Friday, November 30, 2007

I've Been At It Again

I have my first jewelry show / party scheduled for next Saturday, December 8th.

I'm a little nervous. OK, that's an understatement. I'm a LOT nervous. The party is being hosted by my two lovely and gracious sisters-in-law, who know pretty much everyone in their smallish hometown outside Houston. So far the Evite doesn't look like the entire town is coming, but I still want to have enough jewelry made that everyone can leave with stuff.

So I've been beading like mad, and working on my torch like mad. Oh, and not posting much. Which may make a difference to you if you're one of my two faithful readers. Otherwise, not so much.

Here are the bead sets I've finished or almost finished. A couple of caveats: there is white stuff in all the beads. It's called bead release, and it keeps the glass from sticking to the metal rod (or mandrel) that the bead is made on. I clean it out after the beads are annealed (put through the kiln to strengthen the glass). Since these beads are new, and since I don't own a kiln, they haven't been annealed yet.

Also, when I photograph beads, I often use ticky-tack to make them stay put where I want them. You can see it in some of the pictures. Oops! If you see a yellow blob at the bottom of a bead, it's not glass, it's ticky-tack.

The first picture is of a black and white set I'm playing with. I haven't decided if the two beads in the back "go with" the one in the front. What do you think?

The next pic is two cute caterpillars (or callapidders). Guess who requested that? I like to have two good ones to put in the kiln. I thought I had a good one the first time, and then one of his antennae fell off. Tragedy! So I may make one more before the grand annealing run next week.

Next is Christmas trees. If the friends of one of hubby's sisters are anything like her, these will all sell. (One will probably go to sis herself.)

These beads may look familiar; I've posted a pic of similar beads before. But the more of these I make, the more I find that people want them. I make a few of them every time I sit down at the torch. I finally figured I should probably (DUH) make earrings to go with them, thus the smaller ones in the back. My sister and one of my best friends have already stated their Christmas wishes for these...

Likewise, you may have seen these white-on-clear beads before. I've posted pics of these either like this or after they've been through an acid etch -- they look frosted rather than clear when they've been etched. I will etch all the ones in this pic after they're annealed. As in the pic above, all the small ones will be earrings (four pairs in all in this pic).

I posted the pic of this black swirl bead before, but these are the actual beads it will go with. I didn't like what I had it paired with before. I will make others to go with it as well; this isn't a finished set just yet.

And ah yes, another crowd favorite -- the clear jewel toned shaped beads. Again, I make a few of these every time I sit down. It's fun to figure out a different shape for each one, and since I don't have molds or presses, shaping the glass is an interesting challenge.

Last but not least, my old nemesis: the guitar bead. Apparently people liked the pics I posted before, but I was not satisfied with those beads. At long last, tonight I made one I was happy with! I took my time and made each detail right. There are even markings for the fretboard.

There's also a huge crack down the front. Tragedy, part 2! Back to the drawing board.

Yes, there's plenty of new beaded jewelry as well... you can find all of it here. And there will be more to come in the next few days; I will put it up on the site as I finish it and get it photographed.

Thanks for indulging my overgrown kindergarten show and tell once again. =)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I tried to be good!

I went to lunch yesterday with my hubby and a couple of my former co-workers. We went to a local restaurant, and I had the salmon with rice, steamed broccoli, and... ok, I'll admit it, mashed potatoes. I lovelovelove mashed potatoes. Nothing like a good mashed potato, I always say. And while everything was yummy, the mashed potatoes were divine. Mmmmmm.

Anyway, I was mostly being good, and I had a lovely lunch with all the guys. Trey had bought a new vehicle -- much needed since he had been driving a 12-year-old truck -- so we talked about his new FJ, fun times at the ol' sweatshop, all that stuff.

And then (I won't go into details) I spent most of the afternoon and evening visiting Sir Porcelain. Everything tasted fine, so I don't know what the deal was. I don't think anyone else felt horrible, although we all ate different things. I've heard food poisoning takes four hours or so to set in, and this was faster than that, so maybe it was something else. I have no idea. Everything else I'd eaten in the last 24 hours was stuff I've eaten at home with no problem -- a PBJ the night before, cereal that morning, etc.

