Monday, November 16, 2009

Blog Feature

I just wanted to post real quickly to bring your attention to another blog.  French Revelation wrote a post featuring two jewelry shops on Etsy, and mine is one of them. :)  You can read the post here:

http://frenchrevelation.blogspot.com/2009/11/featurama-monday_16.html

Thursday, November 12, 2009

We Feel Fine

A self-portrait that I took back in 2006 as part of a 365 day portrait project is being published in a book coming out in December. Even though I'm just one of thousands who are getting their pictures published in the same book, I'm really excited. :)

Yesterday they published a an online excerpt to their website, found here. The page with my picture doesn't appear to be on one of the pages that is clickable, though. I get a free copy of the book since one of my pictures is in it, which I will get in December. Yeah, I'm one of a large number, but still, I guess this means that soon I'll be a published photographer. :)

And, in case you were curious, here is my picture that will be in the book:



The title of the picture is "grumpy", but it's in the section of the book about being sick as I wrote about how I was grumpy because I tried to do a picture challenge of taking a picture of yourself upside down and didn't come out with anything good and ended up making myself feel sick in the process.  Hehe.  I had really long hair then, but I've had it cut a couple of times since then, including recently enough that right now it's slightly shorter than shoulder length.

I really enjoyed doing that project, and I like going back and seeing all the pictures I took and what I wrote about them each day.  This one is by no means the best of the bunch (nor is it the worst), but it's the one that caught their eye for their book when they did a search of "I feel".  I have been thinking about compiling all my self-portraits from that year into a book (for myself, I don't know that there would be much interest in that beyond me and my family), but so far haven't.  I've also tried starting a second year of self-portraits several times (and part of my latest attempt is here in this blog under the tag "365days" from when I first started writing in this blog), but so far have not stayed through for another full year.  I do still take random self-portraits sometimes though, just for fun.  :)

Anyway, I can't wait to get my copy of the book.  It looks like it'll be a fun one to look through!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Where The Wild Things Are



My "Wild About You" marble magnets are in an Etsy treasury! This is the first time, that I'm aware of, that something in my shop has been included in a treasury, so this was a nice surprise. :) The treasury, called Where The Wild Things Are, can be found here. It expires in a couple of days, so after it's gone, if you still want to see the listing for the magnets, you can click here .

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

On a roll

I wrote not too long ago about some sewing I did, including a knitting needle roll I'd made for myself. I am happy with it, except that I wish that the top folded down more on the knitting needles. This one would be better for short knitting needles (which I don't have) or crochet hooks (although it may be a little big for those).

I decided to make a second one for the friend who renewed my interest in knitting a few years ago and, for hers, make it long enough to cover longer knitting needles the way I wish mine did. I made a mistake in measuring the fabric (I didn't follow the "measure twice, cut once rule) so I didn't have enough in the right size/shape to line it with the same fabric. This turned into a happy accident as I had some solid color fabric that coordinated nicely with the print and, with my 7 year old adding her expert opinion, we picked the one that would look best with the fabric.

Here are pictures of the finished result:


I was really happy with how it looked when I was finished with it. I'm going to make another one for myself making it with a longer top like this one so it folds over the needles more. I think I'll use the one I have now for my crochet hooks even if it will be a little big for them. I have more of the purple batik fabric, but I'll probably use a different purple for the next one. So many purples, so little time. ;)

I did add a ribbon to her roll and mine, but the ribbon isn't pictured. Getting the ribbons sewn on was another adventure. I originally decided to just hand-sew them so I wouldn't have to get the machine out. After experimenting with that on my roll, I decided to use my sewing machine for her ribbon so it'd be neater, but mainly because pushing a needle through all that fabric and a ribbon was...challenging, to say the least.

This should be a simple job, right? Well, for most people, it probably would be. But I ended up in a fight with my machine to get it to sew right. Turns out, when I threaded the machine, the thread fell out of one of the little nooks and crannies the thread has to go through, but this wasn't obvious to the casual observer (me), so it took me several tries to figure out why it just kept knotting up instead of sewing actual stitches.

I have to say, I'm definitely enjoying sewing. I have a bunch of strips of fabric I cut out years ago (when I was pregnant with my 7 year old) to hand quilt a table runner. Needless to say, that project didn't get very far, but now I want to sort through the strips, figure out where I was, and then machine sew the pieces together. Since it's all strips and cutting into squares, it should go really fast on a machine. :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween is over....now what?

Halloween is over, houses are full of excess Halloween candy, gathered by trick-or-treaters, leftover from handing it out to costumed kids or, in many cases, both. The jack-o-lanterns are starting to look a little less fun and a little more scary as they dry out, the ghosts, witches, spiders and orange lights are being packed away and we're looking ahead to the next holiday....Christmas, right?

Not quite. Without getting into the long list of winter holidays that happen in December, at least here in the U.S., there's still at least one more in November, Thanksgiving. It seems like Thanksgiving is getting to be less about giving thanks and more about another milestone in the seems-quicker-every-year journey to the Christmas/holiday season. After dinner is prime time for figuring out your plan of attack for Black Friday (if you aren't already out shopping), so named because that is the day of the year when all the stores books go from being in the red to in the black. I think the name conjures up feelings of dread, especially after having experienced a few Black Fridays both as a shopper and as a cashier in a large department store.

I have to admit, I'm guilty of glossing over Thanksgiving. It's never been a favorite holiday of mine. Turkey is not my favorite food in the world, I'm not a fan of football (thankfully, haha, neither is anyone else in my immediate family), and parades aren't really my thing either. I do really enjoy getting together with family, though celebrating with my family and then my husband's family in the same day does get a little exhausting (again thankfully, in the past couple of years, our families have celebrated on different days which has made the holiday last a little longer and be more pleasant because there isn't the rush from one big meal to another without really getting to spend much time with either).

I think Thanksgiving needs to make a come-back though. Not necessarily to celebrate the roots of the holiday so much as to take the time to say "Thanks" and truly feel gratitude for all the gifts and blessings in our lives. Maybe instead of celebrating with a huge meal that is generally made by only one person who is over-worked and exhausted by the time dinner is on the table, have a Thanksgiving potluck where everyone brings a dish and shares the work, and then show appreciation for everything that has been brought to the table. During dinner, express gratitude for all the good in your life (yes, I know sometimes it's harder to see than others, but there's always something, if you look). Instead of scouring ads for Black Friday after dinner, maybe have a huge "thank you card" writing party to send to people who couldn't make it to dinner but who make your life better in some way. Or, make a phone call (or ten).

Those are just ideas I thought of off the top of my head. I'm sure others can come up with even more ideas on how to take the holiday back and bring more gratitude into our lives.

I've been meaning to start (again) a gratitude journal. I think today may be the day. I've got one from when I did this a few years ago and it only lasted about a month, so the journal has plenty of blank pages in it. I think I'll use one of these tags below for a bookmark and maybe glue another to the front of the book, both as reminders for what it's for. I think my first entry for today will be that I'm thankful for sunny days, like what we have this morning. This time of year especially, those start to get pretty rare. What do you have to be thankful for today?

