Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Touched By a Flower

realistic imposter

Isn't this a beautiful flower? It belongs to Kevin. (Yes, Kevin!) The other day I had to run to Michael's for some supplies and while there, Kevin and I always get lost amongst the silk flower section. Dozens upon dozens of realistic looking flowers of every shape, form, color and texture imaginable. Needless to say, some are quite expensive. Others, however, are cheap in comparison, like this gerbera daisy. It was a whopping $.99 and of course, being pink, was Kevin's favorite.

So I told him he could get it and he carried it around the store, proudly waving it as if it were his magic wand. He would tap it on things and say his magic words (whatever they were, I can't remember now what he said). He had so much fun with it. It was the best $.99 I ever spent. :)

Well, from Michael's we went to Petco to get Barney's dog cookies (another place in which we get lost looking at all the different critters). He carried his flower into the store proudly, parading it in front of the aquariums and in front of the gerbils and snakes. Then we got to the rabbits (I suppose they were stocking up for Easter, poor things) and they seemed a bit interested in his flower. I thought it was funny. Kevin enjoyed it. When the bunnies realized they couldn't even smell it through the glass they became disinterested.

So off through the store we went to look for any kitties. There are usually some adoptable cats in the back of the store waiting for new homes. One particular calico cat had so much fun chasing Kevin's flower. Being the playful kitty it was, it would swat at the glass and jump up at the flower, trying to get at it and attack it. Kevin had fun playing with it through the glass. Almost as fun as the kitty did! And then it was time to go.

Well, on our way to the checkout, we happened to pass by the exotic birds. There were the parakeets and budgies, love birds and cockatiels. There was a cockatoo and a macaw. But then there was this one bird in particular call a Lori, and when it saw Kevin's flower it began to talk and jabber and became excited! It climbed down from its perch and walked over to the glass to investigate further. (This was a huge cage this bird was in. About 10 feet tall and about 4 feet wide at least, and it was right up next to the glass.) This bird was smart. It knew what Kevin had. It knew this was a flower. And it knew it wanted it!

The Lori followed that flower wherever Kevin moved it. It climbed up the cage if he raised it up. It would climb back down to the bottom if he lowered it down. It tried its dang best to get to the flower through the glass, pecking on the glass and cocking its head in confusion trying to discern why it couldn't get to it. Kevin played with this bird for a good 10-15 minutes at least, letting the bird try to grab it and showing it the end of its stem. When Kevin would talk to the bird through the glass, the bird would mutter something in response! When Kevin would walk away or put the flower down, or even just hide it behind his back, the bird would start squawking at him to come back or bring it back! It was the funniest thing! Then the bird turned to Kevin and looked him right squarely in the eye with its head cocked as if saying "can I have your flower, pleeeease?" When it did that, Kevin looked at me and said "can I give it my flower?"... Whoa! Kevin was willing to give up his prized possession for this bird caged bird. That was just incredibly generous and caring for such a young kid to do, in my opinion. Especially when it involved his newly purchased and prized flower he loved so much.

I told him I didn't know if the bird could have it or not, so I went off to ask the attendant if my son could give his silk flower to the bird. Unfortunately she said no, it was not allowed. The birds could tear them apart and possibly choke on things like that. So I had to go back and break the news to him.

"The bird can't have your flower, sweetpea. It's against their rules. I'm sorry. They might tear them up and choke on them." He turned around facing the glass with his back to me and just stood there, the bird reaching for the flower the entire time. It was pitiful. Then Kevin sunk to his knees in front of the bird. They were eye to eye. I walked over to him and knelt down next to him and that's when I saw he was crying.

He wanted to give his flower to this bird so badly because it was having so much fun with it and because it was in a cage by itself. "It will be all right, sweetpea. The bird has its own toys, see?" "But it wants my flower and it's all alone with no friends." (long pause while I thought of what in the world to say and fight back the tears....) Then he said, "Maybe we could buy the bird and take it home with us. Then he could have the flower." Yeah... well, this bird cost $549.99. There was no way we could buy this bird even if we wanted to. I explained that we couldn't have it and that it was too expensive. Then he just sobbed!

