Sunday, April 29, 2012

Tangible Tidbits 2012 #17: From Scholarships to Softball

Hi, everyone! Can you believe April has come and gone already? Where does the time go? :O

Thanks to one of our readers who previously worked in a university financial aid office, I now know what a Student Aid Report (SAR) is and where to get it! :) Luckily, I'd already started the application for it through the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) website, but I was stalled because it required my 2011 income tax figures and I hadn't done my taxes yet. I completed the application this week, and have received and uploaded my SAR to my MJSA Education Foundation Jewelry Scholarship application. Two items down! ;) Now, I have to concentrate on getting photos taken of someone wearing my metalwork pieces for the 3-5 Work Samples, and the Letter of Recommendation. I will worry about the Work Sample List (obviously, it depends on the pictures I can get), Essay and filling in the Financial Information Worksheet later...hopefully the worksheet won't be too difficult.

Earlier this week, I was inspired to start my BSNJ Bead Challenge project, which will be due at the June meeting. I was taking a late afternoon nap one day -- I do that a lot because it gives me the energy to work later at night -- and an idea popped into my head. I'd had a different idea in mind, but this new idea is much more creative...and, hopefully, unique! :D Although I've started working on the focal piece, I haven't decided yet how to present it. Maybe that will come to me in another dream? LOL

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I've signed up to be a vendor at a Network Charity Brunch Image Forum on Sunday, May 20 in Denville, NJ. I received a call today asking how many people I was planning to bring, as it "is expected" that vendors will bring people for the networking aspect. Considering the host is a plastic surgeon and the presentations include permanent make-up and Botox, I don't see too many people I know being interested. If she is more concerned with networking with my friends than offering shopping opportunities for attendees, this may be a one-time gig for me. These events are held two to three times a year, but I would only participate again if it is in my own best interest. Considering I am one of the LEAST likely people you will ever see getting cosmetic work done, I have a feeling these people may not be my cuppa tea. :|

For the third consecutive year, the Rumson Oceanic Library in Rumson, NJ will be featuring BSNJ members' work in their display case throughout May. I have to pull together a collection of items I think their patrons may like by Tuesday. As it's a fundraiser for the Library, the items are for sale and 20 percent of the sales go to the Library. I didn't sell anything last year, but I think I sold two or three items the year before. Now that I've had some experience, I am better equipped to select items that are more in their price range. Most of the items I choose to display are beaded, naturally, as that is the main focus of the Society. ;)

I spent the afternoon with my older niece today for her birthday outing. We went to Earth, Paint and Fire as I did with her sister in January. Of course, this activity was preceded by bagels for lunch and frozen yogurt afterward. Let me tell you, these girls are NOT cheap dates! LOL

Sadly, my younger niece is sporting (no pun intended) a black eye since Friday evening. A softball tipped off her glove and right into her face while playing catch at practice. Her eye is kind of purple now, but it seems to be much better than it was. She's taking pictures daily to keep us updated. ;)

Mom and I went to one of their softball games on Thursday evening (before the black eye incident) and saw them each pitch an inning. It was not exactly drizzling...more like misting...but everything was still wet. Luckily for the spectators, the game was called after three innings -- they usually play six -- because the game started late due to the umpire's late arrival. As there is another league that plays on the same fields at 8:00 p.m., they are not allowed to start a new inning after 7:45 p.m. We'll try to see another game in May, hopefully in more cooperative weather. :)

Well, it's almost time for Once Upon a Time, so I will sign off now. Take care and have a great week! :)

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Tangible Tidbits 2012 #16: This Is It...Or Is It?

Hey, everyone! :) It's been busy around here for the past couple of weeks, so I basically hibernated all day yesterday. :o My cousin lent me her "This Is It" DVD, so Mom and I watched it. We both enjoyed it a lot, even though neither of us ever had any interest in seeing Michael Jackson in concert. I really wish he'd had the chance to open the show in London. Everyone worked so hard on the costumes, dancing, special effects,'s a shame the full experience will never be realized. :( I also thought about the dancers...
these poor people thought they were about to get their big break, only to have it evaporate instantly. I'm sure they are all grateful to have worked with him at all, but it must've been an enormous let-down not to be able to tour with him. :\

One day last week, I started an application for the MJSA Education Foundation Jewelry Scholarship. I have until June 15 to pull everything together, but it won't be easy. The requirements include a Financial Information Worksheet I have to fill out, a Student Aid Report (SAR) -- I have no idea what that is, but I presume it comes from the school's Financial Aid office; a Transcript (it can be unofficial, so I got that off the internet already); an Essay (I can probably wing this LOL); three to five Work Samples and a Work Sample List -- I have plenty of pictures of my pieces, but they want photos of them being worn. I have very few of those, so I will have to take them; and a Letter of Recommendation...
this one could be tough! I know which MSU professor I would like to write it for me, but he's not on campus this semester and I don't think he's accessing his school email. I've reached out to a friend at the Metalsmith Guild to see if she can locate a contact email address for me. Fingers crossed!

