Thursday, July 26, 2007

New art bead pendant

Check out this new fiery little number:
Fiery flower art bead pendant
I've listed it in my Etsy shop. :) I really enjoy making these little art bead pendants. The teeny tiny slices of petal cane are tedious to work with, but that's ok. The finished look is worth it!
This time I made a bead cluster for the bottom accent. Isn't it cute?! Even Aaron said "I like that! That's really cute!" Coming from a man I take that as quite the compliment. LOL!

I want to find some new sterling bails to use on my pendants. The ones I have (like pictured above) are too small. So far I can't find the perfect size. I want bigger, but not too thick and gaudy. Do you buy bails online? Care to share sources? :)

House - waiting!

My original intention was for this blog to not be too personal. I wanted to tell the little stories behind my clay creations, but not really share too much personal life stuff. And that is still my goal. But! :) This house thing is going to be front and center for a while, so I'm going to talk about it as well. Besides, I think the house thing will open up conversation about color and design. And that sort of fits into the whole artsy fartsy theme, right?? :)

This has been a frustrating 4 days. Thanks to the seller's realtor. What a huge PITA she is. She received our offer Monday. She insisted on the offer be revised because she didn't like some of the wording. Then she balked because of insurance issues. She said the bank would not loan us money b/c the roof was not insurable. And that we needed to secure insurance first or the deal would not go through. (Not to mention she's been treating our realtor like her grandson or something.) The roof is fine! It's not brand new, but it's fine. She's just a know-it-all. I secured our insurance yesterday.

The seller has until 5pm today to accept/decline/counter our offer. We are anxious! This is our 3rd offer on a house. If they accept, and everything procedes, the closing date is August 17th. Wheeee!!!

Edited to add: As of 7:30pm Friday we haven't heard from the bank (seller). The PITA realtor said it's not unusual for things to take longer when dealing with a bank owned home. *sigh* This we already know. The first home we tried to buy was bank owned. That bank dragged out the counter offer process for like 2 weeks. It sucks that they don't have to play by the rules.
So....we wait. Thanks for all your positive thoughts though!! :)

Monday, July 23, 2007

A new old house?

If you are only here for the clay, look away now. It's time for a non-crafty post. :)

We have been sporadically house hunting for 6 months now. We've put in offers on two houses so far and both deals fell thru. Every once in a while we get the urge to look, and we do. Our sweet real estate agent has shown us countless homes all over the metro area. From the plain jane to the big hoity toity.

Recently, on a whim, we drove 10 miles west to the next town away from the metro. It turned out to be a nice smaller town. (About 16,000 people small.) Lots of older homes in pretty little neighborhoods with sidewalks. We were pleasantly surprised with what we found. And the prices of homes there....WOW. Talk about cheaper!! I think it's because they have nuclear mosquitoes in that town. I shit you not. I am a mosquito magnet...always have been. I get all puffy and itchy when bit. But in this town, the bites burn. I got attacked each time I got out of the car and my skin felt like it was on fire. It was bizarre!

Anyway....back to the title. We returned to the town this weekend to seriously house hunt. And we found one! We even put an offer in on it today. It's in one of "those neighborhoods" I spoke of earlier. Right now the house isn't very pretty, but it's been neglected. It's 87 years old. I wish I were architecturally savvy and I'd tell you what type of house it was. Sorry. :) It's 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, 2319 square feet, and on a nice tree shaded corner lot. It's a fixer-upper but it's not a money pit. (at least I hope not!) It's one of those homes that can easily become a slow several year project.

We are excited. Aaron is really excited. Really! I have not seen him excited like this before. I know his Home Depot card is burning a hole in his pocket already. :)
I have 3 pictures to show you. Unfortunately they all suck. LOL! This first pic is from the real estate website. It makes it look small and ugly when actually it's large and only slightly ugly. LOL!
We have big plans for the exterior. When we are finished there will be new architectural elements and an amazing paint job. It will hopefully look like a "painted lady".

Here are 2 satellite pics giving you a small feel for the neighborhood. This shows a real painted lady home across the street as well as a large beautiful home next door. Again, I wish I knew architecture lingo.
And you would not believe the house across the side street! It is amazing. We found the specs on the house. Over 8,000 sqft!!, 8 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms. It's 3 stories with those big white pillars around the front porch. It's very neglected but someone bought it at auction recently. I hope it gets restored to something fabulous. (Being our luck it will turn into a brothel or ginormous crack house. :) )


Ok. So I'm asking you to please send positive accepted offer vibes our way. A bank owns the house. The last bank owned house we tried to buy fell thru. Even tho this house will be a lot of long term work, it's an exciting possibility. We would raise our kids in this home. And even have room to add one more! :)
Cross your fingers!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Thinking out loud

I've been thinking about closing down Dragonflylane.com. I have mixed feelings about it, so I'm going to think out loud. Feel free to chime in and comment if you like. I'm always open to feedback. :)

I just checked Go Daddy. I've had Dragonflylane.com since February 2002. Wow! I get a fair amount of search engine traffic which is good. But I almost never make any sales thru the website. Granted, there are very few items for sale. I just don't have the time to churn out 10 new items a week. I don't know that it would matter if I did. And little-to-no sales is ok. I don't create with polymer clay for the money. I do it because I enjoy it. I try to sale a few things so I can use that money for clay money. It's a vicious cycle. :) The website costs me $12.00 a month. That's $288.00 a year in the hole.

The website is VERY convenient. I have my own email address, plenty of file storage space (which is use), I used to use it to blog but that's no more. Anyway, there are things about it I would really miss. Changing my primary email after 5 years would be a biggie! I'd want to save my family photo album (200+ pictures) and all my old blog posts. I just checked that too. Holy crap! 634 posts since August 2003! Anyway, I'd need to make sure those were safely on disk before I closed it. And I'm really not sure how to do that!