I finally hugged him, then told him we had to go and to tell the bird goodbye. I told him that the bird would find a good home. The attendant said that the bird was smart and very 'soft spoken' at times. She said that the reason it probably wanted the flower was because in the wild these birds would eat the nectar out of flowers, and it probably just came naturally to this bird to want to get at it. She again told Kevin why it was not a good idea to give the flower to the bird, that it wasn't real and the bird might choke on it. Kevin nodded his head that he understood, but he still cried to have to leave the bird. And I cried too!

Kevin is such a sweet, sensitive, caring young boy. I'm astonished sometimes by his compassion and depth of heart. He has such a good soul. This incident proved to me that I must be doing something right for him to want to give his prized possession brand new flower to this lonely caged bird. I felt proud and so touched. :)

Until next time....

(It's thundering outside.....)

Friday, February 22, 2008

A Sick Day and Some New Jewelry

sick day, originally uploaded by msbellee.

OK. I did it again. I jinxed the poor boy.

Two weeks to the day since he was declared better by the ENT and the second CT scan, he is once again sick. Stuffy/runny nose, sore throat, cough. The good thing is there is no fever so it's hopefully just a cold. But it's enough to make me want to keep my mouth shut about his health for the rest of his life!!!

He slept until about 12:00 p.m. When he got up he did not want to eat. He would only drink warm tea with honey, some water, a little milk, and he ate a partial bowl of Apple Jacks. Didn't finish those though. So he went the rest of the day lounging around watching TV, playing with his toy cars, and finally he said he wanted to string some beads.

I gave him a long strand of temporarily strung pearls that he'd given me for Chirstmas and set him up with some beading wire. He strung pearls for a good while as he watched TV and blew his nose. Then, as with all things for a 6 year old, he eventually got bored after a while. He strung a good bit though. I doubt he'll finish it any time soon. I like for him to string beads more for his hand-eye coordination than anything. Although he did string an entire necklace one time with my supervision and I still have it. I'll always keep it. I'll photograph it and show it to you sometime.

The poor boy just cannot stay well. He's only been off of the antibiotic for 2 weeks. He can't very well stay on them the rest of his life though, but I have no clue what to do. Is his immune system still so compromised that even just the smallest passing bug will attack him? It's so disheartening and discouraging. And he cried when he started blowing, like he new what was coming next.

Luckily this time there is no fever. That's what makes me think it's a cold. But we'll see. I'll update his progress here. (Well, maybe not. The more I speak of his health (it seems) the more I jinx him. And it's pretty boring news actually.)


I made just a few new earrings that I'll be adding to my shop when I can. Here's a collage of them for you to see.


Included here is the second and last pair of whopper prasiolite earrings. These are 17.65 carats total weight and measure 9.8x34mm for the briolettes themselves and 1 7/8 inches in height (around 48mm). These are truly gorgeous stones and a stunning pair of earrings. They are whoppers!

There is also a plump pair of smoky quartz briolette earrings in goldfill as well as a smaller pair of prasiolite earrings in sterling silver. There's a pretty pair of pink amethyst puffed diamond briolette earrings. I hung those on goldfilled marquise shapes that I hammered for texture. (They're so, so pretty but I can't for the life of me get a good picture of them!) Also, there are two pairs of peachy-pink pearl earrings, one short, one long, that are hung on twisted circle rings. I have one strand of these pearls (which have the highest luster I've ever seen) so I will be able to make quite a few pairs if they sell. (If not, I'll make a necklace or something with them.) The customer will have their choice of earwires. All these will be available in my shop soon! :)

That's it for now. I just wanted to stop in a say hello and let everyone know that today was a sick day. Although he's not as sick as he was with his sinus infection, I always worry that it will lead us back down that path.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Until next time....

