Tag Archives: #grief

Life, Konmari Update, and Winter 2017 Jewelry Making Challenge Week #6…Worth the Time

In January 2016 I began a journey of going through my home using the Konmari Method by Marie Kondo.  In July 2016 I had completed the discarding part of the process…which is where I went through everything (yes everything) and figured out which items sparked joy for me then got rid of everything that didn’t.  The second part of the process is finding a home for all of the objects that bring me joy.  I would love to say that I was so motivated by finishing the process that I just zipped through that stage and was the perfect example for the Konmari method.  However if you have read my blog, you know that isn’t true.  The truth is I finished the discarding process out of pure discipline and perseverance.  As a reward for finishing this part of the process I decided to turn my craft room into a personal haven instead of a storage room for all of my crafts and other junk.  I began this project the last week of July.  I thought creating a special space and finding a home for everything in there first would really jump start the second phase of my Konmari journey with joy.

Well things were progressing okay until the final week of August when my sister passed away unexpectedly.  That pretty much blew everything up as far as goals and progress.  I was still in the midst of painting my room and I was so grateful to have something to keep me busy that didn’t require a lot of thought.  It took me a good three months before I had my room finished and everything had a home.  I found myself really struggling with trying to decide where stuff would go because I didn’t feel much joy at all and grieving makes decision making almost impossible.  I gave myself time and space to grieve and on the days I could figure some things out I would.  Most days though all I could do was remind myself of the truth…I hadn’t failed in my big goal I was just knocked down for a time.

It was hard when January 2017 rolled around and I realized it had been a year since I started the process.  However I kept reminding myself of the truth and continued working as I could.  In January I started taking pictures of items I plan to sell online.  The process was drawing out quite a bit and I thought it might be due to some grief, but I realized it was because I was bored.  It was nice to see that grief wasn’t keeping me from progressing, but a normal thing was.  After a week of this I decided it was time to set some goals and reasonable deadlines for my Konmari journey.  It was great to get things out on paper that I need to finish up.  When it came to setting the deadlines I was a little nervous, but I knew I needed an ending point in mind instead of “whenever I get it done”.  Today was my first deadline and after working really hard this week I was able to finish my project last night!  It was such a wonderful feeling to say the least.  I hope to continue meeting my deadlines and be finished with my Konmari journey as a whole by July 1, 2017.  We shall see what happens, but that is my goal.

Besides working hard at completing some Konmari tasks this week I have also been working on a new pendant.  I have spent most of my time this year working with tutorials and I have felt the desire growing in me to create one of my own pieces.  Also after last week I really wanted to be able to spend my time with some slow wire wrapping to remind myself that I do quality work.  So I decided to be really brave and wrap one of the ocean lampwork beads by Molly Cooley that I have been hoarding.  The particular bead I chose to wrap this week was the first bead I ever bought from her.  I realized that I have been hoarding…I mean admiring it for a little over a year.  When I first came across Molly’s beads I couldn’t believe that a bead could be so beautiful.  The night time ocean scenes are my absolute favorite.  Over the last year I have bought several of her beads.  I have gotten brave enough to to wrap two lovely tree beads and one ocean heart bead.  I haven’t been brave enough to wrap the round ocean beads until this week.

Here are some pictures of the beads I mentioned above that I have wrapped and helped me to gain confidence in my skills…

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When I began gathering my wire and other supplies for my pendant this week I would glance at the bead and get a little nervous and ask myself if I was really going to do this. Finally I came to the point of telling myself that if I wrapped the bead and wasn’t happy with the results then I could cut the bead out, toss the wire, and begin again.  That was a freeing thing to realize.  It is one of the things I appreciate about wire wrapping…second chances.

Last week when I was scrolling through my Pinterest feed, I came across a new weave that I really liked and wanted to try.  I decided to try it on this week’s piece.  It wasn’t too hard to do overall since the basic pattern is part of a weave I use in most of my pieces.  It did require me to pay attention to each wrap though because there was a new order.  It also was a little challenging because my six base wires were 60 cm long.  That is a lot of wire to keep straight, but  I had a lot of fun taking my time to create the large section of weave that began my piece.

Here is a picture of the new weave I learned…

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One of the neat things about wire weaving is how the pattern looks different on each side.  Sometimes it can look like a mess, but sometimes there is a new pattern waiting to be discovered.  In this case I found the back to be very pretty and I decided to incorporate the pattern of it in another part of my pendant.  It was a little more tricky to figure out than the first one, but I got it without too much drama.

Here is a picture of the weaving pattern I found on the back of the other new weave…

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Those two sections of weaving actually took up most of my time that I set aside for jewelry making this week.  This week my Konmari task took up most of my time in general and because my husband and I have set aside this weekend for some “us” time I didn’t finish my piece.  Normally I would be disappointed that I didn’t finish the piece, but I am not.  I am glad that I didn’t rush it just to finish.  I want my wire work to match the beauty of the ocean bead and that will take some planning and patience.  It will most definitely be a worth while endeavor.

