Sunday, January 20, 2013

My Christmas Ornaments Can Now Be Topped!

For quite a while now I've been almost obsessed with making Christmas ornaments. I have made them in the past, but they were fabric, crocheted, or made with beads or paper. Now I make them from glass. One of my goals in learning how to make lampwork beads was to also learn to make small vessels, like perfume bottles. I did learn how to make small bottle or urn shapes but somehow that still wasn't enough. I wasn't quite sure why until I started making blown glass Christmas ornaments. My first ornament was made almost exactly like the small vessels, except for not worrying about how to make it stand upright on its own, or adding handles so it could be hung from a chain. Now I make different shapes and sizes, and my most popular are the chili pepper ornaments.

Chili Pepper Ornament
One of the things I really don't like about my "traditional" ball-shaped blown glass ornaments is the cap I have been using to finish off the top. They are silver and gold stamped metal and are very much like the caps you will see on commercial mass-produced ornaments, but on my hand-made ornaments they look cheap. They are the only caps I could find when I started making ornaments, so I felt that I was limited to something not quite up-to-par. This has made me search for a way to top my ornaments that looks like it belongs on a handmade ornament. I have bought several styles of bead caps, but they are usually not large enough to cover the top of the ornament. Since I work with silver and copper I have tried making my own caps, and have not had much success until this week. Here are photos of the commercial bead and ornament caps, and of one I made for the ornament.

The cap is made from copper that I have enameled with many colors to compliment the ornament. I'm sure I will continue to refine my quest for the perfect cap for each ornament, but at least I have finally found something that I like.

 Chili Pepper, Grapes, and Pear Ornaments

Let me know what you think!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Nurse Penny

No matter what our intensions, there are times when we have to drop everything and deal with whatever is happening RIGHT NOW. We had that situation a couple of days ago when our dogs began to act strange, barking and dancing like there was a new dog hiding under the house. I couldn't see anything with my feeble flashlight, so my brother crawled under the house to see what was there. Penny, one of our dogs, had been injured and was hiding from us and the other dogs, causing them all to be anxious. Even though it was after hours I called the vet  and he agreed to meet us at his office as soon as we could get there. Penny got to spend the night at the vet's, and I was able to pick her up the next day. 

We call her Nurse Penny because she is known for licking the wounds of the other dogs if they are injured, and generally tending to them when they are hurt. She is now recuperating on her bed in the living room, and hopefully she will be back to normal soon.

So, life can take twists and turns that put our dreams and plans on hold, but we should always keep those dreams and plans going in the background. Don't let the misfortunes of life derail your dreams.  

 Poor Sick Penny

Penny Is Feeling Better

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Setting Goals for 2013

If I'm going to talk about success in 2013, I must first define it. For some, success is defined by their bank account, or their advanced degrees, or how many friends they have on Facebook, or the awards holding down their mantle. For others, success is a feeling of satisfaction after a day's work, or when helping a friend move, or when making dinner for family and friends. Maybe for some, it's a combination of both. Actually, the only person who can define success for me is ME, and if I let others define it, then it really isn't my success goal, is it?

So, then, what is success for me? Actually, I have multiple goals in my business as well as personal life. One goal I have set is to contribute to my blog more often this year, and I will feel I have succeeded if I make at least two posts a week to my blog. Here are three of my 2013 goals:

Business: Post more of my jewelry and ornaments to my website (or another site), at least one item a week.

Writing: 1. Make at least two posts a week to my blog.

             2. Write more fiction. My goal is at least a chapter a month.

Personal: Organize, organize, and organize.

Using my three-step process outlined on January 1, I have thought about what I want to accomplish this year. Next, I'll start to plan for my goals, and since I am a list-maker I'll start a To-Do list for each of my goals. This will help me to stay on track and give me the satisfaction of being able to check off any steps I've accomplished towards reaching my goals.
You are welcome to follow me on my Goals for 2013 journey. Let me know if anything I have posted or suggested has helped you strive for "Success".

One of my recent glass ornaments.

(See, I've already started by posting my ornament photo here!)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Three Steps To Success

When I checked my email this morning I was greeted with an email from a person who has a motivational blog, telling me that things would be better in 2013 because I would believe that they were better. Oh, she went on to tell me that I needed to believe in myself and to do whatever it took to make that happen. Oh, and that even the smallest of things was an 'accomplishment' and worthy of accolades and rejoicing. I could make this New Year better by believing that it was. Well, I certainly want to know what she puts in her morning coffee! Am I cynical? You betcha! Will reading her blog and subscribing to her methods through reading her books and attending her seminars help ME? Well, only if I get off my butt and do something. Yup, that's the secret to success. Get off your butt and do something.

I'm not saying that you don't need to set goals and give yourself some much-needed praise for accomplishing those goals. It is always better to start with a plan and at least know what your first, second, and third steps are before you eventually reach any goal. But my goal to run a marathon or get an advanced degree in basket weaving won't happen by me sitting on my butt reading her blog. Unless it really, really, really does inspire me to make a change, to put on my running shoes and start running, or to enroll in my first-ever basket weaving class. Only then will my goals be accomplished.

So, how do we accomplish anything? Especially the important things in life like making a living, or helping others through volunteer work, or baking the perfect loaf of bread? It starts with an idea of what we'd like to be and do in our lives, then pursuing those ideas. I have broken it down into three very simple steps:

1. Think it.

2. Plan it.

3. Do it.

See, it really simple, isn't it? It's just that there are hundreds if not thousands of mini-steps between 1 and 3. And don't forget that LIFE is happening whether we follow the three steps or not. We can live our whole life without any planning at all, and while I think that would be a very boring and haphazard way of life, many people do that without even thinking about it. They just put it in drive and go. For me, I prefer at least a little bit of planning and design for my life, so I will follow my three-step program, even if it's just to decide what's for dinner. And for the big picture of what I want do be/do/accomplish in my life? Well, that's only three steps away!