Sunday, December 26, 2010

Tangible Tidbits 2010 #50: 24 Hours Too Late...

It seems that Mother Nature and Father Time had trouble coordinating their schedules this year. We are in the middle of a blizzard warning here on the East Coast not 24 hours AFTER Christmas Day! You'd think they could have at least given us a White Christmas in the bargain!? LOL :p Regardless, I hope all of those who celebrate this holiday enjoyed it. :)

I finished my friend's grandmother's necklace in time for Christmas, and posted it as the new Focal Piece of the Month. Starting this month, I'm going to post the new Focal Piece on the Something Tangible LLC Facebook Fan Page, since I think people are more likely to see it there then counting on folks coming to the website to read it. ;)

No word yet from the Bead Society of New Jersey on whether or not any of my pieces were selected to head to Tucson at the end of January. I also just checked the MSU Blackboard and my semester grade isn't posted yet. Still keeping my fingers crossed for both! :)

Earlier this month, I signed up for the Beta version of a new online payment service called There's no fee like there is with PayPal, but you can't add or deduct funds from your account yet in the Beta version. Once the service is up and running, I will let you know...but I'm thinking of adding it or the Store section of the website, possibly replacing PayPal entirely. :)

I'm also thinking about discontinuing the email version of the Virtual Mall Discounts & Deals circular in January. It seems that the majority of activity is coming from posts on the Virtual Mall's Facebook Fan Page, so it's really a waste of time and somewhat redundant to do both. If anyone has strong feelings about it one way or the other, please feel free to let me know. As always, I will take the absence of feedback as implied consent. :)

Along similar lines, since the blog posts are now automatically posted to both Facebook Fan Pages via NetworkedBlogs, I will no longer be posting Tangible Tidbits in the Discussions section of the Something Tangible LLC Facebook Fan Page. No one ever replied to them there anyway, so I may as well ditch the duplication of effort. :)

On the personal side, we're up to having raised $629.16 for Fondation MIRA in the Virtual Garage Sale...a few unclaimed items are generating some interest. I will be ending that effort officially on January 1. It's been very time-consuming, so it's definitely time to move on. :)

My Birthday Wish on Facebook has raised $85 for Donate Life America (including my $25), so I feel better about the Virtual Garage Sale being a bust in that effort. :D

And last but not least, tomorrow will mark my first day back to permanent part-time work with my former employer. Unfortunately, one of the people I was helping to replace will not be returning from medical leave. I'll be working 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, which enables me to participate in company benefit programs (25 hours is required). It wasn't a tough decision to make...while I will no longer have the flexibility I've enjoyed for the past couple of months, I will have a steady income to help me fund my efforts here. It's been nice to go to an office full of people again -- I missed the socialization working by myself. I hope to eventually be able to afford to work on Something Tangible full time, but for now, this is the best solution. :)

As my next message will not be until after the New Year, I wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year's celebration! :)
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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tangible Tidbits 2010 #49: The Holidays Are Upon Us!

Hey, everyone! :D

Well, I baked Christmas cookies today with my nieces, and then we went to their house for dinner. Santa is driven down streets in their town accompanied by a firetruck, and he made his visit after dinner. We each got a candy cane. The Christmas Season is officially here! LOL :D

I've been working on my coworker's grandmother's necklace this week. I finished with the pendant part, so I now just have to reinforce the chain section. I want to get it to her before Thursday, since it will be a half-day in the office and people will be going nuts. The office is closed on Friday, as Christmas Day falls on Saturday. :)

Just a little while ago, I submitted six photos of original pieces to the Bead Society of New Jersey. A three-judge panel of Board members are selecting pieces to represent the group at the Tucson Expo Center next month. The J.O.G.S. Gem & Jewelry Show and Art Bead Circle LLC is looking for superior, high quality, completely original work to be exhibited there January 28 through February 9, 2011. I sent some metalwork pieces, wire work, an embroidered pendant, and my Steampunk Box. They will select 15 pieces to represent us, so wish me luck! ;)

My final critique for the semester at MSU was on Monday night. The professor said to my friend (a teaching assistant) afterward, "That was not easy." LOL My friend replied, "She should have been a lawyer." That made my night! :D I wasn't disrespectful or trying to challenge him, but when he talked about aesthetics as opposed to techniques, I justified my choices. A few reasons were admittedly lame, but they were the truth and I stood by my choices. :) I think it rattled him a bit that I would not be intimidated by him and I could really care less about my grade. I didn't even ask him about the grade, to the shock of my friends! It didn't matter to me, because I knew the grade was based on his own taste. :\ I just checked and grades have not been posted yet. I should know by January 4 at the latest. ;)

I posted a new Factoid this weekend: If You Can Tie a Knot, You Can Macramé Your Way To Handcrafted Jewelry! That's eight articles in all now. Two more and I move up from Factoidz Writer to Staff Writer! And thanks to a new Buzz It Up! process at Factoidz, all of my older articles rank high or very high in search engine optimization (SEO) for their categories! :D

One other small business coup...I applied and was accepted to attend a special seminar during the first weekend in February in San Diego, CA. It's professional and personal development, and only 25 or so people will invited/allowed to attend, so that everyone can get to know each other on a first-name basis. A lot of work will be completed at the event, as opposed to them giving us tools to take away and work with on our own. I think attending this event will force me to take some steps I've been putting off because of a lack of time or other resources. I have 70,000 Continental Airlines OnePass miles racked up, so I will at least have that part of the trip covered. ;)

As for my Virtual Garage Sale, the last official week ended on Friday night. I am leaving the unclaimed items on the board until the New Year, as a few people have asked about them. So far, I've raised $624.16 for Fondation MIRA and $2.50 for Donate Life America. As I mentioned last week, I did make a personal donation of $25, and I made Donate Life America the recipient of My Birthday Wish on Facebook, as my birthday is conveniently next Friday. Hopefully, that will make up a bit for the lack of interest in "Moonlight" items. :)

The next time I post will be on December 26. So, best wishes to those who celebrate Christmas! :D
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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tangible Tidbits 2010 #48: As Grandpa Always Said, Slow And Steady Wins the Race!

Hey, all! It's rainy but warm in New Jersey on this December Sunday evening.

Just got back from picking up my pieces at the 1978 Maplewood Arts Center's Buy Art Now Guys! (BANG) 5 art show. I sold a bracelet -- to another one of the vendors, as it turns out! -- and a cell phone charm there. The coordinator of the event spoke with me when I picked up my stuff, and told me "Your stuff is perfect and perfectly priced for this show." That was nice to hear! :D She also said that they had foot traffic, but sales were down this year for all the vendors, even those who have historically done well. She said I'm on the mailing list, so I will definitely be put on the posters and postcards next year and I should definitely come back! She also recommended two other local craft shows -- one at the Baird Center and another at GAS Studio and Gallery, which is the one owned by my high school classmate. As this was my year "showing" my work, I will definitely have to keep an eye out for those two next year! :)

In addition, I spent about seven hours at Salon Sung in Millburn yesterday for their holiday celebration. I sold two more bracelets and three pairs of earrings there! :D I'm happy that my pieces are selling, even if not a lot of them or the more expensive pieces. It's incentive to keep going...even if my progress is slow, at least it is steady! ;)

We had our "opening" at Montclair State on Wednesday night. At least one piece was selected from each student to show in the display case until next week. Mine is a bronze and sterling silver pendant that I created into a necklace. I wasn't surprised they chose that's pretty artistic, if I do say so myself. LOL

The fall semester's final one-on-one critique with the professor is coming up tomorrow night...then I'm free until sometime in January, at least from school obligations. ;)

On the personal side, I'm winding down with the Virtual Garage Sale. I think this will be the final week. :D To date, we've raised $589.16 for Fondation MIRA and $2.50 for Donate Life America. I will most likely send a check for $25.00 to Donate Life America out of my own pocket, as I would be embarrassed to send them a check for only $2.50. :\

Heading into the "holiday frenzy" period, I have my shopping pretty much done. However, I still have wrapping to do, packages to mail, and cookies to bake. I usually manage to get everything done on time, although some years I have no idea how I'd done it! LOL

Enjoy the remainder of your Sunday evening, and have a great week! :D
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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tangible Tidbits 2010 #47: 'Tis The Season To Be Busy!

Hey, all! I'm posting this early today because I will be spending most of the evening into the night at the MSU studio, preparing for our "opening" this coming Wednesday with an advanced class. Tomorrow night is the last full studio period we have before the show, and I want to make sure I have enough time without being there until almost morning! LOL I am required to have eight projects finished and I have a few extra, so if anything doesn't get completed in time, I will just save it for next semester or finish it on my own. Wish me luck! ;)

About the critique a few weeks ago, he was pretty harsh overall...but that's not surprising. I think more than half of the students in class are Industrial Design students who have to take this class as a requirement, and they haven't put a lot of thought and energy into their work. They also look to be out of class for Monday Night Football's kickoff. LOL I think he liked my stuff in general -- he knows the hours I keep with the teaching assistant in the studio -- but he took issue with me gluing stones into pieces, even though he didn't teach us how to do it properly. Maybe he assumed we learned it last semester? In any case, he asked for reassurance there would be no glued stones in my final pieces. I said there might not be any stones at all! He suggested I fill some of the gaps with resin, so I will try that today. I did set stones in a few of the pieces...I was never told you should start with the stone first and then create a piece around it. I was doing it the other way around, which I suppose is much harder to do. :\ Anyway, I'm not in the class for the grade, but for knowledge and the experience. If he doesn't like my work, so be it. :p

In other artistic-related news, I just got back from my younger niece's first juried art show. She won First Place in her age category (6- and 7-year-olds) at the Watching Arts Center. She submitted two works and the winning one is called "Little Birds." Both pieces were in paint -- one in watercolors and the other in tempura. I'm so proud of her! :)

They are standing behind me right now, waiting for me to help with a gingerbread house, so I will make this quick! :)

I created another set of step-by step instructions with photos for a workshop this past week -- macramé and beads. I learned macramé in junior high school, taking a club during our alternate lunch period. I completely forgot about it until recently, and I made a few pieces to make sure I could still do it. I now have a pair of earrings, a pendant on a hemp necklace, and a bracelet finished, all using hemp cord. ;)

This coming week, I have the school projects to finish and a few other pieces "on deck." Luckily, people are not in a hurry and these are not holiday presents, although I did just receive the Fireline for my coworker's restringing project that I'd mentioned previously. That one IS a Christmas present, so I have to get directions for the square stitch and get moving on that one ASAP.

