Friday, July 31, 2009

Sorry...You Have Used Up Your Allotted Adjectives

For the past few days I've been busy listing items on my Etsy bead and jewelry making supply shop and also on my Artfire jewelry shop. All of this requires photos...lots of photos. If you've had a chance to read my last blog you know that photography is not my forte, so taking pictures (for me anyway) is a grueling and long procedure.
Now if that wasn't arduous enough each item needs its own snazzy little blurb, those perky descriptions that just make you want to buy it, like rushing to buy that fantastic dicer, slicer, baker, toaster, roaster that you just saw on TV.
I would never make a good TV pitchman, that needn't even be said. After three days of writing descriptions and editing them, I am now literally drained of words. Since I'm the world's worst speller running spell check is not an option, it is a necessity. My brain feels like a sponge that has been wrung dry, every adjective has been maxed out, much like my credit card.

Perhaps I'm due for a break, a lovely vacation. Maybe a trip to visit some friends down in Central America ?

above; mountain retreat of our friends in Central America...doesn't it look relaxing and inviting?
above; surrounded by Central America's mountain range like a hidden retreat.

below; the views from their balcony is especially serene.

below; our friends sitting at what I think is the most beautiful table I've ever seen...oh yes, I could live like this !

below; Just love this "Tree Table", and the chairs are neat too...where can I get a set ?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Could've - Would've - Should've

Jill of Beads and bobs did a lovely write-up about my Etsy Bead and Jewelry supply shop. I can truthfully say that I need all the exposure I can get and it is especially welcomed when it is gratis ! Thanks Jill, you're an angel ! Jill has her own lovely shop at: Beads & bobs Etsy

One of the most difficult things, at least for me, is taking good photos. Perhaps practice makes perfect but most of my shots turn out perfectly horrid or practically awful. Either too dark, out of focus, or a strange shade of orange, and I don't have the camera set on Sepia either, though think it probably would look better if perhaps I did.
So it's been a process of take 20 or 30 shots, download them, review them and then delete about seventy-five percent and then repeat the procedure. I know I've taken hundreds of photos by now and for some reason I am not improving upon my photography skills. There are a limited few pictures that can be salvaged through Picasa photo editing, but there is only so much it is capable of. Even the best photo editing software cannot salvage a shot that is murky and extremely out of focus. Guess I should have taken the free course offered by the camera shop where I purchased my digital Cannon Power Shot A70...had every intention to do so...but...

below - photo snagged from internet ad of my Cannon's small enough to fit in the palm of ones hand...but that hasn't prevented me from leaving it at home 99.9% of the time. Ah the photos I could've, should've, would've taken if only...
Well those of you who've visited my blog often probably can surmise that I suffer from an acute case of procrastination-itis. Yes, there is help for those like myself and indeed my area does have a Procrastinator's Anonymous (PA, which also stands for Public Announcement). I learned of PA's existence several years ago but just haven't joined up yet, maybe I'll do that next week...or perhaps the week after, wait there's something going on that week...well then I'll have to see what's on the agenda for the end of August !

Friday, July 24, 2009

Another Day Another Shop...

Have been working on the layout of a new shop at ArtFire : AlmostPrecious at ArtFire . I have my banner up and my avatar in place, wrote my bio, loaded the shipping info. Basically got the bones in place now I need to flesh it out a bit. At the moment there is only one item listed. Of course with the freebie version of Artfire I can only list a maximum of 12 items and the basic package doesn't have all the bells and whistles that the "verified account" offers. However the premium package is $12 monthly and so for the price of zero down and no listing fees or commission fees, how could I argue over such a limit ?

