Monday, September 29, 2008

Why is there no torch here for Pete's Sake!

Yikes, waning posts to my blog! I better get on this ASAP. I thought you might like to see where I am when I am not behind that torch. I figure they need some torches and oxygen there so I can "show the clients" how to work with glass. Maybe get a little production going....oh yeah, big fantasy plan there folk!. No fire, no torch, nothing sharp (we use kindergarten scissors!). Mostly I think we use those because the staff might decide to go "postal" on themselves. Just kidding, but it can get draining. That's me in the window. Little Sharon Pumpkin Head.

We do have a beautiful view of a small lake that is surrounded by mostly swamp and backwater from the big lake. We are also having major problems with beavers who keep building these huge dams at a small inlet and it causes the lake levels to rise so so much we can't use the baseball field because our lower field floods. The kids enjoy going out in canoes with the Department of Natural Resources though a tearing the dam down. Bears, beavers, Eagles, spring swans, deer, coyote, fox, we get it all around there because we are covered by so much state land around us.

Also is a photo of my "nest". It's the power station of the building and usually filled with kids. We are not allowed to take photos of the kids - would be really unethical. It's a shame because they LOVE to have photos of themselves but rules are rules. I tease them about one of them getting famous and I'm already putting in my request for a Volvo full sized station wagon loaded with worker types will never get that kind of money! And if I don't get my Volvo I'm going straight to "Entertainment Tonight" and the tabloids. They laugh at me.

That's all for now folks/ or people (did you know they are also gang references?). Ah, the trivia I get to know and love...

Don't forget to check out the new Etsy listings. It seems I am still in full blown skull mode.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Calling All Resources...

As both a beadmaker and a metalsmith I find that having a broad range of resources for materials and tools very important. Often you have to play detective to locate an elusive object you need for a project. Here’s my list (not necessarily a complete one) of some of my favorite places to hunt out that missing tool, finding, or glass. I’ve made them active so you can just click and search for yourself. Happy hunting……

Metal, Tools, and Findings

David H. Fell & Co
Hauser and Miller
Hoover and Strong
Indian Jewelers Supply - Tools, metals, some beads and cabs
Micro Fasteners
Midland Tools - Specialty Jewelry Supplies
National Jewelry Supply
Nile Jewelry Supply
Otto Frei
Production Tool Supply
Pasternak Findings
Rio Grande
Ross Metals
SEP Jewelry Tools of Chicago, Inc.

Glass, Tools, Presses, etc.

ABR Imagery
Arrow Springs
Frantz Art Glass
Olympic Color
Glass Daddy – Lausha Glass
Wale Apperatus

Informational Resources:

Lampwork, etc. (A wonderful resource of people and vendors)
Warm Glass (ditto above)
ISGB (International Society of Glass Beadmakers)
GAS (Glass Art Society)

If you have any others you'd like to add to the list just let me know...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Good Evening

Good Evening! I was going to list my Etsy listings here but I thought I’d only welcome you to the evening. Put on your best Transylvanian twang and say it ten times….”Good Evening”. I remember saying that when I used to watch the old Bela Legosi films of Dracula. It’s such a fun line to say. If you want to see the latest listing though just go to the Etsy Mini and click. You’ll find them there.

What I wanted to tell you about is this site you may have stumbled on if you are a paperback fan. It’s called Paperback Swap. For just the cost of postage you can swap out your books for more to read and if you’re addicted to them when your waiting around you might want to look here. It’s a pretty slick site and cost saving concept…for trees too. What are you reading lately? I’ve been listening to The Traveler’s Wife on the I-Pod (thanks to Susan for recording them for this tech weenie) and reading the Penland Book of Jewelry (such light fair!).

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I'm Having Babies

I’m betting that this is my "thang", like for others its flowers or animals. For me though I’m guessing that one of things I will continually create is the skulls. They sure are one of the things I'm posting the most of lately. It could just be because Halloween is such a big holiday. Or maybe its because of Día de los Muertos. GO figure… it’s just going to stick.

The photo to the right is of the latest skulls. They were recently sold on Etsy but I’m making more. These are so cute and tiny…like babies of the big sugar skulls. Only 1/2 - 5/8"...teensy guys.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Eat Your Heart Out Handsome

Look at what I had for my birthday......

Yummy, yummy, yummy, I got love in my tummy!

This is another fine mess you’ve gotten us in to! No, not really but I love that line. I use it when my DH makes a wrong turn driving...and I get the look.

Not much to blog about today, and if you believe that I’ve got some great islands you can purchase off the coast of “Prudenville, New Caledonia”. I’ll put up a reserved post for you on Etsy and you can just pay me through PayPal.

