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21 December, 2010

Contemplating Another Year Gone

As I sit here staring at the blank screen in front of me, purring kitten curled up on my lap, I'm trying to figure out how to write down all the things swirling around in my head before it all escapes back into the aether.

I've had some high moments and some low moments this past year, same as anyone, but mostly it's just been a crazy, monotone buzz line going from Point A to Point B.

My 50th birthday passed without fanfare or celebration which was kind of sad.  I had higher hopes for my half century mark!  I also didn't get to realise a dream I had been hoping for.  Which was even sadder.  Oh well.  As the saying goes ~ "There's always next year".


But, on a brighter note, I have sold several hats and my first piece of art jewellry which thrills the hell out of me!  You can have a look at my mini top hats and art jewellry that's for sale here ~   
Maybe I will become a hatter.  I've already got the 'mad' part well under way!

I think I'm finally coming into my own as far as a jewellry style too.  For so many years I've just basically been a bead stringer.


Now there's nothing wrong with stringing beads and there's nothing wrong with any of the strung bead jewellry I've ever made and am currently selling here ~
It's just, well, a bit understated and sedate and most of it doesn't match my personality at all.  The pieces are very lovely, they're just not me.

The new stuff is far more interesting, edgy, fun and totally me!  Take a look and see if you don't agree ~ http://www.artfire.com/users/BlackSheepBeadery 

And I'm really enjoying making it.  It's sort of vintage trash, boho chic, gypsy goddess, eclectically fabulous!

I'm not looking forward to the next two weeks at all but I'll get to see my sister in January so I will grin and bear it until then.


Thanks for reading/looking.  Leave a comment, send an email, buy some jewellry or a tiny top hat.  Most of all, strive for happiness.

Well, I've got floors to sweep, spam to delete, hats to build and jewellry to fabricate.

Merry Winter Solstice to all ~

Peace, love and light!

14 December, 2010

Dark Beauty Magazine

A gorgeous, indie, avant-garde magazine of fashion and art.  

The latest issue just went on sale and I highly recommend that you go here http://www.darkbeautymag.com/
and get yourself a copy!

Make sure to look for my ad, photographed by the owner/editor himself ~ the fabulously talented Topher Adam. Thanks Topher, you ROCK!!

During this (and every) holiday season let's all support the independent and creative people who make gorgeous things like this possible!

Peace, love and light!

10 December, 2010

What A Blog-Slacker!

Wow!  It's been well over a month since I've blogged??!!  Seriously??  Where the hell has all the time gone to?

It's not like I've been crazy busy or anything.  It seems that all of a sudden it's December when it was just November a day or two ago.  At this rate. it'll be July before I know it! 

The amazing thing about all this time flying by is that by the end of each day I don't ever feel like I've accomplished anything.

I'm adrift in a sea of possibilities, seemingly unable to find a suitable mooring.  Too many thoughts, too many ideas, too much time spent thinking rather than doing.

Back to the studio to see which idea I can capture today!

06 November, 2010

It's Kitten-gasmic!!

Yes, I know that's not a word but I don't really care.  I'm in love with my new little furry friend, Jezebel.  She's about 3 months old and has got personality plus!

04 November, 2010

Totally Unfocused (sort of)

I had intended to work on my latest hat today and I guess that, technically, I did.  Applying one piece of trim around the crown counts as work, right?  It's going to be an awesome work of steampunkish marvelousness when it's finished

So, in the midst of all that hard work,  I got a vague idea for a piece of jewellry involving a bunch of different bead styles so I set off to search online for hand-felted wool beads and found this yummy set
on the place I love to hate ~ Etsy.  
But, I don't know if those are the colours I want, so I distractedly wandered off to stare at the little hat that wasn't getting built.

Oh!  Wouldn't it be cool to have an antique hatpin to go with each of my hats!  So, off I went to look at hat pins.


When I looked on Artfire I discovered I could purchase pin blanks with which to make my own.  Great!!  Another thing I can make.  Because I don't make enough of a variety of things already.

Wandered back in and looked at my little hat again.  Poor neglected little hat!  

Maybe I'll go check my email (again) and my Etsy shop (again) and my Artfire shop (again) and the DTeam thread (again) and then I'll see if there's any new blog posts to read (again)

Hey look!  On all the other blogs everybody's favourite blogs have a little thumbnail next to them.  I want that on my blog!  So I tweaked my "favourite's" list and I too have thumbnails.  Then I rearranged my collection of badges and added a new one or two.  It's sort of like having artworks on the wall.

