Time to step it up – again…

I’m still doing a lot of things wrong.

Mostly it’s because I’m impatient which, of course, often times means that I end up needing to work on something for longer anyway because I didn’t pay enough attention in the first place.

So I’m going to step it up.


I know I stepped it up once before, and that was a good thing, but now I want to work on always being able to know, with confidence, that what I’m doing is definitely going to work the first time and that when it goes out the door I’m completely satisfied that it’s the best I can do.

I know it can be done.

I know there are people out there who are so bang on their game that they’re just brilliant at it.

Don’t get me wrong I’ve enjoyed my new pieces.

Mexican Amber
Flamingo Rose Agate
Sapphire Berry, Ocean Jasper, Larsonite

But I always get worried when one of them goes out the door.

No, not worried.


It’s worse when I see that I have a review on Etsy.

I can literally feel my heart stop a beat because I know they are just so disappointed with it and I have to cross my fingers to see if it’s going to be o.k.

Crossing my fingers, by the way, happens to be my go to safe place.

Nothing bad will happen if my fingers are crossed.

Well that’s what I tell myself anyway…

It’s amazing to look back at pieces I made when I first started out and didn’t know what I was doing.

The amount of solder I used for instance.

Way too much


But you don’t know these things unless you keep on doing them wrong until they whack you over the head.

And that’s o.k. as we all have to start somewhere.

But for a while now I just would really like to not do it wrong.

And for me that means slowing down, paying attention, and finally being able to let go of a piece knowing that it’s everything it should be.

Too much perfection I hear you say.


But if I don’t try I’ll be bored me thinks.


Orderly disorder.

I thought I’d share with you my inventory system.

For years I just put all the jewelry I made into little bags and popped them in a drawer until I sold them.

This worked well until I started to drown in finished jewelry pieces and found myself becoming more and more fraught with anxiety each time I sold something and couldn’t immediately put my hands on it.

It didn’t help that I wasn’t always good at following the drawer rule either.

Sometimes I’d find the pieces in other places.

Just laying around.

Mocking me.

I’ve always worked, (and lived really), in a chaotic mess which has never really bothered me except that sometimes the idea of running a business just really brings out the nerd in me.

I mean I love Office Depot for instance.

All those organizing things under one roof.

 It’s just unfortunate that Ms Chaos runs rings around Order every time I decide to sort myself out..

But now I have the perfect system.

For me anyway.

Prepare to get your nerd on…

… and your baggies out.

And the sticky labels…


This is only for those of us who don’t know what the hell they’re doing.

For all you other people who already know what you’re doing this will probably have you either in stitches or you’ll lose your eyeballs in the back of your head.

You have been warned…

I break down all of my items into codes as such.

Necklaces with Cabochons = NC

Necklace without Cabochons = NS because they’re typically just made with silver.

And so on.

Earrings = EC and ES

Bracelets = BC and BS

Rings = RC and RS

Then I add their numbers after this code and stick it onto individual appropriate sized bags.

Like so.





I then use a larger bag to hold up to ten pieces of jewelry.

This bag gets its own label.

NC1 – 10

NC11 – 20

NC21 – 30

Into which I put the corresponding items.

The good thing about this is that I can then store them in bag order in the drawer and so when I sell item NC26, for instance, I can put my hands on it straight away.

To encourage me to remember to do all of this I have a set of numbered bags ready and waiting in a little box on my work table.

When I finish a piece I put it straight in its pre-labeled bag, then I just take the box inside and list the pieces that are in it.

It may sound simple.

You may already do this.

You may have a better system.

But to me, this is heaven on a sticky label.

Here are the cabochons waiting for their turn.

I then have a simple spread sheet that I made on my computer which has this code number on it, where I have it listed, i.e., Etsy or my Website, the item name, how much it is, and finally a box in which I can mark off when and also where I sold it.

i.e. √E = Etsy

√F = Facebook

√I = Instagram


This one is for the earrings.

Don’t ask me what the P is for…

Just goes to show. You can take a horse to water….

Maybe it’s a private sale?

We may never know…

So there you have it.

Of course you have to follow through with all the putting things in baggies and remembering to put the code in the item’s title when you list it on Etsy, etc., although I noticed that now Etsy has a new box for putting in your SKU number when you list something so that should make life easier.

O.K. so don’t laugh that it’s taken me this long to figure things out.

