Archive for October, 2011

Uncle Norman

aunt joane and uncle norman

So, I still can’t exactly let on about All Things Crappy right now, but I can tell you that my Uncle Norman died week before last. It was pretty sudden, but not necessarily unexpected – he’d had many chemo therapies and transfusions over at least the last year, maybe even the last couple of years, and kidney failure is what got him. Like most everyone else in my family, he was quite a character. I never got to know him as well as I could have, but I always liked him just fine.

He was a chemist, of which sort I’m not sure, and taught at OU as long as I can remember. He always had a book with him, generally quite thick, and about science or history or something very dry and of no interest to me. But conversation came easy to him on just about any subject. I enjoyed my last visit with him at Dad and Joane’s birthday dinner this past August. I think Norman generally disapproved when anyone in his family didn’t dive head first into higher education, but I also suspect that Norman may have secretly admired the fortitude of anyone who did entirely their own thing and succeeded.  The memorial was very enjoyable, at an old train station in Norman, OK (where he lived – funny, no?) where family and friends shared stories and were encouraged to happily celebrate his life, rather than to sullenly lament his passing. He was 85 or 86, was up and around better than most of us to the very end, so he lived a very full and happy life. I’ll certainly miss his funny bald head and clever anecdotes at the future family gatherings. Nice knowing you, Norman.

Mr. Sarah’s birthday is in less than a week, and mine is exactly a week later, so yesterday, I thought I’d console us and gather up some b-day gifts for him. First I went to Guitar Center, and as much as I would have liked to support a local business, I couldn’t find a local music shop on my side of town that had what I wanted. This turned out to be fortuitous. I entered the store, explaining that I was completely out of my element, and described what I was after. We located it, and as the nice girl was ringing it up, she asked what my husband’s last name was, and I told her and she said “I’m not finding anything….” So, knowing my husband, and knowing he had shopped there at least once before, I took a wild stab and replied “Try Wellington.” I was trying not to die laughing as the predictable look of disbelief came over her face and she finally said “Beef? Beef Wellington?”

Dear retailers, Radio Shack included: when you ask my husband for his name at the time of a purchase, there’s no telling what you’ll get – if it isn’t a dirty look and a lecture about a man’s right to privacy, you’re in for something highly amusing. I was giggling all the way out to the car, thinking about how silly my hunny is. We’ll be married 12 years in January, and even though I feel like throttling him to death at least once a week, I’m still pretty sure it was a good idea to go ahead and make that impromptu trip to the OK County Courthouse and get hitched that cold winter day.

Another gift for him was a pair or two of Levi’s. In my opinion, the best place for men’s Levis is JCPenney, for selection and price. Apparently, his size is the most common among men who wear Levi’s, so it often takes some digging to find his size in just the right color or wash. I took a chance and got him a pair of 517’s and a pair 559’s. The 517’s were cut way too tight, and the 559’s were pretty right on. (The most significant part of this gift was not making him go buy them and try them on, even knowing that I may have to return them. After surprising him with the jeans and realizing the necessity for an exchange, I made it very clear what was going on, and that I would only go clothes shopping for him without him on very few occasions throughout the rest of our lives.) I promptly took the 517’s back and exchanged them for a pair of 569’s, which were very similar to the 559’s, and were cut very differently than the 569’s he still has from several years ago. Predictable, as well.

Enough with the numbers – the main point of this is that during my first trip to JCP, I got $20 credit, or JCP cash. When I swapped the 517’s for the 569’s on my second trip, I got another $10 JCP cash, even though no money exchanged hands. All the way down the escalator, I felt as if though I had gotten away with something big and that nobody really cared. I don’t really like feeling that way because it’s so American Condition… but I decided to go ahead and check out the misses Levi’s. After trying several pairs, I finally decided on a pair that I believed to be on sale for $39.99. It occurred to me to price check them in case they were in the wrong spot and… what? $10.83? This has to be a mistake, this is a perfectly good pair of Levi’s originally priced at $54.99 and the only ones I really liked out of the first several I tried on. I can’t possibly be this lucky. But just in case I am, I go ahead and grab another pair with interesting back pockets, that actually were $39.99, and they fit quite nicely, too. So I got out of JCPenneys on my second trip with two pairs of jeans for me – as if I need two more pairs of jeans, but whatever – for $21 and change. Even the nice girl who checked me out remarked on what a good deal I got. I’ve looked them over and can’t find a thing wrong with them.

