Before sending it off to the bride, I had added a few small embellishments and used some special paper I received as a present from my brother last Christmas. I think it’s just perfect!
Over the weekend, my partner and I decided to head down to the National Zoo on one of the coldest days this winter. It was a lot of walking, but worth the effort to get all the way down to the toasty warm Amazonia exhibit. I brought my camera but only snapped a handful of shots, mostly of the elephants.
If you’re in the DC area, I highly recommend checking out the Zoo. We bypassed the Panda House, but there’s a little baby panda there now that I was sad to miss. I probably wouldn’t do it again, or else I’d wear a third layer of clothes and gloves with fingers!
A few weeks ago, I spent some time with close friends, sitting around talking and drinking while we all painted our nails. It was such a fun experience, sharing polishes and stamping plates, showing people how to use them, and generally enjoying the company. I hope we have many more opportunities to be together like this and have a great time with beautiful colorful nails to show for it in the end!
My nails are still super short, but these kinds of parties make me want to grow them out much longer. I didn’t snap a photo of my own nails, but that night I painted them my favorite bright lime green color. I stamped the white skull you can faintly see on Stephanie’s thumb in the last photo. Bringing all that equipment out of storage makes me want to go on a stamping frenzy. Just might have to have regular nail posts again in 2014!
A few years ago, I bought my first pair of faux gauge earrings from my favorite online store, Soul Flower, but it took me many months before I felt comfortable wearing them. I felt like a fraud and a poser because I couldn’t commit at that time to gauging my ears for real. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the process and I didn’t think I could pull off the look. Despite my fears, I managed to amass quite a collection and did wear a few pairs intermittently.
In the not too distant past, I made the decision to throw caution to the wind and finally gauge my ears. I did lots of research online, spoke with several friends who’d done it, and armed myself with as much information as possible. I wasn’t nearly as patient in the early days and moved up sizes earlier than i should have. But thankfully, I always took good care of the holes and they’ve been happily stretching ever since.
I’ve stopped at 0mm and aren’t likely to go any bigger. They are the perfect size for me and I grin like mad every time I look in the mirror and see my plugs. They add exactly the kind of edge and funkiness I’m looking for and they are super simple to take care of. Throughout the process, I’ve been ordering my tapers and plugs from bodyjewelerysource.com and have been extremely happy with everything I’ve received from them. I have a nice collection of organic plugs. a few metals one, and a pair of buffalo tapers, which I’ve been wearing constantly:
I’m excited to see my collection grow and expand, experimenting with materials and shapes. I’m a bit said that I can’t wear any of my faux gauges now, but my partner has been wearing them regularly so they’re still getting some use!
After getting a bit of color inspiration from the bride:
I finally mounted the silhouette and typography for my friend’s anniversary present, choosing a dark teal background and bright orange font:
There still more tweaking I want to do with the area around the silhouette and possibly the corners. I might remount the piece with the words on swathes of ribbon, much like the wedding present I gave some dear friends a few years ago:
.I can’t wait to see what the final piece will look like. I love these friends dearly and I really hope the husband enjoys it! I’ll keep you posted but might have to keep the final design a secret, we’ll see.
When I first established the Workshop back in the fall of 2009, I came up with a series of basic guidelines that I wanted to follow whenever I was creating. When the blog began a year or so later, I wanted to make sure they were displayed prominently for me to see whenever I posted. Lately, I feel like I’ve lost my way a bit artistically, so I pulled these back out to get a refresher:
|anything and everything can be art|
|there’s no right or wrong way to express oneself|
|negativity and judgment have no place|
|the process is as important as the finished product|
|inspiration comes from everywhere|
|praise is appreciated, but not required|
|there’s no self-censoring|
|no project is a waste of time|
Those ones in bold are particularly meaningful for me right now. I stop before I even get started when I’m so concerned about doing it “right” or when I judge each step of the process. I get wrapped up in the finished product and forget about the joy and freedom of just creating. And I need to remember that whatever project I’m working on is important no matter how small or seemingly random.
Now is the time for me to dispel all the self-criticism and just let go, dive into something that’s messy and energizing and creative. It’s not about its marketability or even about having a finished framed project at the end, it’s about getting my hands dirty and giving my heart a chance to express itself.
So let’s see where it leads me – stay tuned!
Last January, I came up with some informal resolutions that I hoped to adopt during the year. They were quite a mix of things, but they felt realistic and achievable:
I’d meant to have monthly check-in posts about each goal, but this year didn’t go nearly as planned, especially for this blog.
The first few months of the year seemed promising; I was posting with frequency here and things felt relatively stable. I was enthusiastic and energized, ready to write letters and get in shape, save some money and go on vacation. I had my first go-round with quitting smoking. I was working hard on cultivating gratitude daily. But by April, I was in trouble emotionally and found myself hospitalized for the first time.
