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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Rolling Mill Musings and Fusing Success Story

Things I learned upon trying to use my rolling mill for the first time.

1) Attaching the handle to the machine isn’t intuitive… not for tentative people, anyway. I ended up having to use a little elbow grease and a rawhide mallet to get the “pin” into the slot and the handle onto the pin.

2) It works much better if you put your metal in the right direction. Yes, I actually wondered why my metal was falling out of the rollers. It seemed natural to put the metal in BEHIND the machine and have it come out IN FRONT of the machine… but not so.

3) I’m gonna have to find something to bolt it down to because it needs to be held down when the handle is being turned… and it’s like holding a greased pig… or a greased rolling mill.

4) I need to figure out what kind of “oil” I’m supposed to put into the cloth that I will put over the rollers to keep them from rusting. All I know if vegetable and olive oil. I’m sure there’s something at a hardware store that is more appropriate… something like WD40 or machine oil. Okay, I don’t really know what “machine oil” is, but the phrase popped into my head and it sounded good.

5) Oh, and I need a short, sturdy flat-head screw

So I’ll put it away for tonight and start again tomorrow. I think the most difficult will be deciding what I want to attach it to.

Okay, I temporarily give up on the rolling mill… and move on to something else I’ve never mastered… fusing silver.

Well yeah, I can fuse like 20 gauge, but I want to fuse really fat silver. Anne Mitchell, inspiring metalsmith, assured me it can be done… with a micro blazer.

I tried… on multiple occasions… without success… until… tada… I tried filing the ends of the ring to make them as flush as humanly (for me) possible.

12g fine silver…

Maybe my new work area inspired me to succeed. :-)

BTW, I’ve got this new thing where I delete photos from my computer as soon as I’ve edited and saved them. Yes, I used to keep all those original over-sized raw photo files… y’know… just in case. Oh my gosh, “just in case” has caused me MANY problems over the years. I really have to STOP worrying about “what if I need it some day?”

Okay, Sharks won… time for bed. TTYL!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Featured Artist Pipyr... and other kinds of catching up things


I have a new (tiny) studio set-up. I can try to get a photo of it this weekend. In my new workspace, though, I plan to try out my rolling mill for the first time. I admit I’m a little intimidated. The instructions emphasize all the ways in which you can ruin your rolling mill forever. Ha! Hopefully I won’t do any of those things.

If time allows, I’d also love to bring out the PMC too. I’ll keep you posted.


Got four more listed for the ARTIFACTS line:

And three new lampwork threader necklaces:

And one herringbone lampwork bracelet in copper:


Here’s an artist I’ve admired for quite some time now… Pipyr.

Here’s a sampling of some of my faves:

She sells on eBay and Etsy.

Thank you, Pipyr, for allowing me to post some of your photos on my blog.


So Monica spent another weekend with her Alaska team recently (Toronto tournament). Who said she’s not getting anything out of these trips? By golly, now she’s got the “Alaska bun” down pat!

Gabe is another matter. He’s a rookie on his team (along with many others) and part of the initiation is drawing a haircut option out of a hat. Compared to some of the others (“monk”, for example), I don’t think he did too badly. I had him send me a photo (but I didn’t ask permission to post it so I won’t) and it appears to be a shaved head except for the bangs.

Well, that’s about it for today. Let me see if there’s anything irresistible over at Cheezburger…

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Creative Whining, 50% off Sale, How to Have an Etsy Sale


“I don’t want to do this side of the business.  I just want to create things.”

Today, after listening to someone else (in an online forum) complain about how they’d rather do the fun part of this business (creating the item) and not have to do the pricing, listing, photographing, marketing, etc… well, I realized what a boob I, too, am… because I have said similar.

Until it comes out of someone else’s mouth, you don’t realize how pompous and snobbish it sounds.

Sorry, but doing “those other things” is part of it… so buck up and shut up (or decide that you only want a hobby, not a business).  That message is to me. 

I will try hard from now on to never sound like a whiny prima donna who feels she’s too good for the grunt work. 

Whether or not that’s how one really feels when they say those things, that’s how it comes off.  *shudder*


Now… speaking of *shudder*…. Aside from the three items that are currently at 30% off in my store… I just listed 16 more at 50% off!!!  EEEK!  Must be my spooky Halloween sale.  :-)

Perfect time for Christmas shopping...


BTW, if you ever wanted to run a sale on your Etsy shop but didn’t want to go in and make all the changes, try this.


Gabe’s team leaves tomorrow morning (via bus) for Arizona.

Mon arrived in Toronto a couple hours ago… first game tomorrow.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Buddhism and the Law of Attraction

Gabe and I watched The Book of Eli last night. He’d already seen it, but we wanted to spend some time together since he’s leaving tomorrow.

I enjoyed the movie. It’s the last of our 3-movies from NetFlix… we’re downgrading to one movie at a time now. No biggie.

I still have a documentary on Tibet to watch.

My car’s in the shop as we speak... getting new brake pads and rotors. Also had him change the oil while he was there.

No kids this weekend… Gabe’s off to join his new team (road trip to Arizona this weekend… but I’ll watch the games online) and Monica will be doing the Can/Am tournament with her Alaska 16U team up in Toronto (she’d better text me with updates!).

I did a lot of work on the book last week. Mostly organizing so I can get on with figuring out what I still need photos of. Undecided if I want to contact anyone to include their photos in it or not. Also undecided what format I want to publish the book in… ebook, hardcopy, print on demand, etc.

