Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tangible Tidbits 2011 #13: Factoidz, Ferido™, and "Forum"

Good evening, everyone! I hope you all enjoyed the first full weekend of Spring...not that you could tell it's Spring around here. It's been bright and sunny for the past few days, but colder than it was before the seasons officially changed. :\

It's been a while, but I posted a new Factoid article today: Six Basic Publicity Tips To Help Promote Your Fundraiser or Special Event. It was a quickie I developed yesterday after posting a response to a request for help in a private Ning forum group to which I belong. After posting my reply, I realized that it would make a good Factoid with only a few minor tweaks and elaborations. :D I've also got another one "in development," but I'm not quite comfortable with it yet, so I posted this one first. I'll probably post the other one in April, since Factoidz calculates a monthly activity bonus based on the number of articles posted. Rather than double up in March, I may as well wait a few days and publish it in April, so I can build up next month's activity early. :)

I purchased a hardwood dowl and Tung Oil (a non-toxic finish) from Home Depot this week. I need them to make chopsticks for my school project. I found instructions on for the chopsticks and the Chinese food carton, along with a template for the carton. I made one out of paper the other day and it turned out really nice! I also ordered aluminum sheet metal from a jewelry supplier in Manhattan, so I will hopefully get it in time for Tuesday night's class. The professor suggested I also make some kind of serving plate to go with the other pieces. I'll see how much time and materials I have left after the chopsticks and the carton...hopefully, I will have enough of both to come up with something suitable. :)

While I was at Home Depot, I also purchased some white spray paint. I have some lightweight metal hoops that I wanted to paint white for a pair of earrings. I think I mentioned last week that a coworker asked for white plastic hoops. The resin ones I made a couple of weeks ago are too stiff for earrings, I think. They will probably become pendants eventually. :) Anyway, I coated one side of the metal hoops with the white paint yesterday and they look pretty good. I have to wait 48 hours before I can flip them over and spray paint the back side. Once that dries, I will figure out what to use above the hoops as the attachment piece for clip earrings. I'm hoping I have something appropriate in my stash. Keeping my fingers crossed it all works out! :)

Since I didn't have the materials for my school project yet last week, I brought some rose Ferido™ Formula x1 epoxy adhesive with me to use up, since it is best used within two years and it was coming close to that time since I bought it. It comes in two parts that get blended together to make a clay-like substance, and one part was already a bit crunchy. I think I got in just under the wire on that one! LOL I created three pendants using the epoxy and some miscellaneous items such as broken beads and a button from an old winter never know what can be recycled, eh? ;) When I got home from class, they were solid enough to add wire bails to them, as well as some texture to one. I really like two out of the three. The third one is the textured one with the button. I may have to figure out a way to jazz that one up a bit. :\

I saw the fourth production of the Paper Mill Playhouse's season today -- A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Even though I'd never seen the play, I recognized the opening song ("Comedy Tonight!"), but I'm not sure where I've heard it before. It may have been on a recent birthday tribute to Stephen Sondheim I saw on PBS. It was an amusing show, although I think I've seen funnier ones. The final play of the season for me will be on Mother's Day...and yes, I'm taking my mother! LOL It's Curtains, another one I heard about but never saw. I believe David Hyde Pierce performed it on Broadway. This production will star Robert Newman and Kim Zimmer of CBS-TV's Guiding Light soap opera. I've never watched CBS soaps, but I do know the actress and the actor looks familiar from his picture. He may have been on another soap at one point....I have seen all of the NBC and ABC soaps at one time or another. :)

I have some chores to finish up, since I was out most of the day. Have a great week! :D
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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tangible Tidbits 2011 #12: "The Way We Were" and Taking Action

Hey, everyone! I just finished watching The Way We Were. I saw it once a long time ago, and all I could really remember was that I didn't like the ending. It's a good movie, but I still don't like the ending. Call me a sap, but I think if two people really love each other that much, they should be able to find a way to work things out. Sadly, that's not the case in real life, so I'll give the film points for being realistic. On the other hand, we watch movies to escape reality, so a "happily ever after" ending would have been nice. I know...I would have been an entirely different film if the ending were different. Still, who wants to experience someone else's heartbreak? Someone who hasn't experienced the real thing, I guess. :p

