I have felt bad about being poor my whole life. I don’t need to be feeling bad about privilege too.
This is where I’ve been stuck in my own mindset for ages. I have dabbled in the luxuries, but talk them down as it makes me feel bad when others have yet to indulge.
This must change. I cannot control how others feel about me, or an aspect of my lifestyle, but I can control how I feel about these things, and fuck I’m happy.
I have chosen to be happy pretty well everyday since deciding that I truly deserved to be happy. That was a decision worth making right there. The days aren’t all easy, but they sure are easier, you know?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with living in a big house in a big city, driving a big truck, or a very little car, and having the ability to help out others. There is also nothing wrong with living in a smaller house in a smaller city not driving anywhere at all… if that would make you happy.
The basis of this journal entry is rather personal. In order to attract more positivity, there’s a need for me to let go of all that doesn’t serve positively. So here I go again. Another rung on the personal growth ladder underfoot. This is my privilege: to feel good about feeling good and doing great.
My money mindset is finally in check. And so is my opinion of what others happen to think of me, my art, and my life.
Your opinion is none of my business. It never was.
Getting stuck in a mental position, any of them, is not living completely. The older you get, and the greater experiences you allow yourself to encounter, the greater confidence and happiness levels there will be available for you to attain.
Exceptional joy can be found in making something beautiful and purposeful out of something of a much lesser value. I like to think of the end result as being the difference that I’ve made.
Those leather remnants don’t look like much right now, but later on, somewhere down the road after the work has been done, someone will ask ‘Did you really make this beautiful piece?’ and I will say yes.
With a such smile on my face, and warmth in my heart ‘Yes – yes I did make this!‘.
Elements of Surprise in Making Something Beautiful
People are often surprised with the end results of my jewelry designs.
The magic that imagination can play, when given the some to grow, is quite powerful. Sometimes, I even shock myself.
As stated during an interview for Hamilton Spectators’ WhoWhatWear article, (Dec 2014) regarding the results of pretty much any designing session I’ve ever had…
‘It’s weird because when I’m done, I’m like, how did I come up with that?”
Perhaps it’s the weirdest thing I could have ever said at the time.
Now it probably is, but quite honestly, despite the years of experience, this element of surprise doesn’t seem to go away.
That’s part of the attraction.
For others (who are often not handcrafted one of a kind jewelry clientel, but rather DIY’ers) it is easy to see one of my designs and think, ‘oh I get how that was made – I could make that myself’ or even better, questioning how it could be that expensive.
These are all after thoughts, and nothing that can compare to original designs, and the hours designing actually takes. Regardless, I want everyone to create something beautiful – with their hands – and with their life.
The Life Lesson:
Anyone can imitate, but being boldly original, and unapologetic for having a sense of yourself – and who you want to become – that’s making something beautiful.
Favorite Client Story? As inquired by the HamOntMakers
Although I am proud of how all of my clients come to know, adore, and trust my designs – this one has struck a couple of my heart strings.
On the morning of December 6th of 2014 I was setting up for Hamilton’s Made By Hand Christmas Show, and had been featured in the Hamilton Spectators WhoWhatWear article, front page of the GO Section, the day before.
Standing with all of those pre-show jitters of my first big show, unsure of what to really expect. Moments before the doors were about to open with a gush of new faces, my phone goes off with an Etsy sale. I check in excitement, and it’s an order for a bracelet and a pair of earrings. How exciting can this day possibly get, right?!
Moments later, another Etsy sale. To my surprise this one was for the same client.
The next day we meet at the show, where she was planning to attend as a day out spending time with her sister. Like all my clients before, she was nice as pie, and I was delighted to have met someone (face to face) with such an invested interest in my jewelry.
Through other exciting events, my new clients niece (pictured) picked up a different bracelet from my house the next day as a gift for her Mother.
Flash forward to this summer when I’m contacted on Etsy for a gold filled back necklace for her high school graduation. Honestly, I had never created with gold filled materials, nor had I made a back necklace before. The thoughts had never crossed my mind.
It turns out this young client had requested me, as she had bought a bracelet from Augmented Gem Jewelry some time earlier *blush*.
We came up with some interesting design concepts for her Swarovski gold filled back necklace. She decided earrings and a bracelet would be fitting with her dress. She was right, so we designed them up.
A couple months later I was graced with these beautiful photos. Ones I hadn’t known how to publish until now. Not wanting to under do her beautiful photos, gorgeous gown, and jewelry designs their justice… she is my favorite client story.
When my life ends, know that I was incredibly happy, moderately healthy, and absolutely in love.
