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Saturday, December 27, 2008

I have to stop eating tempura... ugh... I feel so nauseous now...

I’m getting a bit more exercise these days. Walking Bear a couple times a day, a couple short walks and usually one pretty long one. He’s an extremely well-behaved dog. I’m pretty lucky. Oh, I also go up and down the four flights of stairs when it’s convenient.

I haven’t heard much noise from my neighbors. I hope that is reciprocal. And although we are now one block from 880 and one block from the Amtrak station, I haven’t yet been woken up by anything other than one loud truck.

Occasionally the hallway smell like skunk(weed), but I can think of worse things to be surrounded by.

Got the coffee table in (just minutes ago). That means I’ll be able to work now. Oh, I have to try to remember to stop at Office Depot for computer chairs. Before Christmas I saw some at fantastically low prices… hope they’re still there. I’m guessing they were the display chairs.

I didn’t do “after Christmas” shopping, but then again that never was my thing anyway.

Ikea has been my life-saver. I’ll show you pictures later of some of the things I’m talking about… systems I’m using now to save on space.

I’ll have to research more about the meaning of “Mediterranean colors” in regards to Feng Shui… or other systems. It seems that’s what my intuition has led me to use in decorating the living room. Again, I’ll show pictures when I get around to it… soon, though.

I want to add some artwork (my own), but I’m in no rush. Maybe today I’ll put up one picture of mine and add a backing to the computer desk.

I am looking for a particular shade of blue, too. I thought I had it with some couch pillows from Ikea, but I see now they’re too dark. I don’t want to go with anything as light as teal or turquoise, but dark cobalt isn’t bright enough. That and red are my accent colors. The main colors are rust and mustard. Don’t worry; it’s nicer than it sounds.

New Year (Resolutions?)

Aside from that other thing I mentioned earlier (sending a letter to everyone I want to stay in touch with), I have a drawer of unfinished jewelry projects. Would like to get that going/finished. I would like to get to having fewer and fewer things hanging over my head, even if they were placed there by me.


With the help of a few friends, we’ve resurrected the Woman Resource Forum. I hope it becomes a place where many people feel comfortable talking, sharing, reading, etc.

Sex and the City

Never saw even 30 seconds of an episode… until today. I tend to rebel against things that are popular. Don’t ask me why.

Anyway, as I’m eating my lunch, I’m flipping around the channels and end up on an episode of SatC. Suddenly I had an inkling about the reason (or at least ONE of the reasons) for the show’s popularity. This episode was about the subject of “settling”. The narration and the dialogue were on the edge of “what people REALLY think, but would never say outloud”.

Speaking of TV

Ugh! It’s DANGEROUS! For me, anyway. As I’m sorting beads, I’ve got the tv on. In front of me is an infomercial about a thing called NuOven. If I just looked at this thing, I’d say, “OMG, you couldn’t PAY me to use that.” But as I watch the show, I start saying, “Hm… they make it look pretty good. Wow, this is really neat.” Yikes! I have always (did I say “always”? I actually meant ALWAYS!!!) been an easily swayed person (I think). I seem to see myself as someone who can be “talked into” things. Therefore, infomercials will be banned from my future tv watching. All these gadgets seem so necessary. Heh

Sign Off

Anyway, I’d better go now. Have to get ready to go to Mon’s special 7½ minutes (if they let her play, that is). What a disaster this season has been for her (and consequently for her team?). But the important thing is that Mon seems smashingly healthy. She’s got those awesome cheeks back. Yay!


Friday, December 26, 2008

This isn't good or bad. It's just the way of things. Nothing stays the same.

Real Live Preacher quote.

My deepest apologies for staying away for so long. I actually have a fairly good excuse THIS time. Heh

Some of you know, but for the others… I'm in the midst of a move. Got a place in Jack London. But as most of you know, moving takes time away from other things. I don't even have any jewelry listed this month (new jewelry, that is).

It'll be fun to be settled and start work on new projects. I really enjoy creating jewelry.

I've been thinking, too, about the process and the process in conjunction with marketing/selling and I'm going to stick with my intuition on this one which says, "If you make it, they will come."

I think if I continue to make jewelry the way I'm meant to (non-production work, happy surroundings, etc), the right customers will find me. That's how it's been so far; I see no reason to change now.

Here are the three things, and most likely in this order, that bring wonderful customers to me:
1) Eye-catching designs or designs which appeal to certain people
2) Quality craftsmanship and the use of quality, higher end materials
3) Essence… items imbued with vibrations from positive creation (a happy artist) as well as particular material combining (metaphysical qualities of the gemstones and metals)

Anyway, back to the apartment for a second, here's a sneak peak, but I plan to do more to/with it in the near future…

Oh, and two interesting things about the apartment. I didn't actually see the exact apt I was going to get because the guy had just moved out that day and they needed a week to get it ready. But I was told the porch looked out in a certain direction. But when I got into the apartment, I went onto the porch and saw that it didn't. However it looked over the front of the building, which I like infinitely better. It's fun to look for cars of people you're expecting to come over.

The other thing was a certain color of wall that I picked for them to paint as an accent wall. They got the color wrong. But I was thinking… what if the color that IS there is a color I'm supposed to have instead… for some reason. I mean, it could be a feng shui thing or just something in my life at the moment. I'm going with the flow on this one and keeping the surprise color they gave me. I'll show you a better close-up of it in a few days.


Going over to the house to get the rest of my jewelry making supplies and beads. Hope to start making again soon. Don't like to be away from my beads for too long. Heh


Thank you for the uber nice comment! Y'know… I still (ashamedly) have a wire-wrapped cabochon you sent me. Do you remember that? I was supposed to make a cool piece of jewelry with it… like a collaboration. I think I'm a collaboration failure, 100%. Not only did I blow it with your piece (I never had inspiration worthy of it), but I also totally made a mess of a collaboration I was doing with two other artists (last year, I think). Sigh… I need to realize my limitations.

