Friday, November 30, 2007
As usual, with the end of the month, I've been racing around trying to string all of the projects I meant to submit for the Art Bead Scene Challenge. Here's a simple one - coffee and dessert. The cute lampworked dessert and coffee cup beads are by Debi Cogwell, the Palm Tree Queen. For some reason they remind me of two of my favorite dessert cafes in New York City - Cafe Edgar and Cafe Lalo, both on the Upper West Side, where I used to live. It's been years since I visited either one. I don't even know if Cafe Edgar is still around or not. The "Edgar" stood for Edgar Allen Poe and there were reminders of EAP and his work in the store decorations. I remember that Cafe Lalo is one of the places that they filmed in "You've Got Mail" (it's the cafe where she's waiting for her on-line friend with a red rose). It's right across the street from the Children's Museum where we took the Short One, but it's such a busy place that we didn't want to try going in there with a young child. Anyway, both places make/made the most fabulous desserts. Yum.
Just a reminder - everything is 25% off in my Etsy store. The sale runs until midnight tonight.
Have a great weekend.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
In the spirit of the season, I had the Short One pick the discount amount for my one day holiday Etsy sale from this hat. Cute, eh? The pattern is from Handknit Holidays by Melanie Falick. While the young lady wearing sexy lingerie and modeling the hat in the book is pretty cute, I think the Short One is much, much cuter in this hat. Not that I'm biased or anything. (For anyone interested, the X-Small size will fit a young child pretty easily.)
Anyway, the SO picked 25, so all items in my store are now 25% off through 11:59pm EST for Friday, November 30th.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Janel has still not contacted me about her winning necklace. Janel, if you're out there, please do send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your address. I'll be more than happy to send you the necklace! If I don't hear from you, I've decided that the necklace will become a second prize for the next giveaway. I'm not sure when this will be held yet. The Short One's birthday is coming up in a few months, so maybe then, if not sooner.
I finally decided on one item to buy for the Husband for Christmas - a copy of the Pixar film "Ratatouille". We're big Pixar fans in this house. Even before the Short One arrived, we happily toddled off to see the latest Pixar film on our own. The fact that the most recent one was about French cuisine (sort of) makes it even better (you may recall that the Husband loves to cook). Unfortunately, the H already knows he's getting this for Christmas, so I still have to come up with something that will actually be a surprise, but at least it's a start. How are all of you coming along with your Christmas shopping (if you celebrate Christmas)?
I had a good night with the metal clay last night. I made the components for two full necklaces - they're in the kiln now, as I write this. With the temperature dropping at night, it's getting harder and harder to work outside. My kiln is in the garage which is detached and unheated. Because I don't want metal clay dust floating around the house, I do any pre-fire finishing of the pieces at my, er, that is, the Husband's workbench in the garage. I think I need to bite the bullet and invest in a space heater. It just seems so ironic, given how much heat the kiln itself generates when it's running. Oh, well.
Oh, also, I have a spot on the Etsy Showcase tomorrow. Since the shop is so new, I've been debating what to do about holiday specials and such. I've decided to run a couple limited specials before Christmas. In particular, I am discounting the fortune cookie beads by 30% as a Showcase special. The discount will only be valid during the Showcase from midnight (EST) through 11:59pm tomorrow, November 28th.
Thanks for stopping by!
Monday, November 26, 2007
So, I've been haunting the BeadStyle Magazine website lately waiting for the official release date of the January 2008 issue. Apparently, it's finally out, but I went around to the local bookstore and bead store, and they don't have the issue yet. If anyone is a subscriber and already has it, I'd love to hear from you. The first necklace I made out of PMC, including the very first bead I ever made out of PMC (a little "moon" bead - basically a ring filled with thorn-like beads in the center) is profiled in the Gallery section of the magazine. I made this necklace for Art Bead Scene's challenge back in May - "Ophelia's Garden". It was actually the winner (by random drawing) for that month. I was so proud of it when I finished that I submitted a photo to BeadStyle. I was so surprised when they actually accepted it for publication.
BeadStyle keeps a piece that they will publish for several months (I actually have one necklace that they will be keeping in their offices for close to a year - it won't be published until next summer). This particular piece was returned to me in late October. By that time, I had been working with PMC for almost 6 months. As I waited for the piece to be returned, I was wondering if I would find it hopelessly crude looking or, even worse, discover that my skills really hadn't improved in the interim. When it finally arrived back, I discovered that I still liked the piece, although there were things that I would definitely do differently now. I think my finishing skills have definitely improved. (In fact, I am wondering whether the magazine's professional photography will treat the piece gently or not - I'm dying to see it.) Anyway, regardless, this necklace is what started my whole love affair with PMC, so it's very special to me. If you find yourself in a bookstore over the next two months, I hope you will take a look!
As usual, thanks for visiting!
ps. I just received my advance copy of the magazine in the mail (I didn't realize I would be receiving this). According to the cover letter, the issue will go on sale on December 4th. Thanks!
