Monday, December 29, 2008

I love Alice in Wonderland (especially the Mad Hatter)!

Sir John Tenniel's Alice in Wonderland illustrations are so insanely popular, and it's easy to see why. They have such great detail, and they bring the story to life. I was really excited recently when I tracked down some of the full color ones, and I could hardly wait to make something from them. After doing some cleanup to them (removing speckles, cleaning up the backgrounds a bit, etc.), I decided to make some vintage looking tags and some notecards from them. Aren't these beautiful?

There are lots of Alice lovers out there in Etsy land. One of them is my buddy Beth (aka bethtastic). She recently asked me about getting copies of the black and white Alice images I've used in my other tags, so we worked out a deal... I'd send her the images, and she'd make me a pendant with my favorite character - The Mad Hatter. Shortly after I sent her the images, I was looking at Pounce (one of the cool Etsy features) and saw one of her Alice pendants go by. It's no wonder it sold so quickly!!! Just look how great these are.

No beadweaving to show off today... I finished a couple of new pieces, but I didn't get a chance for photos yet.

I did have one adventure this morning. And I have to tell you. In a battle between a utility knife and a thumb, chances are very good that the utility knife is going to win. My husband always tells me to be careful, and I really do try. But it doesn't always work. So this morning, as I was slicing matboard into ACEO-sized blanks, my thumb slipped. Right into the path of the utility knife. Ouch. The bleeding stopped about 20 minutes after the cut. I actually debated whether to go get stitches in it, but I opted to tough it out with just a big bandage (you probably won't be surprised to learn that we have lots of those around - my favorite brand is the 3M Nexcare because it stays on forever, even when saturated with water, and it's made of a kind of foam material that lets me grip things).

And the next time I use the utility knife, I will be more careful. Wonder if I could work in chainmaille gloves?

Friday, December 26, 2008

One bracelet... one Etsy front page appearance... and the Storque

That handmade bracelet I wrote about in an earlier post has reached its intended recipient, so I can finally show it off here. I received a lovely note from the person who requested it (the mother of the recipient), and she told me that her daughter loved the bracelet and plans to wear it when she wins her first Oscar. The bracelet, in case you don't figure it out from reading it, was made to commemorate her film's acceptance into the International Film Festival in Egypt. How exciting that must be!!!

So here it is... 50 rows of square stitch, using size 15 delicas in shiny black with matte cream lettering and matte 24k gold leaves.

Today's been a nice, relaxing day. No snow shoveling. No driving anywhere. Just hanging out at home. Yep. This is what we do on our 21st wedding anniversary. I can't believe it's been 21 years already. We're not big on celebrations, though, so it doesn't surprise me that we decided to just treat this day pretty much like any other. My husband suggested that we go out to dinner, but he had completely forgotten that (1) it's the day after Christmas, (2) stores will be jam packed with people looking for post-Christmas bargains, (3) restaurants will be crowded, (4) it's Friday, meaning lots of people are out on dates and such. So we'll wait till next week to have our anniversary outing.

I found a couple of exciting things on Etsy today. I logged in this morning to see what was new, and right there on the FRONT PAGE was my Mercurial necklace!!! It was in a treasury curated by Sarah, of thebeadedlily. Woo hoo!!! Sarah puts together some of the best treasuries you've ever seen. They always have something unusual in them, and they always have a theme, and I love them even when I'm not in them! Here's the front page that had me so excited this morning (and this was before I even had my first latte). I got to share the spotlight with some of my other Bead Art Originals friends... Smadar (aka SmadarsTreasure) and Lisa (aka tqbdesigns).

You know what's funny? I went to Sarah's shop to try to choose a favorite thing of hers to show off here. Who knew it would take me 10 minutes to choose!?!!?! She has so many gorgeous things in there that I had to look at each and every one of them. (Actually, I waited too long and my favorite thing sold recently.) Anyway, I finally settled on this "i am a rock" necklace as my favorite, at least for now. I love all the cubes, especially those lava rock ones.

