Monday, June 29, 2009

New in Shop: Gaia Bracelet

I've always admired the Jens Pind (pronounced yens pint) chain maille weave. I like the rope-like nature of it (both the looks and feel of it), but also that it's very intricate and delicate at the same time that it's strong. It's a captivating spiral weave and for some reason, despite how much I love it, it took me until this past weekend to sit down and try it for the first time. Needless to say, I was hooked. It works up fairly quickly and feels nice in the hand.

I've also had it in my head to make some multi-strand bracelets for a long time now, combining the intricacies of chain maille with the earthiness of gemstones. Working up a pure copper Jens Pind chain, the thought occured to me that this would be the perfect marriage. I'd like to introduce to you the Gaia Bracelet.

Gaia is a Greek Goddess also known as Earth Mother. She is the earth and all the power of the earth. Gaia was the original deity at Delphi, for she is the giver of dreams, mantic oracles and prophecies. She is a reminder that we must ground ourselves in the reality of nature and incorporate all sides of ourselves, be they pleasant or unpleasant, light or dark. All bodies eventually return to her, into the black, fertile earth, to be devoured and to receive her life to live again.

The Gaia Bracelet is available in both Athena's Armoury Artfire Studio and Etsy Shop.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Simple Joy Sunday

I don't feel like there were many simple joys this week with all of the hell that broke loose at work, but I took a shot at it...

~My cell phone has been dying a slow, painful death for probably about a year now. Recently, however, it got worse: even with a new battery in, it wouldn't hold a charge and then the screen died. After a bit of research, I ordered a phone that will hopefully fit a number of needs (and, in addition, it makes & receives calls!). It came this week and I love it!! Not only is it a snazzy new toy, but a lot of it's functions make my life easier. Love that.

~We've been going through a bit of a drought lately and even had some heat advisories this week. Finally, on Friday it rained. And it rained. And it rained. Our grass certainly needs the water, but when I got to work, my legs and feet were soaked. I was so grateful and overjoyed that I was able to put my pants and socks in the dryer in the wardrobe room! My sneaks were still wet, but it's better than being completely soaked all day.

~I had been avoiding joining Facebook for such a long time because of all of the fine print in their Terms of Service, but finally succumbed this week. It actually has been a lot of fun finding old friends and seeing what they are up to. Plus, it's a great time waster.

As always, check out more Simple Joy Sundays over at Cool Zebras.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hard Times

There was a rumor a few months back that there were going to be layoffs at the theatre where I work, but then nothing happened. You can imagine the shock when on Thursday, 20 out of 140 employees were let go. And not just minions either, a lot of them were people who have dedicated twenty years of their life to the place. The building is calling it a restructuring which basically means that they can totally eliminate those positions. We were told on Thursday that these cuts are all that's planned for now, but we have been informed that the situation may be re-evaluated in the future.

On Friday, my little three person department had a meeting with my boss's boss and were told that our department is overstaffed and that we have approximately two months to come up with a plan to justify the expense of all three of us. So much for this is all that's planned for now. And, hello? We're the production department and we only have three people. The purpose of a theatre is to put on shows. Why is it that our little three person department that runs the stages is overstaffed, but finance and education who have like thirty people in each isn't? This is where the restructuring is coming into play again: somehow, they want us to figure out how to combine our jobs with jobs in Education, Food & Beverage, A/V, etc. By saying that we can do other people's jobs, doesn't that sound like they are trying to eliminate the people currently in them? This is so fucked up.

I am grateful to still have a job, but who knows what will happen in the coming months. I spent the last couple of days pretty much sick to my stomach, but hopefully after some time that will ease up. I know I bitch about my job, but the thought of not having that paycheck scared the Hell out of me this week. I'm hoping to find solace by doing some yoga later and with my maille. In the event my blog posting and item listing is even more sporadic than usual, well, now you know why.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday Finds - Strong, Confident Woman

If you've been following my blog for any amount of time, you probably know that I am inspired by strong, confident women. Today's Friday's Finds features an empowering poem, my most favorite quote, and the inimitable Louisa May Alcott.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

New in Shop: Alienmaille Bracelet & Hana Gusari Chakra Anklet

This past weekend, there was a heat advisory going on in FL. Seems strange since it's always insanely hot here over the summer, but I went along with it and tried to stay in inside. Having the tail end of my head cold actually made me want to stay inside anyway: the air was so thick, I could hardly breathe. I wanted to do something for Athena's Armoury, but I wasn't necessarily feeling up to mailling (a sinus headache and looking at little jump rings just doesn't work so well for me). It's been a long time since I had a maille photo shoot for a couple of reasons:

1. Picture taking, editing, and listing is not one of my favorite parts of selling online so I tend to procrastinate doing it.

