Let me tell you about the Tangleweeds back story

Good morning and happy Monday! It’s almost fall, right?! I’m feeling myself gravitating towards sweaters and boots, and looking forward to the colors changing in the trees. . . even if we probably do have a lot more summery weather ahead of us in the SF bay area.

IMG_1957.jpg

With the changing of the seasons, I find myself thinking a lot about how things evolve - both practical and literal (like cleaning out my closets) and more metaphoric (like sweeping old and not-useful thought patterns out of my head.) From this thinking springs my thoughts about Tangleweeds and the direction I'm headed with my creative work..

When I started Tangleweeds ten years ago, I knew I wanted Tangleweeds to be my art - not just jewelry, but my way of communicating with people my way of seeing the world. I've always had a strong knowing that everything in this life is connected - both in ways we can see and understand and ways that are unknown and mysterious to us. When I dreamt up the name Tangleweeds it was as an embodiment of this idea - of the interconnectedness of all things. That's the more ephemeral part of the story behind Tangleweeds. 

Here's where it all relates (or connects) back to jewelry: The art of jewelry is as much about the connections you make between elements, be they metal, stone, ceramic, plastic, or any other material, as it is about the amazing design you dream up in your head. Because without the proper connections in jewelry your design is just going to fall apart. 

And without connections in life to people, animals, things, and places that we love life kind of doesn't feel right, or falls apart, if I'm to use the same language I just used to describe the art of making jewelry. Another way of putting it: life is an art-form just like making jewelry is an art-form. 

As I move forward with Tangleweeds this year and in the years to come I know that I want to explore this idea/metaphor/truth both in my current art (jewelry making) but also through my communication with you and others via my newsletter, social media, this blog, and in person at events. I also hope to explore other creative mediums. . . of which I’m not going to define in a concrete way. I’m interested in exploring new methods and developing new skills with jewelry making, but I am also interested in diving deeper into other creative interests as well. Because it's all connected, and one creative medium helps fuel the creativity that drives another form of expression. Additionally, I'm also taking a honest look at my business and really considering all the ways I can move towards a more green and sustainable business. (I almost wrote about this today - the siren call I'm currently hearing - that our planet desperately needs our love and what part I can play in all of it. I'll definitely explore these thoughts in future blog posts.) 

I hope some of  what I wrote about here resonated with you this Monday morning. And if you'd like to read a bit more about my Tangleweeds backstory, this archived newsletter is a great read about how I try to find the beauty in the everyday

Being Real

I’ve sort of accepted over the years that blogging super regularly is just not something I am naturally inclined towards making time for. And nowadays with all of the different social media platforms and an email newsletter to create and a podcast in the works I find that sometimes whole months slip by without a blog post being created. 

BumblebeeEarWorn3.jpg

And that’s okay. I know that. But sometimes I think my body doesn’t know that. Or some part of my subconscious mind. Because I still feel guilt about not generating posts more often. 

I know we all deal with this sort of thing. Guilt around not meeting our own expectations. One thing that I told myself I would do this year was “let go of guilt.” This thought didn’t come after some long mediation session or from years of therapy, it just came from a very true part of myself that KNEW I needed to stop guilting myself over anything and everything. Trust you me, I can find a way to feel like something is my fault, or like I didn’t try hard enough quite easily. 

Why am I sharing all of this with you? Well, in the interest of transparency and where I’m hoping to be headed with Tangleweeds I want to be more honest about what it’s really like doing what I’m doing. Being a jewelry artist. Running my small handmade business. All of the behind the scenes stuff. I’m still, in many ways, fumbling my way through figuring out my goals for the next few years. I wrote about it in a post earlier this year, that after my back injury near the end of last year I knew I couldn’t keep working the way I’ve been working. I need more softness. I need more flexibility. I need more connection to my creativity and my art. I especially need more room to explore new ideas - like in-real-life workshops, online courses, and that podcast I mentioned. 

If you follow me on Instagram I’m sure you’ve noticed the shift. I’m jumping on to stories more often and sharing my true thoughts about my work/day/efforts. My most recent IGTV episode I really laid out how I’m feeling about the whole idea of a “brand” and how I intend to pivot with that in the weeks and months to come. (In short: more of me as the jewelry artist, and less of Tangleweeds as yet another flawless brand constantly selling to all of you.) 

In short, I hope this new direction speaks to you. Also, this is where YOU come in. What would YOU like to see more of from Tangleweeds? A certain sort of jewelry design? A certain type of stone? But more than just jewelry, would you like more behind-the-scenes posts? Or maybe you would love to see more easy jewelry tutorials on my IGTV? I’m interested in ANYTHING you may be thinking of, because as I move forward I’ll be looking towards not just the jewelry I am inspired to make but ALSO the content I’m inspired to create. 

I thank each and every one of you for following along on my Tangleweeds journey!

Looking Back Looking Forward

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post. Before starting this post, I felt compelled to look over my posts form 2018. And one thing I noticed was last year found me struggling with finding better ways to work and better ways to balance life and work. I wrote about taking a 10-day staycation and explored my thoughts about the need for social media as a small business. Which naturally led to taking a social media fast for one month. I also shared with you my conflicted thoughts about where I live and my desire to settle somewhere else in the near future. It was a year full of challenges and growth - growth that could only come out of struggle. When I look back over these posts I know one thing that many of you don’t: most of last year I was working harder than I ever have and dancing with burnout in the process.

IMG_4032.jpg

Last year could have only led me to where I am now. All of our choices are always taking us one step at a time to the next place we need to be. And last year was bound to throw something at me to slow me down:

Welcome in back problems like I’ve never had - sciatica pain, a herniated disc, tingling, numbness, pain so bad it takes an elephant’s worth of will power just to get out of bed in the morning.

I think one of the only reasons I can write about this in any way where I’m even remotely grateful for what I’m dealing with is because a few days ago it seems like I may have passed the worst of the pain. As I begin physical therapy I’m trying to reconfigure my life around a slower pace. Around a TRUE acceptance in my head that to be less busy is OKAY, that relaxation does not equal being lazy.

I always like to take some time at the beginning of a new year to write about what I hope to realize and bring into being in the new year AND what I would like to let go of. The things I wrote about this year are less things and more ways of thinking:

  1. To be more accepting of what I am capable of doing in a given span of time (be that an hour, a day, a month, a year, heck, even a lifetime.)

  2. To let go of guilt. Whether that’s guilt for taking time off or guilt because I actually do love my work and sometimes, when it feels right, I WANT to work all day (now, the caveat is, so long as I’m not overworking my body.) To realize that all of the pieces and parts are necessary and not anything to feel guilty about.

  3. To run with the things that spark my excitement and imagination and let go of many of the things that drag me down.

  4. To better embrace the “middle” and transitional times in life. Whether that’s when I’m in the middle of a work-related goal and don’t know when the dream will be realized, or just in the middle of a big closet clean out. I tend to be bad with “middle” energy. I’m all excited when I’m getting a project started and feel very proud once I’ve realized the goal/dream/clean closet, but overall I just end up trying to rush through the middle. The middle is where a lot of the good stuff is, and I know that when I’m rushing through it I’m missing a lot of life.

And so, I move forward, one foot in front of the other, seeing quite clearly that slowing down is the only REAL way to enact REAL change in my life.

This year is off to a bit of a muddled start. I had a tradeshow very early in the month, that I had to be prepared for. And so I put on my big girl pants and I got it done, even while dealing with an immense amount of pain. I will report: the show went well. And I can happily say there are some new stores that will be receiving Tangleweeds goods for their shop in the weeks to come. But as soon as that show was over I slowed the train down. I’ve mostly taken the last week off and it’s felt great. I even took some time to really clean up my workshop and it now feels like a space I am excited to (carefully) get back to work in. Maybe I’ll even offer up some more mini-tutorials on Instagram like I did last year.

Overall though, Tangleweeds isn’t going anywhere. There are some significant changes ahead, but given that I’m not quite sure how quickly things will happen around here for now, I’m not going to offer up any timelines.

What you can expect to see from Tangleweeds this year:

  1. A remodel and pairing down of the online shop. Many designs will be discontinued and overall the shop will have a new, more shopper friendly look. (I will of course announce the re-model and design discontinuation with plenty of notice in case there’s something you’d like to get while you still can.)

  2. A new series of limited edition pieces. These will be released on Instagram on a schedule that I have yet to set. I will announce all of this on IG as I refine this way of releasing designs.

  3. A PODCAST!!!! I’m beyond excited about this idea. It’s my way of continuing to further the building of the handmade/maker/artisan community, especially as I consider moving out of the bay area this year.

