Thursday, December 31, 2009

Steve Jobs: How to live before you die | Video on TED.com

Steve Jobs: How to live before you die | Video on TED.com

This speech inspired me, so I would like to share this!

Sorry I haven't the time to chat more, with my full time job and all. But hopefully in the near future I will be able to post more.

Thanks for hangin' out with me!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Blue Norwegian Swirl



This swirling light show in the sky over Norway came a day before Obama was slated to go there to accept the Nobel Peace Prize.

This clip has the Hollywood dramatic music in the background but I chose it as it has a few different witness clips of different angles.

I wish I were there to see it with my own eyes! Fantastic stuff.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Guest Speaker On Ancient Water Collection



I am fascinated on how we need to improve on everyday things we take for granted, such as how we collect rain water. I am equally fascinated by how hundreds of years ago they had much better ways of doing these things. We are so used to thinking of ourselves as a fully developed world and that we have the best "proven" techniques. We delude ourselves if we believe we can't develop anymore, as if we know everything already.

We have a slowly diminishing water supply across the world, but it may because we are not utilizing each of our own ability to collect rain from our own roofs. We think we can rely on the companies that supply us the water. Think again. We must all start thinking of self reliance.

If people in the desert can do it, so can we.

Watch and learn!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Charks Guest Speaker Mallika Sarbhai



Here is a fascinating artistic speech given by Mallika Sarabhai. She is a writer, publisher, actor, producer and leads the dance company Darpana and uses various forms of artistic engagement to further a deep social conscience. This particular skit playfully uses story backdrops to shine the light on social injustice. She uses fun ways to express dark subjects that otherwise don't get talked about in a normal professional setting.

Hope everyone had a marvelous Thanksgiving without busting your guts with food! Love to you all!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Guest Speakers on Chark's Corner



Here are just a couple of interesting videos of people talking about their experiences in front of an audience. I found TED a neat place to learn about stuff through a site that contains free lectures.

I will start posting a few a found interesting this week leading up to Thanksgiving to give my guest some mild, or in some cases...not so mild entertainment.

During the holidays one can get laden down with food and activity, so feel free to kick your heels up at your computer or laptop and enjoy from the same "virtual cup" as it were.

Cheers! Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Not Easy Being Green, But Easy Being a Green Lizard




As you probably already know I am trying my best to be as green as possible. But, like everyone I can make some mistakes along the way. I'm still learning, and perhaps experiencing what life must have been like before the dawn of chemical pesticides that inspired the book "Silent Spring".

I don't use pesticides on my lawn and have not for about 3 years now and its amazing how the animal life seems to know this and gravitate to my little slice of eco heaven. I am inundated with grasshoppers, preying mantis and all sorts of birds that are just ecstatic that I have such a wide variety of insects that I don't even have to put out birdseed to attract them.

I admit, I was skeptical in the beginning as I lost several vegetable garden crops when my mini-eco system was unbalanced. But, now there seems to be a balance going on with the different species taking their part.

My mosquito population is down as an upswing of my insect zoo like conditions. Plus my herd of green little Jedi's seem to know through "The Force" that their little asses will be sprayed organic soap if they do not defeat the "bad" insects that drift in from the farmer's field to feast on my veg. So far it seems to be working.

Plus there has been an explosion of green lizards that seem to gravitate to my shed and all hang out around the door sunning themselves. We even had some accidentally make it into the house, so we had to run after them double time (because the insects they eat are very nutritious, sort of like the Backstreet Boys on wheat grass)

It becoming a veritable Galapagos Island around here. Maybe I should start selling tickets!

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Uninvited for Halloween


Boy, I was totally spooked for Halloween night.

Went over a friend's house under the bath of moonlight and trepidation. Had a dash of wine over some homemade pork chops and prepared myself to crawl out of my skin without my own express permission.

We watched "The Uninvited" and I was not prepared for the creep fest that ensued. The wine ended up on the ceiling. The pork chops reminded me of the goulish dead flesh flashing on the screen so I placed it down after a few bites. When I excused myself to go to the restroom all sorts of odd shadows enveloped me.

It did not help that this place was out in the boon docks. If I cried out for help, no one would have heard my pleas.

I think it was the surround sound my friend had. I do not have all the hookups to all that kind of equipment so it created another dimension for me. It was a real treat...yeah I kind of like getting scared....doesn't everyone?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I'm gonna Creep You Out!



I got spooked out the other morning. At six thirty a.m. and doing my morning Yoga... I got a knock on the door. I asked "who is it?". There was just some mumbling and nothing really coherent coming through. I kept the door closed. Then came the turning of the door handle. Someone was actually trying to get in my house!

Well, I always keep pepper spray handy on a nail right by the door so I took it out of its leather satchel and yelled that I was calling the police right now and don't try to come in or else you will get a nasty surprise. Did not want them to know what weapon I had so he could prepare to block it.

I looked out the peep hole and just saw him standing facing the traffic with a cap on and what looked like a car service person's gear on.

Three cop cars showed up and he did not move from the porch or try to force his way in anymore. I also did not open the door...no duh. The only words I could actually hear from the man was "let me in cause its raining".

Turns out he had dementia and did not know where he was. The police just carted him off and I asked them if they knew if anybody was taking care of him. He visited someone else in the neighborhood a couple days ago, so maybe they will know some info.

He is one lucky fellow as many people here sport sawed off shotguns with enough force to cut him in half.

That episode gave me a fright though. My daughter says she heard the whole scene from her room. She says I freaked out. That is a teenager's perspective. I was upset but in control of the situation.

Anyhow, how is your Halloween week going? Did you have a demented Freddy Krueger show up on your doorstep?

Picture above of my latest gothic vampire piece. Its a trapeze of fangs and pearls.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 23, 2009

May the Garden Of Your Heart Bloom



For all the dear ones out there going through transformation, keep the vision going.

