Monday, June 29, 2009
I know it's not even nine a.m. right now, but I've already edited and sent out my first newsletter for About.com, logged in to the forums and made a few posts, paid the phone bill, ordered my supplies and materials for kits for the Syracuse Gem & Mineral Show, ordered a few pendants from Beadin' Path for the Soft Flex Flex Your Creativity contest, ordered new light bulbs for my photo lights, and managed to stitch a few beads on my piece for Scarlett Lanson's Use the Muse II contest. So now I've got to pack up Colden and head up to Plattsburgh to do some grocery shopping (we are in dire need of dried cranberries and Cheerios!) before I settle down to do some more serious work this afternoon.
As July 11 draws closer, I am getting more and more nervous about the Syracuse Show. I'm so excited to be teaching there, and I think it's going to be a great time, but I am also worried about my sales. I seem to have lost my sales mojo at my farmers markets this year, although I'm hearing that from everyone at the markets. I'm hoping that I do well in sales at the Syracuse Show, not just because I need to pay the bills, but also because I still see sales as confirmation that my work is good. There's this little part of my brain that says, "If it won't sell, then it must be junk." Even though I know that that is not true. It always feels like personal rejection when I have low sales. It's like the customer isn't just rejecting my work, they're rejecting ME. At least I'm not the only one to feel like that - I've read alot on the Beading Daily Forums about other bead artists who feel the same way!
BUT, on a more positive note, even though we are coming up on the Fourth of July weekend, I have a new project to post on my blog, with a tutorial! (As soon as I figure out how to post a document on the blog, LOL!) It is for my necklace called "Lucia", and it was created entirely with beads that were supplied to me courtesy of Auntie's Beads.
I'm pretty happy with the way it came out, considering that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing when I started it!
So, stay tuned for the directions as a downloadable file.
Oh, my. I think Colden just dumped an entire can of breadcrumbs into Moose's water dish. So I think I had best be signing off for now!
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Getting ready to go live was sort of like an out-of-body experience for me. Learning how to write for the Web was a very eye-opening experience. I would spend hours in front of the computer, editing photos, and then uploading photos and text in a variety of different styles on a huge server.
Yesterday was crunch day. I had to "publish" the bulk of my work so that the training editor could turn my site over to the tech support people. I spent, literally, four or five hours in front of the computer, completely absorbed in sending information into cyberspace. And after I finished up, it felt a little weird to come back into the "real" world.
It wasn't like becoming completely absorbed in a piece of beadwork. Even when I lose myself in the little piles of sparkly things on my work table, I'm still vaguely conscious of my surroundings, and will very often converse with whoever is around - even on the phone. But writing and editing photos, for some reason, causes me to shut myself off so I can really concentrate. I will usually plug my earphones into the computer so I can listen to my iTunes while I work, and the outside world just...disappears!
At any rate, I will be sure to let everyone know when the site goes live! There are going to be lots of great tutorials on there, and lots of my original designs for my fellow beaders to create.
I am really excited about this new opportunity. I love the idea that I can take what I know and put it out there for other interested beaders to use. I have always loved teaching and sharing knowledge, and I think that that is extremely important among artists. I don't believe in keeping secrets when it comes to art and craft. So now I get to reach out to thousands of people who all love beads as much as I do!
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
So, if you are going to be in the Syracuse area during the weekend of July 11 and 12, contact the Syracuse Gem & Mineral Society for more information and registration. I believe that the cost of the class is going to be pretty reasonable - around $30 for the class. I will have two types of kits available for the class - one that includes everything needed to make the projects, including a gemstone cabochon, a matching strand of 4mm gemstone beads, Delica beads, seed beads, Stiff Stuff, ultrasuede, thread, needles, a clasp and stringing materials for $45; and another kit that includes just the Stiff Stuff, ultrasuede, thread and needles for $15. I will also have a great selection of my other kits available for purchase at the show. And my good friend Jen will be assisting me at my booth while I teach and do some demonstrations during the show. (Yes, her name is Jen, and no, I'm not developing a split personality, although some days I do need to be in three places at once!)
This past Sunday I did my first farmers' market at Marcy Field in Keene, N.Y. There was a Kite Festival as well that day, sponsored by the East Branch Friends of the Arts, a local non-profit arts group from Keene Valley. It was pretty crazy - when I arrived at 8:30 in the morning, it was raining pretty hard. I thought, how are they going to fly kites in this kind of weather?
But they did fly kites! The weather finally started to clear up around 2:30, after I was all packed and starting to head home.
This week, I will be doing three farmers markets in the area - I'll be at the Willsboro Farmers Market on Thursday the 25th of June from 9 am until 1 pm. This is a new market for the Adirondack Farmers Market Cooperative, and it is held at the little grassy parking area across from the Old Adirondack Factory.
Then I'll be at my regular markets in Elizabethtown on Friday the 26th from 9 am until 1 pm and at Marcy Field in Keene on Route 73 from 9:30 am until 2 pm.
And during the week, I'll be getting more inventory ready for the Syracuse Gem & Mineral Show as well as continuing to work for About.com! (The About.com site isn't live yet, but it should be before July 1!)
Right, so, when do I get to sleep?
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Tom built me a beautiful workstation.
We installed a ventilation hood and after we got the kiln, Tom built a table out of a leftover door. When I took up fusing, I set up my glass cutting system on the table next to the kiln. What I love about it the most is the beautiful view of the Jay Mountain Range that you can see out of the picture window!
(It's not the greatest picture, but you get the idea!)
So, now that I'm starting to gear up for the Syracuse Gem & Mineral Show, I am thinking about what kinds of inventory I want to bring to sell at the show. I think I am going to have a large selection of my handmade glass beads, probably a few bead pens and magnifying glasses, a large selection of kits and instructions/patterns, and a few finished pieces made with gemstone beads. I'm very excited about this show! It will be my largest show ever, and I think with the help I've received from Kathy and Ruby at the Northern Adirondack Trading Cooperative, I think it is going to be a great show for me.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
The closer we got to the weekend last week, the more the forecast called for rain and thunderstorms, which made the prospect of sitting at an outdoor art and craft festival for 8 hours a day less than appealing. However, on Saturday morning, it was clear and cool and beautiful, and by the time I was set up at the City Park in Glens Falls, the sun was shining and the sky was clear!