Anyway, thanks for popping into my little blog world and saying hi. I hope you do it again.


Thanks for the nice comment. You're silly… but you already knew that. ;-)

BTW, how come when I click on Debbie's name (in her comment), it takes me to her website, but when I click on your name, it takes me no where? Do you have a blog?

Signing Out

Just more of the usual to put a smile on your face.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Accepting Facts: Hobbyist or Professional Jewelry Maker

… or Spreading Yourself Too Thin

Actually, it's "thinly", yes? I mean, it's being used as an adverb… as in "how" are you spreading yourself. You're spreading yourself thinly.

So what am I talking about anyway (besides grammar)? Another reason I would say I'm a "hobbyist" rather than any kind of professional or even wannabe professional artist (aka jewelry maker), is because I don't have the time (or the inclination, but I prefer to use time as my excuse) to go out there and hustle the way I should. The way a person who WANTS to make a living making and selling their jewelry would have to in order to… make a living from making and selling jewelry.

I much prefer to be idealistic and believe in the premise: "If you build it, they will come." Oh lord how I want to believe in that. Truthfully, we (Monica and I) create really decent pieces of jewelry and sell them at really decent prices.

The fact that we have no niche probably works against us, as does the fact that almost everything we make is one of a kind.

Combine that with the fact that we don't like marketing ourselves and the end result is… we are hobbyists.

The bottom line, for me, is that I must enjoy what I'm doing. I do enjoy creating the jewelry that I create. Therefore I will most likely continue to do it. I don't enjoy marketing and/or high pressure sales.

I've enjoyed other things in life… that petered out. Is that a bad thing? I had my stint as a classical pianist, a rock guitarist, a writer, a photographer, etc. Yes, I do wonder if making jewelry will be another short-lived (okay, it's been about ten years now) thing for me. In a way, I think not. I mean, so long as I continue to grow and stretch my wings within the arena. I've always had a bent for creative art-type stuff… so I don't think THAT will peter out. And there's so much room to play, in the land of jewelry. There's lampworking, polymer clay, metal, etc. It's endless.

Anyway, I would like to generate a little bit of revenue… just to keep my kids in hockey for a few years if nothing else. So I do have to come up with ideas that will generate a few bucks. I still want my offerings to be useful to people, though. (I'm practical to a fault!) If I felt I had something unique to offer, I'd try a tutorial. Maybe I can look over my past designs and see if there's anything I did that was special. Or maybe I can offer kits… instructions PLUS beads. Shrug.

Okay, enough musing on this. Now I've got a hankering to do some wire-work. As I recall, the last time I tried to find some 30g wire, I couldn't. I wonder where I can get some (in sterling or gold-fill).

Which reminds me… gotta place an order for other things. And man… I've got a TON of beads at home. I need to settle down and MAKE SOME STUFF. TONS OF STUFF. :-)

Projects that will make me feel good
One thing I want to do is tie up loose ends. I want to make sure everyone who was supposed to get something from me has gotten it. And if they haven't, I'll send another.

Aside from that, I want to send some cards out this month. Not Christmas cards, per se, but just cards… touching base with people I care about. Let's hope my ability catches up with my intentions for once.

Day two... still no luck. Computer still crashing when I try to read your blog. Wwwwwwwwwwaaaaa!

How's it going? We missed you at the show. For me and Alex it was more of a beady jam... I think Patrice did okay, though.

You visiting family for the holidays?

I will get out there one of these days... you would NOT believe how crazy this weekend is. I'll update you after I survive.

Sending good wishes!

Now, since I have a dog who puts cats into his mouth and no harm results, I'm showing you this under the assumption the same thing is going on here. My favorite... the expression on the kitty in the background...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Safe and Sound… and then other things to worry about

Gabe's Back Home
Sorry about the long time between updates. Gabe made it to the airport in time… and although his flight added 30 minutes of air time, he also made his connection flight (barely… when he got to the gate everyone was already on the plane).

The only two trips left for him are Escondido and San Diego. I doubt I'll be going to either. The airfare for those shouldn't be too much and it's cheaper for him to share a room with someone rather than us having a whole room to ourselves.

Gabe just informed me that he has Selects tryouts this weekend. It's the last year he's eligible to tryout… and it's the first year he's actually trying out.

She's still not allowed to play hockey, or do any kind of activity… and she's doing her absolute BEST to remedy that situation asap.

Her team plays the 14U's this weekend. We'll be there, cheering the Cougars on.

Mon's tryouts for Select camp are in January… I think maybe they're in Alaska. We'll have to see how her health is doing then. This is the first of her four eligible years so it's not as crucial that she make it this year.

My Mind… My Crazy Mind
I say "crazy" because I can't control it. Ha! I've got something on my mind and I tend to worry… and stress… and I don't want to. I know better. And worrying won't have one bit of effect on the outcome of the thing I'm worrying about. And yet… I still worry. Gah!

Broken Things
I think Gabe's phone is kaput. We can take it into a Verizon store to have them check it, but I think it's just the phone.

If I believed in reincarnation (not saying I do, not saying I don't), I would bet money that in another life Monica was my mother.

Thanks for your concern… yep, there was a void alright. Sold everything in my store except two pieces so had to scurry to get the new listings up. I hope you're doing well. There's a package on its way to you (like… the check is in the mail… but hopefully there's some fun stuff for you). Aside from what you are actually expecting, there's a small gift and I found a bunch more leaf beads!

Maybe it's something at the office… my computer froze up both times I tried to look at your blog. :-( I'll try again tomorrow (or tonight from home).

Only one jolly today … oh, also check out the snowflake making website!

http://www.popularfront.com/snowdays/ (click here to have hours of fun making snowflakes)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Airport Angst

Let's start with airplanes...

As in, the call I just got from Gabe. "I'll probably miss my flight." ARGH! I won't go into the details, but it WILL be close and I'm not happy about this. I'm not even experienced enough to know what to try when someone misses their flight... and I'm not over there with him... and I don't have extra money to pay for another flight.

