Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Usually my life is pretty laid back and rather boring but lately I seem to be running in a hamster wheel and it doesn't take long for me to feel stressed. I jokingly call myself a hermit, but the true description is that I'm one of the world's biggest introverts. It's not that I don't like to be around people, I do! It just drains all my energy.

The two co-op galleries where I sell my jewelry reqire that I work there about two days a month, each, and I've picked up a couple of extra days working for some of my fellow artists. This means that I have to interact with people - potential customers - all day long. Last week I worked Tuesday and Thursday, this week I work Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. On Saturday I'll be participating in Carlton Gallery's Jewelry Trunk Show, so that day is full of people, too. Friday I HAVE GOT TO DO SOME YARD WORK. Monday is another play-date with Debbie Keen (last week got cancelled because her husband broke his leg) to finish up our resin pieces and perhaps make some more things with copper clay. Then, back in Main Street Gallery next Tuesday. Today was an opportunity to spend the afternoon over at Watauga Lake with a group of friends, but I just couldn't handle it. I needed a day away from people.

While I was prepping for the Carlton Gallery thing I realized that I've hardly made any jewelry this summer. That's usually the case as I make the majority of my jewelry during the winter. But I hardly made anything last winter, either, and inventory is mighty low. I have a two other shows coming up this fall and a few orders to fill and a class starting in three weeks. Now I can't seem to find the TIME to get in the studio and be creative!

I made this piece last August and it's still available in my Etsy Store...

All of this while Mercury is retrograde. For those of you who don't follow astrology, it's the Murphy's Law of astrological occurrences that happens about three times a year and lasts for about three weeks. It messes up communications and transportation can be tricky. If your car is planning on breaking down, it will do it during a Mercury retrograde period, for sure. I had to get another mouse nest removed from the dashboard of my car. If you make a plan, it will probably get changed or cancelled. For me it's also a time when I'm accident prone. I dropped a steel bracelet mandrel on my foot the other day. The swelling has gone down, but the bruise is now into my toes. I also split my left thumb nail the long way and it bled like a stuck pig. Then I burned my right thumb.

So for now I just have to remind myself to breathe, stop and assess the situation often, BE CAREFUL,  take one day at a time and get enough sleep. I also need to remind myself that, other than firm obligations like working in the gallery, I don't have to do anything that I really don't want to do, and many things can wait until a less stressful time.  This too shall pass.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Play Date

Rainy Morning Visitor

I took this yesterday morning. We've had soupy, foggy, weather and sometimes downpours and flood warnings for the last three days. The fabric things inside my house were feeling damp and the sheets on my bed felt like I was camping. But, today the sky is clear blue and the humidity has left. (Amazing how quickly things can change!) There's a little hint of fall in the air. It won't be long now.

Earlier this week I had a play date at my friend Debbie Keen's house. We mixed up a big cup of Ice Resin and I sealed some little pictures, pieces and parts in bezels for pendants. They had to sit for several hours to set up, so we're having another day here in my studio next week to finish the pieces and maybe play with some copper clay again. I'll post pictures when my pieces are finished.

It's really nice to have someone with similar interests to bounce ideas off of and to get to play with someone else's toys. It's also great to be able to share my things with her. Debbie had been to the Bead and Button Show and took several classes and showed me the projects she'd worked on. The bracelet from Anne Mitchell's class on "Low Tech Metalsmithing" was my favorite. Debbie's is similar to this one:

                                      Photo by Anne Mitchell

It's a combination of fused fine silver, silver metal clay, riveting and wire wrapping for a finished piece with lots of personality.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

One Last Butterfly Post

As soon as the wild sunflowers, asters and goldenrod start to bloom the Monarch Butterflies start showing up. Their migration between Canada and Mexico never ceases to amaze me. When they reach a final destination they'll cluster together on trees to keep warm.

Photo gratefully borrowed from US Fish and Wildlife

The garden is winding down. It's been so hot this summer that everything is looking parched and faded and I've neglected the weeding because of the heat. The annuals in pots need water twice a day sometimes. There's only a few things left in bloom and I know that in another 6 weeks or so we could have our first frost. I was out on my porch last night and the insects were very loud. I love the sound of a summer night. I'm not quite ready to let the garden go for the season, though. It's still lush and green here and I'm not ready to face another winter like we had last year.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

We Have A Winner! (Or Two...)

