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Archive for December, 2012

You still in there? You can come out now, in case you were waiting out Christmas. I hope you didn’t spend a small fortune on a fancy end of days shelter, because it has turned out to be useless. Then again, it might make the perfect mother in law plan. All is not lost.

So the world didn’t end. I guess that’s all a matter of perspective. Every day feels like the end of the world to someone, somewhere, because of an awful thing some other person did for no good reason. I feel like I should acknowledge every awful thing that happens to every living soul on this planet, because they deserve to be acknowledged, they deserve sympathy and help, but there’s just too much awful. I don’t really want to add even more awful to the pile by talking about it here, day after day. Or week after week, or every two weeks as it is right now.

But I’ll say this much: Humans must be taught by someone not to be animals. Who better than our parents? Well. Our manners and mental health are only as good and stable as that of those who are responsible for us. So many people lack common sense and personal responsibility. And kindness. I ask once again if it’s that difficult to just be kind to each other? To rise above the violent images and horror stories thrown at us day after day, to demand something better of each other and of ourselves? I think we’re capable of it, and I think we’re worth it.

lamp

There are people who seem to have more hours in a day than everyone else. Some people publish books, do TV shows, travel the world, eat well balanced meals and still find time to make and sell things. Some people are able to do this AND still get some sleep. What am I missing? I think I’ve figured it out. I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions, so I have already started to eat better and get back on my vitamins. Two tremendous summer heat waves in a row majorly put me off of the kitchen. My inability to think straight due to lack of nutrients got old and I was determined to do something about it. I couldn’t tell you what I’ve been eating the last year and a half, that’s how foggy I’ve been about food. Mr. Sarah pushed for salmon at the store a couple of weeks ago. I reluctantly obliged. Mom doesn’t eat fish, so I hadn’t acquired much of a taste for it – but when we made salmon croquettes I felt like I could make a thousand beads just moments after finishing my meal.

Another interesting thing I’ve noticed – I haven’t been losing as much hair when I wash it. I have a LOT of hair, and I only brush it when I wash it, which is every 4 days or so. There’s always an impressive wad, but over the last several months, the wads were more impressive each time. I didn’t notice until the last time I washed it, because the wad was significantly smaller than the last several.

I’ve been working on orders and finished a big one just as this big cold snap hit. We were supposed to get 6 inches of snow, but it only ended up being some ice and maybe an inch or two of snow. We weren’t spared the 14 degrees, though. That’s way too cold. So Christmas Day I caught up on some sleep and did absolutely nothing, but it wasn’t guilt free nothing. I should have been stringing up some jewelry, I had already made some beads in anticipation of the cold days, but all I wanted to do was rest. I also got caught up on some rings, this one being the most noteworthy – I made it for my stylist:

ering

I hadn’t yet attempted to do anything with a marquise shaped stone, so I was somewhat apprehensive about this one. Forming the bezel went surprisingly well. I used binding wire to keep it together for soldering, something I’ve never done for a bezel before. It went so well that I tried the same method for soldering a very short 28 gauge bezel. I almost always melt bezels so delicate, but the binding wire provided a heat sink and held the ends together tightly, and the soldering went perfectly. I think I’ll do this often from now on, because sometimes I get the bezel shaped just right BEFORE I get around to soldering it.

Forming the ring shank went well too… I think that in the past, when I thought I had been getting heavy pieces annealed, I wasn’t. I must have been going by the color of the metal rather than my ability to form it. Without a point of reference as to the bendability of metals, I suppose that’s all I had. When annealing sterling, you must bring it to a glow that’s a “dull cherry red”. I think I’ve been letting it be too dull, so for this particular shank I brought it up to a temp that was a hair more bright. It didn’t melt or anything, so that’s good, and it was easier to bend so I must have gotten it right. I rounded up the edges on this shank and I think it looks very nice.

ering3

All of the soldering operations went so well that I figured SOMETHING had to go wrong, and that something would probably be the stone setting. It took me a couple of days to work up the nerve. According to John Cogswell in Creative Stonesetting, there are two good ways to set a stone with sharp corners such as this. One way is to saw notches in the corners to accommodate the fold-over and burnishing (my words, not his), or you can file down the bezel along with the profile of the stone and push the bezel over, as you normally would, up to that very point, and just burnish the finer points. Since the shape of this stone tapers down significantly towards the base, and since my filing skills are much better than my sawing skills, the latter of the two ways made more sense.

ering2

I could not be more pleased with how this one turned out, and my next big project will be setting a square or rectangular stone.

