Friday, May 23, 2014

Breaking Through the Creativity Log Jam

Wow! Here I am again! I know you’re amazed, and it amazes me even more. Fair warning, though: don’t get too used to it. 

I know you’ve heard about writers getting writer’s block and my loss of jewelry making mojo was the same sort of thing. It was starting to bother me a lot because I still need to make a living and I have a Trunk Show coming up and galleries to fill for tourist season. Not to mention my poor, neglected Etsy Shop! Inventory was so low that I considered selling some of the pieces I had made for myself.  And then, the most amazing thing happened… 

A little over a month ago I woke in the middle of the night (something that’s not unusual for me) with an idea for a pendant. I had all the details, the design and texture and how to build it. I was so excited to have something creative happening in my head! As I laid there trying to go back to sleep I kept telling myself to write this idea down because I wouldn’t remember it in the morning. I’d drift a little and wake again and repeat “get up and write that down!”  Finally, since sleep was not happening, I decided to get up and go in the studio and make that piece. 

As soon as I opened a package of PMC3 the next idea hit me! And then the next!  I ended up staying in the studio of several hours that night and finally had to stop and go back to bed when I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer.   

After sleeping late the next morning all I wanted to do was make jewelry, but there were too many other things to do that day. I had appointments and errands to run and it was a gorgeous day to be outside. The gardening bug was getting to me, too, and I really hated the idea of being inside on a pretty day. 

Then another idea hit me: Second shift! For the next week and a half I would go in the studio at about 5:00 in the afternoon and work until midnight or so. I recorded “Good Morning America” so that when I woke up around 9:00 a.m. I could pretend it was my usual time of 7:00. I’d work in the yard and do other things in the daylight hours. Perfect!  

It’s amazing to me that that one idea in the middle of the night broke the spell that had frozen my creativity for over 4 months. Then the idea to change my schedule so that I could accomplish all the things I wanted to do was just brilliant, if I do say so myself!  

After a while I went back to a normal schedule because I was not in such a manic creative mood once I got the first few ideas out. (This whole thing really confused poor Lola. Cats are very schedule oriented people!) 
I finished TWENTY SEVEN new pieces! My camera broke, so I only have my phone to take pictures with and it doesn’t do close-ups very well.

I took this one of some of my favorites from the batch when I was at the gallery the other day. I ordered a macro lens that attaches to my phone, so I’ll have more and better pictures when that arrives. I hope to get the Etsy Shop updated soon. Wow. Feels good to be back at it!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been!

Hi! It’s been a long time since I abandoned this blog and I’m not quite sure where to start again. I guess I should start at the beginning and see what happens. Or, start at what I thought was the end… semantics… anyway, here we go. 

At the end of 2012 I was tired, burned out, and overwhelmed. I had to let the blog go to focus on other things, and I’m glad I did. It had become more of a burden than a pleasure; I had the feeling that I was working my butt off to come up with interesting posts and not getting much in return. After all this time I realize now that it’s about the writing, not about the reading. It’s a perk to know that people out there in the ethers enjoy what I write, but I understand now that’s not what it’s about. 

2013 was a hell of a year.  At the end of January my property flooded and that scared the crap out of me. I was sure the water would get in the house, so I threw some things in the car, stuffed Lola into her carrier and drove to my neighbor’s property on higher ground. It was too late to drive across the bridge. I stayed in the car for 5 hours (with Lola yowling the entire time) until the water went down enough that I could get back to the house. No water got inside the house, but my front yard and driveway were washed away.  Many hundreds of dollars’ worth of gravel later the damage to the road and around the bridge was repaired and I had a guy dig some ditches to drain the water from the front yard.  Then, it happened all over again in July. Who knew rocks could be so expensive? The gravel/grading guy said “The rocks are free but it’s expensive to get them out of the mountain and over to your house.”  

Every time it rained I was afraid it would flood again.  These fears brought to the forefront just how isolated I am here, how increasingly difficult it is to keep up with things by myself, and how it’s almost impossible to find anyone to help, even if I offer to pay them.  I have one neighbor who used to help me all the time, but he’s been laid up with a couple of surgeries. The other neighbors are either too busy or incapable of understanding the meaning of being a good neighbor and doing someone a favor.
The combination of fear, anxiety and no support system led me to decide that the best thing to do would be to sell this property and move to a better location that wouldn’t terrify me if the skies turned dark.  At first I pondered moving off the mountain so I could be  closer to family, but I realized that (1) they’re all so busy they wouldn’t know I was there, (2) all my business relationships are here, and (3) my small group of close friends is here. I decided to stay in this area, but find some place out of the flood zone. And, it's just so GORGEOUS here!
I spent a large portion of the rest of the year purging, cleaning, painting, repairing and generally getting the house ready to put on the market.  I’ve been here 12 years and it’s amazing how much one person can accumulate. Lots of it went to the dump or to Goodwill.  All with the goal in mind to list it in the spring. Like now, but it hasn’t happened.  After looking online for months I’m disappointed to find that there’s nothing on the market that I even want to go look at, much less move to. Right now I’m too chicken to put this place on the market and risk having it sell when I don’t have even a clue as to where I’d want to end up, but that's what I might have to do.

