Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hiatus II

I can be an idiot.

Last week classes started, and I was busy prepping -- it's a busy time of year. I still have a large custom order to finish for Karen Thomas. Furthermore, I visit my sister twice a year, and I have no clue about how Draco the Dane would react to another canine--he loves Jet, the fawn, but he's getting jealous, too. I didn't do any research into the different dogs available in the area. I just passed by the Atlanta Canine Adoption Project who were camped out at a local PetSmart and ... came home with Justin.

He's about a year and a quarter old, and is pretty good with Their Feline Majesties (i.e. interested but willing to ignore). He's pretty quiet around the house and is housebroken, and has the beginnings of leash-training. We're discussing 1) where dogs may and may not put their paws (not the counter, table, couch, or my shoulders ... unless I have given him the "HUG!" signal), 2) the fact that well-mannered dogs SIT when their leash goes on and again when it goes off, and that well-mannered dogs SIT when getting a treat,
3) the fact that human beings do not want dogs in their laps when eating or doing other things, and that, when RUDE, dogs need to give the human about 2 feet of space by going off and lying down.

The cats are still unsure, but Justin pretty much ignores them if they ignore him. Bella is wandering around the house, and Molly has come out onto the bed, but Min still hides under the bed except when Justin is in the kitchen or crated for the night.
(He's still young enough that chewing could be a temptation!) It's clear that he has never been socialized well--he is extremely timid in new situations, he's desperately afraid of new people in general and more so when they are in a group, and he's got a touch of separation anxiety. Poor guy, he doesn't even know how to play! (He's learning fast.) The rescue organization folks have clearly done some preliminary training with him, but that's all, and the woman at PetSmart said she had had to leave him crated for ten hours at a clip.
I'm not pushing the crate; he will den in it, but is afraid when the door closes--so I am slowly acclimating him to it in ten minute chunks, and in the meanwhile am leaving him in my kitchen when I go to work or out. I am a decent dog trainer, but I am saving up to go to basic obedience classes with Justin, simply to aid with socialization, AND to speed up the training process somewhat by checking my own consistency and tone; it's been a while since I have done this!

Despite Justin's fears, though, he isn't a fear-biter--I have tested him carefully!--and has a good temperament. In situations that are unfamiliar but *like* places he knows--like at the vet's, surprisingly--he isn't nearly as scared and he warms up to people fast. The vet was impressed and allowed as how I have a pretty good dog here.

Justin's a real snuggle-bug, with soft fur. Like all shepherd mixes, he sheds like whoa, and I have to sweep every day! He also needs a LONG walk, which is good for my general level of ... err ... fluffiness. In fact, that was one reason for getting a young dog who needed walks, even though I am so busy--just as I train HIM to behave, he trains ME into consistent exercise. For him, food and affection are motivators. For me, NOT having my house torn up by a bored, hyper dog is a serious motivator!

Will he remain "Justin"? Dunno. It seems to fit, but not quite. He will let me know what his name will be--after all, every dog I have ever had has gone through a series of names and nicknames as our relationship has evolved. As for his breed, he seems to be a lab/Shepherd mix with a touch of spitz. A friend has suggested that his breed is "Justin-other Dog," and another friend, observing his ability to eel slowly up onto furniture (where he does not belong!), suggested "Black Eeler" as a breed name. Another friend from Australia has said that he's just a plain old kelpie, and suggested "Black Kelpie Digger" as a name. Any suggestions?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Hiatus Explained

My apologies for not being "around" virtually for a while. The last two weeks held both registration and the first week of classes, a new adopted dog, and a trunk show in Ellijay, GA.

Art of the Firebird and I went up to Ellijay on Saturday to do a trunk show at Beaded Couture, run by Lisa Barraca. It was a blast! AoF had hurt her arm, so she described lampworking and pointed out beads, and I did demonstrations and taught a couple of people the basic fundamentals. There was a lot of interest. The demos caught the eye of the husbands who came through, too.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Rainbow Cane Redux

Some while ago, I posted about learning to pull rainbow cane. When I was at work, I had given a piece of the cane to the Dean's secretary; she has a small glass collection, and she had thought the cane was lovely.

Apparently one of my other colleagues was in, and he noticed the cane, and was very interested in how it was made. I may be making a convert to glasswork, who knows! At the very least, he has checked out my Etsy shop. I think the point of this short musing--short, because I am stealing time from student registration--is to point out that you never know who will see your work or where; anything can be an advertisement. It is good to put yourself out there and to remember to be professional as you do.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Baby Steps, Fine Tuning the Mind, and Creativity.

Over on The Glass Haven and other lampworking boards there's been some desultory discussion about custom orders. The basic positions seem to be:

* Custom orders pay the bills but are not exciting, and can inhibit creativity because they have made what was fun just more work.

* Custom orders are good ways to keep your skills up during dry creative spells, or are not a problem because the process itself is so much fun.

I vacillate between camps. Right now, for example, I'm feeling unexcited. I think mostly that's because I am feeling overwhelmed. This week, but it is also registration week at my university. Later today I have a faculty meeting. It would only take an hour, but because my university is spread out over two--soon to be three--cities, and I don't live in the "home" city, the drive will be a total of 3.5 hours. Tomorrow I need to work registration most of the day, and again on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons and early evenings. Friday we have our departmental beginning of term session, and Monday classes begin. In my lampworking world, I have a trunk show coming up weekend after next, and a show in September. In the middle of all of that is my custom order, and so I find myself putzing, resisting, and not getting ANY of the work done -- which makes me feel overwhelmed.

