Monday, December 27, 2010


This past Christmas, one of my good friends gave me a copper bracelet engraved with a line from Lord of the Rings:

"Renewed shall be blade that was broken..."

Thus has become my motto for 2011. This line is from a poem about Aragorn. To me, it is much more.

Life can break us. And there we wait, pieces of our existence collected on a shrine of regret and indecision. Like Aragorn, we search and fight and bide our time until we can take our rightful place. There is hope. No matter how shattered we become, we can always be reforged. Reborn. It's painful. Much fire and banging but in the end, it is all worth it.

The beauty of it is we don't have to wait. We can do this ourselves. Pick up the pieces and make ourselves anew. And we can do it over and over again.

"All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost,

The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,

A light from the shadow shall spring,
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Snow is Evil

Snow is evil. Let me tell you why.

"But it's so purty!" You say. Yes, it's pretty. But many pretty things can also wreck havoc. Snow is pretty like that hot chick assassin in the movie. She's a looker, but watch out; she'll kick you in the teeth and kill you with her eyelashes, step over your rapidly chilling corpse and keep on truckin'.

Snow is white. In Sheri World; white is the color of death. "White? It's a pure color." You argue. Pure evil. White is not even a color, it's the absence of color. As in all color as been sucked out of it. The "white light" folks see when they die. Yeah. White. Not pink, blue or even chartreuse. It's the color of ash. And just try wearing a pair of white pants and see how long it takes for them to get dirty.

Snow is cold. Again, in Sheri World, Hell is cold. It's miserable. Cold can even burn. Add to this the wet part of snow and you have the double whammy. Cold, wet and absolutely miserable.

Snow covers everything without regard. It coats your car, your house, your dog if left outside, your front walk and your driveway. You must combat this with physical labor. And when you're done, damned if the bitch snow doesn't still fall and an hour later covers everything all over again. Snow doesn't give a rat's testicle about you spending two hours shoveling. It laughs at you. That "whispering of snow falling." No, it's fucking laughing.

Snow transforms normally sane people into absolute lunatics. Think you know how to drive in snow and its partner in crime, ice? You might, but the fifteen people around you who had to get to the store and stock up on provisions can't. Cars skid around, crash into things and other cars. Cars get stuck in intersections. And that whole "must go to the store thing?" That is not usual behavior. Snow induces panic on an Armageddon scale.

Its effect on children is akin to the seventh level of hell. Snow makes children vibrate! They're excited, they want to play in the snow. Please, can we?? So, they get all bundled up, go outside for ten minutes and realize: "Oh.. hey, this crap is COLD!" Um.. we're going back in.

Pile up enough snow and ice on a power line and it snaps. No power, no heat. Cold. Avalanches? Big ass piles of snow waiting for someone to unleash their fury with a loud belch aimed in the wrong direction.

Snow is even bad Feng Shui. All that white everywhere. Talk about jacking up someone's chi. Snow is like a bad rash. It comes, stays, goes away and around about the time you think you can toss the skin cream, it comes back. Sometimes the stuff sticks around like a bad boyfriend. Snow is the stalker of weather.

I will admit, a large part of my attitude is the result of having a job that is made infinitely more difficult by snow and winter weather. Try taking 500 911 calls in an hour about yet another accident on a snow-slicked roadway. And when it snows, I still have to get to work. I don't get the luxury of working from home or telling my boss, "I think I'm not coming in." And I don't care for cold, or wet.

You may not share my opinion and that's all right. I will bemoan the arrival of that chilling harbinger of death, doom and destruction until such time that I can move to a tropical climate.

My luck though, I'll move to Florida and it will start snowing there.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Been a rather busy week at Chez Blume. I managed to work two evening shift-midnight shift doubles in a row. This is getting to work at 4pm in the afternoon then working until 8 am the next day. Twice. My bod revolted. However, I ended up with an extra day off so it was rather worth it.

In the world of "O", things are plugging right along. My Mom is totally on board with the organic-eating-better plan which surprised the heck out of me. Usually she just nods when I decide I want to make a change in my eating habits. I'm happy to say that she has embraced the idea for health reasons. The kids have also taken this idea and run with it. Also a surprise, because I was expecting a fight.

