Wednesday, August 31, 2011

One view, many ponds; a new blog

In 2008, my husband and I purchased his grandmother's house in a tiny town in MI. Part of the charm of the house was the large pond in the backyard, which we fell in love with immediately.

I had been thinking off and on about taking pictures of the pond and recording its constantly changing beauty, but I didn't think anyone else would want to see the pictures, until one of my best friends suggested the same idea.

I decided to take a picture out of my kitchen window whenever the mood struck. At first I took pictures sporadically; eventually, though, I began noticing how the pond looked different at different times of the day, how the light changed the mood, how rain and mist and snow altered the scene, and I began to watch the pond for especially pretty moments.

Three years later, I'm still taking pictures, and it still constantly evolves. I've uploaded all of the pics into a blog, and I plan to continue following the seasons with my camera.

I hope you enjoy following the changing seasons with me! Find my pond pictures at my new blog, Your Daily Pond.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Earthenwood giveaway!

Years ago, when I first started beading, I met Melanie of Earthenwood Studio. I was intrigued by her amazing ceramic work. The dichotomy of her pieces appealed to me very much. On one hand, she was creating sweet little teapots, perfect for a dainty tea party. On the other hand, she also made realistic heart and brain beads, pulsing with offbeat charm.

I immediately liked Melanie. She was so down-to-earth, funny and sweet, very genuine and just completely charming. Over the years we kept in touch and I kept watching her skills grow and her work change. I loved the different forms and patterns that she created. It makes me happy to make jewelry out of her beads because they're so wonderful, and also because I have a sentimental attachment to them.

Recently I was looking for a pendant to use in a design, and I realized just how many pieces I have of hers. I decided that I should share! I put together a set of pieces that represent many different stages of her beadmaking. There are over 25 beads and components in this set:

So how can you win this bonanza of bodacious beads? Comment on this entry for a chance to win. But wait--if you'd like extra chances to win, then you can share a link to this blog entry in a blog entry of your own, as a Tweet, as a Facebook status, or "like" the Laurel Moon Jewelry Facebook Fanpage. Each time you do so, stop back at this entry and add your link in a comment (or mention that you liked the FB page). The contest closes on Saturday night, September 3rd, at midnight EST. This contest is open to international readers as well! Good luck, and happy designing!


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Turtle Island!

My father gave me the most wonderful present for my birthday...a beautiful handpainted float for my pond!

You see, the pond has been very high this year, and there aren't a lot of places for them to sun themselves. So I asked my dad about how to make a little raft. My father, being the retired engineer, immediately began to sketch something on his napkin, and told me that he'd see if he had any scrap wood to build one.

So I was expected a simple raft. Not this gorgeous Turtle Island, painted to resemble a Blanding's turtle. I was so surprised!

We needed a weight to keep it anchored, and I couldn't find anything suitable so I ended up using a (you guessed it) milk jug full of broken beads. ha!

My dad and I couldn't get it too far from shore, so my sweet husband went out the next morning and moved it further out.

My parents came over again, and we sat on the patio and talked, and about twenty minutes into our conversation, a turtle head (a real one) suddenly popped up next to Turtle Island! It tried to get on the island, but couldn't quite manage it. It's late in the season, so I'm not sure if it'll end up getting used; plus, there might be some issues with the height of the island. The flippers are slightly below the water level, but they might not be wide enough.

I plan on watching a lot over the next few weeks. I can't wait to see if the turtles climb aboard. What a fantastic present! Thanks, Dad!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Moving again

No, I'm not moving to a new house; I'm moving the blog back to Blogger. Permanently.

As much as I love WordPress, I'm having issues with self-hosting. I think it makes connecting and commenting and conversing with people slightly more difficult, and that's been troubling me for a while. The main purpose of this blog is to start conversations with others in the crafting/beading community, and if there are barriers to that, then it's not doing its job. I've tried mirroring the entries, and the resulting stats told me exactly what I need to know.

The crafting/beading community seems to camp at Blogger (for the most part), and I have switched the feed back to Blogger. Please update your bookmarks/feed/etc. to:

I suspect some of you never came over to the self-hosted blog, so for some of you this will be a short trip.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Preparing to list

I recently bought a large lot of brass stampings, and I'm prepping them for my Laurel Moon eBay store.

With every new horizon, there is a new language to learn. I've been looking at brass stampings and listings, and wishing for a comprehensive guide to these things. There's no rhyme or reason to these listings; they seem to be from every single decade.

I like to be accurate in my listings, but for something like this, where the items are definitely vintage, I just am going to have to suspend my obsessiveness and just list them. I'm going to hope that customers will understand that there is no exact date range, only guesses. I don't like doing it that way, but for a handful of items, I think it will work. Some of them are absolutely awesome!

I hope to get them into the store as soon as possible. I'll let you know when they've arrived!

Monday, August 22, 2011

New items in my eBay store & Etsy shop!

