Saturday, December 26, 2009

Power's back on

My power went out shortly after yesterday's post and was out for over 24 hours. So, I spent Christmas day by myself, reading a book while it was still daylight and going to bed at 8:00. I have gas logs to keep the house warm and, even set on low, the living room never went below 74 degrees. Thats a lot warmer than I usually keep my house, but it was only 68 in the bedroom. I have a battery-operated radio, but couldn't get the local station to come in. Turns out that they were offline, too, until early this morning. Here's some facts: 27,000 people lost power, and it might be Tuesday before everyone gets theirs back. Trees are down, making many roads impassable. There's still ice in most of the trees and they're still falling. We're in a State of Emergency. They're saying this is the worst tree damage and power outage since Hurricane Hugo in 1989. And last week we had the most snow since 1993 - there's still 5 or 6 inches on the ground in most places.

I'm trying to find a two-day window to go see my family, since they're calling for more crappy weather next week. Right now I'm looking at Tuesay... we'll see.

Friday, December 25, 2009

I was not dreaming of an icy Christmas!

So far the power is still on, but it keeps blinking. There are trees and limbs down all over the place, and it sounds like rifle shots going off outside.

It's 28 degrees. I only need 4 more degrees to (hopefully) bring this to an end. I don't think I'll get home to Raleigh today, as there are trees down across the roads, according to the radio, and who's going to clean that up on Christmas Day? I'm missing the holiday with my family for the first time in my life and it's been rough. At least I'm not overseas fighting a useless war and I still have a warm house and can bitch about it on this blog to all of you. I hope your day is happier than mine.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Day five, and I GOT OUT!

Woo Hoo! I managed to escape the prison of my house today! It was not an easy task, to say the least, but I managed to get out and back home safely. Yesterday, my neighbor got her pickup stuck in the middle of the road (No 4-wheel drive, no chains, bad tires and no weight in the back. What was she thinking? But, then, she's from Florida, so I guess that explains a lot.) and this morning it was still there, so I didn't make my 9:30 dentist appointment. Another neighbor got her truck out by 10:00 and the dentist said they could still see me if I got there by 11:00, so off I went, slippin' and slidin' up the little hill (with big drop-offs on both sides) and finally reached black pavement. Whew! I don't do well in these situations. My car has all-wheel drive and does very well in snow, but ice is another matter. My palms get sweaty and my heart pounds and I really don't like it. But, I did it.

When I got to the dentist's, he said I needed a crown, of course, and all that drilling put my heart back into palpitations, but it really wasn't too bad. He was quick. I think everyone in his office was anxious to start their Holiday vacation, and here comes this woman at the last minute. Then, I almost passed out when they told me how much it cost. I know my credit card is gasping it's last breath at this point, but whatcha gonna do? Merry Christmas, Dr. Bridgeman!! (I know, a funny name for a dentist - BRIDGEman. We have a meteorologist on one of the Charlotte TV stations named Larry Sprinkle, too.)

I went to the Post Office - my box was absolutely stuffed, and I had two packages waiting - and returned the movies I'd rented last Thursday. Got some groceries, went to the bank and then came home. Coming down the little hill is not as bad as going up it.

The freezing rain forecast for Christmas Eve has not changed, so I probably won't go to Raleigh until Christmas Day, if the temperature rises enough. Just taking it one forecast at a time, and my family wants me to be safe, so it will all work out.

I want to thank all of you who read this blog for hanging with me since I started it last May. It's been an adventure, that's for sure. I hope that your Holiday Season is glorious!


Monday, December 21, 2009

Day four of being held prisoner in my own home

I'm still here. The road is still covered with snow - it may have either melted or compacted itself into only a foot by now, but it's still here and so am I. I've been singing "I'll Be Home For Easter" in my head. (Thanks for getting THAT started, Alan!) Boredom and cabin fever are setting in. Now I have to try and get out of here on Wednesday because I broke a tooth and have to go to the dentist and if I don't do it that day, they're closed until January 5. If I didn't know that there's more bad weather coming on Thursday (Christmas Eve) - this time freezing rain with "significant icing" - I'd just head to Raleigh on Wednesday after the dentist. Now I'm worried that power will go out and I'll have to deal with frozen pipes when I get home. My sister keeps asking when I'm coming and all I can tell her is that I don't know. All I do know is that it's not today.

I put some seed out on the porch table for the birds. Look who else found it. I've also had a group of four crows that have been gorging themselves and the deer ate the whole feeder full last night. Oh well, I guess everybody's hungry. Including my cat:

Friday, December 18, 2009

That's a lotta snow!

I haven't ventured past my covered porch with a ruler, but it looks like maybe a foot and a half of snow. That's a lot of snow for us, and it's not even officially winter yet. I suppose that I'll be here in the house for many days, and I wonder if I'll be able to get out by Christmas Eve, when I'm supposed to go back to Raleigh for family festivities.