Purple Scalloped Oval Thanks Tags

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Autumn

Fall is definitely here. The leaves are turning pretty colors and, true to the name of the season, are falling off the trees. just about every afternoon when my 4 year old and I walk to the bus stop to pick up my 7 year old, one or both of them pick up several leaves that they really like. When the sun hits the trees just right, it looks like they are on fire with color.

Between my mother's comment about not having anything in colors she liked in my shop and the beauty of the autumn leaves and weather, I've been in the mood to make more autumn and "earthy" focused jewelry. Today I listed a bracelet and a pair of earrings that inspired by the beauty of nature and fall.

This is the Green Earth bracelet.
















And these are Falling Leaves Earrings






















These and the Autumn Jasper Bracelet I posted about recently are the first of hopefully many in my line of jewelry featuring more "earthy" colors. I will, of course, still be making a number of things in my favorite purples, reds, blues, and silver, including a pair of earrings just for stampers that I'll be listing soon!

Monday, October 26, 2009

20% Off Birthday Sale!

Today is the Second Chance BNS 1st birthday and October is also my birth month! My birthday is October 20th, so in celebration of both birthdays, for today:

Take 20% off your total purchase before shipping! And, since most of my items ship free as the second item, stock up and save more on shipping! :)

I'll refund via Paypal this evening.

Etsy sellers, come check out the Second Chance BNS! You don't have to be a seller to take advantage of my sale on the BNS today though!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Doing More With Stamping

I've always intended to have more stamped items in my shop than I currently have. Some people like to have a different shop for each different type of product they sell, and that's great if you can keep up with it, but I can't imagine trying to keep track of two (or more!) shops when the work involved with just one seems to take so much time.

This is why, when I was trying to come up with a shop name, I very deliberately didn't use "jewelry" or a variation on "beading" in the title (for new visitors to my blog, you can read here about how I decided on my shop name). Aside from knowing I wanted to sell hand-stamped items, I also wanted to make sure the shop name was flexible enough to accommodate any craft I wanted to try. For instance, when I started the shop in May, I had no idea that I'd want to start sewing pocket tissue holders to sell. However, those were a perfect starter project for someone who hadn't sewn in years, and I enjoyed making them so much that I made many more than I could use (some will also be showing up in some Christmas gifts I'll be giving this year...shhh!). ;)

I've been stamping for over 7 years now. It's easy to remember how long because I went to my first stamping party at a friend's house when I was pregnant with my first daughter, and I started stamping regularly when she was still an infant. My mom was at that first stamping party I hostessed and we took turns holding my daughter to keep her on the opposite side of the table from the embossing gun we were using, hehe. Seven years later and I've acquired a number of supplies, including cardstock, stamp sets, ink and accessories.

I started out by listing a few hand-stamped items, and then I've added a few more cards, but mostly I've been concentrating on making jewelry to sell. I've decided that it's time to stop neglecting that part of my shop and add some new items. So last night I sat down and made these thank you tags:

These tags can be used to decorate a thank you card, tied to a product that's been sold, included in a package as a thank you note, and more. Clearly, the photo needs some work, ;) but I took this last night (just using a regular lamp) so I could show a preview of what's coming. I was hoping for a sunny day today so I could use sunlight, but I woke up to rain, so I'll be setting up my light box later today to take better pictures of these, three sets of marble magnets I also made last night, and two pairs of earrings I made last Friday. I'm really excited about getting all of these things listed, which I will be doing over the next few days! :)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Branching Out

My mother took a look at my Etsy shop not long ago and said that while I had beautiful items in my shop, she wasn't tempted by anything in it because I didn't make anything in her colors. Gotta love a mother's frank honesty. ;) She's right, though. I am drawn to the cooler colors (purple, of course, being my favorite) and I don't make much using warmer colors. Most of what I've made using warm colors was made specifically for her.

I decided to change that and made a necklace, bracelet, and earrings set in autumn colors of green, yellow and gold to sell. Apparently mom wasn't the only one wanting these colors as a friend of mine bought the set before I ever listed it on Etsy.

So, I made another similar autumn bracelet, but with jasper instead of the green freshwater pearls and different golden beads than I'd used in the set. This is the result:



This is the link to the listing in my Etsy shop. Friday night, I made a simple pair of earrings using the jasper beads that I haven't listed yet, but will be as soon as I can get pictures. Although my preference is for cool colors, I'll be working to expand my inventory to include more warm color items. I never make something I don't like myself, and I am drawn to blues, purples and greens, so those are the colors most often found in my jewelry. However, I've seen that I can make jewelry in the colors of autumn that I like just as well, so I'll be looking for more warm color beads for future jewelry pieces.

I always get a burst of energy and excitement from branching out and using a new idea or new color scheme. This is no different. I'm excited about expanding the range of colors found in my jewelry. But, for everyone who prefers the cool colors like me, don't worry, I'll still be making plenty of jewelry in purples, blues and silver, like this festive glass and turquoise bracelet! :)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Here Comes The Sun...

I made a necklace last night and also had two bracelets I made recently that I hadn't taken pictures of yet. I was going to get my lights out, set up the light box, and take some pictures today. However, I noticed that the sun was shining in the window really brightly and I decided to take the opportunity to use natural sunlight.

I still used the light box (it's a convenient "studio", if nothing else) and positioned it to get as much of the sunlight as possible. I got pictures of all three pieces of jewelry, although the sun went behind some clouds for the last few pictures. Regardless, I felt lucky that I'd gotten that "window" of opportunity (ha!) and got the pictures done early this morning. So far, the sun has not come back out from behind the clouds.

Right now, I'm trying to re-list a few items that expired recently. Here are the two (so far) that I've done today:

Flower Greeting Cards. I reduced the price on these to $8 for the set of 5. That makes them $2 each when you include the shipping! For handmade cards WITH envelopes, I think that's a great deal.

The other one may be a familiar one for long-time blog readers. This Stars In Purple Bracelet was the first bracelet I ever listed. I'm still not sure why it never sold, except maybe that I could never get the purple of the aventurine to look right in the pictures. I also reduced the price on this bracelet from the original price of $10 down to $8.

My Buy 1 Get 1 Free sale is going on til tomorrow at midnight, so either one of these great deals would be made even better by taking advantage of the sale!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A sale!

I don't run sales in my shop very often, and I decided tonight to run the best one I've done. Here it is:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
BUY ONE GET ONE FREE SALE! Every item in the shop is eligible! Buy one item and get a second item of equal or lesser value FREE! Either pay and I'll refund, or wait to pay and I'll send a revised invoice. This sale lasts until midnight on FRIDAY, OCTOBER 9th, so act fast!
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Just click here to go to my shop if you're interested in taking advantage of this sale! Most of my items are set so that if they are a second (or more) item in a purchase, they ship free! So that's even more savings!


See my shop announcement, which is on the main page of my Etsy shop, for more details! :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Baby Elephant!

