Saturday, December 26, 2009

Holiday Clearance Sale!

 Just a quick note to let you know I have placed all the Holiday bracelets and earrings in my Etsy shop on sale.

There is still a nice selection of bracelets and lots of earring choices to choose from. Everything on sale is 30% off and will remain that way until they are gone or I am tired of looking at the listings!

Thank you to everyone who supported my shop this holiday season! You made it my best season yet! I very much appreciate all of you who continue to come back and the new customers who have just discovered my shop and Etsy in general! It is truly a pleasure to be able to do what I do. I enjoy being able to create and I love the places this journey has taken me. My new Etsy shop, Principessa Glass, which will feature my own handmade lampwork beads will be actively selling sometime after the first of the year. If you go to the shop and save me in your favorites you will be able to see when I start listing. Also I have a blog associated with it called The Glass Princess Tale. You can check there for regular updates and my musing about glass in general.

I personally love shopping on Etsy! I love the individuality that comes from handmade items! It is so much fun to give a gift that is truly unique! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and that this New Year is a year filled with hope and joy! Thanks again for all of the support!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Countdown!

There are 8 days left till Christmas! If you are shopping locally you have 7 days left to shop, if you are cyber shopping you have 5 days if you include today! I still have lots of great inventory in my Etsy shop to choose from.

 If you are concerned about getting things on time, I ship everything USPS Priority mail and have all my packages out the door usually in less than 24 hours. If you order by Monday, December 21st. BEFORE the post office closes here in central time, which I believe is 5pm, I will personally make sure you package gets to the post office that day! Please keep in mind that if you place an order at 4:45pm on the 21st, that doesn't leave me much time to package things up and drive to the post office before it closes. Any orders that come in late on the 21st will be taken to the post office first thing in the morning on the 22nd.

Not always being as organized as I would like to be,(good intentions only get you so far), I have been the girl standing in line at the post office hoping and praying that my packages would get to there destinations on time. Most of the time, I must say they have, despite my lack of planning! Now, I of course can make no guarantees that a package shipped on the 22nd will arrive on time, since once I drop it off, It is out of my control!

For anyone prone to being a super last minute shopper, I would be happy to give you a quote for express mail. No, it's not cheap, but you did wait until the last minutes to shop and the stores really don't have anything left, so you might have to make some concessions! I tend to be home and on-line most days, so if you have questions about any of the items in my shop just send me a covo or e-mail. I can make adjustments to most pieces in my shop, so if something isn't exactly to your liking, just ask.

I hope everyone is having a calm and enjoyable Holiday season! It is very easy to get all caught up and get stressed out about shopping and family and such. I will do my best here at Juniper Gems to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible. If things get too bad, have an extra cookie, everyone needs a reason to make their New Years resolution's!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Totally cool! This is a super cool video done by Starbucks for their Love Project aimed at raising awareness for AIDS in Africa. When you consider the aomount of technically work that had to go into putting all of these different voices together into one song, I think it turned out pretty amazing.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

New Listings!

I've added a few new listings today to my Juniper Gems shop and should have more through out the week. I haven't been feeling that well, which has slowed me down a bit, but it doesn't take too much energy to just sit at the computer all day.

As you can see there are more Christmas trees to choose from, this batch has some of my smaller more petite trees. They are very cute, still sparkly and fun, just a little less of everything.

I have a lot more bracelets to list and more beads to make bracelets with than I have time to do so. I will eventually get around to it all. It is amazing how much moving can really mess up your life. You think you are settled, but there really are so many layers to get through.

 Hopefully I will feel better in the next day of two, too many more days and it will really oput me off my game for the holidays! I have lots of gifts to make, shopping to do and hopefully a little life to enjoy along the way!
Please stop by my Etys shop and take a peek at my new listings this week and if you haven't already visited my new blog or web site please check them out! I'd love it if you'd save me in your favorites on Etsy so you'll know when I start listing beads and such in my new shop!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Holiday Sale!

I have two special promotions to offer in my Etsy shop, Juniper Gems, during the holiday season! The first one is a progressive discount sale that will run until the end of the year! Basically the more you buy the more you save!

For purchases of 2-3 items you will receive a discount of 20%! Each listing counts as one item, even if the listing contains a set, or multiple items within the listing.

For purchases of 4 or more items (listings, See above for definition) you will receive a 30% discount!

The other Promo I have is this…. If you sign up for my mailing list which can be located on the right hand side of the page, AND make a purchase sometime during the months of October, November or December, I will give you free First Class shipping on that purchase. This offer is good on only ONE purchase, not repeated purchases. I will confirm that you have signed up for the mailing list prior to giving the discount. Just put “Mailing List” in notes to seller and I will look you up and give you your discount! You do not need to be purchasing multiple items to qualify for this Promo!

Please note that my normal method of shipping is USPS Priority mail. First class mail is the postal service’s slightly less expensive, slower shipping method. If you desire to still receive your package via Priority mail, I will refund you the difference between the two shipping costs.

For both Sale Promos, you will receive your discount in the form of a PayPal refund, within 24 hours of purchase, usually less!

If you have any questions about my Promotional offers or any questions about items in my shop, just send me a convo! I can also be reached via e-mail listed at the bottom of this message.

I have many traditional and non-traditional holiday pieces this year, and as always, a large selection of jewelry pieces suitable for anytime. The listing are added to almost daily, so check back frequently. The best way to catch the updates is to save me in your favoites, then it's just a click away to come back and check out what it is new.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday weekend! Ours will be a little different this year having just moved. I must admit with temps still in the 70's most days and all the leaves still on the trees, it doesn't really look or feel like Thanksgiving me. We do have many things to be thankful for this year, a healthy, happy family all around, which is most important, and a good job, which is why we made this move in the first place. Enjoy your day, don't over eat! You can always eat left overs all weekend long! That is my plan! Who wants to cook again anyway!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I Have A New Blog...

