Happy Thanksgiving!  

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Yay, Thanksgiving Day is here! I love watching the Macy's Day Parade on Thanksgiving Day morning. I've got a cup of Joe in hand and the TV's set to NBC--where you can see all the live performances. (And since I'm a native New Yorker I call it the "Macy's Day Parade" -- no Thanksgiving in the name.)

Today, I know of friends and cousins who are out there braving the cold to watch all the floats--from Tom the Turkey at the front of the parade to Santa at the end--but I'm watching from a cozy hotel room about an hour away from Manhattan. I'm in my slippers and my hubby is next to me with his matching cup of coffee in hand. It's a great way to start Thanksgiving Day together.

This year Rick Astley performed his hit "Never Gonna Give You Up." What a surprise! A blast from the rockin' 80's -- when music was good!

The Smurfs also had a float in today's parade. I'd say they're a not so great blast from the '80's--at least their signing left something to be desired.

We also watched a special on the History Channel called "Inside Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade." It explained how floats are made--and I've decided that when I'm tired of making jewelry, I'm gonna have to get a job at Macy's Parade Studios. It sounds like so much fun--carving models for floats from clay, making plaster casts, marking off where there will be seems in the fabric, constructing and inflating the huge finished balloon.... What a job!

Colorado's Wonderful Bead Shops  

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It's been a while since I've been home to see my parents in Colorado. And Mom has been wanting to show me some of her local bead shops. Colorado is such an earthy, inspirational place--so it's not surprise that the bead stores here are something special.

First, we visited The Bead Lounge in Longmont. This spacious shop offered unique handcrafted jewelry--made using beads, natural stone, polymer pendants, dichroic glass, and wire. They also had a wide selection of flat cut stones that can be used in bezels.

I picked up turquoise and purple agate slices with gorgeous colors and striations. I can't wait to get into the studio to design jewelry with these pieces.

Then Mom took me to see the Bead Bling Beads Co. in Loveland.

There, I met shop owner Donna Sena Keirns, who just happens to be a fellow Etsy seller. She explained that her father, Ralph Sena has been a silver smith for 40 years, and that he has been teaching her his secrets to making beautiful silver jewelry. Originally from New Mexico, Donna's pieces reflect the spiritual nature and earthy colors of the land there--many include the turquoise stones that are the signature of this region. To see her work, visit SenaBeadBling.etsy.com.

Bead Bling Bead Co. is housed in a small space, but they carry a very nice selection of glass beads, pearls, and natural stones. I was lucky enough to stop in on a day when they were having a 25% off sale. (And Donna told me that in the next few weeks, they'll be slashing prices even more to prepare for a move into a larger space!)

I like to pick out pearls in person, as opposed to ordering them online sight-unseen. At Bead Bling Beads, I made some great finds and came away with elegant pearls and bold green turquoise chips.

Thanks Mom, for showing me such wonderful bead shops! Now to decide what to create with my beautiful finds.

Rose Buds Vintage Market & An Etsy Artist  

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Oh what a fun day! Visiting with my parents in Colorado, my Mom took me out to see the artsy shops in Longmont. We rambled along Main Street and into Rose Buds Vintage Market & Gathering Place and found so many beautiful, handmade treats at amazing prices.

I couldn't resist these sweet, summery scented soaps made exclusively for Rose Buds by Serenity Naturals. I brought home one of each--Lavender and Mt Clover scented.

And Rose Buds has so many gorgeous, homemade aprons... I couldn't pick just one!

While looking through all the remixed vintage jewelry and artwork, I was excited to come across the work of a fellow Etsy artist, Heide Murray of AllGoodWishes. Her wonderful collage jewelry--which she makes using vintage optometrist test lenses--is on display in the store and can be seen on her Web site.

At Rose Buds they even offer jewelry making & altered art classes. And on Wednesday afternoons they are a gathering place where people can play Scrabble and Mahjong.

What a cool place! I wish there was a store like Rose Buds in my town.

"Tea for Two" or "And Then There Were None"  

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It's official, the first snowflakes of Winter 2008 fell in Virginia today! When the alarm clock went off this morning, the weatherman was talking about flurries. And at noon, when I looked out the window, the first lacy flakes were drifting in the air. How exciting! Time to think warm thoughts.

I usually like to chase the chills away with a cup of strong coffee or a steaming mug of cocoa, but one day while I was working in my studio and listening to Alison Lee's Craftcast podcast, I learned about another cold-weather treat--Vanilla Caramel Truffle Tea. With a generous spoonful of honey, this becomes a sweet, smooth, comforting concoction. (The caramel is the key to it.)

Unfortunately, I only bought one box of these delicious tea bags and my stash is now dwindling. To make it worse, I can't find them at my grocery store anymore.

I'm so worried about running out of these silly tea bags that on Sunday I actually did a tea bag taste test--looking for a replacement. I bought several teas with "vanilla" in their mix, and while my husband watched football, I was in the kitchen pouring cup after cup of tea for myself. Ughhh... yuck. I felt like Goldilocks -- this one is too nutty, this one is too orangey, this one is too spicy... Despite all the beautiful packaging, none of them was "just right."

So my search continues. I did go directly to the Lipton Tea online store and placed an order, but the site is a bit clunky--so I am not confident that I'll ever actually receive any tea bags from them.