Sunday, November 25, 2007
I have a confession - I'm a bit of a closet otaku, and I like kawaii stuff. If all of this is Greek to you (well, actually, it's Japanese, but you take my meaning), don't worry about it. Kawaii embodies that peculiarly Japanese cultural phenomenon of cuteness, the most famous example of which is probably the Hello Kitty brand. I'm not a big Hello Kitty fan (although I do like Hello Kitty's associates, the wide-eyed Chococat and surly penguin Badtz-Maru), but I like the more generic kawaii stuff that you see all over the place on Japanese products, like cute desserts and animals. This bear is pretty typical of the phenomenon.
I recently ordered a bunch of things from Japan, with the idea that the kawaii images would make cute charm bracelets. I made this one as sort of a prototype. It's actually probably the most serious-looking of the bunch, but he kind of appealed to me. I'm planning on making myself an entire bracelet of kawaii grocery store images. Yep, that's right - kawaii groceries. It's wacky, but I love this stuff!
Oh, and I just listed my first sale item in the store. I have no idea if anyone will be interested or not, but I'll just mention it. Air bubbles are definitely my enemy when working with resin, and they often sneak up on me while I'm in the middle of the curing process. I was making one of my better koi pendants when I noticed that an air bubble had appeared under the lower fin of the koi (the koi's "armpit", as the Husband calls it). Unfortunately, it was too late to remove it, as the resin had already set around the bubble. However, the koi still looks great (in my humble opinion, of course - I guess it depends on whether you like my koi or not to begin with) and the air bubble is really hardly noticeable, so I've put it up in the shop at a 20% discount. It's features in my Mini-Etsy window on my blog which is to the right of this entry, if anyone is interested in a closer look.
I'm still trying to make headway on some more serious non-Etsy finished pieces. I've also resolved to prepare a few pieces for competition next year, and I've started the preliminary design process for that. I wish there were a few more hours in the day for all of this. I still hope to have a new piece ready to show you this coming week - but I said that last week, too, didn't I?
On other fronts, HP14 and HP4 (aka, the Monkees) have been settling in nicely, and they've been getting along famously with the Short One. I've had to keep a sharp eye on the group - who knows what mischief they could be getting into (the SO can be quite creative that way all by himself).
Thanks for visiting - have a great week, everyone.
ps. I keep forgetting to add this. I still have not heard from Janel, the winner of my 100th Post Giveaway. Janel, please contact me at email@example.com to arrange for shipment of your necklace!
Friday, November 23, 2007
This may sound a little weird, but I've always thought traffic lights make attractive decorative items. The lights have that nice jewel tone to them and the pattern is clean and modern looking. Well, I think so, at least. I like the way this pendant came out, but next time I'd apply a dark patina and try mixing opaque colored resin. I have a feeling the result would be more dramatic.
I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving. We certainly did, here. The Short One had his first taste of pumpkin pie. At the first suspicious bite, the small eyebrows shot up and excited noises were heard. Two thumbs up, clearly. I ended up having to grab a second spoon and inhale half of the pie myself, as I didn't want him to finish the whole adult-sized piece (only motherly, altruistic motives here, really. No, really).
Of course, some of us here in the house were more thankful than others:
No lager or bananas yet, but in the spirit of reduced expectations, the chair (which belongs to the SO) is very comfy. Ignore the huge pile of magazines in the corner, okay?
Have a great weekend, everyone. See you on Monday.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Here are the new Treasure Box pendants. These actually have a bit of a story behind them. I grew up in landlocked areas. As a result, whenever I do find myself near the ocean, I tend to act like a kid - I love playing in the sand and beachcombing. (During a professional conference in Naples, Florida several years ago, I got caught out by a former opposing counsel walking barefoot on the beach with a fistful of little shells. Fortunately, our case together had already ended. As it was, I just got a funny look from her.)
The Husband and I had planned an off-season trip to Sanibel Island in Florida, that mecca of shell-collecting. As it turned out, we found out that we were pregnant with the Short One just a couple weeks before our vacation. As a result, it ended up being a rather romantic trip (er, apart from the constant nausea and hurling on my part which was sadly not at all romantic). Better yet, because it was off-season, the island was relatively quiet - there were no lines for restaurants, the beaches weren't too crowded and the resort upgraded us to a suite that was bigger than the condo we were living in at the time and that had a beautiful view of the ocean. Plus, we had wonderful weather. And, of course, I collected really beautiful shells.
The shells in these pendants are from Sanibel. Personally, I think they have an aura of good luck to them. It was probably one of the best vacations we've ever had, and it was filled with that wonderful feeling of expectation knowing that the Short One was coming (oh, for those innocent days before we knew what we were in for). And, after all, I did get over the nausea and vomiting. Eventually.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
This piece was a bit of an afterthought. I wasn't satisfied with the way the focal for my work in progress, "Princess Charming", came out, so I decided to re-make it today with little tile letters at the top. I liked the way the tile looked enough that I decided at the last minute to do a small letter charm as well. Although the pendant is simple, I must say that I like this piece a lot. I like the jumbled look of the overlapping letters and the three-dimensional feel that they give the pendant. I think I'm going to try this again, once I figure out what I want to say. In the meantime, this pendant is now for sale in the shop.
I had another sticker incident yesterday. When the Short One went down for his nap, I left him with his Grandma and took the opportunity to go post some letters. Upon returning, I discovered that I'd blithely walked around with two cartoon stickers placed, in nice symmetry, on either side of my cheeks, like colorful sideburns. Sigh.
