Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Land of Jen

What is it about girls named Jen? I tella ya, they are everywhere and they are the greatest. Take for example my best friend Jen with her funny laugh and tattooed arms. And what about my best cousin Jennifer with her fabulously thick hair and sweet disposition. Here, just look at 'em, all purty and out of focus:

And then there's my favorite kitschy vintage jewelry-making Jen of Naughty Secertary Club. More on her and NSC later once my super duper fabulous secret package arrives in the mail. Here she is eating one of the best foods in the world:

Then I came across another Jen this afternoon who made my hair curl (even more so - thanks 88 days of rain!). Her vintage fashion company is called Frecklewonder, and other than my pets, I don't think there's anything cuter. Here she is modeling a "sold" dress I wish I had.

Go on Jens. Go on with your bad selves.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Babe-raham Lincoln

Abe meet Wolf Girl, Wolf Girl this is Abraham Lincoln, our 16th president. Isn't he da greatest? I splurged on a bracelet from Naughty Secretary Club, and by "splurge" I mean I actually bought jewelry from someone else. My money tends to pour into my own jewelry design venture so that I rarely buy from others. Gotta spread the love around a little more.

The first pic is from NSC's web site since her photo is in focus, and the second is a lame pic of my furry wolf-like arm that I snapped on my Nokia just 5 minutes ago.

This morning I actually built my outfit around my Abe the Babe bracelet. Unfortunately, I can only give you part of the picutre. You see, the top I'm wearing from Anthropologie is no longer on their web site so I'm gonna show you one that's very similar. Only thing is mine has green in it, like in the Abe bracelet. I'm also wearing my brand spankin' new skimmers from Sugar. Love love love them. I wish I'd bought a sailboat to go along with them. I'm picturing sailing around the world with Joan Wilder and Jack T. Colton and his new alligator boots...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

In a forest of tall, tall men

The fact that I got five hours of sleep last night was not the reason I was late to work this morning. It should have been, but it wasn't. And it wasn't the two hours of booty-breaking kung fu I did yesterday either. I can still walk today, but barely. No, it was traffic, everywhere I turned, every route I took. Grrrr. But on to better things.

Last night I went with Jason (tall) and Nikola (tall) to see The Rosebuds at the Cavern. It was such a great show. We'd seen them in Boston by chance a few weeks ago and the show was pretty good. But last night's show was a lot more energetic and electric. The audience was full of fans who knew the beats, breakdowns, and lyrics. Of course, there were a couple of those ubiquitous overeager head bobbers in the crowd. You know who you are. You are either so into the song your emotion takes over, or you don't know the song at all and you're trying to make up for that by bobbing your head to the beat a little too much. Either way, you're entertaining.

So Jason and I talked with Ivan (tall) and Kelly (short) about seeing them in Boston. They are super nice and you'd never know they were in a band until you saw them on stage. Real natural people. At the end of the set, the band came into the audience (of tall, tall men) and played a couple acoustic, group-centered songs. We all sang along to a jingle stick, a drumbeat, a guitar, and Kelly's (short) mini-Barbie baby grand piano. Really, I'm not kidding. It looked sort of like this, but old, on a music stand, and with Barbie stickers all over it (oh, and no bench because that would be silly):

I'm on a search for the cute (short) brunette who was snapping photos all night. She got a slew of me standing next to Ivan (tall) and his guitar during the group singing bit. I was real happy and I'd like to see if she captured that. I'll let you know if I find her (and the pics).

Monday, June 18, 2007

Art With a View: Naturally High

Got this in my inbox this morning and can't wait to see some great local art from the Decorazon Art Gallery. Plus, I get to support my community's coolest "new" hotspot, the Belmont Hotel. A Dilbeck creation, the Belmont features the best (tho pricey) cocktail in town known as the Beltini. I won't even bother telling you what it tastes like. Just scoot your boot on over to the Belmont and find out for yourself!

