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, January 31, 2011

Feminist Quote

Several years ago I found myself browsing in a museum gift shop. I was looking at the rack of tiny quote books because I'm naturally drawn to books, and I picked one of them up to look through.

The one I happened to pick up was a book of feminist or women's quotes, which is really strange because while I reap the benefits of the feminist movement (pants!) I generally find feminist ideals and philosophy to be little more than an irritant in "period" fantasy books--which is probably a rant and a half on its own.

But back to the story.  I opened the book of feminist quotes to one specific quote that has stuck with me for years. I don't recall the exact wording (or who said it) but it ran something like this: "no single woman has ever met a man, no matter how old or how young, without thinking, even for the briefest of moments 'could this be the one?' "

Ever since that long-ago day I've been left with two very important questions:
1) How the HELL is this a feminist quote?
2) Do I really ask myself if every male I meet is 'the one'?

Question one is just an idle mental exercise that calls into question the whole feminist movement and how we view it, and whether it made a damn difference.

Question two, however, very nearly ruined my life.  Because I was offended to think that someone thought that I thought that every man (or boy) I met could be 'the one' I was reduced to analyzing my own thoughts and actions.  Which meant that where I did not, in fact, think every man I met could be The One beforehand, I now found myself asking that very question--and then trying to figure out if the question was because I truly wondered if this particular asshole was the one or if I was only wondering that because this goddamn quote had said I should be wondering.

This continued for years. Until one day when I suddenly realized that I'd met some guys recently about whom I had not asked that question, and had then forgotten to ask myself if I'd asked myself if he was the one, which meant that--thankfully--the entire generalization was false and I could have my brain, thoughts and self-worth back.

I think, in the future, I shall stick to nature-loving hippy quote books.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Face of the Moon

Full Moon Beaded Tapestry on Etsy
I grew up reading fantasy novels (surprise! I bet you never would have guessed *that*), and they always made a big deal about "oh, we can run away tonight, no prob; there's a full moon."  I never really thought much about it.  I just assumed the authors knew what they were talking about and went with it.

Then as I got older I started to notice that the moon really wasn't all that bright--not in the city, anyway (my hometown is a moderately sized college town).  And I started to doubt that the authors really knew what they were talking about.

But then came the first summer I worked at camp.  I was just a Junior Counselor that year, so I was stuck somewhere in between being a camper and being staff.  Because I wasn't old enough to live with the staff proper (I was only seventeen and technically a minor), but was still working for camp and thus couldn't live with the campers, I and the other two JCs were stuck in this one tent on the far side of a large field.

The very far side of a very large field.  Actually three fields depending on how you walked across them.

A typical summer is about two and a half months long, although I think I started a few months late that year, but every night I had to walk across that giant field by myself (it was mowed grass and not dangerous unless you hit the flag pole).  I decided it was a good enough time as any to practice getting over my fear of the dark, so each night I'd try to walk a little farther without the flashlight.  I quickly got to the point where I could make it across the whole field without my flashlight--

But then a week later it was far too dark to see anything.  It took me a few days to catch on, but eventually I realized that it was because the moon was (gasp!) new and not shedding its light down on us little ones below.

Ultimately that summer gave me an incredible appreciation for the stars and the moon and all the things that our ancestors knew but that we've forgotten in our artificially-lit lives.  I try not to be overly spiritual most of the time, but seeing those stars wheeling overhead while my feet were guided only by the light of the moon--it's a set of memories I treasure greatly.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Mmm, Bacon

I used to dislike bacon. I'm not really sure when it started or why, exactly. It might be because my mom never really made it and my main exposures to it were the charcoalized strips my grandfather made, and the soggy unappetizing ones from summer camp.  Maybe around middle school my mom started making it (apparently she secretly loved it all along) but would only get the pre-cooked kind, which didn't really help matters any.

But I have some distinct memories of being at summer camp watching my sister make up ditties about how much she loved bacon and realizing that I didn't really like it all that much, myself--and that this opinion was years in the making.

Years later, I was working in outdoor education (which is suspiciously similar to summer camp; let it never be said otherwise) and bacon was provided for breakfast.

