Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Welcome to Ornament Thursday

You may recall that I participated in a group project called Ornament Thursday back in December. At that time, the goal was to create original Christmas ornaments each Thursday before the holiday. Well, Ornament Thursday is back. For 2008, the OT group will be posting monthly projects (not necessarily ornaments, outside of December, but certainly all of the projects will be ornamental, if you will) with the traditional weekly ornament projects in December again. This month's theme is "Love Story". I actually posted my project yesterday, and you can reach it by scrolling down or by hitting the hot link below. To find out more about the Ornament Thursday group, please click on the link in my sidebar or go here. Without further ado, the fabulous projects:

Art Bead Scene
The designers at Art Bead Scene have two jewelry love stories for you! Elaine Ray links together a little love with her ceramic heart components while Melanie Brooks Lukacs tells a little tale of romance in a Gothic Garden

Cindy Gimbrone Beads
Cindy's Love Story is about a hook and beads

Earthenwood Studio Bead Blog

What is sweeter than a mix CD for your Valentine? A yummy gift box in which to present it, filled with candy themed decorations, including a cute bracelet and cell phone charm!

Hali's Flowers of LOVE in Ancient Bulgarian

2 paintings in stylized Cyrillic spell out L-U-V

Heart mobile
painted paper pulp hearts

Heather shares her favorite bracelet design in a Valentine inspired color scheme.

Jennifer Heynen of Jangles
Jennifer has made a fun "Ornament" for her neck that looks good enought to eat.

Joolz by Lisa
This "Love Story" will last all year long! Lisa shares how beads and books work together.
Katie's Beading Blog

Here's a happy little heart project for you - use it to embellish a bag or your jeans, or as inspiration for a necklace or bracelet.

Kriss Cramer - Art Interrupted
Grow Love! Nuture and care for your loved ones every day. Use this heartfelt book, you can make yourself, to remind you of all the love you have to give.

Linda Augsburg at Make It Mine magazine
Linda's love story project is a dress she embellished by stenciling dancers and a big band along the hem. Read why and learn how to do it yourself on the Make It Mine blog.

Michelle's Love Story...
The band is getting back together again! Ornament Thursday celebrates the story of love...

Ornament Thursday Blog
January is coming to an end and Valentine's Day is looming on the horizon. Whether you wish to shower the people you love with love or show yourself a little well deserved affection, the Ornament Thursday Gang has a bevy of beautiful ideas to inspire you!

Savvy Crafter
Candie's love affair with big rings continue...she's making her own now! Love Stories and more over at the Savvy Crafter! XOXO!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Ah, Love ! This satirical creation of Jean's immortalizes certain women's profound affecton for their ... handbags!!!

Strands of Beads

Love speaks many languages. Learn how to say "I Love You" in an untraditional way with Melissa Lee's whimsical jewelry project.

Alexa shares with you her truly swell and punny Valentines!

The Impatient Blogger
Love is in the air at The Impatient Blogger! Margot shares two vintage inspired jewelry designs that are oozing with a good way!

Ornament Thursday - Language of Love

Welcome to Ornament Thursday! The theme for this month is "Love Story". My piece is based on the idea that love speaks many languages...including Pig Latin. Yep. Take a closer look at that pendant:

Of the infinite ways that exist to say "I love you", I find some more charming than others. I like to say it in binary code. I like to say it in Pig Latin. "Ovelay Ouyay" translates from the original Pig Latin as "Love You". Romantic, no?

As "Ovelay Ouyay" strikes me as being a quite cheerful and spring-like phrase (or perhaps this is just wishful thinking on my part - it's currently -1 F here, as I write this), I decided that a necklace with a spring flower theme would be appropriate. Bead lovers may recognize the flower beads - they are by Jennifer Heynen of Jangles, one of the founders of our current Ornament Thursday group. Instructions for the necklace follow.

Language of Love, Ovelay Ouyay Necklace
©2008 Melissa J. Lee

The finished necklace is approximately 16.5” long. It can be lengthened by adding more pearls.

Materials and Sources:

1 fine silver “Ovelay Ouyay” pendant, Melissa J. Lee ( or contact me at
2 ceramic 14mm flower beads, Jangles (contact Jennifer Heynen at
42 rose-colored 4mm freshwater pearls, Ayla’s Originals (
4 green 9mm pressed Czech glass leaf beads, Knot Just Beads (
11 pink No. 8 seed beads, Knot Just Beads (
8 rose satin 4mm bicone Swarovski crystal beads, Turtle Island Beads (
34 blue No. 6 frosted seed beads, String a Strand (
1 sterling silver toggle clasp, Turtle Island Beads (
4 head pins
4 jump rings
22” stringing wire (.10)
2 crimps


1. String through one of the jump rings of the pendant. String 11 pink seed beads and then string other jump ring of the pendant.
2. Wire wrap 4 leaf beads and attach each to a jump ring.
3. String 2 crystals, 1 ceramic flower, 7 blue seed beads, 1 leaf bead, 7 seed beads, 1 leaf bead, 3 seed beads, 1 crystal, 21 pearls and 1 crystal. Repeat pattern on other side of pendant.
4. Crimp to toggle clasp with crimp tubes.

Note: Please be aware that this necklace required a special size of Jangles’ ceramic flower bead. To order, please contact Jennifer Heynen, and request 2 small ceramic flower beads (approximately 14mm in diameter) to make the Ovelay Ouyay necklace from Ornament Thursday.