My friend Meg Fillmore of Bead My Love and her mother Moggie Moyer were the guest speakers at the April BSNJ meeting this past Thursday. It was fun, as I haven't seen Meg in more than a year. They did a hands-on bead embroidery demonstration, and I started a piece that I have yet to finish. I may work on it later while catching up with last week's General Hospital episodes on YouTube. ;) Meg is teaching a workshop in June for our group, so I will get to see her again before long. :) That reminds me...I have to find the check I wrote and mail it! :o

I recently went through some estate jewelry I have here to disassemble for parts to be used in new pieces, as one of my coworkers was looking for something "vintage" to replace a pair of earrings she liked. I went through the entire collection and cleaned up all of the clip/screw back earrings and offered her whatever she wanted for $5/pair. I made the same offer to another coworker for any pierced earrings I found. Neither of them liked any of the earrings...but a third person liked some, bought one pair, and asked me to set aside two more! A nice way to make a few extra bucks with minimal effort. ;) I have to look through the necklaces and see if any are viable. One of the first two ladies may like them, as she wears longer necklaces of strung beads. :)

One of my female coworkers asked me last week out of the blue if I was "going with" anyone. She said she just wondered because I'm "so nice." LOL I've known her for five years, and this is the first time it came up! She suggested Internet dating, as she knows someone who met his girlfriend that way...I can't remember if it was her son or a nephew, but I'm pretty sure it was one or the other. Anyway, I tried that more than once and it didn't work for me. I guess I'm old-fashioned. That, and I really don't trust people to be honest in their profiles. Sad, but true. :\

Well, that's all I can remember for now. :o Have a great week! ;)

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Tangible Tidbits 2012 #15: First Focal Piece Flashback of 2012

Hey, everyone! I looked back at previous blog posts and realized I haven't done a Focal Piece Flashback since November. Being that I am in the midst of pricing out items to bring to my chiropractor's office for display tomorrow, I still have to type up the minutes from the BSNJ Board meeting last week -- I would prefer to have them done before our general meeting this coming Thursday -- and I have to get my quarterly sales tax figures figured out by the deadline on Friday...I've decided to post another one. I don't want to rely on this "cop out" too often, but since the last one was five months ago I think it'll be okay. ;) I'll be back with regular "news" next week.

Originally posted in May 2010:

Something that started out as a whim has turned into a well-received item in our inventory. I'd purchased a couple of Capricorn cameos from when I saw them, not entirely sure what I would do with them. I often buy things that appeal to me for one reason or another or are on sale when purchasing materials needed for certain projects. These were not on sale, but being that I'm a Capricorn, they appealed to me. I've always liked cameos, but usually with pictures of flowers more than of women's profiles. I also prefer blue ones to the traditional peach background. I thought the Zodiac ones were interesting and clever. When I got them, though, I wasn't that choked up with them. It's hard to tell what something will look like in real life from the internet sometimes. Maybe I just expected them to be more clear than in the photo? I'm not sure. Anyway, one fit in a filigree setting I had purchased for a special order bracelet. The settings came in a 10-pack, so I had extras on hand. I put the cameo in the setting, but the prongs took away from the look of the cameo. So, I did the only logical thing...I broke the prongs off the setting, then glued the cameo in place. Never let it be said I am not resourceful. ;)

So, I had this cameo in a filigree setting. Now, what? I had purchased some metal bookmarks on a lark from a few weeks earlier. I had copper, silver plate, gold plate and gunmetal. I decided the gunmetal complemented the "antique" look of the filigree, so I took some links from a vintage chain and attached them to the cameo and the bookmark. VoilĂ ! I had an impressive-looking bookmark! The only problem? The cameo was not cheap, so the bookmark costs a lot more than someone would ordinarily pay for a bookmark. I may end up keeping it for myself. :|
[P.S. I still have it nearly two years later! :p]

