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Here are the beads! Click here to get right to my shop, or the link below each photo for the individual listings. FYI, I have decided to declare the Unicorn Sprinkle Palace (which is still available as of this update) a one of a kind set because the more I thought about it the more I realized I couldn’t make another one with quite the same zeal as I did the original. I’m just brimming with sparkle these days, aren’t I.

Crash Wanda Smooches – 9 smooches


Massive Floopy Flower – a big flower with a big hole (ooak)


Over It: Pastel Milkshake – a strand of 7 rainbows


Persimmon/Pomegranate Smooches – 9 smooches


Rainy Saturday Spiky Sprocket – this one has a really big hole (ooak)


Lipstick Flames Smooch Trio Purse Charm – jewelry for your bag OOAK


And that is everything. I hope you find something you like. Meanwhile, I’m going to go clean something and hopefully get some beads packed up for the post office. My sister is coming by with something that may yield an interesting new project, or it may not, but you’ll know it when you see it because I’ll fill you in if it ever happens. Let’s hope this coming week is better. Thanks for checking in!

Today’s shop update will be at 5pm Central Time. I’m sorry I didn’t do my usual multiple announcements and sneak peek pictures with better forewarning, I just didn’t have the whole regalia in me this time. I’ll post again at 5pm with links to everything. See you again then.

My horoscope (scorpio sun, scorpio moon, scorpio rising, scorpio venus, oh and some more scorpio in there somewhere) has advised that I should be very cautious about what I say on social media because the likelihood of committing a faux pas is pretty high at the moment. I guess everything is in retrograde, so keeping it to myself seems like just as a good of an idea lately as it ever has. But. The news these days. I feel like it is important to take a chance and say something about where I stand, and how I’m feeling at the moment.

I used to be a fairly happy person, but life happens, you eventually grow up and begin to understand the value of watching the news. I do not like to discuss politics here, but I am terrified about the future and to say that I’m feeling hopeless these days would be an understatement. Sure, you can vote, and I do, but you don’t always get who or what you vote for. Most of you are probably aware that I live in a red state and I want to be clear: I did not vote for these “people” and I do not share their extreme viewpoints. I am very live-and-let-live, I do not impose my beliefs and preferences on other people, and our differences are what make life interesting. Now, if I see someone I care about doing something stupid and dangerous I will say something, but otherwise, you do you.

2022 had the potential to be much better than 2020 and 2021, and I was about to be convinced that it was headed that way, but instead, has been a different kind of hell. At least, for someone like me, who tends to see things from a human perspective rather than a political one. And it isn’t like I can say “woe is me, but at least this is a wonderful world, and other people are doing okay, so there is hope” because the wars, the irresponsibility, the greed and other peoples’ agendas and politics – whatever they may be – are affecting everyone but the one percent… and I don’t know them and never will, they might as well live on a different planet than the rest of us. Mars, eventually. And good riddance, I say. There is no moderation or reason, they’ve all got something to prove and they’re at each others’ throats, and so much of it is a petty distraction. It’s all too extreme, all the time, and I long for the peace and quiet of everyone just minding their own business somewhere in the middle. I lost my naivete a while back, and my idealistic tendencies naturally went with it, so I do realize that isn’t likely to happen.

It has been difficult to make these luxury items under the weight of everything and ask the prices I need to ask to compensate myself for the time, skill and materials I put into them, in the current environment. I sometimes feel wrong about spending my time this way, for a variety of complicated reasons I won’t bore you with. I have not raised my prices, but I can’t afford to lower them. I wish I could just give my work away, that would be better for my soul, but the resulting jailtime for shoplifting toiletries certainly wouldn’t be. Maybe someday I can do something that feels right. We’ve even bought a few lottery tickets, because I feel like if I won the big one, I could do some good for the people in my life, and I don’t need much to be comfortable. But I know that’s about as likely to happen as world peace. I know the people closest to me would tell me that I do enough good already, and I have made a focused effort to surround myself with decent people who truly care about me and know my real value. At least I have that going for me.

