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Archive for December, 2010

ETSY!

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

blingy thingy - click me

kitschen toggles + tabs - click me

grrl on the street - click me

sweet potato bling pendant - click me

Wow, that was hard work. It’s amazing how difficult the simplest tasks can be when you’re sick. I have such fabulous New Year’s Eve plans: I’m going to go soak in the tub with epsom salts and Vicks.  Truth is, I would have stayed home anyway, sick or not. I’d rather not be run over by the drunks. Those of you preparing to go out on the town, stay safe and enjoy your evening!

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Heads up!

I’ve been working all week. That’s why I’ve been so quiet. Now, I’m working on putting ETSY listings together, and they will be listed this evening. Hooray! Here’s a quick peek at my favorite:

coming up on Etsy later this evening

But it will take me a little while because I’m officially SICK. Boo-hoo. Mr. Sarah got it first, and now I have it. Sometimes you just can’t avoid catching the hottest new virus going around. This one is odd. I have no clue what it is. All we know is that I’m achy, stiff, hot and cold one moment to the next, and have an irritated windpipe and awful headache. If I succumb to the urge to cough, it doesn’t stop, so I’m trying not to. I keep getting the stares, losing track of what I’m thinking, doing or saying. But one good thing – no sore throat or soft palate! That’s what I hate most, and usually what I end up with when I’m sick, and I’m so grateful for its absence. Thank goodness I worked my fool-ass off all week. And if you buy my beads this week, worry not – I will wash my hands as for as long as it takes me to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and I’ll wear a bandanna over my face while I pack them up. Seriously. It will surely be a Monk moment in time, in hopes of sparing you this nastiness… as unlikely as it is for me to transfer it to you via the USPS.

I don’t read novels often because I get so into reading that I don’t do anything else. This time, I decided to read something fancy: Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I saw this incredibly cheesy and far fetched movie called Jane Austen Book Club or some such, and my curiousity about Jane Austen was aroused. I decided to give it a try since it happened to be on the bookshelf. I’m about 80 pages into Pride and Prejudice, and so far, all I can impart is that these characters didn’t have a whole lot to do but sit around and split hairs, go on the hunt for rich eligible husband material, pester and gossip about each other, and the aforementioned rich eligible husband materials were often going away on vague sorts of business and disappointing the young women of Whatevershire when they didn’t show at the ball.

As tempting as it may be, I won’t start saying things like “I implore you, Mr. Sarah, do not eat all of the orange gummy bears as it will vex me to the fullest,– and if you were to eat all of the yellow gummy bears, I would indeed find you conceited and full of pride, besides, you were of the knowledge I find the orange and yellow gummy bears handsomer than all others.” I get pretty wordy sometimes, myself, but I find myself waiting for the author to get to the freaking point. And it’s often hard to figure out who is saying what, because Austen doesn’t exactly make that clear. We’ll see how much longer I can stand it. It’s not a bad read, maybe even interesting, when I can find the important elements in the huge mess of descriptive fancy shmancy. The last book I couldn’t make it all the way through was Peter Straub’s Shadowland, I tried, I really did. All I remember about that one was that it was long, tedious, and when it took an absurd turn, that was that.

Okay, I need to stop chatting about books and get to work. Etsy stuff coming up soon, let’s say in the next few hours, unless I get too fatigued. I slept for 12 hours last night, and feel as though I could sleep for 12 more right now.

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Nothing much new here…

…but my house is somewhat clean.

As you can see, after getting rid of boxes and boxes of crap, I still have a lot of crap. This is just the top of the dresser where I keep all of my jeans.

It’s The Holidays, so there apparently wasn’t anything on Etsy this week, either. I’ve totally dominated my orders, though, and hope for some free time at the torch next week. I have some great color ideas. Purple seems to be IN right now, and I do have some nice purples, for sure. In fact, there has been an abundance of purple glass for quite some time now. When I started with the lampwork in 1998, there were about 3 transparent purples, all in a redder shade, and a pale lavender, and one brownish blah opaque purple. Now, there are the transparent red purples, the blue purples, the somewhere in between purples, intense dark lavender, opaque Evil Purple, Z-99 Purple Rose – just to name a few. Methinks I got into this at just the right time, so that I can appreciate how the palette has grown so dramatically in such a relatively short period of time.

