Friday, May 21, 2010

Men's Jewelry

At our last craft show we had a few men come in and compliment our steampunk designs. Now while I think several of the necklaces can be worn by either sex, they saw them all as feminine and they asked why we don't make jewelry for men. Maybe we need to market our jewelry differently and actually label some pieces as "for men".

But I have been experimenting a little and tried to create jewelry that was even more industrial looking. The darker one above hangs from a length of rawhide. The other is attached to heavy gunmetal gray chain. I think men can easily wear them. Hubby says he agrees.

What do you think?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Why Would I Quit This Gig?

I signed the retirement papers yesterday so I guess it's now official.
Am I sad? Am I happy? Well, a little of both, I guess.

Walking back from Whitmore I noticed how deserted the campus looked a few days after graduation. And the Learning Commons was also mostly empty.

It made me feel as though it was time to leave as everyone else was gone. And the work I've been given to keep me busy in the last several weeks, the mind-numbing barcode linking project, has been a real incentive. It's makes it hard to come in and makes me want to run away once I'm here.

And there's the noise.
It's construction now but once they take down the wall that's separated us from the public, it will be the mass of students who use the computers, patrons at the circulation desk, and the staff from not only our department but Circulation and Reserves. And the temperature at my desk has been a nice 72-75 degrees most days. Once the wall comes down and air circulation changes, how will that affect our temps?
Looking around the room during an All-Staff meeting I saw all the people I won't be seeing very often anymore. I'll miss the daily contact with co-workers, the jokes about the never-ending construction, the gossip, the weekly lottery pool. I'll try to catch up a little on Facebook but it won't quite be the same.

One of the construction workers asked me, "Why would you quit this gig?" The short answer is that it's not fun anymore. I learned a long time ago that often I can do what I want about a specific job if I don't ask permission or tell anyone. (I hope Jay doesn't read my blog.) That's when things are okay. But you can't do that all the time. So I'm looking forward to making decisions without benefit of committee, having to check with other departments, or waiting for a response from administrators. Whew! I just get to do what I want. If it works I keep doing it and if it doesn't I'll try something else.

For instance, I've been waiting since January to have the door to my locker reversed. It's a simple, 5 minute job that if I could do myself, would have been done months ago. Apparently it requires a special tool. The guys who can do the job are 20 feet from my desk but I had to, once again, ask the department head who contacted the business office who checked with the crew boss. They'll try to remember to bring the tool tomorrow. We'll see.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

New Designs

My latest silver clay piece was inspired by some art deco jewelry I spotted in a book that was given as a gift to the library. Most of the jewelry in it was geometric with lots of black and silver. So this is my art deco pendant strung with some simple sterling silver beads and small pearls.
I made this one while taking a class in Windsor with Lis-el at her gallery. We experimented with oxidizing & trying to patina some parts but not others. So the back was taped off and I painted liver of sulfur on the patterned part. I like the look and think I'll be creating more of these.

The rainbow effect of oxidizing took a little more work. Liver of sulfur alone is hit or miss. So I experimented with adding some ammonia to the sulfur and was pleasantly surprised by how my first ring came out. Now I just have to figure out the formula I used.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Becoming the Breakfast Club

There are a few things that I'll miss once I retire. One of them is my monthly breakfasts with the "early risers". Flex hours have given people the opportunity to come in for 7 am. And while I sometimes find it difficult to get up so early, I really do like getting out of work at 3 pm. Of the group that chooses to come in before anyone else, 4 of us meet on the first Friday of the month for 6 am breakfast. In the winter it's very dark and very cold. But this time of year it's a lot more pleasant.

Mike, Judy, Eva & I met for several years at Rooster's in No. Amherst. A year or so ago they closed and since then we've been alternating between the Route 9 Diner and The Stables.
All this was only made possible after many years of changes in the Library administration, the adoption a more intelligent management style, and just treating people with respect. When I started it was the Dark Ages. In 1974 the dress code had just loosened to include slacks but NOT jeans. We were micromanaged, couldn't have coffee at our desks, and couldn't make or take personal calls. Everyone worked between 8 & 5 because that's when supervisors were there to watch you. They didn't want to come in early or stay late so the rest of us couldn't either. You were reprimanded for being plugged into a Walkman in the card catalog and supervisors went looking for you if you were away from your desk for too long.