Thanks for visiting! To visit the other projects, scroll up to my general Ornament Thursday post or go here.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Internet and You

Sorry for the re-run on the photo (although, technically, this is new, as the original pendant sold a while back - thanks, MM!), but I was getting a little tired of the low quality of the older photos I've been using lately. I've finally agonized through my Ornament Thursday project (you'll probably look at it and think "What was she thinking???", as it turned out to be a pretty simple piece), but it means I don't have much else new to show for the week. Anyway, it's prime time for Valentine/Heart images, right? Right?

I tried to open a MySpace account tonight. Or, I should say, I opened one and then canceled the account, because my ID didn't show up correctly. Apparently, it takes 48 hours for account to be deleted, so I can't re-register yet. To be honest, I'm kind of relieved about this. I've never used MySpace before, and I already have accounts here, through Flickr and through We Love Etsy. I wasn't all that keen to pick up another one, but I felt that I had to open one, not for personal reasons, but to try to promote the Etsy store a little. I was quite appalled by how much personal information shows up in the basic public account. This may sound odd for someone who has a blog (although maybe not, if you remember the little fiasco involving the Short One's photo on my Christmas Eve entry), but I'm pretty squeamish about releasing a lot of personal information on the Internet where anyone could see. I was also surprised to learn that MySpace seems geared in part to facilitate on-line dating. I was equally surprised to learn, when I visited my profile for the first time after registering, that I was "single" (and it took a while to figure out how to change that default setting). I suppose this is just me being naive? I met the Husband before the real boom in on-line dating, so it's all pretty much a foreign world to me. Does anyone here use MySpace? Any thoughts on the service? I've also not looked into FaceBook at all, but I figure I need to tackle these beasts one at a time.

I've been so pleased by the response to the Short One's Birthday Giveaway. I'm sure this has mostly to do with the Short One's natural charisma. I've been quite entertained by the variety of comments, including the one about Monkee Maker (yes, she is quite mad, isn't she, Michaela? So nice to meet you finally - thanks for stopping by!). I'm sorry that I have not been responding as I usually do, but I'm trying to keep that post clean of everything except actual entries. If you have not yet entered, there is still time to do so! The Giveaway is open until 11:59pm Friday. Please go here.

On a final note, my blogging friend Vicious Chicken has reached a milestone - she is celebrating her 100th post. Why not say hello and wish her congratulations? You'll be glad you did.

Thanks for stopping by! Tomorrow, I'll be posting my Ornament Thursday project. (Yes, I know it's Wednesday tomorrow, but the individual projects are to be posted tomorrow and the links to the whole group's projects will be posted on Thursday. Basically, it means you won't have to read my drivel on Thursday, but will have many lovely crafty items to admire, instead. Clear as mud? Just come visit and see for yourself!)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Flop Sweat


For some reason, Blogger is not letting me post photos tonight, so I'm actually writing this post through my Flickr account. Anyway, I've been busy trying to finish up my piece for Ornament Thursday...and I've been completely choking. I've had about four false starts (actually, some of those false starts will probably turn into regular blog entries - God forbid I should waste an opportunity to prattle on about virtually nothing, after all), and I'm sitting here at my dining room table surrounded by beads, staring blanking into space. So, I thought I'd write my blog entry, to procrastinate a little longer. Ahem.

Flop sweat, nerves, performance anxiety - call it what you will. I think being part of the massively talented group of people that have come together to form Ornament Thursday is getting to me. I'm just so certain someone is going to notice pretty soon that I don't really know what I'm doing (shhhhhh). Sigh.

Anyway, as I mentioned previously, I'm not much of a heart jewelry person. This necklace is the exception - these hearts, I love. They are Colorblast Candy Hearts by Sarah Moran (the non-heart lampwork is also by Sarah) and I love, love, love these beads. I strung them with spacers that I made myself from Vetrofond Rainbow Red. I learned how to "strike" a color making these spacers, with a lot of help from a friend. For non-lampworking readers, this is simply a technique for a certain type of glass - to obtain the "true" color of the glass, you have to "strike" it - apply the heat of the torch in a certain way. The original color of the Rainbow Red as it appeared in the glass rod was closer to a deep amber. I finished the piece with chunks of composite amber.

Okay, enough dilly dallying - back to work. Thanks for visiting! See you tomorrow.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Short One's Birthday Giveaway

To celebrate a Very Special Birthday, I am giving away this special necklace. I strung the piece with freshwater pearls, Swarovski crystals and rose quartz daggers (see, pink again) and finished it with a koi button that I made from PMC, resin and polymer clay. Please note that the Short One, aka the Birthday Boy, has deemed the necklace tugworthy (he liked the button).

In addition, I will also be giving away this necklace, as a sort of second place prize:

You may recall that this was actually the prize for my 100th blog post giveaway. The winner never claimed it, so it is up for grabs again. The pendant is made from PMC, and I embedded a large shell pearl in the treasure box with resin. I then strung it with kyanite, coral, amber, rose quartz and quartz glass and finished it with a button clasp made from PMC.

In order to enter the giveaway, please leave a comment under this post. Please do indicate a name (no anonymous entries) and also indicate how you originally found this blog (eg., random Internet surfing, Etsy forums, We Love Etsy, link from ______ website, I told you about the blog, etc., etc.). That's it! Due to birthday party scheduling, the deadline for entries will be next Friday night, January 31st, at 11:59pm Central Standard Time. The Birthday Boy will pick two winners' names from a hat on Saturday, and I will post the results on Saturday, as well. You MUST CHECK THE BLOG to see if you've won. In the event that a winner does not claim a prize within one month, I reserve the right to give away the necklace again to someone else.

