Monday, August 23, 2010

New Items!

























I really have been working this summer...even if i havent posted much. This is my third batch of new pieces this summer. I generally do between 25 and 50 pieces at a time--it seems to go better, lets me get the juices flowing.
The dragon pieces are new. I made a few of them in the last batch, and they seemed to go over pretty well. The dragons are Tibetan Silver, a really good weight and feel, and I got them from fellow Etsyian, Leslietsy. She has some really great items! The leaves, peace sign, and Eiffel Tower are from her, as well. The other metal pieces are from Yomama, another wonderful Etsy shop.
The milky lime-green pieces up on top have an interesting beginning. When I did the Waterloo show in June, I was situated next to my friend Kimberly of Monaco Designs. She had beautiful pieces, and on the table had this artsy glass dish with her smaller items in it. While packing up, unfortunately, the dish went crashing to the pavement and shattered. She donated the broken pieces to my stash of glass. I've already made (and sold) a couple hearts and teardrops, here's another 5 pieces. It's such a unique color and texture, as well as being nearly flat which makes it easier to deal with.
So...this marks my official debut using glass other than bottles! It opens me up to other sources-vintage glass, art glass, contemporary glass...anything! That means now I'll be looking for collectible glass, vintage glass that maybe chipped or cracked and has very little value to anyone else, but I can make nice jewelry from it.
****This means I can stop drinking! Just kidding, but lately I've been buying more bottles just to recycle them into jewelry-does that still count?

But, a question for you...this is a new design I just did-a bit different, more sculptural. What do you think of it? Should I continue exploring this? Leave your thoughts in the comments for me!




Monday, July 5, 2010

ReDirecting

i havent had the heart to post anything here this week. Sometimes when life comes at you too fast, it takes too much time to write it. So here's an edited version.

I know i just posted about my neighborhood and working to make it a place for artists to gather and work. I have another artist who is using my garage to do his sculptures in return for helping me with maintenance, and I'd love to be able to hold classes on fabric dyeing and fabric printing, papermaking, photography, screenprinting, whatever. Heck, I just want to be able to go there and do my own work!


However, I finally think I'm done dreaming about that. I think it's time to move on. Just the next day after I wrote my last post, I went to my house to take some photos of my jewelry to put online. As I turned the corner, that all-to familiar dread took root in the pit of my stomach as I noticed my screen door was open.


That only means one thing: someone was trying to break in again. I was confident that they couldn't GET in, for my back door was bolted and barred with a metal bar, and all my windows on the bottom floor were boarded up on the inside. Outside, the house looked innocent and open. Inside, it looked like Fort Knox.


Well, what can I say? If they're determined to get in, there's no way you can keep them out.

It looks like they took a crowbar to the back doorframe by the hinges because there was a dent in the door--did I say it was a steel door? The door was lying flat on the ground, still attached to the frame. They walked over it to get in the house.

It doesn't appear that they took anything important--i didn't live there, so there wasn't anything of value there, but they went through all my drawers and closet shelves, even the refrigerator, leaving everything open. I do know they took something, for my carry-on bag with wheels and handle that I pack my displays in for art shows is missing. I know they didn't want that for itself, so they must have used it to carry something out. I just don't know what-unless it was some of the wine bottles I kept in the fridge--I keep a couple dozen bottles in their to help maintain the coldness. Maybe they thought the ones that had caps on still were wine? Now, that would be so ironic, stealing wine bottles and then finding out they were just full of water??

Frankly, I'm tired...tired of the worry, tired of dealing with the residue. Tired of putting off painting the faded aluminum siding because I know that, as soon as I do, they'll rip it off for scrap. Tired of being tired. It's time for me to let go and move on. I may have the opportunity to do this again, but I won't go it alone. IF I get another studio, I'll have someone there to help me create it. And I won't be so torn between 3 different lives that I can't get any work done.

It's time for me to get ALL areas of my life together so I can focus on what I do best: making art.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Being Swept up in the Tides of Change

One of my favorite songs was an underground band singing a song from the musical, South Pacific...I don't even know the band or the name of the song, I just know the phrase that stayed in my mind: 'If you don't have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?'

Sometimes we get what we wish for. Sometimes, we put things into motion and before we know it, they are happening and we'd better wake up and get with it, or miss out and its our own fault!

A few years ago, my friend had a Manifestation Party where we made collages from magazine clippings, words and pictures that resonated with us and illustrated things we'd like to accomplish or do. I worked on mine for months after that, until I think I got a clear vision of what I'd like to be and do.

Then I let it sit.

Now, a few years later, I can pull them out and look at them, and I'm amazed at how far I've come and how much on that collaged list I've accomplished.

--> I wanted to do photography (I didn't even have a digital camera at that point) Now, I'm a professional photographer; I do school portraits as well as doing fan photos during Major league baseball games...and freelance work for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Of course, it helps if you've become good friends with their photographer! Dave has been so supportive and helpful in ANYthing I've wanted to do, its amazing. He's also taught me so much in Photoshop!