But bleh, one of my international packages, which I mailed on November 30th, still hasn’t arrived. I mailed it Express Mail International and should have been there a long time ago. I know I’m not alone. Thank goodness it’s insured. Sure, I have to wait at least another month before I can file a claim, but at least there’s something I can do if it doesn’t show. I’m really hoping it does, though.

The bead cave is all clean and tidy, I even swept the walls with my new terry cloth machine washable wet/dry mop. (Great investment.)  The glass is arranged and put away. When Mom came over for the giblets yesterday, she walked in and said “oh my lord you have so much glass.” I can’t help that every batch is different and wonderful and unique in its own way… So, I’m hoping to have a full week of unbridled WORK ahead of me.

Work makes me happy and validates my existence. I wouldn’t have said that 10 years ago, but my definition of work has changed quite a bit since then. Before, work meant I was nothing more than an expendable cog on someone else’s schedule, someone who was desperate and gracious enough to keep me in their employ. Now, I have the freedom to be me, and am still appreciated by my many employers (you), we are all free to come and go as we please, and we can do any of it just about whenever, as long as we adhere to somewhat reasonable deadlines when it’s time to get down to bid’ness. That makes me happy too. Thanks for being great friends, buyers, lookers. I couldn’t do any of this without you.

Merry-Merry!

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My sister bought me this little tree a few years ago, much to my chagrin. I felt kind of like, dammit, now I’m obligated to put up a $%*&@ tree. But I quickly grew to love it. What’s so great about this tree is that, one, it’s BLACK, and two, it’s small. It was accompanied by a colorful garland made of holographic cardboard circles. I haven’t gotten it out for a couple of years because I had no clue where it was. I accidentally found it in my closet while searching for something else, so I thought, what the heck. My living room is tidy, maybe I’ll do it up a tiny bit. Be kind, this is the first tree I’ve ever decorated with lights, all by myself.

Donald Duck reminds you to celebrate with caution!

So, of course, the first year I decide to bother with it, I can’t find the xmas lights I wanted: a strand of single colored LED’s in this large round crystally bulb shape, preferably in blue or purple. Perfect for a black tree, no? I know they exist because I bought a cute strand of red ones for Mom last year at Target, and I know I saw some blue ones. I was feeling exceptionally humbuggy last year, so I didn’t buy them out of protest – now, I wish I had. Somehow, this year hasn’t been so bad, perhaps because it’s been unseasonably warm. So over the last few days, I’ve looked at Target, Hobby Lobby, and forbid, Walmart, and they all had basically the same stock. Most of the LED’s were gone except for white and multicolor, but Walmart was the only one who had this particular shape, and only in warm white. I asked the clerk if I had just missed the single colors, and she told me that indeed I had, and that everyone seemed to want single colors this year and the makers didn’t send them nearly enough to begin with.

That’s what I get for being such a procrastinating humbug, I suppose.

LED’s are weird. They have this odd jaunty zing to them that I can’t see when looking at one straight on, but in my periphery, they seem to jiggle and dance about. And not necessarily in a good way. The brighter they are, the more of a vertigo inducing blur they create. Which was partly why I was going for darker colors like blue or purple – those aren’t nearly as bad. I hate driving by them in the car because they’re so disconcerting. Do they affect anyone else this way?

But I do like LED technology for light strands, not exactly because I want to save the planet, but because they don’t get hot enough to burn anything down. I don’t know if I ever mentioned this to you, but I had a phobia of fire for a long time. (It has not escaped my notice that I made an unlikely choice in how I earn my living.)  I’m not generally a phobic person, but when I was in day care, they took us on a field trip to several different fire stations in the area. One showed us a cartoon of Donald Duck, quacking frantically and running for his life from the inferno that was once his little house. But Donald Duck didn’t run fast enough; he still managed to catch on fire. The firemen proceeded to make jokes and scare us by telling us there was a fire outside the window of the station, when there wasn’t. Being allowed to slide down the pole didn’t make it any more bearable. The whole experience scared me so badly that I started crying right there at the fire station. So once I got home, I gathered up my beloved Hot Wheel collection and put it by my bedroom door, where it stayed for several weeks, ready to escape with me when, not if, the house went up in flames. Remember, I was about 3 or 4 at the time.