Now, in addition to disliking bacon, I also refuse to eat cereal, biscuits and gravy, french toast, french toast sticks, ex-frozen waffles, mass-produced pancakes, oatmeal, and, well...almost anything else you would serve groups of 100 children for breakfast.  Since there was little else for me to eat, I started eating bacon again.

Which led to a rather odd conversation I had with one kid who said they didn't like bacon, wherein I said, "Even I like bacon, and I don't even like bacon!" I promise we were only lightly teasing the kid rather than actually bullying him, but that phrase I said gave me pause.

How could I like something that I didn't like?  So I started taking stock of bacon and my reaction to it, whereupon I learned that I LOVE BACON--but only if it's neither too crispy nor too soggy.  It's all very Goldilocks of me.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Depressing. That's my life. But really this is another reverse-psychology bracelet, though it's not quite as good as the Useless Bracelet. I wish there was a better way to tag geometric bracelets.  With the icon/image ones there's always something, like 'ladybug' or 'playing cards' which I can say, but then I get these, and despite the fact that they are beautiful and amazing, once they get off the front four pages of 'ebw team' searches, they might as well not exist at all.

Which reminds me that I've gone at least a month without mentioning that I am, in fact, a member of the illustrious Etsy Beadweavers Team--even if they accidentally kicked me out at one point (I got let back in, no worries).  They generally make cool things, which you can ogle on Etsy with the 'ebw team' tag.

In other news I've decided to try searching for jobs again. It's funny, but I heard a This American Life episode while beading the other day which told the story of a guy who tried to live his dream, but his "three month experiment" turned into a two-year fiasco wherein he lost money and home--and eventually had to give up on the dream.

I don't want to be that guy, even if looking for jobs puts me in tears--seriously, just thinking about looking for jobs and all the stress of finding one, looking into it, building up the dream, waiting...waiting... and then having that dream crushed AGAIN without mercy--it's no wonder that so many people stopped looking for jobs.

I'm also REALLY bad at selling myself (if I was better, I might have more Etsy sales, yes?), torn between honesty and humility like no one else in this economy. Who'd you rather hire; the guy who says he's awesome or the girl who says she's probably okay but hasn't done anything like this before? I wouldn't hire me, either.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Heart of my Heart

I realize talking about hearts is getting old, but I'm supposed to talk about what I'm posting if at all possible, so hearts it is!

I occasionally like to think about the origins of the heart-shape.  A simple internet search will probably provide me with the correct (or at least the generally accepted) answer, but that would take all the fun out of this particular mental exercise.

I heard a long time ago that people were amazed to find that the heart-shape was, in fact, closer to the shape of the womb than to the shape of the actual heart, as if this meant anything.  The heart-shape is just a shape.  People don't go around being amazed that mouths are often represented by circles when in fact a circle is more like the shape of an eye (Dun Dun Dunnnnnn).

And there are plenty of other things in nature that are shaped like a heart.  Like strawberries.  Or arrow tips.  Or, if you round out the bottom, apples--apples like Paris gave to Hellen of Troy because she was the most beautiful woman (which then eventually led to the Trojan War). That makes a lot of sense to me; that people started passing around apples based on this story, and then eventually an apple was translated into the image of an apple, which altered slowly over time and gave us; the heart!

No wombs need apply.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I thought I'd take a page from Lemony Snicket's books and try to not-sell this bracelet so well that someone would buy it. Apparently it didn't work, since no one bought the bracelet.

Here's the text from the listing:

"While a decorative accessory, this bracelet is essentially useless. In multiple studies it was found not to be of use in fending off rampaging rhinoceroses, lacking in the ability to defend against charging elephants and, most tellingly, it was of absolutely no value when the test subject was faced with venomous snakes.

In several cases it was even found to distract the test subjects at key moments with its shiny nature, often with disastrous results.

Thus it is strongly advised that you do not purchase this bracelet. If you cannot wear an accessory when facing a rampaging rhinoceros, there's simply no point in wearing it at all."

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bracelet of FIRE

I've been making a bunch of things with flames recently--or maybe it was just this and one other thing that isn't up yet, but it's felt like a lot.

