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new post, new links, trying to stop the spin cycle … here

blessings – kvk


Lord mercy – it’s New Year’s Eve!  So appropriate that the last few nights I’ve gone to bed with my mind swirling about new directions and my ongoing efforts in the world of fearless creating.

This week’s challenge:  pay attention to all the little things that normally go ignored – you know things that don’t ring true, those little niggling annoyances, or maybe not so little – but pay attention to them and, if possible, actually do something about them.  This got me thinking about my website …….

So yesterday I decided to soften up the header on my website.  This is in the niggling little thing category.  I’m slightly obsessed with fonts and can easily spend hours (and I do mean hours) looking at and downloading fonts – a girl can never have too many fonts.  (my two favorite font sites are DaFont and Fontasy)   Danielle from WhiteHotTruth is all gung-ho about Helvetica.  I tried to go there, but it turns out I’m a serif kind of girl.  My initial re-vamp of the header had Baskerville Old Face Caps and good old Times New Roman for everything else (except my KVK icon).  I always revert back to T.N.R.  So yesterday, I decided that the edges of Baskerville were a bit too sharp – et voila’, now transformed to Oldstyle.  A wee thing maybe, but I really do believe that “God is in the details” (thank you Mies van der Rohe).  For you font geeks, here’s a fun quiz from a segment of the PBS program Independent Lens – What Font Are You? And guess what …  I’m Times New Roman – color me surprised!

An integral part in the quest of fearless creating and staying authentic is making a concerted effort to ditch anything in my life that feels derivative, where have concessions been made, jettison anything in my surroundings that I’ve held onto for some long forgotten reason that no longer speaks to me.  Also, what can I do to support and uplift my self-image?

Attack implementation thus far……

  • our families were very generous with Amazon and Barnes & Noble gift certificates.  I’m in the market for inspiration and already ordered a pile of books off of my wish list.  I did well in the used books and even found a couple of close-out deals – who knew that Amazon had close-outs?  Not me.  So I’ve got a whole stack of books on ethnic and ancient jewelry, a couple on contemporary fashion designers and a couple interior design eye candy treasures – all OTW in the next week or so – yippee!  Look for specifics when the treasure trove arrives.
  • today we joined the YMCA – I absolutely cannot wait to get back to some yoga classes.
  • switching back to a low-glycemic diet.  So long simple carbohydrates.  We’ve been doing this for a while, but of course the holidays wreck havoc with good eating habits.  Being back on track is a relief.
  • we’ve got vision insurance with Dave’s new job, so next week I’m making an eye appointment.  Here are the glasses I’m wanting.  I had some similar Ray Bans in black a few years ago.  I’ve always loved horn-rims, kind of ties in with my old fashioned fonts.

  • through the years I’ve been prone to doing ‘my version’ of popular trends.  I want that to stop now and forever more.  This one will be a process for sure.
  • pay attention to things in my life that are there because I listened to someone else rather than my own inner voice then adjust accordingly.

It’s been an interesting year (ya think?) and Christmas was no different.  I think I mentioned making talismans for some people that are being helped by an outreach program of my brother’s church in Nashville.  Chuck was released from maximum security into the world on December 22nd, no parole, no caveats – just a check for $75 that he couldn’t cash because all he had was his prison ID.  Seems like he’s got a whole team of angels, earthly and heavenly, working for him and a string of small miracles falling into place to get his life sorted out.  Apparently, the cross I made for him made a powerful impression.  I got to talk to him on Christmas Eve … that made quite an impression on me – I don’t know many convicted felons. Chuck’s cross is pretty straightforward, with LGLG and his initials stamped on the back; the blessing is “change my thoughts, change my life” … it’s already working.