Regardless of the cause, I bet that's the last time I eat fish for a long time.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Whole Lotta Nothing

That's what's been going on this weekend.

Yeah, we ate some food with friends. A lot of food with a lot of friends, in fact. It was good. They gave us some leftovers to take home. Those were yummy too.

Then we watched the aforementioned football game on Friday, plus a few others. Lots of good football on this weekend (unless you were from LSU).

And I played a lot of World of Warcraft (WoW). My guildmates and I went back and did a lot of "old school" stuff that we haven't done in months, just to blow stuff up that's way below our level and have a good time, instead of doing stuff that's really challenging, which is what we're usually doing. So we did Zul'Gurub, a 60-level raid, with an almost full group of mostly level 70 players, on Saturday, and today we did UBRS, another (much easier) 60-level raid with mostly 70s. Lots of laughter was had and friendships were built. We have several new people in the guild, so it's good to bond with them.

Everything in WoW costs gold -- money -- it's just like a "real" economy. The thing that costs the most money is called an epic flying mount. It's the very fastest way to get from place to place in the very large world. Lots of my guildmates have had their epic flying mounts for months. They're ridiculously fast. The usual way to travel long distances is to fly on the griff -- the hippogriff -- but these are just as fast, so you never have to pay for a griff flight again once you have your epic flying mount.

So we did a bunch of quests this weekend, my husband and I. He has three level 70 characters, one of which has its epic flying mount, and he's been on a mission for a while now to get up enough gold to get me mine. After all our questing and goofing off this weekend, we finally made it. And now I have my very own epic flying mount. If you care, you can see a picture of it here. If you know me, you won't be surprised to find I chose the purple one.

Now that I have nothing to spend my gold on, I guess I'll just go string some beads. =)

Friday, November 23, 2007


Man, what a great day... I launch my web site AND we beat t.u. 38-30 in a nail-biter of a game.

Not as much of a nail-biter as the LSU-Arkansas game -- wow, what a game! -- but still.

Two more things to be thankful for.


The Web Site Has Launched!

Just in time for the busiest shopping day of the year!

Although it would have helped if I'd checked my email before I went to bed and posted then. :-P Silly Lisa.

Anyway, please forgive my shameless self-promotion, but my new jewelry web site has launched. I've been working on it for a month or two with my amazing webmaster, and I think she's done a great job. Thanks, Rose!

I have a few new things I need to put up -- I haven't had time to photograph them yet -- but the store is open and ready for business. If you ever have questions, you can always email me at lisalisalisa(at)gmail[dot]com.

And now back to your regularly scheduled blog-surfing.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

OK, I Can't Stand It Anymore...

I've been very good... haven't talked about beads or jewelry or lampworking... but I got a bunch of beads back from being annealed (heated in the kiln to make them stronger) today, and I'm pretty excited about them. So I'm going to share with y'all. If this bores you, you can skip today. =)

I'll start with the ones that I've either sold or that are in process to be sold.

This cute little froggy dude is the culmination of probably a month's worth of work. A frog bead takes about an hour to make. Cindy asked for a frog necklace as a gift, and I had a book with instructions on making a frog bead, so I went to work. I think this is my 5th frog. I love him almost too much to sell.

It's a "feature" (or an annoyance) of this green glass that it occasionally makes lines as you work with it. In this case, it was a happy accident that this little guy ended up with a line right where his mouth should be. I could never replicate that in a thousand years.

The other beads are similar to the bead the frog is sitting on and will go on the same necklace.

These are frogs 3 and 4 (note their lack of mouths... you miss them now, don't you?). People have told me how cute they are, but naturally I can only see their flaws. #3 (on the right) is off-balance -- I made his front feet to the left with regard to his back feet, so he's twisted, and his right front leg is really long. And his right front foot is just all wrong. #4 on the left is better, but he has a hunched right shoulder.

I'd show you #1 and #2, but they unfortunately broke. =( I haven't yet glued them back together. I am the master (mistress?) of SuperGlue, but it bonds glass THISFAST, and I really don't want to ruin one of my little froggies. Both of them separated from their beads.