I will be displaying some pieces at Salon Sung this coming Saturday, December 11, as part of their holiday celebration. It's on Main Street in Millburn. Come say hi if you're nearby! ;)

Happy Hanukkah to those who celebrate! Christmas (and my birthday) will be here before you know it! :o :)
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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tangible Tidbits 2010 #46: The Holiday Season 2010 Begins!

Hi, everyone! Hope all you U.S.-based folks enjoyed your Thanksgiving. :)

As I mentioned last week, I had a family funeral to attend on Wednesday. I hadn't been to their house in probably 25 years, but I recognized the neighborhood when the funeral procession passed the house. That choked me up. It's a nice thing to do, and I've heard it's becoming more commonplace. I think my immediate family members would have liked that, had it been done in the early 2000s. :\ I also went to visit a friend at the cemetery on Thanksgiving morning, but I couldn't find his grave. I should have looked for landmarks the last time I was there in June, but it didn't occur to me at the time. :p Got caught in the day's snow flurries while I was there! It didn't stick here in New Jersey, though.

Still trying to promote myself and my company, I submitted some pieces to Buy Art Now Guys! (BANG) 5 this morning at the 1978 Maplewood Arts Center. Check out the second exhibit listed here for more information. I was approached to participate after the deadline for the postcards and posters, so my name isn't listed. :\

I also posted a new Factoid this week: Procedures For Preparing A Wax Cast in Jewelry and Sculptures, based on last month's Focal Piece of the Month. The new Focal Piece is up on the company website, BTW. :)

In addition, I made a trip to Monroe Township (exit 8A on the NJ Turnpike) to deliver a necklace that was requested at the Jewels of New Jersey earlier this month, as well as a ring. We chatted for about an hour and discussed ideas for future pieces she would like. I have some materials already on-hand, so I will hopefully get some time to pull them together for her soon. :)

I have another custom necklace to make this week, which I hope to get to by the middle of the week. I have school tomorrow night right after work -- remind me to report on last week's critique next week! -- and the Virtual Garage Sale to set up on Tuesday night. I was out most of the day today with my mother and sister at the Paper Mill Playhouse's production of Les Miserables. Mom took us there and to dinner for our birthdays, which come in December and January. GREAT performance, BTW! They are really promoting it, too...I heard a commercial on WBGO-AM this morning (Mom's Sunday morning station) and saw three ads on The Hallmark Channel last night! The TV spots impressed me. I don't recall seeing them for any other Paper Mill production before. :o

Still on the back-burner is restitching my coworker's grandmother's necklace. I ordered 4 lb. Fireline (stringing material) for it this week. Hopefully, it will get here sooner rather than later to give me more time to work on it before Christmas. :)

Thankfully, I've done most of my Christmas shopping already through Something Tangible's Virtual Mall. I had read from one astrologer that shopping would be difficult in December due to Mercury going into Retrograde later in the month. Items would be backordered, hard to find, or not enthusiastically received if purchased during that I decided not to take any chances and get my gifts early. Got some great deals, too! ;)

Can you believe December is less than a week away already? Is it just me or does time speed up the older you get? LOL Have a great week! ;)
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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tangible Tidbits 2010 #45: I Forgot What I Was Going To Write...

Hi, everyone! I generally have an idea of what major points I want to hit each week when I post to my blog. My earlier thoughts pretty much went out the window when I got two emails -- 15 minutes apart, mind you -- alerting me to two different wakes/funerals I have to attend on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. Happy Thanksgiving, eh? :o

One is my friend's mother...I've known this friend since the early 1990s -- she was my first boss out of college -- and she considers me like a younger sister. Her mother has been deteriorating for a long time, so this news was not exactly a surprise. The other one is my mother's cousin by marriage, whom I've known for most of my life. Mom is Godmother to one of their daughters. She's also been ill for around two years. It's still kind of shocking to me, since I really hadn't heard much about her until the past two days. Naturally, I feel empathy for anyone who loses a parent, having been there myself.

Getting back on track...I promised to post a link to the contest entry last week, didn't I? Click here to see it. Public voting starts November 23, 2010 and ends December 8, 2010. Wish me luck! :D

The photo from my Make Your Own Holiday Gifts Workshop appeared in this week's News-Record of Maplewood & South Orange! I posted it to the Something Tangible LLC Facebook Fan Page if you want to check it out. :)

I have a big challenge coming up this December. A coworker asked me to restring a vintage seed bead necklace that belonged to her grandmother. I send photos to a renowned beader I know to ask for advice. She has confidence that I can do it without taking the necklace apart, so I will try to get that done for my coworker to give to her niece for Christmas. Wish me luck again! ;)

We are FINALLY having our first critique -- and a quiz! -- in class tomorrow night. The professor forgot to tell us about it a few weeks ago and then he forgot about it entirely on the night it was rescheduled. I have to ask him for some advice on a few pieces that are "in process," but I have three pendants and three rings completed. We are only required to have eight pieces finished for the final critique, and I will have at least nine or or by then. :) I have to reread the chapters of the book for the quiz during my lunch break tomorrow. :o

By the way, I added the NetworkedBlogs box on the right side of our Blog page ALL BY MYSELF! LOL You can now follow this blog using NetworkedBlogs on Facebook. :)

I wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving. December will be here before we know it! Where did the year go?
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tangible Tidbits 2010 #44: Must've Been A Slow News Day...

Well, I had my first-ever workshop today at 1978 Maplewood Arts Center. I only had one student, but it was good to be able to provide her with one-on-one instruction. The local paper sent a photographer! I should have thought about taking PR pics to send to them, but it totally slipped my mind. The picture could run this week or three months from now. I will keep you posted on that! ;)

It looks like we're on schedule for the Mother-Daughter workshop at Blue Life Karate and Fitness on Saturday, December 4 at 3:00 p.m. I mentioned this to the The News-Record of Maplewood & South Orange photographer couldn't hurt to plug the karate center! ;)

I entered three contests this week:'s "What Inspires You?" beaded necklace contest (I'll send the voting link next week), BeadStyle magazine's Crystal Challenge, and a FIVE AND DIME STYLE contest by B'Sue's Boutique. Wish me luck! :)

I also found out about BuyArtNowGuys5 (BANG5), an exhibition and sale of small artwork at the 1978 studio in early December (12/4 & 5, 12/11 & 12). Apparently, I'm the only jewelry artist so far. Good news for me! ;) LOL

In internet news, I hooked up the company's blog to NetworkedBlogs on Facebook. It seemed like the logical thing to do. We'll see if it increases readership. :)

As I mentioned last week, I had a big decision to make over last weekend. I was offered a full-time temporary position with a former employer for two months. They have two people out on medical leave and are short-handed. I decided to take it because it never hurts to have a steady paycheck going into the holidays. Also, I'm just a natural pitch-in-and-help kind of person. ;) This means, of course, that I will be pulling back a bit on my projects here, probably until the New Year. :\

Another reason I took the full-time gig is because I was feeling a little overwhelmed after the back-to-back craft shows last weekend. When I was in college, I took three French courses and earned grades of an A, a B, and a C, respectively. By the time I'd finished the third class, I decided to soothe my bruised ego by taking Spanish, which I had studied for eight years, including AP Language and AP Literature classes in high school. I bombed on the Spanish placement test at Rutgers, so I placed in Intermediate (I wasn't prepared because I knew I was switching to French...I was bored with Spanish and thought another Romance Language would be just as easy for me. NOT!). So, I aced Intermediate Spanish with little effort and felt better. ;) Part of the reason I went back to the office job is because I knew it was something I did well, and that I was appreciated for my efforts -- after all, they asked me back, right? ;) In my experience, it pays to switch to something you excel at doing whenever you begin to doubt yourself in another area. It builds up your self-esteem and gives you the energy to go back and try again. :)

On that note, I have work to do! Have a great week! :D
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Monday, November 8, 2010

Tangible Tidbits 2010 #43: Tired With A Capital "T"

Hey all! I am worn out after traveling out to Hunterdon County on Saturday and then down to South Jersey on Sunday for the back-to-back craft shows. As I told one lady yesterday, my goal is not to have to do that long-term! LOL It's a lot of work and payback is not assured, by any means. Overall, I cleared just under $300 for both shows. I sold one watch, a bookmark, two necklaces, a bracelet, and five pairs of earrings. I did also connect with a lot of nice people, some of whom signed up for the mailing list and others who requested custom orders. All in all, it was a valuable learning experience for me, but one I would not like to have to repeat regularly. ;) I can see doing a few at holiday time each year -- it's silly not to take advantage of the opportunities -- but I don't want to be one of those people who travel from place to place every weekend all during the year. I know some people love it, but it's not for me. :p

I forgot to mention last week that I started posting the Virtual Mall discounts and deals directly to the Virtual Mall's Facebook Fan Page, just to see if it worked better because the links don't show up in the Discussions section when I copy and paste the mailed version. I'm also reaching a wider audience, with 400+ "people who like this" there. ;) It seems to be going fine...I've gotten an occasional thumbs-up for an item posted or a comment. As long as no one feels like it is a constant stream of spam, I guess I will keep it up. It's still time-consuming...I can't decide if it is more or less so than doing it the other way. I'm still mailing it out for now, but down the line, I may have to cut that part out, since it is duplication of effort to some degree. :\

Being out for the entire weekend has put me behind the 8-ball with my Virtual Garage Sale, but I seem to be making progress in that endeavor, too. I will be happy when that's complete, so I can get my personal life back! :p

I have a big decision to make that I will tell you about next week. It will change a few things around here for a couple of months, but I'm not entirely sure how yet. In a way, it will contradict what I said last week about accepting offers not in my Hedgehog Concept...but in another way it indirectly supports it. We shall see...

