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My Favorite Earring Design of 2016




That my mother ended up with these earrings is no accident...I believe I have been designing jewelry that would appeal to her for the last 12 years.

When I was a little kid, I knew one way to my mother's heart was via archeology and anything old. The patina of a thing was like candy to her...and it rubbed off on me.

I remember one Christmas when I was about five years old and excited to 'make' my mother's gift. I couldn't buy anything...so handmade was a necessity growing up.

I found some pictures of Holly Hobby in a magazine, and cut them out.  I pasted them on some blocks of wood that I found in the garage. I then tried to 'patina' my creations with ink, dirt and some strange variation of other ingredients readily available to a five year old on a mission that included saran wrap, too. I am sure it was horribly executed, but there was a feeling that I was trying for that I am pretty sure I've been exploring my entire creative life.

These earrings were challenging. I had to solder the brass bar on to the top of a disc that I had distorted with sandpaper and my chasing hammer.  But I loved the end result and must say that these were my personal favorites of the year.

My mother came up to visit this summer and as soon as she saw them, I knew they were hers. They look fantastic with her striking gray hair and they fall elegantly down her neck. She tells me she always gets comments on them when she wears them, and that makes me happy--as she has also shared with me that as she has gotten older, that she feels like she disappears when in groups of people.

I know that feeling of disappearing...I've heard so many mature women remark upon the fact that they often feel invisible when socializing, and maybe that is why bright colors and striking jewelry become more important as the years add up.

I am currently in the process of growing out the hair color on my own tresses and embracing the silver...this upcoming year I turn 50. I have no interest in looking like someone in her 30's or even 40's...I just want to look like me. The me that I am now...without having to cover things up or fuss over what is...

50 comes with a certain patina that I have earned by living well...and I'm excited about this next stage in my life.

That, along with something purple and red, and a kick ass pair of long earrings should do the trick...hope you have a great New Year!






One of a Kind (OOAK) Designs




I have added a new category on my shop page for One of a Kind designs...

I have a combination of OOAK and Made to Order in my shop.  These three designs are from a few years ago when I was living in Arkansas. I am moving in a different direction these days, but thought I would start adding some vintage designs and those that I don't intend to make more than one of...

From a purely creative perspective, I love making one-off designs and then riffing from there. Sometimes a design works for Made to Orders, but then, some don't. I may get a parcel of stones that I can't find again, or just an inspired tickle from a conversation or movie..whatever it may be, that I feel inclined to translate into a piece of wearable art.

These three designs are ready to ship...and you can find them on my shop page.

XO!

5 Key Benefits of a Part-Time Job


Once something has outlived its usefulness in one area of life, its purpose for being in existence is no longer the same. The leaf that captures a stream of sunlight, and then transfers its energy to the tree, serves one purpose in the spring and summer, and another completely different one through the fall and winter.  Guy Finley

I interviewed for and accepted a part-time position at a locally owned Health and Wellness store here in Roanoke last week. So my life has changed quite a bit in a short amount of time!

Why? Why after 13 years of working for myself did I decide to work for someone else?

I thought I would break down 5 key benefits for this decision here and why I thought it was time to grow myself in a new direction.

Energy

Stagnation is dangerous long term. It kills creativity, harms the body and stifles the soul. 

I was beginning to feel blocked in many areas of my life and the effects of this was showing up in my body as stiffness, aches and pains as well as anxiety for not using my life-force energy in a consistently productive way. 

In many ways, I felt like a dried up old leaf...unable to capture energy anymore.


Last year, when I operated my studio in the Arts District in Asheville, I noticed that I had almost unlimited energy when I was around other people, interacting with the public and having novel experiences daily. 

Over the last year in our new home, I have experienced long periods of stagnation. I enjoy having my studio in my home, but it was increasingly more difficult to go downstairs and make jewelry because I wasn't 'energized' or motivated to come up with new designs in the same way I was when I lived in Asheville.

Since our move, I'm not around other creative people daily to become inspired by a new painting or sparked by a new conversation anymore, and I was spending too much time on the internet trying to find that inspiration. 

For me, inspiration comes from my life. And my life up to this point was becoming monotonous. I needed more people interaction and a great way to grow that area of life is by getting a part-time job. 

