Monday, July 30, 2012

Tangible Tidbits 2012 #30: A New Educational Goal

Hi, everybody! :) Well, we went to NJPAC on Tuesday and the "America’s Got Talent" (AGT) segment we saw aired on Wednesday. I had posted on Facebook to my sister that the show hadn’t started yet...and 28 minutes later, we were back in the car! :)) They performed one song and when it was over, my mother asked if it was a joke because it was over so quickly. We did watch AGT on Wednesday...and no, we weren’t on-screen. :P The show was interesting, as neither of us had seen it before. I’m going back for the live show on Wednesday, August 15 with a friend, so that should be a bit more exciting. ;)

Obviously, I took Tuesday off from the office to go to the taping. Unfortunately, I had to make up the time over the next few days in order to catch up on the work not done that day. Why is it I am the presumed back-up for half of the department, but no one can back me up for one morning? :(

The deadline for Lark Books’ Showcase 500 Necklaces submissions is coming up on August 1. I haven’t decided yet what necklace to submit for my second entry, but I don’t want to waste the opportunity. I will probably make a spur-of-the-moment decision when between now and Wednesday. :p

At the suggestion of a social media expert I met on Facebook, I’ve started a new awareness campaign. She suggested posting relevant quotes with photos and adding the website URL at the bottom to generate interest. I’ve posted two such pictures on Facebook and Pinterest so this past Friday and one the Friday before. I don’t know if I will have enough to post every Friday, but I guess I will give it a shot. I really like the second one (the Chinese Proverb). I’ve been looking up quotations whenever I think of a topic I can use. :)

I was offered a free listing on eBay this past week, so I posted my steampunk trinket box, hoping to reach a wider audience. An internet friend saw the post on Facebook and sent me a PM...he suggested I look into becoming a vendor at Dragon*Con, "the largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the universe." He said there are a lot of potential buyers for steampunk items there, and I have a feeling chain maille would also be popular with that crowd. The show is Labor Day weekend in Atlanta, so it’s too late to apply for this year. I have to remember to look into it next spring for 2013. :)

Earlier today, I emailed a friend from the Bead Society who was talking to me about a group that meets the first Sunday of each month to make polymer clay pieces, the New Jersey Polymer Clay Guild. I may go next Sunday if they meet in the summer. That looks like fun! ;)

Speaking of fun, I received a course catalog the other night from the Gemological Institute of America. I don’t remember signing up for it, but I must have...maybe at the MJSA Expo earlier this year? The school has facilities in New York City and Carlsbad, California, and focuses on teaching students to identify and classify different stones. I was intrigued by the three-course eLearning certification they have to become an Accredited Jewelry Professional (AJP). It’s not terribly expensive because no labs are required. I’m thinking I want to pursue that once I have my debts paid off, hopefully by the end of the year. They give you three months to finish each course, so I could get the certification in one year if I apply myself. I was getting kind of excited looking at the catalog, so I think this would be something that I might really enjoy doing. :)

The August Focal Piece of the Month is up.

I can’t believe it is practically August already, although I won’t be sorry to see the summer heat become a distant memory. :p

Take care and have a great week! B-)

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Tangible Tidbits 2012 #29: I'm Gonna Be On TV!

Hey, everyone! Guess what? I got an email on Friday night offering me the chance to go see a free special performance of the 2012 Tony Award-winning Broadway musical "Once" at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) tomorrow. It's being taped for "America’s Got Talent" and will eventually end up on television! [Note the venue is in NEW JERSEY and not New York as publicized by the "America's Got Talent" website. #-o ] I had to rearrange a few appointments to be able to go, but Mom and I will be there! How kewl is that? ;)

The good news for me is that I thought we were going to have an Initial Public Offering (IPO) to get out on Wednesday at work, but it will be tomorrow and no certificates are being issued so I am off the hook! A couple of weeks ago, we had three IPOs in one week – one issuing approximately 500 certificates, one for 1,700 certificates and one for 200+ certificates. A supervisor and I usually coordinate special requests to FedEx certificates to certain shareholders, which can be a PIA (as my mother used to say when we were kids, rather than coming out and saying "pain-in-the-a$$"). I ended up working 12 hours in one day that week! We are really short-staffed with summer vacations and such, so it's not easy to pull people from their jobs to help with special projects. :| At least I got paid for the extra time. :D

I really have to spend tomorrow morning before the taping cleaning up my computer room/studio at home. The top shelf of my bookcase fell down last week when I tried to put one too many jewelry supply catalogs on it, causing the two shelves beneath it to fall as well. I had to take everything off the bookcase and put it on the floor in order to fix the shelves, and I did not put the catalogs back for obvious reasons. I have to sort through and pack them up – I still have the box from my new printer, so I will put them in there – to be recycled. I'll keep the books and magazines I've purchased, and only the current year's catalogs. Originally, I kept everything because there are some good ideas and pictures in them, but it's just too much to keep it all. :| We have the cleaning lady coming on Thursday, so I want to get them cleared away before she yells at me. :))

