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Short update

It’s been a while since I posted, I know. But craziness does ensue and my attentions have been needed elsewhere. In July of this past year, My family and I packed up everything (after some mega-purging of the more useless stuff that accumulates) and moved from Illinois to Colorado. In October, Brian and I opened the doors on our dreams – a shop named Enriching Elements. Since then it has been a lot of work and hope that we will be able to make it in the world of small business as we try and balance between paying our vendors, contractors, and landlords while inviting the local community to come and shop and experience the various events we’ve set up to take place in our store. Everything rides on this, in a lot of ways, but we have to give it a try or we’d never forgive ourselves. I can see the mountains out the front store windows as I type this and am amazed at the connection I feel to their stony presence. The gypsy in me is feeling a sense of contentment, knowing that they are there to explore. I can’t wait for spring to come and I hope that we will be able to hire an employee by then so we can occasionally leave the shop to take the kids and do some more hiking. Life is financially scary at the moment, but otherwise amazing. Cross your fingers it all comes together, because this may well be one of the most important steps in our lives.

16 years and still kicking…

It’s that time of year again – time for the annual Anniversary Post!  This is that time of year when I publicly swoon over my husband and link to our incredibly Seussian wedding vows.  Which you’ll find here: http://www.rayndragon.com/wordpress/?p=171 because for some odd reason links aren’t working in WordPress for me today.  I think I turned something off when I was attempting to delete spyware the other day and now some of my browser functions are wonky.  I don’t have time to figure it all out right now and you people should know how to copy+paste.

And yes, we should have been married by the Cat in the Hat.  Or maybe the Lorax.  I still need to see that movie…

So, in 16 years of being married, I’m pretty sure this is the first anniversary we have not been able to spend at least part of it together.  Sometimes it falls on a workday, although with Memorial Day in such close proximity we often have most of the day with each other even if we have to share it with the kids.  This year, however, I’m 1000 miles away, give or take, in Boulder, CO getting our living arrangements sorted out for our move here this summer.  I’ve also been busy getting the literal “keys to the shop” for our upcoming store and talking to contractors and architects to get things kicked into gear for permits and construction.  This has felt like one of the busiest weeks of my life although I have taken some time here and there to kick back a little.  Yesterday I even managed to hit the hotel pool and hot tub for half an hour or so.

For those of you who haven’t heard the plans yet, we’re making the move this summer while the kids are out of school.  The plan is to open a retail store with a space for drum circles and workshops, an office for Brian’s shamanic healing practice, and a studio for me to work in.  Brian did a ton of demographic research when we made the decision to do this and Boulder, CO ended up being the perfect place for the business, my health, and the children’s schooling.  So far, in the visits we’ve made out here, everyone here has seemed to agree with us on our choice and plans have been moving forward with more smoothness than I expected.  I guess I’m just used to the bumpier rides.  I’d be happy for the Universe to allow this one to continue as smoothly as possible… are you listening Universe?  :-)

So this year we drew proverbial straws and Brian got the “stay at home with the kids” straw, in part because he is still doing some weekly contract work for his previous day job and in part because I’m pickier than he is about where we live.  So far here I have found a place I put a deposit on for us and it looks like our application is going smoothly enough to get the place.  I have also picked up the keys and signed off on the lease agreement for our shop, which will be located at 2712 28th Street, Boulder, Colorado.  Go on – Google it.  Batteries Plus will love you.  ;-)  We’ll also be in Bluff Plaza with Dot’s Diner, Next 2 New Wireless, Cartridge World, and LA Nails.  The Diner has decent omelets – I had lunch there yesterday to find out.  There is also a Yoga place there too, and we’re hoping to make friends with them as our client bases will overlap.  It’s a high-traffic area, just into town where one of the major highways comes in, so we’ll have good visibility too.  We also got a decent amount of space for our money – something we couldn’t get in more of the center-of-town areas, which means we CAN hold drum circles and workshops at the shop without crowding folks into the aisles with the books.

