Friday, September 27, 2013

Flu Shot Reaction

I have noticed that my blog stats show that a lot of people are reading this blog post.  If you or someone you know has had a reaction to the 2013-2014 flu vaccine, please leave a comment.  I'm trying to gauge just how widespread the problem is this year.  Thank you for your help! 

Like a lot of people, my husband, elderly mother, and I got our flu shots last Saturday.  None of us are allergic to eggs and we've never had any previous reactions to the flu vaccine.  I assumed that getting a bit more prepared for flu season was going to be a relatively simple, non-event like usual.  It was for both my husband and mother.  I, however, had a reaction and ended up with terrible hives within a few hours of getting my vaccination.  I did an online search and found lots of examples of other people who had the same reaction and even one woman who had an identical reaction:  hives covering her legs.  Many of the people who had the hive reaction from their flu vaccinations wrote about having chronic hives off and on for months!

I filed an online adverse reaction report with VAERS, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System and hoped for the best.  My hives were entirely gone within three days and I thought that it was over.  Last night, I started itching and it quickly escalated into full-blown, I'm being attacked by mosquitoes-style hives and this time, it was all over my arms, buttocks, legs, and feet.  It was an awful night.  I took Benedryl and used a few different topicals and nothing made a dent in the itching.  I tried desperately to not scratch but kept awakening to find that I had been scratching in my sleep.

Has anyone had a similar reaction?  How long did the chronic hives last?

Does anyone have any unusual home remedies for hives?  I've tried all the normal remedies and nothing is working!

In case anyone wants to know the particular vaccine that I received:  Afluria 2013-2014 Pre-filled Syringe  (manufactured in Australia and distributed by Merck)

UPDATE:  My hives got much worse and I went to the doctor.  Two steroid shots and a warning to never again get a flu shot and I am still itching an hour and a half later.  I would rate the pre-shot itching at a 10 on a 1 to 10 scale and it's about an 8.5 right now.  I've got Zantac so, I'm prepared for the inevitable indigestion that I always experience when I've had steroids.

Oh, and the lovely part is that the steroids will also suppress my immune response to the flu vaccine so, I've gone through all this for nothing!

UPDATE II:  I itched all night and I'm still itching. It's so miserable attempting to work while trying to concentrate on not scratching.

UPDATE III:  (9/30)  Today was a good day and there was very little itching.  Oh, how I hope this means that I've turned a corner with the hives...

UDPATE IV: (10/1)  The hives are slowly returning and I now have aching and stiffness in my shoulders, arms, wrists, and legs.

UPDATE:  (10/8)  I'm getting occasional patches of hives and my flu shot arm still feels like I've been punched extremely hard.  When is this going to end?

UPDATE:  (10/12)  No hives for two days but my the pain when I move my arm has not lessened.

UPDATE:  (10/19)  I've not had hives for several days but my shoulder/arm still hurt and the pervasive, dull body aches still continue.  I'm guessing that my immune system is still very 'angry'.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Update on My Pursuit of Business Insurance

My husband and I have recently learned that I will not be able to get a business insurance policy until after hurricane season is over which will pretty much prevent me from consigning jewelry at the galleries affiliated with the Louisiana and Mississippi guilds during the busy holiday shopping season.  I know that other people are willing to consign jewelry without it being insured but I am not comfortable taking that risk.

I've found this process to be very hard to maneuver.  It's no wonder why so many people who make and sell handmade items forgo insurance and end up taking great liability risks and simply hope for no theft or damage when they place items on consignment.

What has surprised me is how absolutely unfair many gallery sales agreements are.  I am not complaining about the percentage split, be it 50/50 or otherwise because I understand that their fee covers the services that they provide us.  I'm referring to the failure of some (but not all) galleries to offer any insurance on consigned items and their cavalier attitudes toward breakage and how much risk artists should be forced to assume.  When a gallery or shop decides to take no responsibility or "duty of care" for the items consigned, they have no incentive to actually take care of those items. 

