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 Ye Gods.

Saturday morning, bright and early, I went to see houses with the Realtor-in-law. Most were OK but nothing special. (There was an amazing one, but between Friday night and 9 am Saturday it had a contract pending, so poo.) One was horrific--seriously, it was That House for the neighborhood--they had bunkbeds built into the garage, gah. 

One was....well, let me explain. 

This one house came up on the MLS, much lower than it should have been listed at. Turns out it's bank-handled, a short sale. I added it to my list of Houses I Want to Look At, because why not?

It's great. Needs a little work, like some carpet ripped up and continuing the concrete staining that was done in the rest of the house, front door is awful, and of course, paint. Yard is just the right size (small) and it makes very good use of the space.

I put in the offer today. It was THAT GOOD OF A DEAL. (RiL called it "smoking".)

However, it's a short sale. Which means we now have to wait and wait on the bank team that is handling this property. Seriously, in the paperwork they used the phrase "hurry up and wait". That's not a problem, since I have to give 60 days notice at the apartment anyway.

I'm still looking, because the Perfect House may still be out there--one I don't have have the garage wired for outlets and overhead lights, for example.


After all that, I went home and assembled jewelry for a while and then went to game, since I won't be able to for 2-3 weeks. Today I Signed All The Papers on the Awesomesauce House and then I was in the workshop for 8 hours. I've eaten, done one load of laundry, and now I'm off to bed.

Here's one of the things I finished today:

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 And I had such a good start posting this year, too. Pooh.

So, what's up? I've been in the workshop a lot, trying to get [personal profile] wolfshark 's cufflinks made, as well as getting more inventory done. I have a show Saturday (the Austin Flea) and then next week I'm helping to launch the new space for my local comics and gaming shop, Dragon's Lair. April 13 is the Gem & Mineral Society Swap Meet, and the last weekend is Austin WEST (West Austin Studio Tour). May 4 is the Violet Crown Festival. Unless something comes up, I don't have anything until ApolloCon in Houston in late June.

Looks like a lot. I decided not to try to get into the Mini Maker Faire. It was the day after Violet Crown. Next year! (Also, Staples! next year.) 

I've been working out regularly, thanks to the Awesome Sister-in-Law giving me 20 sessions with a personal trainer at the Y. Jimmy is excellent and really works me hard. We're currently trying to figure out how I can keep working with him past the gifted sessions. I've lost 14 pounds of fat but gained 12 pounds of muscle. Getting a little leaner, anyway.

I've been cooking more at home, partially for caloric reasons, partially financial. Rent went up $80 this last renewal, and several of my other bills crept up too. So I'm really trying to cut down on eating out, at least during the week. Weekends can be crazy so I don't try quite so hard. (I have discovered that I really love the cherry and grape tomatoes. Not fond of the big ones, but the little ones are great.)

What else? Starting to look for a house (see what you started, [personal profile] blueraccoon ?) I'll almost certainly have to move to Round Rock, as houses in Austin are expensive. As in, $100,000 more. (Go home, California hipsters!)

And I'll leave you with a picture:

It's a small copper dish about 3 inches across. I really like the way the transparent enamels worked out.

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So far, I've had two sessions with my personal trainer. He works me hard, but not too hard. This was the right move, I think. I'm at least getting 2 hours of workout a week (up from zero, LOL), and in a week or so I'll start coming in on my off days to do other things. I think giving my body a little time to get used to this exercise thing again is a good idea.

Slowly but surely the apartment is emerging from the piles of crap. The living room is looking much better and I've been keeping the kitchen much cleaner.

I now have everything I need to start chasing again; there's just some assembly required. Sometime this weekend I'm going over to the workshop and assembling my chasing bowls. This involves adding tire weights to the cast iron bowls, and then pouring a layer of plaster of paris on top, leaving an inch or two. After that cures I'll add the resin and I'll be ready to start chasing again!

Still have a bit of a lingering cough from the Ick, but hopefully that will go away soon.

