Saturday, December 7, 2013

Shop in Your Pajamas!

Welcome to the second annual Shop In Your Pajamas online craft show! A craft show where you don't have to worry about driving in yucktastic cold weather or finding a parking space. A craft show where you don't have to stand in line... or stand at all, for that matter! And of course, a craft show where you can wear your slippers and pink fuzzy pajamas if you're so inclined -- and nobody (except your cat or dog) will stare.

I'm excited about the variety of talented vendors I'm showcasing today and the variety of goodies they have to offer. I think you will be, too -- so let's get some holiday shopping done, shall we?


Dazzling Dolly Divas

Helen's Doll Saga -- Beautiful clothes for Barbie and other fashion dolls.


Hankie Couture --  Elegant doll clothing made from vintage handkerchiefs. 

Barbie Boutique Basics -- Awesome casual clothing for Barbie, Ken, and American Girl dolls.

MegannArt: -- Shoes, clothing, and tiny handbags for all kinds of dolls.

 

Jemgirl Creations: -- Custom made cast resin shoes for any doll. Any doll at all!



Wicked Awesome Wearables

Forgotten Cotton -- Gorgeous infinity scarves and fingerless gloves.


Chrysalis Jewelry -- Beautiful jewelry in a variety of styles, and hand-knitted scarves.


Tela Formosa Jewelry -- Impeccably wrapped stone pendants. 


Irina U -- Amazing and colorful felted slippers.

Micheladas Musings -- Beautiful wire and bead jewelry.


Moira K Lime -- Elegant metal jewelry.

I Sew Cute  -- Playful and funky resin jewelry. 

VaVaNeckwear -- Unique neck ties that make me wish I had someplace to wear one!

 

LindaLeeReid -- Beautiful leather handbags and accessories.


Absolutely Adorable Aminals

Milo and Ben -- Adorable felted animals, including penguins. Dressed as reindeer (!!!).


Atelier Pompadour --  Precious felt animals... especially meeses in little matchbook beds..

Su Ami -- Itty bitty, teensy weensy crocheted animals. Absurdly cute.

 
Sublime Sparkly Supplies

SlabsCabsRough -- Gorgeous stones, including a Mexican Crazy Lace agate that's making me drool.

Beadflowers -- Chocolate Gateau Bead Kit. This isn't just making me drool -- it's making me hungry!



Marvelous and Miscellaneous
Sun Basil Garden -- Pretty and colorful soaps. They look good enough to eat! But don't, OK?
 
NEDbeads -- Sweetheart Solitaire Pendant tutorial. You'll want to make one for every day of the week!



Amazing Awesome Art

Fig Jam Studio -- Crazy, wacky, colorful found object art. Just my style!


Noadi -- Octopus, squid and Lovecraftian sculptures and jewelry.

Eleanor Pigman -- Incredibly detailed bead-embroidered art... and now jewelry, too!


CorvusArtStudio -- Absolutely lovely nature art prints and illustrations.



I hope you enjoyed the craft show and found exactly what you were looking for! I also hope you'll help me promote these marvelous makers by sharing this post. Tweet it. Pin images to Pinterest. Post about it on Facebook. And if you're up for it, email any friends or family members who might be interested. I plan to do just that.

Also, if you're a maker of beautiful things and I haven't included you in this post, don't despair. I'd be happy to add you or to make you a vendor in my very first Spend That Holiday Cash craft show -- a January event for anyone who's not sure what to do with that check from Grandma/Aunt Bertha/Crazy Uncle Earl. Details to come.

Sequintastically Yours,

Sarah J. Sequins
 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Dolloween! Part II.

Welcome to another Saturday at Saturday Sequins!

This is a followup to the last Dolloween post, where I mentioned taking one of my doll friends -- my very first, and certainly not last, Monster High doll -- to a Halloween party. Here's the doll, and here's what she wore.



The character Lagoona Blue is supposed to be the daughter of sea monsters, so a mermaid costume was perfect for her. I cut a tail shape out of felt, cut another one for the back and added a slit for velcro, sewed the pieces together by machine, and painted the finished tail verrry lightly with sparkly fabric paint.

I didn't make a top, so I just used a ribbon. I still haven't added that velcro. I wanted to sew on some sequins, but I didn't want the doll's little feet to catch on all those stitches, so I went with plain sparkly. One of these days, I'll get the hang of embellishing clothing, which is not as straightforward as jewelry.

(And I won't use glue, because glue and I are not friends.)

Anyhoo! She couldn't go trick-or-treating without something to put her candy in. I had a bunch of miniature Halloween pumpkins I'd bought years ago, so I dug one out of the closet. And sure enough, she even got some candy to put in it!

She was very happy. Um. Until we got home, and I ate it.

 ("Ahem. Bucket's still empty.")

Now that Halloween and Dolloween are over, she's out of her costume and into a dress I made. I may have to show the outfit off at some point, because she looks really cute. The hand-painted fabric has an oceany feel to it, and it's going to look perfect with the tiny seashell pendant I found.

The pendant makes me think of the seashell sequins (try saying that five times fast) I bought last year and all the fun things I could make with them. Which leads me to the question... what should I make for the girls for the wintery holidays?

If you have any ideas, let me know. You're all fantastically creative people, and I'd love your input! So would the dolls. Sequintastic Ken keeps saying he wants a fake mustache and a red Ferrari, but we're ignoring him.

