How did I forget to mention the insane sulu-design etsy shop update that kept me up until three this morning? Okay... I'm really leaving now.


Adios, Amigas

A quick good-bye... until a week from Tuesday! Barry and I are off to Texas for our much needed Spring Break. During our trip, my charming big brother, Peter, is being so gracious as to publish the Original Intent posts that I've saved in draft form before leaving. I needed to take a break from work, not from blogging! One major advantage of Typepad and other blog servers over Blogger? The ability to draft and schedule posts while one is away from one's computer. Another? The ability to respond directly to readers who post comments. I've appreciated the suggestions and the kind words of each and every one of you who have commented on my blog, especially during the last couple of weeks, which were really hectic and trying for me. I wish that I could reply to each of your comments, but Blogger recognizes very few e-mail addresses of those of you who post. So to each of you who takes the time to drop me a line, especially those of you who I've been unable to contact through other means, my most sincere thanks. You've been wonderful to me, and your support is incredibly generous. Thank you, and take care.


Original Intent (Revisited): Day Fifty

heating unit in coffee shop, greenpoint, brooklyn

inspired earrings found here


Original Intent (Revisited): Day Forty-Nine

dried up berry bush, astoria

inspired earrings found here


Original Intent (Revisited): Day Forty-Eight

coiled fire hose stacked on truck, astoria

inspired earrings found here


Original Intent (Revisited): Day Forty-Seven

construction site peep hole, astoria

inspired earrings found here


Texas or Bust

I've been working my bee-hind off for a little over a week now, trying to get the sulu-design etsy shop well stocked. You can check out the most recently added earrings in the sidebar, or click on the photos below for links to some of the shop's newest pieces:

I've also been making a few deliveries to the shops in Queens that carry sulu-design pieces. Subdivision in Long Island city has 16 new pairs of earrings, and Mimi's Closet in Astoria has close to fifty. I'm just trying to have all of my i's dotted and my t's crossed before Barry and I head out of town for Spring Break this Saturday. Texas here we come! A few years ago, on a bit of a whim, Barry and I took a two week road trip around the state. We generally avoided big cities - Austin being the exception - and ended up falling head over heels in love with the place. Who woulda thunk it? We were pleasantly surprised by lots of quirky small towns and amazing scenery in the Big Bend region, so we're headed back for a heapin' helpin' of Texas fun (and barbecue) during the first week in April.
Which reminds me... I've been meaning to ask you readers who are familiar with Austin: can anyone recommend a small shop there that might be a potential sulu-design jewelry retailer? When we were in Austin last, I made arrangements with Elise, the sweet owner of Vanilla Girl Designs, to have my pieces sold at her shop, but for whatever reason, they just didn't do all that well there. Seeing as I've become obsessed with the city, I'd be thrilled to have my pieces in an Austin shop, and I'd like to set up a meeting with a store owner while we're there if possible. I'd appreciate any suggestions you've got.
I hope your week gets off to a good start. (But honestly, I'm getting really excited for it to end!)



I'm really hooked on the Original Intent project, in case you haven't noticed. I once thought that when my thirty day self-commitment ended back in February, I'd post an O.I. pairing once a week. Twice if I was feeling adventurous. Ha! It seems that O.I. photos and earrings are the only things I post anymore. And while I'm having a ball with my little project, there is one very important person who gets a little antsy when O.I. pairings are the only things I post. My mom. "Where are the recipes?' she asks. "What have you been up to? Where have you been going? What have you been thinking about? Where's all the text?" So, to keep Momma happy, I offer her (and you, of course) a text-rich post on something that's been occupying my mind recently. Brace yourself. I don't think this is exactly what she was looking for, but I haven't cooked anything noteworthy all week, and my life has recently been filled with nothing but report cards, parent-teacher conferences, and school assembly practices. Bor-ring! (I even missed meeting a great blog friend in person due to work consuming my life this week. Ugh.) But I digress. At least this random little piece is more than two photos and an etsy link, right? So here goes, Ma.

What Makes Me Cry

I'm not one to get teary all that often. Not much moves me to cry, but when it does - watch out. Total waterworks. I've been thinking about crying this week not because I'm sad, but because I'm tired. Ridiculously tired. And aside from the usual depressing suspects, being tired is the one thing that can push me to tears. I haven't gotten there yet (and hopefully I won't since I can sleep in tomorrow morning), but I have been thinking about how fragile I feel when sleep-deprived. Which got me thinking... what else has the ability to bring me to this fragile point? Often, the answer is in music, print, and film. So I started to compile a list of various works of art in different genres that have taken me up to and over the gushing threshold at some point in my life. (This kind of list-making is the sort of thing that I do on the subway when I'm too tired to focus on whatever book I'm currently reading, but too paranoid to sleep.) Here it is... the severely edited list. Need a good cry? Check one of these out:
Photograhy Exhibit - Nan Goldin's I'll Be Your Mirror (which I saw while staying in the Red Light district in Amsterdam back in 1997... there were definitely other elements at play there that added to my fragility factor)
Art Installation - Janet Cardiff's 40-Part Motet, which I saw at P.S. 1 in Queens back in 2001 - it got me hooked on the haunting sounds of the choral piece Spem in Alium (the recording of which jerks the tears all by itself - no connected art installation necessary)
Books - Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls (elementary school me); So Long, See you Tomorrow by William Maxwell (grown up me)
Movie - Breaking the Waves, directed by Lars von Trier
And since this is the short list, I can't get too deep into the list of albums that make me cry like a baby, but a few tracks on R.E.M.'s Green got me seriously boo-hooing back whe I was in high school. Pete Rock and CL Smooth's They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.) also hit me pretty hard back in my teenage days.
Okay, Ma, I hope my rambling satisfied you. Now, it's your turn. What works of art turn on your waterworks? (That question, by the way, is directed to all of you readers, not just my mom. I already know that a rousing version of How Great Thou Art gets her totally teary.)


