Monday, May 30, 2011

Tangible Tidbits 2011 # 22: Thank Heaven for Air Conditioning!

Hey, all! I don't know what's going on in your part of the world, but here in New Jersey it has been hot, HOT, HOT all week! I finally had to put the air conditioners in upstairs today because sleeping was so uncomfortable. Our house is more than 100 years old and very drafty, so no central air. I have to put air conditioners in the windows at the start of summer and then take them out at the end of summer. I tend to put off doing both as long as possible...there have been years I didn't put them in until July 4! :o Anyway, I'm much more comfortable now that it's done. :D

I forgot to mention it last week, but my "Steampunk" article from Factoidz was published in the Bead Society of New Jersey's (BSNJ) spring newsletter! I've submitted many of my other articles -- the ones that I thought the members would find interesting and appropriate. I also brought my final school projects to the May BSNJ meeting at the request of one of my fellow Board members. I got a lot of compliments on them! It made me feel good to know I can impress these people, many of whom have been doing this stuff for decades! :D

While I was adding my blog videos to the Something Tangible Facebook page the other day, I figured out how to save the narrated version of my Steampunk PowerPoint presentation in windows media video format, so I've finally added that to our YouTube channel and Facebook. This is the presentation I gave to my class in the Spring 2010 semester. :)

We held a Biggest Loser contest in my office -- they've been doing this off-and-on for a couple of years. I came in second the first time we did it...I think that was back in the fall of 2009?! Anyway, I came in second again this time around, losing 14.2 lbs. and winning $80! LOL I'm very proud of myself. ;) I have to decide if I want to participate in the next round...the last time, I hurt my knee and had to stop exercising in the round after my win, so I didn't do very well. I guess I should give it a go and see if I can break the bad karma, right? ;)

I've put in to take a "staycation" during the week of June 6. I really need to get some stuff around here done, and the best way to do that is to take the week and concentrate solely on that. There are a lot of things that have been on my To-Do List for ages, and I'm hoping to at least put a dent in the list that week. :)

I hope everyone in the U.S. enjoyed their three-day weekend! I kept pretty busy...Mom and I went out to dinner on Saturday night with my sister's family for Mom's upcoming birthday (next weekend), and had a great time at The Melting Pot fondue restaurant; attended a pool party at my aunt's house yesterday with most of the extended family; and checked out my nieces marching with their Girl Scout/Brownie troops in this morning's Memorial Day Parade.

Speaking of which...Happy Memorial Day! I'll catch you next week. :D
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Monday, May 23, 2011

Tangible Tidbits 2011 # 21: A Bit of Business & the Schwarzenegger Ordeal

Hey, everyone! Sorry I'm a day late, but I felt sick most of yesterday and I didn't come online at all. I'm not sure if that was the result of Saturday's NAET treatment for six calcium-related additives in an attempt to relieve my issues with calcium oxalates...but I never had that reaction before, so it may be a coincidence. It may take a week to see any improvement, but I have a feeling based on the results on Saturday that I will have to repeat at least two of them. I already have to repeat the treatments for yeast and sugar in three weeks, since I am still approximately 40 percent "allergic" to them. I just have to keep plugging along...

I got an A- in my Metalwork & Jewelry class! I'm really happy about that, given the teacher is one I respect a lot. :)

Our new "Links We Like" page for link exchanges is up and running. The idea is posting reciprocal links on sites that are willing to host my link in an effort to increase search engine optimization (SEO).

I FINALLY started posting product photos on the Facebook page again this week! There are still quite a few to go, but at least I'm making progress! ;)

Also, I received a kewl email this week, informing me that I won a $100 gift card for See's Candies as the First Place winner in the See's Easter Promotion Contest! I sent links to the Virtual Mall website page, Facebook page, Twitter and Google Buzz messages. The irony is that I don't think the links generated any sales for See's. LOL :o Anyway, $100 buys a lot of chocolate, so my mother has enlisted my nieces to help me spend the money. :p

