Thursday, June 30, 2011

My Silly Grandma and WhoopDWhoop...

This picture is for those of you who read my inagural post.  Here's my sweet, funny, ornery, wonderful Grandma with her treasured red shoes.  How could you not just adore this woman???  Just thought I'd share for those of you who might be interested in seeing a picture of her.  Oh, and while I'm at it, let's reminisce for just a moment...
My Grandma always had the funniest, most random little rhyme-y sayings.  My favorite?
"Sing at the table and talk in bed, the Devil will get you before you're dead!"
Man, I miss her.  What a goof.  :)

On a related note, I've decided I'm going to start naming my jewelry and classifying them by style.  So, in honor of my Grandma, I've decided to call my first "style" of jewelry the JUNE collection.  I'll make all of my JUNE collection rings, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings in this triple-swirly style:

What do you think?

Anyway...anybody ever heard of the site "WhoopDWhoop"?  It's kinda fun.  Sunny, who I shall henceforth refer to as the "Expert In Everything Interesting Online" (or, the Great E-I-E-I-O, for short), introduced me to this site.  It's basically a sort of online barter bazaar where you go and list any handmade item you create and assign it a "whoop" value between 1 and 5 (The Great E-I-E-I-O and I have decided that we will be calling the values "points" rather than "whoops," because, let's face it, "whoops" just sounds ridiculous.  And we are SO NOT the ridiculous sort)., you create your stuff, give it a value, and then wait for someone to "buy" it by giving you "whoops" that they have accumulated by making and "selling" their own junk.  Hm...are you following me?  Because I know what I'm trying to say, but as I read back over this, I'm not sure that YOU'LL know what I mean.  Well, bottom line: it's fun.  I listed an item to swap, and if you're still not sure what I'm talking about, go to the website and check it out for yourself: 
If you're crafty, post something and maybe I'll whoop you.  Or whatever.  WHOOP! There it is.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hallelujah, I fixed my comments section!!

HOLY MOLY!!  Sheesh, I had several people tell me that when they tried to comment, it kicked them out of my blog.  Obviously, this was somewhat counterproductive, so I got up this morning intending to fix the problem quickly.  FORTY SEVEN MINUTES.  Yeah, that's how long it took me to figure out what was wrong.  That's 47 minutes of my life I'll never get back.  Fortunately, I learned a LOT about what DOES work on my blog whilst simultaneously finding many, many, MANY ways that do NOT enable comments to appear without kicking people off my page.  So, all in all, not a total loss.  And here's something exciting: with the comment problem solved, I am mere inches from figuring out how to do my very first GIVEAWAY!!  Thanks so much to my dear, online business-savvy sister Sunny who is single-handedly leading me through the maze of online buying and selling.  Her input has been invaluable, and whoever wins my first giveaway will have her to thank for it.  Unless she wins.  In which case, I suppose she can just thank herself.  Whatever.  Anywhooo...feel free to leave me a comment now that you can!  And get ready for the upcoming first ever Pink Persimmon Giveaway!

Oh, and if you read yesterday's post and want to see the great glass pieces I was raving about, I posted a couple of pictures below (imbedded in yesterday's post), or you can visit the etsy shop at:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Again With the Talents, and an Update on Random Acts of Kindness Month...

Ok, I'll admit it...I'm stuck on this talents thing.  Seriously, it's like the topic is stalking me.  I try to think of other things, and somehow the whole talents concept keeps creeping into my brain.  It's a little unnerving, but I can definitely think of some other topics that would be far more disturbing to have randomly pop into my head.  All in all, I consider myself pretty lucky that it's just TALENTS that I keep thinking about.  It could definitely be worse.  I mean, what if I suddenly couldn't stop thinking about something REALLY know, like...shark attacks...or the plague...or the end of the world?  Now, THAT would be something to be concerned about.

Anywhooo...back to the topic at hand.  So, Etsy sends me a daily digest of random merchandise to peruse, and I love it because there are SO many shops out there that I would never find otherwise.  And since I started looking at all of these cool things, I've been really, really impressed with the wide variety of talents that people can possess.  There are some REALLY amazing talents out there: from mainstream skills like photography and sewing, to really crazy things like taxidermy and custom feathery light switch covers.  Today, I'm enamoured with glass blowing.  Truthfully, ever since Mr. Nierste let us experiment with glass rods and bunsen burners in my 8th grade earth science class, I've been moderately fascinated with glass.  I love the way it appears so fluid and full of movement, but is actually quite solid and brittle.  It's really an interesting material, and I wish I possessed the skill to create beautiful pieces of glass art.  I've emailed a couple of the artists whose work I admire to see if they'd mind if I put a couple of pictures of their blown glass up on my blog post.  Still waiting on replies, but as soon as I receive them, I'll put up some of the cool glass stuff I've found.  **UPDATE!**  Here are a couple of pieces from an Etsy shop called oneilsarts...aren't they absolutely beautiful???

