Sunday, August 31, 2008

Recharging

I need to recharge.

Saturday, I had my last show for August (I had three) and thankfully, the last outdoor show (heat=bleh) and now have the month of September off to create and catch up. Or catch up and THEN create, more like it. I do have one class to teach but other than that, it's time to restock all the jewelry that's been sold!

Saturday's show was in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, where we could stay with my in-laws and have a very enjoyable weekend attached to the one-day show. It's always a lucrative show, too, which makes it worthwhile getting up at 4am to set up, usually dealing with hellish heat, and packing everything back up again at 5pm.



Last year, we walked outside at 4am to 85° heat.

Let me repeat that.

It was 4am. In the morning. And it was already 85°. So you can imagine my joy at an almost chilly morning yesterday -- 65°.

This year, Rick's older boys were visiting, and since Rick has a torn ACL and is awaiting surgery, they were coming along at holy-crap-look-at-the-time to help set up. Colin and Rick piled into the Honda, Ryan and I jumped into the van, and off we went.

Or rather, off THEY went.

Click click clickclickclickclickclickclick.

(Insert abject shock and my heart stopping here).

Rick thankfully hadn't gotten far and realized, hey wait, no headlights in my rear view. I mean, I was too freaked to even hit my horn, which was probably a good thing, since (if you will recall) it was 4am. Ryan and I just looked at each other in horror, and when he heard that horrible clickclickclick sound the second time I tried to start the van, he said, "Oh yeah, dead battery."

(Insert the desire to scream, loudly, here).

Thank GOODNESS Rick had jumper cables in his car, but everyone was so flustered that we all promptly forgot how to use them. Imagine the scene if you will -- four grown adults passing the jumper cables around like a hot potato and finally tearing off the instructions that were still attached and trying to read them by the headlights. "Does one get grounded? WAIT, the red goes on the negative, NO it's the POSITIVE" -- it's a wonder we didn't wake up the neighborhood. I sat behind the wheel of my van and said a prayer. Went something like this....


"OurFatherWhoArtInHeavenHeyHowYaDoin'HopeYou'reUp.

I don't want to have to climb the hill and wake up Rick's father to borrow his truck and I don't think all my stuff will fit and it takes me nearly two hours to set up and customers come at the crack of dawn so how about making this bad boy START?

ThyWillBeDoneIHopeYou'reUpAmen".

And the van starts.

So now everyone is rattled, but oh hey, you can bet we're awake! All went swimmingly the rest of the day -- the weather was terrific, I was busy all day long, and there were no other incidents the rest of the day.

So yeah, I need recharging on two levels -- I got a new car battery, but I was uniquely reminded that if I burn my OWN lights too late into the night and don't give myself a rest now and then ....

Well, I'll go click click clickclickclick.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Helping Others


My friend Allegra asked me to follow this project, so I'm going to link up all the information for you. I've always known about this sort of horror going on, but never knew there was a way to help.

Start quote.....

"American Express is currently offering $2.5 million dollars in funding to support innovative ideas that make a difference in the world. They will be selecting 5 'Members Projects' for funding. My company, Lulan Artisans (http://www.lulan.com/) has partnered with Architecture for Humanity to expand our weaving centers and we are excited to be number 32 out of 1190 projects! We need to be in the top 25 and we have only 5 days left to do so.

If interested, mentioning us on your blog would definitely push us over the top!


In many parts of Southeast Asia young women are left with few options in gaining employment. Unfortunately thousands, some as young as 12, are trafficked and lost into the sex trade every year. Lulan Artisans is a social venture that creates an alliance between textile designers and gifted artisans from Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and India to produce hand-woven fabrics. We currently support over 650 weavers, spinners, dyers and finishers to produce these high-quality textiles. Lulan is ready to expand, reach our goal of over 6,000 artisans and build innovative weaving centers whose profits will support these artisans but also provide health care and schooling for their children.

Architecture for Humanity and its designers will provide innovative off-the-grid weaving that respects tradition but represents anew way forward. Building designs will be shared openly with anyone wanting to replicate them through Creative Commons licensing on the Open Architecture Network. This way innovation is shared and more communities can benefit."

I think this is a great project and would appreciate it if you could help put it in the top 25 so that they can get funding for it. If so, please do the following:

1) Click on this link to go to our project

2) Click the Nominate this Project button in the center of the page

3) Follow the directions to either log in as an American Express cardmember, or sign up as a guest member

4) You will be directed back to the project, at which point you should be able to click the Nominate this Project button again

5) Click on the discuss button and tell the jury about how the collaboration between AFH and Lulan will help create huge change.

