Friday, October 17, 2014

Playing Hooky (31 Days, Day 16-18)

I'm playing hooky for a few days.

It will be awesome.

Back on Monday!



Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack. Visit her shops by clicking on the right side bar of this blog (please and thank you!). She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party® and author of the book "Bead Soup" via Kalmbach Publishing.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wordless Wednesday -- Solace in an Abandoned Church (31 Days, Day 15)

Click here for Table of Contents for 31 Days of Awesome













Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack. Visit her shops by clicking on the right side bar of this blog (please and thank you!). She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party® and author of the book "Bead Soup" via Kalmbach Publishing.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

When Awesome Becomes "Aw, shoot" (31 Days, Day 14)

Click here for Table of Contents for 31 Days of Awesome


I wasn't sure if I was going to write about this because at first blush, it's a downer, and downers are not awesome at all. Then I remembered that this blog, even when written about one subject for a month, is still my blog and written truly from the heart, so why not. It also gave me a chance to reflect upon my own feelings I've had today.


I am a jewelry designer. For years, I exhibited at about 20 juried craft shows a year and updated my web site constantly. It was a good living -- a HARD way to make a living, but rewarding. I became an LLC , I had a studio built, I wrote a book, and things were moving along swimmingly. Awesome, you could say.


Several years ago that changed and I now only participate in two juried shows a year and I haven't updated my web site in ages because I've hardly made anything. I've been sick, etc. However, I have been doing better, and I thought that SURELY I would be able to exhibit at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, VA this weekend. 


Some people hate this line of work.  It's not easy to set up and tear down tents and displays, watch people throw your jewelry on the table after seeing the price, or hear them say, "My aunt's cousin's friend's dog sitter makes jewelry, let me take a photo of it and she can make it for you." It makes you want to look at them, wave, and say, "I can hear, you know." 


However, I really love the show circuit. There's an electricity in the air when you first walk into your bare space as people buzz around you, talk shop, and roll in their carts of hand-crafted goodness as we all go about our business of setting up 10'x10' shops, all of us anxious and excited and hopeful for crowds. You can almost breathe in that kind of electricity, and it's contagious and exciting and most certainly awesome.


Zack helps in his own way several years ago.  He's great at handing out zip-ties!

The other reason I love doing craft shows are the customers.  Since I've done the same shows year after year, I've gotten to know a lot of interesting people. I may not always remember their name, but I know their face, and chances are I know what they've purchased from me. Sometimes when I make something, I think, "Oh, Priscilla would love that!", and stash it away so she has the first look before I put it out on the table.


Larimar, pearls, crystal, and topaz, long gone to a wonderful customer.


And yet.


This weekend would be my first show in a long time. As I said, I'm getting better. I'm spending less time in bed, more time sitting up, and I'm even hoping to restart my gym membership at the end of November so I can swim. Right now, walking around the block is about it, or even just doing a few errands is my exercise and about all I can do for now after almost two years of bed.  I felt my keeping up with healthy eating and all my meds and seeing the doctors and taking calculated rests to keep up my energy had me ready to attack four days of 10 hours (at least) of intense work.




Today, however, I asked my doctor, as she gave me vitamin injections, what she thought about it. The night before, I'd started having a bit of a panic attack (well... more than a BIT of one) and I decided to get an expert opinion. After discussing the sheer volume of people in a show of this size, how nasty dirty filthy money is, and how I haven't done much physical stuff like toting boxes for a while, she said I shouldn't do it. I am very immunodepressed, and can't fight off a common cold like a normal person can, and I always get a cold after shows anyway. Going to this show this time, with worse immuno-blah-blah stuff, wouldn't be wise, she said. After all the work I've made in the past month or so of getting up, doing things with my family,and reassessing my priorities, I definitely didn't want to have a huge set back, and she felt this show was me asking for just that.


My first true silversmithing project. A good reminder - dream, and don't sweat it if you're not perfect.


At first, I was crushed. I was out a lot of money from the booth fee, the postcards I'd mailed, not to mention income, and my pride and sense of self took a beating. I drove home feeling quite sorry for myself -- I won't deny that. I also wondered how in the world I would be able to write an awesome post.


I totally know how to now.


First, I'm very fortunate I have a great doctor.  Two, I'm very fortunate I have a great husband who pretty much had already decided the show was not going to be the best thing for me. Three, an amazing customer and friend called me and talked to me with several great ideas to recoup my design mojo and hopefully make some money while I'm at it, and reassured me that this was not the end of the world.


