Thursday, September 13, 2012

Awareness, Studio Update & New Studio Kitties!

Hope, Love & Golf
Hope, Love & Golf...

On August 16, my sister and some of her friends participated in a Rally for the Cure golf tournament in Concord, NH. They were selling "spots" to play and looking for donations for the raffle table - so you know where I fell in those choices! ;o)

I created an artisan-crafted bracelet which features my own custom designed Heart & Awareness Ribbon. Crafted from Fine Silver (.999) it was customized for the Rally with a tiny golf ball. I added color to the charm by hand-enameling the ribbon with a light pink Japanese enamel and the heart was patina’d to bring out the details.

The 2-1 hand-crafted chain is sterling silver (.925) interspersed with beautiful made in the USA artisan-crafted lampwork beads by Canyon Echoes Artisan Beads flanked by vintage Swarovski Clear AB crystals. The lampwork beads look like pink ice cubes. So beautiful combined with the charm. The bracelet measured approx 7”-7.25” long.

I heard from my sister later that day that one lady really wanted the bracelet and bought a number of tickets. Apparently you bought tickets and the numbered order in which your name was drawn indicated the number of the prize you won... The lady that wanted it had her name drawn FOR that piece. It was a little miracle all of it's own - I'm SO PLEASED that she loved it enough to buy tickets and then was the lucky winner!

Thank you to my sister for the opportunity to be part of such a worthy cause!!

Studio Update!!

Studio Layout
DONE!!! Cleaned up, cleaned out, and re-organized!! I love my studio - it's walls are Hydrangea Blue (an Eddie Bauer paint color from Lowes), the woodwork is an off white and the floors are honey brown. Add in my display credenzas for books, display and now packaging area; a small drafting table with storage on top, child's desk with incredible work space, a computer armoir again with incredible work space that can be closed up, toss in a 6' Aruba Cat Condo and a "Pent House" kitty bed on top of the armoire and you have my absolute favorite room in the house!!

An earlier blog showed my shame at the condition the Studio was in during the summer. It's no wonder I struggled to create. NOW let's see it as I SEE IT every day.

Storage, Display and Packaging Credenza's
Welcome to my Studio... we are going to stand in the center of the room (more or less) and rotate clock wise around to each of the areas. 

Credenza & Display Hutches with books, magazines, shipping supplies, display pieces, storage drawers for my finished jewelry, packing station and display area for some of my favorite things.

(That little stool... it's an idea I have to make my work area at the Botanic Garden classes higher... we'll see how it works next weekend for the Copper Enameling class!)

Studio Kitty Condo & Toy Area
The all important Studio Kitty Condo area. I have had this Aruba Cat condo for years... probably going on 14 or 15. It has served me well. 6 kitties have played on, laid on, slept on, and scratched on this condo (as you can see from the lower legs) and they have all loved it.

I originally took this and realized there were no Studio Helpers in it! Needless to say when they wandered back in I re-shot. (Shadow is lump on top, Sissy is under the beading station (lower right) and Hanna is laying on top of my pink and brown rolling bag (lower left).) Nubbles was being smart and sleeping in the bedroom!

Bead & Wire Work Area
Bead & Wire Center...
This is the drafting table that I started with in the closet of the guest room. It fit perfectly in there and now fits perfectly between the white "post" and the window. Like it was made for those spots. 
The white storage piece sitting ON the table is actually upside down! I flipped it so that I could use the "poles" going across for wire storage instead of ribbons as originally intended by the creator. Little "canning jar-esq" glass bottles hold semi-precious beads on the rest of the shelves. I got creative and added a bar across the front of one of the bead shelves to hold my tools. (they use to be in stands on top of this storage unit but it meant up and down while working on projects. Project boxes, a dapping set, my Ultralite kiln "just incase", soldering tools are also on this table and YES there is still plenty of room to work. One of my favorite areas in this corner is where I keep my bead hoarding umm I mean bead STORAGE area ::cough:: All those drawers have little
Computer, Extra Work, Sculpting, Molding
plastic bottles of beading goodness (lampwork, Swaros, small semi-precious stones, more wire, more tools, chains, and so much more. The black drawers are my cabs... oooooh yes my cabs and my crystals. ::sigh:: love this area. ;o)

Now a quick turn to the right and you see the 1/3 wall between the Studio and the Living Room (yes, this was supposed to be a dining room - WHO NEEDS A DINING ROOM? ;o) and you see my wonderful score - a CHILD'S desk (really - it's huge, I KNOW) that is tall! it has a large work space, a HUGE pull out area that, when used with a wireless mouse and keyboard gives me even MORE work space.

