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The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. ~Walt Disney

So… I’ve been gone from the scene for a while.

It was actually planned. Well, at least at the beginning I had a plan.

I didn’t talk about it before I took a break, but it maybe would have been a good idea to explain why I was planning an extended break from my blog and Twitter. I was just afraid to admit it out loud because I don’t like to fail. If I explained what my plan was, then I’d have to come back and say whether it worked out or not.

And here’s the deal, it didn’t work out. Nothing worked like I thought it would. But I learned from my break and some things really changed.

Sometime around the end of the last Bead Soup Blog Party (when last we met), I decided that I was going to put into action what I’d wanted to do for a long time. I was going to make some pieces (30 to be exact) and I was going to finally open my own Etsy store. I wanted to create a line in time for Christmas shopping.

I’ve been designing and creating jewelry for eight years now. I’ve been gathering up supplies (for years), saying I was going to make certain pieces I’d designed, and I finally decided I was going to “quit talking and begin doing”.

I was going to leap right in.

Just watch me.

I’m here on this ledge…

I had a plan. Starting at the end of July, I was going to take 6 weeks. The plan was 1 week to firm up some ideas, 4 weeks to create (all of August), and 1 week to take pictures and post (beginning of September).

You can stop laughing now.

Once I started on creation, I quickly realized that there was no way I would be able to put together 30 pieces. If I was planning on just doing stringing or some wire work, then I might have been able to pull it off. But what I wanted to do was make some soldered focal pieces and bracelets.

Like this…

Soldered Pendant

I also wanted to do some metal work, which was going to take more time than one piece a night. I wasn’t specific enough in what metal pieces I was going to create. I had ideas, but my designs were still forming.

I wasn’t too discouraged because I figured I could put together some earrings pretty quickly to round out my 30 pieces. And I had some simpler stuff I could do too.

But things kept consuming my time. I work full time. I was taking a drawing class every Monday night until 10. I was actually in class 3 nights a week at the end of July. There were birthdays late in the summer, which took up some evenings.

Then, my oldest started Kindergarten at the end of August (sniff), and suddenly my evenings in September were filling up with back-to-school things. I was also working with my sister-in-law to plan the 40th Anniversary party of our parents-in-law in mid-September.

I just kept pushing my dates back and working as best I could. But by mid-September I still only had 5-6 pieces in various states of completion.

Then… at the end of September, I found out about this…

And everything came to a screeching hault.

I felt pretty okay for about 2 weeks after we found out, but then the morning sickness and exhaustion hit.  This one has been especially hard.  I’m not sure if it’s because I’m older or because I have two other kiddos, but I have had a hard time.  It was probably some where around Christmas that I started seeing some of my energy come back, but I still can’t keep up like I used to.

I am itching to create though, and I haven’t forgotten about my vision to put together a shop.  I’m hoping to create some pieces for Valentine’s Day and Spring.  It may end up being 10 things, but I’m going to try.

Bracelet-to-be

work-in-progress

I’ll post when it happens, but this time I plan to be back before then.

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A couple of months ago, I was making lunch at work and grabbed one of our knives circa 1970 to 1980.  It’s one of those utensils that has the engraved flowers on the handle.

The thought that popped into my head was, “I wonder what would happen if I hammered some metal on this handle”.

I knew I could buy some cheap flatware from the thrift store.  It’s taken me until Wednesday this week to finally make the trek.  And $2 later, I had an assortment of pieces to try out.

These were two of my favorites, and look at the results!  I’m loving it! The impressions are fantastic, and the possibilities are so exciting.  I snagged some other patterns from work that I want to try out too.

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For weeks, I’ve had all these ideas swirling around in my head for different designs I want to work on and things I want to create.  Yesterday, I sat down for a few hours and did some work in the afternoon and then again after the boys went to sleep.

The results?

I was stumped.

Just about everything I touched did not work out according to plan.

I’ve had this idea for a new metal flower to compliment the daisy I created for Use the Muse III (featured in my header).  What I came up with was not at all like I envisioned and very disappointing.

I tried to work through some ideas for those fantastic custom tile beads.  Those didn’t even make it off the drawing board (so to speak) before I had vetoed them.

I played around with the disk beads too with mixed results. I have an idea, but I don’t know if it going to work into a bracelet or a necklace or get tossed aside like my other ideas.

