Wednesday, December 21, 2011

You Poor, Neglected Blog

There's Christmas, the big day after Christmas dinner I'm planning, the fucked up knee still being all fucked up and the doctor visits (tomorrow is the last one before Christmas)-- that's why entries are spotty. You have no idea what it takes to get this house to a point where visitors are not likely to call adult protective services on me.

Well, I'm off to spray bleach the bathroom from top to bottom (yes, this is neccessary), we'll talk again soon. How soon I can't say. Too keep you entertained until then, here's my favorite Christmas photo:

Also, here's a link to Retronaut. Make sure you clear your calender before you click it as you will spend many hours there without even noticing. It is a time sink like no other.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Looks Like I Need Constraints

Making jewelry for sale means you have to think about, well, selling the jewelry you make. So you have to make salable jewelry, no? One of the things to keep in mind is making your niche. So I had two shops with clearly defined merchandise: earrings and boxed trinkets. Ever since it became obvious that I was not going to replace a real job with selling jewelry, I've been freed. Here are some of the things I've made recently that do not fit into my salable niche.

Doodad Necklace. I had high hopes for this necklace while I was making it. After it was done, however, my appreciation for it fell precipitously. Look at it. It's so. . . busy. Still, it was made by my hand and I find each component of the necklace quite lovely. It's just that all together it looks very WTFish to me.

These were made with the hope was that they would eventually become earrings. Only there is no way to attach ear wires that make sense. Plus, they are delicate little things made from fine wire and not at all suited for the rigors of hanging charms. And even if I made them into hanging charms, how in the hell would I connect them? WTF am I going to do with these guys?

What is this thing? I don't know. But I made it and I like it. It is a thing that is pretty. I did have this following conversation with Hubby about them.
Me: Whattyathink? Maybe attach some leather to it? Figure out where chains could go?
Hubby: Like a pendant? That's kind of big for a pendant. You should make another for earrings.
Me: You think it's too big to be a pendant so I should make earrings out of it?
Hubby: Yeah. Pendants should be really small, no? And you know how dem gurls love big earrings.
Me: I love you so much, dear. But really, WTF?

All this to say that I am seriously considering opening up another Artfire storefront. It'll be called 'WTF!' and will showcase all the things I make that have no purpose other than to be made by me.

Put up new earrings (The Nests) on my Etsy and look for my WTF! studio on Artfire coming soon!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Project Rip-Off Called on Account of Ouch

An entry on Friday? That's unheard of! But since I didn't write an entry yesterday, I figured I'd make up for it. And the reason why there was no entry yesterday was because I was seeing a man about my knees. The man said, "No squatting, bending or kneeling until such a time as we can see why there is liquid in your knee with an MRI." So carpet removing is right out. Unless. . .

If I stand on a lower stair, I can cut and rip an upper stair without any knee bending. I'm not sure how staple and tack board removal would work without kneeling. I'll think of something.

In other, more adorable news, look how cute!

Do you think there's a large call for Ear Nests out there?

Also, do you know why they call it a 'chasing hammer'? Because if you don't hold your piece down on securely and endanger your fingers while you do so, you'll be chasing it said piece all over the room.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Check This Out!

Too busy trying to rip carpet to write anything meaningful. So here are links to strange stuff.

  1. Still Life: Bent Objects Now that's some kind of wire art! What kind? The hilarious kind.
  2. Secret Fun Spot This spot is so secret, I cannot link a picture from it. But believe me, it is a spot and fun can be had.
  3. Mark Jenkins Outside Mark Jenkins is quite the creative guy. He's got music on his site too. If any of you download some, tell me if it's any good.
  4. 99 Rooms is an apt description. There are 99 rooms. No reason not to visit them all.
  5. Worth 1000 photoshop contest Out of Place. The picture below did not win 1st place. That's how freaky good the top 10 are.

