Thursday, June 30, 2011

Christmas in July... ugh

Okay so when I first heard the term “Christmas in July” I thought that it was BS and another way to shove Christmas further up the year’s butt, to put it bluntly. I mean, is the goings on of the rest of the year not important enough that everything has to be “Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!” really?  Is this for people who have no other enjoyment in their lives other than the Holiday season?  And if businesses don’t want to get all bummy about poor sales in the holiday season, then stop trying to force people to buy stuff for Christmas so early in the year. Am I just a cold, evil person who wants to take the little bit of joy out of some people’s lives just because I‘m a premature curmudgeon? (I’m not really. If you like it, go ahead and get all cracked-out with it if that’s your bag, just don‘t expect me to squee about it.)

Well, now I’ve found a way that Christmas in July can benefit me (read: keep me sane) and it will only need one day, two at the most (depending on how elaborate I get with this project). Usually, once December rears it’s ugly head, I try to make handmade cards or get pre-made cards even, and expect to get them sent out before it’s too late only to not even get half of them done and then give up with a dejected look on my face. I figured that this year (and subsequent years if it works out) I can take a couple days out of July to make cards (or write really nice notes in pre-made cards… or something)  so that I can get them over with and not drive myself crazy in December. Don’t think my distaste for “Christmas in July” will result in some jankity thrown together cards. My crafty gene will kick in and recipients will be WOWed!

Now if you know you’re on the card list and you don’t get one this year, just know that this project somehow went horribly wrong and that’s all I’m gonna say about that…

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A poem I wrote today

(This was originally a note I added to my personal facebook page but I figured it would make a good blog post as well) So I was writing down some thoughts and stuff today and here's a little something that spewed forth from my noggin:


I feel like I've been thrown off course...
Led away by my willingness
to throw myself listlessly
into the nearest hole
and languidly wallow in the murky darkness
of idle time-wasting.

It calls to me like a siren and
I, the drunken sailor,
follow and fall,

I make it my bed,
wrap the darkness about me
like a blanket.
I rest my head on a fluffy pillow
of empty thoughts

This isn't the darkness of chaos
from which all things spring from
It's the thick black stillness
into which things are thrown to be

An oubliette
that calls my name;
the only thing it never forgets.

So this wasn't a poem when I started writing it, but by the time I finished it, it sounded like one to me. I've made the most minimal changes to what I wrote straight out of my head and into my morning pages. The only real difference is the poetic formatting I put it into here as opposed to it just looking like a paragraph on the page as I first wrote it. I thought about ending this on a happy note, but it just didn't feel right to do so.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Leo Carillo Beach

My husband and I visited Leo Carillo Beach a couple of weeks ago and I'm just getting around to sharing some of the pictures.

It's a really beautiful beach
The beach has gorgeous rock formations.

It was a beautiful day but very cold, which is why Rob is dressed that way

The cave. One of Rob's favorite things about the beach.
That and that there's camping nearby
If I could swim, I'd totally try that!

Before we went to the beach, Rob and I drove around the campsite to check out which sites looked pretty nice. We hope to camp there next year. Apparently, this year is all booked up. Hopefully we'll get a good spot when we go. It would be fun to get some friends to join us as well.

Despite the cold, it was a fun day at the beach. I wish we could go more often.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

On commission...

Can you believe what they are doing with watermelons these days?
There is a pair of watermelon hairsticks that I've had a hard time finishing because I'm not quite feeling the color  combination and I'm itching to start new color combos that I've been wanting to try, also, I couldn't find my thread. Despite those feelings, I will still complete them with care and make them of the same fine quality as all the others. The funny thing is, I'm sitting here thinking that they might turn out to be the first hairsticks that I sell. There's this person out there who will love them and right now, and from the time I started them, they have been thinking, "I would LOVE some watermelon colored hairsticks and YOU, April Bell, you will make them for me! I don't know you but the universe has put you in charge of making my hairsticks! Do it now!" I really feel like that, or something similar must be the case. Why else would I keep working on them when I'm really not that into them and ensuring that they are made just as well as all the others? (I have a policy of not making things that I wouldn't wear myself)

I've decided that I will take this attitude with everything I make from now on; that there is someone out there who will LOVE what I am making and the universe has put me in charge of making it for that person. From now on, I'm not just making jewelry because it is a sublime joy for me to make it, though that is a great reason in itself, but now I will also work as if I am being commissioned by the universe. Sounds a bit grandiose? Well, it's the universe so of course it's grandiose.

I now see my course laid before me and I am confident that I can do what I need to do. The way I see it is, the universe likes to get its way and that being said, why would it contract someone who couldn't get the job done? I just need to stop fighting it and get out of my own way.