The struggles we face when someone passes is often all the wondering we do. Did they know we loved them, deeply through out all the days? Was there pain, and was it drawn out? Are they in a better place?
Until five years ago, I had pretty well felt myself to have lived without loss. As I’ve matured, its been realized that that’s not necessarily true. My grandmother, who left when I was in grade 4, is someone that nowadays I seem to miss daily. She’s a person I hadn’t had the privelige to really get to know.
As I’ve grown in age, so has the feeling of her spirit within me. When I do things, many things, I often feel that this is how she might have done them too. Like maybe I am quite like she was, somehow.
Although my time with her was short, and there’s some stuff I’ll never really know, I feel a connection to her that is rather unexplainable. I have participated in the Terry Fox run, in the memory of all that I remember my Grandmother to have been, and what I feel her to be now. This happened two years ago, and then again on Sunday.
Although for a great cause, my run wasn’t necessarily about the foundation, or the simple fact that I can. This is part of following my hearts story, of finding out and celebrating what is, what was, and what will never be again. It’s quite a distance that we all will travel from birth until the end.
For anyone who feels the emptiness form a person gone, I say:
Do something wonderful to celebrate the memories that you hold.
What would you want your loved ones to know once you’ve passed? How would you like them to celebrate your story? Maybe we should all have our own conversations now.
I’d like a barbecue. And for everyone to know without hesitation that I was happy, healthy, and in love. To understand that I have probably accomplished more than imagined, and had became someone that I aspired to be a long time ago. I lived.
Something I’ve been hearing a lot of lately is people commenting on how I’ve ALWAYS been a happy person. A number of people have remembered me that way.
This has made me feel good, momentarily, but inside I know there is probably nothing further from the truth. Untrue to our form, like anyone of us alive – what is on the outside doesn’t hold merit to how we actually are deep within.
I like the fact that people have viewed me as happy, funny, and smiley. This is how I am today.
For honesty’s sake, a big chunk of my remembered life has been spent being unhappy, unsettled, or unsure. I have been socially awkward for ages. Uncomfortable would have been an understatement.
It wasn’t until I was twenty that that these sort of things started to take change.
It might have been circumstance, but probably more in the way of my influencers. My circle changed during my twenties. It was surely smaller, and the people within it I knew with fair certainty were around for good reason.
A big wake up point in my life was when someone quite special stated rather matter of factly ‘If you’re not enjoying every single day of your life, you are not doing it right.’
Oomph! That hit me right in the face.
As someone who wanted to do things correctly, how could I have missed this. There was no denying, then or now, that I had been doing it all wrong. I was NOT a happy person enjoying my life. This was the moment where I began to realize that not all things were how they had to be.
We usually need a wake up call of some sort. We also need to understand that such seemingly out of reach things, like happiness for example, are ALWAYS a possibility. As you move forward, know that you are worth it all, and also realize you’re not alone in whatever your struggle may be.
After dealing certain with situations for a long time (pain, heartache, anxiety, fear, abuse, addiction – the list can go on and on) you can become immune, ignorant to the fact, and usually as a coping mechanism you say ‘well that’s just the way life is’.
You rationalize that everyone has their problems, and these big ones just happen to be yours.
If any of this is ringing true to you, maybe acknowledge that you’re either unhappy, or struggling with something big. Both of these are okay.
This might be how your life is right now, but this is not how your life has to remain. There is no reason for our personal hardships to continue.
One of my favourite sayings is ‘You must make a choice to take a chance, or your life will never change.’ This is something I carry with me in all aspects these days. It absolutely helps to realize that the struggle you are going to face today will transform into the strength that will make you stronger tomorrow.
When someone asks if I am happy nowadays, the answer is yes. That is the biggest change in my life – and there’s no denying that itself huge.
I would like for you to feel like yourself, for yourself, and to really get to know yourself. I would like you to know that you are worth it all, that you can have it all, and that you very much belong – but like they say, you were born to stand out.
If you have a personal story, which could be found encouraging and you’d like to share it as such, I would like for you to contact me. Absolutely no judgement will be made.
Feel free to leave your comments below. I look forward to your thoughts, both now and in the future, as I move forward with these shared life lessons and such.
* It is important to state that I don’t have any proper training regarding mental, physical, spiritual, or emotional health. I am however a huge supporter of healthy living. I would also like to point out that there are support groups and councillors available for every situation nowadays. There is no reason to feel alone in whatever you may be going through,
With the countdown on, and time not really being a friend of mine, it is time to prep for the biggest show I have ever known. Todo lists were scattered. Thoughts jotted down – here and there – of ideas, themes, and a few projects left undone.