Click the links, there's plenty more strange there. Or you can click these links and buy something.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Like Me, This Entry Is Scattered

The lovely and talented Zyada, whose Etsy is chock full of her wonderful photographs, made dichroic glass and gave me a piece. Because she's nice. I luck into the nicest people. And it's not fair since I'm a bitch on wheels. I made this for it but I think I can make a better one. One that fits the design of the glass more. Whether or not I do it again depends on if I can get my hands on some square wire. Everybody is sold out. Of the cheap stuff.

The carpet project has entered a very dangerous phase. Just as I figured, the risers are giving me fits. As of today only the top stair is de-carpeted. The carpet that used to be on the top riser is now on the second step. Along with many industrial sized staples. The hardest part? Removing the carpet around the bannister. And, oh my God, the dust is three inches deep in the corners. I have now started to use my spray paint mask when I pull carpet. Yuck.

So, if you are planning to come to my house, do not go up the staircase barefoot and wear a gas mask.

If that Boy would just let me use his chop saw, my life would be a lot more interesting.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Up Early

I've been very unsatisfied with my indoor picture taking. I used to take not too awful pictures indoors. Then I found the wonder of the natural light in the backyard last spring and all of a suddenly I forgot how to take a picture with indoor lights. Since i woke up so early this morning I thought, why not practice picture taking indoors? Especially since I have tons of stuff that I need to put into my shops but can't because I don't have any decent pictures of them.

Remember Freckles? She was the lovely lady at the Unique Bazaar craft show who gave me two bags of what she called "too ugly to sell" earrings. She figured I could take them apart and use them. And she was right! On the left is the original earring and the right is a brooch I made from it. See what a terrible picture it is?

Well, I practiced and practiced and jiggered and moved lights and messed with settings and finally produced this picture:

Once I realized I'm not going to get rich selling my jewelry, I started to make things without wondering how I'm going to 'market' them. I make whatever I like however it strikes my fancy. This bracelet is neither an earring nor in a box. Clearly it does not belong in either Artfire Studio or Etsy Shop (hey, just because it's not gonna pay the bills doesn't mean it can't pay for itself). Both Etsy and Artfire offer a separate storefront option. I may open a miscellaneous shop.

I'm rambling. Probably because it's 9 am and I've been up for 4 hours. Why did I wake up at such a ridiculous hour? I have no idea.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sunday, Mean Sunday: Guest Bedrooms For When You Hate Guests

Once, a long time ago, I made my stepmom a virtual guest bedroom. At the time I disliked my stepmother and the room was pretty clown heavy. She doesn't like clowns. I have given up on disliking my stepmother alone and have expanded into disliking anyone who would overstay their welcome in my home. I'm sure you will soon be seeing my work on HGTV.

I picked this bed because not only is it beautiful to look at, it is also quite uncomfortable to sleep on. Although it could be made bearable if an air mattress was thrown over it. The air mattress would detract from its beauty a lot and reduce its uncomfortablitly not even a little. Seriously, air mattresses are a piece of crap. I'd rather sleep on the hardwood floor. Or the hardwood bed. Whichever.

This table will work out well. It's not much to look at but can be hard on your knees. Why would you need a table as a guest in my house anyway? It's not like your staying long enough to not beat any letter you write home. So here's the absolute minimum I can think of to do tablewise.

If there is a table I guess there gotta be a chair. Happy sitting.

Happy sitting at the minimalist table in the chair with chair legs as a cushion writing by the light of this lamp! Nothing but good thoughts, y'all!

Love these sconces. Flanking the bed would be nice. And the table lamp. Wouldn't that look wonderful paired with Old Hangy on either side of the table? Too bad there's no mini-chandelier with blood red crystals dripping off of it to hang off the ceiling.

As a former smoker, I know that ashtrays are indispensable. A couple of these strewn around and anyone can pleasure themselves with smokes any time they want.

