Monday, April 28, 2008

Whee! Look at me!

My friend, the lovely Nancy of NanjoDogz has featured Bailey and me in her blog.

I met Nancy through the Dogs and Art group on Flickr. It's a really fun group for folks that love dogs.

I hope you'll take a look at our interview!

I finished a beautiful bracelet last night, but have no way to photograph it yet - still no word on the fate of my camera.

I also took another Silver Art Clay class on Saturday - this one was on Silver Paste. We painted actual leaves with the silver paste, and fired them, in hopes of ending up with a pendant. This didn't work out so well for me. I chose a ginkgo leaf, and for some reason the paste just would not adhere to the leaf. About halfway through the class, the teacher suggested I do a back up leaf just in case the gingko didn't work out, so I also did a small geranium leaf.

We actually managed to glob enough silver paste onto my second gingko leaf (had to scrap the first after the leaf rejected the paste and then tore in half), and it fired OK. It looked kind of plain when everything was finally done, so we added a faceted garnet to the pendant, and I refired it yesterday. I had to leave it cooling in the kiln overnight at the shop, and won't see it until tomorrow.

Then there was that backup geranium leaf. It decided to break during firing.

Then the Dremel we were to use to drill bail holes wasn't working, so I don't so much have a gingko leaf pendant, but more of a paperweight, right now.

And since I don't have my camera, you will just have to imagine what all of this looks like!

I am pretty much over the Art Clay Silver. I gave it a good try, but it just isn't my thing.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Oh, crap.

My basically brand new camera broke last night.

Well, the camera didn't break - just the tripod housing. I went to take the photos of my abalone spiral necklace, and when I tried to mount the camera on the tripod, the camera completed one turn and got a little tighter, and then got loose again.

My response was: huh?!?

So naturally, I repeated the procedure about 50 times, with the same result - every time I let go of the camera, it fell off the tripod. Clearly, this was never gonna work (but I'm a slow learner...)

So I went ahead and took the pictures without the tripod, balancing my elbows on the table, holding my breath, and praying that the pictures wouldn't be blurry. And they turned out OK. But if I had had less light, or the aperture settings had been different, I think I would have been in trouble.

So I took the basically brand new camera and the tripod to the camera shop first thing this morning, where they pronounced the tripod housing to be stripped. And the fixing of said tripod housing to be not covered under the warranty (naturally.)

And just exactly how does this tripod housing get replaced, you might ask. Well, the camera gets mailed to Fuji, and they fix it. In 3-4 weeks.

3-4 WEEKS.

The camera shop guy suggested I get a disposable camera to use between now and then.

Yeah, that'll work.

'Spect I'll be doing a lot of relisting in my Etsy shop for the next few weeks, since there won't be any picture-taking going on around here.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Abalone Spiral Redux

I finished my abalone spiral a few minutes ago (again).

This color combination is such an improvement over the last one I put together (below). I'm quite pleased with it, actually!

Too tired to get up and go photograph it for real though, for posting on Etsy, so will do that tomorrow.

Just too much gold in this one.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My Shell Spiral - the good and the bad

It all started when I found these fabulous matching abalone shell beads, and decided they would look fabulous as the centerpiece for one of my signature spiral necklaces.

Then I started matching the shells with the various beads I wanted to use in the spiral - I selected some gold freshwater pearls, some grey Czech fire-polished crystals, some beige delicas, and various other seed beads that picked up on the colors in the shells.

The beads I chose all looked good together, and they all complemented, in one way or another, the shell focals. Honest - they did.

So how did I end up with this mess? When the spiral was only and inch or so long, I held it up to the shells, and didn't like how it went with them, but I figured I just needed to stitch a little more, to get a more representative piece. When the spiral was 3 inches long, I hated how it went with the shells, but blamed it on the core beads I had chosen, and rationalized that the core beads would be basically hidden once this fat spiral was completed.

The more I stitched, the less I liked my creation, but for some reason, I just kept stitching - somehow convinced that a good selection of matching beads + beautiful, matching focals would = a beautiful necklace. Maybe because it was 2 or 3 AM by now? I don't know.

Maybe because I've never had one turn out badly before.

So I finished the whole thing (well, almost finished - I came to my senses before I put a clasp on it) and it just looked awful. Seriously awful. The woven necklace just did not go with those gorgeous shells at all. There was no more rationalizing this away.

So I sat down Monday afternoon, and ripped the whole thing apart, and separated thousands of beads into their respective piles, and put them back in their respective containers, and started all over.

I went with a more ecru freshwater pearl, and a mauve core bead, and some peacock colored cubes, and kept the beige delicas, grey Czechs, and rose colored 11s. I added in a beige-y Czech fire-polished crystal, and am much happier! This one looks really nice with the focals.
I have finished about 5 inches so far, and this one will be a

I would be finished by now, but I have wasted a lot of time today playing on the computer, taking pictures, and chasing Bailey around the yard in my pajamas.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

What a day. What a nightmare.