Workwise we were not very progressive either. The procedures for ordering, receiving, and cataloging books had several steps or stops that included checking and double checking for errors. As a result everything took longer & we always had backlogs of 20,000 or more books. What some of us would give to see that many new books now!

While Acquisitions was more concerned with the speed of getting books into the library and actually kept statistics on vendor performances, Cataloging agonized over nitpicky details of the bibliographic records that described the books. Now with fewer staff & the importance of having materials available for use quickly, we "fast cat" most books.

Not being trained as a librarian, 30 years ago I spoke often about the need to speed up the process. I guess I didn't have much patience back then either, or rather, I was really ahead of my time. And you all should have listened to me back then. Now that we've become a lean, mean book processing machine, 80% of our budget is spent on "electronic" resources.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Shoes as Art

On our way up Lafayette Street as we left Chinatown and headed toward Bond St. we came across a little shop that was so colorful and cheerful you just had to stop. It's called Irregular Choice, and it's a shop full of the most unique, artistic, and colorful shoes I have ever seen. But apparently they've been around for awhile, and we're a little late in "discovering" them. A quick google check and I found out that--

"In August 1999, Irregular Choice was launched from the quaint seaside town of Brighton on the south coast of England, by design entrepreneur Dan Sullivan. Dan was on a mission to change the way we see shoes and put his Irregular ‘stomp’ on the footwear world. Irregular Choice has since been named ‘The Lifestyle Choice of Fashion Footwear’ by Super Super mag and The Purveyor of Fresh, malicious and multicoloured shoes’ by WAD, They have also launched a flagship store in New York’s Nolita neighbourhood and a residence on London’s Carnaby Street."

I wish now that I had had the energy and time to stop and try on a few pair of shoes. While most are a bit too "unique" for me and my particular style, I do appreciate clothing that's a bit different. And there were some shoes in the shop that were more conservative in their decoration. Maybe I'll do a little online shopping when I have some time.

Shopping in NYC

This past weekend we made our yearly shopping excursion to the Big Apple where we had mixed results in our search for great clothes at bargain prices. Sample sales were a bust. While we did see some nice cashmere, the prices were still pretty high. Plan B is always to go to Macy's. Macy's in NYC is very different from the branch at the local mall. They carry more stock from the same designers and a few the local store never sees. Their 70% off racks still have some great clothes and I can always find things in my size. And with my additional 25% off coupons, we did quite well. Although I still haven't found a deal to beat the $118 designer jeans I bought a couple years ago for $6.28.

The Macy's on 34th street is not only the largest, I believe it's the first. Having never ventured past the 3rd floor, we decided to explore and took the escalator all the way up to 9. Once you get past the 5th floor you get to ride the original wooden escalator. A well-made product of another century and it still works!

We also managed to take in a couple of bead stores. Beads World on Broadway has a wall of chain by the foot. It's a great store if you're looking for a variety of shades of copper, gunmetal and brass. They have a great assortment of copper and brass findings as well.

And we loaded up on solid shampoos and moisturizers at Lush. If you've never tried their products you really should. They last a really long time so they're worth the price. And we got free tins and samples.

On Saturday we headed for the Garage Flea Market. After 3 trips there, I finally got to see the second floor. But I didn't find anything of interest and we ended up only buying things on the first floor anyway.

But as usual the best finds are those you don't look for. Not far from the Garage was another flea market in a side street parking lot. The man selling foreign coins noticed my steampunk necklace and beckoned me into his stall. There on the floor were the inner workings of a grandfather clock that he was dismantling. He had some really nice larger gears; the kind you can't really find easily and that are usually expensive. But the few I bought just made my day.

This year we made our first visit to Kalustyan's Market. This narrow store manages to cram more imported spices, teas and food into it's 3 stories than you can imagine. I bought a few spice blends and will experiment with them for my "Tuesday at Mom's" dinners. Hope everyone is ready for Tunisian, or maybe Yemeni food.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

New York City--May 1-2

It was a typical weekend for native New Yorkers--a rally in government center to protest Arizona's stringent new immigration enforcement law, a car bomb that failed to detonate but closed Times Square and the surrounding theater district for a few hours, and a mass demonstration against nuclear weapons at the UN plaza. As the police were out in full force and visible everywhere, New Yorkers just went about their business. The subways were mobbed, the stores were crowded. We couldn't find an empty table in Herald Square to stop and take a break. Shoppers even lined up Sunday morning waiting for H&M and others to open. No fear. This is life if you live in New York City. And it's always exhilarating to visit.