Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Faded Pictures ... Of The Way We Were ...

It was the 60's and fashion ... well what can I say about fashion in the 60's other than it was a time of women's lib; fashions were wild, crazy and short, very short ... the shorter the better.

Photo above - Taken December 1969 of friends and family.  Notice the lady standing at the back of the group, her flamboyant dress had a 3" hem of  black fringe.  It was the fringe alone that made the length of her dress almost respectable.  But that was Gin, she liked her legs and as Flip Wilson used to say; "If ya got it,  flaunt it." 

Burrowing deep into our photo albums, rummaging amongst yellowed, grainy photos of a time long ago, old memories surfaced.

Photo above - This is the full version of the cropped photo at the top of my blog post.  Most of the ladies in the room showed a lot of thigh when seated. The 2 young men in the foreground are brothers, Steve and Terry, their mother, Patty, is seated next to them in the blue dress.  Steve is the older, taller brother; Terry, the younger was a free-spirited young man who later lost his life in a silly car race of "chicken".   Perhaps had he not been so drunk and not had that teenage sense of immortality he would be alive today; married and with a family of his own.

The year was 1969, the occasion my wedding to John, a marriage that has lasted 40 years and counting. No big fancy church, no rented hall or catered services, just a few close friends and a quiet civil ceremony performed at the courthouse by a judge. Funds were low as we had just purchased our new home and, since it was a second marriage for both of us, we decided that a lasting marriage was not built upon a formal ceremony with all the bells and whistles.
Photo above - John and I, the bride and groom; next to us, Jan and Don, our best man and maid of honor.  I always thought Don and Jan would end up together but fate had other plans.  Dig the skinny tie on my darling hubby.   I had on at least 3 inch high heels, otherwise the top of my head would barely reach John's shoulder.

Yes I have to admit that I've use photo editing to remove the yellow patina of the old photos and corrected the contrast to compensate for what time had faded but my editing program was not sophisticated enough to do much about the old grainy look.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Small Space Photo Studio

Many of us find ourselves searching for more space; a cabinet in which to stash that large crab boil pot that we use maybe once a year or a cupboard for the old set of Grandma's china that we've inherited. Constantly we're seeking places to store our old and newly acquired treasures.  In today's life style not only do our belongings need space, so do our hobbies; it may be well and good to commandeer a corner of the dinning room, a nook in the living room or even converting a small closet into our "studio" but what happens when space runs out?

For some time now I've been using the top of our guest bedroom dresser as my "photo studio". With a top that measures 20 inches deep and perhaps 40 inches long, plus a large mirror that infringed upon this space making photography awkward, something had to be done and adding an addition to our home was not an option.

Then a friend gave me a great idea on where I could garner my much needed photo studio space and though it may work for me you may find it unfeasible in your own situation.

My home is small but it does have 3 full bathrooms.  The smallest of the baths held little usable space; counter tops are small, floor space meager...however there is a tub. Could this tub alcove be used as a workable photo studio ? Well I'll let you be the judge of that.

Photo above ... John, my darling hubby, cut a large sheet of 3/4 thick plywood to fit across the top of the tub. He knew the weight of the plywood would not be enough to keep it from slipping about on the tub rim, therefore he measured exactly where restraints would have to be placed to prevent the plywood from shifting. I certainly would not want to be photographing items and suddenly have my photo studio dumped into the bathtub. Chunks of 2 x 4's are securely screwed to the underside of the plywood sheet and act as a brace keeping it from sliding.
Photo above and below ... Using more plywood and 2 x 4's, John constructed a table that pretty much fills the space within the tub alcove and then anchored it firmly to the foundation sheet of plywood. Everything is a solid as a rock; no wiggles, no jiggles, no sliding, no slipping.
Photo above ... The table is covered with a white sheet to hide the less than decorative  wood and now all is ready for setting up my "photo studio".

