Thursday, January 27, 2011

Business Name and Backstory (plus more jewelry)

I have finally settled on a logo for myself and my jewelry "business".
After much debate and many many potential company names, I have settled on the alias I use for everything "One Blue Topaz".   Hopefully it isn't already taken by some obscure company that somehow beat me to it.. I hope it will remain free until I can buy it officially.. So yeah... Aaaand, after many many logo designs I have created one that I am actually really happy with. Here it is:

Now, there is a story behind this name and it has importance to me, and I think I did a good job of representing the meaning in the logo.
How I came up with the name is simply the fact that my engagement ring has one blue topaz gem on it, and that's it.  Now, when I went to go pick out the ring with my husband I already knew I wanted a blue topaz instead of a diamond.  The main reason being that I was so sick of diamonds seeing as it's my birthstone and I have had diamond substitute jewelry all my life pretty much because of that... The more important reason, however, was that Carson's birthstone is a turquoise which can be substituted with a blue topaz.  Considering that a turquoise engagement ring might be a little too unconventional, I went with the blue topaz.  Once I explained this to my family they understood where I was coming from.  

Anyway, the logo, like the name, is based off of my engagement ring.  Like the logo, my ring has two trinities on either side of the gem. Here is a picture to make it clearer.
The bottom ring is the wedding ring, of course.  I thought it matched perfectly.. and I know it's different than what most people get, but you know, it's two rings I'm going to have for the rest of my life, so I sure as heck better like them! lol. 

Ok, back to what this post is about.  I had made an account on Artfire.com (hence why I needed to pick a name fast)... It's a basic account so I don't have to pay anything, at least I haven't had to so far... Hopefully it stays that way.. The only thing keeping me from selling now is that I have no clue about selling or buy online.. Like I have never had a paypal account or anything like it and I'm way too scared I'll screw something up if I try to figure it out myself (I'm not the most internet savvy person).  So Carson has told me to hold on and wait for him to look into it since he knows more about this stuff than I do... So that's where I currently am stuck.  I'm just so anxious to get started.  Once I can sell some things then I can afford to buy more supplies (maybe even better quality) and I'll actually feel like I'm moving forward finally.  It's kind of scary to be honest when I think about it.. I mean the worst that can happen is that I fail at it and I am back to square one trying to find my purpose in the world.  :/   I hope it works out...

Anyway, since my last post I have completed four long, simple necklaces strung on fishing line.  The picture only shows three because one of them is a present for my grandmother whose birthday is Feb 4th.  It looks similar to the ones in the picture and except it has pink glass beads with plastic faux pearls.
I am happy with these and if they hold up to being warn around by her and myself then I plan on making a ton of them in all different color schemes and selling them for a lower price than the specialty styles.
Basically I will continue to grow my inventory until I run out of supplies and absolutely have to buy more.. and even then, I have a birthday coming up in April so maybe that can be what I ask for.
I'm still really nervous about selling my stuff.. Just for the fact that I don't want it to fall apart.. And I know that nothing is unbreakable and that even if you buy a necklace or a bracelet from a well known store, if it snags on something or you pull it too hard, it too will break.. I just don't like to think about that. :(

Hey, I can dream, can't I?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Bummed Out, Jewelry, and a Cool Video

Feeling Bummed Out:

It has come to my attention that frequently (and lately it's been more frequent) I fall into these bouts of mild depression.  Now, I know that depression is normal and everyone has their highs and lows.  The thing that mildly concerns me is that I have been having more lows than highs.

I am currently coming out of this low that I've been in for the past week (which coincidentally coincided with my "time of the month")  and am climbing towards my inevitably short lived high.  In my low periods generally consist of reliving old unhealthy habits, lack of or too much sleep, fear of going anywhere (even walking the dog), crying excessively for seemingly no reason (the true reasons being irrational, exaggerated, abstract thoughts about myself or human kind in general), neglecting my chores and even my recreations, and frequent lashing out at my husband.  I guess this is all normal considering that my life has in fact changed dramatically over the past year or so (especially in the past two and a half months).  It is still distressing sometimes.  I don't want to wake up 5 years from now and say "wow, I wasted my life being afraid to live."  This isn't a woe-is-me post at all, don't misunderstand.  It's more for me to just get it out than anything else.  It seems when ever I want to talk about how I feel to anyone, they don't understand, or I have trouble forming the words that match what's in my head.  So I remain alone with my thoughts.
Ok. I'm finished talking about this.  It's ugly and it feeds my mood.

