Nov 01 2012

New Banner

Published by under amy's head

A new banner!

Featuring some of my latest earrings (which can be purchased here!)

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Sep 04 2012

New September 2012 Banner

Published by under amy's head

New banner!

This banner features Jocelyn on a hike in Boulder, and I was trying out the panarama feature on my phone.

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Aug 28 2012

Peaches – from the backyard

Published by under amy's head,photos

When we put in an offer on our Colorado home, it was because of the beautiful floors, 5 bedrooms (well, 4 and a small office they called a bedroom), location, and.. well, I could go on. We really love this house.

But now, I love it even more.

WE HAVE A PEACH TREE!

These are fresh from the tree, barely molested by the birds. The real trick is waiting until they are ripe enough on the tree, but not all eaten by the birds. If you have any tips on that, I’d love to hear it.

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Aug 26 2012

weekend wrap up 8/26/2012

Published by under amy's head,daily

Ahhh… the weekend comes to a close, and we all tuck in to bed for the week ahead.

This week will be week 2 of school for the kids. Last week was pretty soft I think.. not really any homework, getting back into the school groove, learning the classroom.. We’ll see how this next week goes. Hope the homework battles don’t start yet!

Saturday was pretty fun – we went to Mile High Comics in Denver, which we thought was only open to the public every few months or so, but after we arrived, we found that they are open 7/days a week now! Still it was fun, and it was HUGE. We all got a comic.. and someone *coughjamescough* got more than one. Wondergirl for Jocelyn, Wonder Woman for me, Star Wars for Ethan, and a ton of Batman for James. It was a pretty cool place, lots of toys, TONS of comic books, and the staff was very friendly and helpful.

We’ll be back. Oh yes, we’ll be back.

James took the kids to the airshow at a local airport. I dropped them off and picked them back up, and caught the tail end of some thrilling fly-bys by I think a stealth bomber (if Ethan was here he would immediately correct me). I picked up the crew tired, hot and sweaty, but mostly happy. Ethan complained that it was awful, but honestly, he says that about everything. If we didn’t drag him out of the house now and then, he’d stay in his room 24/7 building legos and listening to Harry Potter until he starved!

I’ve been keeping busy coiling up a huge amount of coils to cut into jump rings Monday morning, and working on my supplies website. I have been unhappy with my shopping cart platform I was using, and have been working on getting both sites moved to a new location. My jewelry website was done and moved over about a month ago, and I am happy to report that I have made the switch over for my supplies shop this weekend. Yay! I’ll be spending this week checking things over and adding in anything I’ve forgotten.

The downside to the new platform — anyone who previously had an account (on either site) will have to reset their password in order to log in, and there is no order history available. I think the change was a good one — the system I was using before had some quirks that were just a bit too quirky for me, and the admin panel is much more user friendly. It will save me and I hope my customers a lot of time in the long run!

If you’d like to check out my new sites, feel free:

http://www.rainestudios.com
http://www.rainestudios-supplies.com

Last week I went to the gym Tuesday & Friday, to my favorite class — water circuit (basically a circuit class, but in the pool!) This week, I need to do better — I’m shooting for Mon-Wed-Fri or maybe Tues-Wed-Fri. The days I went last week I felt AWESOME. When work starts to pile up it’s hard to make myself go — even though that is when I need to go the most, to relieve the stress!

A few parting kid quotes:

“Mom, don’t worry. I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING.”

….

“…. Most of the time.”

— Ethan, age 10.

OK, just one kid quote. Later!
-Amy

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Aug 23 2012

How to weave Jens Pind Linkage chainmaille weave

Published by under amy's head

Another video tutorial! Would love your feedback!

Purchase a jens pind bracelet kit on my jewelry supplies website.

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Aug 23 2012

How to weave Byzantine – chainmaille tutorial

Published by under tutorials

A video I made and posted up on youtube — would love to hear your feedback! I need to work on keeping my camera in focus, but I think I repeated things enough that it comes across. Please let me know what you think!

Interested in trying your hand? You can purchase a kit to make a byzantine bracelet right here on my website.

