Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sneak Peak!

Coming soon, at the beginning of July...

Did someone say steampunk?

A new line of hairsticks and jewelry is coming this way!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lots and Lots of Rain...

This past week has been very, very rainy.

Don't believe me?

This was the view from the front door last Tuesday:

I'll give you a hint: there's supposed to be a road there!

Yep.  The road in front of our house was completely flooded.  And not just mildly flooded...  There was at least 9 inches of water flowing down the street. 

Where did the water come from?  There is a creek nearby that completely flooded its banks.

See that bridge?  That goes over the little creek...
that wasn't so little anymore.

Another view of the creek overflowing the bridge.

What prompted it to flood so badly?  We basically got an entire day's worth of rain in less than a half hour--the ground just couldn't absorb it all so quickly.

Luckily, the water ran off relatively quickly...  In about an hour, the road was completely clear again.

Look!  I can see road!

Still, it all makes me very grateful for this morning's respite of sunshine!


Two other things of note: 

  1. Yes, I did go outside and take those pictures in the rain.  Because I'm just that dedicated.
  2. This actually happened on my husband's birthday...  It certainly made going out to dinner rather interesting, even though we left after the road was no longer flooded.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Things that Shimmer

This post serves no other purpose, other than to show off the fruits of my labor... and give just a little insight into why I name things the way that I do.

All that is Gold
Name inspired by a poem by J.R.R. Tolkien
(for the poem, look at the listing)

Deep Roots
Name inspired by a poem by J.R.R. Tolkien--
the same one as above, actually

Name inspired by the Ent from Lord of the Rings

Sorcerer's Apprentice
Name inspired both by the musical piece, as well as the
recent Disney movie

Name inspired by the Neil Gaiman novel
(which is on my list of things to read)

T.A.R.D.I.S. Blue
Name inspired by the many, many
years of watching Dr. Who

The Grey Wizard
Inspired by Gandalf, the Grey Wizard
in Lord of the Rings


Watermelon Tourmaline
Not a literary allusion, but a real life
connection--watermelon tourmaline
is a gemstone that contains both pink
and green

Hurray for a chance to post some shinies!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Adventures in 3D Modeling...

I am happy to say that--although absent from my blog--I have been very, very busy these last two weeks.  

Getting over being sick?  Check.  Making silmarils?  Check.  Making 20 new pairs of hairsticks to post?  Check.  Working diligently on a few custom orders?  Check.  Going to the park and soaking in the sun?  Check.  Doing lots of paperwork and grown-up things?  Check.

Of course, there have been a few... different... activities as well.  

Trying to make laser sounds using a metal slinky and a plastic cup?  Check.  Making magnets out of Tangled stickers?  Check.  Learning how to do a 3-racks in StarCraft 2?  Check.

And, as of last night, 3D modeling can go on that list as well.

I have only tried 3D modeling once before--and it did not go well.  I started with a cube, and ended with... a cube.  So, when my husband asked if I wanted to try it again, I was dubious.  Still, I found a tutorial and once more plunged into creating virtual objects--this time using an open source program called Blender.

Approximately 8 hours later, this is what I have to show for myself:

Yes, indeed, it is a balloon!

It might not look like much, but I am very proud of that simple balloon.  After all, not only does it look like a balloon from the front, it looks like a balloon from the back:

And even up close!

Since I am just learning, it took about 5 hours to work on the string alone.  (And I am probably going to have to re-do the string, simply because I can't get it to animate the way I currently have it...  Ah well.  It's all part of the learning process, right?) 

...I also made it a bit more complicated than the tutorial required.  The tutorial called for using simple shapes, and not that many structure points.


This is what my balloon looks like in the wire-frame view...

...and the smooth, surface view!

Do I have a long way still to go?  Of course. 

Am I happy with my progress?  Definitely.

Today, a balloon...  Sometime, in the next 10 years, the world!  

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Having a Hard Time Focusing...

I have been sick for the past week, approximately.

Fortunately, I am feeling much better.  

Unfortunately, I am also feeling really, really spacey.  

I am having a hard time focusing on anything; it's like my head is wrapped in layers of soft and fuzzy cotton.  It's not  uncomfortable, mind you...  just not very conducive to getting things done.

So, why am I writing this entry?  Mostly to make myself stop staring out the window (which I have been doing for at least the last half hour).  Also, to explain why I have not posted as many things to my stores as I would like.

And, lastly, as an excuse to post pictures of pretty clouds.

Hope everyone is doing well!  Hopefully I will get my head out of the clouds soon, and get back to work!