When I posted the photo on the Something Tangible Facebook Fan Page, one of my friends noticed it and asked if it was available in other signs. I checked the vendor's website and there happened to be a 40% off sale on cameos! Sometimes, luck smiles upon us, doesn't it? Needless to say, I stocked up on the ones I could find in the correct size. Unfortunately, all signs were not available, so I ended up buying a larger one for my friend after she decided she needed three bookmarks for birthday gifts for friends (I stocked up on a few of those, too, but I'm not sure I have the full Zodiac between the two sizes). It took some research to find an appropriate setting for the larger cameo -- see the Gemini bookmark in the above photo. In the end, I decided on an oval filigree piece that wasn't as ornate as the original one. It also wasn't a traditional setting, so there was no bezel (a grooved rim that holds a gem -- or in this case, a cameo -- in a setting). I didn't want the prongs of a setting anyway, so I didn't think that was a major obstacle. I just hoped I could glue the cameo to a piece of filigree and have it stay in place! You never know until you try, right? Well, I did and it worked fine. So, my friend got three bookmarks for her friends' birthdays...and at a better deal than the original bookmark costs! In addition to the size issue, the cameos do vary in color, based on availability. My personal preference is the white shell background with a peach/brownish Zodiac sign on it. My friend preferred the reverse, as you can see from the photo, so I ordered her two Taurus and one Gemini with peach backgrounds and a white Zodiac sign. To each her own! :)

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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Tangible Tidbits 2012 #14: There's One More Angel In Heaven...

Happy Easter, Passover, or Spring...take your pick! ;)

I was saddened to receive an email today about one of our readers who passed away at the end of February. She was one of my Internet friends from way back in 2001, and we even roomed together at one of the early trips I took to Montréal, Canada for a series of annual charity events. She was 84 and lived a long life, although not without its difficulties. She was one of my biggest "fans" from that time in my life, and I will miss her very much. <3 <3 <3 On a more upbeat note, I survived another NAET treatment this weekend. The last one was 75 percent successful; I am only partially cleared of allergic reactions to certain kinds of nuts, so I will have to repeat that treatment at a later date. However, I am fully cleared for a second nut mix, as well as both spice mixes we treated. YAY! We also reviewed some of my previous treatments, and I am fully cleared of reactions to yeast, sugar, eggs, and milk. This weekend, I was treated for bacteria, certain corn products, wheat products, and chocolate. I only recently learned that chocolate gives me headaches, so I decided to deal with that ASAP! ;) We had attempted to clear me using a grain mix before, but that didn't fully take. I'm hoping that by addressing the corn and wheat mixes directly, we will alleviate that issue. Believe it or not, staying away from chocolate, wheat, and corn were not that difficult, since I pretty much avoid them anyway. The bacteria was harder, as I could not use water unless it was distilled or boiled and cooled -- which also ruled out drinking carbonated drinks, milk, and fruit juice -- and I had to avoid toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, and mouthwash for 25 hours. I prefer to have the treatments as early on Saturday morning as possible, so that by the time I wake up on Sunday it's all over. :p My next appointment is May 5, and I think I will attempt to complete the nuts treatment (again), as well as a treatment for vegetables. I will most likely have to repeat the bacteria test, as it only cleared 50 percent before I left her office. That usually means it won't get much better than that. :\ Hopefully, I will only need a few more treatments...I still have to address berries and then retry the original six calcium-related items, including oxalic acid. Since my overall issue is with calcium oxalates, we attempted that test three times, but never fully cleared them all. I'm hoping that by addressing other groups first and clearing those, that by the time we get back to the calcium groups, the problem will be significantly diminished and potentially curable. Fingers crossed! ;) My accountant called me this week about my income taxes. He was concerned that my reported losses might send up a red flag to the IRS that my business is really a hobby, and hobby losses are not deductible. He wanted to warn me that they could audit me if they become suspicious that I am masking a hobby as a business. I told him that my business was only two years old in October 2011, so losses -- especially in this economy -- shouldn't be a surprise. I am also only working part-time...if I were working full-time and trying to maintain my business, I could see them viewing it as a hobby. I do realize that the IRS may not think logically, so I still may have to face an audit. The good news is that I cut my expenses by almost a third in 2011, so in that regard I did well! LOL And I finally learned the difference between the State of New Jersey and Federal income taxes -- the State of New Jersey does not deduct losses against income, so any losses my company incurred last year don't count! The accountant said they have been trying to address the issue with legislation to make things easier for small businesses for years, but I won't hold my breath. I wonder what the rules for income taxes in California are? That may be another reason to relocate to San Diego. ;) A coworker is interested in having me make a necklace for her this week, and wants to show three necklaces I made previously to her daughters. Another coworker liked a pair of earrings I wore last week, and will buy them this week. :) Things are coming along, slowly but surely. I've decided to register as a vendor for a Networking Charity Brunch Image Forum in Denville, NJ that is hosted by a local plastic surgeon's office. I was invited to the event she held in February, but I was leery because I didn't know what kind of turnout she has or what the vending competition is like. I had thought about attending as a visitor to scope it out first, but something else came up that day and I never got there. I bit the bullet and wrote a check yesterday for a table. It's only $39, and I figure the clientele of a plastic surgeon in Morris County probably has more discretionary income than my usual customers. If it doesn't work out, at least I tried. I just hope I can sell enough inventory to make it worth my while to reprice, package, and schlep everything to and from the event. :o Once I get officially accepted, I'll post more information about it. :) Oh, yeah! I've moved back up to the #1 jewelry-making expert position on Knoji (formerly known as Factoidz), thanks to some recommendations from a group of Facebook friends! I was briefly the #1 expert the first year I joined, then quickly went back down to the #2 spot. I think I briefly went down to #3, but that didn't last long. Apparently, there are 17 of us writing in that category. I posted a new article this week, by the way: How To Create A Beaded Netting Fringe. It was adapted from one of my Focal Piece of the Month items from the end of last year...I'd previously updated the draft, but forgot all about it! :o Speaking of Focal Piece articles, the new one for this month is up. ;) And I've already completed the piece for next month! I just have to draft the story, so I'm a little bit ahead of the game right now. :)

