January 2009

Just Breathe

January 29, 2009

I think that I move in distinct cycles of peace and craziness. At the moment, I am thoroughly ensconced in the craziness. Last week’s blog sponsorship with Soule Mama yielded over 200 orders. We are still doing our best to get everything out to everyone, and I can not tell you how much I appreciate everyone’s patience. The sponsorship was really fun, of course because it yielded so many new customers, but more so because it has introduced me to a lot of wonderful people. I have always heard that the crafting and blogging world is a supportive and close knit community, and I feel like I have experienced that first hand lately. Even today, I called to check on a package with a customer who had placed an order last week, and we ended up having a 30 minute phone conversation on absolutely nothing related to the fiber or crafting worlds. It was great.

But back to the craziness.

One of my best friends gave birth to a baby girl last week, and I was privileged to be by her side as she delivered that little angel at home, into the water. I have been lucky enough to work in the birth community for the past 6 years, and every birth still amazes me. One of the best parts of my work in the birthing is that I have been lucky enough to attend the labors of women I am very close friends with. Their stories are always so powerful for me, mainly because I know them on a daily basis, and then I am with them in this extraordinarily powerful moment. It is just beyond words.

The craziness also found me this past weekend when my 6 year old, 130,000 mile Ford Explorer decided it’s time with me was up. I have to say that when I bought that car 6 years ago, it was a base model, seriously no frills, didn’t even have climate vents in the back seat, SUV. I thought I would keep it for 2-3 years, and it turned out to be a really great vehicle. I was sad to see it go, mainly because I had hoped to drive it for a lot longer, and also because I brought both of my boys home from their births in it. It has kept us safe and happy for many years, and I am extremely grateful for that. I also hated to see it go because one of the truly unhappiest moments that I have ever spent has been in the company of car salesmen. Why does buying a car take so darn long? I just do not get why it has to be a 10 hour, are you serious, I am not haggling with you for one more minute, ordeal. Oh well, it is over, and hopefully we have found an equally safe and reliable used vehicle that will keep us safe for the next 6 years.

Today’s craziness came in the form of a camera issue. My father does all of the photographs for Shivaya (which is a lifesaver for me), and he left today for a 7 week trip, and I am apparently not bright enough to figure out how to use his camera and editing software. I was planning on doing a nice update of the store this afternoon, but it took me 7 hours to just process the 5 new pictures of yarn that I shot today (perhaps it is time to take a basic photography course). Thank goodness that Stacy lives just a short distance away, and that she is always sweet enough to rescue me when I am in a photographing crisis.

And then there was peace.

My husband’s birthday was yesterday, and the children really enjoyed spending time making gifts for him. I love the age that my kids are at, they just take such pleasure and pride in making something special for the special people in their lives. They literally worked for hours making their dad his gifts, and they just manage to pull everything out of their art closet, and then create these magic little treasures from a hodgepodge of materials. There was nothing bought (I made my husband a pair of Toast), and the boys seem to be learning the value of creating beauty, rather than buying it.

As they headed to bed last night, I was so struck by how big they are each getting. My oldest is almost 5 1/2 (I love 1/2 birthdays), and that just shocks the heck out me. Wasn’t he just a baby who spent all day in my arms? How does time move so fast. I always thought that saying was a cliché while I was “growing” up. Now that I am a parent, I realize that time does, in fact, move at a frighteningly quick pace once children come into the picture.

I was studying Jakey’s hands last night while he slept, and I was overcome with how much they have lost the baby look, and now reflect the beautiful young boy he has become. They are filled with dirt under the fingernails, glue from the art projects, paint and marker from his drawings, and just the joys of being young. I am excited to watch them grow and see what they evolve into, but so often I just want to hold time still, and just sit in the moment of where they are right now.

So the cycles of peace and craziness continue on, with many more adventures for the rest of this week. Tomorrow begins the process of putting all of the packages together for Taste of Shivaya. This is a really exciting time, and I am really excited to hear what you all think of this first selection. I also have to continue to update the store over the next several days. Let’s all pray that Stacy can get me up to speed on the camera issues ASAP :).

Our winner from this week’s blog giveaway with Stacy Z was #11, Dale, Lindsay and Shannon. Congratulations. I will pass your information onto Stacy.

I wish you all joy in what ever cycles your lives bring in the coming weeks.

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The Hat of Champions
In the fourth edition of our Artist at Work series, we sit down and talk with photographer and jewelry and knitwear designer, Stacy Z. I have been lucky enough to know Stacy for the past two years, and besides being a great friend, she is also one of the most talented people that I know. Stacy has spent her creative life designing jewelry, photographing almost everything you can imagine, and creating beautiful pieces of knit wear.

Stacy has also been kind enough to do a sponsorship giveaway this week, where one of you will win a pair of her custom made Stacy Z earrings. These will be a dangle earring, and you can have your choice of Garnet, Pearl or Labradorite stones. This is a very special giveaway, and we would like to thank Stacy for her continued support. All you have to do is leave a comment in the comments section, and we wil randomly draw a name on Wednesday of this week. For anyone who places an order with Stacy this week, she will also be drawing two names for gift certificates for 20% future purchases!

In the coming weeks, Stacy will also be designing some gorgeous stitch markers and jewelry especially for our store, and in coordination with our seasonal colors. Check back with us often to see when those limited edition pieces will be available.

