Friday, May 30, 2008

Amazonian Adornment

Well that uncontacted tribe post totally got me googling...

(Note: I said "adornment," not "clothing"...which is mostly absent in the photos below.)

http://www.amazon-indians.org/explorers/magicgallery/06-Explorers-ps.htm
Matis Indian girls in traditional jewelry of handmade beads

http://www.amazon-indians.org/explorers/magicgallery/17-Explorers-ps.htm
Piercings I had never seen before....no, seriously. This is an elder, a medicine man, in jaguar mode.

http://www.amazon-indians.org/explorers/magicgallery/09-Explorers-ps.htm
"When I am an old woman, I shall wear..."

Whoa!

Did you see this story in the news today???

amazonian indigenous tribe uncontacted Survival International did a fly-over of this "uncontacted group" of people in the Amazon. I'm having a hard time digesting this. Talk about two worlds colliding. And these people are ready to take down a flying machine (or at least the photographer in it) with bows and arrows. I don't know whether to cry or laugh but I'm leaning toward crying.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Recent NMBS Challenge of the Century

This must be the week I forget to pull the blogposts outta the queue. (Did I just spell queue right???) I totally forgot to write about this hilarious and amazing challenge put on by the New Mexico Bead Society at their recent meeting.

But let's start from the beginning...I received an email asking if I could be there for a most secret challenge. Shhhh! I was not to tell anyone. So I replied, "Ok. I won't even tell my husband."

To which Geri V. replied, "Good. You seem to have a sense of humor. Do you watch Iron Chef?"

And I'm like, HhhhhunH? (you have to say that like Scooby Doo, it's my favorite thing to do since watching that Kathy Griffin marathon over the weekend...). I didn't recall there being a lot of humor in Iron Chef, but then again I've never watched it all the way through.

So I keep my sworn secret (except I did tell the fam where I was off to), arrived at the meeting, and sort of lurked in the hallway until the business session was over. Then it finally clicked -- they were planning some kind of Iron Chef Beading Contest! I thought to myself, oh no, this could be bad. Are they going to chop things up? And how do you bead fast, anyway?

But Geri and her posse had it all figured out. They sorted the guild members into teams of three. Each team had a captain, sorta. Geri had even taped the opening music from the show and played it while they read from cue cards to announce the challenge and give serious bios of us judges. At the appropriate moment, her trusty assistant threw off a blanket that covered a bunch of embellish-able thrift store finds -- like fuzzy blue slippers, various hats, clothing, baskets, and so on. The captains rushed forward (we jumped behind the table for safety!) and grabbed an item.

They had been told in advance to bring all their gear, plus there was a big box of thrift store beads. I mean -- a HUGE box -- to select things from.

The teams had one hour to bead-embellish the item. And I am telling you, there was some serious talent in the room. And some serious teamwork. We judges mosied around, watching them work and conferring on their strategies and strengths, as well as their teamwork. Right away we decided we didn't want to be the ones to announce the one winning team -- leaving the rest as losers, despising us forever. ;-)

I had brought some little packets of cabochons, thinking I'd dole them out to all the participants who stayed for the challenge, but I didn't realize how much the NMBS has grown, so I hadn't brought enough. Instead, I ponied up enough cabs for a 3rd place winning team. Another judge offered gift certificates to the bead store she manages. The NMBS had already provided a first place prize, so we felt much better being able to give out 9 prizes instead of 3.

It was so hilarious when the timer went off and each team had to come up and, we thought, put their bead embellished item on the table so we could judge them. Instead, they sashayed on up and made us all laugh with their presentations explaining their items. There was a blue jean skirt decorated with brightly colored vintage plastic boho, a beautifully wire wrapped candleholder one team turned into a "beadpourri," an amazing feathered hat, a beaded lamp with shade, a vest, a purse that looked like it came with the beautiful embellishments they put on it, and more items I can't even remember (sorry, bead teams).

I sorta knew the other teams were in trouble when I saw what would become the winning team working stealthily on fabric flowers, beaded motifs, and assorted mixed media items to decorate a lovely summer hat. Oh and as it turned out, one of the winning teams (the lampshade group) consisted of three first-timers to the NMBS meetings -- what a neat welcome eh?