Well, everyone has arrived at our house for Thanksgiving, and we're ready for a low-key holiday. It's my family's turn for Thanksgiving, and we usually have Korean food during the holiday, not turkey. This year, Mom decided that she wanted turkey but none of us (read, Mom, the Husband - whom you may recall loves to cook - and me) really wanted to try and wrestle with a bird. One of our local restaurants does a smashing Thanksgiving dinner - much better than any of us could manage - so we'll be eating out this year. Since the SO considers eating out to be a treat, anyway, I'm sure this will turn out to be a popular decision. (Having said that, I have it on authority from Jenn Kelly of CaliGirl Art Glass that you really need to put your turkey in a brine for superior moistness. I'll have to give that a try next time.)
Given our low-key holiday, I probably will post tomorrow, too, but in the meantime, I hope all of you and your loved ones are preparing for a Happy Thanksgiving (if you celebrate Thanksgiving - I always found it interesting that the university where I studied in England always served turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce for the American holiday).
Thanks for visiting!
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
I've been trying to create a new seasonal pendant and made this prototype today. What do you think? I've been staring at it for so long that I can no longer decide if it looks cute or not. I will say that the background color turned out much much darker after the application of the resin than I anticipated. Next time I will try a lighter blue. Does it look like a stylized snowflake to you?
I put a couple more koi into the shop, including a double, yin yang version that sent me into conniptions this evening. I doubt I will be doing many of these. The sheer amount of fine silver involved in making a bezel this size makes me nervous. I think to myself "Don't make a mistake, don't make a mistake" (okay, what I'm actually thinking is a little more pithy than this, but you get the picture) and, of course, the minute I start thinking this, I inevitably and perversely choke. Yep. In some ways I do very well under pressure, but in others, not so much. In this case, the pendant came out fine, but I did in fact choke on two smaller pendants I was working on at the same time. Grrr.
On the other hand, as I was planning on how to execute this piece, my mother (who is visiting for Thanksgiving) kept commenting on what a nice size the pendant was and how she'd be able to wear something like it. Mother, being the arbiter of good taste in the Family, has apparently given this design her seal of approval, which is a good thing. However, she does have a tendency to make off with my best handknit sweaters and jewelry (sorry Mom, but you have to admit that it's true), so I'll probably have to keep one eye on the pendant while she's visiting...
On a completely different note - Vicious Chicken, if you are reading this, I have to profusely apologize. I know I promised you a little return Monkey Love, and I have yet to deliver. It turns out that I needed to order something for the ML, and it's still in the process of being shipped to me. Please do believe, however, that I haven't forgotten! (For anyone who finds this statement a little dodgy, please go here for elucidation.)
Speaking of Monkey Love, there have been odd banging noises emanating from the hall closet lately and muffled demands (with an oddly English sounding accent) for bananas and lager - not necessarily in that order. I feel that the Short One is likely to receive a few guests of his own for Thanksgiving this year. (And if this also makes no sense to you whatsoever, ditto.)
Thanks for stopping by!
Monday, November 19, 2007
I was hoping to show you new work today, and I just haven't been able to get far enough along on it. Here's a Work In Progress pic, instead. You can kind of tell where I'm going with this, no? This interpretation may be wrongheaded to some of a feminist bent, but then again, I always did like classic fairy tales. I just wished that the princess had a more active role to play. M.M. Kaye has a nice modern version fairy tale - with a down to earth princess - written, I believe, for her granddaughter, called The Ordinary Princess. I'm also extremely fond of Gail Carson Levine's Ella Enchanted, a spirited re-telling of Cinderalla. (There was a movie version made of this recently with Anne Hathaway in the lead - have no idea whether it was any good or not.) Long before Harry Potter ever came out and long after I became an "adult" (at least on paper - some may still question my level of maturity), I could often be found reading stuff in the juvenile section of the bookstore. This occasionally causes my mother a bout of embarrassment, but as far as I'm concerned, a good book is a good book whatever the target age group. I'm still quite fond of books that I did read when I was a child, like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, too. In fact, I'm quite looking forward to the Short One becoming old enough to read some of these books together. (Right now, we're working on The Very Hungry Caterpillar and some Dr. Seuss, which are good in their own way.)
The shop, for some reason, is still a time sink. I can't figure it out - sales have been modest enough to keep up with easily, I don't have a tremendous amount of inventory listed, but still, I seem to be rushing around. It's a mystery. On the whole, though, I have to say that so far it's been a great experience, and I've become a big fan of Etsy. For anyone thinking of trying this themselves, I do recommend Etsy as a very easy way to go.
Anyway, with any luck, I will have this necklace finished by the end of the week, notwithstanding Thanksgiving. As fond as I am of the koi pendants, I'm really feeling ready to move on to something new.
Thanks for stopping by!
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Janel! Congratulations, Janel! Please email me your contact details at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will mail your necklace out to you. (I know I said in my last post that I wouldn't be back until Monday, but I completely forgot about the drawing. These senior moments are becoming more and more frequent these days. Plus, I need bifocals, but that's another story.)
Thanks again to everyone who participated and thank you all for continuing to read this blog. By the way, the Short One was a complete pro this time and picked a name out of the hat (or, in this case a shoe box - we just bought him snow boots) as if he'd been doing it professionally for years.
