Friday, January 29, 2010

**Bead Porn Alert**

**This is a Bead Porn Emergencey Alert**

The National Bead Porn Watch Agency has issued a Bead Porn Alert for your area. Today's bead porn posting has been cancelled due to an acute case of "the-kid-has-a-cold-itis."

Please stay tuned to this channel for further information.

That is all.

**This has been a Bead Porn Emergency Alert**


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Take 2 Peeves and Call Me in the Morning

I forgot to post yesterday.


Haven’t gotten any new jewelry finished this week so no pics of that to post.

Bead porn is for tomorrow’s post.

No interesting run-ins at the grocery store lately – buying the pre-packaged sandwich meat and thereby avoiding the deli counter entirely seems to have ratcheted that whole situation down so no humorous episodes to be derived from that.

Kid has actually been pretty darned good lately. No hidden piles of trash have shown up and no property damage has occurred. Biggest event we’ve had is that he (probably accidentally? I hope!) hit another child in the face with a ball at recess which earned him a “major infraction” notice that I had to sign off on. (Okay, can I just add here that, while I certainly don’t condone anyone getting hit in the face with a ball, accidentally or not, isn’t that just sort of a risk that comes with being a kid? Heck, when I was in school, we played dodgeball almost every recess where the entire POINT OF THE GAME was to hit other kids with a ball. And now it’s a MAJOR INFRACTION? Really? Geez…where were these people when *I* was getting picked on every day and having my bike tires deflated and food thrown at me and once, a knife held to my throat (okay, it was a butter knife, but still!) I’m just sayin’ it seems like a teeny bit of overkill to me).

Anyway, the point is, I’ve had to search high and low to come up with something to write about for today’s entry and I finally decided to write about my pet peeves. More specifically, my bead-related pet peeves (cuz you know the ENTIRE list of things that peeve me off would probably take a year to write – I’m easily peeved).

So, here we go (in no particular order):

1. Size does or does not matter.

I’m peeved at myself for my total inability to figure out the actual size of beads I order off the internet from the pictures and descriptions. And yeah, okay, so 50% of the problem is me hitting “buy” without actually READING the description, but it almost doesn’t matter. I can read that something is Xmm and it just means nothing to me – even if I go look on a ruler and actually count the mm’s. I can see the penny or the dime helpfully placed in the picture for reference and still be surprised when the beads show up that they are either WAY bigger or WAY smaller than what I expected. Notice, however, that I never send any of them back.

2. Smoky beads.

I can’t say anything other than BLECH! Here I am all excited to get my latest fix…er…package of beads and rip off the top of the envelope and out comes this STENCH! And I know some of you are smokers and you are probably about to be royally pissed at me, but this is just gross. And I know you SWEAR you don’t smoke around your beads, but I bet you don’t think about the mailing supplies or about how if you smoke in another room, that heinous smell wafts its way throughout the house and gets into EVERYTHING. And then your poor customers who have nicotine allergies, like me, get a nasty surprise when they open up their packages and get sick from the fumes. And I don’t care if you use Febreze or Oust or (as one vendor recently told me) a “pleasantly scented candle” – the smoky odor is still there. Trust me. It is. So then I have to go soak the beads in soap and water or sit them outside overnight if they’re not waterproof to try to get the stench out. Please don’t take away from the beautiful art you create by destroying it with smoke and even more importantly, stop jeopardizing your health and the health of those around you with this awful habit. I want you around for a long time to keep creating amazing beads – I just want the unscented variety!

3. These.

I really, really, really hate these notices. Because what they really say to me is “your new beads are tantalizingly close, but you can’t get them. Nope, you can’t. You can know they are there, but you can’t get them. And we won’t bring them to you. Because we like to torture you.” See, here’s the thing. The USPS, in all its infinite wisdom, determined that my town did not need an actual post office. We have what’s called a “postal annex.” As far as I can tell, that is USPS code for “completely useless waste of space.” Because you cannot do any normal post office type activities at the “annex.” For example, you cannot:

-buy stamps
-get a package weighed
-mail a package that doesn’t already have postage on it
-pick up a package.

