Rants from the Crib

An Ob/Gyn gone mad

Archive for the tag “jewelry”

Super Travel Girl

The next 2 days will be insane. Today I will be flying home to Alabama from North Dakota via Denver, Charlotte, and Huntsville. But will I see my family?  Heck no!  My hubby and my daughter are in Philadelphia for work/ fun and won’t be back until Monday. I, on the other hand, am arriving at home at 11 PM tonight and will have to wildly pack for my next trip, which starts tomorrow, and for which I depart at 2:45 PM. I have to pack for TWO destinations – I am going to Milwaukee first for my fabulous jewelry conference, which I attend every year. I will be there for a week. Then I am leaving DIRECTLY for North Dakota to work, without pausing to go back home first. So I have to pack work clothes, and I have to pack funky clothes and jewelry supplies for my show. How will I fit all this in the suitcases I don’t know. It’s going to be interesting!  I am strongly considering checking 2 bags, which will be unwieldy and expensive, but the locums company I work for does reimburse travel expenses. Then I’ll have a carry-on and a backpack too. Yikes!  And I have to do it all in 11 hours!  Fortunately I did think to launder all the clothes from this trip at the hotel. So I can pack all the work clothes straight out of the suitcase. And I don’t even want to think what will happen if I miss even one connection. I will be totally screwed!  My first flight out of here is already delayed an hour, but I think I will make the connection. So, phew!  I’m just a little stressed right now. Craziness!  Wish me luck!

Super Travel Girl

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Etsy

Carnelian Eni Oken Style Bracelet

I have thought of writing a post about Etsy for quite a while now, but something odd today really triggered me to write.  First, Etsy is a web site.  It is a place where handmade items, art supplies, vintage items, etc are sold.  Mass marketers are not encouraged to be there, so it is a wonderful place to find something unique!

I have had a shop on Etsy for three or so years now, since I make jewelry and I like to sell it, so I can justify buying more beads and jewelry supplies.  Jewelry creation is my real passion.  I do strung work, off-loom bead weaving (my greatest love), chain maille, wirework and metal work.  Everything I create is one of a kind – I’d get bored making the same thing over and over again.

Etsy is fairly affordable.  It costs nothing to create and open a shop.  What costs you money is posting photographs and info about each individual piece for sale.  Etsy charges you 0.20 for each item you place on sale, and this lasts for three months.  When items expire, you need to renew them, if you still want them sold, and they will cost you 0.20 apiece to renew.  I currently have 130 items for sale, so I guess that adds up.  My Etsy bill is probably about 5-8 dollars a month; you can pay with Paypal.

People can shop on Etsy with all major credit cards, Paypal, and Etsy gift cards.  Etsy sets the whole thing up for you and makes it really easy.  They have recently added the coolest feature EVAH.  From your home computer, you can type in the weight and dimensions of the package of merchandise that you wish to ship to the purchaser, and you can print out a USPS mailing label right on your home printer and attach it to the package.  For most small items, all you have to do is walk down the sidewalk and put the labelled package in your mailbox.  SWEET!  Etsy deducts the postage cost from your Paypal account.

I check Etsy every few days, to check merchandise and check if there are purchases.  Etsy automatically emails you if there are any purchases or communication, but it also seems wise to check.  Also, you need to manually check and make sure there is no merchandise you need to renew.  You can check your shop stats and see how many people looked at your site each day or week, which items they looked at, and whether anyone has favorited or “liked” your shop or a particular piece.

Here’s the weird thing.  When I checked on my Etsy shop today, there had been a MASSIVE amount of traffic in the last few days.  I had dozens of favorites of my shop and of items.  The really odd thing was, it seemed to be the same 2 or 3 items that were favorited, over and over again.  One of those pieces is the piece shown above.  Now the Etsy Home Page features selected items (I’m not sure how they select them) and it is said that you will have a massive surge in traffic if one of your items is featured on their home page.  The thing is, I checked the home page and none of my stuff is on it.  Maybe it was there a few days ago?  I can’t quite figure it out.

