Friday, October 30, 2009

(Early) Happy Halloween!!!

I threw these together last night in about 20 minutes. White fire polished rondelles and beautiful lampwork flowers on silver wire. Here they are again (more detail):


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Still Sad

We put Ginger (see last post) down on Monday morning. Today is Thursday and the rollercoaster of grief continues. Tears, numbness and that weird place where I feel ok, but drained of all motivation. I get dumb and forgetful. It sucks, but I guess it has to happen. I have received an outpouring of sympathy in the last few days, which is wonderful and supportive. I really appreciate the checking in. 

As Placebo says in "Bright Lights" (from Battle for the Sun), "The heart that hurts is the heart that works." It almost sounds cheesy, but it's true.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

New Pieces and a Case of the Sads

Number one daughter is out with her dad after me being home with her almost completely 24/7 for 8 days while she had chicken pox. I had a small window when I could take her out, but then she turned up with lice. I think everything is ok now (crossing fingers).

 I finally finished this piece I've been working on for a month. It came together fairly quickly, but I needed to end it and I had a hard time finding gunmetal cones, particularly when I was laid up with a broken ankle.  But it's done!!! I like the feeling of finishing a piece. Sometimes it comes out exactly as I expected, sometimes it shows me something else. This time I wasn't sure what was going to happen, though I loved the color and texture combinations, and I'm happy with what did.

There's a lot going on here, so allow me to be your guide. It's a 3-strand necklace. For one strand, I took a length of chain and wove iridescent rose/purple size 11(ish - they were pretty irregular, which is fine) seed beads through it. I really like the effect and I may make a piece with only that some time. The other strands are made up of a relatively random combination of plastic purple/pink bicones of varying sizes, size 11 charlottes (one side is cut for added sparkle), #2 purple bugle beads (those are the short tubes), 20mm black bugles, the iridescent rose/purple size 11, and 10mm black bugles. I finished with gunmetal cones.

I don't remember using cones to finish a piece. I decided that instead of doing it "my way," which historically involved a lot of hidden glue, I looked up other beaders' ways of doing it. I modified it a little, but not at any cost of form or sturdiness. Most beaders use 20-22 gauge wire, but since I was using gunmetal colored findings (clasp & cones) and all I had was gunmetal headpins that were probably 18 gauge, didn't bend well and dented easily, I thought I was going to have to put off finishing until I went back to the bead store. Ever the resourceful lass, I pawed through my supplies and found black nylon coated stainless steel. Eureka! It worked beautifully and I'm really happy with the result. 
The other piece I'm excited about is also purple(ish). This one came out pretty cool, too. I didn't have enough of the faceted beads to make even a decent length choker, so I ransacked my collection to see what I could do to extend the piece. When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but size 6 yellow lined black diamond opaque beads. I bought them for a small project and only needed fewer than 5, but I figured I'd use them eventually. Voila:

The top pic shows the green, but the white background washes out the purple, so I took a pic on my gigantic woodstove. It was another piece that took longer to make than conceive - one of those moments when I rushed a little because I was excited to see the finished product.
Now that I've finished these two, I feel a little empty. I have to fool around with a bunch of stuff before the next piece suggests itself to me. I realize I sound a little hippy-dippy when I refer to pieces materializing, but that's really how it happens for me. Trial and error and then something pops out of the background. 

So, my case of the sads. Today is a beautiful fall day in OR and I'm almost motivated to put on big girl clothes and go take some pictures. But my sweet kitty, Ginger, has had a tumor on her jaw and it's starting to cause problems. Her "dad" and I knew we were going to have to put her down because of it, that she isn't going to die relatively comfortably of old age. I thought she might make it until the end of the month, but it looks like we might have to do it this week. My heart is breaking. I've had this cat for 14 of her 15 years. I've had a LOT of other cats, many of whom I've raised from kittens. Ginger is one of the best and losing her is going to tear a hole in our little family.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pick a Direction and Go (the "too much coffee" post)

Reverend Horton Heat, jewelry, Tyra Banks and swine flu vaccine. (Wonder what Carnack would have to say?)

    1. Tyra Banks can bite me. She made a big deal of telling the press to kiss her "fat ass" and used her show to promote acceptance of all shapes. "Good stuff," I thought. She's down to a size 8 now. That fact isn't bothersome to me. The problem is that she's making a huge deal about it. Was this necessary? It's like using the word "but" in the middle of a sentence when it automatically negates half the sentence. (Of course, I can't think of a good example at the moment.)
   2. The Reverend Horton Heat. "Where in the Hell Did You Go With My Toothbrush" came on earlier today and it's been stuck in my head. Funny song about the little things people do during a breakup.
   3. Jewelry. When is that NOT humming in the background for me? Particularly since I took on creating an Etsy shop. Now, I don't want anyone to get the idea that it's impossible. Hardly. They've made it SO easy and there is so much help available. I'm just a perfectionist about this kind of thing, so I need to make sure every picture looks good from the initial photo to my manipulation of it. I want to have great descriptions (that are generally grammatically correct, and - above all - spelled correctly) that give potential customers an idea of what I can offer. I did struggle with figuring out the shipping info, but I think I got the basics down. I listed four pieces today and they are available for purchase. 
I was hoping to put some pictures on Etsy of pieces that won't be for sale, but I can't figure out if there's a way to do it. One artist I saw linked to a photo stream, so I think I'll put them here.