Hi Stacy, thanks for sitting down and talking to us today.

You began your creative career as a jewelry designer in California, and you continue today as a custom designer. Tell us a bit about how you come up with your designs, what your jewelry career has looked like, and where you see it going in the future. Also, tell us a little bit about the decision to reopen your Etsy store.

Well when I started making jewelry I was just a little girl. I actually started making pearl necklaces for teddy bears I made. Yes, I made my own teddy bears and their jewelry. But the real jewelry making began when I was 13 or 14 at a bead store in Pismo Beach. All my other friends walked along the pier and talked to boys while I spent all day in the bead store because I thought it was cold of all things. In addition to our fabulous bead store, I was also lucky enough to have a very close family friend own a jewelry store. My dad’s secretary (Donna) also owned the local jewelry store. My dad was also an artisan in his own right. He would paint houses and was an expert bricklayer so in his spare time he would do it for different people around town. For all of Donna’s work my dad worked it out in credit at the jewelry store for my mom and sisters. So besides making the costume jewelry at the bead store and home I have an open account at the local jewelry store. Can you imagine? I remember spending all day on my free Saturdays learning about the stones and drawing designs to be made. It is funny now because I still have all those pieces, but my style has changed so much since then.
Tourmaline Drops
I stopped designing in college and my early career life as a consultant but when I was planning my wedding I got a hairpiece and when it arrived my mom mentioned the stuff I use to make. It was then that I decided to make my bride’s maids something. I ended up making my purse for my wedding out of gemstones and wire crocheted along with all my bridesmaid’s jewelry and purses. From there I had such a fantastic response from people I knew I ended up making jewelry for them as well.

I then started taking lessons from a store in town who hosted many artists to teach. Gretchen at Piece of Mind Jewelry taught me about stones and shared with me her vendors. It was just over a year later that I was in San Francisco Fashion Week and being asked to have my items at the Peoples Choice Awards.

Crystal
When we moved to Colorado I took a break again from the jewelry because I enjoyed knitting more. With my son I was very nervous about the stones around him and I was so busy I pretty much got burned out for some time.
Gold Swarovski

Now that R is older and our house is getting in order (it flooded right after we moved in so it was a disaster for over a year it seems) I can work on the beads and not worry about him tasting them. My studio is back up and I feel creative once again. I am still working on a limited schedule so I am working on more of the “art” pieces like I did for your mom, but I feel Etsy is the best place to post those. I can post what I have and the entire shopping cart is taken care of. My concentration is my photography, and I do have prints there as well. They are numbered metallic art pieces. I have printed them out myself for my own house. But I have those available as well. I just love I can put the random selection I have on the site then organize by category. I think Etsy is the best thing since chocolate truffles.

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When I first met you (more than 2 years ago), you were just beginning to knit. Now you are designing wonderful patterns. You have just released your first pattern Waiting for Snow. Was that a fun pattern to design? Will you be designing more in the future? Can you tell us anything about design plans that you have in the works?

Yes I had been knitting for six months when I met you. Funny thing is even then I was already starting to design my own patterns for myself. I guess once a designer always a designer. I plan to design more in the future, but as you know I have an insane backlog of projects in the works. Right now I am working on a cowl pattern I am pretty excited about. Hopefully that will be a free pattern up on Ravelry soon.

Waiting for Snow was a blast to design. I mean I got to play with merino silk, work with my close friend and try my hand at lace for the first time.

Heather

On to my favorite part, your photography. You are by far, one of the best portrait photographers I have seen. When did you decide to start to take your photography seriously? Tell us about the different groups you shoot (children, weddings, art, etc).

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You are too kind my friend. I started taking the photography seriously in the summer of 2007. I had always been into photography before but never had an SLR and it was that summer that I took a class with a friend and really realized that this was what I needed to do. My favorite group to shoot is young children. They are fun and spontaneous and it is more fun than anything for me. To capture the look a parent knows so well before they grow up is a joy. For me my son will always be my little R and now as he gets bigger the only thing I have left are those pictures. I want to give that to others.

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I also love the concerts though and those can’t be underestimated. Music is a large part of our lives and well trying to capture the feeling of the event is just a natural extension for me.

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You are the type of person that simply wakes up one day, with no fear, and decides to “do” or “become” something. Tell me when you knew that you wanted to become a photographer, and what really motivated you to make that happen.

I took a picture of R at an aquarium during our trip back to California. It was then that I knew I could make some fantastic lifestyle pictures for others to hold their memories. In fact, during my class I took a picture of your boy Jacob eating a cookie and the teacher said my use of light and depth of field was amazing for someone who just leaned how to use an SLR camera a few weeks earlier. Back then I was still using my friend’s camera and lenses in fact.

You clearly have an eye for the artistic, and a motivation to create. Are there any new endeavors in your future?

I have decided to start designing jewelry again, but on a limited basis. After a couple of years off I feel refreshed again and love some of my new designs popping out of my head. I also have the Flexible Jewelry for Stix Markers © that I have been designing since starting knitting about 3 years ago. I may even crochet another purse someday.

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Thank you for sitting down and talking with us, and for holding this wonderful blog giveaway!

Thank you for having me, and good luck to all of your readers!

I ALMOST forgot! Be sure to check out stacy’s etsy site and portfolio…also she is a blogger here (although we need to bug her to blog more!!!)

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