Monday, December 29, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

holiday thoughts and tidings

i am working today.

for all of you who are or have worked in the service industry... you know how much today stinks.

everyone else gets to be jolly and run last minute errands.
yours had to be done 2 days ago.

however, i am trying to focus on the positive.

like the caymus wine, the marinated olives,the 3 cheeses, and the caviar i am going to have tonight under the tree.

if the cat doesn't get to it first.

and i am already looking back on this year...

what i did right (huh...?)
what i did wrong (let's not dwell, shall we)
and what i hope to accomplish next year.

i don't have that list yet, and it is a list - i do not believe in resolutions. just goals. goals are always nice. rules, however are made to be broken.

here is my list from last year:

Be more creative in all aspects of my life
Buy handmade merchandise more and often
Worry less. Much, much less
Write real letters even if no one writes back
Practice my calligraphy and lettering techniques
Take more pictures
Exercise more/often
Be nicer/less grumpy/more positive
Appreciate what I have EVERYDAY
Experiment more, artistically
Start a scrapbook - not a cheezy one, either
Draw more in my journal
Put up work on Etsy and apply to
Take a printmaking class
Appreciate what I have EVERYDAY
Keep my bangs trimmed
Eat more sushi
Find representation in 10 more galleries/boutiques
Try new things more often
Stop being afraid
Drink more good wine
Eat less salt
Appreciate what I have EVERYDAY

i only managed to accomplish about 6 of them, and one involved wine. that one i nailed. again, it's good to have goals.

i will let you guess at the other 5...

happy holidays everyone!!!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Holiday Craft Show in NOLA

i was just invited to be a part of the holiday craft market at the big top here in new orleans. i did this show the year of katrina and i had a blast - besides making enough money to buy joseph a print he had been looking at that day.

for those of you who live in or might be in the big sleazy during the holidays,
the show is SUNDAY DECEMBER 14TH FROM 12-5PM

stop by and say hi if you can!

with the economy as it is, i have not been making much jewelry - just fiddling around with the bead embroidery and taking care or myself.

i do have a good bit of inventory, but this morning i started making some cute, vintage, inexpensive earrings to take with me to the show. i made some cute ones and will post pics early next week.

i am going to have to order some more chain and possibly some ear wires, but i am not going overboard.

i hope i do well. it would be nice to make some extra cash this time of year.

wish me luck!

Friday, November 14, 2008

SEUS holiday gift guide - jewelry

check out my holiday jewelry gift guide on the
southeastern etsy blog!

i had a lot of fun putting these pics together.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

experiments in bead embroidery

my first attempt at bead embroidery. i have been enjoying this more than anything i have made in a long long time! i realize i have a long way to go, but you gotta start somewhere.

the flower basket cabachon is vintage from the 1930's. i have had it for nearly 8 years - just liked it and bought it not knowing what i would do with it. i am going to make it into a pendant por moi.

the purple piece is a vintage sew on - i don't know how old - which i just purchased from a seller on etsy. it is gynormous and those are size 8 rounds i beaded around it with. mainly just figuring out stitches and patterns and improvising on this one. will be a cuff for me when it is done.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

thinking out loud part IV

well, i am finally back home from my 5 gruelling days in atlanta for the day job.

i don't really like travelling for work - mostly because they don't pay me enough to do so. i also hate staying in hotels designed for business travellers. i found out the hard way that the average american business traveller doesn't use real half & half in their coffee as demonstrated by the hampton inns and suites in east point, georgia.


i live in new orleans. give me a real cup of coffee dammit!

the jewelry show was a complete flop. totally not worth my employer sending me to work it as the owner and artist was there himself. still don't know why i was...

if it makes anybody feel better - the economy is so bad that even my boss can't sell jewelry. and his stuff sells itself.

and since i was staying out in east bumblefork atlanta, i did not get the chance to network and hang out with my friends like i wanted to. i stayed in my little stinky room and watched old episodes of ANGEL on TNT. which, actually turned out to not be a bad show. don't know why i never watched it before.