Second, I came across some of my Captioned Critters in a Storque article! The Storque article itself is pretty exciting, as Etsy will finally be providing us with seller stats. It's apparently in beta testing now, with a select group of Etsy users, but it looks like it'll be coming in the near future. Right there in the middle of the collection of Etsy items relating to analytics is my Analytical Anteater! Yay!

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Beadwoven Bracelet for Mak, and an Etsy front page appearance

Is the Christmas rush over yet? Good grief. It's been such a busy couple of weeks, and I finally feel like I have a little breathing room. Just a little, though. I still have a custom bracelet that needs to be finished tonight. And see what I'm doing? Beadweaving? Noooo. Writing in my blog. I need a break.

To begin, I'm offering a little advice to the other beadweavers who may come across this blog. DO NOT design a square stitch cuff that's 50 beads wide and worked with size 15 delicas. Or if you do, just be prepared for people to call you names. Insane. Crazy. Names like that.

I had never done square stitch, so I had no idea just how much longer it would take than peyote. I'm pretty quick at peyote, and I think I must be pretty quick at square stitch, but it's sooooooooo sloooooooooow. Wow. Each row seemed to take an eternity, and since the size 15s are so small there was miniscule progress as I finished each one. I'm all finished with that project now, but I can't show it here because there's a slim chance the recipient will see it. I'll have to wait until after I know she has it so I don't spoil the secret.

One other very special beadweaving project was for one of my Bead Art Originals friends, Mak (of MAKUstudio). She had a gorgeous raku heart pendant listed in her shop, and I just had to have it for one of my friends for a Christmas gift. I asked Mak if she'd be up for a trade, and she sent me a raku piece to be worked into a bracelet that she said would be her birthday present to herself.

What an honor to be able to create such a thing! I was so intent on making her bracelet absolutely perfect that it took me three tries to get the colors and the design just right. The raku piece, as you can see in this photo, is absolutely GORGEOUS. It shone with every color imaginable, so I wound up using a mixture of matte and shiny delicas that came the closest to the two main colors I saw in the raku.

I finished it and sent it to her in time for her birthday, and she said she loved it! HOORAY!!! The raku piece Mak sent me was quite a challenge to work with for a bracelet, but I was really happy with the way this looked and fit. One good thing is that her wrist is the same size as mine, so it made it very easy to do all the test fits.

Here are a couple of photos of the entire design. I decided to use crystal clear beads to mimic the hole in the raku piece, and then I used the same ones to make the toggles for the closure.

There are a couple of other exciting things to report this week. First, one of my cuffs wound up being shown on Etsy's front page on Saturday!!! It's always exciting to have something wind up there, and since it was a Saturday I think it was there for more than an hour! This beautiful blue and white treasury was curated by Marina (her Etsy shop is jolijoli).

Marina's relatively new to Etsy (only about three months), but her shop is filled with some beautiful jewelry. I know it's too late to do Christmas shopping now, but you could treat yourself with something gorgeous, couldn't you!??! Here's one of my favorite pieces from Marina's shop, a gorgeous green and purple cocktail ring made from freshwater pearls.

The other kind of exciting thing is that some of my Captioned Critters mini notecards are featured in the Etsy Gift Guides. I decided to offer a special for Christmas -- free domestic Priority Mail shipping for any order over $25, through Christmas Day. A few people have already taken advantage of it, and I have one order that's going out tomorrow. I know it probably won't make it to its destination in time for Christmas, but it's a good way to save some money anyway; and that's what the offer was all about. And doesn't my little Wellspoken Wombat look cute sitting there in the Gift Guide? (That's him under the Expedited Shipping Guide section.)

Okay, enough blogging. Off to do some beadweaving. I do have that bracelet to get finished...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Artistic Flair, EtsyHacks, and Lots of Blue

New stuff... blue stuff... and stuff to do! Catchy, eh? :-) So what's all that about? Well, here goes:

First the NEW stuff.