I hope all of you have a great weekend.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Here's one of the new designs I'm developing. Isn't the apple too cute? It's by lampwork artist Melanie Egan. She usually just sells specials from time to time, but she opened up the apples for ordering one day, and I managed to grab a few. There's a Granny Smith version, too. Anyway, I thought the checkerboard would make a nice basket pattern. The only thing I'm debating is whether to add tinted resin (a light gold color for the basket), add patina to the silver (ditto - light gold color for the basket) or just leave it the way it is and epoxy the bead onto the bezel. I'm leaning towards the last option at the moment. I kind of think it looks cute right now. As Vickie pointed out to me earlier, sometimes simple is the best. This pendant will go into the store, but I will probably have to make a full necklace down the road. I think this would look super-cute strung with glass leaves, either green or in autumn colors, or strung with a nice strand of peridot.
The Short One has been complaining quite a bit lately about the quality of the cuisine in this establishment. The chef (aka Mama, aka Yours Truly) has never really gotten over the fact that the SO no longer "eats like a pig" (the SO's pediatrician's words about infants in general, not mine). Oh, for the days when he would gobble down anything I put in front of him. Oh, for the days when he would even at least profess consistent likes and dislikes in his food. Now the favorite of one meal is the "what's this stuff?" of the next. Somebody please tell me when they grow out of this phase?!? I hope it's soon. The Husband once told me that when he was a child, he would stuff all of the vegetables he didn't like into the crack of the dining room table (where the leaf met the table). Apparently, his parents never cottoned on to what he was doing until, several years later when they were preparing to move, they discovered a trove of little dessicated peas and veggies upon dismantling the table.
Have a great weekend, everyone. I'll see you on Monday!
ps. Almost forgot. The 100th Post/Etsy Store Opening Giveaway will be closing around noon tomorrow. For your last chance to enter, go here.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Well, since I have to hang onto the original koi necklace I made, due to the upcoming publication, I decided to make another version to put into the store. Actually, I think I like this version a little better. The faceted rose quartz I used here is pretty chunky - about 12mm in diameter and the large freshwater pearls are about 10mm in diameter. I also feel that I'm getting better at making the koi pendants. My Showcase ad on Etsy started at midnight and will run all day Friday. It looks pretty good - please go here to check it out. I've already had some traffic to my store, but I'm not sure if it's due to the Showcase ad or due to the fact that I posted something new tonight (which always seems to generate some traffic). I'll be interested to see how many people actually visit the store tomorrow, though.
Good grief, I keep forgetting to post this, but remember this necklace?
Yes, it's not too late enter my 100th Post/Etsy Store Opening Giveaway! The drawing will be held midday on Saturday, so don't delay! Enter now for your chance to win!
Ahem. More practically, go here to enter the contest. Thanks! And thanks to everyone who has entered already. (Lisa, your computer story was so sad! I remember that when I was studying in England, I had a fellow American classmate who brought over a brand new Apple Macintosh computer and tried to plug it into the English socket without a proper adapter - completely fried the computer. I think she, like you, did get it replaced, and the incident had a happy ending, though.)
I feel that I'm finally more or less set up in the store for the time being (with the exception of a few more pieces of inventory), so I will hopefully be able to devote a little more attention to the blog and new work from here on out. I have a new necklace that's been in my mind all week - I just haven't had a chance to sit down and make the components for it, yet. If I'm lucky, I'll have something to show you early next week.
Thanks for stopping by!
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
As some of you may or may not know, in addition to fine silver, metal clay also comes in gold versions - both 22k and 24k. Given how expensive fine silver metal clay is (much more expensive than sterling silver), you can imagine how mind-bogglingly expensive fine gold (i.e. 24k) metal clay is. Trust me - it's mega-expensive, and it comes in little, eensy weensy packages (3g is a standard size package). I never expected to have the opportunity to work with it.
So, you see, I had this 30% off coupon for our local art supply store. Generally, it's much cheaper to buy PMC on-line than in a bricks-and-mortar store. However, with the coupon, and because I was going to be in the area for other reasons, it made sense for me to stop by to pick up a packet. Although the store had advertised holiday markdowns on many products, because this never ever applies to metal clay, I didn't pay much attention to it. So, imagine my surprise when one of the store clerks pointed out that the store was clearing out its stock of gold metal clay. Further imagine my surprise to find that it was the 24K version that it was clearing out and that said PMC Fine Gold had been marked down to more than 75% off the current list price (in fact, I have not even been able to find the current list price for the 24k version, only the 22k version). So I ended up walking out of the store with a tiny lump of pure gold (with clay binder) in my purse. Sure, it was still an indulgence, but I know for a fact that I'll never have this kind of opportunity to work with fine gold ever again.
So, I've been gloating in a completely unseemly way for the past couple days (in fact, some may say that I'm gloating right now - sorry, I just can't help sharing this with you). Every now and then I coo at the box, then put it away. There's only one problem, though. I'M SCARED TO DEATH OF USING IT!!! I think I'll just tuck it away in a safe place and just look at the box, from time to time for the next year. Do you ever do this? I do this with yarn all of the time - I find a really nice yarn on sale for a fantastic price, pick up a few balls, and then it ends up sitting in my stash, because I never seem to have a pattern worthy of it. So silly.
