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air from the north

Yes, I’m still alive! More alive during the summer than I can remember ever being! There’s no feeling on earth like a cold front in the middle of July. When it arrives, the air smells and even sounds different than it did moments earlier. We’re already three days into this cold front and we still have more lovely ahead of us. Can you believe it? 69 degrees for the high in the middle of July in Oklahoma!?

7 day forecast from koco.com

7 day forecast from koco.com

My current obsession is perfume. I’ve always loved it, but I’ve just begun to get a bit more serious than “I like this” or “I don’t like this.” The other night, I was revisiting my late teens with Paloma Picasso, multitasking on beads, tidying up, and sweating like a sauna rock in the kitchen over a vat of pasta destined for my first stab at Pioneer Woman’s Best Macaroni Salad Ever. Then I returned to the bead cave and parked myself behind the triple mix and I literally heard the cold front arrive. It was so alarming I paused Jennifer Horton/Devereaux/Horton/Blake/Horton/Devereaux/Horton mid stunned cringey gasp (Days Of Our Lives) for a better listen to whatever was happening outside the window. It was nothing but a significant pressure change, and seconds later my new metal bottle of denatured alcohol popped and announced the arrival of the long awaited cold front.

At that very same moment, Paloma became slightly more appealing. It is a fragrance best worn – and more likely to be appreciated - in cooler weather. Strange how that happened so instantly once the air cooled. Maybe it’s purely psychological or maybe there’s something to it. Paloma Picasso, in case you don’t know it, is a cacophonous fragrance released roundabout 1984. Where I attended catholic elementary school (which would have been around the same time period as Paloma’s release, incidentally) the outdoor boys bathroom was legendary. The girls always tried to peek in when the door swung open and a grubby member of the opposite sex emerged, but as far as I knew, no girl had ever set foot inside. All I ever caught a glimpse of was dark dankness and a yellowed wall revealed by a dim bare light bulb. The rumor was that there weren’t even toilets in there any more; the nuns had simply given up on training them to aim, and the charming little lads were allowed to pee on the walls. It certainly smelled that way each time the stench wafted out the door. The point is, Paloma’s first spritz summons to mind those miserable days on the playground where I spent cold and lonely hours in my green plaid uniform, sometimes finding shelter from the north wind in that nook outside the boys’ bathroom door while I waited for my mother to fetch me after work. Woe was me.

Paloma Picasso

Paloma Picasso

But after a few minutes, Paloma cleans up that cesspool with a burst of bar soap and freshly potted plants – and she does it all in her black wool suit and 5 inch heels and tomato red lipstick, her board straight Cleopatra hairdo sweeping across her shoulders with each movement. I’m not sure why I imagine her this way, I have no idea what Paloma Picasso looks like (I think I may be imagining a younger Angelica Huston), and I’d almost prefer to keep it that way. I have a complicated relationship with this fragrance, as I do with most fragrances that have been in my life for this long. During my teens, Paloma was in fairly permanent rotation amongst other screamers such as Opium, Aromatics Elixir, Chanel’s Coco, Krizia’s Teatro Alla Scala, and Karl Lagerfeld’s KL. On one unforgettable evening during the fall after I graduated high school, I wore (what I thought for years afterwards was) Aromatics Elixir. But after trying repeatedly over the years to recapture that scent memory with my last few drops of Aromatics, I gave Paloma Picasso a sniff at Macy’s several months ago and thought “hmmm… it could have been Paloma” and after spraying the tester into the crook of my arm it was confirmed. They’re similar, but very different in a few distinct ways – and it’s been Paloma all along and I’ve been wasting my precious (pre-IFRA* nonsense) bottle of Aromatics in vain hope of recapturing what turned out to be a false scent memory. Woe once more.