All-in-all it was a disappointing time.  And I think a lot of it was due to my putting too much pressure on *succeeding*. I have to tell myself (and I’ve been repeating it all day) that it’s a process.  Doing something new, trying to think “outside the box”, or at least outside my box, is not going to be met with instant success.

Not having things work out the way I envisioned them is not what I’d hoped for, but it is a step in the process of getting to something that will work and that I’ll be happy with.

I haven’t given up.  In fact, I have another plan of attack (could I be using any more clichés??) for my metal flower that’s probably going to involve the dissection of some poor, defenseless tulips. I’m looking through one of my new favorite books from the library – Wire Style by Denise Peck – and getting some ideas for my other projects.

I will work through this.

What I did fall back on was a kit that I bought from Scott David Plumlee back when I took his class a few months ago. At the very least, it let me feel like I was accomplishing something creative.

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What I’m Learning: CSS I

I started my Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) Level 1 class last night, and I am so excited to be taking this class. Up to this point in the Web Design program, I haven’t learned a lot of new stuff. The HTML II class started to touch on some new things that were pretty exciting, but CSS is something I know very, very little about.

It wasn’t until yesterday morning that I realized I was going to work for eight hours and then to class for nearly another four hours. It was at that point I came to the conclusion I must be nuts. But class was fantastic! I loved it.

No idea what CSS is? Well, imagine if HTML was the meat and potatoes of your website, then CSS is the gravy. HTML is the content, and CSS is what makes it readable and interesting.

CSS takes something like this…

http://csszengarden.com/zengarden-sample.html

And turns it into this…

http://csszengarden.com/

As my instructor said, the appropriate response is ‘Wow!’

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Tonight I’m at a special Metal Night at my favorite bead shop. By knowing the right people, I managed to talk myself into a spot at the sold-out event while doing the anniversary bracelet on Sunday.

I have a vision for a special piece. I made a pattern (or at least the framework for a pattern) last night. I’ve been working on what size to make the actual piece, and have settled on a fairly significant 3-inch diameter.

At this point in the evening, I have drawn, cut and started to shape the two layers of the flower. It’s really nice to be able to make use of the vast selection of tools and bounce ideas off someone who has way more experience with this sort of thing than I do.

I can tell that I still have lots to do, but I am so happy with and proud of my progress to this point. It’s so nice to be able to say that I both designed and made this and to see it coming to life.

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Taking a Step Back

I’ve had these beads for two years now. I bought them at the Puget Sound Bead Festival in 2007. I bought the ceramic beads and then went home and picked out the Swarovski crystals in jonquil from Artbeads. When I received the crystals, I put it together like I had envisioned.

And it was too long.

I messed around with it for a while and couldn’t make it work in a way that I liked it, so I put all of it away. Recently, I’ve been going through some of my stash for various projects and came up on this again. I toyed with the idea of turning it into a necklace, but I was still stuck on making it the bracelet I wanted it to be.

Earlier this week, I changed around my vision just a little bit. I’d even call it more of a tweak. I wanted to keep the large 8mm beads in four places, but decided if I reduced two of them to 6mm, then I might be making some progress. Then I found a toggle clasp that was smaller, so I would only need one 4mm crystal instead of two.

What actually may have made the bracelet worth putting off for so long is the fact that I just received the spring green beading wire from Foxy Findings last week. It’s a color that does not go with the bracelet at all, but it does blend it with yellow of the crystals and virtually hide. It’s a much better look than the dark gray of regular beading wire.

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I have been conceptualizing this blog for a long time. I signed up for the site probably close to a year ago and have been putting off starting it. I work on three other personal blogs, but I wanted to use this as an outlet for more of my creative side.

I’m a jewelry designer, photographer, web designer, and once upon a time used to work in more textiles (knitting, crochet, cross stitch). I’m not especially talented or “good” at any of these things. But I do enjoy them.

I’m generally a pretty analytical person. Give me some numbers, facts, data and let me go to work. I tend to try to approach art in the same manner. I want to follow the rules, do something that I know will work before I start it, stay “safe”.

You might start to see where I came up with the name Wild Vanilla. I honestly can’t even take credit for it. An author I’ve read had it as part of her website. It’s fitting for me though. I play it safe, like vanilla. But I also like to mix it up a bit. If you get me in just the right light, you can see that there is a bit of wild in there somewhere.

So hang on for the ride. It’s going to be pretty predictable, but worth going along because there just might be a twist or a turn in there somewhere.

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