As I collected them all, and collected my thoughts, it becomes evident that before I went any further, I still needed a vendor show checklist, a master list of necessities for my show. The show! The Made By Hand Christmas Show which has been fast approaching: December 6 and 7th at the Careport Centre, in Hamilton, Ontario.
What might you need for your show, besides your Vendor Show Checklist?
Without getting too crazy here, I am about to share my personal list of necessities. Hope this can help out any fellow vendors who might not have gotten as far in the planning process quite yet. Feel free to add to my vendor show checklist, with your comments for improvement left below.
What else would you bring? Anything?
Well there it is, a work in progress, but still a step further. One less thing to worry about, and somewhat of a roadmap of the way. Create your own spreadsheet file, pulling from my base of items if needed. Use your show application and rule sheet to get more of a feel for what’s going on in terms of tables, chairs, rented space, signage and decorations. Not all shows are similar, so be cautious in your expectations.
A week or two before your show:
This is your crunch time. It’s time to start crossing stuff off of your vendor show checklist. This is my system, which is actually pretty fail proof.
1) With the help of your show application and rules sheets, note your booth size, tables rented, provided, or expected to be brought. Table cloths and chairs, are they included? Probably not, but maybe so – read your material.
2) Now that you know your area rented, whether it be a 10×10′ booth, maybe a 10×5′, or just an 8 or 6ft table or two – plan your layout. How do you want everything set up? Draw up a map, or a simple diagram of your table(s).
3) The best idea of all is to set up a mock sales table at home. Table(s), covers, and displays – everything as you’d like it to be on sales day. Tweak it, until you feel happy with your setup, and then take a picture. Guaranteed you’ll find something else within your photo to change. Keep at taking photos and making changes to your set-up until you have found there is a smile on your face.
4) That last photo you took is the one to print off and take with you on your show day. When you’re feeling flustered, and your mind has going to mush, this is your reference point to keep you going strong. This will make your set up less of a situation, and the less you have to think about the better.
Speaking of roadmaps, maybe just program your GPS – just incase. You wouldn’t want to be late, or lost.
Hope my vendor show checklist was able to paint a clear picture for you of what might be required or desired. Enjoy your show, and the best of luck to you, now and in the future.
Originally published April 8 2011, on a previous blog. This is a post which I am very proud, and would love nothing more than for you to find the inspiration to make whatever change you’ve found challenging. You can accomplish anything.
Of the weakest hours on the strongest days
I am proud of myself, where as before I was not.
Yesterday marked the 3rd anniversary of me being myself without cigarettes. To some that is nothing, but to me that date – April 7th – marks the very day I had enough courage to just.be.myself.
I come from a long line of addictive personalities. Trust me when I say that I did not get skipped. Gambling, smoking, and drinking addictions are all in my blood. I have faced problems with all of them.
Being uncomfortable, unsure, or unsatisfied with yourself is a big let down. Sometimes it is natural as we grow into our own, but it doesn’t make it any easier, does it?
It is feeling weak within that can make peer pressure that much easier to fall into. It is your need for acceptance that makes it okay. Getting it’s ‘release’ makes a potential addiction your goto gal. And so it begins.
Unfortunately for us addictive personalities, quitting sure ain’t easy peazy. Turns out it takes more will power to stop than it would have taken to not start in the first place.
Regardless of what brought you to start, look within yourself, to your younger self – and find that child who wished to grow up to be more. Don’t be another person who lets yourself down.
Be the one to count on, to look up to. Let your life run it’s course naturally, as God intended.
From the age of 15 to 25 I was a smoker, who lit up more than most. Present day, 2014, while approaching my 32nd birthday, I stand behind these words more than ever. You can do and become anything you desire, it’s always a possibility, that depends on the actions you are willing to take. Go ahead. Move forward with your dreams today.
Unless it is a very thin bracelet, measuring the length of a bracelet is not an accurate way of finding the pieces size. Knowing this, I was trying to find a proper and fairly inexpensive fail-proof way to measure bracelets.
While researching ideas, the EZ Bracelet sizer came across my screen. It’s basically a cone shape roll with measurements marked on the outside. Practical, and cheap too. My 1st reaction was ‘That’s exactly what I am looking for!’
After further googling, the impression found was that it’s laminated paper, and I opted for something a little more durable. It would have probably been fine, and worked great, but sometimes a girl wants to do things a little more independently.