I use this for my computer work, design work, extra beading and wire work and I've been using it as an area to make my

Studio Kitty Pent House Access
molds and do polymer clay sculpting. This desk is perfect - enough space to put my computer, some display pieces, a laser printer (another bargain!!) my fan... such a wonderful piece.

The 1/3 wall is how the boys get up to the Pent House on top of the Armoire. At some point they discovered they could jump diagonally from the short wall to the top of the armoire. They have even gotten so that they can do it if the door is not fully pushed up against the side. Very coordinated they are!! :o) (this shot shows the jumping angle.

Metal Clay Armoire and Studio Kitty Pent House...
Here is where I make the metal clay magic happen. I love this piece! (who am I

Metal Clay Armoire - partially open
kidding I  love ALL the pieces in this room). It allows me large amount of work space, two pull out areas that have enough space between them and the
work area above to allow pieces to be pushed safely away without being moved! When fully opened you can see all the storage, drawers, shelves, I added peg board on the inside and that allows for added wire storage baskets and hooks. Plastic drawers, metal shelf risers, plastic photo holders and more allow me to store everything I need close at hand. You will notice that there is no trim on top of this piece - it should have a piece across the front and side to match the credenza. I was so excited to get it up and filled that I never added the trim... THANK GOODNESS! I later discovered that Nubbles got so comfy up on top in the Pent House that he ROLLED OFF three times in prob 9 months.
Metal Clay Armoire - fully open
The walls are angled so it doesn't fit snugly against the wall - he rolled off the BACK! I pulled the large trim piece that should be on the front and leaned it against the angled walls behind and POOF instant kitty bunk bed bar! No more rolling off!

I hope you enjoyed my tour of the Studio!! Wait... what?? what is missing? The Kiln? OHH YES! The kiln! I have a separate area - you access it just to the right of the Metal Clay Armoire and around the corner to the door to the garage. In the garage I have two work stations for my kiln, torch work, polymer clay oven, and photo booth with lights.  Thank you for visiting my Studio!!

Studio Kitties...

New Studio Kitties!
I would like to introduce you to our two new Studio Kitties.. Miss Hannah Mae and Miss Magic Sissy. They came home in late July after a visit to the Memphis Animal Shelter. I went to see Miss Hannah after seeing her picture and while waiting to see her I was "selected" by Magic Sissy (we call her Sissy). She was an adorable black kitten in #13 cube. I thought that was kind of funny... black cat, #13.. Well... after Mikito passed away last December our house was missing that little black kitty. And #13 is my lucky number. She didn't have a name just "Unknown". We finally were able to see Miss Hannah and hmmmm now I was sucked in... BOTH girls were adopted that day. They were chipped, had their surgery and came home 3 days later. I can tell you that it was the smoothest introduction I've had. The boys finally took to them, the girls took to the boys and soon I caught Mr Grumpy (ok his name is really Nubbles but he played grumpy when they came home) giving kisses to the kitties and trying to play with them. I knew then that it was going to be OK!

Shadow & Hannah Mae
Hannah Mae
Nubbles & Sissy

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11th... 9/11...
A day we will remember for the rest of our lives

I was preparing to blog this week and I am opting to post something I posted on my facebook page(s) instead of talking about the bracelet, kitties and studio. I hope you stay with me for those posts later this week, but for now...
Where were you on September 11, 2001?

One of my friends asked on her page where we were on 9/11? It's one of those moments in history that everyone who was alive that day remembers where they were. I wrote and wrote... this is what I remember...