And what room would be complete without art? I've got two top picks. This one is very room specific:

But this one is all-round perfect. Especially right across from the bed so it's the last thing you see before you fall asleep:

Friday, December 9, 2011

Do Not Discriminate Against the Twisted and Deformed

Even though my first try at wire weaving was not as uniform and even as I would have liked, that still doesn't mean it goes directly into the heart-shaped box. Sometimes even the ugly can be tricked out enough to let out of the house. I know because I have been known to leave the house every now and then without people running away in fear. Here is Hugo (I've named him after that actor from The Matrix and Lord of the Rings) all gussied up:

Also made-- this here pendant:

Man, I'm really enjoying making jewelry now that I've realized I won't be making any real money doing it. Now I make stuff without any thoughts other than, well, making stuff. I still have to photograph all the many things I've made and not photographed (it's a lot of things) and put them up in my Artfire studio and Etsy shop. Because making stuff and then piling them up on the dining room table to collect dust is sad.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

This Bug Up My Butt Is Gonna Cost Me

There was a giant bug up my butt yesterday and its name was Wire Weave. I tried to fight him off because I had other crap that needed to get done and I was successful. Partially. I was successful enough to get done what I needed to get done. Then came bed time. Nope. No sleep. That stupid bug kept growing bigger and bigger and finally, at a little after midnight, I gave in to the bug and attempted to weave a basket. 6 hours later, here's what I had:

That looks pretty good for a first try done in the wee hours, don't it? Yeah well, don't let the camera angle fool you. Here's the other side:

The basket has 3 good sides and that one mangled side. I believe the mangle was caused by my squeezing the poor basket too hard as I fought with the wire. Next time I'll try a bigger basket to see if I can neaten things up. I won't stay up all night to do it. And I won't squeeze the beejebus out of it as I work it.

Last night was the worst night that dumb ass bug could have chosen to crawl in my no-sunshine place. I've got an appointment to see a doctor about my stupid knee at noon today. If I fall asleep before then, I'm not going to make it. I don't think I'm going to make it. In fact, I'm going to go to sleep 7 seconds after I click 'publish post'. Hubby is gonna strangulate me.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Something New To Try My Hand At-- Wire Weaving

There's flat wire weaving:

And there's viking weave.

You can also knit and crochet wire.

I wonder what you could do with knitted wire baby dresses? Whatever you do, don't let those pimping moms on Tots and Tiaras see them!

Flat weaving looks like something I could get into. Since I cannot knit or crochet with yarn, I don't see how using wire would change that.
I've been a bad and lazy girl. I did get up the last of the foam and tack strips but that's it. And I have not taken any pictures to update either my Etsy or my Artfire. I have made jewelry but that doesn't really count since I like doing that. Now, instead of hopping right on either of those two things that I don't wanna do, I'm going to go make some Mead.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Got An Appointment So This'll Be Quick

A regular person could take up the hallway and stair rug in a coupla few hours. Me? Three or four weeks. I could have done it as quickly as two weeks if my dumb-ass knee hadn't decided to mess with me and ruin my life. All the flat hallway is up-- except for a corner of foam, 20 or so industrial sized staples and half of the tack strips.

It is also beyond filthy. Dark clouds of mystery material rises high into the air every time a piece of carpeting is removed. Which gives me sneezing fits that can last 5 minutes. And hives. It is yuck work and I hate it.
There's nothing for it. I'm going to have to sit down at my mini-lightbox and practice taking pictures. Either that or learn to take pictures in the snow come winter. It is coming, like Ned Stark used to say, only you wouldn't know it from the outside. It snowed early (October) after which we've had highs in the 50s and 60s. Today is December 6th and it is 58 degrees outside today at noon. This is the most extended Indian summer ever.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Six Month Review: Doesn't Look Like This'll Replace A Real Job

Sunday was the last show of this show season. I did not go. At one o'clock in the morning Saturday I woke up suddenly, sat straight up in bed and then shook my husband awake.

"Do you really want to spend 6 hours sitting on that hard chair, watching people not buy anything?" I asked him. He did not immediately choke me to death so that he could get some sleep. That's why I married him, for his superhuman ability to refrain from killing me. He must love me.

"This might be the time you sell everything," he answered groggily but supportingly.

"Or, this might be the time we get up early, lift heavy objects and put them in the car. Drive for forever, lift heavy objects yet again, spend an hour hanging tiny liitle hooks onto mesh. And then sit on those hard metal chairs for 6 hours while people don't buy my cra. . . stuff. Sure you wanna do it?" You see? I'm still working hard on not calling my stuff 'crap'.