My beloved laptop computer died yesterday. I can't say I wasn't warned - it had been acting sick for about 2 weeks, and became critical last Sunday. Its screen would start to pixelate, then funny stripes would appear, then the whole thing would just freeze up. I was in a state of denial, and also panic, because my life was stored in there!

I own an external drive, and had backed it up about 6 months ago, and while I still didn't want to believe I was going to lose the computer, I decided drastic measures were necessary. I learned if I performed enough CPR on it, I could ultimately achieve a working state on it, so I got it up and running, and started to back everything up. I also went online with Dell, and ordered a replacement laptop. (Ouch!)

I decided to leave the computer on all week, since starting it up seemed to be the issue. But on Thursday, critical programs were refusing to function (like my photoshop program), so I had to reboot - and couldn't. Tried again on Friday, and nothing. Dead, dead, dead.

Unbelievably enough, the new Dell computer had arrived on Thursday, despite Dell telling me it wouldn't even be shipped until 4/16. I guess my old one knew it was safe to give up!

So on Saturday, I began the painful process of getting my new computer in acceptable condition - you guys know what I mean - getting all my old files migrated over, and reloading all my favorite software (games, too!), and getting the wallpaper and screensaver set up, etc. I started at 7:30 PM, and finally quit at 6:45 AM - I knew I had dreaded doing this, but I really underestimated how long it would take. Lots of the software required a restart after each install, and I had to search on the web for some drivers and other stuff. Plus just migrating all the backed-up files took over 2 hours.

So I wasn't done at 6:45, but was exhausted - fell asleep around 8AM - realizing I was hungry because I had missed dinner AND breakfast, and woke up at 12, ready to finish. And now, at 6:30 PM, everything is done except for a few games, which can wait. And I still haven't eaten.

What a nightmare this set-up was. But I love my new computer - it is so bright and shiny and super fast! But I miss the old one, and I keep opening migrated files where only half the text came over - Weird.

I'll try to resuscitate my old computer one more time (not today) and see if I can wrangle up the incomplete Word files. I have way too many to open them all to check for content, but I'll check the most important ones.

I feel for anyone else facing this situation.

Something nice happened while all this was going on - I logged on to Etsy at one point, and discovered that one of my favorite necklaces had sold! Very nice customer, too - so I will be getting this packed up tonight for her!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Arrrrggggghhh..Do you know what week it is?

I love Spring. Really. I do.

Except for the first full week in April.

Because the first full week in April is Masters Week, and I hate Masters Week.

It's Masters Time again, and everything here in the CSRA (that's the Central Savannah River Area, to you uniniatiateds) is turned upside down to accomodate everything Masters.

Normally, living "across the River" as I do (in South Carolina), I could mark the passage of this week with just a few grimaces, as some of my favorite TV shows are pre-empted for the mandatory Masters Updates that our local CBS affiliate feels obliged to provide every evening during Prime Time. And there is nothing on the local news except golf, golf, and more golf. And late night programming is all pre-empted too, for Masters Highlights, on all networks. Of course, I also have to remember not to try to go out to eat, because all the local restaurants are vastly overbooked, plus they have jacked up their rates for this week only. And last but not least, at all costs, avoid going anywhere near Augusta.

But this year is different, because I am working at a shop in Augusta that is located on Washington Road. Guess what else is on Washington Road? Augusta National Golf Course - and just 1.5 miles away.

I've been to Augusta National during Masters before, and it is gorgeous, but that is NOT the Masters I am experiencing this week.

Breaking all my own rules, I am driving toward Augusta on I-20, and exiting on Riverwatch Parkway, crossing over to Washington Road on Stevens Creek Parkway in an attempt to use the light at Stevens Creek and Washington Rd to get into Dunkin Donuts for my morning bagel and coffee, as I do every morning. Only to find it takes 35 minutes to go 50 yards through the light at that intersection, because the golf-bound traffic on Washington Road feels it is perfectly OK to block the intersection when the light turns red. And the icing on this cake is the Richmond County Sheriff sitting in his cruiser at the BP station watching this, but making no attempt to keep that intersection clear.

So, I have done this 3 mornings so far this week, and it has taken longer and longer each morning. I anticipate it will only get worse as the tournament progresses this week.

I cannot wait until Masters is over.

Monday, April 7, 2008


Voting begins this morning for the contest I entered my Fire Wheel freeform Peyote bracelet in.

If you get a chance, visit the Etsy Beadweavers' Blog, and vote for your favorite.

Hint: I'm entry number 15....