Saturday, December 10, 2011

Really Old Wood

My grandpa gave me this piece of really old wood that was from his barn. It was used in the 1800s to house cows and horses for a single family. This board is so old it's got worm holes in it! Yeah, that old.
Whale Bracelet, Tribal beaded leather Amazonite nuggets Handmade lampwork glass Wire - Mysteries of the Deep
 This batch of photos turned out really well. I dunno what makes the difference sometimes between a shoot from which I hate all my pictures and one that I simply can't choose just 5 to put on Etsy.
Whale Bracelet, Tribal beaded leather Amazonite nuggets Handmade lampwork glass Wire - Mysteries of the Deep
It doesn't hurt that this bracelet nearly makes me drool, with the rough rainbow amazonite stone nuggets, the handmade lampwork glass beads sandwiched between rustic horn and bone, and that darling teeny ceramic whale handformed and glazed in Peru.

Plus, there's this translucent amber fossilized guard from the guard of the tentacle of an extinct squiddy-creature called a belemnite. Yup, I capped that baby in copper, burned the heck outta it, and attached it to sterling silver and citrine, because I am just that kinda lady.

Also this bracelet for which I pulled out all the stops. Seriously. There's faceted rough prehnite gemstone, a cute magnesite peace charm, handmade lampworked glass, carved horn and bone, a handmade ceramic acorn, a brass dove, a Tim Holz word charm . . . I mean really. This puppy is packed.

And that's what I did over finals week, folks. Yes, indeed. The first quarter of my second year of vet school is officially ovar! And I passed everything. Woo woo! Now I'm going to take another nap. I've needed a lotta those since my last final exam. o_O

Sunday, November 6, 2011

NaNaWriMo Excerpt

Because, as we all know, veterinary students have buckets of free time, I have decided, however rashly, to do NaNoWriMo this November. In short, I have to write up a 50,000 word novel in 30 short days.

Because the writing is very fast, with none of my fervid editing that usually accompanies each handful of sentences, this stuff is a lot rougher than my usual work. That is my disclaimer. Now, I'm going to cautiously post a chunk of my story on here. If you like it--leave me a comment! If you have any ideas for the rest of the story--leave me a comment! And if you think it's rubbish--alright, still leave me a comment, but do try to be kind. If I get a positive response from this, I'll post more. Deal?

Sasha awoke to cold tile pressed against her cheek. Opening her eyes, she saw a ceiling that stretched far above her. The walls were crowded with dark wooden bookshelves crammed with thick tomes bound in austere leather. Low tables squatted on the tile, filled with strange tools and displays that were spiked and harsh and alien. Yellow light flickered from candles set in sconces on the walls, lending extra shadow and depth to corners and angles. The floors were tiled in heavy swirled marble that eerily reflected the candlelight. Her head lay on these tiles, next to a heavy mahogany desk.

Experimentally, Sasha flexed her fingers, grateful to discover that she once again had fingers to flex. Then she remembered, the mental pictures resurfacing of the awful dark bird with the red eyes, her tiny friends turned to wax, the careless way the man had turned an entire home into ash. Her whole body shuddered, quaking with the horror of the memories.

            “Good. You’re awake,” came that cello voice, echoing hollowly.

            Sasha choked on her gasp and reacted to the overwhelming instinct to hide. She half dove, half crawled under the cavernous desk, wedging herself into the back. Knees folded and pressed to her nose, she whimpered.

            Almost curiously, the man bent at the waist to peer underneath his desk. “What a strange creature,” he remarked. “It wants to live under a desk.”

            Sasha couldn’t tell if he was making fun of her or not.

            The man pulled up a straight-backed wooden chair and sat. From her crouched position, the only part of him Sasha could see was his boots. She studied them. They seemed to be made from some type of skin – the surface was dark and pebbled. She had to resist the urge to reach out and run a finger along the toe.

            There was a thud as the man banged his hand on the surface of the desk, using it as leverage to lean his torso down and peer into Sasha’s refuge underneath the desk. The relative darkness suddenly beamed with red light.

            Sasha screamed.

            “None of that, thank you. Would you like to come out from under there?”

            The girl shook her head ‘no’ frantically.

            “Ah. You don’t need to hide. I didn’t bring you here to hurt you.”

            A beat. “What do you want?” she quavered.