If you really believe in this project, could you mention it on your blog, too? Thank you!"


End quote.

It's easy to forget that there are people out there that don't have the help, or the hope, that we do. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

First Day of Kindergarten

I knew this day would come, but I am just not prepared. Zack started Kindergarten today.

Zack has gone to preschool for a few hours a day, a few days a week, since he was two and a half -- as an only child, this was important, because it gave him good socialization skills. I even put him in day care in the summers, not for ME, but because he got so bored, even with all our field trips and buying out all the crafts at Michaels. He's just really social. Just like his dad, he'll talk to anyone.

So it wasn't the fact that he'd be out of the house for a few hours a day -- it's because it's the end of the toddler years, and I worry that the day is coming when hanging with mom won't be fun anymore.

Some young people (like, very early teenagers) tell me they never had that, and Rick's older kids (23 and 24, and home right now for a couple of weeks) have always been close to their Dad. But I can't help it. Zack's my one and only, and each day that passes, while it brings new, exciting changes for Zack, is a step further to when he's out of the house. Dramatic much? Well, yeah, but I'm like that.

Forgive the photo quality -- I just wasn't able to play with F-stops and stuff this morning.

Zack was very excited about the new shoes we bought yesterday:

Asked if he was excited, he said, "YES!"

We got to school early, before the doors opened, so got a chance for another photo:

Very, VERY excited to be at school...

And excited to see a friend from his summer day care:

I was a volunteer today, helping a teacher with the early morning breakfast, so I was allowed to walk Zack to his class. Well, I WOULD have walked him to class, but when I asked him to hold my hand, he said, "No Mommy, I need to do this on my own." OK, that just killed me, on so many levels -- big boy, smart boy, but SUCH fodder for tears. And he was so excited to get into his classroom we didn't get hugs.

The good thing is, I did the volunteering right after dropping him off, so I didn't have a chance to cry. That came later.

He's going to get LOTS of hugs tonight.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fame, Fortune, and Reality

I just wrote this for Collective Creatives and thought I'd share it here. Collective Creatives is a co-op blog written by a variety of artists about their creative process and what makes them tick.

I almost ditched this subject, (Fame, Fortune, and Reality) for my Wild Card choice because it made me squirmy to talk about myself in that way. But it ended up being a timely subject to be assigned, as I just got interviewed by Fire Mountain Gems. They said they wanted to include me in their “Jewelry Artist Success Story” section of their web site.

I’ve been interviewed before, by blog owners and once by the newspaper, but it never fails to knock my socks off in surprise. The reality is, I am so busy pushing myself that I doubt I’ll ever classify myself as a success. There are soooo many things left to do! But it’s still such a wonderful pat on the back to get recognition, and it’s always an honor.


Some of my favorite pats-on-the-back come from being “sighted”. While shopping at a bead show, twice I’ve had someone ask, “Aren’t you Lori Anderson?”. They said they recognized me from magazine tutorials or remembering me from a show. That was really cool.

One time my work got recognized and it was a hoot. A woman said, “That looks like something from Lori Anderson” and I said, “I *am* Lori Anderson”. That tickled me to no end.

The reality, though, is these little “rock star moments” never make me think “cool, I’ve made it”. Rather, they push me to keep progressing with my work, to keep submitting things to magazines despite the fear of rejection, to keep tweaking and improving and updating. I also never forget the reason I got into the jewelry design business — to be able to stay home with my child, and be involved to the fullest with his life.


Fame and fortune are fleeting. Being hugged and told “I love you, mommy” are forever.


You can see my eclectic beaded jewelry at www.lorianderson.net

Monday, August 25, 2008

Have you seen my Flickr?

In between uploading a lot of new jewelry and drying my eyes from thinking about Zack's starting Kindergarten this week, I've uploaded some more photos to Flickr.


What's Flickr? Flickr lets you upload your photos, join themed groups (Abandoned Buildings, Colorful and Colorful, Craft, etc) and comment on other people's shots. It's amazing the talent on there, and I could lose a lot of hours going through it.




I've been so tickled that some of my photos have been noticed and commented on -- makes me want to keep trying and working on my technique. Shooting non-jewelry things has helped me open up a different creative side.




If you'd like to look, click here -- my most current uploads are also floating around on the right side of the blog screen, too.


Comment if you have a Flickr set -- I'd love to see it!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pirate Adventure

Today I took Zack on an Adventure -- a Pirate Adventure!



We showed up at the marina at 10am, got Zack a pirate head scarf, an eye patch, and a little bit of an attitude (someone decided that today of all days, he'd be shy). He decided against the face paint, which was fine with me, and finally allowed me to take his picture.