OK, the one on the left is a random photo Jon took with the props we had with us. The piece at the top of this post features a cobalt glass pendant with this beautiful foil sun that my friend Kathy gave me a couple years ago. I put it with cobalt and copper seed beads and assorted sized goldstone beads. I wove a cool sun-themed ring and bar clasp. The earrings to the right happened while I was shopping for some other stuff at a store in Salem. I love window beads and liked the aqua color tucked away inside some of them. Then I spotted the aqua fire-polished beads and started hunting for square/cube shaped spacers. I recently bought more of the window beads and happened upon some different aqua beads. We'll see what happens.

   4. Last, but not least, swine flu vaccine. I am not a fan of vaccines. I have read research suggesting they work, that they don't and that some work. This article takes a serious look at the actual numbers associated with "the flu" and points out some major leaps in logic. I recommend anyone who leaves her/his house read this. If enough people start to understand, maybe we can calm the panic.

OK. I'm out. 

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Of Course We Should Care

The New York Times searched Michelle Obama's lineage and discovered that her great-great-great grandmother was a slave named Melvinia Shields who was raped by a white man (as well as at least two men identified as slaves). I find this interesting. I also find it interesting that there are people out there who don't understand why this is important. I mean, she's black, so she's probably related to a slave somewhere, right?

Racism isn't limited to white people denigrating black people in the US. It's a blight on the entire human race and it isn't limited to skin color. Mel Brooks gave many examples of this, particularly in 1975's "Blazing Saddles." When negotiating with the railroad workers for help making the fake Rock Ridge, one of the townspeople offers, "All right... we'll give some land to the niggers and the chinks. But we don't want the Irish!"

One theory holds that this is evolution - fearing Them protects Us. Even if it is somehow connected to evolution, does that make it ok? Obviously, if I'm bleating about it here, I think not.

The fact that our current First Lady, our first black First Lady has slave lineage is a reminder of unpleasant truths about the US. These are things we shouldn't forget about. As unpleasant as they are, they shouldn't be pushed out of individual or public consciousness. It also establishes a direct link between the Obama White House and a part of American history that involves people other than the wealthy white men who "founded" the US.  

Wonder what's next. . .


Friday, October 9, 2009

'Cause It's Funny

Catching Up (But not With Depeche Mode)

I haven't written in a few days because I've been busy! The pain meds were sucking my motivation during the day, even though my ankle was getting better. I ran out and have been a cleaning machine. I totally wore myself out several days in a row, but the laundry pile is so much smaller and there are lots of beautifully tidy piles I will eventually put away. 

I've been working hard on my Etsy shop. I really want to make a go of it, so I'm working really hard to make sure it looks beautiful before I "go live" and start publicizing. I finished my bio, which is probably too long and my policies section, which is probably too short. I spent nearly an entire day measuring each piece and writing out detailed descriptions of the materials used in each. I found a pile of pieces I made years ago that look great, but need sturdier construction, so I've been re-stringing them here and there. I also managed a couple new pieces, too, both using purple. A multi-strand number using gunmetal chain, purple/pink iridescent seed beads and bicones, black bugle beads of varying sizes strung on nylon thread. I have to figure out the best way to end it. The other is large, round faceted opaque purple glass beads with antique brass caps on each end and pearly green size 6 beads in between. No pictures, yet. Jon and I are going to make another picture date soon. If you haven't looked at his site, you should. He has some amazing photos and a really funny story about how we met.

There was some drama this week. Kiddo is having some of the same problems she was having last year. She learned some very effective ways to get out of doing what she didn't want to and we're still trying to un-learn a lot of it. Basically, she knew how to become so disruptive, she'd get sent to the office and not have to do it. There wasn't any completely effective way to counteract this because there were too many other kids who needed attention. Hopefully, she's in a smaller class in a charter school.

The other drama was Ginger, aka, Old Cat. She's had some teeth problems and we'd planned to have her teeth cleaned. Once she was under anesthetic, he discovered the growing lump under her jaw is either a severe infection or a tumor. So, we get to play the wait and see game - giving her antibiotics and waiting a week or so to see if the lump goes down. If it does, it's an infection, which could turn into a chronic infection, but very treatable. If not, it's a tumor and we need to find out how much longer she might have and what we can do so she doesn't suffer. She's eating like a horse right now, so I'm not super worried right now. She's just a little pathetic with her swollen, lumpy jaw.  

Nothing major to be opionated about at this moment. I'm sure that will change soon enough. Stay tuned.