Friday, March 30, 2012

New Brass Magnetic Interchangeable Lockets in Polarity Shop - oh yes brass is magnetic now!

The new Polarity Brass Locket is out including a gorgeous collaboration with the amazing Mandy Saile of Bijou's Whimsy. These lockets are all fabricated by me from a recycled car part and include a mirror and 3 interchangeable magnet lids. 10% off all brass lockets thru 4/15 with the coupon code BrassRules!

Monday, March 26, 2012

answers $1.00 - correct answers $2.00 - dumb looks are still free (hiring a coach for your maker business)

There may be enough business coaches out there now for us to each have one of our own.

(personally I'm waiting for someone like my old field hockey coach except maybe she won't spit on me when she screams my name loudly enough to have everyone in the stands looking around the grounds for a four legged calico)

Now I have never hired a business coach so my advice is of the "dumb looks are still free" variety

(if I charged for the kind of tidbits I offer up on this blog you would probably all be thinking I had a screw loose, but since I give my tidbits up for free I am pretty certain you are left thinking, that Cat, she is pretty freakin' clever ... once in awhile)

but not knowing what I am talking about has never stopped me before and from what I have heard from friends it hasn't stopped some of the coaches out there who charge oodles, so here is my advice for hiring a coach for your small business:

1. Nice is not always a good thing. Kind is a good thing - you don't want to work with a meanie, but nice is probably not what you need. You probably need to be pushed to the edge of your comfort zone - to see what you are really capable of - you need to sweat.

2. Expertise in your particular field is not a requirement - if you are a knitter and you feel you need the advice of an expert knitter (or someone who has grown their knitting business in a way you aspire to grow yours) what you are really looking for is a mentor not a coach. A coach needs to be a good coach not a good knitter.

(and sometimes a mentor is exactly what you need)

3. Expertise is required. You need someone who knows what you don't know - don't pay someone to tell you stuff you already know - unless what you really need is a kick in the ass to get you going and you can probably find someone to do that for you for free

(I recommend one of those paper signs taped to your back)

You want vision, systems, knowledge and fresh perceptions about your business niche - if things are too general you probably won't get much out of it.

4. Do your homework - you are hiring this person after all. Check references, understand just what you will be getting - materials, proven systems they have developed, private consultations, group consultations, etc - understand the fees

(I have an Etsy friend who hired a coach who helped - ie sent my friend an url to a loan site - her get a small business loan. The coach then collected 10% of the loan since her contract stated she got a percentage of any debt she was able to broker)

when you are paying someone more for an hour of their time than you make for an hour of your time they need to be worth it.

Ask them to connect the dots between the work they did with a client and the results that client achieved.

5. Trust your gut - find someone you like and want to work with.

6. Don't expect too much - unless you are hiring David Blaine you probably can't expect levitating playing cards and disappearing coins (dammit) - this stuff is hard and there aren't usually any easy answers.

A great coach can make a good player into a great player

(and although I'm not sure Coach Spitzer made me into a great player - she did substitute my fear of getting hit with the hockey stick into a fear of her which definitely greatly improved my game)

and we can all benefit from lots of voices having lots of conversations, so I think this is all a good thing just remember if you are looking in this direction to grow your business that a coach is someone you are hiring not a friend you are having coffee with.

(unless you pay your friends by the hour which I may have to start doing actually - sniffle)

* canvas print of 1969 postage stamp by pastpostage

Saturday, March 24, 2012

coming up for air ....

I truly, truly believe that when we are who we truly are we attract what is truly ours

(yes, I just said truly four times in one sentence)

and that when we are not being truly (five) ourselves - the part we were supposed to play in this galactic drama we are working out together goes empty - we don't get an understudy after all - it just sits there all hollow and achy while life rearranges itself around our empty places all the while trying to coax us back into ourselves, into the part we are supposed to be playing - the part we agreed to play when we could see the big picture - calling us to find our voice and use it.

These past few weeks (months?) we have been on an emotional roller coaster around here on several fronts. The challenge as always has been to make sure these new circumstances don't cause us to shut down, contract or stop trusting ourselves and life.

To stay open - even when we want to put up the CLOSED sign and go fishing.

I know that surrender and vulnerability are ground zero for creating anything new, anything lasting, anything real.

To love we have to be willing for our hearts to break, definitely open, but maybe all to pieces, too. It takes courage to make the kind of mistakes that bring us to our knees - maybe we do it to evolve at a quicker pace - maybe we want to wake up faster - maybe we just can't not do it.

All the stuff going on in the world is just mirroring all the stuff going on in our individual lives - I truly (yes, I am going for the world record now) believe that so many people I know are being called to slow down, our priorities realigned and drawn back to center for a reason.