Sequintastically yours,

Sarah J. Sequins

(And Lagoona)



 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Dolloween!

Welcome to another Saturday at Saturday Sequins!

Before I get to the fun stuff, I've decided to postpone the second annual Shop In Your Pajamas online craft fair until Saturday, December 7th. This will give me more time to find vendors (*ahem*) and to promote the fair to people I know in real life.

And now....

Dolloween!

Halloween is to me what Christmas is to a lot of people -- my favorite, most meaningful time of year. It reflects my biggest values, like storytelling, imagination, celebrating the weird and spooky, and of course, candy. 

This year I also decided to make it my main gift-giving holiday, at least where my girls were concerned. Hence the name, Dolloween. I'd love to show you everything at once, but that much photography would make Mr. Sequin weep tears of anguish into his pillow. So here are just a few of the forty-something (seriously) pieces of clothing I made this October. 


Here are Lexi, Alison, Corrie and Mona modeling some of my favorite dresses -- including my very first one-sleeve dress. Notice the sequins at the bottom... and the itty bitty beaded bag that Mona is carrying. Embellished with a little extra sparkle, of course.


Here are Corrie and Ali standing with a tutu, a hand-painted skirt, two peasant tops, and a sequin and lace dress. Each thing is on its own tiny hanger, which I made out of wire. The painted skirt is also covered in sparkly fabric paint -- that stuff is amazing, and I don't know how I lived without it!

So nine down... 31 to go! Not including my very first Monster High doll, Lagoona, with her mermaid costume and tiny Halloween pumpkin. She might get a post to herself. And... would anyone be interested in a written version of the scary story I told when she, Mr. Sequin and I went to a party? I might type that up.

Stay tuned for more dolly fun! And if you did anything special for Halloween, I'd love to hear about it.

Sequintastically yours,

Sarah J. Sequins




Saturday, November 2, 2013

Reader Appreciation Present!

Welcome to a very, very late Saturday at Saturday Sequins!

I'd like to start this off by thanking everyone who participated in the Epic Indie Fair, whether you shopped, left a comment, or created something incredible for me to feature. Because I appreciate you so much, I've decided to give you a present.

Starting today, I'm offering the first part of my e-book, Run Screaming, for free! And how do you claim this present? Do you have to download a PDF? Send me an email? Dress up as a flamingo and sing Opera in the street? No, no, and no again. Just scroll down and start reading. It's as easy as pie.

Mmm... pie.


Run Screaming!

When to Give Up and When to Stay Put.

A guide for creative people. 


Trying to succeed as a creative person is hard. Really hard.

As a creative person, you'll hear no a lot – from galleries, from agents, from judges of contests, from potential clients. Sometimes you'll get no response at all, which can seem worse than a rejection and leave you feeling invisible.

And even when you're not being rejected by other people, sometimes you'll reject yourself. You'll second guess your instincts, your work, your talent, and even your identity as an artist. You'll wonder... do you have any business trying to call what you do art? Or is it just Crazy Crap With Paint And Glitter? And that wondering will do more damage than all your outside rejections combined.

So maybe it's hard is an understatement. Maybe it's better to say that succeeding as a creative person can be harder than teaching a flamingo to play the accordion – since the flamingo will mistake the accordion for a trampoline and immediately start jumping on it.

(No, really! I read it on Wikipedia. Or something.)

While my position on giving up is pretty clear at this point – that you shouldn't let these things get in your way – I get it. I really do. In fact, I was recently the closest I'd ever been to giving up on my Big Crazy Dreams, and that was in spite of all my coping skills!

Here's what happened to me...

Sarah's Big Rebellion

It's hard for me to write about this because it's still a little embarrassing, but I'm going to tell you anyway. About a month ago, I had a Total Body Shutdown. My body literally refused to do anything related to my creative business!

I was sleeping for 18 hours a day – a classic avoidance technique for me. When I was awake, I couldn't make myself do a darn thing. I wasn't beading. I wasn't writing. Forget anything remotely related to social media; I even missed a blog post or two!

Just the thought of doing any of these things sent me into an epic panic. Sometimes I felt paralyzed, and all I could do was sit on my comfy red couch, curled in a ball. Sometimes I felt like I was drowning in a sea of all the things I wasn't doing. Most of all, I felt tired all the time.

When I tried to push against the rebellion? I got the same message over and over again:

I don't want to!!! You can't make me!!!

My body had become a cranky pre-teen. The slightest move, the slightest thought in the direction of work, and it had an atomic meltdown that would have been quite a sight to see.

Of course, nobody did see it.

Because I hid it.

Because I was ashamed.

Because I assumed it was happening because I was lazy, no good and weak.

This went on for way too long, until things finally reached a breaking point. One night, Mr. Sequin found me sobbing on the couch. My face was red and puffy, my nose was a leaky faucet, and I'd even started to get those annoying crying hiccups. When he asked what was wrong, the only thing I could choke out was I can't do this anymore.

(And then a freaking centipede crawled onto the couch. Was it worried about me or just wondering what all the noise was about? I don't know, but it sent Mr. Sequin and I screaming across the room. And then I did the only thing I could in a situation like this: I started laughing.)

There's a whole lot more to this story, but I'll come back to that later.


Lesson Learned.

