Beading and snuggles 

I received some wonderful holiday gifts this year in the form of nearly selling out my CorbinCreations1 Etsy store jewelry and receiving an order for several pairs of custom earrings. As my goal is to make my jewelry business successful, I’d  say I’m on the right track.

 
Every beader has their own unique setup and I’m no different. I can’t work hunched over a desk or table because it would kill my back so instead, my beading station is my couch. I have rolling storage cubbies nearby full of my supplies, a tray to hold odds and ends like scissors and thread, my coffee table as my work station and my beading “desk.” 

My beading desk is a flower encyclopedia with a ceramic beading tray held in place by a sticky bead mat. I used to use the sticky mat to hold my beads but it required frequent cleaning to keep it grippy. Now that it’s sandwiched between my bead dish and the book, my beads stay put and I have the perfect size work surface. 

A benefit and drawback of sitting on my couch to bead is that my cats and dog always want to snuggle with me. My two younger cats, Angel and Daisy, try to lay on my beading table because they want to be close to me. When I won’t let them do that, they lay on or next to my legs and feet. 

Sometimes my pup Jazzmin wants to snuggle too but she’s good about tucking herself between the back of the couch and my legs. My oldest cat Owl lays on the arms or back of the couch because she likes being near me but isn’t much of a snuggler.

As it’s now winter in Upstate NY, it’s nice having animals snuggling with me, keeping me company as I bead. I’m never cold when they’re snuggling with me and sometimes I’m even too warm. Nonetheless, having pets that love me and want to be near me as I bead is just as wonderful as continued success selling my beaded jewelry. Beading and snuggles make the chill and darkness of winter much easier to handle. 

Batty for Beading

Halloween beaded bat earrings by JulieAnn CorbinBeaded bat earrings available in my CorbinCreations1 Etsy shop

Halloween decorations fill the stores this time of year and I love to see all the spooky cats, witches, owls, haunted houses and of course, bats. I love bats, black cats, the moon and witchcraft-like magic year-round but October is when everyone else seems to love it too.

In the continued spirit of embracing October and Halloween especially, I’ve been working on beaded Halloween earrings all this week. I actually started last week with some prototype beaded bat earrings that came out quite cute.

Just like every new pair of earrings I make in a different style that I haven’t quite mastered, I learned several things while making the beaded bat earrings. As every beader knows, a lot of blood, sweat and tears go into every beaded creation. The blood comes from repeatedly poking fingers and thumbs with sharp beading needles. The sweat (for me anyway) comes from trying to choose the right bead color combinations and materials. The tears sometimes come from the same thing that causes the blood and/or from periodic frustration when thread tangles, needles break and beads go scattering.

The final version of the bead embroidery bat earrings I designed and made feature a central acrylic jet black bead, size 15 seed beads, larger beads for the eyes and bicone crystals for the ears. Although I drew the design for the prototype earrings on the felt, I eyeballed the beading design for the finished bats to avoid any visible lines on the black felt. To keep the earrings light, I backed them with black Ultrasuede, which is a high-quality faux suede. I have several types of black leather and suede, but their thickness would make the earrings overly heavy so I chose the faux suede. Black metal hooks seemed the logical choice and overall, I love how they turned out!

Now I’m just waiting for the right person to adopt these adorable bat earrings and proudly wear them this Halloween season. I made some Halloween-themed beaded round earrings that sold this past Sunday and just completed a pair of beaded witch shows yesterday, which sold quite fast! If you like either of these styles, drop me a note and I’ll happily make you a pair!

Halloween earrings by JulieAnn Corbin

Rounds of Halloween earrings sold 10/2/16.

witch shoe earrings by JulieAnn Corbin

Halloween Witch Shoes earrings sold 10/5/16

I also made some adorable witch hat earrings that are available in my shop. I’ve been wearing a pair of them with the bats (I have three earring holes in each ear) and I must say, I feel very in the Halloween spirit!

I’m continuing to work on more Halloween earrings as I embrace and welcome October and every delightfully spooky detail!

Little gifts, big meaning

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Card and gift from my daughters.

I received all my favorite birthday gifts yesterday: time with my daughters and my mom, well wishes from friends, a handmade card from my girls and a hand sewn stuffed owl from my oldest daughter, Jordan and a little moola from my mom to buy whatever I wanted. It was a truly wonderful day!

