Monday, April 27, 2009

Blog Features and Some Other Stuff

This, I fear, is going to be a somewhat rambling post. Maybe it's the lack of caffeine in my bloodstream (having only finished half a cup of latte so far this morning). Bear with me. :-)

First off, I'd like to send a cyber thanks to two people who were nice enough to give me mentions in their blogs:

Angela included one of my Understated Greetings in her blog post about the meaning of life. I hadn't visited her Glitzed blog before, but now I'm following it to keep an eye on Angela's commentary.

She's definitely got a sense of humor, as evidenced by one of her newest listings for a roller derby wife engagement ring. Don't know what that is? Read the description - it's a hoot!

One of my newest beadwoven creations, Galadriel, was included in a blog post by Ruthie (a fellow member of Etsy BeadWeavers). Ruthie has a blog called Rose Works Jewelry's Treasury Blog, where she creates treasuries of her own. This one was dedicated to members of EBW and featured lots and lots of RED!

Ruthie didn't include any of her own beadweaving in the post, but these earrings would have fit nicely, don't you think?

I've posted before about etsyhacks, but it's worthy of another post. I just can't tell you how handy these scripts are! I'm so spoiled now that I can search for something I want to edit and click the 'edit listing' link right there on the item's page while I'm viewing it, rather than having to scroll through pages and pages of listings to do it. Convos right from the receipt page? Yay! I love that!!

And now there are a couple of new scripts that simplify shipping AND let me search for sales info more easily (even though I have a spreadsheet that does some of this, it's nice to have it right there on my Etsy pages). The two new scripts are called sold orders plus and show "ship to". They both require a little bit of extra work beyond just installing them, but it'll only take a couple of minutes and will surely save you lots of time! I think my favorite one of those is the show "ship to" one, which displays the name and address of the customer right on the Sold Items page, underneath each order. Yes, I know that information's on the receipt (duh), but it's nice to see all the addresses displayed there so I can double check against the packages before I put them into the mail.


Next in this rambling post, I have to show you the latest beadwoven items I've added to my Etsy shop. It may seem like I'm working up a storm, but in reality all I'm doing is photographing and listing up a storm. :-) I'm notorious for finishing, or almost finishing, pieces and then letting them sit for weeks before I get around to taking photos and writing up the listings. It's just so much more FUN to make these things than it is to photograph them and write about them!

This piece, called Pumpkin Spice, was inspired by the beautiful raku bead I received from Lisa Peters. It just kept talking to me and telling me that it wanted to be part of a nice, simple necklace. Now I want more of those beads!!! :-)

Having finished that really simple necklace, I decided to finish off a bead crochet lariat I made a couple of months ago. I made the lariat while on a vacation (bead crochet is such a great beady thing to take on vacations!), but I hadn't gotten around to finishing off the ends. The lampwork beads I received last year from Moon Stumpp (mixedmediajewelry) were PERFECT for this piece, which is called Deliciously Denim. (Check out the listing to get a better view of the lampwork beads.)

And finally, one of my newest peyote designs, which is called Retro Pods. I've been working on some new designs for bracelets and cuffs. I love the organic look of this design, and it really did have an organic inspiration -- the tumors I saw growing on trees when I visited Sweden a few years ago! :-)

Last, but certainly not least, is a reminder for you to visit the Bead Art Originals blog to check out the Items of the Week for April 27 through May 3. There are 12 members participating in this week's specials. Aren't these pieces beautiful!?!

Okay, it's time for that second cup of latte (the one I was working on when I started this post is all gone).

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What's in a Name?

Sometimes I think of a name while I'm still making a bracelet or necklace, and other times it seems like I'll never find the right name for my beadwoven pieces. I like being able to find names that have meaning or that somehow relate to the look of the piece, so I'll sometimes look at baby name websites so I can find a name that works. I've even tried some of those fantasy name generators, but I haven't used any of the names yet.

In a few instances, when I've used a focal bead created by another artisan, I've incorporated the artist's own name or the artist's name for his/her creation into my piece's name: Lisa's Heart (a herringbone bracelet that features a raku button made by Lisa Peters), Over the Moon (a multi-strand necklace that features lampwork beads made by Moon Stumpp), and the Natasha Necklace (which features a gorgeous polymer clay bead, called a Natasha bead, by Dee Wilder of Malodora).

Do you spend a lot of time thinking of names for your creations? Where do you look for them? I'd love to know how other people come up with their names!

One of my newest creations, Aglaia, was named for one of the three Graces, from Greek mythology. The name means "beauty" or "splendor," and I thought it was a fitting name for this brilliantly colored twisted ndebele rope. This piece combines deep dark magenta with orange-lined citrine colored beads to create a versatile accessory that can be worn as either a necklace or a bracelet. And this time I made matching earrings!

This was another piece that wasn't really planned (I seem to have a lot of those) but just demanded to be made when I happened to see these beads next to each other. The combination of colors is amazing, don't you think?

I'm not really that familiar with Greek mythology, so I had to do some hunting for the name. For some reason, I keep tracking down Greek names for these twisted ndebele ropes.

Another new piece, which isn't quite finished yet, is this Luscious Lavender and Pearl necklace. I'll admit I didn't really put much thought into that name. It's a custom order for a very special repeat customer, and I was more concerned with getting to work on it and getting it listed than I was in tracking down just the right name. Sometimes a descriptive name works, right?

I love making these oglala pieces. After several of them, I think I've finally figured out the right "formula" to get the length I want. They're really pretty simple to make, and it's fun to play around with different colors and different focals. In fact, I have a bunch of bigger beads I purchased specifically to use for some oglala pieces... now if I only had the time to get them made!

