Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memorial Day Tournament in Anaheim

So here we are, lazing about in the hotel room, watching Game One between the Flyers and the Blackhawks. At the first intermission, we'll go across the street for some Quiznos... her game is at 8:30. We got to be lazy all day.

Last night Mon made me a Wedding Knot chain maille bracelet. OMG, I love it. Can't wait to show you.

Oh, so they had their first game last night. We won. I think the rest of the competition is going to be tougher. Hopefully I can get at least a couple minutes of good video footage of Monica. She's very into getting some video of herself playing because she's very seriously looking for schools.

It's pretty cool here this weekend. Every where I turn there's someone we know. It's like a huge family reunion.

Well, I'd better go... just wanted to touch base.

I'll post more later.

TTYL!

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Etsy, you're killing me!

STREAMLINING LIFE

Today I worked on making my life smaller.

I went through some emails and responded where I thought I hadn’t, noted things of interest, and deleted the inbox as I went through it.


ETSY SEARCH

Tried to learn a little bit more about Etsy today. Went to the “Time Machine” for the first time ever.

There, you can scroll through different things… like everything that’s just been listed… or (something I’m much more interested in) everything that’s just been purchased.

I flipped through about 20 pages of “just sold” items. Hardly any of it was jewelry. Ha!

Later, I was looking at some searches to determine if I wanted to renew any of my Etsy listings.

But I ran into a glitch



HOCKEY… GGGRRRR…

Usually hockey is a good thing. But not when I spent $400 for a tournament this weekend and Monica has a sprained ankle.

Okay, gonna go sulk now.

TTYL

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

New Jewelry Listings

PHOTOS

Boy, when photos go right, things are SOOO easy.

My last batch of photos went like this:
I took only one shot of each bracelet in each of my required settings. They all came out great (well as great as I can get them, anyway). Then in photo-editing, I do practically NOTHING… color-corrected on white then cropped. Whoohoo!

BTW, if you want to know what my “required settings” means…

I want one photo on gradient background. This can be angled… it’s the “beauty” shot.

I want one on my model. This shows size reference.

I want one on white background. For this one, I usually do a straight overhead shot, so the customer can see the whole piece. Not very aesthetically pleasing, but practical.


NEW JEWELRY

Anyway, got the listings up. Click a photo for more info on each.






And I like to do one “advertising” auction... so starting at $9.99…




Well, Monica’s practice got switched to tomorrow night, so I’m free to create now. Going to take advantage of it.

TTYL!

Friday, May 21, 2010

One of a Kind Jewelry, Gabe’s D.C. Trip, New Jewelry Listings

One of a Kind
Interesting. Today I came across a website where the first sentence declared that everything on this page was one of a kind. But then the next sentence said that if an item is sold, just contact the artist and she will re-create the piece.

Um… doesn’t that null out the fact that the first purchase was sold as “one of a kind”? Not that customer “A” is going to be running across the customer who had the recreation made, but if I’m buying “one of a kind” jewelry, perhaps part of what I’m paying for is that privilege. Know what I mean?

And for the record, as a jewelry BUYER… that IS my preference… to purchase one-of-a-kind jewelry.


The Seed Bead Progress

Well, Mon and I have our first two seed bead bracelets done. Except that Mon thinks one is dreadful. I’ll have to show the photo and see if others agree.

We don’t have much under our belt yet, so not worth hauling out the photo gear. I hope we have enough by tomorrow or Sunday.


Gabe’s D.C. Trip

Gabe texted me today.... they're in New York. I'm guessing they bussed there from DC, but I didn't ask him. Not sure what they're doing other than they just finished seeing the broadway play version of Mama Mia.

On Wednesday, his group got to ask congresswoman Barbara Lee some questions. He said that was neat.

They also went to Ford Theater (where Lincoln was shot) and saw a live version of "The Little Shop of Horrors".


New Listings

Forgot to show you the new listings for the week (click a photo for details)…










Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Manufacturing Upcycled Jewelry Components???, Beaded Beads, Must-See Cat Videos

Steampunk? Recycled?

Okay, I will spill my guts about something I’m not fond of. I’m ALL in favor of repurposed and upcycled art. But why are jewelry parts being CURRENTLY MANUFACTURED to imitate bits and pieces of things (like old watches, etc) so that someone can make a (fake) repurposed piece of jewelry?

