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

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

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Blue Rose

Blue Rose Beaded Pendant
Blue roses are, along with a black orchid, an impossibility. I mean, nowadays we can genetically splice them with a chunk of the sky or whatever and turn them blue, but back when people had to either find one or genetically manipulate one through the old and slow ways of selective breeding, well, it was like a fairy tale.

Which is how blue roses ended up in an episode of the Smurfs, which is really the only reason I know anything about them at all.  In the episode, Smurfette offers her own blue color in exchange for a blue rose.

What she doesn't realize is that when her color goes to the white rose, she gains its color--and its scent. Smurfette then spends the rest of the episode wearing a bee-keeper's outfit and trying to fend off bees.  At least until she's forced to realize what a mistake it was to mess with the natural order of things and broke the spell of color-change.

Sometimes I think it's a lesson that all the people who are genetically manipulating our food ought to learn.  Nature has its own time, its own pace, and its own way of doing things.  I know that genetics has brought us many things--some of them even good things--but I also feel that we've perhaps embraced the idea of apples that taste like grapes a bit too wholeheartedly, and that perhaps we really ought to think of what we're messing with here. 

Because unlike with Smurfette, we can't just break the spell and put everything back in the proper order before the commercial break.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Cutest Penguin Pendant
Now here's something I've never talked about: Penguins!

Wait, what's that you say? I HAVE talked about penguins? At length?

Great. Well. I guess I have nothing to add, then. Not really.

I actually made this particular penguin as the start of a bookmark, but since I usually make the pattern with the beads running the other way, making a short and chubby penguin, it took a long time before I could look at this guy and not picture one of my other ones being run over with a steam roller. Which is a pretty painful image, and the main reason this guy didn't end up as a bookmark.

It's bad enough sewing their eyes on; the first eye is just a bead, but that second eye always creeps me out a bit because I'm sewing through a creature's eye. So stabbing this poor, defenseless bird through the eye--and THEN RUNNING HIM OVER WITH A STEAMROLLER--was more than I could handle.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Apples to Apples

Apple Pendant
I said I was starting a new line of things in the new month (or I implied it, or possibly I just thought it really loud; something like that), well here it is!

I've wanted to do pendants for a while, but there were some technical details I needed to work out. I probably would have figured them out sooner if I'd really sat down and thought about it, but in the end it took a few suggestions from my sister and a trip to the Box of Small Beaded Things to scavenge for old patterns.

I've also made a few new patterns, but this is one of the oldest. I probably have a sheet of graph paper with it somewhere in the Attic. Originally it was paired with a pear (hmm), and there was a companion piece with a banana and a peach--although they've never looked as good as the apple and pear.

Clearly I reproduced it by itself, and I also added the bit of shine in the corner, but otherwise this is an nine-year-old pattern (or close to that). And it works quite well in its new setting.

The price is also very reasonable--I hope. It's only $7; entirely affordable. The necklace isn't included, though. The original plan was to include it, but when I unwrapped the strip of leather...it's not what you'd call quality. I bought another type of string/cording, too, but it's not even leather. It's plastic. Very quality. Maybe I'll get back to the craft store soon, but including the string will drive up the cost (slightly), so I don't know. We'll see.