Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday night flight of fancy

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways . . . this could apply to a lover, but how about applying it to a fabulous new piece of equipment? I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the new direct printer in our shop. It makes the most wonderful printing directly on shirts, fabrics, possibly even on coasters, and other things which are flat enough to go in. What goes in, comes out with amazing speed and perfection, but must be able to withstand 30 seconds of 365 degrees farenheit temperature. The picture in this column is from a sweatshirt we did yesterday as a test. It is a collage of local photos I gleaned from my friends' website, Oregon Coast Today, a local newspaper featuring entertainment options. He said we could use any of his photos we wanted, and I did. I turned several of them into a work of art, if I do say so myself. I want one of the shirts to send to my cousin in New York. I think he would appreciate it, and it might make him want to come visit a little sooner. Hee-hee. Tomorrow I am going to start trying to find more cool photos and other images we can put on things. This could very well be addictive. I want to put some of my paintings on shirts and bags, too!! Fun, fun, fun. More sooner.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Why I love Etsy

Not only is it the greatest place to showcase my jewelry, It is also the best place to find fabulous hand-crafted wearables, and cool stuff for your house. You will also find supplies, and all sorts of other nifty things you can't find all in one location anywhere else. And it is very affordable for the sellers, unlike some mega-auction-style websites. Here are my latest favorite items:

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Happy Birthday to me

Well, whoopdidoo! Another year gone by in a flash. At least this one sure did. I am not only a year older, but a year smarter, too. I have taught myself how to do all sorts of new things this year, and learned a lot more about self-promotion than I ever wanted to know. I am going to start my taxes tonight, or tomorrow. Fun, fun, fun!! At least they are phenomenally easy this year. I only have one employer, instead of two or three. And so little income it should be a piece of cake, cut and dried kind of deal. Hopefully I will get a big bunch of money back. I could really use it about now.

I want to get prepared to start doing lampwork and torching glass. I really want to be the complete package when it comes to jewelry work. Creative, design, and actually making the components. I want to learn precious metal clay, torching metal, and forming my own glass beads and pendants. My friend says I ought to get a high quality kiln so I can do annealing of my beads, I am thinking I want one big enough to do small fusing projects, too. I guess the best time to start shopping for one is now. I can't afford one yet, but at least I will know what type to get when I can.

More tomorrow, I hope. Dad is off to bed, and I am in for some peace and quiet for the next half hour or so. Then I will have incoming son and family to wish me a happy birthday I am sure. Night for now!!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Saturday Night

Today started with me making a couple of pendants after breakfast. I got a couple of necklaces and a bracelet in the mail from a friend in Pennsylvania on Valentine's Day. They were early birthday presents. I can't believe I will be 55 tomorrow. Wow amazing!! In some places that will get you senior citizen admission prices. I guess getting old can have a few perks. I am looking forward to dinner with my dad and my kids and grandkids tomorrow night. It should be a fun night. Thank heaven I have Monday off so I can recuperate. The kids are very sweet, but very busy. And when you put four of them in the same room with a complement of six adults to give them attention they are even busier.

I got another birthday present today, a beautiful pendant from my daughter's boss. And a surprise present which is being the first student of a local lampworker. My daughter has it arranged, and I really want to learn to do it right. I have a basic "beginners" torch, and a few of the basic supplies. I am also going to work on my soldering skills. I used to do silver soldering with a brazing torch about 35 years ago, and want to re-hone my skills with a brazing and soldering set-up. I want my jewerly quality to be top notch. I don't know whether I can earn a living making custom jewelry, but I know the potential is there to, at the very least, supplement my income. Plus I get to do something I really love, and seem to have a talent for. Plus, it is something my daughter and I can do together.

I have to work tomorrow, even though it is my birthday. At least it is a short day, just six hours long. I hope it is busy so it will go by as fast as today did. Tons of customers, but I hope the let a little more of the green stuff go tomorrow.

Dad is doing a bit better, but I want to get him into physical therapy to strengthen his legs if possible. If not, at least get him a little more active. After the fall on Wednesday he is taking it a little easier, but also paying attention to his water intake and the need for a little more activity.

I am hoping for a long day of jewelry making and relaxation somewhere in my future this week. But as usual we shall see what the week brings. As long as it doesn't include any trips to the emergency room it will be okay with me. Later, gator!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Holy cow where did the week go?

Here is a new set of bracelet and earrings I made, I call it "Citrus Dancing."

I used copper, some handmade lampwork beads made by my friend Gwen from Texas, and assorted colors of glass beads. Her beads were the inspiration for the design of the bracelet. The earrings were just a bonus. I made the wires extra long so they would stay in easily. Gotta love those citrus colors. They are so not my colors, but I love them anyway. My colors are purple, fuchsia, and teal.