I guess as craptacular as these last couple of weeks have been, something small but good was bound to happen.

Thanks for reading! Just thought I’d share a teeny bit, and that I’ll be deciding my Etsy/Superstars schedule very soon, and as soon as I do, I’ll share it with you in all of the pertinent places.

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

Mirror Dot Happy Tabs:

mirror dot happy tabs – click me

Blueberry Thrill:

blueberry thrill - click me

Hob Knob Cake Ring:

red hob knob cake ring - click me

Thistle Bullet:

thistle bullet - click me

I’m keeping this short – hope you find something you like! Thanks for sticking with me…

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Sorry guys.

I had plans to list some beads on Etsy yesterday, but life got in the way. My life has been fairly chaotic the last couple of years, and I have a feeling it’s about to get even worse. As usual, I’m going to remain very tight lipped about this, as it is not my place to divulge any details. I suppose I felt compelled to allow at least this much, so that you wouldn’t think I’m a typical art flake who can’t get her business together and gets off on keeping everyone waiting. Honestly, I wish it were something that petty and absurd.

But life and work must go on, so you can expect to see the new listings this evening. I’ll post here as soon as everything is listed on Etsy. Thanks for your patience.

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It means I’ve been really busy or really bummed. Thank goodness it was the former.

week of october 10 - 17, 2011

I’ve been on the silver for an entire week, I’ve been !BLING!-ing and catching up on Breaking Bad. That show is riveting. I love a well written show. If you don’t know, long story short, it’s about a meek high school chemistry teacher who decides to produce methamphetamine to help pay for his medical bills after being diagnosed with cancer, and down the rabbit hole he goes. I was hooked after the first episode.

Jesse and Mr. White, Breaking Bad - photo courtesy of AMCTV.com

Back to the silver – I can’t believe how much I got done in a week. I haven’t messed with silver since late July. I’ve found that after putting something to the side for a while, I come back to it refreshed and more competent. One nice thing about metalsmithing is that it doesn’t require several consecutive hours to get something done. With a kiln running (ie, using up relay clicks) I feel compelled to get all of my glass work for the day completed with no diversions. With silver, I can put it down, fix dinner, run errands, whatever, and just pick it back up later, no pressure. I found that working on several similar projects at once is much more efficient – for instance, with the four bullets, I made all the bezels at once, then soldered all of the bezels to the backplates, made and soldered all of the bails, riveted/set the glass. You might be surprised at how much work these bullets are. They’re more nervewracking than rings and setting regular cabochons, I guess because the sizing isn’t exact. Not that I use calibrated stones, and I do make my own bezels for each stone I set, but somehow the bullets aren’t as straightforward and need a bit more finessing.

bullets, october 2011

Stone setting has turned out to be no big deal. It’s not nearly the scary thing I made it out to be before I got started. So I felt confident enough to take on a challenging project – setting a stone of this height with multiple broad facets was a challenge indeed.

the green monster

This thing turned out to be quite a monstrosity. I didn’t intend to make such a huge tower of a ring. But here it is. I made the cabochon/crystal myself – I wound a big glob of gooey green glass on the end of a mandrel and faceted it. I obviously still have more to learn about proportion in the early stages of designing a piece, but this one taught me a few things. That bezel was way gnarly by the time I got that crystal in there tight with no wiggle. I use the standard 3/16 square pusher for most everything, but I put my bezel rocker to use for the first time on this one. Once that was done, I literally spent hours filing and sanding out the setting scars. By the end of it all, my shoulders felt as if they’d fall off. If I make another one of these, it will be much more tame. I think I enjoy making rings more than anything else, but I’m considering necklace design for the next go round, whenever that is.

