Archive for November, 2010

Etsy Now!

Here they are! Click HERE for my shop, or the thumbnails below for each item.

grasshopper glitterful ball - click me

space-age clarety !bling! - click me

kelly glitterful ball - click me

rainy saturday rock candy !bling! pendant - click me

olive gold glitterful ball - click me

I guess we’ll see if you guys like the Glitterful Balls… if you do, I’ll make more in different colors! I just happened to have a butt ton of green sequins from Aunt Joane. I’m not sure why I got all the green ones, and I shudder to think of how many more she might have in different colors. It’s Aunt Joane, after all. She has at least one of everything.

BTW – the Chocolate Mint Midori is still available! If you’ve been eyeballing them, you’d oughtta grab them before the end of the week.

chocolate mint midori - click me

A special note about Thanksgiving holiday shipping: If you’re in the US, I will drop your package in the indoor wall drop at the PO to get it moving along, no matter what day. If you’re international, I will resume shipping on Friday. Why the indoor wall drop? Those dark blue stand alone USPS boxes make me nervous. Those things get robbed, blown away by hurricanes, and shot at by dumb-ass kids. Anyway… this is some good stuff! I think so, anyway. I hope you’ll agree.

If I don’t babble at you again before then, happy Turkey Day! We’ll be enjoying our HAM, thanks.


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Etsy later this evening!

I’ve been working on excellent listings all day… they won’t be up until later this evening, though. Everything is $66!

Stay tuned for the Official Etsy Post.

Back in a bit!

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Aunt Charlotte

I never tasted butterscotch without thinking of Aunt Charlotte

Charlotte was an odd woman. My earliest memories of her are of us walking to the library when I visited her, Grandma and Grandpa in Tulsa. We checked out the same book every visit, and I wish I could remember what it was. She smelled clean and soapy, and she wore sensible shoes. Her burgundy late-60’s Nash Rambler smelled just like the public library and was always full of overdue books. Charlotte, Grandma and I made Cook & Serve pudding – usually butterscotch – and us 3 night owls stayed up all night, listened to The Beatles, Pink Floyd and classical records, and they watched me dance and roll around in Grandma’s colorful scarf collection until I finally passed out. Charlotte sold Tupperware for a brief period in the 80’s, and she even had a company station wagon with faux wood panels on the exterior. I still have several of those weird Tupperware gadgets, and to this day, I have no idea what most of them are for. And they all remind me of Charlotte. When I was about 8 or 9, the three of them moved back to OKC, and that’s when Charlotte went to college at OCU and graduated with honors. She lived with her parents until she finally married at 57 years old, to a man she met – where else – at the library.

I can’t believe I’ll never hear her high, soft voice again, asking me slowly, clearly, intelligently “What are you doing?” She wasn’t just making conversation, she was truly interested. As uptight as you might imagine a virgin Catholic librarian to be, she was often quite tickled by off-color jokes and jabs, and made many priceless ones herself. She moved at 1/10 the speed the rest of us did, but still managed to get things done. And she was always very kind and gentle to me, and never gave me any crap about anything. For extra pocket money during my high school years, I helped her implement a bar code system at the Catholic elementary school library she worked at. She usually had chicken salad croissant sandwiches (with crisp dill pickles on the side), waiting for us in the faculty lounge fridge when we found ourselves ravenous from hours of sticker sticking and scanning. I recently asked her if she remembered where she got those sandwiches, and to my amazement, she had forgotten, too. Food and restaurants were not something Charlotte forgot about easily. It didn’t feel right to me that she didn’t remember – and it was not a good sign of things to come.

Last Friday, Mom and I took a short road trip to Robertson’s to get our Thanksgiving ham. We had been trying to figure out how to get Charlotte with us this Thursday – we would either bring her to us for a few hours, or find a way to get some Thanksgiving goodies to her in the hospital, if it would be allowed. Earlier this evening, Mom advised me that after the crazy day Charlotte had, it was best to let her rest tonight. So I planned to go Thanksgiving shopping at the grocery and take a bath this evening, and just go see Charlotte tomorrow. Things had been so up in the air with her recovery for the last week or so, so I stayed away, to let her rest and heal … but I thought about her constantly.

