Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday, February 29. The birthday celebrations are over, and I had a wonderful day yesterday. A good movie (Vantage Point), good food (filet mignon), a free movie rental at the local video store, and a peaceful and quiet evening at home. Those are the ingredients for a great birthday.

I have LOTS of Etsy sellers to thank this week! I realized at some point last week that I had a lot of chipboard stashed away that I'd never use, so I started cutting it into ACEO blanks. I can't believe the response! There are lots and lots of artists out there getting ready to create ACEOs. Judging by what I see in some of their shops of their larger artworks, their ACEOs are going to be beautiful.

I'm doing this week's post a bit differently for a couple of reasons. I have a long list of people to thank, I'm really tired, and my Internet Explorer is acting up. I want to be sure to thank all these people, though! This week, I'm just posting the shop names of each shop so you can stop by for a visit. I was trying to post Etsy minis, but my IE is driving me batty!

When you get a chance, please visit these REALLY REALLY REALLY nice Etsy sellers!

I've already gone through each of these shops to choose my favorite thing, but my browser is not cooperating! I'm gonna try to update this tomorrow so you can see what I chose, but in the meantime you can choose something for your very own!


Thursday, February 28, 2008

It's my birthday!!!!

Hooray! The day's about half over, but so far it's been great. I had a breakfast of crepes and Canadian bacon, accompanied by two cups of latte. A couple of birthday phone calls. And a lot of birthday emails and e-cards. :-)

To top it off, Carol Dean (SandFibers) created a treasury with one of my beadwoven cuffs in it AND posted a birthday wish to me in her blog. What's really weird is that another of Carol Dean's friends, Louise from scarfitup, shares the same birthday!

Happy birthday to me.... happy birthday to me.... happy birthday to ME.... happy birthday to me!

And for you blog readers out there... if you're planning to visit my Etsy shop anytime soon, just wish me a happy birthday in the Notes to Seller and I'll give you the secret birthday discount. :-)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I spoke too soon... There was more shoveling yesterday. I'm really sick of snow now. Where the heck is spring?!?!

The Tropical Storm cuff has been completed and listed in my Etsy shop. I'm really happy with this piece, but then I knew when I only had it half finished that it was going to be one of my favorites. I took a TON of photos of this cuff because I wanted to display it against a bunch of different backgrounds.

Now I'm wishing I had some more of those brightly-colored beads... I foresee a shopping trip in my near future.

Friday, February 22, 2008

No shoveling this week! Hooray for that. I'm more than happy to put away the snow shovel.

I did get quite a lot of beadweaving done this week. I go through phases where I want to mess around with beads all the time (similar to the phases where I want to draw, knit, make cards, and all the other things I do), and this was one of those weeks. I finished the Tropical Storm freeform bracelet I posted about earlier, but I haven't figured out yet what I want for the closure. I'm debating between using a beaded bead or a button, and I'm leaning heavily toward button... but it has to be just the right one.

I finally finished this other freeform cuff, which I named Gold Rush. It was a similar exercise in decision making... and I finally found just the right button to complement the cuff.

I also came up with an idea for a simple little pendant, and I'm absolutely thrilled with the way this Totally Tubular pendant turned out!

I have a few Etsy sellers to thank this week, so on with choosing my favorite items from their shops!

First is Katy (aka KisforCalligraphy), who does... surprise surprise... calligraphy! She also has some great little envelope seals in her shop, but because of her shop name and her art form I just had to choose this Say Cheese birthday card. Katy does the old-fashioned kind of calligraphy with a dip pen, and that requires (in my humble opinion) a whole lot more skill than the kind done with the felt-tipped calligraphy pens.
I was actually excited when this next seller, Amy of societysedso, visited my shop for some custom-made hang tags. I've been ogling Amy's polymer clay creations for awhile because she makes the cutest octopus (octopi?) you've ever seen! She also has pendants that are just a single tentacle, but how can you possibly resist an octopus named Chirp?!