Monday, February 18, 2008

Let's Play Tag and Give Out Some Awards!

I had a wonderful weekend. Didn't get squat done, just goofed off all weekend long! And I didn't get anything done today either (Monday). It was President's Day (one of those made-up holidays) and Kevin was out of school and home so I was a bit preoccupied today.

But as far as the weekend went, it was great. For starters, Jo of GemHeaven awarded me the "Make My Day Award" which is a first for me! Thank you so very much Jo! I really appreciate that! She's across the pond over there in jolly old England! (isn't that just cool?!) So now my job is to give out 5 awards myself.

First of all, here are the rules:
1. Write a post with links to 5 blogs that make me think and/or make my day.
2. Acknowledge the post of the award giver.
3. Display the “You Make My Day Award” logo
4. Tell the award winners that they have won by commenting on their blogs with the news.

I have chosen to award the following:
1. Shannon
2. Stephanie
3. Chimin
4. Candace
5. Stacie

Now these five can go off and give out awards of their own!


And now for the second part of this entry:

I've was tagged 3 times! Lisa of LStone Designs, Cindy of Starry Designs, and Amanda of EbbandFlo/Pomomama have all so very generously tagged me and now I must tell 7 things about myself. Then I get to do the tagging of 7 more people! (But as far as I'm concerned, if you're reading this you can consider yourself tagged! You can play if you want, but it's ok with me if you don't.)

OK, here are the rules:

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

And here we go:

1. I drink about a pot of coffee a day. Usually....

2. When I was a little, little kid, I was out on my slide when a thunderstorm began. I wouldn't get down by myself and I don't remember anybody coming to get me. As a result, I was terrified of thunderstorms all my life until about 15 years ago when I finally learned to appreciate their power and beauty. I still have a great respect for them, but I'm no longer scared and now love to watch them.

3. After I had Kevin (I don't remember how long after, maybe a year or so) I learned I was menopausal. I had gone to the OB-Gyn to find out if I could get pregnant again. No more eggs. No more hormones. No more babies. No more monthy cycle. No more youth. I was depressed about it for a while, but then realized that since there was nothing I could do about it, I might as well get used to it. I don't miss the monthly cycle. I don't miss the PMS. It was sad to realize that I could no longer have kids and that part of my life was now over, but God doesn't give us any more than we can handle, so I guess he thought I could just handle Kevin!

4. I want to live in a house in the woods or on top of a mountain somewhere where I can't see a single streetlight anywhere around me. I doubt that will ever happen but I can wish!

5. When I sit at the computer or when I sit to work on my jewelry, my feet get all swollen. My toes will end up numb and my ankles look like I'm 9 months pregnant!

6. I played an eskimo girl in a high school comedy and had to wear hot pants and a tank top as my costume (this was the 1970s). My only line was "Naki, Naki!" which was repeated several times throughout the play. That's all the character knew how to say!

7. I still get acne. I'm freaking 46 years old and in menopause, and I still have freaking zits!!!! Geez! Does it never end!?

So there. Not too interesting I'm afraid. I hope the people who tagged me aren't hurt when I say to my tagees that they can choose to play if they want to, if not, that's ok by me. My feelings will not be hurt!

Here are the wonderful people I am going to tag:

1. Hannah (Kutuu)

2. Brenda (Phydeaux)

3. Amanda (ChoeBoutique/Wildlifer78)

4. Misti (MDK Jewelry)

5. Jo (GemHeaven)

6. Yazmin (A Pretty Rock)

7. Ann (Beadiful Things)

Don't hate me! I'm just playing the game!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Kevin & Me

I've seen so many self-portraits on Flicker and I always say to myself, "Ain't no way in heck I'm ever gonna do that!" Basically because I don't want my ol' mug up there for all the world to see! It was one thing when I was a little more youthful, even 5 years ago! But now, since I've had Kevin and since I have no more hormones, well, let's just say that the gray just gets grayer and the wrinkles just get wrinklier! So now I have this thing about seeing myself in pictures. I just don't care for it too much. I just don't care for it a lot actually!