I didn’t know I was going to make so much stuff.

Not my fault…

Of course I don’t have any system whatsoever for keeping track of materials etc.

I suppose I’ll be saving that little project for another decade.

Happy place…

So it’s been a year.

Well a couple of weeks shy, and I’m finally beginning to sort myself out.

Now I know why the Victorians had the whole black thing going on.

It’s like a code for, Back off, I’m not quite right and might explode at any time.

Tell me, would you approach this woman thinking things are all happy and rosy?

Apparently, as you can see by her jewels, she’s only in half mourning.

According to the rules it’s just nothing but black for two and a half years after which then, and only then, you might add a little trinket to lighten things up a bit.

Of course Vicki had the whole thing down pat.

Even the dog was in on the game.

I just happen to be watching Victoria on PBS right now.

It’s always a shock to see the real face of Victoria after seeing her on t.v.

Almost an exact likeness except for the nose I think…

The same thing happened with Henry.

Must have just caught him in bad lighting.

Anyway, suffice to say, I’m feeling a lot better about the whole dad dying thing except for being a bit pissed off.

I find myself happily plodding away in the studio when suddenly I remember that he’s dead and spontaneously snap at him for being so inconsiderate.

Sometimes swear words are involved and I’m not sorry about them either because I’m generally just pretty ticked off by the whole thing.

On the whole I have to say I’m happier with this stage of the grieving however.

It feels more productive.

But I just wanted to share with you some goodies I bought for myself today.

One of these.


And this.

By Catie Miller – HERE

I love the happiness of them.

Could these be my little coming out of mourning trinkets I ask myself?

Would they look a little strange hanging round my neck?

Think I’ll just stick with using them for succulents and tea, however, otherwise the people in the grocery store might really think I’ve lost the plot and could explode at any time.

Wouldn’t want any trouble around the egg plants now would we…

Checking in.

As those of you that read my blog know, I’ve kind of lost my way since my dad died, but I don’t want to give up just yet.

My trip home was good.

I only had a cry three times, including one where my sister lovingly tossed me a used tissue.

Bless her.

Probably why I’ve got the lurgy now.

I’ve come home with a sore throat, cough and achy parts.

Thank you K.

I ate all of the food on my list except for the pie and mash, fish and chips, and the pint of bitter.

So much food, not enough time.

The flights were awful. The most uncomfortable I’ve flown for a long while and took for ever. We did make it there and back in one piece, however, so I’m grateful for that.

I wasn’t as cold there as I expected, which is unusual for someone who usually curls up in a corner with a blanket and doesn’t come out again until all the heaters are turned up high.

In fact, at times it was just as cold here in Houston as it was in England.

We stayed at my brother-in-law’s house which is an old converted barn.

Actually I think it was the pig sty as the large barn is to one side.

I started a painting of their house before we left, but I just can’t get those pesky oil pastels to dry.

They’ll probably get it two years from now.

Our bedroom was behind the larger window in the roof, above the kitchen door.

The house has the original brick floors and some brick walls, but I really only had to curl up once.

Probably the red wine helped.

I’m thinking of painting the barn opposite also.

But not the big black barn.

It’s just all barn and windows.

Nice, but a bit boring.

This is the entrance coming into the old farm.

Before Christmas I made quite a few pieces which I shared on Instagram, but only got into the studio for the first time yesterday.

A friend wanted a piece with topaz and amethyst, but it was hard for me to find anything that I liked.

In the end I found these.

And this is where K and her used tissue comes in.

Usually I’m pretty good at replicating one of my drawings. In fact it always surprises me, but this time.


Don’t even talk to me about it.

So today I’m off out to get my hair cut, which always makes me feel better, and then I’m boycotting the studio until I feel better.

I’m going to sit on the sofa and switch off BBC and put on some old film.

An old black and white Barbara Stanwyck movie is my preferred choice, but I doubt I’ll be able to find one.

And I might even start back on my embroidery.


I’m off to jolly old England :)

I gave it a smiley face there because I’m really happy that I’m going home to see my family, but even as I write this I can feel the anxiety tingling away in my chest having a party all on its own.

Big chicken when it comes to flying.

Big melodramatic chicken.

I’ve spent this week saying goodbye to all of my stuff. Slowly at first, but with more sadness yesterday and today.

(Did I mention the melodramatic part?)

