Charm swap

I had self-imposed deadline for myself to get my charms for a swap I’m hosting completed this week. I have been working on them off and on for a while. I’m happy to say that I’m done! Here’s a picture of a some of them. The soldering was actually the easiest part. I made 25 for the swap and an extra 25 for trades at Hampton Art & Soul.

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PMC class

I attended Sherri Haab’s PMC class today. It was great. I learned a new transfer technique. The transfer solution is very interesting stuff. It can be used on many different surfaces, including mixing it with pigment and using it as a paint on the silver. Here are a couple pictures of the work I did today. Keep in mind these are not perfect… I was most interested in learning the transfer piece than anything.

Artifacts

The other day and came across some old stitchery projects I made a long time ago. I used to do a lot of babysitting when I was in high school. There wasn’t much on after Saturday Night Live and Second City TV and I got bored so I used to bring these projects with me for something to do after the kids went to bed.

I liked crewel embroidery (using yarn instead of floss) and counted cross stitch (done on aida cloth) better than plain embroidery. I also liked the kits with lots of different stitches… my favorite were the little French knots. Here are pictures of two of them that I completed at least 25 years ago.

Aren’t these things great?!

Values

Lately, I’ve been doing a bit of introspective evaluation. I have been depressed and anxious and can’t seem to rid myself of pessimism and cynicism. It’s not for lack of trying. I feel worst when unable to control my life. That’s part of the reason my morale has been suffering. I don’t feel secure and that’s important to me. I have lost confidence in my abilities, not to mention what the depression & anxiety have done to my abilities to focus and analyze things. Unfortunately, analysis is a pretty big part of my job. So it’s a viscous cycle. I worry that my job could be swept out from under me at any moment. I worry about everything. I tried to make a list but it’s much too long… I worry about everything.

Nothing I do or think or feel is worry-free. It is so overwhelming I am jumpy and on the verge of a panic attack always. It’s not humanly possible to switch it off and on at will (my manager doesn’t believe me). If it were possible, I would do it. It is not fun to always be ON. All my senses are hyper-sensitive and it’s draining; it’s physically and emotionally draining.

How do I cope? I have some healthy coping skills but I also have some unhealthy ones. Luckily, I don’t rely on drinking or drugs. The two unhealthy things I use are eating and shopping. Both have obvious negative impacts but are socially acceptable which technically doesn’t make it any better but at least there’s not a lot of judgment about my behavior.

I do do some positive things too. I am taking some time off this week. I enjoy my art. Thursday, I’m attending Sherri Haab‘s PMC class at the Portland Bead Expo. Friday I’m getting a massage. I am meeting with some of my art-friends on Sunday. Next week, I have a therapy appointment and I try to attend a support group meeting on a regular basis. The class I taught at NAMI is about over but it was a good way to help others who also have mental illness in their family which in turn helped me. I’m really happy my volunteer time is being matched by my employer, Intel.

I am working on some new healthy skills too. I am working on healthier eating habits. As the weather improves, I am determined to get more exercise. Last year I bought a new bike that doesn’t have more than ten miles on it yet.
I also have some longer term goals. I would like to write a book. I would like to simplify my life (I know that’s kind of broad).
In the meantime, I need to do some thinking about my career. Luckily, Intel is throwing new resources toward development. I have read a couple articles and have seen a trend toward matching your personal values to your career goals. I think this excerpt from the book Finding Square Holes: Discover Who You Really Are and Find the Perfect Career by Anita Houghton sums up my situation well and I realize I have a lot more reflection to do about my life and my career.

Knowing what is important to you will also, by default, help you to clarify what is not. Being more aware, more alert to the values by which you live your life, you start to question your actions, question your motives, question your feelings, and gradually the important things in your life float gently to the top, while the less important ones sink slowly to the bottom.

And when that happens, the result is… happiness.

Source: Finding Square Holes: Discover Who You Really Are and Find the Perfect Career by Anita Houghton

Music

Streaming audio isn’t what it used to be. Today, I discovered AOL Radio. Those who know me and love me will appreciate my enthusiasm for this: they have one station solely devoted to NEW WAVE and another to ’80s ALTERNATIVE! If you’re a fan of Depeche Mode, The Fixx, Erasure, The Cure, Psychedelic Furs—I could go on and on—you will love it! I know I’m giving away my age but listening to this stuff makes me feel young again. It makes my heart smile. They have an 80’s pop station too but there is a big difference. They play stuff like Michael Jackson, Phil Collins, Journey… Don’t get me wrong, I love that stuff too but it’s not the same! There’s something about that new wave/alternative music from my teen years that makes me want to sing and dance. You remember that kind of dancing I’m talking about, right? It’s funny because I was so terribly shy in high school that I wouldn’t do a lot of the normal social things everyone else did… I never went on a date or even kissed a boy until I was out of high school! Well, when I left home, I was pleasantly surprised that I could go clubbing on base and they even had “ladies night.” I could let my pent up inner party girl out and no one knew how shy I really was. No one was shocked at my behavior because, quite frankly it was 1984, everyone was having a good time. And besides that, my behavior was still quite tame in comparison. Oh, I made up for lost time but eventually, my partying days died down when I got married, and had a baby. Babies make you grow up fast. But it’s that music that brings back the memories of that care-free life of not so long ago.

Little vessels

Look at the cute little polymer pieces I made.

My friend Dawn invited me to a group she meets with and it was really a wonderful time!

I’ve been tagged

Okay, I guess it’s time for me to play along. Laurel tagged me a few days ago but since I was out of town on business, I wasn’t able to respond. Just got back today and I need a break from work so here goes. I know these aren’t the weirdest weird things but I know my mom reads my blog so I didn’t want to post anything TOO weird. Just kidding, Mom! 

Seven Weird Things about Me
by Denise

  1. Tomatoes are my favorite food. I could live on them. Not the store-bought variety but the sweet, tangy goodness barely ripened on the vine, brought into the house still warm from the sun kind.
  2. Growing up I was painfully shy. I am not sure how I overcame this but sometimes I still find myself in a state of panic in certain social situations.
  3. My family has always called me ‘Nise or ‘Nisey.

  4. I used to be a cat person but I developed allergies in my 20’s. I am now an avowed dog person. I love my dogs more than I like some people.
  5. I grew so fast as a child, my bones ached. I have been 5’10” since about age 12. I blame this as the reason I’m so clumsy.
  6. I do not tan. My skin is ultra sensitive and I can’t tolerate much direct sunlight. I am covered in freckles most of which were acquired in childhood.
  7. I am extremely sensitive to noise. Sometimes noise can send me into a state of anxiety so intense, I feel I must escape at any cost.

I know I’ll probably experience 10 years of bad luck but I’m not going to tag anyone right this minute. I may do the tag part some other time. Anyway, hope you learned a thing or two about me that you didn’t know already.