Sunday, July 31, 2011

Happy Wedding Anniversary to Me!

Yesterday was my 17Th wedding anniversary to my wonderful Jerry.

I'm not sure how most people celebrate anniversaries -- probably dinner and a movie? Our idea of a good time is simple : we went garage sale-ing.

Actually just spending time together works; but with jewelry shows most summer weekends, spending a morning checking out garage sales together is a real treat. The main goal is trying to find vintage costume jewelry and old board games, but we always keep our eyes open for something interesting.

While I did buy 1 piece of jewelry ( a very interesting brass chain actually you can see the pic above) the big finds of the day were furniture! We found this beautiful maple wood dresser with hutch at a tag sale and I just had to have it. We moved my old dresser to Jesscera's room as it's much bigger than her old one and in better shape. I'll take pics of it soon, right now it's in place in my bed room but it's not assembled yet.

I also found a nice computer chair for downstairs for cheap, and a kitchen type cart that is going up to the studio.

And I found a cricut expressions in brand new condition at a great price! it didn't come with a cartridge so I splurged and bought one to play with. I can't wait to figure out ways to use this in my jewelry making! I've got several ideas bouncing around in my head already for this. It still has the how to use CD ( it's never been watched actually, it's still in it's originally sealed plastic) and instruction book.

Maybe since it was such a special occasion we had such good luck. Usually I find a few books, a piece of jewelry and maybe a shirt for the girl!

To top off our day together, we also hit a couple of bakeries ( Nan's Nummies in Valley Junction, and La Mie's on 42ND) and book stores ( 1/2 price book store, our family favorite and Barnes & Nobles)

To cap the day's experience we had a late lunch/ early supper at Cosi Cucina .

Oh, and we did watch a movie, Land of the Dead, George Romero's 4Th Zombie movie from 2005. CReeeepy!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What's on the Desk 7/27/11

I received another brass stamping package in the mail and I'm having so much fun! I finished up these 2 bracelets last night.
The leaf is flat normally, I made it gently curvy with pliers and my raw hide mallet, added a few holes to add chain and riveted the butterfly to the front.

The one above with the copper butterfly just looked too plain, so I added a graceful chain and crystal that drapes beautifully under the leaf.

This one I also curved the leaf, added the black butterfly and some crystals dangles .

these are really great fun to wear and look great on!

I can't wait until my next "play date" with my new brass findings !

Sunday, July 24, 2011

banner done..

what do you think? it's small here, I did all lower case cause that what I ended up doing for the etsy store. here is how it looks on the store

I'll probably make a better one later, but it works for now!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

banners on the brain.....


I have 2 shops on artfire, one for my jewelry, and one to destash supplies. I pay the monthly fee for my jewelry site, which gives me all kinds of tools to play with to help promote my pieces.

My destash store is free. That means I have almost no tools but I get to list my destash for free, and since most of it I just want out of my house, it allows me to price them reasonably.

Artfire is going away from free shops as of August 15Th. I understand the decision, and from a jewelry seller standpoint I'm excited as I think it's a good move overall. However I don't want to mix my beads with my jewelry on artfire, as I worked hard to achieve the 100% handmade badge. I cannot afford to pay for 2 shops. Right now the traffic really doesn't support paying for my jewelry site, but I believe in Artfire so I'm going to stick it out for now, in hopes it will just get better and better.

So now I need to switch my supplies somewhere else.

After giving it some thought, I've decided to open a new destash store on etsy. I have to pay fees to list which will change my pricing somewhat, but hopefully the greater traffic ( and better chance to sell) will worth the extra money.

Can you believe someone already had my name on etsy??!!?? (katsdestash) ugh!

So I've opened a shop named mkpdestash. I will be migrating listings from my artfire store over the next week, and then hopefully start listing new items.

Now I've got to remember how to make a banner again for the new etsy store!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What's on the Desk 7/20/11

..... has been on my desk before. I made this over a month ago, and I'm very pleased with the colors, *BUT* it's stiffer than I like. I had it out to sell for a couple of weeks, but I've pulled it back, it just doesn't have the fluid, slinky nature that I love about chain mail. So I'm going to redo it somehow.. not sure just what I'm going to do to fix it. I really love the color combos.. it makes me think of flames! or the fall ... but I just can't stand it's lack of drape.

