Opal pendant

4b

4a

Rough opal pendant wrapped in sterling silver, with garnet and pearl.

Not currently up for sale on my jewelry page at http://www.theheathersmith.com because it’s one of the pieces I’m bringing to sell at upcoming craft events.

I have tables at three events this year! They are:

*********

MSP Comicon

May 20th and 21st

MN State Fairgrounds Grandstand
1265 Snelling Ave, St Paul, MN 55108

https://www.mcbacomicons.com/

*********

Wiscon

May 26-29

Madison Concourse Hotel
1 W Dayton St, Madison, WI 53703

http://wiscon.net/wiscon41/

**********

CONvergence

July 6 – July 9

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel
7800 Normandale Blvd.
Bloomington, MN 55439

CONvergence

**********

Bracelets

44

43c

43b

43a

42b

42

Assorted sterling bracelets with gemstones.

Not currently up for sale on my jewelry page at http://www.theheathersmith.com because they’re among the pieces I’m bringing to sell at upcoming craft events.

I have tables at three events this year! They are:

*********

MSP Comicon

May 20th and 21st

MN State Fairgrounds Grandstand
1265 Snelling Ave, St Paul, MN 55108

https://www.mcbacomicons.com/

*********

Wiscon

May 26-29

Madison Concourse Hotel
1 W Dayton St, Madison, WI 53703

http://wiscon.net/wiscon41/

**********

CONvergence

July 6 – July 9

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel
7800 Normandale Blvd.
Bloomington, MN 55439

CONvergence

**********

Pendants and bottles

21

22

A couple brass pendants with geode fragments, glass bottles and garnet.

Not currently up for sale on my jewelry page at http://www.theheathersmith.com because it’s one of the pieces I’m bringing to sell at upcoming craft events.

I have tables at three events this year! They are:

*********

MSP Comicon

May 20th and 21st

MN State Fairgrounds Grandstand
1265 Snelling Ave, St Paul, MN 55108

https://www.mcbacomicons.com/

*********

Wiscon

May 26-29

Madison Concourse Hotel
1 W Dayton St, Madison, WI 53703

http://wiscon.net/wiscon41/

**********

CONvergence

July 6 – July 9

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel
7800 Normandale Blvd.
Bloomington, MN 55439

CONvergence

**********

Opal!

20

Geode and Ethiopian opal pendant wrapped in sterling silver.

Not currently up for sale on my jewelry page at http://www.theheathersmith.com because it’s one of the pieces I’m bringing to sell at upcoming craft events.

I have tables at three events this year! They are:

*********

MSP Comicon

May 20th and 21st

MN State Fairgrounds Grandstand
1265 Snelling Ave, St Paul, MN 55108

https://www.mcbacomicons.com/

*********

Wiscon

May 26-29

Madison Concourse Hotel
1 W Dayton St, Madison, WI 53703

http://wiscon.net/wiscon41/

**********

CONvergence

July 6 – July 9

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel
7800 Normandale Blvd.
Bloomington, MN 55439

CONvergence

Bismuth pendant

2b

2c

2d

2e

Bismuth pendant wrapped in sterling silver.

Not currently up for sale on my jewelry page at http://www.theheathersmith.com because it’s one of the pieces I’m bringing to sell at upcoming craft events.

I have tables at three events this year! They are:

*********

MSP Comicon

May 20th and 21st

MN State Fairgrounds Grandstand
1265 Snelling Ave, St Paul, MN 55108

https://www.mcbacomicons.com/

*********

Wiscon

May 26-29

Madison Concourse Hotel
1 W Dayton St, Madison, WI 53703

http://wiscon.net/wiscon41/

**********

CONvergence

July 6 – July 9

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel
7800 Normandale Blvd.
Bloomington, MN 55439

CONvergence

**********

Things

In all the bad stuff that’s been happening lately, I have been kind of obsessing over making jewelry, and putting it up online, and preparing to sell it at various events, in an attempt to keep my mind feeling sort of okay.
Three events are confirmed for this year, and I’m excited for them, even though I’m anxious about everything else in the future.
They are:
********
MSP Comicon
May 20th and 21st
MN State Fairgrounds Grandstand

1265 Snelling Ave, St Paul, MN 55108
https://www.mcbacomicons.com/
*********
Wiscon
May 26-29
Madison Concourse Hotel

1 W Dayton St, Madison, WI 53703
http://wiscon.net/wiscon41/
**********
CONvergence
July 6 – July 9
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel

7800 Normandale Blvd.

Bloomington, MN 55439

CONvergence

And there are four new crowns up for sale at The Heathersmith:
http://www.theheathersmith.com/product-category/crowns/

“Elven Lady” crown

“Sea-Dragon Emperor” crown

“Serpent Queen” crown

“Stonehenge” crown

Heartbroken

It’s been a few days but I still don’t really want to talk about it. Sirius the Starling has passed away.
When the growth on his belly started, I was preparing myself for the possibility that this could happen, but I did not expect it to get so bad so quickly. 
I’m not going to go into all the details because it would make me cry again. Maybe someday. I feel like I failed him, even though there wasn’t really anything I could do. I don’t think anything that we did caused the problem to start. But we can never know for sure what caused it. The vet said it was probably some kind of tumor.
John and I were crying uncontrollably the first couple days, like lying on the floor sobbing too hard to talk, for half an hour at a time. And everything still feels utterly different without him. There’s no way we’ll get used to this quickly. He was such a part of everything we did. Everything we can possibly do reminds us of him.
Part of me wants another starling to fill the gaping hole, part of me doesn’t ever want a pet again because this could happen and this was so hard to go through.
And part of me realizes that we’re not in a good place in life to adopt another bird right now, since we don’t know when or where we’ll be moving after John graduates, but that once we settle down we will most likely have birds again… because for all the mess and work and eventual heartbreak, birds really are worth it. 
Sirius was a wonderful, brilliant, sweet-hearted creature who loved us both in his own beautiful, weird and devoted way, and he was one of the best things to ever be in my life. 
Over the next few weeks I will be making a tribute page for him on my website, with all the pictures and recordings and descriptions I  have of him. Right now most of this website still looks as if he’s still alive, and it’s going to be hard for me to change that, but I will when I have the energy.

New necklace

Here’s a necklace I made with sterling silver, amethyst and citrine.

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(Not currently up for sale on my jewelry site at www.theheathersmith.com,  but many other shiny things are there!)

Travel Cage and Vet for Sirius

Sirius the starling had his first vet visit today!

Details of the vet visit after the pictures. Basically, Siri was very good and he appears to be in good health too, though there are a few mysteries about his health that couldn’t quite be solved (vets don’t really know a lot about starlings, since they’re so rarely kept as pets).

Here are some pictures of Sirius at the vet, in his travel cage, and some pics of the cage by itself. It’s not pretty, but it’s the only travel cage we’ve been able to design that Siri seems comfortable in. He’s really comfortable in it, too! He’s been on a three-hour car ride in it before, and seemed fine!

It’s John’s design, but easy enough for me, or probably anyone, to build.

It’s made of a plastic bin and some black plastic mesh from the hardware store, held together with zip ties. (We know that dowels don’t make the best perches, and we’re trying to find actual branches that fit well in the holes of this mesh. His regular cage at home is much bigger and has real branch perches.)

The opening is just three cuts in the mesh, with the cut sides covered with plastic from a heavy-duty trash bag (held in place with zip ties) to protect from any sharp edges. The mesh is bendy enough that we didn’t need to create a hinge. A small bungee cord holds it shut when needed.

A bigger bungee cord holds the top of the cage onto the plastic bin bottom, and it can be taken off to replace the paper or rearrange the perches and other accessories.

I made a smaller version of this cage, too, with a shoulder-carrying strap, in case I ever need to get him out of the house extra quickly.

Anyway! Here are the pictures:

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And, in our experience so far, Como Park Animal Hospital in St Paul, MN, is a very nice, very reasonable and very accepting veterinary hospital. Very few vets around here will treat birds of any kind, but these people were totally fine examining a captive-raised starling.

Although Siri didn’t show any real signs of being sick– he’s still eating healthily, singing and being active in every way– we’d been concerned about a swelling on his abdomen and a callus and bruise-like mark on his foot.

And we didn’t really get that resolved on this visit, but the vet gave us some reassurance.

After the examination, they said that from the location and texture of the abdominal swelling it looked like a gastrointestinal issue… but since his stools are still normal, and a test for parasites didn’t turn up anything, they weren’t able to give us any conclusive answer. They did give us some options, though.