Here's a spring-themed cuff that was no problem at all to name: Shasta Daisies. Oh, if they were all this easy... :-) But then that would be boring, wouldn't it?

The latest piece to exit my beading board is the one that brought up this whole naming question. The idea for the colors in this caterpillar bracelet came from my friend Deb DiSalvo of ArtisticFlair (fused glass artist extraordinaire!). Deb suggested that I do a caterpillar in black, white, and red (coincidentally some of my favorite colors), and I finally got around to working on it. It's hard to tell from the photos, but the base of this bracelet is made from black-lined smoke colored beads. They wound up being almost completely hidden by the 342 fringes I added. Yes. 342. I counted them. :-)

Anyway, after looking through baby names, flower names, coral names, Welsh names, Swedish names, and French names (whew!), I finally settled on Galadriel. I'm a huge fan of J. R. R. Tolkien, and Galadriel was a Noldorin elft princess renowned for her beauty and winsdom in his novels. The names means "maiden crowned with a radiant garland," and that just seemed to fit this piece. Don't you agree? Hey Deb, whaddya think???

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Who Doesn't Love a Quilt

Ever since I was little, I've loved quilts. My grandmother used to make them, and I have fond memories of lying in bed with five or six of them piled on top of me -- so many that my feet were flattened out by the weight (it was cold in my room). I still have quite a few of those quilts, and I treasure them all.

I started making beadwoven patchwork cuffs as an homage to those quilts. The first one was a multicolor one, similar to the scrap quilts from long ago that used the good parts of worn out clothing, flour sacks, and whatever colorful fabrics happened to be available.

Last week I decided I wanted to make a "themed" patchwork bracelet, so I came up with the idea to do one in spring colors -- pinks and greens. I think that's just because it seems to be taking a long time for spring to get here this year. Am I a little too impatient?

Seeing that one, and still having some of the pink beads lying on my beading board, I decided to I needed to make another one! This time I chose shades of red and added some more shades of pink. I really love all the different finishes and colors in this piece. Each one of these little patchwork bracelets uses 20+ different beads. They just don't seem "right" if they don't have lots and lots of colors.

As much as I like creating designs for my peyote bracelets and cuffs, sometimes it's just fun to blend some colors together and see what happens. That's what I wound up doing for this cuff. The idea for this one came when I found this button in my stash. Silver and purple look so great together (I'm a big fan of purple, even though my all-time favorite color combination is black and white), so I used silver-lined Delicas in a beautiful plum color and a pale silvery gray color and just mixed them together. And I still like this button. :-)

Today's project? Another twisted ndebele rope, this time using some really wild colors. It might be finished tomorrow...

While I'm working on that I'm gazing at a couple of beautiful clay cabochons I received from Lisa Peters (LisaPetersArt). I haven't quite figured out what I'm going to do with them yet. They're both spectacular, and I need to make sure I create something worthy of them. Whatever I make will go back to Lisa so she can display it at the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee at the end of May. I guess that means I have a deadline. Ack!

Oh well. It's just another opportunity to play with my beads. :-)

Monday, April 13, 2009

It's a SALE!!

Yep, there's a big sale going on... and not just my stuff either (although I'm participating).

The Bead Art Originals Etsy team is having a BAO Welcomes Spring Sale AND Giveaways!!! More than two-thirds of our 28 members are participating in the sale, and quite a few members donated their creations for the giveaways. You can see all the details on the BAO blog. (I'm offering a 10% discount on anything beadwoven when you leave "BAO Welcomes Spring" in the Notes to Seller. I don't have any plans to offer that type of discount on my beadweaving, so it's a great chance for you to make a purchase if you've seen something you like.)

We didn't create a graphic especially for the sale, but I just put together a mosaic made up of a single image from each member of the team. This mosaic is being used for the front of a postcard we're having made, and it demonstrates just how talented our members are. :-)

Isn't that beautiful!!!

Now get over to the BAO Blog to check out the sales and enter the giveaways!!!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Not Much Talk, Lots of Pictures

I can't believe how time gets away from me! I was busy working on some custom cards, trying to pack, getting ready for income tax day (argh - the latest in the year we've ever done them!), and all the other stuff that goes on around here; and I haven't had a chance to post anything to this lonely little blog.

So here goes... mostly just pictures this time. Hope you like 'em! :-) (By the way, you can visit my Etsy shop to see more pictures.)

First, the newest version of my Damask cuff, this time using dark kelly green and medium gray. I just keep seeing these colors used together and had to try them out in a cuff.

Second, a Multicolor Puzzle cuff I created in honor of National Autism Awareness Day. I actually had it finished by April 2, but I didn't get the pictures and get it listed until the next day. For every one of these cuffs purchased during the month of April, I'll be donating $25 to the Autism Society of America.

Third, this WILD purple and orange necklace which I named Over the Moon, both as an indication of how I felt about the completed piece and to honor the maker of the lovely lampwork beads I used as the focals, Moon Stumpp (aka mixedmediajewelry). Not only is she a talented lampworker, but she's really really nice. :-)

Fourth, these two bracelets... These aren't in my Etsy shop. They were gifts for some very special people (and they know who they are so I don't have to post it here). I just wanted to show them off! :-)

Ta da! That's it for today's post. If you're finished reading, go check out the Bead Art Originals blog to see all the Items of the Week for this week. There are some wonderful pieces and some great specials!! Here's a sneak peak at the offerings: