We’re right around the corner from October so I thought I would offer up a little inspiration to get us all in the mood!
How to do more with what you have. One thing I love about being a jewelry designer is that if I create something I’m not head-over-heels in love with, I can melt it down and start again. Unfortunately not everything in life can be melted down and re-shaped. We can’t all be Marge Simpson with her Chanel suit. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, let me explain. Out of the hundreds of episodes that aired of The Simpsons, the only one that has stuck in my head since I was a little girl is when Marge finds a Chanel suit for dirt cheap in a thrift store. Even at such a young age, I was able to fully grasp that this was a once-in-a-lifetime fashion moment. She then repurposes the suit to fit her daily wardrobe needs, at one point even turning it into a ball gown. So while you can’t turn last year’s wedges into this year’s flatforms, there are some things you can do!
Simplify – So often times we find ourselves thinking we need more. More stuff, more money, more, more, more! Have you ever found yourself thinking, “If only I had more… I would have the options I need.”? Pretty much everything we need can be found right in front of us. The trouble is we already have too much stuff that it keeps us from seeing what we’re really looking for. So the next time you think you need to go out and buy something, try getting rid of some stuff instead. Even if it means putting it into storage for a while.
Stop Dwelling – The easiest way to make yourself unhappy is to dwell on something that bugs you. Maybe you regret the color of your sofa or the apartment you just moved into or the hair cut you just got that looked amazing on that famous actress but looks more like something out of The Rocky Horror Picture Show on you. Dwelling on it and wishing you hadn’t gotten bangs won’t make your hair grow any faster. It will only make you unhappy. Instead try getting creative and accept the challenge with grace and gratitude. Paint your living room walls to contrast against your crazy colored sofa and embrace the bold. Acknowledge that no apartment is going to be your idea of perfect but no matter the difficulty, you should still go about making it your home. And as for your hair, bobby pins and hair spray can do wonders!
Now while these first two things have to deal more with stuff and money, my last bit of advice has to do with you!
Recognize Your Skills – I’d like you to make two columns. In the first column I’d like you to list all your professional skills. This may be typing at 70 wpm, speaking a foreign language or the fact that you hit your sales goals every month. List as many things that you can think of. Now in the second column, make a list of your hobbies, interests and things that you love to do. Maybe you have a creative hobby like painting or wood-working? List them all and when you’re finished, I want you to see where these two columns can be combined. For instance, if you’re good at sales and love to paint, why not try selling your artwork? This doesn’t have to be your new full time job, but if you’re looking for a new job maybe it could be. A new opportunity could come to light that you never realized before, or if you did think about it, you worried that it wouldn’t work. So many people fear the risk of investing in themselves but it comes from my experience that this is the least riskiest of all investments and the one that can pay off the most.
So to recap about how to do more with what you have, simplify and embrace what you already have. Learn to be grateful and work with what you have already. Second, realize that things can be repurposed and fixed. Often times with things you already have in your home. No one wants to hear you walking around whining about what you want changed, so you might as well just get your butt up and change it! Lastly, remember that you are full of more knowledge and skills then you might give yourself credit for. Sometimes it might mean facing a few fears to get to what we want but knowing in the end it will be worth it!
Goal setting is something that is very important to me. It’s something I do on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis. On a daily basis, my goals look more like a to-do list but if you think about it, a to-do list is really just a set of small goals! I recently finished reading Habit Stacking by S.J. Scott. One of the things I learned from reading this book was how important it is to set small do-able goals because small goals are BIG motivators. It feels really good to accomplish goals even the small ones. Often times these small and easy to accomplish goals can lead to achieving bigger goals that on their own may have seemed unreachable.
Another thing I learned from Habit Stacking, is to create goals that you either do or don’t do. What I mean by that is don’t create goals with grey areas. A very common new year resolution is to lose weight but this is a goal with a HUGE grey area. If your goal is to lose 15 pounds there’s 14.99 pounds of grey area. If you only end up losing 10 pounds, you lose focus on the amazing fact that you lost 10 pounds and instead focus on the fact that you didn’t lose 15 pounds and therefore didn’t achieve your goal. Do you see what I’m getting at? So in 2017, let’s make it a point to focus on the positive by not creating goals that make us feel gloom. For example if you say, “I want to lose xx number of pounds in 2017,” let’s change that to, “I want to join a hiking club,” or “I’ll make it a priority to walk the dog every evening.” This creates smaller goals that over the course of a year can lead to a much larger goal.
My own goals for 2017
Share with me! What are your own goals for 2017? Do you like the idea of setting smaller goals to achieve larger ones?
I loved this short documentary, Crafted, as a handmade artist I found this film to be so inspiring! I think one the most important aspects of the documentary is how it gives a glimpse behind the scence from the studio of the artists. It focuses on the time it takes to make something handmade. I think this is something that can get lost in our world of drive-thrus and one-stop-shops where everything is ready in minutes. When we shop handmade, we can’t have everything right away. There’s a slow-down that leads to an appreciation, knowing that the items were specially made just for us. “…I care about these [handmade] things and I treasure those things and I make sure that those things are cared for. And I think that’s why people have become more and more interested in the identity of the things they own.” – Luke Snyder + David Van Wyk
Bloodroot Blades is a two man team, Luke Snyder and David Van Wyk. They handcraft knives often using found items or a customer’s personal item. Customers can wait up to 18 months for a blade. “I think the thing that makes our process really interesting to many people is that it’s so personal.” “I’ve realized that outside of people, the things that I care about in my life were made by hand.” -Luke Snyder + David Van Wyk
Cortney and Nick of Bar Tartine cook their way through the handmade world using old and new techniques. In the documentary we see Cortney and Nick cooking items like feta cheese where the aging process can take months and some things even taking years. “When we make things by hand we can’t have it right away.” – Cortney Burns Cortney and Nick go on to say that while they could make more money working for larger restaurants, it’s not about the money, it’s about the process. “I think that there’s a larger appreciation for things that made by hand.” – Cortney Burns
Yuji Nagatani is the last handmade artist we meet. Nagatani crafts special Japanese pottery called Iga-Yaki, using the same antique kiln since he started. All of the pottery produced from his shop are handmade and hand painted. Even during tough times, Nagatani stuck through by getting back to basics and focusing on what mattered. “…it felt like what I was doing had meaning.” -Yuji Nagatani
What Nagatani said really resonated with me. As a handmade artist, I find being a jeweler the most rewarding job. It’s hard not to be proud when you can turn a small piece of metal into a pendant or a ring. There’s a lot of love that goes into the pieces that I make and I’m sure other handmade artists find this to be true. When I send out a piece of jewelry, I sent out a piece of me with it. I hope that my customers enjoy knowing the jewelry they receive is handmade with love!