Don't worry, this one isn't going anywhere(not that I think THAT many people actually read it!). I decided that I needed some where to express my ramblings about my experiences in bead making. It doesn't mean I'll never talk about that here, but I wanted a place that was dedicated to my glass work and beads, so I started A Glass Princess Tale... You'll have to go check it out!

In typical fashion, at least for me, it took in inordinate amount of time to put together. I am never satisfied with standard formats, so I find cool blog templates online and upload those, that part isn't so complicated anymore, I've done it a couple of times now, and made enough mistakes in the process that I finally have it down. Altering a template you get from somewhere else, well, that's another story all together. I am not a computer genius, I have a sort of love/hate relationship with my computer. I have learned a lot more than I thought I would ever know about them in the past year since I started selling online, but I have miles to go to actually feel like I KNOW what I am doing.

I will eventually have my up coming bead listings there and use it as a place to talk about bead making and glass in general. Just like here, you may find post about how I feel about the weather, or that someone nearly ran me off the road and acted like it was my fault, general "my life" stuff.

I have listed some new items in my Juniper Gems shop, so go by and take a peek. I have lots more to come, I just need to conquer my new photo editing software, and figure out the right place to take pictures here. It has been a challenge since we move to find the right spot. I am not really satisfied yet, it's still a work in progress.

Please jump over to my new blog and give it a look!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Back in the Saddle!

After what seems like an eternity I am finally back to torching at home! While the garage is not all the way put together, it enough so that I can do my thing without having to stumble over a mountain of stuff just to get in and out of there. I even have the added benefit of being able to easily access the refrigerator out there and find a muffin pan should I need one, that of course being for a different use, not torching.

I am finding that the time off from my torch has actually proven to be a good thing and has helped me be better now. Sometimes a break from things came help make us better, doesn’t usually feel like that in the interim, your just aching to be back at it, but somehow, it helps refine things without doing anything. My best example would be my yoga practice, something I has severely neglected since we moved and need to get back on track with. I have found that there are time when you are introduce to a new pose and your body just doesn’t want to go there, so you stop doing it, six month later you try it again and you are more successful now than you were the first time you tried it. You haven’t been practicing this pose, so why can you now do it? Chances are you’ve been working towards it in other areas without being aware of it, be it physically or mentally, you are now ready for it.

Last night I went out, fired up my new GTT Cricket torch and sat down to make a bead on it for the first time. I will admit I was a little intimidated by it in the beginning, I am not used to this much power and heat! I just made basic beads for quite a while until I felt I had my feet back under me and I had begun to make friends with my new torch. I think we are going to get along very well, Cricket and I. I worked on a minor in my lampworking class last weekend, but have to say I think this little guy blows the minor away! Everyone has different reason for the torch they choose and the minor is a great torch, I wouldn’t regret having one at all. That said, I am so glad I made the choice I did and went with the Cricket! It’s the right one for me!

My beads from last night turned out pretty well, some better than I thought they would. I will be torching my little heart out for years to come I am certain. There is so much more to learn, explore and experience!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

O Tannenbaum!!!!

Are you singing the song in your head right now? I am! That wasn't the goal of this post, but somehow music has a powerful way of getting into our heads. Like the annoying TV commercial jingle you can't stop replaying in your mind over and over again!

I will admit that I do find the holidays come just a bit too early in a retail sense anymore and every year they seem to come sooner. That being said, when one deals in a retail market you can only protest so much. Wait too long and you've missed the window of sales opportunity all together. This would be why you see holiday items posted here and listed in my Etsy shop.

You won't find me listing Christmas/ Holiday items in July, I just can't! But I have to come over to the dark side just a little and start selling holiday stuff before Thanksgiving, even if it does grind me just a bit that retail has to keep pushing the envelope on this one especially.

This is just a sampling of the selection of holiday earrings I will have to offer this year. I may have gone a bit overboard, but my husband doesn't call me "Little Miss Moderation" for nothing. I am more of a something for everyone type of a gal, rather than the one size fits all approach.

I have a limited supply of materials this year and won't be getting more, partially do to the fact that these parts become virtually impossible to get the closer you get to the holidays. You have to order in the summer if you want a good selection! Some versions I have several pairs of, some only one. I do have a few different size options as well.

Stop by my Etsy shop or my Artfire shop and see what I have listed. Each shop may have a different selection, especially where these earrings are concerned. I will also have some Snowmen earrings as well, just as soon as I get them photographed and listed. Feel free to contact me with any questions either here or through my shops.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Firey Weekend!

I spent the entire weekend taking bead making classes at Wired Designs here in San Antonio, Texas. I originally signed up to take one class now and one in January, but they had so many open slots for the class on Sunday I decided to jump over to that class. It was an awesome experience and I learned a lot! There were quite a few areas I was struggling with and this really help fill in the blank and straighten me out on several issues. I am a very visual learner, so seeing it done, then having the opportunity to do it myself, plus get pointers and corrections along the way are immensely helpful. You can learn to do a lot of things on your own, but I figure this really cuts down on the learning curve, spares you a considerable amount of frustration, provides a lot of great tips that only years of practice can bring and saves you from wasting pounds of glass!

I will still need to spend hours and hours practicing, but I feel like I have a very good foundation in which to build upon now. Combining this with the classes I took back in the spring have really helped to make sense of a lot of core concepts. I am a firm believer that you must get the foundational stuff down first, then anything you do after that will just be adding on to that. If you don't have a good foundation, you will continually be frustrated. I have two more classes I am signed up to take in January and February. They will have more classes come this spring and summer that I am sure will entice me into another one or two!

They offer a really cool teen artist program, which I have Emily signed up to take glass fusing classes in. She'll be taking both the one and two class back to back. I think she's really going to enjoy this studio and working with kids her age. She already did some fusing in her art class last year in High School. This should just build upon that knowledge and give her more skills and confidence. If she really enjoys doing it, I told her she can sell her pieces in my shop where I will be selling my beads, once that is up and running. She rather liked the idea of making money. I'm not sure she fully grasps the concept of subtracting costs from the price before she gets paid, but we'll get there. She might still think that materials are free.

