Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Weekend

Hi! Just got back from Long Beach. It's almost midnight and I work tomorrow so this will be short.

Just wanted to let you know I'm back and will be reporting in shortly. Long drives and quiet time to myself is always FANTASTIC. I have so many ideas and new things to think about.

Talk to you later!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Busy Night... just sayin' hi

I don’t really have much to say today. I mean, I do… there’s tons to share with you, but I don’t have time.

The Sharks are on at 7:30 tonight, but we’ll be in the car at 7pm heading to Gabe’s 9pm game. I guess I’ll get to watch from 8-9pm in Stanley’s and until then I’ll listen to Jamie and Dan.


VAMPIRE KITTY

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I recorded last week’s Supernatural but have been too sick to watch it. I know, can you imagine?! Anyway, I guess I’ll record tonight’s on the same CD… then I’ll have two brand-spanking new, never-before-seen episodes to watch… someday when I have time. :-)


I LOVE TUXEDOS

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My throat’s not killing in me anymore. Yay! And I *am* out of bed, for the most part. Yay! But I still feel out of energy. I guess that’s to be expected.

Anyway, I just wanted to check in here and say hi… will write more when time allows.


KITTY ATTACKS BEAR

Saw this one for the first time last night. Kitties are weirdly brave. “The Bear wants the yummy garbage bag, while the psycho cat defends the house!”

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Featured Artist Nicola or Murano Silver, What I'm Working on Currently, The Hockey Boys Sing at the Airport, Humble Beginnings with Enamel

FEATURED ARTIST

Today’s featured artist and piece of jewelry are:

Nicola of Murano Silver and…



Isn’t that a fabulous piece?! I’m so totally in love with it. Take the breath-taking beauty of it, combined with the name/inspiration, and wow!

Here’s the listing for it.

Anyway, this is Nicola’s shop on the Etsy website. She also has her own website, but seems to have more jewelry listed on the Etsy site.

Here’s another one of Nicola’s creations that caught my attention…



Check that one out here. But at 1003 views and 16 hearts already, I’m obviously not the first to admire it.

BTW, I was totally tickled when a friend emailed me and said that she saw Beau’s shop featured on my blog the other day and consequently bought her first Evolving Creations Lampwork bead. Yay! Win-win all around.


JEWELRY

I’ve got two new pendant necklaces sitting here in front of me, waiting to be photographed. I hate setting up the photo stuff for two items… I should finish some of the pieces I have that are half done. Ha ha ha!

Maybe I’ll take a break from experimenting with enamel and get some jewelry under my belt.

Although, being sick and resting (actually IN BED!) took a few days out of my schedule too.

Oh, I did take a gorgeous set of Toni Lutman’s boro beads (can’t wait until she starts listing her boro sets on her website!) and started something unusual (for me, anyway). I’m taking sections of 16 gauge fine silver and forming a shape around each bead which is linked to the next. It is supposed to be a necklace… but I never pigeon-hole my pieces until they’re actually finished. They’ve been known to make sharp left or right turns along the way.

BTW, I think I’m going to combine Going Green Jewelry and this blog.

But boy, that gets me anxious to get back to using up some of the gorgeous gemstones I have… that I always see when I’m looking for something else and go, “Oh, I’ll have to come back and use those sometime soon.”


HOCKEY TVHM18AA

Coach emailed this link to all the parents so I’m assuming it’s okay to share. :-) Looks like the boys, at the airport… waiting for their luggage.




ENAMELS (still struggling with them)

Before strep throat hijacked me, I was experimenting with enamels.

Things I learned so far:

1) My respect for anyone who does enameling well has climbed a hundred-fold from its already very high place.

2) Enameling on a small piece of PMC with a Blazer micro-torch isn’t the same as using the same torch on fine silver wire. One won’t melt no matter how hard I try, the other dissolves before my eyes. Sigh…

3) Sometimes enamel doesn’t stick (fuse?) to the base metal piece. I don’t know why and/or what I’m doing wrong… yet.


I think part of my problem is the lack of technical knowledge (I realize this is a sweeping statement, but bear with me). For example, I’m perusing an enameling website and one page sells “Gilding Metal”. I don’t know what a gilding metal is nor if it’s something I may need as I start out. Shrug.