This is going to sound crazy, but I'm glad it happened – body tantrums and all. It showed me that there is, in fact, an exception to don't give up, just like there are exceptions to a bazillion other rules in life. I'm going to share that exception here. In fact, I'm not going to make you wait a second longer because it's really, truly, super important:

You should absolutely, positively give up if...


And because I'm a sneaky person and kind of a tease, I'm going to end the preview here. I hope it was enough to pique your curiosity! If so, you can read the rest of it here. And you can do that for 20 percent off the original price from now until December.  

Stay tuned for the second annual Shop In Your Pajamas Craft Fair next weekend, and keep your eyes open for a Dolloween post -- the girls opened their present last week, and there was much fun had by all. There was even some trick-or-treating.

Sequintastically yours,

Sarah J. Sequins

Epic Indie Fair of Awesome!

Welcome to the second ever Epic Indie Fair of Awesome!

It was originally going to be an independent book fair like the last one, but I realized something. Some of my favorite musicians are independent! I didn't want to leave them out of the fun, so I added a music section. I'm also listing it first -- that way, you have something to listen to while you do the rest of your browsing and shopping.

Speaking of shopping... let's get started. Shall we?


Marvelous Music

  • If you've been following this blog for awhile, you know that Zoe Keating is one of my favorite musicians. I love that she developed her own software to create the music she envisioned. I love that she used to live in an old warehouse with other musicians! She is truly an awesome, kickass person.
  • My friend Audrey introduced me to The Hush Sound's music. I feel like I owe her a kidney or spleen, because they're my favorite band. I could go on and on about how lovely they are and how their music is pretty much perfect, but instead, I'll tell you that Honey is one of my favorite songs... and that they have two new, independently produced ones out.
  • Mr. Sequin recently introduced me to Eliza Moore's music. I'll definitely be checking out more of her stuff... because she has a gorgeous voice! And she's an awesome violinist. Here's a video of her playing live.


Awesome Advice

  • Sarah J Sequins: Run Screaming! A Guide For Creative People. This is my e-guide on when to run away from your creative work like you're being chased by hungry zombies and when to keep going (more about it here.) It's on sale for half price until November.
  • Michelle Ward: An Effective Escape. The perfect companion to Run Screaming, written by a successful career/life coach, this one's all about how to leave your job without going broke.
  • Paul Jarvis: Be Awesome At Online Business. The title says it all. By the way, did you know that he offers a free sample of the book? I think this is a fantastic idea and probably something all authors should consider.
  • Havi Brooks: Monster Manual (And Coloring Book.) It's about confronting and dealing with the monsters that keep us creatively stuck. This looks like coolest book ever -- and I'm sure it is, because Havi is a fantastic blogger and all-around amazing person.
  • Florence Ditlow: Long In The Tooth. This one's about surviving chronic illness with a sense of humor. Florence, who happens to be a friend of mine from an online business course, is a nurse who dealt with a mystery illness -- something that plenty of us can relate to.


 Fantastic Fiction

  • Florence Ditlow: The Bakery Girls. A novel about a bakery in Pennsylvania in the early 1900's. It centers on the baker's three lovely, and very different, daughters.
  • Johnny B. Truant and Sean Platt: The Beam (Season One). It's half political thriller and half science fiction... and it looks superbly interesting. This series is Johnny's favorite so far.
  •  Sean Platt and David Wright: ForNeverMore. A young adult supernatural thriller. I wish I had something intelligent to say about this one, but I read the description, and now all I can do is drool and say ohmygawd waaaannnnt!!!! I have three dollars left in my PayPal account... and I'm pretty sure I know where that money is going.


Darling Dolls

  • Megann R. Zabel: Dolly Bureau. This is a book of gorgeous doll clothing patterns. Perfect for doll collectors who love to sew, and for anyone crafty who has kidlets or grandkidlets.

  • Alison Rasmussen: Steffie, Out of the Box (Volume II) . This one's a series of photos from Alison's Barbie collection. These are some gorgeous dolls, and Ali's photography definitely does them justice. 

Bodacious Beading

  • Good Quill Hunting: How to Make a Beading Tutorial with Power Point. Selling tutorials is a great way to supplement your income as a jewelry maker and to build your reputation as an instructor. If you're not sure how to do this, Christina's tutorial looks like a great place to start! PS: also, check out her finger Cuff tutorial. Those rings are insane.
  • Cyndi Lavin: Bored By Backstitch. Cyndi has done it again! Here's an awesome e-book on livening up your bead embroidery by incorporating other beading stitches into your work.
  • Joan Babcock: Micro-Macrame Jewelry.  Many of you are familiar with Joan's outstanding fiber work... but did you know she wrote several books? This one teaches the basics.
  • Joanne Tinley: Macrame, Art Beads And Wire. Here are six fantastic multimedia jewelry projects. What a great way to build on the skills you learned in Joan's book!
  • Patrick Duggan: Sherrab pendant tutorial. Learn how to make a gorgeous beaded pendant from this talented -- and adorable -- Australian beader.


Fantastic Fibers


Rocking Resources

This was a bonus section in the last Epic Indie Fair, and I've decided to make it a regular feature from now on. Here are more amazing resources for anyone interested in giving indie publishing a go!