--> I wanted to sell my artwork and jewelry full time, attempting to supply a good part of my income with it. I had collaged 'online', 'galleries', 'shows' on my page, and I now have a website, an Etsy site, I'm doing shows, and am currently in 7 galleries.

--> I wanted to help re-create a safe and artsy neighborhood in the run-down, drug-infested area where my old house is--and now I'm living there, meeting people and starting to make contacts with others of a like mind and throwing some ideas out there. It was starting to work until I had to move in to take care of my Dad on the other side of town. I may or may not be able to go back and work again with them on that...it depends more on whether I've moved on or I'm still impassioned by it. It may just be time to let go. The point is, I did work on it.

--> I wanted to travel, and I have photos of planes, working on a laptop in different locations, lots of roadmaps. I'm not sure what that will lead into, but stay tuned because I'm seeing hints and opportunities that are just beginning. However, I did go to Florida for 4 days and came away with 3 gallery opportunities, one of which has become a very good venue--Back Alley Gifts in Bradenton Beach is a fantastically fun and active shop with so many things to do-its not just a gift shop, but a place to go, a place to have fun!

--> I wanted to have my morning breakfast/coffee outdoors on the balcony and typing away on my computer. I had in mind a balcony overlooking the ocean, but this is getting closer: right now I'm typing this on a patio on my laptop with my coffee in the morning sun, listening to the birds. It's a start!

I have other things as well, entertaining, exploring, learning, organizing, creating...all these things are beginning to happen as well. I truly believe, had I not done these pages, my life would be one long slide, drifting into nothing but missed opportunities.

I know my friend believes that doing these pages 'puts these longings out there in the universe' and then they are attracted to you. That's one way of looking at it, but my point of view is a bit different. I believe it's the same thing they tell entrepreneurs to do (goal-setting), or businesses when they want to grow (business plans). I believe it's more a matter of clarifying in your own mind just what you really want to do.

The example I gave someone the other day when we were discussing this was, when my children were little and we were on a drive, I'd start the game, see how many VW beetles you can find. Once they started looking, those darn cars were EVERYwhere! Now, by putting that thought out into the universe, did my children just attract these cars to our area? Or, were they always there but we just never noticed?

So, I truly believe that, call it what you will, if you take the time to Dream, to discover your desires, to put down on paper either as a list or a visual collage all the things you'd really like to do, then your mind will become involved and you will start noticing opportunities and you will start making headway in directions you never focused on before.

You just may have your own dreams start coming true.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Summer!

I was featured in a treasury this week...one of yellow, cobalt blue and aqua. What a summery, wonderful color combination! Take a buzz over and check it out--there are some awesome selections here! Aqua, yellow, blue...who knew?

And, while you're off doing that, I'm off cutting more fantastic pieces with my New Taurus Ring Saw!!
Just wait til you see the hearts and cool shapes I can cut now--and the BEST thing is, the blade WON'T cut my finger (fingernail, yes but finger, no) meaning I can get in there with the tiniest of details...........
I'm trying to make other shapes for some new ideas I have (note the little green triangles and the brown squiggle shape...). These pieces are smaller than I've been working with in the past. I'm trying to get pendants more suitable for those of us who don't like wearing large pieces as well as trying for some earring styles.
Here I'm showing you just a couple boxes of my stash ready to play with...see the Crown Royal, the brown Cointreau and yes, that's a Fanta soda pop bottle!!
Here's a picture of my temporary workspace at the apartment. Normally I'd be working at my studio but I don't want to be gone all day today so I brought my saw here.
The saw does throw off little specks of glass, so you have to wear face and eye protection...my poor plant won't know what hit it!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I am Up and Running Again!!

I did it!! took my computer in and got it cleaned out (2 gig of internet temp files!) but it still didn't run well when I got it home. The techie said I needed more RAM as I only had 512 mb.

So I ordered 2 1-gig memory cards. They came today in the mail and I installed them and Whoa Momma! now my computer is fast and responsive to my every touch!!!
Now I want to order some for my laptop as its been so terribly slow that I hardly use it anymore.

I also want to install my wireless so I can sit out on the patio and do my blogging, listing, or other internet maintenance...or at least sit in the living room with my dad instead of being so reclusive in my bedroom all night, every night.

So-that means pretty soon I'll be back updating my sites and uploading more jewelry and artwork!!

It'll be so nice to be in touch with the outside world again...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

It's ShowTime!!


The 41st Hessler Street Fair is this weekend (May 22, 23) and I'm going to be there!!
(stop by if you happen to be in the area--non-stop music, great food, and cool art! It's the original hippie street fair and hasn't changed too much! I'll be in booth 52.)

This is the fair that started it all for me last year--I applied at the last minute and they still had a spot and it was the first show I'd done in years, and the absolut first (oops, that's AbsolutE-you can tell I've been working with the liquor bottles way too much!) anyway, the absolutE first show I'd done with my jewelry.

It was so gratifying to see the response--and sales--from people, plus being found by Joe from La Lanterna Gallery in nearby Little Italy. It was this show that made me decide to Go For It with my artwork.


