Monday, August 22, 2011

Halloween Treasuries

It's still August, and yet I'm already getting into a Halloween frame-of-mind. Doesn't hurt that it's one of my favorite holidays, and one to which I look forward every year. Already coming up with ideas for our costumes, but that's a whole 'nother subject. Jewelry-wise, I've been cranking out a few more "vampire" themed pieces, along with a couple of werewolfy ones, for good measure. I've also been putting together some Treasuries.

Treasuries, on Etsy, are a way for you to showcase a collection of favorite items. Often they'll have a theme: a color, or mood, or specific object. It's generally bad form to include your own items, though I have centered a couple Treasuries around pieces my friends have produced. Gotta share the love and all.

Treasuries are also selected to feature on the front page of Etsy, which is a high honor -- and one I've not yet received. But I'm workin' on it! Maybe eventually I'll get to that point, but in the meantime, I'm just having fun with the whole thing.

In honor of Halloween -- which is coming up sooner than we think -- here are a couple of spooky collections I put together: one for Ghosts and one for Werewolves. I'm sure I'll be putting together more like these in the weeks to come. They're great for inspiration!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Expanding my Repertoire

Yep, the unthinkable is happening. I'm slowly becoming a seed-beader.

I'm not sure why I was resistant for so long. I suppose because I'd worked at Anthony Nak enough to where I only considered it "real" jewelry if it was made with chain and wire. That, and I'm just stubborn when it comes to trying new things (hey, at least I admit it!). When I started working at Nomadic, it seemed as though beaders fell into two camps: wire-workers or seed-beaders. And I was firmly ensconced in the former, to the point where it took me about 4 years to finally take the plunge with those darn seed beads.

And y'know what? I like it. I mean, sure, that darn thread gets tangled, and I'm still figuring out the patterns and such, but I'm coming to realize that many of the designs I've fantasized about can be achieved much more easily and with less hassle with a needle and thread (or Fireline) rather than all that wire and chain.

I don't think I'm going to give up on my beloved wire & chain, or even chainmail (which I also "discovered" a couple of years ago and really enjoy). I'm just expanding my repertoire. Best to know a little bit of everything, right?

Here's one of my more recent projects, made with fake pearls, size 11 seed beads, glass drops, and some little sea-green stones I had lying around:

Friday, August 12, 2011

Harlequin Series

No, I'm not talking about the romance novel, although when I taught this pattern at Nomadic Notions, I did draw a handout cover that looked remarkably like a trashy bodice-ripper, complete with a Fabio lookalike. That turned out to be a lot more fun than writing the handout itself!

In this particular case, I'm talking about a design for both earrings or a necklace, using chain to suspend little glass drops in a "diamond" pattern -- hence the name, Harlequin. I've got a whole series of these in a variety of colors; like my "Beadmail" pattern, it's an old standby that I never seem to tire of. The color combinations just seem endless, especially when you add in the chain/jump rings.

I retook my photos of a bunch of these yesterday; I think I'm slowly getting better at the picture-taking thing. That's such a big part of online selling. I suspect there's still plenty for me to learn. Just gotta keep plugging away, right?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pretty Pretty Flowers

I went to Hobby Lobby the other day. I was good and mostly managed to restrain myself from buying stuff (other than a couple of necessaries) but that didn't stop me from happily wandering the aisles and soaking up inspiration. One of my latest kicks is flower jewelry. Silk flowers, that is. Hobby Lobby, JoAnn's, Michael's -- they all have bouquets of lovely silk flowers, so very realistic but for the lack of a fragrance, and I've been using them to make Springtime-themed necklaces and earrings (ironic, considering it's well into summer, and well above the 100-degree mark, here in Austin). Maybe I'm just yearning for those not-quite-sizzling Springtime days? Or maybe the inner girly-girl in me just likes flowers. Here's an example:

I hope other people like this sort of thing, too, because I really, really want to make more. But I promised myself I'd be good and try to use up my current silk flower batch, before I go hog-wild and acquire any more. I think it shows remarkable restraint on my part! Maybe I should avoid the craft stores for a little while, though, juuuuuust in case.

Monday, August 1, 2011


I grew up with a deep love of comic books, fantasy, and sci-fi, which is no surprise considering my Mom painted fantasy book-covers for a living and my formative years were spent trekking around to various sci-fi/fantasy conventions across the country. Not only that, but my Dad owned a comic book store for about as long as I can remember, so I was just primed to eventually discover and fall in love with the short-lived "space western" series, Firefly.

Alas, Fox cancelled it after barely one season, and although it was a huge thrill to eventually get to see the movie, Serenity (which came about solely because DVD sales skyrocketed), it was still only a mere taste of that universe (or 'verse, as Whedonites say). I like to think we may eventually get a bigger taste (it only took, what, 20-some years to resurrect Star Trek after the original series aired, so there's hope!), but in the meantime, I've made my own little homage to the series, using jewelry as a medium.

One of the characters, Inara Serra, is essentially a high-class courtesan (they're called Companions in that world). No wonder she wears such a variety of gorgeous jewelry, and luckily, I've been able to recreate some of it with materials at hand. Below is an example of one of my "Inara" pieces; I've included a still from the show and then my piece alongside it. Not bad, eh? I was lucky in that I was able to find that centerpiece at a garage sale. Alas, I just have the one, so once this is sold, it's doubtful I can recreate it again.

I've got a few more Inara-pieces on my Etsy site, along with one for Saffron (a recurring character played by the alluring Christina Hendricks) and one for Kaylee (which I just sold -- yay!) I hope all these pieces go to good homes with fellow Firefly fans!