Monday, November 30, 2009

The Weekend Update

Good evening. I’m Silver Parrot…and you’re not.

Okay, 10 points if you get that joke (plus my undying sympathy for the fact that you are at least as old as I am if not older).

For those that didn’t get it, all I can say is “Jane, you ignorant slut.”

Okay, don’t know why I felt compelled to share that flashback, but, well, there you go.

Hope everyone had a good holiday weekend. Mine, as usual, was too short. A 4-day holiday weekend is just long enough to set you up for a really CRUEL shot of reality when the alarm goes off at 5:30 AM on Monday morning and you realize that yes, you really DO have to go back to work.

Or else give up things like food and basic hygiene.

Still, in spite of the shortness and the reality of Monday, I did manage to accomplish some good stuff. I took Wednesday off and used it to get a large part of my Christmas shopping done AND avoid the crazed masses on Friday (sorry, I don’t get the whole wait-in-a-parking-lot-overnight-freezing-your-ass-off-to-save-$200-on-a-tv thing). My son and both nephews are taken care of. Also, for the first time in three years, I found everything I needed right away. Nothing was out of stock or picked over.

I finished in an hour and a half.


Then I got a pedicure and picked up my assigned items for Thanksgiving dinner (sparkling cider and a bottle of white whine). Grabbed my favorite salad from Panera to take home and eat and spent the rest of the afternoon working on my great de-stash project. Got a whole bunch of rubber stamps listed on Etsy and boy, are they selling.

Wish I’d known sooner what a market there was for old, used, stained rubber. If I had, I wouldn’t have wasted my time on this whole jewelry thing. Because beautiful glass and clay and crystals and gemstones? Can’t GIVE ‘em away. But stained rubber? Quickly becoming the new monetary standard.

What the heck…gold is overrated anyway.

Then, Thanksgiving morning, I was gifted with the solution to a question which has long perplexed me. I’ve suspected for years that my son had some nefarious plot in mind which required him to incessantly bang the doors on the entertainment center until they fell off. At which point I’d patiently re-hang them again and he’d bang them until they fell off again.

And again.

And again.

This cycle has repeated itself for about the last 3 years until earlier this year when he actually cracked one of the doors in half and the other one just couldn’t be hung up any more because the screw holes are too stripped out.

I finally gave in and just left the doors off the bottom of the cabinet, but remained curious as to why he had this complete obsession with ruining them.

All is now revealed:

His evil plot to disguise himself as a DVD player has finally come to fruition.

Strangely, though, no matter what disk I pop in, I only get re-runs of “Spongebob” on this machine.

Happy Monday!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Let the De-Stashing Begin

Hi everyone,

My bead collection is finally outgrowing its storage system which means I need to make more room. Which means the rubber stamps I've been holding onto since my stamping days need to go.

I've opened and Etsy shop just for this purpose: RS De-stash

Don't like what you see? Be sure to check back over the next few days and weeks as what I've uploaded tonight is but the TEENIEST fraction of what I'm hoping to get rid of. Seriously, this was about 1/6th of ONE drawer and I have probably 20-30 drawers.

There are a lot of "never used" and "used only once" stamps for great prices!

Please check it out and spread the word.


What Day Is It Again?

For me, it's Friday. Well, it's Tuesday, but I don't have to work the rest of the week so technically, it's Friday.

And you know what that means...

BEAD PORN! (and the crowd goes wild!)

Glazed clay earring pairs from Kylie Parry on Etsy (thanks, Lorelei, for the tip about her in your blog!)

Kylie Parry again. This was a "pick one" listing. I got the blue-ish/purple-ish one, but I was equally in love with all three of them.

Okay, this is kinda funny (and kinda sad). I had a project in mind that needed some etched black lampwork beads. So I hopped on Etsy and tried to buy some and they disappeared just as I was checking out (which means someone else snapped 'em up before I could hit the final button). A few weeks later, I found another listing for them but had to put it in my "favorites" to wait for payday. Of course, by the time payday rolled around, yep, they were already gone. I FINALLY got to purchase a set...and now I can't remember what I was gonna do with them LOL! I'm sure I'll come up with something, but it irks me that there's a really amazing idea lost somewhere in the uncharted depths of my brain.

Actually, I'm sure there's a LOT of crap lost in those same uncharted depths and if I could remember what it was, I'd blog about it. Although I strongly suspect that the location of all of the household's missing socks is ONE item that's in there...

Back to the beads:

Yummy strawberry and vanilla ice cream swirl beads from The Orange Bell.