So, here it is, 1 year later...I'm in 6 galleries with a few more in the works, I have my blog (2 of them; this one and www.bohoexpress.wordpress.com for my wackier side), website, FB page, Twitter account, name is registered, vendor's license in place, I have my own studio, and I'm ready to pay taxes!

Now that's as official as you can get!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Magically Delicious!

I've just posted another entry in my other blog, BoHoExpress...this is where I record things that inspire me, interest me, or in any way make my heart sing.
Now that that's finished, I need to get busy on making more jewelry. I've somewhat cleaned up my space-or at least enough to work in again-so I've no excuse!

My jewelry is selling at a nice pace, I'm happy to say. I love having galleries to work for me even while I'm concentrating on other things, but on the other hand, I tend to get discouraged thinking nothing is selling until the end of the month when I unexpectedly receive checks in the mail and I'm amazed at how well I did!

And I did do well this month...to the point I need to replenish a couple of the galleries.
Now, that's a happy day!






Monday, May 10, 2010

It's gonna be worth it, some day

I think that's the name of a song we do at church, but if not, it still fits here.

I'm running into computer issues. My computer is sluggish (yes, I've decluttered and defragged) and as unresponsive as trying to turn the Titanic to avoid the iceburg. It used to be able to do 3 or 4 things at once; I had windows open all over the place. Now I can't even click on one thing because it takes forever to open up.

I want to post new jewelry for my shop. I want to post another entry here. I want to show pictures I've been taking, share what I've been doing but that will have to wait until I can get this cleared up.

But hopefully, when it comes, 'It's gonna be worth it'.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Where the fun stuff is...

I've started a new blog called BohoExpress. It's theme is all the quirky, whimsical, fun and downright weird things that catch my fancy that I don't really want to put here...this blog is where I pretend to be artsy and intellectual (snort!!) and drink vodka (for the bottles, of course) and keep my nose up in the air (unless it rains).

That blog is more about my interest in others and what they're doing and will include some interviews and reports on cool (to me) things...this one is more about ME.

That blog is more about the internal me, this one about the external me.
So--do me a favor and check it out...tell me what you think!

And, while you're at it, check out
Simpleelements' blog, where you'll find a series of interviews of artists and what inspires them...she actually asked me! and i'm up there with some really fantastic artists--but seriously, it's really so interesting to hear what hits people and urges them to create.
Thanks so much Simple, for the opportunity!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Success!!!

I did the shows last week and it was fantastic! Even more than making sales, which is always wonderful as my pockets are feeling a bit lonesome lately, but I met some wonderful women. I even have plans to see them again in the future!

I received my daily Handmade Spark Today from Timothy Adam-who is the Etsy guru and on March 28 (I'm a little behind on my reading) there was a really great article from Joyous Treasure's blog, Etsy Treasure Chest about nice and affordable packaging for your Etsy sales-which are going to be many, right?? Some really great ideas, and I immediately got out my supplies to compare what I did with what they showed. I LIKE what I do, but it could stand some tweaking, which I'm playing with now. Here's what I do now:


1. Each piece gets its own little protective pouch made
from T-shirts that I sew up myself-recycling at it's finest!


2. Then they get put into a ziplock baggie along with my business card





3. Then I put them into a really neat pastel padded envelope with cardboard to keep the package stiff.






Changes: I'm keeping the pouch and the baggie, but I tried recycling one of my many, many, many paint cards that I can't stop taking--I just LOVE the shot of color they give me!--and write my 'Thank You!' on it, fold it over the top of the zip lock bag and staple it closed...then wrap the whole in tissue paper with a business card enclosed.

I'm working on adding a small giftie--either a larger printed business card/book mark, or a fridgie magnet. In the past, I've made a little match-book purse notepad and I may still do that...maybe I'll do all of them and you'll never know what you'll get!

Friday, April 23, 2010

It's almost time, and here's a preview:

Here is a sneak peek at a few of the new pendants I've made in this latest collection. They range from soft and romantic with delicate beading, to smooth and sleek edges...from hearts and rounded teardrops to rectangles and squares.

I hope you like them!




A very pretty simple green heart. Sometimes its not all about the lacy romance, but just a clean, sleek look.
I've done a few very sleek, contemporary green pieces in this collection.

The heart itself measures 1-1/2" long (37mm), not including the ring.









This is one of my popular Absolut text pieces. It measures 1 X 3/4" (25X20mm).
It's fun to work with these pieces and see what types of phrases I can come up with...this one says, "...was in the...". They remind me of fragments of a love letter or an overheard lost conversation.








This piece is made from broken crystal stemware. I was so upset that the glass broke, but then all was well when I realized I could make it into jewelry!

It's a really nice heavy 1-1/2" faceted crystal drop accented with beads of silver solder.









Here is a 45 mm (1-3/4") heart from a Bombay Sapphire Gin bottle with just a touch of beaded solder on the one side.
It's always a nice change to make something from the beautiful aqua pastel bottles--so different from the usual dark green or brown wine bottle.









This is a nice romantic Victorian-like piece with its frosted glass, delicately beaded edge, and the silvery knot that holds the glass drop to the chain.
The entire drop measures 2 1/4" long.