Thank you so much for your encouragement in the form of comments about my dilemma update post. The winner of the give-away is KIM MILES! Please email me, Kim, with your preference of bead color, thread color and size and with your mailing information and I'll get it right out to you.

If you're not familiar with Kim's work, you need to take a look at her website. (Click here) She makes the most gorgeous lampwork beads and buttons! It's a little embarassing to send her a necklace made out of little beads made in Japan, but it is what it is, and my whole purpose for the give-away in the first place was to jump start the Universe into helping me with some income. Here's a sample of Kim's work:
She and her husband live in a small camper trailer and are camp hosts in Oregon. She writes about the trials and tribulations of keeping a calm camp in her blog: Taking the Long Way Home.

Soooo... About that jump start... That store that I've been talking about?... She called today with a few questions and THEY'RE PLACING AN ORDER!! So that makes ME a winner, too! I guess I'll have to give away things more often, because this Woo-woo stuff really works. (But I already knew that...)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Dichroic Glass and Silver!

A couple of weekends ago I went to Franklin, NC to the huge gem, mineral and jewelry show. I bought a few of these gorgeous dichroic glass slides from Renaissance Glass based in Asheville and made the cute curly hammered silver bails. I've just finished listing some of them in my Etsy Shop and the rest will be listed tomorrow. I think Renaissance Glass makes some of the best dichroic glass I've ever seen. I hung the pendants from 16 inches of black rubber cord with a sterling lobster clasp. They're only $35.00, so click on the link above, or the widget to your right and snap one up for yourself! That would make both of us very happy!

Also, remember that entries for the give away of a necklace of glass beads knotted on silk thread are open until Tuesday August 10. See the previous post for all the details and leave a comment to be entered to win!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Dilemma Update and Give Away

Be patient with me, I think this is going to be a long post. But it's really worth reading to the end.

After much cajoling by friends, family and blog followers I got off my butt and put together a nice list of things that I could sell wholesale and still make a profit on. (More on that in a minute.) I called the woman on Monday and she didn't call back until Thursday, when she told me that she thought they might have enough jewelry right now. WHAT??? They're working towards a Grand Opening in a couple of weeks and she said that once they get the store set up if they had extra space she would get back with me. And, that they might place an order in September for October Leaf-Peeper customers and for the holidays. My behavior was much nicer than my true feelings were, and I told her I'd send her some print information - contact sheets with photos and order forms. So, now I'm back to wishing and hoping that they'll buy something, and wishing and hoping doesn't pay the bills.

Even though the logical thing to do was to come up with a line of jewelry just for them, (so I don't compete with the work I have in other galleries) there just wasn't time for that. What I decided was that there was one earring style that could go for almost half price and that my knotted necklaces on silk thread would work, too. Like this one:

Many of you are familiar with these. They were very popular when I first started making them about 8 or 9 years ago and I got carried away coming up with new colors and sizes. Now I make them in 8 colors, (purple, red, lime green, steel, amber, light blue, black and aqua) three sizes (16, 18, and 20 inches), on either black or white thread. That's 48 different possibilities. I bet I've made thousands of these things and I can almost make them with my eyes closed. Earlier this year I had thought about not making them any more because they didn't seem to be moving as well as they used to. I thought I'd sell out what I had in inventory and that would be it. I even took them off my Etsy Shop. Can you imagine making the exact same thing over and over for years on end? I'm reeeeally tired of them. Well, as the Universe would have it, they've been moving quite well this season so now I'm back at it. They're my little cash cow. The good thing is that they're portable and I can take the materials with me to work on when I'm at the co-op galleries and I can make them in the evenings while watching TV. My brainstorm (could you hear the thunder?) was that I could sell these to the gallery in question and maybe, just maybe, I could eventually phase them out of other shops.

So, here's the give away part: In order to jump start the cosmos into sending me some money, I'm going to give away one of these knotted necklaces to one of you lovely readers for putting up with my moaning and whining. The winner gets to choose the bead color, thread color and size. All you have to do is leave a comment to this blog post. If your comments are usually anonymous, please be sure I have your name somewhere. I'll pick a random winner next Tuesday, August 10th. Leave a comment now!