I've got mixed feelings about the colors on this one. I know they look great in the photo, but they fade a bit into the background on the actual bracelet--the dark red does, anyway. But my mom was able to identify it as being fire, so it must not be too bad.

And then, of course, there's the devil ducks. I must say I've never expected to get any use out of them, but yet here they are; selling things.  Trying to, at any rate. Most of the things I'd like to use as props are too big for the bracelets, but apparently miniature devil ducks are the perfect size.  Now I'll just have to work them into everything.

Of course, this picture is nice, too:

Sunday, January 23, 2011


My sister had her baby daughter at 4am this morning. At the risk of sounding sentimental, it's brought home the idea of family continuation--here's this little tiny thing (tiny PERSON) who will live and grow and have children of her own, and our family and our genes will continue into eternity.

Assuming 2012 is nothing special, and that we don't accidentally destroy the world before then, of course.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Rose By Any Other Name

I tried making a penguin bookmark, but it looked like someone had taken one of my adorable fluffy penguins and run over it with a steam roller, so I made this instead.  It turned out really, really well.  I've always been fond of my rose pattern, and not just because it was one of the first bracelets I sold. It's...got a nice set of colors to it.

Okay, yes, I'm reaching, but I've already talked about roses at least twice, and I haven't gotten enough of them in my life to have much personal experience of them.  I did get one last Valentine's Day, just before breaking up with my boyfriend, but even that's not a very exciting story because I didn't like him all that much, to be honest.

I went to visit him, he gave me a rose, things fell apart (as they were always going to do) and I went home a day early. The End. I didn't even cry.

I could, of course, talk for ages about the bookmark making this one inspired me to make, the NSFW Penis Bookmark, but...it's embarrassing. And even though I'm trying to sell it and will probably make a second one the moment it's out the door, I'm too prudish to blog about it.

Friday, January 21, 2011


As a kid I used to love catching ladybugs and looking for their lucky spots, learning how they ate aphids (I'm still not quite sure what an aphid looks like, but whatever), reading books about them and so forth.

But now there's an invasion of the Multicolored Asian Ladybeetles, which look a bit like lady bugs, except that they are more oval in shape, less perfectly red in color and the come in HOARDS.

I realize there are places they have not reached yet, but Wisconsin is not one of those places. And in the fall we have swarms of these horrid bugs crawling into whatever sheltered holes they can find, along with seven million of their brethren. 

They then cling to walls, crawl across ceilings and hide in the folds of old clothing until spring. Many of them do not survive the cold winter, and they simply die where they are.  But since they have that lovely hard exoskeleton, they remain as crunchy dirt for the unwary foot.

What's worse is that they don't all die, so when you're sweeping out your used-only-in-summer buildings at camp the next spring the nasty, horrid things go into your dust pile, and after you come back from lunch break half of them have crawled away.

And they BITE.

I don't care how many aphids or juniper beetles they eat, they are DISGUSTING.

I occasionally wonder if the magic has gone out of finding these obscure but bright and colorful bugs--certainly any child who brings me a ladybeetle claiming it's a ladybug is in for a rather long rant about how gross they are, rather than tales of luck and legend.

I can't even recall the last time I saw a true ladybug, either.  Maybe I'll be reading my niece the 'Grumpy Multicolored Asian Ladybeetle' in a few years. And won't that be depressing.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Is it too early for Valentine's Day?

So here's a lovely little number. Pink and purple hearts, made with delica beads.

I only have three colors of Delicas (two now, technically), and since Delica beads fit only with other Delica beads and my colors were pink, purple and green I didn't have a whole lot of options.  Creating this bracelet used up the purple ones, but I'm not sure quite how I feel about pink and green together, so I don't quite know what I'm going to do with the remainder.

Certain people among you might say that I should buy more Delicas! But the truth is that I don't care for them.  I've never really used them before (and I'm a bit vague on how I ended up with two of the three colors I have), but I approached this project with an open mind.

I liked that all the beads were the exact same size and cut, and fit together perfectly without bulges in any dimension, but that was pretty much the only thing I liked about them.

They are too small.  I sewed and sewed and sewed and still had half a bracelet.  My other heart bracelet(s) have eight hearts, this one has TEN to make up the same length.  I'll have to jack the prices of my bracelets up even higher if I switch to delicas.

