Monday, May 28, 2012

How my garden grows.....

One of the results of my not being able to ride my bike due to my ongoing back problems, has been more time spent in the studio. Normally I don't get in the studio much in summer. I am busy riding my bike 12-15 miles a day. I used to leave early in the morning, around 9-ish and return home around lunch time.

This has been the hardest part of all of this for me. I love working in my studio but I need my exercise. I haven't been able to exercise since February and it is really getting me down.

I try to stay positive and the art helps. I don't know how I would manage if i didn't at least have that.

I see the surgeon this week to discuss what is next for me. I was supposed to see him last week but he cancelled on me.

Hopefully, somehow this can be resolved. I need to be able to exercise.

Meanwhile please enjoy how my garden grows......

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Faux Silver

Faux Silver by Roberta Warshaw
Faux Silver, a photo by Roberta Warshaw on Flickr.
Many years ago, when I lived in Key West there was a search for treasure under the sea. A man named Mel Fisher searched for many years for a Spanish Galleon ship called the Atocha that was said to have gone down in the Florida Keys  loaded with silver bars and other precious items.

Mel's search was eventually successful. He found the ship and was rich beyond his wildest dreams, The search was not without tragedy and ended up costing him dearly.

A friend of mine's husband was a diver for Mel from the earliest days of the search and was therefore entitled to sharing in some of the treasure. My friend invited many of us to her house to see what a suitcase full of all those silver bars looked like before they took them to be sold.  It was a sight I never forgot.

These newest pieces remind me in some way of those bars of silver treasure.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

New stringing ideas

For a while now, I have not been happy with using plain black leather or rubber cord for my new pendants. They don't seem to match too well. I felt like the pieces needed something a bit more elegant.

So last week I bought a book by Joan Babcock called "Micro-Macrame Jewelry. I also bought some of the lovely cord she carries on her web site. It is an excellent book. Don't let the fact that it is in black and white deter you. The illustrations are cute and the knot drawings are perfectly drawn and easy to understand.

At first I was all thumbs! I had done some macrame before, back in the 70's but at that time I used thick cord and the work went rather quickly. With micro macrame the cord is very thin and the work progresses much more slowly.

This piece is done in the square knot in only one direction which is why it twists. I very much like the look with my polymer pendants. I am going to try learning some new knots as well in order to expand and enhance my work a bit. I really do want to be able to make some of these new pieces into actual jewelry as well as just selling the beads alone.

Next I have to decide what I want the clasp to look like. I will most likely do something similar to the handmade clasps I have done in the past since they are rugged and sturdy and stay in place rather nicely.

Oh and I want to thank everyone for their kind and helpful comments regarding my back/spine problems.  It helps to know that you are out there when I need to "talk".

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Breathing and Waiting

I can breathe now.

I am taking in deep, deep breaths.

I don’t have cancer.

I had quite a scare last week.

As you might remember, I have been dealing with a pinched nerve since February. I had 2 months of physical therapy, high dosages of prednisone, doses of gabopentin, and an epidural. Nothing was working at all. My leg is getting weaker and achier every day. I can hardly climb stairs right now.

So last Thursday I went to see a new spine specialist. He was someone my wonderful physical therapist, Mandy recommended.

He was very nice and very thorough. He went through the whole MRI with me section by section. He examined me thoroughly. To him, the weirdest thing about the disc was that it looked like it had broken off in there. And all my other discs looked, well, so perfectly lovely to him. However, that would explain why 2 months of physical therapy wasn’t working. Then at the end, he showed me the paper report from that last MRI. It strongly suggested having another MRI with contrast dye to see if in fact it really was a ruptured disc or might be something called a “nerve sheath tumor”. Of course as soon as I heard the word tumor and spine in the same sentence, I began my descent into what can only be described as madness and depression. This is it, I thought. I am going to die. What else could I think? Then the waiting began. For a week, I waited, and stressed. I finally had the MRI yesterday and haven’t left my house or the phone for the entire time. Waiting, waiting, waiting for the doctor to call.

During the week of waiting for the appointment and then the call here is what I did. Cried, slept, watched multiple Star Trek movies (I am not a Star Trek fan but it was all that was on). Cried more. Had multiple panic attacks where I couldn’t eat or breathe. Those were the worst. I felt like I was swimming in Jell-O. It got so bad, I couldn’t leave the house. I never knew when or where the panic attack was going to strike. I would see a young mother and be reminded of my youth and being a young mother myself. That alone was enough to send me into a tailspin.

I would cry just thinking of my husband and all our plans for retirement and our future together. The slightest thing would set me reeling.