It beautiful outside, the sun is shining and there is the crispness in the air that I love. I actually wouldn’t mind if this was pretty much the only weather we had. Is someone out there looking for the perfect place for me to retire? Oh, and it can’t have sharks…it’s not a long story. I just don’t like them. Last night my DH took me out for dinner and the blue plate special was of all things Mako Shark, flown in fresh from Hawaii. Oh yeah, Hawaii to Northern Michigan - a direct flight, didn't you know! And, you could have this with BBQ or Dill sauce. I'm wondering are they grown in a tank? Or milk fed? Have they been eating divers? Somehow this all seems a little strange to me. Do they have shark boats like crab boats, nets, cages, poles? And, since they are carnivores, I’m a little concerned about who or what they have eaten. Just a thought here! Needless to say, I did not deem it appropriate in any way to eat or taste a piece of shark. And if I’m ever near the ocean I’m hoping that rumor gets around the shark cooler and they decide I’m friendly, not tasty.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Art and Fear

I just bought a book to read because of a recommendation made on Lori Greenburg’s blog. Lori writes on a multitude of topics including the business of being an artist. She is concise, helpful, and knows of what she speaks. She is a working beadmaker.

The book is called Art and Fear – Observations of the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking, by David Bayles & Ted Orland.

They ask the basic questions that matter. What is your art really about? Where is it going? And, what stands in the way of getting it there? It makes for interesting reading and inspiration.

Once, a young man I worked with when I first started my career as a Behavioral Specialist asked me a very poignant question. I had been struggling with a piece I was working on and had brought it in to work with me to ponder while I did other things. I often keep pieces that need some problem solving out where I can see them. They’re like the “first draft” of a book. Let’s see…make it bigger/ smaller/ more colorful/ orient the hole differently/ maybe if it were off mandrel…. Well this kid was watching me while I watched this bead (“Hey, stop that young man! I’m the one who does the observations”- I was thinking). Later he approached me and asked me that question, “Why are you so afraid to succeed?’ Wham-O, direct hit, right between the eyes.

From that point on I tried to adjust my viewpoint and broaden my vision. Why was I? It was something I needed to explore and address. Success is something I think we all need to reflect on. Include all of the ifs, ands, whys, and self-doubts and then go with your genuine feelings. Art for enjoyment, art for success, art because you can’t possibly conceive of life without it? What is it that’s driving you and how can you cast off those demonic shrouds of doubt hanging over your work relationship.

Heavy, huh?

I’m not sure if it’s heavy but I do know that often my own fears get in the way of my success and I plan to continue to work on that issue. I think this book is going to help speak to that part of me that gets in success’s way. One hundred twenty-two pages and I’ll be closer to the answers….I’m a work in progress too!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Flurry of Feet Photos!

Have you ever noticed how many people take photos of their feet and put them on their blog? I've been surfing and I'll tell you it's a bunch of them. A friend at work asked me if I wanted to go and get my toe nails done too. I'm not sure if they need it, what do you think?

This is me relaxing behind the fence at work!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Grab A Blinkie Free Blinkies

I made a discovery a while back, “Blinkies”. And since I move at a slightly slower pace than most of my techie friends I hadn’t been aware of them before. So I’m excited at my discovery but if you were already in the know you can just skip this post in my blog. And, if you aren’t (?) well continue reading. I’ve seen them before but I didn’t know what they were called. It’s a really an appropriate name and they’re fun, like the emotion cons you can get. Cool, another new widget. Blinkies are little banners with pictures or messages. The special thing about blinkies is that they blink. Some are really annoying that way. But, if you want to get some attention for something that’s important to you…like a sale at your store or a special cause celeb, then it might be just the thing to do!

There is an entire culture of blinkie collectors and makers on line. When I Googled "Free Blinkies" I found a plethora of sites to check.There are holiday, political, comic, even hobby ones. You can even make your own blinkie on some of the sites.

If you want to catch some blinkies for your sites here are a few that we visited that you can browse for yourself:
Most of them will allow you to copy the HTML code for your blog or web site so you can just paste it in rather than using the right click and “save as” a picture to your computer.

Blink On!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Sharon's Skulls Meet Designer, Cherie Smith

Skulls, skulls, skulls, I just love the holiday of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), and all of the symbolism surrounding it. What a wonderful way to celebrate the life of a loved one that has passed and to honor the history of one’s family. I’m Irish and Russian; we have wakes and what I adoringly call dirge music. The music is royally depressing but I try to keep an open mind about it. Personally, I think we should all create an altar and adorn it with sugar skulls, yellow mums, photos, and all of the necessary accouterments. Then continue to celebrate at the cemetery once a year, no matter what your ancestry. If it’s good system, it’s a good system.

