Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tuesday Treasury

We have a new baby! Well, really, we're just babysitting, but we're still very proud of this baby. We have become the new Team Captains of the wonderful Etsy team Lean On Me. Our team founder and captain, the lovely owner of BellinaCreations, is taking a break as captain of the team due to often-debilitating heath problems, but when she is well again, she might resume the role. Fortunately, she is remaining as Team Leader and will still be participating as much as she can! Thank you BellinaCreations for trusting us with your baby!

To celebrate our team, we created a treasury filled with wonderful items that are 100% Lean On Me!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Finds

We LOVE Fridays, don't you? We try to start the weekends off right by doing something fun on Friday nights, even if it is just eating dinner in front of the telly as we watch a film! That sounds rather boring, now that I think about it...does that mean the magpies are getting old?

Let's not talk about age...let's move on to our Friday Finds!

I am in love with this wonderful body spray by Harmony5. I really wasn't sure how all of the fragrance notes would work together in this scent, but oh my goodness, this is such a warm spray that still has a hint of clean, crisp, wintery air!

This is my new "go to" fragrance. This might be a limited edition seasonal item, so I might need to stock up!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wednesday Wisdom

Some days are wonderful and everything in our little corners of the universe is filled with joy. Some days are wretched, no good, nothing-is-going-right-and-I-want-to-hide-in-my-room-and-sulk days. The printer decided to be a trial and a tribulation, I forgot where I left my car keys AGAIN, the lady at the post office was rude to me, there's a hole in my favourite socks, the new soap recipe I tried was a horrid failure, the dogs barked all day, on the way to the clothes line I tipped over the basket of clean, WET laundry into the dirt, I set the smoke detector off TWICE making dinner...we all have those days that seem to be a veritable litany of woes. Let's move on, shall we?

Finish each day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in;
Forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day;
Begin it well and serenely
And with too high a spirit
To be encumbered with your old nonsense.
This day is all that is good and fair.
It is too dear, with its hopes and invitations,
To waste a moment on yesterdays.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hello Again and Friday Finds

Goodness, it's been a while, hasn't it? I think I have discovered why blogging is so difficult for me...I feel like I should only blog if I have something important to say. I am beginning to realise that needn't always be the case. SO, here we go again, trying to get into the blogging swing.

Today on Facebook, we started a little something new. This is what we said: "We come across so many wonderful things on Etsy, so we think we should start showing you some of the things we love. How about we call it "Friday Finds"? SO, here is the first Friday Find! This watercolour is incredibly ethereal and filled with emotion. We bought another serene watercolour from this artist, and we have it prominently hanging in our work room. It gives us peace."

We're such fans of LaurasFineArt, and sometime soon we plan on adding another one of Laura's pieces to our wall. Not only is she a talented artist, but she's also a very kind person, and we're grateful there are nice people like Laura on Etsy! Click on the painting to visit her shop.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Teach A Man To Fish.

For many years, we have helped support a charity that is close to our hearts, Heifer International. Heifer International is different from most charities. Heifer says this about their work:

"By giving families a hand-up, not just a hand-out, we empower them to turn lives of hunger and poverty into self-reliance and hope. With gifts of livestock and training, we help families improve their nutrition and generate income in sustainable ways. We refer to the animals as "living loans" because in exchange for their livestock and training, families agree to give one of its animal's offspring to another family in need. It's called Passing on the Gift – a cornerstone of our mission that creates an ever-expanding network of hope and peace."

A hand-up. A HAND-UP. This is why we love Heifer International. This is why countless family and friends have received "gifts" from Heifer International given on their behalf: chicks, ducks, bees, goats, and even a pig!

We have decided that every month we will add something to our new shop category SALES FOR CHARITY and every dollar of that sale will go directly to Heifer International to buy something from the gift catalog. This month, we will be using the money from our sale to buy someone in need a flock of chicks. Actually, since this is our inaugural month, our "grand opening" of a sort, we're adding TWO things and donating TWO flocks of chicks!

How can you help? You can help by telling your friends and family about Heifer International, you can buy gifts of animals for holidays and birthdays, and you can tell other people about our new shop section. This month we have these items for sale:

Thank you, from the bottoms of our hearts, for helping us help others.