Can any of my photographer friends recommend a source for macro/jewelry digital photography lessons?


Jul. 27th, 2012 11:42 pm
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We now have a surgery date: September 12. I'm really looking forward to having two functional knees. You have no idea.

I've been very very busy the last few weeks. I finally got the Huge Pin Project of Doom finished and I delivered it to the customer today at ArmadilloCon; I will get the check this weekend. \o/

The pins (well, some of them, I made 120 of the darn things):

And I went on something of a tentacle kick:
Even Poe is creepier with tentacles!

As usual, clicking on these will take you to my flickr page where there are many many more pictures.

lillian13: (Default) goodness, I have been remiss in posting.

I am now walking much so better; only limping when I've sat too long and stiffened up (or when I'm tired). I finally have a halfway-decent-fitting swimsuit so I can start water aerobics next week at the Y in order to build up strength and flexibility in my left (non-surgeried) knee. It's still giving me fits, even though a cortisone shot to that knee a couple of weeks ago really helped.

I am working on a 115-piece commission for the World Science Fiction Convention--the committee for next year's show in San Antonio is providing my enameled pins to everyone nominated for a Hugo or a John W. Campbell award this year. So far I have 30 pieces finished and will get another 15 done on Sunday, and I hope to keep to the 15-per-week schedule so I can get them done in time to make new work for ArmadilloCon. And then the Austin Craft Riot has a show in August...and since I've already committed to run the Pegasus table at Anime Overload, I can't do the Austin Flea this time. Phooey.

My new workshop space is working out splendidly. My landlady has a portable AC unit in the garage and we've bonded over all sorts of things, including BBQ and pie. I'm still rearranging tools and I'm having some friends make me a smallish sturdy table that I can hammer and do chasing on. (And if anyone wants to get me an awesome birthday present, I could use 5-6 lbs of medium pitch from Northwest Pitchworks...)

Movies: I've seen The Avengers THREE TIMES (and would see it again!). Saw Prometheus. Still don't know if I liked it or not, but boy was that ever a Ridley Scott movie! MIB3 was pretty good; Brolin does an amazing Tommy Lee Jones. Cabin in the Woods was a great deconstruction of a horror movie. Waiting on Brave, Magic Mike, Savages, Spider-Man, The Bourne Legacy...Batman not so much.

Saturday: Went to the coin show today and came back with some doozies, including an Elvis coin from the Marshall Islands and a couple of amazing ones from Bulgaria and Russia and Greece. Got bread and peaches and tomatoes and mini pies at the farmers market and then I did the base coat of clear enamel onto 30 pin blanks. Hit Whole Foods for dinner and called it a day.
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Well, Saturday was something of a bust, money-wise. I made my expenses back plus about $50. I think having the show on Easter weekend killed us. But I did get a few things made!

Onyx pendantAn amazing piece of onyx I picked up a while back.
Azurite pendantI just bought this piece of azurite at the trunk show only about a month ago.

I went out with [personal profile] nwhepcat  today, since she is visiting Austin. Took her to The Highball where we had their amazing fried chicken. Then we went CD shopping, we had Amy's Ice Cream, and we wandered around the Wildflower Center. (Well, she did most of the wandering, I lazed about on a shady bench and enjoyed the breeze and all the great flowers.) After chatting in the cafe for a while, we decided we were all tuckered out, so we made a stop at Whole Foods for dinner-type-food, and I dropped her off where she is staying. It was great! And I wish I wasn't having surgery on Tuesday so we could go do many more things.

I found a great CD called Winchester Mystery House by a local band called The Hex Dispensers--think tthe Ramones if they had played way too much D&D. They're great. (Sample song title: "It's *Your* Funeral, Minion".)

Now I'm doing laundry after lying in bed for about an hour, waiting for my legs to stop yelling at me. I've been off my pain meds for the surgery and Tylenol blunts some of the pain, but I'm getting a lot of pains from other parts of my body that I normally don't feel. Bleah.