  4. More workshops. Definitely my Metalwork Made Easy class, along with some other ideas in the works.

  5. A more paired down craft fair schedule. I most likely won’t do any events at all until April or May of this year. This is both to give my back time to heal and to focus on other areas of Tangleweeds.

  6. A different focus on my newsletter - I want to grow the arm of Tangleweeds that is about finding the beauty in the everyday. And I want to share it with all of you!

That about wraps up my thoughts for 2019. I could write an equally long post reflecting on 2018, but I’ll just leave it at this: I realized a lot of my goals. Now the challenge: continuing that journey towards new goals while incorporating more mindfulness, more self-care, and heaps more “living in the moment” types of energy!!!

Tell me about your new year goals. Or conversely, how do you feel about the way 2018 went? I love the practice of looking back/looking forward.

A Social Media "Fast" + Lots of Insights ensue. . .

I’ve been on a self-imposed social media break since July 21st. For me that means I’m not engaging with or using Instagram or Facebook except when absolutely necessary. Trust me, in today’s day and age there are times when I HAVE to use social media - especially since I’m running a small business that at least partially relies on some social media use. Any other social media that I use is either so minimal it’s not a factor, or is simply me pushing content over from IG or FB. 

   at the Alameda Point Antiques fair earlier this year

   at the Alameda Point Antiques fair earlier this year

So. I just checked the calendar and I see that it’s been a two week break so far. And all I can think is “It hasn’t been long enough.” My intention when I started this break was to go for a month. At this point, I don’t think a month long break will be a problem. I’m also not being strident or absolute about it. I plan to pop into both IG and FB tomorrow or Monday to post about this blogpost. I want you all to know what’s going on with me. I want to share my thoughts on this social media break as I’ve seen other folks do because I think that the insights I’ve gleaned are important.

It’s been, and this is without hyperbole or exaggeration, quite startling to see how much stepping away from social media engagement is changing things for me. (And two weeks in, all I can think is, “this is just the tip of the iceberg.”) My time feels more expansive. I am accomplishing what I want to in the course of a day more easily. I’m feeling more focused. I pick up books to read more often. I’m finding it easier to read a whole email from start to finish without going into “oh I’ll just skim it” mode. I am less distracted. 

Although I should probably stop right there. For while I am less distracted, this little experiment has shone a very bright light on one little yet big distraction: my phone. It beckons to me when it need not. I can be in the middle of a very good lunch, reading a very good book and I will need to “check my phone.” In the middle of conversations I have the urge. I will be at my workbench, in the middle of drilling holes in several handmade components and I’ll think “just need to check my email.” Do I need to check anything in these moments? Probably not. Almost certainly not. I’m starting to think that in many ways our phones are the newest addictive substance we’re consuming on a daily basis as a culture.

That is to say over the last two weeks, one things has become abundantly apparent: I want more of this using my phone less. I have no desire to go back to how I was doing things. I want to watch one of my favorite shows on Hulu or Netflix and not “distract” myself by checking IG every 5 minutes or so. I want to see and feel and hear and taste the details in my life again in a way I have stopped doing. I plan on taking my email app off of my phone. I don’t want to be able to check email unless I am at work or at home sitting in front of my laptop and intentionally sitting down to work. I will definitely return to social media engagement once my month-long break is over, but I plan to set guidelines for myself. I want to make it work for me. And I think, the minute it starts to feel like an addictive substance that I can’t live without, well, I think that will usher in another social media break. 

I know I just wrote about some unintentional social media breaks that I took earlier this summer in my last blog post. I’m almost certain that those small breaks helped fuel my desire for a longer break. Also a break that is taken while living my regular ‘ol day-to-day life. The other, smaller breaks, were both taken while I was on trips. (One work related and one mostly for fun.) I wanted to see what it would feel like to live my life, my as I already stated “regular ‘ol life”, that can sometimes get boring and sometimes feel like drudgery (honesty here). There’s so much to say here, it almost makes me cry with the profundity of it all. I need the boredom. I need the drudgery. It fuels my creativity. It fuels my drive. It gives me beautiful little moments where I’m able to slow down. 