When trudging through any of life's trials I try to think of a meditation exercise I learned from one of the Dalai Lama's books. If you are suffering mentally or physically, try to picture your suffering in some way relieving the suffering of someone else in the world. This helps us feel like our own insufferable plague of pain is not for naught, but is being applied into a worthy cause. It is just a mental exercise to help us "get over ourselves", sort of like volunteering at a food bank or visiting a nursing home without going anywhere.

Now, as far as the world's problems are concerned, if everyone worked on their own issues first, everything would fall into place.


Embrace . Educate . Guide . Transform

"In the case of such global issues as the conservation of the Earth, and indeed in taking all problems, the human mind is the key factor. ....Though these issues seem to be beyond anyone's individual capacity, where the problem begins and where the answer must be first sought is within. In order to change the external situation we must first change within ourselves. If we want a beautiful garden, we must first have a blueprint in the imagination , a vision. Then that idea can be implemented and the external garden can be materialized."

-His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama (Born 1934), Tibet

Saturday, October 17, 2009

New Soldering Toys



I am thrilled with my new toys. Now I can properly connect pieces together with molten metal rather than glue or jump rings. I am also stoked that I found solder that is lead free and cadmium free so I don't inadvertently poison someone through their skin. Oh joy! No, seriously some people don't really care what materials they use just as long as it gets the job done, but I'm different.

The same kind of loving care translates to food. Some of us do not even look at the labels on our food to take into our bodies. I used to be one of those people until I started reading up on the failures of our food industry. I will write about that another day. However, did you notice that the food amounts in the packages keep on getting smaller and smaller? They are cutting back on the sizes so quickly and so frequently they don't even have time to reduce the box or package size! I'm serious!

Just the other day my daughter commented that the Nutri-Grain cereal bar just last week had a bigger bar inside the same size wrapper. The new bar shrunk, but the wrapper did not...... to try to fool the consumer. We will now save a couple wrappers to catch them out next time!

This is also why I have returned to making my own granola bars, snacks and so on because it is getting too expensive to buy packaged stuff. Even people who can afford a glut of those things have taken notice. And they are pissed.

I found a new occupation: Soldering a string of aluminum wrappers starting with the largest to the smallest and display as a modern work of art exhibiting the blatant efforts of the food industry to slowly starve us to death. At the very least, people touching my exhibit will not die of lead poisoning.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Emerald City Madness


I don't know why, but I had a strange urge to create a mini Emerald City out of Polymer Clay. Of course I used a bit of artistic license to create some of the "Emeralds" but Swarovski Crystals came into good use to fill out the little cavernous space inside this gem world. The stripe on the flat surface of the "Geode" kinda reminds me of the bad witch's socks that curled up fiendishly under Dorothy's home after she was squashed.

I haven't decided what to do with it yet, whether to create an assemblage or a necklace out of it.

Had a good time this weekend and saw my dear friend on Friday at the local watering hole establishment. Have not seen him in about four months. Also good to see some old faces that I haven't seen in a while. This town is practically a ghost town....it used to be packed there on a Friday but it was quite dead. Did not really notice though as I had to play catch up on all the gossip...etc. I wonder how it is in other areas out there? People are just not going out like they used to...so I guess they are at home watching DVD's to save money.

They say the economy is turning around, but I think they are only basing it on the stock market in how that is making a steady comeback. There are more people out of work than ever.

Just stay firm out there and continue to update your skills, even if you can't go back to school because of financial reasons. There is always the library where you can book learn yourself in practically any subject you can think of. If you need to update your computer skills.....learn metalworking...learn how to create a bullseye poster of your old boss to put in your new hay bale shooting range......

Don't loose your sense of humor through all this. It kept me going!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Vampire Hoop Jumper and Moon Smasher




I apologize for just showing pictures of my art recently, but the reason being is that I do not have much time for taking any other type of pictures. It takes pretty much all my effort and time to create something, then I've got to transform the same space that I create this stuff and use it for a photography area!

So it is really not my intention for this blog to just be about that. When I first started blogging I had a lot of posts of poems that I created at my previous employment. It was literally to keep from going insane and keep me busy during the huge downturn in business at the company I worked for.

I would have loved to take a picture of the NASA explosion on the moon. However, I was actually grateful as I sat there on the couch while the Today show presented the bombing. The large plume of debris they expected did not happen!

I personally think they could have used that money to create greener programs here on Earth rather than spending it trying to find water on the moon..... as if we could gingerly escape this planet after we have destroyed it and go live on the moon! Maybe for a couple months until the Aliens rescue our foolish asses and cart us off to their lush green planet.

Some people thought it would throw the moon off its axis, and in turn topple the earth's axis like Nostradamus predicted in his quatrains. Or was that the Mayan prediction.....wait...that is not until 2012.

So here is a picture of what the moon bombing mission would have looked like if it was successful. And a picture of my latest attempt at saving the planet from Vampires. Fair enough?

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Dark Side of "Chark"



Just in time for Halloween I shall reveal my dark side.

I reveal a story of a vampire slayer in our myst.....one who keeps relics of unknown malevolent beings who walk the night and who slays these beings and keeps the fiendish trophy hidden amongst benign objects.

It is no matter whether anyone believes or not. What matters is that society has been protected from these malevolent specters on a daily basis since time immemorial.

Are our citizens grateful they are being protected in such a manner? Only human egos are concerned with such folly as being grateful, but they are alive....so I guess they are grateful by osmosis.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Faux Bois Turquoise


Tried my hand at some Faux Bois Turquoise and the color did not come out exactly as I wanted. The popular color is a variation of duck egg blue up towards a green-blue, but this nugget is green/green! So I guess I should call it Martian Rock or some other title. Now, I know there is such a thing as green turquoise and I suppose it looks like the rough stage of the process before the nugget gets polished and primped, etc. So I guess I am satisfied that it turned out like some rock out there that we have not identified in rockdom. If there is any Geologist people out there reading this, help me identify my own creation! Here I bellow a laugh, as they are going to think I am too lazy to do my own research.

