Saturday, November 30, 2013

Woo Hoo! We Are Officially In The Christmas and Holiday Season!

Well, just as expected I was ready for the Holiday launch of my jewelry (this year my focus is Implosion Glass pendants), and as previously planned, the very moment I was finished with my launching, I sat back and relaxed. Funny thing though, once I was sitting back and relaxing, I looked down at my hands and what did I see? I saw my hands with pliers in them, and there were spools of silk and lots of cordage laying around, with bags of stone and glass beads and lots of buttons (I love buttons). What was I doing? I was trying my hand at wrapped bracelets. What fun!

Now the reason I pick an arbitrary date for my launch is because I need to disassemble my mini photo studio which sits atop our dining room table, and the table becomes functional (as a sit-down dinner table) during the whole Holiday season from Thanksgiving until after the New Year arrives and departs.

Of course, once I have everything photographed and the table top studio disassembled and put away, I finally have to stop for the season.  But then I need to edit all those photos and then write up a listing for each item..... If I write up listings, I might as well put them up for sale, right?
So much for being done early. 

Well, I got all the photos finished, and have edited most of them. Now I am beginning to write the listings and measuring lengths and widths, in other words, the usual protocol, always in the same order.

Where I am deviating from the norm is here:  by showing images of what I have been working on, before anything is listed. I figure that if someone sees a bracelet that they want, they can message me and I can write up a listing right then and there, and then no one has to wait until they're all finished to get their own bracelet. And what's especially nice is that some of these will be quite inexpensive. At least until I become an avid wrapped bracelet maker.

My first:  made with rubber cordage that came connected to some handmade pendants that I had invested in for jewelrymaking. 

I call this Smaug's Gold

This is my first attempt at making wrapped bracelets. It worked quite well and I really like the way they look when on the wrist.  But I have lessons to learn as I go.  Glue. Yuck. While I really don't like gluing things, something I dislike more than having to use glue, is having the item unravel or untie itself, so sometimes glue is called for. The trick is trying to get the glue on the inside and not on the outside where it is visible.  So obviously I have my work cut out for me. I will be cleaning these glue marks off the bracelet before it is presentable for sale.

Lesson No.1 - Clean glue from cord knots and ends.
This bracelet was made on rubber cord for my first attempt. My goal is  Leather (namely Greek) but also  waxed cordage, too. But, because I don't like using the more costly items for training, the rubber came into use nicely. 

This bracelet will have a lower price point because of the rubber. The "UP" side, of course, is that a person can actually wash their hands without the fear of getting the bracelet wet, which is a concern when the bracelet is made with leather. ha! Rubber is will not absorb the water! And of course, I couldn't just start a new craft with the most basic of beading techniques, no not me. I fell for the pretty seed beads in strands used to increase the width of the cording, and for in between each one of the tiger eye beads too.

Once I had finished the first bracelet, I started on the next one: this time using some of my waxed polycord. I love waxed cords because they really hold an item securely and they can get wet but won't fall apart (fyi- I use poly cord because it has a longevity and durability that no other waxed cord has, including being salt water resistant. It's also extremely good for holding knots in place, too.) I use waxed cording quite a bit  for multi strand necklaces, especially if the item is to be worn in an informal setting where jewelry is a must but not necessarily a setting for fine jewelry, and for pendants that are worn 24/7 (especially surfers, male and female) that enjoy wearing Maori fish hooks and other organic and natural media as a collar or necklace for daily use.

I have quite a collection of waxed cordage in many colors because of its superb handling when I am knotting and lashing and now it appears that it also works extremely well for wrapped bracelets too. One of the differences I have found is that when I am using waxed cord, the bracelet is still pliable and not as stiff as the leather makes the bracelets. So, here is an example of waxed cord:

On this bracelet I used black waxed cord for the framing and a pretty tan waxed cord for the lashing and knotting portion which lended a nice alternating effect. The stone is goldstone that some friends brought home from Arizona travels, not realizing that it was manmade stone, but that's OK, because it is still a beautiful stone, and one that I have loved since I was a child (that's how long they have been creating this glassine 'stone'). I added a crest button and some copper silk Czech beads.

