Monday, February 28, 2011

New jewelry booth display

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I'm working on a new jewelry booth display.  I'm trying to kill multiple birds with the same stone, but finding out that I might be killing my neurons instead.  The cool thing I found in all this is a program called Google SketchUp.  It allows users to create three dimensional images of what they're trying to design.  Very cool!  It actually has been a big help in trying to help me visualize what I can do.

So before I show you what I've designed so far, let me share with you what I'm trying to accomplish:

  • My jewelry is bright and colorful.  I want people to get that impression when they see my booth.
  • I consider my jewelry more "fun" than heirloom, fancy, or special occasion.
  • This is for an indoor booth display 10 feet wide by 5 feet deep.

This is OPTION 1.  The table is approximately 35 inches tall, 6 feet wide and 2 feet deep.  There is 3 feet from the front of the table to the front of the booth.  Yes, that's a hot pink cloth on the sides of the table and ivory on top.  The floor is meant to be a lime green.  The walls are ivory with pictures of my work hanging on them.

This is OPTION 2.  Same dimensions, walls and floor colors.  The same pink table exists, except with a black cover.  There are also two 44 inch tall by 14 inch by 14 inch pedestals on either side of the table.  They are purple, with black tops.  (I tried turquoise as well, but I liked the purple better.)

Comments on which one you like better?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Why do cats vomit on carpet?

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*This post is a part of the regular "Thursday rant" series, a tongue-in-cheek look at my life."

Cats vomiting hairballs are just a part of having a cat.  I'm okay with that.  What I need someone to explain to me is why they insist on leaving them as little surprises on my carpet.

Any of you with cats know that sound.  The gurgling like a small hamster is trapped in your garbage disposal and is aware of impending doom.  From that moment, you know you have approximately 4 seconds to find the cat and herd her onto a hard surface.  Easier said than done.  When that noise is heard in my house, I immediately pick up the red phone and alert the family to Deathcon 4 protocols.  Find the cat and contain the vomit to somewhere not on the carpet.  Ah, but the cat has other plans.

There she is, eyes blazing, mouth open, standing on the carpet.
I thought I had her beat one day.  I heard the noise and saw she was in the kitchen.  Ah, tile!  Maintain cover people.  She was making her noise as she walked through the dining room.  Stand down, we're on the wood floor.  Still wretching and making her way through the foyer.  We're dangerously close to carpet, but stay on target people.  Do not engage!  Finally, the hairball, and all it's sticky bile and slime, all came up as one projectile mass and landed on the only piece of carpet even close to the cat.  Oh yeah, she's that good.

Does this happen to anyone else?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

St. Patrick's Day jewelry

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 By Tuesday evening, it had been a crazy week already (in a good way!), so I haven't had much time to think about a blog post.

I snapped these pictures as I was photographing them to include on the KMS Designs resin jewelry website.

If you're looking to get your "luck on", be sure to visit my St. Patrick's Day jewelry page.  They're the same lightweight scrabble tiles with St. Patrick's Day images.  The pendants are $8 by themselves, or $12 on a 24 inch silver tone ball chain (which can be adjusted to fit the wearer).

Monday, February 21, 2011

Another online outlet to buy my resin jewelry

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I am thrilled to announce a partnership with Funusual Art, the newest outlet to retail KMS Designs scrabble tile resin jewelry.  You can purchase any of a variety of the resin pendants in a bunch of yummy designs

Of course, you can still buy from me, but let me give you a few reasons why you should also consider Funusual Art.

  • See the pendants above?  They're hanging on organza ribbon necklaces.  Currently, I only offer the ball chain necklaces on the KMS Designs website.  Funusual art sells my scrabble tile pendants with an appropriately matched 18 inch ribbon necklace than can be worn as long as 20 inches.
  • They have a few designs that I don't have on my website.  See the pendant at right?  That's one of them. 
  • Funusual art sells more than just jewelry.  They have funky-chunky pottery, wow your socks off colorful glass, and wall art that goes beyond "making a statement."  It's a one stop shopping place for all your art needs.
Stop by and take a look.  I'm thinking you will find something to tickle your fancy.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Jewelry to scrap metal

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In sloooowwwwly cleaning up my studio, I'm always on the lookout for scrap metal.  Metal is very expensive nowadays, so I'm extra careful not to throw anything away since I can sell it as scrap (to be refined and used again in making new pieces). 

This chart shows what has happened to the silver price from 1995 to 2010.   The numbers are small, but basically, it started out at $4.90 per ounce in January 1995 and ended at $30.50 in December 2010.  Yeah, the take home message here is that you can't afford to waste it, and what you do waste, you had better save it to resell for scrap.  (In case you're curious to see more of what the metals prices have done over time, you can see historical precious metals charts at

In cleaning up, I've found some older style jewelry pieces that either I never got around to selling, or didn't sell at shows.  Want to know what I  did with them?