We went to the Zoo this weekend with some friends. On our way up to where the elephants are, we saw that they had the baby elephant out and a small crowd had gathered to listen and watch as they talked about the elephant. Unfortunately, we got there at the tale end of the presentation, but I still got to take some pictures before they took him back inside. This one is probably the best of what I took:


The zoo also has two adult female elephants. One of them had the baby a little over two years ago. Interestingly, a couple of years prior to that, I managed to get a picture of the mother-to-be (not knowing that she was pregnant at the time) right before they changed the elephant area. Now they have it surrounded by a fence of thick wire so it's almost impossible to get pictures of the elephants without wire being in the picture somewhere. I was really glad that I had thought to bring my camera and take pictures that day. Now I have some pictures of the baby elephant without wire in the way too. :)

Elephants are one of my favorite animals, which is why my Etsy shop has elephants in the name. Purple is my favorite color and 42, according to The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything. And now you know why I named my shop 42PurpleElephants!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Adventures in Sewing

Yesterday I decided to tackle a sewing project I hadn't tried before: a drawstring bag (no, I haven't sewn much, so it's easy to think of new things for me to try in sewing, hehe). Specifically, I wanted to make a drawstring bag to use as a knitting or crochet project bag. If the first one wasn't horrible to make, I wanted to make several as I have a few knitting and crochet projects in mind to try (although I'm currently only working on one) and, knowing me, I'll probably be working on at least 2-3 at a time.

The first one, as expected, was definitely a learning experience. But in that good way. ;) Here's a picture of the bag:


I do my sewing at my parents' house so my mom can help me. I'd forgotten to bring my thread assortment and didn't want to ask her (again) to provide me with thread, so I just used what I did bring. It was a very pale pink/purple, but on this darker purple fabric, it looks white. I decided it wasn't a big deal because this was a "practice" bag and it was going to be mine anyway. Using thread that stands out like that really shows you where you could have done better, which I actually think is good for learning. So, yeah, I used the pale thread to help me make this more of a learning experience, that's it, hehe.

There are a couple of things I'll do differently next time. For one, I'm not going to use two lengths of cord, so I don't need openings on both sides (the other side isn't pictured, but is there, and looks sloppier than the one pictured, if you can believe that). Also, when I stitch up the side, I'm going to then stitch backwards down the seam a bit as the stitches started to loosen at the top when I was rolling down the top to make the area for the drawstring. Also, next time I'll use a thread that more closely matches the fabric. ;) I'm considering lining the next one too, but I haven't decided yet. It would certainly help make the inside look "finished", but since that's the inside, I'm not sure how much it matters whether or not it's lined. I guess when I start using the bag, I'll find out.

Something else I made a month or two ago that I'm really happy with is a knitting needle roll, also made in a purple fabric. Here are two pictures of it (excuse the scratched up TV tray, I tried to edit out all the scratches in the picture but gave up because there's only so much editing I'm willing to do, haha):



This knitting needle roll was made using the same fabric that I used to make this tissue holder. I still need to sew a ribbon on it so it can be tied shut, and I think because most of my needles are longer that I probably should have made the roll a little longer so there would be more at the top to fold over, but overall I'm really happy with it. It has certainly made it easier to find my knitting needles when I start something new (I will write about what else I've knitted recently in a future post). I want to make a second, smaller, one for my crochet hooks too. This one was fun and surprisingly simple to make. I thought for sure it'd be difficult, but it wasn't. It is time-consuming because of how much sewing is involved, but it was not hard to do.

Eventually, I will be confident enough to sew at home without feeling like I need help close by. I can already do that with tissue holders, and I think I could with another drawstring bag or needle roll (though I'd still prefer her help on the second). But, one of the things I also like about sewing (or scrapbooking, or crocheting or knitting or....) at her house is that we can sit and "talk shop" while crafting (or talk about anything else too). I don't necessarily get as much done as if I were working alone, but it is certainly more fun.

Monday, September 28, 2009

More About Pictures

I just took a bunch of pictures of jewelry this morning with my light box and my new OttLites. They were definitely worth the price, especially since I got the bulbs on sale! Also, the light box was cheap to make (and my husband made it for me, no less). This is a tutorial on how to make a light box that is almost exactly like the one he made. A cardboard box, some tissue paper, and you're done. I don't use the poster board. Instead, I lined the bottom with white printer paper and then use various fabric drapes (usually a white sheer drape with a print fabric underneath).

Here's another example of a picture I took using this new set-up that includes the OttLites:


This one is called Safari Fun and is made with some really neat beads. I really like the swirls and stripes in the black and white beads and especially in the red, black and white beads (because there's more color!).

Now that I've gone on a picture-taking frenzy, I can pack everything away for the week. I put the light box onto a wooden tv tray, then I clip the three desk lamps to three sides of the table. I have all three plugged into a single extension cord so plugging them in is a one-step process. When I'm finished, all three lamps go into a lidded plastic box I bought (originally intended to be my light box, but the cardboard/tissue box that my husband made works better) and they stay plugged into the extension cord so I don't have to plug them all in again next time. Right now, the light box goes on top of my desk, but I want to find a different place to store it.

Currently, I don't use a tripod to take my pictures because I can't adjust the shutter speed on my little digital camera. This means that I do still have to do some minor editing to the pictures once I upload them to my computer, but with the new lights, there's very little editing to do (I just need to brighten them a little). If I did decide to start using a tripod, I'd either need to pull out my big tripod and stand it on the floor next to the light box, or find a bigger table so I could use my little tabletop tripod. Right now, my hands are steady enough that the pictures mostly turn out pretty clear.

I'm really proud of the improvement my pictures have had from the very beginning. If you look in my Etsy shop, you can definitely see an evolution of my photography from my earlier listings going from a plain white background and not very good lighting, to using a musical background and slightly better lighting, to using fabric backdrops, to using the light box with plain light bulbs to my latest listings using the lightbox and bulbs I'm using now. My pictures are far from perfect (I'm still trying to figure out some good props, for instance), but I think I'm definitely heading in the right direction!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

OttLite Lightbulbs

I'd heard a lot about OttLites and how great they were, but I hadn't gotten around to looking for any. One day last week, I was shopping in a craft and hobby store with my mom and they happened to have OttLites on sale. They had the huge ones, ones with crafting trays attached, etc. that were well more than I was ready to spend on the spur of the moment. However, they also had just plain 11w (replaces a 40w bulb) light bulbs on sale. I have three desk lamps to use to light my light box, so I picked up three bulbs.

Even on sale, they were still a little pricey, so when I finally got around to trying them out, I started out with one to see if they were worth the price. With only one bulb, I could see the answer was a definite YES. So I replaced all the bulbs (now I have to figure out what to do with three loose 60 watt bulbs as I threw out the packaging and the OttLite bulbs are smaller so their boxes won't work).

I took quite a few pictures this evening of jewelry I'll be listing soon. Because my camera doesn't let me change the shutter speed, I still had to adjust the lighting in the pictures, but they came out really well just the same. Here is one of them, featuring a bracelet I'll be listing soon:



The color is bright and clear. They still don't *quite* get true color with purple, but it's closer than what I could get before. One set of pictures that I took were of some purple flower earrings that I haven't listed because I couldn't get the purple to look on the pictures the same way that it does in person. They're still not perfect, but it's closer. Here is a picture of the earrings:





They are still more blue than the purple is, but at least now they look closer to being purple at all. Before, they just looked blue no matter what kind of lighting I used.