Oh, they’ll TELL you that you can pick up a package. But if you have a job and you work a typical M-F, 8-5, work week, you can’t. Why? Because the postal annex is only open from 10 AM to 3 PM Monday through Friday. Not on the weekends. Not before 10. Not after 3. So, I ask you, if they have my beads at the annex, and I have to work from 8 to 5 M-F, THEN HOW THE H*** AM I SUPPOSED TO GET MY BEADS? Yeah, let me just take off a couple of hours from work, without pay, to pick up a package. Great idea. Send a friend? Nope, gotta show I.D. to pick up the package to prove I’m me and not some kinda bead terrorist or something. The USPS has my beads and they are holding them HOSTAGE! Maybe it’s just me, but isn’t this the stupidest thing you ever heard of? Oh, and when I go to mail out items I’ve sold, I have to trek down to the UPS store, next to the dreaded grocery store, to get the package weighed and buy the appropriate postage. Even if it’s going via USPS mail…I have to go through UPS. It’s INSANE!

Okay, that peeve may be more about the whole postal system than beads, except for the fact that they are interfering with my bead habit and I think someone should probably explain to them why that is a BAD idea!

4. Bead Need.

Why is it that I can have a huge and ever-growing stash of beads, and yet still not have the exact perfect thing I need for a particular project? WHY? Like the necklace I made this weekend – I had these stunning faceted blue pearls that would have been PERFECT for it, but did I have the right gauge of brass wire to FIT through the pearls? Of course not. Headpins? Nope. And okay, yeah, so I could’ve gotten my pearl reamer out and made the holes bigger, but did I really want to use up all my beading time to ream the holes out of 25 or so pearls on a Sunday afternoon? Ummmm….lemmeee think…NO! And last night, I was looking at a beadweaving project in a magazine and thought, “that’d be fun to make – I should go round up the materials for it.” Found everything I needed except the “recipe” required 42 Swarovski crystals in a certain color in 4mm size. Did I have 42? Nope. I had 38. ARRGGGH! (that’s pirate-speak for $*#)*#&)!!!)

5. The Beading Schlumps.

That’s how I refer to these periods of time I have where I feel totally uncreative, can’t make any designs I like, and think everyone else’s work is brilliant and mine is crapola. I’m kinda in one now. Part of it is due to just plain old lack of time and energy. I do actually have some good ideas in my brain right now, I just don’t have the time to execute them or else, like last night, I have a small window of time, but I’m too dang tired to make use of it. Seriously, I fell asleep at 8:45 last night. Of course, then I woke up at 2 AM and couldn’t go back to sleep. Lovely.

So, in conclusion, I have no sense of size, my skin is itchy from nicotine-induced-allergic-reaction, the postal annex is holding my beads hostage, I never have the beads I need but am running out of room for all the beads I have, I’m schlumpy and I’m exhausted.

Send chocolate. Or a hostage negotiation team to get my beads out of the clutches of the evil USPS. Y'know - whichever you happen to have on hand.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Winnah! Winnah! Winnah!

Yes - I actually WON SOMETHING! Me! The girl who has never won anything in her entire life up until now!

My dear friend (even tho she spells her name wrong) Kelley Wenzel of Kelley's Beads gave away $50 (that's 5-0 FIFTY) of her beads and I WON!


I got to go on a shopping spree in her Etsy store and here's what I picked out:

Just in time for Valentine's Day designs - this set of soft, pretty pink beads etched for a nice matte finish.

Ivory beads with teal stringer "waves" in them - yummy!

And, my very favorite, some "tide pool" beads in swirly aqua.

She threw in a few extry beads, too, which was cool. Thank you so much, Kelley!!

I did manage to get some beading done over the weekend and here are the results:

Those incredible floral tri-hole components are from Nancy Schindler at Round Rabbit on Etsy. They are glazed in shades of blue and green and I've added blue chalcedony coins, green Czech faceted glass, brass beads, brass chain and wire.

Here's a closeup of one of the ceramic connectors.

And a closeup of the centerpiece.

Clasp is just a simple brass hook and the necklace is adjustable because of the large loops on the chain - it can be hooked anywhere.

And one last look. I'm still considering putting something hanging from that top chain, but I tried a few things there over the weekend and didn't like any of them. I don't want it to be "overdone" which is something I have a tendency to do. I don't want to take away from how pretty the connectors are by themselves.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Take 2

I know I've already posted all of these, but I finally got a chance to take better pictures so I wanted to re-post them.

Feel free to skip if bored to death:

I finally have this bracelet the way I want it AND have decent pictures of it.

The clasp and the pendant are by far the cutest parts.

NOW this baby is ready for Etsy listing!

I love these earrings. I can't help it. Those pendants from Zoa Art are just amazing. I rarely go back and buy things a 2nd time, but I may have to make an exception for these.