Over the weekend, I was working on a potential entry for the Fire Mountain Gems and Beads’ Swarovski Elements Jewelry-making Contest, but it didn’t work out the way I thought it would (does it ever? :p ). I ended up with a bracelet and a necklace instead of one necklace, neither of which are appropriate for that contest. However, the bracelet will work for Rings & Things' Pick Your Palette Crystal Jams™ Challenge with Swarovski Elements. Crystal Jams are Rings & Things' Swarovski Xilion bicone assortments created in particular color schemes. I recently purchased the Into the Ocean and Bohemian Rhapsody assortments, and used the former in the bracelet. At least that's one entry down! #:-S

If you get a chance, check out the new cover photo on my Facebook Profile. It supports the USA in the London Olympics. ;)

Things finally cooled down here after some big rainstorms earlier this month. Hope Mother Nature is being kind to you wherever you are! :)

Take care and have a great week! B-)

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Tangible Tidbits 2012 #28: Poll Results & Contest Updates

Hi, everyone! I guess I should start out by saying I have "officially" decided my publication date will be shifted from Sunday to Monday in the future. I figure I deserve to have my weekends free of standing business-related commitments...I usually dread getting near the computer on the weekend these days unless it's absolutely necessary. I'm sure you've noticed I've been posting regularly on Mondays for a while now, so you won't really see a difference in the schedule. ;)

The Beaded Impressions 2012 Summer Beading Contest voting opened as of July 9, so please visit the site before July 17 and vote for my entry! It’s #71 in the Bohemian or Eclectic category, thanks to the input of a few readers on our Facebook page. I was leaning toward the Whimsical or Romantic category, so I thank those who voted and helped me decide. :) The piece is called The Bodacious Butterfly because when my mother saw it, she said the larger rounded beads at the top of the wings look like boobs to her. #-o

I was notified a couple of weeks ago that I did not place in Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' Seed Bead Jewelry-making Contest, and earlier this week that I was not a winner in's 2012 Druzy Contest. I'm not really surprised, as many of the entered pieces in both contests were much more elaborate than mine. I tend to be a minimalist when it comes to creating jewelry, but I am slowly working my way toward more "showy" pieces, at least for entering in contests. I still think many contest pieces are difficult to wear, but it seems the contests are geared more toward artistic creativity than function. :-/ There are a few more contest deadlines coming up toward the end of the Summer, so I will have to think more outside-the-box when planning those pieces and see how that goes. :P

It took me almost a month, but I finally finished the piece for the August Focal Piece of the Month last week. I had an idea of what I wanted to do early on, although it didn’t turn out quite as I had hoped. A co-worker complimented me on it today, so that made me feel good. :) Luckily, I've already decided what I want to do for September, and it won't take so much time for that one. I've been trying to work ahead on these a little bit, so as not to be rushing to get them done at the last minute. :-bd

My younger niece's travel softball team is doing really well. They are close to tying for the Championship! Mom and I are going to watch her play later this week, since we haven’t seen any of her travel games, and she will be playing close to our hometown. :)

We’re heading into the second heat wave of the summer this week, so it's going to be brutal for the next few days. :-/ I will be hibernating in one of the air-conditioned rooms upstairs as much as possible! ;)

Take care and have a great week! B-)

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Tangible Tidbits 2012 #27: Realigning Those Great Expectations

Hi, everyone! Well, the Big News around here is that my sister is having another GIRL! :D I had a feeling that's what was going to happen. I actually had two premonitions about it, if you can call them that. A few days before we found out, I had a dream that there was a little girl that looked like my sister as a toddler running around on our front lawn under a sprinkler. Then, the morning of her appointment, the phrase "It's a girl" popped into my head for no apparent reason. The funny thing is, my sister, her hubby, and the two girls ALL came to the conclusion independently it was going to be a boy! :-O My brother-in-law even had a dream about it, and he never remembers his dreams. :-/ Anyway, I got a VERY a excited phone call from my nieces at the office – not to mention a number of voice-mails on my house and cell phones – so they could share the news. B-) They already went shopping for baby clothes! :))

So, I went to that house party on Saturday. I only knew two or three people there besides the host, but it was a lot of fun! I mainly hung out with people who went to my high school, but graduated a year ahead of me. I didn't know too many people older than me back then, but I did recognize a couple of last names from their younger siblings in my class and a few faces. :-? I didn't really have high expectations for the outing, so I was pleasantly surprised.

