Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Website updated...

I finally got my website back up and updated with correct show schedule. yeah!! now it's time to go play, got 2 packages in the mail today with goodies in them!! Woot!

My not so secret "shame"

I have a dirty secret, well actually 2.

I no longer make homemade mash potatoes, or almost never - instead I eat the fridge kind. I know, it's shocking, but let me defend myself!

It leads into my 2ND shocking relation: My family, my beautiful daughter, has only 1 imperfection: the potato gene skipped her.

I'm so ashamed

Jerry ( my hubby) isn't that fond of mash potatoes either, but since he's diabetic I can reason it away as it's "health issues, poor boy" No one could blame me or point fingers for that!

I have no excuse for my daughter. She's just not a potato eater. Once in a while she will steal a french fry or 2, but hates mash potatoes. Baked? not on your life!

I have managed my shame as best as I can. I would break out in a sweat, and then make me a batch of beef and noodles with mash potatoes. I would freeze portions of the noodles... there is no point in all that work and effort to make dishes like this without making alot! Mash potatoes don't seem to freeze that well in my experience. I am the youngest of 5, I was taught to make BIG meals. Now that I have a family of 3, I try to cook less at a time, or plan for the leftovers. I hate to waste food, especially how much it costs now...

Then about 5 years ago, mash potatoes started to show up in the freezer and fridge sections of the store. At first I scoffed, but I admit I was intrigued. It made so much sense.. I could have mash potatoes any time I wanted, provided they tasted OK, without all the work and left overs. When I'm making mash potatoes just for me, all that work just seems silly and a waste of time.

I finally succumbed to temptation. I've tried all the brands, and some of them are quite good. Don't get me wrong, homemade mash potatoes will always be better, but 2 brands come pretty close to that level of tasty: Country Crock and Bob Evans. I only buy the original style, I've tried some of the other flavors ( stay away from the garlic, they just don't do something right!) but I tend to stick with the original. I won't named the awful brands, cause I cannot remember the names, but one comes in green packaging. Avoid'em.

I divide the package in 2 or 3 servings, which makes it cost effective and healthy portions.

I still make homemade, but only when I will be feeding more than me, so it makes it not so often.

One of my favorite tricks is to buy a rotisserie chicken, shred the meat and make a wonderful chicken gravy and then I'll microwave me some mash potatoes to go with it. Just for me.. Jerry and Jesscera like the gravy OK.

So there you have it, my secret shame is no more.. I'm out of the microwave mash potato closet, and it feels good!!

Promise, jewelry next time!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Anyone else tired of rain???

Boy I am!

Don't get get me wrong, had the normal fun time at West Glen Farmer's Market, but it rained almost the entire day (and for those few hardy souls who braved the just plain icky weather, we vendors thank you!) and to top it off, I've somehow cracked a rib this week. Now it feels better today ( I cracked it on Tuesday, or at least that's when it started to hurt) but let me tell you, trying to set up in the cold and the rain, with lots of lifting and bending over... well my sweet hubby had to do most of the work because I just couldn't. He's always helpful, I'm just plain luck y to be married to this man!

But he had to work extra hard to keep me from hurting myself worst.

Since this is Memorial Day Weekend, it's extra long, and my plan is to do house work very slowly ( with all the lift/bend over parts done by the kid or by the hubby), well spaced out with lots of studio time, in pj's. I've got some very kewl brass bits ordered as my extra special I cracked a rib treats, and all my fingers and toes are crossed at least one of the packages will arrive today.

If they don't that's OK.. I've got lots of projects to play with... chain maile, herringbone bracelets, metal work, pearls and I'm getting that itchy I want to melt glass feeling. I'm hoping I have a long, relaxing , productive weekend, with minimal rib involvement.

The pic is Kass, inspecting my camera tripod. He Decided he couldn't eat it or lick it dead, so wandered away.

Monday, May 23, 2011

What's on the Desk 05/23/2011

Well, not much actually. My plate is running over right now with business chores so I'm more or less between projects today.

I have a few last shows to apply for for the year, made easier by getting my new slides done. My website is apparently unchangeable, at least to this non web-geek. I have to start from scratch. This didn't make my day, but now I"m *trying* to turn this major annoyance into a positive. It's time to update the website anyway...

