Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Insurance companies are a pain

So the adjuster can't make it out to look at the damages until next Monday. We have to wait to have any repairs done until after he graces us with his presence. In the meantime I have a hole in my ceiling. I will have a hole in my ceiling for 11 days until he can get to us. You would think that being a customer for 22 years for both house and car insurance we could get decent service. But I've discovered someting....there is no "customer" in insurance.....there is only "hostage". Since we are relying on them to cover the costs of repairs we are at their mercy....which is crap. Quite honestly I can afford to pay for the repairs without the insurance company and I am tempted to get the roof reparied, tell the insurance company to kiss off, and then change companies. But they owe us so I will wait until the adjuster can show up....actually Lou will wait for him to show up next Monday....because if I had to stay home for him....he might have a large hole ripped into his anatomy. And I still might change insurance companies.

I spent tonight working in bronze again...making little pieces parts for earrings and very simple necklaces. The kiln will run overnight. This is my third load in a couple days. I have less than two weeks until the next show....my last show for the summer.

I have love/hate feelings about doing shows. I get nervous leading up to a show...will I have enough jewelry to sell, will the weather be good, will I have customers. Setting up takes a lot of energy. When I was a child I used to play Shopkeeper. I would set up an imaginary store and sell things. Now I do it for real....so I always get to a point during set-up when I think back on that and feel very content. It's fun to get to know your neighbor artists at shows and the customers are always interesting. Even if they don't buy they are fun to talk with...and watch. The hours are usually long...10 hour days...on your feet....very few, if any, breaks for food or the bathroom. When the show is over everyone happily breaks down to go home...but it's also a little sad that this community that's been created will no longer be....until the next show:)

I got an e-mail from the promoter of the Hathaway Brown show. Attendance was down 35%. The weather was a big factor in the drop. As an incentive and encouragement to not give up during this economy, all the artists who did this year's show will automatically be in next year's show. We don't have to jury in for 2010. That's cool. So I already have a show lined up for next year.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Lots to be done....

We've filed a claim with the insurance company about the damage to the house. The roofers have been out and put a tarp up over that part of the roof. From the street it looks like we are a huge blue tent on the roof. The tree service has come out to discuss taking out the offending tree. Lou cleaned up the back yard and all the broken tree parts are now in the front yard for the city to pick up. A tree is down a street over and half a tree is down a block away....so my damage seems minimal.

Although the insurance will cover damages to the house it won't cover taking out the tree. It's in a precarious spot. About 5 feet away from the back of the house, next to some power lines, in a land-locked back yard. They want to set up the crane in the neighbors front yard and take out the fence between our backyard and the other neighbors house so they can get a big truck in the back. It's not going to be cheap....but it is necessary. The tree is beyond it's prime and is a danger to our house and the neighbors. I don't want to be here when they do it. They will take down the higher branches and when all they have left is the trunk....they are going to take it out at the base and drop it into the back yard.

Once all the outside work is done we will get someone to come in to repair the hole in my studio ceiling and then replacement windows for the upstairs. Sometimes is takes something like this to make you get things moving.

I'm still getting ready for the show in July. The kitty alarm clock woke me up at 8AM today....to be fed. And I stayed up. AMAZING. I usually sleep in. But I haven't had a chance to do that in almost 6 weeks so maybe I've broken that habit. It would be nice to be one of those early risers. So I worked until 1PM in my studio. I blew through 200 grams of bronze. Mostly little pieces to make earrings and accent pieces but I did make 9 medallions as a base for lampwork beads. Those have been popular. They are in the kiln right now. This is when I could use a second kiln because I have another load ready to go. It will go in tomorrow morning.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bringing the outdoors in.....

might be a good idea on HGTV (Thanks Elaine :)), but not a good idea when mother nature decides to blow 60 mph winds through a 200 year old forest.

You just knew it was going storm....90+ degrees and the air was as thick as pea soup. I got home just as it hit. I'm no stranger to chunks of trees falling down during storms. If you live in Bay Village with all the old trees it is just part of summer. If you're lucky they don't hit anything. I wasn't so lucky tonight. A large section of a tree came down...hit the top roof and bounced off onto the back patio....but not before punching a hole in the roof and ceiling of my studio. In the process it smashed a window.

The tree will be history. It is very old and the pieces that are falling off are dry. This is the third time it has done damage...the other two were to the neighbors house and fence. Three strikes and it's coming down. Sad but necessary before it does more extensive damage.

I've already left a message for the insurance agent. Tomorrow I will call the roofers, the tree company, and since the window is smashed I am going to have replacement windows put in the upstairs. Damn good thing I just paid off all my credit cards....cause they are going to be smokin' when I get done.