Cute purple and white polka-dot mini lampwork beads from Bead Intrigue.

And if I'm gonna get purple, I haveta get the aqua ones, too.

Beautiful, bright raspberry pillow beads with black streaks from FlameCrazy on Etsy.

Same artist - I loved the cloudy sky quality of this set.

Another of Cathy Dailey's great toggles - I meant to post this with the rest of her stuff in last week's porn, but I somehow skipped it.

And, lastly, some beautiful components from Zoa Art.

Whew! That catches me up to about late October. But I still have more...because I was a vewy vewy bad girl during the first week of November. Hence the need for the bead diet.

Which, I was informed today, still has about 15 days left to run. And EVERYONE is having sales this week on Etsy. ARRRGGHHHH!!!

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


P.S. To the person who wondered about post-diet yo-yo syndrome...all I can say is Hells Yeah!

Monday, November 23, 2009

And the Winner Is...

First, let me just thank everyone for playing. It’s such a great blessing to be able to see and share all the wonderful jewelry art out there! Everyone really rose to the occasion and knocked my socks off with their creativity!

Some interesting stats on the challenge:

The most-used inspiration was the Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly picture. That’s kind of cool to me because I took that picture my very-own-self in SPITE OF my horrendous photography handicap. Although the beetles had an early lead, they ended up tied for second place with the caterpillar. The Luna Moth came in third, which surprised me, because I just love that color combination of white, lavender and bright green.

Only ONE PERSON was brave enough to take on the Gaudy Grasshopper…and that was Lorelei. I think she pulled it off amazingly well, too.

Okay, enough about all that, you all just want to know who won, right?

Well, the winner is…EmandaJ from Artemisia! Congratulations, Emanda!! You have won a package of several beading books including “Enchanted Adornments”, “Beader’s Stash”, and several others as well as some beads. Please e-mail me with your address so I can get your package out to you.

Thank you again to everyone for playing!


Latest Challenge Entries Are In!

Sorry for the late posting. Attended a kid's b-day party yesterday and then both the kid and I passed out when we got home. It's tough being a kid, I tell you! All that running around and screaming and cupcakes!

Anyway, here are the latest entries I received:

This green and gold homage to the beetles came from The Color of Dreams.

Cindy Wimmer used these great lampwork beads and some wire-wrapping to make this bangle inspired by the caterpillar picture.

Pearl and Pebble was inspired by the swallowtail butterfly picture to create this lovely asymmetrical bracelet.

This caterpillar-inspired bracelet by Just A Tish has taken to the trees just like it's namesake!

From Marbella Designs comes this lovely bracelet inspired by the Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly picture.

Spirited Earth presents this bracelet inspired by the Luna Moth picture. Love that cute flower charm!

And Kiwiken submitted a second bracelet just for the heck of it. This is her take on the Spicebush Swallowtail.

Okay, I think that's everyone. If you submitted something and don't see it here or in any of the other bracelet posts, please e-mail me right away.

Thank you all so much for playing and for sharing your amazing talents with me. Winner posted later today!!


Saturday, November 21, 2009

And another thing...

For the record, I have NOT cheated on my bead diet! It's killing me and I now have about 42 pages of "favorites" recorded in Etsy, but I have NOT cheated.

I'm just running a month or so behind in posting stuff I'd already bought. Not to mention the stuff that has been slow arriving. I got 2 packages yesterday of things I ordered in OCTOBER!

So there!

Nyah nyah nyah.

Okay, I may be spending a little TOO much time in the 6-year-old's world...


Another "buggy" bracelet

Pattie from The Joy of Nesting created this piece:

In it she captures the colors of the beautiful swallowtail butterfly. Great job, Pattie. Thanks for playing!

If you haven't entered yet, there's still time to post before the deadline tomorrow!


Friday, November 20, 2009

Another Great Challenge Bracelet!

From Jenny J comes this terrific polymer clay bracelet based on the Luna Moth picture:

Be sure to check out the rest of her entry as she shares a look at her beady-organization system, too!
Thanks for playing, Jenny! You did a great job!

And now for something completely different

...except not.

It's still Friday

It's still make-you-drool-with-beads day.

So, here we go:

Erin from Every Heart Crafts is doing these great new pieces in simple brown and white and I just love them.

They have such a great beachy, driftwood kind of feel. Perfect for summer necklaces!

And speaking of beachy, check out these gorgeous disks from HMB Studios. The soft, translucent colors are just yummy.

So, of course, I had to get the matching set of nuggets. Don't these look almost like jelly beans or something. I swear I'd eat them if I wouldn't crack a tooth!