I thought it was a really cool idea for a challenge I wanted to share it with other bead society members out there. It was positively amazing what a team of three could come up with in just one hour!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Margot Potter on How To Get Published

Just this morning I was thinking about an artisan I know who couldn't get published if she paid the editors (no, you do not know who I'm talking about). Why? Because she and her drama have worked their way through one major craft mag after another, and apparently dealing with her is not worth the effort.

So today in my Google reader, I see Margot Potter's spot-on post about getting published, and, well, go read it -- it's very good! (Er, if you can get the page to load! All that glitz and glitter makes for quite the bandwidth-hog blog) I would only disagree with a couple of things, and one is, you don't even have to be a good writer to get published in most craft magazines (but it does help).

A lot of beadwork magazines, for example, mainly want you to be knowledgeable and create a nice project, they'll take care of your bad grammar. But if you want to be accepted a second time, well, read Margot and/or do this:

  1. Do what they ask & don't be a diva. You are not the Queen. An article is basically a collaboration -- be a team player. If you don't like the rules, you can always self-publish.

  2. Read previous issues and/or the mag's writer's guidelines and follow them as closely as possible.

  3. Don't indundate the mag with long communications. If you have to ask a question for clarification, keep it short. Editors are BUSY people.

  4. Make the deadline (oops. This is why I'm more or less on hiatus this year -- between my health and grad school, I have too little control over my own time.)
Expect your article to get edited -- shortened, most likely -- and try not to throw a fit when there are errors. How you deal with pressure and flubs can either endear you to the mag staff (and therefore make it easy to make money on articles and other opps you'll be invited to join) or make them want to run away when they see your number on their caller ID.

====================

Hmmm, after rereading this I realized I should prolly acknowledge that there are times to walk away from a publishing/design gig -- there are bad editors, sloppy publishers, etc. etc. and people who just don't treat you right. Sorry if I sounded like the drama was always coming from the designers/contributors. 8-)

====================

I remember a totally embarassing publishing mistake in an article a few years ago. I had written a cuff bracelet project where I used Ultrasuede instead of leather and the editor (I'll go ahead and say, it was the lovely Jean Campbell, who I would follow to the ends of the earth to work with) had edited the article to say I "hate" leather, when I didn't actually say that. I do use it, it's just different. What was embarassing is that this happened in their special Native American issue. Full of leather projects. Oh yeah. And guess where I live and work? Smack dab in the middle of Indian country. But what could I do but be gracious? Everybody makes mistakes, even editors. Even Jean, LOL! (I hope she doesn't read this -- talk about gracious, she's got that in spades). She published an errata (if that's what it's called) in the next issue.

There's just one other thing I'd disagree with Margot on, and that is self-promotion. I think you have to find a way to promote that fits your personality. You can make a heckuva lotta money just being yourself, and quietly delivering a good product. Not everyone wants their own craft show (Go Margot!). And not everyone (especially other women) wants to hear you tooting your own horn all the time. But it's true, without promotion, you and your beautiful gifts will probably just sit there.

Take Bonnie Brooks. You might not have heard of her, cause she's a modest thing, but as a hand-worker she can spin gold. Everything she touches turns be000tiful! The fact that she is a graphic designer and a consummate artisan makes her an excellent independent technical editor. Her hands and her eye for detail are there behind a lot of great craft books. She gets work because she does work. Good work begets good work. Or something... so keep working. Promotion is sometimes an inside job.

Utimately, there isn't a right or wrong way to promote, and, thereby, carve out a niche for yourself (and frankly I don't see crafters getting filthy rich at it anyway), so my advice would be to, yes, stretch, pounce on possibilities, but be yourself. Because at the end of the day, you're who you come home to. 8-)

Actually, there is no ladder to climb, only goals to set for yourself. Once you get into the so-called "big leagues," don't be surprised if the landscape looks pretty flat, because, after all, it's populated with folks just like you, who happened to arrive a little sooner than you did. But don't be too disappointed if you no longer have time to do what you love -- make things. Personal things. Deep things. Studio time is usually the first to go.

Thinking about all this promotion and getting published and being a designer, I guess my secret weapon is "Just Say Yes." When a new door opens, walk through. If you don't like the party, you can always leave. If you go broke following that lead, well, you've earned more in wisdom than if you hadn't tried it. You'll work smarter next time. If it's a waste of your time, no biggee, just pull back and focus on what's productive (for you). If you're scared, make yourself do it anyway. It will be less scary the next time. If your dream is to get published, that will never happen unless you submit something already! Woot!