  • Nathan Bransford: Nathan, a former literary agent and traditionally published author of a series of children's books, has independently published a book called How to Write a Novel.
  • From Kelly James-Enger, owner of Improvise Press, Dollars and Deadlines. It's a book about how to make a living as a freelance writer, and it looks very thorough and detailed.
  • From Medium.com: here's some awesome advice about listening to what your audience wants.
  • From Think Traffic, here's a post all about how to launch your e-book or other product.
  • From Search Engine Journal, a list of some of the best writing advice ever. The first one the list especially clicked with me.

And that concludes the Epic Indie Fair of Awesome! I hope you enjoyed shopping and discovered some new favorite authors and musicians! If so, I encourage you to share this post on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks -- because the more attention our indie creators get, the better.

(Also, a note for authors: Want me to include your book cover in this post? Let me know, and I'll be happy to oblige -- this will help me promote you on Pinterest.)

Sequintastically yours,

Sarah J. Sequins

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Dolloween: A Preview!

Welcome to another Saturday at Saturday Sequins!
 
If you know me, you know that Halloween is my favorite holiday -- and that I celebrate it the whole month of October. Over the years I've picked up a few traditions, like buying pairs of spooky socks, watching a different horror movie every night, and getting together with friends to tell scary stories by candlelight. And of course, there's my visit to the Halloween store to look at costumes.

This year I decided to add something new to the mix. Something that would satisfy my need to make things and to spoil my dolls rotten. The girls would get a Halloween present, namely a giant box full of new clothing. After that we'd have a dress-up party and photo shoot, which I dubbed Dolloween. Because I'm me, and everything needs a silly name.

The box has so many fun, frilly, fabricky frocks in it, I can barely get the lid on. I'll save most of the outfits for the big Dolloween reveal, but I thought I'd share one of them tonight. It's one I'm especially proud of.

(Modeled by Ilsa, a newer member of my doll posse.)

The shirt is my very first attempt at a peasant top. When I came up with the idea, which had absolutely no pattern and evolved from a completely different piece of clothing, I thought it was crazy and would never work. This, of course, made me want to try it out even more, and I like the result. I love the way it fits over the skirt.

The skirt is made of white muslin that I painted by hand and decorated with silver, white and turquoise sequins. I was worried that the sequins were out of proportion, but looking at a lot of the dresses on my Pinterest board, I realized out of proportion can be fun and dramatic. So I just went with it.

Even though the sequins are a funky finishing touch, for me, the best part of the skirt is the fabric. I have a ton of the stuff sitting in a box in my studio, just gathering dust. Now I know what to use it for! I might embellish it with some thread and bead embroidery, and maybe some of the foam stamps I made.

So that's what I've been up to! Now you know why I've been so quiet online -- I've been busy playing Littlest Sweatshop. And in spite of the (seriously) tasteless joke, I've really been enjoying myself. Who knows? I might even sell some of my outfits, as long as the girls permit me to. 

Now it's your turn: do you have any special Halloween plans?

Thanks for reading, and thanks for commenting! You're awesome. <3

Sequintastically, 

Sarah J. Sequins

(And Ilsa)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Sign up for awesomeness!

Welcome to another Saturday at Saturday Sequins!

I'd like to start this post off by thanking everyone who participated in Sequintastic September last weekend. I loved seeing what you made; you guys seriously knocked my socks off! And while the hop wasn't as well-planned as last year's, something I take full responsibility for, I had a lot of fun, and I'm looking forward to hosting other events.

Which brings me to the point of this post! Today I have not one, but two things for you to sign up for.

Are you ready?



Epic Indie Book Fair of Awesome!

(October 26th)

The last Epic Indie Book Fair of Awesome was so much fun to put together, and it got such a great response, that the very next day I started planning for another one. This one will happen on October 26th, and I'll feature independently published (also known as self-published) books and tutorials from all kinds of writers and artists.

So if you've written something awesome and published it yourself, contact me, and I'll include you. And no, you don't have to be a beader -- our last fair had a YA series about unicorns, a painting tutorial, and even a book of gorgeous doll photography. This one will be just as diverse.
 

Shop In Your Pajamas Craft Fair!

(November 9th)

Even though I pulled it together in less than a week, I love how my very first online craft fair turned out. It gave artists the chance to showcase their work for the holidays, support other artists, and to do these things without ever leaving home.

So if you make and sell things, whether it's jewelry, quilts, paintings, or scarves, I want to include you! All you have to do is contact me, telling me you want to sign up, and I'll take it from there.The fair will take place on November 9th. 


So that's what's going on over here. I hope you'll tell your friends, your family, and even random people on the street, about the book fair and the craft fair, because I'm seriously excited about them, and I want to make them even better than last time. 

Thanks for reading, thanks for spreading the word, and of course, thanks for being awesome.

Sequintastically yours,

Sarah






Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sequintastic September, part II!

Welcome to the second post in the Sequintastic September series!

This post features projects from people who wanted to join us for the blog hop, but who didn't have blogs -- an idea I got from Karen Williams (thanks, Karen!!!). As I write this, I haven't received all the submissions, so keep an eye on this link. I expect to add more fantastic things as they come in.

The first piece comes from one of my favorite beaders, Sarah Louise Gordon. It's called Strawberries and Cream, and it features sequined strawberries, pearl cream, and an amazing beaded Willow Pattern jug. I'd love to go on and on and on about how awesome it is, but I think I'll just show you, instead:


See? A simply splendid symphony of sequined strawberries. There's no end to her creativity.