Does anyone else ever feel really strange and sort of “buzzy” after a few too many minutes spent scrolling through IG? I’ve always felt like that afterwards. Spending time on social, unless I handle that time with great care and purposeful intention, always leaves me feeling drained. Disconnected. Spacey. What it hasn’t been is a moment to slow down. Usually, after “falling down the IG hole” I am appalled by how much time has gone by. My phone feels truly capable of stealing my time away. . . if I give it the power to. It’s like a cryptic, modern day fairytale. 

I think maybe the most sobering part of all of this is that we all know that we need these things: that we need boredom in our lives. That if we really want to be connected in conversation with someone we can’t “just check in” with our email during conversational lags. That if I actually want to enjoy my favorite show on Netflix I can’t interrupt the viewing every 5 to 10 minutes with a quick IG scroll. That if I want the colors in the sky to truly thrill me, the smell of the fresh baked pizza to actually intoxicate me, if I wan to sincerely lose myself in moments - in moments that add up to my life - to a lifetime, I have to be engaged most of the time. 

And I haven’t been. 

Now, this isn’t meant to put all of the blame on my social media use. I am human and therefore I am innately an expert at distracting myself from what is directly in front of me. But I want to change that. In that desire I believe lies the real root of my decision to take this social media break. I want to examine all of the ways I am taking myself out of the present moment, and I’d like to work towards putting myself back there. 

I used to think that the documenting of my life was adding to it. That it was putting more color and flavor into my day. When I think about the roots of it all (um, hello, My Space?) I do think that initially it did all ADD to my life. But the newness and the notoriety of it all has worn off. I’m seeking a more intentional and useful way of using social media; not one that has me falling too easily into comparison traps. And I’m seeking a more minimal and pared down way of using my phone.

Regarding some practical matters: to keep all of my Tangleweeds collectors, fans, friends and family up-to-date I’m going to make an effort to keep this website much more up-to-date. I know this year I have not always posted about my events on my Events page, and I certainly haven’t blogged much. But given that I haven’t decided to go 100% off the technological grid, I do want to make an effort to keep the folks who care about Tangleweeds informed. I suggest bookmarking my website as a way of staying up-to-date with my goings-ons (both professional and otherwise) if you like. I will also continue to send out at least monthly newsletters. If you prefer staying up-to-date that way you can sign up for my newsletter here.

A year ago I couldn’t have imagined doing this, but now that I am I’m so grateful I took the leap and made the decision to take a break from social media. It’s shinning a light on my life in ways I could have never anticipated. 

Lastly, I’m incredibly curious: what have been your experiences with social media use? The good the bad and the in-between. Have you ever taken a self-imposed break? If so, what did you get out of it? If you haven’t taken one, are you considering it? Leave a comment below if you like. 

Life’s a crazy journey and really just one big experiment if we all let it be that.

Thoughts on Social Media and Running a Business

I’m back! And only one month since my last post on this blog. Feels not-too-shabby ;-). How has everyone been?!

Social media and social media tools are such funny things. I’ve been thinking a lot about how I use these tools in my business and the rest of my life a lot lately. Honestly, it can be difficult balancing it and not getting sucked into 101 different social media channels. And then, those channels come up with ingenious new ways to hook you! (I’m looking at you right now, Instagram.)

this is what my home life looks like most days when I sit down to write 

this is what my home life looks like most days when I sit down to write 

I’m going to stop for a moment, before this starts to sound like a totally anti-social media blog post, which it’s not. I’m grateful to social media and the many doors it’s opened for me: from meeting fellow creatives, to gaining new wholesale accounts, to finding out about new and exciting arts and crafts festivals to sell at. It’s a fantastic resource, one that I want in my life.

Here comes the BUT. But, after I took two unintentional breaks from social media this year (for four days while I went to the Women’s Herbal Symposium and for 6 whole days while I was vending at the Kate Wolf Music Festival), I could clearly see how the less I engage with social media the less anxious I feel and the less I find myself falling into the sticky and icky comparison trap game. 

a nearly full moon at the Women's Herbal Symposium

a nearly full moon at the Women's Herbal Symposium

Sometimes it can feel to me like there’s no middle ground with social media. Like it’s either abandon ship and go back to snail mail (j/k) or I’m all in, losing vast swaths of time everyday to mindlessly perusing beautiful IG feeds and the like. In light of my two “digital detoxes” and the light it shed on my social media use, I had to get really honest with myself about how I use it and how I want to use it. . . 