Here’s another: “Spun and Stamped Metal Pieces” Okay, I get the metal and the stamped part… but what is “spun”?

Then there’s a page with enamel supplements. What’s “Easy Scrolling”?

Okay, back to my experiments. As usual, when things start messing up, I go further back into basic territory.

Enameling was working on the pennies… so I went back to those for now. I designed a necklace that involves nine pennies plus two more for matching earrings. The concept (showing the phases of the moon) is not a new or original one, but it’s something I should be able to do and that’s all I need at this point. Some amount of success.

I went to my library and picked up my copy of “The Art of Enameling: Techniques, Projects, Inspiration” by Linda Darty (not my local library… my living room library).



Click on the book cover to see the Amazon listing.

And THIS TIME… I started to READ it rather than just looking at the pretty pictures (hey, I have a lot of books, what can I say?).

Wow! Talk about a wealth of info! In just the first few pages, here are some of the important things I’ve learned:

When you add water to enamel powder, don’t stir it… this creates air bubbles.

If the piece is on your fingertips when you sift the enamel on it, you don’t run the risk of wrecking the edges when you pick it up to transfer it to the trivet. With it on your fingertips, you just transfer it immediately after sifting.

Linda suggests sifting in a spiral (circular) motion starting from the outer edges of the object, working your way inwards.

The purpose and method for washing enamels.


Well, there’s a ton of info. A highly recommended book if you are interested in the subject.

$18

About the price of most tutorials I see online… and we’re talking 176 pages of GLORIOUS photos, hundreds (if not thousands) of useful tips, clear instructions, and more. Just amazing.

So here’s how I see my recent… issue. I took a class in torch enameling at BABE. It was a fabulous class… but so fabulous that I came out of there thinking I was good at enameling. ROFLOL Well, not really, but the class definitely made me feel like it was doable.

But I tried to jump right in… without knowing anything. And unlike some mediums, enameling has a lot of science and technique involved that must be understand and/or adhered to.

I want to do it, though, so I’m really going to try to learn it properly. I will give it the respect I feel it deserves and I will work hard at it.


Anyway, I recently got some things I’d been needing (liver of sulfur chunks, penny brite, etc). But there are a few things I’m still in need of (silver disks, tubing, CMC, etc).

AND… before I got sick, I was going to purchase some sterling chain… I’m very short of that right now. I need to get on it.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Strep

Thanks for all the well wishes, my dear friends.

Monica and I both have strep throat.

I'm going to rest a couple more days.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Sick

Sorry for this unexpected absence. I'm a bit under the weather. Will report back as soon as I'm on my feet.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Evolving Creations Lampwork and weird miscellaneous stuff

I’m really loving this laptop. Things go so fast now and I even got a remote mouse so I don’t have to use that 1 inch scroll pad.

My fingers aren’t really in sync with the keyboard, but I’ll live.


The Foster

Boots is going back to the shelter Friday. I hope he has a very happy life. He’s an absolute sweetheart.


Lions Playing with a Man (video)





Hockey

Gabe goes to Phoenix Friday… Mon has local stuff.

I’m at Mon’s practice right now as a matter of fact.


Interesting Facts... even if you've seen it before (video)





Featured Artist

I have two lined up, but I’ll show you Beau’s stuff first because his are on auction so time is limited.

Evolving Creations Lampwork on eBay or on Etsy. Lampwork beads by Beau and Shani Barrett.

Here are some of the current items for sale (and if I’m doing this correctly, the photos should be clickable through to the auction listings).







Anyway, I’d like to thank Beau for giving me the okay to hotlink to his auctions and show a couple of his beads.



This is hilarious… it’s video of why we cat people are always sleep deprived.




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I had no idea toads liked to be petted... (video)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New Baubles on Etsy

Well, leaving the apartment in 13 minutes to take Gabe to hockey practice. I had some stuff I was gonna show you but it's on my flash stick and I've got my MP3 player downloading Religulous at the moment and I only hope it will be done before we have to go.

Not because I want to watch the documentary during Gabe's practice... I want my MP3 player to listen to the Sharks game during Gabe's practice.

I put a few baubles on Etsy today. Here, I'll show you.

BTW, you can find them here.













