Tuesday, May 31, 2005

More family photos

Okay, here's some more photographic gems from our family visit:

Dad, Cathi, Scott, Allyson, Paul, Beau and Lady

Beau being his handsome self....of course I said the famous "squirrel" word to make him look at me so eagerly. :)

3 Generations: A dad, a son, and a grandson

Doggie Smooches!

Scott, looking too cool on a motorcycle...how do you like those $200 sunglasses? :)

These animals around here know who butters their bread.....Grandpa!

We've had a really fun visit - the kids have enjoyed spending time with their grandpa...this was the first time they have ever met Grandpa and Cathi, and they are 10 and 11, so this was quite an event for our family. Grandpa and Cathi leave today to head back to Colorado.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Visitors & Photos!

Wow - I can't believe I haven't posted since Thurs. I have visitors...my dad and his wife and my brother are all in town. I won't even look at my weight until a week or so after they are gone...LOL...been eating WAY too much, although I still am getting exercise, but not as much.

Anyway - I've been experimenting with my camera and taking photos of things other than jewelry, so I thought I'd share. This first photo is of a very large tree in my neighbor's yard - we call this the squirrel tree, because he feeds the squirrels right by it and they play on this tree all day.

I thought that was a neat shot of this portion of the tree which looks almost like a little chalkboard.

I don't have a garden or many flowers around my house, but many of my neighbors have beautiful flowers adorning their places. So I shot a couple photos of some of the ones I found pretty:

And then here are some of our little friends:

And here is one of our houseguests....this is BEAU, a beautiful Rottweiler/Lab mix. What a great dog - my kdis are having a ball with him!

And first thing my brother did when he got to town was purchase a new car. He bought a Dodge Neon SRT4 - Orange! Not sure how I feel about that color on a car, but I do love the actual color! Here's some shots of it:

We've been having a blast...I'll post more when I can!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Good MORNING World!

Ah, and what a beautiful morning it is here in West Tennessee! I thought I'd post a little update about my weight after my "sweet tea" discovery. I'm now at 157.5! Amazing, isn't it? Cutting the sugar in the tea - and cutting back on the amount of tea drank throughout the day - has really made a big difference.

I can't believe I've been struggling with this since Feb, and frustrated as hell, thinking there was something wrong with me...when it was only a wrong assumption and a simple drink...which turned out to be not as small and insignificant as I thought.

I've been able to become a bit trimmer this week because I have spent the past 2 days doing some heavy-duty house cleanup. My dad is coming in today from Colorado, and my brother comes in tomorrow. My dad will be staying about 3 days while my brother will be here for a week. We're having a "mini" family reunion of sorts...we haven't ALL been together like this in probably 15 years and my dad has never even "met" my children (his grandchildren) in person (they are 10 and 11). So I'm very blessed this get-together is occuring and I've been diligently preparing for it, and getting a TON more exercise from mopping, scrubbing, dusting and sweeping. :)

In the middle of all of this excitement, I'm thinking about my next Year in Jewelry piece for week 2. I'm actually going to attempt to make a sunflower cane, which slices of will then be used on finished jewelry items. So the cane will be the base of the project and then one of the finished jewelry items will be selected for week 2. If I get the rest of my cleaning done this morning, I'll be able to start on this project this afternoon before my company arrives.

Right now I'm getting ready for a walk - the weather here couldn't be more beautiful lately...cool mornings and nights and warm days. Flowers blooming everywhere, so their sweet scent fills the air. Colorful gardens are in abundance in my new neighborhood, and I am very grateful to be living here in such peaceful beauty.

Off for a walk I go! :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

YIJ - Week 1 (Spider Pendant)

Spider Pendant, Polymer Clay, Chrysanthemum Pattern, Prisma Collection, One of a Kind Piece -- Buy Now!

A Year in Jewelry (YIJ)...The Challenge Described

I saw where a group of artisans were having a unique challenge called "A Year in Jewelry". So I decided to set up my own personal challenge for my own year in jewelry.

Each week, I will create and share a new design here for my entry into my own "Year in Jewelry" challenge. Sometimes the work may have a theme or be based on a simple word, or it may be based on a color or style.

The subject line will reflect which week entry it is, and by looking through my blog archives you will be easily able to see each entry by the subject line "YIJ - Week 1" or "YIJ - Week 2", etc. The subject line for each week will be linked to the page to buy the piece of jewelry if it is available.

This should be fun! I'm going to make my spider pendant (below) entry #1 to get myself started.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Has a life breathed easier...

...because I have lived? I was studying the poem below by Emerson and this line stood out to me:

"To know that one life has breathed easier because you have lived."

I wonder if anyone has breathed easier because I have lived. I think so. I've offered such positive and good encouragement to people who have gone through some pretty rough times. I'd like to think that encouragement helped them "breathe a little easier" at the time.

I often find it interesting that it seems when I need encouragement, no one seems to be there at the time. But then, I must accept responsibility here - I don't often TELL anyone that I need encouragement. So how are they to really know? They can't.

I don't tell others most of the time because of the responses I've gotten in the past when I have tried to express my feelings. For some reason in my "real life" I seem to be surrounded by people who like to brush me off, act like I don't exist, or basically who tell me I don't know what I'm talking about. Like my mother for instance...she is a key person who does that to me and it really hurts. (she's also the one who told me my tea had about 50-60 calories per glass...yet *I* don't know what I'm talking about...:))

It's my own fault for putting up with it and listening to it. And I really have done good about eliminating people who treat me like crap from my life. But when it comes to family, it's much more difficult to do that.