2. Things have been somewhat quiet in the shop, so it seemed a little silly to me to keep listing new items. I'd have a ton of inventory in the shop and I firmly believe that people only look at the first couple of pages anyway.

I did read at some point, though that new items get more love and attention that renewed ones, so I guess we'll see how true that is because I spent some time taking pictures, editing, and creating listings. I already shared with you my Aeracura Necklace which I listed over the weekend. Here are a couple more new items in both my Etsy shop and Artfire studio:

Alienmaille Bracelet available in Etsy Shop and Artfire Studio

One of the reasons why I love the classic Euro 4-1 chain maille weave so much is because of all of the variations that can be done with it or using it as a base. Alienmaille is one of those. It is simply two layers of Euro 4-1 woven together on top of each other making it look like a much more complex weave than it truly is.

Hana Gusari Chakra Anklet available in Etsy shop and Artfire Studio

The word chakra is Sanskrit for wheel or disk and signifies one of seven basic energy centers in the body that run from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. Each of these energy centers has a specific color and symbol and control different aspects of the body and being.

Japanese chain maille was more often than not used as a decorative element or in combination with padded steel plates or to connect plated armor. It is not as strong as it's European maille cousins, but this flexibility gives this type of maille a beautiful flow to be used as jewelry.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Simple Joy Sunday

Monday morning I was smacked with a hardcore head cold. And of course, did I call in sick, oooooh no... I also just don't understand summertime colds -- they just really shouldn't exist. Here it is the weekend and it's not totally gone yet. Blech. I am grateful, however, that it was just a cold and didn't turn into something worse.

Scott has been working on building some entertainment towers for our TV room (the one that had to get rebuilt last summer) for a very, very long time now. On Tuesday, I came home to them nearly complete! It was so exciting to see that room in such better condition! Then, lo and behold, by Saturday they were completely done! Check 'em out:

Athena's Armoury has continued to make me happy this week with another custom piece discussion. Nothing is set yet, but it sounds like a fun project if it happens.

I had inspiration this week to add another themed blog post (in addition to this one!): Friday Finds. I'm really looking forward to sharing & exploring and look forward to hearing what you'd like to see. You can see the first installment here.

I actually did finally call in sick on Friday. After working a twelve hour day on Thursday, I only had four hours to put in on Friday and decided it just wasn't worth it and that I'd rather stay home and try and get some rest instead. While I was showering, I had an idea by osmosis for my faire tent. I got out of the shower and started sketching a little bit. There's still a lot to think about and work out, but it's a start!

Really got into a groove on Saturday taking pictures. Taking pictures, editing, and listing: although necessities to online selling, has never been my favorite part. So, when I get into a groove and actually get some done, it's a good day and I'm grateful that I had the wherewithal to do it.

As always, check out more Simple Joy Sundays over at Cool Zebras.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

New in Shop: Aeracura Necklace

In honor of this weekend's summer solstice, I just listed the Aeracura Necklace both in my Artfire Studio and Etsy Shop.

Aercura is a Celtic and Germanic goddess who multitasks as an Earth Mother Deity, a fairy queen, and also as a bridge between earthly life and the hereafter. She is especially fond of assisting artists and inventors. Aeracura is a goddess devoted to blossoming.

This fun, summertime, hippy style choker necklace is infused with lovely flower glass beads. They are set inside a Romanov pattern in the Byzantine chain maille weave. The metal used is bright aluminum which is 1/3 the weight of steel and just as shine as sterling silver at a fraction of the cost. The necklace measures 17" including a lobster clasp and 2" extender chain to vary the length.

Don't forget to check out the Summer Solstice Sale at Athena's Armoury, too!!