For a long time after that, I would absolutely panic every time a fire truck drove by us when we were out driving in the car, convinced it was going to my house. Well into my late teens, I avoided bonfires, campfires, lighters… if it made a flame, I stayed far, far away from it. To this day, I still feel a twinge every time I’m not at home and hear a fire truck’s sirens and horn. Perhaps my biggest problem is that I’ve never had enough of an “it could never happen to ME” attitude. I stared at my Hot Head for two weeks until Mom finally said “Turn the damn thing on! You’re not going to burn the house down.” So I did… and here we are.

The moral of this story – even though LED xmas lights make me a little dizzy, I’ll take them over hot burning incandescents to intertwine with wire and tinsel plastic.

Happy Hellidays!

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Ain’t that the truth.

I haven’t gotten as much real work done as I would like (real work being beads), but I’ve shredded lots of old papers, shedded lots of old stuff, and I now have a clean kitchen, living room and bathroom. I told you that if I start something like that, I have to finish it, so I’m just trying to get it all out of my way so I can get on with my life. When it comes to multitasking, you can either get everything a little bit done or a little bit all the way done. Potato patahta. I’ve been able to maintain a fairly consistent daytime schedule for a couple of weeks now, and I’m more likely to do house stuff during the day if I’m awake for it. Going to sleep at about 2 am and waking at about 11am seems to be the perfect thing, and I’m going to try to stick with it. I’ve also made two batches of hummus (and I think I’ve finally perfected my recipe) and updated my 2010 Gallery (take a look, starting on page 11). Wow!

I also got a new vacuum cleaner because the old one got all clogged up and obsolete, and it would have cost as much to fix as it would to buy a new one. Admittedly, the old one hadn’t really seen that much use over the years because I generally avoid carpet, and I’m not very good at housekeeping when it comes to “real” clean. I guess I have other things to do. (And that’s why I don’t show many photos of my living space. I have lots of cool stuff, but under layers of dust that I don’t usually feel like stirring up.) Of course, all foody things go in the trash and dirty food dishes go straight into the sink, but I’m no stranger to paper specks or dustbunnies on the floor and cobwebs on the ceiling. I’ve seen cat hair tumbleweeds roll across the kitchen floor, and I’m more likely to giggle at them than pick them up. I’ve never really had carpet, I’ve always lived with hardwood, linoleum or tile, and I prefer it. You can easily wipe up a spill and sweep it with a broom. But I do have one large rug that I love, mainly because it has little stars all over it and it gives the cats some revving up and pouncing traction when we play String or Red Dot. Fred and Mo would be crabby without something grabby to roll around and rub their fuzzy little faces on. So, since my rug isn’t going anywhere, I got a Bissell bagless upright (with a hose attachment) and I was flabbergasted at how much hair and dirt it sucked up – I had to empty the container after vacuuming only 1/3 of that rug.

So, have you guys ever gotten the Owl Orphanage error when opening Adobe programs? Yes, you read that right. Owl Orphanage. No, I don’t know exactly what it means – I have a vague idea that it may or may not have something to do with plug-ins – but it was undoubtedly the most ominiously ridiculous error message I’ve encountered in my 10+ years of computer usage. Even Mr. Sarah hadn’t heard of that one. Come on, Adobe. I like owls as much as the next guy, and agree that an orphanage is as good a place as any for abandoned owls, but people are already scared enough of their computers. Is it a virus? Is it a joke? Is it my ex working up to stalking me real serious-like? I’m not averse to having a little oddball fun, don’t get me wrong. It’s surely more entertaining than providing a clear description of the problem, followed by a number of possible solutions. That would make ENTIRELY too much sense, and would not be very much fun at all, right? But as an average, everyday computer using shmoe with a little bit of common sense about human nature, I should warn you that an eerily cryptic phrase like Owl Orphanage popping up at the bottom of someone’s screen might give them the right kind of push in the wrong direction.