I guess that's why I've become reclusive over the past 10 years. I have seen the real world as an ugly place for me to be in...so I became reclusive and have created a beautiful, quiet atmosphere to live in for myself, and I spend my days creating beautiful things from blocks of clay. I wonder if that's the motivation behind other artist's work?

The catch 22 is that in order for me to reach my goal of selling my work and making a decent living from it, I have to promote myself, therefore becoming less reclusive. Perhaps that's the block which has been holding me back.

And then when I do promote myself (my work which = my self), I feel like I come across as "too self confident"...then I get to feeling guilty about that, because I'm really NOT that self-confident. I really depend on others opinions of my work (either their comments or the purchasing of my work) to "boost" that self-confidence level for me. I wish I could get to the stage where I just put the work out there at places it will be seen and I don't have to promote it and the work would sell itself. Maybe I should just try that....just put the work on the site or on the auctions I might do and tell what it is, without the "promo" aspect involved. I wonder what would happen?

Anyway, some how I've rambled on and now it's time to get some serious exercise and mow the yard. Company is arriving in 2 days and I still have a lot to do to get my place ready!

What is Success?

What is Success?
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics
And endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty
To find the best in others,
To leave the world a bit better;
whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
To know that one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.

I can't do it...

Or I guess you can say I am *not willing* to do it...drink my tea without sugar that is.

Now keep in mind, I used to use Sweet n Low all the time and was fine with it. But I've had it only very occasionally for the past several years. Guess what? I don't like it anymore! BLECH!

Last night, I got up and put 1/2 cup sugar in the tea pitcher. Normally I'd make the tea with 1 cup of sugar. With 1/2, I definitely noticed a difference, yet it still tasted better than with Sweet and Low.

So - new plan. Now that I realize my calorie intake mistake, I'm going to decrease the sugar by cutting it in 1/2, and I'm going to decrease the amount of tea I allow myself to have. Consider the tea a "special treat" (which it is...I didn't realize how much I missed it until I did without it for 24 hours!).

So, water is going to become a new best friend. I've been drinking water all along - but I would choose the tea first over water. That's changing...now I'm going to choose the water first and ONLY have the tea as a special treat once or twice a day, and since I now know the correct amount of calories, those will be figured into my daily intake.

Monday, May 23, 2005

No Sugar in my tea & I've gone BUGGY!

I've gone BUGGY!

The last of the Fall Chrysanthemum pattern I made now graces the bodies of these 2 creatures. See what happens when I have no sugar in my tea?

GUILTY! Mega, mega mistake......

I admit it - I'm guilty. Of what? Miscalculating on calories. And boy oh boy, now I know WHY this weight loss hasn't been working. Yes, I've been counting my FOOD calories right. And most of my drink calories, too. Except one...

My iced tea. Which is sweetened. In this pitcher of iced tea I make every day, I add 1 cup of sugar. I "assumed" (wrongly), that I was was receiving approximately 200 calories a day from this pitcher of tea I drink throughout the day. OH NO.........I just did some research and discovered because of the sugar in the tea, I'm getting about 500 more calories per day than I was calculating!!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not only that, but there are reports about sugars/insulin levels and how your body reacts to all of that. Controversial reports, but enough to say, hey, why I am I taking on these empty calories?

That's it - starting TODAY - it's Sweet -n-low time. I'm going to the store this morning to get some and there will be no more sugar in the tea I drink.

I still cannot believe I didn't calculate this out right and I just "assumed". Now we'll see if this change helps.

Also, I'm upping the amount of exercise I do in the morning. I'm doing cross training now - first I do a 1.20 mile walk as fast as I can, then I jump rope for about 2-3 minutes. This morning I added the floor abdominal exercises, then rode my bike for about 5 minutes, then went up and down the stairs 10 times. When I finished, I had been exercising for 43 minutes straight and I was sweating and out of breath. I'm going to do this new schedule every morning and I'm still going to do my afternoon 1.20 mile walk as well.

I still can't believe that about the tea. UGH.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Paring it down

After my little clean up episode, I decided to pare down to my main goal with what I am doing here.

My purpose is to make jewelry, and sell it. That's it. Relatively simple.

Because I used to want people to like me, I would give away free information, articles etc. However, it doesn't pay the bills, especially when none of that increases sales. Therefore, I'm not going to do that anymore.

I've thought of writing articles for the mags - but somehow I don't think that will work for me, because I think there are many better teachers out there than me, and because I can't see myself making an income on that. I'd make better income on a how to booklet....

HOWEVER - a how to booklet's success depends on people who really want to know HOW TO do what you are doing. Rarely does a person ask me how I've done something. So the how to booklet is also not happening at this point. If I get enough requests to where I consider this viable, I might do it.

I had considered getting my jewelry in mags and was even asked to send a piece in. However, there is no payment for that either, other than exposure. It may generate increased jewelry sales and it may not. It's "iffy". Therefore I've decided not to do that either.

I want to make jewelry and sell it. In order to sell it, I have to market it. But in order to sell it well, I have to market it to the right market....and I don't feel marketing to other artists is how to do it. Yes, that does generate a few sales - especially of my focal beads. However, in regards to my finished jewelry pieces, my marketing needs to be to people who wear finished jewelry items and who are not designing their own finished jewelry items.

