Sunday, December 25, 2011

Tangible Tidbits 2011 #51: Holiday Season and Year Wrap-up Report

Hello, everyone! I just got back from having Christmas dinner at my sister's house. My younger niece made me a scarf in a weaving class! I keep thinking she will join the "family business" one day...maybe in high school to make some extra money. ;)

We spent yesterday afternoon/evening with my extended family on Mom's side, as we've done for as long as I can remember. I received a couple of unexpected birthday gifts, which was really a nice surprise. :) Mom and I exchanged Christmas gifts this morning before heading out to my sister's. I also received a couple of presents from a family friend in Florida, who obviously reads this blog! ;) She gave me a gift card to Kmart for my birthday, so I can get a couple of items from Sofia Vergara's clothing line there; and a gift certificate to Fire Mountain Gems and Beads for Christmas. I guess she won't ever have trouble figuring out what to buy me ever again! LOL

My knee is much better after a month of using a cane. I was determined to get rid of the cane by Christmas, so I started getting around without it a couple of days ago, and today was the first day I didn't use it at all. :D The knee is still sore...I've got an ice pack on it as I type...but the doctor thinks I may be able to resume working out twice a week with the trainer by mid-January. I won't rush back into my old 3-5 days a week workout schedule, as I don't want to push myself too hard. I will work out with the trainer for a month or so before trying to expand my workouts beyond those "supervised" workouts. :)

Of course, being as accident-prone as I am, I now have a burn mark on my chest from baking cookies with my nieces on Friday. I had just put the cookies on the counter to cool, and I pulled the cookie sheet back from the counter, scraping the corner of it on my chest. I was trying to get it out of the way of the girls, who were hovering nearby. :o I'm putting A&D ointment on it, so it will hopefully heal without leaving a scar. I'm not safe anywhere, even in my own house! :\

As for business, I've completed a number of pieces I started at the Chinese knotting workshop a few weeks ago. I'm really pleased with how they turned out! :D I still have a couple that are incomplete, but I will hopefully get those done sometime this week. I'm working a lot of overtime at the office until the end of the year (we're short-handed again), so I will cut myself some slack if I don't finish them until later in January. ;)

The STOCK'N STUFFrz sale at Woolpunk Studios in Jersey City was extended through Christmas, so I will find out one day this week if I sold anything. Fingers crossed! :)

I'm off tomorrow, so Mom and are are planning to see The Descendents with George Clooney in the afternoon. I worked at the Maplewood Movie Theater in grad school, and the manager recently reached out to me via Facebook. She has some beads she wants restrung and also a bunch of materials she thought I could use, including some 14K gold beads! If she's there tomorrow, we'll chat about it...if not, she will call me after the New Year. :)

I hope you all had wonderful holidays and got everything on your "Wish Lists." ;) Since my next post will be on New Year's Day, I will wish everyone a fun-filled -- and responsible ;) -- New Year's Eve! Catch you in 2012! :o

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tangible Tidbits 2011 #50: Still Unconnected and Making Changes

Hey, all! Sorry I missed you last week. I had my nieces over all weekend and I'm still experiencing computer problems, even though the malware scanner the guys at work gave me keeps coming up clean. I am writing to you from my Netbook in my kitchen, as the idea of turning on the computer upstairs and "fighting" with it does nothing for me. I dragged out the Netbook on Tuesday night, and I still have some upgrading to do before I can more or less use it as my primary computer. In addition, I keep getting a "no connection" message on my my own house that has a WiFi connection! Needless to say, the Universe seems to be conspiring to keep me unconnected. :p

I stayed up until 1:00 a.m. on Wednesday night, getting my five pieces ready to submit for Woolpunk Studios' STOCK'N STUFFrz event this weekend. One of the clasps on a necklace I made early on needed replacing, but I hadn't connected the piece to jump rings between the chain and the clasp, so I could not disconnect the clasp without destroying the piece. I have to remember not to do that anymore! :p Anyway, I ended up coiling thin wire around the toggle hoop and bar, so it looks better now. I showed my coworker the next day, since she was delivering the pieces for me. She said it looks like it requires a lot of patience! Especially that late at night. :)

My pieces sold fairly well at 1978 Maplewood Arts Center the previous weekend. I sold the beaded Crystal Geode, a ring, a bookmark, and another pair of earrings, in addition to the necklace and earrings I sold from the exhibit to a friend. I also sold another necklace and two more pairs of earrings separately last weekend. All in all, this Holiday season seems to be going fairly well. :)

