Friday, December 23, 2011

Joy to All and Blogger Headaches

I made this appliqued and embroidered felt door decoration back in the early 80's.  My little "Welcome Bear" had been boxed up for too long and I decided it was time for him to make an appearance.
Old ornament above is very simple but I loved how it looked when placed in front of a Christmas tree light bulb. No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you, the photo below is a little out of focus. :(
The Holiday Season and Blogger Headaches
I thought I had this season figured out, blogwise anyway.  I would do a few posts at a time and have them scheduled for publication on certain dates and then if comments  came in, I could quickly check my personal email address to moderate and visit their blogs in return.  Simple yes ?  Well for some unknown reason, after several years of receiving email notifications of comments needing moderation, Blogspot has stopped sending me these notifications.  Bummer ... now I must stop whatever I'm doing and check on my Blogspot dashboard frequently to see if there are any wonderful comments to acknowledge.

Today as I prepared this particular posting I notice that I'm having problems with the uploading of my photos.  I click on the ones I want to post and then when I return to the photo pop-up window all of my choices have been erased.  This is  supposed to the Christmas-Hanukkah-Kwanzaa season not April Fools !  :(
If anyone has suggestions on how to get my email notifications back please feel free to give them to me.  I've tried clearing out my cache, unchecking the "remember me" option box and then logging out, shutting my PC off and re-booting, I checked over my settings but couldn't find that anything had changed.  I also checked the blogger "help" section (but that was a couple of days ago so I might try"help" again to see if anything new has been discussed). 

Photo above ... another dated Christmas decoration, this one is from Hallmark.  The Bear's beary happy Christmas, with Mama Bear holding a cookie sheet of fresh baked cookies, Papa Bear hanging up the Christmas stocking on the fireplace mantel, little Missy Bear reading her book while little Junior Bear plays on the floor with his little toy boat.

Hope you are all enjoying a marvelous and happy Holiday ... and remember to leave some cookies for Santa. :)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Found Treasure ... Wonderful Blogs and Bloggers

For awhile now I've been a follower and reader of KJ's marvelous blog; KJs Beadacious Beads  at .   I tend to follow many blogs but I do have my favorites,  KJ's blog is among those. 

On one of her recent posts KJ explored the problem of small bead storage, those tiny little seed beads that, when spilled, tend to go everywhere and  days or even weeks later we tend to find them lodged in nooks or crannies and sometimes just laying out brazenly in plain sight, right smack dab in the middle of the floor.  I find KJ's solution a great one as I have tried many different containers myself and have found many inferior, either their lids do not stay on (which ends up in those annoying spills) or they are too hard to open, or it is hard to see just what is inside of them. 

Photo above ... Though I have something remotely similar to KJ's solution mine are not individual, they all screw together with only one lid that goes onto the top container, a real pain when I want the beads in the center jar. KJ's containers each have their own lids, a real bonus.  Now I need to go out looking for them, they are made by Darice and Sears (in some locations) carry them.  I look forward to getting rid of this unit above (which is designed for pill storage) and get some with individual lids.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fiber Optics - Tiny Tree but Amazing Lights!

Back when we lived in a small rental house John and I purchased a tabletop tree.  The box claimed it to be 4 feet tall but I'm not sure how they managed to get that measurement since the tree with stand is hardly more than 38" in height.  As artificial trees go it is okay but I doubt that anyone would mistake it for a real pine, however it is a fiber optic tree and its light display is very pretty, unfortunately it's also almost impossible to capture on camera ... especially with the flash on.  Below are a few very dark photos taken without flash in hopes that the colorful array of lights would show up. 

Photo above - really dark, can see the lights but not the tree.
Photo below - a bit lighter but the fiber optic lights are a bit blurred.  Now I understand why all the photos of fibre optic  trees on google search were blurry.