Here are the pics

I'm grateful it wasn't worse.

Sometimes you're the waiter......

sometimes you're the food......

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We all have those days...or weeks when life puts us at the bottom of the food chain.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Still recovering....

from the last show. The house is scattered with all my stuff. The dining room table is covered with all my tools. What a mess. It's not going to get any better until after the show in July.

I have been trying to find a new frame for my EZup tent. The company doesn't have a replacement frame in stock and doesn't know when they will have it. This may have been a good thing. I've read on some forums and websites about this model and it seems a number of people have had problems with the trusses breaking and bending after a few uses....just like mine did. Comments about the companies other tents make it sound like the quality of their frames are not what they used to be.

So I bit the bullet and bought a serious tent today....a Trimline. To start with I got a real person on the phone....that was a novelty after calling around for a couple days. I talked to Tom about what I needed and he assured me that my tent will be here on Tuesday. Plenty of time for Lou and I to put it together at least once before we have to set up at the next show. The other thing I liked is that the company was started by a group of exhibitors in the 80s to provide artists with an easy to assemble tent that would also protect the artist and their art from mother nature. It took a bite out of the bank account but in the long run I think it will be worth it. It has a steel frame and I got the stabilizing bar option for the bottom of the tent. I should have done this first time around....live and learn.

I also place an order with Rio for clay. I mistakenly order 2 kilos of copper and didn't catch it in time to stop the shipment. So now I have to decide if I want to keep it or send it back. I'm not working in Copper right now. Anybody want to buy a package...or two??? The bronze arrives tomorrow. Just in time for the weekend.

I'm off....a little house cleaning to do and some chains to make.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

HB show

Glad the show is over. I did well considering the traffic was down. Last year there seemed to be so many more people. Could have been the economy or it could have been the weather. Friday morning when I got there it was raining and the wind was driving the rain directly into my tent. I couldn't even open up the front panel. But by opening time the rain stopped. So we opened up and let things dry out. It started to rain again about 6PM. Friday night it poured. I was worried about what I would come back to on Saturday.....but the tent was still there. One of the vendors had their tent blown 18" from where it was the day before. It stopped when it bumped into the next tent. So it seems there were some very high winds Friday night....which may explain why my tent was all bent up.

We didn't notice it until we collapsed the tent and for some reason the frame was askew and wouldn't come together. When we took a good look there were at least 3 support bars that were bent. Lou grabbed ahold of the frame and forced it together.....very proud of himself that he did this. I lifted up the canopy and pointed out that one of the supports had broken. Luckily the manufacturer sells replacement parts so I have to get those ordered up right away so I have a functional tent for Cain Park.

Tomorrow after work I get back to making pendants and earring parts. I have three weeks to build up my stock for the next show.

Friday, June 19, 2009

One of those days

I set up the tent in the rain but it wasn't so bad. Once up I do all my setup under the tent so I didn't get too wet. But while I was cutting up some double sided tape, I snipped my finger. The cut wasnt' too bad but it was gushing blood and I was getting it all over the place. I flicked my hand an blood flew got on the side of the tent. I couldn't help but laugh.....CSI: Shaker Heights. I actually took pictures of it but left the camera in the tent.

So I did alot of assembly today...extra pieces for the show. I also put a load in the kiln. Previously fired items that I wanted to put a different color on. I was bringing a somewhat warm container up from the laundry room using that pan removal fork. The cat constantly tries to run down into the garage so as I came through the door I tried to shoo her away from the door.....and tripped. It was like slow motion watching the lid of the pan fly off and the carbon go flying into the air and all over the kitchen floor. Of course the cat had this oh so innocent look on her face.

One of those days.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I'm ready for Show #2....kinda

The boxes are packed and ready to go. Tomorrow morning Lou and I will set up the tent. He has a meeting he has to go to first and then we will set up the tent. He will go back to work and I will go home to put together some last minute items.

I've been set up at the dining room table since I came back from B&B. Cris refers to my bench as the "workbench of chaos. I don't know why...... And if you think that's bad you should see the rest of the house.

And it's suppose to be a lovely weekend.... 80s on Friday with a 40% chance of thunderstorms. 30% chance of rain on Saturday and windy. WOO HOO....and I"ll be in a tent all weekend. The show is on the grounds of a private school, so if really bad weather hits...like last year.... we can all take shelter in the school.

I got my replacement Blackberry today. I was without it since B&B. Actually I didn't miss it that much. I use it more for e-mail than as a phone. As most my friends know....I don't talk on the phone much. I have some aversion to it...I don't know why...probably the hermit in me.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I should be packing....

