Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mental regrouping

Marconi wireless station, Laurel Moon

There are days where I just wish I could be here again, standing on the beach, looking out across the water, my mind alive with thoughts of the Marconi station sliding into the sea.

There was a boat. A few seals. The beach. The wind, sliding over the salt water and ruffling my hair.

A simple moment where I didn't have to worry about anything else.

I have been gnawing on a worry bone for the last two days, going around in circles over a single thing, a little thing, something that might not have meant what I think it meant. It seems like it should be so easy to stop, to imagine that I am instead watching the waves roll in while the sun shines and the grass undulates. But instead I am rotating around this ugly old worry bone, locked in place like a binary star system. It's one of my oldest and deepest worries, and I know its every crease and furrow, but it still surprises me sometimes when it rears its dark head.

I think it's time for some mental regrouping, time to rearrange my inner mind and see if I can bring out some self-confidence that springs from, well, myself.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Pfister Hotel, part two

The Pfister Hotel, part one

The exterior of the Pfister was lovely; the interior was elegant and decadent in a very old-school way. I was intrigued from the moment we walked into the lobby and saw the ceiling.

Pfister Hotel lobby, Laurel Moon

The room where we ate brunch was on the eighth floor, and was most likely a music hall. It had a very high ceiling with absolutely gorgeous chandeliers interspersed with beautiful designs.

Pfister Hotel ceiling, Laurel Moon

Pfister Hotel ceiling, Laurel Moon

Everywhere you look, there's a fascinating detail. The windows of this room were huge and had large padded bench seats at the bottom, presumably so the dancers could rest. And in between the windows there were these designs in the plaster (please forgive the awful pic):

Pfister Hotel detail, Laurel Moon

I love how much thought and care went into everything. Door handles, bannisters, walls...everywhere you look there is something interesting. There are grandfather clocks in the lobby, for example.

Pfister Hotel clock, Laurel Moon

And I love the chandeliers, dripping with crystal.

Pfister Hotel chandelier, Laurel Moon

Pfister Hotel chandelier, Laurel Moon

And even the smallest light fixtures are bedecked with crystal.

Pfister Hotel chandelier, Laurel Moon

Visiting the Pfister was like taking a trip into the past. I can't wait to visit again.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Heading off to Wisconsin

I'll be a vendor at the Madison Art Glass & Bead Show this weekend, and then I'll be staying with friends for a week after that. My Etsy shop and eBay store will be open, but there might be a bit of a delay in the shipping, as my husband will be the one processing the orders. I can't wait--I'm so excited to share the delicious baroque pearls with everyone!

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday

Another glimpse into my scary workspace!

Bead Table Wednesday

This is a bit of a cheat, as this picture was taken over the weekend, but it was an important part of my work cycle so I thought I'd include it.

Bead Table Wednesday, desk with pearls, Laurel Moon

This incredible pearl extravaganza was part of my pearl stash for years. These are offset baroque pearls, gorgeous and luminous. I've been hoarding them for ages and ages and I suddenly just realized that I have only used a bare handful. I haven't experimented with them yet, so when am I going to find time to experiment with them now?

So I decided to go ahead and just bag them and sell them. It took several tries, because I kept trying to think of things I could use them for, and I finally just said, enough! I posted a picture of them on my Laurel Moon Facebook fanpage and that forced my hand. With that picture up, I had to go ahead and bag them, and so I did.

My desk is clean again, with just a couple Green Girl Studios pendants hanging out, lingering in the daydream stage of what to do with them. Right now, though, I'm getting ready for the Madison, WI Art Glass & Bead Show on Saturday and Sunday, so they'll have to wait until I get back from my WI trip.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The hair, it is a-changin'

Another entry which is not about beads or jewelry or making beads or whining about not making jewelry. No, this one is about hair.

I have very fine, stick-straight hair. It defies nearly all modern hair technology. It does not like to sit in a ponytail. It does not like to be curled. It does not like barrettes, or bobby pins, or clips. What does it like? Static electricity.

So yes, my hair has always been a challenge. Over the past decade, I've pretty much just let it grow. Every two years, I'd get seven or eight inches cut off and then just let it go again. I kept it in a braid most of the time.

But then I found out about Locks of Love, and that you can donate your hair, as long as the length you're donating is 10" or more. So I decided to let it go an extra year and then I would be able to donate it. I don't mind long hair, usually, but it did get really long this time.

Forgive the expression. I was getting frustrated with the camera.

It does look curly here, but that's because there's an old perm lingering in the ends. Anyway, I've gotten to the point where I have to do this elaborate hair-piling maneuver on the pillow at night, and my hair gets caught in the seat belt, and if I lean back while sitting, my head is effectively trapped at an angle unless I move my hair. Which means: enough.

After I left the salon, I realized how surreal it was to be walking around with a bag of my own hair. I'll be mailing it out to Locks of Love this week.

It feels kind of...freeing to be without the extra hair. Not that it was really heavy or anything, but it is kind of nice to not have to worry about getting it caught. And I'm looking forward to wearing earrings again, which I'd all but stopped wearing because they'd get hooked into my braid and it'd be a pain to get them free.

