Sunday, December 29, 2013

My Birthday is Tomorrow!

…Not that anyone is really keeping track of such things, but I'm excited and thought I would share.

Having a birthday so close to Christmas is actually rather fun…
Especially since my awesome parents (their tree shown here) always
gave me distinct and separate Christmas gifts and birthday gifts.

Oh, and I think I may have sprained my knee. 

...Nothing too terrible, really. It no longer hurts when I'm resting, and it can actually bear weight. It's just enough to make it uncomfortable to walk.

So, I'm not walking. 

Instead, I am sitting here with my knee elevated… Cozy and comfy, safely home after a wonderful week visiting family for the holidays (the 9 hour car ride each way was a bit rough, but totally worth it). I am playing with my Christmas presents, and listening to my husband playing video games with his friends.

It's the day before my birthday.

...Life is good.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas...

This time of year seems so magical to me--light in the darkness, warmth in the cold, tingling anticipation filled with dreams and wonder.

I also realize that it can be hectic and busy and stressful... Things to do and people to see and a growing list of expectations.

And so, this week, I wish for you all things bright and beautiful, all things comforting and cozy.


...May your week be filled with light and warmth, contentment and laughter, and all things that make your heart sing.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog today... I appreciate everyone who stops by my little corner of the web. 

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Friday, December 20, 2013

O Christmas Bead...

Recently, I bought some beautiful Christmas-themed beads from the lovely and talented Juls, of Julsbeads fame... And, well, I wanted to show off what I made with them!

So, without further ado, I present:

A Christmas Set
...from start to finish

O Christmas Bead, O Christmas Bead... :)

(Does that picture look familiar? Yeah, I've posted it before. But, the beads are so pretty that I just wanted to show them off again!) 

Ooooo, it's a progress shot!

(I've posted that picture before, too, but it seemed appropriate to share it again.)

So, what did I make? True to my modus operandi, I made a necklace, a pair of earrings, and a hairstick!

Earrings and Necklace


And this set is all mine, mine, mine!


What I mean to say is, I plan on keeping it. I actually have just the right outfit to wear with it, too... Something happy and Christmasy and requiring a red-and-green-handmade-lampwork-bead jewelry set.

...And now, I suppose I should stop procrastinating and go wrap some presents. Wheee!

Have a wonderful day, everyone!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


It's probably no surprise that most people on my gift list get handmade jewelry whenever there is need for a present. In fact, it's always a bit of a surprise when I don't give jewelry. Yet, it does happen!

For example, for my sister's past birthday, I decided to make her some pillows.

Why pillows, you ask?

Because: octopus fabric!!

Yes, she loves cephalopods.

And, also, because she recently moved--and is now a homeowner! And what better way to celebrate a new house than with new pillows? ;)

Ultimately, I made two pillows... one with an orange octopus front and a blue back, and one with a blue octopus front and an orange back. 

All sewn up.

Ready to be stuffed.

I mailed them to her super late--but at least they got there before Christmas!

And, here they are--ensconced in their new home!

...They are even cat-approved! 

...This is my pillow.
Silly, you probably thought they were yours.

Birthday present... housewarming present... Mailed straight to her new house, so that she didn't have to pack them... Overall, I think it worked out well.

Hurray for octopillows!

...And now, it's time to finish all of the Christmas presents! ;)

Hope everyone is having a lovely day!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Revealed: Book Blog Challenge!

Ta-da! Here is my necklace for the Book Blog Challenge! I'm so, so excited to be sharing this! :)

In true Jenny-fashion, this entry is long-winded storytelling at its finest. So you know what you're getting yourself into, there are five sections to this post: the presentation of the necklace itself, the story of the necklace (a piece of fiction written for this blog challenge), the real-life story of how the necklace came to be, the translation of the book's text (you'll understand the need for this part soon enough), and my final thoughts.

And so, without further ado, here it is! 

The Necklace

"The Last Storyteller"

The Necklace's Story

His mother was looking at something small, something that he could not quite see. She was fingering it lovingly, holding it with the reverence given a precious thing. The look on her face was distant… sad.

“Mom?” he said, voice tentative.

She started. When she saw him, she blushed slightly, as if she had been a young girl caught in a daydream. Still, she did not hide what she was holding; through her fingers, Mannesh could make out the outline of a small book, hanging from a necklace. 

“Yes, Mannie?” she said.

Feeling awkward, Mannie forgot his errand. “Are you all right?” he asked.

“Yes,” she said, perhaps too quickly. “I was just thinking of your father.”