OK, on to not-frogs! I have a friend who is mastering my web site, and she does many others as well. She requested joolz for a musician friend of hers who shall remain nameless. I'm not at all happy with these... they are three of the first four attempts (one broke). You can see the crack in the pink one; it may break. So these are a work in progress. We'll call them the alpha versions; I'm not sure they're even beta level yet. They're certainly not ready for prime time.

This is another set for the same nameless musician. She wears a lot of black and white, so this is my first attempt at something around that. The flat bead in the center is a pendant. The bead on the upper right was my first idea for beads to go with it, but I wasn't happy with how it turned out, so I went with the other idea (top left and bottom right). This set isn't complete yet; it's a work in progress.

Next we're onto sets that aren't spoken for yet. This large bead is one that I made a long time ago and decided to make beads to go with it. Probaly one pair of the small beads will be earrings and the other pair will go into the necklace.

These beads have been a huge hit with everyone who has seen them. They are pale pink glass with hot pink decoration -- a real girly girl bead. I envision these in a bracelet with Swarovski crystals, but I'll be making a bunch more, so there may be necklace, earrings, etc.; who knows?

This last set was a lot of fun. The owner of the shop where I buy all my glass showed me the chemical reaction between ivory and turquoise glass -- it makes an outline anyplace the two colors meet. The five large beads will go into the necklace, and the two small beads will be earrings. I love these a ton. I may price them a little higher in hopes I get to keep them. Is that wrong? :-\

That's all I have right now, although I'm also working on another necklace (or maybe two)similar to BooMama's... one ordered by someone who got the idea from the same place, and I may just make an extra for the jewelry party since apparently everyone in the world just loves that necklace.

Thoughts? Which ones do you love / hate? I thrive on feedback, so please tell me. =)

Today, a New Person!

So, I've been stuck for blog topics.

Here's the thing: my all-consuming activities right now are A) getting my web site online, which I keep thinking will be any day now; and B) making jewelry for Christmas and for a jewelry party I'm doing with and for my hubby's two sisters in Houston on December 8th, plus stuff that people have ordered.

And since I don't want my blog to be about nothing but jewelry, I have nothing to talk about.

But today, this very morning, there will be a new person in the world, so I thought y'all should know about that.

Our neighbors across the street, who are really the best neighbors anyone could ever ask for, have lived there longer than we have (we've been in this house for ten years). When we moved in, "Junior" was probably 16 or 17 years old, the youngest of four brothers. Now he's about to be a daddy! Shannon's labor will be induced this morning at 7:30, and our dear neighbors will be grandparents for the fifth time. Little Junior moves up a rung on the generational ladder. *sniff* Makes me all misty. Except I'm really not a crier. Hee hee.

And no, they are not naming this new baby boy Trey, or Al the Third. Grandma-to-be told me his name, and I promptly forgot -- bad Lisa!

An update: for everyone who's been concerned about Son the Elder, he's doing well. He's not in much pain from the shingles -- says it feels a little like a sunburn -- and the sores are starting to fade on his front and scab over and heal on his back, so hopefully we're on the downhill side of the shingles.

If you're traveling this week, please do so safely. Be thankful -- always, not just this week. And shop wisely if you must do so.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Do Illnesses Come in Pairs?

I was just in the doctor's office with Son the Younger, who had bronchitis. Today, I got to go back to the doc with Son the Elder.

Now, understand how amusing it is to go to the doctor with this child. "Finding Nemo" is playing in the waiting room. The oldest patient other than Bradley is about four. Bradley, on the other hand, towers over me (not difficult, since I'm 5'2"). They call his name, and he answers in an adult male voice. The nurse looks up at him when he walks back. She has to weigh him, and he weighs more than she does (he's slim, but she's tiny).

Not to mention his diagnosis: they don't get many cases of shingles in a pediatrician's office.

And D'OH! -- bad mom! -- I just remembered I forgot to drop off his antiviral prescription. All hail the blog for memory jogging!

Turns out they don't quarantine you for such things anymore, since there's now a vaccine for it, and since all the sores are covered by his clothing. Who knew?

And now, if you'll excuse me, I must be off to the 24-hour Walgreen's...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Links for today

Watch this first one... it might be addictive for some of you. You donate 10 grains of rice through the UN to help end world hunger for every word you guess the correct meaning for.