Well, today started off with a bang, literally. Dad woke me up about 6:20 am, I helped him get dressed, and took him a warm cloth and towel while I brushed his teeth in the bathroom. I heard a loud thump and, “Rita, I need help!” accompanied by some unintelligible swearing sounds.
I ran in there and he had fallen. He thinks he was leaning over to put the towel and washcloth on the stand in his room and fell. He was sitting there on the floor on his butt. At over 250 lbs. there is no way I can get him up, so I called my daughter to tell her what was going on. She reminded me how much trouble we had the last time he fell. She, her
guy and I somehow got him up, but that was before he got this weak and could actually give us a little help. So I looked up the number and called the local ambulance company. The guy on the line asked me who gave me the number. I told him no one. He then wanted to know how I found it, nobody gave out that number. I said it is in the phone book!! He said, “Oh,” in kind of an amazed voice. He told me I had to call 911 instead, because they can’t just come to someone’s house, they had to be dispatched. So I called the 911 operator and she sent them to help us. In the meantime Dad asked me to bring him his razor, so I knew he wasn’t hurt. I asked if he would like some water and he said, sure and could I find him some gum. I gave him water and his morning pills, and we waited about 10 minutes for the ambulance. It took them about 10 minutes to assess him and decide if they could get him up they would have him walk with his walker to the living room and put him on the stretcher there. They hauled him off to the hospital, installed an IV line on the way, just in case, and I followed in the car. He was hooked to all kinds of heart monitors and a blood pressure cuff when I got in there, he said he felt fine, just a little lightheaded. Part of that was how quick they stood him up when the lifted him. He was cat scanned and X-rayed and vampired and blood pressured and pulsed and everything in every test was perfectly normal. The ER doc said to follow up with his regular doc, so we were loaded in the car after 2 hours and sent home. My daughter met us and help me push and pull dad up the ramp into the house. He is sitting in his recliner with a cat in his lap. They were both taking a nap until a few minutes ago when the other cat got startled by someone driving by and bolted. He seems to be fine, just a little shaken from the fall.

Guess my boring day has taken a little detour today. I better pick up that wheelchair sooner than anticipated. I think if he used the wheelchair when he doesn’t feel very strong it would be safer all the way around.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Wednesday - middle of the road day

Yesterday was fun with Cassie before work. She was so upset when she got up. My daughter said, Mom I am coming over with Cassie, she wouldn’t stop crying until I told her we would go see Grandma. So mommy left her here for about two hours. She wanted to follow me around the house, so I asked her if she wanted her wheelchair. She said okay. Then followed me from room to room and kept saying, oh, oh, I’m stuck. I kept telling her, you can do it Cass. And she finally said, “Oh, I can back up.” (She has some autistic tendencies sometimes and has always hated it when she is rolled backwards. She hates when the car backs up, the stroller, etc. They say autistic kids don’t like going backwards for some reason, they like the forward motion.) We crossed another hurtle. Once she had done it herself she had no problem with it at all.

She came into the bathroom while I was showering. She kept me company and laughed when I put on my bra. She said, “Grandma, you moved your booboos.” She thought I was very entertaining. She also wanted me to follow her up and down the hall. I told her, you can go down and see Great-grandpa while I finish getting dressed. She took off and made it down the hall by herself. It was interesting watching her make course corrections as she went. She used to get frustrated when she ran into things. She did great.

Last night was Kiwanis Trivia night. It was a fund-raiser event. I think it raised over $3,500 for the “back-pack program.” Our community is very poor. The cost of living is extremely high and jobs are mostly in the service industry because of tourism. Most families have at least two people working just to make rent and utilities. Many kids eat breakfast and lunch at school and are lucky to get the meals. The backpack program sends food home with kids to get them through the weekend when they may not have much food at home. The foods are all easy to fix, and don’t have to be refrigerated. It is a wonderful program, and helps many, many kids in our town. My boss is one of the driving forces behind it and a lot of other “helping” programs. She is awesome. I just wish I got to work more hours. I adore her and my co-worker, they are both incredibly strong women. Trivia was really fun. There were six people on our team, since the printing side of our business sponsors our team we are called the “Copy Cats!” We always say we are just there to have a good time. We aren’t in the running for the top teams, but we give it a try anyway. We are usually in the top 10 out of about 30 teams, and we get to eat pizza, hang out together, and just plain have fun.