Now having said that, what do you think I did today? Right! I took a self-portrait of me and Kevin and put it on Flickr for all the world to see!! HA! We had major fun doing it! I took a ton of pictures, most of which turned out yucky, or blurry, or the lighting was too dark or too bright, or he made faces in them, etc. But this one, well, this one was ok. (I liked it because it didn't show my double chin thanks to Kevin's head!)

Kevin & me, originally uploaded by msbellee.

He looked cute with his little close-mouthed grin and bedhead, and I had the same grin on my face while looking at his grin. I was thinking "you're such a cutie." It's funny to see us both smiling the same way. He was just plain silly during the whole thing though!

That's it. Just wanted to share our self-portrait day with you all. Hope you got a kick out of it! We did!

The EtsyBead Street Team & Fun New Earrings

Hello everyone! I'm excited to announce that I was recently interviewed as a spotlight member on the EtsyBead Street Team's blog! You can see my interview here as well as other street team spotlight member interviews.

There are some wonderfully talented members on the EtsyBead Street Team, all of whom work very hard at their craft and create some truly wonderful works of art. You can find links to the team site on the lefthand side of this page as well as a link to the EtsyBead Blog Ring. Why not click on it and travel around the blogring to get to know some of these talented artists and see their work? You might just come upon the perfect pair of earrings or that bracelet you've always envisioned on your wrist! Give them a look! Tell them MsBelle sent you!


This morning I decided to try a little something different in the way of earrings. I practiced a couple of times before I landed on the correct technique, but I finally got it! Here's what I'm talking about. Tell me what you think!

swirly sterling silver earrings

These are just plain fun! They're made using 20 or 21 gauge sterling silver wire all wrapped around itself in a twirly spiral. Aren't they cool?! To put them on, you thread the spiral end through your piercing, either through the front or back. They're extremely lightweight and so much fun! They'll be a conversation piece, that's for sure!

There's a surprising amount of work that's involved in making these, foremost being getting the spirals to match. But then also making sure there are no kinks in the wire, hammering the bottom tip and filing to shape it. Then you have to make sure the thread end is not too sharp so you file it down too, rounding it off so it goes comfortably through the piercing. You don't want to draw blood!

swirly sterling silver earrings

I'm going to try and make a whole slew of them in as many different configurations as I can think of: short spirals, long spirals, tight spirals, loose spirals, with beads, without beads, etc. I hope these will become popular because they're just plain cool!

Now this is not a new design by any means, and it is not my design I must admit. I created these from a tutorial I discovered back in 2006, but I had never gotten up the nerve to try it. Well, I finally tried it and I did it! When I showed them to Kevin he said "they look like the twirly slide at the playground!" So I'm calling them "Let's Go On the Twirly Slide!" :D

I'm not sure how much to price them yet. I have to work that out. But they should be available in my shop by Monday night! :)


I have one last bit of news and then I shall go. I took Kevin to the ENT today for the second CT scan of his sinuses. As you may recall, he had a chronic sinus infection that was keeping him sick. He just could not get well. So he has been on an antibiotic (Augmentin) for the past 30 days. Well, today the scan showed his big gray blog was now a black area as it should be, showing no more infection in that sinus cavity! Yay! He hasn't blown his nose for the past two weeks and we actually have full boxes of tissues instead of almost empty ones! I had been afraid to say anything for fear I would jinx the poor boy. But now I can shout it out!


On that note I will leave you and hope that each and every one of you has a terrific weekend!

Until next time....

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

Addressing his cards, originally uploaded by msbellee.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Kevin and I had fun tonight as he addressed the Valentine's Day cards he got for his kindergarten classmates. He had fun picking them out at the dollar store (we didn't have time to make them ourselves). Not a lot of money was spent, but it didn't matter how much they cost; his heart went into each and every one of them as if they cost a million dollars!