Art with a View: June 20-August 8
Reception: Wednesday, June 20th, 6-9pm reception

Sublime Stitching

Before I dove headfirst into the jewelry design business, I was a mad stitcher thanks largely in part to two people: my late grandmother who left me all of her sewing goodness, and Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching. I went ka-razy for her patterns when I first spotted her ad at the back of Readymade magazine and began embroidering anything I could find. So imagine my glee when I saw her most recent ad for a new pattern featuring artwork by Kurt Halsey.

Ain't it precious? In addition to Kurt Halsey's pattern from Sublime Stitching, I also bought a Happy Camper pattern, Bon Voyage, and Word Balloons, so my Halsey creatures can speak little words of sweetness and love.

Below is a little slide show of some of my first embroidered pieces with SS patterns. I have a lot more, including Rocket Man place mats complete with alien beings and rocket ships, but have yet to snap pics of them. Beware, these pics below were taken before a) I knew how to use Photoshop, and b) I had any idea how to use a camera.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

From Tefi's Garden: Tomatoes

I picked these tomatoes this afternoon from my upside-down planter. Have not tried them yet, but plan to with some feta cheese, white onions, oliver oil, and balsamic vinagrette. Salt too, of course.

in the gardener's hand

Here is my second tomato plant, and so far it bears only one tomato which appears to be much larger than today's yield and is only now starting to turn red even tho I planted them at the same time.

Time will tell!

Okay, we just cut into them and here's a shot just before mealtime. Oliver is all about the tomatoes. They were, by the way, incredibly sweet and delicious, but with a tough skin. We'll let the next batch ripen a bit more and not be so hasty. That should yeild a softer skin.

Conjuring Hephaestus I

Tomorrow is my third metalsmithing class and I cannot wait. The hiss of the torch flame, the sound of pounding metal, the feel of the saw in my hand going up and down - it's as close to religion as I've come in a long time.

Our first project is a simple band ring. Last week we started it and tomorrow we finish the ring, which includes soldering with fine silver, filing, hammering, and polishing. Altho the ring itself is simple, there are so many steps to making it it's unreal. Who knew? When I become more adept I plan to outfit it with silver blobbies along the top to give it a textured, organic feel. Here are pics of it so far:

We also start the next project, which is a pair of pierced saw earrings on 1inx1in sterling sheet. That means we saw a design from the inside out (much like a punched hole in a piece of paper). When dealing with design, I love the idea of organic motifs, assymetry, and quirkiness. I wanted mismatched earrings that were still thematic. I settled on a very simple design that would be easy, funky, and hold up well with the saw. One earring has a cloud and the other an umbrella. I call it "Stormy Weather." Here's a sketch. More later!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

It's a gnome, baby.

Yesterday was a very full day. It started off sort of slow, like most Thursdays do, but it picked up by late afternoon. Let me start from the bottom up. Last night I met some friends for beers at Lee Harvey's. We sat outside in the cool Dallas night and talked about all sorts of things. The most interesting was that my girl Laura is starting her own law firm. How cool is that? We celebrated with a round of Shiners and talked about the possibilities. I can't wait for her to get the chance to quote Pacino: "I'm out of order?! You're out of order! This whole court is out of order!" Earlier that night I went by Shambhala to get my quarterly spoils and some price tags for my second round of jewelry pieces. I was amazed at how well my stuff sold and how empty my jewelry cases are. Yikes! But this is good news. I'll be pulling together oodles more to take over there tonite. Also on the horizon: I was invited by the guys at Shambhala to be the Featured Artist for Bishop Arts District's First Thursday shebang in July. More details to come... Even earlier that night I went to my second kung fu class of the week. I've been going since March and only tonite did I officially meet some of my kung fu brothers. It's not a very conducive place for socializing as we are all respectful of the academy (read: minimal chit chat) and serious about studying the art. But for some reason three brothers introduced themselves to me last night and I was pleased as punch to meet them. In fact, one of them told me about his sister who is learning to be a metalsmith and jeweler, and another brother joined us for beers at Lee Harvey's last night. Keeee-yah! Yesterday afternoon, a short film got the ball rolling on what turned out to be a great Thursday. Reminiscent of Raymond Carver's writing, the film is called Gnome. It stars my uber favorite woman-I-don't-personally-know, Lauren Graham and a travelling garden gnome. I could give you a synopsis or a critical take on it, but I think it's best that you watch it for yourself. The film runs about 12 minutes (the end credits run a good 3 minutes) and it's worth every second. Here's what I told some friends I showed it to: "When I was in college this was the sort of story/film I aspired to write. I like to think I came close a time or two. Whatever happens to our dreams?"