And now for something completely different! ;) "Showbiz Tonight" reported that Hollywood is appalled (I'm paraphrasing because I can't find the original clip) over Arnold Schwarzenegger's actions that led to the break-up of his marriage to Maria Shriver. I have to say, I'm surprised by this reaction. Hollywood has always tolerated "indiscretions" by the point of studios covering them up so as not to damage the reputations of their stars back in the day. Frankly, I hope Hollywood IS appalled, as well as the public. One of the reasons celebrities act the way they do is because there are no real repercussions for their negative behavior. Charlie Sheen has a nasty, inappropriate public meltdown, yet his "Violent Torpedo of Truth" shows are selling out in some cities. WTF? I can't tell you how many celebrities I used to respect have "fallen from grace" over the years. It's really sad that positive role models seem to be nearing extinction. The fact is, people who choose a career in the public eye -- actors, sports figures, politicians, musicians, etc. -- are held up as societal role models whether they like it or not (and many don't). Is it a coincidence we have a generation of children who are growing up to be self-involved, bratty adults? I don't think so. How can children learn how to act appropriately when they see celebrities acting like spoiled brats...and getting away with it? Maybe if we start holding celebrities accountable for their bad behavior -- hit them where it their wallets -- we can start to change the cycle. It's long past time, IMHO.

Have a great week!
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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tangible Tidbits 2011 # 20: Socializing, Social Media, and Softball

Hey, all! :)

Well, my semester is officially over as of Tuesday night. I did get my projects completed (not completely ruined, thankfully!), and the teacher seemed pleased with them. I also got a lot of compliments from my fellow students, which was flattering because many of them are more advanced than I am. As I mentioned previously, we were to have a picnic for our final critique. One ambitious student made a grill for his project, so we turned the picnic into a barbecue. Unfortunately, the guys got a little carried away with the denatured alcohol used instead of lighter fluid, and there were a couple of casualties ("Boys will be boys!"). Everyone is fine now, but it definitely put a damper on the evening's "party"...not to mention the final critique of our projects. It seemed a bit anti-climactic at the time, but "all's well that ends well." Grades should be posted by May 17, so I will have mine by next week's post. :)

I also attended my second BSNJ Board meeting this week, as well as the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) thesis show for the graduating MFA students at MSU on Friday. The MFA show was okay...the space was pretty small and a lot of people showed up -- not just jewelry students, but all graduating MFA students showed their work. Much was not my cup of seems everyone tries to make a political statement of one kind or another. Either that, or they are aiming for shock value. Regardless, I prefer work that is more authentic, IMHO. To each her own! ;) After the show, my classmate and I hooked up with one of the teachers I had not previously met, and we ended up at a Cuban restaurant for dinner. The food was good, but the music was much too loud for me. I had a headache anyway from waiting to eat until 9:30 p.m. I should have put a snack in my purse! :o My Brazilian friends will be happy to know I tried a caipirinha. Not bad, but a bit strong for me and I'm not a huge fan of lime. I'd heard so much about them on the message boards back in the day, I had to try it for myself! Mission accomplished. ;)0

Now that I have my Tuesday evenings back to myself, I plan to focus on getting the photos of my recent pieces posted. I've let that slide for far too long, and the content on the Something Tangible LLC Facebook page is pretty thin these days as a result. :o By the way, the Virtual Mall Twitter page is still racking up followers...we have 578 as of today! :D I have 1,615 on my personal Twitter page, which mainly focuses on Something Tangible LLC news. :)

Mom and I did see my older niece pitch in her softball game yesterday. We were there for the first time she ever struck out a player! We played croquet afterwards in their backyard, using the same set my brother-in-law used with his parents as a kid. His mother was also there and played with us, but she was a bit out of practice. ;) Unfortunately, the second game was called on account of rain. It had starting drizzling earlier before the softball game, but we were lucky it held off until after dinner. :D

According to numerous horoscopes, a lot of planets are converging in my house of true love this month into early June. Jupiter, the planet of gifts and luck, will be visiting there for the first time in 12 years! I can honestly say, I've felt that! LOL :o :p I'm not holding my breath, but I'll take all the help I can get. ;)

Until next week...have a great one! :D
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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Tangible Tidbits 2011 #19: Happy Mother's Day!

Hey, everyone! I hope all of the mothers out there were properly feted today. Mom and I went to see Curtains at the Paper Mill Playhouse, then to a Japanese restaurant for dinner. Walking back to the parking lot, we saw the star of the show walking down the street and enter a local eatery. Very kewl! The show was enjoyable, but Mom and I agreed not many of the songs were memorable. :\

I just finished putting the top pieces on my aluminum Chinese take-out box. Unfortunately, there were some flaws in my execution...the box is shaped more like a trapezoid than a rectangle. Either I scored the template incorrectly or, more likely, the aluminum didn't bend in exactly the correct place on both sides when I went to put it together. I got the top pieces all affixed with wire coils like a spiral notebook, but the tab doesn't close properly and one top piece is too long because the side measurement was affected by the bending error. So, I now have to cut the tab so it will hopefully insert into the slot on the opposite side, then cut the protruding edge of the longer piece off. This will be tricky because the box is already assembled, and I have no intention of disassembling it to make these alterations. I hope I don't completely wreck the piece in making these adjustments! I also still have to make the wire handle. Regardless, this project will either be complete or completely ruined by the final critique Tuesday night. Let's hope for the former! ;)

