Friday, August 31, 2012

Smooth Sailing

I read my horoscope this morning and it said:
"Today you should have a very strong sense of well-being. Your inner self is functioning harmoniously, and you do not feel emotional turmoil or strife. You are not in the mood for adventures, challenges and major changes, nor is it necessary to be so."
Nice, huh? And it's true. There really hasn't been a lot on my mind, and definitely nothing that would put me in a mood like I was in a few weeks ago. I seem to be at the top of the wave right now, and it feels good.

I have been in the studio because it finally feels like what I want to do. I've just been moseying along doing what inspires me. Here's a few of the new things:

Three new pieces with the beautiful dichroic glass I got at the Gem Show last July.

This one has a lab ruby.

I'm going to try and do an Etsy Shop update this weekend. I've found some more studio stash that I'd like to get rid of and I'll list some new things, too. Maybe I'll list these four!

Have a great holiday weekend, everyone, and stay safe!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Working From Home

I read a Facebook status by Rice Freeman-Zachery this morning that reminded me that I wanted to write a post about this subject. She wrote:
"People think working at home alone means you don't have a schedule and can do anything at any time. Working home alone means you HAVE to have a schedule. No big deal. Getting other people to understand that is The Big Deal."
It's true that I do have some flexiblity in my schedule, but in order to get enough jewelry made I generally need to sit down in the studio by 9:00 in the morning, work through until lunch time, which is ususally between 1:00 and 2:00, and try to stop by 5:00. That's the plan in my head, anyway. It doesn't always work out like that.

There's always too many distractions. The phone rings. A lot. The laundry needs to be moved along, there's a housework chore to take care of, a neighbor stops by, the cat barfed on the carpet, oooh, look at that bird at the feeder and it needs to be filled... you get the picture. Because I not only work alone, I live alone. So all the stuff that other people have a spouse or partner or roommate to help out with, I do myself. Without a semi-firm schedule I'd bounce around and accomplish nothing.

I try to loosely schedule "studio time", "chore time", "paperwork and computer time" and "town time" each week so that I'm at least organized in that way. And four days a month working in the co-op galleries, too. (That's not really "town time", because it's hard to get out of the house early enough to run errands and at the end of the day I just want to get home.)

Then there's the problem of working all the time and never taking time off. There's certain parts of my work that are mindless tasks and get done in the evenings in front of the TV. Weekends, holidays... what are they? One day kind of runs into another and quite often I need to consult a calendar to know what day it is.

I think because my lifestyle is so different from most folks it's hard for them to understand that I really am working! I don't eat bon-bons and watch soaps all day. I have to do it ALL, and it annoys me when people say, in a derrogatory way, that I don't have a job. Or worse, tell me to get a REAL job! Is a the only "real" job one where I'd have to work away from home for someone else? Do they think what I do is just a hobby? Geez! Follow me around for a week and see what kind of job I have!

Perhaps if money was foremost in my mind, I might take on a second job, one away from home that pays well and has health benefits, but that's just not me. I've been there, done that, and found out I'm really not a good employee at all. I don't tow the line or follow rules very well. I question things. I think that's part of an artist's personality. Even though I don't make a lot of money, I love being independent and knowing that I'm the only one who will make decisions on how I live my life, even though that can be worrisome sometimes. And I've learned to live with what I have and not yearn for things that are unnecessary or are beyond my means.

So, rant over, I'll sign off now. Computer time is almost over and I haven't done my daily allotment of pinning on Pinterest yet. I'll be in the studio tomorrow morning!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My Version of a Luna Moth

It took me awhile, but I finally finished my rendition of a Luna Moth in fine silver. I decided to use plain white 3 mm cubic zirconias for the "eyes" since I didn't duplicate the beautiful green color of the moth and I wanted it to be as simple as possible. It measures 1.75 inches across the wings and I usually don't make pieces this large, but I had to be able to capture the detail of the wings as much as I could. I used Scratch Foam for the basic design and an xacto knife for the fine veins. Now all it needs is a chain.

Below is a picture of one of the two I saw last July. You can read about it here. I based my design on this photo.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Black Cat Appreciation Day

Cinder has been gone for almost 2 years. I think today is a good day to put his ashes on the flower garden because it was his favorite spot to catch mice and bugs.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Charity Bracelet Raffle

Shortly after I opened my Etsy shop in 2009 I joined the Etsy Metal Clay Team. My purpose was to gain more exposure to my shop, but it's turned out to be that and soooo much more. We are a worldwide group of women who have become close friends, some of which I had the pleasure of meeting in person at the PMC Conference last June.

