Friday, May 30, 2008

Blog-about is fair play. Right?

Yesterday I snagged another Treasury West on Etsy, and I featured some fun color combinations. One of the things I chose to include was a fun little Summer Colors ring by CatherinetteRings, and she already located that gold star that told her she had something in the treasury and blogged about my collection! Yay!

Here's the What colors do YOU like together treasury, so you can see just what a fun collection I assembled.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Don't you just love getting free stuff? Well, after signing up for Entrecard a few weeks ago, I read something in one of the blogs I was visiting about a site called MyPoints. I think I might have actually been a member at some point, but I let the membership lapse or something. Anyway, I read all about the point system, and since it seemed relatively easy to earn points I signed up again. I hate those sites where you sign up and then you have to do a bazillion things to earn points, but MyPoints really is very easy. I've already accumulated quite a few points just by reading emails and answering simple little surveys. Points can also be earned by shopping at quite a few places, so I got some extra ones when I made an online purchase at Office Depot. That one was kind of cool -- I needed to get something that I always purchase at Office Depot anyway, the online price was less expensive than in the store, and there was FREE delivery!! Woo hoo!!!

Today I received an email from MyPoints with an offer for a coffee club called BocaJava. With as much coffee as I consume (I buy four pounds of Starbucks beans every three or four weeks, all for use in my espresso machine for my daily fix of latte), I figured it might be worth trying. I hopped over to the BocaJava site, following the link in the email, and now I'm getting the introductory special deal of four different types of coffee for $8.95 with free shipping. According to the site, there's no obligation, so I can cancel the membership if it turns out I don't like the coffee.

Here's a button, in case you feel like trying it for yourself:

Get a discount on me

Now I think I'll go have myself some latte... I'm one of those lucky people who can drink a double-shot latte and then go right to sleep.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Monday, May 26, 2008

It's always fun to find something of mine in an Etsy Treasury, and Carol Dean (SandFibers) put my Passion for Purple beadwoven necklace in one just a couple of days ago (that's it in the lower left corner).

The single-color treasury is always fun to assemble, so today when I happened to snag one in Treasury West, I decided to go with BLUE. Not because of a mood, mind you, but because I just love the color blue. I just created this blue treasury, so there's still time for you to go check it out in person!

Go Etsy! :-)

Friday, May 23, 2008

There's something to be said for brand loyalty. I'm not really fanatical about certain brands, as I know some people are, but sometimes you just have to stick with the things that work.

I make these little Captioned Critters notecards (you can see some of them in that slideshow up there), and that means that I'm always cutting up cardstock. I've also been trying to eliminate many years' worth of accumulation of drawing paper, watercolor paper, chipboard, and matboard by cutting it up in to ACEO-sized blanks and listing them in my Etsy shop. So my paper cutter gets used A LOT!

The paper cutter I have is one of those guillotine types, and this one's made by X-Acto. It's cut thousands of cuts, and it's finally beginning to show signs of needing replacement. Yesterday, as I was cruising through the MyPoints site (a pretty neat place, in case you want to check it out), I found an offer for some bonus points for purchases through Office Depot. I figured I'd see if they had paper cutters, and I ordered one that seemed to be even better than the X-Acto cutter I have. It's heavier, has a larger bed, the bed's made of wood instead of plastic, and overall it just seemed like it would be a better cutter. It was also $20 more than what I paid for the X-Acto cutter. That should mean it's better, right?

Well. It was delivered today (awesome delivery service, BTW - next day delivery was FREE!). I anxiously unwrapped it, set it up on my dining room table, and did a few experimental slices.


I couldn't get a straight slice at all. The cardstock kept shifting no matter how much I tried to hold it in place. The guides on the bed of the cutter aren't accurate either, so 2" wasn't really 2" but more like 2-1/8". That might not sound like a big deal, but I need precision.

The new cutter has now been wrapped back up and will be returned to the local Office Depot (at least I hope they let me do that). I'll have to go find another X-Acto.

All of that made me think about the things I purchase and just how many of them are a particular brand...
- Starbucks espresso beans. I've tried others for my daily ration of latte, but I like Starbucks the best.
- Point root beer. It's really good. And the bottle caps are funny.
- Fiskars scissors and paper punches. I like the way they work.