Gotta run! Have a good week! :D
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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tangible Tidbits 2010 #42: Our One-Year Anniversary and My Hedgehog Concept

Greetings, one and all! :)

Something Tangible LLC celebrated its one-year anniversary on October 26. It was a low-key event...I didn't even remember it until just now! LOL :o I had a lot going on this week, both personally and professionally, so it just kind of fell off my radar. :\ My, how things change in a year! ;)

My older niece Jamie wanted me to tell you that she made some spiral coil beads for me this week. She was home from school with cough-variant asthma on Wednesday -- the poor baby has it rough this time of year -- and ended up at my house because both parents were working. She's on a Disney cruise this week with her parents and sister, so I can't feel TOO sorry for her. (Love you, Jamie!) ;)

I also came to a decision regarding the after care job at the Karate center. I got a call on Wednesday while I was at my chiropractor's office, asking about an incident that had happened the previous Friday. Someone on the street overheard me scolding an obstinate child on the way to the park. I was trying to be heard over the construction on Springfield Avenue and the child's "Don't talk to me" rants while covering her ears. Apparently, in this day and age, raising your voice to a child is considered verbal abuse. This is the second time the owner and I had this discussion...regarding this particular child. I decided right then and there that I didn't want to deal with this situation any longer. I don't agree with "the system" that reprimanding a misbehaving child is abuse. I also have a naturally loud voice -- as most of you undoubtedly know -- and when I raise it, it probably comes across as shouting to others, as my mother pointed out to me. In any case, the job was taking too much time away from my own work for Something Tangible, and dealing with this child was stressing me the point I dreaded even going there. So, that phase is over. Luckily, the owner understood my side and he also doesn't agree with the rule, although he does have to conform to it. Thankfully, I don't. I can just remove myself from the situation. He told me yesterday that he's been talking up the mother-daughter workshop to his members, so it looks like that will still happen. Keep your fingers crossed for me! ;)

Had I known about The Hedgehog Concept when I was mulling over the job opportunity, I would have turned it down. For those of you not familiar with the idea, it was originated by James C. Collins in his 2001 management book Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't. I learned about it recently in a video by Gideon Shalwick. Anyway, you draw three overlapping circles, kind of like a pretzel. The first circle is "Things I like to do," the second one is "Things I do well," and the third is "Things I can get paid for doing." The middle section where all three circles intersect is called your Hedgehog Concept. I have learned over the past year that my Hedgehog Concept is making handcrafted jewelry. I never knew I had the talent until I tried, but I enjoy it and people do pay me for it. :D Since taking a job as an after care counselor does not fit in nor support my Hedgehog Concept, so I should have rejected it. Naturally, it is easier to make decisions about what direction to take once you know where you are going! ;) It's taken me almost 42 years, but now I know. :)

In other work-related matters, the November 2 workshop has been canceled because not enough people registered for it. I'm still holding hope for the November 14 one, but not a very strong hope. :\

I've been busily making wax models for my Monday night classes. I invested three more last week and I'm working on a special one at the moment...a promise I made to a friend earlier in the year. I will cast the three I invested last week in bronze tomorrow night. I'm running low on sterling silver, and I want to see how they turn out in bronze. ;) To date, I've made two rings, two pendants and a pin. The pin cracks me up. I just cast it to have enough pieces for a critique, which still hasn't happened yet. When I was cleaning it, I rotated it in my hand to see which way I liked it best. On the fourth turn, I noticed that it looks like a calf's head! I wasn't trying to make one, but it's a REALLY GOOD one! LOL Complete with a faceted black onyx eye. The funny thing about that is the Rutgers Marching Band Color Guard were called cows (a term of endearment, believe it or not!). So, I have a few friends who will laugh really hard when they see it. ;)

I got a response from "Mystery Moderator" last week. He claims he can't change his screen name, but he did see my point about transparency building trust. At least he wasn't singling me out, although he did delete my event listings without telling me. Not a big fan of that, either. :\ By the way, the group is Get Traffic 3.0 and they are a REALLY enthusiastic and supportive bunch! We're all posting our Facebook Fan Pages so we can "Like" each other's. The Something Tangible LLC page has 994 as of this morning (WHOO HOO!) and the Virtual Mall page has 378. The ad campaign I ran for that ended last week, so the new "Likes" are all probably from GT3.0 and new Friends on my personal page. :)

I still haven't received the price tags, bags, and boxes I ordered for next week's Holiday Bazaar on Saturday and Jewels of New Jersey on Sunday. I hope I get them early in the week, so I'll have time to price the items before Saturday morning! :o I have a lot of stuff I want to do before Saturday -- like making some chain maille bracelets and earrings in holiday colors, for example -- I just hope I have enough time to get everything done! At least I've gotten the 12+ hours back from not going to the Karate center in the afternoons. :)

One last note, as this message is pretty long already...I recently found out we can select personalized usernames for our Facebook Fan Pages, so I've done that for the two I have. These are much easier to remember than all of those numbers, etc. generated by Facebook:

I also did one for the Home page of the Something Tangible Application, in case that Facebook bookmark ever becomes viable again:

The application is back again, but I can't change the bookmark because the viable link starts with, and the settings won't accept that. :( Anyway, if you've never seen the application, check out the Home page link above (it works) and see if you can get to this page:

For whatever reason, I can't even post it as a link in won't work. :(

Happy Halloween, and go easy on the candy! ;)
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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tangible Tidbits 2010 #41: I Probably Should Post Tomorrow, But...

Hi, everyone! I'm really annoyed at the moment because I just got a notice from someone who calls himself "Mystery Moderator" at a new coaching program group on Ning that I joined this week. I was told not to promote my products or services, or I would be suspended for spam. First of all, I think the moderator should have the guts to use his real name and show his picture. Everyone knew who I was when I moderated Michael's Retreat, and they respected me for being fair, as well as being upfront and open about what would and would not be tolerated on the board. Secondly, I do not recall "promoting" myself aside from telling people who specifically asked me what I do. I did post photos of my pieces and events on My Page, but it is MY PAGE. What should it reflect if not who I am and what I do? I did not invite anyone to the events...I just put them on My Page. I did not send anyone the photos...again, I just put them on MY PAGE. I replied to Mystery Moderator that I would be happy to leave the group if My Page offends him, once he refunds my money. I also asked what I did to deserve the "warning." Anyone who knows me knows that I am basically a rule-follower. I admitted I was not aware that promoting your business was against the rules -- generally, it is the point of groups such as this one. However, I also do not recall doing that beyond setting up my My Page. We'll see what happens next, but I'm thinking I may not want to be there after all. :(

But I, back to business (we allow that here)! My first critique at school is tomorrow night. I currently have five pieces to show the teacher, and two more wax models I finished up this week at home to cast after the critique. I had to clean up my newer pieces yesterday, so I wouldn't be embarrassed showing them to Dr. Browning. Did I ever mention he is the head of the Metalwork & Jewelry Department? :o One or two are not quite what I wanted them to be, but we'll have to see how nitpicky he is. My guess is very nitpicky. Wish me luck! ;)

I missed this month's Bead Society of New Jersey meeting on Thursday due to a migraine headache. My sister gets them on occasion, but I never have. When I was on Topomax -- the psychiatrist suggested we hold off going back on it when I saw her this week, BTW -- I did have bad headaches, but Topomax is supposed to help migraines. I often wondered how bad those headaches would be if I wasn't on Topomax. Now, I know! I was miserable from about 2:30 p.m. until 7:15 a.m. the next day! Slept a lot, thankfully. I'm not looking forward to getting one again, so hopefully I won't! >:

It looks like the Mother/Daughter workshop at Blue Life Karate and Fitness will be on Saturday, November 13. Time TBD. I will keep you posted on how that goes. My after care coworker is interested, and so is the owner's fiancee. Those are two good signs, IMHO! :)

I had a dry run teaching experience today, working with my nieces to make pearl and crystal rings from kits we got at Michael's. Given that working with two of them took maybe 45 minutes, I'm wondering if making a double-strand bracelet with my younger niece's 13-child Brownie Troop is a bit ambitious. I may have to rethink that one and switch to rings! :o

I'm getting ready for the back-to-back craft shows the first weekend in November. I bought a bunch of supplies from Staples and Walgreens, so I think I'm pretty close to set. I had a checklist I found online, so it helped me a lot in knowing what to bring...items I would not have thought about such as a mirror, first-aid and jewelry first-aid kits, etc. The only thing I don't have is back-up, unfortunately. My sister's family is away that weekend, and Mom has plans with her sisters. Hopefully, the days won't be too long. I'm used flying solo most of the time, but every once in a while, I really wish I had a wingman! ;)

Given that I was otherwise occupied most of the weekend, I'm still working on the photos for this week's Virtual Garage Sale, so I had better get back to it. Have a great week! Catch you on Halloween! :D
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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tangible Tidbits 2010 #40: From Factoidz to Facebook

Hey, everyone! I've been very productive this week...published a new article on Factoidz, signed up for a second holiday craft show, finished up my second class project, and invested three more last Monday night to cast tomorrow night! I'm also still auctioning off my TV fandom stuff, so that takes up most of my weekends these days between grouping items into packages and deciding what to sell each week, finding the items, photographing them, and then posting them on the message board. :p If I calculated the hours spent vs. the funds brought in, I think I would probably be in the red. :\

As I mentioned last week, I thought I would get more mileage out of the instructions I wrote for my November workshops by reworking them for Factoidz and YouTube. The Factoidz article was not too time-consuming, so that's here: How To Make A Twisted Wire and Bead Necklace -- No Tools Required! I've slipped to the #2 jewelry-making expert on Factoidz again, so I have to keep publishing to recoup and maintain the lead. ;)

As for YouTube, I started playing with a tutorial, but Windows Movie Maker projected it would be something like six hours long, so I may have to kill that idea. LOL If I get a Kodak Flip camera for my birthday or Christmas, as I don't foresee myself splurging on one between now and then, I will start making videos for YouTube and my blog in the new year. ;) "They" -- those in the know about internet marketing -- say videos are the way to go in order to reach your audience more effectively because it gives them a clear image of who you are...lets them get to know you and become comfortable dealing with you. The same "they" are also touting Facebook as "the next Google" in terms of network traffic and becoming the next pay-per-click goldmine. That might explain why there are ads ALL OVER my pages lately...and you can't even click them off! I don't mind them on the sides, but keep them out of the middle of my profile page, please! :( Ironically, I posted about the benefits of Facebook advertising in one of my early blog posts back in mid-January. My father always liked us to be "in the vanguard" as he called it. He'd be so proud of me! LOL

