Friday, February 5, 2010

Don't Worry, Be Happy! I'll Be Updating Today Soon

Oh my, but it's pouring rain outside!  The weather forecast called for rain starting this afternoon, but they apparently mistimed the arrival of the downpour.  On a day like today, I am even more inclined to laze around in the morning than at other times.  And those of you who know me (or read my blog) know that I am always a slow starter in the morning.  I wasn't always that way, but Auto Immune issues tend to manifest more in the am (and for me at night)  and so I am a morning slug.  But I am at it now with a full agenda.

A rainy morning; Sunny is an old man and philosophical about getting wet outside while taking care of - ahem - business.
Lucy is a puppy and not so resigned to the inevitable.

A view outside that includes how I arranged the small bookshelf that I moved into the dining area from my bedroom.  The plant on the left is a sweet potato that started growing leaves and roots in my refrigerator; I hadn't grown a potato in many years and decided to go with it.  Eric's kids were shocked at the whole premise.  I don't think they've ever seen a potato being grown before, and I can't wait for them to see how big it's gotten since the last time they were here.  The plant in the middle of the shelf is basil.  Most of my herb growing is done outside in my garden, but with basil, there's something out there that waits until the plant come prime, and then eats it down to the stem before I have a chance to harvest it.  So I'm trying to grow it inside on my window sill and we'll see how that goes.  Interesting, whatever it is that is eating the basil does not touch any of my other herbs.

Two mementos from the past.  The hand print is from Ian when I think he was in pre-school although it might have been kindergarten.  Adele gave it to me and the tile is one of the few material possessions that I treasure.  The paw print still brings me pain.  It is Cosmos; my Vet was very kind when we put him down (I was completely hysterical) and offered to make this impression of him after the deed was done.  I do miss my boy terribly, even as Lucy brings so much joy to my home, and unlike other dogs that I've had where I've sensed their spirit hanging around my condo for months or years after their passing, I feel nothing of Cozie.  He had been through so much and was so ready to leave me when I put him to sleep that I don't think he had the energy, let alone the motive, to come home.                                                                                                                 
While taking these pictures, I discovered a tiny spider crawling up my arm.  Los Angeles is a hotbed of black widow spiders, but this was just an ordinary house spider and rather than kill it, after I snapped this pic, I put it on my basil plant...  probably where I picked it up from in the first place.

Despite the inclement weather, I was able to set up a small photographic station right under the dining room window to take some pictures for my client's approval of the "Goose" bracelet.  I AM going to do a blog post about photographing beads sometime soon; it is way more challenging than you might think.  However, just for this moment, I'll tell you that I discovered something new about background papers and reflectivity of beads, and despite the gloomy weather outside, managed to get a few good pictures of both the bracelet and another piece of jewelry.
I'll take more pictures and explain both the packaging aspect of these bracelets later on today in this blog as well as mailing protocol.

Here is the other piece that I took pictures of.  It's currently up in my I'm Making It! Etsy shop under necklaces... it's called "Flambe" and the picture of it there is horrid.  I didn't know how to take pictures of beads yet back then.

I will be moving this piece over to ArtiZen Beads, my other Etsy Shop, when I have time because I've decided to break my work into two parts.  "I'm Making It" is more cost efficient jewelry (not to say that there won't be affordable jewelry in ArtiZen Beads too) and is more production pieces.  ArtiZen Beads is where my strictly one-of-a-kind work will be housed.

I was having a lot of trouble answering Facebook inquiries last night and have yet to be able to get back to some of my messages (it's still broken), but for those who I've not messaged with yet, I absolutely do take special orders for my work, will make bracelets (as well as necklaces) in any size, and will customize my work to meet your specifications.  To inquire (you are not committed if you make an inquiry by any means... I have a LOT of work, especially right now), just start a "Conversation" in whichever Etsy Shop you think is more appropriate (the bracelets should be Conversed about in I'm Making It! ) and we'll see if we can come up with something that you would like together.  I am SO sorry that FB has been having issues and I have not gotten back to each and every one of you personally yet.  I'll keep trying.  And for those of you who are in Richard SImmons Clubhouse, you can also send questions to me through the PM system there although when we get down to details, I definitely would need to convert the conversation into Etsy.

Now, I have fed the dogs, gotten showered and dressed, and taken pictures, but I have not put on my make-up yet, and I have a lot of things to do today.  As yesterday, I will get back to this blog later in the day with an update.

* * * * * * * * * * *

It's later.  I am not working in a very organized manner today, but am still making progress.  I'm going to rearrange my pics so that they make sense, but trust me, I've been bouncing all over the place from one project to the next, then back again.
     These are very special beads, heirloom antique beads that belong to a private (as in not through Etsy) of mine.  I am about to work them into a necklace with matching earrings for her.  There will be many other beads besides these, and also some crystals and freshwater pearls in the mix, but this is where I am starting from.   
Being antique beads and in storage for a very long time, they are extremely grimy and dirty.