This giveaway is open to everyone, except for the Short One's family members (you know who you are). Also, please note that you do not have to be registered with Blogger to leave a comment. If you do not have a Blogger account, simply check the "Anonymous" box (but be sure to type your name in the comment, so I know who you are) when you leave a comment.

Hmmm, I think that covers everything! I hope you like the necklace(s) and look forward to your comments. Have a great weekend, everyone.

Too Much Rose Quartz?

Remember this? I actually ended up cutting this piece apart so I could submit the pendant to a magazine. I'm debating whether or not to re-make it or not. The Husband commented last night that I certainly like pink. I was rather taken aback by this statement. As I child, I always hated pink and avoided it like the plague. I was not a terribly feminine little girl. Flipping through my work for the past couple months, though, I see what he means. I've been using quite a bit of rose quartz recently. I have strands upon strands of it piled up now. Prior to this year, I kept a little pink coral in my stash, but that was it. It's funny how our tastes change over time.

I have finished the necklace for tomorrow's giveaway. I'm taking it for a test drive right now. Fortunately, everything seems fine - it's weighted properly, wears nicely and appears to be able to fit a variety of neck sizes. Please come back tomorrow to take a look.

Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, January 24, 2008


This is an old and not terribly good photo of a necklace I strung over the summer. However, given that it's almost 1:30am over here, I'm just going to settle for the old photo rather than trying to re-take it tonight. This was my first try at macrame. The gorgeous lampworked beads are by Sarah Moran. Sarah herself often uses macrame in her own jewelry, and I've always loved the way it looks, so I thought I'd give it a try with one of the sets of her beads that I own. I used leather cord, which was probably a mistake, since leather stretches. Also, because the beads have flat sides, rather than being round, one or two will occasionally have a tendency to pop out of the macrame lacing (or whatever the appropriate word is - I'm afraid I'm not terribly macrame savvy). Despite these defects, I really like the way this piece turned out - it makes a very dramatic statement when I wear it.

On more recent beading fronts, I rummaged around tonight in my box of jewelry supplies and found a spool of thin stringing wire with enough yardage left to make the Giveaway piece for Saturday, so I write this while surrounded by beads, and tools. (Sadly, as well, this means no trip to the bead store for me. Alas.) It's occurred to me as I sit here that I've cleverly scheduled the Giveaway to end on a day when the house will be full of relatives visiting to celebrate Someone's Birthday. You'd think I would have taken this into account when I set the date, given that the Giveaway is also to celebrate Someone's Birthday, but no. Apparently, I really can't hold more than one thought in my head at a time, without a dozen other things falling out. Oh, well.

My attempt to hide the computer in the closet to avoid discussions with the Short One about the merits of spending all day playing Elmo's "Keyboard-a-Rama" were short-lived. Plus, perhaps it was my imagination, but I could have sworn I heard typing noises coming from the closet (you will recall that Jungle Monkey Junior, our erstwhile stand-in for the SO's favorite monkey, is also currently residing there). It did make me wonder how long it would take one monkey, typing randomly on our computer, to come up with a script for "Hamlet". (If this all sounds like the insane ravings of a madwoman - or at least one who is up too late at night, don't worry about it.)

Okay, I should really go finish up and toddle off to bed. Oh, and, by the way, remember that the 40% off sale in my Etsy store ends at midnight tomorrow. Cheers!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

CaliGirl Art Glass

I've been wanting to show you these for a couple days but have had a terrible time getting a good photograph. As it is, this shot doesn't really capture the beauty of these lampworked beads. I won these from Jenn Kelly of Caligirl Art Glass right before Christmas. Jenn made the beads from Terra glass, which is a reactive glass. The subtle play of colors produced by these beads is truly remarkabl, and Jenn has a way of bringing out this quality with her lovely application of stringer. She told me that Terra glass has been discontinued, so I feel extremely lucky to have these beads from her remaining stash of the glass. Thank you, Jenn!

I sat down to string the Giveaway prize for Saturday and realized that I am completely out of the right diameter stringing wire for the project. Arrrrgh. Tragically, it looks as if I must force myself to visit the bead store in the next day or two. What a hardship.

On other fronts, over the past two days, the Short One has developed a keen interest in the computer. Actually, he's always enjoyed playing with the computer (so many buttons to push), but lately he's become much more vocal and insistent about using it for prolonged periods of time. Unfortunately, because he does not yet have the dexterity to use the mouse on his own, it basically means that he's perched on my lap offering color commentary while I play a bunch of games on the Sesame Street website for him. My attempts to explain that there are other things that Mama needs to be doing during the day have been met with complete scorn and disbelief and a display of the type of behavior that usually prompts parenting books to say, quite firmly,that "children need boundaries". I find all of this quite interesting, as I grew up in the Stone Age, before there were personal computers or the Internet (I think I was about 10 when the first, rather expensive, personal computers were introduced). I spent hours playing Pong on our tv, but that was about it. Kids these days are so wired-in. We actually bought the SO baby software last year - the kind of thing that will react with cute pictures in response to striking any key on the keyboard. It does make me wonder how this is all worked into the curriculum at school, especially in the younger grades. In the meantime, I'm contemplating hiding the computer in the closet (with Junior, actually) to avoid further "discussions" about Elmo's "Keyboard-a-rama" game.

Have a great day. Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Well, the Short One is finally asleep. (I gave up worrying after he said "Maaaamma" for the nth time from his room and, when I arrived, started trying to show me - in the dark - that he could pat his head and rub his tummy, sort of, at the same time. Nevertheless, it's a fact that it took him quite a while to actually fall asleep tonight.) The chores are more or less finished (are they ever really finished?), I've resolved not to even peek at the Etsy store tonight again, as I'm driving myself crazy over it right now. So I thought I'd come back and write a real blog post.

