mellymell: (Default)
So, yesterday sucked even worse than Saturday and I've tried and tried to come up with something that made me happy that wasn't just completely trivial, but I can't. So, here it is: Chris made gnocchi and scallops for dinner with a yummy sun-dried alfredo sauce. Mmmm, butter and cream.

Oh wait, also, the neighbor kids brought over a little bag of Christmas cookies. That was really sweet and the shining star on an otherwise shit day.

Today was definitely an improvement over the past three days.

I'm happy that I'm mobile again, though somewhat stiff and still sore. I have to take it easy and not do too much at once (that goes for anything, sitting, standing, typical house stuff, laying down) I have to stick to a regular cycle of work and rest. Rest has to be alternated between sitting and laying down. I can't sit for too long at all. But, I'm not in crippling pain, so YAY! Haven't even taken an ibuprofen today. I feel like I can work the rest of the kinks out with some diligent yoga (which I've been really needing to do anyway).

I'm happy that I got some of Chris' gifts wrapped so he'll stop snooping in the closets trying to find them.

I'm happy that I finally finished putting together [ profile] amaz0n_princess's CD! It was so hard not to cheat and send two CDs or to bend the rules and burn it as a data disc so I could fit more mp3s on there. But I was good and stuck to the rules and managed to squeeze 21 songs on there. See my halo? ;) Hope you like it! It was really hard to get the songs to flow from one to another since I wanted to cover such diverse musical territory. The cover song was easy to choose and I think she'll get why. The foreign song narrowed itself down fairly easily as well, though I wish I could have included the other two runners up (some other year, perhaps). But I got it down to 24 songs, 15 minutes over the max runtime, and then froze because I didn't want to cut any more. I really deliberated over this thing! Hope there's lots of stuff you don't already have. It'll be on its way to you tomorrow. :)

I also started working on the one commission I have this year for my brother-in-law's girlfriend. I'm finally doing the pieces of butterfly wings under glass cabochon pendants. I had found a second completely intact Monarch butterfly on my run on the beach in Florida last month (the first one was somewhat less intact). I held it in a loosely cupped hand for probably a mile or more. It's been fun to work on jewelry again and I started pulling out all sorts of other materials I could possibly put in these bezels. I've got silver, copper and bronze to work with. Lots of possibilities! I'm thinking brocade swatches. It's like everything I look at I think, "hmm, wonder what a piece of that would look like under glass".

I got my Christmas dinner menu planned. Not a single dish I've made before! Also, we are free from the shackles of obligatory turkey this year! FREEEEEEEEDOOOOOOMMM!! Chris always got a free one at Vandy for Christmas and since all our extra freezer space is full of beer and kept at refrigerator temps, we had to cook it soon after receiving it. I suppose we could have donated it to someone if we really wanted to, but honestly that thought hadn't occurred to me until just now. Anyhoo, we're doing Alton Brown's grilled leg of lamb with pomegranate molasses as well as his green bean casserole, a root gratin, zucchini mushroom crumble, roasted butternut squash with Moroccan spices, and roasted asparagus with balsamic browned butter. Oh, and I lied, I am making something I've made before: cranberry pumpkin yeast rolls.

Tomorrow is the last day for this meme, but life has been beating me down and I know it's only going to get worse after the holidays. So, I might keep it up. We'll see. Even if I could make it a weekly thing, I think I really need to focus on the positive in order to deal with the stuff that makes me want to simultaneously scream and cry.
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: (Default)

Dear Melanie,

Your Free DVD from Dale "Cougar" Armstrong and was gently taken down from our warehouse shelves with velvet gloves and placed on a satin pillow.

Ten of our most respected employees inspected the DVD, and polished the case and disc to ensure that the DVD arrives in your hands in the best possible condition.

When the packing specialist from Ogden, Utah, announced that the course was about to be placed in its box, a hush fell over the entire warehouse. Our entire staff watched in awe as he put the DVD in the most ornate gold-lined box that we could find.

We had a huge celebration in your honor afterwards, and the whole company marched up and down the aisles of Wire-Sculpture until finally the pilot said it was time to leave. The entire city of Ogden waved "Goodbye!" to your package on its way to you in our private Wire-Sculpture jet.

I hope you had an enjoyable time shopping at We sure had a great time shipping your DVD. We're all exhausted from your order, but we can't wait for you to come back soon!

If your DVD didn't arrive in a gold-lined box, don't blame the shippers. I might have exaggerated a bit. But we want you to know that we do value you as a client, and as a fellow wire jewelry artist.