My next bracelet was made on some shiny black leather that I had on hand. The width was about 1-1.5mm (thin). I used a standard bead for it, hematite.  Hematite has millions of followers that absolutely love this stone above and beyond other stones primarily because of its inherent  natural dark silver shade, and its smooth surface and decidedly cool to the touch feeling of the stone .

Once I finished the more standard style of bracelet, with the single line of stones framed by lashed cords (above), I took a decidedly creative romp for the next series of bracelets:

I love Paua (abalone), and will buy it if I like the quality, and recently RioGrande offered a close out of their Paua buttons in two sizes. I bought a card or two of their small buttons, which I also have used for my knotted bracelets, and when I went back to get more, they were all gone (never to be seen again) but they did have 1" buttons, so I bought a bunch of their cards and put them away. Now, I have found that they are perfect for these wrapped bracelets!  So it was an unintended SCORE for me, though I didn't realize it at the time.

This bracelet features the Paua button closure, with black and silver patterned beading  and little seashells in alternating directions, facing up and down, on waxed poly cord.
One look and it is easy to see the flexibility of waxed cordage.

Another use for the thin shiny black leather, with a reverse hand colored Czech Republic button and handmade Dandelion lampwork glass beads by Radiance Glass (Jenelle and Daniel), some of my favorite glass artists. Added to the lampwork beads are patterned Czech beads of varying finishes and complimentary colors.

 This concludes the part about being my first attempt at this style of bracelet.  I figure I am able to do it, so it is now worth my time to invest in some Greek leather and other accoutrements like buttons, some flexible needles, and things like that. I have a lot of line from Fire Line to waxed cord and of course silk, and some white nymo (though I haven't worked with it yet).


Now for my second attempt, and since my likes range from minimalist to ornate, and my inate need to push the box a little bit further, here are the next series of learned experiences:

Thick black shiny leather with a flower button, silk wrap, black beads and flat copper "silk metallics" of varying shades.

I still need work on my silk wrapping, which will be my next "learned experience"

Next I turned to some of my favorite beads, my grass green square beads. They glow with their silver linings. In this bracelet I combined some knotting with some wrapping and lashing.
I added Toho and charlottes in gold and bronze shades next to the green and bordered by the thicker black leather, I think it makes a statement whether it be for a Holiday or any day, even a Tuesday.

 A more standard version of the wrapped bracelet, this one features white howlite also called puzzlestone, on brown greek leather, and lashed with tan waxed cord with rootbeer seedbeads.

White Buffalo
 The here is my first attempt at a double strand bracelet, made with some stones called sunstone/moonstone (I figure they weren't sure so they used both names), and I am not an expert by any means, but these beads do have one thing that I know is present in sunstone and that's shiller. And it is unique. Both are feldspars but moonstone has an adularescence. I will use sunstone to identify these beads, but my use is tentative.


Each wrapped bracelet is of a certain size with a single button loop. Ranging between about 6.5" - 8.5" the exact length in inches will be added to the listings.

Here is a bracelet I added to the photo shoot mainly because it was ready to go, as were some earrings and a necklace which I won't cover in this blog post now.

This is a scenic jasper bracelet  similar to "Timberline" at the Artfire shop.

This copper wrapped bracelet features Scenic Jasper in traditional wraps antiqued end caps. The natural copper will patina with age and darken naturally. Each copper wrapped jasper bead is connected to each other by black double niobium rings.  The clasp is also hand made and has a black niobium ring lock to secure the clasp. I also made an additional wrapped bead in the event that it needs to be a bit longer (by request).

So we are entering into our Holiday Season, and I have already begun my shopping list, of course my international purchases have already been made, and now I wait while they traverse the big waters. I do believe that 90% of my shopping is made through online purchasing and of that total 85% is through small "hand mades" or the like. And so far, 100% of my shopping has been through smaller businesses and family owned business. Of course as the big days draw near things may change.
It happens.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Wow, "Look What I Found!" A Perfect Place For The Month of Movember

Here we are again! And this time, it's Movember awareness month!

every image is clickable and most will direct the reader back to the item.
3rd edition: 

I found a new a great shop today, and my first impression was “Waaaa?  I love this!”
This was it:
 I laughed…
And laughing made me feel good.
And feeling good… well… feels good.
Need I say more?

