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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Big Jewelry Sale and a Sneak Peak of Upcoming...

I love my storage cabinets. I love working on jewelry and having everything right at hand and in easy to find locations.

A weird thought ran through my head yesterday, though, as I was standing at one of the cabinets. I was thinking, “What if Alex comes over some day and sees that I have two drawers full of her beads alone?! OMG, she’ll either think I’m hoarding and will never trade with me again or she’ll think I don’t want to use them and will never trade with me again. Eek!”

The good news, however, is that I have a FABULOUS necklace coming up (tonight, probably) of all Alex beads… heh… wanna sneak peak?

On Christmas, I laid out about four pieces on the coffee table and since then I’ve been making them, one after another. I have three necklaces done so far (aside from the one shown above).

I’m having a big sale on the website right now. Six pieces are already gone. Here are some that are left (wait until you see the prices… you won’t believe your eyes). Keep in mind, the Lampwork you see in our creations is never mass-produced imports. They are all fully annealed and cleaned, lovingly made glass art by people we know and trust.

If you read my Going Green Jewelry blog, sorry about the double posting.

Anyway, gotta run… have to get a dark jersey to Monica… three 3-on-3 games in San Jose today… in the 18A division… heh

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Finishing Up Old Projects and Clearing Out Inventory in a Most Fun Way

In an attempt to use up what I have before bringing in new stuff, I am going through my drawer (and it’s a big drawer) of WIP (aka Works in Progress). Y’know… things I started and for some reason never finished.

Some of them excite me: “Oh man, I forgot all about that… that is such a cool (fill in the blank). I can’t wait to finish it.”

While others are: “Wow, I have no motivation to finish that… wonder if I should give it away (speak up now if you wanna see the list of things I’m willing to give away) or if that would just be an embarrassment to my reputation.”

Anyway, there was one pair of earrings that are probably something along the lines of “only a mother could love”, but BEING that mother (as it were)… I do like them. :-) So I am trying to finish them (they needed a coating of polyurethane) and will list them. What the heck. Maybe there’s someone else out there with similar taste to mine.

I’ll show you them when I get a photo… right now still waiting for coat #1 to dry… ugh!

I’m having a big sale on the website right now. Six pieces are already gone. Here are some that are left (wait until you see the prices… you won’t believe your eyes). Keep in mind, the Lampwork you see in our creations is never mass-produced imports. They are all fully annealed and cleaned, lovingly made glass art by people we know and trust.

Friday, December 25, 2009

New Year's Resolutions


Hm… Truthfully, I’m not much into “holidays”, but I do like New Year’s. Not the exact moment of New Year’s… that whole kiss someone, make noise, watch the ball drop, etc. No, I just like the idea of “fresh starts”. I like that people find things they want to work on or change and then make a plan and really try to do it.

I don’t usually keep my resolutions, but it’s fun (not sure if that’s the right word) to at least try… to try for some change.

Apparently we aren’t all living precisely how we want to live or so many of us wouldn’t be making resolutions.

Some popular resolutions, according to recent national polls:
- Spend More Time with Family & Friends
- Lose Weight
- Tame the Bulge
- Quit Smoking
- Enjoy Life More
- Quit Drinking
- Get Out of Debt
- Save Money
- Reduce Stress
- Learn Something New
- Help Others
- Get Organized

A couple of those surprised me… Didn’t realize so many people felt a burning desire to learn something new. I wonder why they would choose that. Maybe some just like to know things, know about things, know how to do things, etc. And maybe others are bored and want to try something new and interesting to do.

I’m pleased to see “Help Others” is a biggie. How cool is that?

“Get Organized” makes sense. So many of us feel overwhelmed and I think simplifying and organizing our lives, our environments, our responsibilities, and our minds is really important to us.

I spent a significant amount of 2009 lightening the load… don’t have too many possessions right now and continuing to rid myself of… things.

I also want to lighten the mental load… want fewer responsibilities, fewer “undone” things, etc.

So, we have some starting points. Now… what is it that makes some people keep their resolutions while others give up? What are the ingredients to sticking with a self-promise? Are some people just not cut out to have will-power or is it more like some people know HOW to do it and others don’t have the tools?

First, I think it’s easy to feel ultra-confident about our plan to do or not do something… so long as that something is in the future. So long as we’re starting… on Monday… or at the New Year, etc.

I was at one of Monica’s hockey games earlier this year and I observed something. It is SOOOO easy to be a gracious sports parent when your child’s team is winning. But the parents of the losing children’s teams are often ugly, bitter, and nasty.

That got me thinking about rich people and poor people. It makes a lot of sense that poor people anger more easily (riots, violence, crime, etc).

I’m not saying rich is synonymous with happy and poor is synonymous with angry, but I think this is worth dwelling on as a concept.