I won't name the gallery but I recently learned that a very prominent gallery has the policy that when items are broken or damaged but the person who caused the damage is unknown, the gallery asks "the craftsmen to share the loss with us by accepting 30% of the retail value as compensation". Besides the obvious flaw in that reasoning (30% will often not even cover materials!), what makes that an incredibly unfair proposition is that given the gallery's normal 60/40 split, this means that the artist is expected to accept 50% of what he or she would have originally made on the item.  This is hardly a fair share of the loss. 

I would also like to point out that when they know who has broken or damaged an item, their policy is to ask the customer "to pay for 60% of the retail price".  The customer is asked to pay 60% of the retail price--does that mean that they are not required to pay?  The wording is not clear.  Have you ever seen a retail store accept 60% of the retail price when an item is broken?  I have not but I have seen a lot of "You break it, you've bought it" signs in boutiques and stores.  It is apparently acceptable to charge full price for broken factory-made items (purchased by the store at wholesale) but only acceptable to charge 60% when the item was handmade by an independent artist.  Could any of my readers explain that logic to me because I don't understand it at all.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Peace Begins From Within

*I'm sorry for the delay in posting but I've been having major issues with Firefox crashing.*

I'd like to thank Mary Jane Dodd for continuing to promote peace through her Flags For Peace Project (part of the International Day of Peace).  I participated last year and I was thrilled to be a part of it this year, too.  Maire's determined, quiet, personal path toward both inner and world peace should serve as a beacon to us all.

World peace is such a large concept that seems so hugely impossible that many people are daunted by where and how to start and often end up paralyzed by the enormity of it.  If I dwelled on the particulars too much, I would probably be one of those people so, I choose to start small and work from within.  I try to do things that are fair, kind, environmentally friendly, but basically small.  Those things are what I am capable of doing on a daily basis but I'm convinced that they make a difference.

Peace Leaf Pendant by Cicada Silver
Peace Leaf Pendant

I made a piece of jewelry again this year as a simple, personal reminder for the wearer.  The leaf and peace tag are made from PMC3 while the peace symbol was forged from sterling silver wire.  I wanted to include a reminder to care for nature and a more literal peace symbol so that the message is both understated but still obvious.

Sterling Silver Peace Symbol by Cicada Silver
Sterling Silver Peace Symbol

Behind the leaf hangs a tag stamped with the word "peace" which was created by stamping the PMC3 clay with the etched brass stamp that I created when making last year's pendant.

handmade etched brass stamp
Etched Brass Stamp

My necklace isn't finished because my silver clam shell bead tips didn't arrive in time to finish the knotted bead portion.  My clasp and the chain portion will be attached when the tips arrive.  I'll post an updated photo, too.
Unfinished Necklace by Cicada Silver
 Unfinished Peace Leaf Necklace


Finished Necklace by Cicada Silver
 Chain is Attached

Back View of Completed Necklace

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Creating With Cabochons Blog Hop

I'd like to thank Sally Russick of The Studio Sublime for hosting this design challenge and blog hop.  I love bezel setting stone cabochons but I also enjoy setting lampwork cabochons, and handmade stoneware,  ceramic, and porcelain cabochons, too.

For this blog hop, I decided to use a beautiful porcelain flower cabochon made by Sarah Kandell-Gritzmaker of Slate Studio Supplies on Etsy.  The colors immediately made me think of setting it in red brass.  The backplate is red brass and the bezel wire is bronze.  The etched disc that I sweat soldered to the reverse of the backplate is also red brass.

Porcelain & Red Brass Necklace by Libellula Jewelry
Porcelain Cabochon Bezel Set in Red Brass & Bronze

Etched Brass on Pendant Reverse
Patinated Etched Red Brass

Bezel Set Cabochon by Libellula Jewelry
 Bezel Set Cabochon

I usually make chains for my pendants but this time, I chose to use stone beads that have a finish somewhere between matte and satin in order to complement Sarah's cabochon.  I knotted the beads in groupings of three using Irish waxed linen cord from Beads To String.  The necklace was finished with commercial brass bead tips from River Song Beads and my soldered red brass clasp and etched logo tag.

