Monday, March 31, 2008

A Very Very Fine House

We began our search for our first home last week. We fell in love with a house online. An internet crush, if you will. We got to see it in the real world Sunday. We love it and are thinking about placing a bid.

This house has a lovely dining room that will accommodate our very large table, lots of closets (I think I counted about 8!), three bedrooms, a sunroom, a great yard, and a garage. The kitchen is a bit out dated but we might have it redone someday. It needs new appliances right away.

We don’t even have an agent yet! We did not expect to find something only into our second week of searching. Today and Tuesday bring appointments with realtors so we can pick one.

This has me doing all sorts of dreaming about what my studio space in one of the bedrooms will be like. I have studio space in our apartment, but my room will be bigger in the new house. (I’m speaking like we already own it.) The bedroom I already chose has southern exposure!! It’s all bright and sunny. Great for photographing my Etsy items. We’ll need to get more shelving for my supplies and maybe another table for sewing. Good heavens, I cannot wait!

Wish us luck!!

Friday, March 28, 2008

International Shipping

I finally got back to the box store for the right size boxes for international shipping. Now I am offering it in my Etsy shop!! Come on all you people from out of country!! I am ready for you!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Over A Billion

I just found a cool stat site for birthday information. I am over a billion seconds old!

My birthday is December 19, 1974:

I was born on a Thursday.
My star sign is Sagittarius.
The season was autumn.
I am 33 years, 3 months, 7 days old.
It is 268 days until my next Birthday.
I am 12,151 days old.
I am approximately 291,630 hours old.
I am approximately 1,049,869,194 seconds old.

I like numbers so I find this interesting. A billion is a lot of somethings.

My mom's birthday is December 8, 1947. We have some very weird coincidental number related happenings about our ages and birthdays. She was born in ’47 and I was born in ’74. When I turned 14, she had just turned 41. (It also happened when I turned 3 and she turned 30, but my zero is dropped.) This age-number-reversal happens every 11 years, so when she turns 63, I will turn 36. Also 4+7=11. And our birthday date numbers are 11 days apart. (Insert Twilight Zone music here.)

My lucky numbers are 4, 7, and 11 for the above reasons. Only a total math nerd would figure all this out. I love math!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

Plans for today: eat chocolate bunnies until they are ALL gone!! Don’t forget to intermix the chocolate with jelly beans to aid in digestion.

The only funny tale of Easter hilarity in my family that I can recall in my Sunday afternoon sleep deprived state is the time my sister made us all an Easter card that said “Happy EATster!!” I think we were only in grade school at the time. My mother probably still has the card. I guess her spelling slip up hinted at her desire to eat on Easter. We tease her about it to this day. When I see her today I will say "Happy Eatster!" to her without a doubt. Then I will cluck like a chicken from that Cadbury egg commercial. Bok Bok!!

Candy, chocolate bunnies, Peeps, Cadbury eggs, malted milk ball robin eggs, and peanut butter cup eggs were always plentiful in our Easter baskets on Easter morning. My mom The Easter Bunny made sure we didn’t want for anything. It was a dentist’s nightmare. My parents would actually let us just eat candy for breakfast. The baskets had enough candy to last for weeks.

I hope you have your fill of candy, food, and family today. We’re going to my mom’s for ham and lamb, which I sincerely hope that she wrapped one around the other before she baked it. It will be the new Turducken! We'll call it Hamb.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Tokenblogger’s Custom Pendant

Tokenblogger's Pendant :: Front
Tokenblogger's Pendant :: Back

Around Christmas last year, I got a custom pendant request from Tokenblogger. Her original request was a design with pansies on it and the words “I AM”. We emailed a lot to nail down more details. Usually a custom pendant takes about two weeks of communicating and drafts to get right. This one took longer, and I didn’t mind one bit. I really wanted her to have exactly what she wanted without a doubt. That’s what custom pendants are for, right?

I really liked working on this project because it kept changing from the original request. She would send me new ideas and pictures weekly and I would find a way to incorporate the new pieces each time. I know some people may find this kind of work taxing, but I honestly liked the new additions she kept making. It forced me to rethink an idea each time keeping the work fresh and challenging.

