Sunday, June 29, 2008

This Lamp Rocks!

So, I have really bad eyes...

I have a really hard time working with seed beads (but I LOVE beadweaving!), and finding the holes in beads, and seeing the right spot to open jumprings (hello, chainmaille!).

And this despite wearing glasses AND an optivisor!

So imagine my delight at discovering this fabulous lamp!

It concentrates light on my work, but when you flip up the little cover, it magnifies the work 5 times! It is unbelievably fantastic!

It's made by Sona Electronics, and I worship this lamp! And this is an unpaid endorsement, by the way...

It doesn't put out enough light for my purposes - what it produces is directly concentrated on whatever is directly below the lamp - it doesn't radiate outward to light the rest of my work area, so I use it along with my Ott Light, but that is no biggie.

If you have trouble seeing your projects - whatever they are - I cannot say enough about this wonderful lamp!

The gooseneck is really flexible, and stays wherever you put it.

And the light emanating from the lamp isn't hot - so your hands and your work don't heat up.

And I'm so excited about a little "family reunion" I'm experiencing on Etsy! A group of delightful folks I met last year in the forums had disbanded in January, but now we have started our thread up again, and it is so much fun!

Hi you guys - you know who you are!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Now I'm Doing Chainmaille!

I've gotten my hands into something new: chainmaille! And I love it.

People watch me doing it, and shake their heads, but it is a lot of fun. I describe it as sort of like beadweaving, except with jumprings - I am weaving the jumprings together. But now that I think about it, these head-shakers are the same ones who shake their heads at beadweaving, so there you go.

I just listed my first chainmaille creation in my Etsy shop - take a look!

And now I am waiting on a huge order of brightly colored niobium jumprings, so I can make more stuff!

Monday, June 23, 2008

My Artistic Vision

Let's talk about vision - literally.

I can't see very well. At all.

I have never been able to see very well - as a young child, it took several years of almost failing grades in elementary school before the teachers and my parents caught on, and I had to start wearing glasses. Really ugly glasses.

When I was about 13, I was allowed to start wearing contacts. They only had hard contacts at that time, but I was able to get rid of the ugly glasses, and I could actually see better than when I wore the glasses.

Of course, hard contacts are uncomfortable, and when soft lenses came out, I finally was able to see comfortably. But all those years of hard lenses had sensitized my eyes, and even the soft lenses became uncomfortable after awhile, because my eyes no longer produced tears in sufficient quantity to keep the lenses lubricated.

Eventually, vision correction surgery became available, and I had radial keratotomy. 5 times actually - three times to the left eye, and twice on the right. They are afraid to cut too deeply with the first series of cuts, so they risk undercorrecting your vision, and then they go back a few weeks later and "enhance" the cuts, to get fine correction.

Well, that was actually the beginning of my problems, because I "didn't heal properly." I see halos at night around lights, but worst of all, my vision did not stabilize. Meaning my vision changes all day long. At first, the changes were not all that significant, and I went a few years without wearing any vision correction - I just noticed that at certain times of the day, my eyes seemed a little weaker.

Ultimately, the daily changes in my vision became so pronounced that I complained about it to my opthalmologist, who, after witnessing the wide fluctuations for himself, sent me to a number of specialists around the country, with the upshot being that due to a confluence of several conditions going on in my eyes, there is nothing surgically or medically that can be done to stop my vision fluctuation. And it is probably going to get worse.

When I wake up in the morning, my vision is the worst. As the day progresses, I just change glasses all day long, going from strongest correction to weakest. The degree of fluctuation depends on whether I am doing close work or using my distance vision (like when driving, or watching TV) - close work makes my vision weaker, while distance work makes my vision improve.
Some days, if I stay away from the computer and from beading completely, I don't need any correction all by about 3PM. Other days, I need glasses of some sort all day long.

The ophthalmolists wanted to have me sit in their offices all day long, and get different prescription glasses to use all day (of course, at first, none of them believed my vision was fluctuating to the degree I claimed, and they made me sit there all day just so they could
do vision checks every hour to prove me wrong. Ha!) But what works best for me is buying different pairs of over-the-counter reading glasses (Yay Dollar Store!) and switching them out all day long. Only problem with this is that the strongest pair I have found is +3.50, and I actually need much stronger correction for about the first hour of the day, so I have to put a pair of +2.75 OVER the +3.50, and then I can see well enough to read and work on the computer when I first get up. Oh, and the fact that I have to keep 10-12 pairs of glasses with me wherever I go - but that would have been true whether I got prescription glasses or over-the-counter glasses.
You know those little clear stickers that tell the strength of the glasses? That most people pull off as soon as they buy the glasses? Well, I leave those little stickers on the glasses, so that I can tell which pair is which. I have a good memory, but not good enough to remember the strength of 10 different pairs! Especially when I keep one set of glasses at home, and another set at work. So, all day long, wherever I go, people come up to me and either: 1) ask me if I know I have a sticker on my glasses OR 2) just reach up and try to take it off! Seriously people - get away from my glasses! Yes, I know the sticker is there, Yes, I want it there, and No, it doesn't bother me! I can't even see it!
And whenever I bead, I have to wear an optivisor plus my glasses. All day long people at the shop make fun of me, but I can SEE! And I do a pretty good job of beading, too! You couldn't tell how bad my eyes are, could you?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

And the Winner is...


