Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Top Ten Best Movies About Crafting

1. The Good, The Bad and the Ugly-- Stirred by Lee Van Cleef's eyebrows, one woman takes a long, hard look at her past craft efforts and finds all is not as beautiful as she thought.

2. Cool Hand Luke-- Paul Newman discovers that he is a wiz at both knitting and crocheting. Most noted for the line: What we have here is a failure to half double.

3. The Passion of Joan of Arc-- Mosaic-ing. She went as far as invading England for their prized glass.

4. Full Metal Jacket-- Chainmaille, knitting and crocheting with metal for the modern warmonger.

5. Paint Your Wagon-- Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood crackle, feather and rag wash their transportation in an effort to impress Jean Seberg.

6. Who Framed Roger Rabbit?-- Mounting, matting and molding cartoon cells.

7. Welcome To The Dollhouse-- A socially awkward young lady learns to cope by fabricating miniatures for her dolls.

8. Some Like It Hot-- Jack Lemon and Tony Curtis don dresses to explain why soldering jump rings closed is better than open jump rings.

9. Silkwood-- Cher shares her silkscreening and block printing secrets.

10. The Longest Yard-- Burt Renyolds takes us bargain fabric shopping.

Don't forget Breakfast At The Queen of Sheeeba's Etsy were you'll probably not meet Audrey Hepburn or any members of Deep Blue Something.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I Need To Focus. . . FOCUS!!

Having already spent about seventy dollars preparing for my first fair, I cannot let my backyard or any damn hurricane distract me from completing preparations for it. So that means I must stop avoiding the accursed place, clean it up, set up the workspace and face the TREE OF DOOM!!!!!

Goddamned tree just laying there across my smashed fence, laying on my neighbor's house. The neighbors, by the way, finally came to me after a day of me and hubby walking around the block repeatedly and knocking on the door of an empty house. Really nice people, they assured me no one was hurt and the damage to their house appears to be minimal.

Our insurance agent tells us that, although we are not responsible for the damages to our neighbor's house, we are responsible for the removal of the tree. Which we'll attend to just as soon as the insurance company deigns to respond to our many calls. You'd think that they'd realize a hurricane was coming and add a few more customer service reps. Trying to reach them is like trying to call Michael Jackson on his birthday yesterday, may he rest in peace with his 78 virgin boys in heaven.

Where was I? Oh yeah, FOCUS! I must go out to my yard, clean up the debris and set up my workspa. . . FUCK! The work table was destroyed in the storm. We pushed it against the house, hoping that would be good enough to shield it from the worst of the storm, but the two extender leaves still cracked right off. The table is now only good for decorating our curb until sanitation comes to get it.

This means I'll have to work on the patio table which, luckily, fit inside the now off-kilter shed. Sure the tree knocked the shed stupid and blew off the horribly hung doors but everything inside the shed survived unharmed. The table needs to come out because that is where I take the pictures for my Etsy. I can tell you right now, there will not be any new items listed for some time to come. I just don't have the ganas for photography. I don't have the ganas for much of anything.

On a much brighter note, I made the Craft Fail Blog with these ugly x-rated earrings I made:

You know it's been a bad week when the bright spot is being accepted as a failure. Another bright spot-- the apricot-peach custard with almond-vanilla whipped cream came out fabulous and was totally scarfed up by all. This, of course, is why I'm fat.

Monday, August 29, 2011

My Backyard Should Have Its Own Reality Show

I haven't been out there since we took the pictures. It is a mess. And that tree. . .. Neither we nor the neighbors know whose fence was smashed. We're hoping the insurance company does.

Instead of going out there and dealing with the cursed backyard, I wire wrapped. For survival. All this stress needed a whole lot of wrapping and so I made a pair of earrings that required a whole lot of wrapping.

Lots and lots of wraps. Wraps on top of wraps. All this wrapping and I'm still friggin' stressed all the hell out.

Perhaps a beer. I like beer. I will wait until exactly noon my time (that will be in thirty for minutes counting from. . . . NOW!) to have that beer. If you wait for noon, that means you're not an alcoholic. If the beer doesn't work, and I'm almost sure it won't, there's always cooking.

How does an experimental dessert sound? In the cupboard there is a can of diced peaches and another can of apricot halves and in the refrigerator there is a half pint of heavy cream. The plan: A lot of milk, egg yolks and sugar; a little cornstarch and vanilla-- I think they call that a custard. Chop up the canned fruit and lay it on top of the custard. Whip up the heavy cream with powdered sugar, vanilla and a dash of almond extract. Put that on top of the chopped canned fruit.

