Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Stroke of Inspiration

I was thinking about my upcoming shows and marketing in general. I've been doing these stretchy rubber-ringed bracelets in a variety of colors, and suddenly I thought: I could do these custom. I could do a lot of items custom.

Soooo, that led to the idea of making a YGM custom catalog, which shows a variety of basic designs and below that smaller pictures of options for customizing (color, material, beads, charms, etc.) There will be a print version of this for handing out at shows, and an online version at ... tada! my new domain, (don't visit if you're reading this in the next few days after its posting, there's nothing there yet.). This will be a work in progress as I get samples of the various items up. But, hopefully, within the month, fully customizable chainmaille and wire items will be available at

Some of the things available will be:
stretchy bracelets in a variety of weaves
viking star keychains (aka celtic star)
chainmaille choker with customizable charms and dagger bead colors
mother's pendants with Swarovski birth stones
crocheted beaded wire necklaces (wire color/beads)
wallet chains
dice bags
tie chains
and more! stay tuned...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Dawn is the Sacred Hour

Dawn is the Sacred Hour fine art photograph by Substrom

I'm up early this Saturday morning. No one to send off to school. Just me, and the crickets, a purring kitten curled up in my lap, my morning coffee, and the Tennessee morning mist that is a large part of why I love this place, and this hour of day. It's cool for August and you can feel the kiss of the mist through the open window. The trees are ghostly shapes across the road. All is right with the world. So I thought I'd blog about the way dawn feels to me, and went hunting for images on Etsy, and found this fine art photo that, well, sums it up perfectly in title and in content. Except that, this morning, I'm not red, I'm a mellow green that is one with the living things growing outside my window.

Good morning.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Carnival: Crafting Through the Years

What's a blog carnival? Every other week EtsyBloggers street team has a choice of two themes that members can write about. This week I chose "Something you did as a child that you will always remember." Rather than writing about one childhood event, I'm going to talk about crafting I remember doing as a child.

My mom's a creative, artistic person. I can remember sitting and watching her draw, on rare occasions -- she'd wanted to be an artist but got a not uncommon "I'm not supporting any starving artists!" from my grandfather. For most of my recalled childhood my mom was a single mom, so she really didn't have time to be a "project mom." Most of the things I remember doing with her related either to holidays or cooking, or both (she is an artist in the kitchen, as well). I can recall making Christmas cookies, and ornaments, and we did a lot of those "stained glass" suncatchers that were made by pouring colored bits of plastic into individual sections in a metal frame.

I used to stay with my aunt in West Virginia for about a month during several summers when I was in elementary school. Every summer she had a project for me and my cousins to work on. One year we made pincushions, another we sewed an outfit for ourselves (I'd be interested to see what mine looks like -- if I had any sewing skills that summer they have evaporated! but I do recall choosing a shorts and shirt set in fuschia and turquoise terrycloth. Oy!), and another we made strawberry jam in Ball jars with decorated lids to give as presents. I spent a lot of time painting at my grandparents' house, both paint-by-number sets, which my grandfather loved, and just randomly painting things. I remember painting a red spot on the porch railing so I could cheat at I Spy when I played with my grandfather later. :)

Looking back from when I was a kid to now, thinking about wandering through craft stores, it's kind of funny how trends come and go in crafts the same way they do in other things. Those little stained glass plastic thingies I used to make and bake are impossible to find now. (But the internet will find you anything! The kit above is available here, with others: For a while I did Color Point fabric painting (Seurat would not have been impressed). Mom did that Petal Porcelain where you dip fabric flowers in gunk and set them on things, mostly wicker things. She also did String Art... ha, there's a relic! Macrame came, and went, and is back. Cross stitch has mostly replaced embroidery. And the craze now is Scrapbooking... and jewelry making, with aisles and aisles of the craft store devoted to each.