Beautiful Hand Blown Glass Art Wall Platter Pink Rose Spiral Wrap 1921

Beautiful Hand Blown Glass Art Wall Platter Spiral Wrap 1925

On a completely unrelated note, thank you to those of you who commented -- either on here or through Facebook messages -- and gave me ideas for Random Acts of Kindness Month.  I decided to go with Triss's idea and send out some notes in the mail.  Additionally, I got Ilaiasi (my 7 year old) in on the action and had him write a little note to his Sunday school teacher, who has been gone the last couple of Sundays.  It was fun to see him get into it and write her a sweet note and then draw a little picture of their whole Primary (aka Sunday school) class.  We drove it to her house and Ilaiasi got to be the one to put it in her mailbox.  I think he had a good experience, and the very best part about it was that we got to see her appreciation firsthand via her Facebook update!  So, here it is:
"Day= Made. i got a letter from one of my kids from primary and it just made my day! i cant wait to see my class on sunday!"
Pretty fun, huh?  So, thank you so much to all who gave me such good ideas.  It was a success, and we will definitely be using more of them in the future.  In fact, next time I think we'll make it a family affair!

And, finally, see below for a few more previews of what I'll be putting up for sale on my Etsy site this week.  I took the plunge and made a couple of pairs of earrings out of my sterling silver wire.  And guess what?  The world didn't end, I didn't screw everything up and cost myself a fortune is silver, and I think they actually turned out pretty well!  See?  I told you I'm not a Group 3 member. 

Zebra Stone and Silver-colored Wire Bracelet

Sterling Silver and Swarovski Crystal Earrings

Silver-colored wire Bracelet with Swarovski Crystal and Freshwater Pearl Accents 

"Peacock Feather" Ring Made of Czech Glass Beads and Silver- and Blue-colored Wire

"Peacock Feather" Pendant Made of Czech Glass Beads and Silver- and Blue-colored Wire

So...if you get a chance, go check out my new stuff on my Etsy page:

OH!  Before I forget...ok, so even though I've got my little shop up and running, I've still got a LOT to learn about all of this online buying/selling business (obviously). I keep seeing people doing "giveaways" and "contests" through their blogs or on Facebook.  That sounds like fun to me, but I really have no idea as to how you go about it.  I'm in the process of looking up how to do it, but if anyone has any immediate insight, I'd love to hear it.  Come on...wouldn't you just LOVE to be the recipient of a great Pink Persimmon giveaway?????  So, let me know if you are familiar with the process because I'm hoping to get something along these lines going soon.  Thanks so much!!  :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Confessions of a Neurotic Planner and Perfectionist

Ok, a couple of things:

First of any of you bloggers out there actually plan ahead and write down what you're going to blog about? I'll be honest and say that the thought never even occurred to me until my sister Sunny and I had a conversation about it yesterday. I guess I'm more of a "fly by the seat of my pants" kind of girl when it comes to blogging. Pretty much whatever is in my brain when I sit down at the computer is regurgitated onto my blog (hence the random ramblings). I have been moderately satisfied with this approach thus far, but, the more I think about it, the more the whole "plan it out" concept sounds like a really good idea. After all, I am one of those people who likes to have a plan. Don't get me plans generally end up being thrown out the window at some point, and I am once again "flying by the seat of my pants," but I do like to have a general idea of what I'm going to do ahead of time in any given situation.

In fact, this need of mine to have a plan drives my husband absolutely nuts. Like, for example, when I ask him on Monday, "Hey, what's the plan for this weekend?" And he gives me a vague, "Hm...I don't know." So, I ask him in a different way, "Oh. Well, are we doing anything on Saturday?" And he again responds with something ambiguous like, "Um...I'm not sure yet." Now at this point, I realize that most sane people would recognize the fact that either:

A) He really has no idea what is going on this weekend, or
B) He is contemplating doing something that I probably won't like (read: inviting a billion people over to my house to barbecue and leaving me seething inside the house with everybody's kids while he and his buddies hang out, since he knows that I'm miserably pregnant and not the least bit interested in barbecuing outside in the hot Texas weather).