I decided to do a promotional piece, a gemstone and pearl, princess length necklace (22") with expensive 14 kt gold filled beads and clasp, at least $25 dollars worth of gold filled components all for $21 + S&H !
Six millimeter fancy jasper beads in a lush earthy green are use to accentuate ivory freshwater pearls, of similar size, while smooth, round gold filled beads break up the pattern and add a sparkling note of interest. Center focal bead is an 8 mm corrugated lantern bead flanked by gold filled saucer beads. No, not avante garde, just very classic, very traditional and ultimately very timeless.
I realize that not everyone appreciates timeless classic pieces but I have my hopes up and my fingers crossed. As I mentioned this piece is offered as a promotional piece so I'm actually losing money on it ( have over $25 invested in 14 kt gold filled beads and clasp alone). The promo price is $21 not including S&H (which is less than $3.00 and includes a gift box). Even if you're not interested, please check it out and at least give me a couple of "hits" on my new site.

Now I need to take more photos...and also figure out why ivory pearls come out pink in my photos ! Drat it all !!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


There are new puppies in our family !
Soft and warm, sweet and cuddly, how can one not resist an adorable pudgy puppy to hold ?
Caz, our daughter's female beagle, had her first litter of pups about 3 weeks ago. It was also the first litter of puppies that the grandchildren had seen so you can scarcely imagine the excitement their home contained.

In these photos the pups are almost 3 weeks old and their eyes have just opened.

Of course they are precious beyond words and the grandchildren would love to keep all 4 of them, their mother however has other ideas. Since they already have a household of 4 dogs and 5 cats keeping this litter is not an option...but I have a feeling that the children's pleas and begs will eventually net them one of these beautiful babies.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Jewelry Findings and a sea of "Stuff"...

above Hills Tribe Fine Silver Full Rose Pendant component

Help ! I'm being taken over by all my "stuff". It is perfectly okay to have stuff, but when you begin to feel like "stuff" owns you then it's time to dig out the shovel and literally dig yourself out.
For years I've crafted jewelry and participated in local arts and crafts shows. Was a lot of fun, but now the fad that became a rage has grown into Godzilla proportions and so has my inventory of jewelry findings, beads and components. At this moment in my life I'm not sure just which direction I wish to turn but this fact is undeniably clear; "My life is in dire need of decluttering" ! What better place to begin than in my hobby(slash)studio(slash)catch all(slash)storage room ?

above is photo of a lovely sterling silver box clasp handcrafted by Pacific Silver Co.
So for those of you who love to create fantastic pieces of jewelry I am beginning to list some of my supplies on my etsy shop. Though a bit of my findings and components are silver plate or gold plate, the bulk of my supplies are either sterling silver or gold filled ( 14 k gold filled). I had always attempted to create pieces that would be used, treasured and, hopefully, passed down like a family heirloom, therefore I shied away from base metal findings that could be bought in packages of 100 or 1,000 pieces, they may be economical but not very precious.

above is photo of same box clasp showing back side and sterling stamp.

In this post are photos of some of my newly listed items if you dabble in jewelry making or are a full fledged professional jewelry designer please check out my esty store website for more information and prices.

Latching mechanism on this clasp works as smooth as warm butter. Latches and opens easily unlike some of the cheaply made and less expensive clasps. This beauty has a lot of silver in it !

above box clasp is one of my favorites. Beautiful feather pattern. Both square and feather clasps feature a safety catch and are heavy weight sterling. Matching feather pattern stud earrings will be listed in my etsy shop soon. Earrings have bottom ring/loop for attaching dangles. All are exquisitely make.

above feather clasp shown open. This clasp would cost at least $30 in a bead store or most catalogs...that is if it were even available in a catalog.

above small rose drops in Fine silver by The Hills Tribe, beautiful for earrings or charms

All these item are in my Etsy Shop Almost Precious if you make jewelry please take a moment to visit my shop, if you have friends that make jewelry I'd appreciate it if you'd be so kind as to rely this information on to them. : )

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Universal Unwritten Laws

Forewarning ! Today's post will be unlike any I've written before. It is a side of me not often exposed strange and quirky, "weird" side, which I usually keep cloistered in the back corners of my mind for fear of being committed.