Now the trick is working out when to go shopping for food and where. We have three main stores that specialize in the organic and healthy food. A couple of other stores have sections with organic products that we can go to in a pinch.

Also trying to find recipes for things like cookies and pancakes and such. It's a process, but one that I am enjoying. I've tried stuff that I don't think I would have tried a month ago. And on the upside, I've lost ten pounds so far. My pants are too big now. I will end up needing to shop for clothes at some point. (DARN!) Who doesn't need an excuse to shop?

Speaking of shopping, gotta give a shout-out to local stores. One I can't mention in this post because of Christmas cloak-and-dagger reasons. Suffice to say they were very helpful and friendly and it felt good to support a local business. Location to be divulged post holiday. :0)

The other one is a favorite of mine. I don't get there as often as I'd like, but this trip was worth it. Fountain Bookstore on Cary Street is one of those places that you'd expect in a movie. Script calls for small charming indie bookstore. Oh yeah, this is the place. But it's more than that. Local authors, book signings, and the owner Kelly Justice is bookseller awesomeness. Check it out if you have a need for books. They also do online orders, so you can have the books delivered to your house. You can shop local and never leave your sofa!

Finally getting to the jewelry. November sapped my creative juices with NaNoWrimo and I'm just now getting them back. Stay tuned for new items. Might be too late for Christmas, but hey, folks get money for gifts, ya?

Told ya this post was random. Bunch of different things going on. And the picture, I added just cause I happen to like it.

Here's wishing everyone a Happy-Merry-your-holiday-of-choice-December.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Letting It Go

In a fit of boredom yesterday, I opened my Stories folder on my computer and took a stroll down Amnesia Lane. More specifically, I read over my NaNoWriMo attempt from 2005. Ok, more to the point, attempts three, four and five. Which might be considered totally separate books from the original because the story changed drastically.

Version five, the final incarnation is actually, somewhat, pretty decent. I think. But it only weighs in at 46K words. That's a novella.

I spent a couple of years massaging this book. Massaging, beating it into submission, pistol-whipping it, then banishing it to the dungeon where it has languished in writer purgatory for the last three years.

Five years is a long time. And I am still not entirely satisfied with said book. There are parts that are good. And parts that just plain suck. The ratio of good to suck is about 1 to 10. I don't know that I have it in me to balance that ratio.

So, here is my question: At what point do you let a manuscript or WIP go? When do you cut your losses and admit that you and your book are slow dancing in a burning room (to borrow that line from John Mayer)? You have invested time, blood, sweat and tears to making this thing work, but it still ain't workin'? When do you say good-bye?

Is it possible to come back to something after years (and more years), and projects when you as a writer have changed? Maybe learned a thing or two? Or are there books that just aren't meant to be written?

Being the stubborn biatch that I am, I don't know that I am ready to kick this book to the curb. Or am I just hanging on for sentimental reasons?

Any fellow wordslingers out there experienced this problem? If so, did you exile your book to the Island of Misfit Novels or did you give it one more go?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

How to Do Christmas Without Christmas Doing You?

I have a confession: I am a Scrooge. And a heathen. So it is twenty-some-odd days until Christmas and my Scroogy impulses are starting to rear their heads. Most modern Christmas carols leave me twitching and every Christmas movie ever made with the notable exception of White Christmas (crush on Danny Kaye), makes me want to pull out my spleen with a rusty shrimp fork. If I had to choose between sitting through Christmas movies or Twilight, I think it would be a toss-up. All this Christmas stuff starts around mid-November and by the time the actual day rolls around, I'm pretty darn near Christmased to death.

"But you can't be a Scrooge, you have kids." They peanut gallery likes to chant at me. Yes, I have kids. This is why I am a Scrooge. Christmas has become another monetary obligation. Another chore and duty as a parent. If not for my kids, I wouldn't even bother with the Christmas tree. Not only is it bad Feng Shui, but it's a pain.

Every year, I try to remember the magic of Christmas when I was a kid. The most I can come up with is excitement over the acquisition of a material object. Don't get me wrong, I totally appreciated all the gifts my parents gave me over the years. I also appreciate how hard they had to work for the money for those gifts.

Add to that years of working retail during the holidays and one can easily see why I'd just as soon leave off from this whole Christmas deal.