We had prepared ourselves for an unusual Thanksgiving this year – one without Charlotte around for the preparation and normal conversation was going to be very unusual, indeed. I was not prepared at all for her to just be gone, forever, where none of us could get to her or talk to her any more. Not yet. I knew that a call from Mom at 1:20am couldn’t be about anything good. The most wonderful, amusing people are permanent fixtures in your life, for your entire life and then suddenly… they’re not.

Dear Charlotte, if there is anything good at all in that Catholic Heaven of yours, they will let me send one last message to you. Thanks for letting us laugh with you and at you at the same time, the books, the cookies and pies, the snail’s pace and the stacks and stacks of paper. Thanks for letting me hang out in your room, wear your Liz Claiborne, and for making me bacon sandwiches for breakfast in 4th and 5th grade. Thanks for letting me eat mustard and ketchup sandwiches, drink Tang and read books all summer in your old, tattered, squeaky rocking chair. Thanks for the pointless piddling and dilly-dallying to the point of making everyone want to rip their own hair out. Your unique, sometimes infuriating Charlotte-ness never went by without just as much fondness. You will always be one of my few favorite people. I’ll never forget you and I’ll miss you terribly. So long.

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New stuff.

I couldn’t wait to show it off.

new stuff, November 19-22, 2010

Lookit me working that silver. Can you tell what’s inside the hollow beads?

Completely off subject, but I have to know. What is it about Wal-Mart that makes people want to shop for groceries in their pajamas? I kid you not, when I went after a carrot cake to satisfy a late-night craving, I saw 3 or 4 couples in their housepants and slippers. And it isn’t just at night when I see people in their pj’s, squeezing the tomatoes and  holding frozen dinners up to their ears, shaking them, hoping to hear what, I’m not sure. I see just as many of them at 3PM, clogging up the boxed pasta dinner aisle in their unflattering, unwashed hunter green and navy blue plaid housepants and fuzzy sky blue bunny slippers. Is it too big of a deal to put on some pants before leaving the house?

I’m weird, I guess. I don’t get the pajama thing because I’ve never worn pajamas or housepants. I have always slept in my clothes – jeans and a sweater? No problem-o.  This started because Mom had a hard time getting me to go to sleep at a decent hour, and in turn, wake up at a decent hour. Since you can’t make a person go to sleep, or dress one while they’re asleep and fighting you off in hopes of 5 more minutes, she decided to start dressing me with tomorrow’s clothes before bed. She would put my shoes on and tidy my hair in the morning (tidying my hair probably took longer than all of the other tasks combined) and drive me to pre-school in the industrial yellow Nash Metro.

Anyway. I avoid Wal-Mart if I can, but unfortunately, they are the only game in town if I need cocktail onions or Wardley goldfish flakes. And Mom is singlehandedly responsible for the availability of the cocktail onions. When the green onion thing happened several years ago (was it salmonella? I can’t remember), every grocer in our area quit buying cocktail onions. I suppose the Green Onion Scourge was a good enough excuse for these cheapskate grocers to save a little coin on the onion budget. Mom asked every single one of them start carrying them again, and literally, the only one that listened was Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market. They’re serious, too – they have kept the shelf stocked with them. After I bought the last jar several months ago, there were more to be had the next time I went. In addition, their bakery is remarkably good for a grocery store bakery. They make the best store-bought carrot cake I’ve ever had in my face, and their plain cheesecake and raspberry danish isn’t too shabby, either. I do the majority of my grocery shopping elsewhere, where pajamas just so happen to be the exception rather than the rule… even after midnight. So I guess the onions and the bakery at Wal-Mart are worth the occasional-but-compulsory eyeful of Winnie-the-Pooh yawning in a long night cap print on the bottom, with a brown leather bomber jacket on top. Too bad you can’t UNsee stuff.

Look for the new thingees on Etsy some time this week!

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It’s unseasonably warm out…

…but I’ve mostly stayed in, with the windows open, and my bench is teeming with new projects and ideas. Mom revealed that she has Secret Scissors – a vintage Wiss pair that is likely to be even larger than my new 12 inch pair. She promised a glimpse, and that they’ll be stashed again, where no one will use them to cut paper, wood or cardboard.