Recognize that avatar? It's Deb DiSalvo, an artist who creates incredible pieces using fused glass (which she showcases in her blog, Artistic Flair, and sells in her Etsy shop, also called ArtisticFlair). I have to say that before I saw Deb's work I wasn't all that impressed with fused glass. Most of it just looked like blobs to me. But Deb gave me a whole new appreciation of the art form with the intricate and clever creations she makes.

Anyway! Deb's been doing posts related to the Twelve Days of Christmas on her blog, and today (day eleven) she featured ELEVEN of my beadwoven cuffs!!! I was so excited to see which ones she chose, and they're some of my own personal favorites. Deb actually owns one of my other favorites, Evolutionary - I'm glad it's gone to a good home! :-)

There's even more NEW stuff.


What's that thing? What's etsyhacks? No, it's not Etsy with the flu. It's one of the cooooooolest things ever! I only "discovered" this yesterday, but it's already saved me some time; and I know it's going to continue to save me even more time.

etsyhacks is a bunch of tools written by the super-nice husband of an Etsy seller to help with some of those tasks we do every day in the course of running our shops. The tools require that you be using the Firefox web browser. If that's the browser you use, it's just a few steps to upload the tools you want and start using them.

My favorite so far is the buyer info tool, which makes it oh-so-much easier to send a convo to a buyer (which I do for each and every sale, to let the buyer know I appreciate them and that I've shipped their package) and to see past convos with the buyer. There are a bunch more. I (sadly) had to cancel a transaction today for non-payment, and I was able to use one of the tools to make the cancellation easier.

Go check 'em out! Save yourself some serious time! And if you love them, make sure to show your appreciation by donating or buying ad space.


And now for some BLUE stuff.

First is this treasury I created a couple of days ago. It's been so hectic here that I didn't get a chance to post about it when the treasury was active, but I think it was really pretty. I chose pieces by some of my Bead Art Originals friends, all incredible and all beautiful (and any one of which I would be thrilled to find in my Christmas stocking).

Apparently, this is a blue week for me. Not because it's sad, but because I had to pull out the blue beads for some special requests.

The first blue creations this week were these two blue hearts. One of these will be going to the winner of the Day 3 drawing (Grace) in the Twelve Days of Bead Art Originals Holiday Giveaway (there's still time to enter the drawings for days 11 and 12). Grace requested a blue heart: "
I've gone back a few times and looked at those hearts, I love them all, but I think I would really like to have a solid one - like the red one in your shop but with a blue heart. I'm a jeans wearing kinda gal so if you could do that I would be ever so grateful!" So here are the two I created:

The other BLUE creation this week is this bracelet, which my husband's aunt ordered for one of her jeans-wearing daughters:

And finally, the STUFF TO DO... lots of printing, lots more beadweaving, presents to wrap... Note there's no mention of cooking or cleaning.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Sarah Palin, John McCain, and BARACK OBAMA!!!

I couldn't resist. Truth be told, I didn't try to resist very much. I just had to make this new set of Christmas cards featuring John McCain and Sarah Palin (they're in my Etsy shop, in case you need them). The Obama cards are still my favorites, but I'm sure there are a few staunch Republicans out there who don't want to receive an Obama card for Christmas, even if he is going to be the next President of the United States.

So these cards are for those people. Get over it. They lost. Barack won. :-)

Speaking of Barack Obama, you might remember a not-too-long ago post where I mentioned that I was working on a beadweaving project that involved 64,700 beads. Wanna see? Hmmm?

Okay, here it is. I know some people probably thought it was one giant beadwoven something-or-other, but it was actually 20 beadwoven cuffs featuring the name of our President Elect, with his logo acting as the "O" in Obama. They were requested by a very special customer of mine, and even though I was happy to do them I think it'll be awhile before I do anything else involving red, white, blue, and gray! The only saving grace was that while I was working away on these, I was thinking of other ideas and jotting them in my little notebook.

(I kind of like this shot.)

And here they are all packaged and ready to go on their way... each one with one of my Santa Obama gift tags, which I thought might be a nice touch as these are being given as Christmas gifts.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

No More Artwork on Etsy (or... time 2 update my website!)

