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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Yes, I am ALIVE!

"Promise yourself to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
Look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

Think only for the best, expect only the best.
Forget the mistakes
of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
Give so much

time to the improvement of yourself that

you have no time to criticize others.
Live in the faith that the whole world

is on your side so long as you are true

to the best that is in you!
--Christian D. Larson

As you can tell from my posts, life has been just a tad crazy. I have been burning candles at both ends (and then some) and still can't figure out how to get more done in a 24-hour period. I about to ship my last order of the year to Sundance, and in the process I feel lighter and looking forward to the holidays!

I have emerged from the ashes of trauma and heartbreak to become stronger, beautiful, resilient. I wanted to post this picture of me smiling because it is who I am in my heart. It is REALLY me. I am this happy. (Ok, most days anyway!)

I am awaiting word on whether I'll have more pieces in the Sundance catalog this coming year (I'll know more by November) and am working on designs for next fall. I have really focused much of my effort in the jewelry design business this past year on the Sundance opportunity, forsaking the creation of a pair of earrings here and there on a whim for something more long-term. I am honestly not sure if this will bear fruit in the way I hope--meaning, I still really don't know if artists--even ones with work in Sundance--can make a living at this.

That's an important question these days as I try to figure out my life as a single parent. I am pragmatic and not getting any younger, you know. While I want to follow my heart, I must also eat.

But for now, I am sitting with the questions. I believe it was Rumi, the poet, who implores us to "live the questions and the answers." I have learned through my own life's challenges that forcing the answer doesn't make it come any faster or clearer. It must come in its own time.

I so appreciate each of your words of encouragement, support and cheerleading this past year. You have put the smile on this woman's face. And each of you have put a little light in my heart.

Best wishes as we head into the coming holiday season!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

1 Plain Brown Box=Big Dream Come True

"The flower has opened,
has been in the sun and is unafraid.
I'm taking more chances;
I'm bold and proud."
---Paula Cole

The plain brown box to the left is simple and unassuming. It is 10x10 inches wide in diameter with clear packing tape carefully wrapped around its outer shell.

It doesn't make noise when you shake it, like those Christmas gifts from years past that showed up from grandparents. It is square and boring; sturdy and strong.

It may not look like much, but this box represents a major intersection in my life and my business. Tomorrow, this box is destined for a special place: Sundance headquarters in Salt Lake City!

Shipping my first order to the Sundance Catalog is the culmination of a dream come true for me. I remember flipping through the catalogs wistfully as I sat at my corporate desk--sandwich in one hand, a red pen in the other. I'd circle all of the designs that I totally loved, then daydream about whether one day I could be like the artists featured in this fabulous catalog. I wanted to be one of them. I wanted to be an artist.

Next month, I will be on my way to that dream coming true. Five of my designs are in this box, part of the Fall Catalog that will hit doorsteps early next month. This box represents months of blood, sweat and tears; of patina and solder. Of many late nights and too many Law and Order episodes to count. Of mistakes and lessons, experiments gone well and some not so much.

This is a first step toward my larger goal of someday being a Featured Artist at Sundance. My goal is to do such a stellar job with high quality work that they have no other option but to include my name and my work in their exclusive ranks. I will not stop until I am!

It has been a busy six months preparing for this moment. This unassuming box means so much. It symbolizes taking a chance--and garnering a positive response after so many negative ones. It symbolizes being determined that my passion would unfold itself so lovingly into a business.

It symbolizes a woman whose heart was torn to pieces only to be healed, if only in part, by art. It symbolizes a person who has grown up in so many ways, and who is so very proud of who she is and what she stands for.

To you, it might look like just a little brown box.

To me it's a new life. To me, it's everything.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

New Fall Designs--Finally!

"Drive a nail home, and secure it so faithfully that you can wake up in the night and think of your work with satisfaction."
--Henry David Thoreau

So it's been one hell of a year, and I feel like I've changed virtually everything about my life. Front and center in all that change has been the business, which I've adapted, grown, and adapted again.

I am looking to the horizon with hope and a positive attitude--I am proud of what I've done, survived and accomplished in spite of it.

I've been busy adding new work to the site today, and I finally have new pieces to show my customers! I have lots more to add, but will save it for future fall days.