So in paring down my thoughts on doing this and that, I have come to the main conclusion my goal is to make jewelry and sell it. Just saying it over and over gets my mind set in the right mode for design and target marketing.

Clean Up Time

Every once in a while, I decide to clean up things. Today, I cleaned up my website and took off several things that no one seems to care exist. First thing I took off was this blog. I get about 5 views per day average, and I know who at least 4 of them are from. They aren't coming from my website, so I took that column off my menu. No sense in having it there if no one's looking at it!

Then I took off my Healing With Color free e-book page. Once again, no one seems to be looking at it, so why clutter the site with it?

I took off the news and events page, because I don't really have much news and events. I took off links on how I make my detailed beads, because once again, no one is looking at those. I then took a big step and took off my newsletter, which only one person has mentioned the entire time I've been sending it out. I might still do the newsletter every so often, but what's the point in taking the hours it takes to put that together if no one cares about it? My time can be better spent elsewhere.

And I took off the trunk show page on my site, because that is outdated since the show is over.

Now, my site looks "cleaner". There's not "too much" info on there, which seems to boggle people. Basically there's jewelry for sale, a little about me, how to order retail and wholesale and that's it. What more does there need to be? You hear all the time you need to have all this "extra stuff" on your website to get traffic. Well, I've had the extra stuff and it's not getting traffic. Maybe I didn't have the right extra stuff. All I know is it was looking cluttered.

Now I didn't delete these pages TOTALLY. I can bring them back up at any time, and if someone was looking and noticed they are gone, maybe they will say something.

I have learned something very valuable this past year - if you're doing something and it's not working for ya, then why do you keep doing it? Good question! So I've stopped doing the things or including things that don't seem to be working. Now I will keep doing my blog, because it's a way for me to express myself in journal form and I truly enjoy it. It's just not linked from my website anymore.

I started Leo Jewelry and the marketing of my polymer clay jewelry this past January. I have read you have to work at your craft and give it three years to see if it's going to work. I will continue this adventure for that time and continue marketing my business.

I am thinking of trying ArtbyUs auctions with some of my pieces. There are no fees at this point. So I might try it and see what happens with a few items.

I'm also going to continue my postcard marketing to former customers and boutiques to try to gain their business. It's colorful and inexpensive marketing...also short, sweet and to the point. I did finally make up some full color business cards this weekend. So I now have something in my purse to hand anyone who might happen to ask about my jewelry.

I just felt it was time to de-clutter and simplify things. I'll be doing my house and office this week as well, because I'm having company in town next weekend. Out with the old, in with the new! :)

A Hidden Treasure in Jackson, TN

Yesterday was a busy day for me and the children. First we went to the dog show here this weekend. That was fun and informative, and I loved seeing all of the different breeds up close and personal.

Then we went to a local horse farm which was having an open house. This place is a HIDDEN TREASURE and just 2 minutes from my house! I never even knew it existed. Since my daughter has been wanting to learn how to ride for years, I feel so blessed to have found this place. Plus, the owner's attitude is one I like. She is careful and cautious with her students, and she is a very positive person. The whole environment is very positive and uplifting. My daughter loved it there and wants to sign up for their day camp this summer. I think this will be a good thing to help her develop self-confidence and self-esteem.

Anyway, if you live in Jackson, TN and want to see this hidden treasure yourself, it's Dogwood Stables and their website is http://www.dogwoodstablesjackson.com

Ever changing world

It's amazing to me how much the internet has changed since I first got on it, oh gosh, 8 or so years ago. I was just amazed at the wealth of information available, and still am in most cases. What has changed is the people. It's amazing to me how you can have supposedly, hundred's, thousands, even millions of people "out there" who are seeing your existence, yet only a few make that known.

For instance, you try to start a discussion on a "discussion list" or participate in one, and you end up feeling like you're just talking to yourself. Or you get smart ass replies (yes I've had 3 of those in recent days, so I'm kind of peeved about that issue). It brings me back to the old addage - if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. Which perhaps it is why I feel like I'm talking to myself...very few, if any, have anything nice to say, so they don't say anything at all. And then there are the few who must smart off to you....that "tone" is evident in the email.

And then there are those people you take your time to write to and see how they are doing, and they 1) never reply, or 2) three months later reply. I've even had a reply to a letter I wrote to someone 9 months ago! Do you know how much my life has changed in 9 months? What does that say? It says "You're not important enough to me for me to take the time." I appreciate those few who do write me back when I write to them - they are truly jewels in this ever-changing internet world.

It's rather interesting because it used to be the "real world" that behaved more that way...which is why I turned to the internet to begin with....more caring, more compassion, more sharing and discussion was being held on the internet than in the real world, which was becoming a nasty place to live. Now what I'm discovering is the internet is taking on the qualities of what I experienced in the real world many years ago.

So I've been gradually stepping back into the real world after 8 years of absence from it. I'm finding a little bit (little...not a huge difference, but a little) more of those things in the real world which are now missing in the virtual one. I guess that's a positive thing! Yet it means it's time to change again. Our ever-changing world...sigh...sometimes I'd just like to freeze those wonderful moments in time, you know?

All that's new in Jai-Land

First of all, some new work is available in the Prisma Collection I've started. Bright colorful work using polymer clay canes, which I'm now learning how to do.

My goals...the ones I posted below all came to pass for day one and I've been making goals each day, but don't want to bore anyone with them here, so I'm not posting them.