I realize this whole attitude is largely that: attitude. So, this year, instead of giving in to my Scroogy Heathen ways, I have decided to adopt a more... shall we say, accepting attitude towards Christmas. I would like to create some non-materialistic memories and traditions. I plan to take the kids shopping not for gifts for themselves, but for a charity. We might try making cookies (spelt and agave sweetened cookies in lieu of sugar cookies?hmm). And who knows, I might even dig around online and find some Elizabethan Christmas carols.

Don't expect me to watch the 25 days of Christmas movie marathon on the Family Channel nor sing anything, but maybe I can fake it at least until the Christmas spirit decides to land on me in some form or fashion. Here's hoping it doesn't knock me out.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Jester's Motley: The Solution to Juggling Hats

I am wearing quite a number of hats these days. There are the usual ones; wife, mom. Then the work one, that which pays the bills. And the writer hat which I put on sometimes more than others. And I have recently added the jewelry designer and small business owner hat(s) to the mix. Yikes!

That's a lot of hats. A lot of different things demanding my attention in this world. What would be great is if I could combine them all seamlessly. A jester's motley cap would be ideal.

How does all this work, I wonder? There are only so many hours in the day and sleep and eating should be figured in there somewhere. I feel like I am not doing any of these jobs very well. I generally have this constant feeling of flying by the seat of my motley pants.

This past November I participated in NaNoWriMo but didn't make nearly the 50K by the end of the month. Jewelry making pretty much didn't happen since I was focused on writing. Enter the paying job.

Am I being overambitious wanting to write to one day be published and have a business making jewelry? Should I pick one and leave the other one to the wayside? That doesn't feel exactly right. How can I be just Jewelry Designer or just Writer? Surely I can do both. Or am I just being greedy?

Well, if nothing else, the sight of me in a fool's cap might just make me laugh. That's something.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"A Time to Give Birth, A Time to Die"

I was planning to write about week one of the O movement at Chez Blume, but other events have put that particular post on hold.

Monday, I learned that someone with whom I went to high school died suddenly.

Here's the strange part. I was not particularly close with this person in school. I knew people that he knew. I wasn't a part of his crowd, but our crowds kind of overlapped. I remember him being a nice guy though. I recall he was always smiling, having fun. I reconnected with a lot of high school folks through Facebook, including this person.

His death came as a shock. Not having known him all that well, I've been trying to figure out exactly why it affected me as it has. It is sad, of course, to know someone who has died. And he apparently touched a lot of people in his life. Those who were his close friends are reeling. I realized though that not only am I mourning the death of someone I knew, I am also mourning the death of youth. He was my age. I think this is the first real reminder that our younger days, our care-free high school years are well, and truly over.

But as with anything, life must go on. The same day, a friend from work became a first-time grandmother. Her daughter gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. The symmetry of both events made me pause. One of my favorite verses from the Bible is Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. (despite me being a total heathen).

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven ~
2 A time to give birth, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted.
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to tear down, and a time to build up.
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance.
5 A time to throw stones, and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, and a time to shun embracing.
6 A time to search, and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep, and a time to throw away.
7 A time to tear apart, and a time to sew together; A time to be silent, and a time to speak.
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; A time for war, and a time for peace.

Indeed a time to mourn; for a lost friend, lost years and lost chances. But also a time to dance for a new life coming into this world.

And a time to celebrate both lives that have touched those around them with love.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dahling, You're Looking Spelt Today

but your NaNo project.. not so much.

So it's been three days since the Going O movement in the Blume household. Monday I took a little field trip to Good Foods Grocery and discovered a hidden treasure trove of organic goodies. I did manage to not go crazy. I bought some organic apples which are quite yummy as well as some swiss chard and celery. It is easy to become overwhelmed in a place like that, but the folks who work there are friendly and I had an idea of what I wanted. I also got some organic, free-range eggs. Not sure if this is just a psychological thing, but I think they taste better. They don't seem to be as "stringy" as regular eggs. Also got some raw cashews which is a very different flavor to the roasted ones, but again, they are quite good.

I saw an awful lot of spelt products. Spelt breads, pastas, cookies, etc. I opted for the spelt english muffins and those are rather tasty as well. I was worried they would be more like cardboard. So far so good on the organic thing. Next trip will be for nitrate free bacon and organic meat.