My new displays looked awesome in the sun! I had a great mix of pieces out for sale - everything from a $400 beadwoven choker based on a piece of African artwork to some simple fused glass pendants for $15. I did receive a lot of great feedback on my work - one woman, a seamstress who happened to stop at my booth, asked me what kind of machine I used to get my stitches so even on the backs of my bead embroidered pendants. She almost didn't believe me when I told her that I did it all by hand. I just happened to be working on a cabochon necklace and I showed her the technique that I used to create the pendants, and she was very impressed.
I knew that Claudia Chandler of "Completely Claudia", one of my fellow Adirondack Etsy Team-mates, was going to be at the show, so I stopped by her booth on Sunday and took a few pictures. (Which was good, she said, because she and her husband had forgotten the camera!)
Claudia had been looking at one of my handmade glass bead necklaces, so I traded with her. I picked out one of her gorgeous baskets (to be incorporated into my booth display this summer!) and two notecards for two special friends.
And then there were my wonderful "neighbors". One my right was Ray and Ruth Woodcraft from Connecticut. Ray did beautiful handmade wood products like lazy susans, cutting boards, coasters and decorative items. Ruth, his wife, did lovely jewelry made with crystals and gemstone beads, all knotted on silk!
On my left was Wilfred Charbonneau who did beautiful antler sculpture from natural antlers.
His daughter and I traded - a dichroic glass pendant for this pair of awesome antler moose earrings!
So, even though my sales weren't what I had hoped they would be, I still had a great time and made some new friends.
Up next this weekend: I will be at the Elizabethtown farmers market again this Friday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. And then on Sunday, my first day at the Keene farmers market on Route 73 at Marcy Airfield from 9:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. They are having a Kite Festival for Father's Day, so cross your fingers that the weather holds up!
Thursday, June 11, 2009
So, when I'm not obsessing over this piece, I am finishing up my new displays for the Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council's June Art and Craft Festival this weekend. Tom constructed the panels for me out of foam core and L-brackets. Last night after Colden went to bed, I covered them with a layer of thick bunting fabric, and then today I will finish covering them with a bright turquoise fabric. They will be attached to my table using c-clamps and alligator clamps, and the necklaces and bracelets will be pinned right to the foam core through the fabric. For earrings, I am going to tie either end of a piece of fishing line to two jewelry pins, add a drop of glue so that it doesn't slip, and then fasten the pins into the backside of the board. They'll also allow me to stick little notes about each one right on the board, and I think I will also add a few little accents to the table, like a vase with a few eucalyptus branches or some silk flowers.
My little man was "helping" me when I tried to cover the boards yesterday morning, so that's why I waited until he was asleep! He was so pleased with himself!
So that's all for now! I've got a million things to finish up today, so I need to get off the computer and get back to work!
Sunday, June 07, 2009
I think tomorrow is going to be a picture day. I removed some work from the Adirondack Art Association Gallery in Essex in preparation for the big show in Glens Falls this coming weekend, and tomorrow I am going to set up my lights and my light tent and take some good photos before I put them out for sale again. I also finished two or three new pieces that I need to photograph before I put them up for sale.
This is going to be another busy week! I've got my final preparations for my new displays to finish up (thanks to Tom!), a few more pieces of jewelry to finish, some photographs to take, some writing to do for About.com, and some freelance work I need to continue. I'm not sure if I'm going to go to the Elizabethtown market this weekend - I might be better off skipping it and staying at home, but on the other hand, it does give me some time to bead outside and a chance to socialize!
I know there was more that I wanted to write about here today, but it's too late, and I'm getting too tired. I think I need to go curl up in bed with Tom and Colden and Moose and see if we can keep warm tonight. (Gotta love the Adirondacks - it's going to be forty degrees and raining tonight, so it's not just chilly, it's DAMP and chilly!)
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
As for me, I spend my summers a little differently now!
Lately, I feel like there just isn't enough time in the day to do everything that needs to be done, nor do I have the energy to accomplish what I need to. I suppose that's just part of having a toddler. Not that I would trade Colden for anything, but the one thing I am looking forward to on my travels this summer is getting a full night of sleep!
Speaking of my travels, my first big teaching gig is coming up in July! I know, it seems far away now, but yesterday I realized that it's already JUNE!
My first big teaching gig this summer is going to be at the Syracuse Gem & Mineral Show at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. I don't think they've ever held classes at this show before, so I'm honored that they asked me to teach there this year. I decided that, since it is a gem and mineral show, to teach a 3-hour class in bezeling and bead embroidery using gemstone cabochons. It won't be a very intricate project, but it will give the basics for how to bezel a cabochon using peyote stitch and how to create a lovely little ring of accent beads around it. I will have a supply list for students who sign up early for the class so that anyone who wants to can bring their own materials. Or, as usual, I will have complete kits available for students who want to purchase all the materials from me on the day of the class. I should have several different gemstones available in several different shapes. The kits will also include thread, needles, backing for the cabochon, a piece of Ultrasuede or Sensuede and coordinating seed beads. For more information about the show, you can check out the website of the Gem & Mineral Society of Syracuse. The class will be held on the morning of Sunday, July 12, 2009 from 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. There are only 10 spaces available for the entire class, so if you are interested, contact the Gem & Mineral Society and sign up quickly!
I am also feverishly continuing my preparations for the Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council Spring Craft Show on June 13th and 14th in Glens Falls. I'm very excited to be participating in this year's spring show, and I hope to be able to participate in the fall show as well. I have designed (in my head and in my sketchbook, at least!) a new set of displays that I want to have finished this weekend. I am also working on some new bead embroidered pendants, bracelets and earrings that will be for sale at the show. Here is a sneak peak of one of the pendants:
I stayed up waaaaay too late last night working on it. I finished the embroidery today, and then also finished the onyx cabochon that will hang from the bottom of the pendant. Tomorrow, I hope to add the fringe and then I also hope that some inspiration comes and wacks me over the head for a cool strap to go with this piece! I really do love it - I may have to make a custom toggle for it, now that I think about it.