I now weigh 159, so that's another 1/2 pound gone. I still wish that would move along faster and I don't understand it, but I've about given up trying to figure it out. I'm doing my part with the calories and exercise and if my body is being stubborn, then so be it. There's nothing else I can do except surgery and I don't have the money for that. Well I guess I could do some imagery...I haven't tried that yet.

So there's the update!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

10 Just For Today

I've titled this post "10 Just for Today" because that is the amount and way I want to present my daily goals. Each day, the 10 may change. Just for today keeps me focused on staying in the now - not regressing to the past or drifting off into the future.

My 10 goals just for today are:

1) Market my business
2) Increase sales by one order
3) Make something new
4) Cut my food portions in half
5) Exercise 3 times at three different intervals during the day
6) Spend 3 hours of "personal time" doing something just because I want to.
7) Say thank you to someone for something
8) Make a point of telling another artist what I like about their work
9) Go to the vet to get the animals monthly flea treatment
10) Drink 2 additional 32 oz glasses of water during the day

I pledge to do my best to reach these goals today!

Long Term Goals

In thinking of my goals, I came up with some specific long term goals, which I will post just this once, and review occasionally, as I'm sure I will want to revise them.

1) Experience $40,000 per year profit from my sales.
2) Experience peaceful, easy-going days.
3) Experience the joy of fitting comfortably into size 9 clothing.
4) Experience both personal & business relationships which are healthy and fun to be involved in.
5) Experience self-acceptance and love.
6) Experience the joy of making a difference in someone's life.

Those are my ultimate, long-term (within the next year) goals.

Your body believes every word you say...

...plus every word someone else around you says...plus I feel it believes the energy you FEEL from other people (regardless of whether they "say" anything) as well as from events.

Now I've known this for a long time. Apparently I chose to "forget" about this factor in my recent years. Now that I'm aware of it again, it's time for some changes.

Example: I grew up believing I was ignored. Everything creative I did was shared, and it was brushed off....it was like I got no reaction from those around me, no support, no encouragement. So I've spent my life waiting (weighting) to be seen and acknowledged. Notice how my 2 biggest issues (my jewelry career and weight loss efforts) are intertwined there.

For some reason, I have people in my life who see me as a "loser". Sometimes they say something (like one did yesterday) and many times they don't...but I pick up on their general feeling. These words, and this energy, are seeping into my system daily. Not only that, but I have been attempting to "lose" weight and "weighting" for it to happen (these are thoughts in my mind...using those exact words). Which is me telling myself I am a loser (on one hand), yet I have excess weight...therefore I am contradicting myself. I have NOT been losing the weight like I should, yet I'm doing all the right things. And the other important area in my life (jewelry career) feels like it's a loser, because of lack of proper sales and very little physical response (a response I can see and feel) to my work.

So it's time to make some mental changes here in the way I think, the way I talk to myself, plus my OWN belief system -- and on top of that, I need to discover a way to block the negative energy (you're a loser mentality) from others.

The word "goals" has been popping up in my mind a LOT over the past week. I admit, I have general goals in my mind, but nothing specific. And I am well aware of the Law of Attraction, although I admit, I have not been conciously practicing it. "What you think about comes about." It's real simple....and very easy to do, since I have the ability to choose what I want to think about. WHY I haven't been paying attention to this, I don't know, but I am aware of it now and it's time to pay attention.

The first thought I'm putting out of my mind is the "lose weight" thought. Which will also help with my "loser" belief that's embedded in me. Starting today, I am going to GAIN a healthier body and more attractive figure. Each bit of food I eat gives me ENERGY. The exercise I am doing enables me to be LIGHTER, to do things more EASILY, and to fit in my clothing COMFORTABLY. Not only that, but because I am becoming THIN AND TRIM, I get to buy NEW CLOTHING. I buy this new clothing which fits my TRIM FIGURE better with the money from my INCREASED SALES of my jewelry. All of this makes me FEEL BETTER about how I look when I go out and I can wear my jewelry with PRIDE, which will then create more INTEREST in what I have to offer the world.

Wow - long paragraph there. Filled with a plethora of words I desire to fill my mind with. Let's take a look at the key words: Gain energy, lighter, easily, comfortably, thin & trim, new clothing, trim figure, increased sales, feel better, pride & interest. I think that self talk is quite a bit better than what I was thinking before! Now if I put these thoughts in my mind, and speak those words, and focus on them intensely - THOSE are the things I will receive in my life. In looking over the list, I believe all of those are things I wish to have in my life.

Now...what to do when someone ELSE is dishing out negative comments or feelings. This is a challenge. The only way I can think of to counteract that (in addition to mentally saying "cancel cancel" to their thoughts and energy), is to take what I am getting from them, and conciously turn it around into a statement (spoken or just in my mind) that I desire to focus on.

For instance, let's say someone has just made a comment about that all of this work I'm doing is not generating any income. (despite the fact it is generating SOME income, but perhaps it is not comparable to the $1000 sale they just had) Now I can do what I've been doing - internalize this and see myself as a loser, especially comparing my low sales to their high sales. Or I can tell them - or just myself - a statement which says "the new marketing I'm doing this month is generating a great increase in my sales." So rather than internalize their subtle criticism and take it on as my own, I can choose to create a NEW thought to put in my head and repeat over and over to myself. Sure sounds better than "you're a loser"!

Now let's address this issue of "weighting" for things to happen. No more! If I keep doing that, I'll be in constant "weight mode"...detrimental to my sales and my body. It's time for me to focus each day on MAKING things happen. And I'm not talking about "making" other people do anything....I am not in control of that. But I am in control of making myself do things to move forward toward my goals. Which is the next issue to address...goals.

