Friday, January 30, 2009

Starfish Cottage is now open!

I've been planning on stocking my other Etsy shop, Starfish Cottage, for a while.

Well, it's finally opened!

I'll be filling it with all kinds of coastal-themed gift and home items. Some glass work, some jewelry, some vintage things that I love to collect and then pass on. I've already sold one of my small mosaic birdhouse wind chimes. It was so cute. It went really fast.

Right now the shop has some beautiful knitted items that my mom made. She makes them to keep herself busy but she only has so many people to knit for. So I suggested she let me list some of her work in the shop.

I'm so nervous for her. I really hope she sells something. She's gotten so excited and so have I, picking out yarns and buttons and working on ideas. Her stuff is beautifully made and so amazingly comfortable. I especially love her Coffee Cozy and Coaster set. I'm making her give me a set of my own for my birthday.

Anyway, it would be a shame if nobody discovered her and she gets discouraged. She's having so much fun. So here's some pics of what she's got in my shop right now. She makes adorable kids hats and slippers, too. They'll be coming soon.

Seriously, come check them out.

I have a pair of these Footies and I absolutely love them. I never wear socks. Can't stand them. Too hot. But these are perfect. They totally breath and you actually forget you're wearing them. They're the best ever.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Things that make you go...hhhmmm

So, I belong to this online glass forum where lampworkers, beadmakers and jewelry designers gather to chat, share ideas, promote their work, etc. I'm not super active. I'll sometimes post my new 'for sale' items. If I see a particularly striking piece of work, I'll comment on it. If someone has a question or an issue that I think I can help with, I'll chime in.

I've always found this place to be basically relaxed and friendly. I've met some nice people, gotten some excellent advice and even gotten a couple of customers there. It's a little cliquish (is that a word?) as forums can be but not particularly exclusive. I've never felt unwelcome there, in my participation.

So, lately, there's been a lot of drama and a lot of mudslinging on and about this forum. Some people have felt unfairly censored or even attacked and they've decided to take their toys and go home. There are some wonderful, creative artists who've gotten their feelings hurt and have stopped participating. It's sad, but you can't be faint of heart or sensibility if you're going to vocalize your thoughts. I'm not saying that they're wrong in feeling the way they do. I'm not saying that there haven't been some critical things said. I'm just saying that's what it's all about.

I feel like you sort of get back what you put out there. If you have complaints or issues and you make them public, then you have to expect a wide range of responses. That's what free speech is all about. You can't think that you'll only hear good stuff. You can't assume that everyone loves you and thinks the same way you do. If you aggressively respond to every single comment made on a topic, don't expect that others won't do the same. Don't dish it out if you can't take it.

Don't get me wrong. I don't think forums are the place to air dirty laundry, attack other people, or just make random statements out of jealousy. Not at all. Name calling and negativity has no place in a community, online or otherwise. But if you don't want to get hit with some tomatoes, then don't get up on the soapbox in the first place. If you want a place of positivity and creative support, then that's what you should try to generate yourself.

I'm not a doormat. If I believe in something, if I feel like I need to make a stand then I will. But I choose my time and place and I make sure that it's worth the effort. I make my statement and allow others the same courtesy.

After all, if I want to have unlimited control of an issue, then I'll talk about it here.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sock Monkey Pandora-Style Bead

I'm posting a picture of a little bead that was a special request. I don't make a lot of Pandora-style sculptural beads because they can be quite tricky, at least for me. Size becomes an issue and so does weight.

But I thought this one turned out very cute. It's not perfect. This is the 'first try' bead. I'll definitely correct his little eyebrows and probably thicken up the glass on his ears. Maybe make his pom-pom a bit smaller.

But I like him. I think I'll put him on my own bracelet and parade him around town. I think he's a super funny little fella!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Wow, what a day yesterday was.
Did your heart swell with pride?
In your mind, were you saying to yourself, 'Finally....finally'?

