mellymell: (Default)
A lengthy, photo heavy entry on our trip to Asheville is festering in the browser on my laptop, but there's other stuff going on... mostly gardening.

Today, we had to bid farewell to our largest tree. I noticed while I was out in the yard with Jonah on Monday that it was leaning considerably. We've been keeping an eye on it for a couple of seasons; watching it lose large branches & develop holes between the roots & the soil. A guy came out to look at it yesterday morning & suggested we get it cut out as soon as possible. The tree had three leads that met on about a 2 or 3 foot tall trunk. The lead that aimed directly at our neighbours' house had developed a crack all the way through the trunk to the ground. I'm honestly not sure what was still holding it up. Once we accepted his bid, he called up his climber to come out & help him tie it off to one of the other two leads, which were still sturdy & healthy, so it wouldn't fall on our neighbours' house overnight before they could get back out this morning. Now there's a huge hole in the yard & I don't just mean the one in the ground. The whole yard is changed it seems. We're going to go out this weekend & find the biggest maple we can get to replace it.

On the plus side, while they were out here, we had them cut out the burning bush which was way too big of a shrub to be where it was (I had to severely prune it twice each spring), as well as the two holly stumps that WILL NOT DIE! Both of those had been cut out before we bought the house. Both stumps kept sprouting up from the roots. One was in the front garden where I wrestled with its roots every spring & fall as I was planting. I'm very glad to have those all gone! I also just realized that was the last of the landscaping that was done before we got our hands on this place. All prior foundation plantings are now gone. I can now finish putting in the rest of the 8 flats of pansies I started planting last weekend, unobstructed by stupid holly roots.

Also, we just now have the first tomatillos on our plant. Lots of them! Hope they finish before frost.

Other than that:
I'm wrestling with fabric options for my bridesmaid dress (wants vs budget vs fabric snobbery) as I begin putting together my mockup.

Jonah's potty tra ining is still going well with slow but frequent improvement.

We've got one more "free" weekend before we pretty much have stuff every weekend until the end of the year.

We finally have another soccer game this weekend. We missed 2 weeks ago & last weekend was a bye. I'm sure Jonah has missed it.

Jonah's teacher asked me about my jewelry yesterday which sent me scrambling to renew expired listings after handing her a business card. I'm utterly embarrassed by how much I've neglected that stuff. I've got a ton of stuff that needs to be photographed & listed. A ton of stuff that I made almost a year ago & never listed. Yes, it's despicable. My last entry on my jewelry blog was freaking lamp pulls! Maybe I can squeak out an hour or two per week to devote to this. Agggh! Too much stuff, no time!

I'm just not even going to think about writing again until after the new year. Okay, one quick thing: it's important that my romance is just something to get readers emotionally invested in the characters & that it doesn't become the focus of the story. A romance is not a plot! I refuse to even open my document for fear of getting sucked in (or seeing how bad it is after some distance). After talking to some people about it at Dragon*Con, I realize just how many questions are still unanswered. I've only scratched the surface here. Huge project is ENORMOUS! I think my next big question to answer will be "why is there a war & how does that all fit in?" I've got to stop filing these away under "answer eventually" & start picking them off one by one until the blanks are filled.

I suppose I'll stop rambling & relax some tonight. The weather is absolutely gorgeous lately, if not a little chilly for my tastes at night. Having the windows open during the day has been nice, except for today when I was inundated by the smell of two stroke engines. Maybe I'll get the Asheville post fished up tomorrow.

Posted via LjBeetle
mellymell: (elseworld batgirl)
Distinctive Fabrics is sort of on my shit list right now, but only in a mild annoyance sort of way. Does it really take a week from the time two swatches are ordered to mail them out in a little first class standard letter envelope? Really? Took less time in transit than it did for them to ship the order. Good thing I'm not in a huge hurry with it. Also good thing these are exactly what I need.

One is a 2-way stretch PVC vinyl in black. The knit backing on it will work just fine on its own for the matte outer side of the cape and of course the shiny side will be perfect for the shiny inside of the cape as well as the shiny kneepads. It doesn't ravel in the least either, so that means I won't even have to hem it. The other was a 4-way stretch spandex lycra to make all the other little parts and pieces that I need, like the fabric cowl, boot fakes and anything else that comes up. It also doesn't ravel and will not need hemming. I think I'm going to be lazy and just buy a pair of gloves. They only really need to be wrist length and I don't feel like making them. Both fabrics are very lightweight, which is fantastic (was worried about cape being heavy if it had to be lined or vinyl was too thick). So, I'll order a couple of yards of each today. Hopefully they'll get here next week sometime, but who knows. Yes, even though I was a little irritated that it took them so long to ship just some little swatches and they still have their silk/rayon velvet listed as 100% silk even though we all know it's not, I'm still ordering from them.

