front page news

Yippee! I went directly to the etsy front page today, hoping that a treasury I was featured in (SIENNA and SAND) by juliegarland would be featured there. (I had high hopes for this one, as it was absolutely stunning.) And right there it was, on the front page! What a thrill! It's the first time anything from my shop has been featured in a front-page treasury (that I know of, anyway), and I am over the moon! Thanks, Julie!

Right now, I'm watching how many people are visiting the b-line (using the heart-o-tron3000 site by Julian Leviano, an etsy shop owner) and it is amazing how much exposure that front page position gets you! I think more people have visited my shop in the last 10 minutes than I usually get in an entire day (maybe even a couple of days)! Can you tell I'm new at this?!

In other news (definitely not front-page worthy), my French language placement test results are in. Shockingly, I placed in the 200-level (which is about where I left off in college, so I suppose that is good!). Unfortunately, I can't take that class because it doesn't fit with my schedule. So, for now, I suppose I'll tutor myself--maybe download some French language lessons on itunes....
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go west...


{{{...in a dark mood...}}}
Originally uploaded by thebline
Today I ventured west--to treasury west anyway. I was poking around in the forum yesterday and happened on to a thread in which people were showing off treasuries they were in. Since many of them were on treasury west, I started looking around a bit more and found myself featured in two treasuries on west! Happy surprise! So, I have vowed to pay more attention to treasury west, as long as it is around (I find it kinda off-putting the way etsy indicates that treasury west may disappear at any time!).

I'm sorta brooding today. Hence the darker theme of the collection I put together for my inaugural west treasury. But even so, I can't help but seek out the light! I started this treasury looking through my favorites for the gloomiest things I could find (a bit pouty, I know), but as I continued to work on it, my focus shifted to those items with interesting splashes of light.  I don't think this was an accident, or even a conscious thing on my part.  I think it was a little nudge from above to reassure me that everything's gonna work out just fine.  But, we all have our dark days, don't we?!
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comment dit-on...?

I've always been a francophile, and this past December, I found myself married to another lover of the French language and culture.  Despite my lifelong passion for all things French, I had never been to France until our honeymoon, during which we spent a glorious 4 days in Paris.  I hated to leave and I can't wait to go back.  But one thing I discovered while we were there was that my French language skills definitely needed work.  Reading, okay; listening, pas mal; but speaking, disastrous!  I was rendered almost mute in the language, partly due to amnesia (couldn't remember the words), but also due to fear (didn't want to sound like an idiot).  Andy's much more confident and adventurous than I am, so he did most of the talking, and I was very impressed.  (And a little disappointed in myself.)

It's been several months since we returned, and, like I said, we're anxious to return.  While we don't think we'll be able to swing a trip this summer (maybe a business trip to gather supplies??), we have talked about preparing for our next trip already--which means (re)learning the language (it's embarrassing to admit, but we've both had years of French classes).  Since we're both college professors, we figured the best way to do this would be to audit a French class at the college where we teach.  As part the registration, we took the language placement test.  How depressing!  I did my best, but there were several questions that I just had to guess about the answer. The oral comprehension was fine, but the section where I had to write five sentences about what I did last weekend (in passe' compose' and imparfait, of course) was such a travesty.  I fear I'll get the lowest placement possible, but then, I suppose taking the course will improve that!  
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sugar+spice

Presenting sugar and spice!  Today I finally finished the bracelet I've been planning for ages! (This is the bracelet for which I initially bought polymer clay!)  The sugar and spice bracelet features the structures of sucrose and zingerone (sugar and ginger "spice") on either side of an oval charm.  The bracelet is further embellished by pretty pink and blush blossoms.  It's completely nerdy, but girly and cute as well (at least I think so!).  I had a lot of fun making it! This is the first challenge I have entered since opening the b-line, and I am curious how it will be received.   I'm also anxious to see what the other members submit.