He painstakingly wrote each of his classmates' names on them and signed his name at the bottom. With each one he would carefully put a little red heart sticker somewhere on the front. He was so cute as he did this, sitting back and looking at the card, making sure he put his sticker in just the right spot. Then he would set that card aside in a little pile and pick up the next one, asking who it was for as I read the names out to him. I would tell him the spelling of the name and he would then print the name on the card. Sometimes he would run out of room as he hasn't perfected the art of writing his letters big enough or small enough to just fit on the line! But no matter. He enjoyed his task completely and I enjoyed helping him!


He got his report card and it was very good! He got the highest marks one can get, a '3' on a scale of 1-3. He also got 2 awards! One was for math and one was for literacy and reading. His reading is coming right along. I'm very proud of him. He likes math too. He can count past 100 and can count by twos, fives and tens. He know which is less, 49 or 51. He knows how to separate a group into halves and quarters. He knows sequencing (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.). He's just really enjoying school and learning quite a bit.

I still try to teach him anything and everything I can as it comes up in everyday life or conversation, likefor example the Shuttle and what happens during launch and liftoff! (we watched the launch the other day. I always try to watch the launches, and especially with him if I can.) I talked to him about the space station, why it's up there, how it got there, why the Shuttle was going back and forth to it, etc., and I will continue to do that. I believe it's very important for him to understand as much as he can about it. I try to cram in whatever other random facts I can about whatever it is he wants to know (if I know the subject!). I hope it helps.

The only thing he needs to work on as was noted on his report card are his 'listening and concentration skills'! So we had a discussion about that!

Overall I'm extremely pleased with his performance so far in school! But he has had some days where it was noted that he talked or didn't listen, or where he couldn't sit still or wasn't paying attention. I guess we all have days like that though! He knows that he needs to work on it. We talked about it. Maybe it will sink in given time!

I'm very proud of you Kevin. I want you to know that. I love you very much! :D


And now for my big news. Last weekend I broke 200 sales!!! I was just thrilled about it too and would have drunk a toast if I had had some wine! I had been a making fool, creating quite a few things and they have been selling pretty well. Now I'm running low on items in my shop so I will have to take some time and create some new pieces to replace what has sold. My shop looks so bare! Yay! I want to thank everyone who was part of my 200! I really appreciate all your support and hope that I can continue to create things you like.

Some of my favorite pieces went to new homes and I'm so happy about it! I was just thrilled that this one particular pair of new earrings that sold. They consisted of substantially large AAA grade green amethyst (prasiolite) briolettes (9x32mm) that were a total of 16.50 carats!! They just dripped from the ear with their beautiful sparkly pastel green color. They sold within a few days of listing them and I couldn't have been more thrilled!

Large prasiolite/green amethyst briolette earrings in goldfill

Large prasiolite/green amethyst briolette earrings in goldfill

They were/are stunning gems, just stunning. I would not have minded keeping them at all but I was ecstatic that they found a home! I ordered another pair of those beauties and they arrived today! So I'll get to make at least one more pair of these. The new set of briolettes is just a tad larger by about 1mm and weigh 17 carats if I'm not mistaken. They are gorgeous!

I have lots of new beads but just can't decide what to do with them. Here are some beautiful blue chalcedony briolettes. They have such a nice dark aqua color and they sparkle like the dickens!

Nothing like pretty beads to brighten your day!

And here is a very interesting and unique looking rock crystal focal bead in a fancy kite shape with very interesting faceting. It reminds me of a prism or a kaleidoscope!

Fancy step-cut rock crystal focal bead

I'm going to take a few days off however due to my neck, shoulders and back have been giving me a few pains over the past week. It comes from sitting at that big desk which is not the most ideal workspace in the world, but it's all I have. I hunch over a lot and need to get a better setup. Also, when I take pics I lean over a lot too. Seeing as how I use a TV tray next to the window to take pics on (in natural daylight if I can) and I am sometimes forced to sit on a lower stool to get good angles, it's no wonder I'm aching. If I can't use the TV tray, I use the light tent and a daylight bulb but I still have to hunch over to get a good angle. What I would give for a real studio and a real bench and a real photograhy setup! You use what you have and that's all you can do!

