Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!  My favorite holiday.  I have lots of favorite holidays, but New Year is always especially wonderful.  For most of my life it was a most depressing holiday.  Christmas was over and there was the let-down from that, plus going back to school was depressing to me.  It was the middle of winter, which in itself I didn't mind, but it seems that every year of my childhood, I had a very bad cold at New Year, probably from od'ing on sugar at Christmas!

When I got to be in my 30's, I realized just how much I dreaded New Year every year.  I decided I had to change that.  I decided from that point on, I was going to take New Year as my very own and make it what I want it to be!  Every since then it has truly been my MOST favorite holiday!!

I use it as a launching pad from all the frustrations that I have experienced from the previous year, to make those changes that will improve my life.  Some people call them resolutions.  I don't really have a problem calling them that.  I like making firm decisions about what I want to do.  I think commitment is a very powerful tool, when it is taken seriously.

So what are some of my goals for this new year?  First, and I think most important, is that my "no" will really mean NO from now on.  No more being talked out of my NO.  People can beg, plead, cajole, jab, complain, whine, manipulate, disbelieve, disregard, or just plain dis my NO, but I will say it just once.  After that I will repeat my new mantra, "You have my answer", for however many times they insist that they want to hear it.  I will resist the temptation to explain myself - to the best of my ability.  I will learn to take my NO seriously and that will translate to others.

Next is a goal that I set almost every new year, and that is to SIMPLIFY!!!  It is a never ending challenge to keep my house simple.  I tend to grab a lot of things from the thrift stores and I end up with more things than I really have room for.  I know I'm not alone in this!  But with my hubby who runs a computer business in addition to his full-time job, the computers are now filling the basement, and the "spare" bedroom.  Don't you love that word "spare", as if I could live without it!!  Plus my daughter has many many deliveries and therefore boxes, that fill the garage...oh me oh my...I really have to keep my stuff down to a minimum if I am to have any semblance of order around here!!  I have relinquished ownership of the spare bedroom, the basement, and the garage.  Maybe someday I'll get them redeemed.  But for now, I just have to maintain the rest of the house.

This sign hangs on the wall behind my computer screen where I can always be reminded.

So I have spent this week doing a lot of decluttering in my studio/desk area, and I've gone through the kitchen and the dining room.  Next is the family room.  The piles have moved westward all week, room by room and it's just one more room to the garage and then OUT for good!

I cleaned out my jewelry supplies area and ended up with four EMPTY small drawers!!!  Empty space is a good thing.  You don't have to try to fill it.  Trust me, it will fill itself in no time.  But while it is empty, try to enjoy the open space.  Whenever I clear a new spot, whether it be a counter in the kitchen, or some shelf that was filled and now is only half full, there is a desire to fill that spot with something - anything, just to fill it up!  But with a little effort, I can leave those empty spaces here and there and just let them be.  It really helps to promote a peaceful feeling and a more restful creativity can come as a result.

See my empty drawers?

As a musician, I am often reminded that the rests, those places of silence between the notes, are just as important as the parts when we are making sounds.  It is so true and you can apply that to your physical world as well.  There's a reason those empty spaces are called "rests".  So now I think of my empty drawers as rests.  If you feel a lack of rest in your life try creating some brand new empty spaces.

I also decided I needed to simplify my photography setup.  I worked long and hard on the light box, but it was just too big and too complicated and I couldn't use the table it occupied because it took all the space.  So I made a very simple display board that stands on its own, and I put my photo lights right at my desk.  That way they serve me while I work on my jewelry as well as for the picture taking.  I use clamp lights so it's easy to move them around and clamp them onto the shelf or to the pole lamp I have.  I can just tuck the display board behind the computer, or put it up on the shelf when it's not in use.

Simplified display 

  Here's my little "studio" all cozy in the corner.  

Monday, December 28, 2009

Monday Morning Ramblings

Good morning wonderful people!!  I have been taking it easy this past week, with hubby having the week off from work.  All week long he's been making our coffee every morning and serving it with long conversations...oh how I miss him now that he's back at work!  I made my own coffee this morning and it's just not the same.
We used to tell my grandma about her "special touch" with food - it always made her laugh.  It didn't matter what she made for us, whether it was oatmeal, or Catherine Clark bread and butter, or Campbell's soup, when she made it, it tasted better!  We tried for years to figure out what her secret was.  Was it her immaculately clean house?  Maybe the wooden bowls she served the bread in?  I can still smell her house - always so warm and welcoming.  I think it was the love she made the food with that made it taste so good.  Just like the coffee my husband makes for me.  It tastes better, even though I use the same formula.  It's the lovin's! 
I wouldn't call myself a great cook, by any stretch.  I enjoy cooking sometimes, not all the time.  I manage to get dinner on about half the time, the other half we just pick around at what's in the fridge.  I have a few good meals that I can make that everyone likes.  But no matter what I cook, my husband scarfs it down like it's ambosia!  Even when I think it's really not good - he loves it!  My daughter and I tease him about not having as many taste buds as a normal person.  Maybe that's not it at all.  Maybe he's just tasting the lovin's in the food!!  Something to think about when you are cooking for your family. 

My daughter wants to learn how to use the sewing machine!  So today we are going to the thrift stores (YEAH!!!) in search of fabric to make headband/scarves that tie.  She has very long hair and is a dog groomer, so she always has it up, and wears a pretty scarf to keep the flying dog hair off!  I have not been to the thrift store in awhile.  This is going to be FUN! 