You can also pay extra money to advertise items through Etsy, either through paying to have little ads posted, or paying for a bump in their search engine.  Thing is, I’ve only tried advertising once, it was a long time ago, it didn’t do squat, and I’ve never done it again.  So, weirdness.  It would be kind of like posting a blog and suddenly having traffic leap up  by a factor of ten on one post, without being featured on something like Freshly Pressed.  I did notice that 40 hits came through the Etsy search engine, but I don’t know why.

I will of course have to make a plug for my Etsy shop here. I also want to make a plug for my friend Diana, because she does the most amazing Shibori tie dye EVER and I’ve bought like a million of her gorgeous pieces.  She uses the best quality shirt material, including bamboo, and you can machine wash without losing your color.  You can check her out here.  She has no idea I am doing this, so she may be similarly bewildered by a sudden increase in traffic.

If you create something you’re proud of, and you want to try to sell it, Etsy is a great place to get your feet wet.  And no, I don’t work for or with Etsy, and they haven’t paid me any money to write about this (although I think they should).  I have had very good experiences with Etsy, both buying and selling (and, yes, I have bought quite a number of amazing things off this site over the years).  I have yet to get ripped off or deceived, which is a pretty cool thing.  So check it out!  Surf!  Run a search!  And hold on to your wallet, because those cards are gonna be jumping right out of there!

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Above

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Since I am away from home, staying in a hotel, and I don’t have my camera but have my cell phone, I was feeling a bit silly and photographed my bracelets FROM ABOVE, in the bathtub.  I did make all the bracelets, so there was SOME creativity involved.  Hope this picture actually focused – I can’t tell from the size it is now.

How Many Earrings Are Too Many?

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Answer : you can never have too many! Especially when you make them all in a hotel on a lazy weekend in North Dakota.

Happy Birthday, Baby

Today is my husband’s birthday.  It is also National Marguerita day, which is probably not a coincidence.  Gosh, we’re getting old.  He is 48 today, which is really close to 50, which is really old.  Right?  And I’ll be 45 soon, which is also really old.  For me, anyway.

We are about half a country away from each other.  Here I sit in a hotel room in North Dakota, surrounded by jewelry makings and sugar free candy.  In honor of my husband I am watching Underworld, which I would probably not be watching otherwise.  This movie serves my purpose, though, which is that it not demand enough attention to keep me from making jewelry, or writing blog posts.  He is with my daughter in San Francisco.  They arrived there today – he has a conference to attend and he has brought our daughter with him, since I am in North Dakota.  He is speaking, so she will sit in the back of the room and read until he is done.  Then they plan to visit the town, go to the zoo, ride a streetcar, you know.  My daughter wanted to visit the “pretty jail on the island”.  I told her maybe not.  I’m hoping they will Skype soon.  Today I have yet to speak with either one of them.

Seems like my husband and I always have a computer or two between us.  Computers are his livelihood, specifically, data base administration.  He can work from home a lot, but he also travels.  We met online, through an online dating service.  He was several years out of his divorce, which occurred because he wanted children and she did not.  I was 34 and single.  We exchanged witty emails, and eventually phone conversations.  At that time he was at home because his father was dying of colon cancer and was living at home with him.  We talked on the phone until the day his dad passed away; my husband couldn’t leave the house long enough to go out on a date until then.  His devotion suggested to me that he would make an excellent husband and father.  Any man who, alone, gives up his job for 8 months to stay home until his STEPdad passes away, has got some serious caregiving dedication.

We had a couple good (and funny) dates, and then we were dating.  A year later, we got engaged.  He chose me the most beautiful, the most perfect ring ever.  I was unhappy with my present job and we moved to Alabama to be closer to my parents in case we had kids.  We had a daughter, a wonderful daughter.  My husband proved to be every bit the excellent husband and father I thought he would be.  He found out we were pregnant online too.  We were chatting between my office and his office, and I couldn’t get him on the phone after I took the test, so I typed it in the chat line:  Oh, by the way, we’re pregnant.”  My phone rang about 30 seconds after that.  “That is NOT the kind of news we pass along on chat,” he said.  “Oh well,” I said, “We met online, after all.  I thought it was only appropriate.”