So, again, most sane people, recognizing that one of those two scenarios is likely, would drop the subject and maybe pick it back up on Thursday or Friday. But me? Oh, no...not me. I'm a PLANNER. I just HAVE to know what's going on this weekend, and I need to know NOW. I am fully aware that I will not receive an answer to my question until Thursday evening at the earliest, and yet, I can't help asking repeatedly, using varying sentences, until my husband is completely irritated and tells me to stop bugging him about it. Oh. Right. I guess that is kind of bad? But, for real...are we planning to do anything on Saturday? Hahaha. The craziest thing about this whole scenario is that, yes, "Plan B" WOULD be immensely irritating; BUT, what my husband fails to realize, is that I would handle the "Plan B Barbecue Madness" SO MUCH BETTER if I knew the plan in advance, and NOT when there are suddenly 50 screaming, jumping, running children bouncing off the walls of my house. This is just the first scenario that popped into my brain (again with the random regurgitation!), but it is pretty typical of my entire outlook on life. So, yes, I can definitely fly by the seat of my pants (Oh! Surprise twins due before Ovaka's first birthday? No problem!), but I do like to have a plan.

And, apparently, so do many bloggers. In fact, enough people do actually plan out their blogs that some sort of fancy blog-planning paperwork exists. Huh. Who knew? I'm intrigued. Luckily for me, Sunny said she got me some! How great is that? So, once this exciting new paperwork is received, you can look forward to reading a much more PLANNED blog from me in the near future!

Alrighty is out of the way, so let's move on, shall we?
As you know if you read my last post, I've been thinking a lot about talents in the last few weeks. And, as I've pondered the topic of talents from a variety of angles, I started thinking about people who are not afraid to try new things. Obviously, this thought came about as I was debating whether I should start this new endeavor of mine, and I came up with a few different categories that I think most people fall into when it comes to trying new things:

  1. First: the "I Don't Mind Looking Foolish Until I Get It Right" people. These people can throw themselves wholeheartedly into a new activity, fall down, brush themselves off, and get back up to try again without even batting an eye. These are also the people who are usually extremely successful because they are not afraid of looking silly while learning new skills.

  2. Next: the "I'll Try This, But I'll Probably Make a Joke of It or Act Like I Don't Really Care About Getting Better At It So That I Don't Look Foolish" people. These are the kids that drive me CRAZY when I'm coaching...the ones who have potential, but refuse to work hard enough to get better, or refuse to change bad habits because they're satisfied with being mediocre rather than risk looking foolish while learning something new.

  3. And, Finally: the "I Won't Bother Trying Because I Might Fail" people. Self-explanatory.

So...I started wondering which category I fell into. And, sadly, I've decided that in many aspects of my life, I am a 2 or a 3. WHAT?? SERIOUSLY?? Yes, Kalani, it's absolutely true. Recognizing that was a SERIOUS blow to my self esteem, but has motivated me to do something about it. I notice that I have no problem doing things that I'm already relatively good at. I guess that's no surprise, since most people are comfortable doing things they're already good at. But, when it comes to stepping outside that comfort zone, I am EXTREMELY cautious...sometimes to the point of paralysis. I guess I'm something of a perfectionist: I like to do things right, or not at all. It comes from years and years of having that very mantra ingrained in my brain. I can vividly recall being about 5 or 6 and wanting to "play" volleyball with my dad. I was just a kid and JUST WANTED TO HAVE FUN, so I was being silly and playing with, gasp, incorrect form. My dad was not amused. In fact, he told me, in all my kindergarten glory, that I needed to "play right or get off the court!" So, there you go. This concept helped me tremendously as an athlete, as it forced me to strive for perfection. But, I've found that all or nothing is not always the best way to approach LIFE. What happens in a situation where the "right" way is kind of unknown?

Here's an example: At our church, we typically have one day each month where the women get together to do some kind of fun, enriching activity. Usually it involves learning a new skill or making a craft...something uplifting and enjoyable. This month, however, there is no formal activity, and instead we were all encouraged to perform "random acts of kindness" for the other members of our congregation. That sounded like such a lovely idea to me. And I started trying to think of fun things I could do to be kind to the other ladies in our little group. But, here's where the paralysis set in. There is no "right" thing to do. Too many choices. Too many ways to fail:

Maybe I should make them cookies? Oh, but what if they're on a diet...then it's not very kind of me to bring by something sweet and calorie-filled. Or what if they have a weird allergy I don't know about? It wouldn't be very kind to tempt them with my delicious cookies if they couldn't even eat them, now would it? How can I do the perfect "random act of kindness" with all of these extra unknown variables involved??