Such a wonderful day went far too fast but I enjoyed every moment and that’s what counts. I even provided a little after dinner entertainment for my family when I tripped my way into the kitchen with my usual Julie “grace.” If grace and poise is supposed to come with age, it’s not happening in my case, but I’m okay with that. My clumsiness is one of my most endearing qualities. 😉

Before I settled in for a day of college work, I headed to the closest bead store to buy supplies for a recent butterfly barrette order. The bead store is like paradise to me and I had a hard time choosing only what I needed. I managed to make it out of there spending only my budget consisting of birthday money and the down payment on the barrette and that was truly a miracle!

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So many beads to choose from!

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Today's bead haul.

Now that my work is done for the day, I’ve settled on the couch to do some beading and watch some Netflix and I can already tell that being 38 is going to be awesome!

A little something

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I’ve finally been able to do some beading the past few days and even that little something is a big thing! In the past when I’ve been sick, I’ve still had the energy to at least sit on the couch and bead, but with this bronchitis, I’ve only had the energy to focus on one thing and that’s been either taking care of my girls or working. Today I managed to find energy for my girls, my work, and my beading and that made me much happier! I still needed an afternoon nap, but I wake up feeling a little better every day and I’m hoping that soon I’ll be able to work out again. I’ve grown tired of feeling like a tired lump and I’m eager to feel animated and energetic again!

Why do beads excite me so?

For tonight’s blog, I decided to post the very first assignment I received during last term’s Intro to Creative Writing class. The prompt was to write a poem that addressed a burning why question and after quite a bit of thought, this is what I came up with. Poetry is not my strong point, but I did my best and received a decent grade for my efforts. Enjoy!

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3 cut beads

Why do beads excite me so?

The sight of beads excites me
Because their myriad of colors
Ignite the fire of creativity in my spirit
The way writing used to do
Long ago before my muse departed.

Within those small, round
And perfectly polished pieces
Of colored glass
I see the potential to create
Artwork, jewelry, embellishments
That glimmer with life in sunlight.

Opening the latest delivery
Filled with shiny bead bags, hanks, and tubes
Of new unique hues, tiny sizes, and sparkling finishes
Sends feelings of warmth and eagerness
Through my entire body
As my mind begins to turn.

Shall I create a new pattern?
A beaded picture captured
In a bracelet, barrette, pendant, or earrings
Where each colored bead
Works like paint on a palette.

Or shall I just choose colors?
Cool blues, fiery reds, refreshing yellows
Calming greens, regal purples, earthy browns
Start weaving with needle and thread
Through suede or felt
Until what I see in my mind
Appears in my hands.

The smooth feel of beads relax me
The tiny percussive sound of beads energize me
The spills that send them
Scattering across table and floor
Excite me in undesirable ways
As I’m certain I’ll never find them all.

Beading is my meditation
My Zen garden in a world of chaos
A way to regain focus and calm
Shut out the frantic fears
Of a writer who lives in doubt
That my patterns of words
Will never again be as beautiful
As my beaded creations.

Windy days and wittle owls

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Today was one of those classic, spooky autumn days. Amid brief glints of sunlight, the endless wind blew the leaves off trees like colorful confetti and whipped gray clouds across the sky in turbulent waves. It was the perfect type of day to stay warm inside and aside from taking Jazzmin on a short walk, that’s exactly what I did.

Wednesdays are the days I usually turn my complete focus to college and freelance work because it’s custody transition day and the girls go to their father’s house after school. I have final papers due in both of my current college courses, but aside from that, the course work has slowed down a bit. I finished all of my reading and assignments by early afternoon and decided it was time for my favorite hobby of beading.

Today’s beading was inspired by hearing the owl a couple of nights ago. You see, at the end of the last school year I made a beaded owl pendant for my youngest daughter’s teacher. The teacher loved owls so I created a pattern and went to work. It took me a few tries to get the pattern and finished result right, but I was proud of the little owl pendant I made. Well, actually it’s a cute wittle owl because I find it so precious I switch into my sweet, cartoonish voice. It’s a voice I first used when I was a child playing with toys, then used on my girls when they were babies, and now use on the dog when she’s being adorably pathetic. Oh and I still use it to annoy the girls sometimes too. 😉

After creating that first owl pendant as a gift, I tucked the pattern away for safekeeping until I wanted it again. Hearing the owls outside reminded me of the pendant, so I pulled it back out and made a few fall-inspired modifications. The modified pattern I made today has a little jack-o-lantern on the chest instead of the heart from the original owl pattern. Much to my surprise, I created the newest owl pendant in a single afternoon and it came out quite cute!