So, there you have a preview of my current collection of pendants that I just finished. If you'd like to see more, stay tuned as I'll be uploading all the pieces to my flickr site for another Pre-Listing Sale!

The way it works is like this:
After I batch load them, you have the opportunity to see them all. If you see something you like and you let me know before I've taken all the photos and written all the descriptions for uploading to Etsy, I will give you 10% off the purchase price as my way of thanking you for saving me the work! I will then upload just a single photo and create a custom listing for you at the discounted price for you to purchase as normal through my Etsy account.

Once a pendant is uploaded to my Etsy site with its usual description and photos, however, the purchase price reverts to its normal amount. YOU NEED TO CATCH ME BEFORE I CREATE THE LISTING. The point of the prelisting sale is to save me the writing and photographing of each piece.
If you have any questions, just ask...and be sure to tell all your friends! I would SO love to just list pre-sold items and not have to agonize over the descriptions and photos!!!
Here is my flickr account. Happy Shopping!!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Regrouping


Now that I'm starting to recover a little bit and have time to take stock, I'm pleased with the success of the shows over the weekend. For not being "Art" shows but speaking events where the artists were an aside, the reactions were very positive.


The best part is, since I worked like mad to get inventory for a new gallery plus both the shows, I now have plenty of items to share and put aside for my next show May 22/23,

the Hessler Street Fair by the campus of Case Western Reserve University and right at the base of Little Italy-a great place to visit, check out all the shops, and of course, Eat! And, if you go there, be sure to stop by La Lanterna, where you can see my Urban Aritfaks in person!


Here is what 50+ necklaces looks like, awaiting their moment in the spotlight to get photographed and uploaded to my Etsy shop. Of course, since that will take absolutely weeks to do, I will once again have my PreListing Sale where I will batch upload pictures to my Flickr account.
The Prelisting Sale works like this:
I batch upload photos to Flickr just to share what I've been creating lately. If you see anything there that you can't live without, or you want more information on, then you email me. If you want to buy something before I get it uploaded to Etsy, then YOU get to purchase the piece at a 10% discount!! I will then list the item as a 'reserved for' at its reduced price, and you can purchase it there as usual.
The savings are in effect up until I get the piece uploaded to my Etsy account so be sure to check there before ordering.
I offer this discount because, if you purchase before I upload it to Etsy, you save me a lot of trouble taking all the detail pictures and writing up the description. I'll still create the listing for the item, but I can include the discounted price and I just need show the one photo. It's a totally win-win situation, and Oh, how I love those!!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Wow, it feels so good to have just slept and slept until I woke up, and woke up only when I was rested for a change! That can mean only one thing>I made it past another deadline.

I had a show--actually, *2* shows--Saturday (i need to carry my calendar with me at all times again) and I was focused on getting enough jewelry done for the shows. (How much inventory is enough??? No matter what you have, it's not the right color, the right size, the right style and we panic that we won't have what we need to do a show but when all is said and done, just do what you can and then trust that it will all work out just fine.)

I did a women's retreat from my church Saturday held in Lima, Ohio, out towards Toledo. I was hesitant about doing it as my jewelry isn't mainstream beads, crystals, precious stones or metals but its urban, made from bottles-liquor bottles, no less... Could I even say that there??? And my jewelry is, well, just different.
Did I stereotype and prejudge my market? You bet. But Donna Kephart, my pastor's wife and a fantastic lady, who is in charge of the district women's group assured me that they would love my work and that my story of creating something beautiful from the ashes of what could have defeated me would connect with them as well.
She was right. The women were fantastic, and there were a few of them that I sensed a connection with immediately like I've seldom felt before. What warm and welcoming women!

I think it hit me then that we are ALL on a rocky journey through this life, some rockier than others, but I feel like I'm among a unique band of comrades-and I like that...we have experiences in common. We are all working and striving, dealing with trials and problems but, instead of isolating us, it brings us together.

Together. I like that.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hanging in there, One More Week!

Taxes are DONE as of yesterday-with 1 day to spare, no less.
Inventory-nearly DONE, or at least enough to get me by

It must be spring...i found myself washing the coffeemaker! No!! Not yet!!! I can't do spring cleaning until next week, AFTER the show!!!!

I Got My MoJo Back!!

My soldering nightmare seems to have ended!!! I can't express how thrillllllled I am!

I mean, LOOK at this! the solder globs up, which would indicate not enough heat to melt it, and it would spike into sharp points-again, not enough heat so the solder would cling to the tip...and yet,
if I tapped it just a wee bit harder or hold it a smidge longer, the solder would melt and run like water!

I'm not sure why or what happened or what I'm doing different...maybe it was just buying a new soldering iron (and eating the tip up in 30 minutes of use!!!) and maybe that just scared my little irons to pieces thinking they were about to be replaced?

I don't know but as soon as I unplugged that new, cheapie iron and heated up my old one, things were suddenly A-OK.

AND SO---



here are my 2 irons-the 50-watt one on the right was my dad's and is probably decades old--and i've put more use on it in one month than he did in all the years he's had it...the other one is my 100 watt iron that I bought when I started.