as you can see from the above paragraph, i did not bring my beads. i should have, but i thought i would be hanging out and networking. one day i will learn.

so, i had 8 hours in the car up and 8 on the way back to think about my life, my jewelry, my blood pressure, my wants and needs, the brand new pimples on my face, why i never say what i think anymore, what happened to my dreams, will my lymph nodes swell every time the cat scratches me, what the @$#*! am i going to do about christmas this year, am i ever going to pay off my credit card debt, will i ever break in my new shoes, why am i good at retail when i hate it soooo much, should i cut my hair again, why do i have nothing in common with most of my friends anymore, and when will the final 10 episodes of battlestar galactica start?

it was a long trip. both ways.

the truth is, i totally ignored my thoughts on the way up. i knew i needed to sort some stuff out, but i wasn't going to. i completely refused to look within. i am not normally a thought represser. i completely and totally believe in looking deep deep down into the darkest recesses of the soul and trying to figure out why a person
(ie me) act/feels the way they do. but i could not bring myself to do it on the trip up. i just sang dolly parton songs and tried to ignore the inner rumblings of my mind.

but, then i got to the show and i saw my friend, jamie who had some words of wisdom for me. none of which i can remember at the moment, but whatever it was, she got me to thinking about all the things that have been bothering me these last few months, and i realized that i just don't have any confidence any more. that is the root of the problems i have been having. i have no confidence. and i sincerely and truly believe that my job has a lot to do with that. i let it get to me. i let the fact that i do a good majority of the work but make very little money get to me. i let the fact that no one listens to me or takes my advice get to me. and i shouldn't. it's just a job. pay the bills. go home. end of story.

but, i am not the kind of person who can do that. i take pride in what i do and when that hard work is largely ignored ( until they need me to come in early) i get really really really upset.

not anymore. done. it's a paycheck. not who i am. and i have been putting a lot of importance on that lately.

defining who i am by what i do.

and i feel like a total utter complete and unrepairable failure.

i can't deal with feeling that way any more. and i won't.

i started to realize a few months back that i was putting a lot of pressure on myself to sell my jewelry and i have been really upset for a long time about etsy not doing well for me.

well, finally about 2 weeks ago, i started feeling like i wanted to try some new things and make some changes in my designs. so i started looking into bead embroidery and free form peyote stitch. it has just about been the most freeing experience i have had i a long time.

because i am working for me!!!!

it feels fabulous!!!!

i am no where near where i wanted to be at this stage in my life. not one damn thing has gone according to my plans other than getting out of georgia and having joseph fall in love with me. so, i took a long look at what has been making me soooooooo effing unhappy these last long months and i figured out 2 things:

1-i don't do anything for me anymore.
2-i don't say what i think or feel.

you can't go through life doing either one of those things.

in fact, i am 98% sure that not saying what i think or feel has been one major source of my blood pressure spikes.

so, sorry kids - the gloves are off. i have to start speaking up. i have always been the kind of person where what you see was what you got, but i have been letting "retail mode" take over my entire life ---- i am always polite, always non confrontational, and always mad at everyone because i feel taken for granted and taken advantage of.

not anymore.

i only get this one life according to most of the folks i know, so it's time that i started enjoying it a little more.

of course, i am an old school southern superstitious lady and i also realized that i am afraid to have a good time or think positive thoughts because that usually means that bad things will follow ( see california trip followed by trips to doctors). so, i have to get over that as well.

i know i have a lot more work to do on me and i know it will be a long road, but i guess this is as good a place as any to start.

doing what i want and saying what i feel.

and not defining me by my lousy ass paycheck.