Perfume is so different now. Few of them still have that same character, that lengthy evolution from first loud awful spritz to whimsical and long-lasting dry down. The truth is, most modern (and accessible) fragrance isn’t as much about fragrance as it is about marketing. Many people assume that their long-time fragrances are simply gone forever when they can no longer find them at the department store. Sometimes that’s the case, but most can be found online or in independently owned local shops. Unless they’re adventurous, many of today’s young women will never experience a bold, complex love-and-or-hate fragrance of Paloma Picasso’s ilk because they’re not marketed to younger women. I’ve experienced this myself. The overwrought department store employee recommends the newest celebrity fragrance dripping in sterilized rose and gooey candy because that’s what’s for sale and you look like you’re about 25. Even if you’re on the home stretch to 60, you might be asked “aren’t you a little young for that?” when you request a tester of Opium or Paloma Picasso… if they even have a clue what you’re talking about. One must ask because they’re generally behind the counter to make way for the trendy jasmelon spritzes that stay that way start to finish, and fade within two hours. Sometimes that quick fade is a very good thing.

Considering my description, I do love Paloma Picasso, although this is a fragrance that should be allowed to calm the hell down before you go near other people. I found that the dry-down is very similar to one of my favorite stick incenses, HEM’s Patchouli. Sometimes I spritz a teensy bit of Les Orientaux Patchouli (a nifty single-note affair meant for layering, produced by the French perfumer Molinard) and Paloma will be tame enough to wear much sooner. Or if I want it to stay true, I often smear a bit of lotion over it to help spread it out a bit.

*IFRA – International Fragrance Association - We are why your favorite fragrances have seen significant reformulations over the years and are merely a shadow of what they once were. We serve only the whiny people who hate patchouli and are allergic to their own skin and the litigious windbags who seek to line their pocketbooks with the dollars of said whiny people. JOIN US OR DIE. (Seriously, though – have a look at this website if you’re at all curious about perfume. You’d probably need to be a lawyer and a chemist to understand most of it, but its an interesting read all the same.)

Anyway, I’m still working on boro beads and I’ll have another update for you very soon. It’s looking like there will be many, many boro beads. We shall see. Thanks for reading!

 

 

we'll be at the superstars sale tomorrow. click us to get there!

we’ll be at the superstars sale tomorrow. click us to get there!

We could also call it the I’m Mad At Etsy sale. Etsy could have warned me that they were going to steal my banner, hide my shipping prices, make my favorites public for who knows how many days and just generically cheeze me off dang near permanently. Actually, I did have some warning about the cheezing me off thing before I signed up, that militantly warm and fuzzy schtick should have been the big tip-off. They send me an email for everything else that doesn’t matter one bit, so why couldn’t they have told me about their silly tests? Whatever, it took me a while, but I finally figured out that Etsy’s moustache-on-a-stick mascot is a charming metaphor for the figurative dirty sanchez they surprise sellers with every so often “because they love us.”

OMG, I did NOT just say that! But I did!!! Did you miss me?

The Superstars sale begins at 8PM Central Time tomorrow, Thursday, June 26th on the Superstars page on my website. The sale preview begins at 7:30PM Central Time, and that’s when you can look and decide what you want before you send your request in at 8PM. I hope to see you there!

stumpy

stumpy

In other news, my hunny took me on a quick lightning bug hunt and instead of lightning bugs we found a pile of tree stumps. He said “look! tree stumps!” He knew I’ve been wanting one. It was dark and the stump was heavy and we didn’t notice it had a patch of rot on it until we got it home. You might be wondering what I’d want with a tree stump. These are great for the kind of metalsmithing that requires a lot of banging, like forging and disk cutting. This one appears to be the perfect height. I think it might have bugs. We’re going to set it out in the sun for a while and treat it with something before we bring it inside.