One of the things I fret about is my blog entries getting increasingly, shall we say, pedestrian, as more of my free time is taken up with Etsy matters. I really only have a couple non-Short One hours a day to devote to beading, blogging and such, and I know that I have been spending a lot of time getting the store in working order. Thanks for sticking with me during this period. I will try to be a little better about focusing on the blog moving forward.

At any rate, I'd like you to meet Jungle Monkey No. 2, whom I've dubbed "Junior" (we're very original about names in this house, you may have noticed). Yep, after spending all of that time cleaning milk off of Jungle Monkey No. 1 ("Senior") while the Short One wailed about his monkey-less state up in his room, I decided to order a back-up, who arrived today. Although he is just as cheerful and good-natured as Senior, Junior is, now that I've unpacked him, clearly shinier, cleaner, much less smelling of milk and generally just newer than Senior, unfortunately. I'm beginning to think I will not be able to pull a fast one on the Short One and sub Junior in as needed. I suppose it was an extravagance on my part to buy a second one, anyway, but even the Husband, who is much less sentimental than I am, agreed after the milk incident that we needed a potential stand-in for the Jungle Monkey. I suppose that we'll just have to see how it goes.

Curiously enough, I've been thinking of knitting tonight, and how little of it I've been doing this year. I surfed the 'Net and came up with two of my favorite projects that I've been meaning to do but have never started. They have a little something in common - they are both patterns for wigs. Yep, knitted wigs. I don't have permission to show the photos on my blog, so I'll just provide the links here and here. They are well-worth visiting, so I hope you'll take a second right now and go peek. I'll wait.

Fabulous, aren't they? I'm a "Star Wars" geek from way back (it was the first PG rated movie my parents allowed me to see), so the Princess Leia wig gets me every time I look at it. The Hallowig, too - with the ribbing, it looks as if it might actually stay on, as well.

Oh, and on a final note - remember, Ornament Thursday, during December? Well, the founders and a few of their colleagues got together and decided to make it a permanent thing. I've been invited to join the group (I said "yes" in a flash, obviously), so from now on, the last Thursday of each month, plus each Thursday in December, will be devoted to Ornament Thursday. Despite the name, projects will not be limited to ornaments (except for the December projects). Each month will have a theme around which participants will design their projects. I'm really excited about this - I think it will be a lot of fun. I'm only obligated to participate every other month, but I have a feeling I'll be doing more. (If you have no idea what I'm talking about please go here to view one of my Ornament Thursday projects from December.) Moving forward, the first Ornament Thursday will be the last day of January, so look forward to it!

Thanks again for visiting. See you tomorrow.

A Birthday Sale

Bearing in mind that I am three (3) whole months younger than the Husband, and that I always do what's necessary to make the most of those three months, I've decided to reduce all regularly-priced items in the Etsy store by 40%. As a youthful woman still in her 30s, I feel that this is a fine way to rub it in, er, celebrate H's big event. (H. asked rather sardonically if I was planning on reducing the price of items in the store by the Short One's age for his birthday.)

In addition, I have reduced sale items in the store by another 10%. The sale will run until the end of Friday. At midnight, I will restore original prices. Saturday, the Short One's Birthday Giveaway will start (huzzah!).

Oh, by the way, it turns out that I'm completely out of 18" black rubber cords. I have ordered more, and they should arrive by Friday. I will hold the sale price valid for anyone who wants one with a pendant. Purchase the pendant but do not pay for it. Simply indicate that you would also like an 18" cord with your pendant when you purchase it. I will hold the pendant until the cord arrives and send you a combined invoice for both items at that time. (If this sounds way too complicated, just convo me through Etsy, and I can go over the details with you, if you are interested.)

By the way, if you buy anything, I would love it if indicate how you found the store in the comments section.

Thanks again for taking the time out to read this blog. Have a great day.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Ice Storm

This month's Art Bead Scene Challenge is entitled "Ice Storm" - pretty appropriate for this time of year. I completely blew off the ABS monthly challenge last month, so I'm determined to submit a few pieces for the current month. Here's a simple one that I put together last night. The PMC pendant is actually one I made for an autumn-themed necklace back in October. I was looking at it the other night and decided it would make a nice winter seasonal piece, too.

I had actually purchased a strand of flake quartz because it looked like ice crystals a few months ago, so I dug those out to use with the piece. I finished the piece with aquamarine, chyrsophase, faceted quartz crystal, pearls and a toggle clasp by Robert Jennick (once again, I am not aware that R.J. has a website, but he does sell his beads and findings through Knot Just Beads). I've never used flake quartz before, and I one thing I noticed was that I had a lot of broken beads on the strand. Since I believe flake quartz is made by heating the stone until stress fractures appear (which look like flakes of snow in the quartz, hence the name), I guess I'm not completely surprised by this, but I will definitely inspect my strands more closely before buying any more of this stone.

I had a terrible time photographing this piece - anything involving clear beads is tough, to my mind. I think this photo is pretty poor, but I wasn't able to come up with anything better this afternoon while the Short One was napping.

Anyway, if you have not already checked out the Art Bead Scene Monthly Challenges, I highly recommend that you do so. There's some beautiful bead-making and jewelry making going on over there. It's really a great source of inspiration.

On a final note, while I was hoping to start the sale in my Etsy store tomorrow during the Short One's nap, it appears I may be tied up with other things during that window of opportunity. I will still try to get everything marked down then, but if there aren't any sale notices in the shop by, say 2:00pm CST, it means I failed. In that case, I'll update the shop after the SO is asleep, say around 8:30pm or so. I'll post a notice on the blog, once the sale has started, explaining the terms, etc.