We’ll be married ten years in October.  Wow, where did the time go?  I just left my job of ten years, just in time, as the town’s Obstetrics and Gynecology service was imploding in the ugliest way possible.  Two hospitals and two services were dumped together.  Then the firings started.  Nurses and doctors are being fired from the service every day now.  I had a job if I stayed, but the circumstances were repugnant to me.  Thus, I have decided to go adventuring, working as a travel doctor.  It has always been a dream of mine.  I love to travel.

But here I sit, tonight, in a nice hotel in a small town in North Dakota, and I feel just a bit lonely.  I texted my husband a happy birthday greeting, but that is not the same.  I haven’t spoken to him yet today.  And I miss my little daughter.  We will Skype tonight, and I will see their faces, and hear their voices, and I will feel better.

So, happy birthday honey.  It’s been a crazy ride, these last ten years.  We’ve moved, and gotten married, and had a baby, and here we are getting all old together.  I sure do love and miss you!  And I sure will have a lot of new jewelry to show you, since I’ve been sitting here making it every night since I’ve been here.  Hope your Speaker’s Dinner and your ballroom dance are great tonight!  Can’t wait to see you again!

Things To Do Alone In A North Dakota Hotel Room

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Not THAT, ya pervs.

1.  Listen to Duran Duran on your computer.  Watch the swirly designs in time to the music.  Ponder the lyrics.

2.  Make earrings.  Dozens and dozens of pairs of earrings.  And an owl necklace.  With matching earrings.

3.  Gaze out at the snow and think how neat it is that you are somewhere that it is snowing.

4.  Dance around to the song “Milkshake”.  Damn right, it’s better than yours.

5.  Cuddle the stuffed duck your daughter sent with you.

6.  Smell your clean laundry.  Marvel at how clean the fleece and the Cuddl Duds and scrubs are.

7.  Check WordPress to see if anyone liked your post.  Check it again.

8.  Charge your phone.  Try to figure out how to turn off the alarm that goes off every time you get a Tweet.

9.  Drink soft drinks out of the little refrigerator.  Marvel that they didn’t explode in the car.

10. Wish fervently that a new episode of Big Bang Theory was coming on TV.

11. Recheck Facebook to find out how many of your friends, doctors and nurses, have been fired in your hometown today.  Be deeply thankful that you got out of there when you did.

12. Make more earrings.

13. Talk to your Mom on the cell phone.  Tell her about the exploding soft drinks.  Discuss how many inches of snow they are getting in the Midwest right now.

14. Plan how you will take snow pictures with your daughter’s stuffed duck in them.  Plan to photograph the duck on the giant dinosaur outside the dinosaur museum.

15. Watch the static electricity make blue sparks under the sheets on the bed.

16. Make WalMart shopping list.  Nail clippers.  New hairbrush since you destroyed the old one this morning drying your hair.

17. Listen to the heat cut on and off, on and off…

18. Check Etsy to see if any jewelry sold.  Check Pinterest to make sure you didn’t miss any awesome shoes.

19. Fill out job paperwork.  Wonder how the hell you will print it out without a printer.

20. Miss your husband and little daughter like crazy.  Wish you could have Skyped longer.

Fear And Loathing In North Dakota

I’m slowly getting settled into North Dakota.  I’ve been here almost a week.  They tell me this has been a very mild winter so far – I believe them and I’m grateful.  It was snowing this morning when I got up, but not very hard and it was not predicted.  There was just a little snow on the roads.  It was a hard pellety kind of snow, almost like little styrofoam balls coming down.