And then, in the middle of everything, Tom showed me this picture the other night:
We have a catbird nest in the blackberry bushes outside the garage! Tom said that when he went back to look again yesterday evening, there was a fourth egg in the nest. How beautiful! I'll have to check back with photos when the babies hatch!
So, it's after ten o clock, so I think I am going to turn in for the night. Lots to do again tomorrow, and I need to get whatever sleep I can!
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Now that all of our friends have kids, we've been going to a lot of first birthday parties lately. It's a lot of fun - we love seeing Colden play with other kids, and I like talking to other moms.
Yesterday, we drove down to Dolgeville for Cody's first birthday party! Cody is the little boy of our friends Amy and Andy, and the last time we saw him was at Tom's surprise birthday party last July when Cody was only about seven weeks old. He was so tiny! Yesterday, he was walking around and giggling and mixing it up with the dogs. Tom and Amy tried to get Colden and Cody to play together, but they were't having any of it with each other. Too cute!
Colden was great in the car. It was a long ride from Jay - almost four hours. Colden didn't start to fuss until about the last half hour of the ride when he just wanted to get the heck out of that car seat. I can't blame him - I get antsy when I sit too long, too. I finally appeased him for the last leg of the journey by giving him a box of Kleenex and just letting him take out tissue after tissue after tissue. It was actually kinda cute - he kept wiping his nose with his finger like he was trying to use the tissue but couldn't figure out how to get it up to his face.
At the party, Andy brought out Cody's little "four wheeler", and Colden loved it. There were little buttons on it that made noise and Colden loved climbing on and off of it. I think we're going to have to get one for him now!
We left after the cake, since we had a long drive ahead of us, and I was sure that Colden was starting to get worn out. Sure enough, we were no sooner at the end of their driveway when I turned around to look at Colden and he was completely conked out. Note the pile of Kleenex on the seat next to him!
So today Tom was going to plant the tomato, eggplant and pepper seedlings in the gardens, but there is a frost warning for tonight with temperatures supposed to be in the twenties, so no seedlings today. He might cut the grass later, but the sky is full of low, black clouds, so that might not work, either.
Whatever happens, after he gets done in the garage, he has promised me as much time as I want at the torch today. Yay! So I hope to have some new glass beads done today. I've been thinking that I am going to make some pendant and earring sets - one big focal for a pendant and two smaller, matching beads for earrings. I've got a lot of work to do before my big show in Glens Falls on the 13th and 14th of June!
Thursday, May 28, 2009
After I finished that two-week program, I was notified that I had been accepted into the second part of the training program where I would publish my content to a "dummy" site set up for me. That, I have to admit, was a little harder. I had two tutorials - one for a bracelet and one for square stitch - and they had lots of photos to upload. There was a batch upload tool, but it didn't work for the training process, so I had to upload each photo one at a time. I did most of the uploading late at night after Colden and Tom were asleep. And I thought the content that I wrote looked pretty good on the website. Still, there was that part of me that kept thinking that the job was going to go to someone else. At least, I told myself, I would have lots of great posts for my own blog if I didn't get the job!
But then after I submitted everything and got the kinks worked out (which there always are when publishing to the web), I got the notification that I had been hired as the new About.com Guide to Beadwork!
I am so excited to be the new Guide! I have so many ideas for projects and tutorials for stitches that I love. I have a million projects that have been sitting in my sketchbook for such a long time now, and now I get to bring them to life to share on About.com. I really want to make the site accessible to both beginner as well as more advanced beaders. I also want to have a lively forum going on there where people can post about the projects, the products or anything they have on their minds that is bead-related.
The site isn't live yet - I've been working on creating some new content and getting it on the site. I'll get the first set of instructions from my editors either tomorrow or early next week, so I'll be sure to let everyone know when the site goes live!
My show season continues this week and next week on Fridays at the Adirondack Farmers Market in Elizabethtown. Then on June 13 and 14, I will be showing at the Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council's Spring Craft Festival in Glens Falls. You can find more information about the show and get directions on the website for the Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council. This is the first time I have done one of their craft festivals, and I'm really looking forward to it!
Other things I want to mention:
Scarlett Lanson of Beadwork magazine has launched her second design competition, Use the Muse II! I participated in the first contest and had a great time - I'm looking forward to ordering my kit for her second contest. I don't know if I'll actually submit something this time, but the kit for the first contest was loaded with gorgeous beads, and it was a fun challenge to use the Muse component. You can find more information by checking out Scarlett's blog, "The Beader's Muse".
And on a more musical note (get it - musical note?), my little folk band, Sounds of the Northway, has received a second grant from the Open Meadows Foundation to help us with our newest recording project. We are compiling a repetoire of songs all about women's history. These are songs that we have been singing for years, and it is our plan to distribute the CD to local schools and do a series of live performances to promote the disc. We'll probably be going back into the studio in August or September to start recording. We'll be using Charless Eller Studios of Charlotte, Vermont again - they were the studio we used when we recorded our 2006 CD "Water, Women and Song". You can see more about the group on our website (which I really need to update!), Soundsofthenorthway.com.
I think that's long enough for today's blog post!
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
This is a picture of Lake Champlain, taken from the deck of the gallery. It was a beautiful night. We didn't stay too long, because we needed to get Colden before bedtime, but it was a nice night for a drive, and Tom got to meet all the folks that I've been talking about since last summer.
On Saturday, Colden and I went into Lake Placid with Tom and Colden and I went for a walk around Mirror Lake while Tom worked at the plant. Sunday was a nice, laid-back day, too - we did some work in the gardens and made preparations for dinner on Monday with Tom's parents.
