May 25, 2009

I Am Doing The Happy Dance

Probably not a pretty site to anyone but my husband! Me, doing the Happy Dance on crutches!

I am on my way to MoBay to pick up a wonderful Sistren from Atlanta, Georgia, USA. She will be with us for a week and I plan to show her the best of St. Bess. I won't post while she's here, probably won't have time to reply to shared thoughts and may not even get to my e-mail. But you will all be in my heart and in my prayers as I full-joy the blessing of her being here with us.

She is an amazing, incredible, delightful woman I was blessed to meet during my former corporate life in America. Her compassion saved my sanity more than once. If she gives permission, I will post a blog about our visit once she leaves.

So, while I am off-line, if an occassion arises and you need to do the Happy Dance, here are the instructions. Feel free to improvise as the music in your heart moves you.

May 23, 2009

Royal Ras Zulu Double Weave

This reversible bracelet is based on a piece from Diane Fitzgerald’s
book, Zulu Inspired Beadwork. I did make a few design alterations, but that’s the freedom of beading! I used only one clasp instead of two and omitted the picot edges of the original design.

The three rib rows are size 6 seed beads and the two woven connecting rows are size 11 seed beads, black on one side and white on the other. It gives me two looks in one bracelet. The toggle is a peyote stitched tube of size 6s with size 11 embellishments.

I find the traditional Zulu beading stitches to be labour intensive, but meditative. Once you understand the stitch pattern, it is easy to get lost in the repetitive motions of the beading. I was able to complete this one in just four days. I can see it becoming one of my favorites!

May 21, 2009

Bad Advice

A prospective client has been given bad advice and I am not sure how much effort I want to expend to convince her of that before she makes an expensive, ill-advised decision.

If you read my profile you know that I install point-of-sale, inventory management and accounting software. All my clients come to me via word of mouth referrals. I do not advertise my services, because I have found that satisfied clients make the most effective advertisements.

So, a long time client asks me to call the owner of a manufacturing plant here in Saint Elizabeth to arrange a preview of the system I installed for him. He says based on their discussions, her present set-up isn't meeting her needs and he is sure I can help.

After the presentation, she enthusiasticly agrees to have the network wiring installed, purchase the uninterrupted power supplies and arrange the funds for my fee. She is to call me once everything is lined up.

A few days later she calls to ask if we can renegotiate the payment terms from 50% down and balance upon completion, to 50% down, 25% upon completion and balance within a month. I have to admit that I was impressed! My usual experience is a quick agreement to the terms, with unlimited excuses when the project is completed. So far, I have never actually had to make good on the threat to activate a dormant virus if I don't get paid.

Believing this renegotiation was a sign of positive progress in her decision making I thought matters were going well. The next thing I know, she calls to tell me "someone" told her they could hook she up dut cheep.

Out of curiosity, I research the software that was recommended, to find that it is, indeed, less expensive than my proposal. But the customer reviews are a litany of horror stories. Multiple crashes, failure to install, glitches in the setup process and a total lack of tech support. The two features that managed to get good customer reviews are features she can't use! The on-line banking feature and the payroll module are of no value to her as they are based on North American protocols and not adaptable to Jamaican requirements.

She is taking for granted that this "someone" will fill the gaps for her. She is making a short term decision, based on price, about a situation that should involve long range, strategic planning.

Before you jump to the conclusion that there are ego issues involved, I did not write or develop the software that I recommended to her. My recommendations are based on client needs.

If she were tech-oriented, I would e-mail the links to the user forums where one customer after another has razored the product itself and the lack of support from the company that sells it. In the end, I will probably do nothing more than suggest she get information about the software from more than one source.

I am a firm believer that what is for me, can't be for you. I hope I can be gracious, humble, professional and helpful when she calls to be rescued from this mistake she is about to embrace.

May 16, 2009

Cultured Kulcha

A base of faux pearls stitched in right angle weave sports an embellishment of ites, green and gold (red, green and yellow) seed beads. The gold-toned clasp is connected to the bracelet with rings of clear seed beads. I like the feminine look and feel of this piece.

While finishing Nurse M's fifth netted pearl set, I swore I wouldn't do another one for at least a year. But about half way thru it, I begin to visualize it being done in different colours, rather than all the sides of the net being the same colour. This is the manifestation of that vision.

Life Explained

May 6, 2009

Hello, Mr Schwinn, I Missed You

I have achieved another of my recovery goals! At 5:30am I hobbled down to the gym on my crutches and worked out for the first time since my tumble-down last November. The gym is located downstairs, below the living area of our home.

Granted it wasn't even a pale shadow of the workout routine I was doing before, but I did break a sweat and IT FELT GOOD! I did a fifteen minute ride on the recumbent bike, some strength training with resistance bands and then another ten minute ride. Except for the water bottle attachment, this is what my Schwinn recumbent bike looks like.

Once my balance gets better, I will attempt the treadmill and the NordicTrack cross country ski machine. Thank you, Jah, for the gift of recovery. I am getting stronger every day!

May 4, 2009

Prayer Pouch

This was designed for a friend's first born. It is loosely based on the tradition of African amulet bags that were made of leaves, tree bark, feathers, and animal skins by a female elder when a child was born.
The navel string (umbilical cord) was placed into the bag along with other talismanic objects believed to ward off evil spirits. The bag was worn under the child's outer clothing. By the time the natural materials used to make the bag wore out, the child was believed to be spiritually strong enough to have other protections in place.

The amulet pouch is about one inch by one inch. I placed a cowrie shell inside the pouch to represent prosperity.
In the interest of child safety, she was advised not to let the baby hold the pouch, since we all know things go right into their tiny mouths and beads are a choking hazard for babies. It is hung on the wall away from the crib.