Sunday, December 30, 2012

Action Shot, lol

This is as close as you're gonna get to an action shot of me working. ;-) The Opti-Visor actually has built-in illumination, but the lights were goofing the photo up.

We're going to have a red-and-gold pair of earrings when all is said and done.

Bam! Bam! Whack!

Hammering the daylights out of my first handmade jump rings. Hey, who knew that wire art would be a way to let out frustrations? ;)-)

I Love the Science Channel

I really do love the Science Channel. Oh, if this channel had only existed when I was a kid. I'd never have moved from in front of the TV.

But besides the amazing learning that I'm able to do just by tuning in, I find that the Science Channel is helping me in other, unexpected ways.

They have a few programs that detail how different things are manufactured. Factory Made, How It's Made, and How Do They Do It are all different takes on the same concept. The latter show delves into other topics besides manufacturing and mass production; however, it's still explaining the process by which some complex tasks are accomplished.

And all of these shows seem to help with my creativity. When I watch things being made, I get inspired to create, too. As you can imagine, this has been extremely helpful to me now that I've decided to buckle down and pursue jewelry-making. This is especially true when How It's Made features an artisan who creates things by hand, like pottery or musical instruments. Watching that just makes me want to Make Things Immediately, and this is good. It's therapeutic, and it boosts my Etsy presence. Double win.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Productive Day

I got a bunch of things done this morning. First, I took better photos of the pendant I made yesterday, so I can post it on Etsy.

Then I took the quartz stone that I've been wearing for a year and a half, and re-set it in silver-plated wire. I made a companion set of quartz point earrings to go with it.

I wanted to create a set that's more in line with the work I'm doing NOW (as opposed to when I first started wire wrapping), so that I could always have a current example of the work I do for people to see. And I wanted the stone I've been wearing all this time, which I really like, to be a part of that set. Mission accomplished on both counts.

Now it's time to post my latest work on Etsy.

Oh, and I learned some interesting things last night, when looking at yet another handicraft site as a possible place to sell jewelry. I found a set of earrings that I thought was really great, and I thought, "I could make that." But it's NOT RIGHT to just steal other people's designs. So I did a little googling and discovered:
1. "Shaggy Loops" is the name of a generic chain maille technique, not something that specific artist originated.
2. Other artists have put beads on their shaggy loops handiwork, so if I do that, I'm not stealing this artist's original idea.
3. I can EASILY create items in the Shaggy Loop style, both earrings and something I really need to add to my line, bracelets.
4, This is actually the style of the piece of jewelry that's on my business card, so I will be able to make things that look like the Vistaprint generic image that I'm using on my card.

It's extremely important to me to stay on the correct side of the "learn techniques from other artists, but don't steal their ideas outright" line. If I create the ideas that have been going through my head since last night, though, I will NOT be stealing someone else's original idea, and therefore I will not be stealing money out of their pocket, either. This matters to me quite a lot. I'm an artist, not a thief. Anything I create is going to be MY OWN hard work, not the hard work of someone else.

Expect some basic chain maille style items to begin appearing on my site, as soon as my order of round gemstone beads comes in.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Breaking in the mandrels

Now that I've gotten the unused printer and scanner relocated, I was able to set up all my mandrels on the newly-cleared shelf.

Mandrels are shaping tools, meant for hammering metal. And my Christmas gift to myself was a neck mandrel, with which I will be able to create collar necklaces.

And oh, I have discovered that this is FUN. :-) I put together my first collar today. The only thing is, I am going to have to track down some harder wire in order to really do this properly. Aluminum wire, which was the thickest kind that I had on hand, looks great but it's soft, and unlike other metals, hammering doesn't seem to harden it much.

But enough technical details. The important thing is, I have discovered a whole new kind of jewelry that I will enjoy making. So today has been what I'd call a Good Day.

The studio setup continues

Today's studio work involved demystifying the spaghetti clump that was the power strip. Equipment that no longer is in use has been unplugged and removed.

Regrettably, that includes my first laptop. It has had disk crashes before, and I have always been able to revive it by loading the Windows XP CD. This last crash, however, has led to the machine just being shut off and neglected, as by then I had obtained a newer, non-crash-prone laptop.

I figured that with the renaissance of the computer room as a studio, perhaps I'd like to have a working computer in here. So I fired up the crashed laptop and popped in the Windows XP CD.

Nope. Nada. Dead. Deceased. Pinin' for the Fjords. It's SO crashed, it doesn't even recognize the CD drive. Whoa... now THAT'S a dead computer.

Oh, well. The deceased computer has now been removed from the desk, with many regrets. Thank you for your many years of faithful service, O Computer. If I need to compute while in the studio, I'll bring the iPad in, as I'm doing right now.

