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Archive for September, 2012

I joined the 98 percent!

lifted from brainlesstales.com

I now have a cell phone. I’ve never had one of my very own before. But it’s no cause for celebration because I sort of hate them. Well, that’s not true, I hate them with a passion. Or maybe I just abhor the people who abuse them – kids who can’t be bothered to look up from them while walking, the adults who drive giant vehicles are looking down at their devices and swerving around, obnoxious ringtones and loud, long conversations about nothing important while checking out at the store and entirely ignoring the cashier… and if you’re reading and you’re one of these people, I make no apologies for expressing my disgust at your behavior.

I’m not one of those people. I may be a little feral, but I’m definitely not rude. I’ve noticed lately that I spend a lot of energy being considerate of other people. I almost always hold the door for people, and if someone has their hands full or is apparently handicapped, I will actually wait until they struggle over and I’ll hold all the doors open for them. This seems to be a fairly accurate measuring stick for other peoples’ mindset – I can say that most of them are appreciative and say thank you, and most will also hold the door for me. The ones who don’t say thank you or hold the door are few and far between, and from what I’ve noticed, are usually younger women. Seriously, the fact that you’re young and pretty doesn’t mean everyone owes you something.

This finding doesn’t surprise me. I’ve never had an easy time befriending women… particularly when I was younger. They were always smiling in my face while knifing me in my back, and all over my boyfriends when I was out of the room. Later on in life, I realized that it had nothing to do with me personally, it didn’t mean they secretly hated me, it just boiled down to insecurity on their part. My momma always told me “life is like a box of chocolates and stay the hell away from insecure people.”

from kate mckinnon’s journal, candy in paris… makes me want to try my hand at candy making. I like candy, I like color, I like making stuff – what could go wrong?

How’d I get off on that? Anyway, about my new cell phone. I insisted on getting a flip phone with buttons and stuff (in other words, a dumb phone), and I wanted one for free. Which was entirely possible because Mr. Sarah has a phone already and a nice family plan. But the only flip one that was free had a terrible camera and very few capabilities. I have been wanting something that I can use to see pictures of my beads for custom orders while I’m making them, a phone for emergencies and when I go to the store and can’t remember if we need sour cream or not, and something I can send text messages to Mr. Sarah with so he’s not bothered with answering the phone to talk when he has his hands full. So Mr. Sarah talked me into the beginner Kyocera Rise noob smart phone – not TOO smart mind you, but smart enough to do the stuff I needed it to do. And Free!

So, hey, I really was working on a list of my all-time favorite albums the other night when my computer froze and I lost it all, of course. I haven’t yet mustered the patience to go back and do it again. It’s coming, I promise, as I’m sure all of you are waiting on the edges of your seats for my list of weird crap. Here’s a taste:

download’s furnace: front cover (lifted from amazon.com)

Artist: Download
Album: Furnace
Description: Dark and quirky electronica featuring Psychic TV’s Genesis P’Orridge. Our friend Steve describes it as “music for people who have someone locked in the trunk of their car.” And it’s out of print, which may be of some relief to some of you after the “locked in the trunk of a car” categorization.

This is by no means a running theme in my musical preferences, I like all kinds of music, but as I mentioned before, I’m a bit of a snob…

One more thing – I’m planning a Superstars sale for next Thursday, October 4th. I’ll keep you posted!

Thanks for reading, I won’t be too long with that list!

 

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ETSY!

And here they are… click HERE to see my shop or the thumbnails below for each item.

Lemon Zest !BLING!:

Lilypad Sampler:

Lilypad Benevolent Bullet:

Opal Blush Glimmer Strips:

Red Hana Mini Set:

 

Hey, even when I’m mopey I get things done.  There’s no escaping some things… poop, food, Paul Simon’s Graceland*, the compulsion to make stuff.  And  I clean stuff when I get mad, or maybe I get mad when I clean because I get a better look at how big of a slob I am. Either way, when Mr. Sarah sees me cleaning, he isn’t sure if he screwed something up or if guests are coming – so he gives me a pretty wide berth and usually lends a hand.

*This was my mom and stepdad’s favorite album for what seemed like ten years to a ten year old. They played it in the car, on Saturday mornings when we cleaned house, for unsuspecting guests who came over for occasions completely unrelated to Paul Simon’s Graceland… and being ten and too afraid to walk alone or drive a car, the only two places I could go to escape Graceland was Dad’s house and Grandma Wood’s. Believe me, I just about crapped a kitten when they gave Grandma her very own dubbed copy. So the other day, what do I hear blaring from my stereo? I’ll give you three guesses. To his credit, Mr. Sarah did poke his head into the bead cave with a very apologetic look on his face. He said he couldn’t help it, he loves Paul Simon and that album in particular. My response was something like “well, of course you do – you’ve found something new to torture me with besides Cat Stevens.”