(Photo of statue located in
Memphis Botanic Garden that I
felt was appropriate for this post)
"I was on my way to work ... running a tad late, I was listening to the radio and suddenly the DJs said "something hit the World Trade Center in New York City"... I had just entered the parking lot at Dunkin Donuts and paused thinking... huh? so I ran in and got a cup of coffee (how strange that I even remember and can SMELL it as I write this - large hazelnut, cream & sugar) got back in the car and hitailed it to the office (about 3-5 mins away). I ran into the Demo Room where we had a TV for training and a cable connection... we were doing demo work in the office and everything was piled into the Demo room... I was trying to move the stupid shelves that were in the way of plugging in the tv when our NY sales rep ran in to do the same thing (he had been on the phone w/ a dealer and had heard something was going on)... we wordlessly moved it and got the TV plugged in... shortly after we watched the second plane go in.

It was terrifying. My Sister and Dad were military - I worked for a security company that had BADGED the World Trade Center after the bombing a few years before. WHAT WAS GOING ON?

While many businesses sent their employees home, our company opted to keep us at the office with the tv on. We were allowed to watch or not watch. We were not allowed to be alone. They did not want anyone going home to sit and watch the tv showing it over and over alone. We had co-worker with a brother in the tower. We had coworkers that worked with security in the building. We watched the towers fall w/ tears running down our faces filled with disbelief and horror. WHO DID THIS? Plane into the Pentagon. Plane down in a field. WHO?

I remember the silence... My apartment was in the flight line for Hanscom AFB... and not far from Logan airport in Boston. The silence outside was deafening. I was on the deck two nights later looking at the stars and talking to my dad... telling him how quiet it was and suddenly we could hear a plane coming. Honestly... I started to freak. Planes were not flying... yet I was hearing a plane... Dad could hear it and told me it was a military plane. The only planes we heard were military. it was comforting and alarming at the same time.

I drove to Maine three days after 9/11 - I had a meeting with a developer in New Brunswick Canada that weekend. I was going to Bar Harbor, ME to camp and then drive to Canada for the meeting. I needed to go to the meeting. The roads were empty. The skies were empty. Suddenly driving up 95 in Maine headed toward Bangor, I saw a HUGE transport plane flying (it seemed to be incredibly low) over head. It was huge. And it was the only thing. I remember the flags. I have never seen so many USA flags in my life. Everywhere there were flags, tears, and silence.

Crossing into Canada that weekend I expected to be searched... I took everything (EVERYTHING) out of the car with the exception of my notebook, purse, my jack and flash light incase I broke down. I was after all camping... stove fuel, camping stuff would (in my mind) cause concern. I wanted to cause no one any undue issues. Crossing into Canada was easy.. and again - THE FLAGS... for every Canadian flag waving (and there were SOO MANY) there were 5 USA flags. Our sisters and brothers to the North felt our pain and fear. It was again - INCREDIBLE.

This morning, September 11, 2012 - I opened my windows and back door to let some air in. It's a beautiful day in the Mid-South as it was a beautiful day 11 years ago. Suddenly I heard a plane over head - not unheard of for me, I'm on one of the flight lines for Memphis International Airport some days... but I paused. I heard that plane, this morning, 11 years later and I paused. I had to think because I was so surprised to hear it. This morning, of all mornings. It's still with me. It's still with my family and it's still with everyone.

Thank you to all who gave and those who gave all to care for US that day and every day."

My sister read this and posted on my facebook status:
Sis the Military plane your heard over head was what we say in the Military "THE SOUND OF FREEDOM"..."

May we always hear the sound of freedom, may we always remember.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Happy Fall -
Studio, Awareness Bracelet & New Kitties

Even though it's definitely not Fall in the Mid-South (it's 88 in the shade) it's September and to this New England Yankee Girl that means FALL! :o) It has been a crazy summer - between work-work fiscal year ending and trying to clean and re-organize the Studio it's been a bit nuts. Some good has come from it... finished fiscal year with all positives on my "goal" list, Studio is 3/4 reorganized, I have a new brand of bronze clay to try out - "Goldie Bronze" from Poland (guess what I'm doing this weekend? ;o)), I have TWO NEW KITTIES in Paradise and completed a really pretty Rally for the Cure Awareness Bracelet for a golf tournament in NH.
Studio Layout

First... Studio - although it's not completely done (and I promise to share pics later this month) I did do a "not exactly to scale but close enough for this" layout of my in-home Studio.