Oh, Vanilla Caramel Truffle Tea you're so sweet and good. Who's gonna warm me up on cold days when you're gone?

Santa Baby, Slip Some Etsy Under the Tree for Me  

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I woke up this morning thinking that I really ought to make gift certificates for my Etsy store--for anyone who wants to buy handmade gifts, but isn't sure what their giftee would really like.

To get started, I cruised around Etsy for a while to see how other artists handle gift certs. Then I spent the day designing my own. I just finished posting them online, and I'm thinking they look pretty sharp. = )

After seeing all the amazing products on Etsy, it dawned on me that I should start putting other artists' gift certificates on my Etsy Favorite list. And then when people ask for my wish list, I could tell them to go to my Favorites list for ideas. Wouldn't it be awesome to wake up Christmas morning to find an assortment of handmade goodies and gift certificates from Etsy under the Christmas tree?! Oh yeah!

Etsy sellers with gift certificates:
Brass Hussy
Mama Beth Bling
Shop Marigold
Mom Potter

Bazil Essentials
Sweet Petula
Lemon Oak Studio
Mud Stuffing pottery
Sweet Grocery Bags

My Year of Living Dangerously  

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I had to show you this... It's my Money Box Glitter Mary!

I picked it up at Borders Books, of all places. I'm not sure why a nice store like that is selling such an irreverent item, but since I'm an incurable Magpie--drawn to anything that sparkles--and just happen to be Catholic, I am totally loving Glitter Mary! I may need to make a glittery shrine so she can stand watch over my studio. Maybe I'll glean some ideas from Jane Wynn or Michael DeMeng. (I was lucky enough to take classes with both of them at Art & Soul Hampton 2007, and love their shrines! They don't use glitter, though...)

Anyway, since it's Sunday, my day started with a quick trip to Church. Today was one of those great days when I felt like the readings were picked just for me. The first one spoke about how precious a good wife is, "She is far more precious than jewels..." Hee! This one always make me laugh, and I have to elbow my husband as if to say, "Yeah, Mister. You should thank your lucky stars for a girl like me!" But the joke is that I am completely aware he's got his hands full with ME, and I'm the one who should thank my lucky stars!

Then the gospel talked about how God will reward us for using the gifts He has given us. (Matthew 25: 14 - 30) No kidding! This year I have reaped the rewards of focusing on my artistic talents and passion for making jewelry. In fact, it was a year ago on Nov. 7 that I resigned as newsletter editor/writer/designer/one-woman show, and began to pursue art as more than a hobby. While it definitely has been a ton of work, I'm amazed at the rewards and pleasures it has given me.

I've set up a legit business. I'm selling my work in galleries and at fairs. And I now have time to take silversmithing classes during the day, which was impossible before. In fact, I actually have a life now! And probably the greatest reward of all has been that I have made so many new friends--lots of them are artists--and we inspire & support each other.

It has been an awesome year! And I love what has happened since I gave in and began using my God-given talents full-time!

An Empowered Woman Spends A Day At the Fair  

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Ahhhh. The car is unpacked, the displays are stowed, necklaces are back in their protective bags... It was a long, but fun day at the trade show and craft fair.

Mrs. Claus visited my table--and even bought one of my necklaces for her daughter. (Who even knew Santa & Mrs. Claus had children?)

I made sure to represent Empowered Women International, while I was at the fair. I figured what better place to let people know about their amazing Business Training for Artists program than at a fair sponsored by and for business women.

And for the first time ever, I had the pleasure of donating one of my necklaces as a raffle prize for a great cause--college scholarships for Fauquier County High School students as well as a Lord Fairfax Community college student. It's great to use my powers for good!

Now, I'm tired. And I'm looking forward to spending some quality time with my hubby. Think he's been missing me since I've been spending every spare moment prepping for this fair and holiday sales.

Whistle While You Work  

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I'm still getting ready for the sale this weekend.

The batch of new Magpie's Treasure pendants is ready to be strung onto silver chains.

All of my sterling chains got a polishing last night, so they are gleaming.

And I've spray painted the angels that I bought at Pier 1 on Thursday. They were dark brown, but needed to be silver to coordinate with the rest of my booth. I love how they turned out! Now I need to decide what will be the best way to display my jewelry.

Fauquier Business and Professional Women Craft/Trade Show  

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What an amazing day! I made jewelry all day long and couldn't be happier!

This morning & afternoon, I went to my silver jewelry design class at The Torpedo Factory in Alexandria. I continued working on the small sterling boxes that I started a few weeks ago. I'm soooo close to finishing them and am really happy with the way they are turning out. Now I need to decide what I will display in them.

Then, on the way home from class, I sto
pped off at Pier 1 Imports in Manassas. I bought some wire Christmas decorations that will be perfect displays to hang my necklaces on.

And right now, I'm up late (again!) making soldered glass pendants to sell at t
he Fauquier Business and Professional Women Craft/Trade Show (this Saturday--November 15, 2008, 9am to 3pm, Fauquier High School, Warrenton, VA).

It feels so good to have so many creative tasks on my "to do" list.

L-O---L-A, Lola  

Posted by: Jodi Flood

Still working "The Kinks" out between my blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

"The Time Has Come," the Walrus said.  

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Well, the time has come to start blogging! There's so much going on in my world and with my amazingly talented friends. I can't wait to tell you about it.