So I am here at FuzzyInk shop on Etsy for a shout out:  (not that he needs my help, one view at his sales numbers speaks volumes) but perhaps I can make aware, some of my friends and colleagues that might not have a chance to come across this shop in their daily travels, unless someone led or pointed the way...

So, think of me as cross promoter/advertiser…call it cross pollinating if you will: our awareness of certain interesting handmade venues that don’t necessarily get a level playing field or a competent theater from which to be seen or heard in this manic big box mall and corporate advertising world.  What we do have though, is each other.  And this is one way we can network ourselves.

But first, I digress.

I had some free time, and any free time I usually have is spent either making jewelry (I can’t stop myself) or doing laundry. I had already turned the laundry on another  trip through the cycle (if the laundry keeps going, I don’t have to face it), and I was contemplating my laptop and the return to more photo editing, while the new images I had just finished shooting were uploading. 

 I have to say right now that I have been done with my Holiday items since mid-October, to make sure I’d have the Holiday season free to enjoy with my family (see Oct 19th post).  But give me free time and what happens? I make more jewelry.  Eye roll.

 And since I now have more jewelry completed, I might as well list it, right? And if I am going to list it, I have to shoot it.  More shooting means more editing, but I am still editing images of the jewelry I made  during the last gap of free time I had, so this pretty much explains not only my next blog post, but also the reason for my afternoon laptop contemplation. 

So I’m dinking around on the laptop and happened to look at my inbox while I was taking a lumbar break from my photography session, and I discovered my valid reason for photo-edus-interruptus.

 I had received my “Etsy for Guys” email (yea, I get those, too) and here was this fantastic mustache T-shirt, with the mustache holding smoking guns.   I laughed out loud in a quiet house, waking the 3  sleeping cats from their afternoon log sawing.


I unrolled my magic carpet, hopped on and I must have had a tail wind because before I knew it I was arriving at the FuzzyInk shop, run by John Paul, in Silver springs MD.

First I am going to say, that this is not just a T shirt shop. FuzzyInk is a mustache shop. Or maybe I should say an apparel, accessory and art shop all in a mustache genre. There are many things here, and most, if not all have mustaches. I will admit to seeing some beautiful Elephant T Shirts that didn’t seem to have any mustaches but the images were very involved and there may have actually been a mustache or two.
Everything I saw had a mustache, including the iPhone cases!  There are different items and styles, and the T Shirts are all hand printed on American Apparel and Next Level shirts.
Uhhh, I even found mustache cookie cutters!

And then there were the iphone cases…..
@website, this is titled: "Identity Crisis"
Cat/Mouse Race
And there's even artwork, and even some novelty “plush” mustaches!  Oooh plushies…. I think I’d look good in the red mustache and it would be a great New Year’s Eve, ice breaker….. (oh,  the thoughts and images it brings to mind).

Being a hairdresser myself, I was especially drawn to the Barbershop Quartet T shirt,

And being that I am also an avid orchid grower, I enjoyed John Paul’s  Grow your Mo T Shirt with a picture of a flower pot and a growing mustache.  I love this.
And then, as I sat there chuckling, I turned my head slightly to the right, and there it was,  I got a glimpse  from the corner of my eye.  Slowly I turned my head until I was at full face looking at it……….Right over there, and it was looking back at me.
T. Rex!

Anyone who knows me well, knows how I love the Tyrannosaurus Rex with his good-for-nothing flimsy little arms that are perfect for plucking ripened papayas from low branches, and/or scratching a nearby itch (it’s no wonder they were angry all the time what with those little hands and baby elbows).  Either way I love ‘em.  Just wouldn’t want to meet one wandering around while driving down the freeway. 

Another thing I found at the FuzzyInk shop was a schedule of markets so that shoppers can experience the mustaches first hand and not through a keyboard and series of servers.. Look at this:

upcoming markets

When you travel to FuzzyInk, if you click this button that says:  upcoming local markets you will find a schedule of markets (including maps to get there) where John Paul will be physically selling his Mustaches.  It’s a physical thing!  If you live in the area and want to physically shop; well there you go! Easy peasy.