Back to the hat.  Yep.  Still there, perched on the absinthe bottle, sitting on my workbench.

Oh!  Maybe I'll go write a blog about how utterly distracted I've been today.  Yes!  That will accomplish a whole lot of nothing so I'm going to do it!

And here it is.

Now I'm going to wander off and work on that hat.  After I check a couple more things first....

27 October, 2010

The Absinthe Fairy

Do you ever feel the need to write and yet have absolutely no idea what to write about?

I am constantly in this state of confusion myself.  I'll have an idea about something to write, yet as soon as I sit at the keyboard, my mind goes completely blank and I've no idea what it was that I had intended to say.

So, since the train of thought has once again derailed, I think I will just share my newest hat creation ~

 I call it The Absinthe Peacock.  You can see more photos of it (as well as my other hats and jewellry) in my studio Imaginary Relics over on Artfire.

Just for the heck of it, here's a couple of modeling shots as well ~ 
This photo I like to call The VooDoo Queen.   
It really has nothing to do with voodoo, it just seemed like an appropriate name for the photo.
The hat I'm wearing is the Burlesque Queen

Same hat, same dress, completely different photo vibe.

I love taking photos and then playing with them in Photoshop.  
It's so much fun!

Time to get to work on something interesting.  I am attempting to make mini steampunk goggles out of leather and watch crystals.  If the experiment is successful, I'm not sure if they will become a necklace or get perched upon the brim of a new hat design.

Whatever the outcome, my workbench is calling!

Peace, love & light.

25 October, 2010

The October Market

The October McDonald Street Market was just as much fun as the fledgling September one.  I think this is going to be a great monthly venue and am thrilled to be a part of it.
 I think my tent looked even better this time around with the changes that I made to the displays.  I've got a couple more changes in mind for the November market.  Hope to see some of you there!

Peace, love and light!

15 October, 2010


Thought I would share one of my Photoshop experiments with you.  I call it "Creep House"

You can view more of my artwork HERE

Thanks for looking

13 October, 2010

Pondering The Past While Building a Future

Do you ever feel like you missed out on who you were supposed to be because you were too busy being the person everyone else thought you should be?

Or have you ever felt like a has-been who never was?

Okay, so those things may sound self-pitying but I think it's okay to feel that way sometimes as long as you're not wallowing in the feelings and are actively working toward a change.


I always was a late bloomer.  But that's okay.  Better to bloom late than not at all.

Peace, love and light!


09 October, 2010


So here I am featured on IndieSpotting for Handmade Halloween!

06 October, 2010

A Slight Deviation

I had planned on writing all my October blogs about Halloween.  I LOVE Halloween!  My studio has Halloween decorations displayed year 'round.

Well last night whilst watching Journey To The Center Of The Earth on YouTube 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crmtwfdjoJ0&feature =related

I got the funniest error message I've ever seen and just had to share it with you.  After I selected the next part (I believe it was Part 3) instead of the video showing up, I got this hilariousness ~

Sorry, something went wrong.
A team of highly trained monkeys has been dispatched
to deal with this situation.
If you see them, show them this information: 

Followed by a bunch of gobbledy gook code looking stuff.

Luckily, when I hit reload, my video showed up and I was able to finish watching the movie.  Sadly, Gertrude the Duck gets eaten by the evil Count shortly after this photo was taken ~ 

Halloween blogging shall resume tomorrow!

05 October, 2010

Vintage Hallowe'en

I adore vintage things.  For me, they bring back memories of simpler (better?) times past.

I'm especially fond of vintage postcard art.  Someday I'd like to have a collection to display in a gorgeously shabby chic vintage frame.

Here's a few of my Hallowe'en favourites ~ 

04 October, 2010

I Love October

My favourite month of the year, October, is finally here.


27 September, 2010

McDonald Street Market

I was an artisan at this lovely market this past Saturday ~ September 25th.

It was just a small show but it sure was fun!

There were stories and photos posted in two online 'papers' ~

The Ledger ~ 


and Lakeland Local ~



I'll be doing the same show again next month on October 23rd.  So come on out and have a look!

Welcome to my tent!

Imaginary Relics on display
Calliope McQuinn hats & hatboxes

Hope to see you at the next market!!

18 September, 2010


So I've been reading and researching and reading and researching and.....  Well, you get the picture.

Trying to figure out what will get people to my shop www.blacksheepbeadery.etsy.com 

I've changed my tags, tried to make SEO friendly titles, re-photographed (still need to do more though), hearted tons of people, tweeted, facebooked and myspaced.  And my shop views are still crappy.