jingle bitch

In other news, we got Mo a red velveteen collar with pink trim and a pink bell on it. The last straw was when she jumped all over Nelson for playing with a styrofoam christmas ornament. She heard him having fun, came into the room where he was and hid and waited for him to get close enough to pounce on him. He was so into the ball, he had no clue she was there. And if it was just a pounce, that would have been fine, but she put some major smack down on him. Poor boy. He wasn’t hurt, but still. What a bitch. When we first put the collar on her, she hissed at it, but quickly decided that she liked it when we showed her how stylish she looked in the mirror and assured her that it matches her pink meow. Nelson can now hear her coming from far away and makes himself scarce. Fred, on the other hand, is totally cool. Nelson chases Fred around, and Fred doesn’t mind most of the time, I think he likes it a little bit. We needed some new sparkly poofballs, a big favorite with the cats. We looked at the pet store for the sparkly poofballs but couldn’t find them. We were quite surprised to find that most of the poofball type cat toys they sold were either made of paper or metallic coated plastic, and they’d surely be destroyed in five minutes, possibly eaten and would result in a trip to the vet. We happened upon a whole bag of sparkly poofballs at Walmart, during our twice a year trip for stuff we can’t get anywhere else. Also in the bag were plastic balls with bells inside and a stuffed yellow mouse. The mouse was everyone’s favorite by far, and the poor toy was gutted within 15 minutes. Now, if they had a whole bag of yellow mice, we’d all be in cat paradise right now. Nelson still plays with its shell and carries it around the house with him, and Fred and Mo fling it around when Nelson is tripping on something else. I wish Mo wasn’t so territorial, I think she’d have fun playing with Nelson. She doesn’t even cover up her poop, as if to say, “Yeah, I live here. BRING IT.”

So! Look for these various pieces and more at my upcoming Superstars sales and Etsy listings! Thanks for popping in.

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I have some glitzy good stuff for your eyeballs.

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

Pearly Pops:

pearly pops - click me

Autumn Sunset:

autumn sunset - click me

Jelly Candy:

jelly candy - click me

And my favorite of the evening, Crown Opal Glimmer Strips:

crown opal glimmer strips - click me

By the by, here’s something kind of amusing: remember the Marmalade Melange and the Tie Dye Tide-Over sets on Etsy, and how they sat there for a couple of weeks, and how I mentioned that I was going to rework those sets? By that, I meant I was going to somehow divide each of those into smaller sets, and that would require making a few more beads to round the smaller sets out. Well, that very evening, I made three more beads for the Marmalade Melange set. Literally, as soon as I had finished the last bead, I came in here to check on things and found they had sold.

I made a few more beads for the Tie-Dye set around the same time, but had one more bead to go before I felt it was complete. I got around to making the final bead night before last, and planned on listing the reworked sets today. As I was waking up, before I even turned the computer on, I thought to myself how funny it would be if Tie-Dye had sold while I slept. Lo and behold, what do I find when I wake up today? You guessed it. What does it all mean? Then again, who cares. I have some beads to pack up, hooray!

Thanks for looking, we’ll talk again soon!

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I don’t know what my problem is lately. I don’t know if I’m depressed or bored or what, but I’m having a hard time getting a grip. Besides doing orders and the absolute bare minimum, I’m not getting very much done in the way of new ideas or works. I think I have a lot on my mind.

For one thing, I feel stale. There aren’t any new and exciting glass colors lately in Effetre or Vetrofond, and most new designs I’ve tried, I haven’t been too happy with. I’ve sort of been ignoring the muse, or maybe I just can’t see it through all of this static in my head. I heard once that if you don’t let the muse in, it’ll go knocking on someone else’s door.

My dad and stepmom are seriously considering moving to Seattle. If they move to Seattle, unless they come to visit frequently, I’ll never see my dad again once they’re gone. Neither one of us are going to do the airplane hokey pokey, and for me, plane tickets and luggage charges simply aren’t in my budget. Pat has family there also, so I understand that they feel pulled in both directions. They’re also discussing just spending summers there, and I think that would be a pretty decent compromise. I wouldn’t want to make them feel badly or to pressure them, but I hate to think about them moving cross country – not only for my own selfish reasons, but how stressful the move would be on them. But you just have to let people do what they do.

