Green Goddess

Neck shot

The last couple of weekends, when I haven’t been obsessing over  new & inventive ideas to get rid of my butt – I’ve been enjoying myself with little bitty rings.  I managed to get a few new pieces up on Etsy.

via Green Goddess asymmetrical Swarovski crystal by TempestAndTeapot

It’s all very exciting, as it’s Madame Maillestrom’s Etsy debut!  Naturally, I had to pick a cool name for the mannequin – something crazy and edgy.  Now that I’ve got the name, it’s only a matter of time before her personality becomes apparent (in my head, at least).  I think she’s slightly fuming over having a blanket over her head when not employed (S tends to freak out over human analogues – so I have to keep the ‘fair Madame under wraps unless she’s working), and has mentioned the need for a wig now and again…

 

drum full chain

I’ve wanted to do an asymmetrical necklace for a while.  They’re unusual & kind of crazy…just like me.  They also slide around your neck.  The trick, I think, is to weigh down the apex point.  With this incarnation of the Green Goddess, I didn’t do that – so it does a fair amount of sliding around.  I’m sure I’ll go back to this design soon, and figure out a way to weigh down the end I want DOWN.

 

close in HP 3 in 1A lot of the build on this one was fairly simple.  Half-Persian 3 in 1 is the pattern for the long chain, and is pretty easy to weave once you get it started.  A shorter length of 3 in 1 is between the two crystals.

 

close in HP 4 in 1I slipped a length of Half-Persian 4 in 1 between the crystals for a bit of contrast.  4 in 1, especially with those TINY rings, is a multiple four-letter-word, I need a few more hands starter – but like it’s cousin 3 in 1, is an easy to replicate pattern once you’ve stabilized the chain.

 

close in spiralBelow the crystals is a length of spiral 4 in 1. That chain was made from some leftover enameled copper rings in a different green & brown.  I absolutely LOVE this color combination – I keep calling it my dark chocolate mint combo.

 

Which reminds me – my stash of those rings is getting low.  Might have to place a new order…

 

So now, I’m up to the crystals.

Rivoli and clasp close in

As these are the focal, they had to be special.  For starters, I went name-brand.  Genuine Swarovski Rivoli’s.  I have a build in my arsenal already to make stars out of chainmaille – and I modified this build to create the rivoli cage.   There are no glues or adhesives or wires to hold the crystals in place – only the tension of the weave.

And tension there is.  The last few rings are a real pain in the (hopefully deflating) backside to slide into place and close…but totally worth the end result.  The rings used on these 2 are more of the main chain’s green, interspersed with pure copper.

 

I finished her off with a sterling silver hook I found at my local bead shop, and a largish aluminum ring to hook into.

 

All in all, I’d she’s a beauty to behold.  Total build time was around 3 hours, total ring count is approximately 520 rings.

 

 

 

 

 

An Ode to a Sweet Friend

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I’m back on the “My ass is mASSive” roll.

I haven’t experienced this level of tuckus-disgustous since my wardrobe malfunction at the Great America theme park. Batman, the Ride will never be the same…

That’s a story for another day, however…

 

I mentioned that the kids, the SQO & I found a new apartment in the very-early spring.  An apartment that has some perks, some downfalls, and a lot more room.

It also has stairs.  Lots of stairs.

Our apartment is comprised of the 2nd & 3rd floors of an old downtown building.  You know, one where there’s a commercial space (or 2 or 3 or 6) on the first floor, and living quarters (or 2 or 3 or 6) above?  My apartment has the character, high ceilings, wood floors, and funny angles that come with a structure which has rolled its odometer into triple digits.  The only thing that would make it quirkier is if the apartment were lofted.  Personally, I love the new digs…I’ve a southern exposure, HUGE windows, and enough foot traffic to make it a perfect people-watching perch.

