Monday, September 24, 2012

Tangible Tidbits 2012 #38: I'm A Featured Artist!

Hello, everyone! I got some exciting news on Friday via email. I will be’s Featured Artist for the month of October! :D I applied sometime last year and kind of forgot about it -- of course, it’s always in the back of my mind when I get the email announcing their selection each month. ;) Now, it’s finally my turn! :))

At Thursday’s BSNJ meeting, we started – I can’t imagine anyone finished that night ;) -- a sun catcher crystal decorated with either a winter or Halloween scene. I chose the winter scene, so I’d have a bit more time to work on it. ;) This was my first time working with a pattern, so that was a valuable experience for me. I also used a Peyote Quick Start card, which Deb Moffett-Hall, the speaker, recently developed. It definitely makes starting a new Peyote piece easier, IMHO. Peyote itself is a pretty easy stitch, but starting it off...actually, starting off any new piece for that matter! :))...can sometimes be a bit daunting. :P After restarting my piece three times, due mostly to counting errors in reading the pattern, I made a fair amount of progress. Naturally, I haven’t touched it again since that night, though. :-O

Yesterday afternoon, I was finally able to submit the new ring -- also featured as the new Focal Piece of the Month -- to Beadaholique’s Autumn Colors contest, as well as a bracelet in Fire Mountain Gems and Beads’ Swarovski Elements Jewelry-making Contest. It’s the same bracelet I entered in Rings and Things’ Pick Your Palette Crystal Jams™ Challenge with Swarovski Elements. I doubt it is complex enough to impress the Fire Mountain judges, but I figured I would give it a shot, anyway. :P

Stones and Findings did accept my “Battered Heart” pendant drawing, posted here. I was thinking I might submit a few other drawings, but I doubt I will have the time to make any good ones before the deadline. Maybe they’ll do this again next year, and I will have more time to plan ahead if they do. ;)

Here is this week’s social media poster, which didn’t get posted until late Saturday. :\ I did end up going to my colleague’s wedding ceremony on Friday night, but I skipped the party afterward. It was a really nice ceremony and she looked really happy. :)

I did schedule myself to take Wednesdays off from the office for the next five weeks, as I mentioned I was contemplating last week. I will end up working extra hours on Thursday and Friday to keep up with the work load, but it’s better than trying to catch up after being out for a whole week at once. :p Hopefully, I can use the time to get my life organized, as I don’t really have the energy on the weekends after keeping so busy during the week. :-O

And on that note, I will sign off. Take care and have a great week! B-)

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Tangible Tidbits 2012 #37: Having A Seriously Social Week

Hi, folks! I am happy to report that I am feeling much better this week after taking the day off work last Tuesday and a visit to the allergist on Friday. He thinks I actually had a cold, but that by the end of the week it kicked in my cough-variant asthma. He renewed a few subscriptions and gave me one for an antibiotic, but he wanted me to wait until after the weekend to see if I really needed it. I’ve pretty much decided I won’t take it. :)

Our Facebook page hit 1,200 Likes this week! :-bd

I did not yet enter the opal beaded ring I made last week in the Beadaholique contest as I said I would, but I did fix up both drawings for the Stones and Findings contest and entered them. The Angel in Flight component – I changed it into a connector link for the contest – has been accepted and was posted here. The Battered Heart drawing – now a pendant – is being reviewed, as their artist has to decide if they can do it as a wax cast, which was how I created the original. The drawing turned out really well, so I’m hoping it’s accepted. :)

This is going to be a crazy week! I am assisting with a class at the Madison, Chatham, & Florham Park Adult School on Tuesday evening. The school is celebrating its 75th anniversary with classes from when it was founded with 1937 prices, and my former wirework teacher has 24 students registered for her one-time class. She asked for assistance, and I offered to help. In exchange, I basically get to take the class and pick up one of the project kits for free. It’s a simple earring project...should be fun! Then, we have our first Bead Society meeting of the new year (we meet September through June) on Thursday. We have a guest speaker coming with a hands-on project for holiday decorations, so that should get us into the fall spirit in a hurry! O:-) Finally, on Friday evening one of my coworkers is getting married. I want to go to the ceremony, although I haven’t decided whether or not to attend the reception at her house afterward. She emailed the whole department with the Save the Date information last week...I didn’t even know she was getting married until after the email went out! :))

