For Evelyn

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Here's a custom order item that I put together for a friend. She wanted blues and browns and while my bead palette does not include a lot of browns right now, I was able to find several beads with picasso finishes that provided those brown tones and blended beautifully with the turquoise blue colors.

The only problem with custom orders is that they leave home so quickly. If she likes it, I won't get a chance to enjoy this one for very long.

This necklace is made with some super fancy-dancy Czech glass beads and copper spacers with some lower cost but still incredibly beautiful triangle seed beads to add length and provide some spacial rhythm between the larger Czech glass beads. The traingle beads are great - they are amer colored glass with an aqua blue coating inside the hole - two colors in one bead!


Things I Will Miss

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Things seem to be moving forward on our new house. We will be hearing about a lending decision within a few days and I've got my fingers crossed. It is a bit iffy because our debt-to-income ratio will look terrible until we sell this house. I certainly hope it sells soon, and to someone who will be a good fit with this little community. We have some of the best neighbors in the world right here in Ft. Jackson and I will miss being so close to them. I'm only going to be 5 miles away, though, so I'll certainly still be able to get to Georgia's annual book sale to benefit our tiny local library.

This spring I am really enjoying our flowers and I will miss them. Our lilacs have been a bit shabby - most people here just treat lilacs like a wild shrub and let them grow but we had a big work party here last fall and a friend of mine cut several of my lilacs back. The ones that Rita worked on look fabulous this year - full of rich, heavy blossoms, no dead wood and no leftover dry stalks from last year.

We have at least 5 varieties of lilac on the property - a white blossoming variety, two pale lavender blossomers - one single and one double blossomed and two darker shades of blossoms, one of which is a double blossom. I'm really enjoing the dark dark single variety right outside my kitchen window this year. It is one of the trees that was cut back and the blossoms are perfect - and they smell great.

The peonies are going to blossom this year. They have only blossomed once for us - the first year, one or two pitiful little blossoms, but again, Rita knows her flowers and cut away a lot of junk growing around them so the have gotten more light this spring and promise to bloom.

We also have a persistent population of feral poppies. They are self seeding and pop up all over the place - wherever their seed heads sere shaken the previous year. I love their fuzzy stems and buds and the full blown flower is incredible. I will be saving some seed heads to shake over at the new place.

Day lilies will be next - happily, they were ready to be thinned out this spring so I have already planted some of them at the new house, as well as some early lilac suckers. I'll still be able to enjoy some of these flowers next spring!


Gotta get into that new studio

9:57 AM Posted In Edit This 1 Comment »
so I can justify buying some of these.

I stumbled across yarnahoy's shop this morning.

What wonderful fabrics!

I've had lots of little purse designs jumping around in my head for months now but can't get my studio clean enough to try any of them.

In my new studio, I will have a dedicated sewing table so maybe I will be able to actually make some of those little purses.

If they are successful, I will buy some of yarnahoy's gorgeous Indian silk and brocade scraps to make more of them with. Ill add beads and embroidery. They will be beautiful and sparkley and everyone will want them. I will sell them on Etsy and get rich.

I am such a textile dreamer.


Birthdays, Hobbit Gifts and Color Alphabets

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We had a beautiful day yesterday! It was still a bit chilly for May 25th in the North Country, but sunny and bright. Being my husband's birthday, we did our best to ignore all the mess and work around our house and just enjoy the day. We spent the morning marinating chicken and mushrooms, baking cake and enjoying good music together. Then we went for a short paddle on Lake Ozonia, which was blissfully and strangely quiet for a Memorial day weekend. Someone in this family needs to get a camera that can handle a little paddle splatter so that we can take photos when we go out like this. My studio camera is simply too expensive to replace to take out on the water.

Molly, Bry and I really enjoyed being out on the water but Maxx did NOT. He complained the entire time, told us not to go in the deep water and asked to be taken home at least ten times. He had a major meltdown at gramma's about an hour after we got off the water. Meltdowns like the one yesterday are almost always a strong indication that he is procesing some intensely dificult emotional crisis. I often wish that I had a better life-before-Burnett history for Maxx - he is has always been very distressed about water and I wonder if there was some incident in his early months that we are unaware of. He's also having a had time with bug bites - mosquitoes and black fles LOVE him and he has a rather extreme reaction to each bite. So in the summer his whole face looks different because he gets so swollen and he is consistently miserable because his glands work overdrive trying to filter out the irritants. He's home today to rest up and decompress a bit. I'm hoping it works, he was truly miserable yesterday.