I ate breakfast in the hotel this morning.  They have a “free” breakfast every morning.  It’s pretty nasty, especially because I’m still on Atkins and all I can eat are the eggs and meat.  The scrambled eggs the other morning were like dried up little yellow goat turds – pretty gross.  The only other alternative is to eat Atkins bars for breakfast, which I really shouldn’t do because I eat them for lunch.  I’ve arrived at the conclusion that every single dish they make in the hospital cafeteria is loaded with raw onions just before it is served.  Everything I have eaten in there has left a nasty taste of raw onions in my mouth.  I can deal with cooked onions, but raw ones?  The food there is pretty bad.  The vegetables are overcooked and so mushy that they fall right off your fork.  The meat and fish are dry and generally covered with some kind of coating I shouldn’t be eating.  So it’s Atkins bars for lunch.

And I must feed my diet Coke addiction.  I get a big one when I get there first thing in the morning and another one at lunch.  At least they don’t put onions in that.  I consume untold quantities of diet Coke.  Except for the 12 pack I exploded in the trunk of my rental car.  That’s there to stay.  And it’s pretty cheap – 30 something ounces for $1.02.  People understand the Diet Coke Imperative when I explain that I can’t drink coffee.

Clinic is pretty dang light.  I’m not sure why they need to bring in all these travel doctors, seriously.  A big load for clinic here is 5 patients in the morning and 5 in the afternoon.  Hell, back home I saw that many in about 2 hours.  Today I had only one patient after lunch.  The other two docs only had one or two also.  So I went home at two o’clock and decided it was laundry day.  I wore my last pair of Cuddl Duds today and must have fresh ones.  They get kind of sweaty under those scrubs.  Plus, I didn’t have time to wash them before I left home when I got them out of my ski box.  They were kind of musty.  So off I went to the laundry room on the third floor and now I have all soft fresh scrubs and socks and undies and Cuddl Duds.  Nothing I love more than warm fresh laundry!

There’s a lot going on in the background with what my next job will be.  I thought I had a pretty guaranteed repeat job here in N.D. but the way they’re hemming and hawing at the locums place, I really don’t know.  They’re still unable to let me know if I have any days in April.  And April is soon.  I need work.  Now they’re offering me a job in South Dakota starting in March, and I don’t know what to do.  I only have 5 work days here in March, the fourth through the ninth.  I can do two weeks at the end of March in S.D., but then I don’t know what to do about April, since I still don’t know about days here.  They’re already wanting me to fill out paperwork for S.D.  I have a bunch of papers to fill out and mail, but they’ve all been emailed to me and I don’t have a printer hooked up to my laptop, obviously.  So I’ll have to figure out a way to download and print all that stuff from clinic.  I feel very confused and disoriented.  And I can’t always get in touch with my rep at the locums place when I want to, and I can’t always get in touch with my husband, and I always forget to ask one or the other one of them something that I need to tell the other one.  Is it too much to ask for just a nice recurring gig?  The new South Dakota deal is supposed to be that, but so was this one.  They’ve got too many locums here.

I’ve been making jewelry in the hotel room with all my free time from clinic.  Here clinic starts no earlier than 9:15 and the last patient is at 3:30.  If that.  Hell, at home, we started at 8:30 sharp every morning, sometimes 8:15 and ran till noon, and then afternoon was from 1:15 to 5:00.  I don’t even have any patients here tomorrow until 10:00.  So, wow, I can really sleep in, which I love.  And I don’t have any call, which is good because I don’t have to stress over it, or be up all night, but which is bad because I would get paid a lot more if I had it.

I’m waiting to get some real snow so I can get out and get some pictures in it.  I’m beginning to wonder if I should have taken up all that room in my suitcase with my camera equipment, because this little town is not all that picturesque.  I think it will look better if covered with snow, but then there is the whole matter of driving in the snow in my tiny little Chevy, which is so not equipped for heavy snow and ice driving.  I’d like to go out in the country a ways to get some pictures, but I’m scared I’d get lost in the cold or slide into a ditch.  So for now, since there really isn’t any snow, I think I will stay in my nice warm hotel room and make some more jewelry.  I’ve already made eleven pairs of earrings.   I wore some of them today.

