Habitual Habitat of the Amy

I kept reading advice columns for how to bring sales to your etsy shop, and one thing they all said is to get a blog.

I can't say this blog has boosted my etsy sales, but it has given me yet another outlet for talking about myself, and that can't be bad--can it?

The direct link to the Etsy shop is HERE

Sunday, October 31, 2010

What??!! Two in a Row?!

Well, I forgot that this started today, but now I've remembered, so I can go ahead and link to it:

The Amys in the Arts Etsy Team that I've been a member of for some time is beginning a holiday promotion today!  Each Amy participating will have a week wherein they have a blog post on our main blog, and do a free giveaway of an item from the shop.  To enter in the shop's give away, you need merely mention your favorite item from the shop, but if you'd like to have more than one entry, then you need to post linkage to it on your blog or twitter, or join the amysinthearts blog or twitter--look, it's all explained on this page, near the bottom. I'm sure I'll work out some clever wording for it by the end of this promotion, but for now I'll just refer you there.

This week's celebrated Amy is AmyZo, who makes awesome address labels and paper goods which she sells at her etsy shop.  She's offering a free set of address labels to the winner.  Good Luck!

Western Choker

I'm not listing anything on Etsy today. I have my reasons.  So instead of showing you something new, I'd like to redirect your attention to the above choker.  I made it originally as a custom choker for someone who approached me to request it, insisted that I use specific colors and textures (some of which I had to go out and buy just for this), and then, when I sent her the link to the finished object, she vanished off the face of the earth.

I waited for a week, thinking perhaps that the aliens would return her to this planet, but she's still MIA, so I'm forced to conclude that she doesn't want this.

I think the worst part is that I don't actually know. I mean, she could be...simply too busy to purchase it.  Or maybe the fault is with the choker; maybe it's not what she wanted after all, maybe when she insisted on 'matte' beads she really meant 'not-shimmery' so this is entirely wrong.

Or maybe, maybe this is just some sort of joke.

"Hey, I'm bored; know what I'll do? I'll go on Etsy, find a newbie seller, request an item, lead them on until it's made, never buy it and then cackle to myself knowing I just manipulated someone like that!!!"

Yeah, well, fuck you and I hope you got your jollies from it, and I hope that some day someone will buy this choker and love it the way it was meant to be loved.

... I might be a little bitter; why do you ask?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Blue Geometric Beaded Tapestry

I guess this is as good a time as any to talk about beading itself.

I leaned the square stitch back in college as part of a weaving class, and I pretty much feel in love with it right off.  I spent some time making small things; an amulet bag, a tiny teddy bear, a really simple checkerboard square.  I very quickly realized it's potential for awesomeness and made a very ambitious dragon tapestry which remains one of the largest beaded tapestries I've made.

After that I made a smaller dragon tapestry, and then in my senior year of college I made a bunch of tapestries that were destined to be my part of the senior show; there was a world map, a viking longboat, the typical Egyptian couple, a Celtic knot of dragons, a firebird, some fairies, an Asian dragon...and a few other things that I seem to have forgotten. Oh! there was a really neat lion-and-the-unicorn triptych.

After graduation I ended up at a boring job where I was allowed to do other things when not actively taking a call.  I used much of that time to make more beaded tapestries, including a second world map (I'd make a third if I didn't already have two; I love that pattern), a second smaller dragon, a merman, this blue geometric tapestry, a red geometric tapestry that's the inverse of the blue, a belt, a 'beadmail bikini', and my masterpiece Lord of the Rings tapestry which is 160-odd beads on one side and 180-odd on the other. It took me a month and I worked on it both at work and away from work, and at the end of it my thumb was feeling pretty funny.

So I took a break from beading, and over the next three or so years I made a yellow rose (which I gave to a roommate) and an American flag which my mom occasionally tries to steal.  I also started an eye, but gave up about a third of the way through.

Then came last winter.  I'd been working seasonal outdoor education, and it left me at loose ends over the winters (and summers).  I was bored and fell to watching TV online last January.  I desperately wanted something to do with my hands while watching (other than bite my nails), but I couldn't think of anything.

I need to go on a tangent here for a moment; I used to have these glow-in-the-dark gimp (plastic shoestring/lanyard) bracelets on my wrist as a memento of camping days not as long gone as they should have been.  I was really quite attached to them, but unlike diamonds, gimp does not last forever (not on wrists, at least), and the last of these bracelets broke off of my wrist last fall, leaving me feeling naked and undecorated.