How can one break out of that? Ironically, I know that I enjoy both my workaday job and my lampworking, and that when I can buckle down to DOING those tasks that I will not only enjoy them, but will jumpstart my creativity for new and continuing projects in both worlds.

So I am taking a leaf from two principles. The first is breaking down tasks, into baby steps, seven to ten minute jobs. I can't get the whole house clean, but I can fold the laundry. I can't turn on my torch this morning, but I can put away the glass I bought, neaten my supply cabinet, and make my workspace a pleasant place to get to. I can't finish my syllabus, but I can find two article references. And the like. All are small, accomplishable steps that make me feel more in control. (FInishing the blog entry after a few days' hiatus is one of those baby steps!)

The second is fine-tuning my attitude. I don't want to empty the dishwasher. Bleargh. But I do want to have a pleasant kitchen. If I tell myself that I am making a pleasant kitchen, that's more appealing than emptying the washer. It's better to make things interesting and manageable for students rather than slogging through a syllabus. It's better to be making a calm peaceful state and an enjoyable weekend rather than planning the first night (because having a plan NOW means a calm, peaceful weekend in which I can torch.) Not being able to torch means that I can be resting after last week's sustained torch time. And working on a custom order means that I can be productive while my brain begins to think of new ideas.

How do you handle these issues?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Introducting the ESST Team Members: CMKSculptures2

This is the next in my series about the wonderful peeps of Team ESST! Here's introducing a team member with a superb sense of color, CMKSculptures2.

SMK mostly sells mosaic art and kiln-fired tiles. Kiln-fired is the important part--CMK's materials are quality! And they are gorgeous, with a whimsical sensibility and a beautiful use of color and shade. SHe uses pale colors that flow into each other and are easy on the eyes. That sense of whimsy continues through to her hand0fired tiles in fun shapes--bees, palm trees, etc. If you do mosaic art and want some unique accent tiles, hop on over to CMK Supplies!

CMK has 28 sales...all satisfied customers, so come show her shop some love.

If you'd like to find older posts in this series, search for the tag ESST members.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Introducting the ESST Team Members: Circle In the Sand

This is the next in my series about the wonderful peeps of Team ESST! Here's introducing a team member with a really unique shop, Circle in the Sand.

Okay, I was a young woman in the 1980's--remember the duck craze? Everything in the early eighties had ducks on it--shower curtains, porcelain dishes, coffee mugs (I still have one of those; odd to think that it is officially a vintage mug!), placemats, fireplace tongs (come to think of it, I still have those, too) ... you name it, if you could put a duck on it or shape it to resemble a duck, someone did. And then the fad passed and another popular theme took its place. But I remain a sucker for ducks, and Circle in the Sand's current avatar--a stuffed duck--had me from the get-go.

If it is country-themed, Circle in the Sand has it. From items for babies thorough buttons, cards and tags, craft and sewing supplies, fabric, gift bags, decor, and things for women only .... Circle has it all. Her tag line says that her shop is fun, and that's no lie. Even if you aren't into country cute, check out her vintage section--she has everything from curtain patterns to these elegant vintage earrings.

From Jacksonville, FL, Circle in the Sand has 174 sales--and every one's been a winner. If you're looking for country, vintage, or a combo of both, stop on by this fantastic team member's shop!

If you'd like to find older posts in this series, search for the tag ESST members.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Introducting the ESST Team Members: Chloe Rose Designs

This is the next in my series about the wonderful peeps of Team ESST! Here's introducing a team member who sells lovely vintage cottage style items, Chloe Rose Designs..

Chloe's Rose designs has three main section in her shop: handmade, supplies, and vintage. The handmade section focuses on cottage rose pillows, all beautifully made with gentle ruffles and lovely forties floral prints. She's also got tags, both for weddings and a series from 1940s and 1950s children's books. They're really unique!

Her vintage section lists vintage knitting and tatting patterns, and her vintage items include straight peg clothespins--so hard to find these days! The middle section of the shop includes paper, collage, and game pieces.

At 119 sales, Chloe's Designs is just starting out on Etsy. Don't let that stop you (so am I!) from finding fantastic vintage finds here in this gently colorful store. On top of that, Chloe is taking part in the Christmas in July sale, and though it is August, there's still goodies on clearance. Come on and visit!

If you'd like to find older posts in this series, search for the tag ESST members.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Introducting the ESST Team Members: Chez Michelle

This is the next in my series about the wonderful peeps of Team ESST! Here's introducing a team member with a really unique shop, Chez Michelle!..

Chez Michelle sells primarily suncatcher eyes. What is a suncatcher eye? You've seen them all your life--they're the remarkably brilliant eyes in your favorite stuffed animal. However, she doesn't have anything nearly as scary as Dr. Coppelius' long coat full of eyes. However, she does have eye pairs, clear pairs, colorful pairs, and truly beautiful pairs--none, however, will make you see an automaton as a live human :) Chez Michelle's are helpfully sorted by size, from 6mm to 20mm. You can also buy packs of assorted sizes, and you can even get kits to paint your own.

New to stuffed animal making? Chez Michelle has other cute options.

You can buy some darling hand-crocheted amigurumi animals, or even get the patterns to crochet your own. And, of course, you can pick up the all important eyes to stitch on at the same time!

Chez Michelle is located in Maine and has an impressive 670 sales. She's had some illness in the family (good thoughts, please!), but that's slowed her down only a little, and from the sales, it doesn't look as if her customers have any worries other than to send her well wishes. Stop by if you make stuffed animals ... or just love glassy, beautiful eyes.

If you'd like to find older posts in this series, search for the tag ESST members.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

More Bead Spam

Some of the other things I did this week. Well, besides slogging around in 100 degree weather and feeding an endlessly hungry fawn!