Wednesday, June 30, 2010

MagPie Approved?

Penelope is my younger daughter's kitten. She is ALL kitten, curious about any thing and every thing. A true MagPie wanting to claim anything sparkly, shiny and pretty for her own. She loves to sit and watch while I make jewelry, swatting at the wire as I weave, and trying over and over again to steal the finished piece of jewelry. It isn't MagPie Approved unless Penelope has tried to steal it at least twice!!

Penelope and her sister Lola came to live with us almost exactly one year ago. Tiny little things barely six weeks old, still with blue eyes, scared and motherless, dumped near our house along with a brother and another sister.

We knew we couldn't keep them all, I already had Bastet an 8 year old male and had just adopted Kairi, a six month old Siamese that had belonged to my oldest daughters room mate. But we couldn't find them homes if they were terrified of people either, so we set out to befriend them.

Over the course of the next several weeks we brought them kitten food softened with milk and kept fresh water readily available. We spent many hours sitting out on the back steps watching the kittens chase grasshoppers and stalk each others tails. First to come around was Cookie, oh she was sweet, happy to sit next to you and be loved on, with an instant purr. She became the favorite, the one we were going to keep. Then Ginger, the male, came around. Penelope was starting to come around but Lola was still quite wary of us.

Just as it seemed we were making headway and might find them homes, Ginger disappeared. We looked everywhere, no sign of him anywhere. The kittens had moved into the Hickory Tree outside my daughters window, only coming down when we brought food or were sitting on the steps. We knew something was wrong, but felt they were safe living in the tree. Then Cookie disappeared. We were devastated and decided it was time to bring them in, ready or not, it wasn't safe for them outside.

So began the life of Penelope and Lola. They've been indoor kitties ever since. They are still wary of strangers but quite happy to be inside. The one time Penelope found herself outside (after a little help from the dog!!) she couldn't get back inside fast enough! She sits at the doors and cries the most mournful meows you've ever heard until we come back in when we go out to feed the horses, or work on the balconies as we have been doing this last week. And Lola? Well, she quietly watches over us from the stairway windows, and as distrustful as she was at first, she has the biggest purr when snuggled in your lap.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Up, Down, Turnaround....

Oh up, down, turnaround, puts me in the mood.
Oh up, down, touch the ground, in the mood for food.

Gotta love the Pooh Bear!

My goodness, what a week it’s been! Ups and downs and just plain busy!

I won the Beads n Blessings Artistic category!! Yay! UPS returned my prize package, boo!
Seems they couldn’t find my house - there are only four houses on the street, mine is the last one and they found me just fine to deliver the kit, go figure. Thankfully the Gift Certificate was delivered electronically. On the advice of my friends I used it to buy something I really wanted but haven’t bought until now. Are you ready? I bought a pair of Tronex Razor Flush Cutters! I really needed a pair of flush cutters and these are on par with the best, I am so excited! I kicked in some of my money and also bought a gorgeous strand of Russian Serephinite. I can’t wait for them to get here!!

I started using my iCal to remind me of the various things I need or want to get accomplished in a day, and to tell me it’s time to stop doing one and move on to another. That’s working out very well! I seem to be getting so much more accomplished in a day - does not seem to make any difference in the I don’t feel like doing that right now thing though lol

After saying I was going to get back in the habit of exercising for the last year, I finally did it!! Added my exercise schedule in the iCal, and boy had I forgotten the energy boost you get from a good work out! Of course since I’ve gotten out of shape, that boost is followed by an intense desire for nap time! Luckily for me I’ve started inventory on my beads and such and can use that quiet time to enter the strands into my spreadsheet and still feel productive. I missed yesterdays work out because I forgot to set up the alarm. But that’s ok, the first couple weeks are all about establishing a routine and it’s expected to not be perfect - nothing really is anyway, right? Right!

Our other business is booming right now, we’re backed up and the work keeps coming in. We’ve had an early heat wave - heat index has been in the triple digits. For my European friends that about 35c if I remember the conversion right. 0 is freezing and every degree Celsius is approximately 3 degrees Fahrenheit. On one of the hottest days my husband had work lined up for the trackhoe and dump truck. Both are air conditioned and it should have been a fairly easy day - the air conditioner went out on the trackhoe in the first hour and on the dump truck in the next. That poor man looked so beat when he finally came in for a late lunch. I felt so bad for him, but he turned right around and picked up the parts he needed to make repairs and got right to them, in the heat of the afternoon! But he’s got a/c again!

