Thursday, March 20, 2014

Wow, does time fly!

Hi, all!  I know, I know, I'm supposed to keep up with this blog!  I'm so sorry- I'm in a whirlwind lately, never knowing if I'm coming or going.  So:  lots to catch you up on!

I left the Bead Mavens group due to time constraints (I'm not kidding when I say I'm a busy bee!) but I still give them much love and respect.  :)

I'm still happily working with Mirrix as a share sponsor for their latest contest, the Social Market for a Mirrix campaign.  Many congrats to the 3 lucky winners!  I'm also a Mirrix Ware representative, so if you're local and want to see how a Mirrix looks, feels and works, let me know!

Things are moving along so nicely with Wubbers University!  (<--link) I will soon have 5 classes on the site (several are in editing mode now) and I also just obtained my Wubbers Certified Instructor certification and badge, woohoo!  I'll be putting it on my website when I get a copy.  I worked with the WU President, Lexi Erickson and the wonderful Kat Kramer (editor extraordinaire) on the writing of 2 larger classes on WU, the Bead Encyclopedia, parts 1 and 2.  Part 2 will be on the site soon, but you can find Part 1 there now!  I'm quite happy with the results.  They are an entry level introduction to bead types, brands, qualities, shapes, sizes, finishes, textures and vendors (where applicable).  I wrote both parts simultaneously, over a month or so, and people seem to love them.  You can find my classes under my name if you search by instructor, or just look in the "Beading and Stringing" section under the course listings.

Oh, and Tom is doing fantastic after his surgery, Sarah got her hair cut, we got a new couch (LOL)... and all is well at home.  :)

OK, I also spun out several looong tutorials and a few short ones, plus created all sorts of beady goodness, but I have a class soon and have to go, so I'll just post a few pictures of my new goodies and you can check out my shops (in the sidebar) if you're interested!

Ruda, tutorial not yet available (I'm debating on making one for this)

Flame and Darkness Pendant tutorial set

Alternate colorway for the Flame and Darkness necklace

Nox pendant

Stella Obscura earrings

Just for show- not available as a tutorial

Orthanc chain variations from the Flame and Darkness tutorial set

Much love!  Much hugs!  ~Val

Sunday, January 26, 2014

January in retrospect

Hi, all!  I know, I know, I don't post very often lately.  Due to my other blog duties and my busy schedule, I may only do monthly reviews until things settle down.

January!  Oh wow, what a month.  This month we had a family crisis, which my family and I are still slowly recovering from.  My son had emergency surgery on Jan. 4th and is slowly recovering.  He's doing well now- he has to take breaks more often and due to the major surgery and huge incision, he won't be up to par for 6-8 weeks, but it's been 3 weeks post-op and he is doing quite well for what he underwent.  Tomorrow he returns to school for the first time since mid-December when they went on Christmas break.

Due to our being in hospital for 8 days (I wasn't about to leave him alone there), I am slowly getting back on track with my own work and projects.  I have a lot of catching up to do and several projects in the works that need attention.  However, it will get done!  It's just taking me a while to adjust.

In amongst my returning to work and working on projects and my busy schedule, I got my hair cut, hah!  It's short and I love it.

What will I be working on next?  First, I need to finish a project I'm working on for Wubbers University.  Once that is done, I will be working on the tutorial for my latest design, the Eye of Sauron pendant based on the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Hang in there and thanks for your patience while my family and I adjust to life again.  :)  ~Val

Monday, December 30, 2013

News and a Freebie!

Hi, all!  Wow, it's been a long time since my last post.  I've been knee deep in other projects and my poor blog comes up late in the queue.  The good news is that I've been working on good things!  Onward and upward!  :)

I'm sure everyone knows by now because I've been shouting it from the rooftops, but I have just been chosen (and invited, and of course I screamed an enthusiastic yes!) to be an instructor at Wubbers University, an online jewelry school!  Wubbers University teaches metalsmithing, wire working, beadwork, metal clay work, you name it.  I'm so honored and excited to grow and evolve with this school!  My first class is being prepared and after the holidays I will be in their rolls as an instructor.  Squee!

Now for the freebie!  ~fanfare~  This is my Holiday/New Years gift to you, my loyal friends, family, fans, clients, colleagues.  Enjoy these and I'd love to see your finished earrings!  My email is in the tutorial if you'd like to send me photos.  I have a Client Showcase album on my fan page on Facebook  and I would love to share your photos.

Please respect my copyright and don't redistribute this tutorial.  You can easily link your friends to this blog and they can get their own copy.  Thanks so much!

For a downloadable and printable copy, you can find the tutorial on my website's Free Tutorial Downloads page.  Grab the other freebies if you don't have them, also!  My apologies for the ugly black frames- I can't seem to get rid of them in Blogger.  The downloadable version is prettier.

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!!!  <3  Val~

Monday, November 25, 2013

My Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Hi, all!  My local friends and family can all attest that they love my pumpkin bread!  It's the first thing they ask for for family events and holidays and everyone always asks for the recipe.  I thought I'd share it with you so you can try it!

