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, February 28, 2011

Not Again

Scrolling Dragon Choker
I never thought I'd get tired of talking about dragons...

This is an interesting pattern. It also came from a bit of clip-art, this time from a border bit. I realize Draco's tail is chopped off in the picture, but I assure you he does have one, and it curls around.

I cleaned this pattern up, and then I think I was planning to use it in the corners of the World Map Beaded Tapestry, but it was too big or something because it's not the one I used (passing resemblance, though), but I had the pattern in my pattern software since forever.  I do know that at one point I made the pattern bigger and used it to make a belt--there was a second dragon figure originally, in a complementary shape, so the belt is those two guys back and forth.

It's a pretty cool belt, if not terribly functional, but it's one of the things that's still *ahem* inhabiting the attic.  Someday, someday, I'll get it out of the attic (and my awesome Celtic knot dragons), and you'll get to see just how awesome it is.

In the meantime you'll just have to buy this choker, and use your imagination.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Feeling Blue

Blue Geometric Beaded Tapestry
I'm not actually blue, I just needed a title for this post. I'm actually quite happy for a change. I mean, it's not like I'm depressed generally or anything, but there's a few things in my life that are going well, and I am happy about them.  It's about damn time, really.

I went to see an exhibit of illuminated manuscripts today. I always think I should draw some ideas for my tapestries from illuminated manuscripts, because they are small and don't have a whole lot of shading to them--but then I see them, and I see how much detail is actually in them--there's NO WAY I could make anything even approximating the detail and thin lines, ect that went into the manuscripts. Not with the beads and patterning limitations I have.

I would, some day, like to make a series of illuminated capitals as beading patterns, which I'd sell as custom work, so you could just buy the letters you were interested in, and I'd make them, send 'em to you as a set or as a long scroll--but somehow pattern design is one of those things that I've been falling behind on lately.

I wish I knew where all my time was going--well, not this week because I can account for most of that, but in general time's just been...slipping away...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

If You're Happy and You Know It...

Happy Smiley Bracelet
Q: What's a ninja's favorite drink?

A: Waaaa-taaa (water)

Q: What's a ninja's favorite breakfast food?
A: Waaaa-ffles (waffles)

Q: What's a ninja's favorite fruit?
A: A throwing starfruit!

Two ninjas met one night in a dark alley. The first ninja said, "Hhhiii-ya waaaaaaaa-aaaaah! Hiieya! ya! Ya! ya!" To which the second ninja replied,  "..."

Q: What to momma ninjas sing to put their baby ninjas to bed?
A: Twinkle Twinkle Little Throwing Star

Q: Are you laughing yet?
A: Better say 'yes' because there's more where those came from...

Friday, February 25, 2011

Fishing for Compliments

Fish Bracelet
Actually, I'm more fishing for something to say... I think I covered fish pretty well the last time I listed this bracelet--I was afraid this would happen--but I haven't had a chance to photograph anything or prepare anything.  I went to see my sister and niece today, see, and the rest of the week was taken up by my taxes and by ...um...something that seems to be the beginnings of a social life? If it makes you feel any better, the blog isn't the only thing I've neglected this week.

And if you're getting tired of seeing the same things and listening to me whine about nothing for the hundredth time, then rejoice! Because I've got new stuff to post and babble about coming up in March.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Taxing Taxes

Luna Moth Beaded Tapestry Pattern

I filed my taxes today. The good news is that I'm getting some money back. The better news is that I didn't cry this year. Although I still might--from relief. I was going to be productive today, but I feel like the effort of filing my taxes (even online, without tears, and costing less than $100) should allow me an impromptu holiday. So there will be nothing clever here today on account me me being dead/celebrating my measly return.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Turtle Bracelet
I've always liked turtles. I think they started out being some sort of real-life equivalent of dragons for me, and then just grew until I genuinely liked them for what they are.

