Saturday, November 26, 2011

I must have been under an undo influence when I placed my last Fire Mountain order. I was shocked to realize that among the stuff I really needed, and was waiting for, I had ordered the elements to make angels. After putting away the stuff, I tried the angel on the left but something about her kept bothering me. So days later I began to play around with the mate and came up with pearl heads which I find much better than the 'empty' crystals. Fine. But I could not stop. So I added a heart. Then I felt the heart hung down too far, was too big for the body so I added the little glass flower 'waist' but I am unhappy with that. I am still debating whether I like / need / want the heart. I do not want my angels look like the fifteen million other angels made by this technique.
Then while looking at Fire Mountain's Black Friday ad I saw that they also have other angel wings. I paid $2.32 for the pair I got and I did not feel they were very well designed. They look much better here in the photograph than in real life. Then I found some with excellent design that cost $1.62 for 20. Problem now is: do I buy 20 of the better made wings and go on making angels or do I stop myself here and now. The new wings are on my shopping list. We will see if they make the cut next month.
Am still making stars. Werner is unconsciously encouraging them by buying two HUGE boxes of cotton balls. I think I am going to have to go back to making teddy bears to use them all.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Am on another beading jag. I simply cannot stop making these stars. I am making them faster than I can buy cotton balls to stuff them. Hence the flat one above.
It is certainly true that one cannot expect the color of the work to be the same as the beads in the tube. I love the metallic iris Delicas and in the tube they were gold. I have used them on bracelets and they were gold. Now as a star they go dark on me. Dark star! Just what I needed. Holidays are always nerve-wracking for me, even when I do nothing and go nowhere, so I am doing comfort beading - stars! And I need light, brightness, warmth.
In the summer it was the starfish and the only reason I stopped making them was because I could not find the alabaster color in a rounded opaque 11. However the big box of cylindrical Delicas bought for the starfish have now all been used up in making the stars.

I cleaned up the inside studio and put away the photography corner (which you can see in last Friday's blog). I am very discouraged about Etsy. It was so much work building shots and photographing the items and phtotoshopping all those photos (five per item) but I have only had two sales in this the second best month. People do see my stuff and are putting some of my items in their treasury list (for which I am very thankful) but sales. . . We will see when I will have made enough of these stars that I feel I must do 'something' to get them out there and post them on Etsy.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Between passing rainstorms we were able to drive to The Dolphin in Gualala in sunshine. I had put the big bird in the back seat with a thought that I should fasten its seatbelt but dreaded mashing my arrangements. Half way there, on Highway One, some idiot made a left hand turn across our lane. Werner was quick enough to hit the brakes and we skidded just past his right taillight. Heart stopping for us but the big bird made a flying leap off the seat. He was the least of our worries as we talked each other out of our panic all the way to town!
I was pleasantly surprised when I unwrapped the bird that only a couple bracelets had been dislodged. All that pinning down of every piece paid off.
The ladies doing take-in were very organized and already were prepared for me. Evidently Harriet had told them of our phone call so they were very careful to check that I had put tags on everything and that the tags had all the info! No letting me get by with the idea that all my things were one price so there was no need for tags. In gratitude one of them filled out the paper work for me.
They had repainted the gallery so the brown walls were gone and the white was glistening. Someone with good taste had chosen and placed swags of Christmas decorations along the wall. There was some debating about where to put the bead bird ("Oh, its so big!") and "No there is no way to stablize it from the ceiling." These conversations were escalating until I wondered if he would be accepted at all when Dee Taylor came sailing into the room. "Are things for sale, yet?" When I said mine were, she zoomed in on the bird while the sweet white-haired lady was still debating IF and where to put it. She pried Dee off of it long enough to let the two of us carry it to a table in a corner at the back (which conveniently hides three sides of the display).
None of this stopped Dee who, by the time I left, had bought 6 bracelets. We chatted and kidded about the sexual orientation of the bead bird and had so much fun that I forgot to take a photo of it in situ for this blog. Dee's joy at finding so many bracelets she wanted to buy made me feel it was a good decision to make the display and put it in the Christmas show. The guardian angel who saved us a near frontal smash-up got many prayers of thanksgiving.

