Thursday, April 28, 2011

Side Tracked, But Still Here...

Do you ever feel like you can't just keep up, and you've got to pick through things that you let slide a bit?
I think I'm going to be in that place through the end of May… 
By then, I'll be another year older.
I will be turning 36 - the point where I am in my 30's - but on the other half, closer to 40. Ok, that just looks weird typing it out like that (do you ever have one of those moments?)

One of the thing I am not letting slide...
And the other…
No matter if he is learning to drive - through my gardens.
They will grow back...
Poor little guy is going to have to go to the Dr. tomorrow morning to get his eyes checked out.
He has had swollen sinuses (just look at how tired he looks - he isn't) and oozing eyes.
Some sort of infection (it's yellow ooze).
Hopefully something they some antibiotics can take care of, because the ointment they gave us a couple of days ago only helped so much…

Today after my Master Gardener Training, I helped out for a few hours with plant related activities for AG Day through University of Delaware
Pictured are a bunch of the herb baskets that a lot of people helped to pull together today. 
More to do tomorrow as well as a preview plant sale (donated plants).
I made some plant/herb markers for the Silent Auction as well as for a Herb basket for the silent auction. They are double sided with a large line curls texture on the back and glazed all over.
Hopefully I will get them into my Etsy shop for taking orders.
Is there a demand or want for them?
And the light blue porcelain pendant (blood root impression) pictured above has a mate, and they were both made into pendants for two necklaces as a set going into the silent auction as well.

I've got AG Day, an exam, two different apprentice projects (one butterfly garden related idea, one shade garden idea - both focusing on using native plants), plant donations to get together for the Wilmington Flower Market, and MG plant swap next week, and that is in addition to the normal routine around the house & family. The house is a bit of a mess, but at least the family is being taken care of :)

I think I'm at least seeing a light at the end of the tunnel with where my busy times of the year are going to be as far as gardening and studio work goes…

And just FYI - if you want to get any of the clay pieces in my Etsy shop on sale - you've got until the end of the day on Saturday (4/30/11) - then they go back to regular price…
I'd love to make any of those clay pieces into a finished jewelry piece for you!

Thanks for stopping by...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Butterflies and Flowers...

Here is a quick photo of a bunch of pieces that are in the mail to Darlene of D7 Studio.
Darlene picked up selling for me at bead shows when I stopped a few years ago to have a couple of babies…  

Don't forget that if you can't make it to a bead show,
you can also find these in my Etsy shop...

Friday, April 15, 2011

Spring Etsy Shop Sale...

From now through April 20, 2011 ~ I am having a 20% off of all my clay items in my Etsy Shop!
I am just in one of those moods…
I marked the pieces down last night to the sale price...

I would love to see some extra cash flow too so I can start to buy some plants from the University of DE Ag Day Master Gardeners Tent on April 30th to help replant this area in my woods that I am trying to convert back to more native (I've pulled out a ton of invasive plants this spring) habitat.
This is just a tiny section of the area that goes from full shade mature wood edge to grass. There needs to be better transition (I'm thinking "meadow"). Also some boggy areas that want some help back there too…

So - help me out and get some great pieces for making jewelry with (or I can make them into jewelry for you!).

Don't forget that if you are one of my FaceBook Fans or have visited and commented on my April Etsy Stalker featured page - there are coupon codes for an extra 10% off. 

BONUS!!! Using the April Etsy Stalker coupon code AND making multiple comments over there on my page gets you entered into extra drawings for the month! $40 gift certificate drawings - 2 of them!!!

Pass it on and have at it!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Earrings - Have You Seen Them?

Have You Seen These???
You can vote for them if you want until April 15, 2011.
If you have seen me in the last couple of weeks, I have probably been wearing them, and chances are, you've seen them...
They are super long and dangly!
Which somehow makes it seem "fun" to wear them. 
Do you have "fun" earrings?
Or are your earrings just "pretty"?
Maybe it is the way they bump against everything - my hair, neck & shoulders.
When weeding for the MG Native Plant Garden: 
"oh, hello there long dangly earrings - I can see you!"
They have not gotten stuck (one thing I was testing for) in sweaters or hair - which I totally expected it to do with the way the surface of the pieces appear. 
Shows they are rough looking, but looks can be deceiving.
My winter jacket pictured in the first photo - well, that collar is high, and they have gotten tucked in between it and my neck when it's zipped up. 
That annoyance gives me more reason to want warmer weather here:
I want to wear dangly fun earrings!!!

Here is what I used to design these earrings:
Joanne Zekowski Glass Beads
I just saw Joanne yesterday at Bead Fest Wire in Philadelphia and picked up these (some will be making an Etsy shop appearance paired up with some of my chocolate shards):
In 2011 Joanne will be out at Bead & Button in Milwaukee, Bead Fest Philadelphia and a few trunk shows… 
But no website, so get them when you can!

I used a set of my chocolate clay shards - the ones that I have will be listed in my Etsy shop under the "shards" section. 
I call them "toggle bars" because the hole is in the middle & they could be used as toggles in your necklace design if you wanted:

And some seed beads and Vintaj brass pieces and 20ga - 22ga vintage brass wire (also from Vintaj).

