Sunday, August 31, 2008

Busy, Busy

Barbara's Sample Bead

Taking a really fun class with Barbara Becker Simon this weekend. We're making a silver *Lemon Wedge* bead and playing with bronze clay. I got distracted and put a pendant that had a little crack in it in the kiln before repairing it, so it'll be really interesting to see what comes out. I also made a snakey by-pass ring with a tiny sapphire in the end as a tribute to Celie Fago. And I love by-pass rings. See you tomorrow with pictures and a little better review.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Good Day, Sunshine!

Three good things happened yesterday. Woo Hoo! Always a reason for celebration.

I had a really fun play day with Paige and Michelle again. It's getting to be a regular thing. How many of you schedule play dates with your friends? Whether it's to do crafts, go to a movie or museum, or just make a picnic and yak - adult play dates are da bomb. Seriously every time I have one my batteries are re charged, I feel more productive the next day and stresses that I might have been feeling seem to fade into the background. Try it. You'll like it!

My friend Sophie's treasury called "Things That Zing" made the front page of Etsy and my Split Lentil bead necklace was featured in it! Which means that I have so many new *hearts* that the new ones from first thing in the morning (the treasury was on the FP at 6 in the morning L.A. time) were tiny dots by the end of the day. Not sure how many I got but it was alot. And the featured piece got an additional 350 views!!! Wowza! Who knew a front page could be so very influential.

Then, probly because of the front page, I got a commission. A woman saw my Pillow Bead Pendant and requested a similar one with a different type of chain. So of course that's what I made during the play date. Now all I have to do is finish, polish and be-chain it and voila! My first commission.

Life is good.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Morning Mosaic

1. perhaps two heads are not better than one, 2. Vintage Good Humor Truck, 3. red shoes, 4. Haiku, 5. Make-a-Face Neckpiece, 6. crazy.., 7. Newest Trend in Earrings, 8. Do not disturb sign, 9. Egg Face.

I'm in the mood for a little humor this morning and all these images make me smile!  Hope they start your week off in a good mood too.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Show Off!

The view from the door of Libby's own studio

So, didja all like the tours of our studios this weekend? Wanna show off your own, but don't know where? Well, this is your lucky day.

The Library

Libby Mills, creator of the Lizboid blog is looking for a few brave volunteers to populate her great Studio Snapshot series. I was featured a while back and it's not only easy, it's super fun.  Wish I could do it again.  I've thought of better comments for the interview portion.  

The Beading Area 

So if you can answer a couple of questions and click off a couple of photos, you too can amaze (and amuse) the blogosphere with your little corner of nirvana.

What are you waiting for? This could be your great opportunity for fame and recognition.  :¬ )

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Carnival's Back in Town

Image via Dandy Tree

Step right this way... Each month a group of jewelry artists use their blogs to get together online and answer the same question - each in their own way. This month is a bit of a departure! A virtual studio tour.

My 11' x 7' Studiolo is presented in this little mosaic. Click on it for a big view and on the links below to see the original Flickr descriptions and details.  And if you run your cursor over the photos you can see some additional notes. Then be sure to visit the other carney's to see their studios.  I'm so jealous I wanna go out and buy a house and fill it with all sorts of toys and tools!

1. full studio, 2. studio wide., 3. StudioPhotoSetUp, 4. SupplyArmoir, 5. ShelvesAndDrawers2, 6. BulletinBoard, 7. pickle pot, 8. soldering set up

Wait, wait... Don't forget to visit the other carney's studios too!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Social Awareness

When computers started becoming popular about ten years ago, I resisted them.  My father sooo wanted me to learn how to use one.  I think he thought that I could get a nice, stable office job somewhere.  I thought that they were mostly just for buying stuff and that I'd get lost in all the information sites.  At the time I was known for getting lost in the dictionary.  One word would take me to the next and on and on.  It's the same reason I don't have cable for the tv. HGTV scares me. Every time I babysit for the cat next door, I turn it on for the half hour I spend with him and get lost. When I look up - it's two hours later.  

All this is to say that I didn't realize what a wonderful tool the computer could be. Or that there could be a social aspect waiting to be utilized. I never imagined that it would help me to make friends and feel like a part of a community. I've made some wonderful cyber friends on Etsy and Flickr and even through this blog and I'm so grateful. The first community I joined was the the one inhabited by the Yahoo! MetalClay group.  You'd be hard pressed to find a more generous, helpful and caring group. I made two particularly great friends there, one in France and one in Australia that I can't imagine my life without.

Angela, Maggie and I have been lucky enough to meet in person, but the personal attention and goodwill extends to those we've never been in the same room, state, or country with too. 