I've been working on my final wrap-up video from San Diego. It's about 75 percent finished. I'm lacking footage that will fill in some of the gaps, so I have to check around and see if I can scrounge some up in order to finish it. :)

Also, I added links to the appropriate sections of the website store in the photo albums on Something Tangible LLC's Facebook page this week, as well as ten new product photos. I still have a dozen or so to fix, and I will update the photo gallery and store pages on the website once I have them all completed. ;)

BSNJ's St. Patrick's Day Party was fun. I got a nice pair of earrings in the Swarovski® Earring Exchange, as well as the materials for a pair of green beaded earrings as the party favor. I made mine right at the table while I was waiting for the food line to get shorter. ;) I also won some recycled paper beads in the silent auction and our table's centerpiece -- a candle decorated with leprechauns. All in all, I'd say I did pretty well! LOL

One of the blog's regular readers sent me a really nice email this week. She said one of my posts helped her decide to get a medical test she would have otherwise put off. While the results weren't serious, there was an issue to be addressed. She was grateful for my message. It's gratifying to know my words touched someone and resulted in her taking action. :D

I've been hearing a lot about "taking action"'s being encouraged by many life coaches and business mentors these days. Taking action isn't always easy. Sometimes, it's pretty d@mned hard. And it doesn't always turn out the way you'd anticipated in my experience. I will admit that I've been doubting the wisdom of some of my actions over the past year. People forget that every single thing we do affects someone else in one way or another -- directly, indirectly, purposely, or incidentally. Too often, we don't realize the effect our actions have on others, good or bad, until some time has passed...if we ever learn about it at all. In the end, we just have to trust our own judgement, go with our instincts, and hope for the best. I do that more often than not, but I have been burned a few times in the process...sometimes, painfully so. Still, I suppose taking a risk that failed is better than not taking a risk that would have succeeded. The only way to learn the outcome is to make the effort. :\

Off to finish my Sunday night. Have a great week, folks! :)
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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tangible Tidbits 2011 #11: All Work And No Play...

Hello, everybody! I got a late start today, but I was on kind of a creative roll, so I decided to keep going with it rather than stop to write my blog post earlier. Unfortunately, my "creativity muse" isn't always around, so I try to pay attention when she is. ;) I finished my Swarovski earrings for the Bead Society's exchange coming up at the St. Patrick's Day party this week, three other pairs of earrings, two bracelet repairs, one earring replacement, and three new elastic rings this weekend. :)

I was playing around with the Virtual Mall Facebook Page earlier this week. I added some photos with links to the various sections on the Virtual Mall web page. I'd thought about adding the photos a while ago, since the blank spots at the top of the page were not aesthetically pleasing. ;) I got the idea to add the links from a webinar I attended a few days ago offering tips to enhance your FB pages. I also added "Welcome" and "Handcrafted Gifts" pages...the Welcome page is supposed to appear if someone doesn't already "Like" the page, but I tested it earlier and it doesn't work for me...possibly because I created the page. I'm not entirely happy with the Welcome page needs a little more work. The Handcrafted Gifts page turned out pretty well. I may add that to the Something Tangible Facebook page, but I haven't given that much thought yet. The reason I started with the VM page is because I had already come up with visuals for that one when I created it, but the dimensions were wrong -- too wide for the space -- and I couldn't use them. I basically used those as a starting point, which is why the Welcome page needs work. It has too much text and not enough "white space" to be effective, I think. Plus, the image itself is not as clear as it should be. :\

Once I'm happy with the VM page, I will start revamping the Something Tangible Page. I did change the profile picture there from the logo -- I've heard that's a big no-no, but I'm keeping it on the VM page because I don't know what else to use there -- to the pendant from the header on the website. I had the picture in my files from creating the YouTube channel. Anyway, I like the way it looks, and it depicts the idea of what Something Tangible is more than the logo does. :)