On top of all that wonderful confusion I also added an inclusion of various elements such as shark teeth (yeah, I am running with that right now!), drift wood and old diamond earrings that I clipped down and fired into the pieces. I might add that they are not real diamonds by any means, because if they were, it would be a couple carats worth! As you can tell the vein colors are different on each charm, with the shark teeth charms getting the white treatment and other three a combo of gold and common garden dirt treatment. Don't worry people, the dirt has been baked, so there will not be any chance for zombie worms popping out my chest when the necklace is worn.

I send my love out to all those people doing there own thing, whether creating something with their hands, or with their minds. Just remember that creativity cannot be exhausted. The more you create, the more creativity will come your way! Or take the advise of Jack London when he said "You can't wait for inspiration....you need to go after it with a club".

Friday, September 25, 2009

Shark Bites Hurt!



Finally found a use for these shark teeth that were just laying around! What I really want to do is take a casting of one of the best teeth and start a line of metal shark teeth pendants, but I do not have the set up for that yet.

As usual, I am making the best of what materials I have on hand, and constantly dreaming about buying more and more things that will help me achieve jewelry making nirvana. When I get a new crafting toy, like just recently getting a pasta making machine (for polymer clay), there is an immediate joy upon arrival. But it does not last as the list never ends, and there is always something else needed to achieve a certain effect, etc, etc.

I will keep dreaming about creating a separate crafting area that I hope to build...it's a goal that is out there anyhow. In the meantime, I create my objects de art in a space beyond the kitchen that keeps getting more and more cramped with my new crafting toys. Just as long as these little "helpers" do not take over my life and suddenly develop computer brains like those Cylons in Battlestar Gallactica!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Yoga Mala


I finally made it through the woods of funk and blues of this weekend to get back on track with creativity. I previously had been at my work desk just staring at my materials and had no drive whatsoever to create anything....and that was kind of scary as I rarely feel that way. Usually, I can talk my way out of it or find some inspiration to jump start my heart, and bounce right back. This was different.

It was sort of how J.K. Rowling described the Dementors in her Harry Potter books, that if you are not careful they can suck the soul out of you. But, in a way going through that kind of pain can make you have a clear understanding of who you really are. I'm thinking too, that it might be a case where my emotions are so vulnerable right now, as I don't cover them up with drugs or alcohol (even the prescription kind)so everything is so RAW.

I'm just having to do the hard but necessary groundwork to get back on track again without any chemical "influences". I know it is not fair to say all that and not mention some things that I'm going through...but believe me...it would tax the most determined fair maiden! Just think....bad economy....joblessness.....possible future homelessness....running two business making zero money.....relatives moving away leaving me alone in this town....you get the picture!

With all that being said I am here and doing better and ready to take on the world again with a fresh new perspective. It will be a hard climb, but I will just need to be determined more than ever.

This jewelry pic is my latest project in the theme of Yoga Meditation and I created it as a gift for myself. Sort of a belated birthday present as a couple weekends ago I did not get a chance to celebrate it. The necklace has a lot of personal things such as token fabrics to remind me of someone special, embroidery threads from Scotland my heritage land, honey comb bee nest toggle clasp as I like honey a lot! Kind of lets me know that I am worthy of being loved, either by myself or anyone else that might enter my life. It's the gift of self love...like Whitney Houston sang years ago...The Greatest Love of All.......is happening to me.....learning to love yourself...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Need a Vacation!




Boy, do I ever need a vacation! I am starting to get tunnel vision. I was perusing some blogger sites last night and wistfully looked at some friend's Greek/Italy honeymoon trips. Not that I want to get married anytime soon....I just need to get away on VayCay.

I would love to go back to the U.S. Virgin Islands, where my sister was born (I had a less glamorous birth location somewhere in New Jersey)and just splash around without worrying about staving off the hungry wolves (bills).

There is stress out there even when one is not a single parent, but the stress is intensified when there is a child involved. When you feel failure, for whatever reason, it makes you feel like you failed the child as well. You think?

Beautiful, broken me gets up in the morning and needs to wind up (like that anti-depression pill commercial) and keeps trying to turn the "wind up toy" key but it is hard to find that key sometimes! I guess they put them on toy's backs as it is not attractive to put in the front. In a way, that means we try to hide those moments. We turn that key by trying to treat ourselves to some luxury during the day...like a new outfit..... or drinking that double espresso latte just to perk ourselves up.

Since I cannot afford a vacation right now, I will try to find a place within myself that will remind me of taking a refreshing dip in a tropical ocean. Maybe I will meditate on all my blessings and tell myself that I have all I need to live a bountiful life and I don't really need that VayCay.

Love this song called "I'm Here" from The Color Purple. I love to put on Broadway songs, but this one was particularly inspiring, especially in my gloomy mood I've been in lately. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Bamboo with Knives!


Wanted to create edgy photographs to display my wares. My daughter did not approve, but I continued down my treacherous path and displayed my latest creations on a pair of knives. I guess it shows the yin and yang of life.

Also, I read up on bamboo and the connotations are of coping with adversity and standing firmly without losing ground. But, it also implies a life of simplicity and humility.

When I took martial arts classes I was taught that one can not think clearly in a blur of anger. So, the knives do not mean that I am walking around trying to hurt someone, but represents an inner strength that can be more powerful than a physical blow or cut.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Laughing Buddha


I have been meditating as part of my creative process. I start with a Om Meditation which is just a breathing exercise and on the exhale I make a sound like Oooom. It clears my mind enough to go deeper to meditate on things such as brainstorming for ideas for my jewelry. It is a way to purify the thoughts before delving deeper.