Day after tomorrow!
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It's been a scattered ten days or so, so this is a scattered post.

More, more, more! behind the cut. )So, how have YOU been?
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It's been hella busy at work; we had a set of documents come through that are twice-yearly annoyances (though they used to be quarterly annoyances; I'll take it as a win). Small, two-page doc sets that are localized into 6 languages other than English. Five of them. Per language. The frickin' paperwork takes roughly 10x as long as the docs themselves. And of course they have to be done Right Now OMG even though they won't be published until February. Since they also drag along quite a bit of baggage in the form of ancillary docs, we cringe when they show up, soldier through, and hope that next time they'll have become yearly documents.

This is, of course, in addition to all of our regular work. I do love overtime!

I've been actually coming home and cleaning. I know! I don't know why either, I'm just taking my willingness to scrub the tub and mop the kitchen as the gift it is and I'm exploiting it while it's hanging around. I've been doing bits and pieces every night--a pile put away in the bedroom here, a pile for Goodwill there, putting my bookshelves to rights... I even vacuumed most of the apartment tonight (after replacing the belt in the vacuum) and OMG the cat hair I took out of the bin thingie was insane. There's still a lot to do, and who knows how long this will last? But the place is looking much better. More "cluttered" and less "crazy single lady".

I found out today that my workshop space will go away at the end of March. Now I need to find a new place to set things on fire that I can afford, which in this town is pretty laughable. I'm hoping one of my co-renters will want to go in on a place, but when I posed it to him, he said something about it being "really hard". WTF? I'm willing to do all the footwork. Oh well, I'll talk to him again tomorrow. And put word out on FB.

I'm going to the Austin Craft Riot meeting on Saturday and I'm going to join. They're all about the business/marketing end of crafting and I do need help with that. Then after I pay my sales taxes for the year, I'm going to scrape together money for some spring shows. If i'm going to be paying more for my space I'd better make it worth it.

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Well, it rained and drizzled most of the day. Normally I'd be ecstatic about this, since we still have a rain deficit of over 24 INCHES for the last  year or so. But I am selfish and wanted lots of people to come to the show. Which is outdoors.

We did have people--early in the day I was very worried that no one would show up, it would be a bust, etc. Slowly but surely people trickled in, and I gradually made sales. Everyone was having a fine time tromping in the rain/drizzle/mist, and it did clear off a bit late in the afternoon. I sold all of my star necklaces and all of my star earrings, as well as a nice handful of enamel pendants and my standbys, the coin bracelets and the kids' necklaces. Almost half my sales were in cash, which is slightly odd.

I saw several old friends I had not seen in AGES. One, K., said, "I knew it was your booth from across the way-- I could hear you!" I have an *ahem* kind of carrying voice, I guess? All that theater training still sticks.

We used my brand-new tent from Wal-Mart today. Took forever to set up, but man, was it worth it. The roof is waterPROOF instead of waterREPELLENT, and has no saggy places, so no unexpected water dumps on customers for me, thanks. I did take the precaution of lowering it a bit, taking down most of my work, and clipping my old sidewalls extra-tight so hopefully there will be no leaks/drips/thefts in the night.

I just realized I never posted links to my last batch of work. Click through for other things, as usual.

green star earrings
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I got a lot done on Saturday--it was one of those crisp, cool sunny days we get here in the fall, and I went over to the workshop and stayed for 4 hours, messing around with metal and enamel, and having a great time. I discovered if you enamel ozone blue onto bare copper, the first layer is an interesting lavender color, but subsequent layers of enamel will make it blue. I futzed around with some copper scrap and made some earrings that I enameled with various colors; and I made a commission piece (still waiting on approval).

Left with a warm fuzzy accomplished feeling. Got home to find some illiterate idiot had parked in my 5 Year Resident Reserved space. (Big sign, unmissable = ass.) Had dinner with my friends L&J and then we went wandering around Barnes & Noble. Bought the new Tamora Pierce and some really lolarious Christmas cards.