Monday, November 3, 2008

haute craft & halloween in new orleans

haute craft opening at rhino 10-30-08

yours truly in front of her bracelet display at haute craft opening

natalie nichols in front of her fabulous feather pieces at opening of haute craft

ashley beach with her seed sculptures - opening of haute craft

halloween in new orleans - 1st annual krewe du boo parade

halloween in new orleans - french quarter balcony

halloween in new orleans

Saturday, November 1, 2008

what's new with me

so, you may have noticed that i have not been beading much lately...

i have had some health problems over the last few months starting with blood pressure spikes and ending in my finding a lump under my right arm.

everything has turned out to be fine: i have a new general practitioner who agrees with me that more cardio,less worry, and some anger management will help the blood pressure to normalize and after a full round of blood tests, sonograms, and mammograms, it looks like the lump was a reactive lymph node brought on by a scratch from the lovely miss patches.

so, after all of this, i decided to treat myself and i bought the two books pictured here:

i have become absolutely obsessed with texture in beading. i think i have looked at every piece of free form peyote on google and flickr as well as about half their bead embroidery pics. i have some ideas and i hope they will work out relatively similar to what i am imagining. you know most designs start as one idea and evolve into something completely different.

i have also recently gotten reacquainted with brick stitch and am eager to see what developes there.

i also just purchased some round seed beads - i have been a die hard delica fan for over 10 years, but after experimenting with some toho rounds recently, i have found that i like the roundness for texture, the colors are deeper and richer, and i also found they lay against the fabric better for the embroidery. so, i have a nice big shipment coming in next week and i am eager to get to work. i hope they get here before i have to leave for atlanta next week on a business trip.

i shouldn't have, but, again, i felt i deserved it after all of the doctor visits and bills.

i also have some pics from the haute craft opening to post as well as halloween in new orleans. i will put those up later this weekend.

until then...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


i was given an award and tagged by teresa of topcatcreations this week.
teresa is the muscle behind the southeastern etsy group
i belong to and a wonderfully inventive and imaginative

Here are the rules for receiving this award:

1. Mention the blog that gave you the award & comment on their blog when you post the award. (done)
2. List 6 things you VALUE & 6 things you DON'T VALUE. (below)
3. Then, pass the award onto 6 other blog buddies! (below)

6 Things I Value:

1. my companion, joseph, who is the love of my life!
2. my parents and the values they distilled into me along with the ability to think for myself.
3. the experiences i have had - good and bad - that have made me who i am today.
4. my friends who have stuck by me even when i was being a butthead
5. alone time to work on my beadwork
6. my freedom and the fact that i am not oppressed for being a woman

6 Things I Do Not Value:

1. religious or political persecution or closed mindedness
2. the unwillingness to compromise
3. thinking you are better than someone else because you have money
4. thugs who have no regard for human life ( see new orleans' crime rate)
5. brainwashing in any form
6. wanting/expecting a handout

Now, here are 6 blogs I have chosen to receive this award:

i am no good at this part.
i am going to post now and change this later
when i come up with 6 bloggers i know
well enough to pass this on to!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

browncoats unite!

with all the tagging that's been going on lately on some of the blogs i read ( and write), i found out that melody of salamander house is a browncoat. being a fellow browncoat myself, i just had to share these delightful buttons i found on etsy not so long ago:

they are available through lizstaley's shop.
she also has some frakin' awsome BSG one's as well:

Monday, October 20, 2008

new earrings & and an experiment or three

experimentation with texture. i have been wanting to try my hand at using texture in my pieces for a while, but have been afraid to do so. i tried free form peyote and a few other textural ideas yesterday. i liked what i saw. i just need to practice more. i tried 2 drop peyote, but i didn't like that at all, and i thought i would. hmmm...

new earrings i am working on for fall. love these!

more new earrings. love these too!

Friday, October 17, 2008

another sale!

sold at gallery i/o
today to a lovely woman named elizabeth who is also a beader.
she had on the most amazing beaded button she had embroidered.
thank you elizabeth!
and goodbye to one of my favorite pendants.
i know you will have a good home!

new venture/old idea

a few years ago at a friend's house over dinner and several glasses of wine, my friend, laura and i hatched an idea for a book and a series of images to go with it centering around the life of a bunch of ladies from southwest georgia who all belonged to a women's club. our inspiration was a cookbook from the 1950's that laura had received as a gift and the old nancy drew stories we loved when we were little girls.

