December Will Be Scary

This is the month when I close up the book shop. Christmas Eve will be my last day. I'm giving myself the final week of December to box up and move out whatever is left at the end. I have so many nice people offering to help me and I'm overwhelmed by the generosity and friendship I've been graced by.

In the meantime, I'm bracing myself for my final clearance sale which means I've taken my Etsy shop offline for a bit while I tidy up 18+ years of my life.

There will be more. Just . . . really later.


November Project

Plowing through the old notebooks managed to produce some promising seeds.

I found myself returning over and over to the work of Lee Rumsey Haga, a brilliant jewelry artist who works in metals and stone. Adapting other disciplines to beadwork is my favorite challenge.

Here's my working sketch:

And this is what my table looks like, as I puzzle out what will work best:

And away I go.

More later.


Embellishing the Runway Finale

After viewing Part One of the finale last week, I didn't care who won - I was just inspired by Ashley's vision of Mexico City circa 1950 that I ran with that and finished my piece before Part Two aired. And as luck would have it, Ashley won! So here's my final piece for this season's Project Runway:

Now I'm back to the sketchbooks, searching for new inspiration, sifting through my bead stash and my "To Be Remade" box, and my abandoned projects box, wondering what I'll do next.

So I suppose there will be more later.


Embellishing the Runway Season 14

Over on Facebook I'm part of a group that finds inspiration in the current season of Project Runway. Sometimes this requires HUGE stretches of imagination. Sometimes we disagree with the judges and declare our own winner. As is only right.

This season I decided to just make bracelets. To find inspiration in each winning design to guide and inform some interesting designs.

Episode One: Mad Dash Mayhem
Winner: Ashley
I made a three-bangle set of bead crocheted ropes with a polka dot pattern, taking my inspiration from Ashley's skirt palette and the "dots" from the top.

Episode Two: It's All In The Cards
Winner: Edmond
I made the base for this embellished band as a basic peyote stitch, then covered it in different finishes of white seed bead leaves as a nod to the giant petals on Edmond's skirt. The pop of color was taken from his giant paper flower.  The leaves were my own interpretation of the Russian leaf pattern.

Episode Three: Shut Up & Dance
Winners: Ashley & Candace
This is a loomed wrap bracelet, taking the patterning from the motifs of the fabrics used in the outfit: tweed, diagonal stripe, and abstract floral.

Episode Four: Fashion Flip
Winner: Blake
I thought this was the silliest dress I'd ever seen, and I wanted some of whatever the judges were drinking that day. This was an embellished net band bracelet, taking my cue from the very limited palette. Not all that inspiring.

Episode Five: Gunn & Heid
Winner: Edmund
This was a team challenge, so there were a number of pieces that trotted out with this same fabric. The first thing that went through my mind when I saw them all side by side was, "Santorini camouflage!" Anyway, I made a strung bracelet using some really odd little clay beads as spacers between the glass crow beads and the beaded beads I made in that color palette.

Episode Six: Lace To The Finish
Winner: Merline
This is an embellished two-drop peyote cuff bracelet, with coated hematite stars scattered across the surface. This was another one I felt was difficult to be inspired by.

Episode Seven: Haute Tech Couture
Winner: Kelly (Ashley was robbed)
Corrugated aluminum. Well, the designer's brief was to repurpose a bunch of old bits of outdated tech.  I made beads out of plumber's tubing filled with aluminum foil, stiffened with headpins, strung together with tiger tail wire, and a toggle clasp (not pictured). I hated this one so much that as soon as I had photographed it for the challenge, I ripped it apart to reuse the structural bits and threw those awful beads away.

Episode Eight: Broadway Or Bust:
Winner: Candace
I really enjoyed myself with this one. I hadn't done a free form peyote bracelet in a very long time; I had forgotten how relaxing, yet challenging, creating a bracelet in this technique is for me. While I don't like working in red, there was enough brass and black to keep me balanced as I worked.

Episode Nine: Make It Sell
Winner: Ashley 
(Edmund was the official winner, but we disagreed)
We thought Edmund's design completely devoid of inspiration for us all, so we declared Ashley our winner. This was an interesting challenge for me - to get the look I wanted, I had to work the peyote stitch in small pieces, then join them together. The pattern I came up with had to be worked in the horizontal, rather than the traditional vertical. I embellished the triangles with vintage sequins and 24K gold seed beads.

Episode Ten: Crew's All In
Winner: Kelly
I took my cue from two facets of this design - leather, and gray ombre. I made a bead embroidered piece to fit into a window cut from a leather band, then lined it with the same leather. I managed to seriously mess up my fingers doing that embroidery. Someday I'll figure out how to use my leather thimble. Someday.