- Miyuki Delica beads. They're so well made, and they come in a bazillion colors. I love 'em!
- Charmin toilet paper. Mr. Whipple was right. There's a new Charmin, too. It's called "Ultra-Strong" and it has quilting or something. Tried it. Didn't like it. Went back to the 2-ply. Nuf said.
- Sakura Micron pens for drawing. Wonderfully precise. I always buy them at Dick Blick, which is a great place to shop for art supplies.
- Skechers and New Balance shoes. I have narrow feet. Really narrow (9 AAAA, to be exact). For some reason the Skechers shoes fit my feet pretty well, even though they don't come in narrow sizes. New Balance is the only sports shoe I can wear. Everything else falls off my feet.

I know I could make a much longer list, but then you'd just be bored reading it all.

Have any brands you particularly like? Tell me. Maybe I'll try 'em. :-)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What once was old is new again. I don't know where that quote originated, and this isn't a particularly poetic use of it, but it's just what popped into my head when I took this photo.

I decided it was time to "retire" my old work gloves. That pair on the left is two years old. They've obviously been put to good use -- carrying firewood, hauling brush and debris to the burn pile, digging up shrubs, pruning trees, pulling weeds, carrying lumber, and whatever else merited the donning of work gloves. I really don't like to wear gloves when I do things outdoors (and my hands and nails bear testament to that), but there are just times when it's necessary. Juniper bushes are scratchy, itchy things. Lumber and firewood have splinters just waiting to puncture my skin. Digging, pruning, and pulling wouldn't normally cause me to don gloves, but last summer I had three marathon weekends of yardwork; and I would have would up with horrible blisters if I hadn't used those.

It was time, though, for a new pair. Yesterday's trip to Menards resulted in my purchasing a brand new pair of deerskin work gloves. The new ones are exactly the same as the old ones. Hard to believe, isn't it? These are a bit pricey ($12.88 for one pair), but I think they're worth it. They hold up really well, and although they stretched a bit after having been soaked through a few times last summer, they still fit my hands pretty well.

What'll happen to the old pair?

Well. I'm a saver. Some might say PACK RAT. Those old gloves, while they might be unsightly and worn, still have some life in them. They'll go into the van, where they'll be at the ready for the next time we need to move lumber, firewood, mulch, or something else.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I've been dropping Entrecards for the past couple of weeks, and what I initially thought might be a chore has turned out to be somewhat interesting. I've found blogs by some fellow Etsy sellers, found others with some good recipes (even though I'm not much of a cook), found some about books (I love to read), and some about movies. Luckily, I read pretty fast so it's easy for me to scan through the articles.

Well, now entrecard has added some more features to the system. One of the new features is "Add New Blog", which will allow people with more than one blog to link them within their entrecard accounts. I can't imagine maintaining more than one blog! I have enough trouble just keeping this one current. They've also published The Official Entrecard E-Book, available for download by members. I'll probably take a look at that later.

I guess all my diligence in dropping and advertising has paid off. My blog is getting more views, and I hope some of the visitors here are stopping by my Etsy shop. There's no way for me to tell, unless someone happens to mention it to me. I've moved up in the entrecard rankings so I'm holding the second most popular spot in the Fashion category. Yay!

Monday, May 19, 2008

I spend a lot of my blogging time talking about my beadweaving, and while that's obviously a subject that's near and dear to my heart, the truth of the matter is that I do all sorts of other things too!

When I first "discovered" the Sir John Tenniel illustrations of Alice in Wonderland, I fell in love with them. I then proceeded to make all sorts of creations using the illustrations... cards, tags, stickers, labels, and whatever else I could think of. Last year I altered the illustrations to make them festive by adding bits of red to the illustrations. I know that's not how they were originally drawn, but I really like the way they turned out; and apparently lots of other people like them also because they're a pretty consistent seller in my Etsy shop.

Yesterday I took a stroll through the Etsy treasuries to see what interesting things I could find, and I discovered that lolos1963 had used some of my Alice tags in her "Alice, oh Alice!" treasury!!! Yay!!!

Wanna see what else I've made with the Alice illustrations? Click here. :-)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Susan (aka ClinkscalesArts) assembled a beautiful Treasury yesterday, and I'm really thrilled that she included my Victorian Ruffle necklace in it. (That's it in the third row down on the left.)

I am constantly amazed at the variety produced by the members of the Etsy BeadWeavers group. We all start with these tiny little beads and some thread, but then we go in thousands of different directions. Anytime one of the members gets in a beading rut, all she has to do is to try to think of something for one of the monthly challenges. They're always fun, and even though I haven't participated in one in awhile, it's fun to see what everyone else creates.