I consider myself not particularly religious, as far as practicing one doctrine goes, but deeply spiritual and like to draw from different religions in order to attain a spiritual awakening. I have read several of the Dali Lama's books, specifically "The Art of Happiness" and "How to Practice a Meaningful Life". Both have taught me that meditation is not the mystical or dangerous practice that I was brought up to believe. Was made to think that dark forces were in play and that self levitation was a goal. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The laughing Buddha is a representation of an actual Chinese monk who lived a thousand years ago who is attributed to contentment and abundance. He is so adorable that I can't help but smile when I'm wearing this bracelet. It helps me meditate on blessings in the here and now, "in the moment" if you will. If you already think you have everything you need, the universe will give you more. Give up any feeling of attachment to things and you will experience a joy unbounded.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

More Lotus



My theme running through my craft right now seems to be the lotus flower. Ever since I found out it represents people who had a hard time in life and have overcome it has been my symbolic mantra.

My daughter had a wonderful time sculpting the center flower that I decided to use the design for this bracelet. It is not an exact botanical replica of the flower, save for the pointed petals, so I named it Abstract Lotus.

I feel like the character played by Richard Dreyfus in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" when he felt compelled to create the infamous "mashed potato" mountain over and over and over again. It was stuck in his brain by the aliens urging him to come to that particular spot for a mass visitation. Except I am being urged to create a bunch of lotuses!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Dr. UFO



I frequent blogs that pose the question "Are we being visited by UFO's"? You can say it is a hobby of mine. I would like to think that if we are being visited that we would not be destroyed by "them".

However, it is more likely that they are here to tell us we are destroying ourselves, and offering up information that could help us out of our mess.

Here is why we must keep asking questions, rather than ignoring the UFO phenomenon:

1) Their civilization has been advancing for perhaps millions of years ahead of us and they found a way to not destroy themselves in the process. We should be salivating on ourselves to want to find out how they did it. Look how far we have come in just 100 years. Just imagine how much you could achieve in a million years. So of course they found a way to travel more efficiently through space. It would be silly if they didn't.

2) When you become more advanced, the ability to control the weather and things such as solar flares becomes feasible. Thus survival of a race of intelligent beings is more likely. Less chance of being destroyed by a huge meteor as allegedly happened to the dinosaur era. It is not that far fetched as we are already experimenting with shooting enemy missiles out of the sky, multiply this million fold and you got a meteor buster.

3) They have either discovered a way to live longer so they can travel long distances, or have found a way to use wormholes as a method of shortening the time needed to travel. Either way, this would be useful information.

4) We need to eliminate our dependency on oil. Whatever propels those alien craft uses an energy source that is extremely efficient. Our government already knows this, as they allegedly spent trillions in area 51 to reverse engineer these craft. So give it up already. It just looks like they haven't figured a way to charge people for it or patent it as it is a "free" energy source, is that's why? It would bankrupt the oil companies. The government may get some of their paycheck from them to shut up....allegedly.

With all that being said, I would definitely not want to be abducted by an alien that wants to do all those crazy experiments on my body because he thinks we are not advanced enough to care one way or another!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Om Meditation



I've been practicing the Om type meditation for a couple weeks now and it is amazing how it clarifies the mind. It is basically just focusing on the breathing by using the exhaling of breath along with an Oommmmmm sound. At first I felt like a real idiot sitting there making funny sounds, but it actually has a lot of benefits:

1) The vibration of the sound clears up the nasal cavity...no joke...try it.

2) Helps remove negative junk from the mind and your pure essence comes out without all misconceptions, including falsehood created by other folks who try to define who you are.

3) It focuses the mind so that your activities are clarified and you do things in the moment very well, rather than running around doing a lot of things very badly.

4) If you are going through a lot of stress it helps relieve it.

5) It helps pave the way before you start meditation on particular subjects like compassion, how to improve oneself, solving complicated problems and dealing with difficult people.

This bracelet has a lotus engraving which represents an awakening to the spiritual side of life. The actual lotus flower grows up from the mud and sheds that muck and grime when it blossoms...so it is a popular symbol for overcoming life's troubles.

I like to wear this type of jewelry when meditating as it hones in on a positive thought pattern. Only positive thinking will help one get through obstacles as it strengthens and prepares us to look for solutions to problems rather than just focusing on the problem.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Deep Meaning and Intent



I enjoy working on pieces of art that are infused with intent or help the wearer focus. I read a book at Barnes & Noble that contained inspirational one of a kind objects. They were so dripping with intent such as positive energy or good luck that one could not help trying to create one of these talismans. Yeah, I'm one of those people sitting in those comfy chairs, gobbling up literature without buying....just as long as they continue to allow it.

I started thinking of my own interests such a yoga. I already know there exists the traditional yoga type meditation beads that help the meditation sequence. This is typically 108 beads strung on a cord with a main guru bead in which you stop at.... not going over it but in effect....turning around again and repeating a mantra or just focusing on breathing. It also can be divvied up into 57 beads or 27 beads for varied design in a bracelet.

I like taking it to a non traditional level by saying "Why can't it be different?" such as just making the beads square, or adding another element of surprise such as an actual Buddhist text baked on to the piece. Just as long as it helps the person focus on the meditation and develop an inner peace.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Make Lemonaide



Just lovelovelove this clip. Millions of people out there are creating their true calling, by listening to the inner voice that says you are more than just a job title. We are all being forced to re-evaluate what is truly important to us.

Just watch.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Alien Egg Ring


This ring kind of looks like a nest of alien eggs ready to hatch and stick to your face. Remember the movie with Sigorney Weaver in which they stumble upon a space ship that harbors eggs that get big really quick after they are born? Of course my eggs are different shape as they are a different species. Ok, enough.

Some people just say it looks like a plate of blue donuts so you take your pick. Then it takes on a different meaning all together....like I should go up to dunkin donuts and search out my market target group....police.

I've been pounding away on my anvil (not really an anvil...just a big chunk of metal) to twist, bend, rivet, pierce, and altogether generally speaking....tweeking my little creatures of art jewelry.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Pompeiian Phallus Research



I have been doing some research into ancient jewelry such as from the Pompeii site, which is in turn inspiring me to create some ancient modern jewelry using modern methods. Which of course is a lot easier that sweating over a fire pit in ancient times hammering out a bracelet for a week.

