Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Good bye ponytail!

I admit it, I hadn't had my hair cut in 13 months. Partly it was laziness, partly I had always wanted to grow it long enough to donate it. I had looked into several hair donation programs, including both Locks of Love and Pantene's Beautiful Lengths but I kept putting it off, or getting frustrated with my hair before it was long enough. Pretty much lately I had fallen into the 'ponytail' trap for the past many months. So yesterday, I guiltily went to get my hair cut, admitting to the person I used to see that I hadn't had it cut in over a year, and mentioned that I had been considering donating it, but I just couldn't stand it any more. She measured my hair, and guess what??? I DID it! 10 inches of hair is now in an envelope heading to Locks of Love.
I was worried about the reaction of my Husband and daughters, my 4yo princess thinks that princesses only have long hair. But Hubby knew I'd wanted to do it for a while, and he prepped the 4yo . . .and other than a brief cry that she couldn't play with my ponytail anymore, she is okay with it.
In fact this morning when I told her that I was going to grow it long again, she said "then you'll need another hair cut to give to other people who need hair" Can I hear an "Awwww"?
Next time I'm going with Pantene I think, since it goes to cancer patients, and the minimum is only 8 inches, so check in to watch my hair grow!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Brrrr, craft show

I was signed up for a space at an Artisans market for 10/2, anxiously watched the weather all week. I had sworn that if it was rainy I.WOULD.NOT.GO after having been drowned out of an event 2 weeks earlier.
Thursday, Friday . . gorgeous, cool autumn sunny weather.
Saturday, I woke up, car all packed (which of course cursed me), and it was drizzling . . .and cold. But I checked the weather radar, and it looked like it was going to clear up, and I REALLY wanted to try my new set up and get pictures for an application for a big event I hope to participate in in the spring. So I grabbed a bunch of layers and set off.
Out of 15 scheduled artisans (it was a small festival) only 4 of us showed up. And it was COLD, not below freezing, but damp, and windy. Got my set up put together, getting only marginally wet . . .only to realize I had left my camera (and some newer pieces of jewelry) on my table at home. Made a desperate call to hubby, who came about an hour later bearing it, and the two kids, one wearing PJ's, both in sandals, both cranky.
It was SLOW, no one wanted to be outside in that weather, but I got to know the other artists (one kindly lent me his coat) and I got my set up pictures. So . . .oh well!
By the end I was wearing a long sleeved shirt, a cardigan, a mohair sweater, a vest coat, the borrowed coat and my fabulous cowl from www.knitfrekkles.etsy.com





Thursday, September 30, 2010

Childhood joys and not so joys


So my 4yo "little bug" has her eagerly awaited 1st today to an apple orchard,she was beyond excited. And once I got past my parenthood fears of her getting lost, wandering off, and of my petite child, who isn't even big enough for a booster seat in the car yet, bouncing freely around in a school bus, I was excited for her. She has literally been counting down the days on a calendar. Normally the morning is a battle of getting dressed, eating, agreeing on shoes that are semi appropriate for the weather, but this morning she wore what I told her would be a good outfit and shoes for the trip . . .no arguing, it was a beautiful thing.
Her 2yo sister on the other hand, is in a nekked phase, I was able to get a pull up on her, but no clothes. Which would be fine if we didn't live in Michigan where it is starting to get chilly. But they learn by consequences and if she is cold, she will have to realize she needs to wear clothes . . .I hope. Anyways, it would only be the 3rd time this week I've taken her in in just a diaper.
BUT, the crisis began when we had to leave, and I had to turn off Little Einsteins BEFORE it was over so I could get the 4yo there in time for the bus. 2yo meltdown, moms who have experienced it are cringing at that, if you have not had the pleasure, try to imagine being trapped in a car with a 30 pound bundle of pure rage and sadness, with no inhibitions about demonstrating her feelings through screaming, kicking, punching, and repeated yellings of "I want Little Einsteins". For 25 minutes.
Singing, talking, begging, explaining, offering snacks and bribes (including at one point, a pony) did not help. Finally, 5 minutes from 'school' when I turned on Jimmy Buffets "Cheeseburger in Paradise" loud enough to semi drown out the screaming, she calmed down and sweetly asked for some crackers. Arrived at school, 4yo to her class, still beyond excited, 2yo to her class, clad in a diaper, clutching a bag of crackers and smiling at all who looked at her.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Wonky heart

