Wednesday, September 30, 2009

An Early Etsy Find

I found this etsy seller shortly after I joined the site, selling my jewelry. Mandinka is a mother/daughter team that makes gorgeous bags from reclaimed suits. Besides being eco-friendly, these bags are a marvel to look at. They are three dimensional collages of a form I had never before seen.

This is the Sir Franklin satchel I purchased nearly two years ago. I use it as a carry on when I travel, instead of a purse. It's pretty large and it holds my laptop, ipod plus all the other stuff that is normally in my handbag, with plenty of room to spare. The side pockets (aka - sleeves) hold little water bottles perfectly. There are other little pockets all over the outside and the inside. Can you tell that I love this bag?

Sometimes a good purchase is just so satisfying.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bad Girls of the North in Fairbanks :: Kahiltna Birch Works

One of our favorite vendors at our Bad Girls of the North craft fairs is Kahiltna Birch Works. Dulce and Michael East are the owners of this family operation. Their product line is extensive and I know it is all quite delicious, as I've tried just about everything they offer. Their birch syrup is intensely flavorful and their blueberry syrup is wonderfully unique. I also have a weakness for the Cranberry Sauce they create. Thanksgiving wouldn't be the same without it! I encourage you to visit their website and read their amazing story.

This is Dulce putting the finishing touches on her very inviting display.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Bad Girls of the North in Fairbanks!

We arrived home last night after our Bad Girls of the North craft show in Fairbanks. The show was off to a slow start Friday evening, which is usually extremely busy. Don't get me wrong, the crowd was huge, but the spending was not. Business picked up as the evening progressed, but most of us felt that it was a little "off". We chalked it up to the state of the economy.

Then came Saturday. Saturday was fabulous! After 12 years of doing craft shows, I must admit that I really can't predict the market. Here are a few photos of the event.

Our trusty and loyal Fairbanks girls, Elizabeth and Cynthia, who work for us every year selling our Bad Girls logo merchandise. We simply could not do this event without them.

A close up of our travel mugs (totally sold out), etched glass mugs and custom label chocolate bars.

Our t-shirt racks, which the girls attempt to keep nice and neat throughout the show. We know this is an impossible task! Picture dozens of desperate women trying to find their size.

Stay tuned for some more photos of some of the vendor booths!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Aqua and Brass Earrings

I reclaimed these beads from a very gaudy vintage necklace. These beads, along with many others, had an aurora borealis finish. This is great if you're trying for a flashy look, but it's usually too much for me. Used one-at-a-time, I really like these beads.

Above these deep aqua glass beads you see an antiqued brass beadcap. I purchased a bunch of wonderful beadcaps from one of my local bead stores. They are of a style I have not seen anywhere else. These particular caps have a swirly pattern that reminds me of tree bark.

These earrings are sale in my etsy shop.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - Swarovski Crystals

The Artbeads website has an amazing array of Swarovski crystal beads and components to choose from. I just received my first order from them and I'm thrilled with the contents of the package. It was a small package, but don't be fooled by the size -- Swarovski always packs a punch!

I ordered everything in quantities of two, with earrings in mind. This first photo shows some Flat Briolettes in 4 different colors. I can envision some beautiful earrings with these crystals that will take you from day wear to an evening on the town.

These following beads are called Cosmic and I've never seen this shape before. I ordered them in Copper and Red Magma and I love them both.

Twisted Coins are a classic shape, so I ordered some classic colors, Amethyst, Black Diamond and Golden Shadow. These are larger than I usually work with, so they will take some special planning on my part.

Last, but certainly not least, are these gorgeous Column Pendant beads in Satin. These will most certainly become a pair of earrings for me, me, me!

Stay tuned to see what I create with these lovely components from Artbeads!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Geting Ready to Hit the Road ...

We are headed to Fairbanks on Thursday for our 9th annual Bad Girls of the North craft show at the Westmark Hotel. This is a huge undertaking. We load our new, larger trailer and pick-up and we make Rick drive! When he started selling his jewelry at our craft shows, he instantly became our chauffeur. It's a long haul up to Fairbanks (6-7 hours) and the weather can turn nasty with no notice. This is something Carol and I have survived in the past, and it was not fun.