I removed the stones and the silver went into the scrap pile.  Hubby walked through my studio as I was doing this and thought he needed to invoke the Baker act to get me immediate mental health attention.  Then I showed him that chart above.  "Carry on, dear."

This is my pile of scrap waiting to go back to the refinery.  All my metals have to stay separate in order for me to get the most money possible.  (e.g., gold is in another container, copper is in another, etc.)  I also found some old "practice" pieces that went into the pile as well.  Now, onto my jewelry box....

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Valentine's Day, measles, and why I almost went postal

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I don't know what it was like when you were a kid, but when I was school, Valentine's Day was about cards and cupcakes.  Maybe a little bit of candy, but overall a day of showing that you could write your classmates names on the outside of tiny envelopes.  My oh my, how things have changed.

My oldest two peeps aren't even four yet, but Valentine's Day is a huge production.  As we learned last year, cards simply aren't good enough anymore.  There must be a piece of candy, crayon, or keys to a new car attached to the card as well.  Giving a card without a small gift attached must be considered "gauche", which is the only reason I have for what one parent was so kind to give with her child's cards.

First, the disclaimer.  Yes, I was BAD MOMMY for not going through the bag to see what they brought home.  My bad, and I have paid for it.  

You see one parent thought it was a great idea to give these:

Yes, STAMPS.  With that red ink that will be living with the cockroaches after we nuke everyone off the planet.  Imagine my surprise when my kids came out looking like they had a serious skin condition that made having the measles look like a day in the park.  (And by the way, it was on their face too.  My twins looked like something that belonged in the circus.)

This was one of my boys after a thorough scrubbing that also served as the equivalent of a spa approved sandblasting.  They went to school the next day looking like this and I was only so grateful to find out the CDC wasn't called to investigate the mysterious blotches.

After scrubbing them off, I had several mini strokes as I walked from room to room to find out what else had been violated.  It was as if street artist Banksy had been in my house, yet the art was worth zilch.  (Sorry folks, the brain strokes were keeping me from seeing straight enough to get any pictures of the defiled house contents.)  I'm convinced that if I drove to the offending parent's house and stabbed her senseless with a dull knife, I know I would have been found not guilty as long as there was one mom on the jury.

At least with the help of my handy dandy, super solvent, remove the paint off your car, but don't use it on your hair "Aqua Net", I was able to get it rubbed out of the carpet enough so now it actually looks like part of the design.

Oh yeah, here's what I learned:

  • Trust, but verify.
  • Some parents don't have enough of the common sense part of the brain to function properly.
  • Aqua Net is still one of my best friends

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I am not a painter

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.....but maybe I could be.  Next lifetime though, I've got enough jewelry designs floating in my head for this one.

Who knows how I found this tutorial, but it's pretty cool.  It's on and details How to Paint Abstract Paintings from a Photo.  Not to offend the painters out there, but this article puts the patterns and processes in "Painting for the almost brain dead" terms.  For a sleep deprived mom and artist like myself, I found it extremely interesting and useful.  Have now added this one to my bucket list.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Justin Isosceles wine review

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It's been awhile since I've blogged about wine, so I thought I would talk about what we had with our Valentine's Day dinner last night.  (Disclaimer here:  I'm a mid-level wine nut.  I can describe bouquets and notes, but don't claim any ability to tell you what score it might get although Wine Spectator magazine and I do tend to agree most of the time.)

I don't know what it is about men and fire, but it seems they always know how to grill meat.  Hubby threw a few steaks on the grill and we enjoyed them with a blue cheese, garlic butter.  Oh yeah, they were as good as they sound.  I would have taken a picture, but hubby gets a little cranky when I have to hold up dinner to take pictures of what we're about to eat to share with the world on my blog.  In his words, "Why does anyone care what you're eating?"  Ah but he has no idea just how sophisticated all of you are.