The birds are happy that I refilled the feeder. I had stopped feeding them because I was also feeding squirrels, raccoons and deer and the seed is too expensive to feed everybody. But, it's hard for the little feathered ones to find anything to eat under all the white stuff.

My road is a gravel road with a grass strip in the middle, so it can't be plowed. The plow digs up the grass strip and turns the whole road into a sea of mud when the snow melts. Oh well... I guess there's nothing to do but wait until it melts.

I may not get out for a week.

Our weather guy has been saying for several days that we were in for a "Big Snow". He was right. It started about 8:30 this morning, has been snowing all day, and we have about 8 inches now. He says the worst will come over night and we might have TWO FEET by the time it all ends tomorrow. Yikes. I prepared myself, though. I rented some movies and went to the liquor store and, in case the power goes out (which, if it does, I'll be really pissed because I want to watch those movies!) I've filled the bathtub with water to flush the toilet and lit the pilot light on the gas logs. I took a couple of short videos today, but I'm having trouble uploading them. I'll take pictures tomorrow and post them here.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Wonderful weekend

I had such a great time this past weekend with family. I went to Raleigh on Friday and dropped off some more pieces at the Little Art Gallery in Cameron Village. Then I visited with my Dad and had dinner with him at his retirement home. I love that place. It's like having 240 grandmas and grandpas doting on you every time you show up. On Saturday my sister and her husband had their annual Christmas Party. As usual the food was incredible and the people extremely nice. She had told me to bring my jewelry with me "because some people might need to do some holiday shopping." I did, and I made some money while partying. Can't beat that with a stick! In fact, two of the pieces from the previous post now have new homes.

On Sunday my Step-daughter and her family drove down from Virginia so that we could do Christmas with them. It was wonderful, as usual, to see her and her husband and my two step-grandboys. The younger one is six and still firmly believes in Santa. His older brother is nine and probably does not. He won't admit it, though - I think he's afraid that he won't get any presents if he does. Or, he's trying to spare his little brother's feelings..... No, I don't think that's it!

I'm working at Hands Gallery today and I'm exhausted. We were up really late on Saturday night and the drive back from Raleigh on Sunday was not fun - drizzle and fog made the trip seem really long. When I leave here I'm going to finish my gift shopping, get some groceries, and then go home and NOT GO ANYWHERE for at least a couple of days. I love my family and enjoy every minute I have with them, but traveling wears me out. Driving hurts my back. I love being home, too.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I'm Done.

I've been spending the last few days finishing up some custom orders, so that they're done in time for Christmas, and I don't feel right firing my kiln with just a couple of things in it. Seems like such a waste of electricity. So I made some new pieces and some to take to the Little Art Gallery in Raleigh. Plus, look at the gorgeous photos I took with my new camera! I'm thrilled to have some decent shots to send off for show applications, too.

This one broke, so I improvised by putting the drop at the bottom.

This one has a nice Rhodolite Garnet. It was one of the "sparkly" ones from the previous post. I un-sparkled it.

I love working with pearls!

So now I think I'll take the rest of the year off. I'll be headed "off the mountain" this weekend to attend my Sister's Christmas party and to have a holiday celebration with my Step-daughter and her family, since they're going on a cruise this year. Then two weeks after that is the big day and I'll be going back to spend time with the rest of the family.

The weather has been raw, rainy and cold (even a little freezing rain today) and it's time to hunker down with a good book, or bake cookies, or visit with friends. No more work this year, unless more orders come in. There's still a few things in the sale category in my Etsy store, so Artwear bargains are available. The last day to ship is December 19.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Sometimes when you fire metal clay you get the "Sparkly Effect" when it comes out of the kiln. I fired the above pieces today and they're REALLY sparkly. This is an effect of the silver particles fusing together and forming crystals on the surface. It's random and I don't think anyone really knows for sure how and when it will happen. And no one knows how to make this happen on purpose. These were not all the pieces in the kiln. The rest of them came out white, like they usually do. Vickie Hallmark wrote a blog post about this recently and went in to great detail about why this might happen. You can read it here, if you want a scientific hypothesis of why this might be.

My question to you, dear readers, is do I polish these to a  shiny surface and then put on a patina, like I usually do, or leave them rough and sparkly? Polishing esentially flattens down the crystals and light doesn't reflect off of the peaks any more.  I'm not sure I like it and I don't know how it will wear over time. What's your opinion?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

And the winner is.....

The BIG, BIG, BIRTHDAY SALE is over and was a successful event for me. Many people took advantage of reduced prices on some lovely pieces. This morning I drew a name from all people who ordered in November and Gayle Tsipis has won these beautiful earrings! Congratulations!

A little secret to those of you who read this blog: All the items that are left in the sale will stay marked down through the holiday season, so bargains are still available. Just no extra discounts or give-aways. Now let's get going on that Holiday shopping!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Not much happening, but here's a treat anyway...