Before taking action with my next thought – a measuring roll, the bendable kind used for sewing, I ended up at Princess Auto, and found a near perfect solution. A magnetic measuring roll. At 39″ long you’ve got tons of playroom for the (then) $7.99 price tag. You can keep it as one large piece, or cut it up smaller – your choice. Either way, it measures all the same.
Thinking about anklets and bracelets, I cut mine at the 10″ mark. The other 29″ tape I use for measuring necklaces. Pretty Practical really.
Just roll it up, put it inside your bracelet, and let it unroll. The size it expands to is the bracelet’s size. Easy-peasy!
This method of measuring is important because simply measuring length does not account for the inner circumference the beads or other material take up. A bracelet is often smaller than it’s length, especially when made with chunkier materials.
Tidbit: If you want to know your bracelet size, measure your wrist in inches with a flexible measuring tape, and then add 1/4 – 1″ to your measurement (1/2″ is the average) based on how snug of a bracelet you are comfortable with. The result should be your bracelet size.
Below is a post my younger sister Lisa, 27, made to a local Facebook group for Mom and Dads. I feel it to be important to spread her message, which is one so many desperately need to hear. The feedback she received was welcoming, and it became known of how many people are affected in one way or another.
“The news of Robin Williams passing was shocking, then to learn that it was suicide, AND that he suffered from depression. As many of you know, I suffer from OCD, generalized and social anxiety, as well as a form of depression. If you didn’t know, now you do. I’m not ashamed to admit, I need help, and you shouldn’t be ashamed either. I goto a councillor regularly and was put on meds. A lot of people fear meds, I was one, but I can say honestly, they saved my life. The thing you need to understand is mental illness does not mean you will be on meds for life, the meds are just to help you think straight until you can retrain your brain. It’s all about your thoughts and your bodies chemical compound. I’m not putting this out here to get pitty, I don’t need pitty, I’m doing fantastic!! I’m putting this out here in hopes of people needing help getting help. I have online modules my councillor has gave me access to, I have phone numbers of Dr’s, councillors, hotlines, Sykes, etc. if anyone needs any type of help for them or someone else, please do not fear to contact me for help. When I came out about how I was feeling, I was mis-understood, laughed at, and judged. I took months out of work, had someone watch my lil man, and worked on my mental as well as physical well being. You can too. I’m here for anyone who needs it and will not judge <3″
While I haven’t walked in her shoes, I do know some of what my sister went through. If there is anything that I do understand, it is that depression is a hard thing to understand. In your mind they’ve got the world at their feet, everything they’ve ever dreamt of, and everything anyone would want for.
As we all know, perception is not reality. For whatever reason, when our perception changes, it isn’t always for the better. Sometimes you can switch it all around, and other times you just become stuck, like a cd that skips. One thing I remember Lisa saying over and over is that it’s was like she was in another world. How could that be? That was probably her perception. Everything was so skewed that she’d be in the local hospital nightly, begging for help ‘to make it stop’. She was essentially being traumatized daily.
Now if it’s hard to understand how someone would selfishly take their own life, alter your own perception a bit. Try to understand how if someone is begging for help so outwardly (or not), and cannot cope with facing what hardly any of us understand, and what no one should have to go through alone – but all too often do – our opinions should suddenly become more forgiving.
As stated above in my sister’s case, often it’s not just one straight answer for how, or why, or what becomes wrong with a sufferer. Like there not being one just cause, there is not one straight solution. It’s a process, and it can be a very long one. Recovery is tiring, but living the alternative is so much worse.
This was in no way a cookie cutter problem with a cookie cutter solution. My sister couldn’t work, couldn’t care for her son, and struggled just to keep herself alive. She was a heartbreak to see, helpless, and unsure of everything. Sometimes she couldn’t talk, and sometimes she couldn’t walk. You never knew what to expect.
The best thing that ever happened to Lisa was finding a councillor who she could relate to and trust. Someone who understood what everyone else thought to be crazy talk. This special lady my sister is lucky to have in her life is probably the one who saved her life. She was instrumental in turning my sisters mental health and her overall vitality around. I want to encourage anyone who is going through the same sort of situations to take action in getting themselves a qualified councillor that they trust.
Many changes were made in Lisa’s life, and they included on-going therapy, medications, exercise, and a diet change. These are all things that Lisa has stuck with, and I want you to know that they are all equally important. She isn’t the same person as before, but how could she be. She’s got joy in her eyes, and a curiosity about her that is everything I needed her to have.
Being selfish myself, I couldn’t live the same without her. If you love someone in distress, help them do whatever it takes. We only get one trip, with lots of stuff to face somewhere in the middle, and no one should feel like their doing it alone.
