Saturday, March 27, 2010

Thank you Artfirelessthan(10) guild

I wanted to thank everybody for all the promoting they have done for DancingWindDesigns this week. It's been fun to see all the incoming links and things from your tweets and blogs. It's been fun being on this end of the promotion, but I enjoy being on the other end, too. So thanks again everybody, especially to Kim, aka VaBeachQuilter who is the guild master and the one who set all this up and is the one who keeps it organized so we know who we are promoting from week to week. THANKS EVERYBODY!!!!!!

At the end of my rambling

I love looking at the organized pictures in these posts. I know they won't look like this for long. Then in 4 or 5 months, I won't be able to stand the dis-order anymore and will organize yet again. By then, I should have at least 100 more of the plastic baby food containers. I have found out that those containers will hold 1/4 pound of bugle beads. WoooHooo!!!
Sometimes I will pull beads together for a creation, then, once I start it, I won't like a color and will go search for another one. Then, once I find a new color, I won't like another color with it, so I will go get another color that will go with the new one and the rest of the colors. And so it goes-sometimes I end up with only one color remaining out of the original ones I had chosen. This process tends to leave the bead drawers in a confused mess. I try and be neat, but it doesn't always work.
My next beading goal, after I get 100 items listed in my Artfire studio, is to do some bead embroidery. I have tried it in a sample piece and I can do it. My mom taught me how to embroider when I was 7 and laid up recovering from an appendix that literally burst in the surgeon's hand. Back then, there weren't 100 channels on TV and I was tired of reading, so I learned embroidery. It's the first time I realized how much color there was in the world. My mom embroidered to relax and she had tons of DMC floss. I realized that there could be multiple shades of a color and my lifelong color addiction began.
Today is my birthday, so like many of my posts, this one is scheduled and hopefully, I am somewhere around the edge of a bass pond. It's supposed to be kind of windy Sat., so I'm not sure about the fishing. I wish we could go to the lake area that's in my banner picture, but I doubt if the home owners that are now there would appreciate us schlepping through their yards to get to the lake. Oh well, that's progress, I guess.
I've seen a lot of "progress" in the last few decades that I don't really consider to be progress at all-more of a paving over of nature. It makes me sad.
So, if you haven't seen this on Facebook or twitter yet, I am going to give you a cool present. It's a link to a live web cam of a barn owl who is in the process of having a family. three of her eggs have hatched, and she has owlets, and there are 2 more to hatch. If you have heard of Molly the Barn Owl, she's the one. If you check out that link, be sure to check out the ther animal cam links on that page.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Artfire Merchandizer is now live!!

The Artfire Merchandizer is now live in all pro Artfire studios. This handy, dandy little tool gives you the ability to re-arrange your shop by category or move the entire shop around. It's incredibly easy to use, too. You can skip pages, save and not publish or you can go live with your listing.
The re-arrange categories are done just like the studio only they have a drop down menu so you can select which category you want to work in.
I'm on the Artfire Maven team. We get to test things like this before it rolls out to the site. Several Mavens made suggestions or a wish list and the Artfire technical team did their best to add that stuff to this exciting new feature. All other online venues will wish they had this feature. It makes the rearrange at etsy look.... clunky to say the least.
With the Artfire tool, you have an offline screen to make your changes on and you can preview your changes before saving them. When you mouse over an item, it asks what page you want to move it to. There is a drag and drop feature when you are working on one page. The possibilites for this are endless. Want all one color on a page, no problem. Want to move an older listing up to the front-again no problem.
Congrats and thanks to the Artfire Tech and Marketing team for giving their sellers yet another reason to think this seliing venue rocks!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

This might end up being 5 segments. I'm scheduling these posts today (Sun.) and I'm hoping my Miyuki and Delica beads will arrive tomorrow, so I can include them. I want to get some of those previosuly mentioned projects going and get them in my studio. I will just write another post with those if they don't arrive tomorrow.

On today's tour, first we have bugle beads. I have quite the selection of bugles. I have some that are incredibly long-sent to me by a friend who thought she wanted to weave beads, but found out she like silversmithing much better. She sent me some of her stash, including those incredibly long ones. Besides those, I have your basic twisted bugles, and the straight ones, both in a wild assortment of colors.

The next stop is the DynaMite drawer. They come in these nifty little containers, (you might have noticed some reused one in other pics)that stack nicely in these deep drawers. I know-I said I didn't like bead containers stacked on each other, but in this case, the drawer is deep enough and I have enough DynaMites to be able to stack like colors and finishes with like. For example, the transparent cobalt can stack on top of each other.