While I was sitting there watching internet TV and wishing I had something better to do with my life, it suddenly struck me that I could bead myself a bracelet and finish it directly onto my wrist, which I did shortly thereafter.

Having broken the long dry spell of beading, I was hooked once again.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Smiley Bracelet

I've been haunted all my life by having a face that looks depressed. I used to get classmates stopping me in the hall and asking if I was okay; co-workers going out of their way to make sure I was all right; and the guy who occasionally waited at the bus stop with me asking my dad if I was depressed (he usually waited for the bus with my dad).

I used to think all these people were crazy-nuts, until  one day I was standing in front of a mirror and my thoughts wandered off into the land of dragons, as they are often wont to do.  My face went from 'blank' to 'I'm about to cry' as my brow furrowed slightly in concentration on my thoughts. I guess that's what I get for trying not to display the emotions running through my head along with all my thoughts.

There was no way to explain this to others--especially since when I'm lost in thought I'm very well lost and it takes a map and a few minutes to relocate myself. 

Eventually I got fed up with the constant 'are you okay?'-ing and started trying to smile all the time--nothing big, just a little smirk. It's been a mixed success.  I feel happier all the time, and always believe that I'm smiling--but no one else can tell that it's not a straight face.  This works well for telling jokes--except when people aren't expecting jokes, and I end upcoming across as a jerk, an idiot or someone very unhappy with current circumstances.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dragon Choker

I guess Dragons is today's topic.  I guess I'd like to say that I've liked dragons since well before they were cool.

I know everyone nowadays likes dragons and you can buy dragon figurines and dragon books everywhere, but when I started liking them there wasn't a stuffed dragon to be found, and I had all five of the dragon books out on the market.  One was just a bestiary of mythological creatures, but it had a dragon on the cover, si I guess it counted.

I am of two minds about the increasing popularity of dragons.  On one hand, I like the fact that I can buy tiny plastic dragons in stores, but on the other hand I don't like that if I want a shirt with a dragon on it I have to either shop in the boys section or reassess my dislike of the color pink.  I don't feel that dragons were ever meant to be pink, I'm afraid.

I'm also less than fond of the idea that something I like is now something everyone likes. I always went out of my way to eschew the popular things and decide what I liked on my own--which occasionally matched with what was popular, but not usually.  Now what's popular has decided it likes the same things I do, and some part of me feels like I should start liking something else because of that.  Just to be contrary, you know?

But once you've liked dragons, what can possibly replace them?  'sides, Harry Potter ruined all the other possible mythological creatures by making them popular, too.  Well, except for vampires, but those aren't what you'd call 'less popular' these days.  Seriously. I'm down to--to, uh...hypogriffs.  And who can really love a creature that's half-horse half-eagle?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Something Clever

Today's Listing: Rose Pin

Well, according to my stats at least one person other than me may have looked at this blog. I'm feeling all sorts of pressure now; I have to watch what I say and try harder to be funny.

Not that it'll work anyway.

Why, when I press the enter key does the cursor jump UP rows?! or back to this start of the one I just finished? it doesn't type there, but it's distracting to have a jumping cursor like that. Makes me want to cursemore.

Okay, well, there's that rose pin. It's kinda pretty. I made a rose bracelet, and then made it into a pin when no one was looking. I like roses because they remind me of fairy tales, and I love fairy tales. There's just something so Beauty and the Beast about roses.

I've received one rose as a gift in my life. It was last Valentine's day when I went to see my long-distance boyfriend. I broke up with him later that week.

Well, that makes a pretty crappy story compared with the stuff I had to say about goldfish yesterday.

My older sister used to get flowers for various things--she was into theater and choirs and such--and she'd hang them in the closet to 'dry' after receiving them. But then she'd forget about them and they'd get squished between and other things that were hanging up in the closet, and drop petals on the things that were supposed to be hanging up in the closet, but weren't. Eventually I'd get fed up and ask if I could remove them, but she wouldn't let me.

