Sunday, October 25, 2009

Still Thinking about Halloween and the Homemade Costumes Yet To Be Made and MadeByMelissa on Etsy

I realize that one of the things in the title of this post is not like the others. At least at first glance. But my fellow Etsyblogger, Made by Melissa, has a great shop full of Halloween items that might just make your holiday that much more festive.

Or these cute Giggly Ghouls Ghostly Charm Earrings, which are much more my cowardly Halloween speed.

Melissa, however, has many skills and apparently not an idle moment. You can find whimsical jewelry in her shop:

and my personal favorite, Penny the Pink Elephant:

With her mad skills, I'll bet Melissa could have Jimmie's Toxic Waste costume done in a matter of minutes.

Make sure to check out Melissa's blog as well:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Thinking Halloween

I'm not much for scary. Never have been. I think my imagination is too big and out of control for my rational mind to reign in. My imagination is like a Pamplona bull.

I never go to scary movies. I went to The Silence of the Lambs and had to leave the movie theatre. Then I checked my closets and ceilings (because of the elevator scene) and under my bed for years. Years, I tell you.

I even make my husband change the channel for previews of scary movies.

I do love watching my kids dress up for Halloween, however, especially in the last few years when the store-bought Bionicle costume has made way for the thunderstorm or bush or present costumes. I'll be writing more about that on Cluck and Tweet later this week. I guarantee you won't want to miss that. There will be mystery and intrigue and bows.

Anyhoo, I have no big plans for Halloween. I've been thinking about it since late August when Jimmie mentioned that I should make some monsters for my Etsy shop. This was a self-serving request because the monsters that don't make the cut go to him and his sister.

But he had a great idea which I ran with and now I have these guys hanging around my shop.

They are so not scary.

Just how I like it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Evil. Devitrifying. Purple.

Evil Devitrifying Purple will strike fear in many beadmakers because, surprise!, this glass will devitrify which basically mean it will turn chalky or even make the adjacent glass look chalky rather than shiny. Etching a bead removes this finish, of course, giving the entire bead a matte finish. These are my latest set on Etsy using EDP:

But this glass is capable of so much more. Look at its effect on the above beads... beautiful little works of art created by Debra Jennings of Frogsong Studio. Simply amazing.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It Takes One To Know One...EtsyBlogger of the Month

I make jewelry. And I've been doing it for probably close to 9 years now. This in no way makes me an expert, but it does give me a little bit more of a critical eye when looking at other people's work.

One of the obvious ways of telling someone's skill in the art of making jewelry is to look at the way she wraps her headpins. The loops should be round and evenly sized which is harder than it looks. You should see some of my early work. It makes me cringe.

These are beautifully wrapped:
and also just plain beautiful.

You can check out Vanessa's lovely jewelry by clicking the links above. She also has adorable cards :

I don't know about you, but I don't think one person should have all this talent. :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

This Is The Ugly Truth...

Several years ago Sam bought a new Mustang convertible. And his mom, who had been living next door and housing visitors for years, moved. And we had no garage space or any room for visitors. And I wanted a studio.

I have loved lampwork beads since I first lay eyes on them. For years I bought them from some of the best lampwork artists I could find (and afford) and made jewelry that people bought (which always amazes me) until one day at a small somewhat-local science center I tried making beads myself. And I was not very good at it. And there really was no instruction. And I was wrapping the mandrel around the glass instead of the other way around.

But I was hooked. I fell asleep thinking of color combinations. I daydreamed of different shapes and techniques. I bought how-to books years before I ever owned a torch.

And then the day arrived and I got a studio.

It's a total mess, I know. This is my New Year's Resolution. For 2010.

When I step into it my mind starts spinning. Which is why I don't get around to cleaning it. Or maybe it starts spinning because it's such a mess. Or maybe it's my type D personality.

I love my studio. Even if I have to share some of the space with this:

Or sometimes people like this:

I'm a lucky girl.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Owls...on Etsy

I heart owls. I didn't know how much I loved owls until I started making them. Now if someone else would like them, we'd be all set.

Friday, September 4, 2009

My First Etsy Treasury!

For those of you who don't know, the Treasury on Etsy is a hot, hot commodity. My heart was pumping when I checked out this site and found that any stinkin' minute the treasury would be open and little ol' me would be able to make one!

I'd like to thank the Academy, God, my family,...

That might be over-reacting. Here, however, are my choices, with the caveat that I'm a member of the EtsyBloggers team and the Lab Rats and I don't think I included either members in my Treasury. My excuse being that I was so nervous that someone on Etsy was going to renege on my Treasury list because I too slow, so I was searching and copying and pasting as fast as I could.

Next time. I promise.

