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Archive for January, 2014

nightfall no. 2: a product of a previous boro binge

nightfall no. 2: a product of a previous boro binge

Goodness gracious. It’s been 25 days since my last post. It seems like about 5 days. But who was counting? Not me. Beads and jewelry are my livelihood, my hobby and my passion and I can only escape one by picking up the other. It has become increasingly more difficult to get away from any of them long enough to let everyone know I’m still breathing. At least on my blog. It doesn’t take nearly as long for me to reply to your emails, which I’ve been enjoying as well!

 

But the news is good: I’ve been productive. I’m on a boro binge and I made some jewelry. Additionally, you haven’t heard much from me because my computer has been randomly blue-screening and the error messages have been about as cryptic as computer error messages typically are. (Oh great, it happened again when I was working on this. Thank goodness for auto save.) We’ve determined that the computer is just old and unless we want to kill our wallets with computer part roulette, we’ll have to live with it. In other words, I’ve been ignoring the heck out of my computer and spending much more time at the various benches.

I’m also pretty darned sad. OKC lost another bead store, Elements Beadery, last weekend. (We lost another one, the Spiral, last summer.) I knew they were discussing closing up shop for a while, but last I heard they weren’t sure. Then mom was in the area Saturday before last and called me from her cell phone (it’s gotta be really important if she’s using her pay-as-you-go) and told me everything in the store was 70% off and that they were going out of business. I was surprised, of course, and Mom said she’d come and get me and we would go back out there.

We went in and I saw the owner, Pat, and I was surprised not to see her daughter Toni. I missed a lot over the last several months – Toni moved to Dallas and when I heard that I was even more disappointed because Toni had mentioned opening her own shop once Elements was put to rest. But she’ll be moving back and perhaps that’s a possibility somewhere off in the future. The only thing I know for sure is that I had to hold back tears – I didn’t want to blur the labels on the size 15 Miyukis. Pat reassured me that this was a happy transition for her. It made me feel better for her, but I was no less sad. I am extremely attached to Elements for a number of reasons.

no more heavy MIL ziplocks full of beads and a receipt a'la Elements Beadery

no more heavy MIL ziplocks full of beads and a receipt a’la Elements Beadery

I believe Elements opened their store in 1996. I frequented Nomadic Notions after I found out there were bead stores – I must not have found Elements in the phone book when I first started hunting for bead stores. The main staff at NN never bothered to tell me about Elements. Then a new hire named Rachel told me all about it and was floored that I didn’t know about them. She told me that if I liked seed beads I shouldn’t hesitate to pay them a visit.

The first time I visited Elements was on an extremely cold February day in 1997. That was where I discovered Delicas, size 15 seed beads and eventually, the square stitch. Until that point, I had been stuck with Nomadic Notions’ lax definition of size 10 Czech seed beads and was extremely frustrated with my peyote and loomwork bulging in width in some areas and shrinking in others. When I found the size 15/o Miyukis in colors I had never dared dream of, I was determined to find a use for them. Opalescent silverlined, sea foam green, bright fuschia!? And they were so cheap in those itty bitty tubes that even a mostly jobless young’in like me could afford them when Grandma slipped me a $10 under the placemat. And the Delicas! Yes, a bit more pricey than your standard seed bead, but the COLORS! The UNIFORMITY! And then I discovered square stitch – I saw a bracelet made from tube shaped beaded beads in the display case and I had to know all about them, and that’s when they sold me a copy of Carol Wilcox Wells’ Creative Beadweaving. I could hardly believe what I was reading; I no longer needed a LOOM! And so many different ways to do peyote! And what’s this brick stitch?! It’s awesome, that’s what.

For a long time, a most beautiful necklace made of artisan lampwork sat by the register.  I admired it every time I went in – the beads had dots, dichro and deep encasement in yellows and ambers. Once I realized what that was, along with my new discovery of the lampwork process, Pat told me a few things about the start-up and warned that beadmaking was not a cheap way to entertain myself. (But once I got a job, I earned enough for a hot head and a few rods and down the rabbit hole I went.) They were always so helpful at Elements – I learned so much from Toni and Pat and I even sold a handful of my lampwork beads there.