Christmas talismans

The three matching talismans I dubbed the  ‘Miracle’ Talisman went to three new moms at a home called Wendy’s Place.  The silver medallion is stamped with a hummingbird, a symbol for life’s little everyday miracles, embedded in the side a faceted ruby as a reminder to stay heart centered and stamped in the back ‘LGLG’ for let go let god; beach glass for life’s unexpected gifts; the blessing, “dream it, believe it, live it” on bronze silk lashed with rose silk, a mustard seed for faith and a fenugreek seed to honor one’s past, nestled within.  The ladies were equally thrilled with their new pendants.

Such a powerful gift for me as well.

So, that’s where I am on this last day of the year, this decade, this blue moon of a New Year’s Eve … with so much gratitude for the road I’ve traveled thus far, so much excitement and anticipation for the road ahead.

be well, be safe

blessings and thank you – kvk

So first and foremost … It is officially my birthday month!!!  I like to celebrate the whole month – I think that’s best.  The actual day is the 17th, but my celebration starts today.  Let’s hear it for an easy slide into 54!

Goodness, such an amazing week – where to start …

I’m thinking the biggest stunner of the week was an out of the blue phone call from Barbara Metzger, aka Basha Beads!  I was blown away.  She has Google alerts set up for her beads and saw my blog entry, followed links to my work on my website and the Etsy site, liked what she saw and read and decided she needed to give me a call.  We chatted for the better part of an hour – easy conversation, much common ground and shared aesthetics and lots of laughs … lots of laughs.  You’d never know it was our first conversation.  The upshot of the conversation – Barbara’s going to send me a ‘pick box’ later this month.  This also means that I don’t have to nudge Lynne out of lampworking retirement!  My mind is swirling with possibilities and I’m about to bust with excitement.  Bzzzzz, Bzzzzz, Bzzzzzz – my little brain is just a buzzing.

Which got me working on the next part of the project – the vehicle which will support the new work.  I’m still on my weaving and fiber thing, not that I’ve ever been off.  Lynne told me about some sari silk ribbon on Etsy.  Of course I had to check it out and immediately bought three skeins.  The colors are gorgeous, but I’m thinking it’s too irregular and the seams too bulky for my needs.  Then I thought about a small stash of hand-dyed silk ribbon that looks pretty cool woven … bulky, though.  Just as well.  For my next design phase, I really want to focus on generating virtually all of the content own my own – Basha Beads excluded.  I bought some really luscious silk a while back with plans to cut and dye my own strips.  Here’s three of the experiments and the initial ‘ribbon’ cuttings.

sari silk/leather, silk ribbon, sari silk

After trying to cut slinky silk into ribbon with scissors, it became quite clear there must be a better way.  Tools, must have more tools … Enter the world of rotary fabric cutters and mondo self-healing cutting surfaces.

new tools and accoutrements


So, I should be all set.

I’m also thinking about doing a bit of ‘retro-fitting’ to some jewelry.  I’m wanting to replace the chain elements with either my own silk ribbon – woven or plain, or braided silk cord … soften the look and bring out the color of the raw sapphires.

awaiting renewal

The essence of my aesthetic is raw yet refined, organic but contemporary.  As my hang tag says, “… rustic elements in classically inspired silhouettes … jewelry designs that, while being firmly rooted in my own urban sensibility, have a primal and somewhat ancient quality.”  I love how the components are coming together.  Oooooh, it’s going to be interesting!

Having spent so much time and energy on updating the website and installing the shopping cart, it was time to take a few days off.  I got to cruise around town and do a thorough perusal of a couple of my favorite haunts.  On Friday, Dave and I rounded up my darling friend, Marilyn, in Bryson City and headed off further west to the Stecoah Valley studio tour to catch up with old friends.  It’s hard to imagine a more idyllic setting than the home and studio of our long-time friends, Jeff and Crim Bassett of Bee Global.

jeff, marilyn and dave in the gallery

cruising the property

my walkin one and only

Such a glorious day, crisp and clear, seeing old friends and enjoying the special charm of Stecoah Valley.