Next week, I ship my first Sundance Catalog order--the first of what I hope will be many to come. I am thrilled and nervous and excited--it is the culmination of lots of hard work this past year.

You won't find the Sundance pieces on my new site--they are all exclusive to Sundance. But you will see many other wonderful finds, inspired by the Road Less Traveled. The Fall collection is inspired by far off places rich with textured prints and landscapes; of dusty roads and marketplaces filled with merchants and bustling women and men; of exotic lands that tug at my heart and hold a special place in my soul.

View the new work at!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Living with Out Fear, Eyes Open

"I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance,
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom,
and that which came to me as blossom
goes on as fruit."
-Dawna Markova

It has been a crazy couple of weeks, and my blog posts have become woefully at the bottom of the priority list. I've finally had a chance to catch up on life's to do list, and this past weekend actually had time to sit down and do something I hadn't had time for in quite a while: design.

I'm working on final pieces for my Spring/Summer collection for next year, and then it's on to designing the body of work that I'll be selling out next fall. When you work so far in advance, and then come back to the pieces you created for that particular season, you also remember what the world was delivering at your doorstep at the time--what was influencing your creative processes.

I was reminded of this over the weekend, as I came back to finish some pieces that I had started during a very tumultuous time in my life. I remember being inundated with thoughts of anxiety and fear; fear of what was coming, who I would be, and what impact it would all have on my life and my son's life.

In the past, fear was the rudder on my ship: fear of failing; fear of uncertainty; fear of losing; fear of abandonment. I made decisions (or didn't make them) based on fear. A girlfriend of mine recently said, "Well, all of these things have happened to you even though you feared them--so I guess you don't have to fear them anymore." It was like a lightbulb had gone off and it changed my entire way of thinking.

I am trying to live each day now with no fear. Living this way has brought me opportunities that I can't even have imagined. It has brought me a life that is truly mine, a life in which I try to see each day as it comes and look it straight in the eye and say, "I am not afraid."

Stay tuned for fall/holiday work, updates about Sundance (it's all good!) and just on life. In the meantime, live without fear. Do not live in fear of falling or catching fire. Savor each moment, each second of this wonderful gift we call life.

Monday, June 21, 2010

"Happiness is not in another place, but this place....not for another hour, but this hour."
--Walt Whitman

Recently, I've tried to focus a great deal on the here and now vs. what's coming or what's happened. This is easier said than done for obvious reasons: (1) there's a lot of crap from my past that I have to go back and look at in order not to make the same mistakes again (2) there's a lot of uncertainty about the future and who I'll be when I grow up, and (3) we are not wired to just be in the moment (in particular, I am not wired that way.)
While it might be a difficult task, I am trying in earnest to focus on the now more often. Outside of to-do lists and checklists and pieces to make and pieces to think about, I have this little reminder each day who helps me be in the now: my son.
Children have this amazing way of not having any clue what's coming up next, or not even caring much about it. While I try to scoot Evan to the car to get to school on time, he's on the floor of the car looking for dropped Fruit Snacks. When he finds one, he pulls it up gleefully and shouts, "Mom! Guess what I found?!"
He has no interest in what time it is or that we will be late for school, no care that I am irritated and absolutely no worries about such things. I believe that our children come to us to teach us something about ourselves, to help us change the little things that tend to creep their way in over time and influence our thinking about the here and now.
Do I have a huge to do list? Yes. Yes, I do.
Am I worried that it won't all get done? Sometimes I am.
Instead of letting myself get whipped up into a frenzy inside about it, I tell myself "I can only do so much in a day." It actually helps to calm me down and helps me recenter on the things that are important.
This morning, my son woke me up with a Chuck E Cheese crown on his head and a flashlight. "Mommy, let's play super heroes," he said happily. I resisted the temptation to get up and get moving. Instead, I grabbed the flashlight and spent 5 minutes running around the house with a really neat little boy.
I may not have a cape or magic powers, but 5 minutes was all my son needed to have a little fun with his mommy.
And the lesson to me was an invaluable one.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Seeing the Forest Through the Trees

"Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here.
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers.
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two trees are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you."
--David Wagoner

Lately, life has given me a lot of things to do: Raise a son, grieve a long lost marriage; rise from the ashes and find a new life and reacquaint myself with the real me; grow a business; set the foundation for new financial opportunities so that I may take care of myself and my family.