The most exciting part of all is that within a few days, you'll be on your way to learning the secrets of the wire jewelry pros, as you begin your journey to become a successful wire jewelry artist!

Thank you once again.
mellymell: (Default)
  • Leave me a comment saying "Resistance is Futile."

  • I'll respond by asking you five questions so I can satisfy my curiosity

  • Update your journal with the answers to the questions

  • Include this explanation in the post and offer to ask other people questions

Q&A from verdaera )

Q&A from padawansguide )
mellymell: (Default)
  • Leave me a comment saying "Resistance is Futile."

  • I'll respond by asking you five questions so I can satisfy my curiosity

  • Update your journal with the answers to the questions

  • Include this explanation in the post and offer to ask other people questions

Q&A from willowredwolfe )
mellymell: (Default)
  • Leave me a comment saying "Resistance is Futile."

  • I'll respond by asking you five questions so I can satisfy my curiosity

  • Update your journal with the answers to the questions

  • Include this explanation in the post and offer to ask other people questions

Q&A from conciliate )
mellymell: (Default)
[Error: unknown template qotd]

Running and jewelry making. If I'm able to accomplish even a small amount of both, I'll feel fantastic. These are two things that have been drastically neglected while I've been doing other things. I hope to be done with gardening aside from maintenance by the end of the week (yes, I said this last week, but whatever). Then I want to be able to get back to the things I was doing before it got warm. There's a race in less than two weeks that I really wanted to run. Who knows, maybe I'll still register for it, just to see if I can pull it off. But lord knows I'm not really ready for it. Also, in the wish list is to find some time for sewing. I know, adding three things to the schedule in one month sounds enormous, but I think I can do it. Baby steps in each, that's all I ask.
mellymell: (Default)
I'll start with the jewelry. I posted a run down of what I accomplished this week at my jewelry journal. The first three are listed in my Etsy store. I want to put the last one on a necklace before listing it. I'm trying to get at least 20+ items in various price ranges up there before really trying to pimp market my store. I vowed not to work on the weekends so I still have time for hobbies. I plan to do some sewing this weekend while I'm not running a race and taking Jonah to his first circus. The next phase of my Angel gown has been pinned to the dressform for a couple of months now. Since I've been in the office working on jewelry this week, it's begging for some attention.

As for running a race, wouldn't Murphy's law strike the day before the race and have me coming down with some sort of funk. Yesterday, I woke up with big lump in a sore throat and a stopped up nose. Last night, it was pretty bad as I was going to sleep and I felt utterly miserable. This morning, I can't really tell if it's better or not, but I think it is. My throat is still a little sore and I'm definitely still stopped up, but the congestion feels like it's breaking up a little at least and the lump in my throat is gone. I'm popping handfuls of pills to try to fight it. Vitamin C, Zinc, Echinacea, B Vitamins (just for the energy boost, really) and Sudafed and Ibuprofen as needed. All things considered, I'm still going to run the race today. I just might need to go get some DayQuil beforehand. I figure if I can make it through the race and through the circus tomorrow, then I can collapse on Monday and be sick all next week if necessary. At least that's what I keep telling my body. As a courtesy to the Smial, I'm going to say that I'm definitely going to miss the book discussion tomorrow.

I'll do a report on my runs this week after the race today.
mellymell: (Default)
Towards the end of 2008, I created [ 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 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: (Default)
Chris broke his wedding band this week. It's nothing he did wrong. If anything it's what the jeweler did wrong. I just came right apart at the solder joint as best as I can tell. The only reason mine probably hasn't broken is that I tend to take it off when I'm going to do things like gardening or putting up a privacy fence. It seems like an easy fix for me, I just need some tools for it. Namely, I need a bastard file (seriously, that's what it's called), a soldering surface (charcoal block), solder, pickle, copper tongs, and I'd really like to get a different torch, one I know will work (and I found a nice hose torch for about $30 that just hooks to those disposable propane or MAPP tanks, and I don't have to actually hold the tank while soldering like I did in class). I could probably use some various grades of polishing papers as well, since I'll likely scar it up while repairing it. Oh, and I need a ring mandrel and a rawhide mallet as well, since I'll most likely have to bend it out of shape to solder it back together. Let's just hope I don't melt it. I did at least clean it up for him. Since he does wear it while doing things he probably shouldn't, it was quite tarnished in places and completely black on the edges. I took one of our stainless steel spoons and burnished it up nicely for him. Now it's shiny, but has a crack in it and I would imagine probably pinches as he's wearing it. Maybe after ALEP I can get the tools I need to fix it for him and start making some silver jewelry. I still want to get our bands and my engagement ring done in Platinum. The Sterling versions were really just supposed to be temporary.

