Wednesday, October 19, 2005

New Work!

I just updated the website with some new finished designs. I did a pair of earrings w/ onyx and blue crystals:

I also finished another of my "Flower Child" embroidered pendants. This one is a purple butterfly with purple seed bead edging and it's strung on purple satin cord:

And of course, you can find everything for sale at the website: Silver Parrot Designs



Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Getting Caught Up - Part 2

Okay, so that's out of the way. Now, on to the belated book review from last Friday. I finished reading Wen Spencer's ”Ukiah Oregon” series and enjoyed it very much. It does have some "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" type elements that I wasn't sure about at first, but the action certainly doesn't disappoint at all. It was a nice change of pace from some of the slower moving books I've read lately. And, there are already 4 books out in the series so you can enjoy yourself without having to wait for a sequel that is months or years away ('cuz you KNOW how I hate that!)

I also read Charlaine Harris's newest book, ”Grave Sight” Ms. Harris is the author of the acclaimed "Southern Vampire" series which I also enjoyed although it is a bit on the "romance genre" side of things for my normal taste. Her newest book features a woman, Harper Connelly, with an unusual talent - thanks to being struck by lightning as a child, she can find dead bodies and "see" how the person died. And she makes a living doing it. Of course, this also means she gets caught up in some unusual circumstances on occasion...such as the apparent murder-sucide of Monteen Hopkins and Dell Teague. But, are those deaths actually what they appear to be? That's what Harper is being paid to find out. Of course, not everyone will necessarily be thrilled with her answers. I really enjoyed this book and definitely recommend it as a fun read.

And lastly, I already posted about how much I enjoyed Linnea Sinclair's "Finders, Keepers" and Ms. Sinclair was nice enough to leave a comment here on the blog which just thrilled me to pieces! It also reminded me that she's got 2 books coming out in fairly short order that both look excellent: ”Gabriel's Ghost” and ”An Accidental Goddess.” I've added a link to her home page over in the links section of this blog so you can keep up with the latest and greatest. As soon as I can get my hands on either of these, I'll be sure to review them, but I already have a good feeling based on my past experience with "Finders, Keepers." And yes, Ms. Sinclair DID buy some jewelry from me (which thrilled me into even tinier pieces) but that sooo has nothing to do with this plug ;-) Good writing is good writing and deserves recognition. Especially since, in my totally inconsequential opinion, the whole sci-fi/fantasy genre is having its overall publishing budget eaten into by franchise books (Star Wars, TV series books), gaming books, etc. I much prefer originality in world-building, plotting, characterization and other elements...but maybe that's just me.

That's it for now. I did finish a couple of new pieces this weekend, but this entry is so long already that I'll wait to post those tomorrow.

P.S. Okay, one more thing. When Ryan was born, the spouse and I signed up for Netflix so we could get movies delivered to us at home because we figured new baby = severely reduced theater attendance. One of the things I like best about it is that it allows me to keep up with TV shows I've missed out on as well as movies and this last week, I discovered a really cool show called "Veronica Mars." I'd heard of it before and seen the ads, but had dismissed it as sort of a "Dawson's Creek/OC/Everwood" rip-off so I never checked it out. I couldn't have been more wrong. This show is smart, funny and has a great detective story/murder mystery running through it. It's kind of got a "Twin Peaks" feeling without being so in love with its own confusing bizarreness that it becomes a turn-off (hey, "Lost" producers...are you paying attention? Because you're SOOO headed down that whole "who killed Laura Palmer" "I don't care any more" slope). Anyway, I just thought I'd mention that you should check it out...and get Netflix, too, while you're at it. It’s WAAYYY more convenient than all those trips to the video store (plus, no late fees). Blockbuster? What’s that?

Getting caught up...

Okay, I'm a bad, bad, little blogger and I'm way behind. There's so much to write about. Let's finish up with the last two pictures from my show purchases last week:

These beautiful and unusual dichroic lampwork glass beads are by Scott of Unicorne Gifts. The hearts have little "windows" of clear glass in them that let sparkly aqua foil peek through. The strand of smaller beads features an unusual asymmetrical teardrop shape. Of course, I had to select my favorite "ocean-y" colors of blue, green and aqua, but Scott had a whole rainbow to choose from and says he'll be back at the next show. Ouch! My poor bank account!

Lookit - more pirate treasure from my favorite new sterling silver vendor. Those fun hammered "coins" now come in other sizes and also come in GOLD! I've enjoyed using these so much and can't wait to think up more to do with them. They'll go great with the new colors of shell disks I got! PLUS, I just had to pick up some other unusual shapes of sterling including hearts and disks for pendants and some cool earring components like the open disk and the long teardrop.

And lastly, of course I had to buy MORE shell disks. These are getting to be an obsession as I try to make sure I have some of EVERY color (well, except the baby poop green...I get enough of that at home LOL).

I found these lovely sky blue disks and larger mother-of-pearl disks at a different vendor this time. Fortunately, she still had good prices on them so I had to pick some up. The white disks have some lovely honey-colored streaks in them and I think they're going to be smashing with some dark citrine nuggets and some whiskey quartz I have on order. Yummmy!

