I Will Always Love You….

My girls (my great nieces) are growing up so very fast, the oldest one just turned 13 in May. An actual teenager in Earth years but she has one of those old souls.

She is so wise for her age, wiser than me some days, as she proved to me today as we had a conversation driving up the road.

We were doing a photo shoot for her new CD. Everybody’s first response is that she is beautiful. She is, no doubt about it; she is gorgeous. She is also, smart, talented, funny, goofy, wise beyond her years, a loving person who wants to see good in everyone. She is strong in her faith. She will not do anything she finds distasteful. She is focused. She is driven. She will not put her name on something she is not proud of. She is so much more than what people see.

They simply do not know her like I do. She always tells her other sisters that I love her more because I have loved her longer. I love them all, in different ways. They are all so very unique. They all have their strengths and very singular personalities. I give them the attention each needs. It’s just that right now the focus is on the older one getting her CD done.

We were alone on one of my favorite crooked country roads. It is the second round of photos for the project.  Her parents leaving her in my care,  had left us  to do what we do because they had to take care of some other things. We were fighting for time, there was a thunderstorm not so far away.

We did the shots and as always, I had music playing from an old cell phone. The song “Forever Country”, which is a mashup of some classic country songs sang by some of the greatest voices from the past and the present,  came on. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9gAXwYZtfk

We were looking at the shots we had just taken, she has to proof each of them. As we stood there flipping through pictures, we began singing along with the song. At the end of the song the last song they blend in is “I Will Always Love You” came on. As they began to sing that part, she laid her head over on my shoulder and sang to me.

Of course, I cried. In that moment, I knew that I was loved as deeply and as innocently as anyone could ever be. She wanted nothing but to in her way tell me she loves me. She does all the time but that time was a little more special than all the times before. No one saw it, no one was supposed. It was a moment but one that I will hold in my heart forever.

Comfort…

I need to be in a place of comfort. If that be a space, a relationship, clothing and shoes, hobbies, when I sleep,  all things.

Now having said that, I do a lot of activities in the confines of my home. I dress for comfort. When I am working in my work room, honestly it is very scant. I am there in usually a tee shirt, underwear and my apron.

When I am writing, it kind of depends on what I am writing. I am trying to be tactful here so I am not going to go into much detail. Let’s just say I dress for the part.

It is part of my creative process. I need to feel what it would feel like to actually feel the part that I am writing about. It is something that makes me feel ummmm, desirable which is good when I am writing about my desires.

When I am making jewelry, I don’t worry about how I look, I wear the afore mention workroom clothing. When I am trying to promote my product, I want to look like a business woman. When I am photographing an event, I dress differently than when I am doing nature photography. When I am hiking different clothing and shoes. When I go to work the uniform. To church, dresses or skirts.

I just want to feel comfortable in what I wear, how may hair looks; currently, it has blue highlights. I have mermaid hair.

I don’t wear any of this for anyone else. I change my hair, put on makeup, dress as I wish because it makes me feel good. When I feel good, apparently it is obvious. People notice and I’m not looking to get noticed. I was actually told the other day by someone that they were watching me. Not sure what they meant by it, didn’t ask. I don’t really care anymore who is looking or watching. I am gonna do me. Blue hair and all.

Trying Hard Not To Give Up On Me….

I am in a blue funk. That is one of those moods that you just don’t want to deal with anything. You don’t want to get out of bed. You make yourself but you really don’t want to. Today I didn’t, until I absolutely had to. Thanks to my handy dandy mobile secretary, my cell phone,  I did some things from my bed but that was it.

I am trying not to give up on this dream I have. I am trying to figure out how to shatter the “glass” ceiling and just bumping my head over and over.

What I am doing is getting attention brought to my jewelry from all types of people, fashion bloggers, artists, people I know, opera singers, photographers but no sales. YET!!! I am having fun doing it the creating  but if I could just get more sales, then it would me make me feel better about myself.

I realize that I have tied too much of my personal value to my jewelry projects. I shouldn’t do that. I am not what I make. I am more than what I produce yet part of me looks at what I have accomplished with pride. I started this knowing nothing, I have learned everything the hard way.

I am in that place you sometimes get in, you know that downward spiral you get in when it is not going exactly how you planned. Yeah, I am in that thing.