Went to Michael's after dropping Jonah off to school this morning. Of course after I bought a roll of white foam, they now have rolls of black in stock. My roll is still unopened and I still have the receipt, so I'm going to take it back when I pick Jonah up this afternoon. It doesn't really matter, mostly, but if paint or anything flaked off, I think I'd want black rather than white underneath. I've got to start remembering coupons when I go to Michael's. Picked up the paper clay I forgot to get on my last trip, for doing details on the helmet and smooting joint edges on the foam for the rest of the pieces.

From there, I pulled out my phone to figure out where the nearest beauty supply store might be to pick up a couple of styrofoam head forms (luckily there was a Sally's right down the street, love my phone when it's handy). As it is now, I've got my Arwen wig, elven headpiece and pirate hat all piled on top of each other on the one glass head I have. Plus, I need one I can pin into and form around for the helmet.

Speaking of the pirate hat, I need to put a band inside it to keep it from stretching out and consider getting a hat jack for it. Oh yeah, and need to tear it up at some point too, but need to have a camera handy when I do. I want to do a distressing tutorial with it.

In other news, after sleeping on it and looking at yesterday's horoscope again (mentioned working extra hard on career matters right now or regretting it later), I decided to do an elementary school craft fair where I was invited to be a vendor via an Etsy convo. It's the same weekend as the Superhero 5k. As much as I'm dying to do that race (2nd year I've missed it), I'm going to have to put it off another year. If I want to grow my business, I can't turn down opportunities like this. Booth fee is $50 (10% off if I get them payment by Friday), but I could stand to make a decent amount of money if I can build enough inventory by then. Perhaps more importantly, I can hand out lots of business cards and get my name out locally. I really want to get into doing shows because I think ultimately, that's how my jewelry is going to move. I'm lost in a sea of other jewelers online.

Batgirl work will not cease! I still plan to have it ready by Halloween and will probably just wear it then.
mellymell: (Default)
Although it seemed busy, most of this past weekend was spent just puttering around the house doing stuff, yet still being quite productive.

Friday - Jonah and I went to the zoo for much of the late morning/early afternoon. So, I didn't run, but I did walk and sweat and push a stroller around the zoo for about 3 hours. Felt kind of good to see people my own age that we seemed to lap around the zoo. I'd see them looking wilted on a bench somewhere while their kids were checking out the nearest animal. I'm glad I can still keep up with Jonah. Trying desperately to keep it that way. Baby tigers are gone (last day was Father's Day, I believe). Didn't take many pics and only took the ones I got with the camera phone. I really like that we have a membership. For the cost of the gas to get there plus $3 ($1 to feed nectar to the Lorikeets and $2 to ride the carousel), we can have a really fun day at the zoo. We've well more than paid for our membership by now and the year is only half over. Plus special events like the Easter and Halloween things are free to us (since they're only the cost of admission for everyone else).

Saturday - I finished getting the last of seven new items listed in my Etsy store. Messed around on my gaiasjewel accounts everywhere, trying to catch up with email for those addresses and such. Then, early that evening, we got ready and drove out to Leiper's Fork to a pig roast. I've got a picture that I'll probably post later. But I must warn you, if you're not comfortable knowing where your meat comes from, you might not want to look at it. To me, it was kind of satisfying to pull a hunk of pork directly from the side of the pig that was providing it. They had way too much food for such a small group though. A 200 lb. pig and there couldn't have been much more than 20 people there. It was refreshing that everyone brought salads and nice fresh stuff. Two pasta salads, a mixed green salad with raspberries and almonds that was really good, some fresh salsa that tasted just like my dad's only hotter, a black bean and corn salad and a black eyed pea salad (that I didn't see until I was definitely done eating, or I would have liked to have tried it). One of the landowners made some awesome chess pies, too! Was a lot of fun, but we ducked out shortly after 8pm since Jonah was starting to show that he was overstimulated and getting tired.