I’m just really confused with sorting out all the job possibilities and opportunities, and I feel like I need to be able to communicate more and better with my husband, so I don’t sign up for something that will mess us up or piss him off.  For example, I called him about two hours ago to see if the attorney gave me a tax ID number for my new P.C., and he hasn’t called me back yet.  And since I am now a P.C., and not just me, I need to have all the checks deposited into my new business account.  But to do that, they need my tax ID number, and hubby still has yet to call me back.

So here it is, 430 in the afternoon, I’m off work for the day, have written a blog post and done all the laundry.  Now I’m off to make some jewelry.  That I understand.  That doesn’t confuse me.  In fact, I downright enjoy it.  Then I need to recheck Facebook to keep up with all my nurse and doctor friends back in Alabama, because they are getting fired daily just as I predicted, which is why I left that crazy town anyway.  They fired a great nurse last night, and I hear they let one of the doctors go today.  So I’ve got lots of communicating to do.  And then I don’t have to be at work until 10:00 tomorrow morning.  I’m so glad they pay me by the day and not the hour!

My Jewelry Making Habit

I showed my mother my blog this weekend and she seemed pretty proud.  She was surprised, however, that I had not yet done a post about my jewelry making.  Actually, I think I might have.  It was just so long ago.  That’s the thing about these daily posts.  You just lose track of them after a while.  However, in case I forgot to do a jewelry post, here we go:

I started making strung jewelry.  This is pretty much looked down upon those who make other forms of jewelry making:  seed beading, wireworking, chain maille, bead embroidery, metal work, mixed media.  I have also tried all of these things, with fairly good results, but I love to make a good strung piece.  Stringing involves taking a piece of wire-reinforced polymer and placing beads with holes in them onto the wire in a select order, followed by the addition of a clasp at both ends.  Some jewelry makers may look down on strung pieces, because the execution is fairly simple, but I still maintain that it takes skill to create a pleasing strung piece.  Just throwing random beads onto a string just isn’t going to get it.  The arrangement of beads, stones, etcetera is tantamount and the piece must also be put together strongly.  You can’t sell someone a piece that falls apart!  Here is an example of strung work:

Pietersite collar

The next jewelry modality I tried was beadweaving.  This is performed with tiny beads called seed beads, which are held together with thread, usually nylon monofilament, in a variety of patterns.  I got quite good at this, and used to say that I could build an entire house out of seed beads if I wanted to.  Sadly, I have had to get away from seedbeading as my eyes have gotten really bad of late, and I have to wear huge magnifying lenses if I even want to see the beads.  Here is one of my better seed beadweaving pieces:

Cellini spiral

Next I tried wirework, which was a lot of fun for me.  I’m pretty good at creating pieces in a classroom environment but not so great at coming up with my own designs.  Wirework involves the use of wire, usually sterling silver, with beads or found objects to create an artistic piece.  Here is some of the wirework I have done:

Green lava rock Oken piece

Next I tried chain maille, which I find very enjoyable.  Chain maille is an ancient art that stems from using metal rings to create jewelry or cloth, and is what the body armor was made from centuries ago.  Many beautiful jewelry pieces can be made by using these patterns.

Byzantine chain

Metal work is the most exacting jewelry work of all, and I am a rank amateur.  I have managed to make a few pieces that I am reasonably proud of and I keep trying to get better.  This is my latest skill acquisition.

Fold-formed copper cuff

Now I will make a shameless plug and state that over a hundred pieces of my work are available for sale here .  Hope you enjoyed your jewelry tour!

My Life With Beads

I have been making jewelry as a hobby for a long, long time.  Since college.  I don’t even want to tell you how long ago that was. 

I got started by spending time with a friend.  He was a geology student from Columbia and his roomate was dating my best friend.  Therefore, he and I were thrown together quite often as our respective friends spent quality time together. 