Last night at dinner, as I munched away on a slice of pizza, I had one of those moments. Haven't totally figured out what causes them but for some unknown reason my jaw malfunctions and in a grand attempt at self mutilation my teeth clamp down firmly upon the flesh on the inside of my cheek, sometimes it's on the inside of my lip but last night the cheek was primary target. Three seconds later another sharp bite at the same exact spot and a minute later yet another savage attack. Why ? Well I've been pondering this dilemma, one of many oddities that befalls mankind. I expostulate that there are high and exalted unwritten laws of the universe, written before time began by powers much greater than the sum of humanity.

To placate these powers that be, one of their unwritten universal law states; When a being bites the inside of their cheek or lip, they are destined to do so multiple times, for to do so once and one time only would throw the universe out of kilter and cause it to collapse in upon itself.

Another unwritten law; While painting, should you dribble paint on the floor it is ordained that you or someone else must and will step in it and said paint shall be tracked across the floor for a distance of no less than 8 feet...preferably more. This must be done to keep peace and harmony on Earth...usually in the farthest northern and southern regions, those areas we refer to as "The Poles".

If a woman has just spent $40 dollars on a fancy French manicure, it is the will of all the forces of nature that something should happen...her cell phone will ring, providing it is safely stashed away at the bottom of a very large and very deep, overstuffed purse or her three year old toddler will tangle, tie and knot his shoelaces around the tail of their long haired Persian cat.
The loud wails of the cat, mingled with the muttered curses of a woman whose lovely manicure is totally ruined will restore the balance between Earth's moon and the planet Venus.

When doing laundry one sock must invariably disappear. We may claim that the washer "ate" the sock, but the truth is that a minuscule black hole appeared in the washer...the vortex is formed by the spinning of the machine during the spin cycle.
As the vortex grows it sucks up one sock. One solidary sock out of a whole load of clothes amazing, but true. This one sock will make it's way across a vast expanse of universe where it will land unceremoniously upon a strange and distant world. A world populated by extremely improvised, one footed creatures.
Such a marvelous and unexplained gift brings considerable joy to these simple creatures and thus good karma flows through the Universe...of course this karma comes in the form of a special electrostatic force that has an uncanny attribute of preventing Golly Wocket Widgets from rusting, if you happen to own a Golly Wocket Widget you'd be most fortunate.

When your mother decides that it is okay, just this once, to give little Bartholomew a stick of gum, at that precise moment the heavens will open, lightening will flash, thunder will crack and little Barry will miraculously manage to chew his gum and at the same time plaster it in his hair, smear it on his shirt, smush it on the arm of the sofa and embed it deeply into the living room carpet. Now this is done only because those benevolent powers get a charge out of seeing you bite your tongue to keep from telling your mother; "Good grief mom, what in blazes were you thinking ? Did you come over to visit and leave your brain at home?" Ah yes, now the powers are very contented indeed. The universe is in balance, planets perfectly aligned ...for the time being...which is approximately 7 seconds and one-three-hundreths of a nano second

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Potato - Potahto

People's perceptions of things can differ, at times drastically. It's been often noted that eye witnesses are not that reliable as testimony from one witness to another can vary, and a witness can also be easily influenced by what others may have said. But even the very basic things such as fragrance or color is perceived differently from person to person. I enjoy the fragrance of carnations, however I've known others that couldn't tolerate it. To me the fragrance is light, clean and spicy, much like cloves or cinnamon, to a friend of mine it was heavy and cloyingly musky. Star Gazer Lilies are another thing, I can't tolerate their powerful fragrance, my husband and my daughters feel the same way, yet a great many people find the gorgeous pink and white lily's fragrance sweet and pleasingly aromatic. Some like the aroma of roses, to others the odor is bland, insipid.

Color is a whole different, chaotic ball park. What's yellow to one, is gold to another, what's gold to one is orange to somebody else. Is it teal or is it green, or maybe blue or even turquoise ? Is it burgundy, or is it purple or perhaps red ? Since secondary colors are simply combinations of primary colors (blue + yellow = green) it becomes rather murky, and vague and invariably ends up being left to each individual's own perception.