well, several years later, and the book is still in limbo. we work on it sporadically and don't talk about it to others very much. mainly because we work on it sporadically. we are busy ladies what with our jobs ( in my case more than one), our homes, our significant others, pets, etc. you know, the same daily american grind we are all dealing with on some level.

a few nights ago, over several more glasses of wine, i proposed the idea that maybe we needed a break (from trying to force ourselves to work on the book) and have a little fun with the characters. i proposed that the ladies of the "webster women's club" should have their own blog.

and now they do.

this is a new venture for both laura and i, and it is very very very much a work in progress. this morning i am having trouble loading some of our artwork and there are only 2 posts up. but, i thought, you gotta start somewhere.

so, if you feel like taking a break from your daily grind and checking in on the ladies of webster county georgia- marveen, ginger, bitsy, georgina, and mylan - please feel free to do so. they are always in to something and all of them love to cook, so the recipes will be free flowing, i promise.

we have big plans for marveen and her friends.

i hope you will drop by and say hi.

be nice. we are new to this!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

must read

if you haven't already- ( and i am just now discovering this myself) -
check out sandra evertson's wonderful, magical, beautiful, and creative

and behold the cutie pie juliette in a fantastical tale of witches and
red riding hoods. perfect for that fall hayride and bonfire.

i would give my eye teeth to be this creative.

go. now.
you won't be sorry.
i promise.

Monday, October 13, 2008


sarah of the beaded lily tagged me a few days ago on her wonderful
blog sketchbook.
i am supposed to tell 7 random facts about myself
and then answer 7 other questions and tag 7 other bloggers.

i guess i will start with 7 random facts--- they are not very exciting, i'm afraid...

1- after 15 years of living alone, i feel lost when joseph is away on business

2- i have hated every job i have ever had and i will hate every job i ever have

3- my best friend and i have known each other for almost 30 years.

4- i hate brushing my teeth ( but i do it twice a day)

5- i have a tattoo of a vampire on my right ankle

6- my secret ambition is to be a profiler

7- i watch way too much television

seven questions answered....

Two names you go by:
1. amber
2. my nickname in high school was amberjack. No one calls me that anymore.

Two things you’re wearing now:
1. work out pants
2. a tee shirt that says “new orleans is for lovin’”
Two things you would want [or have] in a relationship:
1. Love
2. Loyalty

Two favorite things to do?
1. read
2. eat

Two things you want very badly at the moment:
1. for joseph and I to be safe this week we are apart
2. for my kitten to stop biting my head

Two things you did yesterday:
1. watched football
2. played with the kitten

Two things I ate yesterday:
1. French fries
2. bean burrito

Two people you last talked to:
1. joseph
2. my dad

Two things you’re doing tomorrow:
1. going to work, unfortunately
2. Drinking a lot of coffee
Two favorite beverages:
1. good wine
2. good coffee

Two people no longer alive that you’d like to talk to:
1. my mother
2. my maternal grandfather

i am not very good about tagging others, however.
so, i am going to let that one go for now and maybe come back to it later.
when i have had more coffee.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

a shout-out & a treasury

i snagged a treasury this afternoon, after missing the last 2 i tried to get.

i don't have that little thingamabob that lets you take screen shots on this computer, so i am going to just post the link here:

since i belong to 3 wonderful groups on etsy, i wanted to try to include at least 1 member from each group, if not more. i think i accomplished this. i hope i did, anyway. if i didn't, don't yell at me.

i have been shopping a little bit on etsy lately because i can buy hand made AND i can stay within my pathetic budget AND i can curb that shopping but which has been biting quite a bit lately.

anyway... there are just too many fabulous things on etsy and i always feel a little guilty when i put a treasury together because i want to include EVERYONE. but i can't, so this is it for today.

i also wanted to give a little shout out to all of you wonderful wonderful people who visit and comment on my little corner of the world here. i see that i am up to 7 followers and you have no idea how happy this makes me!!!!!
so, thank you all for always brightening my day!

now, go check out my autumn outlook treasury and click click click. let's sell some hand made art!