Am I a fad? I certainly hope not. Jewelry is timeless, though the fashions may change, and people may not be stringing beads so much as a hobby in ten or twenty years, but I hope to be still hammering, twisting, weaving, and soldering. And maybe sharing what I know with someone else. Crafting solo is enjoyable (okay, understatement), but glancing through the things above that I remember, the things that are most memorable are the things I made for or with someone else.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

DeLavande Contest

My good friend Rachelle is hosting a contest on her blog, giving away a stone chip custom bracelet. All you have to do is visit

DeLavande Blog

and post which of her shop's items you like the best. You can also win by buying from her shop, either of mine, or Dragon Gem Stash. Drop in at her blog and check it out!

Hurry! I just noticed this so you only have a week left ;)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Teams: Etsy Bloggers

When I heard there was a street team for bloggers I had to join. Despite being a little inactive on this blog for the past two weeks I really do love my blog. Who doesn't like talking about themselves? I had a bit of a problem getting approved on the forum there, unfortunately, but I think I'm up and running now.

In exciting news, EtsyBloggers was featured this month on Storque. If you're interested in joining, check them out at the EtsyBloggers forums.

I'm a bit late but since I've just got this going I'm going to mention the featured member for August: Tulips Treasure Box. Here's her Store and here's her Blog. The store really is a treasure box, where you'll find jewelry, accessories... and speaking as another jeweler, I must say her bead work is fantastic. (the necklace pictured above is available here).

Congrats to the month's featured seller and I'm happy to be an EtsyBlogger :)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Upcoming Shows

You've Got Maille will be sharing a booth with Hamilton Dry Goods (leatherworking and wooden toys -- they have lots of Civil War stuff), the Austins (hair garlands) and a beekeeper who will be selling honey at Liberty Square Festival in Sparta on September 27, 2008. We'll also be at Warren County Lions Club Craft Show at Rock Island State Park on October 4-5, 2008, with the same group. I'm hoping by the time Candy Cane Lane rolls around, November 4, 2008 at White County Agricultural Building, I might have the stuff to set up my own display or go in with 1 other person with similar items.

For Liberty Square and Lions Club I'll be selling lots of earrings and bracelets, many made of stretchy neoprene rings, and all my Etsy show stock will be on display as well. I'll also be demonstrating weaving chainmaille while I'm there (and not performing -- LLORE will be at both events. See below if you don't know what that is).

For Candy Cane Lane I'm going to go with some more elegant items, I think -- some chokers, lots of wire wrapping and items done in sterling. There will be stocking stuffers, as well. I'm going to be making some chainmaille Christmas tree ornaments out of enameled copper wire - this wire isn't as strong as all metal wire, but that shouldn't matter for the ornaments, and it comes in brilliant, vibrant colors that will be great for the holiday. I'm sure several pieces of maille will find their way to my tree, as well.

Till now I've mostly just given vent to my creativity and have rarely made the same item twice, but for the next three months I'll be cranking out items in bulk for the shows (and putting Brandon to work doing the same!), as well as crafting gifts for my family. Stay tuned for photos of the events and my partners in crime!

In the spring I'm considering doing Mid-TN Renaissance Faire. I'll have to get a booth set up and decorated for submission to it -- we'll see how that goes. I'd have to sell quite a bit to make the drive and the outlay in equipment worth it, but it certainly would be fun. :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Belle Armoire Magazine

I've submitted four items for consideration for a feature in Belle Armore magazine, including Rhiannon, Prismatic (above), Canopy and Pharaoh. (See my Flickr for photos). They'll review the items, and if they like them, ask me to send them in for professional photography, and I'll get to write an article on chainmaille. I'll keep you posted on this.. they asked me to submit items about six weeks ago and I've been wanting to get a light box and take some really nice photos (and do more items), and I did the latter but not the former. And the camera is still broken, argh. If I could stop spending money on supplies I'd get it fixed :)

Anyway wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Faery Tales: Etsy Finds Week of 8/4/08

This week we're going to visit a few artifacts from the fairy realm, where time has no meaning and imagination is everything. Think happy thoughts and come with me.