I've got 6 dozen pieces soldered, cleaned, polished, and on chains-giving me a total of *12* dozen pieces!! ready for Saturday's shows-yes, that's plural, as in 2 shows in one day.

They probably won't be big selling days, as the arts are more for display and inspiration, but there will be some sales, I'm sure...and then, next week, I can start uploading new merchandise to my UrbanArtifaks etsy shop!

And YES, I've started carrying my calendar around with me all the time again.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

tonight was The night

i finally had The Talk with my husband...it's been nearly 4 1/2 years that I've lived in limbo, married but not really, alone but not free. I've made efforts at this discussion before and while he admitted yes, we probably should just do it, no effort was made, no real closure achieved.

But tonight, after dealing again with the income taxes, married--but filing separately and married--but not living together, married--but... it's time. I'm tired of being married--but. I'm emotionally drained.

I wish him the best. I wish for him to find happiness. He's a good man but it hurts too much to linger, and he just wants to be alone. And me? Even though it's been over 4 years, I haven't been able to begin the healing process...that can only start once it's really Over.

So I have dared to think ahead, to dream a little. There are so many things I want to do with my life...places to go, people to meet, experiences to share, things to make. My future is somewhere out there now, and I want to be able to move forward and set goals and follow my path and see where life will take me. My cup has always been half full...now I want it to spill over.

I want to live for myself and not someone else now.

I want to live.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

bouncing around my head

I delivered 30 pieces of jewelry to Zocalo's Mexican Grill and Tequila Bar this week. I wanted to come up with a display that would show off the necklaces but where they wouldn't be easy to walk off with-something you need to worry about in a bar type atmosphere.

I came up with lots of ideas, but they were either a lot of work or not quite right. Sometimes the simplest idea is the best. This is what I decided on:



I found picture frames at our local closeout store 12X22" for sale, 2/$.99...fantastic!! They're even painted a nice silvery color-which is kinda Mexican. (I bought all 12 of them, BTW.) Then I bought a roll of galvanized hardware cloth with 1/4" mesh...

some lanyard clips, and some velcro strips.

I cut the hardware cloth 1" larger all around than the picture frame opening...folded the excess in like a hem and stapled it inside the picture frame.
I scattered the lanyard clips evenly and hooked them to the metal mesh so they could hang down; stuck velcro on each corner and its ready to install! I'll take this to the restaurant tomorrow, attach the other side of the velcro to the underside of their shelving, and it's done!
The jewelry will hook into each of the lanyard clips and will hang about eye level--perfect to catch the eye. To examine closer, the hostess will have to unhook each piece which needs two hands-easy enough but impossible to just grab and walk off with.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I love the ocean. On one of our trips to Florida, our condo overlooked the ocean. The master bath was open to the bedroom and I could leave the balcony door open and the shower door open and shower while watching the ocean waves...then I would breakfast each day on the balcony-it was the most peaceful, calm-my-soul type of day. My goal is to start each day of my life like that.

I was reading one of my favorite blogs today,
Low Tide High Style and they are having a giveaway. I don't generally participate in these but she is offering the most beautiful earrings made by Scarborough Seashells and I had to share them with you!
They are made of beach pottery of the deepest blue with white that look just like a deep blue summer sky and are finished with a perfect silver bezel. These earrings are the most wonderful way to keep a bit of summer memories with you all the time.
I'm sorry she's giving them away because I could buy them but I never win these things and, as one-of-a-kind pieces go, these are all there are.

Sigh.

But, if not me, then maybe one of you will win them and I can enjoy them vicariously through you.

Now, go over there and check them out!! Good Luck!

Views of The Golden Years

One of the perils of living in an assisted living retirement complex is that they are prone to certain issues...such as last night, I was absolutely the only one in the building to be awaken by the most god-awfully, 'I'm-asleep-and-my-hearing-aid's-on-the-dresser' loud fire alarm going off.

I'm wandering the hall in my PJ's and scared the crap out of the girl from the front building who came running over to investigate--either she's not used to people actually waking up with this alarm, or I look that frightful; it's a toss-up.

So here it turns out that the guy in apartment D was sitting watching TV (I thought I heard something out there, he said to her) and had put a pan of dried prunes (I kid you not) on to cook and forgot about them, filling his apartment with smoke and stench-neither of which he noticed-and setting off the fire alarm.

It was nearly an hour before the fire truck had finished its investigation, written their report, and driven off, leaving those of us awake to finally try to sleep again, not an easy thing for me to do at any time, but when I'm over-exhausted, harder than ever.

There may be some benefits to putting your hearing aid on the dresser after all........

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

you know what they say, its the journey that counts

I've just returned from a Very Important Roadtrip--a trip I can already tell is one of those life-changing events.

It wasn't just the destination that was so important, although going to an art opening was up there among the best things I've done; rather it was the journey. It was meeting with my women friends (that I've known nearly 10 years but have never met). It was HAVING women friends.