Got up this morning feeling oddly out of sorts. I've been having weird dreams lately. I never remember them completely, but I've been getting odd flashes. Very strange, almost Lovecraftian. Also: flying lizards and magenta cobras.

Balanced my checkbook and almost had a heart attack. Thank everything for the bonus check next week. My rent went up almost 10% and man, does that hurt. I really hope the house deal with my brother and his wife goes through. I'm seriously considering killing my landline and finding room for the things in my storage unit in my overstuffed little apartment just so I don't feel horribly pinched financially.

Anyway, I cleaned the workroom (closet) in my apartment and put together the new earrings and buttons and such. I'll hit the workshop Tuesday, and run up a few more things. My friend D is helping me to set up on Friday for the Austin Celtic Festival and L&J are helping me tear down on Sunday. I'm so glad that I have such great friends and I can bribe them with show passes! :-) I really need the help doing that these days. My Evil Knee limits me a lot in that area.

Dinner tonight with brother, his wife, and the Nephew. Late birthday celebration for brother, and he took us out to McCormick and Schmicks, a really good seafood restaurant. Crab cakes and shrimp and perfect green beans and spinach and peanut butter pie, oh my! Gave him the complete Gahan Wilson collection that he had actually asked for--almost unheard of!

Dressing up as a mad scientist tomorrow. Ought to be fun.

Some of what  I did on Saturday:
bat buttons

New work

Sep. 20th, 2011 09:19 pm
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A couple of the things I made this weekend. As usual, click on them for more.
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Spent most of yesterday and today in the workshop. Final totals: 4 bracelets (6 pieces each), 6 pairs of earrings (3 of which are 2 piece), 7 pendants, and 5 sets of buttons. I'll post pictures tomorrow. May go back in to finish some more buttons and pendants this week. May not. I've also made coin cufflink/tie tac sets, bracelets, and button covers, as well as 3 more bolo ties. Still need to make some more gear earrings and other earrings. I'll post pics tomorrow.

This last week I went ahead and applied to both the Cherrywood Art Festival and the Blue Genie Bazaar. All they can do is say no, right?

OMG, Sherwood Forest Celtic Faire is this weekend. We had a Groupon last week so I hope we get lots of people. Plus the weather looks to be amazing next weekend.

We had scattered showers but none in my neighborhood. Occasional thunder rumblings, dark clouds, etc., but no actual water falling from the sky. Very disappointing.

The Emmy's weren't terrible, and there were an awful lot of feminist jokes/digs/lesbian shoutouts. I was vastly amused to note that in heels, Ana Torv is almost as tall as David Boreanz, and Scott Caan is even shorter than Ana Panquin. (Still cute!)

I really want to go to a movie but I just don't have the time. After this weekend! (And the start of the OMG I Have to Get Ready for Austin Celtic Festival season...)


Aug. 25th, 2011 10:45 pm
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Here are the dragonfly buttons I made, and I made cards for them too. (Click through for the others.) What do you think of the price ($30)?

ArmadilloCon starts tomorrow, and I almost wish I had the time I spent on the commission pieces least I already had a pretty good inventory and I usually spend most of Friday working on projects at the table, since Friday is for socializing.

Well, gotta finish getting things together for tomorrow. I have to work in the morning so I have to get everything squared away tonight.

Good luck to everyone in Irene's path and please send us some of your rain!
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Here are a couple of the FIFTEEN total that I made for Burning Man. Each one took seven firings and is about the size of a business card. It was definitely a Learning Experience, and I'm doing it next year too!

Now to get ready for ArmadilloCon...
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Sorry, no pics yet as I don't have my clients' permission to post them.

Wednesday and Thursday evenings I spent putting base enamels on the pendants--a clear coat on each side and then a black on one side.

I took Friday off, since I was in the workshop until at least 10 pm both of those nights.

