First Customer Feature of 2014: Melstiel!!

Welcome to the first post of Down to the Wire for 2014 – whoo hoo!  

I wanted to kick it off with a great interview I did with a lovely lady who goes by the fabulous name Melstiel.  She and I met at TorCon this past October.

Melstiel is probably one of Castiel’s biggest fans and it looks like the feeling is mutual: Image

I’m happy to give her the floor for her to strut her stuff for us today!  Take it away Melstiel!

I am Melissa but I prefer to be called Mel. I am a bionic woman, with a cochlear implant to help me hear better. I identify as pansexual and polyamorous. I am in a family of five which includes my significant other Christopher, my hearing ear dog Rocky, and my two cats, Artemis and Satine.

I work in maintenance of recycled soft goods at a thrift store and take on research and program evaluation contracts from time to time. I have a graduate degree in forensic psychological research and I am taking courses in Case Management so I can get a certificate in that much more practical field. I love cats, ancient civilizations, video games, psychology, sexuality, and art. I am a devoted Superwholockian. 

As you can tell, I am completely enamored with Castiel and Misha Collins. Like Castiel, I am a socially awkward rebel who is fiercely loyal to their friends and feels guilty for mistakes made in life. Misha makes me happy and is just a beautiful human being with a dose of crazy. I did GISHWHES ’13 and look forward though fear doing GISHWHES ’14. Here’s an example of a GISHWHES ’13 item – the objective was to raise funds for the food bank by ‘panhandling’ as a dragon attack victim on a busy sidewalk Image

That was a challenging item for me because of my social anxiety but I persisted. I wish I knew of Misha when I was younger because I was not accepted due to being ‘eccentric’ and he would have been a wonderful role model.

I do mixed media and recycled art under the persona of Felivalkyria, concocted from “feline” and “valkyrie”. My art often has fantastical themes and includes portraiture of animals and people important in my life. I am part of Moods Expressed, a local working group for artists with mental health issues, and we have a website at http://www.moodsexpressed.com . Under Artists/Artisans, you can find me as Felivalkyria (Melissa Pagliaro) and view my art there. I do a few shows a year thanks to the help of Moods Expressed.

I used to write but I don’t so much anymore as visual art is more my discipline these days. I have been dabbling in making jewelry and recently made a Castiel necklace with pearls and cubic zirconia. I was lucky to find a tear drop bead dangle that is similar to the cubic zirconia I used and makes it looks like Castiel’s tie is dangling between his wings! Image.

I am very much someone who experiments with it all – recently, I got a new camera (Panasonic Lumix G6) and my favourite picture that I have taken so far is of my cat, Artemis Image.

I like cosplaying, especially as Cas, and I am always striving to improve my work Image.

 I appreciate handmade creations because they have much more love poured into them than storebought, factory manufactured items. Precious time is spent to create unique and one-of-a-kind items when they are handmade. I like supporting independent artists’ creations as opposed to big corporations which I feel are often detrimental to society. In fact, commissioning one artist’s work has become my yearly Christmas tradition.

 There is something truly attractive about the shiny! That is why I like to work with cubic zirconia. I also love materials with interesting textures like feathers, leather, fur, and velour. I work well with tactile sensations because my sense of smell is nil, having anosmia. I have a penchant for long dangling jewelry because I consider myself feminine.

 Eldwenne’s Fantasy actually stands out to me because Jodi is one of few independent vendors to display their work at Creation cons. 

Jodi here again – thank you so so much, Melstiel!  As some of you may know, my daughter, Raven also has cochlear implants, so both she and Melstiel have something in common – bionic women!

I have to say I love where you’re going with your jewelry – please keep going with it! And all of you really should check out Melstiel’s artwork at  http://www.moodsexpressed.com – use the dropdown menu to select  Felivalkyria (Melissa Pagliaro) and you will be giving yourself a major treat.  

Check out all of her artwork, but especially the Fantasy section – this woman knows how to mix her media and create atmospheres and new worlds.  There’s a piece I was particularly drawn to with two women lounging alongside an eagle.  Also looks like Artemis is making a cameo!  Bravo, Melstiel!!

Is anyone going to VegasCon?  I’ll be there with my Eldwenne’s Fantasy table selling my quality handmade jewelry, jewelry boxes, keychains, and whatever else I can think of between now and March!

Don’t forget to check out my shop at http://www.eldwenne.etsy.com for TONS of new designs added daily including Supernatural, Vampire Diaries, and Walking Dead!!