So I just stopped using the closet.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Talking to Myself

Well.  It's a bit like talking to myself here, but I guess that's because I've told no one that I've started a blog.  It's my fault, I suppose; I put some stuff in that second post that I haven't told anyone, and if I plan to keep my secrets, then I shouldn't direct them to my blog--not that there's any particular reason to keep that information as secrets, just that it's been unknown for so long I'm not sure I want to go blathering it around to people.  I certainly don't want to explain why I haven't said anything about it these past months. Or years, depending which secret we're talking about.

See, people? this is why you should tell everyone everything.  Even the white-lie-by-omissions may come back to haunt you and prevent you from telling people about your blog.

Today I posted the fish bracelet, which could also be a ghoti bracelet, since English is awesome like that. I believe my inspiration was something along the lines of 'hey, wouldn't it be neat if I made a goldfish', which thought may or may not have been itself inspired by a need to be rid of the blue and/or orange size 10 beads.  I'm quite pleased with the way it turned out, although the fish are a bit longer than most patterns I've used, and I think I meant for them to be smaller, originally.  They are a bit fish-cracker-ish, but I like cheddar goldfish crackers, so I've never had a problem with that.

But perhaps you'd like to hear my life story as relates to goldfish?

Well, when we were younger we often had goldfish as pets, as many people do. We would sometimes win them from the ping-pong-ball-tossing game at fairs, and it was the memory of this that led my college-age older sister to win two goldfish at some small fair or another.  One fish died a few days later, but the second lived well over two years.

He attended college, and when that wasn't in session he would come to camp with me and my sister, riding on the floor between my feet in a fish-carrying-case.  He never fought against going into the case like a cat, but I doubt he enjoyed the journey.  My feet only got wet once from it, so I didn't mind. It is good that I'm short, though.

Sometime after the goldfish's death I asked my dad to forward me any pictures were had of family members that included their whole body--I needed it for an art-project.  As a joke he included a picture of the fish. I didn't use it for that project (we were supposed to be working on the human figure), but I based the four paintings in my final series for that class off of the picture of the fish.

They turned out rather well, I received an 'A', and ever since I've been rather fond of goldfish in my art.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Luna Moth

Today's Etsy Listing: Luna Moth Beaded Tapestry Pattern

I've been thinking--I know, but sometimes I can't help myself--I've been thinking, that perhaps I shouldn't be posting here--blogging?--about the thing that I'm working on, since you won't see that until some unspecified date in the future, but instead that I should blog about the thing that I posted today, which I'm putting up pictures of, anyway.

I'd leave it to the readers to vote, but since there's only three of you--and actually all three are me--I think I'm pretty much on my own for decision-making.

There's a danger of the posts repeating every four months, but I'll worry about that roughly four months from now.

Today's Listing:

Inspiration: I was thinking about making a butterfly, but then I thought that Luna Moths were cooler than butterflies, so I made a pattern of one of those instead. Then I didn't care for all the blank space behind it, so I tried to find a pattern of the moon that I could use in the background. Failing that, I made my OWN moon pattern and put the moth on top of it.

Colors: The moth is naturally a selection of pale or pastel greens, but I couldn't find any, and also I love the more yellowy and bright greens, so I bought a bunch of those and made it work. It would have been easier if my local bead store actually carried green seed beads--they are pretty much guaranteed to not carry whatever I'm looking for, though, so I wasn't surprised. I over-compensated in trying to buy the proper greens for this, unfortunately, and now I have...far more green than I know what to do with. Watch this space for more dragons...

Technical: This is actually the second Luna Moth Beaded Tapestry that I made, since the first one sold, which is fine--awesome, actually--but I really missed it, so I made myself a second one.  I love the new one, but I don't like the accent colors quite as much; the light yellow and light blue are too big, while the shiny green I used is too dark. I think it turned out well overall, and I'm pleased to have my own version of it.

I'd also be more than pleased to share the pattern with others.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Who *am* I?

Today's Etsy re-post: Turtle Bracelet

It occurred to me, sometime after I left yesterday's post, that you probably have no idea who I am. This is understandable, since I left the 'profile' information as uninformative as I possibly could. I'm helpful like that.

Anyway, I thought that today I could do a bit more of an introduction than the list of 'likes' I posted yesterday will give you. So let's begin:

I am 27, unemployed and live with my parents. I keep trying to move out, but I'm really bad at it, and always end up back here after a few months or a year. I hate it, but am bad at finding non-seasonal work--hence the attempts to sell the things I make.

