Christmas in July Sale! One Day Only get 40% Off!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

That's right! 40% Off all day July 31st on everything in stock! A great time to start buying for the holidays - or even just a little something for yourself! Never have I had such a large discount and I doubt I will again til next year, so take advantage while you can!

What do I get out of it? Its a great way for me to move some stock out for the upcoming holidays too! So everyone wins! :D

Check it out at!

Do you want to believe? X-Files, Treasuries, SETI...

Sunday, July 27, 2008
So after watching a tv blurb about the new X Files movie, I was inspired to put together an Etsy treasury of some very cool alien/ufo items. It can be found here - at least until it expires Tuesday morning :)

The new movie looks to be interesting, and possibly more intriguing for me than the first movie. I'm a fan of the show from way back - watched it when it first aired and loved it. It was witty and fun, intriguing and suspenseful, made you think sometimes, and it was just plain cool. But after the first few seasons it got too complicated for me to enjoy it anymore - delved so far into the whole conspiracy theory stuff it became "work" to try to follow along, and the final blow was changing the cast. The first movie was ok, but I thought relied a bit too much on people understanding the show to really get it. From what I've heard this new movie will be more enjoyable for everyone regardless of how much you know about the X-Files universe, so I'm hopeful I'll like this one better.

Speaking of aliens, some may find it surprising that I do think there is life elsewhere in the universe being a scientist and all. Or at least that seems to be the reaction I get when people find out, lol. But a lot of scientists do believe there is life elsewhere in the universe - in fact I'd be willing to go out on a limb and say the majority do so. See, the issue isn't so much whether there is life in the universe but 1. Is there intelligent life? and 2. Can we establish contact?

This is what SETI set out to figure out. SETI stands for the Search for ExtraTerrestial Intelligence, and there are a variety of SETI projects out there. The one many people have probably heard of thanks to movies such as Contact, has been an on-going project for many years at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. This radio telescope was built in the 1960's, and is actually built inside a sinkhole! In addition to studies of our solar system and the universe, the telescope has been used as part of systematic SETI program to try to detect potential signals from extraterrestials. More info about the observatory can be found on the official site.

A cool project that anyone can participate in is the SETI@Home program - this program is set up to utilize unused computing time from home computers (often when you're computer is doing something as simple as running its screen saver). It sends little packets of data to your computer for analysis, which are then sent back to a main computer. Should anything interesting come up in the data that your computer processes, then they further investigate it. Its pretty easy to set up and run, and you can even watch the data as its processed. Just think, you could be part of one of the most important scientific endeavors in human history! Check it out here.

Sadly, the observatory is facing serious budget cuts from the US, which will threaten the continuation of the SETI program. You can help by contacting your congresspersons - it only takes a few minutes and a couple stamps, and there's even an easy to fill out form found here that you can use.

Why, some may ask, is this important? Why bother?

I personally believe there can be no more important thing we could ever possibly do both in the realm of science and for humanity, than to continue the search for life in the universe. This would be a life altering event for our entire planet and everyone on it. The thing is, I feel the journey is just as important. We need projects such as these, to better all of us. To bring inspiration and spark the imaginations of thousands of people - most importantly children. Potentially to bring us together, and give us insight and understanding of ourselves and fellow humans. I can think of no better pursuit for us as a whole to take on - can you?

Friday Favorites - FrancesByrne

Friday, July 25, 2008
Friday Favorites are back, with the beautiful paintings by FrancesByrne.

This painting, "Purple Haze", was the first one of Frances' that I saw on Etsy. It immediatly drew me in, reminding me of some of the medieval and ancient horse art I've seen before, but with its own uniqueness to it.

This is simply my favorite painting thus far. It has an almost ethereal quality that I find captivating, and I love the subtle range of color used as well.

In addition to horses, Frances also paints other animals as well as very intricate and spectacular celtic art. You can even request a customized print of your name, with the first letter done in a Book of Kells inspired style - what a great gift idea for someone!