All of this juggling sometimes has me forgetting to look in the forest of my soul and see what is
really there. What is beyond the trees? What is driving me? Is it a good thing or a bad, or neither? Is it rooted in fear or infallibility? Is it purpose driven, or driven by something (or someone) else?

Recently, I realized that in periods of crisis in my life, I tend to throw myself into as much as I can in order to reassure myself that I will be OK. I joked with this last week with my therapist that I don't know when to stop: why is it not OK for me to be proud of what I've done so far? Why do I feel like it isn't enough? I look at the accomplishments I've been able to make in this very difficult period of my life and I am so proud--but why isn't it enough!?

He explained what I already knew: that anxiety in times of crisis makes us feel like we have to put our energies towards things that on the surface relieve our anxiety. But as we look deeper, do they really make us feel any better, or are we spinning our wheels? Perhaps the distraction makes us feel at ease, makes us feel less anxious.

Rather than give into this anxiety-driven behavior, I decided to take a new revolutionary approach: I am telling myself that I am doing everything I can do at this very moment, and to do more does nothing more. In other words, Less is More. In other words, Carrie: CHILL OUT!

Just saying it actually took some of the pressure off of myself, the pressure I have put squarely on my own shoulders. The pressure that can sometimes feel like shackles around my soul.

I am looking into the forest of my soul--deep into the forest, and focusing on the beautiful things that are living there: I am healthy, like a vibrant green moss that has taken root on an old growth tree. I have a beautiful, happy son, who gives me joy like rays of sunshine streaming through the forest darkness. I have amazing friends and family, who wrap me with love and warmth like the thick blanket of the forest floor. I am strong and sturdy, much like an old tree that stands quietly in the landscape.

I am here, in the quiet stillness of the dark and light, old growth and new, the summer winds blowing gently through my limbs and shaking me to the roots.

I am born again.

I am alive.

I am here.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Learning How to Say NO is a Fine Art....

"Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough."
--Joshua Billings
Perhaps it's just me, but lately I have had to say no a bit more than I am used to. This could be a result of me just having too many spoons in too many pots--a stay-at-home-mom by day, freelance writer/Sundance jewelry artist by night.
As a newly-labeled "single parent," I am trying to prepare myself financially and emotionally for all that being alone truly entails. And I am really looking at all of the things that I used to say "no" to and questioning whether I said no because I really didn't want to do them, or if it was a filter that I used for my soon-to-be ex spouse.

I wish I could say I've always been good at saying no, but I haven't. This time of my life has truly forced me to look at the things that are important and push out the rest; every single day I am looking at my list and wondering if I should/could do this or that.
Because I have such little time, I am always asking myself the perennial question: does saying yes speak to truly who I am? Am I saying yes out of guilt or obligation? Does saying no free me to be the person I am and honor
who I am?
This may sound like a silly exercise, but I encourage you to ask yourself the next time you are asked for a favor. Instead of saying yes on "auto pilot", stop just for a second and ask yourself whether it is right for you.
As women, we are not trained to think this way, but I can tell you that it is liberating to put yourself first and draw a little line in the sand--saying no can be the best thing that you do.
If you've said yes all your life, don't expect others to be happy with your newfound "no" button.
Recently, a store who sells my work on consignment asked if I would do a custom piece for a customer. She told the customer I would do it before I had agreed to it. When she asked me if I would, I weighed the benefits to me--and found out that my time was worth a hell of a lot more than spending a few precious hours on a project for her customer that would result in a measly $30 in my pocket. So I politely told her "no."
I got back a curt response, the kind of response that would have made me feel too guilty to ignore and in the past would have made me change my mind and say yes even though I didn't want to. But this time I didn't rescind my answer--this time I stood up for myself.
All too often we do things for others that aren't coming from an authentic place. In this current place in my life, I am forced to ask myself the "why" of doing things that others ask. I have to say that while this has been a very challenging time of my life, this lesson has been a huge gift. And for that, I am grateful.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

So many late nights, so much joy in my heart.....

"Beauty appears when something is completely and absolutely and openly itself."

--Deena Metzger

It's been so long since I've posted, I am not sure whether to be embarrassed or try to sweep the absence under the rug!

So I will choose to do neither--I will stand up and say, OK folks, I've been a busy little bird and life has, well, just been busy.