Beginner's Mind

The amount of energy that is available when you are open, curious and excited to learn something new spills over into the stagnant areas of your life where you are rigidly attached to the way you do things. 

I believe the young have more energy because they are open to new experiences and their minds are like a blank canvas, ripe with potentiality. 

I know very little about supplementation and the new ways to support our body's ability to heal via herbs, vitamins and amino acids.  It is exciting to just be open again, eager to learn and be in a state of absorption. I have created space in my life to be filled up with information and stories from others about living an optimal life physically. 

At 49, I was beginning to feel the effects of rigidity via the habitual ways of moving through my life and determined it was primarily because I wasn't learning anything new.

Mental rigidity leads to physical stiffness...

Closed and compact is being replaced with openness and expansion. 

As I am transitioning through this change, I am more aware of where my body has risen to the challenge of moving around a store and being on my feet for a shift and where it hasn't!  I am building physical stamina again...and that feels great!

Time Management Skills

Since I haven't punched a timecard in years, I noticed that my time management skills were becoming compromised over time. Especially having a studio in my home! Now that I have a schedule again where I am responsible for showing up outside of my own business, I have already noticed that my time management as it pertains to my jewelry production is greatly improved. 

Over the weekend, I was able to design and produce $1000 retail in jewelry for an account in Asheville. My focus and creativity was on fire, and I believe that is because I had small window of time to complete something. 

Hard deadlines are motivating...and it gave me a concrete reason to respond to applying my energy in a certain direction. The result was invigorating and satisfying. 

For me, I find that I can get more done when time is in short supply, and innovation comes easier. 


New Friendships

As an adult, it can become more difficult to find and develop new friendships that will be long-lasting. Joining groups is one way to do it, but most groups only meet weekly or monthly. With a job, you are able to forge friendships with co-workers faster because of all the time you spend together while on the clock, and character can be determined quickly. 

During my interview, I mentioned that a big reason that I wanted to work for this company was that I was looking for something that I thought would be fun, in an environment where the employees felt a passion for being there instead of just punching in and out to get the bills paid.

I also have a personal interest in wellness because I believe that our times are calling for all of us to become more self aware, and responsible for our own health and wellbeing.  The old belief that someone else has authority over our bodies and health are giving way...thankfully.  

I shopped in this store before I considered finding a part-time gig and was impressed with how happy the employees seemed to be...and engaged with those that entered their professional environment.

I actively searched for a work environment that appealed to my sense of being of service to others, valued education and knowledge and that would offer a fun way to make productive use of my particular skill set. 

And that leads me to my final benefit....

A New Application of Acquired Skills

Over the years, I studied and received a B.A. Degree in Technical Writing, taken a course in online marketing and business development via Marie Forleo's B-School and have explored and worked with many website design services. 

I love to write...I love working on websites and am excited by the possibilities of the internet for connecting to others. 

I have designed and developed quite a few websites for other artists and small business owners. Many, many hours have been spent in Wordpress and Squarespace over the years learning what these platforms can and can't do. 

I will never be a high production jeweler. I don't have any interest in hiring others to do my design work, either.  There is only so far I can scale my business...but I have acquired many skills in pursuit of my passion for making metal jewelry. 

I don't want my skills to whither away like the winter leaf...I want to repurpose what I know how to do to benefit more people than what I can do through my jewelry.  


There was a lot of thought going into making this decision...and I believed that when the right opportunity came into my life; I would feel it strongly. I love how adding a part-time job to my life has already benefitted the quality of my life, and I believe, in the long run, will also be of benefit to others, too. 

Cultivating Right Timing in Your Life

The Chrysalis and Wings...2016 by Stacie Florer.


Active waiting...how often does this show up in your life?

As a butterfly waits for its wings, while in the chrysalis stage, it is in an active stage of waiting. Or a pregnant mama, as she readies her environment for the arrival of her baby, she enters into a state of active waiting.

Waiting isn't necessarily 'doing nothing'. For things to transition from one state to another requires active waiting, and it can be a difficult rhythm to adjust to, especially from a creative point of view.

Our culture tells us to 'get out there and make something happen', but this often leads to stress and frustration if the timing isn't right.