I’m still taking a bit of a break, well for maybe another day or so.  I just finished up another project that I’ve been thinking about for months.  I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect bag for – well seems like forever.  I accost people on the streets, I frequent T J Max, consignment and thrift stores.  I guess the caveat here is I want a really nice bag, but I don’t want to pay a fortune for it.  A couple of years ago, I thought I’d found it.  I got a bunch of gift certificates to Sundance Catalog one year and put them together to buy what looked like the perfect bag.  Turns out the color was not great, the shoulder strap was too short and would not stay in place and I decided I didn’t like the white accent stitching – phooey!  So that fancy, expensive bag’s been sitting in the top of my closet for a good long while.

I struggled with this for a bit, but figured what the heck, it’s better than just sitting in the closet … I got out the black shoe polish and scissors and went to work.  Gone is the annoying shoulder strap, replaced with a new adjustable black cotton webbing one; the odd reddish color and white stitching are now a much improved mottled dark brownish/black.

my "new" bag

It took multiple trips to multiple stores to round up the antique brass snaps and rivets and eyelets and all the appropriate tools, cannibalizing an old belt for it’s buckle and other hardware, but I’m quite satisfied with my finished product.  Not bad for 20 bucks.

It’s been a good break, very good.  My Yogi Tea ‘fortunes’ have been spot on …

My updated table shrine brings me such joy whenever I sit down to work …

And, thanks to Dave’s constant search for new and different music (he’s a bit compulsive actually, Amazon downloads  are so addictive), I’ve got some new background music.  I haven’t listened to everything he’s gotten, but this one is especially lovely.  Sufjan Stevens …

Now, I’m stopping to take deep breaths.  I can feel the forces assembling … creative impulses, ideas, concepts, motivations.  It’s the inexorable current beneath the icy crust.  Exhilarating, joyous anticipation.  Readying myself to leap, for I know without a doubt, the net will appear.

blessings – kvk

kawabunga and yippie kay yay and holy moly and golly gee and lord mercy what a relief!

The shopping cart is up and as best as I can tell right now, running.  I’m going to do a bit of test shopping later, but for now I’m enormously pleased and super proud of my own self for taking on this daunting task.  It’s beccome painfully obvious why it costs thousands of dollars for top-notch web and e-commerce design.  All things considered, I’m quite pleased.  I’m starting off with the PayPal route.  I considered BigCartel, but as I was starting with 80+ sku’s, I opted for Paypal.

Needless to say, the coming days will involve lots more proofing and testing, but for now ………….

I AM DONE!!!!!!!!  check it out here.

Hallelujah and praise be and glory glory glory.

I really do honestly without a doubt believe.

blessings – kvk

Okay, so a major goal of mine is to broaden my market.  I’ve seen first hand from having my jewels at AOT that my work appeals to a wide spectrum of humanity.  Now I want to take it national.

To that end, I just signed up for an ad in BUST magazine – their BUSTshop section in the December/January edition – translates HOLIDAY!  Each issue is on the stands for two months, and my ad will also run on their website for the full two months, plus they have little rotating ad links in the sidebar.

The one thing that keeps coming to mind – I hope these vivacious young things won’t mind that they’re buying jewelry from a slightly crazy menopausal woman.  I know the work speaks for itself and already has broad appeal, but there’s that old self-doubt niggling at my backside.  You see, deep down, what I want to be when I grow up is eccentric. Hmmm, how about chic and eccentric … that’s a nice combination.  Right now, I’m not particularly eccentric, just slightly bent and overall, pretty well-balanced and relatively normal.   I don’t know, can you be eccentric and well-balanced?  I’m definitely a work in progress.

Basically, I’m approaching this with not too much fear, a healthy degree of humor, and a lot of excitement.  Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

deep breaths, lots of deep breaths   …………..  wow, this is pretty exciting!

with enormous gratitude and blessings – kvk

p.s.  a bit of a blast from the past …  remember Howard Jones?  We actually saw him in a solo performance at the Paramount in Seattle back in ’84 or ’85.  We were the oldest people there!  We always loved his positive message, not to mention his stylie threads.  Nice to see he’s still rockin’.