I used to have a whole handful of turtles that I carried around with my in middle school. They were painted resin turtles, which I got at a fairly local souvenir shop or two. They were painted to look like real turtles--as much as a 1-inch resin turtle can look like a real turtle, that is--and I had some fun researching what types they were.

I also gave them all names.  Like "Gerdle" and "Murble." I actually can't recall all their names now (there were close to ten of them), but I suppose it's not really a bad thing.

From there I ended up with a small collection of other turtle figurines, made from all sorts of materials and purchased from all sorts of places. Luckily they've always fit in just one box. Unlike my collection of china rabbits. But that's another story.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Full Circle

Western Choker
Well, this is a bit of an exciting day here in Amyville.  See, this was pretty much the first object to get its own picture-included post. You might recall it? I went on a wee rant about how this was a commissioned choker from someone who never came back for it. I'm still rather upset about that, but I guess it was four months ago. Literally, since I just checked and this is actually the very item I posted the day I began this blog. *Sniffle* look how my baby has grown.

*Looks critically at blog* well, I guess it hasn't really grown all that much. But I certainly feel like I've been blogging forever.

The choker itself is rather neat. I've always been partial to Native American stuff (my beading technique, dream catchers...if only they had dragons, alas), so it was fun this time to make something that unrepentantly reflected their color choices, and suggested at their patterns.

On the other hand, I now feel like a hack for doing it, since I know you're not really supposed to mimic Native American crafts and such if you're not of such descent yourself. I'm a bit hazy on the why details, and It always seems a bit odd because certainly no one in Europe cares if I steal their images (Eastern cultures might mind a bit, but I've never really heard it mentioned). But I realize it's just a cultural difference, and that it should be respected even if it doesn't make total sense to me.

So I do my best to respect that, and I try to only steal images and ideas that people won't get upset at me for (I'm rather far down the list for dream catcher abuse, for example), and then I have this choker out on Etsy, and it makes me feel like a disrespectful culture thief, when I've never meant to be.

Hopefully someday someone will buy it, and I won't have to feel bad any longer.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Unicorn Beaded Tapestry
Unicorns. Not quite as exciting as dragons, but interesting in their own right. I like the idea that they were hunted--actually, I like unicorns a lot, except for their association with silly little girls and innocent virgins. Not that there's anything wrong with virgins, just that it seems to be a rather odd proclivity for a mythological creature to have.

I guess I don't care for their beards, either.

But the myths about them healing, and their purity, those are interesting. So many creatures of myth have to do with death, dying and killing things, but here's a creature that's said to purify wells, and visits only to the innocent, it's a really nice contrast.  Of course, unicorns aren't entirely without death, since they were traditionally hunted (well, "traditionally" since it's hard to hunt something that doesn't exist...), and all their parts used for magic, but that's not really the point. And they didn't generally kill things themselves.

I also like the idea that con-men would sell narwhal horns as unicorn ones. And, of course, my favorite fact is that when the Northern Europeans first saw the rhinoceros they thought, 'Ah, the unicorn at last.'  Because y'know, fragile pretty horse = giant horn-nosed monstrous creature. Makes perfect sense.

But the whole rainbows, happiness, and fit-only-for-seven-year-old-girls modern unicorn, that I don't like. I'm not entirely sure why--and I'll take a unicorn puzzle over a Thomas Kinkade puzzle any day (but still a dragon over a unicorn)--but it might be because I like to resist the popular trends. Everyone like unicorns? FINE. I will like cockatrices. They have feathers.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Leafing Through

Leaf Bracelet on Etsy
Borders Bookstore is closing. I have an odd set of extremely strong feelings about this.

First I feel sadness and a longing for the past. Borders was my first favorite bookstore, and was the closest one to my house for a long, long time. When the first Barnes and Noble came to Madison, I felt like they were encroaching on the territory of My Borders.

But Barnes and Nobles did come to Madison, and privately I've started admitting to myself that they've replaced Borders as my favorite bookstore--if only because Borders has always had the poorest selection journals imaginable.