I was.
My son and I watched in wonder as hundreds of thousands of voices raised and hands beat against the cold air for this new president. I tried to get Anna to watch but she didn't get it.
I just have to share her reaction.

me: "Anna, come watch this. It's history. You'll be sorry if you miss it."
she, glancing at the screen: "Why is everyone so excited? It's just a new president."
me, in horror: "Yes, it is a new president and that's exciting enough. But this is the first black president in US history. An African-American in the white house."
she: "Why does it matter what color he is?"

At first, I have to admit, I was shocked. Surprised and a little embarrassed about such an uninformed comment. And then I wasn't. Then, I was happy.

Because that comment means something. My ten-year old daughter really did get it. Skin color couldn't mean less to her. People just are who they are. Finally, a generation is coming up in America who maybe does get it.

I was proud of myself, too, because I helped put that there in her head. Despite living in the extreme South where, in many places - including our very rural small town, bigots filled with ignorance and prejudice still roam free.

Did I mention that, when I went to vote, not a single Obama sign was present at our voting poll? Scary, isn't it? But not at our house.

Of course, I went on to explain about the Civil Rights movement, segregation, repression, and what an amazing, hard-won accomplishment this election was.

She shrugged. Yes, she knows all about that - slavery, the civil war, separate schools and water fountains, not allowed in restaurants or the front of buses. People were mean and stupid back then. (her words, not mine)

'But, isn't that supposed to be over?' she asked. 'People know better now, don't they?"

Yes, her comments are naive and simplistic. She's ten. But she's on the right track.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Some new(ish) lampwork

Is everyone ready for the inauguration? I am. Very, very excited.
In the mean time, it's been a little while since I've posted any of my lampwork beads and other things, so I thought I'd just put up a few pictures.

I honestly can't remember if I posted pictures of Sock Monkey and Bunny Foo Foo, but I'll do that now. They're really cute little 'toy' beads that I've been making. I actually have a Sock Monkey Pandora-style bead that I haven't taken pics of yet. I will, though.
Both of these lampwork beads are available on Etsy right now.

Ihave some other things on Etsy right now. I've been experimenting with jewelry lately. If nothing else, it's giving me a very good perspective on what jewelry designers need, bead-wise. It's not always what I think they need at all. In fact, the beads I want to make are not usually condusive to design at all. Lesson learned.

Anyway, also at Mermaid Glass on Etsy.....

These beads are actually listed on Ebay right now or will be in the next day or two. The top one is actually an old bead. I made it almost a year ago, held on to it, never made anything with it and decided to let it go out into the world. So far, nobody wants it. Bleh! Too bad. It's extremely cool and very bright.

Thanks for checking things out. Have a great Monday night.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Facts I know to be true

I had to post this here. It's true, all of it, every word!
I have marked in bold letters the ones that I am either guilty of doing or find particularly accurate and insightful.

  • There are 5,000 types of snakes on earth and 4,998 live in The South
  • There are 10,000 types of spiders. All 10,000 live in The South, plus a couple no one's seen before.
  • If it grows, it sticks; if it crawls, it bites
  • Onced and Twiced are words
  • It is not a shopping cart; it is a buggy
  • People actually grow and eat okra
  • 'Fixinto' is one word
  • There is no such thing as 'lunch.' There is only dinner and then supper
  • Iced tea is appropriate for all meals and you start drinking it when you're two.
  • Backwards and forwards means 'I knoweverything about you.'
  • *DJeet is actually a phrase meaning 'Did you eat?'
  • *You don't PUSH buttons, you MASH them
  • You don't have to wear a watch because it doesn't matter what time it is. You work until you're done or it's too dark to see
  • 'Fix' is a verb. Example: 'I'm fixing to go to the store.'
  • You measure distance in minutes.
  • You'll probably have to switch from 'heat' to 'A/C' in the same day
  • All the festivals across the state are named after a fruit, vegetable, grain, insect or animal.
  • You install security lights on your house and garage and leave both unlocked
  • You carry jumper cables in your car . . . for your OWN car
  • There are only four spices: salt, pepper, Tabascoand ketchup
  • The local papers cover national and international news on one page, but require 6 pages for local gossip and sports
  • The first day of deer season is a national holiday.
  • 100 degrees Fahrenheit is 'a little warm.'
  • We have four seasons: Almost Summer, Summer, still Summer and Christmas
  • Going to Wal-mart is a favorite past time known as 'goin' Wal-martin' or off to 'Wally World.'
  • A cool snap (below 70 degrees) is good pinto-bean weather
  • A carbonated soft drink isn't a soda, cola or pop. . . . it's a Coke, regardlessof brand or flavor. Example: 'What kinda coke you want?'
  • Fried catfish is the other white meat
  • We don't need no stinking driver's ed . . . if our mama says we can drive, we candrive

