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

Monday, November 14, 2011

Long Time No See

Hello the blog readers!

It's been a while, hasn't it? Sorry? And don't get attached to this updating thing, either. I just came by to show off that I've learned a new beading stitch!

Yes! That is correct; I have finally been bothered to learn the peyote stitch.

I also did not make that pattern, but borrowed it from someone on DeviantArt, the link for which I tried to keep track of, but it seems to have vanished. Sorry person who didn't mind if I used their pattern, so long as I gave them proper credit; I can't credit you. Blame pintrest.

Okay, so. My adventures in peyote stitching:

There must be some trick to starting them because my up-row was supposed to be a down-row or something, which threw a few things off, and eventually necessitated me dropping one bead on the left side--resulting in the awkward lump there.  Somehow dropping this one bead made the opposite side of the pattern too short by a row, but only sometimes by a row, other times it was fine.

I also had a hell of a time reading the pattern. First it had those 'realistic' effects that make it so hard to see what you're looking at--like the shine on an apple, but on every single bead, and each bead is smaller than an apple, by the way. So between that and the fact that the original pattern was missing a grid, which I had to create and add, I was already a few hours in, and I hadn't even picked up a needle yet.

But the whole one-off grid, which I'm sure has a real name, but I do not know it, that whole thing was a headache to follow.  You'd think 'oh, you just go to the next bead' but it wasn't the next bead.  It was the bead AFTER the next bead. Yeah.

Eventually I sorted that out, too, and could actually follow the pattern, which allowed me to work pretty fast. I'm not entirely sure it's faster than the square stitch, although I've always assumed it would be. More experimentation is clearly needed on the subject.

And now that the poor thing is finished I can say that I don't really care for the look of the peyote stitch, either. It shines in a weird pattern that I'm not used to, and also the feel of it is stiffer than the square stitch.

So...can't say I'm a huge fan.  I'll give it a few more tries, see if I can figure out what went wrong with my first/second row, but then I'll start trying to work on 3-d peyote, which is really what I want to do. Since my attempt to bypass the flat stitch didn't work all that well for me.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Knot Dragons

Celtic Knot Dragons Beaded Tapestry Pattern
Dragons forming a Celtic knot was one of the very first beaded tapestry ideas that I had. And I actually made one way back when I first started all this beaded nonsense.  It's still one of the largest tapestries I've made (though it's been inching down the list).  I can't sell that pattern because of all those pesky copyright rules and the fact that I based it on someone else's image without altering it a whole lot (some, but probably not enough). Also, the dragons don't really look a whole lot like dragons--they are more like a mutant cross-over between hummingbirds and snakes.

So I decided that I'd make a second Celtic Knot of dragons, this one wholly from my head so that I can sell the pattern.  Although I did end up using a common domain Celtic Knot image for the base, but the heads and tails are ALL MINE.

It's funny, too, because I'd planned to spend a long time working out the heads of the dragons and getting them to be just right, but then I drew something fast so I could remember where the heads went, then I adjusted the size because it was too big--and amazingly the heads were perfect, just the way they were. Which is pretty awesome. The red head is better than the green one, though. Not that I want them to be identical, but it's still better.

The other long debate dealing with this was the colors. I have VERY strong associations with red and green being Christmas Colors, which is fine, but I didn't want this to look like Christmas. It doesn't, and I'm quite pleased that I went with these two colors in the end, since they are acceptably from that region of the world, and also are the more traditional colors for dragons.

The pattern is up for sale. I might put the tapestry up, since it's not too complicated, and is something that I could easily recreate (after buying more cream-colored beads, anyway), but for now I'll keep it to myself.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Follow, follow follow follow, follow the...

Yellow Brick Road Bracelet
This is technically for the EBW Team challenge--but it's the September challenge, and we haven't even made it to August yet, so it's nothing special yet. And if it somehow magically sells between now and then, I might make a second one. Or I might not, since it's not like being in their challenges really does anything for me.

But regardless of that, this bracelet was fun to make, and even more fun to photograph.  See that lego walking down it? So awesome. No sea stones for this bracelet, no sir, just a mossy lump and some tiny plants.

I fear that it's not all that clearly a bracelet in the picture, and that worries me a little bit, but when I think about how often people do, rather do not buy things from me, I don't think an artsy photo is going to make one lick of difference.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Whole Wide World

Planet Earth Pattern
Have I mentioned that I was making this one? This is the pattern that I made that I actually had the beads to make when I made the pattern. It used up most of my blue, too.

I should be able to pair this particular tapestry with a moon tapestry--they are exactly the same size for exactly this purpose--to make a nifty bag.  And by "nifty" I mean "amazing and beautifully crafted."  There are a few puzzles left to work on with it, of course.  For example; the strap. And closure. Closure is always good.

And after I've made it into a bag, then I need to make a second Earth so I can just have one hanging out on my wall.  Along with everything else.  I also will choose my colors with a bit more care before making that second one, hopefully so that the land and sea colors are more distinct.

Now that I have this lovely little tapestry finished, I also have the rather odd problem of mixing it with the World Map tapestry in my head.  They are very different, but I cannot call this one the 'world' and I cannot call the other one the 'earth,' which doesn't seem like it would be a big deal, but I usually consider the two words to be synonymous, but in this case they are not.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Don't You Forget my Unicorn

Unicorn Beaded Tapestry Pattern
I once recited the entire Irish Rover's Unicorn song from memory. I do know a lot of songs, but I hadn't realized I knew that one quite so well.

I'm making a second unicorn/lion triptych. So far I just have the unicorn finished because I needed a different red to make the lion. I have the red now, so I am planning to start that later today, but I put the unicorn up as its own pattern listing today.  I don't know if I'm going to sell the (attempt to sell the) finished triptych, although I do have one already, so maybe I will.