Goals - I need some specific ones. I have my general goals (to be successful, look better, feel better and be happy with my work and personal life). Those aren't specific enough. So I'm going to make a list of specific goals and/or statements which I can focus on daily.

Basically it's time to take out the trash in my mind, dust off the shelves, and put some new shiny things which sparkle with the joy of life in place.

Back soon........:)

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


If you click on that tiny image above, you'll uncover a treasure - the 32 images I am offering in my 2005 Nostalgia collection. Yes, I finally completed this major product update yesterday, and now site visitors can choose their jewel, choose their image, and choose their base color.

Why nostalgia? Think about it...with all the negative "stuff" going on in our world today, looking back as past images and artwork really offers a "feel good feeling". Kind of warm, cozy, safe. Sweetness and fun. Colorful. Wearing one of these pieces throughout the day is somewhat comforting. The next best thing would be sitting on grandma's porch, sipping a soda on ice, and watching the birds at the feeder...a quiet place, even in the heart of town. Gosh I miss those days.

Exercise Tip for the Busy People of the world

I discovered it yesterday...someone suggested it and I thought, oh why the heck not try it. And it worked - because I ate a HUGE omelet yesterday and I just KNEW I was probably going to add 2 pounds back on afterwards. Not only did I not put any pounds on, but I actually lost the 1/2 pound which had already crept back on. All from one little thing...something I used to do all the time when I was a kid.....


That's right! I purchased a jump rope for $1...and jumped rope for a minute or so at a time on and off a couple of times throughout the afternoon and evening yesterday. That was in addition to my 2 daily walks.

So there's been no omelet disaster, plus I lost a 1/2 a pound quick. I proceeded to research this today and this is what I read:

"Jump rope. Don't smirk. Jumping rope isn't only for little girls in pink dresses and pigtails. Jumping rope is a fantastic way to get cardiovascular exercise while staying in the comforts of your home: five minutes of jumping rope has the calorie-burning power of jogging one mile. Of course, we're talking about REAL jumping rope action-going quick and not doing those little "double hops" in between each turn. If you don't know what we're talking about when we say "real" jumping rope, rent Rocky and learn from the master."

Now, keep in mind, getting 159.5 pounds over this little rope isn't easy...and I *did* do the double hops they mentioned. Plus I did single skipping action too. I couldn't do very many at a time and the little bit I did do really put me out of breath and broke a sweat quickly. Like anything, I'll have to work myself up to doing more at a time. But for these kind of results and for a QUICK way to burn those extra calories, I'm all for it.

Monday, May 16, 2005

A hatpin & a thought

Custom Opalescent Hatpin!

Today I thought I'd share a photo of this custom opalescent hatpin I just completed. I've never made a hatpin and thanks to some valuable input from a few members of the guild (http://www.jewelrydesignersguild.com), I was able to come up with something I feel is unique as well as pretty. I specifically included the darker photo so you can see the detail in the material...there is a floral design present. To see additional photos and a description, click on the photo.

And a thought crossed my mind. I was thinking of why it is so important to me to make my own jewelry (or other artistic things...as I have made everything from books to art to home decor). It's important to me because I want to leave a piece of me "behind" in this world after I go. Think about it...100 years from now, I'll just be a blip of a faint memory in our universe. By making the things I make, and signing my name to them, I hope to leave something behind that someone can pick up 100 years from now and say "Boy, that's beautiful."

Plus there is so much non-beautiful stuff going on in our world today, I feel if I can add in some beauty in my own little way, it might offset some of the bad stuff. Perhaps something I make might cause someone to smile. Perhaps something I do might make a difference in someone's day. I know, as an artist, I appreciate it very much when someone takes their time to make an effort in my day.

Being an artist is very lonely. It's the most lonely, isolated thing I've ever done. And strangely enough, it's also the most satisfying and self-fulfilling. I have the worst feeling in the world and the best feeling in the world present in me each and every day. Both offset the other. Balance - that's something I said I needed in my life. Well, I guess I've got it - in the most extreme way possible.

Night night, friends. Tomorrow is a new day. It will be filled with new thoughts and new things and new creations. I'm grateful for the gift of tomorrow...and also thankful of the passing of this day.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Here comes the rain......

AGAIN. Well, at least I managed to get one walk in before it hit. Maybe it's just a passing storm, and will move on out so I can do more walking later.

The scale was friendly this morning! I'm still 159.5. Cool. I say that because I ate Mexcian food at lunch yesterday. But I got my shrimp quesadilla (250 calories) and I ate the chips and dip VERY SLOW, so I ended up eating less. Plus I had only 1/2 a portion of cereal at breakfast yesterday. Still, I expected to go UP in weight and was pleased I didn't.

Hey, here's something neat I did last night...I cut up a fresh green pepper, mushrooms, and fresh carrots. Brushed them with olive oil and sprinkled Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb seasoning on them, then grilled the whole concoction on the George Foreman grill for 7 minutes. YUM. I munched on a plate full of those for supper, and they were nice and SPICY (didn't even TASTE like vegetables!). Then I had a piece of whole wheat whole grain bread with just a smidgen of strawberry jam on it for a "dessert" item. And I was comfortable. Th spicy vegetables caused me to drink another big 32 oz cup of water, too.