So, I got some more hammers… big ones this time. I think I’m good on hammers for now. I have a couple with a warning permanently imprinted on the handle, but every other hammer I’ve bought so far (that didn’t come in a box) had a sticker stuck to the handle. The sticker instructs, “Please wear safety goggles” and other carefully worded warnings to discourage accidental self mutilation or litigious bottom feeders from exploiting any loophole they could possibly find therein. I guess I should appreciate this as a heroic gesture to save me from my own stupidity… but trying to get the sticker off (and the sticky stuff left behind) is enough to make me want to hit myself in the head with it, and without the use of safety goggles. Dad told me to try WD-40 – and it does work. I spray a little bit on a paper towel and rub it on the handle and the sticky comes right off.

I really don’t like sticky. My step-sister often teases me about something I did when I was about 4 or 5 years old. Our parents had just started dating, and she volunteered to babysit me for an evening. She must have made me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and I suddenly began crying hysterically for apparently no reason. In between the chokes and sobs, she finally got me to tell her: “I HAVE STICKY ON ME!!!!” Then there was that other moment of hysteria when there was a strand of hair in the bathtub with me. To this day, I still don’t like sticky and I like hair in the bathtub with me even less. However, I don’t cry hysterically – I got over that a couple of years ago. Ha-ha.

So, hey, keep your eyes out for new stuff… gonna go tap around for a while.

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

cherry limeade !BLING! barrel - click me

leaf turn 2010 - click me

camp relish spiky sprocket (with a silver core) - click me

I’ve been on a !BLING! marathon, completing orders, taking cats to and from the vet, finding supplies, dealing with personal stuff and spending less time at the computer, in general. And here comes The Holidays. The only good thing I can muster up about The Holidays is that my family doesn’t feel the need to go broke every Christmas, since most of us are already broke anyway. No worries about being elbowed, trampled, mugged or in a slugging match over the last toaster oven or $6 Star Wars figurine. I suppose I’d better stock up on toilet paper and groceries NOW. Sometimes I wish I was a turtle. No one would be mad at the turtle for sleeping through The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.

OH, I almost forgot – the Chocolate Mint Midori is still available…

chocolate mint midori - click me

See you guys later! I’m gonna go make some spaghetti.

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Keep the girly stuff, I wants me some tools.

Dad and I went tool shopping yesterday. We Love Steve’s Wholesale Tools… We drive all the way across town and stay for at least an hour every time, muttering at each other and contemplating the meaning of yellow rubber non-flat wheels and every type of drill bit on the planet. Steve’s is sort of like Harbor Freight, but remarkably better. (They’re a local business, so don’t go running to get the phone book if you’re not in OK.) They have tools from high quality brand names, smaller American manufacturers, Pakistan stainless, and the occasional China cheap-o. The aisles overflow with just about every tool imaginable, and even the brand name items are affordably priced. The thing about Steve’s is that we never know what we’re going to find, and it might not be there next time, so we’d better get it if we like it, whether we have a use for it or not. I went there looking for a slightly heavier chasing hammer than the one I have, because I know I’ve seen them there before – but not this time. So goes it at Steve’s. I did find a 16oz brass hammer, which I’ve been searching for locally for weeks.

behold our magnificence! we're 12 inches long.

Above is my favorite Steve’s score from yesterday – the biggest freaking pair of stainless steel scissors I’ve ever seen. I’ve wanted a pair of stainless scissors for ages, but I’ve never been at the right place at the right time for them to come into my life. When I saw these, I was skeptical, of course. I got them out of their plastic sleeve and scissor’ed them and inspected them closely. They had a nice sound, but the non cutting edges were slightly bowed between the fulcrum and the tip. That concerned me, so I showed Dad. He then demonstrated the cutting edges touching all the way from open to closed, and gave them his nod of approval. But here’s the crazy thing. You’d be pressed to find a pair of (quality) stainless scissors half this size for less than $30, and these were priced at about $8. They are made in Pakistan, and I’ve always been very happy with my stainless hemos and smaller scissors marked Pakistan. These are good for leather, heavy upholstery material or naugahyde. I haven’t used naugahyde in years, but I remember going through a phase in my late teens when I made wrist cuffs and collars from sparkly red naugahyde I found in the garage. (That was definitely from a Bruce [step/other dad] project.) And around that same time, I managed to accumulate a little bit of leather and a whole lot of snaps, studs, buckles and spikes while dating a Tandy employee. NO, we didn’t steal it – he used his employee discount.