For now that’s going to look like this: Getting back to blogging, but mostly in this very organic, very journal-y type way, and continuing to share my day in pictures and stories on Instagram. I want to be intentional with my FB engagement, but for now I don’t think I’ll be producing any original content for that platform. And regarding my ideas about starting a You-Tube channel, as I had announced via IG stories a while back, I’m putting that on hold for now while I consider what that would look like and how I would fold that into my life in a way that feels good to me. In the meantime I’ll continue to post the occasional tutorial or “how-to” mini-segment in my IG stories. . . and maybe give IGTV a try. . . 

Well! I honestly didn’t realize I could write that much about my social media use. I think it’s tricky for all of us, even those of us who don’t need to engage with it for work and can more or less choose to simply set all social media use aside without any work-related anxieties. ’Tis the times we’re living in. If any of you feel called to leave your own thoughts/comments about your social media use and how you manage it all I’d love to hear them. Leave them in the comments below =). 

some OOAk River Rock earrings I made for the Kate Wolf Music Festival - these sold at the event, but I plan to make some more similar ones in the future

some OOAk River Rock earrings I made for the Kate Wolf Music Festival - these sold at the event, but I plan to make some more similar ones in the future

In the meantime I’ve got a mostly no-work weekend coming up! Woo-hoo. I’ll be headed to the San Mateo Gem Show to buy stones (yes, work related, but I LOVE it so much I can’t even call it work, or maybe I’m just that lucky to call it work?!). I’ll be headed over to the 40th street block party in Oakland after that. And then, who knows? Maybe I’ll check Renegade out on Sunday, maybe I’ll just have a lazy day at home with the cats on Sunday. What are your weekend plans?

Let's Wabi-Sabi this thing called life

And just like that, my blog got reeeaaaallly quiet this year. 

It’s all the usual reasons, life gets busy and things get prioritized and re-prioritized. I know you all know how it goes. But even when things are busy, my blog is always there in the back of my mind, reminding me that I REALLY like writing over here and that as soon as I can make the time to dive back in, well, I’m diving! So, I’m back =). But not with an exact purpose. Mostly to catch all of you up on the goings-ons with me and Tangleweeds. 

me vending at the annual Whole Earth Festival in Davis (this year)

me vending at the annual Whole Earth Festival in Davis (this year)

The month of May marked two years of living in Vallejo. Those of you who follow along with my blog, may remember this post, Moving Hiatus, when I first announced that I would be moving to Vallejo. Since then, I’ve moved my studio space twice, ultimately settling in with a workshop at home in my garage. I’ve pondered where I see myself settling more permanently in the years to come and have definitely decided that I won’t be staying in Vallejo too much longer. Where exactly I’m headed next will depend on many things, but I’m hoping to find a way to move back to Oakland. 

Downtown Oakland

Downtown Oakland

With the current prices of housing that is a TALL order though, and may or may not work out the way I hope it will. This year I’ve put a lot of energy into really cleaning up my finances and taking a long hard look at how I spend my money. I’m hoping to combine this energy with the momentum I’ve gained with Tangleweeds over the last two years towards a healthier financial life for myself. (If you haven’t picked it up I highly recommend the book Worth It by Amanda Steinberg.)

I’m also open to the possibility of moving away from the bay area too though, and in this way I am simply trying to keep myself open to possibilities that I may not have considered. 

Dolly exploring her newest toy. I adopted this affectionate and loving gal at the very beginning of 2018. 

Dolly exploring her newest toy. I adopted this affectionate and loving gal at the very beginning of 2018. 

This is all to say, that while living in Vallejo has really given me many things I need: a home of my own, a secure place to park my craft fair-loaded car overnight, a workspace at home, a yard and outdoor space for my cats to roam around in (and all of this at a price I can afford) it hasn’t really proven to be the community that I need at this time in my life. I know that many people are very protective of Vallejo, and may object to the way I perceive it. And I can relate. I feel VERY protective of Oakland at times, what with the way the city is portrayed on the news. But what I know matters to me is the simple fact that Vallejo does not feel like the place I’m meant to call home for much longer. 

My workbench in my home studio

My workbench in my home studio

By this time next year I hope to be taking the steps towards moving somewhere that speaks to my heart. 