What I do plan to do is list the triptych as one pattern listing, and maybe suggest that people can turn it into an amulet bag as well.  Or just a fancy bag, but at 3x4 inches, it wouldn't be able to hold much--and it'll be a lot smaller if you use Delica beads, which, of course, everyone and their Aunt Gertrude does.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Mechanical Dreams

SteamPunk Dream Catcher

This isn't for sale yet because it's not quite finished, I just wanted to share it with the world. It's a little bit more colorful in person, I think this picture was taken with the flash, but none of the pictures I got tonight were very good.

I dissected an old clock to make this, and I now have another clock to take apart, although it's a wind-up one, since I'm waiting for it to wind down before I do that.  It's in solitary until it stops ticking.

Once that clock is in pieces, then I will make a second one of these (I also need to track down more chain), hopefully finish off both with bits hanging on the bottom, and then whichever one I don't want to keep will go up for sale. Not sure I should admit that, but they'll both be about the same in terms of quality and construction, although I plan to use all the same chain for the second one, instead of switching it up like on this.  If I ever get a third clock (or if the second one has enough bits), then I will try to make one using the coil of copper wire from the first clock to make the webbing.

And here you thought all I did was bead.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


Viking Longboat Pattern
I said I was going to try and remake this one.  Well, just recently I ran out of things to bead, and my one attempt to scrounge up inspiration failed, so I started re-making some of the old patterns I've been intending to remake.

I made this one, and another unicorn, but then I realized I needed another color of bead to make the lion that goes with the unicorn (it's going to be a remake of my triptych), so I couldn't do that.  I ordered new beads, and then I made another pattern, which I also need the ordered beads to make.  So I made another pattern, this time one that I currently have all the beads for and started on that.

Oh, and there's a third pattern that I made a few weeks ago, but have been putting off making because it's more than 50% black.  Also, I need some of the ordered beads to make it.  BUT! once those beads arrive, I will have even more new things.

I put this longboat up as a pattern, because there's no way I'll ever be able to part with it, even if I could remake it easily enough.  I priced it lower than the others, though, since it's smaller than most.

Plus, no one buys the tapestries, so I'm just going to try selling the patterns for awhile.  I've sold what, three of those? as opposed to one tapestry.

Friday, June 24, 2011


Turtle Bracelet
I've been reading a lot of fairy tales.  I've always wanted to read tons and tons of them, but the library only had books of the same old popular ones, told over and over and over and over, so I held off on my love of them, and settled for reading everything else.

But then I got my kindle.  My lovely, delicious kindle, whereupon I can buy hundreds of fairy tale books--for free.  And I do mean hundreds, too. I have just over two hundred fairy tales books, all sorted neatly be length.  I'm reading from shortest to longest, so I doubt I'll ever really make it to Arabian Nights, but it's good to have goals.

Anyway, the book I'm currently reading is Old Greek Folk Stories Told Anew by Josephine Peabody. It's as if the author knew the stories and wrote them down, but without any care for actually getting them right--not that they are wrong, just, they aren't exactly faithful translations of the original Greek myths.

But that's not why I brought the book up (no, indeedy, that all goes in the review I'll be writing as soon as I finish it...). I actually wanted to discuss hubris a bit.

All these Greek tales--or at least more than a few of them--deal with the idea of hubris, or of arrogance which leads to a fall, also known as overconfidence or pride.  And this is an oddly important idea to me, since I'm surprisingly humble, so I like to see the arrogant ones getting taken down a peg of three.  But the Greek idea of hubris is entirely different from that which we have today.

See, in the Greek, the heroes will be arrogant, claim they are better than any other mortal, that they are, in fact, better than the gods--which they often ARE.  The gods, of course, take offense to this, challenge the mortal, and then, whether they win or lose, usually enact some sort of revenge which ultimately lowers the mortal far below others.

But in our moralizing tales--and I don't mean fairy tales (not even Disney-ified ones), but rather the wholesome children's TV shows and such--in those tales the closest they get to hubris is when the hero claims that they are really good at something that they are not good at.  The lie then gets out of hand, and the hero finds himself in over his head, admits that he was lying all along (or otherwise gets help which turns the lie into truth), and then he looses and receives psychiatric help.

So when you finish hearing the modern tales, you think, I should not lie about my abilities because I cannot control that lie.  But after one of the Greek stories you learn, I should not brag because there will always be someone better than me, or someone I piss off by doing so.  Quite possibly someone who can kick my ass to the stars if they so choose

The two are very, very different lessons.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Dragon Braclet
I actually listed some brand-new things a few days ago.  Be happy for me.

I was working on a bigger project, which is now finished (and also not for sharing), the pattern I used for this bracelet was a part of that. It's based on the scrolling dragon I've used for other things, but since that was too long to look like anything, I shortened the pattern, flipped one dragon over so it's a two-part pattern, and then added feet. I think he looks pretty good, although I'm not too sure about the red I used here as a background. I should really go find a weathered piece of 'barn wood' in the garage or something. Then it could be flat AND a good background at the same time. A novel idea.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I've been meaning to catch up here--or to start again, rather, since catching up would be very, very silly at this point.

Let's see. I've changed the shop-listing to doing a bunch once a week, and then if I have anything interesting to list I'll go ahead and do so whenever.

Etsy has a new set-up for listing things, which I actually like quite a bit, except that I cannot save the changes I make to 'expired' listings--I either need to renew them Right Then, or I lose my changes. This seems like a rather silly way to run things, but that's pretty much how Etsy rolls, so whatever.

I've been making lots of things, but aside from a few earrings and pendants, nothing has gone up for sale. My older sister requested a ...series of four fairy tapestries for her birthday, which sounds like a lot, but they were small.  It took me forever to finish them, if only because I don't like to put the hanging rods onto the tapestries, and I put that off for as long as possible.  The panels themselves only took about three hours apiece. (12 hours isn't very long, right?).