Robin Whitmore was an active, well respected and well liked part of the MetalClay group almost from the beginning. She was an enthusiastic supporter of metal clay as an art form and of the artists who used it. There was always a very sweet post from Robin waiting in our in-boxes to look forward to. Then Robin developed cancer and eventually passed away.  It was a great loss to those who checked in daily to the MetalClay board.  And of course to her family and friends.

This past year, Holly Gage came up with a wonderful tribute to Robin and all those loved ones lost to cancer.  She asked for people to donate charms to be put onto a charm bracelet and raffled off for charity. I think she was expecting enough to fill one bracelet. But everyone has been touched in some way with the tragedy of the Big C and folks were inspired to create hundreds of charms. Enough to fill over 30 bracelets! Then the decision was made to hold the raffle during the PMC Conference this past July and a miracle happened. So many people around the world bought raffle tickets that over $12,000.00 was raised! $6,917.50 was donated to the American Cancer Society and $5,352.50 went to The Marrow Foundation.

I'm so proud of Holly, all the wonderful helpers she had, all the people who made charms, all the people who sold the raffle tickets and all the people who bought them.  What a wonderful gift it was for everyone involved.  And how wonderful to know that every single person can make a difference.  Whether they're a visible entity in your life or a wisp of data floating on the ether.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Rainy Days and Mondays...

The frustration continues.  Maybe all frustration should come in bursts, then one could be left alone for long stretches at a time.

Woke up Sunday morning all ready, willing and able to take some new shots of pretty trinkets for my Etsy shop.  Got all set up with the lights, props, jewels - turned on the digital camera, looked through the view finder/screen and... no picture.  Just shifting streaks of grey and black. Huh? Newish camera. Just four years old. For gosh sakes, my Kodak Instamatic still works! Maybe it's the battery. I change it. Success! I'm able to get off one shot before the streaks return. Dang!!

So off I go in the car to the local camera store. Which is right in that very cool brick building right on the corner over there.... no... it's a tattoo studio! Double dang. The camera store must have closed. So I decide to just drive a couple of miles to Sammy's Camera which started life as a camera and supply shop to the entertainment and editorial photography world in Hollywood. This is the second location and I know that they're really knowledgeable and even though my little camera is not a professional model, I'm confident they can solve the problem. So I show the salesman what's going on, expecting him to need to take in the camera and send it off to Canon, or at least confer with someone in *the back*...  But noooo. Digital camera's are not fixable and only have a life span of about 3-5 years.  I just have to buy a new one.

I spent a lot of time researching my PowerShot A95. Read up on referrals on the Orchid forum. Comparison shopped online.  Got a great deal on e-bay.  I have no energy for that now.  So I just asked for recommendations and chose the new version of the same camera. The Canon PowerShot A590 IS. It's smaller, lighter, 8 mega pixels instead of 5 and even has an image stabilizer. And it costs less than my previous one to boot! Gotta love that.

And have you been looking at the pictures sprinkled throughout this post? Aren't they great?! They're all taken with AutoFocus too. I have two semi professional lights and a white nylon box/tent thingie, but I'm too lazy to think about aperture and all that, so a camera that takes these kinds of pictures is certainly the silver lining to having to spend a couple hundred unexpected dollars.

Why don't you go over to the Etsy shop and take a gander.  It's looking gooood.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Can You Spell F.R.U.S.T.R.A.T.I.O.N.?

It's taken me a couple of days to write this post 'cos I really just wanted to put the whole experience out of my mind.

So when last we met, I was preparing to go to the hospital for an outpatient procedure to remove the titanium pins from the base of my first metatarsal.  Any operation requires a period of fasting, so I stopped eating or drinking anything (including water) at midnight on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. Actually much earlier in the evening, after dinner.

There are four of these little beauties in my poor tootsie at the base of the 1st metatarsal.

Saint Paige picked me up at 6:15 am so we could get to the clinic by seven.  Now, the doctors have foot clinic until 10:30 so why on earth we had to be there at 7:00 is beyond me. But I like to follow orders, so there we were. Sitting in uncomfortable chairs and chatting pleasantly until 1:00 in the afternoon. We had a nice visit for sure. Then at long last they call me in to pre-op so I can strip down and put on the little hankie of a hosptital gown that is a fashion prerequisite for all hospital stays and have an IV shoved into the back of my right hand. I asked how long it might be and the nurse told me that the OR was ready and being prepped so just a few minutes. After a half hour I ask her to call and find out what was happening. The previous operation is still going on and it'll be about another hour. Ahhhh... So the OR wasn't ready and being prepped after all.  I see.