Monday, June 6, 2011

MLG Columbus 2011!

And now for something (almost) completely different!

I know that I spend most of my time blogging about my stores, and pretty things, and crafting/creating.  Yet, every once and awhile, I blatantly let my geek side show.  

This is one of those times.

So, what's the special occassion?  Well, this past weekend was MLG Columbus.  MLG stands for Major League Gaming, and it's a competitive video gaming league here in the United States.  They hold tournaments throughout the country... and I was able to go to the one in Columbus!

What game did I go to see?  Guess.

The banner suspended from the convention center ceiling.

Yep--StarCraft II.  Aren't you surprised?

I went with five other people, one of whom was my husband.  When we first arrived, it wasn't too crowded, so we wandered around to get a feeling of what was happening.  (And also to give our eyes a chance to adjust; it was very dimly lit, and filled with the glow of multiple computer screens.)

It did not take us long to realize that there were two main areas.  One of them was where most of the games took place--a few tables, with rows and rows of alienware computers.

Most of the players were doing warm-up matches when we first arrived.

The other place was the main stage.

djWheat and Day9, on the big screen.

We stayed in the front area for two rounds of games.  One was the set between the players Slog and Morrow, commentated by two of my favorite casters--djWheat and Day9 (shown above).  I almost got a chance to meet Day9--I was second in line to do so when he had to shift the line away from the door, and 50 people got in front of me.  I was so bummed!

The first game that we watched: Slog vs Morrow.

The second round of games that we watched on the big screen was casted by Artosis and Tasteless--two of the biggest names in the StarCraft world.  They work in Korea; it was a treat to have them back in the states!

Artosis and Tasteless--two big names in the StarCraft II world!

After watching those rounds, we once more took to roaming the venue.  It was there that we ran into a few big-name players.  One was TLO (The Little One), the other was iNcontrol.

The person in the very center, with his back to the camera,
is TLO.

TLO again, this time preparing for a game.

iNcontrol, preparing for his game against TLO.

I actually got to shake their hands--both iNcontrol and TLO--and got iNcontrol's autograph.  (I really, really wanted Day9's autograph...  I was soooo close...  Oh well.  I will get over it.  Eventually.)

And so, the day continued.  We went to lunch.  We watched more games.  We split up and reconvened and split up again.  Ultimately, we had a blast.  

There were only two drawbacks, though.  (And no, I'm not including the botched attempt to meet Day9).  

First: all of us were at various stages of being sick.  We would have stayed a lot longer had we all been feeling at our peak...  as it was, we probably pushed ourselves a bit too hard.  Worth it?  Definitely!  But I know that I, for one, slept almost the entirety of Sunday to make up for it.

The second drawback?  There were not enough chairs.

Case in point:

Picture from the back...  And, yes, I was sitting on the floor. 

Watching one of the games...  once again, sitting on the floor.

The only chairs in the entire place were up front, near the main stage.  Of course, they were prime real estate.  And, of course, we didn't get a chance to sit in them for more than a half hour.  (We were there for the entire day.)

And so, that was my time at MLG Columbus.  There were parts of it that were less than happy (missing Day9, the lack of chairs, being sick)...  But I would definitely do it again, in a heartbeat.  It was wonderful spending time with friends, it was wonderful being surrounded by other geeks, and it was wonderful getting a chance to see/meet some of the biggest names in the game.

Yay for being a geek!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Grand Opening!

It's here, it's here, it's finally here!  

I am happy to announce the Grand Opening of Shining Silmarils!

To celebrate, I'm having an opening sale for the month of June...  10% off your entire purchase!  Go to the store front to find out the coupon code!

And now for a glance at some of the new items.  

First, here are some pendants:

Black and White Masquerade - Silver Pendant

Imagination - Silver Pendant

Sunglow - Silver Pendant

Subtle Brilliance - Silver Pendant

Jubilation - Silver Pendant

Lovely, aren't they?

And, next, here are some magnets!  

Black and White Masquerade - Magnet

Dew and Rose - Magnet

Fire Mage - Magnet

There is still much, much more to come!  More pendants and more magnets and more rings and more...  I am bursting with ideas!  *happy dance*


...And, to show that I'm not ignoring my original store, here is the most recent listing at  Wonder and Whimsy.

Black and White Masquerade - Mini Hairstick

Now that my silmarils are tucked away neatly in their own store, I am excited to focus Wonder and Whimsy on the beaded lovelies that started it all.  Be on the lookout for more and more to come!