Friday, December 31, 2010

More Good Bye 2010

Something happened today that made me think. That sounds funny, doesn't it? Well, it's true. I've been beating the drum of good riddance to 2010, because the past few months have been so difficult... like it's kicked my butt and got the best of me, but really, I think, now that I'm, um, thinking, it was *me* that did the kicking - I'm the one that kicked 2010's butt.

This is what happened:

Today, one of my 2010 goals was realized: I got my work published in a real magazine. Check it out, The Flow, Winter 2010 issue, page 7, number 17: two tiger beads by me, aka The Blue Between.

Goal number whatever, get published - check! Just in the nick of time, but that's ok. What were my other goals, do I even remember? Why yes, I do. There were two others - one I didn't manage (getting into a gallery/shop/show/whatever), and one I did - that was a health goal, I was going to finally figure it out and get my body back. And I did that too, thanks to persistence, a handful of good books, and my awesome doctor, not to mention a gazillion dollars in supplements and such... but still, I feel 10 years younger by the end of this year than I did when the year started. If that was all that I accomplished, I'd be more than happy.

But that wasn't all.

* I also jumped into this homeschool stuff head first and I think we are doing pretty amazing with it, now that we know what we are doing.

* I fell in love with Kalypso glass and made some really amazing beads. If I do say so myself.

* I designed my very own Rawr! Tribe of Tiger Beads - original to me and like no other beads I've seen anywhere else... very proud of that, it's a great feeling!

* I started a new store on ArtFire, with my jewelry designs.

* I learned how to make Almond Brittle, one of the highlights of my Christmas holiday this year.

* And! I! get this! reached 500 bead sales on Etsy! And to make that accomplishment even sweeter, I never even blogged about this one, but at that 500 bead sale mark, $500 was sent to the University of Washington's Alzheimer's Research Center and was matched by Microsoft.

So as you can see, a GOOD year. More good than bad. We won't talk about the bad... that is just recent history and won't stick around, unless I keep thinking about it, right?

Time to set some new goals... hmn...

Happy New Year, friends, I'm wishing you all a happy, healthy, creative focus for the new year as well.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Oh Yeah! The Disappearing Sale at Etsy

I should also tell you about the Disappearing Sale - everything in my etsy store is under $20.00, and has free shipping. After 2010 slips away, so will all the beads there. A fresh start with fresh beads for 2011! So if there's something there you want, get it while you can!

Good Bye 2010

Has it really been a month since I posted here? Yes, I do believe it has. I think I missed wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving, and a Merry Christmas and other Happy Holidays, but here I am to say Happy New Year to you! 2011, I'm ready for you. I have plans and goals and intentions... but first, here is a look back at 2010. A year full of good things and bad things. I'm not sure how the scale tips, but there it is.

The pictures only show the good, and I like it that way. Goodbye 2010.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010

Last Post Today

I promise, this is my last post of the day. I know, I know, I go months with no posts at all and then wham! I slam you with 4 or 5. Crazy. But this is it. Really.

First, I want to remind you about this promotion/contest/game thing I've got going on over at FaceBook:

"Come on over to my FaceBook fan page and play! You will find a photo album with my nine new necklace creations in it - all you have to do is "like" the fan page and then leave a comment in that album! So easy. I'll pick a name at random on "Small Business Saturday" -Saturday the 27th - and the winner will get a $25.00 gift certificate good in my new store. Recommend a new fan to my page and if they win the prize, you'll win a matching prize too!"

And second, last, really, I promise! Three necklaces I unearthed from my studio that I just finished listing over at that ArtFire store I've been going on and on about. (I have more, but they will wait.)

Thanks for looking! Happy Shopping, tis the season after all :)

PS. Speaking of shopping, don't forget to use this code: "SmallBizSaturday" - in my Etsy store for 20% off from now until Tuesday morning sometime, whenever I get around to turning it off!

Five Fabulous Pendants

I really like these. For one, I love all these beads. So much. But also, I love the bails. They are really cool with that cutout spiral, and they slide right on and off almost every chain - this is how I wear most of the beads I keep for myself - I have two silver chains, one long, and one short, and all my beads are on bails like these - just mix and match to go with whatever outfit! It's the best system. And now you too can start a collection! Or... you can start one for someone else, they make great stocking stuffers - I know I'd be thrilled to have any of these stuck in the toe of my stocking! All available in my ArtFire store - right now!

Blue Between Mad Shopping Sale!

