Sunday, September 25, 2011

Tangible Tidbits 2011 #39: My Photo Contest, the Economy, and Farewell to Pine Valley

Hey, all! I don't know how many of you currently watch or have ever watched soap operas, but they are a dying breed. The dynamics of families have changed, and there are not nearly as many stay-at-home Moms anymore to watch them and buy the "soap" advertised in the commercials. :\

I started watching All My Children (AMC) on ABC when I was in the 7th grade. It was the first soap opera I ever watched. It was either just before or at the beginning of the Jenny & Greg era, and I think that's what sucked me into it. I switched over to NBC soaps in college because a roommate watched them. I eventually started watching AMC again when Mom came home from work to watch it at lunch time while I was unemployed a number of years back. After 41 years, AMC ended its network run on Friday -- although they say it will return on the internet in early 2012, along with One Life To Live, which will end its run at the end of the year. It will be interesting to see how many of the stars return for the online format. Given that the show was ending, a number of characters came back "from the dead" in a bizarre stem cell storyline, so that the actors could be part of the ending. I don't foresee too many of them sticking around, so my guess is that the online Pine Valley will differ quite a bit from where the network version left off. :\ In any case, I watched the tribute to AMC on The View on Friday -- thank God for YouTube! ;) -- and it was really touching. Among others, the actors who played Greg and Jenny (Laurence Lau and Kim Delaney) were on! I think it's the first time they've been reunited since the mid-1980s! :p Not only was the end of this show the end of an era, it was also a nostalgic trip down Memory Lane. It's funny how you associate things like that with certain times of your life. Anyway, I hope the new format does the old one justice. Guess we'll see next year!

Now that I've submitted my Blue Bling Bracelet for Fire Mountain Gems' Swarovski contest, they've announced a new one for pieces featuring metal clay, metal beads, wire, jump rings, and/or chain. I have to give this some thought, but I have until January. Since I started out in wire work, it shouldn't be too hard to think of something. :)

I have eight photos from five people so far for the "Strut Your Stuff" Photo Contest, with only five days until the deadline! And the pictures I have, I had to take myself! They are all coworkers, who were happy to submit photos. One coworker asked me to take it myself -- she definitely does NOT like having her picture taken! LOL Since I was going to have my camera there, anyway, I offered to take pictures of the others, too. What better way to ensure I get the photos than by taking them myself?! I'm sorry I can't offer the same service to those of you who live too far away. ;) However, I would appreciate it if some more of you sent me your pictures...I still have room for seven (7) more winners! If I don't get any more by the deadline, I have to decide if I should give more than one 20 percent discount to people who have submitted multiple photos. I was hoping to have at least enough entries to give one to each participant, but that may not happen with only five days left to go. Then again, I still haven't updated the website, so I may buy myself a little time with an extension. I can't see myself updating the site on a week night after work...that's really more of a get-started-early-on-the-weekend-and-hope-it-gets-done kind of job. :p

I think I forgot to mention last week that I've signed up for the 3rd Annual "Jewels of New Jersey" fundraiser for the Monroe Township Public Library. It's a better deal than last year, as we are asked for 10 percent of total sales instead of 20 percent, in addition to the table fee. Since I participated last year, I will be placed in the large community room (or whatever they call it). People who participated two years ago but not last year will get the remaining spots in there, and others will be placed in the main section of the library. I did pretty well at that show last year, so I am hoping to sell off some of my inventory, which is becoming overwhelming. :o

One thing I've started doing recently is disassembling pieces that I've had for a long time, or ones that I've never been happy with the final result. I'm still keeping the pictures in the Photo Gallery on the website and on Facebook, since they demonstrate concepts and techniques I can adapt for newer pieces. I have at least three or four unfinished pieces still sitting here, and I finished up at least as many today. I'm still giving it my best shot, but I'm starting to think I won't be able to hang on until the economy turns around. I heard on the radio yesterday that we are at the beginning of another recession. My mother said we are actually in an economic depression. Either way, it doesn't look like things will turn around any time soon. As the saying goes, "timing is everything."

