Where Does It Come From? Where Does It Go?

I haven’t posted any jewelry-related news in quite a while. There hasn’t been any jewelry-related news to post, it seems, in a very long time.

Early last fall I had production surge that grew out of an idea for a new collection of jewelry (mostly necklaces) and a sense of urgency about the impending holiday shopping season. During the first week of November I designed and produced more pieces of jewelry than I had made all year. Two weeks before Thanksgiving I should have been giving the new pieces to My Sweetheart for pictures that I could post in my Etsy shop, but I let one unexpected conversation sink the entire mission instead.

The conversation started with “oh, honey! You made all of this? This is really good! This should be in stores, honey!” which led to a light bulb moment of “my dear friend has a very successful (whateverkinda) business and she’s just expanded that to include a fabulous boutique, but she doesn’t have anything like this… She needs some of this, honey.” Without much contribution from my side, the matter of a consignment deal seemed to be all but settled in the final comments “when I talk to her tonight, honey, I will tell her that she needs to do this. It will be good for both of you. Don’t worry, she’ll listen to me. You’ll be in the store by Monday. Consider it done.”

Of course I didn’t consider it done… But I did consider it a possibility and I expected to meet this “dear friend” within a day or two to explore compatibility between her boutique and my jewelry. In the meantime, I realized that my jewelry was not “consignment-ready” and needed quite a bit of work to make it so. To that end, I halted production of new pieces and turned my attention to expanding my consignment agreement knowledge base, pricing my pieces for consignment and creating informative and branded packaging with detailed descriptions for each piece. I was so busy for the first few days that I was grateful that the shop owner hadn’t been able to schedule a meeting. Once I got a handle on situation, though, with real production momentum diverted, the pressure from the countdown to Black Friday threatened to squash me as I waited each day for the introduction.

I realized on Monday, two days before Thanksgiving (My Sweetheart and I celebrate the holiday on Wednesday, in honor of our Diggity Dog) that the introduction wasn’t coming. I realized on Tuesday that I couldn’t make up for the days lost and have my Etsy shop ready for the two most important days in the retail industry. I felt completely defeated by my own foolishness and I crowned that defeat by forfeiting the entire holiday season. Inspiration to make new pieces packed up and vacated, taking the motivation to post the pieces already made in tow. Even interest in traffic through my Etsy shop had absconded.

That’s where jewelry-related news slumped, fell and died. I haven’t had an inkling of inspiration toward making jewelry since November. I have tried to force the creative urge, but the only results produced by that force, so far, have manifested as doodles, drawings and sketches… (Zentangle, anyone?) None of them have had any relation to jewelry. So that’s been a bummer.

And then…

Today…

This happened, out of nowhere.



{Sidenote: I know, I know… The photos aren’t great, but one of my major downfalls is the idea that I have lodged in my head that tells me I can only post photos if they look (mostly) professional. Perfection is far too elusive for my spur-of-the-moment skillset, which means most of what I make never gets published. That mindset sucks and I am actively trying to defeat it.}

I don’t have any idea from where the inspiration for either of these bracelets (or the drive to build them) came to me, but it came on like gangbusters and I made them both in a single sitting this morning. I have a feeling that I will even manage to post them to Etsy soon.

Does your creativity go through dry spells? What does it take to quench your creative thirst and inspire you to continue (or resume) creating? I hope you will share in the comments.

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Pulling the Plug on What’s Not Working

Here I am, early on a Monday morning with nothing to show of in a 4Day Declutter Challenge Reveal post.

Again.

Why not? Because I didn’t post a challenge on Thursday.

Again.

I am frustrated with myself that I’ve missed posting each of the past two weeks’ challenges and (by no coincidence) each of the past two weeks’ reveals. I’m frustrated AND beginning to feel slightly over-run with guilt for not getting the challenges posted. Extra specially frustrated today because yesterday I made major progress in the front office of the warehouse. The room which has been, in my opinion, the least inviting area of my cluttered existence has been transformed into the closest thing to “homey” in only a few hours’ work.

I should have taken photos of the before.

I didn’t.

