Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Studio Time: Equestrian Series - Saddle-Up! Necklace & Earrings

Sorry for the posting break! I had a post prepared last week when a tragedy befell one of my new designs (a corsage bracelet with disk beads). I've had to re-write the post. I also had a migraine for two days. I hate when I lose part of a week!

Anyway...some eye-candy as I get back in the saddle.

Speaking of is a new design I'm testing in a line I plan to call the Equestrian Series. This one is called Saddle-Up! because they remind me of stirrups. I'm taking a mid-day stroll through downtown Hong Kong, twiddling, fiddling, and generally wearing my new design to make sure it stands up to regular daily wear.

How the necklace lays when worn and the earrings dangle. Once this design meets my "wear and tear" quality standards, I'll make some versions for you. None will be exactly the same.

Me on a tram. I got tired (and sweaty) walking one way looking for the post office and computer stores. I knew it was somewhere close to where I wandered. But, I never found it. Fruitless (as far as shipping and computer supplies), but entertaining and some decent mid-day exercise and relaxing tram ride back to blow dry.

Today It's Raining Cats & Small-to-Medium Size Dogs
It's been raining all day today. It's definitely raining cats. And some small dogs (Maltese and Yorkie size) and even some Terriers and Labs. But, it's definitely not raining Golden Retrievers, St. Bernards, or Great Danes yet...that's when nothing stays dry except maybe your eyelashes that are tucked way up underneath the umbrella.

I was crossing the hill that goes down to the waterfront. Sheets of water were cascading down it. I thought, "Throw plastic down on that there hill and you have a great Slip-N-Slide." Heh. I don't even need the plastic or hill. Just give me ceramic tiles and rain.

This is the sea level view down the hill from my complex.


I can't help it. These are my two favorite views. Molly and Aberdeen Harbor. This is my daily eye-candy.

Molly enjoys the views, too. There are kites (Hong Kong hawks) that circle in front of our window. Molly enjoys watching them. Did anyone see The Proposal? Remember the dog scene? I remind Molly that it's good there is plate glass between her and them.

Endless Sources of Amusement

My dogs have always provided a never-ceasing fountain of entertainment and stories.

I mentioned in a previous post that me and Molly are afraid of thunderstorms. Molly usually greets me at the door when I come home. Today she didn't. As a side note, I've been winding myself up with anxiety over leaving Molly for an upcoming business trip/vacation. She's getting older (nearly 11!) and she gets stressed when I leave. Plus, we just moved into a new flat. So, today, when I came home and no Miss Molly greeted me, I had a moment of panic.

But, I looked around and found this.

In Texas, we had a few whoppers of thunderstorms while I was gone during the day. There were a few times that we "lost" Molly. She was usually found in a tub. Good things here: my abode is less than 1/3 the size of the "small-ish" Texas house I had and I have a clear shower curtain. In Texas, I had two bathrooms and opaque shower curtains. Even when I looked in the bathroom, I usually failed to look in the tub.

I have no idea how long she was in there today. Poor baby. But, it was funny (and a relief) to find her hiding out in the bathtub. I need to teach her that under the bed in my bedroom is the darkest, safest spot.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Studio Time: Crazy Cluster Bracelets

Sometimes beads just beg to come together in various assortments. I've been working out charm bracelets and after doing an elegant, lush bracelet, I wanted to let my creativity out of the bag and put together a crazy assortment of colors and sizes. The assortments have purpose, though, and because there are various colors, can be worn with a lovely array of outfits.

Beach Bum: for some reason, the banana yellow beads scream "beach" to me...pair that with a little bit of turquoise, light and dark, and you have banana trees and ocean. Beach Bum!

Vineyards: the grape-y assortment of beads in transparent purple, violet & lime swirls, lavendar swirls, and opaque lavendar evoke ideas of a vineyard.

Both available in the shop! Both can be custom-sized to fit you.

Squishy Update (Creative Toothpaste Squishing)

Ain't that the way it goes
Always stumbling into something
Life's an open road, you got to take it
If you just let go
Lose your way to find that one thing you've been missing
- The Way it Goes, Gloriana

I love country music and this is one of the top songs getting the most play on my i-Pod. It seems appropriate considering the diversion my art has taken. The cool thing is that I did take the silver class and have now opened up a world of possibilities with silver that I was too intimidated to try.

And the leather store I mentioned that has DIY workshops? Through connections, there is a potential lead on shared studio space. At the very least, there is space near my home that offers rented space for giving workshops. There are some lampwork teachers that have expressed willingness to teach in Hong Kong if I could find enough students to make the cost feasible. Cool, hey?

Confessions of a Shoe-A-Holic

Sigh. I miss cute shoes. I see them all the time here. I work in Times Square. I see high fashion all over the place. I see these gorgeous Asian women wearing all the crazy things in Vogue. And they look good in it. (Because they're stick thin.) Although I'm still not a fan of bloomer shorts. Even on skinny girls.