I spent a load of time cleaning out my studio.  I have a bag full of stuff that is leaving and I actually have empty drawers in my "parts department" for jewelry makings!  Ooh, that means I have room for new stuff if I find it at the thrift store!!  Well, isn't that the real reason any of us spends time "dejunking"? 

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

100 Followers!!! How Should I Celebrate?

Merry Christmas to all my wonderful blog followers!!!  I just hit 100 followers!!!!! WHooooPEEEEEE!!!  I'm trying to think of some way to say "thanks" to you all.  I could offer you a special discount in my shop, which I'm  happy to do, but I don't only write this blog to get you all to buy my stuff.  If you do want to buy something, send me a convo and I'll give you 20% off through the end of January.

So what else could I do?  A drawing?  Contest?  Features?  I'd love to know what you all would like to see here.  Please comment and leave suggestions!

And THANK YOU to all of you for following me!!!  You've made my adventure into the blogosphere so wonderful!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

More Jewelry Stands

I've been experimenting with these jewelry stands and I'm really liking what's happening here.  Please tell me what you think!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Jewelry Stands!

I have been "puttering" today.  That is, doing a little of this, a little of that.  Along my way I came across a tweet from StygianChains, showing a very lovely set of earrings on a really cool stand.  Their shop is here.  I saw that little stand, and the wheels started turning.  So I made myself one, then another bigger one.  Here they are!

 I need to tweak the design a bit on the larger one.  I'll probably put three feet on it for more stability.   I'm using the smaller one to take pictures for listings.  The larger I will use to keep things out of the "dust bowl" - which is what happens if I leave the little bowl with my finished earrings on my desk for more than a day around here!
Thanks to StygianChains for a great idea and inspiration!!

Monday, Monday

Whew!  I survived the weekend - just barely!  It was just one of "those" weekends and I'm glad it's over with.  Now I can settle into my routine and get back to doing what I love, which is making jewelry, and blogging and tweeting!
I've been making lots and lots of crosses.  I just love dressing up these little things!  I will be listing these in my Etsy shop all day today.  Here's a preview:

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Ok, so we were supposed to get a foot of snow overnight.  I just took this picture, which is 24 hours after the last picture of the yard, in my previous post.  In the last picture, all the cold stuff on the pool was white because it was SNOW.  Today it is gray because it is SLUSH!   Temperatures have stayed above freezing all night long and right now it is still 34°!  Now they are still saying it will get very cold and very windy, but without that foot of snow, what fun is that?  It is still snowing, so maybe there is still hope for this one.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Our First Big Winter Storm

Here is the radar for Chicagoland at 1:20 CST today.  I am right at the upper right corner of Illinois, where it meets Wisconsin.  As you can see, we are in a lull with the snow, but not too long from now, we will be in the thick of it!!
I'm afraid I don't have more pics to update now because not much more snow has fallen since my morning picture.  Come morning I'm sure there will be some more!!

♪♪♫♪ Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! ♪♫♪♪

Here we are at 10:18 AM on December 8, 2009.  There's just over an inch on the ground so far.  They tell us it will dump a foot by tomorrow!!!  I love snow.  I love winter.  I love hibernating!  I love having an excuse not to have to go out.  So I am singing today: ♪♪♫♪ Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! ♪♫♪♪
I'll put up pictures of the snow as if piles up throughout the day today.  So check back again!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Password Dilemma - 5hH#4k9du72klom780cvv2378dr90556djkjgl6d4s3f

This sign hangs above my desk where I do all my work.  How do you simplify passwords?

19 and counting...And I know that I have way fewer passwords than a lot of people!  I used to have just one password for everything.  "Everything" for me, consisted of one email account, and Facebook, and two or three sheet music websites.  That was before I married Etsy.  Now I have every networking and social media tool I can handle, and some I can't!
I thought it would be wise to change my password - the same old one (I miss you!) I had used for years and years.  I thought it would be prudent to make different passwords for each account.  And of course I knew it would be safer to make the passwords longer and "stronger" according to those little meters.  So I spent a day doing just that. 
I made the longest, strongest passwords you could imagine.  Some of them are 14 characters long!  There is not going to be any hacking on MY accounts!  haha...  And I have my trusty list in the back of my book.
Trouble is, I am constantly having to consult my list now because they are too long and too complicated for me to handle!  My browser, Firefox, will remember them for me, but that doesn't help if you find yourself on someone else's computer, or all those first times when you have to sign in before Firefox will remember for you!  Not to mention those times when updates or cache cleanings wipe them all out again.  I am in Password Hell!!!
The question is...should I make one for each account that is easily memorable for me, even though they may not be as secure?  Or should I use just one password for all of them and make that one long and strong and change it out on everything every month or two? 
I would love to hear what you all do with the password dilemma.  I'm open for suggestions!!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

I want to wish everyone a very happy holiday season!!  We are not decorating the house this year.  We haven't done it in a couple years.  We're very busy with concerts and work and gatherings at everyone else's houses, so we don't feel a need to do much with the house. 
So I decided to fulfill my need to decorate by sprucing up the blog and the shop a little with some Christmas decorations!  I don't do graphics frequently enough to remember all those little tricks, like how to do "layers" in a paint program so I make great use of Google.  I can always find tutorials and instructions, no matter what I want to do. 
So I got the poinsettias up on the banner here.  I'm trying to put some holly and ivy on my shop avatar, but I'm still battling that little button.  Then I will move onto my Etsy shop and see if I can put up some red ribbons or a wreath there! 
I love this online decorating!  It doesn't collect dust and when I take it down I won't have to wrestle boxes into the attic!