You have to at least try

This week has been filled with no shortage of food for thought, creative missteps and soul searching.

Where to start.
I’ve been busy getting ready for the market. It was silly of me to not be more productive January through March, but … I’m part journalist, and we love working under deadlines.
I had last Saturday and Monday to craft this past week. It felt really good! I did some enameling, which I love. Every time I do I want to do nothing but that for days on end!
Just a few of the pieces I enameled this week. I love using pennies. And, it really seems to delight people when they realize that’s what I used.
This is an owl that I etched a month or more ago. I was hoping that the image would still be visible after a coat of embossing powder. No so. So, the owls became the polka dot earrings in the next photo.
Enameling all done!
Really finished pieces. Now to get them ready for display next week.
I’ve also been busy with some beaded bezels. The iridescent blue one might be my favorite. After that it’s the yellow and black one. The center is a resin piece that I made. The surface isn’t perfect, but I’m accepting the wabi-sabi nature of it.
Beaded bezels in various states along the road to completion. The lighting sucks; my apologies. Hopefully we’ll get some sun again in the next week, and I’ll work on something better.
One morning this week I decided to catch up on some of Tara Swiger’s podcasts. The episode about deciding whether you have a business or hobby really hit home. I always say business, but it’s a hobby. And it kind of broke my heart to admit. But, I have some inspiration for small steps to take to do the work Tara mentioned.
I even started following more crafters/makers/jewelers on Twitter to get me away from all-politics all the time. (Well, as I follow Paul F. Tompkins and John Moe, there’s some humor in there too.)
I even started following Austin Kleon, and I’ll be employing some of his “How to steal like an artist” tactics while I learn from my peers. Today, on one of our urban hikes, I’m going to get Morgan to help me finally get my head around hashtags. Why is that concept such a slippery eel to me?
Thinking about a hobby vs. business also made me think about how I can’t really complain too much anymore about not being a selling super star if I’m not doing the work. Sure, I’m making stuff, but I could be doing that without attending the market or other craft events.
My jewelry. (My weight! My disaster-area craft room!) How can I be so disappointed when I’ve not put in the work to make real change. I know what I need to do — on all fronts. It might not be easy, but I know it will be worth it.

From off the rails to back on track

I’ll admit it: I still want to knit more than anything else. Sleep might be a close second behind the desire to knit. (I worry that the desire to sleep might read like depression, but that’s not at all the case. Think hibernation.)
Luckily I’ve been able to shake off the laziness and finish two more journals for Saturday’s show. I’ve also poured resin for some pendants. (There were nearly no bubbles in the Gedeo resin. My Ice Resin got really dark. and while it’s supposed to be usable, white backgrounds now have an antiqued look.) I’ve even prepped some packaging for better display. (Why did it take me so long to step up how my necklaces are presented?!)

However, that rambling aside, it’s Thursday, and I know I should have some kind of book report. Where did those days of leafing through books and then breaking out paints or beading supplies go? Taken over by the knitting gods? Could be. Or maybe my block stems from the fact that I knew I wanted to dig into Tara Swiger’s Market Yourself. Opening that book meant that I had to do what feels like work rather than play.
I have forever said that I don’t like having to sell myself. Not in my day job, not in my side gig. I think, in both cases, that my work speaks for itself. If people can’t see that or don’t want to take the time to figure it out, it’s not my problem. But, especially for the Ponder Press stuff, I need to market what I do. Otherwise, my world will never be bigger than the market or the handful of shows I do in November and December. And, these posts will be seen by my beau, my mom and one or two friends.
I know what I need to do. And I know why I need to do it. So, why is it so ridiculously difficult?
Am I, like so many others, afraid of being exposed as a fraud? I know all of the counterarguments. I really do.
•I need to do it as long as it makes me happy and I do it all in truth.
•There’s plenty of room in this world for people to make art/jewelry/stuff. If not there would only be a handful of artists. Full stop.
•Why belittle what I make? Isn’t that insulting to my customers?
This post feels whiny and self-serving. Strike that, I’ll let it serve as an online journal entry. Let’s just say that I’m working through my stuff.
And, I’ll keep working on the book. I’m less than six pages in, and I already know one more thing I can do to help pretty up how stuff looks on my table and help to keep my business name in mind.
I stopped at the first quiz in the quiz; it’s something to the effect of what makes you “You.” ACK! My neuroses?
I think this calls for admiring the new Rubber Moon stamps I bought to make my displays more fun. I must breathe deep and breathe in these sentiments.

 I’d love to hear about your struggles with self doubt. Rest assured, you’re not in this alone.

Derailed by details and some other stuff

Thursday is book day, and I’ve got nothing to report.
At least not craft wise. On second thought, I took my “Instant Artist” set off of the shelf and think that the pre-printed canvases will make for great journals covers.

I think they need to be left blank to let someone else do the painting. (This is 100% the kind of freeing activity I hoped for when I decided to go through all of my books.)

I also returned several books to the library, and their unopened, unperused status is no longer tormenting/mocking me.

I finished a book for an interview for work. As much as I have craft crushes on any number of people, products and techniques, I have a genuine respect for Ruth Wariner, whose The Sound of Gravel will be published this January. Because the book’s release is still months away, what I can say is that she is really, truly lovely. I don’t envy her her childhood, and I admire her spirit, her soul. Oh, I can also say, visit her site and pick up the book when it’s published.

I’ve been listening to the audiobook of Challenger Deep, by Neal Shusterman. Once again I’m left feeling a bit bummed out that so many wonderful YA authors started publishing after my YA years. And so, well into my adult years, I’m still reading/listening to these great and moving works. Truth told: I think I’d prefer this as a physical book. However, the parrot’s voice sounds so much like Jim Rash that I keep thinking about the TV show Community, and that makes me happy.

I’m giving myself homework. I need to break open Market Yourself by Tara Swiger.

And, I need to figure out how to best use these display cards.

 I want to stamp on all of them. Should the stamps show? Should they be a surprise beneath the surface? How often will I be able to break away from the “Sparkle like you mean it” stamp? There’s always another decision to make, isn’t there? I guess that means I’m alive, and really, in this case, how can there be a wrong decision?