So, anyway. I’m tentatively planning a shop update this Sunday. Very tentatively. And it’s not going to be a big to-do, just a couple of odds and ends, but it’s probably worth checking out, I guess. I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for reading.

Here are the beads! Click here to get right to my shop, or the link below each photo for the individual listings.

Dayglo Lolly Chunky Bracelet – happy colored randos for your wrist OOAK

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The Dayglo Lolly-Dragon Bracelet – an outrageous bead crochet bracelet OOAK

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Dayglo Lollies Prayer Beads – a bright, cheery and chunky as all get-out bracelet OOAK

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Dayglo Rainbow Purse Charm – jewelry for your bag OOAK

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Unicorn Sprinkle Palace – 14 bead deluxe sampler

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Unicorn Sprinkles Glimmer Strips – 7 sweet shimmers

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Tenacious Taffy Toggles & Tabs – 9 beads

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Yellow Frosting Glowballs – 7 luminous hollows

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Well, that’s everything! I had a lot of fun putting this series together. It happened quite by accident… after getting a candy vibe from the three bracelets and the Unicorn Sprinkle Palace also being pretty candy oriented, I just kept going with a few more.

Now that I feel like I’m on my way to establishing a routine with the beads, perhaps I might decide to make it a ritual to clean my house after my updates. I definitely don’t have time or energy to do that before, and it’s always such a weight off when I’ve gotten everything ready to debut on time, and I do like to keep a clean house. Cluttered, yes, but also clean. Finding time to clean is practically a guilty pleasure for me these days.

Thanks so much for coming and having a look at the goodies! If you need anything or have questions, give me a jangle.

There will be a Sweets themed shop update this Sunday! April 24th 3PM Central Time. It’s going to be extra fun and vibrant, come have a look! I will post here again when I load up my shop, and if you’re subscribed to this blog via email you will get a notification the minute it happens.

Dayglo Lolly bracelet series – we’ll be in the shop Sunday!

Thank you once again for another great sale weekend before last. I appreciate your continued support, I really do. I used to do this all so flawlessly, but I also had an established routine and zero social life. I don’t know how you guys feel about how I’ve been doing these sales, I do realize the times and days are kind of all over the place. So far that’s what my schedule has allowed, what with orders and personal responsibilities. Once upon a time I listed my ebay auctions to end on Sunday evening, and it was nice to be able to get things packed up and off to the post office first thing Monday. As far as time of day, since I’m smack in the middle (central time) I’ve been updating my shop in the mid afternoon to accommodate people on both coasts… 8pm Central time might be too late in the evening for those off to the east because it’s 10 there. So, I don’t know, if you have any input feel free to share. Meanwhile, I think Sundays are probably going to be shop update days, and it may vary between afternoons and evenings, depending on what I can manage. You can pretty much count on it never happening in the morning, because morning is for the birds and squirrels and stuff, not weirdos like me.

the Unicorn Sprinkles series – see us this Sunday!

Thanks for checking in, talk to you again Sunday!

Sunday Shop Update

Here are the beads! Click here to get right to my shop, or the link below each photo for the individual listings.

Window Dressing – 13 bead sampler
http://zbeads.bigcartel.com/product/window-dressing-13-bead-sampler


Whimsicle Slices: Unprecedented Limes – 6 beads
http://zbeads.bigcartel.com/product/whimsicle-slices-unprecedented-limes-6-beads


Canyon Afternoon – a fancy threesome + 12 plain spacers
http://zbeads.bigcartel.com/product/canyon-afternoon-a-fancy-threesome-12-plain-spacers


Glorious Globules of Glitz (Mod Mirror Dots) – 11 intense beads
http://zbeads.bigcartel.com/product/glorious-globules-of-glitz-mod-mirror-dots-11-intense-beads


Egg Decorating Day – 6 delightful beads
http://zbeads.bigcartel.com/product/egg-decorating-day-6-delightful-beads


Foiled Not Chocolate Eggs – 8 beads
http://zbeads.bigcartel.com/product/foiled-not-chocolate-eggs-8-beads


Well, that’s everything… thanks for taking a gander. Give me a holler if you have any questions or need something special. Made to orders are always welcome, no order is too small!