Karen (aka LemachiDesigns) is another polymer clay artist, but her work is so different from Amy's that it looks like a completely different medium. It just goes to prove just how versatile polymer clay can be. Karen creates pendants with her polymer clay, and she adds her own artwork to them. I really love the way she leaves the edges kind of rough and unfinished -- it gives these such an organic look. Isn't this Dreamy Sprite beautiful?

Sydnei (aka SimplySentimental) has visited my shop quite a few times in the past. This time she came back for some mini prints of my ACEOs, and I've given her special permission to use them on cards. I know they're going to look wonderful because Sydnei makes such cute and whimsical cards and paper piecings. I took a stroll through Sydnei's shop and found these cute little Smiling Sun paper piecings. Aren't they great?! I think I like these so much because I use smiley faces all the time. Smiling is a good thing!

Last, but certainly not least among this week's sellers, is Karen (aka
schOOLLOcker). I have long been an admirer of Karen's shop, which is filled with some of the best supplies I've ever seen. She does a great job of photographing them to make them even more appealing, and if I didn't have a houseful of supplies already I'd be spending lots of $$$ in her shop! It was tough for me to choose a favorite something from her shop because I'm like a kid in a candy store around supplies, but I finally settled on these Alpha Chipboard Stickers. These would sure spiff up a scrapbooking project!

So once again, a great big THANK YOU to the Etsy sellers who visited me during the week! Go check out their shops, 'cuz these are some nice people with some great stuff!!
:-) (see? a smiley face)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I've figured out that the optimum time for picture taking is 2:15pm. No, I didn't spend a lot of time performing analytical studies to test that theory. It required some trial and error, but now that I know this it will help me plan my day.

Ha. Like there's any planning in my day!

Carol Dean Sharpe (aka SandFibers) saw the Cream in My Coffee cuff I created and suggested that it would make a great design if created in two different finishes rather than in two different colors. Off I went to my bead stash to choose some of my favorite beads... dark-colored Delicas with a rainbow finish.

I finished the beadweaving a few days ago and took some photos. Blech. No visible pattern.

Wait a day or so, take more pictures at a different time of day. No visible pattern.

Wait another day, take more pictures with the bracelet lying by the front door with lots of southern sunlight streaming in. No visible pattern.

Today? I just happened to be taking photos of some other things this afternoon, and I thought I'd give it another shot. Position everything next to the back door, with some northern light shining in through the glass, angle the little hand just so, snap a few pictures... et voila!

The funny thing is that I didn't have a name for this cuff until I was taking this last bunch of pictures. The name just popped into my head at some point while I was moving it all around to catch the light just so... Midnight Sky.

Monday, February 18, 2008

I don't usually take in-progress shots of my beadweaving. I've never really thought about why I don't do that until today, and it occurred to me that it's because I do most of my beadweaving at night while I'm watching TV. It's too dark for me to get a decent photo, and I'm so focused on the beadweaving itself that it just never crosses my mind to take pictures.

I thought it would be nice, though, to create a little visual diary of some of my projects. I began creating a freeform bracelet for the Etsy BeadWeavers current challenge, Stormy Weather. It all begins with beads... lots and lots of beads, in lots and lots of sizes... there they are all laid out on my beading cloth.

From what I've read, it appears that lots of my fellow beadweavers sit at a table while they're beading. They have these wonderful workspaces, with Ott lamps to shine down on their works in progress and all their tools at hand. Me? Nope.

Oh, don't get me wrong. I have the workspace. I have a whole room dedicated to my arts and crafts. I never work in that room. Never. Well, unless I need the sewing machine for something. It's really just a storage room, despite the fact that it has great natural light, lots of shelves and drawers, and a HUGE work table.

Nope, I choose to do beadweaving while I'm sitting on my sofa watching TV. I have a little halogen light that shines down on my work. My work surface? It's a cutting board. It fits nicely against the arm of the couch and my left knee, and I sit there twisted into a pseudo-pretzel shape and happily beadweave. Every once in awhile my needle gets caught in the beading fabric and goes zinging across the room. My husband has grown accustomed to these flying bits of shrapnel. I can't imagine how many beads are floating around down there under the sofa cushions and in the lining underneath. I might just have to flip that sofa over someday and retrieve all those beads. I could create a Sofa Bracelet! :-)

Okay, so back to the work in progress. This bracelet, which is quickly asserting itself into cuff size (which, to me, just means it's wider than a bracelet) is for the Stormy Weather challenge. I have so many dark-colored beads, because those are the ones I'm always attracted to, but I decided to step out of my comfort zone and create this piece... Tropical Storm.

