Thursday, May 24, 2007

My Blog is 100 Posts Old!

It's true. My last post marked my one-hundredth post. I just thought I would mention that.

Also, there is a cricket in my garage. I thought I would just mention that too because it troubles me. It will probably die in there... because you have no idea how freakin' hot it is in my garage. And that worries me because crickets are supposed to be good luck... do you suppose that it would be bad karma to have a cricket die in your house? I suppose I will be finding out in a day or two. OR, maybe I'll leave the door open for a while tomorrow and hope that the little bug finds its way into the outdoors.

Wow, I've thought very hard about this, huh? Oh well, that is the summer for you. Small worries, thank God for them. Although, on the other hand, I have enough on my plate without having to worry about the death of a cricket. Let's see... I still need to get myself a tax number, I still need to find a mirror, I still need to tag and inventory all the jewelry that I've made... and oh yeah, silly me, I still need to find myself craft fairs to go to. So, there's that. Plus, drawing homework.

So, really, that poor, little cricket better have the decency to leave the garage tomorrow, or I don't know, but you know... I'm sure you do.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Instant Canopy

So, I bought myself an instant canopy today... will come in very handy in the future when I'm at craft fairs, sitting in the sun all day, selling jewelry to the huddled masses.

It came in its own little carrying case, with wheels! It has a metal frame that folds out to a 12x12 canopy. So exciting!

I truly think this is my most exciting purchase of the year :)

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Matt and I had a brother-sister-bonding-activity today and went for sushi. Yum... Spicy Tuna Roll, Spicy California Roll, and the Mushroom Roll. Just what I wanted.

AND, did you know that although in English, the word "sushi" refers to the finished pieces of fish and rice and toppings, in Japanese the same word only refers to the vinegared rice that goes into the pieces? It's true. AND, the word "sashimi" (in Japanese) refers to the raw fish.

AND, there are three main types of sushi: 1. maki-sushi or the common sushi roll, 2. nigiri-sushi, a hand-formed mound of rice, a thin layer of wasabi, and then a slice of sushi grade sashimi. 3. temaki-sushi, a hand roll in which the sushi chef makes a cone of nori (seaweed) then stuffs the cone with rice and fish and toppings.

I've never had temaki-sushi but don't all those types sound uber-sweet? Yeah, I think so too. Raw fish and vinegared rice... good times had by all.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Home Again, Home Again

Okay, so last night was my first night back in my own bed... and what wakes me up at 7 in the A.M. but the gobble, gobble of wild turkeys. Do you believe it? Neither do I. I think that they were munching on the neighbor's grass seed.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Art of Jim Parlin

Alrighty... Jim Parlin is my sculpture professor. He was also my 3D professor last semester. And these are a few images of his work.

We looked at some samples of Jim's work in class today, and I just thought I would share. I pirated these two images off the website for EUP's Graduate Program in Sculpture, and unfortunately, interesting though they may be, they are not a very accurate sampling of his sculpture.

When he was talking about his own work, he was talking about how saturated colors are one of his inspirations (he casts his work in metal and then painted them with oil and acrylic paints). So, as a result, many of his sculptures are incredibly vibrant and lush looking. But, again unfortunately, neither of these pictures shows this aspect of his work very well.

After today's mini-exhibition of Jim's work, I kind of think of him a Walt Whitman of sculpture... no-holds-barred, honest, in-your-face, sensual, sexual, concerned with the biology and humanity of living, concerned with the death involved in living, personal, gritty, elegant, etc. And again, I wish that I had better images to demonstrate these points. But I hope that you can follow my drift.

Both of the images above are of some of his earlier works, and lately (within the last six months) he finished a series of small figurative sculptures: very interesting and intense, portraying everything from suicide to a simple moment between a mother and daughter. And this brings me to the last point that I want to make: Jim's sculpture is intensely personal, which is why it is so moving. All the sculpture that he makes revolves around the people in his life and his personal concerns. So, I guess as Walt Whitman would say, "To the real artist in humanity, what are called bad manners are often the most picturesque and significant of all."

Jewelry Fabrication: forging piece

Okay kids, here it is... my last metals assignment of the semester.

We were learning about forging... which is a wire based technique in which you bend, flatten, and shape the wire using hammers. Then you anneal the wire and repeat steps 1-3 until you're satisfied with what you have. If you DO NOT anneal the wire, it becomes brittle from all the pounding and may snap. Yes, annealing is very important. And annealing is very simple: just heat the metal with a torch, not all the way up to soldering temperature, but hot enough so that it has a dull glow. With copper, it will glow a light orange, and with sterling, it will glow a dull cherry color.

As for materials: amber cabochons set in copper, 16 gauge copper wire, 16 gauge brass wire, and sterling earring posts. I based the bottom part of the earrings on wind spinners... I twisted the brass and copper wires together to get that barber-shop pole type of effect, then I forged the wire twists into "horse shoes" and pulled the ends apart vertically to get that spinning effect. I soldered 4 twists together to make each spinner. The cabochons are simply bezel set in 26 gauge copper. And I also used some of my combined wire to made spiral headpins so I could solder the earring posts onto the back.