Still studying many books about the Law of Attraction… also studying lectures by the Dalai Lama.

Some things run very parallel between the two ways of thinking, but one seemingly big difference is that with the Law of Attraction, you’re not supposed to feel limited. You are supposed to feel as though you deserve everything you want in life, material items included and that they are easily attained.

Whereas with Buddhism, or the teachings of the Dalai Lama, it seems to teach you more to disdain greed in any form.

They both, however, heavily discuss being thankful for what you currently have.

But it leaves one wondering… should I learn to be satisfied with whatever comes into my life without effort… or should I go ahead and work toward getting some of those material things I want?

So back to the similarities for a second. Both philosophies seem to emphasize the importance of: happiness, meditation, compassion/love for others, and being grateful/thankful for what you already have.

Segue: No, I don’t think “all religions share in the list of “similarities”. I was raised as a Methodist. Maybe it’s all about who teaches you or instructs you, but I never got a sense that unconditional love is a driving force in that religion. I mostly felt like I was being instructed to mind my P’s and Q’s. But if you think about it, I’ll bet one’s P’S and Q’s pretty much fall into place if you make unconditional love your driving force.


Anyway, although Buddha is quoted as saying, “We are what we think” and “With our thoughts we make the world”… which SEEM in line with Law of Attraction thinking, I find that Buddhist teachings are more about separating yourself from desires.

While LOA teachings say go ahead and want it all; you can have it all… Buddhist teachings seem more along the line of getting us to accept what we have and be happy for it rather than wanting more.

One thing that makes sense of the Buddhist way is that if you accept what you have now, you may be happier (ie, you’re not waiting for some future desire).

Although, the LOA teachings also emphasize being happy where you are at this moment and being happy with what you have at this moment. But they go on to add that you should also plan big and expect to get what you plan.

I’m reading “The Art of Happiness” right now, by the Dalai Lama. And even only in the very beginning of the book there are eye-opening passages.

The Dalai Lama discusses how so much of who we are and what we experience is based on our outlook… our perception of the world.

He also made a wonderful analogy when talking about the difference between western medicine’s approach to a mental problem versus traditional eastern medicine’s approach. He said that in western medicine, we tend to say that most mental problems (that aren’t physiological) are attributed to something in the subconscious… something that happened in the past.

He said when you do that it’s like saying you’ve lost something but it must be in this one room. Thereby excluding the possibility that your lost item can be anywhere else.

When reading Law of Attraction works, I feel like I’m being told I am the center of the universe. When reading Buddhist works, I feel like I’m being told something rather different.

I don’t want to sound like a spiritual snob, but at times the Law of Attraction sounds like it’s all about material gains. That’s not entirely true… there’s a lot of discussion surrounding happy relationships and health, too. It’s just that there’s so much emphasis on “things”. Shrug.

The Buddhist writings seem to take it farther… encouraging dispassion and detachment from many of the things the LOA seems to be telling us to focus on.

Is there a way to want and focus on getting material gains without being completely self-centered?

Doesn’t Buddhist teachings emphasize frugality and sparseness? “Nothing outside ourselves is a reliable source of happiness.”

Are “happiness” and “feeling good” synonymous?

Maybe I’m just looking at things wrong because I tend to focus on material wants. Maybe LOA and Buddhism aren’t as different as I’m making out.

But just because I can’t leave well enough alone… what about time? It seems that in Buddhist tradition you are instructed to “live in the moment” where as in LOA you are instructed to live in some future moment (of what you want). Like, if you’re struggling financially at the moment, you’re supposed to get that struggle out of your mind and believe and affirm that money comes easily and frequently to you. Isn’t that living in the future?

Buddhism is about cause and effect. And so is LOA.

Maybe LOA isn’t so different from Buddhism, but books like “The Secret” emphasize the attainment of material possessions, giving a rather skewed vision of the whole Law of Attraction thing. Maybe.

Maybe the author emphasized material gains because that’s what western society mainly thinks about and wants.

Well, that’s enough ego-centric babbling on this subject.

Lucked out today in that two of my work conference calls were cancelled… seeing as how I didn’t remember about the calls until four hours after they were supposed to happen.

The internet is amazing. Yes, it can be overwhelming at times, but at other times it’s so helpful.

For example, just now, as I was typing this, it was bugging me that my cursor seemed really small. I thought maybe there was a font change code somewhere on the page, but couldn’t fix it.

So I typed into Google: “why is my WORD cursor so little”.

The first link that I clicked on gave me the answer right away. Whoohoo!!!

Got one new necklace up (have others, but listing takes time). And I might have to reshoot this one anyway… the close-up photo is totally blown out… these beads are really cool in person.

Alternating Clear and Crackled Quartz Crystal

Alright… talk to you later!

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Some New Necklaces

So the other day I took off the requirement for people to write the code shown when leaving a comment. Ugh! I've had nothing but spam since then. Just turned that feature back on... I apologize to those who legitimately want to leave a comment... for having to go through that extra step... but jeez... spam is useless and annoying.

Got something new in the "tools" department. It's a set of rods ranging from coarse to fine that fit into my dremel. So far I'm finding them a lot easier to use than the strips of sandpaper I was using, wound around a mandrel.

Oh, also got a super flush cutter. I'm going to try taking macro photos of the results and see if I notice a difference.

Got those so I can try fusing fine silver... again.


Just listed three gemstone necklaces:




I also added a new category: Gemstone Pendant Necklaces


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