That didn't stop me from buying books there, and based on my experiences through the winter/Christmas season, I'm frankly rather surprised that they are closing. Especially this branch, which always seems to have a constant level of people, if not always a high one. I never suspected that Borders was this close to bankruptcy--but then, that's rather the point, I suppose.

And then there's the guilt.  See, I still buy books at Borders, but only when I don't buy them for my Kindle of otherwise from Amazon. I've gotten two novels at Borders in the past six months, and one Christmas gift. In comparison, I bought two journals from the used bookstore, one journal from B&N, one book from a garage sale, four paper books from Amazon, and god knows how many ebooks (most of them also from Amazon). I couldn't have kept Borders in business with my business, but it's because of people like me that an awesome chain of .dtf books is going bankrupt (.dtf is Dead Tree Format), and I'm rather sorry for my part in it.

Of course, my final feeling is glee. Books on SALE?? I shall go NOW! And I did. I went to Borders today, like a vulture, and bought $20 worth of stuff--it would have been about the same without the paltry 20% off, but whatever.  And I'll go again later when the savings are higher.

Although I hope the lines are way shorter. I got three chapters into one of the books I was buying while waiting in line. No joke. It was a great book and a fine way to pass the time, but perhaps next time I will go the day after they announce the newest tier of savings.

Friday, February 18, 2011


FoxHart Banner
This is a use for beadwork that I think is really interesting;  Heraldry.

This type of beadweaving, especially with the Czech seed beads, work best with a few simple and flat colors, perhaps a bit of simple shading here and there.  All of which are also true of heraldry, since they needed clear and simple shapes and bright colors that you could see from the far side of a battlefield or down a distant road.  Heraldry wasn't always simple, I know, but it makes for a neat place to draw pattern ideas from.

This banner isn't anyone real, but is instead based off a story I wrote where two neighboring kingdoms are combined into one, and this is the resulting flag, I guess. They are on a peninsula and... you know what? Let's just say that I've put too much thought into making the symbols in this work just so and leave it at that. I don't want to bore anyone, after all.

I keep meaning to put up a 'custom beaded heraldry banner/flag/thing' but I haven't gotten around to it yet. I don't really know what--I mean, if I were selling at Ren Fairs or right to the SCA I'd feel fairly comfortable making the offer and knowing there was interest in it, but just tossing it out onto Etsy worries me that I'll just be missing the target audience--or anyone who might be even remotely interested.

Maybe someday, after I get my life in order, one part of which is a goal to join the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronisms, that is), perhaps then I can put out feelers to see if there'd be a market for such a thing.
Or maybe I'll put it up on Etsy anyway. One thing not selling doesn't make a big difference from another thing not selling, I guess.

Oh, and I relisted the Flag pin and the World Map Pattern on Etsy today. I just didn't have anything to say about them, so I went with this.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Custom Runic Bracelet
I've been planning this for awhile now--probably since last November, actually. I put up a custom normal-letter bracelet, and a custom rune choker, but for some odd reason I never quite managed the reverse of those two. And now I've finally done it! Very exciting.

Actually, I made this bracelet and then I was staring at it and realized it read 'you phrase here' instead of 'YOUR phrase here' yeah. Guess it was one of those days. So ultimately it's a little bit long compared with most, but that's okay. At least I realized and fixed it before I ended up on Regretsy or anything...

Although I've neglected to put a clasp on this bracelet. I don't have a really good reason for doing so, it's mostly just because the clasps are on the other side of the room. But there's also a few little worries, like the gold clasps which I would use have a tendency to oxidize! But then so does the copper color I used for the lettering hear. They'd be in good company, I guess.

It's also a bracelet that says "your phrase here" and I'm not trying to sell it specifically, so why would I bother with the effort of putting a clasp on it? crazy-talk.