(repeat and click your heels 3 times)


The picture above is the brown and silver chain maile bracelet from last week, finished. I love love love how slinky it is!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Jury slides

Psss... if you want to see all of my new jewelry slides, you can on my facebook page here.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Miscellaneous Musings...

OK just got back from seeing the Thor movie. I think we have our new Brad Pitt. When the lead actor Chris Hemsworth smiles, it's truly dazzling. wow. He's in his 30's so he's not a puppy, it's OK for me to like him! woot!

I got my slide pictures back... wow! I've posted just 1 of them in the blog... what do you think? I had them down by Van Rossen Photography . I'm very very pleased, and now I can apply to a couple of shows I was waiting on the new slides for!

West Glen Farmer's Market went great, despite the icky weather. We unloaded in the rain, then it stopped.. and then by 1130 am or so the wind picked up enough to make people sheltering over what's basically giant box kites nervous. Still, good time had by all, and I'm looking forward to next week's market and hopefully better weather! Considering the last few weekends, we are due some good weekend weather here in Iowa, don't you think?

At the show one of the commissions got picked up, and the client seemed delighted. It really makes me feel wonderful when people trust me to make them something unique and special for them or a loved one. Makes my heart warm all the way to my toes!

This weekend I've got another commission to finish up on, apply to shows, try to get my website working again ( see previous post, ugh!) general house stuff, and of course if I have time more jewelry!! I'm still on the chain maile kick.. maybe if you are all good and eat your broccoli I'll show you a picture!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

New Booth Set up

Here is my new booth.. mostly. Still tweaking things here and there, but I needed to get a new booth shot to apply to a couple of shows for later this year. Since I just got my new jewelry slides done, and the application dates are fast approaching, Jerry and I put the booth together Wednesday for the pictures.

The little girl is one of the Neighborhood kids. My little girl helped for about 10 minutes then escaped back to the inside of the house. And Special thinks to Suzie my next door neighbor, who allowed us to set up on her yard, as hers is level. At least compared to mine. My yard could stand in for a miniature alps play set!
Close up of the table configuration. Since I was taking booth shots, I didn't put out quite as much. Better to be uncluttered in jury pics!

I'll be at West Glen Farmer's Market this weekend.. If you are in the area stop by and see my new booth arrangements in person!

Monday, May 16, 2011

What's on the Desk 05/16/11

Got in a chain metal mood yesterday, taking a break from commissions.. which I'll work on again hopefully Wednesday.

I find chain mail very soothing to do. This pattern is sometimes called the queens link. It's modified Byzantine. It's like doing the first 3-4 steps of Byzantine over and over.. and makes this lovely snake chain feel. Right now the one I'm working on is brown and silver ( all done in Aluminum rings) but I have the desire to make a rainbow one, except I lack green rings. Next order I place I need to buy green rings!!

I love doing chain mail but it is time consuming and if I do it for too many hours my hands start hurting. Most of the jewelry I make doesn't hurt, but the constant opening and closing of the rings stresses out my hands. Maybe it's just as well I rarely get to sit for more than a couple of hours up the the studio after all eh?? Course it could be that with chain mail you can really get into a zone and realize you needed to go pee 3 hours ago!!! It's a good idea to take frequent breaks when making any jewelry. You can really harm yourself, which is true of any repetitive tasks, such as working on the computer. It's good to get up and stretch and walk around.
I have a timer on my desk and when I remember I set it for 20-30 minutes to remind me to get up and stretch. Course I don't always remember.. and then it goes off and I tell myself just one more stitch, or I have to finish texturing this last bit or I need to get to a good stopping place... and next thing I know it's 2 hours later.

I'm hoping I find time to spend in the studio this week.. I need to finish the last couple of commissions, I really want to finish this bracelet I'm working on, and I need to get a few more items done before my show this weekend at West Glen Farmer's Market.

So another busy, if fun week ahead!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

change and frustration


I don't mind change, I really don't. I roll with the punches because that's what BarronMiller's do.. we might vent out loud, say bad words for a few minutes but eventually we brush ourselves off and go back into the fray and if not win, at least go down fighting.

But why does change always seem to cost me time?

My website hosting company just had a server platform redo, and while I'm sure in the long run it's going to be great, more features etc etc etc. But so far it's cost me 3-4 hours and no end in sight.

