Wednesday, November 28, 2007

So now it's Wednesday

And I'm still not feeling all that great. I thought I was all better, but not so much.

I have several jewelry items to make in the next couple days to fill a large order. That's fun. So long as I don't melt things again.

I've been in a horrible mood all day, so watch out! ;o) I don't know why, I'm a woman. Do I need a reason?

Something that bugs me this week: copyright infringement. I'm an artist on many fronts, and as such, I own legal rights to my intellectual and otherwise artistic property, no? I'm sure all of you respect those rights and obey the law when you read the pieces I have shared here on my blog. Now when I share something with you and give you permission to read it and perhaps own a copy (whether I give it to you freely or sell it to you) that does not give you license to do anything you want with it. Sure, you can do a lot with it... for your personal use. You can read it or listen to it all you want. You can NOT read it or listen to it all you want. You can drool over it, use it as toilet paper, or smash little bitty bug parts into it, frame it and hang it on your wall declaring it as "modern art". These are all fine (so long as my name is not removed from your "modern art", anyway). What isn't fine is making copies of my work and distributing it without my permission. What REALLY isn't fine is using my name or work or graphic or anything else that is solely my property for your financial gain.

We're all in agreement of this, no? I thought so. So then, my question is, why is it so wrong to steal from a starving artist but it suddenly becomes "okay" when the artist is rich or when the owner of that property is a large corporation? Because "it's not hurting anyone"? Wrong. It IS hurting someone. It hurts me, as an artist, because it breaks the very law that is in place to protect me. Now I'm not all about big government, in fact, I hate big government and in most places just wish it would stay the yahoo out of my life. However, the laws that are in place to protect me (and rich artists alike) I ask you (collective "you" as in every person in this country, as if more than 10 of "you" actually read this blog) to please respect.

I feel like a broken record with this topic because so many people are either ignorant or uncaring about the copyright laws. This really disturbs me, especially when these people are teaching their children that this is an okay practice. Stealing someone else's property is always a crime. Don't make it about who has more.

*Steps off soapox*

Monday, November 26, 2007

My week in fast forward

*Made lots of jewelry, but melted something that shouldn't have been melted and now have to start all over.

*Had turkey day here with the fam. Put the turkey in the roaster oven upside down. Couldn't find can of pumpkin for pumpkin bread. Discovered that I do not have the things you put under pots so you don't burn your table, a turkey baster, or a serving set (though the table isn't burned, the turkey browned, and the people were served just fine with the utensils I DO have. Life goes on.)

*Got to meet new members of the family, including new baby girl cousin. Cuuuute little thing, she is!

*Got sick, almost puked. Hovered over trash can for hour and a half. Not fun. Esp for the vegetarian pukeaphobic who hasn't been that sick in 8 years.

*Dogs ate: dead snake segment found in yard, leather finger guard (and threw it up three days later - though not the snake. Thank goodness for small favors.)

*Had lots of fun with new camera. Learned that taking pictures of inanimate shiny things is easier than taking pictures of moving, drooling things.

*Made deeeelicious pumpkin bread, but only got to eat two slices before the night of sickness. Will never eat anything EVER again.

*Discovered I do not care much for pomegranate 7-up.

*Had lots of fun while shopping cart on our website decided to stop working right IN THE MIDDLE OF OUR HUGE SALE.

*Was very thankful for understanding, patient customers who still love us despite our moody shopping cart. Was also very thankful for the tech support team that fixed moody shopping cart really quickly.

*Felt bad about not blogging for a week, so stayed up until 6am this morning reading blogs and figuring out what to say in mine.

Good night morning!

Monday, November 19, 2007

8 Things Meme

8 things I'm passionate about:

*My husband
*My art (metal/gemstones/jewelry)
*My music
*My camera/photography
*Healthy and all natural things - the stuff "we" put in and on "our" bodies is scary!
*Children and treating them well (parents these days disturb me...)
*Educating people about phobias - people are so ignorant and rude, it's sickening.