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

Visit us at Magpie's Trick

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lean On Me

Sometimes Etsy can seem like a big scary world in which it is hard to find a place to belong. We've been very fortunate to find a nice place in the Etsy community to meet new friends and chat with genuinely nice people! Let me show you a few of the lovely things that have been created by some of our talented team members.

Presenting Team Lean On Me. Click on the photos to visit the associated shops.

hempkitty's gorgeously beaded photo frame.

Laura's Fine Art. I want to visit these serene woods.

Bellina Creation's ethereal and dreamy vine and crystal tiara.

remedynz's breathtaking silk corset with crystal beading.

rrizzart's whimsical and poignant mixed media collage.

Beadful String's intricate beaded lace necklace.

These works are just a small sample of the incredible talent that is in Team Lean On Me. We're terribly proud to be part of this wonderful group of people!

Visit us at Magpie's Trick

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Leaf Earrings

I made some sterling silver leaf and smoky quartz earrings, and I thought it would be fun to share some of the process. The photos are clickable to enlarge.

First, I gathered my materials:

Then got ready to solder my basic leaf shapes. Looks like the teenager decided to graffiti the charcoal block:

Soldering the leaf pieces closed:

After soldering, I used pliers to form the final leaf shape:

Leaves need stems (and stems make convenient places to attach other parts of the earrings):

Melting wee pieces of solder to affix the stem. Fire burn and cauldron (flux, in this case) bubble:

And next come the veins:

First one is finished and very messy. I never said I was the tidiest jeweller ever! I wasted a lot of silver:

I tried to do cleaner work on this one so I wouldn't have as much filing work and silver waste. The second leaf is MUCH tidier!:

Well, except for the firescale and flux residue, that is. Ick:

Cleaned, filed, polished, smoky quartz briolettes wire-wrapped and attached, and ear wires made:

Oxdised, polished again, cleaned again, ready to sell! TA-DAAAA! As I've said before, soldering and metalwork isn't my strong area (that is the exact reason that Derek sets all of the cabochons!), so any time I have a success I am insanely pleased with myself. I'm very happy with how these turned out:

Shimmer of the day: Smoky Quartz
Quartz helps to clear away negativity. It is believed that quartz is one of the most protective gemstones and it will guard the spirit as it enhances spiritual growth and wisdom. It is beneficial for cleansing the emotions and heightening creativity and inspiration. Quartz aids in concentration and retaining information. A master healing stone, quartz elevates energy and can be used for any condition.

Visit us at Magpie's Trick

Monday, May 16, 2011

Being a Grown-up Is Fun!

One night this past weekend we were up late working on some projects. I was working on this (but that's a blog post for a different day):

We lost track of time, and suddenly it was 1:00 in the morning! How did that happen? As I waited for Derek to finish up one last thing, I decided to do a quick art project. Luckily (?), the teen was hanging around with a camera to capture my masterpiece.

I get silly when I'm tired.

Shimmer of the day: Smoky Quartz
It is said that smoky quartz can help you be more in touch with the universe. This is a stone of comfort and calming and is believed to be very helpful in relieving grief and depression. Smoky quartz can help in making sound finacial decisions and in managing money wisely.

Visit us at Magpie's Trick

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

As well as being Etsy sellers, we're also Etsy buyers. I often use "black bird" for search terms and I want to share a few of MY favourite things I've recently seen on Etsy!

And a white bird for good measure:

Shimmer of the day: BLACK SPINEL
-Black spinel is a protective stone; bolstering one's own inherent strength, hope, and will. Influencing both mind and body, black spinel aids in refreshing both the physical and mental states; improving physical mobility, as well as helping to stay grounded when dealing with difficult inter-personal situations.

Visit us at Magpie's Trick

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Differences of Opinion

As with all couples, sometimes Derek (Mr. Magpie) and I have differing opinions on things. One of my favourite recent creations is this lovely peridot necklace:

I was quite proud of this piece as it came to me whilst listening to "Stairway To Heaven" and I knew I needed to make a necklace that went with my favourite line "If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now. It's just a spring clean for the May Queen". When Derek came home from work, I hurried to show him my work. His response? "Oh that is so COOL, you made Trogdor!" "What? Trog-WHAT?" He then showed me this video:

and tried hard to point out the similarities in this photo:

"Noooooo, I don't THINK so. This necklace is called 'Hedgerow'....."