Episode Eleven: The Runway's In 3D
Winner: Kelly
I just didn't understand anything about this challenge. 3D printing is exciting, interesting, and insane to attempt to incorporate into a clothing design. Except as buttons or accessories, I just didn't get any of the treatments I saw. As far as this being the avante garde look - gack. We didn't think any of the designs were winners. Anyway, since Kelly took her inspiration from the brickwork on a bridge, I went with that as my concept, using tila beads interspersed with seed beads in a sort of brickish red/brown color, using a square stitch technique.


Episode 12: Roll Out the Red Carpet
Winner: Kelly

Endless triangles. Kelly seems obsessed. So I went with endless triangles, in a bangle cuff. Lots of "cutouts" to show some skin (har har). Went with Toho beads and an adaptation of a Russian pattern.

So we've seen the final four in their home studios and had a look at what will be the gist of their final collections. The only thing I liked from everything in Episode Thirteen was Ashley Nell Tipton's inspiration - Mexico City in the 50's.  THAT I can use. The rest of it? Pfft.

I don't think I'm going to wait for the Finale. I have no hope for any of it. I'm going with Ashley's vision and slapping my own interpretation on it.

So that would mean there will be more, but later.



Yup. Just like that, I killed my Amazon shop.

Before I could sell a single thing.

I finally got around to reading some of the fine print. I thought this would be much like when I sold books through Amazon. I could not have been more wrong.

creationsfromthehart says it best.

So for now, it's back to Etsy. Better the devil I know.


Handmade At Amazon!

I'm in the process of listing inventory over at the new venue, Handmade at Amazon.

Look!  There's a button to get there on the button bar!

The nice folks at Amazon are waiving the professional seller's monthly fees for the first year for all the artisans who've signed up recently, which was mighty nice of them - given the fact that most of us are operating on super thin margins. I'll know in the first three months if this will be a viable sales platform for me or a waste of time.

I have a ton of inventory to get listed, as well as some shop policies to define, before I can go live. I should be able to handle that in the next few days.

Oh, and I finished that ruffly chocolate and turquoise bracelet I'd been working on.  See?

So. More later.


What I'm Up To

Last week I started a Tumblr blog, called "The Craft Hole." It's daily photos of my crafting spaces. The reason I did this was to force myself to either clean things up or get busy on the projects scattered everywhere. And it has its own shiny button right up there on the DooDad bar.

Also too, there is a button to take you to my Pinterest junk. I'm pretty sure most of it is Safe For Work.

And this is what I made for last week's Embellishing the Runway challenge. I am now officially crazy for the macrame slide closure.

And this was my boring entry for the boring winner of Episode 4:

I'm at work on two things right now - Week 6 Embellish the Runway item, and a little side project, featured in my Crafthole Tumblr blog.

Pretty sure that means there'll be more later.


I Made Some Stuff

Not too long ago - I just forgot to share.

So first some remakes - while I loved my original concept for these, I had a tough time with the "infrastructure," if you will. At last the light bulb came on and I had the right idea. I remade these using bead cord - giving them a macrame adjustable slide (and skulls!).

I made these crazy lace/lampwork stackers some time back - I've been hoarding.

And last week I put these together - multistrand wraps - I haven't decided if I'll make some for sale:

Right now I'm working on my "Embellishing the Runway" challenge piece, so that means there'll be more later.


Embellishing the Runway, Episodes 2 and 3

Doing a little catch-up here.

Episode 2 Winning look:

Using the concept of the oversized petals, and the color palette of whites with black and red accents, I came up with an embellished peyote stitch bracelet, the embellishments consisting of my own take on the Russian leaf technique and two small glass leaf beads, positioned to sit at the wearer's outer wrist bone.

Episode 3 winning look:

Taking my inspiration from pattern mixing, I made a loomed wrap bracelet with repeating patterns of stripes, tweed, and paint splattered print. I wasn't all that keen about the pinkish red, so I substituted in a reddish brown. While the winning look has a summer feel, my take is more autumnal.

There are many more episodes ahead; logically it follows - there will be more from me, later.


Embellishing the Runway: Season 14

Here we go again! Only this time, instead of a Flickr group, we're on a Facebook page -

Here's the winning look from the first episode of Season 14:
Design by Ashley Nell Tipton

And here's my challenge piece:
Inspired by the colors Ashley used in her skirt, and by the "polka dot" effect from her top, I came up with this set of bead crochet bangle bracelets. 

I had forgotten how much fun it is to do these weekly challenges.

More later, as we are on to Episode 2!!


Aftcra Farewell

After 8 months and ZERO feedback, I've optioned to close the Aftcra online storefront.

