Thursday, June 28, 2012

Explaining Infinity

The word "infinity" comes from the Latin "infinitas," which means "unboundedness."

The ancient Indians and Greeks were unable to explain "infinity" mathematically so they thought of it as a philosophical concept.

I remember when my father tried to explain the concept of infinity to me for the first time. My father, brilliant, troubled man that he is, loves math. Probably a little too much. In fact, it's one of his triggers for a schizophrenic episode. During one of his episodes, I remember his trying to teach me mental math. Out of the blue, he told me to turn an 8 on it's side in my mind.

Dad: "Do you know what that means?"

Me: "No..."

Dad: "Infinity. Do you know what infinity means?"

Me: "No..."

Dad: "Forever. Unending. Unlike the alphabet which ends at z, numbers go on forever."

It was a hard concept for me to grasp at 8 years old (or however old I was... my sister will tell you, I have a terrible memory sometimes) but I think I get it now.

Infinity. Forever. Unending. Like my love for my family.

I've got these infinity bracelets up in the shop right now. Also have some in brassy gold too.

Happy Thursday, all! Weekend is almost here! *happydance!*

Monday, June 25, 2012

BSBP: What I Love Most

Our fearless leader, Lori Anderson, posed the question "Why/how did you become a jewelry designer and what do you like best about it?" Well, I answered the first half of the question but completely left out the second half!

There are quite a few different things I love about being a jewelry designer.

There's the pretty things I make. I thoroughly enjoy making pretty things.

There's the fact that I get to actually make pretty things. That's pretty awesome. Making things brings me happiness.

Then... there's my customers.

I don't consider myself a successful Etsy seller, but in the last year, I've sold more and made more jewelry than any time before. And I love my customers. Custom orders make me giddy. Questions about my work get me excited. And then the feedback... oh the feedback.

Knowing that someone loves a piece as much as I loved making it... that's joy. I make these things with my own two hands. My heart goes with each piece and a part of me is expressed in every little thing I make... even my $6 bracelets.

And when someone tells me how much they like it... or that it was the perfect gift for their friend... my heart soars. I am so thankful to these wonderful people who take time out of their day to tell an artist they like the work he/she is doing.

We all need to hear that, sometimes.

Oh. At the risk of contradicting yesterday's post... there's also the beads.

I. Love. Beads. Shopping for them. Holding them. Sketching them. Thinking about making them. Dreaming about my own bead store. Oh yes. Beads are another reason why I make jewelry. ^_^

What do you love most about what you do?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

More to Life Than Beads

I have my first show coming up in July (more about that in another post... promise) and I spent the better part of the week before last FREAKING the EFF out. Stressing over money (like always) and inventory.

Then this happened on the 16th.

My nephew's 1st birthday. FIRST! He had a cold. But certainly loved all the attention. That picture in the bottom right corner? That's storytime with me and Rowan who is adorable.

There were lollicakes. Cotton candy hair is genius, by the way. Genius... AND delicious. *nomnom*

Then the next morning, Rod and I made pancakes with Kai, my other nephew and Kian's older brother. That boy is such a picky eater... but if he cooks it, he eats it. I'm told they've already cooked through the whole box of pancake mix we bought. That middle picture? HE put the blueberry there on top of the butter.

At first, he only wanted plain pancakes, but Tita Rose made blueberry for herself. Well, he saw me making them and wanted to make them too... then... he ate them. Lol. LOVE YOU, KAI!

Then we went home. It was our anniversary week last week. We took it easy. He played guitar. It reminded me of one of our first dates... 4 years ago. <3

At first, there wasn't much creating. We went to a book store and I found a magazine called "Handmade Fashion," a British import that cost $20! Oh how I want it. He picked me flowers. I played with seed beads.

I was able to go to the bead store on Thursday. These were the lovelies I acquired. I got two Ganesha bone pendants because I want one for myself. We turned the table into our own joint worktable.

Toward the end of the week, after some much needed relaxation, he had at least three watercolor paintings done. I was frantically working with my wire and sketching out new designs.

My family is so important to me. So far, I've seen someone from my immediate family every weekend for the past 3 weeks. How lucky am I? Why am I stressing? I'm doing what I love... Sure, right now, it's a struggle, financially, but I know I can do this. My family believes in me. My boyfriend believes in me. Now, I just need to believe in myself.

How was your week last week?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

BSBP: Why I Became a Jewelry Designer

Lori Anderson, the lovely lady behind the Bead Soup Blog Party, emailed us recently with an interesting idea: Tell why I became a jewelry designer. I scratched my head... Have I already told you how I decided to become a jewelry designer? I'm pretty sure I haven't... because, really, I kind of stumbled onto it accidentally.

