Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tangible Tidbits 2010 #20: This Is It!

Well, the deed is done. I am now a full-time entrepreneur, for better or worse. My last day at Registrar and Transfer Company was this past Friday. I will miss many friends and coworkers...I worked there just shy of four years. It will be a major adjustment for me not having to get up and leave the house to get to the office by 8:00 a.m. anymore, but I think this is a positive change for me overall. I'll just have to discipline myself to treat this new endeavor like a "real" job and not slack off like I'm on an extended vacation! :o

Speaking of my new endeavor, I delivered seven pieces today to go on display at the Oceanic Free Library in Rumson as part of the Bead Society of New Jersey (BSNJ) fundraiser for the Library throughout June. The not-for-profit Library will receive 20% of all sales, so if you are within traveling distance, go check it out! :)

There are quite a few projects I had put on the back burner due to time constraints, so my first goal is to get those completed. Anyone still waiting on me about a project that did not have a predetermined delivery date, expect to hear from me soon! :)

I just purchased a book called Beautiful Beaded Bags from only $4! It will be a while before I get to take a good look at it, but at first glance, it seems like there are lots of kewl projects in there! ;) I also have three DVD sets on wire jewelry techniques and a number of kits that I have purchased from guest speakers at recent BSNJ meetings, which I will be exploring this summer before school starts back up again. Be on the lookout for a bunch of new and different projects soon!

For anyone interested in learning more about steampunk, we've added the PowerPoint presentation I created for school to the website. You can click on the "What is Steampunk?" box on the Home, Artist Bio and Blog pages of the Something Tangible website. Not bad for my first attempt at a PowerPoint presentation, if I do say so myself! ;)

On the personal front, I'm coming out of a very emotional period...or at least attempting to come out of it. Lots of sudden changes, and not all pleasant ones. I still have some "unfinished business" to address, which I hope to take care of this week with a visit to the cemetery. I'm not a big cemetery goer in general...I kind of think I can talk to my loved ones on the other side from anywhere and they will (hopefully) hear me. However, friends from the "La Femme Nikita" fandom will recall that I went to a good friend's grave a couple of years ago with a few others. We "decorated" it with a bunch of items that represented our collective relationship(s) and had a toast with Mudslides, her favorite drink. It was a good way for us to say our own private good-bye, especially since we couldn't attend the funeral. Anyway, I feel the need to visit another friend, probably because his death was so sudden and very hard for me to accept. I came to learn a long time ago that I never really "get over" someone's death. I just learn to "get through" it and live with the loss. :\

On a brighter note, I hope everyone is enjoying their Memorial Day weekend! It's unusually warm again here in New Jersey. :p My two nieces are both in the Memorial Day Parade tomorrow in Warren, NJ; one with the Girl Scouts and the other with her Daisy Troop. Mom and I will go cheer them on.

Stay cool and be safe! :)
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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Tangible Tidbits 2010 #19: Picking Up Steam...

Well, I said I would try to have "something tangible" to report this week, and I do! I have been busy, as once people at work found out that I'm leaving and why, there's been increased interest! I've had orders for two pairs of earrings, one necklace, and two bracelets this week! Smiley

I was in Morristown yesterday picking up items my niece and I made at Glass Works recently for her birthday -- check out the picture frame I made for my other niece in the GALLERY on the website or on the Something Tangible Facebook Fan Page -- and I noticed a "unique gifts" shop. I went inside and got a lot of really interesting ideas for bookmarks, jewelry, and other items. I managed to get my shopping done for a friend's birthday, too. The jewelry case included small cards highlighting the metaphysical properties of the stones in the that perfect or what? I want to send the owner a brochure when they are has been in the planning stages with the graphic designer for a while, but it has been on the back burner for both of us. The store owner was a nice, chatty guy. He mentioned that his supplier is a long-time friend in Florida, but you never know...he may want some different items than she does one day. wink I didn't want to seem pushy, so I didn't tell him what I do. I figured a brochure would be a better introduction to offering my services. I heard a while ago about another similar store in Westfield, so I want to check that out, too, as well as stores in other towns in the general area that might be interested. Smiley