Speaking of Facebook, the Something Tangible application has disappeared completely. There's not even an error message anymore. And I can't find Gift Creator, which was the application I used to create it. I guess they got fed up with people complaining that their apps were going down all the time, so they pulled the plug. Nice of them to notify us, though. :\

As I said last week, I started some new Facebook pages for my workshops, since my phone hasn't been ringing off the hook with registrations. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the people responding "yes" are serious and not just being Facebook polite. LOL I also started running some Facebook ads to promote the Virtual Mall Fan Page. I think I came up with six for this campaign -- that option wasn't available last December, if I recall correctly. Anyway, one or two of them seem to be doing really well. I think I have something like 336 "people who like this" since the middle of the week. :)

Regarding the second craft show, it's the 2nd annual Jewels of New Jersey to benefit Monroe Township Library. Only New Jersey jewelry artists are invited, and I received the invite on the Bead Society's Yahoogroup. The terms aren't as good as the Round Valley United Methodist Church is offering, but it's the day after (Sunday, November 7), so I figured I may as well go while everything was still packed up. ;) I just realized that I will probably be exhausted on Monday and I will have class that night! I haven't gotten out of there before 10:00 p.m. (one week it was after midnight!) the past couple of weeks, but I think that week I'll call it a night early. :p

In addition, the owner of Blue Life Karate wants me to hold a one-hour Mother-daughter workshop there. He thinks it would be good to do it before the holidays to generate interest. Nothing's firm yet, so we'll see if it comes together. :)

I will be posting my first class project as the new Focal Piece of the Month -- I haven't written it yet, but I figured I may as show everyone what I'm doing this semester. :) The monthly website changes should be going up in the next two weeks, so keep an eye out for them. ;)

As for my personal life, my Virtual Garage Sale auctions have been a bit slow going, but I have enough stuff to raise a respectable amount for Fondation MIRA. No one's buying the "Moonlight" stuff so far, so we'll see what happens. I may just make a nominal donation to Donate Life America myself. ;)

Well, I think that's enough for now. Have a good week! :D
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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tangible Tidbits 2010 #39: Blame It On the Cable Company & Calcium Oxalates

Hey, everyone! I'm really sorry to be so late this week, but we were without a land line phone and internet connection from Sunday morning until late yesterday afternoon. Lots of miscommunication with the cable company, so the services finally came back up just in time for me to leave for class last night. That's the trouble with having one provider for your phone, internet, and cable services -- if one service goes down, there's an increased likelihood another one will go down with it! :o Then, I didn't get home until approximately 1:00 a.m. from school! I went straight to bed, but I haven't slept well the past few nights because of an allergic reaction to calcium oxalates. If I have anything with calcium oxalates in it, my entire body itches 48 hours later. I mean, my ENTIRE body...inside my ears, inside my nose, my scalp. It's really irritating, and it sometimes keeps me up at night, too. :p I had vegetable soup on Friday night and a filet mignon prepared with some seasoning mix on Saturday night. Both contained black pepper, which is a no-no. Lesson learned...NO MORE BLACK PEPPER! I would say "I need my Mommy to take care of me so that I watch what I eat more closely," but she's the one who fed them to me! LOL :\ Anyway, I slept late because I was awake a lot last night, and I got up just in time to make an appointment. Now, I'm fitting this in before I go to the after care job. ;)

As a result of these delays, I will probably send out this week's Virtual Mall Discounts & Deals on Thursday or Friday. ;)

Quick rundown of what progress I made last week: I opened up a new Facebook Fan Page for the Virtual Mall, three Facebook Event pages for my November 2 and November 14 workshops and my Virtual Garage Sale, created a new necklace while typing up the instructions and taking step-by-step photos to use as a guide in my workshops, and spent the internet down time entering data into my database. I'm getting close to finishing that up! :D

I will probably post the instructions as a Factoidz article without photos at some point, and offer readers the opportunity to get the full version by email. I may also create a video from them, and post it to our YouTube account, making the same offer to viewers. :)

I also posted the back issues of the Virtual Mall Discounts & Deals emails on the new Fan Page, but the links don't show up in the Discussions section. I will have to suggest people receive them by email if they want the direct links, as it makes shopping easier than having to copy-and-paste the URLs or searching for the sites. :p

Oh! And a college friend is chairing her Church's Holiday Bazaar, so I will be taking a table there! My first live event will be on Saturday, November 6, at Round Valley United Methodist Church in Lebanon, NJ. Wish me luck! :D

Gotta run...have a good week! :D
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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Tangible Tidbits 2010 #38: Feeling Frustrated

Hope everyone is having a better day than I am! :)

I've been having a lot of "technical issues" lately...and Mercury isn't even in retrograde anymore! That cycle ended in the middle of September. Regardless, I've been having trouble setting up a new application I bought for the website since the middle of this past week -- the technical support people have been taking up to two or three days to get back to me at each step. We also seem to have a problem with the Something Tangible Facebook application, as I am receiving a 502 error when I try to access the application itself (this is outside of my control, according to a Bing search. It seems to be a "bad gateway" error.). The set-up and home pages both appear to be working fine. :\

I also looked at the quarterly figures for the third quarter, and noted that we did not surpass last quarter's numbers. We came close to matching them, but fell about $11 short. I realize this is to be expected from time to time, but it's still disappointing to see it in (red) ink. :(

I've also decided that I should include photos of my inventory materials in the database, since there are a few with vague names or items that have similar names and descriptions, so I can't figure out which one was used in a given piece. The photos from the vendor websites will facilitate that, but it's adding a lot of time to the data entry process. :\

In last week's class at MSU, I invested the wax cast I had created the week before. My teacher is away for a few weeks, but the substitute professor (from the same department, so our paths will undoubtedly cross again) seemed to like my piece, as did my own professor. Investing is basically encasing the wax figure in a plaster-like substance. The hardened cast is then burned out so that the wax melts, leaving space for the molten metal to take that form. The professors do the burning out for us, so I will be attempting to create my piece in metal tomorrow night. We only get one shot, as the process destroys the cast. Wish me luck! ;)

As for my personal life, I've been keeping busy with the after care job and my Virtual Garage Sale...the auctions are taking up a lot more time than I'd anticipated. The results have been mediocre, but at least I am getting rid of stuff in each round. ;)

I spent all day yesterday in Piscataway at Rutgers University's Homecoming. I haven't attended since 2001 for personal reasons, but I'm glad I went...except for the sunburn on my face! :o Today, I saw the "Hairspray" matinee at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn -- I purchased a 4-show subscription, as Mom is taking my sister and me to the fifth show for our birthdays. :) The show was very good, but it would have been more fun if I could have found someone to go with me. I didn't realize the date of the tickets until the middle of the week because it didn't show up on my Palm calendar, although I do remember entering it. Anyway, I had seen the movie version of "Hairspray" starring John Travolta and Michelle Pfeiffer a few years ago with my sister and two nieces. I don't remember it too well, so I can't say how close this production was to the film. :p

It's definitely feeling like October here in New Jersey! It's gotten a bit chilly in the past week, which is a refreshing change from the heat of the summer months. :)

Take care, everybody! :D
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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tangible Tidbits 2010 #37: Fifteen Minutes of Fame

First off, I want to thank those who reached out to me after reading last week's message. I didn't intend for it to come across so morose...but I guess in the state of mind I was in, it was inevitable. Actually, I thought the tone was pretty middle-of-the-road, but I guess my perception was off. :o Anyway, I apologize for that. I've been feeling much better since the moon left Pisces...Pisces is a water sign and the moon was in Pisces when I was born, so I can be overly sensitive and sentimental at times. :\ I'm basically fine as long as I'm keeping busy and focusing on what I'm doing at the moment. It's the quiet times that I can get into trouble, because I get stuck inside my head, and I often hear negative stuff when that happens. Most of us do. So, I guess I'm better off just keeping busy for now, and I'll have to hope I can keep my stamina up without relying on quiet time to help me recharge. :p

I got home in time from my MSU casting class (we're learning to make wax casts for metal pieces -- I have a second degree burn blister on the middle finger of my right hand already!) on Monday night to watch Alex O'Loughlin's new "Hawaii Five-0" series premiere on CBS. I liked it a lot! It came across as a big budget mini action movie, IMHO. I liked the chemistry between the characters...and seeing Alex without a shirt never hurts, either! LOL

My Virtual Garage Sale auction is taking up a lot of time, but it will hopefully be worth it when all is said and done. An LFN fan friend told me about an opportunity for it to reach a wider audience via a mention on Lisa Steven's radio program for "Moonlight" fans. Lisa is one of my Facebook friends, but I didn't even know she had a radio show! LOL

On the business side of things, we posted the new Focal Piece of the Month this week, and the updates to the Virtual Mall are almost finished for this month. ;)

I've also been increasing the company publicity efforts by posting my 1978 Maplewood Arts Center workshops on three local website calendars: the Maplewood Patch online newspaper, Maplewood Navigator (affiliated with the local weekly newspaper The News-Record of Maplewood & South Orange), and Maplewood Online. The announcement ran in the print edition of The News-Record this week, but there was a minor snafu. They made it appear as though I am the contact person for ALL of the classes and workshops at 1978. I found out about the article when the president of the 1978 board copied me on an email to the paper regarding the error. Mom had already read and recycled the paper, and she missed it on page 3! Luckily, the recycling hadn't been picked up yet, so I salvaged the paper and cut the article out. ;)

In addition, I submitted Something Tangible to be included on's Friends, Fans & Followers page, as well as created a profile for myself on Art Jewelry magazine's website. I've also been expanding my reach via various social media sites. :)

Both personally and professionally, it looks like my fifteen minutes of fame has begun! ;)

Have a great week and Happy Autumn all! ;)
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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Tangible Tidbits 2010 #36: A Business Plan & Dreams

I'm doing this today instead of tomorrow because I have a lot of thoughts running around in my head right now and I want to get them out. Sometimes, writing helps. ;)