Sunday - Chris brewed. Jonah and I went for a run and played around the house. I cleaned up some, did some laundry, worked on some jewelry then made stuffed shells for dinner (yum, with sauteed mushrooms and zucchini in the stuffing). Then I had an extremely restless night of not much sleep and I'm not really sure why.

And that's about it. More along the lines of what I've been wanting out of a weekend for a while. One short event and some quiet time at home. Now I'm bored, heh.
mellymell: (muderous trolls)
So, I just got a call from GoDaddy wanting to "make sure we had all the information correct" for my recent domain purchases. Yeah, whatever. They were totally trying to sell me crap.

Right off the bat, he mentions I didn't buy their private Whois listing and made sure I understood that made me vulnerable to telemarketers and such (oh, the irony!). Then, he asks what I'm going to use the sites for. Of course, I say business, even though I registered it as a "personal site" (mostly because I didn't want to have to register it for 3 years, which is the minimum for a business site). So, immediately, he wants to try to sell me a shopping cart and wants to know if I'm doing my own web work (basically wants to know if I want to buy hosting and website builders and anything else they offer as far as I could gather).

Then, he wants to "correct" my order and change it to a business registration, which, as I mentioned, has a minimum registration of 3 years. Before I can even say much about it, he immediately tries to sell me on 5 years because it "makes a better impression, that you're committed to the business and you're not going anywhere." C'mon, how many people shopping for jewelry are going to go look me up and see how long I've registered my domain for? Really!

Anyway, he puts me on hold for a few minutes because I'm curious about how much extra that would cost, in the interest of attempting to be as legitimate of a business as possible right off the bat. Since I used a "new registrations only" coupon code for the .net and .org registrations, he of course can't apply it to the extension he's trying to sell me now. So, he's got to get approval to give me the same discount I got when I placed the order. He comes back and tells me all this convoluted bogus math about how I'll save $13. That's retarded because that's what I saved on one year with the code. If he applied it properly, I'd save $26 because I was theoretically adding two years to the one year I bought two days ago. He tells me that including the $25 and change I spent the other day, it would cost me $79 to do the three domains for three years and switch to a business registration.

I apologized to him that he went through so much trouble for it but declined and said, just leave it the way it is and I'll consider it for next year when it expires. He gets a desperate sounding tone and says that it wouldn't be as good as starting off right at first with it because I will have already built up history with the "personal" site and some such nonsense. I tell him I don't really care and I don't feel it's that important. His big thing was how my site will sit in rankings, and I'm just not sure that's going to matter much this first year since I'm not banking much on commerce through the site this year. I'll be happy just to have content there by the end of the year, honesty. He didn't exactly get huffy, but he very abruptly finished the call after that, making it crystal clear that this was a sales call, not a call to confirm information like it was originally made out to sound.

I'm sorry, but if you want to sell me something, don't be deceptive about it, just say you want to sell me something. I'll definitely not be going with them for hosting, not that I was considering it to begin with.
mellymell: (Default)
Towards the end of 2008, I created [livejournal.com profile] gaias_jewel and now in light of the potential, though not likely LJ troubles, I got gaiasjewel over at InsaneJournal (just like my main journal, there won't be any content there unless something happens to LJ). I intend to use it as a very informal blog and an in for various jewelry communities for the jewelry business I'm starting this year. For a more professional blog, I've got Blogger and WordPress accounts, but there's not really anything at either of those yet.

Oh yeah, by the way, I'm starting a jewelry business this year. It's called, you guessed it Gaia's Jewel. I've registered gaiasjewel.com as well as .net and .org (they'll all point to the .com site, I just don't want someone else grabbing the domains and potential customers being confused by similar sites). I'm even going to look into trademarking the name. I appreciate the tips on domain registration and hosting. I registered with GoDaddy but have not chosen a host yet. I especially appreciate the tip to look for GoDaddy coupon codes before registering. I got the .net and .org domains for less than $8 each (originally priced $12.99 and $14.99 respectively).

I also have an Etsy store, but there's nothing there yet, either. I really just wanted to go ahead and get all the web stuff set up at the end of the year while I couldn't really do jewelry work even if I wanted to. I may not use it all, or I may just set up feeds so I can update one and they're all updated. Once I get the site set up, I may integrate the blog into it so everything else might disappear. But I wanted to have it there in case I wanted to use it.