One of my favorite parts of the day was getting a late Mother's Day present. I've been wanting a French Butter dish for several years and Bry & Molly surprised me with one yesterday. It is by Keith Phillips who sells over on Etsy. He also has a fun blog. I've been admiring his pottery for a while now.

French Butter dishes work like this - their tops are where the butter is stored. The deep lipped top sits inside the wider bottom crock, which holds an inch or so of water. The water creates an airtight environment for the butter - your butter stays warm and soft and clean.

My butter dish has a very Art Nouveau aesthetic and I love the colors - a very soft aqua blue with teeny smudges of burgundy at some of the edges. They are exactly the colors I want in my new kitchen - assuming that ever actually works out! Now all I need is the matching cookie jar! (Hint hint.)

Another fun thing about our long weekend; we went for a stroll in the woods on Sunday and during our walk Molly and I began an informal color naming competition. We love word games around here and Bryan turned this little competition into a color alphabet game. I quickly discovered that I do poorly trying to categorize colors alphabetically. Obviously I need to work on that skill so it looks like I'll have to compile a color dictionary to practice with.

First color - absinthe. More to come later!

New Materials

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I mentioned in an earlier post how I enjoy working with Polymer Clay but that I have an extreme sensitivity to the stuff - such that I become sick and miserable when I use it. I've been contemplating putting all of my polymer clay stuff - tools, old clay, pasta machine, books, etc . .. up for sale as part of my studio clean up in preparation for moving to the new house but I can't seem to let go.

I am often impressed by the amazing work that some artists are able to achieve with this medium. I love Jennifer Morris' work - her beads look like tiny decorated cakes or miniature embroideries.

And Molly Stanton's fairies are nothing short of incredible. (Molly was one of my very first customers at Goblins' Market - I check in now and then to marvel at her dolls!)

The few dragons I have in my Etsy shop are not among my very best work - those have all sold except for this little guy, who will be staying with me permanantly. But I did enjoy making them until I realized the materials were making me sick. I've been wanting to invetigate an alternative.

I've considered creating true ceramic dragons, but those would be heavy and I don't have a kiln. Someday I will definately give it a try, but not just yet. I also have given some thought to doll maker's air dry clays - probably not sturdy enough for jewelry applications, but they might be fun to paint and glaze.

Last week I was doing some online shopping for the Arts Council's summer arts camps, I stumbled across a new clay that is billed as a non PVC air dry "polymer" clay. I decided to order a package for myself to see how it compares to real PC and if it will be safe for me to use. If it is a good match and truly non-toxic, it would be great to have for children's classes at the Arts Council. I do not like sending kids home with a project that has to be carefully baked in a carefully sealed aluminum package. It's too dangerous and too compliated. I'll let you know how it works, though I have no idea when I'll get to actually try it out!

Aunt Molly requested photos of MB's smushed fingers. So far, this is as colorful as they have gotten. I'm a bit surprised. I completely expected purple bruises and gangrene by now.

They are still a bit sore but MB has stopped taking her narcotic painkillers because she says they take all the pleasure out of reading. (!!)

The fact that all I've had to worry about with Molly Bryn to this point in her life is a reading addiction and a tendency toward minor accidents troubles me a bit. What will happen when she starts dating? Or what will Maxx feel that he has to experiment with because his big sister was so good???

Best not to worry about these things, eh?

So _ should be working my bum off cleaning this house and packing up non-essentials in my studio. We are considering moving all of our junk out of the house except for a few day to day necessities so that we can keep it VERY tidy and get it on the market before summer is over. So I have lots to do in the next few days but what I really want to be doing is playing with this stuff.

The seed beads are for bracelets (and for my shop - they will appear at GoblinsMarket one of these fine days.)

The filigree is going to become a hair ornament. Or maybe a brooch. Or possibly part of a necklace.

Heck - I've got 144 of them. I can try everything I want, given the time! You can also buy one to play with here.