What will I do once the dessert is in the fridge? Either I'll be ready to face the yard and start cleaning up or I'll make a bunch more jewelry. My money's on the jewelry.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

So Glad I Live On A Hill

Downhill from us, on the main shopping drag, all the businesses are busy shopvaccing since all of the storefronts flooded. There was very little flooding inside my neighborhood but, on a short drive around, me and hubby counted 20 downed trees. One of my mulberries fell on my neighbor's house. It sort of uprooted the shed. We are not sure how to deal with this.

This is the shed now. It is crooked because one of the trees behind it is uprooted, pushing the shed and the foundation up on one side.

This is the trunk of said tree taking down the fence that separates me from my back side neighbor.

This is the rest of the tree smack-dab in the middle of my neighbor's house. We knocked on their door but no one was home.

How was your week end?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Boring Time

Yesterday was spent battening down the hatches. Today: slept in. Watched TV. Stayed in the A/C. Did not want to come downstairs to write this because it is a sauna in my house with all the windows closed in this humidity.

It's far to early to be battened down, I think. The eye is supposed to pass over exactly my spot of Long Island tomorrow afternoon. Why am I getting robo-calls from the county commissioner to stay indoors now? There's a lot of hype involved in this hurricane. Here's hoping it's the usual media shitstirring.

Mandatory evacuations a couple of miles away. That's unheard of. A few hours south there are downed trees and power outages. The only thing I want flowing in this house is power and not water.

I should make a bunch of jewelry now. I'll open up a special Etsy storefront called Irene: Here she was, rock these earrings like a hurricane!

And the picture of the day:

Friday, August 26, 2011

Today Is Hurricane Preparedness Day

It was supposed to be Finish The Display Thingy Day but that is also going into the shed. Along with the patio furniture, tools, wood and grills. I hope it all fits as our new shed is smaller than our old shed. I believe the flower pots and garbage cans will come into the house.

The reason why we had to replace the shed was because in another storm (it wasn't even a hurricane) it blew over. The only thing that kept it from blowing down the street like a gigantic, lethal tumbleweed were the mulberries it was wedged against. Flashfoward to today where there are 4 seven inch bolts The Boy insisted on buying because "the shed needs them, the instructions clearly has a spot for them" laying on the dining room table. Yeup, they never got installed. Hopefully, the weight of all the crap in the shed will be enough to keep it on it's foundation. The old shed was full too, but it didn't actually come off its foundation. It was so old it had rusted away at the bottom.

How terrible a person does it make me to hope that Irene squarely hits the coast way south of me so's that all we get is undamaging wind and unflooding rains?

An earthquake and a hurricane in the same week. All we need are some fires and landslides and we can be California. One place we'll never be: Hawaii. There will be none of this:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

7 Possibly Offensive Internet Pictures Memes

Today is run-around-like-a-chicken-with-its-head-cut-off day. Which also means it's a List Day. Today's list-- pictures from the internet. These first two should cause no distress, unless you are a hater of puns. If you are a hater of puns, then I feel sorry for you.

See? Nothing to get offended by. Well, those pants Hillary is wearing are an assault on the eyes. I guess they are pretty offensive. Oh well. Maybe this next one will soothe injured sensibilities.

Better? Of course not. The Renaissance Man is saying "shit" and acting somewhat homeboyish. Many people don't like homeboys. Many people are easily frightened by afros and braids. Renaissance Man has neither an afro nor braids. He should be a pretty non-scary homeboy.

O.K., fine! Homeboys must be dealt with. We'll let FOX News do it:

Holy Crap, talk about racist! How dare I spoof FOX News so? Why they were the only source to correctly label President Obama's birthday party as a 'hip-hop BBQ' What could possibly racist about that?*

All right, all right-- I need to steer clear of these inflammatory type dealios and stick to non-offensive, clean, unhurtful humor. How 'bout this?

Because people drowning is funny! No? You don't like? How about people dancing? A picture of people dancing should be the second least offensive thing ever after a snapshot of puppies hugging kittens.

I can't help myself. I've got offensiveness buried deep in my bones. To make up for it, here's an inspirational picture that will give us all hope after the horrible natural disaster that occurred on the East Coast the day before yesterday.

*This is an actual screencap from FOX Nation, FOX New's internet blog. There was no manipulation of the pic. It is shown here exactly as it appeared at the FOX site. I swear I'm not making that up. Here, cleanse your palate at my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Artisan / Craftsman Idea Was A Bust.

It had been my intention to write an entry about the difference between an artisan and a craftsman. In preparation, I asked around the internet for what others thought the difference was. This was one example of the answers I got:

An artisan is a crafstman--at least as I've ever heard the word being used. You're asking about the difference between an artist and a craftsman.

There you go. Got my answer AND learned I was pretty stupid at the same time.

