Tuesday, September 9, 2008

hooray for handmade!

If you haven't heard, Etsy.com is the best thing since hot glue guns for those who are crafty and make things and want to sell them.

I decided to try having an Etsy store for awhile, but I'm not good at taking photos of jewelry (reflective stuff is difficult, people!), but after some hard work, I got some passable photos and posted some stuff over the weekend... and today I sold my first piece! Next step: post a lot more stuff and see what happens.

The benefit of Etsy versus the group I'm in is that my group is local and pretty much stays local... Etsy is across the nation (via the Web), so I'll have a much larger audience. Hell, the piece that sold today was bought by someone in San Diego, California.

(time for me to boast) Way to go me.

p.s. now it's time for shameless self-promotion: www.emmybean.etsy.com

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

making jewelry = a happy soul

I've come to the conclusion that the only sort of job I could truly be happy at is one where I'm my own boss. I hold high expectations of myself when my creative work is representative of who I am (whether it's making jewelery or making a five-course dinner); when doing what I love I can keep going for hours and hours without even thinking about glancing at a clock; I thrive off of the attention and knowing that someone else likes something that I made so very much, that they'll shell out their hard earned money so they can have it. It's a high for me.

I help staff the booth for the jewelry group i'm part of when we're at art and craft shows, and when I see someone try on a piece I made, or comment on one, or *gasp* buy one . . . it's indescribably awesome. I get all smiley, I can hear the blood rushing to my head, I get nervous and panicky; then as I see the person walking away, bag in hand and smile on face, for about 3 seconds I have this feeling come over me that I can only describe as the closest thing to "zen" as I'll ever attain.

I would love nothing more than to make jewelry all the time. And I could. Selling it is the only catch. I've been approached regarding another jewelry selling opportunity, and if the company's propritor likes the pieces I've presented, he'll buy them from me outright. No waiting for art shows or people to stumble on a website. That would be so freaking sweet. Especially for someone like me, where jewelry was only a minor in college . . . by the time I figured out I liked it as much as I did, that it was an addiction not just a bunch of classes, the financial aid would have run out before finishing school.

I found a program that I really want to attend. Once I have enough saved. Like, $15,000 saved. It's the New Approach School out of Virginia. It's a 12 to 15 week program where I would be a certified bench jeweler at the end of the program. I know 2 people who have gone through it and they are the most skilled, proficient, and technically perfect jewelry artists I know.

Do I really want to attain perfection? Isn't the reason why my jewelry is so popular because it's whimsical and has an unpolished, unperfected, raw appeal? Yeah. I've been told so. I would also like to know how to set a facted stone. I did some in college, but I set them in nontraditional ways (set stones upside-down, set them in prongs coming from the top and bottom, set them in tabs, and set them using the natural tension of the metal). I'd like to learn those other skills and really do it well. Then I could get a job at a jewelers'. But, I'd probably start to not like jewelry . . . I'd spend most of my time repairing other peoples stuff instead of creating my own. What if all those newfangled skills mess up my mojo? Stunt my passion for questioning what's considered to be precious? Stop using found and recycled items? Don't think I'd like that much. I'd rather make a ring out of a piece of a broken plate I dug up in my yard while gardening versus setting a 2 carat diamond any day.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Well, actually . . .

I worked a total of fourteen days in a row. Yes. I survived. I also made it through last week and refused to work at all over this weekend. That meant that I worked until 9pm on Friday, but I had a weekend. A lazy, unproductive, not-feeling-well weekend. The most productive thing I did was take my mom and sister to an Iron Pigs baseball game to celebrate my mom's 62nd birthday. Mom had an order of Conway's pulled pork nachos; my sister was grossed out by the fact that the stadium sells pork products ("Why would you eat your mascot?!" my vegetarian sister remarked loudly), and I made it through without killing anyone.

I've found many ways to spend my overtime money. Including buying two new purses from www.bellasbag.com. The owner is from Emmaus and she makes all these bags herself and right now they're having an inventory clearance sale (they're clearing out to list all new styles, fabrics, etc.) . . . if you put "50" in the coupon section at checkout, your whole order is 50% off. Sweet. I also ordered fabric for curtains and decorative curtain rods and holdback-things. I still intend to go to Ikea this coming weekend to get light fixtures, lamps and light bulbs, and a new medicine cabinet. I'm convinced that pleasing lighting can change the whole look and feel of a room and it's worth the rewiring of fixtures and addition of new lamps.