I had energy after that, and about an hour and a half after eating, I got down on the floor and did 100 exercises for my abs, and 30 leg exercises for each leg. I think I'll add those in at least 5 nights a week from now on and maybe that will speed things up.

My weight goal, btw, is 135. I'd be very pleased with 140, but I really want to get down to 135 and being that certain times of the month I bloat up and stuff, that would in essence make me "float" between 135-140 range and that would be fine.

So when I started, I was 170 (or maybe a pound or two more...I didn't have a scale). Now I'm 159.5, and I need to get to 135. So I'll map this out like this: 170/159.5/135 (started/am now/going to)

Oh I finished MORNING MIST yesterday and wore the set out. Had one lady tell me she loved my opal set, so I guess I did pretty good simulating these! Here's a photo of the set...click the photo to look at the pieces in detail on my site:

I have to admit, this is one of the best sets I've done in the Vogue collection so far. It literally looks like "fine jewelry".
I picked up a mag yesterday with several ads for quaint fashion shops in the area. I'm going to prepare an advertising postcard and start mailing it to these shops, hoping to get some wholesale orders. I'm going to work on my shop database today and postcard too. Then I have an idea for some new pieces in the Nostalgia collection....:)

Friday, May 13, 2005

Fabulous Friday!

I woke up feeling motivated today. Of course, I *finally* got under that 10 pound mark on my weight loss. Now I'm into the next 10 level. I watched Oprah's show yesterday and that was very encouraging. This morning I went over there and joined some of the boards...maybe participating in a community of people who are going through the same thing might help even more.

This morning I've already done a walk. It's beautiful outside today - hooray! I have to go to the grocery store later...and I am thinking salad, fresh fruit, and vegetables. Whole Grain too.

I made some opal pieces yesterday for the next set in my VOGUE line. I'm calling it "Morning Mist", because the sparkling light colors remind me of the sun hitting the dewdrops on the grass early in the morning.

I'm having the most trouble with ring bases. I'm trying to make my own base, in addition to using a pre-fab brass filigree base I've used for years. It's been very frustrating but I'm going to try ONE MORE TIME this morning to get it right on my own. I want something simple, easy to make - not something I have to struggle with so much. I did check on prices from a manufacturer who appears to have some cool bases...the prices are good but the minimum order is $75, and I just don't have it right now to spend. :( But I'm keeping his email with pricing...if I make some sales in the next week or so, I can perhaps raise the money to place an order.

Rings are something I've always wanted to make, because I love and collect them myself.

349 people have viewed the Autumn Splendor set. Four people have sent me their comments, which have been good. I wonder what the other 345 people think? LOL It's depressing to think that many people might NOT like the set. I know that's not the case though...many times, people just don't take the time to tell you what they think about something new you share.

I always try to tell other designers what I think about their new work. I miss some emails and don't get to comment, but I'm usually pretty good about that, because I know how much encouragement means in this lonely business. Lonely for me, because I only sell my pieces over the net right now...I don't get out and do shows yet.

I would love for some shops to order wholesale from me and carry my work in their place. That's where I'm trying to get to with these new lines I've developed of jewelry which can be "repeated". I'll never stop doing the one of a kind pieces though...that's where I really have a blast and just let go.

Anyway, off to eat my handful of Cheerios and get a shower. Later Gator!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Thursday already?

Man, I can't believe it's *Thursday* already! Yesterday I made a few more fused pendants with the fall colors of the set below. You can see them at this link: http://tinyurl.com/eyn9p

That "fusing" technique is so much fun! Today I plan on working on some more opal work for the Vogue line. This working on a "line of jewelry" is quite the project...unlike my one of a kind pieces, this takes more planning, more time. I expect it is something which will never be "finished", but which will keep evolving instead.

On my weight issue...I've now dropped another 1/2 a pound and am back where I was last Wed. We'll see if I can keep going DOWN now instead of back UP. I ate so light yesterday...I only ended up with having 750 calories and I walked 2.40 miles. I'm going to strive for the same thing today. I've already walked once...it's a gorgeous morning here.

On my walk I saw the most beautiful flowers by someone's mailbox. I don't know what kind they are, but they gave me another great idea for a fused design.

Well, I'm off of here to start my day and get busy! Later!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Knock Knock......

Anyone home? I ask that because that's the way I feel sometimes. You share a new piece of work with the world, especially on mailing lists where sharing new work is usually a daily thing from someone, your counter shows 56 people have looked at it since last night when you put it up, but no emails/comments? That always bums me out, especially when it's a new technique I've tried and I would LOVE to have some feedback on the pendant, the design scheme of the necklace, etc.

Funny thing was, on this set, I originally almost scrapped all the material because it wasn't turning out like I thought. But then I thought, oh no, you never throw away polymer clay...save it...it will have a use. The next day with "fresh eyes" I woke up and had a different idea, and it pulled together into this:

Now myself, I find it rather attractive. I think it looks good on Belle, who is, btw, my new $6.79 model I picked up at Hobby Lobby! I was so excited to find her...I've been looking at these heavy stone looking busts for a while but I could afford the $40-$60 prices they carried. I saw Belle when I first came in...she was on the top shelf of an aisle I was passing by. I started to go down the aisle but there were two employees on ladders kind of in the way, so I went and did the rest of my shopping. I came back later and the employees were gone. Belle was on the top shelf and I knew she'd be very expensive...imagine my surprise when I saw $6.79 on her tag! SALE, it read!
So I took off every sculpture in front of her, stood on my tiptoes (I'm only 5' 2", I can never reach anything on top shelves...sigh), and gently eased her toward me. She was heavy! But I managed to get her to the register and strapped her in the seatbelt in the car on the way home. And she is now my newest display!
I guess I manifested her, as I've been thinking for a long time, there must be a model out there I can buy for a steal! And she finally came to be. Now if I could just do the same with my weight....sigh.
Two days ago, I posted about my frustrations with this. I was up two pounds. Monday, I ate about 900 calories and walked 2 miles. Got up yesterday and was one pound less (but still one pound UP from the Sunday weight). Yesterday I had about 1100 calories, and push mowed this yard....2 hours of pushing and sweating and walking probably several miles by the time it was all done. I still weigh the same. UGH
Monday when I was so frustrated I went to Ediets and took their profile quiz. My result was that I need to lose about 30 more pounds to be healthy, and that I can do that by eating 1200-1300 calories a day and exercising....and they wanted me to pay a fee to learn more. Well, I didn't pay the fee, but did sign up for their tips newsletter. I mean, I am already *doing* what they said...and it does not appear to be working the way it should.
Monday when I was in the store (which I walked to rather than drove!), I was talking with the clerk there about this weight thing and this man nearby said "Keep it up, one day soon it will just start dropping off." I looked at him and said "Yeah, but I've been doing this 12 weeks already and it's frustrating me." He nodded and said "I know, but I'm telling ya, it will start dropping off really soon here." I wondered after I left the store, perhaps he was an angel, bringing me a message? So I'm going to follow his advice...:)
Today I plan to walk a couple of miles. I'm getting ready to do one walk now...it is supposed to be 90 degrees here today, and I don't want to walk when it's that hot. So I figured I'd do one walk now while it's cool, and then another this evening after it starts to cool off again.
So those are my morning thoughts over coffee......:)

Monday, May 09, 2005

So much for that!

Well, so much for the walk. I got ready to go and went outside to see the pouring down rain begin. GRRRRRRRRR

Ready to GIVE UP!

Give up on what? On everything. Sigh.

Obviously, I'm not feeling too great today. It started with getting on the scale. I don't know *what* is going on with me but this weight is just NOT coming off, no matter what I do. For 3 months, I've stayed at an average of 1200 calories a day, plus I've been adding more and more exercise into my day. And over 12 weeks, I had only lost 10 pounds, which is LESS THAN a pound a week.

For my mother's day dinner, I chose grilled catfish (no breading...very healthy, low calorie), a salad, one tablespoon of corn, one measley potato skin, and one biscuit. I had eaten my normal breakfast (cereal/coffee = 250 calories). Other than that, I had the dinner. That was it for yesterday. No beer. I was comfortably full, but didn't over stuff. And I walked 2.40 miles...the day before I had walked 3.60 miles and eaten 1090 calories for the day.

And this morning I'm UP 2 pounds. Does that make any sense? to me it doesn't!

Even the progesterone cream isn't working this time around. It's helping with other female related things, but not helping with the weight near as much as it did before when I was using it.

Someone said I might have a thyroid problem....and I might. But how would I know without going to a doctor, and probably having to take meds or herbals for it. Which.....I have no insurance and no money to pay for that. If I'd have more jewelry sales, maybe I could take care of these things.

Which leads me to my next gripe....I'm ready for this to be a full time business! I get up at 6 am and work most of the day with a few breaks - up until 9 or 10 at night. I have over 130 items on my website, and the ones I'm producing now, I can do production on...meaning I can make the same piece over and over. There's NO REASON I shouldn't be selling $100-$200-$300 per week from my website.

The site is advertised, it's in the search engines, and people seem to like my work because many people write me with positive comments and tell me all the time how creative I am, how my work amazes them, etc. So why the low sales?

I know, I know, it takes time to get out there. I need to get into some stores...which is why I set up the wholesale pricing on my site...and my requirements are minium - buy 5 or more pieces and get 50% off! Individuals can take advantage of it, as can shops.

And then to top things off on this not-so-wonderful Monday, our pretty weather seems to be disappearing today...the clouds are coming in, the sky is dark and dreary, and more than likely we are going to have rain....again. I guess I should go for at least one of my walks before that happens...although I must admit, I'm very discouraged and I don't see any of this effort as paying off at all. :(

Friday, May 06, 2005

Joseph's Cross Pendant

I just finished uploading the design Joseph's Cross to the website. I think the pendant turned out superb! Each one is handmade in the same fashion as the one above, but since each is handmade, each will vary slightly from the next...making each piece more special and unique to the owner, in my opinion.

This was a very special design to make. My friend Joe and I had talked about cross pendant designs about a year ago. That was on a good day.

On most days, he was depressed, and drinking. I recall one distinct coversation at the patio table on one of those depressed days. He was crying...telling me he had no reason left to live...he had no HOPE. His marriage was destroyed and he thought it was all his fault. His family, lost, gone, never to be the same again. All because of the mistakes of two people. Two boys being put in the position of a very bitter, angry divorce. Everything had changed, and he thought his life was over - there was no hope for anything...so he proceeded on the path to destroy himself.

At that moment in time, I told him, "Of course there is hope, and of course you have a reason to live." I then asked him, "Where has your FAITH gone, Joe?" He shook his head as the tears rolled down his cheeks and he looked down at the ground.

It started to rain - not hard - but a light, misty rain. There was a little thunder off in the distance.