Okay, venting over. I'm still not happy, but I'm not all uptight angry. Now I get to wait for another hour to see if he makes his flight or not.

Hockey was good and bad this weekend. Mon still didn't get to play. The game was a tough one, but the team really is improving.

Gabe's team did well enough in the tournament to get them to the penultimate round (1st and 2st on each side played for the opportunity to be in the championship game). They didn't make it to the final round.

I'm a smidge concerned about keeping new listings going while we work on our move (which will most likely take place this month). We'll one day at a time.

Oh, here's a pic of Mon and Ten... both exhausted...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Feelin' Good… no idea why… maybe 'cause I got beads in the mail… ha ha ha!

Yes, I got some wonderful lampwork beads in the mail and being the generous soul that I am, I'm going to pass along to you the names and locations of these two bead-makers I just purchased from.

I won't show you any of their beads, though, because a few recent threads on LE really drive the point home that even when someone is saying something nice about someone else, it's NOT COOL to take any of their photos without their permission and post them onto your blog or in a forum or anywhere else.

So please, go check out these hyperlinks if you want to see the neat beads offered.

First is HMB Studios. The bead-maker is Heather Boardman and aside from having some great deals on her beads (yes, I went hog-wild in her store… hee hee), she is nice and communicates well (that's a big plus in the internet age). Oh, and super speedy shipping with extremely well-packaged items. Yay!

The other bead maker is Cherie from stoursglass. I gotta tell you that what REALLY caught my eye first was a couple of necklaces she has for sale, but I need more jewelry like the pope needs more pointy hats. Instead, I swooped in and grabbed a set of beads like none I'd ever seen before. I can't wait to make something with them and show you… I hope I do them justice.

As far as our jewelry making goes, here's the update: I prepared for our December "coming out" party by reducing the prices of our items in both Etsy and our ProShop… but things take time… I was not ready for the "grand announcement" yet because I didn't have any of the new stuff up yet. I don't want to send TWO emails to my customers so I was gonna wait… and just say, "Hey, new stuff up and old stuff on clearance sale!".

Interestingly enough, although I "promoted" myself a bit in the Etsy promotion threads and lowered my Etsy prices by 50-70%, not one item sold from my Etsy shop. But, there are only five left there now because five items sold IMMEDIATELY from my ProShop (the place with the best deals anyway… no overhead for me so I can put the lowest prices there).

So even though I didn't get a chance to tell all (or any) of my customers about the clearance sale, a very dear customer of mine must read my blog once in a while (I'm guessing) and went over to have a look. Thank you!

I apologize that I didn't get add any more listings today, but after work it's straight to hockey (maybe... there is one contigent to that). But very soon (sometime this week), I will be listing new items.

Okay, I'll go for now... and since I've been away so long, I have more than the usual amount of ICANHASCHEEZBURGER to share.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Road Trip and Exciting Changes in the Jewelry Listings

Let me start with the jewelry since that will probably be shorter.

I have an exciting December coming up. As soon as I get a chance, all my current inventory is going on massive holiday clearance because I have a ton of new listings to put up (see preview to the right).

I got to work on one metal project while I was in Anaheim. If I find time, tonight I'll hammer and file, then we can think about soldering (I think the pickle process is still making me procrastinate).

Road Trip
It really never seems to end. Just when I think my week (last week) is finally over…

So the road trip started with nothing more than trying to get a good night sleep on Wednesday because on Thursday (Thanksgiving) I was taking Gabe to the airport in the morning for his flight to Dallas. I set my phone alarm 'cause it's pretty much the only alarm clock I have any more and head off into la-la land.

The alarm goes off and I do NOT feel like I got a good night's sleep. As a matter of fact, I feel like I barely just dozed off… and here it is morning already… ugh…

Not so.

Earlier in the day, I'd sent a text to one of Monica's coaches giving them her latest status/update in case they need to make plans ahead of time. At 1am, Verizon decided that's when I needed to know that my text didn't go through. Gee… thanks. Going back to sleep now.

Apparently Verizon wanted to make sure I really understood that my text didn't go through, so at 2am, they texted me again. Sigh…

Also, I'd forgotten that when I booked Gabe's flight two months ago, I'd instructed Orbitz to notify me about the flight status. So at three in the morning, I get the first call, letting me know that Gabe's flight is on time. Yay! (You probably can't hear the sarcasm in my typing).

An hour or so later, I get the second call, because silly me forgot he's got a layover in Phoenix and Orbitz wanted to let me know his connection flight was also on time so far. Thanks.

Finally the alarm went off for real… Gabe gets off fairly uneventfully and I come home to do some packing for OUR trip and prepare Thanksgiving dinner.

BTW, "our trip" is me taking Monica to Anaheim for a tournament she most likely won't play in but she IS allowed to play for half a period (7½ minutes) and we were going to support the team anyway. It's our vacation. Yay! Such as it is.

Thanksgiving dinner was… not stellar. Our oven broke sometime earlier this year, so we ordered ahead from Boston Market. They do the best they can, I'm sure… it's just not going to be/taste the same no matter how hard they try. Lucky for me, I'm still totally off meat, including poultry, so Thanksgiving is really wasted on me.

We're getting up really early for the drive to Anaheim so we go to bed early. The phone rings after I catch a few zzz's (a very few!). One of the cats at home is sick. Not much I can do from where I am other than try not to fall back asleep as I'm talking on the phone. A few more texts back and forth and I try to recapture my sleep… but now I'm worrying about the cat. ARGH!

The drive down to Anaheim was decent, particularly when I can fill my tank up for under $30. We didn't stop to eat. We had plenty of snacks on us.

On the drive down, I got time to put more thought into my opinion of how short people are totally disrespected when it comes to cars. Maybe tall people or left-handed people or pregnant people, etc have their own complaints regarding car designs, but I can only speak from my own experience… which is as a short person… who is not happy with how I have to compromise my safety in order to drive.

