Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Custom Order with Etched Copper Charms

I wish I were a good enough jewelry maker to be anything but a stressed out mess when doing a custom order.

It’s infinitely easier to do what I want, stop doing something if I don’t like how it’s turning out, and have absolutely no time constraints for any given project.

The latest was “chunky bracelets with lots of sterling silver in the team colors of black and red”. And silly me, offered to personalize each bracelet with an etched charm of the child of each of the mothers receiving these bracelets… which might have been a more clever idea if I had a couple of months of experience with this newly learned technique, as opposed to… oh, I’ve tried it a couple of times… y’know, with words and patterns so far.

Here’s the three bracelets in one quick photo… sorry for the poor quality of photo, but Mon had a late game last night and an early one this morning so time was tight… couldn’t set up the photo studio.





Next weekend is Christmas. I don’t “gear up” for Christmas. But people were still buying in droves. This is the only time of year people panic about getting their packages on time (totally understandable).

We sellers give the USPS delivery confirmation # to our buyers, but what they may not know (if they aren’t familiar with the online system) is that USPS doesn’t update the delivery confirmation information in any kind of consistent or reliable way.

It’s like, you can see if something WAS delivered (if it says something was delivered), but the ABSENCE of a “delivery status” does not necessarily mean the item was NOT delivered. Know what I mean?

And right now they’ve even got some Delivery Confirmation #’s not even showing as viable. Ack! Sigh… no wonder my customers are panicking. Well, hopefully they will: A) receive their packages in time and B) notice the postmark date. :-)


Gabe’s team finished the Vegas showcase and Gabe is on a plane on his way here as I type.

Mon leaves Saturday for Connecticut and Vermont.

Well, that’s it for the moment.

TTYL!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

My Latest Jewelry Creations and Featured Artist Pat Pruitt

I’ve done some more experimenting with etching copper, but it’s a really busy time of year so I’m (obviously) behind in blogging.

I did want to share two things with you.

One is a bracelet I ran across on Etsy today. It’s rare to find good men’s jewelry. I really like this one.

Mens Rectangular Link Oxidized Sterling Silver Bracelet




FEATURED ARTIST: PAT PRUITT

Pat was kind enough to give me the okay to share his work on my blog (via hotlinks to his website).

I think the price of silver got to me the other day, and I spent some time perusing the ‘net to see about the possibility of working in stainless steel. I’d seen a few pieces over the years, and truthfully I find it a beautiful metal.

However, after a little more investigating, I’ve got to say it’s not for me… not at the moment, anyway. It’s hard… figuratively and literally. I can’t even begin to tell you what all is involved, but someday if you’re interested… google it… you will be amazed.

Now, without further ado, I’d love to show you some of the jaw-dropping work of this jewelry designer/maker.









And I love the piece on his homepage (but I can’t link to it... it’s not a regular jpg).

Anyway, I’d like to thank Pat for sending me such a nice email and for letting me share his work with my friends.


MY WORK

Um… maybe it wasn’t such great planning to show my work after Pat’s, but c’est la vie.

Here are my latest creations:







I’ve got to get going now… taking Mon to practice. Tomorrow night she works in SF, Saturday I need to do some custom work, then Sunday morning is a game in Fremont.

TTYL!

Funny Pictures - Goggies R Our Friends
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Funny Pictures - Cyoot Kitteh
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

funny pictures-travel agent kitteh
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Getting Organized, Simplifying Your Life, New Year's Resolutions

As the New Year approaches, I’ve been thinking about my life and changes I want to make. Not surprisingly, these are changes I have wanted to make for many years… and don’t quite accomplish them.

Not to say I’ve failed at everything. I can clearly see that the main problem with my attempts are that I don’t have focus. Picking too many things to “improve” upon in one’s life can lead to “deer in the headlights” syndrome… which means nothing gets improved upon.

I was interested and encouraged to learn that of the people who make New Year’s resolutions, a whopping 46% of them are still maintained after six months. Research shows that people who make resolutions are ten times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.

Actually, that’s probably been my problem. I tend to just think in vague terms about what I want or what I want to do. I don’t actually put anything into a concrete sentence.

Saying, “I want to simplify my life” might be too nebulous. Perhaps I need to outline WAYS in which I want to simplify my life.