What intrigued me was how many artifacts have phallus symbols on them...apparently they were fertility representations, but they were so prolific during excavation that it was quite a shock. We have to imagine that the rest of the Roman world at the time that Mt. Vesuvius erupted was pretty much categorically the same in other locations. But, what is unique is that Pompeii was so freeze frame perfectly preserved, that it helps us understand other areas that were not so remarkably preserved during that time.

What is even more interesting is that most of the sexual imagery in frescoes and other items were removed and kept in a secret collection, then kept in the University of Naples where they were only viewed by scholars, until recently. So visitors to Pompeii from the 1800's on up to the present day are not getting the full whack of the original discovery in 1599. They are slowly over time removing plaster from existing frescoes that were not chipped out and removed from the site, revealing more erotica.

This photo is showing the owner of that particular villa, House of Vettii, with a huge penis that is obviously strapped up to a scale so he can show how heavy his tool is. This is actually in a "sealed off area" disguised as "under construction" but someone apparently had the fortitude to step over the barrier and snap this photo.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Eggcellent



Working with Polymer clay has been a learning experience. Not everything works out as planned such as a bad combination of colors, or the technical engineering of the piece goes awry such as putting the holes in the wrong place for the attachments, forget to put enough bonding adhesive on the connections before baking, etc. So there is a growing bin of rejects that keeps on piling up.

But, even Thomas Edison who was successful with the light bulb had many previous failures and has these encouraging quotes:

1. "I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward."

2. "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that don't work."

3. "Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."

4. "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."

So, I'm only human and I get discouraged from time to time. However, when one succeeds, it makes up for all the bad, headbanging, vodka downing moments when we just want to throw in the towel and just give up. And, I guess the sure fire way to failure is to do just that! So crafters, keep on plugging away at your inventions as you don't know how close you are to a winning moment!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Etsy Video Contest



Check out this cool video that I think is the BEST entry so far in the Etsy.com contest. I did not enter it yet. Basically, because I know I could not beat this entry. I don't know how they accomplished it but it's great!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Polymer Clay Junkie



I'm having loads of fun with my new artist medium...polymer clay. Its sort of like playing with Playdough, but you get to bake it to make jewelry out of it. Of course it will still stick to the furniture, get the cat hair all up in it, make an impression of your thumbprint you can take down to the FBI office so they can keep a record of you...etc.

This project just required me to do a little cutout craziness. It involved making a miniature landscape all out of clay, putting it on a base slab of clay and roll the cutout shapes into the form so it will stay put. It looks "cleaner" than trying to paint a landscape on there with regular paint. Plus my eyes would not bear the strain of painting a miniature.

I think that is why photo art pendants are all the rage right now as you get a perfect little image and plaster it on some polymer and everyone thinks you are Leonardo Davinci. Of course, I think there is nothing wrong with that. I am really not a photographer and don't have a line of my own vintage type photos, so I'm gonna try this cutout technique instead.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pap Smear Scare


I got the dreaded note from the doctor about the results of the last pap smear. The note states: "It shows a need for immediate action". So I immediately thought CANCER!
They already pre-scheduled me for a colposcopy appointment for August 7th, so it must be serious. I will try not to freak out.

However, I looked up colposcopy in About.com and it does not necessarily mean one has cancer but shows inflammation or other infection. I think that it's better to know than not to know....but the mind works in mysterious ways like thinking of all the time one has felt more tired than usual...or when one particular day you had to throw up because of nausea...etc, etc, and so on until one gets worked up into a frenzy!

The procedure is fairly simple. Acetic acid is placed on the cervix (ouch!), which causes the cervical cells to fill with water so light will not pass through. Then a large electric microscope is positioned to see the cervix. Abnormal vascular areas will show up as white and a tissue sample is taken from the whitest areas are sent to the lab for further evaluation.

I'm the type of person that is very curious and will try to trick the doctor into telling me right then and there what he sees. I did that during my pelvic ultrasound in which I said " I know you are not supposed to tell the patient if you see something bad as you need to get lab results back, but is there anything you can tell me about what you see?" That is when the tech said that I had some minor watery cysts that are perfectly normal. So I will probably try the same tactic.

I will keep everyone updated.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Thank You Farrah!


When I was a little girl I watched Charlie's Angels and was amazed that women were finally being portrayed as being brainy, gainfully employed fighters! I guess that finally inspired me to take Hap Ki Do later on in life.

I wanted to start painting again and was not sure where to get inspiration from. So I started from the influences of when I was a child, and we really don't appreciate those people until they are gone unfortunately.

So Thank You Farrah for encouraging all us girls out there that we can do it!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ancient Jewelry



I enjoy making pieces of art that creates an ambiance of going back in time to the days when all they had were natural materials. Nothing went to waste. Such as when they skinned the animals they used the hide for leather, made glue from the skins and created stuff from the bones.

I remember trying my hand at making rabbit skin glue in England. You get the skin granules at old timey art stores. Some stores over there still carry pigments in little waxen bags. It harks to the days when they used to make their own oil paints. They hand mixed powder with linseed oil and ground them together. When? During the time of Shakespeare?

Anyways, when I made the glue I had to use a double boiler. It sure smelled like skin! Not too bad though as it kinda sent one back to caveman days...sort of tribal recollections of roasting one's rival by skewering him and slowly roasting over the ritual fire pit. Also, could also make my own gesso from putting Whiting into the glue until it was of double cream consistency. I'm not sure how to transfer that into American terminology even though I'm American...but just imagine pancake batter that is not too thick or too thin.

I'm not in the mood to create something from scratch. The cute little wild rabbits in are yard are safe for one more day.

Monday, July 20, 2009

It's Black, It's White, yeah yeah yeah!


