Friday, December 31, 2010

I made soup!

but I wonder if it's any good.  My family tells me it smells good.  I've added all of the right ingredients, cooked for the right amount of time, but, unfortunately I'm recovering from a cold.  I have no sense of smell or taste *sigh*...but it sure looks good.  I hope I get my sense of smell and taste back for tomorrow.  We have ordered some of the best cajun food around for our lunch.

*this was chicken tortilla soup....(I would've had avocados, too, but they were rotten..:-( 

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy birthday!





My baby turned 15 yesterday.  Happy birthday dearest "C".  You are my constant reminder that God knows what I need more than I do. I love you more than words can say.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Oilers win!


Last night we attended the Texas High School football playoffs. My daughters highschool was playing in the 5A Division 1 finals. What an amazing game! It was hard fought and sooo close, but in the end our daughters team won! This made it a perfect season! Way to go!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ugly Glasses and How you pay for Procrastinating



These are my glasses.  I have had them longer than I can remember.  You can tell from the style they are old.  I still use them because I only wear them first thing in the morning when I get up and last thing at night when I go to bed.  I wear contacts the rest of the time.  I am awesome with contacts.  No issues with seeing well, I can get them in and out of my eyes  easily and rely on them 99.99999 percent of the time to help me see clearly.  This is why I have not purchased new glasses in a while.

This time last year I found out that our vision insurance is AWESOME and that it would not cost much to get some cute new glasses.  But, this would take time....going to choose new frames, scratch resistant or not,  well...maybe next month...and then next month and here we are a year later.

I finally decided I was going to do it.  I was going to get new glasses.  It was time for my annual eye exam so I planned ahead, went early to peruse their selection at my leisure.  I found the cutest pair and am so excited to get them.

BUT, here comes the part where I pay for my procrastination.  During my eye exam I told my eye dr. about how my eye had been stinging the last couple of days and how I had gotten a piece of sawdust in my eye about one week before.  Well, it turns out I have small scratch on my cornea that is slightly infected.  SO...while I wait for my awesomely cute new glasses to be ready in the next 7-10  business days..I have to wear these....every day...all day...until my eye heals!

OH if only I had gotten my awesomely cute new glasses any time in the past year I would be looking stylish, cool, hip..but now I am left looking like a sad throwback from the 90s...hearing "what is she thinking?"  when I pass people at the mall and shops (because this time of year I can't hide in my house as I would have done any other time).

So, if you see me, or any sad person with old glasses on, wish them well and fast healing....and kindly don't stare.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Comfy puppy



Eventhough they aren't allowed this is what happens when the floors get cold.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Finally...



A few prezzies under the tree. Slowly but surely it's getting done.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Crocheting tonight



this is a little throw I'm working on.

The name of the app is...

 
The iphone app is called Blog Writer. It was the only one I could find that worked with blogger.  Most worked with wordpress and others I've never heard of.   It has mixed reviews but if you're like me and just want to post pictures and thoughts to one blog it'll work.  They say the html doesn't work, the rss feed doesn't work..but I barely know how to make those work here so it isn't an issue.

It cost $1.99 so it was totally worth it.  There is a free app called blog writer lite but it won't do pictures.

here is a link:

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/blogwriter/id286094270?mt=8


When I first tried to download, I entered all my info and I got an error "http  error try again later".  I re-entered my password and tried again, and again.  About five times and 15 minutes later it worked.  I have no idea why but just keep trying.  So far it's worked for me. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

View from my chair


First iPhone post with a picture. I am loving this!


** but I had to sign in to decrease the picture size...it was HUGE!  Still, this will help me capture all of those fun things I see but don't have a camera handy.

Test flight

I just downloaded an app on my iPhone that is supposed to post on my blog for me. Let's see how this works. If it does it will be awesome! And much more fun!

Here goes.....

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday Coupon



We had a cold front blow in last night and it is cold and rainy!  So, in honor of those that have braved the mall and stores today I have a new coupon code...

"stayindoors"

This will get you 15% off your entire order today ...and this week I'm offering free shipping on most items so you can get a deal!