Here is a picture of my overall progress so far…

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I have attempted to mimic some ocean waves with wire that I plan to implement into my pendant.  I look forward to sharing the finished piece with you next week.  I also hope that I will have time to photograph the oxidized pieces from the past several weeks.  We shall see how it all works out.  I hope that you have a blessed week!

Winter 2017 Jewelry Challenge Week #2…The Art of Finishing

Last week I didn’t finish my piece.  It wasn’t a great way to start the challenge for me, but I decided to accept where I was and move forward with grace instead of getting caught up in the disappointment.  This week I wanted to finish the piece from last week and then finish another pendant that I had started last month instead of beginning something new.

In general, I try not to start too many projects without finishing them because it is so easy to end up with a pile of things half done. I notice this to be the case in all aspects of my life not just in jewelry making.  This is especially a problem in organizing and cleaning because when looking around there are just piles of stuff and it is hard to see the progress.  There is something about being able to see progress that energizes me to keep going and ultimately finish.

I have noticed in the past several months I have had a harder time finishing things due to the grief of losing my sister.  Grief is a funny thing that affects us all in so many different ways, most of which we don’t realize.  I tend to analyze things that go on and how they affect me because I like to understand what is going on in and around me.  I noticed that one of the reasons I was having such a hard time finishing things was due to my decision making ability being hindered.  I didn’t realize how much grief can affect your ability to decide things, but it makes a lot of sense because of all the emotions rolling through you at that time.  Realizing this made me so thankful that I had already finished the first part of my konmari journey – where I went through everything I owned and decided what sparked joy and got rid of the rest.  I was in the second part where I decided on a home for each item and that is where I got side tracked due to my loss.  Things may not have a home, but at least I am not looking at a bunch of stuff that I don’t like. 🙂

Jewelry making can require a lot of decisions if you are not following a tutorial.  You may not even recognize that decisions are being made, I know I didn’t at first.  I starting having trouble finishing my pieces and I couldn’t figure out why, but I recognized how many decisions I was trying to make and the problem became clear.  As a result I have let a few unfinished pieces build up this past fall.  I decided I needed the freedom to create without the pressure of creating a finished product.

This week I was able to finish two pieces and it felt great to push through each decision I needed to make and continue on.

Here are some pictures of the Amphora Vessel Pendant (Nicole Hanna tutorial) from last

week that I finished…

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Amphora Vessel Pendant
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Amphora Vessel Pendant

It was an interesting piece to complete.  Normally I would not have had much fun with the challenges of the mirroring and the cabochon, but I really did.  I think the biggest challenges were having a larger stone to work with and needing to adjust the tutorial accordingly.  Normally that isn’t a big problem, but because I haven’t worked with many cabochons I don’t have a solid grasp on the construction for a piece made with an undrilled stone.  Last week when I was making the first part of the pendant I was wishing for a drilled stone that would stay in place instead of a slippery cabochon that kept popping out while I was trying to capture it.

I really enjoyed working with the labradorite.  All of the different hidden facets that were brought out with light made it fun to explore.  I look forward to working with more of this type of stone in the future.

Here are some pictures with the labradorite doing a couple different things based in the lighting…

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The other piece that I finished this week was created with a glass lampwork bead made by Molly Cooley.  My normal habit is to make pieces with beads I have had on hand for a while, but when I received this bead I couldn’t wait to wrap it.  I got the general design worked out in December, but I got to all of the little finishing details and got a little overwhelmed.  This week I was determined to focus and figure out those little details and make all of those little decisions.  It was a lot easier than I expected and I am thankful for that.

Here are some pictures of the completed pendant…

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Right Side View
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Left Side View
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Bottom View

I wasn’t sure how I wanted to wrap this bead at first.  I knew that I didn’t want to cover the bead at all because it is so lovely.  It was a challenge to make something that fit my style, but didn’t cover or overshadow the bead, but I am pleased with the results.

I didn’t use a tutorial for this pendant, but I did borrow a technique from a tutorial that  I have been wanting to play around with.  The smaller wire weave going over the bail is a technique from the Fern Weave Pendant tutorial by Julie Hulick.  That is a tutorial that I hope to work with in the next couple of weeks, but I wanted to incorporate that part of it into my pendant this week.

Here is a picture of the bail with the technique mentioned…

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Top View

This week has been a good reminder of how great it feels to finish things.  I know I enjoy making jewelry, but it is nice to feel that joy in the process of making and finishing different pieces.  I look forward to beginning a new piece tomorrow for Week #3!  I hope that you have a blessed week!