I knew these Amazonite pebbles were going to be great to design with. I'm so glad I bought a whole strand of them.

New and improved without strange funky light effects.

Lovin' this toggle clasp. So pretty!

It's a good thing this bracelet doesn't fit my fat wrist, because I'd be tempted to keep it for myself!

I did make some new pieces this weekend and will get those posted tomorrow.


Salary Requirements

Thanks, everyone, for all the great comments lately. A few of you expressed concerns about my bead buying budget so I thought I'd address that.

No, I am not rich.

Yes, I spend a bit too much on beads.

Not a lot too much - my bills are taken care of and the kid has shoes and real food to eat (not cat food) and we don't live under a bridge in a cardboard box.

But I could probably stand to cut back a bit.

Most of my bead money comes from sales of my existing jewelry. Also, any time I get Christmas money or birthday money or a gift certificate or a work bonus or tax refund or whatever, I set aside a portion of it for bead money. This past year alone, I got almost $300 in Fire Mountain gift certificates from getting my work published in "Bead Trends."

But the real truth is this - I used to be a major fashion addict. Clothes, shoes, purses, makeup, etc. Since Dad had his stroke and then passed away 6 months later, all that has gone out the window. I've gained too much weight to fit into cute clothes any more and my knees have apparently gotten too old to tolerate high heels and I no longer care about makeup.

Soooo...guess where all that budgetary money has been shifted? Yeah, I bet you got it in one.

The question is - is this a bad thing? Beads make me happy. They are the only thing I do for myself for pure enjoyment value. They have no purpose other than to be pretty and make me smile. I don't think you can put a price on that - especially since there's not much else that DOES make me smile these days.

Then, of course, there's the fact that I'm a good bead bargain hunter. I get a lot of stuff for $3 a strand or $5 a strand or 3 strands for $10 at shows. A lot of times when the picture I borrowed from Etsy shows a whole bunch of strands twisted together - well, what I actually got is a package of 6-10 bead for $2.50. Plus, there are certain vendors that I only buy from when they are having a sale or offering a coupon. If you can get to the Rings & Things traveling trunk show it's WELL worth it. 50% off + an additional 15% off if you have a resale permit (which I do).

And that's another thing - my resale permit gets me lots of deals in addition to not having to pay sales tax.

Okay, hope that addresses all the questions and concerns. The kid and I are in no danger of being homeless or hungry any time soon.

Still, a little more restraint in the shopping department wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing.

Except then how would YOU get your bead porn fix? Hmmmm????


Early Easter

Seriously, how CUTE are these? I think I'm in love!


Friday, January 22, 2010

Bring in Da Beads, Bring in Da Porn

I know, that reference is like waaaayyy old, but frankly, today, I'm feeling waaaayyyy old so there ya go.

Here's hopin' some bead porn will cheer me up (and anyone else who needs a lift today!)

I can't believe I left this out of my Pasadena Porn Post the other day! This was actually my biggest haul of the entire show. A boatload of silver links, charms and dangles from Hip Chick Beads. It was the last booth I visited that day and I kinda went nuts. Really, really nuts. Like two thirds of what I bought isn't even in the picture nuts.

What, like you're surprised?

Some of Round Rabbit's newest designs. That whole floral, vintage, antique-y, Victorian thing is totally going on here and I love it!

Slightly different design and a different color, but same vibe. I'm soooo making the cutest earrings out of these! With pearls!

A green "pincushion" ceramic link from Round Rabbit. I like all the extra holes for attached stuff - I'm seeing swags of brass chain and maybe some pearls and...whew!...lost it there for a minute, but I'm back now ;-)

Same bead - different color. I do this with clothes, too. When I find something I really like, I tend to get it in several colors. Otherwise I go home and think "gee, I really like this blue shirt so why didn't I get the yellow one, too." And then I get annoyed with myself and myself doesn't like that so it's better to just buy multiples up front.

Oh, also, I sell bead purchase rationalizations (like that one) cheap. Etsy store opening soon for those of you who need them to fob off annoying husbands, family members, friends, etc. who dare to question your bead purchases. Each purchase comes complete with a free tip on how to sneak bead purchases into the house without anyone knowing. Shhhhh!

Got this really unusual set of lampwork tab beads from Lazy Cat Beads on Etsy. They change color completely depending on the light and the angle from which you view them. They'll be a design challenge, but that's what drew me to them.