I don’t want to seem snobbish, but there is something about this that bothers me.


This weekend’s project/s

I told Monica I wanted to do some polymer clay. She jumped right on that.

Polymer clay, though, is one of those things I’ll have to have a plan formulated prior to jumping in and creating.

So I’ve got two days to think about what I want to try. And since I have no skills… it’s got to be a fairly easy project. And yet, something that appeals to me. Hm… I’m not asking for much. :-)


Currently working on

So I mentioned the other day about that new technique Monica and I wanted to learn… tube netting, or something like that.

Anyway, here’s what it’s SUPPOSED to look like (btw, you can click on the photo to see the listing):



So last weekend, Monica worked diligently… (btw, we’re doing bracelets… no patience for the lovely, long necklaces). So what do we have at home now? Six Viagra-style bracelet components.



Monica weaves these SO tightly, they have zero bend in them. Eek! I’m sorry sweety, but dead straight doesn’t work on a bracelet. Sigh…

After much sadness, we both (simultaneously, I might add) came up with a brilliant solution. Monica is now making much smaller sections, calling them “beaded beads”, and we will use them as such in our bracelets. Yay! Can’t wait to show you a finished product.



In the mean time, here’s a pic of the one and only beaded bead made by me. I got the instructions during the last BABE show and sadly had time to work on it last November while Gabe was in the hospital.

I have no clue what to do with it and I seriously doubt it’s a technique I’ll ever use a lot (or even ever do again), but I like to learn everything I can. And this technique was on my list.



Well, time to get back to beading… TTYL!



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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Pity vs Compassion

WORDS

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. –Dalai Lama

Two words that seem different to me after seeing them from another perspective: Pity and Tolerance

It was in a book on Buddhism that I first learned that pity is an emotion that places you in a superior position, mentally, than those you feel pity for. So rather than feeling pity for anyone else, it would be preferable to feel compassion.

I’ve heard some say that compassion is a genuine concern for others while pity is concern for yourself (like, how to ease your own guilt by giving to others, or how to appease your own sense of obligation)… and that pity allows (even fosters) “feelings of superiority and contempt and thus of shaming and humiliating its recipients”.

If I’m not mistaken, Nietzsche touched on this in The Antichrist. “Pity stands in opposition to all the tonic passions that augment the energy of the feeling of aliveness: it is a depressant. A man loses power when he pities.” (Although I think Nietzsche was more opposed to pity in regards to his stance on natural selection.)

Anyway, it’s food for thought.

The other one is “tolerance”. I used to say I wanted to be more tolerant of others or I was working on tolerance, etc. But today I read something that made me look at that work in a different way.

The idea is that tolerance represents the fact that you still hate something that someone does, but you just don’t bitch about it. Whereas “allowing” means you be you and you let others be themselves.

Shrug… more food for thought.


MSG?

So, about 30 minutes after I had my dinner (top ramen), I start to get a migraine. Maybe I’ll make an effort to avoid MSG for awhile and see if that makes a difference.


Getting another week's worth started
Photographed the new pieces today. Meh. Not thrilled with my photos, but they’ll have to do.

I’m kind of getting into a flow/schedule kind of thing. Make jewelry when/where I can throughout the week, then shoot on the weekend and begin to list. Hopefully, most of the new stuff goes up Sun-Tues.

Coming up next I have four pendant necklace, one necklace of Iolite, three chunky Lampwork bracelets, and two pair of earrings.


AMNESTY

I heard a news story that kinda bugged me today. The police did a “sting” where they advertised an amnesty program for people who hadn’t been in contact with their parole officers. So these guys come forward and… are arrested.

I’m okay with the one where they make those fake “you just won $200!” and then bust the guys when they come to collect their prize winnings. But fake amnesty… I mean, what’s gonna happen now when they have a REAL amnesty program? No one will trust it’s real, they won’t risk being arrested instead, so they just stay out there.

Seems weird and short-sighted to me… but I’m sure there’s just something I’m not getting.


Well, back to photo-editing now…

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Seed Bead Tube Netting, New Jewelry Listings, My Thoughts on Elastic in Jewelry, Monica's Big News

Monica’s Big News

She won’t brag, but I will. Don’t recall if I mentioned in an earlier post, but she did her first select camp tryouts a couple months back and was selected as the top female goalie in California born in the year 1995. Yay!