I've been trying to talk my hubby into allowing us to get a more substantial tree for next Christmas ... maybe a 6 or 7 footer.  John and I both love the effect of the ever changing colors cascading across the fiber optic filaments that  cover our little tree and would like the next, larger tree to also have this feature but tall fiber optic trees seem to be as scarce as hen's teeth.   We have close to a year to find one so  we  I will continue looking.

Hoping you are enjoying this special season.   Love and Goodwill to you all !
Happy Holidays !    Merry Christmas !

Monday, December 19, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas ...

This year, for the first time in many years,  I actually sprinkled some Christmas decorations around my house instead of just slapping up our tiny 38" fiber optic, plastic tree and calling it "done".  In so doing I must admit my blog was put on a back burner and left to simmer without much stirring.  However I accomplished a number of items on my "Christmas to do List", one of which was to install an address list and labeling program on my PC.  Naturally being techno-challenged I had to call on my hubby several dozen times and it took us both about 3 days to install it and figure out how to use it.  Then it took me another 3 days to type in my complete address list.  I could have addressed the envelopes by hand a lot quicker but it is finally done and next year should be a snap to run off address labels ... I hope !

Many years ago, when my girls where oh so very young and still believed in that wonderful, jolly old elf that rides through the sky on his  sleigh driven by magic reindeer, I began making fabulous beaded ornaments.  I would purchase the intricate kits from The Cracker Box . 
These lovely handmade ornaments were made at least 30 years ago and though they used to bless us with their beauty every Christmas, they have been stashed away for over 6 years now.  As I unwrapped them I decided they were going on display this year and even though our tiny (less than 4 foot tall) tree could not support them, I would find some way to showcase them. :)

Among a drape of faux garland they took center stage with my beloved photos of family.

Satin covered balls bedecked in crystals, sequins and silvery dress maker's pins  ... lots and lots of pins !

The one that took the longest to make was the Holiday Bell, it is completely covered in pearly white sequins, each held in place by a dress maker's pin ...  hundreds of pins !   If you'd like to check out Cracker Box  you can click on their links in this post or copy and paste their URL :

Saturday, December 17, 2011

How to win - or not - at Blogging

Another "draft" from years gone by - never published -  think I decided it was too down, too depressing ... perhaps too close to reality ! 

There are times when I wonder why I keep trying.

Trying to make a go of my etsy  shop.
Trying to attract readers to my blog.
Life itself can be trying.
A friend of mine just passed away, our wedding anniversaries were just days apart and we used to go out and celebrate together, but then time and distance separated us. It was different, easier when we lived in the same city. In the past 10 years I've lost touch with a number of people...some relatives...some friends. How and why are varied stories and much too long to go into.
I've learned that most people don't seem to really want to read a blog. They want to be razzle-dazzled with photos, slide shows, YouTube, games etc., etc. But words? No not words ! Words, no matter how long you labor over them, no matter how dear to your heart and soul they are...people don't have time for them. If you can't tweet them in 140 characters or less, forget it.
Guess I need to reassess my blog. Why is it that so many others get so many comments and mine so few ? Must I always be doing something, are all the blog readers out there only interested in giveaways? Has the land of Blog-dom turned totally commercialised ?

After reading through this I came to the conclusion that, if nothing else, I'm not a quitter, I've continued to muddle through even though I've yet to taste the sweetness of success. Maybe someday?  The bottom line, the morale of this is to not give up but to hold fast to your dream, even when it seems completely unobtainable.  Hope and dreams should never be allowed to die. :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Give Me Elbow room

Finding hidden treasures in my old posts that were never posted.  Here is another piece I wrote back when my blog was just in its infancy and my followers numbered a big round zero. 
This post was originally written 2/13/2009 but never published.

I’ve always longed to live in the country, to have trees and natural vegetation as my neighbors. Living in tight clusters of homes where one’s neighbor is so close it feels as though one shares a common patio or garden. This may be fine for a lot of people however for myself I’ve always enjoyed a bit of freedom, cherished my elbow room.