I didn't have a chance to do any beadweaving at all today. :-(

In fact, I don't think I did any yesterday. :-(

We're trying to get ready to move, so I'm focusing on clearing "stuff" out of our house. It's slow going. Wednesday we had a big pile of boxes and bags picked up by the local Vietnam Vets chapter. I've been posting a few things on craigslist and on eBay. And still, it seems like it's barely making a dent. I'm sure it'll be different when I finally get around to listing some of the furniture and larger things we don't want to move.

One thing I've been doing is trying to eliminate some of my collection of arts and craft supplies. It's really hard to part with them because I know I could still use everything I have (well, okay, I'd have to live to be about 125 years old), but some of it just needs to be gone. I've done my own framing for a long time, and I have quite a stash of matboard. That's not something that's particularly easy to move, as the sheets are 32" x 40", so I've been cutting up all my matboard into ACEO size blanks and listing them on Etsy. That's keeping me pretty busy. Apparently there are lots of ACEO artists out there who just don't want to cut their own cards! It's great because the stack of matboard is dwindling, and I'm almost out of the stack of chipboard I had; but it's a LOT of cutting!!

When I'm not trying to eliminate "stuff," I'm packing it into boxes so it'll be ready when we finally move. I have to admit to being somewhat obsessed about the way I pack things. Every box is coded, and the contents of every box are recorded in a spreadsheet.

Is it wrong that I use spreadsheets for just about everything!??!? I think not. I've used the spreadsheet method before, and it worked wonderfully. (By the way, we don't move very often.) It makes a great household inventory, which will come in handy if we ever need to file an insurance claim for a fire or flood (fingers and toes crossed here that that never happens). It also makes it VERY easy to find things. No more trying to read the labels scribbled on the boxes. I can figure out ahead of time where every box will go in the house, and when I'm looking for something I just have to search in the spreadsheet and then go to the correct box.


There's method in my madness.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

I know I said Etsy Treasuries are hard to get, but I actually managed to snag one today! I just happened to be checking the Treasuries when the number was hovering at 333 and up popped that little box for the title. Yay!

I decided to fill this one with color. Click here and give it some love. :-)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

My newest original beadweaving design, Just a Scribble was finished and listed in my Etsy shop on Monday, and I really love it! This one was inspired by a scribble on a piece of paper, just proving that inspiration can come from just about anywhere.

I fully intended to post pictures of the new cuff yesterday, but I wound up having lots of orders thanks to marymary's post in the Storque about her Top 10 Whales. She included my Whispering Whale mini notecards in the list, and I wound up getting orders for a whole bunch of Captioned Critters! I was pretty happy about that, especially since marymary had actually purchased some awhile back and gave them a little brag in the post.

Since Etsy admins are changing their stance on considering it spamming when someone lets you know they've featured you in a treasury, I was pretty happy this morning to find a convo from bluemoose telling me that she had featured my Tropical Storm cuff in this beautiful Treasury West of Mosaic Eye Candies. It's a great collection, and I'm honored that she included my cuff in it!

Monday, May 12, 2008

I've been dashing out to the mailbox every day in anticipation of receiving the package of clay pendants and cabachons created just for me by JenniferFoxArt.

I "met" Jen on Etsy when she ordered some of my Fox Felicitations cards and tags (kind of perfect for her, actually). She really liked the cards, and when she came back for more (and extra special ones created just for her!) the next time, we worked out a trade. Jen received a bunch of cards and tags, and I received this beautiful mushroom-shaped bowl. I just love it!

Well, after the bowl arrived (promptly unpacked and placed on my hearth), I asked Jen about making some porcelain/clay pendants and cabachons for me. I've been wanting to experiment more with my beadweaving, and I knew I'd love whatever she created for me. Shortly after I returned from vacation, Jen let me know that she'd made seven pieces for me.

And then today... there was a package in the mailbox!!!

I opened the bubble mailer and found this inside:

Now you just know that when the wrapping's that cute, it's bound to be something wonderful. The next stage of unwrapping revealed these brightly colored tissue packages (I can't even tell you how difficult it was to have to PAUSE during this unwrapping so I could take these photos!):

And then... (insert drumroll here) TA DA!!!

You still can't really tell just how beautiful these are, and I can hardly wait to start creating with them. Of course, I'll have to sit and look at them for awhile to make sure I create something extra special. I have some ideas, though... I know at least one of these is going to give me the chance to try a new braiding technique from the book I bought about a month ago, 200 Braids to Twist, Knot, Loop, or Weave (and thanks once again to Carol Dean for causing me to give Amazon some more of my money -- I couldn't resist).