In my shop, Sunday April 10th, 3PM Central Time, to be exact. I just like to do what I want when I want, especially after the sun has buggered off, and so many places either close early on Sunday or aren’t open at all. How dare anyone take a day off!? Harumph. Not me, says the workaholic. Honestly, as usual, Easter came ahead of schedule as it does for me every year, and since I have a theme going, I don’t want to be even a day late. I actually managed to make Easter eggs BEFORE Easter! In fact, it’s the first time ever for this to happen and I’m pretty excited about it because they’re so stinkin’ cute.

Here’s a little peek at what will be available – this isn’t everything:

BTW, WordPress reminded me yesterday that I’ve been quite the little Etsy activist once or twice in the past, which I had somehow forgotten about. I never felt the type of attachment to the site that would inspire such passionate diatribes. I guess I was never a strong believer in Etsy, but I am a strong believer in creativity. My creative work is probably the only thing keeping me sane. That time I took off was something I might have needed to avoid burnout, but it was also more detrimental to many aspects of my life because I didn’t have that productive outlet. So, my advice to anyone reading, if you don’t feel quite right, make something. Try something new… a new stitch, a new knot, a new color. It won’t solve all of your problems but it might help you feel better for a while.

new family member

In other (old) news… a longtime colleague/client I hadn’t heard from in quite some time emailed me last fall and inquired about my address, she wanted to send me a housewarming gift. I said sure, ok, expecting nothing in particular. Later she revealed it was glass related, and I thought, cool, probably a vase or some rare old stock or something interesting that might find its way into the fire at some point or another. So when it arrived, the box was surprisingly heavy in a shape I didn’t quite expect. I opened it and was completely, totally stunned to find a Bethlehem Piranha inside, and two pairs of bad-ass earrings. I actually cried a little, if we’re being honest, the sentiment was so touching in so many ways at just that moment. Oddly, a couple of weeks before, I was talking about Bethlehem torches with a different client, and even went so far as to see if any of them might be for sale anywhere. Not that I planned on buying one, but just out of curiosity. I didn’t find any, I think people hold onto these because they’re just so freaking cool looking, and they’re so functionally well designed.

I bought my beloved Bethlehem Alpha in 2013 towards the beginning of its release, I even called around to find one with a round metal base because it just looked cooler than that square thing they replaced it with. I had been using a Nortel Minor for about 10 years before that and the jets had burned out so badly that it needed repair, and that’s pretty much why I bought the Alpha so that I could send the Minor off to Canada for a fixer-upper. But I instantly fell in love with that Alpha, and in the immediate following months my life got so off track what with my dad getting sick, I never sent it off. I may still eventually. Anyway, I got hoses for it but haven’t had the opportunity or werewithal to hook it up yet – predictability is a precious commodity these days, isn’t it? – and want to take my time with the Piranha. It’s probably not much different than the Alpha, to be honest, but I kinda wonder if the flame chemistry might be more to my liking. I guess we will see. But I hope HM wouldn’t be too mad if I painted the metal base hot pink…

Anyway, enough blah-blah, I’m gonna go get those beads ready for their ball this Sunday! I’ll post here again when they’re in their proper places. Until then!

Yes, I do have opinions, about all sorts of things, but I tend to keep them to myself most of the time. Life is so heavy these days. I’ve been saying this for what feels like a decade. 10 years ago me didn’t know the half of it. So it isn’t that I don’t care about the current state of things, I guess I just want you to be able to visit my various spaces without feeling preached at.

