Mini Marvels - HappyTortoiseSupply

It Mini-Marvel time!

I know it's amazing, but I actually have a SECOND Etsy-Man for you...I know, they are such rare creatures we all think they've become extinct! :)

HappyTortoiseSupply is an absolute sweetheart who has the bizarre knack of being able to hit the 00 count in all our threads. We won't hold that against him though...;) He's a super talented cutter and a super talented designer, as attested by his second shop HappyTortoiseDesigns, with a great sense of humor and a huge Tortoise for a wonderful pet. Sometimes, I picture him smiling when I read what he's written.

I asked him to give us a little taste of his passions and here's what he has to say.

I came into my art through an unlikely source – science. I’ve always been a science nut and math geek. Probably because that’s what I was good at right away, so I went with it. By high school I was doing higher calculus and physics equations in my head, but couldn’t draw a straight line. Unless I was trying to draw a curve. No kidding, that bad.

Which is a shame, because I love art. I’ve studied art, art history, modern art, etc. I can appreciate it in all it’s forms. I always felt left out that I couldn’t participate because what was in my head couldn’t be brought out.

In comes my muse – rocks. When I first started dating my wife, she had some specimens all over her apartment. Geodes, faced pieces of jasper, minerals, etc. I was fascinated by them. I learned their names quickly, and wanted more. That lead me to collect and study minerals. Thousands of them, every type, every formation, every color. Nature is a better artist than any human could ever hope to be. My love of science and art found an unlikely perfect union.

Then at a local rock show I saw someone demonstrating cabbing. I’m good with my hands, familiar with tools and machines, so I thought “I could do that.” I wandered over and watched the guy running through his full routine. I knew I’d want to try my hand at it, but no such luck. The machines were too messy and noisy for an apartment.

Fortunately, we moved into a house (with a good sized garage for studio space) about half a year later, and the odyssey began. Now I cut every chance I get.

I think this background gives me a fairly unique approach to the stones. I can appreciate the patterns, inclusions, colors, and implied images in the slabs I work with. I can look at a slab and see both the minerals and formation as well as the scene. I don’t cut the stone just to make a cab, or try to force a scene. I let the picture come to me and try to free it, accentuate it, and highlight it. The art is already done by the Earth. I just try to translate it for other people. It is a good bridge between my appreciation of others’ work, and finally being able to participate.

Which leads to the metal work. Cutting a stone is all well and good, but then... what to do with them all? Sure, sell them. But all of them? No, I had to do something more.

I enrolled in the jewelry program at North Seattle Community College, and had the honor of working under the tutelage of Lynne Hull. One of the best in the nation, I’m told. And believe.

Again, I found a pleasant melding of art and science. Shaping the metal, soldering, fusing, cutting, casting... hands-on art, no doubt. But also the metallurgy, understanding how the metal reacts, alloys... Oh yeah, I’ve found my art. Rock and metal.

After a few years of limited studio time, I feel I’m just coming out of my artistic infancy. I’m pushing my schedule for more studio time, pushing my skills to expand what I can do, learning how to market and run a business, so I can sell my work. The final goal is to become self supported doing what I most love. But the process of getting there is so enjoyable, that I'm in no particular hurry.


The joy of lapidary is that the stones are so individualistic so buying from one is NOT like buying from another!


Orange You Glad...Treasury

Yay! Was wandering around the pounce for fun and noticed that Treasury Main was coming up. All the piece in this treasury are from shops who recently sold something!

Feel free to click and comment if the treasury is still active! Doing so helps to promote all the wonderful pieces in the collection!

Orange You Glad...

Sunday Showcase - Timeworn


Each Sunday Showcase features one item from six wonderful shops based on a predetermined theme.

Want to have a chance to be selected for a Sunday Showcase? It's really simple!

♥ Check out the current Sunday Showcase thread running in Promos on Etsy to find out the theme for the following week
♥ Comment in the thread if you feel you meet the criteria (or if you want to bump it up for others...;)
♥ Comment on this post and tell me which of the six items is your favorite and why. Don't forget to post your shop URL so I know who is who!
Only shops who comment in both locations will be considered

Here's the current thread!

That's all there is to it! Simple, right?

The thread will be open for participation until the Friday of the given week. Saturday will be used to go through selections and create the mosaic!

Shops CAN be featured multiple times, but I will never feature a shop more than once in a 3 months span. I will be keeping records of who is chosen so as to do my best to follow through on this promise.

All items will be tweeted on my Twitter page and the link to this blog entry posted on my Facebook Fan Page.