So, that's another step in the right direction for taking better pictures for my shop. I still want to find more props (like the shells I used in an earlier picture of a blue glass and pearl bracelet), but just a simple white drape with a floral drape underneath for subtle color and texture will work okay for now.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What's In A Name?

Most of the listings in my Etsy shop have very descriptive, if not very creative names. Two examples are Amethyst, Pearls, and Swarovski Crystal Bracelet or Tree Greeting Cards. While these might be helpful in giving a quick idea of what the item is, I'm getting really bored with them. Also, if I have more than one item in the shop that closely fits the description in the title, like Red Glass and Turquoise Bracelet and Red, Blue, Green Glass and Turquoise bracelet, then I'm not sure which someone is referring to until I go look at the listing.

So, I recently decided to get creative with my listing titles, at least when I can come up with something quickly. I'm trying not to get too worked up about the "perfect" title because I know me and if I try too hard to get just the right name, I'll never list another item because I'd be searching for the best name from now until the end of time instead of listing.

Yesterday evening and this morning, I posted two new listings with "new and improved" titles. May I present:

Oh My Stars (and Hearts) Bracelet

and

It's Hip to be Square (or Rectangle) Earrings

Well, I never claimed to be Shakespeare, hehehe. BUT, if someone asks me about either of these, I'll know right away what they're talking about! Oh, and as long as we're talking about "clever" titles (I use the term VERY loosely for my own titles, hehe), I renamed the "Halloween Charm Bracelet" I made to:

Mummy's Charm Bracelet

Yeah, ok, so they could still use some work. But I'm having fun with them, and I hope they occasionally manage to amuse others too (or, at least to not groan *too* loudly). :)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Another New Background and Taking Pictures



Since I last posted, I bought some desk lamps and a clear plastic box to act as a makeshift light box to take photos. The pictures are still not coming out as bright as I would like, so I still have to edit some on the computer, but I think they're a step up. The bracelet above is the first picture I took using my new "light box". The bracelet reminded me of a day at the beach because of the sky blue of the beads and the pearls (yeah, they're freshwater pearls, but let's go with it, ok? Hehehe). So, I borrowed some seashells my daughter had to use as a prop and took some pictures. Here is the listing on Etsy if you'd like to see the other pictures.



Another issue with the light box (at least the set-up I have currently) is that artificial light is no match for sunlight. I find that purple, in particular, is a hard color to get to look right in photographs. I tried taking pictures of this necklace with my light box, and even switched to using a light box my husband had made a while back out of cardboard and tissue paper, but the light turned the purples too red and no amount of photo editing would get the colors to match the actual colors of the necklace. So, I took the fabric I used from the last pictures I took prior to getting the light box, held the necklace on the fabric in my hand next to a window and took some pictures. Since I wasn't in direct sunlight, the pictures were still darker than I'd like, but the sun did the trick and the colors in the photograph matched the colors in the necklace.

The pendant is made by the wonderfully talented KanYoFuse on Etsy. He makes fused glass pendants that are absolutely stunning. I've bought several of his pendants and love every single one of them. His work is gorgeous and his prices are VERY reasonable. At a quick glance, this pendant looks to be brown and white swirl. However, in certain light, the brown really, really wants to be purple. I had some muddy purple cats eye beads that coordinated well, so I added those to the mix to bring out the pendant's desire to be purple. I was really pleased with the necklace and the pictures. You can click here to view the full listing and see the other pictures I took.

I still have some work to do with lighting (I'm going to try CLF bulbs or possibly some bulbs that claim to be similar to sunlight if I can find them next), and I think I could still use some work on backgrounds and photo composition, but I think I've definitely improved from the photos I took in some of my first listings.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

New Background

I've been using music as the background for my jewelry listings for a while now, like in this listing of a rainbow bracelet. However, I wanted to make a change and try something new. I just wasn't sure what I should use.

Yesterday, as I was getting ready to take pictures of the jewelry I made over the weekend, I went looking around for a new background to use. I remembered a piece of fabric in all the fabric my mom gave me recently that I really liked and was wondering what I could make out of it. It had light, bright colors, and I thought it'd be a pretty background without being too over-powering. After all, I wanted the jewelry to stand out, not the background.

So, I gave it a try and I'm mostly happy with the results. I think my pictures will look a lot better when I finally make myself a light box (which I'm hoping to do sometime this week), but between natural sunlight and a little bit of help from the computer, I think the pictures turned out ok. I think they could stand to be a little brighter, and it'd be better if the whole picture were in focus, of course. Anyway, here is one of the items I listed using the fabric as a background in the pictures. Let me know what you think:



If you're interested in seeing the listing for this necklace and matching earrings, you can click here.

What are you favorite backgrounds when taking pictures?

Also, a fellow Etsian, Robyn, interviewed me for her blog recently. She posted the interview this morning. Here is the interview if you'd like to read it!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Adventures in Crocheting

I have a real weakness for crocheted items. I especially like tiny little flowers that can be used to decorate scrapbook pages or greeting cards, but I also really like headbands, barrettes, dishcloths, scrubbies, soap savers, and and and... Let's just say I could send myself to the poorhouse very easily on Etsy just from browsing people who sell anything crocheted. I even use a little purple crocheted elephant that a friend made for me in most of my earring listings as my earring "model". You can see her (well, her ear anyway) in this listing of Ceramic and Hematite Earrings.

So, I thought I'd try my hand at crocheting (again). I'd tried it a number of years ago, but couldn't get the hang of making a granny square and gave up quickly. In the meantime, I'd re-learned how to knit so I thought surely I'd be able to teach myself to crochet.

Let's just say my first several attempts were less-than-stellar (they looked more like a knotted mess than anything even halfway resembling crochet). My mom has done some crocheting in her time so, between her help today and the help of the 2nd of two crochet books I bought, I spent a good part of the day trying to do a few different crochet stitches and came up with:




As you can see, crochet sellers on Etsy should feel safe and secure in the knowledge that I will be buying from them for the foreseeable future. ;) I had to rip out more stitches than I completed which is part of why there really isn't all that much to show for working on this for a good part of the day. That and, even with the ones that I did end up keeping, I did them almost painfully slow. It was fun though, once I started getting the hang of it. I don't see me ever getting good enough to feel comfortable selling something I've crocheted on Etsy, but I might get to the point where I can make myself a serviceable (if not beautiful) washcloth.

In the meantime, here are a few sellers on Etsy who make beautiful items using knitting and crocheting that I can buy from instead:

Easy123

Roses7184

Piggytailsboutique

and

Huggermugger

If you're like me and love anything crocheted or knitted, check them out!

Monday, August 24, 2009

What I Did This Weekend


This weekend was fairly productive. I got a lot of housecleaning done and my husband got a lot of yard work done (as always, there's plenty more to do, of course). We played board games with the kids.