Original Intent (Revisited): Day Forty-Six

gumball machines on sidewalk grate, astoria

inspired earrings found here

Original Intent (Revisited): Day Forty-Five

green garage surrounded by yellow fence and barbed wire, astoria

inspired earrings found here


Original Intent (Revisited): Day Forty-Four

garage peak, astoria

inspired earrings found here
(in the updated sulu-design etsy shop)


Taylor Made Swap Happiness

I could just let the images of my goodies from my most recent swap speak for themselves because, as you'll see, the gifts I received are stunning. But I do want to say a word about their super-talented creator, Kristen of TAYLOR MADE designs. I read Kristen's blog daily, and am always impressed by her savvy approach to the marketing of her TAYLOR MADE designs books, albums, notecards and design services. Just the other day, she posted a bit about branding that got me thinking a lot about the casual way in which I approach my mini-business. Man, does this lady know a thing or two about branding. Take a look at the fabulous packaging that her swap gifts arrived in, all marked with company name and her bold logo:

But what was even better than her stylish wrapping was what Kristen had wrapped up inside. She and I had agreed to a book-for-earring swap, and boy, oh boy, did I receive an amazing little book. But Kristen's generosity didn't end there. She created a special sulu-design ribbon for the book's tied closure, and also made an entire roll of personalized ribbon for me. It is so thrilling to see my shop's name printed on ribbon - I feel so official! And on top of that, she even made cute notecards (with the help of her adorable son) with my name on them. I'm in shock.

Similar items by Kristen can be found in her TAYLOR MADE designs etsy shop, and she takes customer orders (and knocks them out of the ballpark, as you can see). I've said it before, (more than once) and I'll say it again. Swapping = Good. Thanks so much, Kristen!


Original Intent (Revisited): Day Forty-Three

sidewalk squares, astoria

inspired earrings found here


The Snow Excuse

I spoke too soon. Spring, in fact, has not sprung here in NYC. We're under a blanket of snow, which makes me feel a little less guilty about being in my pajamas after noon today. The weather is the perfect excuse for me to brew our third pot of coffee this morning and work on earrings while Barry labors away behind me on repairing the fourth bicycle that we have pulled from the trash in the past few years. Our living room is quite a sight - beads strewn all over one half, a drop cloth and bike stand occupying the other. I used to think that I'd know that "we made it" when we owned our own dish washer. Now, I'm thinking the status will be realized when we have a garage and a studio. Rather than leave you with the horrific image that is our living room, I thought I'd share pictures of the sweetest weeds ever, pulled from a succulent pot on our windowsill - (this is my attempt at saying Happy St. Patrick's Day):

Thanks to those of you who inquired about my students' performance on their state math tests earlier this month. I'm happy to report that the test was quite fair, and while I won't know the results for quite a while (next school year, possibly!), I'm confident that they did well. Thanks also for the kind comments on the recent Original Intent posts. I appreciate that so many of you stop to post a note - I know that it can be tedious to find something to say about another pair of earrings - especially when that's all that I've posted all week. I do appreciate every note, and to make it a bit easier on those of you who comment, I've disabled the word verification step that can feel like, as Rachel noted, taking an exam. I totally agree - so they're gone. I've also worked on organizing the sidebar a bit, and added the mini etsy link. Next on my blog to-do list is to make a folder (I'm sure there's another more accurate term that I'm unaware of) for the Original Intent posts - a great suggestion from Maditi. I've been updating my etsy shop bit by bit, too, and there will be lots of new pieces there before the weekend comes to an end. Enjoy your weekend, all!