I'm also working on a something that won't go up for sale, and a while back I made something that I don't think ever got mentioned here: The Turtle Beaded Tapestry
Turtle Beaded Tapestry
I've always liked turtles. Even after I got bit by a snapping turtle, which wasn't very fun at all.  This guy is more a frame work for a geometric design than an actual turtle, but I still think he's awesome.  I'm still debating putting him up, and delaying on putting his pattern up, although I should go on that. The background is beads chosen at random, which I would not use if I were to make this turtle again--certainly the light blue is far too strong.

Actually, I'm hoping to make him again soon, but using the Czech beads, rather than the Japanese ones, so I can pick from the colors I like and not the colors I have, although he turned out quite well, and he helped me lower the number of Japanese seed beads in my life significantly, which was nice.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Octopus Earrings
Something new. Earrings, AND octopusesiples. Someone said they look a bit like jellyfish, and I can't completely disagree, but it's hard to make different shapes with this beading technique, so that's about the best I can do.

I also somehow look at the dark bead at the end of each leg and see them as shoes, which then somehow magically translates into a tapdancing octopus in my head. Weird.

I'm pretty happy with them, though. 'course, next time I think I'll make the top loop a different color--maybe the dark color--so it doesn't make the 'pus look so pointy on top. Maybe that'll help with the jellyfish problem.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Penguin Set

Penguin Earrings and Pendant
I told you I made more than one of these, right?

I got to babysit my niece this morning. She took a lot of naps, which was nice because then so did I.  She's taken to growling, which is pretty funny, if a bit strange.  Apparently it's just something some babies do, though, so whatever.

Friday, May 6, 2011


Penguin Earrings
I declared yesterday to be Penguin Making Day, and I made two pair earrings, and then a pendant as well. I debated making a few more because it's my one reliable seller, but I was penguinned out, so I stopped.

These guys are adorable, and I'm likely to start babbling about them, just to warn you.

My little sister suggested making earrings a while back, but I kept putting it off.  Then my friend acquired a box of beading things from another friend, and she had no use whatsoever for the earring backs in with the beads, so she offered them to me.  Then I had a suggestion and the supplies, but I still put off making earrings.

Last night I thought I'd finally give it a try, and since nothing strange or wonderful jumped out of the universe to distract me (sadly), I made them, and I'm so so sooooooososososo happy that I did! Let me enthuse all over you a bit more! They are just so CUTE, I'm liable to break into fangirl squealing and/or use the word 'kawaii' without irony.

Well, maybe not that.

I'm just a bit sad that I don't wear earrings like this (I prefer mine to be studs, heh), because then I can't wear my own earrings.  But if I did wear dangly earrings, I'd totally wear these.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

All Hail the Wiz

Pattern - Wizard Beaded Tapestry
This is clearly the pattern that goes with yesterday's post. It was a rather fun one to make, really, even if I forgot to add my signature.  I also went out of my way to make sure the background beads were all matte transparent, and the wizard beads were all...shinier.  Except for his skin, which couldn't be helped unless I wanted it to be straight up ivory.  I wish I'd gone with my original plan to use a transparent matte color for his staff, but I talked myself into that ...striking gold instead.  Also the clouds are shiny color-lined, but again it couldn't be helped.

And you can kind of see where I made some changes to the pattern between printing and beading--most notably the inside lining of his cloak is green in the beads and blue in the pattern. I thought it would work better this way.

I'm actually quite pleased with how the background turned out.  I haven't done much beaded landscape, but now I'm thinking I might look into more. I do have a TON of greens.  I believe I mentioned how it was slightly more difficult than I'd expected to make the background. I guess I just hadn't put much thought into things like aerial perspective recently, so it was a whole new game.  Still, aside from some bead choices that could have been a bit better, I think it turned out quite well.

It did take TWENTY colors to make this, which is way up there, although I can't remember if it's the most I've done or not (my memory says the world map has 12 colors, but it's been wrong before).

I'd originally wanted to just put this pattern up as my EBW Challenge entry, but apparently that's not allowed. So instead, it's up next to it, such that looking at the tapestry will show a thumbnail of the pattern.  Hopefully that'll be enough for someone to buy it.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

It's a Miracle!

Gandalf Beaded Tapestry
What is this? is this something new??!!

Oh wowie, gee, I never thought we'd get another post, let alone one of an entirely new creation! It's like Christmas!

So the Etsy Beadweavers team has a monthly challenge, and this month's theme was 'Lord of the Rings' since that's been one of my favorite books since I first read it back in fourth grade, I figured I had better make something lest the geek patrol appear on my door step and confiscate my collection of Munchkin cards.

This is...well, it's sort of Gandalf the Gray, but somewhat he's just a wizard wearing a gray cloak.  It took a ridiculous number of different colors to create, and I can't decide if his skin is ethnic or just very tanned (and I wish I hadn't chosen the gold for his staff), but overall I'm pretty pleased with how he turned out.

It's all my design, begun from a simple gray triangle (like you couldn't have guessed that one), and decorated from there.  The background actually gave me more difficulty than the wizard himself, which is odd because you'd think 'space' was easier than 'person,' but I guess not.

I also realized today that the 'signature' pattern bit that I so painstakingly created awhile back, I then forgot to include on this guy, dammit.  And it would have been easy enough to stick in the background.  Ah well. So it goes.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Sorry I've been missing, It's been a busy week, what with the holiday, the birthday (mine!) and the getting sick. Among other things. Hopefully I'll get back on track soon.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wish Apon a Moon

Dream Catcher Beaded Tapestry
I built a tent out of my blankets yesterday. And then I spent the whole day in it, avoiding everything. It was nice. Too bad I can't do that every day.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Over the Moon

Moon Phases Bracelet
I had some poignant observation about family I was going to blog about today, but now I can't remember what it was.

I guess...hey! I know! It's almost rabbit shedding season, and I can tell because my rabbit looks really quite scruffy today!