The game we played this weekend was a yard sale bargain (gotta love those). Only $3 for a like new set (it is just missing one Life card, and there are enough of those that one isn't going to be missed). The game is Life: Twists and Turns which is a new (to us) version of Life that comes with an electronic device for spinning and keeping track of scores. The board itself is also quite a bit different, as are the cars. The game was way above our 4 year old's head, but the 7 year old (mostly) kept up with it. We all had fun, although our 4 year old kept trying to drive her car all over the track, hehe.

Not too surprisingly, I also made jewelry this weekend. :) The picture above is everything I made Sunday that I haven't had a chance to list yet. It's a mix of items I made with beads I wasn't sure what to do with and ideas I've had for a while. I won't tell you which is which though. I'll leave it to your imagination to decide.

When I have beads I'm not sure what to do with, I will often just take them out and play with them until I come up with something I'm happy with. I have to say, what I came up with this time I am VERY happy with, and am tempted to keep it for myself. However, if I kept every piece I was tempted to keep, I'd have no shop and too much jewelry!

I did get a chance to list three items I made over the weekend (and they are not pictured above). These two bracelets were inspired by something I saw on the show Firefly:

Red, Blue, Green Glass and Turquoise bracelet

and

Red Glass and Turquoise Bracelet


And, this moon necklace is similar to some others I have made and sold:

Green Moon Necklace

So, a very productive weekend, both at home and for my shop!

What did you do this weekend?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Value of Wants

This morning, Meandmomscrafts wrote a post about the monetary value of her wishlist on Etsy in her blog. It made me wonder how much it'd cost if I bought everything on my wishlist too.

I have a number of items on it that have already sold (the price of waiting on those favorites), so I didn't count any of those, even the ones where I was pretty sure the seller would have more of the same item. I also didn't count anything from sellers where I just added their whole shop to my favorites because there were so many things I liked in their shop. My total came out to a mere $250.50.

I've been pretty conservative with my favorites, or "hearts" on items on Etsy. I know I can't afford everything I want, so I avoid looking for things for me (which has not prevented me from finding things I want for me, it has just helped limit how many). I've only just started looking for birthday and Christmas items, so not many of those have made it onto my wishlist either (though the ones that are on there, for birthdays at least, I need to buy sooner rather than later...just about everyone in my family was born in September!).

If you could buy everything in your favorites on Etsy all at once, how much would your wishlist cost?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Stamp Sets



The Stampin' Up! stamp sets I've listed on Etsy have been very popular and many have already sold. I've only got 4 left (for now), including the one pictured above. I do plan on digging deeper into my stamp collection and finding more to sell, but if for now what is listed right now is what I have. If you'd like to take a look at what I still have, you can click here. :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

School Bus Fun

I feel like my life has been a whirlwind of busyness since the first day of school. I didn't touch my Etsy shop or get on Etsy more than very briefly from Thursday til Sunday night because of how busy everything has been. I am sure things will settle down and feel normal again at some point...right??

My daughter rides the bus home from school. I took her to school and picked her up everyday for kindergarten, but then gas prices spiked and we decided we needed to cut bakc on our driving so, starting with 1st grade, she's been riding the bus most days. Last year, she got dropped off around 4:30 most days, so I was expecting that to be the case this year as well but, like last year, expected the bus to be late on the first day, so I figured she'd be dropped off around 5pm or so.

Thursday, on the first day of school, she did not get dropped off til after 6pm. I made a number of calls to the school during the wait and was quite relieved when she finally was dropped off (the delay was a combination of technical problems with the bus and the heavy traffic of the first day of school). She was starving and desperate for *something* to do (the kids are allowed to read, but not draw or color and she hadn't brought a book with her). So, I picked up dinner for both girls (my younger daughter doesn't go to school yet and was waiting with me the entire time) before heading out to pick my husband up from work very late.

Friday, the bus was slightly earlier, arriving at 5:40. Monday, earlier still, arriving at 5:15. I'm hoping that the earlier drop-offs continue to happen. I hate the idea of my daughter being on a bus for so long, and the 45 minutes she was riding it last year was about the limit as far as I'm concerned. She at least has a book now, so she can get the "read for 15 minutes" portion of her homework each evening done on the bus.

Still, I may start picking her up in the afternoons again. We get home much later than I'd like on a school night, particularly when she has homework. I'm going to give it this week to see if the bus continues to arrive earlier each day (and hopefully with a "normal" drop off at the old 4:30-4:40 from last year), and then re-evaluate at that point.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

First Day of 2nd Grade



Today is my older daughter's first day of 2nd grade. She'd been saying most of the summer that she didn't like school and didn't want to go. After going to orientation yesterday (where we also had to say hello to her 1st grade and kindergarten teacher), she started to get excited. This morning, she even wondered what she'd learn at school today. :)

For being the first day of school, the morning ran fairly smoothly. We had one minor hiccup, however. Yesterday, I let both my daughters pick out any headband they wanted while we were out shopping for school supplies and school clothes (nothing like the last minute, right?). One of the things my older daughter had been looking forward to is wearing her new headband to school.

With all the hustle and bustle of getting her out the door for the bus stop on time, we all forgot about the headband. Fortunately, she realized this at the bus stop and not at school so the minor meltdown about it got out of the way before she got on the bus.

The picture above is her getting on the bus. I feel a little sad about her getting on the bus for school, but I'm also glad to be back to having only one daughter at home during the day. My younger daughter will be going to school next year. I don't know what I'll do with myself when I have NO kids at home during the day!

And, to celebrate my daughter's first day in 2nd grade, a ONE DAY SALE in my Etsy shop!

Buy any item in my shop and get the 2nd item (equal or lesser value) HALF PRICE!

If you want to check it out, here is my shop.

Sale ends at midnight tonight!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New Section In My Shop

I decided to "expand" my shop and also sell supplies. Right now, what I have in the way of supplies is stamp sets. I used to be a Stampin' Up! demonstrator, but it was very part-time. I had a regular stamp club of 8-10 members that ran for close to 5 years. I had a few core members, with the rest of the membership changing over the years. Well, last year the core group shrunk down to just two people (not including me) and since I'd been considering leaving Stampin' Up! to pursue selling jewelry, I decided that was a good time to do so. I still go to another stamp club, one run by the woman who signed me up to Stampin' Up! because although I don't want to be a demonstrator anymore, I still really enjoy using their products (all the stamped items I sell are using Stampin' Up! stamp sets, inks and cardstock).

Over my years as a demonstrator, I acquired A LOT of stamp sets. Many of them I intend to keep because I do still stamp cards (I haven't given a store-bought card in at least 7 years, ever since I discovered Stampin' Up!) and I still use stamps in my scrapbooking. But, over the years, my style and tastes have changed, not to mention I got some stamp sets just to use in my demonstrations or as prizes. So now I'm listing some of those in my Etsy shop in the hopes that they'll go to someone who will give them a good home.

