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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Two New Creations

Today was a day when I wished I had a light box for my pictures. The pictures for these two new pieces are so bad that I haven't listed them on Etsy yet because the pictures don't do them justice at all. The next time I have money I will be buying a neck form and a T-bar display for picture purposes and I am going to get the materials to make a lightbox.

This first one is a necklace, obviously. The middle bit is 11 inches of sterling silver viking knit, capped off with sterling bead cones and 6mm malachite rounds. The pendant is a hand-carved malachite pendant, carved by Matheson Gem Works on Etsy. The bail is handmade from sterling silver wire with spirals for interest. The necklace is finished off with more malachite beads and a simple sterling silver chain and a large lobster clasp. It has a 1" extender with a malachite dangle. This will be priced at about $120, I haven't done all the math on the price yet, so that's a rough figure.

These next earrings are made with larimar and sterling silver. Larimar is a rare stone found only in the Dominican Republic that ranges in color from white, to light blue, green-blue, and dark blue. While the pectolite it is formed of is fairly common, the light blue coloration caused by the substitution of cobalt for calcium in the mineral makeup of the stone. These are on hand-wrapped sterling silver headpins and sterling silver French earwires. They will be priced at about $25-$28. Due to the rarity and price of larimar, any earrings made of the real thing will be more expensive.

These have not yet been listed on Etsy since I have yet to get good pictures of either piece.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Save the Coast

As most of you know, BP oil has been fiddling around with their thumbs up their asses over this major oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. This leak is effecting thousands of people along the coast and devastating the wildlife.

A great artist on Etsy, jojosart, is doing something to help the situation.

This print is only $18.00, of which $10 will be donated to the Audubon Society to help save the wildlife on the Gulf Coast that is being effected by this oil leak. Any help is very much welcome and will keep our coast lines full of thriving life for generations to come. For more information, visit jojosart's Etsy shop.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Just... Wrong

Have you ever had one of those days where you feel as though you can't do anything right? I'm having one of those days. I have officially holed myself in my room upstairs so I don't inadvertently fuck something else up. It's early in the day, I don't need the headache all day, so I am being unsociable.

Laundry is going to get done, I'm going to clean the bathroom. Maybe the house will be presentable but I will still feel like shit at the end of the day. I can probably talk the husband into taking the miniature human out and about for a daddy-baby day out and next weekend or something we can actually have people over because everything will be CLEAN. I know this rant isn't specific, I'm just having one of those days isn't an excuse to bitch, but I don't like getting overly personal.

By the way, the Hospice sale ends tonight at midnight. Read my previous blog "Little Sale With a Big Heart" for more information on this sale.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Blunders of the Photographic Variety

Everyone says you need great photos in order to sell anything online. I have, however, seen my share of horrific photos in shops that seem to have sales out the wahoo. It is because of this observation that I have not yet made a light box for my photos yet. However, after today, I'm beginning to think maybe I should invest in the fabric and staples it would require...

We keep our apartment at roughly 70-72 degrees F. This is nice and comfy all year so we don't change it much. However, when you take a camera that has been in the 70-72 degree F temperatures outside into 95 degree F temperature, you get a moody camera. My lens fogged up and I got this atrocious image of some gorgeous malachite. Don't worry, fog makes everything look ugly.

Now, a while back I said I would post pictures of what viking knit looks like before you see the finished product in my shop. I'm warning you, it could have used a fogged lens to make it look a little better. Here is a picture of the same viking knit used on the malachite piece above, before it was drawn down into that lusciously flexible and dense chain.

This is only about 2 inches of the chain. Please excuse the lighting as I was sitting on my front porch holding it up. Appealing, eh? When weaving viking knit chain the resulting tube (pictured) is very stiff. You can't really move it much without digging the wire into your hand. I weave mine around a clickable Sharpie marker so it's easily removed and put back on. In order to make this ugly mess into something pretty and wearable, I must first finish the weave and pull it through a draw plate. I don't have pictures of me pulling it down yet, so maybe next time.

Several hours and some elbow grease later, you get this next picture.