I hope you all had an awesome thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Coupons are Here!

I am so excited that Etsy has now enabled accepting coupon codes on their site. 


To introduce this and to offer you lovely readers the first chance to redeem a coupon, I have created a coupon.  From now until Thursday, enter 1stcoupon as the coupon code at checkout from my shop and receive 15% off your entire order!  This will only last until 10 pm on Thursday so get some shopping done early! 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How I do it.

I recently had someone ask how I made my little ball ring.  So, here is a little bit of a tutorial on how it's done and a peek into my process.  It's not detailed and the photos are raw, but hopefully it'll explain.

Welcome to my studio.  I have the greatest space!  It's air conditioned in the summer, warm in the winter though, I do have to admit, since we closed off a wall and I have purchased a larger torch we have some ventilation issues. 


Here is my soldering station.  It's a mess, but it just gets that way no matter how hard I try to keep it neat.



Here is my drawer of smaller gauge specialty wires. 

and here is the wire in question.  It is purchased in lengths and different gauges and you can see all the details on the tag.


I take this wire and bend it around my ring mandrel.  This is my favorite tool.  It is so heavy it could be used as a weapon.  It was my dads and he gave it to me when I started working in silver.  It has marks that indicate the sizing of the ring so you can get it close. 




I then cut the wire and file the edges so the ends fit together nicely.  See?  You can't even tell where they join.





Then it's time for soldering.  I usually make two black marks on opposite sides of the joint so I know where to put the solder.  It's hard to tell where they join when you get it just right.  I brush flux on the piece and  add a little piece of  solder....



...and then it's time to add fire!  You have to heat the ring evenly and slowly or you'll just hot spot the joint and it will be weak.  You want the solder to completely fuse into the metal so a slow even heating will get you a nice strong join.



Not the greatest picture but you get the idea.  It's hard holding the torch and the camera at the same time! :-).  Once it's done it's into the pickle pot.   See how the ring looks dark?  The copper that is in sterling silver oxidizes when you heat it.  This pickle is a mild acid that will clean the oxidation off the silver and make it nice and shiny. 



And then out .....


and nice and shiny and ready for the tumbler.  Double check the size on the mandrel.  If it is a little small you can gently hammer it with a rubber or rawhide mallet.  Make sure also that it's flat.  If it's too big, you have to start over.  bummer! 


This is my tumbler.  This has many uses but the three major things it does for my jewelry is cleaning, strengthening, and polishing.  All three at once.  You can't beat that!



You add water and soap (pure soap, no bleach!) 



Round and round they go for about two to three hours. This is what comes out on the other side.  A nice rinse and, viola!~


I didn't have time to put the little ring I made into the tumbler and get this posted, but you can see one similar to it just to the left.  Lots of other pieces...works in progress you might say.


I hope this explains the process and little and satisfies any curious onlookers out there.  Seems a lot of work for just a $14.00 ring but I have to say, it's one of my favorite pieces to make. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My Challenges of Selling Online

Okay, I have an opportunity to be in an ad.  A BIG holiday shopping ad.  I'm very excited but I have to come up with a square image for the ad.  I have in mind a hand dripping with rings and holding a fist full of necklaces.  Since my work is so eclectic I can't choose just one thing to highlight, because it may be a one of a kind or not appeal to most.  I think showing lots of my items in that way would be interesting, eye catching and show off a lot of my stuff.

Here's the problem....I can't get it done.  The ad is pretty small so all of that (mentioned above) would not really show well.  So..on to plan B.  Maybe just showing off all of my rings.  A fist dripping with rings...or a pile of them, or all of them on one finger.  I took a few test shots yesterday and wasn't really happy with them.

Shot number 1:


 This one is my favorite.  I may work off this idea later today but add more rings.  As you can see it works pretty well as a square ad.

Shot number 2:

This is the "pile of rings" idea.  Unfortunately, they really don't like to "pile" up.  AND this is what it looks like in the square ad:

not very appealing:

And last but not least shot 3:

This would not even come close to being appealing in the square..(especially with what looks like an amputated finger at the bottom).