I haven't decided if I'm going to relax tonight before starting the work week, or if I'm going to continue working on the unfinished pieces. I have a feeling the break will win out! ;)

Take care and have a great week! :D

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tangible Tidbits 2011 #38: Beads, Bling, & BET

Hello, everyone! Well, we've gotten some back-to-school weather here in NJ. I keep wanting to pull down the storm windows, but I know in another week or so, I'll just have to push them back up again. :\

It's been a pretty hectic week. We had our first Bead Society meeting of the new year, which goes from September to June. Members were asked to bring in pieces they made over the summer and speak about what they learned and from where they learned it. The Board -- I am the Secretary, although I'm still not quite sure how that happened! ;) -- was specifically asked to participate, as a lot of the members are too shy. I brought my red, white, and blue rubber chain maille bracelet, the silver wire-wrapped pendant and wire knit chain I made from the class I took back in July, the copper wire-wrapped crystal geode pendant on copper WireLace® knit chain, my Coach purse with the aluminum link extension chain I made for it, and a new watch band I created this week for one of my watches because the leather strap broke off. :) Everyone's projects were very well received; it's really a very nice group of people. We've already got some impressive presentations and workshops lined up for this year, so it should be both fun and educational! :)

A friend from the Czech Republic emailed me yesterday. She purchased a breast cancer necklace for her grandmother when I was first starting out. Now, she wants a cervical cancer necklace for her younger sister. I had to do some research, and found that Zoisite/Ruby-in-Zoisite is associated with the cervix. Since the cervical cancer ribbon is teal-and-white, those will be the main colors I use. I had to order some Zoisite beads, so I can't really decide what I want to do until I get them. Hopefully, the color of the beads -- which looks greenish on the wholesaler's website -- won't clash with teal! :\

I've been working most of the weekend on a Swarovski® crystal bracelet for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' "Get Your Sparkle On" Swarovski® Elements Jewelry-making Contest. I'm really proud of the piece I've made, called the Blue Bling Bracelet. It's much more elaborate than most of my work, but it was a fun challenge to see if I could go there. I've noticed that the majority of the winning pieces in many contests, and especially the Fire Mountain contests, are more like art pieces than functional jewelry. I guess this is my first attempt at something that falls into that category. LOL The deadline is tomorrow, which is why I had to get it done this weekend. I just submitted my entry a little while ago, so wish me luck! ;)

I took a break last night to visit a comedy club with some friends. My sister couldn't use a Groupon coupon, so I used it rather than have it go to waste. ;) The two warm-up comics were okay, but the headliner -- he is the warm-up comedian for audiences at Rachael Ray's television show -- was hysterical! And his entire act revolves around talking to the people in the audience...asking their names, where they live, what work the do, etc. and improvising off what he's given. He was even cracking himself up! :p What struck me as interesting was that all three comedians made jokes that could be considered "in poor taste" from a politically correct point of view. I haven't been to a comedy club in probably a decade or more, so I was pretty shocked that they still do that...and get away with it! Some of the jokes were funnier than others, but I don't think I would have had the guts to perform one of their routines in front of a bunch of strangers. You never know when something said along those lines could really offend someone. :o Even so, I laughed harder than I had in a really long time...quite possibly because I was so shocked at what was being said! :p

While having lunch this afternoon, I came across a play on BET called "Love in the Nick of Tyme," written by David E Talbert. It starred Morris Chestnut, Ellia English, Terry Dexter, and Avant, among others. Morris Chestnut reminded me of someone I used to know, so I looked up his biography online. He was born January 1, 1969...that makes him 8 days younger than I am! LOL I found that amusing. Subconsciously, I think I assume everyone on whatever screen I'm watching is older than I am. Maybe because they seem so much more accomplished. :\

I have to get up early for work tomorrow, so think I will call it a night. Have a great week!

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Tangible Tidbits 2011 #37: Teen Idols & A Day of Remembrance

Hey, everyone! Sorry I didn't get here yesterday, but I was watching a series that ran for eight episodes on VH-1 at the beginning of 2009 called Confessions of a Teen Idol. I found it on VH-1's website after seeing The Pirate Movie (1982) earlier in the week for the first time in nearly 30 years, and looking for more recent pictures/footage of Christopher Atkins. He was one of the seven former "heartthrobs" from the '80s and '90s in the series. Although I never saw The Blue Lagoon -- which I may soon rectify -- I had a major crush on him back when The Pirate Movie first came out. He's still a cutie, and he seems to have aged better than I first thought...guess I saw a bad photo. :o Anyway, I have three more episodes to watch, so I'll be doing that as soon as I finish up here! ;)