So, here it is, almost the end of the month, and I've basically shot down every single "kind" idea I could dream up based on ridiculous "what ifs." And I realized that, in this aspect of my life, I am a member of that dreaded group 3. How disappointing. And I'm like this in so many other ways. I have a love/hate relationship with scrapbooking. I make beautiful scrapbooking pages, if I do say so myself, but very few of them actually house any of my pictures. Why, you may ask? Because I always end up thinking, "Do I REALLY want to glue this down permanently? What if I make a different page and realize that this picture would be a PERFECT FIT for that one?" I know...I'm nuts! It's ridiculous! And, I realized that I was doing that with my jewelry, too: saving all of my favorite stones "just in case" I think of something better to do with them...purchasing some sterling silver wire to upgrade my quality, but being too afraid to make a mistake with it, and going back to the "silver-colored non-tarnish" wire I'm comfortable using...the list goes on and on. But, NO MORE! So, in the very near future, expect to see some sterling silver jewelry in my collection. And expect to see some beautiful, previously unseen crystals and stones. I AM NOT A 3. I'M NOT EVEN A 2. I may not be in Group 1 just yet, but I'm on my way!

P.S. Does anyone have any good "random acts of kindness" to suggest? I'd love to hear them before the month is completely over! ;)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Small Successes and a Lesson From My Seven Year Old

First and foremost, let me just say a big, huge, enormous, gigantic, titanic THANK YOU to all those who showed support for my little undertaking in the past week -- either by email, facebook message, text, etc. Your comments are most appreciated...and please feel free to make comments at the end of my posts. They are so helpful and really make me feel encouraged. So, on that note...

Week one down, and I'm off to a pretty good start! It was a big week of firsts for me: first 5 followers on my Etsy blog (sadly, that's one more follower than I have on my regular blog...apparently, my life isn't all that interesting to read about. Of course, it could also be the fact that I haven't updated it in over a year...but still...ouch!), first item to get more than 10 views on Etsy, and, HAPPY FIRST SALE! Thank you Sylvia Green for being my very first customer! Your merchandise is on the way, along with a First Customer Appreciation coupon, so be on the lookout for it! At any rate, it has been a week of small successes that FEEL very monumental. So, thank you everybody who helped make this a good week!

This whole Etsy business is a much larger undertaking than I originally anticipated. No, that's not exactly's just bigger than I HOPED it would be. And MUCH more time consuming...but I'm guessing that's largely due to the fact that I have an 8 month old who constantly cries/wakes up/growls/wants to eat/tries to stand up/falls and starts crying get the idea. I don't know what I would do without Ilaiasi. Who knew a seven year-old could be such a huge business asset? I've been blessed with such a helpful, loving firstborn son, so the huge task of getting things started hasn't been QUITE as enormous as it could have been. I am learning a whole lot, I'm excited to be doing something that I enjoy, and, well, quite frankly, I'm feeling pretty lucky.

Here's a sneak peek at the items I'll be putting up this week. I've got some fun rings and wire-wrapped pendants, and I'm trying lots of new things. Please feel free to leave a comment and tell me what you like, what else you'd like to see in the future, and even what isn't really working for you...that's the only way I'll improve, so all feedback is welcome!

It's been a while since I've been able to stretch my "creativity muscles," and I didn't realize how much I've missed the pursuit of new knowledge. There's something so satisfying about researching a topic, attempting to accomplish something, and then feeling like you've succeeded -- or at least made drastic improvements. Little things like being able to make my Etsy banner using a new computer program, finding new ways to create fun pieces of jewelry, and just the general overall exploration needed to navigate this new endevor have breathed new life into my normal routine. Don't get me wrong...diapers, bottles, and frequent trips to the restroom (thanks to the twins fondness of using my bladder as a trampoline) are definitely exciting, but this is just new and fun and I am LOVING IT!