If you understand these jokes please forward them to your friends from the south (and those who just wish they were).
EVERYONE can't be from the south; it takes luck.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

More pretty stuff

It's currently too cold to make beads so, I've been wasting my time on the computer.

And yes, I have made another treasury. I'm vaguely addicted to it. There are so many gorgeous things out there and I've sort of take it as my own personal responsibility to make sure as many people as possible see them

What an egotistical maniac I am.

Anyway, check this one out. Come see it. Click. Comment. I'm sure all the Etsyians will appreciate it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Me Time

Between being sick over the Holidays and then working extra hard to get caught up and to try and meet my goals for January, I've suddenly become aware of the fact that I feel like crap.
I've been eating poorly, drinking just an eensy, weensy, wee bit too much and exercising not at all.

And I can feel it.

I have no energy, crash at 8:00 every night and have to struggle to stay awake and my skin looks terrible. My back aches, my knees hurt and I seem to have a constant headache.

Do any of you ever get this way?
Like you spend all of your time taking care of everyone else and no time at all looking after you?

Well, I'm tired of it. I'm old enough to know better but I've gotten in a rut. Run the kids around, help with homework, pay bills, clean house, shop, cook, clean, yard work, volunteer work, plan parties, do laundry and fix every little issue that lands at the front door. Plus try to run a business. It's too much.

Actually, it's just enough. I just need to take some time to prioritize. I need to remember that when the air masks drop, I need to put mine on first, then everybody else's.

So I made a deal with myself and I have certain things that I have to do, every day. I wrote them down in list form, so I'll have to abide by it. I'm that anal. If I write it down, I have to do it.
  1. I have to work out every morning. I'm not allowed to turn the kiln on until I get in at least 1 hour.
  2. I'm keeping a calender/chart of my progress. I have to write down my exercise every day.
  3. I have to do one thing, just for myself, every day. It can be something as simple as sitting down in the middle of the day to read a magazine or as complicated as getting a manicure. Not that I would ever get a manicure. Very shabby nails...very shabby.
  4. I also have to write that down on my calender.
  5. I have to set more realistic goals. I can't accomplish everything in one day or even one month.
  6. I have to ask for and expect more help from my husband. My kids are fine. They have plenty of chores and they are straight A students with enough to worry about. Besides, half the time it's such a pain in the ass to get them to do anything, I'd rather just let it go.

That's it. There are no weight loss goals only health and well-being priorities to be managed. It's all about me. If I feel like eating a damn cupcake, I'll do it an nobody's making me feel bad about it.

I'll let you know how it's working out.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Dropping Acid

I scored a Treasury on Etsy this morning and I think it turned out pretty well. It's my goal to go FP on Etsy and take a bunch of fabulous creations along.
So come check it out, click and comment on these wonderful chartreuse (acid) green items and give yourself a pop of color on a grey, dingy day.

Friday, January 9, 2009

It's about time!

