29 February 2008

Happy Leap Day - Part Deux

Whew! Am I glad this week is over. It's been exhausting - and I'm looking forward to doing nothing but vegging tomorrow. Sunday is the St Pat's parade in Belmar (yea, I know it's about 15 day early), so I'll have to rest up for that.

I've been doing a bit of soul searching lately and come to the realization that I'm not happy at my job. Content, yes - but it's not what I want to do for the rest of my life. So now I've found myself weighing my options - do I want to look for other opportunities within the company? Do I want to look outside? Do I want to go in a completely different direction?

One thing that I've been intrigued about for a few years is a couple of courses offered at the local community college. The course descriptions are:
ARTS-161 (HU) Jewelry I; 3 credits
Students will be introduced to the basic metalworking techniques, and the use of specialized tools and equipment employed in jewelry making. Emphasis will be on designing and creating finished pieces of fabricated and cast jewelry. Students will be acquiring their own metal, stones and other materials needed for the projects. Extra assisted studio time will be made available to work outside of class.

ARTS-162 (HU) Jewelry II; 3 credits
This course is a continuation of Jewelry I. Students will work with advanced techniques in casting and fabrication and will be introduced to etching, enameling and anodizing. Emphasis will be on experimentation with materials and techniques, and on designing and creating original, finished pieces of jewelry. (Prerequisite: A grade of “C” or higher in ARTS 161)
I really would like to get more into working with metals, but I'm just not certain if a formal classroom/studio is the way to go. Especially considering that I've never had any formal art training - and I can't draw a wink. (Stick figures and houses are the extent of my drawing talent.) It probably is the most cost-effective method - a full term of coursework versus a class here and there. But silver is getting close to $20/ounce, so the additional materials wouldn't exactly be cheap either.

Over the next few weeks and months I'm going to take a good hard look at myself, my goals and try to figure out what I want to do with my life. I don't want to sit home all day - that gets boring after a while - but I would like to do something I enjoy. We're paying off a significant chunk of our debt soon, so I'm looking at the financial picture to see if we can swing it if I should take a cut in pay.

Enough of my ramblings for now. We're off to St Stephen's Green (Publick House) for a bit of Irish music and a pint or two of Guinness in a bit. I think I'll take the dogs for quick spin around the block beforehand.

Happy Leap Day!

Just a quick note to say I'll be back soon... It's been a long week and I'm so looking forward to the weekend.

22 February 2008

Please don't eat the yellow snow

Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

The dogs romped around the backyard in the snow this afternoon. Henry made a discovery and Suki looks on - disgusted.

21 February 2008

Moon Over Jersey

Lunar Eclipse
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

So I don't have a super duper camera with a high powered lens, but I did try to take a few photos of the lunar eclipse last night while I was out walking Henry.

I kind of like this one - with the house on one side and the evergreen on the other corner. If you look closely in the middle of the pic you can see an orange glow (and I'm not talking about the stuff Billy Mays hawks). I did watch for about 20 minutes last night - about 10 PM (EST). Thanks to Henry's urge to go, I actually saw it and didn't sleep through it.

19 February 2008

Affordable Art from Etsy

Etsy Art - Framed
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

I purchased both these prints off fellow etsians - the top print is from Shelagh Duffett of Alice in Paris and the bottom is from Lindsay Brackeen.

Last month, AC Moore had 60% off their custom framing, so I went to have a look. I had several pieces that I wanted framed, but wasn't thrilled by their frame selection, so I held back and only had these two pieces done. Overall, I'm pleased with the end product -- considering I paid less than $65 to have both pieces framed.

The white cat is hanging in my guest room now - opposite the bed. If you can't tell from the photograph, that's a dark purple mat surrounding the image. It fits in perfectly with the room decor and perfectly in the spot above the bookcase between the windows.

The girl with the lion print is currently hanging in my bedroom, but I'm not 100% certain that will be its final hanging place. I might move it downstairs into the family room or into my studio. Decisions, decision. For now, it's in the bedroom and it makes me smile when I see it.

I've got one more print from Shelagh and three more from Lindsay that need to be framed one of these days. I might give Michael's a whirl next time they have 50% off their custom framing - just for a wider variety of frame choices.

18 February 2008

Suki Smiles

Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

Suki's spending the afternoon at the V-E-T today.