And now for the feature item (from the top of this post) The Mustache Shirt.

Look at this T Shirt…..  Oh, my mind is full of great ideas when I think about wearing this T Shirt…..Oh yes…

From the Listing:   Truth be told, guns don't kill people, gun-wielding mustaches kill people...put 'em up

Thanks to my Etsy Guy emailer, my attention was harnessed and I was virtually introduced to FuzzyInk, and his Mustache T shirt’s, et al.

Well, since FuzzyInk is located on the right coast and I am located on the left coast, I think it is time for me to travel westward, before it gets any later. I don’t like flying through frozen fog, and it is 28° at home and feels the same here, so I think it is time to go.

Thank you John Paul for an enchanting visit to FuzzyInk in the land of Mustaches! It is my hope that a lot my friends that are looking for the perfect gifts to give for the Holiday Season will be coming to visit your shop. And lastly I will say this, no offence to John Paul, but I hope I don’t grow a mustache, it’s hard enough keeping up the with the errant new hairs that keep showing up, one thing I don’t need it a herd of them all together in one spot (on my upper lip).  But I will keep in mind the plushie mustaches. ...And, I do like that  titian mustache.



Saturday, November 2, 2013

It's Another "Look What I Found!" Holiday Bell's About To Ring!

every image is clickable and most will direct the reader back to the item.
2nd edition: 
Wow, Look what I found!
Rainbow Ripple Afghan Blanket

I love things I can touch, and when I found this Rainbow Ripple Crochet Blanket I just wanted to dig my fingers into it! 

I hopped onto my Magic carpet and flew right over.


It’s a transatlantic flight so it took a while, which gave me a bit of time to look into this cute shop a little farther.
About CrochetByParis
The name of the shop is CrochetedByParis, and is located in London. That’s right, London, baby! Paris is the owner and this gal can crochet anything!  Her Etsy “about” page has pictures of her “works” which not only include crocheted rainbow ipad/tablet covers and tissue box covers, Paris also has crocheted frosted donuts (and hair bun donuts, too) and even crocheted apple ‘cozies’?? They kind of reminded me of maryjane shoes for my granny smith apples!  I jest, because they do actually have a purpose. They keep your apples from bruising when you pack them in your bag. Actually, they’re quite precious!
I love them!
Apple Cozy
By the way, did I mention that Paris taught herself how to crochet by watching Youtube how-to’s?  She doesn’t use patterns very often either, she does it by sight! Now that’s a great brain toning exercise, if I do say so myself.  She’s also a goal driven artist, as I have found. She strives to make her business the best. It shows in her shop announcement which ends with the following words: “If you can't find what you're looking for just ask, nothing is impossible!”
You are about to find out exactly what she means!
Not only does Paris have the beautiful Rainbow Ripple Afghan at her shop, I also found some really cute items! For instance she has a set of cutlery cuffs!  Yes, that’s right!  They’re Santa cutlery cuffs! Red and White!
Cutlery Cuffs
You will love your visit to CrochetedByParis when you discover some really neat things, like her crocheted tree ornaments, eyeballs, spider webs, even a crocheted bowl! She  has crocheted pet beds, and on top of all of this she also has all the regular type of crocheted items, like cup cozies, fingerless mittens (laugh, but once you try them, you'll never go back to regular mittens), crocheted food (go there and prove me wrong) and scarves, hats (some with ears), and much, much, more!

After looking at all of Paris’s items I think my favorite one is her crocheted Cowl Infinity Scarf. I love the earthy shade, and its drape looks perfect for winter weather without being too tight in the neck area.  Yes, if it hadn't been the cowl, it would be that set of Cutlery Cuffs. They are perfect for informal Holiday Party Cheer!
Infinity Cowl Scarf
I had a very exciting visit at the CrochetedbyParis Etsy shop! With the Holiday Season approaching, Paris has some really fun and useful crochet items!
You should check it out!
Well, it's late and time to return back to the Pacific Northwest, where it’s about to start raining and probably won’t stop until March……Again I jest. I think.

Pet Bed
wants pet bed.

will steal pet bed as soon as he steps out of it
Does this really need a caption?
Frosted Donuts