Monday, February 16, 2009

some crazy thing I did while I was still in my 20s

That's the back of my right calf. It was an uncomfortable experience, but not terrible. The healing process, on the other hand, has been ridiculously painful.

My artist is not from around here, so I went to see her at the convention this weekend. The people watching was fantastic. It was just the ticket for ignoring my leg. But even better than that, was gossiping with my sister. She should rent out her services.

Friday, February 13, 2009


I make lots of jewelry from silver clay, and I haven't always been successful with my creations. I have kept a growing collection of dried up little mistakes in a baby jar for a few years now. I had read that it is possible to reconstitute silver clay, and I had even tried a few times with no success. But this time, my friends, I was desperate.

Normally I order my clay off the internet so I can save a few dollars, but it always takes almost a week to get here. I had lots of clay, until a rash of orders for my heart themed jewelry came through this week. A few days ago I got the sweetest email from a lady who had just lost a friend to CF. She ordered 3 necklaces to wear in his honor. I was so touched that I could be involved in her life in this way. But I was one pendant short of filling her order, and my clay wouldn't be here until Wednesday.

I went to the only store in town that sells my clay and found that the shelves were bare. The aging hippie with long grey hair who runs the store was unapologetic. I was on my own. When I got home, just on a whim I poured distilled water into the baby jar full of mistakes, and let it sit overnight.

Next day I found a jar full of mush and started stirring. I stirred and worked the mush for hours. I spread it out on a plate and turned it over and over like putty. Finally it turned into a sticky ball. Then I rolled it in my hands until it turned into clay again! I feel like I have created something from nothing, although physics would disagree. Being an artist often means pretending to know what you're doing and trying new things. Sometimes it doesn't work out- see previous post... and sometimes you feel like you have brought something entirely new into existence and it is thrilling.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Look kids, ribbons!

I've been wondering all this time where you all find those cute blog backgrounds. This morning I noticed a little link in the corner of Somer's blog, which I swear was not there previously...

In other slightly more interesting news, I have scheduled my tattoo appointment! The most amazing artist, Megan Hoogland, will be visiting our fair city this weekend for the tattoo convention, and she has made some time to accommodate my I'm-turning-30-and-acting-out behavior.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


I have had a new idea for a pendant kicking around my brain for months now, but I was nervous about trying something new. I wanted to make a necklace with a big gold heart in the center. There is a product I discovered for adding 24k gold accents to sterling silver, but it's $55/gram. I couldn't really visualize how much a gram of gold paint would be, but I knew it wouldn't be much.

I decided to take the plunge and buy some gold. The actual pendant went fine, but I was trying to make it absolutely perfect. Every edge was even and pleasingly round. The simple engraving of the word "Breathe" looked great (for once.) After drying for 2 days, I fired it successfully. It tumbled to a gleaming shine for another day. Then it was was time to apply the gold. No turning back.

The gold arrived in a tiny plastic pot, which was shrink wrapped. Upon a close examination I noticed that there was a layer of gold powder between the pot and the plastic and estimated that that was probably about $23 worth. I opened the shrink wrap over paper so I could gather my $23 and pour it back in the pot. I carefully unscrewed the lid, not wanting to waste any more, and I expected to find the container half full, at least. But there was hardly enough to cover the bottom. I had to mix in the liquid medium to turn it from powder to paint, but the two substances were immiscible- they would not mix. The best I could do was tiny grains of gold suspended in the liquid, not at all like the paint I was expecting. I suppose it was ridiculous of me to think that the metal would dissolve.

I stuck my paint brush in the gold slurry and was horrified to watch it slurp up at least $30 worth. I tried to brush it onto the heart, but it was like pushing the last few cheerios around the bowl. I couldn't get an even layer. I knew I just needed to start again because globs of gold were in all the wrong places, but I didn't want to waste a drop of it so I collected them all and tried to return them to the pot.

When I was nearly satisfied that there was not a grain out of place, I set the piece on the kiln lid to dry. The shelf had to be preheated which meant I couldn't lower the piece into the 1650 degree kiln on the shelf- I had to use tiny tweezers, but I implemented my beefy welding gloves to get it done.

First firing- Apparently there was a little liquid medium left that didn't dry and then boiled, sending my carefully placed grains of gold flying.

Second firing- Pretty good coverage, but there were a few holes in the middle and the gold did not stick to the side.

Third firing- Finally covered the holes and the sides.

I buffed it to a pleasing shine. I textured the silver. I polished the gold I put in the lettering. It was just about perfect. I decided to polish the gold one more time and noticed that it was lifting up a little. It would probably be fine, but in a pursuit of perfection I decided to fire it one more time.

Fourth firing- The kiln was really hot but I figured that maybe my previous firings had been too cool, and that's why the gold wasn't sticking. I put the piece in and set my timer for 7 minutes. I started to panic as Lander and I played Purple Haze on Guitar Hero. The drum part was quite boring, so I had a lot of time to think about the kiln. I went to check on it even though there was still 2 minutes left. All I found was a red hot puddle in the middle of the shelf. With a broken heart, and fighting back swells of inadequacy and self pity, I but my gloves and eye protection on and tried to lift the shelf out of kiln. It tipped slightly and the puddle separated into tiny balls that rolled off and splattered all over the bottom. If only my kiln had a cleaning cycle.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Body Project part III: Baby Blues

I feel like everyone I know is pregnant, and being pregnant myself is all I can think about. I decided to put off my next pregnancy for 6 months because of... you guessed it: pain. I can't explain how many things this pain has taken away from me, and I hate it when I am forced to change major plans like having a baby because of it.

I have taken this time to give the Lyrica a try and to focus on my health so that I can be as healthy and strong as possible for the next pregnancy. The pills are a great help, but if I forget to take it the pain comes back full force. I was hoping that reducing my pain levels with the pills would help to break the cycle of pain causing poor sleep and stress on the body, creating more pain. I was hoping that I could go without the medication eventually, if I got my body in order over the next few months. It's only been a month but I'm already feeling hopeless and like I'm wasting my time. I have been dealing with this for so long that it really seems impossible that it would ever go away.

The book I read about curing Fibromyalgia says that if I can eliminate my triggers then my symptoms will go away. It's so simple- why didn't I think of that?! Unfortunately the trigger that caused this whole disaster is the RSD/CRPS in my left leg, and that is never going to go away, since I don't have the guts to try the Ketamine coma any time soon. So now what do I do?

The lyrica gives me a significant reduction in overall pain levels and that is really exciting. Nothing I have ever taken before has worked this well, and I feel so lucky that it works for me. I have more energy these days, and it's only now that I feel better that I fully realize how limited my life has been. Since Lyrica causes birth defects in little mice, I have to stop taking it before the next baby. My biggest worry is that spending all this time without my full customary level of pain is going to ruin my ability to deal with it.

So this pretty much sums up my worries about when to get pregnant. Don't even get me started on if I should do it! What is I do have FMS and what if it does have a genetic component? Those are pretty big ifs to base such an important decision on.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Rosie is Cooler Than Me

My 1 1/2 year old daughter, Rosie, gets just about anything she wants from strangers because she is beautiful. Free balloons, trinkets, adventurous rides with the Jazz bear, and an introduction to the team. She is so brave and in command of her scene, where ever she is. I just know she could be an it girl when she grows up if she wants to.

Now, I'm positive that I am the first mother to worry about what my daughter is going to think of me when she grows up. I was never a part of that queen bee, alpha-girl crowd, nor did I want to be. But what if Rosie finds her place in that society and she is not at all amused by her wanna-be-artist-bohemian mother?

The only thing I'm sure of is that I am officially grounded from watching Gossip Girl.