If anybody who might happen to be reading this has any suggestions for me, please tell me.  I'm starting to feel like my shop is in a black hole!

13 September, 2010

WooHoo!! I'm In A Treasury!

I've been featured in a treasury on Etsy!  http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4c8e33a975808eef4079c85e/mustard-not-just-for-hot-dogs

Thanks to the "D Team" for having me as a member!

Peace, love and light!

08 September, 2010


I've spent the morning networking my arse off!!

I'm a bit slow sometimes and really didn't realise that folks had no way of knowing they were in a treasury I'd created on Etsy unless I told them.  So, I've sent everyone on all 16 of my treasuries (!!!) a message to let them know they've been featured.  I'll be messaging as I make the treasuries from now on!

Then there's email requests to join 'street teams' plus the filling out of profiles for the teams I've been accepted to.  Goodness that's a lot of typing!

Gotta go do some wrist and finger loosening exercises now I think.  And lunch!  Then back into the studio to build some more jewellry.

Peace, love and light


07 September, 2010

Soldiering On....

So it's a new week and I'm full of new ideas.  Well, I'm full of something anyway!!

I'm working on revamping the Black Sheep Beadery shop ~ www.BlackSheepBeadery.etsy.com  I've decided to stop trying to cater to the masses (which so far has been unsuccessful) and start making things that I like.  I've also emailed a bunch of 'street teams' and asked to join up with them.  Why?  Because a book I'm reading right now claims the only way to get recognised on Etsy is to be part of a team.  Well so far nothing else has worked so I might as well give it try.

I'm also working on some new designs for my Demented Dollies shop as well ~ www.DementedDollies.etsy.com  I've also joined a 'team' for that shop as well The Otherlings. A link to their blog is listed under My Favourite Blogs.

My ArtFire shop ~ Imaginary Relics ~ www.ImaginaryRelics.artfire.com 
is getting lots of recognition by lots of different folks which is very awesome and cool.  I've a feeling that it's going to take off any time now!

If anyone out there actually reads any of this stuff and would care to take a look at my shops and give me some constructive criticism I'd love to hear it.  I've got great stuff for sale but I just can't seem to get it noticed!

Peace, love and light...

31 August, 2010


Wow.  Talk about a blow to one's ego.  I've been running a 20% off sale for the past week at Black Sheep Beadery http://www.blacksheepbeadery.etsy.com and I have not had one sale.  Not one!  20% off and no takers.


16 August, 2010

Is There Anybody Out There...

Does anybody even read this thing?

Do I just exist inside my own head?

Some days I feel very invisible.  Which can sometimes be good, but when you're trying to get noticed and no one looks, I have to say that it stings a bit.

So, having had my little pity party I'm going to post photos of my latest creations.  Maybe someone will find them and buy them.

Pumpkin Boy

Pumpkin Witch

Red Riding Hood Witch

Witchy Moon

Mystic Cat

Thanks for looking.

Peace, love and light.

10 August, 2010

Pondering My Next Move....

So.  I've decided that maybe I'll go back out and lug my tent around and do some craft shows.  Maybe.

I never really minded doing them before.  Most of them were fun and you could meet some very interesting people.  

For instance: the Mary Kay lady that I pissed off because I wouldn't make five identical pink necklaces for her to give to her underlings.  I didn't have a problem with pink or with five or with her.  She was a very pleasant and polite lady.  The problem was with identical.  I offered similar in style and made to suit each girl's personality.  She wanted completely, exactly, perfectly, identical.  I had to explain to her that I wasn't a chinese sweatshop and I did not do absolutely, perfectly identical.  Needless to say, she didn't buy anything from me.  Pink or otherwise.

There were also other wonderful vendors to chat (and complain) with.  My two favourites, who I remain friends with to this day, Carla and Ed who own Piglet's Pantry in Mt Dora ~ http://www.pigletspantry.com/  Wonderful dog bakery people who make yummy (yes I've eaten them so I know) dog biscuits!

So.  I'm thinking about lugging my tent around and doing craft shows.  Again.  Because the fun and the good far outweighed the bad.

Back to my workbench for now.
Peace, love and light... 

06 August, 2010

People Do The Strangest Things...