Little less than two years  five years ago we, my husband John and I, lived in a small rental house in a close packed development, it was a temporary arrangement as we were in the process of building a small and unpretentious home. Having earlier purchased a parcel of land, close to 3 acres, in a semi-rural area, we envisioned a simple home, much like a farm house, something that would blend in with the smaller clapboard houses dotting the area. However the people who purchased the property adjacent to us were building a Floridian Mediterranean inspired house with paladin windows and barrel tile roof, very incongruent with the rural neighborhood. Theirs’ was a house you saw in every gated community from Miami to Naples and from Homestead to Tallahassee.

On the other side of this mini mansion sets the original homestead of the farmer who had subdivided this acreage, his was a humble house made of raw wood clapboards. Weathered and gray this homely little house sat low on the land, crouched under the large trees that attempted to protect it and fitted the landscape well. Trucks and tractors littered the farmer’s property...after all he is still a working farmer...had watermelons for sale just last summer...$3 apiece ! So, for myself, no mini mansion. I wanted to feel like I belonged here, a part of the area not apart from the area.

Every day that we lingered in our rental unit, I longed to be able to look outside a window, any window, and not view the wall of a neighboring home. Our patio practically butted up against the property line where a stark white fence divided the two backyards and afforded some privacy but also gave a foreboding sense of confinement. Nothing to look at as we sat out on the patio...only the bland white fence...not a tree, or a garden...hard to have a garden with little less than an 7 foot stripe of land between the patio and that imposing fence ! My only consolation was that it was not our home, it was only a rental and soon we could walk away from it.

When our small house was at last completed and we received our "Certificate of Occupancy" it was cause for celebration. John popped the cork on a bottle of champagne and we toasted our new home, our property, getting out of that claustrophobic neighborhood and most of all toasted having a view and some breathing space. Liberation! Viva la liberation !

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bouncing Beads -

A tiny drop out of my hoard of beads.

It's the Holiday Season and most of us are in over our heads with cooking, cleaning, shopping, wrapping and wonderful guests.  My lovely daughter is home for the Christmas Holidays and I intend to enjoy every second of her visit.  I  pray that each and every one of you are enjoying this very special season regardless of your beliefs or traditions.  And to those of you who have dropped me from your following blog list ... well what can I say except that you were waiting for the perfect opportunity to dump me anyway, so let it be my Christmas gift to you.  :D
Going back through the history of this blog I came across an old post that was never posted, not sure why, perhaps I simply forgot about it.  As I read it I had to admit it is as relevant now as it was in 2009.  So I've added a few photos of a small sampling of my bead inventory to spice it up a bit.
Turquoise goes with everything !

I suppose I could have started this blog with bead history and information regarding beads, either beads in general or specific. But there are so many sites on that already and one can google info on just about anything they wish to know about these wondrous little beauties. Everything from about how they are made to patterns that use them; from sizes and shapes to country of origin its all been researched before...or copied and pasted...have you ever noticed how info on a subject can be almost word for word the same on a number of websites? Its almost as if they all went to the "Master Wikipedia" and copied and pasted the text onto their own site!

Being a beader and jewelry maker I’m an avid fan of those lovely little things...just wish I didn’t have to spend so much time on my hands and knees on the floor looking for them.
They have an uncanny ability for momentum, rolling off my worktable and bouncing a great distance away or catapulting like an acrobat off the end of a beading needle or, heaven forbid, cascading in perfect unison off the end of my beading thread or cable and scattering to far
corners of the room.
A few months back I managed to drop a whole storage bin of tiny, 3 mm Czech glass beads. There were 10 strands of loose beads in that container, each strand had contained, approximately, 200 beads...2,000 tiny, translucent, pale blue beads...can you picture it ? I spent hours looking for those little buggers and now, even months later, I’ll come across one hiding in a corner or under my chair or even on top of something. They’ll suddenly appear in places that I’m certain I’ve checked and it’s got me believing in the "black hole theory". You see, there are these little black holes everywhere, even here on earth, and objects are sucked into them, they work their way through the worm hole and days, weeks, months or even years later come out the other side in a totally different location. This explains the phenomena of lost keys, sunglasses, disappearing socks (black holes must love washers and dryers) and of course vanishing tiny, little beads !
Love these baby-pink, Ceylon  size 8/0 glass seeds by Miyuki Delica.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Something Good in Everyday