As for the class project due this past week, I ended up making a wire-wrapped representation of a jeweler's saw using wire instead of an actual blade to avoid cutting clothing. I put it on a silver-plated chain with a copper toggle clasp, since the saw was silver-plated wire with a copper accent on the handle. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out, and my teacher seemed to like it well enough. :) We have Spring Break this week (YAY!), but our final project will take up the last four weeks of class. The theme (this teacher seem to like those) is "Out to Lunch"...we have to create something that carries food -- hinges, a handle, and a latch must be incorporated into it -- along with the appropriate corresponding utensils. We will apparently be having a picnic for our final critique using these items! :o I'm thinking about making a metal Chinese food container and chopsticks. The top of the container will have to have hinges to fold over and close, and the latch will be the closure. I haven't decided how to close it yet, but I don't think the tabs on a traditional Chinese food box will work because cardboard has more flexibility than metal. I will line the container with aluminum foil to protect the food. I think the chopsticks will be made of wood, although I have seen them in plastic also. I have a lot of research to do, as I don't know if this project is too ambitious for me or not. I really enjoy these classes...they make me stretch my imagination and also broaden my skills. Unfortunately, it looks like I will have to skip taking a class next semester, as it will not fit in my budget. :( Hopefully, I will be able to go back after a semester or two.

It's late, so I will close now. I still haven't worked on the final San Diego video, but I will try to get to that this week. :) Take care, one and all! :D
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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Tangible Tidbits 2011 #10: Emails and Videos and Sculpting, Oh My!

Hey, gang! Today was very gray and rainy here...hope some of you saw sunshine! :)

As those of you who receive this message via email already know, I started using the Madmimi auto responder last week. Unfortunately, it wasn't as smooth a transition as I would have liked. :o First off, the system would not let us use the existing format for my email messages. It's close, except the header is no longer above the banner, but below it. In addition, we can't put the issue number and date on the same line, as we had before. I don't like that they are one above the other, but I have little control over that. :\ We also can't customize the footer on the message, which bugs me. And no more smileys! :( The other major problem was that my links didn't work. I received an email from Madmimi afterward, with a tip to use a screen capture from the video that links to the video itself. I may try that in the future...but if that becomes too time-consuming, I will revert back to using text links. I did find a link at the bottom of the email that asks if you want to read the message on the web, including a clickable link. That takes you to a web version of the same message, complete with working links. Of course, you can always visit the blog on our website or our YouTube channel directly to view any links or videos mentioned. ;)

In other news, our Video Sales Page is finally up and running! Check it out and let me know what you think. This is the PowerPoint presentation I developed in San Diego last month. The template they gave us had a lot of coding problems in it -- my web designer's browser kept shutting down -- so we modified it to fit in with the overall look of the website. I'm breaking some network marketing guidelines by doing this...apparently, it has been proven that a white background with black and red block lettering generate the most conversions. Still, I think that people visiting a jewelry designer/artisan expect more aesthetics in a web page. Personally, I don't think I would by jewelry or other artistic items from a white, black and red page. It lacks imagination, in my humble opinion. Time will tell if I've made a mistake or not. ;) I do want to make a second one for the Virtual Mall down the line, so I will have to see how well this one works before I make any decisions regarding that one.

My nieces slept over this weekend, so they helped me make some new pieces yesterday. I'll try to post photos over the next week or so. I have a bunch that I've taken already, but I haven't cleaned them up yet. :)

No video this week. I still have some raw material left from San Diego, but I have to go through it and decide how I want to cut it together. The videos I've posted to date were pretty simple. This one will be more of a "production." I will hopefully have it for next weekend, but I can't make any promises. Sadly, I have another family funeral to attend this week. :(

I played with Apoxie® Scuplt sculptural epoxy today. What a mess! LOL I was trying to make white hoops for a coworker. I won't know until tomorrow if they turned out all right. It takes 24 hours for the epoxy to fully dry. I also added some to my sterling silver guardian angel pendant from last semester. If the white turns out okay, I will try to make flesh color for the head and feet. Crossing my fingers!

Well, I'm outta here. Have a great week! :D
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