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Archive for April, 2014

I’ve been busy. Sometimes I feel a little overwhelmed. The last time I told my husband I felt like I was responsible for everything he said, “You should learn how to meditate and quiet those judgmental voices in your head.”

I replied, “But I need those! Without them, I’d be laying on the futon, eating potato chips all day.”

And look at what I got done! A rather large made-to-order…

goodness gracious

goodness gracious

 

And another order:

wasabinovember

I haven’t had an order for Wasabi Jewels in years!

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spatula a'la nelson

a’la nelson

In other news, Nelson ate a spatula. He didn’t just put his fang on it and bunny kick it a couple of times, he literally consumed the plastic and proceeded to ralph it up on top of the dryer an hour or two later. When I found what was left of my favorite spatula on the kitchen floor, I saw red. I wanted to murderize that cat. Instead, Mr. Sarah and I agreed that he needed to live outside from then on. We’d still feed him and visit him, he just couldn’t come back inside, ever. That lasted about a week. The combination of his shivery meep-peeps outside the window and an angry looking dog on the loose are what did us in. It only took him a day or two to return to eating wet paper towels.

It’s pica, not underfeeding, for any of you who may be tempted to instruct me to give him more food. We’ve tried to pin down what causes him anxiety but we haven’t been able to find any rhyme or reason in it. Once we hide something he has consumed before, he surprises us by eating something even more outrageous. He certainly outdid himself with the spatula. Poor little bugger, he has absolutely no sense of propriety. It’s not his fault he was taken from his mother much too early. He’s very bonded to us, but has refused to learn from the other cats how to be civilized. I’m tempted to sic Jackson Galaxy on his stripey ass. I can’t get rid of him because I love him, but I also kind of hate him. I liken it to being the parent of a teenager. Although I wouldn’t be so hesitant to murderize a teenager… haha.

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hey America, who's up for a game of screwball?

another laughable encounter

By no means am I a USPS watchdog, but I do my best to follow the rules and meet the mailing guidelines no matter how silly I think they are. Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for the USPS and what it gets done every day. I have not once had any problems with domestic mail, but when it comes to international shipping… well, let’s just say I’ve been served more than my share of piping hot screwball more times than I can count. If I didn’t know any better, I might think they don’t want us to mail anything outside of the US. Yes, that was sarcasm you detected.

Here’s the latest:

I went to the post office a few weeks ago, expecting nothing unusual. Normally I go to the one closer to my house, but they close at 5pm. I was sleeping until about 3 or 4 around that time, and the office downtown doesn’t close until 7, so I peeled myself out of bed and hurriedly packed up a large international order. I got there right at 6:30, where I overheard the clerk telling the lady in front of me that all customs form information must be logged into the system before 30 minutes until closing time. Or, get this – the US Customs authorities will fine that office $250,000.

That’s right. And the first I heard of it. For just a few seconds, I was marveling so hard at how little sense that made that I forgot to be miffed off for rushing around and wasting gasoline only to be told something ridiculous enough to melt my brain a little. Once I got back to my car, I remembered to be really, really annoyed.

But I didn’t complain. The next day, I got up even earlier, ready to be a compliant little robot. I was able to get to my usual post office at about 3:45. Let me paint you a picture: Friday afternoon, ONE clerk, TWENTY people lined up out the door, ONE lady who apparently didn’t know you had to put stamps on things to mail them, even if you were mailing a HUNDRED things. (She was totally rockin’ that Bridezilla At The Post Office For The First Time Ever In Her Life look.)  There was another clerk who was obviously not allowed to work the register, who stood there and asked every now and again if anyone just had something to drop off or pick up. After waiting in line until about 4:15, with several people still waiting in front of me, I held up my customs form and asked the non-money-handling clerk if the $250,000 rumor was true. She became visibly concerned and interrupted the only working clerk with the same question. That clerk just looked exasperated, and said “yeah, if the info isn’t entered into the system 30 minutes before closing, the government will fine us $250,000. The US customs authorities are really picky.” He didn’t seem nearly as worried about it as the clerk from the day before. And I could tell he kind of wanted to use a different descriptor than “picky.”

Hmmm. So how does the US government fine itself $250,000 for anything, and believe that threat would be real enough for one solitary overworked postal clerk to take seriously? I wasn’t about to start a politically charged debate over simple logic when this poor guy was obviously slammed and had no hope for leaving on time. But I could sense that anyone who had been paying attention to this conversation was just as flabbergasted as I was.

The moral of this story is, if you have the same challenges I do with paying for international postage online (ie, led in e-circles with no way out and finally being instructed to go to the post office and take care of it there) get there WAY before closing time. Plus, I like to think that these particular difficulties that only I seem to experience keeps postal clerks employed.

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I’m working on a set or two for Etsy listings next week, but plan to get back to Superstars sometime in the not too distant future. Now that I can work at the computer without needing a cup of Raspberry Restart or Crashytime Chamomile every few hours, I hope to have a bit more patience for staring at the twilight screen for extended jaunts.

Thanks for reading!

 

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ETSY!

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

Flower Shop Chunky Bracelet:

flowershopchunkyetsygal

Fresh Linens in Blue:

freshlinensblueetsygal

Fresh Linens in Yellow:

freshlinensyellowetsygal

Venetian Obsession Ring in Copper Green:

venetianobsessionmeditetsygal

Spring Wedding !BLING!

springweddingetsygal

Now, I gotta go make beads until I fall over. And them pack up some other ones a bit later, or tomorrow. I’m behind on a big order, the extremely hot and sweaty Sunday was followed by a bitterly cold and windy Monday and neither day was particularly suitable for work.

Thanks for having a look!