Friday, April 1, 2011

keeping it low key...

So today is April 1st, the beginning of my namesake/birthday month and I usually go on pseudo-narcissistic rant about how it’s “the month of me!” and that I have free reign to make it all about me for an entire month; how I get to celebrate the entire month instead of just the day of my birthday. A month long celebration of me! …blah, blah, blah. I’m just not feeling it this year. Maybe it’s because I’m resigned to the fact that I’m the only one celebrating, or maybe it’s because it’s been quite a long time since I’ve been able to keep up the excitement past a few days. Either way, this year is going to be low key.

            On another note… since I’ve decided to do the whole Pantone Spring color challenge that I put on myself, I looked at the most recent earrings and realized that without trying, I used one of the colors. It looks to match Blue Curacao to me. I’ve been made hyperaware of this season’s colors after following a link that a friend sent me for a video hosting site. It had nothing to do with fashion or anything but in the middle of the screen there were these squares that were many of this season’s colors(not all of them though, each square was for a different category or something of stuff on the site and I guess they didn’t have enough categories to need each color). The squares were even rounded like when you go see them on the Pantone site. So after that, I’ve been paying attention to how and where I see the colors. I had no idea that these color forecasts were so important but I guess they must be because they’re popping up all over the place. 

            So now that Spring Break is here, maybe I’ll get a chance to work on some more colors …if I catch up to all of my homework. *Fingers crossed!*

Saturday, March 26, 2011


So  today I was having one of those do-nothing days… not because I wanted to though and not for lack of trying to get things done, but as they say, my get-up-and-go got up and went; leaving me behind, twiddling my thumbs. In fact, if you asked me what I did today, I would have absolutely no idea.

Tonight, on the other hand, was a completely different story! A night or so before, I found a tutorial for doing tubular netting. I had done netting before but didn’t quite see the potential in my designs at the time. I hadn’t even come across the tubular kind. After I saw the video, I had a vision of changing the netting to make earrings. So this morning, I put “earrings” among all the other things on my to-do list.

While nothing at all got done during the day, I decided I wouldn’t let the whole 24 hours go completely to waste. So I sat through two movies, Pretty Woman, which was on TV, and Kinky Boots (great movie! Look it up!) and brought my vision to life! (Does that phrase make me sound like a mad scientist?)
After I finished them, Rob (husband) was just starting to put on The Seven Samurai. He looked at the earrings and liked them so much that he gave me a fist bump. I guess that was his seal of approval. He says I should be really proud of them. I am. …and I’m really in love with these earrings. 

Here are my pretties!
A more close up view

I wanted to call them "Snozberries". Don't ask why. It just came up in my head while I was making them. I thought they had a berry feel to them, but I didn't know of any berries that are this color. Rob says he didn't think that would be a good idea. LOL

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Spring 2011 Challenge

This is just a quick note. I was tooling around on The Hive, a new website that was recommended to me recently (that I plan to recommend to my other crafty friends) and I the new Pantone Spring colors were brought to my attention. I read about them a little while back but I put them in the back of my mental filing cabinet. So this time when I saw them, I remembered that I had noticed that many of the colors there were colors that I already had.  Here's a link if you haven't seen them yet: Pantone Spring 2011

So today I've decided to commit to what was only a fleeting notion the last time I saw the colors. I am going to attempt to create jewelry using all of the colors before spring is over definitely, but as soon as possible. I'd love to say that I would do it before spring actually started, but with school I don't have that kind of time, considering the type of work I want to do with those colors. Successful or not, this summer I'd like to do the same for fall colors. Here's a link of the fall colors in case any one wants to get a head start on that: Pantone Fall 2011 Color Snapshot

This is the first time I will be doing anything using a Pantone color forecast. Until now, I either ignored them or was puzzled by them wondering how the heck they can decide on color trends so far in advance. Now, I don't really care; I just think it would be a really fun challenge for myself. And right now I have all these ideas roiling around in my head so I am gonna go and write them down somewhere. In the meantime, I'd love to know if anyone else is up for the challenge.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

what's going on

Well, school has swallowed my life again but I have worked on a few things in the scant moments of free time that I can wring out of a random day. Once I finally got into the Credential Program at school, I made a celebration bracelet for myself. It took quite a while and is quasi-unfinished because I'm not happy with the closure (which I will never show lol)

It's called a "flat Cellini Spiral" but basically it's just flat peyote with varying sizes of beads (just like the Cellini spiral is just tubular peyote with varying sizes of beads) There is another bracelet that I've made two of that I would love to make more but they take a lot of time to work on. The time it takes is worth it because what comes of it is beautiful but I don't have that kind of time now which is why I don't have pictures of them to show (I know, broken record...)