Today I'm joining Annette of So Many Memories on Thankful Thursday. 
As I walked down my street yesterday I saw the most amazing plant, a huge 10 ft tall bush of lovely, bright yellow sunflowers.  I am so thankful for nature's incredible beauty. 

I also wish to thank Kristen of BeadJourney for her post about Erin's Simple Truths at her etsy shop TesoriTrovati and Erin's Treasures Found .   for it was through these two that I discovered a great knowledge, this quote of truism ...
"Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day." ~ Anonymous 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Circuits Are Fried

Framed and ready to hang.

I believe my circuits are fried !  Lately I have been suffering from a serious case of "Internet Burn-Out" and it's taken a lot of will power to even turn on my computer.  Normally my blog and  comments have been  overly verbose but for the past few weeks it's been a battle to come up with anything to say or any ideas that appear fresh and remotely interesting.  I beg for your patience and hope that you will stick with me as I try to muddle through this.  Hopefully it will pass as most things do.

Most of you are familiar with T @ Poppy Place PDX and her wonderful photography.  Her online studio PhotosByChipperfield is overflowing with breathtakingly beautiful pictures that she's captured through the lens of her camera.  Quite some time ago I purchased a lovely triad of T's photos, they arrived  well packaged and in pristine condition, naturally I wished to keep them that way so I carefully harbored them at the very bottom of an almost empty drawer.  Out of sight, out of mind ... bad idea.
It was only months later, when I ran across a big ad for a local arts and crafts shop's 50% off frame sale, that my memory was jogged and I retrieved the hidden treasure of T's photos.  With photos in hand I went and browsed through an impressive frame and mat section and, after what seemed like hours upon end, decided upon 3 suitable frames. You can have frames custom made but I strongly recommend reserving that option for artwork that is of unusual dimensions as custom matting and framing can become quite expensive.  
The frames I chose complimented T's photos without detracting from them and were a subtle color that went well with the tones in the photo and the frames came with their own acid free mats.  At 50% off I was able to purchase 3 nice frames (with mats) for around $30, about $10 per frame. Couldn't get much better than that !
 It is amazing what frames and mats can do for art work, it's like that little bit of make-up that transforms a pretty woman into a gorgeous one.  I think sometimes we tend not to see the complete picture and  may not envision how something will look when complete.  T's photo's were lovely to begin with but when matted and framed I was beyond impressed, I was actually exuberant and had to show them off to anyone and everyone that came into my home.
 T's beautiful photography is now encased in their frames and are in position where I had always planned to place them ... only problem is now I need to repaint the room as the neutral Navajo white walls are far more yellow than I realized and don't work well with the slightly mauve tones  of the photos and frames.  Well  yet another thing to add to my "honey-do list" .  :D

Monday, October 31, 2011

Missed The Trend ?

above ... Swarovski Crystal Aurora Borealis Eternity Circle

There are times when I create something and think it is beautiful and will sell in a heartbeat, it is always a a rude awakening when I find obviously that no one else feels the same way.

I meticulously wove these Swarovski crystal Eternity Circle together and loved the depth and dimension of the piece in general.  When I took them out into the sunlight the sparkling effects were beyond amazing ... especially with the Crystal aurora borealis pendant. 

above and below ... Sapphire Blue Swarovski Crystal pendant on handcrafted kumihimo braided cord.

