Monthly Archives: December 2014

Failure: The Road to Fabulous?

Today I’m going to talk to you about something I am very well acquainted with, and my guess is you are too. What I am about to share could get heavy, so I’m going to do my best to inject humor into it to keep it light. I’m talking about the f-word. Failure, silly!

You could call this post a heart to heart, a soul-bearing, just keepin’ it real. But please don’t call it a pity party! Why? Because, after I tell you all the sad parts, I’m going to focus on how failure can lead to fabulous! It’s not easy to be completely transparent about my failures. But I do so in the hope that I might offer encouragement to anyone feeling down or defeated. You’re not alone! This will probably be the longest post I have written. Are you with me?

To look at me, you might not think I’ve had to overcome much in my life. Wow. You could not be more wrong. There are some things I won’t talk about in this post. Maybe another time, another post. But for now I will narrow the list to just 4.

FAILURE #1: Not making the cheerleading squad.
As trivial as this may seem, it remains to this day the death of a dream that can still bring me to tears. You see, my two sisters before me were both cheerleaders. I thought they were amazing and wanted to be as amazing as they were. I was a painfully shy, awkward, 14 year old, with acne, braces, and zero self esteem. We had very few material things so I wore a lot of hand-me-downs.

This is me bringing humor into the story.
Freshman year Pep Club

I just knew that if I could be a cheerleader, that would be the key to my popularity and happiness. So I practiced and practiced. I tried out for the freshman squad and didn’t make it. I was so disappointed but determined to try again the next year. When the next try-outs rolled around, I was optimistic. But again, I failed to make the squad. I wanted it so bad. Oh how my heart ached. Well, I could try one more year, and that is what I would do. At the next opportunity, my cheerleader sister who was a senior at the same high school worked with me and coached me. There were 2 phases of try-outs. The first phase was in front of a panel of judges that consisted of senior cheerleaders and a few teachers. At home following phase 1, my sister hinted that I was in good standing, though she wasn’t allowed to say much. Phase 2 was the next day, in front of the whole school. The students cast their votes, and the results of the try-outs would be announced the next day. That night back at home in my bedroom it was all I could think about. Would my dream finally become a reality? Would I finally be “cool” and accepted? After all, my sister did say my chances were good. When she came into my bedroom that night I noticed she was acting weird. I was so excited and hopeful, and she was very low key. As I wondered aloud if I would make the squad, she said something that surprised me, and not in a good way. “If you want me to tell you, I will.” My heart sunk. That could not be good. The look on her face said it all. I didn’t make it. My hopes were dashed. My world was rocked and I felt like I would never recover. I sobbed deep sobs of grief, literally all night long. I had never wanted anything so badly. I told her that there was no way I could go to school the next day. It was just too humiliating. She told me that I should be brave and go with my head held high. Easy for her to say! But I loved her, and knew she was right. Ugh, what a miserable day it was but I made it through.

When I look back at this time in my life, I know it has affected me in many negative ways. Self doubt lurks in the back of my mind, rearing its ugly head everytime I experience a slight setback in my creative ventures. When thoughts of that experience resurface (once every couple of years) the pain I felt that night is as real today as it was then. I don’t dwell on it. I just remember how sweet my sister was, and how when I came home from school that awful day there was a rose and a card from her and my mom telling me that they loved me.

I also know that the failure, at that very tender age, was an important thread in the tapestry of my life for good. In the long run, it has shaped my character with the ability to feel no shame in failure. I didn’t make the squad, but my relationship with my sister became more precious. And last but not least, it was only a few months later that I became aware of the love that God had for me when I encountered Him in a life-changing way. I can’t help but think that if I had been busy with cheerleading, I would not have met the people nor been in the set of circumstances that ultimately brought about my salvation. Sometimes disappointment is His appointment. I’d call that fabulous!

FAILURE #2 & #3:
I have tried and failed many times in the business arena. After sinking a good amount of money into a computer based business in 1996, though I tried to make a go of it, I was unable to make any real money and ultimately had to give it up. Then a few years later I patented a clock design that we were unable to successfully market. After years of pursuing the idea and throwing money at it, it failed.
Interchangeable clock panels. Not sure what I was thinking with these designs?!