Check my other posts on this topic (label: getting published) for a list of bead/jewelry-related magazines to submit to.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Crow Feathers

carved black horn crow feather earrings with sterling silver handmade hammered findings
Crow Feathers Earrings
Originally uploaded by mary_tafoya
A great Santa Fe flea market find, these little carved horn feathers. Black as a raven. I had just made the spiralling earring wires, wondering what I'd do with them. Course, they were a bit dusty. I had to wash them off (and make sure the black didn't come off with the sand). I've never seen horn this dark.

In my Etsy shop, y'all.

Labradorite and Pyrite Lore

gem and bead lore pyrite journalPyrite
I've always loved pyrite because of its intense, shocking earthiness. Not many people know that it was pyrite, not marcasite, that was actually used in all those tiny vintage jewelry settings and buttons, because marcasite is too prone to crumbling.

Some lore about pyrite that I like is that its metallic content helps to balance the left and right brain (boy could I use some of that). Also, those sparkly bits are said to attract good fortune. But my favorite story is that polished pyrite was once used in North and Central America for scrying.

gem mythology and lore labradorite journalLabradorite

Oh, Sister of Moonstone, Fallen from the Aurora Borealis!
Wow! Btw, the gem lore in this post is mostly from Controverscial.com. Labradorite helps you to hear the messages of your spirit guides. My BFF Sarah says it's called the sorceress's stone. Ooooooh! I never knew that but I understand.

I'm currently working with labradorite and pyrite, and I showed a necklace in progress to my friend Buffy. I said, "Should I rework this or go ahead and put the clasp on?" She said, sort of not paying attention because she had one eye on the boyz running around the house, "Labradorite only looks good with labradorite," not realizing I'd worked in some rough cut shiny pyrite. So *I* said, pointing, "This is pyrite," to which she replied, "Oh! Well then, you've found something that looks good with labradorite."

She was right. Both times, I mean. Labradorite is amazing, mystical, beautiful -- it's like looking into a deep rock pool inside a stone castle. But if you're not careful, it just looks like mossy mud sludge when you put it on. Especially if you let all the other more colorful stones push it out of the way.

So I've come to think of labradorite as the Morgan Le Fay of the gemstone world -- or Morgause as she is called in The Mists of Avalon. Morgause, the dark, small-of-stature, indigenous half-sister of the fair-haired Arthur, is trained as a priestess. This from Wikipedia:
"Morgaine is cast as a strong woman in pain who has unique gifts and responsibilities at a time of enormous political and spiritual upheaval; as she is called upon to defend her indigenous matriarchal heritage against impossible odds."
That's it. That's why I like labradorite. LOL! Oh and scrying, incidentally, is basically the art of seeing the future (and other hidden stuff) by looking into shiny things.
============================================
Pyrite image from Wikipedia. Labradorite pic is from Twistedtree.org

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Cirque de Soleil


Oh! oH! (It must be two-fer Sunday in Aunt Mollyland.) I totally forgot to post about going to Cirque de Soleil last weekend (part of our Mary T. Birthday Month Festivities...). I purchased tickets way back in January since, yes, I've been 50 years on the planet (not counting the first nine months eavesdropping), and now I get to do WHATEVER I WANT. Pretty much? Ok, I get to pretend I get to do whatever I want, and this week it's been a pretty convincing fantasy!

Me Dada and Junior had planned on a really nice dinner, but it was pretty obvious by 5:00 p.m. that wasn't going to happen, so instead we just pulled into Denny's in Bernalillo for a quick bite. We didn't realize, Junior had never been initiated into our B.C. (Before Children) tradition of having breakfast at Denny's for dinner. So that was fun, and when the waitresses found out it was my birthday (ok I fudged the date a little...) and the big 5-oh to boot, they went back in the kitchen and fixed the most amazing complementary dessert nachos, with sweet "chips," strawberries, and chocolate syrup. We took it with us and had it for dessert after the show.