This bracelet though illustrates one of the quirky bits about chainmail. Even when you are using the same size rings from the same company, sometimes it just doesn't come together like it's suppose to. This is the same size as all the other Queen Link bracelets I've made, but the red colored aluminum rings seem slightly smaller than the orange and yellow. When I use red as one of many colors, just that little, tiny bit smaller doesn't effect the overall piece. But when it's every other ring, it makes the bracelet 2 stiff, and I should be ashamed it ever made it out to the table to begin with!!

Since I really like the color balance, I'm not sure yet what I'm going to do to fix the problem. Course the first problem is REACHING my desk, as my studio is afloat with thousands of comics all over the floor and tables and just about every nook and cranny. ( you can read about my comic adventures here)

I have only 1 more show in July, it's my last Jazz in July event at 6:30pm this Friday July 22ND on the Casady Building lawn. I don't have anymore shows until August 6Th! I'm hoping this weekend I can take back my studio, at least most of it, and work on a few things!! I haven't made anything this week, and I'm getting antsy!

The super high temperatures and humidly haven't helped either. My studio in my converted attic, and even with the window unit when it's this hot and muggy, it's hard to keep it cool enough to get much done.

But I wanna play!!! I have some new brass coming in, some in a copper plate finish... I cannot wait to get that package!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Comics, Comics, everywhere...

Something you don't know about your favorite Jewelry designer. I've been collecting comics since I was 11-12 years old.
I know, shocking, strange, non-girl kind of thing huh? Not so much to me, to me reading comic books is just another form of reading, and I love to read.

Stranger still to be a 42 going on 43 year old woman who still reads comics. We still have a pull at the local comic / game shop, abet it's just 2-3 titles now. But I have something between 4000 to 5000 comic books in my collection, everything from original 1964 Fantastic Fours written by Stan Lee and drawn by Jack the King Kirby, to SIP ( Strangers in Paradise) (which is fantastic series, and it's all available now in book form !! )

A couple of years ago I decided we had too much STUFF. And I started a closet clean up project. I did the first couple of closets quickly and easily. I even sold a few things on Craig's list, enough to buy a treat night out here or there.

That got me to thinking about all my material goods. I mean what GOOD are they?? What's useful about something I've stored for 13 years in my closet and I've not taken it out since?

I realized that included my comic books. So 2 years ago, I started to haul the boxes out 1 by 1 and was determined to get rid of at least some of them. I hit a road block in the very first box I pulled. It had Air-boy comics in it, and I wanted to reread them. I really enjoyed the series and I figured I should read them at least once more before I got them out of the house. Also I few comics have more than just reading value. A few comics have real memories built into them. But the issues were not all in that box, and I knew I had all the issues. The last several years when we received the comics, we would read them and then just put them in the closet.. it was too hard to pull boxes out and put them away correctly.

Time is always a issue in my house (Doesn't everyone wish they had more time?)

Since I work full time, run a home business, and I'm Wife and Mom, I didn't have much time to really work on this, let alone reading them. It dawned on me I would have to pull every box out at once, and sort through them. It would take up lot of room and time I really didn't have to do the job properly. Then I checked out the value of the comics. Some of my favorite comics are not worth what I paid for them... something to be expected, but it still hurts to learn something you value has no value. I had to decide if selling them /whatever was worth the time and effort, vs. what they were worth to me.

I had it in my head that I needed to get rid of everything, cause what was the point of keeping some of it? I mean I was trying to clean out material goods in my life right?? What is good about letting them rot in my closet ?

and it just sort of became this huge bugaboo, why did I need to do this, and why right now??? So I stopped, and put them all away.

I just wasn't ready emotionally to let go of a huge part of my childhood. I wasn't sure what I really wanted to do.

Now 2 years later, I'm ready to tackle the issue. It took me awhile to get to that place in my head were I could make the decisions I need to about this.

First, I can keep what I want. I'm keeping SIP!!! I'll probably keep air-boy, but I"m going to read it first. That was the key... reading. I'm going to use the same yard stick we use on books in the library... while I honestly re-read this comic again?

If I'm not going to re-read them, why keep them? Even if I have some emotional attachment to something in my collection... if I'm not going to re-read it, then it's senseless.

I'm ready to bargain basement those comics that have no real value except to someone that enjoys reading them.

And those few comics that are actually worth something I will sell for what I can get, either the local shop, Craig's list or eBay.

It's going to take time to go through them and prep them for sale / give away / whatever, and that's OK.

So all the boxes have journeyed up to the jewelry lair and I'm in the process of sorting them into the proper groupings. some comics I know I don't want anymore... some I am not sure of, and some I want to re-read right now !! ( I just finished re-reading SIP. Seriously, this is good stuff!)