The Sundance work is in full swing--I have just gotten my first Purchase Orders for the fall catalogs and I was just informed that three additional designs are going to be part of the Holiday books that Sundance sends out. I am thrilled. I am tired. I am scared as shit. And I am ready.

But this business has totally changed for me, which is why you haven't seen new work on my Web site or Etsy for awhile. I have been head down not only making pieces for the fall order, but also making samples for Spring 2011--Yea, I said 2-0-1-1!!!!

Buyers like Sundance work so far ahead that designers must, too. It's actually a good thing in that it forces you to think designs through more carefully, put together casts and get materials far in advance, shoot it and put line sheets together so it can go out by the end of this month/early June.

In addition to preparing for Sundance, I've also been doing some freelance writing work on the side for my old employer and a few others. The pay is great, the work is interesting, and it helps fund the massive amount of investment I am making in nabbing this Sundance business and eventually getting more from others. Turns out, I thought I was spending a lot before on materials--I have reached a new level! :-)

The combination of the two is all done after my first job is over--when my son goes to bed. To say that I am burning the candle at both ends would kind of be an understatement at this point, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Despite my being so busy, I have learned that each day is a gift, and with it comes small blessings that must be seen, appreciated and enjoyed. It is for this ability that I am calm in my heart, not really even stressed that much.

So stay tuned, my friends, for what is to come. I guarantee the ride will be interesting. And I've saved a seat for each of you....

Saturday, April 24, 2010


"People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway."
Mother Teresa

Lately, I have realized that one big thing that has hindered my creative business is creativity itself. As an artist, energy flows through me and I release that energy into the pieces I create. I let each one go, a seed to the wind, to plant itself in fertile soil and take root.

But what happens when you have a creative drought? What happens when the very thing that makes you an artist goes away?

It is a crippling feeling, indeed, to have the very energy that feeds your business just dry up. For me, the drought was a long and hard one. It felt like two years of winter. Sure, I plugged along and created pieces, but I always wondered: will someone call my bluff? Because they were not always made with energy that is pure, good and true.

For each of us artists, there are bonafide periods in our lives when the creativity just dies. For me, it is usually with personal struggles like those that have haunted my life in the past year. I have been stripped bare and gone many nights to my closet sobbing. I never thought it would end. And neither did my studio.

Recently, the creative juices started to kick in again. Slowly, but surely. It reassured me that they were really there.. I was beginning to wonder if they had gone forever.

For me, I realized that this prolonged period of creative bankruptcy was a necessary part of my process. How can someone create art if their very souls are stripped down to nothing? How can someone be an artist if their emotional state is mired in torture and trauma?

What I realized, too, is that forgiveness--forgiveness of self--is an essential element to becoming a whole person and a whole artist again. We might be willing to forgive others for what they have done to us, but what about ourselves? Are we willing to extend the same unconditional love and forgiveness to our own spirits?

Recently, it dawned on me that I hadn't done that yet. I hadn't forgiven myself. Redemption of self is so important--it teaches us to be just as gentle on ourselves as we are to others. But how often do we REALLY do that? How often do the critical voices tell us that we deserve what we got coming instead of offering our tender little souls forgiveness?

Don't ask me how to forgive yourself or how long it will take. Only you know that answer.

I can only tell you that I am leading this charge up the hill of redemption so that I can be free--free of all the things that have bound me and my creativity. Free of the shackles that I put on myself and let others put on me.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Revamping My Life, My Business, My Soul!

"Set fire to what you thought you knew and find yourself in the ashes."
--From the Book, Note to Self

My life has been nothing but change this past few months in every stretch of the imagination. And now, with this amazing business opportunity before me, even the things I knew and the rhthyms I trusted in my professional life as an artist have gone by the wayside.

The Sundance Catalog business has forced me to think about my business like a professional. By that I mean that plans are made well in advance of the "now" and things are in progress much farther ahead of when they will actually see the light of day. This is how the jewelry business truly works--you must think far in advance of just a one-hit wonder of the season. Instead, you must look out on the horizon, plan for the future and buy materials based on a big fat hunch....

Revamping the business is what must be done in order to grow it to what I want it to be. But, it is a complete change from the design-what-you-wish mentality that I have been in for the past four years. It's time to be as mature about the business as I have had to be in my personal life. I guess there is a recurring theme here....