The last stop on the tour today is what I consider to be my "misc." drawer. It has all the beads that don't fit in any other category. It has the acrylic accent beads I use on my ornament drapes. I prefer acrylic drops rather than glass on some cases because of the weight factor-glass weighing more than acrylic. It also has my box of business cards, my earrings cards and a small stuffed penguin I picked up someplace for some reason. Not sure he shows in the picture.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My creating and storing with seed beads-pt.3

The tour today will start with the second storage cart. I'm not sure what those things are "officially" called-rolling carts with drawers, I guess. It didn't take me long to find out that those carts don't roll too well when the drawers have pounds of beads in them. LOL!

This is a picture of Matsuno seed beads. Matsuno is the 3rd largest of the Japanese bead manufacturers, with Miyuki and TOHO in front of them. I like them because they are quality beads, come in an incredible range of colors and finishes and are reasonably priced. FireMountainGems sells them under the name DynaMite.

The open spaces are for beads that are going to be used in a couple of projects this week. One of the things my muse did while "we" were organizing is come up with things to create. Since I knew it would be a few days before I got to working on those projects, I set the beads-and everything else-for those 3 projects aside. Yep, 3 projects-sometimes I think my muse thinks I can bead at the speed of light. Notice the first drawer.I don't like beads stacked up like that because it makes it hard for me to open the drawers and "cruise for color" when I want to do something. See, I told you it will soon be time for another cart.

The last drawer today has crystals and bi-cones-all pretty and sparkly. I love the facets on these and how they reflect the light. I always try to catch that when I am photographing a finished piece, but it isn't easy.

Thanks for hanging in there with me and a HUGE thanks to the AFlessthan(10) guild.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Creating and stash showing-pt.2

On today's tour, we will see how the things in the first 3 drawers of the cabinet the small organizer sits on, live and are stored. I organize my beads by size, brand and when I can, color. Every beader I know organizes their beads according to how it works for them and we all have different ways of doing it.

This first drawer has all my Czech beads in it. They are Ornela Czech beads. Ornela has been making beads for many decades, if not longer, and they make great beads. The colors are really intense and rich. For the pinks and reds, they use gold in the color-just like in ruby glass-which is another of my glass loves.

The second drawer holds the wonderful beads of TOHO. This Japanese bead company has been in business forever. They make wonderful seed beads-in all sizes and finishes and have an outstanding reputation in the beading world. The different containers are because different suppliers package their the way they want. The small rectangular-tictac-containers-I have gotten from a couple of different places. They are a handy size for many types of beads.

The last drawer opening on today's tour is my gemstones, agates and other rocks. LOL! If you peek toward the middle back of the drawer, you will see those baby food containers I mentioned yesterday.

Monday, March 22, 2010

I'm the featured studio this week

and since all the other guild folks will be promoting me and my Artfire studio, I thought I would take some time and blog about my creative process and show you my newly organized, ever growing bead/gemstone stash. So that's what I will be blogging about this week. I also hope that you will learn a little more about how the items in my shop came into being and that way, get to know me a little better.

I have been on an organizing binge the last few days. I had to. I recently recieved 2.5 pounds of seed beads in the mail (and I'm expecting approx. another pound in the next couple of days) and they were in zip lock bags. Seed beads and zip lock bags usually equal bags coming open and seed beads in the drawers, so I needed to re-do my beads. My son and his family moved in with us a couple of months ago. His family includes our year old grandson. One day, I noticed that my grandson was having some fruit out of this really cool little rectangular plastic box-with a resealable lid. I asked that those little Gerber fruit and veggie containers be saved for Grandma. I wasn't sure what I would do with them, but I knew I would find something-and I did. They now hold my gemstones, sorted by type. The containers that were holding part of my gemstone collection-the chips-are now holding a large part of the 2.5 pounds of beads.

This first picture is the overall view of my storage set up. One of these days, I'm going to have to get another one of those carts. LOL!

The tour will start with the 3 drawers in the small cabinet. the stuff sitting on the top of the carts is pieces that are finished, pieces the need to be cut up and re-used, and a couple of projects I stopped in the middle of because I needed to think about a little more. those will probably end up in the cut and reuse stack.
Anyhow... the first drawer contains the small beeds-the 15's and the 13 cut charlottes. I love charlottes. It amazes me that they can actually put a facet on a bead that small. They sparkle so pretty.

In the next drawer are the containers that used to house my gemstone chips-now holding size 6 and 8 seed beads.

Last on today's little tour is the drawer that houses the square beads, the dagger beads, the fringe beads and other shapes of glass beads that I don't have enough of yet for them to have their own drawer. Notice I said yet. A big thank you to the AFlessthan(10)guild.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Newest Artfire feature coming to a studio near you

Artfire has had the Maven team testing the new studio rearrange feature the last few days before they roll it out to all pro sellers. It is soooooooooooo cool. I love being able to rearrange my studio however I want. They are currently working out some bugs that seem to be occuring, but when it's ready, they will get it out there. It's something a lot of ellers have been asking for since last year, but I guess it's quite a major deal to creat a program like that. Oh, well. I have faith in Artfire that they will get it taken care of. So, if you are considering a studio on AF, here's one more reason why they rock.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

This week's featured seller

from the AFshopswithlessthan(10) guild is LiquidAmbar This is a husband and wife team and in their studio bio, they say sometimes the kids, all working together. It's so good to see kids taking an interest in creating handmade things. That way, traditions won't be lost to the compter age. Their creations are totally cool and unique. Jewelry made from clay and glass-I love that-and fused glass-love that, too. They also have some beautiful pottery. As with most handmade items, these are all one of a kind.