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                                                   Castiel’s Grace Necklace

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                  Watch Your Mouth Sunshine Daryl Dixon Quote Cuff Bracelet

February is going to be chock full of great posts including a great feature on my lovely customer Judy!

See ya’ll next week! (Yes, I’m practicing my Southern for my big move this spring!)

Jodi

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My Featured Customer of the Month – Kyra, and her GISHWHES Exploits!

It’s that time of the month again – no, not THAT time of the month. At least not since I had my hysterectomy (best surgery I ever had, by the way!) too much info – of course! But you kept reading, didn’t you…

Now time to read about one of my amazing customers – Kyra!!

Kyra and I met at VanCon this past August. She liked my hand stamped pieces and commissioned me to make her one of my signature wrap necklaces. A lady with impeccable taste!

Kyra with some chick named Felicia Day...seems a bit familiar to me...

Kyra with some chick named Felicia Day…seems a bit familiar to me…

Not only is this a feature on Kyra, she is also guest poster as well. She did an incredible write-up about her recent experiences with GISHWHES – a must-read!

For those who don’t know, GISHWHES is the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen.  And this is the brainchild of none other than Misha Collins – so you know you’re in for a wild ride.

So without further ado – take it away Kyra!!

My name is Kyra Hall, I’m a writer and am going to college with a focus in early childhood development education.

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Meanwhile, I work at a playcenter in Bellevue, WA, called Wiggleworks. Perhaps a bit cliche, but I do believe children are the future, and that the written word is one of the most powerful forms of communication we possess.

Aside from writing, I am also adept at making stained glass and dried floral arrangements. I am also an aerial dancer and a scuba diver in my spare time. Most everything, to me, can become an artform.

The reason I find handmade jewelry more alluring than factory made is quite simply the uniqueness, the time and effort that is put into each piece is irreplaceable.

When someone creates something, a little piece of themselves goes along with it.

Store bought items have such a uniformity to them that all of the heart that would be otherwise put into them is lost when sold and pocketed into the hands of thousands.

Instead of a simple exchange from creator to buyer, you get a hundred other factors measured in. It’s messy.

Pieces that stand out to me are stamped pieces, but just because I like rugged/simple things and oooh, shiny!

Crystals also get to me because as they say, there’s some kind of energy that they just seem to have. I enjoy the thought behind that.

The wirewrap necklaces stood out to me. Honestly, though, all of your jewelry is very well done and intriguing. You also really communicate with your customers, something not a lot of people do.

I don’t have any pictures of my actual stained glass because I gave away all of my pieces, the most notable being a mermaid.

There is a Castiel piece I did for GISHWHES. It wound up being done at 3am, and is actually puffy paint, pastel paints, and plexiglass.

Kyra's Stained Glass Depiction of Castiel - it RAWKS!

Kyra’s Stained Glass Depiction of Castiel – it RAWKS!

I did buy a sheet of glass and got a new glass cutter for the task but didn’t have enough time to venture it, as I’m sure most participants found.

GISHWHES itself is like a weeklong sprint. It was my first year this year! I didn’t even know it existed until I saw one of my friends on Tumblr mention it…. Then I started searching the tag and saw so many people looking for others to join their team.

So I messaged someone I thought I might get along with. I registered the day after registration closed for team Mishapocalypse.

By the time GISHWHES started we’d been merged with another team, and were finalized as MishapocalypseLovesScalenebunch with most members being in Tennessee, Maryland, and Canada.

One of my good friends now was in the UK and I was solo in Seattle.

We ended with around 5,600 points, over half of the possible, though nowhere near some teams.

So how did we do it?

Easy… ish. Before GISHWHES started it was important to assess everyone’s strengths and hobbies. We set up a facebook group, exchanged phone numbers, and made a google document for all of the items for us to sign up for and then update when we completed and uploaded them.

Day 1 was the hardest part, because when the list went up, we went crazy. About a third of the items were claimed, some we deemed impossible (like getting Jared to tweet Misha a compliment, or getting the international space station to acknowledge us. I COULD have gotten a CEO to dance to Single Ladies… but he was out of town with his sick family).

Day 1 was a planning day, where the flash mob was planned, I payed my local paper to make an ad for Destiel, we made a twitter clock (and exceeded the required amount of followers in two hours.