I don't have a lot going on right now. I stayed home for Thanksgiving because I had to work in the gallery on Friday, and will be there again on Sunday. I'm working on a few orders for Christmas and shipping out things from my Etsy Store. The BIG, BIG BIRTHDAY SALE is winding down and a lot of people have gotten themselves some really good deals. The drawing for the free earrings will be done on Tuesday. Since there's not a lot going on, I thought I'd give you this to ponder, because who doesn't like Johnny Depp? He is, after all, the sexiest man alive.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Off the road for a little while

I went to Charlotte on Friday for the annual Charlotte Trunk Show. It was previously held at my friend Patty's house, but since she moved to Maggie Valley I've been doing it at Hospitality House of Charlotte as a benefit for that wonderful organization. They provide low-cost housing for people who have loved ones in the hospital. A portion of my sales from this event are always donated to their cause. Plus, my good friend Kimberly is their Executive Director and I get to spend quality time with her and her family while I'm there. It was a pretty lousy turnout this year, blamed on the economy as usual, but they'll still get a nice donation from me. We went out for a fantastic dinner last night - I'm still celebrating my birthday!

I designed a charm with the Hospitality House logo on it that we were going to raffle, but since there were only two customers who entered the drawing we decided that it wasn't really fair. I ended up just donating the charm to them to raffle at another time. I decided that I will take orders for this charm and a portion of the price will also be donated. I already have orders for two of them. Here's a picture of it:

I'll be listing it on my Etsy site soon. You can have one of your very own for only $25.00.

I like to listen to audio books while I'm driving. I've had Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo checked out of the library for a long time. It's on a "Playaway" (a book loaded on an MP3 player and you only have to provide your own ear phones). I didn't realize how long this book is, (25 hours, I finally found out) so on the way home today the battery died. I got out my iPod, but it was dead, too. There was a football game on my favorite radio station. So, for the last 45 minutes I drove in complete silence. I can't remember the last time I did that! I let my mind wander and came up with several good ideas. Some about how to re-design my show display and a couple of new jewelry ideas. I'd forgotten how good a little quiet time can be!

I don't have to go out of town again until December 11 - a family thing in Raleigh - and I'm glad to be out of the car. My back is sore and I'm looking forward to a little down time. Maybe I can clean up my house and pay some attention to my poor neglected cat.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Happy Birthday to ME!

Yesterday was my birthday, and, wow! It was a great day. My best friend wanted to take me to lunch and said we could go wherever I wanted. I told her that I wanted to go to Olive Garden because their television commercials always make my mouth water. She reminded me that we don't have an Olive Garden here in Boone. I said "well, that's where I would go if we had one." So, after deciding that we didn't have anything better to do, we drove to Hickory (about an hour away) and went to Olive Garden for lunch. It was delicious and I'm so grateful to her for making the trip. A special treat, indeed.

Because they're working on widening the highway that comes up the mountain (they've been working on it forever) the DOT closes the road from 12:00 to 2:00 on Tuesdays and Thursdays so they can dynamite rocks off the sides of the road. Therefore, after we finished our lunch we had to kill some time by shopping until we could get back home. We went to Michaels and she was amazed by the amount of jewelry stuff for sale. It's all made in China and people can purchase bits and parts and put together their own jewelry. I was a little amazed, too, and now understand even more when people think that my work is too expensive. But, the debate over "junk jewelry" or "costume jewelry" versus "art jewelry" is a topic for another day. Over all, it was a lovely, leisurely day.

This also means, of course, that there are only 13 days left for the BIG, BIG BIRTHDAY SALE in my Etsy shop. Sales have been brisk, so go look before everything's gone. If you make a purchase this month your name will be entered in the drawing for a free pair of earrings. I'll draw the name on December 1st, and announce it here.

I'll be spending the rest of the week getting ready for the Trunk Show at Hospitality House of Charlotte on Friday afternoon and evening. If you're in the area (across from Carolinas Medical Center), please stop by and shop because a portion of the sales will be donated to this wonderful organization.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Lost the bid, but got the camera anyway

I lost out on the Ebay bid -- someone must have had one of those automatic bidding programs on this one because every time I increased my bid during the last minute I was out-bid within seconds. It eventually sold for $85.00. Then, I got the idea to go directly to the Olympus site and order one and got it (without the hassle of bidding on Ebay) for $70.99!! Fancy new pictures will be up here soon.

Watching Ebay

My camera is acting really funny. Sometimes the pictures have lines through them and sometimes I only get half a picture. It's ancient, though, so I'm not surprised. It's really been a trooper, but this is very frustrating. So, since my lovely sister sent me some money for my birthday I'm going to spend it on a new camera. I had read a blog post by Kate McKinnon recently about her Olympus FE-340 and how much she loves it for taking photos of jewelry, so I thought I'd look for one on Ebay..... I found a refurbished one being sold by Olympus, with a warranty and everything! Wow! ...16 minutes left on the auction.... I'll let you know if I win the bid.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Purple goldstone donut with a fine silver center

I realized the other day that by putting all those items in my Etsy shop for the BIG, BIG BIRTHDAY SALE, I was running low on new things to sell at my upcoming Trunk Show for the Hospitality House of Charlotte on November 20. (Look to your right for more information about that.) And, I'll need things for the galleries for Holiday Shopping. So, here are a few of the new things I've been working on in the last couple of weeks...