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seeing red: black tuesday


I love the color red. I've always been drawn to it for some reason--the boldness, the way it catches your eye, how it can be warm or cool, but never dull (at least not true reds), and even the way it tastes (red wine, strawberries, tomatoes...). Even today, I took the corsage bracelet a step further with the renata necklace (since one doesn't wear a corsage at the neck, I suppose this is a lei?). I love the smooth, shiny red coral beads in the necklace, especially when paired with the pearly ivory blossom.


But there are times when I don't want to see red. Like in our bank account, of course. Or like this morning, when I turned on my laptop to find a barely readable screen that was tinted red. Not good! I tried everything I could think of to "remove" the red and get back to a normal display, and after about 30 minutes, I did get a nice bright, white screen (looking normal!). Unfortunately, it only lasted for a minute and then when completely black. Despite multiple restarts, the monitor remains black.


Fortunately, my husband also has a laptop, so I did some investigating about what the potential problem might be. But while researching the cause/remedy, it occurred to me that this might just be the ideal time to switch back macwards. I've been considering it for several weeks (a combination of pc problems and a desire to be able to do more creative things with my computer) but figured I had no reason to switch with a functioning computer. (Those of you who may be wondering--I did NOT sabotage the thing!) At any rate, we took the plunge and ordered a macbook today. I'm anxious to receive it and begin playing around, though I'm a bit deer-n-the-headlights about switching all of those files over and learning a new system. I haven't owned a mac since my college days, which, let's just say, are not all that recent! Wish me luck (and patience)!

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an apple a day...


Well, today was a three-apple day! Here's my latest polymer clay adventure. The idea just sorta popped into my head today--not sure why, but there are a few potential reasons. One, I'm a teacher, and while I've never been given an apple from a student, I still like the idea! Two, I've decided to cut back on meat, so I'm currently obsessed with fruits and veggies. And three, I want to see if I can make more than flowers! So, here they are, right before they got baked. Not sure what will become of them, but stay tuned!
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green + red (make brown)


euphorbia
Originally uploaded by thebline

What a luxury to be able to take this week "off". For the most part, Andy and I have been taking it easy in this week after the close of the semester. A week to relax and rejuvinate. Next week we'll get back to business (I expect).

Today, after a morning of some etsy "research," I took Lola and Sita and a little walk around town. While it was rainy today (and a bit cooler than it should be this time of year), I thought to bring my camera along and snapped some shots of the new growth around my house and in the neighborhood. The shot above is of one of my favorite plants in the yard--it was the last plant I photographed before we headed indoors. I just love the purple, red, and green hues in this plant.




Just after snapping this shot, I walked back in the house, tackling our two large dogs to the ground so I could wipe off their muddy paws (how do they manage to attract every speck of grime from the streets?!). Before heading to the shower, I checked on Etsy and found two great surprises. Firstly, my luisa bracelet had been featured in a gorgeous tomato red treasury (by lingonberries)--hope it makes it to the front page! Here's a screen shot of the "red delicious" treasury--it is fabulous! It's such a thrill to be featured by someone with an obvious talent for curating!

Secondly, the treasury I had curated a few days ago (girl from ipanema) was featured on the front page! I hadn't been getting a lot of comments on that treasury, so I was pretty sure it was going to go unnoticed--happy to get the attention!


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red letter day!


And the grades are in! It feels great to finally have finished my responsibilities for the 2007-2008 academic year. Not that I'm through with my day job for the summer--I still have plenty of work (research, mainly) to do. But, not having classes to teach for the next 3 months will make for a more relaxed schedule, and I am certainly thankful for that.

To celebrate, I started the day by snagging a treasury, girl from ipanema. I really love the song, and since it's been so chilly the past two days, I suppose I was in the mood for something warm and spicy looking! I'll probably be sorry I asked for it soon enough, but I am looking forward to the summer heat!

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may showers bring clay flowers...


flowers
Originally uploaded by thebline

Graduation was yesterday, and we were fortunate enough to enjoy warm, sunny weather for the ceremony. But today couldn't be more different. We woke up today (very late!) to find a rainy day already in progress. Not just rainy, but cold! It's one of those days where you'd rather not leave the bed, with its cozy duvet and blankets, but Lola and Sita weren't having that--they wanted breakfast! So, after an hour or so of checking out the goings-on at Etsy, I decided to hunker down and experiment with some polymer clay flowers (this is not as industrious or admirable as it may seem as I am totally putting off grading that last stack of finals. I'll get to them right after this post, cross my heart!).