Up bright and early (for me) on Saturday, which became one huge frustrating day of R&D and flailing about. I could not get the stamps to not smear, or look squashed...two hours later I caved and called the local scrapbooking store. Nice lady on the phone says they have a press that might work...I run over there with a blank and my printout of my design. The press is essentially just a clear piece of plastic with a grid printed on it, held up by 4 spongy columns. Obviously designed for the clear poly stamps (which we will do next year, yes we will!), it worked fine with my sponge-mounted rubber ones. After I got another brainstorm and cut the large designs apart into more manageable pieces, anyway.

Then I ran into another hurdle: the colors just weren't working. (Learning experience, remember?) The bluish-black I had as the background worked fine for the light blue, but the red just disappeared. So after consulting with one of my clients--the artist--I just turned them over and worked on the "clear" side that showed the copper. Then I called it a day, went home and had a shower and went gaming.

Today I got up a bit later (gaming ran late), but then everything worked like a charm. I'd put the stamp on the press, put the blank on some cardboard--held in place by some of that tacky rubber stuff--apply embossing fluid to the stamp, press, and repeat 3-4 times per color. Then apply enamel and fire. For SIXTEEN pieces. Tedious, but the results were quite good. I wish I could have used a darker brown in the main stamps, but I was having to work with what I had on hand, since we changed colors in mid-stream.

Since I did reuse one of the pieces where I had already done the initial enameling on the back, I decided to add one more bit--a spray of white across the back to add some visual interest. (Since I had to cover up that one, I had to do them all.) It was getting kind of late, 4-ish, but I decided What The Hell, and cleaned off the edges and got everything finished.  I got out of the workshop at five pm, staggered home, took an even better shower, and promptly collapsed for 3 hours. Of course, I left 4 of the pendants at the workshop, so I'll have to go back tomorrow to get them so I can install jump rings and cords and pack them up to go off to California.

The clients did call tonight; they were worried that I'd decided to go with white for the highlights (too bright!), but no, I had gone with a cream instead that looks muuuch better, and they were very pleased.

Now I spit in the general direction of the only art teacher to give me a 'D'. He taught color theory and thought I was an idiot. Feh on him.
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Got all the copper blanks--21 of them--cleaned up and flattened and the corners all rounded off, took about 2 hours. I started about 7:30 when it had cooled down (relatively speaking; it was below 100F...). With the fans running it was quite bearable. I'm covered with little bitty bits of copper (yes, I wear eye protection and a mask).

Of course, the real test will be tomorrow night, when I start enameling. The kiln makes the corner I'm in kind of...warm. I can turn on the AC in the small office so I have a place to retreat to if needed. With any luck I'll get the clear enamel on all of them in one evening, then I can get a sample done for the customer.
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I spent essentially all day Saturday and today in the workshop.

Saturday wasn't too bad; it was cloudy all day and we finally broke our string of 100F+ days. I was there from a bit before 10 to 4. I prepped and did the initial enameling on 6 bracelets and 5 pendants. Then I got the car inspected, fed a friend's cat, and finally SHOWERED. Afterwards I had dinner with my awesome sister-in-law at my favorite Szechuan place in the world and came home and collapsed.

Today I got into the shop earlier but I left later. It was also hotter; we topped out at about 103F. I finished six 6-piece bracelets, 5 pendants, 2 pairs of earrings, and 12 buttons (look at the pretty picture!). I have had my shower so I feel vaguely human again.

The custom enamel saga continues. I picked up the stamp Saturday morning--man, was that going to be a pain to work with!--but last night/this morning there was an exchange of emails telling me that the design was going to be revised (ok!) and then both of the people involved told me two completely different color sets. But they did change the initial total to "at least 10" , which is helpful, and they want to make this a recurring thing for Burning Man. (Great, if they can get me images earlier than 2 weeks out...)