I've also set up a radio, a clock, and an environmental sound machine, and there are a couple of goalie pictures that have been in need of hanging for ages, that are going to go up on the wall behind me. Hockey and jewelry making, perfect together. At least, they are in MY world. Besides, they'll nicely match the handprints of Neil Little and Brian Boucher that are posted on the wall in FRONT of me. :) Especially since the two goalie pictures, both items obtained from the auction of the Spectrum's fixtures, are both game photos of Neil Little. If I'm making a space MINE, then putting up Spectrum memorabilia is most certainly the way to go.

I always did feel an affinity for the Spectrum, over and above the fact that my two favorite teams both played there. My very earliest memory involves my standing on the floor of the back seat of my Grandpop's car (this was the early 60s, in the decades before seat belts and car seats), looking at the girder framework of what would become the Spectrum. In the ensuing years, I did the math, and realized that I had to have been two years old when this took place. So when I say my earliest memories involve the Spectrum, I am quite literally telling the truth. As such, I had one extra reason to hate seeing that landmark pass into the mists of history.

But, back to positive thoughts. The one last big thing that needs to happen in here is that we need to find a new place to put the old printer and the old scanner. They're taking up desk space that I would like to use for my work. When I determine a good way to handle those things, and migrate them out of the room, it will be the last big step that needs to be taken, in my quest to studio-ize the room.

My Studio. Yep, I still like the sound of that. :-)

This is a test. If this email goes to Twitter, Facebook, AND my blog, then the experiment will be a success.

Update. Well, it went to the blog. Facebook and Twitter, not so much. One out of three is a start.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Mini the Meteorologist

LOL. You can always tell when it's cold outside. Mini will finish doing her wee chore, and then she will HAUL on that leash like a 6-lb sled dog, trying to go back in the house ASAP. Trying to explain to her that we can't go inside until I've picked up the you-know-what falls on deaf ears. She Who Is Wee does not like the cold. :-)

WHEWWWW! I have a brand new workspace!

I finally did it. I migrated all my jewelry-making equipment upstairs to the former computer room. Holy cow, that stuff is heavy, lol.

This involved moving some boxes of storage OUT of the computer room, so I could move my equipment/materials boxes IN, clear off the desk, and dub it My Studio forevermore.

I still have a few tiny items in the dining room, but it will be easy to carry them upstairs the next time I go.

My studio. I have a studio. :-) I like the sound of that.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Hey, I nearly forgot...

My business cards arrived a few days ago! Of course, they arrived the day AFTER I talked to my hairdresser and the lady in the handmade-goods shop about taking my jewelry on consignment, mumble grumble. But I have the cards NOW, so it will be no particular trouble for me to head back out to that neighborhood, cards in hand, and give them out to the people I'd like to sell my jewelry.

I am very glad that I had cards in time for Christmas Eve, so I could give them out to family members. And we have one more family gathering later in the week, at which I have every intention of giving out still more cards. :-) And ditto for the Misfit Toys' upcoming get-together. Gotta start with the family and friends, and then branch out from there.

I made four pendants and a pair of earrings this morning. I try to work daily, and I try to do it as soon as possible after breakfast, before my hands start hurting or my eyes start getting tired and unfocused. (Some aspects of middle age are a downright pain in the rump.) At least I have the Opti-Visor to help with magnifying and illuminating my work, so that counteracts eye fatigue. But unfortunately, the hand pain is another matter, and the only resolution for that is resting my hands. Since inactivity is incompatible with my goal of creating items daily, I have to work around the soreness by doing my creating early in the day.

On my to-do list: turn the former computer room upstairs into my workplace. The dining room table, with its glass top, is not a place that I want to be hammering wire on a metal mandrel. That's got "recipe for disaster" written all over it. But I fully intend to use those new mandrels; therefore, I will be spending some time setting up a hammer-friendly workspace elsewhere. Stay tuned.

Laughing My Rump Off...

Monday, December 24, 2012

Friday, December 21, 2012

Oh, by the way...

By the way, it seems like having sent those audio-file emails, and knowing that I'm "done" with that aspect of the situation that has made me sad, has really helped me LET GO of it and move forward. I'm still disappointed in the course of events, but I'm able to look at everything with new eyes and take a constructive outlook instead of a depressed one.

Here's the deal. I'm here. I haven't changed, and neither has my contact information. I'm not going to be hostile or rejecting to anybody, no matter who it is, if they should reach out to me in a peaceable fashion. I haven't been hostile OR rejecting yet, and I'm not about to start now. Whatever I've said or done so far has been accomplished in a civil fashion, and *my* side of all communications will remain that way. That is the only part of this situation that I have any command or control over, and I am going to be open, honest, fair, and non-toxic.