To be continued in the next post.


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

More "treasure"

I promised more pictures so here's another one:

Okay, so I didn't get these at the show, but they arrived in the mail this weekend so I stil consider them part of my "pirate treasure." I got them on eBay and I think they're going to make really cute Halloween jewelry...if I can just get them made up in time. I think I'll do a necklace w/ the ghost pendant as the focal and a pair of earrings out of the black spacers and then I'll make a set out of the 3 pumpkins - the large one as a pendant and the smaller ones as matching earrings. Some Swarovski crystals in black and orange should make perfect highlights.

Stay tuned for more pictures (okay, okay, so I was a GREEDY pirate this weekend LOL).

Take care!


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Yo ho! Yo ho! A pirate's life for me...

We had a true "pirate" weekend at Casa d'Osborne this past weekend. I spent Saturday at the Costa Mesa Gem Faire and picked up lots of yummy treasures to be made into new designs (if I ever again have any spare time which is starting to look more and more doubtful). I continued the theme from the previous show by getting more of those pretty shell disk beads in more colors.

Here's a pic:

I just love these cool colors: delicate lavender, slate blue and mint green. Delicious! I can't wait to start playing with them. I got lots more loot to share so check back tomorrow for more pictures.

Then, on Sunday, I took Ryan to a "pirate party." He had to dress in a pirate costume and oh, he was just SOOOO darn cute! He'll be wearing the same thing for Halloween and I can't wait. This party was really incredible. The hosts happened to know someone who had a part in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie and still had the costume so he came all decked out as Capt. Jack Sparrow and led all the kids on a treasure hunt. This culminated in the children actually digging up a REAL treasure chest which had been buried in the sand and was full of pirate treasure (i.e. candy, stickers, toys, etc.) There was a pinata in the shape of a pirate's hat and they also played a "cannonball" game. Each child was given a black balloon to sit on and "pop" and there was a treat hidden inside. The hostess had made the cake herself. The bottom layer was vanilla and it was covered w/ blue/green frosting to look like the ocean and had some plastic fish and dolphins set into it. On top of that was a chocolate cake shaped like a pirate ship. She used long, rolled "cookies" to make the deck and mast and cannons and then stuck the candles inside the cannons so it looked the ship was firing when they were lit.

Ryan had a terrific time and can now sing the Disney pirate song perfectly. If this is the level of kid parties that are being done these days, I better start planning NOW for Ryan's birthday in January (and I still might not have enough time).

A demain!


Monday, October 10, 2005

Way to go, Nicholas Cage!

Okay, this makes up for the whole "Kal-El" kid-naming debacle because Nicholas Cage is going to exec produce the Harry Dresden Series Pilot for the Sci Fi channel. And may I just add...ya-freakin'-hooooooooooo!!!

Now, 2 things:

1. James Marsters IS Harry Dresden and needs to forget that whole "Brainiac" on "Smallville" deal.

2. Please-oh-please don't let them do to this what they did to "Battlestar Galactica" (which is totally screw it up!). My poor, poor Starbuck...look what they did to you!

And for those who haven't read any of the Dresden series yet - shame on you! Get thee to a Barnes and Noble post haste!


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Of Ants and Elections

Did you ever have one of those days where there's a big master grandiose plan and you can just see how it's all going to fit together perfectly and then one tiny little stumble and the whole thing goes to hell in a handbasket? Welcome to my world.

So, today is election day in California. Nothing much big going on as far as the nation is concerned, but some important initiatives and local races, etc. I pride myself on always making it out to vote and that was the plan for today as well. I made arrangements with the spouse to take the kidlet to daycare this morning so I could vote on the way to work. Then, I'd pick the kidlet up and drive him home and spouse would vote on the way home.

Normally, I prepare in advance of an election so I know what the heck I'm voting for/against, but due to some circumstances in my personal life in the last few weeks, I've had zero bandwidth for anything other than sheer, daily survival. But, I say to myself, all is not lost. I'll sit down with the voter information booklet so kindly provided by the state of California (via my tax dollars at work) over breakfast the morning of the election and get myself all read up on the pros and cons of everything so I can make my decisions. Not perfect, but at least not voting blindly.

I went to sleep last night with this beautiful plan in my head. Nothing gives us OCD-perfectionist types more restful sleep than a well-thought-out, detailed plan. So, I slept well and everything moved forward on schedule through the alarm going off and showering and then I headed downstairs for breakfast with my sample ballot and info booklet in my hands...visions of scrambled eggs and English muffins dancing in my head.

And that's when the sh*t hit the fan.

You see, our kitchen was no longer a nice, safe place to eat and get informed. It was a battlefield...and the enemy had breached the gates. The enemy, of course, being the small black ants that are ubiquitous to homes in Southern California. They're tiny, but they descend en masse and are impossible to get rid of. The best you can hope for is a long-running stalemate with occasional incursions. And no, it doesn't matter how clean your house is. My mother has problems with these and it's a well-know fact that you can eat off her floors without any qualms. Plus, our cleaning guy was just here yesterday.