Recently I listed an item and described it as being lilac/lavender (when I purchased the items they were listed in a very large and prestigious catalog as being lavender) however I had someone comment that it was not lavender nor lilac, it was mauve.

Okay so what is lavender ? What is mauve ? Basically purple. What is purple ? Combinations of blues and reds...add white to make it paler. White also transforms the brilliance of reds into a multitude of pinks, from shocking hot pink, to cotton candy pink, to whispery, powder pink. So what's your opinion, is it lavender, mauve or something entirely different ? Me...I'm going to revise my item description to read; "pale purplish colored beads"...mmm, maybe ! But first I have to retake the photos because a couple of people said the sterling silver clasp looked like it was gold colored !

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Bog to Blog About

Our home sits on a plot of land that is almost but not quite 3 acres. Not big enough to be considered an estate , not small enough to be tract housing. At the back of property is a designated wetlands area, there a small creek runs through our lot dividing it. On maps this small creek is called Cow Pen Creek. Exactly who's cow pen ? We don't know, would be nice though..."Houdini's Cow Pen Creek", most appropriate for our bouts of scant then ample rain fall; now you see it, now you don't !

Deep in this more secluded wetlands is a small pond and, amazingly, a cornucopia of discoveries and delights. The other day I came across yet another mystery plant, again have no idea what it is, have never seen anything like it before.

Gene, our son-in-law, runs a lawn and yard maintenance service and is also a "Cracker" which is a colloquialism for a native Floridian, one born and raised in Florida. Cracker refers back to the days when Florida cowboys used long bull whips that were snapped violently, producing an ear splitting 'crack'. Usually the loud crack of the whip was sufficient to keep their herd of steer heading in the right direction. We thought with Gene's background, there was a good chance he would know what the plant was, but he looked at it, shrugged and called it a weed. Perhaps it is just a weed , however I love the little snowball flowers, obviously so do a species of little black shield bugs or beetles, as they were all over the plant, the bugs I could do without.

Usually plants that attract such bugs would have an offensive odor, not the case here, the blooms have a faintly sweet, pleasant scent and they do look rather pretty in a bouquet.

Photo below shows a bloom just before all the individual blossoms open.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Had a wake-up call today, must be time to clean out the fridge. Putting away the dishes I noted that only 2 small saucers remained out of a set of 8, means there are 6 stashed somewhere in the fridge with heaven-knows-what on them.
Uh, is that a pork chop or is it ? Oh, I'm not sure what it is but I think it just moved ! Eww, toss it, it jiggles and it isn't Jell-O or jelly !
Usually after dinner John helps me by putting away leftovers. So, more often than not, I have no idea exactly what's left over, what type of container they're in or where things have been stashed. However this I do know; we have 3 bottles of maple syrup on the bottom shelf of the fridge. Why ? I haven't a clue !

Extracting half a baguette loaf from the refrigerator I spotted spots, tiny blue, pinpoint spots. A bread mold, harmless but neither tasty nor appetizing. Carefully I picked out the spots, feeling a bit like Lady Macbeth; "Out, damned spot!". Once completed the baguette looked as though it had survived a bad case of chicken pox or maybe cow pox. Edible, yes. Attractive, no.
Yep, definitely time to clean out the old refrigerator.

One thing puzzles me, true many things puzzle me but this is my conundrum for today. Why is it refrigerator and not refridgerator ? Or why is it fridge but not frige, or frigid but not fridgid ? Just looked in my dictionary and I could find neither fridge nor frige, but I did find a wondrous new word; frigorific; adv. ; "making cold; freezing or cooling".

Not sure just how I'd use that in a sentence.
"Boy this air conditioner is frigorific." ?
"Put enough ice cubes in your lemonade and you'll have a frigorific drink." ?
"My Blue Gel freezing bag is absolutely frigorific." ?
Hmm, think I'm going to have to work on that one.

Friday, July 3, 2009

How Old is Dirt ?