Monday was great. In the morning, I put a load of glass in the kiln and did something a little different. I had this bag of millefiore that I got from Delphi Glass back in March for the class I taught at North Country School. The kids had a great time with them, but they didn't use them up, and I had no idea what to do with them, until I decided to just throw some on a piece of glass, fuse them, and see what happened! The results were quite nice, I think. I made nine pendants, and one pendant and earring set that I think I am going to keep for myself unless someone offers me mad money for it! Ha ha ha! Oh, and I forgot to mention that these will be for sale shortly on my Etsy shop and at my farmers' markets. If they sell quickly, I may have to get more millefiore or learn to make them myself.
Then on Monday afternoon, we went over to Tom's parents' house and hung out for the afternoon. Tom and his dad put a swing up in the backyard for Colden. It's one of those plastic bucket seats, and his dad got it from (where else?) the thrift shop in Wilmington. We put Colden in there in his little sun hat, and pushed him around for a while, and he just loved it! It was so cute! He loved it so much that we brought the swing home, and Tom is going to put an extra beam on the pole barn so that we can hook the swing up here for Colden. Once we managed to coax him out of the swing, he tore around the living room, trying out his newfound climbing skills on whatever was standing still - including me, Tom and Opa! What a cutie pie...
I sold two beading kits over the weekend on my Etsy shop, which was a nice surprise. I have to ship them out this afternoon on my way to rehearsal with the ladies in Willsboro. I also have to remember to take the books and movies back to the library and return the Netflix. And I wonder why I can't remember things lately.
Anyway, I've got a wonderful announcement to make later on. Hope I can do it today, but if not, definitely tomorrow. Stay tuned!
Thursday, May 21, 2009
For the AAA gallery, I made three more pairs of Swarovski crystal earrings in crystal AB, blue zircon, and my favorite, padpradascha.
I also created this beautiful embroidered pendant with a custom-stitched toggle clasp made from a yellow turquoise (which is actually a form of the stone serpentine with a matrix of hematite) cabochon and various yellow turquoise beads. It was so much fun to make - it kind of made itself! I named it "Not of This Earth" because it just looks so alien to me.
I am also going to display this red and gold bead embroidered piece that I call "Sangreal" for "royal blood" because it looks to me like a beautiful piece that ancient royalty would have worn. The straps were fun to come up with - for inspiration, I went to one of my favorite books, "Beaded Cords, Straps and Fringe" published by Interweave Press. I was looking at the satin beaded cord, and got the idea to make peyote stitched sliders embellished with red Czech glass drops for the bottom. I also had the idea to make a series of satin necklaces using the same technique - I'll post those and directions for them when they are finished.
Oh, and one more piece that is still in production. This one has kind of a funny story to it. I had this wonderful idea for a piece using Swarovski crystal frames and tiny 12mm Rivolis. I went ahead and bezeled 25 tiny little Rivolis and ordered the crystal frames. When I tried to assemble it the way I had envisioned it, nothing worked. I finally said to heck with it, and tried to figure out what to do with 25 tiny little bezeled Rivolis! So here is one idea that is working quite nicely. Not my usual thing, the Swarovskis, but I kinda like it. If I finish it, I have a beautiful pink taffeta blouse that it will go with very nicely at the opening tomorrow night. And I had an idea on how to use the crystal frames, but that's a post for another day.
I'll be at the Elizabethtown farmers' market again tomorrow morning from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. selling my handmade jewelry. It's Memorial Day weekend, so it should be a busy market. I am really looking forward to seeing all my farmers' market friends, including the woman who sells locally produced fruit wines. My favorite is a green apple Riesling that goes down way too easy - I just might have to buy a bottle for this weekend and next weekend when we are going down to Dolgeville to help our friends celebrate their son's first birthday!
Saturday, May 16, 2009
At any rate, I wish I had taken some pictures. It was a great time. I saw a few of the nice folks from last season in Elizabethtown. Maple syrup, beautiful hand-turned wood bowls, lots and lots of flowers and baked goods were all for sale. It was, admittedly, a slow start to the day. One of the vendors quipped, "Why did we set up today?" But it turned into a busy morning a little later on, after the sun came out and people realized that the markets were open.
Next weekend will be a busy one for me. I will be back at Elizabethtown on Friday morning, and then Friday evening I will be attending the grand opening of the new Adirondack Art Association Gallery on Main Street in Essex, where some of my work will be on display along with that of lots of other talented North Country artists. I can't wait to see - they have moved into the old Firehouse gallery on Main Street this year, and the building is gorgeous. Beautiful, open, light interior with a lovely deck overlooking Lake Champlain and - best of all - an apartment on the second floor where artists (like me!) will be holding workshops all summer! I can't wait for Tom to see it, too. It's just such a gorgeous space, the Art Association really did well to rent it for the '09 season.
So, with that, I will be signing off for now. Colden is fast asleep next to me in bed here, and I have a little more writing and figuring out to do before I can try to get some sleep. Lots of exciting things to write about in the next few days, and some project instructions are coming, too!
Thursday, May 14, 2009
This seller, Right as Rain Creations, is a fellow Etsy mom! I came across RARC when we were chatting in a "Springtime Babies" thread on the Etsy Forums. She makes great bath and body products, many of which I have listed on my Favorites on Etsy. (And one of these days when I have a little extra cash, I am going to treat myself to some of her milk baths!) So, without further ado, here is the interview with Right as Rain Creations on Etsy!
1. What is the name of your shop and what items do you sell?
My shop name is Right As Rain Creations and I sell handmade bath and body products, which I make from scratch!
2. How did you get started in your craft?
My husband is an artist and photographer, and we did the craft fair circuit for a few years when we were first married. I noticed that items under $10 sold best so I looked around to see what wasn't represented. I saw lots of soap sellers, but no lotion sellers and since I am very particular about lotion, I thought I'd try my hand at making my own! After considerable research and messing around with a recipe, I had perfected it by the next holiday season and was ready to sell! By the following holiday season, I was online and started adding many more products.
3. Where are you located?
I am in beautiful
4. Do you have a day job or is your craft your primary source of income? If
you do have a day job, what is it?
In addition to running my business, I am an at-home mom to two little boys and a baby girl!
5. What is your favorite part of your craft?
I'd say my very favorite moment is when I am stirring a fresh batch of lotion and it turns creamy. It is tough to describe, but beautiful to watch!