Jewelry:

In keeping with my commitment to continue updating about this, I have a few more completed pieces.
Here is my first completed set, bracelet, necklace, and earrings, made from nylon string instead of fishing wire.  We will see how it holds up.  The inspiration was actually those little rine-stone looking stars.  They were in with some beads and other items that were given to me last year when I first started making accessories. I had no clue what I use them for, I had thought about key chains, cell phone charms, but for some reason, never earrings.. Well, yesterday I decided that I would focus on making more earrings since I hadn't made any in a long time.  So I just said what the heck, and made them into earrings.  From there the "celestial" theme was born.  The necklace came together, then bracelet.  I'm sure someone somewhere will like them enough to buy them.  I still need to probably wear them around a bit just to make sure the nylon string holds up to being worn.

I also managed to slap together these, what I like to call "industrial dream-catcher" earrings.  I found the earring base at hobby lobby, and had no clue what I would do with it but bought it anyway.  Yesterday I was toying around with it and stumble across some old feather charms I had bought almost a year ago and had used some on another pair of earrings back then.  Everything clicked from there.  Metal feather, metal hoops with beads on them, to me it looks very modern.  I like them and hopefully someone else will also.

And my last latest piece is a necklace that was born from an old cellphone charm that someone had made and given me to take apart.  I was ready to leave it as a cellphone charm, but then realized that it was a little too bulky.  So I used it as the pendant on this necklace.  Also strung on nylon.  I will probably not make earrings or a bracelet to go with this.  I'm not particularly happy with this one at all actually.  Carson says it's pretty, but I think he's just being encouraging.  Hopefully someone will want it eventually. :)

Cool Video Time:

So, this video was posted on my facebook wall by this really awesome lady, Beth.
It pretty much speaks for itself.

Not many people might like it, but it kind of puts things into perspective, and surprisingly cheered me up a little bit (it also saddened me a bit as well, but it's a good kind of sad I think).

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Double Update

So, I haven't written much about Carson's life updates because, well this blog was supposed to be for and about me mostly.  Considering we're married, it's difficult to not include him some of the time as his life effects my own.  So, a peak into my husbands life..
Last August Carson had gone to the Fire Academy training camp for two weeks and successfully completed the course after only a few months of studying, doing the worksheets, and taking the tests at home.  I have to say he did a fantastic job in a crazy small amount of time.  Then there was the wedding, then Christmas, one thing after another making it easy to put off starting the Basic EMT course.  After everything settled down and the new year was here he began his course.  What he thought would be similar to the Fire Protection course... Well, lets just say it's like a billion times harder.  We all had major confidence that he could finish the at home course in two months and be on his way to the on site training come March.  And you know, what?  I really believe that he could do it, no doubt.  However, the amount of hours he would have to be studying and the amount of stress it would put on not only him but our small family would be mind boggling.  The reason he was trying to rush so fast is because, well, we need the good paycheck that will come when he does get a job at a station, and new expenses are coming really soon.  However, thank goodness for his boss, Thomas.  He informed Carson that all will be well, and there would be much more work for them and opportunities to make money in the upcoming months so he could relax a bit.  He also suggested that Carson push back the date of his on site training (which is something we all have been saying would be ok if he did) because the stress of trying to do this in that small amount of time would effect the marriage.  I couldn't agree more.  I'm not going to lie, there are times I am jealous of Carson having such an awesome friend, but he really does need it.  If I really think about it I would rather have it that way.  He deserves to have some fun at work and to have a really cool boss.  That's how he does his best work, if the motivation and environment are good and relaxed.
Anyway, he also just applied at Austin FD.  We just found out that he qualifies to take the written exam January 26th, along with like probably over a thousand other people lol.  It's a small achievement.  We are praying he makes it into Austin.  It's like one of the best departments and they pay you to go through training instead of you having to pay like everything else.  It would be nice to have him not have to go away for two weeks to train again.
You know, I'm really glad he is doing this.. Of course, I worried at first about him going for such a dangerous career, in fact when he first told me about his wanting to be a fire fighter I said no way. No way was I going to be one of those wives who has to worry if her husband is going to come home.  But you know, it must be a God given desire in him, because after a few weeks I came to him and said "If that's what you want to do, I trust you and I say go for it."  I have no idea why I was ok with it just out of nowhere.  I guess because anyone can die at any time.  Everyone's job can be dangerous if you think about it... At least I'll know that my husband is the one going to HELP in a dangerous situation and not the victim whose trapped.  He'll be the one with training, and knowledge, and buddies who can back him up, and tools to survive.  Thinking like that definitely puts me at ease about the whole thing.
And that's pretty much the update of Carson's life..