I'll just secretly use it as an extra-long bookmark, and no one needs to know.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

In All the World

World Map Beaded Tapestry
I've always wanted to travel the world, but I'm way too scared to do so on my own.

And it's funny, because I can get up and sing a song without accompaniment in front of 200+ kids and their parents/chaperons by myself and not worry about a thing, but the idea of traveling alone has me shivering in fear.

I've done it--I've traveled from Wisconsin to New Hampshire to work, then moved to Oregon, then moved back to Wisconsin and from there returned to New Hampshire and Massachusetts for more work, and maybe it wasn't the same as traveling, working or living in a foreign country, but it rather felt like it at times. Well, except for the bit where everyone already spoke my language and used the same money and laws as me, for the most part. But it was still traveling far from home.

And I learned, when I got there, that I was more inclined to locate a place of safety/home and stay there than I was to go out and explore these new parts of the country.  With the exceptions being when my friends were involved, because as soon as there was anyone going somewhere else, I was more than happy to jump along. And then, you know, cling.

It seems that at heart I'm just a homebody with delusions of travel. *sigh*

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Gee kiss exy

Geek is Sexy Bracelet
It's too bad I missed Valentine's Day with this one--it's awfully cute--but these things happen.  I pretty much skipped V-day on my own, or rather I celebrated it as S.A.D. or Singles Awareness Day.  Because for couples it's Valentine's Day, and for the rest of us it's SAD.  I picked that up sometime in college, and I still think it's hilarious.

Last night I did take myself out to see a movie, I'm not sure if that counts as a celebration or not, but it was fun.  I saw True Grit which was about what I expected it to be.  I liked it, although some parts were a bit slow--slow enough that I started putting tiny braids in my hair. Which is actually a style I like on me, but I can hardly ever be bothered to put the braids in. When I do, I generally just do two on each side at the most, but I made them extra small last night, and got three on the left.  Now I'm cute!

Not that I wasn't before.

...what am I talking about?

ANYWAY, this is quite possible the geekiest bracelet I've made yet--even including the dragons, but I'm going to put up a custom runic bracelet soon, so I wanted a few more made to show the style. I also thought this was pretty clever.

It's also got a new style of clasp. It's called a 'sliding clasp' and I've wanted to use them since forever, but my local bead stores don't sell any good clasps (and I've looked and looked and looked), and my usual online bead supplier claims clasps that look like this are 'magnetic' and charges $3 each (or more, I forget). Which sucks because they have an awesome array of color possibilities (silver, gold, antique brass, gunmetal, copper...). Still, $3 is highway robbery.  But I found another supplier who has the clasps at a much, much more reasonable price, and so far I am very impressed with them.

It's a bit of a trick to close the clasp while you're wearing it, but that's also true of the box clasps, and at least these look nicer.

Speaking of new things, I changed the prices of the bracelets in my shop (yes again). This time the prices reflect the width of the bracelet.  Bracelets eight beads wide are $20, nine are $25, and so forth. It's not an improper reflection of the effort that goes into them, even if I'd prefer that they were all the same price.  But I tried that and it didn't get me very far...

Monday, February 14, 2011

More Dragons

Dragon Bracelet on Etsy
Yup. More dragons. This time ones that my mom thinks look like humming birds. Maybe not the one in this picture, but perhaps the other ones on the sides.

I think they look like dragons, but what to I know?  Their colors weren't the best of choices, though.

Hey, let's talk about dragons.  Actually, let's talk about books about dragons.  See I love dragons (as if you hadn't figured that out already), and so I've read lots and lots of fantasy books about them.  Pretty much you put a dragon on the cover and unless it's highly anthropomorphic I'd read the book; there wasn't much else needed.

Lately my interests in books has changed and I mostly read stuff from small presses, but every so often I find myself in a bookstore and I wander over to the Fantasy/Sci-Fi section (as is my wont), and I think about buying a mainstream book.