I'm thrilled to announce that I have restocked my Laurel Moon eBay store and my Laurel Moon Etsy shop with the new yums!

Find these awesome druzy agate geode slice beads on Etsy:

And these square rhyolite beads:

And in my eBay store, you can find these Norwegian moonstone beads:

and these rutilated quartz beads:

I'm so glad to get the first batch of listings out there! Keep tuned for more druzy slices, rutilated quartz, and many other goodies!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Back, with new yums

I had a rather eventful week, some nice events, one not-so nice event, and now I'm home watching a horrible movie with a prehistoric alligator stalking luau dancers in Hawai'i. I should clarify that I'm not watching with a prehistoric alligator; he's in the movie.

I am going to spend this weekend taking it easy and thinking restful thoughts.

Of course, I couldn't come home empty-handed. I have a delicious new assortment of yums, some familiar, some new.

From left to right: amethyst, sunstone, fossil coral, rhyolite, agate geode slices, rutilated quartz, and super yum, Norwegian moonstone, which I rarely find. I hope to have these up in my Laurel Moon eBay store and my Laurel Moon Etsy shop by Monday.

In the alligator movie, a scientist is trying to warn the luau producer of the impending alligator doom. Producer: "If you are from one of those reality TV shows, you're in big trouble." lol. It's good to know that some things, like B-movies, are forever.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Marvelous fun at Marvin's

While my nephews are in town, I wanted to take them someplace interesting. I love arcade games and amusement machines and automatons, and they were quite fascinated with my stories of the Musée Méchanique while I was in San Francisco, so I thought it might be fun to take them to our local version of the Musée here in metro Detroit: Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum (on Facebook).

One of the most interesting things to me is what people of the time period considered amusing or entertaining. For a generation that had only just begun to see moving images, small scenes enclosed in glass with a few moving parts were probably amazing. Dan the Drinking Man, for example, would drink from a bottomless glass. There were always risqué machines in nearly every arcade during the turn of the century; Naughty Marietta is an example.

Other popular machines included fortune tellers like Zelda the Mysterious, who was imported to Marvin's from Coney Island. (She predicted that I should "beware of a dark haired one who is jealous of your success in life and will try to make trouble.")

Zelda the Mysterious, Laurel Moon

Music automatons such as player pianos, music boxes, and machines that could play songs with a number of instruments were also popular; this Regina music box is quite beautiful. At the House on the Rock in Wisconsin they have a number of music automatons (some of the huge, the size of rooms) such as this:

The Blue Danube Room at the House on the Rock, Laurel Moon

What I most love are the amazing details found on some of the machines. Elaborate metal findings and handcarved wood, beautiful lettering, and paintings often embellish the machines of the past.

Metal coin insertion point on weight machine at Marvin's, Laurel Moon

Rajah machine at Marvin's, Laurel Moon

Hand plate for novelty machine, Marvin's, Laurel Moon

Rajah knows all, Marvin's Laurel Moon

Carved figure from carousel machine, Marvin's, Laurel Moon

The atmosphere at Marvin's is amazing. There are giant vintage posters of magicians and every single square inch is crammed with amazing artifacts and astonishing marvels.

Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum, Laurel Moon

Seeing these beautiful creations reminds me about the details in my own work, and how to create something that pleases but also shares beauty with the world. It also reminds me of the human condition, and how even though we change, we still stay the same, with the same appetites, fears, and desires.

Friday, August 5, 2011

A brief interlude, with goats

My nephews are visiting from WI, as they do every year, and I've been taking them to our favorite places, as well as some new ones. This year we decided to visit Serenity Acres Now, which is the abode and farm of my dear friends in Fenton. They raise goats, chickens, and ducks, and they've been creating a truly meaningful life for themselves in the past few years. They are concerned with the quality of the food they eat, and this led them to raising chickens for eggs, which in turn led to raising goats for milk. They've had an amazing journey and you can read about it in the Serenity Acres Now blog or on the Serenity Acres Now Facebook fanpage.

Trase & George were so sweet and generous with their time, educating the boys, explaining all sorts of amazing mysteries about goats. They are veritable goat wikipedias. No joke.

Ducks! So cute. I loved hearing them quack. I've always loved ducks. Canadian Geese--now that's another story entirely, and one we won't get into here.

Serenity Acres Now ducks, Laurel Moon

The goats were so sweet, peering over the edge of their pen and hoping we had crackers. Thankfully, we did.

Goats at Serenity Acres Now, Laurel Moon

I had no idea that baby goats were so friendly! They came right up to us and wanted to sit in our laps. They would tug at the bottom of our pants to get our attention so we could pet them. Even the adults were friendly and sweet. Such wonderful animals! They are the cutest when they run and hop at the same time. Rop? Hun? Whatever it is, it's adorable.

Baby goats at Serenity Acres Now, Laurel Moon

We had such a wonderful time. We went home with a 12-pack. Of eggs, that is. Breakfast will be awesome! I hope we can visit again sometime soon.