6. What is your least favorite part of your craft?
Cleaning up afterward, hands down! :)
7. Do you listen to music or watch t.v. while you work? What do you like to have
on in the background?
Personally I prefer music, but since I usually work after the kids are in bed, my background sounds tend to be whatever my husband is watching on the DVD player (we don't have television channels).
8. Given all the bad news circulating about the state of the economy lately, how
do you see handmade items fitting in? Are they more or less important?
My hope is that as the economy turns down (hopefully only temporarily!) that people will see the value in handmade. Sometimes spending more is the economically best choice if you are getting a quality product that will last much longer than the commercial alternative.
9. What inspires you? What motivates you to create?
I am inspired by the endless possibilities of products and scents out there! I am motivated by my kids, as my income is our fun money! :)
10. What are your favorite materials to work with? If you are a visual artist,
what colors inspire you? If you are another type of artist, are there any
scents/sights/sounds that inform your work?
My favorite thing to make out of my product line is my lotion - it was my beginning, after all! I love discovering new scents. I have to rein myself in, because time-wise I can only offer so many choices and I only have so much room in my cupboard, but I still find that every time I run to my local supply shop, I come home with a new scent, whether I need it or not!
11. What is your favorite season and why?
I am a total and complete autumn girl! I love the turning colors, the crisp air, and the crunch of leaves beneath my feet.
12. And because I’m such a foodie, if you could have anything you wanted fordinner, cooked to perfection, exactly the way you like it, what would it be?
Oh, crab and brie bisque for starters and a medium steak with melted bleu cheese on top and a buttery twice-baked potato on the side! I gained at least three pounds just typing that, lol!
So make sure you take a gander at her shop, which can be found by clicking this link:
Right as Rain Creations on Etsy
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
I've been trying to work on a new series of bead embroidered pendants, and this one with the red stone is so not like anything I've ever done before. I had originally thought of doing red and black, but after doing the coloring exercises from Margie, I decided to use a beautiful, bright, light gold to contrast with the red, and I threw in a little bit of bright, sparkling pink. The cabochon in the center is a piece of Malyasia "Jade" that I've had in my stash for a while now. It just seemed to work so well on the shape of the brass form from Diane Hyde. I'm going to try to finish stitching the other half of the piece tonight so that I can back it and start fringing it. Here's a shot with the palette of beads that I chose to use for this piece.
As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, I am in the middle of doing some one-on-one color work with Margie Deeb. So far, it has been a fantastic experience, and has been as much fun as it has been enlightening! The coloring exercises she has given me are so much fun - it's like I'm five years old with my crayons all over again! Margie does some incredible work, and I am thrilled that I have been able to get her feedback on my work and my use of color. Her website is MargieDeeb.com, and you can find lots of great information there. Her Podcasts are great, and her books are even better!
I have to apologize for the delay in getting that project up here that I promised in my last blog post. I have been working on something sort-of-top-secret (which is, I suppose, like being a little bit pregnant) and I've been directing more time to it than I thought I would. But if it all works out, I might have something very exciting to post here in a couple of weeks.
I hope everyone is enjoying the weather in their part of the world. It is beautiful here today - a little bit sunny, getting warm, and all the green buds are out on the trees! Hooray!
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Anyway, I think I mentioned before that I am now involved with a program thought Artbeads.com that they call "Blogging for Beads". They send me great new products to test, and I blog about them! I think it's a pretty cool deal. I received my first package of beads from them a little over a week ago, and finally had a chance to sit down with them this past weekend.
These little beauties are made by Toho. They are called hybrid beads, because after the glass seed bead was made by Toho, they were sent to the Czech Republic where traditional bead finishes were applied. The colors I recieved were stunning! Everything from a marbled hematite to a gorgeous transparent pink and gold luster. I came up with the perfect project for them, which I am finishing up after I finish this blog post, and I will post the directions and the supply list later. They really are incredibly consistent in size and color. I think I'm going to have to order a larger quantity of one color, as it's going to work out perfectly for another larger-scale project I have going on right now.
They are incredible for beadweaving. I used them to make a sample for another project I'm working on right now, and they click together almost as nicely as the Toho cylinder beads, but because they are slightly rounder, they give the work a more organic feel. And those colors - wow! The finishes are just beautiful.
Once I complete the project later this weekend, I'll make sure I post full directions and a printer-friendly file for you to download and share.
Tom is in the kitchen making dinner for us tonight. We're having Breakfast For Dinner - omelet made with our fresh eggs, Tom's killer homemade pancakes, oven-fried potatoes, and of course, our homemade maple syrup!
Thursday, April 23, 2009
This spring, we did a few things to celebrate the changing of the seasons. First, I went up to the local tractor supply store and bought a dozen new baby chicks to supplement our flock of ten laying hens. We love the fresh eggs, and Colden loves watched the chickens! These little sweeties were adorable, all fluffed out - by now, they're almost ready to go outside during the day, as soon as the temperatures warm up a bit more.
Tom tried something new this year, too - his father brought home a little plastic bag full of metal cones. When Tom looked at them, he realized that they were taps for trees to get sap. So he went out to the little strip of forest at the very back of our property and tapped the trees to get sap to make maple syrup. It was quite an adventure - lugging back big, heavy pails and jugs full of sap, and then boiling it all down. Tom decided the best place to do most of the boiling was out in the garage, and he set up a little station with our portable grill that just happens to have a gas burner on it.
First, he filtered it to strain out any stray bugs or other nasties, and then it went into the large metal pot you see steaming in the picture. After he boiled it down to a fairly low level in the pot, he brought it into the house and did a final slow simmer on the stove until the syrup was thick and dark. It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup, and I think we ended up with about a gallon and a half of syrup, including the bottles we gave away.
The forecast for tomorrow is going to be warm, in the 70s, and reaching 80 on Saturday! I am excited about the prospect of being able to open all the windows in the house again, but at the same time, I don't want it to get any warmer than that. I am a cold-weather creature, for sure!