But there's a problem.  Actually there are a few problems.  Problem #1 is that I no longer know how to pick out a book.  Used to be you pick the book up, check out the cover, if there's a dragon, you read the back, if it sounds promising, you read the excerpt inside the front cover and if you're still interested you buy the book.

Now, though, now you pick up a book, squint at the cover 'design' until it looks like a dragon, you flip the book over, read a bunch of "reviews" until you find the two-sentence blurb/summary, learn absolutely nothing from it, flip open the front cover to find an excerpt and find TEN PAGES of reviews written by your least favorite authors and/or people you've never heard of, and then finally you put the book down in disgust--still with no idea of what it's about.

Problem #2 is that I've read everything. Well, not everything, because this goes hand-in-hand with problem #3: VAMPIRES.  See, I read so much fantasy as a kid/young adult that I quickly took care of all the best and lasting books.  That means the authors of the world have been trying to catch up with me ever since, which is fine.  Or it would be fine, if it were not for freaking VAMPIRES.

I've never liked vampires. They are at best okay, and while I will read an occasional book containing them, it's more that I will forgive an author for writing about vampires--if the author is already one that I like.  Not like dragons, where I will actively and gleefully seek out new authors of them.

But now vampires are the only fantasy books that sell, so they are the only ones published, and the only ones sold. Thus instead of the publishing world catching up with me as time goes on, they have in fact gotten farther behind on producing books that I will read.

So I go to the bookstore, go to the fantasy section, and walk through the shelves going, "read that; vampires; read that; vampires; read that; vampires; read--wait, is that a ninja? ... oh wait, Piers Anthony liked this book? screw that--read that; vampires..."

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Relatively Speaking

Skeleton Key Bracelet on Etsy
Skeleton keys are old-fashioned and evoke thoughts of the Victorian past (and all things steampunk), and thus is almost appropriate that I'm posting this bracelet today after having suffered through a weekend full of nostalgia and sepia photographs.  And arguing.

See, my grandmother turned 90 this year, and my mother decided it was a good idea to invite her brother and sister to come and visit for a party--they live in Colorado and North Carolina, respectively.

On the surface this sounds like a fun family get-together with relatives we don't see often, and everyone getting a chance to see my grandmother because someday she really will die (right?), and wouldn't you like to say you'd seen her one last time?

But you can only think that when you don't know my mother's family. (Mom, you should probably stop reading about here, btw)

See, there's a reason they all live on different sides of the country.  My aunt is rich, and somewhat uptight.  My uncle is a seller of antiques who was living in a shelter at one point in the last year.  My mom is contentedly middle-class, but controlling and argumentative. They have nothing in common. Except a tendency to fight and argue and some genes.

But apparently those genes provide a nice common ground for them, because the family tree was all they talked about while my aunt and uncle were here.

Now, don't get me wrong.  Genealogy is a respectable hobby, and I fully intend to take it up when I'm fifty or sixty and suddenly find myself concerned about letting my kids/niece know where I came from.  But for now I'm only 27, and begin stuck alone with three antagonistic about-retirement-aged people talking about how many kids so-and-so had, where they all moved after 1830, how many times they married and who their parents were...it's my newest definition of hell.

It wasn't even a peaceful discussion because my aunt needed everything explained twice and my UNCLE TALKS REALLY LOUD AND WITHOUT LISTENING TO ANYONE and my mom thinks it should all really be about her.

I'm so glad everyone is gone home now.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Let's Go Fly a Kite

Kite Bookmark on Etsy
My summer camp was full of very large open fields.  I mean, we had plenty of woods, too, but in front of the Lodge (our dining hall and Misc building) we had First Field, which was followed by a small strip of trees, and then there was Second Field, followed by some bushes which blocked off Third Field.  But if, fora example, you went to the left from the lodge instead of straight ahead, there was Main Field.  You can tell how great we were with naming things.

By the end of my camping career there was also a field between the Lodge and the Waterfront, though we had yet to name it (I was pushing for the 'grassy knoll' because it had a hill, and that's hilarious). 