My light box, camera stand and a couple of halogen light fixtures were acquired by way of a lucky eBay bid, in the finale moments of its auction, I made a bid that was just $1.01 over the highest bidder and won the light box set...a $60 value (supposedly) for $21 with FREE SHIPPING ! I figure I probably couldn't beat that price again even if I had a baseball bat to do it with.

The aluminum reflector lights were purchased at my local Home Depot for about $5 each. A friend, who's a semi-professional photographer, suggested I get some daylight energy efficient bulbs to use in my reflectors, even gave me the name; "GE Energy Smart Daylight 6500K" .  They are fantastic and I'm passing the recommendation on to you.
So there's my "Photo Studio" and when I wish to hide problem.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Red and White Was Picked For A Treasury ...

News Flash ... Blog update ...

Just listed my Red and White necklace with the red marbled Alaska Boro bead today in my etsy shop and just got an email telling me it is featured in a treasury and a truly lovely, sweet as a candy cane treasury  at that.  Check it out and please give it a little love as it could use a few more comments.

If you haven't read my blog about my beaded rope necklaces and Alaska Boro Beads but you'd like to, then please scroll down  to the next post and catch up. :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

North To Alaska For That Elusive Large Hole Bead

Lately I've been occupied with making a few beaded rope necklaces using tiny 3 mm Czech glass beads. So far I've crafted 3 ropes in a combo of sapphire blue and deep garnet; and 1 each in a combo of red and white pearl opal and in deep red and light wine. These ropes look lovely on their own but are striking when used as a necklace for a slider pendant or large hole glass art bead. My only problem was trying to find large hole glass beads with a truly large hole.

Jim of Alaska Boro was able to solve this dilemma for me. Jim took on the challenge and began to experiment with creating a bead that would fulfill my requirements. This was no simple task as glass has its properties and a glass artist must recognize and respect the limitations that molten glass has. But Jim persevered, ultimately using not only a much larger bead mandrel but a hollow one to allow the metal mandrel to attain higher temperatures more quickly than the solid metal one. He also had to somehow intensify the flame on his torch so that it would produce more heat. 
To be truthful I didn't understand the technical details but did get the general idea of the challenges that had to be met and vaguely comprehended such things as;  a hotter flame but not necessarily a bigger flame was required because these large holed beads are made on a larger steel mandrel the mandrel itself takes more heat.   The exact "HOW" all of this was technically accomplished is in the realm of the true glass bead artist and totally alien to me.  However, I got my large hole beads and I have  Alaska Boro (Jim ) to thank for helping make my vision a reality. :)

Since I have recently taken up the art of kumihimo these large hole beads will be doubly useful. If there are any jewelry makers out there that fabricate either beaded rope necklaces or kumihimo braided cord necklaces Jim's large hole glass masterpieces might be just the perfect element to set it at center stage. The beads can vary slightly in diameter but the center hole measures very close to 1 centimeter or 3/8 inch. Be sure to check out Jim's website at:

Below are some photos of my beaded ropes and the Alaska Boro Beads that I purchased. I think the beads are stunning and the perfect adornment for my simple beaded ropes.

I would sincerely appreciate your viewpoints and comments about my beaded ropes, Alaska Boro beads  and the combination of the two.

Monday, September 13, 2010

On A Clear Day You Can See Forever

Our local hawks come visiting with frequent regularity and for some reason this particular utility pole is a favorite perch.  Unfortunately I'm still packing my old camera around, yes the one held together with a big purple rubber band, so I continue to be without the zoom capacity that is required for sharp close-up shots.  Earlier Jr.'s dad was perched on the wire alongside of  him but since I had to approach so close the older, wiser patriarch flew off to a branch of a tall tree just a short distance away. 
Our front yard is a favorite hunting ground for them,  I certainly hope they've been busy catching the little moles that have created a major highway system of burrows in our yard.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hoarders ... Living in the Rubble

TV's Hoarders is strangely mesmerizing, in the same way that a train wreck matter how much you want to avert your eyes away from the carnage, you can't.