I found a dream job listed yesterday . . . so I applied. "Applied" being, e-mailed a cover letter and attachment of my resume. If they can match my salary requirements, I'd definately take the position. It would be a lot closer to home, I'd actually use skills I acquired while in college, and it's jewelry based. Plus, flexible hours and no more than 40 hours a week. I'm already covered by Husband's insurance, so no worry about lack of benefits. I don't have sick days now, so it isn't like I'd miss not having them. Would I miss paid vacation? Yeah. Though, I'd figure out either a way to save to be able to afford days off, or I'd find a part-time job as well and allot that money just for vacation/personal day usage; something tax-free like babysitting, which I am awesome at and actually miss doing. Wish me luck.

Not too much else going on in my world. My first tomatoes of the season have ripened, been plucked, sliced and eaten. I just know that they're all going to get ripe at the same time. Tomato sandwiches forever! It's the best late-summer snack. Along with fresh peach cobbler. Because dessert always wins. Reminds me of a line from a Rock Band song . . . it's in reference to a game called "Portal," (object of the game is you need to make it through these tasks and this computer is talking you through them and encouraging you, saying if you make it to the end, there will be cake . . . and everyone loves cake and everything is better with cake). Well, the joke is, once you get to the end there's all sorts of other levels to get through and turns out the computer is trying to kill you . . . and it keeps teasing about that damn cake ("it's so moist and delicious . . ." blah, blah, blah). Long and incomplete story short . . . a line from the Rock Band song has become my new mantra:

"There's no use crying over every mistake;
you just keep on trying till you run out of cake."

What's it mean? Not sure yet, exactly. I've always been about celebrating little victories. Maybe it means when you run out of cake, you've gotten through all the little victories, thus equating one large victory. When you've run out of cake, you've completed your task. "Cake" would have to be a metaphor, though, otherwise I'd have to start wearing muu muus and other such lovely ensembles from the Roaman's catalog (www.roamans.com).

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Thirteen days

If I actually, somehow, manage to physically and mentally get through the upcoming week at work, I will have worked thirteen days in a row. Each of those days was worked for as little as 6 hours (last Sunday) and up to 10 hours (perhaps more . . . haven't gotten through the week yet).

This may not seem like a milestone for some people, but it's a significant chunk of my life. Being at work leaves little time for everything that needs to be done around the house, taking care of the dogs, and finding a few spare minutes here and there to spend with my husband. He and I usually have Sundays to ourselves. Not tomorrow! I'll be at work. Again. Putting in overtime. The only light at the end of the tunnel is the daydreams about all the things I can do with this money. Like . . .

  • A trip to Ikea (and the gas to get there and back) to get light fixtures, a new medicine cabinet, shelving, bookcases and the like.
  • Or I could pay off a decent chunk of a credit card bill.
  • Save for this year's wedding anniversary trip/vacation.
  • Go out to eat at a fancy-schmancy place and take part in a ten-course tasting meal.
  • Really treat myself and get my hair cut, colored, and styled professionally (been doing it myself for years to save money).
  • Purchase a new pair of shoes . . . that aren't from Payless.
  • Buy a brand-new handbag instead of getting yet another one from the thrift store.
  • Underwear and socks. Can never have too many of them . . .
  • Put it all in a high-yield savings account until I have three-months' salary saved up so I can quit.
  • Invest in supplies for making even more jewelry.
  • Have a big barbecue and invite friends and family.

The options really are endless . . . Not sure yet which I shall choose. Who knows how much I'll end up with when it's all said and done. I just hope I'm sane enough to enjoy my decision. My head has been aching for the last three days (not the migraine side, though; the migraine side almost always has devastating results), and my eyes feel gritty and itch like they're full of sand. Hell, my husband's band is playing at Fuzetival tonight and I'm in too crappy a mood to watch them play (it's also a large, outdoor thing . . . I'm not much of a "joiner," don't have much in the line of friends, and crowds tend to scare me; I prefer to rock out in the comfort of my own home).

