. The gems, the pearls, the gold - all of which make a feast for my eyes when looking at the portraits from the 1500s and 1600s.

Once that piece is done, I am going to start working on some of the other unfinished pieces I have sitting on my work table. I actually decided to declare this month "UFO Month" on the Beadwork site, hoping I could inspire other beaders to pick up an old UFO and finish it!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Look What I Won Today!

This incredible lariat by Carol Dean Sharpe of Sand Fibers!

Carol gave away this gorgeous Ndebele (herringbone) stitch lariat to celebrate - ready for this? - her 1,500th sale on Etsy! What a cool way to celebrate! I had entered the drawing by posting about the giveaway on Facebook and on my blog with links to Carol's blog. I never really expected to win, but I thought, what the heck, and gave it a shot. Sure enough, Carol's random number generator pulled up number 37 - and that was me!

Ironically, 37 was the street number of the house where I grew up as a kid. Weird, huh? Maybe I should go buy a lottery ticket...

I stumbled across Carol's Etsy shop, SandFibers, looking for beading patterns. She designs the most beautiful peyote stitch cuff bracelets - and finished jewelry, too! - and I have become completely addicted to her patterns. I love that most of them are in 2- or 3-drop peyote stitch, because they seem to work up much faster than just single drop peyote. And the designs - Carol definitely lets her sense of humor come through in some of them! When I'm feeling completely burnt out from my own designs, Carol's designs are beautiful and soothing to stitch. I'll wait for Colden to go down for his nap or to go to sleep for the night (or for a few hours after dinner, anyway!) and then I'll sit down with a pile of Delicas and one of Carol's patterns and I'll just go at it. Her patterns remind me of everything that made me fall in love with beadweaving ten years ago when I first discovered how relaxing and meditative it was to stitch those tiny little beads together...

So later this week, I'll have two packages from Carol waiting for me at the post office! Hooray! (Now, if I could just find my post office box keys to actually get into the post office box...)

And speaking of the post office... Carol and I are cooking up something fun in the next few weeks. I can't say what it is just yet - but you will definitely want to stay tuned to my blog and/or my Facebook page to find out just what it is and how you can be a part of it!

And that's all I'm sayin'...