Here's the deal:

If I sit so that I can comfortably reach the foot pedals, my face is like 3 inches from the air bag.

If I scoot the seat back so I'm not eating the steering wheel, I can't reach the foot petals.

I've come to a compromise where I leave the seat close enough to reach the pedals with my toes while reclining the seat back enough so I'm not on top of the air bag.

I guess everyone has something in life they have to put up with. Maybe someday there will be more flexible choices… maybe there already are… on cars out of my price range.

Anyway, the trip was fun. The kids on Mon's team seem really great on many levels. The goalie who was having the weight of all the games on his shoulders (because of Mon being out for a few weeks) was sick as a dog and Monica was almost in tears watching his second game because the other team was relentless, almost always in our end, and poor Kian wasn't getting any kind of a break for rest or water or even breathing.

The team won a game, lost a game and tied a game. Mon got her seven minutes in (although they were some VERY scary seven minutes). She'd envisioned being sent in during a time when whatever she did wouldn't matter. After all, she hadn't been on the ice in weeks! Instead, however, she was sent out for the final seven minutes of the last game which stood at that point at 3 and 3. The first face-off resulted in a break-away, as I recall.

The parents and players and fans were super nice. She got a lot of cheering when she took to the ice.

Mon didn't have too many shots, thank goodness, and she didn't let any in (I think her team was trying extra hard to not let the puck near her), but we also didn't have enough time to manage a goal of our own so the game ended still 3 to 3.

Monica actually slept in the next morning (I haven't seen her do that in about a year). Then we had our free breakfast and we hit the road. Longer trip home… lots of fog and lots of holiday traffic. Got home in time to chill for a bit before going to the Oakland airport to pick Gabe up.

Delayed flight. Ugh. Circled the terminal about 4000 times (or so it seemed) while waiting for him. The airlines had lost one of his bags. He was really upset about this. Hopefully they eventually find it. His "gel" was in that bag. You see, Gabe got a fabulous haircut on Wednesday (if I didn't already mention that), but the style requires a smidge of gel to keep it from going flat (ala "Caesar"). So this morning, I had to teach him the trick of salt-water styling. Heh.

Anyway, we got home last night and in bed maybe just before midnight. I got up early today and started looking for vets that open early 'cause Sharky is sounding dreadful. I want him to get to a vet ASAP. I don't have a proper cat-carrier that will hold him (he thinks no box can hold him so he fights until he really does free himself… to which his bloody nose will attest). We put him in a file box and Mon giggles the whole way to school as she's fighting to hold the lid down. After I drop the kids at school, I go to Long's drugstore to try to find a proper pet carrier. Nope. Blah! Okay, so I grab a small duffle bag instead. Hey, he's gotta have SOMETHING. I can't take him into the vet clinic in a file box.

I finally find a vet who'll take him but of course it's not a ghetto vet, so a couple hours and $120 later, Sharky has some TLC and some meds and we're feeling a little better about him. I actually quite liked the vet and all the staff there.

I take Sharky back home, give him his meds, and go to the office. Is my "road trip" finally done? Can I say the week is over and a new one is starting? Almost, but not quite.

My mom calls the office and asks if I lost my cell phone. I say, no it's probably in the car. I probably left it there after I called the vet and forgot to put it back in my purse. Then she tells me that she called my cell phone and a man answered. Okay, so it's NOT in my car. Turns out that somewhere in my attempt to keep Sharky in the car while I ran into the drugstore, my phone fell onto the ground of the parking lot. Thank goodness a kind soul picked it up and shortly after "Grandma Vera" called. Ha ha ha! She said when she heard a man's voice answer my phone, she hung up. Then he hit redial and said, "Is this Grandma Vera?" The two of them put the pieces together and he gave her a number so I could call him. He even brought the phone right to me here at the office (he was in downtown Oakland anyway). I thought money seemed cheesy as a "reward" so I merely thanked him profusely, wished him Happy Holidays, and gave him a small tin of cookies.

Okay, so now… maybe now, the excitement can end and I can get into that "relaxing after a vacation" mode.

Gabe still has a cold and we still need to track down his suitcase. He's going to hockey tomorrow. Mon has a doctor's appointment tomorrow and maybe practice after that. Sharky needs his meds for at least a week, I have about 40 pieces of jewelry to list and then Gabe leaves for Vegas Thursday… and I'm looking for an apartment. But aside from that, things are back to normal.

Lisa, thanks for the Thanksgiving wishes and back atcha (a little belated). What are you doing these days? I want to see your new creations (make some new creations... ha ha ha).

Anonymous, thanks for posting that link. I'd quite forgotten my entry about the My Art Space contest. I had fun (I guess that's the word) looking at the entries. I think there's a lot of art, a lot of ideas, and a lot of statements in those entries.

Okay, I have to sign off now... TTYL!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving and silence for a few days

This Weekend
Tournaments. Gabe will be in Dallas (actually, as I type he's probably somewhere over New Mexico still, but will arrive in Dallas in time for a Thanksgiving dinner with some of his teammates)... and Monica and I will be leaving for Anaheim soon. I don't feel like taking the laptop, so no udates in the blog until I get back (Monday).

Mon is nearing the end of season 1 of Heroes (I haven't even started Heroes yet), and I think I'm around episode 9 of season 3 of Lost. For the car, however, I have a couple books on tape.

At the hotel (when we're not doing hockey), maybe I'll design and/or cut out some copper and brass sheets I have for soldering.

Here's a photo of the ferals. This was Homie's last photograph. Shark (since being rescued from the animal shelter) has a square inch patch of hair missing from his nose. Poor thing.

Just to be on the extra safe side, we're having all the cats micro-chipped and I got collars for the indoor ones.

I didn't get time to list any of the new stuff, but if I have a free 10 mins or so before I go I'll make the new stuff my slide show (over there on the righthand side of the screen).