This set is from Libelula on Etsy and it's really gorgeous. The picture doesn't do it justice. The silvered ivory is PERFECT with this transparent lavender blue glass.

Another great set from Libelula. I love the warm ivory and amethyst with the dots of silver. I'm seeing a very classic design with pearls, amethyst and maybe some earthy-looking Czech glass or stones.

A great set of bronze geranium leaf charms from Star Spirit Studio on Etsy. Don't know what I'm going to do with them - sometimes I just pick stuff because it looks like it would be fun to play with and not because I have an actual design idea in mind. I often wonder if that's a good thing or not.

These beautiful stamped copper crescent moons are from Atlantis Glass and Bead. If you haven't checked out their shop on Etsy - I highly recommend them. I used to buy from them years ago when they were just on eBay and just did boro lampwork. Now they've got this whole cool line of metal links and pendants and charms and handmade earring wires (for those of us who are all thumbs with wirework like me).

These wavy copper disks are also from Atlantis Glass & Bead. The texture on them is just amazing. I got mine shiny, but they will oxidize them for you if you request it.

I used up all my double-drilled beach stones on a bracelet last year so it was time to re-order from Stone Studios, Too on Etsy. For some reason, I find myself liking the double-drilled "link" types better than the single-drilled pendants (not that they're not cool, too, it's just a personal preference).

And, since I didn't know when they'd list some double-drilled stones again, I got two sets :-) Better safe than sorry, ya know.

Okay, I think that might be enough for today. I don't want anyone going into cardiac arrest or passing out or anything.

Have a great weekend, everyone, and here's to all of us getting time to make our beads or our jewelry or whatever between now and Monday!


Kickin' It Old Skool

Ahhh...the bad old days. The pre-digital camera days. Back when I had to use my scanner (en Francais on dit "le scanner", in Espanol: "el scannero") to photograph my jewelry. Since it's been too dark and rainy for a WEEK now to take any pictures with the camera, I finally had to resort to ye olde scannere to get some pictures done.

Fair warning - colors are all off (stuff looks green when it should be turquoise), there are weird glowing light effects (maybe the scanner is haunted?), and basically everything looks like crap.

Or else my jewelry just always looks like crap and I'm in denial?

Either way, you've been warned.

First up, I re-did the "Bird in a Lemon Tree" bracelet. This is v2.0 - new and improved with the annoying white seed beads removed. And yeah, okay, so I had to use silver wire to attach the brios (because it was the only gauge I had small enough to fit through their holes), but I decided to just get over that. The clasp, being shibuichi, has some touches of silver to it so I say that makes it a match.

Okay, in real life, the color of these amazonite nuggets MATCHES some of the patina color on these gorgeous shibuichi shield pendants from Zoa Art. No, really, I promise you it does. Would I, the queen of matchiness, lie about something like that? Okay, well, yeah, so I probably would, but in this case, I'm not.

These are some of the pretty poly clay flowers that I bought from an Etsy vendor - they came all the way from Israel which I think is pretty cool! They didn't need much - I just added a touch of sparkle with some crystals and wire-wrapped 'em to some earring hooks. I've got more of these so I'll definitely be doing some other, more elaborate designs with them.

As long as I had the amazonite pebbles on my worktable, I decided to whip up another pair of earrings with them and I thought the faceted purple jade and some gold would make a good mix. Again, the colors look better together in real life than in my crappy scan. Sigh.

New bracelet. Etched lampwork scroll beads from I Make Beads on Etsy. Paired with some crystal AB Swaros, silver bead caps, vintage fluted glass rounds from Gemme Tresor on Etsy and a sterling silver toggle. Weird halo light effect provided by my scanner.

And now you're all asking "yeah, okay, whatever with the badly scanned jewelry, where's the Friday Bead Porn?" Check back later - today is a double post day!


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Imported Bead Porn

Brought to you fresh from the lovely city of Pasadena from the time just before all of Southern California was washed into the Pacific Ocean...

Let's get started, shall we?

Okay, I know you're all saying "doesn't she have ENOUGH bright beads, yet?" Mais, c'est ridicule, mes enfants! is how I reply to you in my snootiest Parisian accent. One can never have enough beads as my good friend Kelley Wenzel was just saying to me this morning. Besides, these babies were $5 a strand! The vendor was just lucky I didn't buy the whole table!

Another amazing deal - these strands of big crystals were 3 for $10. Yeah, they're not Swaros, but they are PLENTY sparkly just the same and the colors were yummy.