Got an e-mail today with a list of "memories". There were 25 nostalgic things from days gone by and a challenge to see how many one actually remembered. Now this had to be remembered, not heard about! A score of 16 or more made one "older than dirt". I could remember 23...don't feel like Methuselah...not yet anyway!

One item of note was an empty soda bottle with several tiny holes punched in it's metal cap. Necessity being the mother of invention, and obviously this was invented by a mother, it was a handmade sprinkler for wetting clothes and linens in preparation for ironing. Steam irons hadn't been invented back then. Heck I was lucky, we had electric irons in my day, didn't need to heat a heavy chunk of solid iron on top of a wood burning stove. Indeed not all things in the "old" days were good !

Though there were some pretty good old memories, I don't think I'd like to trade in my steam iron for the old sprinkling bottle. We had electric irons however the handy steam iron had not been invented so the ever trusty sprinkling bottle was still a popular item, much needed to remove those relentless wrinkles in cotton and linen fabrics...seems like most of what we wore was either cotton or linen. I remember very well that my mom had a plastic sprinkler with a cork base on it (it was red and white), you pushed it into a small bottle filled with water. Small Coke a Cola bottles were the most popular as they had that lovely hourglass shape that fit one's hand quite nicely.

Our grandma lived before new fangled contraptions such as plastic sprinklers, and either out of preference or stubbornness, I'm not sure which, would forever use the bottle with its cap punched with tiny holes. Might have been from sentiment as grandpa had make it for her. He chose a perfect cap, one not bent or damaged and that fit just right. It had to snap neatly back down onto the bottle top and yet be easy to pop off again for refilling. Too loose and the first shake would send the bottle cap flying and both garment and ironing board would be soaked with water, too tight and it would require the use of a bottle opener to pry it off, which could bend the cap out of shape. Once satisfied with the fit, grandpa used an ice pick to punch holes in the cap, being careful to make holes small enough so water didn't pour out and yet big enough to prevent surface tension from damming the holes and rendering them useless. A fine distinction between too small and too large. Needless to say, a properly punched bottle cap worked just as well, if not better than the fancy plastic sprinkler top.
I also recall my mom sprinkling a bunch of clothes, rolling them up and putting them into the refrigerator. She'd leave them there for a while and then take out one item at a time to iron, seemed that was her method of choice, not sure if it was any better or worse but that's how she did it and that's the truth ! As for me? Thank you, but think I'll take my steam iron any day !

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Twilight Time...

above; Like twilight hours, the sky is dark and shadows are eerily deep. This was taken shortly after lunch in between bands of torrential rain and cracking thunder.

Another dark gray day, more rain and the distant sound of thunder as it roils through dense clouds. Flood advisories are in effect with predictions that we may see from 1 to 5 inches of this liquid sunshine. It would appear that our drought is definitely, irrevocably over.
As humanity goes, we are prone to excess, we eat too much, drink too much and indulge in a myriad of things to extreme, with Mother Nature setting such fine examples how can we be otherwise ?

Now the sound of thunder is not so distant and the charcoal gray clouds have turned daylight into twilight. An old song floats across the back of my mind; "Heavenly shades of night are falling. It's twilight time. Out of the mist your voice is calling. It's twilight time When purple colored curtains Mark the end of the day I hear you my dear at twilight time".

above; Our neighbor's pond is starting to fill up again. After a long spell of drought the ponds and reservoirs are quickly being replenished.

below; Screened in patio is prone to slow drainage, this corner always becomes a mini pond. Not sure just what to do about it. John's already drilled a hole in the aluminium frame, guess a bilge pump would be the next course of action...wonder if it could be hidden in the pittisporums ? I find the photo orbs in the above picture fascinating, most likely they are caused by the camera trying to focus on the rain drops. I'm sure "Ghost Hunters" would be able to explain the phenomena, as they encounter them frequently on film...very seldom are the orbs ghostly apparitions, usually they're explained as a speck of dust or a tiny insect...darn I would so like to see a ghostly orb !

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