Auction Ending, Protection Talismans, Flash Sale & Imbolc Projects

So this beauty is ending in just about two hours, and I’m shocked that it’s had just two bids. The current high bid is just $40, and this set by The Healer’s Touch easily has a value of $100.

"Dark Angel" Intricate Goldstone Necklace & Earring Set by The Healer's Touch

I’ve been really busy this past week, catching up on chores, getting a pile of packages ready to ship out by Monday, and being forced to rest after pushing myself too hard. We’re finally caught up on laundry and fairly well stocked with groceries, which is really nice. I’ve been working on some new protection talismans, and I am pretty smitten. These are all handmade on metal rings with recycled sari silk yarn. Some have highfired ceramic pendants attached, which can be used as essential oil diffusers. All have a wee vial of black salt with a twist-off top, so that you can empty and refill the vial when/if you choose to do so. I’m not quite done with these yet, but I’d love to hear what you think of my works in progress! The photo with multiple pieces shows some of the variety so far; the close-up is truer to the actual colors of this gorgeous rainbow sari yarn!

I also just realized that I hadn’t posted our Imbolc projects here. We were incredibly glad and grateful to be able to stash away some supplies to make Brighid’s crosses and dolls for the first time this year. You can see my first cross and our dolls below. My doll is on the left; AJ’s is on the right and makes me think of Janis Joplin channeling Brighid, hehe. Obviously the dolls aren’t very traditional, but we had fun with them and these were wonderful bonding experiences, with the Lady and one another. As soon as I have some spare energy to devote to them, I’m planning to decorate my crosses a wee bit with some of this lovely sari yarn.

It is my hope that I’ll be able to get some new jewelry posted in the coming days, as well as adding the first batch of pentagram talismans to my shop. In the meantime, there’s a flash sale happening now! You can find more info here. I generally post to Facebook and Instagram fairly quickly when I have new goodies, and I try to post here regularly as well.

Thanks so much for your support!
❤ Bri

 

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New Jewelry

Since I’ve been so bad about posting lately, I thought I’d share some of my newest pieces. ❤ Many of these are still available in my shop, and there are some available items not included here. Check out yesterday’s post for a coupon code to save 20%!

Simple pleasures, big gratitude & a blessed Imbolc!

February begins with Imbolc — which, to me, is all about new life, new beginnings, and gratitude for the little things that bring us joy. So I decided to share something that I’m grateful for each day this month, and I invite you to share what you’re grateful for in the comments for each of these daily posts on my Facebook page, or right here on the blog. (If you’re on FB, your interaction with my posts goes a long way to help boost my signal to the feeds of other page fans!)

2015-02-01-GratitudeToday, I am incredibly grateful to have woken up with an empty sink. I was exhausted but still managed to empty the sink before bed. This can be tough thanks to chronic back pain and illness — especially when I’d much rather be working on jewelry! — but I’ve been working hard to stay on top of it. I’m incredibly grateful and a wee bit proud of the fact that I’ve done a pretty good job of it since we moved in. (AJ would help, but the poor guy’s dealing with a flare-up of an old hand injury and I won’t let him.)

A lot of my gratitude right now has to do with the amazing help we’ve received on our journey to finding and making a real home. Our dishes came from the dollar store, the storage containers from the grocery store, and everything else in this photo was purchased via our Amazon wish list. Since your support has led to every single purchase we’ve made in our new home, YOU all helped make this possible. Thank you so much, from the bottom of both of our hearts!

Much love and a blessed Imbolc to you!
Bri

(PS: There is a flash sale happening in my shop right now! Save 20% on everything through tomorrow night.)

Ask Bri: Tacoma, holiday shopping, flamekeeping, using the word “queer” & more!

Heya, friends! I have so much work to do to get ready for our upcoming move, but I’ve been feeling too unwell to work on jewelry or do any physical work tonight, so I thought I’d answer some of the fantastic questions that have been asked of me recently. Thanks so much to everyone who took advantage of the extra entry option with my recent giveaways and asked some great, thoughtful questions! So, without further ado, let’s get to the 13 I’ve chosen to answer this time around.

How close are you guys to your move to Washington?

