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.

The Bittersweet Season Begins Again

I just opened my admin panel to make a quick post and found this notification from WordPress waiting for me:

Happy Anniversary! You registered on WordPress.com 2 years ago! Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging!

I can hardly believe all of the unexpected and heartbreaking events that have taken place in the past two years, but through it all, I have My Sweetheart and I feel like our love grows more and more every day. Two years ago I wouldn’t have expected to be saying that now. Maybe that’s just proof that everything really does happen for a reason. {sad smile}

Anyway… I am here to make a quick post about the upcoming holiday season, which is always so difficult for me. If you’ve read this blog from the beginning, you know that I lost my grandparents a year apart at this time of year over a decade ago and have seen very little of my natural family since then. My Sweetheart is known to say that when we grow up, our family becomes more about the people we choose to have in our lives. I agree with that philosophy more and more, but in the past year (or two) the list of those we call family is shorter and shorter. Last year we lost two members of our closest family, our friend Pam and our Diggity Dog, exactly one month apart, and those wounds are still very fresh today. Almost everyone else we have come to know and love and trust as family have pruned themselves from our chosen family tree by one form or another of deceit or devious behavior. With so few friends to call on this year, my favorite aspect of the holidays is going to be a bit tricky.

THAT is what I was going to post about… My favorite thing about the holiday season is cooking for the people I love. Every year, My Sweetheart and I put out an open invitation to everyone we know to join us for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. I don’t think that’s going to happen this year. Instead, we have decided that we aren’t even going to celebrate on the same day as the rest of the country. This year, we will be celebrating one day early. We lost our Diggity Dog on the day before Thanksgiving last year, so we are going to celebrate that little dog and everything else for which we are thankful on the anniversary of his passing. (Yes, I know that the date won’t be the same, but it’s the significance of the *day* that means something to us.)

And, just because we aren’t going to expect to feed a family the size of an army, don’t think I won’t be cooking up a feast. I’m already looking for a couple of new recipes to include in this year’s menu on Food.com. I’ve been a member of the site since it was called RecipeZaar.

RecipeZaar founding member banner

My username there is “LoveToCookHateToClean,” so if you have a recipe to help brighten our season a little bit, let me know in the comments here or find me in the community pages there. I love learning new dishes for My Sweetheart.

Are the holidays a difficult time for you, too? Share your coping strategy in the comments. I need all the help I can get.

Footprints

When I was in junior high school, I went on an awesome road trip with my dad. We drove from west Texas to the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, stopping frequently to take in historically and geographically significant attractions. As we camped and hiked and explored ancient civilizations throughout the Southwest, lessons from history and social science books came alive to me. It seemed that the past was speaking to us from the ruined cities and primitive artifacts, even from the Earth itself where I witnessed the remains of a great forest turned to stone, but the greatest and most lasting impression upon me was made in the Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado.

Cliff Palace in Mesa Verde National Park, Colo...

Cliff Palace in Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado, USA: it is the largest of about 4000 preserved Cliff Dwellings (circa 800 years old) built by ancient Pueblo people (Anasazi) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cliff Palace is the ruins of the largest cliff dwelling of the Pueblo Indians in North America and very visible footprint of left behind by people who seem to have vanished from the Earth. The structure of over 150 rooms and more than 20 kivas is majestic and surreal. The mysterious abandonment of the settlement over 700 years ago elevates the surreal to just a little bit creepy. I remember trying to sleep after touring Cliff Palace and how my mind continuously raced back to the thought “What happened to all those people?!” and not being able to block out the question. Even today, looking through photos of the abandoned edifice for an image to include here visions of tragedy and mass exodus are difficult to overcome.

Ascaya development, Henderson County, Nevada

The footprint left on the Nevada landscape by Ascaya in Henderson County. (Photo Credit: Michael Light)

Unfortunately, we don’t have to look all the way back to the Anasazi culture to find the stark, standing ruins of civilization abandoned to the wilderness. Our modern society is leaving its own lasting impression upon the landscape and this impression may be even creepier than that of the ancients.Two days ago, Lyra Kilston wrote for Wired.com about Economic Collapse Seen Through Aerial Photos of Abandoned Mansions and the work of aerial photographer Michael Light. The article features about a dozen images of the abandoned luxury housing development in Henderson County, Nevada. The images of the leveled hilltops and deserted, paved streets of the Ascaya development reminded me of the images I had seen over a year ago of the abandoned development in Rio Vista, California and other parts of the country. In the United States, between 13,000 and 19,000 dwellings stand vacant according to the Census Bureau.

Rio Vista, CA

Rio Vista, California: Construction was halted in November 2008 when developer Shea Homes abandoned the project.

That’s a lot of wasted housing. If you look at the data detailing the specifications of those un-lived-in housing units, you’ll find that the vacancies aren’t low-end, either. More evidence, if you ask me, to support Louis CK’s description of our current generations’ level of frantic consumerism, but I’ll let him explain that himself.

What do you think of this? Is this the kind of footprint we want to leave on the planet? What will people think of us when they study the world we left for them 800 years from now? With small numbers of people affecting the environment so drastically, how does it make you feel about the small measures of prevention you practice in your own life? I am very interested in your thoughts about this subject.

Post Impediments Revisited

Hello & long time no see! I’ve fallen into that nasty little trap of not-posting-today-because-I-wanted-to-post-yesterday-but-didn’t-post-flavored guilt again and can hardly believe that it’s been two months since my last post! Oh well, there’s only two things I can do about it at this point: post or not.

I think, today, I will post. I would like to do the same tomorrow. The day following tomorrow… I would like to post that day as well. I ought to have enough to write about, considering how long I’ve put off posting anything at all.

So much has happened in the past couple of months and there have been so many topics I have wanted to discuss with you! So much has been on my mind lately (other than blogging, specifically): news about the activity in the warehouse and that new potential project I mentioned a while back, online auctions, storage auctions, karma awareness and maintenance, my (modest) jewelry enterprise, My (awesome) Sweetheart, business development (marketing, branding, packaging, networking, etc.) the creative process and inspiration, Pinterest, bad neighbors and the problems they can cause… This short list is just the tip of the iceberg; I have also wanted to tell you about the latest additions to my “Favorite People On Earth” list (Val at JunkerVal’s and Travis at Echelon Jewelry and Gemstones).

With so many topics and so little time, I don’t know, really, what makes me put off posting, but (once again) I am going to try to resolve that in the near future. I hope you will stick around and share your thoughts on these topics.