31 Jan 2008

I just finished labelling my posts. I didn't do the labelling initially because I didn't think it was worth it. But I have written a couple of posts about StumbleUpon, Technorati, and some other social bookmarking sites which could be useful and it was impossible to find those posts easily without labelling. So I labelled all my posts and put a label link list on the right hand side of my blog right above "Links". So, if anyone wants to find old posts, it's a lot easier now!!

I will be looking into some of the other popular social bookmarking sites next week, so if you're interested, keep an eye out for that...

I am going to participate in a craft show on Saturday 26 April at the famous (infamous?) Rising Sun Institute here in Reading. The Art Market will be open from 10.30 - 4.30 so if you're interested, please come visit! The reason I put the infamous in there is that I've seen many a band at the Rising Sun Institute and it can get pretty rammed in there for gigs....I saw Bloc Party, Saloon, and erm lots of other bands whose names escape me at the moment. Anyway, it is a great small venue to see up and coming bands. I'll post more info about the Art Market nearer the time...

30 Jan 2008

The head arrived in the post!! So here's a photo of a new earring on the head:

29 Jan 2008

I'm quite disappointed that the earring display head still hasn't arrived. I've emailed the seller who said it was sent last week, but still no sign of it.

On the other hand, I ordered a bunch of things so I can work on some new items such as cuff links. I've had a number of people asking me about cuff links, so I have bought some of the bits one needs to make them and I'll see how they work. The trouble with cuff links and clip-on earring findings is that you have to be careful when you solder them. If they are already assembled and you solder them, you have a large chance of annealing the spring bit, so they no longer work because there's not enough tension for them to spring open and closed. So you usually end up either buying them unassembled or taking them apart and reassembling after soldering.

I also got a phone call about a commission - two wedding rings!! So I need to call them back and see if they know what they want. That's exciting.

28 Jan 2008

Here's a photo of one of the Indonesian stone bezel pendants I just finished: (It's on Etsy, but on the third page because I updated an old listing instead of making a new one...)
Still no head in the post, sadly. I have emailed the seller to see if they've already sent it, so we'll see. It does say on the shop that items are sent out same or next day, so I'm confused as to why I haven't heard anything.
Anyway...so I may be the only person who hadn't already heard of Wee Mee. It's like mini me (Austin Powers, anyone?) but online and you can build your own. I think the website is yet another option for social networking, but I just wanted the mini me. I don't need yet another website/network/etc that I need to keep updated! I've already lost my login to LinkedIn and can't retrieve it because I can't remember what email address I used to sign up!! Anyway...that's another story.
So, wee mee. You just go to the site, www.weeworld.com and click on "create a wee mee" and then when you're done building your mini-self, it will ask you to register (of course). That's easy and free. Don't forget, whenever you're registering, to untick or tick the boxes to make sure you're not agreeing to lots of junk mail. Anyway, then you can use the Wee Mee on your blog, facebook, digg, or whatever else it's compatible with. Kind of amusing. No useful purpose whatsoever. So this is my WeeMee with a cup of tea in my hand...and so I need to get some more tea!!

25 Jan 2008

I have purchased the bottom half of a head on ebay. For display purposes - as you can see in the photo below, the head has an ear which has a hole so you can display earrings. It's a hassle to show the relative size of earrings in photos. It's not good to use a coin, because it's country specific, so will mean nothing to people unfamiliar with British money. A ruler looks a bit naff and personally I don't think it helps if you've already stated measurements in your description. Bits of food don't look so good, etc. (I've been using a thimble, which is ok but then I suppose there are loads of people who don't use thimbles plus I think thimble size can vary...?) So I got this head and I'm hoping it's going to solve this issue!!
I've never bought anything off ebay before, only sold things on it. So I'm hoping that this head arrives soon. The seller had a very good rating - sold about a trillion items and 100% positive feedback. So maybe today in the post???!!