We’re almost there! We’ll be leaving Chattanooga on the 13th and flying into Seattle on the 15th. As mentioned here, we are incredibly excited… And we’ve got a lot of work to do in the next week or so! Click through to read the full Facebook post and snag a coupon good for 25% off all regularly-priced jewelry in my shop, now through the 15th.

Will you be able to have a garden when you move to Tacoma?

We’ll be renting rooms in other people’s homes for at least the first six weeks we’re there, and we have no idea yet what our longer-term home will be like. We’d love to end up renting a house, but apartments seem more plentiful in our budget, so we may not have much space. We also deal with a lot of fatigue and are pretty busy with my business (which I hope to be expanding in lots of exciting ways once we settle), our spiritual work, and just taking care of ourselves and one another, so we may not have the energy for something like this. We also have no idea whether we’d be any good at it, as we’ve both lived primarily in cities and haven’t had a lot of opportunity to find out whether we have green thumbs.

That said, we would absolutely love the opportunity to grow some herbs and maybe even food for ourselves, even if it’s just a window box or small container garden to start.

How can I view all of your work and order for the holidays? Also, what is your cutoff for custom orders for the holidays?

You can check my older posts here on the blog or poke around in my albums on Facebook to see my past work. Everything currently available for sale is listed in my shop, and I plan to be listing lots of new pieces between now and the holidays.

Unfortunately, because of all of the chaos surrounding various aspects of making our cross-country move, I will not be taking new custom orders until 2015, with the possible exception of a range of semi-customizable holiday baubles.

Where will we be able to find your work when you move to the Seattle area? And for those of us who live nearby, will we be able to connect with you?

I am sincerely hoping to have a solid real-world presence for Baubles & Blessings once we settle! I’m already looking into licensing so that I’ll be able to sell on the street in downtown Tacoma during the dry season, and checking out potential opportunities for displaying some of my wares at local shops. I’m most likely going to have some pieces included in a friend’s art show in Seattle in the spring. My first scheduled event will be at the Gritty City Gift Fair in Tacoma on Small Business Saturday, November 29th. Keep an eye on my blog and/or Facebook for updates! As soon as we recover from traveling, I’m planning on renting a PO box so that I’ll have an address I don’t mind being public knowledge, which means that I’ll finally be able to set up a real email newsletter — the weekly email will be another great way for people to stay caught up on what I’m doing and where I’ll be!

What is your favorite item to make?

For multiple reasons, I really love making necklaces. They take long enough to put together that I have enough time to really get lost in the piece, which I adore. I also feel that there is something very special about the stones and talismans that are chosen to hang close to someone’s heart. I have also recently started really digging working on circlets — they afford me the same luxury of having time to get lost in the work, which creates some very powerful pieces, and also sit in a precious position where they have the opportunity to help make a lot of magic and beauty happen.

Where do you find your unique beads?

After having a lot of people basically ask me how to copy my work, which never feels good, I have decided to decline to answer this question. I’ve put a lot of time and energy into finding the supplies and vendors that work for me, and if you put the effort in, I am certain that you’ll find the results that work for you as well!

How can someone get started with tending Brighid’s Flame?

I have answered a version of this question here. 🙂 We would also absolutely love to start our own flamekeeping group, but it will be a while before we are settled enough to have the time and energy to make ourselves accountable to that many other human beings in such a profound way on a consistent basis, and we want to make sure that we do it right if we’re going to do it at all.

Have you ever felt drawn to make a piece and then just KNOW it was meant for yourself rather than to sell?

I am occasionally drawn to pieces that I’ve made which have exceptionally lovely or powerful energy. I’d say that these pieces probably end up calling to me and remaining in my possession about 25% of the time. When I’m unsure whether the piece is meant to stay with me, I will sometimes set a deadline and end up keeping it if it hasn’t called strongly enough to anyone else to be purchased by that deadline. Other times, I know instantly that I just can’t bear — and am not meant — to list a piece for sale.

How do we order if we have a credit card but no PayPal account?

You actually do not need a PayPal account in order to complete checkout via PayPal in my shop! Just follow the checkout steps without logging in, and please feel free to comment on this post, shoot me an email or send a PM on Facebook if you get stuck or have any other questions.

When speaking of yourself, you refer to a “queer woman”. I was told and have always believed that the word “queer” was more of a slur and it should not be used when describing someone. Why do you refer to yourself in this way, rather than using “LGBT” or a similar term?