“Oh?” Mannie prompted.

She held out the necklace for him to see. “Your father made this for me,” she explained. “A long time ago.”

Mannie now saw the necklace more clearly, illuminated by the warm light of the candles. It was multi-stranded and elegant, and shone in the colors of House Aniad: purple and green and copper. Fitting, since she was the Storyteller of Aniad--and the last Storyteller in the whole of Elenan. 

And, hanging from the necklace like a pendant, there was a small book with a copper key emblazoned on the cover. 

“A book?” he asked.

She smiled a sad smile. “Yes, Mannie. A book.” She looked at it, drew her finger along the chain. “The only written copy remaining of the Story.”

Mannie blinked. “But the Tyrant burned them all,” he said incredulously. “He burned everything.”

She nodded. “Yes, he did… But he could not make us forget. Your father… well, he wrote this down for me, from memory.”

“The entire thing?” he asked, incredulously.

She handed it to him. “The entire thing.”

Mannie tentatively opened it, and saw the neat and flowing lines of Ishuan, spelling out the words the Resistance was based on. On the very first page, there was a simple dedication: lié lannel sa. To my love. He looked at it in wonder—awe—and then looked at his mother. She was crying softly, unashamed.

lié lannel sa - to my love

“You miss him, don’t you?” He realized it was something unnecessary to say, but he could find no way else to acknowledge her silent strength—as she waited while her beloved was captured, far away in the Tyrant's dungeon.

If she was surprised by his openness, she made no indication. She only nodded.

Mannie suddenly felt that he had intruded on his mother’s grief, and passed the necklace back to her. “Dad is going to be all right,” he found himself saying. “We'll figure out a way to get him out.”

“I know,” she said, with a faith he did not understand. She sighed. “I know. But for right now, I miss him.”

There was a silence. Mannesh did not know what else to say; he did not know what else to do. Yet, in the end, it was his mother who cast off the quiet--wiping off the tears, and standing firm in her hope.

“Still,” she said. “Until then, at least we have something to remember him by... and the Story isn't completely dead.” 

She reached up, then, and put the necklace back around her neck--the book resting close to her heart, the small key catching the candles' glow.

It did not look like much--just a small book, hanging from a necklace. But, it was more than that... It was love and memory. And hope. Perhaps... perhaps, it would be all right in the end. Tentatively, he put his arm around her shoulder. She rested her head against him, leaning on him, taking his offered support

“Everything is going to be all right,” he said, and was surprised that he actually believed it.

Vani karanimé li,” his mother responded in Ishuan, reciting the last line from the Story itself. 

The last line: I believe it.

The Story of How the Necklace Came to Be...

Here are the components that went into making this necklace.
Well, except the larger, 12mm amethyst and chrysoprase beads...
those are for matching earrings, to be made eventually.
With the exception of the book, everything was purchased at World of Beads.

This tale--the tale of Mannesh, his parents, the all-important Story, and the Resistance against the Tyrant--is actually very close to my heart. You see, this is the main plot of a novel I've been working on for the last ten years. (Yes, ten years--it's been slow going, as I've been getting sidetracked with other projects.) 

The above passage is actually part of the first draft of said novel, written specifically for this Book challenge. It takes place near the beginning of the novel, while Mannesh and his mother, Cedar, are in hiding from the Tyrant. Mannie's father, Immeth, has already been captured by the Tyrant's forces, and capture is imminent for them as well. 

You see, Cedar is the last Storyteller--the Storyteller of House Aniad. As such, she is the last holder of the ancient culture that the Tyrant is trying to stamp out through his invasion. He has burned all copies of the Story; he has even made speaking the native language, Ishuan, punishable by death. 

And it is this Story that Immeth has written down, from memory, to give to his wife--a symbol of their love, and a symbol for what they believe in. A symbol of hope.

Now, granted, I had absolutely no intention of using Mannesh's world when I signed up for this Book challenge. In fact, I had planned on doing something like I've done for my Etsy store, writing a tale set in the Landus Fantasticus--which is another world I'm working on. It's considerably much lighter fare--a twist of fairy tales--and I thought it would be light-hearted and playful. 

But that changed when I saw the book I had received.

When I opened the package, I saw that my book was copper and green: two of the three colors of House Aniad. All it needed was purple.

It was meant to be.

So, when my husband took me bead shopping at the World of Beads, my local beadstore, I may have gone a little nuts buying the colors of Aniad.

All but two of the components that I used came from that local bead store--the copper wire that I used to create the links, and the copper filigree pieces that connect the multiple strands, being those two exceptions. 