I had a marvelous time working on this commemorative collage in the black and white theme for Michael Jackson's memory. Which brings to mind how he started out a black man and ended up white man, pretty much. It really never bothered me to hear of all the latest updates in his looks through the years....figured if he was unhappy with his looks and he had the money to "make that change"...so be it. My thoughts on that is.... that we probably will never really know what compelled him to change his skin color....was it because of the pigmentation disease like he mentioned in an interview? Now we will never know, but the doctors that treated him do.

Or, as some mention, was it because the "man in the mirror" he wanted to erase was really his father Joe, who beat the Jackson kids to a pulp growing up? Well, it's not as if we could have just walked up to him and asked him, as even when he was alive he was prone to giving the "stage" answers to some questions. I would love to do some research and find out how many people have actually done the same whitening thing with their skin. Can we actually reverse the process and add more pigment to our skin? That would be neat to get a tan that way...if it was safe.

I think Michael Jackson wanted to compel us to ask these questions of whether it really matters if we are black or white.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Turtle Sculpture


I love my little fern gully in my back yard! It is a great place to photograph my latest creations....except for the fact the area is buzzing with mosquitoes! Since I have stopped using chemical bug repellent, I've been using Burt's Bees all natural herbal insect repellent. It' got as the ingredients: castor oil (no wonder the bugs hate it!) rosemary, lemongrass, cedar, peppermint, citronella, clove, geranium. The carrier oil is soybean and the natural preservative is vitamin E...or tocopherol.

It actually works and does last a long time. If I sniff my skin and it smells like its worn off I re-apply....especially if I'd been sweating......excuse me....perspiring! No, actually I do sweat like a man, because I do all the work around here with me being a single mom and all!

This is a better snapshot of the sculpture showing the cute turtle on the top and surrounded by lovely mosquito ridden ferns. I got rid of all the poison ivy last year with a topical treatment...which means I had to find all the plants and spray the growth tops, so I was gingerly looking around to see if there was any new growth. There was some but it was out by the woods. Don't worry, I am prepared with Burt's Bees Poison Ivy soap:

The main ingredient is jewelweed, of which was studied by Robert Rosen Ph.D, a chemist at Rutgers University. The chemical in jewelweed, called lawsone, is a substance that binds to the same molecular sites on the skin as urushiol (the stuff in the plant that gives us a rash)and in effect locks out the urushiol. The simple result is that you do not get the rash. That bar of soap is a gardener's friend!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Turtle Garden Sculpture & Pineapple Upsidedown Cake





Here are my latest creations. One is of the food variety and the other is of the concrete variety. Both equally messy with having to put ones hands into slimy materials.

Some people might not be able to tell the difference (these days people make these elaborate cakes and my sculpture might be misinterpreted as such)but the object representing the before and after egg shape with the turtle on top is the sculpture for my wonderful client Carolyn.

I experimented with a new bulb for the cake picture. It's supposed to make it look natural without all that yellowing that takes place during a regular indoor picture for us amateur photographers. I believe it seals the deal. It might look even bluer than usual but I suspect that is the compromise one makes to trade in the yellowy look.

The bulb is at Lowe's for around $7 and it's called Ott Lite: High Definition Natural Lighting. I tried to find it at Home Depot, but apparently they took it off the shelves as they were not selling enough of them.....I asked the salesman about it.....just in case you were wondering about my useless information skills. That seems weird as I would think that lots of people would be using them in their photo sessions. But, this is the country...I forgot. People are tending to their farms and don't have time to take photos.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

They Don't Really Care About Us

I have been walking around in a virtual haze all week since the passing of our Michael. I just lackadaisically assumed he would always be here. A couple days ago I was listening to earlier Michael from Motown on up to his latest work and realized....... I never really understood what an immense talent he had until now.

It's taken me all this time to put out a video clip of him singing the song he was supposed to sing on his upcoming tour. I would have done so earlier, but I've been dragging my feet in mourning. It still rings in our ears because this song was splashed all over the media showing him on stage two days before he died. I like this rendition of it as it shows how he cared so much for the underprivileged.

Michael, I hope you are at peace finally.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Realistic Murals

I found this picture of a sidewalk mural. This is so neat....like the person is gonna actually fall in this pit in the middle of the road!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Italian Kitchen


I just finished a lady's kitchen with Bellagio Faux and this is the result. I did a cobblestone wall, which is harder than doing a stoneblock effect as I had to tape and paint each individual stone to give it a haphazard look. I guess you can say I was stoned to death. Or, you can say I'm stoked that I'm done. My arm is about to fall off...it's ok....it's only a flesh wound.

Also did the rest of the kitchen in a orangy/yellow Bellagio Faux and the technique gives a marvelous effect with just one coat over a lighter basecoat. It has little particles of plaster suspended into the transparent colored glaze which makes it sort of looks like someone Hueyed up some orange tang after eating scrambled eggs. Thankfully, it does not look like that when it goes on the walls and the little particles get squashed down by one's trowel.

I'm so used to doing layers and layers of Venetian plaster to get the same effect so I've got a new friend in a paint can! I can save myself from getting tendinitis. Next time I go out to eat I'm going to bring my Bellagio paint and buy it a steak.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Spanish Resort

My daughter sent this picture of the resort she stayed at in Spain in Costa Del Sol. She says there are no pictures of her, as she must have taken all the pictures! That pool looks fantastic.

I'm about to go on a mini-vacation about 2 hours up the road with my current boyfriend. No, I was not with my daughter on that Spain vacation, as she went with her father, my ex, who lives in England. So I am going to be sitting at my hotel pool trying to imagine being in Spain and soak up the little bit of ambiance gleaned from the pictures she sent.

Then I will wake up from my revelry and realize:

1) There is no chance in hell I would see a celebrity hanging out at this hotel and this pool.

2) I might get the same tan as my daughter but I won't be able to brag to my friends and say " I got my tan from SPAIN!

3) The closest I will get to Spain is looking at pictures of my daughter's trip there.

4) If I went to Spain, who would take care of the cat and who would water the "crisis" garden I've got started because of the "Great Depression #2" going on over here. Oh yeah, that's right, I CANT go to Spain BECAUSE of the "Great Depression #2" going on over here!