This is definitely a bit of a tricky topic, because it depends a lot on who you ask and how you mean it when you say it. For me, as a queer woman in my mid-30’s, it’s not an overly politicized word choice. I grew up in and around Boston in the 90’s, and reclaimed terms formerly used exclusively by oppressors as slurs — like “fag”, “queer” and “dyke” — were being used by many folks who were tired of being afraid, coming out of closets and creating firm boundaries. This was our home, these were now our words, and we were not going to allow hatemongers to use them to intimidate and hurt us. It certainly didn’t start with my generation, though — the true radicals and pioneers came in the Stonewall era.

Back to your question, to me, the word “queer” is a little different than the other terms mentioned. Most of them are considered by many members of the GLBTQ community to be words that are okay for those within the community to use, but off-limits for people who are not part of the community. Racial slurs are actually a great parallel; when it comes to reclaimed words that were formerly solely used by oppressors, some people in various ethnic communities feel that it is okay to use those words within their community, that it removes the word’s power. Other members of those communities find the terms terribly offensive, regardless of whose mouths they’re coming out of. The opinions of people who are not part of the communities in question are generally irrelevant. (Just to be clear, I would like to point out that I am drawing a parallel to word usage that some people may find a bit easier to understand. I am not, by any means, trying to say that I can speak for people of color or understand the oppression that they face, with my perspective being that of a white woman.) Many controversial terms referring to folks in the GLBTQ community work the same way, and many people choose to self-identify as queer these days.

I feel like the term “queer” is a good fit for me personally because I am a woman primarily attracted to female-bodied people, but I am not exclusively attracted to people who identify as female. My spouse, who I’ve been with for 8 years, is a transman. For me, calling myself a lesbian would be awkward and kind of disrespectful to my amazing hubby. I’m definitely not straight, and calling myself bisexual doesn’t feel right either. To me, “queer” indicates that I am part of this community that is — to be idealistic for a moment — accepting of what falls outside of long-held societal “norms” and embraces diversity. I get that “LGBT” and similar terms feel more accurate and inclusive for other people, but “queer” is just what feels right to me. And even though I’m getting older, my hair is graying and I’ve been too sick to be much of an activist for most of the time that I’ve known my hubby, embracing my flower child hippie side more and more, the radical activism and punk rock that I came into adulthood surrounded by will always hold a piece of my heart in a chokehold. So I think I’ll always have a bit of a tendency to lovingly embrace those strong, controversial words that get people talking and connecting like we are here, with this question — as long as I have a right to claim them. 🙂

What is the weirdest request you ever got for a custom piece?

I’ve actually answered this question in a previous Q&A post; click here to read my answer.

If you could go anywhere in the world and learn a new craft, where would you go and what would you learn?

My first thought on seeing this question was Ireland, without hesitation or doubt. After a moment’s reflection, I think that I would like to find one of Brighid’s people from whom I could learn a wee bit about metalsmithing. I would love to be able to make my own precious metal and copper pendants and beads, and perhaps completely forged items as well!

Why did you choose the Seattle area instead of Oregon or California?

The progressive parts of California are so expensive that they ruled themselves out of our search pretty quickly. We vacillated between Oregon and Washington for a short while, eventually choosing Seattle because a good friend is located in the area… We finally settled on Tacoma because the LGBT and artsy communities in Tacoma seem a little more down to earth and potentially friendlier to newcomers than their counterparts in Seattle, and the cost of living is also more reasonable.

Ask Bri: Creativity, organization, weird requests & more!

gettingtoknowyouI’ve been meaning to actually write here on the blog more often, but I’ve just been so busy with our relocation-related endeavors and jewelry  that it’s harder and harder to focus my ADD-riddled brain these days. These bite-sized bits seem like they’re easier for me AND interesting for you, so I’m going to keep doing them until I stop getting questions. I actually started working on this post last week, but with all of the frenzy around my auction that ended last night, this is the first opportunity I’ve had to wrap the post up. Please ask whatever questions you might have here on WordPress or via Facebook, and I’ll most likely respond in a future post.

I know that lots of you are dying to hear about the success of the auction, and it means so much to us that you’re so invested in the progress that we’re making! There are still a few unpaid items, but as soon as those are taken care of and I have time to sit and crunch the numbers, I’ll post an update similar to last month’s.