All types of artisan crafts, vintage & supplies are up for consideration so don't be shy!


Black Friday Sale in FULL SWING! Woohoo! UPDATED!

Finally, after all the prep and all the waiting, The Etsy Black Friday Weekend Extravaganza is FINALLY here!

I can't tell you guys how excited I am about this!

I've already sold/reserved 8 pieces and this was before the sale even officially began! Now added 1 more sale!

I'll try and keep a running tab of the pieces that were sold through-out the weekend...:)

I am offering 10-30% off items in my SALES Selections Section in shop. Prices have already been reduced with the percentages indicated for fast and easy checkout!

I hope to see you all there!

Pieces sold:
Grapeful necklace
Charmony necklace
Creme-Brulee necklace
Quintessence necklace
Quintessence earrings
Waterfall necklace
Waterfall earrings
Paperclip Parade necklace
Heart Breaker earrings

EtsyQ in Color! Treasury

I hadn't made a treasury in honor of my team mates in a while and so I chose to put one together. I can in JUST in time to catch Treasury West...:)

If the Treasury is still active when you see this, please comment and click to help promote this incredibly bunch of people!

EtsyQ in Color Treasury


Lavender & Lime treasury!

AbbeysAtticDesigns was kind enough to feature me in her lovely treasury not only as a main placer, but also as an alternate. I really should ask which was the alternate! *lol*

Take a gander for yourselves and feel free to click and comment if the treasury is still active when you see it!

Lavender & Lime Treasury


Mini Marvels - Lapidarious

It Mini-Marvel time!

Today I have a totally inspiring, absolutely wonderful Etsy Man for your delight to discover...:) There aren't that many of them out there, so it's good to appreciate the ones we have!

Lapidarious is one of the best sources of fine quality cabochons on Etsy. His cuts are not only technically precise but he also seems to find the parts of the stone that just sing...the parts that truly show off Mother Nature's hidden beauty. Aside from cabbing, Lap also has a GORGEOUS collection of high-end gold/silver-worked jewelry at JoyfulCrow which feature his cabs and he's just started a rough slab shop called LapidariousSlabsEtc for other cabbing enthusiasts to be able to continue the lapidary traditions he so loves.

I asked him to talk a little about what he's about and here's what he had to say.

Its always been a thing between me and the Planet.
Just being here,absorbing the surroundings and seeing how it all interplays.
That dance between elements that goes on continually all
through everything including us serves to fascinate and illuminate.
I am so blessed by this world to be able to feel the things I do and
be able to express it in metal and stone.
The very stuff the world I stand on, is.
When the work is in step with that dance, that makes me feel the most peaceful.
Sometimes its an elusive moment, sometimes its an endless summer.
The rock and metal of the Earth is a powerful medium.
I think it has much to say on its own.
And such a sweet dance partner.
If I can just keep in step.

Lapidarious is an extension of JoyfulCrow, where I couldn't get
lapidary the way I wanted or finished to the degree I wanted.
While collecting stones minerals, gems and fine lapidary rough, precedes my
jewelry involvement, cutting and sculpting gems is a fairly recent
thing for me. I have been around lapidaries all my life , but just
didn't have the hands on. Around 6 years ago I started reshaping small
cabs, and bringing up better shines and removing faults in commercial
stones. Pretty much all with my Flexshaft. Went from there to an Ameritool set up and on to a Titan. And A LOT of cutting. The addition of my own stone work to my jewelry is a big plus. But lapidary is so inspiring to its own, I haven't gotten as much bench time in the last few years. But my cutting is getting excellent.
I guess theirs a balance there.

Thanks so much for letting me ramble a bit about Lapidarious

So much to choose from at whatever level of craftsmanship you are!


Sunday Showcase - Saturated


Each Sunday Showcase features one item from six wonderful shops based on a predetermined theme.

Want to have a chance to be selected for a Sunday Showcase? It's really simple!

♥ Check out the current Sunday Showcase thread running in Promos on Etsy to find out the theme for the following week
♥ Comment in the thread if you feel you meet the criteria
♥ Comment on this post and tell me which of the six items is your favorite and why. Don't forget to post your shop URL!
♥ Only shops who comment in both locations will be considered

Here's the current thread!

That's all there is to it! Simple, right?

The thread will be open for participation until the Friday of the given week. Saturday will be used to go through selections and create the mosaic!

Shops CAN be featured multiple times, but I will never feature a shop more than once in a 3 months span. I will be keeping records of who is chosen so as to do my best to follow through on this promise.

All items will be tweeted on my Twitter page and the link to this blog entry posted on my Facebook Fan Page.