So now what do I make this entry about? I finished all the chores I set up for myself. I even made a stop at my local dollar store. A store in which very few items cost a dollar. And inflation made them change their name from the 99 Cent store. Didn't get to Home Desperate so I don't have the wire (or the molding) for the Display Thingy. Hmmmm, what happened yesterday that is worthy of writing about? Why, I can't think of anyth. . ..

Oh yeah! The earth, it moved under my feet (the sky, however, did not come tumbling down)! I'm gonna tell my earthquake story and all the Californians can laugh at me and my n00b reactions. Hey, it has already been established that I'm quite dumb (see: artisan/craftsman above).

Like I said, I got all my chores done and I settled down on my workspace (I say "on" my workspace because my workspace is my bed) to both decoupage a box and make a pair of earrings. I was doing both at the same time because I'm that awesome, plus some of supplies for both these projects were special and shared. There I was, minding my own business, when Plunket, one of my two cats, had a scratching fit that wouldn't stop. Stupid cat, he's messing me up! But the cat isn't scratching. I go to yell at him and see that he is lifting his head, annoyed that the bed shaking woke him up.

Seeing as how the cat is annoyed about it, I can not be imagining that the bed is shaking. Or that it is now scooting across the floor. Poltergeists? Am I now going to have to admit to my hubby that he was right all along and ghosts really do exist? Because why else would my bed be scooting across the room like this?

O.K., now what? What the hell is that rhythmic creaking noise? What the fu. . . oh no, the ceiling fan /light combo has gotten into the tequila! It's drunk and swinging around like a sailor at midnight on Fleet Week. Oh shit! The roof is falling down! I knew we should have gotten that fucker fixed while I still had a job. Good Lord, if it's gonna collapse, perhaps I should get the hell away from it. I should run. . .. Oh, it stopped.

Not two minutes later the telephone rings. It was only then that I figured out what the hell just happened. It was hubby. I snatched the phone up and said, "Did you call to tell me we just had an earthquake and I'm not at all losing my mind?" "Hell yeah!" he answered all excited like he just got a bike for Christmas, "Did you feel that?"

The earrings I was making at the time are now called Earthquake. Wanna see 'em? If you don't, close your eyes because here they come!

These are not yet up on my Etsy. How could they be. I only just finished making them last night.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I'm A Slacker With The Attention Span Of A -- Oooh, Shiny. . .

Yesterday I outlined three things I had to do. Three very easy, not hard, quite simple things to do. Guess how many of them I got done. Go ahead, guess. Well, you're wrong! I got exactly one half thing done.

First thing was to have the Display Thingy ready for the trim framing. So I hauled the chicken wire from under my bed and took it outside. Wait, what? You don't have a bail of chicken wire underneath your bed? I thought everybody had rolls of the stuff all over the place. You probably don't have the chicken wire because you never made a lamp. A lamp like this one:

Now go on and make a lamp and you, too, can have chicken wire under your bed. Also built with the chicken wire-- a compost pile holder-upper.

After I hauled the chicken wire outside, I spent about an hour searching for my staple gun and the staples that go in it. I wish I were exaggerating. An hour of cursing and kicking totally innocent storage bins prove productive. I had everything I needed to get cracking on the Display Thingy. I even had work gloves on. I unroll the chicken wire to cut it to size and see that I did not take wire evenly from the roll. There are big chunks missing in inopportune places. But I was not gonna stop now! I affixed the wire. Here, take a look:

Yeah, that's not gonna work. I'll have to remove that and start over with new wire.

Also on my to-do list was to take pictures of a few of my finished products. I was already outside, why couldn't I take pictures of jewelry while I was out there? Truth is, I don't know why I couldn't. The dew hadn't finished drying off yet and my garden was looking so pretty and, well, this isn't jewelry but it sure is a pretty picture I took:

As I ran around outside taking pictures of not jewelry, it suddenly occurred to me that there was something I had to do that was not on my to-do list. A very important thing. Certify my unemployment. Yeah, that's not a good thing to forget to do. You know what else isn't a good thing to forget to do? The dinner dishes.

Lemme 'splain. I didn't cook dinner night before last. My lovely and talented husband did. Whenever someone besides me cooks dinner, you better believe the dishes will NOT get done. Because that's how my family rolls. Now here it was, way past mid-day, and I had a pile of dirty dinner dishes in the sink that had to be taken care of. And while I was there in the kitchen, I might as well clean the counters and the stove top. And sweep. Hell, spread a drop of Pine Sol on the floor, then mop it up. For the shine. All that work for about an hour of clean kitchen because one is never, ever finished cleaning the kitchen.