Okay, have a great weekend, everyone! TTYL!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Just the Facts, Ma'am...

Mini Update here

Rescued one from the pound today. No, not another one we're taking in... one of our actual OWN cats. Don't want to go into the details... but he's back home with his family now, safe and sound.

Mon's team had a FANTASTIC game on Sunday and Kian (the goalie who shares with Monica) was amazing. They lost, but only by one point and the last time we played them it was 13-1. I truly believe Monica's team will be the "most improved" team by the end of the season. They are growing by leaps and bounds, skill-wise.

The show was interesting. I don't do many home shows. It was nice socializing with Alex and Patrice and Doug. It was also interesting to see that my only sales were what I refer to as "bling" jewelry. That's bracelets made of almost all Swarovski.

Got a tray of those heading to Texas this week.

Oh, that's where Gabe's heading this week, too.

Since we have no oven, I ordered a small dinner from Boston Market. Monica and I will make the rest of the fixin's and it'll be fine... except Gabe won't be there... unless we let him have his early, like Wednesday night.

In order to change things up (one of my favorite sports!), I bought a bottle of white wine the other day. All it did was remind me why I only buy red wine. *shudder*

Also bought some Havarti (first time) after tasting it at Patrice's house.

Saw Twilight today with Monica. We had a nice time together and the movie was decent. VERY geared toward young teen girls, but so what. I didn't find anything annoying in it.

Mon and I might color some ceramic beads tonight. Oh, and I have to take photos. Oh my gosh I have a TON of jewelry to photograph.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Still waiting... and almost forgot I'm doing a show... eek!

Still Waiting
No, Mon's not cleared yet for any activity. No hockey, no PE, and not even any walks. She told me today she goes through at least one time each day now with a huge mental scream because she hates not being physically active.

Yeah, a Show
I know, it's a shock to me too... but I think of it more as hangin' out all day with a couple of close friends. I won't fault the buying public if the turn-out is low... retail is just not at the forefront of people's priorities these days and I'm right there with them.

Actually, I was thinking about this last month (when I purchased the domain ArtIsImportant.com). We'll talk about this another day, though... and I'll probably explain more in the mission statement that will be on that site (which will actually be a hub for most of my other websites).

Oh, if you live in the Bay Area and want to wander over to San Jose Saturday afternoon to say hi... send me a note and I'll tell you where the home party is.

Next Week
I'm off next week. Not sure anyone at the office remembers this, but I put "dibbs" on it before Mon got sick. It'll be nice to: spend time with the kids, get a bit more done as far as de-cluttering/packing, and maybe getting s'more listings up.

Had lunch with Monica today. That was really nice. I picked up some food from downstairs and then picked up Monica and we drove to the cemetery, found a nice spot, sat down and ate. We talked about some of the interesting things we saw around us (it's a VERY old cemetery) and about our day and our plans for the weekend. We decided to try to do this "lunch date" thing once a month.

Our connection speed at home has gone to the dogs. Ugh! Pages take FOREVER to load. I have no idea what happened to change things.

For those who don't know what a "roomba" is, they are self-moving vacuum cleaners. You just turn them on and leave them to do their business (drivers not necessary). (Click on the black triangle)

Sign Off
Alright... gotta go... our first night in a while with no events... we go home, watch the end of the Penguins game, have dinner (Mon's cooking her special chili), then watch Supernatural.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Not all trades go smoothly


Last year, there was a discussion on LE about a certain lampworking product. I mentioned that I had purchased one and never used it and would offer it up for trade. I had a couple offers and I went with the person whose beads I thought would most fit my style of designing.

Long story short, I sent the item to her that day. She sent me a PM thanking me for the quick delivery and said she'd work on my beads that week and have them on their way by the weekend.

I like to think I'm just about the epitome of patience, but apparently there's a fuzzy line between patience and door mat.

I emailed a few times over the next several months. Finally, about five months after the start of our transaction I received some beads from her. I have to admit my first thought was, "Oh, she changed her style." Sigh… But someone said something to me this weekend that made me go to this person's online store and look around. Nope, she didn't change her style. All the beads I see in her for sale sections, her gallery and her sold items are still the same lovely beads I've always admired of hers.

What was it that someone said to me this weekend to prompt me to do this? She looked at a piece I'd made recently, asked whose the beads were, I told her the name and she said, "Oh really? They look like Unicorn Beads to me."

Do you know what Unicorn Beads is? It's one of those companies who mass produces lampwork beads… one of those places that the SRA lampworkers kind of hold in much disdain. I won't buy from Unicorn Beads because I don't trust that their beads are annealed and/or otherwise created and taken care of in the way to which I've become accustomed (and to which MY customers expect).

Am I pissed? I don't know. I mean, first of all, I can't be sure. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt… but… shrug. I'm actually more sad than angry. I'm sad that someone in the SRA lampworking community is that insensitive, flaky, and possibly dishonest. But that would be her problem, not mine.

P.S. I have no desire to "out" this person so please don't ask. I just wanted to vent and be done with it. Thanks for understanding.

P.P.S. What if this person really DID make the beads she sent me? Do I feel badly about this mini rant? No, because I should not have had to wait five months for the exchange to conclude.

Given much thought to the organization over the past weeks. Aside from getting it back up and running (accepting new applications and directing people to assistance with their membership), I want to (ha ha ha… the word that came to mind was "inflict") instill some of my personal philosophies into the organization.

When I was younger, I use to have animosity toward (this is just an example) missionaries who would go into non-industrialized countries and change the lives of the natives "for the better". I'd be all, "For whose better?!" But I see now that people do what they are capable of (what they know) at the time. And part of being a Christian missionary isn't just BEING one yourself, it's also spending your life trying to "help" others. To educate them into the ways of their chosen religion. I can't fault them (anymore) because it is part of their religion to try to "save" heathens.

Did that make any sense?