I should be going through my boxes and packing for the show on Friday but I'm sitting here like a vegetable. I stayed up till 2AM this morning and then got up at 8AM to go to work. What was I thinking?? Sunday will be my first day off in three weeks. I have been on the go every since Bead and Button with no break. I'm the type of person that needs quiet, alone, me time....and a good 10 hours of sleep. That has not been in the schedule these past weeks. Sunday is my first day off and I plan to have a good long sleep.

OK. I'm off to reorganize at least one box for the show.

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One down....two to go

Art by the Falls went very well. The weather was great and my sales were on par with last year. I think people are still buying but being more selective in their purchases.

So the rumor of the show was that Wolfgang Puck's ex-wife (but still business partner) showed up and purchased 20 glass wine bottle stoppers at $40 each from one of the vendors. Why she would have been in Cleveland is beyond me...but that was the rumor.

Brandon Holschuh, author of The Jeweler's Studio Hanbook, was an exhibitor at the show. He stopped and looked at my work in BronzClay. That was very cool.

It's always interesting watching people. There are always a few that catch the eye. First ...the dogs....everyone brought their dogs. Big dogs...one great dane was so tall his back came up to my waist. I walked out of the booth to get a look at him. Also small dogs....one person was pushing their dog in a stroller.

The other thing that caught my attention....unfortunately....guys in their bicycle shorts....the spandex kind. UGH. What makes them think it is acceptable to walk around in public a spandex outfit. It they had been handsome and buff it would have be another story. But that is never they case. They are always pouchy and saggy and the shorts leave nothing to the imagination....which for these guys should have been another reason not to wear them.

Then there was the 70+ year old woman wearing a black mini skirt and knee-high leather boots. When your knees need a face lift... you might want to re-think the mini. But who am I to talk. I have redwood trees for legs and would kill to have skinny legs and wear a short skirt....or any skirt for that matter.

The rest of the week I will be getting ready for the show at Hathaway Brown. Lou will help me pop the tent on Thursday and the show runs Friday and Saturday. I'm looking forward to Sunday....first day off in a couple weeks.

Other news....I was accepted into the By Hand show in November. This is a nice show and is coupled with the Fabulous Food Show. With that I have achieved one of my goals I set a few years ago....which was to be in 6 shows. I know that many artists do this in a season...but for me it is an acheivement. Just like the summer shows....the three fall shows are all in the same month. I am a glutton for punishment.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Tired, tired, and more tired

I wish I could go to bed now...but I need to put some earrings together. I ran out of time to make chains for some of the pendants so I sat at the show and strung some up using Fairy Ribbon...which I didn't know was the name of those hand-dyed silk ribbons. I bought a bunch at B&B in very muted earthy tones and they go really well with the bronze.

A pretty good show considering the economy. We go again tomorrow from 11-5. The weather was beautiful...but it did threaten to rain at the end of the day. When I shut the tent down I made sure I protected anything that might absorb water should it rain hard tonight. Hopefully it won't but I'll arrive early tomorrow to get everything in shape.

The response to the bronze clay has been great. People like the earthy tones and ancient look the pieces have....which is what I love about it.

People watching is always great at these shows. There seemed to be just as many dogs there as people. I looked up once to see a grey hound sticking his head up over the table checking out the jewelry :) He was partial to the silver.

The Tent is UP

The tent is up, tables are set, decorations hung.... I'll be there Saturday at 8AM to set up the jewelry...the show goes from 10 to 7. Long day. Then we are back Sunday morning and go until 5PM. The weekend is going to be over in a blink. The weather is suppose to be great.

Then I get to do this all over again next Thursday.

I'll be back on line Sunday night.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I can hardly breathe....literally

I was really uptight at work today. I was sitting at my desk and could hardly breathe. I am so behind at work and I will be off Friday to set up for the show which will just make it worse. Plus my brother is in the hospital to have a third surgery on his knee replacement. He originally had it done at a community hospital and then had to have a second surgery due to infection. When they suggested a third surgery we jumped in and insisted he come to the hospital where Lou and I work. It is a major medical center. We got him a specialist and he had the surgery today. He did well. Small world...the surgeon grew up in the next town over from where we grew up and Mom knews his father and uncle. I'm so glad he is through this. He will need one more surgery but we all feel so much better that he has new doctors.

I am gradually going through my checklist for the show. We popped the tent tonight to put the canopy back on. The neighbor on the corner was walking by. She is a silver/goldsmith and I don't know why I haven't gotten to know her yet. We talked a bit about doing shows this year. I'm going to have to get to know her.

I still have a ton of jewelry to tag and bag. I was doing assembly last night and realized I had to quit and get stuff tagged. I've decided that I have to do assembly after each load comes out of the kiln. I can't just make batches and batches of stuff and then try to do assembly 48 hours before the show. It's not working. I have visions of sitting at the show putting things together.

