Friday, February 27, 2009

Use Your Head and Win Some Bread!!

Solve this Word Search and win a $15 gift certificate to my shop!

This Word Search features pieces from my Leftovers Series. However, it also includes 3 more names of pieces that I'm in the process of creating. Those pieces are NOT in the word list below the puzzle. The winner of the $15 gift certificate will be the first person who finds the 3 dishes that are not in the word list and comments below with those dishes listed exactly as they appear in the puzzle. You should be able to click on the puzzle itself and print it.

And the missing 3 are?????? If you've never seen the completed The Leftovers Series to date, you can view a slide show of it here. Good luck, have fun, TGIF!!!
If you have advanced knowledge of the pieces I'm're not eligible to win this prize. Sorry...
and the winner is...
Vintage Jewelry Collector said...

Red Bean Chili
Liver and Onions
Belgian Waffles

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What exactly IS a Nursing Necklace?

Well, it's part tool...and part treasure.

A nursing necklace is first and foremost a tool that many mothers find helpful when nursing their little ones. Some babies are very focused when they're nursing, while others are easily distracted and/or have a roaming hand that likes to pinch mommy or pull her hair and make her uncomfortable while she's trying to relax and feed. A nursing necklace can help solve that problem by giving your baby something to hold onto while nursing. There are different types as well. Some are very bright and consist of lots of beads and colors to catch baby's attention, some are suitable for teething, and some are more simple and meant to be used as a focal and anchor piece. The ones that I make fall into this category.

One of the benefits of the type that I make is that they don't look like nursing necklaces. If you're wearing one of these, I can promise you that no one is going to call the fashion police if you don't have an infant within a three foot radius of your person. Nursing mothers purchase my donut pendants just as often as non-nursing gals do because their babies like to hook their little fingers through the hole and hold on while they're nursing. The stones are smooth and cool to the touch and they have a little weight to them and it gives some babies the perfect way to get comfortable when they're hungry. It's sort of like having the perfect drink holder in your car. Everything just fits. The necklace--the color, feel, and shape--can also become a cue for your baby that it's time to settle down and feed especially if you start right from birth. A baby with a nice, full tummy sleeps better and so does her mommy!

I developed the Nurse Purse in July 2008 because moms have a lot of things to remember when they're running out the door every day. The Nurse Purse is a smaller nursing necklace enclosed in a drawstring bag that mom can keep in her purse or diaper bag so that she'll always have it with her no matter where she is. The 'purse' that accompanies each pendant is made especially for Risky Beads by Jenny Nguyen of jennyndesigns.

The Nurse Purse comes in a ton of different designs and colors and makes a great baby shower gift and I gift wrap for free! If you'd like to purchase one but don't know what color the new mom would like, I can always send a gift certificate either by snail or email! And if you have older children waiting on the new baby, you might want to check out my Risky KIDS section. Some of my customers have had their nursing necklaces borrowed by their daughters only to find them using them to 'nurse' their baby dolls so I always keep a few training pendants listed. :-)

You can find standard nursing necklaces in the Necklaces/Pendants section of my studio, and generally speaking, any stone with a hole in the middle can be used as a nursing necklace unless I specify otherwise in the listing. If you don't see something you're looking for, please ask because I have tons of stones that aren't listed. The Nurse Purse has its own section in each of my shops, and since ArtFire took their RapidCart feature live today, you can look to your right and see Nurse Purses available for purchase straight from my blog, no registration necessary and free shipping worldwide!

And now for the treasure. There will be a day when your baby grows up, and he won't need to nurse anymore. Sometimes that can be a more difficult transition for mom than baby. But remember that nursing necklace you have? It still fits, right? And it's still pretty, right? And the memories are still with it, right? A nursing necklace can be a great transition object as you and your child wean. It becomes a happy reminder of the bond you shared, and a way to help your child know that the special connection you shared will always be there...close to your heart.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at riskybeads [at] gmail DOT com.