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Aug 15 2012

End of summer

Published by under amy's head

Ahhhh blog…. How I have neglected you! I’m so sorry… I really need to do better.

Starting now!

This week has been interesting. First off it’s the last week of summer vacation. Next Monday they have an assessment day (only go in for a few hours of testing) and then school officially starts on Tuesday.

I CANNOT WAIT!

I feel like a bad mother when I say that, but I am sorry — running a home based business with kids at home all day, who refuse to go outside and play by themselves or with friends, and therefore come and pester ME for everything (YOU MEAN I HAVE TO FEED YOU LUNCH AGAIN? I JUST DID THAT YESTERDAY!) makes getting orders out the door kind of tough at times. And let’s not even talk about work on new ideas! HA!

So yes. I am sooooo happy that school is starting next week. I am also looking forward to getting back to the gym regularly. I have not really felt comfortable taking the kids to the kids area at our gym and leaving them for 1.5 hours — I always think I hear my name being paged over the sound system, worried that Ethan has had some sort of melt down, and I just can’t really enjoy myself.

Plus, I like sleeping in, and my favorite classes are at 8 or 8:30am. *cough*

So yeah. Gym. Getting back will be painful… but nice.

This, our last week of summer holiday, I’ve implemented a “no electronics” rule. Even James and I are following it! (Only a little plants vs. zombies cheating on my phone right before bed. Really! Working on my laptop doesn’t count, btw.) I think the kids are really doing pretty well – Jocelyn is getting creative and coloring, making cardboard art and interesting items, I try to have a nerf battle with Ethan once a day, and he turns out some new Lego creation regularly, and last night we had family game night — with MY favorite game, Rummikub! I used to play it as a little girl with my grandmother (the “game grandma” we called her, she had a closet stuffed to the gills with games!) and it’s a good one. We haven’t had a family game night in a while — not that us parental units aren’t to blame — sometimes the TV after dinner is just EASIER.

In other news this week, we are now the proud owners of a 1999 Toyota 4Runner! James had this cockamany idea to sell his Subaru Impreza STi and with the proceeds, buy both a 4Runner and an older Mazda Miata. One to go camping and off roading with, the other for James to turn into a racing car. One down and one to go! We bought a new 1999 4Runner the year we were married (1999) and had it until I wrecked it in a car crash.. I think in 2009? We have missed it so, especially now that we are in Colorado – Land O’ Mountains. It is a little bit of awesome to have one in the garage again. I just love those trucks — and this one is going to be rigged out to go off road — so we are excited.

OK — I think that will be all. I don’t want to overload this here blog with too much on my first foray back. Hopefully I won’t forget all about it for another 6 months.

-Amy

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May 14 2012

the loveliest mother’s day

Published by under amy's head

My wonderful husband James took the kids out hiking and then to dinner, leaving me with about 4 blessed hours of ALONE IN MY HOUSE time — which, technically I get every day when they’re at school/work, BUT STILL, I USUALLY HAVE SH*T TO DO THEN!

I still had stuff to do, but I decided I would not squander this lovely ALONE TIME gift and do actual work, like house cleaning and laundry — oh no, I would spend this time making JEWELRY!!

We have been making an open backed ring with a tapered shank in my silver class, and I finished mine last Monday.

Here are some photos I took while it was in progress:

Stamped ring shank soldered on - side viewCompleted ring with snowflake obsidian stone set into place

I eagerly ordered some cabochons to make MORE of these beautiful rings to list in my shop. They arrived on Saturday!

Aren’t they gorgeous?? Carnelian, kyanite, paulo shell, labradorite (my faaaaavorite!), blue lace agate, leopard skin jasper, pink quartz, and more snowflake obsidian. You can also see the swiss blue topaz round faceted gemstones I got in the little baggie in the corner.

Faced with the prospect of EMPTY HOUSE! I selected a few of my new cabochons and quickly got to work! I cut bezel wire to fit around each stone, filed, and soldered them closed.

Clockwise, starting at 12 – paulo shell, pink quartz, blue lace agate, rosecut (faceted) labradorite, and leopardskin jasper.

Next I take 16 gauge square sterling wire, and carefully shape it to fit snugly inside the bezel.