24 Jan 2008

So yesterday I looked into Digg. It's pretty much the same thing as StumbleUpon, except it doesn't seem to have a button you can put on your address bar. Both sites are an easy way to search for website that might interest you. With StumbleUpon, you indicate what you're interested in (arts, finance, etc) and you just click the StumbleUpon button and it randomly takes you to sites that are in those categories. With Digg, you go to the Digg website, register (for free) and on the Digg website you click on the sites in categories that you are interested in and they open in a new window.
The advantage to StumbleUpon is that you don't have to open a new window and you can mark the site as "I like it" or "I don't like it" without leaving the site itself. With Digg, you have to go back to the Digg website and click on "Digg it" next to the entry for that site. That's not terribly difficult, but it is one extra step.
The advantage of Digg, though, is that you can easily add the "Digg it" button to your own site or blog. I tried to do that with StumbleUpon and I couldn't figure it out. I think it's possible, but maybe it's not compatible with Blogger or something. I figure if it takes that long to figure out, most people won't do it. The "Digg it" button is easy to add (you can see it on the right hand side of my blog). Of course....that's only useful if people recognise it, otherwise they'll just ignore it. Same goes for the Technorati button to add to favorites....but it's nice to give visitors the option if they do use those sites.
If you click the Digg it button and someone has already submitted the site as interesting, then your click will just add one to the number of people who digg the site, thus pushing it up the rankings on the Digg website. If nobody has yet submitted the site, then you will get a very simple page asking you to write a short reason why the site is interesting.
Just to test how it all works, I submitted one of my Etsy listing as fascinating (well I had to use something!) and it got another 15 or so views within a minute or so. That's because when a new site is submitted, it *briefly* shows up on the top of the Digg listings for its category. But these views short lived and are unlikely to do your business much good. On the other hand, it won't do it any harm either.
And that's the sort of technical news for today.
While clicking through StumbleUpon, I came across this photo from a presumably Chinese artist - a pretty impressive table and a very clever idea:

23 Jan 2008

I had a jewellery lesson this morning which was very useful indeed. I have a light blue gem stone for which I have been comissioned to make a ring. The stone looks a lot like this one:
The ring is supposed to be very modern - no frills! I had an idea of what I wanted it to look like, but didn't know if it was possible. My teacher showed me how to execute the idea I had, so it is possible and I will soon be starting on it! The design has no claws - so a very clean line around the stone. I will be posting photos as soon as I have something to show!! Updates coming soon!!

22 Jan 2008

Interesting developments in the plans for this spring - we are going to host a troupe of Morris dancers. Oh yes, MORRIS DANCERS. The first time I saw Morris dancers was at the excellent Reading Real Ale festival (which is brilliant, if you can get in). I had no idea what these funny men with white socks and bells and ribbons were doing running around flinging hankies and sticks in the air. Then I found out - they were looking silly in return for free entry to the beer festival! ha!

Ok, A Morris dance is a form of English folk dance usually accompanied by music. It is based on rhythmic stepping and the execution of choreographed figures by a group of dancers. Implements such as sticks, swords, and handkerchiefs may also be wielded by the dancers.

That's right, hankies are wielded!!

So, yes, we are going to have a troupe of Holland-based female Morris dancers staying for a weekend in June. They will be performing in or near Reading. I know you will be waiting for news of when and where with bated breath, so I will update you as soon as I know!!

21 Jan 2008

I saw this photo somewhere on the internet. I think the artist is Chinese-German, but I'm not sure. Anyway, I liked the tongue-in-cheekness of these ceramic cans. I've seen plastic cups made with ceramics before, but adding the Chinese vase element strikes me as clever.

17 Jan 2008

I'm quite picky when it comes to liking stuff. I don't like knick-knacks. I don't like frou-frou. I don't like kitsch. I can appreciate it - there is a time and a place for everything. Way back when I lived in Pittsburgh I went to this club every once in a while called the Lava Lounge. One day a week they had this Elvis impersonator who had a keyboard, a stuffed monkey rigged up to dance around next to the keyboard, and a really bad monotone "Elvis" in a tatty old costume. The floor was filled with moth-bitten funny old masks - including an elephant head mask. It was, in a warped kind of way, perfect. It was entertaining and fun. It shouldn't have worked, but it did.