I'm pretty much a "what you see is what you get" person. I don't post my ENTIRE life's story on the internet, but what you see in this blog is as true as I can make it. If I say something happened, then it did. If I say I hold Opinion X, then that's where I stand. The same goes for my Twitter and Facebook posting -- if I write it, I mean it. And rest assured, I handle my face-to-face communications the same way. I will never tell someone an opinion that ISN'T what I think, nor describe an event that didn't take place.

And where I stand right now is disappointed in a recent sequence of events, but still wishing for the well-being of all involved. If they didn't matter to me, I wouldn't be disappointed; I would be apathetic instead. I am NOT apathetic about this issue, nor about any people involved.

But at least the disappointment isn't leading to depression anymore. I seem to have mostly processed that and moved foward in the direction of acceptance, the final stage of grief. That's progress.

Thank goodness THAT'S over with

I'm glad to say that my fasting bloodwork is now over with. It's a necessary evil that I strongly wish weren't necessary, but we're all in that age range now where we need to monitor our health more closely. I accept this, even if I don't necessarily LIKE it.

There are two things I loathe about getting this bloodwork done, and fortunately, I've found a resolution for one of them.

For starters, I loathe needles. Unfortunately, there's no solution for THAT except to just groan and bear it. Fortunately, it doesn't hurt much, so I just acknowledge, "Yes, I am dealing with phobia issues regarding needles" and just go through with having it done anyway.

The other thing is that, because there's a urinalysis being done as well, I have to provide a sample. At first, I used to have to hold it in from the time I got up until the time I got to the doctor's office. Oh, how I hated that, because of course I'd end up hitting every freaking red light and taking forever to find a parking place, delaying the time when I could finally get into the doctor's office and get some relief from that "gotta go" feeling. I'm glad to say that there IS a solution for that. I now get a sterile cup in advance, to take home until such time as I'm getting the test done. So now, I can take care of providing that sample when I get up, and I don't have to be stuck driving to the doctor's office in a state of discomfort and misery. I give them my full sample cup and get an empty replacement at the same time, for my NEXT test that will happen in a few months' time.

So I'm glad to say that my necessary-evil experience has been taken care of for the next few months. Now if I can just find a way to do this without getting stuck by a needle...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

One more day spent mourning. Now, on to a new approach.

I tried. I really tried not to let the sadness come back, and I really tried to push it away when it showed up. But unfortunately, copying those audio files to my hard drive meant that I had to hear them. And hearing them did trigger another round of sadness. I've come to the conclusion that I need to treat this exactly like what it is. Grief. This is a round of grieving, even though this person, unlike the FIVE family members we lost during the course of 2012, is still alive. There is a sense of loss as I reconcile the person I thought I was dealing with -- the person I'm grieving for, frankly -- with my new comprehension of people and situations as they currently stand.

So yesterday, I dealt with grief. After this brutal year, if there's one thing I have experience with, it's dealing with grief. I wound up just letting it happen and acknowledging to myself, "Yes, I'm hurt and disappointed."

Today, I'm going to do what I started out yesterday trying to do. Focus on the good parts of the past. Kind of like celebrating the life of a person who has been lost. I'm going to tune in to those Fezziwig parties, things like trips to the AC boardwalk (back before the casinos), and the numerous good things that made up the happy memories. Nothing can take those away from me. The present cannot sully the past. The only reason why the present IS so disappointing is because it compares so unfavorably to the things that came before it.

But I've spent my time being sad and acknowledging loss. I'm not going to dwell on it anymore. Obsessing on sadness is not going to fix or change anything. Fortunately, there is no reason for me to re-sadden myself by hearing those audio files again. They're downloaded, they're emailed, and unless something changes, there is no need for me to play them back again anytime soon. And I think I will have an easier time turning my thoughts toward positive things now, because I can acknowledge to myself, "I've processed this sadness already. Time to focus on happier memories." And there are lots of those, because those Fezziwig days really did rock. Those were some good times.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Well, THAT'S done

Well, THAT decidedly onerous task has been accomplished. In order to get a couple of audio files to the person who needed to hear them, I had to get them onto my computer so I could attach them to an email. I just completed that task.

Unfortunately, those steps involved actually HEARING those audio clips again, and that made me feel sad all over again. So I am working through those emotions. I have decided that for every sad thought that crosses my mind, I will intentionally direct my thoughts to recall a happy memory instead. The unhappy present does not erase the happy past.