The instructor for our class was Nina "Sam" Hibbler, and she was an excellent teacher. I really enjoyed her focus on getting the basics right! She had a great, simple way of explaining things that made it easy to understand how to put it into practice, did excellent demos that were informative, but didn't take up the bulk of the class. She's a bit feisty which I love, and has a great passion for art in general. If you live in the San Antonio area and are looking for lampworking classes at any level I would highly recommend this studio!

I am going to put a good deal of effort into getting more things listed in my Etsy shop this week. Last week was plagued by headaches and a whole bunch of mishaps! I hope to be much more efficient this week! Stop by my Etsy shop as the week progresses and see what new listings are now available!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Conquering The Garage!

It is pretty much the last frontier left in the move. The Garage! I do still have an over flow of stuff in the spare bed room, kind of the "what in the heck am I going to do with this", pile which is just really waiting for there to be shelves in which to take up residence upon out in the garage.

I have made some good progress over the past few days, I can even see some floor now! I have built, with the help of Bob, a bunch of the racks and am now unpacking boxes. It is amazing what you find as you unpack them. Quite a number of things you wished you would have gotten rid of at the other end. Did we really need to move this? But one only has so much time and energy, I could only go to the Goodwill so many times and the garage sale I had was already a monumental undertaking! I just keep telling myself they have a Goodwill here, so I can take stuff to them!

Hopefully I will have my lampworking bench all set up by the end of the weekend! I am taking a class all day on Saturday, so I will be itching to get home and melt glass in my own space with my own torch after that! I will be very glad when all the boxes in the garage are unpacked and put away! It'll be nice to be able to find a muffin pan if I should need one, I know they are out there some where, and I did discover the waffle iron today, so we could be having waffles his weekend I am thinking!!

I have put a few more items in my Etsy shop over the past couple days, and will get more in there daily if possible. Somedays, I don't get to it, but I try not to go more than a day or two with out putting something in there!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Día de los Muertos...

As part of my daughters high school art class they had a big project to do this semester for Día de los Muertos, (Day of the Dead). Emily choose to do her project on her Great Grandmother, Grace Durland. She was able to spend a lot of time with her Great Grandmother up until she passed away a few years ago and has very fond memories of her.

She used a lot of creative materials to make all the items in the "House" she built. The couch was made from Popsicle sticks and upholstered with fabric and cotton balls. The table and chairs were made out of balsa wood, with the tableware coming from the miniatures section of the craft store(this was allowed). She made the basket for the balls of yarn out of fimo sculpting clay, made the knitting needles and rolled all the balls of yarn herself. She used a small gift box to create her television and even found a picture of Sesame Street on the internet to put inside, since that is what she would have been watching while Granny lived in this house.

She used sculpting clay to make the table lamp, made the remote control for the T.V. and included a copy, handmade of course, of a crossword puzzle on the coffee table. It was something Granny did everyday! The stairs and the fireplace were made from both wood and cardboard, then painted. She even found a picture of a fire for the fireplace to make it look authentic. All in all, it was a very accurate representation of My Grandmothers house. It is amazing all the details Emily remembered all on her own. I don't think she asked for any help on what to put in the house. The only help I gave was with finding construction materials to make some of the items, but she built everything all by herself.

I went to the school to see her finished project along with the other items done by her classmates. It was very interesting the array of subjects that were chosen to be honored. Grandparents were very well represented, as were pets, followed by celebrities such as Patrick Swayze, Elvis Presley, Bob Marley, but by far the best represented celebrity/musician was Kurt Cobain. I was somewhat surprised by this. There must have been 6-8 different kids doing a piece in his honor.

I think Emily really enjoyed this experience and the opportunity to remember her Great Grandmother in a special and unique way.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Something New!

I've decided to give ArtFire a try! I've opened a shop under the same name, Juniper Gems. It will only ever have a dozen or so items listed over there while I test things out. One of the really cool features they offer is their Rapid cart which you can see off to the left. You don't even have to go to another website to purchase, you can just click on the items right there and purchase directly... Pretty cool! A lot of people have been saying good things abut Artfire, so here goes nothing! Stop by and check it out!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

It's Christmas Time!!!

While for most of us it's not REALLY Christmas time, if you've stopped by any retail store you'll know what I mean. It's Christmas time in retail! Actually I've seen Christmas stuff in stores since early September. I LOVE Christmas, anyone who know me will attest to the fact that I am a Christmas freak, but I can't look at Christmas stuff that early! Even if I take a glance, I won't even consider buying until late October or the beginning of November. I also hold stead fast to my rule that I will NOT decorate for Christmas, not one little bit, until the day after Thanksgiving. I think That holiday deserves it's time!

Since it is officially November I have started listing some of my Christmas/Holiday offerings for this year. Some of the items shown here are already in my Etsy shop, others will be soon. If you see something here that isn't in the shop, and you are interested, feel free to send me message, e-mail, or a convo through my Etsy shop. I can always put up a reserved listing for you for one of the items I haven't gotten around to listing yet.

I have several more pieces planned for this year and will also be offering a large selection of my Swarovski crystal Christmas Tree earrings again this year in both traditional color themes and non-traditional. Personally my favorite are the less traditional colors!

I am still waiting for some really cute holiday beads to arrive in the mail. These are going to make some super cute, non-traditional colored holiday pieces. I have a limited supply of holiday beads this year and most of the artist making them have stated they won't be making more made to order sets of this type, so if you see something you like, don't delay, it's quite likely I won't be able to make another just like it!