I don’t like this and tend to be somewhat silent until I figure things out. I feel like I bother other people when I am like this and Lord knows I never want to feel like a burden. So, I just keep quite. I muddle through it. I get there, just sometimes not as quickly as I would like.

I know what I make is not who I am. I get that but it is nice when someone sees value in what you do. Some people do, don’t get me wrong, but there is just something when people put some money down on the table and say I want to own this, I think it is of value.

I promote it everywhere I can think of.  On Facebook, Instragram, Pintrest; a couple of people share it, yet no sales on the web store.

So I work, I play, I enjoy the making much more than the business end of things. I am much more of a piddler than a business  woman.  I missed a chance the other day by simply not having business cards with me.

It will be okay. I will be fine. I just need to relax. So much so I took myself to the movies yesterday and I hate going to the movies by myself. I needed to escape. However, the movie got me thinking more than ever. I saw a group of people. One was fearful then resolved. One was hopeless and gave up on herself but rose to fight for the person she loved, and three helpless people who were out of anything to fight with. She of course came to the rescue of the three.

As much as I believe in other people, it is hard for me not to give up on me. I will fight for others much harder than I will fight for myself. Maybe she and I are more alike than I imagined.

The movie I saw was Wonder Woman. Somewhere maybe there is that connection. I just need to get my fight back up.

Simple…

I am not hard to understand. I like simple. My mind is busy, but not complicated.

This morning, after finishing a 12 hour shift, I went for a walk. I enjoyed the smell of the fresh morning air. I looked at the dew as it lay on the blades of grass. I got into my music as I walked. I twisted my lower torso to get more effect of the walking. I did a dance with a robin that would hop along in front of me just a few paces ahead, it would fly just a bit and land back in front of me, we did this for a good while.

After he got bored with the game. He flew off.

I went home and I slept. I slept until I woke up. No alarm needed. No phone call from my mom. I woke up feeling refreshed. I didn’t sleep as  much as yesterday. Yesterday I slept all night and the whole day. I needed rest. I was tired.  Today, I was rested.

I wanted fresh air and sunshine. It was my late day to come in. I went and took some of the best photos I have taken in a while. I actually shot in manual and took more control over the camera than I have in a good long time. I spent over an hour trying to get a good photo of a dragonfly darting about. I didn’t get it but I tried. I got some good practice in. I got to understand what I can do without the camera doing it for me.

As the sun set, nobody knew where I was. When I had spoken to my  mom, I was going to get dinner. When I had spoken to my best friend I was going home to get dressed for work. My person, he had no clue where I was.

Where I was, was standing in the middle of a cemetery where my grandparents are buried. It was the best place to get the photos of the sunset I was seeing. I paid respect to them while I was there but the sunset was what had drawn me to this place.

Once again, I shot with the “M”. This mode scares a lot of people. You have to do the thinking. It is in my mind, a dividing line. I would shoot, adjust, shoot again, adjust again. It was a learning exercise for me. When did it get grainy? What are the limits I could push it to and still get an acceptable shot.

I enjoyed my day and I did that thing I love to do. With no thought of what was going to happen with  the images. I am not taking them for monetary gain. I am taking them for me. Most people will never even know they exist. They don’ t need to.

When I got to work, I got into a conversation with one of my co-workers about life. He is newly married and he doesn’t realize that it is a world of compromise. He told me some things and I asked him some questions. The most common phrase I heard was I never looked at it that way. I was just asking questions. It was up to him to make his own assessment of the situation.

It was a simple day. It was a day of reflection and not loneliness.

I don’t need the world. Looking at my little corner of it in a way that no one else sees it, that has to be enough for me, for now.

Life is simple we make it complicated. A place to relax, someone to love, something to be passionate about, a roof over our head and food in our belly. Those are the “simple” things in life that are the grand things.

Return on Investment

I am in a slump right now. Not saying much about it, trying not to let anything show.

I have written many time about my jewelry making business and my photography business. They are both kind of hit and miss. Right now it is a miss.  The photography is more of a hobby with an occasional paying gig from time to time.

The jewelry is different. I would like to see it grow and prosper on its own.