Okay, I'm off to fire another kiln load of my more standard fine silver. Thanks for stopping by!
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
I just added a few things to the store this evening, including this necklace. I was going to wait a while longer to list finished pieces in the store, but given that I have a Showcase coming up on Friday, I decided to go ahead and post a couple items. This necklace is actually a significantly simplified version of the one that will be appearing in the July 2008 edition of BeadStyle Magazine. I took the colors from an impeccable source of Chinese cultural images - the place mat of a local Chinese restaurant. (Needless to say, I have my tongue firmly in my cheek on this one. I am not Chinese, and I don't mean to insult anyone who is. Taking the blue, yellow, red and orange color scheme from a Chinese eatery just seemed in keeping with the whole fortune cookie theme.) I started out using my own lampworked glass beads for the colors, but ended up switching them out in favor of stones. The strong color combination expressed more subtly with semiprecious stones just seemed to work better.
I have to say that the only real downside to this new venture that I have noticed so far is that I find myself glued to the computer even more so than usual. Even the Short One has been picking up on this and has demanded his fair share of Internet time over the past couple days. This usually takes the form of surfing to the Sesame Street website and playing the Oscar the Grouch Trash Sorting Game. Well, I say "play", but it's mostly me sorting trash, while the SO offers color commentary and dribbles a bit on the laptop. The only really noteworthy thing about these sessions is that one of the items of trash to be sorted during the game is a half-peeled banana. For some reason, every single time this segment comes up, when the SO sees the banana on the screen, he hops off of my lap, runs to the kitchen and complains until I peel him a banana. It doesn't matter what time of day it is, it doesn't matter if he's just finished eating a meal, he will want to eat a banana while playing the game. Weird, no? I've said it before, I'll say it again - I would pay good money to know what exactly he's thinking at times like this. (Practically speaking, it means I've had to be careful to buy extra bananas lately when we go grocery shopping.)
Anyway, after listing my new items on Etsy, I spent some time making a few more koi out of polymer clay. Really, I'm usually not so stuck on one design, but there's something about those little koi pendants that I find very appealing (no pun intended). I'm definitely going to try to have a new one listed in time for the Showcase.
Okay, it is way past my bedtime. I'm starting to get that eyelids-propped-open-with-toothpicks feeling (and how nasty is that?). Have a great Wednesday, everyone! I'll see you sometime tomorrow.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Keen eyes may have noticed this in the side-bar already - once again, I've entered Stringing Magazine's design challenge contest, and once again, voting is now open. The theme for this quarter's challenge was "Double Trouble". I actually designed this necklace with this challenge in mind. Once again, I took the "double, double, toil and trouble" from "Macbeth" as being the "double trouble" for the necklace and used an adjoining quote from the play as the focus of the necklace. If you like this piece, I would certainly be grateful for your vote over at Stringing Magazine. Voting is open until December 9th.
Well, I'm making a concerted effort to stay out of the comments section of the giveaway this time. I do have this to say, however:
Phoar - he's gorgeous!!!
Hmm, yes, VC, I can understand why NBM was a little embarrassed to shout this at the top of her lungs in a crowded store. I would've liked a stuffed pig that said this, too, though. A one of a kind gift!
WMK - we love America's Test Kitchen here! Yep, we have it on TiVo. That's a great suggestion - thanks!
Laura - thanks for blogging me!
In short, thanks to everyone who has entered my little giveaway this time around. As usual, I'm enjoying reading the entries!
Also, thanks to everyone for their good wishes on my store opening. Despite a few hiccups, things seem to be going swimmingly at the moment. I just finished up a wholesale order and got a couple pendants ready for shipping tonight. I also managed the mad dash to secure spots on Etsy's main product Showcase over the next two weeks - it'll be interesting to see whether it makes a difference in terms of how many visitors I get to the store. Look for my store to appear in the Showcase this Friday and the Friday after Thanksgiving. I really badly need to make more inventory for the store before the first one, so I apologize in advance if my entries over the next couple days are a little short.
Thanks for stopping by!
Sunday, November 11, 2007
So, as I may have mentioned (the past two days are a blur of sleep-deprivation right now), I received a couple nice surprises in the mail on Friday. The first two were these packages that arrived from Bristol, England. (I wish I'd thought to take a photo of the outer package, as well, which was nicely decorated enough evidently to prompt the postal worker in England to warn the sender that it might not make it through Customs. Clearly, any Customs officer would want such a stunning parcel for him or herself, and that's even without knowing what wonderful stuff lay within.) Actually, there were three packages, the third being some Cadbury Roses - one of my favorite chocolates of all time - but they're long gone now.
Here's a hint as to what was inside these nicely wrapped packages. Can you guess? Whatever it is, seems to have come from Monkee Maker and seems to have a cute, plushie bottom.
Ah, yes, it's HP14! Hullo, HP14 - welcome to the U.S. But what are you holding there?
Oh, look, it's another monkee - HP4. Welcome HP4! I invited these two English monkees to come live with us, as I felt the Short One could use a few more monkeys, not to mention monkees, in his life. I bought two from MM (thank you MM!), so the SO and I wouldn't squabble over who gets to play with the monkee. While HP14 and HP4 don't really look all that related (except in that general monkee kind of way), I have to admit that I see them kind of as parent and child - HP14 as the sensible, all-knowing, always-right parent and HP4 as the little rascal who runs around mushing bananas in the carpet and squealing a lot. Er, not that I know anyone like that, of course.
