Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Wilma Flintstone Rides Again!

I think it's fascinating to see where we all get our inspiration. My favorite necklace that I've ever made is this one: I call it Wilma Meets Barbie. When I started, I just had this strand of gorgeous pink peruvian opal large faceted nuggets. They were really expensive! But Dennis at Beauty & The Beads will often make a deal with you if you buy a lot. What can I say? I can't resist! He only had three strands left, and I bought them all, along with a lot of other stones of course.

Sometimes pink peruvian opal has a bit of matrix mixed in and winds up looking kind of dirty, so the first thing I did was sort those out. I tried the remaining nuggets with just Thai silver cornerless cubes, but it didn't seem quite finished. So I put it away for a while and just thought about it. A couple of days later I was digging through my drawer full of Swarovski crystal and came across something else I hadn't been able to resist: a short strand of 12mm vintage crystal AB bicones. Yes, that's right - 12mm! They're huge and I love them! All of a sudden, I KNEW those peruvian opals and the vintage Swarovski HAD to go together. Go big or go home, right?

So this necklace inspired me in my latest treasury. I went wandering on Etsy to see what Wilma had inspired other jewelry artists to do. The variety is wonderful! Here's one of favorite pieces in the treasury. It's by Malodora and is called Stone Age Bracelet with Trilobites. It's just the kind of jewelry I love - bold and so THERE! When you wear this, you know you're wearing jewelry! It makes a strong statement. You can find the treasury, called Wilma Flintstone Rides Again, at http://www.etsy.com/treasury_list.php?room_id=63882.

Don't forget also to sign up for my giveaway - check my May 30 post - for a pair of Maren's Birthday Earrings. They're so cute!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Swimming with the Polaris

I love having a backyard pool. As the years went by I became more conscious of their effect on my appearance in a swimsuit, so going to a public pool...well, let's just say I wasn't eager. But swimming at home is completely and utterly wonderful. Love that big tall arbor vitae hedge!

The other day it was about 92 degrees and the cool water felt absolutely delicious! I swam my laps, occasionally becoming certain that the Polaris actually knew where I was and was chasing me! In case you don't know (as I didn't pre-pool-ownership), a Polaris is a wonderful device to help keep the pool clean. It has a long umbilical cord attached to the side of the pool that shoots water down to the device. The water pressure makes the three-wheeled critter roll along the bottom and sides of the pool, sucking up leaves and dirt and such to deposit in its little bag. The little bag actually looks kind of creepy. You know those glass fish that you see in aquariums (aquarii? aquaria?) - you can see through them and their organs are visible for anybody to look at? Well, the bag on the polaris is kind of like that. It's made of white mesh, and it always has stuff in it that's kind of dark. I know it's just leaves and such, but eww! The last part of the Polaris is its tail, about two or three feet long, with a black Velcro-y band on the end that helps loosen up dirt from the sides and bottom of the pool, it whips back and forth under pressure of the water shooting through. When the Polaris wanders up to the top of the water and turns to roll back down, the tail shoots a stream of water into the air. (Freaks out the pets. I shouldn't say it, but it's really highly entertaining to watch them jump.)

So anyway, the whole time you're swimming, the Polaris is wandering around, sometimes catching up with you or getting in the way or trailing the umbilical cord across your path. I suppose I could turn it off while I swim, but I don't know, maybe I'm lazy or something. I just never do. It's only mildly annoying. The other day, I had finished my laps as I said, and I was just letting myself float on top of the water, feeling very calm and relaxed. I felt something against my foot and I thought, "Oh, it's the edge of the pool." and I gave a little push with my toes. Then whatever it was slid under my foot and up my calf and felt like it was about to GET me!! I kind of freaked! It was the Polaris. Totally wrecked my Zen.

Even so, see my May 30 post for how to enter the drawing for really cute earrings!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Risking the Library!!!

Since I quit my job at Heritage Adoption Services, everyone who knows me knows that things have changed massively for me financially. It took me a little longer to figure it out. HA! I kept right on buying beads and books (my favorite things!) for months before I realized, you know, I'm going to run out of money if I keep this up. (I may be slow, but I can be taught!)

I did get another job, doing interviews for a research company, but it doesn't pay (anywhere near) as well as being the Director of Domestic Services. Sigh... So I'm economizing as I continue to make jewelry and convince people that they really do want to tell me private information about themselves and their families for the betterment of all through publicly-funded research.