That said. Artsy craftsy types need a nice place to sell their handmade things, and people interested in buying such things need to know how to look for them, and preferably, everyone can buy and sell in one place because it’s really so much easier that way. A marketplace, if you will. Etsy was once such a place, until those moustachioed sock monkeys grew fangs…which happened, some say, when Etsy “went public”. That’s generally when the bottom line begins to bite the hand that feeds it, and by most accounts, it has continued to gnaw it to a bloody stump. I left Etsy in 2017 and had been blissfully ignorant since, but there’s another dust-up in the crafty aisle so big that even I caught wind of it.

You guessed it. People are real mad at Etsy again. Please read the link below for the full list of grievances. It’s a petition and a call for action. Sign it or don’t, participate or don’t – but please read it. I bet some people are completely clueless about what it’s really like to sell on Etsy and this petition reveals quite a few things. These are legitimate complaints about how Etsy screws with the livelihoods of crafters because they’re greedy and because they CAN. Etsy takes advantage of the fact that they’re the most prominent online craft market. The fee increase is getting the most attention, and in my opinion, is the least offensive thing on that list, mainly because it’s the only thing they’ve actually been up-front about.

https://www.coworker.org/petitions/cancel-the-fee-increase-work-with-sellers-not-against-us

Etsy’s lack of transparency is the reason I abandoned my shop in 2017. The (then) new policies concerning how they were going to be handling my money (by wresting the control away from myself and Paypal, my preferred online payment handler) and maybe even arbitrarily holding onto some or all of it for indeterminate lengths of time, were purposefully vague. I also had a problem with being asked to submit sensitive information via email because they weren’t resourceful enough to gather such information securely and properly. To add further insult, customer support was (and apparently still is) very lacking, with people waiting weeks or months for a direct response to questions like “why did you close my shop” or “why have you been withholding my payment for 3 months”. No answers on the Etsy community board or other social media outlets, either. Dissenters had their posts deleted and their questions went unanswered. It started to feel less like a professionally run marketplace and more like a swap-meet on the bad side of town.

remember when bad crafts were the worst things about etsy?

Some sellers are “going on strike” (to say this is a boycott would be more appropriate) and are also asking buyers to stop buying from the Etsy site for an entire week starting April 11, 2022. It probably won’t make any difference unless literally everyone who sells on Etsy participates, and that’s not going to happen. While a lot can be said for temporarily sacrificing for the greater good, people are understandably too desperate and concerned about their own bottom line right now when they’re wondering how they’re going to feed themselves.

However. I do wonder if supporting Etsy sellers Offsite (haHA, how’s that for a turned table) so that sellers don’t have to pay fees or make sales on Etsy during that time might be a better idea. Some sellers don’t have their own website, but any seller who does and offers the same items on their website or takes custom work would likely appreciate it if you made an extra special effort to shop without the middleman during that time period… or, maybe indefinitely. I do this whenever I can anyway because I know how much those fees can add up for a seller. There is usually a way around things that will benefit the good guys while the bad guys are too busy being bad to notice. And yes, I believe this is truly bad, and that’s why I’m bringing this to your attention. Some of this stuff Etsy is pulling might be legal, technically, but I wouldn’t call it ethical by any stretch. I feel like the whole point of Etsy, especially at the moment, should be a way out from under the greedy corporate thumb, a means of making our own way by doing something we enjoy, and Etsy promotes itself as the crafter’s white knight while mugging them when nobody is looking. Standards ought to be put in place, and transparency required by law. I don’t see how they keep getting away with this crap.

wow, I have over 1000 followers on etsy? I had no idea

Things changed so much during my time away, and social media seems to have become the best way to promote yourself these days. But the truth is, I don’t enjoy social media. I loathe facebook, for purposes both professional and personal, and instagram is a lot more breezy, but also just plain annoying most of the time. I’m going to try and endure instagram, at least… but if I thought I could trust Etsy at all, I’d probably go back, for no other reason than the google search results and categorical listing. It’s great advertising as long as you know exactly what you’re getting, how much you’re paying, and have some say about how you’re being promoted. Hopefully Etsy can turn themselves around, but I’m not going to hold my breath. Then again, my favorite Chinese restaurant declared they were closing permanently a couple of months ago and it ruined my entire week… and then a couple of weeks ago they decided to reopen, and I was sure the clouds were about to part. So. You never know.