Here is one of the sets I have listed:



This one (and the other three for that matter) are actually duplicates of ones I've kept. This one in particular is one of my favorites. You can find this one and the three others (so far) that I have listed by clicking here. I have more to list, so be sure to keep checking back!

Monday, August 10, 2009

I'm Feeling Blue...

Well, at least that's what my listings look like. :) Two new listings today, both of them blue.

First, a blue bracelet:


This bracelet is made out of light blue cat's eye, dark teal blue glass, and silver-plated spacer beads. The decorative clasp is a silver-color metal. If you'd like to see the listing, you can click here.



The second listing is a blue swirl/splatter patterned pocket tissue cover:

This tissue holder is a great way to keep a pack of pocket tissues protected in your purse. Or, if you'd rather, you can also use it to hold business cards, discount cards, or any other cards that clutter up your wallet, leaving you more room for your money! :) If you'd like to see the listing on this one, click here.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

When It Rains, It Pours



Yesterday my city was hit with a storm that brought so much rain with it that large parts of the city were flooded. Cars were submerged, dumpsters and parked cars were swept "downstream" from the current of the water, basements (and sometimes more) flooded. A friend of mine, Eric Truman, who ended up stuck downtown during the worst of it, took pictures of some of the flooding.

In the first picture, taken after the rain stopped, is my church. You can see how deep the water is in the street, and according to Eric, that was after the water level had dropped a little. Our church was fortunate (relatively speaking) because it sits on a little bit of a hill. The basement got a foot of water in it and no water in the rest of the building.

In the second picture, the building in the background is the Main Library downtown. The basement was entirely flooded out, to the tune of approximately $1 million in damages. They had new computers and all the new books that were going to be sent to a new branch opening mid-August, among other things. Such a horrible loss.

One thing that amuses me about the picture, however, is the two people walking in waist-deep water huddled under an umbrella. I figure, at that point, just let the rain hit you on the head too, you really can't get much wetter. ;)

Some people lost just about everything with the flood waters in their house, many lost their cars due to flood damage. I am really fortunate because our basement didn't leak at all and our street never flooded. During the worst of the rain, there were rivers running rapidly down both sides of the street (which happens during any big rainstorm), but the street drained quickly when the rain stopped and the water in the "rivers" probably only got 2-3" deep at the most. Streets just a few blocks over were not quite as lucky as us. When my husband drove home that evening (he left for work just before the thunderstorm really hit hard, so I'm incredibly thankful he made it to work safely), he said he saw several areas where parts of our neighborhood had been closed off for flooding.

The University of Louisville was flooded really badly as well. Several friends of mine who work there were trapped for part of the day because of the flooding, and a few people even had to be rescued by boat from where they were. Fortunately, all my friends who had been trapped did manage to get home later in the day.

On one of the local news stations, they showed a video of someone riding his canoe down one of the streets of Old Louisville, which I thought was really great. Even in the face of disaster, someone found a way to laugh.

This is the third major flood that has hit the city that I'm aware of. The one in 1937 (we have "high water mark" signs showing where the water was during that flood, but I haven't seen pictures of how the water yesterday compared to those), the one in 1997 (I moved from a 1st floor apartment whose ceiling started leaking in three spots the day of that flood, so it was definitely a good move, though a little earlier would have been better), and now yesterday's flood, which I guess will be known as the flood of 2009. Although the total rainfall yesterday was less than those other two floods, the amount of rain that fell in an hour was record-breaking for the area. The fast rain and all the rain we'd been having recently is what combined to cause such major flash flooding.

In addition to this being the third flood, it's the third natural disaster we've had in a year. The leftover damaging winds of Ike tore through last September and took a lot of trees and power lines with them. In January, we had a really powerful and damaging ice storm come through and take more trees and the power lines again (we lost power for several days during both storms, as did most of the city). My daughter who is in school missed a week of school for each event because of how long it took to restore power to the schools (not to mention the rest of the city) and also repair damage.

On the bright side, this year's July was the mildest for Louisville in recorded history, so not all the weather oddities have been bad. Overall though, it's been a tough year, since last September, and I'm hoping that we've seen the worst that Mother Nature has in store for us for a while.

Edited to add: There is a fund set up for donations to help with flood damage at the library. You can send donations to The Library Foundation, 301 York Street, Louisville, KY, 40203

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Flower Pot



A few weeks ago, I won this beautiful flower pot from LePinkChandelier in a contest. I'm not much of a gardener, but I thought LePinkChandelier's flower pots were very pretty. I try to be kind to plants and not take them into my care because they almost always end up dying. Other than an aloe plant I bought a last summer and a snake plant (also known as a mother-in-law tongue) that my daughter wanted, I haven't managed to keep a plant alive for more than a few months. The poor aloe plant almost didn't make it because I took "water infrequently" seriously and didn't water it all winter (Ok, I admit it, I actually just forgot).

So, when I actually won the contest (a very nice surprise), I wasn't sure what I was going to actually *do* with the flower pot. I briefly thought about giving it away as a gift to someone who can actually take care of plants, but it was so pretty I didn't want to part with it. So, I looked at the coffee mug I've been using as a "temporary" pen holder for months and decided it was time for something more permanent.

The drainage hole in the bottom meant that anything I tried to put it it could fall out the center, so I cut out a piece of cardboard the right size and put it in the bottom of the pot. That did the trick and now it holds all my pens, pencils and scissors very nicely, and now I can look at my beautiful flower pot anytime I'm on the computer or need a pen. :)

LePinkChandelier has more flower pots in the "upcycle" section of her shop as well as many other lovely and useful items in her shop. I especially like her upcycled envelopes, like these Vintage Map Envelopes. If you'd like to see more from her shop, click here!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Venturing Into Twitter

I've had a Twitter account almost since Twitter first started. Originally I only used it to communicate with a few close friends and my husband, but eventually started letting some other friends read it as well, but it's always been a private account. I was surprised when Twitter started getting so popular for businesses, and I decided I didn't want to open up my personal Twitter account for business stuff.

However, I'd been considering the possibility of starting a Twitter account for my Etsy shop, but wasn't sure what I'd do with it, whether I'd have anyone follow it or how complicated it would be to keep up with two Twitter accounts. Well, tonight someone suggested that I just go ahead and do it and if I didn't like it, then I could just abandon the account.

So, I have a brand new Twitter account for my Etsy shop. You can find it at http://twitter.com/42PurpleEleFans

The story behind the name is kind of fun too. I was two letters short of 42PurpleElephants, making it 42PurpleElephan. My husband thought that was actually a cute idea, and if I changed the ph to an f, I'd even have enough room to add the s at the end. So, 42PurpleElefans on Twitter was born. :)

I also have a Facebook Fan page, and I recently reached 100 fans so I could have my own custom URL! If you'd like to fan me there too (I post fan-only specials, including one that is running right now), you can find that here: http://www.facebook.com/42PurpleElephants

Hope to see you on Twitter and Facebook! :)

If you have an account on Twitter or a Facebook fan page, feel free to post them here in the comments and I'll check your pages out as well! :)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sewing



My mom has been sewing since well before I was born. When I was a kid up through my teenage years, I tried sewing, but always found it frustrating and tedious, so even though I liked the idea of sewing my own clothes and other items, I just didn't do it much.