It's November 1st, sunny and 72 degrees here in Texas. Having just moved here, this is a bit strange for me, not unwelcome, just strange. The really odd thing is that while most of the rest of the country talks about falling leaves and autumn colors, not a thing in my world has changed! The trees are all still green as can be and full of leaves, and these aren't pine trees! My flowers are still blooming, grass is still growing and needs to be mowed. While I am glad it is no longer 100 degrees on a daily basis, it doesn't feel like any kind of fall I have ever really experienced! Thanks for stopping by! I will have more listing trickling in through out the week, both holiday and non-holiday, so stop by my Etsy shop and take a peek!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Things I miss!

There are certain things you begin to miss when you move a considerable distance. People of course are one of those things, but with all of the modern technologies available to us, we can talk to, hear from and even see, via video chats, these people dear to us daily if we so desire. It’s the places and such that you can’t really connect with or expect a visit from. So this is my list of things and places I miss….

Currently topping my list is Trader Joes! I live in one of the biggest states in the US and there is not one Trader Joes in the whole stinking state!!! I am thinking about sending them a little letter to let them know that there are people in Texas that would LOVE a Trader Joes, and that they should start by putting one in San Antonio!

Papa Haydn/Jo bar Raspberry Lemon Drop Martini, If they could ship them, I’d be ordering them in gallons!

The Decorette Shop, The best little hole in the wall cake decorating, chocolate selling, sprinkle peddlers ever!

Fred Meyers! Yes, we have Super Target, but it’s just not the same… I miss Fred Meyers! H.E.B is nice, but it’s not Fred Meyers! If you’ve spent most of your life shopping at one, you’ll know what I mean…

Burgerville Chocolate Milkshakes! I will allow that I haven’t lived here long enough to discover if there is anything here comparable, but so far… nope!

My hair stylist Linda Carlson!!! I am in need of a haircut, haven’t had one since we moved. I do have a few gals who have said they have a good one for me to try and they all do look good, so it’s hopeful, but I LOVED Linda! Emily was even trying to figure out how we could get her to move to Texas!

New Seasons Market… They had the best selection of cheese! I could always find something different and yummy! The only natural food store here is Whole Foods and it is quite a ways away. I am sure I will make a trek over there on of these days, but for now….

Artisan bakeries! You can find a Mexican bakery on just about any corner, but I want crusty European style artisan made bread! What you get at Super Target or H.E.B really doesn’t cut it! I want Grand Central bakery or Kens artisan bread!!!

St. Honore Bakery.. A real French croissant, made by a Frenchman! Don’t even get me started on the quiche!

Saint Cupcake… The yummiest indulgence!

Pasta Works! Fresh pasta! The real thing… this isn’t grocery store stuff! Amazing cheese selection and artisan salami!

Papa Haydn! Yes, I know I mentioned them above, but they were always my favorite place to go and eat! Didn’t matter if it was with Bob and or girlfriends’, it was the best place and never got boring. You can’t find a better more decadent dessert in all of Portland!

Kink radio! I have been listening to the same station since I was 18! It defies a single genre, stays current and interesting without ever becoming predictable. I love that the music spans the 40 years that they have been on the air without sounding like an oldies station or a top 40’s station. Thankfully they have a live stream I can listen to on-line (which is what I am doing right now!). I don’t mind the stations here, but have yet to find anything I like besides a couple country stations. They are fine for a while, but run top 40’s so it gets repetitious after awhile.

I am sure if I sat here long enough I could make quite a list, but these are the ones that top my thoughts currently. I am sure that I will find “MY” places here eventually, but for now, I can’t help but think of the things I miss a little. Too bad you can’t bring them with you!

Happy Halloween!

I'll admit that I NEVER thought I would put a costume on one of my animals, but with a good bit of prodding from my teenage daughter we came home from Target with this bargain model! I must say she looks kind of cute and was rather unaffected by having it on! She occasionally shook her head making her hat go off center, but other than that, I think she may have liked playing dress-up! Quinn wore a bandanna, his version of a cowboy outfit! One little kid asked where his hat was, but we explained he didn't want to wear a hat!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Something I can Support...

I added the link below because it is a company I have supported for several years now. The owner of this company is an awesome woman who has worked very hard to make an on-line business work in a very competitive market. I have long been inspired by her drive, ethics and overall business savvy. For me, putting up this link isn't about whether or not I sell cosmetics, it's about anyone who takes the time to handcraft items and sell them as their own. It's about protecting being an artisan, no matter what your market may be. For the lampworking world it is a constant struggle to educate consumers about what true artisan made lampwork beads are and how to tell the difference between quality and cheaply made imports. Different items, same struggles!

Even if you aren't interested in reading the entire link I posted, if you wear make-up, I highly recommend Aromaleigh Mineral Make-up! I've been wearing it for years, my 15 year old daughter wears it, as does my mother!

Why I started the Mutiny… and why I won’t yet award myself a badge!

Why I started the Mutiny… and why I won’t yet award myself a badge!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My Head Hurts!

Just when you start to get on a roll and get things going, it always seems like there is something waiting in the wings to try and derail your efforts. For me it's my migraine headaches. They are a frequent occurrence in my life. One that I am fairly well armed to deal with given the plethora of expensive pharmaceuticals available to me to take care of these brain splitting wonders. Even with medical insurance I still pay a pretty penny to rid myself of this pain. The meds work most of the time, but not all of the time. Herein lies the problem. I am on my second dose of migraine meds, enough to put down an African elephant, and given the fact that I am not a very large person, this is a lot of medication! I have also tried my back up pain med's, which have done nothing. It kind of feels like a big waste of money since now I have ingested the maximum migraine medication I can take in a day and I still have a significant headache. I thankfully am not to the point of heading off to the local ER for a shot of pain medication. That is a trip I really dislike, since it usually takes forever, ends up costing a bit even with insurance and my body dose not like the pain meds at all!

I really thought I was going to be able to get somethings done this week! I could have taken pictures today, it was beautiful outside, but the sunshine was too bright for my head. I went out for a bit to run some errands , and by the time I got home my head was pounding worse than it was when I left! I have a couple of projects I really want to get finished up and I really want to get out in that darn garage so I can organize and make room for my lampworking table!!! I need to melt some glass! Headache or not! I've been away from a torch way too long!