The kitchen looked and smelled lovely, unlike me. It was hot and humid and I, well, I stunk. What I needed was a nice, relaxing soak in the tub. What's this that came in the mail? A book about jewelry? Not only about jewelry but specifically about earrings. Not actually about earrings as much as it is a book of pictures of earrings. The name of this book: 500 Earrings. The perfect book to take with you on a long soak.

Ahhh. All clean, kitchen's done, pictures of flowers taken, Display Thingy chicken wired but needs to be unchicken-wired. What's left? Oh crap! The post office! What time is it? 4:10! I wasted the whole damn day and now it's too late to go to the post office. Most people standing in their underwear would see that they have 50 minutes to walk 3 quarters of a mile and say, "Sure, no problem." Most people aren't old, fat, out-of-shape, no ACL-having, slow movers like me. I could have made it to the post office on time but there was an equal chance that I'd rush all the way there and it would be closed. Then I'd have to kill myself and everyone around me. Nobody wants that.

So, there you have it. A short, three item to-do list of which I got one half thing done.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Display Thingy is Halfway Done And I'm Still Outpouring Earrings

Today I have to take the hike to the post office, take more pictures of my finished objects and continue work on my display thingy. Let's break that down.

There are no mailboxes in my hamlet. None (I looked it up on the USPS website). In order to send my orders out, I must walk the 1.4 miles (.7 miles one way. I looked it up on Google maps) to and from the post office. This is a good thing as I am a fat lump of ugly looking for an excuse to turn into Jabba the Hut (I looked it up at a local mirror). I would make me happy both financially and physically if I had to take that walk every day, twice a day, since it is the only thing resembling exercise I do at any time.

Now that Etsy changed how its search function works (going for relevancy instead of recency), I'm no longer bound to two entries a day at noon and 5pm Eastern time. This also means I have to change the way I name my jewelry, since the search picks up much of its relevancy from the item title. This has totally cramped my style as my naming conventions have absolutely nothing to do with the jewelry being named. I have, however, come up with what I think may be a happy medium. We shall see.

The fun part (read:power tool part) of constructing the Display Thingy is over. I now have to put on work gloves and grapple with chicken wire. What'll happen is, I'll not put on work gloves (I can't stand wearing gloves. I can't feel anything) and bleed all over the damn display. This is O.K. as this will give the Display Thingy mystic blood powers that will mesmerize fair-goers into offering me more money than what is written on the jewelry. It'll be like the movie Like Water for Chocolate, only there'll be no eating or setting houses on fire.

Today's pic is an Art Nouveau pin by Gaston Lafitte. He made jewelry in the late 19th and early 20th century. Unlike me. I make jewelry now.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Today I'm Really Gonna Work On The Display.

Yesterday the guys hogged up all the display making resources but for good, not evil. They finished the shed! Shednanigans is really, really over! Not only that, but they put everything away! Without being prompted! I am so full of exclamation points over this! They're spewing from me like punch on prom night!

This Sunday's list: Random comedian jokes!

  • I like video games, but they are very violent. I want to create a video game in which you have to help all the characters who have died in the other games. "Hey, man, what are you playing?" "Super Busy Hospital. Could you leave me alone? I'm performing surgery! This guy got shot in the head, like, 27 times!" -- Demetri Martin
  • A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer. -- Mitch Hedberg
  • I have a large seashell collection which I keep scattered on the beaches all over the world. Maybe you've seen it. -- Steve Wright
  • I caught my wife in bed with another man and I was crushed. So I said, "Get off of me, you two!" -- Emo Philips
  • I believe that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade. And try to find somebody whose life has given them vodka, and have a party. -- Ron White

Saturday, August 20, 2011

It Doesn't Take Long For Doubt To Set In

No sooner than I set circular saw to 2X4, I started to feel that I may have bit off more than I can chew. The The Hofstra University Craft & Gift Show is a top end type show. It's jury paneled, displays must be approved beforehand and it's on the expensive side. It seems a bit much for my very first craft fair.

A little research (isn't the internet grand?) did nothing to alleviate my doubts. Everywhere is the advice to do little, inexpensive craft shows first. Also advised: be prepared for wind. The vendors of the Hofstra fair recommend everyone have a tent. It's a recommendation and not mandatory, unlike a 4 sided tablecloth that reaches all the way to the ground which is mandatory. I am in no way prepared for wind. A jury panel? What if they tell me no. I'd be crushed! They judge not only what you are selling but your set up as well. I'm sure my set up will not look at all polished. How could it be if that was my first show ever?