Mother Breastfeeding Her Baby by ElizabethBonura
Pineapple Angst by Risky Beads
Sweet Simplicity 2 Nurse Purse by Risky Beads
Small Nest Box by LazyLightningArt

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Buy This So I Won't-Volume 8-Kid at Heart

Well, boys and girls, it's that time again, time to regale you with the next installment of...Buy This So I Won't! Before we get too far into this though, I need to let you know that I'm writing this based on the assumption that not a one of you has truly grown up because, come on, where's the fun in that? Okay, off we go...

First up is a little fellow that loves bananas even though a banana could kick his butt! That's right, he's the Tiny Sock Monkey from These Loving Hands at ArtFire. He comes in 4 different colors for $12.00 and is SO UNBELIEVABLY CUTE that I want to hot glue him to my shoulder like a parrot and carry him with me wherever I go. (I had an abbreviated childhood or something; cut me some slack people.)

Maybe he eats Gerber bananas?

Next up, is another little guy you could glue to your shoulder or perhaps take with you on a blind date or to a fire sale! He's a Sock Ninja from uppitywomandesigns at Etsy. He's 14" tall and wears all black because it makes him look fierce and skinny. Just think how much easier your day would be with this little warrior by your side smacking that chocolate chip cookie out of your hand and handing you a piece of celery! For $20, that's a steal!

And you can take him to the gym with you because he works out!

I think that's Hot Yoga.

And our last contestant is on board to help you with your other 'issues,' if you know what I mean, and I think that you do. Ellie the Elephant from lilsproutknits at Etsy is more than happy to be your 'elephant in the room' until you deal with your mother-in-law, your boss, your child's teacher or that weird noise your car is making. For $34, she won't make a scene; she'll just sit there and look like the pretty determined reminder that she is. So much nicer than that post-it stuck to the bottom of your keyboard, right?

You don't have to be a jewelry artist to love her beady little eyes...

And so while I suppose that despite my best efforts you have grown up, can someone please Buy These So I Won't? Surely someone out there needs a tiny little sock monkey, a fierce ninja, and a silent but steady elephant more than I need an empty wallet, right? You realize that they're just going to keep staring at you, right? That's what they do. They're really, really good at it!

Until next time...Lori

P.S. Enter my Desert Island Giveaway!

Desert Island Giveaway

**Congratulations!! Dancerinthemaking has won the giveaway!!!**

This is one of my most popular and sexiest pendants....Eggshells at Midnight.

Because you never knew where you stood with her... Was she there because she wanted you or because she didn't want him? Because your bed was empty or because his was full? You got better and better at lying to yourself and making it last all through the night.

Would you like to win it? Perhaps for yourself or a very special someone? Well, come on in! It's winter, and many are already dreaming of summer, so this is my Desert Island Giveaway. It runs from Tuesday, 2/17/09 thru Sunday, 2/22/09. Here's how to enter:

All you have to do is visit my shop, Risky Beads, and decide which 3 pieces from my shop you'd want with you if you were trapped all alone on a desert island and why. The winner will be chosen from a random integer generator on Sunday. You can enter only once and please leave your email address. Entries with no contact info will be deleted. Have fun!


ETA: 2/22/09 Dancerinthemaking has won the giveaway! She said:

"I would want Copper Sparkle Nurse Purse as i can put stuff in it. Crocodile Tear would be good as it's so shiny so maybe i'll be able to use it catch attention from passing planes or ships. After Dinner would help me know the time.."
Thanks to everyone who entered and stay tuned for the big ArtFire giveaway I'm hosting on my blog starting next Sunday!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Leftovers Series--A Tasty Little Slide Show

Pour Some Sugar On Me


If you'd like to get your sugar on tonight, head on over to Sweet Life in the Valley's blog and enter the V Chocolate's giveaway!! It's a giveaway and Valentine's Day so all calories are instantly negated. That's like Einstein's Law of Caloric-tivity or something.

Me want free candy.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Can you brew a little Love Potion?

**Winners Chosen--Contest Closed**
Valentine's Day is almost here! Think you're ready? Well, prove that you're up to the task by brewing a little semantic Love Potion and win this pendant:

Love Potion
I don't know what you put in my drink, but all of a sudden I have this overwhelming feeling that you should buy me dinner.