Summer Solstice Sale

Ancient Pagans celebrated Midsummer with bonfires, when couples would leap through the flames, believing their crops would grow as high as the couples were able to jump. People believed that mid-summer plants had miraculous healing powers and they therefore picked them on this night. Bonfires were lit to protect against evil spirits which were believed to roam freely when the sun was turning southwards again.

ummer Solstice falls at the precise moment when the Sun's power is at its zenith. It is the time of year when the noon sun appears to be farthest north from the celestial equator. "Solstice" is Latin for "sun stands still" (sol "sun" and sistere "to stand"). Summer Solstice is so named because to the naked eye the sun appears stationary in its northern and southern progression. It is the longest day and shortest night of the year. " There's a really informative article on the Summer Solstice/Midsummer here.

In honor of the summer sun, Athena's Armoury will be offering Free USPS Shipping Worldwide all weekend. Also, receive a Free Euro 4-1 Bracelet by simply using the code "Bonfire Hopping" in the Notes to Seller Section when you check out.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday Finds: Athena

For the first ever Athena's Armoury Friday Finds blog post, the items featured will be in honor of this blog's namesake: Athena. Athena is the Greek goddess of wisdom and war. What many people don't know is that she's also the patroness of crafts and metalwork (appropriate for my maille shop, no?). She often appears attended by an owl and accompanied by the goddess of victory, Nike. At the time of her birth, she burst forth fully grown from Zeus's forehead armed wearing the Aegis and weilding a thunderbolt (which she and Zeus share exclusively). Athena planted the first olive tree in the city of Athens, which provided the people with food, firewood, and shade. She showed them how to crush olives to make oil, that could then be used in a variety of ways. She is an astounding goddess and there is so much to learn about her. In her honor, I present Athena's Armoury's Friday Finds: Athena.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Themed Blog Posts Starting With Friday Finds

I used to love the Etsy Finds Newsletter: I thought it was so much fun skimming through the themed e-mails and maybe finding new artists I wouldn't have otherwise come across. Lately, however, I've become a bit disillusioned with it: there are often themes that I have no interest in and more often than not, I see the same sellers over and over again. Don't get me wrong, these sellers are amazing artists and have great pieces, but one of the reasons I liked the newsletter so much was the introduction of new faces.

For a while now, I've been thinking about doing a few themed blog posts a week. I'm going to start with Friday Finds featuring a few themed items. For those of you who know me or feel like you might through this blog, you'll probably notice my affinity for strong women, jewelry, the unconventional, crafts, the beach, environmental awareness, and the medieval and renaissance time periods. That should give you some idea of the themes you will find... Also, please let me know of anything specific within those themes that you'd like to see!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Simple Joy Sunday

I've let my Simply Joy Sunday posts fall by the wayside lately: I went through a few weeks of an insane work schedule and an extended visit from mom.

I already touched on a few amazing things things that have been going on with Athena's Armoury (Etsy shop & Artfire shop) this week with this post and have been having a great time working on promoting the Etsy Yart Sale (today's daily special is announced here on the blog and in my shop announcement).

Speaking of the Yart Sale, the blog post scheduler that blogger offers has made me so incredibly happy this week! It helped me get my Yart Sale Daily Special announcements organized at the beginning of the week so I could focus on other stuff for the daily promotion of the sale.

I was also overjoyed this week when I realized that Scott & I will be able to afford to go on vacation even if only for a long weekend after all! Not only that, but Scott's also looking into getting us some bikes. We had talked about getting them before and our trip will be a fun opportunity to tool around town with them. By the way, who knew that bike shopping was so complicated?

The previously mentioned work insanity and visit from mom also put my workout schedule on hold. I started working out again this week for the first time in about three weeks. Yeah, it was painful to start up again, but I'm feeling strong and so much better about myself already! I'm glad to be back: I still have some work to do before I feel like I'm simply maintaining the work I've done. I'm getting there!

Monday, I was bored to tears at work. It was a bad day. It was one of those days that I go out of my mind and am fairly depressed by the time I leave. But Athena's Armoury, researching vacation options, reading blogs, and keeping in touch with friends kept me so busy on Tuesday and Wednesday that the days just flew by. That makes me incredibly happy.

I spent a glorious day off on Thursday (16 hour work day on Friday made up for it!) where I got to play with my pliers and make a new maille necklace and lounge by the pool reading my book. On a side note, I tweaked my bad wrist yet again so I should probably get back to the doctor and have him help me sort it out.