Which brings us to my Etsy shop: arjarvis.etsy.com This is where I attempt to sell the things which I babble about here. So far I have managed a grand total of four sales, only one of which was to my mom. I'm hoping that the lack of a blog is why I haven't had many sales, and that's why you're reading this.  If you buy something, maybe I'll shut up.

I also moonlight as a writer of gay fairy tales. You can purchase my book of them, called Fairies, Princes and Fairy Princes, for the Amazon Kindle platform. They are all witty, humorous and more-or-less child-appropriate. If you'd like to read more of my writing for free--although I don't know why you would--you can visit my FictionPress page, or go to my LiveJournal, which is where I whine about writing, much as I plan to whine about beading here. Since I know gay romance isn't exactly everyone's cup of tea, I'll mostly never mention it here, just as I hardly ever mention beading on my LJ.

And let's let that conclude my intro-to-me for the day.

Today's Project: Christmas Plaid

Inspiration: I have all these size 10 beads I've been trying to use up. I made it down to four un-matching shades of green, silver, dark silver, blue and purple, which didn't leave me with much to work with, so I bought some red and white size 10s, with the intent to make Christmas bracelets, since it's about that time of year. As for plaid? well, I like plaid.

Pattern: A simple plaid. Didn't take long to come up with, although I was working out the details as I tried to fall asleep last night. Not that there were many details to work out.

Colors: The darkest size 10 green, since I have the most of it, shiny silverlined because it's a good contrast, and the new silverlined red because the solid red beads look too small next to the giant greens.

Technical: The white/silver was a bit thinner than the other two colors, but it didn't prove to be a problem. I think I pictured it being a bit more complex, and instead it looks like a wrapped gift, but I still like the way it turned out.

Notes: I like it. And it only took two hours to complete. That's the wonder of eight-beads-wide, I guess.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

ZOMG! A blog!

Alright. Well, I'm new to this whole blog-thing--if you can't tell from this being my first post and all.

And, to be honest, I have no idea what I'm supposed to *do* with this blog.  Everything says that, since I keep trying to be an online-artist, this is the best way to get information out there about my artwork and inspiration. I'm not sure why people would care about that, but I guess it goes along with the 'stories' I'm supposed to sell people about everything I make.

Which brings us to the other problem I will have with keeping a blog--I'm too humble! I think everything I do is boring, uninteresting and done for the wrong reasons. I have no idea why you'll be interested in what I do. Hell, I'm often confused over why I find what I do interesting. Go figure.

Well, I work mostly with beads because it's simple--make a pattern, choose colors, sew on first bead, repeat 5,372 times, finish and hang on wall.  There's not much more to it. Patterns I come up with because I think they might look interesting, they are something I want to wear, or they are something I'm hoping someone else would like. I'm not very good at guessing what other people like.

I like dragons, bunnies, trees, irony, sarcasm, new bead colors, reading, being left alone, Parmesan cheese, tomatoes and receiving emails. Sadly, not all of those fit on bracelets.

Today's project: Finish that bracelet with the Christmas Trees on it.

Inspiration: Christmas is coming soon, and I thought maybe someone will buy something related to it. People do that, right?

Pattern: It's too tall. I prefer to make bracelets that are 8-11 beads wide, including space for boarders and negative space around the image. This Christmas tree itself is 11 beads tall. Rather than sacrifice my artistic preferences I sacrificed the float-space over the tree, so the bracelet is only 11 beads wide, but the 'star' on top of it rubs against the ceiling. Guess that's why you need to measure your tree before you put it up.

Colors: That awesome iridescent green I got at a garage sale, my new favorite red, boring 'chalk white,' silverlined yellow/gold and a simple transparent brown, you can guess which color goes where.

Technical: I've also been placing the red 'ornaments' at random, which worked really well until I stumbled across the perfect placement--but am too far committed to chaos to change what I've done.

Notes: I interrupted my regularly-scheduled work on this one so I could make that custom piece I put up today. It'll only have ten Christmas trees on it. Twelve would be even better, but I don't think I know anyone with 9" wrists... If you are someone with 9" wrists, and you'd be interested in a 12-days/trees-of-Christmas bracelet, speak up, otherwise I'll stick with 10 trees.

Today's Posted Item: It was a custom request, so you can't have it. But if you want it anyway, perhaps I can make you another one...