Friday, April 30, 2010

Who Knew?

Just for a lark, I went browsing on the other night.  I didn't want anything, I didn't need anything (or so I thought), but with as many sleepless nights as I've had as of late, you've got to do something to fill in the time, and part of it is spent on my computer.

While browsing in Overstock, I decided to take a look at the cameras.  Mind you, I can't really afford a new camera, as much as I would like one, but it's always interesting to see what is out there.  There were lots of cameras, and I think that the next time I get one, I might go for something a little more sophisticated than my Sony Cyber Shot, as much as I like it.  It's doing well, but I can't ignore the fact that it probably has a limited life span because of the tape holding some of the exterior together.

While looking at cameras, I took a quick look at tripods.  I have one... a giant one which I used for taking jewelry pictures, but it was too big and unweildy and way too hard to get close ups of my work.  So I finally gave up using it, and sometimes just took fereehand pics and sometimes got great pictures and sometimes got nothing but a blur.  But look at what I found on Overstock!

A 3 1/2" table top tripod!  Who knew?  It's perfect for getting close up shots of my jewelry that are clear and concise.  The only criticism that I have of this miraculous device is that when the camera is mounted on it and tipped forward to get snapshots, I need to stablize it on it's back leg so that it doesn't fall over, lens first.  But that's a small price to pay for the clarity I got even in my first set of pics (taken in bad lighting).  Set up a time release pic, a hand to steady the device, and look what I got!

This is a necklace in progress.  I'll post pictures again when it is complete.

In the meantime, thank you all for your name submissions for my beaded color blended samples.  I'm working with all the names right now.  They're all so terrific that it's hard to choose just one for each chain, but the good news is that I am working on yet more blends and I will certainly use everything that was submitted to me.  Please check back in a couple of days for the results.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

I Need Your Help!

Despite the illness, or maybe because of it, I have spent  lot of time thinking about the jewelry I offer for sale, especially my motivational line.  I realized that while the value of what I have had up in my "I'm Making It" store has been excellent, there is still always room for improvement, and so I thought about how I was constructing the chains for the cube beads, and came up with a 'new and improved' version that I think you all will really enjoy.

Rather than hand-knotted chains, they are now interwoven strands of beads using the same tough and durable nymo cord, but the look is more round and more in sync with the size of the cubes, and even more important than that, I am able to blend colors of beads into new and unique combination's which can be recreated for my clients to pair up with the motivational phrases or words that they would like.  I am going to create a Flickr file to which they can refer when they are either choosing to order the jewelry as pictured in my shop, or when they are special ordering pieces.  This file will simply be pictures of different color blends of seed beads, named, which they can choose from.

The problem?  I am absolutely awful at naming my work as it is!  There is a lot of jewelry hanging around here that is completed and even photographed, but not listed for sale only because I have no idea what to call it.  Sad, huh?

So I'm wondering if I can ask your advice?  I am going to now post a bunch of the chain blends that I have come up with, some of which I have tentative names for, and some of which I don't have a clue what to call, and number them.  If you see any that you can come up with a name for, would you please post the number and your suggested name in the comments section of this blog post?  Even if I indicate that I have a name, if you have something that you think will work equally well or even better, let me know.

It is a terrible thing to be frozen in spot because I am not creative enough in this arena.

Thank you THIS MUCH for your help!


1.  Cranberry?
2. n/a
 3. Forest at Twilight?
 4. Golden Pink?
5.  n/a

6.  Curry Spice?
7.  Pacific Blue?
8.  n/a

9.  Watermelon?
10.  Mixed Berries?
11.  Blackberry Jam?
12.  n/a
13.  Ballerina Pink?
14.  Peacock's Tail

15.  n/a

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Bracelet Just For Me!

