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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A Better Year

I often have long debates with myself about this blog. I am at odds with myself over what this blog really is about. Is it about my life and the seemingly constant shift in my own, personal purpose for being? Is it an artist’s blog about how I view my work and where I find inspiration? Inspiration and art is so much a part of my personal life that the two can’t be easily separated. So my feeling is that to share the art, I have to share the artist. That feeling leads to the inner debate over how much of the artist should I share? Where do I draw the line?This internal conflict have caused me to abandon many of the posts I have begun to write over the years and leave the entire blog apparently abandoned. Every time I abandon a post, the next post is harder to start, because I doubt the likelihood that I will actually publish. That sucks.

I guess the biggest hang-up I have regarding what not to post is the fact that in the time since I started this blog it seems as though my household has faced a barrage of tragic events with such small windows of reprieve that to write much about my life may come across as a bit, well… pathetic. And who wants to publish a personal pitty party? Not me.

But I have posted some of our past tragedies and have even put some of our shortcomings on public display. Each of these posts described obstacles faced in 2012.

The overwhelming magnitude of 2013 was so much greater than the prior year that I haven’t found a voice with which to express the catastrophic events we have endured. My pride has kept me from admitting that our own poor judgment and the fact that the most paralyzing of the losses were once again created by the few people we chose to allow into our very isolated lives. When my sweetheart and I were forced to be away from home for several months, the handful of people we believed could be trusted completely managed to deprive us of every last material thing we owned. We returned home to find there was no home, no contents of our home, no vehicles and the inventory of our shop had been stolen as well. By the end of the summer we were left with the clothes on our backs, our chihuahuas and eachother, plus a criminal police report that law enforcement refused to acknowledge because the thieves were people we knew. That’s a bitter pill to swallow, much less publish.

The reason I mention any of it now is to provide a backdrop for the photo I am posting today. My sweetheart came home last month from a short walk through the neighborhood, looking for the good stuff people in the lovely city of Dallas throw out, with a small bounty of goodies. Among the loot, I discovered a 4-compartment for drawer organization and instantly knew that it deserved to be made into something more. I used duct tape to attach a piece of fiberboard to the top of the unit as well as create a hinge which allows the fiberboard to flip up, creating an opening through which access to the compartments can be accessed. The final result is a combination craft box and lapdesk/portable workstation. The final touch was added during the last week of 2013: a Zentangle-inspired reminder that this year doesn’t have to be as tragic as the two before it. I hope that prediction is correct; I can’t take much more adversity this year.

I hope you will leave a comment and let me know what you think of it. Don’t forget to pin it to one of your Pinterest boards, please. I appreciate every single pin you post from this site!

So….. (drum roll)… Here it is: Better Year, by yours-truly:

Better year artwork

“This Year Will Be Better” Zentangle-inspired DIY craft box

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.

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.