Speaking of jewelry, I realized as I was messing with his ring that I've forgotten to go back and post better pictures of the ring I made in class.

So, I took some and here they are. )

Being my first piece, I keep seeing things I want to change about it. Mostly I just want to attack it with a file and get rid of the rest of the silver sheet backing you can see from above. It's also taken quite a beating since I made it, despite my best efforts to keep it safe. You might be able to tell in some of the pictures that a couple of the bands aren't perfect circles anymore. There's another need for a ring mandrel and some hammers.

Another repair job I've got in the queue is the chain for the gorgeous amber pendant Chris gave me for our anniversary this year. The first time I went to put it on, one end slipped out of its clamp. I tried using pliers to just bend it back around the chain, but it's not holding. I've since lost the clamp, but I've got some crimp ends I could try. I thought about some solder ones, too. I might try the crimps first and see if that works so I can at least wear it until I get soldering equipment.

It just dawned on me. . . I need an Evenstar for my Angel gown. There's no way in hell I'm going to try to make one before ALEP. I'll just have to make room in the budget to get one, probably from ebay since I don't plan to spend $100 on the Noble Collection one. Titania's Trove makes a nice one for at most $50 BIN (might get it as cheap as $30 if I watch an auction). I've seen others reselling their Noble Collection ones for cheaper, too (and some much more expensive, as much as $150!). I'll just have to see what I can find.

Now if I could only find motivation to actually use the tools and materials I've already got on hand, I'd have a huge inventory of pieces to try to sell. I did spend a bit of time this week gathering images and pulling from my own collection some photos I could use for banners on Etsy. Now I need to install GIMP and try to come up with some possibilities.
mellymell: (Default)
Mostly for my own reference (since I intend to sell jewelry online, I could potentially have customers in California and therefore would have to comply with this). I'm really not sure how much of it would apply to anything I typically work with (mostly sterling silver, gemstones, glass, wood, bone, shell, crystal, etc.), but it doesn't hurt to know regulations like this should I decide to branch out into other materials.

California laws regarding the sale of jewelry containing lead.

And a couple of other links on the subject: site with a FAQ
And the California State code on health and safety.
mellymell: (Default)
Today, I'm nursing what I believe to be a really bad sinus infection, just flared up yesterday out of no where. But everywhere I look this morning, I see talk of the confirmation of the Hobbit deal. 2010, hmm, lots of time to get a costume or two made. After all, I'll hopefully have a couple more done for A Long Expected Party later next year. I've got an overly ambitious list of costumes I want to do for it, but if I can manage a different one for each day, I'll be happy. Granted they won't be specifically for the Hobbit, but they will be Middle Earthy and so appropriate for perhaps a movie opening. If I could get a Galadriel ensemble done by then, I would be ecstatic.

On a sad panda note, the silversmithing class I was supposed to take yesterday was cancelled. I'm going to be in touch with the bead store that was hosting to see when they'll reschedule. There is a silver lining (no pun intended). We saved $200 that I felt guilty spending this close to Christmas. In addition to that good news, the instructor is sending me his $90 silversmithing CD set for free. So, hopefully I can get started with that with confidence on my own. Unfortunately, I didn't manage to get a wish list of jewelry tools to my mother-in-law in time, so I will have to start a collection of the necessities on my own. Of course, I do have a birthday in April, so we shall see. I'm sure I'm going to thoroughly enjoy all the sewing goodies she may have gotten me. Perhaps the muslin will keep me busy enough on the sewing front so that I can spend my monthly hobby budget on jewelry tools. In just a couple of months, I think I can get enough to get started doing some real work. Of course, then I have to buy materials too. Stupid $14/oz. prices on silver. When I first got into jewelry work a few short years ago, it was around half that!
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: (Default)
Yeah, I'm still alive. *Pearl Jam jumps to mind*

I finally got my pattern for v2.0 of the wedding gown. I emailed the girl I first bought it from four weeks after she supposedly mailed it. She replied apologizing saying she just found it in her mailbox returned because it was missing a zipcode. Two things are wrong with that, 1) there's only one zipcode in Owens Crossroads, AL and most of the time, they deliver it anyway (I've gotten mail without a zipcode before). 2) I seriously doubt it would take 4 weeks to return a package that was missing necessary information. I'm trying to decide if I should give her negative or neutral feedback on it. I don't want to assume she's lying in case she's not and needlessly ruin her 100% positive rating. But, either way, she still screwed up. Then there's the fact that I only paid $2 for it, so I just can't really be mad about it. Incidentally, I had given up on her when I didn't get it and didn't hear from her and hadn't received the pattern and I ordered it from someone else for $5. The two arrived yesterday.