A full strand of nice-sized and well-cut aqua chalcedony brios. These were on sale as well. SCORE!

Same vendor - also on sale. And LOOK at that color. I'm seeing so many color combo possibilities with these - can't wait to play with them!

Not great photo taking on my part, but the rain was really threatening so I was rushing to get the photos taken and get back inside before I became the proverbial drowned rat. These teardrops are graduated but all are a nice, large size. I think the biggest one is probably over 2" in length.

There was a whole contingent of Aussies at the show with tray after tray after tray of gorgeous Boulder Opal cabs and pendants. Since I already have some cabs in my stash, I picked out these three pendants. I love how they are all the same type of stone, but all look so completely different. The teardrop is almost all "boulder" with just a splash of opalescence in the center. The top triangle is much more "teal" and "gray" and looks to me like waterfalls going down the side of a cliff. The irregular shaped one on the bottom right is my favorite - it has the most amazing blue, purple and pink opalescence. There are even tiny dots of lime green if you look at the right angle in the right light. It looks like a satellite photo of the California coastline as seen from above.

You and Me Findings had some great new chain - an entire table of it separate from their regular booth. It's rhodium-plated and guaranteed lead and nickel free which is nice for those of us who have metal allergies. These two chains are a brass/gunmetal mixture in color.

Uh...can you tell I spent a lot of time at the "chain table?" I thought the pebble-textured chain on the left would be fun to take apart and use the links in earrings. I have no idea what to do with the wavy circle chain on the right - I just thought it was too cool to leave behind.

More chain - I liked these because they weren't the super-brite silver color (although the vendor had that, too), but they're not gunmetal either. They're sort of in between.

I did manage to avoid the trap of Grace Beads (unlike last time) and didn't drop all my money there in the first five minutes. I did pick up these three cute pendants on the theory that they will go well with all of the "bright" beads I've been collecting.

Plus, you know, cute and stuff.

It's funny - I had just been reading about Kabela Design's new line of crystal-studded chain and components in the Winter issue of "Stringing" magazine in the car on the way to the show. I had no idea that they would actually BE there! This is just a small portion of their new line - they had so much great stuff, I could hardly decide what to get, but finally settled on some of the brass flowers, the copper flowers and the brass chain studded with crystals. I'm thinking these will mix well with all the lucite flower/romantic designs that I like to do.

And now we come to the part of the show where I just completely lost my effin' mind. I think I might've dumped my wallet out all over the C-Koop booth and said "here...just take it all." Maybe. I can't remember. Things got kind of fuzzy there for a while - she had soooooo many choices. Her newest items are a bunch of Steampunk-related gears and wheels and some incredible flower petals in different sizes that you layer one on top of the other. Now the Steampunk stuff - not really my thing, but the flowers! OH! Loved 'em. My only problem was, I literally could not make a selection. I dithered at the booth for like half an hour or something and finally gave up and just bought these large capped beads and some accents.

More shades of aqua, lavender, purple and copper.

I did finally come to my senses long enough to realize that everything I was picking out was either in the blue or purple family so I gave myself a stern talking to and insisted that I (we?) buy something in a different color. Y'know...just for variety. Hence this green and yellow combo which now that I really look at it, I'm not sure really goes together. That's what I get for listening to myself talk.

The lights went out when I got to the Claspon-Claspoff booth. And I mean that literally and not just in a "I'm overwhelmed by all the incredible choices" kinda way (although that happened, too). All the electricity for the vendors in that row went out so they all lost their in-booth lighting. Still, it wasn't hard to see this vendor had some truly amazing clasps. These were the three that I picked out - one vintage German glass cab, one dichro cab and one blue chalcedony cab.

I saved the best for last. This was by far my favorite score of the day. This gal comes from Seattle and calls her company "Loot." Awesome name, no? Anyway, she actually gathers up scrap glass from friends who are flameworkers and turns it into these really cool and funky disks in all sizes. I'm showing the medium and small sizes here, but she had much larger ones, too. She had them done up as pendants, as dangles on bracelets (which I thought would break, but she wore one all day long and didn't have a problem) and earrings. OH, the earrings. To die for. So, I scrounged through her piles of glass until I came up with a few pairs. I'm picturing them with chain dripping around and through them or the smaller disks doubled up with the larger ones. Loot, indeed!

Whew! I did all that? No wonder I was so tired and ready to go home when it was over. Great show, though, and definitely worth the long drive and dealing with the traffic.

Can't wait until the next one!