Sunday, November 18, 2012

On Creativity. And Monkeys.

One of the things I used to love about drinking is that it got me out of my own head.

My brain, like so many other alcoholics, is constantly jabbering away at me.  I don't think you need to be an alcoholic to have this brain. I'm sure perfectionists know what I'm talking about, as well as people who struggle with obsessive/compulsiveness, anxiety or depression.

These are all diseases of the mind; you can become imprisoned in your own head.

For so many years I turned to an unhealthy outlet to turn down the volume.  Alcohol, to me, felt like a magic elixir that erased all the background noise, and made the world focus into one beautiful point.

It took me years to realize that peaceful, relaxed space lasted for maybe half an hour, if I was lucky, before it turned on me and the restlessness and anxiety returned.  Because I'm an alcoholic (although I didn't know it then), I kept drinking and drinking, trying to get back to that warm, fuzzy place.

It's the reason getting sober is so hard. All the mental madness you thought you were keeping at bay with alcohol comes flowing in like a rushing river.  It takes time for the brain to retrain its pleasure pathways.  You need to fill the hole left with alcohol with healthy distractions.

In early sobriety I read a LOT. I slept a LOT. I watched tons of crappy, funny television - anything that held my attention but didn't make me think too much.  I made an upbeat play list on my iPod and went for long walks. I went to recovery meetings.  Little by little, I had glimpses of a peaceful brain.

When I found jewelry making, though, I found my new drug of choice.  Newly sober, I used to prowl the aisles of crafting stores like I used to prowl the aisles of liquor stores, searching madly for something that would catch the attention of the mad yammering monkeys in my brain.

Cupped Flower Ring
After failed attempts at painting, knitting and even needlepoint, one day I glimpsed a little beading kit at Michaels, a cheap little plastic box filled with polished stone beads and stretchy cording.   My heart skipped a beat; I knew in an instant I had found my thing.

For the first year of my sobriety I made jewelry alcoholically.

I stayed up into all hours of the night trying new techniques, obsessively watching YouTube tutorials to learn new techniques (I didn't have the patience to take a class, are you kidding me?).

Swivel Pendant - Stamp on both sides!
My little Etsy shop grew, and before I knew it almost every day I had an order, something to create for someone else.   Suddenly, I found myself with a part-time job I could do from home.  I didn't do it on purpose.  As I find is true about so much in my life, the Universe had plans for me that I couldn't have foreseen. Left up to me I would have been far to insecure to shoot for anything as lofty as selling something I made.

Wide Stamped Ring - Hand Hammered or Smooth
So here I am, four years later, and I work 25-35 hour weeks (more than that during the busy seasons),  making orders, perfecting new techniques and losing myself in creativity.

In the coming weeks, there are going to be some announcements about my shop - some changes are afoot. I'm really excited about the direction it's going.  And what I love the most is that I don't feel like I'm running the show. Business ideas and jewelry designs come to me out of nowhere; they wake me up in the middle of the night, shooting into my subconscious brain like little meteorites.

Cupped Heart Ring
I am so grateful.  The ability to create has saved my sanity more than once. Making jewelry while going through cancer treatments was another way to get out of my head, away from the fear.

One thing I can announce now is that I am making hand stamped rings.  If you're a Facebook friend of mine, you've already been inundated with my posts about how excited I am about these.

They are a terrific gift idea, or for a hint to someone to give to you!  And for the month of November ONLY  I am having a sale on all hand stamped jewelry, teacher gifts and I've even made a section of my store full of over 35 holiday gift ideas (and adding more daily).

"There is a crack in everything; that is how the light gets in" 

The only catch is you have to be a newsletter subscriber to find out how to get the 15% discount (and every month I send out new promotions and discounts for newsletter subscribers only.  I only send them once [or sometimes twice if I have a special announcement] a month and I will never share your email with any third party).

Stacking Rings
To sign up, look for the "Sign up for my newsletter" tab on the right hand sidebar. Enter your email, and then CHECK YOUR EMAIL TO VERIFY or you won't get the newsletter.   Or you can try clicking here  (but please remember to verify your subscription in your email).

Steely Sapphire Stretchy Ring

So stop on by and check on my new pieces, if you want.  I'm mentioning all this now (I know, I don't want to think about holiday shopping either) because the stamped/soldered rings take 1-2 weeks to process and deliver, so if you're considering one as a gift for someone (or for yourself) you should order soon (especially if you are a subscriber and have the discount!).

Customizable stamped necklace - use any words! 
I can't wait to announce the changes that are coming (hopefully soon) but rest assured the jabbering monkeys in my brain are really, really happy.


  1. So excited for this, Ellie!
    I'll be dropping hints to my husband this week and if he doesn't come through I'm ordering myself a stamped ring with my One Little Word on it. :)
    Also have to tell you: I gifted my son's teacher with that "impact, inspire, imagine" pendant last year and nearly every time I've seen her at school this year, she's wearing it. :)

  2. Oooo, I love this post because it contains a double present: the first part helps me so much with where I am right now, and then "BAM!" gorgeous jewelry! I have GOT to order a stamped ring with my daughter's name on it. Glad I'm finally catching up on your blog...
    -K. Telling