Now back to my life. It's a little less exciting than his, but OH WELL. :)
So, I neglected my laundry and cleaning duties yesterday to have an outing with my sister, so today has turned from a free day into a catch up day.  We went to hobby lobby to price jewelry so I can compare it to online stores to see where I can get the best deal and therefore charge people less for the jewelry I'm making.  Yes, I'm definitely more serious about this than I have been in the past.  What I'm currently doing is building my inventory of jewelry (picking only a few designs and making a lot of different colors with those designs)  Later I'm sure I can redesign the way I do things and maybe organize it by color, however I don't have that many different colors of beads, so I'm doing by style with limited color options (thinking too far ahead, I know).
Anyway, so yesterday while we were at hobby lobby pricing beads, my sister starts like picking out these beads that she really likes and asks me if she buys them, will I make her a necklace.  Well, of course I'm going to say yes!  So that was my project last night.  I asked her if it was ok for me to make it in the new "slider" style, describing what it looks like, and she said yes, that she wanted something unique so that would be perfect. :) I'm excited.  I hope it doesn't fall apart.. This will be the first "slider" necklace that I've made that will be worn on a regular basis. I also bought what I thought was wire I would be able to use for my wrapped pendants, but apparently aluminum wire is VERY flimsy and extremely hard to get to keep it's shape or hold ANYTHING for that matter.. Ugh.
So on a different note.. my new Chore Chart is working out great!  I'm pretty ok with my schedule, I usually end up shuffling things around a bit if I don't feel like doing something one day, but the important thing is that everything gets done in a week that needs to.
As far as the graphic design thing goes, I haven't lost interest, just ran out of ideas at the moment.  The last thing I was working on was a small simple catalog for my jewelry.  I finished the brochure for Carson's work, Thomas just hasn't gotten back to me about which inside design he likes the best so I can start editing spelling and grammar so it can be printed. :(  I might just go ahead and decide for him cause I know he is busy and the brochure is probably the least of his concerns at the moment.
Ok, that's enough of an update I believe.
:)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

My Hair Transformation

So, I finally got my hair the way I wanted it.  I am so happy with it! :)
As promised here is the three step transformation of my hair.
Here was my hair to begin with after straightening it:


















I had the urge to cut it, so I went to this place that I had never been before and tried to explain what I wanted... This is what I got (not really what I was hoping for):



















I decided to then take the mess of my hair to a hair stylist who happens to be friends with my mom, and she absolutely saved my hair.  I love it:



















She put in subtle highlights as well, it's so much fun to play with.  I will have to straighten it pretty much all the time now, but it really has boosted my confidence, so I think it will be worth it.
Aaaaand, here's just a bonus pic of it in a style:























Now I just need to do the make up thing more, and I'll feel like a million bucks. <3

Friday, January 14, 2011

Two New Jewelry Designs

The whole point of focusing on making jewelry again was to attempt to redesign my old jewelry to make it more appealing and durable.
However, I decided to try to actually create a few ideas I had come up with a while ago.
Here are two examples:

The first idea was to create a necklace without a clasp.  I had already made quite a few stretchy beaded ones that were long enough to slip over your head, but I wanted one that could maybe shrink back up somehow...