Since we adopted her in April, she's had ear problems requiring a visit to the V-E-T at least every 2-3 months for a cleaning. The first cleaning was fine, she actually flirted with Dr Bonanno when he was cleaning her ears. However, when I tried to administer the ointment at home, she turned into devil dog. I didn't even have to be near her, she just saw the tube of ointment and in a flash she turned into Satan's spawn. I stupidly continued my quest to squirt that ointment into her ears and was rewarded with a nice slice on my pointer finger.

Second visit to the vet was less pleasant -- she knew what was going to happen and decided no more flirting. This time she was going to let Dr Bonanno know what she thought of this cleaning stuff. She nipped him, so we resorted to muzzling her. Knowing that I would have a hard time administering the follow up treatment, I took her to the Hungry Puppy and attempted to purchase a muzzle for use at home. Oh no - none of that for Suki girl. While we attempted to get a muzzle on her, she turned into devil dog again. Amazing - 20 pounds and she's more dangerous than Henry - 40 lbs and a full set of teeth. (Suki has only 3 teeth for those who don't know.)

Cleaning #3 was last month and she was muzzled for it. Dr Delmonico saw her that time and suggested at the next cleaning that we sedate her so they could really get in to have a look at what was in the ear canal as the muzzle didn't allow total access.

So that's where she is today. The V-E-T is going to flush her ears and see if he can determine what is causing these chronic infections. I thought it was mites at first, but it's not. Maybe today we'll have an answer -- and possibly the beginning of the end. While they had her sedated I asked them to clip her nails and clip out a few mats she had behind her ear and by her tail. Even though it's a relief for her, she won't let me do it.

Once this is over, I'll make an appointment for her to go to the groomer again -- it's been a while, but the last time she went, she worked herself into such a frenzy the groomer was afraid she would have a heart attack. I can bathe her with no problems, but to trim her is impossible. (Any wonder I tip the gal who can handle her very well?)

It's 4:30 now... Wondering if I should give a call to the V-E-T to check up on her.

Memory Monday #1

Compliments of Kecia, this is my first Memory Monday post - her given topic was a memorable hairstyle from childhood.

There's two styles that I distinctly remember. No, three, now that I think about it. I don't have photos available at the moment (will have to see what my mom can dig up and bring on her visit next month).

First style - the Carol Brady. You remember the shag cut with the long, flippy ends? (If not, here's a reminder.) Kindergarten and first grade were definitely this hair cut -- maybe second grade, too, but I can't be certain.

Fast forward to 1976. I'm in fourth grade. The (American) bicentennial, Olympics, Dorothy Hamill. Yes, Dorothy Hamill. Along with a bajillion other girls (and women) in America, I had the (in)famous Dorothy Hamill wedge cut. I had that for several years until the last memorable haircut...

The Afro. Okay, maybe not an afro in the truest sense of the word, but in seventh grade, my mom decided I was either going to have my lion thick locks 'thinned' (which scared the shit out of me) or permed. The latter happened and my seventh grade school photo is me hidden under a white-girl afro. Although it was easy to care for, it didn't last long as 8th/9th grade pictures show.

Until I was 21 or so, I had a bunch of unmemorable and high maintenance haircuts. I permed, I bleached, I colored -- until one day I walked into a salon with my blonde, shoulder length, permed hair and told them to chop it off. I walked out of the salon that day with a sleek, chin length bob cut -- a style I've worn some variation of for the past 20 years.

Last time I walked into the salon I went for a variation of the pob -- as popularized by Victoria (Posh Spice) Beckham. It's served my stick straight, doesn't want to hold a curl, thick tresses quite well.

14 February 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

Henry and Daisy
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

Henry with Daisy, our neighbors' dog.

Daisy's a sweet dog - one of the first neighbors we met when we moved in. She's taken a liking to Henry - any time she sees him outside, she has a distinct howl. If he's off leash, he'll run right over to see her in her yard. I took a few photos of the two of them together this afternoon.

Meanwhile, back in our yard, Suki expressed her displeasure that Henry dumped her for an 'older woman'.

12 February 2008

Henry Makes his Mark

Henry's Footprints
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

Just a fun shot that I snapped tonight when I let Henry out back to do his business. He usually drags his back paws, so I was quite surprised at how crisp his footprints were.