Now to clear my work space and get some content for all these sites.
mellymell: (gaia's jewel)
This is torture. Inspiration and motivation strikes in a huge way for jewelry work and I'm stuck drawing diagrams of where I want tables put for the wedding reception. *sigh* I haven't gotten a single moment to work on my gown and I'm getting really antsy about that. I was planning to work on it all day Sunday, but no, I wound up having to work with Chris on a carpentry project.

Explaining the carpentry project and rambling about wedding stuff )

So, ok, onto what inspired me to post. . .

I've been following a jewelry marketing class lately. Don Norris has generously offered a free "class" in the form of a Yahoo group called jewelrymakingforprofit. We're on lesson three right now, not sure when the next one will go up. It's a neat forum to use for teaching because people can discuss everything together rather than just filling in answers or doing our "homework". We can talk about what we tried and what worked, or brainstorm ideas for things to try. From this, he's writing a book and using our experiences as proof of his methods of selling. Thus far, he says, make a line of $20 pieces and make as many of those as you need to pay your bills. Spend only one day making them and only invest $5 per piece for materials. Then go out and sell those every chance you get during the week. These are your "living". Then he allows the rest of the week for "gallery" pieces or the higher end things that go for more than $100. Basically the pieces we're all doing this for anyway.

I've gotten so many good ideas and I just really want to focus on jewelry making now. But it has to wait for at least another couple of months. I just can't spend the time on it right now. I'm still taking the class and all, but I can't put anything into practice yet.

Also, on the Metal Clay group, Yvette, I don't know if you noticed the post today about "Priscilla's earrings" but what a fantastic idea! Here's the front and here's the back (to anyone else looking, I think you have to be a member of the group and logged in to see the photos section). What she did for the gold designs was took PMC Gold 22K and made it into a paste. Then, she painted it on (3 layers) using stencils that she said she found here. She painted it onto unfired silver metal clay, then fired everything together. I took a look at the stencils on that page, and there are several that are very Elvish or Rohirric looking. Just a bug in your ear when you're dabbling in PMC. ;]
mellymell: (gaia's jewel)
'Forest Floor' another masculine necklace, and me being a geek about jewelry inventory )

So, enough about that, back to sewing. I haven't progressed on the wedding gown, felt lazy last night and Tuesday night was the brew club meeting. Monday night I think we did some cleaning instead and I just never got to it. Week nights are still jam packed, even though there are no more late nights now with Chris out of school.

However, I spent maybe 30 minutes last night playing with a wrap skirt design using the silk velvet that I tried so desperately to turn charcoal grey. It's a lovely color in itself and I think I'm going to follow through with this design for some everyday clothes (with just a touch of elvish flair). The color of the velvet goes so lovely with the silver sash belt. I took some pics of it, but I think I might also try to sketch out an idea. But no projects will get attention until the wedding gown is done. I've also got on hold a silk shirt using a paisley jacquard (that needs to be dyed) and paisley silk velvet for the sleeves. If the dyes come out like I hope, it would go nicely with this skirt.
mellymell: (gaia's jewel)
Re-listed my leftover pieces, hoping some of them sell. Lowered some prices, got rid of BIN, but forgot to add gallery to the earrings, d'oh! *fingers crossed*

Maybe after Halloween, I'll make some new stuff and try to have a trunk show in town. Maybe even a joint venture with [livejournal.com profile] tripiq if they're willing.
mellymell: (gaia's jewel)
Got 7 of 10 pieces listed to ebay. Ok wait, 6 of 9, one listing is just an assortment of bone beads that I really want out of my house. You should be able to search for Gaia's Jewel and find all of them (I put it in the title in the hopes to build a "label" of sorts). I've got pictures ready for 2 of the remaining three and descriptions to write for them all. Fingers crossed for success. Even if I don't make a dime, it's been fun.

I figure what doesn't sell will go into a pile for a trunk show here in town next month. I know of a couple of local shops that I'm sure would be grateful for such an event. We're so starved for culture in Alabama, most artists and merchants jump at the chance to promote something of that nature. And there's the Monte Sano Art Show this weekend I'm going to check out. That might be a venue of opportunity as well.

Chris has been giving me nightly coding lessons. Tuesday night, I started on the basics of Python. Wednesday, he helped me with some CSS for the ebay listings (not that I needed to use CSS for it, but I want to use it for my website as I start building it, so I thought I might as well learn on something as simple as an ebay listing). We didn't have a lesson last night, but he said he wanted to switch back to Python. I find CSS more useful (not really needing to write "serious code" outside of work, and for that stuff, I've been using my very limited Perl knowledge). Next thing I know, he'll be wanting to teach me Zope so that I can help him with his home automation software he's working on. *sigh* I'm marrying a total nerd. He programs for the fun of it. While I'm working away on jewelry and costumes, he's sitting coding for the fun of it on his laptop. Oh well, he thinks I'm nuts for my hobbies too. I guess we're both nerds in our own way.