Then we began the long drive to the Santa Ana Star Center -- not the casino five minutes away, people. Don't be fooled by the map, there are stops and turns and what look like normal roads, but this place is out in the total boonies. Finally we saw the center, and I felt like we were migrating to the mother ship. The only thing out there is the huge conference center and, of all things the Rio Rancho City Hall (er, what city? they must be planning for some humongous and no doubt frightfully water-sucking growth out there. but I digress...)

We get to our seats just as the show started, and I couldn't believe I was really there! I've watched Cirque de Soleil on TV religiously and kept telling la familia how lucky we are we didn't have to book a flight to Vegas. Junior was enraptured and about halfway through the pole-climbing, rope swinging, bicycle stunting sets I realized (with a mother's certainty) that he's going to go home and try this stuff (He does kung fu ala Jackie Chan -- just this morning he showed me a cell phone video of him running up to a wall, climbing it, and flipping over backwards).

The characters and costuming reminded me of wonderful, neon Akira Blount dolls! I love her work! These certain characters would walk out between sets with belts around their waists, and out of the backs of the belts came these long lamps that curved over their heads, with the lamp bulbs hanging down in front to light the way. The makeup, the semi-steampunk atmosphere, the GREAT band, it was all worth it. And 15 bucks cheaper than Vegas!

I found this great video on the Cirque de Soleil website that shows exciting clips from all their shows -- looks to me like the show we saw, Saltimbanco, is shown toward the beginning:


Cirque de Soleil: Then and Now
(go to this page, then click Watch a clip)
(images from Wikipedia)

Turkish Troubador

My birthday was last week (and I'm still celebrating!) On Thursday we went to see Turkish musician and "troubador" Latif Bolat play and sing and recite poetry, as he was passing through Albuquerque. (He used to live in Santa Fe, but has moved back to Turkey. While in Santa Fe, he contributed to the book by Jennifer Farraro called Quarrelling with God, translations of mostly Bektashi Sufi poets, and those are the poems that he featured in last night's gathering.)

There are a couple of YouTube videos around if you want to see who I'm talking about, although last night's performance was like neither of them. In the first video below, he performs with a group of musicians while two dervishes turn, and in the second, he reads from Quarrelling with God before he plays.

Last night he performed by himself in a warm, casual setting, an intimate gathering in a long, narrow studio at 2nd and Coal, where most of us relaxed on pillows on the floor and Latif sat in front of a small couch, telling stories and illuminating the history of the troubador tradition in Turkey.

He would introduce a poem and pass the book around for visitors to read, and then he would play a looooong song in a single rhythm, usually two or three mystical poems strung together.
Lucky us -- the DH and I have some of his music already. Last night, 'cause it's my birthday week, I bought the book and another CD, which I'm listening to now as I type this post.

You can hear from the YouTube video his rich baritone and excellent musicianship. What you can't get is the experience of a long, relaxing evening listening to intricately woven stories, and gentle laughter. Ahhh, a nice way to spend a cool, rainy spring (semi-birthday) evening with friends.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Meet Geraldina, She Loves Picasa

I promise I won't spend the entire summer outing Picasa's craft book hoarders, I promise! Ary's photos were apparently removed. So I scrolled to the next name on my favorites list, and wow! Although there are only 4 pirated craft books in this account:
Geraldina has been amazingly busy. (Look at her linked galleries in the right column.) She's got at least 13 different gmail accounts and just as many Picasa public galleries. Containing over 900 pirated books -- not pages, BOOKS. Let's say each book averages 20 pages, and that would be 18,000 pages. Eighteen THOUSAND. Give or take. (Who even knew there were 95 book on foamy craft!) Yes, Geraldina is quite the archivist.
.
Hmmm. Wonder if we could put a monetary value on that. Let's say the average price for each book was $8.00 (probably a low estimate, but a lot of them looked like those craft store pamphlets). Multiply that by 900 books, and Ms. Geraldina has saved herself (and everybody else) over $7,200.
.
And this is why I have a problem with Picasa. Judy B-G (see the comments in my previous Picasa post) said that in order to file the removal request when she sees her bead crochet books being pirated, she would have to mail in copies of every single page -- for every single incident. What a hassle. What kind of advanced degree does it take for the poor minion at Picasa in charge of deleting stuff to be able to LOOK at the thumbnails (assuming they look at the "inappropriate content" flagging) and see it is not possible to own the rights to 900 books in at least 2 languages, or at least to question the person who uploaded them before removing them?
.
Allo? Google? Is this thing on? ;-)

Take the Fashionista Quiz



This is fun! Last month while working on some ATCs for a swap with a hat theme, I went looking for various styles of hats. That's when I found this UK site on 1920s Fashions. There's a quiz on this page -- take it! See how much of a 1920s Fashionista you are (or want to be!)

