Thursday, August 30, 2007

Bally Beads New Retail Jewelry Store

I love Bally Beads and spend a lot of time there selecting the gemstones, pearls, and other components that I'll use to make my jewelry. Everyone on staff is knowledgeable and friendly.
They've always been a wholesaler. Recently they have opened a high-end retail jewelry store. A few components are also sold in the retail section, such as these Russian pendants shown here. I've seen Russian pendants before, but these are of much higher quality than usual. The pendants feature hand painted reproductions of masterpieces of art work, including Picasso, Klimt, Mucha, DaVinci, and many, many others. The art work on the pendants is outstanding. Best of all, there is a discount for jewelry designers. They've been flying off the shelf.

They are featuring jewelry lines from designers like Rocki Gorman, Nina Nguyen, and their very own Nona Hudspeth. They have Australian Boulder Opal set in 14kt & 18 kt Gold, sterling pendants, and beads in Larimar gemstone.

Bally Beads is located in Rockwall, Texas, right in the Dallas area. Check it out. Plus, for all you jewelry designers, there is the wholesale portion of the store. They have lots of great beads plus a good selection of unusual and collectible African Trade Beads and fine gemstones. You can visit in store, on the web, or mail order.

More Bally Bead Photos

From top to bottom: the entrance to Bally Beads retail showroom, a second view of the entrance, and a second showroom.

First Day of High School

My 14-year-old son has started ninth grade and high school. It doesn't seem possible. Next, he'll be driving. Yikes! He's had a good start this week and seems to appreciate the extra freedom high school students get compared to middle school.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Here's a great site that I found recently:

It's a social networking site for artists, designers, DIY'ers and those who like to shop these products. There's lot of good info and fun here. Here is a link to my Indiepublic page:

Check it out!
Visit Indiepublic

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Nose to the Grindstone

I don't know what's been wrong with me this summer, but I've had a real problem getting any jewelry work done. I have been learning some new techniques. I did finally get a website up, but I'm way off the mark on production. Yikes! My biggest shows are coming up in September and October. I need to make money. This is my job, or at least the main one.
Finally I've finished some pieces with wire worked donuts. These are all necklaces sets and there are matching bracelets.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Dish Delights & High-flying Treats

I gave up the nonfiction this week and read a couple of paperback mysteries by two of my favorite authors.

The first is Diane Mott Davidson's Dark Tort. Goldie the caterer solved another murder and then some. This last one has some interesting fallout from her investigation as it turns out there was more going on than just one murder.

I also read Dead on Arrival by Lori Avocato. Lori has introduced a second love interest for Pauline and added a lot of sizzle to the storyline.

These are both good books well worth reading. I reviewed both on Amazon.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

No Bra Burning Here

I don't usually do these quiz things but this one made me think about some things. Here is my result on the quiz.

You Are 96% Feminist

You are a total feminist. This doesn't mean you're a man hater (in fact, you may be a man).
You just think that men and women should be treated equally. It's a simple idea but somehow complicated for the world to put into action.

I once made my Mom very, very angry by referring to her as a feminist. She said something about never having burned her bra, etc. I was completed flummoxed. Mom didn't think she was a feminist? In the 60's she was the second female real estate broker in Texas. Real Estate is primarily a woman's field now, but it wasn't back then. She specialized in selling ranches in excess of 10,000 acres. She got a private pilots license so she could show people ranches from the air. She had her own business. She ran for public office. She was very feminine and put together. She volunteered as a juvenile probation officer. She told me stories about how as a window designer for a department store she made $300.00 a month. When she quit they hired a man to replace her, gave him $800.00 a month and an assistant. You get the idea.

So why is feminism such a dirty word? Here I always thought it meant believing that people should be treated the same and paid the same for the same work regardless of gender. I'm pretty sure that's basically the dictionary definition. I think I had that conversation with my Mom about twenty years ago. Has the negative perception of feminism changed? I wonder what younger women think about it.