Anyway, that was just an example to explain why I want to put some of MY philosophies into SRAJD. There are certain things I believe in and if I don't follow what I believe in, I don't feel I'm being true to myself.

One of the things I believe very strongly in is friendship and the idea of working together. So over the next few months, you may see an attempt (and I say "attempt" because you just never know how things will go… as an idealist, I usually learn this the hard way) for me to connect SRAJD members in ways that I hope will be beneficial.

More to follow…

Monica's Present
I wanted to show pix of this absolutely gorgeous piece of jewelry that was presented to Monica recently. The bead was purchased at BABE from Tom Boylan and then made into a fabulous chain maille necklace.

Monica wants you to know how absolutely thrilled she is with it, you two. She says it's a perfect fit and she couldn't be happier with how beautiful it is. Thanks for making her happy.

I haven't had much free time this month so I'm late with sending out any notices of my November sale items. A few of them are already gone, but here's what's left… see if anything tickles your fancy.

Oh, I also plan to add information about Bracken Designs accepting lay-away now. We always did, I just never advertised it.

Anyway, here are this month's incredibly low priced offerings. The prices revert to normal on December 1st.

Thanks! Your comments mean a lot to me (although I feel like you're the teacher praising one of her kindergarten students... ha! I'll take it though!).

Oh heavens... if you make something inspired by that pic, I totally want to see it! How funny to think my work could inspire someone... I'm so used to thinking the other way around... y'know, ME being inspired by so many things around me.

I didn't get a chance to work with the "Fabric of Africa" beads yet, but hopefully soon. Gabe had four CAHA games this weekend so it was four trips to San Jose and back. I feel like I want to do something with my new-found skill, but I have no clue yet. Ha! I also need to purchase some silver sheet.

Also, someone sent me an email regarding this digital art of mine and forgive me for being a major spacer cadet but I can't even remember at the moment who it was... but you asked what program I use. I'm using Adobe Photoshop 6.0.

Well, lots to do so I'd better go. Thanks again everyone for the well wishes sent to Monica. She's thoroughly enjoying all the texts, btw. She feels very loved. Wish us luck at the appt tomorrow!


Friday, November 14, 2008

New listings and my first soldering project

Soldered Charms

I mentioned in my last blog post that I'd finally take my first metal-smithing class. The title was soldered charms and it was for beginners. After learning the basics (like how to load and light my torch), I made two charms. I turned them into earrings for Monica and she has worn them every day since I made them.

Here's a picture of them. They are about 5/8ths of an inch.

And I finally got some of our listings up on eBay. Will probably add them to my store later today.

(You can click on a photo for more details.)

A couple weeks ago I added some items to my eBay listings that I never got a chance to "show" (in here or in the forums), so I'll probably post the pictures here when I add them to our Bracken Designs store (later today).

Since paperwork (or papers in general) is a definite bone of contention in my plan to simplify and organize my life/surroundings, I did work on the problem a bit today.

A file cabinet with all necessary papers organized.
All incoming papers filed daily.
All necessary items (craft supplies, clothing, books, etc) in place.
All unnecessary items removed.

I was thinking a few days ago about the difference(s) between humans and animals. Are humans the only thing on this planet with such complex and at times convoluted ways of thinking? And if so, why? Why are our lives so complicated by stress and worry and fear and anxiety and everything else that animals don't seem to involve themselves in?

Reminder to Self
When I do a smiley in here, it ends up being nothing more than a capital "J" in my text. Argh!

Thanks again and totally not "phft". It's special and wonderful on many levels.

I was considering a class on making my own box clasps (yes, I still remember the fab one you did!), but it's a four day class. Ack! I found it hard to stay focused when I had two classes on back to back days.

Glad to hear your classes are almost over. Dying to see more jewelry and creations from you. I know... how self-centered. Ha!

Sign Off
Okay, I'm getting back to the papers now. TTYL! Sending you away with some of my recent "icanhascheezburger" photos.

Funny - Funny Videos

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A hospitalization and new techniques

Well, this explains my absence for the past week. On Tuesday --- went into the hospital. She spent a week there and is discharged as of yesterday.

Well, although I could keep her from doing too much homework during her stay at the hospital, Mon insisted that making jewelry would be good for her and she DOESN'T consider it work. J So I brought her some supplies and she made many lovely items. Hopefully we'll be able to photograph them tonight, along with the earrings she hasn't taken off since she got them (more on that below).

Learning New Techniques
So… those who know me well are privy to a few of the skeletons in my jewelry making closet. Things like: buying a package of art clay silver and never opening it (over a year later!)… and buying metal-smithing tools and not using them… and buying a hand-held torch and being afraid to even turn it on. Ha!

Anyway, I have finally solved most of the above (still have the unopened art clay silver… give me time). I actually signed up for two classes being held at BABE this year. They were both taught by Joe Silvera (whom I highly recommend!).

I made a simple pair of bezel set gemstone earrings (don't need to show you those), but the most exciting thing is I learned to use my little butane torch… which led me to learning to solder. Yay! I made a pair of earrings and gave them to Monica. They were my absolute first attempt at soldering so I've learned even since then, but even so they didn't turn out half bad (IMO).

Bead Show
The rest of BABE was fun because I spent most of it with friends. It's very cool getting more familiar with some of the lampwork, polymer clay, and metal artists I admire too. I bought some amazing things that I dearly hope I find time soon to work with. So many things to show you!!!

Oh, also, I'd like to extend a special thank you to Alex and Craig. That was extremely nice and thoughtful of you both and it really, really made her happy. She is going to cherish that gift forever. Thanks.

Other Art
Branching into other areas, particularly of mixed media, I was asked by a few people who read my last blog entry if they could see a larger shot of the picture (I'd call it a painting, but it isn't exactly that… yet… or maybe even ever… I'll explain at a later date).