Located in gorgeous NC, they have a wealth of inspiration from nature and it shows, especially in their pottery which is coiled or slab built.

Here are a couple of pictures of things that I love in their studio. It really would be worth your time to click the link and visit their studio.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Is it April 5th yet?

It's the time of year when my thoughts turn to the opening day of baseball season. I am so jonesing for baseball that I even watched a Spring Trainging game yesterday between the Yankees and the Pirates. I figured that the Yankees would stomp the Pirates-turned out to be the other way around. YAY!!! I am soooooooooo not a Yankee fan-or a Mets fan either. I am a fan of whoever they play.

I am a Braves fan-a second generation Braves fan. My son is a 3rd generation fan and this season, I will be making sure my year old grandson is the 4th generation of Braves fans. This year will be a special year for the Braves-it's Bobby Cox and Chipper Jones last year with them. I can't imagine the Braves without Bobby-or Chipper, but mostly Bobby. He has been "the Braves" for as long as I can remember.

Both my parents were baseball fans, so I grew up with it. I remember being outside on summer days and if my dad was out working in the yard, the radio was on and it was baseball. I can still "hear" a home run better than I can see one on TV. Just something about the sound of that bat hitting that ball and you know it's going "outta there" or it will be so close to being out of the park that an outfielder will be going up on the mat to get it and have to stretch to catch it. I love seeing good plays made-even if it deprives my team of a run.

So, until the 5th, I guess I"ll be watching more Spring training games. It will help me through until opening day.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The featured shop from the Artfirelessthan(10)sales guild

is our guildmaster/mistress herself, VaBeachQuilter.

I am in awe of anybody who has a talent for sewing-and sewing this beautifully. That is something that, for some reason, is beyond me. Been there, tried it numerous times and faced the fact that I will never be a seamstress of any kind. That's ok-I would be a fabric addict instead of a bead addict and fabric would take up so much more room than my beads do.

Kim is Va Beach Quilter-guess where she is from. LOL! She has been a machine quilter for about 10 years now. Besides making quilts, she also makes bags, backbaqcks and ishappy to take custom orders. She has done a custom back back for the mom of a Tamp Bay Ray baseball player that I think is fantastic! (Of course I would-Opening Day can't get here quick enough for me.)

Here are a couple of things I love from her Artfire studio.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

My blog has new clothes-more or less

I have a new banner for my blog and my Artfire studio and etsy shop. I also have a new avatar for the shops, too.
The wonderful Yini, of Red Ruby on Fire who has an Artfire studio designed it for me. I was lucky enough to be the recipient of her February blog giveaway and the new banner and avatar are my winnings.

Yini is really easy to work with. If you need a new banner, by all means, contact her. We chatted back and forth by email and I sent her the picture I wanted to use and the above banner is what she created. It's perfect-just what I wanted it to be and so is the avatar. I highly recommend her design work.

Of course, there is a story behind the picture I wanted in my banner. It's a decent sized pond, about 50 yard off of Interstate 95, a few miles north of where we live, but you would never know the highway was that close. The bass that lived in that pond were huge- fun to catch and delicious, too. My husband and I used to go fishing there often. We would see all kinds of wildlife there-hawks, eagles, gators, once a Florida panther even crossed our path. That was cool and a magical moment. We don't fish much in the winter when it's cold-especially in ponds. Don't have much luck with the fish in deepr water. So, several months went by and one nice spring day, we hopped in the car and went up there. We were saddened by what we found. Like so many natural, wonderful areas these days, this mini paradise had been turned into a housing developement. Sadly, we turned around and went home. I wonder what happened to the wildlife. I'm sure the panther was long gone. It had been well over a year since we had seen it-and since seeing it the first time, we would look for tracks when we went fishing.
So that's the story of my new banner picture.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

This week the featured Shopswithlessthan(10)sales guild is

Krystallized. You can find their studio here

This is another husband and wife team from Toronto, On. and realtively new to Artfire, having just joined a couple of months ago.

They make beautiful jewelry with Swarovski crystals. This Spiral Rose Necklace is beautiful. I love the way it flows." /> Who doesn't love pearls? This Stacked Pearl Necklace set is very elegant and chic.

So if you love crystal jewelry, click on the studio link and see waht Krysatllized has to offer.