I assume you addictive personalities know who you are. >>

The next one is about how happy your city is. It may come as no surprise that cities in which more people are married, go to church, and are employed have higher happiness rates. Cities with more days of sunshine also rank higher (I'm prone to seasonal affective disorder m'self). My city -- Austin -- came out reasonably well on most measures... how's yours?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My Small Group is Awesome... well, they both are, really...

I have two small groups actually. I guess some churches call them Bible study groups. My sister's church calls them home teams. My church calls them small groups. I have two. One of them I've had for years and is comprised of three women (besides me) that I love with all my heart. We are all different, but we are all the same. We know each other, and we love each other.
My other small group has been meeting for a few months now and has the interesting title "Creative Not-So Small Group." It meets every other week and consists of all the artistic types in our church -- the video editors, the visual artists, the writers, the production volunteers, the photographers, etc. I used to lead a creative writing group, but that dwindled to nothing after a few months. There appears to be some debate as to whether to jump-start it... but I digress.

My small group. They met at my house last night, which is why there has been no blogging. There has only been cleaning. You see, I live with a husband, a 17 year old male, a 14 year old male, a male roommate, and a male dog. Although my husband is brilliant -- brilliant, I tell you! -- at laundry, dishes, and other general keeping-the-house-running type chores, dirt is generally invisible to him. The roommate and the teenagers are worse. And the dog, of course, just sheds mounds of black hair everywhere. So I spent two solid days reversing entropy, and one day nursing a horrific migraine. But I digress again. Going with my strengths.

My small group met here last night... there were munchies, there was social interaction, there was a fascinating lesson about finding God in the art of artists who don't consider themselves Christian. I don't know where Alex gets his lesson ideas, but I love them! This one was particularly great. One of the artists we talked about is on the web; I'd love to be able to post the link.

Theoretically the reason we met at my house was to show my torch to the group, so at the end of the night, an hour past our usual end time, we all trooped out to the garage, and I fired up the torch. I gave a little monologue as I made a single bead. I forget how interesting molten glass is since I work with it all the time; I almost laughed out loud at all the "oohs" and "aahs" when I wrapped the glass around itself using the flat graphite marver. I wish we'd had time to let some people have a try -- since they're all creative types, I'm sure a few people would have liked to -- but it was almost 10pm by then.

They were SO disappointed to hear that they'd have to wait a half hour to see the bead come off the mandrel (the metal rod where it's made in the fire). I actually didn't take it off until just now.

Here it is on the mandrel:

And off the mandrel, all on its little own:

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Migraines are Bad, Mmmmmkay?

I'm not generally a big complainer, but I really like my migraine meds to work. If not the first time, then at least the second, since I have to wait three hours to take another dose.

When you have to wait for the third dose for pain relief to kick in, you pretty much lose the day. Bummer since my small group is meeting here tomorrow and I really wanted to get more cleaning done today. Makes for a busy day tomorrow, I suppose.

But at least it's gone now, for which I am quite grateful -- otherwise there would be no looking at a light source like a computer screen.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

How Did it Get to Be Thursday?

Seriously... and I haven't posted since Monday!

Bad blogger! No donut!

Son the Younger was griping at me about my lack of posting yesterday. "Mother!" he said, in his most disapproving voice (which, if you have a teenage son, you know is highly disapproving), "you haven't posted in two days!"

Oh, the horror. Can you imagine such a thing?

So what was I off doing in my TWO DAYS of not posting? (I know it's three now. I'll get to that.)

On Monday night, Son the Older called from San Antonio, where he and the Mighty Marching Band were planning on competing in the state competition. He informed me that he had forgotten his marching shoes. Whaaa? But oh, hey, he could borrow shoes from an alternate who wouldn't be marching. What size? Oh, size 15. Son's size is 10.5.

You gotta be kidding me. No way was I gonna throw the state marching competition -- in my son's senior year, no less -- because he tripped over his own feet because he didn't have his own shoes.

