Friday, November 5, 2010

Today one of my competitors asked me this:
I love this ring, I have one listed also! I just wanted to ask you a question: How do you find your info on your vintage flatware? I can find virtually nothing online. The only ones I get info on are the ones that belonged to someone I know. There's tons of info about sterling stuff, but I haven't been able to find much at all on silverplate. I was hoping you would share your knowledge. Thanks! Lorri

For awhile I didn't quite know how to handle the question. Then it sort of trickled in and I actually told her the truth. Here it is.

do lots of research with a small amount of reward. The best info I get on any pattern comes from real people. Some people who sell silver know tons about patterns and those would probably be your best bet. Look for collectors, I usually look for people who are selling parts of their collection and ask them. Some people know nothing and some are a wealth of info. The belonged to someone you know stuff will always sell better than the "pile I got at auction" stuff. Auctions are usually estate sales and people there know the person who died. I went to an auction last year about this time and I could tell just by the stuff there she was a wild eccentric. The stories are even better. Ask around, Dig deep, and be passionate about it! Some of this stuff has been cherished for over 100 years.
I just spent an hour researching the celtic pattern as well. Someone told me today that it was her grandmothers pattern and I became incredibly interested. Apparently the boy finds the snake that's dying because it's fighting with itself. He brings it home and it eats everything it eats the spirit guides, it eats the people. it eats everything in it's path and when it's done it goes back to find that there is nothing left to eat. It leaves the earth and goes for the moon and the sun. The boy meets it and shoots it with an arrow and all the souls are returned to earth.
I got an awesome set of silverware yesterday that's casted. The knives are hand forged. I suppose I can tell because I'm familiar with the process. Maybe that's part of it. Try to find some patterns that have story all ready. Seek out the rare or get your hands wet with collectors spoons, I used to sell a ton of the state spoons especially locally. People you sell to have stories too. Bring it out. We're in one of the few business settings where even really shy people can have a voice. I've sold wedding rings, promise rings, bereavement rings, graduation rings, engagement rings and more. It's all about being human, give some stuff to charity auctions, sell where you can hear your customers. Ask questions! you'll probably begin to realize that it takes a lot of work (besides bending) to sell a piece of silverware. I can make a bracelet in 20 minutes. After researching, sitting at auctions, buying Materials, driving, taking pictures, and uploading, I've got at least an hour in it. After Etsy, Paypal, advertising, and tools and equipment take their cut I'm left with just enough to pay my bills. It's really the stories, the laughter and the people that make all this worthwhile.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Possum in the Sack.

On Friday we went to bed at midnight so I could get to Market Day by 7am. Around 3am I woke up because I felt something rubbing the top of my head. I immediately melted off my pillow and flipped over to see a possum scrabbling towards beth. "Beth!" I said , no answer. Getting closer, I now gave a "BETH!" She opened her eyes and upon seeing the terror in my eyes followed them to the possum. She rolled over, aimed at it and screamed with at least 2 lung fulls of air and threw a pillow at it.
I kept my eyes on the pillow and sent Beth to find my welding gloves, a light, and a box. Once the tools arrived I slowly started peeling back pillows. Under the final pillow it was, back in the corner. As soon as I reached for it, it melted down the side of the bed. I looked down, there it still was, well, it's head at least teeth bared and apparently stuck. Whew! I sent Beth for a yard stick. I reached around and poked it and it immediately came up. I pounced on it, grabbed i, musky smell and all, and threw it in the box. We got dressed, I shot this picture and we drove off at 3:30am with the possum in a box on Beth's lap. We stopped by the haunted forest, Beth set the box down and gave it a healthy boot.
By this time We began to realize how hilarious this all was and laughed until we got back in bed. Neither of us slept.
The next day after the show we Beth put some water on the stove and we noted how the burner smelled like possum pee. She also showed me the empty bag of chocolate chips. Curiously we are also now missing the two tiny buttons to set the timer on the stove. They must have been eaten. We had seen the possum 2 days prior in the kitchen, it had caught sight of us in the living room and turned and ran. We chased it until it disappeared and I had figured it had gone through the tiny hole in the floor the chipmunks use to come in and out after we close the windows. I guess not.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The start of a long road.

A few weeks after I threw my boots in the river I came back from Colorado and met Jo Meyers Walker a local artist. I started doing work for her around her store and talking alot about being an artist and working for myself. She started a little art market in the little tiny town of Gilbert called Mardi market and I began sewing pants. Pant's were something I had done for myself since middleshool. I'd buy an old pair of pants at goodwill and split the seams all the way up and add a bunch of fabric making for a really baggy pair of pants. It took me about 8 hours to make a pair. I started making bell bottoms and skirts too. The worst part about making clothes is that 1 size doesn't fit all. If I made a pair of pants and someone liked it, it was a slim chance that it'd fit them. I think I sold two pairs the entire summer to people who worked the market with me. It wasn't like I was doing that bad, most people didn't sell anything. I started to think about all of the other creative stuff I used to do like make stuff out of junk. When I was young and living at my mothers I'd tear apart old appliances and build sculptures out of them. When I was a senior I broke a few out for an art show and won a bit of money. When I was laid off from my job in Iowa City I'd spread all the junk out on the floor and build stuff with it too, I even sold a few back then to make a few bucks. Jo thought I should teach a Class to children on building junk sculptures and lined up 5 kids for the class. I rounded up all of my junk piled it in a big canvas, wrapped it up in sack-like fashion and threw it in the back of my VW bus. I proceeded to my new career as art teacher and would drag the stuff out and open the canvas out on the ground and let the kids rummage through it. I began to notice that teaching art was very exhausting. It's like taking al of the challenges that make art an art and multiplying it by how many students there were. At the end of a two hour session I felt as though I'd put in 12 hours already.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Christmas rush

Do you hear that off in the distance? It's the stampede of the holiday shoppers. This guarantees I'll be here in front of this computer unless I'm eating sleeping or selling jewelry to real human people. I looked at my etsy feedback today. Somewhere I have 1 negative and 3 neutral feedbacks. After page 4 I decided I didn't have enough time to go through it all. I guess it's not that big of a deal. I feel like I don't have enough time a lot lately. Like I'm right on the crest of the stuff I've gotta get done wave and I'm paddling into it so I don't fall off. No glass ceiling means no time for stopping. I mean it's not like it's a bad thing, I'm making money hand over fist, it's just a little nerve wracking.
I began listening to meditation music while I'm working. I feel a lot less like being angry. It's either the music or I got most of my anger out when my car got towed.

