Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Giving my livingroom a face lift

So, my boyfriend of 2 years and I decided this year that we should live together.  So, since January we've been moving him into my house.  He's been living there since the 1st of the year but we haven't quite moved all of his things in yet.  His mother only lives on the other side of town and that was where he had been residing.  We are all working to cut back expenses and purge our respective homes of things we simply do not need. 
As well as all the cleaning, purging and simplifing of our households... we have been rearranging furniture, reclaiming rooms and have also decided to redecorate a few of them.

This past weekend we began a painting project. We have decided to tackle the livingroom first.  I had a livingroom that was a dep and bright shade of green and had black trim.  I liked it.  But honestly.... the paint was starting to fade and it had scuff marks and chips in it.  They no longer make that color either.  We both took our time finding a paint color we could both live with.  That took a long time.  I think men and women see colors differently. 
I had to drive 45 miles to the next city over to get the paint color we wanted.  None of the hardware stores in town carried Behr paint and that was the only color scheme we agreed on.  I drove the distance and went to Home Depot.  I had committed myself to purchase the much more expensive Behr paint that had the primer in it as well.  We had to cover a prety bold color. 
Yesterday we got the walls prepped in the morning and painted all afternoon and evening.  About 9:30 we stopped.  We have one coat of color on the trim (after two coats of primer) and two coats of paint on the walls.  We have not taped off the window trim yet so it's still green.... but it's a start anyways.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Day in the Life of

6:14am Lee's alarm on his phone went off. He had changed it to a rooster crowing instead of the usual musical alarm. Had a moment of WTF when I heard it. I got up out of bed, got the dog his breakfast and went about getting ready for work.

7:03am I headed out the door to my car after putting Wynton in his crate. He put up no fuss this morning so he must have still been tired. I decided to listen to Royal Crowne Review on my iPod this morning instead of my usual Sirius XM channel (Siriusly Sinatra). Ahhhhhh... that's the stuff to wake me up.

7:32am Arrive at the elementary school where I teach. I brought along a box of construction paper and various other arts and crafts bits and baubles that I need to rid my house of. I put the box in the teacher's lounge with a sign on it that says "Take if you want". We'll see how quickly things disappear.

Noticed that the box I put these things in was a Bud Light box. I quickly found a copy paper box and transferred them into that. I am hiding the Bud Light box in my classroom till I can take it home.

8:55am  Dismissed first round of 5th graders from class.  Instrument activity went VERY well this morning.  Patterns were clear and played with 85%-90% accuracy and the kids sang loudly and on pitch.  Excellent class.
Set 3, 5 Studio 49 Orff Instruments (with Rosewood Xylophones)

9:43am  Awaiting the arrival of my second round of 1st graders.  The morning is going by quickly.  Thus far, no detentions nor outstanding disciplinary actions have been taken aside from one student relocation to a different seat.  All in all.... a good morning.

10:05am  Headed to the teacher's lounge to photocopy some listening tests for the 2nd grade.  They have completed Unit 4 and I need to check their listening for comprehension. 

10:28am  A sly smile has spread across my face as the students take their listening tests.   Several of them have asked that I play certain examples a second time. They are learning to take their time when testing and get their answers correct.  Now, if only that caution pays off.

11:06 am  Sitting in my quiet classroom for a few minutes eating a banana before heading to the cafeteria to do lunch duty.  I HATE lunch duty.  Hopefully it will pass by quickly.
Found pencil writing on the girl's bathroom stall walls.  I Love [insert 5th grade boy's name here].  Reported it to principal and both 5th grade teachers.  I suspect the 5th grade girls.

12:12pm  Ahhhhh.... sitting again in the quiet of my classroom with my lunch before me.  I have until 1pm to just chill out and eat.  This is my favorite time of day.

12:34pm  Chatting via gmail with my boyfriend's mother, Sharon.  We are all trying to figure out the plan for this evening so we can get dinner all squared away.  This is a typical afternoon activity for us since we all three enjoying cooking.

1:23pm  Taught a simple song to the first round of 3rd graders. A wonderful proverb that was set to a simple melody. "Don't worry if your job is small and your rewards are few.  Remember that the mighty oak was once a nut like you".

1:49pm  I am sitting here in my classroom waiting for the Kindergarten. I am sure today will be an uphill day for them.  They have an assessment sheet to fill out today and that is always difficult for them.
It's started already.... one of them walked in and let out the biggest, loudest yawn I have heard in a while.  Great.

2:38pm  Waiting for my last class to arrive. Thinking about whether or not I want to go to Zumba class this evening with one of my friends or if I want to skip it and work on some things at home.  Tough call.

3:02pm  I am done with classes and am very glad of that.  That last class used up my last ounce of patience and got on my last nerve. ARGH!