Now that the busiest days of the holidays have passed, I can really focus on work and maybe talking about it a bit more. I have a whole list of beads I want to make, new Double Helix glass to try, and a boatload of seasonably cold weather ahead of me. But I can handle it, I’ve got VITAMINS!!! Chewables, even.

Thanks for checking in. I do hope everyone had some wonderful holidays… I’m looking forward to a better year in 2013, I refuse to accept anything worse than 2012. Who’s with me on this?

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ETSY!

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

Jonquil Glimmer Strips:

jonquiletsygal

Seaspray Glimmer Strips:

seasprayetsygal

Wide Open Spaces (borosilicate): (I think these were actually in my POCKET when the great boro bead disaster of 2012 happened. I never keep beads in my pocket, what luck.)

wideopenetsygal

Maybe 2012 was my year for Glimmer Strips… I think I’ve run the whole gamut of opalescent glass in very specific colorways. I’ve accomplished pinks, grass greens, aqua blues, demin blues, and now sea green and yellow… Oh, who am I kidding, there will surely be more eventually, just as surely as the talented boutique glassmakers will continue to come up with new colors I can’t live without. Do you guys remember me saying something like “I don’t need that fancy 104 COE glass when I have boro”? Do you remember that? Pardon me, I was silly to say that. That stuff is completely different AND I get to keep my foils and my bright eye-crossing colors when I use it.

So, about the opaly Czech glass beads I mentioned in the descriptions for the Jonquil and Seaspray Glimmer Strips – the ones that should coordinate nicely with the Glimmer Strips this week, and the ones I’ve made in the past. So that you won’t have to dig too deep (although it might be fun if you have time) check out this Etsy seller, ArteBella Surplus:
http://www.etsy.com/shop/ArteBellaSurplus
She even has them separated by colors so it will be a bit easier to find what you need. Beauty and convenience. A rare find in today’s rat race.

I hope you guys enjoy the beads… I’m off to make a salad to go with dinner, and later, perhaps packing up some beads for mailing tomorrow, wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

Thanks so much for checking in!

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Twelve THIRTEEN Twelve

I almost posted something on the internet yesterday just to say I posted something on the internet on 12/12/12. But my hard wired resistance to joining in on popular culture, no matter how awesome, held me back. And also because I was busy making some of these:

 

see us on Etsy shortly

see us on Etsy shortly

I guess more round beads are what happens after making round beads for three weeks straight.

I also cleaned my house and this half of the living room looks presentable enough to show you a photo. See my black Christmas tree with fuschia lights? That’s how I do things.

livingroom

click for a close-up of my weird space wasters

I’ll be back in a bit with new Etsy stuff!

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Still kicking…

Donald Duck reminds you to celebrate with caution!

Donald Duck reminds you to celebrate with caution this holiday season!

I hope everyone had a halfway decent turkey day. That was what, two weeks ago? I can barely stand to eat turkey more than one day a year, but invariably there are leftovers. And guess who got stuck with all the leftovers, including the carcass? Turkey has an odor that increases exponentially each day it lingers. We were going to have turkey soup (oh, joy) but it never happened and it’s too late now. Meanwhile, that poor turkey has another day or two in my fridge before Mr. Sarah gets The Sneer. He’ll know what it’s for.

Mr. Sarah is in charge of carving the turkey with the electric knife – Mom doesn’t trust anyone else to do it. I don’t remember whose assignment that was before he was around… maybe it was Grandpa’s. (EDITED TO ADD: On the phone the other night, Mom commented on what I said about Grandpa carving the turkey – it went something like “Daddy? Carving a turkey? Are you effing kidding?” She went on to say that my husband is the only man in the entire immediate family that’s been worth a damn in the kitchen. I agree, his pot roast is divine and so is everything else he makes.) Mr. Sarah approached me with the wishbone and I got the bigger half. I hope my wish for a better next year – for us and the rest of humanity – comes true. We always have ham at Christmas, which plays an important part in getting us through the Hellidays to the end of the year. Mom sort of overcooks it so that it isn’t slimy. The only thing worse than turkey two holidays in a row is one slimy ham.