I'm still working on the Short One's Birthday Giveaway prize, too. I'm on the fence about making it a 16" necklace or an 8-8.5" bracelet. Anyone have any strong feelings either way on the short necklace v. bracelet options?

Hope everyone had a good Monday. Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Etsy Love

My Geek Love pendant made the front page of Etsy tonight. (If you are reading this Saturday night, it may still be up...) Many thanks to rockstarwife, who included me in her wonderfully nerdy Treasury. This is the first time any item of mine has made it to the front page of Etsy, and I am quite excited. The funny thing is, I thought a binary code pendant spelling "love" would be too obscure for anyone but myself to like all that much...

As you may have noticed, I didn't post last night. I don't know what happened. I spent time packing up the necklace to send to BeadStyle, fired a kiln-load of silver (despite the frigid temperatures - I believe we hit 0 degrees F last night and it's supposed to go down to -2 degrees tonight) and did a bunch of the usual chores reserved for the quiet time after the Short One goes to sleep, but I completely forgot to check in with the blog. A thousand apologies (then again, perhaps you found it a refreshing break from my usual drivel?).

I'm finally in the process of making the piece for the Short One's Birthday Giveaway next week. So far, so good. Regardless, I will have something nice for the drawing next week - it's in honor of a very special person, after all. In fact, I think I'm going to sneak down to the basement to do some more work on it now. I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Look Ma, No Hands

Well, actually, I'm lying. This does require hands to make but, really, not much else. This is an older piece that I submitted to the Art Bead Scene Challenge last month. It occurred to me that I haven't had this on the blog, yet, so I thought I'd go ahead and post it tonight (especially since I once again don't have any new work to show, sigh). The two large focal beads are boro by the wonderful Sarah Moran. The rest are my practice lampworked beads from the summer. It's hard to tell from the photo, but the multicolored ones are "rainbow beads" - each colored cell in each bead contains two colors of glass that blend into one another. This was my first try at making them, so they're not great, but I thought they were good enough to wear. Anyway, this necklace is my favorite type of quick project - the whole thing is made with the glass beads, a handful of No. 06 seed beads, a length of leather cord and two hands. And that's it. Everything else is strategic knotting, including the clasp, which is simply a bead and a knotted loop on the other end. This style is nice, in that it works well with a white tee-shirt, but it also looks good dressed up. I wore it out this summer with a black silk dress and mauve silk jacket and it looked just fine.

I have decided to hold a sale next week in honor of the Husband's birthday. It will start Tuesday evening and run until Friday evening. I won't tell you the terms right now, but I will say that it will be as big a sale as I ever intend to hold, so if you have an interest in anything in the store, you will probably want to check in. On Saturday, after the sale ends, I will start the Short One's Birthday Giveaway. Now that I've finally decided that, I need to hurry up and finish the prize!

Actually, I do have a kiln load's worth of silver to fire, but it's about 14 degrees (F) with a -2 wind chill outside right now where I live, and, for some reason, I'm really not motivated to spent time in our unheated, detached garage tonight...

We had a little separation anxiety issue arise last night. For reasons known only to himself, the Short One dumped a half cup of milk on his best friend, the Jungle Monkey, right before bedtime. The heartbreak that ensued when I explained to him that a milk-covered monkey would not be a good companion with which to snuggle to sleep was vocal and prolonged. After the SO cried himself to sleep, I ended up sitting downstairs with the JM, a damp rag and a bunch of dry ones, trying frantically to get him cleaned up and dried off. They finally reunited around midnight. However, when the SO woke up this morning, I discovered that he'd evidently spent the night wiping his nose (remember that he has a head cold) on the Jungle Monkey's newly cleaned fur (eww), so I wonder how long the JM is going to hold out. I've been considering buying the JM a stunt-double. I just have to figure out a way of convincing the SO that that the two monkeys are one and same. Toddlers are awfully suspicious that way, for being so young and cute looking...

Anyway, thanks for stopping by. Have a good night!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Short One's Angel

With the Short One's birthday coming up, I've been spending a lot of time thinking about how much life has changed since his arrival. I used to be an intellectual property lawyer (I'm not sure I've ever explicitly admitted this before or not, but there you go), working long hours for a variety of large and largish corporate clients. Now I have the good fortune to be staying at home, working even longer hours for my one, rather short but vocal client who, even though I no longer carry a Blackberry, seems to be able to find me day or night whenever he has a problem that needs solving. Actually, it always reminds me of the old opening monologue for "Charlie's Angels", where Charlie is explaining how the Angels came to work for him. Except, of course, in my head, it's a cute baby voice saying, "Once upon a time there was an older lady who went to law school - and who was assigned various dangerous tasks involving lots of paper and no crayons. I took her away from all that. I'm the Short One." (Okay, I have a weird imagination. I know that.)

Anyway, I have no new work at all at the moment, so I'm punting with a photo of an older piece I made over the summer. These luscious lampworked sweets beads are by Lezlie Belanger. The Celtic cat button that I used for a clasp is by Green Girl Studios. I really enjoy wearing ice cream around my neck. I can't explain why, but I really do.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Deja Vu

Remember this? Well, the winner of my 100th post giveaway never did claim her prize, so it will be up for grabs again as a secondary prize for the Short One's Birthday Giveaway. I just realized that it's already the middle of the month, and I haven't finished the actual prize or decided what to do about holding a sale or anything. Where is the year going??? (Okay, I know that is a slight exaggeration, but it does seem that time is speeding up lately.) So, hopefully, more on this from me soon.