Okay, yeah, that's not very exciting.

Uh...I almost have a group of friends now? I find that exciting. 

I made almost $50 on Etsy last month. That's nearly enough to buy something exciting there. Nearly.  Well, I guess it depends what thing I find exciting.

I dunno. I guess I don't have anything interesting to talk about today. Maybe I'll just go water my orchid instead.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Something Witty

Floating Boxes Bracelet
It's raining. A dreary, dark and somewhat cold rain. Not Fun. But yet a fitting day for the one on which I realized Borders is forever closed. I think it *actually* a few days ago, but I didn't notice, so today it's like the whole world mourns the passing of a great bookstore with me.

My friends, a moment of silence

...while I go look up directions to Barnes and Noble.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Ladybug Pendant
I think I need to change some of my descriptions on this blog, since several things in my life seem to have changed.  I'm not longer single, for starters. And I seem to have gotten a (very) part-time job. I'm still living with my parents, though, and my job isn't quite enough to help fix that, so I'm still 'broke' for the most part (and if I ever do manage to get monies, the first significant chunk of it goes to fixing my car, sadness).

I've also got a bike helmet and permission to borrow one for the summer. I was a little unsure about buying the bike helmet, because I hate spending more than $20 on anything, and the helmet was $40, but then I looked at it in two ways: A) this is my brain we're talking about and B) It's still less than a tank of gas.

I rather like my brain. And I hate buying gas, so I got the helmet. It's a decent one, too, and I've no regrets.

I do have a misgiving, though, and that is the fact that we live on the top of a large hill.  Most of the time I do not think about this, but, while it makes going to anywhere surprisingly easy, it means I have difficulties getting back.  Just yesterday a mere ride around the block necessitated a 20-minute nap for recovery. I managed to avoid the nap today, but my legs...let's just say they are not used to the exercise.  But hopefully in a few weeks going around the block won't kill me, and maybe after that I'll be able to ride to work--which is at the farthest, lowest other end of this hill.  So really, my hope is that eventually I'll be able to ride from work.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Owl Pin
I read the book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell last night. It must have been good because I stayed up until 2am reading it--something I usually only do with fiction books.

Blink is all about thinking without thinking. Like how you might make a snap judgement of someone--and how you might be right about it. I was really, really interesting.  And it made me reflect a lot on my previous-to-this-one relationship.

It wasn't a wonderful relationship, but it wasn't horrible, either. It was just filled with scenes that could comprise a list of 'you know your relationship is dull and not going to last when...' anecdotes.  One of these was that we didn't fight--except over flowers.  Specifically, over proper flower identification.  Even more specifically than that, over the fact that I could point to one very prevalent roadside wildflower and identify it going past at 65 mph, and he never believed me.

I cannot do this with everything, but for a while I would practice my plant-identifying skills every day, and this particular flower (birdsfoot trefoil, although I did have the name wrong at once point) has a very distinctive color and growing pattern. I can identify ginkgo trees from the road, too, and I think I can tell oaks from maples (although it's harder to double check). To my ex this was inconceivable.

According to Blink all I was doing was looking at something and taking a 'thin-slice' view of what I saw and subconsciously coming to a conclusion of what the flower was. I've always called it 'pattern recognition,' and trusting my gut in cases like that (or when figuring out book plots ahead of time, among other things) is a large part of how I'm intelligent, so when my ex would question that I knew what the flower was, he was doubting a huge chunk of my intelligence, which was why I was unwilling to back down on it.

Then he claimed I wouldn't back down because I always had to be right, but I think it had far more to do with the fact that he couldn't handle being wrong, since I'm not always right (although I could be wrong about that) and when I'm not, I admit it.

Blink also had a section about couples, and that one of the best predictors of whether a marriage will work out is the presence of contempt in a relationship. I didn't mean to hold my ex in contempt, but after he doubted my flower-identifying skills (among other things) it just sort of happened. I'm much happier now; good riddance to bad relationships.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Still Watching

Fairy Ninja Bracelet
I probably shouldn't have relisted an inside joke, but I did, so whatever. Besides, I still think it's funny.  Also, you know how I always talk about how no one can tell what the fairy ninjas are, or they get the wings, but not the essential ninja bit, well, my new boyfriend actually recognized the fairy ninja as being a ninja, but since what he said was 'this ninja's not very good at hiding' I was more focused on that slight slight than on the fact that he recognized what it was.

He was looking at the fairy ninja beaded 'tapestry' at the time, but there's a chance that he'd seen it on my computer screen (I have all sorts of pictures on constant slide-show in my google sidebar), where the photos of the ninjas are easier to identify. Or I might have mentioned the fairy ninjas before, but I'm fairly sure that I didn't.

So...I think he's a bit of a keeper, really. I mean, anyone who can recognize a ninja when he sees one, is someone to keep around, right? Even if its seeing in th efirst place that's the tricky part.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Artic Wind

Adorable Penguin Bracelet
I had not one but three sales yesterday. It's very exciting, because I've almost made back the money I spent on books yesterday!  (um, whoops?)

Part of me hopes that this becomes a trend, and part of my is grumpily unhappy that it might, because it would mean I'd need to make more things and I've been really lazy about beading lately.  I am working on one beaded project for myself, and I almost have another tapestry to put up, but I'm nowhere near producing something to sell every day.

And I can't sell the thing I'm making for myself because the technique is a new one, and it's awful.  Most people won't notice, but I can see all the flaws--actually, they might be bad enough in this case that others can see them.  Also, it will involve my collection of turtle-shaped beads, and those are MINE, and no one else can have them, even if I make them into a awesome bead-covered dream catcher.  Actually, especially if I make them into a 'catcher.

I'll post pictures if I ever manage to finish it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Penguins Again

Penguin Pin
I feel like we've been here before...