Now, onto the wine!  I had been saving this bottle.  It was a bit pricey at $40, so I wasn't going to open this one just for a "My Name is Earl" marathon.  (Law and Order, maybe, but not My Name is Earl)  The cork crumbled as I was using the corkscrew, and it was the shriek heard through the neighborhood.  I always get nervous when this happens as I wonder if I'm about to drink a bottle of vinegar.  After filtering and aerating a third of bottle, it was time to taste.  Medium bodied, and a bit lighter than what I expected for a cabernet sauvignon blend.  Berry notes, a touch of vanilla, hint of oak.  Overall, a nice wine.  Too bad it wasn't the "blow my skirt up" I was expecting for $40.  I will enjoy the rest with dinner tonight, but will probably pass on this one next time.  Anyone else been mild to severely disappointed with a pricey bottle of red wine?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Cleaning up my art jewelry office

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Let me just say right up front that I hate cleaning.  I find it a complete waste of time because I can do it and in four hours, it goes back to looking like chaos.  Perhaps I'm not doing it right, but Hurricane Three Boys might have something to do with it too.  I'm halfway through working on my office and thought if I could somehow make a blog post out of this, it might be worthwhile.  LOL

I cleaned out a drawer in my filing cabinet to make room for new folders.  I do know getting stuff filed is important (for me anyway) to keep stuff from evaporating into dust.

This is "File 13".  Anything that I couldn't find a good reason for it to stay goes here.  This file gets dumped every Tuesday.  (insert hysterical cackling here).

I'm hoping one of these days that I will win a home office makeover.  Although if I did, I would probably convince someone that my office is in my kitchen.  "Yes, I think new countertops would be lovely....."

Friday, February 11, 2011

Random resin jewelry photos

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A few random photos from the week.

A large wholesale order.  These will be sold online.  They are individually packaged and each has an organza ribbon necklace.

An assortment of pendants for a wholesale order.  These are going to Wild Ruby in Framingham, Massachusetts.

Detail view of the same group of resin pendants.

A group of delicious designer art deco jewelry.  (Had to insert some literary skills here)  Actually they are mostly flower and snowflake pendants.

These jewelry trays have more contemporary necklace styles: asian flowers and "kaleidoscope" patterns.

A close up of some of the flower pendants in green and pink.  Some need the silver tone bails attached.

By the way, in case you missed it, I put some new resin scrabble tile pendants on the KMS Designs website his week.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My mother is on Facebook

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Armageddon. End of the world.  It's here. I know this because....

My mother is on Facebook. 

Is this really necessary? I don't frequent AARP meetings. I don't drive in the slow lane. I don't wear pants with an elastic waistband. Can't I have Facebook? It's like having your mom showing up at a party with you and your friends.  My god, it's like being in high school all over again.

Does anyone else have this problem?

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

A virtual art gallery tour

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Have you seen the Art Project by Google yet?  This thing is cool.  It's a compilation of over a dozen of the worlds' greatest museums and their art. Users can "tour" the museums just as if they were there in person. You can also zoom in on a painting to get more information, or can view videos about the piece on You Tube.

I love how it feels like I'm there and it satisfies my need to get right up on a painting and look at the brush strokes.  (I love thinking about the techniques.)  Yeah - you could lick them if you wanted to - something you can't obviously do in the museum.  It doesn't replace going there in person, but it's a pretty neat alternative.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Resin jewelry making and the dreaded bubbles

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Bubbles.  That is a very bad word to someone working with resin.  I do everything I can when mixing to avoid them and look over my pendants closer than a mama hen watching her chicks to get them out when I pour.  That said, sometimes the little dirty fiends show up anyway -- completely uninvited.

When I poured resin yesterday, I made a big mess.  The resin was mixed in the cup, but I managed to spill some that had to get wiped up pronto.  Being the frugal artist that I am, I didn't want to throw the rest of the resin away, even though it had cured to the point of thick Karo syrup by the time I went to use it.  (Normally it's the runny maple syrup kind when I pour). 

There were some bubbles.  "Not to fear, I've done this before!" I assured myself.  I got my handy dandy heat gun and blasted them.  Normally this works, but today it didn't.  Those bubbles weren't going anywhere.

In a completely unrelated experiment, I learned a few months ago, that while this particular resin is only about 6 to 8 hours into curing, it's in one piece but flexible. 

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. 

I pushed them off the edge and waited a few hours for them to cure.  (At this point, even if my experiment failed, the pendant was a bust anyway.  I had nothing to lose.)

An exacto knife later, I had trimmed the bubbly resin off and had a usable pendant again.  That will teach those bubbles to mock me. 

Friday, February 04, 2011

New jewelry making class - corrugated mixed metal earrings

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For those who have been patiently waiting for my next class, it's on the schedule!  Learn how to make these earrings at Gifts of Avalon, Monday, March 7, 6 to 8 PM.  Yes, you will be able to get these done in 2 hours.  For you curve buster types, maybe even two pairs.

The example here is done with sterling silver and brass, but copper can be used as well.

If you're a tool junkie, you'll love this class.

Best part - no experience is necessary and you don't need a concealed weapons license.  (Yeah, long story.)  Contact Gifts of Avalon directly to register.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Grow "some" or get a therapist

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*This is a part of my "Thursday rant" series when I discuss something that has mildly irked or seriously peeved me this week.