Click here to check out the items, links, and make a comment!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Finding My Niche

Niche is kind of a nice word. One of those words you aren't sure you quite know how to pronounce. And just so you know, it can be pronounced "nich" or "nish," unlike Neanderthal which is pronounced, "knee-ann-der-tall." Didn't know that did you. But now I have saved you a world of embarrassment at your next science convention. "Niche" is from the French, where all the fancy words like "hors d'eourve" (which is 2 words, I know, but since when does anyone say them separately? So I'm counting it as one word) or fondue come from.

Those crazy French! (And I actually didn't look up "fondue" to see if it's French. It could be coined from The Brady Bunch for all I know, but it seems French, don't you think?)

On Etsy it's important to find ones niche, or market, and especially if you sell jewelry because there are millions of people who sell jewelry on Etsy. Millions.

And some are French, too.

So I'm trying out these guys:

I've gotten more views in the last few days from these guys. There aren't many lampwork monster necklaces on Etsy. Which is a total surprise.

Not any more sales, however.

Which might lead me to more questions than answers:
1. Do I want more views even if it doesn't lead to any more sales?
2. Does anyone really even want a cute little monster hanging around her neck?
3. Do I want my niche to be lampwork monster necklaces?
4. Do I need to create a separate shop for my whimsical creations? One for beads? One for my "serious" jewelry?

These are the questions that keep me up at night.

Friday, August 28, 2009

EtsyBloggers Featured Seller

I am determined to be a poster child for the EstyBlogger street team. One of the great side-effects of this team is its Featured Seller component which exposes all of us to a new EtsyBlogger each month. This month's Featured Seller is... Memories for Life Scrapbooks.

I'm a blank book junkie. Unfortunately most of the blank books stay blank or, for example, have no theme. Therefore I have my Alaska journal filled with what we did in Alaska along with ideas for beads and jewelry. And my jewelry journal has entries on what I ate that day.

Anyhoo, Memories for Life Scrapbooks has great notebooks like the one at the top of this post, and amazing custom albums:

This is so darn cute it almost makes me want to have another child. And name her Scout.


EtsyBloggers...Blog Carnival...Back to School

Yuck. Really.

In elementary school back to school meant a new lunch favorite was my Hong Kong Phooey metal lunch box:

And who doesn't love a new box of 64 Crayola crayons? They still make me giddy.

As a teenager I loved the new clothes aspect of going back to school. We lived in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, a place devoid of any malls, so unless you wanted to wear the same kind of Chic jeans that every other girl in school had, you needed to take a shopping trip to the big city. Like Grand Rapids, population less than 200,000, and definitely less than that in the '80s. But a whole lot more selection than the Carhartt's and Levi's at our local Winkelman's (not the chain, but actually a family named "Winkelman.")

Any song by Prince, but especially Purple Rain, reminds me of my first year going to college. It blasted out of every boom box in every window in every dorm. That and the Violent Femmes.

And then as a teacher, going back to school meant endless work. The time spent in the classroom is minor in relation to the time spent getting prepared for 130 kids in your classroom throughout the day.

And now it means that my kids are no longer home during the day, a presence I find quite comforting. I like knowing right where they are. What they are doing. Who they are doing it with. I like not rushing off in the morning. I like dinner at 7 with everyone at the table. It means new routines. New schedules. A new job. Shorter days. Cozy nights. Just a different rhythm.

I'm not one to embrace change. Can you tell?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Grey Might Be My New Favorite Color

Mendenhall Glacier, just outside of Juneau, Alaska

Michigan is beautiful. I will be the first to admit that sometimes when I drive into town all along Lake Michigan, I am blown away. The lake can be ragged pewter, eerily calm, strikingly fragile and I'm quite in awe of it. How I don't drive off the side of the road or into a tree is rather a mystery.

But we just returned from Alaska on a 7 day cruise through part, like about an inch, of the Inside Passage. I was sorely disappointed to read the weather report before embarking that the whole week would be rainy and 50 - 60 degrees. We've had a whole summer of that in Northern Michigan. Except while we were away, of course.

And guess what. It rained. Oh, not every day, but on glacier day it rained and it was freezing cold. And the lack of color was misty and mystical and had a depth of soul that isn't apparent in the bright neon of Caribbean color. Not that it was better. It was different. And just as inspiring.

If I could capture this color in glass, I would be quite impressed with myself. And I will brag about it. This glacier ice, part of Dawes Glacier way up the Endicott Arm, is like looking into a beautiful, airy, airless abyss. Ice and glass have much the same look. I'm going to play with blues and clear and texture. Along with the ivory that inspired me and walrus bone that was used by some jewelers whose work I admired.

But I wrestle with being inspired by Alaska versus being inspired by Michigan. Living in a tourist town I know, especially after being a tourist for 10 days, the importance of finding the exact souvenir that will remind me forever of this trip. I'd like to provide that for someone else...does that mean Petoskey stones mixed with glass? Or glass that represents Petoskey stones, the state stone of Michigan? Or does it matter?