That brings me to my epiphany for the week. ;) Lately I've noticed in television shows and movies that peoples' expectations are what usually lead to problems in their lives. I caught part of an episode of "Sex and the City" – I've never watched it regularly, but enough to know who everyone is and their personalities – and saw Charlotte "go off" on Harry after she’d spent all day making a special Jewish dinner for him. He was more interested in the baseball game on the TV behind her. :P She completely lost her cool, and basically demanded for him to propose already. He looked at her like she was "The Exorcist" – there was a definite resemblance! – and walked out, stating ironically that he couldn't believe he'd bought her a ring. If she hadn't built up her own expectations in her mind, she wouldn't have flipped out on him…and she would have gotten what she wanted sooner rather than later. :(

In a real-world example, I decided to watch the entire "Star Wars" saga this past week, as it was airing nightly on Spike TV. I hadn't seen the three prequel films since they were originally in theaters, so I wanted to see them again to refresh my memory. I didn't really like them much the first time around, but I think that had a lot to do with my expectations based on how much I loved the original trilogy. Seeing them again with virtually no expectations at all, I enjoyed them more than I had the first time. Naturally, they are still not as good as the original films IMHO. I think a lot of that has to do with the story being mostly about Anakin's downfall, and we already know how it turns out. I completely understand why George Lucas made the films in the order he did...all of the shock value would have been eradicated from episodes 4-6 if he'd gone in order. It was a smart move in terms of storytelling. Unfortunately, IMO it also caused an emotional disconnect to the characters because I have a hard time thinking of Darth Vader as being the dark side of Anakin, even now knowing the back story. :-O

Nothing too exciting to report on the business front, so I will leave that until next week. I’ve gone on long enough for one post. ;)

Take care and have a great week! B-)

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Tangible Tidbits 2012 #26: Setbacks S*ck!

Hi, everyone! Well, I didn't get enough votes for the Mission: Small Business grant...I ended up with 90, which isn't even half-way. :( The outgoing President of BSNJ even offered to let me "solicit" votes from the members at Thursday's meeting, which I thought was very kewl of her. :-bd Many of the members were more than willing to help me, but a lot of them are not on Facebook. I really think that's short-sighted of Chase and LivingSocial, although it does effectively eliminate people from the running. :P Maybe next year?!

Speaking of Thursday's BSNJ meeting, I did not win the necklace category for the Bead Challenge. :( Nor did I win any of the prizes in the raffle held that evening. C'est la vie! That was our last meeting for this year. We will resume in September with the new Board, of which I am still a part. :D

I've posted a poll on our Facebook page -- my first attempt -- to help me decide in which category to enter my Bead Challenge piece for the Beaded Impressions Beading Contest. The categories are not very straight-forward, and I want to make sure I enter the appropriate one. Thanks in advance for the help! ;)

Ever a glutton for punishment, I've also started the application to submit two necklaces for consideration in the 2013 Showcase 500 Necklaces book published by Lark Crafts. I have until August 1 to complete the application. I've already added the Marsha Neal & Kabela key piece I made a few weeks ago, now entitled "Pretty in Purple" because the file name had to be 48 characters or less. :-? I started to submit my beaded Swan necklace, but I was having trouble finding the color names for all of the seed beads, so I may have to go with something else. Another option is the bronze & sterling silver wax cast piece on copper beading wire and chain, but pieces have to be no older than 2010. I have to look back, but I think I made that in the Fall of 2009. :-/

The auto-responder I use to send out the email version of this message, Mad Mimi, changed its format last week. I'm not very comfortable with it, so if the messages come through a bit "off" for the next few weeks, that's why. 8-|

On the personal side of life, work is crazy. We have three issues that have recently switched to Direct Registration System (DRS), which means they are now eligible to send shares electronically to the Depository Trust Company (DTC) in New York City. Since one of my daily responsibilities is to balance our records with DTC's records, this is pretty much a nightmare for me. The Out-of-Balance (O-O-B) report is usually around 15 pages. This morning, it was 73 pages! I worked until nearly 5:00 p.m. last Friday -- and employes left at 4:00 p.m. for summer Friday hours -- spending all day on the report and not doing any other work. This morning, I had a very large pile of work in my basket from Friday, plus today's work. Luckily, I've come up with a shortcut that will help me get through the O-O-B report more quickly (and painlessly?), so I won't get so far behind for at least the next month or so. :P

A high school friend is having a house-warming party on Saturday. I will be venturing out of my comfort zone a bit because I won't know many people there. I was actually surprised when I saw on the Facebook Event page who was attending. There were a number of familiar names from school, but I didn't know he kept in touch with these people. Most of them, I barely knew! #-o

I hope everyone in the U.S. enjoys their Independence Day on Wednesday! Our office is closed and closing early tomorrow. WHOO HOO! :O)

Take care and have a great week! B-)

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