I'm sure HP14 and HP4 will be back, but not until after the holidays. In particular, I've asked them to make themselves at home in the hall closet until Christmas. They don't really make all that convincing telephone books, but they're in a bag - hopefully no-one will notice they're there for the time being. So, please keep them a secret from the Short One, okay?
By the way, all of the background art in the above photos was provided by the SO.
Thanks for stopping by!
ps I've switched out most of the fuzzy, off-center photos in my Etsy store. More on this later.
Friday, November 9, 2007
Hmm, well, Blogger still counts this as being Friday, November 9th, but in fact, it's after midnight where I live, so I am going to go ahead and post this. (As usual, the biggest block of uninterrupted time I have is at night, after the Short One is in bed. I just have to forego incidental things, like, you know, sleep.)
Never mind, that, though! Welcome to my 100th Post! I can't believe I've already made it to 100 posts on my blog. I want to give a big thank you to everyone who has been reading my drivel for the past several months. You are all generous, gracious people, and you have saved me from the horror of mumbling to myself.
Also, I have now technically opened my Etsy store, although things are still a little unfinished here and there. For one thing, I can already tell that I will have to re-take some of my photographs. The Etsy program cropped some of them in a funny way, and I need to go back and deal with that. At any rate, the pendants are listed at this point, if anyone has any desire to see them. I have agonized about pretty much every minute detail of this, and I'm sure there will be changes over time. However, everyone has to start somewhere, and I've decided to start here. (I may end here, too, but I'm trying hard not to be too pessimistic at this point.)
I realize that many people who read this blog make their own jewelry and beads and will therefore not have an interest in my store as customers. However, if any of you do have an interest, I would like to offer you, as a special blog-only promotion, a small extra, namely: anyone who purchases a pendant from my store over the next week (essentially, while the Giveaway is running - more on this in a bit) will receive a free black rubber and sterling silver necklace. I just received these today, and I'm very happy with the quality. The necklaces are a substantial 4mm thick and create a nice statement with the pendants. They have a retail value of $12.00. Now, inevitably, when I opened my shipment today, I came up short on the number of necklaces, and it turns out that they, too, were backordered. (If I am still operating the store next year, I will definitely take note of when the Christmas holiday season starts for jewelry makers.) It is technically possible that I will run out of necklaces, but I sort of doubt it. One thing I will say is that I have a limited number of 18" necklaces - most are 16" in length. If you have a preference as to length, please indicate it in the comments section (and, of course, regardless, you should indicate in the comments section that you are a blog reader and would like a necklace). I will do my best to accomodate you. If your length is no longer available, I will let you know before shipment.
Now, on to the Giveaway! I won't tell you exactly how late I was up making this necklace last night, but it was pretty late. This necklace is approximately 16" in length. I made the focal from PMC (what else?). The shell pearl that I placed in the bezel cup is substantial - approximately 14mm in size. As usual, I filled the bezel with tinted resin. The clasp is a button I made from PMC, as well. I finished the necklace with coral, lovely pieces of kyanite, rose quartz, citrine and quartz glass beads. How do you win this necklace? Help me out with my little holiday dilemma!
Now, I am the kind of anal person who Christmas shops all year long and usually has all of my gifts ready by October. Ever since the Short One arrived, however, for some reason my organization in this respect has completely gone to pot, and I really have nothing except toys stashed away in my closet for the holiday. While I feel that the Husband will probably appreciate the Brio starter train set that I picked up when one of the local toy stores was closing down earlier this year, I don't think he'll particularly want it as a Christmas gift. I don't know about you, but I find the men in my life (except for the Short One) extremely difficult to shop for, as it is. To top it off, my Husband is the type of person who says "Oh, anything is fine" whenever I try to question him about what he might actually like Santa to bring him (Grrr). Now, you don't have to provide me with actual Christmas gift suggestions to enter this contest (although they'd be welcome! In addition to being an engineer who loves gadgets, the Husband is also an avid cook, by the way...). However, I would like to hear stories about gifts - memorable, funny, disastrous - that you received or gave for the holidays or other celebrations (birthdays, etc.). If you are really, truly, too shy to say or can't think of anything, you can just leave your name (please do leave a name - no Anonymous posters), but I'd love to hear your stories.
The contest will be open for one week, closing next Saturday. I will try to have results posted early enough this time so that it won't be the middle of the night for folks in overseas time zones. As before, you must check back to see if you've won. As before, you do not need to be registered with Blogger to leave a comment - you can just manually type in your name. Oh, and although I swore up and down I'd use a random number generator this time, I've decided to throw caution to the wind and have the Short One pick a name out of a hat again. Call me optimistic.
Okay, back to fiddling with the Etsy store for me. Once again, thanks so much for making this blog such a wonderful experience. Have a great weekend.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
I'm sort of punting today, as I'm getting further behind on things. This clip showed up on one of the Husband's favorite sites. The premise is that, due to the writer's strike, Fox is running an earlier pilot of "24" that was made in 1994. The title of the piece is "What if Jack Bauer used AOL 3.0?". I don't watch "24" myself, but I found this incredibly funny - it's another commentary on technology and things we generally take for granted these days. Oh, for the days of dot matrix printers with those irritating tear-off sides.