First, the business stuff. I attended a workshop hosted by SCORE, a group of retired business people who volunteer to counsel entrepreneurs, on "Starting and Managing Your Own Business" at the local library earlier in the week. I am registered for three more workshops with them this fall. The main thing I got out of this one is that I need to write up a business plan. Apparently, they are required if you want to obtain a business loan from a bank. My chiropractor suggested I get a template program from Staples (think "Business Plans for Dummies") and just fill in the blanks. That will be my next big project after I finish with the database, I guess. :\

On the personal front, I raised $104+ for Fondation MIRA in the first round of my Virtual Garage Sale auction. Not too bad, considering there were only half a dozen people bidding. I'm hoping that word will spread over the coming weeks, so that it will attract more bidders. I sold half of the items I listed, so I'm happy to get that much out of my house! LOL

Here's where I will get a little deep, so if you're not interested in that, feel free to disregard the rest of this message. ;) I don't often dream when I sleep, or if I do, I don't usually remember them. Lately, I've been having very clear, detailed dreams. I think I've had four or five this week. The overall theme seems to be loss, isolation, and loneliness. Given everything I've gone through so far this year, it's not really surprising that's where my subconscious goes. What bothers me is that most of the dreams seem to end with a dramatic sad or tragic ending. If the Universe is trying to tell me something, I don't think I want to know what it is! :o Many years ago as a teen, I had a dream that I was an old woman sitting in a rocking chair and I felt myself die. That scared the crap out of me, but the feeling that I will die old and alone has never really left me. In the past few years, I thought I'd made significant progress in dealing with my long-time emotional issues and healing from them. I guess that was just an illusion, because right now, I feel like I'm starting all over at the beginning again, and that I'm still damaged. It's very disconcerting to think that all of the progress I thought I'd made wasn't real. I went off of one of my anti-depressants at the beginning of the summer (with the consent of my psychiatrist), but I guess maybe it's time to go back on it again. :( Most of my life, I've kind of subscribed to the "fake it 'til you make it" philosophy. I guess my "act" fooled even me for a while. My question is, if you fake it over a long period of time, at what point does it stop being fake and start being who you truly are? :p

Well, enough of that! Off to get my oil changed and figure out what I'm putting up in next week's auction, which starts on Tuesday night.

Enjoy the weekend and have a good week! :)
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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tangible Tidbits 2010 #35: Workshops, Classes & Gallery Openings

Hi, everybody! :)

Well, I posted a new Factoid this week. This one is Five Ways To Promote Yourself and Your Small Business. It seems to be doing pretty well...82 views so far in the first 24 hours or so. My jewelry-making stories seem to get the most hits, so I may stick with those from now on. :)

My second class at Montclair State starts tomorrow night, so I will report next week on what we will be covering this semester. ;)

I started working at Blue Life Karate & Fitness this past Tuesday...and had off on Thursday and Friday already because there's no after care if the school district is closed. Happy Rosh Hashanah! :D

Two workshops to be taught by me in November are featured on the 1978 Maplewood Arts Center website. You can check out the listings here: I have no idea how popular they will be, if at all...I'm just keeping my fingers crossed they generate interest. :o

In addition, I attended a photography exhibit opening on Thursday at GAS Gallery and Studio in Maplewood. It's owned by someone I went to grammar school with, and he recognized me right away! That always makes me laugh, but I guess I have "one of those faces" because people always seem to recognize me, even if we haven't seen each other in decades. :p Anyway, the promotional cards for the gallery say they offer a photography studio, private events, exhibit space, films/discussion, creative workshops, and French language classes (one of the partners is a French teacher). Rick mentioned that they haven't really gotten into creative workshops yet, so I offered, "I can probably help you with that!" ;) He got pulled away and we didn't really finish our conversation, but I left him a note on the Facebook invitation I received for the event. I will follow-up with him at some point. I kind of have too much going on right now to push it. :\

As you know, the first installment of the Virtual Mall Deals & Discounts e-sales circular went out this past Wednesday. It took a while to put it together, but I think that was because it was the first one and I had been stockpiling stuff for it for a few weeks. I'm hoping it will be easier now that I will really only be highlighting one week's promotions at a time. :) If anyone has any suggestions on how to do it better, please feel free to let me know! I'm always open to suggestions. ;)

On the personal front, I spent the early part of the day preparing and photographing packages for my Television Memorabilia Virtual Garage Sale, which starts on Tuesday night. I've gotten some positive feedback about it, so I'm hoping it goes well. It's kind of strange, going through everything and selling it all. That was such a huge part of my life for such a long time -- six years -- it feels like I'm closing the chapter on that part of my life. I seem to be doing that a lot lately...closing chapters. This one doesn't bother me so much because I sort of left that phase behind me a few years ago. Some of the others I've closed this year weren't as easy (I'm getting a lump in my throat just thinking about it). :\ As the saying goes, "it is what it is." That's been quite a popular saying with a number of people in my life, including my late father. :)

I've got a number of orders to keep me busy this week, in addition to starting the first round of the auction and my class at MSU. I have a feeling this fall will be a flurry of activity for me! ;)

Have a good week and enjoy the "back-to-school weather" while it lasts! :)
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Monday, September 6, 2010

Tangible Tidbits 2010 #34: Increasing Exposure

Hey, all! Sorry I didn't get to this message last night, but I was involved in trying to match up material inventory purchases with receipts from Michael's and A.C. Moore. On the wholesale suppliers' receipts, it's pretty easy to discern what the items are and enter them in the database, but not so much with those two stores. It's gotten to the point that I will enter what I think an item is and hope that I eventually figure out what it really is! :o

I've had a very productive week...made a bunch of new items that I haven't had a chance to post yet. I find that I can do simple tasks while watching Another World on Hulu, so I use that time in the evening (when I can) to play with pieces. It seems that the show will be yanked as of October 21, and I'm so far behind I'd have to watch six episodes a day to catch up by then! I hope they decide to keep it...I'm really enjoying this trip down Memory Lane! :)

In addition, I've arranged to teach two workshops in November at 1978 Maplewood Arts Center, not far from my house. The center is owned by the town, and run by a board of directors. The president was very enthusiastic when I met with her last week, and even took some of my brochures and put them in the rack in the center! The first workshop will be held on Tuesday, November 2 (Election Day) from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. This one is for at-home parents who are looking for an outlet for their creativity, a stress-relieving activity, or just a way to make some extra "side money." The second one is on Sunday, November 14, also from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The focus of that one is making your own jewelry holiday gifts, either to help save money or to harness your creative energies. I haven't decided yet on the project(s) to cover in each class. We're testing these out as workshops, and if there is demand I will probably teach eight-week sessions in the future. Wish me luck! :)

I don't think I ever mentioned that both of my nieces are also helping me promote myself and my business! The younger one asked her Daisy Troop leader if I could run a jewelry-making session with the troop...and she did this before running it by me and her mother! LOL Of course, I said yes. :D My older niece has to run meetings on her own in Girl Scouts, and asked for my help for her to teach an easy project to her troop. I will also be on-hand that day, just in case she needs some back-up. ;) She can be my helper with the Daisy troop, so she will have some experience under her belt before teaching for herself. :)

And last but not least, I have taken a part-time job as an After School Counselor at Blue Life Karate & Fitness, which is literally around the corner from me! I had to send out six resumes in preparation for my job assessment meeting at the Unemployment office this Wednesday, and this was one of the positions I found on The owner is a very kewl guy who wants me to help the kids (only three so far) with their homework, take them to the park down the street, and maybe teach them some jewelry projects or do other craft projects with them. :) He was really excited about my business...he liked my brochure and has placed some of them in his "Take one" display by the door. He even wants to host a wine-and-cheese event at the Karate center for the parents of his students featuring my work! Whoo hoo! :D I really think I'm going to get along well with this guy...he's a fellow Capricorn. ;)

In any case, the job is from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. weekdays, except on Monday evenings, when I have my second Metalwork & Jewelry class at Montclair State. That starts next week. Man, am I going to be tired with all of this running around I'll be doing! LOL As my father would say, though, "it's good for the soul." :)

One last note...I saw that the Softflex Company was running a steampunk-themed "Flex Your Creativity" contest in the middle of the week, so I put together a necklace for the contest that afternoon. I thought the deadline was at midnight, but it was really midnight the next night! At least I got it done and handed in on time. :) You can see the piece on our Facebook Fan Page or in the Design Samples Gallery on the Something Tangible website. ;)

I've gotta get back to my inventory. No rest for the weary! :p Enjoy your Labor Day and the rest of the three-day weekend if you are in the U.S. To everyone else, have a great week! :D

P.S. -- I saw this quote by Mark Twain in a horoscope earlier in the week, and it helped pull me out of a funk. "Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone, you may still exist, but you have ceased to live." There are a few illusions I really need to hold onto for a while to keep me going, so that message came at just the right time! :)
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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tangible Tidbits 2010 #33: Cee Lo & E-Sales Circulars

I'm pretty sure most of you are not from New Jersey, but today's Newark Sunday Star-Ledger ran an article in the entertainment section about a song that is a mega-hit on YouTube, but can't be aired on radio or music video stations. The name of the song can't be written in print publications either. If you're familiar with Cee Lo or the song, then you know to which one I'm referring. Apparently, everybody who is anybody knows this tune...and I'd never heard of it (not exactly surprising). :o Well, I checked out YouTube today after reading the article, and I have had the song playing on an endless loop for most of the day while working! LOL Aside from it having a good dance-in-your-seat beat -- the article likened it to the style of Smokey Robinson, although Smokey would never use foul language -- whenever the words penetrate my brain, they in turn make me laugh out loud, chuckle, and genuinely smile. I am not easily offended, so the language doesn't bother me. The concept in the song is something anyone can relate to...and I just find the delivery completely amusing! :D Maybe part of the reason I like it so much is because the song reminds me of someone I used to know who liked to talk dirty. We lost touch a while ago, and this song makes me feel like he's not so far away. I hope we meet up again someday. ;)

ANYWAY, before I forget again this week, the new Focal Piece of the Month went up last week. I know a few people saw it, so thanks for remembering to look for it! :)

I have a decision to make regarding the Virtual Mall (VM). I receive emails semi-regularly from vendors about special sales and promotions they are running. We can only update the website once a month right now, and the Virtual Mall is something that is beyond my capability to handle updating myself. So, I was thinking about sending out a separate message to those interested in keeping up to date with the various opportunities presented by the VM vendors. A weekly Virtual Mall Deals & Discounts message could be sent on Wednesday or Thursday, and it would be clearly marked to differentiate it from the Sunday (and occasionally Monday) Tangible Tidbits newsletter/messages. I would start out by sending it to the existing newsletter list, and then anyone wishing to be unsubscribed from that mailing can opt-out by sending a response email with "Remove" in the subject line. If someone decides that she wants to be removed from all correspondence, then she can respond with "Unsubscribe" in the subject line, and I will remove that name from both lists. My concern is that this second weekly message will be viewed as spam. My goal is obviously not to annoy anyone, but to offer information about special sales and promotions that they may be interested in checking out at the Virtual Mall. What I have been doing up until now is just "filing away" the messages if the time frame doesn't fit with our updating schedule, but I realize that is doing my audience a disservice. On the other hand, I don't want to take valuable time away from other necessary tasks to draft and send out these messages if people aren't interested.