That said and done I think it will be good for me to get out of dodge for a while. I’m ready for something to break up the vacuum of stuckness this year has hanging over it.

So yah for me.

(Still nervous)

On the upside.

Sausages in a crusty roll with Daddy’s sauce.

Pork Pies


Fish and Chips

Beef Pie

And last, but not least, I’m determined to have a dish from my childhood.

Pie and Mash with lots of liquor – and I don’t mean the alcoholic kind…


All washed down with a pint of bitter.

Hey. If it was good enough for the Queen Mum it’s good enough for me…

So if I don’t come home fatter than I’ve ever been in my whole life, something has gone terribly wrong.

Might have to have the old arteries checked out also.

Best wishes and let it be a really good Happy New Year to everyone.


What’s not been going on.

Getting out of bed for one.

Not cool.

I’m just up and it’s midday. I keep telling myself, don’t think about it girl, just put your feet on the floor and straighten them knees up, but as I always over think everything I’m still waiting for that to work.

And then, when I’m finally up and remarkably find myself in the shower, I’m even more fed up because then I’m all wet and can’t be bothered to get out.

Also what’s not been happening is getting out and about in the real world, although that’s never bothered me much. Once I’m out it’s like, wow, so this is what civilization looks like, but once the initial surprise is over that’s it really.

And the blog.

What can I say, except that’s it exactly.

What can I say?

I’m boring myself to death in a dense pit of gunk so why bring everyone else down?

But every so often I feel that I need to at least write something. It’s like we had this thing going on and I’ve just walked off and not looked back.

I do think about everyone.

As I dragged myself through the post shower drying process this morning I even thought how nice it would be to go to Peru with Gale and eat guinea pigs! But then I thought of poor Guiness and how he’d be turning over in his little grave at the thought and how thankful he must be that he just died of a respiratory infection and not because he had been roasted alive in some charcoal pit in South America.

It’s nice to travel, but I guess you have to think about these things…

And I’m really worried about Cecilia all alone in South Africa going off on those safaris. Haven’t heard from her in ages.

So that’s me.

Still here.

Still crying over dad.

I mean, not always, but just enough sadness to suddenly be brought up short and go through the whole thing again in my head. You know, like how he had just fallen over and wasn’t really dead at all, but then they went ahead and cremated him anyway, even though he had three weeks in between where he could have jumped up and shouted ‘surprise’, so in actual fact the crematorium killed him and it all could have been prevented.

You know, the normal thoughts…

Well normal if you’ve got this low lying depression going on with a touch, just a touch, of psychosis.

I have been getting into the studio as some of you might already know because of Instagram. I’ve also had a few custom orders which always surprises me, and have sold quite a lot really. So that’s nice. It just takes me longer and longer to get in there.

I’m going in there after this although really I just want to sit on the sofa and close my eyes.

Grief is an awful thing, and guilt, because my sister is left in England finishing up all of the paper work and what else is required when someone dies.

And she still has dad under the stairs although she says that’s o.k. as she lets him know the soccer results every time she needs to get the vacuum out.

So just in case I’ve managed to bring anyone down into my gunk pit here’s one of my favourite Christmas jokes to cheer you up.

See you next time.

Strange times.

As I come to think about my blog and all the friends I’ve met through it, I find that I can’t quite ignore the bad feelings that have exploded leading up to this election.

I’m not completely sure what has happened to us all.

I’ve found myself caught up in my own fair share of Facebook propaganda and yet have been surprised when I come across some pretty aggressive comments between people whom I’m sure are strangers to each other and yet believe are otherwise friendly and accepting . One time I even came across a remarkable post linking Clinton to child sacrifice and blood drinking satanic rituals, but as I’m desperately hoping that the people who believe these things are now safely back to their right minds I’m left wondering how it is that we have become so outraged by differences of opinion.

It’s like The Stanford Prison Experiment, but on steroids.

When all is said and done, however, I refuse to lose any of my friends because of the intense negativity of this election.

I’ve decided to remove myself from FB for the time being, except for sharing my jewelry, and I’m also going to try to turn off the news for a while as we seem to be living in a world hell bent on destroying itself and the hatred and anger is becoming overwhelming to me.

You won’t hear my thoughts on the election on this blog, that’s not what I come here for, and I hope that those who have found they differ from my posts on FB will feel safe knowing that I respect their beliefs as much as I do my own.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Here’s a photo of my cats.