Monday, January 15, 2007

The Shop

When I began thinking about how I wanted the layout for my studio to look, I was thinking of taking up the entire space for work-related endeavors. And then when it seemed like I'd have more than enough space for all my "stuff", I decided it might be nice to include a small retail area in the front. Before moving into this house (and using a basement space for all my jewelry making), when anyone wanted to stop over to look at what I had available, I used to have to clear off our diningroom table, set up all my inventory as I would for a show, wait for my customer to show up, then clear everything off again when they left. You only have to do this a few times before it gets old. The amount of space I set aside for retail space turned out to be perfect! And after I found a used glass display case, it really came together. The three pics included here were taken the weekend of the St. Lawrence Co. Arts Council Open House .. I had mulled cider, banana oat nut muffins, cookies, etc. The table with all the food on it was for the Open House only; that space now has a wooden easel with a black linen covered cork board setting on it (I've been collecting jewelry colors and trends which I expect to start tacking up when I have a layout I like). The wall unit was initially going to be for tucking away display devices, logo boxes, bags and things I'd need handy for shows. Being right next to the door, it'd be easy to back up the car to the shop door and just load up. But they turned out to be such an excellent display set-up that I use it that way now when I'm not doing shows .. and have found other places to stash all my show stuff.

Infected and Dangerous

Anyone who's had to completely format and reinstall software on a computer will understand my trepidation when I discovered my laptop was infected with a bunch of computer nasties. A format and reinstall was exactly what was suggested by an online tech site, primarily because I use my laptop to store sensitive data, do online banking, and ALL my business and personal information is resident on it. I've never done such a thing myself, and couldn't afford to be without my "life line" while I handed it over to someone else to accomplish. So, an incredibly helpful guy on walked me through several stages of the cleaning process instead. Before even beginning, we found out how to freeze our credit reports and did so at all three credit reporting agencies. After that we set up email alerts on all the credit and debit card accounts which allowed us to do so. And then I rolled up my sleeves ..

Took just about a week of downloading various programs for removing specific pieces of malware, spyware, adware, etc; cleaning, rebooting into Safe Mode, cleaning and scanning again; attaching a log on techspot's forum, going back and cleaning again .... and again and again. What a chore. And little to nothing else got done while I was carefully reading through directions, searching for things that didn't belong, attempting to rid my system of them and reporting back for the next round.

The good news is that after all that, I'm now clean of infections and protected by several additional programs. I hope I don't have to go through all that again any time soon. Though I feel like I'm a lot better educated about dealing with something like this than I was before.

I did bring up some beads and stringing materials and strung a few Bali n Bead pieces while things were scanning, or while I was waiting for my laptop to reboot. I love these necklaces - they have a nice heft to them and look good with both elegant and casual dress. I put two additional versions together that I haven't yet scanned .. a pretty dark blue iolite version and another using pale green quartz. I am now officially in need of more of those little granulated Bali spacers!!

A Slow Start

Things are only just finally coming together at the house and studio. Our contractor, besides turning an attached shed into a tidy little studio space for me, installed a brand spankin' new boiler .. initially to heat just the ground floor (my studio space and a long library/entertainment area), but now the second floor and loft as well. This in addition to fix, replace and repair things as previously mentioned (a few costly and unexpected discoveries along the way). I had hoped it would all be completed by the end of December; but things never go as planned, and our contractor was waylayed with other issues elsewhere. I wasn't able to give the whole ground floor a good going over until the first week in January .. and believe me, it really needed it. I swore I wasn't going to clean down there until everything was completed and I only had to do that initial going over just once. It is SO wonderful to go down there and not only have everything clean n tidy .. but warm!

The house is a hundred feet or so from the Oswegatchie River, so it's built on a slab .. no basement. We still have our furnace and forced air system connected (though turned way down unless needed for backup) .. it's what we used before the boiler .. but the only registers on the ground floor were in the ceiling. Didn't really provide a whole lotta heat. Not much at all, in fact. Despite it's being furnished when we were looking at the house to buy, I think the former owners must not have lived on the ground floor during the winter months. It was usually no more than 55 degrees down there all last winter!

And speaking of winter months, we're getting our second round of long expected snowfall today. We're actually expecting accumulation overnight. The picture above is what it looked like out there this time last year. Not much yet. Though I'm in no hurry.