All types of artisan crafts, vintage & supplies are up for consideration so don't be shy!


Mini Marvels - Chrissilynn2

Hello gang and welcome to the second first installment of this lovely little feature where I get to quickly highlight some of my friends, team mates and personal inspirations. I started this way back in spring and decided to relaunch it because it's a way for me to share those I consider a part of my family with you...:)

Today we have the super sweet Chrissilynn2 who happens to share a passion for nature's treasures with me. I was lucky enough to meet her and a wonderful assortment of friends through my forum explorations on Etsy.

She's also recently started her OWN cab shop: chrissicabs

I asked her to talk a little bit about herself. Meet Chrissi!

My love of gems and jewelry design started at a very early age, and was heavily influenced by my childhood. My Dad was a wonderful craftsmen with wood and I used to frequently help him in his shop growing up. He taught me how to appreciate the natural variations and beauty within the wood, which I naturally translated into stone. I also learned how to handle the tools with ease and think outside of the box when it came to using them too. In addition to Dad's influence, a Rock and Mineral show would set-up every year at the community center right behind our house. I would spend all day, all weekend admiring all the beautiful gems and was facinated by the fossils. Those poor vendors were probably sick to death of this nerdy kid by the end of the show!

As it turns out, and after a long time of denying it, I started my foray into lapidary design this past weekend. It feels like I've been doing lapidary my whole life! I couldn't believe the peace I felt come over me after I started grinding that first stone. Uncovering the beauty within the stones give me such inner joy and I'm so happy and fortunate to be able to share my gifts and passions with others.

Shannon, thank you so much for featuring me and allowing me to talk about my passion!


Enjoy her gorgeously organic pieces and beautiful cabs!


Gemstone Spotlight - November 09

As someone who is becoming more and more fascinated by stones, I thought I would share my burgeoning passions with all of you...:)

This feature will hopefully be posted once a month whenever I come across something that compels me to write about it. Of course, many of the stones I will highlight will be some of my favorites, but I would be very happy to take suggestions!

Amazonite is my favorite stone. There's just something about it that makes me love it. Perhaps it is the variety the stone comes in. Perhaps it's the beautiful green/aqua hues and amazing texture. Whatever it is, I fell in love with it at first sight...:)

Gorgeous Amazonite & Smokey Quartz crystals from Colorado

A huge deposit of Amazonite & Smokey Quartz crystals from Colorado

Type: feldspar group (alkali family)
Chemical composition: KalSi3O8...Potassium & Aluminum Silicate. Green coloration comes from Iron impurities.
Hardness (Mohs): 6-6.5...vulnerable to pressure and scratches, but good enough to wear everyday. Best for necklaces and earrings.
Colors: varies from pale yellow-green to saturated blue-green (most desirable). Often seen with other stones included such as smokey quartz, schorl (black tourmaline) and albite.
Clarity: Amazonite is opaque to translucent. It is rarely transparent and has a vitreous luster.
Types of cut: Most Amazonite is cut into cabochons or beads. It is rarely faceted.
Locations: The main ones are USA (Colorado especially), Russia, Ethiopia, Norway, Canada (Ontario & Quebec) & China. (There are many more locations as this mineral is spread throughout the globe)
Other names/Misnomers: Amazon Jade, Amazon Stone
Enhancements: Can be impregnated with colorless wax, paraffin or oil, through high temperature heat treatment. This is to enhance the color of the stone and improve it's appearance.
Care: Amazonite jewelry should be stored in a separate container so that it will not be scratched by other harder stones. Do not clean Amazonite jewelry in an ultrasonic or steam device. A soft cloth, mild soap and warm water should suffice to clean the stone.

A gorgeous piece from Ethiopia...This location is considered hot competition for the Colorado Mines

Though Amazonite can be found pretty much anywhere on the world, not much is known about it and it's still considered rare. This can be attested by the lack of information at Mindat.org.

Many people believe that the stone was named after the Amazon river in Brazil but so far, no one has found any Amazonite there, though the stone IS found in Brazil. Another legend is that the Amazon Warrior Women would give the stone to men who passed through their land. For what exactly...not quite sure!

A lovely piece from Norway displaying Schorl (black tourmaline)

A close-up of the Schorl crystals seen in many Norwegian specimens

What is so wonderful about this stone is that location determines it's color, look and stone mates. Russian Amazonite is probably one of the most distinct with it's deep teal tones and defined white striations. Colorado & Ethiopian Amazonite are a clean, bright aqua with the US specimens often found alongside smokey quartz crystals. Norwegian Amazonite seems to be newest on the market in bead form and is almost always seen with black tourmaline and white/pale gold accents in a gorgeous shade of aqua. Canadian Amazonite is comparably softer in color, but has similar striations to it's Russian cousin. China's version leans much more towards green in color and is often seen with muscovite. So far it has been found only in small, but high quality, quantities.