The frustrating part is that there is only one of me, so planning head for future business is great (I'm really a planner at heart), but the satisfaction that comes from producing results on a monthly basis are currently eluding me. I have done a huge amount of legwork already on my Sundance business, so it's time to focus on the here and now for awhile, so look for new work here pretty soon.

I guess that this opportunity comes at a good time for me, as everything about my life is changing. So why not this? In my heart, I know it's the right thing to do if I want to make this a business that pays. It just requires a redoubling of efforts and a fresh mind. And I guess my soul, heart and mind are ready for whatever is next!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pinch Me, I'm Dreaming....

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
--Seneca, Roman Philosopher

It has been one of the most unbelievable weeks for me: this week, a dream, a BIG dream came true.

This week, I was informed by Sundance Catalog that 6 of my designs--YES 6!!!!--will be part of their Fall 2010 catalog. I can't believe that after years of thinking about it, daydreaming about it, inspired by it, that it has actually materialized before me.

I can only believe that this journey--although years in the making--is setting sail today because it was meant to at this time of my life.

Many things leading up to the news has made me believe in small miracles that set the stage for even bigger ones. About a month ago, I had sent samples for another catalog's Fall book, only to get all of the samples back with no note, no "thank you", really no acknowledgement that I had made the investment of money and time! I was bummed out, to say the least, that my hard work didn't bear fruit. But it actually had--I just didn't know it at the time.

I had a pity party about the catalog's rejection for an hour, then dusted myself off and went straight into my studio and submitted all of the images from my fall line to Sundance's online submission form. I figured, "what have I got to lose?"

The next day the buyer called, asking me to send about 15 of my samples from the images she saw online. I was floored.

Had I not gotten all of the samples back from the catalog, I would not have been able to send them to Sundance. I had made a rookie mistake: I only made 1 set of samples!!!! So, if I hadn't been rejected by Catalog #1, my dream opportunity would have knocked and I'm not sure I'd have been able to answer as quickly as I did.

So here I am, poised to see where this journey takes me. I can't wait. I am so proud of myself I can't hardly stand it. I did it--Just me! And that feels damn good for a change.

What's holding you back from the opportunity of a lifetime? What door is waiting for you to open? Take a deep breath, stand at the edge of the cliff and feel the wind whipping in your hair. Close your eyes, extend your hands and jump into the light. You never know where it might lead you.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I am Listening.....

Listening to Spring, by Macrina Wiederkehr

How quietly the earth breathes forth new life.
How eagerly the sun bleeds forth the spring.

I am listening.

I am listening to seeds breaking open,
to roots growing strong beneath the ground
to green shoots rising up from winter wombs.
I am listening to thorns blossoming,
to barren branches laughing out new growth,
to wildflowers dancing through the meadows.

I am listening.

I am listening to the forest filling up with song.
I am listening to the earth filling up with life.
I am listening to trees filling up with leaves.

I am listening.

I am listening to the sky with its many changing moods,
to flashes of lightening, pearls of thunder.
to opening buds and greening grass.
I am listening to the breaking forth of light
in the vestibule of dawn.
I am listening to the freshness of the morning.

I am listening.

I am listening to the raindrops
giving hope to thirsty gardens.
I am listening to the orchards
pregnant with new life.
I am listening to the flowers
bursting forth in rainbow colors.

I am listening.

I am listening to the brook
to the song of happy waters.
I am listening to music
rising up from all the earth.
I am listening to spring
soaring in on wings of life.
I am listening to the sounds of spring.

I am listening.

I am listening to prayers
pouring forth from feathered throats.
I am listening to prayers
rising up from misty waters.
I am listening to prayers
of a meadow crowned with dawn.

I am listening.

I am listening to the growing
in the garden of my heart.
I am listening to my heart
singing songs of resurrection.
I am listening to the colors of life.

I am listening.

I am listening to winter
handing over spring.
I am listening to the poetry of spring.

I am listening.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Time is Now...

"There is only one time when it is
essential to awaken.
That time is now."

It has been awhile since I've posted and I know I've been irregular as of late in posting at all. I have foreshadowed a personal crisis in my life in my blog before, which had come to bear its ugly fruit recently.

I must say that the anxiety of waiting for it to come to bear has been much worse than its arrival. Now that it has past, I can at least put a stake in the ground that marks "before" and "after" and I can begin anew.