We could have an x-ray to see if any problems were visible that way. We decided not to, since an x-ray on a bird requires anesthesia, which gets more risky the smaller the bird is, and if something did show up, it would probably be something we couldn’t do anything about anyway. The vet explained these things very honestly and reasonably.

He also said that if the problem gets worse, we could give the bird a deworming medicine just to see if there might be any parasites that didn’t show up on the standard test. But since that’s not so likely, and since Siri still appears to be in good health, we decided not to do that right away either.

As for the foot, he said it didn’t look bad enough to be dangerous, but recommended giving him softer perches, maybe by wrapping them with padding material (I think he was talking about this stuff, since I’ve found some mentions online of people using that to wrap perches.) He also suggested extra vitamins and maybe more sunlight to help with the few overgrown scales that keep coming back on his feet.

And this all did cost some money, about $130, just to have him examined, tested for parasites, and prescribed a vitamin powder. But honestly I was expecting to pay more; I was scared of having to spend thousands on him, because I’ve heard so many stories of awfully expensive vet procedures. This vet is reasonably-priced by vet standards, as far as I can tell, and didn’t push unnecessary expensive procedures on us. (There was no pressure to do the x-ray, for instance, and if we had chosen to, it would only have been about $40 for the anesthesia and $80 for the x-ray itself.)

And it’s good to know that there is a vet in town who’s willing to see starlings. And it’s good to have a clean bill of health regarding parasites. Overall I think this was well worth doing.

Bracelets

Here are three more shiny things! Bracelets made of garnet, blue goldstone, and a mix of agate and mosasaur teeth.

brace1

brace2

brace3

(Not currently up for sale on my jewelry site at www.theheathersmith.com,  but many other shiny things are there!)

Petting Sirius the starling

Siri isn’t crazy about petting, but it’s important to keep him accustomed to the touch of hands in case he needs to be handled for emergency reasons.

And once we start petting, he kind of gets into it and starts enjoying it. Until he’s done. Then he lets us know.

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More crowns

Here are a few more sparkly things I made!

A crown with five rough quartz points:

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and a crown with one quartz point, a few iridescent blue glass marbles, and lots of pearls!

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(Not currently up for sale on my jewelry site at www.theheathersmith.com,  but many other shiny things are there!)

Sirius and his fluffy feathers

2017-01-15 13_38_49 2017-01-15 13_54_08 2017-01-15 14_23_52  IMG_20170115_102217Sirius the starling has grown back all his missing feathers!

He still has a few crooked ones, like the feather that sticks up on his head and the one that droops on his tail. But he is very fluffy and pretty today!

Crafting stuff for the craft fair next week

On Sunday, January 22 from 1 PM – 6 PM, I will be at the Crafty Flea– a combination craft fair and flea market at the Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association! Address is: 821 E 35th St, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55407

I’m making sparkly jewelry! Here is a crown I made with a big rough citrine, lots of small garnets, and four fossilized mosasaur teeth:

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crown1c

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And here’s a somewhat messy-looking crown I made with gem-chip-filled glass bottles. It looks better in person, but I’m still hoping to do better with my next attempt.

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(Not currently up for sale on my jewelry site at www.theheathersmith.com,  but many other shiny things are there!)

Hey all!

I’ve been fiddling around with the WooCommerce shopping cart and checkout for my jewelry site (www.theheathersmith.com) and I just figured out how to fix a problem I’d been having with the confirmation email.

When I tested what email notification people would get when they ordered, I noticed the name in the From field of the email was  “ss_site_title,” which I didn’t want! I wanted it to say the actual name of my site!

I couldn’t find anyone answering that question online, but I did finally manage to figure it out:

Go to the WordPress admin page, then WooCommerce and Settings.

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Go to the Emails tab under WooCommerce Settings.

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Scroll down. You’ll see a field where you can change the “From” name, and other details of the notification email.

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Save changes and you’re done!

I also figured out how to fix a problem I was having with the shipping. I had shipping rates set up on WooCommerce, but it was not charging shipping when an order was placed through Paypal!

Soo… I found some tutorials online about how that means you have to disable any shipping settings you already have set up on Paypal… but they were written years ago, when Paypal had a completely different site layout. It said to go to “Edit Profile” and then “Shipping Calculations,” but there were no such links in 2016!

But, I did eventually find where they’d moved to.

