Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Random Thoughts

I Made this version of my "Valerie" necklace alittle  grungier.  I like the mix of the "soft" flowers but in the harder, edgier blacks and coppers.
The bad box saga continues.  I'm waiting on Paypal to make a decision before I can do anything else.  I finally got my refused box back.  The ironic bit?  According to Paypal's website (and what I've heard from other friends ) they often just have you "return" the item to the seller for a full refund which they give out, not the seller.  Since I've already tried that and had my box refused not sure how that will work out.  I can tell you I am going to be very upset if they think I should ship the box back to the seller again.  But, just in case that is the resolution I am not touching my returned box.. it's sitting the the studio unopened.  If I have to spend yet more of my money to ship it back to that person again, All I have to do is slap new tag on it. 

I've decided to keep my "good" box as a special treat for now.  I have a couple of large shows coming up in September and I really need to start getting inventory made for them, NOW!  So I have promised myself I can't touch my good box unless I've made my goals for the week.  I know, sounds silly, but I'm also hitting that part of the year where I'm just TIRED.  I'm starting to have creativity fatigue. 

We have had shows almost every week and will continue to do so until the end of September.  I have just 1 weekend off in August.. so I really need to get crackin'.  Now that Jerry has a short break before school starts up again, he's promised to start tearing things apart.  I have a couple of older clocks in the pile and a toy cash register ( so cute!) as well as a real cash register and all kinds of other goodies that are in need of deconstruction.  I bet some of the new pieces will start up the creative juices as well. 

I bought a bunch of new shirts recently.  It's amazing how wearing a new shirt you love can help bring some joy to your day.  I even got a compliment on my "new shirt" of today.  Nothing like a compliment  out of the blue to make you feel good!

Just that little lift can raise your spirits!

Course chocolate can work too.

I had a couple of folks comment on that Zombie walk pic I put up Monday.  Honestly it's hard to find pictures of me and Jerry together, it was the first one I came across so that's what I used.   We met at a science fiction convention, so  using a zombie pic fits the general framework of our marriage! 

Right now Jerry and I are both reading the Honor Harrington books by David Weber.  It's been awhile since we have read a series together -- and really nice ! Not that we ever run out of things to talk about, but it's funny the different takes we have on the series.  He loves all the science stuff, while I sort of skim that part.  It has a bunch of strategic and tactical exposition which we both enjoy. And it has a creature that more or less is a six armed telepathic cat. Mr. Weber is extremely hard on his characters, but not in a bad writing kind of way.. it's a war that has so far lasted 10 years.  People die in wars, bad things happen in wars.  It's got a real realistic edge to it, without ever losing hope.

I would recommend it to any science fiction fans out there.. good stuff.

Monday, July 29, 2013


Zombies in love (Kat and Jerry at Des Moines' Zombie Walk 2011)
Busy Busy Busy.  *BUT* I had to stop, and take a moment to appreciate that tomorrow is my 19th wedding anniversary.


Love ya Honey, here's to many, many more. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Now this is what on-line buying SHOULD be like!!!

Look! no split seam!!
I removed a top layer of padding, to reveal -- mostly more tightly packed padding.  everything arrived safe and sound in this box!

this is most of what I got!
Gorgeous!! I already made this one into something!

drool drool drool... most of these pieces have the fancy engraving!  and look at the kewl bonus vintage advertising wood box!

Top cluster of crystals and glass is from a old 50-60's rhinestone necklace.  I added a inked dragonfly, and a vintage Czech crystal drop.  YUM!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Last week, felt great, this week.. not so much..... long post about buying online

What I was expecting  - drool drool drool

I just spend $88.50 for 16 gears /cogs, and one of them is damaged. 

Warning, this is a long blog.

Let me start this explanation with a quickie preface.

Some months ago I purchased a 2 lb lot of old clock parts, mainly cogs and gears. When the package arrived, it weight 20.4 oz. As I’m sure you know, each pound = 16 oz. That means the package was missing almost 12 oz. (That’s 36% short!) If the package had been off just an oz or 2, I wouldn’t have said anything.. but almost a third of the value wasn’t there.

What actually arrived..
Now anyone can make a mistake, and I advised the seller, and she quickly made good on it by sending me 2 lbs more. I was extremely pleased with the quick fix and the gears and I found myself checking her site from time to time, looking for more big lot deals. I was completely satisfied and I thought the dealer was happy with the fix also. 