Here's how to enter:

Go to my Etsy shop and write a little love note using only the names of my pieces. You can add words like 'the' and 'a' if you like, but the winner will be the person who forms the most coherent and romantic love note using the highest number of my pieces with the fewest extraneous words. You can enter up to three times, must only use items that are currently for sale and only their titles, and cannot use the piece in the giveaway--Love Potion. Comment below with your entries.

The winner will be chosen on Valentine's Day, Saturday, February 14, 2008.

Good luck, Lori

Get 15% off your order in my Etsy shop 2/9-2/11 with code POTION15P. Convo before purchasing!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sometimes I just want to write... v. 2

the older i get
the more respect i have
for the love that waits inside me
it's arrived here at the point of patience
hungry but not starving
eager but not foolish
it is real
and renewable
it will sustain me
until you get here

Photo credit: Lone Heart Skeleton Key at Ashbury Lane Art & Design
poem-me (Lori Ward, 2/8/2009)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Buy This So I Won't-Volume 7 Vintage Kitchen

This week's column is an admission of sorts. As I surf Etsy and ArtFire in the course of my daily shopkeeping, I always come across things that I'm one click away from buying, and for some reason I've been doing way too good at avoiding one certain weakspot in my shopping psyche--dishes!

Now, I know what you're thinking. I got married and got dishes then and that's all I really care about dishes and fine china's for the birds so who cares? I care! And I'm terminally single and can barely cook! (Don't call the police just yet.) See, dishes can sometimes seep into my decor OCD if I start getting just a wee bit bold in the kitchen and, you know, decide that it's okay to buy lettuce that doesn't come in a bag. So, were I to induldge my desperate urge to revamp my kitchen so that it would match my bedroom (don't ask, okay? my apt. is very, very small...), here's where I would start. My bedroom is brown, dark chocolately brown with every other brown and a little blue drizzled in... this would look great in my bedroom, but we're supposed to be talking about my kitchen! ::ahem::
First, I would revamp my casserole dishes. With this 9" x 4" Unique Pyrex Casserole dish in a Bulls Eye Pattern from SleepyOwlVintage for $24.00. I love the colors, the pattern, the retro-ness of it!! It's perfect and it matches my sheets. (I can't help it! My wardrobe's the same way. I could wear my bedspread and just kill 2 birds with one stone.)

And because I like to delude myself and pretend that I might actually cook two dishes at once someday, I'd have to add this Retro Mod 60s Pyrex Terra Chocolate Brown Casserole Dish to my collection from junkculture for $14.00. It's 2.5 quarts. Now look at that dish and tell me that it's not gorgeous. It's hypnotizing you, isn't it? You're...getting...very...hungry....

I think my obsession with circles it's becoming very, very apparent. I'm an abstract art obsession-ado as well. I can't deal with art that looks back at me. I just need colors and shapes. Hmm...and trees. I can deal with trees. So, that's enough casserole dishes.

Now, once I make these dishes, I have to have something serve my (imaginary) dinner in right? Well, look no further! I have two choices battling for my wallet at this moment. The first is French Onion Soup Bowls by Hull-Set of Two by Surrender Dorothy for $21.89. I love French Onion soup, but these bowls make it look even better!

The second is Pfaltzgraff Soup Mugs In The Gourmet Pattern Set Of Three also from Surrender Dorothy for $22.00. Getting a hold of discontinued Pfaltzgr aff is always good for a sugar high, and these are simply gorgeous!!!!

Now, I have two more items to show you. One is for after dinner. Granted, they veer a wee bit from the color scheme and concept, but I don't care, I love them!! Plus, you can use them to help you drown your sorrows after you bought too much! They're 5 Recylcled Blown Glass Stemmed Vino Glasses From The Early Eighties again from Surrender Dorothy for $32.50. Can't you just see the Tequila Sunrise?