The results of the Etsy Beadweaver's June Challenge are in, and my beadwoven spiral, Do You Raku, won!

With so many gorgeous entries, I feel truly honored!

Thanks to all those who voted!

Full story here.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Etsy Treasuries

Y'all know about treasuries? Etsy treasuries are member-created collections of items presented in gallery style, usually with a theme, for others to peruse and enjoy - kind of like a museum. The creator of the treasury is even called the curator.

The pictures on the Etsy Home Page are treasuries, pulled from the selection of hundreds of available treasuries by Etsy Admin, for exposure on the front page, where everyone who logs on to Etsy will see them.

I have never made it to the front page, but my items frequently are featured in treasuries. Yesterday, I was honored to be featured in two different treasuries.

In this one, Etsy's manamoonstudios featured one of my wire-wrapped rings in her gorgeously curated pink and green treasury. Manamoon is a frequent commenter on my Flickr page, and one of my favorite people. Thanks, Sharon!

This beautiful collection, curated by one of my fellow Beadweavers, totallytwisted, features my newest beadweaving creation, the Starfish Spiral. Didn't she do a fabulous job composing this? Thank you, Jean

The opportunity to create treasuries is limited, and there is always a throng of members beating at the gates when that window of opportunity opens. I was evidently in the right place at the right time yesterday, and managed to snag one for myself, and created this homage to my favorite breakfast food:

Want to know how to find Etsy treasuries?

Etsy Treasury List
The hard-to-find Treasury West

Check them out - individual treasuries expire every 2-3 days, so check frequently - you might find a fabulous hidden treasure!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

My (Reluctant) Bracelet Model

I'm a jewelry designer with 2 internet venues, so I have been learning that in addition to creating my pieces, I have to photograph them in ways that will showcase them for the viewing public.

I purchased jewelry manequins, and pretty little pillows, and have created other props from stuff lying around in curio cabinets here at the house.

But I balked at buying one of those fancy acrylic arms to pose my bracelets on, because:

1) they aren't life-size, so they make the bracelets look a little bigger than they truly are (just like my &%$@ ear model does for my earrings - they all look HUGE on that thing)

2) the photos just look kind of weird to me.

But when my Sandfibers bracelet arrived last week (thanks, CD!), Bailey was eagerly watching me open the box, just like every other package, as if THIS would be the one that contained dog biscuits. When he saw that, once again, there were no biscuits, he slumped onto the bed and started pouting. So, naturally, the next thing I did was lay the bracelet across his nose, and to my surprise he just lay there, so I grabbed the camera and took some photos.

And he wears it well, huh? The colors are perfect for him!

So let me see if I have this straight:
Hats?     No.
Bunny ears?     Absolutely not.
Jewelry?     Sure, Mom.

And no, I am not going to start shooting all my bracelets this way - I can just see the posts in the Etsy Forums now! Kinda like when Sally gets kissed by Snoopy in Peanuts: "Yuck! Dog germs! Dog germs!"

Tuesday, June 10, 2008



My Etsy Store received its 300th heart today!


That blows my mind. My store has been open 7 months, and I have had 31 sales, and now 300 hearts!

Thanks to all my fabulous customers, and to all those that have visited my store, and "hearted" me!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Here We Go Again...

I was featured in a blog yesterday!

The delightful Mak, from MAKUstudios, had these lovely things to say. Please visit her blog, and take a look at her gorgeous creations! Her raku platters are stunning!

Which brings me to the point of this post - I entered the Etsy Beadweavers Challenge again, with my Peacock Raku Spiral Necklace, which was inspired by one of Mak's raku pendants.

Voting starts sometime today, so if you have a few minutes, visit the blog and vote! I'm number 37...


Friday, June 6, 2008

Turquoise Wire Wrapped Bracelet

So, this is a new wire-wrapping design for me.

I wanted to be able to incorporate my favorite beads in with the wire designs.

I decided to take some photos as I progressed, which actually turned out to be a great idea, because when I made the second one, I saw some opportunities for improvement.

After cutting and cleaning the wire, I strung the beads, and began to form the basic skeleton of the bracelet.

I knew this was harder than in should have been, and saw why when I went back to look at the photos - I should have made the outer frame bigger than the inner frame.

I struggled to make everything fit between the frames, and to line up, finally securing it all with tape.

I started at one end, and began to wrap the bundle, placing 3 beads in every bundle.

Then I got to the end of the bundle, and only had room for 2 more beads! So much for measure twice, cut once. Obviously, I was off on the measuring -

But, as you saw in the first photo, it still turned out pretty well, and now that I saw the error of my ways, I sat down and made on with copper beads.

I did a better job of measuring and placing the beads, too -

And I love the way it turned out. I love mixing different metals together!
I wonder what beads I should choose next time....?

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Mermaid's Tail

I finished my freeform peyote bracelet, and I absolutely love it. I think I have worn it everyday since I finished it! The beads on the band glimmer in the light, the colors remind me of the ocean, so I have named it "The Mermaid's Tail." I enjoyed making this piece, and may design something similar, but I will be keeping this one.

The teal biwa pearl I encorporated into the closure looks sort of like a tail fin, I think.