Keep an eye on http://www.enrichingelements.com for more details.  I’m finishing up logo work today, hopefully, so that we can start getting news online there.

And so, even though we can’t spend today together, we are in many ways more together than we’ve ever been.  As always, we keep growing forward.  Brian is still my best friend in the world, the one I can tell anything to without fear of judgement or rejection, the one I trust more than anyone.  He is also my love and my lover.  Despite years and children, our passion for one another still runs high when we have the chance to indulge it.  And now we are partners even more than ever – not just as parents, homeowners, and adventurers, but now in business too.  Besides – I’d move mountains for him and the kids if it was needed – high time we go live by some, right?  ;-)

So, to my husband today – “No matter what life brings in the years ahead, with this ring I thee wed.  I love you, I do.”

1st Class: Fold Forming – Day 2

Jewelry posts are moving to my business blog, and so this next post can be found here:

http://ganoksin.com/blog/raynstones/2013/01/29/1st-class-fold-forming-day-2/

Old web-designer me would set this up to redirect or something.  Jewelry artist me is just too lazy to look up the code when you can just take two seconds and click the link.  Sorry.  Priorities, people.  Love ya though!

1st Class: Fold Forming – Day 1

Today I started day 1 of classes at the Rio Grande Winter Workshop 2013.  I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect when I signed on for Fold Forming.  This is the only entirely “new” process I’m picking up this week and while it IS about moving metal, as I suspected, it is NOT a simple matter of using hammers and dapping punches.  In fact, if you just watched the teacher, Charles Lewton-Brain whom I’d heard of because of The Ganoksin Project (I have to remember to ask how Ganoksin is pronounced!) , you’d think it was even simpler.  At one point he referenced the art of Fold Forming using a balloon artist as a comparison and he managed to make it look that easy.  And it probably WILL be after I’ve practiced, practiced, and practiced

Click to view larger

During the 2nd half of the day we had some time to try out the techniques we’d been shown and the above picture is my “hack hotel photography” of the ones I tried.  Most of these exercises were about the different ways to make folds and curvatures through folding, hammering, and rolling mill use.  My examples are far from the perfection I’d want out of my work, but the point was to learn the skills, not to come away with ready-to wear/display objects.  There was a lot of information on how to make use of the plasticity (strange to say, but true) of metal to make it curve or have ridges and/or lines.  A lot of the pieces he turned out while demonstrating looked like items you’d pluck off the ground on a nature hike magically turned to copper.  I really like the look of those pieces and I think that if I can get a handle on this method I’ll have a lot more options when it comes to mixing the earthy stones I’m so hooked on with more earthy-looking metal features.  I took tons of notes and it all seemed like common sense while I was watching him DO it… but when I went to work myself I felt like I was all thumbs and had no idea which hammer to use when or whether or not I needed to anneal the piece again before applying the hammer.  Not as instinctual as I hoped, despite how many times he said we should “keep working until it looks pretty.”  On the other hand, it’s reassuring to see a well-respected person person like Charles say things like “when I think it looks good” in answer to questions of how long a duration to hammer something.  That’s the kind of measurement technique I prefer.  I feel a lot safer hammering a piece of metal until it feels right than I do measuring gemstones so I use the right setting bur size to help make it fit properly.  Artistry through instinct is more my cup of tea.  *insert impish grin here*

Tomorrow will be day two of the Fold Forming class.  I think I’ll be coming home with a notebook full of notes and a whole lot of trying things out to do when it comes to this one.

