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Monday, November 23, 2015

Organizing the VIrtual World

One of today's tasks: Organizing my bookmarks.

Well, they aren't even bookmarks.  There is a bookmarks manager that is very cool, but out of site out of mind.  Today I'm going to tell you what I've been doing, how I got in over my head, and what I'm doing to solve the chaos.

In the old days, if I ran across something on the internet I wanted to read later, I'd throw the URL into "bookmark" or "favorites" land, but I discovered that I never went back.  All I was doing was creating this giant collection of URLs that would never be visited again.  Yes, with Bookmarks Manager (or a little forethought), it is simple enough to create subfolders of categories for everything.  But it's that whole "I can't be bothered to open a drawer" thing.

I discovered that as I went about my day, if I saw something on the internet I wanted to read or save for later, it merely became an open window "to deal with later".  So when it was time to go to bed, I'd have like ten browser windows open and I was TIRED and wanted to go to bed... so I'd just put my computer to sleep (instead of turning it off) and everything would still be there in the morning.

Problem is, in the morning, I had better things to do.  So the windows would just pile up, day after day.  And my poor computer never got a chance to turn off.

To end the madness, the solution was to create a Word document that I keep open on my computer at all times.  It's called "Daily".  I put all kinds of important tasks and deadlines and notes in there.  And at the end of the day, I grab all those URLs that are open on my computer and just copy and paste them into my DAILY document.  Then I can shut down the computer and my URLs are still safe.

Safe but not organized... yet.

So it goes like this:
  1. I roll along with my daily tasks:
    • Making jewelry, doing laundry, checking on Facebook, posting in forums, doing homework, creating meals, etc.
  2. Something crosses my path:
    • "Oh, that's a great idea for a color combo" copy the URL to my Word document
    • "Oh, I want to try that recipe" copy the URL to my Word document
    • "What a cool way to use sandpaper" copy the URL to my Word document 
    • "I could stand to read this article on improving memory" copy the URL to my Word document 
  3.  I now take that URL and copy it to my DAILY word doc.
The ONLY problem with that is it began to look like this...

 ... for pages and pages.  And if I wanted something, like I knew there was an article on SEO Marketing that I wanted to share on my blog, I'd start looking through the URL until I found it.

But that time-wasting process is similar to a cluttered house where you know you've got something but looking for it takes valuable time away from everything else you have to do.

So today, I created a new section.  I threw a one-column table into the Word doc and put a bunch of headings into each column, like:
  • Recipes I want to try
  • Color inspiration
  • Jewelry how to's
  • Articles on astrophysics
  • Marketing
  • May want to buy
And I'm going through my URLs and putting them in the appropriate category.  This will make it infinitely easier to find things when I need them.

And since this table is still in my DAILY Word doc, it won't be any harder or more time-consuming to stick the URLs into their rightful place to begin with.

BTW, there's the new look.  So much easier to find things.  I want to finally try that cauliflower recipe I saw online?  Instead of looking through 300 saves URLs, I just go to the "Recipes" section.

If you're also a "piler" and/or your collection of URLs is out of hand, let me know if you do something similar and how it works for you.

And the whole point of doing that today was I wanted to blog and I've collected a ton of URLs I want to share with you all... things about jewelry making techniques, and marketing, and a ton of other stuff.

So thank you for prompting me to get organized!

Next blog post... I'll share some of those helpful URLs.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

New Jewelry for November, Kindle Screenshot, Garage Sale Find

In the workshop, my students and I have been covering a lot of ground.  Riveting, enameling, soldering, using the rolling mill, stamping, forging and forming.  Just lots and lots of fun.  I have the most amazing students.  They are not only supremely talented but supremely nice.  I'm so lucky!

Earlier this month I added the new items to the website (first Monday of the month).

Mostly metal and definitely concentrating on rings lately.

Gifts for him.

Gifts for her.

Gifts for yourself.

Anyway, click here for the link to the section with my new items.