I had some good news today. BeadStyle Magazine has accepted one of my project proposals for publication. Calloo! Callay! Although BeadStyle had previously accepted a few of my pieces for its Gallery section, I'd had no luck to date with any project proposals, so I'm downright chuffed about this.

The news came at a good time. Like an idiot, I decided at the last minute to submit a proposal (to a different magazine) and stayed up until 2am yesterday (technically early this morning, I guess) racing around trying to finish it and pack it up for mailing. I was feeling pretty gloomy about the prospect of actually getting anything new accepted this morning, so I was quite pleased to have the good folks at BeadStyle snap me out of my funk.

Oh, actually, that reminds me - I did not win Stringing's Reader's Choice Challenge with the "Something Wicked this Way Comes" piece in the side-bar. I need to dig up the link to the winners and post it. Thanks, though, to everyone who took the time to vote for me.

The Short One is coming down with yet another head cold, I'm afraid. While I theoretically knew that young children get sick easily before the Short One arrived, I'm still amazed at how often he seems to come down with these. Since it's been three days since we took him to the local children's museum, I'm presuming he caught something there. I'm being summoned to his room periodically to offer sympathy and (more practically) to wipe his nose for him. Poor guy.

Have a good night, everyone. See you tomorrow.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Monkey Love

A while back, you may recall that my blogging friend, The Vicious Chicken, went above and beyond the call of duty and purchased a large box of PG Tips tea in the UK (where she lives) and mailed me the cute monkey that came with it (let us say here that such is the VC's generosity on this point, that she is now drowning in PG Tips teabags - how many boxes did you buy for various folks, VC?). To see my original post, please go here.

Anyway, I wanted to create a little one-off pendant for her, so I dragged my feet, dragged my feet, and then, once the embarrassment of not finishing became too great, finally finished the above pendant. I'm sorry to say that the monkey has no ears, because each time I tried to stick them on, they just looked funny to me. Anyway, I made this little guy with polymer clay, sealed him with an acrylic glaze and then epoxied him onto a fine silver base.

Thank you, again, VC. The Short One is certainly enjoying having the little monkey in his menagerie.

Speaking of the Short One, and this is a complete non sequitur, despite the fact that he is not supposed to know how to read, he somehow always manages to gun for the one door in the area that is marked "Emergency Exit Only - Alarm Will Sound When Opened". I am tearing my hair out trying to figure it out. Every now and then I try to catch him from the corner of my eye, reading the Wall Street Journal or otherwise engaging in activities he allegedly isn't capable of doing yet...

Okay, due to a minor domestic mishap, my thumb is quite sore, and it's a little difficult to type right now, so I'm going to close. Thanks for visiting!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Geek Love

Here's the other Valentine's Day pendant I made earlier this week. I'm sort of an armchair computer lover. I have a background in philosophy (my undergraduate degree) with some deductive logic and philosophy of math (I once spent an entire semester trying to prove that 1+1=2 - it was rough going), but I don't really have any programming knowledge beyond the BASIC I learned as a teenager. I've always found computer programming kind of interesting, though, and the Husband is quite computer literate. Anyway, I've been wanting to do something in binary code for a while, but I didn't know how to spell anything in binary. However, I did a search a few days ago and came up with a site that will translate ASCII into binary (and hex), for those of us who want to spend our recreation time translating random words into binary. So, here's my pendant - it spells "love", of course, with a heart in the middle replacing one of the zeros. I added a little red resin to the heart to give the pendant some color.

To be perfectly honest, I'm a little on the fence about this one. As I'm sure you can tell, I carved these numbers freehand. In the beginning, I thought rough-cut numbers would make a nice contrast to the somewhat sterile nature of the code. However, as with the maze pendant, I'm wondering if this would look better if I used the computer and had a rubber stamp cut to specifications. I may try it in the future. I'm also thinking of making one in hex (hex is so much shorter). Maybe next week.

Here's the other pendant I completed this week:

Yep, another amethyst pendant. This one is getting shipped off to California tomorrow to its new home. I have to say, I still really like these pendants - each one seems different to me, because the crystal structure in each of the tops is quite different. I wish I'd bought more of them, now...

I hope everyone has a great weekend! See you on Monday.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Double Koi Necklace

I made this pendant for Melanie Brooks Lukacs last month. It's difficult to tell from this photo, but this is actually a much smaller version of the double koi pendant - it's about the size of my usual single koi. Melanie told me that she was going to use it to make a Christmas gift for her mother. Let me say that again - one of my favorite beadmakers thought that my little koi pendant was good enough to give to her mother as a gift. As you can imagine, I was (and am) quite thrilled by this. As if that weren't enough, Melanie made some brand new, incredibly cool bubbly-water themed beads to go with the pendant. Could life get any better? I think not.

Anyway, Melanie put a photo of the necklace she made with the pendant on her blog today - please go here to view it. Isn't it beautiful? I love the way she uses the faux suede tubing with this piece. And, of course, I think her new bubble beads are really beautiful. This is the first time I've seen one of my pendants used in an original piece designed by someone else. It's really exciting for me to see how Melanie envisioned using my koi pendant. Thanks so much, Melanie - I hope your mother is enjoying the necklace.

(Incidentally, if anyone else has used my pendants in their jewelry designs, I would love to see them. Please do email photos to me at

I finished the other Valentine pendant last night - it came out pretty well. I will post a photo tomorrow or Monday (I may have something else to show you tomorrow).