In a last ditch-effort to convince me this was, indeed, a representation of Trogdor, Derek presented me with this image:

Sometimes boys are so strange.

Shimmer of the day: PERIDOT
Peridot is said to assist with healing emotional wounds. This stone can help you see romantic involvement clearly and with greater understanding. A Visionary stone, it brings understanding of destiny and purpose. It is believed to slow aging, lessen anger, fear, and jealousy, and to facilitate the birthing process.

Visit us at Magpie's Trick

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Day Date

Mr. Magpie took the day off work yesterday so we could have a "day date", and our date took the form of a trip to the international gem show here in Austin.

Our feet are tired from all the walking, our backs are sore from bending over to look at all the lovely gems, and our bank account is severely depleted, but look what we came home with!

Top to bottom (deep breath): BIG Rainbow Moonstone briolettes, Gray Moonstone briolettes, Pyrite focals (left), BIG Labradorite briolettes, smaller Labradorite briolettes, Mystic Blue Topaz, Blue Chalcedony (left), multi-coloured Chalcedony (right), yellow Chalcedony, mossy Prehnite, GIANT Baltic Amber focal (left), HUGE Prasiolite (green Amethyst) briolettes/focals, tiny rondelles of various gems, Tourmaline, Peridot, Hessonite Garnet, Carnelian, Peach Moonstone, Rainbow Moonstone rondelles, Sapphire rondelles, HUGE Sapphire briolettes, Ruby rondelles, BIG Ruby briolettes, GINORMOUS Ruby focal, Garnet briolettes

This is the MOST money and largest amount of gems in one shopping trip. We've been looking at all the sparkles and flashes all morning, and the ideas keep flowing! We are incredibly happy magpies today, and are thrilled with our hoard.

Shimmer of the day: RUBY
Ruby is said to be a stone of love and wisdom. It helps with decision making and improves the outcome of controversy and dispute. Rubies aid in bringing about and strengthening romantic love. As ruby is a stone of energy, it is believed to increase energy, vitality, and strength and can assist in relieving exhaustion.

Visit us at Magpie's Trick

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Inspiration comes from unexpected places. One morning, I was lying in bed looking about our room. I love our bedroom so very much. It is a sanctuary, a haven. It reminds me of this poem:

The Dream Keeper

"Bring me all of your dreams,
you dreamers,
Bring me all your heart melodies,
that I may wrap them in a blue cloud cloth,
Away from the too rough fingers of the world"

-Langston Hughes

Except our room is red and shades of gray instead of blue. But I digress.....

As I was looking about, I paid closer attention to a night-light hanging in front of our window. I repurposed an antique birdcage and filled it with things we've found along the way.

My eye was drawn to this: (There is no dust there. You do not see dust. This is not the dust you are looking for).

From that tiny bit of scrolled iron which caught my eye on a Saturday morning, came this:

Inspiration. You never know...

Shimmer of the day: GARNET
Garnet is said to be a stone of romantic love and passion. It is believed that garnet causes one to have positive thoughts and increased energy. It can aid in self esteem and success in business. Lore suggests that garnets assist the blood, heart and lungs, prevent nightmares, and alleviate depression.

Visit us at Magpie's Trick

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cold Winds.

The North wind doth blow and we shall have snow,
And what will poor robin do then, poor thing?
He'll sit in a barn and keep himself warm
and hide his head under his wing, poor thing."

It is a VERY cold week in Austin, and we're expecting ice and snow. We've been under a severe winds advisory...ideal weather for staying indoors and making pretty things! Icy, clear quartz crystal is perfect for weather such as this.

Shimmer of the day: QUARTZ
Quartz helps to clear away negativity. It is believed that quartz is one of the most protective gemstones and it will guard the spirit as it enhances spiritual growth and wisdom. It is beneficial for cleansing the emotions and heightening creativity and inspiration. Quartz aids in concentration and retaining information. A master healing stone, quartz elevates energy and can be used for any condition.

Visit us at Magpie's Trick