Anyway, Cathleen and I were totally on the same page regarding the "room" I chose to show the artwork in. Ha! I didn't even notice until I was at home showing Mike that night that the room was a fake. Eek! (Oh yeah, that's the pot calling the kettle black.) Nonetheless, I've moved my art to a real room ;-) and here it is, along with a slightly larger (but compromised with copyright protection) image for the curious.

Hope it wasn't more intriguing when it was difficult to see. Ha ha ha!

Do you know how flattered I am to hear you come read my blog? Thanks for the compliments. It's funny… when I try to look up cool stuff on the internet, more often than not something of yours is there. It always goes like this: "Oh, that's really cool!" "Actually… something about it seems familiar." "Hey, that's a Lisa V piece!" J You having any time lately to do jewelry? It was you, btw, who inspired me to try bezel setting.

Thanks so much for the kind words and for the continued support of my creativity. I was going through (okay, I do this a lot) my boxes of beads last week and I move certain sets closer to my work table if they are something I'm dying to work with but don't have a particular inspiration yet. Anyway, once of those sets is yours… it's REALLY close to my work table. Ha! I'm thinking of trying to combine my "new" metalsmithing skills with your beads… see what I come up with. They're the beads that are red, blue, and gold pc in rectangle shapes with black designs on. (That was probably a dreadful description… it was that last TMB challenge from the photo of the lady's artwork.)

What's the "Open Studio event here at Artspace"? That could be a rhetorical question, btw… I can try to find out myself. Sorry to hear you've inherited double duty, but keep us posted to how it's going.

Wrap Up
If I've forgotten something, forgive me… I am still a little distracted. There was a lot to do before… there's even more to do now. I think tonight I'm going to make myself an affirmation bracelet. The chant is: Time is elastic to my needs. That is something I really need right now and they've never let me down before.

P.S. I tried to update that slide show over there (up and to the right) but Flickr seems to be down every time I try. Hmph! Will attend to it as soon as possible… as well as getting the new jewelry items onboard.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My desk is a mess... gah!

When my environment is out of sorts, *I* am out of sorts. I really do hate mess and clutter (okay, who doesn't). This is one of the reasons I'm doing that whole "get rid of all non-essentials" thing that I'm doing. I just need to do it faster. Ha!

Anyway, here's my latest artwork... "Cosmic Ikebana"...

I also made a bracelet I really like... during that last Sharks win.

Oh, and I've got some stuff that I put up on eBay but I don't have time to show you until tomorrow.

Also, since it's November, the sale items in my store have switched. Whatever you see on sale now, ends November 30th (or sooner if someone buys it).

SRA Jewelry
Oh, check out the new showcase in the SRA Jewelry website. Ooh la la!

Well, I've got to get going now. I'll try to be back soon with more... shrug... stuff...


Monday, November 3, 2008

Oops... sorry for the gap

I just... was sort of out of sorts, I guess.

Life Lessons
Yeah, I've been having one. No biggie. I mean, nothing horrid, like the things I hear in the news every day. *shudder* But y'know... I run into things from time to time that remind me how much work I have to do to be how I want to be yet. I don't mind that it's a process... I have no desire to be perfect. But I know that the more tolerant and stuff I can learn to be, the happier I'll be each day.

The kids had good games this weekend. Mon has no hockey next weekend. Boo! Oh well... maybe we'll find some pick-up or something for her.

I had an idea of something completely different I want to do. Actually, it's not jewelry at all, but it IS beads. I'll let you know if I make progress on it. The creativity has taken a smidge of a back seat for me now (in theory) as I plan/prepare for my move (and catching up on things I put off for too long). But there's still jewelry to be had because Monica is amazing.

Well, that's it for now. Just wanted to touch base since I hadn't blogged in a while. I'm still planning my tutorials, but that's later down the road, I think.

Here's some humor to help you get through tomorrow (voting day!).


P.S. No on proposition 8. Keep state and church separate. I don't think married people should get benefits, whether gay OR straight.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wednesday... yay... right?

I think I've figured out that if I leave my blogging until the end of the day (or near the end of the day) it just doesn't happen. I mean, even if I open it and have my fingers at the ready on the keyboard... I just sit there and go... duhhhhhh. So I'm going to leave this window open throughout the day (until I feel my rambling has sufficed for the day) and just babble on and on about whatever strikes my fancy.

Why do we journal (blog)?
For ourselves? Is it cathartic or therapeutic? Or do we write in the hopes that our voice will be heard and a connection will be made? Or do we write because we have family and friends who try to make us feel guilty for not keeping up with daily/weekly/monthly emails... and if we write in here and direct them here, that kills about 20 birds with one stone, yes? No. No one who bugs me about not emailing them will come here. Hmph!

We (Gabe and I, I guess) need to get on track with his college stuff. He's already enrolled in an SAT prep class that meets twice a week and he's taken the PSAT (a week or two ago), but there's still so much to do... I think we need to start with taking a serious look at a few colleges. He (hopefully not "we") still needs to decide if he wants to go to a junior college (like Sierra College in Rocklin) for the first two years and then transfer to a larger campus or if wants to just try to get into a four-year school from the start. I guess some of this depends on if he's eye-balling east coast schools and/or how the scholarship applications go.

I think I want to break the site down into four basic categories. Mind you, this is all in a perfect world. I do tend to be an idealist, but one has to start SOMEWHERE.

So I'm thinking:
1) My more experimental pieces
2) Our basic jewelry creations
3) Note cards and similar artwork
4) Tutorials

Shrug... we'll see.

I have a necklace ending in an hour on eBay, and I still haven't shown anyone Mon's latest bracelet (despite the high number of watchers on it already.... nice).

Oh, and I got a really neat earring display for my continued attempt to find a way to photograph earrings. Wish me luck!

And rats... I've run out of time. I'm glad the kids aren't going to hockey tonight... I could use some "catch up" time.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Quality time

That's what I spent (quality time) with Gabe (my 16 year old son) on the long ride home from Valencia Sunday night.