I make a lot of jewelry; I wear a lot of jewelry.  The thing about offering jewelry for sale in my situation is that there is no really good means of advertising.  I am not well enough to go out to art shows or to make calls on Retailers.  Sometimes they find me, and when they do, I'm very happy to discuss putting my work in their stores.  But other than my private clients, there are two ways of letting the world know what I am doing.  Putting my work up on the internet...  and that's a hit-or-miss prospect.  Or I can wear it wherever I go and hand out business cards whenever possible.  And that's what I do.  Most of everything I wear is for sale.  And I've even sold jewelry right off of my body to people who have admired and lusted after it.

So it was really weird to actually make a bracelet intended solely for me.  It not only is not for sale, but nobody is going to want it.  It is not pertinent to them as individuals.

My progress into being accepted into the Clinical Trial that I've talked about in this very blog, on Facebook, and mostly in Richard's Clubhouse (as well as through e-mails to friends) is coming along.  Unless they find something very unexpected in the medical tests that they've been running over the last few days, I'm in.  And even before I got this close to the trial, I have been urged by friends to put a Medic Alert bracelet on over the last year as my health and energy have declined.  I've worn them before...  I hate them and resisted.  But with the recent hospitalizations, I came to recognize that I could not avoid going there anymore, and started looking at them on the internet again.  UGH!  They are all cookie cutter versions, overpriced, ugly.  Nothing I wanted anything to do with.  I don't know why it didn't occur to me sooner.  Etsy.

I sell my own work on Etsy in two shops:  I'm Making It (where I am moving towards exclusively motivational and message jewelry and upgrading the quality significantly) and ArtiZen Beads, where I house my one-of-a-kind work.  Neither shop has a very good representation of what I have in inventory; even during my recent hospitalizations, I brought beads and tools along and kept working, as sick as I was.  In fact, the nurses dubbed my room "The Productive Room" because they rarely have seen anything like what was going on in there.  Unless I was in one of my truly horrible spells, I was working at all hours of the day and night.

Or I was on the little computer that Eric loaned me.  And I talked to them about my Etsy shops, and I gave out business cards, and suddenly it dawned on me.  IDIOT!  Why don't I see if anybody in Etsy offers handmade Medic Alert Bracelets.  And that's how I found Michelle Verbeek.

Michelle makes an assortment of hand stamped jewelry with different messages on them.  She stamps her messages on plates of differing metals, then affixes them to distressed leather bracelets, and her work is wonderful.  When I did an Etsy search on Medic Alert bracelets, amongst other artists, hers stood out not only as the most unique, but exactly what I needed.  I would wear them as is in a heartbeat.  But then again comes the problem.  I am a jewelry artist.  I need to wear my own work, and my own work is about color and blending and seed beads and clutter.  And so I contacted Michelle to see if she would be willing, with my special circumstances, to make me just the plate which I would then affix to my own leather bracelet in my own style.  She was incredibly gracious, I actually placed my order from my hospital bed, and it wasn't much time later when the tag showed up in the mail.

I worked hard.  In fact, I started it last Friday when the tag arrived (and it was total quality), and with a visit to Creative Castle to find the perfect clasp on Sunday, I was able to complete the work on Monday.  In fact I would have had it done Sunday night except that when I affixed the clasp, I found that I had made the bracelet too big and had to resize it.

So now I have the most unique Medic Alert bracelet of anyone I know.  I am considering ordering more of Michelle's tags in different metals so that I can make other bracelets to go with differing outfits.  But what I do know is that for once, rather than my bracelet being an eyesore, it is something that I can wear with pride.  The only issue is that people are asking to see it.  A lot.  And when they get a close-up view of what the tag says, they know that I have a medical issue.

But you know what?  I've decided I can live with it.  If I was wearing a traditional Medic bracelet, they would know what it is too, but they would not be admiring my work.  They would just be feeling sorry for me.  Now I think and hope that what the bracelet is doing is diverting their attention from my issue to my work.

And as we talk about work here, I would urge all of you to visit Michelle's Shop on Etsy and see what she has to offer.  As an artist, even one that I have not met in person, I recognize a cool concept and good idea and it is very different than anything I have to offer.  Although I would obviously like to be selling my own work in bigger quantities, what Michelle has to offer is very different than me, is a great value for the price, and I don't think that her sales will affect mine, nor mine hers.  In this world, there are lots of good ideas... that's nothing to be threatened by, and sometimes the good ideas can merge and become something totally separate and unique.

