Our Etsy Metal blog carnival topic for this month is 'How do you celebrate the holidays? Which holidays do you celebrate? What foods do you make? (of course we have to discuss food!) What special holiday jewelry do you make?'
Well my family just celebrated Thanksgiving in a meek and mild way, mostly by cooking, watching football, relaxing, eating, and pounding a little metal.
Now that it's December, we'll be gearing up for Christmas. My husband is a guitar builder and owns a music store so he spent Black Friday putting up all his store decorations. For many years, he'd usually spend part of the day on thanksgiving putting Christmas decorations up on our house - lights and Frosty and Santa and his sleigh on the roof. Traditionally, 2 weeks later (every year) there would be high winds that would blow them all down. We don't put them up any more!
| || |
Traditional food we have during the holidays - well my husband needs to have chicken and mashed potatoes on Christmas Day, where we will be joined with our 3 sons and any significant others that are in the neighborhood.
| || |
I'm Greek and have to at least make baklava, in addition to a few other special Greek cookies, like koulourakia, fenikia, and a few non-Greek ones as well! I try really hard not to eat too many!
We do get a tree and decorate it as close to Christmas as we can (not because we necessarily like to do it that way, but it just ends up that way!) Sometimes it actually is on Christmas Eve, always an adventure!
For New Year's Day, I always make spanakopita (Just like my mother did) with a coin hidden in it somewhere. Whoever gets the piece with the coin is supposed to have good luck throughout the new year.
I've been thinking of making some holiday ornaments with metal and enamel for about the last 4 or 5 years. I had an actual idea for them this year and maybe I will get some done for 2014! Time goes by way too quickly!!
I usually work on some new designs to give as Christmas presents. Haven't started that yet either. What do I do all day?! Spent today at a HUGE flea market/antique fair in Alameda. Didn't buy much, but got a lot of exercise walking all around!!
See what other Etsy Metal members do for the holidays:2Roses
Well, I just experienced déjà vu again. After watching the first 10 minutes of 'Birth' (2004) it seemed very familiar, as if perhaps, I had seen it before. Although as I kept watching nothing really seemed familiar except for that first scene where Anne Heche is burying something in the dirt. As I neared the end of the movie, I realized that I had seen it, but didn't remember any of it because there really wasn't much to remember (except for the creepy bathtub scene with Nicole Kidman and 10 year old Cameron Bright.)
I love creepy, scary movies, especially about reincarnation, so I was willing to put the time in. However, this was just creepy in a more pediphile/adultiphile sort of way.
The short description-- Nicole Kidman's dead husband is reincarnated and is now 10 years old and has convinced Nicole that it's really him.
SPOILERS coming up.
Ok that's cool, maybe it really is her husband. They certainly make you think that in the first minute as her husband dies and a baby is born. So after Sean enters Anna's life (within the first 15 minutes) the movie slows waaay down. It has now become work to watch it. But that's ok, because I can't wait to see how they're going to tie up this reincarnation thing. Hopefully, it will be worth the wait!
Anna dumps her fiancé for 10 year old Sean. After all, he was deemed crazy when he finally lost it and tried to 'spank' Sean after he caught them in the tub together. He had to teach Sean some respect! Really, putting him over his knee and spanking him?!! Yeesh.
Well the tub scene might not have been so creepy considering that Sean was really her husband, right? Or was he? The end of the movie takes a little twist as Anne Heche proves that he couldn't be Sean because her and Sean were lovers and he would have come to her first. So now get this... The thing that Anne Heche was burying were all the love letters that Anna had written to Sean. She hated Anna, and was going to give them to her as an engagement present but at the last minute, had a change of heart and buried them instead, in a shallow grave outside the apartment building. Sean saw her and dug them up and read them and believed then that he was really Anna's husband. Anne Heche found the letters in his backpack and knew that he had read them because they were all open. When the real Sean had given them to her they were sealed, because he wanted to prove that he loved her more than he loved Anna, so he never opened them.
LAME... LAME... LAME
So he wasn't really her husband, just a very disturbed 10 year old?!!
In the end, Anna marries the other guy. We see their wedding and then the last scene is her, walking into the ocean in her wedding dress... Her new husband gets her, she is crying hysterically... The End. Huh?!
Not worth the wait.
Ok here are my top 10 favorite movies of all time... Well, I've actually just gotten to 6...
1- A Bronx Tale 1993 - directed by and starring Robert Dinero. Great coming of age tale taking place in NYC in the 1960's. Great story, great acting, great sound track, great wiseguys!
2- The Sound of Music 1965 - I always want to start out thinking that this is a sappy movie, but it really isn't. Great love story and not just between Julie and Christopher, but also about the love of their home and their country.
3- American History X 1998 - intense, not for the faint of heart! Edward Norton has some great monologues in so many of his movies- my favorite in this one was the family dinner scene with Elliot Gould.
4- The Godfather 1972 - how could you not include the Godfather and it's cavalcade of stars in a top 10 list. Nuff said!