Without further ado, onto the questions…

My daughter has been her artsy self since she first picked up a crayon and is now 11. She paints, draws, writes music and loves customizing dolls. How can you organize stuff so it’s not all over the house? Since her creative mind is so consumed by these amazing things she creates, have you felt more drawn to one type of medium over another or will she more than likely have many projects to work on? I love all these ways she has found to express herself. It’s the constant messes she makes that drive me bonkers!!

First, congrats on having an awesomely creative kiddo! 🙂 I have to admit that I can be messy myself, partially because I have limited spoons/energy on a daily basis, but also because I’d really rather just do something about my inspiration and work on projects.

When we were doing spring cleaning, I posted this pic of my storage/work area. In our current living space, which is a motel room, we don’t have much furniture. Because we’re planning to move, we haven’t wanted to spend much money buying things for organization, so my method has the benefit of being very inexpensive. I organize supplies into labeled quart-sized zipper bags, which are then placed into 6-quart plastic shoeboxes, which I purchased for $1 each. The contents of each box are written on the end on tape; masking tape works well. I’ll probably keep doing something similar in the future, but I’d like to figure out a way to make it easier to get into each box without having to unbury the ones that are on the bottom. Maybe shelves so that the bins don’t have to be stacked.

In my experience, it’s not rare for creative folks to dabble with different kinds of mediums and styles, but everyone’s an individual, so it’s kind of impossible to predict how many different crafts/disciplines your daughter might end up favoring. As for me, I’ve dabbled lots over the years, but I pretty much stick to jewelry and occasional painting these days. Good luck to you and your daughter!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWhat’s the weirdest thing you’ve made? What’s the weirdest request you’ve received for an order?

I can’t think of anything I’ve made that was all that strange. I guess that some folks were pretty weirded out by the scorpion pendant on this piece. The response was fairly polarized, between people thinking it was awesome and being creeped out. I am a Scorpio and I embrace my inner scorpion, but that doesn’t mean I’d be okay with hanging out with them in my space! For some reason, the scorpion in the pendant just didn’t bother me, and I was actually tempted to keep the piece for myself when it took a long time to sell.

As far as the weirdest request I’ve ever gotten, I think that would have to be Blarney Stone. I actually had someone request a necklace featuring a vial filled with chips of the Blarney Stone. I have no idea why she thought this might be an option, but I never heard from her again after pointing out that it was not actually possible to buy pieces of the famous stone.

What advice do you have for people looking to integrate a creative pursuit, such as drawing, knitting, or beading, into their spiritual practice? I’m interested in knitting as an offering to Freyja and Sunna, but I’m not really sure where to start.

BrighidCordIn my mind, intent is the most important thing when giving energy as an offering. For me, it’s all about mindfulness and intention, keeping Brighid (and sometimes other deities with whom I work) in my heart and mind. I will often include elements in the pieces that relate to the deities or spirits I’m working with, but that’s not always the case. It may help to have a prayer or mantra that you use to help you get in the right frame of mind. One simple prayer that I use a lot is the one in the image at left. I use it as part of my “rosary” for Brighid, and I also repeat it as a mantra at times. Sometimes ritual is helpful, as well — I always have large candles burning for Brighid, but will also often light votive candles or a handful of tealights before starting a beading session. I know that these are super basic tips, but I hope that they are helpful!

What kinds of activities do you enjoy when you’re not working on jewelry?

I love to read! A sweet friend sent us her old Kindle over the winter, which has been really exciting because we didn’t want to collect a bunch of books we couldn’t take with us when we move; transportation issues have prevented us from using the library here; and I spend so much of my time hunched over a computer with business-related stuff that I want to be able to get away from the laptop when I’m relaxing. I also really love cooking and baking, so I’m very much looking forward to having a real kitchen again once we relocate and find a long-term place to live. I’m intrigued by fiber arts and have been contemplating taking an introductory weaving class, or learning how to knit, once we’re settled. I just have no idea whether I’ll be any good at that, or whether I’ll enjoy it at all. Another thing we’re really looking forward to is inviting animal friends to share our home again once we’re settled and have stability. We’re hoping to be in a position to start working with an animal rescue as a foster home within a year or two, though I don’t know if that exactly counts as an activity. I can’t think of anything else at the moment, other than spending time with hubby, writing — which I haven’t done much of since my brain’s gotten so foggy so much of the time — and spiritual pursuits.