These pieces are by Michelle Verbeek.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Here is the bracelet that I finished yesterday.  See? Like a Peacock!

Now a rant.

I have to have 2 bags of IV fluids administered every other day in order to keep hydrated.  They are doing their job... for the past couple of days, I've had the feeling that we are finally getting ahead of the curve.  Of course, I have been getting regular IVs now for almost two months, two weeks of which were done 24 hours a day as hospital time.  I'm really tired of them, but if I stop, I am definitely going to go back to the dehydration of before, and that's not an acceptable mode of life.  I'm barely getting by as it is.

This evening, I had the nurse by and the first bag was started at about 6pm.  It flowed slowly, and it was not done until 9pm.  I went to change the line to the 2nd bag, something that I do regularly on my own.  There is nothing wrong with the line coming out of the bag, but my vein blew.  IT BLEW.  AGAIN.

I don't know how much more of this I can stand.  I think it's going to be another 30 days before I start the Clinical Trial, and I will have to continue with this routine until then.  Immediately after the vein blew, Sunny came to me, looked at me without even a question on his face, and then peed on the floor.  Again.  So I had to clean up the floor while dragging an IV pole through the mess, and the IV was not even working.

When I finished, I called the nurse.  Now it's 9:30.  "Do you want me to come back and start another line?" she asks.  Well, actually, no.  I'm sick to death of this stupid routine, but if I didn't need the line started and the 2nd bag of fluids, do you think I'd be calling you?  Keep in mind that this nurse is actually pretty good; it's my own attitude that is getting to me.

She can be here in 40 minutes.  That means that she will not be here until about 10:15.  By the time the new line is established, it will be 10:30.  2 more hours before the bag is complete and I can take out the line and go to bed.

In the meantime, I have an appointment with Dr. V- tomorrow morning at 9:30 am.  NINE-FUCKING-THIRTY!  When they gave me that time, I begged for something later.  Getting to Cedars Sinai from the San Fernando Valley at that time of the morning is pretty-much impossible with rush hour traffic.  And I am not feeling well and mornings are far worse than afternoons.  But NOOOOOO, this is the only time they would be willing to see me.  This is my post-hospitalization appointment.  It should have happened last week.  I got the end of this.  I cannot delay it any longer.

So this means that I have to stay up very late tonight waiting for the fucking bag to finish draining into me, then disconnect, take my sleeping and pain pills (I don't want to take them before I remove the line for obvious reasons), and then go to bed and wait to fall asleep.  ONly to have to wake up very early in the morning, and I mean VERY early to make it to a fucking appointment that should have been scheduled last week or early this or at least later in the day so that I had a bat's chance in hell to make it on time. 

I have clean clothes, but they are not ironed which means that I will ahve to do that in the morning before getting dressing for the appointment too.  This is a Beverly Hills Hospital; I may go in looking schlumpy, but I will not go in un-ironed.  That's taking it a step too far.

I'm sick to death of living like this, I'm sick to death, and as I said to my Therapist yesterday, I know where this is all going anyway.  Why do we have to drag this out like this?  Other people get to have short illnesses before they go; but no, I get to be tortured for years and years and years and years and years and years.  With no respite.  With no relief.  And without even a decent vein to insert an IV line in so that I can get two bags in a single session.

By the way, I was famous in my last hospital stay too.  They were starting new lines on me three times a day.  THREE TIMES A DAY.

The nurse is here.  I'm done.

In the Wee Hours of the Morning

I am trying, as of late, to get to sleep earlier.  Sleep is critical to an autoimmune patient's well being; I'm not sure exactly what the direct connection is between sleep and the health quotient, but there's no question that it exists and that every autoimmune person I know has free access to as much sleeping medication as they need depending on their own whims.