Fine silver pendant on a hand-forged sterling silver chain

Boulder opal set into fine silver

Black akoya pearl on fine silver

Friday, November 6, 2009

Take a deep breath... let it out slow....

I sometimes forget that language subtleties, like sarchasm and inflection, cannot be conveyed well through typing online. And other people forget, or maybe just don't realize that this is true. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten upset over something that someone has put into an email, or a message board, only to be told "I was just kidding", or "You didn't understand me". Recently the tables were turned on me and I got lambasted by someone for something I said. It escalated, got worse and we both got mad. I chose to end it and just not respond any more. There's another person that swears that we're getting "closer" just because she comments on my Facebook posts..... I haven't talked to her in person for months, and then nothing that I would call a deep conversation. These things keep me awake at night and I consider this one of my personality flaws. I just don't understand sometimes how things can get so out of hand and I go over and over it in my head instead of just letting it go.

I was visiting a friend recently and her teenage daughter spent all evening texting on her cell phone. I asked her who she was talking to and she said it was her best friend. I wondered why they just didn't call and TALK to each other, or better yet, see each other and talk in person. She said that's "just not what they do". It makes me wonder if technology is eroding our personal relationships. Do you HAVE to use the latest technology just because it's available to you? What do you do if there's a digital misunderstanding?

I suppose I should just chill over this, but it bothers me and I don't like it any more than any one else when my words are taken the wrong way.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Things are going pretty good!

The Big, Big Birthday Sale is going well. I keep finding new pieces to add, things that I know you just need to have for yourself, so check it out:   Go to the section on the right side of the screen to find all the things that have been marked down.  There have been two people who took advantage of their own November birthdays and received an additional 10% off, and there are some names in the running for the drawing for the free pair of earrings at the end of the month. Here's a few things I've recently added:

Lovely dichroic glass with multi-strand cord and ribbons
Was $98.00, now $75.00

Shield pendant with lots of texture on a snake chain
Was $98.00, now $75.00

Blue and gold dichroic glass on a black cord
Was $90.00, now $65.00

I'm finally over all the dental mess I was in a couple of weeks ago. It took me another week to recover from the ravaging that antibiotics can do to your system and to get my energy back. Whew! That cost me nearly two weeks of lost time and now I'm working on catching up. I have three more days before I have to work in one of the co-op galleries, so now is the time to work on new things for the Benefit Trunk Show for Hospitaly House of Charlotte on November 20.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Gentlemen (and Ladies), Start Your Engines!

OK, folks. This is it. Today is November first and my BIG, BIG BIRTHDAY SALE has started. Just go to my Etsy Store and click on the link for the section where all the sale items are and you'll see what's been listed so far. I'm still working on it and everything should be listed by tomorrow, I hope. There are the following gimmicks attached to this sale: If you also have a birthday in November you can get another 10% off the already-marked-down price. If your birthday falls on the 17th of any month you also get 10% off. That means, of course, that if you share the same birthday as me you'll get 20% off! You have to be able to prove this by either sending me a scanned copy of your dirver's license, or by some other method like your Facebook page.

And... that's not all!!!....

Everyone who makes a purchase this month will get their name put into a drawing to win these lovely earrings... a $20 value... yours free just for purchasing. And, you'll pay NOTHING to have your purchases sent to you by standard US Postal service mail.

OK. Sorry. Can you tell that I spend too much time late at night watching info-mercials?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Shopping for Jewelry Supplies

I went to Ashevile yesterday to the Gem and Lapidary Wholesale show. I usually buy most of my non-metal clay supplies there that I'll use to work on new things this winter. Unfortunately, silver has gone up so much that a lot of what I wanted to buy was beyond my budget. I did manage to find some things that were on my shopping list, though:

Some tiny (2.5mm) round stone beads. Citrine, amethyst, clear crystal and garnet. Not sure how these will be used yet. They could be crocheted into a lovely (but terribly expensive) neck chain for a PMC focal piece, or maybe just strung in some way.

An assortment of bead caps, cones and bails in sterling silver. No intended purpose for anything but the cones. I use them for the ends of my multi-strand seed bead necklaces.

Some interesting new sterling silver chain from SII Findings. You gotta watch out for this guy! He's young and cute and has an uncanny ability to talk me into buying a lot more than I asked for in the first place. I'll use it all up eventually, though.

And, lastly, a bunch of watch faces. I've been intending on making some more watches, so this should keep me busy for awhile!