It tastes different according to how you cook it.  For instance, if you use large loaf pans (2), it takes a long time (over an hour) to cook, the outer crust may blacken a tad bit on top but the inside is so moist and yummy.  It seems to me as if the spices are more pronounced when you make large loaves.  If you make muffins with the recipe, the cooking time is less (common sense) and if you take them out just when a toothpick comes out clean they are very nice and moist.  I've made cakes in large pans (9x13) and used cream cheese icing with great results, too.  Recently I've taken to using mini loaf pans.  I love them!  So cute and they're a great size to grab and run (which Mom does... she sneakily grabs one and runs).  :)

My pumpkin bread is 100% milk and nut free (my daughter is allergic).  If you'd like to stir in 1 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans it would taste really great.  You could also try some chopped, dried cranberries.  Oooh!  You know what would be cool?!?  Shelled pumpkin seeds (aka pepitas).  :)

So here it is, all typed up!  (I even painted the pumpkins.) Be aware that I don't time my recipes... I cook by smell.  If it smells good I check it.  It's always worked for me!  :)
Click the photo for a downloadable and printable .pdf version (scroll to the bottom of the linked page).

Enjoy!  Happy Thanksgiving!  If you have any great pumpkin recipes that are dairy and nut free, let me know!  ~Val

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Catching up!

Hey, y'all!  Wow, it's been a while since my last post!  My apologies- things get hectic for me this time of year.  Hmm, so what's new?  This is gonna be a long post, guys- get comfy!

Well, teaching is going fantastic!  I've been having such a blast with my ladies and making new friends!  I'm getting new students in my classes now and we just have a ball.  Fun, fun!  Our Thursday class this week had coffee and doughnuts.  Woo!  8 ladies all hopped up on sugar and coffee!  :)  It was great and we laughed a lot.

Tutorials!  I think I've posted 2 new tuts since my last blog entry:  Cirque and Pathways.

 Cirque Tutorial by VCArtisanOriginals

I'm linking to my ArtFire shop because I've discovered that most of my Etsy sales are "in house", meaning they come from Etsy browsers.  With that in mind, I may as well advertise my ArtFire shop!  :)  

Cirque is my version of herringbone stitch using Super Duos and seed beads.  It's a technique tutorial and includes a page of exclusive graph paper that I designed just for this tutorial.  

I finally managed to get my tutorial posted for Pathways!  This one was long-awaited and I'm happy with its reception!

 Pathways tutorial by VCArtisanOriginals

Pathways also looks fabu with Rullas in place of the bricks!  My friend Michel showed me her version using the Rullas and I like it very much!

Here is a sneak peek at my next tutorial:  Janet!  I created a netted necklace using Super Duos (of course... you know me!) as a gift for one of my wonderful ladies, Janet's birthday.  I have the tutorial illustrated and I just need to assemble and word it.  Life is hectic lately so I'll get to it as soon as I can.  

coming soon:  Janet by VCArtisanOriginals

Let's see... what else?  Oh!  I revamped my shops!  I changed all my cover photos:  I creatively cropped some, rotated others, switched out colorways on still more and splashed the "tutorial" ribbon on all of them!  It's been a big hit and I personally think my shops are pretty now.  :)  It was worth my day that I spent editing them all!  Here's a "before" and "after" of my Etsy shop:

Before:  lots of white space and smaller photos.

After:  larger photos, uniform lines and better cropping.

I also have:  3 bracelet designs, a necklace or two and some Christmas ornaments in the works.  Stay tuned!

So, what are you up to?  Any new projects?  

Sunday, September 8, 2013

A Gift for the Beading Community!

Hi, all!  Boy, I was up all night working on gifts for y'all!  I sure hope you will enjoy them!

As most of you know by now, probably around 90% of my designs incorporate Super Duo beads.  I got a few initial ideas for using them when I began to design tutorials and then ideas just exploded in my head!  I'm still not out of ideas just yet so I expect to be using them for quite a while.

I have been unable to find any graph papers that utilize the Super Duos so that's what I created for you!  I created these 100% free to use graph papers.  There are 5 graphs in all and I will probably make more if I can dream up any other Super Duo stitches.  Below is an example:

So!  Where can these treats be found?  [Right Here] of course!  I added a new page just for the graphs to my website,

Before you head over there, though, I have a quick blurb, copied and pasted from my graphs page on my site:  

This page contains absolutely free graph papers that I created by hand for the beading community.  These can be shared, printed, redistributed and used by bead stores and beading teachers.  Designers can insert these in tutorials without fear of repercussions.  You may use these on your website (it would be wonderful if you could credit me) Free means free!  I have two rules:  

(1) These will remain free.  Do not sell these blank graphs!  If you color one then you may do as you wish but the blank pages are my gift to beaders and designers alike and are not intended for resale.  

(2)  Please leave my name and website URL on the papers.  It's a small thing to ask for my time and energy in creating these graphs.  Please show respect and don't claim the actual graph papers as your own work.  (An exception would be if you are just using the papers for yourself and not redistributing them.)  If you print, copy, use for commercial use, post on websites or gift them to people I ask that you please leave my name in place.  

That's it!  Enjoy with my compliments!  ~Val

I really hope you like them!  They aren't mathematically perfect but they are hand illustrated.  That netting one took me hours to create.  :)  Please feel free to use these! Print them, email them, link to them, I don't care as long as you leave my name/website on them.  I want to be remembered for some sort of contribution to the beadiverse, hah!  Super Duo Goddess, yeah!  Enjoy!  ~Val

Friday, August 30, 2013

New Freebie on the Bead Mavens Blog!

Hi, all!  I'm very tickled with the reception so far on my post today on the Bead Mavens Blog!  I was a bit disappointed  that I worked so very hard on it and when I posted my screenshots the text was blurry.  :(  However, Mikki will help me to remedy that so I'll fix it when I can.  I've posted a link to my website where the tutorial is available as a free download.  I assure you it's not fuzzy!  :)

Here's the link to the Bead Mavens blog post featuring my free tutorial:

Enjoy!  ~Val