She ultimately decided on a green background with two purple pansies on the front. I included the original “I AM” while adding real lace and a picture of her pet dog, a whippet named Emma. The back turned into a conglomerate of things that Tokenblogger holds dear: a piano, the star of David, a blue bicycle, a coffee mug, a container of Earl Grey tea, and a cello. Since she wanted so many images on the back we came to an agreement that it should be a digital collage to make it look best. I’m very happy with how it turned out. It’s better in person than I thought it would be.

She blogged about on at her blog. Check it out to see how I lovingly gift wrap every purchase!! She took pictures even!

Thank you, Tokenblogger, for allowing me to make something so personal for you. Again, I really enjoyed working on this. I am so glad you love it!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

All New Buffalo Indie Market

Mary Stephens, Founder/Director of the new Buffalo Indie Market in Buffalo, NY, has launched a monumental undertaking in setting up a monthly independent artists’ market. Local artists now have a place to set up shop and sell their handcrafted wares. The Market will be open every second Sunday of the month starting May 11, 2008.

The first event will be on Saturday, April 12th from 11 am to 4 pm at Pearl Street Grill and Brewery on the second floor in the Pan American Room, 76 Pearl Street, Buffalo, NY 14202. The Pearl Street Grill and Brewery will be the home of all the Market’s events.

The Market’s mission is “to bring a monthly market of unique and stylish handmade products to the Buffalo community while nurturing the professional talents and business potential of up & coming designers & crafters. The Buffalo Indie Market offers local consumers a whole new way to shop and provide the Buffalo community with a space to discover hand-made jewelry, handbags, clothes, stationery, pottery, knitted items and more.” [quote source: Buffalo Indie Market website]

More about the Market: “When starting Ry Stephens Design, a handmade cards and invitations business, Mary [Stephens] quickly realized the need for a more current year long market. With the recent growth of on-line markets and independent artists, a need for a Buffalo market of current handmade products appeared obvious. In October of 2007, Mary took part in Brooklyn Indie Market, which is a weekly Independent Artists market in Brooklyn, New York. The warm welcome she received there and the pleasant community atmosphere developed by Kathy Malone and Johanna Resnikoff, a native of Buffalo, spurred Mary's desire to start an Indie Artist market in Buffalo. Buffalo has long awaited for a market that brings all the latest handmade creations from the local Indie Art community to the area’s consumers.” [quote source: Buffalo Indie Market website]

Buffalo Rising Online recently gave the Market some great press. See it HERE. There is also a group at Indiepublic for members interested in networking with each other.

I am looking forward to hopefully participating in this market in May. Even though I am not from Buffalo, it still is a local scene for me as it is only a 1.5 hour drive from Rochester. Now we indie artists in Rochester have to get on the ball and open our own market. Mary Stephens has set the bar pretty high.

Thank you, Mary, for all the hard work you have put into this! So many people are going to benefit from it.

Applications for future events can be found on the Buffalo Indie Market website as well as flyers and postcards to distribute for advertising the events. Spread the word!

Keep Your Bags Packed

Expedia so kindly offered to look after good rates on flights for me to Austin, TX. But I apparently cannot go until 9/6/2020.

This is a screen shot of the email they sent me tonight. I did not alter the dates in the boxes for my departure or return. Are there no flights until September in 12 years? Darn. I think I have a dentist appointment I can’t miss that week.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Sweet Treat Pink & Purple Double Sided Art Collage Pendant

This glass and metal pendant is double sided. One side has juicy pink and purple paper hand stitched together with silvery thread. The pink side has purple handwriting rubber stamped over tissue paper. The purple part is inked and wrinkled wax paper.

The other side has a dark plum background with a lighter shaded piece of paper running down the center. Tiny black paper dots adorn the strip.

In short, this is quite simple and elegant but perfect for everyday wear as well.

Click the image to read more about it at my Etsy shop.