When I go out to dinner with my boyfriend I will just order tacos.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Blueberry Festival


Our town had it's 6th annual blueberry festival and I had a booth in the nice air conditioning of my friend's shop while everyone else had booths out in the hot sun with the high reaching 96 degrees! They probably made more sales out there however because the crowds were huge this year despite the recession and the heat. We just got the people who just wanted to cool off rather than any serious buyers and walk off with their core temp regulated again.

Despite my complaining, I did get a chance to see some of my friends who came by to see if I was still alive after quitting my job 3 months ago. Of course, they did not buy anything, but they kind of visually picked me over to see if my cheeks were sucked in from the malnutrition that comes along with the territory. But my blush that I apply along my cheekbones kinda creates the illusion that I am more emaciated than I really am.

I actually got phone numbers from people who want some custom work done, so it was not such a bad day for me.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Novelty Item


I'm real excited about my adult novelty item I will be placing in my shop! I had about as much fun as a person can handle while I was sugaring the shells with some Martha Stewart crystal fine glitter. It just had to have some bling of course...why not.

One thing I was not happy about was using myself as a model. I had to squish my boobs together while strapping that thing on to make it look like I had some sort of cleavage. Plus dustings of bronzer in the middle of my chest to make a shadow appear out of nowhere! You will need to depress the Etsy badge on my site to visit the results of that fiasco.

I need to hurry up now and create some more hemp jewelry for my craft booth for my town's little blueberry festival. It's such a small town that I don't think I can put out my adult party wear. I might keep it behind the counter and whip it out like some Chinese herbal shop that keeps adult toys in the James Bond style hidden cabinets.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bikini Top Suprise

I surprised my boyfriend at the door wearing this makeshift bikini top when he came down to visit me this weekend! I could not find two like shells the same size so I used two different kinds! The strings are leather cording that I used years ago for creating bow and arrow sets. This makes it very durable so you can get the suit wet if need be. This made my imagination run wild! I just intended it to be just a temporary makeshift one of a kind piece......but I could not stop there!

This gave me a wonderful idea to make some fantasy bikini tops to put in my Etsy shop for adults that want an extra spice in their relationships, etc. Also can be used for parties like luaus or just one crazy night of fun! I will make a few and see what happens. I was not sure whether to make a shell bikini bottom, but they make separates anyway these days so maybe people would just use a bottom of their choice (dental floss, hemp cord etc).

Feel free to give me any ideas so that I can work them into the design!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Pirate Choker


This is my latest project in Etsy. If you want to see my shop just press the Etsy badge to the right. I'm having fun scavenging the North Carolina Coast looking for re-cycle-able materials that floated up. I'm getting more in tune with the environment as I have been composting now for at least 3 years all my vegetable waste in the kitchen...mind you....it takes almost that long for it to compost down in mine as there is virtually no air flow...too lazy to turn it with a pitch fork. It would actually be better in a garden tumbler to get it going...throw in a couple tiger worms and Bob's your uncle, I've got compost. I can ditch ever getting another bag of peat from Home Depot just to start my garden off in the Spring!

Starting to get the hang of my Dremel tool I got the other day. No, I did not find the hot tool guy in Lowe's last night, as I sped in there kind of late...like 5 min. before closing time! So I ran around to locate my diamond bit to get through the blasted tough ass material like shell and beach pebble. I've learned a technique of dribbling a little water on the widening hole from time to time...so it does not heat up as much...and put the speed on medium. This was suggested by my current boyfriend who is in the construction business. He even knew that I need eighth of an inch bit...smart guy. We are gonna get along just fine. Now he knows what to get me for my birthday...more tools.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Just got a new toy yesterday! Want to create jewelry from hemp and natural found objects such as beach pebbles, beach glass and shells! I should have purchased a diamond bit. But, I went ahead and used a multipurpose bit and started drilling on a shell and it almost caught on fire! The bit started glowing a dark red...good thing I stopped when I did or else the pressure would have broken off the bit....plus it would have probably bounced right into my eye and gone searing straight through my cerebral cortex. There would go my crafting with two eyes in tact....I would have to rename my shop The Crafty Pirate or thereabouts!

I guess I'll need to frequent the Lowe's tool department and break it down...by asking for help from, hopefully a nice looking virile male tool assistant who knows a little something about drilling holes in objects with a smoking red hot drill bit.....sorry my mind was drifting somewhat. Anyhow, check back with me to see whether or not I burnt down this establishment with my new masculine type tool....need to start getting some compound pharmacy estrogen treatments as I'm starting to ask for Tim the Tool Man type of gifts rather than jewelry or perfume. RARRRRR RARRRRR RARRRRR RARRRRR!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Chark's Crisis Garden!




Here is my crisis garden! I call it crisis garden as food prices are going up with the price of gas and they have the nerve to put it into smaller packages! I am livid. But, when you really need a garden to flourish that's when the plagues of the Bible invade the garden all at one time. For example: It' taken forever to see any fruit growth on my zucchini....it stayed at one inch for 2 weeks until I nuked it with miracle grow. I was trying to stay with the organic variety of fertilizer but it takes longer to "kick in" so I had to relent and use chemical fertilizer which will "zing" it into a growth spurt.

On top of that I've got another Organic garden in the back toward the woods, but I get invaded by rabbits and deer who actually munched down my snap peas....which were growing quite good...had it growing up some branched out twigs from my wood pile...until those rascally vermin came along and nipped off the tops...I went out there and exclaimed that it was not so bad as it was only the tops...in fact it might make it grow better and branch out...but they came back the following night and finished the job and ate the whole lot! There goes my nights of stir fried snap peas coated in a sweet and sour sauce on rice! It sounds like its going to be stewed fresh rabbit and venison on the menu my dearies!