I have a Dogwood tree in my backyard. This fall, the tree produced loads of beautiful, red berries. I watched the birds flitting to and fro on the branches, but they never touched those luscious looking red berries. They appeared ripe to me...but I admit I don't know much about Dogwood berries...

Then one day, I looked outside and heard a bunch of birds chattering. I mean, it was loud enough for me to respond to it with a quick walk to the window. My full tree of red berries was being devoured by a group of Robins. In an hour, they had stripped that tree of all those berries.

How did they know that TODAY was the day to eat those berries? What impulse did they follow that led them to decide Today is the Day the Dogwood Berries Get Eaten in their little birdie brains?

I figure it has something to do with recognizing that TODAY those berries were at their optimum nutritional capacity for the birds to convert to flying energy. Animals are so attuned to their environment, to the 'tells' of when to use energy for action, or when to conserve it.

Nature is all about the right timing. Animals have a built in time-keeper that alerts them to the right time to eat, sleep, mate and reproduce themselves. We have the same time-keeper within us, when we slow down and stop 'doing' things that we compulsively do because we are not aware of the right timing of action for ourselves.

I was talking to a friend the other day about their habit of offering unsolicited advice and the frustration and anger they feel when 'no one listens to me' enters into their mind.

In my life, I am beginning to recognize and understand about the right timing to give wisdom and knowledge away to another so that it can offer the most help in moving that information along the human chain of understanding.

 It's really simple...the right timing is when someone ASKS you for it.

When they ask, the framework of a mutually satisfying exchange of information has been built, and that energy of that particular flavor of information is in its optimal state to be 'digested' by the one that receives it.

Maybe the Dogwood tree sends out some sort of 'Eat my berries' signal out into its environment when its ready for its berry seeds to be 'deposited' further afield by those flocks of fast moving birds. I don't know exactly what the mechanism is...but I sure enjoyed watching the effects of it this fall.

I see so much online in the creative community about taking flight, getting your wings and so forth...but remember that it takes time to grow those wings, too.

And nothing fosters disappointment more than trying to fly with unfurled wings.

How did I start to recognize my particular tells when it comes to right timing?

I started with understanding the concept of trust first, and what I trust, and what I don't.

I discovered that I had a belief about NOT trusting in life that had to be worked on in depth. It took about a year of active waiting to start cultivating this level of trust. I had to start with faith first...and life taught me to trust it. This last year has been an amazing incubation period for me as a result.

Then I moved towards understanding where in my life impatience and compulsive action-taking seems to show up the most.

I also started asking myself what are the usual results when I 'jump the gun' in whatever area I have the most frustration and anger around.

I started there...and discovered that when I try and force something to fit into my contrived schedule, I experienced the most frustration.

Our immediate environment is always communicating to us about right timing. If you are cooking and forget to set the timer for a batch of cookies, your nose will tell you when to take them out of the oven. Usually, the first whiff of cookie goodness you get is a tell that the timing is forthcoming to take them out of the oven, right?

Or when I'm hungry...I am starting to only eat when I am in response to what my body wants. Sometimes I don't want to eat until 10pm! Normally, one would be conditioned to think that this is a terrible time to eat...but why fight what my body is telling me it needs? I experimented with this a few months ago, and I felt great. When I started eating again around the prescribed 'breakfast, lunch and dinner times", I started having digestive issues again.

As I was writing this, my dog, Sadie, started jumping on my leg, letting me know it's her time to go pee. So, I stopped and responded to her own right timing. As it is especially cold outside right now, I didn't have to wait for her to smell around stuff for 10 minutes before she finds just the right place to scent mark. We were in out and in in mere minutes!  And while I was out there, life showed me again to trust it, because it gave me an idea about how to edit this post.

So, for me, this idea of right timing is about cultivating trust in life itself. Its about deciding to go with the flow, as my mother-in-law says, instead of forcing the flow.  

There is a divine sense of inner peace and tranquility that occurs when I trust in life's rhythms and ignore the often strong temptation to act with impulsivity and impatience.

I am part of life itself...and life has its own timing as far as where my energy is best spent.

But it requires active waiting...and patience, with a dose of will power to NOT act before its time.