Perhaps I should start smaller. The 2nd Annual Craft Fair looks to be more my speed. It's a fundraiser for a school for the blind and the spaces are much, much cheaper. AND there are inside spaces so I wouldn't have to worry about wind. The downside is that it's very far away without the guaranteed traffic of the Hofstra fair. And then there's the very uncomfortable feeling one gets when one is gifted with much of God's seasoning, melanin, while in Gotti Country. Hey, it's a fact of life.

There is a third option. Showtiques Crafts do not require any photographs and there is no jury. They have top notch locations very close to me. It is very slightly more expensive than the Nassau County Fair group. Their site shows them off to be a bit less user-friendly.

What to do? What to do? I know! Stay up all night making jewelry and fretting. And wondering how much inventory will I need to take? You can never take too much, since you can always bring it back again but what if all the stuff I have isn't enough?

One good thing, I made a lot of jewelry last night/this morning. I know it's a horrible picture (I seem to have lost my ability to take a decent picture indoors) but this earring bracelet combo has a gorgeous golden-green color that you'd really like if you could see it properly.

Now to work on the display. I wonder if it's a good idea to work power tools while sleep deprived.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Shednanagins Is Over! Long Live Craftgate!

Shednanagins isn't really over. Those two have built the entire shed-- except for one roof part. Apparently that one roof part is really, really hard to put in because it is taking them two weeks to do it. Meanwhile, my yard looks like a dump. But there's nothing I can do about that. Nothing but nag. Which doesn't get the shed built any faster but makes me feel better.

But enough about the shed that I'm not going to talk about. Way back in June I had a vague plan to do a craft show. I looked up some in my area, saw one at the end of August and decided that'll be a good one to do. Last week I realized I that since I did zero preparations I had zero chance of being in that craft show at the end of August. Further research found the Nassau County Craft and Gift Shows. They are a vendor of craft shows and they look to be quite a professional outfit. They also have a show at Hofstra University on October 8th and 9th. That would give me plenty of time to get my shit together. If, you know, I worked at getting my shit together. Yeah, dream on Pinkie. Imagine and dream.

And then, two days after dreaming of doing the Hofstra craft show, I walked into Home Desperate for screws and right out front in a big, gigantic display, there were 6 foot heavy duty folding tables on sale for $44.97. That was a sign, right? I purchased it. Then I went on-line and purchased a cover for it as they are mandatory for these vendors. Then I realized I was really gonna do it.

These vendors request a picture of your display with your application. This is a good thing. I am now forced to complete the display stand I have in my head. This will be project number one. I have an idea in my head. Here's hoping I can execute it.

I'm sort of rushing this entry because I woke up late and I'm chomping at the bit to get working on the display idea. I sure want to see if it'll work. I'm gonna ask again for yous guys to wish me luck, since it worked so well yesterday.

And for our lovely image of the day, how about this beautiful glass pipe?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Things To See, People To Do

My dance card is full today, too bad all my dance partners are drunks with BO. First on the list is Unemployment. I'm sure that'll be a lovely experience. Since I don't have time for a proper entry and won't be back for the rest of the day to make one, here's a bunch of stupid shit I've already said elsewhere on the internet. So if you know me from other places, you may have already read some of these.

  • Reese Witherspoon is a beautiful woman but she still resembles an English bulldog.
  • Your little brother doesn't know the original song from that Old Navy commercial song, Let's Talk About Jeans? Well, that was Salt 'n Peppa singing about being musicians: Let's talk about sax playing. Let's talk about bass and strings. . .
  • Something I learned at 4 AM. A show called American Beaver will be totally different on Nat Geo Wild than on Cinemax.
  • Sure you can make a necklace with anal beads. I'd make sure they were unused. Unless you're selling them in Germany.

Off to be humiliated at the Dept of Labor. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Jewelry That Makes A Statement

And that statement is: I'm nucking futz! Jewelry so hip and avant garde that it has come back around to what-the-fucking-fuck?!

This is an, um, thing by Burcu Buyukunal. She sells a lot of face distorting jewelry. Why? Because look at the art, people!

Perhaps being foreign and having a weird looking name somehow forces you to make jewelry only the insane would wear. Imme van der Haak proudly takes credit for these and many more just like these. I'd wear what the guy is wearing when my allergies act up. It's more elegant than the a piece of tissue stuck up there. Also, I'm insane.

Not only is his jewelry made from sea monsters, Dominic Jone's website is perfect if you are a gay man into snot. If you are not, it is totally useless. This site shows and sells Dominic's nightmares.

Margaux Lange makes jewelry out of disemboweled Barbie and Ken dolls. Truth be told, I kinda like them. Especially these molten nipples:

This last one does not have a maker. I found it on a shopping site for the next best thing. The only thing I would change about it is instead of it being a pendant on a chain, I'd make it a belt buckle.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Maybe If I Do The Show, I'll Be Able To Buy The Beads.