I've never really gotten along with other women when I was growing up. It was a feeling of not being popular or fashionable or pretty or thin enough to matter in the eternal competition among the female species to attract the male species. It was watching women flirt outrageously with my very handsome musician husband... women who, when our marriage crumbled, spoke sympathetically to my face and then I overhear them say, 'good, that means he's available' when they turn away. Women like the one my husband always criticized for her sleeping around yet she's the one he goes off with.

I gravitated towards the guys because they seemed easy to talk with, and, growing up with only brothers, I was used to them and the way they dealt with life (by not dealing with life).

Unfortunately, I carried that over into my adult years. One of the BLESSINGS of getting older is to be free of that emotional, soul-killing race!!! Somewhere along the way, women became allies and I never really realized it until now. I have many women 'friends', and while there are still many of them out there trying to attract a man--any man, there are so many more that are happy within themselves and have gotten on with the business of Real Life.

Meeting with Liz (for the second time) and Sue and Cathy, driving 8-9 hours to see Sue's solo show; that was wonderful! It was sharing a room and a couple days with Cathy and Liz...of eating together, shopping together and sitting in the motel room til all hours in the morning, sharing all that we'd bought and talking and laughing together...it was, as they say, priceless.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

st patty's day

My friend called and asked if I wanted to go downtown to the St. Patrick's Day parade. Having a dislike of intense [drunk] crowds where there is a lot of drinking [did I mention drunks?], I've never gone to it before but hey, there's a first time for everything and I had nothing else terribly pressing that day that couldn't wait til the next day.

I love going downtown if I don't have to worry about parking. I like walking around window shopping, people watching, and searching out unusual architectural details-of which there's a lot. Cleveland has more old buildings still standing and it's fun to search them out.

We arrived at Tower City, the refurbished building that once housed the train and bus terminals and still holds RTA-our cable car, transit, train, Metro-whatever you want to call it, they all end at the Tower City Terminal on Public Square. As we were walking out, the ornate windows framed the newer buildings outside and it made a neat picture but, try as I might, I couldn't get the inside and outside to expose at the same time. I knocked off a few shots of the different windows and we left.



Here's the photo of the inside of the terminal. I'm learning my way around photoshop lately and am getting pretty good at some things...to the point where I can take a person's smiling face from one shot and cover the one with their eyes half closed in the other shot.


In this picture, I took the window from the one photo and stuck it in the window of another shot. They were two different windows with two different angles so I had to play with the perspective. That turned out fine but there really should be just one light-I'm not good enough yet to clone out the second one when its in such a patterned area. I could have cropped the photo above the window, but then you'd lose the ornate ceiling, which is the point of the whole picture.

I would really like to go back and take the photo again-and this time, take the same window with both exposures.

After we left here, we were to meet our friends at the House of Blues where they were having free concerts all day.


This photo is of the pit in front of the stage-they were throwing beads and things out. It was loud and a bit crazy...no, it was LOUD and crazy. At one point, I had to move to around the corner as my chest hurt from the loud bass. I felt like my heart itself hurt from trying to beat against the pressure of those bass speakers.
I worked at the House of Blues last fall doing photography and I never saw it as crazy as this during any of the concerts. This was like a mini-spring break. One girl in the front row took her T-shirt off and tossed it to the DJ-a DJ for Pete's sake, not even a live band!-and kept dancing without a shirt on until he eventually tossed it back.
This shot shows the people (at a quieter point) but there were just so many people! (You can tell I haven't been out much lately)


After a while we left to watch the parade. No good pictures there, but I like the two I took of a couple vendors. Maybe that's more descriptive of what it's about anyway.


I love this last shot-the crowds of people streaming by, the look on the vendor's face...the hope of making a good buck and being disappointed..I so hope he made out later.

So that was my first St. Patrick's Day. And yes, I ate corned beef sandwich but no, I didn't drink any beer, green or otherwise.


But all I could think of was, all those empty bottles...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

updates

i havent posted in quite a while. I've been spending my time working on jewelry for my urbanartifaks.etsy.com site and uploading fiber art to my other site jacqm.etsy.com.

thursday i got a call in the morning that my dad had tripped and fallen while over by my mom at the nursing home...he'd gotten himself up in the chair but then he passed out. they called 911 and finally revived him but his heart rate was in the low 40's. he began vomitting and his heart rate wouldn't go any higher so they took him in to the emergency room.

after a few hours of tests and X-rays, EKG's and all sorts of other things, the doctor mentioned a pacemaker.

i left him soon after and left a message for my brother to go see him, and spent most of the evening with my mother, trying to keep her mind off where he was...with her dementia, she no longer remembered what had happened, she only knew he wasnt there.

After that, i went to a concert i had made plans for just before this happened.

Next morning, i went to the hospital to discuss the pacemaker with my dad but he was all ready for it. they scheduled it for that afternoon. I went to the nursing home to check on my mother, then went back to the hospital to be there while my dad went in for his surgery since my brother couldnt make it.

surgery went well, and i stayed with him a bit after that...then i went back to the nursing home to keep my mom's mind off him still not being there with her. i left my brother a message that he'd better go visit dad that night, and thankfully, he did.

i went home and fell asleep for a while, then woke up and worked online until 5:30 (am). Slept again until 8:30.

