Monday, November 19, 2012

Gosh.  When I started today's blog post, my intention was really to show you a necklace and bracelet set that I just finished.  Now it seems I've made a short story long.  There is a point to the whole thing though.  Read on...

It's been a few years now since I've worked at a "normal" job with a "normal" schedule.  I'd been at the  same company for almost 14 years, enduring its growing pains and stressful demands on our industry.  For years I hadn't been happy in my job; I was restless but afraid to walk away.  Suddenly I was faced with a major career choice.  I was given several options, but the only one that really made sense was for me to leave the company.  So here it was.  My chance to get out of a rut.  To make a change.  Time to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.  This was what I had been secretly longing for.  Why was I so terrified?

I was having a hard time adjusting to my new lifestyle.  I felt guilty for having free time, so I wasn't even enjoying it.  I was supposed to be taking some time to figure out what I wanted to do next, but I had no idea where to start.  No plan.  More guilt.  A friend suggested I see a therapist/life coach who had helped her work through some things she had struggled with.  Figuring I had nothing to lose, I made an appointment.  Little did I know how much it would change my life.  

I was told during our very first therapy meeting that I MUST create art.  Creativity is at the very core of who I am, who I always have been.  It's no wonder I was restless...I had been sitting at a desk all day, working at a computer, doing a job that no longer fulfilled me.  I'd lost the very essence of who I am.  I wouldn't find myself while crunching numbers or creating spreadsheets.  I NEEDED TO MAKE ART!   Wow, someone was giving me permission to spend my time being creative.  With NO guilt!  After all, it was therapy!

I finally had a plan.  I needed a space to make art.  My art supplies were inconveniently stuffed into a utility closet in the kitchen, so my husband suggested we install cabinets in an unused room off the garage that we never really knew what to do with.  He made me a large drafting table and we put in screen doors.  I had my own creative space.  My therapist suggested I check out the work of artist Kelly Rae Roberts.  As soon as I saw a piece of her work in person, it was as if my heart opened up to a new world of possibility.  I enrolled in Kelly Rae's e-course about realizing creative dreams and running a creative business.  That's when I started my blog.

Ironically, not long before all this was happening with my career, my friend Jody and I started getting together once a month to work on creative projects.   Jody had been my hairdresser for years, but we never saw each other socially...until one day in her salon when we decided we should get together to make stuff.  Looking back now, it's funny how things have a way of working out.  She really helped me through those dark days and continues to be one of my closest friends.  Together we have done craft sales, hosted holiday Open Houses, made purses, coasters, cards and jewelry.  Without her support, I wouldn't have had the courage to get my stuff out there to sell.  I'm truly blessed with her friendship.

Well I haven't gone to therapy for awhile now, but what I gained from it is invaluable; for another significant irony in my story is that the therapist who encouraged my creative journey has become another one of my very closest everyday friends!  Sure, I'm still a work in progress.  I've learned a lot about myself and how to handle certain situations.  I've learned new ways of thinking, about how my thoughts impact my actions, in positive and negative ways.  The real biggie is that I'm learning not to be so hard on myself.  

Now that you know the backstory of my creative journey, you can understand that a colossal drawback to my lifestyle is not getting my own regular paycheck.  I've been trying to stay out of retail shops so I'm not tempted to spend money on things I don't need.  For the most part, it really hasn't been that hard.  But I do feel that I sometimes miss out on following the latest fashion trends, especially as the seasons change.  So I asked my fashionista friend Renita for some jewelry trend advice.  I'm a regular follower of her fashion and lifestyle blog called MyLifeWhileShopping.  Here is where you can meet her:

I'm taking Renita's advice and am making some 'statement necklaces' for my upcoming sales.  I just finished this necklace and bracelet set:

Statement Necklace & Bracelet Set
So what began as just a room off the garage with a skylight, the room where the dog stayed while we were away at work, has now become my sunny and vibrant art studio.  The dog still spends all day in this little room, but now she's laying at my feet as I work on my art!

As for me personally, these days I'm more content than I've ever been.  This admission should not be taken lightly.  You see, my entire life, no matter my age or location, I have ALWAYS wished I was somewhere else, doing something else.  But here I am, being good with where I'm at...

I have a full and happy heart.


  1. I can totally relate! I worked a "legit" job for a long time too. I finally had to let my inner artist out. So glad you found such special friends along your journey. I love your new pieces and I also love the collage on the background of your blog. Really gorgeous!

  2. What a heartfelt and honest blog post, Amanda. I think we're all so hard on ourselves. I'm glad you've found what makes you truly happy because your talent through your art touches others and makes them happy too. It's like a little circle of happiness and we're all beneficiaries.

    I've been considering seeing a life coach too. Every now and then I wonder what it is I'm doing with my blog and why I'm doing it. I feel like I'm lacking direction. I keep telling myself that as long as I enjoy doing it, I will keep going and hope that it takes me somewhere. We'll see! That said, I thank you so much for the mention on your blog. I feel honored! I'm glad I was able to inspire some of your work. Keep up the great work and thanks for sharing it with all of us!