Reuniti so nice

My sweet little HP Pavillion laptop is working again!! After two weeks of being unplugged from my little guy we are back together again, thanks mostly in part to Matt (shout out! whoop whoop raise the roof!) After a two hour system recovery - during which I painted my toenails, watched Lil Bush, bathed Oliver (finally!), and did a load of laundry - my laptop was ready to go. So what's the first thing I did? Did I check my files to make sure they weren't corrupt? Did I get straight to work on all of the inventory sheets I've yet to fill out? Did I prepare my second shipment of jewelry for Shambhala Body Gallery? Oh, no. No, I did something much more important.

You see, Netflix sent me the third disc in the Freaks & Geeks series and, well, I just had to watch it. All three episodes in a row, in fact. It's probably the best TV show I've ever seen, after Gilmore Girls, naturally. Makes me long for those messy high school days when the worse things I had to worry about were which concert tee to wear - Depeche Mode or P.I.L.? - and what my locker combination was. Good times.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I did not burst into flames.

Yesterday, for the first time in a million years, I left the house without a necklace on.

So I'm driving to work zombie-style, listening to NPR and wondering what the frack is going on in Gaza, when I realize my neck is naked. My hand flutters up to my earlobes and lo! behold! No earrings either. Dang.

I check my kung fu bag to see if I'd left an errant necklace in the side pocket. Nothing but my dingy white belt and some hair ties. So I check my glovebox and other car cubbies - nada. I used to keep a spare necklace in my car, but I probably wore it on a morning much like yesterday morning and forgot to put it back. (Sorry mom. I didn't follow your rule this time, and see where it got me?)

Now I bet a lot of you are shrugging your shoulders and prepping my straightjacket. I mean, who cares if I left the house jewelry-free? I do. I not only work to make necklaces and earrings a fact of life for every woman, I also use my own neck and earlobes to network, get the word out about Tefi, etc. Sometimes I even end up making a sale because I wore one of my pieces.

Throughout the day I longed to wear one of my necklaces, esp. the one I've been wearing a lot lately (see below, front and back views). It's become sort of an amulet, and when I wear it I can't help but finger it and remember the good times. It's a piece of beach glass I found in Gloucester*, Mass. on a recent trip to Boston. I wrapped it in silver and have worn it practically every day since. Except yesterday.

Now, the world didn't crash in on me and I didn't burst into flames.

Well. At least not this time.

*Remember Richard III? You know, "Now is the winter of our discontent" and all that. Well, it's pronounced "Gloh-ster" and I was glad I knew that. I'm not a fan of getting looked at with one of those, "Oh you're from Texas" looks.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Next Big Thang!

Boy howdy, what a nice surprise it was to get Fred Flare's Next Big Thing 2007 in my inbox this morning. There are so many cute little products that won. I contemplated entering the contest this year, but was a little apprehensive about producing enough product if I got chosen. I think you have to be able to produce around 100 of whatever you submit. But I'm already thinking ahead for next year and I'm pretty sure I know what items I'm going to propose!

Here are a couple of my faves:

This Little Red Riding Hood clutch, which would go great with my Man Overboard! necklace, doncha think?