Somewhere in there, I want to apply for 1978 Arts Center’s B.A.N.G. (Buy Art Now Guys!) VII, which will be held December 1 & 2 and 8 & 9 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. I've been lucky enough to sell items both years I’ve participated, so I don’t want to miss it! ;)

I'm contemplating taking five vacation/personal days from the office, one a week in October. This will leave me with two vacation days in case something comes up before the end of the year. I may take Wednesdays off, but I have to check with TPTB (The Powers That Be) first. I back up a supervisor who has 13 days left, and she's thinking about taking some Mondays and Fridays. I figured that me taking Wednesdays would create the least amount of conflict. If I do this, I am hoping I will take advantage of the time to really get my act together in the computer room/studio, but we'll have to see. Being out regularly will require me to work extra hours on Thursday and Friday to keep up with the workload, since I don’t have much help. That will mean extra money that I can put toward school next semester, so this may be the best solution all around. ;)

I almost's the link to this week's social media poster.

That's all for today. Take care and have a great week! B-)

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tangible Tidbits 2012 #36: The Wonderful World of Allergies

Hey, one and all! Well, it seems allergy season kicked in with full force here over the weekend. I drafted this post yesterday, but I couldn’t bring myself to do anything at all last night. I can’t breathe, my throat is raw from post-nasal drip, and I slept even worse for the past few nights than I usually do. It's going to be a looooooooong fall season if this is any indication! :P

While we were in Ocean City, my younger niece kept pointing out the video cameras on traffic lights, installed to catch people who run red lights. I'd read a column about them in The Star-Ledger that cited an instance in Newark, NJ, but I was not aware how prevalent they are. Since we got back, I've started noticing them around town. One in particular is at an intersection where I occasionally "race the light" on my way to work in the morning because I will have to wait three minutes for it to change again if I miss it. It occurred to me yesterday morning that I also have to start paying closer attention to which intersections allow a right turn on red and which ones do not. If I miss the sign and make a turn anyway, it will now most likely be caught on camera! #-o The article I read stated that the ticket the columnist received was $85. I don’t know if that is universal or set by municipality, but I can't afford that! :-O

On Sunday afternoon, my sister and nieces met me at the 1978 Arts Center's 3rd Annual Members Show. My younger niece dragged me around by the hand to look at certain pictures and pieces. She said she particularly liked the two jewelry pieces – I was the only jewelry artist in the show this year ;) – and asked me if I knew the artist. I told her, "We're very close." :)) After touring the exhibit, we went down to the center of town for frozen yogurt. The weather was nice and sunny...unlike Saturday, which was pretty gray all it made for an enjoyable afternoon. :)

Here’s the link to this week’s social media poster, which I posted for the anniversary of September 11 this week. :(

I finally finished the October Focal Piece – an embroidered glass Opal ring – and added an elastic Swarovski Elements crystal band to one of my watches, as I wanted to wear both to the exhibit on Sunday. The colors in the ring are perfect for Beadaholique’s Autumn Colors contest, so I will be entering the ring in that contest this week. In addition, a member of the Bead Society sent a message to our Yahoo Group regarding the Stones and Findings' Sterling Silver Component Design Contest, which I also plan to enter. I looked through my sketch books from MSU and found a really good one of my Angel in Flight pendant that I'd like to submit, although I have to edit the scan because I have some notes on it and lines pointing to certain areas of the design for clarification that I want to remove. Did I ever mention that I added resin to the original piece? I haven't had a chance to clean it up yet, but I mixed some light peach together – using orange, white and pink – while I was playing with the Apoxie® Sculpt resin a number of weeks ago. I had already inserted the white parts for the angel's gown during my classes at MSU, so this was the last step toward finishing it. Anyway, the component in the contest would just be the silver outline without the resin added. I also want to fix up the sketch – or possibly start over again – of my Battered Heart ring and submit just the heart portion as a possible pendant or link. We'll have to see how ambitious I am between now and the October 1 deadline, as up to 10 entries may be submitted per person. ;)

Enjoy the Back-to-School weather while it lasts! I hear it's due to get warmer again by the end of the week. Is it any wonder people get sick this time of year? 8-|

Take care and have a great week! B-)

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tangible Tidbits 2012 #35: Setting The Record Straight

Hi, everyone! Well, I got back from my vacation on Saturday, only to go down the shore on Sunday for a family pool party/BBQ at my aunt's house. Yesterday, I literally did nothing ALL day long...I didn't even change out of my pajamas! :P I finally plugged in my desktop mouse a little while ago and I am now going through copious amounts of emails.

