I live very close to the ocean. This helps to make my soul happy. I often head to the beach to clear my mind and get some much needed sand-between-my-toes therapy. Last week I happened to be awake before dawn. I said to myself that if I didn’t fall back to sleep within ten minutes I would take the opportunity to see the sunrise at the beach.
What a wonderful way to start my day. About an hour after I took this picture the sky turned gray and the rain poured down in buckets. Luckily I was able to find a handful of small treasures before the rains came.
I find a ton of inspiration in tiny sea treasures. The varying colors of sea glass, the textures of shells, the smooth roundness of stones…there are so many little details in each piece. I brought my pieces home and used them as inspiration for my latest tag.
I started by painting the tag black. This matched the color of the stone. I added a deep purple to represent the piece of clam shell. I added some deli underpaper to mimic the color and texture of the white sea glass. Stencils added even more color and texture. I loved the swirls in the snail shells. Rae Missigman’s Boxy Bloom stamp set offers the best flower for swirls. I added acrylic paint on the stamp and then stamped the image onto a piece of scrap fabric. Before sewing, I added a small piece of matching fabric to peek out from under the image. Using my sewing machine I stitched a turquoise swirl in the center of the flower image and added two small purple X’s in the top left corner.
Last minute I decided to add organic elements by gluing a few pieces of sea glass to the tag. I am still unsure how I feel about adding those pieces but I do love that these are pieces that will remind me of such a beautiful morning where I was able to find some peace and start my morning taking in all the beauty and quiet that is around me.
I didn’t intentionally take a break for over three weeks. I thought I had this blogging thing down. I was scheduled and churning out posts like a boss when BOOM – life happened. The end of the school year always sends me into a bit of a tail spin. Teachers’ gifts, last minute school projects, cramming everything I possibly can into these last few days and weeks before school ends…the pace picks up and I slowly lose track of the days. It begins as a trickle and ends in a flood – complete with an emotional tidal wave. This tends to lead to a period of feeling completely overwhelmed. Hence the radio silence friends. I feel like I’m one of those cartoon characters where my feet are kicking up dust and running 100 miles per hour but I am covering exactly zero percent ground.
Am I alone in this emotional frenzy? I lean towards no. I cannot be the only mama who wrings her hands over what needs to be done on the never ending to do list. I move forward but not with any structure. I am not comfortable with frenzy. I like to always have a plan and negotiate changes logically. But as the school year comes to an end I feel like I drop my ball of yarn and am just trying to pull it back to me but the ball gets further and further away. My feelings of guilt for all the things that I haven’t been able to finish start to multiply.
Here’s the thing and after having many an end of school years I’ve learned to tread water for a while and pull myself back to center. The summer schedule gets a little easier and I settle into my routine, and the routine of our home. I take a few more deep breaths. I pause when it’s needed. I remain my own friend. I continue a gentleness with myself.
So maybe my posts won’t be as frequent this summer. Or maybe I will adopt a whole new schedule that allows time for writing more often. I’m ready to adjust my sails for whatever the next few months blows my way.
I hope you’re finding some peace in these summer months and finding some time to take care of you.
Keep It Positive!
I’m a big fan of trying new things. A few months ago I registered for a Belt Making Workshop from Christy Tomlinson. I’m sure you’ve seen the bracelets – made from leather belts and hand stamped with meaningful words. Christy is one of my all time favorite artists. She constantly tries new things and shares all her knowledge and talent with beginners like me. I admire Christy a lot because she has no fear when it comes to art or creating. That takes guts. To put yourself out there day after day for the whole world to see is scary. I want to be fearless when it comes to creating. Sharing more of the projects that I’m working on is gently nudging me towards being a fearless creator.
After registering for the belt making workshop it sat in my inbox for about a month. The workshop consists of several how to videos and a complete video of tools and supplies that are needed. The bracelets are really beautiful. I have seen them over the years and was so excited to be able to learn how to make them. Like most of my projects I thought it would be a “snap”. Snap is in parenthesis for a reason folks. I often dive head first into a project only to find that it’s a little more difficult to complete or the process is much more challenging than I could have imagined. Trying something new takes time and patience. Lots of patience.
After watching the videos and gathering all the tools (there are many…and they are somewhat pricey) I sat down ready to turn out bracelet after bracelet. The version of this project in my head was not exactly what turned out in reality. Let’s just say my optimism came to an abrupt halt when I couldn’t get the snap to fasten. Oh. My. Goodness. Who knew that snaps could be so stubborn. I’d get the snap set and hammer away like a mad woman to get it to fasten. I’d try the bracelet on and go to take it off…the snap would stick. The male part of the snap would stay in the female part of the snap and stick together essentially not allowing the bracelet to stay closed. Insert hair pulling emoji here. Oh the frustration. At first I thought it was me, then I blamed the cheap snaps from Walmart.
Snaps that just won’t let go…
Eventually I found snaps that were specific for leather use. I hammer the stink out of those snaps and so far that seems to be working. Hurdle 1 – complete.
Next step was the metal stamping of words. Who knew that stamping in a straight line was so challenging? See picture below. Sometimes my hammering was too soft…barely scratching the surface. Other times I hammered too hard and too crooked and had to start again…all while using tape as my guide.
A few of my mistakes…
Eventually after a few mishaps I got the feel of the stamps and how much pressure you need to apply with the hammer. I was able to gauge where the stamps should be placed and Voila…straight words. I had contemplated for a while naming my bracelets “Slightly Imperfect” – giving myself a little loop hole for my impatience.
After several rounds of practice and a whole bunch of new “slightly imperfect” bracelets for myself I got the hang of it. And I LOVE making these bracelets now. I have started taking orders and making them as gifts. It’s been a really fun project that I am especially fond of. Hurdle 2 – complete.
I think that I am most proud of the fact that I didn’t give up. Learning new things isn’t always easy or fun for that matter. Whether you’re making jewelry or learning a new skill at work – it’s a process. Make room for the hurdles that you will cross. Deep breathe your way through the frustration. But KEEP GOING. The end result just might surprise you.