Anyway, have you ever had a week or two where it seemed like the world was somehow trying to tell you something? Like, everywhere you turn, there is something that has to do with one specific topic? Well, over the past couple of weeks, the topic of talents keeps finding its way into my daily life. Last Sunday, our Sunday School lesson was on the parable of the talents (for those who are unfamiliar, let me attempt an extremely brief summary: 3 men are given varying numbers of "talents," a biblical monetary unit; the first and second invest theirs and end up doubling the number they started out with. The third is afraid of losing his, so instead of using it, he buries it. On the day of reckoning, the first two are rewarded, and the third is chastized and his talent is given to the ones who used theirs wisely.) This Sunday School lesson started me thinking about talents. Then today, my funny, innocent son, Ilaiasi, came up and asked me for a piece of paper, saying, "Mom, I need it because, like, I have a TALENT. It's a talent for folding paper into different shapes." So, I gave him a fresh piece of paper and waited with baited breath to see what kind of masterpiece my little origami protege would come up with. After much anticipation...Ilaiasi made...a rectangle. Yes, you're reading right...a RECTANGLE. HAHAHAHAHA! Talent clearly runs deep around here. It's not every day that someone is able to fold a paper into a rectangle, you know. But, silly as this little example seems, I LOVE the fact that Ilaiasi has complete confidence in his abilities, and was just SURE that he had a talent for folding paper. In the past few weeks as I've pondered this subject of talents, I've done a bit of soul-searching...mostly as a result of some lingering insecurities regarding my own talents. It feels like it's been a really long time since I succeeded at something new. I've been entrenched in the depths of motherhood, coaching, and teaching -- all of which require a very similar skill set -- for so long, that I wondered if I would be able to succeed at something that required me to step out of the teacher/disciplinarian/motivator role. Just this afternoon, I took my newest creations over to my Mom's work so that she could take a gander at them, and one of her coworkers remarked that I had a talent for making precise curves with the wire. Rather than graciously accept this comment, I found myself uncomfortably minimizing it, saying, "Well, it's just something I like to do." Anywhoodillydoo (a phrase borrowed from my baby brother Westlee), the more I've thought about talents, the more I've decided that I am really going to take this opportunity to develop what little talent I may have, and hope that on the day of reckoning, my industry has allowed me to progress and add a little something to what I started with. So, moral of this story: Maybe I DO have a talent for making precise curves with wire. What do you think of that???

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Week One...What Have I Done???

So, here we first post. I guess I have to start somewhere, so let's start with what I've done so far in my first week as an Etsy seller. Prior to actually opening up shop, so to speak, I did a little research and created a base inventory of about 25 items -- all jewelry so far, but I hope someday to expand to other stuff, like home accessories, maybe a purse or two if I get the sewing or crocheting bug...who knows what else will come if the mood strikes me?! After I had made several items, I enlisted the help of my oh-so-talented Aunt Sue, who takes the most amazing pictures. Her photographs of my jewelry look so focused and professional, and I am eternally grateful for her help...heaven knows it would be a big, hideous mess if I tried to do it myself! So, yeah...research, check. Inventory, check. Photographs, check.

Now what, you ask? Well, I still had to come up with a name for my shop. This was actually much harder than I anticipated, and it took a surprising amount of mental energy, some thumb-twiddling, a bit of head-scratching, brainstorming, and the like before I finally found a name that seemed to "fit." I already know your next question: how did I come up with the marvelous name, The Pink Persimmon? Sit back, relax, and I'll tell you the story:

First of all, for those of you who never met her, I wish you could have known my Grandma. She was one funny, funny lady, and I miss her and think of her daily. She had the most wonderfully wicked sense of humor and was the perfect blend of sweet and long-suffering mixed with inappropriate and irreverent. I love her, and hope that people who knew her can see some of her in me. Anywhooo...moving my "crafting room" (aka: the abyss where my husband throws anything that I ask him to put away, the spare bedroom where all of my crafty stuff is crammed, and my special safe haven where I go and sit when I need a "time out") there is a pink comfy lazyboy-style chair that once lived in my Grandma's house. It was her special chair, and my cousin Adam was kind enough to give it to me when my little family purchased our first home. So, as I sat in my Grandma's special pink chair contemplating the all-important decision of what to name my Etsy shop, it occurred to me that I wanted my shop to have some sort of a connection to my Grandma. I kicked around several names: SASsy Red Shoes (she LOVED these red shoes from much that we even considered making them a part of her burial outfit. In the end, I think we just placed them in her casket...just in case she needs them in the hereafter), 3002 Deer Park Drive (her street address), Magnolias and Tangerines (trees that grew at her home), but nothing seemed quite right. So, I sat in her pink chair and thought some more, and suddenly The Pink Persimmon came to my mind. And I instantly loved it. For those who haven't been blessed with a Grandma who lived in California and had a wide variety of fruit trees in her yard, persimmons are a delicious, but dangerous fruit. Eaten too early, they are perhaps the most disgusting thing you will ever experience in your mouth. If they are not ripe, it literally feels like your tongue is growing fur at a rather alarming rate, and it is extremely difficult to remove that feeling for several minutes. Yucky. But, when they are ripe, they are exquisitely sweet and they basically just melt in your mouth. Pure heaven. And so, as I pondered the similarities between my Grandma and myself, I thought that perhaps we are both somewhat like the infamous persimmon: caught at the wrong time, we can be MOST unpleasant; but, if you're patient, you might just find that I, like my Grandma, am a little slice of heaven...if only for a moment. :)