I’ve got a list of things to do that would help simplify a life. I’ve accomplished two of the things (the list has about 30 things on it).

The two I’ve accomplished are that I don’t pay bills… I have things set up to automatically deduct from my checking account when they’re due. This is actually such a huge relief to me for many reasons.

The other thing is to carry less stuff with me on a daily basis. My purse is 8x5 inches. I love not having a big purse. Granted, I’m often seen with my backpack in order to tote jewelry projects and or bulkier items, but the backpack doesn’t go everywhere with me at all times, the way my purse does. When I gotta get up and run, it’s just the little purse that goes with me. Yay!

There’s a reason, too, that this year’s resolution is of more importance than many previous years… but I won’t say why in print. Let’s just say I have incentive to get my things in order and down to a minimum.

So let’s look at a few of the other things.

I think if I evaluated my day, I’d find that I fritter a lot of time away. Yes, I do accomplish quite a bit in a day, but I also spend a certain amount of time in “wasted time”. Wasted time isn’t the same as relaxed, do-nothing time. I don’t mind sitting on the couch and vegging for half an hour or taking a super long bath. To me, that’s infinitely more important and helpful than sitting at the computer getting into a forum argument with someone for half an hour.

Limiting my communications might be tricky. There are already so many people who don’t think I communicate often enough as it is. So maybe this isn’t one that’s geared toward me. I certainly don’t yap on the phone much and I never IM.

But, speaking of email, one thing I need to do (and wow is my mom good at this!) is to get my email inboxes back to manageable status. They are ridiculous. Simply ridiculous.

I’ve been purging my life of things that I no longer want or feel I need. I’m okay with throwing out stuff… have been doing great at it for the past few years. One of the problems is I have a lot of stuff that could/should be sold (like on eBay), but that is time-consuming. Maybe I should put all that stuff into boxes and take it somewhere… and I can deal with it in one or two months, solely devoted to that task. In the end, though, I need to decide if the small payback I get for items is worth all the stress of selling them (photos, listing, emailing, packaging, shipping).

I do need to work on my wardrobe. I need to go shopping, buy a couple of new items, and get rid of some of the tired old things in my closet.

My computer files could use streamlining. I’ll have to think about this, make a plan, and devote some time to it.

One thing I’m doing now, though, that helps is that I don’t keep the raw photos on my PC anymore. When I download from my camera, I edit the photo, then keep only the edited (smaller) version and delete the original and all the ones that didn’t make the cut. Yay!

As I think about the way I want to live in the near future, I am making progress toward getting there. One thing I realize I need to do, however, is really get a good picture of what I’m after. Specifics.

One simple example is that I don’t like carpeted floors. So I want to picture any future digs I have with hardwood floors. I don’t mind throw rugs… I intend to have many. I just don’t want wall-to-wall carpeting.

I’d like to focus on what I’m doing at any given time. No multi-tasking or getting distracted.

I have been working over the past few months on organizing and streamlining my paper system. This is not an easy task and I am no where near where I want to be yet.

Meal planning is something else that helps me (when I do it). Less trips to the grocery store, healthier foods at the table, and less time spent in the kitchen.

Not sure how to work more exercise into my life. I will… but that may not happen for a month or so.

One organizing system that is continually worked on, but also continually getting better and better is my jewelry-making supplies.

I want to make time for quiet reflection… meditation. It doesn’t have to be a big commitment… just a few minutes a day, consistently.

One of the things that I do allow as far as multi-tasking is listening to audio books while I walk to and from work (an hour a day). Routine drives me up the wall and walking the same route day after day for years on end… well, yeah… listening to books while I do this helps immensely.

Time's up... more later.

'Night all!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Monterey Bay Aquarium, New Jewelry, Hard-Wired Nurturers, Planet Earth, Metal Etching

METAL ETCHING

Oh, big week (behind me now). Played around with some more metal-etching.

(This one is already sold)

“Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend -- or a meaningful day.”



This one I have decided to make into a bracelet rather than sell as a component (not listed yet).



Here are a pair of earrings listed and still available:



Oh, I also posted a video (sort of) to YouTube showing most of the steps for this form of metal-etching that I’m doing. So many of my customers were asking. Thanks!




PLANET EARTH (on the Discovery Channel, I think)

As I was trying to fall asleep last night at 1am or so (just got back from picking Mon up from San Diego tournament), there was a show on tv with a segment on penguins and it was captivating.