In addition, the Bead Society of New Jersey (BSNJ) will be featured at the Oceanic Free Library in Rumson during the month of June. Members can provide items to be put on display in the case there, and the Library will sell them as a fundraiser for 20% of the sales. I have pulled together a handful of beaded items to contribute, and I have to deliver them before next Monday. It will be an hour car trip each way, but well worth it if I sell anything. Plus, the exposure couldn't hurt, either. Smiley

On a personal note, I went to see "South Pacific" at Lincoln Center today with my mother and sister. It was my sister's Christmas present to Mom, and I was invited to tag along. A very good production, especially if you're into Rodgers & Hammerstein. I was exposed to most of their work growing up...Mom loves Broadway musicals. Smiley

Have a good week, folks!
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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Tangible Tidbits 2010 #18: Hanging In There

Hey, all! Not much business news to report this week. I kind of took a "time out" much of this week to recover from a few major blows. My colleague's wake and funeral were Wednesday and Thursday. Very emotional for me. :( And then on Friday, we were hit with layoffs in my department, including my immediate supervisor and another friend. Talk about a week I never want to repeat! :p

Ironically, I found myself doing something I hadn't done in eight years...I took solace in watching movies this weekend to escape reality. That was something I'd done for the majority of my life, even going so far as to work in the local movie theater during graduate school. I always enjoyed "disappearing" into the world on the screen for a couple of hours, and not thinking about real life and/or the problems associated with it. After my father died in 2002, I stopped doing a lot of the things I "had always done" because they were too painful. All music reminded me of him, as he was a drummer and liked all kinds of music. So, I stopped listening to it until a year or so ago. It took that long for it not to push negative buttons in me. I'd stopped watching television because everything on TV seemed trivial after 9-11, and reality TV really turns me off. I stopped watching movies because everything I did try to watch had a traumatic element to it, even if it was not publicized as a dramatic film. I had enough drama in my life...I didn't need to watch movies to get even more depressed! :\ I had replaced one screen for another, opting to spend most of my time online instead. For whatever reason, however, I found myself turning to movies again for solace. The idea of spending time on the computer holds less appeal right now than it did most of this past decade. I ended up watching "The DaVinci Code" with Tom Hanks on Friday night, and the special features disk on Saturday afternoon. I had read the book years ago and enjoyed it...I'd been wanting to watch the movie for a while. Then, I saw "The Back Up Plan" with Jennifer Lopez and Alex O'Loughlin on Saturday night. Very cute movie! Of course, I am partial to anything with Alex in it, since I was a fan of his short-lived "Moonlight" vampire series. He really carried off his leading role in "The Back Up Plan" well! Looked good doing it, too! ;) Then today, I watched "Romancing the Stone" and "Jewel of the Nile" -- both with Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito. I loved those movies back in the mid-1980s, and I'd recently found the Special Edition DVDs for a good price at Columbia House. I also watched the special features for both movies...I've always loved that behind-the-scenes stuff. :)

Two more weeks to go at my current job. It should be an interesting experience, since there will be so many people missing and the rest of us will have to pick up the slack. I am a team player and I don't mind pitching in, but my primary responsibility will be to train my permanent replacement. He or she is being transferred in from another department, and training starts tomorrow.

Hopefully, my "weekend off" will help me get my head back in the game, as I do have a couple of projects I'd like to complete for colleagues before I leave. If not, I will still be going to the gym next door to the office for at least a few months -- until my personal trainer contract runs out. Don't you know, I had just signed up for 36 sessions before I made the decision to leave?! :o

So, now you're up to speed on my personal life. I will try to have "something tangible" to report next week. ;)

Take care and stay safe!
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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Tangible Tidbits 2010 #17: Happy Mother's Day...What's Left Of It!