He had a little sideline business:  he made strung bead jewelry and sold it at local rock concerts.  He and I would settle down contentedly with frisbees full of beads and bottles full of beer and make necklaces, which he called “snecks”  (snakes).  He would then take them and sell them to drunk college students.  I kept the ones I made.  That was what got me started with the jewelry; then it was just stringing but later I got into beadweaving, wire work, metal work, chain maille and enamelling.  It all started wtih the snecks.

I started dating a guy who played Ultimate Frisbee and that just went hand in hand wtih homemade jewelry.  I always had a tacklebox of beads to put together at all the tournaments that I went to with him.  Unless I had to play.  Which was always a nightmare, and I longed to get my beads out instead. 

I made necklaces and gave them away to my friends amongst the players, and sometimes their children.  Other players did jewelry too and we would swap.  I have an interesting collection of jewelry made by my friends!

When I moved to New Orleans I added lampwork glass beadmaking to my repertoire.  I sucked at it, and I made the ugliest little beads ever but I got to learn the fun of playing with a blowtorch out on my bedroom balcony.  I continued to make jewelry and one of my friends even found me a venue to sell some of it.  I didn’t sell much.  But it was worth a shot. 

There was a bead store there that I started to frequent.  I went to the French Quarter and made a friend who sold old African trade beads, which I bought in abundance.  I also bought antique Mardi Gras beads, which were actually real glass beads from Czecholslovakia.  I have a whole collection in a bin up in my attic.

When I moved to Atlanta for my first real job, I also had my first real money.  I spent thousands of dollars at the local bead stores and hundreds more on lessons.  I learned seed bead weaving, which is still one of my great talents and loves.  I learned peyote stitch first, and by God, I peyoted everything that was vaguely circular that would sit still long enough to stitch it.  I started taking classes from national masters who travelled from city to city teaching.  I met a lot of big names and learned a whole lot of great stuff. 

I moved to a small town in Alabama, to be closer to my parents since I got married and my husband and I planned to start a family.  My jewelry making lay dormant for a couple years, since the nearest bead store was 45 minutes away, and I was occupied with my first house. 

I picked back up the beading with a vengeance when I got pregnant though.  I guess I feared (correctly) that I wouldn’t get to do it much once the baby got there.  I made tons of pieces, both strung and beadweaving. 

After my daughter was born, I picked up a new habit.  I begin to attend the Bead and Button show, which is the largest retail bead market in the world, and which bosts hundreds and hundreds of classes from the finest instructors the world has to offer.  I’ve been every year since A was born.  The trip is a several thousand dollar proposition, since it lasts a week and two weekends, and I fill every single available moment with classes.  I’m not going there to sit around, no way!  At Bead and Button I picked up wirework, metalwork (in a primitive form) and enamelling. 

I also taught myself chain maille from an online store called Urban Maille, run by a wonderful woman named Aislyn who sent out fabulous kits with great instructions.

For several years, I went to many local craft shows and sold my jewelry there.  I even had my own tent and lighting and table setup.  It was big stress getting all set up and broken down, but the part in between where you got to man your booth and sweet talk everyone who came by was a blast!  My husband actually seemed to enjoy it too.  I had to give that up when my partner and I had to go on every other night call because we had to fire our partner, who was a bonafide sociopath.

This last year I went through a beading frenzy and made many dozens of jewelry sets and many more dozens of earrings.  I began to photograph them all and put them up for sale on Etsy, which is an online shopping system for artisan made goods.  I must confess, I have not made all that many sales.  My husband’s friend has been one of my best customers.  I check Etsy every day to see if I have made a sale, and I very rarely have, but I keep checking.  I keep adding new pieces in case something catches someone’s eye. 

I have been enamelling everything that doesn’t melt or catch on fire, and putting the enameled pieces into jewelry. 

Basically I have been a confirmed bead addict for the last twenty seven years, and I have loved every minute of it.  I anxiously await the day that I can retire from my day job and spend all my time making and selling jewelry.

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