Let’s talk about the Lemon Zest !BLING! bead… yes, I know it’s really yellow, and yellow is the only color in it. Sometimes I make beads I’m pretty sure nobody would want, if only to add a certain color to my gallery. But Mom and Mr. Sarah like it, and I do too. I asked mom if it was bad, and she said something like “bad, as in really-really good?” I’ll let you guys decide, but I’ve resigned myself to the possibility of never being able to unload it on anyone.

Oh, and by the by, if nobody grabs a hold of those PNW Triple Toggles within the next week or so, I’m keeping them for ME.

we’re still up for grabs, but not for too much longer…

 

I gotta go call Dad and have some pie… thanks for looking!

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Coming up…

z-beads, september 24th, 2012

I guess I’m gonna go ahead and fling some beads into my Etsy shop. Stay tuned, another post is forthcoming.

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Whiny Wednesday

Which is fantastic, because it’s Sunday. That’s about how long I’ve been in this confused, morose state of mind, trying to figure out what I need to whine about. There are so many options; an endless smorgasbord of idiocy begs to be picked apart by a weirdo artsy-fartsy windbag like me. I don’t like to talk about my feelings, let alone share them with the internet. When I’ve written it all out, I’m like “good gawd, I’m a sniveling blob” and the big sweeping delete is the next order of business. I’ve decided it’s because I’m trying not to offend anyone and I’m trying not to sound whiny or mean-spirited. But I think that due to my long term lack of whining, I’ve slowly morphed into a pillar of gristle, tough straight through to the other side, processing or deflecting anything that’s thrown at me.  Big pieces of gristle are not only unappetizing, they’re plain old flavorless. But the (very) occasional whine helps replenish and lend a glisten to the tough exterior we show to the rest of humanity. Oh, the humanity.

Kim Miles Lotus Bead – photo lifted from kimmiles.com

I stumbled upon a recent blog post by Kim Miles where she announced that she was out of the bead business. At first I thought she was referring to a bead store she owned, but she sold her entire lampwork stash and she’s done for good. An era ends, but with happy new beginnings for her, so that’s all well. Kim Miles was a huge source of inspiration to many lampworkers over the years. She was prolific and is just a stand-up lady. I’m well over a month behind on this news, and it made me sad, and equally as sad that I didn’t even realize it was happening. Not that I would have tried to talk her out of it… it more or less says something about me and my tendency to pay such little attention to what other people are doing, or in this case, not doing any more. Sometimes my ostrich mentality is of some benefit to me, particularly when it comes to my work. I can be sure that I’m doing what I’m doing, and not unconsciously doing what everyone else is doing. But I also miss out on some good stuff, and unpleasantly obvious stuff, as well.

Mr. Blue, my annealer

Kim Miles got me thinking. I’m a happy person, unless I think about stuff. I try not to think too much about anything that might make me sad or mad or confused, because I don’t have time for any of that. So when I do think, it’s a little bit like picking off a big scab. And this past week, I’ve been picking around in my brain for ideas about what I’d be doing if I weren’t making beads and jewelry. Like if the economy REALLY tanks and we’re standing in line for hours for one lonely can of expired off-brand creamed corn because I couldn’t get over myself and my glass. The truth is, I don’t know. I haven’t thought about this in a long time. It’s been at least ten years since I’ve had to eat tortilla chip crumbs for dinner and wash my hair with old grape-scented bubble bath. I’m nowhere close to that, but my hard-wired pessimism (realism, actually) keeps me on my toes and always looking around the corners. I shared my semi-serious contemplation of hanging it all up and getting a real job – because that’s what mature adults do – and Mr. Sarah and Mom both scoffed in disbelief as if I had just told them fried crickets sounded awesome for lunch today. I think Mom gave me her signature “Now… wha?”  Maybe this has something to do with the fact that I’m turning 35 this November… or it could be that the tarot cards told me I live in a dream world. And I’m just about sick to death of getting the Fool card. Yes, I’m a fool. Tell me something I didn’t know already.