When a friend of mine showed me how to use hair sticks I fell in love with them. Such an easy and elegant updo. Basically you just take your long hair and twist it tightly where a ponytail would be, tuck in at the end, then weave your hair stick through the bun, making sure to catch some of the hair that's close to your head. It takes a little practice but it's worth it. Night Blooming has some gorgeous ones you can practice with and I really loved this one. Behind the fairy is an amber gemstone.

You won't see what an incredible work of art this is until you go to the listing and sort out what you're looking at with each of the pictures . The top of this dollhouse sized dresser is a gorgeous fairy print, and each of the drawers is lined with another from a Brian Froud book. The wire legs are twisted around things that I imagine any fairy would want in her bedroom, including a vial of glass beads. Really, go look, or you are missing a work of art. And you can have it for $20!
I couldn't do a feature on fairies without putting in fairy wings, but this shop made it really hard to choose one. If you're the type that prefers to go to the Renfaire winged, or you're planning any Halloween costume that involves wings, you owe it to yourself to visit this seller. I adore the pheasant feather wings but I thought these were a little more fairy-ish.

Lothlorien Spring Forest Ear wrap Earcuff by Thyme 2 Dream

Most of the items from my fellow FAE team artist Thyme 2 Dream would've been right at home in this article as well. She says in her profile: "I create jewelry for discerning Faerys & Elven Folk and have recently discovered that mortals like it too." Well, this one does for certain. I've always loved ear cuffs and hers are stunning. I hope she'll forgive me for taking a page from her style book as I try creating them, but I think there's probably no matching something like the one here. If elf or fairy is your style, I'm sure there'll be something in her shop that you'll adore.

Green Ocean Jasper Celtic Circlet by Pern Circlets

While I'm at it I'm going to plug another FAE team member and Thyme 2 Dream's other half, because his work is something I'd stand at a Renfaire booth and drool over too. Each item conjures images of Lothlorien, stately mallorn trees and pointy-eared people. A couple of items for guys here, too, including, I think, this one. I also wish I'd been aware of these two shops when I was having my Renaissance wedding, I'd have requested custom work from both of them.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Visions of Atlantis FAE Team Exhibition.

A few favorites from our Fantasy Artists of Etsy "Visions of Atlantis" Exhibition. I'll be contributing to this when I finish my items for the Chainmaillers Team contest. Stay tuned :)

Friday, August 8, 2008

Soap That Makes You Hang Out in the Shower

A couple of weeks back I featured Naiad's coffee bean soap. She was kind enough to send me a free bar since I mentioned I hadn't tried handmade soap before. She's got a repeat customer here for sure. The rich scent, the lather.... I'm hooked. Only downside... I lost a bean already. My husband hasn't asked why there's a coffee bean in the shower, if he's noticed :)

I'm having a heck of a time deciding what to try next. Chocolate mint and banana brulee look positively edible and I'm wondering if I might gain half a pound just scrubbing with them... but the idea of having a loofah attached to my soap is really kinda nifty, too.

So, I'm recommending that you go to her shop and take advantage of some of this wonder stuff, and also deal with a helluva nice seller. Thanks again, Erin!

Fact of the Day :)

lthough they now serve many useful purposes, screwdrivers were originally invented to help knights put on armor.

So the next time you need one to work on your computer, or fix a faucet, or put an armoire together, or tighten up your glasses, just thing... what if you had to get dressed with one of these!?

Got some new goodies in my shop so you might want to take a look. No screwdriver required!

Monday, August 4, 2008

FAE Visions of Atlantis Exhibition

fae exhibition

Please visit the link above and support my fellow Fantasy Artists of Etsy. I promise, there's talent all over the place, and maybe a good dose of magic, too. You're in for a treat.