And it is an amazing time to begin anew. Spring is arriving; my tulips are peaking through the ground and bringing forth promise. My heart is lighter, the grass is greener, and the mountains are just beginning to retreat their blanket of snow.

Like the season, I too am starting fresh. I have been pruned down to almost nothing, ready for new growth. I have replanted myself in fertile soil and am ready to look to the sun for warmth and grace. I am ready for the new life that spring brings us.

In the days and years ahead, you will see a new blossom emerging here. I will be the same flower, but my petals might seem sturdier, and my stem more resolute. I am ready. The time is Now.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Emerging from a thick fog of illness....

What an incredible 3 weeks it's been--from amazing professional opportunities to some detours in the road to some downright scary stuff going on in my world!

But all of that has been overshadowed by the longest lingering cold/ear infections in the history of me. In short, I have been dogged by this illness that just won't go away; and as I write this I am awaiting word from the nurse at my doctor's office that a better, more powerful med is waiting for me at the pharmacy. I want to kick this sickness' ass!

I haven't been able to work out for 3 weeks, and it's been most stressful in my environment at the same time. And because of the illness, I haven't even gotten the energy to go into the studio and create something new--which is what I should be doing in light of these great potential opportunities!

I hope to be back in action by next week, back into the groove. Forgive me for not posting sooner--I have been mending my body, my soul and my heart these past few weeks!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Doors and Windows....

"Often the difference between a successful person and a failure
is not one has better abilities or ideas,
but the courage that one has
to bet on one's ideas,
to take a calculated risk--and to act."
Andre Malraux

It has been an UNBELIEVABLE couple of days.
On Monday, I learned that a consortium of Web sites (, and had STOLEN images of my work off of Etsy AND my product descriptions and were representing my work without MY permission to do so. They had ripped off several other damned fine artists on Etsy too, and even had the cajones to actually rip off images from Robert Redford's Sundance Catalog if you can believe that.

Once word got out that this was what was happening, one ripped off artist told another, and another, and before you know it, the entire ETSY community was bombarding these Web sites with nasty emails, voice mails, text messages--you name it. We all banned together and fought this low life company, who pretended to partner with small artists and sell our work. What a joker this guy and company are!

By end of the day, all of the Web sites had completely stripped the Etsy artists from their pages! It was the most awesome feeling in the world to take down this company's illegal acts without any of us even having to consult a lawyer.

On the same day, I got crappy news that NONE of the samples I had sent to my catalog for Fall weren't selected. Let's just say I assumed that was the case, as all I received was a box full of my samples with No NOTE, NO Thank You, No Nothing! I was pretty bummed about it, as I had high hopes for my designs in their fall book. They simply said my samples were too similar to what they already had in the book, and they were looking for other designs..Fair enough.
I had a pity party for myself about it last night, but it only lasted about 1 hour. Then, after I put Evan to bed, I started pitching my work to lots of other boutiques I'd been wanting to get into for some time. And I pitched myself to a catalog I've been wanting to get into for awhile, too. I figured, what the hell? The time is NOW.
Do you know what happened? Today, I shipped 30 pieces off to a Toronto-based company that has an amazing array of jewelry designers in its inventory--they were one of the pitches I made lastnight. The owner scours the world for fabulous, interesting work, and she called me this morning and asked me if I could get my work to her before her Valentine's Day Trunk Show TOMORROW! I loved her immediately as a person, and I do believe it will bring other wonderful opportunities.

In addition, I got a call this afternoon from a buyer at a catalog I've been targeting for some time. Last night, I sent them images of my fall line up and they now want to take a look at samples. It is AWESOME news, as this particular catalog must get hundreds of submissions a year--if not thousands.

I almost want to cry at the way in which life introduces new opportunities. A year ago, I probably would have had a much longer pity party for myself about the other catalog not wanting my work for fall, and I would have even entertained the idea that this one single rejection was a sign from the universe that I probably wasn't meant to be a designer after all.

But this time, I just took it in stride and put my energy into something positive. I saw it for what it could be--another door opening. The new catalog opportunity might not turn into something immediately, but it WILL turn into something. I insist on it.