Sometimes, as I’m working towards making big changes in my life, I’ll consider what a younger me might think of the decisions I’m currently making. And I think a younger me would find a way to move MUCH sooner. Three months of living in a city that doesn’t feel like home would feel like an eternity to a younger me, let alone a year! But a younger me was also much more stubborn and much less willing to see the good that came out of frustrating circumstances. That is all to say, that there is much good that has come out of my time in Vallejo, and there is more good stuff to relish in the year to come. 

One of the HUGE benefits of moving my workspace home has been the fact that this guy wanders in and out of my garage studio pretty much all day long =)

One of the HUGE benefits of moving my workspace home has been the fact that this guy wanders in and out of my garage studio pretty much all day long =)

And in the meantime I intend to start dropping in here more often. I don’t have much of an agenda right now. I’ve written many series for this bog, from my Creative Tenacity posts for fellow creatives to my Listening-Wearing-Making posts to my Handmade Love series where I featured fellow creatives’ work. While all of those series are fun for me to write and were created for one simple reason: these were the things on my mind that I wanted to share with all of you, currently I’m in a more reflective and organic place. Which means, at least for the time being, expect more “wabi-sabi” like posts. A Tangleweeds journal in the truest sense of the word.

Thanks for reading and I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

warmly,
Jeannine

Changes Ahead in 2018

Oh, the new year! For me it’s always a similar feeling: I’m jazzed up about the momentum I feel to make new changes happen, but I’m also intimidated and daunted, afraid that I’m going to let myself down. I usually have to temper that second part or I’ll stress myself out so much I manage to make nothing new happen.

Can you relate?

Wearing some of my favorite Tangleweeds pieces. 

Wearing some of my favorite Tangleweeds pieces. 

I’ve realized over the years that part of making the new happen means letting go of the old. This isn’t always easy - many times the old masquerades as SUPER important. Mainly because it’s what I know and am familiar with. Oftentimes, sorting out the old that I want to hang on to and the old I want to release involves list making. Almost every time, when I make the first list, there is literally nothing I can see as non-essential, or ready to be released. It usually takes coming back to that list a few times over a few days or even weeks for me to finally begin to see the openings - the old things that can be let go of to create openings for the new. 

All of that is my way of saying, this year I’ll be discontinuing quite a few of my designs. I’m still culling that list, sorting through what I think I need to hang on to and what I really want to hang on to. 

Stepping into the new year in my brand new boots.

Stepping into the new year in my brand new boots.

You guys, my valued Tangleweeds collectors, mean a lot to me and through all of this I’ve had you guys on my mind. With that said, I plan to offer a sale along with an announcement in the coming weeks with the specific date at which you will no longer be able to buy these designs. 

I’m also offering the sale because come February, I will be raising my prices across the board. It won’t be a dramatic price increase, but it will be noticeable. I strive to and make it a top priority to keep my prices as low as possible. I haven’t raised my prices in a while, so the time has come to adjust them to better reflect the current costs of running Tangleweeds. 

A Tangleweeds classic - the By Chance necklace

A Tangleweeds classic - the By Chance necklace

I am extremely excited by what this next year holds for me and Tangleweeds. I feel like some things are becoming more defined in my mind, that my vision for what I want Tangleweeds to look like and feel like has never been more clear to me. That also means that as I usher out some of the old, there will be much new to welcome into those openings. These new things will include offering creative classes, a recycled sterling silver collection, lots of great newsletters and blog posts full of stuff that, I hope, will help you all find the beauty in the everyday a little bit more easily. I also hope to explore my jewelry design process some more and am excited to see that comes out of this endeavor. We’ll see where this all takes me and I hope you’ll share the journey with me!

At the annual retreat for the Creative Pursuit Collective - a small women's creative business incubator that I helped found almost three years ago. 

At the annual retreat for the Creative Pursuit Collective - a small women's creative business incubator that I helped found almost three years ago. 

For now there are no specific dates. I will announce all of the specifics via my newsletter first, so if you haven’t signed up, now is a great time to do just that (click here to be directed to sign up for my newsletter)! Roughly though, any designs being discontinued will be pulled from both web-stores (Etsy and my shop) by the end of February. 

In the meantime, I’m going to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Trying to build on what’s already there to realize the dreams I have. That’s all any of us can do, right? It makes me think of the motivational quote that goes through my head often, when I’m feeling over-whelmed: “Starts where you are.” I love the simplicity of the statement, but also the raw verve it suggests. It challenges you to simply start, to acknowledge that nothing ever happens without first starting something. Coupled with the “where you are” comes the acceptance that we all have restrictors on our time and energy, and that to set our own pace and carve our own path at our own rates is what will give us the deepest satisfaction in life.

