Monday, July 20, 2009

Where Ruby Mountain Beads Got Their Name

I'm sure you've been lying awake at night wondering, "Where did that name come from? Ruby Mountain Beads. Hmmmm......." Yeah right! At any rate, in today's post you will learn the answer to that question.

Those that know me from where I currently live will surely be scratching their heads trying to figure out where the Ruby Mountains are. Those who have known me from my youth immediately know the answer.

I grew up in Elko, Nevada. Close to there you will find a glorious mountain range. I can only assume that the mountain range got it's name from the way the peaks light up to a ruby red glow at sunset. There was many a night I drove up Lamoille Highway just to behold the beauty of the sunset. Amazing.

The first incarnation using the name Ruby Mountain was for a short lived stint my sister Katie and I had as candle makers. Ruby Mountain Candleworks. :) When I started making jewelry again, I needed a name. Ruby Mountain Beads came to mind with absolutely no thought and I just went with it.

My other Etsy shop, named Humboldt Supplies was named after a river that runs through Nevada. This one didn't require a lot of thought either, but seems to work.

The photo above is of a lake in the Ruby Mountains that is only accessible by foot. Isn't it beautiful? Think twice before jumping in though. The water is sourced by melting snow and is extremely cold!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

All About Blood

I've read that in order to draw people to my blog, I should blog about something interesting. That I shouldn't just blog about what I am making, or items related only to what I make. To draw people to my blog I should do features, tutorials, and contests/give a ways. Whew!

It all makes sense. I mean, how else am I going to get people to notice me here in cyberspace with my craft table out full of jewelry and findings?

If you've read any of my previous posts, you'll know that I am now an official Etsy fanatic.
There are some of the most amazing and beautiful things I have ever seen in my life. The Etsy community is fabulous too. Everyone is friendly and helpful. I hadn't really thought of buying handmade before I discovered Etsy, but now, if I need supplies I always try to buy from a fellow Etsian. I even have my eye on some favorites I would love to treat myself with.

That brings me to today's post. It is All About Blood featuring Etsy sellers. Enjoy!

Dragon's Blood Soap

by FairyBubbles

Dragon's Blood Soap. I love that name! And the name of the shop it came from.
by RedHeart13

Elizabeth Bathory's Necklace. This necklace is in keeping with the blood theme, and absolutely gorgeous!

by CountryWorkShop

This one reminds me of my friend who right now is Vampire crazy. It started with New Moon, of course, and has continued with Anne Rice's vampires. I have a special fascination for Vampires myself. They are probably my favorite preternatural creature.

by VulvaLoveLovely

Handmade, reusable menstrual pads. I'm sorry, but these blew my mind the first time I saw them. I hate to admit how shallow I am that I had never thought of such a thing! But are these amazing or what? So surely there are others who have never heard of these. I knew I wanted to do a feature on these the minute I ran across them.

To Bead or Not to Bead

I started beading a long time ago. I don't remember how old I was, but it had to
have been grade school age. My grandma's sister sent a big shirt size box full of
beads and different embellishments to me. I know there were a lot of beads in
there, but the only project I can really remember are these two snow flakes I made.
One out of pink beads, and one out of blue beads.

The beads were about 8 or 10 mm big. Faceted and made out of either plastic or
acrylic. I strung them on wire spaced with small iridescent gray beads. I gave them
to my Grandma and Grandpa. My Grandma was always great about displaying whatever
I made her, no matter what it looked like. But I remember those snowflakes.
I was so proud of how they turned out. My own design and everything.

There was a little store in town that sold beads. It was a craft/bicycle shop.
Weird I know. It was owned by a husband and wife. She liked to craft, he liked to fix
bicycles. I remember asking my mom to take me there to shop for beads.
I guess I have had a fascination with beads from a young age.

I started playing with beads again about 9 years ago. I made a bunch of jewelry.
Wore some of it, sold some of it, but mostly it just ended up in a box stuffed into the
back of my "craft closet". When my oldest daughter was born, I continued to bead.
I would drag her to the bead store, and being a good baby, she played happily in her
stroller while I shopped. I don't know the exact moment I stopped beading and making
jewelry, it just kind of happened. Kids, life, the expense!

I have recently gone back to beading and making jewelry. It is so much fun,
but I do feel guilty about the expense even though my husband is great about it.
He even sold some parts on E-bay so I would have bead money. It's an addiction.
I even started trying to sell jewelry on Etsy so I can at least try to support my habit!

There is something about beads that make you want to own them. Make you want to
create something with them. Archeologists have found bones and rocks fashioned into
beads that date back to the Cro Magnon. What is it about human nature that makes us
want to adorn ourselves? Why do we want to take beads and fashion them into necklaces,
bracelets, earrings, etc.? I don't know the answer, but I do know that I am drawn to
beads like a moth to the flame. I just can't resist.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Bead Market

For all of you bead lover's out there within driving distance of the Metroplex, there is a bead show coming up in Ft. Worth. July 25-26

Whether you are a newbie, or a seasoned veteran of attending bead shows you really should go check it out!

The last bead show I went to, I bought enough stuff to keep me busy for awhile. It is hard not to go a little overboard at these events.

Go check it out! It should be a fun time!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Hand made findings

Today's post is about handmade findings. Here are two examples of handmade findings available at . The top photo is of 20 1 1/2" sterling silver head pins with ball end. The 2nd photo is of 20 gauge sterling silver ear wires made with square wire.

I've taken up making jewelry again after about a 6 year hiatus. I had a lot of beads and findings already. All commercially produced. After I discovered Etsy, and started checking out all the wonderful and different styles of jewelry, I noticed that the jewelry made with hand made findings really stood out. There are even shops dedicated solely to producing hand made findings.