And I just love the Sleepy Dog Wrist Cushion. It's perfect for my dang carpal tunnel:

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Weekend Wrap-up

I know, I know, the weekend's not over yet, but as I sit at the desk sipping my last cup of coffee of the day I realize I had quite the full weekend. Here's a run-down:

* Repotted some begonias, chrysanthemums, and some things I don't know the names of. Also weeded and laid down a ton of mulch in the front flower beds. The colleus' are looking a bright blood red and getting nice and tall. (Sidenote: Why don't we say "deweeded"? I mean, it's not like I added weeds to my landscaping.)

* Demo-ed some wire wrapping, hammering, etc. at 2nd Saturday yesterday. I didn't sell much, but I came out in the black and made some great pendants while I was at it. Had fun showing some kids how cool it is to bang away at silver. My favorites are the abacus and totem pendants:
Abacus I detail
Totem I

* Listened to way too much of The Bird and the Bee's latest album. It's soooo dang good.

* When I wasn't listening to music I was watching Law & Order. Way too much of it, in fact.

* Realized that as I continue to burn fat in my kung fu training, I continue to burn fat everywhere. As in my big B's are turning into little B's. *sniff*

* Went on a girl date with Jen. We ate at Gloria's (mmm, pupusas...) and then dancing at Metro Retro. The place was dead like parachute pants, but we had a blast wearing holes in the carpet all the same.

* Got my tool kit ready all nice and neat for my metalsmithing class tomorrow night. We're going to make a simple band ring in sterling silver, and I'm going to see about adding little silver blobbies around the top part. It won't be as bling as J-Lo's, but I think it'll look pretty darn cool.

* Did not give Oliver a bath. Poor little dirty dog.

* Took the leap and submitted an application to Stitch. Don't know what the competition is like, and I know there are so many jewelers out there it's hard to avoid saturation, but let's hope they give Tefi a shot! (It'll be a good excuse to party in my old stomping ground - Casino el Camino, The Showdown, Lala's Little Nugget, Trudy's...I could go on.)

I think that's about it - my weekend in a nutshell. Not too shabby.

Friday, June 8, 2007

How Borders Changed My Lunch Hour

I went to Borders on my lunch break today to spend my birthday gift card from Laura and Neil, and I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted the book I could have written at age 14:

For five years, Sassy magazine instilled in me a sense of purpose during those drippy, messy, ugly teenage years. It inspired me early on with a sense of the D.I.Y. lifestyle - a sense that lives with me to this day.

So I find it on the shelf, and with a shock of dismay notice that Borders had "up-priced" it from the $18 list price to a special Borders price of $20. Wha...? The list price is always what book stores charge (perhaps less, but never more) and I thought, Okay, I'll just let the manager know it's miss-priced.

I went to the front, requested a manager, and waited nearly 10 minutes before she showed up. After going back and forth with her, she ultimately told me that Borders up-prices (her word) books all the time even tho a) retail dogma states that the customer is ALWAYS entitled to the lowest marked price - regardless, and b) who in the heck "up-prices" books when a lower price is permanently imprinted on the product? Dumb, dumb, dumb.

So I'm sad to say that Borders and I have broken up. As soon as I spend the remaining $17.48 balance on my gift card (I did end up buying a journal for my metalsmithing class) I don't plan to step inside a Borders again, unless it's to loiter around the magazine rack. In the meantime, I'll cull the pages of until I find a copy of How Sassy Changed My Life for a meager $12.24. Take note Borders: the prices should go down, not up.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007


Two Rosebuds in fact - Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp. J and I caught them in Boston by sheer luck and happenstance. We went to a place called Great Scott in Allston to see an old favorite of mine, The Ladybug Transistor. Sadly, we missed most of the show b/c we thought they'd be headlining so we were late. Oh well, we thought, let's get another beer and see who's playing next.