I know this is a lot of bitching . . . and I really don't hate what it is that I do. I just hate the politics of it all; the company heads wonder why people quit with little to no notice, why people "don't last" in my department. Who is it that's handing down the schedules? Who is it doling out the workload? That very same person continues to be doted upon by the V.P. who admits that the scheduling practices are unorthodox and are a problem, yet turns their head and lets it continue. If they're not careful, they won't have anyone left in my department. There were usually 6; then it went to 5 and dwindled to 4. Soon there were only 3, and (technically) we are now but 2. Myself, and the other person, who hasn't even been with the company for a calendar year yet. I tried to quit last October, but was thwarted by being given a raise and promising to help train the new group of hired people. I trained them, and out of the three, two have since quit.

Maybe moving to Chicago is going to be what it takes for me to make my escape . . . That means that next summer seems like a very far away goal. I should try to win the lottery in between, though, that way the Husband and I don't have to worry about housing prices out there ($150,000 for a tiny little house in Berwyn, close to $200,000 in Evergreen Park, and near $300,000 for a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath home in Chicago Ridge or Tinley Park). I'm terrified about finding a new job in a city I don't really know. Everything is so much more expensive, and even though I've visited out there a zillion times, I'm still weirded out that there are no mountains in the Chicago area. Maybe that's my problem? All my life here in the Lehigh Valley has literally been an uphill battle . . .

Monday, July 14, 2008

Damn punk

"Honey! C'mere and take a look at this!"

It was early-ish Sunday morning, and my husband had just went out the back door to leave for a NYC daytrip. Not 30 seconds later, he was back inside (much to the dogs' delight), and beckoning me outside.

"Some punk spray-painted the tree and some of the grass. Weird, huh?"

"Whoops," I said. "That was me. Remember, I painted the new kitchen cabinet doors yesterday?" (In my personal protest to not wanting to have to put in overtime at work over the weekend, I got showered and dressed really late on Saturday so it wouldn't make any sense to go. I then spent the rest of the day/evening painting kitchen cabinets, vacuuming, doing laundry, organizing the contents of the cabinets I was painting, and anything else I could think of doing . . . in order to justify staying at home.)

"Ohhh. I was gonna say. . . . Yep, same paint color, now that I think about it. Glad we that got figured out.

At least from the back door the spray-painted bit on the grass could pass as shadow or something . . . it isn't like the garage down the street that has "2nd street bloods" sprayed on it in bright red two-foot high letters with the legibility equal to that of an eight-year-old. I could get fancy with it, though. Go all out . . . make a tag of my own. Something relative to the East side, decorating, cooking, and jewelry.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

freckled like Punky Brewster

Yeah, haven't posted in a week. I know.

I was on vacation at the Maryland shore from the 28th through the 5th (hence the freckling; which I used to hate as a kid, and now love because it makes me feel young). Now I'm back and work is just hellish. (In a matter of 30 days or so my department has been cut in half [from 4 to 2 employees] due to people quitting.)

Will be posting some vacation and garden pictures this weekend.

Going to go to bed and try to avoid nightmares about Suzanne Somers.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Effing onions


Effing onions. My basement reeks of frying onions and a hint of garlic, with a topnote of Basement-ness.

My neighbor(s) cook in their basement. According to my mother, who spoke with the home's owner the day my husband and I moved in (she was staying out of the way by weeding the backyard), they have a perfectly functional kitchen, yet they cook in the basement. Not sure why. It personally grosses me out. Basements, for the most part, are icky. They're dark and dank, have low ceilings and bare-bulb fluorescent lighting. They're the home for the water heater, boiler, washer and dryer, holiday decorations, spare "stuff," cobwebs, dryer lint, and spiders. It's not where you make dinner. I don't want to smell frying onions when I go down to get my clean, warm laundry out of the dryer.

Those neighbors are just weird and are the thorn in the side of the entire neighborhood. The home owner is nice, he works hard, and I feel really bad for him; he used to have a nice lawn before all those kids lived there. I have no idea whether it's his sister and her kids or his most-recent-girlfriend and her demon spawn who live there, but there are about 1,385 people living on that property right now (including people residing in the garage), and 6 little, howling, yippy, jumping, biting dogs.

Other than the home owner, they're loud and obnoxious, the kids are never supervised, the children have no respect for other people's property (my garden and front porch railing can attest to that), and just have no clue that what they're doing could possibly be affecting someone else, whether positively or negatively.

I'm waiting for something astronomical to happen so I can finally confront the "adults" over there about it and hand them a bill for damages.