I embraced practical clothes. I know there are classic fashions that I can adapt to the heat of Hong Kong. I need to get a sewing machine. I brought my US one, but all my US electronics have suffered untimely deaths due to the higher voltage (220 volts vs. 120 volts). Knitting, crocheting, will all come with time.

But. Shoes. Sigh.

Most of my adult years, my wide practical streak has ruled mostly due to budget issues. Occasional indulgences in cute shoes were okay, but they had to meet a stringent comfort/cuteness quotient. If I found a pair that met that sweet spot, I bought the same pair in different colors.

You know what kind of issues two pairs of the same color bring...

Did that twice. I'm surprised it wasn't more. (Maybe it was and I didn't notice.) The first time it was one brown shoe and one black shoe. The second time it was a blue shoe and brown shoe. No one would have noticed if I hadn't pointed it out. Will I ever learn?

Then I went through a true shoe-a-holic phase where I could afford the cute, trendy shoes. No...not the Jimmy Choos and Manolo Blahniks. More along the lines of Etienne Aigner, Steve Madden, Paolo, Nine West, Jessica Simpson. I had amassed a truly "girl-worthy" collection of cute shoes. The fun thing about being a shoe-a-holic was that I didn't have to do the "repeat in different colors" thing. I always got a lot of compliments on the shoes. (I'll have to tell you another story about the combo of cute shoes and klutziness, though. Story for another day.) I think I miss my red, patent leather sling-back pumps the most. They were SO cute. They were taller and pointier than the pair below. But, hmm....these might work for me in HK... um... we'll see. I've tried so many comfortable-looking shoes that only tortured my feet. Even my blisters had blisters.
Now I'm back to the "repeat in different colors" methodology. Only they are in the granny-shoe-comfort style. Sigh.

These are under the "Women, Ultra-Comfort" category. I wore out my first pair in two months.

So, I bought two more pairs. One black. One brown. I had cleaned up my flat yesterday (loving a smaller space...lickety-split cleaning!) and put my two pairs of shoes in my wardrobe. Only I mixed the pairs. Putting my shoes on this morning, I almost did a wear-two-different-color-shoes day. It's a good thing there is a lot of natural light in my flat. I was able to notice before I even put them on. I wonder if anyone would notice? ... Pause... Um. Yes. I have friends who notice absolutely everything about me. No getting away with anything here!

On the other feet are happy in their comfort. I mean, singing-in-the-shower-I'm-in-love type of happy. I have a pair of semi-cute comfortable shoes. And my feet grumble. They love to stride and walk. And you can really only do that in a pair of granny-style-comfortable shoes.

Happy feet. Disappointed fashionista.

Eh. I'll live. My inner shoe fashionista can live vicariously through other people's feet. I have too many other things to enjoy right now.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Artfully Meandering: Creative Toothpaste

I had mentioned in a previous post that I was going to have to suspend lampworking for the time being. I need to find an appropriate studio space outside my home for this industrial art.

In one way I'm sad. I was just reaching a point where I felt I was just beginning to define a unique "Kanna" look. On the other hand, trying to stifle my creativity is like trying to put a cap on toothpaste while you're squeezing it. It will squish out everywhere.

I've had issues with reining in my creative sprite. At the silver store here in Hong Kong, I spied a Silver Clay kit. Bonus: they teach! Morana is the instructor who had the first Silver Clay Instructor certification in Hong Kong and China. Their business is focused on teaching. Below is the instructor assisted ring I made. Her method of teaching was perfect for me. Individualized (no others in the class), a demo, hands-on, demo, hands-on, teacher assistance, explaining. I'm so pleased with this ring. It's a great everyday ring for me.

Precious metal clay has been intimidating me for two reasons: the possibilities are limitless and therefore my brain draws a blank with a direction. Secondly, I don't want to waste the precious clay.

However, I've already been down the road of creating expensive ugly glass babies. It's how I learn and get ideas for being unique. Below is my first ugly glass charm that will be for me as a remembrance. I don't view it as horrendous, but it definitely not saleworthy. It's mine for reminding me how can improve.

And my creative toothpaste is squishing out in other directions as well:
  • Next to the silver clay store there was a leather bag shop. They have DIY workshops where you can make a leather cuff, book cover, and purse.
  • I'm taking a knitting class so I can start to make my own shirts
  • Stopping lampworking has me looking into slumping and fusing. My initial impressions are that it is as industrial as lampworking, but I need to research further. I had ordered something from Nartique Glass a few years back and still receive their newsletter. I happened to look up their workshop offerings and they have a fabulous intensive workshop on slumping and fusing. And coldworking, and about everything else you can do with glass.
  • And then, Sarah Hornik said she's teaching in New Zealand next year! I've wanted to take a Sarah class and I've wanted to visit New Zealand!
See! Squishing out all over. I'll probably have to rein a few things in.

Meet the Artist
And finally, I updated my Artfire Bio page, which includes a self portait. I'm not entirely happy with it, so expect some changes.