Anywho, back to my original thought when starting this post. I will be deactivating several listings in my etsy shop on Wednesday evening in order to take them to Fairbanks. So, if this following selection of items contains something you've had your eye on, the time to act is now!

You can click on each photo to go to that specific listing. Here goes:

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cranberries and Rosehips

I would guess that about half of the leaves have turned golden and have already fallen to the ground. Yesterday evening, while walking Xena around the backyard, the jewel-like clusters of cranberries screamed "taste me". Well, I know better. They are tarter than tart and will make you scrunch your face up in a nasty grimace. I prefer to just look at them. They are beautiful.

During the early summer, our yard is full of wild roses. Now, those roses have been replaced with rose hips. They too are lovely to look at, in their beautiful redness. Unlike the cranberries, these actually taste pretty good and are full of vitamin C.

And here's a close up of some rose hips.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


The holiday of Rosh Hashanah began last night at sundown. This holiday is the Jewish New Year. One of the rituals I like to follow every year is to bake the bread that is traditional for this holiday. That bread is challah, a rich loaf that contains lots of eggs. Other foods that are often eaten during this holiday are usually a bit sweet, even the main course. For dessert, honey cake is often served.

Here is the challah I baked yesterday. During the evening meal, we will dip a piece of the bread in some honey for a "sweet new year."

Happy New Year!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Dragonflies ... Again

I can thank two friends for my fascination with dragonflies: Diane and Chelline. They, the dragonflies, that is, are amazingly beautiful when airborne and equally interesting when, well, dead.

One day this past summer, I found 3, count 'em 3, dead dragonflies during our morning walk. Lucky I had my camera with me that day. Well, lucky for me anyway. Poor dead dragonflies.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Aqua Chalcedony Earrings

I may have blogged about these before, so forgive me if I repeat myself. These stones have proven to be quite popular! The color is a gorgeous aqua and chalcedony has a natural luster that's hard to beat.

Several pair have sold in my etsy shop and locally. I have a bunch more "matched up" to make more earrings. But what happens when there are no more matches to make? You beaders out there know what I'm talking about. You still have plenty of stones, but there are no two that actually look like a pair. It can be frustrating.

I believe that's why necklaces were invented ...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

September Birthstone ...

... is Sapphire. While most of us think blue when we think sapphire, it occurs in a wide variety of colors, including pink, which I'm featuring here.

This necklace starts with a rather large faceted nugget of pink sapphire. I topped it with a cluster of garnets, golden freshwater pearls ruby rondelles and faceted citrine rondelles. While this is quite nontraditional as far as sapphires go, the color combination seems quite regal to me.

If you have any September birthdays to consider, this necklace would be a wonderful choice! Click on the photo to go directly to this listing in my etsy shop and to see the necklace from some different angles.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Brass Earrings = Success!

I introduced my brass earrings locally at the State Fair. You've seen them here and in my etsy shop, but for my local customers, it was something very new. And guess what? They were a big hit. The price point is very reasonable and people seemed to like the vintage look of the antiqued brass.

This pair is my latest listing in my etsy shop. The glass
beads are two-toned emerald green and deep purple. The beadcap has a leaf design that I love. I've topped them with a purple glass bead and a small god filled bead. The antiqued brass lever back earwires offer great security and are comfortable to wear.

Click here to see all of the brass earrings in my etsy shop.

I haven't posted a tutorial in a long time. If there is anything in particular that you would like to learn about jewelry making, let me know by leaving a comment!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Fun and Whimsical Lampwork Necklace

I recently started using some of the wonderful lampwork beads I purchased from my friend Marcy. They are incredibly lifelike and the food beads make me drool!

This necklace is on sterling silver textured chain and I made the circle from fine silver wire.

The beads are a beautiful slice of watermelon, a chocolate ice cream cone and a miniature sand dollar. Aren't they amazing?

You can click on the photo to go directly to the listing in my etsy shop. And be sure to visit Marcy's etsy shop.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Red Tail Boa

Yes, we got brave. We had our picture taken while holding a Red Tail Boa. I think I stopped breathing for a few seconds while we posed for this photo. Brad's World Reptile exhibit was the best thing I've seen at the Fair in the 12 years I've been there!