What door has closed recently in your life?
Instead of looking upon it with sadness, look ahead--up there, through the hazy fog of your imagination.
Is that a door, bright with sunlight? If so, walk confidently towards it, grab the handle with a firm grip, and stride out into your future.

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Promise...

"If we could see the miracle
of a single flower clearly,
our whole life would change."

I love that this time of year brings the promise of possibility.
You can feel it in the air that things are about to change.
Isn't it a miracle? This rebirth of the land, of the sky that I love? I am in awe of Mother Earth's ability to transform itself and in doing so to transform us.

I have been busy adding new work to the site, much of which is inspired by the promise of spring.

What I mean by that is that like Mother Earth, there is the promise in each of us that life will be transformed; that we will grow new shoots and leaves, gaze up at the sun and allow her to shine light in our lives.

But to get there, we must also be willing to accept the gray skies, pregnant with rain, to douse the land with cold wetness. We must first endure cold, harsh windy days. And when the sunshine of spring finally arrives, it is like it has been there all along, wrapping its blanket around us and giving us shelter and warmth.

I look to the season with promise of a new life; the promise of better things. I have often been told that I am a pessimist. But I realize that if I can still have hope that today will be great, and if it isn't, tomorrow will be better, then that doesn't really make me one, does it?

I love the colors in this season's collection and hope you do, too. Lots of etched work coming--I promise!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times....

"Restlessness and discontent are the first necessities of progress."
Thomas A. Edison

I am overwhelmed, and when I get this way, what do I do? I go to bed. EARLY.
This makes me feel like a complete failure, of course, because there are so many great things I need to work on in the studio. Instead of working on them, I go to bed. EARLY.
But after putting together so much work for my catalog submission last week, and grappling wtih so many things on the personal front, I am freaking exhausted. I have nothing left in my soul for creativity.
I know it's what I should be doing--burning the midnight oil to get shit DONE. But I feel like I am swimming through mud and not getting anywhere.
I think part of it is that I have all this pent up ideas and energy as it relates to my business. But the only time I get to do it is after my son goes to bed. And after he goes to bed, I'm just plain tired from life's many activities.
It doesn't help that life at the moment is pretty difficult in my house. So I guess I should be looking at the positive side of things: I am doing pretty great considering all the crap that is going on in my life.
But for someone who has always been able to drive herself, this is a hard place for me to be. To have so many ideas and not want to do any of them...
I think part of it is the pressure I've put on myself. For lots of reasons, this is the year that my business needs to make it. By that I mean get on the map and stay there and grow, grow GROW. I know, a tall order in this economy, but an order nonetheless.
I am not so usually down on things, but today I am. And for that I truly apologize.
But maybe by getting it out I can start anew. After all, I have things to DO.
So tonight I will go to bed. EARLY. And tomorrow I am dragging my ass out bed and stopping this pity party that I've started for myself. It's just too depressing for me!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

On the Eve of my 41st Year.

"It is miraculous to see people
change when they see they have
choices. They open up like roses
if they see they can make a difference--that they do have value."
Barbara Glanz
I meant to post this last night, BEFORE my birthday today, but after 2 glasses of wine kind of forgot about it. So here's my post:
Tomorrow, much like every morning we wake up to the sun, is a new day. But it is a special day because it is my birthday.
I look back on my life and can't believe that I'm already in my 40s. It sounds like a cliche, but where did the time go? I look over the past year and I have taken stock of the things that are truly important to me.
When you are stripped down, emotionally bare and running through your life nake and vulnerable, it is so much easier to see what is important.
So on the eve of my birthday, I am taking stock of what I have learned in the past year:
  • Love is everywhere, even in places you aren't looking. Be aware of it and learn to find it in the midst of pain.
  • My life is beautiful, and if I don't feel that it is at times, then it is up to me to find out why and fix it.
  • I am the source of my own happiness.
  • There is nothing like the love of a child.
  • There is nothing like the love of friends. Good friends who love you no matter what!
  • There is nothing like sweating it out at the gym. And waking up to a stronger body the next morning.
  • If you believe you can do it, YOU WILL. I took big leaps this year, leaps that I would have never taken before. Instead of falling flat on my face (as I used to fear) I soared.
  • No matter what, I will be Ok.
  • You never know what's going on in other people's lives. Tread lightly.
  • Believe in yourself and others will believe in you, too.
  • Love yourself unconditionally.
  • Learn to look at your weaknesses and be ok with them. Don't beat yourself up! Instead, embrace them and learn to find new ways to channel them.
  • Be you. Everyone else is taken.
I will look to the next year, out on the horizon so nigh, with a smile and courage.
I will look to this coming year as a doorway of hope, light and love. I will open the door with a firm grip and my head held high. I will take this next leap of faith and savor it.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Dream Come True!

