Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pendants

So I am having three pendants made for three awesome women. I thought you might like to see the process. Kaelin is making them. She is the owner of kaelindesigns.com, a good friend and a partner in Blue Dot Shops.

She's also really freaking talented. She working on a wedding ring for me (to replace a lost one) and I'll share that with you as well although you will all fall over and die when you see the stones and the finished piece. So fair warning.

These are the stones, they are Hemimorphite which means nothing to me except they are pretty. They are supposed to have healing properties and so on, but that's another topic altogether.

Click on the pics for a closer view.



The stones being used are the rugged one in the middle, the triangular one, top left and the dainty one underneath.  The dappled one, top right, is going in my druzy stash along with a smoky grey druzy for something in the future.

Stone ready to be designed around.

Stone on silver to measure.

 Fitting the bezel.

Soldering the silver.

Checking fit.

Pretty nifty, eh? You have fire and stones and silver and stuff. Plus you get to say words like 'bezel'. 
Kaelin will stamp the back of each pendant with Anam Cara (click for definition). The special thing about these three is that while they are different, they all support and respect one another. 

I wanted something that would reflect that unity and the uniqueness of each woman. I also wanted to be able to remind them that they are very special, even if during the day to day no one really seems to notice. 

I also believe in the idea surrounding Anam Cara, the idea that you can't really see beauty in another until you see it in yourself. That you can't appreciate, until you appreciate yourself. And once you do that, the possibilities are boundless, really.

All three pendants will be different, because all three women are different. The more rugged stone and the triangular one Kaelin and I will work through together, but the smaller one needed to be more sophisticated, so I turned that over to her completely. 

I'll be sure and post pictures of the others in progress as K sends them along, and of course the finished work. I'm really grateful to be able to do something like this. Sometimes really wonderful people need a touchstone, to remember how really wonderful someone thinks they are.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011

Mitosis Glass





Welcome to the first featured seller in what I hope to be a weekly series. I have bought several beads from Angie and not only is she swell to work with, her beads are truly fantastic. My favorite are her ocean beads. 

I have no idea how she does it but they are like oceanic micro-universes. Living so far from the West Coast (sorry Atlantic you just aren't the same) it's nice to be able to carry about a little piece of home, or what reminds me of home and what I miss the most.

Feel free to shoot her a line, she's very good about responding to convos (something we all love in a seller) and her turn around time is stellar. 


ps. those two on the bottom are on their way to me as we speak.


Seller:  Mitosis Glass









Name:  Angie
  

Q: How did you originally get into the business of making things?

Oh, I've been a huge fan of glass ever since I can remember.  When I first saw people doing glassblowing I was riveted; with the advent of YouTube I got to see all sorts of delicious glass work and I also loved to look at glass whenever I went to craft fairs and the like.

I had wanted to learn to work with molten glass but the only thing available locally was a glassblowing course at the art college, but the course was over $ 800.00 and they don't allow you to have any studio time outside of the class time.  How would I practice?  Where would I get experience?  I decided to sadly forget the whole thing.

Once I joined Etsy in October 2007 I learned that molten glass could be worked on a small scale to make beads, marbles and the like.  I took a class in November 2008, since the place I learned also let you rent their studio by the hour.  Finally!  Learning to work molten glass with the benefit of not having to set up my own studio to practice.

Glass is addictive in the same way that gambling is addictive; you keep trying in the hopes that you'll be successful *this* time, but really you only make decent beads just often enough to keep you hoping you can do it again.

Once you've climbed the steep learning curve you get addicted because most of your stuff starts to look awesome, and people love it.

Also I can go out to the studio and turn on the loud ventilation fan, put in the earplugs, strap on the respirator mask, pop on the protective eyeshades, and it's like I'm shutting out the whole world.  What?  You're talkin' to me?  I can't hear you!  I can't see you!  I can't talk now!  Go away!  Honestly, why didn't I think of this years ago?








Q. What made you decide to sell your wares?

I had always hoped I would make beads that looked good enough to sell, and once I started making enough beads that didn't embarrass me, I started to try selling them to friends.  Also, my sister who is also one of my biggest fans, she started asking for custom beads from me to give to her friends, so this gave me the confidence to present my stuff to the outside world.

I also sell jewellery through a couple of local retailers.  Back in August 2010 I bought a Killer Clown charm bracelet from Christine of The Killer B's, formerly of Etsy but now at her own site.  She offered to take some samples of my work to White Raven Emporium in Didsbury, where the owner sold Christine's jewellery and who is a strong supporter of handmade.  


Christine told me to whip the beads up into jewellery, which was another steep learning curve! and she took them to White Raven where they sold fairly well. This gave me the confidence to offer jewellery for sale as well, and the sink-or-swim method of learning how to make jewellery taught me a lot in a short time.