Creative Blog Hop

Thanks so much to the talented Heather for thinking of me and inviting me to join her in this blog hop! I am just head over heels in love with Heather’s work and have enjoyed watching her get more and more into working on and sharing her gorgeous spirit dolls. I definitely recommend checking them out!

What am I working on?

At the moment, my main focus is on making a cross-country move happen, so things have been interesting. I’ve been doing all kinds of fundraising events like raffles and auctions… My big auction is actually ending tonight, and I’m trying to think of what I can do next to keep things fun and exciting for my amazing friends, fans and customers.

I’ve been working with lots of odds and ends lately, trying to use up supplies that I have on-hand and order only what I absolutely need because anything left when we head west is going to be shipped out ahead, since we’re flying. Logistics have been… Interesting. Anyway, having a more limited palette of supplies with which to work has actually been kind of cool, as it’s forcing me outside of my comfort zone a bit. I think I’ve been coming up with some cool designs; you can see some of the new auction-exclusive pieces below.

How does my work differ from others in my genre?

I like to think that there are original visual elements to my work, but I really feel that the energy is what sets my work apart. Many of my regular customers have become regulars — and friends — because they can feel the love and prayers that go into my work. I am honored and humbled by how many wonderful souls have told me that they have used my jewelry to help them find their paths and improve their lives in some way. I also feel that some of my best work comes through in custom pieces — which I love to work on — and pieces made during my shifts tending Brighid’s Flame.

Why do I create what I do?

My ultimate goals in this life, other than stability and health for myself and my spouse, are to help others in whatever ways are possible, and to do the work that is most helpful to the goddess Brighid — to whom I am primarily devoted — and the rest of my spirit family. As a person with disabling health issues, I am incredibly grateful that these things have come together in my jewelry design, crafting and energy work. I get to support my wee family while honoring and working with my spirits and making people happy, and that’s pretty amazing. I love what I do.

How does my creative process work?

I usually start with an idea/request for particular colors, gemstones or energetic/magical purpose, and I go from there. If I can’t think of specific stones for a purpose off the top of my head, there’s research involved. There’s also quite a bit of intuition, in just knowing that I’ve found the right combo of materials.

Where I live at the moment, I have a dozen 6-quart shoe boxes full of beads, findings and charms. They’ve been getting lighter as I’ve been trying to work through my current supply stash, but it’s a little bit insane. I try to keep things organized and easy to find, but it’s still a bit of a chore to move them across the room and set up every time I start working. Once we find our new long-term home, I look forward to once more having a setup where I can make things more accessible, so that it will be easier to get started, take breaks, etc.

I connect with my spirits before doing work, and usually have candles burning for Brighid to help me specifically connect with Her. Most of my work, once I start actually stringing, is meditative. I spend a lot of my working time in a very light trance state, though there are certainly times when I’m more physically unwell and have a hard time finding that groove, and other times when the connection is deeper and not much of me remains in this world.

I do apologize for rambling, and hope that this peek into my work was fun and interesting for some of you! Thanks so much for reading.

 

This is a continuous blog hop hosted by different artists/bloggers every week. Next week, I’ll be passing the torch to two awesomely crafty — and quite talented — ladies, Starla of Art by Starla Moore and Dot over at Busted Button.

 

Limited Time Special Offers

We recently started a 24-hour flamekeeping shift. If you purchase the Sun Goddess piece inspired by Brighid by tomorrow night, I will include a candle lit with Her Flame in your package on request.

Regardless of what you order, I’ll be happy to burn a special candle just for you on my altar when you make ANY purchase from my shop through tomorrow night. Just include your request in the notes to seller on checkout, or send me a PM/email after completing payment.

I will also be happy to combine shipping by refunding a portion of your new S&H charge if you place a new order and your name is already on my shipping list.

If you’re on Facebook, please stop by the page regularly and show my posts your love! I appreciate it so much that y’all jump to like posts when I explicitly ask for it, but many times those are the only posts that see so much interaction… And the reach of posts without interaction is choked by FB. Every little bit of interaction helps me and this wee business, and I’m so grateful for your support! All of your interaction with my page also puts you in the running for monthly fan activity rewards.

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