Speaking of crap on our front porch, we figured out what’s been eating Nelson. Or maybe what Nelson hasn’t been eating that’s driven him to eat a spatula and plastic flowers and paper towels. We let him out onto the porch to eat a june bug one evening because he was going to come unglued if we didn’t. Small pleasures for small creatures. He enjoyed it so much we let him go again the next night. We thought it was cute (gross, but cute) and june bugs aren’t good for anything but being eaten anyhow. We saw a remarkable improvement in his mood and attitude during the short-lived june bug season. Of course now that it’s June and the junebugs are gone, Nelson is back to hunting down paper plates with pizza grease stains on them and “killing” them on the rag rug in front of the kitchen sink. Look how cute he is, though. And he gets sweeter every month. It’s hard to stay mad at something that looks like this and holds so still for the camera and kissus on his face and nose.

 

nelson

If you want your bubble wrap and customs forms, you must get by me first. I dare you not to get distracted by my whisker dots.

 

Oh, and I found this guy (Griffin) at the thrift store a little while back. I told myself I was getting it just for the frame, but who was I kidding? Mr. Sarah concurred that Griffin was one of the best thrift store scores we’ve had in a while. I didn’t buy him and then the more I thought about him I decided that I had to go back to that store and get him.

griffin

griffin

Anyway, those are just a couple of highlights, the rest has just been made to orders, metalsmithing and gravy. At my house, we all know Sarah’s been busy at the silver bench if there’s glitter in the toilet and we hear cursing through clenched teeth in the bead cave.

See you guys at the sale! Or whenever!

 

ETSY!

Many, many apologies for being a total booger. I’ve told you guys before that I fell out of my mom butt first and two weeks late, and it pretty much set the tone for all that came after. I dilly-dallied too long and had cat conundrums and now I’m finally ready. So.

Click HERE for my etsy shop, or the thumbnails below for each item.

 

Star Signs Necklace:

starsignnecklaceetsygal

Fresh Linens Chunky Bracelet:

freshlinensbraceletetsygal

Mod Dot Ring:

moddotringetsygal

Fresh Cut:

freshcutetsygal

You are correct, the boro beads you might have noticed in the photo in my previous post are conspicuously absent. A kind soul saved me the trouble (and Etsy fees) and claimed them. Thank you!

Okay, now I’ve been at this way too long, as usual… at this very late hour I still have things to do. Thanks SO much for your patience and patronage!

 

I worked at a dental lab. On my first day of work the German delivery lady took one look at me and inquired “Are you one of those?” I simply responded by asking “One of those whats?” After it was obvious to everyone that I was not offended, they all died laughing, but Helga and I were both a little confused by everyone else’s reaction. I assumed since English was not her first language, and smiling and pretending wasn’t mine, we chocked it up to an exchange of curiosities that were left hanging because neither of us had a definitive answer.  We got along famously from then on.

Why am I telling you this? I don’t know. And I still don’t know what I am. I just remembered it the other night and had a nostalgic giggle. Not so much when I tried on Dior’s Poison at the mall last weekend. I couldn’t remember why I got rid of my bottle so many years ago, but it all came back to me after it sat in the crook of my elbow for a few minutes. That wasn’t funny at all.

Anyway, tonight, I’m one of “those” who works on a Friday night. I’m getting Etsy listings together right now. Here’s a peek at what’s to come in a few hours:

week of may 12 - 16

week of may 12 – 16

 

And this will be it for Etsy for a while. It was my first time at Half Price Books a couple of weekends ago and I got a relatively tall stack of inky papery inspiration. There’s nothing like a new book full of glossy colorful photos, and every time I look I see something different. You know why I like books, REAL books? One fluff of the blanket isn’t a $300 accident waiting to happen and your paperback isn’t going to run out of battery when you have three more hours ahead of you in the waiting room. I think e-books and devices are overrated. But so am I.

books

Point is, just as I absorbed some new ideas for designs and colorways I received a tremendous order that I’ll be working on for the remainder of this month. Next month may consist of a boro binge and some metal if I can fit it in.

I’ll be right back, thanks for looking.

ETSY!

Here they are!
Go HERE if you want to visit my shop, or click the thumbnails below for each item.