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Enter:  The Stairs…

They aggravate my knees.  Because the ceilings are high, the stairs are long and steep.  I’ve got one flight of stairs to get from the street to the apartment, and a second set of risers to traverse to reach the bathroom.  The bedrooms are also upstairs, so getting up in the middle of the night to pee is convenient – but the rest of the day?  Stairs.  Stairs.  Stairs.  Stairs.

We also have no parking attached to the property.  Granted, there’s a public parking lot a block & a half away, so it’s not a LONG walk.  But to my sedentary ‘subwoofer,’ it feels like a country mile.

I’m feeling each and every one of the +++’s attached to that 29 year old mythology I keep running regarding my age.

So, it’s once again time to take a long, hard look at the portion of my anatomy that fills out the backside of my pants.

What was that saying…10 pounds of s**t in a 5 pound bag?

Yup.  There it is.  It’s large, and it USED to be in charge.  I’ve enough junk in the trunk for a dozen yard sales – but no longer have a yard…and (I feel like I’m bragging, here) I put the B.A. in Ba-donk-a-donk.

Super-sized me?

My new living quarters have the patootie quite upset…and it has complicated things by bringing the knees and feet over to its side in sympathy.

 

Lease

These protesting body parts have no real idea of what a lease is, and how difficult it would be to break said lease in favor of a first-floor unit with associated parking within the city limits, or one of those ‘trendy’ luxury units in the downtown area which have an elevator to traverse floors, and assigned parking.

 

 

 

 

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Additionally, they have nary a concern for the amount of energy and/or sweat which would be expended in packing up and moving all our things AGAIN to this rose-colored-glass mythological beast of a new, bright & shiny apartment with amenities designed to keep the ‘horn section’ at its current volume.

 

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Lastly, they have no clue on the financial logistics of such a move.  I’ve tried to explain to all my protesting  parts that if they want the ideal, they’re gonna have to go without food…but my body’s never been real good with figures…

As it’s the keister that started all this nonsense, I feel the need to deflate the booty-ego…for its own good, of course…

So – first and foremost on my list of caboose-busting changes?

Coke copy

Coke, to me, is as difficult an addiction to break as, say, cigarettes.  I LOVE regular Coke.  There’s a tingly feeling as it floods the mouth with carbonated sugar and spices.  There’s a slight burn as it slides down the esophagus, and a rush of fullness as it hits the stomach.

This would be the ‘ode’ part, for those of you still reading…

Coke brings belching ease.  Without my fizzy little friend, I find it difficult to expel the gasses produced from breaking down foodstuffs in my stomach. I guess my body prefers to hold on – giving me heartburn and gas pressure, instead… so Coke is, to me, a pressure-release valve…until I drink too much.  Then it becomes an addition to the pressure-cooker I call my stomach.

I’m sure there’s a ‘safe level’ of Coke, but I’ll be damned if I can find (and stick to) that safe level.

I’ve quit the sweet stuff before, for years at a time.  But then I’ll buy a bottle of Coke from the work vending machine.  Make it last a few days.  Then another, certain -this time- that I can limit myself to ‘just a little bit’ of sweetness.

Next thing you know, I’m back up to buying (3) 2 liter bottles at the grocery store each week and supplementing that stock with visits to that before-mentioned vending machine, or others like it around the city.

It.  Has.  To.  Go.

Farewell, my fizzy friend.  I’ll miss you every time I drink a glass of water with a shot of lemon juice.  I’ll remember you fondly when I reach for a Tums.  I’ll have dreams about your cold, caramel-y colored spiciness in the dead of night.

 

I just have to remember:  if you lie on your back, and cry in your pillow…tears get in your ears.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Open Letter…

An open letter to Mitch Zeller, J.D. Director

FDA Center for Tobacco Products

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Take a good look at my face, Mr. Zeller.  This is not the face of a teenager.  This is not the face of a millionaire.  Nor is it the face of a rebel, an out-of-control addict, or an outlaw.  The face you are looking at belongs to a 48 year old, mother of 2, middle class, fully productive and contributing member of our Great American Society.