I ended up with a beaded necklace that had a toggle clasp loop on one end
and had the other end sliding through it with one decorative barrier bead stopping it from shrinking up too high, and another at the end of the string allowing it to expand to go over your head but not come completely apart. I am pretty pleased with the results.
I plan on making more like this in different colors and experimenting with different types of barrier beads. 

 It's a different look, but I think it could catch on.



Another new technique I attempted is only really new to me.  I have seen it many times before but have never had the patience to try it myself.  I really enjoy making stretchy bracelets the only problem being that there really isn't much variety.
When I first started this technique I was attempting to make small dangling earrings, however the beads started curling in on one another, so it didn't so much dangle as just balled up into a mass of brown beads.  So I though for a minute and realized that the only way it would lay flat was if it was pressed up against a flat surface.  So naturally it evolved into a tight stretchy bracelet.

I do find it kind of amusing as well that when you take it off and just lay it there it kind of looks like a scrunchy hair tie. Not what I was going for, but unique none the less.
I don't plan on making many more of these, as it takes forever and uses up quite a bit of beads with only satisfactory results.

I hope to keep coming up with new designs, and I will share them here as I make them. I have a few designs sketched up for variations of knitted scarves, so hopefully that will be evolving in the near future.
:)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Few Changes

It's laundry day.  So already today wont be as good as yesterday, however hopefully it can be just as productive.

As you know by now, I have a real hard time focusing on just one task for more than a few days and I tend to jump back and forth between hobbies and ideas.  Well, beginning yesterday I have made up my mind to focus on jewelry making for a while.  Well, at least until I use up my inventory of beads..  I spent a good part of the day taking apart the majority of my jewelry which was made with wire and beads, and remaking them using fishing line instead.  I was told that wire will eventually snap if it is bent too much and that fishing line is strong and should withstand almost anything.  Well, I have yet to perfect the art of making a nearly unbreakable piece of jewelry so all of the pieces I have made are extremely fragile and might actually break eventually...
In fact the choker I had made was a success so I thought, until I was finished taking pictures of it and the clasp loosed from the fishing line and came off... I had to think fast to save the choker (which I refuse to redo considering it took me a long time to make). I ended up fixing it in a not very attractive way which might also end up breaking, but it was the best I knew how to do...  This of course is a bad thing if I ever plan to sell any of it.  I mean, I can always warn people, make them sign a paper saying I wont be held responsible if it breaks and reminding them that it is all HANDMADE and is not in anyway close to perfect. 

I don't know, I'm getting ahead of myself yet again...
On a different note, I started this new workout program called Power 90 and OH MY GOSH OUCH.  I couldn't even make it through the first day of it.  Had to stop after 15 minutes due to leg cramps.  It is tough.
Hopefully this will give me the results I am craving.
This Saturday I also have a hair appointment with my mom's friend who happens to be a hair stylist, Zina.  She is the one who did my hair for my wedding.  I had already chopped my hair off like.. 5 days ago?.. and now I really need her to fix it.  It's not at all what I had in mind.
Once I get it the way that I want it, I will post here with the steps of my hair transformation.
Well, time to go finish up laundry and take the dog out (in the freezing cold might I add), then working out.
:)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Creative Juices Are Flowing