And it's a bit silly, since this is now spring. Do people buy penguins in the spring? I usually associate them with winter, but I suppose they might be a year-round thing. Especially in Antarctica.

Did you know that Antarctica is the only continent without invasive species? That's pretty neat, when you think about it (unless you count humans, but we're only visiting and can't truly survive there). Although I guess if I was an invasive species, I wouldn't even try to live on a continent that freaking cold. Brr.

But, due to plate tectonics, Antarctica is slowly drifting away from the froze south pole, and some day--in about 70 million years, give or take--it'll be inhabitable for the rest of us. I look forward to that day. Very exciting.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Other Blog

Beaded Rose Pin
Most people don't know this--and really, how could you--but I've started a second blog.  It's the Stuff I Own Blog, where I talk about the objects that I posses (or that posse me), and once a week I've started blogging about other blog articles about owning too much, or too little, and what a horrid toll that takes on our souls.

So far I haven't gotten very much up--well, there's slightly over a hundred objects, but only a few non-item posts, and only one of those is about another article.  And it wasn't even a good article, either, it was a bunch of correlated data mixed with a dash of pseudo-science to sound like it was saying owning lots of stuff leads to mental illness.

I'm hoping to find better material this Wednesday, but I list a few new objects every day, so you can feel free to check out all the glittery bits of my soul right here.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sunshine and Moonshine

Sun and Moon Choker
When I worked at my outdoor ed place (the one I liked), we would teach classes each week. For the most part these classes already existed before we taught them, so we'd read the description in one of the Binders, and then we'd teach it.

But nothing at that place was set in stone, and we were encouraged to make our own classes, change the classes that we got from the Binders and also sometimes we'd have a class fall-through at the last moment and replace it with something from our heads.

I came up with one--I only taught it maybe four times, because I usually saved it for a rainy day activity with my non-classes groups. I also knew that if I taught it a lot I'd get bored with it, and the kids wouldn't enjoy it.

Because in summary it doesn't sound that fun.  In summary it is: 'create an energy map of everything on Earth.' Which does not sound fun, and I've heard some unfun things in my life.

But in practice I would sit all the kids down, pull out my rainbow of dry erase markers and a large whiteboard, then I'd start with "where does almost all energy on Earth come from?" We'd get the sun, which gives energy to the plants, then herbivores, then carnivores, then back to the earth, which is basic stuff, and I'd draw colorful and...simple pictures of each step. 

I'd also take it beyond just the food chain, and go out to "What else gets its energy from the sun?" We'd add solar panels, and the water cycle/weather, we'd talk about the energy from decaying plants going into fossil fuels, which would go back into powering our daily things, and if I remembered, I'd connect it back to fossil fuels putting out CO2 and affecting the weather (it's not strictly energy it's putting into the system, but it's a good teachable moment).

Eventually we'd have this crazy and colorful whiteboard of things, and then I'd have the kids draw the images onto cards (either copying from me or their own), we'd tape the cards onto posterboard, and then I'd have them connect everything with string again.

It was fun, and the kids generally got a lot out of it, and also were proud enough of their energy poster that they'd gleefully hang it in the dining hall for the rest of the week.

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fool's Day!

Beaded Rose Bracelet
I'll be 28 in 24 days. Now that's what I call a joke.

Although it isn't nearly as funny as the SNOW we had this morning. Some of which is still clinging in the shadows of the yard. Oh, man, the weather totally punk'd us.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Beaded Heart Pendant
Some things that I <3

Reading. My kindle. Reading on my kindle. Books. Dreamcatchers. Beads, wool, angora sweaters, my pet rabbit, Parmesan cheese, tomatoes, potatoes, stuffed rabbits, holidays, my hiking boots, my art. Weaving, thread, yarn, green, purple, journaling, colorful pens, identifying plants, select quilts from my bedding, The Sore Feet Song, Lord of the Rings, Prince Caspian, Sherlock, Dr. Who, juggling, slash, one specific guy, my sisters, my niece, being in nature, learning, teaching, knowing.  Collecting things. Writing. Dragons, Legos, ninjas, pirates, fairy tales, writing reviews, puzzles, magic, Munchkin, playing games, my friends.  Unexpected and beautiful sunsets, the stars, science, some math, cooking, pecan shortbread cookies, expensive chocolate, wool socks, tanktops, garage sales, believing the best of others, new skills, color, mint ice cream, rainbow sherbet, Starbursts.  Strange chip flavors, snooty sodas, puns, humor.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

You Light up my Life

Candle Bookmark
Well, my sister thinks this looks so unlike a candle that she asked if it was the statue of liberty, so I doubt it'll sell. Of course, when I finished my first though was 'well, at least it doesn't look like a penis' but then I took care of that by making a penis bookmark. I still think this looks a bit like a candle.

For awhile, when I lived in Portland, OR, I would burn candles in the evening instead of using the lights. It was kinda nice, sitting there in the dimly-lit room, using my computer...okay, so maybe I wasn't doing it just to save electricity, but it was fun. Sometimes I'd even read by that light--for a few minutes, until I started squinting and turned on an actual lamp.

I would buy the candles at Good Will, and in purchasing them I always felt like I was doing the world a service by giving these candles a home--and buy using them up, not just letting them sit in a drawer, forgotten, until my presumed children or grandchildren take them to Good Will after my death. It wasn't a new feeling, either.

It's almost like decorative candles--the ones that are only good for decorating bother me. Here's a perfectly good functional object that you covered with asbestos paint so it couldn't be burned, thus ruining it's sole function in life.  I have the same strange relationship with decorative soap.

If it's pretty and you can still use it, I'm okay with that--even you never do chose to use it, like, say, a really beautifully-made dragon candle. Those I have no issue with, although I'm not sure what the difference is between unused and unusable. I guess maybe unusable things have always felt sad to me, like their place in the universe has been denied to them, whereas merely unused things simply have yet to live up to their potential.