I made the Giveaway necklace last night. It looks quite nice (if I say so myself). However, since I'm so obsessed with resin-filled pendants these days, I'm thinking I may want to make something else for the Giveaway, so I'm going to go out and fiddle with the resin a bit now. Oh, and I made the last pendant that will go into the store - it came out pretty well, I think. I hope you'll drop by the store this weekend to take a look at it (and everything else, of course)!
In order to clear up some time to get everything done, I will not be posting tomorrow. Please come back on Saturday for my 100th post/Etsy store opening Giveaway!
Thanks for stopping by!
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
So, I received a little care package in the mail yesterday from the Vicious Chicken. Note the super-cute monkey wrapping paper. (VC actually apologized that the package wasn't wrapped very neatly. Tsk! Some people are such perfectionists!) Anyone who is familiar with the VC's charming blog will probably have a good guess as to what's inside. (Use the box of CHOCOLATES for a size comparison. Yes, she sent me CHOCOLATES. I don't think anyone's given me chocolates for about ten years. VC, marry me. We don't have to tell the Husband or NBM - we can just sneak off. Of course, NBM does have that faster-than-the-speed-of-light-looking bike now. Hmm....) Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes...
Ta da! PG (sort of like Lipton's in the US, for the uninitiated) is holding a little monkey giveaway. Buy one of their economy 160-teabag boxes of tea and receive this little ambassador of goodwill. I complained to VC that I couldn't get ahold of PG Tips on this side of the pond, and she sent me one! (Seriously, VC. I bet I could figure out a way to dodge NBM's bike. Well, maybe.) Of course, VC is now drowning in teabags. If you visit, I'm sure you'll be able to sit down and have a cuppa with her. As an aside, you may notice that the little guy here is looking a bit acquisitive about the chocolates. I can't really blame him - had I been stuck in a little envelope with a box of chocolates that I couldn't actually open (it's hard having suctions cups stuck to your hands), I'd be feeling a little acquisitive myself. However, I will say that I managed to wrest the box away from him last night (no photos of this - it was a little ugly), and snarfled two of the chocolates - they are delicious.
So, thank you, VC. While I feel that this may all be part of an underhanded plot to populate the world with knit monkeys, it's one in which I'm happy to be complicit. Plus, he makes a nice addition to
In the meantime, I have the last kiln load of metal clay for this week ready to be fired when the SO takes his nap. I printed out business cards last night - they are serviceable, at least - and I'm hoping to start taking photographs tonight. Wish me luck!
And thanks for stopping by! Have a great day, everyone!
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
I sat down and strung one of the snowflake pendants, just to see how it looks. I have to admit, although I'm not always completely happy with how I translate the vision of a piece I have in my mind to the actual bead or pendant (everything always looks much more professional in my mind, alas), I like the clean, spare look of this rendition of a snowflake. I wanted to maintain a simple blue and white color scheme for the necklace. Turquoise is one of my favorite stones, and I always love how summery it looks, but I thought that I could actually use a clean, blue turquoise for this wintery piece. I wish I'd had larger chunks of turquoise for this (all of the larger pieces in my stash are on the green side), but I think these small turquoise beads work surprisingly well with the freshwater pearls and clear, faceted quartz crystal beads. I added frosted white seed beads and a simple lobster clasp to finish it.
The black and sterling necklaces destined for the store are now officially scheduled to arrive on Friday, so barring any delivery problems, I will be opening on Saturday.
The Short One's outlook has been improving, I'm happy to say. His nose is dribbling a little less, and he's not coughing as violently. In fact, he's been cheerful enough to want to engage in our ritual good night/nap kiss. Being a manly little man, he particularly likes it when I stand halfway across the room (for a better running start, of course), rush at him like a banshee and plant a smacker on his forehead that's more like a firm head butt than a real kiss (at which point he keels over in his best dramatic manner, giggling). We do this maybe three times before lying down to sleep. Ever since the SO arrived, I've often felt that being a parent is like belonging to a secret society, with its own rules, rituals and secret handshakes. It's just finding out what the rituals are that is proving to be so entertaining.
Thanks for stopping by!
Monday, November 5, 2007
Well, this isn't a great photo, but I'm going to post it anyway. I'll try to update with a better one this evening. I'm in blog withdrawal! I can't believe I actually managed to stay away all weekend. When I started this blog, I envisioned posting Monday through Friday and then taking the weekend off. In actual practice, I think I do post at least one time during the weekend most weeks. Everyone in the beading and knitting blog communities is so congenial, it's hard to stay away for more than a day.
Anyway, I envisioned a cupcake pendant with the Marie Antoinette quote "Let them eat cake" printed on it. I made this one with a cupcake bead from Debi Cogwell, the Palm Tree Queen. Now that I've made a couple pendants, I'm itching to use one of them for a full necklace. I may still do that over the next couple days. I already have a design in mind for the snowflake pendant I posted a few days ago - I just haven't had the time to sit down and string it yet. I think I really do enjoy making the jewelry the most and not just the components. My next lot of items for the Etsy store will probably be finished pieces - bracelets, earrings and maybe one necklace.