As far as I’m concerned, Daemon Mailer has officially been dethroned as reigning entity of Weird Computer Nonsense, and Adobe’s Owl Orphanage now proudly wears the crown and sash and holds a bundle of dead dandelions. Congrats, Adobe, I’m beaming with pride for you. How about I send you a little note that simply reads “Ankle Asylum”, with letters cut out from magazines and newspapers and pasted onto a piece of cardboard in the shape of a cowboy hat every time your head programmer guy cleans out his earwax with his office key? Would you like that and think it’s cute, or would your geeks be freakin’? How long would it take you to make the connection between these two occurrences, and then figure out what to do about it, and then actually fix it? Long. Wouldn’t that be a deliciously bizarre turnabout… but I still love you, Adobe. I’m not really going to send you creepy letters shaped like random stuff because I couldn’t eat with the lights on without your genius and prefer to remain in your good graces.

(But Owl Orphanage? Really?)

thanks, Kate McKinnon, for the tupperware lid photography idea

I was feeling adventurous today at the grocery. I found persimmons, a LOT of persimmons. I bought one. It’s big and it looks pretty juicy. But I’m afraid. Should I eat it? Maybe I’ll eat it tomorrow, maybe Mom will talk me out of it or help me work up the nerve. I’ll keep you posted.

Anyway. Since I’ve been so busy cleaning up my assorted areas, I must focus on bead orders the remainder of this week, rather than working on anything for Etsy. Sorry. But for now, January is free and clear for what? Boro preparation? Superstars? We’ll see.

Talk again soon, thanks for reading!

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That’s better… (ETSY!)

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

the khaki rainbow - click me

kitschen - click me

Yesterday was the first day in over a week that I made beads. It felt slightly foreign, and very comforting.

I made an entire set in a new color combination without testing it out first (Kitschen, above), and was still pleased with the results. It dawned on me that I’ve been doing this more and more over the last couple of years. It’s a good exercise in “whatever”, and I need a little bit more “whatever” in my life. I’m such a control freak about stuff, particularly my beads, and if I don’t give myself a chance to talk myself out of a certain color combo, I’m more likely to put it up for sale. After all, I put all of that work into a group of beads, and someone may like it. More often than not, someone does. And if they don’t, well, that’s life. Let’s see what you guys think about what I have for you today.

I found out what the Evil Purple 254 ruckus was all about… word on the street is that it’s now being pulled by machine rather than by hand. It seems like Florence explained this to me – the machine pulled batches are larger than the handpulled batches, so maybe they don’t have the recipe adjusted for the larger batch quite yet. I can tell you that the one rod I tried is more purple than pink, and significantly darker than previous batches. That said, I haven’t ordered that stuff in years, because, well, it’s evil. I have plenty of the old pinker stuff to last me a little while.

Thanks for checking in!

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Making progress.

Have I already told you that I hate paper? I’ll tell you again. Certain amounts of it are required, and there’s no escaping the reality of some paper in my life. At the first possible moment, I’ll be shredding. However, my Aunt Charlotte loved paper. Apparently, she saved every piece of paper she ever touched, and printed out everything she liked on the internet. She even printed out my interview with Lori Beadnerd. She could have just favorited it in her browser, but printing it made her as happy as a parchment mite. Now I understand why she often needed new ribbons for her printer. Mom’s house is looking a lot like Charlotte’s right now, and she, on the other hand, is not happy about that in the least.

My problem is that I like furniture. I rarely buy furniture, but have inherited a good bit of it over the years, and all of the inherited furniture has meaning or sentimental value so I’m not likely to get rid of any of it. I’m about to inherit two very sturdy bookshelves that were made by my grandfather. I don’t exactly have room for them, but I’ll make room, somewhere. Some day those cheap crappy bookshelves in the living room will collapse under the weight of Mr. Sarah’s fiction collection, and it will be nice to have some well made bookshelves right on hand.