Any feedback on this issue would be greatly appreciated. I do have a few messages held aside for Back To School and Halloween sales (ALREADY??), so if there IS interest in receiving this kind of "e-sales circular," please let me know. Next week, I'll report my findings and if it's a go, the first Virtual Mall Deals & Discounts issue will go out September 8 or 9. Naturally, if anyone just can't wait to find out about the discounts being offered, feel free to contact me directly and I can give you the scoop. ;)

Something Tangible had a number of sales and custom inquiries this week, so I'm happy about that. I'm not quite on track to make my sales goal for the quarter (50% more than last quarter), but we still have a month to go. We are past the half-way mark to making at least as much as last quarter, so surpassing that figure would still demonstrate steady growth. Can't ask for much more than that in this economy, right? :D

I hope people in the NY Metro area enjoyed the break in the summer heat we had this past week. Looks like we're expecting another scorcher this coming week! :p

Take care and catch you during the three-day Labor Day Weekend next time! :)
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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tangible Tidbits 2010 #32: Rain, Rain & More Rain!

I don't know about you...but when it is dark, rainy, and gloomy outside, I have virtually NO energy. I just want to hibernate and stay in bed all day, which I did for much of today! Unfortunately, we're not supposed to see much sunshine before Thursday. I have hopefully gotten out of my "hibernation mode" -- thankfully, today is Sunday and I could get away with it! -- since I have stuff to do during the week. ;)

I played around a bit this week and came up with some new pairs of earrings, a key chain, a crystal puffed heart pendant -- a lovely person from the Bead Society of NJ graciously sent me the instructions -- and a nickel & Chinese Turquoise ring. The ring was a complete experiment, but I think it turned out rather well. I'll post pics later on tonight. :)

I spent a lot of time this week working on a personal project, so I don't have a lot of business news to report today. :\ I decided last weekend to hold a Virtual Garage Sale of my television memorabilia from five years in the "La Femme Nikita" (LFN)(USA Network 1997-2001) and a year or so in the "Moonlight" (ML)(CBS 2007-2008) fandoms. I still have to go through my ML stuff, but I have acquired a massive amount of LFN stuff over the years, so I tackled that one first. Everything from wardrobe pieces to scripts to charity event photos to fan art. I even have a director's cut and other footage from a number of episodes on VHS and DVD. Cataloging everything and then typing up the 11-page list took up a ridiculous amount of time, but it will be time well spent if I make money from effort. I posted my announcement on Facebook, and received quite a positive response almost immediately, so I'm hopeful this will be a good experience. I forgot to mention that half of the funds received will go to charity: the ML proceeds will go to Donate Life America, as Alex O'Loughlin is an ambassador for this organization, and the LFN stuff will go to Fondation MIRA in memory of a good friend and the former fan liaison between the fandom and MIRA. :)

I did post a "shameless plug" thread in the auction forum on Five Light Years Farther (5LYF) -- I am an administrator of this former LFN board -- for Something Tangible. I don't spend much time there anymore, so I figured I'd let the folks know what I've been doing lately. ;)

Anyway, I will go through the ML stuff in the next week or so, since I have to start taking pictures of everything and creating descriptions before the first auction starts on Tuesday, September 14. I've decided to have multiple auctions of maybe 10 items/packages lasting three days each (I think a full week is too long on eBay, as people tend to forget things over a longer period of time), one a week until everything is gone. Wish me luck! :)

Keep dry and sane over the next few days. And if you happen to be somewhere bright and sunny, I'm jealous! LOL :)
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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Tangible Tidbits 2010 #31: Where Do I Start?

Hola, everyone! I've got so much to tell you this week, I don't know where to begin! ;)

First, Something Tangible LLC now has its own YouTube channel called Some Tangible Things. It seems that rapid video blogging is the way of the future. I don't have much in the way of appropriate technology to make my own videos yet, so I posted my steampunk PowerPoint presentation there to get started. :)

I also posted a new Factoidz article, since I noticed I slipped to the #2 expert slot in jewelry-making. It worked, as I am back to #1 again! LOL Here's the new story, if you haven't seen it yet:

Methods for Cutting Metal in Jewelry-making & Sculpture

In addition, I created a Testimonials form after completing one for Bead Manager Pro. The landing page when I finished asked me if I wanted to create my own...well, why not? ;) Anyone interested in leaving a testimonial for the website -- and I know a few of you have already expressed interest in it -- please fill in the form below. Thanks! :)

Testimonials form

As if all of the above were not enough to increase my exposure this week, I also started posting product reviews -- complete with my completed project photos -- on You never know who looks at the reviews...someone might get intrigued and take a peek here, right? ;)

I've also posted "shameless self-promotion" entries on four blogs that specifically ask for such content! They are hosted by people who stimulate social media networking as part of their coaching practices. Still, it's free exposure to a different audience than I usually reach! :D

One last item on the "shop talk" portion of this message...I just finished reading Finish What You Start by Craig S. Copeland. I received a copy of the book for free if I agreed to review it on What did I have to lose? I have to say, it helped pull a lot of different things together for me. The subtitle of the book is Unlocking the Success Secrets of the Top 1%, and I believe there's really something to that. He outlines Five Power Principles, many of which I happen to do already naturally. However, it never occurred to me to combine these efforts to maximize impact. It makes a lot of sense, and the book is written in such a way that anyone can digest it pretty easily. If you're looking to complete projects that have been stalled indefinitely, I highly recommend this book! :)

On the personal side, I've had some major bad luck with transportation this week! I went into the garage to find a flat tire AND a dead battery on my car AT THE SAME TIME! Called AAA, who filled the tire enough to get me to the mechanic and tire place, and then checked my battery. It checked out okay, but the alternator was dead. NOT a cheap fix! The mechanic told me from his experience the battery wouldn't last much longer, even though it was in the "good" range. I asked the guy at the tire shop about replacing the battery, and he told me to hold off and see if it held the charge. The next morning, naturally, it was dead again! Jump started it with Mom's car -- she was nervous, but I was pretty confident I knew what I was doing -- and then went to the tire shop again for a replacement battery. In the midst of all this, I borrowed Mom's car to get to a social engagement I had on Wednesday night. Don't you know...I noticed the low fuel light was on when I got on the Parkway? :o Luckily, I had enough gas to get to the correct exit and hit the first gas station I saw. AND I was only about three minutes late! I guess I'm a lucky person after all? LOL

I think that's enough for this week. :p Have a great one! :D
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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Tangible Tidbits 2010 #30: A Major Addition

Hey, all! As promised last week, the Something Tangible Virtual Mall is finally operational, although there are a few tweaks we still have to make here and there. :) We've got approximately 200 vendor sites in 12 categories set up, plus a special page for Unique Gifts Under $25. The latter is a collection of Something Tangible's handcrafted items that cost $10 or less, $15 or less, and $25 or less. The links for the new pages are:

Virtual Mall

Unique Gifts

I'm hopeful that people will find this site convenient for many of their online and shopping needs. Vendors include Waterford Crystal, Vera Bradley, Hanes,, Auto Parts Warehouse,, the Microsoft Store,, Nick Jr. Boost, F.Y.E.,, Flight Network, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, SkyMall, The Sharper Image, Save the Children,, Metro PCS,, Vision Direct, and, among many others. From Fine Fashions & Furnishings to Great Gear for Guys, from Trip & Travel Transactions to Vitamins & Vision Venues...we've got you covered! ;)

As for offline activities, I attended a five-hour Wire Jewelry Summer Camp yesterday hosted by Suzanne Banfield, the teacher from one of my classes last fall at The Adult School of Chatham, Madison, & Florham Park. The theme of the day was texturing and oxidizing, so we worked mainly on projects incorporating those techniques. I've added four new items to the Kits by sb designs section of the store, including a bracelet made from copper tubing, earrings made from pure copper washers, and a sterling silver twisted bangle bracelet. I'm really happy with how everything turned out, and I now have added a bunch more tools and products to my ongoing shopping list. Luckily for me, we have some auto supply sites in the Virtual Mall...I guess I'll have to see about getting a plumbing supply store in there, too! LOL

I did finish the embroidered rivoli necklace from my class a few weeks ago, and posted it earlier in the week. I'm almost done with the embroidered Amethyst pin I mentioned in my last post; it should be completed in the next few days. My friend loved the Granite key chain...she said I "make ordinary things look extraordinary." What a boost to my confidence! ;)

As we draw another week of summer 2010 to a close, I hope everyone is keeping well, safe, and happy. :)
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Monday, August 2, 2010

Tangible Tidbits 2010 #29: Welcome to August!