The alarm rang at 5:30, which is highly uncivilized in my night-owl world. I showered, dressed, fought traffic, and made it there around 9am. Bradley's band was due to march at 10. I had no trouble finding him and made the Grand Shoe Switch. Turns out he had switched shoes with a third person who had taken the alternate's size 15 shoes. Too much for me to keep up with. I stowed the spare shoes in my trunk and hurried into the Alamodome to watch them march. I did stop long enough to buy a pretzel and a Dr. Pepper, since I hadn't gotten breakfast in my early morning fog.

The band was brilliant in the preliminaries, earning second place of all the bands. I drove the two hours home and collapsed since the finals were hours away.

Unfortunately, the finals did not treat them as kindly, and for the second year, they came in fifth place in state. Apparently several people in the crowd told band members they were robbed. When Bradley looked at the judges' marks online the next day, he found that one judge (we'll call him or her the "East German judge") had marked their school far lower than all the other judges.

Ah well. Life in the school of hard knocks.

Here is a pic of the band, or a lot of them. They don't all fit in one picture. Can you see the tenors in the back? They used to be called quads, but there are five drums. I've put those drums on, and they're HEAVY (about 40lb). I admire those kids for being able to carry them. Two of the three tenors this year are girls. You go, kids!

And here is Bradley doing what he loves to do. He is on the right of the three tenors, although there's a bass drum behind him.

Ah, but I promised to tell you about Wednesday too, huh? Well, Wednesday I slacked. I played a lot of World of Warcraft. And no one wants to hear about how I went to Serpentshrine Cavern for the first time and died repeatedly at the hand of a giant fish, or changed from mooncloth tailoring to shadowcloth tailoring, or farmed for materials for my new tailoring specialization.

I did mail out the jewelry to the Fall Y'all giveaway winners yesterday (except for the pink earrings -- haven't heard back from her yet, curiously), plus organized some other jewelry stuff (web site, blah blah blah). And I looked for a job, as always. And then I played the rest of the day away.

And now it's Thursday, and I'm overdue for a post. Not that anyone's reading, really. More that I feel like I should. =)

Happy Thursday, y'all!

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Joy that is Illness

Son the Younger (age 14) can be surly, but he's rarely whiny. So when he complained for two days straight about his runny nose and cough, and followed it up by saying his chest hurt, I knew it was time for a doctor visit.

I was expecting a sinus infection maybe. As I said, he's not a whiner. And he may have been running a low-grade fever last night.

Doc (who is the sweetest, tiniest human you've ever seen) looked in his throat, nose and ears and listened to him breathe. She asked if his ears hurt (they didn't). Oh dear, I thought, an ear infection. Then she turned to me and informed me he has bronchitis. Not a bad case, she said, but still.

So we have Augmentin for the boy, and if he runs fever, he's out of school tomorrow too. We had to get a doctor's note because he's missed a couple of days and has a couple of inexplicable single-class absences which prompted the school to send us a threatening note about misdemeanors and absences and such. The joys of teenagerhood, I tell ya. Fortunately, Doc left the return date blank, so I can fill it in for whichever date I see fit.

Curiously enough, bronchitis does nothing to curb the teen boy appetite. He's decimating a bag of grapes as I type. Go figure.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

My First Meme -- musical memories and current tastes

So what are the rules on memes? Do you have to be tagged or can you make up your own?

I'm gonna be wacky and make up my own. I'm just that kind of a girl.

Like bensrib, I'm suffering from pre-menopause memory loss and can't remember whose blog tripped this for me so I can link them properly. I hereby apologize, but I'll identify you well enough so that you can gripe at me. How's that? =)

I was reading someone's blog recently who was talking about their earliest musical memories. She said she remembered hearing "Rhinestone Cowboy" and "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World," which are also two of the earliest songs I can remember. It got me thinking about the music I grew up with (country) and the music I listen to now (lots of stuff, almost no country).

So here are the questions I have for anyone who might care to be tagged -- and I'm not going to tag anyone specific because I don't want to annoy anyone. If you'd like to pick this up, feel free. If it doesn't inspire you, ignore it.

1. What are your earliest musical memories? What songs do you remember? What was your first favorite song? What kind of music did you grow up listening to?