Holy guacamole! The Rosebuds were about to take the stage. J didn't know anything about them, so I proceeded to give him an earful since they'd been a favorite of mine since I'd discovered them on Pandora radio. The show was great and it was eeriely uncanny how much Kelly reminded us of our girl, Jen. The blond ponytail, the clothes, the rockabilly vibe, and even the way she raises her hand when she's rockin' out. It was cute and creepy.

So now I'm doubly psyched b/c The Rosebuds are coming to Dallas! Catch them at the Cavern on Tuesday, June 19. You'll see me in the front row, beer in one hand, the other hand raised up as I rock out with Ivan, Kelly, and the rest.

P.S. I am still kicking myself for not buying these one-of-a-kind CDs they were selling at the Boston show. They were full of remixes, and Kelly handmade the sleeves out of paper, stamps and the like. Why didn't I buy one??? Grrr. Let's hope they'll be selling them at the Dallas show.

Pass the torchie on the left hand side

Took my first metalsmithing class last night at the Craft Guild of Dallas. Had wayyy too much fun with the torch. Actually, I was scared, and still am. I'll get over it. Our teacher taught us a mneumonic device for remembering how to usethe torch: GOOG. Gas on, Oxygen on, Oxygen off, Gas off. When it was my turn I GOOGed and nothing happened. No fire, no hiss, only the stench of natural gas. "You have to light the torch," my teacher patiently reminded me. Oooooh. Yeah. So I did G then O then - WAIT! "Light the torch after Gas on but before Oxygen on." I rolled my eyes and laughed at myself and said, "Then shouldn't it be GLOOG instead of GOOG?" That got both a good laugh and a flame. I annealed my first piece of copper until it turned a pretty dark color, picked it up with my tweezers and yelled, "Hot metal!" and walked it over to the dousing bowl then put it into the pickle pot. Round of applause for Tefi. I took half a metalsmithing class about four years ago at the Creative Arts Center in East Dallas but got bored with my project and quit. I created a design that was just too dang difficult for a newbie and got fed up when it turned out to be so much work that everyone else had moved on and I was still polishing my piece of dirt pendant. (Note to self: Keep it simple in the beginning.) (Note to teachers: Don't let your big-dreaming students start off with a difficult project.) I really think I'm going to like this class a lot. More reporting will be forthcoming, especially after my first project next week which will be to make a sterling silver ring band. Will I marry me? I do!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Oh Laptop, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?

My hardrive is a dud. It turns out to be one of Samsung's 5% that turn out buggy and messed up and now I need a new one. The worst part is that I most likely lost all of my files. This includes all of my pics, invetories sheets, design ideas, art show docs, etc. Nothing I can't either replace or live without, but MAN! What a drag and a half. Luckily, my friend Matt is helping me out. He's a 'puter whiz and is nice enough to take on the task of restoring what files he can (if he can), replacing my hard drive, performing a security recovery or something...This is where my eyes start to glaze over, you know, when computer talk turns technical. In the meantime, I've uploaded my Boston pics onto Jason's computer and have yet to upload them to Flickr. But I promise I will! Warning: We were photosnappin' fools, so you're in for a whale of a time. I also photographed a lot of new pieces, but then my memory card got FULL and I had to stop. I didn't snap shots of my new Wired pendants and they are, I think, the best of my new work. Once I get those photographed, I plan to submit my application to Stitch. My favorite of the new pieces are these Totem Pole Pendants I constructed using various stones and Tibetan skull prayer beads. The beads are stacked one on the other and wirewrapped onto a hammered wire frame. They look like little totem poles around your neck! Jason and I had a fun weekend. We partied like rock stars Saturday night at Lee Harvey's, danced to some DJ Sista Whitenoise tunes, and then later on went to Laura and Neil's pad to watch 80s videos on The Tube and some HBO Real Sex. If you ask me, it should be called HBO's Real Dumb People Doing Real Dumb Sex Things. But we had a laugh or two. Yesterday was my day for mourning the loss of my hard drive. I'll let ya know if anything can be recovered, but I'm preparing for the worst. Kids: back up your stuff. It's a hard lesson to learn.