NOTE: You have to answer all the questions before getting your results.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Susan Lenart Kazmer's New Jewelry Making Book

Now this should be interesting! I've taken a couple of classes with Susan, as a rank newbie to metals, and they were awesome and I still use what I learned from her -- cold joins, layering, wire tricks. In fact...I'm looking forward to Bead Expo Santa Fe in 2009 where hopefully she'll be teaching.

Anyhoo, her new book is out. I didn't find it on Amazon (yet?) but you can read about it on her website:


"Making Connections includes nine different chapters using appropriate cold joins used for connecting metal and mixed media. Beyond the traditional rivet, this book includes chapters featuring fiber related attachments such as stitching, weaving and crochet, as well as chapters on trapeze attachments for objects that require swing and movement."

NOTE: You can click this link to order the book from Susan's website store. PLUS, there's a really cool 4-page PDF preview (click the book image next to the item description).

Sunday, May 18, 2008

New Pretties

I finally got a chance to edit photos today and these items are up or will be up soon in my new-ish Etsy shop...
handmade earrings with turquoise balls and verdigris patina over vintage jewelry stampings vintage glass West German cabochon in ruby red set in vintage jewelry stamping
Mexican milagro heart necklace with turquoise and coral beads brass findings with Czech beads pyrite and blue chalcedony

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Second Life Sufi


I took some time off grant-writing today (which is the psychological equivalent of sticking sharp pencils in your temples) to be a whirling dervish in Second Life. Yep, I finally figured out how to don the tennure although, apologies to friends of Rumi, I must have forgotten the white pants and ended up wearing my brown cargoes...so I touched up the pants in PaintShop Pro. Estafirullah! This room has a ball on the ceiling where you click to animate your avatar. Nice turning motions that last a long time -- cycling through the various gestures very slowly.

The room I was in had pictures of Nur Ashki Jerrahi teachers on the walls which I expect came from their website, and links to various Sufi and Muslim websites which I didn't click through to today.

But alas, no music (that I could find), so I surfed for some Sufi music online and played it while I turned. It was more soothing than I would have expected, but it would have been nicer to turn with a few others...and indeed I sent Landmarks to a couple of Sufis who I know play occasionally in Second Life. So maybe we'll set up a time and explore the online tekke a bit more...after this [&*%$@] grant is submitted. Argh!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Shame on Picasa

No more Mrs. Nice Guy. I've watched these seedy "craft enthusiasts" on Picasa for over a year now, recirculating the same pirated PDFs and JPGs of beading books over and over again, and I have to ask, "Picasa -- buh??? What did you THINK would happen when you wrote that circumlocutionary copyright reporting procedure of yours? That it would actually solve a problem?"

BACKGROUND. (Yes, this is a real Picasa user, and no I don't know her) -- Meet Ary, she's one of dozens: http://picasaweb.google.com/megyeriary

As of today, Ary has 53 public albums, all of which are full of scans of books she didn't write. Japanese, Russian, and several by Interweave press. Not to mention several complete issues of Bead and Button -- all uploaded since fall 2007. No, these publications are not out of print. They are easy to purchase in bookstores, and online, even the foreign ones.

It should be obvious to anyone on the planet that the odds of Ary authoring this many books in at least 3 different languages are, well, ZERO. So let's say I decide to report the content to the folks at Google's Picasa (who, I realize, also allow me to write this blog for free and no, it's not a fair trade).

1. I click on one of the albums, let's say Interweave's Netted Beadwork, by Diane Fitzgerald (it says so right on the cover...).

2. To report the obvious copyright violation, I scroll down to the bottom of the album and click the link that says, "Report inappropriate content."