A post from Seth’s blog – I am so in the middle of this

Danielle’s always good for a kick in the pants

Hugh’s decidedly unique perspective

Jack Canfield – Okay, so he’s kind of slick, but I still like him.  And the book has been really helpful – my copy’s got an impressive fringe of neon stickies and gobs of highlighting.  I’m reading it for the third time.

that’s it, just been in business mode today and thought these were interesting…….

blessings – kvk

Wow – Excellent comments!  This has me really excited – so I’m trying to calm down, breathe and remember all the things I’ve been thinking about for the last couple of hours.  I seem to be experiencing a wave of clarity, gotta ride!

What I’ve done in the past is visualize specifics – I want to get into ‘this’ guild, I want to do ‘this’ show, I want to be ‘here’.  Suffice it to say, I haven’t gone to any of those places.  I’ve achieved a wonderful level of success, but not via the path I originally visualized.  Like Clara and Mansuetude were saying, putting out specific desires and goals is potentially incredibly limiting.  Traveling into the unknown, how can we REALLY know what’s available to us?

What I want to do now – lay the groundwork for a general direction, make fertile the soil, ” foster the conditions under which grace is most likely to visit us” (well said Clara).  I’ve been on this planet long enough to know ‘how’ I want to live, what my priorities are, where I’m willing to compromise, where I won’t.  For instance, the main reason I wanted to live in Asheville was GreenLife Grocery with an abundance of readily available high quality organic food with a big focus on the local growers.  The regional supermarket’s bags of wilted, brown kale was enough to make me weep and run away from the rural setting we originally chose straight to this urban center with too much noise, too much traffic, too many people.  But for now, for growing my business, for getting Dave through grad school, for getting to know ourselves and the area a lot better … Asheville is where we are meant to be.

What I’m visualizing for the near future is less specific.  Right now, my business is our only source of income, so I want my business to grow.  The way I see doing that is to broaden my market.  Then, beginning to define a direction and making choices about how to access that broader market.  How do I find something that I know exists, I’m just not sure where it resides.  That’s where I will listen to my heart even more closely.

Is this like the sculptor and the large block of stone?  Was it Michelangelo?  The finished work has been there all along, it’s my job to coax it out of hiding, give it definition, refine it’s edges, polish it to a soft lustre and release it to the universe.  I definitely don’t want more of where I’ve been.  I’ve been ‘this close’ for so many years.  Something has to change.  Something IS changing.  A sticky business for sure and I will absolutely land squarely on my two feet.

I got this link off of today’s WhiteHotTruth post – Gwen Bell’s How to create your personal manifesto .  I haven’t read it yet, but it looks interesting.  Once again, following my heart and my nose, this morning maybe more like key strokes and links, but whatever it is – the wave’s rolling and I’m riding it as far as I can.

thanks everyone for furthering this really excellent conversation.

blessings – kvk

That’s me – in the world of Myers-Briggs personality testing.  I remembered this while showering this morning.  It explains a lot about some of my difficulties with the world of social networking, well networking of any kind really.  Basically, I’m an extreme introvert and function better in my head than in the world.  This is not to say I can’t function out in the world, just that I’d rather not.  I actually function quite well – doing trade or craft shows for example.  For me, it’s performance.   My personality type falls into the ‘good information’ category.  Not a bad thing, not a good thing, just information.  Here’s a link for the curious.

So I got sidetracked today after reading Danielle’s post this morning … color me surprised!  Her Burning Questions guest’s book recommendations got me thinking about business plans and models.  Two books in particular:   Visionary Business by Marc Allen, a really good book which I’ve had for years and then one that I’ve known about for years, but decided immediate acquisition was necessary, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.