OK, I just needed to rant and rave about my head! No one really needs to listen or read this, I just needed to say it out loud! If you read this far, thanks for listening! Hopefully I will have more new listings trickling into my Etsy shop as the week progresses. My in-laws are visiting next week, so I may not have as many listings while they are here,I want to enjoy their company, I really like them!

Monday, October 26, 2009

New Listings and a Sneak Peek!

I have put a few new listings in my Etsy shop and will continue to put up a few everyday. I still need to take more photos, but as I sit here at the computer and look out the window behind the monitor, it is raining quite steadily. I won't be able to take any more pictures today, but it looks like the rest of the week promises to be sunny and in the 70's. I did get some photos taken a few days ago, but neglected to check the battery on my camera before I started and the darn thing died after a few pieces! At least I got enough good stuff to get me started this week, and give me time to work on some more pictures as the week progresses. I am going to get some new photo editing software as well, but for some reason the disc drive on my brand new computer isn't working! I need to have Bob call the tech service people and see if we can't get that bug worked out. Cant load a new program with out that!

I have two promos to offer as I re-open my Etsy shop. The first one is a progressive discount sale, basically the more you buy the more you save...For purchases of 2-3 items you will receive a 20% discount, 4 or more items and I will give you a 30% discount. The discount will come in the form of a refund to your PayPal account that I will send after the transaction is completed, usually within 24 hours.

The other promo I have to offer is if you sign up for my mailing list here on the right hand side of my blog AND make a purchase, I will include free first class shipping on your order! This is in addition to any sale discount. By signing up for my mailing list you will be sent a newsletter alerting you of any up coming sales in advance, as well as giving you access to private, mailing list only sales. I will not be sending out a newsletter weekly to clog up your mailbox, or give, sell or otherwise distribute your private information. Just put "Mailing List", in your notes to seller to take advantage of this offer.

Please note that my normal method of shipping is USPS Priority mail and this is the less expensive, slightly slower method. If you still desire Priority mail as your shipping method, I can refund you the difference between the two shipping methods, and still send your package via Priority mail. I will verify that you have signed up for the mailing list prior to giving the discount and then refund the shipping that is automatically charged at check out via PayPal within 24 hours.

I have lots of new things to list and many more things I am working on! I have found an awesome glass studio here in San Antonio and I am signed up to take a number of lampworking classes over the next few months. I have a brand new torch and an oxygen concentrator on the way! I should be back out melting glass and working hard on my bead making skills very shortly. Hopefully I will have something of my own to offer some time after the beginning of the year! Thanks for stopping by! Sign up for my mailing list over on the right side of this page!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I Live in Texas????

That seems to be the question I keep asking myself. I know I am not where I used to be, but I am really not certain where I am now. Yes, I know geographically on a map where I am, but if you've ever moved a considerable distance, I have a feeling you may know what I am talking about. It's pleasant and all. The sun shines almost everyday, it is October and it is still in the upper 70's, if not 80's or 90's on a daily basis. Only once have I walked into my house and it felt warmer inside than it did outside. All of this is fine and dandy, but it doesn't feel like home, not yet anyway. Our house is starting to feel like our own home and not a hotel or someone else's house that we are living in. I don't have to use my GPS to get around on a daily basis, only when I am going somewhere I haven't been before. We really do like it here and everyone is getting settled in nicely. But I do occasionally find myself asking the question "Where am I?".

My daughter who thought the whole world was coming to an end and that no one could possibly under stand what it was like "for her" to have to move, already has plenty of friends, goes on sleepovers, to the movies etc. I have yet to even have coffee with another adult besides my husband. I do very much appreciate him and the fact that we enjoy going and doing things together. We try and get out once a week and explore a different area, try a new restaurant, look for a new international food store etc. However, I have always told him he is every thing, EXCEPT a good girlfriend!

I have most of the boxes out of the house. The garage though remains a wild new frontier still waiting to be conquered. I am trying to use my VERY strong desire to get back on my torch and melt glass as a motivation to get out there and put things in place so I have a spot to work in. I am ultimately going to have a studio in the house, but that requires some modifications, which we won't be able to do until after the beginning of the year. Until then I will be back out in the garage, at least it's the cool part of the year! I'd die if it was summer and I was out there in jeans, close toed shoes, a long sleeve shirt and a leather apron! I even have a brand new torch just sitting here looking at me, all new and shiny.. I have to buy an oxygen concentrator before I can use this thing, so again I have to wait!

I should have my Etsy shop up and running in the next week. I need to take photos and the weather has been less than cooperative the past couple of days. Looks like tomorrow will be a good day, so I will try to get some pictures taken then. If all goes well I may have some new listings up by Monday! Sorry it has taken me so long, but I really needed to take the time to make sure that my family was settled before I started things backup. I didn't give a time frame for when I would re-open my shop because I had no idea how long that would take. It actually didn't take as long as I thought it would, so now I get to work on my life!!!

Sorry I don't have any pictures to make this post more interesting, but if waited to have those it was going to take me days longer to get around to doing this and since it has been months since my last blog post I thought I'd better do something. I have added a mailing list on the right hand side of my blog. I am going to have a special offer for signing up for my mailing list and making a purchase after my shop opens. I will have the details in my Etsy shop and I will also list them here. Thanks for stopping by. I will put up a new post when I have new listings in my shop!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Moving Sale!!!

I am packing up my life and moving from Oregon to Texas. In order to facilitate this massive undertaking, I am trying to lighten my load, so I am putting my Etsy shops entire inventory on sale from now until I pack things up in a couple of weeks. Once I close my shop for the move these great prices will end. I will reopen once I get settled on the other end and prices will go back to their regular price point.

I can't give an exact date as to how long this sale will last, but it will be approx. two to three weeks and then I am packing up what is left and moving it all to Texas! It may be a few weeks once I get there before I reopen my shop. It just all depends on how fast I can get my house put together.