Yesterday I went to Joann Fabrics.  Yes, again!  Why?  Because I needed more ribbon for my latest hat creation.  No, it doesn't matter that I already have 300 rolls of ribbon in my studio.  None of them were exactly what I wanted.  So, the pilgrimage to Joann's was made and nifty new ribbon (plus a whole lot more) was obtained.  I honestly think they must pipe some sort of "put more stuff in your basket" pheromones into the store's air conditioning system because I can never just get what I came for and leave!
Bagful of goodies in hand, I begin the journey home.  I live in the middle of nowhere so it's about a 40 minute drive.  
Whilst sitting at a red light, I hear a semi truck blow it's horn and see the driver making gestures out of his passenger side window.  I couldn't see the vehicle he was gesturing at and just assumed he was having a bit of road rage at someone who had attempted to cut him off.  Oh no, my friends, that wasn't the case at all.  As the semi moves past the vehicle he was gesturing at, a raggedy pickup truck towing a raggedy trailer loaded with a raggedy mini van comes into view.  The pickup pulls off the road into a parking lot and the large, unkempt men inside get out and start walking toward and around the trailer.  Seems that the semi driver was honking at them because the mini van was coming untied.  Yes, I said untied.   
The geniuses piloting the tow vehicle apparently didn't have the right equipment, tools and/or knowledge to properly secure the mini van to the trailer.  What they had done was roll down the driver and passenger side windows and run a rope through the passenger compartment of the van and then looped the rope around the tongue of the trailer!  I was absolutely amazed that this was how these men had secured the van to the trailer.  Thank goodness the semi driver alerted them before the thing had fallen off the trailer and caused an accident. 
Oh, the times you need a camera and don't have one!  

04 August, 2010

I've Been Featured....

What a lovely way to start my day ~ I awoke to find that I'd been featured in an artisan collection of steampunk items on ArtFire!


How exciting! 


I've been featured in two more collections this week.  

One of hats on ArtFire ~ http://www.artfire.com/modules.php?name=collections&op=details&cid=273

One showing my beaded jewellry on Etsy ~ http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4c5c2c737e426d910b4095b8/i-heart-you-back  

Just had to share that little tidbit.  I'm going back to my workbench now...

Peace, love and light

03 August, 2010

The Burlesque Queen

I have to share my latest mini top hat creation.  I am enamoured of it and honestly can't believe I pulled it out of my head.
I built this hat entirely from scratch.  It started out as a flat sheet of stiff felt and became this luscious creation.  I may have found my new calling as a slightly mad hatter.  Or would that be hatteresse?

Thanks for stopping by.  It's back to the studio for me for more hat building fun!

29 July, 2010

Dark Beauty Magazine....

A little Thursday morning promo spot for a hauntingly beautiful new magazine that's coming out:

This is the premier issue of this beautifully dark, wonderfully photographed and gorgeously well put together magazine.  Go have a look and purchase the first issue.  Let's make it a success.

I'm also excited about it for another reason ~ I have an advertisement for my steampunk shop Imaginary Relics on page 16!  http://www.imaginaryrelics.artfire.com/

So, go have a look, buy yourself a copy and indulge in the dark delights within.

Peace, love and light.

28 July, 2010

Hatless Heads...

All heads should have hats upon them.  Everyone used to wear hats all the time.  Men, women and children.  Some of the ladies hats were, and still are, quite elaborate.

I have always had a bit of a hat fetish.  I think maybe I was born in the wrong era because I would love nothing better than to get up everyday and don a lovely hat and be on my way.

I guess that's why I love costumes and costuming so much.

So, combining my love for costume, hats, victoriana and over-decorated things, I have decided to start a line of mini top hats or fascinators as they're sometimes called.  Hence my Monday morning search for a wig head.

The search for a new head was successful and photos of my first hat were taken ~
The Ladies Hunting Bonnet
Calliope McQuinn
Victorian Ladies' Hats

I'll be posting this lovely creation to my ArtFire shop ~ http://www.imaginaryrelics.artfire.com/ 
later on today or at the latest, tomorrow.

Back to the studio now to finish the next tribute to Victorian ostentatiosness.

Peace, love and light.

26 July, 2010

Monday, Monday, Monday...

Well here we are at the beginning of yet another week.  Where does the time go?

My mission for today (should I choose to accept it) is to find a wig head so that I may photograph my latest creations ~ decorated mini top hats.  Yes, another "company" has been hatched here at Troll Bridge Studio ~ Calliope McQuinn, Victorian Ladies' HatsLet's see how this one works out.

In case anyone is actually reading this besides myself and you are actually interested in what I do ~ here's the list:

This is where I sell my hand-beaded jewellry.


This is where I sell my steampunk art jewellry.


This is where I sell my artfully demented paper dolls.


So, onward I go with my search for a wig head for my little hats.
Happy Monday everyone!