Saturday, August 29, 2009

Something new

One of my William Holland teachers showed me how to bead crochet (rope crochet) last summer when I was up there taking a totally different class. This particular teacher is a good friend (she is nice enough to put up (and put up with) Bailey and me whenever I go up there for school, and she teaches Beadweaving, Wire Wrapping, and Cold Connections. I was up there that week taking something else entirely, but she met with me one evening in the dining room and taught me how to bead crochet.

And after that night, I didn't pick it up again until about a week ago, and it is now my new current addiction.

This is the first bead crochet project that I actually did myself from start to finish, and I think it is pretty cool.'

When I get a little more adept at it, I may start teaching it in my bead shop.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Not in a Million Years

Tell me this isn't really happening - a TWO-hour special, on network television, in Prime Time, on "the OctoMom"?!?!!!


It's not bad enough that Entertainment Tonight, and all those other "Celebrity" shows can't shut up about this famewhore?

I would not watch this alleged "special" tonight even if thousand-dollar bills FLEW out of my TV screen for every second I sat there.

I think the press, and the networks, and anyone else who foists this crap on us SERIOUSLY overestimates our interest in her, and, as usual, underestimates our intelligence.

Monday, August 17, 2009

OMG I'm Bored

I am so incredibly bored today that I am wandering around the living room taking pictures of stuff.

The boredom started yesterday - I spent some time beading (bead-crocheting, actually) - but making a bead crochet rope is just (to me) incredibly repetitive and boring.

And there was nothing good on TV, to keep me rooted to my seat while beading. So I didn't get much done - and the same was true today - I worked for about 2 hours on the rope crochet, but then I had absolutely had it.

So I just grabbed the camera, and started walking around.

I have an absolutely incredible lapidary collection - I have been collecting specimens for over 40 years. I even had a rock tumbler in elementary school, and tumbled rocks I found around Minnesota (where I lived at the time) for weeks, and weeks, and weeks.

This picture shows an agatized coral head, from a riverbed in Tennessee. And in the foreground, a gigantic piece of raw malachite, purchased from a published collector who travels through Afghanistan collecting malachite. (Or at least, he used to). This particular specimen is about 8 inches in diameter, and over 12 inches long.

When I was 5, I was hospitalized for about 3 months, and desperately needed things to keep me busy. I had a Lite-Brite - remember those? But after a couple of weeks, I had finished every single design available, and so my Dad brought in some fabric, and beautiful threads, and needles, and a embroidery-frame he had made himself just for me - it was adjustable to many different sizes, and the tension could be finely adjusted - it was a piece of art itself!

And then he taught me all kinds of needlepoint, including crewel.

And I spent hours doing crewel - and continued until I was in my 30s.

I made these 2 wall hangings, which have moved with me over the years, but always find a place in my living room, wherever I set up house.

This lamp was handmade by Wishon-Harrell in their Muncie, Indiana, studio. I lived in Muncie for about 5 years, and knew both these gentlemen well, and have a lot of their artwork - many lamps, and a wall clock, and vases, and candle-holders, and entire set of dishes, including a casserole and drinking tumblers.

I have heard rumors that their studio is closed - of course, it was back in the early '80s that I lived there and frequented their studio.

OMG - I'm not only bored, I'm old.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I finally finished a personal project!

I have taken better pictures in my day, but at least I am happy with my new necklace.

It all started when a bead vendor came to the shop about a month ago, and I snagged this gorgeous fluorite specimen from a strand of fluorite that consisted otherwise of much smaller, though still gorgeous, fluorite beads - this big one just stood out too much, so I just had to take it, don't you see?

I spent a few hours looking around the shop for other odds and ends to pair with it.

I have always wanted to use one of these sterling silver mesh beads (I call them tumbleweeds) that I nabbed at a GL&W show in Franklin, NC 2 years ago. I have had these beads for 2 years, and never used them, and they are luscious! I actually took them all out of my personal stash and out them up for sale in the shop last week, and no one has purchased any yet, so now I have used the first one.

I found a few stray teal freshwater pearls that really make the fluorite "pop."

I found a huge white freshwater pearl that I loved, and some smaller white button freshwater pearls, and some Swarovski pearls in various blue and green hues.

I've had this gorgeous sterling silver connector with 3 rings on the bottom in the shop for ages - and again, I think I'm the first to use one. Once I started dangling things, the opening in the middle of the connector just seemed to cry out to be filled, and I found this great hammered sterling disc that fit in there perfectly.

So I set about making my dangles, and attaching them to chain, and it took 2 full days to get everything hanging at the right lengths and positions to satisfy my eye. Late yesterday (after the shop had already closed, actually) I attached the bail, and found a rolo chain with a great look and weight to carry off my new "pendant", and I am just right pleased with myself about now.

And while all this was going on, I decided to look up the metaphysical properties of fluorite - and that made me feel even better about this whole combo. I have never put a lot of stock in this kind of stuff, but I liked what I read, and I figure it can't hurt...

According to what I read, fluorite is considered one of nature's most powerful mental healers (and goodness knows, I could use some of that about now). Fluorite allegedly has the ability to influence the activities that occur on the mental plane of consciousness and to amplify, focus, expand, and create new pathways for the mind. Fluorite is also believed to connect a person’s being on the mental and spiritual plane. This allows it to increase abilities of concentration, discernment of truth and clear decision-making. Other properties include bringing order to mental chaos, increasing objectivity, enhancing creativity, curing mental disorders, easing meditation and freeing one from bad habits.

