Thursday, July 17, 2014

Birthday Party

Today my youngest is 21. It's a good day and just a little wistful. 21. Such a momentous occasion. Always on their birthdays, I find myself flipping through the photo albums in my memory of all the years.

He arrived 5 weeks early and has been on the move ever since. He's amazing and wonderful and challenging and smart and it's a pleasure and an achievement to be his mother.

Happy birthday sweetness!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Thoughts on Starting a Business

Chickens in the yard.
It's been just over six months since I started selling my creations. It has been very, very, very good. Here are some thoughts on the adventure:

  1. I am proud of all I have learned, which has been a lot. 
  2. I am even more proud of the work I'm creating. I learn how to be a better artisan every time I sit down at the bench. 
  3. I've started calling the table where I work on my jewelry "The Bench". It makes me smile.
  4. Worrying only removes the fun.
  5. Some things are challenging. Accepting challenges are part of the process does make it more manageable when they show up.
  6. I did not know A LOT before I started. I knew I'd have things to learn, but boy oh boy! I still have learning to do, but now I realize that will always be the case.
  7. The more creative I am, the more creative I feel. I wake up thinking about things to make!
  8. It is easy to get distracted. I've made a list of goals and posted them at my bench, so I can keep them in focus. 
  9. It's a time commitment. Like the challenges, accept that you will spend a surprising amount of time building your business. If you are the sort to schedule things, by all means, make a schedule. Sticking to a schedule is not my strong suit, so I wing it. 
  10. I Celebrate Everything! Seriously! It's just me in this business and up til now, lots of it has been challenging or frustrating. To make sure I remember why I started, I make a point of celebrating every little success: finishing something, learning a new skill, figuring out how to take more interesting photos. Celebrate it all. 
  11. I ask a lot of questions. I don't magically know the answer to everything that crops up. Asking others allows me to gather information I use to make decisions. Sometimes the people I ask don't know anything either, but quite often, solutions occur to me in the midst of my information gathering. So I ask questions... of anyone it occurs to me to ask and everyone I consider my peeps.
  12. Taking breaks is important. For me this business is meant to be fun. For me it's about being creative and letting my spirit dance. When the work of it starts to overshadow the fun, it's time to put away the pliers. Seriously.
  13. Buy good tools. Whatever you are doing, you need the correct tools to get you there. About a month ago, I upgraded my tool set. It was an investment, even though I did not buy the most expensive set out there. It was worth every single penny. Good tools allow you to produce good work. More than that, good tools help you easily make good work. Let me explain: I had a bead crimper, purchased 10-ish years ago. It's frustrating. The criimp bead has to be in there just right to get it to work. I purchased a new one and out of the gate and every time I use it, it works correctly. It is more narrow or slimmer and fits into the tight spaces easier. It has a long narrow flat tip, more narrow, but just like flat nose pliers, which you sometimes need when while crimping. I realize I'm going on here, but really, truly, it's amazing. The day I decided to order a new one, I'd spent 10 minutes trying to close the crimp bead on a bracelet and rather than crimp, it broke the bead and the bracelet fell apart, beads scattering everywhere. I could go on and on about every single tool I replaced. The new set is wonderful, and helps me create what I have in my mind. Amazing.
  14. Similar to #11. I spend time learning techniques from others. Books, classes, YouTube, and just surfing other sellers. I find new things to try, new ways to do things, improvements for things I'm already doing. 
  15. I spend the time to review every order the moment it arrives. I look at everything, making sure I received every item ordered and that it's all in good condition. I won't sell a damaged piece as though it's in perfect condition. Not everyone has the same rules or standards that I do. I've learned this the hard way. 
  16. I am grateful. This has been a fun ride. I've learned a lot and grown through it. It's brought a new aspect to my relationships with my kids as they've become advisors for my business. It's a fun and rewarding experience. I love being creative. I love making other people happy! I'm stronger, happier and more me because of this adventure and I'm so grateful!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Of Human Tornados and Growth

Yesterday was an interesting day. Work was filled with drama and angst and tension, all of which arrived with and stemmed from one single person.

Thankfully, it wasn't me.

It's disconcerting to watch a human tornado in action. Leaving chaos and confusion in it's wake.

For most of the day, I held myself separate. It's a skill I've been practicing for some time. You know the phrase "in this world but not of the world"?  I've been developing the skill of witnessing, without committing emotional energy.

So yesterday, I was in the chaos, but I was not of the chaos. Until the last 30 minutes of the day, when I let myself swirl around in it. And then it affected my evening, as negativity is wont to do.

Because it did, I realize how much work I have to do. At the same moment, I realize how much work I have done. I mean, I was separate for most of the day. Focused on my own goals and accomplishments, I was aware of, but not involved in the tornado. Each time it approached me, I smiled and moved myself out of the path. This is good to recognize. I feel lighter, happier and accomplished realizing it. Yea!

Turns out I don't begrudge having work to do. This is also growth! There have been times when I'd beat myself up for not being more, better, perfect. Those times are past. I no longer expect or want perfection. Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!

My goal is to be love. In every situation, every relationship and every interaction, my goal is to express love. Which is not to say that I give up my needs or wants to keep the peace. It is not loving myself to constantly give in or not express my feelings or to take verbal abuse from anyone. What I mean here is that there are ways to say what needs to be said without leaving destruction in your wake and that is my goal. Some days I am really good at it. Some days I recognize situations that trigger negative responses and know I have work to do.

I found this quote from Deepak Chopra. It made me think of the number of times I've said "I didn't have a choice". Kind of a cop out isn't it? I didn't have a choice means, I made a choice I don't think you will like or I made a choice that does not live up to my expectations for myself. So, I'm repeating it to myself each morning. Because I always have a choice, I choose Love.

Love is the answer. 
I choose Love.
Love is all you really need. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Lots to See and Want

I've been busy loading my etsy shop with some fun new items... come visit!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

It's my Birthday!

Oh yes it is! It's my birthday and I'm celebrating. Join me, won't you? Aren't these beautiful?!  They arrived yesterday and got the party started! 

This morning when I woke up, this was waiting for me:

Life is pretty grand. Let's all have an especially great day!