Winter 2017 Jewelry Challenge Week #1…Embracing My Humanity, Something a Bit More Personal

Happy New Year!  It is hard to believe that a new year has begun again.  It is an exciting time full of hope, possibilities, and plans for most.  I am one who loves to set goals and resolutions for the new year.  I enjoy the process of figuring things out and working through step by step how to reach my goals.  In the past there was no doubt in my mind that I would actually accomplish what I set out to achieve.  I am sad to say that it made me prideful and not very compassionate to others who were struggling to meet their own goals.  I didn’t realize it wasn’t a  normal thing to set my mind to something and simply do it.  For me success wasn’t an option, but a requirement.   I didn’t understand that life can get in the way and stop even the best laid plans.

Things have happened over the last five or six years that have changed this in me.  I have come to learn that there are days that it is hard to get out of bed due to a body that can barely function and the inability to move forward because of panic and and paralyzing fear.  I have learned that life getting in the way is a real thing…and I usually resent it.  I am not very fond of my humanity and it’s weaknesses…I mean after all the perfectionist in me is demanding perfection and my humanity cannot give it.  Looking back over my journey and struggles these past few years is kind of amusing to me now.  I see that it is not logical  to resist the very thing I am…a flawed human.  I know my expectations are unrealistic, but it isn’t very easy to see something when you are so close to it.  One of the driving factors to this resistance to my humanity was my need for people’s approval.  Good behavior, productivity, and dependability are praised.  In my mind receiving approval meant I was loved and had value…so I kept working towards it because we all want to be loved and have value.  What I didn’t realize as I was driving myself into the ground to gain this love and worth was I already had it.  It was something that God had already lavished upon me in Christ.  Grace is something else I have that I forget to rely on when I mess up in my humanness (which is often).  It is hard to get that to register, but I am trying to remind myself of that as I walk out each day.

You may ask what in the world does any of this have to do with a jewelry challenge?  Well, I have needed to walk in the grace I have been given.  My humanity has been in full swing this week as my best laid plans went awry.

The piece I chose to work on this week is the  Amphora Vessel Pendant Tutorial by Nicole Hanna.  I was tempted to pick a simpler tutorial to begin my challenge…one I was sure I could finish.  However in the spirit of aiming higher this year I chose this one for the challenge.  It is a tutorial that uses a cabochon as the focal and I have only made one piece with a cabochon before this.  It wasn’t a happy experience for me because the cabochon kept popping out as I was trying to wrap it.  One thing I did know is that I wanted to keep wrapping cabochons until I was comfortable with the process.

I am sad to say that I didn’t get this piece finished.  That has been a battle and it feels like a lame beginning to my challenge, but I am choosing to give myself grace.  I  will not give into the feelings that I have failed, but will instead continue making this piece until it is finished.  I will see this piece for what it is, the beginning of something great…not as a failed attempt.  It would only be a failed attempt if I quit and that is simply not something I do.

Here is a picture of my progress so far…

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Not too shabby.  The cabochon in this piece is labradorite and this is my first time working with it.  It is such a beautiful and fun stone.  The reason is because of the hidden properties of it.  When light is applied to it there are different colored flashes that come out of it.

Here is a picture to show what I mean…

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Isn’t it beautiful and so unexpected!  It is a good reminder to me on those days when I am feeling gray that I might need to shine some light on things in order to see the beauty that was there all long.

I hope that as you go through your week you find encouragement in your own struggles and dark places.  Not that the struggles or dark places themselves are beautiful, but that out of them we can become more beautiful and sometimes we get grace to see some beauty while in them.  Just remember that it won’t last forever…no matter how long the night may seem!

Some of the beauty that has come out of my struggle to embrace my humanity is I am a much more compassionate and gracious person.  While I am still working on learning to give myself grace, I can more freely give it to others.  I don’t depend on others to fill me up with love and value…I know I already have them in Christ…I just keep reminding myself of that.  This allows me to love others without needing something from them in return.  It isn’t an easy thing to do and I still fall into old patterns, but I redirect my thinking when I become aware of it.

Well, it is time to say goodbye for now.  No matter how your new year has started, I hope that you won’t quit looking for the beauty in each day.  May you find encouragement and hope for those hard places!

Wrapping Up 2016

It is hard to believe that 2017 is almost here.  With the loss of my sister at the end of August I feel like I have lost the second half of 2016.  The concept of time was has been suspended and so have most of my normal activities.  Due to this inactivity, I felt like I had failed in the goals I had set out to accomplish this year.  My konmari journey has come to a stand still, my dreams of getting into shape slipped away, and my jewelry making has been almost non existent all leaving me with feelings of failure and defeat.  However after some thought I realized that none of these things are failures if I continue my journey and don’t give up no matter how beat down I may feel.