As I have already mentioned, I’m seriously rethinking my own habits and tendencies.  For instance, if I get a new bead storage container and I can’t fill it full of beads, I’m likely to get more beads to fill it up. So I’m thinking that the sprawling one story house of my dreams should just stay there – in my dreams. If I have, for example, 4 bedrooms, two hanging-out spaces, two eating spaces, 3 bathrooms and a garage, I can see how it can gradually turn into a nightmare for the next generation to clean up. Then again, I know when I’ve reached my limit – I’m at the saturation point with non-consumable items like knick-knacks, jeans, books and dishes, and if I have some reason to accumulate more, I immediately get rid of the things I don’t like or use as much. The pile of stuff destined for the thrift store is steadily growing, and my house is already looking a bit more tidy. I’ve washed all of my clothes, and my cuticles are screaming from all of the dry warmth and folding. Once all of the sorting, weeding out and shredding is done with, this place is going to shine like the top of the Chrysler building, Annie.

Anyway. We’re slowly digging ourselves out from under the mounds of stuff and paper whose importance or value we aren’t yet sure of. Let’s hope nobody goes completely insane in the process. Today, I’m going to attempt to make some beads. It’s been nearly a week, and we’ll see if I haven’t forgotten how.

While I have you, check out these fantastic old hammers my dad found at the antique market:

note the quarter for scale

 Dad thinks the one with the metal handle and round heads was home made, perhaps with a dapping punch and a ball bearing. The little one looks like a specialized version of a chasing hammer and the one in the middle appears to be a very loved creasing? bordering? hammer. He polished them up for me, he says they were rusty and a bit pitted when he found them. He says several other people picked them up and looked at them, but once they set them down, he grabbed them and bought them because he knew someone would be back for them later.

I can’t wait to give these a go… work first, though!

Thanks for stopping in. Hopefully, there will be some Etsy before the end of the week.

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Life.

There are a few things in life you can absolutely count on, no ifs ands or buts: food, poop, sleep, and death. Not just your own, but other peoples’. Death is not only devastating, but frustrating, and often very revealing. Sometimes you don’t know just how other people lived until they die, when you are forced to go through their stuff and sort out their affairs.

what's inside this teensy tinsy cake-taker?

Amongst Charlotte’s many things, I was thrilled to find the Tuppertoys I used to play with. They are in pristine condition, but were in a black plastic garbage sack in the middle of her bedroom floor. It was a relief to find them all together, but why were they in a garbage sack? Was she angry at me and planning to throw them away? Maybe, maybe not. Knowing her state of mind before she died, I’m reluctant to take it personally. She never reminded me about them or asked me to come get them, and I definitely would have wanted them. Why was our family turkey roaster in the closet of her home library, full of bills and papers from when she still lived with Grandma and Grandpa, and balanced precariously on top of Christmas gift wrapping supplies? I found our precious family Christmas cookie recipe in a stack of random papers and Consumer Reports in the family room. We knew she was a bit loopy and slow going, but it turns out, we had no idea. (ETA – I thought I might clarify that she had a genius level IQ. That’s probably what hung her up.)

a teensy tinsy serving for four!

She left me and Mr. Sarah her cookbook collection. The cookbook collection should have been on a small shelf in her kitchen, but no. There must be hundreds of them. And she never cooked any of this stuff, she always cooked and baked the same family recipes year after year. I just don’t know what I’m going to do with all of these cookbooks. I’ll be giving some away, for sure.

adorable

She also left me her (regular sized) Tupperware and Corningware/Pyrex collection. The Tupperware collection was sizeable, and I have no clue how many Pyrex lids there are at my house now. I left some of it behind because I have no need for 5 sepia Pyrex pie plates, or more than one enormous casserole. I’ve never even made a pie. Maybe I should. I’m saving some of this stuff for The Spawn (my step-daughter) when she finally strikes out on her own. For my own sanity, I hope it’s as soon as she turns 18. I’m officially out of room for kitchen supplies. I know me, and know I may not be able to resist enameled graphic milk-white Pyrex bowls if I see them on my rare trips to the thrift store or garage sales.