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
I got this idea to make a series of beadwoven Jewish wedding rings from one of my favorite books, "Ancient and Folk Jewelry". It's more like a scholarly compilation of photographs of jewelry from all around the world dating back to ancient times, and it's got some incredible stuff in there. There was an entire page of Jewish wedding rings from the 13th - 15th centuries, and I just thought how beautiful they would look stitched up in tiny size 15 seed beads. So, I finally ordered some size 15 seed beads a few months ago, and then sat down to make the rings.
The first ring came out beautifully! I made it from gold-plated size 15 seed beads, and it fits the ring finger on my right hand perfectly. I wore it around to test it out to make sure it was durable, and got lots of compliments. My husband, who is not fond of large, bold jewelry, told me it looked like a "Wonder Woman" ring. I took that as a compliment! So I embarked on the more ambitious sculptural ring with a tiny structure that was supposed to be the Temple at Jerusalem, true to the original ring which was made in Italy sometime in the 14th century.
Well. I made all the sides and walls and roof for the temple. Then I found that because I had used Nymo D from a big cone that it filled up the tiny beads too quickly and I couldn't get the needle through to attach all the parts! So I remade all the parts using size B thread and managed to get the four walls attached to the base. I stitched the parts for the roof, and then stitched the embellishment around the walls on the base. Well, after I finished embellishing the base, I realized that there was once again too much thread in the bead holes and I couldn't get the needle through to attach the base to the ring band!
At that point, I decided to throw in the towel and embellish the band that I had already made as a simpler version of the first ring. I was feeling tired and frustrated, and I didn't really want to tear everything out and start all over. The other problem that I had was that when I used the Nymo B to make the walls and roof of the temple, the pieces were very flimsy, even after they were full of thread. So I'm going to have to let it sit for now in my UFO drawer, and I'll pull it out when I need something to work on at the farmers' markets and craft shows this summer.
For now, here are the two rings that I did manage to complete successfully:
I am also trying to find a better way to work, again. I moved my operations from the dining room table a few months ago in an effort to make sure we had a place to eat dinner. But the little table that I got at Target doesn't always work well. For starters, it's small. It gets crowded very easily, and I find that I am afraid of moving things around in case something critical gets knocked off, like a glass of water or juice! (Or wine!) It's also not very sturdy, and when Colden is crawling around and being a generally curious little kid, he can easily pull my piece of Velux right down onto the floor, spilling everything on the pad and knocking down the entire table. So my next brainstorm is to get a lap tray or a lap desk and glue a piece of Velux to it. I'd like to find one that has little walls around it so that if it does get bumped around, the worst that will happen is my beads will get mixed up and I won't be crawling around on the floor looking for that last 3mm bicone that I need to finish the project! I'm hoping I can sweet talk Tom into making something for me - he's really great with stuff like that, and he'd rather make something for me instead of having me buy it from someone else!
This is what my dining room table looked like last night after putting in several hours of beading. Luckily, it was just me and Colden at dinner - Tom was outside taking the snow tires off the cars.
So, I'm off to rehearsal with the ladies this afternoon with Colden, and then I actually have to COOK something for dinner tonight! After living off leftovers for a week, we finally ran out last night! But I whipped up a quick dinner of hummus, veggie sticks, and Mediterranean rice.
Waiting for the nice weather this weekend - they are predicting sunny and 70s, so I am hoping we can get out to the park for a few rounds on the swings and I can get some exercise in, too!
Monday, April 20, 2009
Our first seller, FunnyPeopleCo, creates funky, cool jewelry and accessories. She's also including a free surprise gift with every order she receives in April, so you still have a few days left to take advantage of that offer! Here is my interview with FunnyPeopleCo:
My Shop name's FunnyPeopleCo and I sell fashion accessories for teens and 20 somethings.
2. How did you get started in your art/craft?
Since forever, always loved designing clothes and accessories; I started fashion school a few months ago.
3. Where are you located?
I'm located in
4. Do you have a day job or is your art/craft your primary source of income? If you do have a day job, what is it?
I have a day job, I'm a math tutor at a tutoring center.
5. What is your favorite part of your art/craft?
The creativity and freedom to make something and have people love it well enough to wear it!
6. What is your least favorite part of your art/craft?
7. Do you listen to music or watch t.v. while you work? What do you like to have on in the background?
Usually, I'm listening to music, jazz or eurodance (don't know why eurodance but it makes me really hype and more creative).
8. Given all the bad news circulating about the state of the economy lately, how do you see handmade items fitting in? Are they more or less important?
I believe there will always be room for handmade since it's unique and people like to feel that way, that they have something precious that no one else does.
9. What inspires you? What motivates you to create?
Anything! Sometimes just looking at the sky I get hit with ideas.
10. What are your favorite materials to work with? If you are a visual artist, what colors inspire you? If you are another type of artist, are there any scents/sights/sounds that inform your work?
I love pastels, pinks, light greens, purple, colors that you may find in a teens' room (and mine btw).
11. What is your favorite season and why?
I love winter, the cold, the colors, views, scents, tastes everything about it.
12. And because I’m such a foodie, if you could have anything you wanted for dinner, cooked to perfection, exactly the way you like it, what would it be?
Plain ol' mac & cheese with bacon bits, mashed potatoes and butter and corn!
Please take a minute to visit her shop at http://www.funnypeopleco.etsy.com and check out her beautiful work. Fun stuff!
Sunday, April 19, 2009
So earlier this week, I called our local library and asked if they could get me a copy of The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers. I know there are lots of people who swear that they just let their kids cry it out and it worked in no time, but I am not one of those people who can let my kid cry like that. I just can't. To me, it just seems cruel, and I am not one who is into cruelty. It's one thing to let him cry and fuss a little while Tom or I are holding him or rocking him or trying to soothe him - it's quite another to toss him in the crib, turn out the lights, and let him cry himself to exhaustion. I just can't bring myself to do that to my kid.
I started reading the book after I picked it up from the library on Saturday, all the while thinking to myself, man, this is a looooooooong book, when am I going to have time to read it? But I did find that they had a chapter all about what to do when your little nursling just wants to nurse every time they wake up, all night long (a big problem for us!) and how to create a more relaxing bedtime routine. Starting tonight, we are changing our bedtime routine, just a little bit each night, to reach the ultimate goal: to get Colden to go to sleep on his own, and for him to be able to get himself back to sleep if he does wake up in the middle of the night.