Monday, September 29, 2008


i found out this afternoon that all 5 of the bracelets (below) i submitted to the show Haute Craft:Finding Art in Fine Craft have been accepted.

i was thrilled, to say the least. this is the first juried show i have submitted to, so that hurtle has been jumped over! the show is to be held during prospect 1 here in new orleans in november.

with the economy and everything going the way it is right now, i have already come to terms with the fact that sales may not be great this season, but to have the acceptance of my peers and the prospect of getting my work seen by major art collectors and sellers is extremely fulfilling.

but i would still like to sell some jewelry.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

welcome, patches!

i am happy to introduce you to miss patches. she is the newest member of our family.
we adopted her yesterday. she is already training us up just fine.
she's a little bundle of energy, though, so getting pictures of her is tough.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

new pictures and old friends

i don't have any pictures to post yet, but my back grounds came in on monday and i am looking forward to shooting new work either tomorrow or sunday. it's supposed to rain this weekend, so who knows how it will go, but i am looking forward to shooting the work as soon as i can.

i am trying something different for my vintage and gemstone pieces, partly from a suggestion from sarah, who has been immensely helpful in helping me try to figure out what i am doing wrong on etsy. thanks for all the suggestions, sarah. i am looking forward to implementing many of them.

i have been making some vintage swarovski pieces ( gorgeous, if i do say so myself) and i have some really lovely vintage glass pendants coming in next week that i can't wait to work with. i am also working on some really simple gemstone lariats and necklaces which have been doing well at tomato here in new orleans, but i have yet to put up in the shop. i am going to be adding some vintage lucite to the shop as well.

i will post new pics soon, i promise!

no new woven work to speak of at the moment. all my work has either been donated, given away, or consigned. i need to make something new at some point.

i am applying to a show for prospect 1 which is coming to new orleans in november. wish me luck. i have never applied to a juried show before and i am really nervous. my pics are ok, but they are not the best. my friend, natalie recommended me for the show, so we will see what happens.

in personal news, laura talked me into joining facebook and i have been "found" by several old college/work mates who i have not talked to in about 20 years. so, hello to lisa, michelle, and victoria.

i may have some other news to report this weekend, but i will wait until i am certain that what i think is going to happen, happens.

until then...

Friday, September 12, 2008

press por moi

my marveen bracelet was featured in the shopping section of the paper today - WISH - i haven't actually seen the piece, but i know it's in the editor's picks and in the table of contents. i would include a link so you all could see it too, but alas, as is the case with most things in new orleans these days, the link is not working. if they get it up and running, i will include it in a later post.

i also found out that my city blocks cuff is being featured as the photo for high gloss ( keep your fingers crossed for houston) in the guide SCHMAPP. i have included a little widget on the side of the blog that you can take a look at. it's not a very good picture, in my opinion, but i guess someone liked it.

so, today has been a good jewelry day for me. just wanted to share.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


i joined a gym.
what the @!#$*%$ was i thinking?

well, i will tell you...

when joseph and i were in california, i huffed and puffed all up and down the hills in san francisco. i can't even convey to you how out of breath i was. and i thought i was still in pretty good shape. not even close.

i have absolutely no energy whatsoever. most days i feel like a new born kitten when i wake up and i burrow under the covers not coming out until the last minute. then i stay angry most of the day.

i am angry and i feel depressed and just plain mean most of the time. i am envious of other's success and i want to lash out at pretty much everyone i come in contact with.

i don't care about anything. at all. and i take all the wonderful things in my life for granted because i feel like i can't have the one thing i have always wanted - my own, successful business.

i know that i have to work some of this out on my own - especially the materialistic mood i have been in. i haven't really been a materialistic person since i graduated from high school. sure, when i was a teenager i dreamed of having money and was sure i would, once i got away from home ( country fried, i tell you) and out into the real world where my artistic talent would be swooned over by the masses and i would be this massively rich designer.


i have to accept that my career has not turned out the way i wanted, AND that it is going to take much much longer than i planned for this jewelry business to get off the ground. and i have to keep working at it.