3. A box pops up that looks like this:


Now I get to pick a button. Personally, I find the content offensive, LOL, but I don't think that's what Picasa meant. What I'm looking for is a way to alert Picasa that this user (and most of her friends -- see the right-hand column of violator buddies) are blatantly violating intellectual property law. My first clue that reporting might be futile is the line:

"If you own the copyright for this work and would like it removed..."

Picasa apparently doesn't want to get sued for accidentally removing work the album owner has a right to publish.

4. At this point I usually contact the publisher or author, many of whom I know, not because I'm special, but because that's how beadland is. And scrapbook land, and crochet land, etc. It's a small world, Ary. You might think you're doing your cheap friends a favor, but what you're really doing is screwing the author out of her hard earned $1.00 (and I do mean $1.00, on average) per book sale.

Diane Fitzgerald and the other authors on Ary's site are not wealthy women. They don't get huge advances. They put in incredibly long hours creating the projects and writing the instructions, and in many cases, doing the photography and illustrations, not to mention proofreading and editing. And if they self-publish, they have the additional responsibilities of footing the entire printing bill up front, as well as handling most of the distribution (including packing and shipping).

They are actual, regular people eking out a living like the rest of us, if we're lucky and don't have our efforts undermined by the likes of Ary, who apparently lacks the capacity to view authors and publishers as human beings who are part of the same, creative continuum as she is.

Ok, let's pause the rant and get back to the reporting process.

5. When I contact the author or publisher, I can send them a link, and they can start the reporting process. Which by the way, doesn't involve a simple email form or phone call. No, it has to be mailed. Via snail mail. So much for Web 2.0 revolutionizing the world.

But what if I want to contact Ary or one of her friends myself? To tell her how much I love being able to steal money out of other people's pockets to satisfy my insatiable apetite for not paying for my books, and to thank her for passing on those great scans since the originator probably got shut down already and if it wasn't for her perpetrating the copyright violations, I'd be so outta luck...

I don't actually recommend harassing the perp. It probably won't change their thinking. They might just elect to make their albums private. They'll probably get a lot of sympathy from their friends who will accuse you of being a big meanie. So here's how to alert the copyright holder as to the email address of the perp:

6. EXAMPLE: I'll use myself as an example. My "handle" on Picasa is maryluna. But here's what the URL looks like in the address bar:

http://picasaweb.google.com/mizmaryt <-- that's it. The last part is the email addy name. Add @gmail.com to the end, and you've got my (or the perp's) email address: mizmaryt@gmail.com

I have to confess, though I generally don't mess with contacting the violator, I did once. I ran across a tutorial that I had illustrated, for the class of a local bead artist who teaches nationally . It was so bizarre -- I recognized my illustrations even in the tiny thumbnails. I could tell it was a class handout that had been scanned and posted. I wrote to the perp and she graciously removed it.

Personally, I think Picasa should shut these violators down. I think some of the burden of proving ownership should be put on the users. We aren't revolutionizing anything via technology except making it easier to screw the little gals (and I include craft publishers in that category) out of their due. Picasa could allow ethical netizens to flag these violators' albums, and Picasa could send them a simple warning -- you've been flagged, check your content and remove anything you don't have a right to publish. When I publish photos via Picasa, I don't get any kind of orientation or obvious terms of usage guidance -- Picasa should take a little more responsibility for making it possible for these craft hogs to use them as a craft hog-pen.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Final Fairy Chapter

Hahaha! The perfect ending to this fairy-magic day -- the fairy tree earrings have sold. Unfortunately the hits and hearts disappeared, but last time I looked it was somewhere around 900 hits and 50 hearts. If only I had the energy to make another pair tonight...

T H E ~ E N D
:-)

Fairy Tree Mystery Solved

Ohhhhhhh...turns out Michelle from Etsy (aka HeyMichelle) picked the fairy tree earrings as a related item for this week's Community Chat Storque Article. (Which is weird, cause I could have sworn I'd looked there...) So, I was right -- it WAS fairy magic. Etsy fairies. Er, elves? ;-)


Excited? Who, me? ;-)

Mysterious Etsy Hits & Hearts

I guess it all started when I responded to an Etsy thread about your item with the most hits that hasn't sold yet. At the time these fairy tree earrings had a couple hundred hits (big in my world, LOL). The hits went up a couple hundred, I guess, after that thread.