Earlier in the week, I received an email from an internet marketing guru with a tip to register my blog for downloading on the Kindle eReader. I don't expect it to be very popular, since I do not really post an instructional blog on any particular topic. You never know, though, so I registered it anyway. :)

It occurred to me this morning I have some tools that I purchased early on, which I have since upgraded or rarely use. I think I'm going to try to sell them on eBay. I may not make back what I spent for them, but any funds recouped are better than none. Plus, someone else may get some real use out of them and it will reduce the amount of stuff in my studio! ;) Along similar lines, I'm thinking about creating some handcrafted beads and jewelry-making kits (step-by-step instructions with materials) to also sell on eBay. I may try a few samples of each, just to see if they sell. If I'm not mistaken, you only pay for the listing if your item sells, so I can't lose too much by giving it a try. If eBay turns out to be lucrative for me, I may try to sell select pieces there. One step at a time, though...I will start with the unused tools. :)

This week coming up is a busy one for me. I have the final crit on Tuesday for school, a Bead Society Board meeting on Wednesday, and a thesis show in Brooklyn, NY to attend on Friday. One of my fellow classmates is being displayed in the show, so another classmate and I are going to go check it out. ;)

This past Friday, Mom and I went to see my younger niece pitch in a softball game -- her father coaches teams for both her and her sister. We're going to see the older one pitch on Saturday. Hope the weather holds out! :o

Gotta run...I was at a Cinco de Mayo party with high school friends last night and I got home at around 3:00 a.m. I am beat! :p

Have a great week! :D
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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Tangible Tidbits 2011 #18: May Day...May Day...

Hello, one and all! :) I want to thank everyone who responded via email or on Facebook regarding my "rant" last week. It's good to know I'm not alone in my assessment after all! :D

Well, I survived the studio reception at school I mentioned last week. A lot of people had some really nice stuff to show, but I was not the only one who didn't have my final class projects finished. I did get to finish the plate and condiment dish in the class studio time after the reception, though. My teacher liked them a lot! :D The head of the department, who was also my teacher last semester, was there. He greeted me as he walked past me after the reception was over. I didn't go out of my way to speak with him because, quite frankly, I have nothing to say to him. I didn't want his feedback on my work because I knew he'd hate it. As long as my current teacher is happy, that's all I care about now. ;) Also, my current teacher has three pairs of earrings featured in the May 2011 issue of Art Jewelry magazine, which I happened to see in the magazine's email newsletter I received a few days ago. Pretty impressive stuff! :)

We don't have a scheduled class this week, since Tuesday at MSU will be Friday's classes to make up for being closed on Good Friday. The studio will be open, though, so we can finish our projects. The final critique/picnic will be the following week, May 10. I still have to decide what food to bring and what to wear -- he prefers "dressed up" or at least respectable for the final critique. I usually wear my sweats from going to the gym after work, so I will have to go home between the chiropractor (after the gym) and heading up to school on that last day. It's gonna be tight! :o

Someone approached me a week or so ago regarding a link exchange. I had never heard of such a thing, but apparently there are groups I can join and agree to host links on my website in exchange for those sites posting links to mine. Cross-linking helps boost search engine optimization (SEO), which helps rank your site higher in search engines such as Google and Bing. I will definitely look into that! I'm having the web designer set up a "Links We Like" page to host them, so the links aren't plastered all over the main site like ads. ;)

By the way, the latest Focal Piece of the Month went up this week. I've featured one of my class projects, since I have yet to post one from this semester. :)

Having arrived safely at May 1, I think we can finally say we have Spring-like weather here in New Jersey -- bright, sunny and warm! It actually got up to 81 degrees one day last week, which was a bit TOO warm for me! Then again, anything is better than the dead of Winter, IMHO. :p

Oh, and like 30 percent of the rest of the world, I was captivated by the Royal Wedding toward the end of this week. I watched a very good Lifetime movie "William and Kate," and then, of course, the media coverage of the wedding festivities was practically on every channel on Friday. :) I thought her dress was gorgeous and she carried herself very regally. I have a good feeling about this Royal couple. I think they will do a lot to bring the British Monarchy into the modern age. :)

Have a great week! :D
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