And finally, I'll breakdown and show you the last thing that I'll be lucky if I make it to morning without buying. I wouldn't even put these in my kitchen, I'd put them in my bedroom as matching knick knacky vases or something like I need more of those! I can't help it; they're so freaking adorable! Set of 4 quirky coffee mugs for $14.0o by Sl eepyOwlVintage.

*dies of the cuteness and knick knacky potential-ness*

And so again, dear reader, I come to you with my constant refrain of Buy These So I Won't because it took me about 45 minutes to write this post and in that 45 minutes, I didn't spend a dime. It would be great to wake up tomorrow morning and not be able to buy anything on this list because someone else already did! Have a heart; it's almost Valentine's Day. Save me from MYSELF!

Yours very gratefully,

And of course, you have until noon tomorrow to enter the February ArtFire Giveaway on my blog!

Advertise and Analyze--Project Wonderful

The last two weeks have been very different than most of my Risky weeks. Usually, a big chunk of my day is spent making new pieces, photographing them and naming them, and then listing, listing, and listing, but sales have been really slow since Christmas for a variety of reasons so I've been spending my time promoting my shop(s) in other ways and indulging other facets of my creativity. Sometimes it also just nice to take a break and focus on something else.

I decided to dive into Project Wonderful, finally, and I learned a lot about more than just Project Wonderful. First, I created a few 125x125 square ads, mostly animated, and then signed up on the site and loaded them into my account. PW supports many other sizes, but I found that most of the sites I wanted to advertise on accepted the square size. I'm interested in hearing from anyone who has success with another size. Then I added some funds from my PayPal account. I suggest starting with $10. Next, rather than bidding with one ad, I created a campaign. (PW told me this was a relatively new feature.) Basically, you choose a set of criteria that you want to bid with and then PW goes out and retrieves all the sites that have PW ad space meeting that criteria. A word of warning--if you don't put any exclusionary criteria in, as in you don't specify type of site you're looking for, number of hits you want that site to get per day, and no minimum bid, etc.--PW is likely to come back with half the internet for your perusal! And you will probably freak out the first time like I did.

I tried this instead and got better results: I created an ad that focuses on my Nurse Purses, which are a specific type of nursing necklace for nursing moms. I then set my criteria to look for square ads in the Parent/Kids section only with 100-500 hits per day and per week. That gave me a reasonable list to work with. Once I got that list, I went through and physically looked at each site to see where the ad placement was, if I liked the aesthetics of the site/blog, and when the last time was that the site was updated. No use running an ad on a site that hasn't updated in a week unless you can tell from the PW stats that the site still gets a lot of daily traffic regardless. Then I bid on sites anywhere from $0 to $.20. Sometimes you're the high bidder and you get right in, other times you're not, but you'll get in when the high bidder's bid expires. Once you bid on several sites, you can check back in throughout the day(s) and see which sites are getting the most views and which are actually garnering hits. Then you can do a cost/benefit analysis by tilting your head to the right and going, "Hmm, that site ain't worth it," canceling that bid and perhaps looking for another one or staying where you are. Maybe one of your sites is getting 5 times as many hits as others, but you keep getting outbid. Perhaps you should dump the under-performing ones and bid more to stay in the running on the site that's working for you. Keep in mind, though, that 3 hours of data is not enough for historical analysis!

Stay tuned for my next post on the subject: Project Wonderful = Serendipity!

Enter the February ArtFire Giveaway through noon tomorrow, Sunday, 2/8!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sometimes I just want to write...

Even in the darkness, you pull something out of me. Sometimes it's something that I'm thirsting to give you; sometimes it's something that I want to hide. I don't know how you find sunshine in darkness or how you tickle the soil just enough to make it too hard to stay still. I just want to know that if I show up the next time, again I might leave a little lighter.

Photo credit: from the dark-8x10 fine print, JoannasPhotography
February Giveaway--still time to sign up!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Great Information on Staying Connected!

Surfing this morning, and I found some great links about

A Crash Course in Comments

Using Outposts in Your Media Strategy

Both are useful and simple marketing strategies and they explain things in plain English! Enjoy!