I could move all my for sale items to my Etsy store. Who knows...I might have better luck there. I could use freebies like flickr and gmail for photo storage and email.

I just don't know what I want to do. I know Aaron would say, "Why change things? 12 bucks a month is no big deal." He says, "That's what hobbies are for. You spend money on them. But you enjoy what you're doing!" LOL! And I agree with that. But I'm a frugal old fart. I hate going into the red.

In the words of Winnie the Pooh, "Think..think..think!" :)

Monday, July 16, 2007

HP5

This following has absolutely nothing to do with clay or crafting. So sue me! :o)

Aaron took me to see Harry Potter 5 yesterday. It was FANTASTIC!!! I have not read any of the books, but would very much like to. Because of this, I was under the mistaken impression that this was the final chapter in the story. But it's not! When the movie ended in a not-final sort of way, I was shocked. And so happy to talk to my MIL later and find out there is more to the story!
You guys... the movie was just SO VERY GOOD. Oh I just loved it! If you are into the mystical and magical, go see it!!! :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Etsy Buys & Sells

How's that for a grammatically horrific title? :D

A couple days ago I received my 1st Etsy purchase in the mail. A OOAK Shoozles pendant! It was a special request even! Look! Isn't it pretty!!
My 1st Shoozles pendant!

I highly highly recommend buying one of Michelle's pendants. They are beautiful! And Michelle is a complete pleasure to do business with. She makes you feel like her one & only customer. What a sweetheart! Her pendants do not look like the 'typical' fused glass. If you've ever been to a craft fair you know what I mean. Not that there is anything wrong with all those look-alike fused glass sellers....it's just not my cup o'tea. Michelle really has her own special style. It looks a lot like lampwork, without the expensive price tag. In case you missed the link above, here's a more obvious one. Go visit her! :)
Shoozles Etsy Store
Shoozles Flickr Photos

Now, let me show you something I made and listed on Etsy recently.
Whimsical Flower Art Bead Pendant
I am totally bummed out because I can't get a really good picture of it. I know this sounds totally conceited but oh well....this pendant is ADORABLE. You know how some clothes look better on the hanger? Or sometimes they look better on? Well this little cutie looks great on the hanger AND on the body! I just suck as a photographer. :)
Anyway...I'm really excited about this pendant. I want to make a few more, similar but different. But I'm having a hard time NOT using my few precious spare moments playing with the filigree wire and solder. Everything I've made so far sucks...but I still love it! LOL!

Monday, July 09, 2007

For some reason blogger is not letting me title this post. It must be blogger brain fart day! :)

I recently received the gift of clay goodies!! It doesn't get much better than that! Are you familar with the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy? They seem to be a very lovely and active group of clayers, who have monthly challenges for their members. The June challenge was to create a self portrait. What an amazing group of entries they had! Did you vote? I did. And just for voting, my name was put in the hat and I won a prize!! How cool is that?! The nice ladies of Polymer Clay Productions sponsored the challenge and sent me one of their project kits as the prize. As you can see from that picture, I got lots of goodies. And it arrived FAST. Like lightning fast. PA-CHOW!! :)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Learned something new today

Ceramic tiles will explode if you get them hot enough! Let me tell you how I know this. :)

I bought myself a metalsmithing book for xmas. I think it was February before I bought all the supplies. (They are kind of costly.) I got everything except a "fire brick" to work on. The nearby home improvement store did not carry it, and I never researched where to buy one. Since my days are already full of other duties, I've just been putting my metalsmithing plans on hold.

Well...today I decided enough was enough. I've long had visions dancing in my head...of my own polymer clay creations perfectly nestled within custom made sterling silver surroundings. And today was the last day I was going to put those ideas on hold, damnit! Or at least that's what I thought before I learned something new today. :)

Several months ago I brought home a spare 12" ceramic tile from our storage building. Aaron and I thought it might work as a solder surface. So this morning I started putting everything together to make my very first soldered piece of jewelry! I was so excited! FINALLY I was going to do it.
I sketched out my design. Measured and bent the wire. Cut up some solder chips. Mixed up some pickle solution in the baby crockpot. I decided to place the 12" tile on top of a small (toaster oven size) baking sheet, and place that on top of the largest burner on my stove top. I fired up the little torch and started heating the metal, trying to do it like the book instructed. (I only have experience soldering with an iron and wire. My torch experience is with glass. This is all new to me.)

I was getting frustrated because the tiny solder chip was not melting as fast as I thought it should. And I was wondering if I was using the torch properly. When all of a sudden....POP!!! The tile exploded into several pieces. Some of those pieces falling to the floor and my bare feet. Garrett was standing to my right, watching. He and I jumped back and squeeled like girls.

Oh yeah. I forgot to mention....just before this, Garrett had dropped a Lego creation on the kitchen floor and legos were all over the floor. The girls were down there playing with the pieces. So when I jumped back, my left foot landed hard on a lego. Anyone who's stepped on a lego knows what that feels like. And my left foot landed on Lydia's foot. In a matter of 3 seconds I turned off the torch, put it down, cussed a lego and swooped Lydia up off the floor. Sort of in one fluid motion. Emily backed herself into the opposite corner of the kitchen and quietly watched the commotion.

Whew!! Talk about the wrong kind of excitement. I was so annoyed. For not making the girls leave the kitchen, and also for not being able to finally make a piece of jewelry. I'm glad none of us were burned or cut, or the house caught on fire. But damnit....I finally had the motivation to overcome the procrastination/depression bug....and I couldn't finish the project. GGRRR!!

Here is what the tile looked like AFTER. That is my little torch in the background. My bad ass ceramic tile bustin' torch, that is. :)