I also tweeted Osric about it and he followed us as well). But that wasn’t enough. So I made another facebook group with all of my friends in town that were willing to help me.

Every day I had three to four items planned, and often got an extra two or three in the middle of the night (like sewing teabags together for a bathingsuit that leaked no matter what I did, or duct taping plywood and gloves together for another outfit item).

Kyra's boxing glove ensemble - this is a riot!!

Kyra’s boxing glove ensemble – this is a riot!!

One day after work I drove three hours to the border of Canada to find a camel – only to find that the people not only knew about GISHWHES at the fair where they were, but also had many participants already by there.

That's Kyra. On a camel.  In CANADA.  I'm not sure which is funnier - that Misha Collins had this on the list or that Kyra FOUND one - Kudos, girl!

That’s Kyra. On a camel. In CANADA. I’m not sure which is funnier – that Misha Collins had this on the list or that Kyra FOUND one – Kudos, girl!

Another day I drop to the dog park to pitch a quoit in my finest medieval garb.

By Thursday, I was a little depressed. Teammembers kept dropping things they were going to do, and two dropped the scavenger hunt entirely.

I picked up a few of their impossible items…. And wound up driving another three hours in the middle of the dark last minute with a friend who happened to have a steampunk outfit because she happened to find a public park with an actual steam train in it.

But that was Saturday, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Thursday I went into Seattle and got four signatures for a petition to pave California’s beaches.

Some other Seattlite GISHWHESeans reported the Pike’s Place Market police to be a little unhappy at them being there…. But when I went around with my (not exactly welcomed) petition, I got hugs from them for another item… breaking the world record of hugs! For which I got 36, and my team surpassed the amount possible for a team.

Hugs for GISHWHES!

Hugs for GISHWHES!

I also took off my shirt for a bit of a risky “Sock Monkey Apparel” display. Then I grabbed my friends, shoved them in my car, and we raced off to my old junior high to have a pool party in a dumpster. We didn’t beat the sun, though….

Just when you thought 'dumpster' and 'pool party' couldn't be used in the same sentence!

Just when you thought ‘dumpster’ and ‘pool party’ couldn’t be used in the same sentence!

Kyra - you wear it well!  However, I don't think I can look at my son's sock monkey quite the same way again, lol!

Kyra – you wear it well! However, I don’t think I can look at my son’s sock monkey quite the same way again, lol!

Friday was my last big day. Considering I worked every day, I think I did really well.

Friday was my bungee jump day. I met other amazing GISHWHEseans there, one who had had an accident in a plane and was afraid of heights. She told us that without us, she wouldn’t have made the jump. But she did, and I am so proud of her.

I actually wound up going first for everyone else. Haha!

And once the timer went up on the GISHWHES home site, it was all back to normalcy and everyday work. We laughed, we cried, we were all friends by then. None of us were ready to say goodbye.

And none of us can wait to do it all again.

Jodi here again – WOW, Kyra – your experiences sound like a Dali painting. Or a typical day in my house.

The camel story cracked me up – unreal!!

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us! It makes me want to join in the madness next time!!

As all of you know, while I’m In addition to my etsy shop, I am trying to establish my jewelry on the Supernatural (SPN) and Vampire Diaries.

In an effort to try to build my business, I have a Click Start Me campaign http://tinycs.me/9T

The Click Start Me campaign allows me to help cover my travel expenses and get my business to the point where it’s self-sustaining and enough to support my family. And it also is a way I can give back to YOU – for every donation, you will receive a gift certificate towards my shop!

The gift certificate will be worth the exact amount of your donation! And it doesn’t stop there. If you donate $25 or more, I will add an ADDITIONAL $25 to your gift certificate! For example:

If you donate $10, you will receive a gift certificate for $10.

If you donate $25, you will receive a gift certificate for $50

If you donate $50, you will receive a gift certificate for $75, and so on and so on!

And you know what totally rocks about my gift certificates? They NEVER EXPIRE! They’re valid until you spend them, so you’re not put into a time crunch to use it or lose it!

I now offer incentives for SHARING my campaign! If you share my Click start Me link with someone who donates, YOU will get a gift certificate for my shop for $25!!

I also wanted to remind you that I am having an amazing deal the entire month of September – if you go to my shop http://www.eldwenne.etsy.com – I am offering FREE US SHIPPING!! Just use coupon code FSSEPT at checkout in order to receive your free shipping!!

Just a few days left, so jump on the ship now!

Thank you, everyone!