 

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I’m on it, I’m on it.

Looks like I’m a bit behind on those Etsy listings. But I’m working on them right now, I swear! They’ll be live in just a few hours.

Sneak peek:

this week's etsy stuff

this week’s etsy stuff

Thanks for checking in, I’ll be right back!

 

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Hither and yon

what I've been doing the last couple of weeks

what I’ve been doing the last couple of weeks

 

I have been ecstatically busy with just about everything, and I want to show you what I have been working on. I made !BLING! beads, regular beads, rings, spikes and bells. I made all of the silver pieces in less than 7 days – 3 spikes, 3 rings, 3 little bells and one ring guard, plus some other jump rings and sundries not shown here. Mr. Sarah commented on how quickly I made all of these, and that not too long ago it would have taken me just as long to make any two of the silver pieces you see here.

I’ll tell you my secret. Instead of worrying about every little scratch or dent any more, I just file down the rough stuff with hand files and/or file bits with the foredom, then emery 1, then emery 3/0, then Tripoli on a felt buff, and then red rouge on a felt buff. (This is from Robert Von Neumann’s “Design and Creation of Jewelry” – great book.) I had read this dozens of times, but I finally figured out that it really does help to go all different directions when sanding with emery or sandpaper. I didn’t always bother with the polishing compounds, but those truly help with small scratches. The only thing I don’t like about the compounds is the mirror finish – it is just too bright and overwhelms the color, so I always blacken it and scratch it up again.

The Spikes:

spikes, l-r: lava, amethyst, lapis

spikes, l-r: lava, amethyst, lapis

I am planning tentatively to make necklaces from these. Or I may just get overwhelmed by the thought of that and put them on etsy. We’ll see what happens.

Alternate views of the amethyst spike:

amethystspike

amethyst spike

 

amethyst spike

amethyst spike

The lava spike:

lava spike

lava spike

lava spike

lava spike

The lapis spike:

lapis spike

lapis spike

lapisspike4

lapis spike

These are the best bejeweled spikes I’ve made so far. I love the cabochon on the Lava spike. It’s a little vintage thingee that varies between deep maple and yellow amber, and I’m quite impressed with my setting around such a rock candy-like texture. I was sure it would turn out bumpy or crooked.

Next, the rings:

rings

rings

rings

rings

 

The Green Geodesic with Secret Glitter:

green geodesic with secret glitter

green geodesic with secret glitter

greengeodesic2

green geodesic with secret glitter

 

This is actually a bead – it’s one of those two hole high dome things with hollow space inside. I found this in one of April Melody’s random single bead baskets. I knew it would be perfect for secret glitter on the inside, and I adore this shade of vintage green. Instead of throwing a sizeable wad of cash at good quality resin, I just used some epoxy and my favorite chartreuse glitter that Dad bought me when I was about 10 years old. I also love this bead because it reminds me of the Oklahoma City Gold Dome. Making this ring was a huge pain in my life for several hours. It was my first attempt at an open-back setting, and I had some major issues with the sizing. I finally got it right, but I hope my next attempt will go a bit more smoothly.

Venetian Obsession ring in copper teal:

venetian obsession: copper teal

venetian obsession: copper teal

I’m going to call these rings Venetian Obsession. Many years ago, I saw some rings made from simple sterling settings and venetian glass foil cabochons at the downtown art festival. I had actually been seeing them many years in a row and I was determined to buy one the following year. When I got there that same seller was there, but the rings weren’t quite as wonderful as I had remembered. So I passed, but swore that some day I would make my own foil cabochons and sterling jewelry. And here’s the second one in the series, in this delightful copper green (and it’s a bit more green to my eye than it is on my monitor – it’s somewhere between teal and capri.) I can be talked into parting with this one before I put it on etsy – it’s a size 6 and I’ll be asking $110. It’s way better in person, the foil glitz is more subtle and glowy, and its size is impressive, but not too big – the entire setting measures about 3/4 of an inch.

venetian obsession: copper teal

venetian obsession: copper teal

Now for the main reason I put some days aside to work on jewelry – another honker for my stylist (it measures 1 1/4 inches from tip to bottom):

huge moonstone drop

huge moonstone drop

 

huge moonstone drop

huge moonstone drop

 

OH, and these bells (reserved for my necklace designs, which you may see soon):

little bells

little bells

Plus some beads, yawn:

just kidding, actually, I really like these

just kidding, I really like these

The constant blue screens on my computer got really old, so Mr. Sarah replaced my C drive and reinstalled Windows 7 on my computer. We had the most awesomest Hitachi c drive for 8 years, and it was still functioning when we replaced it. Any piece of hardware working for 8 years is practically unheard of – in my experience, 3 years is the maximum life expectancy of any thing inside or outside of the tower. But that Hitachi worked like a champ until it got tired, and then it continued to work at about 80% for the last couple of years. It didn’t crash, my stuff didn’t go blank – the only obvious issue was the constant random blue screens, and that could have been attributed to just about anything. And I’ll bet if we had to, we could use that old Hitachi in an emergency.

One unexpected bonus I got from the new c drive and updating my various doohickeys: my photos look better than they have in years. I really thought my 15 year old 4.1 megapixel Olympus was getting old and tired too, and I never would have thought my photos could be improved by anything but a new camera. My love for taking photos has been restored. Ok, who am I kidding, I still hate taking photos but they seem to be turning out better and requiring considerably less photoshop fuss, and that makes me pretty glad.

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So, this means Etsy listings some time this week, and I’ll post here… I have orders that will keep me busy for a better part of the month (YAY!) so I may be a bit scarce here, but if you have a hankering for something, you know where to find me!

Thanks for reading!

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