Like the adage says, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I have a business inside of me and I won’t give up! Those years have taught me a lot about what doesn’t work. I think I’m beginning to approach business with a better sense of what will work ~ maybe? I’m learning to see things more realistically rather than with starry eyes. I love to blog and I love to create. I think I’m on the right path. I am making a fresh commitment to blog regularly. I will continue to pursue jewelry design and graphic design. And while I have not seen any great revenue from it, it’s something.

But I have to ask ~ where’s the fabulous?

Yes, I truly love connecting with readers and other bloggers. Please believe me when I say that is true. But I want more than a hobby. I’m not afraid of hard work. If I keep at it, will it pay off?

FAILURE #4 & Current (and the reason I have written this post): Swap & Tell

I had high hopes for Swap & Tell. The concept seemed strong: Shop owners (anyone with goods or services) link up and trade products with other shop owners and review / get reviewed in a blog post or on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.

The link up started in August. I have had numerous comments from blogger friends saying they love the idea and plan to join in. But nobody shows. Well, not nobody, there have been a few. I understand that their intentions are good. It’s time consuming to link up with other blogs. I get it. So, I’ll chalk this one up to another lesson learned. Except, what is the lesson?

Is there value in learning what doesn’t work? I don’t know.

Actually, I can’t call Swap & Tell a failure. Over the course of the 13 weeks we ran the link up, I have had the pleasure of getting to know some great people. Heather of Woods of Bell Trees who was a co-host has become a friend. Donna of Distressed Donna Down Home who co-hosted for a while was a source of encouragement for which I am grateful. I also had the pleasure of swapping products with Brooke of Artistic Endeavors, Susan of Hazelnut Deux, and Daniel of D & O Celtic Jewelry. Each of these shop owners have wonderful, quality products and I would enthusiastically encourage you to check them out.

I don’t know if we’ve given Swap & Tell enough time to catch on, but I feel like we have. How long is long enough? It feels like it’s time to let it go, so that’s what I’m going to do. And I’m going to be brave, and say without shame that I tried.

To be perfectly honest, I have rarely experienced the kind of success I have hoped for at the things I have set out to do in life. I have been blessed by God with many wonderful experiences and people in my life, and I cannot take credit for any of it. And I know that as long as I keep my eyes on Him, the rest is in His capable hands.

With that being said, I am determined to face 2015 with courage and hope. I have some fresh ideas for the blog bouncing around in my head that I look forward to sharing with you. One is a new series I will be announcing in January. I’ll give you a hint: it’s about fashion and decor. Shocker, huh?

So, is failure the road to fabulous? Mistakes and failure, if handled right, can be great steps toward success, right? I’ve taken many of those steps. I’m ready for fabulous!

Happy New Year!

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God and Sinner Reconciled ~ Merry Christmas!

With only 2 days left to prepare for the big day, I would like to take a moment to say Merry Christmas from my house to yours, and to share a few of my holiday vignettes. Many of my displays are the same from year to year. I might tweak them a bit, but once I get them how I love them, I put them together the same way each year until I’m ready for something different. I will only show you the ones that are brand new this year, and I have two of them.


The first one is my buffet that sits between my kitchen and dining room. You can see how I decorated it last year here. I decided to use most of those pieces on my other buffet in the dining room this year. So I had to come up with a new look for this buffet, and my inspiration was the pair of mirrors.


The one in front has most of the silvering worn away, and has a sort of wavy pattern in the glass. The ripples remind me of sand dunes or the ocean tide. It’s the same mirror I used in my blog header. I love it so I use it a lot!

First I took the tiny vintage garland and draped it over the mirrors in a random way. I pulled objects I already had like the birdhouse church and the two white stick trees. I added the gold angel hair underneath for softness and embellished the birdhouse with vintage picks of gold glass glitter. I wanted to bring in some silver so I added the mercury glass owl candle holder.

A real bird’s nest tied in perfectly with the birdhouse. I needed a little more sparkle so I added the vintage coiled tinsel and two candlesticks with crystal prisms.