So, there I am. In the altogether protected only my my lovely blue and white hanky.  Cold. They keep the air conditioning up as high as possible to act as a preservative, I'm sure. Since it's going to be a while I ask if they can give my plastic hospital card to Paige so she can pick up a prescription I was having filled. I might be in recovery until after the pharmacy closes at 8 pm after all.

Now, I'm getting more and more anxious. A family member with an infant and a small male child are visiting with someone in recovery. Why, I don't know. But the small male child was running around and making noise as children are wont to do. I started to weep. I wanted to go home. I wanted underclothes. I wanted a sandwich.

At that moment Paige comes in to say she got my drugs and when I hear her voice, I turn around, tears streaming down my face. Her sounds of compassion get to me and I start to whine and complain out loud. I want to throttle one of the nurses. How dare they call me in there and prep me and make me stand around naked for hours if they weren't ready for me.

Calm headed Paige figures that it's not in my best interest to throttle a nurse and asks if they can call the OR again. It's 4:30 pm. The nurse picks up the phone and begins to speak. Then glances over my way and looks down. "The doctor will be out to speak to you in a minute" she says sheepishly. No operation for me today I think. And I'm right as rain.

The previous operation has taken much longer that they planned (hope the patient is okay) and since it's an outpatient clinic they have a cut off time after which they can't start a new procedure. We'll have to re schedule. I work weekends. I need recovery time. They only do foot operations on Wednesdays. It's not that easy to re schedule for me. But what am I going to do if I'm not allowed to throttle the doctor and the nurse?

So, yes.  I'm frustrated. In big elaborate bold capitol letters. F.R.U.S.T.R.A.T.E.D. And that's putting it mildly. At least I have the whole weekend to do paperwork, get to my taxes (finally) and update my Etsy site (take a look this afternoon). There's gotta be a silver lining somewhere doesn't there? It might be a stretch, but a weekend off is a good thing. Stay tuned for more medical updates. If you dare.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ablaze with Energy

Image and roving via Dancing Leaf Farm

I had a great time yesterday with the girls.  We made some textures with molds, had a great lunch and then spent hours felting little balls by hand.  Well, Paige and Michelle felted little balls by hand.  I used my poor foot as an excuse to do some needle felting on a little dopey giftie.  I'll show pics after the giftie is given.  

I've never felted anything before. It was really fun.  Already ordered some pretty roving from an Etsy seller.  Wish I had it in time for my operation tomorrow (they're taking four pins out of said poor foot). I'd needle felt pretty designs onto those little balls. I'm checking in at 7:00 am but the doctors have Foot Clinic until noon, so I expect to have a lot of time to keep myself busy. Saint Paige is taking me again and insists on staying at the hospital or in the near vicinity until they let me go much later in the afternoon. The docs promise I'll be able to walk out under my own steam.  We'll just see about that. I'm off until Monday, so I'll be doing lots of creative recuperating.

A tout a l'heure.  Wish me well!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Morning Mosaic

1. Paper Sculpture (Red and White), 2. Chain, 3. Final Draft 3, 4. tako, 5. vespa, 6. rika mouw - pierscionki, 7. Roman-British 'Chateleine' 2-3c, 8. brooch, 9. Metal Canister, 10. Girl with Magic Fruit., 11. Quartz No.6, 12. Spikey Critter 3, 13. The Secret. (1997), 14. veins, 15. Corseted Lady, 16. Ascend Pendant

I'm having a play day with Paige and Michelle and was in need of  a little inspiration, so I wandered through my Flickr contacts and was so overwhelmed with the creativity and talent stored there that I just had to share with you. I want to own every single thing in this mosaic. But what else is new!  I've wanted to surround myself with beautiful things ever since I can remember. 

Click on the mosaic to see a larger view.  Hope it inspires a little burst of imagination in you too. 

Friday, August 8, 2008

Weekend Eye Candy

Edith Bellod

I'm back and furiously updating my Etsy shop, preparing for a Little Alters class tomorrow (which I'll also be teaching at the PMCC retreat at Arrowmont in April 2009) and getting ready to go back into the hospital on Wednesday so they can take the pins out of my foot.  Then maybe I'll be done with my physical traumas.

Julie Blyfield

In the meantime, take a look at the wonderful jewelry artists featured by Galerie Helene Poree.

Peter Bauhuis

Then be prepared to be inspired to make a stunning creation of your own.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Blog Blues

Sooo many ideas for magnificent, life altering blog posts - but little energy to put them in writing.  I hope you'll forgive a little breaky. I'll be back early next week. In the meantime, why don't you tell me about some of your favorite eye candy. Or better still, cook up a little of your own and send a couple of pics to LoraHartJewels (at) . I'll spotlight the first five to share pictures of their work. Have a great weekend!