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A Dreadful Night

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Our Sunday started out fairly nicely this week. It was a District Conference Meeting so Bryan didn't have to go in for any 8:30 meetings or stay late for Youth meetings or even to process tithing. It was just 10-Noon - in and out - DONE. Oh - how I'm growing to love those Sundays!

So we got a nap in the afternoon and then went to play with our friends, the McKnights for a few hours. Molly elected to stay near home and play with Tabors instead, since they have more teenage boys in their house or something. Bry, Maxx and I stayed a bit too late at McKnights and came home around 11:30 to find Molly Bryn trapped with her fingers crushed in a window. The blasted 200 year double sash windows get stuck sometimes. I had been trying for days to close this particular window to no avail (had even had the thought nagging at me that I should get Bryan to close it - so much for listening to the Spirit, eh?) but it closed up for her all right - right on two of her fingers. Bryan had to saw the sash in half in order to extricate her and we were in the ER until 1:30 this morning getting the fingers checked out. Bry and I were both afraid that the fingers would have to come off - they were alomost completely flat when they came out of the window.

But happily, no bones were broken and the doc thinks that they will heal O.K. - though they will most likely turn a lurid shade of purple before the day is out. The worst part is that she was stuck there for at least half an hour, screaming her head off. She broke the window and the screen with the firplace poker to try and summon help from our neighbors (who live less than 15 yards from that window - I have bolts of silk that I could stretch from that window to their window and at least halfway back again) but either no one heard her or no one bothered to check out the reason for a girl screaming repeatedly for help at 11:00 at night. That's pretty reassuring, isn't it?

So today, I'm giving thanks that she wasn't badly cut when she busted out the window and that she gets to keep her fingers. I also hope to get a nap and to start training Ziggy to "get the phone." Poor Ziggy was almost as distraught as she was when we got home - he hates to see his kids cry.

Sale at Luna's Baublebilities!

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What a week. What a month, actually. What with Maxx and I both being sick (and consequently cooped up together for several weeks on end) and Bry being out of commission this weekend, I have become Maxxed out. I should be doing dishes or folding laundry or cleaning house in preparation for Friday's Birthday shindig for Molly but I just don't want to. I know that Friday afternoon I will be rushing around cursing my own stupidity and laziness and wishing to get my Wednesday night back but tonight I Just Don't Care.

So I've set up a special sale in my Etsy shop instead. It is a "Between the Birthdays" sale. It runs from today, Molly's birthday, to June 11th, Maxx's birthday. All scarves are marked at least 10% off and I am offering free 1st class USPS shipping on every order. I am hoping to clear out some of my scarf inventory early this summer so that I can get started with new colors when we get into the new house. Plus, I am offering this AMAZING blue velvet scarf with hand beaded fringe for only $112.00. It has been around for long enough that it now has to decide to either stay here with me or go live with someone else. If you want it to live with you, this is probably your last chance and certainly will be the only time it will be available for such a bargain price!

Here are two recent photos of our lovely birthday girl. She misses her long hair but I think this cut is very cute on her.

In other news, my blog counter passed over 5,000 visits today. That's pretty neat.

Bry got a phone call this afternoon that gives him some options to think about in terms of his job next year. None of the options are very tasteful but one of them includes keeping the job that he currently has, which is nice. We realize that we are very blessed in this economy to not only have a steady (though part time) job with health benefits but to also have some choices about what that job looks like.

The SLC Arts Council's Summer Class schedule is complete - YAY! - and the newsletter should be out soon. I'll post a review of the summer classes I will be teaching in a few days. We have lots of great classes with great teachers coming up - if you are in the North Country this summer, you should check out the schedule. The kid's art camps are going to be really great, and are all priced at about the same cost or lower than a new game for the X-box or whatever digital contraption your kids are adicted to.

Oh and I have a new friend - we have a new Orange Tomcat roaming the neighborhood. I'm such a sucker for Orange tigers. I made the mistake of giving him a scoop of food yesterday and tonight he came around and hollered under the window to announce his presence. I'll try to get a photo in the daylight, he's a pretty one.

O.K. Time to do dishes and at least sort out clean clothes for tomorrow morning! Check out my sale and pass the word along.