Now I'm waiting on a completed final color list so I can make a call to Thompson Enamels early tomorrow so I can get the enamels before Thursday. Starting Tuesday night I'm going to be in the workshop every evening, grinding, cleaning, and base coat (clear) enameling the pendants. I want to get one done ASAP so I can send them a picture and make sure I'm going in the direction they want. was YOUR weekend?
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I have been cleaning and deleting (mostly culling) pictures from the Comic Con trip. I was hoping to get a post up this weekend. Really!

Then I got the email. "Would I be interested in doing a short production run of enamel pendants?" from a person who had contacted me earlier this year. Sure! Of course! So we went back and forth, discussing sizes, colors, etc. I asked, "When do you want them?" want them when? In time for Burning Man? The same weekend as ArmadilloCon, aka my next show? THREE WEEKS FROM NOW? want how many? THIRTY WOULD BE NICE?!? With HOW MANY COLORS?


Today I went and bought copper and got it cut for 36 blanks. Customer is the having rubber stamp made locally and I can pick it up tomorrow (though it will probably be Monday; I plan on being at my workshop pretty much all weekend, or as long as I can stand it until the heat drives me out).

This weekend I need to get a bunch of bracelets made for ArmadilloCon, and get all the blanks sanded, sharp edges ground off, add holes for bails, etc--get them ready to enamel. The grunt work.

Monday I bring home the kiln and start enameling on the pendants and get a sample done ASAP so I know I'm going in the direction they want. Then I work out on the patio every evening and all next weekend so I can get them in overnight FedEx by the 24th. And ArmadilloCon starts the 26th.

Seriously, both folks involved are also artists. You think they would have given me just a wee bit more notice. *sigh*

Off to bed so I can get to the workshop early in the morning before the sidewalks start to melt.
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Worked in the workshop both Monday and Tuesday since we had a 4-day weekend. I was in there until about 2 or 3 both days and the heat really got to me. I would come home, shower, and flop.

The big light that came with my workbench finally died--I'm convinced it was at least 25 years old--and my sister-in-law is getting me a new one for my birthday. Yay sister-in-law! She's also taking care of the cats while I'm at Comic Con.

The green pieces are copper discs that I: distressed with a hammer, put holes in, domed, and enameled with both transparent and opaque greens. I'm going to make earrings out of them. The others were all done with rubber stamps except for the bat--I sprinkled enamel over a cutout. I also made a couple of experimental runs of buttons, and I'm going to field-test them in the washer this weekend, just in case.

I was feeling kind of blah tonight so I drove across town and used my Groupon at Dog Almighty. Then I wandered into the Half Price Books and found several things I was looking for and had a nice geeky convo with the clerk. On the way home I stopped at the Hipster's Paradise (aka the main Whole Foods) and came home with some healthy things but also some truffles and a piece of ice cream cake. Hey, I'm officially in my late 40's this Sunday so I might as well celebrate!

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Sunday I did quite a bit of work. I set up my kiln and etc. on my patio to enamel, and I got 7 pendants and 4 pairs of earrings made. (Also several mosquito bites. Were in a drought here, WTF?) The cufflinks I put together the other day have set up nicely. I would like to make a couple more necklaces and some wire earrings; maybe I can on Thursday night after I've set up the booth.

Picked up my friends J and H at the airport after class tonight.*  It's always so great to see them! We'll be getting dinner tomorrow night and we'll be seeing each other all weekend. *is happy*

Too damn hot here but I still won't turn on the AC in the house. Actually, since I'm in a north-facing building and I have many trees outside, it stays fairly comfortable during the day with the ceiling fans on, and at night it's nice. I'm sure I'll give in soon, but it just chafes my butt to turn on the AC before May. When I mentioned this in Coppersmithing class, once of my classmates laughed and said "You're such a Texan!". Why, yes, little missy, I purely am.

* Last week, they asked me about shuttle service from the airport. I was all "Pshaw, my class is 10 minutes from the airport, I'll come get you". Then I stayed in class an hour later and worked on Bowl #2 since I won't be in class on Thursday. It's coming along nicely and I should have pictures of it next week.

Here, have some pictures of the last batch of things. As per usual, click through for many more:


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