Friday, October 19, 2012

I am so burnt out

I am so burnt out. It's the money squeeze as usual, plus an extraordinarily full plate at work. The number of events and projects I am juggling is staggering, and I'm worried that I'm a little short on organization. Also, two of my interns are just not up to snuff, and the third, who is wonderful, is now barely available due to her paying job.

I got sick as hell a week ago. I felt really worn out in the morning, and decided to nap during my lunch hour in a free treatment room; I asked someone to bang on the door at 1:00. I didn't wake up until 2:30; didn't hear the knocking. I was over an hour let for a meeting where I was supposed to set up food and take minutes. Someone had already covering my meeting responsibilities, and I went home. I was exhausted and had a dreadful cough. And that went on for days. The coughing was so bad that my stomach muscles got sore. I couldn't go into work on Monday - and Mondays, and Friday afternoons when there are meetings, are the two days I can't miss. I didn't get a hard time for it, but I was upset.

The pharmacist gave me something for the cough a couple of days ago, but it makes me very drowsy. And I still have the cough.

I need a break of some sort, a windfall, some fun.

My birthday is next month, and one particular relative usually sends a generous check, about $150. If he does so this year, I'm getting a 4G smartphone. I have been using a free stupid little brick that I got when I was on welfare. I am looking forward to having a good phone.

Also, I am hoping to make some decent money at the crafts fair. I actually might plow some of it back into materials, as I may acquire new customers, and it's good for me to make jewelry. I've been doing some every weekend for the past couple of months, except for this past weekend, when I was too damn sick. But it's hard to say what I'd do if I get a couple hundred dollars, because I need another pair of shoes, at least one top and one pair of pants, a decent desk chair, and crave things like another bottle of Mitsouko, a massage, a flat-screen TV. There's just never enough money, and when I do things for myself, I feel guilty because the household needs so much.

I did, however, get a food order from Fresh Direct this week, and I like having a decent amount of food in the house. We don't have a supermarket in the neighborhood (except one that's so crappy that I wouldn't buy anything fresh, refrigerated, or frozen there). We used to use one a few subway stops away, but they stopped delivering to this area. With Fresh Direct, you order online and they deliver. They're kind of the opposite of the crappy market: they're excellent on fresh and refrigerated items. And if you shop carefully, the prices are OK. In fact, I believe I will now watch the latest episode of Boss and have a grapefruit or some yogurt and blackberries.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

you asked for it: jewelry pix

Lapis, azurite-malachite, kyanite, rhodochrosite, Thai silver clasp.

Sleeping beauty turquoise. Fine American turquoise is named for the mine where it was found. Sleeping beauty has no veining and a very beautiful color.

Three kinds of jasper, bullseye agate, silver beads. I made the clasp myself.

I may have mentioned that until puberty, I was a big science nerd, and it became somewhat reawakened when I began making jewelry. I always wanted to know exactly what materials I was using, and I've become pretty familiar with semi-precious stones.

(Though I must admit, I can never remember the names of all of the jaspers I've used. In the past several years, a lot more types of jasper have turned up, with a lot of different names. I've bought some where neither I nor anyone in the store knew the name. I'm familiar with most of the usual suspects: poppy jasper, brecciated jasper, Indian jasper - also called "fancy jasper" - ocean jasper - found only in Madesgascar - and so on. So a certain level of geology has followed and developed with jewelry-making. In fact, when I used to spend a lot of time at bead stores in the city, there was only one guy in one store who knew stones better than I did. The jasper thing was a huge pain in the ass when I worked at Dweck - Stephen would pick up some odd jasper in the bead room and design with it, then ask me to source it...and neither of us knew the name of it. I'd sometimes have to take a bead to a wholesale bead shop and try to match it.)

I just bought myself some colored aluminum wire, which is pretty thick and soft, and I'm going to see what I can do with it. It's just too fucking expensive to work entirely in sterling silver any more. A nice toggle clasp that used to cost $4-6 is now $10-12 or more. I'm going to have to make more of my own clasps. Any tiny bit of money I have to spend now on supplies goes to silver headpins and wire. I've been cannibalizing older necklaces for the clasps. Luckily, I have a decent stash of earring hooks and a ridiculous stash of beads and pearls and Swarovski crystal. I used to find crystal too loud and obvious compared to natural stone, but started to use it a few years ago...I'm kind of a sucker for the colors. I've even managed here and there to mix a little in with stone.

These pictures are all items I've made for the crafts fair coming up - have I mentioned that I'm co-chairing a fundraising crafts fair at work next month? I have about ten other people making knits, pottery, paintings, gift cards, etc. Each crafter is giving part or all of the sales to PPSC. I actually started making my goods in July, just in case I started having finger problems. I'm digging out some really nice beads from my hoard, so I can charge at the high end of my price range. I'm keeping 60%.

The entire crafts fair came put of an idea of Judy's, to help me make some money. I'd given her earrings for the holidays and a necklace for her birthday, and she asked me one day if I ever sell my jewelry. She proposed that I do a fundraising sale with my jewelry, which the Board expanded into a crafts fair. Because fundraising is starved for committee members, Judy and I ended up co-chairing it. It's the most responsibility I've had in fundraising, although I do the lion's share of writing the twice-annual fundraising letter.

I've been keeping a particular eye on the jewelry worn by the faculty, in particular, and there's a real taste for natural stones and ethnic-looking jewelry; it's exactly the customer base for my stone jewelry, at healthy prices. It looks like my center pieces are two Y-necklaces: one in gold rutilated quartz, and one in cape amethyst. Most of the materials in the pieces pictured are fairly premium stones, except for the jasper/agate (although I don't often make double-strands).

For the past few months, I've pretty much made two pieces of jewelry each weekend. I had a bunch of fairly simple stuff (earrings in particular) that I'll sell relatively cheaply, and I'm making fancier stuff for higher prices. I'm still trying to figure out prices. I want things to fetch a good price, but I don't want to ask so much that it won't sell well. I'm going to sell the simple earrings at $10, $25 for three, which will get the bargain shoppers, but I want some of the fancier necklaces to go to $150 or a little more.

Must leave the neck is hurting today.