Usually the bezel is soldered down to a piece of sheet which the stone sits on, but this will allow the back of the stone to be visible from the back of the ring, while still providing a seat for the stone to sit on.

Next, I need to get the square base ready to solder closed. I clamp it securely in a ring clamp, and cut through both pieces of wire where it overlaps with my jeweler’s saw. This provides a clean flush cut to make soldering easy.

After I soldered the square base ring closed (no pictures of that, sorry) I took the square ring base, and fitted it inside the bezel, always checking to make sure the stone still fit nicely inside, tweaking the shape with my pliers, and sometimes hammering the base to make it every so slightly larger if needed.

When the base fits snugly inside the bezel, I flux it up, place little pallions of hard solder so that each piece touches both the bezel wall and the square wire base — and then just add heat to solder the base to the bezel.

In my lovely EMPTY HOUSE time — I managed to make a bezel and base for each of my stones, and got most of them soldered together. Here’s a view from what it looks like from the botton, with the labradorite stone sitting inside the bezel.

I merrily worked away all afternoon, pausing to wonder briefly how James and the kids were doing before pushing it firmly out of my mind and going back to work.

Next up for these will be creating the shanks to each ring!

My son DEMANDED that I have a good mother’s day — I submitted to his demands!

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Apr 07 2012

New April 2012 banner

Published by under amy's head

At long last… I’ve updated my banner.

Click for the large version..

This is a piece I wanted to get finished and listed in my shop by Easter, but alas… just like the shamrock I planned in March, it just didn’t happen. Gah. Hopefully it will still be finished and listed soon.

See all past banners here.

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Apr 06 2012

Sick with the best bedside nurses

Published by under amy's head

I went to my water circuit class on Tuesday and felt kind of …. off. Like I had too much coffee sloshing around in my stomach and it was putting me a little queasy. And sure enough, by noon, I was on my way to being down for the count. Shaking with cold, puke bucket close by, it was a good thing my husband was working from home that day. I crawled up to my bed while he picked up the kids from school that afternoon, oversaw the homework, while I dozed, freezing and sweaty at the same time, every now and then dragging myself to the comode to once again empty the contents of my stomach.

James had a hiking workshop he had to attend that evening though, so he put the kids in their jammies and told them to take care of Mommy, and off he went. They watched TV and played downstairs while I dozed in my bed upstairs. I was feeling a touch better, and was dying for water, so I whistled (we have a family whistle that means “come here!” — same one my dad used for me and my siblings) and up came Jocelyn eager to help take care of Mommy.

“Can you get me a glass of water honey?”
“Sure mommy!”

She came back up with the glass, and then scampered back downstairs to watch TV. I tried to sip the water slowly, but on the 3rd sip, I couldn’t help myself — I gulped it down and then prayed it would stay down.

Ethan came up next of his own accord — “I’m so sad you’re sick Mom!”
“Thank you my sweet boy — can you refill my water for me?”
“Of course!”

That glass went down quicker, and since it stayed down, I risked taking some ibuprofen.

Bedtime approached, so I called the kids up, they got their books and nestled down with me to read on their own before bedtime.

“OK guys, we have a problem,” I said after a half hour of reading time. “I can’t put you guys to bed. I might puke, so we have a few choices. You can put yourselves to bed, or Ethan could put Jocelyn to bed, and then Jocelyn can put Ethan to bed.”

“Mommy!” Jocelyn protested, “I’d have to get back out of bed to put Ethan to bed!”

“Yeah!” Ethan agreed.

Can’t put anything past these guys.

“I know,” she continued, “I will put Ethan to bed and then I’ll put myself to bed.”

“Sounds good.” I replied.

And she did — Jocelyn tucked Ethan in, turned off his light and closed his door, and then came gave me a kiss and put herself to bed. They are 8 and 9 years old after all, it’s not like they can’t put themselves to bed, but it was pretty cute of them to do it this way.

I drifted off, finally free of the fever chill and slept from 8pm to 8am. I felt much better the next morning, though a bit weak and shaky.

And now it’s Friday, and I’m still catching up on my orders!

My sister and her daughter are coming to town tonight, so I’d better get moving!

-Amy

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