Suicidal? Need Help?
Call 911 or1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
http://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au where Lisa gets her workbook modules.
It is a resource she recommends, and continually uses herself.
I am living a great lifestyle nowadays, and feeling fulfilled all around. The perfect compliment of this progress is being able to assist others, especially when by personal request.
My younger, yet probably more mature, cousin had posted looking for individuals to keep her in check regarding her physical fitness, by actually saying: ‘the only way I will get healthy is if people make me feel bad about it’. (exercise)
She is a young mom (not WAY young – but young enough to be juggling a ton of responsibilities) as well as being a new bride, who works, and takes care of her sweetie pie child. That alone is a full plate of expectations – without her feeling like someone should, would, or could come down on her for missing a day of working out. This is a common problem with women.
I get that she wants to be accountable, but like any woman needs something else to feel bad about.
My response to a wonderful cousin is the same as to anybody:
Fitness should make you feel good, and it will, if you choose the right activity.
Don’t enjoy running, or don’t even want to learn to run – then just don’t do it.
If kayaking is more your style, then get in the boat & go! Make it fun, and you’ll be more apt to keep at it.
Missed days are not a big deal. Like I told said cousin, I love how satisfying running is – and don’t even go everyday.
Missed days allow you to appreciated the times you do go that much more.
If you feel bad about not going, there’s now negativity associated with what should be your much loved activity. Setting you up for going even less.
When you do go, acknowledge how great your time is.
It’s freeing, energizing, & mind clearing to have an activity for yourself, about yourself, and by yourself.
In all of your day, this is the time that YOU will benefit from having most. Enjoy your time, and smile.
Even though you’re (probably) doing what you love, keep measuring your progress.
Improvements are made slowly, and without record, might not get noticed as they should.
Acknowledge where you started, look back and enjoy the progress you’ve made from today. It’s a great sight.
Here’s a great example:
I was running quite frequently. May 18th of this year, I went to the Running Room for my first community run, and did a rather enjoyable 5km. The next week, on May 25th, there was no one to do a 5k with, as everyone else was really going the distance (eeek) for 10km. Although I had never ran 10km before, and it was double what I had ever really imagined, I went along with it, and held up rather proudly for the 1st half. Coming back I slowed down, had a bunch of walking breaks, and really lost sight of everyone.
I was running the trails somewhat concerned, and feeling pretty anxious (with my crappy navigational skills) when the coach came up from behind me – very unexpectedly. Naturally, I asked him where the heck he came from. (lol) ‘With everyone else back there! I don’t like women to run alone ‘ he said. He said what?! Here I am thinking that I am a million miles (probably 2km) behind everyone else, only to find out I am smack dab in the middle, with some kilometres on people behind me.
Always measure you progress, but not neccesarily against other people. It should have been enough, at that moment, that I had already ran 3km more than the previous weeks outing. It was eye opening, when I made it back to our starting point, with 10kms down. I did it – and probably shouldn’t have – but I did!
And an even more recent example:
After a long and very hot weekend camping in Parry Sound, I became ill. After a night of throwing up, I headed to the hospital. 2.5 bags of iv fluids and about 4 hours later, I was good to go. It was heat exhaustion. Told to take it easy, stay out of the sun, down some gatorade – and once again, take it easy. After heat exhaustion, you’ll be very lethargic, headachy, and it takes a wild amount of time to fully recover.
Two days later, I am out and running. Pushing myself, without a care in the world. I don’t want to be sick anymore, so I won’t. Mind over matter. That day, 3 minutes were shaved off my 5km time. A couple days after that, I couldn’t even run the whole distance – and have pretty much been that way ever since! People said: it’s because of heat exhaustion, you have to be very careful – it can affect you for years to come. (Really, years?!) I had been so disappointed about my so-called ‘non-finishes, that I even stopped using the stopwatch.
This is where it all starts to make sense. A couple of days ago, I head out again, and say this time I am clocking it. (Something to measure, for my progress). Sure thing, again this time, I have to take the time and walk some long stretches. As I near home base, my watch reads a time I’d regularly be quite content with, but this time I am thrilled. Even with ALL that walking, I still did 5km in under 30 minutes.
The reasoning is this: I wasn’t measuring my progress to realize that my pace had actually increased, which had naturally lowered my longevity. All that pushing of myself, and then coming down hard when I hadn’t met the expectations, wasn’t even merited.
When you come down on yourself, it probably isn’t merited either. We are all a work-in progress.