It's kind of amazing, though, because I haven't had hair this short in over a decade.

Monday, March 21, 2011

One show down, one show to go

Yesterday I was at the Bead Bonanza, in Southfield, MI. I had a lot of fun! It was great to catch up with the other vendors and see lots of familiar customer faces. I enjoyed talking to people and it's always nice when people say that they always shop from my booth.

On Thursday, I'll be driving out to Madison, WI, for the Art Glass & Bead Show. This is another one of my favorite shows. I usually stay with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, and we have a great time. I rarely get to see them, so it's a special treat.

I will be bringing some delicious baroque pearls:

Baroque pearls, Laurel Moon

They are so yummy. I love pearls, and these are especially beautiful. It's hard to part with them! If you stop by the show this weekend, you'll see them in all their baroque glory.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The packing is nearly done

I've bagged hundreds of bags of beautiful baroque pearls, I've sorted 30 lbs of new merchandise, I've printed out price tags, loaded the car, and packed more tiny display dishes. I've found the tablecloths, packed the granola bars and water, and sorted which bins to take.

I still have to use the laminating sheets and cut out the price tags, pick out tomorrow's outfit, and check over my checklist to make sure I haven't missed anything. I also need to double-check the location and set my alarm clock.

After that, I'll be ready for the Bead Bonanaza tomorrow, at the Southfield Municipal Building. It's always nice to see everybody and celebrate spring with new beads! I can't wait to see Melanie from Earthenwood studio; it sounds like she'll have lots of wonderful closeout goodies to choose from. And there are lots of my other favorite vendors there, too. It's always nice to see their awesome beady stuff.

Most of all, it will be great to get out and chat with people and enjoy the day. Hope to see you there!

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Pfister, part one

Recently I had the chance to visit the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee for a dear friend's birthday brunch.

I have a huge love for turn-of-the-century buildings. There is something so delicious in buildings created not just for function, but also for beauty. I have often wandered city streets and simply breathed in the romantic light of Art Deco and Art Nouveau-style buildings. There are many pretty modern buildings, but I am most enthralled by the classics.

The Pfister is one such place. The hotel was built in the late 1890s and it's quite marvelous, inside and out.

As we approached the Pfister, I stopped to take a few pictures.

Pfister hotel exterior, Laurel Moon

Pfister hotel exterior, Laurel Moon

There was a seventies expansion or separate building next door, and other typical functional-but-not-pretty buildings nearby. The building across the street was done in red brick, and had this lovely design on the front:

Detail from building across from Pfister, Laurel Moon

We ate brunch on the eighth floor, in a room that must have once been used for dancing, considering the lyre imagery, the high ceilings, and the small balcony which was probably for the musicians. The view of Milwaukee was intriguing. The aged glass wasn't very conducive to photos, but I kind of like the distortion in a way. I love the way that Milwaukee crowds into itself, smokestacks and old buildings and new, the art museum at full sail, the signs of commerce, everything unfolding.

View from the Pfister, Laurel Moon

View from Pfister, Laurel Moon

View from Pfister, Laurel Moon

I am a girl who is firmly from the suburbs; I don't understand cities, but they do fascinate me. That so many people could stack into one area, the ebb and flow, old and new juxtaposed together; it makes me want to find out how it happens, trace the first building, the horse and cart paths that turned the city into streets and lots, find the oldest piece of sidewalk. Walking through the city is always an inspiring journey.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dragon necklace

I bought a small handful of beautifully carved shell pendants years ago. There were dragon designs, birds, flowers...all with an Asian style. I put them away and would occasionally look at them.

There is a small cautionary tale involved in this story. Some of the pendants were made of white shell and featured dragons. And I was so tempted to use them, because it would be so easy to pair them with white pearls. So one night I started to pull out pearls, and it was then that I noticed that the "hole" at the top of each pendant was actually not a hole at all; it was just a small divot.


So I learned to always look very closely at my purchases before it's too late.

Fortunately, the other pendants had holes:

Asian dragon shell necklace by Laurel Moon

Here's my first attempt at a necklace. I like the grey hawkseye stone beads and the purple pearls, and the simplicity of the necklace and earrings. I might try to make something a little more complicated with the next one.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday

Bead Table Wednesday

A few times a year I buy large closeout lots. Several boxes full of bits and bobs and loose beads and stringing material and all sorts of unrelated things. And I go to work with my Ziploc bags and I bag everything that needs to be bagged. I pull out what needs to be put aside for eBay and Etsy, and what needs to be stashed, and what can be sold loose or on a strand. I price everything, bag everything, and put it all away.

First, though, it needs to be sorted.

Laurel Moon desk

I used to sort at the coffee table, with everything spread out everywhere. But now that I've switched desks around, I decided to try to use the new larger jewelry desk to sort. The results are mixed. On one hand, it means the office isn't quite so much of a disaster area, and we can still have dinner while sitting on the couch. But on the other hand, I haven't made anything because the desk is so overrun.

Last time I introduced you to my possibly stolen 1978 ruler. This time, you can clearly see the Super Aytinal Vitamins metal ruler. I'm not certain how I managed to get such a strange collection of rulers.