I hope you've enjoyed the eye candy! I certainly have. Check back for more, and of course, don't forget to leave a comment, telling these participants just how amazing they are.

Sequintastically yours,

Sarah



Sequintastic September!

Welcome to another Saturday at Saturday Sequins!


Today is a super special Saturday... because it's the day of the Sequintastic September blog hop!

Here's my project, a work in progress that will eventually be a collar.


This piece features sequins in neutral/earth tones, seed beads, Chinese crystal beads, and more cabochons than I've ever used on a single necklace.

And even though this piece is all about the sparklies, I thought I'd mention that the larger cabs came from The Idea Store of all places, and the smaller ones were given to me by Skylar, who is twenty kinds of awesome (at least). I'm so happy that I finally found the right home for them!

(And in case you're curious, the foundation is Nicole's BeadBacking. Awesome stuff.)


As you can see, I have a lot of beading left to do! This piece has been very improvisational, so I'm not sure what will happen next. The only thing I know for sure is, I'll continue with the turquoise and earth tones. Oh, and also? I'll avoid the fearful symmetry. Stitching the stones in more-or-less the same pattern is enough for me.

So that's what I came up with. Now I hope you'll join me in visiting the rest of the participants! I'm seriously excited to see what they made.

Sequintastically yours,

Sarah J. Sequins

Sequintastic Participants!






























Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sequinspiration: Bead Creature Necklace!!

Welcome to another Saturday at Saturday Sequins!

You might have noticed that I missed a whole month's worth of posts. It's a long story, but for now, let's just say that I'm officially back from my (mostly unplanned) blogcation, and I'm ready with this week's sequinspiration. Here's something I've been saving for a special occasion....

We See You!!!

Maybe you remember the bead creatures from this post? 

 And from this one?


Well, I was seriously smitten with these little guys and their googly eyes, so I decided to make them a habitat.


And that habitat turned into a beaded collar! It appeals to their adventurous nature and their curiosity about the human world. They can go everywhere I go, taking everything in with their beady eyes.

(Although if I'm not careful, sometimes they'll hop right off and start causing mischief. I was barely able to stop them from setting off every single bouncy ball in the Idea Store this week, and I could have sworn I heard them planning to build a battleship out of popsicle sticks...)


One of my favorite things about this necklace, besides the bead creatures, is the texture of the background. To make it organic-looking like moss, I used seed beads of all shapes and sizes. And even though the pattern looks random, let me tell you, it took a lot of planning to get it like that!

And of course -- and most importantly -- I used a variety of sequins. Some of them were flat. Some of them were cupped. I used at least four kinds of flower sequins, including some that were so tiny, I could barely see them against all the beadwork!


And if you look closely, you can see some other little details. Some of the bead creatures are a bit shy. They're not ready to come out just yet, but still, they really want to know what's going on. So their curious eyeballs peek out of the moss.

I call this piece We See You, because no matter where I am when I look at it, there's always a bead creature staring at me. Sometimes they look at me as if to say... why aren't you making more bead creatures? But mostly they want to know... what are we doing today? And what kind of trouble can we get into?

I hope the cuteness and quirkiness of bead creatures makes up for my month of silence! And I hope you'll join us next weekend for the Sequintastic September reveal. As long as the bead creatures don't tamper with my account again, I'll send out a reminder email this weekend.

Sequintastically yours,

Sarah J. Sequins



Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sequinspiration: Sequin Collars!

Welcome to another Saturday at Saturday Sequins!

Can you believe it? There's only a week left to sign up for Sequintastic September!

To show you how much fun it is to work with sequins, and to inspire you to join us in this challenge, here are a few of my sequin collars.

Here's the first one I ever made. This is the first time you're seeing it because it was a devil to photograph! I love black sequins, but the camera... has mixed feelings. I guess there's no accounting for taste.

Overall, I love how it came out, but my edge beads were too close together in a few places, making it kind of wavy. That's why this piece is part of my personal collection and not for sale -- or maybe I'm too much of a perfectionist?


Here's a piece you might recognize... with a new and improved photo! It was my first time doing netting on the edge of an embroidered piece, and even though I haven't done a lot of netting since then, I really love the effect. I can think of all kinds of variations to try.


Here's another one you might have seen before. My fall sequin necklace, which I wore to Meet The Teachers at Bead and Button this year. I keep telling myself I'm going to make a pair of earrings to match, but so far, it hasn't happened. I tried once, but the design was a bit of a fail. I do have another design in mind, though....


And in case you missed it before, here's my very favorite collar. Complete with an itty bitty heart. I'm thinking about making the heart detachable so it can be worn as a pendant. I'm sure it would love a chance to take center stage.


The name of this piece is Mysterious Morning Sea, but sometimes I jokingly call it Fearful Symmetry. I wanted the two sides of the necklace to match, but the idea of doing the same design twice made my novelty-obsessed mind spazz out! So I made the pattern the same (more or less) on each side and then did whatever I wanted for the colors.

I could see more pieces like this one in the future. That is, as long as the Fearful Symmetry is kept to a minimum. I can already feel my brain starting to spazz again.


And that concludes this week's sequinspiration! Now it's your turn: do you have some sequinspiration to share? Post a link in the comments! I'd love to see it.

(And if you need some more sequinspiration, here are two more posts from last year.)


