Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bunnies & Beads

Good Afternoon, Gentle Readers!

It's a blustery Spring day here in Billings with the wind shaking the house and whistling through the still bare trees. But Spring is coming, you can feel it in the air, in the earth, and in the trees. Even the wild bunnies have been making an appearance, and the grass is showing the tiniest hints of green peeking up through the brown... I can't find my photo of our neighborhood bunny, so here is one borrowed from another Montanan.

Lately I've been staying terribly busy between tutoring, family activities and daily life, and this new auction website called Tophatter. Not much time for blogging!

So until I have something better to post (projects in the works, seed bead ring finished, just nothing photographed yet!), I hope you'll take a chance to visit and get to know this new venue, Tophatter.com. It's a live auction website, where you can chat live with other buyers and sellers, and actually bid on items for sale in real time. It's a lot of fun and quite addictive! Like any brand new baby site (I believe this one launched about 3 months ago), it certainly has its growing pains and they are tinkering, adjusting, and adding new features every day. I've been having fun selling beads and making friends...

Here's the main screen where you can see what's going on now and what's coming up soon.... click any of the auction links to browse the "lots" and even set alerts for items you think you'd like to bid on!


This is one of my favorite places to hang out. I like the bigger photos, and it's easy to just click any item and a temporary popup comes up with a detailed description and up to 2 more photos of the item. That popup is also where you can set a reminder to bid, which will warn you if you happen to be in a different room when the lot comes up, and it also sends a text message to your phone in time for you to go sign in and get to the room you want to be in.

Here are a few of the upcoming item for the Home Decor auction later today via the "View Lots" button...

Click on any of the items in any of the preview auction rooms like that to see a detailed popup and the set and alert option:

There's an international shipping policy, details, more photos... I like to pin items from here to Pinterest. You just look over the details, set your alert if you want one, then x out and return to browsing all the lots.


Here's what a live auction looks like. This example is almost live, as they open the room for chat an hour before the auction actually begins. It's a great time to get to know people before the action starts! Look at all those people already in there! Each little person there represents a real person somewhere in the world, at their computer, and in that room right now. You can click on each little person and even see who it is!

See the little "Confused? Try the tutorial" link at the bottom? I highly recommend that to get started. When you visit the main site for the first time, the offer to view the tutorial should pop up. It just takes like 30 seconds, I recommend it!

Oh, and if you ever want to see bigger pictures of all the upcoming items, click the "View all items" below the column of upcoming items, and that takes you back to the page where you can browse lots for future auctions, only showing the items for THIS auction.

I guess that's about everything for Tophatter.... Do give it a peek and checkout the site's built-in tutorial mentioned above. There is also an unofficial facebook group called "Tophatters Anonymous" in case you find yourself hopelessly addicted...

If you'd like to keep an eye on what I'm selling on Tophatter, you can find my seller page here where you'll see a few of my upcoming items, sold items, and feedback from past buyers.

My Seller Page
Additionally, you can also follow my Pinterest Board where I pin my upcoming Tophatter Lots. If you're also a Pinterest addict like me, this is the perfect way to hear about my upcoming items for sale. I think other sellers are doing this too...

I'm "Charlotte B." in the auction rooms since there are lots of people and a few other Charlotte's and a few other people who go by "Bird." I usually hang around the supplies and jewelry auctions the most, but also love the handmade soaps over in bath & body.... 

Stop in, pull up a spot, and enjoy the fun! Maybe I'll see you there... :) Enjoy!

With Love From Montana, 
Charlotte B. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Holiday Projects

Now that the holidays are mostly passed, it's safe to share some of the fun holiday projects I've been working on! Sadly, it seems I only took photos of one of them! :P Some I loved so much, though, that I'll be making them again for sure! :)

Gold Statement Hoops ~ Solid brass with non-tarnish coating and wire-wrapped 
faceted rondelle metallic gold crystals. 1.5" inside diameter of each hoop.

I love this design, allowing a hoop that still has my comfort-fit earwires!

I couldn't quite get them hanging on the model right though. she is life-size, but the inflexible ear makes it hard to get things in right without damaging them sometimes! 

Up next: A photo recipe for a Gluten-, Soy-, and Milk-less baking treat for my husband...

GF Lemon Bars! 

hopefully those will be made today, allowing photos and recipe to be posted in a few days. :)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Nerd Alert - My First Ring Watch!

This came out so silly, I just had to share!

I hate wearing watches, and thus am always late, and my husband has been encouraging me to think about getting a watch again. In the Billings cold winter though with the coat always coming on and off... not a pleasant thing, having a big lump of a watch on one's wrist to get in the way. I thought of this looking at Pink80sGirl's cocktail rings on Etsy, so I did a bit of searching, and apparently I'm not the first one to have such an idea. And so my first "Ring Watch" was born!

As it turns out, it's really hard to find a watch face without those pesky little loops built into the case where you attach the band, so I decided if I was stuck with them, I might as well make them useful! I tried to kind of hide the little loops themselves under the top and bottom spirals, and used them to string a beaded wire frame around the watch face, ending in some little spirals on either side of the crown (knob thingy).

To make matters worse, I was in a silly mood and tried to make this as gaudy as possible. I think it was a success, what about you?

I showed it to my stepdaughter, and she was fascinated and horrified at the same time. I was told I look "ridiculous with that thing on," yet when it came off, she could not stop examining it closely. I am right handed, so set the face such that I could wear it on my left hand as shown and just glance down to see what time it is.

The wire is enamel-coated copper 20 gauge, the crystals are fire polished Czech red AB and Swarovski crystal clear AB, and the watch case is stainless steel, since I have a nickel allergy. It might not have mattered though, as the case doesn't really touch your skin. It's just simply glued onto a flat pad ring base on the back. I am hoping that the pad is small enough that it will still be easy enough to get the back off when the battery needs to be changed someday.

The very best part is that since the wire is very inexpensive, I can cut and remove the beaded part in just a snap and re-do the beads to suit each season! I think the next version will not have the crown exposed; that just made it a little too off balance. So the embellishing ring will have to go sort of over it, which will be easy enough.

Now I can't wait to change it up again! I think the next version will be sapphire blue and white crystals on silver wire... :)

With love from Montana,