Friday, October 1, 2010

OMG I think I have died and gone to HEAVEN

Alternate Title could be: A Day of Firsts or Vintaj Workshop Day 1
So yesterday I flew American Airlines for the first time (dude! They charge for EVERYTHING but like water and juice) on my way to Chicago (also a first). Where I had real Chicago pizza, for the first time, and boarded a little puddle jumper to fly to Dubuque, Iowa (first time in Iowa). Which was the SMALLEST airport I have EVER been in. It was funny. There's ONE gate. And you walk down the jetway and a little hall and as soon as you step out you almost fall over the baggage claim. lol And its a LITTLE bitty baggage claim loop. If you miss your bag on one side you have to sprint through people to the other side b/c otherwise its back through the doors lickity split! (*mumble mumble speaking from experience mumble mumble*).

And so after I claimed my bags, I went over and picked up my rental car. I've never rented a car - rented a big truck once to move to Arizona but never a car. And jumped in said car and drove over hill and dale into the middle of nowhere, also known as Galena, IL.

Thanks to the GPS (mostly) I was able to find my little country inn. Its darling. There's something weird about the carpets. I don't know if they used some sort of funky stain resistant coating or what but its longer carpet and it just feels WEIRD on your feet. I try to wear shoes. But the bed is super comfy and is a big 4 poster bed. I'd set up a web cam and practice Jamie Lee Curtis' dance from True Lies but alas the one failing of my cute inn is a complete lack of internet. Of any kind.

If I didn't have my jewelry class to keep me busy during the day, and free wifi in this coffee shop I'm sitting in now I'd worry about withdrawls.

Also I can get 1 bar of signal on my cell phone, if at all. I did see 2 bars earlier to day but that didn't last long. So I can't hardly even get the net on my cell phone. Its irksome.

The town makes up for it though by being absolutely gorgeous. The weather is perfect: clear, cool, with a nice breeze. And all the buildings are from the 1800s and they've been beautifully maintained so the town is lovely.

And OMG Vintaj Earth is my new favorite place in the whole wide world. I am so in love with their shop I almost cried. LOL I really am one of those dorks that gets weak kneed over really beautiful stuff. (Confession: The first time I stepped into the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC I had to sit on the bench and cry because the architecture was just so beautiful. Yes, I am a dork. We know).

But so Vintaj Earth is just the most perfect little store known to man and I think I would like to buy one of every piece of jewelry they have there. Some of them are simply magnificent. And the way they have them displayed is just fantastic. I promise I took a crapload of pictures but we left the card reader for the camera in my room at the inn so I'll have to upload tonight and post tomorrow when I have internet again.

My workshop today was AMAZING. I had SO much fun. I was like a pig in muck meets a little kid at christmas. This morning we did photo transfers, bezel collage and alcohol inks. Then they took us across the street to a little place called "Fried Green Tomatoes" (which is oddly enough an italian place) and had lunch (salad, bread, tortalloni w/ super yummy veggies in a cream sauce).

After we ate we had a little bit before we had to head back to class so we went into Galena Beads which was AMAZING and I had to work hard to keep from drooling on the merchandise. I want to buy very nearly the whole store. Its THAT full of the awesome. I have no idea how I'm going to choose tomorrow when I go back to buy stuff.

After lunch we did texturing and riveting (I can RIVET! *takes a bow*) and we did paint dabbers and letter imprinting and finished our photo transfers and then we got to play with Ice Resin.

OH MY GOSH. Ice Resin = The Ultimate in AWESOME. Its the only jewelry grade resin out there and  its CRYSTAL clear, the bubbles come out of it all by themselves, and its super hard and doesn't chip or anything. Its GREAT. And it makes EVERYTHING look like a million bucks. It just does. You go "Oh thats pretty", apply Ice Resin, and then its "OH MY WOW!!!". Needless to say like over half of my pendants I made today got resined.

If you put Ice Resin over alcohol inks and pearl acrylic paint on an embossed, burnished blank it looks JUST like enameling.

AND THEN because we finished up a little bit early, they gave us the option of heading out to do whatever OR they gave us a couple extra blanks to play with and we got to have open studio playing with the techniques from today.