Over a year ago I watched my first couple of hoarder shows and it was obvious that people afflicted with this problem have some type of mental aberration that compels them to acquire, accumulate, salvage and save all that they can. It is a mental condition much like obsessive/compulsive, or bi-polar disorder or a number of other real and tangible mental conditions that affect humanity. Even with today's advances in medical technology the human brain is still a complex mystery and the cause of a number of mental disorders remains elusive.

The people in the first few episodes, a year or so ago, seemed more believable, more genuine, theirs was a problem that wouldn't, couldn't go away in just a day or two. They along with their therapist spent months trying to cope and get control over their obsession; this compulsion that made them cling to any and all objects, unable to discard or relinquish the smallest thing. At the end of the first few episodes the hoarder was still in a struggle with their disorder, their living spaces may have been cleared enough to allow for a semblance of normality in perhaps a room or two, but definitely not more and some were not able to achieve even that level.

With this past week's latest Hoarders episodes, the people affected were given time limits and ultimatums, doing all the things that psychiatrist said were counter productive in this disorder. Teams barged through the homes like a swarm of locust and in a short amount of time all garbage was tossed, all clutter ditched, things were cleaned up and the home returned to a habitable condition. Can it really be so simple?

It was during my first viewing of a hoarder's program that I realized my stepfather had been a hoarder. He was forever buying items at garage sales, liquidation sales, going out of business sales, as long as the item was at greatly reduced prices he could not resist the bargain and soon his basement storage area was packed waist deep in clutter; items stashed so compactly that it was impossible to gain access into the basement. Every nook and cranny of his small apartment was filled with broken phonographs that he wanted to repair, boxes of old LP records, knick-knacks and bric-a-brac. My sisters and I just laughed and said that dad was a pack rat but now I see it was really more than that.   Once, while dad was away,  the owner of the apartments, Tom, came in and cleared everything out of the basement...every thing !  Tom said it took two dump trucks to haul it all away.  Tom and dad had been good friends for a number of years but when dad returned home and discovered the basement empty, he was enraged over the loss of his "things".  It was a loss that terminated their long standing friendship.

To this day I wonder what would have happened if my sisters and I had the knowledge that we have today about hoarding. What would have happened had we gotten together and actually helped dad have that yard sale that he always talked about but never got around to having? Could we have intervened some how? Could we have made a difference ? In hindsight there are always so many more many more could've, would've, should'ves.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A 2nd Etsy Shop ? ... Oh Bother !!!

I would really love to open a second shop on Etsy but I find the idea of having to open another email account to do so a big turn off.  Etsy admin says they're going to be working on a feature that will allow us to have multiple shops under one email account, however the question is "When?"

The last few days I've been preoccupied with doing seed bead jewelry and when I pick up my beading needle and seed beads it becomes like an addiction.  I become consumed with the desire to complete the project and find it hard for me to break away from my creation.   Busy as a bee I completed not one but 4 beaded rope necklaces.

This Sapphire Blue and Dark Garnet Beaded Rope is one I would love to post on Etsy but since my only shop is a Beading and Jewelry Making Supplies shop I don't want to saturate it with my handcrafted jewelry. 
Photo above...Beaded Rope Necklace made with small 3mm glass beads. 

Photo above...The beaded rope is very flexible and has my unique hand beaded ring and loop clasp.
Photo above...Shown with clasp towards front.
Photos below...Now to dress it up a bit with my own handcrafted beaded pendant.
Photos that my pendant is reversible, for 2 different looks.
Photo below...Here's the blue side.
Photo below...And here's the deep garnet side.

I think it would make a fabulous gift for the holidays or a lovely Christmas present, but I'm afraid that the holidays of 2010 will long be over before etsy gets around to implementing its multiple shops under one email account.   So my dilemma is should I open another shop now or wait ?
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