Despite these large grassy expanses, we hardly spent time in any of them--well, maybe First Field sometimes, but our soccer nets were always falling apart and the kids were about as likely to sit under a tree as run across it (it was girl scout camp, I'm not sure what you expected).

Anyway, I always looked at those fields with their breeze off the lake and wondered why I didn't fly more kites. So one year I bought a kite, and spent some time flying it. It was fun.

Then I bought a bunch more kites (mostly miniature ones because it's funny), but by then the fun of it had mostly worn off.

...Sorry. I thought this story would be a bit more exciting, but I seem to have lost the punchline. Perhaps it got trapped in a tree?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Never Tickle a Sleeping Dragon

Sleeping Dragon Choker on Etsy
This choker reads "Never tickle a sleeping dragon" which is one of my favorite sayings--and it was BEFORE it was the Hogwarts school motto, too.

Especially since I forgot that it was the Hogwarts motto until I was googling the quote in anticipation of posting it.  Not that I'd mind if people bought this because they were Harry Potter fans (better Harry than Twilight, if nothing else). I like Harry Potter. I just didn't make this choker for him.

I had a slight difficulty in making this choker because the phrase wasn't quite long enough for a choker, which is where I got the idea to turn the word 'dragon' into a dragon--which is a really neat effect, but it made the phrase too long for a choker.

Sometimes you just cannot win.

Speaking of not winning, I've got an ad for my shop going up on the 12th, and since I'm feeling optimistic about it, I'd recommend buying that bracelet/tapestry/keychain/whatever that you've been eying now before someone else gets it. Otherwise you, too, will loose.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Merman Beaded Tapestry on Etsy
This is a fun tapestry, although it's given me hell in getting it photographed.  It's the tapestry I've taken pictures of the most often, and yet this is the first batch that turned out anything close to correct in colors.

Part of the reason it's been so difficult is because I had the brilliant idea to use black thread to weave it. I didn't think it would make a huge difference--or I thought it would enhance the colors by making them...more intense or something--but instead all it did was make the whole piece really disappointingly dark.  Cameras apparently hate the dark color, even when I photographed it in full sunlight.  If the darkness wasn't a problem, then the color-change near the end of the tail (which it changed from red-and-purple to hot-pink-and-purple) would be interpreted as a place where the image was over exposed, and would be treated accordingly.

Or maybe that's just because all digital cameras hate red; I don't know.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Bunny Wunny

Buy the Rabbit Bracelet
Glee! A post wherein I get to gush about my rabbit! Oh man, what to say?

She's the cutest, fluffiest thing to ever grace my floor and I love her lots and lots and lots--even when she chews up my cables and pees in places she shouldn't.

I'd much prefer that she didn't chew on noisy things an hour or so before I want to be awake.  And I suppose it would be nice if she'd sit in my lap for more than three seconds without digging, biting or escaping.

And while we're on the subject, she really ought to learn that my shoes are not, in fact, play toys and she should play with one of the millions of toys that I've already gotten her.

She is cute, though. So I always forgive her.


I often wonder why everything is cats or dogs. Every so often I like to play pretend and look at apartments, and I can't tell if they'll accept rabbits.  I mean, "no pets" is pretty clear, but what if it just says "no cats or dogs"? do you take that to mean no pets? or just no cats or dogs? What if the apartment is 'yes cats, no dogs'--or the other way round? is a rabbit more like a cat so I should try those places? or is a rabbit more like a dog, so I should try *those* places.  Or is it just that every place ever hates rabbits and I should realize that I'll never be able to move anywhere with her?

Sadly, it still doesn't look like my life will ever get to the point beyond looking at apartments, so I suppose I don't have to worry about it.