I sent a lot of jewelry to Hollywood this week so fingers crossed I hear about something being used. 

Not jewelry related, once in a while my friend and I get together and hit up a few local garage sales.  I picked up a pair of these three-foot tall stained glass window panels for $5. 

But that means I have to pick two items to take to the next garage sale (we do a garage sale twice a year).  Otherwise you'll see me on an upcoming episode of Hoarders.  Eek!

Random tip of the day.

Did you know you can take a screen shot of your kindle (if it's 2012 or later model, usually).

Just hold "volume down" and "power" at the same time.  If you touch the "volume down" button first, your screen shot will include an image of your speaker volume.  Ha ha ha!  So practice pressing them both at the same time, rather than one before the other.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Too Much Food and Too Many Beads... and a quick look at some patinas

So I'm looking in the fridge the other day and there's broccolini and green beans and lettuce and bok choy and butternut squash, and then on the counter there's grapes and kiwis and apples and bananas... and I started to get nervous.


Don't get me wrong, I love it all.  But I can't eat everything in three days. 

I totally understand the European way of shopping where you walk down to the local market every other day and just get what you need for a day or two.

I *so* don't want any of this food to go to waste but we simply MUST stop shopping at Costco for fresh fruits and vegetables, even if they ARE organic. 

So I've taken to freezing things. 

Anyway, as I'm staring at the contents of the fridge feeling a bit panicky, I had a sudden thought that I used to have a jewelry making philosophy similar to this.

When I started out making jewelry (it was mostly beaded), I thought the people who only bought what they needed for a given project were crazy.  Why wouldn't you just want a store room of stuff to choose from?

Now I know the answer to that question.

  1. Inventory costs (anything sitting in your workshop is not making money, so while you do need SOME inventory, having too much is just like having a bead bank).
  2. Too many things take up space and can be a distraction.
  3. The odds that you'll actually USE even 10% of your stuff are slim to none.
I know there are some upsides to having a huge inventory, but for my own peace of mind I'm trying to downsize.  I'm SLOWLY building my destash shop (what isn't sold first via the SRAJD destash page).

Doing this is taking hours out of every day that could be used for real work.  But what am I gonna do, just give away 10 years worth of bead collecting?  Hm.  To be rid of the stuff, I am going as fast as I can and pricing things at real garage sale prices.  Am I taking a loss?  Definitely.  Do I care?  Not when I compare the space and time to free space and more time.

So I'm starting my first "collection".  I'm hoping to unveil either January or February.  While I'm still a bit of a hoarder, I will do my best to order things on an "as needed" basis.

Okay, now to share with you a wee bit of patina experimenting this week.

I kind of get obsessed when I see these super saturated colors on jewelry and I feel there's no way they can be real.  Ha ha ha!  But people swear they are so I determined to see if I could replicate them.  The results were mixed.  While I *was* able to produce blues, pinks, golds, and violets, I didn't get any say so in the placement of these colors nor do I believe they would last over time.  But it's still a step in the right direction.

My first experiment...

The piece in the middle was the only one I was thrilled with... oh and the piece at about 7:00.  The rest are more what I'm used to.  The two piece that took the best were not dunked any shorter amout of time, but they ARE textured pieces.  That could make a difference.

For the above, I used very hot LOS.

For the next test I used room temp LOS and added more ammonia to the mixture.  This is one untextured piece of scrap sterling silver shown in a progression of dunks.

Since it was an experimental piece, I continued to play around with it after this last step and eventually put Ren wax on it and totally ruined it.  ha ha ha!  The colors are dull as heck.

The bottom line, however, is that in both experiments I achieved colors I didn't think I could.  I did notice that the color intensity depended a LOT on the angle of the piece, but it's definitely a good start.

Alrighty, talk to you soon!


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Character Strengths... What Are Yours?

So we're learning about character strengths in my "Stress and Well-Being" class and I wanted to share with you some info.

The University of Pennsylvania has a website called Authentic Happiness created by Dr. Martin Seligman (Positive Psychology).