I've decided to jump into the muslin for the Blood Red gown this weekend. I'm realizing it's the middle of September and I haven't started on Halloween costumes yet. If I don't start now, I'll never get done! I don't know why, but I'm nervous to start this gown.
mellymell: (gaia's jewel)
Boxes should be arriving early next week so that I can start listing stuff. Not that I actually think I would have sold anything this fast. But, it's kind of like writing a check "knowing" that a deposit was going to go through to cover it before the check made it through. There's that chance that you're wrong. I want these pieces to go out in proper packaging, and I want to be prompt with shipping (instead of waiting on boxes for however long).

I also ordered some more beads. Couldn't resist. Besides, I've noticeably dwindled my collection. Several empty spots in my containers. I stocked up on Hill Tribes silver, love the stuff!

I've gotten two more necklaces and a pair of earrings done today. I also got new pics of all the necklaces in a very interesting light. Here's the Gaia's Jewel stuff. Each piece has a proper name now. I don't feel like they're complete without a title of some sort. I like the way how the latest pics turned out. It just so happened that for most of them, there was a "spotlight" of sun on this moss-covered stump. With the new growth around it, makes for a nice, natural pedestal. I love my front yard!

By the way, the pendant on that stump is a white turquoise pendant that one of my best friends gave me as an early wedding gift (last year). I intend to make something really special out of it but have been wearing it on that chain for nearly a year.

And here's Delphine my personal piece and current favorite of the lot. Of course I'm going to keep my favorite, heh. Plus, the pendant is actually from a necklace that has been mine for years. Wouldn't feel right selling it.

When my order gets here, I'll have an earring stand so I can get pics of all of those.
mellymell: (gaia's jewel)
For me, when motivation and creativity comes, it can't be ignored, lest it be wasted. I've felt very stagnant on sewing since I got back from our trip. But instead, I've been working on dwindling my jewelry supplies and working up some finished inventory to auction off on ebay (as soon as I get boxes to ship them in). This is kind of a test for me. While I have a job and steady income, I'm going to see how well I do with this as a side "business" (ebay store to be named Gaia's Jewel, once I get enough sales under my belt and if the individual auctions do as well as I hope). If I do well enough, I might be able to get by on jewelry making as a source of income when I start school (hopefully next fall).

So, here's what I've got for sale so far. The pics are poor quality (need more light), and I hope to get better ones in the next couple of days. Also need an earring display so that I can take pics of the earrings I've made to go with the necklaces (all but the elephant necklace will be sold as an earring/necklace set). The first three pics of earrings are pieces I did quite a while ago and never got around to selling. I might not get the price that's on them, but I'd be happy getting $5/pair (which is probably what I'll list them as).

The rest has been done in the past 4 or 5 days. In most cases, I took apart necklaces I did a long time ago on that black rubber cording stuff. I think the beaded strands look much more elegant (and can pull a higher price tag, especially all that iolite, wasn't cheap, that's for sure). The wire wrapped pieces I did a while back as well (about the same time as the earrings). Looking forward to getting into that again. Unfortunately, these were done before I started using sterling silver wire. These are likely nickel craft wire, but I can't remember for sure (there will be a disclaimer on the auctions that it will discolor). If anyone is interested in a piece, let me know, and I'll give you a deal on it.

My favorite one I made last night. I don't have pics yet, but it won't be up for sale. It's a necklace of mine, again, on black cording, that I took apart and paired with gems that I think suit it much better than what it was with (it's now with peridot, rainbow moonstone, amethyst and a little bit of moss agate and Hill Tribes silver, the pendant is a polished shell which I'm not sure how to describe). I should have taken a before and after pic. It's amazing how you can take the same pendant, and in some cases the same beads, and string them differently with some different materials and turn it from an everyday piece to a special occasion piece.

Also, while looking over my jewelry making inventory, I ran across this, which I've had for years and never intend to use. Yvette, with your work on Aladdin, I thought you might get better use of it. Drop me an email at mellymel_hsv at yahoo.com with your address and I'll gladly send it to you if you think you can use it. It's about 2"x2".

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