image lifted from wikipedia.org

See, most of my friends have real jobs and own homes and support their families and have tyrannical employers who keep them under a microscope and also pay them handsomely for running in circles all day. It sounds like a fair trade-off to me. Maybe it’s time for me to grow the hell up and stop screwing around with beads and piddly crap, or at the very least, expecting to continue to financially contribute to my family with it. If I did call it quits, it wouldn’t be due to any happy new beginnings. In fact, it would be the beginning of a steady decline into a state of misery that can only be settled into by trying to fit into a skin three sizes too small. My current perception of the public at large is not a positive one, folks. Bead people are a much more kindly and evolved species than the average joe at the corner sto’, and I think I’ve been spoiled rotten by all of you. (And for that, many thanks.) But outside my door is a gaggle of vacuous zombies hopped up on internet and pharmaceuticals. Which isn’t a problem if I don’t leave my house. But being stuck inside a building with them for 8 hours a day would definitely be a problem. If I think someone is a zombie, I won’t hesitate to give them a clear rundown on how NOT to be a zombie, because I’m helpful that way. Particularly if their zombie-ness somehow affects my ability to do my job. Everyone wins if nobody is a zombie. Did Night Of The Living Dead teach us nothing, America? I was watching 20/20 the other week, and according to them, brown-nosing is the #1 way to keep yourself employed. Mr. Sarah told me that we might be able to escape the zombies by moving to Europe, but rewiring all the lamps and quarantining the cats sounds like a bigger hassle than boarding up the windows.

Fred

You know, I have plenty of talent and focus and most of the necessary traits to be successful at doing what I love to do, but I feel as if my success could very well have been just a flash in the pan. So many new waves of talent have arrived on the lampwork bead scene over the last 15 years – from clever innovators to skilled imitators with all sorts of dabblers and plain old glass lovers in between – but we’ve lost some, too. In fact, a few of the pioneers of the modern American glass beadmaking movement appear to have vacated the premises. I can’t find jack about Jim Smircich, I haven’t heard from Inara Knight in ages, but I do realize that just because they aren’t on the internet or in my inbox, it doesn’t mean they’re not still kicking beads around. I wouldn’t be the self-centered twit I am without wondering where I fit in here, and where I may land in the future. At this moment in time, I feel like a whale who rode high on the wave for a while and suddenly found myself beached on an unfamiliar shore, too proud to ask someone to kindly shove me back in. Meanwhile, my ideas and I grow more dry and stale by the minute while I wriggle around and contemplate how to proceed. Yes, it’s irrational and maybe deluded (that’s what the tarot told me, as well), but how do I know that for sure?

Nobody tells the truth anymore. They’re too concerned with being politically correct (blandly inoffensive) that nobody knows which end should be up, because neglecting the other end might somehow land them in a bind with the department of family services. So the truth lays flat while us fancy monkeys try to figure out how to put forth the absolute minimum effort, get as paid as we possibly can, and never be held accountable for anything. Sometimes I feel just as guilty of that – by doing what I enjoy doing every day and not having to clean up some other fool’s mess. I’ve managed to avoid paying any real dues simply by not having children and not going to college and not maintaining a real job. Maybe I’ve just been skating by and the worst thing I’ve ever had to do is pay my taxes every year.

square buttons on a custom card, z-beads 2004

After much consideration, I decided that I’d probably just die of boredom or starvation either way. So I might as well tough it out for as long as I can, and enjoy the rest of my time here on earth while humanity slowly drowns itself in a pile of trash and Jersey Shore reruns. I’ve always thought Steve Harvey was kind of a dork, but he is right about one thing. To paraphrase, happiness isn’t about partying and having fun. It’s about finding joy and peace in your life. And I have… but These Trying Times keeps sticking its fingers in and swirling my happy around. I’m too stubborn to stop resisting, so maybe I’ll shoot These Trying Times the middle finger and make a delightful marble cake – soaked in booze, of course.

On a slightly different note, I woke up Monday or Tuesday morning thinking about ebay. I asked Mr. Sarah what he thought, and informed me that he’s been thinking I should sell on ebay again for a while now. That was news to me, so I asked him why he hadn’t said anything. Since, you know, as soon as I’m thinking something it’s coming out of my mouth. His response was the usual “mmmMMMmmm” which sounds kind of like “I dunno”. Etsy would like us to believe it’s being run by a bunch of flaky hipsters gorging themselves on take-out sushi, and stripey sock monkeys are in charge of important server updates… but they haven’t fooled me.