Mother's Day

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Mothers' day was a pretty low key event here. Bryan was hideously sick and I was tired so we stayed home from Church for a change and watched several segments of Planet Earth. I worked on a bracelet for ME while relaxing next to the fire.

Bryan never sits in front of the TV unless he is very sick and I almost never keep the jewelry that I make so it was a very unusual day.

Here's the bracelet that I made - a herringbone stitch cuff in Peacock colors. Isn't it gorgeous???

I'm teaching a class next month over at the SLC Arts Council on making these bracelets and this is one colorway option. The others are Into the Fire and Ocean. (below)

I'm trying something different with this class. I usually let my students rummage through my beads and choose what colors they want to work with - which is fine for a design class. Experimenting and learning to choose colors, findings and bead shapes that work well together is the whole point of that sort of class. Beadweaving is more technically complicated and past experience has shown that if I let people rummage through beads, we end up using half the class time doing that and some people go home not feeling confident with the stitch.

This time, I'm putting the kits together and people will choose a colorway before they get to class. I need to work up samples for these other two options soon so that everyone can see them clearly. The colors look different when they are worked together in the stitch than they do loose or on the hank. When the class is over, I will probably also offer the kits with written instructions over at Goblins Market.

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What every cowgirl must have

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While browsing around looking at some of my customers' shops on Etsy, I ran across this amazing handbag. Now, while hcgboottops' shop may be just a tad too Yeee-Haw for me, I appreciate the sentiment and I know women who could carry this bag with style (and I sorta envy them for it.)

What better way to keep your favorite old boots around and useful??

Maxx's Bug

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While I was trying to convince Maxx to wash his hands this evening, we discovered this lovely creature in our bathroom, crawling on my bright coral bath towel.

The photos don't quite do justice to how beautifully iridescent he is, but you can get a sense of his coloring and of how dirty Maxx's hands get.

The best part of the discovery - Max saw CLOSE UP just how very dirty his hands were and agreed to actually wash with soap and water.

We would love to know more about this beetle - I've never seen one like him before and I'm wondering if he is part of a north-moving population responding to the warming of NNY.

New Format

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Today, instead of doing responsible things like exercising & balancing the budget first thing in the morning, I changed my blog template and started tweaking my index and widgets. I was tired of that heavy purple and I wanted to go to a 3 column layout.

Please tell me what you think. I'm thinking that I may grow tired of the exuberant rainbow of floral stuff in the corners but today, I'm happy with it.

I'm worried about my Etsy minis on the right margin. Is there too much visual information there? I'm thinking of bring those down to two columns instead of three - If you don't see something that really grabs your attention in ten thumbnails then I'm doing something wrong and an extra 5 is not going to make a diference, right?

I'll also be paring down my index labels, I feel like there is a lot of duplication in my tags and that if you (or I) really want to find something in these archives, having a more general index would be helpful.

Favorite Fairy Tale???

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Can one have a favorite Fairy Tale??? That is the question posed by this month's Blog Carnival Topic for Etsy Bloggers' Street Team. Actually, we have been asked to either discuss the difference between Art & Craft or tell about our favorite Fairy Tale. I have serious opinions about Art & Craft and Art vs. Craft and Craftmanship vs. Crafty-ness and I tend to get a bit snarky and long winded about the whole thing so I think I'll avoid it and discuss Fairy Tales instead.

Fairy Tales are one of the great loves of my life. When I was small, my grandpappy's house had two huge books that I loved to look at. One was a book of nursery rhymes and one was a massive book of fairy tales, both with wonderful illustrations. The Princess and the Pea was a favorite and Puss in Boots was particularly fun - I liked the illustrations of the cat dressed up in boots. I remember really liking the story of the soldier and the tinderbox, though I cannot imagine why. Maybe it was the illustrations of dogs with really big eyes.

I also loved the Twelve Dancing Princesses. I was intrigued by the idea of a secret world where one might escape authority and responsibility. I was always disappointed that the soldier ruined the fun. I still often dream of finding doors to previously undiscovered parts of my house containing highly desirable rooms and furnishings. In my dreams I have discovered fully equipped fiber studios with tall windows and lots of cupboards & counter space, elegant and comfortable sitting rooms with curtained off reading nooks full of beautifully bound leather books (full of illustrations, I'm sure) and bedroom suites with gorgeous built-in cabinetry and drawers.