As you may recall, I attended a Chinese knotting workshop last Saturday. I had a lot of fun learning how to make four-, five-, and eight-strand braids, Snake knots, Button knots, rolled satin nylon chains, and a criss-cross knot that I am still having problems making. We covered a lot of material in a relatively short period of time, so I spent some time this week working on these techniques to help commit them to memory. ;)

I am seriously thinking about discontinuing the Virtual Mall in the New Year. I've been spending a lot of time, money, and energy on it...and after 1-1/2 years, I don't feel I'm getting enough back from the effort. I'd rather spend the money updating the store on my website, as I have not had the time to do that myself for quite a while. Originally, I took that over from the web designer to save money, but it's not working out. I don't think I've updated the store in almost six months, if not longer. And the time I spend posting links to the Virtual Mall Facebook page could be better spent on administrative tasks or creating new pieces. I haven't updated my financial spreadsheet since the summer, and I have to get working on that to give it to the accountant for tax preparation. Ideally, I will have more time to keep on top of these things, rather than constantly playing catch-up at the last minute. :\ I won't shut the Virtual Mall down completely right away, as I have to meet minimum commission rates in order to close out some of my affiliate accounts, but I hope to have everything resolved by the summer.

Although I have completed my Christmas shopping, I still have gifts to wrap. My little elves (read: nieces) helped me wrap the gifts I had here last Sunday, but I was only about half done shopping at that point. They are coming over this Friday afternoon to help me bake cookies for the family party on if I don't get it all done by then, they can hopefully come to my rescue again. ;)

As next Sunday is Christmas and Hanukkah is this week, I believe, I will wish you all Happy Holidays now. Best wishes to you all! :D

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Tangible Tidbits 2011 #49: Holiday Headaches and Menacing Malware

Hey, everyone! Sorry I'm late, but I had a bunch of malware on my computer, so I had to take it to the office and let the "computer gremlins" there (someone else's phrase, not mine!) clean it out. I was offline all weekend, but that wasn't such a hardship with my knee problem. I am seriously behind on my emails and other virtual business, though! :o I'm doing most of my Christmas shopping online, since walking around a mall is out of the question right now. :o

I still have a bunch of pieces to price out for the chiropractor's office tomorrow -- with my injury, I am seeing him weekly instead of biweekly, so I have the opportunity to change out the merchandise more often leading up to Christmas -- so I will make this brief. ;) My doctor's ex-wife wants a pair of custom earrings, and they are also buying a pair for their daughter for Christmas, so I made those over the weekend. I also beaded a small glass heart-shaped ornament. I saw a pack of six at a holiday bazaar kind of thing, and picked them up so I could experiment. I'm thinking about doing completely different things with them...this one is sort of wearing a red-and-green necklace, as the shape makes it look like a bust. :)

The most recent Focal Piece of the Month is up, by the way. :)

The Nunn Design Innovation Team folks contacted me already and I was not accepted. The big surprise was that I heard back so often takes months to hear anything about one of these kinds of applications, if you get a response at all. :\

I met an old friend at 1978 Maplewood Arts Center yesterday to show off my display, which I did get to deliver on Thursday. He purchased a couple of Christmas gifts from the display, so I'm happy about that! :)

On the deadline date of November 30, I did finally apply to the STOCK'N Stuffers exhibit at Woolpunk Studios in Jersey City. No word back on that, but the sale is toward the end of December, so there's a little time yet. Fingers crossed! I haven't heard back from my friend at GAS Gallery And Studio's Holiday Art Days in South Orange, so I don't know if that will happen or not. :\

The good news for me is that my colleague at the office has only 2-1/2 vacation days left to use up before the end of the year, so I won't have to work as much OT this month. And I have my own last vacation day next Monday. I have to put my car in for maintenance, so that will take a chunk out of the middle of the day.

Unfortunately, the pain in my leg is still disrupting my sleep. The chiropractor will use ultrasound on it again tomorrow...that seemed to help a lot for about 1-1/2 days last week before it wore off. :p

I've gotta run if I want to get the pieces priced for tomorrow and still watch Hawaii Five-0. Enjoy this rather mild December weather we're having and have a great week! ;)

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