So, I was feeling pretty creative today.
There were a lot of things I didn't get to do that I wanted to do because of lack of time.  I wanted to make some jewelry, work on some more posters, draw, finish cleaning the house, and work out...
Well... pretty much the only thing I got to do today was work on some posters. I'm going to work out right after I post this blog and will end up frantically cleaning the living room while cooking dinner before I leave to go to a cleaning job at 5:30.  I also have to catch up on the yesterdays chapter and today's chapter in this work book Carson and I are doing together called The Love Dare.  I somehow got behind on it...
I do, however, feel pretty good about what I did actually accomplish today, even if it doesn't seem like much.
First of all I was feeling very stressed out today considering all that I had to do today on top of getting the repayment statement for my student loans in the mail.. So I decided to make myself a "Chore Chart" to at least get myself organized with that aspect of life..
In this chart, I have the basic chore written at the top for each day, Friday being a free day where if there is something to do I will do it, but it's mostly a "fun day".  Saturday and Sunday are days where I will just "tidy up the house", not actually "clean" anything unless necessary.  The blank spaces are where I can put a check mark and also fill in anything extra I decided to do that day, or need to remind myself to do that isn't part of the "basic chores".  Laundry is an example, however it will generally be grouped in with bedroom day.

The other creative thing that I accomplished today was making a poster that has been in my head for a while now, I just hadn't had the drive to sit down and do the tedious task.  The idea was to fit as many names of Jesus as possible into the shape of a cross but with it still being legible.  I am aware that this has already been done before, but I assure you that I didn't look at any reference (only the names).  Here was the result.
There are many more names that I didn't manage to fit on here that I wanted to, but I think I covered the well known ones at least.  Originally I had wanted to do it with all different colors, or monochromatic with different shades of the same color for each name.  However, the more I thought about it, and we are taught that the truth is black and white.  There is no gray area.  So I figured that's the way I would do it.. Also I think it has more of an impact, being that black and white are the most powerful colors, and have the highest level of contrast.

After making the poster I decided to take it farther, as I always do, and I designed a simple T-shirt to match.
I would love to be able to actually have this printed on a T-shirt, however I don't have the money or knowledge on how to do this.  This is the time when I wish I was involved in my church or a group of some kind where they could use it. :(  Oh well, it was just for fun anyway.

Hopefully tomorrow I will be more efficient with my time and can get back to things I have been neglecting.


[I share these things in my blog because I am trusting the people who read it to not steal any of my ideas or any of my work.. It is a huge fear of mine that I will be so proud of something I did and then will find it the next day being exploited or illegally used on a website or someone else will make money off of it.  If anyone would like a copy of any of my pieces of art work, I will be glad to sign my name on a copy and email it to you.  Thank you for understanding.]

Friday, January 7, 2011

Kids and What Not

I took this from Lindsey's blog. MorphThing.com
I find it hilarious that apparently although we both have dark hair and I have dark eyes, according to this website we will have blond haired and blue eyed babies. lol.
What's even funnier is the fact that both of these kids look nothing like the pictures I uploaded, but they look like they could be siblings.

It's like some random kids that they probably just randomly chose when you upload your pictures.
But, whatever, it's still fun to be silly sometimes.
HAHA, that kid so has Carson's hair cut when he was a baby though. xD Hilarity.

On the note of kids... I really hope I will be ready to have kids soon... I don't mean like physically or emotionally. I mean like mentally.  I am absolutely terrible with other peoples kids right now and I pretty always have been since I can remember.  I know that pretty much NO ONE is 100% ready for kids like ever.  Which is why everyone who gives advice on the matter says to just go for it, if you wait until you are "ready" you'll be waiting forever.
I know it's something that is far away (at least 10 more months before even the possibility to conceive), but it is something that I think about often.

For some reason kids just scare me.  They make me uneasy.  I think it's because they are always watching everything you do, and if you make any kind of mistake they will call you out on it.  Which has never happened to me personally, but I have seen it happen and it's a fear of mine every time I'm around kids.
The new years party we went to at Jenn and Thomas's (Carson's boss) house was really fun and stuff, but there was a point where I was spending time with all the kids... Which was perfectly fine, I didn't have a problem with it, I just feel really uncomfortable in those situations.  Kids seem to flock to me, I just don't really know how to respond... But that experience really made me think, "am I really mentally ready to have kids?"  Then I of course had to remind myself that it's not like you get pregnant and then 9 months later you have a 4 year old child to entertain.  It's a gradual thing..  I don't know, I'm just rambling now.   Carson's good with kids.. So at least one of us is somewhat prepared...
:/

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Oh How He Loves Us

 I love this song.  Whenever I feel down, I listen to it and feel at peace.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Ode To My Husband

Just a little poster I made for Carson.  I really want to print it out on nice glossy paper for him. <3
Hopefully not too long from now I'll also be adding the word "dad".
:)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I'm Serious This Time

Welcome 2011 - hope you are slightly less eventful than 2010.