Thanks for joining me in this path so far! Here’s to a wonderful 2018!

warmly,
Jeannine

Everything is Connected

Good morning! I'm excited today to announce the publication of an article I wrote about my creative journey and the creation of Tangleweeds. It's called Everything is Connected and you can find it in the spring issue of Jewelry Affaire magazine, available on newsstands tomorrow (April 1st)! You can find Jewelry Affaire at most major book retailers. Read on for how I'd like to celebrate this moment with all of you.

April is full of so many celebratory things in my life - the first day of spring, my birthday on the 11th, and now this article being published. I want to share all of this great energy with you guys by offering 25% off all web orders through April 15th*. Simply use the coupon code connected and you'll receive your savings. This is a great chance to snag one of the newest designs at great prices! I'll also be offering a celebratory giveaway. . . 

(*all web orders placed March 31st through April 9th will ship the week of April 10th. I am out of town on a short trip with my family in early April, but still wanted to celebrate this moment with all of you!)

The Giveaway
Along with the Everything is Connected Sale* that I'm offering, I'll also be giving away one free copy of the Jewelry Affaire magazine along with a pair of Swoops earrings (one of the designs featured in the article, and pictured below) to one lucky person. To enter the contest simply leave a comment on this blog post. Say hi, or tell me a story about a time when the dots were connected in your own life. I leave the commenting up to you!

(*all web orders placed March 31st through April 9th will ship the week of April 10th. I am out of town on a short trip with my family in early April, but still wanted to celebrate this moment with all of you!)

Sitting down to write this article for the Jewelry Affaire magazine ended up being quite the gift to myself. So often I find that I don't take the time to slow down and reflect on the progress I've made with Tangleweeds. Writing this article allowed me that space and time. I think it's an article that you will enjoy even if you don't make jewelry yourself!

The winner of this giveaway will be announced April 16th, both here and on my Instagram account. Also, the magazine and earrings will ship by the beginning of May. Good luck!

Full Circe ~ Ready to Dive In

Good morning! And happy new year! (even if it is a couple of weeks late=) I'm freshly back from a trip to Seattle for the Seattle Gift Tradeshow and a two day re-treat with my fellow biz-ladies, the Creative Pursuit Collective. Needless to say, the last half of December and the first half of this month have gone by in a blur! 

I drove up to Seattle with Amy Rose. It was a winding and challenging adventure, what with the huge storms blowing through the west coast during our travels. Not to mention the nervousness ahead of us about how the tradeshow would go. The trip was a good reminder though, that if I can push myself to do things that make me a little nervous and a little uncomfortable, that the rewards will come in dividends for years to come! I'm now feeling a little bit like I could take on the world if (I needed to.)

By Chance necklaces  - a popular hit at the Seattle Tradeshow. 

By Chance necklaces - a popular hit at the Seattle Tradeshow. 

Slightly tacky opulence at  The Unicorn  lounge/bar in Seattle. We didn't have a lot of time for non-work related activity, but we managed to sneak in a bit of downtime! I simply adored this place.

Slightly tacky opulence at The Unicorn lounge/bar in Seattle. We didn't have a lot of time for non-work related activity, but we managed to sneak in a bit of downtime! I simply adored this place.

A couple of days after getting back from Seattle, I was off to a short two day re-treat with the Creative Pursuit Collective, a small handmade business incubator group that I formed with Kyla O'neil of Impressed BY Nature almost two years ago. This was our first re-treat. It was rewarding, challenging, and insightful. We're already planning a mini-one for the middle of the year!

The ladies of the Creative Pursuit Collective (CPC) left to right: Ann Marie, Kyla O-Neil, Laura Bruland Shields, Maggie Hurley, and me! (Not pictured, Creek Lia Van Houten)

The ladies of the Creative Pursuit Collective (CPC) left to right: Ann Marie, Kyla O-Neil, Laura Bruland Shields, Maggie Hurley, and me! (Not pictured, Creek Lia Van Houten)

There's going to be lots of great stuff coming in 2017 for Tangleweeds and I can't wait to share it ALL with you guys. But, first and most relevant given that you're reading my blog right now: I'll be starting a series called Creative Tenacity. It will be a series of monthly or bi-monthly blog posts chock-a-block full of helpful tips and info for anyone hoping to venture into the world of selling their handmade goods. Look for a post with more details about that next week. 