I was working at Borders when I started designing jewelry. Right around the time I had to drop out of LCAD, I felt like I couldn't do any art. I had failed to complete art school because I was lacking funds and therefore, I had failed as an artist. I drifted around quite a bit. Threw myself into working at Borders... Oh, I still sketched, but I couldn't complete a real "piece."

Enter Beadwork magazine. I was putting magazines away and this one just caught my eye. Gorgeous designs in beautiful colors. My brain went "OH! It's just thread and beads! I can do that."

From a 2010 blog post. I couldn't make the seed beads hold the rivoli in place.
Epic. Fail.

I can't tell you how many incomplete projects I STILL have sitting in a plastic box from 2009. Oh, they started out pretty enough but maybe I couldn't find exactly the right size seed bead and then it threw the whole project out of whack. Or the tension was wrong. Or the needle(s) broke. Whatever the reason, I just couldn't do bead weaving.

But. Then.

I found... wire.

My first piece published in Jewelry Affaire

And I never looked back. I think my love for seed beads stems from the fact that I so desperately wanted to be a beadweaver. I tried so hard but just couldn't do it. So I wrap them up instead. And they come in so many beautiful colors and sizes! I love that they add such detail to pieces... they're tiny gems!

I've added leather and cord to my list of tools I love and now I'm learning to play with metal. It's such an awesome learning process and I don't think I'll ever stop growing, learning, making mistakes... HAVING FUN!

Jewelry gives me an opportunity to express myself. To add some beauty to our world. And I find myself loving it like I never thought I would. I can actually FINISH pieces, which I used to struggle with when I was just drawing and painting. I even finish paintings now...

Something about making pretty things just makes me happy. And that's ultimately why I do what I do. To bring smiles and happiness to my life and to the lives of those who like my jewelry.

So why did you become a jewelry designer?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mew-mew Earrings

Have you seen the movie "Thor?"

One of my favorites.

Well, these earrings were inspired by his hammer, Mjolnir (or "mew-mew" as one of the girls calls it in the movie :P).

These are up in the shop right now. Sea glass and copper... Such a lovely combo. So lovely, in fact, that this happened...

They're waiting for payday so they can have earring wires. Lol.

My sister loved these so much, she asked me to make her a necklace. That one is currently waiting for payday as well... because, well, a necklace can't be a necklace without a chain. :P

I've been on an earring kick lately because these are also a new addition to the shop

Am I too late in the game for the feather trend? Are they still in? All I know is I've always loved feathers. These were bound together with floral tape and then a fold-over crimp was added.

Fun times.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Korean BBQ and Metal Stamps

Did you know I have a little sister? Well, not really little anymore... or even that much younger than I am (we're a year and a half apart), but she's the baby of the fambam. She's the one who calls me "Ahtee."

My Kuya John, Michelle (the baby sister) in blue, and that's me in back. Oh. and the little guy? That's Kai. This was in Hawaii almost 5 years ago.
We have our ups and downs... a lot of downs lately but we're trying. Anyway, she came to visit me yesterday.

We had Korean BBQ. So. Good. Expensive but when do we ever get to hang out like we used to? There was a book store trip and a Hobby Lobby exploration as well. I had a good time and she said she did too so a successful visit, I think.

Speaking of Hobby Lobby...

Remember when I bought these?

I looked up "metal stamping" on youtube the day after I bought these stamps and found some videos by Lisa Niven Kelly that explained the basics of stamping. I also picked up Lisa's book at the library (goodness, libraries are a book lover's best friend when they're broke)... I just need to read it :P

But I'm still missing tools (like a torch for annealing or something to darken letters). So, when I decided to give it a go, I really didn't see results that made me happy...

See! Or well... maybe you can't. Lol. Those two pieces of metal are supposed to say "AHTEE." On the brass square, you can (just barely) see how the last 'e' is up higher than the rest of the letters. Well, I didn't know that these stamps were going to come oiled and the stamp slipped. Oh, the frustration.

I thought maybe I needed to anneal the metal. I thought maybe my stamps were SO CHEAP they wouldn't stamp anything right. I thought I was a complete klutz and not meant to stamp metal.

I wrapped my stamps up in paper towels and let them sit on my desk for a while... intending to wait until I could afford a torch and try again...

But. You see. Today. My anvil was out on the table with the stamps and something clicked in my brain. Lisa says in one of the videos that she doesn't like anvils because they're higher up than a regular bench block and don't have a big enough surface area so when I tried out my new toys, I used my RUBBER bench block. Well, I whipped out the first letter I could find and tried out the anvil...

This picture shows the difference between the rubber bench block and my anvil. The letter came out cleaner! WOW! Then I moved the metal blank to the rubber bench block to try it again and sure enough, it did not work (see purple arrow... yes, the 'b' is on it's side :P).