5- Jaws 1975 - yes, I'm a sucker for shark movies, but Jaws is actually done really well and not in a bad way... As a matter of fact, if it were on right now, if be watching it - but it's not. Oddly, it seems to be on every Thanksgiving. How is Thanksgiving related to sharks?!
6- Bell, Book, and Candle 1958 - another movie with a cavalcade of stars - Jimmy Stewart, Jack Lemmon, Ernie Kovacs, Elsa Lancaster, Hermione Gingold, and Kim Novak as a hip beatnik witch. takes place in NYC where they go to a cool underground club, called The Zodiac, where the Brothers Candoli play a mean rendition of Stormy Weather.
I still need 4 more movies, but I'm just not ready to commit yet. In the meantime, here are some other movies that I like a lot:
Sharknado - good in a really bad way - or is that bad in a really good way
My Cousin Vinny
West Side Story
Gone With the Wind
These are all movies that I've seen way more than once. Future postings will include a comedy list, more obscure and interesting movies, scary movies, b-movies, etc.
Ok, I can't take it anymore. I watch a lot of movies and well, yes, sometimes the badder they are, the better. Sometimes they are just bad and sometimes I wade through the end only to find that OMG, I have seen this movie before and, yes, it was crappy.
So it was tonight.
"From Within" 2008, rash of suicides in a very Christian community, add a little magic or spells or well, I did hear the word 'curse' bandied about. Seemed like it had potential. Was it really a curse or were people just thinking that - it was just inside their heads, not really real? Well, I had to find out.
The movie is 89 minutes long and I knew I had to be getting near the end because I had been watching it for sooooo long. I paused it to see how much time I had left, figuring it to be about 15 minutes. I had only been watching for 45 minutes! I still had 45 more minutes to go. I'd already seen about 6 people kill themselves without much variation in the plot line... Yes, I use the term 'plot line' very loosely. I wasn't sure I could take much more - have I used the word 'tedious' yet? But I did want to see how it ended.
So for the last 45 minutes, I checked my email, FaceBook, and played a few games of Candy Crush. That definitely made it easier to watch. Then at the end where they were going to tie it all together, there at the end of the pier with the girl and the 2 love interests and the guns and the magic book and the spooky double that makes you commit suicide, I realized that I had seen this movie before and that it was crappy and that the attempt to tie it all together was very lame. Actually, the best part of the movie was after I had been watching it for about 10 minutes, my husband came home and I paused the movie so we could watch an episode of Breaking Bad (season 3.) and no, that's not why the movie seemed soooo long. It seemed long because it was incredibly boring.
Out of 5 stars - I'd give this 1. It wasn't even so bad that it was good. It was just bad. 👎👎👎👎
I've gotten deeply into making these loop-in-loop chains. I use 16 gauge copper, anneal it and wrap it around a brass tube. I use my flex shaft with a cutting disc to cut the coil. I fuse each piece to make a jump ring. Using a pair of round nose pliers I elongate the ring into an oval and then pinch the middle. I anneal the pieces again, then fold them over; then link them together. I push a tapered center punch through each link to make them even and usually anneal them again so that the chain will move freely. I sand any rough edges, then polish parts of the chain.
It's quite time consuming but also very addictive and meditative.
| || |
Businesses I Have Started!
What businesses have you started in your lifetime? Yes, that can include a lemonade stand or dog-walking business when you were 9! Which were successful, which weren't, which were a total nightmare.
Well, all my life I have always had a 'great' idea for a business. I grew up in Ohio and I did freelance graphic art there for a few years and then learned sign painting from these 2 really old guys, very old school. It all served me well, though.
Awhile ago (now in California), I learned how to use Weebly and designed my website with it, then I made one for a friend. Seemed like it could be a good business... I invited a friend of mine to go to the Big Foot Museum with me and asked her if she wanted to start a web design business. She replied that she didn't know anything about web design and I said that I didn't either. Hence, our business started. We've actually designed quite a few websites and even teach a workshop on how to build a website using Weebly.
When the websites got a little slow, we decided to make and sell mini-pies. CA just passed a new law regarding the cottage food industry where you could bake in your own kitchen as long as it was food that didn't need to be refrigerated. We got the license, took a food handling class, and I even got my kitchen inspected! Well, pies don't make you a whole lot of money, they are a lot of work, they don't keep for very long, and I gained 10 pounds. Exit the pie business or 'pie-gate' as we refer to it.
I used to work for a family resource center and whenever we would get sick of our job we would create fantasy businesses, always with the intention to really do it.
Our first fantasy job was to become childbirth assistants. We took a 3-day workshop to get our careers started. We don't really want to talk about what we had to do there, let's just say, it didn't work out.
The next great idea was to open a fairy store. No we are not 13. We had visions of sugarplums... uh, and dressing in full fairy regalia in the store full of fairy items catering to the wee people... you know little girls and their moms. We like to make things and went off on some fairy idea, maybe it started with a pin, we really can't remember. And we were going to have one of our other disgruntled co-workers work there also. We were creating jobs!