I like to bead in bed; the tray that Eric so kindly bought me last fall with a clip-on Ott Light really does the trick and I am able to pursue my passion while reclining there.  However, it turns out that it was contributing to my insomnia, and I have finally come to a point where I am putting it down (at the side of my bed) by 11 pm, taking my nighttime meds, turning off the light and turning the TV on ( a quick path to sleeping through sheer boredom), and I'm usually out before Midnight.  The problem being that I have a tendency to wake up several times overnight.

The 2:30 am wake-up call usually is related to pain.  I am still experiencing very serious health issues, and the pain meds I am taking seem to need a booster around that time.  Sometimes as little as an extra Advil is enough to do it, sometimes it takes heavy-duty narcotics.  In the hospital when things were really bad, that was one of my predictable Dilauded calls.  I miss the dilauded.  It worked, it worked well, and best of all, it worked quickly.  But it is no drug for home dispensation, and I understand it and am just going with the flow.

I am not sure what the 4 am wake-up call is about.  I generally use it to check out my computer, maybe respond to an e-mail or two (or not, depending on my state of well being), check out Richard's Clubhouse for updates, maybe look at Etsy for a little while, and then go back to sleep.  Sadly, nobody is up and wants to talk (or play in the case of the dogs) at this time of the morning.  Just as well, I suppose.  If there was somebody here to stimulate me, I probably would not fall back asleep again.

I am very excited as I finished up Kelly's bracelet last night.  The glue is drying right now on the ends, and I will, after all these months, finally be able to send her pictures for approval.  I'll take them in the morning.  It was a special order for a motivation bracelet quite different than anything I have made to date, and while it was interesting to put the charms together (picking up new skills is always intriguing), the best part was when I added the colored beads.  I love working with clients on color selections.  They often come up with ideas that I might not have thought of, and in the end, their ideas are magnificent.  Kelly's color palate turned out to look like a peacock's tail, and I was so excited that when the bracelet was theoretically  "done" to her order, I begged her to let me continue and bring the coloration around the charms in front, no charge.  It made the piece so much better, and it allowed me to develop new skills in attaching and detaching my hand knotted chain.  I am very pleased with the overall look of the bracelet, and I know that my home health nurse went wild the other night when I showed her the 1/2 completed look.  Additionally, I attached the charm to the end of the extension chain last night, and when I saw what it looked like, I think I found something that would be appropriate to enter into the Bead Star Magazine contest in a necklace form, right after telling Eric just yesterday that their requirements for jewelry were too simplistic for my style of crafting.  Now I think that perhaps I was wrong.  But I will need to move quickly if I want to enter; the deadline is April 30. 

I will probably forgo the contest in favor of working on something for Sue...  I have not given her a piece of jewelry in a very long time and have two projects started for her, both of which will be very different from each other, from anything provided in the past, and are pretty.  Part of the issue of my current health dilema is that I have a hard time focusing and sticking with projects that take any length of time, and Sue's work tends to be big and complicated.  I'm so glad she is a friend as well as a client and is very patient.  I hope that she likes what I am going to try and finish first.  It features a butterfly pin that she picked up last year and asked me to work into a necklace.  I found a brass choker form at one of my bead suppliers, and it became natural to cover it in several tones of designer leathers, using the butterfly as a focal centerpiece along with flower beads I have in my own inventory, and utilizing a lot of different very special beads that I have from what she gave me to work with. 

I also have a gemstone necklace that I started for her, but I think I need a tutorial in wire hammering from Creative Castle before continuing.  That piece is using gold fill wire of 18 and 20 mm gauge, too expensive to just experiment with and learn on my own.  I know that as soon as I am up to going out to the Castle and querying them, they will put my questions to bed and show me the skills that I need to get a consistent result tht I am looking for. 