Never one to shy away from trying a new art, I dove right in. I got wire in different gauges, a small butane powered torch, pickle, liver of sulfur, even a tumbler! I have been having a lot of fun making findings. I really wish I had more time to dedicate to working with wire, and hope to spend more time concentrating on this in the near future.

One of the best discoveries I have made is that hand made ear wires are far superior to anything I have ever purchased that is commercially produced. The wire is stronger, stay in the ears better, and take a pair of earrings to a whole new level. Ear wires are not just there to hold your earrings in your ear! They are an important part of the whole piece, and can take your designs to a whole new level.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

When I checked my e-mail this afternoon, I had a message that an item of mine had been featured on a fellow Etsian's blog.

My little dancing panda bottle cap and I have enjoyed our first feature! Thank you Queenly Creations!

Cleaning and Organizing

Two things I hate, and it shows! I have beads and wire and bottle cap stuff spread out over at least 4 rooms in my house. It is time to organize and clean! Maybe I won't have to spend as much time searching for things now!

The coolest thing about organizing is finding things that I forgot I had. So, today's post is not exciting at all. I have to stop getting distracted! I want everything organized in hopes that it will streamline my creative process.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Bottle Caps

Bottle caps, bottle caps, bottle caps. This picture has a lot of reflections from the lights in the room, but you get the idea.

A friend of mine made a bottle cap necklace for her little girl. I thought it was the cutest thing, and decided to make some for my girls too. Luckily my friend willingly shares her crafting secrets and told me exactly how to do it and where to go to get the supplies.

Shortly after I started making bottle cap necklaces, I discovered Etsy. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE , Etsy. I can spend hours just browsing all of the brilliant art work. But, I digress. During one of my marathon Etsy browsing sessions, I discovered graphics already formatted to the size I needed for the bottle caps! Yay!!!

I quickly discovered that I was addicted to buying graphics on-line. It was too easy. I pick what I want, I pay for it, and the graphics are e-mailed to me usually within a couple of hours. No shipping fees, almost instantaneous gratification, relatively cheap, I was totally hooked! Each cute little image makes me want to own it. Just like each bead I run across.

That brings me to the subject of today's post. Bottle caps! I do enjoy making them for my girls, but as usual I have taken it to an extreme, and have more than they could possibly ever wear.

There is a local artists market in the town I live in. There was a lady there selling bottle caps on ball chains for $ 12.00 a piece. $ 12.00!!!!????? So, I listed some on Etsy for $ 4 to $ 5 a piece. I've sold 3. Oh well, at least the girls have a wide variety of bottle caps to choose from.

The other plus (or is it a plus?), all the unused bottle caps I purchased will be listed in Humboldt Supplies. I hope they can find a home and a use.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I went to a bead show a couple of weeks ago. Before I had even gotten there, I promised myself I wasn't going to go overboard. I was not going to buy anything unless I could really use it.

I did so good until I ran across these square/diagonal beads of Apatite. Are they not gorgeous? The patterns, lines, swirls, of varying shads of aqua blue. Some browns, grey, almost white too. Apatite!!! Where have you been all my years of beading that I have never had the pleasure of meeting you? You are beautiful and I love you!

I made these earrings to post in my Etsy shop.

I named them after the way I imagine the Mediterranean must look like.

I have a bracelet I am using these in. It is in the pile of things waiting to be finished.

I am continually shifting gears to a new project before an old one is completed. I plan on having a "Finish all un-finished projects" day soon. Right after I finish the newest earrings I am working on ;).


I've been thinking about doing this for awhile now. Endlessly mulling it over. What would I write about? Who would actually want to read it? Are there really other bead nerds out there? So, I have decided to just do it. Bear with me, I am kinda flying without a destination right now.

This first post is about me and my new tumbler. It's a Lortone 3A. It's the smallest one they make, I use it to tumble my handmade metal findings. I've had it for about a week, and have used it 4 or 5 times. The lady at the bead store (Wild Beads in Arlington, TX if anyone is interested) told me I didn't have to change out the water and solution every time I tumbled. It can be re-used several times until it gets nasty. So last night after doing a big batch of head pins and ear wires, I decided to see how my water was looking. NASTY! Time to change it out! So I dump out the nasty water and rinse my stainless steel shot, and let everything sit out overnight. This morning I decided to do a tumble to clean the shot and quickly threw it together and turned it on.
When I got home from the gym 2 hrs later it wasn't turning and the casing felt hot, then I noticed in my hurry I had forgotten to put the washer on before I screwed the lid down. I immediately panicked. Why aren't I more organized? Where is the receipt? Where is the manufacturer's warranty at?
I found the receipt 20 minutes later, and called the store. Of course they won't exchange it, any problems have to go through the manufacturer. I should have known! Just my luck.
I call Lortone and the lady that answered the phone was super nice. I told her my problem and she says nonchalantly, "Oh, it's probably just the belt." Like, no big deal. "It's a 3A right?" Like it must happen a lot with that model. Yes! I tell her, and she explains how to fix the problem. I was really impressed that a PERSON, and not some automated voice answered the phone and helped me! It turned out the belt had come off! She was right, and I fixed it! I was so happy! I really love that tumbler! It saves me hours of work!
I guess the moral of the story has turned into an ad for Lortone. If you need a small tumbler, the Lortone 3A is great, and Lortone has wonderful customer service.
I thought about posting a picture of the tumbler, but I don't love it that much, and that seems kinda geeky to me. :)