About this blog

The original intention of this blog was to help promote my handcrafted jewelry and beading supplies. However, I believe I lead an interesting life (which Dave gets a lot of credit for), so you will often find ramblings about things other than beads and jewelry! Hope you enjoy reading about it as much as I enjoy living it!!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

82nd Annual Arcadia Rodeo

A few weekends ago we went to the 82nd Annual Arcadia Rodeo, which is a PRCA sanctioned event. The cowgirls and cowboys at this event were trying to earn enough points to get to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas in December. This is, without a doubt, the town's biggest event (Arcadia is a quaint, sleepy little town on Florida's west coast). Donnie Gay, 8 time world champion bull rider, was on hand to announce from horseback. It was so weird to hear his voice...used to hearing him announce on tv! The rodeo clown/bullfighter they had was great. He was incredibly funny and really kept the crowd going. They started off the event with mutton busting. For those of you who are not familiar with this event, go to You-Tube and search it...it's the funniest thing. Basically, they have young children, put helmets on them, place them on the back of a sheep and let the sheep run down the arena. The child who can hang on the longest wins! We're thinking we should enter our 6 year old niece, Amber next year. They also did all the "regular" events including bareback bronc riding, saddle bronc, bullriding, team roping, steer wrestling and barrel racing. We had great seats that gave us a perfect view for all the events except for the bull riding. In this arena, the bull chutes are on one of the sides (not at one of the ends like normal) and we were off to the side of them. When the bulls came out of the chutes, most of them stayed right there and went into their spins making it difficult to see. We'd never been to this arena before, so we didn't really know what to expect. We've all agreed, next year we'll get the seats that are right over the bull chutes. I have a great appreciation for those that ride horses well. I am quite the novice when it comes to riding, and I really have to work hard and think about what I'm doing (heels in and down, toes out, back straight, relaxed hands, reins even). I have no ambition to do anything more than be able to trail ride. I've only been as fast as a trot...I would like to get to the canter someday! In any case, I really like watching the barrel racing. At this event they had both the regular division and a junior division. These girls/women were fearless! Some of them really had horses that were acting up. The one reared several times and was refusing to do the pattern. The girl riding was so calm, and didn't give up until the horse gave in and did what she asked. The last event was the bullriding, which is definitely my favorite event (I'm a huge PBR fan...hoping to go to Vegas for the finals one of these years!). When they announced the last rider, Clayton Williams, I was kind of surprised. Clayton had been on the PBR tour just last year. A few years ago he had won the big PBR Challenger tour event in Oklahoma City and won enough money to land a spot in the top level of the PBR tour. I'm not sure what happened that he's no longer on the PBR tour, but was glad to see he is still riding. He sat on the bull chutes for a little while after his ride, and it didn't seem that anyone else realized who he was. I had the perfect opportunity to make my way over for a photograph and autograph, but (1) realized I didn't have a pen or marker on me since I didn't have my purse, and (2) Dave and the rest of my group had already made their way out of the stadium, so I had no one to take a pic of me with Clayton! Guess I should have told them what I was up to! I was able to snap a few good pics of him anyway. Can't wait until next year's event!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Str8 Jab Photo Shoot

This past weekend Dave and I went over to Florida's west coast to visit family. We had a great weekend and did such a wide mix of things (we threw darts at a pub, went to the rodeo, got tattoos...there will be a whole post about that, and did a photo shoot for Str8 Jab). We are so happy with the way the photos turned out and were finally able to post product pics on the website. Thanks to Janis, Bob and Erik for being our models. I also found out Dave has another talent...he's great with the camera. He was so good at setting up the shots! We came up with lots of ideas for the next shoot and I'm very excited about how things are going. The website still needs work, but since we're doing it all ourselves, I am pleased with it. I've found that the Go Daddy templates are not nearly as easy to work with as they would have you believe. I've felt very limited in where I can place items on the site and there just isn't enough flexibility. I'm going to be exploring the option of building the site with Wordpress and then transferring that to Go Daddy. I've heard that Wordpress works more like a blog (which I like) and I've seen some sites that people have built with it. We've talked about having someone build the site for us, but we're just not ready to invest that kind of money until we start seeing a little more cash flow. We're doing a lot of social networking (check us out on Facebook and Twitter) and trying to build up our fan base. I'm hoping to start a Myspace page this weekend. We have learned a lot about screen printing and the apparel business after going through this first run of shirts. We are discussing what direction we want to go in for the next run. We know we want to add additional colors as option for the shirts. We'd also eventually like to do beanies, hats and hoodies. We're hoping to have some of these additional items in production by the end of April. Once we have those, we are going to select a couple of mixed martial arts events to set up a booth at. For now, we are going to stick with some smaller, non mma events where the vendor fees and the competition are also smaller! I would love to hear from y'all...opinions, comments, suggestions, questions, etc! Doesn't matter if you're a fan of MMA or not as I know Bloggerland has many talented and creative people. Please feel free to contact me through this blog (comments are ALWAYS welcome and appreciated), via email at info@str8jab.com, or on our Facebook fan page for Str8 Jab (click here). I look forward to hearing from you!

