Colorful | Fun | Free-Spirited Jewelry.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Time to Crawl Out from Within

"Hello World!"
Small Budling Saying Hello to the World
I need to crawl out from within. I've been going more and more into my small world and neglecting the bigger universe around me - not for any particular reason except that it's easier (as an introvert, it's just so much easier) but it's not necessarily better. All this introverted time I have been working on my business but not sharing it - it's time to share again.

So as this little budling ventures her way out of the tree stump I will venture out of my within. Spring is the best season for baby steps and new beginnings and I see the inspiration all around me. Stay tuned for more emerging...

Monday, August 8, 2016

I'm not sure if you are following my #handmademaker360 challenge over on Instagram (and that's *absolutely* okay if you aren't!) but the short story about it is that I haven't been keeping up on a daily basis, as I was hoping. And it's only the second month! Ohhh nooo, right? Well, I don't mind. I just wanted you to know this little bit of information. I don't mind.

I am old enough to know that even if I don't appear to be going in a single-minded straight and linear direction I am still going forward and that is what is most important. I am still working on, and thinking about, my Blooming Enamels almost all the time. It's just that there are other things to see and do too! So I say that I am still going forward in what I like to call - a curvilinear direction. It's a forward direction that allows for lots of scenic views along the way. :)

I have done a lot of independent traveling over the years and what I like most about it is the freedom to follow my plan but to also break it when needed so that I can see things that I never knew existed. How can I plan to see things that before stumbling upon them I never knew existed?! Some people call it distractions but I prefer the term - serendipity. Things I didn't plan for but am very lucky to have found.

So with my #handmademaker360 challenge I feel like my Cooper in the photo above. I'm facing forward, moving forward, but always aware of what else is around me and giving it a glance. I might take time to go off my path to see what it is that's around me, or I might not, but whatever I do, I am still moving forward and following along my path onto my bigger plan.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Moving Past Fears

I, not unlike a lot of people I think, were taught to approach life from a place of fear and worry about all the bad things that might happen. Or conversely, to be convinced of all the good things that can't or won't happen. It's a negative mindset of coming at life from a place of "lack" and not feeling capable or confident in oneself and not having faith or trust in the future.

For me this quote from Georgia O'Keefe attacks that place of lack so swiftly and adeptly. She acknowledges her fear and says, "Yes, I have it" (she even goes further to call her fear "terror") but then she continues on to say, "But it doesn't rule me." She says she knows is capable of moving past the fears and she does that in order to do everything she set out to do.

I strive to follow Georgia's example -- to have fears and worries but to separate them from confidence in my capabilities and actions I take toward dreams.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Smell So Good!

Mmmmm,the lilacs are in bloom! They smell so good. If I walk across the front yard I can't help but take in the sweet odor of the tiny flowers that pack a punch of an olafactory impact. Is there a lesson in here? Power can come in small packages maybe?

These lilacs are so delicate and feminine yet they accomplish their duty (of permeating the air with scent) better than most larger flowers. They don't deny their destiny and they also don't insist on it all year round. They have a very short and defined amount of time to do their thing. And they do it so well.

I have cut some branches and brought them inside. The house is full of lilac energy (competing with the even-more-delicate -- Lilies of the Valley -- but that's a story for another day). The energy in the house is good.

And if you didn't know -- lilacs are very hardy. You can cut them down and they will just keep on growing back. They will accomodate the space within which they are allowed to grow. They can grow tall or be kept low. They are easy-going, more concerned with their broad destiny that with little details. I like that.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Where it Began

It all started about 8 years ago for me when I was burned out from doing social work and I lamented to my ex-husband, "I just want to take pictures of pretty flowers!" Being an action-taker he said, "Well then do it!" This was the moment I picked up my camera and went outside to the lilac tree in my front yard and took this photo. I immediately felt a kinship with it as a new, fresh, budding blossoming creation that had all the potential in the world. This photo became the first greeting card I made when I turned my photography into something tangible. For three years after that I pursued flower and nature photography and making them into prints and art cards. After a while I started yearning for something more tactile and "crafty." I very randomly stumbled on a book about enameling and was attracted to all the bright and strong colors I saw. To me the small jewelry pieces in the book looked like the small bursts of color I loved when photographing flowers. I immediately bought the book and started learning. That was when my love of colors and flowers went from 2D photography to 3D enameling and Blooming Enamels was born.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

March Meet the Maker Challenge on Instagram

I am participating in a challenge on Instagram. (You *do* follow me on Instagram, don't you?? Blooming Enamels on Instagram) It's a challenge for the month of March called "March Meet the Maker" where I need to post something about me and my business every day. That way you can learn more about me and what I, and Blooming Enamels, are all about. (It's also a great way to get me into the habit of posting something E-V-E-R-Y day!) Here is the lineup of challenges to post:
March Meet the Maker lineup of days.
I think it looks interesting! Fun and interesting and I'm looking forward to it. And I've even already posted for my first day which you can see here: Day One - MMtM Challenge . 

