Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tip Thursday - Fall Colors in Spring

(Please excuse squinty me, and be sure to click each pic to see larger versions of the necklace!)

Today’s tip is geared towards colors that you may typically think of as fall colors. I say, wear whatever colors you want, whenever you want! Ha!

Today we have a darker green and lovely orange with a hint of brown. The stones in this necklace are African green opal, sunstone, and smoky quartz… and that gorgeous, amazing focal bead at the bottom is an Australian boulder opal. It’s so shimmery!

I’ve actually had the African green opal for some time now. I’ve had the sunstone for almost as long. But… I just got that Australian boulder opal, and I was amazed at how perfectly it goes with the rest of the stones. This necklace packs a powerful punch!

See, I already made a necklace with the African green opal and sunstone, and I sold it a while back. I held on to some of the stones to make myself a necklace someday, but I wanted a killer focal. I sure got it!! And I really need to get better photos of this necklace (I snapped these with my phone) so you can see the detail in the stones, and especially in that focal. It’s so shimmery, and you know I’m a total sucker for sparkly things.

I’ve worn this necklace a handful of times, and I get numerous compliments on it every time! One woman even had a conversation with her friend about this necklace. I didn’t know that’s what they were talking about, just that they were conversing and turning around and looking at my chest (!). Finally, the friend said, “Just go ask her!”

So, she came over and said, “Can I look at your necklace?”

Of course I obliged her!

Now… what could you wear a necklace like this with? Well, how about: green, gray, brown, blue (denim), white, ivory, orange, tan, etc?

So, there ya go. Green, orange, and brown. Maybe it sounds like a fall combination, but here I am, wearing it in March!

Australian Boulder Opal metaphysical properties: Boulder Opal represents purity and intensity. It assists in emotional and mental balance, calms the inner soul. Facilitates actualization. Excellent stone for progress, expansion, and development. Helps one connect the conscious and subconscious, providing for a clearing understanding of oneself. Facilitates communication, stimulates healing, and stabilizes energies.

African Green Opal metaphysical properties: My Google Fu fails me, and I can’t find anything compelling about metaphysical properties for this stone!

Smoky Quartz metaphysical properties: Smoky quartz is a powerful healing stone. It protects against all forms of bad luck and promises a light at the end of what may seem to be a very long tunnel. After you’ve been sick or felt depressed, it can restore energy and optimism. It also aids meditation if you find concentration difficult. Smoky quartz is one of the best healing stones!

Sunstone 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.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Dream Deferred

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

(Poem by Langston Hughes, from the Dream Deferred Montage: Harlem) 

I strolled through the mall the other day and paused when I passed the piano store.

I’ve passed it many times. Usually I toss a quick glance across the name brands facing the windows, and I move on without slowing my pace.

But Saturday was different.

They had a Steinway in the window.

It was used. A five foot grand in perfect condition, with ebony lacquer finish—the only finish to get, in my opinion.

I had nothing else pressing to do, so I slipped inside and made my way to the bench without a sound.

I touched the keys.

Pressed down on a few.

Played a few chords, then a few arpeggios.

But it was calling me to really play it.

I relented.

Sitting down, my fingers fumbled over keys that long ago, I had spent so many years trying to know. For the first few minutes, I felt truly foolish sitting there, trying so hard to deserve the gorgeous sounds the keys made when pressed.

I took a deep breath.

All the memories came flooding back, in an instant. The memories of winning piano competitions, of auditioning for the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt, of sitting on the bench of Mrs. Hansen’s Steinway as she showed me her latest find at the music store—a piece called Toccata that I would instantly fall in love with…

It’s the first time I’ve actually sat at a Steinway in years, and I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: there is no piano like a Steinway. No piano feels the way a Steinway feels when you press the keys. No piano makes music the way a Steinway does. When I sit at a Steinway, I never want to stop playing, and the Steinway never wants me to stop, either.

I soon forgot I was sitting in a piano store in the mall. I became deaf to the voices mocking the huge price tag on this very piano as shoppers strolled by the window.

So quickly, I enveloped into my own little world, where only I and this perfect combination of black and white keys existed.

I played one of the only pieces I can still play—my own—a sort of half-piece I wrote many years ago, and never finished.

I can’t help but look at how many things I’ve started and never finished, and wonder where I may be standing if I actually had.

Those things don’t matter anymore. They’re in the past, and the past is all but forgotten.