"Don't you realize what a wonderful person you are? The beauty you have inside your soul?" I asked him. "Don't you realize what you have to offer this world?"

He looked at me with eyes full of deep blue pools of pain. The anguish spilled out of him in the form of violent sobs, and he stood up and stepped away from the table, turning his back. Stepping over to the top of the hill not more than three feet away, Joe held up his hands toward the heavens, and cried "WHY? WHY? WHY?"

I sat in silence, allowing him to express the pain and sorrow. I felt it too, the pain, the sorrow, the breaking heart and total powerlessness.

It was then a lightening bolt sprang from the sky, barreling toward the center of the yard we both overlooked. I jumped up from my chair, and Joe stepped back sharply. We watched as a tail of white fire stopped about six feet above ground level. The hair on the back of my neck stood on end...I could FEEL the electricity! As fast as it came, it disappeared, leaving behind a gray storm cloud, impending heavy rain, a loud clap of thunder and two silent souls.

Joe turned toward me, his mouth open in shock, and he pointed to where the bolt had almost landed. "THAT," he said, his breath shallow, "That was a sign."

He turned again, facing away from me once more. The rain began to pummel from the sky, drenching both of us. I couldn't move. He was right, it was a sign.

As if to prove me right, the clouds suddenly shifted, drawing my gaze upward. And nature began to reveal the most beautiful rainbow I'd ever seen - the only one I'd ever seen the entire time I've lived on Riverside Drive. Joe saw it too, and I ran up to him, grabbed his hand, and told him to come with me.

We ran to the front yard, where we could see the rainbow better. Blue, yellow, green, red, orange, pink, and purple all cascaded across the sky in a stunning arch. And as we stood beside each other in the pouring rain, enjoying the beautiful colors painted so gracefully across the sky, I said to him, "Now, tell me you have no hope. Look at what we've just witnessed, and tell me you don't believe there is more for you in this world. Tell me you give up..."

He turned to me, eyes clear and shining, hair, clothes, and skin dripping wet. "Maybe I do have hope," he mumbled, and he nodded his head. I smiled as he reached for me. The hug we shared was tight, firm, hopeful, and full of the faith I knew we both had within.

"Keep the faith," I whispered in his ear. "Keep the faith."


It was from that memory this cross pendant was designed. The black base represents the darkness, the opal center the rainbow. The red in the center is representative of the heart, and the aurora crystal is the faith which burns inside. Keep the faith.

P.S. Joe came by a few days ago...it was SO GOOD to see him again! He's sober 78 days (I guess 81 days now). It's amazing to see how he's getting hope back...that is so wonderful to see after the past year and a half of dark days he's had. AA is really helping him.

It was funny - he was telling me how this is truly the best program to deal with substance abuse, and how much he believes this is what he needs. Almost a year ago, I found out where the AA meetings were here in town, and I took him to a meeting. At that point in his life, he thought it was a bunch of baloney that he didn't need...he could deal with this on his own. So he didn't go back. And now it's 'the best program'....:) I guess he just wasn't ready then. But I knew he would be someday - I had faith he would.

Changing Colors

I've spent the morning changing my shop colors. Since some of the newer jewelry pieces are very bright and colorful, I thought a more neutral color scheme for the menus and text would mesh better with the jewelry colors. So I've changed things around this morning...take a look and tell me what you think: http://www.michelejanine.com

The new colors also blend better with my front page logo. I finally finished the new cross design late last night, only after a screw up on the first one. Well, the first one is OKAY...and I might give it away as a contest prize or something, but the first design was not enough like my sketch, so I re-did the entire thing. Now I have it like I wanted, and I will share a photo later...the gloss is drying on the piece now.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Everything Comes Full Circle...

Above you are viewing my first official design in the VOGUE collection of jewelry for my fall/winter 2005 line! Yippee! It's finally beginning...I have several designs planned, and this was the first one. That's why I haven't posted in days. And yes, you see a RING in there...I've figured out a COOL way to make polymer rings. Which is interesting, as I am such a big ring lover and have been looking for the perfect thing for rings which would be different and unique. So I'm *very happy* about the ring design I've created and I plan on making many more designs.

Today I'm working on a new cross pendant design titled Joseph's Cross. It will also be in the VOGUE collection. I'll share it when it's complete.


Monday, May 02, 2005


The show went well for me! I ended up selling 25 beads and 2 pendants. None of my actual "trunk show jewels" sold, but I did get a lot of exposure, so that was wonderful.

After shipping my orders, I spent the entire morning revamping my site - trimming down categories and adding the new ones for my upcoming lines. Now I'm going to spend time developing the lines. I chose to have 2 different lines...one is the VOGUE line which will feature modern, contemporary pieces using my inlay work and also some sculptural work. And then I chose the NOSTALGIA line, which will feature embedded images from vintage postcards in different themes. Each line has a category for pendants, bracelets, necklaces, earrings and brooches. And these of course will be designs I can easily make again and again. I'll be hoping to get some store accounts this year, as well as some direct retail sales from my website.

And I have made my ART JEWELRY category separate to put my one of a kind pieces into, and then my BEADS category for the beads & cabs I make as well.

So I feel satisfied because I sold a bunch this weekend and because I got organized and have my "plan" mapped out better.

It was a very fun weekend, chatting with all the ladies in the show and the visitors to the trunk show website. I enjoyed talking with everyone...it's more like a real conversation than email is. All in all, I feel is was a great success for the Designer's Guild's first show! Kudos to all the ladies who worked so hard to put it together!