BTW, if your quiz results show "less feminism" you get a different picture. You get a picture with no boxing gloves and a sexier look.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Maker Faire Austin

Quoting from the website, the Maker Faire is "a two-day, family-friendly event that celebrates arts, crafts, engineering, science projects and the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mindset. It's for creative, resourceful folks who like to tinker and love to make things. We call them Makers." It's coming to Austin October 20-21, 2007. We're planning to go. My husband has an engineering/physics background and is always making something. I get into the craft aspect of it. Hopefully our teenager will find something interesting there as well, although that may be too much to ask for.

Here's a link to the Make Blog and another to some archives with pictures taken at a previous Maker Faire. The current Handwoven Magazine has a great article about weaver Sandy Drobny at the San Francisco Maker Faire, in addition to a pod cast and slide show online featuring a number of artists and crafters. The archives above feature more tech oriented software and engineering things and the Handwoven slide show features art and craft things (fashion, glass beads, weaving, sewing etc. ). There's a great quote in the slide show where glass bead artist Ralph McCaskey refers to a Maker Faire as "mutant Disneyland". I suspect there will be something there for everyone. It should be fun!

My husband's favorite magazine Make, and one of mine Craft.

The Sorting Hat

I went the The Sorting Hat and discovered I'm a Ravenclaw. All you Harry Potter fans can click on the house badge and try The Sorting Hat for yourself. It's kind of fun.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

What I'm reading: A Long Way Gone

I read a lot, probably too much, if that is possible. Usually I read fiction but this summer I've been working on a lot of nonfiction. One of the books I've just finished is A Long Way Gone, Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah. There are parts of it that I think about over and over. It is at once gut wrenching and beautifully mesmerizing.

At age 12, Ishmael's world is overtaken by war. He was away from home to participate in a talent show is separated from his family. He begins a nightmarish journey through the land with a few other boys trying to stay away from the rebels and the government soldiers. The rebels don't try to kill just the government troops. They kill everyone, except those they conscript. Ishmael's small group of boys are looked upon with suspicion and fear by civilians they encounter. Many of the soldiers (both government and rebel) are young boys, after all, and the civilians suspect the boys may be spies.

At age thirteen he is unable to avoid conscription as a soldier by the government's army. At 16 he is rescued by UNICEF and begins a different sort of journey, one of healing. Eventually war overtakes his home once again, and he manages to escape to the United States.

Of all the things in the world that need to be fixed, the conscription of children is surely right at the top.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Spread the Word « Nothing But Red

Spread the Word « Nothing But Red

Here's a worthy cause.

Jewelry at the Calico Cat

Here's my friend Billye of Silvermoon Studios with her display of gorgeous jewelry at the Calico Cat. Most of the visible pieces in the picture are her jewelry. Billye likes to use a lot of semi-precious gemstones mixed with glass and pearls. She also designs jewelry for the Calico Cat label.

We both really love the clothes at The Cat, especially the Flax. In fact, Billye is wearing some Flax she got at the Cat in this picture.

What a difference a haircut makes.

Here's my fourteen year old son. He'd been growing his hair out for a while and has spent the summer skateboarding. I suggested he get a haircut kind of like Owen Wilson's and he agreed. Here's the result. His hair was still damp from the wet cut when I took this. I think he looks great.
He went to skateboarding camp in July and finished second in the tournament.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Creatures of the night

For a while we had several 'possums that helped our outdoor cats eat their food. I haven't seen them in a while and I think this boy (girl?) probably chased them off. He doesn't look too big here but he is four or five inches taller than the cats. He walks up, walks around so he is in front of the cats and hisses at them. Proving that they have some smarts, the cats run off. A raccoon could probably leave the cats in little pieces if he wanted to. Callie did bop him in the forehead once before she ran off. After that I started putting a separate bowl for the raccoon away from the cat's food because I was afraid he'd hurt them. He's not afraid of me or the camera. One time I opened the front door, stuck the camera almost in his face, and took several flash pictures. He posed for me.

About a week ago I opened the front door. Several things happened all at once.