So, last night, I cut out the pattern and started cutting out the muslin. I've gotten some new ideas in the four weeks I haven't worked on it. I'm not going to get into them all yet though. I'll see how they work out in muslin first. Another thing I'm contemplating is scratching the crepe and using white silk velvet. I wouldn't have to line it and therefore the cost comes out to about $.30 more than the cheapest place I could find the other two fabrics (which was Denver Fabrics and they're almost out of both of them and might not restock in time). In my head, it's starting to look like a white version of the Mourning gown.

My headpiece should have been started two days ago. I haven't heard back from her since she returned from vacation. I'll give her until Monday and contact her to see how things are progressing, or if they're progressing.

The jewelry set for the little girl went over very well with her parents. I've got pictures to post, but I haven't pulled them off the camera yet.

Man, it's really been two weeks!?
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: (ank)
So, I thought I'd share it on both journals. Only took me like two years to do it, but I finally made Chris' replacement necklace. But, inspiration knows when the time is right.

"Woden" )

Other [rather dark] pics here.

And I'm so incredibly happy to have music back at work again! But, I suddenly give a shit about ID3 tags. Putting my cataloging skills to good use fixing metadata on the astronomical amount of music we have. And for the record, I HATE iTunes! So, I'm using a Winamp plugin instead. My iPod appears as a device in the Media Library. Aside from just the interface being better on Winamp, I can listen to shns and flac as well (encodes them on the fly while copying them to the iPod). Since a massive chunk of our music collection is in flac, that's a huge plus for me.

It's a weird transition though. When I get up and go somewhere, the music goes with me. And it's not like back in the days of a Walkman, or a Discman. I don't notice this thing is in my pocket at all. It's like having 4GB of music in my head. Reminds me of the Family Guy where Peter gets his own theme music. :] Now to get some decent headphones that aren't earbuds.
mellymell: (gaia's jewel)
So, I finally put together a replacement necklace for one I made Chris probably two years ago now.

The creation of "Woden" )

"Icicle Spectrum" earrings )
mellymell: (br gown)
Chris and I have been home sick for two days. Well, actually, he went to work sick yesterday. I still had a fever, so I stayed home. It started as what we thought was food poisoning, but after about 12 hours of sleep, we awoke to flu symptoms. So we think we had the stomach flu. During that time, Chris put on a playlist of everything that was in the Simpsons folder. :] Was neat to watch them evolve from season to season.

I haven't been working on my dress. I'm to the point that if it's done, I'll take it and wear it for the overnight. If it's not, I'm not going to kill myself trying to get it done. It'll get done eventually, that's good enough for me. I just have this thought that if I don't feel like working on something, trying to force it is probably a bad idea. Actually, as I'm nearing the end of working on jewelry for Christmas, I'm feeling like working on it again. It may get done yet, who knows.

I still have 3.5 watches left to put together. I wound up adding another to my list. I got the backordered face in the mail yesterday and I'm thinking on whether to make one to sell or make one for another person. I'm thinking sell, since I've got stuff for pretty much everyone else on my list. No pics of the 2.5 pieces I finished yesterday (the last two necklace watches are done and I started on the charm bracelet watch). I started to take some pics, but the camera battery died and I couldn't find either of the other two batteries, nor could I find the charger. Hope to remedy that before they leave my hands.
mellymell: (gaia's jewel)
I'm stunned, simply stunned. Look at this stuff!


But specifically, look at this piece!


She's coming out with a book in the summer of 2006 on how to do that incredible filigree work. I met her on the jewelry arts list. Can you believe she's entered that gorgeous butterfly into two competitions and won nothing for it? Her name is Jeanne Rhodes Moen. She lives in Asheville, NC and is entirely self taught. I asked if she teaches any classes. Maybe I could go visit her next time we go through Asheville on a backpacking/hiking trip and see some of these pieces in person.


mellymell: (Default)

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