I am currently feeling completely overwhelmed by the whole process and would prefer to just wake up in Texas rather than have to do all the work necessary to prepare for this move and actually get there, but I guess I have to act like an adult and just do it! If you have any questions about items in the shop, please don't hesitate to send me a convo or e-mail.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

What They DONT Tell You...

As I have written about here on my blog before, I recently embarked on a new venture making lampwork beads. It has been very interesting and quite enjoyable, but also equally challenging and frustrating! I did a lot of research before diving into this new art form and found it fascinating that on many websites it appears from the bios people write, that they must have skipped the phase I am in and went straight to perfection! No one seems to mention the challenge and frustration one feels in the learning process. You will read that is takes a lot of practice, but somewhere they leave out the rest of the story.

I am making pretty good progress, I think. I have conquered some areas that where giving me fits, and have moved on to try and work out some more rough areas. There is still a mountain of things to learn and I am sure I will be learning for years to come.

The other part of this I find amusing are the people who will actually tell you it is a fairly inexpensive thing to get into????? WHAT??? Are they just using a candle? I am currently using a Hot Head torch, and I will say I am not a huge fan! I learned to make beads on a GTT Lynx so this thing is darn near a candle in comparison. Also I use mapp gas canisters with it, the disposable type and at $8.00 a pop, which run for about 4-5 hours, it is not at all a cost effective way to melt glass. The torch head may only cost you $40.00, but you will make up the difference in cost over a dual fuel torch in the cost of those canisters!

The cost of glass can run the gamut from a couple dollars for a 1/4lb to over $20.00 for a 1/4lb. Then you have tools you need to buy... which leads to more tools, presses... more types of glass... powders... frit... silver...The list could go on and on. So how is this an inexpensive hobby to get into? I am not sure. I would like to quiz that person as to how they came up with that notion. I have yet to buy a kiln, dual fuel torch, or any really nice glass and I have already spent quite a pretty penny with the big ticket items yet to be purchased.

Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining. I love this and will continue to do it for a very long time. I just think it's funny what people do and don't tell you!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Favorite Things...

Once in a while you stumble across a store or a website that has something that looks like it might just be the right thing for you. You decide to give it a try and are please as punch with your first purchase so you make another, which leads to another... I have found just this sort of place on Etsy. Another shop named Far a field has a fantastic selection of handmade sterling silver rings featuring pearls, crystals, lampwork beads(a girl after my own heart) and some semi-precious gemstones. She will make many of the rings with gold filled wire if a gold ring is desired rather than sterling silver. Most are available with custom sizing and the shop owner Polly has done an outstanding job of making each ring fit perfectly every time I have ordered. I have a fairly unique ring size which falls in between a whole and a half size, so getting the size right can be a little tricky.

I love the look of these rings and the way they are very well made, somewhat refined, but still very artisan and handmade. I find the rings I have purchased to be very wearable and durable. These are not at all flimsy and don't bend easily while being worn. There are many customizable rings available in the shop with birthstone colors for family rings, she has a really cool option for bridesmaid rings, and even sells a tutorial for a wire and pearl ring if you want to try your hand at making your own! There are also some pendants, earrings, and necklaces available in the shop as well.

To date I have bought three rings for myself and one as a gift. I love all of them, but I think my favorite of all is the ring called Fizz with the randomly placed white Swarovski pearls! I wear it constantly and get frequent compliments. I was in a very high end jewelry store the other day and the sales person helping me even commented on it, when I told her I bought it on Etsy she said how much she loved Etsy and talked about what she shops most for. She even asked for my business card to my Etsy shop. You just never know where you'll find interest!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Something New!

My good friend Nikki of Bastille Bleu on Etsy has opened a second shop called Bastille Bleu Bijoux. It is a new venture featuring handmade jewelry pieces made with her own hand torched beads! She has a great selection to start with and is only growing. I love her unique designs, colors and of course her beautiful beads, which I use frequently in my own jewelry designs. Stop by and check out what she has to offer, I think you'll be impressed! Here's a peek at one of my favorite pieces.... I know, it's cupcakes... but how cute is this????

As always my shop can be found on Etsy as well. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Living in Limbo!

We are in a sort of limbo place right now. After four long years of full time school, two of which my husband worked full time and kept a full time school schedule, he is looking for work. He is a fully licenced RN, which as most people know is a job with an incredibly high demand. But given our present economy,most of your hospital bean counter types have decided that hiring new graduates is not in their best interest right now. This of course leaves thousands of new grads out looking for jobs. Bob was told the entire time he was in school, "You'll never be out of work! You'll have places begging to hire you." Well, so far things are not going as presented in the recruitment brochure.

The one local job he did have a good shot at getting went to a person with experience. This is understandable to a point, but you can't get experience if no one hires you... kind of a vicious circle here! This leaves us now looking for jobs all over the country. There are several possibilities forming all of which take us some distance from home, Some further than others. The difficult part really comes in with the waiting. With each new possibility, we are diligently researching the hospital, the city it is located in. Is this place livable?, if not, is some where close a reasonable option. What are the housing prices and overall cost of living like there? What are the schools like? Would we want to raise a teenage daughter there? Do they have the kind of things that we would want in a community? So many questions to answer quickly so we can say whether we want to proceed with the interview process. Once you have gone through all that, you can't help but be some what invested in the idea of living there. You've imagined it, thought it through. You've looked at houses, do they have a Starbucks! Yes this is important! Then the next day, if not later that same day another call comes in with the possibility of another place... and the process starts all over again!