Gratuitously Cute Maltese Pictures
I'm reminded of the scene in the show, Mad About You, where the main characters walk by their dog, Murray, who is standing on the dining room table. Their comment was, "That's new." My windowsill is a deep ledge. It makes for a great window seat, a work table, an end table to my couch, a photo studio, and now a Maltese-window-watching area. Molly enjoys window-watching. I was feeling a little bad that she wouldn't be able to window-watch. But, Molly figured out a solution. Here are a series of pictures of her royal cuteness.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Studio Time: Juice Pendant and Earrings

The hammered fleur de lis top has been hanging around and I've been struggling to finish it off to my satisfaction...finally, an eclectic mix of silver rope and beads, an orange round, and a yellow/orange mix barrel. A Juice Pendant (the Orange kind)...a length of leather cord is included.

Small beads in Vetrofond's Pineapple Sparkle odd lot on one rope, a sterling silver bead on another rope. 1.5 inches in total of Juice Earrings...the Pineapple kind...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hong Kong Chronicles: Translations

A chronological review of the last 24 hours.
Strong Tropical Storm Koppa
We had a T-8 typhoon Monday night. It was coming off the Philippines as a Tropical Cyclone (Pacific equivalent of a Hurricane). Koppa sustained a T-8 status for over 15 hours, and we were only on the periphery of its track. Aiya!
Typhoons cause a significant fuss. The storm was brewing all day, culminating in being sent home early from work. It's the Hong Kong equivalent of a snow day in Dallas. I always loved snow days. They were "bonus days" and catch up days. The thing is, with snow, it's quiet. Brew hot cocoa. Watch Star Trek. Read a book. Typhoons? Not so much. They're a bit noisy. And this being my first big one ever, and first big one in the new digs, it was a nail-biter. I thought I was being a nervous nelly, but one of my friends who's been here for three years was also scared.
Anyway, I did get some bonus time, coming home early. Some of the bonus time was also borrrowed at the expense of sleep, but there have been a bunch o' shop updates as a result.
Molly's New Outhouse

I told you we were upscaling! Even Molly's toilet is luxurious. Too bad she's more interested in pee-mail instead of scenery.

I guess the dogs don't need to worry about spelling.

Molly has also been making new friends. We started off a little rocky...Molly was a little threatened, but with some Cesar Milan mommy-training reminders, we've been able to reassure her that she's okay. She's befriended a sweet little Yorkie named MoMo. MoMo has black poodle brother, named Baby, who is a wee bit aggressive but is settling down. There is a gorgeous Samoyed who is incredibly well-trained and calm. She's really nice to Molly and this is the first big dog Molly is warming up to. Then there are two, teeny little bits of Yorkies (I think they must 3 or 4 pounds). The male is friendly, but, I have to work on keeping Molly calm. She gets a little overexcited with the smaller dogs. Unless they're calm and laid back, she's a little intimidating. I didn't get the male's name, but the female is named QingQing. I love the Chinese familiar names...

Storm Prep

Preparations for the large plate glass windows in the lobby. A little intimidating for a newbie to typhoons. You'd think I'd be calmer after Texas weather. But tornadoes are over relatively quickly. Closet quaking is temporary. Although the high-rises are built to withstand a strong storm, I think what concerned me were the windows. If the wind took those out, then it would be a wind alley. (Sorry for the blurry photos...taken while walking...)

Brewing storm clouds...

Bowing palms...

The Sass-a-Frass Malt

After the storm...I wanted to capture a picture of what I leave behind as I leave each day for work...the adorably cute face (attached to the adorably cute dog) and the stunning views. I forgot I had my camera on a high white balance setting and it washed out the scenery. But, I caught a funny Molly sequence that gives you a smidgen of her personality.

Winding up...[head cocked to the left]


Caught in the act!!!

The sass-a-frass attitude after mama shushes her. (She always has to have the last word.) [Head cocked to the right and turned away and one last "yipf".]


Some wind damage of young trees outside the office. Most of the time the majority of the damage is to the low-lying areas with poorly built homes.

And finally...


I've invented a compound English grammar word. Not just a compound adjective like fan-tabulous (fantastic + fabulous). Ah. Language. It's such a living thing. And messing with it is so much FUN!

Shrizzled = Noun + Adj compound = a frizzled shrew

Yet another Shrizzled was in the bankline today. I could see the wind-up coming as I got in the queue. I think she was at 70 decibels when I arrived. By the time she was taken away (management finally came to assist), she was at 120 decibels and was drawing the gapers block. At least now I know it is EOG (equal opportunity gawking). I give the teller a lot of credit. She was handling her with great equanimity. I have no idea whether the teller was bureaucratic as this was conducted in Cantonese.

A side note on filling out online forms in person: one advantage of filling out forms is that the tellers know the forms well and how to fill out efficiently. You don't have to struggle with reading the form and figuring out what to do and where to sign. Yes...the tellers fill out the forms for you. Nice, eh? If I'm going to trade off the convenience of doing this online, might as well have a convenience to replace it! I was observing some of the other transactions to see if this had anything to do with me being a westerner, but this was happening with all the bank patrons. Sweet!
Wow. That was a lot for 24 hours!