Monday, December 31, 2012

Adieu, 2012!

Well, it's been quite a while since I stopped by here. It has indeed been a wonderful, yet sometimes crazy year.  I figured it's an appropriate time to reflect on all that has happened and resolve to be more present here in 2013.

2012 started out to be relatively 'usual'. It quickly got rolling though, with applying to various local art shows and a couple a little further away from home. I decided to branch out to surrounding cities: Yellow Springs and Columbus. Both went well and I met some nice artists and shoppers and hope to be back there again this year. The drives were not bad, but it does make for a longer day driving 1-2 hours from home and then back after working my booth all day. Nothing I can't handle and it seemed worthwhile to get my brand out a little further.

May had my husband and I decide to purchase my in-laws' home across town and also had us taking a family trip with them to Hawaii, along with my husband's sisters, brother, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, niece, nephew and grandma. (I think that's everyone, it was quite an organizational feat!)

We visited Honolulu with just my husband's sister for a couple days and then flew over to Kuaui to meet the rest of the family. We saw so many breathtaking places and sites! I will leave all that for another post...

July rolled around and one of the aforementioned shows. Turns out it was the Columbus one, 2 hours from home and the day before a trip to Las Vegas with two of my nieces. One had turned 21 in April, the other turned 21 at midnight the night we arrived. We did some shopping, some gambling, saw Cirque du Soleil's "O" at Bellagio, ate oh-so-much and just bummed around the strip sight seeing.

I also was fortunate enough to be able to participate in a 3-day PMC workshop/class through which I became a certified PMC artist. I am technically allowed to teach it now too, but I'm not sure if I'll be doing that any time soon. It's good to have the option though. I really enjoyed learning some new techniques.

Over the summer, we said goodbye to one of our darling cats, Zoey. She had been receiving subcutaneous fluids for about 3 years and on k/d food to maintain her failing kidneys. When we returned from Hawaii, I noticed she wasn't eating so well and she began losing weight and from there steadily declined. We didn't let it go on too long. I was just happy to get to spend an extra 3 years with her. She was such a sweetheart and I miss her dearly.

A month or so went by and my husband and I stopped in to Petsmart to get cat food for Lucy and dog food for Caesar. We stopped in to visit the adoptable cats like we always do and that is where we met Cheez-It. He was a little squirmy orange thing, just as cute and as playful as can be. We left and then turned around and went right back to apply for his adoption. Luckily for us, we got a call from the adoption place a few days later asking if we were still interested in him. Of course we were! I picked him up that Friday. He is now named Colby (like the cheese!) and he has brought such joy and happy energy to the house... Zoey would have loved him, I know it. Lucy is getting used to him and he and Caesar are the best of friends.

The first part of big move finally took place on Black Friday. So, we are currently in the house where my husband and his siblings grew up, but we still have a ton of stuff to clean out of our old house to get that on the market. I've been doing so much painting and settling... a little crazy! But, we are enjoying it here. The snowy scene is a view of our back yard. (Okay, it's really our neighbor's yard from our yard. They have fewer wires and no driveways behind them! lol)

In Etsy shop news, I set a goal to have 200 sales by December 31. As luck would have it, mixed with some hard work to get more pieces made and listed, I had an awesome November and an even better December and made my goal with time to spare. I am sitting at 207 sales right now!

So, as you can see, it has been quite an eventful year! Here is to a wonderful, busy, crazy 2013. Happy new year to everyone. May we all grow wiser, make new friends and realize our dreams.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What's new? Cockatoo blue!

Just checked out my Etsy activity to find that my new teal apatite bracelet has been included in this awesome cockatoo blue treasury! Thanks to LanaBetty for including me – you should stop by and check out her cute little shop.

On another note, show season is just about upon us once more. I just received notification of acceptance into my first one this year, the Trillium Art Fair on June 10 at Glenwood Gardens. This will be my 4th year at this lovely annual art fair, and I'm really looking forward to it again this year! Stay tuned for more shows soon!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Lots of pink for spring!

I have been keeping busy around here lately, between work and getting more pieces made and listed. Not so busy that I couldn't snap a couple photos of one of my magnolia trees while it was in bloom! It came very early this year. The buds were on the tree for about a week and then one (unusually) warm March morning I left for work. When I returned home, the entire tree was just covered with large pink blossoms. It was spectacular!

Below is a custom PMC order I recently completed. My customer, Ashley, was just lovely, and so easy to work with. It was the first time I've done a double-sided pendant in one piece, so it was a bit of a challenge. The front was a floral pattern that I have used a few times for earrings and pendants. The reverse featured an inscription and her husband's and children's first initials. It was a family birthday gift to her from them. Very sweet!

I oxidized all the sterling silver and the fine silver pendant, and then hand-buffed it to a soft gray with a high shine. It is paired with a soft powdery pink rose quartz briolette, which is perfect with the gray. It took a bit longer than anticipated as I had to wait on the stone to arrive, but she insisted she was not in a hurry. In the end, she was just thrilled with the result, which makes me very happy!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Look up!