I've made a decision... After giving it a lot of thought and after reviewing my sales for the past two years, I've decided that I'm going to let all of my artwork listings expire and/or be sold and discontinue offering my artwork/ACEOs for sale in my Etsy shop.

The funny thing is that when I first joined Etsy it was with the intention of selling prints of my ACEOs. I had been selling originals on eBay for about a year, and they were doing pretty well, but I wanted to get more mileage out of the work I put into the drawings. They've done okay on Etsy, and I get lots of comments from people who think they're cute; but I find that I'm doing more renewing than relisting because the sales are rather infrequent.

I still enjoy all my little drawings, and this will be added incentive for me to finish work on my website and provide a way to purchase my artwork there.

If you've visited my Etsy shop, you may recognize Jerry Jester. I used him as my avatar for a long time. I've also featured Marcel, my silly mime, in my Etsy shop banner and as my Entrecard avatar. I like both of those silly drawings, but my husband recently told me he thought Marcel was "creepy." Hmph.

I haven't done an extensive amount of analysis on my ACEO print sales, but I'm pretty sure it's the Surly Cats who garnered the most attention. People just seem to be drawn (no pun intended) to these silly felines, all of whom are displaying some serious cattitude.

Friday, November 28, 2008


From BLACK FRIDAY to CYBER MONDAY (November 28 through December 1) the Bead Art Originals are having an Open House!!!! Members are offering specials during the weekend (the list of participants is below). (When purchasing from one of these shops during the Open House weekend, be sure to include the code BAO OPEN HOUSE in the Notes to Seller.)

When you visit the blog, don't forget to sign up for the Twelve Days of BAO Holidays drawings. There's a new one every day, and there are some wonderful prizes!!

  • Anna (ARoseByName): free shipping
  • Heather (Humblebeads): free shipping on all orders and a free gift with purchases of $50 or more
  • Carli (Juiceglass): free shipping
  • Lisa (LisaP etersArt): free surprise gift (at least $5 value) with any purchase over $30 (note that this special is being offered through the end of the year)
  • Mak (MAKUstudio): free shipping + 10% off purchases over $50 and 15% off purchases over $100
  • Dee (Malodora): free shipping
  • Swanee (MistyRidgeBeads): free shipping
  • Janice (Naftali): free shipping
  • Melody (SalamanderHouse): free shipping
  • Smadar (SmadarsTreasure): free shipping + 10% off the second item purchased
  • Sarah (thebeadedlily): free shipping
  • Darcy (thejadedog): free shipping
  • MaryLou (time2cre8): free shipping on entire order with the purchase of anything with the "bao team" tag
  • Lisa (tqbdesigns): free shipping
  • Triz (triz): free shipping
***BONUS BLOG SALE: During the BAO Open House (November 28 through December 1), visit my Etsy shop and receive FREE SHIPPING worldwide on your entire order with the purchase of anything tagged with "BAO TEAM". In addition to that, leave me a comment in the notes to seller that you saw the promotion here and receive an additional 10% off your purchase!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!! (and for those of you not in the U.S., happy Thursday!)

It's a happy day indeed, since my In Stitches beadwoven cuff was featured on Etsy's front page today. Yay! And thanks so much to Ulixis for putting together the gorgeous treasury.

It's almost time to head out for the family gathering (my husband's family) so we can consume massive amounts of turkey and stuffing.

Just one more thing for this post though... Be sure to visit the Bead Art Originals blog to enter the giveaways! There's a button up there at the top of this blog that will take you there. There are TWELVE separate giveaways!!! And they're all wonderful. :-)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The faster I go, the behinder I get. That's something my Mother used to say, and it's exactly how I feel right now. Having been forced to adhere to a strict schedule for years and years, I'm reluctant to assign a schedule to myself. It's getting to the point, though, where speed alone (because I'm pretty fast at what I do) isn't effective enough. Maybe I just need a list. There's something cathartic about having a list and marking things off as they're finished...

