Call Me An Optimist

Do you remember when shopping for the things you needed every day felt like real community participation? I have to say, I strain to remember such experiences. For me, the feeling of shopping that builds a community has been a pretty rare event, which comes mainly in small, sweet moments of discovery.

When I was a kid in the 1970's, the big box stores and major chains were popping up everywhere. Over the course of time, they have almost become the landscape, itself. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish one mid-size city from another, since you see the same names dotting the street -- familiar chain restaurants, hardware stores, shopping centers, craft stores, donut shops, and more.

While all this familiarity should create a feeling of home and belonging, I find it creepy. It can even make me feel a little lost and disoriented (what city am I in, again??). I begin to worry that this is what every city really looks like all across the country, or is what they will look like.

We h…

"What IS This Stuff?"

I ask questions. It's just kind of the way I operate. Sometimes answers seem like, you know, answers, and sometimes they just seem like doorways to more questions. This where the real fun awaits, by the way ... 
I was following my train of thought this morning, using my chosen search engine to look for information on questions that occurred to me, beginning with: 
[1] What on earth IS "Fordite"?
I can't even remember how this popped into my head, but believe me, my email inbox is a rich treasure trove of randomly generated distractions. I suppose that had something to do with it. 

Fordite may not have been on the top of your mind when you woke up this morning, but jewelry makers who use beads have heard of it, and some use it and enjoy it. Fordite is sold in the form of beads to jewelry makers and then by consumers. (It is named for the actual Ford cars they are made from.) It is well-known that it is not a stone at all but paint bits from Detroit which were created …

This Is Personal

I have belonged to one Nickel Allergy support group or another (online), for a while now. I am struck by the importance of such a group. I am also struck by its limitations, even dangers. It is not so different than the kind of support group that has always come together around a personal issue - whether it's alcoholism, a child's disability, a cancer diagnosis, or even comparatively simple issues, such as owners of new puppies who really want to keep the carpet clean. These groups arise naturally, often as a result of serious issues that deserve serious answers. They cross traditional borders between medical and mental wellness, and attempt to reach people in the moment to talk them down or boost them up.

So it is with nickel allergy. As much as some people out there may blow off nickel allergy as the kind of medical condition you can ignore, it is not. As much as doctors as a whole may be a great source of knowledge on the subject, nickel allergy also seems to be a blind sp…

10 Terrific Things About Having a Nickel Allergy

 or, the Nickel Allergy Top-10 You know, sometimes I think that I give the impression that life with a nickel allergy is just one big downer ...  But really my life is so much better since I have discovered that I have a nickel allergy. Maybe you have your own list. Here are just a few things I can think of, right off the top of my head.


#10 Since I only re-discovered I could wear earrings in 2009, I do NOT have a huge backlog of earrings from the '80's. One cannot be too grateful to have avoided such a fate.

#9 In creating and running a business, I have discovered I have a knack for really odd things ... like graphic design,  product photography, and, you know, keeping tents from blowing away in the wind.

#8 I would never have started making my own jewelry at all, if I could have worn jewelry the "easy" way. Allow me a moment, while I ponder the sad little misfit I may have been.  .....

#7 If I HAD started making jewelry (and d…

Honoring the Day

Christmas is coming, in case you haven't noticed.  In the days ahead, some zaniness shall unfold - parties, gifts, wishes fulfilled, cravings indulged. It's not a bad time to think beyond the busy-ness to what you are really bringing to the day. 

When I was a kid, we didn't think we were lacking for much, but living with limited means was really a part of our every day thinking. We had a sense of gift-giving, not only as an object exchanged, but an event to be planned for. We got inventive about certain things. We would sometimes exchange things like colorfully drawn coupons for household chores, or the ever-popular back rubs. Gifts handmade by the giver were especially prized, and doing them in time sometimes required some sneaky spy-work and midnight hours. Sometimes we would plan an elaborate scavenger hunt around the house, wrapping notes inside one box after another, to send the giftee to another corner of the house, to eventually open the true gift. We gave and receiv…

Brag Book #2 | Double Hoop Niobium Earrings

I have been accused of making "too many earrings" compared to other forms of jewelry. Nevertheless, they continue to fascinate me. I love working with beads, but I become really thrilled when I can create something that's entirely wire, and is satisfying and complete in and of itself. 
These terrific earrings are simply a loop suspended inside a larger loop, but the movement and the effect of the light against the metal is quite fun. I have anodized these in a very short spectrum - it is dark to light pink, with just a hint of gold. It is the kind of color that is there for the observer to discover.  I find that this "color discovery" is really at the heart of what is fun about wearing jewelry, whether, it is an opal, a faceted crystal, or anodized niobium.
This pair of earrings is 2.25 inches long (6 cm), and are still available in my shop. And by the way, if you want me to make you these earrings in a different color, I can do that.
I love niobium as a mediu…

Naturally Ad-Free

Sometimes it's not what is there that makes something really worthwhile. Sometimes the thing you appreciate most is what's not there. It may not be something you notice a lot as you're browsing my sites -- in fact I hope it is not -- but the fact there are no ads on my site is something that I'm especially proud of, and it has not happened by accident.

Like many small sellers, I have gotten offers to splash ads on my blog and my website in the interests of making some small fee associated with this. Honestly, I'm not interested.  I have purposely avoided choosing online site venues that splash ads across everything, and it was a primary factor in my decision to leave ArtFire, after being a happy customer there for a few years already.

I have a little mantra which I use to try to set my brain straight when making choices, and which I do wish other sellers would use more frequently. My mantra is this: "Will it annoy the customer?" Because, you see, I have b…