We find pro's and con's to all the places we have looked at. Some are more desirable than others, but ultimately it comes down to the job. We are willing to move just about anywhere that will provide a job with a good wage, benefits, etc, in an area that has a reasonable cost of living. There are some places I am a little less than thrilled to be considering, but if the job is good and it makes my honey happy, then life will be OK. As long as we are all together I am sure we can work out the details of where we end up. It's just not knowing where that is going to be and the ever changing range of possibilities. Some days my head is just swimming! Some nights I lay awake pondering all that is on the table right now. In a lot of ways this has all left me a bit undone. I haven't been out torching for almost a week now. I have been reading a bit, trying to get a mental handle on some concepts, but I haven't actually melted glass for days. I haven't made any jewelry for quite a while even though I have a nice selection of new beads just sitting on the table waiting to be played with. I have several pieces of jewelry I finished a while ago, but haven't taken photos of yet. I guess I am just in a bit of a creative slump!

I have been working on things around the house and getting back into a routine now that I am not working anymore. It feels good to make dinner each night again, have things be more organized and get to spend time with my honey. After all the years in school we have a lot of catching up to do. I am confident that something will become a sure thing eventually, it's the waiting and not knowing that is going to send me over the edge! I can only explore living so many more places, imagine what it would be like to live there, be willing to move there, etc... before I go completely bonkers!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Rumors’ and Gossip!

We all partake in it at some time or another, even if we don't really intend to. Sometimes it just sort of happens, it's part of the conversation which no one stops. We kind of like the juicy details, the dirt, so to speak, it tends to be interesting to hear. Usually, because while it may contain elements of truth, they are usually taken out of context, blown out of proportion and depending on who's telling the tale, the other side of the story may be left out entirely or made to sound much better than it actually was.

The problem with rumors and gossip is that it is usually about someone, and while that someone may not be you, the someone people are talking about does exist and probably is human, has feelings and their own very real perspective on what really happened. I recently wrote in this blog about leaving my job for reasons that I was not going to mention here. I am still not going to do so. It would only be adding to the rumor mill and why bother with that. I have no intention of trying to defend myself since that would be futile. I think people believe what they want to believe and if they don't know you very well, it would be easy to believe what ever they hear.

Someone I respect recently told me that no coin is so thin that it doesn't have two sides. I agree! While I am not proud of my part in what happened in this situation, I do take full responsibility for my part in it and wouldn't hide behind half truths to make myself appear better. I said some things that were not necessarily appropriate in the work place, but they were in no way unprovoked and were responded to in a likewise manner. I did not start the exchange that lead to these words, nor was I the management person who also behaved likewise, if not worse given the position they hold.

I guess what I am trying to say here is rumors' and gossip are ugly! They do hurt and bother people, especially after a difficult situation, which one doesn't just shake off in a day. At least I don't! I am a person with feelings and emotions, I am sure that the other party involved has them as well, even if I found them hard to see.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cute Guy, Wine, and a Picnic!

Well, after almost twenty years I still think he's cute! My cute guy and I went on our yearly outing this Memorial Day weekend, wine touring. Many of the wineries around our area are open daily for the three day weekend. We usually just go one day, but some people take the entire weekend to visit many different areas. This year, as in many of the past years, we started in the Salem area at the Willamette Valley Vineyards. They own several vineyards through out the state, so they pour multiple wines at one location. We have long enjoyed their wines and continue to go back each year to sample what is new. The setting is of course picturesque with the main building where the tasting room is located, perched high up on a hill over looking rows of grape vines neatly planted and maintained. They usually have a few vendors in the building as well selling food, chocolates, and cheeses. I can not pass up good chocolate, so this year I enjoyed a delicious chipotle ganache filled piece. It was divine!

We took Freyja with us this year and she behave remarkably well in and out of the car. Being only three and a half months old, she was a instant attenttion getter where ever we went. She was always gracious to her adoring public! Our final stop for the day was at Oak Knoll Vineyards, were we enjoyed more delicious wines, and set up a picnic on their lawn. Freyja played in the grass, and greeted all who came by to see her with puppy enthusiasm. Bob and I ate our selection of cheese, salami, nuts and spreads, with some fresh bread and crackers until we were stuffed. It was a gorgeous day weather wise, which is rare given that is was a holiday weekend in Oregon before mid-July. We stayed and soaked in the sun a little longer before packing it all up and heading back home.

They also have the wine tour over the Thanksgiving weekend, and we usually try to go then as well. Different weather, for sure, also a different selection of wines with many places offering special holiday wines. We have purchased several of those before for the holidays and really enjoyed sharing them with family and friends. Hopefully we can do it again this year!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New Listings On Etsy!

This is just a sampling of the new listings currently in my Etsy shop.The beautiful artisan made lampwork beads featured in this bracelet come from Blissful Garden Beads, on Etsy.

I don't know what it is about a cupcake, but I am rendered powerless around them. This one happens to be glass, but I will take all types! I love to eat them, love to make jewelry out of them and hopefully someday, I can even make my own lampwork cupcakes! For now I will have to rely on the talent of others since I can only successfully produce a round bead, and that isn't all the time! This adorable set of beads was created by Crazy Lady Beads, on Etsy.

These have become some of my favorite beads. They are created by Susan Sheehan, on Etsy. She makes a wonderful selection in an array of colors as well as other beautiful beads in other styles. These are great beads for bracelets since they lay nice and flat on your wrist and don't flip around while your wearing your piece. I have made several bracelets with this style bead with more to come. If they don't sell in my shop, they will all just become part of my collection, which won't hurt my feelings!

I can't say enough about owning classic pieces. I love them and reach for them time and time again. Some days you just don't know what to wear and it is so nice to have a few things that go with anything.

I have lots more pieces planned for summer, since we are just getting started, but I am well into my mental plans for fall. I am truly enjoying this business and appreciate all who have supported me. I am thrilled to be home full time now and will endeavor to make more and better blog post, keep the Etsy shop filled with new and interesting things and keep working away at my skills to learn making lampwork beads. Hopefully someday my creations will feature some of my own hand torched beads! I will likely continue to buy beads from the many incredibly talented artist out there. There is so much diversity in this art form which I will likely never cover all of on my own, but I will want to feature in my jewelry designs.