Here we are in a brand new month! Sorry I missed you all yesterday, but I had a really bad headache off-and-on all afternoon and evening, so I took a much-needed break and watched "The Bounty Hunter" with Gerard Butler and Jennifer Aniston On Demand last night. Cute movie! :)

So, I forgot to mention last week that I picked up my printed brochures! They look very nice, although I would have preferred cream glossy paper if the printer had it. Instead, we went with the matte finish because I didn't want it printed on white. The photos look a little flat on the matte finish, but the overall brochure is very good. Many thanks to LightWork Designs in Arizona and Signal Graphics in South Orange, NJ for pulling these together for me! ;) I should really ask the designer for a PDF of the final version, in case I want to email it to anyone. I tend to do a lot of business with people who do not live locally, so I have an email version of my invoice that I can send without having to scan letterhead. :)

I had a very productive week, completing three necklaces, two bookmarks, and a key chain...not to mention putting in a few large chunks of time on updating my database! That project is naturally ongoing, but I feel that I'm accomplishing more on it when I devote a number of hours at a time to it rather than just one a day. It probably averages out to the same amount of time, but it still makes me feel like I've gotten more done this way. :\

My mother changed my mind about the pink braid on the embroidered rivoli from my class a couple of weeks ago. She said it was distracting attention away from the pendant, so I'm waiting on an order of some satin silk string, satin, cotton yarn with matching Swarovski(R) Crystals, polyester chain, and hand-dyed silk, all in dark green, to see how they will look with it. I just received notification that my order was shipped today, so I will hopefully get that completed and posted this week. However, I did finish an embroidered key chain with a Granite stone for a friend in Canada, so you can see that in the Design Samples Gallery on the website or on the Facebook Fan Page if you're curious. ;)

Unfortunately, we had a technological snafu with the Virtual Mall...the file got corrupted somehow over the weekend. We are working on getting it completed sometime this week. Keep your fingers crossed for us! ;)

That's about it for this Monday morning. Hope everyone has a good week! :D
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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tangible Tidbits 2010 #28: Lots To Tell...

Hello, all! It's been brutally hot here this week, but we had some rain today and it cooled things off a bit. Hope it lasts! ;)

First important piece of business: the phone number listed on the website is temporarily disconnected. I went to see the New Jersey Youth Theater's production of "Rent" with a friend at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) today and I realized my cell phone was gone at dinner afterward. I had it in the theater because I was texting my web designer in the lobby before I went inside. I remember putting the phone on Airplane Mode just before the show started. Since the box office was closed when we got back there after dinner, and it's also closed on Mondays, I can't call them until Tuesday morning to see if it was turned in or if it is possibly still under my seat. I had my purse on my lap the whole time...except for the standing ovations, when I put it on my seat behind me. I should have put it on my shoulder, but I can't clap very well with it there because it falls off. My mother says we have no shoulders. LOL :\ So, if anyone wants to reach me regarding Something Tangible business, please use the email address or the Contact Us page on the website. Thanks! And wish me luck on Tuesday! :)

As promised, the new Focal Piece of the Month is up on the website. We're also in the process of developing a whole new page for the site...within the next week or so, we'll be adding our new Virtual Mall page! With nearly 150 online outlets available for your shopping convenience, you'll be able to do everything from making vacation plans to ordering unique gifts for family and friends to furnishing your home or office! I'm very excited about this new addition to Something Tangible's website, and I hope you will be, too! :D Keep an eye on my social media pages later this week for the "Grand Opening" announcement. ;)

I still haven't finished the rivoli necklace I told you about last week. I decided to change the chain from the Tubular Netting stitched one I was working on...I had to end the thread I had been using and when I started a new one a few days later, I messed up the spacing somehow. So, I ended up taking the whole thing apart. Rather than start all over again, I decided to use some of the pink stringing materials I had leftover from a project I did a while ago. The beads around the rivoli are pink, gold and green, so I thought it would be a nice pick-up. I braided together faux pink leather suede beading cord, baby pink fairy ribbon, and bright pink silk fabric string. The three different shades look really nice together. I still haven't received the cone ends I ordered last week yet, so I will finish the necklace when I do. ;) I will eventually try the Tubular Netting again, perhaps in a bracelet or to finish another rivoli or cabochon necklace kit.

I did make a new necklace and pair of earrings, which have been posted on the Facebook Fan Page and the website in the Gemstone Items section. The focal piece of the necklace is a large White Blister Pearl heart pendant, so I used Opalite teardrops, crystal AB beads and faux pearls to keep with the white theme. I told my friend today that I feel like it's my "wedding necklace." It looks very classy, as do the matching dangle earrings. :)

I'm still spending many hours entering data into the software program. It's coming slowly, but surely. Maybe I will set a goal to be finished by the end of August. :p

Gotta run. Enjoy the last few hours of your weekend! :D
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Monday, July 19, 2010

Tangible Tidbits 2010 #27: Monday, Monday...

Sorry I missed you all last night. I spent all day at the Innovative Beads Expo at Raritan Center in Edison, NJ taking a workshop. I learned how to embroider around a rivoli, which is a faceted crystal focal piece. Embroidering around a rivoli is tricky because they are not flat like cabochons. I finished the focal piece last night and started the chain, but I don't have any cone findings here to finish it off, unfortunately. I'll order some this week and hopefully have it posted sometime next week. ;)

My pal Meg Fillmore from Bead My Love taught the class I took yesterday -- she also taught the class I took last fall to learn how to add a beaded fringe to a scarf. She works with her mother, Moggie Moyer, and I got a 20 percent discount on anything purchased at their booth for taking the class. I also visited renowned beader Linda Gettings' table quite a bit. I met her at a Bead Society of New Jersey (BSNJ) meeting in the spring, and she's just a wonderful person! So, I bought some jewelry kits from her and got a bunch of free ones as well! :D My beading skills will be exercised and expanded by leaps and bounds in the next few months! :)

I'm hoping to attend Bead My Love's weekend retreat during the first weekend in November. It will be in Rehoboth Beach, DE and should really be a blast! :D

I spent almost ALL DAY on Friday entering data into the Bead Manager Pro software program. It seems that allocating an hour a day isn't working out so well for me. I keep putting it off because of something that is more immediately pressing. I'm probably better off just getting in the groove when I can do it and go for as long as I can before my eyes cross! LOL

We'll be updating the website again toward the end of this week. The new Focal Piece of the Month will be a gift I made a while ago for a friend whose birthday is next week. He's the coworker who passed away a couple of months ago, so I don't think he will mind me posting it before his birthday. I ended up burying it at his grave in early June, so he technically already has it anyway. I put with it a crossword Lottery scratch card, since he used to always have me cash them in for him. Every once in a while, I wonder if I buried a card worth $20,000, which is the grand prize for those cards. Considering my luck with them, it's probably not even worth the $3 I paid for it, so I'm not too concerned about it. LOL I just hope someone who works for the cemetery doesn't find it and find out for themselves how much it is worth! :o

I almost forgot to mention that I am now the #1 jewelry expert on Factoidz! :D I posted a new article last week, but it's not about jewelry-making. It does, however, have to do with part of my motivation behind the mission for this company.

We had a lot of thunder here this morning, but the sun is shining now and no rain in sight. Hope it stays that way! ;)

Have a great week! :D
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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Tangible Tidbits 2010 #26: Exploring My Financial Options

Hello, everyone! I've been pretty busy this week. I finished the two Totally Twisted Pendants in the kit from Paulette Baron that I mentioned last week. One necklace has already been posted and the second one will be posted tomorrow. I have to admit, I personally prefer the second one. I had some great sea foam luster beads in my stash that perfectly complimented the colors in the pendant. I hope you all like it as much as I do! :)

On Friday, I visited the Unemployment office in East Orange to meet with a counselor. I was advised to do so after the training workshop I had attended there a few weeks ago. The goal is to obtain a Tuition Waiver (I keep thinking Inheritance Tax Waiver because of my prior job at Registrar and Transfer, and even made the mistake of referring to it in my conversation with the counselor! She looked confused and I immediately recognized and corrected my mistake. :o ) to pay for school. She seemed to think it would not be a problem to get the Waiver -- they are offered for people undergoing training for in-demand fields, as an effort to hopefully make the candidates more employable long-term. Although Metalwork & Jewelry classes are not necessarily in that category, I told her about my plans for self-employment, so she seemed to think that would be okay. At the training workshop, the counselor said that graduate applications have to be approved by Trenton. I didn't think to ask about that on Friday, but it will hopefully not be a hindrance. In any case, the sticking point seems to be getting Montclair State to accept it. Apparently, they have declined before. I sent off an email to the Financial Services Department on Friday, since they were closed, and will hopefully get a response this week. If Montclair State agrees -- and since I have already enrolled and have paid part of the semester's tuition, they may not -- I will be taken off the enrollment roster for the class I have scheduled for September and have to reapply for it in August, within 30 days before classes start. Naturally, the school has the opportunity to take paying students over Tuition Waiver students, which is why we get "last pick." However, my class has five openings left out of 13 at the moment, not including me. I doubt I will get shut out of the class in the next four or five weeks. Just in case, though, my fingers are crossed! If the school refuses to change my status, I will pay for this semester out of my pocket and go the Tuition Waiver route for the remaining six classes. I understand that once the school has money in-hand, they may not be so eager to return it. I am being philosophical about this...I can certainly use the extra money that I would have used to pay for school, as times are tight at the moment, but I am willing to pay for school if necessary. Advancing my education is too important to let red tape muck up the works. :\

In addition, I am attending a three-hour Self-Employment Assistance (SEA) workshop tomorrow morning, which I also learned about at the training workshop. I will learn about the program and see if I qualify. I will also find out how it affects my Unemployment benefits, as I do believe it does in some way. They kind of glossed over that part at the previous workshop. If I do qualify, great! If not, c'est la vie. I am exploring every avenue I can to make this transition easier, but I only have control over so much. Particularly when dealing with an academic institution and the State of New Jersey. Don't even get me started on the latter! :p

In other news (pun intended), my second article was accepted by Factoidz this week! I think I previously mentioned wanting to adapt my steampunk oral presentation from last semester. I did that and it is here for anyone who is interested in reading it or missed it on the social media sites. I have now been bumped up to the #2 expert in jewelry-making on Factoidsz! :D The two Focal Piece of the Month stories I have submitted are really the only appropriate ones for Factoidz, so I will have to come up with new topics on a semi-regular basis for future articles. If anyone has suggestions or a particular topic he or she would like to learn more about, please let me know and I will explore it for you! :) I may try to hash out one on public relations for small businesses, as that is my prior experience and not completely unrelated to what I am doing now. ;) As always, I will keep you posted on my progress.