Heh... sorry for the overkill.

Anyway, gotta go now... will report back tomorrow with new stuff and a featured artist.

Oh, forgot to say thanks to everyone who showed interest in my sterling and garnet bangle. THANKS!!! I have a taker.

Cheers!

Monday, January 18, 2010

360-Degree Photos, Bracelet Giveaway, Fusing Fine Silver

One of my goals for today is to stop writing “2009” on the copyright of my new photos.

Took me about ten minutes to write the above sentence. I’ve got a kitty who has figured out that if he walks around on my computer keyboard, he gets all kinds of attention.


CHECK OUT THESE 360-DEGREE PHOTOS (thanks for the links, Dad!)

At www.utah3d.net

Underneath Double Arch, Arches National Park, Utah

The new home of the O C Tanner Jewelry Store. Originally home to the Salt Lake Library, and later the Hansen Planetarium, it has been skillfully remodeled and restored.

Atrium of the Salt Lake City Library

The Cathedral of the Madeleine. This beautifully restored building is celebrating it's 100th anniversary.

The Maple Bench area of Payson Canyon

How cool are those!


BRACELET GIVEAWAY

So, for multiple reasons, I’m going to give this unsaleable bracelet away.






TVMHA 18AA’s

The boys (Gabe’s team at a tournament in Riverside at the moment) are doing well. They’ve won all four of their games so far. This morning they’ve got the semi-final and if they win that, they’ll have the championship game at 3:00… although that kinda sucks because that would mean they don’t get to start the 7-hour drive home until around 5:00.

Update: They won their semi-final game but lost the championship game in double overtime. They’re on their way home now.


NEW JEWELRY (ALMOST)

I’m finally trying to get some new stuff up. It’s been awhile. I’d like to fit in listing AND creating.

Here’s a sneak peak to what’s coming up this week…




FUSING FINE SILVER

Last week I found out, much to my chagrin, that all that fine silver wire I bought for fusing was not going to work under my current conditions (a micro torch). I tried 12 gauge first… nada. Then 14, 16, 18… eek! Yes, need more heat. Apparently 2500 degrees just isn’t enough to melt even 20 (I think that’s as far as I went). Well, I got ONE of the 20g jumprings to fuse, but spent five minutes torching its twin and nothing… absolutely nothing (except a fire-brick that took forever to cool back down. Ha ha ha!

To see my first fusing experience, go to my project blog: GOING GREEN JEWELRY.

I ordered a few necessities today… Penny Brite Copper Cleaner and Liver of Sulfur.


THREE DAY WEEKEND DONE ALREADY!?

Watched a lot of movies this weekend (comparatively speaking). Saw Star Trek, Julie and Julia, Milk and Pearl Harbor.

Did a little bit of jewelry making… mostly jewelry photo’ing. Did a wee bit of enameling. Spent a lot of time with Monca… zero time with Gabe (I’ll be picking him up around midnight tonight).

Mon and I drove Gabe’s car this weekend. It needs an oil change and a front end alignment… I might postpone that work until Mon and I get back from Chicago (next month).

I keep meaning to take pictures of Boo (aka Boots, our current foster). He’s still totally freaked with every noise, no matter how small, but other than that he’s 100% kitten… plays a lot, runs around a lot, isn’t bothered by Bear in the slightest, claws hurt like the dickens (me, not him), and all over in my way when I’m trying to type on the computer.

Well, I’m going to call it a night for the blog now… I want to straighten up a bit before I leave to pick up Mon from practice.

Later!

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Enameling Experimentation and First Attempts at Fusing Fine Silver

Enameling Experimentation

So, I wanted to spend a few minutes playing around with enamels.

I took a charm I’d made out of bronze clay.



First I enameled the back (for strength).




Then I put black enamel into the channels on half of the charm.



And here’s what it looked like after my first firing.



Then I added enamel (powdered glass) to the other side of the charm.



And fired it.



Here’s the finished product (after I polished the bronze back up).



I’m not impressed with the charm, but I was experimenting so I’m cool with it. And now I have some ideas for things I can work on.


First Attempts at Fusing Fine Silver

These were very unsuccessful. As I mentioned in my other blog, I had to use a torch with more power than the Blazer micro-torch.