Q: Tell us about your previous working situation:

Well, I'm not making a living at this glass thing!  My previous job...  all I can say is, there is a special place in hell for some people.  There's nothing like an abusive work situation to motivate one toward independent self-employment.  The current situation (not glass) is dull but stress-free which suits me just fine.






Q: When you first started selling on Etsy, did you have dreams of quitting your day job?










Yes, or at least phasing it out.  Not because Etsy pushes the QYDJ notion, but because I know quite a few beadmakers who sell very well.  I haven't found myself to be one of those beadmakers though; my sales come in fits and starts.  In fact, you're one of my biggest Etsy buyers!

Q: Did you do anything to prepare ahead of time?

Ha!  No, I had no idea what to do or how to do it.  I just jumped in with both feet and putzed along as best I could.

I will say that the Etsy forums (R.I.P.) were an excellent source of information regarding running an online business so I didn't go into selling totally blind.  It's a shame this resource has been taken from the Etsy community.  Yeah, I know there are still forums but they're more convoluted and hard to navigate; I wouldn't bother if I were a newbie.






Q: What are the most effective ways you've marketed your business?

The vast majority of my sales anywhere have been by word of mouth.  Retailers will carry my things if they know someone who recommends me; people will buy my jewellery and beads if they know me, or if they know someone who knows me.

I need to get more "out there" so I think the next step will be Facebook.  I really didn't want to bother with FB but based on what others have said, this could be a decent marketing move.

Q: Walk us through your typical workday:

There isn't one!  I started homeschooling my son two years ago so that's been the majority of my daily time.  Studio time and computer time come in the evenings and on the weekends.

Q: What would you enjoy most about not having a day job?

Laying in the sun on the Riviera while getting my nails done.

Nah, but sadly I can't offer a perspective on this as of yet.  When I can I'll send you money and you can join me.






Q: If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself?

Regarding glass, nothing.  Regarding life?  I'd go back to my school age self and tell myself that all the bullies and kids who picked on me were the losers, not me.  I'd tell myself to concentrate more on developing skills and personality rather than just trying to fit it and belong, to realize that I have value already and acceptance among these snotrags is not important. :D

Q: What advice would you give someone else?

Regarding glass?

1)  It's highly addictive.  You have no idea.

2)  It costs way, way, way, WAY more to do this hobby than most other hobbies.  Your bank account will always have crickets chirping and not much else.

3)  You must, MUST set up proper safety precautions.  You can run a torch at your kitchen table for awhile but in the long run you'll be sorry.  Torches emit a variety of noxious gasses, improper ventilation can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, inhaling glass dust and some types of bead release can cause lung cancer, working without eye protection can cause eye problems later, wearing synthetic clothing can cause quite the melted burn on your arm once the hot glass hits it....  You need proper ventilation, clothing, a respirator if you work with powdered glass, etc. etc.  The safety stuff is boring but essential.

4)  You won't get rich doing this.  Don't look at Etsy or Ebay beads made by experienced artists and assume you can buy a kit at Hobby Lobby and make the same stuff.  It'll be a long time before you'll be able to afford to sell your work and even then you'll just barely break even.

Regarding life?  Well, this email would go on forever and God forbid that should happen, so I won't even start.





Q: Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Don't let the down days keep you down!  You'll have days where you want to quit what you're doing and throw all the supplies in the river.  Don't!  Wait, keep making your art, and just remember:  For every day's worth of fugly product, that's a whole 'nother day of mistakes that you know not to make again!  See?  Simple!





 
click on this one...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Friday, March 18, 2011

Kinley Update

Kinley has had two good seizure free days plus he's back to his usual self. Well, his almost usual, his stamina is still reduced which makes like act like a normal high energy dog rather then his extreme self.

Since he started seizing as soon as his Zonisimide decreased the idea is to hold him at the 400 mg a day of Z while adding the Kappra three times a day. For a week and then evaluate.

It was really great to see him running around and being his bossy mall cop self this morning.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Verizon Ipad 2

Dear Verizon,

I will not go into the utter debacle that has been my shopping experience with you. While everyone has been very helpful and nice, you , Verizon, suck.

Verizon, in all my internet shopping and selling years, I have never been charged for something that wasn't about to ship out the door. Not only have you charged me, that was four days ago and there is no info anywhere about the status of my order. Other then processed.

Because I am not a dumbass, V, I know it was processed because you took $800.00 OUT OF MY ACCOUNT. I can't cancel, but I am welcome to return it, when and if it gets here for a small restocking fee of $70.00.