No big deal, right? 

Earlier this month I bought from this vendor again, this time 9 pounds. When the box arrived, it was banged up and seemed.. “light”. I weighted it around 3.5 lbs unopened. Opening the box was a huge disappointment.. it had half a dozen large heavy pieces I can’t possibly use, 16 cogs and a small smattering of other little bits, including broken plastic shards ( from a box?) There was one smallish piece of bubble wrap, and large, dirty, and empty plastic bags.

I admit when the box first came up short, I did think of the earlier event.. and wondered if someone was trying to pull a fast one on me.

I was livid, convo’d the seller, and I admit, I might have been overly strong in my typing. 

I should have taken a deep breath, checked the box more closely and generally used my brain instead of panicking. 

it’s sooo hard to communicate on the net sometimes, because people can read more or less into the words you put down.. you miss all the non verbal cues that modify what is expressed. I asked if another box was coming, maybe she had to split up the lot? Because it was almost 6 lbs short. I didn’t accuse her of shorting me on purpose, but I can see on a reread how that could have come across that way. I admit, to my shame, I was certainly thinking it was possible.

She was very logical & professional in her reply, stated it weighted 9.4lbs on shipment, and maybe there was a hole and things leaked out? She offered to refund my $$ if I shipped it back. I did a mental double take, and went back to the studio to investigate, and discovered the box was in worse shape than I realized. It was all taped back up by the time I got it, but it’s obvious one entire corner of the box had split open at some point, and that the missing items were probably lost in the mail. 

In my defense I’ve gotten boxes from the PO that got mangled in machines there, and they would be taped up.. but the tape was yellow and marked as from the post office. This was fixed with clear tape. Maybe the post office doesn’t use special tape anymore? Maybe who ever fixed it, presumably in the PO, didn’t use the correct “damage” tape? I honestly have no idea. If the damaged tape had been used it would have made my life easier !! 

As it is it makes me sick to think of all those lovely vintage cogs lost , probably ended up swept up and thrown in the garbage.
And what it came in.. the pinched in damaged corner.. how did I miss this the first look I took?
Examining the box corner, it almost looks like it blew out from the inside.. the inside seam separated, it’s not a tear or rip. Priority boxes are made tough, but if one of the bigger pieces wasn’t packed tightly, I could see it rolling around and hitting the box with enough force during shipment to punch the side open. 

However, I’m not a forensic shipping specialist, (wouldn’t that be a kewl job?) so it could a defective box or the PO playing soccer with it, or fill in the blank. I can’t know for sure. 

The only thing I do know for sure is 2/3rds of the boxes contents went bye-bye before it reached my porch-step. And they were the 2/3rd I really wanted.

At this point, I’m completely satisfied that it was a shipping misadventure, so I agreed to ship it back to her for a refund on the lot ( minus shipping) So I folded the old box in the bottom of a new box, added a bunch of bubble wrap to ensure everything was snug and got it in the mail asap.

The box arrived at her location, but it wasn’t dropped off, as I requested signature required. It was waiting for her pick up. After a couple of days, I asked her to get it picked up so I could get my refund.. she responded she was out of town for the week.

Monday I checked with the po as I hadn’t heard anything, and she had rejected the package, and it’s winding it’s self back to me.

OK, trying not to jump the gun again, I asked her what is going on. 

Apparently she’s now decided I’m a thief, and I ripped her off last time and I’m planning on ripping her off again this time. She seems to think the 1st package months ago wasn’t short, I just said it was to get more goodies, and it worked so well last time I’d do it again.

So not only am I a Thief, but I’m a stupid one. 


Could we make that decision before I mailed back the package, costing me another $13.50, because you TOLD ME TO?? 

Could we have had a discussion prior to shipping it back about your concerns? 

 She offered, up front, in her very first response, a refund if I shipped it back. Had she accepted the package (as she should of as she requested it) she would have seen the damaged box.

She feels she has “proof” that I scammed her the first time. My feelings on that? Why didn’t we have this discussion months ago??

 When I told her it was under weight, she immediately offered to make it right, and she did. There wasn’t any couching of terms.. it was a direct and swift “sorry let me make it better” 

When this 2nd box came around.. it wasn’t just listed on her Etsy.. I saw a reserved listing for someone else, asked hey can I get that too? And she made up a box for me. 

