Saturday, December 31, 2016

One last post before the new year

I've been cleaning on my days off.
On my day off Thursday, I cleaned the patio and all its windows.
Today I cleaned my drawing room.
I want to buy more storage containers, but it's raining.
So I'm blogging while I wait for the rain to stop.

Yesterday, I tried melting some solder into the chocolate molds.
I hadn't tried to solder in a while. It was blobby.
I wasn't happy with the results.



I decided it was time to try using the torch for the first time!
It would surely get the solder molten hot.


The torch was too big and awkward.
The solder wouldn't go where I wanted, it would just drip.



The torch also burned the molds (they are only good up to 400 degrees.)
I think I will put it away for awhile.


I found the jewelry-shaped candy mold from Wilton, which I had only tried with hot glue.

I heated up some scrap pieces of solder into one of the long shapes.
(I used the soldering iron this time.)
The long shape will make it easier to re-melt the next time I need it.


(It wouldn't bend into a bracelet.)


I got an idea to glue a stone into one of the shapes.
I had some faux turquoise, but they were the wrong size to fit into the shape I'd made.


I was able to find a bead that fit into another shape, so I melted the solder and glued the bead, and this turned out well:



I've heard the first thing you do on the New Year is what you will do all year long.
2016 was pretty uninspiring for me, so this time I will be sure to be crafting at midnight!

Happy New Year to all!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Why am I still awake?

Today I got up early because I was worried about the church newsletter.
Luckily, I was able to talk to some one on the phone and got the program set up, just in time.
So that's all fixed now, until it's time to move to a different computer.
I wish I could relax a little!

I'm still here at the office!
Things were slow, so I asked the new office manager if I could go on a candle-light march.



Every 28th, people celebrate the Feast of the Holy Innocents.
It commemorates the massacre of the children by King Herod while trying to find Jesus.
People pray for innocent children who passed away, but it's also for praying for anyone.




It wasn't very exciting, but it was a nice night to walk in the neighborhood.




Before work this morning, I was busy doing all kinds of things.

I looked up more jewelry ideas online.

I saw something like this necklace (and a lot of other neat accesories) on this website:
http://www.elle.com/fashion/trend-reports/g28724/spring-2017-jewelry-trends/
So I made another necklace:

The other day I went to Hobby Lobby and I found a lot of buttons.
I found these silicone candy molds for only $2.99 each.


The molds are not too deep or too wide, which I found keeps them from breaking up as you fill them.
I also found colored glue sticks and more glow-in-the dark glue sticks.


The colored glue sticks got used up very fast!
I tried using two glue guns with two different colors at the same time:





I remembered the last time I used hot glue in the molds, I was trying to make something that resembled jade, by mixing clear glue with powdered pigment.

Mixing the green and the glow-in-the dark glue sticks made something that looked more like jade.



I don't like the crayon-colors of the glue sticks, but mixing it with clear or white glue seems like it's going somewhere better.
Still not sure what to do with all these little pieces of plastic...

Tomorrow is Thursday, another day off!

Next, I have a huge roll of solder to try out in the candy molds.

Another necklace. Buttons. Another SNAFU at work.

On Sunday at work, it was kinda slow.
I looked at more jewelry designs online, and drew some on paper.

On my day off, Monday, I tried to make a necklace from this design:


I already had three pieces of wire bundled together from a previous project.


The original design (not my own, and probably from the Sundance catalog) called for leather cord.
I don't usually use cord, so I tried to finish it with a chain:



It looked funny, so I used the leather cord, and it looked much better.



I'm a little wary about the knots, so I put super glue on them.


In the afternoon, I went to Hobby Lobby.
They don't have as wide selection of buttons, as Jo-Ann's, but they are a dollar or two cheaper.

I got some really sparkly ones. I chopped off the backs and glued them to earring posts.


(I think the most expensive was $5.99 for a pair, and then they were also 50% off.)

These clear acrylic buttons with mirror backs, have holes for thread (like most buttons do) instead of a loop on the back:


The holes will have to be filled with some kind of bead, before I turn them into earrings.
Not sure what, yet...



When I got to work one day last week, I found that the tech guy and new office manager had wiped clean the computer I was using to send the church bulletin to the publisher, although I had warned them against it before.

I knew there was a special format to send the  bulletin file. It is a kind of Adobe PDF.
But since the last office manager left, nobody really knew what the difference was, except that the files could only be sent from that computer.

(The same thing is happening with the program I use to print out certificates.)

The New Year's newsletter had to be sent on Friday.
I saved the file as a regular PDF and sent it using the computer I've been given, and kept my fingers crossed.

I didn't hear back from the printer's.
The manager went home without mentioning anything either.

Later on, I left some forms on the new manager's desk, and saw some messages with the printer's number.
Uh oh!
I texted her at home and she said "Oh yeah, they called, and said you would know what it was all about!"

Unfortunately they close at 3:30 PM West Coast Time.

All I can do now is go in at the crack of dawn to call the support number, and hope there's still time to have the bulletin printed and mailed by the 30th.