Here are some of the flowers I made--they definitely brighten the day! There are a few daisies in the bunch, but mostly roses in various colors, including a crazy yellow, black, and pearl number. Can't wait to see how they look in my new corsage bracelets!

Polymer clay is rather new for me. I started using it just a few weeks ago when I was getting frustrated since I couldn't find beads that I wanted. I decided to try to make what I was looking for. The first batch didn't turn out that well at all! The sculpting part was okay, but the cooking part was disastrous (even though I followed the baking instructions of 10 minutes at 350 degrees). The house was soon filled with smoke and the flowers I made had turned to a burned and melted blob. Ick! My new system is a bit more gentle! I seal the flowers in an aluminum foil packet and heat them for an hour or so at 250F (the pic above was taken just before they got baked). No smoke, no char, much better! Stay tuned on etsy to see how they turn out!

Okay, as promised, back to the grading!


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century mark


Banner day on the b-line--I received my 100th heart today! It was a pretty busy day at the shop as well. Lots of lookers, anyway. I have started a new "line" of bracelets which I like to think of as "new" corsages, featuring a prominent bloom amongst pretty beads. I have a spot in the main showcase today, and I think flashy new rosalba is bringing some much-needed attention to the shop! Yay!



These new corsages have been really fun for me to make. I've been using mostly gemstone beads as the flower, but recently began working with polymer clay to shape the blossoms myself (rosalba is the first example of this). I'm enjoying making this additional unique touch to the bracelets. And I can't get enough of the brilliant red coral!


Funny thing is, I bought the clay for another project--an organic chemistry challenge for the mad scientists of etsy street team that I belong to. I'm hoping I have clay left when it's time to start that item (I'm still waiting for one more shipment of supplies before I can start!). I think they're going to be really cute, so stay tuned!
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cuppa


{{{...have a cuppa...}}}
Originally uploaded by thebline

I must admit that recently, I've had some pretty amazing timing when it comes to treasuries. Today is Monday of finals week, the only day I do not have a final, so I checked out the treasuries just as they were turning over. Yay!

This treasury features some of my new friends from Ruebee, a for Christian artisans started by Amy Larson on ning. Since I joined the group about a week ago, I have gotten more support and encouragement than I could have hoped for. And it is so lovely to read the testimonies of other artists in addition to seeing what they make with their very talented hands!

I've been blessed by Ruebee and this is my little way of giving back. I hope those featured shops will make some sales--and that those who don't already know Ruebee will check it out!

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FINALly


Oh boy! May 3rd, the day finals begin. Now, I'll grant you this, the stress that I feel during finals week is nothing compared to what my students experience. I get that. I remember. And I understand. But I can hardly express how much I am looking forward to the END of finals week, which for me is 5 days away. This semester has been an incredibly busy one for me. I've been teaching an overload (albeit a small overload) as well as a completely new prep, which always takes a lot more time and energy than one might expect. If that weren't enough, I decided to launch the b-line on etsy, so any moment not occupied by my day job (which often carries over into my evenings) has left me completely consumed in all aspects of jewelry design, making, and selling.


All of this means that the house is a complete wreck. In addition to that, my hubby and I just haven't made it to nearly enough fun social outtings in the last few months, not to mention date nights. Now that summer is (almost) here, I'm hoping (perhaps naively) that I'll be able to sort my schedule out (really, this means finding a way not to have my obsession with etsy rule the entire summer) and get some work done around here. A date here and there, and a little traveling would be nice too. It's been 5 months since our honeymoon and I'm thinking it's about time to revisit France! (Well, a girl can dream anyway!) Regardless, a week from now (once the grades are in), I'll be kicking up my heels (like I did in December in front of the Moulin Rouge) and celebrating making it through yet another year of teaching chemistry to college students. Yee haw!

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