On the writing front, the NaNo book is looking rather sparse. Only a little over 10K words, but I am not all that concerned with the word count. I like the story and am just going to take it as it goes.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Going "O"

Organic! Minds out of the gutter, folks. ;)

Why? Because skinny jeans cease to be skinny in a size 14.

I was nattering around online a few days ago and came across this diet thing that talked about eating more organic foods; fruits and veggies and also staying away from wheat as much as possible. There were other things as well, but for the most part, the information seemed to line up with something that I've been considering for a long time. Cutting out processed, boxed, packaged foods.

Don't get me wrong. This is not some all or nothing, whole smash, shut-down-the-fuel-cells-Houston-cause-we're-not-landing-on-the-moon kind of thing. I am not, nor have I ever been a health food nut. However, clearly my current eating habits are not good. While not obese by any means, I am the largest I have been since I was pregnant. I would like more energy. I would like to be in better health over all.

So, I and hubby and the kids to a certain extent are going to try the organic thing. First step is cutting out refined sugar. That's a trick because I love a good cake as much as the next person. We're also working on weaning ourselves from the whole wheat. By making small changes and not going cold turkey with everything, I do feel like we'll have more of a chance of success and transforming these new habits into a lasting lifestyle.

That's not to say I won't indulge for special events or occasions. Man cannot live by spelt bread alone.

So, here's to a new day and venturing forth into a new and healthy mindset. If anyone has any tips, suggestions or even success stories of your own, feel free to share.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Shop Small

Anyone who has been taking in oxygen for the last year or so knows the economy is crap. Even the most financially solvent folks are looking for ways to spend less. Add to this the stress of school shopping and all of those associated expenses. I'm sure the last thing anyone wants to think about is holiday shopping.

I will confess, I am a scrooge. Shopping for Christmas stresses me out, the mall, the stores, the money. Does not make for tons of holiday cheer.

This year is different. I issued a challenge to myself to 1). start shopping earlier. As a card-carrying procrastinator, I could be counted on to wait until the last minute to do the bulk of my shopping. 2). Shop small.

When I say "shop small" I don't mean small gifts, I mean small business. I'm pretty sure the large stores like Target, Barnes and Noble and countless others will survive this downtrodden economy. They might not be making as much as they used to, but they will endure. It's the smaller businesses; the indie bookstores, small boutique clothing shops and the legions of online sellers who are suffering.

This post might seem slightly self-serving. As a recent small business owner myself, I could definitely use some online foot traffic, but I also have a paying full-time job. There are other small businesses out there who rely on sales for their income.

Shopping small is not just good for those businesses though. You would be surprised what you can find. If you haven't visited the online craft marketplace Etsy, you should pop over and look. On the main page, you can view recently listed items. The new stuff pops up on the screen and all you have to do is watch until something catches your eye. It is rather addictive! And there is something for almost everyone on your gift list.

Whether you shop online or visit your local stores, I'd be willing to bet that you'll find fun and interesting gifts. Something unique, and different that will be remembered (fondly, I hope!). True, there are just some things you have to buy at a big chain store, but for the others, I encourage you to shop small. If nothing else, you might discover a lot of things your friends and relations can buy for you!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Whatever Works

A friend at work asked me how I come up with designs for jewelry. She asked if I sketch them out first before I make them. I thought about it for half a second. My answer: No, it just comes to me.

This made me think about the whole "process" of creating.

That might sound flippant, but it's just how it works in my head. My process, to apply a label to it, is more organic. I look at a piece, a bead, a pendant, a broken bracelet and wait for it to inspire me. They tell me what they want to be. Sound crazy? No more than a sculptor looking at a block of granite and seeing its true form underneath. Usually, these ideas reveal themselves while I'm falling asleep. I construct the jewelry in my brain before I even grab a pair of pliers or bead wire.

This process has its own timetable. I've had certain beads for years because I just haven't found the right thing to do with it. Other things reveal their desire to be a necklace or bracelet very quickly.

The best part is when the jewelry piece I'm working on is finished and it looks like I imagined it. That is the payoff!

You might be thinking of calling a good therapist for me, but I assure you, I'm not insane. (Yet). It's the same with me and writing. The story writes itself in my brain and I'm just taking dictation. I know there are folks who work in a more concrete way. Outlines, sketches, etc. I have learned through writing and now making jewelry that what works for one writer or artist doesn't necessarily work for another. You have to find your own process and go with it, no matter what someone tells you "should" be done.