Starting NOW, Black Friday, and going through tomorrow, which is Small Business Saturday... into Sunday, which should be a day of rest, but probably isn't... and all the way through the end of Cyber Monday. Pretty much covers it all, yes? Use code "SmallBizSaturday" in my Etsy store for 20% off from now until Tuesday morning sometime. Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Grand Opening Celebration - Two Chances to Win!

Come on over to my FaceBook fan page and play! You will find a photo album with my nine new necklace creations in it - all you have to do is "like" the fan page and then leave a comment in that album! So easy. I'll pick a name at random on "Small Business Saturday" -Saturday the 27th - and the winner will get a $25.00 gift certificate good in my new store. Recommend a new fan to my page and if they win the prize, you'll win a matching prize too!

See you over there!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Grand Opening!

There's a new shop in town! And it has a bunch of lovely necklaces made with my beads! Come on over to ArtFire and check out my new store!

You'll find necklaces like these:

and more! Let me know what you think!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sneak Peak

My Vintaj chain came! Here's a sneak peak of what I'm up to. Coming to either an Etsy or Artfire store near you, very soon. I'll let you know which one I finally decide upon.


It's easy to be excited about the first snow of the season, isn't it? We are enjoying the birds and squirrels today... we have lots of birds visiting... just in time for us to start Project Feeder Watch!

Friday, November 19, 2010

ArtFire vs. Etsy

I just got done visiting ArtFire for the first time in a long time and I have to say, the site seems to have grown up a bit since I last looked (so many great features for sellers!) and best of all, it even worked without crashing my browser.

I have to say, I love the name: ArtFire. Seriously. It's perfect, right? It seems to give me lots of ways to communicate with my buyers, a built in blog... links to FaceBook, etc. And even at the current price of $9.95 a month, that's a better deal than what I'm paying at Etsy.

But then, there is the matter of my 400+ feedback on Etsy. I hate to walk away from that - that took some time to build up! And Etsy has been pretty good to me all these years, I've kept out of trouble there and it's worked out just fine. I am hearing horror stories about people trying to buy things and other buyers stealing the item right out of their carts though, seems like that's always been a danger for people who wait to pay - I don't know why it seems to be a new issue. And I don't even want to think about all the non-handmade things on there. Does Art Fire have them too? I didn't look that close.

Anyway... What to do, what to do?

Six To Go

Just heard the sad news that my grandmother, the artist, is no longer creating art. Art of any sort. I knew it was a matter of time... her art has gone from "wow, she's amazing" to "we are glad it keeps her busy". But no longer even that. Alzheimer's. It sucks. And yes, I do believe it's an epidemic. I know too many people, personally, who have it to think otherwise.

Here is an article by Dr. Mercola, with what seems to be some very commonsense ways to try to avoid it - they are all just smart ways to stay healthy in the first place, so it can't hurt.

Six more beads to go for my "500 Beads Alzheimer's Disease" donation. I'm looking forward to writing that check. For doing something, no matter how small, to try to put an end to this horrid disease. Thank you to all of my customers for all of my sales - each bead sold makes me so happy to be one closer.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Just in time for the... gasp... holidays!

Hello! I'm back from Florida where we had a very nice and moving service for my father-in-law. The veterans came and gave him a 21 gun salute - it was so emotional. And loud! And a little bit frightening as one of the veteran's guns seemed stuck or something and he had it pointed right at us for much longer than was comfortable. But, obviously, that all worked out ok. Thank you for all the kind words about my FIL, it's such a relief for us (and him, I'm sure)... Alzheimer's is just the worst, and it's really good not to worry about him, to know he's in a better place now and free of Alzheimer's disease.

We also managed to soak up a little sun and for some reason, I'm feeling recharged and ready to take on some new projects.

I'm not finding much time for glass melting, and soccer is over so I've just lost two nights a week that I was trying to use for that. But I was thinking I could make some necklaces for the holiday shoppers. I ordered some of that nice Vintaj brass chain and clasps and I'll take some of my beads that haven't sold and make them wearable. I think the brass will look great with many of them, and it's less expensive than silver, by a lot. So, they will be affordable, and I'll be able to make them between homeschool assignments and all the other life commitments that are taking over.

Stay tuned, pictures to come! And if there is a bead you've been eying, now's the time to snag it up before I do!

PS. Here's a new one that I didn't show you here! It's on Etsy :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Tiger, er... Snow Leopard Beads?