3:16pm  Made a follow up phone call with the people who run the new arena/events center about teaching ice skating.  I wanted to inquire for further information about he actual job itself and how much it would entail.  They said there were hoping to get back to me sometime after this week.  Sounds like it could be a good part time job and it would get me back on the ice and exercising again.

4:42pm  Sitting at home in my favorite chair.  The windows are open and a nice spring like breeze is flowing through the house.  It is 70 degrees outside. I ran some errands and took the dog out for potty time.  I'm thinking maybe a walk and some jewelry photo taking might be in my immediate future.

5:53pm  I managed to take some photos of both Wynton and my jewelry pieces while the sun and warm weather persisted.  It was just over 70 degrees today! Wow!
My toy poodle puppy, Wynton.

10:57pm  Well, I am back after several excursions.  Lee and I went to the local community theater to mix up the specialty cocktail mix for this weekends performances.  Then we had dinner at one of our usual Mexican restaurants.  Then we went and visited with his mother for a few hours and watched a couple episodes of a super cute series on HBO Family called The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.  It was a cute little show. 
We stopped at the grocery store on the way home to pick up chapstick, toilet paper and an orchid plant for his mother.  I've been meaning to get her a new one. The one we bought her for Mother's Day is not doing well.  I am trying to resuscitate but so far it seems unresponsive.
Now we are back home, in our PJs and playing with the puppy before heading to bed for the evening.

There you have it.  It is now 11:01pm.... bedtime for us here.  Goodnight!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Orchids and heartfelt words: My favorite gift

I am a music teacher in a public school district.  That's my day job.  I like my job.  But every once in a while, I find something I dislike.  Last night for example.
Yesterday was Valentine's Day.  Normally, I dislike Valentine's Day though as a child I adored it.  I liked the idea that maybe someone would show me affection on this particular day.  As I got older, that hope turned slightly sour and I became bitter aobut Valentine's Day.  This is not uncommon for many people.  Then I met my current significant other and things changed.
Valentine's Day became significant because it's the date we decided to actually date one another.  And while neither of us was ever realy wild about he holiday in general.... we are crazy about each other and the date itself has significance, not so much the holiday that happens to fall on that date. 
Anyways, last night our school held its first round of spring parent teacher conferences.  This means I was here yesterday from 7:35am till 8pm.  On my 2 year anniversary with my boyfriend, who also just recently moved in with me.  Crummy timing to say the very least.  I wasn't too happy about it at all.
I wanted to be home with my boyfriend having a nice dinner and spending quality time together for our 2 year anniversary.  Instead, I sat in a classroom for 4 hours and saw only 3 parents come in to talk to me about their child's education. Once the clock struck 8pm, I was out the door and headed home as quick as possible.
Upon arriving home, I found Lee, my boyfriend, sitting at the dinningroom table with a big grin on his face and our puppy Wynton sitting on his lap.  Both were very happy to see me and gave me lots of kisses.  There was a gorgeous orchid plant on the table as well and a peach piece of paper.  Lee knows I love orchid plants and he's been buying me orchids for special occassions for a while now.  This one is one I had pointed out to him one day and he remembered.  But what the note said was very special.
"These past 3 years have been one heck of a ride and I am better for having gotten on it.  Everyday is Valentine's Day with you."
That might sound sappy but it meant an awful lot to me.  And he knows that sometime having the words in print to keep and hold is important to me.  I can pull that note out any time when I'm having a hard day at work or feeling low about myself.  It is a lovely pick me up.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Costume construction: One of my other interests

I am trying to blog about more of my other intersts so as to keep this blog interesting and give myself more blog topics.  Today I'd like to share some of the costumes I've sewn in the past years.
I do have another studio on Artfire just for my costumes, though admittedly I neglect it and the sales show that.  Gypsy Threads
On Etsy I did a fair amount of business, though even that was hit or miss. I did some great kid's costumes and some decent adult costumes but on occassion, like anywhere, I would have a PITA customer (Pain In The Arse).  I no longer opperate either shop on Etsy, for various reasons.

A happy client in his ghost costume.
 Anyways, I enjoy making costumes.  I'm not a professional seamstress by any stretch of the imagination but I do enjoy it and within my given parameters, can turn out some nice things.

This is a picture of my best seller.  I used to make at least a dozen of these every September/October.  It is a cape design that allows a child to be a ghost without having to put a sheet over their heads.  I could also do these in colors and you'd have the ghosts from Pacman.