The key, then, would be to learn how to be happy even if you are “poor”, or on the “losing team”, or whatever else misfortune you are facing at any given time.

How does this relate to New Year’s resolutions? Well… like I said, it’s easy to start a diet (mentally) when you’re sitting on the couch with a full belly ‘cause you just stuffed yourself with turkey, mashed potatoes, and pecan pie. Right then and there, you have 100% resolve and confidence in yourself. Wow, this is going to be easy. I feel fabulous about the diet I’m starting. I won’t fail at all.

Mmm… okay.

So then it’s the next day… and you’re hungry… and hungry makes you cranky… and cranky makes you lose your resolve because your whole attitude has changed.

So… what’s the key (in Laura’s mind) to sticking with your New Year’s resolutions? Stay happy. Ha ha ha!

I know easier said than done, but at least it’s a start.

Maybe the point, though, is that keeping your promise isn’t about the specific pain the promise puts you through (quitting smoking makes you feel jittery, eating less makes you feel weak, saving money makes you have to do without, etc), it’s about getting yourself into a place where the “pain and suffering” of your resolution won’t bring you down enough to make you quit.

Stay positive, somehow… any way you can. Positive/happy will help you get through the first rough patches of your resolution… then once you start seeing the benefits it will become easier and easier.

I think “planning” is a good strategy too. For example, I know that if I want to eat healthily then I’d better have some healthy choices of convenient food on hand… because more often than not I don’t have time to prepare a bunch of healthy meals. Yeah, once in a while I can make an elaborate meal, but with hockey Mon-Thurs evenings right after working a full day at the office… well, that means eating on the run.

And what do I do if there isn’t something healthy AND convenient to grab? I can tell myself that I’ll be fine, that I can do without until I get home, but the truth of the matter is that if I get hungry and there’s nothing healthy around me, I will eat something NOT healthy for my body.

So for me, preparation is a HUGE deal. Having healthy choices on-hand at all times.

Someone trying to quit smoking might make sure they don’t end up in a place filled with smokers. Think ahead.

Anyway… enough musing… what are my New Year’s goals? Well, I really like these few days between Christmas and New Year’s because it gives me a chance to formulate a plan.

Some of the things I’m thinking about are:
- Continuing to improve the health of my body (I recently went from high blood pressure to a reading of 106/62 with a pulse of 67).
- Continuing to streamline my life. I’ve been good this past year about ridding myself of possessions, but now I want to add to that. I want to learn to stop spending TIME doing things that take away from my focus.

Those are two pretty big promises so I think I’ll quit there.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Girl Gets Suprise Visit, Etsy Stats Made Easy, Jennifer Umphress Glass Artist, Craft Cabinets, Foster Photos


I think come June, we’re all going to be catching up on our sleep and rest.

This past week was the usual hockey practices, joined by some unusual and time-consuming homework assignments. Although the kids do their homework on their own (so they got way less sleep than I did), my help is often needed for some of the technical aspects (“Mom, how do you put this picture behind the other picture in Photoshop?”, “Mom, I can’t get the printer to work.”, etc.)

But it’s winter break now, so we are getting a little rest.


I’m going to call the SPCA today… Andy seems so lethargic. Not just compared with his sister, but more lethargic than when he first came here. I haven’t seen him playing in awhile. His sister, on the other hand, is a rambunctious crazy girl. Into EVERYTHING. Even on Bear… she’s going nuts playing with her own tail.


Got one of the new cabinets up last night. The instructions could use a little assistance, but I eventually got it done.


Gabe’s in Riverside (southern California) this weekend, having some exhibition games with his team.

Monica has a game today, a community food drive tomorrow, then a goalie session after that.


Sending out three orders today, but waiting to hear on one of them what type of shipping the gal wants. It’s kinda close for Christmas so I’d hate for her not to get what she purchased last night in time for gift giving… but Express shipping ain’t cheap, either.


Mon’s getting over (hopefully) some kind of cough. That seems to be her only symptom. I, on the other hand, seem to be just starting something… ugh… sore throat, malaise, cough… hitting up the Airborne and Vitamin C.


Wanna see an awesome glass artist? Check out Jennifer Umphress. If you don't already have Adobe Flash Player, it's worth the 20 seconds to download it. Way worth it.


Were you ever curious about some of your Etsy stats? Here’s a cool little site that gives you the DL on your admirers, etc.

Craft Cult’s Heart-o-Matic

Yeah, the first page is just who’s hearted you… easy enough to see on the Etsy site (if you don’t mind spirals). But look at the second tab… Instead of having to look up each item to see how many hearts (if any) one of your projects has, this is WAY cool. And that last tab, neato! See if/when you’re in any featured marketing pages on Etsy (btw, congrats if you are ‘cause I think for most it’s few and far between).