I had to turn the tv off so I wouldn’t be tempted to watch it. I’ll catch a repeat or see if it’s on NetFlix. It was an episode of Planet Earth. This one: http://dsc.discovery.com/convergence/planet-earth/guide/ice-worlds.html



I totally have to see it again… the baby penguins are cuter than anything I’ve seen in ages. Watching the hungry polar bear was very sad and I was rooting for him to get one of the walruses. :-(


HARD-WIRED NURTURERS

And speaking of cute, that got me to wondering how much Gabe’s experience of the Aquarium (and other things too) differed from my experience.

If I see something “cute”, I have a fondness for it. It makes me feel happy. But I think women are hard-wired for that.

And I don’t mean “hard-wired” as in genetics… I mean “hard-wired” as in primal instincts.

Human newborns aren’t able to fend for themselves, and they don’t do much to endear themselves to us (they cry, they poop, they don’t help in the slightest, etc). So… nature instilled in us a primal instinct to adore them in a nearly foolproof way. Women (mostly) were given the ability to get all mushy over infants (this carries over into infants of almost all species).

So I would say getting “mushy” over cute things is a survival instinct… keeps our infants cared for and helps keep the species surviving.

I speak in generalizations, but have no current doubt that this “thing” most people and almost ALL women feel for babies is a hard-wired survival instinct and not something we learned from our environment.

Thought for today: Activate your ocytocin!

So, I will quit saying to any man, “Oh c’mon, how can you not think that is the cutest thing ever!? Doesn’t is just melt your heart?!” I will try to remember that we each see the world differently and we each react to the world differently. Some of these differences can be learned and some can be hard-wired. But don’t assume that everyone sees/feels what I see/feel.


NEW JEWELRY

Aside from the one that sold and the one that isn’t made into a bracelet yet, I do have a few other new listings.

Click any photo for more info:







I put up some colorful gemstone pendant necklaces (that are already selling quickly)…


Oh, don’t forget that last batch of one-penny auctions I listed ends tomorrow!

The listings


MONTEREY BAY AQUARIUM

So yeah, Gabe and I went there yesterday. Here are a couple photos (more later), but please keep in mind these were taken with a cell phone and with flash turned off.

I’ve always loved the fish tanks filled with saturated colors of fish.



I was totally bummed that the otter exhibit was closed yesterday. I’m not a bird person, so the flamingo exhibit was a poor substitute.



Jellyfish fascinate me.



And science fiction looking plant life.



Turtles are cool too (even when they’re tortoises and I don’t know the difference so just call them all turtles).

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A bunch of one-cent listings... HURRY HURRY HURRY!!!

The other day, half the hockey team had to be waitresses for the other half of the team as well as the parents.

We all brought food, pot-luck style, then the kids took our orders and served us.

Here’s a photo of Monica doing her duty…



She leaves tomorrow for the San Diego tournament (and she has A LOT to do before she goes).

I didn’t get any photos done today. :-(

But I did finish a couple bracelets and a slew of new (and COLORFUL!) gemstone necklaces and a pair of earrings.

Oh, I also listed about half a dozen items on eBay with ONE PENNY starting bids.








Well, time for bed… Night!

Funny Pictures - Cat and Dog Friends
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

funny pictures-Demonstrashun of Concept Kittehs:
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Monday, November 22, 2010

Just Touching Base...

METAL ETCHING

Yesterday, Monica and I practiced our new skill of metal etching. We are still a few supplies short for some of the methods, but we were still able to work on the basics.

I realize now that I need to work more on “planning”. This isn’t like beading where I could just let the moment guide me.




HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH…

When it comes to seller/customer communication?

Should a seller send an email when the sale happens… then another when the item is shipped… then another to ask if the item’s been received?

I used to do hardly ANY communication, but after reading some forum threads, I realized how lame that was… but recently I read (again on a forum) a sarcastic post about sellers who contact you through every step of the transaction and how annoying that is.

Gack!



FABULOUS YOUTUBE

If you’ve ever done a craft show, this is a must-see…



funny pictures-Simon learned to play the flute  but still the mice didn't come.
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Friday, November 19, 2010

Where I've been... and new stuff, including Viking Knit and Metal Etching

Wow… that was an eventful few weeks!