BTW, I did take last Monday (July 5) off. I spent most of the day in bed with the air conditioner running! In case anyone hasn't heard, we had a major heat wave in New Jersey most of last week. It was brutal for a couple of days, but the humidity seems to have dropped off a bit for the weekend. 8)

I saw Toy Story 3 last night at the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) Clearview Cinema. It cost $14.25 for the ticket because they charge an additional $3.50 for "the 3-D experience." Luckily, I had a gift card from a friend, so that didn't hurt my wallet too much. LOL For anyone who hasn't seen it, it was really good! Definitely as entertaining as the first one. The audience was mostly adults, and they laughed out loud quite a bit. If you have any interest, I highly recommend seeing it on the big screen. :)

I've also been watching episodes of the former NBC soap opera Another World this weekend. It's available on Hulu, but only episodes from mid-May 1991 to mid-August 1992 so far. As I was working during that time, I missed many of those episodes. Even knowing what eventually happened to the characters almost a decade later (the show went off the air in 1999) doesn't take away from my enjoyment of watching these older episodes. It's kind of like hanging out with old friends after not seeing them for ages. ;)

That's about it for me...back to Hulu! LOL Have a great week! :)
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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Tangible Tidbits 2010 #25: Happy Independence Day!

I seem to post a lot on holidays, I've noticed. LOL

Well, I'm back! Had a great time on vacation in Ocean City, but not entirely restful. That's what happens when you travel with a 7-year-old and a 9-year-old who want to do EVERYTHING with you! :D Not that I would trade that for anything in the world, but it does take a toll eventually since I don't have their energy anymore! Suffice it to say, I have been home more than 24 hours and still haven't unpacked yet. :o

Thanks so much to those who responded to my plea for feedback last week! The general consensus seems to be that I'm doing this blogging/email newsletter thing right, so I will keep doing what I'm doing. ;)

Although I was "on vacation" last week, I did manage to get some work done. I had brought some kits with me that have been sitting in a pile on my desk, so I worked on a couple of new techniques/items. One is a copper Helix Knot Bracelet by sb designs and the other is a Totally Twisted Pendant designed by Paulette Baron. I started a second variation on the pendant (the kit includes enough materials for both), so I will try to finish that up this week and put both of them on color-coordinated bead necklaces. The first pendant looks like a seahorse's tail and the second one looks like a dragon, according to my nieces. I am much happier with how the second one turned out, but that is probably because I was more comfortable with the technique by the time I got to that one. :\ Anyway, all three of these items will be posted on the Facebook Fan Page and website, hopefully, sometime this week. ;)

I know a lot of people have off tomorrow, so enjoy the extended weekend! My nieces decided that Something Tangible should also be closed tomorrow. LOL We'll may just happen that way! ;)

Have a great week! :)
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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Tangible Tidbits 2010 #24: Six Month Status Check

Greetings from Ocean City, MD! It doesn't have the same ring as "Greetings from Asbury Park" -- an early Springsteen album for those not familiar with the reference -- but it's where I am at the moment. :)

Since I'm technically on vacation, I'm not going to spend too much time on this week's message. I just wanted to check in with my audience, since this is the 24th message posted here. I'm new to blogging, so I would like to get some feedback on what I'm doing right and what I'm not. In the six months I've been writing here, I've gotten two off-list emails about these entries. For all I know, that means only two people have read anything I've written. I'm used to the interactive dialogue of message boards, so I kind of feel like I'm talking to myself here. :o

If you can please take a minute or two to let me know what you like and don't like about these weekly messages, I'd appreciate it. What content do you like to read here? What stuff do you think is uninteresting? Is there anything you would like me to include more or less of in future messages? What kind of content would be beneficial to you? Does the stuff about my personal life feel like TMI, or do you like reading about I'm up to these days? I basically recap what's going on in my life at the moment, both personally and professionally, when I sit down to write. I tend to put more of the educational-type stuff in the Focal Piece of the Month feature on the website (the new one is up, BTW). Is that working for you? I would be grateful to receive any and all thoughts, suggestions, critical commentary, etc. directly on the blog and/or Facebook Fan Page, or via email. My first preference would be to have them on the blog, but feel free choose whatever method works best for you. The important thing is to get the information to me, as it will help me map out a direction in which to take Something Tangible's blog/email newsletter in the future. Thanks so much in advance for your input! :)

It was 101 degrees here today, and I got sunburned while crabbing. :\

Have a good week, one and all! :)
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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Tangible Tidbits 2010 #23: Happy Father's Day!

I hope everyone is enjoying their Father's Day.

Mom came with me to the Rings & Things Bead Tour in East Hanover, NJ today. Man, was she blown away! LOL She had no idea what to expect, so seeing a large hotel ballroom set up with rows and rows of tables full of bead strands and findings made her eyes pop out! :p I think she was mildly impressed that I knew what I was doing. I spent way too much money -- but I got a lot of good deals, and I even found some of the stuff that was on my Wish List at their website, so it made the trip worthwhile. ;) They will be back again in September...I'll have to make sure I get there! :D

I also made time this weekend to finally finish my first bead stitching project...the St. Petersburg Medallion piece that I started at Linda Gettings' workshop in March. I decided to undo the medallions and start over again, since my first ones were pretty sloppy. :o What started out as a bracelet turned into a necklace because I had seven medallions and attached them to each other across the top, then realized the bracelet would be too large. So, I used the piece I created as the center of a necklace and sewed a St. Petersburg chain onto each end to finish it. I'm pretty pleased with the result, although I apparently took an unorthodox approach to the project. Apparently, people usually pick one base color and one accent color and use that pattern throughout the piece. In my "dare to be different" mentality, I mixed and matched the combinations, choosing a different pair in each medallion. I also alternated back and forth between the two colors in the attached chain, so I think it balances well. :)

This past week, I had a minor coup when Factoidz accepted my first submitted article! I adapted the Focal Piece of the Month on cuttlebone casting and submitted it as a how-to article. It's gotten a lot of positive feedback and I am now ranked the #3 expert in jewelry-making on Factoidz! LOL I haven't even been doing this for a year and I'm already an expert. Only in America, folks! ;) In case you missed the article, you can find it here: Cuttlebone Casting: A Technique for Jewelry and Sculptures.

I'm making headway on the administrative projects I mentioned last week. Breaking down overwhelming tasks into manageable chunks of time definitely takes the stress out of them for me. :)

We're due for website updates later this week, so keep an eye out for a new Focal Piece of the Month. We'll all be surprised, since I haven't decided what it is yet! LOL

Next week, I will be writing from Ocean City, Maryland via my new Acer Notebook. My family goes there during the last week of June every year, and we're leaving on Saturday morning. :)

Have a good week, everyone!
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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Tangible Tidbits 2010 #22: It's All About Time Management and Productivity

When you own your own company, it takes a lot of dedication, determination, patience, flexibility, (money!), and very good time management skills to make it a success. I'm learning this the hard way, but it's still early enough in my journey to make the most of my new discovery.

I ended up working most of the day today...and it is a Sunday...because I got very little done on Friday. I went to lunch with a former colleague, accompanied her to Walmart afterward, and ended up getting home close to 5:00 p.m. I also have a bunch of appointments scheduled for next week, very few of them business-related. However, I've made an investment in two tools of modern technology that will hopefully help me to maximize the time I am working. One of them will also help me in my personal life.

The first investment is making an effort to organize my schedule. I decided to start using the Google Calendar feature on Gmail, since my new Palm Pixi (free upgrade from Verizon) can sync with it and keep me on time (for a change). You can input events and tasks in the calendar and assign times when you want to receive email and pop-up reminders for each event. I actually got to see this week's episode of "Three Rivers" -- congratulations to Alex O'Loughlin for being named Donate Life's Person of the Year 2010! -- live! I got involved in something last week and forgot all about it. I had to watch it online mid-week at With the calendar's pop-up feature, I got a message on my screen 10 minutes before the show started, so I could finish what I was doing and watch it! My Palm Pixi also alerted me to the airtime, and I could hit the "Snooze" button to have it remind me again in five minutes! I LOVE these features! :) And adding my To-Do tasks into the calendar rids my desk of the multitude of notes on tiny slips of paper I had all over it. I will be beyond organized if I keep this up. Good-bye pocket calendar! ;)

The second investment I made was a financial one, but still related to time management and productivity. I purchased Bead Manager Pro software to help me keep track of my materials, inventory, customers, vendors, etc. It even takes into account my overhead direct and indirect expenses to calculate my ideal hourly rate! It seems to be pretty straight-forward and easy to use. The challenge will be getting ALL of that information into the system. I wish I knew about this eight months ago! :p At times like this, I wish I had a partner or an employee...anyone with whom I can split up the work (and in the case of a partner, the finances! :D). So, I've blocked out an hour each weekday morning on the calendar to enter data into the system. Once I have that all completed, I can erase the handful of Excel spreadsheets I am currently using to keep track of expenses, NJ Sales Tax collected, funds invested in the company, etc. The program can print profit/loss statements (I'm not in a hurry to use that feature), catalogs (a more professional presentation binder, perhaps?), invoices, etc. Everything I did myself the hard way, this program will be able to expedite. Well worth the $97 investment (on sale for customers until tonight), if you ask me. ;)

In addition to the Palm Pixi, I also received an Aspire One Acer Notebook I purchased on eBay this week. I've linked it up to my home PC, so I can take all of my files with me when I go on vacation in a couple of weeks. No rest for the weary! ;) Seriously, though, I don't plan to work all through my vacation, but being able to keep up with minimal administrative tasks while I'm gone will make my return that much easier. :)

I finished my Bead Challenge project for the Bead Society of New Jersey (BSNJ) meeting this Thursday. I'm happy with how it turned out...we'll see if the voters on Thursday are, too! Wish me luck! :)

Still trying to fit in some "real work" in the midst of all of the administrative set-up and personal stuff. I've been working on some handcrafted sterling silver blank links (there's a bracelet with hammered ones in the Design Samples GALLERY on the website and on the company's Facebook Fan Page if you don't know what I mean) for a family friend's necklace. She wants a Venetian glass necklace revamped because the original links looked like macaroni. LOL She bought the necklace in Venice, so she figures it is worth the cost of having it "fixed." :)

Back to work! Have a great week! At least the weather has calmed down here somewhat. :)
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