And then there's the fact that they are...inorganic.  While beautiful, the bracelet has a slight sense of having been built with Legos; a bunch of perfect squares lined up perfectly with the separation between them hard to see.  The Czech beads had a more oval shape, which can cause it's own problems, but that rounded space between the beads adds a certain natural feel and organic texture that the Delicas just don't have.

So I enjoyed making this bracelet (and it's beautiful) and I'll probably enjoy making whatever I make from my remaining green and pink Delicas, but in the meantime I don't think I'll be converting my bead collection over.

A fact for which my pocket-book thanks me.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Not Everything is Black and White

Some things are black, white and red! Like this tapestry, for instance.

This is a beautiful little number.  I love that I only used three colors but came up with something so very striking. The further you are away from it, in fact, the more interesting it becomes--those simple color choices make pretty little optical illusions, and if you don't believe me, just step back from your computer screen a bit.  Then you'll see.

I'd actually wanted less red in the tapestry--I'd wanted no red at all, really, but black and white got boring fast, so I added a bit of red, and then a bit more red, and not I'm really, really happy with how it turned out.

One curious thing about it--and I don't quite know how or why this happened--but it's not perfectly symmetrical.  Top-to-bottom it is, and side-to-side, but if you try from corner-to-corner, it's not quite the same. I spent a long time trying to figure out why not and fix it, but eventually I gave up in the hopes that it would be square when finished.  Clearly it's not square, but I think the slight lack in symmetry only enhances the experience of looking at it--more to see the longer you stare.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Avast Ye Landlubbers!

I know we've already seen this one, but now it's actually getting posted, so I figured I'd talk about it again--there's always something to talk about with pirates, after all.

Actually, I thought I'd talk about production today.  I know it seems like I make something new every day, but we're actually on a delay here, as I'd had my Etsy shop for several months before I started this blog, so we've plenty of back items.

The truth is that I can only bead for two to three hours a day or various parts of me begin to hurt--usually my fingers/wrists, but occasionally my back.  My speed is such that I can make a bracelet in a day, but the tapestries take significantly longer.

I was very curious how much I beaded in a day and started keeping track. At first it was just the number of rows completed, but that wasn't really very informative since all my tapestries have different widths, so I started counting the exact number of beads I sewed on in a day.  My number chart got messed up for this particular tapestry, but I can tell you that on the fourth day of making my Airship Beaded Tapestry I did 893 beads--and that I averaged 800 beads per day for that whole tapestry. 

However, for the second Luna Moth Beaded Tapestry, I did closer to 900 beads a day--probably because I was pushing the time limit, although what I listen to/watch affects my speed as well.  At a glance I generally do 700-800 beads per day, which isn't bad, even if not being able to do more means I'll never get rich selling things.

"Selling things" ha. as if.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Etsy boot holiday camp suggested I list custom items for sale. I thought they'd sell better than not at all, but boy was I wrong. This is actually a copy of that original listing, though, so now I have two custom listings--custom bracelet listings, rather--and so maybe someone will be more likely to see it? Certainly lots of custom orders are put up in multiples. I don't know what I'll do if it does take off and sell tons, though. Guess I'll have to update how long it'll take to make them.

But let's not think about that most unlikely of futures; I'll get depressed again.

There was a juggling festival in my town this past weekend, and I went to the open juggling with some friends.  It was fun, although we needed to re-learn how to pass clubs (practicing more than once a year would help, but...), and now I am in oodles of pain. Mostly in my legs, which you wouldn't expect because you throw things when you juggle, not kick them around.  But what more don't realize is that you're also constantly bending to pick things us--and if not that, then when you're juggling club they are heavy enough that your whole body gets into it.

Yeah, juggling can be a real workout, which is why another one of my favorite things to do at a juggling fest is people-watch for the eye-candy. *Coughcough* I mean, watch the professional jugglers in an attempt to learn more tricks.

Funny how I never do manage to learn new tricks...

Saturday, January 15, 2011


This fun little tapestry is actually the inverse of the last little tapestry that I posted about--and I do mean little quite literally.