So expect to see some new things coming down the line soon (I hope). There is one fairly new pair of earrings in the shop still: a pair of chalcedony teardrop briolettes in goldfill. I have more earrings sitting aside that I have not yet done the pics for yet but will get to them eventually. Then they too will get listed.

I just wanted to check in and say hello and tell you all thank you very much for helping me break the 200 mark! After I decide what to make with my new beads, I'll report back on what's coming down the pipe!

Until then, Happy Valentine's Day and I hope you all have a good weekend!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Check It Out!

A picture I took a while back of a clementine (you know, the citrus fruit) was included on a certain slant of light's blog today as one of her Fridiay Flickr Favorites! Go check it out! It's at the bottom right, "Anatomy of a Clementine."

Thanks very much to Molly of "a certain slant of light" for including me! She has a beautiful blog.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Today it rained. Boy did it rain! At least it seemed like it did, we haven't had any in so long. Oh now, I'm not complaining as we need the rain so desperately. We're in a severe drought and every little drop helps. I noticed the birds were scarce today. I usually see a few cardinals and juncos outside the window of the room where I work, but they didn't show up today. I suppose the rain kept them snuggled into their nests to keep warm and dry. So today I worked.

While it rained, I rephotographed some older pieces of jewelry that haven't sold yet and I'm going to try to bring some new life to them with new pictures. Here's one example:

This pink and green tourmaline and oval coin pearl necklace and earring set was one of the first pieces I listed on Etsy. It has over 1400 views, 49 hearts (people who have made it a favorite) but still no takers. I've lowered the price and raised the price, put it on sale, then raised the price again. I don't know why it still lives with me. It's a really pretty set. I'm only left to assume that no one wants a set. So after some discussion on Flickr with some other Etsy sellers, I guess I'm going to have to break them up (which breaks my heart). And everyone knows that breaking up is hard to do.... (I know: pitiful pun. But it fits!)


So I've had my shop on Etsy for a little over a year now and just in the past few months things have started picking up for me a bit. I'm now pushing 200 sales which I'm absolutely thrilled about! Just recently I acquired a few new gemstone beads. I'll probably hoard them for a while and stare at them, but I'll eventually make something with them to share with everyone else. (That's one of the hardest things for me to do, part with my stash!)

Here are some really pretty kyanite briolettes that I've made into simple wire wrapped earrings. They are a nice size briolette. They're big enough so they won't get lost in long hair, and they're shiny and glossy with a very pretty icy blue body color. They'll go with just about anything from jeans to a black dress.

Kyanite briolette earrings in sterling silver

...and I have a few more briolettes if anyone wants a pair. :)

February 6th I'll be doing another showcase. This time on a Wednesday instead of my usual Thursday. That's because I accidently selected the wrong day when clicking! This will be my last one for a while as I'm getting a bit burned out and they're getting just too expensive to keep doing. But I've said that before. I did well in the last two I was in, including this past Thursday. Lots of views once again and sold quite a few things that day (for me anyway). But the showcase always helps to stimulate me in a creative direction. I get my hands to work making new pieces so I can put them in the showcase (if they're worthy). This past Thursday night got me 5 sales! (Thank you to everyone who visited my shop that day! I appreciate you stopping by!) But like I said, burnout is here so I need to take a few days off from pushing myself.

I have to leave you with my new favorite pair of earrings. They're really pretty rose quartz teardrops briolettes with oxidized sterling silver spiral cage links. I oxidized the sterling silver to be very dark. Aren't they cool looking? I'm in love with them. That's my last pair of these rose quartz until I can find some more.

Rose quartz briolettes and oxidized sterling silver cage link earrings

That's it for now. I hope everyone has a great weekend.

Until later....