Friday, June 10, 2011

Crafting as Catharsis

Most of my friends know that my family lost a dear member recently. This man and my mother were the best of friends for 35+ years. We will forever miss him. In many ways, he was the only father that I have ever had. The void that he has left in our lives will forever leave raw edges and waves of grief that spill out of it.

I have found that during this time, I'm drawn more to my craft.. drawn to creating jewelry, and losing myself in the process. I've made several necklaces for mama to commemorate their relationship. I made a necklace for his sister.. tossed out several in the process because, for a while, none of them seemed good enough to convey what I was trying to say, what I was trying to represent. How do you express such a deep love and loss in a little bit of metal?

But, what I am finding as I hammer, wire wrap, bead and polish is that there is healing in a craft. It doesn't matter what your craft is, if you have pain, a craft will help heal it. I find myself remembering the good times, the funny times as I stamp his name in metal. I find myself smiling at the relationship that I am able to represent through making mama a pea pod necklace out of his favorite color. When I see her wearing it, I know he is close to her and watching out for us.

So, Randal.. this is my public goodbye. I love you, I will always consider you my father. I miss you. But when I pull out beads in your favorite color of blue, I will remember you. I will find solace for my pain in the process of creating art that makes other people happy. Rest in peace my friend, my father.. you were one of a kind!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Metal Stamping and Vintage Metals

I am really enjoying stamping metals, but I have to say that I thoroughly enjoy finding vintage metals to upcycle into new stamped jewelry. I actually came across this when I used an old wall hanging to practice stamping on. I noticed how it stamps deeper. The stamp is more clear and metal looks much more rich and ... hmm, yummy LOL.. is that what I'm trying to say?

Let's look at some examples:

This is a custom stamp on a new piece of copper

And this one is done on a 25 year old piece of copper

Can you see the difference in the depth of the stamp and the color of the copper? It makes me think about how old pennies actually have more copper in them than newer pennies. Have you ever noticed when you have a handful of change, the pre 1980 pennies have a beautiful patina and richness that the newer pennies just don't have? They even feel different in your hand.

So, one of my weekend past times now is 'metal hunting'. I go to antique shops in search of old copper and brass that I can upcycle into new jewelry. I like the idea of taking something old and, in many cases obsolete, and giving it a new chance at life. It has such a history behind it. An antique Copper pot that held flowers that children picked for their mother 40 years ago can now be a piece of jewelry stamped with the name of a new mama's children. It inanimate object that set in the corner and watched as children grew up and moved away can now once again take on a new life and watch a new family grow and love.

So, if you see me digging through a pile of old wall hangings with a gleam in my eye, know that I'm on my way to make new treasures out of old history.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Beauty is From Within..

Here is a big old announcement!! Hold onto your hats.. I have roseacea. When I was a teenager, I was one of those girls who other girls hated, not because I was exceptionally pretty, skinny or anything like that, but because I had PERFECT skin. I can count the pimples I had between the ages of 13 and 18 on both hands. My skin was smooth as silk and I had TIGHT pores. I didn't have pimples or blackheads because my pores were so dang tight that nothing could get in there LOL

But, one thing that I always noticed is that my face would get red very easily. I never understood it. When I got hot, my face would be red as blood. When I got tired, my face would be red, red, red.. and certain kinds of makeup would irritate me so bad. But, it was all good because I didn't have the dreaded pimples.

As I grew older, probably when I hit about 30, the redness, the irritation, the itchiness on my face got much worse. I was diagnosed with Rosacea. What is Rosacea?? Here is the definition from PubMed Health:

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition involving inflammation of the cheeks, nose, chin, forehead, or eyelids. It may appear as redness, prominent spider-like blood vessels, swelling, or skin eruptions similar to acne.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Although the cause of rosacea is unknown, you are more likely to develop this harmless skin condition if:
  • You are fair-skinned 
  • You blush easily 
  • You are a woman (however, men with the condition are usually more severely affected) 
  • You are between the ages of 30 and 50 
Rosacea involves swelling of the blood vessels just under the skin. It may be associated with other skin disorders (acne vulgaris,seborrhea) or eye disorders (blepharitis, keratitis).