2010 was a crazy crazy year. From the start of the year to the end of it, I have gone through a hand full of business ideas and ways to make money doing something I actually enjoy.

I tried everything from painting pet portraits, to making jewelry, to pet photography.  I even toyed around with photo editing and restoration.

All of which might have been pretty successful, if I knew how to appropriately advertise, and get over my irrational fear of people. Well, this year I am determined to do SOMETHING.  A whole year of starting things and giving up, a whole year of driving myself insane with boredom and cabin fever.

Don't get me wrong, I love being a "house wife" and doing all the wifely things every day, and I especially love being home when my husband gets home and having dinner either ready or almost ready.  I just have this overpowering feeling that I need to being doing something else with some of my time.

As of this month, I will continue to focus on my graphic design abilities, and build a portfolio of logos and flyers and whatever else.  Anything that I do for Carson's company I will put in my portfolio.  Anything that I just toy around with that turns out halfway decent, I will put in my portfolio (even if it's for companies that I just made up).  I want to be more serious with this than I have been with anything else that I have tried in the past. My first real step in this is to design myself a professional logo.  Yes I have played around with logos in the past, but I need one that is simple, and serious.
Here are a few variations I came up with one of which has a graphic that I'm not sure I can get to scale properly for different sizes.  Click on each one to see it separately for the full effect.

I am aware that pretty much all of my designs look similar and are all very very simplistic.  I don't, however, think that it's a bad thing.  I have been trying to branch out and try new things with font and color, however black and white still look the best to me.  "If you can make a strong design in black and white first, then you can play with color." that's what my most recent graphic design instructor had told me last summer. She also is the one I believe that got me so hooked on simplistic designs.  "Don't do more than you have to, keep in mind the point you are trying to get across and once you've done that, you're finished."  I hated hearing that.  I used to be someone who really liked to add all the bells and whistles into a design or image.  I must say, however, that my designs now are much much cleaner looking than before.  More professional.  That might be why they all look the same, I have found a style that I like, and it's hard to ignore it.
Here are a few more examples...

Kat Hemrich is the photographer who did our engagement pictures and our wedding pictures.  She had become sort of a friend of mine, as we talked more.  I thought it would be neat to play around with making a logo for her.  She didn't end up using it, or any of the others ones I made, but it was still good practice for my portfolio.

Blue Topaz Photography is a business name that I made up potentially for my photography business, if it ever happens.

Hendrix Realty is a made up company.  My husband's friend is going into realty as a career and his last name is Hendrix.. so I made a few logos.

Tntechnologies is the company that my husband currently works for (now full time) and is owned by his best friend.  They already have a logo, but that didn't stop me from having some fun.


One Blue Topaz was another potential company name for myself...

And last but not least, W.I.N.G.S. is the name of my mom's cleaning business.  I had made her that logo a few months ago, she didn't really like it, too "modern" for her and I had trouble adding color to it.  So it was a flop, but I still think is does have some qualities that are pleasing to the eye, so I'm keeping it.

If things take off I may end up creating a separate blog for all of my business info and updates.  As for right now, you few who actually do read my blog will just have to deal with these long erratic posts. lol.

On a separate note, I have been cooking more lately than I ever have in my life!  I had made black bean burgers that were pretty good,  some stir fry rice with tofu which I really liked a lot but Carson needed some chicken with.  And last night I made stove top chili for the first time ever.  It is meatless, and I was definitely expecting Carson to have a problem with it, but surprisingly he enjoyed it quite a bit.  I'm excited, I feel like a real wife now! :)