I just got a wild hair to have the unused refrigerator moved out of the corner and into the shop and started making that happen. Once that beast was out of the room, I set myself to moving the hall tree which has been sitting in the most tempting spot for clutter-collection (directly beside the entry door) into the spot vacated by the fridge. Now the black bench with over-head cubbies sits about 5 feet from the door. Close enough to be a handy launch pad for things like keys and sunglasses, purses and other travel must-haves, but not as convenient for depositing “whatever” we happen to carry in from the truck while being greeted by frantically enthusiastic chihuahuas whenever we come home. Clearing off the bench top has made a nice home (for now) for the duct-tape body form in my image that My Sweetheart helped me to create a couple of weeks ago as well as a home for the oscillating fan which normally takes up an obscene amount of floor-space and is mandatory equipment for My hot-in-every-way Sweetheart’s comfort. I hope that having those two items occupy the area most likely to encourage clutter on this particular piece of furniture we will be able to break the habit of dumping on it. Keep your fingers crossed that it works.

Still motivated to create change in this entry room, I took a pair of scissors to the carpet remnant My Sweetheart had positioned to run the length of the room, folded over at one end to fit the space, and I cut it down to size. The remnant’s remnant I placed in front of the front door. The comfy club chair which had been a sore thumb stuck out in the middle of the room and an obstacle to all movement within the room found a cozy little spot between the newly placed entry rug and the hall tree. My Sweetheart managed to sneak in behind me with a small tea-cart he just bought from the online auction for the whopping price of about a dollar, and he placed the cart between the club chair an the front door. It’s a really cute little cart and it’s a perfect fit in the space, but I’m worried that it may become the new drop-spot for “whatever” as we come in from where ever it is we go loaded down with random stuff. I’ll have to keep an eye on that. Cross more fingers.

The greatest assistance I encountered as I worked my way around the room, decluttering came from two other amazing online auction finds My Sweetheart has adopted in the past week: a small tower cabinet with about eight shallow drawers and a longish leather ottoman/bench/storage box. Into the cabinet went pens, pencils, sketchbooks and nail polishes, in other words, my personal clutter. Into the ottoman went beads and other crafting supplies, shoe-shine products and the like. It’s embarrassing how much clutter I create around here. I’m happy to have these two tools for hiding my mess! (Thanks, Babe.)

The greatest help I got with the cleaning aspect came from a new (to me, anyway) Kirby vacuum cleaner that My Sweetheart acquired for me on Saturday. I gotta hand it to The Kirby Company, they do make a product that sucks, but in such a great way! Every home should have a Kirby and that’s about all I’ve got to say about that.

I didn’t get the whole room completely and totally decluttered by the time I threw in the towel, but I did get the major points covered… er… uncovered… before I sat down. Even the stack of boxes I have spent every day we’ve lived here trying to convince myself aren’t there really aren’t there! The best thing, though, is that when I finally called it quits, My Sweetheart came right behind me to place a new (from an online auction) open-faced, little cabinet in the corner where those boxes had been and topped it with what looked at first to be a sparkly, new microwave. On closer inspection, I realized that it was the same appliance we’ve been using (and neglecting) for over a year. My Sweetheart had polished it to a like-new shine.

All-in-all, I’m darn pleased with the results of the effort we put into it. I’m way less self-conscious about opening the door when there’s a knock from the other side. That says something, but doesn’t quantify the weight that’s been lifted from my shoulders. Whew!

But even in spite of all the progress I’ve made over the weekend, clutter-busting “to beat the band” as my grandmother might have said, I’m still aggravated with myself over the recent non-success of the 4Day Challenge. Not only am I frustrated at the fact that I’ve not posted the challenge or the reveal in the past two weeks, I’m also annoyed with myself that the only thing I’ve really posted, despite the fact that I’ve missed the challenge has been about it or somehow related to it, rather than whatever it might have been that inspired me to post in the first place, because I feel obligated to say something about the missed post… UGH! Since I’ve been the only participant lately, I’m not getting that team-spirit feeling out of it, either. But even with all of these not-quite-loving feelings I’m experiencing over this weekly meme concept, I would still be committed to sticking with it, just to keep myself motivated to kicking clutter in the butt. My progress in the front room this weekend, without the 4Day Challenge to hold me accountable, has given me a different outlook on the future of the challenge… Which brings me to the real reason for this post…

I’m suspending the 4Day Declutter Challenge… indefinitely. When the time comes that I need an external motivation for keeping up progress, I’ll bring it back. Unfortunately, I’m sure it will be back before long. What a sad truth. But it’s a relief to feel the freedom to post about whatever’s on my heart or my head when I want to post. I feel the freedom already! In fact, I’ve got a new pet-project that My Sweetheart and I are developing and fine-tuning; we even gave the idea a test-run over the weekend and I can hardly wait to tell you all about it.

I hope you all aren’t too disappointed in me for pulling the plug on the challenge, but I hope you’ll tell me about it, either way, in the comments.