And in the meantime, I hope 2017 is off to an inspiring start for everyone. I know we've all got our challenges and that the road ahead will not always be clear. What I do know is that the more you surround yourself with people who can support you through it all, the little bit easier and more manageable it all becomes. 

On the Importance of Self Care

This past weekend I vended at the Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival (HMB). It was a wonderful event, but even wonderful things can be exhausting! The couple of weeks leading up to it were pretty packed too, with lots of prep for the event itself, but also with just the usual melange of stuff that life throws at us. Several times leading up to HMB I found myself wishing I could take some time off. 

I've worked for myself long enough now to know that when I start wishing for a few days off, it usually means I need to take a few days off. To be clear, every time I fancy a vacation or a couple of slow days I don't automatically schedule in time off from work. Rather, I'm talking about when I find myself coming back over and over again in my head to the simple thought "I need some time off," I know I need to take heed of this. Often, to not listen to these wishes of my mind and body, means getting sick or just getting so run down that the work I do produce is done inefficiently or poorly. 

When I talk about these small breaks with some of my fellow handmade small biz owners, they often look at me incredulously and say something like "I wish I could take days off." I'm here to say "Yes you can!" I know there are probably a thousand and one reasons ringing through your head about why it's just not possible, but I encourage you to find a way to make it possible.

In mulling over the thought threads for this blog post I thought about creating a bullet-point list of things to do to prepare you for a few days off, but then I decided I'd just write about what I do, and how I go about making the days off possible. For each and every person it's going to be different. We all have different personalities and styles along with businesses that require very different levels of involvement and dedication. 

Here's what I do to make time off a reality. . . 
To start, I often don't plan this kind of time off ahead of time, or at least not much. It is usually in response to that internal voice I mentioned above that insists I need some rest. Usually I take at least three days off, but not more than 4 or 5. I want the time off to feel more refreshing than just a weekend, but not so much that I fall too much behind on work. 

I usually set an intention to keep up on one aspect of the business, and usually this is the aspect that causes the most stress if I fall behind on and that's EMAIL. Now, to clarify, this means I am only staying on top of the email coming in to my inbox. I am not generating any new email by reaching out to wholesale customers, applying to new events, or anything that would take my initiative to make happen. I am simply staying on top of what can quickly become an avalanche if not dealt with daily. 

The second thing I do is keep a running list of the things that pop into my head regarding work and my everlong to-do lists, while I'm taking a a few days off. Doing this is my way of mentally setting aside work to make room for the time off. 

Thirdly, I make sure that the days off are not planed when I have a bunch of deadlines on things due. I've accidentally done this in the past and basically ended up having to "cancel vacation" to rush back to my studio on the second day when I realized that three orders had to go out that day. For example, I REALLY wanted to take these days off last week. But I knew if I did that I'd be ill-prepared for HMB. So I promised myself the days off this week, and in that way also rewarded myself for all of the hard work put into HMB.

And, lastly, I don't plan a whole heck of a lot for this time. I might start a new weaving project, or fix something broken at home that's been long neglected, or cook some real meals. I also don't plan many trips. For me I find that the time is most rejuvenating when I'm able to slow down and simply go with the flow for a few days. Sometimes that flow isn't very productive, and sometimes that flow is lots of little projects at home. It's usually a good dose of solitude though, something I often crave when my life gets a little too busy. For me, I flourish in the lack of plans because my life is, for the most part, pretty planned out on the daily in large part to keep Tangleweeds thriving. (You might be the kind of person who wants a lot of plans during a few days off, cause it may keep you from worrying about work.)

I think the last thing I want to say is something I should have led with at the beginning: you NEED to take time off now and then as an entrepreneur. It will never feel like the "right time" and you will always have too much to do for the time allotted. My taking time off does not mean that I completely cleared my schedule and am blissfully without obligations regarding Tangleweeds this week. No, it simply means I prioritized the importance of some time off to rest and recover. . . and to possibly spend the whole day in my PJs =)

Thanks for reading this week! I'll be back next week with my next Tangleweeds Giveaway. . .