She Sells.... Etsy Finds Week of 7/28/08

I'm gearing up to create my entry for the Chainmaillers' Guild Almost-Fall Contest, themed "The Sea." And I was talking to a friend about the ocean the other day. It made me miss the roar of the surf, searching for treasures in the sand, and the smell of salt sea. Landlocked Tennessee is lovely in so many ways, but it's been a while since I felt sand between my toes.

And, my other team, Fantasy Artists of Etsy, is having a "Visions of Atlantis" exhibition.

There's a definite theme. In honor of it, I present...

Faux Coral Candelabrum by Juls of Paradise

If I had a beach house, one of these would live there. Of course, I never will, cause my husband hates the beach. I'll be happy to go visit someone else's beach house every few years. Maybe I need to decorate one room as if it was in a beach house anyway.

I love shells. I love picking them out of the sand, then lacquering them to see the detail it brings out that went away when they dried off. I love decorating with them, making things with them. I never aspired to anything this pretty. It does a great job evoking a coral reef, doesn't it?

Vintage Shell Embellished Cabinet by Tropical Cottage

The five pictures Etsy allows can't possibly be enough to show this beauty off. I imagine it in a beach house bathroom holding the towels, or in a room with a sea view holding knicknacks and finds from the beach. I suspect I could spend hours looking at it and touching it. Wow, the hours that must have gone into this...

Mini Beach Tropical Treasure Sandscape by Faithlady

You might find this sort of thing in one of those kitschy souvenir shops at the beach but it'd be in cheap commercial glass, not handcrafted (unless by someone in a sweat shop somewhere), and not nearly this pretty. Since I can't get to the beach or put my toes in the sand, maybe I need one of these to put at my desk for daydreaming about my own seashell hunts. Maybe you do too. Seems like some stress would melt away.

Beach Art Photograph Print by A Moment A Memory 28

I never made a sandcupcake but this print certainly evokes memories of sand sculptures I did do. I had an artist friend who used to go to the beach with us who made sandgators and a muscleman body for my son buried in the sand with his head sticking out... great times. The sand sculpture is art in its own right.

Sunrise Beach 48 x 24 Digital Painting by Elseart

Wow. This would look so striking in the right room. Check out the picture of it over the couch. There are a variety of paneled beach scenes in his shop, but this one made me want to step into it. And stay there.

Definitely check out these shops' other items, as well. You won't be disappointed.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


I get a little irritated and frustrated when life gets so busy that I don't have time to create. This week there was work, and we had my "niece" in from out of town with her parents. Alli is almost three (okay, I LOVE being Auntie Dee.. we raced around the aquarium in Chattanooga, played throw the kid around and make her giggle games, and threw rocks in the river...) and I had a great time. Still, it meant cramming in other things around the visiting schedule and not much time at the bench.

So I started doing "regular work" (medical transcription) yesterday after they left. I lasted about three hours before I gave in to the urge, and obsessively wove chain and wrapped wire until my hands said "NO more" about 10 hours later. I took out my "in progress" box and wrapped up several projects that I lost steam on, and made a new item I hadn't done before: ear cuffs. I did the pendant at right on Monday -- my first wire wrapped cab. I'm pretty satisfied with the way it turned out. The one thing I didn't get to yesterday was more of those, and I have five or six waiting for me to do them.

I had also ordered some sterling silver rings -- my first silver! from Maille Etc. and I think I'm addicted. Soooooo shiny. They had a really tiny AR (2.8-ish, I think), so I ended up falling back on my old standby byzantine bracelet, but wow with the sterling clasp I'd ordered it came out so pretty. The picture doesn't show it that well but it's a toggle clasp that turns into a rose when you close it. <3 I want more sterling! I need more niobium to finish another project......

So many ideas, so little time. Anyway keep an eye on my Etsy shop (and my flickr, since there are lots of birthdays and my parents' anniversary that I plan to make things for, that won't make it to the shop) for lots of new items this week. I'll probably be listing them a few at a time.