And then yesterday an amazing thing happened -- I actually sold some jewelry! Now, I've been quiet and mature and patient, and really appreciate Monkey Girl and my coworkers and all, but yesterday, this was a sale to a complete stranger, which always makes you feel like Sally Field in her Oscar acceptance speech (don't make me say it here).

So right before I left work, I checked my shop hearts, and they were the same as they were maybe 3 days ago. I go home, goof around for awhile, then get online and notice I've got like a dozen more hearts than I did an hour and a half before. Usually this happens when you get into an Etsy Treasury or something, or somebody posts about you on their blog. I checked, but couldn't find me anywhere (not unusual, as my family can attest to, LOL).

After investigating a bit, I happened to notice my fairy tree earrings had like 700 hits and 4 million (ok, maybe 50) hearts. Buh??? I posted to the forum about it, hoping someone had an explanation. Suggestions, yes, explanation, no.

Is it fairy magic? A secret "pimp" (how I hate that word) on Facebook? I may never know, but all this jabbering helps me avoid the next question...how many hearts and hits does it take to sell these puppies already? Oy!

Naw, not complaining. I love a mystery. Really I do. Like how pizza boxes close -- magic! Or how spores know what to do next. That sort of thing. Ok, back to sleuthing...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Why is this woman singing???


1. Because she has a new laptop with a web cam?
2. Because her birthday is right around the corner?
3. Because she just finished her classes and is now 6 credits closer to a master's?
4. All of the above?

Of course you're right, it's number 4! Both classes were over Saturday. Whew. I slept most of Mother's Day (which was my inherent once-a-year right, as a mother). They brought me breakfast and laptop in bed. For my birthday, we're going to see Cirque de Soleil. And in the meantime, it's beading and reading, in no particular order.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Old-fashioned children's photos from Dover

Darn that kid -- give your fairy king grandpa his little
playing cards back before you get them all slobbery!

This week my Dover free clip-art email included a link to a wonderful book of Old-Fashioned Children's photos, so tempting for digital editing -- there, if I'd had a poppet hat I would have used it. ;-)

I used PaintShop Pro to edit the image -- using layers, preset picture tubes and a crown clipart image. Plus a bit of tinting using the paintbrush.

Feel free to use the edited image, if you like. But for non-commercial use only, please. 8-) Or I'll send grandpa fairy king after you. ;-)

In my Flickr album, y'all.

Pssst, to get your own clip art sampler delivered by email you can sign up at Dover.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

In Memoriam: Audrey Sunburn

A longtime member of online beadlandia has passed away, Audrey Sunburn. Rather than repeat or paraphrase here, I'll just link to her good friend's Liz' blog:

http://thebadliz.blogspot.com/2008/05/audrey-sunburn.html

Audrey, pass over in peace. We'll sit with you on the other side. 8-)

April Poll Results

April Poll Results are in and I apologize for the confusion about "New England" style. I was shooting for something preppie and conservative. I was gonna say "East Coast" but of course that's a long line of various styles and cultures. I was thinking more along the lines of the gal who wears pearl posts. Well and then I was going to do a geographical thing, like "Montana Cowgirl" but then I realized the poll was already way too long so I just stopped. Sorry Soren. ;-)

The question was: What Kinds of Earrings Do You Wear?

Classic Posts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 (34%)
Petite Dangles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 (43%)
Long & Slinky . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 (21%)
Funky Artsy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 (34%)
Gems & Birthstones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 (12%)
Totally Tribal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 (19%)
Gypsy Boho . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 (31%)
Vintage Look . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 (17%)
Simple Silver . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 (48%)
Bright Colors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 (31%)
Must Be Subtle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 (19%)
Latest Trends . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 (4%)
Southwestern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 (26%)
New England . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 (2%)

Simple Silver held the lead from the beginning, with Petite Dangles right behind. I was inspsired by how many Gypsy Boho Funky Artsy Bright Colors types there are reading this blog ;-) And whoever put "New England" would you please write and explain what the heck I meant by that?

Stay tuned for the May poll in a day or two...

Monday, May 5, 2008

Call for Entries: The Beaded Book

Beadwork magazine is calling for entries for their 6th biennial themed exhibition. This one is called "The Beaded Book" and editor Marlene Blessing suggests that anything from altered books featuring beadwork, to book title-inspired pieces are appropriate.

