Sunday, June 28, 2009

What They DONT Tell You...

As I have written about here on my blog before, I recently embarked on a new venture making lampwork beads. It has been very interesting and quite enjoyable, but also equally challenging and frustrating! I did a lot of research before diving into this new art form and found it fascinating that on many websites it appears from the bios people write, that they must have skipped the phase I am in and went straight to perfection! No one seems to mention the challenge and frustration one feels in the learning process. You will read that is takes a lot of practice, but somewhere they leave out the rest of the story.

I am making pretty good progress, I think. I have conquered some areas that where giving me fits, and have moved on to try and work out some more rough areas. There is still a mountain of things to learn and I am sure I will be learning for years to come.

The other part of this I find amusing are the people who will actually tell you it is a fairly inexpensive thing to get into????? WHAT??? Are they just using a candle? I am currently using a Hot Head torch, and I will say I am not a huge fan! I learned to make beads on a GTT Lynx so this thing is darn near a candle in comparison. Also I use mapp gas canisters with it, the disposable type and at $8.00 a pop, which run for about 4-5 hours, it is not at all a cost effective way to melt glass. The torch head may only cost you $40.00, but you will make up the difference in cost over a dual fuel torch in the cost of those canisters!

The cost of glass can run the gamut from a couple dollars for a 1/4lb to over $20.00 for a 1/4lb. Then you have tools you need to buy... which leads to more tools, presses... more types of glass... powders... frit... silver...The list could go on and on. So how is this an inexpensive hobby to get into? I am not sure. I would like to quiz that person as to how they came up with that notion. I have yet to buy a kiln, dual fuel torch, or any really nice glass and I have already spent quite a pretty penny with the big ticket items yet to be purchased.

Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining. I love this and will continue to do it for a very long time. I just think it's funny what people do and don't tell you!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Favorite Things...

Once in a while you stumble across a store or a website that has something that looks like it might just be the right thing for you. You decide to give it a try and are please as punch with your first purchase so you make another, which leads to another... I have found just this sort of place on Etsy. Another shop named Far a field has a fantastic selection of handmade sterling silver rings featuring pearls, crystals, lampwork beads(a girl after my own heart) and some semi-precious gemstones. She will make many of the rings with gold filled wire if a gold ring is desired rather than sterling silver. Most are available with custom sizing and the shop owner Polly has done an outstanding job of making each ring fit perfectly every time I have ordered. I have a fairly unique ring size which falls in between a whole and a half size, so getting the size right can be a little tricky.

I love the look of these rings and the way they are very well made, somewhat refined, but still very artisan and handmade. I find the rings I have purchased to be very wearable and durable. These are not at all flimsy and don't bend easily while being worn. There are many customizable rings available in the shop with birthstone colors for family rings, she has a really cool option for bridesmaid rings, and even sells a tutorial for a wire and pearl ring if you want to try your hand at making your own! There are also some pendants, earrings, and necklaces available in the shop as well.

To date I have bought three rings for myself and one as a gift. I love all of them, but I think my favorite of all is the ring called Fizz with the randomly placed white Swarovski pearls! I wear it constantly and get frequent compliments. I was in a very high end jewelry store the other day and the sales person helping me even commented on it, when I told her I bought it on Etsy she said how much she loved Etsy and talked about what she shops most for. She even asked for my business card to my Etsy shop. You just never know where you'll find interest!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Something New!

My good friend Nikki of Bastille Bleu on Etsy has opened a second shop called Bastille Bleu Bijoux. It is a new venture featuring handmade jewelry pieces made with her own hand torched beads! She has a great selection to start with and is only growing. I love her unique designs, colors and of course her beautiful beads, which I use frequently in my own jewelry designs. Stop by and check out what she has to offer, I think you'll be impressed! Here's a peek at one of my favorite pieces.... I know, it's cupcakes... but how cute is this????

As always my shop can be found on Etsy as well. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Living in Limbo!