There are so many factors to consider and it's stressing me out. I thought about getting some flood insurance and sticking around here for awhile, but I found out that it would cost me $1,000 to get a Certificate of Elevation from a surveyor, a document required just to get a quote for flood insurance. So now I feel trapped, too.

The beginning of 2014 has been strange. First, several appliances crapped out on me. The dryer had to be repaired, the washer had to be replaced and the furnace blower motor quit working. That took nearly two weeks for the part to arrive, and luckily I have gas logs that kept the house warm.
I usually spend the winter months in my studio building up my inventory for tourist and show season. This year I lost my mojo. I couldn’t work. It’s happened before but has never lasted this long and I’m starting to get worried.  I tried several times to force myself, but nothing would come out. I crocheted an afghan that kept getting bigger and bigger until I ran out of yarn after about a month. I packed up a lot of things in my studio in anticipation of moving and sold a lot of supplies that I knew I would never use.  I binge watched “Breaking Bad” and “Orange is the New Black”. I tried to trick my creativity by imposing deadlines. I solicited advice from fellow artists and received lots of tips for jump starting things and lots of opinions as to why this was happening.  Nothing worked until recently, but that’s for the next post.

So, I’m back. I feel like I took a detour and wound up right back where I needed to be. No promises as to how long this will last or how often I’ll post here, but this is the start of something new and right now I’m excited about it.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Am I Crazy, Or What?

Orchid from the Biltmore House, Asheville, NC

After way over a year, is there anyone at all out there who would still read this blog? I feel like I'm peeking around a corner to see if any of my friends are still here. I've had the urge lately to do some writing and I'm wondering if it's worth my time and effort, since I share most things on Facebook. What do you think?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Lately I Hate This Blog

I'm just not inspired to keep up with it. And when some time goes by without a post I feel guilty and it weighs on me, always in the back of my mind. I look at my stats and that's discouraging, too. Over the last 15 posts there have been an average of 14 views and exactly 7 comments. I really appreciate those of you that read and comment, but there's just not enough of you to make me feel like this is a worthwhile effort. So, I'm done. For now. I might be back, though, who knows? I'm at least done until next year.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Wrap It Up!

Have you been noticing the wrap bracelets that celebrities are wearing now? I looked them up and they're made by a designer named Chan Luu and they're extremely expensive. Hundreds of dollars.

Photos from
Then, I saw this bracelet on Pinterest:

Photo from
This one has the gemstones laddered between two lengths of leather cord like the Chan Luu bracelets, but also has sections of woven Chinese knotting cord, giving the bracelet a lot more color. Plus, it wrapped around the wrist five times! The list of "ingredients" and instructions for how to make one are on the website.

That got me thinking... I had some leather cord and lots and lots of beads to choose from. I didn't have Chinese knotting cord, but I did have a huge wad of tangled up embroidery floss in every color imaginable. I also had some silver buttons that I'd bought 20 years ago for some kind of project but had never used. You know where this is going, don't you?

This is the first one I made. I used random colors and some beads that seemed right.

I had so much fun making it that I made another one. This one I planned out and tried to use coordinating colors:

Things I learned:

  • Since the embroidery floss is cotton, not nylon like the Chinese knotting cord, I couldn't burn the ends and had to glue them. So the back is probably not as finished looking as the ones made with the knotting cord.
  • On the first one I used a single strand of black Nymo beading thread for the bead laddering. I was afraid this might not be strong enough, so on the second one I used a #2 beading cord.
  • I understand why the Chan Luu's cost so much. It took me a day and a half to make one of them, so the price of $150-$200 sounds about right to me. If you really, really want one I'd make another just because it was so much fun. Contact me and we'll negotiate price.
  • It's a good idea to only work on these when the cat is sleeping.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Two New Shop Listings

Here's my latest Etsy shop listings. I'm also using Blogger's new iPad app, and I can't see how to link to the shop, or the listings. So, look over on the right side bar and you'll see how to do that.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Happy Birthday To Me!

Last Saturday was my birthday, and I certainly felt special! My sister came to stay for the weekend and we did the tourist thing around downtown Boone, including a shop called the Art of Oil. They have olive oils and vinegars that you can taste and they'll recommend pairings. I brought home some of the pumpkin pie spiced balsamic vinegar, which should make yummy salad dressings this fall. Then we went out to dinner and came home, changed into our jammies, and watched a chick flick and drank wine.

After she left on Sunday some folks picked me up and we went to the movies. We saw "Lincoln", which I thought was excellent and I think there will be several Oscars from that film. All in all, it was the perfect birthday weekend.

The Trunk Show in Charlotte is shaping up. It will be at my friends Douglas and Kimberly's house in the University area on Saturday December 8 from 12:00-4:00 and Sunday December 9 from 12:00 to 3:00. If you need directions, contact me and I'll email them to you off this blog. We don't want her address plastered all over the internet.

It's also time for shameless internet self-promotion. I don't have the advertising budget that the big boys have, but I intend to use every free venue I can find to get my jewelry in front of people. Hopefully they'll think of me when they need that special gift of a one-of-a-kind piece of wearable art for someone. I plan to be quite visible.

Thanksgiving is coming up this week. I truly am thankful for all of you that take the time to read this little blog and I hope that you have a wonderful holiday. Don't eat too much turkey! But, if you wind up in a turkey coma you can always shop my etsy shop! (See? It starts already!)