            “I heard tell of your remarkable banishing of that rogue troll from your village. I’m very interested in powers such as yours.”

            There was a pause. Clearly the man expected Sasha to have a comment. When she remained silent, he sighed and continued. “I’m going to harness your energy so that I can use it.”

            Sasha’s head snapped up. For the first time, she looked at the man, her gaze shifting around his face, not wanting to focus on those strange red eyes. His skin was pale but especially thick, bunching at the corners of his mouth and eyes. His high forehead gave way to lank hair the color of a cloudy nighttime sky, combed back straight and falling down his back. He wore strange, fitted black clothes with buckles cinched across the front and a long cloak made from a fabric that wisped about him when he moved.

            “What are you?” The question slipped from her lips without thought. She flinched.

            The man giggled, a high and unsettling noise. “I’m like you. Shapeshifter, mage, one who is able to commune with the Others. I learn the rules of the cosmos and how to manipulate them to my will.”

            Sasha squeaked. ‘I’m not like you!’ her mind screamed. ‘I’m nothing like you!’

            The man seemed to read the expression on her face and grimaced a smile, folds of skin piling up by the corners of his mouth. “No? Well. Not for long.”

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ohio Hoarder Gets Another Chance

Ohio Hoarder Gets Another Chance
Columbus, OH
By Miss Terpumpernickle

“I’m not a hoarder,” Stevens was heard to protest, “I’m just a graduate student during midterms.”
The dirty dishes cluttering the counters in the sink, bathroom, and the floor of the bedroom, as well as the piles of clothes in the closet, the furniture buried in jackets and discarded clothing, the carpet littered with papers, beads, and trash that was tossed in the general vicinity of the trash can, paint a different picture of Stevens’ living environment.
 “I’ve always been kinda messy,” she stated, “but during exams, things just kinda got away from me.”
 It took the crew 14 hours, 27 liters of diet soda, and 42 repeats of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” (until the team leader put a stop to that and chucked a fossilized granola bar at the ipod deck), but Stevens’ apartment is now, the crew agrees, fit for human life again.
 “Who I felt sorry for,” said one crew member who wished to remain anonymous, “was the fish. They had to look at all that crap the whole time that the human member of the household could leave to study at coffee shops. They were the real victims of the situation.”
 Opinion is divided about whether or not Stevens will be able to keep the place clean. Although she was said to have been very happy about the new state of her apartment, she also mentioned that final exams are given in December. Only time will tell if Stevens’ house will once again fall into chaos.
 “If this happens again,” stated a crew member, “I’m taking the fish.”

Saturday, October 22, 2011

One About Me

This is a post without Etsy angst, or the thrill of new supplies and the lust for moreandmore, or even slowly improving pictures of my wares.

This is a post about me. Not what I do. But who I am.

There’s something magical and elusive in defining oneself. I’ve been my constant companion for nearly 24 years, and it seems that I really should know myself rather well by this time. And yet, every time I try to sit down and share just exactly who I am, the attempt is only a feeble mockery. Every person has enumerable facets, some larger and some just teeny glittering winks of brightness.

Here is yet another attempt. 

I went through my Photo Albums and arbitrarily chose pictures that made me feel a little bit more myself. You’ve got though pictures, too, right? Something about them just captures a tiny glint of your own essence.

Dahlias are my favorite flower. They come in the most gorgeous colors and loads of sizes, and they are so unique! These are my very own dahlias that I grew last year. (Sidenote: All the pictures that aren't specifically OF me are taken BY me.)

I'm in my second year of vet school. I long to be a small animal veterinarian and work with brachycephalic dogs - ones with squashed-lookin' faces. This pic is me doing my first neuter on a stray cat in a clinic on the island of Rarotonga in the South Pacific. Without gloves. Because I'm hardcore like that.

 I'm an introvert, meaning that crowds of people that I don't know make me very tired, and I treasure a group of close friends. It's tough living in a new city and state, devoid of the meshwork of support that I'm used to having at my fingertips. My dearest are all over the country now, and it sucks. Each one of the girls in this picture now live in a different state from the others. I'm building up friendships - always so painfully slowly - in my new town now, but I miss the easy familiarity of old friends.