My mother in law said to me that at least I'm not alone, if there are enough folks in the world who have problems getting their kids to sleep so that someone has to write a book about it! That does make me feel a little better, that at least I'm not all alone in this, even though it certainly feels like it.
I have to admit, I am really starting to feel the sleep deprivation these days. I am incredibly cranky when I am trying to get things done because I always feel like I can't stay on top of things, I don't feel like I can concentrate on anything very well for any length of time (hence the reason I have torn out the sculptural part of the beaded wedding ring six times this week), I find myself reliving everything I have ever done wrong or ever messed up in my life and beating myself up for it, and I am starting to feel like I can't do anything right anymore. I really think that all this negativity is because I haven't had a decent night's sleep in over a year - the longest stretch we've gone since last spring is four hours. And that's just not enough. And it's not like I can take a little nap in the middle of the day anymore - now that I'm back rehearsing with my group, trying to start the Etsy Team, the ArtFire Beadweavers' Guild, and trying to work with the marketing consultant and doing color studies with Margie Deeb (which is a whole lot of fun, by the way!), not to mention running after Colden and trying to make items for sale on my Etsy and ArtFire shops and getting ready for my show season in less than a month, I just can't stop to take a nap every day, or I'll never get anything done.
So, I've written up my new sleep plan with my goals. The ultimate goal is to get my kid to sleep for at least ten hours on his own at night. The author says it takes time - around 30 days - to really see results, but I can handle another 30 days of this if I know that the ultimate reward will be the first good night's sleep that I've had in over a year.
Okay. Now that I've vented about my sleep deprivation woes, I can move on, right?
This week, I am going to start the feature that I promised I was going to start a long time ago - and that's featuring other sellers from Etsy and ArtFire on my blog! I have a few to start with, and anyone who reads this who sells their work on Etsy or ArtFire should contact me or leave a comment on my blog if they want to be featured in the future!
I read on Marcia DeCoster's blog that she has Swarovski crystal ear bud headphones... Where the heck do I get a pair of THOSE?!
Thursday, April 16, 2009
We had a great range of people at the table - there was one woman from Croghan, out near Canton (which is the only major town that I can think of near there), a couple of folks from Plattsburgh, and me from Jay. We met at the Great Adirondack Soup Company on Oak Street in Plattsburgh, which has always been one of my favorite places for soup and a sandwich, but sadly, I haven't eaten there in YEARS because I'm never in Plattsburgh at lunchtime anymore!
At any rate, we met and talked for about two and a half hours, and I came away with a bunch of typed notes that still won't make any sense until I re-write them out, and a whole lot of ideas for the group. I was amazed and pleased that there are so many talented people in such a variety of mediums - mixed media art, fabric art, spinning, dyeing, basketry, jewelry, crocheting and knitting, and of course, traditional Adirondack rustic-style furniture. Someone pointed out that it was great to see so many working artists who didn't necessarily create what is considered "traditional" Adirondack art.
So now, among the other things that I need to get going, I will be writing up the notes and compiling a list of shows and internet resources for the artists in our group. I'm hoping to somehow get the Northern Adirondack Trading Cooperative involved, because a lot of us want to participate in more online marketing classes and maybe a marketing idea exchange. (Oh, that's a good one!)
The other thing that's very exciting for me is that I am going to be participating in Artbeads.com's "Blogging for Beads" program. I will be getting beads from them, using them to create projects, and then posting reviews of the products here on my blog. I got a notification that my first shipment has been sent, so I'm looking forward to receiving it so I can share! Give me any excuse to play with beads and then write about them, and I will.
And today is a perfectly beautiful day here in the Adirondacks. It is sixty degrees out right now, sunny and clear, and it finally feels like spring! Colden and I went to Plattsburgh this morning because we were almost out of diapers, and on the way home as I was driving down I-87, I could see clear into Vermont across Lake Champlain. I would have taken a photo with my camera, but ya know, I thought it would be better if I kept both hands on the wheel with the baby in the car!
So for this afternoon, more beading and then writing up my notes from the ADK Etsy Team. Anyone who is interested in the team can see our Yahoo Group by clicking on the link.
Hope everyone is having a great Thursday - it's almost the weekend, yay!
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Last night, I spoke to the organizer of the Syracuse Gem & Mineral Show, and I am honored and flattered to be teaching there this summer. This is a brand new thing for the folks that organize the show - they have never offered classes, workshops or lectures before! So I'm very excited that I will be teaching a half-day workshop on Sunday, July 12 from 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. You can find more information about the Syracuse Gem & Mineral Show on their website. The show will be held at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse - directions and information can be found on the Syracuse Gem & Mineral Society's website. I'll also have two cases full of my work for sale at the show!
I don't know what I'm going to be teaching yet, but since it's a short class, I am leaning towards either my Easy Elegance right angle weave earrings or Tallulah's Pearls - they can both be taught in a relatively short amount of time. Or, I might do a short class on capturing a cabochon with peyote stitch. I'm open to suggestions!
The other venue where I'll be teaching, and I'm also very excited about this one, is at Interweave's BeadFest Philadelphia! I am teaching two classes there - Tallulah's Pearls (pictured above) and my Byzantine Neckpiece. (I have to apologize for the small thumbnail - I don't know what happened to my full-size photo of the piece!) But you can see photos of the pieces on the BeadFest Philadelphia website. The dates for BeadFest are August 21-23. Tallulah's Pearls (also called the Venus Necklace) will be taught on Saturday, August 22 from 5 - 8 p.m. The Byzantine Neckpiece will be taught on Sunday, August 23 from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Classes fill up quickly, so if you are interested, sign up soon! I am already picking out what classes I want to take at BeadFest, and I think I've settled on a lampworking class and a bead stitching class. I haven't been able to attend BeadFest since 2003, so I'm really looking forward to it this year!