In the past few months two of our team members have passed away. Lucia Gulino and Mieko Takahashi Shull were both talented artists and cherished team participants. In their honor we have created two charm bracelets out of metal clay to be raffled off in their honor. (You can see my copper charm on the first bracelet, below.) The proceeds will go to charities that they were passionate about. A ticket is $5.00 and you get a chance at both bracelets, so two chances with one ticket!

Please go to the Etsy Metal Clay blog for more information about the charities and to get your raffle ticket. It's as easy as clicking on the "Donate" button. The drawing will be held on September 30.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Oh... I Know It's Been a Long Time, and Here's Why

Photo by Dale Forrest
Sometimes time just gets away from me. Sometimes I don't even know what day it is unless I really think about it. And, I've been in a very dark, crappy mood, and who wants to write a blog post when you feel like that? Sorry. I think I'm coming out of it now. Mercury being retrograde sure didn't help with that situation one bit.

When I get like this I tend to isolate myself and hope that nobody messes with me and the more I'm by myself the weirder I get. I fall into a pit that I just can't get out of until the time is right and I'm done wallowing. I've never been so bad that I needed medication but this time a friend had to intervene. She told me to snap out of it because this just wasn't like me. She made me cry, but it's true.  I'm usually a posititive person and I know that what you put out into the Universe is what you get back.

So, here's the stuff that's been on my mind. Maybe if I write it here I will purge my head and it will all go away... maybe...
  • My rib still hurts. Not too bad, but if I move a certain way, or cough, it hurts big time. Ice packs and ibuprofen are my friends. Being in pain makes me cranky and it seems like I just can't catch a break. First, I had hives for eight months in 2011 and a hospital visit because of anaphylaxis related to that. Then, in April of this year I had pneumonia and was in the hospital again. Now, this rib thing. I wish I could wake up just one morning and not be hurt or sick.
  • Every time I get a little ahead financially, something comes along that wants that money. Extra visits to the Chiropractor and Acupuncturist, hiring someone to do the yard work I can't do right now, an already-put-off-twice Dentist appointment, tires for the car... stuff like that. Thank goodness for credit cards!
  • There's going to be a big price increase for PMC on September 1st. I ordered enough clay for the next class that's scheduled to start at the end of September, but this will be the last one. I can't make any money teaching for the University any more. The cost of my class is already the highest of all the Craft Enrichment classes they offer, and I just can't make a profit that's worth my time and effort any more. I wish there were enough people interested in private classes - I'd do that in a heartbeat. I have room in my house/studio to teach 4 or 5 at a time. Know anyone interested?
  • My garden, which usually brings me a lot of joy, looks like crap. It's overgrown and crowded and weedy and I can't do much about it until I'm healed up. And I caught my neighbor stealing from my mulch pile. His excuse was "I only needed a little bit.", but I think he took a trailer full. Sneaky S.O.B. waited until I was gone and helped himself. If I had a pickup truck and the gumption, I'd go down there with my pitchfork and get it back. He said he'd pay for it, but I don't expect to ever see that money.
  • There was a horrible incident up the road from me a couple of weeks ago where a man was threatening his family and someone called the law. The man shot and killed a Sherriff's Deputy, then the Deputy's partner killed the man. Nothing like that has ever happened around here and it felt like there was this cloud of death hanging over the entire hollow. ("Holler", as it's called around here.) I smudged my house and property to clear out the negativity and it feels much better now.
So, I'm working on getting out of this funk and I've enjoyed spending quite a bit of time in the studio. I've done some cleaning and purging and looking through all the stuff I have and trying to figure out what to make with the new things I got at the gem show, and I've actually finished a few things to the firing point. (If they're successful, I'll share them here.) I'm pondering new directions and thinking that in 15 months I'll be able to "retire". I don't think I'll ever quit making jewelry, but with Social Security and a small pension, I won't have to depend on it supporting me, which will be a huge relief. In the meantime I'm looking at classes to develop new skills and doing some practice to polish up some rarely used skills so that I can look at using different materials. Let's hope things are looking up for me.