I’m not a concert pianist as I once dreamed of being. I don’t even play anymore, except on a rare occasion here and there, where playing piano is akin to satisfying a need I can’t even describe—a need that absolutely nothing else will quench. Sometimes, playing is the only thing on my mind.

And sometimes, words fail. My emotions run too deep, and the only way to let them all out is through the keys.

It’s still my dream, though… one day, I want to own a Steinway.

Preferably a full concert grand. Nine long feet of piano, with its own room that I can close off and keep a constant perfect temperature so the piano stays as healthy as possible… and of course it would have to have its own room because of the cats.

Ideally, I’d like to buy it brand new. Order it to my customization and make trips to the factory to see it in its various stages.

It takes months to build a piano, you know.

I’d travel with it on the long journey home, and I’d celebrate its arrival with an in-home concert.

This is a big dream of mine, as a nine foot concert grand costs well over $100,000, and most folks don’t buy a Steinway brand new because of that.

But... you never know.

I may win the lottery someday. And if I do… a Steinway is most definitely on my list.

Until then, I’ll settle for stealing a few moments on a beautiful five footer at the piano store in the mall.

(If I close my eyes while I’m playing, I imagine myself on stage, about ready to give the performance of a lifetime…)

Friday, March 12, 2010

On Connection and Friendship

Subtitle: An Awkward Post About Being Awkward

I’ve had a lot on my mind lately, and to be perfectly honest—I have struggled to stay positive.

I’ve been looking at the mirrors pointing within, and at the moment I find it hard to completely like what I see.

Normally, I’m a happy-go-lucky, laid-back, easily pleased and easily amused woman. I’m caring, and I have a genuine interest in people.

But I long for deep, intimate connection.

I have a deep connection with my husband. I thought about this yesterday, actually—he knows me so well, so thoroughly, that we can literally exchange one look and have a whole conversation. We can talk about hard things and push through difficult issues and come out on the other side of it feeling closer and happier.

My closest friend is another I am strongly connected to. She often articulates what I feel before I can, and we can honestly share anything with each other.

Another close friend is someone I haven't seen in almost two years, but in spite of that, we maintain a close, loving friendship. 

(In fact, I have lots of good out-of-state friends. When we get together, it's as if we were never apart. But it's difficult to maintain that level of intimacy when you see each other once every year or three.)

Those are the only people on the planet who truly get me… the whole me, not just the online side, the Pathways side, the professional side, the everyday side... 

And while I feel truly lucky to have the friends I have, I'd really like to expand that circle of face-to-face friends. I’m searching for deep, ongoing connection with one or two (female) friends. I’ve had it before, with several people, and when we share a moment—it’s truly amazing. The caveat is, I’m a face-to-face type of woman. Connecting face-to-face is exponentially more powerful and meaningful to me than connecting over the phone, through email, or through any other route.

And I’m pretty good at it, too. It’s easy to do whatever’s right in front of my face.

The problem is layered. First...

Follow through.

I get busy. I forget. I think about calling at 11pm, when it’s just not nice to call. And then more time passes, and I feel like an idiot for responding to something or someone a month after the fact.

And I feel horrible about it.

And, while we’re at it—let’s add a few other layers to the puzzle. Because quite frankly, if follow through was the worst of my problems, I think this friend thing would be a lot easier.

I’m awkward when I’m first getting to know someone. Perhaps we’ve had a connection, or perhaps we’ve shared a moment and I think there’s a potential there for us to be good friends.

I am also not a small-talker. I have a hard time having short or less-than-deep conversations with people—especially when we’ve shared an intimate connection at some point.

(That’s not to say I’m all serious. I’m not. In fact, if you see my silly and funny side, that means I trust you.)

When I’ve shared intimacy and depth with someone, I don’t know what to talk about that isn’t intimate and deep. So, I feel awkward, and I act awkward.

And I have a pretty strong feeling that that’s off-putting. It makes the other person feel awkward, and then if we don’t talk about how awkward it is, it’s difficult to push through.

I also tend to act awkward because I struggle with trust—trusting that this person I’m trying to get to know better won’t leave me in the dust. It’s happened before, many times… the worst being my “best friend” from junior high all the way through college up and telling me one day that she never wanted to speak to me again. There were many issues in our relationship, and we had been growing apart over time, but still—it hurt.



And for many years after it happened, I wasn’t able to trust any new friend. When she told me off that day, it felt like a divorce. We were fiercely close friends for over 10 years, and the sense of loss was overwhelming.

