Sunday, August 28, 2011

Preparing For My Surgery

Busy day today!  Getting ready for some long awaited surgery.  Tomorrow, I undergo bilateral hip replacement.  I am admittedly nervous but ready to proceed.

It seems a million things need to be done.  Of course, getting my pre-operative medications filled - have already done.  Making sure all the bills are paid up as I am the one that manages the bills in our household.  Stocking groceries as I will be unable to drive for six weeks.  Of course, my husband will be around to help, but I feel I need to have things as organized as possible while our routine is disrupted a bit.

One of the hardest things is putting my jewelry business on hold for a short while.  I just placed my Etsy and ArtFire shops on "vacation mode" with messages that I will be unavailable for, hopefully, no more than a week.  If all goes well, which it should, I will be able to at least be back on the computer and able to manage e-mails, etc by the end of a week.  Still, I will miss this daily interaction with Facebook friends, customers, etc.

I guess the hardest part of doing this is giving up my sense of control over my life.  Putting one's life under the care of others is a difficult thing.  But, I am certainly doing something that many others before me have done.  And I know it must be done.  After stopping my anti - inflammatory medication last week (because it can increase bleeding during surgery) I have been miserable from an orthopedic standpoint.  Going to the grocery store yesterday was agonizing just walking around the store!  Getting in and out of the car, going up and down stairs - almost impossible.  So, I now intend to focus only on the post-operative aspect.  In another week - it will all be over and I will be rehabilitating and starting life with new hips.  And I know from talking to many others who have undergone the same procedure, I will likely wish I had done it years before.

So, next week I will give an update on my life with new hips - see you then!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Custom Designed Eyeglass Chains

This week I made two custom design eyeglass necklaces for one of my customers.  She wanted something vintage/Victorian style for both pieces.  I love to custom design jewelry for others - the process is very interactive.  This customer lives far away and found my shop on Etsy, so I have never actually met her and all communication was through e-mail

As she told me the kinds of things she liked, I would e-mail pics of specific beads and components which she would then tell me which ones she really liked.  The whole process was quite interactive as the design evolved from sets of loose beads and components to the finished designs.

She specifically wanted to be able to wear both designs with other gold and silver jewelry pieces.  Other requests were for pink and white, cloisonne and heart components.  Here are some pics as these pieces were constructed.

My customer likes pink and white - so I started with this selection for her to view

She also likes cloisonne - so another set for her to choose from

Selection of silver beads to consider

"Rough draft" layout of potential design

Finished design with antiqued silver, cloisonne, pink glass beads and garnets

Initial finished design of second necklace with antiqued silver eyeglass loop

Finished design of second necklace - changed to antiqued brass larger loop to accommodate her extra wide sunglasses  (Gunmetal chain, cloisonne and Czech glass garnet beads, and Swarovski crystal pearls)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

My Gift From Uganda

I received a gift this week that I want to share with you.  It is a necklace hand beaded in Uganda.  The beads are all handmade with paper and painted in bright beautiful colors.   The person who gave me the necklace has a daughter who spent about two years in Uganda, and she brought several pieces of jewelry and other items back with her.  I have learned that Uganda is an extremely poor country.  Many of the women there make beads and jewelry to eke out a living for themselves and their families.

I was so curious about the origins of my new necklace that I went in search of more information.  There are several groups that help these women sell and market their goods.  Outreach Uganda is one such group and is a non-profit organization based in Colorado whose mission is to empower Ugandans and help them rise out of poverty.  Their focus is on education, women's empowerment, and promoting self-sufficiency through job creation.  They have three beader groups and follow fair trade practices.  Each beader group is run much like a small business with the women choosing how to allocate their group monies and making decisions such as giving small loans to members within the group.

Today I ordered some loose beads and am looking forward to creating some beautiful designs with them.  Remember, these beads are all handmade from paper!

Bright Purple Paper Beads

Bright "Red Hat" Paper Beads

Bright Green Paper Beads

I encourage anyone who wants to help with the Ugandan cause to visit Outreach Uganda where you can learn much more than what I have described here.  You can also visit their online store and purchase loose beads as well as finished designs such as necklaces, earrings, eyeglass lanyards, beaded purses and more!

After I receive my beads I will start beading, then post some pictures of my finished designs!