Why would she do that if she thought I ripped her off the first time?? 

As for proof, she thinks the tracking id’s of the package will show she mailed in the correct amount.

 I have 3 thoughts on this. 

1st, again, if she had “proof” why didn’t this come up back in December??

 2nd, if she is using postage off the web, she’s entering the weight herself, and the post office won’t care if she “paid” too much postage, they weigh them but only to make sure the PO isn’t cheated. Besides if she sent it priority flat rate last time(and I think she did) so they really don’t care about the weight anyway. 

 3rd, maybe she’s confusing my 1st package that was underweight with the make up package, which was probably around 2 lbs originally promised. ( I really need to dig through my emails, it’s possible I have the tracking id’s somewhere ) 

So now I’m disputing the charges via PayPal. I feel I did everything I was supposed to, and she should refund my money. I mailed back what was left of her package, but she refused it. I am not sure at this point who will “win” ….. 

No actually, no one is a winner in this situation. 

We both loose on this deal… even if I “win” most or all of my original money back via paypal, I’m still left with a very bad taste in my mouth. I don’t like thinking someone thinks so poorly of me. I know it shouldn’t matter but it does. 

I lose a supplier of very neat components that are getting hard to find. 

She loses a good buyer. (OK she might quibble with that.. but honestly she has listings up right now I was contemplating. I also know she’s sort of got a time limit on selling this stuff; I was toying with making an offer on all the “good stuff” remaining, or at least a decent chunk of it. Not going to happen now though, is it?) 

I’m sure (at least in my fair minded moments – I’m only human so not all my moments are fair minded about this right now) she’s a good person, so I bet she’s as stressed out about all of this as I have been. 

And she’s added to her karma debt for her actions in this.

I can actually see her side in this up to a point. 

She doesn’t know me from Adam, and it’s really bad luck to have similar problems twice with the same customer.. so maybe they were “manufactured” problems. (though again, the first package wasn't damaged in shipment, and it was underweight.. but she's doing alot of packages.  it's easy to get confused.  )

I can honestly understand if she had reservations on this whole situation. 

The point is when she refused the package. 

I think that is what bothers me the most. 

 She’s essentially judged me guilty without letting me have my day in court. 

Maybe the box remains wouldn’t have “proven” my innocence if she’s stuck on the thief theory, but surely it counts for something that I sent it back promptly, and didn’t try to “scam” her out of more gears. I guess I won’t ever know. 

 Course the fact I’ve sold and bought on ebay for over 15 years, with perfect feedback, bought and sold on Etsy for 5 years, again with perfect feedback, ought to count for something. I’ve had very few problems with buying and selling online, maybe only 2 times before this situation have I had problems . I’ve never had to dispute a charge with PayPal before either. I’ve never had anyone dispute a sell from me either!

Best case, I’m out $13.50, maybe 26.00 if paypal only refunds the original listing minus shipping. Worse case, I paid $88.50 for 16 gears. 

Either way, I’ve had much better days.  

PS.. as of today I haven't gotten the box back yet either... and the PO hasn't updated the tracking id since it was "refused" on Monday.  Maybe they don't track returns? is it sitting at her PO still, in limbo?  

So it might end up as $88.50 for flat nothing.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sharing my Jewelry makes me Feel special.........

One of my retaining ring earrings.. I liked this style so much I made me a pair!
As some of you know, Jerry has gone back to college and works par-time  at a local game store.  Yesterday he noticed one of the store customers  wearing my earrings! SQUEEEEE !   So he told her it must be one of his wife's earrings, and she gushed about how much she loved them and had just got them a few weeks ago at the state fair grounds.

This thrills me on so many levels..

First, my hubby, who is after all, a guy, could recognize my jewelry like that!  Yes, he helps sells it, and yes, he's much more interested in it now that he helps create some of my raw materials... still, he's a guy.  When I met him he could probably recognize the difference between a bracelet and a necklace and thought there were 8 colors... and now he can spot my jewelry on strangers!!

Second, that he actually ran across someone wearing my jewelry.  I love to make it, I love to make people happy with it.  It's always exciting to be out and randomly met up with one of your customers.. actually wearing your design at that time!! I've had it happen just a few times.. after all, we sell all over and Des Moines is big town ( big for Iowa) so random encounters are not going to happen that much.  