Every once in a while the winter sky does something so gorgeous, you can't help but run for your camera. I was sitting here at my desk, not paying attention to anything but what was in front of me on my screen, when I heard some Canada geese passing through the neighborhood. I looked up and out the window and that sunset is what I saw. My only regret is that I didn't capture the silhouettes of the geese too. So very stunning!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Happy (belated) year of the dragon!

Every year we talk about heading out to Las Vegas for Chinese New Year because of all the celebrations and decorations. This year we finally made it! Fitting since it is the Year of the Dragon and my half Chinese husband happens to have been born under that sign.

While we didn't make it out there in time for the kick-off with the traditional dragon dance, we did go around to various casinos collecting commemorative $8 Year of the Dragon casino chips. Of course along the way, we saw some really impressive dragon displays!

These first three (above and below) were at the Wynn. So cool!

This one at Palazzo breathed 'smoke' throughout the day. It was enormous, as you can see! Around the back was a small pond with koi.

The next three photos are from the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. They really do it up, but then, they have this space that is dedicated to decorating for the various seasons of the year, which is different from most of the other resorts there. It really sets them apart though.

They had dragons representing each element; wood, fire, earth, metal and water. They also had a pagoda, larger than life Chinese coins and firecrackers, and of course, copious amounts of flowers!

Aria's lobby display with beautiful lanterns lining the entire ceiling. The photo doesn't do this justice!

And, although MGM Grand did not have a dragon display, they did get their stately lion into the spirit with butterflies, gold coins and firecrackers. It's one of my favorite casino resorts, so I thought it deserved a mention!

Friday, January 6, 2012

A very colorful, very paisley treasury.

Love the pop of color here. And thank you to StampShackLady (who has an adorable shop, by the way) for including my paisley and pink quartz PMC necklace! Stop by and check it out!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tying up loose ends and a last minute trip.

First the business: I have been a complete blog slacker for the last several months. I don't know what my problem is. I could say I've been busy or distracted, but I think mostly I've just hit a blog rut and haven't felt I've had much to say here lately. I will try to do better this year!

Well, I really have been pretty busy with work (not making excuses!) and trying to make my goal of 100 pieces in my Etsy shop by the end of 2011. I ended up with 82. I'm not terribly upset with this, as I had a last minute show in early December, and November and December found me a nice amount of sales from the shop too, so, all is well. I think I'll reach my goal of 100 pieces very soon and then set the next listing milestone for myself.

I hit my first sales milestone — 50 sales — on Etsy at the end of October. 60 wasn't far behind and hopefully things keep rolling now that the holidays are past.

In other news, my husband started a new job back in September which has him doing a fair amount of traveling. So far he is really enjoying his new endeavors, and he is home on the weekends and some weekdays in between engagements, so I am ending up with plenty of time to work on new jewelry and listings.

Now the pleasure part of this post: The afore mentioned new job found hubby in Phoenix, AZ for about 4 weeks. Rather than coming home for one of those weekends, I found pretty decent airfare out of Dayton, OH and so I flew out there to meet him. We planned to drive up to Sedona for a weekend, which is just a couple hours away. It was my first time flying solo, which at first was a bit frightening to me, but I got over my fear and then ended up at the conclusion that it's just a little boring.

We booked a jeep tour with A Day In The West. It was originally supposed to be a photographic tour (smooth trail, panoramic views), but that trail was closed by Forestry the day before my arrival due to ice. We switched to a sunset tour instead. Well, this was not a smooth trail. It was quite rocky. Bumpy is an understatement! It was so much fun and so interesting to hear our guide's stories and he was very knowledgeable about the plant life, which was very cool, and about Sedona in general. This is the sunset over the mountains:

The next day, we didn't really have any plans, so my husband mapped out a route to drive around to some of the well-known vantage points. We stopped at one of the visitors' centers too, and found the lady there to be quite helpful, providing advice and maps. She recommended Weber's IGA's deli counter for great sandwiches made to order, so we stopped there for sandwiches, snacks and drinks. So pretty much what we did is take advantage of the gorgeous day and we drove up around the red rock mountains, stopping here and there for photos. We ate our picnic lunch at the overlook at the Sedona Airport. The sandwiches were awesome and the view too, of course.

One place the visitors' center lady recommended was Boynton Canyon. You can drive through it yourself without being on a Jeep tour. We were in a regular car, but I guess they have to warn you about the road being unpaved. We didn't have any issues getting around, but it was definitely bumpy!

At one point in Boynton Canyon, we started to see these cactuses along the side of the road and we pulled over to snap a couple pics. Then we looked up and realized they were scattered all along the mountainside. I guess it was a particularly favorable spot for them to grow. There must be some water run-off or something on that side. They look like something out of a movie. I made it out without being injured by one!

So that was our little taste of the Southwest. I would go back there in a heartbeat. It is something to see! I made it back home safe and sound too, wrapping up my first solo flight. I have a feeling I may get to have a few more little weekend trips this year if my husband goes somewhere interesting. I will fly solo again for more great photo opportunities!


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