And honestly, I shouldn’t be so… whatever. I like most of my new Reichenbach colors, the mystics are my favorites. I’m producing luxury items in a not-so-luxurious economy, and I’m still getting by. Silver is hovering at $30/toz, and that’s better than it’s been in months. When it was $32 and I was sure that was the bottom, I bought a troy ounce each of hard, medium and easy solders – enough to last me the rest of my life. I heard a rumor that Vetrofond glass is going to stop producing rod, but I’ve been reassured by a reliable source that it isn’t so – they just aren’t producing it right now. Thank goodness. Roger Howarth, the actor who played the original Todd Manning on One Life To Live, has returned. I’m not usually the type to ogle attractive television stars, but this guy makes me a little bit melty. I even windexed the TV screen so I could get a better look at him.

Roger Howarth, sigh. (photo courtesy of http://www.soapcentral.com)

And another piece of good news is, All My Children and One Life To Live are continuing online! Read the article. It remains to be seen how the whole thing will pan out logistically, since I’m sure the actors who opt to stay on will take a pretty major paycut – but I do hope everything works out for all involved. Everyone but ABC, that is. Those chuckleheads can go doodle themselves. The Chew? Really? Put pastrami on your hamburger instead of bacon? Great. I don’t know anyone who can eat a light pastrami sandwich without feeling like they need to go to the hospital. They’re pushing that travesty as hard as they can, and I’m not about to bite, let alone chew. Okay, let me rephrase that – I’m sure The Chew has its place, but not in All My Children’s time slot.

And little Nelson got neutered last week, so that’s done with. With male cats, it’s an easy thing to do, no stitches, even! And we really like our new vet. I like no-nonsense veterinarians, and no surprise charges on my bill. Our last vet was pretty okay, but I wasn’t too happy about being asked to leave my cats there all day when all they needed were vaccinations. On my last visit, I ended up paying $100 more than I had been told whatever the procedure was going to cost – I think it was a teeth cleaning. My sister had the same experience with her dog at my old vet clinic and was pretty upset about it.

I don’t need a bunch of ooh-ing and coo-ing from a vet… just a gentle touch, straighforward answers and conservative treatment. My dad’s cat got sick a couple of weeks ago and the first vet they took her to told them she’d need to operate to repair a hernia. The vet couldn’t even tell them how much the surgery would cost, but insisted on doing it first thing the following Monday.  I insisted that they get a second opinion from my new vet, and the new vet determined that she had a bad UTI and that there was no need to operate on such an elderly cat for a hernia. After an antibiotic shot, Dad’s cat is much better and back to her old self. (The other vet called them three times on Monday, practically begging them to bring Chessie in for surgery. Sheesh.)

Nelson rests peacefully some of the time and goes completely ape some of the time, and he’s a very good cat all of the time. He has gotten the idea that he is to leave us alone while we eat, but forgets every once in a while. He has the cutest greeting, he goes “brrrr-EEP PEEP!” I wonder if he’ll have just a squeak forever. If so, that’s fine with me! I woke up today feeling like ass warmed over, and he jumped up on the bed and curled up right next to me, and gave me the I love you face and some big rumbly purr-purrs. I think we found a great fit. I’m so looking forward to his adult years, and he’s already bigger than he was when we dragged him in here, kicking and screaming, literally.

So, good and not-so-good things are happening, and the weather is wonderful. I’m mystified by why I feel so BLAH. I’m only this blah when only bad things are happening. I think this summer really did a number on me. And that’s one of the main reasons Dad and Pat are wanting to get the hell out of here. The way I see it, the chances of seeing another summer like that in their lifetimes are pretty slim. I figure I’ll get to live through at least one more.

By the way, Thursday looks good for new Etsy stuff. See you then?

Thanks for listening, as usual. You guys are great.

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