And yes, you can look up someone else’s number rather than your own if you like.


Thanks for the comment Jenny! Do you have a blog or website?

Surprise Visit

This was cute. Did you see this? This fourth grade girl thinks she is about to give a school report on where her Dad is stationed in Iraq and is surprised when he shows up for her report.

Tricked On Halloween

Okay, gotta go… TTYL!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Beading Cabinets, Kitty Fosters, New Jewelry, The Mind and the Brain

Another Great Book

For Monica's Physiology class, she has to read a book and do a report over the winter break. I looked over what she selected, we went to Barnes and Noble together and got it, and wow… it's really cool! It's called The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force by Jeffrey Schwartz and Sharon Begley.

I wasn't surprised at all to later learn that Schwartz's undergraduate major was philosophy, and that he has a keen interest in Buddhism.

So if you're at all interested in what potential power the mind has over the brain, do give this book a read.


Yep, I actually got some new things listed. One has already sold even. :-)

Why is it so hard for me to be motivated to drink water?!

The Fosters

Sometime in the wee hours of the morning, there was what felt like eight tiny paws scampering up and down the length of my bed (on top of me trying to sleep). It was short-lived, though, so no harm done.

The situation isn't amenable, however, to the fact that when I sit down at the computer, I'm generally getting up every 10 minutes or so to do something. The kitties sit on my lap and settle in. Then I feel guilty for having to get up, thus disturbing them.

They're clever little buggers, though. 'Cause I put them onto a nice soft blanket on the couch and then go do whatever it is I had to get up for. And when I come back to the computer two minutes later, there they are, sleeping soundly in my computer chair. Argh! They KNOW I can't go back to work without picking them up and most likely continuing to hold them. *snort*


Got some shelving cabinets today. It will probably take me several days to assemble them… ha! But I'm hoping they will help me organize and streamline my stuff. We have very little living space (which is fine), but it means things have to be in order.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Weight Conversions, Double Guitar Playing, Unclaimed Property, More Kitty Pix

More Kitty Pix

So here’s Andy…

And here’s Annie…

And here they are with Bear… sort of… they were asleep on the couch and Bear took it upon himself to join them. :-) To their credit, they didn’t freak.

Watching the Sharks

And Blake just got the go-ahead goal. Yay!


Just finished a necklace. I’m adding it to the pile of items I have to list (this weekend hopefully). I have about four necklaces and four pair of earrings (one of which is my very first torch enamelling)… I guess I’d better switch to bracelets now. Hm… hope inspiration doesn’t elude me.


Did you know there may be money out there for you that you don’t know about? I found a lost in transit $59 check from my employer.

Unclaimed Property Search

Weight Conversions

Ever have to convert grams or ounces or other things like that? I do…. Often. Here’s the site I use:

Online Conversion

Here’s an entertaining and interesting video:

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cat Color and Temperament, Facebook Changes, Trunkt's Anorexic Book of Jewelry, 9 Steps to Achieving Any Goal, Snopes, and Foster Kittens

Foster Kittens

Monica started her community service this week. We're fostering two seven-week old kittens. They look fat and fluffy, but they're really just fluffy (I've never had a long-haired cat in 40+ years with cats)… underneath all that fur they feel like skin and bones. I feel like I'm holding a baby bird when I pick one up.

Andy is the orange one and Annie is the calico.

I'd forgotten how playful kittens can be. And these two act like typical kittens. Sleeping hard, eating often, and playing with everything they see.


Are you a fan of SNOPES? If so, you might also enjoy this site: Truth or Fiction

Here's a cool one (truth) about Dolphins playing with air bubble rings.

But the story of a man who befriends a great white shark… not true.

9 Steps to Achieving Any Goal

I read this book. There were some interesting things. But if you read a lot of books of this sort, you'll begin to see that there's nothing new under the sun. It's all the same. It's just a matter of who wants to embrace these tenets and put them to use.

Anyway, if you're interested in this particular person's take on it:
Read here.

The most interesting one for me was the second one… about not referring to what you want as a "goal" but rather as a "promise".


I was at Half-Price books last night, perusing the usual. Came across a couple interesting books. Came across something that surprised me (but I got in way hot water the last time I mentioned in public about something that surprised me… hmph). Anyway, THIS time it was a small (very small!) book put out by TRUNKT.

Well, I WAS going to show you the book, but I can't find it anywhere online. Phft! I'm sure it's out there, but I don't want to waste my time looking.

The book had very few pages. The contents were gorgeous pieces of crafted jewelry… but really… why so few pages?

Anyway, when I see jewelry I love I SOOOOO miss making things myself. Maybe I can squeeze in some time tonight, tomorrow night and this weekend.


