Friday, April 30, 2010

Fantastic Friday

You know what's fantastic? All of the garden photos in this post were taken with my iPhone camera. Not perfect, but I think some of it is the operator.

Clematis reaching for the sun.

I think we're finally done with the rain around here (crosses fingers). The wisteria and clematis are blooming, and the soil is getting warmer. The heirloom tomato seedlings we bought a few weeks ago are itching to be planted, and by May 15 it will be safe to do so. Until now I've got to baby them and bring them indoors at night.

New planter recycled from an old toy box. Bird netting protects the plants from deer.

The soil is warming up!

I've been making some cabachons lately using some new tools I got at the last SGB Norcal meeting from a local tool maker. These belong to my friend Cyndie now, and I can't wait to see what she does with them.

This one, however, is available now in my Etsy shop. It would make a killer ring.

Meanwhile, enjoy this video of the 10 Biggest, Best Jumps Ever. I just love watching extreme sports! Get ready to feel the adrenaline.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sucks to be That Guy Day

Wow. Imagine working for Apple in your dream job of designing the next generation iPhone. Imagine going to a bar after work for some shop talk with your buds, and then (OMG!) leaving a top secret prototpye of your project sitting on a bar stool. Yeah, sucks to be that guy alright.

Maybe you should friend Gray Powell on Facebook and tell him how sorry you are for his predicament. I bet his dream of one day meeting Steve Jobs is going to come true. I just have a hunch.


Looks like it might also suck to be the guy reporting this news. Here's a news story from today's local paper on it. Curiouser and curiouser.

And check out Woz's t-shirt in this little bit on the story. Fabulous! I almost want one.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bear With Me...

while I make a few adjustments to the layout of my blog. I've been meaning to do this for a while now, and Earth Day seemed like a good time to do it.

Hope you're finding a wonderful way to honor Mother Earth. We watched Food Inc. finally last night, and it was sobering, to say the least. I was shocked to learn how few companies (Corporations) control the food sources in this country. Unfortunately, it does seem to be true that you get what you pay for.

Meanwhile, here's a new pendant design I created the other day...with a surprise.

Magic Bullet Pendant, now in my Etsy shop.

Magic Bullet Pendant showing the surprise on the bottom. A lovely lilac flower!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Gorgeous, Productive Day

What a lovely day! It's gorgeous and pushing 70 today, and every living thing seems to be out and about enjoying it. I'm even sure that the skunk we caught under the house and relocated yesterday is kicking up his smelly little heels with joy at his new creekside home.

Finally! Some peace and quiet at night, with no more skunk parties on our water pipes.

Cleaned some great beads from my session the torch yesterday, and will share a fun new pendant design with you when I figure out what to call them. Each one contains a tiny surprise!

Went on a great little drive through the countryside to Love Apple Farm to get our heirloom tomato plant starts - special varieties that do well in the coastal mountains. The plants are teeny tiny and won't be put out until the middle of May, so I'll have to baby them every day and gradually ween them onto the sunlight. After last summer's tour of the farm I'm totally hooked on their plants and growing tips, and hope ours do as well as Cynthia's this year. And after that we paid a visit to Mountain Feed & Farm Supply, the coolest little place to buy organic fertilizer, pet supplies, birdseed, and plants, and even biodiesel fuel!

Love Apple Farms has hundreds of tomato varieties to choose from.

Lovely fountain at the farm.

Cynthia recommends a 2 foot deep planting hole with a fish head or fish meal, 2 handfuls of Sustane organic fertilizer, one handful of worm castings, 1 Tbsp. humic acid, eggshells, a handful of bone meal, 2 aspirins, Root Zone, and water. While I garden mostly organically and have lots of home made worm castings, some of these things required the visit to Mountain Feed.

Got the debris laden garage roof blown off too - obnoxious as it is, I do love my electric leaf blower. The power and ability to literally wipe things clean with one sweep of the nozzle is a bit intoxicating to me, and fortunately our rural neighbors don't care much about the noise from our electric model. Best to get that tree crap off there before the next rain, and yes, we're still supposed to get more this year.

Are you watching Jamie's Kitchen? That new reality show where he's trying to improve the food served in the public schools in West Virginia? Apparently that region scored among the worst in the U.S. on obesity related factors, according to the Center for Disease control, so Jamie took it upon himself to make a reality show out of removing the processed food from the schools and teaching the cooks how to prepare real food from scratch. It's a tough battle, but a sound mission and I hope he succeeds. His heart is in the right place.

I've also upcycled my husband's childhood toy box into a large, deep planter I plan to use for vegetables in a sunny part of the yard. It feels so good to get my hands dirty this time of year. Anyone want some wild onions? They're notorious pests around here and spread like wildfire, but the earth was moist enough that I think (hope) I got them all. They're good to eat, I'm told, so maybe I'll toss them in the wok, Jamie Oliver style.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Images from a recent hike in the woods.