Dyed blue jade rondelles and isn't this color just completely delish?!!!

Same stone - fuchsia color. Mmmmmmm!

Green apples, anyone? This makes me want to make a pie...uh, that is, if my oven wasn't broken.

Cool silver heart-embellished bracelet link from Cathy Dailey. She needs to stop making such cool stuff before I run out of money!

Cool stuff like this awesome toggle with the vine bar. Can't wait to use this!

I finally got myself a Day of the Dead clay pendant from Gaea after drooling over it in my Etsy Favorites for months. Got some miscellaneous beads to go along with it so look for a necklace featuring this wonderful piece very soon. Like maybe in time for 2010's Day of the Dead, LOL!

Okay, Happy Friday to all my fellow bead addicts and don't forget to check back on Monday to find out the results of the Buggy Bracelet Challenge! For those who haven't turned in their submissions yet, you have until Sunday!!


SALE! Whitney Street Studio

Even though I'm on a bead diet this month, I wouldn't want to hold out on the rest of you who are free to indulge your bead addiction. I got special permission from Bill McQuillkin of Whitney Street Studio to publicize this sale here for my blog readers. Here's the info directly from him:

We are holding what is probably our best sale ever on and would like to invite you to see for yourselves the great deals you can get on anything from spacers to focal bead sets at or below wholesale prices. We are clearing out our inventory so we can start with fresh new beads in the very near future. This sale is not open to the public. We figured since you have supported us in the past it only seems fair to help the jewelry designers in return. We only have limited sets available and with them being priced so low they will go quick so go browse the deals and let us know via email if you would like anything. I have supplied an email link on the top of every page of the sale for your convenience. We do not have a fancy shopping cart and will only accept paypal for payments. Just click on the email link located on the top of the page and tell us what you want and if it’s still available we will send you a paypal invoice. Please let us know if you would like first class or priority via USPS. Simple as that.

So, go forth and shop and next Friday, you can post bead porn of your very own!!


Over The Top

Not content to play with just one bug, Lorelei decided to amaze us all with her abilities and do all FIVE:

I think this is my favorite. Picks up the glossy green of the beetles and yet stays perfectly balanced with a nice woodsy feel.

I thought this bug would actually be the hardest to work with because it's got so much going on, but I think this bracelet totally nails it and yet it's still "wearable." It would've been really easy to take this palette and go nuts and end up with something rather shockingly gaudy. It is called a "gaudy grasshopper" for a reason.

I love the hit of orange in this bracelet AND the use of black buttons as beadcaps. Very inventive!

Lorelei's bracelet is just as delicate and lovely as the Luna moth itself.

I don't know...maybe THIS one is my favorite. I am definitely in love with that toggle and the Jade Scott charm.

Great job, Lorelei. You definitely went completely buggy on this one!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bracelet #3 totally ROCKS!

Looky what Artisan Clay made for my challenge:

Y'know, I thought that might be a really tough one to pull off, but this bracelet is gorgeous. I think even the style and shape of it are a great representation of the caterpillar photo.

Great job and thanks for playing!

Now, what are the rest of you waiting for? Get out there and create, darn it!


Chaos Thwarted (a little bit)

It’s not putting too fine a point on things to say that my house is an utter wreck at the moment. Oh, it looks fine from the outside (well, okay, the windows need to be washed, but other than that…) but the inside looks like a bomb went off.

Multiple bombs actually.

Now, I’ll admit that even on my best day, I’m not Donna Reed. I don’t keep the place sparkling and have a 4-course meal on the table by 6 every night and prance around in a dress and pearls. But I’m not usually quite this slovenly, either.

However, with the events of the last year – the flood and my Dad’s illness and subsequent passing, I have just given up. It’s probably worth mentioning here (in my own defense) that the last time I did a major project and cleaned out and re-organized my entire office and spent an entire weekend doing it and was so proud of myself…the flood happened THE NEXT DAY.

I mean, come ON! Talk about de-motivating!

Not only do I (almost) not care any more, I just don’t seem to have the time or energy to tackle any of the 8 billion cleanup projects that are lying around waiting to get done.

Now, before you go calling the health department, I DO have a cleaning guy (yep, a guy). So, y’know, things are messy and cluttered, but not GROSS. He comes in every other Friday and does what I call “knocking the big chunks off.” In other words, he cleans the kitchen and the bathrooms and mops/vacuums all the floors.

Well, all the floors that he can get to.