I also do a lot of Renaissance costumes for myself, friends and family members.  I'm a big fan of Renaissance festivals and always attend in "garb".  I'll share more of those pictures at a later date.  Right now I am having difficulty getting my photos to upload.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What's new today 2-10-11

Well, today was the first day back at work after my two day snow break.  Everything went smoothly.  And we are already to the weekend again.  Wow... what a strange week.
I have a few things to share with you.  I have been working on a custom pendant as a part of a trade I have arranged with a fellow artisan on Artfire. I -finally- finished it this week.  I hope that the recipient enjoys it as much as I've enjoyed creating it.
While I was snowed in my house I also spent quality time with my puppy, Wynton.  He's a little over 4 months old now.  He's a cream colored toy poodle.  We had a good time playing and napping.  I have to brush out his coat once every day or so.  And his hair is so long now I have to band it up out of his eyes.  Normally my boyfriend's mother does his grooming (she used to groom and show poodles for clients) but I have had to learn to take on a bit of the maintainence.  It can be very frustrating, especially when he doesn't want to cooperate. Anyways, here's a picture of him right after he was brushed out.
That's all for this blog entry.  I have several other jewelry pieces in the works, which I will fill you in on at a later date. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Guess what's happening where I am today?

Well, first and foremost... it's snowing like crazy!  My school called and told me not to come to work today (I am a music teacher). 
So... to that end, I decided to go through and purge my studio of unwanted fabric and other things.  Here is what a choatic mess my studio looks like currently.
So, I am attempting to see about selling scrap fabric lots on Artfire to see if I can get a couple of bucks from all this mess.  Whatever I don't sell, is being given to a local church quilt group.  Here's an idea of now much fabric I have to get rid of.
That's a lot of fabric.  Any readers out there interested?  Let me know and I'll make you a great deal.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sticking to the topic

I know, we've all had this happen at some point.  We just can not seem to stick to the topic at hand.  I remember in middle school, high school and even in college English having an instructor hand back a paper I wrote that looked like it was bleeding.  All because I couldn't stick to my original topic.
Has this ever happened to you?  It -still- happens to me.  Especially when it comes to my blog.  Allow me to attempt to explain.
I'm not really an ADD or ADHD person.  I just happen to have a LOT of interests.  So, sticking to one point all the time is kind of hard for me.  I tend to meander around a bit.  I forget that when I'm blogging that this can be distracting and hard on the readers.
So, when I set up this blog I had one thing in mind.. to keep this blog for my jewelry ventures ONLY.  I wanted to stick to the point.
And now, as usual, I find myself meandering from that point.  I have an LJ for my truly personal stuff.  I like it that way really.  However, I find that I am more and more interested in blogging about my other interests... and what is going on in general with my life and direction.
Now, part of me wonders.. would anyone really want to read about that? Would ther be any more or les interaction on this blog if I went in this direction?  Many of my friends who have successful, well trafficed blogs blog only about one thing... they stick to the topic.  While others have said they get better traffic if they blog about more than one thing.
I am in a quandry as to what to do.  I would like to think that my blog is being read and perhaps is even liked by people but alas my Goggle Analytics tells me otherwise. 
So, I guess maybe it's time to break out of this blogging shell and write about everything.... or at least more than just one thing.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Experiments in photography~ Take 2

OK. I used a link from a fellow blogger's entry to learn to make a homemade light box. Mine turned out pretty crude but it does seem to function the way described.
How To: DIY $10 Macro Photo Studio.

So, after completing this box, I immediately wanted to try it out.  I have an old goose neck lamp on my bookshelf.  I placed it on one side of the light box and took some photos of a few new pendants.  Upon taking these photos, I noticed that one side was lit up fairly nicely.  However, the photos still have a slightly grainy texture and some shadows.  This leads me to believe that I need another light source on the other side of the box. 
I am also very curious what natural sunlight would look like utilizing this box.  I plan to take the light box outside this afternoon and see what that does.  Below is a photo I took last night with my crude light box.  I need to do some tweaking methinks.

A valentine inspired piece I've been waiting to photograph and list.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Spring Fever

I was featured recently in a collection based on Spring items!  And I totally have a case of Spring Fever right now too.
Would love it if some of my wonderful readers would go check out the collection on Artfire and give it a comment or rating.  Pretty please?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Photographing my pieces

OK.... I am not a professional photographer and while I have several friends who are, I often find I just can not capture my pieces with my camera.
That being said.... I have been trying repeatedly to find and try new ways of photographing my jewelry pieces.  Recently I took a few pieces and tried using some different backgrounds and props.  See the example below:

This photo is taken in daylight out in my front yard on a bench under a tree.  I like natural light and at first found this gave me the best photo results.

This one was taken on the same bench in the same location and using natural sunlight as well.

This is utilizing the same natural sunlight in my front yard only using a few pieces of colored cardstock and a lovely rock I found in my yard. 

Another picture taken using a colored cardstock background and natural sunlight.

Now, I'm not certain which I personally like better. Each has their good points. So I ask you readers... which photo makes you want to purchase the necklace more? And why...?

I intend to try some new things in the future in regards to photographing my jewelry pieces. I shall kep you all informed as this project evolves.