Tonight, I am hosting the first meeting of the Adirondack Etsy Team that I am putting together. There are so many of us who make such a variety of beautiful things, and the closest Team I could find on Etsy was for Central New York! Not quite what I had in mind, so I'm starting my own. I think there will be about eight of us there tonight at the Great Adirondack Soup Company on Oak Street in Plattsburgh. But that's another post for tomorrow! Like I said, lots going on that I want to write about!
On that note, I am off to do everything else I need to do today. Colden and I have to go to the store and buy some milk and bread for lunch, go to the library and the post office, and get him to take a nap! And then I need to finish up some freelance work I'm doing, keep beading on those wedding rings, get together my new submissions for Beadwork and Step By Step Beads, and finish putting my music into iTunes on my new laptop. It's only taken me two months to get the music transferred onto my new laptop. When I tried to backup all 15 GB of music on my iTunes, it told me that it would take 21 blank cds. I decided not to go that route and to just copy what I could onto my thumb drives and then just import the rest of them all over again. So far, I've got 262 albums in there, and I'm about half done. Just a few more to go!
Saturday, April 11, 2009
But this morning, I FINALLY finished cleaning out the closet in Colden's room that I've been meaning to clean out for like two years now. I took six bags of clothing to the thrift shop, and I cleaned the living room and the kitchen. Tom has Colden in the backpack, fast asleep, and is doing the floors as I put my feet up for a few minutes before I go start lunch for us.
We're hoping the chickens give us a few more eggs before we start hard-boiling them this afternoon for decorating at Tom's parents' house tomorrow afternoon. We thought they might like to watch their grandson color eggs, even if Mommy and Daddy are doing most of it! Last year, we postponed Easter by a week because I was sick in bed with mastitis and was just so exhausted that I could barely move. We decorated eggs the week after Easter, and then had our big Easter feast with his folks that same weekend. Colden, as I recall, sat in his baby swing and watched us color eggs until he had one of his infamous ass-plosions that required a hosing off in the bathtub! Aaah, those were the days.
Anyway, I finally got to watch the end of "Marley and Me" this morning while Tom was out trying to scare up a few colonies of bees for us for this summer. It was totally something I could relate to - even if I don't quite look like Jennifer Aniston and I'm not exactly married to Owen Wilson. Ha! But the whole thing just really rang true to me - the early days of being a parent, forming an attachment to your pooch, trying to figure out what you want out of life - those themes are universal. And they portrayed them so well. I swear my husband and I have had those same arguments that John and Jen had in the movie, verbatim. I wish I could get Tom to watch it, but he doesn't want to see the end.
Since I'm not going to be doing much else this weekend, I'll just post a picture of the piece that Beadwork wants to publish in their Feb/March 2010 issue. I call it "Ode to a Grecian Urn", but I don't know what they will rename it for publication! So, here's hoping that everyone has a wonderful Passover and Easter weekend!
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
It feels like I just woke up, but as I write this, it's almost 9:45 p.m.
We woke up at a reasonable time this morning - around 7 a.m. - and we went and had some breakfast while I checked my email and Colden practiced walking around the kitchen like Frankenstein with his arms high above his head. I called the Tractor Supply store in Plattsburgh to find out if the baby chickens had arrived, and they had! So my next call was to Sandy (at 8 a.m., I was hoping that I didn't wake her up!) to see what time they wanted to come give me and Colden a ride to Plattsburgh.
We bought a dozen baby chicks - so sweet! They had three aluminum tubs full of baby chicks, all under heat lamps. You could hear them as soon as you walked in the store. I also picked up a 50-lb bag of chick mash, which we probably won't finish, but it was either a 5-lb bag or a 50, so I went with the 50!
When we got home, Tom's dad, thankfully, hung out with Colden while I went out to the chicken coop and got the babies settled in the brooder that Tom had made for them. It was frustrating trying to keep the temperature at the right level - it was 102 under the light when I got in there, but as soon as I lifted it up even a fraction of an inch, the temperature dropped down to 80! In the end, we decided that it would be better if we left the temperature warmer right under the heat lamp, since there was plenty of room for the babies to walk away and cool off, and if they did get too cold, they could always huddle underneath the heat lamp for a while.
So, after I lugged up the 50-lb bag of chicken feed and finished with the new babies, I came inside and gave Colden a snack, caught up on my email, and then got Colden some lunch. I wasn't terribly hungry (still tasting the garlic knots from last night's dinner!), so I kept working on editing my photos while Colden ate and fed Moose.
After lunch, I continued working on re-sizing my photos. There has got to be a better way to re-size 260 photos without having to do each one individually!
When Colden finally conked out for his nap around 3:00 p.m., I picked up my latest beading project and kept working on it. I am trying to find a way to simulate the granulation of 14th century Jewish wedding rings with size 15 seed beads and 3.5mm bead caps. I think I've figured it out, but we shall see...
Tom got home around 3:30 and told me that his new motorcycle helmet had come in and that he was going up to Plattsburgh to pick it up. I didn't want to go because Colden was still asleep, and I didn't want to wake him up, and I still had 130 photos to re-size! Tom came home around 5 with his new helmet which, thankfully, fits him! By that time, it was getting to be time for dinner, so I reheated last night's leftover pizza (and garlic knots!) and fed Colden. Our friend Rob and his two stepkids came over for a visit after their trip to Delaware, and they were all excited to see the new baby chicks.
While I was eating dinner, I realized that I had left the baby seat in Sandy and Tom's van! I need it to go to Lake Placid tomorrow to do my errands, so it was back out in the cold (and snow) to their house to drop off half a dozen eggs and get the baby seat.
When I got home, I made out a new to-do list for the rest of the week and then got Colden into his pajamas, got into my pajamas, and finished editing the photographs. (Hooray!)
So, without further ado...
Coming exclusively to my ArtFire store sometime over the next few days, here is my latest line of fused glass jewelry:
I'm actually quite proud of these little lovelies! In fact, I think that's what I'm probably going to call them: my Little Lovelies!
Ah, yes, so you can tell that it's getting late and I need to go to sleep now. And I think it's time for Colden to go to sleep, too, so good night!