"In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can."
Michael Korda
It's already been a busy week, but I am fueled by sheer joy!
As I write this, I am knee deep in samples for the next round of submissions for my catalog opportunity. The submissions for Fall 2010 are due next week, and I still have some pieces I need to finish!
Taking a break tonight from my work, I took a peek at said catalog to see if my designs that were selected for their spring book had made their way online yet.
I figured they would be making their debut soon, as the big retailers like to have new designs for Valentine's Day, but wasn't sure when they would appear.
As I looked at the new work, I saw the two pieces that they have selected for their spring collection! The Etched Mandala earrings (at upper left) and the Etched Mandala Necklace (below) are part of their Featured Designer collection in the Golden Bear's Spring Catalog!

I am so thrilled that my work has made it to the mainstream, and am honored to be in the company of some truly amazing designers with national reputations.
It will no doubt keep me moving tonight, and will keep me dreaming and pursuing my goal of making this passion of mine into something that not only sustains my soul, but also sustains my pocketbook.
I was once a person who doubted myself. I was once a person who would allow the shadowy voice of criticism to creep in and decide things for me. I was once my own worst enemy.
But not anymore--and this proves it. I slayed that dragon and have something tangible to show for it.
And I have something even more: a truly authentic self.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Burned out? Not anymore....

This week has been an interesting one for me. After such a busy year trying to build my business, I had the chance to kind of take a breather between Christmas and New Year's.

As I got back to work in the studio, I had this nagging sense that my heart wasn't in it. And I couldn't figure out why. I questioned myself, as I have done in the past--"Is this my path?" "Is this what I still love to do?"

I have to admit, I wasn't sure I was liking what I heard my mind answering back to those questions. Last night, as I was working late to get some things finished up in the studio, I was tired and drained. And I felt frustrated that as a sole single business owner, it is entirely up to me to keep this thing moving in the direction I want it to go. These days, with a 4-year old still attending pre-school (and who will be going to preschool for another year), my work is done in a few morning shifts (if I forgo a workout) and immediatelyl after Evan goes to bed. So I have two jobs.

I know, it kind of sounds like whining, which is what I eventually told myself. That I needed to enjoy the fleeting moments with my little boy and try to use what time I have to build my business. And then I got a good night sleep.

Today, my heart was pumping with excitement. My production samples arrived today for my Fall 2010 catalog submissions, which are due next week. And they look fabulous! So that got my heart going...And then, today in the mail I received my first check from the said catalog above for the first round of Spring 2010 pieces that will debut in their catalog sometime this month. That REALLY got my blood pumping.

So the answer today to "Is this my path?" is a resounding yes. I think it's good to ask ourselves every once in awhile if we are headed in the right direction. Sometimes we end up on a road that we don't think too much about, and then 10 miles down it, when the road signs start to get dingy and there isn't any sign of life, we wonder if this really was the place we were meant to be. It takes awhile to regroup, turn around, and find a junction that suits us better if we aren't consciously living that path.

I wish for each of you the time to answer those questions you've been mulling around in your head. The ones that maybe only you or a few close to you know about. And in the stillness, I wish that you find the answer--whether it keeps you firmly afoot on the path you are already on or has you making a sharp right turn.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Year Sale at!

Another year has begun, and we look to the days ahead with optimism and joy, and maybe even a little fear.

We look back on the past year and find the places where we've grown deeper roots; cut down old ones and made way for new growth. I am looking forward to this new year with grace and my head held high.

And I have so many new designs for spring that I must clear out the designs from winter to have room for them all!As a special offer to my customers, Original is having a special sale on all non-sale designs!

Get 25% off all non-sale designs today through Wed., Jan. 13th!Enter the promo code 'NewYear' at checkout to receive your discount.

Also, be sure to check out the 'On Sale' section for amazing markdowns of up to 40%!

Thank you for your business, inspiration and support this past year. I look forward to another great year with each of you!