You can take various tests on the site, but the one we took this past week was: VIA Survey of Character Strengths

You can take that or any of the other tests after you create a login.  The login doesn't have to be real... you can make one up.  You don't have to go to your email to see the results.

Give yourself some time, though.  There are a lot of questions... 20 pages as I recall, in the one test  mentioned above.

So here are my results of character strengths in order.  The top five are considered your "signature strengths".

  1. Love of learning -
  2. Curiosity and interest in the world -
  3. Creativity, ingenuity, and originality -
  4. Gratitude -
  5. Leadership -
  6. Zest, enthusiasm, and energy -
  7. Kindness and generosity -
  8. Appreciation of beauty and excellence -
  9. Fairness, equity, and justice -
  10. Humor and playfulness -
  11. Forgiveness and mercy -
  12. Citizenship, teamwork, and loyalty -
  13. Judgment, critical thinking, and open-mindedness -
  14. Hope, optimism, and future-mindedness -
  15. Perspective wisdom -
  16. Honesty, authenticity, and genuineness -
  17. Capacity to love and be loved -
  18. Caution, prudence, and discretion -
  19. Social intelligence -
  20. Bravery and valor -
  21. Modesty and humility -
  22. Industry, diligence, and perseverance -
  23. Spirituality, sense of purpose, and faith -
  24. Self-control and self-regulation -

Totally not surprised by my top five.  I've always lovee learning.  I'm curious about everything in the universe.  As far as creativity, yeah... that seems like one of my top strengths alright.  Gratitude, is something I think I developed later in life.  Leadership... I can see that.

As far as the things at the bottom?  Ha!  Yeah, I have no self-control or discipline.  I'm also not spiritual.  And I'm pretty sure humility escapes me entirely.

Social intelligence?  That would be rock bottom, but position 19 isn't too far from that mark.

My initial response is that people with the opposite strengths than me are more worthy.  But then I step back and say, "No, there's a place in the world for all of us."  We don't all have to be Mother Theresa.

And an interesting thing my professor said is that rather than become consumed with fixing the bottom character traits, work on strengthening and using the top ones.  She gave the analogy of a sailboat.  If there are leaks in the hull, yes, you have to do what something to keep the boat from sinking, but just do what is absolutely necessary for that.  Then concentrate on our sails (your top strengths) because those are what move you forward.

So if "curiosity, learning, and leadership" are some of my strengths, then I shall continue to find ways to use those to my best advantage.

What did you results end up showing you?  I hope you share some of your thoughts in my comments section.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Time is a Four Letter Word

Actually, I prefer to be friends with time rather to berate it for betraying me.

The past couple months, I spend each week thinking I'm going to catch up with the emergencies that week then have the following week to organize and take care of other tasks that are waiting in the wings.

But it seems to always be THAT week... the one with the emergencies and never the following week where I can catch up.

I actually say to people, "This week is crazy busy but next week should be less hectic."  But it never is.

Projects, midterms, orders to be made, classes to prepare for, garage sales, online webinars, craft shows, etc.

I look around my workroom and ache to go through boxes and put things away so that when I want to find them I don't have to... go through boxes.

I guess for starters, next semester I won't take three classes at school.  I really am enjoying my classes, though, but yeah, stuff like that isn't important/crucial.

So speaking of "important", in one of my classes we recently went over Stephen Covey's time management matrix.  I use this often, at times like this when I begin to feel overwhelmed and have to pare down the "things" on my plate.

Basically it's this grid.

And then you fill it out.

And from that, you can determine what things need to be taken care of immediately and what things can be left to the wayside (for now, at least).

People are always wishing for more "hours in the day".

One way to achieve that is less sleep... something I'm not willing to give up.

There are tons of articles on the subject:

So my mantra for today?  Time is elastic to my needs.

This also means I'm cutting this short today because I've got stuff to do.  Oh, but first... here's a peek into the world of my gratitude journal.