While the psychological work was hard, it served to wonderfully deepen and strengthen my relationship with my partner; her daily visits, unwavering support and compassion, and beautiful smile kept me from checking out completely and gave me the determination to fight my inner demons. Following discharge, we moved in together with another friend of hers and I finally had space away from my parents that I could make my own, a place of comfort and sanctuary to recharge and relax. Though I lost the space for a studio and most of my supplies stayed in storage, I was still occasionally struck with inspiration.
The summer had its ups and downs, with professional triumphs but more frequent frustrations, increased socializing with friends in the neighborhood and copious game-playing. But those days gave way to a brutal fall with back-to-back hospitalizations and even more difficult emotional struggles. Interestingly, when I decided to open myself up here and share more about my personal life, I felt freer to post more frequently and the last few months of the year were documented here.
I find the year ending on a troublesome note with financial worries hanging over my head and the nagging notion there’s another hospitalization around the corner. But my goal in the coming year is to cultivate hope and gain a greater appreciation for life as a whole. Bigger picture and all that.
Getting back to those resolutions…sadly, I never went on vacation and I’m still struggling with my attempts to quit smoking. I never even picked up the guitar; in fact, I think it’s still at my parents’ place. Physical exercise didn’t become a priority until very recently and I’ve mainly stuck to yoga. Still haven’t had my first manicure but my nails are mostly grown out again now so this is one that makes it to the 2014 list. I have next to no photos of myself (or me with my partner for that matter) so I’d like to carry that one over to the coming year’s list, too.
The successes were the new apartment, a cleaned-out storage unit, and the letter-writing efforts (not exactly monthly, but often enough for me). I wasn’t able to save money, and became even more financially unstable during this year, but some stability in that area should definitely be forthcoming in January. My fingers are crossed that I find employment in a way that’s far less psychologically taxing and emotionally draining than my previous job.
On a related note, I have a feeling 2014 will see this site grow beyond my wildest expectations. I plan to showcase some of my work in some capacity, whether it’s at the local library or through a larger craft show, and work harder at creating for myself and not for other people. I also plan to incorporate art journaling into the mix, which I’ve already been having a blast with so far.
So stay with me folks, and let’s see how 2014 shapes up. All my best wishes to you and yours for the coming year!
A very dear friend contacted me recently to commission a piece to give her husband for their one year anniversary. The traditional material is paper and that’s right up my alley! She wanted something romantic along with the words “I love this moment with you”.
i spent a long time brainstorming what I could create and it dawned on me that I rarely do the traditional black silhouettes and this would be the perfect project to feature that kind of thing. I Googled some images and found the perfect outline of two people embracing and then a great font ideal for the words.
I’m still debating the color scheme to complement the black silhouette. I need to see if they have any meaningful colors, possibly from the wedding. I’d rather not stick with the black and white, but if it’s what she enjoys, then that’s all figured out.
This is the first real commission piece I’ve done and I’m excited about taking on more. My roommate passed my details along to a friend of hers so there might be work coming down the pipeline. This could be the start of something great for 2014. I’m certainly ready*!
*year-end recap post coming next!
Right now things feel eerily calm and I’m trying to take advantage of the lull to regroup and take care of myself before the holidays commence and chaos reigns. My partner converted to Judaism earlier this year, so we celebrated Hanukkah this month, which was truly special and meaningful. I’m an atheist but was raised Christian and have celebrated Christmas in past years.
I did put up a small rinky-dink florescent purple Christmas tree (think Charlie Brown) with a few ornaments, but these days we’re more apt to call that our solstice tree instead. I know my parents expect my presence on Christmas morning at their house and since presents are involved, there’s that nagging sense of obligation. But that household hasn’t been kind to me in the past and I’m hesitant to spend any more time than is necessary there.
In the end, I’ll do what feels right and healthy for me and abide by the boundaries I set with them even if they don’t respect or acknowledge them. I’ll have my partner with me for support and my brother will be in town, whom I greatly love and enjoy. If we can keep things light and simple, it should be a very pleasant day for everyone. And it’s only one morning of one day and afterward I’ll get to return to my apartment sanctuary and recover.
I hope everyone else’s holidays are joyful and bright, spent with people you love and fun celebrations of the season!
And so I found myself on the floor of my bedroom yesterday afternoon, stringing beads onto clear elastic. I got a big ol’ roll of it for a few bucks at Wal-Mart and I have a bead stash that’s gotten out of hand. Now mind you, it’s well-organized into clear plastic bins and containers, but there’s just too much of it.
When I was in the hospital recently and we had that free art time I spoke so fondly of, one of the other patients spent her time making bracelets for herself and anyone who wanted one. She made me a cute purple and green pastel number that I wore the rest of my stay. I also made myself one using dark iridescent pony beads – I wear it frequently now as it’s become a source of comfort, almost like a rosary.
After playing around with color schemes and combinations, I whipped out five new bracelets this afternoon and I’m delighted with the result! I have something a bit more elegant in silver and black, I have two similar square bead bracelets–one purplish and one bluish–that are whimsical and fun, another that’s peach with black accents for a softer look, and a triple-strand one with some silver flair. All in all, definitely going to wear these out and about to brighten my wardrobe!