follow your heart

sorry i haven’t written for so long, but i’ve been a bit busy setting up my booth at crafted and then sloooowly getting my life back in order, doing the things i put aside {vacuuming anyone?} in the mad dash before the grand opening. i finally took pictures of my booth and some of my favorites in my little neighborhood, and i can’t wait to share those with you, but today i wanted to share this simple idea: following your heart is scary.

so many times over the past month, people have told me how brave i am or how lucky i am to have the chance to have a teeny little store to sell my jewelry. but i want you to know that at no point have i felt brave {though i do feel lucky at every turn}. i have felt nervous, anxious, afraid, worried, and downright scared. i have felt despair that i would never get it all done. i have felt a deep-down bone-chilling fear that no one would like my stuff, no one would buy anything. i have been unable to sleep because what-if-i-can’t-pay-my-rent? what-if-this-is-a-total-flop? {i feel comfortable sharing this with you because my worries vanished the moment the doors opened on our first weekend. i have been successful beyond my wildest dreams–replacing my old worries with new ones–and i have been extremely lucky to have this opportunity.}

but it’s been hard work, risk-taking, and believing in a crazy idea that’s gotten me this far. perfect timing then that this should arrive in my inbox today: a video from tara sophia mohr about how to identify your calling. about not having it all before you start down your own path. about making it up as you go along. {can i tell you how much of that i’ve been doing?!}

oh there have been more times than i can count that i’ve thought that i couldn’t or shouldn’t do this. there have been financial risks and personal ones. and then there’s the vulnerability of it all. i don’t think you can know–until you look back–that you’re for sure doing the right thing. but you for sure can’t look back until you’ve done it. so go for it, follow your heart, and let me know how it turns out.

images found here and here.

July 31, 2012 at 11:11 am 1 comment

do what matters

soooo….yesterday? not so much.

{spoiler alert: this is a serious post. it might make you sad, but don’t worry, it has redeeming qualities.}

yesterday after work, i headed to the dog park with two happy dogs in tow, oblivious as to what was about to happen. i didn’t know that when i got there i would find a woman sitting by the side of the road. i didn’t know that she would be petting an injured {stray} dog that had just been hit by a car. i didn’t know that i would be sitting there with her, petting the dog until it passed.

{due to our separate circumstances, neither one of us could take the dog to the vet. we both had dogs at the park, small cars, and limited funds, so we sat there together on the sidewalk, waiting for animal control, desperately hoping they would get there in time to euthanize the poor thing. the physical injuries weren’t beyond repair, but the poor guy clearly had head trauma; my years working at a vet’s told me that much. as he lay there struggling to breathe and then finally stopped, it was enough to know that he was not alone and neither were we. cars, pedestrians, and cyclists went by, but we stayed there–much to the confusion of the two police officers who had stopped–until the animal control officer came and unceremoniously took the body.}

why am i telling you all this? why am i ruining your perfectly good thursday?! ahh, for that i really am sorry, but i needed to talk about this. not just about what happened, which was terrible, but why i chose to sit there when i could just as easily have walked away. in fact, i need you to know why i actually ran towards a perfect stranger and an injured stray dog.

i ran over there because i thought i could help. i ran so that other stranger wouldn’t have to deal with it alone. i stayed because it’s what i would want a stranger to do if it had been my dog. {and omigosh i wanted to run away.} i stayed because all i could offer was comfort. it didn’t matter to me that the police officers thought i was strange. or that no one else came to join our cause. i did it because it was important. i did it because it was good. i did it because it was the right thing to do.

and–as promised–here’s the redeeming part, taken from the you are not special graduation speech by david mccullough, jr {which if you haven’t seen, you really, really should. or read the text here}:

“do whatever you do for no reason other than you love it and believe in its importance…Develop and protect a moral sensibility and demonstrate the character to apply it….And then you too will discover the great and curious truth of the human experience is that selflessness is the best thing you can do for yourself.”

{this may sound a little funny coming from someone who makes jewelry, but i’ve tried having a job where i wore my heart on my sleeve and after it wore me down, it wore me out. i try to make a difference where i can–even though it’s not my nine to five–and i firmly believe that you have that power, too, no matter what you get paid to do.}

p.s.: i also highly recommend watching temple grandin’s call to get back to “doing real stuff”, aka stuff that matters, delivered as a commencement address. {her speech starts at two minutes, or you can read the text here.}

June 14, 2012 at 1:02 pm 2 comments

you’re invited!

mark your calendars! save the date! plan to join me!

the grand opening of crafted is coming up at the end of this month on the 29th of june. that’s just two and a half weeks! i’m moving in on saturday, then spending the next two weeks getting everything in tip-top shape. i’ll have new and exciting jewelry to share with you, and i know you’ll want to check out all the other amazing vendors. and get this: parking and admission are free, free, free.

and for those of you who have turned your nose up at san pedro in the past {guilty!} come give it another sniff. it’s super cute.