"I won't lie and say I'm looking forward to that."

"You'd have to do all the heavy lifting and tiny hook hanging all by yourself. My knee is still being bitchy. I can't put much weight on it. You're sure you want to do this?"

"No. I don't wanna do that at all."

"Good. Me neither. G'night."

Six o'clock in the morning I wake up to pee and Hubby is in the shower. "You going somewhere?" I ask.

"Yeah, the show. Did you forget?"

"We talked about this last night. We decided not to go, remember?"

"Nope," he said. Then turned off the shower, wrapped himself up in a towel and went right back to bed.

I did not make a dime these last 6 months of experimenting with self-employment. I, in fact, lost a few dimes. The one time purchases are what killed any profit I could have made. That and the fact that, out of the 6 shows I paid for, I only made table at 3 of them.

I am going to do craft shows and fairs come spring. Mostly because I purchased that damned tent and I'm going to fucking use it. But also because I will be sticking to the small church and community group fairs. The ones that charge $20 or so. I'll be sure to cover table at those. Plus, since all the big-one time purchases have been bought, anything I sell can go right in my pocket.

If I look on the bright side, there was only one day that I sold nothing at a fair that I actually attended. Weeks could go by without anyone buying from my Artfire Studio or Etsy shop. This is O.K., profit-wise. I don't pay them $60 to $90 a day for the privilege of selling my stuff. They are also great for generating private orders.

In other news, I made this pendant, these earrings, a pin and a ring as a set. I was going to put them all in a big, high gloss black box with tiny pieces of cherry cathedral glass as accents. My daughter liked the jewelry. Especially the pendant and earrings. So I gave them to her. I took this picture to show them off on my Facebook page. The thing is, I take shitty pictures indoors. Not only is the light shitty, which I blame totally on the sun being so damned awesome, but my composition is shitty too. Why my composition goes straight to hell when I'm indoors is a total mystery to me. I'm debating whether this picture is too ugly to put on the Facebook page.

Man alive, I'm blabby today. Lemme shut up.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sunday Sillies.

People say I'm strange. I'm not the only one. I am responsible for only 10% of the nonsense below.

Do you think you could fill your mouth with water and pop in of those Polidents instead of brushing?

My mom thought 'LOL' stood for 'lots of love'. She texted me "Max (the dog) died, LOL".

In a game between the Patriots and Dallas, I'd root for spontaneous combustion.

If I brush MY teeth, your breath would still stink.

Go to Damn You, Auto-correct and bust a gut laughing.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

If It Wasn't Bad, I'd Have None At All

Totally wrecked my already jacked-up knee pulling carpet. This does not mean I stop pulling up carpet. This means I continue to pull up carpet, only with much less speed and much more pain. This also means I'm in a bad mood. I'm quite snappy. I'd just as soon bite your head off than talk to your face.

In order to calm myself I have searched for pretty wire wrappings. What I found was more than pretty. I'll now show pictures of the art without comment instead of writing an actual entry. Don't like it? Lump it!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Why I'll Never Make It Big Selling Jewelry

There are trends. Trendy trends that if you hop on, you'll move a lot of stuff. I can spot a trend and I always, inevitably hate it. Probably because all my taste is in my mouth. Also, I'm old and new ideas scare me.

Take Pandora beads. Fire Mountain has had a much cheaper version of these called Dione add-a-bead system. This "system" hit me directly on my that's-not-really-making-jewelry button. Like the jewelry-maker made all the components for a lovely bracelet then got lazy. "Here's some stretchy string and some beads, you assemble it. I'm tired."

Then I got one as a gift for my birthday. Soon after that they showed up at craft shows selling for beaucoup bucks. Now they're sold --already assembled-- at Kay Jewelers where every kiss begins with a $1000 purchase.