I have this experience at my day job from time to time... many of my co-workers have bought jewelry from me over the years.  It's still exciting and rewarding every time it happens!

It's always a validation of what you are doing as a artist to see your work on someone!

I love where my jewelry aesthetic is right now.  I think I'm really developing an recognizable, internally consistent style.. without losing myself in the process.  It started last year, and I've evolving still. 

The process is as much fun as the end results!

OK, time to go make some jewelry... I have a show this weekend in Marshalltown, the Linn Creek Art Festival Sunday 10-4pm.  I need to have some new lovely and interesting designs ready to go, so we can bump into more customers' wearing my work in the future!

Monday, July 15, 2013

what's next....

This coming Sunday is Linn Creek Art Festival in Marshalltown ... Last week I went nuts trying to get as many earrings finished as I could, so this week I'm going to work on my Mechanical Romance line, mostly necklaces.  I started to work yesterday on a few projects using parts from a 1903 ( yes, that's 110 years ago!!) singer sewing machine, and a 1960's adding machine.  I have more clock/watch parts lined up, and more typewriter parts.  I also want to get more chainmaile done.  That should keep my busy this week.  I'll try to have quick pics for Wednesday.
Really old Porcelain clock  face -- I put resin on it as it was in fragile shape.  brass butterfly, crystal

Thursday, July 11, 2013

We have a double header on Saturday..... Farmer's Market and Jazz in July (Waveland Park)

Chainmaile braclet, stiff enough to stand by it's self, but still very fluid to wear.
Not that anyone probably missed me , but I'm BACK!

This post will mostly likely count as Saturday's though, because Saturday is busy busy busy!!

First I'll be at Downtown Des Moines Farmer's Market 7-12pm .  Same spot as we are gonna have all year - the north side of 2nd street, in-front of the parking ramp there.  We are the 3 or 4th booth in depending on who else sets up.  Close enough to smell Uncle Wendell's wonderful BBQ! (He's on the south side- the link is to his facebook, cause sometimes he has specials for facebookers!)

 Then 6;30-830pm (aprox)  I'll be at Jazz in July, Waveland Park.   The band? Orquesta Alto Maiz.  I've never seen this one, so I took a peek up on youtube, and they sound fab!! (peek here) 
I really like this kind of music-- it's so fun and joyous with just a hint of naughty.  Yum!

Waveland is not just fun Latin sounds, they have kids entertainment, pony rides, salsa dance lessons (Kewl!!)  at intermission, and food.

And  after all that fun, There will be a Waveland Park after party with DJ810 sponsored by the DM Social Club

Really, Jazz in July This Saturday cannot be missed...  it's gonna be fun fun fun!!

At the risk of angering the weather gawds ( who have been pretty damn uncooperative so far this year) it's not suppose to rain.  Seriously.  Zip, Zero, Nada, per the weather site. 

Since this is Iowa, that is of course subject to change, without notice, any minute now.

Monday, July 1, 2013

ArtFest Was grand... but so is a break!

Jerry stands by some of our Neighbor's artwork... a 12 ft tall Cacti.  Goes well with Jerry pink Hawaiian shirt doesn't it?
ArtFest Midwest  is over and wow! it was such a good show for us, best ever sales.. but it's more than sales.  It's well run, the customer's were all so very friendly and our fellow artists of course were lovely to chat with.  And fresh baked chocolate chip cookies by the cup or bucket!  Anytime I can get bakery goods at a show is a good show!!  And it rained ... but we were inside and could laugh at the rain and the wind.  Actually we were so busy the first 6 hours of the show, we didn't do anything but ring up sales and adjust jewelry to fit the happy new owners. 

Jerry and I have a 2 week break... our next date is July 13th.. a double header!

First up is Downtown Farmer's Market 7-noon, and then in the evening (starting around 630 to? ) will be Jazz in July at Waveland Park 

I am taking a couple of days off to recharge batteries, and frankly clean the house.. it's fallen below even my low standards ... and then I 've got to make jewelry like a mad woman to fill in all the inventory holes that Artfest left.  This is not complaining!! I've very happy and grateful for such a good show.  but I've got work to do.  So I best go do it...