Friday night at work allowed me to work on another maille necklace! Two done in as many days: that's not bad considering how slowly I've been completing stuff lately. I'm hoping to take some pictures and have them listed with a blog post this week.

As always, check out more Simple Joy Sundays over at Cool Zebras.

2nd Annual Yart Sale on Etsy June 10-14: Day 5 of 5 Daily Specials!

Today is the last day of the huge Etsy-wide Yart sale! For more information on the Yart Sale check out this blog post.

Athena's Armoury is continuing to offer
Free First Class USPS Worldwide Shipping

all week!

***Athena's Armoury Daily Yart Sale Special for Sunday, June 14, 2009***
Free Euro 4-1 Chain Maille Bracelet with your purchase over $15!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

2nd Annual Yart Sale on Etsy June 10-14: Day 4 of 5 Daily Specials!

Are you participating in the Yart Sale? I hope it's going well for you!! For more information on the Yart Sale check out this blog post.

Athena's Armoury is continuing to offer
Free First Class USPS Worldwide Shipping

all week!

***Athena's Armoury Daily Yart Sale Special for Saturday, June 13, 2009***
15% Off Your Entire Purchase!
Either wait for a revised invoice or you will receive a refund via Paypal.

Friday, June 12, 2009

2nd Annual Yart Sale on Etsy June 10-14: Day 3 of 5 Daily Specials!

Have you taken advantage of any of the amazing Yart Sales going on yet? Share links in the comments below, I'd love to see what you got! For more information on the Yart Sale check out this blog post.

Athena's Armoury is continuing to offer
Free First Class USPS Worldwide Shipping

all week!

***Athena's Armoury Daily Yart Sale Special for Friday, June 12, 2009***
Free surprise Chain Maille Pendant with your purchase!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

2nd Annual Yart Sale on Etsy June 10-14: Day 2 of 5 Daily Specials!

I've been having such a blast browsing through all of the amazing sales Etsy artists are having right now for the Yart Sale! For more information on the Yart Sale and my previous Daily Special check out this blog post.

Athena's Armoury is continuing to offer
Free First Class USPS Worldwide Shipping

all week!

***Athena's Armoury Daily Yart Sale Special for Thursday, June 11, 2009***
Receive a free surprise pair of Gemstone Earrings with a purchase of $20 or more.
If you'd like to let me know your favorite color, I'll try to accommodate your request! Just let me know in the Notes to Seller section when you check out.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

2nd Annual Yart Sale on Etsy June 10-14: Day 1 of 5 Daily Specials!

Athena's Armoury is thrilled to be taking part in the 2nd Annual Etsy Yart Sale from Wednesday June 10th-Sunday June 14th, 2009! The Yart Sale is being sponsored by Etsy Supply Street Team (Team ESST). ESST describes a Yart Sale as an artistic spin on the traditional Yard Sale: Art + Yard Sale = “Yart Sale”. To find out more about the sale visit ESST's blog or the Storque article. You can also visit ESST's FAQ thread on Etsy.

Athena's Armoury will be offering:

Free First Class USPS Worldwide Shipping
throughout the length of the entire sale in addition to
daily specials to be announced here on the blog and shop announcement.

***Wednesday, June 10, 2009 Yart Sale Daily Special:***
Free Chain Maille Cell Phone Charm with your purchase!

To find out what other shops are offering today (they might also be offering different specials daily throughout the sale), visit the Etsy Forum thread (there will be a new thread each day of the sale).

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

From Yesterday's Blues to Today's Excitement

Sorry about that downer post yesterday, but I now have some excitement to counteract it!

First of all, I woke up to an overnight Etsy sale: my Chain Maille Rosette Watchband. Sales in general still have not gotten old and, for some reason, waking up to them is even better. I just think it's so much fun knowing that someone was mysteriously scoping out my goods overnight and some kind of magic happened thus creating a sale. The selling fairies were with me during the night!

Next, a past customer has contacted me about doing another custom piece for her! Our first collaboration resulted in an amazing (if I do say so myself) purse which I need to share with you in another post.