Facebook made another change. I think I understand this one SLIGHTLY more than the understood the last change… but … ick… I don't have time to figure things out… so now it's fewer and further between my Facebook posts.


Oh, one thing that I learned when we were going through fostering orientation is that the guy giving us the orientation also believes different colored cats have different personalities.

I never really gave it THAT much thought before, but I do recall saying things like, "Man, every orange cat I've ever met is so friendly."

HE said the same thing. Orange cats are like that.

If you google "cat color and temperament" you will see a vast array of articles on the subject (but stay away from the YahooAnswers pages, IMO).

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Vent about Tutorials

Hockey today was good and bad.

Both the kids’ teams won their games and both Mon and Gabe were the starters, but Gabe got pulled at about the halfway point… and Mon only had five shots.

Had a nice lunch with Alex… got some FABULOUS beads, got to vent about a tutorial I bought this week that really put me off tutorials.

When I get over my current angst, I will employ the following:

Only buy tutorials that:
A) List the materials/tools needed
B) I can tell are techniques that offer something new or unique rather than things readily available in books and online
C) Offer a refund. If the seller is confident enough in their work they shouldn’t hesitate to offer a refund for non-satisfaction.

Oh well… lots of learning opportunities in life.

Okay, I’m going through withdrawal not making jewelry for awhile so I’m gonna go for an hour or two now and see what I can accomplish.


Friday, December 4, 2009

A Shortie Tonight... I'm SOOOO Tired

Gabe saw his doctor today for a(nother) follow-up appointment. She said he won’t be fully recovered for about two months, but he certainly is much better than he was.

It’s 7:40pm now and we’re in for the night. I love that!

After school/work, we took Bear to the dog park and the kids played tennis. Then we went to Trader Joe’s for some groceries, Gabe drove home, and we just finished eating. Gabe wants the internet (online tennis, I’m guessing), so Mon and I will do some enameling.

But I’m REALLY tired… so I plan to crawl into my super comfy bed and fall asleep early tonight.

Besides, we have to get up early. Gabe has to be at his SATs by 7:45am.

Mon and I are going to the SPCA tomorrow to see about helping with some of the cats in need. No, not adopting. :-)

I hope to get back to listing this weekend… it’s been AGES!


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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Valencia, Vegas, Blood Pressure, Fundraising, Turkey


Before we left for the tournaments, Monica and I were running an errand in Oakland on Piedmont Avenue when we saw… a turkey… walking across (jaywalking!) Piedmont Avenue. I stopped the car so Mon could get out and snap a quick pic. By that time he was safely on the sidewalk.


Gabe is getting better on a daily basis. The only thing that still seems to be affecting him is physical stamina, but that will come in time. Strange to think that only a week ago he still wasn't eating.

We're going to see if we can squeeze in a Thanksgiving dinner early on Saturday, after Gabe's SATs and before we head south for Mon and Gabe's games, 6pm and 7:30pm respectively.

Oh, while I was in the hospital spending time with Gabe I made my first beaded bead (a skill I'd wanted to learn for awhile now). I'll show you when I get around to getting a picture of it. Next I want to do the same thing but with a color theme.


Mon had to sell poinsettias (ten of them) as a fundraiser for her hockey team. I am really grateful to my co-workers who rallied around and helped. Although they DID get a beautiful plant for only $10… see…

There is only one left and I'm keeping it on my desk.


Was called by my doctor's office to come in for a blood-pressure check, so I did. I guess I haven't been to the doc in awhile. When I had been going, though, my blood pressure was considered high. Not dangerously high, but nothing to be overly happy about either.

So I just got back. 106/62! Yay! And pulse was 67. Maybe all the walking I do really IS having an affect.


I took a drive from the hotel to Whole Foods because Monica wanted some apples… and on the way I encountered a strange site. There was a two-block stretch of road that was covered with blackbirds (crows or ravens… I don't know the difference). I snapped one quick photo with my phone, but they were everywhere… and even up the side streets. It was quite the eerie site.

Anyway, Mon's team did great, IMO. They are an "A" team and it was a double A tournament (these distinctions, however, don't always have the meaning they imply). Anyway, they played a "AA" (pronounced "dubbel ay") team and only lost by one (2-1), then they played an A team and won 4-3. The third game was against another AA team and they won 5-2. The final game was against a AAA team and they lost 3-1.

Those were some fun games to watch… wish I'd seen them all.

But… to do this backwards… after dropping Mon in Valencia, Gabe and I went on to Las Vegas for his team's tournament. Gabe couldn't play, but it was still nice to be there and support his team. The games were tie-loss-loss-win. They have a big weekend coming up… CAHA in San Jose this Saturday and Sunday. Good luck, boys!

Well, I have to go now so I'll leave you with the usual good cheer…

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