I got home from errands, which included purchasing said book followed by lunch and a free Chick-fil-a sandwich (’cause Dave wore his FSU shirt, what people won’t do for free food), and started de-cluttering.  I cleared up  my worktable and sorted through the mystery stack on my bookshelf.  A pile for the library magazine exchange, an inspirational stuff pile, recycling and business stuff.  Then I dug up my really old business plan from July 2001 – that should be interesting reading, and printed out my own Burning Questions answers from this past April.

A lot of what’s bothering me these days is my lack of focus and direction.  Some have commented that I seem really productive within my current plight.  Yep, I am getting things done, making deadlines and all that.  It’s the BIG picture stuff that escapes me.  So my thinking as of right now (amazing how it changes almost daily) is to work on the Visionary Business model for a couple of days.  A really good exercise in that is ‘imagining your ideal scene’ which leads to writing a business plan – bet this gives a lot of people the willies.  I’m really good with this stuff – it’s that well balanced right and left brain of mine.  Y’all do know I spent a big part of my early years in offices?  How’s this for a title – I was the Manager of the Claims Control Department and head File Librarian for the Medicaid Billing System for the state of Florida … followed soon thereafter by several years in banks – teller, loan servicing, loan origination.  See, people can change their spots!

Of course, in between working on writing all this down and doing deep searching about the soul of my business, I’ll be working on jewelry.  Bottom line, I want to know where I’m going.  I want my business to grow and thrive.  So it seems like the best way to do that is to start all over.

My three key questions …

Where am I going?

What do I love?

Is it an authentic expression?

That’s it for today.

blessings – kvk

Sharing my inspirational treasures from the other day got me to thinking …

I’ve got a pretty extensive library here and some of the books are kind of obscure and I bet there’s people out there that might enjoy a peek at some of my favorites.  So before I dive into shopping cart oblivion for who knows how long, I’m taking a web-designer break and hauling out some treasured tomes to share.

Here goes …

I’m always looking for jewelry design sourcebooks.  For contemporary work, I love the books by Elizabeth Olver.

Jewelry Design the Artisans Reference Elizabeth Olver

Jewelry Design, The Artisan’s Reference is a sweet little utilitarian book.  Not too many bells and whistles, but a great visual reference – just like the title says.

The Art of Jewelry Design Elizabeth Olver

Another book of hers is The Art of Jewelry Design from idea to reality.  This one covers some turf.  It looks at all kinds of sources of inspiration, includes terrific sketches and renderings and is chock full of really unusual jewelry.  I really love it.

Design Sourcebook Jewellery

Design Sourcebook Jewellery falls into the sort of obscure category.  A British publication with a fair amount of avant garde/conceptual work, but great for stretching your ideas of what jewelry can be.

Jewelry Design Sourcebook Diana Scarisbrick

Jewelry Design Source Book, Diana Scarisbrick covers ancient to contemporary jewelry.  Not a vast reference by any means, but nice images in a concise format.

The Elements of Design Loan Oei

The Elements of Design by Loan Oei and Cecile De Keget, remains an all time favorite.  Not a jewelry book at all, but it’s a heavenly volume of visual inspiration and new ways of seeing.  Gorgeous photos and lots of repetition of form, shapes and texture.  Never fails to inspire or adjust my perspective.

I really prefer to look to the ancient world and antiquities for literal inspiration.  When I’m looking at classical form and design, it always seems like a good idea to look back, way back.  Here’s three good ones – big volumes that weigh an absolute ton:

jewelry through the ages guido gregorietti

Jewelry Through the Ages by Guido Gregorietti.  A ‘tome’ in the true sense of the word, a heavyweight full of great images.

the art of jewelry

the art of jewelry

The Art of Jewelry by Graham Hughes is an interesting mix of ancient and modern; lots of great  images juxtaposed so you get a real feel for where we’ve been and how far we’ve come.

Handbook of Fine Jewelry

Handbook of Fine Jewelry is, in many ways, quite similar to The Art of Jewelry, but is more of an encyclopedia format.  It’s bursting with terrific images – great for when I’m looking for classical styles to interpret in new and different ways.