This made her eligible for round two, this month in Seattle. She just got back and got word that she was selected as the top female goalie in the Pacific District (California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska) born in the year 1995. She now advances to the National Camp to be held in New York in July, I think.

Nice to know that Monica’s hard work and dedication combined with what I have been able to provide in the way of ice time (meaning money) and proper training (meaning money) has paid off.

I would love to be able to send her to a prep school or other hockey academy type thing for her Junior and Senior year. I think if anyone deserves it, it’s Monica. She’d have to get some major sponsorship, though… like, 100% of the cost. Ha ha ha! But you know me… the eternal optimist.

Anyway, congrats, kiddo! We all knew you could do it.


My (New) Thoughts on Elastic

So… elastic.

Okay, so many months ago I was at one of Hadar’s classes and … well, you have to see the place to fully understand, but she’s got her work everywhere. You can admire rings, necklaces, beads, etc until the cows come home. Any question you have, she has got some example of the technique in already finished form and whips it out to show you.

So at one point, she hands me a bracelet to look at. I’m sure it was one she made in the very early stages of her work with metal clay, but I’m always the last one to the table when it comes to any new techniques, so it was still all very new to me.

I was mesmerized by this bracelet… it was a mix of silver, copper, and bronze beads and then I realized they were strung on elastic.

“Whoa!” I said, “Aren’t you afraid to string such awesome beads (the bracelet was priced over $100) on elastic?”

I’m afraid I can only do a poor paraphrase of Hadar’s response because… well, that’ show my memory works, but it was an epiphany moment for me.

She said something to effect of it not making a difference because nothing is permanent. Things get restrung all the time and elastic is a great medium for certain pieces.

I had to admit, just being able to slip the bracelet onto my wrist without struggling with a clasp was really nice. But more importantly, without a clasp there was nothing breaking up the design of the beads.

I’m not going to go overboard and start making all my bracelets with elastic, but the moment did give me food for thought.

I definitely feel 49-strand stainless steel wire with two crimps (properly crimped, I might add!) at each end is something that’s going to last longer than elastic. But… I do like the idea of keeping an open mind and having a variety of products to offer.

So… I made an elastic bracelet. I’m testing it on myself this week and so far so good. I am going to offer a line of similar bracelets, probably starting next week. I just want to see how much the current one “stretches out” if any. So far I don’t think it’s stretching out much at all. Granted, I’m not wearing the bracelet when I shower and I don’t stretch it to all heck when I’m slipping it on. So I think how you treat it might have a lot to do with how long the elastic lasts.


NEW LISTINGS

Got some new designs up this week (click a pic for more details).












Seed Bead Tube Netting (or something like that)

Oh, Monica and I have started a new project. Well, I did it just to see if I could do it and to figure it out so I could show Monica. But she is taking it over. It’s making tube netting… or netted tubing… well, I’m not exactly sure what it’s called…. But it looks awesome.

Our friend got us excited about this technique when she showed us a necklace she’d done using it. I would LOVE to show you the necklace she made, but it doesn’t seem to be listed. Maybe she’ll give me permission to show you anyway. It’s AWESOME.

Anyway, I decided there’s no way I could learn this without a tutorial (I mean, I don’t know ANYTHING about seed beads to begin with), so I bought the instructions from the Bead and Button website.

Monica and I tried it last night and we were amazed to discover it looks like something we can do. Yay! We made the sections last night, but I haven’t tried the “finishing” part yet (meaning I don’t yet know how to connect the tubing to… well, anything else). And I think we (Monica and I) need to work on keeping our thread tighter… my “tube” is sort of… well… hm… it seems to mash up if I try curving it. Shrug. We’ll see. I’ll show you pix when I have them.

While I was looking for my beaded bead photo (next blog post), I came across something else… my daughter is WAY too sacrificing…




Sharks vs Blackhawks… hm… déjà vu…

This time I have to root for the Sharks, though.

Now, regarding Alex’s comment: “Holy Moly! The pieces with the embedded cz's...WANT!!! I don't see why you're having to do them over...they look fab to me!”

Ha ha ha! You didn’t notice that half the cz’s popped out during the drying phase? :-) I plan to try repairing and then you can have first dibs.

Okay, TTYL!