  1. The two cats jumped off the quarter pipe (skateboarding ramp) at the end of the front walk and ran toward me.

  2. This boy was walking up the front walk and stopped about halfway up to look at me.

  3. I became aware that some round growly monster thing about the size of a bowling ball was right in front of me eating a bowl of cat food and growling loudly. At first glance it seemed hair was stuck out everywhere, making is resemble a demented porcupine.

Unknown growling things freak me out. Remember, it's dark, it's the country, there is only moonlight. I screamed. The growly thing turned to look at me and I realized it was just a young raccoon and that it had been growling over its shoulder at the big raccoon. Small raccoon took off, knocking the cat food and the cat water over. Both cats and both raccoons converged on the same spot in the walkway and diverged, having totally ignored each other.

A couple of nights later my husband saw two little raccoons and the big one in the yard so I guess we are feeding three raccoons now. Or maybe the small raccoon brought his sister to see the screaming woman. I'd like to feed the outdoor cats in the house, but Callie is too feral, and both she and Buddie are extremely aggressive toward my other cats.

Speaking of Buddie, here he is. He showed up a couple of years ago and had apparently been abused. For a long time if we picked up something in the yard he ran off and hid. He was really shy. He's pretty mellow now, except when he's plotting to beat the stuffing out of one of my other cats.

Sunday I noticed that Buddy's paw was extremely swollen. I gave him antibiotics and looked for an abscess. He went to the vet today and had the abscess drained. The vet said he'd been bitten by a snake probably five days ago. Yikes! The swelling was from infection, not poison. He didn't limp or anything until Sunday. He's back home tonight and the swelling is much reduced.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

The Night Kitty

I started this blog to blog about jewelry and creating, but haven't gotten around to that, although I did some on my jewelry website. I'm going to do a couple of blogs on creatures of the night (no, not vampires). Here is one that I've recycled from the jewelry site. There will be a new one next about some of those other creatures of the night (still not talking about vampires).

Here's Callie, also known as The Night Kitty. Despite the glare of her eyes in the flash Callie is a sweet cat who wants to be petted more than she wants to eat. She appears at sundown and runs away at dawn. She is terrified of the daylight world.

Callie showed up a year ago in March. She was about a year old then. She was so feral that I couldn't catch a glimpse of her at first. I would just hear her running away. My other outdoor cat eats on the front porch. They got to be friends and he let Callie eat his food. Gradually Callie let me get closer and closer and after about four months she let me stroke her while she was eating. She spent the cold winter nights in the heated doghouse on the front porch curled up with the other cat, Buddie. I worried that she would get pregnant before she was tame enough for me to handle, but she didn't. I worried too, that the coyotes would eat her, but so far they haven't.

I don't have to worry about pregnancy any more though. If you look closely at the picture you can see that the tip of Callie's right ear has been amputated. It's rounded off nicely and I didn't even notice it for a couple of weeks. I recently found out that it's what vets do when they spay feral cats. They "notch" the ear to let people know that cat has already been fixed.

Callie lets me pick her up for a few seconds now. She runs only about 10 feet away from my husband or son, but won't let them touch her. There are woods all around our house and Callie apparently spends her daylight hours in a section that encompasses several acres. I'm hoping she will eventually start staying at my house in the daytime.

Dawn comes and she tenses, looking all around, and flinching at every noise. In short order she is off and into the woods. Something bad happened to her in the daylight.

Friday, August 3, 2007

What a Difference a Month Makes

Scrappy one month after I found him.

Scrappy still has the "big ears" look but he has more than doubled his weight and is healing up very well. In the last ten days he has learned how to play. I tried several times to get him to play with things but he didn't seem to understand. I guess he didn't feel well enough. Then one night I put him in his foam cat cube, which he loves, and he exploded into a frenzy of play with the ball hanging from the top of it.

Here he is playing with my shoe and his mouse. There is a ball in the shoe.