I used to have open ended, "virtual" emails. That means, no matter what someone types in front of my @beadfix.com I would get the email. I set up a filter and had everything route to just 1 email address, which got downloaded everyday to my home computer to be handled.

Since this was so easy, I only created 2 real emails on my beadfix, and just used whatever entered my fool head for whatever I was doing at that moment. I was proud of this feature, and told lots of folks if they needed to email me just type whatever, as long as it had @beadfix.com on the end.

Now that is gone.. probably since Wednesday. I got an email from my company on Thursday that the transition had happened, but with a show on Saturday and the normal busy of life, I didn't realize I wasn't getting many emails until Saturday night. Upon investigation, I wasn't getting ANY, because most of my emails no longer existed.

So if you sent me something other than to sales@beadfix.com in the last few days, I'm really sorry I didn't get it, and it probably didn't even bounce.

So I had to spend a chunk of time researching, setting up my pop settings to the new platform, and trying to remember what emails I use all the time ( kat@, me@, bead@, art@ etc etc etc) and actually getting them set up as "real" emails. I'm sure I've forgotten a few, and will keep adding as I go along.

The new platform does have a "catch-all" type email account, which I've turned on, but from my experiments doesn't seem to work the best... don't know if it's still in "transition" or if it just don't work that great.....

Now I'm trying to update my website. I have more shows I'm in ( I'll be at West Glen Farmer's Market this month on the 21st & 28Th among others) and so of course I want to update my show listings.

I very carefully followed all the changes my web hosting service said to do, and it seem to find the ftp server and download the changes no problem. My web hosting control page even shows I've made changes. But the changes are not showing on my website. No clue why.

I've fussed with it for over an hour, and I've finally given up and sent smoke signals ( aka online form) begging for help.


In the process of all the fact finding on changes, I've discovered my website hosting company merged/ got bought out/ hostile take over/ who knows? recently, which is probably why the server platform is changing.

I notice while none of the prices of what I have have gone up (yet) the service help doesn't seem to be as forth coming, and now you can get extra levels of service for additional $$.

Now maybe that changed a while ago, but honestly I have had this hosting service for 5-6 years, and I've had problems maybe twice ... so I wouldn't know.

Meanwhile, I can't update my website and I"m positive I'm missing out on emails.


did I say I liked change?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What's on the desk.... commissions & ramblings

Only I don't really have pictures, so I"m being sneaking... I have a commission to make 3 of these colorful crystal square pendants for a wonderful artist and 2 of her friends. Each color will represent the artist and her friend. I love this idea.. I've been making these mom pendants ( each crystal a member of the family's birthstone) and it really nice thought to make them for such good friends.

I am also working on a pearl watch for a gal at work.

I've actually got several projects going at once. This past weekend I had my first show and the shake down showed me where I had a couple of inventory holes.. mostly bracelets ... so I've got a couple set up ready to go, and some sketches for a couple of more. Hopefully will get them done by this weekend's show at the Art Store. The Art store is also having their garage sale weekend, so it's an excellent time to check them out.. this Saturday 10-5pm!

Today is air-conditioner day. Jerry put the rest of the units in the house ( he was a sweetie and put my studio one up a few weeks ago.. it gets pretty hot in the attic otherwise!) Boy love that wonderful rush of cool air swirling around the house! I think the new windows we bought last November will make a difference in how effective the air-conditioners will run this year.

I've got jewelry to the photographer, so hopefully my new slides will be done in the next week.. very exciting!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

New Displays

Here is another sneak peak at my new displays... yes, the busts are lovely, but check out the riser in blue. I made it!! I'm so pleased with myself. It's a empty cookie tin outfitted with extra fabric scraps from my new table cloths. I sewed a line of crystals along the top edge, which is hard to see in these photos. I guess you will just have to visit my booth sometime this summer to see it better!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

What's On The Desk 05/02/11

Today I'm working with garnets and pearls, a more classic combo you will not find!! I'm working on a 2 strand necklace, one strand is done here and artfully draped over the supplies for strand two.
I had someone ask me to make sure I post the finished pieces, so here is last weeks fancy jasper necklace.
I'm getting ready for my first show of the year, Mage Con. Can't wait!