Redwoods burned in a fire in the 1980s.

Spring is just about to burst forth - I can feel it.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Gotta Love Google

Anyone who spends any time in the Etsy forums lately knows that there is an uproar in progress concerning the nosedive in views and sales experienced there since sometime around mid-March. Nobody really knows what happened. There is a lot of finger pointing, mostly at Etsy, but a growing number point at Google for their SEO project code named "Caffeine", designed to compete with Microsoft's Bing.

Apparently the search world has been rocked by changes Google has been making to their search algorithm (or by the resulting incompatibility between Etsy and Google), and anyone who relies on virtual customers finding their virtual wares using an internet search is completely vulnerable to the fate of these tweaks. Nobody even knows if the caffeine search infrastructure is even live yet, and Google is staying mum about it, but it's becoming increasingly clear that something did indeed happen to shake things up around mid-March.

I use Google Analytics to see where my Etsy shop traffic comes from, and the keywords that they use to end up in my shop. It's always been somewhat broken, in my opinion, but recently, it's gotten even curiouser. Here are my top 10 favorite keywords that visitors to my shop used in the last month:

10. "Peace car decals". Hmmm, how did Google know I had these? I guess their satellites are more powerful than I thought.
9. "Littlefee shoes".
8. "Hippie wedding dresses".
7. "Leather robot".
6. "Solid perfume in a wood container".
5. "Rhinestone white flip flops".
4. "Tummy mountain".
3. "Cowgirl crosses".
2. "Fabric with pigs on it".

and finally,

1. "Knattydreadz".

I think I need some caffeine. The good kind.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Rain Rain Go Away!

The incredible rains we've had this winter are doing their thing to make the moss covering every possible forest surface become lush once again. I just want to lie down on a bed of this stuff! At the very least I'm considering making our front lawn from it. Heck, it's doing better than the grass, so why not? The ferns are loving the water too, and unfurling their new fronds freely.

Gravity Tube earrings, delicate and fraternal, and light as a feather!

Since it's too cold and rainy out to get out and about, I've been listing some more jewelry in my Etsy shop. I have tons of new pieces, and some of these will be coming with me to Oakland in May to the Bead Society of Northern California Bead Bazaar. Come on out to see the pretty shiny things!

Triple hoop earrings in cornflower blue.

A meanie bouquet, ready for any creative adventure.

I'm excited about finding a new place to walk in the neighborhood. A generous neighbor invited us to walk on her property, and Bodie and I had fun exploring the other day. The old redwoods are magnificent, and bear the scars of forest fires and earthquakes. Did you know that the shaking from the 1989 Loma Prieta quake snapped the tops off of many in this area?

Recently I learned from some other neighbors that there's a mountain lion in the area as evidenced by a fresh kill near the trail. There are lots of them in these hills, actually, but we never see them as they like to be private. Unfortunately a friend a few miles away has had a number of her alpaca killed by one.

While I've always known they were here, it's easy to forget about it since they're so stealthy. It took a decade of living up here before we saw our first bobcat, but he was so nonchalant as to stroll through our front yard in the middle of the morning. The big cats are different, and I plan to do what I can to be smart about it and stay safe.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Most Excellent News!

"The Bone Goddess", Convergence II Exhibition entry from Cyndie Smith
and Patty Lakinsmith, copyright 2010.

Amidst a heady blanket of recent warm spring weather I received a wonderful bit of news. Cyndie Smith and I just found out last night that our latest collaboration, "The Bone Goddess" was accepted into the Convergence II exhibit. It's very exciting, and I can't wait to see all of the other incredibly creative entries, which were based on the theme of a real or fictional character. The exhibit will be at this year's Bead and Button show in Milwaukee, and at The Gathering in Rochester, NY, and a couple of other venues that I'll share later.

Now that I've got a little photography schoolin' under my belt, I'll get a better photo to share with you before I send the piece off.

Here is a list of all of the accepted entries and artists. It's going to be a fantastic exhibit.

