Friday, October 28, 2011

Twitter, DVR, soap operas and snark

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We all have a guilty little seemingly insignificant pleasure.  I am no different.  Curious as to what it is?

It involves twitter, my DVR, and the afternoon soap "Bold and the Beautiful". 

I have to tell you that I have been a fan of the show since my college days, but since it was in the middle of the day, I didn't get to watch it much.  I still don't have time in the middle of the day to watch, but since the invention of the DVR, I can set the machine to automatically record it and watch it later.  Now throw in Twitter and some snarky remarks, and the entire combination makes for good entertainment.

Before I can watch a new episode I have to search twitter for the #BoldandBeautiful tag to see what people are saying.  People send out tweets describing the episode (and of course their opinions and interpretations).  It's like having the cheat sheet version on what to watch out for while I watch the episode.  My favorite so far have been the tweets exclaiming the confusion over what the character Ridge was wearing in Wednesday's show this week.  It was pure joy, entertainment and guilty pleasure all in of itself.  (By the way, what was up with him wearing the purple man scarf???)

Who knew I was that easy to entertain?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Visiting the Florida Aquarium

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Warning! There are going to be LOTS of pictures in this post.

I took a day with my peeps last week to take them to the Florida Aquarium.  I had heard it was a super nice aquarium and the family was looking for a good day trip.  These are random pictures from the day.  (Disclaimer: I didn't take notes on what things were and I'm inept as a photographer.  Proceed with caution....)

A nice little 5 foot alligator.  (We're looking down on him.)

Blue crab.  He was up against the glass and was trying to get us with his pinchers.

A duck.  Not really sure what kind.  He wasn't the prettiest of the bunch, but was the only one that was cooperative in allowing me to take his picture.

One of the things I loved about the Florida Aquarium was the number of exhibits at "eye level".  My kids could get up next to glass and see the fish as you would expect to see them in nature.  (And no, these fish didn't have blazing yellow eyes, it's just how I had to capture the picture so the flash didn't reflect on the glass.)

I had super aquarium envy after seeing this salt water fish tank that was made to look like something that could easily go in your living room.  (except at my house -- we're out of room -- not kidding)

Big fish, natural habitat.  Hubby and I were tall enough to be able to look down over the top of the glass into the water.

I loved how the aquarium went to great lengths to create a natural setting inside a building in downtown Tampa.  There were lots of trees and natural light.

I love this goldfish.  He looks really smart with that orange brain thingy on his head.

Two lobsters.  Is it wrong to share that my first thought was, "Where's the butter?"

Barn owl.  I never got a good shot of him looking directly at us, but I wish I had.  He had that look on his face like he was trying to figure out which of kids to fly off with.

This little guy greeted us as soon as we got to the aquarium.

Pink bird.  (An ibis maybe??  I don't think it's a flamingo.)  Couldn't get her to look at the camera either.

Sea horse.  This one left my peeps a little disappointed.  I think they thought that sea horses were little ponies with scuba gear and lived in a pineapple under the sea.

SHARK!  (Upper left quadrant)  No visit to a body of water in Florida is ever complete without seeing a shark.

This starfish is actually prettier than the picture shows you.

This was the interactive area where you could actually touch a starfish or anenome.  (I don't think I spelled that correctly.)  This water was really cold.  Kids didn't keep their hands in there long.

This area was meant to look like a beach.  The keeper is feeding the sting rays and fish.

White bird.  An ibis I think.

One of my favorite parts of the day was getting to touch the stingrays.  I couldn't believe how social these girls were (I found out there were all girls in the tank.  Apparently they get along better than a group of guy stingrays.)  You could touch their wings, but couldn't feed them.  The peeps were a little skeptical, but I thought it was cool.  (Warning - you will smell like cheap cat food for a few hours after doing this activity.)

My little Chunky Monkey riding a fish.  (Not a real one silly.  Although he would have liked that too.)