When the fairy idea got to be too weirdly whimsical, we grew into another fantasy business. It was hard to find a good vanity, you know a desk-like thing with a mirror where you sit and do your make-up and hair. After finding exactly 2 affordable semi-antique vanities and buying them, our business became 'Vanity Fairy.' We were going to paint the vanities and still sell fairy items. We thought carrying the furniture would legitimize the fairy part. However, 1st you have to know how refinish furniture. This was hard... Too hard. We moved on.
Another of our business habits was to go to a book store and buy a craft book and bring it to work and make that our next business. One such book was on making lampshades. 'That would be a good idea, wouldn't it?' And how about using felt board cutouts to attach to the shades? Or how about just making felt board stories?!
Then the next week we realized that a good (otto)man is hard to find. And we don't mean auto. "How about making ottomans?" That seemed like a good idea. Of course we really didn't know how to make an ottoman, but we did spend a little time looking at wooden footstools, which lead us to making 'Stools for Stools' a small bench to put your feet on while you are pooping (this is anatomically a better way to poop!) However, when you have one of these little stools in your bathroom and you don't have a small child who needs a stepping stool, people start to question what it's for. So we moved on.
Check out what other Etsy Metal members have done! 2Roses formandfunktion Inbar Bareket Laura Jane Bouton
I have a BFA in sculpture and did metal sculpture and some jewelry in college, a long long time ago.
But, I've made art all my life. I've made lots and lots of different art... printmaking, calligraphy, sign painting, clay, silk painting, metal sculpture, photography, drawing, ...
I don't really think I have a choice, I have to make something.
So about 10 years ago I ventured back into working with metal and enamels and making jewelry. And I felt like I had come home. I absorbed everything I read and learned in workshops and it stuck. It was as if I already knew all of this stuff, I had just forgotten.
It was different than making something to hang on a wall. Jewelry is more alive: it moves; it's 3-dimensional; it's noisy; you are allowed to touch it, as a matter of fact you have to touch it. I have a hard time going to a museum or a gallery to look at paintings and sculpture and not being allowed to touch them... I do it anyway!
The other thing that appeals to my ADD nature, is that just about any art that you can do, you can do on jewelry, like painting, drawing, calligraphy, small sculpture, photography... so I feel like I'm not missing out on anything.
BAD 2013 61/365
, a photo by markasky
Brooch # 61 of 365. Mesh fused on to burned copper with fossilized sand dollar setting.
Check out my how-to article on making earrings from the series "Scars Make Your Body More Interesting" in the spring Belle Armoire Jewelry issue!
What are your photography secrets?! Any tips, tricks, what works best for you, what doesn't? How often do you photograph your work? Do you have an expensive set-up or a homemade one. Your best piece of advice for photographing jewelry. Show us some of your best photos.
I'm a metal smith. I make jewelry and small sculptural pieces. I'm not a photographer. But I need to take pictures of my work and it's expensive to have to keep paying someone else to do it and I'm not usually happy with the results. So out of necessity, I've had to learn to photograph my work. It's been a long process (and I'm not done yet!) I did take a couple of photography classes in college, but that was a long time ago in the days of actually putting film in your camera.
Early Crappy Photos
| || |
Something that helped a lot was taking a lighting class from a local photographer. A lot of simple, inexpensive tricks, using a plastic milk carton to filter the light, frosted plexiglas, elevating the piece on a piece of glass with some texture below that will be out of focus. Also to think about unusual props. (Although I did just order some lights and a light tent.)
I looked at a lot of other people's photos, asked how they did it. Lighting is really important and shooting in daylight can be really good. Indirect lighting.
Read books, read blogs, experimented - a lot. Doing Ring-A-Day was really helpful. I know that if you keep doing something every day, you start to figure things out and get better at it. I had to take at least 1 picture a day, and that really helped step up the game.
| || |
It's really about paying attention to the details before you take the picture. Where's the reflection, is there too much glare, is there dirt on background, what's in focus - what's not.
I shoot in RAW format. I like that because I can adjust the white balance in the RAW program instead of my camera. That way I don't have to remember where the AWB button is or spend an hour looking for it in the manual. And I can save the photo as a big file and refer back to it if I need the picture in different formats.
For when I need a quick photo... like for Brooch A Day... I shoot my brooches mostly on a piece of frosted white plexiglas to get a good contrast of the image so I can add a gradient background in PhotoShop. I also use frosted white plexiglas as a filter on the 2 side lights and top light.
It's hard with jewelry, because what works well with one piece doesn't necessarily work well with others. I use PhotoShop to add backgrounds, adjust the exposure, contrast and clean up any dirt and dust. The one thing I'd really like to learn is to do gradients using lighting and the camera... my brain can't seem to get a grip on that yet!
To see more photography tips, check out other
Etsy Metal members here:Lou HunterLaura Jane Bouton Mary Anne Karren2Roses Chrysoula NodeformDeborah Lee TaylorAbella Blue