I'm an open minded woman with a set of deep, personal convictions. I never want what I believe to become stale or ill-fitting; I need to keep my ideals as alive and changing as I am. I believe in treating people with respect and kindness because we are all everlasting splendors, as C.S. Lewis says. "There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendors."
 I believe in a world of beauty alongside deep pain and loss. I have accepted that these will live together in riotous disharmony until the end of all things, and the beginning of unimaginable new things.

I believe that Science and Religion are brothers. It has never been a battle between the two, but rather a battle to align them harmoniously. Science is my livelihood, and God is interwoven throughout the fabric of my life. They are impossible to separate.

 I'm a passionate person, roiling with humor and hope, dreams and desires. I love to create, to feel that part of me has been transferred definitively into the corporeal world. I know what I want and then I take the steps to achieve it - after some muddling around and hem-hawing.
 I realize that I started out with very superficial and specific factoids and ended with very abstract and ill-defined thoughts. And I have no idea what sort of a collage I've created for you or if it even vaguely resembles me. I may wake up in the morning and hate the whole thing, but for now - here you go.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Rusty, Crusty, Salvaged Hardware

A couple of weeks back, I lassoed a friend and dragged her along with me to an estate sale advertised in our newspaper with two words that firmly caught my attention: "eclectic" and "wimsy" [sic]. Despite some spelling difficulties, I still thought the owner of said estate might have some treasures worth the finding.
 Oh yes. More than I expected. I've been salivating over jewelry artists who use bits of old, salvaged junk and hardware to make beauteous creations, and I so wanted to try my hand at it. Only problem was, I didn't have any junk. Oh, say no more.
 Voila! The rustiest, crustiest buncha lovely, super-old hardware one could hope to find. I keep trying not to think about what the owner said to me, "If only you had been here this morning, there was a lot more great stuff." Curse my morning classes!
This funny lady kept coming up to me as I squatted on my heels in the dust of a very old shed, organizing my finds, and slipping other things into the basket I used to place my Keep pile. A heavy, rough cast brass bell with indistinct carvings of what look like tribal gods (or monsters). Two lengths of corroding chain. A large gourd-like whistle strung on a fraying strand of rope with owl eyes carved into it.

I would LOVE to know how old these are. I feel that the term "vintage" (20 years or older) applies without question. I would feel rather strongly, as well, that "antique" is also appropriate. But how old? 60 years? 100 years? More than that? How does one go about finding out about the approximate age of old key plates and door locks?
The patina on these just makes me squirm with happiness. I love them so much in their untouched glory that it's painful to think about hammering, cutting, or soldering them, as this would marr the perfection.

Some of them, I have NO idea what I can do with them. I'm a little afraid that I'll let them sit in the ornate woven basket that I ended up purchasing as well, gathering more dust and time and not being displayed like they deserve.
My thought is that if I ruin them, there are no more to be had. This was a serendipitous find that will likely never be repeated, and as a somewhat young designer, I don't have the experience to be able to tell myself soothingly, "Nevermind, you'll find something else amazing soon. After all, you've got 20 years of incredible supplies for your finds in the past." What if this was my only good find . . . ever?

Have an idea for me to use with my new playthings? Think I'm insane for waxing poetical about junky old metal? Leave me a comment!

Friday, October 7, 2011

The New Old Wall in my Apartment (that I found in the backyard)

I’ve decided I’ll be better off focusing on backgrounds and less on props. I wanted old wood; all my awesome old wood that I’ve been using as my photo background is two hours away now that I’m back at school and in my apartment. So when I got home from school, I wandered into the woods behind the complex, looking for discarded boards from the construction of the building. 
Cream Stone earrings, Faceted aquamarine gemstone Mother of pearl button - Faerie Glade
I found a chunk of a brick wall, nicely overgrown with moss. 
Cream Stone earrings, Faceted aquamarine gemstone Mother of pearl button - Faerie Glade
“That’ll do,” I decided, grabbed it in both hands, and lugged it up to my apartment.
You tell me: is it working?
Czech glass, hand-dyed lace, freshwater pearls and fish vertebrae.
Cicada-bug carved outta carnelian. Linked to rough fluorite and labradorite nuggets.
Not sure how well Rainbow is workin' with the background . . . too busy?

Monday, October 3, 2011


The pictures from last night were-interesting, but not amazing. I don't know what I'm gonna do come winter and I can't photograph outside. The light today was a little thin, so I'm not sure how great this batch turned out, but I think I got the props better matched to the feel of the necklaces.