All my peeps riding the surfboard on the playground.  (And just for the record, their father got them dressed that morning.)

So when I asked them what their favorite part of the day was, it would be this:

This was a play pirate ship that shot water out of the guns.  Too bad I didn't get a picture of them surprising their father and the subsequent midday wet jeans he had to contend with.

We've already made plans to go back sometime next summer.  Great way to spend the day with my family.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Recycling gift cards into jewelry

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If you've been following me for a bit, you know earlier this year I asked you to save me your used up gift cards.

I finally had the opportunity to get the collection of gift cards out and being making them into jewelry.  I've been saving every and all plastic gift cards that I can find.

My hydraulic press will come in handy for me to make these.

I'm using my disc cutter to get perfect circles out of the cards.

Some cards are better than others when it comes to patterns.  The sets will never be "matchy-matchy" (in case you're looking for an exactly perfect match), but they will be complimentary.

This is one of the sets I got from a card.  (Ear wires and pendant jump ring have yet to be added.)

Another set, but this one is a bit more colorful.  I try not to include anything that identifies the company as to try to avoid copyright and trademark issues.

These will be available for purchase at the Downtown Festival and Art show, November 12 and 13!  If you would like a reminder about the show, be sure to sign up for my email list (sign up box on the right side of this page).

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Monkeys and chaos

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Sometimes my kids are up and active when I'm trying to make jewelry (as opposed to how I used to do it -- when they were napping -- but those days are seemingly long gone). I do my best to keep them occupied with something productive while also keeping an eagle eye on them. If you're a parent, you know how quickly things can go from perfect to pandemonium in a wee couple of minutes.

In my life, it happens when I'm on the phone.

Meet my youngest child.

A serious flirt.

And mischief maker.

And he eats....A LOT. In fact, if you ask him, he will tell you his name is Chunky Monkey.

His father and I are completely prepared to get the phone call from school one day that he has run his underwear up a flagpole.

(And is using his charm and good looks to get out of having to scrub the entire cafeteria floor as his punishment.)

Why am I worried about such things at such a young and sweet and tender age? Because of what he can do with a couple of markers in just three minutes.

Who knew that in the time it takes to take a phone order from a customer that you can paint your hands with a marker.

And if that wasn't enough, he wanted to show me his artistic talent and could use the complimentary color orange on his arms to set off the color purple on his hands. (If you're trying to calculate a score for this masterpiece, using two colors in under three minutes does increase the difficulty factor by 0.3).

So if you ever call to ask a question, place an order, or just otherwise chit-chat, remind me to check on Chunky Monkey and make sure I have all marking elements (including my collection of 64 different colors of Sharpies) in my possession.

(By the way, I can't wait to get a note from school today asking me to keep my child home until his fungus has resolved.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

An art career in 15 minutes a day

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I follow the art business blog of Alyson B. Stanfield.  If you're an artist, regardless of the media, I think you can find value in the information she shares.  One of my favorite blog posts to this day, is her post encouraging artists to spend at least 15 minutes a day on their art.  Ever since hearing that post as a podcast on my iPod, I make it a point to do just that.  I try work on the part of my art daily that energizes me:  pouring resin, working with digital art, planning colors, or anything similar.  It's a bit crazy in my house so I don't always get it done, but I aim to do something fun with the art daily.  It keeps me connected and focused on my art and quite frankly, gives me some sanity in this crazy circus of my house.