The second thing that’s new this year was a project my husband helped with.
We have had several trees cut down and I am finding so many ways to repurpose the slices, both small and large. I was standing at my kitchen window one day and I spied the large slices laid out overlapping one another and it gave me an idea. So I grabbed hubby and dragged him into the yard to share my thought with him, fully expecting him to be blown away by my great idea! wink, wink. Most of the slabs I needed were already there, but I needed a couple more cut to fill out the tree. He obliged, and the result was this simple stacked Christmas tree. It’s the centerpiece on my dining room table, but I had to move it to the end to get good lighting for the picture. Please excuse the shot of me in the mirror. And see those pumpkin colored walls? Those have got to go in 2015!

So now to the heart of the matter, the reason we celebrate. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the decorating and gift buying to the point of forgetting to pause and give due honor to the King of kings. I’ve done it, and I have to remind myself to spend time pondering the beauty of the Christmas story and how it truly does make the season bright with hope and sweet with peace. I wish you a heart full of joy and a new sense of wonder at the miracle of Christ’s birth and the gift of reconciliation with the Father.

Merry Christmas!

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Vending at Junk Jubilee Jingles ~ Part 3

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you’re getting everything checked off your list and that you’re taking time to reflect on the wonderful meaning of Christmas. I still have one more set of pictures from the market I sold at in November, Junk Jubilee Jingles.

Here I am, ready to make some sales.

And here I am with a sweet neighboring vendor I got to know during the show. Nicole of Angel Wings and CT is amazing! She has a shop in downtown Winterset, IA. I haven’t seen it but I’m sure it’s full of gobs of goodies, judging from her booth at the show.

Here is a look at a few of her creations


In her shop, she also carries boutique clothing, jewelry, home accents and antiques. It was a pleasure meeting her. You can check out her Facebook page here Angel Wings and CT.


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Junk Jubilee Jingles: Pictures and Stories Part 2

I’m back with more pictures and stories from the show that consumed the last 3 months of my designing time. And not just my studio time, to be totally honest. Many things are put on hold when I am preparing for a big show. Thankfully, I have a husband that is understanding. He knows by now that I get so crazy consumed by getting ready for the big event that there will be big heaping piles of laundry, take-out meals more than twice a week, and requests to please get out his tools and “do a little job for me”.

These necklace stands are one of those requests that he so graciously fulfilled.




My husband has willingly gone along with me to many shows and helped with set up, tear down and anything else I have needed from him. But this time when my best friend offered to go in his place, he happily bowed out.


We stayed up late talking all three nights at the hotel, even though we needed our sleep. I was just too keyed up to sleep. Do you know that feeling when you are just so exhausted but your mind won’t shut off? Yeah. So we had wine and chocolate, laughed and cried, and fell asleep in time to get about 5 hours each night.

When the show closed the first night, we headed out for our 20 minute drive to the hotel. About ten minutes into the drive, I heard a still, small voice nudge my mind with a thought ~ a scary thought. I asked Bobbi to grab my purse from the back seat and see if I had put the money bag in there. As she frantically dug around in my purse, my gut told me that it wasn’t there. Me and my gut were right. I pulled over and we searched everywhere before heading back to the fairgrounds. The ten minutes back seemed like an eternity. I just kept saying, it will be there, nobody took it, it will be there. I ran from the car to the building and tried the door ~ locked! So I ran around the building trying doors until one opened. I tried to calmly (not insanely) walk past the people lingering by the door. I got to my booth, checked the place I kept it, and it was there! I can’t tell you how relieved I was! I’m usually not a particularly forgetful person, except when I’m sleep deprived.

The next day it snowed about 3 inches, and as we were getting ready to close, people were saying that there were several reports of cars sliding off into ditches. Oh yay! Nighttime highway driving in an unfamiliar city…with slick roads! Another drive to the hotel that should have taken 20 minutes turned into an hour. I wasn’t taking any chances so I drove really slowly and we arrived safely and ready for the hot tub. A good soak while watching it snow from the hotel window ~ does it get any better?


Having Bobbi there gave me a much needed dose of girl time, but she was also extremely helpful. From rolling up her sleeves and helping with the heavy lifting, to offering valuable advice. It was her suggestion to pair necklaces and bracelets that coordinated on the necklace stands, to assist customers in putting together sets. I think they displayed great this way.


And now, for a look at some of the other wildly talented vendors’ booths.








I still have a few more pictures to show you and a vendor to introduce you to, but I will save that for the next and final JJJ post. I hope you’ll come back and read part 3.


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