I've noticed that many artists who make soldered collage pendants don't do much finishing work to the solder. They leave it flocked and rough. I sand and polish all my solder by hand so it shines like a mirror. This takes a lot of extra time and it shows in a quality, finished piece of art jewelry. My prices reflect that extra work.

Up and Down the Water Goes

Fountain Animation

This fountain is located in Town Lake Park in Austin, TX. My friend, Joolie, took me there to see the water and climb the hill for a great view of downtown.

This fountain immediately became my favorite feature in the park. Bursts of water pop up out of the concrete in a spiral pattern. The sound of the water splashing soothes me for some reason. I could sit and listen for hours.

Kids run through to get cooled off from the Texas heat. It wasn’t too hot when we visited but kids were still running though it. I really wanted to dart in and out of the waterfalls, but I would have gotten chilly and we had other places to visit after our trip to the park. I now regret not doing this. Next visit I will.

This animation came from setting my camera to burst mode and taking a series of rapid-fire shots. There are 17 photographs in the animation. I added the same 17 frames to the end and reversed them so it appears the fountain goes back down. It is also looped. The animation was done in Photoshop CS2. That is a really cool tool! Learning new things is something I really enjoy. I hope to keep bringing you more fun animations!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Dinner Deliciousness

I found this Deluxe, Divine Chicken Divan recipe on about a year ago. I don’t know about you but no 30-minute-meal ever takes me 30 minutes. I’m more of a 45-60 minute-meal girl. But this one is so delicious it’s worth all the work.

We like mushrooms in my house so I add two packages of sliced brown mushrooms to this recipe and it works out really well. My hunny gobbles this meal up so fast I wonder why I worked so hard to make it. But his gobbling is a compliment. We both oooh and mmmmmmmm all through eating it every time I make it.

I suppose if I could eyeball measurements and had minions to zest lemons for me it would take 30 minutes to make. Alas, it’s just me and measuring cups in my kitchen. But my hunny did make the substituted broccoli tonight and that shaved off some time. Broccoli works just fine for the asparagus part and is better for our budget.

I highly recommend that you try it just once. It’s so wonderful that you could make it for a dinner party. The rice is so lemony. I used thyme my hunny grew for me in our kitchen herb garden. Really, you should go try it now!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

There and Back Again

My trip to Texas was so much fun that I want to return immediately. It was so good to see my best friend of 21 years and all her friends and family. Thank you, Joolie and Eric, for a splendid week I really needed.

Joolie and I met in middle school in Plano, TX. Then my family moved in 1989 because of my father’s job. We stay in touch constantly. Both of us travel to visit each other at least every 2 years. To travel to be there for her wedding was divine. She has married a wonderful guy named Eric. We both have “Erik/Erics”! Joolie is the most talented writer I know and is funnier than 10 comedians put together. She is also an artist who likes to make lino prints too. We sometimes get the chance to do that together. But not this trip. This was The Wedding Trip.

We ran wedding errands, ate Mexican food, drank margaritas, and ate more food. We like fun and food. This was interspersed with family arriving from in and out of state, laughing so much my face still hurts, and hanging out with friends. Austin is a fantastic place to live, although I am afraid to drive there. But I want to move there. Texas still feels like home to me. Joolie’s friends and family feel like my own.

Happy Coupleclick me for more pictures!!

The wedding was sublime. I am socially awkward and I had fun so there is something to that. I was a bridesmaid. Since the ceremony lasted all of five minutes I did not get a chance to cry. Tears welled up but had no time to fall. We were all up and back in seven minutes. Make no delay for partying!

Small world coincidence: one of Joolie’s family friends from Plano has ties to where I live in Rochester, NY. She keeps in touch with our news so we commiserated about the downfall of the Ferry and jobs in general. Then she asked our last names. Mine rang no bell, but my sister’s married name did. Valerie is a Schaubroeck, of the world-famous House of Guitars (to which I would include a link but they are too cool to even have a website). This woman knows that family well and named off a bunch of my sister’s in-laws! We laughed so much about it. Very cool!

And now I am home, and it is cold and snowy. Ho-hum. But I have more stories and pictures to show and tell over the next few days. Stay tuned.