Y’see, when the construction people came to the house to work on the flood damage, they had to empty out the close in my son’s room. Half of which was his stuff and the other half of which, was, well, stuff stuff. Like my wedding dress and memorabilia, some crap of my ex’s that I’d never gotten around to getting rid of, some craft stuff that overflowed from the studio, etc.

The workers ever so helpfully piled it all in the middle of the floor in the kid’s room. Where it’s been since March because I can’t put it back until they come back to finish the job in the closet which they can’t do until I pick the new carpet which I haven’t been able to do because everything I pick is either discontinued (thanks for telling me that AFTER I agonized for months over my selection) or else my mom rejects it (and since she owns half the house, she has the right to do that). Thanks, Mom.

They also had to empty out several of my many, many bookcases (I’m not just a bead addict, I’m a reading addict, too). They boxed up all the books, which was nice, except they piled all the boxes in the middle of the floor in my office/craft room/bead studio.

Again, can’t put the books back in the bookcase until the flooring gets done.

I guess with all that mess going on, it wasn’t too hard to just let some other piles start accruing as well. I’ve focused on getting myself and the kid out of bed every morning, fed and dressed, getting through the day, getting us fed again and washed and then going to bed. And then doing it all over again the next day.

And those simple things just seem to take a mighty effort these days…with not much energy left over for things like cleaning and organizing. Which, let’s face it, I was not the queen of to begin with.

But, I finally felt a glimmer of wanting to change that a while back so I bought some containers and the kid and I organized his Lego collection and got it put away. And thusly, I regained possession of my dining room table. And there was rejoicing in the empire.

Well, okay, *I* rejoiced. The kid, not so much.

Then, this past weekend, I managed to get up enough steam to grab some garbage bags and start bagging up some of the stuff that was in the middle of his bedroom floor to take to Goodwill. I can now actually walk from the doorway to his bed without tripping over anything.

Of course, 5 minutes after I did all that, he pulled out a buncha toys and the clear space disappeared again, but that’s HIS mess to clean up.

Because, as I was told later that day, I am a MEANIE.

I even managed to work a little on the pile in the middle of the office so that I could regain access to my “Bead Towers”:

Yep, my entire collection of beads (well, except for the stuff that’s in my room waiting to get put away and the stuff that’s on the couch downstairs that I’m currently working on) resides in these two towers.

Once I could get to the towers again, I realized what sad shape the contents were in (hey, I manage to get the beads back in the drawers…just not necessarily NEATLY put away in the drawers) and how much I’d really like to re-organize the whole thing and that maybe it would give me enough inspiration to finish off cleaning out and re-organizing that entire room.

Or maybe I just got distracted by all the shiny pretty things.

Either way, I found myself at the Container Store later that week in search of some nifty bead organization things. Which I found. Which I am now happily putting all my beads into.

But first, let’s take a look at my CURRENT system of organization:

Here’s what a drawer is SUPPOSED to look like. Seed beads and smaller beads are all in their labeled tubes and the tubes are inside their boxes. Larger strands and tubes of beads go in front. The only problem with this system is that things are TOO neatly put away. I have to go through every box to see everything I have. And then I have to remember which box a tube came from to put it back in the right spot which is why I usually just end up tossing them into the drawer.

Which results in this:

Now I have to look through all that mess AND the boxes to find what I want.

Then there are my specialty drawers for things like pearls or Swarovskis:

Obviously, the contents of this drawer have been well picked-through and not cleaned back up at all.

What’s my solution?

Ta Da! These are gray flocked jewelry organizers that come in these nifty trays with a clear, flexible pull-off lid.

And here’s just a bit of my lampwork collection all happy in its new home:

These trays were a little pricier, but I wanted the soft interior to protect the lampwork.

For my less expensive and less delicate beads, I got these bathroom makeup organizer thingies:

Hard to see because they are clear, but the different size sections in the tray are great for putting tubes in one place and strands in another.

And here’s what one looks like filled:

This would be for my yellow/gold/orange/peach bead drawer – I organize by colors for the most part.

And here's my completely re-organized drawer. Old boxes are still in the back, but the "mess" in the front is now neatly contained. The great thing is I can fit 2-4 of these in each drawer because there's room to stack them on top of each other.

Bad part is that the gray flocked trays don't fit in any of my drawers, but that's okay, because once this is all done, I'm looking at getting another unit with longer drawers or perhaps shelves to accommodate the new containers because I like them so much.

And there you have it. Bead Organization by a (REFORMING) slob.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bracelet Challenge Entry #2

Emanda from Artemisia not only created this lovely bracelet:

She also wrote a great blog entry about how she came up with the design, the beads she used (check out the bead porn - yummy!) and she even researched the beetles from the photo!