Since I took my leave of ebay in 2009, I’ve felt inexplicably lost. Maybe I’m a masochist and secretly enjoy the torture of outrageous final value fees and sometimes taking less than what my beads are worth. But the excitement of an ebay auction is matchless. General Hospital isn’t doing it for me – I know I’ve only been watching for a couple of weeks – but that extra bit of distant drama I was hoping to sink my teeth into turned out to be a bit limp. So maybe I’ll just give ebay a go one of these days real soon. I’m not entirely sold on the idea, so it’s 50/50. What say you? I really like honesty, people. Some people say they like honesty, but when they get it, it makes them mad. I’m not one of them. I can take it. I’m a pillar of gristle, you know.

You are cordially invited to join in on the whiny fun… the comments section is your oyster.

Wow, that feels better. Thanks for reading.

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PEEP! (and Etsy)

Yep. Another surprise Etsy listing. I’ve been a bit listless, as I’ve been trying to turn my sleeping schedule back around to daytime. I think I’ve finally succeeded and I’ve mostly regained my coherency. I haven’t had a solid 9 hours of sleep in a couple of weeks. When my sleep hours intersect with dinner time or photo taking, I can’t be counted on to be sociable or to even make sense – but somehow I can work. I don’t know what part of my brain I’m using when making beads, but it seems to be the only part that consistently functions somewhat normally under abnormal circumstances. By the way, for anyone who might be wondering, I bought a bottle of Melatonin and took only one of them, and that was several months ago. I may go ahead and give it a serious twirl when my night owl tries to flap around again.

The good news is, a big cold front is upon us, and wheee, I’m wearing a sweater! It’s only going to be 68 tomorrow, my all-time favorite temperature! The windows are open, the rain-scented air and steady rainfall have improved my mood and I’m glad to be awake. The cats are trotting and leaping around, as they always do in the first weeks of cooler weather. There’s not a day over 85 predicted for the next week or so, so the AC units can catch their breath for the first time in months.

Anyway, enough about that… onto the BEADS!

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

Emerald Isles !BLING! Barrel:

Spiced Marmalade Optical Ellipses:

Pacific Northwest Super Stripey Triple Toggles:

Thanks so much for checking in! I can’t promise I’ll be back too soon – I have cakes to make and family to visit with. And just when I decided to go on a cake diet… But before I go, I want to share this recipe with you. I don’t know whose recipe it is, I think it was published in the Oklahoman. Mom wanted this one for her birthday and it was crazy good, so I’ve talked Dad into trying it for his birthday cake because I still have some of the blackberry wine left and would like to use it before it goes bad. And this cake-pan cake turned out for me this time because, guess what, I FLOURED it. Doh! For whatever reason, I thought you only had to flour Bundt pans, so I suppose I couldn’t have gone too wrong with this either way.

Blackberry Wine Cake

Cake:

1 White Cake Mix (18.5 oz)

1 pkg (3 oz) Royal blackberry gelatin (that’s TWO 1.4oz  packages folks. If there is any such thing as a 3oz package of royal gelatin, it couldn’t be found in my neck of the woods.)

4 eggs

½ cup cooking oil

1 cup blackberry wine (I used Mogen David Blackberry wine because it was cheap – and it was surprisingly good. I had to laugh when the liquor store clerk produced this bottle, but he assured me it was a “step above” their infamous Mad Dog.)

½ cup chopped pecans (these are optional – I made mine without and it was fantastic anyway.)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Combine cake mix and gelatin. Add eggs, oil and wine.  Beat with mixer on low speed until moistened, then beat on medium speed 3 minutes, scraping bowl frequently.

Grease and heavily flour a Bundt cake pan.  Sprinkle pecan pieces in bottom of pan.  Pour in batter and bake in preheated oven 45 to 50 minutes.

Make glaze while cake is baking.  When cake is done take from oven and pour two-thirds of glaze over warm cake while still in pan.  Let cool 30 minutes, turn cake out of pan and cool.  Then add more powdered sugar to glaze until thickened, and pour glaze over cake.

Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

½ cup butter or oleo

½ cup blackberry wine

Mix ingredients together and bring to a HARD boil.

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You’re welcome! Or should I say please don’t kill me. Because if you like cake, it will be difficult to resist making at least two of these inside of a week, but you can use the same excuse I did – that business about not letting a $4 bottle of wine go to waste. This cake is a beautiful color – after lengthy discussion, we still couldn’t decide whether it was mauve or puce. For my fellow lampworkers, imagine a Dusty Rose coral with a slightly more purple tinge.

See you later!

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