I've also been trying to psych myself up for doing my first craft show. The Broadway Mall Craft Show seems like a very good candidate. I've been too chicken to even call. But it's been running through my mind for a few weeks now. I saw a great, sturdy folding table at Home Desperate for $44 and thought perfect for the craft show. I've been wracking my brain trying to come up with some kind of display for my stuff. Wondering if I need to get a banner of some kind made. Do they make fanny packs big enough to encircle my middle?

And then I think: Not gonna happen.

And now for something completely different: Today's fantastic image.

This is by lampwork artist Eric Rader. His site is filled with such beauty as seen above. Unfortunately, I cannot afford such beauty. Any lampwork beads you see at The Queen of Sheeeba's Etsy shop will not be his.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

This Sunday's Excuse For An Entry

Yesterday The Boys mowed. Which means they didn't work on the shed because, well, they mowed. You can't expect them to do two things in a day. It is now raining cats and dogs, so no shednanigans. The killer? There is only one damn piece of shed left to put on-- the right side of the roof. It must be very difficult because they both are avoiding it like the plague.

Last night I was up until 2 am watching a marathon of Hoarding: Buried Alive. I will be spending the day cleaning.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Even Wire Wrappers Gotta Eat

Yesterday I spent all day making tomato sauce from the garden. These here Roma tomatoes are growing in my tomato bed right now, waiting to turn red so that I can spend another whole day making tomato sauce out of them. And when I say "from the garden", I mean I grew everything except the onions and celery. So, if you ask me how I picked what to put in the tomato sauce, I'll tell you I picked it with my hands. Not only that, the ingredients are dictated by what's growing in my yard. Here is the time-consuming but not too hard recipe.

5 Roma tomatoes
3 Celebrity Slicing Tomatoes
A dozen or so cherry tomatoes
1 banana pepper
1 poblano pepper
1 bell pepper
1 celery stalk
1 large onion
3 or 4 garlic cloves
Olive oil
4 rosemary leaves
1 stalk sweet basil
3 stalks thyme
3 stalks oregano
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
dash of cumen

Set a big ole pot of water to boil. While it's boiling, set up a big ole bowl of cold water. Add a tray or two of ice cubes to the big ole bowl of water. Dump all the 'maters into the boiling pot of water. I let them sit there until the water starts boiling again. Drain the hot water and then dump all the 'maters into the ice bath.

Concurrently, turn on a burner (this only works if you have a gas stove. I dunno what to tell you electric people besides electric stoves suck) and place both the banana and poblano peppers directly onto the fire. Let the skin bubble and blacken. Turn for even scorching. When the peppers are charred all over the outside, stick them both in a paper bag. Set aside.

Meanwhile, back on the farm. . . set a small saucepan on another burner and put a mesh colander over it. Peel a tomato, discarding the peel, and push the 'mater through the mesh colander. Peel all the tomatoes-- except for the cherry tomatoes-- and push them through the colander. Reserve the tomato flesh!

In the saucepan with the tomato juice add the sugar and vinegar. Bring to boil and then lower to a simmer. Let that reduce down while you cook the rest of the veggies.

Oh wait, did I mention chopping up a celery, dicing half an onion, cubing the bell pepper and smooshing the garlic? Yeah, you need to do that too. You also need to grate the other half of the onion. And the herbs you picked out of your herb garden? Go to town on them with your kitchen shears. But don't forget to pull the leaves from the stems first. The stems, they are not that good to eat.

Remember that big ole pot you boiled the 'maters in? Dry it off and put enough olive oil to cover the bottom. When the oil is hot enough, add the celery, bell pepper and diced onions. Also add the salt, pepper and dash of cumin. When the celery softens a little, add the garlic (you don't want the garlic to cook too long. They're nasty when they get too brown). Hey, while were chucking things into the pot, chuck in the herbs too.

While all that is sauteing, get the poblano and banana pepper from the bag. Cut them open, seed, scrape and chop. Add to the pot with the veggies. Stir it up so that everything is nice and blended. Now add the grated onion.

Time to add the tomato flesh. Use your fingers to remove as much of the seeds as possible and put them in the pot with the veggies (the 'maters, not the seeds). The cherry tomatoes get peeled and squeezed directly into the pot. The reduced tomato juice get thrown in there also. You remember the reduced tomato juice. It's in a saucepan, simmering slowly and reducing. Yeah,well, now it's going in the big ole pot with everything else. Stir it all up with a potato masher, mashing any big bits of tomato. Bring up to a boil then lower to a slow simmer. Cover.

The longer it simmers, the better it tastes.