He loves to get up under my chin. This one shows off the scars from the hernia repair. Notice the hair growing back WHITE! His skin color is dark. He has a coarse white undercoat and a longer fine black coat. The white part shows up better where he was shaved.

When I first let him help me blog he tried to "catch" my fingers on the keyboard. Then he discovered the cursor on the screen. That's old hat now and he mostly just cuddles.

He gets along well with two of the indoor cats, but not the other male cat. Ironically they are almost identical in appearance, only one is lots larger. Nikko, our older male cat, is terrified of Scrappy.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Scrappy Love or What I Want to Do With a Baseball Bat

Scrappy before surgery.

I actually wrote this on the 7th of July, but I was too angry to post it then. I'm still angry, but not as much so I'm posting it pretty much as I wrote it on the 7th. I'll post some better news about Scrappy later.

On Sunday, July 1st I found a small, emaciated black kitten on the shoulder of the interstate, miles from anywhere. He was trotting down the shoulder as if he knew where he was going. Although he was glad to see me, he wanted to keep running down the road. It was like he had been doing it so long he didn’t know how to stop. In retrospect, I think he was running from the pain.

He was painfully thin and very dehydrated. His bones stuck out everywhere and he felt like a skeleton in a sack. He had clearly been on the road for at least a week. There were abrasions on his legs and body and he had a distended stomach and foul odor from worms and diarrhea. And there was something wrong with his mouth. It looked like a sticker, stick, bone or something stuck in it.

My husband held the kitten in his lap and we gave it water in a bottle cap. I’ll never forget the way the kitten fell on that water. I was shocked but pleased to see that he could drink well, despite the injury to the mouth. I called my vet. She was out for the day but said she would call the office about the kitten.

The relief vet did not have good news. The thing stuck in Scrappy’s mouth was the end of his broken jawbone sticking out, and he had a hernia on the side of his abdomen, infections, plus the minor abrasions. She was not hopeful and suggested I should consider putting him to sleep. I couldn’t do that. The kitten just seemed to have so much will to live. I figured he had to be tough, or he wouldn’t have survived so long on the interstate. I knew the regular vet, Dr. Rife, is good at fixing cat's jaws. I decided to get a second opinion and Scrappy was started on antibiotics.

Scrappy had surgery on the 5th and on the 7th I took him home. He’s virus negative. Dr. Rife wired his little jawbone together. He’s still pretty pitiful looking but I’m sure he’ll be a handsome fellow one-day. He’s on antibiotics and has had the first dose of worm medicine. The hernia was fixed also. We have him in a large cage right now, to keep him from hurting himself and to keep our other cats from swatting him. He’s very social and purrs a lot. I’m hoping that when he’s healthy we’ll be able to find a good home for him. We already have five cats so we’re not really looking for another.

Now here’s the baseball bat part: Scrappy’s injuries are consistent with being thrown from a car. The relief vet told me that he was the fourth kitten she’s seen in two weeks that had apparently been thrown from a car. One kitten, brought to office about a week before Scrappy, was found on the same interstate, some miles from where I found Scrappy. The vet’s office believes this kitten and Scrappy are littermates. Fortunately the first kitten was not seriously injured and was found much sooner.

I had already suspected that Scrappy had been thrown from a car. When the vet told me the jaw was broken I spent the day in pretty much of a blind rage. I called the state police and three county sheriff’s offices to see if anyone had reported someone flinging kittens out of a car. No one had. Toward the end of the day I couldn’t stand it anymore and started reminding myself that one of the vet’s technicians had said "maybe the kitten crawled up in the car and fell out on the road". That’s possible. I don’t think all four of them did though.

My favorite fantasy daydream (during that week) has centered around spending a little while with the person(s) who did this and breaking their jaws and assorted other parts with a baseball bat, just enough that they can relate to Scrappy’s injuries. Not that it would do any good, or that I'd ever do it, but I still think about it.

So…. don’t forget to spay and neuter. And as for the person(s) who did this—what goes around comes around. I believe when you do bad things, bad comes back to you. And I’m hoping that for you, it comes soon.