Original Intent (Revisited): Day Forty-Two

filthy, overgrown alley, astoria

inspired earrings found here

Original Intent (Revisited): Day Forty-One

tire shop signs, astoria

inspired earrings found here

Original Intent (Revisited): Day Forty

peeling paint on garage, astoria

inspired earrings found here

Original Intent (Revisited): Day Thirty-Nine

graffiti and wallpaper scrap on apartment entrance, astoria

inspired earrings found here

Original Intent (Revisited): Day Thirty-Eight

colorful trash-strewn alley near ditmars, astoria

inspired earrings found here


Brace Yourself: Process

Superstar soft toy creater Abby of While She Naps has been wowing me for months with her brilliant creations, including many that are currently on display at the Wellesley Free Library in Massachusettes. A portion of the proceeds from her etsy shop sales will benefit the library. I mention this because it was the lovely Abby who posted a comment a while ago who inspired this post today. She inquired about the process behind the Original Intent project, so for those of you who care to know... here's how it goes.
When I first started the project back in January (my initial O.I. post describes why I assigned myself this task in the first place), I thought that I would take one picture each day and translate it into a pair of earrings that very night. This worked for a while, but issues of weather, light, and life sometimes got in the way of capturng a good image on a daily basis. Out of necessity, I no longer take one photo per day. When the light is right and I'm in the mood, I head out for what Barry and I now call an Original Intent Walk, during which I may take close to a hundred photos (about one-fifth of which I actually keep on file). Camera in one hand, a cup of coffee in the other (coffee, honestly, is one of my biggest inspirations), I stroll around the streets of Astoria, peering down alleys, craning my head up at buildings, and keeping my eyes open for striking images. I'm on an image scavenger hunt of sorts. (Side note: anyone who has lived in New York City will appreciate the humor in this New York Times photo scavenger hunt challenge.)
What strikes me? I'm drawn to images that are highly geometric - images that register in my mind as abstract color fields rather than pictoral representations. I sometimes focus in tightly on small portions of the subject that I'm shooting in an attempt to keep the image extremely simple - to keep it about form and color - not about a scene, as I find it easier to translate such images into the jewelry I create. I like bold colors, and colors paired with colors that don't seem to make sense. And I'm naturally drawn to old, worn out, decaying, and poorly maintained items. We have lots of those in Astoria. I often end up with images that are pleasing to me (many of which are inspired by Barry's photographic style), but that just don't inspire me to make jewelry, like these:

condensation on laundromat window

scale in out-of-business bakery

But I usually come home with a handful of images from which I can derive some inspiration. I go through the photos on my camera's screen first, trying to delete a few duds before I load them onto the computer. Then, I look at each image on the computer screen. I'm always amazed at how totally different they look from what I saw on the camera screen moments before, and I usually regret that I had deleted so many images earlier - I'll never learn.
Then I turn to the beads. I've never purchased any beads for the specific purpose of using them for an Origianl Intent photo. In fact, prior to the O.I. project, I never went into bead shops with any particular shapes or colors in mind (unless I was looking to pick up some beads that I'd run out of and really wanted to work with again). I wander up and down aisles and grab whatever strikes me. I don't have designs in mind at all at that point. I just buy what I like (and I buy a lot of it), knowing that somehow it will all come together once I get home. Since I've been buying beads in this manner for close to four years now, I've accumulated quite a little stash, so I usually don't have trouble finding something that connects to the O.I. photos.

I then play around with beads that reflect the colors and shapes that are in the photos, going back and forth between my supplies and the image on the computer screeen, until I come up with a design that both reflects the image in one way or another and that is pleasing to me, independent of the photo.
Once the earrings are made, I try to photograph the earrings in a manner that references the photo as strongly as possible, arranging pieces at angles that almost mimic those in the photo. And I'm neurotic about pairing vertially oriented photos with vertically oriented jewelry shots, and horizontals with horizontals. (Another side note: Maditi is a master of photo pairing, sometimes pairing photo with photo, sometimes photo with spot-on links. Check out her blog, Micasa.)
So... that's the Original Intent process. No searching out hard-to-come-by images. No special bead purchases. No sketches. It's all pretty loose. And I have to say, I've been loving it. It completely rejuvenated my excitement about jewelry-making, and has made me look at my surroundings with a more focused eye.
What? You're still here? You made it to the end of this thesis of a post? Well, then, I should tell you also that I love how the Original Intent project has brought me in contact with some amazingly talented, kind people (like you), which has been the best part of it all. Thanks, you guys.


Gotta See a Doctor

Two nights, two concerts, two venues.
Thursday night, Clinic, Gramercy Theatre.
Friday night, Holly Golightly, Mercury Lounge.

Or, as Barry and I realized as we sat in Gramercy Theatre last night, listening to bluegrass music (which is great and all, just not what we expected)...
Thursday night, Holly Golightly, Mercury Lounge.
Friday night, Clinic, Gramercy Theatre.

Ooops. Luckily, we weren't too late to catch Holly. Her show started much later than the random one that we accidentally dropped in on. Now I'm off to the Clinic show.

I'll leave you with this photo of the facade of the Family Dental Clinic in the Bronx that I pass every day on my way home from work. Other than the word "clinic," it has nothing to do with the band that I'm off to see. That's the kind of week it's been.


Original Intent (Revisited): Day Thirty-Seven

fruit market goods on bright but cold day, astoria

inspired earrings found here


Original Intent (Revisited): Day Thirty-Six

little blue tiles among little white tiles, astoria

inspired earrings found here