This weeks piece I’ve been working on is a gold filled filigree cross. It’s really coming along beautifully and I’m quite happy with it. Just one more piece of filigree to add to the back, so it’s as pretty as the front and it’s all done. Finally got a decent pic of Sabina’s matching earrings yay but I haven’t gotten started on that matching cuff yet. I know, bad girl!! But I’ve been working on the cross - *biggest best smile*

We’ve been building our house for the past seven years. We’ve been living in it for over a year now. Makes it interesting to find things sometimes as there’s still quite a bit boxed up. We’ve just received notice from our insurance that they’ll no longer be covering us since the exterior still needs work. We have two months to get the front balconies and rock work done. That’s the bad news, the good news is that’s the incentive to FINALLY get it done! Yay! On that note, I finished texturizing the last wall in the laundry room! It is now ready to be primed and painted in the next few days. Told you I’ve been busy!!

'Til next time!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

That Extra Mile

Our bread and butter business is construction, more specifically heavy equipment. We clear land to ready it for building, dig holes for pools, build small roads and driveways, etc.

We recently did some work for John Daly. When we received the check it was highly personalized with a photo of him on a golf course in full swing. That's not what this post is about, but it is what started this line of thought.

Customer service - going above and beyond what is expected.

Now I've seen personalized checks before, but this was above and beyond stock photos and a quote. This was a highly customized and personalized check specifically made for him. That is customer service, not just doing the job, but doing it above and beyond.

When I was growing up, my parents had a Salon, my Dad was a barber and my Mom a stylist.
There was never a charge for washing your hair before cutting or styling, that was a part of their customer service. When I had my own Salon, I did the same. Other Salons charged extra, not me. One of the best parts of having your hair done is someone else washing your hair for you. It just feels good to get that little massage. Why wouldn't you want your customers to feel good while in your chair? They're already there, why not give a little something extra - Good Customer Service.

Most supplies arrive in a plastic bag, if it's a larger company and they believe in customer service, you get a hand written Thank you and some tissue paper. But that little bit of extra time it takes to hand write a Thank you note is above and beyond.

I have a friend whose Mom sells supplies on Etsy, I've purchased from her a couple times. The first time was purely out of support for my friend and her Mom. The second? She believes in good customer service! Going above and beyond, she had put a little something extra in with my order. She didn't stop there either, it all came wrapped up in a nice little organza bag. I will shop with her again!

I can't imagine why any one wouldn't want to give you their best customer service. Giving a little extra feels as good to the giver as it does the receiver.

Until next time! Dana

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

and...... More Pics!

Not sure why it only allowed two pics, so I'll make a second posting.

I just noticed each posting has one pic I took and one my daughter took. We bought her an SLR for Christmas as she is quite the shutter bug and has chosen photo journalism as her major in college. When I was choosing which pics to send in as my entry it struck me the differences in clarity and color between the two cameras. All I had to do to, with Paige's pics, was crop. Mine needed a slight light balance adjustment. To be fair to my old 5mp camera. I had full sun on the days I shot and she had an overcast day when she shot. But it does bring home the point that a good camera can make a world of difference.

My Beads n Blessings Contest Necklace has Been Posted!

So now I can share it with you!!

If you peeked at the website I posted you saw the components I had to use to make a piece of jewelry. Here are the pics of my finished piece :o)

From my stash I added some Vintaj filigree, Vintaj chain, Miyuki rocailles, a few filigree bead caps, and more rocailles I had purchased from friends destash shops on Etsy and Artfire.

I really am pleased with the results :o)

If you'd like to vote for me, please follow the link to the Beads and Blessings website, I am number three! umm well now I'm number 4 lol

Friday, June 4, 2010

It's Better HandMade - Color Me Friday - Red!

With my photos, bio and inspirational blurb turned in for the Beads n Blessings contest, I had time to check in on the color of the week for It's Better Handmade- and Red it is! The first piece I thought of - hasn't been listed yet- oops! Better get busy on those photos and descriptions!! So I submitted one of my other favorite pieces.

Knowing my love of filigree and iron work, my dear friend Mollie of Rough Magic Creations issued a challenge to me.
She showed me this photo by Cat Ludwig Studio of Etsy
and challenged me to make a piece of filigree from it. After many hours of design and redesign in the sketchbook, this pendant is the result of that challenge. The wire wrapped filigree pendant measures just one inch in diameter, with four 4mm Garnets in the center. Hanging from my hand crafted chain, with a hand forged clasp, the total length is 17 inches long.

One of the things I have noticed (I may have forgot to submit one of my pieces last week, Diana found one she liked and submitted it) is I really need to crop my photos a little tighter for those thumbnail shots. While the picture looks good as a whole, the jewelry disappears when it gets squished down to the itty bitty size. ack! I think I actually like the cropped photo better too. You can see the original in my listing here:

I think I have some work to do in my studio - and editing of listings! Then while I'm there editing maybe I can actually get around to listing some of my newer pieces.

Til next time! Dana