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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Planning out jewelry designs versus doing it on the fly

Things I learned last Sunday:

There is such a thing as making the ball on a ball headpin too big.



When fusing, there is a fine line between over-heating and under-heating and I haven’t found the line yet.

I want a torch that has a narrower point, yet puts out a good amount of heat… but only runs on map or similar gas and doesn’t have to be mixed with oxygen. Haven’t found such a thing yet.

Sometimes it’s good to draw your design ideas out on paper rather than discovering the expensive way that just “playing around” with 12 gauge fine silver, making a ball headpin then flattening it with a hammer can make it look rather phallic. Not the look I was going for.

Okay, I *think* I’m getting myself in order in regards to… what to do next.

I’ve been at a loss because I wasn’t organized. Doing “studio work” is much different from the past ten years when I did “bead work”.

With bead work, it was an intuitive process. I never had anything planned out… I just started making a piece and went with the flow of the design.

Liked most of the results…

2010


2009


2008


2007


2006



But that doesn’t work when I do studio work. BTW, when I say “studio work”, I refer to any combination of metalsmithing, forging, wire-wrapping, metal clays, polymer clays, enameling, etc. For those things, I apparently have to have a plan… and be organized (have the right tools and supplies).

It’s a new process for me… planning out a design ahead of time. I think I feel pressure because I know my end results rarely look much like my original plan, but so long as I don’t feel the need to have my creations come out precisely as I planned, I think I’ll still get a much better result having HAD the plan to begin with… maybe I should call it a “guide” rather than a plan. Shrug.

Anyway, I spent some time this week thinking, planning, and sketching.

Most of the projects are metal clay… which would be much easier if I could find the Ziploc back that had my tools in it… namely my long razor cutters and the rubber tip brush thingie.

But at least my ideas are sketched out so I can follow a plan rather than just winging it with stuff that costs $50 an ounce.



The other part of the plan is to try to learn actual “techniques” rather than just trying to figure out everything on my own. Like… if I’d have paid more attention when trying to embed the cz’s (in the photo above), I wouldn’t have to do it all over again now.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a great believer in one trying to figure things out. That’s how fabulous discoveries are made. But sometimes it’s beneficial to learn techniques from others who’ve gone before and perfected ways of doing things… to cut down on a waste of both time and materials.

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Monday, May 3, 2010

Lost TV Series Musings... and New Jewelry Listings

So here I am, about to spend another weekend trying to perfect my photo skills (yes, I started writing this on Saturday… sorry, I kept forgetting to post).

It’s not the equipment. My camera is a good camera. It’s me and my lack of skill (aka: knowledge, experience, etc.).

I didn’t come away with any new insight. Will have another go at it next weekend.

Sigh…

Here’s what I came up with. Click on any photo for listing details.








That last one is unisex. It’s been a LONG time since I made any man-jewelry.

BTW, I listed this vintage piece last week and forgot to show you. It’s from about the 30’s from Europe (most likely Germany).



Tonight I made a necklace (no photo yet) using some enamel pieces I made months ago. I rather like it. :-)



LOST TV SERIES

I posted this in LE tonight and got some info from LE’ers (posted after my blurb)…

So I'm listening to this lecture series on particle physics and one of the people mentioned as I walked to work today was Michael Faraday. I'm thinking, "This name sounds familiar".

Then it dawns on me... Faraday! There was a Faraday on LOST. And thinking about the fact that the character was a scientist in the series, I decided to look it up and see if there was a connection.

Sure enough, the writers did indeed name their character Faraday as a nod to the English physicist who lived from 1791-1867.

Faraday discovered benzene, but he's most famous for his work in the fields of electromagnetism and electrochemistry. I can't begin to tell you the important things he discovered/worked on. If you're interested, you should look him up.

I was struck by today's section of my lecture series because Michael Faraday is referred to as an experimentalist. I thought that was so funny and so appropriate to how many of us jewelry and bead artists are. I would easily refer to myself as an experimentalist way before referring to myself as an artist. :-)

Anyway, what the LE’ers filled me in on is the following: “There are a lot of oblique references like that on Lost.”

And… “If you ever watch the episodes online, the ones that say "enhanced" have tid-bits…”

Maybe I’ll go back and watch the seasons I missed (I think I stopped in season 4 or 5… it was getting too confusing for me).




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