8 things I say often:

*"What the frick/heck/yahoo/that place down there with fire and brimstone?" (YES, I say that word. It's in the Bible, for pete's sake.)
*"Oh, for pete's sake!"
*"Love you. Bye. Love you."
*"Did you wash your hands?"
*"Sick freak."
*"_____ (insert name of dog here), gitcher butt in here!!"
*"Are you freaking kidding me?" (Said when someone says or does something stupid... which... is often.)
*"I mean, who does that?" (Said when *I* say or do something stupid... which... is often.)

8 books I've read recently:

I haven't read any books lately, much less 8. The only ones I've picked up recently are books on jewelry design. Sorry.

8 things I want to do before I die:

*Adopt a couple of children and see them raise their own children.
*Melt glass and cut gemstones.
*Master photography skills.
*Master silver smithing skills.
*Find a cure for my phobias.
*Record an album.
*Bless more people with my music.
*Get published.

8 songs I could listen to over and over again:

I get bored easily... not sure I like to listen to songs over and over again... but... I guess there are a few...

*Breath by Faith Hill
*It's Your Love by Tim McGraw & Faith Hill
*My Immortal by Evanescense (sp?)

That's about it.

8 things that attract me to my friends:

*When someone treats their spouse with respect. I can't stand it when people talk down about or to their spouses all the time. It's SO unattractive.
*When someone is understanding even when they don't understand and listens even though it's something that's hard to hear.
*Good sense of humor... you have to have one to hang with me. I'm quirky like that.
*Strong convictions and morals.
*Intelligence... it's not like they need to be rocket scientists, but having a good head on their shoulders is a plus.
*Being able to go through their day without creating needless drama. I.Hate.Drama. and don't really have time for people who feel the need for it.
*Compassion and acceptance. I don't like people who are too judgy. We don't all have to be the same to get along.

8 things I've learned in the last year:

*Infertility sucks, but
*Permanent infertility sucks even more.
*God is good all the time, but
*His ways are not our own.
*Phobias are impossibly difficult, but
*The feeling you get after facing one and surviving it is indescribable.
*God DOES give us more than we can handle, but
*His grace is sufficient.

8 people to tag:

I think most everyone has already been tagged, but if you haven't and want to play along, feel free, but leave a comment. I luuuurve me some comments! *grin*

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tomorrow is a new day

Well, I was really disappointed again because the show last night was a bust. It was very, very odd. It was a very small show with very few people that showed up. It was on a military base and only open to people with base access. It was to benefit charity. It seemed like people went to talk to their clique buddies and not really to buy stuff.

Sooo, we sold one thing but passed out a lot of business cards.

But today, my mom made an appointment for a private showing for the ladies that work in her hair salon. We're doing that tomorrow afternoon, and we'll also be talking about leaving some pieces for sale on consignment! This is another new thing for us that we've talked about doing but haven't worked at yet. Well, this time we didn't have to do any of the work... her stylist brought it all up and set it all up. She called my mom before her hair appointment this morning and asked her to bring some jewelry (she was invited to the party but was out of town). My mom took some and sold a piece. She was really impressed with our pieces and our prices and that's how it all started.

Pray it goes well! (And pray my migraine goes away before then!)

Are you on the list?

The Belles are going to have a crazy post-Thanksgiving sale to say thanks to all of our wonderful customers. But it's newsletter member only... are you on the list? The announcement is going out really soon. You won't want to miss this!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Somebody Needs a Haircut

... and it isn't me!

This one just had to see what I was doing...

Sunday, November 11, 2007


So the party did not go as well as I was hoping. Most people who said they were coming did not show. We had a few sales, so it wasn't a total bust, but I am a bit discouraged. We spent so much time over the past couple weeks and we stayed up so late preparing on Friday night!

I'm dreading the show tomorrow. I don't know what to expect, and I hate being stuck in large crowds of people. I wish I had a valium. I've never taken valium that I know of, but I wish I had some right now.