Monday, December 26, 2016

A necklace. Just another day at the office.

Last week, I took an art class with artist Jacki Long.

Jacki remembered that I liked looking at the jewelry in the Sundance company catalog, so she gave me some new catalogs.
I once spent almost a whole class looking at the catalog instead of making it into a collage!
http://www.sundancecatalog.com/

This morning before work, I found the catalogs, and looked at them for inspiration.

I decided to try and copy this necklace:


(All respect due to the designer!)

I gathered together some beads and chain that resembled the ones in the picture:




I didn't get very far when I realized I needed to go in to work very soon.

Luckily, near my beads I found a necklace I never finished. It was another idea I had copied from the Sundance catalog, so it was very similar.


All I had to do was attach the pendant parts. I got about halfway done.
I wore it to work.


At the office, there have been many changes.
Since I am not the new office manager, there is some major cleaning going on, of the previous manager's things.

I never know what I will find next.
Today I saw these lovely flowers, left over from the Virgin of Guadalupe festival on the 12th.


(I wasn't inspired to paint them in a picture.)

I also discovered a CD in the trash.
(FYI, putting a trash bag into the trash can makes it easier to throw the trash into the bin outside.)


The CD was the driver and installation instructions for the printer on the desk right above it.


The printer works just fine...
I'm too tired to try to figure out what the CD was doing in the trash.
It must have fallen in to the trash from the drawers on the other side of the office.

Luckily I have Monday off.

I'm sure I will be in a much better mood when I get back on Tuesday!
(Unless the dead flowers are still there...)

Saturday, December 24, 2016

My house, with sparkleballs

I finally took a picture of my house, with the Christmas lights, and the sparkleballs I made:










Merry Christmas, all!

Before Christmas

On Friday morning, I took the car to the painter.
We spent a while going over the details again.
The minor dents and places with rust, and which pieces to be taken off, etc.

I am going to have it painted dark green again, as close to the color it was supposed to be
(about two shades darker than the lower panels in the picture.)

Green is not my favorite color for a car.
Everyone said why don't you paint it black, then?
But it would upset me to paint it black when the engine bay was still green inside.
Green was a color in 1992, when this car was made.
Cars these days don't seem to have any color at all.


I took a before picture:


The painter said it will be ready around the 15th.
I don't miss the car much yet, it's nice to have a wide open driveway!


Friday was a long day again, and I didn't draw anything, again.

The church will be open on the 24th and 25th and I volunteered to work.
But I'm looking forward to having Monday and Thursday off next week.

Some pictures of the decorations in the church:



I wasn't involved in the decorating, but it's inspiring to see so much creativity all around.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Stormy weather

On Sunday, I was inspired by the art class I took over the weekend.

I used pliers to rip apart a ball point pen that got messed up.
Don't you hate it when a pen falls on the point and the ball doesn't work anymore?


I poured the ink into a make-up container lid.

It had been a long time since I drew a face. Or anything.
I looked through a pile of magazines and drew the first face I saw, with the ink and a brush.


I added watercolors, and powdered pigment I bought at Art Supply Warehouse over the weekend.


A small step to drawing or making something every day, again.


Today at work was awkward.

(Nobody has mentioned discovering my portable hard drive and its heavy metal music...)

Today the tech moved all my files from the back computer, where the office manager sits, to the front desk computer.

Which includes the newsletter I make and its programs, and the baptism and wedding records.

Moving the files was something that has been discussed before.

Although I told the tech many times before, the back computer was the only one programmed with the macro to print certificates.

Now he has to learn how to make a macro, because he deleted it, and I wasn't the one who made that program in the first place, 20 years ago... 
I noticed he Googled how to make a macro, which is what I would have done.

They will get it to work again. 
I don't know why I am the only person who knows how to look up the data and print out a certificate.
I have shown anyone who asks, what I am doing and how to do it.

There is even an old-fashioned typewriter and some old-fashioned blank certificate forms.
(Today I saw that the new office manager threw all the blank forms into the trash. I would have saved them to turn into collage, but just looking at them gave me bitter feelings.)

I am so tempted to go on vacation, and let them sort it out themselves.
But I won't because I'm too scared that I won't have a job when I get back...


Anyway, Thursday is my day off, and after a few hours my feelings will sort themselves out.

Mom doesn't have a doctor's appointment Thursday.
I hope to get some work done on the car! 
If only it weren't so rainy.

I'm supposed to take my car to the painter on Friday, and I am anxious about that too!



I hate anything that buzzes and flies. But this guy's Youtube is pretty addicting.
He finally got himself stung by the supposedly most painful stinging insect in the world:


I stepped on a paper wasp once, so I can sympathize. 
Anything to get ratings, bro.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

A very busy day off

A few weeks ago, I signed up for a one-day art class at Catalyst, called Cards and Mail Art by artist Jacki Long.
The class was from 10AM to 1 PM but I decided to take the whole day off.
I had already worked too many hours last weekend because of the Guadalupe Festival.
Also, the local Camaro and Firebird club moved their semi-annual get-together to the 17th, too.