Monday, March 28, 2011

ZOMG! Something New!

Green Dragon Bookmark
Well, here's something we haven't seen before! Amazing!

...it's another dragon, isn't it? dammit. I've said all I have to say about dragons. They are BIG and SCALY and occasionally breath fire. There's also many books out there with various flavors of shape-shifting dragons who turn into humans. Because that's almost as awesome a plot-device as tossing in a vampire.

Hmm. Now that you mention it, I don't think I've seen a vampire dragon (yet) although I've certainly come across vampire horses, and vampire unicorns and vampire werewolves, and also vampire tomatoes (well, maybe not that, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time). Maybe I'll have to go write something with vampire dragons.  Or maybe I could have a few teeth pulled; it might not be more fun, but I'd have more respect for myself when it was over.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Whimsicle F-kery Bracelet
Wow. I've gotten rather poor at updating this, haven't I? And when I do update, it's not even funny anymore.

Assuming it was ever funny to begin with, which I am not yet convinced of.

Well, if you can't tell, this bracelet actually contains a swear word! (It's so well hidden, I know) I have nothing better to talk about, so I guess I'll go with swearing

I don't really swear all that much.  No, really.  Swearing is actually a tricky thing to do, and for a long time I avoided it as much because I couldn't use it properly as because I wanted to be polite or whatever.  So I spent a lot of time observing how others used the swear words, and then I would cautiously try out one or two of my own. If that got me laughed at, then I would stop swearing for a few more months.

When I started working with kids, at first I didn't bother to filter my swear-words at all--because I didn't swear.

This was mostly fine, but it did cause on rather remarkable incident wherein someone pushed me into the lake (where I DID NOT WANT TO GO) and I shouted "fuck you" as I splashed into the water.  I then said "shit," when I realized I'd sworn, followed quickly by, "Dammit!"  and then "...Drat," in decreasing volumes. I don't think the kids noticed, but I've always thought it was pretty funny.

Also my next evaluation said something like 'should watch language in front of children' and when I asked what that was referring to I was told it was just in reference to the aforementioned incident. Which still annoys me slightly because that was the only time I swore in front of kids that summer, and most summers. I've done it once or twice more since, but three times over ten years? Not exactly something that needs to appear on my eval.

Friday, March 25, 2011

None of Your Business

Beaded Business Card

This is a picture of the business card I beaded for myself.  My little sister was supposed to a picture of it into an actual business card, but so far it hasn't happened. Not that I blame her, since she's graduating and wrapped up in her senior thesis project and so forth, but it does mean that I don't have a card I can hand out to people when they admire one of the bracelets I wear.

And by 'wear' I mean I've got two of them sewn onto my wrist without clasps. Cannot remove those guys. Well....I can actually remove them, but I don't like to. And one needed a few repairs at one point, but otherwise that one has been on my wrist for over a year, and the other one has been on for six months or so.  I had a different one that I was wearing, but I took it off one day and never bothered to put it back on. So it goes.

In my shop today I renewed two items: Sunburst Beaded Tapestry and Acorn Bracelet, but I've talked about both of those, and this business card was the only other thing that hadn't been talked about in my pictures file. So there it is.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Four Seasons Bracelet
It's Etsy Teams day here in Amyville.  I'm secretly a member of three different Etsy teams, and they all have their own attitudes and styles in life! The first team I joined (well, technically I joined two on the same day, and I don't remember which was first, so no one cares) was the Amys in the Arts team, which is full of people named Amy--or some variant thereof.

The Amys in the Arts are a pretty cool group, but as you might imagine, there's a rather limited number of us out there, even if you include 'Amiee' and 'Amie' and 'Aime' and so forth. They are a well-meaning and supportive bunch (as I would expect from people sharing my name), but there's just not enough of us for conversations to be very vibrant.

Although I could be mistaken about that, since I keep forgetting to visit the group.

My second group is the Etsy Beadweavers Team. This is a big team, full of crafters with a lot of talent. Talent which they like to share by discussing nothing other than their latest postings/bloggings/treasuries.  The challenges are pretty awesome, not gonna lie, but every time I go to one of their discussion pages, all the topics are 'I listed a new thing' and 'I made a new EBW treasury!' which makes me feel like I'm in the middle of a room full of shouting people who are just shouting over each other to be heard, and/or to collect the few compliments available.  I feel that there's a lot of people in the team, and some of them have rather extraordinary talents, and with that in mind I wish we'd talk about technique or...bead sales or whatever the hell people who bead talk about other than 'ZOMG LOOK WHAT I POSTED TODAY.'

The third team I've joined is the Aprils Army team, which is comprised of people from Regretsy, who like talking about themselves and others (in both good and bad ways). There are all sorts of topics and interesting conversational eddies, and I've spent more time there already than I have with both of my other teams combined since I joined them. Things might calm down as time goes on and the shininess of it all starts to wear off, but for now, this is pretty exciting.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Back on Track

Rainbow Bracelet
Nine-Patch Bracelet

Dear Blogger,

Sometimes I really hate you.

No love,

Okay, well, Sorry I've been missing for a few days, I know all of you are terribly heartbroken, but I was suffering from a severe bout of hopelessness. Actually, I still am, but I'm even more hopeless about finding a "real" job than I am about this particular waste of my life, so I'm still pretending it's worthwhile.

Ironically, I also made a sale. It was a requested piece from an online friend, though, so for some reason I feel like it doesn't count. I have another friend who might make another purchase by the end of the month, but I have a surprisingly limited number of online friends, so that's only going to get me so far.

But maybe a rainbow bracelet will make your day a little brighter? I know it was set to make mine brighter, at least until I noticed the color-fading on the nine-patch bracelet. whoops; maybe I shouldn't keep them in the sun. Ah well.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Smiley Face

Smiley Face Pendant
My English classroom in high school had one of those 'have a day' posters hanging up by the door. We'd always finish class with a minute or two to pack our bags and hover by the door as if we couldn't wait to escape (which we often couldn't). I'd spend what remained of those minutes reading over the poster.