I hope everyone enjoyed their Mother's Day. My sister and brother-in-law took us all (the two of them, my two nieces, Mom, and me) to The Melting Pot for Mother's Day...part of their gift to Mom. The kids don't eat much, but they love putting everything in the fondue pots for us. :) I posted a photo of the Memory Wire bracelet I made for Mom in the GALLERY on the website and on the Something Tangible LLC Facebook Fan Page. I also gave her "The Thorn Birds" on DVD...something to keep her occupied after she retires July 1. ;)

Things are going okay with the business..."Slow and steady wins the race," as my grandfather used to say. I have three orders to deliver tomorrow. My presentation book made its way around the office last week. I kind of shocked everyone with my decision to take the voluntary layoff. Unfortunately, one of my colleagues must not have liked me being the center of attention, so he had to make himself the center of attention by dying suddenly on Tuesday. He was only 41 and we don't know exactly what happened yet. Such a waste! He was a good man and a good friend. I will miss him terribly...I already do. :(

So, with this abrupt change in personnel, I have extended my stay at Registrar and Transfer Company by a couple of weeks...until the end of May. They certainly didn't expect to replace both of us at the same time! :\

The final critique for my MSU class was this past week (the same day my friend died, to be exact). I've posted my school projects in the Non-Gemstone Items section of the Store on the website and on the Facebook Fan Page. Check them out when you get a chance! :)

Have a good week! And stay safe and healthy! ;)
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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Tangible Tidbits 2010 #16: Taking the Plunge!

I don't have a lot of time this week -- I'm rushing to finish my projects for the final critique at school on Tuesday. I spent 5-1/2 hours at the studio yesterday, but when I went there this morning for the scheduled hours, the door was locked! On to Plan B...went to borrow my brother-in-law's cordless drill, so I can affix the steampunk pieces to the container I was required to make. I pretty much suck at soldering, so the box looks "distressed"...but I actually like it that way! Anyway, my brother-in-law only had wood drill bits, so I stopped by Home Depot on the way home -- after a detour to Glassworks in Morristown with my niece for her birthday. I made a picture frame for her sister...I'll probably post in the GALLERY when it comes back from being fired. :) The guy at Home Depot told me he had the size drill bit I need (3/64 works the best), but that it would be too small to fit in the collet of a standard cordless drill! Sooooo, I had to but the collets AND a Dremel 300 variable-speed rotary tool! :p $87 later, I'm back in business! Actually, I can use this tool long-term for other projects, so it wasn't really a waste of money. There are sanding, cutting & cleaning attachments -- similar to the ones at the MSU studio. I liked playing with the cleaning tool...brought a nicer shine to my pieces than they had when I left school yesterday! :D Anyway, so I now have two out of the four sides of my box decorated...after losing a drill bit (it flew off and I can't find it anywhere. I knew that it didn't lock, but it seemed tight anyway. Lesson learned! ALWAYS make sure the drill bit is locked into place!). I also broke a second drill bit -- the aforementioned 3/64. So, I now have to start the hole with the smaller size (1/32), but the tiny screws I bought don't fit into those holes, so I have to use the broken drill bit to make the holes larger. :( Very time consuming! Plus, I think the antique keys I have are too thick to drill through...I don't want to break any more drill bits! I may have to skip those entirely. Too bad, they look really kewl! Who would think you could buy antique keys on eBay? LOL I do have vintage watch faces and some gears of various sizes. And I did find one small key in Dad's old in-box while looking for the lost drill bit, so I used that. It looks like it may have been to a file cabinet or something. We have nothing locked here that I know of, so I'm pretty confident I won't turn out to need that key one day! :p Some of the gears have depth to them, so if I use them backwards, I can place cabochons in them like a bezel. I did that once already, but I had to glue it in place, since the sides aren't really high enough to bend over like a proper bezel. :\

Okay, I spent MUCH more time on that than I planned! LOL On to the "BIG announcement" I promised last week. As of the middle of May, I will officially be a full-time entrepreneur! :o The company where I work is having layoffs again...third summer in a row. I've decided to take a voluntary layoff and devote my efforts to building up Something Tangible, as well as continue classes at MSU. I can get health insurance through school -- about 1/6th of what I was paying through my employer, and the prescription co-pays are a lot lower, too! :D I'll also apply for Unemployment benefits. I just read in yesterday's paper that it is up to 99 weeks with the extensions in New Jersey. A few people have told me they might also pay for school -- investing in people's education helps to keep them out of unemployment in the future, I suppose. :) I'll definitely have to look into that!

So, there you have it. Look for some MAJOR changes over the summer, since I will have more time to devote to creating pieces, new business development, etc.

Have a great week! It's MUCH too hot and humid for May here in Jersey! I think it was 86 today? :p
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