Oh, the happiness I felt. I'm not a klutz! And the paper towels got rid of all the oil! And I don't need a torch right now! YAY! *happydance!*

By the way. My solution for the height of the anvil and small surface area?

Turn the anvil on it's side. YEP! Still not perfect letters but I'm getting better. For some reason, my hammer strikes have resulted in a deeper indentation at the bottom of the letter than the top. I'm going to try and work on that. Maybe tilt the stamps a little? I dunno yet.

Any new techniques you're working on right now?

PS. The metal blanks? From Michaels. YEP! MICHEALS. They've been getting a ton of new tools making it easier for people to get new tools to give techniques a try. I even saw a disc cutter for $50. When a good coupon comes out, I'm going to grab one. I'm lucky I have a Michaels, JoAnns, and Hobby Lobby all in one county. AND 3 or 4 bead stores I love. Happy girl.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Puppies and Bracelets

Since Thursday, my world has been a lot of this:

Dog-sitting for my friends. The pups seem to really like the boyfriend.

Especially Indy, short for Indiana Bones. He likes to snuggle Rod when he's on the couch.

Wee little Etsy shop update this week.

These bracelets are now in the bracelet section. Double strand, braided, mother of pearl buttons... FUN colors. Perfect for the beach, I think.

Another wire wrap bracelet, similar to this one... but in pastel colors. Loving the palette here.

And I made this one for a man. Not a specific man, but a man nonetheless. Buffalo nickel button!

I have a show coming up in July! Isn't that exciting? I will do a whole blog post about that... next week. Right now, puppies and boyfriend need cuddles. :P

Happy weekend, everyone!

Monday, June 4, 2012

I've Never Felt So Lucky

I had such an amazing weekend. My boyfriend had his hours cut at the shop he works so our weekend started on Thursday.

Drove up to Fullerton in search of a baby print press. I was cranky from lack of sleep but Rod still managed to get me to smile by (surprise, surprise) taking me to check out the Whole Foods that opened up a few weeks ago. Lots of yummy looking pastries! They even had Indian food in their food bar!

On Friday, after taking me to the bead store and the new Hobby Lobby that opened up, he took me out for some pho. It was our date night and I love me some pho. Before going to the movies (we saw "Pirates!"), we hit Starbucks and I got to look at my new lovelies.

Saturday, the boyfriend and I hung out most of the day at Starbucks, making and creating (and Facebooking :P). He had dinner with his mom that night and I went back to Hobby Lobby. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that they have Vintaj. And all the leathey goodness makes me swoon. I bought my first letter punch set that day. I'm excited to try it out.

And now Sunday. Sunday was my favorite day of the weekend. Why? Because I got a surprise visit from my lovely family.

My adorable nephew, Kai...

And my other nephew, Kai's baby brother and my godson, Kian...

My sister-in-law called me Sunday morning to let me know they were on their way for a surprise visit! We met them in Irvine for dim sum (yummy!) and drove out to Laguna Beach. We hit the Fingerhut Gallery and looked at all the Dr. Seuss paintings and bronzes. Kai was IN LOVE. He just couldn't believe his eyes. Here were drawings and paintings he learned to read from in an ART GALLERY. It certainly opened his eyes to new things.

He said to me, "Let's paint Kian and put him in the art room." Lol. <3 Even asked for paints from his mom who promptly said to ask me. Ha!

It was pretty cold.

Kai, being the energetic 7 year old that he is, begged us to buy him a shovel and bucket to make sand castles. But it was freezing! My brother, sister-in-law, and I sat on a bench with Kian while my boyfriend ventured out into the sand and played! I love him so much for that. Lol.

My big brother and Kian. Kian's nose is red! Lol.

After Laguna Beach, we hit Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour for dinner.

Such yummy food. Those garlic fries were excellent with ranch.

Kai was fascinated with the flags that came with our sandwiches.

Kai right after I said, "No ice cream until you have some pizza..." Something we had to constantly remind him of. Lol.

Quite possibly the best BEST cherry coke I've ever had.

And of course... the ice cream... 

My big bro and our ice cream.

We got Kai his own little sundae but ours looked better, I'm guessing. :P

At the end of the night. That's me directly across from Kai. My sister-in-law is taking the picture... Lucky lady. Lol. She can hide behind the camera. :P

I had such a wonderful weekend. Nothing inspires me more than being with my loved ones and I needed their love and hugs. Even my brother, who is usually pretty quite, gave me a good hug when they left. 

I miss them so much but I will see them again on the 16th which is little Kian's 1st birthday party. The theme? Cat in the Hat. ^_^

How was your weekend?