My primary care doctor called about an hour ago to tell me I don’t have a tumor, that it looks like the disc did in fact break off. He said the surgeon would tell me more, but that in the meantime he wanted me to stop worrying about the diagnosis. He is so sweet, my primary. I lucked out in the primary care department.

So now I will wait to speak to the surgeon. I am quite sure I will need surgery to remove the piece of disc in there but suddenly surgery for something mechanical doesn’t seem so bad does it?

Oh and please, do me a favor, no horror stories about back surgery. I couldn’t handle that right now. It seems everyone knows someone or had surgery that didn’t work etc. But just don’t tell me about that OK? Deal? Thanks. I need to think positively now going forward since I have already flooded my poor body with too many negative thoughts this week. Enough for a lifetime.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Wild Roses by Roberta Warshaw
Wild Roses, a photo by Roberta Warshaw on Flickr.

I just want to wish all my friends out there in the blogosphere a Happy Mother's Day. I hope that your day is full of good things.

Enjoy the day!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Bails, Bails, Bails

Bail added by Roberta Warshaw
Bail added, a photo by Roberta Warshaw on Flickr.
I've had a rather bad week, which I am not able to talk about at this time. Perhaps later when I feel more comfortable with it. So for now, it is all about the work.

I decided that my beads really needed some metal added. I kept trying to figure out how to embed the metal within the clay itself but I hated the way it looked. A jump ring was too boring. A simple post, not much better.

I was browsing through one of my many jewelry books and stumbled upon something similar to this. The one in the book was more trapeze-like with movement but I really liked a tight fit. I didn't want it to swing at all. So I adjusted the design a bit and came up with this.

My next thing is to try and figure out what to string it on. I had been using leather cord and rubber cord, but these pieces seem to scream for something more elegant. I am working on some micro-macrame ideas. They will be simple since the pendant is so ornate. I have sent off for a book on the subject (surprise, surprise) so hopefully I will have something to show you soon.

That's it for now.......

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Flowers, Epidurals, and Facebook

Today I had my first epidural shot for my herniated disc. Since I have tried most everything else, this is the last thing to try before the “S” word. I am to have 3 shots, 4 weeks apart. It is my great hope that this thing heals by itself. My spine doctor says that I have a 50/50 chance of it healing by itself at my advanced age of 62. I was so stressed all week about this shot I could hardly speak. Yesterday I gave myself a panic attack. I am a big baby when it comes to things like this. I guess because I have been very lucky in my life with no serious illness and only one operation and that was over 20 years ago. If I ever do have anything serious I will need an IV drip of Valium to get through it. Turns out the shot was no big deal. The idea of a big needle being shot into my spine was making me almost pass out. But with the lidocaine, you really don’t feel much of anything. And it is over quickly. So I am to put ice on it every 15 minutes today and hope for the best.

On a more important note, I just discovered a wonderful blog. Many of you probably are already familiar with Handmadeology, but I was not. I found it as I usually find these things, through another person’s blog. I signed up for the blogs e-mail so I don’t miss anything. The post that I found so helpful was this one about how to use your Facebook “like” page. I have had one of these FB business pages forever but I could never figure out how to get people to “like” me. I didn’t want to spam my friends and family with an all out message since many of them are just not that into jewelry, including mine!

So I have crawled along with less than 50 something “likes” for a very long time. I also could never figure out how to leave comments using my business page avatar rather than my regular facebook avatar. They do not make it easy to connect these two pages. But the article taught me how to do that and how to toggle back and forth between the two pages. So helpful! Turns out that if you comment on other people’s “like” pages using your “like” page avatar, they can “like” you back. Who knew? I am sure you all know that but I did not. I find it difficult to keep up with all the social media even though I know how important it is to me and my business.

The one thing I wish is that I could use my “like” identity to comment on my friends and family pages. That way, if they want to “like” me they can and I won’t feel like I am being a pest. But you cannot comment on their posts if they do not “like” your fan page. Kind of a catch-22 if you ask me.

Going back on the ice now and taking it easy. No bead making today………..

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Featured on Honey Bijou!

I was both excited and happy to be featured yesterday on Jenna’s Honey Bijou Hive Five blog along with 4 other jewelry artists including Heather Powers, Kristi Bowman, Lorelei Eurto, and Lynda Moseley. What company! Any jewelry artist would be proud to be among these  wonderfully creative artists.

Jenna chooses 5 polymer clay artists and/or jewelry designers every month who inspire her and features them on her blog called Honey Bijou.

Jenna and her partner Kim, both from Napa California, have a wonderful Etsy shop as well which you simply must check out. They have these tribal mask pendants which I have been drooling over since I first laid eyes on them. I have never been able to sculpt faces too well so these are inspiring to me!

Thanks again Jenna for featuring me!