I finally made myself update my website and add several pages to my 2012 gallery. I use Adobe Dreamweaver, which would be more aptly named Adobe Night Terror. Really, it isn’t so bad, but it has all this CSS business that I haven’t a clue about. I’ve tried to read Dreamweaver for Dummies, but CSS doesn’t make any sense to me. HTML barely did. CSS is supposedly more user friendly and gives the user more control and make short work of web designing. My cynical theory is that CSS is designed to make you want to hire someone to maintain your website for you rather than make any sad attempts at understanding CSS.  Luckily Dreamweaver works similarly to GoLive, and what I need to know to make it work for me is all I really need to know. And I got it all done, and that’s what matters. Have a look!

We also got a new video card for my computer. For the last year or so, my computer would randomly freeze up (with no access to the task manager) whenever I was browsing the internet. Usually at the most inopportune moments, like when I was doing Etsy listings or posting on my blog and I hadn’t saved everything yet. It was weird, though – it only happened when I was browsing the web, never when I was fiddling with files or Photoshop. I figured if anything could crash a computer, it would be Photoshop. We finally narrowed it down to the video card, but were reluctant to buy a new one due to the expense and the possibility that it was the slot the card was in, which would mean replacing the motherboard. The problem was intermittent for a long time, sometimes weeks would pass without any freeze-ups. We hoped the problem would resolve itself, but no luck.

My husband knows his way around a PC, and he hates every second of it, and I’ve come to feel similarly about them, having used them for this many years and watching him fix them. But the good news is, we found a card that has about twice the memory and power as the old one and I paid about half as much as I had expected. We’ve pushed it hard by watching videos and visiting sites that always crashed my computer (which was every site I visited toward the end.) Not one single crash in the last two weeks. Now I’m not going to dread surfing the internet, and I have a lot of gawking to catch up on…

waah

waah – I kept looking at them and thinking “what’s that shmootz all over my beads? oh, right.”

Unfortunately, I haven’t had much time for gawking. I have been working tirelessly on boro beads since mid-November. Last Tuesday, an awful thing happened. I had gathered up all the boro beads I had made, except for two sets, and put them into a container and set them on my nightstand. I had to step out for a minute so I grabbed my scarf, which caught on the edge of the container, and all of the beads went crashing to the floor from about 4 feet high… along with a glass jar. The jar broke, of course, and each and every bead hit each other and the fragments of the glass jar, hard. The beads had impact cracks all over them – you know what a thick plate glass window looks like when it’s been shot with a BB gun? Sort of like that, but on a smaller scale. So in a matter of about a second and a half, two weeks, a tank and a half of oxygen, precious and rare borosilicate glass (and 50+ beads) were demolished. They aren’t sellable, and not really give-away-able, either. Mr. Sarah commented that I was taking it all surprisingly well. Who has time to lay down and die when there are more beads to be made?

So I’ve worked double, maybe even triple time recouping what I lost over the last week so that I could get back to the soda lime and fulfill my other commitments. I had to tell my boro people what happened, and one of them asked if there was any type of insurance that would cover such a loss. I thought, Hm, that would be nice, but all the premiums and paperwork and fighting with the insurer to get them to pay up would be a much bigger hassle than just going back and doing it all over. And it’s not as if this happens frequently, this is the first time it’s happened to me. So I just got back to work, and truth be told, most of the new versions turned out even better. I would have liked to make more, I had given myself another week if I needed it, but I had to stop because I literally ran out of several of my staples. I can’t even remember the last time I bought borosilicate glass, and it looks as though the time has come around again.

I guess I’ve just been incredibly busy, and you know how time flies. This is probably the worst possible time of the month of December to contemplate Etsy listings, but contemplating them, I am. I have several soda-lime orders to catch up on and plan to squeeze in a few me-time beads for Etsy over the next week, and there will be a boro set, as well – one of the only two sets (and a few stragglers) that survived because they were in another location. Lucky beads indeed.

I hope you all are well and eaking some enjoyment out of this year’s holiday season. Thanks so much for checking in. I hope to not be such a stranger once I get my schedule back on track…

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