Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hello my old friend

Well it has been a while.  My last post was about 19 months ago.  That was a pretty dark time, looking back.  A lot of things changed about then.  Misch dying put a lot of things into focus for John and I, and we decided to get busy building the life we wanted.  Not right away and we aren't doing anything quickly, but somehow we've been able to hold our goal up high enough to see them through the everyday fog of BS. 

The shop is thriving - not where we hope to get to, but we're definitely on the way.  We hit 400 sales recently and it has been amazing how well we've done this year.  As John is quick to remind me, it's also not uncommon for me to work 14 hours a day.  I have this little issue with balance, as I believe I've addressed previously.  The difference here is that working on the shop and everything surrounding it doesn't feel like work a lot of the time.  I was complaining a couple of weeks ago about things - we had a couple of slow sale days, I was having trouble getting good photos, and I was just grumpy in general.  John said "would you rather have gotten up and gone to the dealership this morning?"  That would be a gigantic NO.  Perspective.  There's nothing like it.

So, yeah...I'm back.  Going to post regularly and all that.  Just had to wade back in, I suppose.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Goodbyes and new beginnings

my first strawberries of the year
This post is going to be difficult and serious, so I'll attempt to be brief.

Last evening I received an email telling me that a good friend had committed suicide.  It's quite devastating, and I assume it will be a long time before I can find a way to wrap my mind around it even in some small way.  He left behind a wife and two young children and the tragedy of it is more than I can really stand to think about.

Some day I will make a post about my friend and what an amazing guy he was.  But for now I want to focus on those of us who remain to find some sort of hope and happiness in the world.

This morning my husband and I were both too upset to sleep so we decided to get up and get out of the house for breakfast.  It was a rough night and we both looked like it.  As we headed out the door, this is what I saw.  Our first strawberries of the season, looking all fresh and yummy first thing in the morning.

I know it's just a couple of strawberries, but somehow they made me feel a little bit better, like life would go on and that there is still beauty surrounding us even when life gets very ugly.  So I'm not going to go on and on, but I do want to say that life is always worth living.  There is always hope, there is always beauty, and there is always someone who cares. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression and thoughts of suicide, please get help. call 1-800-273-8255

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Becoming a work from home couple

My recent jewelry purchases from an online estate auction arrived on Monday.  I tend to act like a kid with a new toy when I receive a package like this.  My husband dutifully sits with me and watches me ooh and ahh over everything.  Yes, he's a saint, but he also knows that he will have to listen to me yap about my goodies until he comes over to look, so he just does it automatically now.  Without further ado, here are the lovelies that will soon be making an appearance in my Etsy vintage jewelry shop, Reconstitutions.

Recent auction purchases

In other news, my husband starts his new job tomorrow, and he will also be working full time from home!  This is very exciting for us since we actually love spending all of our time together.  It will also mean that we will be able to travel to more sales and auctions together, which is really exciting.

The down side, if I can even consider it that, is trying to figure out how to function in our home with two people trying to work and live in the same space.  Right now we are working on turning an extra bedroom into my office.  It will be a slow process but in the end it will be wonderful. 

The thing I'm most excited about, really, is having a permanent photography area set up for my Etsy product shots.  Right now when I want to take some new shots I have to clear off the buffet in my dining room and set up my portable light box and string extension cords around for my lamps--it's quite an ordeal.  Because it's such a pain, I don't take photos as often as I would otherwise.  So having a specific place where I can take pictures any time I like will be AMAZING!

Before I wrap this up I want to give a shout out to a new team I've joined on Etsy called Ecochic.  I love finding new groups of vintage jewelry lovers and of course I love my teams!  We can never get too much input, and networking helps me every single day.  Have a great day and here's hoping you make or find something beautiful today!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

sooooo excited!!

Why did I wait so long to get back into creating/crafting/whatever-the-heck-you-want-to-call-making-stuff?  Why why why why why?