Thanks for reading, thanks for commenting, and most of all, thanks for spreading the word about Sequintastic September! I have an extraordinary group of people signed up so far, and I'd love to see more names on that list.

Sequintastically yours,

Sarah

Saturday, August 10, 2013

My e-book is on sale!

Welcome to another Saturday at Saturday Sequins!

This weekend, for no reason except my love for you and the pride I take in this crazy little project of mine, I'm offering my e-guide, Run Screaming, at half price!

Which means that for 5 dollars, you'll get a 34 page e-book all about when to hold on tight to your Big Crazy Dreams and when to... well, you know. Not only do I cover one of the only solid reasons to give up on your creative work and find something new, but I also cover some of the lamest lamesauce reasons (of lameness!) to quit.

If you know me, you've already heard me talk about my e-guide. You know that it's got a regular e-book section, a resources section, a handy dandy workbook section, and even a Cliff Notes section to remind you of what we learned. You might even know about the back cover -- which is, in my opinion, pretty darn hilarious.

(Of course, I think anything involving Sequintastic Ken is hilarious.)

But did you know that there are Special Secret Things? Things I haven't shared before? It's true! Some of these include....
  •  A list of things that are probably crazier, sillier, and more impractical than the Big Crazy Idea you think nobody will be interested in. After you read this list, you'll have sooooo much more confidence. Seriously. You might also laugh... or feel a little disturbed?
  • Typewriter pants (wait... what?!).
  •  The worst job I've ever had -- and one of my most embarrassing stories from that time in my life.
  •  The little clues -- and the big ones -- that will let you know when it's time to quit.
  •  Some scary things I had to admit to myself to keep going with my Big Crazy Dream, including the biggest thing standing in my way. It might be something you can relate to.
  •  Written permission to run screaming, if that's what you decide to do! Show it to anyone who gives you a hard time.
  • Things you might do to find your new Big Crazy Dream and things to consider so you don't end up in the same situation again!

I really hope you'll pick up a copy of Run Screaming, and not just because my Oreo fund is running low I love this project. I'm planning to release a second, extended edition in 2014, and if you give me feedback on Run Screaming, not only will I include your name in the Acknowledgments section, but I'll give you a free copy of Version II when it's done.

Not too shabby, huh? I hope you'll tell all your Facebook and Twitter friends about it, pin photos of the cover to Pinterest, or walk up to random strangers on the street and threaten to unleash a flock of ninja flamingos on them if they don't buy it.

Thanks for reading! And for being awesome.

Sequintastically yours,

Sarah J. Sequins





Saturday, August 3, 2013

Sequinspiration! The Sea in My Studio.

Welcome to another Saturday at Saturday Sequins!

To celebrate the upcoming Sequintastic September blog hop,  I thought I'd share my newest sequin collar. You might remember the sneak peek from a few months ago. The one with the unintentional Blogcademy colors?

(Here's a photo, in case you don't.)
  
Well, after letting it sit for weeks and weeks, (and weeks and weeks and weeks) I finally finished it. I added a nice scalloped beaded edge to it, added a chain to make it adjustable, and fixed some broken beads around the bezel. And... voila!


It was a little heartbreaking when the silver beads holding the bezel broke -- damn you, thread tension! But then I put on my Problem Solving Hat, and when I thought about it, this was a chance to make a bezel that was a better match for the rest of the beadwork.


So I did just that. And now there's nothing about this collar that I would change. I'm pretty darn happy with it, in fact.


And have I mentioned the little detail hanging from the chain? A tiny bead and sequin-embroidered heart with the same colors as the rest of the piece. I was inspired by Ruth Jensen and some other fantastic artists at the Bead and Button Show who helped me see that the back of a necklace can be fun and interesting, too.

And now I should probably explain the strange title for this blog post.

When my friend Andrea saw the necklace in its nearly-finished state, she said it looked like a mysterious morning sea. I liked this description so much that Mysterious Morning Sea because the name of the piece. I don't usually think up titles for my pieces unless I'm entering them in a contest, but if the perfect name is dropped in my lap, I'm certainly going to hold on to it!

So I was already happy with the piece and the title. And then this past week, I read devoured The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, who is one of my favorite writers (understatement). And I felt like I didn't ever want to leave the world in that book. And I realized that I didn't have to... because I had my own magical body of water sitting in my studio.

(Needless to say, there was a lot of squealing.)

So that's the sea in my studio! I'd love to know what you think of it. And if I've inspired you to give sequins a try, you can sign up for Sequintastic September right here.

Sequintastically Yours,

Sarah




Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sequintastic September!

Welcome to another Saturday at Saturday Sequins!

I have some exciting news for you today. I'm hosting another blog hop this year!





The challenge: 

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, will be to...

  • Create an original work of art using sequins. What you create, and how many sequins you use, will be up to you!
  • On the reveal date, share a photo of what you made.
  • Then, visit the other participants and drool over all the amazing work.

To sign up:

To sign up for Sequintastic September, leave a comment on this post between now and August 24th. Include your blog address and email address so I can link to you on the reveal date and so I can keep in touch with you in the weeks leading up to the hop. Because I'll have exciting things to share!

Alternatively, if you don't want to leave your email address in the comments, just send me an email. 


If you don't have a blog... 