That's Carol on the left with the Indiana Jones hat and I'm on the right wearing the Teddy Roosevelt hat.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Long Story ....

... comes to a conclusion.

I'll try to explain. During last year's election, Carol had made a bet with an old (conservative) friend of ours named Gary. The bet was all about whether or not Ted Stevens would be reelected considering that he was under investigation by the FBI.

Suffice it to say that Carol won the bet. Gary was supposed to give her a diamond and platinum ring -- HA! Well, he came to the State Fair on Tuesday with his friend MaryAnn and finally delivered The Ring. Isn't it amazing???

OK, back to the Fair. There's something magical about a ferris wheel at night.

Friday, September 4, 2009

In The Barn

I met some beautiful goats at the Alaska State Fair. I have a new found fascination with goats. They're adorable and they obviously have tremendous amounts of personality. Dearest Pricilla - please don't be jealous. You and your goat family at Happy Goats Farm will always be first in my heart, but these Alaskan goats were quite irresistible. These are all Nigerian Dwarf goats, just like Pricilla!

This little one is enjoying a bit of mama's milk.

This big guy (gal?) is trouble on the hoof, for sure. In this photo, he's (she's ?) trying to eat the Grand Champion ribbon that's hanging over his pen. The ribbon was obviously NOT for good behavior.

I'll close with this almost frightening photo of an award winning giant pumpkin. It weighed in at a whopping 594 pounds.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

State Fair Neighbors

The booth next door to our Bad Girls of the North building is one of the best food booths at the Fair. Rae and her crew make wonderful tamales with all sorts of non-traditional fillings like goat cheese with sun dried tomatoes and sweet corn and chiles. Rae's daughter Jennifer is on the far left and Rae is next to her. The other two women (can't remember their names!) are her invaluable assistants.

Good neighbors at the Fair are so important. At least a half dozen times during the Fair, Rae will run over to our booth with a complimentary dish of tamales, complete with a side of black beans and rice, just because. How sweet is that?

And I'll leave you with this photo of Carol doing something you just don't see every day. She's vacuuming the booth.

Stay tuned, because I visited the Barn yesterday and met some gorgeous goats. Not as gorgeous as Pricilla and Abby, of course, but gorgeous nonetheless. And I took some photos of giant Alaska vegetables.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Kenai Peninsula Racing Pigs

Yes, you read it correctly. One of the funniest features at the Alaska State Fair is the Kenai Peninsula Racing Pigs. A racing track is set up and they hold qualifying heats before the real race starts. I found it quite hilarious, but then again, I have been very tired with the hours I'm keeping and almost everything seems hilarious.

Here they are running at break-neck speed. NOT. They actually seemed to be power walking.

Now they are resting after such strenuous activity. I think they look pretty cute here. The trainer said that the pigs start racing at 11 weeks and race for about a year. We all know what happens after that.

The pigs have very humorous names, like Spamela Anderson (had trouble keeping her jersey on), Hamlet, Pigasus and Kevin Bacon.

Tune in tomorrow to meet our booth neighbors, The Tamale Ladies!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Bad Girls of the North at the Alaska State Fair

It has been a crazy, busy week. We finished setting up our Bad Girls of the North booth at the Alaska State Fair just in time for the opening at noon on Thursday, August 27. The booth looks fabulous this year. Here are a few photos that I took that day. Of course, many things have already sold, so it looks a little different now, 5 days later.

These are handmade mittens by Nancy Nolfi from Big Lake, Alaska. She starts with recycled wool sweaters. She felts them and turns them into these super-fun mittens with lots of surface embellishments like embroidery, needle felting and applique. She also adorns them with vintage buttons. They're absolutely adorable!

Get a good look at these perching metal ravens. They are made by our good friend Cindy Shake of Anchorage. We had a whole bunch of these (I think we started with 6) and we just sold the last one yesterday! I sure hope Cindy can bring us some more before the weekend starts.

The sweatshirt on the left in this photo is our latest promotional item. It is a pigment dyed zippered hoodie with great graphics. We decided to feature fireweed, which is a much loved local, ubiquitous plant. You can't see it in this photo, but there are a series of fireweed plants printed around the waist area. Our customers are responding nicely to this new item. On the right are our ever-popular toddler shirts and onesies.

I will be back later in the week!