His last game ended at 7pm. For the first two hours of our five hour journey home he watched Heroes on the MP3 player and I enjoyed sitting/driving in the quiet (there isn't a lot of "quiet" in my life). By around 9:30, though, I think Gabe was worried that I may be getting tired/sleepy (he knows I'm a morning person) and so he turned off the MP3 player and started talking with me.

We ended up talking for three solid hours. It was amazing and it was great. Talk about major bonding, sharing, and sneaking in little bits of wisdom.

Interestingly enough, one of the things I shared with Gabe was a story that I was about to relate to a group of friends/acquaintances on a message board today... but then decided to do it here 'cause I just don't wanna sound overly weird on public forums. It's okay to be overly weird on one's own blog. ;-)

The story goes like this: There was a man and his two young boys riding a public bus one day and the boys were a bit unruly. Well, quite unruly, actually, bothering other patrons and whatnot.

Finally, unable to put up with the wild behavior of the boys any longer, a lady comes up to the father and says, "Your two boys are extremely rude and bothersome. You should have better control of them."

The man looked up at her and apologized, "Ma'am, you're totally right. I apologize profusely. We came from the hospital where their mother just died. I guess they don't know how to handle the news and I apparently don't either. I'm sorry."

The woman suddenly felt about two inches tall.

Point? You just never (ever!) know what's going on in someone else's life or head, so before assuming you know everything that's going on, give people the benefit of the doubt. Things aren't always what one assumes them to be.

This lady thought she was merely stumbling upon an extremely insensitive parent with two out-of-control kids and she wanted to give him a piece of her mind, when the truth was that it was a highly distraught man and two kids who were suddenly faced with overwhelming emotions they probably had no idea how to handle and their behavior was most likely an isolated incident.

I'm not saying that everyone who cuts in front of you at the grocery store or talks too loud in the movie theater or honks their horn because you're driving too slowly or the person who never thanked you for your kindness or any of the other little irritations we are faced with in a day are justified. But I am saying that you just never KNOW what is going on in someone else's life or what their paradigm is, so go easier on yourself in life by giving people the benefit of the doubt whenever possible. Anger can't be good for us... it just can't.

Anyway, that bus story is one I was told when I was very young and it's stuck with me all these decades... profoundly. I'm far from perfect, but I'm glad I try. I have many things to work on, but at least I know what some of them are now.

Okay, I'd better go... I have so much to do. If I get some free time later, I may come back here for another blog post. Still so many things to respond to!


Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy, Tired, Reflective

And I don't mean as in glows when headlights hit me.

I had a really nice weekend. Details may follow tomorrow but a couple things have me mentally side-tracked today.

Well, yeah, I'm tired. We got in at 12:30 last night. Gabe would normally be as tired, but Mon got a cold last week and Gabe just started to get it before we left so I think when he asked to stay home from school this morning it he genuinely is fighting off the cold that's going around.

Not sure... I just feel like I've got things on my mind (I mentioned distractions, yes?).

One of the things is a printer I can't get to work right.

Another is Gabe's relationship with his new team.

Another is Monica's progress on HER new team.

Then there are so many things that need to be taken care of in the near future... taking care of a Fasttrack error, finding out where we stand with the evaluation and court, dealing with my new (unusable) printer, taking care of some DMV stuff, getting Gabe going with his driver's license, etc.

I think I'm getting closer to figuring out what I want here and how I want to run our business (Mon and I). Mon has more than proven to me that she can handle 95% of the jewelry making. This will leave me time to concentrate on learning new techniques and creating designs that I might be able to take to boutiques or galleries. We'll see. I don't stress on this stuff. Creating is a joy to me, so if things sell it's only a bonus.

Did I mention, however, that I signed up for two metalsmithing classes at BABE (next Thursday and Friday)? Hopefully I get a good idea from those classes if this is something I'm suited for. This also means I should clear the kitchen table and get the kiln into reachable and working order. :-)

Okay, nothing else much to share.

I'll post more tomorrow.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Funny Stuff and Catching up with Friends

So... I put the title "Funny Stuff" in the subject line because I actually have no clue yet what I'm going to talk about today... other than the fact that I want to share a couple of funny videos and pictures with you. I usually put those at the end, though.

Here's one of our necklaces that went up yesterday. A lot more to follow (I finally got pictures).

How fabulous to see you! I miss chatting with you and keeping up with all your art. I'm going to add your blog to my list so I can keep an eye on you. Thanks!

BTW, if anyone who reads this is interested, Christelle is one of my favorite polymer clay artists. Here's her Etsy shop, and (tell me if you don't want me to post this here, C) here is just one of the fabulous bead listings she has.

Stay in touch, friend.

Chris :-)
(Another friend and favorite polymer clay artist!) Glad to hear you're doing well on Etsy. I still can't figure out how to join a street team but it's just as well… I recently was invited to join to other things and I did and I can't keep up. OMG… things move so fast in the internet world.

Just as with Christelle, let me know if you don't want me stealing one of your pix for my blog... I just want to show off these incredible finds.

I love the beads in this tutorial!

Okay, now the scary thing is, if I go a few days with something on my mind (like responding to comments), then by the time I have time I can't remember if I actually ever DID do it or if I just THOUGHT about doing it. D'oh!

Thanks for the link to the macrobiotic food list. I think I need to get back to meal planning (this week was fuzzy).

Now, is it just me, or does anyone else not see your Oct 18 picture on your blog?

BTW, speaking of work that inspires me (not the blank image... what I see as I scroll down the reest of the page), I'm taking two metalsmithing classes next month. I'll let you know how it goes afterwards.

Musing about Life
So in my next blog post, I want to tell you about a book I'm currently reading and how it made me think about my path in life.


This is CUTE on a baby... not sure if it'll have the same affect when he becomes an adult. :-)

And this one is just plain silly... I'm amazed how he can go from one face to the other... when my kids get the giggles that's all it is... non-stop giggles, you couldn't PAY them to stop.

Enjoy the day. TTYL!