  • Redness of the face in discrete areas or covering the entire face 
  • A tendency to flush or blush easily 
  • Increased number of spider-like blood vessels (telangiectasia) of the face 
  • A red, bulbous nose
  • Acne-like skin eruptions (may ooze or crust) 
  • A burning or stinging sensation of the face 
  • Irritated, bloodshot, watery eyes
I'm lucky, I don't have all of the signs and symptoms of Rosacea. My nose looks pretty normal to me. Have you ever seen an old man that has a big huge honker that has a big old red bulb on the end? That's Rosacea. 

My face does get, and stays, very red. The summer is harder on my skin than the winter. I don't have spider veins, but I do occasionally get a sore bump. I have a lot of stinging on my face, and my eyes bother me. Eeehhhh.. so I have a lot of the symptoms, not all though.

Anyway, once a year, I go on a makeup strike. I just get tired of the daily grind of putting on makeup every morning and I go natural. This year, I have noticed an increase in people who feel that they have a right to make comments about my face. These are grown, college educated women who think that they have a right to say something about how my complexion is! Would these women tell me that my ass is getting bigger by the day? I doubt it. If I was covered in zits, would they make comments about it? Naa.. So what is it about a red, itchy face that they think gives them the right to tell me how tired I look, ask if my blood pressure is up, ask if I am very hot??? 

More from PubMed

There is no known cure for rosacea. The goal is to identify and avoid possible triggers, and thus reduce flare-ups. By keeping a symptom diary to identify the specific triggers you may have, you may be able to see a pattern of what makes your rosacea worse. Use this information to avoid future flare-ups.

Here are some steps that may help:
Avoid sun exposure. Use sunscreen every day.
Avoid prolonged exertion in hot weather.
Try to reduce stress. Try deep breathing, yoga, or other relaxation techniques.
Limit spicy foods, alcohol, and hot beverages.

Triggers vary from person to person. Other triggers may include wind, hot baths, cold weather, specific skin products, exercise, or other factors.

Antibiotics taken by mouth (such as tetracycline, minocycline, or doxycycline) or applied to the skin (such as metronidazole) may control skin eruptions. Other medications (isoretinol or Accutane), which are similar to vitamin A, are stronger alternatives that your doctor or dermatologist might consider. Rosacea is not acne and will not improve with over-the-counter acne treatment.

In severe cases, laser surgery may help reduce the redness. Surgical reduction of enlarged nose tissue may also improve your appearance, if you so choose.

Expectations (prognosis)

Rosacea is not medically dangerous. It is not curable, but can usually be controlled with treatment. It may be persistent and chronic.


Permanent changes in appearance (for example, a bulbous nose)
Psychological damage, loss of self esteem
I have talked with my dermatologist.. I have chosen not to go on daily antibiotics. There are just too many superbugs out there and I don't want to be on antibiotics everyday. Honestly, the best thing that I have found for my Rosacea is wearing only Bare Minerals makeup, and once a year, taking a break from everything and letting my face just rest. Just leaving it alone.. My body gets a vacation from work, and my face gets a vacation from makeup.

But how interesting that of the two complications that is caused by this disorder... one can be seriously influenced by those around us. Everyone needs to remember that old saying from Kindergarten, 'If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all!"

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

First Blog Post.. Let's do a giveaway!!!

Let's get to the give away part... that's why you are here anyway!!! There are a couple of things you have to do in order to be eligible to win!!

First off, what will you win? You will win a necklace like this:

It is a mother's necklace, a couple's necklace or an anything necklace. It will be stamped with whatever you want it to be stamped with. It will come with two beads, and on an 18" organza necklace.. so that is the fun part. To Qualify, here is what you have to do (and yep, you are going to have to work for it!!!!)

There are FIVE (count them FIVE) ways to enter, and you can enter up to FIVE times!!!

1: Go to Hillbilly Baubles and tell me the one piece that catches your eye!

2: Become a fan of my Facebook Page

3: Refer 10 of your facebook friends to Hillbilly Baubles Facebook

4: Follow me on Twitter

5: Tweet about this blog and give away and/or paste a link to this blog on your facebook!!!!

Remember, you can enter up to 5 times!! Leave comments to let me know what you have done to enter and a winner will be drawn on Saturday, June 18. 

Good luck everyone!! If this give away is successful, we might start having them monthly!!!