On a positive note, my camera arrived safely on Friday afternoon, a few days earlier than I was expecting. I haven't had much time to play with it yet, but I did play with it for a bit yesterday. I took some pictures of our set up so we'd remember how to set up at the show tomorrow. They came out alright, but being indoors I used the flash, and all I have at the moment is the camera's pop up flash, and flash and mirrors and jewelry don't make for great photos. I really need to figure out what settings work best for what lighting. That would help! It's so fast though. The autofocus is super fast, and the time lag between photos is so short. It feels heavy in my hands, like a real camera should! *grin* And that "click" sound when it takes a photo. *happy sigh* How did I ever live with a point and shoot?

On an even better note, today is our 7th wedding anniversary. I love you, honey!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Hot off the bench, partie deux

(No, I do not know French. I had to ask my highly intelligent and adorable husband how to write out "part two" in French. He's so smart.)

I've been working overtime lately, and I'm pooped. This isn't everything, but several pieces of eye candy for you to feast upon (including the one that gave me nightmares!). *grin* As always, click photos to enlarge.

Smoky quartz wire wrapped briolettes and sterling silver disc earrings:

Textured sterling rectangles:

Sterling teardrop & flower pendant:

Textured circle necklace:

And finally, a flower. Bloggy friends, this thing HAUNTED me. I wasn't sure I would be able to finish it with my wimpy torch. So I bought a second wimpy torch. Apparently two wimpy torches are better than one, and that did the trick! This thing is five layers deep and took me days to make. Of course, it wouldn't have taken me nearly as long had I had two wimpy torches at the beginning. Also, I think it would be easier in all sterling. Believe it or not, copper is much harder to solder successfully. I'm SO proud of myself for finishing this! *grin* This is the most difficult and challenging piece I've ever made. *BIG GRIN* I have visions of doing a line of flowers, but I chose the magnolia as the first one since it is part of our logo and all.

And guess what! After stewing over it for a couple of months, I decided to just stick with my laptop for now (and hope it doesn't crash too). Soooo, my Canon 400D (Rebel XTi) with a lot of fun accessories is on its way! What kind of accessories can you get for a camera, you ask? Well, umm, I got a remote control. A freaking remote control for a camera. Imagine that! I'm so excited!

I finally read the results of the poll I made a couple weeks ago about our jewelry prices. It looks like most of you think they're priced right. However, one of you thinks it is priced too high! I apologize, but I had a pretty hard giggle at that. Our prices are lower than most, ya know. I have no idea who voted for that option, but whoever you are, if only you knew how much time and money goes into making jewelry and running a design business, I think you might change your vote. It's not as easy as it looks. But then again, I don't think it looks easy either. At least not that magnolia pendant. I dare you to tell me it looks easy and should be priced really low! *giggle*

Anyway, thanks for voting and reaffirming what we were feeling about our business. *grin*

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Letting the cat out of the bag

My husband and I found out late this summer that we cannot have children. Until yesterday, it was sort of semi-private information. My parents have known for a while, but other than that and telling a very few close friends, not many others knew. I think I sort of let it slip once online, but that's it. This is one big reason why I have backed off with my blogging somewhat. It's a huge part of what is on my mind, and I was afraid of saying too much too soon.

Until yesterday, my husband's family didn't even know. I was waiting for him to be ready to tell them, since they're his family and all. It took him a lot longer to process this than it did me, since after two years of infertility, I had already begun to prepare myself for this possibility. Anyway, I didn't want to really talk about it too much until all the close family members knew. That's not really knowledge you want to get around to them in a round about way, you know? Plus, they live very far away and this is difficult information to share over the phone. Unfortunately, we're not sure when we will be able to visit them. (I'm skeered of flying, you know!)

But yesterday he told them, and now it's out in the open and we're ready to share that we're very, very close to starting the adoption process. We have been considering a lot of options over the past few months and so far, the ones that seem most attractive to us are a local foster to adopt program through Lutheran Services (yes, we're one of those horrible couples that want an infant for our first child and they SAY they have many infants adopted through that program, so we'll see), a program through an agency in our state that adopts African American multi-ethnic babies (sadly, not many people want them, and I simply do.not.get.that.), and an international adoption from S. Korea. My husband spent a year there while he was in the military and is familiar with their culture and would love to go back and visit someday. He says they have really good food and you have not lived until you have eaten their spicy bulgoki and yakimandu. *giggle*