Remember a bit ago, before I got hooked on Kalypso glass, when I was all Tiger beads all the time? Yeah, I only have a few of them in the shop left - I should make some more, don't you think? One of these days. In the meantime, I found these three beads. They were my prototypes for my Tiger beads. I was so bummed with them at the time - they were not the vision I had in my head... and I just tossed them aside. But I found them again and now I think, hmn... they are not so bad, in their own way. They are certainly not Tiger beads, but I can see some snow leopard in them. Can't you? They sure don't deserve to sit in a dark box all the time, so I'm going to list them on Etsy.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A No-Beads Update

I know, no beads, does that make you as sad as it does me? Oh well... lots of life getting in the way of that.

Luke turned ten this year. Ten! Where does the time go? I can still see him all hooked up to everything in the NICU. He sure has come a long way. The kid is pure joy, when he's not driving me crazy. This year he requested a lobster dinner for his family party - and he helped me get everything ready - he's actually quite the project planner. I couldn't have pulled it off without him, but still, no more indoor lobster parties, no matter how cute the requester is.

Homeschool is swimming along - now that we are in a groove, it's not so scary and it's surprising how easy it is, most days. We are splitting our time with classes at the local homeschool resource center (which is kind of like college for little kids - we choose what classes to take and make our own schedule) and home work. We both agree, the home work is a bit on the boring side, and Luke informed me yesterday that I need to be better about the field trips. Apparently the zoo, Ikea, the Seattle Underground Tour and the Children's Theatre is not enough for him. It's not really enough for me either, I had planned more, but life has a way of getting in the way.

Like Frank's surgery - I guess Luke doesn't consider the days in the hospital a field trip. Oh well, we both learned a lot from that, I say it counts.

And we may be off on a very big trip soon, as his grandfather, my father-in-law, is failing fast and suddenly, after a long slow journey through Alzheimer's Disease. This, I'd have to agree, is also not a field trip. Though there are lots of life lessons to be had with a family trip like that - something we've been lucky enough not to have to learn yet. Sigh.

So... if my store closes down for a bit - you'll know why. No beads, no time. But maybe in a bit.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Still Playing with Kalypso

Still loving this glass! I saw some comments around the net from other lampworkers that it was just the new Clio - the same thing as Clio - which had not been my experience when I tried Clio last time... so I thought I'd give it a comparison run. I have to say.. they are very similar... but not the same. I still love Kalypso more. Can you tell which one is which?

Here, too, are my latest offerings, available on Etsy today :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

500 Beads for Alzheimer's

Twenty-nine! 29! bead sales left to reach my goal! The sooner the better. I am mixed with happiness at the thought that I can do *something* that might make a difference in the world about this, and sadness that my grandmother is soon to be moving into an assisted care home because things have just gotten so hard with her. It's very sad to me that it's come to this, and yet I feel great relief that my mother will soon be free to sleep and rejuivinate - she's given everything she had in her trying to do the right thing for Grandma - it's been so hard. In so many ways I have felt as if I were watching the two of them sinking deeper and deeper into this hell hole caused by Alzheimer's - watching my grandmother crash down and my mother getting pulled down with her.... and my 3000 mile rope just not long enough to pull either one of them up and out. So, this $500 - really, $1000 as it will be matched by my husband's work - is the least I can do. I want it to go to research so this disease can be stopped and countless families will no longer have to fall down in it's particular awful hole.

A big fat thank you to all of my customer who have gotten me this far, and for the next 29 of you who will help me finish this off!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Juicy Juicy

I am so happy to have braved up and figured out the scorpion's outer ring. It's my new happy place. The inner fire? - eh, it's just not enough, and I was beginning to think I'd made a mistake buying that thing... but then I turned on the outer ring, got the perfect flame almost instantly and have been convinced ever since that I got the right torch. It's big, yes, but that's what I needed. Fine control for stringers? I'll figure that out too, but for now all I'm playing with is Kalypso - and look! I got the bright juicy colors again!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Boom! Boom! Fire Powah!

Got the new torch hooked up yesterday - once I learned the dunk-the-hoses-in-scalding-hot-water trick, it went pretty smoothly. OH my goodness! Check it out!

That's with both rings burning - it's HOT. I managed to make three new beads with it, but I will admit, I was a little afraid to use the outer ring - as it is, I seem to be loosing some of the magical Kalypso pinks with just the center flame. I may need to crank down my propane a little to get more pressure - or just work a little cooler... not sure. Need more experimenting time!

Here are the new beads - all hearts, though... you might not know that about one of them if I hadn't told you.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Scorpion, Baby!

My new torch arrived! It's a GTT Scorpion - the newest coolest torch out there! Isn't she beautiful? I can't wait to fire her up!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A New Week, A New Bead

Or six, as it turns out. It was a very busy week, and no new beads got made, but these were finally photographed and listed on Etsy. Thanks for looking!