All in all, I'm very pleased. Enjoy.

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Next Time You're on Jeopardy

ACCT II final? Woh buddy, that test WAS HARD! But I tell you what, the next time you're on Jeopardy and there's a category labeled "Managerial Accounting," you'll be all set. Here's what you need to know:

The Statement of Cost of Goods Manufactured:
Cost of Goods Manufactured = (Direct Materials Used + Direct Labor + Manufacturing Overhead) + Beginning-of-the-year Work-in-Process Inventory - End-of-the-year Work-in-Process Inventory. All financial statements must be written in good form with proper 3-line heading and with proper punctuation, indentation, and account titles.

Confused? Oh, we haven't even started yet.

Work-in-Process Inventory: just as the name implies, this is work in process, widgets that are being worked on.

Finished Goods Inventory: when the widgets are finished, they are moved from the Work-in-Process Inventory into the Finished Goods Inventory. From the Finished Goods Inventory, widgets can be sold to the public... in which case, said goods would be moved out of the Finished Goods inventory and recorded in an account called Cost of Goods Sold at whole sale price, then the sale would be recorded at retail price.

Direct Materials Used = Beginning-of-the-year Direct Materials Inventory + Direct Materials Purchased - End-of-the-year Direct Materials Inventory

Direct Labor: usually given in a rate per hour

Manufacturing Overhead
: includes items such as indirect labor, indirect materials, rent on the manufacturing plant, expenses for the manufacturing plant such as electricity and insurance, etc. DOES NOT included Sales Expenses such as advertisings or sales commissions OR General and Administrative Expenses such as rent on administrative offices or CEO's salary.

Indirect Labor and Indirect Materials: includes labor and materials used in maintenance of the actual manufacturing plant and equipment. For instance, say that a textile plant has weaving machines that run for about 10 hours a day, AND those machines need to be kept oiled and running smoothly. What the plant pays for oil would be an expense incurred as an indirect material, and what the plant pays workers to apply that oil would be an expense incurred as indirect labor.

Now onto Cost/Profit Analysis (Some equations you're going to need):
Sales Revenue - Variable Costs - Fixed Costs = Profit
Sales Revenue = Sales Price * Units sold
Contribution Margin = Sales Price - Variable Costs per Unit
Contribution Margin Ratio = Contribution Margin/Sales Price
Break Even Analysis (in Units) = Fixed Costs/Contribution Margin
Break Even Analysis (in Dollars) = (Fixed Costs/Contribution Margin)*Sales Price

Variable Costs: usually includes items like labor (both direct and indirect) that change based the Job Order (it takes more hours to create 100 widgets than it takes to create 10 widgets). Also includes materials (both direct and indirect) for the same reason.

Fixed Costs: includes Overhead charges, Sales Expenses, and General and Administrative Expenses... the rent on the factory and the CEO's salary are not going to change no matter how many widgets are produced in a month.

And that's really a very solid, scratch-the-surface kind of glimpse into the world of Managerial Accounting.

I know that all this accounting mumbo-jumbo sounds insane, but gosh darn-it, doesn't all this shop-talk make you hot? I know what you're saying, 'no.' But don't worry, the next time you're on jeopardy, you'll thank me. (By reading his Blog Entry, you are agreeing to pay me a retainer at the rate of $5 per minute that you spent reading said Entry. And in the event that the information written here leads to Jeopardy winnings, this message entitles me to collect 10% of said winnings before taxes).

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Finals Week

Things I still need to survive:
-Accounting II Exam: non-cumulative on managerial accounting
-Jewelry Project: forging (I'm making earrings)
-Algebra Exam: cumulative
-Sculpture: finish my casting project and studio clean-up
-Graphic Design: final project, Alphabet Book... I'm making a hand-scroll with desserts for every letter of the alphabet :)

Friday, May 04, 2007

Ben and Jerry's for Dinner

This is a tradition that I started last semester, where on the last day of classes, I have Ben and Jerry's for dinner. And you know, considering my affinity for ice cream and my long history with higher education, I'm surprised that I didn't come up with this tradition sooner. I mean, I'm good all semester: I think, I study, I create: I work hard. So, I feel like I deserve (for just one evening) to be bad... because that's what this tradition is all about: indulgence.

Plus, the idea of ice cream for dinner will give me just the boost that I need to make it through finals week. I'm in the home stretch.

And as for the flavor... Last semester I had "Everything But The..." and right now, I'm feeling the "Cherry Garcia" vibe. But you know me, I'll probably stand in front of the ice cream case, weighing my options for about 15 minutes and then choose something completely different.

All I can really say is this: I've been awaiting (patiently) this occasion for weeks.