I wish I had pictures to add to this post; I have a lot on my camera but don't feel like uploading them right now.  It's 4:45 in the morning, and if I was go to back to bed in the next 10 to 15 minutes, I probably can get another couple of hours sleep in.  If I find that I cannot, in another  45 minutes, it will probably be safe to give Claudia a call.  Fortunately, she lives in Florida and the time difference sometimes works in my favor.

Just a final note.  I did mail off those two pieces to the Fire Mountain Gem Beading Contest yesterday.  Now it's all out of my hands and time will tell if my work is good enough to stand up to their scrutiny.  I really hope so.  We'll see.  All I know is that it is very nerve wrecking to send some $3000 worth of jewelry off through the U.S. Post Office, and by the time I got done insuring the package, it cost over $40 to mail.  And no, it did not weigh very much.  Less than a pound and a half.  But no way was I just going to take my chances.  I had to use their mailing labels, and they said "Jewelry Inside" all over them.  Talk about waving a red flag.    But the most important point is that I made it.  The deadline for them to receive my package is April 27; it went out April 14, so even with the increased mail because of tax day, there should be no issue in them getting it in time.  My ongoing health crisis is not keeping me from participating in the biggest contest I have ever entered in my life, and my confidence in my work is such that I know if it is not received well, it's just a matter of the judges subjective opinions and not the quality of what I have turned it.  A far cry from when I used to enter fiber works into Showcases, knowing that the innovation of what I did was excellent, but the technical work itself would not stand up to the competition presented by my friends and peers. 

Assuming I survive this current round of illness, any mention of my work by Fire Mountain will be quite a bonanza in my resume.  And if on the odd chance that I don't survive, a mention by them at the end of my life willl be a legacy that I can live with.

Now, off to bed.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

One Day at at Time

One week ago today, I was discharged from the hospital. I was sure it was a mistake; that I would be readmitted in only a few days. In that respect, I was wrong, but it's been an absolutely terrible week from a pain point of view.

My legs have been so swollen and sensitive that it is often very difficult to stand and especially to walk, and the pain does not stop there. It extends to knees, hips, back, shoulders - especially the right shoulder, arms and hands. No matter how much of the narcotics I was issued upon release, it just didn't seem to help.

Additionally, I've been incredibly tired. Maybe a side effect of the pain medication; maybe the IBD alone. I just don't know.

I've maintained the every-other-day IV schedule; I am set up for another round at 11 am... that will eat a couple of hours out of the middle of my day. Not that I had anything planned anyway. I'm so incredibly tired and inaccessable that I've pretty-much been given up on. I hear from nobody, I see nobody. I wanted to go to Project Me this morning at Slimmons, but I was sleepy and in pain and slept right through.

Even so, I am productive. I came up with the Dog & Cat Bracelet for Mothers Day idea, and made 8 samples so that there would be plenty of pictures of them in different colors pictured in my Etsy Store.

I mounted the two pieces of jewelry that I need to post to Fire Mountain Gems on Monday for their Seed Bead and Glass Bead contests; I started filling out the accompanying paperwork but had a computer snafu while trying to print it, so that did not get done.  I spoke to Eric briefly about it this evening and think I know where I went wrong.  I'll try it again tomorrow; hopefully his suggestion will work and that can be put to bed.

Adele called, asking for Shoe Candy, and I had a different idea for them and asked her if she would be willing to wear a prototype.  She was ammenable, and so the first one is made.  I will make the 2nd tomorrow and hopefully we will be able to thread her shoe laces through them, even more hopefully she will like them, and finally, I hope that they will hold up under use.  All of it remains to be seen.  If she doesn't like them, I will make her a traditional pair.  I am not making them unless they are specifically requested now because they just weren't selling enough, even though I had listed them at a wholesale price.  I knew that at the retail value, they would never move.  So that's the end of Shoe Candy.