So, there I am in my nightgown, hair wet from the shower, holding my voting materials in one hand and surveying the disaster that my kitchen has become. The ants are everywhere. They are on every counter and chair. They are in the sink and the dishwasher. They are making looping patterns all over the kitchen floor, which, when I follow them, lead to the back door, then across the entire length of the living room carpet to our entry way and out the front door. This time, the little bastards aren't even in the walls of the house (an exterminator got rich off of us last summer making that bit of progress happen), but are coming in from outside by going under our front door.

I can't even find a clear spot of counter to put my voting materials down while I figure out how to begin waging battle. With a toddler and two birds in the house, I can't just begin randomly spraying ant poison everywhere. So, with the intention of at least stopping the immediate invasion and clearing some floor and counter space so we can have breakfast (although the thought of eating where all these ants have been made me slightly queasy), I grabbed a bottle of Simple Green and started spraying the disgusting critters and their entire trail.

I sprayed and sprayed and sprayed. Then I went up and interrupted the spouse's shower to alert him to the situation and request his presence on the battle lines post haste. Then I grabbed paper towels and began mopping up the dead ants floating in puddles of Simple Green. Yeah, I know. EWWWWWW! That was my reaction, too. At least you're only having to read about this.

The spouse arrived shortly thereafter whereupon a command disagreement was had as to whether it was better to vacuum up the entire floor (thus removing any remaining strays) or to mop the floor. I was winning up until the point where I stomped my foot and it accidentally came down in one of the as-yet-unmopped-up puddles of ant/SG solution.

Now, when bare foot meets wet wood floor, bad things happen. BAAAAAAAD things. To wit, I involuntarily did the Chinese splits for the first time since I quit dancing when I was 24. I'm now 40. For those who need help with the math, that's 14 years during which those muscles haven't been stretched to go that way (and they weren't too keen about doing it even back when they WERE in shape to assume that position).

So, now, I'm on the floor in my nightgown and two sensations are fighting for top billing in my brain: the pain from my twisted leg/hip/back and strained groin muscles vs. the increasing desire to throw up over the realization that dead ant/SG solution is soaking through my nightgown and I'm not wearing any underwear. Wait, was that TMI? It probably was. Forget I said anything. Besides, even if I had been wearing underwear, the solution would have soaked through it too and...oh man, I'm still talking about this.

Never mind.

The spouse's mouth is hanging open as he stares at me and finally pulls himself together long enough to ask the age-old dumb spouse question: "are you all right?" I LOOK all right? What do you think, brainiac?

(And btw, I always thought "brainiac" was just an expression, but I learned today that there was a character (villain) in the Superman comics by that name and that character will be played on "Smallville" this season by none other than our beloved James Marsters (formerly Spike on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"). Go James!)

Now, where was I? Oh, right. Massive humiliation and grossness in my kitchen. So, the spouse picks me up because neither of us are sure my leg is going to take any weight yet. Fortunately, nothing seems permanently damaged, although I'm sure I'll be REALLY sore tomorrow. So, I limp off upstairs to change into a clean gown.

All of this has sucked up the time I was going to use to get prepped for the election. And, I still have to get breakfast, get my hair and makeup on and get dressed as well as get the kidlet up and fed. And then there is the giant trail of ants on the living room carpet and the entryway to be dealt with before either the spouse or I can leave for work.

It quickly becomes obvious that there's no way I'm going to make it to the polls before I have to go to work. And, I wouldn't have a clue what I was voting on anyway because I had no time to read up on the issues. And yeah, I know, I could've done it Monday night before I went to bed, but Brett Favre was instituting one of the most amazing comebacks of his career (especially considering the Packers were 0-3 going into that game) and yeah, I know, he missed the conversion on 4th down by 2 yards and they lost anyway, but I don't care. It was a beautiful thing to see him in action making up all those points and 2 point conversions and doing it all without a defense, a running back (Ahman Green having gone out earlier in the game with a knee boo-boo...wuss) or an offensive line. What a man!

No way I could make it all the way across town to my assigned polling place on my lunch hour so that's out. And the spouse is biking tonight so I have to pick up the kidlet and it's pretty hopeless trying to vote and keep an eye on a toddler at the same time. I'd be like "punch", "Ryan, come here", "punch", "Ryan, Mommy said come here", "punch", "Ryan, where are you? Ryan? RYAN!" Well, you get the idea. I'd probably end up voting for Mickey Mouse by accident.

So, the great wheels of democracy will just have to roll on without me this one time. And I'll have to trust you, my fellow citizens, to make wise choices in my absence.

Now, where's that can of Raid?


P.S. Yes, I know there was no book review last Friday. That's because I was still slogging my way through that Holly Lisle book which did finally get interesting on freakin' page 224. From there until the end, it was awesome. But skip the first 223 pages...blech!