DAVID UPDATE - I didn't intend to update about David, but maybe this is all a little too cryptic without it although this post is definitely not all about David. I will say that he has had alcohol relapses (and this is way too small and insignificant a word for what actually happened which included the police and a BAC of .30 and was followed by heartache, anger and finally numbness) and still has received no medication for his schizophrenia - although he did open up to his case manager that he hears voices in the attic talking about him which could be a huge step.

As I write this we have no idea where he is (he walked out of the first day of his day program yesterday) and what we are going to do next .... when I finally broke down at the hospital and said that he was a danger to himself and others and I would sign that and have him committed I was told "it doesn't work that way" (after I have been told for weeks that it does work that way) and he was asked "are you homicidal?" "are you suicidal?" his negative answers and his signature (and mostly I'm sure, his lack of insurance) got him released ...

For so many years we didn't know him. We knew he was out there, but his problems didn't feel connected to us. Now that we know him everything has changed - we can't unknow him - we can't be unconnected.

And although sometimes it feels like the gains have come at too high a price as we struggle to keep our hearts open (I cannot imagine how a parent could go through this with their child - and anyone who has come out the other side - and I pray we are lucky enough to get an other side - still open and connected with the world is my hero) we know in our deepest places that our seeds have been sown into future gardens that we cannot even begin to imagine; gardens that bloom so brightly they will burn our eyes to look at them.

*amazing underwater photography by elle moss

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thankful Thursday or tickets, tailgates and teeth-skin ... yes, you read that right

Taking a little work break to write a Thankful Thursday post about all the amazingness that has been happening around here.

The first 3 things that come to mind are:

1- I am thankful that my sister scored tickets for James Taylor. Yes, Sweet Baby James. This is the woman who teases me about my love for all things Mellencamp when at least he's still mobile.

Hopefully, her seats are close enough to the stage that she'll be able to hear his bones getting brittle and see the wires holding him up and moving him across the stage. True, when Mellencamp sings "when I fight authority" he's talking about the AARP, but at least he won't crumble to dust if you shake him vigorously ... yet ... just kidding Tori. I love James, too.

2. I am thankful that hubs got a new tailgate from the dealer. Hubby went to some kind of "restaurant" auction (are we opening a restaurant now - I don't ask) and his truck tailgate was stolen ... off his truck ... in the parking lot. Someone just lifted it off (you would think these things would be welded on somehow) and carried it away.

(I think it was his "buckle up, it makes it harder for the aliens to suck you out of your car" sticker)

so anyhoo, he got a temporary dented up one from the junkyard and drove around for awhile with one of those sticker families on the wrong color tailgate. The wrong color didn't bother us, but the sticker family with its tiny little row of ... cats ... was driving Olive nuts.

3. I am thankful that Shark Week repeats are now on youtube so we can spend our evenings alternating between Jon Stewart and learning everything you ever wanted to know about Great Whites before we head out to the beach this summer.

Like did you know that the skin of a Great White is composed of denticles, which are like scales made of tiny teeth. How badass is that? This shark can kill you with its skin.

(which is kind of like me right now, have I told you I have a staph infection ... on my nose ... don't ask)

Also sharks prefer Pottery Barn to Target. Trader Joe's to Whole Foods. And they wish to God we'd stop peeing in the ocean.

OK now back to work for me - I feel compelled to mention that there is a new moon right now in Aries which makes it a perfect time to set our intentions for some new things to be thankful for - true you may not be able to manifest the kind of amazingness we have going on over here in Jersey, but James Taylor could be falling apart performing at a nursing home theater near you ....

*ninja tee from geekthings

Sunday, March 18, 2012

you don't have a problem you have a predicament ...

A friend said to me this week - "you don't have a problem,

problems have solutions

you have a predicament

predicaments only have prayers"

(and yes, it did make me google predicament because I didn't realize a predicament, although the word does conjure up dire images of maidens tied to railroad tracks ... that could just be me from too many years watching Underdog or Bullwinkle or Mighty Mouse or whatever that was ...  is that much different than a problem)

predicament (pri-dik-uh-muhnt) noun
catch -22, bind, corner, no win situation

I'll write a post about the particulars at some point, but just not today.

It is amazing how much time and energy and power we invest in trying to solve things that are just not solvable even when we know better ...

So, for the week ahead - I will be asking not for a solution, but just to be shown how to live with what already is. Let's see where this takes me ....

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

the blessing in disguise ....

Sometimes the things we are dealing with feel so big and so important

that making the right decision feels ...

well, literally like life and death -

and this death could be an actual death and it could be the actual death of a dream and since our dreams are literally the stuff our future selves are created from - the death of a dream is huge

And we find ourselves looking for answers about what to do and no matter how still and how quiet we get the only answer seems to be this uncomfortable feeling that something important is happening here and we had better be paying attention ...

and of course, this feeling is uncomfortable because it is a gift -

(if it was comfortable we wouldn't pay attention to it)

so maybe instead of asking for an answer we should be asking for a journey and the ability to recognize the blessings in disguise as we encounter them ...