All that work nets about this much sauce. We sliced sweet Italian sausages into rounds, fried them with sliced baby 'bella mushrooms and put both the sausage and sauce over garlic angel hair pasta. We still have a jar left. Wanna come over for a visit? Sorry, you can't. But you can visit my Etsy. Not the same, is it?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Useless Jewelry

I have seen the intersection of art and jewelry and it is pretty much useless. More than a year ago I read an article by a jeweler who decided that her jewelry should make an artistic statement and whoever wore her jewelry would be a walking endorsement of art. I do not remember this artist's name and it's a good thing too. Imagine her doing a Google vanity search and finding me badmouthing her in my blog. Ha ha! Like it's not only the 4 of us reading here.

Photobucket These are five of her rings. You can wear her pieces of art only if you have no need to use the finger it is perched on.

This is by Alexander Calder, a famous jeweler who has had shows at MoMA. I can name him because he's been dead a while. Now, don't get me wrong, he has made some very beautiful jewelry. Even stuff that can be worn. But the only place this necklace can be comfortably worn would be at the opening of a Calder exhibit at The Museum of Modern Art.

This earring is also by Calder. Perfect for entertaining infants laying in your lap.

Photobucket The maker of this necklace insists the barbed metal is quite comfortable. The welts on the collarbone are a physical manifestation of the wearer's inability to appreciate art. O.K., she didn't say that last sentence.

At last (and lastly) a ring for the Mafia enforcer who can appreciate modern art while teaching you a lesson about being a snitch at the same time.

You can pretty much wear anything you find here at my Etsy.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Metalsmiths: Now That's The Way You Do It.

When I grow up, I wanna be a metalsmith just so I can make beautiful things like this. This is by Michael and Maureen Banner The have a studio where you can drop a few thousand dollars on beautiful pieces of silver.

These are called Bird and Bridge Pins. They look like they should be worn during a Star Trek convention and I don't mean that in a bad way. They were made by Raychel Wengenroth and they are very pretty.

How's this for a bangle? All Cynthia Eid needed to create it was a hammer and a hydraulic press. A hydraulic press was one thing I left off my millionaire wish list.

Look at this baby. I love it! It would go great at the Star Trek convention along with the pins. You can find it at Randy Stromsoe Studios.

Or, if you don't have the thousands to spend, don't mind my inexperience with a hydraulic press and lack of art schooling, you can visit my Etsy.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

One-Handed Tutorial The Fifth: The One I Said I Might Do Two Weeks Ago

Medusa are the earrings I make in the tutorial. It's what I like to call a 'jump ring earring' because it's basically two jump rings with things hanging on them. What you hang, how many, how long or short and what size jump ring you use can vary, but basic set up can be gleaned from the tutorial.

I know it looks like it may be missing some steps at the end there but these earrings were so easy to make they assembled themselves. And they did it so quickly I didn't have time to grab the camera and start clicking. I'm not worried about it though. I'm sure my 3 readers can use their mind's eye to see the thingamabobs and an earwire sliding onto the jump ring. If you can't imagine it then you shouldn't be allowed near the tools needed to make these earrings anyway.

Edited to add: Visit my store!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Always Have A Back-Up Plan

Today I go to the unemployment office for a how-to-use-our-services-and-find-a-job-you-hippie-slacker workshop. This is because I do not make enough money selling jewelry to support myself and family in the manner to which we have become accustomed. This is because we have become accustomed to a house, light, heating and cooling, some food every now and then and a car. In other words, the high life. What I make with jewelry would feed the 4 of us one meal a month.

So, the tutorial I took the pictures for last night will keep for another day. Perhaps at this workshop they'll teach me how to be much more aggressive with my selling so I can find it within myself to constantly annoy people I don't know so that they'll buy my wares. Which is was salesmanship is about. Me, I feel guilty asking people to look at my Etsy in my own blog. I'm hopeless.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Shednanagins Continue

The foundation was the hard part. So hard it took 2 weeks. I gotta confess, I didn't have much to do with the construction of the shed. I laid down some gravel and cut a few 2 x 4. My fellas did all of this work. They did it verrrryyyy sloooowwllllyyyy. They were also quite disdainful of some stupid girl trying to build something. Oh sure, the stupid girl could destruct a whole metal shed all by herself but constructing a snap together plastic one-- out of her league.

Which, except for how long this is taking, is fine with me. You know what? I'm fine with how long it's taking them also. Because once they're done building the shed, this awaits me:

The wreck that is my backyard. Now, I wonder where you can get those snap in shelves for the resin sheds. . ..