Working on that beading project as the wind howled outside of the house, filled me with contentment, happiness, and a feeling of accomplishment. The adorable wittle owl I beaded today is just the first of many I’m sure and I’m looking forward to once again sharing my unique creations with the world.

Just because

One of my two male ruby throated hummingbirds keeping his eye on me.

One of my two male ruby throated hummingbirds keeping his eye on me this evening.

I wear a sterling silver key pendant with a small heart set sideways at its end. It was a gift from my mother several years ago and I’ve been wearing it every day since. At night I tuck it under my pillow so it’s close by and easy to put back on when I wake up.

It is the key to my heart and thus far, I haven’t found the right one to claim it. It is also a symbol of my eternal belief in love and that someday the right man for me will find me. I do not spend my days obsessing over said man (I used to) because that does no good. When the time is right, he’ll come into my life. Until then and even after that, I am grateful for all the blessings in my life. I have two beautiful daughters, I’m in good health, I have a great family, I own my own home and I’m making a career as a writer. I am not incomplete but there is something missing.

Though the key pendant was a gift from my mother, it makes me think of my father too. The key unlocks my heart but is closely guarded by my father’s spirit. He knows that it will take a good man with a great heart and a man as unconditionally loving of me as he was to win my love. He and I both know that I deserve nothing less.

For reasons I don’t entirely understand myself, I recently felt compelled to make a beaded chain for my key pendant. A very understandable reason was that my current silver rope chain and clasp kept pulling out my hair when it gets caught. But as that’s been happening for years, that’s not really the reason I created my own chain. I did it just because. Just because I felt in my heart that now was the right time to do it.

I knew I wanted it to be made with silver themed beads but that’s all I knew. When I was visiting my mother on Wednesday, I sat down in one of the chairs of her sunroom, pulled out my beads and just started working. The design came to me pretty quick. I chose silver mirror bugle beads interspersed with cobalt blue seed beads, all worked up with brick stitch. I could’ve simply strung beads onto thread or wire and been done with it but I wanted something woven, made with care and 100% unique. I was quite pleased with the end result!

My new beaded chain, key pendant holder and funky clasp design.

My new beaded chain, key pendant holder and funky clasp design.

I used a lobster clasp to hold the key pendant so I can change out charms or put the key on other chains I design. Oh yes, I’ll be making more chains, this is just the beginning!

When my project was finally finished, I went out onto my deck to take some photos of me wearing the new chain. As I sat out there, I heard the hummer approach and I then remained very still. One of my two hummingbird males came and landed, drank a little, looked at me, looked around, drank some more and left.

He's such a proud little thing!

He’s watching me again.

Handsome profile!

Handsome profile!

I smiled as I watched him. After he flew off, I took a couple photos of myself and then just sat there for a while enjoying the relative quiet of the evening.

Wearing my new beaded chain and my key charm.

Wearing my new beaded chain and my key pendant.

When I came back inside and started writing this I heard a hummingbird land on my feeder. I turned to look and was elated to see that it was a female hummingbird! I saw her for the first time earlier today but didn’t have my camera handy. This time I was ready and snapped a picture before she flew off. I’m guessing all of her hummer babies have now left the nest so hopefully I’ll be seeing more of her from now on.

Female hummingbird. Note the lack of ruby-colored throat seen on males.

Female hummingbird. Note the lack of ruby-colored throat seen on males.

I took seeing her as a very good omen of course and higher power approval of my latest creation. I adore my new chain and I’m proud of myself for creating exactly what I wanted even though I didn’t quite understand why I wanted it. As July draws to a close, I’ve decided I’m going to venture into the new month doing more things “just because” my heart, spirit and/or the powers that be tell me too.

With this post I’ve made up for missing one entry this month so I’ve now accomplished my task of writing in my blog every day in July. At least that’s how my math works 😉