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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.