The best part of the day was that after I was done shopping I had lunch with a friend who I haven't seen in about 12 years. I found her on Facebook and it was sooooo much fun getting caught up. It seems that we have run parallel lives since we last saw each other, and the connection was there as if no time had passed at all. Thanks, Cheryl!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It's Almost Time

Can you believe that it's alomst time to set our clocks back again? Sunday morning, November 1. I'm sure you all get up at 2:00 a.m. to reset all your clocks. Many people are glad that they get an "extra" hour, but if you think about it, where did that hour really come from? There's still 24 hours in a day, right? Or did I miss something? A friend just sent me this story:
When told the reason for daylight savings time the Old Indian said, "Only the government would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket, sew it to the bottom, and have a longer blanket."
It just screws me up. I can't get up in the morning, then I can't get to sleep at night. Takes me weeks and weeks to get straightened out again. I'm not looking forward to it.

BUT, also on Sunday morning (although not at 2:00 a.m.) I'll start listing things for my BIG, BIG BIRTHDAY SALE that will last all of November. (And, I guess I'll have an extra hour to work on it!) I know everyone is poised with their mouse pointer on the link to my Etsy Store, waiting for the bargains to start, but be patient - only a few more days. When you get to the shop, click on the section for the BIG, BIG BIRTHDAY SALE on the right side of your screen to see all the things that are marked down. These are pieces that have slowly sunk to the bottom of the pile. There's nothing wrong with them - they've just been in my inventory too long and need to find a good home and make someone happy.

And, remember that you get an additional 10% off if you also have a birthday in November, or if your birthday falls on the 17th of any month. (You have to be able to prove this somehow.) Everyone who makes a purchase during November will have their name entered into a drawing to win a pair of earrings worth $20.00. Doesn't this sound like fun?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New Etsy Listings

I've had a little time to list some new jewelry in my Etsy shop today. More to come tomorrow. It's been a long time since I've added anything new, so enjoy!

This one was made  from pieces that broke off another one when I was trying to finish it.

This one has a nice square-cut CZ set into it.

A cute pattern with a 4 millimeter lab ruby.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Back Among the Living!

Well, folks, it's been the week from hell. I'm just now getting caught up and feeling well enough to get on with my life and I've found a few minutes to do a blog post.

The last you heard was that I had an infection in my jaw after having a root canal. The pain didn't get better after I started on antibiotics and over-the-counter drugs were not working at all, or not working long enough to allow me a full night's sleep. So... on Friday I called the Dentist at home (yes, at home... I was not about to stand for this and his office was closed). He called in a prescription for better pain drugs, which I picked up that evening after setting up the show that I was supposed to do on Saturday. It was damp, and cold, and I was feeling like crap. These drugs worked great on the pain, but only for about 5 hours. The worst thing was that they made be sleepy and stupid, and I had a SHOW the next day! My good friend Kimberly was here from Charlotte hoping to have a fun weekend at the Valle Country Fair with me, but it wasn't working out at all like that.

I woke up at 6:00 on Saturday morning and the whole left side of my face was swollen to the point that I could hardly see out of that eye. And, I was still running a fever. I woke Kimberly and we tried to figure out what to do and OH MY GOD! She volunteered to go out to Valle Crucis and DO THE SHOW FOR ME! Is that not the most incredible friend you've ever heard of? And, as predicted, it was ccccccold that day, and there was mud everywhere from all the rain. Luckily, several of my artist friends were set up near by and they helped her wherever and whenever they could.

While Kim was freezing her butt off, I was hauling myself off to Urgent Care place because I couldn't figure out why my face swelled up 5 days after having the root canal and 2 days after I started antibiotics. Plus, I was a little scared. I don't think it's a good thing to have an infection anywhere, but I think having one in your HEAD is worth getting all the medical help you can! (One symptom of an allergic reaction to the pain meds was facial swelling, but I didn't think that was it because I was only swollen on my left side.) The Doctor there was pretty much worthless. As soon as he heard that it was a dental problem he brushed me off and told me to see my Dentist again. He did give me some 800mg Motrin, though, which knocked out the pain, lasts for 8 hours, and didn't send me off to la-la-land. Then he was moving on the the next $88.00 customer. He didn't even look in my mouth, or touch me at all. Took all of 5 minutes, at the most. I came home and slept most of the rest of the day.

Yesterday I was back in the Dentist's chair and he was a little clueless, too. The only thing he could come up with was that when he filled the root canal some bacteria was pushed up into the bone, which caused the infection, and bone infections take a long time for antibiotics to get to them. Today the swelling is nearly gone and I haven't had to take pain meds all day.

I am filled with gratitude today. I'm grateful that I have friends who love me and are willing to help me out under the worst possible conditions. I'm grateful to be out of pain. I'm grateful for a good night's sleep. I'm grateful to be feeling almost normal again.

To all of my customers who walked into the booth on Saturday and said to Kim "You're not Zoe", I'm sorry that I couldn't be there to see you. To those of you who made purchases: thank you for helping me pay off my Dentist bill!