I am very careful to only use artisan made lampwork beads, made by self representing artist. What does this mean? These beads are not mass produced over seas, by underpaid factory worker in less than ideal conditions. The beads have been made one at a time here in the US, although I have some sources in Canada and a few other foreign countries, they all meet this same criteria. The beads are properly annealed in a kiln. This is a process similar to tempering glass, which cools that glass at a controlled rate, which insures it's safety to be used in jewelry and gives it a long life. Mass produced foreign beads, while they often times may look just as pretty, are usually not annealed, making them unsafe for long term jewelry use, since they can easily break at anytime. You will frequently find these beads for sale for a fraction of the cost of beads made by a self representing artist.

How do you know what to buy and who to buy from??? Well, it's a bit of a trial and error process, but you are going a long way to assuring yourself the best product by purchasing from someone who has acquired a self representing artist designation, which has a number assigned to it, they will tell you in their listings, or if you ask, what types of glass they used in their creation, and how they annealed them. There are still varying levels of quality and service out there. I have found some incredibly talented artist that offer very poor customer service. This is unfortunate since they make wonderful, beautiful beads, but they must count on a lot of new business, or have a lot of REALLY tolerant customers.

Thanks for stopping by my blog! Until next time....

Monday, May 25, 2009

Freyja Update!

The little stinker is getting bigger every day. She is keeping Quinn busy every moment that she is awake, and still thinks that 6:00 am is a good time to get up daily. We are trying to convince her otherwise, but she is rather resistant to this plan. Fortunately it is getting to be nice out, so I guess it'll be a good time to start taking the dogs for morning walks. It's not like they are lacking in anyway in the exercise department since Freyja believes that anytime is play time. Basically if you are awake, you should be playing. Quinn, who always seem a bit disappointed with Basil's lack of interest in playing, may now be wishing that he hadn't hoped so hard for a more willing playmate.

Freyja has settled in nicely, after a bit of a rough start. She didn't think she should have to sleep in a kennel, and spent a few week fighting the reality of that. She now does really well almost all of the time, with an occasional off day. She loves going for car rides, and thoroughly enjoys the adoration of all drive through workers. Quinn has never really enjoyed riding in the car, he'll go because he wants to be with you, but it's that whole car thing that he doesn't like!

Unlike Quinn who is afraid of everything, Freyja is fearless! There is almost nothing that ever gives her reason to be concerned. I think you could even vacuum her and she'd be fine with it. She's already shown she's not limited by barriers, and the cat is not getting the respect she is used to getting. Daisy has thrown all she has at the puppy and she keeps coming back for more. What's probably most disturbing to the cat is that the puppy has no qualms about touching her! That is the big kitty no-no as far as dogs are concerned. Freyja will flatten her to the floor, with the cat hissing, yowling, giving all she has, to no effect. The puppy just continues. Daisy has gotten in a few good blows. She bit the puppy on the nose on day, which did get her to back off for a bit, but only temporarily. I think this is one dog that the cat may have to accept, isn't going to play things her way. It's a bit of a circus around here some days, but it's our little circus and we like it... most of the time.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Moving On!!!

After what seems like 100 years, not four, Bob is finally done with his degree in nursing, has taken his licensing exam and is an RN at long last. As of this writing, a job is still something he is pursuing. Hopefully he will be able to find something locally. Amazingly for the first time in 30 years, most hospitals have gone into hiring freezes, even with Rn's. It's not that the overwhelming demand for Rn's has changed, it is only growing. The photos here are of the University of Portland School of Nursing Pinning Ceremony. Bob opted not to participate in the actual graduation commencement ceremony. This was a very nice program done just for the students from the nursing program, and they received their pin, which has been given out to graduates since the first class graduated in 1937.

This is a lovely picture of our very photogenic family! I think you could take 100 pictures and still not get a good one of all of us! We at least all look happy, although I am not sure about Emily, she could be bored.

In other news, I have left my job with the school district a little sooner than planned, but I am happier for it. I really enjoyed the years I worked with the elementary kids, and a great number of the staff members. I had planned to quit at the end of the school year, but certain situations, not worth talking about here, expedited my departure. For me this has turned out to be great timing since Bob is still not working so we have a lot of time to spend together. After four long years in school, we lost out on a lot of quality time and have a bit of catching up to do. We have already gotten a good start on planting a vegetable garden, eaten out ALONE several times, and have plans to take the dogs to the beach this week since the weather is supposed to be nice.

I am working diligently at learning to make lampwork beads. It is quite a process to learn. It is not something that, for me, is second nature, so I am having to just patiently and methodically work at learning each step of the process. I am very glad to have taken classes. I think I would be far more frustrated if I hadn't. I am certain that I will take more, since I am such a visual learner. I have some really great books, and they do help, but there is nothing like being able to do something with an experienced person watching and be able to tell you what you are doing wrong and how to correct it.

Quinn and I spend a couple hours every night out in the garage melting glass. So far I haven't sent any molten glass projectiles his way. As long as I think he'll be safe he can stay, but if things get dangerous, I don't want to burn the dog! I am really anxious to get a better torch since I learned on a great high end torch, so my simple Hot Head torch has been a bit of a step backwards. I am getting it down more now. I spent more time reading in Cindy Jenkins book, since she invented the darn thing, I figured she would have the best instruction in regards to it. I may do a bit of research on the Internet as well. I need to get some better visual pictures as to flame setting etc. Also the expense of these mapp gas canisters is crazy! I would use a larger propane tank, but I don't know where I can get it filled with the mapp gas. I think this week I will check with the welding supply place since these little canisters are costing way to much. I am just too slow at shaping beads right now, which is part of the problem, but I am not getting enough use out of a tank.

As always, I am trying to keep my Etsy shop fresh and intresting. I have a bunch of new summery listing for you to check out. I will try to do a post of those here soon. If you'd like to contact me you can leave a message here or through my Etsy shop. Thanks for stopping by!

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