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!

A Creative Legacy

Corbin Creations by JulieAnn Corbin logo

Corbin is more than just my last name; it’s my bond to a creative legacy. The name Corbin is synonymous with creativity. There was Corbin Clockworks that my father often spoke of (and to which I think I’m only a very distant relation) and Corbin motorcycle seats. I owned a Corbin seat on the motorcycle I used to own and I found it comfortable and very well made. I’m sure there are many other Corbin owned and named businesses out there and I hope they all utilize their own type of the creativity that I have also been gifted with.

When I was choosing a name for my website many years ago, I decided to go with Corbin Creations because I wanted to honor the family name of my father, my maiden name that I fought hard to regain after my divorce. My father, Robert Corbin, was the best man I ever knew and whom I miss every single day. My father was very intelligent and loved working with his hands. He was an engineer at Xerox for his main job, but his other passion was woodworking. He made beautiful, durable things with wood that ranged in size from large decks on our house to small wooden puzzles. My family and I would often say that my father’s wooden creations would outlast everything and in many cases, that proved true.

I hope one day to live up to the greatness of my father and I work every day toward that by utilizing my creativity. I felt the name Corbin Creations covered my various creative outlets including writing, painting, knitting, crocheting and most prominent of late, jewelry designing and creating. My Facebook page was originally Corbin Creations just like my website but I changed it to “Corbin Creations by JulieAnn” a couple years ago to make it a bit more personal. I will be keeping my website CorbinCreations.com though because I’ve bought the domain name and I’m rather attached to it.

For the past few years, I’ve had a store on Etsy that I called CorbinGirl. I recently changed it to CorbinCreations1 (CorbinCreations was taken) on Etsy and changed my account name on social media platforms to keep things more consistent. Although I had great success when I first started selling my jewelry on Etsy and received all positive reviews from customers, it seems impossible to gain new customers on that platform now.

I’m not a quitter though, never have been and never will be so I decided to create my own online store on Corbin Creations website. I use Weebly for that site and I’ve found their e-commerce tools easy to work with and quite helpful for my Corbin Creations by JulieAnn online store. I spent the last several days taking pictures of my jewelry, creating unique names, and writing informative descriptions for my store and it now contains an adequate representation of my diverse styles of beading. I will be donating a portion of whatever profits I make to organizations I support including The Massachusetts Center for Native American Awareness, the shelters I adopted my pets from and other animal rescue sites.

Crimson Cascade earrings by JulieAnn Corbin

Crimson Cascade earrings

Summer Fireworks Set by JulieAnn Corbin

Summer Fireworks Set

My store, Corbin Creations by JulieAnn is now live and ships to the United States, Canada, and select other countries. I will eventually ship worldwide once I work out a few more details. I will continue to add products to my store, adjust things as needed and throw myself into marketing. As part of that marketing, I’ve created a blog on that site called Practice, Patience and Persistence, dedicated strictly to my beading and jewelry making. I feel it would be too confusing to write about that on this site that I use mainly for sharing my rambling tales of daily life. Beading is part of my daily life but it’s also a world unto itself and deserves dedicated attention.

Feel free to check out my shop, ask me questions and if you decide to buy something, thank you! This is just the start of another great chapter in my life and I’m confident I can make my dream of having a successful jewelry business a reality!

Foggy flurries and furry fluffballs

My snowy house this morning.

My snowy house this morning.

Today marked the first substantial snow for the season here. The calendar may still say it’s fall, but Upstate NY has never been a place that abides by such silly notions. I don’t mind snow when it first begins and my girls both seem to love it. I remember loving it when I was a child, but once I became an adult who had to drive in it, snow lost a lot of its magic. The “magical first snow” today started overnight and hasn’t let up since. It’s not accumulating fast but it’s heavy, wet, and perfect for making snowballs.

And make snowballs I did! When I took Jazzmin out this morning, I made a couple snowballs and tossed them at her. She happily caught them in her mouth before spitting them out when she realized they were strange, cold tennis balls. I then took a snowball in to show the kittens and they were fascinated by the cold, white, balls of water. They love water and I’m always plucking them out of the sink, bathtub, and dog’s water bowl. I eventually plopped the snowball in their water bowl and Daisy watched it intently until it melted.