It really shouldn't have taken most of the year to get through the faces on the poster (there couldn't have been a hundred, although I can't recall how many there were), but it did. I think it was because I'd only have thirty seconds to read over them, and half of that time was often spent trying to figure out which face I left off on the last time, since I never studied them long enough for the humor/information to really sink into my long-term memory.

But it gave me something to do, and I've been really amused by the 'have a day' things ever since.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Rainbow Pendant
I've always liked seeing rainbows, and when the weather conditions are right, I'll often run out in them--camera in hand if I have one--to see if there's a rainbow.  I think I even recall railing at the sky once or twice when I felt there ought to be a rainbow, but couldn't find one.

I know their scientific explanations and--actually I know a whole lot about light and the electromagnetic spectrum now, but unlike some things, the more I learn about rainbows the more fascinating I find them to be.  All the more so because they are so rare and nearly impossible to recreate--on the sky-arching scale.  Actually, I'd say they were impossible to create artificially, but if I do I'll see a news article about man-made rainbows tomorrow, so never mind that.

I think one of the most curious things I learned about rainbows is that they are actually circles, and not just arches.  You can't see the whole thing unless you're in an airplane (although I wonder if a mountain view will let you see it), but there were a few pictures along with the explanation, and it was a whole circle cast across the landscape, which is a totally awesome idea.

And really leaves you wondering because that means the rainbow touches the earth in a certain place, so would that be the end of the rainbow? or not, since the rainbow doesn't actually end there?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunny Day

Beaded Sun Pendant
I never quite know how to feel about this time of year.  See, once the snow melts, but before everything starts to grow, the world is very, very ugly. All this mud and wetness; sunny skies, but not warm enough to go out; dead leaves lying around decaying everywhere. It's just not pretty.

But there's also the optimism that this time of year brings.  The anticipation that there's only a few more weeks until green things start to creep through the forest floor, and assuming they aren't tentacle monsters, the world will soon be carpeted with spring flowers.

Of course, the tentacle monsters add a whole new level.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

They're Watching You!

Fairy Ninja Pendant
Fairy ninjamothers always keep a careful eye out for their ninjachildren. You might think it's an odd occupation for a ninja, but in this day and age the call for political assassination has gone way down, and the ninjas were forced to branch out into other areas.

For a simple monthly fee you, too, can hire a ninja to watch over your children in the night. Premium packages cost more, but ensure that the ninja keeping an eye on your child is watching fewer other children.  The workload of the fairy ninjas has become a concern in recent years as their popularity as child-watchers has grown.  Some older clients even argue that the fairy ninjas are stretching themselves too thin, and that the care of all their children has been falling in quality over the years.

I spent a significant amount of time searching for the head of Fairy Ninjas, Inc so that I might get an interview.  I never did find him, but one morning I went into my office to find the list of potential questions had been filled in and left on top of my desk, signed with the seal of Fairy Ninjas, Inc pressed into a dollop of black wax.

"While its true that our ninjamothers (and -fathers) are serving more children each year," my mysterious informant wrote, "this does not indicate that our quality of service has begun to erode.  We strive hard to bring the best care possible to the most children, which involves more of us ninjas than many people suspect.  We're one of the few growing businesses in this economy, which allows us to select only the best ninjas for the job.  We're a very dedicated bunch."

And they are dedicated, too.  You can see that every time a child's wish comes true or a bully mysteriously disappears.  There are many children out there whose lives would be so much worse if it were not for the ever-watchful eye of the fairy ninjas, and I, for one, feel much safer knowing that they are watching over us all.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Tetris Family

Tetris Beaded Pendant
Tetris and Tetris-like games have always been an obsession of my family's. My dad first brought home little mono-chrome screened computers from work when I was a very small child, and my mom spent all her time playing Tetris.

Eventually we graduated to the Nintendo (long after it was replaced by the Super Nintendo, I should add), where we'd play sort-of together, since it wasn't exactly a group game--but we made it into one, and it was fun.

Then came Dr. Mario, which did have a multi-player option, and which my family burned through several (garage sale bought) Nintendos playing together. Seriously. My older sister and I got so good that most of the time we'd put the first five pieces in the exact same place--a phenomenon I later termed 'obviousity.'

Now that we can play Tetris Friends on facebook, my little sister spends all her free time playing it, and says--quite seriously--that she would happily make a career out of playing Tetris if she could.

So would I, come to that.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pencil Pendant

Pencil Beaded Pendant
Well, the thing I was going to talk about I talked about with the pencil bookmark, so... Look! I made almost the exact same thing again! Only shorter and I used a few slightly different colors, mostly because they were within reach and my other beads were on the far side of the room.

So I'm lazy, what's your point?

Oh! I did learn about graphine recently. Apparently you can make your own one-atom-thick bit of graphine with some tape and a pencil. Not that they can mass-produce that, but I think it's interesting. There's not much else I can make that's only one atom thick. Not that I've tried to make graphine, but I could.

Can't wait until they make all sorts of awesome and clever gadgets with it, and I can look at them and wonder at how they are basically made from pencil lead.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Beaded Teddy Bear Pendant
I've been creating treasuries to go along with my just-listed things on Etsy of late, or I had been, and then I stopped for a little while, so I thought I'd start it up again yesterday.

You might recall that I posted a different teddy bear pendant yesterday, one I made with that horrid gray-brown color that I've found generally useless and disappointing. So, naturally, the treasury would need to be 'teddy bear' themed.

This seems pretty straight forward on the surface, and I expected it wouldn't be a problem to create one, but... There just aren't that many teddy bears on Etsy, apparently. I didn't look for very long, but I can usually find at least one of whatever I'm looking for on a page--or at least something related closely enough that I'm okay using it in my treasury.