Please visit the other participants' blogs:

Your Host:  Sally Russick
Alicia Marinache           
Lynn  Jobber           
Jenny Davies-Reazor           
Jo-Ann  Woolverton           
Marde Lowe           
Dawn Doucette           
Mary K McGraw           
Gloria Allen           

Cheri  Reed           
Sonya Stille           
Elizabeth Owens Dwy           
Veralynne   Malone           
Tania Hagen           
Lynsey  Brooks           
Christina Miles           
Holly  Westfall           
Kathy  Lindemer           
Patti Vanderbloemen           

Therese Frank           
Adrienne Berry           
Tanty  Sri Hartanti           
Renetha Stanziano           
Marlene  Cupo           
Sandi Volpe           
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson           

Mischelle Fanucchi           
Tracy  Stillman           
Skylar Bre'z           
Ann Schroeder           
Jess Green           
Susan Kennedy           
Stacie  Florer           
Cathie  Carroll           
Susan F.  

Michelle Caballero       
Sabine Dittrich           
Kristina Johansson           
Kimberly Sturrup-Roberts           
Melissa  Meman           
Cheryl McCloud         
Michelle  Timms           
Cindy  Pack                  
Lynda  Carson

Cynthia  Machata           
Julia  Harris           
Karin  Slaton
Ingrid  Anderson           

Friday, September 13, 2013

Craftsmen's Guild of MS New Member Reception

Mississippi Crafts Center

The Craftsmen's Guild of Mississippi will be holding their new member reception on Sunday, October 6th at 4 pm at the Mississippi Craft Center in Ridgeland.  New members will have samples of their work on display.  I really look forward to seeing all the lovely things made by all the other new members.

I'm not sure if I have any readers who live even remotely close to the Ridgeland/Jackson MS area but just in case, I'll invite all of you to come if you're in the area.  I'd love to meet you!  Getting accepted into The Craftsmen's Guild of Mississippi is one of my proudest accomplishments and I will be thrilled if even one of my blog readers attends the MS Guild reception!

The Mississippi Craft Center is located just off the Natchez Trace in Ridgeland.  USA Today named the MS Craft Center Gallery one of the top ten great places to shop (at craft galleries). October is not too early to start your holiday shopping and unlike Etsy, you will find only truly handmade items for sale at the Mississippi Craft Center.

I hope to see some (one) of you guys there!

*Saturday, October 5th Freret Market:  I will not be vending in order to attend the reception in MS the following day.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Martha Stewart American Made: Voting Continues

Voting for the category winners continues through September 22nd in the Martha Stewart American Made contest.  You have six votes per day to distribute to one or more nominees. 

Please consider giving some or all of your
 daily votes to Bergeron Woodworks.
Vote Here

~Thank you to everyone who has voted for David!~

Friday, September 6, 2013

Freret Market September 7th

The Freret Market will resume on the 7th of September after taking a two month hiatus during the hottest part of the summer.  That break gives artists time to get back into their studios and a welcome break from sweating it out in the sauna-like New Orleans heat.  That doesn't mean that the September market won't be a scorcher but there will be lots of vendors with cool, delicious things to eat and drink.

Kalaya Steede and I will both be there.  If you don't know her work, check out her blog and Etsy shop to see her beautiful enameling and etching--yep; we're both addicted to etching!

I've been making a lot of items in preparation for the Chimneyville Craft Festival in MS and for galleries but I will have a few new pairs of modern, clean-lined earrings, an amethyst geode necklace in sterling silver that's entirely handmade save for Mother Nature's effort in making the amethyst, and a few more pieces that you'll have to come see!

amethyst geode sterling silver necklace
Rustic Amethyst Geode with Handmade Sterling Silver Chain