Great job, Emanda! Thanks for playing!


The First Bracelet is IN DA HOUSE!

Kiwiken left a comment telling me how difficult bracelets are for her. Well, I sure can't tell from the piece she created!

She chose to use the beetle picture as her inspiration and then created her own glittery-green polymer clay beads and came up with this fabulous bracelet:

Congrats on a job well done, Kiwiken. Your beads are really beautiful and thanks for participating in my buggy bracelet challenge!


P.S. Forgot to mention that Kiwiken is officially my 100th follower!! Hooray!! This is such a great milestone considering I started this blog in 2004 and kept plugging away at it even though I don't think anybody else read it until this year. And now look! 100 followers! Yay!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bracelet Challenge Clarification

Hi everyone! Thanks for the great response to the bracelet challenge - I'm so excited to see what everyone creates.

Just wanted to clarify a couple of things:

1. Yes, you can submit a design that you already made if it fits the challenge.

2. The bug pictures are for COLOR INSPIRATION only. You do not HAVE to have some kind of "bug" theme in your bracelet. You can if you want to, but it's not required. COLOR is what's important here!!

If you have any other questions that I haven't answered, feel free to e-mail me!

Now...get out those beads and create color magic!


Monday, November 16, 2009

Are You Up For A Challenge?

A few weeks ago, Heather Powers from Humblebeads had this great challenge on her blog revolving around different ways to use or create focal pieces for necklaces. I participated in the challenge and watched the progress of it and it really seemed like everyone was not only inspired, but also having a great time.

Never one to overlook a fantabulous idea, I thought it might be fun to do something similar here. I’ll tweak the idea a bit by having different rules and a different focus, but there will still be a great prize!

So, what is this amazing challenge, you ask? At least, I’m assuming you’re asking or else you’re firing off e-mails to all your friends to come and check out what a copycat loser I am.

Don’t care.

Proceeding anyway.

The challenge is going to be based on my personal bugaboo: color. Y’see, my mind and eyes are AWESOME at matching colors. I can match a particular shade of blue FROM MEMORY exactly. I can walk into a bead store and find you every single bead that is that EXACT shade of blue. What I can’t do is devise color schemes that are NOT monochromatic. At least, I can’t do it easily. I have to force it. And it doesn’t seem to matter how many color books I read or how much color theory I learn. My brain just goes ahead and does its own thing, anyway.

Also, Heather’s challenge was about necklaces so I thought I’d do bracelets. Quicker and easier and my personal favorite thing to make.

So, we have color and bracelets.

Big deal, you say. Why should I care?

Here’s where the interesting part comes in. If you’ve been reading the blog, you know I’ve got a bug-obsessed kid at home. We do a lot of perusing of bug pictures on the internet and I’m always amazed by the colors that nature comes up with and the combinations that are put together. Nature is quite the fearless painter and yet the combinations all seem to work.

So, I’ve gathered some of my favorite “buggy” color combinations for you to use as inspiration.

Beetles - I love that amazing iridescent green. It's almost like they have glitter powder applied to their backs (I can turn anything into a craft project!)

Caterpillar #1 - Who would ever think of green, pale blue, black and orange as a color scheme?

Gaudy Grasshopper - gaudy indeed...but so cool!

Luna Moth (my personal fave).

Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly

Here’s the challenge! Select one of these photos and create a bracelet whose color scheme is inspired by the photo. Post it on your blog with a bit of explanation as to why you chose that particular photo and how you incorporated the color scheme into your bracelet. Come here to the comments and leave a link to your blog post.

Prize: A collection of beading books and, most likely, some beads I’m going to de-stash.


1. You can create and post as much as you like, but you will only get 1 contest entry.

2. For anyone who publicizes the challenge today on their blog, Facebook or Twitter, I will put in a second entry – MAKE SURE YOU LEAVE ME A COMMENT SO I KNOW YOU DID THIS.

3. I’m afraid I have to limit this to people with shipping addresses in the U.S. only unless you’re willing to pay the shipping on your prize. If you’re outside the U.S. but are willing to pay shipping, make sure to note that in your comment so I know about it.

4. Deadline to post your entries and comments is 5 PM Pacific on Sunday, November 22, 2009.

5. Winner will be randomly drawn from all the entries on Sunday evening and posted on Monday, November 23, 2009.

That should cover everything, but feel free to contact me with questions.
Are you brave enough to go "bead buggy?"