All the colors of the tropics (with heavy leaning on turquoise, orange, yellow, and green) assembled into a wild freeform cuff. I'm pretty happy with the way it's going so far, although I've noticed that it's getting wider and wider and wider as I go. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose. It's the nature of freeform to take on a life of its own.

It's about halfway finished right now. I'm sure I can finish in time for the March 5 listing deadline. But just in case, keep your fingers crossed for me!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Hooray! There was no snow shoveling today!!! That's a nice break, although the weather forecasters are saying we'll get more on Sunday. Booo. This is NOT how a deck is supposed to look! I don't care if there is sunshine there on the corner. That's just not right.

I've still been beading away, although I haven't managed to come up with anything yet for the Etsy BeadWeavers current challenge, Stormy Weather. The winner of last month's challenge (Spring Break) has been announced in the EBW blog, so go check it out if you haven't seen all the entries.

It's Friday once again, and once again I'm posting an extra thanks here to the Etsy sellers who purchased from me during the past week.

SuAn (aka pearlsofalice) is a big fan of Alice in Wonderland. (I think that's pretty obvious from her shop name.) She ordered some of my Alice in Wonderland notecards and Valentines, and I can hardly wait to hear how she likes them. Those vintage Tenniel illustrations are so much fun. SuAn only has one listing in her shop right now, but it's a cool-looking set of stickers featuring the Mad Hatter's Tea Party. These aren't the Tenniel illustrations, but they're neat!
Carol Dean (aka SandFibers) visits my shop pretty regularly, but it's usually to check out and comment on my latest beadweaving. Carol Dean, you see, is an incredibly-talented beadweaver herself and co-moderator (with me) of the Etsy BeadWeavers Street Team. I was stunned when she purchased two of my photographs, and I'm so excited that some of my art will adorn her walls. Now I have a dilemma... choosing my favorite piece from Carol Dean's shop. This was TOUGH, and I'm still not sure this Modern Arrowhead Choker is my favorite, but it's fun, it's different, and it's beadwoven using the colors from her signature piece.

Kimberlee doesn't have an Etsy shop, but I just have to mention her here. She has an obvious affinity for ravens, and she's placed a second order for custom raven hang tags from me. Although she doesn't have an Etsy shop, she has some great vintage items in her shop, Edgar and Edgar. I'm not sure why exactly, but I really like this Vintage Candy Store Ribbon! Maybe I'm hungry...

Viki (aka MISSVIKI) has an Etsy shop that's filled with lots of vintage things and jewelry. It wasn't hard at all for me to settle on a favorite, though. I know it's weird, but I really like jesters and mimes (just check out my Etsy shop banner and avatar!), so this Mardi Gras Necklace just called out to me.

Keep your fingers crossed for me! NO MORE SNOW!!!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

I've been beading a LOT lately. It must have something to do with all those Delicas I ordered recently from Fire Mountain Gems. Couple that with the fun I've been having experimenting with designs using the freebie bead pattern software that Carol Dean Sharpe told me about, and it's easy to see why I've become obsessed [again] with beads.
In addition to the
beadwoven tulip ACEO that was created for the Etsy BeadWeavers challenge, Spring Break, I created this wide beadwoven cuff which I named The Cream in My Coffee:

I was so carried away with those spirals that I've since created three or four other bracelets that are variations on the same theme. They're in different colors and widths, and I don't have pictures of them yet, but they'll wind up in my Etsy shop soon.
Not too long ago I created this pendant for PurpleHug, the person who won my blog contest during one of the EBW Challenges. I'm thinking of making more of these because they're such fun to create and they're such a cute design.