Doctor called about 10am to say all was well and he could go home so i brought him home around 2pm. he decided to go straight to mom's and when we walked in there, she was so happy!

so that was my couple days...now dad has a pacemaker and he should do fine for another 10 years at least!

i just hope i can keep up with him.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

back to basics

It's been a long haul these past couple weeks. talk about cabin fever, depressed. Normally I'm an upbeat, optimistic person who likes to daydream about the future who is always imagining going places and doing things.

Lately, its been hard because, for my situation to change, one of my parents will have passed on and i dont want that to happen. I cancelled the 2 weeks I'd planned to go to florida for a much needed change of scenery, which would also have been a working trip as i had 3 art shows lined up to do while there...but i couldn't leave my dad alone that long and my brother isnt dependable enough to come check on him. I feel so trapped-unable to go anywhere, unable to even dream of going anywhere, i'm dying a little more each day.

Thank God for friends...friends who have a life, who still go places, do things. Last year, I'd made an art piece for a favorite restaurant in Holmes Beach, Fl-Mr. Bones BBQ (http://www.mrbonesbbq.com/) and was able to deliver it to them in November. The owner was out of town at the time, but I knew she'd like it.

Well, i just got this image emailed to me from my friend who's in florida at the moment and lo and behold, there is my piece! She had it framed and matted to protect it but its hanging right by the main doorway.

Awesome...!!!

This last picture is because i begged for a shot of what i was missing most-the water. Ahh, now i feel better! Next Year.......

Anyway, NOW i feel good enough to get back to work...I have 2 special orders to finish, one order to mail out, and a third special order that just came in!!
On top of that, today was quite sunny and relatively mild-i believe it hit in the 40's!
Looks like i'll get through this afterall.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

thoughts

I was skimming through a couple new blogs that i marked to read later when i have more time. This one really had an effect on me: http://www.bricolagelife.typepad.com/. Check out her flickr account showing vignettes of her home, also.

It makes me long to go home again.

I'd like to be there a little bit each week to get it ready for my return, whenever that will be. But to know i have a space of my own, that i can paint and decorate, and then repaint and redecorate next week if i want-what heaven!

In the meantime, i can focus on reclaiming my space a little at a time and eventually regain the entire house. I can use it as staging for my photos. I have so many cool things that I love but I don't put out because there's no room, but I can rotate them.

I feel as if i wasted my time when i was there because i wasnt ready for it...i was still traumatized from all the break-ins and afraid but i feel so much better now...i'm truly ready to return, and yet i hesitate because that will mean one of my parents will have passed away and i DON'T want that. So, i think i will just start to visit there a little more each day.
(of course that will mean i need to clean up my glass cutting area-can't cut glass in the kitchen if i intend to eat there).

First on the list is to replace the 2 broken windows...then go ahead and make the decorative iron bars for the downstairs so i can open the boarded up windows...install the motion detector lights...replace the broken windows in the back porch and install the new back door. In the spring, i want to paint the house. I know they advised me against it because it attracts less attention when it's faded and worn but it looks so forlorn! I want something cheerful and hopeful to come home to...Buttery yellow with marigold trim...and a purple front door and porch railings with my wicker set on the porch and lots of plants-climbing yellow and red roses!!

Let there be change in my neighborhood and let it begin with me!

About those new years resolutions...

I don't do new year's resolutions. I know it's the beginning of a new year and a great new beginning and all, but its smack dab in the middle of winter. Even the holiday diversion is over and now the long trek towards spring begins. On top of that, I'm also out of work at this time, in the middle of the 3 month lull between fall pictures and our spring program, which is never as busy as fall anyway.
It starts off good with good intentions and good progress and good hopes and good dreams...but, the long dark days and nights that blend together just drag me down. My money begins to run out, I become lethargic and depressed, unable to just Get Out and Do Something. This is a golden opportunity that I am letting slip through my fingers. Duh!

So...This is the day to begin anew. I feel as if I am turning a corner finally. Time to get myself in gear.
Forgetting what lies behind, straining toward what is ahead, I will press on toward my goals.

Friday, February 5, 2010

what do I do all day?

People often ask me how I make my Urban Artifaks, so I thought I would take some photos showing what I do.

Since I now live in the apartment to take care of my dad, my home has become a working studio. It's 15 min. away-just far enough that when I go, I stay there all day. Takes too much gas to keep running back and forth.








This is my bottle stash (most of it). You can see all my Grey Goose Vodkas on the bottom shelf, then a couple shelves up are my Absoluts. On the other side, you can see my cobalt blue Skyy Vodkas, aqua blue Bombay Sapphires, the last of my turquoise Cabo Wabo Tequilas, my Patrons, and tons of wine bottles in every shape and color.

I know, I have a lot of bottles...and yet, I can't turn them down...And I'm always on the look-out for bottles I don't have. Like I posted on FB, I'm probably the only person who goes window shopping at the state liquor store!

When I go to my studio, I'll spend the whole day working on bottles. I generally work in stages.

The first stage is to cut the tops and bottoms off a LOT of bottles...I'll do about 60 bottles at a time. Next I cut them in half and keep only the parts I need. The rest goes into the recycling bin.