One of the ways I'm economizing is that I've gone back to the library. Yikes! I wasn't sure it would be cheaper to begin with, because I used to lose books and wind up with huge fines. It was cheaper just to buy paperbacks and re-sell them at Bearly Read Books on SE Powell. But I was broke one day and out of something to read so I decided to risk it. It's working out pretty well! In about three months now I've only had fines of about $2.75. That's pretty good, don't you think?

So I thought I'd tell you from time to time about a book I've read. I just finished listening to one on audiocasettes in my car by James Patterson and Andrew Gross. It's called The Jester and is set in 1067 or so, at the time of the first crusade. The main character, Hugh de Luc, begins as a lowly innkeeper who is lured off to the crusade by the promise of booty and freedom from his feudal bond. He returns with what seem like some pretty good trinkets, but nothing of real value. But a (supposedly) noble man believes he has a relic of incredible worth and there's where the trouble begins. Hugh finds his inn burned to the ground, the son he did not know he had buried on a hilltop and his wife missing, dead or imprisoned or being used for who knows what. Hugh is of course grief-stricken, enraged and determined to find his wife. He becomes a jester in order to have access to the nobleman's court.

The story is full of period details and colorful stories and jokes. Patterson is a great storyteller, as always, and engages the reader in Hugh's life. There are surprises at every turn, characters both delightful and nefarious, demonstrations of great courage and loyalty, and heinous incidents unworthy of the human race. All in all, very enjoyable.

I liked this book in general as it was a good story, but I had a problem with the basic concept. While I am a Christian, I am not Catholic, so I really don't get the concept of the crusades or the value of relics, whether bones of the saints or objects touched or used in ancient times. It seems to me that the crusades were sort of the ultimate in religious and ethnic intolerance, or possibly just an awful lot of bloodshed for the sake of acquiring a lot of questionable relics that supposedly had magical powers of salvation. But I don't believe that objects have any power at all. The power of salvation lies in the relationship with God, not in objects or even in the church or its representatives.) So for me, this book was kind of like Dan Brown's books (The daVinci Code and Angels and Demons): a good read, but let's not take it too seriously from a theological perspective.

BTW, don't forget about my giveaway! Read my last entry and post a comment with your email address! And visit my Etsy store: www.OooPretty.etsy.com: I make nice jewelry for bold people!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

My Turn for a Giveaway - Maren's Birthday Earrings

It's so much fun to win things! I was reminded of that by winning a bookmark from MillionMinds and writing about winning a microwave when I was in high school. I've been inspired! So I cast about for something really nice that I could give away and I found it!

I made some great earrings for my niece for her birthday and she loved them so much! She says they're pretty much her favorite earrings and she wears them about three or four times a week. So I made another pair for my Etsy shop (http://www.ooopretty.etsy.com/) and now I've made another pair to give away.

If you'd like to win a pair of these cute earrings, post a comment with your email address. On June 30, Maren will randomly choose one of the entries and off we'll go. Good luck!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Oooo - a giveaway!

Hey, check out the giveaway by Kandi Champagne Cook, an artist who sells on Etsy. She makes all sort of great stuff, including fun and funky magnets, cards, drawings that would be totally great framed - the sort of thing that just makes a little corner of your world more cheerful, and totes. (http://www.kandi.etsy.com/) The giveaway is for a handmade tote bag, with these cute appliqued trees and "hi" embroidered in a corner, and a deer appliqued on the other side. It's happening on {sweeter than me}'s blog (http://kristinfriesen.blogspot.com/2009/05/undiscovered-kandi.html). She's giving away this very cute tote, useful for all sorts of things! I've been needing a tote for library books - I can't afford to lose any! Or maybe you could give it as a gift? How about knitting or crocheting supplies so you can carry your craft with you? Anyway, I hope you'll check it out and be sure to check out Kandi's etsy store too. I especially love those cards with the buttons - adorable!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Yay! I won!

I was wandering blogs not too long ago and came to the blog by etsy member MillionMinds, http://asmindgoesby.blogspot.com/. She was having a giveaway! I have loved giveaways since I was in high school and won a microwave at the state fair by throwing my fully completed 3x5 card into a huge chest freezer supplied by Big Jim's Appliances. I didn't really want to, but Mom insisted we sign up for all the free prizes, just in case, because after all SOMEbody was going to win.