There's just a dusting on the ground tonight, but it's the first snow we've had all winter. It made me happy. Tomorrow calls for rain and warmer temps, so I suppose this white goodness will be gone as quick as it came.

The Cupboard Under the Stairs

Many of my friends have been hit by the decluttering bug; me, too - to a lesser degree. Since we went to Florida to clean out Mark's dad's place, I have been thinking about how much crap I have in this house.

When we moved out of our studio apartment in Brooklyn, I was amazed at how much stuff I had tucked away. Trust me, in that place, every possible nook and cranny was used as storage space. The books and cross-stitch stuff didn't seem to take up much room, but it was everywhere. I don't want to think what's in this place -- considering it's significantly larger than the place in Brooklyn.

We've been in this house for just over six years now and my Harry Potter cupboard (under the stairs - get it?) hasn't been cleaned out since we moved in. It's full of foodstuffs as well as the Hoover and assorted small appliances (Crock Pot, the George, bread maker, etc.) Last night, in a burst of energy, I decided to tidy it up.

Three (39 gallon) Hefty bags later, my HP cupboard was a pale imitation of its former self.

Away went the breadmaker - which hasn't been used in years because it was broken - and the boxes of out-of-date bread mixes.

Buh-bye to the cake mixes and open boxes of rice which had been sitting in that space since who-knows-when. (The expiration dates on some of these things were quite scary - 2004? 2003!)

Farewell to jars and cans of stuff that had me scratching my head as to why I ever bought them in the first place. (Orange marmalade? I've never liked the stuff.)

I then reorganized what was left over: soups/stews, etc all on one shelf; rice/pasta in the same area; dog food on the side where it's easily reachable when one needs to give the pups a can. The floor of the the HP cupboard is visible again - no more boxes and bags stacked atop one another. I can actually move around in there without tripping over anything.

Next stop: the laundry room.

We've got shelves over our washer/dryer that have stuff piled on them which haven't been touched since it was put there. I'm afaid to see what's all the way on the top next to the set of flannel sheets which I haven't opened yet. I'm sure there's some stuff that can be tossed and other stuff that can be better organized.

In hindsight, I probably should have taken some before/after pics.

11 February 2008

We Interrupt this Cat Nap...

The Three Amigos - Feb 2008
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

Snapped this shot of my three kitties and thought I'd post it.

Besides Henry and Suki (collectively known as The Dogs), there are three cats who share the house with me. Or do I share the house with them? I'm never sure who's the boss - they think they are, but since I maintain the food/water dish levels, then I like to think I have *some* power over them.

It's not very often you find the three of them in such close proximity. Usually Lily is far away from the other two -- in this shot she's atop my pillow which I suppose is far enough away. Stan's the bully of the group, but Lily has her moments. Poor Sadie - she's always the one getting picked on by the other two.

08 February 2008

Read This

Earlier this week, I finished reading Daoud Hari's memoir, The Translator. This was the review copy I picked up as part of Library Thing's Early Reviewer's program as mentioned in a previous post last month.

One wouldn't think that a book centering around the genocide in Darfur could be enjoyable - yet this book is. Hari tells his story like he's sitting in the same room with you, having a casual conversation. The situations he finds himself (and his companions - reporters, NGO workers) made me sad, angry, and scared at various points throughout the book. He shares his sorrows, the horrors and even some humorous moments.

It's a quick read and an eye-opening look at one man's personal experience of life in Darfur. Although Darfur is in the news, I think too many of us turn a blind eye. Read this book, let Hari tell you his story, and tell me you aren't moved to speak out against the genocide.

Per the blurb about the author in the back of the book, Hari now resides in Asbury Park. I do hope that there's a local stop on the upcoming book tour. I'm quite interested in going to hear him speak.

I did offer this up as an international bookray on BookCrossing. If you'd like to join, just send me a message via BXing and I'll be glad to add you to the list.

06 February 2008

Featured in a Treasury

Treasury 27245
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

OMG! I was surfing through the treasury on etsy tonight and all of a sudden - there's a gold star.

I couldn't believe it when I saw my earrings were included in this awesome treasury of stuff by my fellow EtsyNJ street team members. What great bunch of green stuff featured there - hope it generates some green for my fellow team members.