Here's a closeup view.

I also tried my hand at making spiral ropes. I'd seen some that I really liked in the magazines and books I have, but I'd never tried one until about a month ago. One of the first attempts was this Passion for Purple necklace, which is in my Etsy shop. I absolutely positively no-bones-about-it LOVE the beads I used for this necklace!!!

I was still playing around with spiral ropes when I created this little blue bracelet, which I gave as a thank you to Mary, the instructor at Making Glass who gave me my private lesson in glass fusing.

It's a simple design, but I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out; and now I know that I can do spiral ropes!
One of the other pieces I designed took me in a direction I don't usually go... abstract! I'm much more inclined to create geometrics and pieces that have defined shapes and structures, but I was playing around with BeadTool and came up with the design for this bracelet almost by accident. Ever heard of a 'happy accident'? That's how I'd classify Fresh Paint.

If only there were more hours in the day for beadweaving, listing things on Etsy, posting to this blog, cleaning my house... Oh never mind. I don't want to do that last one anyway!

Friday, February 08, 2008

More snow! I thought last week's snow was icky, but this week we wound up with snow 18" deep in our driveway. It started on Wednesday morning and snowed almost the entire day. And not that nice floofy stuff either. This was wet and heavy, so my snowplow technique didn't work very well. I did part of the driveway and the sidewalk, and by the time I got about 2/3 of the driveway done it was impossible to tell that I'd done the driveway by the garage or the sidewalk. More shoveling yesterday, and one last bit today to take care of the stuff the snowplows piled at the end of the driveway.

It must have been really bad because the postman (you know, those guys who bring the mail through sleet, snow, hail, rain, etc.) didn't show up on Wednesday!

Tuesday was the deadline for entering a piece into the
Etsy BeadWeavers monthly challenge. The theme for this month was Spring Break, so I decided to create a beadwoven ACEO of a purple tulip. I'm really happy with the way it turned out, even if it doesn't wind up beating the other 35 entries! Actually there are some pretty phenomenal entries this month, so go check 'em out and vote for your favorite.

Here's my beadwoven ACEO, entitled
First Sign of Spring:

The first Etsy seller I have to thank this week is päivi (aka Beautifulthings). This is one of the reasons the internet is such a wonderful tool. päivi lives in Finland, but through the wonders of Etsy she came across my shop and asked me to make some custom tags for her. We were able to work out all the details via several convos, and I got to make some of the cutest little tags ever using her images! päivi's shop has some cute little earrings and pendants, and for once it was easy for me to choose a favorite. I love this little Fish Pendant! Or what-used-to-be-a-fish pendant. :-)
Lelia (aka lthell) has a bunch of fun totes, aprons, and oven mitts in her shop. I really ought to wear an apron when I cook because I always wind up making a big mess, but I never do. I guess if I put on an apron that would imply that I like cooking, and I really don't. I do, however, LOVE coffee; so I chose this I Heart Coffee Tote as my favorite thing from Lelia's shop. Wouldn't this be great to carry your books and journals to your local Starbucks? :-)

Fawn (aka fawniejcreations) has a shop filled with jewelry, bookmarks, wine charms, banners, and other things; and right now she's even having a sale (through February 10). There are some pretty little bracelets that are on sale for incredible prices, so be sure to check them out! My favorite thing from her shop? These little Green Glass Flower Earrings. Maybe it's because I'm wishing for spring and an end to all the snow.

Raye (aka RayeBroxapCrafts) is an experienced crocheter, but now she's beginning a new adventure with ACEOs, and I think she's off to a great start with this Cat Collage. There's so much work in this piece, with all those intricate folds and the other embellishments, and she's offering it for only $5!!! She also has some cute crocheted items in her shop, so check it out!

Emily (aka foolingnobody) (and isn't that a great username?) creates art and photography. This statement from her profile is a great description of her work: "A feast for the senses... calm in the chaos of a busy world... inspiration for sleeping people... speaking through visual art what the soul and spirit can not utter in words." I like her black and white photographs, particularly the Stairway to Nowhere. Don't you wonder what was going on with these steps?