I just received word that a shipment containing the black rubber necklaces that I bought for the store is in transit. It may just get here by Friday. Even though I doubt I will have the sterling chain by then, as long as the other necklaces arrive, I will probably go ahead and open the store. To be on the safe side, let's say Saturday morning for the store opening. If anything changes, I will be sure to let you know.
The Short One has come down with a nasty head cold. It seems he barely got over the previous one before getting sick again. He has been going around the house dribbling like a fiend and coughing. We've had a little extra cuddle time this past weekend, as a result. Poor little guy. I'm hoping this one passes quickly.
I've managed to cobble together a banner for the etsy store (the address of the store is www.melissajlee.etsy.com, by the way). It's a little crude, but I think it'll do, for now. I've also mocked up a business card that I will use for the time being, while I'm still debating what to do about the website. I have one more new pendant design to make (which is going to remain a suprise - you'll have to visit the store to see it/them) and then I'll be ready to start taking photos. Plus, of course, I still have to make the prize for the 100th blog post giveaway!
Speaking of giveaways, I entered one at Green Girl Studios website a while back for a necklace that Andrew Thornton designed, and I found out today that I won! Thank you Cynthia and Andrew! I am very excited. Green Girl Studios does such beautiful work. I wish I had the creativity that Cynthia Thornton has in her pinky - I would be so happy. I'll be sure to post a photo of the necklace when it arrives.
Oh, and it seems that the koi necklace I put together last week may be published in a book next spring. Cross your fingers! The bad news is that I now have to hang onto that piece for a while, just in case it needs to be re-photographed. I made another koi pendant over the weekend, and that one will go into the store.
Thanks for stopping by!
Friday, November 2, 2007
Here's what I meant to post last night. Look familiar? I thought I'd put just one of the Smooches pendants up for sale in the shop. Unfortunately, it also has the dubious honor of being the most expensive item to go into the shop. Remember, the lampworked button in the middle of the piece was made by Sarah Moran, one of my favorite lampwork artists.
I had a disappointing setback today. I ordered some sterling silver chain along with other supplies to put up for sale with the pendants, in case people wanted them. Even though they were listed as being in-stock at the time I placed my order, they did not arrive with the rest of the shipment and the packing slip indicates that they are back-ordered. I have some black rubber and sterling chokers ordered through a different vendor. As long as they arrive by next week, I should still be able to open the Etsy store, but I was hoping to have sterling chain available as well, and it looks as if that is not going to happen.
You may have noticed that I am getting closer to my 100th day post, with the accompanying giveaway. The timing appears to be working out nicely on this - I'm hoping that the giveaway and the store opening will coincide (I hope to have the Etsy store open by Friday). I will provide a firm date, once I'm reasonably certain that this will take place.
In the meantime, I've had another "Mommy moment". As a preface to this story, I should mention that the Short One loves stickers. In particular, he loves sticking stickers all over my hands, face and shirt. I encourage this, as I would prefer that he not damage furniture and/or walls by putting stickers on them, and I find them mighty easy to keep track of, when I'm wearing them.
Now, it's been unseasonably warm around here for the past week, and I decided to take the SO out for lunch at the local cafe. We live within walking distance of a little downtown commercial area, so we took out the stroller and went out quite cheerfully. We had a great lunch - the SO said "hi" to everyone who came in the restaurant (he'd make a terrific professional greeter) - and we decided to run a few errands afterwards. It wasn't until we were at the local bookstore, and I looked down to rummage around in my purse for my credit card, that I finally noticed that I still had about twenty stickers with such gratifying sayings as "I'm awesome!", "My name is FABULOUS!" and "Too cool!" plastered across my chest (I know, I know, but they were the cheapest colorful stickers I could find at the grocery store).
The funny thing is, the folks at the cafe didn't bat an eye at me. I did get completely snubbed by a group of local businesspeople sitting next to us, but I take that as a matter of course (the "invisible mommy syndrome" that seems to affect some professionals, especially on airplanes, is an ugly thing in my mind, but there's not much to be done about it). So, now I'm wondering - does this mean that the folks at the local cafe are just used to my appearing with "I'm fabulous!" stickers all over my body? How many times have I gone out like this without realizing it? Oh, well. I can only chalk it up to motherhood. Anyway, since I make the SO wear the clothes I pick out for him, it seems only fair that he gets to dress me up a little sometimes, too.
Thanks for stopping by! Have a great weekend. I'll see you on Monday.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
I tried posting earlier this evening and was not able to upload any photo (which was originally supposed to be of the new pendant that I finished today). Then I ended up getting distracted. Instead of making even more pendants, as I originally intended, I made this. I was sitting around thinking that maybe putting pendants in the store rather than finished pieces was a bad idea and that I should have primarily finished jewelry instead - so, I ended up stringing the koi pendant. Now, of course, I think I should have just stuck to my original plan of offering just pendants. Sigh. Either way, I think I see another koi pendant in my immediate future.
As far as this new necklace is concerned, I was thinking of cherry blossoms when I strung it - hence the use of faceted rose quartz. I finished the piece with Czech pressed glass leaves and seed beads. The clasp, which I just happened to have already made, is PMC3, as usual.
Sorry for the short post, but I was trying to make a concerted effort to get some sleep tonight, and it's already past 1am, so I'll close for now.
Thanks for stopping by!