My daughter, who lives with me and knows what I do at home all day long, went and bought herself some feather extension earrings. When they came in the mail, she opened them up right in front of me and put them on. When she saw my heartbroken face she said, "These earrings are not your style" and she was right. Not that I wouldn't have made her some. For free. Still, did I jump on the hair extension earring bandwagon? Of course not! That would mean spending more money on supplies for making earrings I didn't like. Plus there was that whole my-daughter-broke-my-heart thing going against it. And now look. Even Steven Tyler is looking silly in feather hair extension earrings.

You'll find neither Pandoras nor Hair extension jewelry at my Artfire studio nor my Etsy shop.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Because I Am Nothing Without A Project

Craft show season is almost over, the work table isn't gonna get made until I can wrangle my son into helping me on a weekend and I never found the heart to dismantle the dresser and transform it into a book depository-- now what do I do? How about a project started 5 years ago that will never, ever get finished? A project that can't be done, I'm all over it!

When this house was purchased, it came equipped with the nastiest, dirtiest, most stained-filled beige carpet known to man. At least I think it started out beige. The designer name for the color it is now would be Speckled Madness Grey. This Speckled Madness covered the floor in every room and hallway except one bedroom, the bathroom and kitchen. I immediately went to work pulling up this horror and got the one bedroom and the computer alcove done before the furniture was moved in. And when I say "I" I mean "I". The lazy fuckers who live with me whined and whined and dragged their feet and acted like pulling up the tack strips was the hardest job on planet and I was ruining their lives by forcing them to do such horrendous manual labor. It was worse than waterboarding and I was a controlling biotch for forcing them to roll and tie up the pulled carpet and pads. And that was just the boys. The girl didn't even pretend to help.

Then the furniture came in and all carpet removal stopped. That is, until the cats decided that they were gonna have a territorial spray marking fight on a far corner of the dining room carpet. Good thing the furniture in the dining room isn't heavy. Over the course of two months worth of weekends and holidays (but never after work days, because screw that!), I moved the furniture out and removed the carpet in manageable strips-- by myself. In the end, after watching me break my back for a month and a half, the lazy fuckers were shamed into pulling up staples and tack strips. The girl didn't even pretend to help. That was two years ago.

Yesterday I started on the hallway and stairs. Now, a regular person would probably be able to do this in a day or so, especially since there is no furniture to move. But I am not a regular person. I am old, fat and broken. I am broken in so many ways it would take more than one blog entry to list them all. So I am again removing the carpet in small, manageable strips.

This carpet is so filthy that I am afraid of catching an exotic, Dr. House baffling disease. Right now I'm still working on the hallway part and it's as easy as it ever gets but I'm not sure what is going to happen when I get to the stairs part of this project. I look at those stairs and think about how much I'd rather be failing at chain maille than doing this. Or writing a long, repetitive, long and repetitive, long entry about removing the carpet in which I repeat myself endlessly instead of removing carpet. Did I mention how dirty this carpet is? It is so filthy a Roomba cannot be used on it. The Roomba's wheels and dirt catchers get filled and tangled after just one foot of carpet cleaning. Am I repeating myself? Am I going to have to stop writing this and go remove carpet? The answer, I fear, is yes to both.

Monday, November 28, 2011

I Bring The Bad Mojo To The Nicest Ladies

Yesterday at the Unique Bazaar was not the worst I ever did at a craft show. That distinction is held by the second show I did at Astoria Market where, not only did I sell nothing, I spent a good 60 bucks on beer and food. No, Unique Bazaar was not the worst day ever but it sure was the most frustrating. You see, there was plenty of people. Gobs and gobs of people. At one point I came back from the bathroom and Hubby was mobbed. Imagine my excitement when I saw customers standing three deep at my table. That never happened to me before. And they all loved my stuff. The words "beautiful", "lovely" and "great" uttered as often as pronouns. But nobody bought anything. Well, practically nobody.

It wasn't only me. None of the other 6 set-ups around me made table. Which was especially surprising for the table next to me. She had these melted bottle thingies-- hard liquor bottles melted into ashtrays, beer bottles melted and mounted on wood with your choice of bottle opener mounted underneath-- that were fantastic and eye-catching and her booth was rarely empty. And yet she turned to me at about three in the afternoon and said, "This is crazy! What's going on?" I felt too guilty to tell her it was my bad craft show mojo.