I would like 'pet lovers' things and places to at least give a nod to rabbits--or other small pets. I'm sure plenty of people are attached to their hedgehogs, parrots or hermit crabs; why is everything cat this and dog that? Those aren't the only creatures on the planet, ya'know.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Those Who Wander

Runic Wander Quote Choker
I actually made one of these for myself back when I'd started making jewelry--before I figured out how to attache the jewelry, actually. I had two bracelets sewn onto my wrist, and then I had three that were just long beaded ribbons, if you will--and this, which was an extra long strip. I was actually rather reluctant to put the snap on the original, because I liked that it was just this phrase that wasn't on something, but which WAS something--it's hard to explain.

Then, after I put the snap on it, I wore it as a double-wrapped bracelet instead of as a choker for a long time. It was partly an adjustment period because it'd been awhile since I wore anything on my neck regularly, but it also had a lot to do with the fact that I wanted to look at it and handle it.  That's part of the wonder of beaded objects like this; the sheer tactile experience of them.

Actually, my love of touching and handling my beadwork is why I don't frame the tapestries when they're finished.  I don't really even like to put the hanging loops/rods on them because even that limits how you can interact with them--but of course, they're barely even decorative without SOME way of hanging or displaying.

Anyway, this choker reads 'Not all those who wander are lost' in JRR Tolkien's runes--which is how the actual quote actually goes, and don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Useful Alphabet Choker
This choker was fun to make because every letter is a different color, running through the typical rainbow. I had to dig through me 'bead ends' bin for...I think for one of the oranges, but otherwise it's like a cross-section of all the beads I own--not to mention the most colorful thing I've made.

Speaking of colorful, I went to Orchid Quest today, which is an orchid show/convention/thing. It apparently occurs once a year, but this was the first time I'd even heard of it.  There were lots of pretty flowers (but I didn't bring my camera, pity). I even bought one!

It's just a baby seedling, and it should grow into a miniature moth orchid, if that means anything to anyone. (It almost means something to me...) Assuming I don't kill it before it gets there, of course.  I don't have a great track record with plants--not anymore.

See, I had a lot of plants in college, but I left half on an open window sill one night when we had frost.  Then I ended up locking the remaining ones in my black car in the full sun for a day--uh...whoops.  The plants I had left after that have suffered the wrath of housepets and the lack of sun in my parents house, leaving my with only the most durable spider plant in the world, a very tenacious wandering Jew, and a rather nervous fern. We'll see how long the orchid lasts.

Anyone want to open a betting pool?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

It's Key

Skeleton Key Bookmark on Etsy
A bookmark is key to saving your place while you read. ha.

I really like how this pattern turned out.  It's very simple, but clear in what it is, and there's high contrast between the gold and the white which just makes the whole thing quite beautiful. Not sure I should have used the 'steampunk' tag, but hey, keys are steampunk. Right?

I only have three keys on my keychain right now, and two of them are for my car.

Before you ask, it's not the Car Key and the Spare, no no, I have an Oldesmobile and for some reason it has one key for the door and one key for the engine.  The only use I can imagine for such a thing is if you have two kids who fight all the time; you give one key to one kid, the other to the other, and then you never have to worry that they'll go anywhere.  Because one can drive but can't get in, and the other can get in but can't drive.

I also re-listed the Moon Beaded Tapestry Pattern today, but I'm talked out about moons.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Riddles and Secrets

Runic Bracelet on Etsy
I love both Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit, and I've read them both several times--something I rarely do, so it's a huge compliment.  At some point I worked out the entire alphabet used on the secret door on the Lonely Mountain, and then as part of the creation of my Lord of the Rings tapestry (which hasn't yet been featured here) I turned those runes into bead patterns.

This was one of the first ideas for a bracelet that I had, and I thought it was rather clever; the bracelet reads 'it's a secret' in runic, so if people ask "What's it say?" You can tell them "It's a secret" and have many hilarious dialogues over it. A conversation piece, one might say.

People on Etsy don't really seem to agree with me about how clever it is--or I assume that's true since it hasn't sold yet.