The Inverse
One of the best things about making geometric tapestries that have mirror imagery from side to side and from corner to corner is that I can then take the pattern and flip it inside out to create something completely different.  I did it with my first geometric pattern, and it worked just as well with this one that I made here.

I think that I prefer the original one (at left) but the second one is nice, and my little sister says she prefers that one, and she's the computer graphics design major, so I suppose she might know.

My little sister was actually home for a day this week, and she came up with a few new ideas, and took four of my bracelets to see if a consignment shop near where she lives would like to sell them. She did leave me without a heart bracelet right near Valentine's day, but I've got that covered--watch for hearts over the next week or so.

Friday, January 14, 2011


I went to hang out with friends last night (I have friends? what?? when did this happen?!), and we were talking about kindles, since a couple of us have them, and I kept making jokes about how I only read stuff on the kindle--which isn't entirely true, but I did embrace ereading like a fish to water.

Then I mentioned something about keeping a paper journal, and my one friend says, "Hang on, don't you have an electronic journal?"

...Just the LJ and the blog, but I like to have a paper journal, too.

I suppose it is a bit odd, but not if you look at it this way; I've merely gone and separated my books from their content.

Many people complain about ereaders because they 'love the magical feel of a book.' I'm not going to tell you that there's nothing magical about books, but I would like to say that a very large portion of that magic comes from the contents of the book.

Think about it; take all the words out of Harry Potter and all you've got is a bunch of blank paper, which we in the Know like to call a "journal".  These "journals" contain a completely different sort of magic.  It's like a potential magic--but only one that works if you bother to fill the covers of the book.

Whereas if you take the paper and cover away from the words--which would drop them into the world of eink--then you've still got the whole book, magic intact.

If it's a good book or a great book, then you'll get so lost in it you won't even remember that you're reading at all, and it won't matter if you're staring at paper or a screen; the magic will be there either way.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I've actually had the idea to make beaded bookmarks for awhile, but several things held me back.

First was the fact that I think they're a bit thick to use in books.  I mean, it's not like you're trying to stuff a Lego between the pages of your book or anything, but it is a wee bit broader than a bent corner or a thin plastic bookmark like I used to chew on collect.  But after looking at some bookmarks in store and on Etsy, it no longer seems like people want ribbon-thin bookmarks, and instead they go for thicker metallic things with a few beads hanging off the end.  I also ended up with a beaded bookmark of my own by way of a massively failed bracelet, and it's never been too thick to hold my place.

So much for *that* excuse.

The second thing holding me back was the price.  I know I used to buy perfectly functional bookmarks five-for-a-dollar, so while I realize that the price on bookmarks in general has risen, I personally feel no need to pay much more than that for them.  Certainly if it came down to paying $10 to hold my place or ripping the corner off a piece of junk mail to do the same job I know what I'd choose.  So I took this question to Etsy as well.

Apparently people will pay lots of money for bookmarks--or at the very least people will list bookmarks for $20 or more, and for the purposes of my research that's almost the same thing.  This adorable little thing isn't worth $20, but it does have $10 worth of work and quality to it. 

Even if it won't interface with a Kindle.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Steampunk Beading

I'm really, really proud of this piece.  I made the whole pattern myself, with no clip-art stolen for the background or anything.  I did use an actual photograph for the background, but it was one that I'd taken myself, so that's fine.  

It's among the largest tapestries that I've made, but it's also one that I would make again in a heartbeat (and ten day's work...).  I love that I made the balloon shaded, and that the sky has several colors, and the frame around the outside is awesome, the color choices are great... I just love this tapestry.

I also like that it's different from everything else I've made. Almost everything else is fantasy-ish, but this is...well, okay, it's only steampunk, which isn't all that far from fantasy on the sliding scale of genre (certainly their fan bases are pretty damn similar), but it's more...from my head, I guess.

I actually wasn't sure if I should tag it as 'steampunk' when I put it up--I worried that I had gotten too confused over what constituted steampunk after spending all my time at Regretsy, but then I looked up 'airship' on Etsy, and after seeing that everything even remotely steampunk is also tagged 'airship' I no longer felt bad about crossing that line.