This is the face of a woman who pays her bills, pays her taxes, lives within the confines of the laws of the land, and asks for no monetary support from the Government she tithes a portion of her daily income to keep running.

This face is simply one of a million ‘John Q. Public’ faces, one of a million ‘John Q. Public’ lives.  Unremarkable, and unapologetically ordinary.

 

 

This is the face of a woman you have just condemned to a horrible, hideous, long and tortuous death.

You’d better take a good, hard look at this face, Mr. Zeller.  Because the mind behind this face is taking a good, hard look at you, and doesn’t quite care for what it sees.

And this face has a question for you.

Why do you want me dead, Mr. Zeller? 

And, not just dead, but suffering for months and/or years as cancer eats me alive from the inside out.

Why do you wish me to suffer, Mr. Zeller?

 

I want you to pick up your office phone, dial my number, and tell me, through the miracle of wireless telecommunications, the answers to my questions.  And I don’t want the sanitized ‘sound bytes’ that you sputter out when in front of a bank of cameras or microphones…I want the truth.

I want you to tell me that my life is not important to you.  That on the great tally-sheet that is your branch of the FDA, the life of a single vaper means less than squat when judged against the billions in profits ($4.5 billion in 2011) generated by the Pharmacological Industry’s ineffective and dangerous (but fully FDA Approved!!!) smoking cessation products.

I want you to tell me that the billions in revenue gathered by State and Federal authorities in punitive ‘sin taxes’ (roughly $11 billion in Federal, $794 billion aggregate for the States) on traditional tobacco products vastly outweigh the life of a single member of this society.

I want to hear from your own lips that the millions of dollars flowing in donations to top cancer-fighting charities would dry up overnight if an acceptable substitute to smoking were openly embraced by those elected and appointed officials who’s job it’s supposed to be to watch out for the public.

I want to hear you say that exploiting that public for profit is far more lucrative than actually doing the job (as outlined to the American Public) you were hired to perform.

I want to hear the gross, unvarnished, ugly truth issue from your mouth.  I want you to admit that my life doesn’t even begin to compare to the amount of money piled up on the other side of that scale.

I want your open admission that protecting the MONEY is the reason your job exists.

What I don’t want to hear are the platitudes, vacillating sound-bytes, and outright lies uttered to the press.  I don’t want to hear you are doing this ‘for the children,’ ‘for my own good,’ or even ‘for the betterment of Public Health.’

I want you to admit, finally, that manipulating the public into believing your lies lines your own pockets with green dollar bills.  Physically, they weigh less than silver, I suppose, but how do they feel on your conscience?

I want my answers, Mr. Zeller.  And I’m not the only one who wants them.

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On Thursday, May 5th, 2016, the FDA’s deeming for a regulatory framework for all ‘other’ tobacco products, such as e-cigarettes, hookahs and premium cigars (there may be others…) was abruptly shoved into ‘accepted’ after a long and heated debate.

In 90 days, the e-cigarette market will be frozen in place.  No new products will be allowed.

In 2-3 years, once the full impact of these regulations have emerged…the marketplace as we now know it will have been tossed in the dustbin of ‘The Good ‘Ole Days,’ with the shattered remains owned by Pharma, Tobacco, and a few select, Wall-Street backed companies.  Their offerings will be watered down and ineffective versions of the free-marketplace’s innovative technology.  They will be products guaranteed to keep every American Smoker on the quit-smoke-quit-smoke-quit-smoke-die rollercoaster we all know and loathe.

But at least the money will be protected.

For.  Our.  Own.  Good.

 

Bullshit.

 

 

 

Everything’s Shiny, Capt’n

captaintightpantscopy

 

Sorry – not an homage to our favorite Space Cowboy, although…yea…Firefly is a favorite.  Damn the network for screwing that one up.

It’s been exceedingly quiet lately on the T&T, because I’m sliding through creative cycles with shiny stuff… and to be perfectly honest, here, I’ve always known this would eventually happen, because this is the way my creative impulses work.

