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…

Coming Out In Color

I've always loved leather styles, earthy brown and olive green, rough hewn looks. I'm, you know, kind of a hippie chic. And while I still think these styles are great, I've been thinking ...

For a very long time -- after I had learned that my rash was caused by nickel, but before I learned what actually contains nickel and how to avoid it -- the only thing I had really learned was to avoid all metal. That meant that I chose leather and cloth jewelry when I had a chance, and avoided earrings entirely. I cultivated an appreciation of earthy looks, and a severe distrust of anything that was metal, especially silver.

I wonder if this rings true for anyone else out there. I lived by rules that told me to be frightened, and expect pain from anything that was shiny (basically) and my love for an earthier look was really my safety zone - for a while. I had frankly, grown comfortable knowing that most of the jewelry choices out there are simply off limits. And while it's all f…

After The Party's Over

The Christmas tree stands strangely ignored, guests have come and gone, we still feel a little stuffed with shared meals, chocolate, and cookies. The gifts that were exchanged are starting to go into use - so take a minute and consider whether any of those things might contain nickel, and what you can do about it.

New cell phones and other electronics seem to come around during the holidays, as regularly as Gingerbread cookies.  So if you have a new electronic gadget, take time to get a good case for it. The metal on the casing certainly contains nickel, and you don't need it on your hands or close to your face.  Standard phone cases (the type you buy separately) made of plastic or leather should be fine. At least the current phones and tablets don't have metal buttons - but if you're still toting one of those older models around, consider how your face rubs against the nickel-plated keys as you talk. I won't "tell" you to upgrade, but avoiding those buttons …