Then there was the lovely Freckles. Her son died young and she sold jewelry she purchased in bulk on weekends to raise money for the children's hospital where he had gotten his treatments. She had cute little machine made trinkets, many as cheap as one dollar, that barely moved off her table. Freckles was the information lady. She told everyone where they were to set up. She admired my Display Thingie and my jewelry. "I've got these big, ugly earrings I'll never sell and some that came pre-broken too. I don't even display them. You can take them apart and use the components to make your pretty stuff." And as sure as the ham is eaten long before the turkey, Freckles gave me a two bags of stuff. Just like that!

Giving some serious thought into making and selling Display Thingies.

Finally, I'd like to give some fashion advice to the middle-aged and older men trailing behind their wives at the mall. You probably shouldn't listen to my advice on fashion since I dress in a combination of stretchy material and blouses that were given to me but I'm going to give you some advice anyway. Stop wearing shorts and sandals with windbreakers and leather jackets. I cannot believe how many men woke up and thought, 'man, today I'm gonna be a little chilly from the waist up and hot and sweaty from the waist down'. Really. What the hell?

Also some advice from Wesley Willis, a schizophrenic homeless man with more fashion sense that 1/16th of the mall-shopping male population:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Most Eatingest Time of the Year

Besides slowly building up my stock for the upcoming craft and gift shows at the Tri-County Flea Market on 11/27 and 12/4, I am Thanksgiving it all up in here. The turkey was put in an apple, brown sugar and kosher salt (and other flavorings) brine last night, collard greens have been cleaned and chopped and stored in the fridge. Today I'm baking chocolate chip and hazelnut cookies to be hidden away until tomorrow. If I don't hide the cookies, they won't make it to Thanksgiving. Also on tap for today: soaking the Cook's ham, baking pumpkin pie, peeling and chopping of sweet potatoes, making of giblet and neckbone broth, and maybe a pecan pie.

P.S. I make a stockpot worth of giblet and neckbone broth and then use it for gravy (of course), stuffing, greens and anything else that calls for broth.

Goodbye until Monday the earliest. If you miss me you can always visit my Etsy shop and Artfire studio.

Monday, November 21, 2011

5 Top Books About Crafting

  1. Atlas Rugged
    A guy takes his hook and rug project and petulantly goes home, showing the world that he doesn't need them but the world surely would fall apart without his rug.
  2. Knit-01, Catch-22
    You gotta be crazy to be in this yarn craft circle, so stabbing yourself repeatedly with your crotchet hook is not the way to leave it.
  3. The Grapes of Wraps
    The gripping novelization of this eHOw tutorial on making grape cluster earrings.
  4. Something Wicker This Way Comes
    An artist community of basket weavers promises eternal crafting to all who join their drum circle.
  5. A Clockwork Orange
    A harrowing tale of violence as the heroine searches Michael's, Jo-Ann's Fabrics and AC Moore's for a clockwork of a certain color to put into the perfect piece of driftwood she found.

None of these books can be found at either my Artfire Studio or my Etsy Store.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

It's Sunday! Must Be Surreal Clown Day.

Only weirdness happens on Sunday, I've noticed that. Today is no different. In order to commence the weirdness, a confession. My Photobucket has a scary clown folder that I add to sporadically. Today was the first time I've added new pictures since forever. What kind of clowns do I collect? Well, scary ones for sure but also just plain surreal and weird ones.

Ronald McDonald features in a few. This one here is my favorite because you know what? That kid probably needed a good bitch-slap.

Ever wonder what a clown made up of naked women would look like? Well, wonder no more!

Bart: Can't sleep. Clown'll eat my penis.

What I imagine a clown penis would look like.

This entry has absolutely nothing to do with jewelry, crafting, boxes, decoupage, painting or sanity. If you are looking for one of those things, they can be found on at my Etsy shop or perhaps at my Arftfire Studio.