It was like being a little kid in a candy store. I had SO much fun. I swear today I just have this big goofy grin on my face. I can't help it. I made 3 more pendants. One I did some riveting, stamping and ink/paint on and it turned out adorable, if I do say so my self. And the other two I did with alcohol inks, one I burnished, the other I did not.

But I think the thing that makes me happiest is that I've been wanting some really amazing focals for my pieces and those can be PRICEY to buy but now I can MAKE THEM. And its FUN. And EASY. And GORGEOUS.

OH - Good news - I finally got my wonky camera to work. I had a brain wave and took some of the painters tape I use in my wire wrapping and taped the stupid battery into its slot. TAH DAH! Which means I took LOTS of pictures today. Which as mentioned earlier will be posted tomorrow.

And tonight I'm meeting up with a couple ladies from my class (I am there with an AWESOME group of women) and we're going to do dinner at a place called The Log Cabin that my hosts at the inn recommended. And then we're going to take a Ghost Tour tonight. :D It sounds like a ton of fun. I'm glad I brought my tennis shoes with all the walking I'm doing.

And you should all be proud of me because I resisted the urge today to buy anything. I really want to just LOOK today and then I'll do some buying tomorrow. But I have some SWEEEEEET coupons to both Vintaj wholesale, Vintaj Earth, and Galena Beads (Galena Beads is owned by Jess Italia Lincoln who is one of the owners of Vintaj and is teaching our class).

Speaking of teachers - we're being taught, as previously mentioned by Jess Lincoln and she's being assisted by a lovely lady named Betsy who is just cute as a button. Jess is a lot of fun. I think if I lived around here I would have to be friends with these ladies because they're just awesome. Betsy is winning the award as my favorite person of the day for being SO helpful. Its like every time we ask "Oh do you have this?" She goes "Yup!" and it materializes. She's like the jewelry good fairy.

So I'm looking forward to tomorrow so very much. We're going to do filigree wraps, figural wraps, and free form wraps in the morning and then linking, decorivets, coiled and wrapped loops, double sided wrapped loops and briolette wraps. And THEN we get another open studio where they'll give us kits and supplies to make 2 neckalces and/or bracelets. I am SO, so amazingly excited. Its going to be a blast.

I am missing my baby. I keep looking around for him and feeling like I'm forgetting something. I do miss me hubby but I'm used to not seeing him all day during the work week and I've gone out of town with out him before but I've not been away from my kiddo for more than like 6 hours since he was born so its kinda weirding me out. My arms feel empty.

I was hoping to do video chat with him but I'm not sure how thats going to work exactly timing wise. I think I'm going to be busy doing other things when Adam gets home from work and can do it with me. Maybe tonight after the Ghost Tour. I have no idea how long that lasts. We'll see. Worst case scenario I'll make SURE it happens tomorrow.

And since this has now achieved novel length and I've finally run out of things to say about today I will bid you adieu until tomorrow. :)


  1. I am so glad you are having such a good time, and learning amazing things to boot! Enjoy every minute of it! :-)

  2. Enjoyable to read you bubbling with excitement. I am happy for you.

  3. Dearest Ami,

    I snuck over having seen your link come up on my blog tracker thingy and TOTALLY ENJOYED your summation of Day 1 of your Adventures in Galena. You sort of lost me with the jewelry lingo ... but the rest was fun and now I have a vision of a 'jewelry fairy' in my head. I am wondering where the rest of the days went ...

    One word: PHOTOS!!!! I would love to see the town, the jewelry, the BABY!

    And you are too kind to put me on your "Blogs I Live For". I am hoping I rate as Family Friendly ... but I doubt it a wee bit ...!

  4. Hi Lori,

    I'm so glad you enjoyed my ranting. I enjoy your blog. Cracks me up quite often which I'm usually in desperate need of.

    If you want a baby fix I recommend my family blog

    and I will have pics of my jewelry up soon I promise. I just got hit with a big fat dose of reality when I came back to town so as soon as I surface once again I will make that post a priority.

    And no worries on the family friendly front. I've got friends MUCH more ... colorful in that area. lol