But it’s going to take some finesse and practice for me have better skill at fusing. This…



Was my first jumpring attempt. A section of the ring just balled up, separating from the rest of the ring.



This makes me think I was aiming the flame (not pin point, unfortunately) NOT at the seam.

I tried fusing a jumpring four times… it finally worked the forth time.

But then I wanted to make a really fat ball-end headpin.

It’s here on the left, 14g.



I’m going to keep it as a memento… along with a bead I’ve been saving (it’s an Alex bead).




That’s it for now.

This weekend I also made a lot of jewelry out of components I’d already made or had. It’s more of my attempt to use what I have rather than buying more.

I’ll let you know when I get the listings started.

Cheers!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Jewelry Giveaway, SRAJD Articles, Metal Clay Info, and Boots

JEWELRY GIVEAWAY

So I've decided that rather than give my non-happy-making creations away, most of them I'll just cannibalize.

BUT... there are a few things I *can* give away and as soon as I get good photos, I'll show them to you and ... um... give them away.

I made one thing last night that is really neat. But it's not good enough (by my standards) to sell and it took too long to make for me to consider cannibalizing... so... I hope it ends up with someone who likes it as much as I do. Not sure yet HOW I'll run the giveaways.


SRAJD

We've got three new articles in our RESOURCES section:

1) Wax Carving: Tips, Resources, and Advice by Amanda Katz (SRAJD #1220)

2) Turk's Head Knot Ring: Detailed Description, Tips, and Useful Links by Amanda Katz (SRAJD #1220)

3) And an off-site video tutorial on "Bernzomatic Brazing Rods" by Gary Snyder.

And we've got a few more planned for early next week (a "Sand Casting" tutorial, product review for sand papers, and info on wedding jewelry).



METAL CLAY INFO TO SHARE

This link has some very cool info. Check out that first pdf.

But really, the Metal Clay Academy is just an invaluable resource for metal clay artists.

The gallery is to die for.


BOOTS

Who I've taken to calling "Boo" instead. Maybe it's because I just watched Monsters, Inc. last weekend… maybe it's because this cat is so scared. Shrug

Anyway, he's becoming a cute little terror. Last night, he had several LONG occasions of playing on my bed, on top of my covers. Most likely chasing his tail. When I'd reach for him, he'd disappear of course… but then he'd come right back up, leaping about for what seemed like hours at a time (but I'm sure was only minutes).


Well, that's about it for now. I should have more time to create and post after this weekend.

TGIF!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Quick Catching Up

Got home from work last night at 5:15... and at 5:30 Monica and I were out the door heading to her hockey practice.

I watched the whole thing and went out to the car about five minutes before the kids were off the ice. Sigh... They had to come find me. Monica sliced two of her fingers on her skate blades (trying to fix her toe strap).



Got to the E.R. before 10pm and got home from there around 2am. Sigh...

Went to work this morning and have been home for about an hour... then heading out the door to take Gabe to HIS hockey practice. We'll be home around midnight.

Gabe leaves for an MLK tournament in Riverside tomorrow... then Mon and I get three relaxing days to ourselves.

I need to catch up with jewelry and creations and stuff like that.

Bootsy spends a lot of time being a typical kitten now... playing playing playing. Then he hides. Ha ha ha!

Well, I'm going to gather some gems up so I can make bracelets during Gabe's practice.

Toodles!

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Foster Kitty Update, ArtFire, and Editing Software

So… court was Monday, then Monday night, Tuesday night, and tonight (Wednesday) are all hockey… and the days are at the office. So little time to do anything, right?

Still, I like to stay in touch.


FOSTER UPDATE

Again, I can’t remember if I blogged about Andy (the first foster… who seemed ill at one point) but the update on him is that he got right as rain by the next day and he and his sister were both adopted out the week after Christmas. Yay!

Now, onto Boots. He’s really coming out of his shell. As of today (day 6), he can be seen on occasion at any given point in the living room. He does spend most of his time in his cubby (I folded up his dog bed and put it between the cabinet and the entertainment center), but he comes out to walk around a little and to play.

I don’t have any photos yet of him playing, but here are some from day 3.







Static pictures have a hard time expressing reality. At the slightest (and I do mean slightest) sound, this little guy is gone in a flash and curled up like a tiny armadillo.