I would challenge you (even if you're not artists) to find something that energizes you and do it for 15 minutes every day.  (and comment below on what that is.  I'm eager to find out what energizes YOU.)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

What food means in this house #BAD11 #FoodDay

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Food is more than just food in this house.  It's been a way for me to connect with my family.  I never would have guessed that 3 little boys would love helping their mom in the kitchen, but they do.... and I have found that I adore having them with me.  I knew from when they were just crumb crunchers scooting around on the floor that I wanted them to learn how to cook so that they wouldn't starve when they went off to college, but I didn't know that it was going to be a fun time for us to bond and grow as a family.  Who knew that teaching life skills would be just as valuable to me as it is to them.  You can catch up with some of my food related posts here:

Brownie Making Day

Breakfast Casserole Recipe

My favorite Malbec wine

Death by Chocolate recipe

Iron Chef and foodporn

My review of Food Network Magazine

My wine indulgence

Friday, October 14, 2011

Resin jewelry making challenges

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I've been working on a new resin project using bottle caps. It appears as though the resin gods though I had forgotten the first rule of working with resin: the resin always wins.  It doesn't matter how much I work with resin; I always have something MORE to learn about it.

Last I left you, I had glued artwork into the bottom of recycled bottle caps with the plastic inserts removed.  Here's a few of the snags I've encountered:

This is a 'flat' bubble.  Why it chose to get squished horizontally is beyond me.  The zoom in my camera actually allows me to see that it's a bubble.  If I look at it with my 'everyday getting older eyeballs', it looks more like a big piece of glitter reflecting light back.

I also had just the garden variety large bubbles as well.  The first time this happened, I thought I hadn't checked the resin very well after pouring, so I triple checked with the next batch.  Everything was good, yet when I came back two hours later, two of the bottle caps had bubbles.  When I poured a couple of batches today, I decided to use my hot air gun instead of a straw to get the bubbles out.  It got the bubbles out, but the force of the air also pushed up bubbles from under the paper.  Apparently, I'm trapping air underneath the art which is escaping later.

I've also had a few with a lot of small bubbles.  I don't know how this happened either.

So for the few that have turned out well, I have to look for cat hair.  Thanks Karma.

To keep these mistakes from happening again, I poured a very thin layer of resin to cover the art.  This should allow bubbles to escape easier in case they show up later.  (I can always add another layer if I decide I don't like the thinness.)  I'll let you know how that works out.

Monday, October 10, 2011

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Our new babysitter (whom we just ADORE) is a recent transplant from Colorado to Florida.  She asked the other day if this (picture at left) was an orange tree.  I said it was then realized it would be fun to share more pictures of my lovely little tree since it had been awhile since I had shown the green golf balls.

It's a little hard here to get the perspective of the tree.  He's probably about 8 feet tall and 6 feet wide.  (The top gets lost in the oak tree behind it in this picture).

The oranges are now about the size of tennis balls.  They might grow a little bit more, but not much.

The orange tree leaves are shiny on one side and dull on the other.  The limbs have some sharp points too.  I suppose the word would be thorns wouldn't it?

If this orange was orange and not green, wouldn't it be perfect just to put the straw in and suck it up??

As I was getting pictures, I noticed this orange was bursting with excitement.  Literally.  I've never opened up an orange this early, but it looks pale orange inside.  Not quite appetizing yet.

These should all be ready for juice in February.  Yeah!

Friday, October 07, 2011

The jewelry making books in my library

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I've decided we all have something we hoard.  I just try to hoard stuff that's worthwhile (at least to me anyway).  In looking at my bookcase this week, I decided I am a jewelry book hoarder.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE buying jewelry books.  Designing jewelry.  Making jewelry.  Fixing jewelry.  History of jewelry.  and on and on and on.  I love reading about 42 different ways to make the same bezel.  I love looking at a piece of jewelry and trying to figure out how the artist made it.  I love looking at others designs and wonder how I can make it better.  *smile*

 I have books on everything.  Even stuff I haven't done yet.  (but intend to sometime before I die)

You can learn so much just by reading.   It's a great way of introducing yourself to techniques and sparking ideas in where you want to go next.

I've even got a few business planning books too.  Reading business information is my other obsession.

I have a rule that all my books have to fit in one bookcase.  As you can see, I make the most of all the space I can.

Sometimes the books don't even have to be 'how to' books.  I love looking at designs from different periods in time and looking at the jewelry art of contemporary artists.

What jewelry books do you have on your shelf?

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