Friday, August 6, 2010

10 Year Reunion

Tonight is my 10 year reunion. Man, I've come a long way since high school, and then again I haven't. I still have a problem with authority, though I'm getting better at avoiding it! Still driving an Old splittie bus, though I'm on my third, I think I like this one the best.
I've been really enjoying the beauty of life lately. It's had good flow the last month or so. Sometimes I wish the river would slow down a bit but I'm always ready to wake up and jump in in the morning.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Well, I'll be a monkeys uncle, I order it Monday and it shows up for my custmer by Thurday, now that's satisfaction!
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How I Woke Up

I've been creative all of my life but didn't try to make a living at it until 2006 when I just couldn't swallow the corporate pill anymore and decided I'd rather starve to death with a Smile than be unhappy with life. Quitting my job at the factory was about the hardest part, it was hard to imagine that I would be able to make a living without getting that paycheck. I remember that feeling when I got the envelope with the check hoping that somehow maybe I'd gotten a raise no one told me about and I'd open it up and it had the same amount of money on there it did last time and I tried my best to make the best of it.

The last place I worked made Hydraulic pumps and motors and the specific place I worked in the factory was called the Cut Cell. The cell part kind of screamed at me and burned my soul a bit, and the fact that we were making these motors to power big machines that did what? I didn't know. I mean some of the motors went to huge lawn mowers like the ones they mow ditches with. Some went to John Deere tractors. Some went to other countries and the ones they told us about went for construction of developing countries. Then I started to think about how the company sold to the highest bidder and it was all about a greasy buck. I let the thought of me building machines of war enter my being and I kind of lost all heart in what I was doing by supporting a multi billion dollar corporation.

I started to listen to what the workers were talking about in the break room, and noticed they never said anything of any importance. I started asking myself if this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I looked at the people who had worked there for a lot of years there were a large percentage that were divorced. They spent at least 60 hours a week working there, building machines, and paying off their debts. There was a sort of family air to it which the company greatly supported, all of us working together and having little company parties on the side. At the time I had just bought a mobile home and was redoing the entire thing, floors, walls, insulation, windows the whole bit everyday after work I'd go directly to the trailer and begin working, and about that time the company really started pushing me for overtime.

We'd sit in our little Wednesday meeting and they'd ask who could work the weekend. The others in the cut cell would all sign up and I'd tell them I had drywall and insulation to hang carpet to kick walls to spackle and paint etc. I bought myself my weekends for quite awhile with these little demands until the trailer was finished.

I decided I'd really like to learn upholstery and I had a beautiful Victorian couch that I'd found in the dumpster a few years back that was totally trashed. I bought 10 yards of crush blue velvet and rearranged my excuses for not working overtime for that. For some reason that wasn't a worthy excuse for them and when everybody was signing up for overtime the boss specifically asked me if I was going to work overtime... It got deathly quiet and all eyes were on me. I snapped. I said "Sure I'll work if you give me Monday and Tuesday off", I told him how I had a life outside of the factory and reminded him about how we'd been standing around all week waiting for the factory to order parts that would show up conveniently just in time for us all to work the weekend. My boss told me that that wasn't possible, turned bright red and just about crawled under the table.

That was my last day. At lunch everyday I'd been sitting in my car and took to writing quotes all over the ceiling. My favorite was, “What a Beautiful thing life is, what a waste to spend it working." I'd finally taken it to heart and after work that day I went to talk with my mom and told her that I felt that I couldn't quit working because I felt that I had to make everyone(AKA her) happy. The last thing she said to me as I was getting into my car was, "Go ahead and quit, you're resourceful and you'll be ok." At that moment the chains fell off and I was free. I started heading west Colorado bound to clear my head. I got to the Nebraska border and realized that if I was really going to do this I had to go back and officially burn my bridge.

I got to the factory about 2:00 in the morning, 2 hours before people started showing up for my shift. I put my safety glasses on and went inside. I got on the computer and cashed in the 4 days of vacation I figured they'd hold on to if I didn't. I left my key on the desk and put my safety glasses in the visitors’ box on my way out. I stopped by the river on my way home where I used to play when I was a kid, took off my steel toed work boots and flung them as far as I could into the river.

Friday, July 9, 2010

When I retire I want to have a bigger porch, in the country. I want it to face west so my friends and I can line up and play music as we drink tea and lemonade and watch the sunset.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Ok, So life's been pretty good so far.
I've been selling on Etsy for a long time and was just a little sad that I couldn't really share a bunch of info with people through my listings. I mean I guess I think people would really like to know where I work, what I work with and how fun it is to bend spoons and do all of the other stuff I do. Besides, I took a bunch of writing classes in college and If I had have thought a writing degree would have sounded better than Liberal Arts all I would have had to do was switch titles! Short of wasting all of that money, I guess I figured I'd start a blog and try to use some of the useless things I learned in college.