But this, this was like...like teddy bears have gone out of fashion. There were a lot of bear hats, and those funny earless bears, and then a few that weren't terribly well photographed, but I was really disappointed in the numbers and qualities of teddy bears available. I guess, if I ever need teddy bears I'll have to buy them somewhere other than Etsy.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bear With Me

Teddy Bear Beaded Pendant
One of the reasons that my posts have been pathetic over the last week is because my grandmother died. I didn't want to bring it up earlier because it felt like doing so would be begging for sympathy, and I don't really want sympathy. I don't even know what to do with it when people give it to me.

I'm also not very torn up about her death.  She's been on the road to dying for the last 16 years (well over half my life), and in that time she's managed to outlive any tender feeling we may once have had for her. It didn't help that she wasn't a very nice person to begin with and her dementia only made her more unpleasant and ornery to be around, to the extent that my mom thanked the people at the nursing home for working with her, and said that they were lucky Grandma had mellowed out by the time she was in assisted living--because she'd been quite mean in the dementia ward.

Which is totally an appropriate thing to say at your mother's deathbed memorial service.

Anyway, like I said, my grandmother outlived all our fond memories, and out vague shock at the idea that 'my grandmother is dying' and then she lived past the guilty feelings that kept us visiting her more the once a year, and set me to writing her letters once a week.  And then she just kept on living, until all that was left was a vaguely distasteful obligation to see her at major holidays--unless we could come up with a reason not to.

I guess I just I hope that as you (or I) age, you don't turn into an evil and ornery old person--and that even if you do your family still loves you and feels more than obligation when they see you. Because this cold 'at last' feeling is not something that anyone deserves.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Turtle Turtle

Beaded Turtle Pendant
Beaded Turtle Pendant

I put both of these up today. I know I've talked about turtles, but I don't think I've mentioned the Cow Turttles I used to play with. See, I'm from Wisconsin, and we have a lot of cows. And back in middle school I also became obsessed with turtles. I started a small collection of turtle figurines, which I know I've mentioned before, but i also started combining cows and turtles into a bizarre comic-strip-like herd of turtles which I called the 'Cow Turttles'--and yes, I know now that turtle is spelled 'turtle' and not 'turttle', but when I started I didn't, and then when everyone kept correcting me I got annoyed and claimed it was intentional.

Anyway, the Cow Turttles were a group of plaid-shelled turtles who went around saying 'moo.' except for the confused cat-turttle who said 'meow' and the French Cow Turttle who said 'meuh' which is what French cows say. I also tried other ethnicities for the turttles, but nothing else really caught on.

So I'd draw these little turttles in the margins of my math homework, and they'd basically be a comic strip, but you couldn't tell what the characters were saying because it was just "moo, moo MOO!" I thought it was hilarious, but then, I was 13.

Not really sure what my math teacher made of all of it, but he was pretty awesome, so at the very least he put a good face on it.

Oh, and my friends had their own odd little comic-y things that went on their math homework. We were odd children, but it was fun at the time. And may have made us better people than...the kids who grew up too fast.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

If it's not one thing...

Viking Longboat Pendant
The internet went out Friday night. It just came back on like five minutes ago. And it might go out again, we don't know.

At first we thought it might be something to do with out modems, so dad played mix-up with them trying to get a combination that worked. Each time he reconfigured the modems they'd work a bit, and then stop a few moments later. He even went so far as to call our ISP and talk to them--which doesn't sound like much, but if you know my dad you'd know that was a pretty huge thing. They said the problem was probably our modem and that they'd sent us a newer model.

The internet still wasn't working today, but dad also noticed that the ethernet light was off on the modem, and since that was different from yesterday, he went to call the ISP again. Only this time their automatic message had changed.  Now it said that our whole area was having issues, but it was temporary and they were working on it.

I went out on a quest looking for the internet somewhere else. I failed to find it. Even in the Starbucks in Barnes and Noble where it was working for everyone else, the internet still failed to work for me.

On one hand, it was a bit like having my arm cut off. On the other hand, it gave me the perfect excuse to do very little--even if I had computer-related things to do that were not online.

Of course, Vikings, like the ones that would have sailed in the boat pictured in this pendant would never had had to worry about something like the internet vanishing for an unknown length of time. Can you just imagine?

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Beaded American Flag Pendant
I live in Wisconsin. I don't know how many of you follow the news, but shit has been goin' down here.

It's not violent like FOX News would like you to believe, but there are a lot of things that are pretty crazy. I barely follow the news myself, so it's rather shocking that I know any of what's going on, but then again, my dad works for the state, so I've been informed of everything each step of the way as things have gone from 'the new governor would like to take our benefits away' to 'if I don't retire in the next few weeks I'll be losing $66,000 of retirement benefits.'

I know that the state of Wisconsin voted Walker into place, but as my mom like to go on about, he only won by three percent of the vote. It's not like Wisconsin residents gave him a mandate from heaven to muck with all of our everything. And yes, we don't want to have a budget deficit in the next few years, but there's saving the budget, and there's being a poor leader who let the power go to their head.

I guess it's an exciting time to live in the US and in Wisconsin, and maybe it's a time that we can look back on and say 'I was a part of that, and it changed things' but I'd be okay if things were less exciting.

Isn't there an old Chinese curse which says 'my you live in interesting times'? Well, I guess maybe I do.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Pear Tree

Beaded Tree Pendant
I added two items to my Etsy shop today, as you can see from the pictures.  They are both pretty neat, really, but I don't have much to say about either.

The pear sorta goes with the apple I babbled about a few posts back, but the tree is a new pattern and aside from an 'I love trees' rant (which I've already done) I'm not sure what to say about it.

Although it looks like I should have done a better job correcting the colors of that tree... But the camera hates photographing those beads, so I'll just blame the camera. It's a good scapegoat.

Beaded Pear Pendant