I'm getting to the end of the sorting, thankfully. I think I will have most of the desk cleared today. I'm going to hold off on stashing my personal stuff until I have a little more time, I think; I really want to get the desk cleared off so I can make some jewelry.

I am growing very fond of this desk, though. At first I wasn't so sure, but now that I've been using it for a little while, I really love it.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Each day, a new photo

Today I've been working on my weekly eBay listings. Usually I rush to get them done quickly, but today I thought I would spend a little extra time and take additional photos.

I'm still getting the hang of photography; I don't think I'll ever understand it completely. There is too much to learn about it. It's fascinating and sometimes very rewarding.

I've been looking at my old scans and pics, and seeing the difference in the photos I'm taking now. Here is a scanner photo from a couple years ago:

Vintage German oval cab from Laurel Moon

Because I used a scanner for photos for years, I got very used to a top-down look. And of course, it's important that the buyer see the full front and back, which is what a scanner can do. However, a scanner cannot give the piece a more three-dimensional look like a photo can:

Vintage German cab from Laurel Moon

I'm starting to use this angle for most of my thumbnail shots. I like the way it looks. It looks best if there is a single item in the frame. However, for multiple-lot items, I don't like the thumbnail to be a single item, because I'm afraid people won't realize that it's for more than one piece.

So I am trying shots like this:

Vintage German flower beads from Laurel Moon

I'm still not certain about using this as the main photo; I think it might be a little confusing. I'm going to try to take more shots next week and see what I can do.

I do think that experimenting has definitely paid off. This week's photos look even better than last week's.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A treasury! My goodness!

The treasuries just keep on coming! WatercolorsNmore featured my Tree of Wisdom set in the Words of Wisdom treasury!

Thank you, WatercolorsNmore!

Wow...the treasuries just keep coming!

The wonderful sarajoseph has featured my starfish necklace in her Into the Deep Blue Sea treasury!

Thank you so much, Sara!! I really appreciate it! What a beautiful treasury!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday!

Or should I say...Bead Mess Wednesday.

Bead Table Wednesday

This is a very small section of the mess. It was pretty overwhelming at its height.

Bead Table Wednesday Laurel Moon

This is a little slice of the detritus of ten years of hoarding.

I have a tray on my desk, which I alluded to in the last BTW post, that has lain dormant--er, has "caught" extra beads for years. Every so often, I rake through it, and put some of it away, and the dregs are put into a big ziploc bag.

This afternoon, I wanted to make a special piece of jewelry to celebrate listing my 100th item in my Etsy jewelry shop, but instead, my Avoidance Trap got activated and suddenly I had to go through the bag. And the tray, too.

Fortunately, I curbed my OCD tendencies and refused to get farther than sorting. I put everything in piles according to where it should go. One pile for "keep for self," one pile for "sell," one pile for "broken," one pile for "sterling silver scrap," and one pile for "why on earth did you keep this in the first place." I've bagged them all by type, which should theoretically make it easier for me to subdivide or dispose of everything.

And with that out of the way, I could finally concentrate on the necklace.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Monday, March 7, 2011

I'm in a mermaid treasury! Yay!

My favorite mermaid necklace has been featured in an Etsy treasury called Mermaid Treasures!

I absolutely love this necklace. I love the chain, the aquamarine, the gorgeous pearls, and the wonderful Green Girl pendant!

Mermaid necklace by Laurel Moon Jewelry

Thank you, GemdropsoftheFalls!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

My 100th item is up at my Etsy jewelry shop!

I've just uploaded a new necklace to my Etsy shop, bringing my total to 100 items! To celebrate this occasion, I've activated a coupon code good for 15% off, good for this week only. The code is ETSY100.

Stamp pendant necklace from Laurel Moon

I've hoarded a small collection of stamp pendants for years now. They're really nicely made, with sterling silver frames, lovely smooth backs, and glass set in front of the stamp to protect it. I have several from many different countries, but some of my favorites are the stamp pendants from China. I love the beautiful clothes and the long white expanse of negative space around the figure. I'm so glad to celebrate my 100th item with such a great pendant!

Click here to see the Chinese stamp pendant necklace in my Laurel Moon Jewelry Etsy shop

Saturday, March 5, 2011

I'm in another treasury!

The wonderful PhotosByChristine has featured my mermaid necklace in her beautiful treasury, Stormy Seas!

Laurel Moon mermaid necklace silver needle agate

Thank you, Christine!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Never-ending photography

I just realized that I am taking about 100 photographs a week. At least. Sometimes more like 200.

The beads, waiting for their closeup:

Laurel Moon tray o' beads

I've been steadily working on my photography skills. I've started using the manual settings on my camera, and fiddling with white balance and F stops and such. Someday I hope to get some new backgrounds, but for now the white cloth helps make leveling a snap using Photoshop's leveling feature.

Laurel Moon vintage German headpins

Jewelry is even trickier. There are high spots and low spots, and silver is so easy to overexpose.

Laurel Moon nautilus necklace

I have been trying to make my photos more visually engaging and increase the "texture" and focus in more strongly on the main elements. It's a challenge, definitely.

Photography is such a learning experience. I still have such a long way to go.