For fun and big time eye candy, these next two are enormously satisfying:

The Couture Accessory, Caroline Rennolds MilbankThe Couture Accessory, by Caroline Milbank is just plain fun.  Wild and crazy and all over the planet, couture usually translates to outrageous, but there’s some fairly normal work as well.

Alchemy, a passion for jewels

Alchemy, a Passion for Jewels, by Temple St Clair, is a more recent acquisition.  One of those designers that seems to live a charmed life.  Exquisite work, locales and photography.

These books represent years of collecting, I was kind of obsessed while living in Port Townsend.  I didn’t have any university libraries to peruse, so I started perusing Amazon – very dangerous.  Even better was our local used book store, William James.  Man oh man, they’d get in some extraordinary finds.  Looking at some of them on Amazon as I’ve been putting together this post, well, turns out some of them have been good investments.

So, I’ll leave you with one more.  This is the one that got me started thinking about jewelry in a new and different way.  I started to see what jewelry could be, not what it was supposed to be.  I realized that my design limitations and parameters were entirely self-imposed.  My jewelry does tend towards a classical influence, but that’s a conscious choice, not a boundary.

the art and craft of jewelry

the art and craft of jewelry

The Art and Craft of Jewelry, by Janet Fitch.  I first bought a paperback edition of this back in the mid 90’s.  Then last year I found a 1st edition hardback at William James – snagged!  All these years later, this is still one of my favorite books.  The photos are truly great, the jewelry is fun and fabulous and just plain awesome and it’s just a overall great book.

Well, that’s it for now.  I hope there’s some inspiration and surprises in here.  It’s good fun to share my little treasure trove.

blessings – kvk

This will be me being very productive and being quick like a bunny with this post …

It’s so nice to be in production mode.  However, this little computer is right in front of my worktable and calls to me throughout the day.  Little pings when I’ve got a new email, a song on my current Pandora station that needs a thumbs up or, more importantly, an immediate thumbs down – how did THAT get in there?  Then I’ll get sidetracked … I’ll think of something I want to look up or a site I’d been thinking about and want to see what’s new or a blog that I haven’t visited in a while and want to get caught up.  Very sneeky this little computer, very seductive, very addictive.

Henceforth, I’m making a effort to exercise restraint and not go cruising after this.  Not an easy thing to do!

What’s in the works at the moment will be an Etsy first.  I’m working on some fine silver PMC coin necklaces (there’s bronze versions there, but never silver).  The double strand version of this necklace was the centerfold of  San Francisco MOMA’s holiday flier a couple years ago.  There’ll be at least a couple and at least one with a beach pebble.   It’s such a great piece and looks amazing on.  Coin necklaces – one of the few things I continue to love making – I can get pretty bored with too much repetition.  Of course production and repetition is the basis of my livelihood, so it’s important for me to stay excited by my work.

a bunch of bones and coins

a bunch of bones and coins

The other pieces are my bones.  I’ve been making these for at least 6 or 7 years and have never tired of them.  They’re still fun to make – I still love the volcanic rock texture and the little rolled edges – and they’re still fun to assemble in all sorts of permutations.  I’ll be doing some of them on the stainless steel spring bracelets – the first batch were snapped up almost immediately – and I’ll be doing at least 1 or 2 necklaces that fall into the ‘gender neutral’ category.  They’re 21″ and work as either a necklace or bracelet.

bones in process

I’m getting ready to drill the forged steel pieces.  I had to stop working on them until I got fresh drill bits.  I’ve got lots of ideas for things to do with these elements.  I can’t wait to see how they turn out – always a surprise!  There’ll also be more  hoop earrings, smaller ones – 1 1/2″ diameter and jumbo – 3 1/2″ diameter.

The goal is to have things posted to Etsy on Monday.  Wish me luck!

Okay Kathy – step away from the computer … step away NOW!

sending gratitude and blessings,




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