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Love is Like a ____

Here's one of the new pendants I designed two nights ago. It's a little cheesy, but I like the metaphor that finding love is like a maze - you have false starts, dead ends, you run around in circles, but ultimately the prize at the end is worth all of your hard work. This design drove me completely crazy. When I was a kid, I used to be pretty good at designing hard-to-crack mazes, the type that you always had to do backwards to solve (I won a prize for this in elementary school, even). Apparently, I've lost the knack in the intervening 30 years. This is kind of a lame-o maze, I'm afraid. Also, as you can probably tell, I drew this free-form - didn't even use rulers. I think it looks okay like this, but I do wonder whether this would be a good candidate to draw up properly on the computer and have sent out to be made into a rubber stamp. If I can get enough designs to fill a sheet for a single order, I may try it.

I also fired a piece in my kiln-load tonight to make into a necklace for this month's Art Bead Scene Challenge, the theme for which is "Ice Storm". The information to enter the Challenge is here, if you are interested.

Speaking of which, I've been seen on Art Bead Scene today! The original photo of the necklace that appears in this month's "BeadStyle Magazine" is posted on Art Bead Scene here. As I mentioned before, I entered this piece in the monthly Challenge last May - it was the first necklace I ever designed from PMC. Had it not been for Art Bead Scene, I would have never made it. Thank you to everyone at Art Bead Scene!

I hope everyone is having a good evening. See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Apple for Teacher

It's Show and Tell time today. Aren't these beautiful? Melanie Brooks Lukacs of Earthenwood Studio made them for me. I have this concept for a new piece called "Apple for Teacher". Umm, yes, I know there's no apple in this photo - I do have a couple of Melanie's apples. You can see them, along with a bevy of other mouth-watering snack charms here. Yum.

Anyway, these pencils are quite special. Melanie has a red pencil stub charm available through her catalog. However, I wanted a rainbow assortment of them, and she, being the really nice person that she is, said she would do them for me. For anyone not familiar with ceramic glazes, this was not a completely straightforward request on my part, as it can take some tinkering around with glazes to get color shades the way you want them (some of us, read me, never get them the way we want them and have to rely on happy accidents for nice glazes on our piddling ceramic pots). I think these came out brilliantly (you should see them in person). Thank you so much, Melanie. I'll take good care of them. (Not that I'm feeling any pressure about making a fabulous piece out of them or anything, sigh.)

The only projects I had on my to-do list yesterday were re-makes of stuff I've done before. However, I was feeling restless last night and roughed out a couple new charms in my sketchbook, instead. Surprisingly, they're Valentines charms. I thought I was finished with the holiday but apparently not. (Having said that, they are pretty atypical representations of the holiday.) I managed to cut stamps for them this afternoon while the Short One was taking his (all too short) nap, so I'm hoping to be able to make them tonight and fire them tomorrow. If so, I'll be updating pretty late tomorrow. We'll see how it goes.

Speaking of stamps, I decided to try a cheaper version of the carving block I'd been using and the darn thing broke on me. Unfortunately, it was the dragon scale block, so I'm going to have to carve all of those little scales again. I guess it just goes to show that you get what you pay for...

Finally, I keep meaning to mention this - while watching "Sesame Street" (what else?) with the SO a while back, I discovered this wonderful jazz singer who sang a duet with Elmo (who else?) during the show. Is anyone familiar with Diane Schuur's work? I've been thinking of picking up a CD of hers and am hoping for a recommendation on which album would be good to buy... Incidentally, the song they sang is "From Your Head". I think you can hear it on various media sites that support RealPlayer, but I have a Mac, so I haven't been able to test it out. (It's definitely worth listening to, if you have time to search for it - hearing Elmo scat with Diane Schuur is not to be missed.)

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Fabulous Birthday Boys

I had a tough time photographing this in a way that doesn't make it appear completely lopsided. Plus, the lighting today is terrible. Oh, well. It may be difficult to tell, but this is actually a birthday cake hat that I designed and knit for the Short One's first birthday (back in the days when I could cram a hat on his little head and it would stay there). As it happens, both of the men in this house are having birthdays in a few weeks. One of them is turning 40 this year, but I am far, far too discreet to tell you which one of them it is. I haven't quite decided the best way to rub it in, er, celebrate the big day (okay, it's been so long since I've used the strike-through function that I no longer remember how to do it, sigh), but I think I will at least be holding a giveaway to commemorate parental survival with the Short One for another exciting year. I'm in the process of making a little something for the giveaway. It's possible I will also hold a sale - I will keep you updated as plans solidify. At any rate, please continue to check back for more news.

I hope everyone had a great weekend. The Short One still isn't getting used to his Binky Lite lifestyle, and we are both still a little sleep deprived, as a result. I didn't so much as pick up a bead or piece of metal clay this weekend, and I have to say, it felt pretty good. Sometimes a break is necessary to recharge the ol' batteries, I think.

Oh, and I put together a new Treasury on Etsy, full of great stuff - knitted, beaded and otherwise - made by some of the talented artists of Etsy. It will be up for the next two days, so please check it out here. (I swear I'm going to buy one of those knit octopus patterns as soon as I have enough free time to knit one. Isn't it wild that you can find a shop on Etsy devoted almost exclusively to cephalopod knitting patterns?)