And the last bit of Armoury excitement: a girl I work with has commissioned me to make her a chain maille ring. We first started talking about doing a European weave similar to the one at right (available in my Etsy shop or my Artfire shop), but using gold, sterling, and copper and making the weave a little denser. The design changed drastically today when she saw the diamond shaped Japanese 12-2 ring I'm wearing. I showed it to her as an example of something and she loved it. So, now we're going with that in gold and sterling. It's going to look amazing in those metals. Plus, this is the first opportunity that I have had to work in gold, so I'm very excited.

On a personal note... As you probably gathered from my last post, I'm kind of desperate for a little bit of fun. Work has been dragging me down for a while and it's been a long, long time since I've been able to get away (we bought our house two years ago and have spent every extra dime we have dealing with some stuff). After looking at our finances, it just didn't seem like it was going to happen again this year, but I didn't give up looking. Today, I found some hotel rates over in St. Augustine that I think we'll be able to afford for a nice long weekend away. There's a beach there, a fort, a fun walking around area, and supposedly a really nice museum. Then Scott came up with a fun idea: we've been talking about getting bikes for a while now and this might be a great opportunity to get a couple to tool around the town. I probably shouldn't get excited yet because we really haven't made plans yet, but I can't help it!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Fighting the Work Blues

I used to be a stage manager for touring Broadway shows. I loved my job. I love theatre. I loved the sheer spectacle that I was a part of and entertaining people. Because I was in a new theatre on a regular basis, things changed for me all the time keeping things new and making me have to think on my feet. It was terribly exciting.

Then (after a decade on the road) I decided that I didn't want to travel anymore. I was tired of dealing with airport security. I was tired of not sleeping in my own bed. And I was tired of only getting to see Scott for a few weeks out of the year when we weren't on tour together.

Now, my job is a lot less exciting and I find myself with more down time than time actually spent doing anything constructive. I love to be busy. Being bored makes me eat and makes me despressed. I find that I've become extremely frustrated being at work and doing nothing when I know how much I could be getting done at home (common amoung crafters and artisans wishing to be self employed). On the plus side, I'm still in my field.

I'm tired of feeling like this. On days when you just aren't feeling it, what do you do to help you get through the day?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Woman Warrior: Sojourner Truth

A Brief History
Sojourner Truth was born a slave in 1797; she was bought and sold a number of times before gaining her freedom when New York emancipated slaves in 1827. Throughout her life, Truth was a dedicated abolitionist and suffragist. Upon learning of the illegal sale of her 5 year old son, she took the issue to court and became the first black woman to go to court against a white man and win the case, and thus her son. She worked alongside the likes of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frederick Douglass, Lucretia Mott, and Susan B. Anthony. During the Civil War, she helped recruit black troops for the Union Army. In 1865, while working at the Freedman's Hospital (set up to treat former slaves) in Washington, Truth rode in the streetcars to help force their desegregation. In 1870, Truth tried to secure land grants from the federal government to former slaves, a project she pursued for seven years without success. While in Washington, D.C., she had a meeting with President Ulysses S. Grant in the White House and years earlier she had met with President Abraham Lincoln. In 1872, she returned to Battle Creek and tried to vote in the presidential election, but was turned away at the polling place.

Ain't I A Woman?
In 1851, Truth attended the Ohio Women's Rights Convention in Akron, OH where she delivered her famous speech Ain't I a Woman, a slogan she adopted from one of the most famous abolitionist images, that of a kneeling female slave with the caption "Am I Not a Woman and a Sister?"


by Sojourner Truth

Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that 'twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all this here talking about?

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what's this they call it? [member of audience whispers, "intellect"] That's it, honey. What's that got to do with women's rights or negroes' rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?

Then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain't got nothing more to say.

After more than a dozen years of campaigning, lobbying and fundraising, a bust of Sojourner Truth was unveiled in the U.S. Capitol. Fittingly it now stands in Emancipation Hall, but it is expected to be moved to a place of special honor in the Rotunda.

Learn more about this amazing woman at the Library of Congress.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Woman Warrior: Joan of Arc

May 30 was the feast day of Saint Joan. Julie, of Mermaiden Creations on Etsy wrote a magnificent blog post in her honor. I highly recommend checking it out and learning more about this determined, courageous, and confident woman.

An insane work schedule and visit from mom took over my life for the last couple of weeks, but things are finally slowing down. I desperately need a day off to regroup, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen until Friday. In other news, my little betta fish that had the tumor like lump on his head has gone to the fishy afterlife.