June 13, 2012 at 3:45 pm Leave a comment

sneak peek: crafted booth set-up

the school desk is ready for its close-up

i’m happy to report that all that time spent building, sanding, and painting is starting to pay off. my little booth space is taking shape, through the purchase of a few new-to-me fabulous finds {an old school desk! sewing table legs!} and by getting more mileage out of previous purchases.

oldies but goodies

i’m sanding down an old stool that i’ve had for at least ten years and giving it it’s third paint job. i’ll be using the shelves and shutters that i’ve used at previous shows {like here}, freshening them up with some nice new paint. {and those old wooden crates that i love so much? they don’t need a thing.}

all this table needs is a little spray paint

i’m reusing my color scheme, too, sticking with neutrals to let the jewelry take center stage. my gray cloth backdrop can now be translated into painted walls {sooooo excited–this warm grey is what i’m leaning towards . and though i’ve always used natural elements {like linen and rocks} i’m bringing in even more with wood elements in the checkout area, tables, and some display pieces.

a bird’s-eye view of the space

i’m really pleased with how it’s coming together, and much faster than i thought it would. with any luck, i won’t be running around like headless chicken leading up to the grand opening {eek! june 29th!}. there will be a few surprises that i won’t unveil until then, but i wanted to give you a sneak peak of what’s to come!

June 5, 2012 at 2:35 pm Leave a comment


true // shahir zag

lately i’ve been overwhelmed with the reality of setting up a permanent space. {liability insurance, licenses, signage, the commute.} lately i’ve been wondering what i was thinking. lately i’ve been getting ready for saturation fest. lately i’ve been staying up late into the wee hours. lately i’ve been exhausted all. day. long. lately i’ve been at peace.

{apologies for being out of touch, but lately i’m just one ball short of a juggling disaster.}

May 24, 2012 at 3:16 pm Leave a comment

what i learned

holy cow, i had so much fun taking that class last weekend. i learned so much, but i’m really glad that i had already been playing around with soldering because there is so much to learn that i’m sure a weekend wouldn’t have been enough. it was nice to already have some of the basics down {anneal, quench, pickle, work, repeat} so that i could practice honing my skills. having one on one instruction from a great teacher is invaluable.

working with a proper torch and bench set up {as well as amazing tools that i can’t yet afford} i was able to do some pretty fun stuff. it’s inspired me to build my tool collection. my friend gave me a new torch head that i’m itching to try out {just need to pick up the right gas} and this week i took the financial plunge and bought a jewelers flex shaft, complete with foot pedal for maximum fun. vroom, vroom! {this will allow me to drill, sand, and polish pieces.}

probably the most valuable thing that i learned is that i can do this, given enough patience, some sleep, and a few sips of caffeine. i’m hoping to be able to bring rings like these, which both started from a flat piece of sterling silver sheet metal, to my etsy shop soon.

just as soon as those tools arrive…


May 18, 2012 at 12:39 pm Leave a comment

so. much. fun!

hey there! i’m having a great time at my class at the crucible, honing my existing techniques and learning some valuable new ones. check out the fun times i’m having:

furnace // the crucible

last night i went to the fireside lounge at the crucible, where i got to check out all the different fun techniques they teach: leather work, wood work, metal smithing, black smithing, welding, glass fusing, neon…so many fun possibilites! {plus my friend ben was demonstrating his corpse reviver, the coolest kinetic cocktail making machine ever.}

playing with texture // in class

class started with playing with stamping and hammering metal to texture it.

fun copper ring // a little kate spade-ish, no?

we got to play more, and i made this fun ring. i like to think of it as a manly kate spade ring. i’m honing my soldering skills and learning all those things you can’t pick up from a book or youtube. {why didn’t i take classes before?}

my favorites samosas!

for dinner i got to eat at my favorite indian restaurant and–even though they’re not gluten-free–i had samosas. totally worth it.