Aren't packages in the mail FUN!?!?! :-)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

My blog is now three columns! Yes, I know that's not the most exciting news on the planet, but it's pretty darned exciting for me. I've been wanting to do that for quite awhile, and yesterday I finally decided to tackle it. It was much easier than I expected, and now I can spread out some of the things I want to place on the sides.

I've been busy beadweaving away on my latest idea, but I don't have any pictures to post yet. It's raining and miserable outside, so it's not a good time to take photos.

I did put this cute little necklace into my Etsy shop yesterday, though. I started creating these little tubular pendants a few months ago, and I just love them. They're so simple and modern looking.

This one, the Squid in Striped Stockings, is a fun variation.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Etsy Treasuries are hard to get, but Triz managed to snag one and featured some beadweaving in it. It's a beautifully-assembled grouping of creations in blacks and browns, and I'm honored that she included my Industrial Paint cuff (it's in the middle of the third row)!!!

Carol Dean (aka SandFibers) is always on the lookout for treasuries, and she let me know about this one. That's her Beaded Larvikite Pendant in the second row. I'm borrowing Carol Dean's screenshot of the Treasury. :-)

You can check out the pure style treasury on Etsy until Sunday morning.

Kim (aka RegalBeads) also grabbed a treasury and filled it with accompaniments for the ubiquitous little black dress. It's exciting to have TWO of my beadwoven creations in treasuries at the same time! You can check out Little Black Dress until tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Etsy BeadWeavers Monthly Challenges are always fun, and although I had an idea for the May challenge, the Food Chain, I didn't get a chance to execute it. Several other of the members finished their pieces, though, so go check out the EBW blog and VOTE!!!

All I can say is that my idea involved these little green eyeballs, which I purchased from ValerieBeads. I wasn't really thinking of them for the challenge back when I bought them, but I just thought they were a hoot and had to have 'em!

I haven't given up on using my idea for these little beady eyes... the June EBW challenge is Anything Goes, so maybe you'll see these in another month or so.

Yesterday I posted one of my newest creations in my Etsy shop, a necklace/pendant I created using some beautiful iridescent beads and a gorgeous stone I found on the beach in Long Island. I have LOTS of stones left, and I can hardly wait to embellish more of them with beads and wire.

Now it's time to create (time2cre8, ha!) some more!


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Beadwork Magazine, by Interweave Press, is one of my favorite beading publications, and now I think I like them even more. I don't typically enter contests for beadweaving. It's not for lack of ideas, but I just never quite get around to working on those projects because I'm doing so many other things.

The magazine is having a new competition, though, and I just know I'm going to have to enter something in this one! Why?

It's about books!!! I have thousands of books. Seriously. I know this because I'm currently logging them all into a spreadsheet (and for those of you who know me, spreadsheets are NOT a disease). I read every day, and I absolutely love love love books. I recently discovered, though a fellow Etsy person, a site called BookMooch that I've been frequenting so I can trade some of the books I don't want to keep in my collection for books I'd like to read and own.

This contest was announced in Beading Daily (if you're a beader or beadweaver and don't subscribe to Beading Daily, you really should!). As soon as I read it the ideas started swirling around in my head. The entry period is far enough in the future (August 1-December 18, 2008) that I'll have time to work on some of those ideas. The toughest part will be deciding exactly what to create.

In case you want to check it out for yourself, here are The Rules.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

How to create a beautiful necklace...

Begin with a donut pendant created by a fellow Etsian (RedCrowArts),

add a spiral rope created from lots and lots and lots of seed beads, include some tiny fringes in a contrasting color (following the suggestion of Carol Dean, aka SandFibers),

and voila!

I ordered a few pieces from Red Crow Arts, and I love them all. I have such an affinity for black and white, though, that there wasn't much doubt which of the pieces I'd use first. The finish on this donut is beautiful, with the crackled look accentuated by the glossy finish. It's very lightweight, too, so the person wearing this necklace won't feel weighed down at all.

Soon to be added to my Etsy shop...

Friday, May 02, 2008

Graduations are just around the corner, and I decided that I'd finally create the graduation card that's been floating around in my head for the past three years. Yes, three years. I came up with this bit of silliness when a friend of mine was graduating from college and was continuing to live with his parents.

Most of my cards are created using vintage, copyright-free illustrations, and this one's no exception. I thought the image of this couple happily celebrating was just the thing for the front of this card.

And for the inside? Why, all parents' real wish for their children...


We don't have any children.

Is it any wonder?