I had hopes for those guys, but . . . my stuff never showed up in simple searches. There just wasn't any point. You'd type in a search for "jewelry box" and get two pages of etched wine glasses.


So, I have fond hopes for the Amazon Handcrafted Marketplace, if and when that manifests.

Fingers crossed, and more later.


An Interesting Development

With the decline in favor for Etsy as an actual marketplace for REAL handcrafted goods, Amazon took a look and thought, what the hell. They put out some feelers, enough legit folks responded, so they're pulling together an Amazon Handcrafted Marketplace. And I've been accepted as a possible vendor. In the next few weeks, they'll send me a formal application and we'll see.

This comes at a very interesting time for me.

I've been at a crossroads for some time, and only recently I've felt myself becoming "unstuck," with life becoming a river again, and not a sinkhole.


Yikes, Spikes!

My daughter, the gifted hands and savvy brain behind The Jade Dog, sent me a dozen of her fantastic polymer spikes. Since my milieu is bracelets and boxes, I wasn't altogether sure what I would do with them. I lived with them hanging on my workbench for a while, and at last they told me what to do.

With mookaite.

With turquoise.

With crazy lace agate.

They are all accented with Japanese glass beaded beads, pewter findings, glass crow beads, bone, and leather lacing. Click to embiggen. I'm in the process of deciding when, or even IF, I'll list them for sale on Etsy and Aftcra. 

Right now I think the heat has gotten to me - I must be demented - I'm working on a layered right-angle weave bracelet. 

More later, if I can hang on to sufficient sanity.


Magnus' Sweets Box

Inspired by the sweets box creation of Chef Magnus Nilsson, here's my beaded version.

Just got it finished this afternoon, and listed it on Etsy.

I've spent most of my day horsing around on Pinterest.

Now I know why I've been reluctant to visit that site - three hours of my life just disappeared.

More later, if I can control my pinning.


Works In Progress

After raising the tiniest, most painful blister I've ever experienced - the result of all that marathon bead crochet work I did last month - I thought it might be time to do Something Else.

So this is the general state of the work table these days:

I'm back to making beaded beads and bead embroidered box lids.

Matte metallic is still one of my favorite seed bead finishes - they work up in such interesting ways on a beaded bead.

I've had to re-learn how to do these - You can tell the dark raspberry was the practice bead.

I've been watching "Chef's Table," a 6 episode series streaming on Netflix. I've been keeping three different notebooks while I view the program - one for food ideas, one for general observations, and one for beadwork inspirations. The inspiration for the bead embroidery piece is from Magnus Nilsson and his "Sweets Box:"

The colors and variety of textures are intriguing to me, as well as the rustic box containing them.

Early days yet on this piece, but I like the direction it's taking.

I have no memory of acquiring those flat turquoise nuggets, but I love how they pave together.

So, that's me right now and of course, more later.


At Long Last

and with absolutely no shame for the pun, I can say
It's A Wrap.

I finished a dozen shop-ready wrap bracelets, got them photographed this morning, and I'm working on getting them listed in the online shops this afternoon.

Since I won't be using my models in those listings, I just had to use them somehow, so here's a little promo poster I made for them:

They're also in the aftcra shop (handy linkage button up top), which I have spiffed up considerably. Take a peek, won't you? HMMM?

More later!


Hopeless Blogger

I'm having more and more trouble remembering to make entries here.

I recently decided to expand my customer base by offering international shipping. I have no idea how that will shake out, but I'm hoping against experience that it might gain a sale or two.

Also, I've been busy making these great wrap bracelets -

Here's a close-up:

And another of my favorites:

(this one has already sold)

Matter of fact, I've sold three already - two of them right off my arm at the book shop. So I have a good feeling about this design. I love making them, too. 

And I need to get back to doing just that, too. I want to have a least a dozen ready to go before I list them in my online shops. I've taken this week off from work so I could tend to a few chores around the place, and filling my cyber shelves is one of those chores.
Just got a shipment of beads from Charlene's Beads - I've been buying from her for years and while I prefer to visit my local beadshop, Poppyfield Beads, I can't seem to get there when they're open - my schedule and theirs are almost always at odds. 

Back to work. 
Or at least change out of my pajamas. 

More later - without doubt.


Spring Clearance Sale

I'm running a spring clearance sale in my Etsy shop - all of my bead embroidered boxes are reduced in price to $75 each.

This link,
AnotherCountry BeadWorks,
will get you there.

Wish me luck.

More later.


Spring Around The Corner

First sign of spring on the worktable:

I love bangle bracelets.

Now, getting serious, I'm working out a new design. Here's a sneak peek of the work in progress:

More later.