"I know plenty of you have been inspired by altered books (don't let those collage artists have all the fun) and by stories (from trashy novels, to historical epics, to books of poems). Whether you alter an actual book, re-create a favorite character in literature, bead a page of text or just a favorite passage, bead a reader-and-book vignette, make a tiny library, or bead your favorite fantasy/sci-fi kingdom -- or any other bookcentric concoction you can imagine -- please share your passion for books and beads with us!"

Here are the complete rules. Deadline for entries is Dec. 18, 2008. Winning entries will be featured in Beadwork and at Bead Expo Santa Fe, Mar. 2009 and other shows.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Wild Peacock Pin


Wild Peacock Pin
Originally uploaded by mary_tafoya
I toyed with all kinds of crazy names for this one, but I chickened out when I listed it -- any ideas?

In my Etsy shop, y'all. 8-)

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Spiritual Quest in Second Life?


I discovered something really cool about Second Life -- I meditate a LOT better there. ;-) Well that, and I don't bruise as easily from hard landings.

One day my Search led me to an interesting island with lots of fun interactive things with a spiritual orientation. I meditated, bathed while the birds sang, found not one but two Stonehenges, and Sarah and I did the dream dance. I did screenshots of that, but can't find them, so here's the one of just me:

For summer, I donned a nice tan and a pretty new tie dye butterfly suit. I figured while I was at it I'd make myself taller and slimmer too, what the heck?

I even did a whirling dervish dance, although I had to do it in my rainbow suit. Couldn't quite figure out how to don the tennure (sp? pronounced TEN-you-ray). Sarah went to an Earth Day celebration on Turtle Island, but the only meetup I've been to so far is my OLIT class.

I'm learning the very basics of building although I suspect Sarah is farther up the learning curve than I am. We found a good tutorial/play place and I figured out how to copy the notecards there to files, which I printed out. Nice workaround for me since my SL time and access are limited.

I'd love to build a poppet hat and give away craft tutorials as notecards!

I also read up on how to do a PowerPoint presentation and I think I can create a prim to contain the images, but alas, I have no Linden dollars. Just when I thought I'd have to set up an account, someone sent me a door prize of $10 Linden dollars for just visiting a place -- enough for one image. 8-) There is synchronicity in the virtual universe!

Hopefully this weekend (in between homework, sleeping, and hanging with the fam) I'll get around to connecting the new laptop directly to the DSL and see if that helps. Although, having Second Life in my livingroom could get to be a problem. As Sarah says, I have enough to do in my first life!

Friday, May 2, 2008

More Versa-Loom Projects

Here are some photos of a few things you can make with the Versa-Loom (see my previous post for more):

Rita's cool open spaces loomed bracelet design... she calls the bottom
one Rainbow Squares. Both are made with Delica beads, the top one in metallic gold.

MIxed bead sizes are used above to create a cool textural effect
(Sarah says the picturesdidn't come out as nice as the bracelets though...)

The top bracelet also uses mixed bead sizes. The bottom -- very cool, eh? --
uses metal & rhinestone slider components.

Sarah often sells Versa-loom made bracelets in her Etsy shop.

The Versa-Loom website

The Versa-Loom in Action

Sally assembles the Versa-loom by snapping the pieces together.

Indulge me. 8-) I first posted these images on my old blog. Today on Beadchat someone mentioned the Versa-Loom, a warpless wonder developed by Rita Sova. We played with the prototype at a retreat and here are some of the pictures we took (a couple of years ago).

(Psssst. A warpless loom is strung up in such a way that you don't have to weave in the warp threads when you're done with the weft part. But to do this, you have to know how long your project will be. The Versa-Loom is modular, so you can put pieces together to create longer weavings.)

Bonnie says it took her about 15 minutes to warp the loom (her second time)
and about 2 hours to completethe bracelet above. She added the clasp the next day.


Alternating rows of decorative fibers with size 5-0 triangle
beads makes the bracelet project go very quickly.


Barb finishes up her fuzzy bracelet. ;-) Note the high tech headgear.
That's how you spot a hard-core beadworker!

The Versa-Loom website

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Louisiana Digital Library

Here's a wonderful image resource to add to your bookmarks:


Easy to browse by era, topic, etc. and not as overwhelminging as some digital archives.

Enjoy!