When Worlds Collide

My week off has been spent productively, I think.  I mean, for someone who hasn’t actually changed out of pajama’s, I’ve gotten a lot done.  I’ve planted a ton of seeds and cared for all of my animals… Of course, that’s all in my virtual game world.  My real world has been less productive, though the torching is going pretty well.

I actually made a mini set yesterday and all the beads look decent.

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There was another test bead, an encased floral, I made with this same background color, but my year hiatus made me forget that this glass doesn’t like to be encased and… well… it’s getting a watery grave in the bottom of my quench bowl.

I’m really going to work  on keeping a balance between my gaming and crafting because I don’t want to burn out on either one.  So, here’s my first attempt at melding the two things.  Oh, yeah, there are things I could do better on this, but it’s a starting point.

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Special shout out to my guildie and new cheerleader, Kristian/Shira. 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement.

**Need to get the photo stuff out so these look less pitiful than they really are.

Baby Steps

I did it!  I lit my torch for the first time in about 14 months. And I actually made beads. They aren’t great.  I won’t be posting them for sale on Etsy or Facebook, but they may one day make it to the bead orphan bowl… The bowl with functionally competent beads that were one-offs from one of my torching sessions.

I’m super rusty, which I guess is to be expected.  I suppose it could have been worse.  I filled a couple presses like a boss, but when it came time to decorate those bases… Well, that’s were it all fell apart. Witness the sad bunny…

The rust is real

I have a few more beads in the kiln right now and sadly, not much progress was made.  But, I’ll keep at it. If nothing else, I did remember how much I love to melt glass.

Annnnd Back!

It’s been soooooo long since I’ve done anything crafty, but that all ends today.  First step was getting my blog back up and running.  Check.  Second step, getting my glass desk cleaned off… check!  I also spent an hour of my life working on my bead release.  Bead release is the bane of my lamp working life.  I hate putting it on and I hate taking it off.

But, I did it so today, I fire up the torch.  It’s been over a year, so who knows what’s going to come out.  Baby steps. 🙂

Seriously neglected blog

Man, does time fly.  I just realized that it’s been over a month since my last post, and really, we haven’t done much.  We did participate in the Old City Association Home Tour Street Fair and we had a great time.  We had wonderful weather and despite the fact that there weren’t a lot of shoppers, we managed to do very well.  In fact, since the booth rental was free, we had our most successful show ever.  Honestly, we couldn’t have done it without our friends and family who come out to support us.  It gives me a warm fuzzy when I think about it.

We did sign up for a holiday show at a local senior community.  I know these aren’t terribly profitable, but it sounded like fun and since the booth rate is reasonable, we decided to go ahead.  This will be my husband’s first show under his new “Woodworking by Eric” moniker.  He’s got business cards and everything.  Oh, and he’s recently opened his own Etsy shop (www.woodworkingbyeric.etsy.com).

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He better stay that way. I really don’t want to have to order new cards.

I really need to get crackin’ on holiday beads now.  Seems horrible to say that when we’re still a few weeks out of Halloween, but I think that the senior community might be a good market for them.   I say that, but I really don’t have a clue.  I thought that the home show tour would be a good market for the tile coasters we make…  Not so much.  Didn’t manage to sell even one set.  Meh.  Maybe we’ll have better luck at the senior community.

Oooh.  Ah...  You know you want them.  Pfft.

Oooh. Ah… You know you want them. Pfft.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to.  I am going to post one more picture of something I’ve been working on because I’m happy with the way it turned out…

Big Ass Rose.

One Last Summer Show

We’ve had such a great Summer, doing two successful craft shows and we have one more to do. We’ll be at the Sacramento Old City Association Annual Home Tour and Street Faire on September 15. We’ve done this event twice before and it’s always been fun. We skipped it last year, so we’re looking forward to returning. Hubby will have some of his butcher block cutting boards, bird houses and squirrel feeders. My sister will be joining us with her eclectic switch plate covers and door blessings. And I’ll have jewelry, coasters, and maybe some lamps and cut bottle glasses.

The free street fair will be in the parking lot of the old Clarion Hotel across the street from the Governor’s Mansion at 16th and H. And did I mention that it was free? Check out this link for more info.

Hubby’s Artistry

My husband is exploring and expanding his woodworking talent. He’s made beautiful birdhouses and valet boxes, but he’s definitely kicked it up a notch with these beautiful butcher block cutting boards. He’s working on some now that use Purple Heart wood. I’m so excited to see them done.

Crafter’s Log – July 22, 2013

When I last checked in, I mentioned that I would be taking a little break from crafting for about three weeks following my first craft show of the year.  I didn’t stop making things completely, but I didn’t touch my torch for two weeks.  I even managed to get a little bit organized.  A very little bit.

is key.

When organizing, descriptive labels are key.

I was hoping that during that time, I’d get my new oxygen concentrator so I could hook up my new torch.  Plus, I was giving my left hand a chance to rest.

Is it a bead, or a paperweight? Largest bead I’ve ever made.  I couldn’t grip anything for two days afterward.

My poor hand…  Ever since I started testing the limits of my Cricket by making larger beads, my mandrel-holding/spinning hand has become swollen and achy.  According to WebMD, I most likely am suffering from DeQuervain’s Syndrome**.  It’s also called, “mommy thumb,” “washerwoman’s sprain” and “gamer’s thumb.” I think it’s time to add “lampworker’s thumb.”  Or maybe “bead maker’s thumb.”