I get excited when someone expresses interest in a piece. When my person looks at and sees a comparison to a beautiful piece of art or speaks about what makes the piece special, I kind of blush and I am speechless. Nothing I do can compare to what he does.

Just today, I got three inquires about new posts. I got excited. Every time my phone made a sound I checked it. Bad, bad idea. I was so hoping for sales that I was jumpy about it. That is not the way I should be.

I should just relax, let things work out as they will and enjoying the process of making. The new things I am learning. The things I learn from my mistakes. Those moments when I look at a piece and realize that it is actually pretty and I made it. I should revel in that, not in what might sale and what won’t.

Being human, I would like to get a return on my investment. I would like people to put there money down and say that something  that I made is pretty enough to buy it.

I want people to want to share my items. Only my best friend usually shares my posts with her friends on social media to try and help me out.

It is a struggle for me to do the business end of things. I love the creative part. The business, I feel like I am charging too much or not enough. I don’t know how to do stuff like this.

I don’t want to seem pushy but I would like to see it succeed.

I got taught a lesson last night by a six year old. She wanted to build a “ghost buster pack”. She had a large frisbee from the back of my car. She got paper and scotch tape. She cut small strips of paper to make the straps. Well, I knew it wasn’t going to work but she was sure it was. Well, we tried it. It was not going to hold. I explained to her why it didn’t work.

We tried again. This time using paper, because in her mind, the paper was going to work only this time we used duct tape. Once again, it didn’t work.

The third time, we used a plastic bag cut into strips and used duct tape. By the time we were finished, she could actually slip her arms through it and wear her “ghost busters pack”.

She wasn’t making anything to sell. She was just using her imagination. She knew what she wanted and had a general idea how to do it. She just needed a little help.

Maybe that is my legacy. Maybe it is not what I sell that will be the return on investment. Maybe it is the fact that these girls see me take chances, that they see me never quit. That the know that I work through problems one step at a time. Maybe that is much more important than anything I could ever sell.

So, it may be time to put on the black dress I wear for photographing formal occasions, put on my soft soled shoes and go unnoticed for a while. I will continue to make. I just won’t put it out there for the world to see. I will make for the joy of making. I will bask in the silence of doing without expecting a sell. I will just try to relax and let my imagination take over.

A True Artist Knows No Limits….

My friend, my person, is an artist in the truest sense of the word. If you have read this blog very much, you know I have referred to him as such many times.

Often is the time I have studied his hands, he has the hands of an artist.

He has the soul of an artist. I told him today that he was a natural born artist and I had to sneak up on it. He then reminded me that I have been singing all my life and telling stories to children, that is creative. True. Busted!! I was talking more about visual art.

He is a painter, a sculptor, a designer, a photographer and so much more. He does them all well. Much better than I. As a matter of fact, he has been my mentor on a great many things. He is my muse. (Don’t tell him I said that).

I have seen photographs he has taken of athletes that look like they are dancing. I have seen photos of dancers that show the strength of an Olympic athlete while maintaining the grace of a swan. He has this uncanny ability to see beauty in all things and capture it.

I learn from him every time we are together. I feel like he loses brain cells talking to me sometimes. He can say something and it is followed up with twenty questions.

It is not that I am trying to “build up his ego” as he said today, it is just he has so much knowledge on so many subjects that I want to know more.

On the MBTI scale, he is a thinker; I am a feeler.

He has to understand the puzzle and solve it. I must at some point question why the puzzle is there in the first place. I need to know the why. I have to study on it, think about it, which ultimately leads to me overthinking, which leads to me doubting myself and putting roadblocks in my own way.

He reaches out and does his own thing with ease, I tend to compare myself with others, who have been doing it longer and planting seeds of doubt about my own work. He is a visionary and I, well, I piddle. I play with squares and rectangles of glass with smaller squares and rectangles on top. Nothing ground breaking there. If I am feeling especially frisky, I might try a circle.

He can spend countless hours learning something. If I don’t get it in 10 minutes, in my mind, I am the dumbest person on the planet and should be dragging my knuckles on the ground.

It is just a difference in us. I am envious of how talented and knowledgeable he is.

He did point out somethings to me today that enlightened me, about me. He has a way of doing that.