I also got some Dremel drill bits, scouring pads, chisels and some HUGE hemostats. (The next order of business is finding a HUGE pair of tweezers. I have a 12″ pair from the glass supplier, but my boss at the dental lab had some that were even larger, if I remember correctly. He corrected me with “tongs” when I called them tweezers. I didn’t care, I still called them tweezers, and teased that he must have a serious nose garden. I’m not sure if he ever appreciated how funny that was.)

Dad and I made this pegboard a couple of weeks ago. I haven’t decided on what color to paint it yet, but I’m leaning towards glossy acid green or medium lavender. All I know is that I can’t deal with this brown forever. He has one about this size in his shop, it’s loaded with hammers, pliers, scissors, you name it – if it can hang from a hook, it’s there. We’ve been hemming and hawing about making a small pegboard for years, mainly for bead strands and jewelry projects in the works. I finally decided that I absolutely had to have one when I found myself constantly digging for the right hammer in my catch drawer. This board is much bigger than I had originally planned, but it’s just the right size. It has freed up a good bit of space on my bench, too. I have the hammers and other tools I use most at the bottom of the board, within close reach. I already have more hammers and shears on the way. It’s too empty for my liking, and it’s not like you can have too many hammers…

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Follow up on that black sooty stuff I hate.

It happened, so I thought I’d show you what I mean. The pictures are awful, sorry. I had to have direct light to show the black sooty stuff, and this camera doesn’t like old fashioned lightbulbs nearly as much as I do. (I loathe CFL’s – here’s a link to a series of interesting articles.)

Anyway, back to the black sooty stuff.

Here it is.

see the grey sheen around the hole? I HATE THAT.

Here’s what I did.

Inland polishing powder, grobet felt ring polishing mandrel, sooty bead

The trick, however, is in the consistency of the polishing media. If it’s drippy or makes bubbles, it’s too thin. If moist chunks fall off, it’s too thick. Either way, it won’t do its thing. You should go for a consistency similar to toothpaste. It isn’t going to be globby or sticky like toothpaste, but it’s going to spread on in a dry-ish, thin, micro-gritty layer similar to the way toothpaste would. Make sense? But it will require some scrubbing, so get your elbows into it. I really like this felt ring polishing mandrel because the felt is nice and grabby, I can really get a hold of the wooden end and scrub the bead, and get down into the hole puckers.


all shiny now (except for the pock marks in the effetre black)

This bead is my birthday present to myself. I’m going to bling it and turn it into a pendant with silver. I haven’t decided on the design quite yet, but I’m excited at the prospect of finally having some black and purple jewelry.

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And a little earlier than usual today.

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

chocolate mint midori - click me

cherry limeade simple hana - click me

true blue mango-melon - click me

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One time I came across a piece of jewelry on Etsy made with encased raku frit lentils, and the lentils were advertised as my doing. Not that I have anything against encased raku frit lentils, but I’ve never made one in my life, and most certainly not THOSE encased raku frit lentils, because it never would have occurred to me to make them. I contacted the seller of the bracelet and she told me the person she bought them from said that I made them and she apologized for the misidentification.  There very well could be another person named sarah moran or z-beads making and selling glass beads, or it could be that someone somewhere along the line of ownership got confused.

This sort of thing just happens with beads. People decide to sell off their bead collections all the time, and have been known to forget or lose track of what they bought from who, or associate certain designs with certain artists. Let’s not yell at them. Usually, it’s just an honest mistake, but in rare instances, the seller might be trying to attract a higher price by deliberately deceiving potential buyers. We all know that’s wrong.

But I’m here to help! If you’re browsing Ebay or Etsy and see (what appears to be) beads I made, being sold by someone other than myself, feel free to email me with a link. I’ll be happy to verify their authenticity for you. This might be a very good idea if the price tag is on the higher end. 

Happy browsing!

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