Everything else--the Czech glass, the chrysoprase, the lepidolite, the Swarovski crystal bicones, the copper findings--all came from the World of Beads.

Now, that explains the colors. You might be wondering about the leaves and the keys... 

Well, the leaves are important because House Aniad is situated in the forest. As such, leaves are a symbol of this House. The keys are important because, well, Cedar carries around a small copper key. Of course, it isn't much, much later in the book that you find out what it unlocks. ;)

Once I had all the components, I did one preliminary sketch for how I wanted it to turn out... And, although I never looked at the sketch again, the finished necklace is almost exactly as I first conceived it. Again, it was meant to be.

Preliminary sketch...
please pardon the less-than-detailed depiction of what I had in my head.

And that left the book itself. 

I knew that I wanted it to be a section of the Story--the section that Immeth had written down from memory. So, for the pages, I hand-dyed white paper using tea, to give the pages a well-loved and aged look. Then, I wrote out the text (see the next section for information about that). With the text written, I then hand-sewed the signatures together, and then attached them to the book itself.

And that is how this necklace was created--everything falling into place, as if it was simply meant to be.

So, what does the book actually say? Find out in the next section of this extremely long blog entry.

The Book's Text

Since the book's text is important, I figured I would include it too. The words are also from Mannesh's world... In fact, they are from the Story--the Story that, spoken in Ishuan, lays out the beliefs of Mannesh's culture, before the Tyrant took over. (The Story that Cedar has been entrusted in keeping, making her the Last Storyteller.)

The section that I wrote out is from the end of the Story, from the Final Song of Rejoicing. It is written in Ishuan, using the Ishuan alphabet. And, yes, Ishuan is a conlang--a language I have created completely, from the phonetics to the sentence structure, with its own grammar and rules.

Here is the text, presented in three different ways.

Ishuan text in Ishuan Alphabet 

Ishuan text in English Alphabet
Ivik anafia, nav’dreveléath era anitha lannétha shi’alithian. Lannétha shi’hilathnimesh i’nemurai tan i’vethresuai. Lannétha shi’bevanés lashinth. Nav’iveshnéath tan nav’jehnimasa sasheth javan Sawétha shi’yereshnés vanel. Vani vea’kolanev; vani vea’hanimé. Vani karanimé li.

English translation

With wonder, look at what love has done. Love has healed the sick and the brokenhearted. Love has conquered death. Rejoice and know peace, for the One has delivered us. I will sing; I will hope. I believe it.

Final Thoughts

So, there are the stories of the Last Storyteller Necklace. Thank you, thank you, Sara Lukkonen of C Koop Beads and Lorelei Eurto for putting together this challenge! I have been absolutely honored and humbled to be a part of it, and I hope that my entry shows my appreciation.

And thank you for reading this far! I am honored to share my stories with you, and I hope you have enjoyed this foray into the world of the Last Storyteller.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Peppermint Swirls

...I'm waiting with bated breath to post the Book Challenge Reveal! (Just want to make sure the official post goes up first.)

In the meantime, though, I wanted to share more Christmas Candies! This time, peppermints!

Peppermint Swirls

Hairstick pair in bright red and green

Earrings in bright red and white

Solo hairstick in dark red and white

All can be found newly posted on my Store.

Hope everyone is doing well! :)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Custom Order - Slytherin Hairsticks

Just a quick entry to show off another custom order that I've been working on!

Slytherin Hairsticks

This particular set was a great deal of fun--not just because the customer is wonderful and fun to work with (and, no, I'm not just saying that), but also because I've already been working on hairsticks for each of the Hogwarts houses.*

I was so excited when I found that snake for the dangle! :)

Christmas is approaching, and I'm on the final stretch of customs. Woo!


* - Incidentally, those Hogwarts hairsticks are all done, and will probably be listed after the Christmas break. 

In case you're curious.

And, no, the non-custom order Slytherin stick doesn't have a snake--that's specifically for this order. I could only find one. But, it's still going to be cool! :)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Christmas Candies!

Just posted to my store today!

The Great Candy Ball

And Earrings!
Made in Green...


...and Red!


Thank you for looking! :)


...I have more holiday inventory that I'm trying desperately hard to finish and post, but I'm honestly not sure if it's going to happen. Both my husband and I seem to have come down with The Crud, and I'm moving along at the speed of cold molasses.

Also! I'm sure that I'll mention it again, but just a head's up: my Etsy stores will both be closed from December 16th to January 3rd--for Christmas, for my birthday, and for my sanity. :)