That reminds me…  While taking some time off from crafting, I did some searching for new craft fair venues.  I came across a Craigslist ad asking for craft vendors and telling them to contact them via email for an application.  So, I did telling them that I was a lampwork artist and jewelry maker.  I got a response back that said, “We’ve already got enough jewelry vendors, but we could use your lamp artistry.” /facepalm

Sigh.  Yet another person who thinks “lampwork” means making lamps.  What is a girl to do?  Oh, yeah.  MAKE LAMPS.  So, I did, though not with my torch.  I used my bottle cutting “artistry” to turn a Skyy Vodka bottle into a hanging swag lamp.  Of course, I had some help from my hubby when it came to actually wiring the lamp, (and when I say “help” I mean that he wired the whole damn thing before I could even snap pictures to use as reference,) and it turned out pretty nice.

Skyy Vodka makes a nice lamp.

Skyy Vodka makes a nice lamp.

The awesome thing about bottle cutting/lamp making is that it can be done inside my air-conditioned house, rather than the garage.  OMG, it’s been so hot lately that I really have to go out to torch by 6:00am just to get a couple hours in before it gets too hot to work out there.  It’s been too hot to work out there, even when just etching the copper for earrings…

Etched 5 pair of earrings, including these dragonfly pride earrings.

…Which makes me really glad that I found (yet) another thing I can do in the house during inclement weather – beading.   It was brought to my attention that all of my jewelry (bracelets, specifically) were very breakable, being that they were made from glass.  A young girl at the Summer Stroll in Yuba City asked me if I had any bracelets that just tied on.  I didn’t, but I started looking at stuff on the internet and learned that macramé is making a big comeback.

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Triple wrap, 4 stitch bracelet with one of my lampwork beads as a closure. Let’s see a 12 year old do that!

Other than some embroidery floss “friendship” bracelets I made when I was a kid, I never learned how to macramé.  I watched some video tutorials, dug deep into my bin full of stringing materials, and tried my hand at making some macramé bracelets.  I imagine that a twelve year old at a summer camp is probably accomplishing the same thing right now, but still.  I was pretty proud of myself.  I grabbed a few of my “almost” orphan beads (which means that there are only 2 or 3 matching beads) and strung up a few on some cord that I had.  But, I can’t truly feel like it something new unless I buy a bunch of stuff from a craft store or two.

So, that was a couple weeks ago and there has been an evolution from hemp cord macramé to leather mosaic wrap bracelets.  I watched a video tutorial and fell in love with these bracelets.  They are comfortable to wear, fun to make and apparently, pretty trendy.  Four trips to the bead shop and $100 later…  It never ends.

Leather mosaic wrap bracelets - Craft du Jour

Leather mosaic wrap bracelets – Craft du Jour

My next sale will be Sunday, August 11th, 8:00am – 3:00 pm, in Placerville.  I’m going to be partnering with Susan Lopez of Patsy Emporium again.  Come say hi!

** Either I have this De Quervain’s Syndrome or osteoarthritis which sounds like something that someone of a more advanced age would have.  I’m going to go with “Gamer’s thumb.”

Mid Year’s Resolution

Can you believe that June is over?  This year is flying by at warp speed. Seems like just yesterday that I was declaring 2013 as the “Year of the Crafts”. Typically, at this point in the year, I’ve broken and reaffirmed my New Years resolutions a few times over. This year,I’m proud to say that I’ve kept my resolution and have already hit my goals for 2013  at this mid way point. I gotta say, it feels good. Really good.

My goals were pretty straight forward: post more things on Etsy and participate in at least two shows. I’ve already had more Etsy sales this year then I did all of last year and I just finished my first show. I’m committed to one, possibly two, more and I’m actively looking for more opportunities.

My first show this year was the Yuba City Summer Stroll. I shared a booth with a new friend and I have to say, it was my most successful sale ever, even factoring in the booth fee, which was my most expensive fee to date. I attribute it to a very well attended event and a special blessing.

I’m not an overly spiritual or superstitious person, but I do believe that the spirits of those we love and lost appear to us in other forms. For instance, I believe that my grandfather appears to us as a bird. And I believe that my husband’s grandmother appears to him as a butterfly.

I never met my husband’s grandmother as she had passed before I met Eric, but I know that we would have gotten along famously. She was a crafty person, making and selling jewelry herself.

As we set up our booth and I began to arrange my displays, a vibrant yellow butterfly fluttered around our booth, circling our stall, floating over the street and weaving through the trees. It would visit us every half hour or so and it continued for hours. I think it was Hilde, giving us her blessing.

Anyway, I was surprised that what sold well were my necklaces that have been languishing in my inventory for a while.  What these necklaces all had in common was that they were all displayed on the same black velvet bust. My mom, who along with my dad and sister came to support me, bought the first necklace off the bust. And, no, I don’t make my mom buy my jewelry but she insisted.  She is my biggest fan, and she’s probably the most stubborn person on the face of the planet. As a result, she has the largest collection of “Jenny Elisabeth” jewelry in existence by far.

Anyway, she snatched up the necklace, so my sister grabbed another one to put on the bust. It wasn’t there for more than half an hour when a lovely woman came and bought it. This woman gave me the biggest compliment when she said, “I’m a teacher so I don’t have much money and I never buy anything at these events, but I’m making an exception for your stuff.”  I was so touched. And she was my biggest sale of the night, picking up a couple other things to give as gifts. The other necklace that sold off the bust… It was a butterfly necklace. Insert “Twilight Zone” music here.

Anyway, with the first show of the year on the books, after weeks of burning the candle at both ends, I’m taking a small vacation from crafting. I had originally said I would take three weeks off, not crafting anything, but things are going so well, that I may have to do some crafting. Not a lot, but torching for a couple hours on the weekend will help me stay in the groove. Also, I took a lot of my inventory to work and I’ve got some custom order requests. I know I’ve said it before, but my co-workers are awesome. Between the show and my co-workers, Jenny Elisabeth had the MOST PROFITABLE MONTH EVER!

** Just realized that my word count is 666 and need to add something to change it.