Make sure to check out these shops as you stroll through Etsy. And don't forget to vote for your favorite Spring Break entry on the EBW Blog!

Friday, February 01, 2008

The plan today was to go to the movies, but the snowstorm that hit our area last night changed that plan. I opened the front door this morning and saw a 3' tall snowdrift in front of our porch. I knew that didn't bode well for the condition of the driveway, as a drift at the front of the house usually means a drift piled up in front of the garage door. Sure enough, when I opened that door there was snow 3' high. Even though we have a four-wheel-drive vehicle, I opted to spend some time shoveling. After an hour I had only about a third of the driveway finished. Back in the house, make some cappuccino, rest for awhile, and then more shoveling... another third done. More cappuccino, more rest, and just about the time I was getting ready to head back outside our neighbor came over with his snowblower and finished the rest! Woo hoo!!! He did the toughest part -- that section at the end of the driveway where the snowplows had piled it way up high. My husband suggested that I make him a cup of cappuccino to thank him for the snowblowing. Now, apparently, our neighbor has decided that he needs to buy himself a cappuccino machine... :-)

Okay, enough talk of the weather.

It's time for my Etsy Friday tradition... saying an extra thank you to the Etsy sellers who purchased from me during the past week by featuring one of my favorite items from their shops.

My first thanks goes out to Gretchen. She doesn't have an Etsy shop, but she has a wonderful website (bediboo) that's absolutely filled to the brim with cuteness. There are all sorts of different goodies in Gretchen's website, which she says is "the store for things we've found we can't live without." And who could live without this cuter-than-cute tutu!?

Jodi (aka BeadworxAZ) came back to visit my shop when she found some matboard ACEO blanks I had listed. Although Jodi and her husband make absolutely beautiful lampwork beads (I know this because I was lucky enough to be able to trade with Jodi for some of them awhile back), I decided to feature some of Jodi's artwork - the Seven Seas ACEO. Keep in mind that this tiny bit of art is only 2.5" x 3.5"!

Reesa (aka stringtheoryfiberart) was nice enough to let me know that she found my shop through Aija's blog (zero). (I sure wish Etsy would provide some mechanism that would tell us where our customers originate!) I had no trouble at all choosing a favorite from Reesa's shop when I found this Handpainted Firefly Silk Laceweight Yarn, called Love. The colors in this are sooooo beautiful. I sure wish I knew how to do something besides knit in a straight line!

Nicole (vintagethisretrothat) has lots and lots of vintage and retro goodies. Hmm. Perhaps that's how she came up with the name of her shop! :-) Isn't it fun to look at all those kitschy items from the past? Once again I had no trouble finding a favorite, living up to the reputation I have for being attracted to "bright and shiny things." Check out these cool Vintage Rhinestone Buttons. Sparkly!

Jaci (aka cravejewelrydesign) came to visit again. I do so love it when customers return! Jaci's jewelry designs are so simple and uncluttered, and she uses unusual components to create them so they're really interesting. I found these Vintage Glass Earrings that are made with sterling silver and vintage frosted glass beads that look like seaglass. How pretty!

Beth (aka BadBabyQuilts) makes... you guessed it... quilts! And even though her shop name would imply that these are baby quilts, they're not those pale pinks, blues, yellows, and greens you see at the baby showers. These bad baby quilts are BRIGHT!! I love this GrapeBaby Strips Quilt!! Doesn't it look delicious?!?!

Last but not least is Rachel (aka Arnicae), who's another returning customer! Hooray!!! Rachel came back for more Captioned Critters, and I'm happy that I have some new critters in the collection since her last visit. Rachel's shop has some quirky and cute little felt creations, but when I saw this photograph of a Sea Star Reaching for an Anemone I knew I had to post it here. The ocean is just about my favorite place to be (I think I'm part fish, which is fitting since I'm a Pisces). Rachel did a wonderful job capturing the allure of the ocean with this photo.

Help me thank these wonderful Etsyans by visiting their shops! You're sure to find lots of wonderful goodies...