Okay, enough whining about time and my lack thereof. I recognize that I'm incredibly lucky to be able to work (or play, in my case) at my own pace. Isn't there something ironic about someone whose online shop is called time2cre8 talking about a lack of time???

So what's been going on? Well, there's still that project involving the 64,700 beads... so far, I'm at the 43,600 mark. My "goal" (which, for someone who spent years in corporate life, is a bad word) is to finish by the end of the weekend.

My Obama Merry Christmas cards have proven to be pretty popular, so I've been kept hopping filling orders for those. I created them on a whim, just because I had a silly idea that flitted through my head, and I have to admit that I still smile when I see them. I'm glad others like them too. (In fact, if you're a reader of this blog and you decide you want some, I'll give you a 10% discount if you mention that you read about them in here - just leave me a note in the comments when you check out.)

So with all this stuff going on, I'm also trying to fit in some Christmas shopping. I have a few things out of the way, and I really don't have that many people on my list (my husband and I stopped exchanging gifts a long time ago); but I'm still searching. I also have some custom orders to get finished for other people who are relying on me for some of their Christmas shopping.

And on the topic of that, how's your shopping going? Looking for something special? Have you checked out the beautiful bead art offerings by members of the Etsy Bead Art Originals team? Carol Dean (aka SandFibers) just assembled this gorgeous Treasury to help promote our OPEN HOUSE -- we have lots of members offering specials during the upcoming holiday weekend, from Black Friday through Cyber Monday. You can see the details about the specials on the BAO blog.

Here are some other things you should check out!

Subscribe to the Bead Art Originals newsletter to be entered into our monthly drawing for a prize donated by one of our members.

bead art originals holiday gift guide button

Visit the Bead Art Originals Holiday Gift Guide to see special pieces chosen by our members... great gift ideas for everyone on your list!

BAO Button 125 x 125

Visit the Bead Art Originals Blog to see information about our Open House AND to see and enter the drawings we're going to be holding from now through the end of the year. You could win something fabulous!!!

And now... IT'S TIME TO BEAD!!! :-)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

One new design and one not-so-new design in a different color palette... Here are two of my newest listings. The Copper Vine bracelet is the not-so-new design, this time woven using matte and shiny copper delicas. I'm so happy with the way this one turned out, and it was totally unplanned. I just happened to see the two types of copper beads sitting there next to each other, and it seemed like fate. I had already printed the pattern so I could make a custom bracelet for someone, but since I had to order some of the beads for the custom order I figured I'd go ahead with the copper ones. I'm so glad I did! This makes me want to try some other monochromatic combinations...

The Damask design is my newest one, although I was working on it for awhile. I wanted something that had the leafy, flowery look of the damask prints, and it needed to be in just two colors. This is the first version of it, created in the brightest red and white beads I have in my bead stash, but I'm sure there will be more colors in the future.

Wouldn't that make a great one for Christmas parties? I love the contrast of the red and white.

I don't know how much time I'm going to have to work on new designs over the next couple of weeks, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to be busy. I was just figuring out all the pieces I'm working on, and it's quite a long list! I'm just glad that I'm pretty quick at this (although "quick" in terms of beadweaving means that a bracelet like Damask takes three hours instead of four or five).

I was doing some Christmas shopping on Etsy, and I thought I'd see if a couple of my fellow Bead Art Originals members would be up for trading; and I'm so happy that they were!!! I've received one of the packages, and I couldn't be more thrilled with its contents!!!!!! I expect the other package to show up soon, and I already know I'm going to love it.

So anyway, that list of things I have to do includes one bracelet that's part of the trade. In addition to that one (which I'm currently "designing" in my head), I have two cuffs to make for my husband's aunt (both of which will be Christmas presents for his cousins), one special order bracelet for a special friend, AND last but not least... a project that involves 67,400 beads. I'm not saying what it is, but I'm sure you recognize that's a LOT of beads!! I'll post something about that project when it's finished. :-)

I'm not sleepy yet, and there are beads on my beading board and thread in my needle, so I'm getting back to work.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Most of my posts to this blog are about my creations. I guess that's only natural when I spend such a significant amount of my time creating, but I also do other things. I read loads of books (check out the Shelfari display at the bottom of my blog to see a small fraction of them. I'm still uploading.). I do some semblance of housekeeping, although I'm sure Martha Stewart would be appalled. That's not a problem, though, as I'm not really a Martha fan anyway. I manage to keep the dishes done, keep the dust down to a manageable level, do the laundry, and the other "regular" chores, in addition to doing yardwork. Truth be told, I prefer yardwork over any of the indoor chores.