You have to scroll down on your main profile page until you see this menu, then click Seller Preferences:

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And then scroll down until you see the option for “Shipping Calculations,” and click Update, and then you’ll find the settings you need to deactivate!

 

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Hope that helps anyone else out there who was having the same issues!

Counting blessings, 2

Oh, and another thing I’m happy about, although I don’t have pictures of it yet:

I have a bunch of my handmade jewelry in the Music Forest Cafe! It’s this really charming little vegan cafe in St Paul, and it has a section with locally made crafts for sale, and my stuff is there!

And I am happy about that. I’ll get some pictures of my pieces on display when I stop in this weekend.

Oh, and John and I gave a speech in Marshall, MN last week. It went great! We do have a pic from that. Not a very interesting picture, but here it is:

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It was a pretty typical speech, except for one thing. Because it was so far away from home, we had to stay the night at John’s parents’ house in a nearby town… and because our roommate has moved out, we couldn’t have him look after the bird while we traveled.

So we had to bring Sirius the Starling on a road trip!

John made the weirdest-looking cage and Siri actually liked it, unlike any other travel cage– he would willingly go into it, and when he wasn’t in it, he was on our shoulders watching the traffic go by, and he had a total blast riding in the car with us! I’m so happy– he has always hated car rides in the past, but we figured out a way to make it work for him! (Again, pics of the cage coming later.)

And at the speech, we actually brought him in, in his cage, and set him on the counter, way off to the right of that photo. It was so cool; I wish we could do that with more of our speeches!

Counting blessings

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, and to take a positive turn from the many negative thoughts I’ve been having lately, I’m going to make some posts this week of things I am happy about.

To start with: Sirius the Starling has been getting better. His face injury has healed and his feathers are coming back in, little by little.

Here are some pictures of him hanging out on my hand and eating crickets.

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Is it suicidal to wish you were suicidal?

I’ve been feeling a lot of that lately: not wanting to die, exactly, but kind of wanting to want to die. It’s the feeling that everything about being alive is getting nearer and nearer to unbearable, and if I were suicidal I would have a way out, but I’m still too scared of death to think of it as a real option.

I’ve heard an analogy that suicide after a grueling struggle against depression is like jumping out the twentieth-floor window of a burning building. If so, the way I feel now is like being in a burning building but not being able to jump out.

And yet I’m one of the luckiest people in this country. I’m white. I’m married to someone of a different sex. I have a job that pays enough to live on and provides health insurance, and, for the moment, I’m healthy enough that I could probably survive a long time without much medical help.

And yet I’m scared. The way the country is going right now is going to affect all of us, eventually, even the most privileged.

I have very bad anxiety at the best of times. My mind is horribly drawn to thoughts about apocalyptic disasters, and this election… has not helped. Even if the new president manages not to start a nuclear war, we are entering a time of severe climate change, no matter what we do. (And, the way things are going, we’ll probably end up doing the worst stuff we can.)

Eventually the only way to be safe will be to live far north and inland, in a home built to be exceptionally resistant to extreme storms. Probably an underground bunker, or at least a hobbit-hole. Monolithic domes would be a good place to start.

If the world had any sense, we would already be busy with the project of creating climate-change-resistant homes for everyone, since we were past the point of no return on global warming a long time ago. But no, half the country is denying there’s even a problem, and the other half is still trying to stop what can’t be stopped and ignoring the need to deal with its results. There aren’t even any houses on the market that won’t leak when it rains, let alone ones that’ll keep you alive in a tornado or hurricane or weather too hot to survive above ground. So the only way to safety is to build your own.

And I can’t afford that. Most people can’t. And with the government stuffed full of Republicans, that isn’t going to change– the standard GOP plan is the worst kind of wealth redistribution, upward, from everyone who isn’t a millionaire into the pockets of everyone who already is.

A few other things that are messing up my life right now:

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This is my left leg. The bruises are from blood clots in the surface veins. It’s getting better. A while ago, practically any leg movement hurt.

I don’t know if this happened because my pharmacy job requires standing on my feet for 8 hours a day with only one break, but it sure made that job harder once this started. It started twice, first in my calf, then that got better and then it came back in my thigh. I used up all my time off when it was in my calf. I had to work when it was in my thigh. I hope it doesn’t come back a third time before the year ends.