On top of that all my mustard greens have got huge bug holes in them, my last year's strawberries did not come up this year....they were choked out by the weeds while I had a "real" job and did not have time to pull them out, my tomatoes that I grew from seed died so I had to go down to the local plant store and buy them in. The positive thing is that they seem to be doing well as they have a natural toxin that keeps bugs and fauna away, thank God! At least I can have tomato and mayonnaise sandwiches!

Let me know how everyone else is doing in their gardens while we are enduring the worse financial catastrophe in human history. Hopefully, we will not be all bent down with our long hippie hair flowing around us and eating our chemically "enhanced" lawn as it's the only thing growing in our eco-imbalanced world we live in! Joy to the world...all the girls and boys now...joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea...joy to you and me...

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend




Sorry it took so long to post this picture, but I came down with a pretty nasty bug which keeps on trying to invade my lungs!

Yeah, last weekend was a blast out in a friends boat on the NC coastline. There were a lot of crazy drunken boat drivers on the waterway. Most passing on the wrong side, speeding in a no wake zone, making obscene gestures when they think you're going to slow (the "air oar" signal). Hopefully, only the assholes were stuck in the sandbars (comes from speeding during low tide and paying too much attention to the female guests on your boat) needing the rescue tow guys in the yellow or orange boats.

We tried to rescue a small boat stuck on a sandbar, but my friend's boat was getting sand up in his inboard motor so we had to give up after the second attempt. The first attempt at throwing the rope to this guy was a disaster as he let it go trying to pull it back to the boat (loaded with a bunch of drunk girls) and he dropped the rope while he was distracted by one of the "loaded" girls jumping up and down waving her hands in the air. We yelled at him the second attempt to hold on to the rope while we try to back in closer, but he dropped it again thinking he could pull our huge boat towards his little dingy! What a ding bat. We gave up on him just as other Good Samaritans were honing in to help him, or just rescue the girls and leave him stranded!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sapphire Blue Orb

Here is my latest project I'm working on which involves embedding tumbled glass & other objects into colored concrete tile adhesive. Can be a messy job with sometimes needing to use my hands to smooth out the concrete, so all the hand lotion companies are going to get a boost of sales from me! I'm not that old, but my hands are turning into the "crypt keeper's" hands. Just the other day I put something on E-bay and it required me to use my hands to hold the object and I shrieked when I saw my hands in the viewfinder. Delete....delete...... From now on my daughter will be my hand model.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Alien Orb


I found this while I was gardening in the back yard! Looks like it came out of a UFO....just kidding. I made this garden sculpture to look like it was just ejected from a space craft. I know there is a following out there of science fiction buffs who love this kind of stuff. I'm one of them!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Like a Flapjack

I went to get my first mammogram today. It was not as bad as I thought it would be, but they did flatten out the tissue quite a lot in order to get the x-ray! I asked the nurse whether my breasts were going to stay in the shape of pancakes and she just laughed. They sure get trigger happy with that button that makes the two acrylic panels edge closer and closer, squishing the flesh just enough to make one pay tribute to all those poor folks trapped in any earthquake debris out there. They are recycling stuff at my hospital, so the soft pad looking thing they splayed my breasts on will be saved in a plastic bag until next year. I needed a new mouse pad so I think I found the perfect candidate....well that is still recycling is'nt it?

Friday, April 24, 2009


Wow! This week I've been dealing with tooth ache from an impacted wisdom tooth. I've been meaning to take care of this for years. This is absolutely the worse case I've had as its infected and making my whole side of my face swell up. It was worse a couple days ago where the pain was so bad I could not even sleep. I usually do not take over the counter stuff, but I relented and got some Tylenol so I could at least sleep. Boy, this has been a relentless couple of weeks I can tell you!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Allergies killing me!


My allergies are killing me! Sorry I haven't blogged in a while, its just that I've been dealing with pollen attacks with all the pine trees around this area.... giving off there poofs of greenish yellow powder stuff which has a tendency to go right up my nose as soon as I open the front door.

Plus while I was cleaning out the shed I ran into some rat's nests that made a mess of everything including making my allergies worse. I am surrounded by farmer's fields so when they plow their fields they run up into my territory! Those rascally rodents cut through the power cords of most of my electric equipment including my re-chargeable weed eater, my juicer (which I put out there temporarily!) and my compressor.

So I've been dealing with my rodent/pollen allergies using my nettie pot, which looks very much like a genie bottle, to flush out the pollen/rodent fluff in my nasal cavity by filling it up with salt water. It goes through one nostril while one is uncharacteristically bent over the sink while all the dirt, etc (and I mean etc!), gets wash out through the other nostril!

On top of that, I nearly caused a forest fire on Sunday by burning the extracted carpet that was in the shed, which in turn, because it was slightly hanging out of the outdoor fireplace, caught some of the brush on fire! I ran full speed with my water hose toward the spreading fire, getting snapped back as I hit a large knotted kink in the hose (don't you just hate those!) , so I had to quickly try to un-do the tangle while shouting at top lungs for my daughter to come out and help me. She came out with a shocked look on her face and said "should I call 911?", I thought for a second and glanced at the fire that was licking an overhanging tree and said "no I've got it under control, just run and get a bucket". Glad it was not my famous last words.

All is well....tending to a large burnt spot on my lawn, putting down rat poison, trying to find someone to re-wire my equipment....hey wait, why does that shed light not work anymore even though I just changed the bulb?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

//Shop Opening//Etsy//CharkStudio


My grand opening was on Tuesday for my shop on Etsy, but I did not get a chance to blog about it until today. I've been putting my nose to the grindstone to get some objects de art into my shop as of now I only have one in there! How embarrassing is that! That is considered a "stocked" shop, but one item? Now I've got a virtual assembly line of items ready to go down the conveyer belt, like Lucy in her famous scene with the chocolates coming out of the shoot and she needs to box them as quick as possible! I had my daughter take a picture of the first object using a green screen so I can situate my garden sculpture in a pleasant landscape. My own garden is totally trashed so that was not an option.