It’s important to support your local bead stores. The prices may be higher than at shows and online in some cases (but in some cases, not). The truth is,  you’re paying that little extra bit for the knowledge they share, their sources for beads you might not have access to otherwise and honestly, their ability to do what they love and share it with us in a way that can’t be shared any other way. I suppose the heaviest bulk of my sadness lies in the possibility that this could be indicative of an end to an era. Two of the strongest local shops in OKC are gone within 6 months of one another. I’m reasonably sure the circumstances surrounding the closing of both shops weren’t necessarily financially related – The Spiral closed because the owner Linda decided to move to Alabama around the time the powers that be decided to widen the street and basically eliminate all of her parking.

We had some of the best bead stores here. We still have one very established store, Alouette, and lordy doodle I could spend a lot of time and money in THERE but she’s way off in Midwest City. Thank goodness. But I hope that maybe someone will step in and open another one. Who knows, maybe some day that someone will be me. (But please don’t hold me to that, retail is NOT my forte.)

now that I've quit, I can use my fashionable smoking accessories for good instead of evil

now that I’ve quit, I can use my stylish smoking accessories for good instead of evil

In other news, I made some cool stuff.

Cool Thing #1: A ring for my stylist. They called this stone ametrine, likely very low grade ametrine if it is:

estrellaamethyst

Cool Thing #2 – The Scandanavian Nightmare Bejewelled Spike. I got lucky – the sterling housing was made for something else that went awry, but was a perfect fit for this spiky stripey bead so I was able to save all of that work (and silver!). I made this with the intention of making it into a necklace – probably wire-wrapped bead chain – but I’m not sure yet.

scandaspike3

scandaspike

scandaspike2

 

Cool Thing #3 – Safety Pin. Not just any safety pin, a big-ass safety pin. Around 3″ long.

safetypins2

My step-mom gave me a very large safety pin (bottom) many years ago, and I’ve treasured it. Unfortunately, it was made of or coated with something that I was very allergic to and I had a hard time wearing it, but I loved it so much I rarely let that stop me. I have been wanting to make one in sterling since I started working with metal but couldn’t really figure out how to make the cap part. I would have made one with wire only, but those are a bit more commonplace and I enjoy a challenge.

safetypins3

Since it would be used for beads, as a last thought I added the hole at the top so that chain could be looped through. I even filed the wire to a point (not shown). I might make a few more of these… next time I’ll make the cap part from heavier gauge metal.

Cool Thing #4 – Aquamarine ring.

staraquamarine

Unconventional Lapidarist cut this aquamarine. I saw it at their booth and fell in love with it. Then I found out how much it cost. EEK! Mom saw how much I loved it and paid for a good portion of it after I promised to keep it for myself, and after I made her promise not to get me anything for my birthday or Christmas last year. I thought about what I would do with this stone for months, and finally came up with a plan. I couldn’t believe how well I did with the making of the bezel and setting the stone.

Cool thing #5 – a ring made from one of my foil cabochons:

floopylavring

This ring is very striking on the finger. The setting and stone are not too big and not too small. The hazy lavender is quite an interesting color. In fluorescent light, and if there is no natural or incandescent light present, it turns a very unusual purplish periwinkle grey-blue with almost a UV illuminated uranium sort of quality. Almost impossible to describe. However, in natural light, it’s the color seen above. I’ll be putting this one on Etsy soon enough, unless someone wants to save me the trouble and listing fees. If you’re interested give me a holler.

floopylavring2

And hopefully, before too many more days pass, I’ll have another blog and etsy update for you. I’ll be fairly busy with orders as soon as I’m done with the big boro binge, but I’ll surely find some time to make a few me-time beads.

