Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Balancing Life

I am starting to let the stress get to me again. Preparing for next quarter's classes, grading for my online students, getting ready for Christmas and zero time to be creative. It was somehow fortuitous that I took a few minutes to read a newsletter post from a lady who has been in the jewelry business for a long time. In this article she addresses artists and entrepreneurs, but really it holds true no matter what you do in life. I am posting the article here in hopes that someone will benefit from it as I think I have. Sometimes you just need a new perspective (and yes, it says in the newsletter we can repost as long as we use her blurb at the bottom):

3 Essential Steps to Self Mastery: Balancing Life As An Artist

Being an entrepreneur or solo-preneur is a great balancing act. There's family, friends, production work, creative work, creative play, and then the icky, boring business schtuff.

How do we fit it all in a day's work without exhaustion, overwhelm, and unhappiness?
Our continuous overload of "must-do's" can be overwhelming which initiates that good ole fight or flight reaction in our lizard brains. Yep, right into reaction mode versus creation mode, which often results in procrastination. Funny that that particular words starts with "pro". I'm not "for" it by any means!
The more pressure we feel, the more easily we default to this mode which then becomes habit. Stress is in fact the absence of faith in ourselves. So it's essential to have tools to help us keep the faith in our ability to get it all done.
Yep, we all know this stuff, but what can we do to implement the tools to become masters of self. We can't manage time. Unless you can heard flies, forget about managing time. What we need to do is "manage self".

Here are 3 essential tools you'll need to implement to help balance life:

1- Evaluate & determine your circadian rhythm

There are 2-3 hours that are our most productive time. Time when we feel the most energetic. When is that for you?
Do you schedule your most important genius work during these hours? If not, it's time to reevaluate your schedule. Really think hard and determine when you'll include self-care, creative genius work, play, and business/marketing time.

2- Schedule your day the night before - batch your day

Now that you've figured out your most productive time, do a shortened version of the Sunday Summit every night.
Your subconscious then has time to work on any troubles or ideas you might have. How great is that! Wake up with a sense of clarity and purpose, with a rudder on your ship!
When you schedule your time, remember that we work best in 40-50 minute bursts. Try setting your timer at the beginning of the hour and then use the 10-20 minutes for breaks (dance, return calls, be social on facebook, drink water, etc).

3- Eliminate Distraction

Not only is it a good idea to remove distractions it's a good idea to have sacred space in which to do different tasks.
Turn off your email, facebook, chat, etc. It's only 40-50 minutes. You can do without it and then reward yourself later.
Athletes, writers and lots of others, implement triggers to signal their brain, "hey, it's time to do your genius work"! Baseball players will adjust the velcro on their glove, tap their shoes, etc. Others might put on certain music, light a candle, etc.
     Involve all the senses when creating habit and successful work/creative environments.

Teacher, mentor, artist and founder of the Artful Success Program, Tonya Davidson helps artists take their techniques and business skills to the next level. As the CEO and founder of Whole Lotta Whimsy she has passionately empowered artists to live creatively from the inside out. Create the life you love by subscribing to her ezine, reading her blog, or following her on facebook/twitter

And, I want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Yes, I do like metal music (after all I am a product of the 80s), however in this case I am talking actual metal. As much as I have grown to love working with glass, I have also grown to love working with all different types of metal.

Copper is one of my favorites. I love how it can be bright and shiny or warm with a nice dark patina. I have found that some people are avid lovers of copper jewelry and others don't care for it at all. If you are one of those that love copper then you probably have a preference between bright, shiny copper and copper with a warm patina.

Either way it is important to take care of your copper jewelry properly to keep it beautiful. I have researched the best ways to take care of your copper, and here is some of what I have come up with.

To clean your copper run some warm water and add a small amount of mild soap. Use a soft cloth dipped in the water to wipe down your jewelry to remove any dirt and the body oils that accumulate on it from wear. Make sure to rinse and dry your piece thoroughly.

If you prefer shiny copper over the patina that copper gets, the best way to store your copper jewelry is in an air tight plastic bag with a zipper. Air is what causes the copper to patina and storing it this way will slow that process down.

To bring a patinaed piece back to that bright copper shine, pour some lemon juice in a bowl and add a little salt. Dip the piece in the lemon juice and set it up to dry. Ketchup is another home made polish you can use to bring the shine of your copper back. I have polished copper both ways and they both work. It is the acid content in the lemons and the ketchup. Do remember that some jewelry artists use different patinas on the pieces they make to give the copper different colors. If you have a piece you bought this way, don't use either of these methods to polish it because they will remove that patina.

Some people are afraid to wear copper because they have had a bad experience with copper changing their skin colors. This generally happens when the piece is dirty, tarnished and has accumulated skin oils from wear. Just clean the piece and wash the discoloration off of your skin. A clean piece generally won't change your skin color.