The colors seem a bit bright for steampunk, though. I feel like I should have used a grayer blue for the background if I really wanted people to think it was steampunk--but I was making it for me, and if that bothers people, they can buy the pattern and make the sky whatever color they desire.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Popcorn Inside

 The other day my family made popcorn (as we are wont to do), but for whatever reason we didn't manage to finish it.  When I woke up the next morning there was a note on the oven indicating that's where the leftover popcorn was.

Not finding anything better for breakfast I ate the popcorn.

Then I took the note from the fridge and stuck it on my stomach:

'Popcorn inside.'

Monday, January 10, 2011

You Knew It Would Happen Some Day

Considering how much I love my bunny, is this really a surprise for anyone?

I actually made the pattern ages ago, and the tapestry months ago, but I hesitated about posting it because, well, because it's MY rabbit, and I don't know who would want to make a beaded tapestry of MY rabbit--other than me, of course.

But no one buys anything from my shop, so does it really matter if no one buys this, either?

As for my execution of it, I think I did a fairly good job with it.  It took me forever and a day to collect the proper grays for it--and once I had about ten colors of gray or black, it still took me a day to pick out which I was going to use. I did okay with the final decision, but I double-guessed myself with the white/lightest gray, and then I didn't realize that my second-darkest would look so very unfortunately similar to my third-darkest. But you live and learn, and I'm not selling the tapestry itself--just the pattern.

I also chose Japanese beads for the background green, which makes the bottom ripple a bit. I knew that was going to happen, and I'm okay with it, but my mom saw it and was all 'how are you going to fix this horrible rippling?' as if it was an amendable flaw of technique--and then she went on about it like it was the worst thing ever, and it ruined the whole piece. I think I know what I'm doing after several dozen tapestries, Mom, thanks.

I hate living at home; please buy something so I'm that much closer to moving OUT.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A New Geometry

Well. Someone looks tiny.

I mean, it is tiny, but they never really look it...until I put my hand in the picture. And boy does that throw everything into perspective.

Or I have really big hands--which I've actually been told I do have large or 'man hands' before. Yeah. I dumped him.

Okay, well, my little sister was home for Christmas, and she suggested that I make more geometric tapestries.  Of course her idea was that she would make the patterns and I would make the tapestry, but in the end she left without anything concrete, so I decided to take matters into my own hands, as it were.

This is smaller than my other beaded tapestries, but I rather like the size because it means I can finish the whole tapestry in four days (with time left over for a pin). The beads used are all Japanese cut size 11, some my poorly-cut ones, and some my better-cut ones.  I actually made the pattern in these colors with those exact beads in mind, which is strange because they seem like the six colors should be rather garish together, but instead it's a really intricate and sophisticated piece.

I changed the colors slightly and made an inverse of the pattern, but it's not as good. I'll put it up when it's completely completed (which probably won't happen until I'm done using it as a cell-phone cozy).

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Purple Bracelet

This is probably one of the most beautiful bracelets that I've made, and I love the picture so much I almost want to make it into an art-print. (Would anyone buy it that way, do you think?)

But, of course, it never gets the attention that it deserves (like being bought?) because I can't figure out how to promote my stuff properly.

Maybe some day.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Asian Dragon

This is an awesome pattern. It's another one from a bit of clip-art, although for the amount of cleaning I had to do to that one, I feel no guilt in listing it for sale.

The black one I made back in college.  It actually has the same background pattern as the cream one, but you can't tell because I used clear dark green beads and black thread.  It has two shades of red that you can just barely tell apart, although it looks better than usual in this image, and then of course I used that tarnishing silver for his claws, ect.  To look at he's not much--unless the light hits it at an oblique angle, and then all the colors glow and pop out of the tapestry and it's beautiful--or it used to be before the silver tarnished.

Anyway, I took the lessons I'd learned in color from the first one and applied them to the second, cream-colored one.  I meant to do more with adjusting the background, and they actually are quite different, but in the end that's almost the only thing that disappoints me about the second dragon.

I did say *almost,* yes.  I also ran out of the lesser background color, which wasn't entirely unexpected, but was frustrating because I couldn't find any beads that color anywhere--though I swore I'd seen them pretty recently.  I even went to the bead stores on the far side of town, but--nothing.  They didn't even sell seed beads, actually. But that's a different tale.