Since I’ve been gone I:
Took a class in metal-etching
Shopped at BABE (Bay Area Bead Extravaganza)
Had a partial Matrixectomy with chemical burn
Decided never to do that again because it’s week #3 and I’m still in a lot of baby-wa-wa pain
Had a mammogram (negative)
Had a mole biopsy (negative)
Had some lab work (blood sugar levels and cholesterol all okay)
Found out I have allergies (to like dust and pollution) that affect my sinuses (not a surprise)
And lots more stuff that ate up my days

But I finally have a few new listings, including some of my new-learned techniques (metal etching and Viking knit).









The other etched metal necklace I listed already sold… yay!



Monica and I look forward to our first experiments with metal etching (outside of the classroom) this weekend.

Did I show you my first riveting attempts?



Oh yeah, I think I showed that to you when it was still on my work bench.

The other night at Monica’s practice I made a charm bracelet (listing soon) and some tri- and quad-gemstone necklaces. Then I tried to learn a new chain maille pattern. It turned out okay and I will have another bracelet to list soon… I’m thinking, however, of making it a “change-a-bead” kind of bracelet.

Monica’s at work at the moment and Gabe’s team plays in half an hour… I should be able to watch it live, but we’ll see… last weekend they had technical difficulties.
Tomorrow, I’ll ship orders in the morning then take Mon to her community service work… then it’s a game in Fremont and a post-game potluck.

Sunday will be for METAL ETCHING! Whoohoo!!! Monica’s dying to try out her idea.

I wrote three different blog entries comparing the purchase of knock-off Gucci/Tiffany/Rolex to knock-off beads and jewelry. Decided to delete my post. :-)

Anyway, I’ve got orders to package and post, so TTYL!

Oh Judith, thanks for your comment. I got my silver riser here.


Best Menopause Question Ever

Question: How many women with MENOPAUSE does it take to change a light bulb?

Woman's Answer: One!

ONLY ONE!!!! And do you know WHY? Because no one else in this house knows HOW to change a light bulb! They don't even know that the bulb is BURNED OUT!! They would sit in the dark for THREE DAYS before they figured it out.

And, once they figured it out, they wouldn't be able to find the #&%!* light bulbs despite the fact that they've been in the SAME CABINET for the past 17 YEARS!

But if they did, by some miracle of God, actually find them, 2 DAYS LATER, the chair they dragged to stand on to change the STUPID light bulb would STILL BE IN THE SAME SPOT!!!!! AND UNDERNEATH IT WOULD BE THE WRAPPER THE FREAKING LIGHT BULBS CAME IN!!! BECAUSE NO ONE EVER PICKS UP OR CARRIES OUT THE GARBAGE!!!! IT'S A WONDER WE HAVEN'T ALL SUFFOCATED FROM THE PILES OF GARBAGE THAT ARE A FOOT DEEP THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE HOUSE!! IT WOULD TAKE AN ARMY TO CLEAN THIS PLACE! AND DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON WHO CHANGES THE TOILET PAPER ROLL!!!

I'm sorry. What was the question?


Funny Pictures - Cyoot Kitteh of teh Day
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Funny Pictures - Ninja Cat
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My Workspace (in use) and Photos of the Kids

Had a relaxing weekend. And I LOVE my extra hour. Whoohoo!

So I played with rivets and continued my exploration of Viking knit (now working on necklace length, sterling silver, double knit).

But around noon today I realized I don’t want to spend time LOOKING for things so I’m calling it quits for creating today and moving on to organizing. Going to spend a couple hours putting things into their proper place so that when I want to see what I’ve got to work with, I’ll know.

BTW, that photo I showed you last month… of my work place… well, that’s what it looks like during the week. Here’s what it looks like on the weekends when I’m actually USING the space.



I would, however, like to at least take photos tonight of the new stuff to list.


CATCHING UP

I think I’m in possession of some photos that I’ve not yet shared.

Here’s a pic of the 19U team with their championship trophy. This was the Ohio tournament Mon went to in September. Mon is the one on the far right.



Same tournament…



Oh… here are some more photos from Gabe’s Close-Up trip (to Washington and New York). I’ll eventually add them in to the other photo area where I have Gabe’s other pix of that trip.





Well, I’m going to go start sorting now, so TTYL!