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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Remembering Dad

"My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me."

Here it is--Father's Day. Every time this special holiday rolls around I find myself in a half-funk missing my Dad terribly. My father, Coach Duane Hartman, passed away at 60 of stomach cancer 7 years ago now.

As heartbreaking as losing him was, I had the priviledge of being at his bedside during the last weeks of his life. While it was the most difficult thing I ever had to do, those little moments in between morphine and illness were filled with love and grace. And acceptance of all that we cannot control in this life.

Every Father's Day since his passing (and really, everyday), I think about how much I miss him and how much he's missed in my life. I have a son now. My own business. I am stronger than I was back then. And I am much more resolute in living the last words that my father quietly whispered to me before going to the light: "Take care," he said to me. "Be Happy."

Dad, I am happy in so many ways, and I have you to thank for setting the example of how to live a positive, gratitude-filled life.

While I can't send you a card or host a barbeque in your honor or give you some tacky little gift anymore to show you just how much I appreciated your love, warmth and unconditional support, I can honor you by living up to your dying words. I can continue to live the words you left me with. I can continue to strive to be happy and take care of myself.

For those of you who have fathers still here on this planet, give them a hug and tell them thanks. They did their best, even when it may not have always produced the best outcome. They loved you in their own ways, even though sometimes that way was difficult to understand. They are proud of you, even if they never say or said it.

Today I'll be thinking of my father and thanking God that he was in my life for as long as he was, and even after all these years that he's been gone, I'll probably shed a tear for his leaving so early.

And I will raise my voice to the sky and say, Thanks Dad. You were the best Dad that I could have ever wished for. I miss you. Happy Father's Day.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Etching Show and Tell!

New Work, New Techniques!

I've gotten into etching and won't ever come back. It's an addiction for which I've fallen hard, and I can't believe I've waited so long to try the technique.
I think I was intimidated by the chemicals, but there are two types you can use to get a good etch.

I use the lesser of the two evils--ferric nitrate--and a little smidge of citric acid to give the brew a good bite. And it's really not bad at all!

This last round I fell asleep while the pendants were etching, and I didn't wake up until the morning! I figured I've have nothing but metal shavings. But I had glorious pendants that I was really happy with.
This pendant on the left is actually reversible! I etched the piece on the front with an exotic flower pattern that reminds me of India. A labradorite stone sits in a handmade bezel in the middle.

Flip the pendant over, and there's a delicate little lotus leaf stamped in its center, so you have two looks for the price of one. Forget Target's new slogan, when it comes to jewelry This is a Brand New Day!!! :-)

I also love the mandala motif that is represented in the top necklace and this bracelet. I started making bracelets again after a reprieve, and most of them in my site are etched pieces. I hope they do well!

These are just a few of the designs I have posted on my site, so here's a sneak peek! I'll be adding more etched pieces in the coming days...

I can't decide which is my favorite, so maybe some of my followers can give me some feedback.

I'd love to hear from my customers about which styles and shapes they like best, as I'll be adding new etched pieces in the coming season, including a whole line of necklaces that are reversible.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Words to Live By....

This quote sits right in front of my computer in my office. Every time I hesitate to do something out of fear that I will fail, I think of this quote.

Recently, this quote applied to me because I am submitting samples for a catalog. I have never done this before, and have no idea what to expect.

There have been times I've looked through the catalog and thought to myself, "Why am I doing this? The work in here is so cool?!"

Then the confident part of me, the newest and most vulnerable and most tender part of me says, "WHY NOT?!!!!"

So here I go, jumping into the fire feet first. If my work is accepted, I will jump for joy. If it doesnt get accepted, I will still jump for joy because I didn't listen to the fearful old lady voice inside my head....

Friday, June 12, 2009


"Where flowers bloom so does hope."
--Lady Bird Johnson

Behind my house there is a vast network of hiking trails and open space that winds through the Colorado foothills.

I try to go back there at least once a week, provided that the trail is navigable after all of our spring rain.

With so much rain, our wildflowers have come early.

The green fields are alive with lush color and beautiful blooms that range from lemon yellows to vibrant orange to cheerful purples and reds.

It is these colors that make me want to immediately go into the studio, refreshed and alive in nature's gift! It is this beautiful landscape of fragility and fire that inspire me to let go and transform myself.

In the past, I've underestimated the way in which a walk in the woods takes all of my burdens and lightens my load.

I leave my little bundles of worry and fear along the trail, picking up instead the hope of tomorrow. I leave behind, like some kind of unspoken sacrifice, the anxiety and personal struggle and instead allow myself to become awash in optimism and awe at the miracle of life.

Flowers remind me of the delicacy of life and of the strength of spirit.

Despite rain and toil, bad weather or good, year after year they still find a place in the ground and emerge and thrive. This takes a great deal of determination in some years!

Lately things have just been really difficult for me. Like a flower, I am struggling to find my place amidst a great deal of change and challenge.

I am trying to allow love to come in and shine on me, and help me grow!

But while this struggle is so difficult and harrowing at times, I know that like these blooms that emerge from rocky, unhospitable ground every year, I too will emerge with more vibrant color and beauty.

I will return to arid ground and make it fertile. I will put down new roots, lift my head to the sun and whisper to the sky, "let me grow."

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Yart Sale in Full Swing!

Sellers on Etsy like me have begun a week of fun with the second annual Yart Sale.

Yart sale? What exactly is a “Yart Sale,” you may ask?
The term Yart is an artistic spin on the traditional yard sale: Art + Yard Sale = Yart!

To celebrate, I've created a special section on my Etsy site where final clearance items are waiting for that special buyer who wants beautiful, handcrafted works of art AND a deal!

Yart starts today, June 10th and runs through Sunday, June 14th!

So log on and get your deals. You will miss out if you don't!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Summer Sale!

"In summer, the song sings itself." --William Carlos Williams

Summer has not come all at once in Colorado this year, but you can feel its presence with the subtle changes it marks across the landscape.

I for one am in love with summer.

I cherish each hot day and the things that it brings: homemade iced tea on the porch; tank tops and bare feet; hiking on the trails behind our house that are live with wildflowers.

I am inspired this time of year, and as a result, Original Hardware's virtual shelves are stocked full of new designs inspired by nature!

To celebrate, I'm offering 15% off all designs (including final sale items!) through June 21. Just enter the promo code Summer at checkout and you too can celebrate the season!

Thank you for your business and support of Original Hardware!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Summer Berries!

When I was a kid, we'd pick strawberries and raspberries in our garden until our lips blushed purple.
The sugary red juice would drip off our fingers and chins, and we'd grin with red-stained teeth and run around barefoot on the grass.

When I feel the early summer sun on my face and the gentle wind blowing, I fondly remember these days of youth!

As an ode to all things summer, I've created a few new pieces that just put me in a cheerful mood. I hope they make you happy, too!