So i went online, and got something that I thought would be perfect, but it's a little off. Not enough to bother me, though.  But I also got more thread in that time, and the new thread was a bit thicker than the old thread (though it shouldn't have been), so there's a slight increase in the width of the tapestry towards the top. Not a bit deal, but I have some perfectionist tendencies--and then I found that I had more of the first thread that I could have used... figures.

Anyway, if you'd like to experience the joy and wonder of making your own Asian Dragon Beaded Tapestry, then I've listed the pattern on Etsy so you can try your hand at making the colors match and not making the sides wobble.  I dare you.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

One Sided Fun

This was the first mobius strip that I made...for sale. 

I'm always surprised at how easy these are to make.  It feels like they should be far more complicated than putting one twist in a circle--but they aren't.

I also wish they were more useful. 

I've personally always envisioned them as part of the geek's prerequisite collection of puzzles, games and curiosities. I have a friend who's got a whole tray of them that sits in a corner, and whenever there's people over at his place, they help keep the conversation lively.  Someone picks up a puzzle and everyone has to put in their ideas about how to solve it--or there's a few toys that seem to defy the laws of physics.  A beaded optical illusion would fit right into a cluster of curios like that.

But aside from a passing mention at what passes for a cocktail party among geeks ("game night"), I'm not really sure what you can do with these clever little things.  They aren't long enough for a bracelet, but are too big for a ring.  You could stick a chain through one and call it a necklace, but they seem a bit heavy for that.

I did like my Christmas suggestion of suggesting drunken relatives untwist it.  I thought that was clever.  And if there aren't any drunken relatives around, perhaps a blond would suffice?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I give up

Well, the Silver and Purple Bracelet yesterday got a whopping total of five views, while the Viking Longboat Bracelet got seven this morning, so I updated the Viking one. And then I added a completely new bracelet:

I've actually been sitting on this bracelet for a while, partly because I was waiting to be closer to spring and partly because some of the pictures are a wee bit blurry and I was somewhat intending to redo them.  But I'm lazy, and they aren't that blurry, so it's fine.

Plus it's snowing, so I felt a need to contradict that.

Let's see; robins.

There's the whole 'first robin of spring' cliche going on, but who really sees robins anymore?  I mean, I've worked in the woods, so I have seen them, but the saying always makes me feel like someone is out there actually watching for robins--like some cute kid who runs squealing to their mother when they see that first robin.

Do kids even play outside anymore?  I've worked with kids who couldn't identify a dandelion or a violet; I doubt they'd get excited over a bird--any kind of bird.

I've actually seen robin out in the woods--actually, I was startled to realize that robins aren't really a woods bird.  They seem to like hanging out  in open fields--probably where they can be the early bird and get the worm.  A field full of robin who unconcernedly shift out of the way when they see kids come.  They don't even fly off, just shuffle to the side.

You've got to get seagulls if you want birds to fly away from you.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


So this one, let's see.  I made the pattern a long time ago, but for some reason I made the pattern too big--I think I just didn't check the size before I started cleaning up the clip art I was working with (this one barely resembles the original), and didn't notice until I was finished that it was 105x119 beads--which is HUGE by beaded tapestry standards.

So I scaled it down to a nice 79x89 beads, but even that was too large, so I made a 60x65 version, and that's the one that I beaded.  You can see it for sale on Etsy: Merman Beaded Tapestry.  But that merman has many flaws, so I found myself wanting to make a second one.

Only this time I went with the larger pattern--the in-between one, specifically.

It works out some of the flaws of the smaller piece, especially the flaws that were from color choices, but he's got a few issues of his own (you can see the side bulging by his hand, for one) I do like it, though, and I'm not sure if I'll sell it or not--try to sell it, that is. I don't know if I should have two mermen tapestries up at the same time, though, so for now we're just going with the pattern.

Why a merman? Well, all you ever see is mermaids, and female fairies, ect. And while I like mermaids and female fairies, I've always felt that the playing field could be a bit more even; why should I, as a girl, have to see scantily clad women fey/mermaids/whatevers? Why can't I see scantily-clad male fairies? and when you DO see males from fairy-tale/myth, it's old Tritan, or a knight in full armor or a prince who's not pretty but has a nice personality.