I love my vintage shops. Love. Them.  However, the creative and artistic part of myself wasn't being utilized.  I knew I was craving it, but I kept making excuses.  My vintage shops are keeping me busy, I'll do it after I have my yard sale, I'll do it once I get our spare bedroom turned into my office, and on they go.  But today we had a beautiful sunny day in the Bluegrass, and I decided to enjoy it.  I headed to Lexington for breakfast then on to Hobby Lobby.  I knew they carried the alcohol inks I wanted to experiment with. 

Ok, back up.  As I believe I've mentioned, my grandmother passed away last July.  She is the person who instilled in my a love of yard sales, vintage goodies, jewelry, and crafting.  She also instilled in me the desire to shove tons of crap into every closet and drawer in the house until it bursts at the seams, but I'm not giving in to that bit.  Anyway, among the goodies I ended up with from her home is a box of ceramic dominoes.  I don't play dominoes, I will never play dominoes.  However, lots of people make and sell pendants made from dominoes. 

Now, I don't want to get a lot of grief from my Regretsy and April's Army brothers and sisters who might think I'm just going to glue shit to shit.  I'm trying to be creative here.  I'm doing custom finishes on them and hand stamping them with fun phrases and who knows what else I'll come up with.  No gluing here, I swear.

That being said, I came home and got started and OH MY GOD.  Just being the tiniest creative today has given me such joy!  I feel like a moron for not doing it earlier.  Obviously I'm starting small and have a lot of ideas about other things I want to make, but I'm just thrilled to be creating again.

So, if you are doing what I was doing and you keep making excuses for not making something, just stop reading this right now and go make something right now.  Draw, paint, sculpt, color, scribble, dance, write, sing, play, carve, whatever it is you do that exercises your imagination.  You will be very happy you did.

Until later, keep calm and craft on.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

stuck in a Eurythmics song

It can stop raining any time. Really.

(In two months there will likely be a post here about how everyone has brown grass and we're in another drought.  Mother Nature is so fickle.)

It would be annoying even if the crawl space under our house wasn't perpetually filling with water.  That is just putting it over the top.  I wanted to take pictures for my Etsy shops outside this spring, but I keep missing the 5 minutes of sun we get per week.

We did have one nice day last week and I got to spend it going to sales and an auction, so I can at least be happy about that.  I am also not so self centered that I don't know how lucky we are to be spared the devastation in Alabama, Tennessee and other areas.

Also, I'm very excited about the little container garden that my husband and I planted.  We are growing tomatoes, 4 varieties of peppers,  cilantro, rosemary, parsley, basil and strawberries.  I'm so excited!  Fresh herbs and veggies have so much more flavor than store bought and I cannot wait for the harvest.

We have also been talking more and more about moving to the east coast.  It's very frustrating to me as a huge seafood lover to not be able to buy any fresh fish or shellfish.  We have some good produce in Kentucky, but even that isn't great unless I drive quite a ways to a better market.  I desperately want to live in a place where there is a large and thriving open air food market for at least a portion of the year.  It will be years before we are ready for a move like that, most likely, but it's definitely something I'm dreaming of.

In vintage news, I still haven't listed all of my goodies from last week's sales.  I do try to spread them out for more Etsy exposure, but I've also been busy with other things.  I'm expecting a package any day now with a number of jewelry pieces I purchased at an online estate auction, so my next post will probably give you a sneak peak at those.

See you then! And Annie Lenox, I love your music but I may never be able to listen to "here comes the rain again" again after this spring.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

sale season - weekly finds

booty from this week's sales

 Each week my husband and I hit local yard sales as well as flea markets and auctions in search of  fantastic vintage items for my Etsy shops.  Since this weekend was fairly fruitful, I decided to start a weekly post to share my finds and to give you a sneak peek at the items that will be surfacing in my shops (ReconstitutionsSwing on a Star Vintage) soon.

more recently acquired goodies
A quick and incomplete list of finds:

-3 sets of salt and pepper shakers
- marble and brass table lamp
- reversible handbag
- set of Anchor Hocking glasses
- diner style shaker
- Flintstones and Loony Tunes glasses

Our first stop was a giant yard sale made of of various ex-flea market vendors who were going out of business.  From there we stopped at some neighborhood garage sales which were not productive, aside from a few things for my future nephew, Jackson.