This has, without a doubt, been the most frustrating and hardest year of my life. Never before have I experienced so much heartache and pain. Infertility is hard enough, but finding out that the infertility is permanent is not something that is easily accepted. I feel like a very vital part of my being has been ripped from me... that a part of the reason I exist has died. I've been accused of being bitter and angry, and I freely admit that heck YES I am angry and bitter. But at least I am humble enough to realize that those are very valid emotions, and I accept them and continue to work through them. I don't know anyone that is strong enough or holy enough to go through what we've been through and still be able to keep their happiness and joy 24/7. Being a Christian does not exclude me from feeling real emotions. I'm okay with that, and I thank God He is too. All the accusers can think badly of me if they want - their opinions simply do not matter to me. Or to God. I'm so glad my God is a God of grace and patience. Have you met Him? *grin*

So, anyway. There you have it. If you don't know the reason why, that's because we haven't told you and probably never will, so please do not ask. :) Feel free, however, to ask about our new journey as we begin it. I'm sure it will be long and frustrating, terrifying and wonderful (not to mention one of the most expensive commitments we will have ever made) and I know I'll need a lot of support during that time. I've found some amazing people that have been there, done that, who will hopefully prove to be a rich source of information for us.

It's hard. It sucks. It's something no one can fully prepare for. But it's ours and as such, we have begun to learn to accept it. We are surviving, and our marriage is strong (for which we are extremely thankful since many do not make it through this kind of hardship). We are ready to move on to the next phase in our lives. I'm hopeful that by this time next year we might just be parents, or at least close to it. Who cares that the child will not come from my womb?

I'm okay with that, and I will still be just as much of a mother as anyone else. Without a doubt, whatever child we adopt will know that he or she was much wanted and loved for years before it was even born. Sounds nice a nice way to enter the world, doesn't it? *grin*

Friday, November 02, 2007

Hot off the bench!

A few people (including my IT husband) have told me that my blog gives them issues - freezing, loading really slowly, crashing their computer, etc. - and I can't figure out why. I haven't had any of those things happen to me on either of my computers. However, I took out a bunch of stuff from my sidebar that I either no longer need or were bad links and I'm hoping that helps.

If you've ever had trouble with my blog and are reading now, can you let me know if this is an improvement for you? I've been wanting to redesign the template because I'm getting tired of it, but I simply have not had time lately. So if it's the template, it will be a bit longer before that will be fixed.

Also, if you are subscribed to our 2 Belles & a Bead newsletter, can you let me know if you have NOT been receiving it? We have sent out three now - issues for Sep, Oct, and Nov. I know it has been going to some people's junk mail filters. If you are subscribed and are not receiving it, please check your junk mail folders and consider adding to your "safe" list or "contact" list or whatever it is your email server has. Also, it seems that with every newsletter I send, a few don't make it out, and I'm not sure why. I guess it is the program that sends it. I'm trying to get it worked out, but please let me know if you're not getting them.

In other news...

Here are some of the things I have been working on lately, in preparation for our party and show. You can click on all the pictures to enlarge them.

Sterling silver byzantine chain maille weave bracelet. 240 hand cut and woven rings went into this:

This pair of earrings is made with hand forged sterling silver teardrops with a hand sawed and soldered copper heart (with sterling center). I love these!! I think I'm going to give the flower some texture and give it a light patina. I also plan to make them in all sterling soon:

Hammered sterling discs:

Over 100 hand cut and woven rings went into this Japanese flower weave necklace:

A few of you were wondering how my art swap gift was going to be made into jewelry. Well, here is one piece I made from one of the weave links sent to me. I have enough of it left over to make some kind of earrings, but they will have different stones. This bracelet has muscovite - they are a BEAUTIFUL color. After taking these links apart, I discovered that this is a pretty simple weave, so I will be making it for sure!

And finally, some earrings made with rectangles that were hand cut from copper and sterling sheet and given two different textures. I love these too! I have some sterling rectangles I cut that are going to be made into all sterling earrings and a very very large sterling circle that was given a really cool texture and will be a pendant, but those are not yet photographed.