It doesn't seem like someone with my kind of life would need a vacation, but sometimes it's just fun to go somewhere new. So my husband and I traveled to Williamsburg, Virginia, last week. It was too late in the season for Busch Gardens to be open, but we did get to see some other cool places.

The Virginia Living Museum was really nice. It's geared a little more toward children than adults, but it was nice to be able to walk around outside to see all the animals they've rescued and housed on the site. It was rainy, so I didn't carry my camera with me; but we saw foxes, wolves, bobcats, eagles, and a bunch of other critters.

We also went to see Colonial Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Jamestown. Yorktown (for me) was the least interesting. I'm not a big history buff anyway, and seeing Yorktown meant driving around a 16-mile auto tour in the rain, reading the signs that described the battles that took place there. Colonial Williamsburg was nice, even though some of the buildings we wanted to see weren't open when we went there.

By far the most interesting place was Jamestown. We went to both the state and the national sites, two very different depictions. The state site is a reproduction of the Powhatan village and the Jamestown fort, and although that was pretty interesting both my husband and I were fascinated with the real site. Since I'm not a history buff, I had no idea that the original Jamestown site was uncovered in 1994. Prior to that, it was thought the site was washed away into the river. There are archaeologists working on the site now, and visitors are able to watch them while they work on the excavation. More than a million artifacts have been recovered so far, and they're still working away. I think I'd have made a good archaeologist - I love looking for things like that!

So, instead of showing you pictures of my creations today, here are some pictures of Virginia in November. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

For someone whose favorite colors are black and white (pretty obvious if you take a look at my closet), I sure seem to be on a color kick lately. I'm not sure what's causing it. Maybe it's just a phase. It's kind of fun, though, so I don't mind that all these colors are inserting themselves into my designs.

The Crazy Quilt cuff is one of the newest designs I've created, and I did it after I designed the crazy quilt heart pendant. I thought I needed to have a crazy quilt bracelet to go with the pendant, so I began with the same design and just kept adding wacky shapes and colors. I started this one before I left on vacation (did I mention that I was in Virginia for a week?), and because I didn't want to haul a dozen colors of delicas on vacation with me it had to sit and wait for me to return.

Lest my black beads feel abandoned, I also recently made another one of the twisted ndebele ropes. These are really fun to make, although they're kind of time consuming. It's not actually black, but it's pretty close - dark charcoal gray beads, lined with silver; and one row of larger crystal clear beads to make the rope twist. I named it Mercurial.

This is the fourth or fifth one of these twisted ropes I've made now. Some of them twist more than others. I finished one not too long ago that's wickedly twisted - so much so that I can't quite figure out what to do with it. For now it's been relegated to the almost-finished-but-needs-more-work basket. Don't we all have one of those baskets? Or boxes? Or drawers? I've actually pulled a few things out of the basket lately. It's interesting to see the progression in my designs.

Okay, now for a couple of silly things. The first of the silly things is a new set of Christmas cards I designed. Apparently a couple of the presidential campaign slogans stuck in my mind, and the idea for these cards just popped into my head. I think lots of people are going to be having a merrier Christmas this year since Barack's been elected. There are probably still some McCain (Palin?) supporters out there who'd appreciate a Barack Obama Merry Christmas card. Right?

In case you can't read the captions, they say Yes we can have a Merry Christmas! and Have a Merry Christmas for a change!

The other silly thing is a picture my husband's uncle emailed to me. This is one of those things that elicited a single "ha!" when I first saw it.

I love a good blonde joke. After all, blonde is more than just a hair color - it's a state of mind.