And no, Verizon, it does not matter nor justify (as you stated) that I couldn't 'get one anyway' because everyone is sold out. What matters is you pocketed my money, that your website hasn't worked since well, forever as far as order checking, and that your helpful CS agents can't access the details of my order.

I understand that you are Apple's bitch in all this. But you took my money and I want my stuff. At the very lest I'd like to know where my stuff IS and when my stuff will SHIP. You have led me on from the get go Verizon and I let it slide.

But I think our relationship is pretty much over. I'll keep your service, but next time, nuh uh.
I was pretty cool with the whole thing, resigned, really, until you took my cash and left me hanging.

ps. The CS folks really were fantastic both with trying to be helpful and with follow up. They were surprised V had taken my money without impending shipment as well.

**UPDATE**


They can't see anything regarding your order. Which baffles me because I have called every day since Monday and been told it's shipping. Turns out (you'll love this) this is what the Verizon Stores told them. They don't show anything in their system that says this because it was done at the store. If you ordered from a Verizon Store they CAN NOT access your order information. 

So all this time there was no tangible evidence of anything, just a note from the store.

The same store that told me, and you, that we'd get them Tuesday. This is the Arlington VA store.

The same store that processed my order when they had nothing to ship and KNEW they had nothing to ship. If I want information I have to call the store. The store that did this in the first place. 

Because the Verizon store says it's pending, I cannot CANCEL. The Verizon Store cannot offer any proof that it IS pending. I'm just supposed to take their word for it AND pending means two to three weeks in Verizon Store Speak. Because they say it is pending even though they cannot show me proof, I can NOT cancel. See how this works?

Monday  am filing a complaint with VA's Attorney General and I will be Tweeting and blogging my angry little heart out.  I am also filing a dispute with my credit card company.




Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Kinley - Update


This is really frustrating. The minute I dropped his Zonisimide he started seizing again but we have to hang in and wait for the Keppra to build up. Meanwhile I have to watch him 24/7 because his behavior, which has always been challenging has deteriorated. I would imagine fallen over for what he deems no apparent reason is not helping as he is a defensive dog anyway.

So he sort of thinks (I'm guessing) that someone is doing this to him and gets very verbal. I also think he has started to see things during seizure that aren't there, not unusual for focal seizures, but not good. He'll be drugged then have about an hour of himself and then it's time to dose him again.

This fucking sucks.

It's humbling to have everything set up and moving along and then BOOM! system? What system? Thank you to my customers who have been gracious and understanding, which is all of you really. It's much appreciated.

Tomorrow I am getting orders out, sending custom pictures and drawing up a new schedule for myself that will work around Kinley for the time being. I'm worried, I can tell you that, not anyone here. I see him declining and no one really has an answer.

See, he is being treated for seizures as if he has Atypical Idiopathic Epilepsy. Meaning, all we can do is treat the symptoms because the why is an unknown. The best guess is brain trauma because he has no outward signs of neurological dysfunction. No tumor, no infection, no swelling. Plus, you know, being shot with a shotgun at four months, malnourished and abused all kinda point in that infuriating direction.

But he also has no typical epileptic behaviors other then the seizures and those are atypical. And with that I am off to give him his 8:30 dose. Hopefully in a week or two I will have something positive to report.

Monday, March 14, 2011

I Get a Do Over

Join me on my journey out of Frump Town. WHile I have no intention of being much more then a mud hen, something had to give. SO I bought clothes. Not "wait until I lose weight clothes" but actually 'I HATE the way I look but I need clothes that fit, dammit."

Then I bought shoes. Teva's ok? There only so far I can step away from pragmatic.

I bought (gasp) makeup.  I've never worn mineral stuff and I haven't worn makeup for eleven years. Before that I was make up's bitch. I had to send a pic so she could pick shades for me. Here is my before:



and my after (please excuse the MySpace self held camera stance)



Tomorrow I am going to get partial highlights. After growing out my own color (from red red) for the past three years.  I am not nervous because since I was a hairdresser (among other things) and color correction was my thing, I can say '"Hey, use this."

Barring some unforeseen accidental head implosion, I'll post a pic. I have never posted myself online, but maybe it's time you knew I really didn't' look like a goat (or a fifty year old man in his parent's basement) . Believe it or not I'm wearing foundation, blush and eyeshadow and I don't look like Liza. It is really hard for me to find makeup that doesn't make me have to dress up to wear it.

(yeah, i totally photoshopped my frown lines out.)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Once more, with feeling.

Mostly feeling of desperation. Kinley just took his first Keppra (the generic but the generic name is like some kind of Lovecraftian mega monster with a bajillion consonant). The plan now is to wean him off the Zonisimide while giving him Keppra three times a day. This so far has resulted in Kinley staggering about gamely while I try not to burst into tears.