2. How have your tastes evolved? What kind of music do you love now? Do you have a favorite song; if so, what is it?

For me, I've answered most of #1, but my first favorite song was "Wildfire." If you're old enough to remember, it was a song about a horse that (I think) got lost. It was sad, and I would wail along to it when I heard it on the radio.

My tastes now are all over the map. I listen to some pop, some rock, a lot of "classic rock" (whatever that is), some Christian (although I'm pretty picky and tend toward indie artists), folk, some soul and jazz type stuff. My profile lists my favorite bands, most of which the general population has never heard of. Some are local Austin artists; some are indie.

Music is hugely important to me though. I see a lot of live shows and follow a lot of bands. I have friends who are musicians and love to see them live when I can. The upside to all that is that I'm not nearly as starstruck as I once was -- musicians are just folks really. There are a few people in the world who would make me tongue-tied, but not many.

Aha -- there's question #3:

3. What musician or band would you most love to meet and why? Would you be nervous?

I've met many of the bands on my profile page. A few of them are friends. The one I'd really love to sit down over dinner with would probably be Bono. I'd love to hear about his avtivism and why he chooses the causes he does to get involved in. I have a friend who's worked closely with him on one cause (debt relief for poor countries), so I'm familiar with a lot of his nearest and dearest causes. I'd love to hear more about them, though.

And yes, to meet Bono, I would probably be at least a little nervous.

Now it's your turn! Leave a comment if you pick up this meme on your blog. I'd love to read your answers.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Congratulations to the Fall Y'all Giveaway Winners!

Drum roll please...

Ribbon Rock Star won the earrings -- which she said she liked best, yay!

heather h won the Christmas necklace.

An anonymous poster with email "a friend" won the very popular cross necklace.

Emails will be going out to all the winners today. Congratulations to all three of you!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Funny how blogging works...

For two days I can't think of anything to say, and today I have two topics.

So, would you like to hear about my lack of job opportunities or my lovely mother-in-law, who will be here to visit later?

*listens to the crickets*

OK, MIL it is!

I *heart* my mother-in-law Joan. Back in the days before Robert's dad died (in '91), I'd have to look at what I was wearing to see which piece of clothing or jewelry was given to me by her. These days, she's retired and thus on a fixed income. But I know her to be one of the most generous, dear people I know.

She didn't have to welcome me to her family with open arms. Here's a stunning confession for you internets (although all my RL friends know, of course): Robert and I found out 10 days after our engagement that we were expecting Son the Elder. So Joan was understandably a little upset about the situation early on, but she was never upset with me as a person, and I could not ask for a better mother-in-law. She's just a lovely person. She has always treated me just as she treats her own daughters. She chats with me when she calls, even if she really wanted to talk to Robert. In every way, she is a gracious, loving, model mother-in-law. I hope to live up to her if and when my boys marry.

She remarried a few years after Steve died. Dave is a great guy and a wonderful companion to Joan. So Dave and Joan will be coming this evening to take my family to dinner. Joan will enjoy seeing my new torch, since she and I are beading buddies.

The real reason that they are in town, though, is Son the Older's final high school marching performance tomorrow night. Yes, Bradley is a senior -- I can hardly believe it! There will apparently be some ceremony on the field for senior parents before tomorrow's game, so we have to be there early for photos and teary farewells. Fortunately I'm not a crier, but I may have to make an exception for this. I'll post pics later.

And now I'm going to have to go look at baby pictures of my giant son, if you'll pardon me...

Assorted Randomness

I know I haven't posted all week. I've been bad.

I've actually gotten a lot done in terms of stuff that needed to be done, but no blogging.

So, aside from signing up for other people's giveaways, which admittedly has eaten up a fair bit of my week, here are a couple of other time wasters I've recently discovered. Honk if I'm a loser and you knew about these months ago. OK, stop. I'm deaf now.
Pictures of the insides of people's refrigerators. Most are from Europe; not many are from the US. This is an interesting look at "we are all different; we are all the same."
Hilarious pics of animals -- mostly cats -- on which people have written their own (intentionally misspelled) captions. Many reference geekdom, current events, etc. It's a black hole. You have been warned. You will also laugh out loud, thus the name of the photos: LOLcats.

I've also been trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up, but surely that belongs in another post, one with fewer LOLcats...