Naughty or Nice? Silly or Serious?

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Man do my kids LOVE their elf!

But, like most parents, Charley our elf is the bane of us – their parent’s, existence!

When our elf wakes up in the same place as the day before, the kids are devastated and for some reason, remembering to move this felted num-nut is unattainable!

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Luckily, I figured out my husband and I are parental failures a long time ago!

This is when I decided Charley wasn’t going to show up like the other Elves on the Shelves the day after Thanksgiving.  No Charley was going to come by mail from the North Pole roughly every December 15th thus relieving the pressure on the poor Walsh parents who now only had to remember to move the elf ten days instead of 30!

Now this can be very disappointing to children as they hear stories from all of their friends about what their silly elves have been up to.  But you see, I thought of that too.  Our Elf comes with a note each year telling the kids why it always comes so late!

Ya know, if you are going to lie to your kids to keep up this “Magic of the Season” then you might as well go all the way ;)

So at first when they were younger, the letter’s from their elf would say “I am in charge of toy manufacturing and we have been really busy” or “I am in charge of the naughty and nice list and the list took longer than usual to fill out” you know, stuff like that.  But as they have gotten a little older I started getting a little more serious. Charley started leaving maps of New Orleans and the destruction from Hurricane Sandy. He might work at a homeless shelter or hospital helping people who needed it.  You have to remember, Charley the elf is one serious elf, he is like second in command to Santa. Charley isn’t sprinkling glitter in toilets or nibbling Christmas cookies, Charley is late to the Walsh house for VERY IMPORTANT REASONS!!!

Well, this year I may have gone too far.  Being an anti-consumer borderline hippie, I may have sat down to write the letter and thought a little too much about what’s going on in our world.

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Yeah, this one may have went a little too far :) It sounds way more like their mom than their elf!

In hindsight, how could I have forgotten to have Charley stop in Paris for the environmental conventions?  I mean the North Pole is going to turn into a tropical island resort in the next few years  and I haven’t heard a peep from Santa or his elves. Republicans?  Hmm…

Oh well, ya gotta seize those teachable moments when you can!

If I get my kids to think about others for even a moment, it will have been worth this ridiculous masquerade!!!

And as for old Charley, he is hiding very well thank you.  We are on day three and no slip-ups thus far.  Let’s hope he keeps the magic until Christmas ;)

Hmm…My thoughts on Craft Shows

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Well I made it through!

Generally, I am sick as a dog at this point but instead I’m cool as a cucumber. Doing holiday bazaars has put me through an entire range of emotions.  Each show I did was an entirely different experience.

At my first show I was positioned right next to the chocolate popcorn lady.  Very quickly, I realized this was about what people who attended this show wanted to invest in! Popcorn was flying out the door and I was wondering what I had gotten myself into!   There was one saving grace.  There was one silver lining and that was my friends.  This first show was also the closest to my home and so many wonderful people stopped by to give me a hug, invest in some of my work and keep me smiling.  I will not forget their kindness.

The second show was a complete dud for me!  It was completely overwhelming.  There were over 70 vendors, yet not too artsy, it was primarily knitted Afghans, Tupperware and more of that chocolate popcorn!!!  There were 4 of us vendors tucked into a corner that was completely bypassed by traffic.  This was incredibly frustrating.  I made my investment back, but the day very much felt like I was selling used cars rather than something I feel very strongly about.

The third show was just the right fit.  The photos above were of me setting up for this event.  The biggest difference was that my first two shows were school affiliated events and the final show was at an art center.  The Jamestown Art Center.  The venue was small.  Only about 20 vendors and mostly artists.  There were printmakers, painters, potters, clothing designers and overall very unique artisans.  It took place in their gallery so the lighting was beautiful.  The final wonderful attribute was the clientele.  I’ve never met such an enthusiastic and curious bunch of people.  Too many to count would come up and engage in conversation about my process, my interests and where I was from.  Oh man, does that make the time fly!  And many people bought some of my work and would tell me who it was being gifted to and how excited they were to give something hand-made.  WOW.  Is that the difference?  Finding shows with like-minded people?

Your thinking BIG DUH …right?

If only it was that easy!  Apparently you have to kiss a few toads before you find your prince show!

Overall, I thought for sure I was going to swear up and down that I’d never do this again! But, in the end, I stayed calm (well not really – as calm as I could!), I didn’t take it personally and I absorbed it all as a learning experience.  That them there means growth I believe!

I leave you with some photos I took during the events while trying to keep myself occupied.  There were definitely some characters.  Life would be so boring without them!