So back to the drawing board. Luckily I have creative daughters who, if I let them in on the creative ideas, kindof get into developing ideas for me.

Hopefully by the end of the day I'll have a great picture for the holiday shopping advertisement.  I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

New from the Bench




I'd add a link but I can't figure out how to add hyperlinks with the new blogger photo format!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Having a little treasury fun....


Having a little fun this morning.  Yes, I'll let it go......eventually. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Physics Not Cooperating!


 I had this idea for a necklace using these amazing pieces I bought.    You can see from the connectors I was thinking of a great geometric design..something that would bold and chunky.



It looks exactly how I wanted UNLESS you try to wear it.  Then it goes all wonky.  Gravity doesn't let it sit nicely...it bunches up, hangs crooked and any other problem you can guess.  I don't want to solder the pieces together in the shape I want them to make because part of the piece was to be the chunky movement..if that makes sense. 



Ah well,  the great thing about making it is that I can un-do it and re-do it until I get it right. 

Happy Thoughts~

A cold front blew in last night and cleaned out the air.  It blew away all the humidity, allergies, but also the cobwebs in my head from yesterday. It's a new day, a refreshing day, and a day to look forward and move on! 




This is the closest I come every year to seeing fall foliage.  It is a (national?) park in the hill country of central Texas.  Amidst all of the mesquite, dry land, low brush is a small grove of maple trees.  They call it "Lost Maples" because somehow, they are there.  Maybe it's God's little way of showing us Texans there are seasons that change, even if we aren't aware of them.  I like that.  Things are changing, constantly growing, in and out of seasons.  That's a comforting thought. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Blindsided

I got an interesting email today from an jewelry designer stating that since my piece resembles hers she is going to file a "notice of copywrite infringement" on me.

While I was polite and honestly stated there was nothing sinister and no copying done, honestly, I am having a little trouble grasping where she is coming from.  She specifically mentioned the "vintage sepia-toned image transfers (bees, butterflies, birds, etc)."  I'm not sure what she is saying I shouldn't use:  bees, butterflies, birds, or ceramic pieces, or buttons?  Which of these does she own?  I didn't design or make the ceramic piece, I just bought it (and some others).  I'm pretty sure the vintage image used isn't copywrited, and, well, I love vintage buttons and have had them in my shop for a while...does she own the rights to those, too?

I think if anyone searched long enough there would not be one design that someone, somewhere hasn't inadvertently duplicated.  I'm not so proud to think that I can come up with an idea that no one has or ever will think of.

I'm honestly troubled by it, but also confused.  Just weird.  I use so many different types of materials in my work and it's so eclectic I bet there isn't any metalsmith out there that couldn't look at my work and say that it resembles theirs in some way.

Ah well, we'll see what happens.  If nothing else, I'll have an amazing necklace to wear.

I just find it all very interesting.

(just to be clear, she wasn't rude, just stating that I copied.. hmmmm) 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Random Photos

I have this camera that is a pocket camera, Nikon Coolpix.  A great little point and shoot I use and let the kids use for random pictures they want to take or for when I am too lazy to trot myself upstairs to the studio to retrieve my good camera.

I took a picture yesterday I wanted to share with you and, when I went to download, I found lots of other photos on there as well.  Here are some of my favorites.

These were taken by my daughter this summer in Paris after she ran out of room on her camera.  This was our last day and we were visiting Notre Dame.

Gargoyles! 

We think this is the Gypsy ring leader of the group that stole my husband wallet.  He was feeding hundreds of birds and distracting the tourists. 

Gorgeous Front of the Cathedral



Wonderful gelato shop that scooped cones in the shape of flowers!  


See!?!  and it was sooo yummy!
This was also on the camera...

First Football Game, First performance!  How exciting.

And, finally, this is what I was going to share in the first place before I found the better pictures. 


I made a cake on Friday night.  I was gone all day Saturday and when I came home this was all that was in the dishwasher, and the cake was gone.  I guess cake was the food choice of the  day!  Hilarious!  Ah well, sometimes you just need a piece (or two) of chocolate cake.