A couple weeks later I got a phone call from Big Jim's wife, the bookkeeper at the store, to tell me I had won an Amana Radarange. Mom and I both were purely tickled! She used that microwave for years and years, always offering it to me whenever I made a move. "After all, it is yours," she'd say. But I always turned her down because how could I take it away? She enjoyed it so much! When I moved back to Oregon after grad school, Mom bought me a new microwave. Wasn't she a sweetheart?

Well, I got a convo the other day from MillionMinds and guess what? I'm a winner again! Thank you, MillionMinds, for sharing your art with me. I have won a bookmark with her beautiful artwork and I can't wait to see it in person. She is a wonderful artist and her paintings convey so much emotion. Since I'm a big reader, I will enjoy the bookmark regularly. Go visit her etsy store at http://www.millionminds.etsy.com/ and check out her blog as well!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

New listings! Woohoo!

I finally found the charger for my camera battery, so I got the ole camera working again. OK, it's not an old camera, it's a really nice Nikon D40 digital SLR. Plus, it's a really nice sunny day today so I got outside and took a whole bunch of pictures of my new jewelry. Here it is, and it'll be listed on Etsy as soon as I figure out pricing. Yay!

Be Daring

Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary!~Sir Cecil Beaton

Thank you http://www.moodswingz.etsy.com/ for the great quote! And just to prove she means it, this is one of her bracelets. Wow! Now that is bold!

I'm a big fan of bold jewelry, as anyone can tell by looking at my Etsy store. I can't help it! I love being able to see enough of a stone that I can tell what it is and see its uniqueness. I love the feeling of the stones on my skin, their weight around my neck or wrist, their glowing color and the impact it makes. I know the necklace poll said most people like delicate jewelry, and I guess I did when I was young. But these days...well, it's almost the bigger the better.

Friday, April 24, 2009

If my blog were a plant...it would be brown and crackly

It's terrible. I checked Maren's blog this morning and found she hadn't done a new post in a week or so and I thought, "Come on, Maren, what's going on? Don't leave us uninformed on life at UMSL!" Then I immediately thought, "Guilt guilt guilt! I haven't posted since...well...way too long." So here are a few random thoughts from my world:

(While fixing breakfast) How come the commercial breads with preservatives start getting moldy after a week or so, but Sandy's homemade bread with not a single preservative doesn't?

(While using the facilities) Do you suppose the (relatively) new style of toilet paper holders, the ones open on one side that the roll just slides onto, will result in fewer household fights over people neglecting to replace the empty roll?

(While playing a game of Spider Solitaire) Come on! Is one red jack too much to ask for?

(While texting Olivia about getting together to quilt tonight) Hey, aren't you supposed to be in school?

(While looking at http://www.untamedmenagerie.etsy.com/ Melancholy Lashes necklace) Wow! Now that's Bold with a capital B! And Beautiful!

(While looking at the boxes I still need to unpack and sort) Those VOA people better have picked up that stuff I put out! I can't believe they didn't come the other day when they were supposed to. That really burns my buns! If they don't pick that stuff up today...

(While looking at the empty front porch, sans boxes for VOA) YAY! OK, now I feel guilty for ragging on them.

(While reading http://www.chellefelt.blogspot.com/) I am stunned at your vision!

OK, enough random thoughts for one day. It's sunny!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Dumortierite? Really?

Today I listed a bracelet on Etsy that features a really beautiful stone called Dumortierite, and being the complete nerd that I am, I felt the need to find out where the name came from. It's a beautiful stone - a lovely blue with flecks of brown, green, gold, sometimes even white. Turns out the stone was named after a French paleontologist named M. Eugene Dumortier (1803-1873). Since he had already gone on to that great beyond when the stone was first described and labeled, apparently he had admirers! Dumortierite is very hard, which is probably why it takes such a great polish. My word, you should see this stone shine! To give you an idea, the scale of hardness, called the Mohs scale ranges from graphite (like a lead pencil) at 1 to diamonds at 10.

Dumortierite is found in Austria, Brazil, California, Canada, France, Italy, Madagascar, Namibia, Nevada, New York, Norway, Poland, Russia and Sri Lanka. Here's a picture of some rough stone from Madagascar. Isn't it gorgeous? I was surprised to learn it's used in the manufacture of high-grade porcelain and spark plug ceramics. It's also sometimes confused with sodalite or even lapis lazuli, two more gorgeous blue stones that I love to work with.

African lore said that dumortierite was petrified water, because of its blue color and because it was usually found near water. Less romantic but more true is that the varying shades of lovely blue are caused by the presence of manganese, iron and zinc.

Well! Now you know way more than you ever wanted to about that!