PS...for those of you waiting for the follow up to the copper etchings I did...I still haven't gotten around to oxidizing and polishing those pieces yet! Thought I was going to have time to do it last week before we went away for the weekend, but that didn't quite work out. Maybe tonight...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Copper Etching - 2nd Attempt

Last night I made my 2nd attempt at copper etching. In my first attempt (which is detailed in yesterday's blog post) the resists I used didn't work that well and I didn't get the detail of the design. This time I used a paint pen to mark the design on the copper discs. This worked much better. The pictures below show the discs after they'd been dunked in the baking soda bath. I plan on oxidizing and polishing them to highlight the design (if all goes well, I'm going to do that tonight and will post pics by Saturday). You can see the edges are a little rough and I believe that's because the etch actually came through the masking tape from the back of the disc. I should probably apply a resist to the back and then the masking tape. But, I like the way they turned out kind of rough...I'd like to think it adds to their handmade charm! I like the way the paint pen worked as a resist, but I definitely won't be able to use it for more detailed designs as the point or nib is a little too thick and doesn't allow for drawing fine lines. I did pick up some embossing powder to use with the Stayzon ink, but haven't had the chance to try it out yet. I believe that will work best for more detailed designs.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Copper Etching

So, last night I decided to try my hand at copper etching. I really like working with copper and have been wanting to try this technique for a while. I had some design ideas and gave them a whirl. I don't have any kind of free-hand drawing skills at all (I mean none whatsoever...just ask Dave who painfully watched my attempts in high school art class!) so I used a template for one design, and an acrylic stamp for the other. For the design using the template, I used a red Sharpie marker and it was basically one large heart with a smaller heart inside of it. The area between the two hearts is what would etch so I thought this would look pretty cool. For the design using the acrylic stamp, I chose a flower design and used red Stayzon ink. After putting the designs on the copper discs and letting the inks dry, I traced the outer edge of the discs with the marker so they would not be etched, and then put packing tape on the back of the discs, also so they would not be etched. So far, so good. The actual etching part was also pretty easy. I suspended the discs on a piece of masking tape stretched across both sides of a small Rubbermaid container so that the pieces would be submerged in the etching solution, but easy to retrieve. I poured enough solution into the container to just cover the discs. I could actually see the effect of the etching solution on the disc within seconds! I set the timer for 10 minute intervals and would check the discs and agitate the container slightly. I did this for about 90 minutes. When the 90 minutes was up I dunked the discs in a combination of water and baking soda to stop the effect of the etching solution, then rinsed with plain water. I could see the etching, but my resists (the Sharpie marker and the Stayzon ink) didn't hold up as well as I had hoped. Some of the lines were thinner than intended and it looked like in some places the resist had dissolved. Not bad for a first try, but definitely not the quality I was hoping for. I'll be back at it tonight with different resists. The first one I am going to try is a paint pen instead of the Sharpie. The second one is to add embossing powder on top of the Stayzon ink and heat it with a heat gun. I'll let you know how the second attempt goes!!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Photos from the Airboat & Swamp Buggy Festival

I'm finally getting around to posting the pics of our booth at the PBC Airboat and Swamp Buggy Festival. Dave had been sick with flu-like symptoms during the week prior to the event. Then on the Friday evening, I started to get it. I managed to hang on through the weekend, but was under the weather for most of the following week. Even now, I'm only feeling like I'm at 80% of my "normal" self! In any case, the festival turned out to be a nice event...well, except for Saturday! The weather was atrocious on Saturday! It was cold, in the mid 40's and overcast...then the rain started. It wasn't so bad at first, but then it really started coming down. Rain showers in Florida are normal...they normally pass in 20-30 minutes, but this one decided to hang around. We tried to hold out, but the rain wasn't letting up, and it eventually started to leak through our pop-up tent (even though it was Scotch-guarded). That along with the cold weather, the fact we were both sick, and the small crowd led us to make the decision to pack up and leave. I hated to do it since it was only 3:30pm and the festival was scheduled to go on until 9:00pm (there was supposed to be a concert), but my table coverings and jewelry, not to mention the Str8 Jab shirts were wet. We went home, dried everything, got some dinner and watched the weather channel. There was no rain in the forecast for Sunday and it was expected to get into the mid 60's. We did decide to go back for Sunday, and I'm glad we did. The weather was as predicted and sunny. And, the band that was supposed to play Saturday night had decided to cancel due to the weather, but played all day Sunday instead. The crowd was great! We had a good response to the Str8 Jab shirts and concept, but not as many sales as we would have liked. The jewelry on the other hand did really well! All in all, it turned out to be a good day. We handed out a lot of business cards for both Shelly's Stuff and Str8 Jab and had lots of good feedback. That is helping us to make some decisions for the future and how we want to proceed with each. And now for the pics! I'm really happy with how we set up the booth. It needs a few minor adjustments, but I was very pleased. I was so happy to find the cow print material...I had been looking for real cowhides, but they were kind of pricey. When I found this material at Jo-ann's, I was so excited because it wasn't the normal black and white cow spots! The cow print may make the setup look a little busy in some of the photos and almost like the jewelry gets lost, but in person it was great. And, thanks to Dave for making my stands. I thought I was going to sand them and give them a coat of varnish, but he suggested I leave them "raw" for that rustic kind of look and I'm glad he did. I'd love to know what you think!!!

The banners...I am so pleased with how these turned out (thanks, Jeanette!)

And what would and airboat & swamp buggy festival be without some airboats...
and some swamp buggies...