let's not forget the teensy tinsy pitcher and mugs to go with (note the scale with a regular sized BIC lighter)

All I know is that I’m in the mood to start shredding stuff and getting rid of things that “I may have a use for in the future”. I’ll keep the things I love and have meaning, but I can’t stand the thought of leaving stacks of paper and pointless crap behind, organized or not, for other people to sort out. I quit going to thrift stores regularly many years ago. Be that as it may, I have a sizeable pile marked for delivery to one of the various charities. I also Went America (invaded and reorganized) all over the refrigerator and the sauce packet drawer, with the help of my new Tupperware. I’m currently eyeballing my clothes closet, where there are stacks of shoeboxes with who-knows-what in them, maybe nothing, and a plastic storage container full of old receipts. I’ll excavate once I get some free time. Mr. Sarah says this whole ordeal has been like a A Very Morbid Christmas.

Thanks for reading… I still have a lot of reorganizing to do, but I’m going to try and squeeze in some beads and email.

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I got an early start today… only two sets, but they’re GOOD!

Click HERE to visit my shop, or on each thumbnail for the individual listings.

glimmer strip hana - click me

seaweed hana - click me

I hope you guys like them… enjoy your Friday!

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And on a lighter note…

Here’s the completed version of my b-day present to myself. I had a hard time with this one, but I got it done. It may be the ridiculous price of silver that keeps hanging me up, I think it’s burning a hole into my creative psyche.

I stalk Rio’s site every day after 11:30am, and find myself disgusted either with the price, or with myself for not having a reserve of cash sitting around when it happens to dip below $26. I broke down and got some glass last week, for the first time in months – I got several new colors, hoping they will inspire me to try some new combinations. I love getting glass orders. The way they’re packed – multiple bundles of more bundles of unthought-of color combinations – often gets me thinking. As pricey as some glass colors are, they don’t compare to silver prices for the amount of silver you get vs the amount of glass you get.

Or does it? I’ve been thinking about this. The most expensive (in production) glass that I know of is $100/lb. Depending on how many beads I make with those more costly colors, and how far I can make it go by layering it onto less expensive color, $100/lb doesn’t sound too bad. How far can I make a troy ounce of silver go? If I were to produce one piece of silver jewelry per day (of the type of jewelry I’m currently making), it wouldn’t be a troy ounce. But in the case of silver, you have to factor in the fabrication costs, too. For instance, square wire is considerably more costly than round wire. Silver pre-cut disks cost more than sheet. I could buy a drawplate and draw my own square wire, but good quality drawplates aren’t cheap. With my current level of skill, how much silver wire I purchase, and the direction I plan to go, I’m not sure a drawplate would be a wise investment at this point. I could buy a good quality disk cutter, but those are definitely not cheap, either. That might be a wise investment right now, but there are other costly tools I feel I need much worse than that one. So, I think about going two blocks away to 7-11 for a candy bar, where they charge 99 cents… but I’m in and I’m out. Or I could drive all the way to the grocery store, where the candy bars are about 59 cents, and I may have to tromp through the entire store, then wait in line. In the cases of 7-11, pre-cut disks and square wire, I’m paying for the convenience, but I have to figure out how much the convenience is truly going to cost me in the greater scheme. And I also have to figure out how quickly that tool is going to pay for itself… or how necessary that candy bar really is. I confess, once it’s in my head, that candy bar is the only thing that matters. If I’m in a big hurry to get home or it’s really cold, the convenience of 7-11 far outweighs the cost.

I also must consider the fact that some suppliers charge more or less for the exact same thing. I found that Rio charges just a smidge more than Monsterslayer, but Rio got my order out just an hour or two after I submitted it, whereas Monsterslayer took a couple of days. (That happened to work out in my favor, though, because on the day the order was processed the silver price was lower than it was on the day I placed my order.) Alas, after all that consideration, I get overwhelmed and look at Frantz’s site for new colors instead. I suppose for someone whose first priority is glass, none of this matters nearly as much as it would for someone whose first priority is metal.

Thanks for entertaining yet another one of my overanalyses…

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