Monday, March 30, 2009

Ghanaian Powder Beads!

Back in January, my mom took a trip to Niger.  She picked up a couple strands of beads for me, and just sent them last week.  They came in the mail this morning, and look!  Aren't they cool?  I don't have any ideas yet, but I'm pretty excited to have them.   

She said someone told her that they were made in Ghana.  I did a little bit of internet research, and found Ghanaian powder beads that look to be in the same family.  So that's my story - my mom went to Niger and brought back two strands of Ghanaian powder beads for me.  

In other news, my dad just got back from Kenya, and sent me a box of 100 tea bags!  And I just got back from New Mexico, and have 8 tamales in the freezer (there were a dozen..hehe).

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Life has been pretty busy lately...  Being a grad student, school does have to take priority!  I'm taking microbiology this semester, and it's been 9 years since I last took a biology class so I have to put a LOT of work in.  Got some early mornings, so I tend to be tired a lot these days! (seriously, who ever invented 7 am labs??)  
Anyhow, if I seem a little, um, inactive in my creating-world, that's the why of it!  

Fortunately, spring break is coming up next week!!  Got a trip back to NM in the works - with a home show while there.  I'm not sure how much creating time I'll have, but I will at least be refreshed.  

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"fossil stone"

I have now received the mysterious fossil stone of which I spoke a couple posts down.  With a super quick scratch test, I have determined that it is in fact limestone.  Don't worry, I didn't scratch up the whole thing, I found a hidden away inside-spot, and just tested a little area.  As advertised, it is full of crinoid stems!  (okay, that wasn't advertised - "fossil-like patterns" were advertised, but the picture showed a piece with crinoid stems, which is visual advertising to me)

I was kinda hoping (but not expecting) that it would be silicified (ie, composed of quartz) since quartz has a hardness of 7, and is therefore less scratchable than limestone.  Limestone is comprised of calcite, which has a hardness of just 4, and is easily scratched by common items - such as a pocket knife.  (My pocket knife was used for this test)  Limestone also dissolves in weak acid.  Because of the softness and the dissolution, calcite just doesn't seem like an ideal gemstone to me.  However, I have to keep reminding myself that jewelry is exposed to much gentler conditions than outcrops and buildings!  The pendant will certainly hold up in normal use for a very long time.  

By the way, marble is metamorphosed limestone (or dolostone, a magnesium rich calcium carbonate).  Marble is also completely comprised of calcite (and/or dolomite).  The softness makes it a good sculptural medium, but the dissolution in weak acid means that anything exposed to the elements will be surficially eaten away in a relatively short time span.  (natural waters and rain are usually slightly acidic, and even more so if it's being affected by industry as is the case with "acid rain")

Monday, March 9, 2009

Voting is open!

Head on over to the EBW blog to vote for your favorite entry in this month's Temptation challenge!  Voting is open until midnight on the 15th.

Etsy BeadWeavers March Challenge - Temptation

Friday, March 6, 2009


Congratulations to Audrey, Billie, and Melody for being the three randomly selected winners!  I have contacted them all, and will be mailing their prizes off shortly.  They will be receiving buttons A, B, and C respectively. (not very creative names, I know..)  Congrats, ya'll - and enjoy!!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Of winnings and temptations...

First off, there are 3 randomly chosen winners to my giveaway!  I am in communication with the three recipients, and will be doing a more complete post on that soon.  

Secondly...  (drum roll please) I give you my March "Temptation" EBW Challenge entry - Sunrise Temptation.  Here is an excerpt from my listing description: "Give in to it, allow the radiant hues to wrap themselves around your neck! This OOAK (one of a kind) collar features mixes of reds, yellows, and purples/blues to create the image of a sunrise. Sunrise represents the beginning of a new day, and the promise of starting over. Sunrise tempts you to forget yesterday's mistakes, and tempts you to make today glorious."

For me, creating this necklace was also an exercise in resisting temptation.  One temptation for me (and all who indulge in this type of creativity) is to collect fantastic one of a kind, handmade beads.  Another temptation is to purchase new beads for every project.  Well...  that's all well and good when the budget allows.  Right now, however, I am a grad student, my husband is an adjunct professor at a community college, we're not going to have an income over the summer, and we'll be doing a lot of traveling.  We HAVE to stick to our budget in order to do that.  So rather than giving in to the temptation to spend money, I pulled out some of my imperfect beads - the ones that I bought when I first started beadweaving and didn't know what to look for.  The sizes are inconsistent, so I just don't use them much.  But blending together different colors for this wide collar was a fantastic use.  The only new component on the collar is the polymer clay button, which I created out of polymer clay already in my stash.

Now get ready, voting is coming up in just a few days! (I have never listed my challenge piece this close to the deadline before....)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Time Machine

*This is a public service announcement: You have until Wednesday the 4th to enter this drawing for one of three polymer clay beads!*

'Time Machine' is the theme for the EBW April Challenge!  I've started giving it a little thought, while also finishing up my 'Temptation' piece (eek!  only 2 days left...).

Now, there's no specific period in history that particularly jumps out at me.  And I do have a background in Geology, so my first thought was rocks.  After all, rocks and rock structures tell you about the earth's history so they're like little time machines, right?  My second thought was fossils.  I've done a little poking around online, and I've found a focal piece just covered in crinoid stems!  It's pretty amusing, though, as the description says the "fossil stone has tiny fossil-like patterns that cover the surface of this natural gemstone."

It's pretty clear from the picture that it's not fossil-like patterns....  it's fossils. hehe...  I guess I'll have to wait until I get it to determine if 'fossil stone' means limestone, or if it's silicified. (converted into silica - ie, quartz)    People won't be pouring acid on their jewelry, right?  So it won't be an issue if it's limestone (calcite effervesces in even weak acids, and limestone, of course, is calcium carbonate - ie, made of calcite!).