Have a great Monday, everyone.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Heavenly Understanding Take II

Hi, there. I hope everyone had pleasant dreams last night, whether you dreamed of eggplants or not. (I was thinking about it, and I have never, as far as I remember, dreamed of Mt. Fuji, falcons or eggplants at any time of year, alas.) As far as the color eggplant is concerned, here's the last pendant I made this past week. I took another amethyst top and set it. This one had larger crystals and was more oblong in shape, so I decided to make more of a marquis-shaped setting for it. I packed it up last night, and it is currently on its way to its new owner. Given that I started making jewelry originally as a way from going stir crazy while staying at home with the Short One, I still find it very surprising (in a good way) that some of my items are now in various parts of the world, being enjoyed (well, I hope they're being enjoyed at least) by other people. I would like to thank everyone who has supported me in this new endeavor, which of course, includes everyone reading this blog. (I'm sure it relieves you to know that you are contributing to my mental health, no?)

I would like to end for the week with this little "public service" announcement, below. This one made me laugh - the first Valentine's Day gift (and the only store-bought gift we ever exchanged for V Day) I gave my Then-Boyfriend-Now-Husband was a pair of Cooties from the old Milton Bradley game that I found for sale in a nostalgia shop in Greenwich Village. Have a great weekend, everyone.


Thursday, January 3, 2008

Mt. Fuji, Falcons and Eggplants

Well, I completely missed the boat. I was going to wish everyone a nice dream of Mt. Fuji, falcons and eggplants tonight which I thought is supposed to occur on the third night after the New Year according to Japanese tradition for good luck. Apparently, though, I'm mistaken and one is supposed to dream of these things for the first dream of the New Year. Perhaps, though, if you dream of any of these tonight you'll have good luck for half of the year? Or, if you did dream of Mt. Fuji, a falcon or eggplants on the New Year, now you know what it means. Oh, well. I'll try to get it right next year. (And why Mt. Fuji, falcons and eggplants, anyway? Such an odd combination.)

It's occurred to me that I haven't quoted any poetry, funny, serious or otherwise lately, so I thought a little William Butler Yeats might be in order:

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

I've always found this kind of romantic (although, if the Husband were ever to recite or say anything similar, I'm sure I would keel over). I suppose the tone doesn't really fit with the new heart pendant, but I've been thinking of this poem lately, for some reason.

As far as the new pendant is concerned, I had a hard time coming up with a name for it. "Clawed Heart" just didn't sound all that romantic (as I say, unlike the poem). I settled for "Graphic Heart", which I suppose is at least reasonably accurate. This was a very simple design I carved in a stamp block with - yup! - a linoleum cutter. A design like this takes a patina pretty well, I think. This is quite a heavy pendant, as I rolled the PMC out thick to get a good impression of the design.

I'll have one new pendant to show you tomorrow. I'd like to do a couple finished pieces after that, so, hopefully that will happen next week.

Thanks for stopping by!

Dragon's Eye

Once again, I'm up too late (or too early, depending on your perspective) with the Short One, so I thought I'd go ahead and post. I finished this pendant tonight. As you can see, I'm still on a dragon kick. You may recall that I made my first dragon's eye pendant with Sarah Moran's beautiful bead here. I'm still planning on completing a full necklace with the set of beads I have from Sarah, but now I think I may make two separate necklaces on the same theme. I like the way this came out. I started thinking that I could carve a bezel with a heavy-lidded eye surrounded by scales, for a dragon's eye. This is my first try. After I fired the piece, applied the patina and polished it, I spent a lot of time debating what to put in the bezel for the eye. I tried a couple things - rondelles of peridot and garnet, for example - but none of them gave the same disturbing (disturbing to me, at any rate) feeling of being watched as the smooth, round freshwater pearl. I attached the pearl with a ruby-colored resin. I wanted to create something both attractive and unsettling at the same time. You'll have to tell me if I succeeded or not.

Thanks for stopping by! Have a great Thursday.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and has remembered to start dating everything "2008" (it usually takes me a week or two to get used to this). I rang in the New Year with a head cold, but fortunately, it already seems to be passing. With any luck, I will not pass it on to the Short One. Speaking of whom - well, the SO is going through a little rite of passage right now. One of the reasons I decided to take the long weekend off from blogging is that the Husband and I decided that it was time for the SO to say goodbye to his beloved binkies. I'd been dreading this and put it off for almost half a year longer than I probably should have. Since he was an infant, the SO has only used a pacifier to get to sleep at naptime and at night. Still, he relies on them quite heavily and often ends up with about ten in his bed at night. So, I figured that we'd all be cranky and sleepless and that it would be better to put off posting on the blog until I was in a better frame of mind.

Well, the first day, the SO was so taken aback by the fact that I forgot to give him his three pacifiers (he starts out with three), he actually didn't say much and went to sleep relatively quietly. I thought, "Wow - this is going to be easy!" Unfortunately, by Day 2 , he'd figured out what I was up to and informed me in no uncertain terms that he was Not Happy About It At All. This position carried through the weekend - we all ended up getting quite distraught about it (the Husband and I threw the idea of going cold turkey out the window the first night - probably a mistake in retrospect - and settled for no binkies at naptime and only one binky at night). While I am comforted by the fact that you just don't see adults walking around with pacifiers in their mouths (although, come to think of it, who knows what they do when they go to sleep? - hmmm) and that all children give up their pacifiers at some point, I wish the SO could get past the bumpy patch a little more quickly. He's doing okay at night with the one binky - although he's waking up more often than usual - but naptime is still a struggle. Anyone who wants to share war stories (or advice, although I feel that we're on the road of no return at this point), I'd love to hear them.

Nevertheless, I did manage to fire one load of metal clay this weekend. As you can see, I made an Ace of Hearts pendant, as a nod to the upcoming holiday. As with the Ace of Spades, I carved a stamp block with a linoleum cutter to make the design. I also made a couple new designs for other pendants, so I'll have new work to post through Friday.

Have a great day, everyone!