While watching the series on the internet, I started making a dual color macramé spiral necklace. I saw a few in shops on the Boardwalk in Ocean City, and I wanted to see if I could do it myself. I figured it out pretty quickly, but the spirals are very small because I'm using 1mm WireLace®. Next time, I will use a thicker material. :)

Yesterday's (Newark, NJ) Star Ledger newspaper reprinted the whole original front section from September 12, 2001 in a special section for the 10th anniversary of 9/11. You couldn't get away from the news coverage all last week, although I do realize it is not something we should ever forget. Needless to say, it was a very emotional week for many, regardless of where they live or their native culture. United Airlines Flight 93 -- the plane that went down in Shanksville, Pennsylvania -- took off from Newark International Airport, which is just 20 minutes from my home. A number of students from my high school were killed that day, including one from my class. We could see the smoke at Ground Zero from a lookout in the nearby South Mountain Reservation almost a week later. We wore "patriotic" clothing to the office on Friday, so I made some new red, white, and blue pieces, as I didn't have any! I made a tricolor rubber and metal jump ring bracelet, a pair of simple earrings and a beaded macramé pin in the shape of a commemorative ribbon (see below). I watched a special with Tom Brokaw on Friday evening that recreated the sequence of events. It was educational for me, as much of the timeline was not clear in my memory. I cried many times watching the program. My mother put the ceremony from Ground Zero on the television Sunday morning; I saw parts of it, but I couldn't make myself watch the whole thing. I did read some of the newspaper articles from 2001, as I do not think I read them at the time. Some were very prophetic in terms of our country's anticipated reaction over the decade to come.

Don't forget, there are still two weeks left in our Strut Your Stuff Photo Contest! I haven't received any entries yet, although my nieces did wear some of their "stuff" on vacation and their father took pictures for them. They wanted me to assure them they had places in the display, but I told them I had to be unbiased. LOL Luckily for them, my relatives CAN participate in the contest! ;) If I don't update the website in the next two weeks, I may have to extend the deadline. Then again...if no one enters, I guess I can just scrap the idea entirely. :p

Well, I'd better get back to my teen idol viewing! Have a great week!

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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Tangible Tidbits 2011 #36: Hurricane Update & Well-Deserved Down Time!

Hey, all! Well, the tree is still in the street in front of the house, but we reportedly have power back. We also no longer have to boil our water as of Friday evening. I've seen a lot of messages from friends all over the state, and it seems like most of them fared well enough, considering how hard New Jersey was hit. I read on Facebook today that some college friends from the southern portion of Central Jersey had their entire neighborhood flooded out, resulting in lots of mold and mildew everywhere. Thankfully, their friends and neighbors are all pulling together in the clean-up effort. When I told my mother about the flooding, she reminded me that things could always be worse than whatever our own problems are.

Guess what? I rode a Segway again this morning! One rental shop has four of them here in Ocean City. SO MUCH FUN! I'd much prefer to ride a Segway on the Boardwalk than a rental bike. The seats are always so uncomfortable on those bikes. :p

I made a couple of new bracelets from a kit by Linda Gettings this week. She calls them Crazy Easy Bangles. They were a little awkward for me to get started, but once I got going, they weren't too difficult...although I think "crazy easy" is a bit of a stretch for me! LOL I made two variations, and the second one is more complicated...which is, of course, why I messed it up! :p I have to undo a small section (maybe an inch-and-a-half?) are start it from scratch...I tried to salvage that part when it started to unravel due to a loose thread end, but that didn't work out very well. I also have an idea for a simpler variation to use for rings. I will try that when I get a chance. ;)

Spent a lot of this week with my family -- my nieces love playing miniature golf and swimming in the heated outdoor pool. They aren't much for the beach, but I did manage to jump a few waves yesterday. ;) All in all, Ocean City seems to have recovered quickly from Hurricane Irene. It seems that New Jersey is having a much more difficult time of it. :\

Back to the "real world" tomorrow. Luckily, it's a holiday and I won't have to report back to the office until Tuesday. :) Happy Labor Day to those in the U.S.! And I hope everyone has a great week! :)

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