The many colors of fluorite are believed to have different mental healing specialties. Green can energize and still the heart and mind. Blue is for inner peace. Purple is for focus and helping to get one out of a mental rut. Yellow is for comprehension and group communication and dynamics. White is for creating pathways between the individual and universal spirit.

I take all this with a grain of salt, but like I said, it can't hurt!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Too Much??

This is my new jewelry line - what do you think?

I have always gravitated toward big, chunky, colorful jewelry, and so I just decided to go for it.


This shot shows my big bold chunky necklaces, and matching earrings, or armpit-rings --whatever - they have heavy hooks so they will easily hook to the armhole of your sleeveless top or tank.

Layer them, for a more dramatic statement!

OK, actually, these are the beaded suncatchers from the windows of my bead shop - I had to take them down because I am getting the windows tinted this week, and they were in the way. They'll go back up when the work is done, even though if the guy does the job correctly, there shouldn't be much sun to catch!

It is just unbelievably hot lately - and the sun coming through the glass along the front of the store is just beating me down. The A/C can't even begin to keep up with it!

So I realize there will be a tradeoff - it will be cooler in the shop, but also a little darker. Folks may have to take the beads outside to really match those difficult colors, but that's OK.

Monday, August 10, 2009

It's always something

Down at the bottom of this post, I showed a picture of a project I was hoping to fiddle with the next day.

But I had forgotten that I was teaching a class the next day - so that day was shot.

Then, I got bead shipments, and had to sort beads, price beads, etc - this is ongoing and endless, it seems.

And then I took stock of the inventory on Friday, and realized I needed to place orders for findings and such - so the whole week was basically gone. And I think I spent a whole 30 minutes last week on my little fun project. I really, truly hope I can play with it tomorrow.

I actually took a class on Saturday - and made this:

It is technically finished (according to the teacher's instructions) - but I am not happy with it. The wire-coiling frame looks too dainty for this giant piece of impression jasper, and it actually isn't even stable - it will flop around the stone, because nothing anchors it but the wire going through the center of the bead. So basically, it is a flimsy, spinning, bead frame - which was not the plan.

So I am going to smack it with a little Sweet Freedom Magic, hopefully tomorrow or Wednesday, and make it better!

If nothing else comes up, you understand....

Something tells me both of these projects are going to end up in that HUGE box of half-finished projects in the back room - the ones I was all excited about starting, and then I got interrupted, and then I got distracted by a new project, and now my poor babies are abandoned.

It's not just me, right - does this happen to anyone else?

Is there a 12-step program for this?

Oh - Bailey is running a little poll over on his blog - if you get a chance, take a look - he fancies himself a big investigative journalist now. In fact, he posted some pictures on Flickr that may get his daily treat privileges revoked!


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Can you say Shout-out?

'Cause I sure can. YES I CAN!

On tonight's So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD), my buddy Nigel actually referred to Tasty Oreo - er- Tyce Diorio as "the only choreographer [he knows] who's named after a cookie.

And then Cat added, "and a delicious one, at that."

And I was wrong - Mia wasn't the 3rd judge tonight, but only because she was a featured choreographer, and that little conflict of interest isn't allowed on SYTYCD. But at least they filled the 3rd chair with the glorious Adam Shankman!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I forgot to title this post!

I know some of you actually come here to read about my jewelry adventures, and I humbly apologize to all of you.

Truth be told, I hardly ever get to make something purely for me, or for fun, anymore.

I became a bead shop owner almost exactly one year ago - my "anniversary" was 8/1 - and ever since buying the shop, my jewelry making days have all but disappeared.

It takes SO much effort and time to run the shop, especially since the shop is not sustainable enough for me to afford employees.

I spent countless hours ordering inventory, sorting inventory, doing repairs, cleaning (Yuck! - I barely do that at home!), and teaching classes, that very little time is left.

And of course, there has been the whole millipede situation at the house, which I have been dealing with for 2.5 months. Ugh.

My absolute favorite thing to do, whenever I DO have time, is chainmaille - it is basically my obsession. If only the rings would appear, fully formed and ready to use - 'cause I despise cutting jump rings.

This is my latest creation - I just love this weave, and I like it in these 2 pinks:

These 2 pictures show the bracelet from the front and the back - I am amazed by how different it looks on each side.

But it takes about a week to complete one of these bracelets - that's a week of steady chaining- not just grabbing a little free time here and there to work on it. It is really a tough weave!

I got a huge new selection of gemstones in the shop 2 weeks ago, and have just finally finished getting them sorted and priced and out on display. Somewhere in these gorgeous beads I found this beautiful nugget of fluorite, and snatched it up for myself -

I have an idea of what I want to do with it, and hope to start on it tomorrow, if nothing else gets in my way first.

Remember this? The stunning turquoise and pearl necklace was something I dreamed up as a custom design for a customer, and the pink and pearl dangle earrings were made for a good friend who is getting married in just a few weeks. The 2 designs really had nothing to do with each other, except I made them both the same week.

But now my friend, the bride-to-be, has decided she wants her wedding necklace to be made in the same way as that turquoise and pearl creation, except all in white pearls, and rose and crystal AB Swaroskis. So she has been in the shop this week, working on it, with a little help from me - She is about halfway done, and it looks great, and will be perfect with those earrings!
I'll try to get a picture of it when it is done, to show here.