We set sail on the Sea Gypsy, and the captain immediately started teaching the kids how to make a proper pirate 'ARRRRR' growl. Said captain and First Mate then regaled us with horrible pirate jokes. ("What's a pirate's favorite vegetable? ARRRRRtichokes.")


But what's that? The captain saw a bottle floating in the water, and First Mate fished it out. The bottle contained a message about the mission of the trip, finding treasure, of course.



Out came the map, and a discussion about the pitfalls and dangers awaiting us.



What would a pirate adventure be without a battle at sea? The captain shouted to look starboard (or port?) and what do we see but a scary guy in a huge, ugly skeleton mask, standing on a rubber dinghy and shooting the ship with a Super Soaker. Well, we'll have none of THAT, and the captain turned on the Battle at Sea music (very dramatic) and directed the kids to their own personal water cannons, which pumped water out of the river and quite satisfyingly on Mr. Ugly Skeleton Head.


After Mr. Ugly Skeleton Head was vanquished, the kids discovered a bag of keys on the deck, keys to the treasure we were searching for. Now they started looking over the side for an "X" to mark the spot.



Sure enough, a floating wooden "X" shows up, and the kids get to help with the HEAVE and HO to pull it out. Three keys later, it's opened and full of plastic stuff that only a kid can love.

(I have to interject here -- Zack was FABULUOUS with his manners -- I've never seen kids fall on a box like a tiger on dinner before, and take and take and take and then not let other kids in to get a few things -- and Zack, who isn't all that famous for dealing with issues of that sort that well, quietly stood by to wait his turn, which he only got because the First Mate picked up one of the kids who had been there the ENTIRE time rummaging to make room for Zack. And no parents asked their kids to scoot over or maybe let someone else take a turn. Nice. OK, end rant).


After the treasure, the First Mate found a plastic skull floating in the water, pulled it aboard, and read the note on it -- now we were looking for a burlap sack from Davy Jones with potentially scary things inside. Found the burlap sack, pulled it aboard, and it's Grog (or soda for all the kiddies). Cue fun music while everyone has a snack.



Now time to go home, with more fun music, including the Limbo, and First Mate held the limbo stick for the kids.



So if you're in Easton or Ocean City, MD, check them out....


http://www.pirateadventuresoceancity.com/eastonadventure.shtml

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I'm Updating

It's been a while, but I'm updating the web site today with more pretties. August has been a complete buzz of activity -- three shows (last one next weekend), preparing Zack for Kindergarten (don't get me started on how sad I am) and all the many little tasks that go into running a business that don't necessarily get seen.

So for your viewing pleasure, a few things .....


I'm pretty pleased with how this one turned out -- handmade lampwork glass, etched for a frosted beach glass look, and some funky/modern styling.



This pendant is so pretty, with coral flowers and a denim backdrop. Expect to see more pendants in the store soon!


This last one is a rarity, as it's a large kyanite sculpted pendant. Kyanite is NOT a stone that likes to be messed with -- it fractures and flakes when subjected to cutting. Beautiful to wear, but kyanite enthusiasts know how difficult it is to get nice, large pieces of stellar stone. The fact that this pendant is A) large, and B) intricately carved makes it a real collectors item.

Come visit http://www.lorianderson.net/ for more jewelry -- it's never too soon to start Christmas shopping!




Friday, August 22, 2008

Pilobus

I love dance, love cool things, so this is right up my alley. Enjoy!


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tag, You're It!


There's a phenomenon that goes around blogs where someone nominates another blogger for an award, which then gets passed on -- and today I got tagged by Marianna Boylan, a terrific jewelry artist and as avid a reader as I am!

I now need to pass it along to seven other bloggers, but I think I'm going to just pick three, as Zack is tugging at my arm right now and you moms out there know how that goes.

1) Jen of Jen on the Edge, for being hilarious, thought-provoking, and just the right side of irreverant. She's also one of my oldest friends, sharing a locker next to mine throughout school.

2) Kerry of Kab's Creative Concepts, for being one of the most creative people I know.

3) Lisa of Joolz by Lisa, whose work with the Melonhead Foundation is inspiring (not to mention how lovely her jewelry is).

So tag, you're it!

Here's how it works:

1) Add the logo of the award to your blog2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you3) Nominate at least 7 (more or less) other blogs4) Add links to those blogs on your blog5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs

Book Review -- Breaking Dawn

Breaking Dawn (Twilight Series, Book 4) Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer


rating: 4 of 5 stars
SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!!! SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!!!

I was so-so on the third book of this series, going back and forth between liked it/not so much, but I still waited with great anticipation for this final book. I'll just summarize with some of my thoughts:


-- I felt the book was too long -- things dragged a bit and I wasn't as captivated as I have been in the past.