I want to clarify one item from last week, and then I will feature another Focal Piece Flashback from June 2010...this is only the second time this year I've done a flashback, so that's pretty good! ;)

While posting "on location," I mentioned that last week's social media poster quote was also used by another jewelry site on Facebook the day after I posted mine. I did see it had a Facebook time stamp dated that day, but it turns out after some research that the designer had used the same quote with multiple pictures, and it was originally posted on her page at the end of July. I sincerely apologize for the suggestion that she copied me. I may, in fact, have copied her if I saw the quote and saved it for future use. I don't specifically recall if the quote was the result of an internet search, although I assumed it was. 8-|

Incidentally, here's this week's social media poster. I like this one a lot. B-)

I'm almost embarrassed to post this Focal Piece of the Month, as I apparently had some grandiose ideas that never came to fruition. :-/

Flower Gems™

A few months ago, one of my former coworkers asked me to make her some light pink clip earrings. I know she likes big earrings, so I did some searching for materials that I thought would work...but I couldn't come up with any beads that were large enough. As the saying goes, "Necessity is the mother of invention." Since I couldn't find anything large enough, I decided to experiment and make something on my own. What I originally came up with was an approximately one-inch piece of 6mm Dusty Rose WireLace®, "expanded to create lacy waves" as the WireLace® website suggests. Then, I stitched a pink Czech pearlized faceted glass bead into the center using clear illusion cord and strung seed beads (size 11, I believe) in various shades of pink on the cord. I then wrapped the seed beads in spirals around the center bead, using GS Hypo Cement to keep the beads in place. This glue was recommended by the manufacturer of WireLace® for use with this product. My friend liked the concept and the color, but asked if I could make them bigger. I had a feeling that might happen. So, I went back home and decided to add two more pieces of WireLace®, one to each side of the original piece. The end result looked like a flower, which I thought was really cool! And my coworker loved them! She wanted a second pair in yellow, but WireLace® doesn't come in a canary yellow, although it does come in 31 colors. WireLace® is a relatively new product, so they will hopefully expand their color chart in due time. My colleague and I decided to try Marigold WireLace® with yellow beads. The other two options were Pale Gold and Brass, but neither one had a very yellow-ish tint. At least Marigold is in the yellow family! I used lemon yellow pearls in the center this time, along with various yellow seed beads to to brighten up the earrings. I had originally only wrapped the seed beads around twice, as with the pink set. My friend asked if I could make them "more yellow," so I went back and wrapped them around another two times, making it four overall. Personally, I like them better with fewer wraps. The bigger the center, the more it takes away from the overall look, IMHO. I certainly hope WireLace® comes out with a brighter yellow one day!

I tried to think of a name for these WireLace® flowers for a few days, and finally settled on Flower Gems. I made drawings of them in my sketch book for my class at Montclair State University, dated and photocopied them, then mailed them to myself. I had read somewhere that this practice was considered a "poor man's copyright." I recently read it might not hold up in court, though, since there was a case of a man committing fraud in this way by having opened the seal and changing the contents of the envelope. If I had the money, I would go to the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office and file for a registered trademark (also for my company name and logo), but those costs are prohibitive at this time.

Down the line, I plan to make a full range of products featuring Flower Gems™, possibly using all 31 colors offered by WireLace®. Beyond earrings, pins, necklaces, bracelets, and other forms of jewelry, I can foresee them potentially being applied to hair accessories, purses, flip flops and other shoes, hats, clothing, cell phone and ID badge lariats, bookmarks, etc. and so forth. Time will tell, eh?

Take care and have a great week! B-)

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