I just returned from another trip to the bead store. I think I have the stuff I need to make several projects now. My middle granddaughter stopped by and chose the beads for a bracelet of necklace for herself. I told her I had found some "soccer ball" beads, and I wanted her to pick out what went with them. Her choices were very funny. She chose some blue and green natural stone beads, and 8mm green Swarovski crystals. The glitz with the grass I guess. Ought to be interesting. I think I will work on some beading now. More later, or tomorrow with luck.

Smile, it will make people wonder what you've been up to!!!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Sunday night, ouch!!

Where the heck did my week go?? I really can't remember it flying away, but it did. At least tomorrow is a day off and I don't have too much on my plate. I hope to be creative at least a few hours.

The pain from yesterday's fall hit me about an hour into my day at work. My neck is kind of stiff and sore, and my lower back is really uncomfortable. The worst annoyance is my left arm, the one I use my cane with. Of course it hurts on my right wrist, too since that is the one I broke this summer. AARRGGHH!! Why did I have to get hurt again? I don't do pain well. I have chronic pain every day so I should be used to it, but new pains just put me over the edge. I am already at about max without the extra. I hope I will be able to paint this week, but I am not going to bet on it. I don't know if I will be able to sit that long. I am pretty happy with the progress I have made since my broken arm. I was worried I would have a major artistic setback, but that seems to be unfounded.

Tess and Athena and I had a great time at the bead store last week, and have several unfinished projects apiece. Now we just need to order the silver and Swarovskis we need, and get cracking on them. Tess is designing some really cool purses, I think Athena has the beads to do at least one necklace and a bracelet or two. I didn't get that many things, just some beads for a challenge featuring fun colors and whatever we deem to be fun at the moment. I have started a couple of bracelets and have taken them back apart. Haven't got the clear vision yet, so may have to go pick up some seed beads to add to what I have so I can do more what I see in my head. I have a wrapped and twisted image in my mind, but haven't exactly worked it all out yet. I will post a shot of it when I get it done.

At work today I was showing my friend, Ed, this cool centrifuge and we were both wondering what the original use was. He said, why don't you try looking it up on the internet. I had one of those Homer Simpson moments where I should have slapped myself on the forehead and said, "D'oh!!!" I looked on the centrifuge and it had the words Babcock Tester on it. I discovered a picture of it in an ad from 1904. Babcock used the thing to test the amount of butterfat/cream in his cow's milk. He patented it in 1903, but he wasn't the first. He wrote about it in a paper in 1890. The test became known at the Babcock Test. Someone else held a patent on a similar device, too. Pretty cool what you can find on the internet. More information than you probably ever wanted to know.

I am excited about Antique Week. It is held here every February. Harry Rinker, "The Collector Inspector," will be in our store on Saturday. He is alway interesting, and very entertaining. He is doing art appraisals, and antique appraisals in other locations, too. It kind of kicks off the new year's buying season. I hope things pick up.

We are also getting some cool new equipment at work on the printing side of the business. The first is a plotter-style vinyl cutting machine. It will cut vinyl for signs, and a special vinyl material which is heat-pressed onto clothing, like athletic jerseys. The second prints in full color directly on garments. I think that will be a big seller for us. I can imagine there being businesses and people who will buy 10 or 20 shirts instead of one or two, just because they are so "pretty." I know I will put some of my artwork on shirts and probably on bags, too. I love being able to promote myself with things people will actually use.

I have to get started on the design for my public art project. It is huge and I know it will be a big pain in the butt, but I hope it will also be good exposure for my artwork.

I will probably check in here again tomorrow. If for no other reason than to say Hi! and to give an update on my pain level. Today it is probably a 4 if I don't move and a 6 if I do.

Something about Sunday

Another Sunday morning. Getting ready for work, thinking about my friends who have the opportunity to go to church each week. I didn't always go, but I certainly liked having the option. Haven't been since Easter. The last Sunday I had off, except when I was in too much pain after my broken arm. Maybe someday I'll have the choice again.

Well, I was put in charge of the monthly ASA meeting on Tuesday night. I guess it went okay. We got a lot accomplished. New officers, new committees yet to come, lots to think about.

I finished the painting of my friend's cat, Rocky, I had started last week. I like it, what do you think?? It was such a sweet photo she had taken, and after all I love to paint cats. It just seemed the right thing to do.

Off to work soon. Suppose I better find some clothes and prepare. I fell last night while turning off the heater at work. Fortunately I was sitting down at the time, so I didn't have far to fall. The bad part was the concrete floor, and the fact the chair flipped over and kind of threw me on the floor. Today my shoulder is sore, and so is my back (which popped in at least three places). Today my back is not so bad, but my shoulder hurts as does my neck. NICE!!! NOT!!!