The finished chain is approximately 11.25 inches long, including the beads on the end. So, it's not long enough for a necklace. This means I still have not made a solid viking knit necklace yet. I will. Don't worry. This 11.25 inch section took approximately 35 feet of wire. A full necklace piece will probably take about 70-80 feet of wire. But I digress.

The finished necklace will have three strands of malachite, onyx, and sterling silver beads to finish the length and make the necklace more substantial. One strand makes it look very plain and small, and I wanted this to have some weight to it and really make the malachite shine.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Guerrilla Advertising

I know I need to make fliers and leave them in places that allow me to. I also need to hurry up and get business cards and leave them in random places, too. However, I don't have the money to get business cards right now and I have no idea how people are getting these free business cards all over the place. If you know the secret, let me in on it.

This is not, however, the guerrilla advertising I am referring to. I went to BestBuy today and had an idea. It was a total *bing* moment when that little light came on over my head. We were at BestBuy looking at appliances and I suddenly realized that, "Hey! BestBuy has COMPUTERS!" So I wandered over and lo and behold, they had 4 iPads. I've never played with the iPad before. Ever. I'm not really interested in them all that much, though I would love to have the iPhone. I don't like the hype about them and that they're the "next big thing." But that's just me.

Anyway, I digress. They had 4 of these buggers all lined up in a row. I got on one and checked my Etsy shop and answered a conversation. Then it hit me - I could leave them all to where when someone got online on them, they would automatically be looking at my Etsy and Zibbet shops. This, my friends, is guerrilla advertising. Someone would be going to that iPad and looking and the moment they got online with it they would be looking at my shop. I did leave them to where they would be looking at my more popular items, and I did this with almost no prior planning. If I happen to actually get a sale through this, all the better, though I have no clue how I would even tell if I got a sale directly from doing this.

I am that person that goes from computer to computer in BestBuy and changes things on the computer or just plays with them. I have been known to go from one to the other and change the wallpapers on them to something more appealing than the stock images they use on the display units. I've even had one of the clerks follow me around because apparently what I was doing was suspicious. Ha! Who, me? This may be a frowned upon way to advertise, but hey, I've gotten on those computers and had to sign out of someone else's Facebook or something like that.

Well, that's it for now. I hope, at the very least, that you got a decent chuckle out of this post. :)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Recipe #1

Yeah, I don't know if this casserole has an official name, but here it is. We call it hamburger cornbread casserole because those are the main components. It's very easy to make, and doesn't take very long.

Hamburger meat - we use 2-2.5 lbs ground 80/20 hamburger, but we eat a lot.
1 can Rotel, whichever one you like best, we use original.
Worcestershire sauce - I just dump some in, no need to measure.
Chili powder - I sprinkle some on, doesn't have to be a lot.
Shredded cheese
Cornbread - your favorite mix or whatever you use, a bigger pan will need two mix packages.

How to make it:
Brown the hamburger meat. While it's cooking, sprinkle on salt, pepper, chili powder and Worcestershire sauce. Just eyeball it. You're going to be the one eating it, so season to your taste. Once the meat is browned, drain it. Open the can of Rotel and dump it in with the meat and stir it so it's well mixed. Dump this whole lot into a baking pan (I use a Pyrex 9x13x2) and sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top. If you like cheese, use a lot. If not, don't use a lot. It's up to you. Mix your cornbread according to the package and double for the larger pan (I have to double the cornbread). Mix it well so you don't have lumps. Pour the cornbread over the meat and spread it out as even as you can get it. It doesn't have to be perfect, and it might not look too pretty right now. Bake the dish according to the cornbread directions.

You can also sprinkle cheese over the top of the cornbread before you bake it, but in my experience it turns brown... Tastes good, but if your kids go off appearances they may not eat that. If you like a spicier dish, add some chopped chiles to the mix, or a chopped jalapeno. If you like sweet cornbread, that works well with this dish. I bet jalapeno cornbread would be wonderful.

To serve, just cut it out like you would a normal casserole and enjoy it as is or make a pot of beans with it. Pinto beans go real well with this dish. It's simple and easy and delicious. Instead of a big meal with so many separate dishes, this one has everything all in one bowl. If you make beans with it, you don't even need a separate bowl to eat them with. Down home cooking at it's most comforting.