Well, after a way too long break, I've finally got some new things available, both on eBay and on Etsy. I actually have a really pretty set that was supposed to go up on eBay last night but, for some reason, didn't post. I'm going to show you anyway.

On eBay:


~Island Hopping~

On Etsy:

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Lend a hand

Warning: Long, rambling post about social conscience. With no pictures.

Over the recent holiday break, I had a lot of time to think about things. I got really sick and didn't have time to do some of the things I'd planned, but my mind was working fine.

I thought about the fact that, even as we struggle as a nation to find our footing, still we squander so much of what we have. If times are so hard, why are we still spending millions on bottled water instead of drinking tap water or investing $20 in a filter pitcher? Why are we still watching frantically for the price of flat screens and Blue Ray to drop? Why is obesity such a huge problem even as the price of food skyrockets?

These are general issues.

In specific, I worry about my children. I don't think they have any real sense of social conscience. I completely admit that that's the fault of their parents. We've been lax and irresponsible.

I grew up - though not dirt poor by any stretch of the imagination - certainly without any extras. I remember when I first made the cheer leading squad and there was a distinct possibility that I wouldn't get to participate due to the cost of the uniform. My father was a factory worker, working nights my entire childhood because of the extra money that shift paid. There was forever a sense of being on the edge. As a result, I give my kids too much. I want them to have a sense of security that was a sometimes lacking in my own childhood. I've always wanted them never to feel that kind of pressure and I've probably done it in the wrong ways.

On the flip side, my husband grew up in comparative privilege. His father was an high level executive with a large, multi-national company. He grew up on the golf course. He had great clothes, nice cars, a swimming pool and came home from school to a gated community every day. Paying for college was never a concern. He gives our kids too much because, well, he had those things when he was a kid and maybe doesn't see the harm.

But I am starting to.

I recently read an article about a woman who wanted to teach her kids about being aware of how lucky they are just to have food, shelter, clothing. School supplies, for crying out loud! So once a week, she and her children make nutritious brown bag meals and then take them downtown where the homeless population is concentrated and hand them out to anyone who wants one. They don't do this as a project for school or to earn community service credit for college applications. They do it because it's benefits everyone involved.

This seemed like such a simple way to help that I thought, "Hey, why not us, too?"

Last year the homeless population in Orlando was estimated at approximately 10,000 people -2400 of them children. That number is expected to dramatically increase in the next year due to the collapse of the real estate boom in our area. Thousands have lost their jobs as a result of that incident alone. Not to mention all those who are affected by the dramatic downturn in the travel and hospitality industries that fuel our local economy. We're talking about entire families living in shelters because the parents lost their jobs.

That could be us.

If my husband were still the small, independent electrical contractor that he was a few years ago, we wouldn't have our home today. His business probably would have been wiped out along with thousands of others across the area. He ran into one of his biggest former clients the other day. Two years ago, the guy was building 4,000 square foot custom homes. Today, he's building skateboard ramps for the neighbor kids to earn a little cash. He hasn't built a house in six months.

That's scary.

I already volunteer at the kid's school as much as I can, but I really want something for the kids to participate in, something that puts them in touch with another side of life. So, I set out on a full-on volunteer effort for the entire family. We've decided that my daughter and I will volunteer at the Orlando Coalition for the Homeless. They have a Women's Shelter as well, where they always need help with the children and organizing activities. Connor does community service work for his Scout pack already, but he can help with donation drives and supplies sorting, too. They need so much, from time to supplies, that there's something for everyone. Robert already volunteers for local youth sports, and that's about all the time he has.

And, because we're all animal lovers, we'll be continuing to donate time and supplies to the local SPCA, which I have done for years. Next year, Anna will be old enough to volunteer on-site and she's really looking forward to that.

These are relatively small things but I hope they'll help all of us. It can't hurt, that's for sure. If anyone local is interested in helping, I've included the links for these organizations. If you're not local, maybe you could find someone in your own area that could use a helping hand.
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