Stop in and visit FrancesByrne's store for your own unique piece of animal or celtic inspired art!

Where do stones get their color and why do some fade?

Friday, July 18, 2008
So I came across this question on Etsy and tried to give a very basic explanation why some minerals are colored the way they are, and why some will fade when exposed to light/heat. I thought this might be something others would be interested in and thought I'd share what I wrote here :)

Color and fading has to do with the composition of the mineral. Basically what happens is when some minerals are exposed to sunlight/heat, the electrons get rearranged, resulting in color loss. This only occurs in some minerals, because there are different ways minerals can get their color.

Idiochromatic minerals have their color due to their chemical composition, such as malachite and azurite. Thus their color is pretty constant. Malachite for instance is always green - there may be varying shades of green, but never any other color but green. Were you to take away the component that results in the green color, you would simply no longer have Malachite, but some other mineral.

Malachite is always a shade of green.

Allochromatic minerals get their colors from trace impurities in their composition or defects in their structure. Fluorite and Quartz are examples. Therefore they're prone to color change - again it also varies from mineral to mineral as some are more resistant to others depending on composition and structure. Unlike with Malachite, were a trace impurity removed that caused a certain color (e.g. remove the iron and aluminum responsible for the purple color of Amethyst, which is a type of Quartz), you still have the same mineral (i.e. while the stone would no longer be purple, it would still be Quartz).

Amethyst is a type of Quartz that is purple due to iron and aluminum impurities.

Here's an article I found that includes a brief discussion on color loss in Fluorite - its a reprint from Rock and Gem magazine

And this one explains why minerals have color and a bit about color variety occuring in the same mineral

When I have time I'll try to find some more info on this :)

In the meantime, I recommend always storing jewelry out of direct light and away from sources of heat, so you can continue to enjoy the beautiful colors of your stones for years to come!

Chaos at work...

Friday, July 11, 2008
So due to a busy schedule at the moment I'm somewhat on hiatus - mostly need to take the time to do a LOT of reorganizing both for my store and studio area, as well as for school. My work area is a disaster, and I decided not to make anything until it's cleaned up and organized - at the rate I'm going I might make something in time for christmas! lol

Chaos reigned supreme in Jurassic Park, and has hit me as well!

I'm gearing up for my final year as a graduate student. My thesis idea is finally focused and plan to study the impact crater structure located in Middlesboro, KY, which is one of only 2 cities in the US that is built completly within an impact crater! Very fun and exciting stuff! I'm also working out an internship and some committee issues, and there's always the adminsitrative stuff to deal with like paperwork and financial aid - very time consuming and NOT fun, lol

Middlesboro, KY - built inside an impact crater!

And in between I'm trying to help get the Mad Scientists of Etsy team to a new level, with the start of a team blog, website, and advertising! Be sure to check out our new blog at and say hello!

So hence taking a break from a lot of the online stuff and refocus on getting things in order - not long, just the next week or two probably. I'm still planning to do the Friday Favorites (though I'm skipping this week), and the next Stone of the Week article will be the much anticipated one about turquoise which I hope you'll find very helpful and interesting!

Friday Favorites - Trollflings!

Friday, July 4, 2008
Trolls, and Goblins, and Fairies - oh my! This weeks feature is the art by Amber Matthies, the creator of Trollflings, Miniature Troll Art Dolls!

I was introduced to Amber's work by my friend Sara when she bought a pumpkin pin similar to this one. I knew I just had to see this shop for myself!

Amber's work is amazing! All kinds of little creatures just waiting for a home - this little bunny fairy of course caught my eye!

Being a geologist I also adore these little animated stones :) Her work brings a smile to your face regardless if its a little pouty tree, a cute baby fairy, or a mischiveous dragon. Each creation is unique and special - a real treat for anyone to have!

You can also visit Amber's blog or her website for even more cool creations!

Be sure to stop in her store at Etsy and adopt one of these adorable little ones for yourself!

Cause every sleeping bunny needs a flower on their head...

Thursday, July 3, 2008