Now everyone needs to remember that my BIG, BIG BIRTHDAY SALE starts in exactly 12 days. I've already had some inquiries about it - people sending me convos asking if certain pieces will be marked down. I've thought of another gimmick to get you to purchase: Everyone that makes a purchase will have their name put in for a random drawing for a $20.00 pair of earrings when the sale is over.

And, last, thank you to all of you who called, emailed, facebooked (is that a word?) with your concerns about me.... MMMMMMWWWAAA! I love you all back!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Waaaa waaaa waaaa

Now I have an infection in my jaw and I'm on nasty antibiotics. I feel like crap. I should have just had the damned tooth pulled out, but Dentists get all pale and horrified when you suggest that. I don't have time for this, but I'm going to "soldier on". Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I'll take some cheese with this whine!

Geez. Those of you that have read my previous posts about bad shows and bad show weather, be prepared. There's more in his post and probably more to come. My biggest show of the year is coming up this Saturday and the weather man is calling for... get this... a high temperature NEAR 40 (I think he's afraid to say in the 30's), WIND and SNOW SHOWERS. Great. And it's supposed to be raining when we have to set up on Friday.

On top of all this, I had to go to the dentist yesterday because I'd had a little, annoying toothache. Next thing I knew I was getting a root canal. Now I'm on pain killers because it feels like he beat me with a baseball bat and I can only eat soft foods. I'm tired of bananas, oatmeal and soup. I'm having a really hard time staying positive. I need to make at least $835 at this show so I can pay off my dentist bill. So, those of you out there who believe in positive energy, PLEASE send some my way!

I am looking forward to getting all the show stuff (tent, tables, etc) out of my car next week, though. I loaded up for the first show on September 26 and decided it was too much trouble to unload again after each of my shows. After this next one, I'm sure everything will be wet and need to air out anyway. It's all been rattling around back there for three weeks and cutting down on my gas mileage. It will truly feel like a load lifted when it's all back in the shed.

Remember that my BIG, BIG BIRTHDAY sale starts on November 1. (Should I change the name to BIG, BIG BIRTHDAY AND PAY OFF THE DENTIST SALE?) I sent out an email to customers earlier this week and I've already had some inquiries about which pieces will be marked down. I hope that the interest continues through the end of November.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Weather Report from Deep Gap

Image by Marty Hulsebos of High Country Images
"Misty Forest Road in Autumn"

This is what it looks like here today. The leaves are nearly at their peak of color and it's a drizzly, foggy day. It's strange that the weather where I live - on the east side of the county - can be so different from the weather on the west side - just 20 miles away. I live "near the edge". That's close to the Eastern Contintental Divide. When the moist winds come from the east they create what the weather man calls a "wedge" and the cool wet makes it really foggy here on days when the sun might be shining closer to the Tennessee line. There used to be a sign on the old highway that read "Fog Likely Next 4 Miles". Those of us that live in this area can explain to locals where we are by merely saying "I live in Fog Likely". Everyone knows where that is. The other case, of course, is that most of our snow storms come from the west, so those on the other side of the county can get two to three times the snow that we get over here. That's when the weather man talks about the "Western Facing Slopes". I really prefer the fog over lots of snow.

So, today I'm staying in, playing with silver and beads and tweaking a few things in the studio, reading a little and trying to enjoy the day. Other people get time off from their jobs, so I think I'll take the rest of today for myself.

Here's a couple more images by Marty Hulsebos. I love all of his photos, but especially his collection of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Autumn. Check out all of them here:

Autumn Sunrise

Forest Road in Autumn

Hawksbill, Table Rock and Linville Gorge

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Time To Think About 2010

I just got word from Marjorie Oxman that her Metal Clay Calendar for 2010 is available and that of one of my pieces is featured! In the photo above it's on the bottom row, third from the left. It's one of my toggle pendants with a dichroic glass cabachon. I haven't seen the completed calendar, only what you're seeing here, but I know that the lineup of artists us wonderful and I'm honored to be amongst them.

If you'd like one, you can order it from And, if you order before October 11 you can save 25% by using the coupon code FALLFOTO Thank you SO MUCH, Marjorie!

Monday, October 5, 2009

I Knew Better...

Note to self: Never, ever, ever agree to show your jewelry at something called a "Festival" again!!! I know this. I do not do well where the emphasis is on music, or food, or wine. My work sells best at fine art shows where people come to appreciate and, hopefully, buy high-end art and craft. When my $100 pieces of jewelry are displayed next to hand-made soap or, what my Mama always called "Pigs on sticks", people just walk on by. I heard Dionne Warwick singing all weekend.

Shows, especially outdoor shows, require an incredible amount of work. The tent frame itself weighs 90 pounds and requires two people to set it up. If I don't have a helper with me, I just look wistfully at the other vendors and someone usually steps up. You can never count on the weather. Rain is the worst, but wind can be pretty bad, too. I've seen several of the lighter-weight tents that you can buy at Sam's Club ending up as kites flying across parking lots, stopping with their spindly little legs twisted into unrecognizable balls of metal.