Well recently I decided to give it another try and to start with something small, simple and something I wanted anyway. So I decided to try my hand at making a pocket tissue holder.

Mom had one she'd made years ago (and had added a ribbon of cross stitch flowers and some eyelet ribbon as well) so we used it as a pattern for me to make one. I was a little dubious because when mom says something is "easy", I never know what I'm getting into because she has so much experience sewing that things that would be difficult for a beginner she's been doing so long they would seem very easy to her.

Fortunately, this one was right up my alley. It was quick to make and looked nice when I was finished. I think I was more proud of that little tissue holder than I've been of anything else in a long while. I had conquered the "I can't sew" demon and, in the words of my 4 year old, "I DID IT MYSELF!"

I decided to make a few extra (my older daughter wanted one too), and ended up with these two that weren't being given to someone else. I'm considering adding these (and some other sewn items) to my Etsy store. Any opinions on whether this would work/would be a good idea?

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Birthday Girl



I love crocheted and knitted items. I knit, but I only make scarves (not very quickly, at that) and my scarves are almost always crooked. I tried my hand at crocheting once and didn't do well, but especially when I see all the wonderful crocheted items on Etsy, I consider trying to pick it up again. Thinking about it more, however, I realize I am probably better off just buying what I want from Etsy crocheters. ;)

Recently I was looking through Threadmill's shop and saw a beautiful green and white crocheted headband that had daisies on it. My daughter, who just graduated from being a Daisy Girl Scout, loves daisies because of that. Her birthday was coming up so I thought she'd really like this daisy headband to wear to her birthday party, so I bought it.

In addition to sending the headband, Threadmill sent a crocheted flower barrette. I tried to talk my birthday girl into giving the barrette to her younger sister, but she wouldn't hear of it. That barrette was a present from Threadmill and it was hers and she was going to wear it!

In this picture, she is wearing her headband and, though you can't see it very well, her crocheted flower barrette. She loved wearing it and, between wearing her headband and her new jewelry from her grandparents, she felt like a birthday princess.

I couldn't stop at just the headband. The next day I asked for a special order of four purple and green dishcloths. I'd seen them in her shop at the same time that I saw the headband, but I hesitated and another lucky buyer swooped in and bought them that evening. Threadmill made them quickly and I had them in my hands just a couple of days after I received the headband. My daughter saw them and wanted one of those too, but they are MINE, ALL MINE. Hehe. My daughter also declared them too pretty to use (I haven't yet).

If you're like me and love crocheted items and want to treat yourself, Threadmill has lots of beautiful headbands, dishcloths, washcloths, hats, and more. You can visit her shop by clicking here. As for me, I've got my eye on some more washcloths and maybe a headband for myself too!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Two new listings




I just listed these tonight!

The first is a bracelet made with goldstone, kambaba jasper, and copper. This one would look great on a man or a woman. It has a very earthly look. If you'd like to see the listing for this bracelet, click here.

The second is another necklace with a Celtic star as the pendant. It is made with stainless steel jumprings. The beads are blue aventurine (they really look purple), blue goldstone (they really look black with sparkles), and silver-tone bead caps and flower spacer beads. They are strung on cord and knotted in a way that makes the length adjustable. If you'd like to see the listing for the necklace, click here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Few New Listings





I wanted to show off a few new listings in my Etsy shop. The necklace is one made by my husband. He made the Celtic Star pendant using stainless steel jump rings and turned it into a necklace by adding red glass beads and metal spacer beads to a cord. I really like this one. He's made a few others using different beads and I've listed most of those too.

The other two are new pairs of earrings I made last night. One pair is made with blue cat's eye, white cat's eye, blue and white swirl glass cube beads and silver-plated spacer beads. The other are made using blue aventurine (looks purple), blue goldstone (looks black and sparkly), opal swarovski crystal and silver-plated spacer beads. The blue aventurine looks like it's different colors in the picture. While there are subtle differences in the coloring of each bead, it's not nearly as dramatic as it looks in the picture. It's not really noticeable at all unless you're looking closely. I think both pairs of earrings look very elegant!

In other news, related to my post about the violin, I took the plunge and trimmed my fingernails on my left hand really short so it'll be easier to play. I don't particularly keep my fingernails well-manicured anyway, but now I'll (hopefully) be trimming them regularly instead of letting them grow til they break (which is quite frequently, actually). Now, to actually play more regularly!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Violin



I played violin from when I was in 3rd grade until my sophomore year in high school. After that, I may have picked it up once or twice briefly, but never seriously. Twenty years later, I decided I wanted to learn how to play again.

My old violin was still in my parents' basement and, while the violin had survived the time being stored down there, the bow hadn't. The strings on the violin also needed to be replaced, so I took the violin into the music shop where my parents had bought it and had them fix it up. When I picked up the violin a few days later, it had been cleaned, the pegs lubricated, and new strings put on it. I chose the cheap student strings because I wasn't sure if I'd stick with playing it and didn't want to get the higher quality strings if they were going to end up sitting unused on the violin for another 20 years.

The bow had to be sent to another shop out of town to be re-haired. I just got it back yesterday. I played yesterday evening and it definitely felt good to play again. I wish I could say it also sounded good, but I'd be a liar if I did. ;) At the same time, considering I hadn't touched a violin in 20 years, I didn't sound too shabby. My husband could recognize almost all the familiar tunes I played, after all, hehe.

I have no idea if I will ever get to the point where I could do a performance and not embarrass myself, but even if I don't, it'll be fun playing for myself.

Friday, July 17, 2009

My First Listing


When I post my listings on Etsy here, I tend to post new listings, but today I'm showing off the first thing I ever listed. I really like the colors of this bracelet, but I've been unsuccessful in getting a picture that shows the true color of the blue aventurine. It's called blue aventurine, but it's actually purple. It's not even that blue that people sometimes mistake for purple, they are a deep, beautiful purple. But, whether I use sunlight or lightbulbs, I haven't been able to get the true color to show up in my pictures.

In all honesty, I thought that this would be the first thing I sold, and that it would sell quickly. That's why I listed it first. When I showed it to my friends, as I often do with new things I've made, it got a lot more positive response than pretty much everything I'd shown them. Part of this is probably because, like me, a lot of my friends really love purple. ;)

So, I wanted to bring this one out into the spotlight again, and give it another chance. The color of the aventurine is still not right (the color of the glass beads is), but I took new pictures that I hope showcase it a little better. I've also put it back up in the "featured items" in my shop so everyone who stops by will see it first.

If you'd like to get a closer look at it, you can click here to see the listing in my Etsy shop. :)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cross - Self Portrait Day 13



This was my self portrait on July 8th, or Day 13 of my self-portrait project. I've decided instead of posting them daily (which I haven't been anyway), that I'd post them occasionally, and although I might do several in a day to try to "catch up", I'm not necessarily going to post every single one of them.