-- I liked Bella a lot more as a vampire than as a human. Whereas before she didn't seem like a teenager, as a vampire, she "fit" better.

-- I liked how the vampires were shown as more "human".

-- I liked how the werewolves found a place with the vampires (and nice save at the end, calling them shape-shifters instead of werewolves -- I'd always wondered why no one got bitten and "changed".)

-- I'm still completely creeped out by werewolves imprinting on babies. Sorry, couldn't get past the gross factor on that.

-- The ending was interesting, but the last few pages kind of left me flat -- although I have no idea how she could have ended it any other way.

All in all, glad I read it, but I wasn't overwhelmed with awesomeness. I gave it four stars mainly because as a series, I liked it, and am quite glad I read it. Not literary perfection, but anyone reading it expecting that is in the wrong section of the book store.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Olympics

I just got done with a grueling four days away from home doing a show. I didn't get home until late at night, just in time to settle in and relax and watch swimming on the Olympics.

I usually never watch the Olympics -- it doesn't cross my radar in the normal scheme of my hectic life, which is a shame, because after the past week, I've seen what I've been missing all these years.

Swimming was really interesting to me because Zack has been in the water since I could sign him up for Mommy and Me classes at six months old. He's planning on trying out for the swim team this September (!) and it's something that has helped him deal with the Sensory Integration Disorder that plagues him.

Doesn't this look like an Olympian?

Michael Phelps, of course just rocks the pool. He lives an hour from us, in Baltimore, and you can bet I'll be keeping my eyes and ears open for any swim clinics he ever hosts. I particularly was interested in how his parents got him into swimming at age seven, to help him with his ADHD.


And I love Dara Torres, because she's 41 with a 2-year-old and has the best sportsmanship ever.

What were your favorite moments?



Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Beading Classes in Easton, MD

I have two more beading classes scheduled at Evergreen Cove in Easton, MD, if you are so inclined! Click here to register.

Eyeglass or ID Badge Necklace

Tuesday, September 9, 7-9pm

Using a random mix of beads, learn the basics of bead stringing.

One For Me, One For You

Wednesday, October 8, 7-9pm

String a bracelet for yourself, and one as as gift!

Hope to see you there!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Kerchunk

I went to the library today to get some books for Zack, and as I stood there with my stack of over-sized picture books, remembered my days as a kid and how much I loooooved the library.


You know what I miss?


The heavy KERCHUNK when the librarian slid the card into the machine. A very satisfying sound. Slide the paper library card with the little metal plate in and start firing away, one check-out slip at a time.


The beep of a scanner just isn't the same.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Washed Out

If you do craft shows, you know you're due one -- the weather disaster.

Saturday was lovely -- setting up the tent at 5am was a breeze because the air was almost chill, and the rest of the day was perfect. Just beautiful, couldn't-be-better-if-you'd-ordered-it weather.

Sunday.

Ah, Sunday.

We knew from perusing weather.com and various radar feeds that Collingswood, NJ, was headed for a hurtin'. Most certainly rain. Most probably thunderstorms. Very possibly hail.

I opened up my tent, rearranged some displays with rain and wind in mind, and settled in to see how it would go. It started raining around 11:30 or so, and I zipped up all my walls except for the frontage and was cozy and comfortable. Rain, ok, fine. I'd wait it out, no problem.



And then, thunder. Followed very closely by wicked lightning.

My tent has a curved roof, but as I peeked out and down the street at all the EZ-Up tents with spiky tops, all I could think was what great lightning rods we made.

And then the rain turned into a downpour, and what started as a few artists packing up and leaving early turned into a stampede as we ALL frantically rushed to pack up and clear out.

Really, in retrospect, packing up went pretty smoothly, all things considered. Rick and I were soaked to the skin, but there were no casualties (jewelry, feelings, or marriages). We got on the road in record time, and even with the torrential downpours, I did manage to make sales in the few hours I was open.

So, I've been through 40 mph winds, 100+ heat, and the roof of my tent blowing half off. Oh, and let's not forget, hospitalization in the middle of a show. I'll add this latest to my folder of "glad THAT'S over" and move on to my next show -- this weekend.

REALLY glad it's indoors!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Feline Diabetes

Take a look at this sweet cat.



This is Buddy, and he's a Himalayan that I've had for 16 years. He's a chunk of cat, rules the roost, has a calm, gentle demeanor, and officially, as of today, has feline diabetes.

We'd noticed that Buddy had been drinking a LOT lately, evidenced by having to empty the litter box twice a day instead of once a day. My first thought was kidney problems, which often strike a cat Buddy's age. But it ends up he's diabetic.