Dolly Ahles Persephone
Carolyn Baum Congratulations Ella!
Francie Broadie & Camille Richard Bough to Mother Nature
Terri Caspary Schmidt & Anne E. Mitchell Dharmachakra:The Wheel of Law
Heidi Coles Marguerite
Ronit Dagan Fragile Ties for Jackie Kennedy
Debra Dowden-Crockett Kaffe Fassett Collar
Alethia Donathan Peace for Catherine
Darlene Durrwachter Rushing & Donna Penoyer Stop Look Listen
Kim Edwards A Necklace for Joan of Arc
Leah Fairbanks Isadora's Scarf
Betty Fetvedt & Kathy King Nefertari’s Legacy
Georgie Field Badge for the Order of Athena
Kristen Frantzen Orr Bon Appetit
Nolly Gelsinger Titania’s Crown
William Glasner The Snow Queen
Mary Ann Helmond Queen of Shiba
Nina "Sam" Hibler & Lisa Connell Persephone's Lot
Wendy Hitchins Frida
Leslie Kaplan Excess, Imelda Marcos style
Kiersten Kern & Carol Saker She Who Shapes the Sacred Land
Terri Kraehe Little Beaver's Circle of Friends
Sara LaGrand Spywear: The Accessory for the Modern Mata Hari
Patty Lakinsmith & Cyndie Smith The Bone Goddess
Marcy Lamberson Darling Clementine
Janet Larsen & Robin Foster The Analytical Engine
Karen Leonardo & Teri Sallwasser Radioactive Curie
Louise Little & Mickey Kunkle Poppies for O'Keefe
Anne Londez Tangle
Eleanore Macnish Pendant for Alice…In Wonderland
Bernadette Mahfood Blue Plaid
Susan Matych Hager &Kathy Petersen Queen of the Faeries
Terri McGill &Tracy VanNiel Marie's Ridge
Vicki Munie& Betty Munie Nefertiti – Egyptian Queen
Sandy Parlett Seeds of Spring
Scott Parrish & Diane Mandaville Red Sonja
Janice Peacock Anne Bonny's Treasure Necklace
Sharon Peters& Christi Friesen H.G. Wells Time Machine Pocket Watch
Donna Prunkard & Stacy Frost Percussive Dance
Hannah Rosner & Marsha Wiest-Hines Daisy Buchanan: Innocence in Decay
Margie Shanahan & Linda McIlheran Dreaming of Titania
Dvora Silberman Under the Sea
Camille Simmons & Robert Simmons A Collar for Richard II
Sally Stevens Temptation
Nancy Tobey & Joy Raskin Elizabeth in the Ruff
Rowan Van Der Holt Ophelia's Flowers with Poppies From Elizabeth Siddall
Annie Vedovell Shook Sailor's Valentine - Forget Me Not
Amy Waldman Smith & Heather Taylor Poetical Science for Ada
Jeri Warhaftig & Ronnie Lambrou Stardust
Stephanie White & Gerry White Nelson's Eye Patch & Telescope
Beth Williams Granuaile’s Treasure – A Necklace for Ireland’s Pirate Queen
Stefani Woodams Netsuke of the Barn Goddess
Manuela Wutschke Atomic Forces
Teresa Yoshimura Bendt &Bronwen Heilman Earthly Delights
Patricia Zabreski Venaleck Collar for Nefertiti

Wait until I tell my friend that her alpaca's fur is going to Bead and Button!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

In Other News,

The Pride of Madeira is bursting forth with spring splendor, and I couldn't be more thrilled. This one was planted in a very tough spot, under an oak tree, in dry shade, and gets virtually no care at all. Those who know how much my glass obsession has ruled my life of late know this is true.

This shrubby member of the Echium family has coarse grey-green hairy leaves (like most anything else that does well around here) and can be seen growing wild along the steep clay banks along Highway 17. During the sad days when the blooms have faded and dried, it scatters seeds everywhere, and if you're lucky, the next year little babies can be found under the mother plant.

I tried a new mode on my camera for this - the "flower" mode, and I like it. I'll be trying that one with my bead and jewelry shots too, in my never ending quest to make my little Pentax point and shoot behave like a digital SLR.

You've Got To Be Kidding Me

A "Find"? Really?

I just read the latest "Etsy Finds", which is a periodic email containing items of note discovered by the Etsy admin team. But this one had me scratching my head.

Since last July this woman has been selling these flower stickers as "Butt Covers for Your Cat and Dog". And she appears to be selling a lot of them. Seriously? Um, if you can't handle the sight of your pet's back end, I'm thinking maybe pet ownership is not something for you. This reminds me of the episode of the Dog Whisperer where a young chihuahua owner was constantly dressing his dog Paris (yes, named after Paris Hilton) in cute little outfits.

But this is too much. "Rear Gear comes in many designs including a disco ball, air freshener, heart, flower, biohazard, smiley face, number one ribbon, cupcake, sheriff's badge, dice". SERIOUSLY?? What kind of self-respecting dog or cat would want to walk around with a smiley face on their ass? Or a freaking #1 ribbon?

If their hiney is seriously too gross to look at, perhaps you should examine their diet, or take them to the groomer.

Sometimes I wonder about Etsy.

Now this, on the other hand, is a find.


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