And it isn't!


What WOULD be the end of the world is if I'd gone, pushed too hard, had to leave part way through the show (like I had to one year), and then spend the next three weeks in bed missing out on life, starting over from square one.  It would be awful if I lost the momentum I've been gaining. I've been able to be part of my family, in the same room, eating dinner, watching movies, working two feet from them when I could, reading to Zack when he wants, and being able to make short excursions about town. Those are the AWESOME parts of life. 



Yes, I love my jewelry design job and it's pretty amazing to do what I love for a living and will continue doing for a living.  I haven't been making a living at it since I've been sick, but as a Facebook friend reminded me, "Health before wealth." Very, very true.


I'll continue to work on flipping bad news on its ear as often as I can. It's a far cry better than dwelling on it. That in itself, is awesome.





Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack. Visit her shops by clicking on the right side bar of this blog (please and thank you!). She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party® and author of the book "Bead Soup" via Kalmbach Publishing.

Monday, October 13, 2014

How Do You Spell Awesome? (31 Days, Day 13)

Click here for Table of Contents for 31 Days of Awesome


Usually when I think of awesome things, they're grand, or larger than life, or something spectacular.


Often, though, awesome things come along quietly and curl up in your lap like a cat.


Last night I lay in bed thinking about yesterday's blog post and wondered about the differences in most of the things I put on my awesome list.  None of them were earth-shattering or huge or would even be of much importance to anyone other than me, yet that didn't make any of them any less amazing and awesome to me.


I do have dreams I'm chasing that ARE huge and earth-shattering, but I keep them close in my heart, mostly secret, and I know they may never happen.  That doesn't mean I don't think about these awesome dreams and when I can, actively work towards them, but I think it's important to keep my priorities straight and treasure the small wonders.  If someone can write a book about one thousand awesome things, all of which are simple yet so satisfying, then surely I can live more happily by embracing my own one thousand awesome things.


My wish for you today is for you to never lose sight of the simple things that mean so much.


Awesome can be written with a large capital "A" or a small, baby, lowercase "a", but they still spell the same thing and mean the same thing, don't they?






Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack. Visit her shops by clicking on the right side bar of this blog (please and thank you!). She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party® and author of the book "Bead Soup" via Kalmbach Publishing.





Sunday, October 12, 2014

1000 Awesome Things (31 Days, Day 12)

Click here for Table of Contents for 31 Days of Awesome



Wow oh man.


I just ran across the most awesome thing.  There is a BOOK called "The Book of Awesome" by Neil Pasricha.  Even better, he has a blog with a daily awesome thing.  This is where I slap my forehead and think, "Why didn't *I* think of that?" while at the same time applauding his genius. He has other books that I would love to own (and I don't own this one yet).  It's the perfect pick me up -- a single, often simple thing, that is, in a word, awesome.


via www.1000AwesomeThings.com/book


His blog can be found by clicking here.

Some things are beautiful, like the sound of leaves blowing across an empty parking lot.  

Some are funny, like perfectly stapling through a thick stack of papers.



I decided to make a quick list -- certainly not of 1000 things, but 10 simple things that are awesome and often taken for granted.  Keep in mind, I have not read his book or seen more than the first page of his blog, so if I happen to mention something HE has written about, it's simply by accident, and just proves its awesomeness.


1.  The smell of Zack's hair after a bath.

Zack around 3 years old.  I have no idea why he is wearing a bowl on his head.


2.  Snow on Christmas.

Taken by me out the front door.


3.  Getting a package in the mail when I wasn't expecting one.




4.  The smell of a box of fresh Crayola crayons.  Or a new set of markers.




5.  The cool feeling I got when my 1st and 2nd grade teacher friended me on Facebook.
(She believed in me when no one else did.  I'll never forget her.)

I wonder which teachers Zack will remember forever.


6.  Cuddling kitties at night.  No one but me, a book, and cats, everyone else asleep.




7.  The wonderful feeling of waking up refreshed without an alarm clock blaring.

I think this is the last time the bed was actually made, years ago, LOL!


8.  A hot bath after a busy day.





9.  Pie. (you knew I had to get that in there, didn't you?)

Pie beads I've been given or I've bought.