I am now in my third year of working on Blooming Enamels and I can definitely feel things are coming together. Since I work full time in social work the coming together of BE is a little slower than it might be if I was working full time on BE, but things are coming together nevertheless. I'm glad to have the March Meet the Maker challenge to highlight that for me. 

If you would like to follow me on Instagram here is my page: Blooming Enamels on Instagram.

I hope you all have a creative and challenging March!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Midwest Craft Con 2016!

I just returned home from the Midwest Craft Con, which happened in Columbus this past weekend. It was great! It was a weekend packed with heavy hitters in the craft/art/maker business world including Abby Glassenberg, Tara Swiger, Mei Pak, Lisa Congdon and Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood (among others) with all of them offering up advice, guidance and support to do what I'm trying to do (grow my enamel jewelry hobby/business). It attracted about 150 other people (mostly women but there were some brave men too) who are also trying to make a go of it. It was full of positive energy and "can-do" attitudes -- which is always a good thing of which to partake! :)
Saturday morning's opening panel talking about The Future of Handmade.
 I have to admit, I didn't socialize too much. I know that sounds funny but it's what I needed to do. This was my first "Con" and being who I am, I needed to get the "lay of the land." So I basically kept to myself and observed. I drove down by myself, got a hotel room by myself and ate my meals by myself. Buuuut, I sucked it all in as much as I could possibly do! That's the thing with the quiet ones -- you never quite know what's going on and how crazy-busy it is inside their heads!
Tara Swiger from the Explore Your Enthusiasm podcast. 
So I took notes and watched and listened and registered things so I could learn and use it later (or sooner) -- and I'm ready to go. Ready to work on Blooming Enamels. I want to learn more about enameling and jewelry and business and putting it all together to do this thing I have called Blooming Enamels Jewelry. I feel so fortunate to have found torch-fired enameling as an outlet for my creative energy. If you would like to to know more about what I am up to I'm getting active on my Instagram account so you can go check things out over there. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Long Time No Write!

Wow, it's been a long time since I've written and I need to catch you up. A lot has been going on -- and that's a very good thing! First was the holiday season. I hope everyone had a good one in whatever way good means to you. For me, I spent some time with my small family but also worked at my day job as well. Since my day job is at a psychiatric/substance abuse hospital there is never a lack of work there (unfortunately) and it helps out my co-workers who have larger families (and young kids especially).

I also did some craft shows with the best one being the always fabulous Cleveland Bazaar Holiday Show at the 78th Street Studios. I've done that show before but this year the stars seem to have aligned for everyone because we all did well. It was so exciting and fun and rewarding. Maybe it was the weather, maybe it was the reputation Cleveland Bazaar is growing and maybe it was my new selection of colorful and happy enamel jewelry. :) Whatever the case I, and most other vendors I spoke with, did well. It was very nice and very affirming to know that my jewelry is liked and wanted by my customers. (Thank you so much!)

I rested in January (as January weather in northeast Ohio suggests we do!) and then last weekend I did the Cleveland Bazaar Valentine Show. Another great show! This time it was in a new venue -- the Lake Affect Artist Studios which turned out to be another wonderful, artsy and eclectic space in Cleveland. It's so nice to have Cleveland's art scene growing!

Which leads me to today -- and that's where the dandelion photos I've posted come in (you were wondering, right?) I took those macro photos a few years ago but they jumped out at me today to describe how I'm feeling with Blooming Enamels. I'm feeling hopeful, excited, energized, full of potential and unlimited. Similar to how those dandelion seeds must feel. They have waited patiently for the flower part of the dandelion to bloom and then die off and now it's their turn to come out and start their journey. The dandelion seeds are meant to catch the wind and fly off to another part of the field so they can spread their breadth. When maintaining perfect green lawns we don't like it but for wild fields and meadows the dandelion seeds are some of the most prolific growers. And since I much prefer wild fields and meadows I want to be like the dandelion seed. :)

So this year, 2016, I am excited to set my dandelion seeds free. It is my third year working on Blooming Enamels and I've had time to learn and do so much but now I feel ready to grow even more. I am exploring new opportunities, making connections and developing a support system and always working on creative ways to expand my products. I will tell you more about all those details in future posts but for now just know that I believe 2016 is going to be a year of exciting growth and I invite you to follow along with me as I document it. (And this is my pledge to write more and consistent posts!)