Once the girls were off at school, I did a bit of freelance work and then settled on the couch beneath a blanket to begin some new beading projects. I’d reviewed a new set of instructions for making earrings this morning and I was eager to try them. What I created came out better than I expected, but I discovered I need to start using a thimble to avoid poking my pointer fingers constantly. Thank goodness fingers heal quickly! It’s worth it though because I’m so pleased with last week’s creations that I need more hours in the day to create all the jewelry designs that have popped into my mind.

Modeling last week's beaded earring and pendant creations.

Modeling last week’s beaded earring and pendant creations.

The snow never let up so there was no point in waiting for it to stop before taking Jazz for a walk. I bundled her up in her booties (which she hates) and warm, blue sweater and I bundled myself up similarly in my winter jacket, boots, and earmuffs. It wasn’t exactly frigid today but there was a breeze and I wanted to keep my ears warm. Our walk wasn’t very long but Jazz was happy to be out and we both became thoroughly coated with snow. As we were heading back home, fog began to roll in from the top of the hill which detracted from the beauty of the first snowfall.

Jazz in her sweater and booties.

Jazz in her sweater and booties.

The snowy trees.

The snowy trees.

Jazz smells something...

Jazz smells something…

Yuppers, it's snowing!

Yuppers, it’s snowing!

The fog rolling in down the road.

The fog rolling in down the road.

Jazzmin and I were both happy to get home and thaw out. The kittens were fascinated watching the falling snow and took turns looking out the window or hogging my desk chair because it’s so cozy.

Daisy looking out the window.

Daisy looking out the window.

Angel hogging my desk chair.

Angel hogging my desk chair.

I had to get my snow shovel out of the shed to clean off my deck steps and create a path to the door and it’s now resting beside the door, ready to be used again. Winter has definitely begun but with the combination of foggy flurries and furry fluffballs, I know it will be anything but dull!

 

It’s in the cards – Focusing my energy

 

Wearing the tulip necklace I made with sleeping Daisy in the background.

Wearing the tulip necklace I made with little Daisy sleeping in the background.

During my tarot reading in Salem, MA, one of the first things the tarot reader said was that my energy seemed to be all over the place and that I needed to work on focusing it. She said I have all these ideas but I have trouble seeing things through from start to finish. She was spot on and I don’t know if it’s my Gemini personality or what, but I have trouble staying focused on one thing. I have various ideas for writing, jewelry, art, research projects, travel plans, you name it! Keeping my focus on just one thing until it’s realized though, that’s not my strongest ability.

That tarot reading wasn’t the first time I’ve been told I need to focus my energy. It’s something I’ve been told by others and that I’ve told myself on multiple occasions. I do finish projects, but the problem I run into is having too many project ideas at once and not enough time to do them all. So rather than picking just one and following it through to its end, I go off on another project and lose sight of what I’d started somewhere else. This “multitasking/multi-thinking” ability comes in extremely handy in my freelance writing as I can quickly shift from one topic to the next, but in other aspects of my life, it can be troublesome.

The tarot reader advised me on all areas of my life and I will put all that information to good use, but for now I’m trying to focus on one thing and that’s focusing my energy and avoiding becoming all scatter-brained. I think once I have a better handle on that, everything else will come much easier and I won’t feel overwhelmed by having a zillion unfinished projects hovering over me.

To put the tarot reader’s suggestion of focusing my energy into motion, I started with my beadwork. I created a bead embroidery tulip necklace many months ago and never quite finished it. I decided that before I continued on with other beading projects, I had to finish that tulip necklace FIRST! The inspiration for the tulip came to me in a dream and I’m certain that was symbolic of something important. So this morning while I was visiting my mother, I sat down on her couch, dug out the tulip necklace project and finally finished it. I don’t think it took me more than 10 minutes to add the clasp on the daisy chain and an extra loop on the embroidered tulip pendant. Why on earth had I been putting off doing something that only took 10 minutes??? One reason is because my squirrel! type brain saw a more appealing nut/project and ran off after that instead. The other reasons? Heck, who knows!

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The completed bead embroidery tulip pendant on a beaded green and purple daisy chain.

What I do know is that now that I’ve finished that project, I can move onto my other half-finished projects and complete them before starting others. Finishing the necklace gave me a wonderful feeling of accomplishment and I really need to focus on remembering that instead of getting distracted by new “shiny things” ie other interesting projects. I think it’s fine to dabble in several different areas of creativity at once, but I know that I need to tie off the loose ends in each area before things start to unravel everywhere.

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 😉