I am looking at a bracelet ordered by a Richard Simmons Clubhouse member still not paid for and hanging on my bulletin board; I am now irritable enough to take it apart and hold the materials, even though I don't have any current use for them.  And even though I received yet another message saying that she will eventually pay for it so that I can send it off.  But I don't have a lot of hope that it will ever be paid for.  This means that I have now been burnt by Clubhouse Members four times in my Etsy store on Special Orders.  I have never had a bad experience outside of the Clubhouse.  I think that I now need to be really firm about my commitment that I absolutely will not make anything for anyone there who has not paid for their jewelry in advance.  (There's one notable exception; you know who you are, so don't worry about it.)  I don't understand why they would take advantage of me like that.  Do they think I am a large vendor who can afford to waste time and money on materials for goods never taken?  Apparently so.  Well, sista, if you are reading this (and you know who you are too), I am living on a fixed disability income and yes, I am being irritable, but I am really hurt by your actions.  I say this because although I don't know for sure, my gut and my head are both talking to me and I "know" that you're not coming for it.  Thanks.

By the same token, I have two pieces that still need to be completed for clients.  The first... a bracelet who's colors turned out to be astounding like a peacock feather, will be finished tomorrow while I am getting my IV, and I will get approval pics off to her tomorrow night.  The other is a butterfly choker that is amazing.  I don't want to talk too much about it right now as I don't want to jinx the process, but I am really excited about this one.

I am starting Physical Therapy next week.  I originally was going to go out to JMP Physical Therapy as I have a long history with them, but some questions about Medicare coverage came up (in relation to the home IVs) if I am able to go out for other treatments, and besides, I am not sure that I can get rides to and from and don't feel safe driving while on pain meds, so I am now going to go with a home service.  This should be interesting.  You should know that PT was my idea; my muscles are so atrophied at this point that I am starting to stand and walk funny, and I am incredibly weak.  But at the same time, I am in an incredible amount of pain and don't know how much I will be able to accomplish.  Especially because I'm assuming that the Therapist will not be bringing in any equipment and if he expects me to rent it, he has another thought coming.  Not only do I not have the money, even if Medicare pays for it, I have no idea where I would put it.  So again, this should be interesting.

Lucy has a new collar.  Instead of getting her a rolled leather collar like I did the last time and then beaded it with real gold plated beads (which she removed from her neck and ate), I got her a flat collar that was significantly less money.  I am fighting the urge to decorate it with leather and beads.  Truthfully, I know that I will eventually succumb to the urge, but I'd like to have more work for sale done before I do.  Especially because I don't want to make another collar which ends up in her stomach.  Let's see what she does with this one first.

So from the tone of this post, I'm sure that you can tell that I am irritable.  But was it a mistake to let me out of the hospital?  I"m not sure.  Frankly, my pain levels are probably enough that I could make a case for being there.  But I am getting by at home, and certainly it's nicer to be here than there.  I was prepared enough before the 2nd admission that I did not have a lot of housework to do, and since I am eating mostly prepared food from the Deli Counters of various markets, there is not a lot of kitchen mess.  I"m out of quarters and need to do laundry but there's not that much to do, and it will wait until Monday when the banks are open.  The hospital was nice in that I didn't need to be responsible for anything at all, and pain medications in sufficient strength were available 24 hours a day that I didn't suffer.  But it was also very inconvenient, it's uncomfortable to sleep on a plastic mattress with a plastic pillow, and I was tired of all those doctors.  So I think that the decision that was made for me to go home was a draw. 

So for now, I think I am going to continue taking this one day at a time.  I see Dr. V- next Friday and will discuss the timing of getting into the next protocol with him while at the appointment.  And I just need to be patient and as productive as I can be in the interim, and just wait and see what happens.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

WOOF / MEOW Mother's Day Bracelets

WOOF / MEOW Mother's Day Bracelets

OK, so you're laughing.  So am I.  But we're laughing because we know that at least 50% or the dogs and cats in America want to give their Mom something to remember them by for Mother's Day.  And here is the purrrrrfect item!

Start with sterling silver cube beads spelling out a four letter message of your pet's choice.  I will then add a braided seed bead chain strung on tough and durable C-Lon Nylon cord that will hold up extremely well through the years, even if you walk your dog in it every day.  The bracelet will close with a fashionable silver tone toggle clasp.