I don’t ever want to go through it again.

And, let’s add another layer, shall we?

If I have an interaction that doesn’t feel quite right, or if something happens where I end up feeling rejected, I create a lot of judgments about it. Maybe I don’t have to explain this, now that you know about the friend who dumped me, but I tread so carefully—walking on eggshells—because I don’t want to screw up. I don’t want to drive the other person away. I don’t want to demand too much. I don’t want to lose the potential gift of an intimate friendship.

Let me give you a situational example to illustrate...

I call or email Potential Friend A (PFA), leaving some sort of indication that I’d like to get together with her.

I know there’s been some interest in becoming closer friends in the past, so I’m confused when PFA doesn’t return the call or email (or both).

Out of defensiveness, and out of the semi-automatic leap my brain makes to she’s rejected you!, I start to form some pretty harsh judgments, like:

  • She doesn’t want to be my friend.
  • She doesn’t care.
  • She doesn’t like me after all.

And then I turn the judgments on myself:

  • I’m not good enough to be her friend.
  • I don’t matter to her.
  • I’ve been rejected again.

Ridiculous, right? Instead of just following up, and asking a simple question, and keeping the situation simple… I make it infinitely more complicated, so that by the time I actually talk to PFA again, I’m coming from such a place of insecurity that I’m even more awkward than before.

The real irony of all my behavior and the underlying feelings and fears driving my behavior is that they are denying me of the things I really want. And boy, does that suck to realize…

Of course now that I know it, I can work to change it. 

That's the beauty of life, and of working through something hard. 

It's a choice. 

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tip Thursday: Spring Edition

Let’s talk about SPRING! It’s here, in good ole Texas. It’s here and it’s beautiful. The trees are budding, grass is starting to grow, and we’re certainly getting our fair share of rain. But on days like today, when the sun is shining bright, it makes me smile and remember all the things I love about Texas.

So, the colors this week are yellow and blue. Yeah, I’m aware—yellow and blue make green. So throw a little green in there, too! These colors go so well together. Really, anytime you mix a primary color (yellow and blue are both primary) with one secondary color (green), it’s a good thing.

I particularly love this sky blue combined with the almost-golden glowing hue of citrine. And add some lovely green of that peridot, and this necklace has some major wow-factor! It’s absolutely one of my favorite necklaces. I wear it in the spring or summer, but I also wear it in the fall or winter when I’m tired of all the gray.

In fact, I wear this necklace with gray a lot, because it really pops against gray. It also pops against white, and even a lighter brown. Wear these colors with any neutral, and you won’t go wrong. But you can also wear these colors with each other, like you see in the photo—with a coordinating blue shirt… or a pale yellow shirt… or a peridot-green shirt.

And remember, anytime you wear citrine (especially when combined with peridot)… you’re going to attract some (positive) attention!

Peridot metaphysical properties: Peridot is a general healer. It’s also one of the most fortunate stones, indicating an in-flow of money, love, luck, and peace into your life. Use peridot to flood your mind, body, and spirit with a sense of peace and well-being.
(Source: The Illustrated Directory of Healing Crystals by Cassandra Eason)

Citrine metaphysical properties:  One of my favorites! This is such a lucky, attention-getting stone. Anytime you wear citrine, prepare to get some attention. It boosts self-esteem and protects against negative energy. It also promotes clarity. It brings light to the wearer and helps fight against depression.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Simply Healing: My New Line of Healing Jewelry

I’ve gone a while without posting anything jewelry related. I wonder if anyone’s beginning to think I don’t make jewelry anymore?

(I know… doubtful, right?)

Well, I have. I’ve been making simpler pieces, though… not the extraordinarily colorful pieces like Sherbert Supreme… which has sold, by the way! While I adore that piece, and am so glad it’s happy in its new home… I’ve turned to a quieter, more centered side for the moment to create some jewelry with healing stones.

The healing jewelry thing is a bandwagon that I’ve been watching for a while now. Not watching closely, mind you—more like, from the sidelines, peeking over the fence and shielding my eyes from the sun. “Over there I think I see this ‘healing jewelry’ stuff”. That sort of “watching”. 

But healing jewelry is far from a new concept. Certain stones have been worn for literally thousands of years to derive and nurture specific feelings.