Birthday Cake:

birthdaycakeetsygal

Red Leaves:

redleafetsygal

Electric Watermelon:

electricwatermelonetsygal

Pastel Hana:

pastelhanaetsygal

Okay! I’ve been messing with the computer for two days straight. I’m ready to retire to the bead cave and pack up some beads. Thanks for checking in, I hope you enjoy the beads!

Coming right up…

Well, my right up is generally a few to several hours from whenever I say so.

Here’s your sneak peek to help you decide if they’re worth hanging around for:

week of april 28th

week of april 28th

I’ll say these are experimental. It looks like I had a short attention span this week, what with three sets of 5.
Be right back…

 

I’ve been busy. Sometimes I feel a little overwhelmed. The last time I told my husband I felt like I was responsible for everything he said, “You should learn how to meditate and quiet those judgmental voices in your head.”

I replied, “But I need those! Without them, I’d be laying on the futon, eating potato chips all day.”

And look at what I got done! A rather large made-to-order…

goodness gracious

goodness gracious

 

And another order:

wasabinovember

I haven’t had an order for Wasabi Jewels in years!

——————————

spatula a'la nelson

a’la nelson

In other news, Nelson ate a spatula. He didn’t just put his fang on it and bunny kick it a couple of times, he literally consumed the plastic and proceeded to ralph it up on top of the dryer an hour or two later. When I found what was left of my favorite spatula on the kitchen floor, I saw red. I wanted to murderize that cat. Instead, Mr. Sarah and I agreed that he needed to live outside from then on. We’d still feed him and visit him, he just couldn’t come back inside, ever. That lasted about a week. The combination of his shivery meep-peeps outside the window and an angry looking dog on the loose are what did us in. It only took him a day or two to return to eating wet paper towels.

It’s pica, not underfeeding, for any of you who may be tempted to instruct me to give him more food. We’ve tried to pin down what causes him anxiety but we haven’t been able to find any rhyme or reason in it. Once we hide something he has consumed before, he surprises us by eating something even more outrageous. He certainly outdid himself with the spatula. Poor little bugger, he has absolutely no sense of propriety. It’s not his fault he was taken from his mother much too early. He’s very bonded to us, but has refused to learn from the other cats how to be civilized. I’m tempted to sic Jackson Galaxy on his stripey ass. I can’t get rid of him because I love him, but I also kind of hate him. I liken it to being the parent of a teenager. Although I wouldn’t be so hesitant to murderize a teenager… haha.

——————————–

hey America, who's up for a game of screwball?

another laughable encounter

By no means am I a USPS watchdog, but I do my best to follow the rules and meet the mailing guidelines no matter how silly I think they are. Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for the USPS and what it gets done every day. I have not once had any problems with domestic mail, but when it comes to international shipping… well, let’s just say I’ve been served more than my share of piping hot screwball more times than I can count. If I didn’t know any better, I might think they don’t want us to mail anything outside of the US. Yes, that was sarcasm you detected.

Here’s the latest:

I went to the post office a few weeks ago, expecting nothing unusual. Normally I go to the one closer to my house, but they close at 5pm. I was sleeping until about 3 or 4 around that time, and the office downtown doesn’t close until 7, so I peeled myself out of bed and hurriedly packed up a large international order. I got there right at 6:30, where I overheard the clerk telling the lady in front of me that all customs form information must be logged into the system before 30 minutes until closing time. Or, get this – the US Customs authorities will fine that office $250,000.

That’s right. And the first I heard of it. For just a few seconds, I was marveling so hard at how little sense that made that I forgot to be miffed off for rushing around and wasting gasoline only to be told something ridiculous enough to melt my brain a little. Once I got back to my car, I remembered to be really, really annoyed.