I've got a busy week coming up, so I'd better start getting ready for it! Take care and have a great week! :D

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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Tangible Tidbits 2012 #13: Can You Reprogram Your Brain?

Hey, everyone! Just got back from my older niece's kids' party at GlassWorks. A dozen kids made glass pieces in the shape of their first initial. It was an hour-and-a-half party, but that was really long enough! :) I helped both nieces, but mostly the younger one, with their pieces. Sadly, I couldn't make one of my own this time. ;)

I was determined to learn how to make a Chan Luu wrap bracelet today, so I searched online for instructions and found a good set. I'd bought the materials at BSNJ's Vendor Night with the help of the owner (I presume) of The Birds and the Beads in Morganville, NJ. I've never been to the store, as it is in the general area where we hold the BSNJ meetings, about an hour south of me. However, the woman I spoke with was very nice and told me exactly what materials and how much of each I needed for one bracelet. It took me a few hours, but I got the hang of it pretty quickly. I'm really happy with how it turned out, although it is a little small for me to wrap around my wrist four times and too big to only wrap it around three times. That's not because she told me the wrong amounts of materials, but because I didn't cut the beading thread long enough and was running late for the party, so I just ended it. :p I had to be a little creative to wear it today, but it looks really nice! ;) Next time, I will probably make it as a single bracelet instead of a wrap. I was thinking the look would make a nice decorative belt, but I think I'd go nuts if I had to make one that long! LOL Maybe one of these days...

Last night, I attempted to make a Shamballa bracelet, but I started it incorrectly and had to close it with a loop and dangling beads instead of the adjustable string closure. I realized my mistake when I got to the end of it, so I wasn't about to take it apart and start all over again. :o Needless to say, I looked up that pattern this morning, too, and will probably try again tonight. :p

Just in time for April, the new Focal Piece of the Month is up! :)

BTW, Happy April Fools' Day if it exists wherever you are. ;) Today would have been my parents' 45th wedding anniversary. Unfortunately, Dad's been gone for the last decade of it. :( I miss him every day, but I still get help from him when I need it. Today, he saved a parking spot for me within walking distance of the party location. ;) My nieces think I'm nuts when I say stuff like that, but he was really into driving and if anyone would save me a spot, it would be Dad. :)

Did I mention I'm in second place (AGAIN!) for our office's Biggest Loser contest? This round ends near the end of May, so we have a number of weeks left to go. I tried an experiment earlier in the week, and it seems to have gone well. Time will tell if it was truly a success, but I'm getting positive indications so far. Basically, I used self-hypnosis to change my automatic thoughts about food. It seems that if you want to reprogram your brain, the best way is to plant suggestions when you are in the in-between stages of being asleep and awake -- right before you fall asleep or right before you fully wake up. I've suggested things like, "I eat to live, not live to eat," "I do not crave sugar and other junk foods," "I make healthy choices to nourish my body," and "I tune in to my body to determine if I am really hungry," among other thoughts. I've really noticed a difference in my eating habits and attitude toward food since I started doing this! I think I really nailed it once about a week ago, and I have tried to reinforce it a few more times since then. I don't think I'm always in the right state when I try it -- sometimes I'm already too awake when I think about it, and other times I'm too asleep to remember to do it -- so it isn't always as effective as it could be. Trial and error, ya know? I also planted the suggestion that I no longer have to chew the inside of my cheeks when I am stressed...something I have been trying to quit for years. I've noticed I'm doing it less, although I have not stopped completely. I'll keep working on that one. LOL

As always, thanks for being here and have a great week! :)

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