We are in a sort of limbo place right now. After four long years of full time school, two of which my husband worked full time and kept a full time school schedule, he is looking for work. He is a fully licenced RN, which as most people know is a job with an incredibly high demand. But given our present economy,most of your hospital bean counter types have decided that hiring new graduates is not in their best interest right now. This of course leaves thousands of new grads out looking for jobs. Bob was told the entire time he was in school, "You'll never be out of work! You'll have places begging to hire you." Well, so far things are not going as presented in the recruitment brochure.

The one local job he did have a good shot at getting went to a person with experience. This is understandable to a point, but you can't get experience if no one hires you... kind of a vicious circle here! This leaves us now looking for jobs all over the country. There are several possibilities forming all of which take us some distance from home, Some further than others. The difficult part really comes in with the waiting. With each new possibility, we are diligently researching the hospital, the city it is located in. Is this place livable?, if not, is some where close a reasonable option. What are the housing prices and overall cost of living like there? What are the schools like? Would we want to raise a teenage daughter there? Do they have the kind of things that we would want in a community? So many questions to answer quickly so we can say whether we want to proceed with the interview process. Once you have gone through all that, you can't help but be some what invested in the idea of living there. You've imagined it, thought it through. You've looked at houses, do they have a Starbucks! Yes this is important! Then the next day, if not later that same day another call comes in with the possibility of another place... and the process starts all over again!

We find pro's and con's to all the places we have looked at. Some are more desirable than others, but ultimately it comes down to the job. We are willing to move just about anywhere that will provide a job with a good wage, benefits, etc, in an area that has a reasonable cost of living. There are some places I am a little less than thrilled to be considering, but if the job is good and it makes my honey happy, then life will be OK. As long as we are all together I am sure we can work out the details of where we end up. It's just not knowing where that is going to be and the ever changing range of possibilities. Some days my head is just swimming! Some nights I lay awake pondering all that is on the table right now. In a lot of ways this has all left me a bit undone. I haven't been out torching for almost a week now. I have been reading a bit, trying to get a mental handle on some concepts, but I haven't actually melted glass for days. I haven't made any jewelry for quite a while even though I have a nice selection of new beads just sitting on the table waiting to be played with. I have several pieces of jewelry I finished a while ago, but haven't taken photos of yet. I guess I am just in a bit of a creative slump!

I have been working on things around the house and getting back into a routine now that I am not working anymore. It feels good to make dinner each night again, have things be more organized and get to spend time with my honey. After all the years in school we have a lot of catching up to do. I am confident that something will become a sure thing eventually, it's the waiting and not knowing that is going to send me over the edge! I can only explore living so many more places, imagine what it would be like to live there, be willing to move there, etc... before I go completely bonkers!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Rumors’ and Gossip!

We all partake in it at some time or another, even if we don't really intend to. Sometimes it just sort of happens, it's part of the conversation which no one stops. We kind of like the juicy details, the dirt, so to speak, it tends to be interesting to hear. Usually, because while it may contain elements of truth, they are usually taken out of context, blown out of proportion and depending on who's telling the tale, the other side of the story may be left out entirely or made to sound much better than it actually was.

The problem with rumors and gossip is that it is usually about someone, and while that someone may not be you, the someone people are talking about does exist and probably is human, has feelings and their own very real perspective on what really happened. I recently wrote in this blog about leaving my job for reasons that I was not going to mention here. I am still not going to do so. It would only be adding to the rumor mill and why bother with that. I have no intention of trying to defend myself since that would be futile. I think people believe what they want to believe and if they don't know you very well, it would be easy to believe what ever they hear.

Someone I respect recently told me that no coin is so thin that it doesn't have two sides. I agree! While I am not proud of my part in what happened in this situation, I do take full responsibility for my part in it and wouldn't hide behind half truths to make myself appear better. I said some things that were not necessarily appropriate in the work place, but they were in no way unprovoked and were responded to in a likewise manner. I did not start the exchange that lead to these words, nor was I the management person who also behaved likewise, if not worse given the position they hold.

I guess what I am trying to say here is rumors' and gossip are ugly! They do hurt and bother people, especially after a difficult situation, which one doesn't just shake off in a day. At least I don't! I am a person with feelings and emotions, I am sure that the other party involved has them as well, even if I found them hard to see.

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