If you have read many of my past posts you may realize that I struggle with wanting things to be perfect and not messy.  The whole purpose of this blog is to share my journey of learning to accept life in all of it’s messy and imperfect beauty.  Most of that journey is shared through my jewelry making, but there are bits of my other projects and goals thrown in along with life in general.  So as 2016 wraps up, I am going to chose to embrace the hard lessons of this year and in all of the mess I will seek and find the beauty through God’s grace.

I haven’t made many pieces over the last few months, but I want to share what I have made and my journey in making them.

Shortly after my sister passed away I ended up making a pendant.  It turned into a way of expressing my grief.  I had never expressed such emotion in a creative outlet before and it turned into a very personal piece.

Here are some pictures my pendant…

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My Shrouded Heart Pendant
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My Shrouded Heart Pendant

The main focal bead I used was a heart shaped lampwork bead made by Jacqueline Parks which you can’t really tell from looking at the finished piece.  At first I was concerned that I had hidden away the pretty bead, but when I analyzed the piece I realized it was on purpose.  This pendant had become a representation of my grief over losing my sister and that is when this piece started to make a little more sense to me.  The heart bead represented my heart and I didn’t want to show it…I wanted to shroud and protect it.

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My Shrouded Heart Pendant-Top View

The bail seemed too large at first, but then I realized that the extra weaves on either side was a picture of my need for extra support during this time.

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My Shrouded Heart Pendant-Side View

The tightly woven layers were the protection that my broken heart needed to keep it from shattering in response to the pain.

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My Shrouded Heart Pendant-Bottom View

And this spiraled weave was representative on how bound up and confused I felt.

There has been a lot of processing this grief the past four months.  It has not been an easy road and it isn’t over, but I am having more good days than bad for which I am so thankful!

I also created my first two custom orders during this time.  My first custom piece was an arm cuff based off the design of a bracelet that I made using a tutorial from Sarah Thompson.

Here is a picture of the Wave Bracelet that the arm cuff was based on…

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Wave Bracelet

This was a great challenge for me in several ways.  First, I had never made an arm cuff before so I had to figure out the construction techniques of it.

Second, I wasn’t sure that it was possible to turn this bracelet into an arm cuff due to the construction of the bracelet.  From what I could tell most arm cuffs are created with the stabilizing point being in the band part of the cuff and then the ends are usually decorative.  The Wave Bracelet is the reverse of that.  The band is loose and flowing and the stabilizing point is around the hinge of the clasp.  It was a challenge to wrap my mind around it so I could create an arm cuff with the band loose and flowing with natural looking ends instead of a faux clasp end.

Third,  I had to take someone else’s  general criteria and turn them into a piece of jewelry.  This was an interesting and some what nerve wracking process because I didn’t know the person.  However, by the end of it I think it stretched me in good ways and helped expand my own perspective and ideas.

Finally, my patience was challenged in the wrapping and constructive process.  When dealing with multiple half-hard base wires that are 18 inches long there is a great need for patience…unless you just want to wad it all up. 🙂

Here are some pictures of the finished arm cuff…

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Arm Cuff
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Arm Cuff Ends
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Arm Cuff Ends
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Arm Cuff Band

This arm cuff was one of the most difficult things I have made so far and I am so glad I accepted the challenge.  I am pleased with the results and so is my customer which makes it all the more exciting and worth it.

My second custom order was for a shawl pin, which is something else I had not made before.  After completing the arm cuff this project was a lot easier due to the simplicity of the piece.  My customer gave me a general idea of what was wanted, but gave me creative freedom.  I had an idea in mind of what I wanted to create, but my first two attempts failed.  I was unsatisfied with the sturdiness of the designs I was trying to create, so I went back to the drawing board for a third time and finally had a successful design.

Here are some pictures of the finished shawl pin…

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Shawl Pin
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Shawl Pin Base
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Shawl Pin Base-Close Up View
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Shawl Pin Stick-Close Up View
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Shawl Pin Stick

I had a lot of fun making this piece and my customer was really happy with the results. This shawl pin is the first piece of jewelry I have made that is functional.  Most of the pieces I make only have the job of being pretty, but this one also needed to be productive as well.  So while I try to make all of my pieces sturdy, this one required a higher level of sturdiness and it expanded my construction skills.

That wraps up all I have made over the past few months.  I look forward to making more jewelry in the coming months.  I have some big goals for 2017 and I look forward to seeing how many I can accomplish.  I am also planning a new jewelry challenge for January and February.  It will be like some of my past jewelry challenges where I make a piece a week and then write a blog post about my experience in making it.  I think that will be a great way to get back into the habit of regularly making things and sharing about them here.  If you are interested in joining me in any of my jewelry challenges there is a Facebook group where you can do that.  Here is a link to that group…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/495846887292459/

Well, I guess this is goodbye to 2016 and tomorrow will be hello to 2017.  I hope you have a blessed New Year!