in order to keep up my strength and my motivation and to keep WANTING to work on this business, i am going to have to gain more energy.

i am going to have to start working out.

what's that line from LEGALLY BLONDE ? ...
"exercise produces endorphins. endorphins make people happy. happy people don't shoot their husbands. they just don't"

i want to be a happy person, and i know that when i exercise on a regular basis, i AM happy. every time in my life when i have felt the way i do now, i wasn't getting any exercise. and i felt terrible about myself and i wanted to cry all the time.

so, i have made one positive change in my life.

here's hoping it will help me have the energy and the creative confidence to make many more....

Saturday, September 6, 2008

home sweet home

well, we are home. whew.
the drive in from birmingham was uneventful - unless you count the bathroom stall at stuckey's in hattiesburg which was too small for a child to fit into, much less moi.

the better half's parental units kept us safe, sound, watered, and fed for a week in the quiet suburbs of birmingham. it was nice, safe, clean, and quiet. i slept a lot. and got my first pedicure.

home, however is turning out to be a bit of a headache. we discovered we have minor water damage in the bedroom, the front glass window in the door is rattling like an old man with a cough, and this morning, as i am trying to wash our bed linens, the washer conks out on me.

i am not a happy camper.

have i mentioned how much i hate the laundry mat?

guess most of the day tomorrow or monday will be spent there. better find a good book to read.

i also just re-listed most of my work in my esty shop.

i had planned to re - shoot most of my pieces and have many many more made by now, but as luck would have it... well, you know how it goes.
i got a few gemstone lariats made while on evac, but i haven't had the chance to photograph them yet.

i am running way way way behind. but, at least i am trying... and starting somewhere.

but, we are home, and that's what counts.

now we get to wait and see what ike does.

fun is...

Sunday, August 31, 2008

waiting stinks

well, we are in birmingham, waiting on gustav to make landfall.
it all seems so surreal.
last night the calls and text messages started coming in.
steve sent one saying his mom's house in jackson was open to any who needed a place to go.
it seems like deja vu all over again.
we are trying to pull ourselves away from the tv and are going to see the new vin diesel movie in a few minutes.
just put the old noggin on hold for a few hours.
thanks to everyone who has left notes here - it means a lot that you are thinking about us and wishing us well.
i don't know what to think and i dare not predict.
i just know i can't keep going through this over and over and over again.
guess we'll just see what happens...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

so sad....

i had to pack up all my jewelry supplies this morning in preparation for our evacuation ( hopefully it will not be another hurrication).
i was really looking forward to getting back to work.
hopefully soon.
hopefully soon.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

here we go again

i just got home!!!!
now i get to pack it all up again.

well, it looks like gustav has his sights set on the gulf coast.
we really won't know for sure until friday, i guess, but j. and i
are making our exit strategy NOW!

keep you updated...

Monday, August 25, 2008

the trip of lifetime - part 1

joseph and i just returned from our 2 week vacation in san francisco and the sonoma, russian river valley, and napa wine country.
it was the trip of a lifetime!!!
we ate and drank our way through this part of california. i got to see the pacific for the first time as well as frida kahlo's work in person for the first time.
here are a few pics from along the way....

definistration building. didn't think i would get to see it, but our cab went right by it on the way in from the airport. this was my first picture of san francisco

china town at night

me at the china town gate.

joseph and the bay bridge

mushroom stand at the ferry building

caviar bar at the ferry building. a complete and utter indulgence on our first day there! it was heaven.

street lights in china town.

i can't even imagine trying to park like that...

russian hill stairs

macondray lane

my only picture of the cable car.

yes, we walked lombard. so touristy, i know. but it had to be done...

joseph outside city lights.

long way down... top of telegraph hill

our first, kinda, almost view of the golden gate bridge from telegraph hill

decending telegraph hill

winding stairs and lanes require street signs, evidently.

beautiful garden on telegraph hill

at the bottom of telegraph hill. yeah, we climed all the way down. that last leg was scarey. whoever built those stairs should be spanked.