 This is the cave woman necklace again on slate, with a hint of awesome tribal basket weave in the corner.
 Slate, basket, a leetle textured paper.
Okay, I am loving this picture, but I'm not sure if the color of the metal is blending in too much with the leaf. Thoughts?
The handkerchief might be too frilly; I liked the contrast, though. And the chain rocks.
A nice, bland shot of the rest of the necklace. Fish vertebrae inside carved horn, handmade lampwork from my favorite, Believe's Beads, foiled glass, a pebble of rough peridot, and . . . jasper?
 I feel like this one is working on some level, but does it look too busy, or are the props subtle enough to not detract from the focus?
 There's that old leaf poppin' up again. I feel like three kinds of brass chain is just enough for this piece. Can you ever have enough kinds of chain?
Slightly different perspective. That focal is probably between 60 and 100 years old; I bought it at an estate sale with a bunch of super old, yummy, corroded rusty grungy hardware pieces that I can't even identify half of. Pair with a tiny ceramic hand and a faceted drop of rough ruby with fuschite, and we are rarin' to go!

I feel like the photo shooting went better today,but this is a lot of work for every set of pictures! Totally worth it if it actually brings in more views, though. And I imagine it gets faster as one figures out what one is doing. Let's see what I can do with the light tomorrow!

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Tonight, I gathered an old corn cob, a copper mesh basket, a shell, a fan of coral, half a geode, a silk handkerchief, three vintage wood clothespins, an antique clock face, and an armload of colored, textured papers, in an attempt to get some serious backgrounding going on in my Etsy shop (

You go look at it. Go on, it okay; I'll wait.

 The backgrounds. They are . . . okay. Adequate. Decent. Alright.

Sparrow Salvage is the picture-taking master. And she was kind enough to post a blog about how to take amazing pictures for Etsy, starting with the backdrop.

These are my before pictures.
 You gotcher oxidized brass focal with rough fluorite nuggets, carved bone, and ceramic beads.
 Oh, right, and there's a lampwork one. And some jasper. Ooh, and Baltic amber chips.
And bitty shell heishi beads on the end. Right. So, boring background. Yes? Here are tonight's.
Sparrow talks about giving your item a "feel" or brand concept that is fluid throughout your shop. I guess I'm still figuring that out in mine, but this piece is sorta rough and tribal while (to me) still seeming a little flirty. Y'know, like a cave-woman dressing up for a night out on the . . . plains. Caves. Whatever.
So there's that geode I was talking about; just a hint of it 'cuz I wanted the focus to still be on the piece; and you can see the layering I'm doing with the multiple shades and textures. Not sure how well they're workin', but that's my attempt at nuance and layer and substance and stuff.
Didn't help that the lighting pretty much sucked. These pictures have been auto-leveled on photoshop, and that is all. Mebbe photographing in the daylight would help these out, too.
So that's pretty much my cavewoman necklace. Maybe the backdrops are too soft for the boldness of the piece? I'm still figuring this out. With any luck, Sparrow will be by to help me in my muddled attempts.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

My New BEADs!!!

No, it is that exciting. Exciting enough for all caps and three exclamation marks, which I rarely ever do.

I gave in to the enormous pressure of a big sale from my favorite bead company and went, possibly, a little overboard. The end result was that I ended up ordering a LOT of beads and went into debt to myself. There's a spreadsheet. It's a little complicated. I still owe myself 68 bucks, so I gotta keep getting Etsy sales so I can start accumulating the money to pay for Christmas, too. ;)

 This is how excited I was when I got:
 My big box of rocks!!!
Tourmaline in multiple colors, from watermelon green to that yummy pink.
Labradorite in rounds, nuggets, drops, rondelles, and puffed ovals.
Pink Peruvian opal and yum yum yum amethyst!
Chunky rose quartz and tourmalinated quartz behind there.
Rough aquamarine, smoky lemon quartz . . . eeeeeee!
Can't get over the schiller on this sunstone. o_O Love.
Faceted and brandy citrine.
More sunstone, ametrine, and this awesome rough, pebbly peridot.
One of my favorite stones, chysoprase.
Ohmigoodness!!! I've never seen beads this big. Ever. Enormous, faceted nuggets of rainbow fluorite.

I have a cardiac quiz tomorrow. And somehow, I will study, because I am a good student. But I'll be casting frequent longing glances over at my yummy rock box while I do.