You might be wondering... can you participate if you're not a blogger? Why, yes! Yes, you can. If you'd like to join in the fun but don't have a blog of your own, you can borrow mine on the reveal day. Just send me your photos and a description of your project, and I'll set everything up for you. 


Fun and useful stuff

Curious about Sequintastic September 2012? Here's last year's reveal!

Wondering where to get sequins? Here's a list of sequin sources.
Not sure what to make? Check out my Sequinspiration post.

Also check out more Sequinspiration, the next one in the series.

You can also follow my Sequintastic board on Pinterest.

And of course, you can read up on the amazing people who have been featured artists.


I hope you'll join me for some sequintastic fun! Whether you'll be a participant or an observer, I also hope you'll tell everyone you know about the hop. In fact, if you'd pin the banner to Pinterest, I would be so very happy. Happier than a flamingo on a trampoline, in fact.

Sequintastically yours,

Sarah J. Sequins

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Featured Artist: Merle Berelowitz

Welcome to another Saturday at Saturday Sequins...

I remember the first time I saw Merle Berelowitz's work. One of her collars was featured in the Your Work section of Bead and Button Magazine, and it absolutely knocked my socks off. The design, the colors, the sequins. Oh, the sequins!

(Another one of her collars -- just as stunning.)

Merle shared my love for sequins in bead embroidery, which thrilled me beyond belief. What really impressed me, though, was the way she incorporated them into her pieces. She did it so flawlessly, so elegantly. The sequins stood out without overwhelming the rest of the materials and showed that sequins and beads were meant to be together. I kept meaning to ask Merle to be a featured artist.


Merle passed away a few days ago, and I'm sad for the loss of such an amazing jewelry artist -- the beading world will seem a little darker and duller without her. More than anything, I'm sad for the people who knew her best. I seriously regret not getting to know her better, and I know what it's like to lose someone important.


Merle's passing reminds me of something important. Writing this out, it seems shallow, and it seems like a cliche, but I have to share it anyway. We need to tell the people in our lives how awesome they are and how much they mean to us. And we need to do it RIGHT NOW, because that's the only time we really have. 


It's so easy to get wrapped up in our own worlds, our own lives, our own problems. And of course, these things are important, and sometimes they're pretty darn serious. But as we go about our lives and face down our problems, I'm realizing that we need to take the time to look around and not just see, but acknowledge and appreciate other people.


As I write this, I'm stressed. I'm scared. I have a lot of stuff going on, and I'm not sure how I'm going to get through it all. But you know what? Right now I'm stopping. And I'm looking. And I see you. I see how awesome you are. I see how freaking lucky I am to have you in my life, whether I've only talked to you once or on a daily basis. I'm really glad you're here.

I'm glad Merle was here, too. I'm going to miss her.


Sequintastically yours,

Sarah J. Sequins

Saturday, July 13, 2013

My first e-book!

Welcome to another Saturday at Saturday Sequins!

I'm thrilled to introduce Run Screaming! My very first e-book.


What it's about
(Besides screaming.)


As you can see from the cover, it's all about when to give up on your creative work and when to stick with it. And as I mentioned in an earlier post, it's a continuation of two of my favorite blog posts, Don't Give Up and Instead of Giving Up. Like all of my advice, it's based on my own experience.

I'm super duper proud of this book, with extra glitter on top. When I started writing it, I promised myself I'd be completely honest, no matter how messy (or scary!) things got. And I stuck to that promise, writing certain sections over and over until they felt right. Even if it meant admitting to my worst behaviors and thought patterns. Even if it meant sharing parts of my life that were extremely stressful... or embarrassing.

(Including the fact that some insects make me run screaming like a little girl. Yes, it's relevant to the book.)

Fun little extras

It's also more than a book. When I think about it, it's more like an e-guide. You know how I couldn't stop adding cool things to it? Well, I did stop myself eventually, but not before I managed to sneak in...

  • A funny cover, conceptualized by me and created by Mr. Sequin. I do believe Eva Maria Keiser and her friend Bart unconsciously inspired me. Thanks, you two!
  • A summary of my main points, which you can come back to again and again for quick reference.
  • A list of resources that inspired, and helped me improve, this guide. Seriously, I know some awesome writers and bloggers. 
  • A special thank you section, where I include everyone who made suggestions.
  • A back cover that makes me laugh every time I look at it. Let's just say, a Certain Someone decided to make a guest appearance in the photo, and my little wooden guy wasn't too happy about it. 
  
Cover outtake

Speaking of the cover, I love how it turned out, but it wasn't the easiest photo for Mr. Sequin to take. You see, in addition to interference from A Certain Someone, my wooden model got a little silly during the photo shoot. He got into the Barbie clothes...

And I had to chase him all over the place before he gave the undies up. He's lucky I don't post the one where they're on his head!

And that, in a nutshell, is my e-book. It's 34 pages long including the front and back cover, and it's full of Sarah-style advice... and humor. Because a book can cover a serious topic and still have flamingo jokes.

I hope you enjoy it!

Sequintastically yours,

Sarah

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Book delay! And punk rock dolls.

Welcome to another Saturday at Saturday Sequins!

I was hoping to have the e-book ready for sale today, but the dog ate it.


(Bad dog!!!)

No, that's not true. Cliffy is a very good boy -- and even if he wanted to, he couldn't chew a virtual book.