Now I've got BonJovi songs running through my head.

05 February 2008

Just Listed

Vintage Plastic
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

These amber colored beads are lightweight vintage plastic from the 1960s/1970s era. They've been sitting in my stash for quite some time and only last night did I get inspired to use them. I liked them when I bought them, but they didn't move me until I got out the copper and started playing around over the weekend.

I've listed them in my etsy shop today - along with several other earring offerings. My shop is slowly turning over into an earring mecca, with lucite, lampwork and polymer clay beads being the bulk of my stock.

I'm finding earrings are my best sellers and I can offer a variety of price points depending on the materials used. While there may be the odd necklace and bracelet offered, for the time being I'm going to focus on earrings.

Super Tuesday: Get Out and VOTE!

Today, registered voters in New Jersey and 20+ other states will cast their votes in their respective Presidential primaries.

I don't care who you vote for, but get out there and exercise your privilege to make your voice be heard. Your vote does matter.

04 February 2008

Another Sale

Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

Another etsy sale tonight - to one of my favourite customers. (Thanks, K!)

This is the first one that makes me sad as I really loved the bracelet the moment I made it. Fell in love with the beads when I saw them, then when I found the perfect clasp, it all came together so easily.

Still, the fact that someone loved it enough to purchase it is even more satisfying. I'll never get over that "wow!" factor that someone loves something I've created enough to buy it. More stuff listed this evening in my etsy shop.

Inspiration, Move Me Brightly

Over the weekend I joined up with other etsians on the Create A Day blog. The premise of the blog is to be inspired by (and serve as inspiration to) fellow crafters who aim to create one new item every day.

There's a wealth of different crafts represented over there. I've been a reader for a few weeks, but only joined at the beginning of February since my January was just a little hectic. I hope you'll check it out - there's some amazing work shared amongst everyone.

03 February 2008

More Fun with Copper

Red/Cream Lucite
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

This and the emerald green lucite drops below are also available in my etsy shop.

If it's not obvious by now, I'm having a lot of fun playing with the copper wire. Maybe by tomorrow I'll be adventurous enough to start using sterling wire.

02 February 2008

Olive Moonglow Earrings

Olive Moonglow earrings
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

Another set of earrings with my handcrafted copper earwires.
These definitely will be going in my etsy shop.

Alternative Metals

Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

Today, when I saw the price of sterling silver was over $17/ounce, I opted to pull out some wire and try my hand at making my own earwires.

My first attempts were with the less costly copper wire which I had laying around - better to 'test' on copper than sterling. While I made some traditional 'round' earwires, I also made a set like this and hammered them. Pulled out some lucite beads and voila! (Or as one friends says, viola!) Earrings!

I actually am quite fond of these earrings and am debating whether to keep them or list them on etsy. Mark thinks they're "too big" but then he doesn't wear earrings, so his opinion shouldn't matter.

I'm gonna play around with the copper a little more tonight and tomorrow before I venture into using sterling silver. I've got a couple more ideas. My creative mojo isn't back in full force yet, but I think it's getting there.


Oh - I'm back to using the 'old' camera for the time being. The new Canon A570 IS needs to go in for service. I'm hoping to send that out on Monday. I can't switch it from "AUTO" and back without the AUTO setting becoming the movie mode. Very annoying. It started on the cruise and while I thought it had resolved itself, it proved me wrong. Ugh. So all the learning I was doing with it will have to be put on hold for the time being.

01 February 2008

Super Tuesday - is it over yet?

I'm ready for it to be over and done with. The commercials have started in earnest here as of a couple days ago. Wondering if others in Super Tuesday states are being bombarded as well.

I got a phone call from a certain candidate's office last night after dinner asking if I was voting and if I was voting for that candidate. When I said the name of another, my husband flipped out. He's gone over to the dark side as I call it. I'm really surprised by that as his whole life he's been committed to a particular political party and wouldn't dream of crossing over.

He said he was angry at me for not standing with him. I told him that it was none of his business who I voted for. He had the right to his opinions/beliefs and I had the right to mine and nothing in our wedding vows said they had to be 100% in agreement. *big sigh* (This is the first time we've disagreed on candidates/issues since we've been married.)

The next few days should be interesting...