I had to go to Costco this morning to get it. On a Saturday. But since it's you know, brain drugs it wasn't likely to wait until Monday. It was crazy there. Luckily after parking (a twenty minute fiasco) I was able to run into the pharmacy and leave, post haste.

I have a little chart of his meds, since they have to be reduced every three days until he is only taking the Keppra. It has to be given like so 8:00 am, 2:00 pm, 8:00 pm. Luckily Kinley travels well in the car because on half days I'll have to dose him in the school parking lot.

Ah, how I remember the days when dosing in the school parking lot meant something utterly different.

Keppra is a relatively new drug in regard to canine epilepsy and until very recently, like Zonisomide was crazy expensive. While I am not happy to have a need for it, I am grateful it's affordable, it is used when a dog is resistant to other meds and is having several seizures a month.

In Kinley's case he will seize on and off all day, because they are focal seizure they look benign but they are just as damaging as a Grand Mal and inflict repeat damage on a very well specific (focal) part of the brain. I'm going to post a video of one of Kinleys' first seizures. it makes me sad, but if you ever see your dog doing this, he's not just being a weirdo.

In Kinley's case he's being a weirdo with seizures, but you get my drift.

video

Since this was taken, his seizures are more dynamic and there is involvement with his neck. Meaning he will be twisted around as if he is looking at his flank. The longest was 11 minutes and that was the one that sent us to South Paws. He will also paw the area of his skull (right side over his eye) where the damaged brain area is.

Usually focal seizures are caused by brain injury or infection and we had a horrible week where everything was in consensus that he had a brain tumor. This was given the rapidity and severity of his seizures. Thankfully, this was not the case. Since we know he was shot with a shotgun at 4 months, it is more then likely this was a result of brain trauma either as a direct result of the shooting or other abuse.

So far there are no negative behavioral changes, that is really my biggest fear at the moment, but not one that is usually realized.

 He just slid down the stairs. Kinley is an extreme dog and this is why this aspect of it is so hard, he is used to running and leaping and bounding and can't fathom why he is so clumsy all of a sudden.

Palin vs Gaga



Ok, Palin totally kicked ass.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My boys- November

Kinley
Happy Dog

Hamid and Kinley


Glad he knows them...



Kinley on the left Baxter on the right.

Kinley

Kinley

Kinley

Baxter in the front.

You should know by now.



I HATE that Hamid has that stupid time and date stamp, anyone know how to get rid of that? Kinley is so handsome that you kind of lose track of how many pictures you took of him.

We had to increase his anti seizure medicine again, he is now on the highest dose. Think good thoughts.

Click on the first pic and see it close up.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

*shakes fist*

Bastards.

New Ipad

I know it's wrong to be bitter, but come on.......I just bought it in December and now you come out with this totally kick ass one with this totally kick ass cover?! Really?

I know it's shallow and it's selfish and it's stupid to feel the deep resentment and longing you have stirred up in me.

But, dude, did you see that cover?!

About Sums It Up

IMG 2493

So, this business thing. This whole paying attention, reading, doing taxes and learning what the hell SEO is, thing. It's kinda tiring. Because with a made thing, say a plush, let's go with plush, the process ends. What I mean is when I make something there's the start and then Poof! there is the finished product.

No so much with the learning. The brain works, the eyes read, the fingers type but there is no Poof! As a result my brain just keeps ambling along all open ended and tired like.

Then there is the compartmentalization aspect. Who knew pulling together a bajillion ideas into some sort of sharable format would be so, well, hard? Winnowing, I suppose getting to use that word makes some of the process more bearable but still.

I have note taking applications. I don't think one can really grasp how all over the map one is until you start to write everything down as it arrives frontal lobe and center. Which in a way is sort of cool. Because I realise that a lot of time I thought I was being unproductive, I wasn't. But if I don't write it down post haste then it's gone.

I guess notes are the Poof! in the Pudding, so to speak. (It's late so I get a bad pun pass). If I can keep going I may actually come out of this with something to show for it. And by something I mean you know, money.

Marketing course, blogging courses, positive life changing babble from positive life changers-into. It's a whole new world. It's not one I want to LIVE in per say, but it's one I better figure out how to inhabit part time.

Stick around, it could get interesting over the next couple of months. And by interesting I mean changes to the blog and shops and not so much my head exploding.

p.s. I just realized I had the comment permission set to author only. I don't know why anyone would want to comment to themselves, but anyway, it's fixed all proper like. I was kinda wondering why everyone was so quiet...

Ode To The Etsy Front Page

The blog, it is a'changin'

Bear with me while we move stuff around and generally disrepair the place. The blog is getting a revamp along with a couple of my shops and so it's been a little wonky around here. The dust should have settled and been cleared by the end of the month.