Lots of time, the TV is on at my house for nothing else but noise.  I play a lot of the music channels, but sometimes I do like to hear some talk, especially while I'm working.  I happened to be listening to the Rachel Ray show last Friday and caught her on air apology to the costume designer of the the show, Dancing with the Stars.  Now I don't know what you think of Rachel, but she seems like the kind of neighbor I would want.  Always has something good in the oven, can chat it up over the kitchen table, and would probably tell you if you had spinach stuck in your teeth.  I really don't catch the show very often, so I wasn't aware that she has made it clear that she won't be wearing any of the skimpy costumes on Dancing with the Stars.  I say the same thing, but between the two of us, apparently she's the one that got someone cranked about it.

You see, the costume designer/creator of Dancing with the Stars wrote to her b*tchin' that he didn't like her saying that she, personally, would not wear one of his costumes.  Now, I don't have the context of how she said it on earlier shows, but I did see how she answered him on her show that day.  To paraphrase her, Rachel Ray sincerely apologized for hurting his feelings.  She acknowledged that the designer and his staff work very hard on these costumes, but she herself couldn't see wearing one of these.

You would think that would be the end of it, wouldn't you?

No, instead he wrote to her over the weekend, explaining that her apology wasn't good enough.  (I'm paraphrasing here again.)  He wasn't satisfied.  Seriously?  Can you be that into yourself that if someone is respectful of what you do, but doesn't find interest in it, that you have the right to be a bully?  So the times at art shows, where I've heard that I have "nicely made" or "artistic jewelry", but "it's just not my style", I should get these people down and beat them until they offer up an apology and their next born child?

Rachel (I figure if I'm going to stand up for her, we can be on a first name basis), being the class act she is apologized again and talked to the man on air.  My message to her, "You've done everything right.  You can't help that he's got an esteem problem and feels the need to take it out on you."  I, personally, will offer beat him down until he explodes until a billion glittery pieces if he bothers you again.  LOL

My advice to him:  get a life, grow some 'nads, or get a really good therapist.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Should I purchase a computer or a tablet?

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I'm one of those people that wears out something or completely uses it up before I think about purchasing more or a new one.  My seven year old laptop appears to be invoking its "do not resuscitate" order and I'm in the market for something new.  I really want to have something that can be a portable credit card machine and online art jewelry portfolio viewer at art shows and events.  I've been looking at an iPad, the soon to be released Blackberry counterpart, the Playbook, and the Dell Duo, a touchscreen tablet and netbook in one.


They all look to be about the same price, so that's not an issue, but I just don't know what is going to work best for my situation.  Here's a few questions I need answered:

  1. If I get a tablet, am I going to miss having a functional keypad?  For tablet users, do you have a keyboard?  Do you use it?
  2. Can you do everything you want to on a tablet?  If not, what do you wish you could do?
  3. Anything I should know about connectivity issues?
  4. Do you have a Dell Duo and love it (or hate it)?
  5. What else am I missing???

I'm not in a hurry to buy one, but could do so anytime.  (By the way, if you're reading this and know of a nerdy friend that could answer these questions, I would be grateful if you could forward this post to them.)

Opinions please!!!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

We might have gotten the neighbors talking

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We have an interesting ritual in this house.  Every Saturday afternoon, at 5 PM, we (me and the peeps) plop down in front of the TV to watch Iron Chef America.  I'm not really sure how this started, except that they like to help me cook, and I'm quite willing to encourage that habit.  Normally, hubby isn't home by then, but as luck would have it, he rolled in at 4:55 last Saturday. 

Now, in case you're never watched an episode, it's two chefs going against each other in a food battle stadium style.  They only have an hour to prepare 5 courses, and by the way, you have to use a secret ingredient in every course that we just unveiled to you 3 seconds ago. 

Now me and the peeps talk about the show during the day.  We try to guess what the secret ingredient is going to be and mimic some of those moves that Mark Dacascos puts on at the beginning of the show.(Who knew you could get a work out watching this show?)

As the show revealed the secret ingredient, the oohs and aahs coming from our living room got any of our neighbors within earshot wondering if we were watching a porno.  We were, sort porn that is.  You see, the secret ingredient was.....


Oh yes, this house LOVES its cheese.  The secret ingredient was gruyere to be exact.  I immediately began fantasizing about fondue and hubby was alive with anticipation about what gruyere and a strip steak could be doing together.  (Oh, you nasty boy you!)

Oh yes, we're crazy married people with kids in a college town.  Don't worry, we were in bed AND asleep by 9:30.
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