Friday, November 20, 2009

Blogging: Diary or Product?

I was recently linked to this article for the first time.

It made me think: is my blog a diary or a book?

I'd like to think of it as a jewelry blog that's morphed into more of a whole-picture book of who I am.

When I first started this blog, I wasn't sure where I wanted it to go. Would I use it just to talk about jewelry? Would I incorporate little bits and pieces of my life? Would I tell stories and hope someone might pass along and read them?

I honestly didn't know.

At first I only talked about jewelry-related things. Thing is, when that's all you talk about, you're only going to draw people who are interested in jewelry.

Now I've broadened the topics quite a bit. I have a "feel" for how I want this blog to be, and I hope you can feel it, too.

I want it to be a little piece of me. I'd like you to know me, at least to a certain degree.

I'd like to know you, too, though, and that's one down side of Blogger-- you can't reply to comments individually. It's a serious bummer!

I have even been on a roll lately, with blog posts... except that I got sick last week. I've been pretty much down for the count with a sinus infection and bronchitis. The cough still lingers and I don't have all my energy back (not even close!) but I am at least back at work and feeling more like a human again.

But it put me behind with blogging. I wanted to make Tip Thursday a regular feature, and hopefully a weekly one. I knew going into it that I wanted Tip Thursday to start off with matching colors in your wardrobe to colors in jewelry you wear, but I have a feeling it could morph into other things, too.

After all... jewelry isn't all I know!

All this to say... I'm curious as to whose eyes are passing over this text.

  1. Do you keep a blog? If so, link me in a comment!
  2. Is your blog a reflection of you as a whole, or are the subjects limited?
  3. Is your blog more of a diary, or more of a book?
  4. Do you spread the word about your blog or do you leave it to chance?

Friday, November 13, 2009

What's In A Name?

I love getting gifts. I love to give them even more, but that isn’t the point of this post.

At the top of my list of Things I’d Like to Receive is a priceless gift that everyone I speak to can give me. It’s so simple, you may not believe it. Better yet? It doesn’t cost you a dime!

I’d really just like everyone to call me by name: Linda Lee.

You see, for the first half of my life, I was called by my first name—Linda.

It’s a fine name. I have a friend named Linda. I’ve known many people named Linda.

The thing is... I've never really liked it for me. I never felt it suited me.

Growing up, I often considered changing my name altogether. I always wanted my name to be Elizabeth. I would use the name Elizabeth anytime I wrote a novel. (Yes, I wrote novels in elementary school. One of them even got up to 11 or 12 chapters before I abandoned it.) Even in some of my writings today, I often revert to the name Elizabeth, whether or not I'm in the story. At this point it's just habit.

But back to my first name: Linda. When I left home for college, I considered adding my middle name, Lee.

Over time, I integrated the use of my first and middle name, Linda Lee, into my life—first, through work, then through friends, then through acquaintances, etc.

Finally, I told my family that I'd started using my middle name.

Oddly enough, my sister had also started using her full name. Her name is Wendilyn. Actually, it's Jill Wendilyn, following a naming pattern for the women in my family. She's always gone by Wendy... but within the past several years she's started using her full name, Wendilyn.

I wonder if we both felt like we grew into our names.

Now, of course, I go by Linda Lee exclusively—except for a few errant doctor’s offices and some members of my family, on whom I’ve given up the prospect of ever being called by the name I’d like to hear. (Especially regarding family—it’s about picking your battles, and some battles aren’t worth fighting, ya know?)

I feel that Linda Lee suits me perfectly. Many people shorten it to “LL”, and I've also been called "Double L" Or "Luhluh" or other endearing shortenings of my name.

I think that going by Linda Lee serves several purposes.

Not only does it speak to me tonally, and "fit" who I am, but it fits who I've become as a woman, and who I will be, throughout the years of my hopefully long and healthy life.

Linda Lee signifies the changes I've already worked so hard to make, and the development I have yet to traverse.

(For example, my name gives me permission to be playful and light-hearted, which is a personality trait that’s natural to me, and yet—it’s one I’m working on developing. I’ve kept my inner Entertainer under wraps for far too long, and now she’s coming out to have some fun! See that little girl? That's me... she lives inside me every day, but now she likes to come out to play relatively often.)

I am proud of my name.

Now, most conversations with someone new start off with me introducing myself, and correcting the other person when they call me Linda. I don’t mind, but I do wish people wouldn’t assume that because Linda is a common name, that the “Lee” part doesn’t matter and can be left by the wayside.

Oddly enough (to me), many folks assume that Lee is my last name.

And about 90% of those folks assume I’m Chinese! Until they see me in person, that is. And then—well, there’s absolutely no way anyone could possibly mistake this pasty-white-freckled-green-eyed-blond-haired-big-boned-in-addition-to-overweight-British/Irish chick as Chinese.

Still more people assume that after they call me Linda Lee a few times, they can call me Linda and that’s okay.

It’s not okay, y’all.

That’s like… meeting someone named Robert and assuming he goes by Bob.

Or Richard is Dick.

Or Samantha is Sam.

Or Mary Jane is Mary, or Jane.

(This horse is dead, and yet I’m still beating him…)

I’ve started doing various things to help people understand that I really, truly, do go by Linda Lee. On Facebook and a few other places, I’ve started typing my name as one word: Lindalee. Sometimes it’s LindaLee, sometimes it’s lindalee… in reality, it’s Linda Lee, but that so often trips people up, so I figured writing it as one word offers clarity.