For many years, I’ve felt the power of stones when I wear them. Certain stones—certain types of stone as well as just certain pieces (this piece of kyanite versus that other one, for example) can give off a strong feeling.

In other words, they make themselves known.

Whenever I buy stones, I much prefer to buy them in person if I can. It’s hard to know if the stones will have good or bad “juju” until you hold them in your hands.

The first stone I experienced this with was carnelian. I found a pendant and found myself wearing it when I was having a particularly rough day and needed to get back on center. As it turns out, carnelian is one of the pillar healing stones. I didn’t know that at the time, I just felt like wearing it whenever I needed a little healing.

The next stone? Kyanite. This one’s still one of my very favorites, and I often find myself creating outfits just so I can wear kyanite—especially when I need to be level-headed or restore balance in my mind.

And? That’s what kyanite does… it restores balance.

I have this amazingly gorgeous charoite pendant that my husband bought me for Christmas a couple of years ago. This particular pendant really, really struck me when I came across it in a lapidary artist's booth at a craft show. I picked it up and instantly knew it had history, and I instantly wanted to know more about it. 

When I wear that pendant, I inevitably feel a pureness in my heart and I can freely tap into the power within my soul. I’m not sure whether or not it’s psychological, but I found myself gravitating towards wearing that pendant when I needed to feel powerful and particularly strong, but also from a place of purity and honesty.

So, when I looked up the meaning and discovered that it’s a stone you should wear when you want to feel powerful yet pure… well, yeah. That made sense!

I think you get the idea. I don’t know how much stock to put into all of it, I just try to go with it and create combinations that make sense, especially combinations of stones that I've personally found to be very powerful.

The thing is... for most healing stones to really pack a punch, they need to be of a relatively good size and quality. The problem I find with a lot of healing jewelry is that the stones are so dang small, I’m not sure how much good they’ll really do.

And yet, I didn’t want to create a healing line with elaborate designs, because that’s not what healing jewelry is really about.

(Besides, I already create enough jewelry with fairly elaborate designs.)

So, I went the opposite route. I went simple. It feels right to me, that healing jewelry should be simple. It should feel like you’re simplifying things… thus the name of the line: Simply Healing. They’re attractive clusters of stones that are of high enough quality and large enough size that they’ll be impactful, yet they’re also on lightweight silk cord (most of them) and can be worn with anything in your wardrobe.

Now, my question for you is… what type of healing jewelry are you looking for? I’d like to create some necklaces that will help you achieve a specific feeling, but to best do that, I’d really like your input.

So... I need your help! 

What would you like to feel when you're wearing healing jewelry? 

Hope? Trust? Love? Passion? Creativity? Please tell me in comments! 

And, by the way, I have a few of the first batch left, for sale on Etsy. Many, many more to come!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Growth Spurt

"We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations."
--Anais Nin
Lately I feel like I’ve been too focused on where I come up short.

That’s a long measuring stick, I tell ya.

So, today, I’d like to tell you that I am growing. Anytime I feel too comfortable with the way I feel and where I am in life, I know a growth spurt is coming. I brace myself, yes—but I’m never quite ready for that wave of reality holding the mirror up, nose to nose, and it blows me over every time.

But, I get up.

I keep getting up.

And I keep dusting myself off.

And I keep learning.

I’m not sure where this journey is taking me, but with each growth spurt, I gain a little more insight, and in the end, my light shines brighter than I ever thought it could.

I’m in the middle of a growth spurt right now, in case you were wondering.

If I have a grand and picturesque image of what I’ve learned once I’m on the other side, I’ll be sure to share.

Chances are, though, the main lesson is to stop thinking so dang much and live my life. My ratio of thinking to doing has gone a bit out of whack here lately—I was sick for about 3 weeks, and I think that was a big catalyst, because my body forced me to slow down, but my brain didn’t slow down accordingly. I got to thinking too much, and, well—

Here I am.

It’s difficult for me to have compassion towards people who complain about things in their life, and then refuse to actually do anything to change those circumstances. 

I think it bothers me so much because I used to be like that.

But, I am learning each day that compassion for others, and above all—for myself, is a treasured gift, and you never know when that compassion will open someone’s eyes to a turning point in their heart.

“Be patient with everyone, but above all with yourself. Do not be disturbed because of your imperfections, and always rise up bravely from a fall. Daily make a new beginning; there is no better means of progress in the spiritual life then to be continually beginning afresh, and never to think that we have done enough.”
-- Francis de Sales