Thanks for checking in!

another set from a past boro binge

another set from a past boro binge

 

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Well, I almost made it. (ETSY!)

I narrowly missed before midnight. At least it’s still before midnight just west of me…

Click HERE for my Etsy shop, or the thumbnails below for each item.

Berry Parfait Hana:

berryparfaithanaetsygal

 

Drunken Bumblebee Shimmer Spikes:

drunkenbumbleshimmeretsygal

 

Rayv Kydz:

rayvkydzetsygal

 

Lipstick Flames Shimmer Toggles:

lipstickflamesdichrotogglesetsygal

 

Rhodochrosite Shimmer Spikes:

rhodoshimmeretsygal

 

I hope you like the beads! My hunny made rasam and we’re going to go cook up some mustard seeds and curry leaves and warm our bones on this suddenly very cold winter night. Stay warm!

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I mean, beads!

Well, happy new all of that.

You know what this means, right? I have some new beads for Etsy! I hope to get them listed before midnight tonight. Here’s what’s coming up:

z-beads, week of December 29th of 2013

z-beads, week of December 29th of 2013

So, what’s coming up this new year? Me, I’m going to try and finish my 2013 gallery on my website before too much more time passes. How’s that for committing to something? But also, I’m going to try and kick this nasty sugar habit of mine. It got way out of control this summer when my dad was dying. I was really sad and ate a lot of candy. The candy didn’t help me be any less sad, but that didn’t keep me from eating it. So now I’m carrying an extra 20lbs I didn’t have on me a year ago. Over the last several days I’ve been using stevia in my coffee and teas and I have to tell you, I really like it. I feel better not starting out my day with 3-6 teaspoons of sugar in me. I also found I much prefer the flavor of black teas vs green teas, and that’s helped me want to drink tea rather than go buy a giant bag of Haribo Gold Bears. Yesterday I only ate 2 pieces of candy and did pilates for 20 minutes. The candy seemed excessively sweet and not as satisfying as it has been in the past, and the pilates was grueling. It made me feel a little nauseous and today I can’t bend over without muscle pain in my gut. I think that means it’s working.

Another thing I didn’t mention was that I quit smoking cigarettes back in March. I was afraid it wouldn’t stick, since it hadn’t before. I loved my cigarettes. Adored them. Everyone who knew me was flabbergasted that I was even attempting to get them out of my life. But at the time, I wasn’t sure why I wanted to quit so badly. It isn’t that I didn’t know until right then how bad they were, or how badly they smelled on my clothes and in my hair, and that I wasn’t yet tired enough of cleaning up spilled ashtrays in the middle of the night and finding random cigarette butts all over the house. I was just suddenly very ready, I felt an indescribable urgency to quit them. It wasn’t clear why until a few months later, when my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. To say the least, it would have been awkward to step out of dad’s hospital room to smoke a cigarette every few hours.

However, I’m still hooked on nicotine. I started vaping, which is leaps and bounds better than smoking cigarettes, and slightly worse than being entirely nicotine free. Or better, depending on your perspective. Believe me, if it weren’t for these little devices that simulate cigarettes and deliver the same euphoria without (most of) the bad things that go along with real cigarettes, I’d probably still be sucking on the real things. When I made the switch, I could tell a difference instantly. It was only a few days before the clicking wheezing in my chest and morning cough went away… no more shortness of breath and constantly clogged sinuses on the verge of infection. I don’t use the device in public places, and I’m a light user anyway so it barely costs me anything. I’m quite confident at this point that I am done with cigarettes entirely, so I feel comfortable sharing it with you. At some point I’ll likely phase that out of my life as well and then I can be 100% Pollyanna and I’ll have absolutely nothing subversive or obtuse to cling to, except for my not-so-occasional f-bombs dropped in the most inappropriate of places.

Anyway. I’m going to Mom’s for dinner (blackeyed peas, of course) and when I return I’ll make those Etsy listings happen. Thanks for checking in on New Years Day, I’ll see you a bit later.

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