P.S. No I'm not really fine with how long this is taking. I would very much like to put that shed together myself when the guys are gone. Two things are stopping me: One, it's a two man job. One to hold and one to snap and screw. And two, the guys would only bitch and moan and call me a control freak. Of course I'm a control freak, I'm the Queen of Sheeeba!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sunday Macabre

Last month's celebrity deaths that struck a cord in me. Not always a good chord. Sometimes it was like the chord in the beginning of Hard Day's Night, all disharmonious and crap.

James Ford Seale 76. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Bubba Smith 66: So long Hightower. Too bad it wasn't O.J..

Annette Charles 63: Cha Cha's last encore. Rest in peace, Latina Woman.

Francesco Quinn 48: I'm sure his dad Anthony was not happy to see him again so early.

Amy Winehouse 27: Cause of death-- being Amy Winehouse.

Jeret Peterson 29: Winning a silver medal in the 2010 Winter Olympics wasn't enough.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Keeping Up The Pace

Perseverance. Hard work. Steadfastness. All these things are needed to kick start an Etsy. All qualities I lack.

At the end of June when I was fired from my job of almost 12 years and decided to give jewelry selling a real try, I had about 30 pairs of earrings laying around my house. I figured I'd offer up 2 earrings a day at Etsy and I'd make at least 3 pairs of earrings a day. Soon I'd have enough to do a table at a fair this summer. According to all the books, I should also start a Facebook page. And a blog was most definitely needed.

Well, I already had a Facebook page, was already making earrings and blah, blah, blahing all over the internet any way. Plus I'd have all day to do it in, since I wasn't really working. Easy-peasy!

The first imperfection in this perfect scenario was that I forgot to place picture taking into it. I now have two mini-photo studios-- one on my dining room table and one on the patio table. And, well, I'm not a great photographer. It takes a lot of time and thinking to take pictures of 60 pairs of earrings and other trinkets. This has been a great bane.

Another thought that didn't enter into my demonstrably addled brain was that if I enjoyed any sort of success, the amount of earrings in my inventory would not continue increasing at the rate it would if my efforts were a total failure. I figured at 3 earrings a day, give or take, I'd have more than a hundred pairs of earrings by August-- enough for a table at a small local fair. Ha! Not counting the earrings already posted on Etsy, I've got 6 pair in inventory. That's enough to hold me until Wednesday.

Oh, and that 3 pairs of earrings a day thing. Yeah, no. I never know how many earrings I'm going to make. I have little control over this. I've made as many as 7 on in one very fun night and I've gone for as long as 3 days without making a single pair. Also, you'd think with having only three day's worth of inventory would be incentive enough to get cracking on the earrings, right? Wrong!

Lemme 'splain. See, I was blocked for a while and couldn't for the life of me think up a pair of earrings. Craftster does these craft challenges that I never paid attention to. That is, until I needed something to get me going. I did last month's challenge and it helpled tremendously. I'm no longer blocked. The only thing is, it's not jewelry. And then this month's challenge gave me an idea I had to flesh out.

They're bug bobby pins and I think they're adorable. Perhaps I can sell them as a set on my Etsy. Other things being made by me that are not earrings: a necklace, a sorta flip book type catalog and a shed.

The last thing that I thought would be a breeze but has taken up more time than I bargained for is this here blog. Blabbering on the internet takes absolutely no aforethought, researching and planning. This blog takes a bit more than of that than absolutely none. And then there was a day like yesterday when I could not think of one single thing to write about except my mild case of vertigo. Nobody want to hear about my spins.

So in closing, I'm a terrible businesswoman. Here, visit my Etsy.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Know What I Love? Art Nouveau!

There's something so rounded, lovely and satisfying about the Art Nouveau style. Art Deco is nice too but it's like the art world removed Art Nouveau's heart and inserted a calculator. This entry is nothing but an excuse to post pictures of beautiful Art Nouveau.

One cannot talk about the beauty of Art Nouveau without mentioning Victor Horta. He was the Belgian architect who is credited with bringing Art Nouveau into structures. I could fill ten blogs with his works but this staircase is my favorite. If I were to find myself ascending this staircase, I'd think I'd died and was on my way to heaven. I should find a smaller pic. Nah. This wonderful staircase deserves an oversized pic.

Alphonse Mucha was quite fond of women with long flowing hair with lots of flowers all around. I think he touched himself a lot while painting.

This brooch was made by metalsmith William Hair Haseler, who went by W.H. Haseler as would you if your middle name was 'Hair'. He's British and his stuff can be found at The Victoria & Albert Museum. I have mentioned this place before.

In the U.S., Tiffany became famous largely on the strength of its Art Nouveau works. Their famous lamps are in the style.

This is from France from about 1900. Dreamy.

So far I've got girls, curves and dragonflies. An entry on Art Nouveau cannot be complete without flowers.