This is art. Whatever works.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

I Heart Power Tools

I love power tools! Even before I started making jewelry, I liked power tools.

Enter my Dremel. I had asked for one a few years ago for Christmas and there it was, Christmas morning. A gift from my Mom. I'm sure she thought I was strange for wanting tools, but it wouldn't be the first strange thing I'd ever asked for.

This tool is awesome! With its various attachments, I can do a ton of different things. There are cutting blades which I used to remove the pin backs from broaches to make pendants. The tool also comes with smoothing bits that can smooth the cut metal.

I recently acquired a drill bit small enough to drill holes in things to make pendants as well. I drilled a hole in a cameo for a necklace. I also drilled holes in guitar picks for a pair of earrings.

Not to be outdone though, I still use my power drill for jewelry making. Two strands of wire can be twisted into a nifty spiral using my Black and Decker power drill.

When I started making jewelry I would have never considered that I would need a drill and a Dremel, but now that I have them, I can't imagine life without. The next power tool on my wish list? A soldering iron, maybe?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Beads and .... Rabbitfish?? What is a Rabbitfish, Anyway?

About five years ago, I was looking for a hobby. I had tried sewing and managed to botch that. Tried crochet and knitting and that didn't go well either. I had been working at Barnes and Noble at the time and during work, I'd end up in the craft section either looking for a book for a customer or shelving a book. I had seen all the books on jewelry making and beading, so one day, I decided to get one and see if I could actually make something. The book was for beginners, and the project I chose was fairly easy. I went to the craft store and bought a bunch of stuff and after a couple of failed attempts, made a very nice necklace.

My bead craze was born. I went nuts! I bought beads in all shapes and sizes colors and materials. I made so many necklaces and bracelets that I would never have a chance to wear. I bought magazines on beading and learned new stuff and gradually moved from simply stringing the stuff onto a string to using wire to make beaded links like a rosary. Then came earrings. Earrings were awesome because I could knock out a pair in about ten minutes. I made earrings for outfits on the fly.

All this bead madness eventually infected my friends and family. Christmas, birthdays, anytime I needed to give a gift, I'd end up making something. A couple of people at work asked me to make things for them. When I worked at a bank, we did a fundraiser for Breast Cancer. I made earrings and sold them for 5 bucks a pair with all the money going to the charity. I'd sell a bracelet here, earrings there usually to my friends (especially around Christmas) and always in the back of my mind I'd think I should do this as a business.

I had dabbled in selling my jewelry to perfect strangers. I listed some things on Ebay with minimal success. One particularly successful venture was a craft show at my daughter's elementary school. I made a little money and it was a good learning experience.

The beads and wire and stuff eventually started to crowd me and early this year, I purged about 95% of everything. I hadn't touched the jewelry stuff in about a year. Then a friend at work asked me to make a necklace to go with a pendant she had. I realized how much I had missed the jewelry stuff. Enter an ad at work for someone selling all of their jewelry making supplies. Beads, wire, tools. I couldn't resist. I brought home my loot and soon I was knee-deep in my love of all things sparkley and shiney. Again, the idea to make a business out of this tickled my brain.

This idea was still brewing in my head, rolling around while Bill and I rambled around London. Our first day, we went to the Natural History Museum and while walking through the marine exhibit, I saw a Rabbitfish. He was a strange looking critter, but something about it appealed to me. He (I call it "he" but for all I know, it could have been a girl). Also called a Chimeara it made me think of a fantastical creature. A quirky, eccentric combination of stuff. I also liked the name. It was catchy, memorable. I snapped a picture of him.

As if the gods of all things pretty were prodding me, in London, Bill and I went to a thrift store where I found a bag of broken jewelry "suitable for crafting purposes only." Said so right on the bag. Of course, I snagged it. I had always imagined making jewelry out of nifty things I'd found at yard sales or thrift stores. Old beads and pendants, earrings and bracelets would be given a new life.

And so, Rabbitfish Jewelry was born!

And with that, a blog. Here you can read about my adventures in beading as well as updates on new stuff in my shop.

click on the banner graphic to go to the store site

You can also follow Rabbitfish Jewelry on Facebook.