The blood clots aren’t the dangerous kind that can break off and go to the lungs or heart or brain. Those are the ones in deep veins. I know these aren’t that kind, because I got an ultrasound. I got the bill for it a few days ago. It’s over $800 and my insurance barely covered anything. I have to call the insurance company to ask why, but I know that call would take longer than a lunch break, so I can’t call them until I have a weekday off, which is 10 days from now.

If I get pain in my leg again, I probably won’t get another ultrasound. I hope that time it won’t be the deep vein kind of clot. I don’t think it will be, but you never know.

I’m lucky I have a job that has insurance. If I lose the job and there’s no Affordable Care Act, if I can be denied insurance for preexisting conditions, or if all the available insurance is too expensive for someone without a freaking job, a bad blood clot could kill me.

I don’t know if the Affordable Care Act is actually going to be gutted or destroyed. It’s possible that Trump’s actions as president aren’t going to be quite as awful as the persona he projected while campaigning. But I know that Congress is full of Republicans who want to destroy the ACA, and between them, Trump, and Pence, I can’t imagine anything good happening for people who need health care.

I have a coworker who hates universal health care because of how much it costs taxpayers. I said taxes are better than people dying. She said “People never die from not having insurance– the doctor HAS to treat you.”

I didn’t argue because I didn’t have the energy. But of course hospitals can turn you away for not having insurance, my dear coworker, as long as you’re not dying right this minute. And for godsakes, you work in a freaking pharmacy; you know perfectly well that the way the doctor treats you is prescribing medicine, and the way you get the medicine is going to the pharmacy, and remember what happens to people who come to the pharmacy without insurance or money? They don’t get their medicine, even if it’s blood thinners to keep their clots from killing them.

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This is my bird, Sirius the Starling. He talks and sings and I trained him to play a little toy piano. He takes the most enthusiastic baths and then cuddles against my neck for hours. He is the smartest and sweetest bird you ever met and he loves me so much that he saves me from reading the comments on news articles by landing on my hand and pecking at my scrolling finger. He sometimes sleeps on my arm so long that he leaves little footprints.

If we have to move to another country we might not be able to bring him. Keeping starlings as pets is legal where we live, but their status as an invasive species makes things complicated when it comes to moving.

He started self-harming lately. Scratching at his face until the skin was bare, and then scratching until it bled. Scratch the wrong feather and it can bleed an awful lot. We improvised a cone for his neck. He would get his lower beak stuck in the neck hole trying to pry his way out. I would leave him home alone because I had to go to work, and I’d be on the edge of a panic attack all day. Even worse than the thought of coming home to find him dead was the thought of coming home to find him so badly injured that I’d know he wouldn’t survive, and then having to decide what to do.

He’s getting better now, but for a while we thought we couldn’t handle it. If his problem comes back I don’t know what we’ll do. We can’t stay home all day. It’s hard enough to find people who know how to care for a pet starling, let alone people who would adopt one who has to be watched every moment.

But being able to have a pet at all is a privilege. And I’m still one of the most privileged people in this nation. Some people might not even get to keep their children in the next four years, if all the gay marriages are annulled. As much as I panic about the stresses of my life, I have to keep reminding myself that others have it far worse.

I’m also lucky enough that I’ve been able to build a 401k. It has quite a bit of money in it. Not enough to cash out and build a house or move to Canada, but a good start for eventual retirement.

My pharmacy was recently bought by another company. And now we each have to go through the process of rolling over our 401ks from the old company to the new one. For months, we weren’t even able to access our 401k to add money or even see how much was in it. Now they have finally sent us a form for the rollover.

The form requires us to write in the account number and the amount of money in the account. We have no way to get those things, so I called the number on the form that says “call if you have any questions.” I called and got an answering machine and left a message. It’s been several days and I have not heard back.

I have less than 60 days to figure this out. I don’t know what happens if I don’t, but I think they would automatically send me a check for the amount of my 401k, minus an enormous amount in taxes. I don’t want that to happen.
But no matter what happens, I’m going to lose a lot of the money anyway, because the economy is going to see some hard times.

So, I’m frustrated, to the point that it physically hurts. I’m scared, to the point that I’ve had hyperventilating anxiety attacks at work. I have wished that I wished I were dead. And I’m not anywhere near being the worst off in this country.

Don’t say everything’s going to be okay. Everyone is going to feel the effects of this.