So, why did I agree to do the Chatham Hill Winery's Harvest Festival last weekend? Because the economy is bad, my sales are down, and my sister thought it might be good for me. All poor reasons, but what the heck. Might as well give it a try - who knows - I might make some money. HA! I knew better, but agreed to go anyway. This is exactly why I now call myself a "Craft Ho". Schlepping that stuff around in any weather just to make a buck or two. Good thing I'm my own pimp.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

One Month From Today....

I want to announce that on November 1 I'll be starting the BIG BIG BIRTHDAY SALE in my Etsy Store that will last the entire month. My birthday is in November, hence the name. I'm not having a BIG BIRTHDAY this year - this one doesn't have a zero - this is going to be a BIG BIG SALE. I have several pieces of jewelry that have just been hanging around in my inventory for way too long and they need a little nudge so that they'll go home with someone, be worn, and make someone happy. Because of the economy I've been relucant to buy a lot of supplies this year (silver's expensive) and I have a nice cushion of jewelry inventory on hand already. Therefore, I've been jonesing to make more, but haven't been able to do as much as I'd like. Winter is coming and I need something to do to stave off cabin fever, so I decided to sell off some of the ones that have circulated to the bottom of the pile at greatly reduced prices. I'll be adding new things to the store every day and there will be additional discounts available, as well as free shipping. Stay tuned and pass the word!

I had a little frost this morning. I don't think it killed anything, but fall is definitely here. Time to drive around and look at the leaves and buy pumpkins and enjoy the clear, crisp weather.

I'm getting ready to go to the Raleigh-Durham area for the Chatham Hill Winery's Harvest Festival this weekend. I hope they're interested in jewelry as well as wine! Maybe if they drink enough... Send in your requests for me that the weather is nicer this weekend than it was last!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Shows are SO hard to do...

Well, the Arts on the Side show in West Jefferson yesterday was acutally Arts on the INSIDE. Rain was predicted and the Ashe County Arts Council folks wisely decided to move us into the elementary school gym. It poured rain all day. Therefore, there were very few customers. I don't blame people - if I'd had a choice I would have stayed home in my nice dry, warm house too! And, my friend Janet who usually comes down from Virginia to spend the day there with me was suffering with the swine flu so she stayed home in her nice dry, warm house, too. It was a pretty boring day. And I didn't make much money. And everything got soaked when I was loading up the car. And the one credit card transaction I had got F*&^ed up somehow and put $8,000 on the woman's card for a $110 purchase.
I was so discouraged when I got home that I went on to to look at the forecast for next weekend, when I'm supposed to be at the Chatham Hill Winery's Harvest Festival. It says thunderstorms on Saturday and rain on Sunday... that's six days away, so I hope it's wrong. I don't think they have a Plan B in case of rain. Damn! This is a hard way to make a living sometimes!

Friday, September 25, 2009

I'm Charmed!

There's a team of artists on Etsy that consists of nothing but Metal Clay Artists. We call ourselves the Etsy Metal Clay Team (EMC Team). I'm proud to say that I'm part of that team. A few months ago we decided to do a charm swap and there were 25 of us who signed up to participate. We each made 27 charms and sent them to one team member who coordinated the sorting of the charms. Yesterday I received 24 charms back plus the one that I created. (Mine's the one on the upper right.) The photo above shows what an incredibly talented group this is! Most of them are made from silver clay, but a couple are made from bronze or copper clay. The extra 2 charms that each of us did will be made into two bracelets and donated to charity. One of them will go to New England Celebrities Tackle Cancer (read about this organization at ) and I don't think there's been a final decision made yet about who will get the second bracelet.
If you'd like to see the rest of the work by members of the EMC Team, go here. I think I'll be working on making my own charm bracelet just as soon as I can get to it!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Update on the Arts on the Side show...

I just found out that, because of the rain predicted for this upcoming Saturday, that the Arts On The Side craft show in West Jefferson will not be held outside on the grounds of the Arts Council building. It has been moved to the elementary school gymnasium, which is just up the street. Whew! I'm glad I won't have to deal with everything getting wet. Come see me!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fall Show Schedule

I have several shows coming up in the next few weeks that I wanted to tell you about. I always enjoy meeting my customers in person, and this is a perfect opportunity to catch me live.

The first one is next Saturday, September 26th in West Jefferson, NC. It's called Arts on the Side and is sponsored by the Ashe County Arts Council. It's a small, informal show on the grounds of the Arts Council and inside their gallery. We'll be set up from 9:00 until 3:00 and my friend, Janet, will be spending the day with me.

The following weekend, October 3-4, I'll be part of the Chatham Hill Winery Harvest Festival in Morrisville, NC (near the Raleigh-Durham Airport). The hours are 12:00-6:00 on Saturday and 1:00-5:00 on Sunday. There will be wine tastings, of course, and several different craft artists an well as some community interest groups. My sister and her husband will be there selling items to benefit the American Cancer Society.