~a box full of treasures!~

I'll spend a couple days doing this because I use a wet saw and it's messy--and noisy. It's not bad once I get going, but it's probably my least favorite part of the process. (It's also when I cut myself the most. Right now it's difficult to type because of the cuts on my fingers and thumb.)

After I separate the fronts and backs, I cut them into sections. In this case, I have something particular in mind for the bowl of oranges on the back of the Grey Goose La'Orange, so I separate that section from the top and bottom.





Here it is, cut into sections.
Below shows the entire bottle back with the different sections and shapes. The top part will become frosted hearts. I like the slight concave shape. The middle painted part will become rectangular pendants, and the bottom with the text will become funky teardrops.








Here's a pile of pieces I've rough-cut.

I'll spend a few days just doing this stage until I have 2-3 trays of pieces like this. Not all of them will end up as pendants-sometimes the cut didn't come out just right, or it was too uninteresting or it just plain broke!

So, of the 60 or so bottles I've cut, about a third of them will be cut up into pieces right away and the rest of the bottle halves stored til next session. That way I can jump in and start cutting without having to get the saw out first.

I've never used all the pieces I've cut...partly because I cut so many, and partly because I don't always "see" anything in a piece right then. It might get picked out at a later session because that time I'm looking for something different.

Each time I work, I have a certain focus whether shape, embellishment, or design. (hmm, I wonder if in the future, you'll be able to tell which batch a piece came from, just like what year a wine was vinted?)

Enough work for one day: here's a small selection of what I accomplished:




Next visit, I start grinding the shapes into Shape. I might use tile nippers to chip away at the corners on the teardrops and hearts but I do this carefully. This is the time I often lose a good piece. Yesterday, when I was doing this batch, I had a beautiful teardrop from Three Olives Grape that perfectly framed the cascade of grapes...I nipped at the corner and it cracked in 3 small pieces. Gone forever...the only grape bottle I had, too. Oh well.

Here is 3 hours work--64 pieces, shaped and ground smooth, ready to foil:



When I finish this batch of necklaces, I'll post more pictures. See you then!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

things I've learned

Things I've learned:

1) do NOT, under any circumstances, carry a container of flavored coffee creamer in your checked luggage for under the plane once it has been opened.

need i say more?

Friday, January 22, 2010

whatever happens...

alztheimers, dementia...they are horrid diseases. [the good side is, i can tell my mom the same news over and over and she doesnt notice. the bad side is, i get to hear 'you're putting on a bit of weight, aren't you?' over and over as well.]

my dad and i are here to try to keep my mother as mentally comfortable as possible during this time but sometimes, when her mind slips more than not, it gets hard. she just can't understand why he will not sleep with her anymore, why he leaves her there at night and goes 'home' and when that happens, she just goes off on him relentlessly. she can be pretty rough: why wont he stay with her; why does he treat her this way, what kind of husband is he...how about, the kind that walks over to spend 12 hours a day with her every day, rain, shine, snow, or ice--without fail. the kind that would love to go someplace else but won't because he doesnt want to leave her alone.


when that happens, i try to distract her by getting out the cards. we play 500 rummy. it gives her something to concentrate on and i think it helps her mind to figure out '3-of-a-kind' or '3-in-a-row'; what to keep, what to discard. sometimes we play for 3-4 hours, other times just a few games. the goal is to get her ready to sleep comfortably.

sometimes when i walk back from the nursing home, i look at the sky almost with surprise that the sun still rises and sets, the moon and stars still come out at night. it's hard to remember, is there really a world out there, beyond this nursing home facility, beyond this apartment? do people still go shopping, go to movies, to parties; meet with friends, have friends??

i wonder if it helps or hurts that i'm not working outside of the home right now, but am trying to make a go of it by working on jewelry and fabric...my etsy shops, my galleries. i sometimes talk to people on the phone, people with actual voices, not just online, and i enjoy hearing them talk but dont know what to say back. its like my world has shrunk smaller and tighter with each day until i exist just within these apartment rooms...until i am reluctant to even leave them.

yet, i dream of leaving, of going far away where the weather is nice and i can feel the warmth of the sun on my face. there are lots of people and i can walk the beach and hear the rhythmic waves on the shore and the birds crying, looking for food. i dream of selling my jewelry and artwork to people like these, people who see my work and like it and want to own it.

Every morning and evening during the week i can hear the planes at the airport with their jet engines roaring, getting ready for take off and i think about how it would feel to be on them. i think it would be a good feeling, except that i dont think i would want to come back for a long time. sometimes i go to the airlines' websites and punch in imaginary destinations and departure dates but i never choose round trip--its always one way.

i know this will pass, but i dont know what will happen then...what will my father do, where will he go, will he want to stay with me, or will he prefer to go by one of his sons? where will i go? back to my house? after all this time, i dont know if i want to. sometimes i want to be completely alone, other times i dont want to be alone at all.

whatever happens, it will be different. whatever happens, at least i have had this time, i did what i could for my parents, i did what i needed to do. whatever happens.