I don’t have the knowledge base or resources to create such a thing, but wouldn’t it be great if there was a crafters database of sorts… where crafters with their own independent web-based shops, like mine, were listed, categorically, so that a person with a need for a specific handmade item, like wooden furniture or baby bows or ugly toe rings could easily be found. Maybe for a low yearly due, if not free, if it can be managed. Something that can’t be bought off by a craft tycoon (side-eye @ artfire), something that only exists for the love of crafts and crafters’ natural inclinations to be independent, free to create, and save as much money as they possibly can. We will continue to eat out of date food because we’re artsy fartsy dingbbats to the core, but at least we will have a few extra bucks to buy that jar of preserves to begin with.

If you’ve gotten this far, thanks for reading. And yes, a sale is coming soon, within the next several days. You’ll be hearing from me again before then.

z-beads sale time

Click here to get right to my shop, or the link above each photo below for the individual listings.

Midway – 11 quirky beads + a bonus tassel
http://zbeads.bigcartel.com/product/midway-11-quirky-beads-a-bonus-tassel

Luminous Dustbunnies – 9 special beads (Chef’s Pick)
http://zbeads.bigcartel.com/product/luminous-dustbunnies-9-special-beads

Grrl on the Street Sideways Smooches – a different angle
http://zbeads.bigcartel.com/product/grrl-on-the-street-sideways-smooches-a-different-angle

Paper Lantern Party Ball OOAK
http://zbeads.bigcartel.com/product/paper-lantern-party-ball-ooak

Cheesecake Type Deal Shisha Sprees & Nuggets – 7 beads
http://zbeads.bigcartel.com/product/cheesecake-type-deal-shisha-sprees-nuggets-7-beads

Motley Crew – 10 total randos
http://zbeads.bigcartel.com/product/motley-crew-10-total-randos

Black Ice Woozballs – 15 velvety beads
http://zbeads.bigcartel.com/product/black-ice-woozballs-15-velvety-beads

Well, that’s everything. I should mention that I’m quite behind on work, what with the nasty weather and other interruptions this past month. I have another sizeable order that’s been on the itinerary for weeks now, and that gets priority, so if you miss out on anything for sale this go-round, and must Must MUST have your own, please let me know, but give me a few weeks to get to it even if it’s just one set. I do apologize, this isn’t the usual thing with me… I mean, sometimes I’m a little slow, but I’m not generally quite THIS slow. (One thing I’m never slow about is shipping your beads, so at least there is that.) Thank you for understanding.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend! Thanks for having a look.

First things first: There will be new beads for sale in my shop this Saturday March 5th, 2PM Central Time! Prepare your eyeballs for some new and interesting stuff. Another notification will come on Saturday when my shop is updated with the new listings.

rescue us from this crazy bead lady

I’ve been quiet, but I’ve been busy: working on a gigantic order and maneuvering around the extremely cold, windy and icy weather. It was particularly frequent this year – January and February are always a drag, but we had way more objectionable precipitation than what is normal, and it was accompanied by an unusual amount of wind. One day was 80 degrees, and literally 24 hours later, it was 20 degrees. This jerk-around was happening about once a week for several weeks in a row. On Monday I was chipping 2 inch thick ice off of my front porch steps with a garden spade while it was 70 degrees. At noon. After spending several days in a row entirely below freezing last week. (I’m sure you guys up north are all “whatever dingbat”.) But that’s harder on your body than prolonged cold or hot temperatures because it requires constant adjustment and I’d rather it just be cold all the time in the winter because I’d prefer my hibernation not be disturbed. Then my ancient wall heater finally (FINALLY!) died in the middle of all of it, and it got replaced with something new and more efficient. All of this kept me out of the bead room for much more time than I’m cool with, but I got several projects done that I started literally years ago, and from the comfort of my comforter with a pile of cats on top. I also started a couple of pieces that I’ve been thinking about for months, which will be done in about 2 years, if I’m estimating correctly… and I probably am. I usually take several months to design a new piece of jewelry because I insist that the construction be almost seamless and resistant to wear and tear, and I put a good bit of thought into length, symmetry and flexibility. I often get so frustrated with my own perfectionism that I end up putting some things away for several months, and I’m usually glad I did because a better idea often materializes once the obsessive scrutiny is focused elsewhere. It’s a good thing I have a productive outlet for my less desirable personality traits.