Friday, November 18, 2011

As you can see I did dust off the big bead bird and started loading him up for the holidays. I tried to keep myself from being depressed about the discouraging task of selling beads, or any other art work, in these times by telling myself I was doing this to decorate the Christmas Shoppe at the The Dolphin and to be part of the community holiday activities. It took a lot of chocolate and a lovely phone call to Harriet to work out a way for me to do the smallest amount of inventory work and yet not mess up her systems.
Solution? I made everything just $15 and I bowed to her need to put a tag on every item. I still have to find some weird things for the bottoms of the bird's feet and then I can count up the number of items and I am ready to roll.

When I read the ICO I saw the Senior Citizens are having a Craft Fair also. Got the idea of donating the things that did not fit on the bird to them. They can take all the profits. They could have one of their vendors include my things with theirs or just put out a table with a donation jar and the beaded things. Saves me being a sales clerk (first I typed cluck - which is more correct!). Am waiting on a call back. . .

So today, after cleaning away things you can see in this messy photo I can get back to my cloud. I am amazed how big a job will seem until I actually get down to doing it. It only took nine hours to get to this. What a fool I am!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

This photo fairly represents my mind today. I do not know what to do. I am in gear and the cloud piece is going well. I am excited with it and happy how things look now.
However I peeked into the newest issue of Sketches and see that on Sunday or Monday I could enter things in The Dolphin Christmas Show. Do I risk losing my momentum and stop to spend several days pricing and inventorying pieces to put on the big bird? Is all that work worth the less than $100. I would get? At least there is no up-front booth fee and I do not have to be a sales clerk for 4 - 8 hours. How valueless is my time? The Dolphin is the only place that keeps good records and pays promptly. However, sales are sometimes very low there. Even the back and forth in my writing echoes my mind. In order to do a good job on the "cloud" I need to use my best energy. Anyone have an I-ching coin?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

With Werner's help, the baskets of beads on my desk have all returned to the studio. I still have four of the front-close chunky necklaces to finish off and to photograph but my heart is not really in that job any more. I am thinking, and have begun to work on the piece for the Gualala Arts Center show in January called "Living on the Edge." Mine will be the edge of a cloud. I still have not gotten the title firmly in mind but all the materials have arrived and the deck is cleared!
Have started making the 'raindrops' already. At first I thought of making a pattern and then stringing them all alike. While trying out different designs I got the idea that raindrops are not really all the same and it would be a lot more fun to let myself redesign the strips of rain each time I made one.

I just photographed this one and I see that the beads do not hang straight! Back to the drawing board here. I can take variation but not wobbly raindrops.

Today I can decide if the living room floor is big enough to lay out the fabric or if I must take the car out of the garage, clean the floor and work out there. Sitting on carpeting is so much nicer than cold cement.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Here you can almost see a comparison of the snowflake with crystals or with just beads. In reality the crystals do a lot to 'organize' the impressions. I reduced the number of protrusions on the snowflake with crystals because I found the original looked too dense and busy. We will see what Vicki says on Friday.
In the meantime I have returned to the stars. It takes a long time for me to make 10 identical diagonal pieces but I love sewing the star together and seeing how the pressure on the sides changes the shape.
Just a quick reminder that you can vote for your favorite entry in the challenge "Totally Twisted" on Etsy by clicking here. Voting is open until November 15 so you have time to go and look over all the entries, to get new bead ideas and inspiration, and test your judging skills. Have fun!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I just realized I was so eager to show you the snowflakes, I forgot to let you see the several trees I did for a customer on Etsy. This woman in Maryland ordered my Christmas tree earrings and liked them so much she said she wanted five more pair. That is the second time a customer has been more pleased with the actual item than the photo!
So I spent the whole weekend making four new trees and redoing the one red tree from a Valentine's day ornament into Christmas tree. I hope she is happy with them. She wanted a purple tree so I changed the ball-adding scheme so there would be less of them and I really liked the look. The one at the top here is the former pattern.
Luckily the sun was shining yesterday and I was able to get these photos. In just the couple of weeks I have been using the set-up by the window, the angle of the light has changed so much I am going to have to rebuild it. The sun was only in the right position about 15 minutes because it angles in so low.