It makes it hard to do jewelry, but I"m hoping a week of really working at it I can at least reclaim part of my studio. I should be able to get the piles off the floor at least, so I can move around.

I suspect I will end up with about 1/3 of my collection. If it ends up more or less, that's OK. It's all good. And I get to re-read some great stories in the process.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What's on the Desk 07/13/2011

OK, OK I know my posting has been spotty the last month, but I think I've got a handle on my schedule again. I am moving my What's on the Desk to Wednesdays as that's just a better day for me, instead of Monday. Weekends get so busy I don't always have time to actually work on things, let alone take pictures of them. Since Tuesday is my "studio day" where I get a block of time in the studio it made sense to move this feature to Wednesday. (Now I don't always get my beloved block of time on Tuesdays but that's a different post!! ) I plan to post at least twice a week, three times if I can swing it, but Wednesdays and Saturdays are my target days.

So what's on Kat's desk? Chainmail! I've just really been enjoying playing with rings. The first pic is a necklace I did last week, but I loved the colors on it.
This is a shot of my desk last week.. but I never got around to posting it. The scales are so much fun to play with.
Now this is my current project I'm working on right now.. It's another queen's link done with copper and Aluminum.

Something I get asked nearly every show is do I cut my own rings or not. I know saying "sometimes" is alittle wishy washy, but it's honest.

First of all, I've been playing with Aluminum rings the most. Anodizing, cutting and finishing my own Aluminum rings would require tools and equipment I simply do not have, so all the Aluminum rings are manufactured by others. I use mostly rings from 2 small, family type operations. They both have great quality and service and I feel very comfy buying rings from them.

Most of the other metal rings it's about 50 / 50 if I cut them or not. I do have the tools and materials to make rings in copper, bronze, and brass. Some of my rings I make and some I purchase, because frankly cost and time wise it's actually more efficient to purchase rings in those metals. So some I buy, some I cut, and it depends on what the project is and if I have the rings on hand or the time to cut some. If i continue on my chainmail craze then I'll probably start cutting more of the base metals ones. It's actually easier to get all the stuff out at once and cut a bunch of sizes/GA's at once. If I'm making several hundred at a time, the cost/time ratio tips more to my favor over purchasing.

I do cut all my own sterling rings at this time, because it's cheaper to do so. It's much more cost/time effective to cut my own sterling, as I already have the silver on hand, and it's so very expensive right now.

I'm mostly doing Aluminum and Aluminum with copper or bronze, as I'm really enjoying playing with color combos.

See ya in a few days!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I've joined the smartphone generation.....

Taken at Jazz in July just yesterday evening with my new i-phone. very fun evening!

After months of talking about it, Jerry and I broke down and finally got them. I got a iPhone, and he got an android ( so yes, we are a mixed household!) and frankly both are super! Both do incredibly cool things, and so far the differences between the 2 are minor and more of a cosmetic thing than not, except for 1 item.

I can make changes on my phone, easily, by doing them in i-tunes on the computer. It makes certain functions much easier to do, at least if you already have i-tunes loaded on your computer and you're familiar with them. But really the whole big fuss over "iPhone vs. androids" is really silly. I'm sure there are things on Jerry's phone I'll be green with envy, once we play with them more. Like most things in life, it all comes down to choices and trade-offs. One widget is great here, but if you have it you can't do this other thingie and visa versa.

I am loving what I can do with my new phone!! it has 2 cameras, one facing outward, and one Inward or screen facing. Eventually I could do teleconferencing with this if I wanted ( I don't really) but it's very neat feature. Here is me in my new sun hat with fancy hand painted scarf... lookin' good no?? I took this with my phone using the screen side. The picture on the top is taken using the normal "back" camera. The pics are pretty good unless I use the zoom feature 2 much, then they get fuzzy. I'm sure If I check settings I could increase the pixels and the pictures would be better.. I'll get around to it sometime. Meanwhile, I'm trying to get off level 4 in angry birds.

I love how I can take a pic with my camera and post it on facebook within minutes. Now that's really handy!

And I'm going to get a square for credit cards. Can't wait to try that out... easier for me and my customers at shows. I've been taking credit cards for years with a knuckle cruncher at shows, then running them when I got home. Now I can get instant wireless card processing and it's actually cheaper than my current option. woot!

anyone want to recommend apps, especially free ones?