This week I've got someone you've never met here before, Pam from A Bead Thing. Now, I've been hanging out in the handmade world for quite a while; even before starting Reef Botanicals, I was a fan of craft shows, but I've never seen anything like this. Pam's work is really unique and beautiful.
This great mom and doting grandmother who lives in Florida had the guts to give up her day job as a realtor and get full time into crafting, a pastime she's enjoyed all her life. She now has a shop at Handmade Artists, where you can see her absolutely gorgeous jewelry.
She's got a style and technique, I've never seen anywhere else, but she's not averse to sharing it, as she teaches jewelry-making classes down in the Daytona Beach area.
She also does home shows within a 50 mile radius of Port Orange, FL. How much cooler is this than Lia Sophia or Cookie Lee? I can ID those brands of jewelry from across the room. But if you're wearing A Bead Thing, you'll be wearing a one-of-a-kind conversation starter!
Interesting thing... I've showcased so many artists here who got started when their parents or grandparents got them involved in creating. Well, Pam joined the artisan ranks by watching her daughter play around with beads instead!
And personally, I think it's a good thing she did!
Holiday commercials are on TV, holiday movies, showing on Lifetime. I've been getting Black Friday emails for a while. So I guess it's time to talk gifts, especially since Chanukah is early this year.
In addition to all the great gifts we've always had available at Reef Botanicals (and remember, if you want to do a custom gift basket, fish around the shop and see what you like then message me so we can make some plans!), there are some new things at Fabric of my Mind you should see, that I haven't shown you yet.
(the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything!)
And I suppose it's reasonable that my eyes, my 20/20 vision of always, my perfect eyesight of yore... would start to fail. (Sigh.) I finally dragged my sorry self to the eye doctor for the first eye exam I'd had since I was in 6th grade and they did 'em in school after I couldn't read some small print in a catalogue and had to have someone else read it for me. Yeah. Really.
It turns out I need reading glasses, though I'm hearing those more experienced than I in the eyeglass-wearing population call them "magnifiers" more than glasses. The prescription is for +1.5, which I gather isn't all that much.
So once my eyes undilated and I could see again, I dragged my even sorrier self to CVS and bought - count 'em - two pairs of reading glasses, since they were 2/$10 and it made sense to me. I picked two different styles, since I couldn't decide. One a thin metal frame in a hematite color, with rectangular lenses (Eric thinks these look better) and the other oval lenses in plastic frames in a classic mottled brown color my mother always called "root beer." (Most of my friends prefer these.)
And to console myself, I also bought some 75% off Halloween decorations. Because if you saw my recent Halloween post, you know I need more Halloween decorations. But then, you can never have too many Halloween decorations.
That was Saturday.
On Sunday, I decided to embrace my reading-glass-wearing self, and realized I'd need to bring them to work with me. That meant transporting them, and that meant risking damage. I needed cases!
So I made 'em.
And I matched them up with the two pairs of glasses.
I did them narrower so that your narrower style glasses, especially like reading glasses, won't slip out. There will be more forthcoming, but the one above is made from cotton paw print fabric, cream and black linen solid fabric for the contrast band, cuff, and lining, and a fleece layer between the outer and lining to promote the safety of your glasses.
... since I talked about the Handmade Artists Forum & Handmade Artists Shop. It's still going strong, stronger than ever, in fact, so if you haven't checked it out, you really should take a look. The shop is growing by the day with talented vendors. If you're serious about supporting handmade, this is a great place to shop, especially now for the holidays. The place is committed to 100% handmade wares, no mass-produced, no resellers, and they're serious about keeping out the riffraff.
Speaking of the holidays, one of the members made this terrific video to give you a sampling of what you might find if you wanted to start in on your shopping - don't forget, Chanukah is early this year!
And if you're an artisan, crafter, artist, or creator yourself, you really should join and visit the forum. HAF is committed to promoting all handmade, so whether you sell on HA or any other site doesn't actually matter. You can find lively discussion, support, a cheering section for your creations, constructive criticism, creating assistance and instruction, and even photos of the members' pets!
You know I'm incapable of leaving you without photos, so here are some of the things recently posted in the forum.
I took individual photos of the cows I made since each one's a bit different, and here they are!
This is the one I gave to a friend at work. Cows are her favorite animal, and she's been great to me since I started there. She said she wanted to buy one, but no way was I going to charge her. She's been too awesome, looking out for me.
Reef Botanicals candles are tons better than commercial junk! Want proof?
When we were burning candles for light for five days, we burned one of Eric's old commercial pillars and one of our pillars side by side.
Commercial candle on the left had a wick that wasn't right for the pillar. It burned a skinny little hole down the center, making it tough to light after the first use, hiding the flame, and giving off very little light.
Reef Botanicals candle on the right doesn't drip, but burns the right amount of candle, a nice wide section in the middle. It allowed for easy relighting each evening and lots of glow.
I hadn't even thought of doing a comparison run 'til I saw that. We rock!