May 12, 2012 at 9:08 pm Leave a comment

last minute {handmade} gifts for mother’s day

oh gosh, it’s this sunday, isn’t it? there’s still time to whip up a few handmade, last minute gifts for mother’s day. i’m in the mood for something a little less sweet and a little more personal. shall we?

love these clipboards // from marta writes

hop on over to marta writes for ten of her favorite last minute gifts, {perfect for tons of occasions, really} like these cute clipboards.

mud scrub // from adelyn stone

visit the tip junkie for a collection of bath & body products to diy for pampering mom {or let’s be honest, yourself}. this round-up’s got scrubs, lotions, face masks, and lip balm. {i’m partial to this coffee and sugar scrub from adelyn stone. toning and exfoliating? sign. me. up.}

simple and pretty // from lauren elise crafted

or how about just a nice bouquet of a flowers and breakfast in bed, just like when you were a kid? i like this simple diy bouquet that uses stuff you have around the house from lauren elise crafted. then make something delicious with your own two hands and shower her with kisses.

customize an e-card for mom // this one by nikki mcclure

can’t be with mom and it’s too late to send a gift on time? {send one anyway} and then get over here to these divinely different mother’s day cards. no, they don’t look like anything you can get at the store, but that’s sort of the point, isn’t it?

enjoy the last minute scramble!

May 12, 2012 at 8:36 am Leave a comment

why the shutters are drawn

i want to tell you about why my etsy shop is closed today. to read about the protest, click here. to read the funny version of how this all started, click here then read the update here, then read the continuing “legal” silliness here {all at regretsy and worth every hilarious minute of your time}. to read my version of events, keep going.

first, a little history: etsy was started as a marketplace for handmade items, distinguishing itself as a way to connect buyers to makers–not resellers. they later added vintage and supply categories. the goal was to be different than ebay or amazon, offering items that were not mass-produced {unless they were clearly marked as supplies}.

fast forward to today: etsy has become a lucrative business and a well-known name, even getting its own spot on the martha stewart show. who wouldn’t want in on that? but etsy has some staff that–with the assistance of people who flag items as violating the etsy do’s and don’ts–crack down on this behavior. unless of course they condone it, which in a nutshell is why i–along with other like-minded shop owners–am currently upset. {i even wrote a carefully crafted letter to etsy, only to receive a pat reply that they are “continually working to improve [their] clarity on shop policies”.}

so let’s pretend: imagine that there are two people selling purses. both are handmade because hands were actually used to produce them {much as my iphone is apparently largely made by hand}. one shop owner works out of a corner of her living room while her small children nap. she answers emails herself, packages and ships items herself, and sells her goods at a few local fairs. another shop owner runs a small factory and employs twenty people. she designs the bags herself, sources the materials, and hands over the sketches to be made into the final product by her workers.

so who should be able to sell on etsy? i’ve always envisioned it being that first person, or even a small group of people {which etsy would designate a collective} who work together to design, source, and create. but technically, the purses coming out of the factory are handmade. just not my version of handmade, even if –and that’s a big if–the owner is upfront about being a collective, giving credit to each person who helps create the finished product.

the reason my shop is closed today is that i don’t think that the second owner should be able to sell on etsy. because she doesn’t do all the work herself–and pays her workers wages as opposed to them having a share in the company, which is my understanding of a collective–she is better able to compete in this global marketplace and doesn’t need a unique venue like etsy. many of us crafters work another job, or live precariously close to the financial edge to be able to make our wares. we burn our fingers on glue guns, prick them with needles, get them stuck on packing tape. we have small profit margins, we can’t always buy in bulk and keep costs down, and when we take a business risk we take a huge personal risk. i’m sure the factory owner works hard but the fact is that it’s just not the same. i want etsy to honor that.

etsy is a special place. a community for crafters. i’d like it to stay that way.



May 10, 2012 at 12:45 pm Leave a comment

evenings in the garage

bamboo inspired ring, coming soon

sounds fancy, doesn’t it? spending the few hours between dinner in bed in the garage? it’s been lovely, though. almost heaven.

new necklace coming soon!

i’ve been delving back into metalsmithing. well soldering and hammering at any rate. i even tried switching up my creative methods {my usual technique is to craft on the fly, but i sat down and drew up some imaginings and then made them. i know, right?*}

hoops inspired by rose petals

i’m looking forward to my classes {this weekend!} so that i can get better. faster at least. and maybe a little less messy.

*sorry lindsey

May 9, 2012 at 11:38 am 2 comments

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