I finally got the tree earrings done for Paula, got them photographed and posted. Then I was able to get around to the goodies Vicki had sent with the Fire Mountain order. This was a beaded snowflake she had found at Pay N' Take. It was made on silver wire which had tarnished as had the silver linking of the white beads. I was able to replicate the design in seed beads instead of bugles. I was surprised how much changing the size of the beads changed the shape of the snowflake. When I turned off the light at midnight I was feeling there was something else I wanted to try. This morning, in the crystal light of dawn, I realized! Crystals! on the points. Or should I do one completely in Swarovski crystals? I have a bunch of the seed bead size but I doubt there are enough. I could maybe simplify the design. Hmmm. . .
Anyhow here I am supposed to be getting ready for Christmas and all I want to do is to make new designs.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Even though I have left and am boycotting Facebook, Facebook is still stuck with showing my stuff. Just found out that the entries in the "Totally Twisted" Challenge are now posted there.

Good news.

Also I showed Vicki my little peyote star and she loved it! Wants to learn how to do it. Last night I started a big one and am eager to see how that comes out. One two-sided leg of the star took all evening to make. Somehow twice as big seems a lot bigger.

I heard from one of my customers at Etsy and she loved the Christmas trees but wanted something less Christmassy and more of just winter so I scanned these earrings I had made for Valentine's day to see if she likes them. She also suggested trees decorated with purple. I am tempted to drop the stars and do whatever she wants or suggests. I am so thankful to have the input of others I will even go to making purple 'Christmas' trees. Maybe blue and white for Hanukkah? I could have yellow dots for lights!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

In the most recent Bead & Button magazine I saw an ad for a kit to make a star. I checked out the web site and when I saw the kit cost $90 my fingers moved more slowly over the keyboard. However, when I saw it was judged to be a very advanced (6 stars) peyote stitch I easily lost interest because the peyote stitch is the most difficult for me to do and to figure out. I was not paying $90. for a kit only Sue Hansen could bead!
When I returned to my bead tray I simply could not get the image of that star out of my mind. Recently I had ordered some Delicas, forgetting that they are so cylindrical, and needing rounded beads for the seastar I loved making so much. All these thoughts brought me back to the Christmas star in the ad. . .
On my first try at reproducing the real thing from the tiny photo, I was able to do it. Here it is. If you saw a photo of it you could see how dimensional it it. I love making this, though it takes over 5 hours, and will probably make many more for Christmas ornaments. The scan does not do it justice! If you want to see the kit, and its more extravegant embellishment you can see it here.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

In an effort to NOT think about scam scum buyer I had on Etsy, I am concentrating on the good news that CE Brown would welcome a work from me for her show "Living on the Edge" scheduled for January, 2012. I wanted to see how strings of crystals would pull and shape a soft cloth. I tried this in the studio aka living room with the cheapest gauze from Werner's supplies for polishing the car. I see it does what I want so I am off to Dharma Trading Company with the hope they still have the harem cloth I used for the big haiku book. It is gauzy but is much better woven and straight.

I see this piece as being the bottom edge of a cloud that demonstrates how rain drops pull and shape the cloud. CE's show gets the GAC Foyer so hopefully I can make it big and hang it high. Am debating how long to make the crystal drops and how many acrylic beads I will need for it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Well, the necklace won or at least got its way with me. I tried shortening the chain one, two and three links and it still gave off the same message of "Here I am and I am very proud of it!" I also tried three other ways of photographing it and nothing seemed to make any difference. I definitely got the feeling it knew better than I what it wanted to be.

So today I posted it on Etsy with a wobbly heart full of excitement. It is entered (I think!) in the November Etsy Beadweavers challenge. You can vote for your favorite Totally Twisted work between November 9th and 15th by following this link.