But I didn’t complain. The next day, I got up even earlier, ready to be a compliant little robot. I was able to get to my usual post office at about 3:45. Let me paint you a picture: Friday afternoon, ONE clerk, TWENTY people lined up out the door, ONE lady who apparently didn’t know you had to put stamps on things to mail them, even if you were mailing a HUNDRED things. (She was totally rockin’ that Bridezilla At The Post Office For The First Time Ever In Her Life look.)  There was another clerk who was obviously not allowed to work the register, who stood there and asked every now and again if anyone just had something to drop off or pick up. After waiting in line until about 4:15, with several people still waiting in front of me, I held up my customs form and asked the non-money-handling clerk if the $250,000 rumor was true. She became visibly concerned and interrupted the only working clerk with the same question. That clerk just looked exasperated, and said “yeah, if the info isn’t entered into the system 30 minutes before closing, the government will fine us $250,000. The US customs authorities are really picky.” He didn’t seem nearly as worried about it as the clerk from the day before. And I could tell he kind of wanted to use a different descriptor than “picky.”

Hmmm. So how does the US government fine itself $250,000 for anything, and believe that threat would be real enough for one solitary overworked postal clerk to take seriously? I wasn’t about to start a politically charged debate over simple logic when this poor guy was obviously slammed and had no hope for leaving on time. But I could sense that anyone who had been paying attention to this conversation was just as flabbergasted as I was.

The moral of this story is, if you have the same challenges I do with paying for international postage online (ie, led in e-circles with no way out and finally being instructed to go to the post office and take care of it there) get there WAY before closing time. Plus, I like to think that these particular difficulties that only I seem to experience keeps postal clerks employed.

—————–

I’m working on a set or two for Etsy listings next week, but plan to get back to Superstars sometime in the not too distant future. Now that I can work at the computer without needing a cup of Raspberry Restart or Crashytime Chamomile every few hours, I hope to have a bit more patience for staring at the twilight screen for extended jaunts.

Thanks for reading!

 

ETSY!

Click HERE to get to my shop, or the thumbnails below for each item.

Flower Shop Chunky Bracelet:

flowershopchunkyetsygal

Fresh Linens in Blue:

freshlinensblueetsygal

Fresh Linens in Yellow:

freshlinensyellowetsygal

Venetian Obsession Ring in Copper Green:

venetianobsessionmeditetsygal

Spring Wedding !BLING!

springweddingetsygal

Now, I gotta go make beads until I fall over. And them pack up some other ones a bit later, or tomorrow. I’m behind on a big order, the extremely hot and sweaty Sunday was followed by a bitterly cold and windy Monday and neither day was particularly suitable for work.

Thanks for having a look!

 

Looks like I’m a bit behind on those Etsy listings. But I’m working on them right now, I swear! They’ll be live in just a few hours.

Sneak peek:

this week's etsy stuff

this week’s etsy stuff

Thanks for checking in, I’ll be right back!

 

Hither and yon

what I've been doing the last couple of weeks

what I’ve been doing the last couple of weeks

 

I have been ecstatically busy with just about everything, and I want to show you what I have been working on. I made !BLING! beads, regular beads, rings, spikes and bells. I made all of the silver pieces in less than 7 days – 3 spikes, 3 rings, 3 little bells and one ring guard, plus some other jump rings and sundries not shown here. Mr. Sarah commented on how quickly I made all of these, and that not too long ago it would have taken me just as long to make any two of the silver pieces you see here.

I’ll tell you my secret. Instead of worrying about every little scratch or dent any more, I just file down the rough stuff with hand files and/or file bits with the foredom, then emery 1, then emery 3/0, then Tripoli on a felt buff, and then red rouge on a felt buff. (This is from Robert Von Neumann’s “Design and Creation of Jewelry” – great book.) I had read this dozens of times, but I finally figured out that it really does help to go all different directions when sanding with emery or sandpaper. I didn’t always bother with the polishing compounds, but those truly help with small scratches. The only thing I don’t like about the compounds is the mirror finish – it is just too bright and overwhelms the color, so I always blacken it and scratch it up again.

The Spikes:

spikes, l-r: lava, amethyst, lapis

spikes, l-r: lava, amethyst, lapis

I am planning tentatively to make necklaces from these. Or I may just get overwhelmed by the thought of that and put them on etsy. We’ll see what happens.