I go through phases.  I’ll be utterly obsessed with the written word for a while, put out some flash fiction, work on a longer story, blog like a mad thing in an attempt to catalog my thoughts.

Pick fights on Facebook when the politics of the world annoy me JUUUUUUST so…

Then something new will catch my eye, and I’ll be making faces out of clay.  Or photographing everything in sight.  Or creating memes in photoshop.  Or exploring new greenspaces and obsessing over celestial events. Or…you get the idea.

 

The creative voices in my head rearrange the furniture in their living space more often then new homeowners… 

My latest impulse – is jewelry, and I’ve become obsessed enough to share my creations with the world through Etsy:

TempestAndTeapot

I got the initial idea, not surprisingly, from the kids, who brought with them, along with their clothing and furballs, a collection of natural gemstones.  Most of these were loose, but a few had been lovingly treated to exceptionally intricate metal cages by some extremely talented artists.

How could I resist diving into wire wrapping some stones of my own, with such stellar examples of the craft sitting there – RIGHT THERE – in my own living room???

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No – this is not a photograph of one of the aforementioned intricate pieces – this is the first attempt I made at wrapping a stone in wire.  It’s a tumbled rose quartz piece I fished out of a bowl of pretty rocks I had sitting around, and some cheap craft wire I picked up at Walmart.  Ghastly, isn’t it?

They say you never forget your first…

After that – I played.  I bought some cabochons and beads and donuts from one of them discount-jewelry-findings websites.  Got more/better wire.  Played some more…

 

 

Then last summer took over, with the heat and the teeth issues and the fleas and the bedbug scare and the massive upheavals in the relationship with the SQO…everything went to pot … except wire wrapping.  So long as I was tossing pieces about, I had some semblance of control.

Eventually, all the twisting and wrapping and bending and viewing what other people had done on the web ended with this:

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Apology Squid

What I like the best about this piece is the two lowest tentacles.  They look like feet…so the mighty squid is walking across my chest 😀

Aaaaand – once the squid emerged, the drive to create new wrapped pieces winnowed away…

This, too, is something I’m used to in my creative outlets.  I start a new art-form, spend time learning how it works (in this case, how wire bends, and how it DOESN’T bend), create something I’m extremely pleased with, then watch as the creative impulse within drains away from working in that medium.  For me, it seems the learning of a new craft is the drive – once I’m competent, I tend to move on.

I did manage to sell a couple of pieces in the fall – the kids took a small case of my better efforts to their last few camping festivals of the season – and this gave me just the boost I needed to explore complimentary crafts in jewelry making.

One thing I tried as a quirk while working full-bore on wire wrapping was the Kumihimo disk.  It’s based on Japanese braiding, and makes some quite pretty necklaces/bracelets.  I needed something unique to hang my wire wrapped pendants from, something larger and stronger than your traditional necklace chain.

I knew Kumihimo was short-lived when I got it, and I wasn’t surprised when the drive to weave heavier braids petered out quickly.  I’ve never had soft textile artforms stick with me throughout all of my 29(+) years, even though I’ve attempted several times to do so.

What’s the definition of insanity again?

So here I was – still stuck for an idea on what to offer as a chain or pendant cord for my creations.  After all, a pendant is just a pretty bauble until you have something to secure it to your person.  I browsed braided leather cord.  I browsed organza ribbon necklaces.  I toyed with the idea of full collars of woven wire, even though the push for wire wrapping had diminished.

And then I happened upon – The Ring Lord.

He runs a shop out of Canada which specializes in making jump rings.

Yea, I know…sexy as hell…

But – Ooooooh – what you can do with a little circle of wire.  OK, to be honest, a LOT of little circles of wire.

You can make chainmaille.

Chains with repeatable, intricate patterns along the length.  Chains that you can make to any length and width you want, and chain patterns that you can twist, loop, piece together and make new and exciting geometric shapes.

 

 

So…that’s what I’ve been doing with my little crafting self.  Come have a poke around my Etsy shop, and see what I’ve come up with.