Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What I Won't Do To Save the Planet #1

As I mentioned, I just finished the book Sleeping Naked is Green by Vanessa Farquharson. I was quite moved by it. She calls herself an eco-cynic, enjoys alcohol with gusto and picks on hippies quite liberally. Just my kind of eco-book.

But going through her list of 366 eco-changes she made for a (leap) year made me realize that there are things I would never change, even for the planet and the future of man-kind. So I thought I would start sharing them here. Of course, I will be sharing the changes I do and will make, but this is more fun, isn't it?

So first change I would never make even for the health of all creation? Sleeping Naked. Never, ever. I love comfy pajamas and have a neurotic fear of being found spread-eagle across my bed, naked. So the earth will just have to put up with my extra laundry and need of more resources to make cloth, etc.

On the green side, I wear my PJ's more than once before washing and I wear clothes I have recycled from my daytime wardrobe. Old turtlenecks and t-shirts that are too raggy to wear in public or have an irremovable stain work great for sleeping. Of course, these days I am sleeping alone and don't care how attractive my nightwear is.

Oh, If you are wondering, I am feeling better though I still can't really hear out my left ear. I'll post my natural remedies soon.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Change Isn't All Bad

I just finished the book "Sleeping Naked is Green", which is based on and by the creator of the blog, Green as a Thistle. It was quite inspiring, both in an environmental way and a blogging way. Because of it, I have decided to implement more green ways into my life and I have decided to blog more.

I do lots of stuff that I would find interesting if I found it on another blog. So I have decided to expand this blog beyond it's original intent. I plan to blog about the green changes I will be making, the crafts I do besides beading, general inventiveness that needs to be shared, as well as more personal stuff such as my journey learning to speak Mandarin, my hobby of drinking beer, and anything else I need to get out of my head.

As of right now, I am sick. I believe I have a sinus infection and a left ear infection. I am trying to combat these the greenest and most natural ways I can (though this ear infection may drive me to the doctor in the end.) As it is taking all my energy to write this much, I will post again soon about how I am avoiding the doctor and meds. And hopefully by then I will have raw data on how well these methods worked.

One thing I can post is my down-and-dirty ear warmer. Heat on an infected ear helps tremendously, but though I have been meaning to make some homemade warmers, I haven't gotten to them with the bustle of Christmas. Then this evening I was practically crying from the ache on the left half of my head. I was desperate. Ingenuity kicked in and here is what I created. It isn't pretty, but it works wonderfully!

(Sorry about the horrible photo. I recently got a new computer (really I just inherited my late-husband's) and lost my normal photo-editing software. My friend Pat keeps telling me Photoshop is wonderful, but I have yet to see anything that makes me believe it. Anyway, I feel too horrible to keep screwing with it.)

Take a handkerchief, thin cloth napkin, thin washcloth, or other piece of relatively thin fabric. Lay it across the opening of a bowl (to keep the rice from going everywhere). Measure in 2/3 cups (or so) of rice. Gather up all the sides and corners of the fabric. Using a hairband WITHOUT METAL ON IT (I guess you can use a latex rubber band, though it won't stand up to microwaving well. Sorry I can't test it as I am allergic to latex), tightly wind the band to close the opening, gathering it into a little bag. Leave some room in the bag for the rice to move so you can smoosh it against you. Microwave it for 1 minute. Trust me, that will make it hot enough. All done!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Summer's Over

This year, I spent my summer weekends driving 2 hours North to the tourist-town of Sturgeon Bay in Door County, Wisconsin. My good friend Dave invited me up to sell my jewelry at the local Farmer's/Craft Market on Saturday mornings. He was selling his handmade upcycled garden ornaments and home grown produce and thought I could make some money there as well sharing a booth with him. I did make a bit, but mostly just enough to cover my expenses. Even with my Corolla, gas isn't cheap! But I had a great time and am sorry it is over.

Here is Dave standing behind our table. These pictures are from my first time there. My displays improved over the summer.

The plates are Dave's upcycled garden ornaments. He takes old dinnerware and glues them to copper fittings which fit onto recycled copper pipes. They are staked into the garden. Some are purely decorative. You can see some he adds wording to. Others are made from pitchers or bowls and can be used to feed or water the birds.

Here I used my business cards to hold pairs of earrings or hairclips. Later I started using professional earring cards and a homemade display rack. The plastic beaded bracelets were to attract the kids. It worked well. At 2 for a dollar, I sold quite a few.

Here you can see the button hairclips I was selling. I will be posting a tutorial here on how to make them, so gather those buttons!

This was an early morning sky on my drive North. I had to get up at 4 am to reach the market in time. That is something I WON'T miss!

Here is Dave and his father, Ken, standing in front of Ken's Granery Antique Shop. This farm has been in Dave's family for generations. At one time is was both a working dairy farm and an apple orchard.