10.  The sound of my family belly-laughing over the holidays as we play board games.



Now it's your turn to make your own list of awesome things.

Keep it where you can see it when you need it most, as a pick-me-up.

Please leave a comment with one of of your favorites!



Make your day awesome.


**(all photos except first one were taken by me)**



Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack. Visit her shops by clicking on the right side bar of this blog (please and thank you!). She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party® and author of the book "Bead Soup" via Kalmbach Publishing.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Don't Forget to Say You Care (31 Days, Day 11)

Click here for Table of Contents for 31 Days of Awesome


You have awesome people in your life.  One, ten, a hundred. It's very easy to get overwhelmed with our lives and forget to stay in touch, or flat out not have the time to take a shower, never mind keeping up with all the people you'd like to. So how do you let them know what they mean to you?


Over the past couple of months I've been gifted with a ton of cards and a lovely box of fun things from various people. Some of them I knew. Some of them I didn't. I am extraordinarily grateful for every email, card, and prezzie that has crossed my path. It all made me think about how we stay connected to friends.




Most of my friends are online friends via Facebook.  I have friends I made face-to-face, but they live so far away, in different states and countries, I can't just have them drop by the house or even meet them easily. Often I've felt very lonely in the midst of a room full of people. Yet today, when I ran into two moms of Zack's friends in Target, I realized that I may have more people in my life than I realize, and I need to remember to let them know they are valued, and I need to open my mind more towards meeting new people and making connections.


One mom asked me for information to help a friend with Lyme disease. I owe her a long email with information I've found over the year.  The other mom and I decided we had to get out of our houses more, so we talked about getting her daughter and my son together for a crafts play date. One day, duct tape wallets, another day, making homemade fudge. I asked her to go home and take a look at her calendar and let me know what Fridays worked for her, and then suggested we call each other for a walk, even if it's just around the block.


Maybe our walk will include a playground!


Later in the day I called a local friend who has been battling a lot of health issues that keep the two of us quarantined from each other a lot. We still find ways to show we care. If I'm in her neighborhood, I call and see if she wants a coffee dropped off, and when she's on my side of town, she calls to see if I need something from the grocery store. These sound like simple things, but to me, they're important and valuable. Even a text or email or phone call to say, "Just wanted you to know I'm thinking about you" can mean the world, you know?


Some people grow up with tons of friends and have a hopping social life, while others have one or two close friends and a group of acquaintances that drift in and out of their lives depending upon the timing.  People change, but with change comes opportunities yet to be explored, and new people to meet, whether online or in the real world.

Zack and a friend from years ago.

Here's what I hope you take away from this. 

Look through your address book. Send an email to someone you haven't talked to in a long time. 

Mail a card to someone you used to hang out with a lot but have lost touch with. 

Drop by a friend's house with a cup of coffee or something yummy just because. 

Reconnect.


It's so important to tell your friends you care. With life at its fast pace, things fly by and before we know it, we can't remember the last time we talked to someone.  Take some time, make a phone call, send an email, and reconnect. Your life will feel larger and happier, I'll bet.


And isn't that awesome?




Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack. Visit her shops by clicking on the right side bar of this blog (please and thank you!). She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party® and author of the book "Bead Soup" via Kalmbach Publishing.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Zack's Idea of What is Awesome Is (31 Days, Day 10)



Zack is the center of my life.  So today over dinner I asked him, "what are some things you think are awesome, and why?"


1.  "The Origami Yoda book series. "

He likes how a different character tells the story in each book, and it has case files for random sub-stories inside the book.  In the first one, for example, Tommy and his friends try to figure out if Origami Yoda is real (when I asked, "Is he real?", Zack replied, "Pretty much, yeah.")

Photo via http://origamiyoda.com

When I asked why it was totally, totally awesome, he said, "I JUST LOVE IT SO MUUUUUCH!" I think I need to read these myself!  (And can I say that his telling me the FIRST thing he thought was awesome were books?)



2.  "Dreams that I wish would be real."


When I asked him to tell me one, he wrinkled his forehead and said, "I forget, but at the time, they were awesome." They leave him in a good mood when he wakes up. Then he remembered one where he was in a league of super heroes and another dream where the family went into Wii Sports Resort (a video game, natch) and the cats came in, and they weren't afraid of dogs, so we got a dog.  When I asked, "Why Wii Resort?" he said it was because it's set on an island (he's said forever that he wants to go to Fiji, of all places) and there's a ton of fun things to do.  I've played that video game with him and I must admit, it was indeed fun.

via Amazon.com


3.  "My Family -- especially you, Mom."

