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.


Forum

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!

TTYL!

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.


Jewelry

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


Debbie!

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.


Vonna

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.



TTYL!

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.


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


Erin
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!


Sign-Off
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.


Mon
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.


Reincarnation
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.


Corrine
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!


Chris
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).


Sign-Off
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
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.

Jewelry
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!

Mail
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.

Jewelry
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.

Sign-Off
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.









TTYL!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Road Trip and Exciting Changes in the Jewelry Listings

Jewelry
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.

Comments
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!