So for every "If they be like to die, let them do so at once and decrease the surplus population" memory from the recent past, I will deliberately turn my mind to thoughts of the happy past and Mr. Fezziwig's parties instead. Like the Christmas Eve parties we used to have, where the whole family gathered together and "Santa" would hand out everyone's presents. When I was really young, Santa was Uncle Pat, but I was too young then to pay attention to who else was (and wasn't) in the room, lol. In later years, someone else took over that role. By then, I knew the score, but I thoroughly enjoyed it all anyway.

Nothing, nothing, nothing can take away the good times of the past. No one can steal those things from us. They might try to stand between us and having any MORE good times like those, but they can't ever take away the memories and experiences we already have.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Ordered business cards

I've been devoting a lot of time lately to my Etsy shop. Ever since one of my part-time jobs cut back hours in September, I've been making wire-wrapped jewelry in earnest and selling it on Etsy. You can check out Handcrafted Jewelry by Donna and see what's been posted so far. I've been making and posting items on a very regular basis, including eleven items in the past three days. Stop on by!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Been a rough few weeks

I posted a few weeks ago about some serious sadness and disappointment that I was experiencing.

Unfortunately, time has not lessened that feeling. To the point where on Sunday and Monday, I woke up with a migraine. Stress, unfortunately, is my most prominent trigger.

I know exactly what has to happen in order to put the brakes on this symptom. I am not going to let migraines become a regular part of my life. I need to remind myself of a few things. First, I can't change what other people do. I can only control my own behavior. Second, I choose not to give in to hate or bearing grudges. That solves absolutely nothing. If the other party wants to be peaceable, I will be open to that.

But beyond that, I really do have to release the things that are going on internally. Let. It. Go. Two headaches in two days are a big red flag that I need to handle these feelings in a different way. I can't alter the external factors, but I can work on the internal ones.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

The Critter Wars, lol

Poor Mini the Wee, lol. She got a bit of a comeuppance last night. Captain (18-lb round orange kitty) was on the sofa next to me, and sometimes Mini (6-lb Chihuahua) gets jealous. So she stood in front of the sofa and glared. Then, she started voicing her displeasure. "Rrrr. Rar. RAR AR AR."

Captain glared at her. Last time he looked at her that way, as she barked at him, she got a bop on the head. So I tried to distract her. "Mini. Leave your brother alone." No dice. She was a Chihuahua on a mission. AR AR AR.

Captain jumped down to glare in her face. She was undeterred: AR AR AR. So Captain boxed her ears a few times. BAP BAP BAP. Mini stopped barking, with a bewildered look on her face. The caption for her facial expression should have been, "What just happened here?" She's not used to being stood up to.

Then she started walking away. I picked her up. "See, I told you to leave your brother alone. Just ignore him." I gave her a skritch on the ears, but then also gave Captain a skritch. He was brave to stand his ground. He used to run away from the dog (who's about 1/3 his size).

Today, Mini's stance was, "What orange cat? I don't see any orange cat."

Pets. Sometimes I'm the Meowmy. Sometimes I'm the referee.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Prrrrt.

Captain the Round: "PRRRRT... PRRRRRRT... PrrrrRrRrRrRRRRRT."

Finally, I look up to see what Mr. Orange Kitty is doing. He's stalking his tail, with a PRRRT every time he tries to pounce on it. But the tail kept getting away from him. That sneaky tail. But I'm sure he'll catch it eventually. :)

Stupid Criminal Tricks: Teen boasts about bank robbery on YouTube

It's been a while since we have updated the Stupid Criminal Tricks category on here. But we've found something that qualifies stupendously well to be labeled with this heading.

But before we cover that, let's have a few words of advice that are worth remembering.

One, don't rob banks. It's both a crime and a sin. These things are bad.

Two, don't rob banks. You have a very low probability of getting away with the crime. I read a while back that something like 85% of bank robbers are caught. Plus, see Item One.

Three, if you are determined to ignore the first two items, DON'T BRAG ABOUT IT ONLINE. Also DON'T POST VIDEOS WAVING YOUR STOLEN MONEY AROUND. These are things that will pretty much *guarantee* that you're going to end up in with those 85% of failed bank robbers. Also, see Items One and Two.

OK, so having covered that, here is the story of someone who paid no mind to any of those three items of advice. Or you can watch the self-incriminating video below, where she shows the drugs and paraphernalia she stole from a car and admits to stealing a car, along with everything referenced above.

Oh, and in the few minutes of video I've watched so far, all the cue cards have been BACKWARD. So either she's shooting the video in a mirror, or she's raising them up so the front, not the back, is facing her. I couldn't help but think of the "This is your brain on drugs" commercial.

Unsurprisingly, she was arrested on the day the video was posted. Gee, I wonder why. See Items, One, Two, and Three.