A lovely example of the most commonly known & recognizable coloration of Amazonite from Russia

A much less known & stunning specimen of translucent Russian Amazonite

As with many stones, Amazonite is believed to have mystical healing properties. Amazonite is used to calm emotions and soothe nerves. It is associated with courage and is said to imbue the wearer. It also enhances creativity and the ability to express oneself and the deeper the color, the more it is said to be effective.

An example of the fine quality the Chinese have been finding

A lovely piece showing a soft coloration and white striations from Ontario, Canada

For me, the healing is in just looking at this fascinating and beautiful stone. How can you not be calm while exploring all the little nooks and crannies in a picture or bead? I will definitely be getting a few specimens from different locations when I start my mineral collection...:)

I have several different kinds of Amazonite beads & cabochons waiting to be used and a couple of finished pieces waiting to be shot and posted. This piece is one of my favorites I've made and is currently in shop. Amusing to realize that I paired Amazonite beads with Smokey Quartz before I ever knew they formed together! And I've done it twice as I have another piece with both not yet listed...*lol*

Kiwi Q-T Necklace - the pale green & aqua briolettes are Amazonite

Hopefully you've enjoyed this little segment and will continue to tune in when I host the next one. As I said above, I'd be very happy to take your suggestions on what you'd like to see next!


Shades of Grey Spiced with Red Treasury

I've had this treasury designed for a while, but I kept being pulled away from teh computer come treasury time.

Well, finally had the chance to display it. I love pops of color amidst neutrals! These are all great and would be FANTASTIC gifts!

Shades of Grey Spiced with Red


'My Etsy' Tab on Facebook!

Wow...I CANNOT express how excited I am right now about a new Application you can put on your Facebook Profile or Fan Page.

It's called My Etsy and it creates a clickable tab that shows your shop right there for all to see. So people don't have to leave Facebook until they decide to either buy something or see more of what you have!


The tab is TOTALLY unobtrusive...it's just a tab on your profile or page and so you won't be tossing your shop down your friends or fans' faces. It updates on it's own (I know this because I renewed something to see what it does), and it won't clog up your friends' feeds if you renew or list like mad on a daily basis (I know this because I checked my feed when I renewed).

Really, it's just that awesome and you must go get it now...I command you!

Yeah, somehow I doubt that will work...;)

Here's the link to the Application...it's SUPER easy to install. It's well worth the 10 seconds to do!


To see it in action, check out my Fan Page and click the My Etsy Tab!

That is all...:)


Fabulous Gift Guides for shopping quick & easy!

IndieNorth is an AWESOME Canadian Collective maintained by Beth.

This year, she took on the HUGE task of creating a fabulous Gift Guide for Canadian Artisans to be a part of.

It's really nicely set up and it features some incredible products!

Check it out and you're sure to find something for everyone on your Secret Santa List!

Another Gift Guide I chose to participate in is the IndieSpotting Gift Guide. It'll be going live on November 15th.

Similar to CraftGawker, it's a FABULOUS place to get your items seen and I had the chance to Spot my Kiwi Q-T necklace...:D

I'm sure I'll see you guys shopping about these guides...they make the Holidays SO easy!


50th Annual Gem & Mineral Show 2009

YAY! My very first Gem Show and MAN was I stoked!

One of my friends once mentioned that her husband laughing calls her love of looking at pretty rocks 'Rock Porn' and I couldn't agree more! I was certainly happy and excited as I browsed the 80 or so dealer stalls.

There was everything there with one exception. I expected people to also have chain and sterling/copper/gold filled findings and there was none, not even in concert with stones. I was surprised by this seeing as everything else used to make jewelry was very evident.

But everything else...hoooo boy...SELECTION was the word of the day!

This show is hosted every year by the Montreal Gem & Mineral Club and the staff of Volunteers was super friendly...:) I have been hemming and hawing over joining because I wasn't sure of how active they were and I was pleasantly surprised to find both young and old rock hounds and to learn that the club is very much alive and kicking. For 20$ annually, I'm looking forward to joining and learning as I move forward on this journey my life has brought me to...:)

So, as I was saying...SELECTION!