I started out by washing only a portion of them.  Since even the number that I washed will take hours to work on, there was no point in going beyond this quantity.  I have to be very careful not to lose beads down the drain.  These beads are of a very good quality, and the color is infused all throughout the glass.  When you get seed beads from certain areas of the world (China is one of them), the color is only on top of the glass and will wear off over time and come off when washed.  I always test beads that I don't know where they came from for color-fastness before working with them.  But when I am making purchases of glass seed beads, I try to stick with beads that originated either in Czechoslovakia or Japan.  Although the nature of the seed beads from these two countries are very different (Czech beads tend to be more irregular; Japanese are highly engineered, and each lend a particular charm to my work), I know that the quality is there and I don't worry about them.  On the other hand, just for the record, I love getting semi-precious stones from China.  The prices are good and the quality has been fine in my experience.
       While waiting for the beads to soak, I decided to experiment with photos of this bracelet.  This is leather with leather applique, seed bead embroidery, and a glass cabochon bead bezel ed to the front.  It is fully lined in lambskin, and closes by a button & loop system.  It will be made available for sale for the first time in my ArtiZen Bead shop when I have time to post it.  Just thought I'd give you a preview here.
The antique beads are washed and rinsed.  Isn't it shocking how much the color changed?  They've gone to a honey tone.
And here they are, spread out on a white towel to air dry.
Meanwhile, it's time to attach clasps to five bracelets that have been languishing for lack of them.

But before I do that, it's time to package the "Goose" bracelet.  For those of you who took these bracelets before I started using this type of packaging, I'm sorry.  My business practices are evolving very quickly and this is something that I only started with about a week ago.  The bracelet is inserted into a plastic bag with a back card.  I need to figure out a quick way to make the bracelet look pretty in this packaging; I haven't thought of one that is time efficient that won't damage the bracelet yet.  Give me a little more time...
      Now it's time to attach the tent card to the front.  I print these up on my computer.  I am working on a new and more dramatic design, but it isn't finalized yet, so this is what I am using.
I tried several ways of attaching these cards to the bag... staples, double sided tape, but finally discovered spray adhesive.  It's fantastic, even though I get it on my hands when I work with it and it's hard to get off.  Yes, I have latex gloves and need to make a regular practice of using them when working with this spray.
The packaged bracelet.
This is a very durable piece, so I don't need to do anything more to protect it during shipping.  However, I like to wrap it up in tissue paper so that it arrives at it's destination a little prettier than a naked plastic bag.

I save the cord ends of old projects; I do recycle the materials.  
I use cord endings to tie up the wrapped bracelet.  And now, while I'm waiting for my client to contact me and authorize shipment, I'll move back to another project.
Attaching the clasps to those bracelets.
Voila!  Done!!!!!!!!

And now, it's time for another break from blogging while I work on something else.  See you later.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  * 

Well then, 6:32pm and I'm back.  But this is it for today.  It's not that my work is done, but the next things I am doing (other than eating dinner) are top secret, and not to be blogged about.  At least not today - lol!

When last I left you, I was threatening to mount the wall shelves from Anne's home that Eric let me have when we were clearing out what was left in preparation for clean-up and rental.  That project is now done.

A few days ago, I posted a picture of the stuff that was all over the floor after I moved those shelves into the dining area.  As you can see from today's snapshot, not much had changed.

Lucy is confused at the state of her bed.
She does not understand the massive load of crap precious family heirlooms that I have carelessly tossed in a pile carefully stored on top of the bed during the shelf-mounting process.  All she knows is that there is no room for her.
My father wanted boys; he got all girls.  I'm very fortunate that in a time of very specific gender roles, he did not believe in assigning them and took the time to teach me about Jordan Anchors,
how to use a level,
and believe it or not, this power drill was a congratulations gift from him for having gotten a job working for Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment after having been laid off at MGM when the entire studio was essentially shut down.  Those of you with a good memory or who worked there might remember when Kirk Kirkorian sold it to Paretti who had no money to maintain it, and the whole kit and kaboodle was sold off in pieces to other studios, leaving the employees stranded with no jobs.  I was there.  It was the first time I ever had been laid off or without work since I was 14 years old (and 14 only if you don't count the babysitting I did earlier than that), and Dad was proud that I did not sit around feeling sorry for myself but got right back up on the horse and found myself another job, not only a good job, but a better job than I had been laid off from.  A power drill was a symbol of esteem in his eyes!

I spent probably 90 minutes ensuring that everything was mounted straight, shelves were properly placed, and brick-a-brack was put onto the shelves in a somewhat orderly arrangement.  Here is the final product:
 And with this large and organized picture, I'm signing off for the night.  Have a good one, everyone.  For my friends on the east coast, stay safe, stay warm.  For my friends in the middle, the same.  For those of you out here on the West Coast, stay dry, drive carefully, and hopefully I'll be seeing you soon.

28 posts in 28 days; Today is day five.

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