Made by Special Order only, your bracelet will arrive in the color palate of your pet's choice, and while the standard length will e approximately 7", I can make them longer (or shorter) as required.  Lengths longer than 8" will require a small up-charge for the extra assembly time involved.

Additionally, if your pet has a different message that requires more than four letters, I will be happy to provide a quote based on what he or she would like to say.  I do not "species profile."  Birds, hamsters, guinea pigs, bunnies... any pet who would like to send his mother a rememberence will be respected.

Pleae convo me through my Etsy Store "Making It" with the color and saying your pet would like, and I will be happy to provide you with a time estimate to ship and, in the case where there are any up charges, a quote.

Also good for birthdays, or just for making brownie points with the all mighty one who holds the can opener.

$78.00 plus $5 for shipping and handling.

CA Sales Tax will apply.

Monday, April 5, 2010

MIA Again?

Yes, I failed at home and was re-admitted back into the hospital, but am now back at home again and hope that I get to stay here this time. I do not have a lot of hope that it will work out that way, but a small kernel is still alive deep within me and I am going to hold on to that.

I am working hard on repairing my "Orange Princess" necklace for the last and final time.

It, and my bracelet "Spring Flowers"

made it into the finals at the Fire Mountain Gems beading contest (Orange Lady in the seed bead contest; Spring Flowers into the glass bead category). As some of you may know, the Orange Lady has had problems since I made it. It was the very first large piece I ever made using Fireline, and at the time, I did not know how to properly tie off the threads. It has ripped and had to be repaired constantly since I made it.  That's not going to happen any more after this encompassing repair job is complete.  Ever.

It's just a shame that I did not complete my Medicine Pouch in time to enter too, because it is a piece to behold, but I will find something else to promote it in.  I'm extremely confident in what I have produced there, and know that it is different than anything I've seen.  Somebody is going to be interested, either in a magazine or in another Juried competition.

Well, both pieces chosen need to be sent to Fire Mountain Gems now for judging in person, and one of the things they will be looking at is craftsmanship. The competition is very stiff and it's a long way from here to winning even an honorable mention, but I am NOT going to lose over craftsmanship. So I've been working on the necklace for days now, resewing and reinforcing weak parts, and adding fire polished faceted beads and fresh water pearls where warranted to increase it's strength. The difference should not be noticeable between the pictures submitted prior and the finished piece now, but will be critical not so much for appearance, but for strength. It's weird; I am not worried about being judged down based on the actual appearance of my finished work. I know that part of the competition is very subjective depending on what the judge likes, how well the piece will photograph, and what they are looking for as far as advertising goes. I'm strangely confident in my beaded work unlike anything I've ever created in other mediums in the past. But again, I am not allowing myself to lose a contest based on less than perfect work.

I figure it will take another day or two to get the piece to where I want it by the naked eye, but have learned through photographing my work to post on Etsy that a lot of issues (like loose threads) show up in the pictures once the piece is enlarged on my computer screen. So after I "complete" the project, I will put it aside for a day or two just to take a break, then I will take a series of close up photos simply to look for issues that I might not have noticed with my naked and over-50 year old eyesight.  Fortunately, it is not due up north until April 27, so I have time to get all this work done.

There are a lot of health issues here, and some of them may delay my entrance into the clinical trial, but all of my doctors understand my desire to be enrolled and they are doing their best not to give me medications that would immediately clear up what is wrong but would disqualify me. I truly hope that I can get going in 30 days from now.

I finally figured out how to adjust the brightness feature in my camera after all this time.  I'm flabbergasted  at how much closer the colors are in the photographs now to the original piece with a minimum of adjustment than they were before finding this simple setting.

Knowing this new piece of information is going to make the photographic experience way less painful for me, and maybe i will start getting my work listed onto Etsy faster now.  I have so much jewelry made and sitting in piles here that it would be nice to have it listed in my stores so that it might be available to go to homes where it will be loved and worn.


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