Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Playing for Keeps...

Little known fact -- my shop was actually non-productive yesterday.  Not because customers didn't come browse, and not because I "couldn't" make anything new for the shop.  Not because of anything "normal" that would cause a shop to be actually offline -- in fact the shop itself was online, I was just flapping in the wind struggling.

So, here's the thing -- my kids are tech-savvy little ones, often addicted to the plethora of electronics available today.   On weekends, I often scramble around the house and the shop, cleaning, organizing, cooking, and this last weekend was no different.  However, my youngest -- the super bright special needs one -- was playing with my laptop when he could, and when he couldn't he was playing with the desktop.

So, I log on on Monday and realize, quite quickly in fact, that in this adventure I call my etsy shop -- I am not only the owner, designer, marketing department, photographer, production department, etc., etc., etc.,  but now I am the IT department also, because my son has a thing for downloading things that should not be downloaded.


So, I was lucky in that the shop was rather slow yesterday, I just had to mail a few items from the weekend and finish designing one custom order.  My day was spent cleaning up the hard drives on two machines -- which are now working fabulously -- with two different versions of windows, while planning dinner, and the season ahead.

But -- that was not without moments of  "I will never let this kid play with the computers again,"  and "where did my ruler go to measure this item," to finally "wow, I actually do have to use algebra in calculating how much wire to cut for custom sized hoops, who knew?"

By the way to figure out how much wire to cut for hoops, you either use Pi times the number of inches you want the for circumference, or ask my oldest to calculate it -- which is often what I do.  I really thought getting a degree in Communications would insulate me from Pi -- but not so much.  The oldest, or my human calculator as I call him (did I tell you he took the PSAT's WITHOUT a calculator?) is quite hysterical when I have to ask him for mathematics help in the shop.

But all in all -- with the downtime provided recently, I have been playing with dainty again -- and later today I will put up some mixed metal earrings that are just adorable, so watch out for those.   Until then -- here are a few cute things I am playing with while I get ready for the show next weekend.

I just love this little dainty style.  And in Emerald Green?  Who could hope for a better stocking stuffer?  At 28 bucks a pair for handmade sterling silver and gemstone earrings -- these are a bargain.  Oh -- and free domestic shipping to boot.

Okay, so these technically are not new -- but the photos are :)  Just look at how much fun I had playing with the depth of field on these gorgeous Pink Garnet Hoops.  Oooh, sparkly.

These are kind of a new design -- really they are a total mix.  Playing off of the dainty trio earrings, and the half moon / leaf ear wire, I wrapped a pink garnet that has a caramel undertone onto a sterling silver handmade "leaf" ear wire - then dangled and dangled some more.  These almost didn't make it to the shop thanks to my teenage daughter.

Now -- back to reality and working out a few more things in the shop, kitchen and on the laptop :)


Monday, October 21, 2013

Wondering if you were right...

I often do not open up a lot about my family on here -- I stay pretty focused on the shop.  But, a little event the other day happened that is just too cute and too heartwarming not to share.

I picked my daughter (she often takes her leave shopping freely in the shop by the way -- which is a way I determine what designs will sell pretty well as she has fabulous taste.) up from school last week.   She often stays after because she has a deep need to do exceptionally well in school.  I can't blame her for that.

She told me a story about the earthquake drill they held at her school. But, before I get into that, a little back-story:  this is the first year in a long time that my youngest (special needs) has been in the same school as his older sister.  He is often in special classes for his behavior which is related to some fears he has that cause extreme anxiety in the poor little man.  But, this year those two are together.  And while my daughter is two years ahead of my son, they happen to share the same lunch period in middle school.

So, I am driving my daughter home from after school tutoring and she tells me about my son getting in trouble during the earthquake drill for wandering off.  Yes, I know it is wrong for him to wander off, but I ask her, since she also mentions that he got in trouble earlier in the year during a fire drill: "What did he do during the first drill?"

Because really, if you think that my youngest pretty much reacts to situations like he did before -- it will make sense to find out what was happening the first time he "wandered off."

Well, according to my daughter, my son went during the fire drill to find her -- and make sure she was safe.  Apparently in that moment he couldn't distinguish between whether the drill was real or not -- so he went to find her.

This is a big clue, I explained to my daughter -- when he got in trouble during the earthquake drill, he was probably going to find her.

This made her feel good, I know because she smiled and even though those two bicker probably more than normal siblings do -- in a moment of perceived emergency, my youngest went to find my middle child and stick together.

Flash forward to a conversation I was having with my dear friend who wondered if her kids would do that in an emergency.  And I came to the realization that the reason my kids were doing this in these moments is because it is learned behavior.   See, these kids of mine have been through some pretty harrowing events in their young lives.

When the oldest were very young, there was an earthquake up here -- and from that moment, they saw (though they probably don't remember as they were very young) how I react in an emergency:  There is nothing, absolutely nothing that will keep me from bringing my kids together with me in an emergency.

Then in 2009, my kids and I lived on Fort Hood, less than a mile from the shooting location.  My husband was away training some Army personnel and we were alone on base getting horrible information in the few hours after the shooting.  (That communication was horrifying -- I actually did a project on it in my communications class about how badly it was handled).  My youngest at the time almost didn't make it in the gate to get home that evening because of the timing of the shooting and the timing of shutting down post.  As it was, he was a good hour late.