He pointed out that just because he uses lights, motors, actuators to enhance other art forms does not make him “the tech guy”, that he is an artist. He is simply using those things to enhance the beauty that is already there. It is a tool, like a paint brush, sculpting tools or a grinder. You are using another tool to add to the loveliness that already exist.

Not meaning to refer to him as “the tech guy”, yet doing so, my inner Beetle Bailey steps to the front and says I’ll take it from here. At this point I am unable to articulate clearly what I am trying to say, (I babbled).

This made me even more frustrated with myself, which made the babbling worse. At one point the voices in my head were screaming for my inner Beetle to shut the %*^*  up. He didn’t.

Having lived in rural Southern Appalachia for my entire life,  he pointed out that I have some cultural bias. There are guy things and there are girl things. I above all people should know that roles in life are not gender specific. I have never been the fragile little thing. I grew up on a farm where you worked as hard as a man.

There are very few guys here who take dance, paint or even sing until they at some point pick up a banjo.

He has lived in large cities and seen places that I would love to see. He has had contact with different people and cultures that I have not. He has photographed models and help design buildings schools and hospitals. I ……well….went to work, in a factory,  in the same hometown I have always lived in.

In our maker group we saw a divide. The females gravitated toward the jewelry and the painting. They guys toward technology. It wasn’t planned, it just happened. We both tried to bridge the gap, with no success. He couldn’t make us understand that it is just a new tool to work with. I can only speak for myself, but I made it harder than it was. I still do. I need to close that divide in my brain that they are two different things. They are the same thing. I need to see it as a new type of paintbrush or a new kind of glass I am learning to work with. I am going to work on that.

Having said that, he has made much more beautiful jewelry than I will ever make. He has been featured on some pretty high profile websites. I told him today that I would like for my jewelry to have a more finished look. When asked what I meant, I didn’t know the words to use. I just want it to look more complete, more presentable, more finished. He told me that the he thought the glass was, I think he used the word gorgeous, but I can’t be too sure of that. I take his opinion on my projects very seriously. I trust him. He is going to say what he thinks. He will give suggestions that if I follow them, I have a much better project. My way is not the only way, I always want to try to improve.

I was trying to explain to him today that I wanted to share his blog with you all and that is how this conversation got started and it was a pretty intense conversation. It shined a light on some of my own shortcomings and bias. Once again, I got schooled, in a good way.

He did give me permission to share. I hope you go and visit often. He has some pretty awesome thoughts that he wants to share with the world.

Here is the link.:::::      http://tangoofthegeeks.blogspot.com/, if you know someone in the maker community, turn them on to his site as well. They’ll be glad you did.

Until next time….Love, Peace and Cupcakes.

I Like Using My Hands…

I love to work with my hands for many things but for the purpose of this post, we will limit it to jewelry making.

When I am working with my jewelry, I lose track of time.

I love to take parts and pieces of things and put them together.

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When I am working with my glass, I talk to it. Court it. Make it feel special. I tell it the things I want to hear. It going to be hot in there but just hold it together and you will become something amazing. When it comes out of the kiln in one piece, I tell it is beautiful. If it comes out broken, I still try to finish it and make it something interesting.

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As I have worked more with the glass, I feel like my skills are improving. Stay on task. Learn all the rules. Safety first. Have fun, first and foremost have fun. Learn something new. Add to your skill set.

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I bought a grinder, I am one of those females who get excited by power tools. Dremels, grinders, I even looked at a saw the other day. It has made a world of difference in my final product. While I am grinding the glass, I forget to worry. I run on caffeine and anxiety.  So when I are shaping the glass, I listen to the hum of the grinder and I watch as this glass in my hand becomes something that is desirable. Something I long to be.

I don’t worry about what is going to happen later at work. I don’t wonder what I have done wrong. I just sit there music playing in the background, listening to the hum of the grinder and work with my hands. I relax. I let the grinder do its job and I create something beautiful. The thing with glass is….it is fragile. Just like us humans. Glass breaks easily!!!

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For my birthday, my person fed my passion. He bought me glass and kiln paper for jewelry making. Then he gave me some lights that I can embed in the jewelry. Once again stepping it up a notch or ten.

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Taking it to the next level. I told it that it would be something amazing when it came through the fire. Just like me.