The market actually goes until the end of October, but I cannot make the remaining ones. So now I am turning my attention back to my online sales as well as the Christmas gifts I need to get started on. Summer squash has made way for winter squash. The last of the fresh sunflowers are currently dying in my favorite vase. Autumn is here, and if last weekend is any indication when we got snowed on at the market, Winter will be here before we know it. Though I was busier than usual with the trips up North and often even staying until Sunday evening, I feel that for the first time in years I have actually experienced Summer. The long drives along Lake Michigan, the days standing in the sun chatting with people, the long walks on Dave's property, harvesting in Dave's garden, the time picking pebbles to make jewelry from on the beach. For once I was a part of the season instead of my usual hiding indoors at my workbench. I have always assumed I would hate person-to-person selling. I am not good with people. I get nervous and jittery. But I learned something. I can learn to relax and just chat with people. PEOPLE, not customers. I know it sounds sappy, but this Summer I really connected with the Earth and with other people, ones both close to me as well as strangers. I feel enriched for that. I honestly can't wait until Spring.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Well, It's Been Awhile

Sorry it has been so long since I last posted. Much has gone on, not all of it relevant to this blog. But one thing that has happened is that I have decided to go back to school. I want to become a Certified Bench Jeweler. That means I would work more with metals from now on and would probably get a job doing repairs and custom work for a jewelry store. I am hoping to go in the fall, but funding is still very much up in the air so we shall see.

I have been doing a lot of metalwork, including trying to learn to solder well. I have made new work in that area. Not all of it good. But I am coming along.

I have posted new Etsy auctions and will be posting more over the coming weeks. Fun stuff, not necessarily bead related. Items such as vintage button hair clips, custom made monogrammed handkerchiefs, buttons made from recycled bottle caps (see pics following.) Coming up are really cool pendants made from recycled bottle caps, sterling silver earrings of my own design, my beading patterns including new ones, kits to bead tiny beaded dolls (see following pics), and stuff from a general destashing of my studio.
Next time I plan on having a new free pattern for you as well. So keep watch!

Currently for Sale:
To purchase these items (and more!) go to www.plantgirl848.etsy.com

Custom made monogrammed handkerchiefs. You get 5 hand embroidered cotton hankies in your choice of colours and styles.

This is how your custom made monogrammed handkerchiefs are delivered to you.

Here is a dyed shell button hair clip. Perfect for summer!
This is a vintage button hair clip. Very stylish!

An example of a metal vintage button hair clip being worn.

Five buttons made from recycled bottle caps. Great for the environment, fun for you! Perfect for a funky clothing addition, wacky scrapbook embellishment, or whatever else you can think of! Other beers available. These have great colours and fabulous artwork.

Coming Attractions:

This is a kit for a mini-beaded doll that is a bug. In the kit you get everything you need to make one except needle, thread, and scissors. They are easy and lots of fun! Various colours will be offered. Don't you just adore those googly eyes?
Here is another mini-beaded doll kit in the shape of a star!

This is the original mini-beaded doll kit. Various colours available and I even have tiny cat faces if you like!

Past Work:

Just for fun I thought you'd like to see the final version of the beret and neck warmer I made my Mom for Christmas. I used Lion Brand Homespun yarn in Antique. I wove in a matching cotton ribbon on the beret and used vintage buttons on the neck warmer.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A New Twist...

to my work lately has been using chains and doing more wirework than beading. Here are three pieces I am proud of.

Century Gothic 2008

Hydrangeas 2008

Flowers in Chains 2008

I want to start doing more metalworking and this has been a bridge into that. I can't believe how many tools I need for metalworking after 10 years of jewelry making. I would have thought I'd be nearly set. But up until now I have done only cold work (no heat involved). Adding heat requires a lot of STUFF. So I am slowly getting what I need and in the meantime learning all I can. It is probably better that way. If I bought everything I needed at once, I wouldn't know what to do with it all!

My Etsy store (http://www.plantgirl848.etsy.com/) is doing OK. My custom embroidered handkerchiefs are popular. I will have new jewelry to add soon. I am also planning on offering my patterns through there, so if you are interested look for them.

I received my new business cards, which are swanky, if I may say so myself. As soon as I set up my scanner, I'll post a pic. Place an order from me (one that gets mailed and not from Bead-Patterns.com, sorry) and I will give you one. : )

I also put together a portfolio of my work. FINALLY. I have been meaning to do it for years. You can see an online version here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/beadsofjoy/sets/72157613714480781/
I did the photo editing on my computer, then sent the images to printed as 4x6s. I keep them in a photo album meant for 4x6s along with an artist statement and some business cards. So far people seem impressed.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I thought it is about time I start posting the stuff I made for Christmas. I had a lot of fun this year and everyone liked their gifts. I love getting to be crafty/creative and making people happy.

Here are the arm warmers I crocheted for my Mom. She adores purple. She also has a severe form of arthritis, so keeping her wrists warm helps the pain. I made the pattern myself.

I also made her this beret. It matches her coat. I altered a pattern that I can't find at the moment. I will keep looking and post when I do. Sorry.

The handkerchiefs from the previous post I made for my step-dad, dad, brother, and 2 male friends. I have been making them for the men in my life for years. But it occured to me this year (after Christmas, of course), that even women can help save the environment. I use them myself. So next year I plan to make them for everyone.

I made this pin for my Mom and a friend. I'll be offering some in my Etsy store. Isn't it pretty?
This isn't everything. I'll post more soon. Hope you are staying warm!

Monday, January 12, 2009

My New Etsy Store

Yeah! I have finally opened my Etsy store. I plan to offer my patterns through there as well, but mostly it is for those of you who have expressed an interest in buying my work, not making your own. Here I plan to sell the samples I make for the patterns I sell, as well as other work. There are twelve items listed right now for you to check out.

A fun item is the set of custom made monogrammed handkerchiefs. A great Valentine's gift for the man in your life (I will gladly made them appropriate for women as well!) And they save the environment!

Requests for custom made jewelry are always welcome. Just e-mail me through my shop.

Custom made flamingo earrings 2008

Make sure you save my store as a favorite. I will be adding more over time. If nothing else, it will be a good place to keep up on my current work.