I've been collecting found rocks ever since I was a little girl and I swear, I was in Heaven. Mineral specimens EVERYWHERE to feast my eyes one. Alas, I had no cash, but I know that I'll be ready next year to properly start my mineral collecting and what's fun is that once I'm part of the club, I'll be able to participate in the club's excursions and so maybe dig some of my own!

Aside from the minerals, there were also shops with strands and strands of BEAUTIFUL beads. There was one strand of rough citrine brios that was calling my name and it was quite literally painful to leave it there...:( At least I found a few Canadian-based stone bead shops, even if they are mainly in Ottawa. That's going to be fun to try to get to without any ability to just drive there...*lol*

Rainbow Minerals Beading & Jewellery Supply - Ottawa, Ontario

I was surprised at the pricing. I did not find it much different than purchasing on Etsy...if fact, even with the exchange rate and shipping I felt Etsy is often LESS expensive. Mind you, the shops I'm talking about were actually knowledgeable and most of the strands didn't just have a number...they were actually named, unlike in Montreal where most shops are glass and crystal based shops and have no clue what stones they carry.

Also happy to say no 'White Buffalo Turquoise' in site, but plenty of 'Fire Agate'. At least they told me right away it was glass or stone composite!

There were plenty of Jewelry Artisans as well. This lady had STUNNING amber pieces. There was everything for everyone's tastes...:)

I am always surprised by just how nice some people are. I got to meet Mike, a rock hound who was President of the Montreal Club for quite some time. We ended up striking a conversation on some of the pieces he had because I'd never seen them before. Well, one particular slab struck my fancy and, as I said I had no cash, so I was ready to leave it and hope he still had some next year as he doesn't own a shop and doesn't sell other than through the Gem Shows. Well, I guess he knew I really wanted it because he gave it to me along with a lovely little piece of Labradorite he hounded for himself that has a lovely little bit of flash to it. I was so touched by the gesture and it bodes well for my stay with the Club. He even told me once I join that he'd be happy to teach me how to cab it...:)

The beautiful reddish-pink parts are Eudialite. The rest is a mystery though I was told the golden bits are slightly radioactive, which I thought was cool!

Under the light

Labradorite Rough

I managed to capture the schiller!

So basically, I spent a couple of hours in rock heaven...:D I was all by myself and it didn't matter. I had a blast talking to people and seeing specimens I never knew existed. I also surprised myself with just how much I have learned thanks to my Lapidary friends because I was able to impress some of the rock hounds there with my ability to identify many of the pieces they were showing...:) I really wish I would have thought to take a shot of the GORGEOUS Marra Mamba slabs the Club had up for display! I think some of my friends would have enjoyed seeing them!

Off to admire my new finds and finish up some new pieces. I've got about 20 new pieces to shoot and list so you guys will be getting a lot of new posts from me soon on top of everything else I've got planned!

Today was such a GREAT day!

Black Friday Weekend Extravaganza!

That's right! I will be running a SUPER huge sale the Weekend of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Stay tuned to find out exactly what will be going on in my Shop...;)

What's the best part? I won't be doing it alone! Literally HUNDREDS of shops have banded together to give you the BIGGEST Holiday sale EVER to be run by Etsy Shops.
You'll be able to fulfill every gift wish on your ever important list with quality, handmade goods and you won't have to run around to do it!

I've been lucky enough to offer my graphic services for the event and so I have a wide variety of buttons and banners that you can use to support the event, two of which are gently blinking on your screen to the right...:)

If you'd like to support us by proudly displaying these graphics in your blog, here are the links to the graphics:

Large Animated Button
Small Animated Button
Large Static Button
Small Static Button
Large Banner
Small Banner

We're also lucky to have Sue, head honcho at IndieSmiles.com, support us in our site-wide effort at promoting handmade by offering us directory listings in her super fun Coupon Directory!

If you'd like to support her back, here are two animated buttons to show her your love:

Large Animated Button
Small Animated Button

If you're going to use these in your blog, you need to use the HTML widget to make sure the animations work. This is the code you'll need to put into the widget...just be sure to change the [] to <>, change the link location to the one you want the graphic to point to and make sure the src section says the name of the file you downloaded.

[center][a href="link location" target="_blank"][img border="0" alt="Black Friday Sale" src="graphic name"/][/a][/center]

The static button just needs a Pictures widget and you'll just need to provide the link to where you want it to lead to.

The large graphics are good for inside posts and for blogs that have large side bars. The small graphics are great for Project Wonderful ads and for blogs that have small side bars.

I will be providing every shop with an Etsy Avatar that they will be able to display for the sales event, but I won't reveal that until it's time...;)

I can't wait to see you all there and to be able to provide you with great service and great items!
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