If I had to do it over I don't know if I would do this many shows at once. We'll see...if I make alot of money I will be thinking differently. I am going to give some serious thought to taking a year off from shows. I cold really use the time to remodel the house. I think I need an assistant....to take care of the house while I do the jewelry.

Stress is such a fun thing. The only way to beat this stress is to be well prepared for the show....so back to work.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Back Home

Wow....that week flew by and I am exhausted. My normal week is very busy during the day but I have time in the evening to decompress. I am the type of person that needs quiet time every day. A week at B&B knocks me out of kilter. Up early...all day classes...drinks...dinner...more drinks and late to bed. But since I only get to see these wonderful women once a year..... I soaked up every minute of it and loved it.

I am now getting ready for an art show on Saturday and Sunday. I have to take Friday off so I can set up the booth. Tonight I am spending time goign through all my crates to make sure that I have everything I will need. I want to do this early in the week so there are no crisis runs to the hardware store.

Hopefully I will have some time later to post some more pics from B&B.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bead And Button...Wednesday

Today Cris and I took a day off to see a little of Milwaukee. We found a bead store...yes we went in and shopped. You never know where you are going to find the perfect bead:). We went over to the historic third ward to do some window shopping. They have some great shops and restaurants. Definetely worth the trip. Later we hooked up with Gigi and Henriete for some dinner at the Capital Grill...great steaks. Then we went on to Meet the Teachers where we had a chance to see some other friends and say hello to teachers we've had before. Here's a pic of the girls

Some of you have asked for more info on the pendant I made. It's a combo of metal clay, resin, and faux bone. The metal clay is silver with a heavy patina. The front is actually one piece that was made from a mold of an antique button. Very cool...very dimensional.

The solder used in the soldering class was silver solder. We used it on everything...even when we played with the bronze jump rings. But Rio has a copper solder. Mark is going to send Cris and I a sample of it to try.

Back to class tomorrow. We are in a metal weaving class with Susan Lenart Kazmer....always a good time.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

More on Bead and Button

The time just flies when you are here and eye-ball deep into your classes. The second day of the Dancik/Duhamel class was great. We put our pictures in the resin, worked on putting a design into the Faux Bone and put the piece together. This was an amazing workshop and I would highly recommend it. PMC, resin, faux bone and much sharing of knowledge from these two great teachers....not just on the project but also on jewelry design, narrative in your work, and just about anything else we had questions on. Here is my piece from the class.

I picked up a fabulous vessel bead from the wonderful Karen Elmquist. Take a look at this. My picture doesn't do it justice. When I get back home I'll take a really nice pic of it. It's really great.

A bunch of us went out to dinner Tuesday night to a wonderful Latin restaurant...Charro . Getting into the cab I had my hand closed in the car door. I stood there making little noises trying to pull my hand out of the door. Luckily the cab driver was on the ball, saw this and leaned over the person in the front seat and popped the door. Also luckily they makes car doors with lots of rubber gaskets. My fingers will a little numb for a while but no damage done....except I did start crying like a little kid. More from the shock then any pain. Cris saw all this and was freaking out. Like a true girl friend she was worried I wouldn't be able to take class the next day...she knows my priorities. But it was all good and we ended up having a great dinner.

Today we took a class from Rio...soldering on PMC and BronzClay. This was my first exposure to soldering and working with a propane/oxygen torch. It was another great class. Rio provides everything from the jeweler's bench down to the smallest tools. All you have to do is show up. Mark Nelson was a great teacher...knew his stuff and freely shared. Cris brought along some bronze jump rings and we played with those in our free time. Cool...I can solder on bronze now:)

I have more pics but it's 1:30 AM and I am tired. Bye for now.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Day One

We had a good day. Today was the first day of a two day class with Robert Dancik and Louise Duhamel. It a great project that combines metal clay, resin, and faux bone. Below is the class picture. I should have a finsihed piece tomorrow.

After class a small group of us (Cris, Paul, Anne, Terri, Karen, Gigi, and Henriett...just a small group) went to dinner at the Calderone Club. It's a great little Italian restarant across from the Hyatt. Beside having great food... we had a great time. Have you ever laughed so hard your stomach hurt?? Well that was tonight. Of course the two carafe's of Chianti helped. But the highlight of the night was watching Anne and Paul try to make wine mustaches. I think Anne has it down.....

But no matter how hard he tried....Paul couldn't seem to get the hang of it.

And Anne tried really hard to give him one. If this jewelry thing doesn't work out....we think she has a great future in home health care :) "One more sip of medicine dear...it will help you sleep"