* his and hers disguises by yellow heart art

Friday, March 9, 2012

New Wine Cork Earrings in Uncorked and a special coupon code





I made some wine cork button earrings for a special bride's special day and a few more for my shop Uncorked.

10% off any Uncorked purchase thru 3/23 with the coupon code BRISTOL (the bride's name - no, not that Bristol) - have an amazing weekend everyone! xo

Thursday, March 8, 2012

you don't have to be a lion to sound like one

if you have to wait
for it to roar out of you,
then wait patiently,
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else

...charles bukowski

(lovin' this today - what with it
being international women's day
and all)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

when it's better to receive ... more business lessons from the home front

It is better to give than to receive -

just another "truth" that isn't well ... always quite so truthy.

Recently someone asked David, who had defined his occupation as panhandler only 70 days ago, after paying David $25 for a car wash -

"doesn't it feel better to earn $25 than to be given $25 for doing nothing?"

and of course it does feel better to the person doing the earning, because our society places a value on earning and working and we have all internalized this

(warning short rant ahead - maybe this will change when we all internalize, through the crumbling of institutions and lack of employment that paying to live on this planet and working hard at an unpalatable job just to keep a roof over our heads is part of the old paradigm - life is calling on us to find work that makes us feel alive and joyful and instead of running around in circles looking for jobs similar to the jobs that have left us, we need to do the internal work that will draw our right livelihood to us)

but it is just as giving to receive the gift as it is to give it.

It feels good to give.

If someone offered me $5.00 though I wouldn't take it. I would say "no, I don't need this, you keep it".

If someone offered David $5.00 he would take it. The giver would feel good and it would be David giving that person the gift of feeling good.

This better to receive lesson translates to our business in many ways. Only so much can go out before something has to come back in.

Undervaluing ourselves and our work serves no one.

(save that for our copycats in their race to the bottom with their Chinese metals that are not metal and "making" ie applying toxic glue)

Time and energy given out without time and energy taken in serves no one ... not for long anyway.

Next time we are offered up something from life, let's really, really take it in.

(with grace and gratitude and a really large heaping of ... YES, GIMME MORE OF THAT!)

1. Absorb the wonderful feedback you just received - because you are totally awesome and have been working your ass off and earned it

2. When offered the last cookie ... take it

3. When offered help that you would normally refuse ... accept it and be grateful

(gratitude is like a beacon to the universe to send you more)

And maybe if you have been giving for a long time without receiving, you need to become a greedy little bastard for awhile to balance things out and that is ok, too.

(of course, if you are normally inclined to be a greedy little bastard pretty much the opposite may be true for you, but most creative people I know are too quick to give away their power)

Maybe we can change "it's better to give than to receive" into "it's amazing to give and it's amazing to receive, too".

xo all

Thursday, March 1, 2012

thankful thursday - business lessons from the home front


I have had so many aha moments lately

(where the hell is Oprah when we need her?)

and maybe the biggest aha AHA has been that when we know something we cannot unknow it.

Life just doesn't support our playing dumb.

(when we were kids and we got in trouble, my sister would cover her eyes thinking that if she could not see our parents they could not see her - even then it didn't work - well, it probably did work because she was kinda cute, but it shouldn't have worked, dammit)

When we learn something and we resonate with it and we know that it is true for us and we do not live it, well, things have a way of just not working out and at the very least things have a way of being alot harder.

It's like we get off easy with a little dumb luck early on, but then life says - ok this one knows more and then ... more is expected.

Anyhoo, although I know from my business that it is best to set my intention and work/enjoy the process without trying to control exactly how everything is going to happen, somehow I have not been translating this knowing to life with David.

We set our intention, take action in that direction, then trust that life will take care of the details.

I realized that this was exactly what I was not doing with David.

I was totally focused on the 'hows' - how to get him to agree to see a psychiatrist, get him housing, health insurance, etc, etc - how was I ever going to make these things happen - I was failing.

Then it hit me that maybe the 'hows' are not my job. And it hit me that I already know this, but I just haven't been doing it.

So, I set a clear intention for myself, because I can't control any of this (and I definitely can't control David) and have been doing what I can with what I have from the place I am right now.

I started seeing David visiting a psychiatrist, moving into a wonderful place with other dual diagnosis men, getting to the doctor, having a happy life and I started spending an hour a day (total) doing something in these areas.

Life rewards action after all, but I also have alot of other things to take action on and since the hows are not my job I trust that there are stronger, better hands at work here.

(since changing my thinking or I should say since taking actions that support the truths I already embrace with my thinking - David has agreed to see a psychiatrist, is going to social services tomorrow for the first time with his new intensive case manager - yay, it took 2 months, but we got one - and he got his fishing license)

xo all

* shoe print by cookstah