Alternate views of the amethyst spike:

amethystspike

amethyst spike

 

amethyst spike

amethyst spike

The lava spike:

lava spike

lava spike

lava spike

lava spike

The lapis spike:

lapis spike

lapis spike

lapisspike4

lapis spike

These are the best bejeweled spikes I’ve made so far. I love the cabochon on the Lava spike. It’s a little vintage thingee that varies between deep maple and yellow amber, and I’m quite impressed with my setting around such a rock candy-like texture. I was sure it would turn out bumpy or crooked.

Next, the rings:

rings

rings

rings

rings

 

The Green Geodesic with Secret Glitter:

green geodesic with secret glitter

green geodesic with secret glitter

greengeodesic2

green geodesic with secret glitter

 

This is actually a bead – it’s one of those two hole high dome things with hollow space inside. I found this in one of April Melody’s random single bead baskets. I knew it would be perfect for secret glitter on the inside, and I adore this shade of vintage green. Instead of throwing a sizeable wad of cash at good quality resin, I just used some epoxy and my favorite chartreuse glitter that Dad bought me when I was about 10 years old. I also love this bead because it reminds me of the Oklahoma City Gold Dome. Making this ring was a huge pain in my life for several hours. It was my first attempt at an open-back setting, and I had some major issues with the sizing. I finally got it right, but I hope my next attempt will go a bit more smoothly.

Venetian Obsession ring in copper teal:

venetian obsession: copper teal

venetian obsession: copper teal

I’m going to call these rings Venetian Obsession. Many years ago, I saw some rings made from simple sterling settings and venetian glass foil cabochons at the downtown art festival. I had actually been seeing them many years in a row and I was determined to buy one the following year. When I got there that same seller was there, but the rings weren’t quite as wonderful as I had remembered. So I passed, but swore that some day I would make my own foil cabochons and sterling jewelry. And here’s the second one in the series, in this delightful copper green (and it’s a bit more green to my eye than it is on my monitor – it’s somewhere between teal and capri.) I can be talked into parting with this one before I put it on etsy – it’s a size 6 and I’ll be asking $110. It’s way better in person, the foil glitz is more subtle and glowy, and its size is impressive, but not too big - the entire setting measures about 3/4 of an inch.

venetian obsession: copper teal

venetian obsession: copper teal

Now for the main reason I put some days aside to work on jewelry – another honker for my stylist (it measures 1 1/4 inches from tip to bottom):

huge moonstone drop

huge moonstone drop

 

huge moonstone drop

huge moonstone drop

 

OH, and these bells (reserved for my necklace designs, which you may see soon):

little bells

little bells

Plus some beads, yawn:

just kidding, actually, I really like these

just kidding, I really like these

The constant blue screens on my computer got really old, so Mr. Sarah replaced my C drive and reinstalled Windows 7 on my computer. We had the most awesomest Hitachi c drive for 8 years, and it was still functioning when we replaced it. Any piece of hardware working for 8 years is practically unheard of – in my experience, 3 years is the maximum life expectancy of any thing inside or outside of the tower. But that Hitachi worked like a champ until it got tired, and then it continued to work at about 80% for the last couple of years. It didn’t crash, my stuff didn’t go blank – the only obvious issue was the constant random blue screens, and that could have been attributed to just about anything. And I’ll bet if we had to, we could use that old Hitachi in an emergency.

One unexpected bonus I got from the new c drive and updating my various doohickeys: my photos look better than they have in years. I really thought my 15 year old 4.1 megapixel Olympus was getting old and tired too, and I never would have thought my photos could be improved by anything but a new camera. My love for taking photos has been restored. Ok, who am I kidding, I still hate taking photos but they seem to be turning out better and requiring considerably less photoshop fuss, and that makes me pretty glad.

—————-

So, this means Etsy listings some time this week, and I’ll post here… I have orders that will keep me busy for a better part of the month (YAY!) so I may be a bit scarce here, but if you have a hankering for something, you know where to find me!

Thanks for reading!

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