However they seem to gather little attention and I don't understand why.  I think most of you beaders and jewelry makers are all aware of the price of Swarovski Crystals (these are 6 mm) so making a piece that uses over 80 crystals is not cheap.  I priced it about as low as I could but maybe I'm underpricing them and people expect these true Swarovskis to cost more ?  Or maybe they're passe, unhip and outdated ... though I thought circles, representing eternal love, was in ... I somehow missed when they went out. 

Have any of you jewelry maker - beaders created pieces that you thought would go like hot-fresh baked bread and instead sat around your inventory like old, stale biscuits ?

Friday, October 21, 2011

A New Comer to the Neighborhood

Our neighbors have a man-made pond in their front yard that tends to attract water loving birds.  We've seen lots of ducks and egrets enjoying the water along with an occasional snack of fresh fish.  There have also been Canadian geese and tall, gray Sandhill Cranes.  Recently we've noticed a pair of gray herons enjoying the pond (and the fish within it).  How long the herons will stay is hard to guess as it seems this pond attracts transient  water fowl.

Photo below ... The large gray heron is hunkered down so it looks quite short however it has remarkably long legs and when it stands it reachs a rather impressive height.
Photo above ... I had hoped to get up really close since the heron was right beside our fence-line but this was as close as I got before he or she took flight and found the safety of the tiny island at the center of the pond.
Photo above ... One heron is on the island the other is across the water in the back-ground, both are a safe distance away ... now if they could only get rid of the annoying paparazzi !!!

These photos were taken yesterday Oct 20th, 2011.  Today has turned a bit chilly in the low 70's at noon, was in the low 60's when I got this morning and was 58 degrees outside when I went to bed last night.  However the heron have returned today so perhaps they'll stick around for a bit longer in spite of the cooler weather.  They are lovely creatures and John and I enjoy watching them, though I'm sure the herons would prefer that we weren't such snoopy neighbors. lol

I would love to have a camera with a real zoom lens and I keep saying to myself that when my etsy shop starts really selling I'll be able to buy one.  I better not hold my breath on that one. :D

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Snarkiness is Alive and Well ...

Change is inevitable, or so they say, and one either learns to accept it, suffer in silence or make a big fuss about it ...  the latter of which is ignored by everyone and so basically you're suffering aloud but no one is listening to you.  
In my viewpoint the Etsy teams are not working all that well, some of them go hours if not days without any activity.   The  Promotions Teams are certainly not as active as other teams nor are they accomplishing the goal that they had been created for.  A far cry from the days when promotions was a part of the Etsy forums and postings changed faster than greased lightening.   
Yes, without promotions the new, scaled down Etsy forums has lost its spark but not its snarkiness
At first this move made no sense but now that Etsy has initiated its "Search Ads", it became perfectly clear, at least to me it did.   I doubt that Etsy  wanted the promotion threads to compete with their new form of on-site advertisements, what better way of doing this than to relegate promo to teams and then tell everyone that the forums is closed for any and all promo threads.

Certainly Etsy has gone through a lot of changes lately and though I miss some of the old Etsy I realize that, like toothpaste squeezed from a tube, there is no putting it back.  Eventually the dust will settle and memories of the old Etsy will become little more than a faded memory.  And so we move on.

Recently I opened a second Etsy shop in order to separate my handcrafted jewelry from my beading supplies shop (unfortunately my supply shop has been woefully neglected in this process).  The new shop has been fairly quiet with only 1 sale.  For the past couple of days I've been beading and photographing and today I listed a couple of new items in my shop DellaMessina ... both items are priced under $10 each and I'm hoping that this will generate some attention and possibly sales.

One thing I have noticed about the new, scaled down Etsy forum is that snarkiness is still alive a well. lol   Have any of you visited or participated in the forums recently?  If so what is your opinion of it?  Also if any of you have tried out the Etsy Search Ads, please give us your review and if you think they will eventually turn into a lucrative source of advertising for Etsians?
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