And I remember my oldest asking me what I would have done if my youngest hadn't made it through the gate that afternoon.  My response was short, stoic and absolutely truthful:  I would have found a way to get to him even if I ended up in prison getting through the gate to him.

I think it's moments like those -- moments of no matter what kind of crisis, either drill for the future or real crisis, that made my youngest react the way he did.  He would do whatever it took to get to his sister and make sure everything was okay and stick with her until I got to them if it were something real.  I know that now -- and I know each of them would do it. 

They know there would be no holding me back to get everyone together to safety -- and they know when there is something bad happening at one of their schools that I am pinching myself waiting to hear if I need to be there.  I know to keep away from the schools during those lock-downs-- but I also know all three kids know that I am not far, and if they are in real danger, there is NOTHING on this earth that will keep me from bringing them together.

And so, it's not that odd to me that the youngest would work really hard to get together with his brother and sister.  Even if he is getting in trouble by "wandering off."  True, I had the conversation with him about being where he is supposed to be in these situations -- but I know he will have eyes on his sister from now on, even if he doesn't go find her.

It's an interesting moment to realize that of all the things they could have learned and had ingrained through the years that this is one that actually translated to firm action.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Gemstones: Meanings or Chemical Properties?

I am supposed to be writing my Thesis.  I really do intend to write a lot today--but I am amazed each day as we get closer to the holidays how many people are poking around in the shop.  I am honestly humbled by this, as it is always a shock that people across the globe seem to not only enjoy the fun and flirty, but also the conservative, wear-forever, pieces I design.

I spend a little too much time on the metaphysical meanings of the gemstones -- I really got into this from my mother who decided she loved labradorite, not only for its wonderful "flash", but also for the "meaning of the stone."  I remember when we first started going to gem shows she would always gaze at labradorite and chose some because it was "supposed to show me my life's path."

I found humor in that because when we started this, she was in her late 50's and I was in my late 20's.  I remember thinking, "well if you haven't found it by now, I don't know if you will."  She still adores Labradorite, but she has expanded to other stones--she had a thing for Amethyst this year and I am certain it is because of that poem: "Warning."  The first line is: "When I am an old woman I shall wear purple." (Entire Poem). Although, I don't exactly consider her old.  In my mind she will forever be mid-40's, as I remember her from my youth.  True, she ages exceedingly well -- but still, even as I get older, she seems to stay the same age to me.

Amethyst by the way is a healing stone, associated with the planet Saturn and the 7th Chakra. It is said to guard against unpleasant feelings of self, and to guard against witchcraft.  Healers wear it often during healing in order to focus energy, and it is said to help with opening your psychic self.   I am honestly not sure what that all means -- but it sure does seem nice.

Lately though, I have been focusing on smaller pieces -- so that there is that little level of the gemstone, but with a dainty and flirty appearance.  My new favorites are the same design, basically, but rich with meaning.

These ultra-dainty Red Ruby Dangle Earrings are just adorable. 
Ruby is a wonderful gemstone -- a precious stone, but bright red so a symbol of love.  It's perfect for July birthdays as it's July's birthstone, but also adds something beautiful for the holidays.  Considered the most powerful stone in the universe (how did "they" decide that? I mean, do we know all the stones?), Ruby wards off bad dreams, is a symbol of friendship and love and is also a symbol of royalty and vitality.  Supposedly it also helps a person be the best person they can be. 

These dainty sapphires are the same design, but finished in sterling silver to add fun contrast.
Sapphire is an interesting stone also -- and actually the same stone as ruby but with other impurities that change the color.  Sapphires are said to be a stone of fidelity and destiny.  Also, they can help with clarity and financial rewards.  (I should take these off the site and wear them myself, lol.)  I love the color though -- as rubies are difficult for me to pull off with my red hair and coloring.  For some reason it just doesn't work -- but my daughter looks fabulous in rubies, lucky.

These Pearl and Diamond Earrings are a take on the same design -- but with Victorian Christmas Colored Pearls and dainty Raw Diamond accents.  I am surprised my daughter did not steal these yet.
Pearls and Diamonds -- ahhh.  Pearl is my daughter's birthstone and there is some great ancient lore behind the pearl.  It is said to occur when a drop of rain fell from heaven and became the heart of the oyster.  It's also called the teardrops of the moon.  Diamond on the other hand, does not have it's own healing energy, it supplements the energies of other stones.  And in all reality I added them to this design to make the earrings shine a little more.

For me, I like to have the gemstone meanings -- and I like to research what makes a stone a stone.  I sometimes get into the nitty-gritty of what makes that stone a stone.  Take Amethyst, Citrine and Crystal Quartz:  technically all the same stone, they even form together, it's just a mater of the impurities that bring out the color.  To me, that's fascinating.

I think however, no matter how you look at a stone, a something to match an outfit, as something to mean something that you wear, or as a healing stone -- they all comes down to pretty.  And there is deep beauty in how stones are formed, creating the rich variety of color out there in the world.  And frankly, playing with the stones calms my often weary heart and mind -- as imagine wearing them makes customers feel like a million bucks. 

We've been adorning ourselves for centuries with stones, but as a teacher in writing I once had always said -- it's not the pearls that make the necklace, it's the string that holds it all together. I really like that thought -- but sometimes the stringing is harder than choosing the stones.  Just sayin'.