So I have not exactly kept it secret that I've had health issues lately, but I've never publicly laid out the story either. Why now? Well, honestly, mostly 'cause I am procrastinating, but also I thought it might help other people, women especially who have been through similar experiences.
So who am I (if you don't know), a just turned 40 yo, though at the time I was still clinging to my 30's . . .I'm thin, I exercise, I don't smoke, stress? Well, I have 2 children, a 'real' job and a building handmade jewelry business, so yes I have my share of stress.
April 12th, Monday. I came home from a normal day at work, my husband had picked the girls up from daycare and was already home. I was standing at the kitchen counter and thought, and then said, "huh, my chest hurts". It didn't hurt badly, just annoyingly, and kind of came and went all evening. I didn't think that much of it, I figured I pulled a muscle or something . . .
April 13th, woke up feeling kind of 'ick' and my work schedule was slow that day so I called out sick. Mid morning that annoying chest pain started up again, this time not really going away. By lunchtime, I finally called my doctors office to see if I could be seen, as soon as I mentioned chest pain, they transferred me to the nurses line, where I was told to go straight to the Emergency room after she asked me a few questions. Called husband, he came home from work and drove me there (feeling sure I was just being silly).
Next thing I know, I am in a hospital bed, hooked up to monitors with a cardiologist telling us that I had a very abnormal EKG that was consistent with a heart attack. Um, what?
They wanted to do a cardiac catheterization, which is a lovely procedure where they (under anesthesia) poke a hole in the artery in your leg so they can feed a catheter in to inject dye into the blood vessels to see if they are blocked, and if so then use a steint to open the blockage. Then they seal the artery in your leg with a collagen plug that is annoying for months to come.
We went ahead with it, and I woke up to be told that mine was completely normal. Well . . .good. Stayed in the hospital overnight, next day, still had chest pain, cardiologist said "I don't know what is causing the pain, but it is not your heart", ordered a CT scan of my chest . . .normal. Released me to go home.
Chest pain continued, came and went, one evening my Husband was coming home late from work and I had a tough time getting the kids to bed, chest pain worsened to the point where I called him 'cause I was nervous about it. While talking to him, suddenly my left arm, and left side of my face went all pins and needle-y. Back to the ER, waited 4 hours, and finally left against advice because it was 3am, and they were wanting to do a CT of my brain. I had a follow up appt. scheduled already for that morning with at my doctors office anyway, and I just wanted to go home.
About 6 hours later, I went to my doctors appt. where I saw a different doctor than usual. She had none of my records from the initial hospital visit, just the ones from the night before (where my EKG had been normal), and she pretty much suggested that I should "get more rest" and "take deep breaths", and that I should follow up with the doctor I usually see. Soonest appt? Four months.
Chest pain continued. A co-worker, very luckily, is friends with the head cardiologist at Michigan State University, and got me an appt with him. Well, after a multitude of tests, a consult with a cardiac surgeon and a few ongoing arguments with my insurance company, I was diagnosed with:
-Mitral valve prolapse (my whole family has it, no big surprise, and probably not the cause of anything)
-Myocardial bridging, one of the blood vessels in my heart runs kind of a wrong course from what it should do.
-Vasospastic or Variant Angina: this is where the blood vessels in the heart spasm and cause pain, it can also increase risk of heart attack and high blood pressure. My mother actually has the same thing.

Well, currently I am on my third medication, now on 4X the original dose, and I'm doing okay.
Moral of the LONG story? Don't ignore it when your body is telling you there is something wrong, and don't (women especially) let someone tell you it is all in your head, unless it is of course ;-).

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cats vs Dogs

No, I am not going to go there . . .ie. whether cats are better than dogs or vice versa. Truth is I like 'em both. Where I am going to go is to ask, who would be the better crafter/artisan? I would argue cats, paws down.
My cats love my beads, they are compelled to jump onto my workspace and splatter them any chance they get. And wire and earrings? Playthings! Sparkly, shiny gems are something to be admired, and while few cats really need adornment, they would certainly not argue that us lesser beings need a little sparkle. My cats obsess over my workspace, 'help' take pictures and try to sneak into them when they can to show their admiration for the craft (or my model).



Dogs? While some might be quite crafty in their own way, most think the destruction, rather than construction of goods is the way to go. I suppose I could say that my pitbull mix is a woodscrafter of sort, except that few admire the changes he has made to our window sills.
And his thoughts on my jewelry pictures and mannequin?


video

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The joys of oxidizing

I have recently become obsessed with oxidizing everything , I even eye the cats every now and then ( . . don't worry PETA, I'm kidding). It is a relatively new obsession for me, just months old. But I have started to love how it can take a piece and add a rustic, antiqued depth and a whole new look to a piece. Example?
Pre- oxidizing, pretty cool ring, post oxidizing, cooler ring (IMO):



For this ring I used Liver of Sulfur, which I find gives me the best results with almost boiling, distilled water. I also love the instant effects of Silver Black, especially for other metals other than sterling. Before I started using those, I did try using the egg method of oxidizing, because I always prefer to use non-chemical, natural methods if I can, but just wasn't getting the effect I wanted.
What are your tips for oxidizing? Do you wear oxidized jewelry?