By the way - I entered this pair of earrings into the monthly Vintaj Blog challenge for "Woodland Blush" - They are #13 over on the voting blog post.
Voting is open 4/11/11 to 4/15/11… 
Not that you have to vote for my pieces or anything - vote for your favorite.
I am just proud of myself that I actually sat down and made a pair of earrings - that are very wearable & fun - from some new and some old bead stash that I've been hoarding for YEARS!
If I could reach it, I would be patting myself on the back.
So I'll just see if maybe we can go out for Mexican Food for dinner instead (yum!)

Bead Fest Wire is going on this weekend in Philadelphia.
You can get my different clay shards from Darlene of D7Studio in Booth #302.
And find Joanne all the way on the other side wall - totally opposite of where Darlene is.

Also, while you are shopping there at Darlene's table (OMG - you should see the great stuff she is carrying now!!!) stop and say Hi to Kelly Russell of BeadFuddled! She is there selling her fabulous pieces, components and new handmade nuno felt. 
Drool, drool, drool…

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Woodland Wanderings Treasury...

I find that as I am side tracked by Etsy Circles, I create quite a collection of items that seem to "fit" together, making it almost impossible to not create a treasury.

Here is my latest…

Inspired by wonderful art that these artists have created and for the desire to want to spend lots of time outside with my little ones teaching them about nature and then watching them discover all kinds of things for themselves for the first time. And for them learning things, then explaining them to me or others that may visit our gardens and woods…

Will you travel over to Etsy and visit this treasury and some of the items contained within it?
I would love to read your comments over there if you have a moment…

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 4, 2011

A New Week (Already?)...

Wow - Spring is here! This week temperatures are supposed to stay above freezing at night, and get up into the 50-60's (today is a freak day - 73 degrees possible?!).

I have been meaning to keep up with my blog a bit more, but honestly, I have been overwhelmed with what I want to post, so I just don't because it would be super huge long posts…
So here is the current State of My Studio (part of the Beads of Clay Blog Series - late I know…)

So here is my Jewelry Making Table (for Bead Table Wednesday)
I broke into my huge stash of artists beads and Love using Joanne Zekowski's glass beads.
I sure hope she comes back to BeadFest this year so I can get more!
I do randomly throw up pics on my MNS FB page as I work. If you "like" my MNS FB page you can see those pics as I post them and use the 10% off code for my Marsha Neal Studio Etsy shop for my Facebook Fans: "FaceBookFan10".
Here is one of my earring pairs in hand. I really love the way this Autumn glaze puddles purple blue and some hints of copper in it… 
I am still struggling with photography of my pieces for Etsy.
A lot of photos that are up there were taken with my iPhone because I could get it to work better than the digital SLR. Less frustrating… Or so I thought because now that I look at the pieces up in my Etsy shop… the darn pictures are blurry. So I need to re-photograph a lot of them.
Luckily I think I may have an idea about what I am doing. Not 100% yet, but I'm getting there…

But this means that I need to go through all the pieces in that photo above (there are layers of trays btw) I need to figure what is actually listed in my shop, of those: what I need to rephotograph. 
Which ones are photographed, but not listed and are those photographs ok or will they be blurry too?
And will the sunlight, camera battery, my patience, and computer - which is currently telling me I am dangerously low on available storage space where I am saving my pictures (time to clean that up as well) all cooperate? 
We'll see…
Oh, and I'm going to give Etsy Stalker a try for April
I am very curious about different ways of marketing and getting your work out there.

Then there is my garden and woods. Right now is the time to pull out the first emerging invasive plants (they like to get a head start on and suffocate out the natives) and the plants I just don't want around (poison ivy, sticker bushes, etc). So I'm getting in as much garden time on Tues & Thurs afternoons after my garden training is done…
Just me, a rake and a pair of rubber faced gloves…
Cleared about 80' by about 15' of the area where our neglected, invasive full woods meets our lawn (or the soon to be replanted wildlife habitat).
Christmas Rose Hellebore
But I'm not one of those gardeners that is "strictly native" when it comes to planting my garden. 
I've struggled with this for a while. 
Through confusion & guilt - but I'm figuring out some stuff and feel like I can stand my ground now. 
I'll post about native plant gardening over on my garden blog soon. 

These Hellebores are not a US native. They are from Europe (which is why they are often seen in the "deer resistant" part of the nursery - our local wildlife cannot digest them - I do believe most are poisonous as well). 
So this is a plant that I plant for myself in the garden.

I as caretaker of my garden want to have certain things in my garden. 
This is one of them. 
I love the way that they appear out of the snow in January into February. 
That they bloom when everything else is just tiny nubs… 
This was the plant that I was able to find for my mom to see out in her garden in the early spring when she was fighting Leukemia. 
So to support myself as part of the garden ecosystem (because without me, those invasive plants would take over and the natives I plant to support many levels of life, would get suffocated out), I plant these and a few others that I enjoy. 
Hopefully not causing another level of invasion… 
But really, who wins that argument?
It is about so much more than drawing a line and seeing which side you are on.
More over on my garden blog

Not much clay work going on… 
I think I am going to hop into the studio for a bit right now!
Thanks for stopping by!