Here’s the PSA, maybe it will save you some time and extreme frustration – I know many of you sell things on the internet though your own shops or other avenues, and accept Paypal for payment and very likely have been purchasing discounted shipping labels through Paypal. Paypal has recently made the decision to switch to a shipping platform called Shipstation for this service. Why, I have no idea, because nothing was broken. I’m sure it has something to do with someone getting more money, and I assure you, it isn’t us. I got the warning email weeks ago, and sort of ignored it, but with my upcoming sale I realized I could ignore it no more. I almost integrated Shipstation as directed to get ahead of things, but stopped myself at the last fraction of a second and decided to read up first. So glad I did. Everywhere I looked (paypal community, reddit, and review sites), most of the comments regarding Shipstation’s usability/integration with Paypal contained words like “garbage” and “buggy” and “nightmare” and “no customer support”… which did not inspire much confidence, as this has been going on since last fall with no change. I also discovered that, like many service oriented large corporations these days, it appears that they insist on hanging onto just a few of your dollars at all times (also known as requiring a balance).

infer what you will from this
…and this

But there is light at the end of this moneygrubbing tunnel – there are shipping platforms that give a discount on shipping and only charge you for the labels, like Paypal did once upon a better time. Pirate Ship is another reference that kept appearing in these comments, so I looked into it and it seems cute and quirky (but also fairly professional) and pretty much above board. It was praised numerous times for being easy to use. Also, Pirate Ship says it integrates with several major selling platforms (BigCartel, Ebay and Shopify to name a few), which essentially makes labels a bit easier to create because you’re not having to manually enter the info for each label and transaction in both your shop and the shipping service website. One more perk of Pirate Ship – it appears you are not required to maintain a balance, you can opt for pay-as-you-go, but you also have the option of maintaining a balance so that your money account isn’t charged so frequently (I guess for bank or credit accounts that have a transaction limit). Anyway, I’m happy to give this a go and report back once I’ve had time to form an opinion, but it didn’t cost anything to sign up and they don’t want your money info until it’s time to pay for the labels.

It really does pay to do your research. Honestly, I loathe having to constantly circumvent greed and thievery, now more frequently being perpetrated by once-reliable entities, and it gets worse every year that passes. Finding someone to get my compressed air from was a real hassle last year – being told that I’m not going to be able to find someone who delivers for less than $100 and being expected to just accept that as law, either because I’m a woman, or an owner of a small business, was infuriating enough for me to flip them the bird by calling every one I knew personally and on the internet and wouldn’t you know it… my deliveries are $4 elsewhere. Let’s pray my guys don’t get eaten by some interstate monster like the others have. Businesses have always been gouged on services for some reason, the smaller the business the bigger the gouge. So when you get internet for your office or studio, as proud as you are of establishing yourself as a business owner, put your ego aside and just do it in your personal name and sort it out later. “What? You live in a 50 sq ft room over a Chinese restaurant, surrounded by oil paint and sesame chicken fumes and no kitchen?” “Why yes, it’s 2022 and we’re all on the verge of becoming the fourth Mad Max sequel, so why are you giving me crap about this, or anything else???”

I dunno. Anyway. Sale this Saturday. I hope you can come!