My name is more than just a moniker. It’s a significant part of the identity I present to the world.

So, I ask you—what's in a name?

Do you like your name?
Have you ever considered changing your name?
Any other thoughts you'd like to share?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tip Thursday: Coloring Outside The Lines...

One thing I've noticed, time and time again, when I'm at a craft show or otherwise when I'm selling my jewelry to people, is that most folks don't know what colors can pair together. If someone buys a colorful necklace from me, they often ask what they can wear it with. I then rattle off a bunch of options and they walk away satisfied.

That got me to thinking, though. Not everyone is so adept with pairing color. I'm an artist, so it's to be expected that I'm good at pairing colors.

And since I'm not a particularly selfish person (well, not about this, at least!), I thought maybe I could help others by offering some tips, complete with a photo.

What do you think?


Ok. Here we go.

First tip: Today I'm wearing a green shirt that has shades of turquoise to it... and my necklace is sunstone, which is a gorgeous stone with shades of dark orange, with turquoise accent beads. So... try dark orange with turquoise green. It's an awesome combination!

Sunstone's metaphysical properties: The sunstone gem is a leadership stone, and brings leadership qualities to its wearer. It aids in dispelling fears and phobias and also decreases stress and lifts depression. Sunstone promotes grounding and protection. Sunstone gems also warms the heart and allows the person to get in touch with their life force.

Turquoise's metaphysical properties: Turquoise is porous, so contact with liquids, oils or even perspiration should be avoided. Turquoise is considered a good general healer for all illnesses and excellent conductor. Induces wisdom and understanding, enhances trust and kindness. Brings the qualities of mental and spiritual clarity.


Is this helpful? Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Let's talk about earrings...

Up until about a year ago, I never saw much merit in earrings. I always liked wearing them, and I thought they could add something to an outfit, but they just weren’t fun to make.

(I know, right? A jewelry designer who doesn't didn't like to make earrings? What's UP with that?)

So, I made them mostly to match bracelets or necklaces so that people could buy sets instead of single pieces of jewelry.

People like sets.

I like sets!

But for some reason… earrings just weren’t fun to design.

Until now.

About a year ago, I ran out of ear wires. Instead of doing what I always did, and ordering more… I decided to start making my own. I mean, I work with all this wire all the time, so why not make my own dang ear wires, right?

Little did I know this would open up the world of earrings for me. That’s all it took!

I felt something release in me, and I was able to make earrings just for the sake of making earrings.

I now have lots of earrings that aren’t made specifically to match any of my other pieces of jewelry. Now, a lot of them DO go with necklaces or bracelets I have, but a lot of them don’t.

And I like that!

I never realized that earrings could be so fun to make, and so gratifying to look at.

The only down side is the time. I used to whip out earrings by the dozens… but now sometimes I spend 45 minutes or so making one pair, to get the wire “just right” so the pair is relatively even. What used to take me 10 minutes now takes 45? Wait, I thought I was trying to become more efficient, not less?

Between the hammering, measuring, filing, bending, etc… yes—it does take longer. But it’s so worth it! I can now make earrings that speak to who I am as an artist, instead of earrings that happen to match whatever necklace I’ve made them to go with.

It’s a huge shift in me… in more ways than one. I now find myself craving making earrings, seeing what else I can do with the ear wire, seeing how else I can push my envelope on design.

Sometimes, all you need is a different perspective on life. Something to flip a switch inside of you so you see the situation differently and perceive your reality in a new light.

Sometimes, it's as simple as bending your own ear wire...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bright Blue Uncomplicated Weather

It’s so hard, on a beautiful day like this, not to wish my desk were outside. I’d like to bathe in this glorious sunshine, with the trees swaying back and forth to show off their lovely array of colors and rustling just enough to push my mind into a vortex of days on Alumni Lawn, skipping classes, watching strangers and friends play Frisbee, lounge on blankets, read books, or nap.

I long for those days sometimes. In many ways, life was simpler. I didn’t have so many responsibilities. I didn’t have so many things to worry about. I didn’t have so many obligations pulling me in so many directions. I didn’t have to work so hard to stay in shape. I didn’t have to worry so much about what I ate or shouldn’t eat or did eat.

And yet, if my soul could have been as happy and healthy as I feel now… I’d never have wanted to leave that time. I might have become the Joey Greene of the mid-90s.

Joey Greene was a 7th year student when I was a freshman. He’d hemmed and hawed so damn long that people came to see him as an institution on campus. He was the first person to get to know as many freshmen as possible, and he made it his personal mission to know as many undergrads as possible. He showed us around campus. He avoided questions about why he’d been there so long. He loved school that much, and his parents indulged his avoidance of the ominous real world.

I get what he was going through, though. Even when I did graduate, I wasn’t ready for the real world. I put it off as long as I could, and even longer.

I think the reality is… I suddenly realized how great it could be to be a kid, and I didn’t want to grow up.

I look back on those days with deep fondness and appreciation. I have precious memories of blissful moments, and over time, those far outshine the darkness—which is good, because in those days it was vast and overwhelmingly deep.

But on days like today, I think of little else but leaning against a fat-trunked Magnolia tree, daydreaming about whatever boy I had a crush on at the moment, pretending to read whatever text I was supposed to have already read.

And I realized something: college taught me the value of living in the moment.

A priceless gift, indeed…