Around July 8th (I can't remember if it was the same day or the day before now), I received these fun skull and crossbones appliques from Cornerstop that I'd ordered. I saw them in a promotion thread on Etsy and just had to have them. I love the contrast between skull and crossbones and a pretty flower with a rhinestone. I also like that the eye sockets are upside down hearts. I'm actually not sure what I'm going to do with them (the idea of making a scrapbook page of my girls in pirate outfits comes to mind, but first I have to convince them to dress like pirates, hehe). Another idea I had was to make little pins with them.

In addition to sending the 6 appliques I ordered, she sent an assortment of other appliques at no extra charge. Within seconds of me opening the package, my daughters descended upon the contents and grabbed the extras (ok, I did make them take turns picking, so it was a somewhat structured grabbing). I don't remember what all they got because they grabbed fast, but I do remember that there was a butterfly, a dragonfly, a teddy bear and a princess crown.

Anyway, for my self-portrait that evening, I wanted to include the cute skull and crossbones, and I decided that it'd be fun to put it on my nose and cross my eyes to "look" at it (I can't actually see much of anything when my eyes are crossed like that). As for the other appliques that my daughters claimed, I have grand plans of making small pocket purses out of the pockets from a pair of cargo pants my younger daughter wore holes through and sewing the appliques onto those. We'll see if that actually happens. ;)

If you'd like to get your own fun skull and crossbones appliques (or any of her other appliques, she has LOTS and LOTS listed), click here to visit Cornerstop's store. She also sells some cute beads, including some really great Kitty beads that I've had my eye on to make bracelets for my daughters (who love Hello Kitty). :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Moon Pendant Necklace



Not too long ago, I was looking on Etsy for a certain kind of moon pendant to use in a necklace. While I didn't find the kind I was looking for, I found these really great pendants from Beadfreaky. I ordered two sets of pendants and they were even better in person than they were in the pictures.

This necklace is one of the necklaces I made with her pendants. I added the bail and then added beads to make this beautiful corded necklace. Although they are not all moons, I do have five more of her pendants I plan on using in necklaces and selling in my Etsy shop soon. I've also already made a necklace out of one of her pendants for myself...I couldn't part with *all* of them, after all. :)

If you'd like to see what other pendants she has for sale, you can check out her Etsy shop here. And, please keep an eye on 42 Purple Elephants, where I'll be listing more necklaces using her pendants soon!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

This one may end up being mine. :)



I like every piece of jewelry I make, and many become favorites whether I decide to keep it or not. Often, if I'm working with my favorite colors, I'll deliberately make it too small for me (in the case of bracelets, this isn't hard to do, I wear a pretty large-sized bracelet) so I won't be tempted to keep it.

I didn't do any of that for this necklace, however. In fact, I even included some amethyst beads that I'd originally bought thinking I'd make something for me with them because I thought they added just the right touch. I knew I'd like this necklace because of the colors and beads, but the more I look at it, the more I like it. I'm seriously considering just keeping it for myself or finding more of the same beads to make a second one (this is what I often do if I end up too attached to something I've made).

Anyway, I did end up listing it in my Etsy shop, but if it isn't bought soon, I may take it down and keep it for myself. :)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Self Portraits Days 11 and 12












I've gotten a little behind on posting these, so I guess I'll be posting two a day for a while now. On day 11 (July 6th), in the evening, I got this weird feeling of Impending Doom. I called this one "Is The Sky Falling?". As it turned out, nothing bad happened (that I'm aware of), and the feeling passed. But it's what I was feeling when I took my self-portrait that day.

On Day 12 (July 7th), my husband and I went out to dinner with some friends of mine from high school and had a blast. We went to a Chinese restaurant that had a Chinese menu and an American menu. The Chinese menu had such entries like "Unique Chicken Smell" as an appetizer and "Dried Pig's Intestine w/ Chinese Celery". The "Unique Chicken Smell" is actually tasty (that we ordered). Someone else will have to get back to you on the Intestines because no one at our table tried that. ;)

I had such a good time I forgot to take a picture while out to document what I was doing, so I ended up just snapping this quick one at my parents' house when we went there to pick up our kids (my parents were nice enough to keep the girls while my husband and I went out).

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Blue Glass and Pearls Bracelet



This beautiful bracelet was made by my husband. It features blue glass "chunks", freshwater pearls and silver metal egg-shaped beads. I think it is very elegant! I also listed a pair of earrings that match this bracelet, or would look stunning all on their own.

If you'd like to see this bracelet, you can click here and, while you're there, be sure to check out the earrings that match and the rose quartz and blue glass bracelet that I also listed today! :)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Purple Swarovski Crystal Earrings



I just listed these beautifully elegant earrings. They are made with purple Swarovski crystal and sliver-plated beads, along with silver-color beadcaps. I have another pair just like it, except using green Swarovski crystal that I just listed as well.

If you'd like to check these out, you can click here. While there, be sure to check out the green ones too! :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A New Bracelet!



I just listed this beautiful bracelet to my Etsy shop! It's made of goldstone, blue aventurine (though it looks purple, not blue) and copper. Goldstone is one of my favorites to work with because of how it sparkles!

If you'd like to take a look at the full listing, you can view it here. :)

My Newest Listing!



This is my newest listing! This bracelet is made using hematite chips, blue aventurine (but it looks purple) and copper beads. I really like these colors together and think this would be a fun and funky bracelet to wear for a night out on the town or a girls' night out.

If you'd like to see more details about this bracelet, you can view the listing here. :)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Self Portraits Days 9 and 10




These are my self portraits for Days 9 and 10 of my self-portrait project. On Day 9, the 4th of July, my husband and I got new cell phones. He'd been wanting a new one for a while and mine was finally starting to give up the ghost. It would often not turn on right away when I'd go to make a call, and then it would take a while for it to respond, so it was past time for me to replace it. We both got new Blackberry phones. Not the newest one that is similar to an iPhone, but new enough. I took a self-portrait earlier in the evening and made it my phone wallpaper and used that to take my self-portrait that night, so it's kind of a "two-for" self-portrait. Later, I took a picture of my husband and that picture is my current background on my phone because I realized I'd rather stare at his face than mine. ;)

Day 10, the 5th of July, I called "Extreme Close-Up". Basically, around 11pm or so I realized I hadn't taken a self-portrait, so that was my "gotta come up with something fast!" photo. There's really not much more to say about that one, other than I wish my nose wasn't quite so prominent in that one. ;)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Self-Portraits - Days 7 and 8




These are my Day 7 and Day 8 self-portraits. On Day 7, I was feeling uninspired. I tried taking some profile shots, but I didn't really like any of them. I finally decided I liked this one, except it was a little blurry. So I made it purple to try to cover that up. ;)

Day 8 (July 3rd) we spent on the road driving several hours to visit my husband's grandparents. We spent the day on their farm where the girls got to "drive" the tractor, go cane pole fishing, explore the woods, and just run around and play. It was a good but busy day. Not as hot as you'd expect in July, but it still got warm when standing out in the sun.

I took the picture on the way home. If I remember correctly, I took it shortly before I fell asleep in the car for about half an hour. ;)
 
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