I've also made some things which are kinda fast to make up, well, if you compare it to the celebration bracelet and the Cellini spiral I worked on during winter vacation. They are sort of a retooling of someting else I've made before that I had a stroke of genius idea of a different way to use them. Unfortunately, there will be no pictures of them until I am able to give a couple as a surprise to someone. Maybe...  Anyway, they are a great thing to work on when I have a spare hour or so and want to make something super cute. 

Speaking of spare time, I don't have any more of it so I'm gonna get back to my homework.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The real reason as to why I've been reluctant to put my stuff on Etsy.

So yeah, I have wanted to be able to post the best pictures possible for whatever I put on Etsy. I've also mentioned not being sure about how I should price stuff. These are small problems frankly and not what scares me the most. I've now discovered and decided to spell out what's been holding me back. Every time I feel gung-ho and think, "This time I'm gonna do it! I'm ready! Look out world, I'm coming atcha!" I then read stuff on needing a seller's permit, collecting sales tax, keeping records, etc. and I want to curl up into a ball and hide under the nearest rock. It's all really daunting. It really is. …or is it just me?

I have so many questions such as: I have to keep receipts and keep records of all the supplies and stuff I buy for the "business" but what about all the supplies I have from when I began as a hobby. I mean really, I think that when someone starts to sell their crafts, it's not usually that they start out saying, "You know what? I don't have any supplies right now nor have I ever done it before, but I'm going to go buy all this stuff to make [insert craft here] and start a business selling it." So magically they'll have all their receipts all nice and neat and be able to keep track of everything.

I think most of the time, people get interested in making something, they do so for themselves and if they think they are good enough, for family and friends. Eventually, with proper feedback, they think, "maybe I can make a bit of money selling these…" or they frequently hear from others, "hey, you oughta sell these!" Sometimes, in the case of jewelry, someone will want to buy something right off of your body (it hasn't happened to me but I've heard about it happening on many occasions). They then bring their wares into the office, maybe have a home show, go beyond just friends and sell to friends of friends. Their stuff is popular and so they decide that maybe they can make a business out of it and eventually make a living out of it, one hopes, fingers crossed, wishing on a star…

This is how I imagine it happens a great majority of the time. So then it evolves from a hobby into a business. This is where it gets sticky. All of a sudden you are obliged to keep pristine records of everything you buy, everything you sell, all before you know if you're even going to be successful or not. You think, "what if I only sell 2 things in a year, and those things only cost 5 bucks?" …or whatever measly amount. There are also other things to consider such as what do you do with the profits? You don't put it ALL back into the business do you? You have to pay yourself. How do you pay yourself? What percentage of the profits. If you bought all this stuff while it was still a hobby, how do you report it? If you don't have record of the cost of all the stuff you bought, how do you even know if you are making a profit? Another big question on my mind personally is that I am a full time student who gets financial aid. What effect will that be on my getting financial aid? And aside from the already daunting task of filing taxes for the business what effect will it have on filing personal taxes? I feel like I have to hire a freaking CPA just to make sure I'm doing everything correctly, because I'm sure there's going to be some rule that I missed while reading tomes of regulations for all this stuff that's going to result in my being in seriously hot water.

I was feeling confident earlier today and then tonight I read an article on Etsy entitled, "Everything you need to know about sales tax". Um, no it's not. How can it be when every state and county has different rules and regulations? You can't possibly have all the answers in one short article. But it was all the comments that I read that really got my brain throbbing and freaked out. Aside from the glib "thanks for the info" responses, there were comments from many confused people. Seeing so many confused people struck a hard blow to my confidence as I realized that I was having the same questions and not seeing any real answers. That article led me to look up other articles and sources of information which just led to more questions. For now though I'm going to put the topic to bed for the night in hopes that my brain can stop hurting and I can get some sleep.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Using the new crimping tool.

So I finally got the chance to use my new "toy" yesterday... the 1-Step Crimper. I had a bit of trial and error but I found out that it works great as long as you have the right size crimp beads for the beading wire you are using. Once I had the hang of it, things went along speedily and the only dilemma I had after that was choosing which beads to use to finish off my braided bracelets.
This isn't one that I recently worked on but I realized that I hadn't posted any of my braided bracelets on my blog yet so here ya go. If the weather continues to be fairly well, I'll get one or two pictures of the new ones up. Most of the pictures will go in my Facebook album. Anyway I posted this to show the part that I worked on on the new ones. I had the braided seed bead parts all done and what I worked on are the end beads and the clasps. Hopefully tomorrow I will work on more of my triple moon bracelets.