On October 17 is the Valle Country Fair in Valle Crucis, NC from 9:00 to 4:00. This is not too far from home, and one of my favorite shows. It's an over-grown church bazaar that has turned into one of the best shows in the state. It occurs at the peak of fall color season and its bucket loads of fun with music, great food, and 135 craft artists. I've done this show every year for almost 15 years. We've experienced all kinds of weather, but it's only rained on us one year that I can remember. It's usually chilly in the morning and one year we had a few morning snow flurries, but normally you can count on a clear, crisp fall day.

Then a few weeks break until the evening of November 20. I'll be doing a benefit Trunk Show for Hospitality House of Charlotte. This wonderful organization offers low-cost housing to out-of-town people who have family members in Carolinas Medical Center, which is right across the street. I'll be donating a portion of my sales to them. The details haven't all been worked out yet, but I think the date is firm. We'll probably start in the late afternoon and go until around 7:00 or 8:00. We'll have wine and food and this will be a great opportunity to help out a deserving organization.

If you are part of a local charity and are interested in hosting a benefit Trunk Show for your organization, please contact me. Or, if you'd like to host one in your home for your family and friends, we can do that, too! Those are always a ton of fun.
Even after this blog post moves down your screen (assuming I continue to blog on a timely basis!), the schedule will remain to your right. So -- now you know where to find me!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

On Downsizing and Living Smaller

I love what Kate McKinnon wrote on her blog today:

"When you have Things, you have to house them, clean them, maintain them, and protect them. When you have nothing but what you need to survive, and nothing any man wants to steal, your life is your own. There is a balance in there that we all need to find for ourselves."

As a person who lives in a tiny, tiny house after living in a big, big house, I appreciate all manner of personal purging (not that kind!) and Stuff Reduction. I had a crazy idea about a year ago - after my sister took me to Costco and I came home with a 25-pound box of laundry detergent. I couldn't find anywhere to put it! I started thinking about building an addition on my house. I got all excited about having a real studio space and turning my existing studio space into the second bedroom that it was intended for. Overnight guests wouldn't have to sleep on the fouton in the living room! I even drew out what I wanted on graph paper and talked to a contractor about how it could be done and how much it would cost, but when we got to the cost part, that's when I gave up the idea.

I suppose I could have looked into a loan to build that addition, but then I would have to figure out how to earn enough money to pay it back, because my finances are usually hand-to-mouth. Short of going to work for someone else, it just wasn't possible. And, I realized that if I concentrated on getting rid of stuff I don't need or really want I wouldn't need another 400 square feet to put things in. And, I don't get that many visitors anyway, AND, I'm so much happier working for myself, even though I don't have a lot of extra money. It just wasn't worth it to give up my lifestyle just to aquire MORE STUFF!

So, I ended up scooping the detergent into plastic bags and storing it in my tool shed and I'm really careful about what I buy at Costco! But I still buy a $2 Powerball ticket every week so that when I win I can build that new studio!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Some New Eye Candy

Here's a few pieces that I've recently finished up. They're not listed on Etsy yet, but they might be. If you see something here that you just HAVE to have before then, just contact me and I can make it yours!

This first one is a boulder opal which has been bezel-set into the metal clay. This is a complicated process, where I first make the bezel (the silver part that surrounds the stone) out of fine silver bezel wire by shaping it around the stone and then soldering the seam together. Then I set the bezel into some polymer clay about one-third of the depth of the bezel. I mix up some investment, which is like plaster, and pour it into the space where the stone will be. After the investment sets up, I remove the whole thing from the polymer clay base and press it into the backing piece I've made out of silver clay. When it's fired in the kiln, the investment holds the place and shape of the stone, as the silver clay shrinks 10-12% during firing. After it's fired I set the opal in place.

The one below is a large purple goldstone donut with a fine silver disk. The bail is made from sterling silver wire that has been forged by hand. A rivet in the center holds the whole thing together securely, and it's the same on both sides.

Next, we have a fine silver pendant with a simple but elegant pattern and a black akoya pearl in the center. To make this one, I imbed a post of fine silver wire into the clay and set the half-drilled pearl onto that wire as the last step.

Then, I made a couple more necklaces with the seed bead chains to replace the ones that I left at the Little Art Gallery in Raleigh. They both feature beautiful dichroic glass cabachons, which can be put in place and fired in the kiln along with the silver clay. This first one is a toggle pendant - the pendant IS the clasp and it's designed to be worn in the front.

This last one features a center pendant and has a large sterling silver "S" clasp in the back.

Well, that's some of what I've been up to. I have four shows coming up between now and the end of the year, so I gotta stay busy in the studio. I'll post more about those shows soon. Also, I'm planning a HUGE sale on my Etsy site for the month of November to celebrate my birthday. You won't believe how much I'll be slashing prices on things that have been hanging around in the inventory for a long time. Stay tuned.