Can you tell that I crave solitude, time to create and better organization?

Still, I think it would be impossible for me to choose an all time favorite Fairy Tale as I'm still discovering them. My favorites change as I age and I delight in learning new stories, new reworkings of old themes, and new ways of telling tales. As a young Adult, I discovered The Maid of The North, compiled by Ethel Johnston Phelps. I was relatively unfamiliar with stories seperate from the classic Grimm and Anderson tales so thse multi-cultural tales were a real treat. The fact that I was discoverig feminism at the time made them all the more desireable.

Later on, as a married non-trad college student, I was assigned to read The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter in a class on the literature of Fairy Tales. For the first time, the magic of a tale and the crafting of exquisite words to tell it came together for me. The first story took my breath away - Bluebeard's eloquent bride, the sinister, stalking courtship, the astounding rescue by a resourceful mother - no sillyheaded victim with a team of blustering brothers here; "On her eighteenth birthday, my mother had disposed of a man-eating tiger that had ravaged the villages in the hills north of Haonoi. Now, without a moment's hesitation, she raised my father's gun, took aim and put a single, irreproachable bullet through my husband's head."

Oh -to have a mother like that - to BE a mother like that.

I must warn you, Angela Carter is no child's plaything. Her stories include the bawdy, the erotic and the truly sinister. You can't read them to your 5 year old at bedtime. You maybe don't want your 15 year old to read them, you may find them disturbing. Angela Carter's re-tellings remind us that Fairy tales were stories made to frighten children out of forests at night while entertaining the grown ups around the fire. Step between the covers of her boks with the greatest trepidation and infinite precautions.

Finally - a story you can, and should, read to your 5 year old at bedtime. The Story of the Eldest Prncess by A.. Byatt is found in Jack Zipes collection, The Outspoken Princess and the Gentle Knight. It is a story of a Princess who is set out on a quest that she knows she is destined to fail at so she steps of the expected role in order to discover and create her own story. The language is rich and descriptive - we would expect no less from Byatt, no? Listen to this:

"And the blue day were further and further apart, and the grens were more and more varied until a time when it became quite clear that the fundamental colour of the sy was no longer what they still called sky-blue, but a new sky-green, a pale flat green someweher between the colours which had once been apple and grass and fern. But of course, apple, grass and fern looked very different against this new light, and something very odd and dimming happened to lemons and oranges, and something more savage and hectic to poppies and pomengranates and ripe chiles."

Beautiful prose continues through the rest of the story to the end where the Eldest Princess finds her true home and we learn that "there is always an old woman ahead of you on a journey, and there is always an old woman behind you too, and they are not always the same, they may be fearful or kindly, dangerous or delightful, as the road shifts, and you speed along it."

Take some time today to stop speeding along your road and ground yourself with some fairy tales. Re-examine your motives, ponder the possibilities of True Love and listen for the wisdom in the old women in your life. You can find lots of annotated tales and illustratioons over at SurLaLune, one of my favorite places on the web. You'll also find links to and reviews of new fairy tale literature.

The most interesting stuff in my Blog

9:39 AM Posted In Edit This 0 Comments »
is found in my blog list.

I have no problem admitting that. If you have been stopping by here occasionally and have not been checking out my blog list found about half way down in the side bar, you've really been missing out.

Today, you should check out bioephemera. Jessica is a brilliant blogger, scientist and artist. She makes my world more interesting every day. Today's post focuses on anamorphosis and includes enough links and information to put an undergrad well on their way to a top notch research paper on the use of lenses in Renaissance art.

I've often been frustrated by my inability to draw like the masters. When I have the time & space in my life for drawing, I've got a pretty good eye and a steady, obedient hand and I've often wondered why I just can't make my drawings look that amazing. Turns out - I don't have the right tools.

Someday, when I'm old and my kids are out my hair and my eyesight is so bad that just about anything will impress me, I'll go build myself a Camera Obscura and play with these techniques. In the meantime, it is really fun to know how some of these tricks are pulled off.
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