Anyway, so I'm picky. So I don't usually see stuff that often that I *really* like lots. But these cards from an Etsy seller are just brilliant. They look completely professional and yet are very personal. I just love the clean look and the potential to get just the right card - something you could never find with a mass-produced card. The seller is Storeyshop and this is an example of one of her cards:

16 Jan 2008

So my sister just got back from holiday and their belongings were stolen out of the rental car. Terrible and very irritating!!! So, just in case it can help someone, here's the list of prevention measures for your home from Thames Valley Police:

  • Good lighting is an excellent way to deter a thief. Timer switches can be used for internal lights or a radio so it looks and sounds like someone is at home.
  • For external lights consider ‘dusk to dawn’ lights. These are light sensitive and come on when it gets dark and turn themselves off when it gets light.
  • Visible burglar alarms make burglars think twice.
  • Lock all windows – thieves can wriggle through any gap larger than the size of a human head.
  • Fit secure locks to all doors and fit a door chain or bar. Fit visible window locks, including rear or side windows and those above a low roof. Fit locks to the top and bottom of patio doors.
  • Never leave garages or sheds unlocked – remember to lock tools and ladders away so that thieves cannot use them to break in. Consider installing a battery operated shed alarm.
  • Check for weak spots and sagging fences on your boundary. Make sure the front of the house is visible so a thief cannot work unseen, although a thorny hedge along a boundary makes a useful deterrent.
  • Fit a strong lockable gate across side passages.
Also - do NOT keep your keys by your front door!!!!!!!! Keep them in your bedroom. Make it a habit!! If thieves get in your house when you are home, YOU want to have the keys!! And since many thieves are looking for car keys to steal, it's best not to make it easy for them by having them right next to the front door!

15 Jan 2008

Another gloomy and extremely windy day today. I did a fair amount of exercise yesterday, so rather sore in my arms. Exciting news, huh!?
So I am trying to find out how useful Technorati is. It's a site which gathers data about blog use and allows you to easily find blogs about topics you're interested in. I'm working on registering my blog on the site to see how it works. To do so, I have to include this link in today's post:
Technorati Profile
So I'll post this and then see how it works and post about its usefulness later....

Right, so I posted the above link and within a minute Technorati confirmed that it is my blog and I was free to write a description. Then you get an "authority" number, which is the number of blogs registered with Technorati which have a link to your blog....which is sort of useful.

Then you can add a bit of HTML which Technorati offers which allows users to mark your blog as a "favorite" if they use Technorati to keep tabs on blogs. That's the little green logo on the right hand side of my blog that says "add to favourites"...

So, for a small blog, it does no harm to register with Technorati but I can't see it making a huge difference either. I guess I will find out....if suddenly there are more comments, I will change my opinion!

12 Jan 2008

When I was in Amsterdam a couple of weeks ago with the parentals, we chanced upon the Droog store. My mom enlightened me that Droog is the ultra-hip Dutch design group engaged in producing innovative items for the home. Well, mostly for the home, as far as I know. The store was most entertaining, with lots of interesting items. I think they are best known for a lamp which is made out of numerous milk bottles. I personally liked the marble bench most. It's a bench, filled with clear marbles. On top of the marbles there are three seats, so you sit on the seat and you can slide around. It's quite fun! Here's a photo of me on the bench:

11 Jan 2008

It's extremely gloomy today. Lots of rain and grey skies. As mentioned on the Outcast blog, my Q&A article about some of Reading's artists is out now in the January edition of Blah Blah magazine. Blah Blah has the listings for all that is happening in and around Reading.

My mom bought this beautiful jacket and asked me to make a matching pendant using some tourquoise stone she bought. Below is a photo of the jacket, followed by the resulting pendant.

10 Jan 2008

I'm getting increasingly frustrated by lack of camera, it having been stolen. I made two paintings for the boy for his xmas present. I took a photo with my camera phone, so the quality is pretty poor. But just to give an idea, below is that photo. The paintings are felt on canvas, with some patterned cellophane and paint behind the felt. Most of the pattern is cut out and some of the pattern is with paper on top of the felt.

9 Jan 2008

Well, happy new year or something. I had a great holiday until 1 January. Burglars got in our house and stole my personal jewellery and lots of other items. The jewellery is the worst, as it's worth next to nothing to them and for me embodies 32 years of birthdays, graduations, etc. The ring my mom had made for me for my high school graduation is the item I'll miss the most. I wore it every single day. Why on earth I decided not to wear it for New Year's Eve - who knows. I sure regret that decision. The necklace with my name that I got at birth from my aunt and uncle, the pendant from my great-grandmother, the bracelets I got from my other aunt and uncle for my 21st birthday, the necklace my mom and grandmother picked out together for me....

The burglars also broke the computer, so I have just gotten back online. I have gotten orders in the meantime, so I apologise for delays that occurred while I was sorting out the broken computer. I will post more soon!