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I Had a Vision

 

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I’m in pretty good shape.  I have my ducks in a row, but dare I say I am exhausted!  That’s why it was nice to escape last night and have a girl’s night out making vision boards.  Vision boards are a way to “visualize” concepts, ideas and inspiration in hopes of drawing focus on aspects one would like to attract more of into their lives.  General categories include family, friends, romance, spirituality, and health and wealth.

For this new year, my focus will be experiencing & savoring happiness and letting go of my own preconceived notion of my role in this world! I’ve spent so many years worrying about being good enough, creative enough & contributing enough. That I think I’m done.  I hope I am.  Will I be mature & wise enough to let go of all of my roles and self-expectations and simply be?  For me it would be a personal paradigm shift.  That is what the Fibonacci spiral in the center of my board represents. Am I as tiny as a perfect nautilus shell or as expansive as the universe?  I think little Mary will stop focusing so much on asking the big questions and concentrate her efforts towards simply being.  Being in a constant state of questioning one’s purpose on this planet, leaves one in a perpetual state of questioning.  It’s time to make a transition from questioning to Being.

Hence the I AM.

Thank you to my beautiful friend that created this night for us.  I usually create a vision board for New Year’s, but it feels very good doing it amongst all the holiday mayhem.  It’s taken my focus off my immediate circumstances and allowed me to see the big picture.

That’s a Good Thing.

Christmas in Rhode Island

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Remember when I was working on all those little etchings?  Well, I finally finished water-coloring, matting and packaging them all! Take a look:

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For those of you a little far away, let me fill you in on the significance of each image to Rhode Islanders.

Del’s is a special lemonade native to RI that features lemon bits and shaved ice. We are obsessed! This is what you’d buy your kid after a ball game.

Our state bird is the Rhode Island Red Chicken, hence the bottom illustration, but a very close second would be the seagull.  There everywhere and personally, my favorite bird.

My two little ones have already started surfing.  I only thought it naturally Santa would too!

The Big Blue Bug is a Providence land mark.  NE Pest Control put this 20ft bug on top of their building years ago and everyone on the highway looks forward to passing it and checking out what silly adornment they’ve attached to the bug.  Christmas is always Rudolph, but this summer the bug was sipping an Awful Awful which is another RI specialty.

That brings me to lobsters or as the locals call them “lobstas”.  It’s just not summer without hitting the docks and picking up lobstas right off the fishing boats.

Speaking of fishing boats.  I added some Christmas lights to a lobster boat.  When you look out to sea, you can always spot a lobster boat. Even at night sometimes you can see their lights.  It also reminds me of Block Island because they do a Christmas boat parade where all the owners decorate their boats.  It’s an awesome sight to see!

My final etching is of an angel or should I say mermaid?  It’s a little nod to Christmas in a maritime town.  I also thought of the angel who pointed the three kings towards the star of Bethlehem.  Hmmm…this angel might guide them with her siren song …grrr!

So that’s it.  I’m just boxing these up to display this weekend…

…oh yeah, that reminds me  …back to work!

A Few of my Favorite Things

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I started making jewelry oh probably 15 years ago.  The jewelry I was seeing in stores was just not sparkly or colorful enough.  So I tried my hand at making my own pieces.  I was working for my family picture framing & art gallery when a customer came in and loved a necklace I was wearing.  His son had a pretty famous website and he thought he’d probably want to sell my creations.

What? Someone might want to buy something I simply made for fun???

That concept had never been a consideration and this amazing creative lightbulb went off.  What if I could spend everyday just having fun making things I enjoyed making?  Well then I’d never have to work another day in my life – because it would never feel like work  -it would feel like play.

That unsuspecting customer coming in and commenting on my necklace changed my life.  It created a personal paradigm shift within and I’ve never turned back.

Now I’m definitely not a millionaire.  In fact, if I didn’t marry the most supportive guy I know, this wouldn’t be a reality.   I pretty much have been able to live to this concept.

I have fun enjoying things I make.

Now this brings me to this wonderful Ted talk I listened to.  If you are someone who sells ANYTHING in this gosh-for-saken world, listen to this amazing concept!

 Here’s the motivational speaker Simon Sinek:

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http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action

My take away from this Ted talk is a fundamental notion.  “PEOPLE DON’T BUY WHAT YOU DO THEY BUY WHY YOU DO IT!”

Are people buying this little piece of sparkly metal to put around their neck because it’s my job, I produce material objects and we all need more material objects?

Hell no!

It’s because people can sense my excitement, my passion for fun and for sparkle!  I love what I do and I think you will too!  I love that I have the most colorful things I have ever seen.  That makes me smile.  People fundamentally want a part of that.

Passion, play, excitement, humor, a good smile.  I agree with Simon Sinek.  People want more of that than they want the what.

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So as I travel on into the Christmas Bazaar Battlefields, I will smile and carry my enthusiasm for the little things that bring me joy!