But it hasn’t even been a week yet and the progress is really encouraging. I think he’ll be perfect for someone without little kids or too much activity in the household.



ARTFIRE

I was perusing ArtFire today. Sigh… I’m not sure why I’m there. Has it been a year yet?


VIDEO EDITING SOFTWARE

We were using MSN’s MovieMaker (comes free on most computers… you may have it and not even know it… I did).

But the music and video didn’t seem to sync up right at time and I wanted to try something with a few more options. So we’re now using Sony’s Movie Maker (I think that’s what it’s called). Gabe is having a crash course in it since he has a school project due soon.

I’ll let you know what I think of it when I get a chance to try it. Actually, I’ll probably SHOW you… by uploading a video to YouTube. Oh, I should get video of Boots!


I got the beads for Monica to make “spider kits”. I should get on with that project.

Well, I should probably get back to what I was doing (yes, I’m actually doing something… not sure if it’s productive, but there’s always that chance).

Friday, January 8, 2010

Flower Petal Light, Toni Lutman, Foster #3

Neat Inventions



This is kind of an interesting idea. It’s a light that opens and closes, brightens and dims.


Featured Artist

Actually, it’s not like I’m doing a big feature on any artists… I just want to share (as often as I can) some things I like… people that make things I like. :-)

So today’s “featured artist” is Toni Lutman of WildWoods Art Glass studio in Carmichael, California.

I met Toni through Alex (who knows the coolest beady people!) at the local bead shows.

(BTW, I’m DROOLING over a necklace that Alex made with some of Toni’s beads just recently…. Maybe she’ll let me show a pic here in my blog.)

Now the hard part… I want to show a few of Toni’s beads, but picking which ones to show is SO hard…. There are SO many beauties and they are all different.



Oooo, that was fun! :-)


Foster #3

Although it’s only our second TIME fostering, this is our third foster kitty (the first time was two kitties).

In my 48 years of life so far, I’ve seen cats injured, sick, and die before my eyes. It’s all sad, but I find a much deeper sadness when thinking about Boots (as named by the SPCA).

Boots is four months old and seemingly terrified of everything. He was introduced to me as a very “hissing” cat and one who will run from me when I want to pick him up. Thankfully I’ve found neither of those to be the case. But he is far from “normal”.



BTW, I purposely put the cat bed on the couch backwards because Boots prefers to be “hidden” (or what HE thinks of as hidden).

This is his photo on day two and it epitomizes his current personality. The poor little boy gets all curled up and rigid when you hold him (although he does relax after an amount of time in the same position). He’s so rigid (I can’t think of a better word) that his tail is bound tight to his body… forcibly.

When you pick him up, the first thing he does is hides his face into a crook. Almost like he’s saying, “I don’t want to see life.”

He’s like the ferals I’ve taken care of (the real ferals… born and raised in the wild without human contact) except that I can pick him up, hold him, and pet him. Otherwise, he’s got that same attitude… 100% fear of EVERYTHING.

I’m guessing he was sleeping on the bathroom rug this afternoon because when I came home, the rug was flipped up (like someone made a hasty exit from it) and little Boots was hiding in the bathtub between the two shower curtains. Ugh! Since that seems to be one of his favorite places to be, I’ll at least line the tub with towels tomorrow. I can’t stand the idea that he’s on that cold porcelain.

He took his meds from me fine this morning… no hissing, fighting, scratching… nothing. Just that same rigid body that goes into hiding if I’m not holding him.

I worry that his life is nothing but sleeping. I know that sometimes cats sleep as a reaction to stress (like at cat shows… not all cats… it’s just how SOME cope with stress), but this is a four month old kitten. He should be tearing around the house, jumping after pieces of paper, and sounding like a stampede of horses.

I do hope he relaxes a little in the next few weeks.


Sharks Play Detroit Saturday

Wish I could take the kids to a game one of these days. Gabe even mentioned that he would have liked to go to that game in particular. Well, I’m sure we’ll go someday. It’s been a couple of years… we’re due. :-)


Friends

Well, I’m having lunch with Alex tomorrow (Yay!). I’m going to see if I can get my create juices to produce anything useful for her (I don’t have time to do any PMC, though).


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