I also stopped by and chatted with the lovely MariaElana Baca at her demo table in the lobby on my way out.  She is one of the Rio Grande employees and she was doing demonstrations of how to apply epoxy resin.  Since I have already purchased a kit for this technique and have been meaning to try it out, I went ahead and made one of the demo pieces she had available to learn it.  I really do prefer to DO the stuff I’m learning than just read about it and I have a little piece drying away back at Rio Grande that I will pick up tomorrow morning.  When I picked what I put into it I thought of my daughter.  Since both kids hinted at wanting gifts from me again after this trip I plan to give this one to her when I get back.  Hopefully something else I make over this week will turn out as a gift for my son too or I’ll end up having to make him something first thing when I get back to avoid the jealousy fit.  He did have his eye on one project I’d abandoned the last time I let him in the studio to see what I’d been working on, so if push come to shove I can always finish that one for him instead.  lol.

In other adventures, my main suitcase arrived in the night while I slept and despite my worries they did not wake me up to come downstairs and fetch it.  I was able to grab it this morning and properly unpack and have all my stuff.  This means my keyboard is here now and my Ganoksin Project Orchid Blog password with it.  Or username, anyway.  I had to reset the password in order to get in.  I’m thinking tomorrow’s post will go up there instead and I’ll copy the ones from tonight and last night (and possibly last year’s posts too) onto there at that point.  For some reason I had a bear of a time getting my computer logged onto the internet tonight, which sucked away a lot of my time, so I’m not messing with it tonight.  Fingers crossed it all goes smoothly tomorrow night.  :-)

Hello Again, Albuquerque!!

It’s that time of year again, and it managed to arrive quicker than I expected – or maybe I’ve just had enough things to keep me busy lately that I haven’t had the chance to bemoan the wait. I am here again in Albuquerque, ready for more jewelry classes at Rio Grande. This year I’m only taking three classes, but each of them is a two-day affair and thus, still fills the entire week for me. No time for slacking off! Except for today, but the airline didn’t bring my luggage with, and then there was the rental car pick-up, and the stop at the grocery store for some drinks, snacks and a salad for tonight. I’m so utterly wiped from the flight and everything that I may not be awake when my main suitcase supposedly is due to arrive at my hotel around 10:30 pm tonight. I was very jealous of Mr. Nice-But-Took-All-The-Elbow-Room who slept through a good portion of the flight in the seat next to me.

I’m back at the Hampton Inn again this year and the room is pretty much exactly the same, except I think I’m one floor higher than last year. As I rolled in with my carry-on (thank goodness I actually packed smart this time – I even have an extra set of clothes and my laptop!) I was reminded of last year and the broken marble/granite threshold at the doorway to the room. The one to this room has been broken too, but replaced with some other form of threshold that is ALSO broken but repaired enough that it (mostly) stays intact while the suitcase rolls over it. LOL. The room seems nice enough though, and the gal at the desk kindly handed me a bag with toothpaste and other useful items when I mentioned the suitcase issue.

So the suitcase thing…. yeah.

*pauses to grumble about airlines and skiers*

If I am understanding correctly, there were not one but TWO large groups of skiers on my flight. Both of which, understandably, had SKIS with them, in addition to any traditional luggage and carry-on bags. So, since there were just too many bags to fit on the plane with us, they informed us they were chucking a few off and sending them on later.

Now it’s not MY fault. I brought the normal amount of luggage. So why’d they chuck MY bag? Stupid United Express. Grrrrr. There was a huge line at the baggage claim desk after all the bags were handed out and then some man came around with slips of paper suggesting we call the 800 number instead. I hadn’t eaten a proper meal since 5:30 am and was lusting after some lunch about then (2:30 pm Chicago time by then), so I took the number and ran. When I called, I spoke to some woman in another country whom I could barely understand. She informed me that my bag was still in Chicago and to call back in about two or three hours. I called again a little while ago and got it sorted out but this time the outsourced customer service rep had the gall to be irritated with ME for not taking care of it at the claim desk at the airport….

Bah!!

And it’s all rainy here today so even if I had the energy to go galavanting about with my camera, the mountains are all wet and cloudy. But still there. And still pretty. More on mountains another time though.

Tomorrow… Fold Forming begins. Hooray for jewelry classes!!