I believe when the house was built it was intended to be a dining room and it would have been beautiful - two windows allowed some natural light to come in and the fact it has vaulted ceiling and that there is a 1/3 wall that opens it up to the living room  it is very airy and open.

When I moved in it started out as a "Library" (now you have to have read that with a snoootty, upper crust voice) which really means I had a couple of credenza's with display hutches on top to hold display items and books as well as a book case, the cat condo (always necessary) and a rocking chair. HOWEVER, when I discovered my new addiction to making jewelry it slowly (OK who am I kidding) QUICKLY became the Studio. First in was the Metal Clay Armoire... it's big, bulky and most importantly CLOSE-ABLE. It was designed for computer use but that just means wonderful use for metal clay work. It has a pull out work space as well as a pull out keyboard area that allows for storage and a wonderful extended work area. PLUS the pull out work space is about 3" below the main work space which means I can leave a project on the pull out, push it back in and not worry that it will be messed with.

Nubbles in the Pent House

My boys discovered that they could use the 1/3 wall and jump diagonally up to reach the top - you know how Kitty's love to be high. So I put a comfy kitty bed up there and refer to it as the Pent House (PH)... and after Nubbles rolled off the back (due to the angled wall behind it) three times while he was sleeping (he gets so comfy up there he sprawls out and rolls over) the trim that should be on the FRONT of the top edge is now across the back acting like a bunk bed bar to keep him from rolling off the back. It works wonderfully and we have had no accidents since it was installed.

Original Studio area table.
Next came the small drafting table on wheels that I originally started with in my "Closet Studio" That tucked in sweetly between one of the square posts and window to become my Wire & Beading area. I have a Scrapbook Storage unit sitting on top of it upside down. This allows the poles that were designed to hold ribbon can hold wire rolls. I have glass filled bottles of semi-precious stone beads in the shelve space below the wire holders and the lowest little cubes hold my bits, pieces, steel block, third-hand, steel wire, etc. Recently I added a bar across the front to hold my pliers, cutters and such within easy access. Also on this work area is my 10-drawer cabochon cabinet. And yes, there's still room to work!

Then of course I needed storage for my bead hoarding... I mean bead SUPPLIES. There is a plastic multi-drawer unit that holds these supplies, wire, seed beads, beading boards, and all kinds of wonderful tools and supplies - right in front of the square post next to the Wire & Beading area.

What Studio wouldn't be complete without an Aruba Cat condo?? I have had this almost indestructible 6' cat condo with many levels for almost 15 years I believe... it's awesome, heavy as anything and a great spot to allow the Studio Kitties to be close at hand (our desire) and out of the way (my desire). This is settled in the corner with both the windows allowing them to see who's coming to the door and who may be walking (OR FLYING) by outside.

A pic of a part of one of the display
Credenzas before Studio take over
The two Credenza and hutch units still hold books and some display items but one has also become a packaging and shipping station and the other a storage and display area.

The last piece added was intended to be a child's desk however it's wonderful as a work station. it's actually very tall, has another pull out work station - supposed to be a LARGE keyboard area - and a drawer in this pull out. It makes a wonderful computer station and because the work space is so large I use it for beading and wiring space also. it's a great find!!

WAIT... what about the kiln?? What about the MAPP Torch?? What about the Photo booth?? What about the polymer clay?? Well those are all out in the garage - right around the corner from the studio making it not only convenient but also a way to keep the odor's out of the house. 

I promise I will have pictures - I love and adore my Studio and am so happy to share it with you!!

Come back tomorrow when I show you the beautiful piece done for the Rally for the Cure Tournament in Concord NH and introduce you to Hannah Mae & Magic Sissy.