OK, let me stop a second, tears.


Whew.  All right then.


When I asked him to elaborate, he said, "Because no one can replace my family." He said he likes reading with me, doing LEGO with his brothers, riding the tandem bike with his Dad ... and then he said there were just too many things to mention.

Our buildings connected together.  You can lift each story off to see the detail inside.



One of MY favorite memories is when we first introduced this LEGO Christmas tradition to the boys. We set up a six-foot folding table for them to work on, and as I was sitting across the room, I hear the following exchange between Zack and his at-that-time 26-year old brother.

Zack:  "Are you jealous that I got all the cool stuff in my bag?"
Colin: "Well.... kinda, yeah!!!"

For the LEGO uninitiated, pieces are put into a variety of numbered bags to supposedly (HA!) make putting things together easier.


I love when I ask Zack questions.  The most awesome thing for me right now is that he still likes to talk when we get in the car.  No playing iPods or anything like that. We have some of the best (and funniest) conversations, and play Punch Buggy (without the slugging) every time we drive in my own little Bug.


Want to catch up on past posts in the 31 Day Writing Challenge?  Just click here, and join me every day this month for more stories and photos!




Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack. Visit her shops by clicking on the right side bar of this blog (please and thank you!). She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party® and author of the book "Bead Soup" via Kalmbach Publishing.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

The Awesome List (31 Days, Day 9)

Click here for Table of Contents for 31 Days of Awesome


I love lists.

They spark memories, make me hunt down old photos, take new ones, and dream.  I have so many notebooks full of ideas, "list your life" books -- all sorts of things like that.  So today's list is just a few awesome things I've found -- some sweet, some hilarious, all pretty darned wonderful, in my opinion.

Enjoy!

The Awesome List


1.  Doing the unexpected.  Wouldn't it be fun if you could get your group of co-workers to spend one day entering every door in this way?  Work should be fun.  Unless you work at a law firm.  Then this might be frowned upon as you enter the court room.


Hooray for 80's videos!



2.  Cool cars.  Zack has gotten me all worked up about cars since he was little.  This car, which I would have given my eye teeth for when I saw it the other night on a Las Vegas auction floor on TV, about killed me because if I still had my old job, I could have bought it. Insured it, probably not, but no roof, no worries.

What's your dream car?

via barrett-jackson.com


3.  This photo of Zack in the midst of water polo/catch/smash the ball as hard as you can at your friends.

When have you had this much fun in the water?  Time to change that!




4.  Playing games.  We are indeed a game-playing family.  We own every single edition of Trivial Pursuit (other than the specialized ones like Disney, etc), but nothing quite beats Zack and I playing Monopoly Deal.  That stinker skunks me nine times out of ten.  I LOVE his laugh when he wins. 

When's the last time you played a game?




5.  Random cool collections.  This is one little portion of my office bookshelf.  A vintage blue Mason jar, an upcycled Mason jar, two handmade boxes (one containing all the charms I collected during a Charm Swap group I once belonged to), a cream extractor (say what? you say) that goes with the massive collection of old milk bottles I own, a pink cinnamon spice box (because yep, it was pink), my grandmother's box of pins and thimbles in a pastilles box, an aspirin tin from who knows when, and two faux blue bird eggs.  Oh yes, the silver box.  That used to hold Dean & Deluca spices, but now it holds my personal button collection, the REALLY cool things I don't want to lose.

What do you collect?





6.  And last but not least BOOKS.  OMG.  Books books books.  Old, new, autographed, creased up, on a Kindle, I don't care.  I love books, as you can see if you click that link!  I read between 70 to 100 a year and I only read at night before bed. I'm so glad I'm teaching my son to love them, too. Rick loves books as well, but he listens to audio books, something I just can't manage.  I have to SEE the words, not hear them, to really comprehend what's going on.

What's your favorite book?


Part of my library.  And there are bookshelves in almost every room in the house.
This goes wall to wall, floor to nearly ceiling.



I hope you enjoyed the list, and it got you thinking!






Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack. Visit her shops by clicking on the right side bar of this blog (please and thank you!). She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party® and author of the book "Bead Soup" via Kalmbach Publishing.