The truth is, it's just not done. I keep finding awesome things to add to it (a bonus section! A hilarious cover! And even some funny cover photo outtakes). So even though the writing part of it is finished, I have a little more tinkering to do.

Sorry for the delay! I won't let you leave empty-handed, though (or... empty-eyeballed?). Here's a photo of my growing collection of punk rock dolls. Each one is wearing an outfit I made, and a few of them have matching jewelry. 


All of them have dyed hair, thanks to acrylic paint, an old toothbrush, and a blow dryer. The doll on the far right has two-toned hair, and the one on the far left had a partial re-root to cover up a bad haircut I gave her years and years ago. I'm currently working on some sparkly costumes for all of them -- these might take awhile, but they'll be worth it.

Hair isn't the only thing I'm painting! I finally got around to sanding and painting some cute wooden shelves, which will be perfect to hold their books, shoes, and other odds and ends... and which will eventually go in their new house.

Because I'm making them a house out of an old bookshelf! There will be curtains and area rugs, decorative sequined pillows and funky modern paintings in itty bitty frames. I'm even going to paint the ceilings blue with white fluffy clouds. 

(Ken wants his own room. He promises to put his shirt back on if I deliver.)
 
It's a crazy project, but it won't be too expensive because everything will be made from recycled materials. This is part of my ongoing effort to bribe myself into doing the stuff that scares me, but more than anything, it's something I need to do. One of my new favorite bloggers, Nicole Antoinette, wrote an awesome post all about owning our obsessions, and it really left an impression on me.

So that's what's going on with me, the book, and the dolls. Now it's your turn: What are you obsessed with? Do you indulge in your obsessions, or do you try to keep them in check?


Thanks for commenting, and have a sequintastic day!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Why I'm Not Above Bribery.

Welcome to another Saturday at Saturday Sequins!

Looking at the title of this post, you might be wondering... what exactly am I accepting bribes for? Well, put your wallet away and save your money to buy beads, because I'm not taking bribes from you. I'm taking bribes... from me.

(Although I'll always accept donations of stray Barbie dolls, flamingos, and Oreos. I'm just saying.)

You see, I've been really busy with my e-book. I've put a lot of work into it over the past few weeks, and I can honestly say that I love it so far. It's been a ton of fun to write -- even editing has been fun, if you can believe it!

It makes me wish I'd started working on it sooner. The thing is? I might never have started it if I hadn't gotten sick of procrastinating and decided to do something drastic. And yes, that thing was bribery. Here's how I bribe myself...

If there's something I really want to do, like go down to the basement and dye doll hair or watch a movie on the couch, I tell myself that I can do it if I do some writing first. Once I've done a good chunk of work on the book, I'll play around for an hour or so, and then I'll start the cycle again. It's amazing how much I can get done in a day when I use this approach.

It took me forever to consider it. For most of my life, I thought bribery was a bad thing, especially when it came to creative work. Because working on the thing should be its own reward, right? And if I wasn't excited to work on the thing, it was a sign I wasn't meant to do it, right? And separating my creative life into things that are fun and things that are work is an unhealthy attitude, right?

It makes sense, right until you get to the part where I'm an anxious, nervous person who gets more anxious and nervous when a project is important to her. A person who finds the act of sitting down in front of an open document more intimidating than actually writing... and who keeps forgetting how awesome writing feels once she gets going.

I've only read the first part of The War of Art, and I'm not sure I'll get any further than that, but Steven Pressfield calls this persistent persnickety procrastination Resistance. He sees Resistance as an enemy we have to fight so we can do the things that really matter.

I don't agree with everything he has to say, but I do see Resistance as an enemy. After all, it's a part of me, and we're often our own worst enemy, right? So when it comes to fighting this enemy, I don't mind fighting dirty. I know my strengths, I know my weaknesses, I know all the tricky little things I do to sabotage myself, and now I'm learning how to use these to my advantage.

I love learning new things, which is awesome, but I also love becoming obsessed with these things and using them as an excuse to abandon projects. Sneaky, sneaky me. So I'm using my obsessions against my Resistance. I'm making my pursuit of fun new things contingent on following through with projects, and in doing this, I'm turning my self-sabotage into motivation. Sneaky, sneaky me.

And the really funny thing is? Bribery isn't just keeping me motivated -- it's keeping me sane. If I'm alternating between work and play, I'm bringing more balance to my life and preventing creative burnout.  I'm also giving my days the right amount of structure. Enough to keep me moving, but not so much that I feel like I'm in high school again.

(In case you're wondering... high school was like a four year raisin. Yuckballs!!!)

In a perfect world, I wouldn't need to trick myself into working. I'd wake up every morning, bursting with energy and impatient to get started, and it would take a team of super strong flamingos to keep me away from opening that file or making those kits or washing those dishes. But it doesn't rain sequins, and Oreos don't grow on trees, and every house does not come with its own Don Knotts clone, so I'm thinking, this isn't a perfect world.

So I do what I need to do. And things get done.

 (Silly Don. There are never too many beads!)


Now it's your turn: do you bribe yourself, or use any other little tricks, to get through your Resistance? Thanks for sharing with me!

Sequintastically yours,

Sarah


PS: The Don Knotts thing is an inside joke between me and Mr. Sequin. It's hard to explain, but believe me -- it's hilarious. Also, I make the Don Knotts face when I concentrate.