I keep meaning to make a custom runic bracelet listing and then forgetting to do so. I need a really good--but short--quote from the Hobbit to make it work properly, I think.  Or a quote from LotR, that'd work too.  But the books, and not the movie, since the movie seems to use a different runes alphabet--I don't know how that works, but there it is.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

You Must Be Nuts

I've been trying to work out a business card for my Etsy shop, and my little sister, who's a graphics design major, is supposed to be helping me. But she's not very good at responding to emails so I haven't heard from her in a few weeks--school started up again, so I'm not surprised or upset, I'm just left to my own devices.

I recently downloaded a few free graphics programs which I'm slowly learning how to use--very slowly because I have to stop using them before I hit peak frustration and refuse to ever go back to them.  It might help if I remembered anything about Illustrator or Photoshop from that computer graphics class I took a million years ago, but then again neither of my new programs is quite like the Adobe versions, so that might not help, after all.

The saddest part is that I'm still better at doing things in MS Paint. Even for a book-cover I did recently I had to complete one step entirely in Paint, and even after that I needed it for some conversions as well.  I can't quite tell if it's because the other programs really cannot do the things I want them to, or if I just don't know how to do the things in them yet, but it feels like I'm taking the long way 'round to do anything.

Still, my book cover turned out well, and I'm hoping my business card will as well--I'm beading something new for it, so it'll be a few days until I finish that, and then god knows how long before I manage to work out the rest of it.  In the meant time, here's a nifty image I 'shopped together using--yes--Paint. (I thought I could draw a circle with a line through it in Inkscape or GIMP, but I seem to have been wrong)

Beaded bookmarks DO NOT interface with Kindle, Nook or other eReaders.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pencil Me In

I don't think I ever really liked writing with pencils. I mean, I enjoyed being able to erase things, of course, but I hated the way that your pencil wouldn't stay sharp, and then, just as I adjusted to it being a comfortable nub, I'd have to sharpen it again.  After sharpening it, the tip would break, so I'd have to sharpen it again, and pretty soon I'd need a new pencil.

Around middle school I discovered the wonders of the mechanical pencil, and I never looked back.

Some time in high school I discovered gel pens and realized that my teachers no longer insisted that everything be done in pencil, which was the start of something new.

Eventually, several years into college, I was in the classroom waiting for the semester Russian exam to start, and someone said something about a pencil. I looked down at the pen in my hand and realized that despite frequent mistakes I had to scratch out (Russians have a whole different alphabet, did you know that?) it had never even occurred to me to use a pencil. Not even as a passing thought.  After half a year of taking Russian.

I used a pen the second semester, too. I mean, I'd already gone that far using a pen, why change?

Despite this, I do often find pencils useful, usually for drawing things that I'll need to erase and/or want to shade. I just...don't write with them.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


This was one of the first bracelets I made--this pattern, rather. I was trying to use up the yellow and black beads--but really there's way more green and wing-color than there is yellow or black.

Anyway, I made the bracelet and I was proud of it, so I wore it frequently--also I hated my job, so seeing something nice that I made was a big help.  But then I went on a job interview, and in order to look nice, I wore all my beaded bracelets (I had three, that I could take off, two stuck sewn on my wrist and a choker that I sometimes wore as a double-wrap bracelet). Somehow I lost the bee bracelet.

I think it fell off in my car, and then escaped the car at the place I was interviewing--and then I didn't notice until after I got back from the interview. And I didn't get the job, so I never had a chance to look for it again (not that it would have been there, but I'd really wanted the job, so it was like a double disappointment).

Then I lent one of the other three original bracelets to a co-worker and got fired before I remembered to get it back.  I recently sewed the last of those originals onto my wrist.  Hopefully I won't be able to lose it.

I remade the bee bracelet to sell, because without the added 'it's my first!' fun, I'm not really a bee-person, although if it doesn't ever sell, I don't think I'll be too upset at having to keep it.