Since I love the imagery, aside from historical pageantry of it all, I regularly create glass sugar skulls. They are fun to make and each one seems to come out with a personality all its’ own. Maybe it’s meant to be that way. I reason if it weren’t then I’d be able to cookie cutter them out like when you use a mold and they’d all look reasonably the same.

Quite a few people have caught the craze for skulls. One of my customers, Cherie Smith of Glitterbug Originals, has special ordered many custom skulls and made some great earrings from them. If you follow the link (clique on her business name) it will take you there. And by the way, she makes some great earrings so you should browse around and consider doing some shopping. The photos today are an example of some of the small earring sized skulls I’ve been doing for Cherie and a photo of the first set she put together and posted. I think she did a great job pulling in the skull colors and making them festive . Now why didn’t I think of that! Ah, because I’m not her!

Happy Browsing!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Three, Two, One, Blast-Off

I guess this bead and pendant pretty well sums up my summer. Peace and happiness. Thursday morning I don the jeans, t-shirts, and shoes with backs (usually Keen's) and go back to work. I don't know what ever possessed me to buy an LED bulletin tag, but I have one and I think I'll wear it. It is held on with magnets ( I put it on my shirt like a name tag) and I can program up to 50 letters or spaces on it and tell it how fast to send my message across its' screen. I wear it to work ever so often and the kids think it's hoot. Once I programmed the old adage, "Today's not a good day, and tomorrow is looking iffy!" And then there is always my stand by, "If you have to ask you might already know the answer!" You should see it...well maybe I'll take a photo of it so you can.

The foot (which I now fondly call Franken Foot) is about as healed as it's going to get for the time being. I'm wondering if those new fangled foot munching fish would eat through the scar if I were to find some in the local nail salon and get my toe nails done. Oh Yeah, listen to me, I'm getting ready to go back. The sauciness and irreverence is returning to my persona.

Maybe I better make a bead with gang signs on it, but not for the first day. My poor bosses couldn't take it. They wouldn't know what it meant but they're definitely smart enough to figure out I shouldn't be wearing it.

Did I ever tell you all about my very favorite beady work wear? HHHMMMMMM, don't tell anyone! Once there was a boss who was particularly difficult to deal with. I believe we have, "Come a long way baby" but I like to have my cake and eat it too so I'm standing by that door and that flat tire until some unsuspecting man comes by and does what I think should be "his thing"- if his mother raised him correctly. I was always liberated, albeit at times a little devious, so the super fem attitude never really made me want to cheer and knock down some poor fella. I might need him for that tire thing! Well, she was adamantly feminist - outright tyrannically, in your face, blatantly ball-bashingly so. I work with "little males". I find that I can get a lot more done to help them if I am not acting like them and frankly I have enough to do in a day to keep track of ten of them when there is one of me. It means I have to be sharp, tactful, strong, helpless, and more manipulative than them at any given moment and sometimes all of that within any given five minute time frame. No time for "busting" anything! Now that you have the background (like you needed it!) I can give you the bead story.

She didn't seem to like men to much and I think the same held for strong women. I am a good employee though and like my job so being irreverent with her was not a good plan. I've learned many things in my twenty years...including, "never let 'em see you sweat". You can only help or win if you are in control of you. If aggression is out, and irreverence is ill advised what's left?
Quiet defiance - private joke - peaceful passive resistance - oh so many things. Me, being smart enough to know most of my options were not mentally healthy I went with the private joke.

Are you ready for the bead part?

So you're thinking - Gheeze Sharon I can't take another one of these long posts, get on with it.

Everyone knows I lampwork. I'm a creative and sensitive soul....really! So, I made a fish bead. Some punch line. huh? Hang in there, we're not done yet. This is no ordinary fish. It's a beautiful fish with Angelina Jolie lips and dichroic scales, and fins that flow like a Farrah Fawcett hair-do. There is only one endearing thing that might be considered out of the ordinary for such an extravagantly made creation. The poor thing has this protruding jaw and these wonderful pearly white teeth that stick out willy-nilly from those kissable lips. And every time that fem bot would annoy me with some useless insight I would gleefully smile and push that beautiful fish around with my fingers. It was stress reduction at its finest. And all the time I'd finger that fish while she aimlessly rambled on with her tirade and I'd go to my "happy spot" and think my happy mantra.....Bite Me!

Ready, Set, GO!