I got up at 7 to wash and wax the red car.
I used my fancy art crayons to fill in the stone chips on the hood.

I got to Jacki's class pretty late.

In the class we made post card-sized artwork with collage, and paint, and mixed media.
Here's some things I made:

I was too busy having fun making stuff to take pictures during the class, but everyone made amazing stuff.
You can see pictures of everyone's work in Jacki's own blog: http://jackilong.blogspot.com/
(in a day or two)

Jacki's class ended around 1:00 PM.
The car club was to meet in Long Beach at 2:30.

To kill some time I bought some random things at the Art Supply Warehouse.

One neat thing I found was this powdered pigment:

https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=colourcraft+brusho&tbm=shop

http://www.colourcraftltd.com/default_r.asp?ID=2

I guess you are supposed to sprinkle it onto wet paper and it makes a neat effect.
Kind of like Pearl-Ex but more pigment and no sparkle.
I bought blue, magenta and yellow.
Not sure what to do with it yet, but it's fun.


Next it was off to the abandoned movie theater parking lot, to meet up with the car club.
About 10 people showed up, which is pretty normal these days.
( In the foreground is my red car. I forgot to take a close-up picture. )

The members are anybody who owns a 1982-1992 Camaro or Firebird and posts on the huge nationwide message board called http://www.thirdgen.org/

At one time, local members would hold organized meetings every month.
Sometimes as many as 30 people and cars would get together.

But there was a big disagreement in how the club was run, and feelings were hurt.
Now, different leaders will occasionally try to organize a meet-up, but because they can't get along, usually only 10 or 15 people will go to any one event.

Today about half the people were old friends and the other half I'd never seen before.

There was a nice red Camaro convertible the same color as my Firebird:



The guy in the black car next to mine, put in an LS3. (The latest thing, or almost)
A lot of people are able to put all kinds of motors in their car, but not many go through a Referee to make it completely Smog Legal, which this guy did.


It is quiet and stealthy and makes over 400 hp.

The plan was to drive down PCH to Laguna, then drive east to the Irvine Spectrum.

Some people were able to drive AND take pictures, and I will post a link to them as soon as I can.

It was a lovely sunset drive.
We all got there safely and had burgers. It was very cold so we all went home.


When I got home, I wanted to upload my pictures from my phone to my hard drive.
(Editing the pictures directly from the phone is slow.)

To my horror of horrors, I realized I left my portable hard drive AT WORK ALL DAY plugged into the computer I share with the new office manager.



I'd been playing Christmas carols.

I was tired when I got home, but now I'm wide awake.
I went right away to the office to retrieve it...

How could I do such a dumb thing?

Most of my pictures are just the same stuff as on the blog, except more of them, personal but boring.
However, I have a vast music collection.
I wouldn't play my heavy metal at the church office, but even just the titles are scandalous...

It's pretty obvious when the device is plugged in too, because it notifies you on the screen, so there's no way she could have missed seeing it during the WHOLE day!!!

Oh well... tomorrow is another day, we'll see what happens when I get in to work...


Maybe I'll be getting A LOT more days off to play with cars and art...

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Mom is doing better. Spent day off with car.

Today, Mom had another regularly scheduled check up.
Nothing exciting,  just going over the latest test results.
But for the first time in a long time, she said, "let me get into the wheelchair on my own."
And she stood up on her own and sat down by herself.
Me and Dad cheered !

I get Thursdays off now, but work Sundays.
Last Thursday I put up the Christmas lights on my house, but I wasn't completely satisfied so I didn't take a picture. Just needs one more Sparkleball...
But it rained today, so I didn't finish (enough to take a pic)

I planned to visit Don the mechanic to see where the oil was leaking from on the green car.
He was busy last Thursday but today he wasn't working on a car, so I went over there.

While I was hanging out, I played with some filters on my phone.


All the stuff at Don's shop boggles the mind.
But Don knows exactly where everything is and what it's for!


The textures come out cool, using that artistic filter.
I will have to do some more next time I go there.

The oil was coming from the back of the motor.
I was afraid it was the Rear Main Seal, which is a big gasket that would need major work to repair.
Luckily, it was not that at all, it was coming from a small gasket near the oil filter.



I didn't notice until now, that the oil filter (the blue thing) doesn't screw right into the block.
On some of these cars it does.
I can't count how many oil changes I've done (this is Third-Gen #3) and never noticed!
Well, it's pretty dark under there when you don't have a lift.

This car has some kind of oil cooler (a high performance option,) (the black band right above the blue thing) and that's probably the gasket that's leaking.
Don will look in his shop to see if he has one, or order one.


The body shop is a mile from Don's shop.
I went there next, and to my surprise, the painter had an opening!
I will be dropping off the green car a week from Friday!

Leak or no leak (but for his floor's sake, hopefully no leak)


Hopefully by the New Year it will be a shiny, dark metallic green again.