I like to think of this as evening out the playing field. Equality goes both ways, you know.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Day Three

Well, it's the third day of reposting the same thing every other day, but since the viking bracelet got way more attention yesterday, I wonder if I chose the wrong thing to repost.  Well, if it doesn't get more than three views today (even though I posted it early) then I'll move on to something else.

Or maybe I should just photograph everything with Legos.

Today's topic will instead be about maps:

Map One
Map Two

This is one of my favorite patterns. Probably because I ended up making it from scratch all on my own. I mean, I had a map to go off of--actually, I had two, but the one had only the outlines of the continents, while the other had some of the details, but I couldn't get it to convert, so I had to...fuss a lot with my patterning software, and eventually ended up making the whole thing pretty much on my own.

It also has a larger number of colors than I was accustomed to using, and since they are all placed very precisely to create this beautiful thing--I just love it.

Map One
I loved it so much, in fact, that I made a second one. There are some subtle differences between them, most notably that I used a different green in the second one.  It ended up being a delica green, since that was the closest I could get to the one I'd used before, and the beads are an entirely different size and shape, throwing everything off. I think I did something similar with the off-white in the corner, but it's a more subtle adjustment.

I actually wish that they were a bit more different, since the words on the map are rather odd.  I used this as the central piece in my senior show in college, where all the beaded tapestries I made had a myth/legend theme to them, so I titled it 'Here There Be Legends,' but I have no idea why I didn't remove the letter from the second one.  Or change it to say 'here there be dragons,' which is a more traditional thing for a map to say.  Weird.
Map Two

I've thought about cutting it out and replacing the words with blank beads, but I've a different size thread, and the beads have been stewing in the attic for years, and I suspect they've changed color--which means any replacing I do will be pretty obvious.

So instead I just pretend it's intentional as I try to sell Map Two on Etsy. The pattern is also up for sale, if you're interested in making your own world map.  I've even removed the words from it, although I can add them--or have it say 'here there be dragons' instead, if you prefer.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Vikings AHOY!

Sure, we've all heard of the animosity between pirates and ninjas, but there's also a slightly lesser-known enmity between Vikings and Samurai.  That's why you'll never see a samurai bracelet in my shop. (Well, that and I don't know how I would make a samurai bracelet.)

These longboats are a bit longer than they should be, I think, and if I ever make it again I'll be fixing that problem. But I doubt I'll be making a second one before this one is sold, and at the rate things are whizzing out of my shop, well, don't hold your breath.

Unless the ensuing light-headed-ness makes you want to buy things, in which case you should hold your breath. Starting right now.  And keep holding it until you want to buy this bracelet.

...no? Well, perhaps I should have suggested drinking instead.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A New Format for the New Year

There's going to be a bunch of changes soon.

First, I'm going to change the price of everything.  Well, not everything, but bracelets will all be going up to $30 and chokers to $45 or $50 as soon as I'm done here, actually (unless I get distracted by something shiny).

Then, since I feel rather strongly that my bracelets get buried on Etsy surprisingly quickly, I'm going to chose one that I like and renew it every other day. I suppose this makes up for the lack of Christmas bracelets going up, since it's well beyond Christmas time now. The repeating bracelets will be the geometric ones, since I've no way of tagging them so people see them--but they are really, really beautiful and deserve to be looked at.  And I suspect that people might want to buy them if they can see them.

Because of this every-other-day set-up, I'll also be getting back to putting up blather about my not-for-sale tapestries soon--I know how much you guys missed hearing about them.

Another hopeful change is that I'll be making more tapestries to sell, but of the geometric variety rather than representational. Assuming I can bring myself to part with them, of course. So far the one I'm working on is beautiful, but it won't even be finished for a few more days.

I should also be putting up a few new patterns and/or representational patterns in the next week or so, although the patterns need to be printed, and I don't currently have a printer, so that'll be tricky.

I guess the changes aren't all that exciting, and they all add up to business as usual (or lack thereof, as the case may be).