Hope you are having a great mid-winter-we're-almost-at-spring-so hold-on season.


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Wild Working Weekend

Last weekend I did all things enamel jewelry as I'm gearing up for the upcoming busy holiday shopping season and thought I'd share some of it with you. Sometimes I can become overwhelmed with the thought of the work I need to so but other times I get energized by it and I jump right in. I'm very happy to say that the latter is what happened last weekend. (And we hope it continues this weekend too!) And it's coming just in time because as of now I am set to participate in three craft shows and I'm also in stores and of course there is the Etsy shop to fill. Lots to do!

(At some point I want to do a proper post on my torch fire enamel jewelry making process but for right now I'll just show you the main points.)
Firing station with torch and exhaust fan. (Taking a break with Cooper).
All the fired pieces go here while they wait for finally assembly such as ear wires and chains for pendant necklaces.
Of course everything is organized! Half of the fun of making jewelry is the organizational system I need for it! :P
Cooper oversees the entire production and gets me back to work when I want to slack off. 
So it was a productive weekend getting lots of pieces underway and I'm hoping to continue it this weekend (and several more to come, of course). I hope you have a nice and productive weekend doing that which you do that you enjoy. :)

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Rocking the Red River Gorge

Geared up for the next adventure.
It's been a while, I know, but the impact of this the second trip of my summer hasn't left me. This trip was to (of all places) Kentucky -- and it was fantastic! I went to a place called Red River Gorge. I went with my backpacking group. We had a veteran among us who knew the place, but for the rest of us it was new.
That's me, heading off into the wild green yonder.
I've been told that Red River Gorge has the most natural arch formations after Arches National Park (one of my favorites!).

It also has lots of rocks to climb and scramble up:
I'm happy to be near the top.
Scoping out the task at hand. (Okay, I didn't tackle that one but next time I will!)
Scrambling up Indian Staircase:

And scrambling back down Indian Staircase:

And other sides of caves:
Group shot!
Need to rest every so often...
Lovely flora.
Amazing rock jumping!! (that's not me jumping but I *did* jump -- twice!)

Don't know specifically where I was but I loved being there.
Cool fauna.
Group shot.
We were able to do what every backpacker loves -- Cowboy Camping!
Camping without a tent -- under the stars.
So incredible to wake up to this view.
I have one more trip planned for this year (somehow didn't get in as many as I wanted!) which may be interesting since it will be in late fall when that white-stuff-that-will-go-unnamed could happen....

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Introducing ---- Cooper!

This has been a busy summer! I've just come back from a fantastic backpacking trip and I've been working on improving the house (both to be detailed in later posts) but most exciting of all is that I have a new child -- a new canine child! His name is Cooper -- and he is very handsome!
"I love my new haircut."
Cooper is 5 1/2 years old and he was an owner surrender. That means his family loved him very much but didn't feel they could take care of him as best as he needs so they made the difficult decision to let him go to someone else who could lavish him with love and attention -- and that someone is me! I'm so lucky. We are in love:
"You're my new mom!"
Cooper is a "Cocker Spaniel mix" but I suspect there might be some Welsh Springer Spaniel in him. He is a little bit bigger than a regular Cocker Spaniel and he has the red/orange coloring of a Welshie. But no matter, he's my boy. Cooper loves napping on the seat back cushions of the couch and when he does, and I'm there napping too, he likes to touch me while he sleeps. How cute is that?!
"Are you there, mom?"
"Don't go anywhere, mom."
 Coops also loves car rides - which is a great thing because I love taking him on errands!
"You can go faster, mom, I'm hanging on."
"I hope we're not going to the doctor."
"Turn left here, mom."
"Are you taking me to the doggy park?"
 He's a sweet, curious, sensitive, contemplative lover of a boy and I feel very lucky that he found me. 
"I hope mom gets home soon..."

Thursday, June 4, 2015

On the Trail 2015

The summer 2015 backpacking season has begun! A week and a half ago I finished my first trip of the year which was to circumnavigate Trout Run Valley in West Virginia. It was a three day hike covering 27 miles and, for me --- it -- was -- tough!

The whole trip was up and down, up and down and that was at an elevation of 2000 to 3000 feet and it was on incredibly rocky terrain:

But there were many gorgeous views:

And lovely flora too:

And of course fun around the campfire with the others:

I have a couple other trips planned for this summer but I'm hoping they won't be as tough as this one! In the end though, I did it and it was quite an accomplishment!

So now I'm on to more jewelry -- stay tuned!