Today we went to the vet to learn how to give him insulin shots. Fortunately, both Rick and I know how to give shots to humans, so translating that skill to a cat wasn't too hard.

Six months ago, Buddy had routine blood work done (oh, how he just LOVED that!) and his fructosamine levels were normal. Around 145 to be exact. High and uncontrolled is considered over 400.

Buddy's level today was 1149.

The vet said they have never in the history of their practice seen a level like that.

The good news is, feline diabetes is very treatable. He will get two insulin shots a day, and will, in the vet's estimation, live an even longer life than he already has. Nothing else is wrong with him, and he can still jump on the bed and yowl in my ear when he wants something.

If you have a cat, particularly an older cat, and he starts to lose weight, drinks a lot, and urinates a lot, please go get him checked out. This all snuck up on us fast, and I'm glad we took him to the vet to get him looked at.

(Buddy would comment to say he's doing just fine now, thanks, but he's busy sleeping it off!)

If you're interested in awareness jewelry, both for pet adoption and diabetes awareness, please visit my web site, www.lorianderson.net . Portions of the proceeds of all my awareness jewelry is donated to the appropriate organizations or shelters.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

One Person's Trash....

“One person’s trash is another person’s treasure”. I don’t know who originally said that, but it really is true!

A couple of years ago I started a group for swapping beads. The idea was to put together a box of things you didn’t want anymore — leftovers from a strand, things you had too many of, things you hadn’t used in ages — and send them to a designated share partner.

Each month I got a box in my mailbox. Some things were wonderful, some things, not so much. But in every single package, I found beads that I ordinarily would never have bought, and they ignited a creative spark. By receiving beads that I wouldn’t necessarily have chosen myself, I’ve been able to create some wonderful pieces that otherwise would never even have been thought of.

For instance:


I received this amazonite briolette — and this immediately came to mind.


These funky, chunky glass beads with a pebbly finish made a really cool cha-cha necklace.
The deep blue beads are natural Brazilian agate — just three of these beads, plus a smaller companion, made an unusual bracelet that sold immediately.


For this one, the giver said, “I don’t have any idea what that thing is for”, and after looking at it for a while, I decided it could be a branch, carried off to become part of a nest….


So if you’re stuck in a creative rut, or want to challenge yourself to think outside of the proverbial box, get together with a friend and do a bead swap. You never know what you’ll get, and you just might find a new design path altogether.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Facebook

A friend of mine finally convinced me to create an account on Facebook. Facebook is one of those "social networking" sites, and I have to be honest, I haven't quite figured it out yet.

However, one of the cool things about it is finding friends who you totally lost contact with. It reminds me of the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon -- this friend knows that friend who knows another that WOAH, you actually know.

So just today, I've found my roommate from DLI (1988), who was also my roommate for a while in Korea (1989). What a blast from the past! I had to go dig up my photo album from that time and found her wedding pictures, which reminded me of running to the flower market in the early morning to get flowers for her bouquet. And suddenly there are all these amazing memories flooding back -- I love nostalgia, and can (and do) get completely lost in it.



This is exactly what I love about the Internet -- the ability not only to reach out and meet all sorts of new and interesting people, but to be able to locate and find long lost friends -- that's amazing!

So if you have a Facebook profile and want to connect, just click here -- I'll meet you there!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Book Review -- The Monster of Florence

The Monster of Florence The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston



rating: 3 of 5 stars

I just finished it last night -- it was interesting, but not spell-binding. If I could have given it 3.5 stars, that would be more accurate -- not at all horrible, but I got bored sometimes. It was very detailed about the process of finding the Monster, rather than what the Monster did. The details of the murders weren't the focus at all.

David Preston went to Florence to reseach a novel and by chance moved into a villa right next to a vineyard where one of the murders took place, and he and an Italian journalist, Spezi, met up and decided to write a book about the Monster.

There was a lot of information about how the Italian police force worked (or didn't work!) and there were multiple arrests and jailings but they were never (?) the right person. And in the end, even Spezi and Preston were under suspicion.

If you enjoy true crime, you'll likely enjoy this book!


**** UPDATE ***

How ironic -- the same day I write this review, I'm watching a 48 Hours episode I'd TIVO'd. They've started this thing (that always makes me think the channel has changed) where in the middle of the program, they show a small, few-minute highlight of another show. Interestingly, it was about the Monster of Florence! I can see that this would be a much more interesting story told on 48 hours -- it will get to the interesting parts right away, and hearing it from Preston and Spezi makes it all the more intriguing.

View all my reviews.