I did find a number of items at an estate auction very near my home.  The couple who owned these items built their house in 1964 and the majority of their possessions moved in when they did.  I wish I had a need for some wonderful arm chairs because they had some that were gorgeous and I think they each sold for under $10...ridiculous!  It was a great experience to get to chat with some local vintage lovers and to get my first sunburn of the season.  My nose is rosy red and my husband says I look like a drunk.  (Love you too, honey.)

I love getting up each Friday and Saturday wondering what fantastic little nuggets we might find.  Here's wishing all of you a very fruitful sale season.  And if you're reading this and know of any great sales in the central Kentucky area, I'd love to hear about them!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

some things look better in the rear view mirror

Over three years ago I lost a job that I'd had for 13ish years.  Initially I loved it, and eventually I loathed it.  I was lucky enough to be taught the business by my father and I worked very hard to get to the position I held when it ended.  It was financially rewarding but as I look back I know that it simply wasn't worth it.  I don't regret it.  I learned a lot about marketing, management and customer service and I met a lot of great people.  I simply wouldn't do it again.  No way.

I think I can say now that you're doomed if you don't have any passion for what you do.  I should clarify that a bit.  If you throw your whole self into your work, you had better love it.  It will suck the soul right out of you if you don't, and that is what happened to me.  In the end I was a shadow of the hard working and enthusiastic person I used to be, and it's because the job wasn't rewarding and didn't give me any joy.  Some of my coworkers made it tolerable, but that can only sustain a person for so long.

If you are one of those people who can go to a job and see it as simply a job and punch out at the end of the day and live a very rewarding life, then I applaud you.  But since heredity seems to be a sprouting theme in this blog, I will say that I also inherited the tendency to define myself by my career.  It's a horrible thing to do, really.  We aren't what we do.  If you are lucky enough to make a full time living as an artist or a teacher then maybe you can say you're happy defining yourself with your job title.  But if you are a plumber, or an executive assistant or a pilot or any other number of very very necessary things, I doubt that your job gives you total fulfillment in your life.

The first day I woke up without my job I felt like an empty shell and I had no idea who I was.  It was all I had ever known and I didn't think I had anything at all without it.  There was this spark inside of me somewhere that knew it was a good thing to be rid of it, but I couldn't crawl out of from behind that image I had created for myself.  And if I'm totally honest I didn't crawl out of it for a very long time.  I'm just now emerging from it completely.

As I've mentioned, I'm working on decluttering my life and my home.  Today I ventured into our spare bedroom that has become a junk dumping ground and found all of the boxes that came from my old office.  They have been exactly in that spot since the day I lost my job.  I couldn't face them.  It was too painful.  Hell I've only recently been able to drive by my old place of employment without it bothering me, and they've been out of business for quite some time now.  (Does it give me some small amount of glee that they went under after I left?  Yes, yes it does.  I'm a bad person, and I know this.  But I'm honest.)

Anyway, today I did it.  I went through every one of those boxes and got rid of everything, shredding the papers and keeping only the few personal pictures and things I found.  It didn't make me sad or angry.  In fact, I could look at everything and think back fondly of the great people I worked with and all the laughs I had as well as appreciating what having that job afforded me along the way.

I'm grateful to have worked there and I'm even more grateful that I no longer do.  I get to wake up each day and decide what I feel like doing.  I can work on my shops, play with my dog, make breakfast for my husband, run errands and stop at any flea market or sale I please.  I still find myself laying in bed at night thinking about work, but it's excitement in planning my next steps, rather than tossing and turning in utter dread at what fresh hell the next day would hold.

I have a very good friend who is still in the business and he asks me "how much would it take for you to come back?"  That is a very good question, and if I ever come up with a value that is equal to the feeling I get every morning when I get out of bed smiling and excited to face my day, I'll let him know.