Still plenty of time to sign up for the February ArtFire Giveaway!!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

February 2009 ArtFire Giveaway!!

CLOSED FOR NEW ENTRIES!!--Winner is Elaine R

Well, welcome to February and therefore, to the February ArtFire Giveaway! Our January Giveaway was a huge success, so we're back this month with another fabulous bundle of girly goodness!!!! There are 11 sellers participating in this giveaway, so the entry rules are a little bit different. Please read them carefully as any entries that don't meet the criteria will be skipped. But's the loot!!!

(There is one more item on the way that's not pictured.)

This month's prize consists of these fabulous gifts: Pink Sugar Natural Soy Wax Candles by Soy Scentual, a jar of Pamper Your Hiney Satin and Silk Lotion in Love Spell from Shine Your Hiney Soap, a Have a Heart beaded bookmark from bijouxdesignsforyou, a 7.5" hematite and Swarvoski crystal valentine bracelet with a toggle clasp from Jewelry to Keep by Suzanne Baxter, matchbook notepads (6) and floral envelopes by Recupe Fashion, a bar of Pomegranate soap from soapdeli, handmade valentine notecards from timelesspaperarts, Hearts Aflame earrings by GemKitty, and the Access ceramic pendant from my shop, Risky Beads. The item pictured separately arrived a little later; it's a beautiful Irish Wool and Linen bracelet from Painted Bull. One item hasn't arrived yet: 5"x7" Red Berries on Blue photographic print from MNH Photography and . These products retail for $110.00!!!

But, wait, it gets better!!

Each owner of these shops has volunteered one of their products because they want to promote their shops but also ArtFire as a venue so we are all offering 10% off in our shops during this giveaway! Use this code when purchasing: RBFEBAF10P** ArtFire is a relatively new site in the grand scheme of the online handmade market scene, but we like it because it's very open and has a fee structure that allows us to put our money into our product. If you've been considering giving ArtFire a try, I encourage you to do so. The site is growing fast; the administration is extremely responsive when there's an issue, and there are many different platforms for community involvement and improvement that are community driven.

So on behalf of Val at Soy Scentual, Patti at Shine Your Hiney Soap, April at bijouxdesignsforyou, Suzanne at Jewelry to Keep, Nathalie at Recupe Fashion, Rebecca at soapdeli, Kalla at timelesspaperarts, Kathy at GemKitty, Deon at MNH Photography , J.J. at Painted Bull, and me (Lori) at Risky Beads, here are the rules for entering the February ArtFire Giveaway!

The winner of the contest will be chosen by the random number generator at, so each comment is one entry unless it's incomplete, in which case it will be skipped. To enter the contest, you must visit at least 6 of our 11 shops listed above, come back, and leave 1 comment mentioning your favorite item from those 6 shops. You can earn extra entries by doing any or all of the following, putting each one in a separate comment:

--visit the other 5 shops you didn't visit in your first comment and mention your favorite item in your comment
--blog about the giveaway and link back in your comment
--tweet about the giveaway and link back in your comment
--purchase from any Artfire shop from February 2-8 (deadline is noon) and link back with your order #. Your seller will give it to you or ask for it.
--purchase from any of our 11 shops and receive 2 extra entries per shop and link back with your order #. Your seller will give it to you or ask for it.

Please remember to leave your contact information in your comment. We can't contact you if we can't find you!!! Anonymous entries with no email address will be skipped.

Have fun, good luck, and Happy Valentine's Day!! May you find some heart fire on ArtFire!


**Some sellers have other sales running, so some items may have different or even bigger discounts!

Any comments that do not/did not meet the requirements of entry are/were deleted.

2/10/09: Congratulations!!!! The winner of this giveaway and $110 worth of fabulous, handmade girly goodness is Elaine R. She has 48 hours to respond to my email and claim her prize or I will draw again.
The March giveaway kicks off on Sunday, March 2, 2009 so stay tuned! In the meantime, visit ArtFire!! New shops are opening every day! Thanks for entering! ~Lori