Tennessee 6 Months Later, Not Being Afraid to Say No More, and What’s in a Name?

Has it really been SIX MONTHS??? Wow oh wow…so what happened in the past 6 months can be properly summarized as: I came, I saw, my ass has been thoroughly kicked.
Education is THE toughest field I’ve ever worked in. So tough that I needed to end that last sentence with a preposition and to not give a shit.  At least I balanced the previous sentence.  And I’m not even teaching English, I’m teaching math.

So all of you who know me can stop laughing RIGHT NOW.  Yup, I’m teaching math, so what? It gets better.  I’m teaching 5th grade math.  And 6th grade math.  And I co-teach 7th grade math.  Now for those of you who are not dead on the floor of side-splitting laughter, I’ll continue my bitching.

Now most of you know I used to teach at a homeless shelter.  That was a CAKEWALK compared to what I’m dealing with.  My students come from very harsh realities that no one should ever have to face. It’s heart-wrenching to see how children at the age of 10 are already so disillusioned with the world that they have built up callousness and ambivalence I’ve never encountered before in many of the adults I’ve taught.

Now take the teaching factor into consideration and what have you got?  A whole lot of heartache, self-doubt, and an emotional roller coaster from hell.

Add in the masters degree I was pursuing, a family, a husband who is disabled, and what have you got NOW?  Way too much on your plate.

I’ve learned so much about myself in the past six months and I’ve grown.  I learned that I don’t have to be the hero all the time, that I do need to recognize my limitations, and that it’s OK to walk away from something that isn’t right for me.

The results?  I’ve decided to not pursue my masters degree, which means that at the end of my two year commitment with Teach for America I most likely won’t be able to teach anymore since the licensure rules are changing for special education.

I don’t feel guilty, which was unexpected.  I feel liberated.  I spent over 20 years in corporate America living with a heavy heart, feeling like I had no choice, no options.  I will not do that to myself again.

I don’t regret moving down to Tennessee, I’m extremely happy down here.  I don’t regret teaching either, I just wish it was something that I felt better about.  They say the first year is always the hardest and I sure as shit believe it.  But it’s more than first year jitters.  I know myself well enough to know when something isn’t sitting well with me.  I can’t live my life striving to please those that will never be pleased.  I have to do what’s best for me.

So what does that mean for me after Teach for America?  No idea.  But I’ve been branching out a bit more with my jewelry, including partnering up with my best friend, Shannon Price to introduce a brand new line of t-shirts that we’re extremely proud of.  Yup, ended that one with a preposition too. (How sad is it that my personal affront to education is only as severe as bad grammar?)

https://www.etsy.com/shop/Eldwenne?section_id=16377137&ref=shopsection_leftnav_2

Come check out our Supernatural Inspired t-shirts!  These babies can be purchased online now or I will be taking orders for them in person at SFCon in January!

Are you a Deanmon Girl??

Are you a Deanmon Girl??

I know I sure as shit would too!

I know I sure as shit would too!

Try not to cry while wearing this one

Try not to cry while wearing this one

I know it definitely had an impact on mine - tell us about how it saved yours!

I know it definitely had an impact on mine – tell us about how it saved yours!

This line is the epitome of the bond between the boys

This line is the epitome of the bond between the boys

Well, do you?

Well, do you?

How many times in our lives would it have been awesome to hear this? Well, the "for the right reasons" part.  Heard plenty of the "you were stupid"....

How many times in our lives would it have been awesome to hear this? Well, the “for the right reasons” part. Heard plenty of the “you were stupid”….

Now back to my crankiness – I’ve been getting some flack about the names I choose for my Supernatural inspired jewelry.

I get messages on etsy, even people approaching me at conventions, telling me my names are wrong, they don’t agree with them, I mustn’t watch the show, blah blah blah.

I thought maybe it’d be helpful to articulate exactly what I do when I work on a Supernatural Inspired piece of jewelry.

Please note that I call these pieces ‘Supernatural Inspired.’

Each of the characters on the show affect me in some way, as I assume they do most fans.  Each piece takes an extraordinary amount of time to develop, design, and fine tune before it’s something I considered to be finished.

So exactly what am I doing when I’m developing, designing and fine-tuning?  I’m taking a character that I’m connecting with and thinking about an aspect of that character that’s resonating with me.  For example, let’s talk about The Tenacity of Dean Winchester – the first Dean piece I ever created.

Dean Winchester radiates with courage, perseverance, and true grit.  The one word that pulls these words together for me is tenacity.

I chose the color green for Dean not because of his eyes, like so many people assume, it’s much deeper than that.  For me, the color green represents bravery, steadfastness, and truth.  Qualities that I associate with the character.

Dean’s weapon of choice is his gun, thus to pay homage to the character I chose to include a pistol. Dean would never go anywhere without it and neither would this piece.

The one common thread that most of my pieces have is the wrapped strands that appear to be chaotic but are actually controlled.

The reason for that?  While each of the characters have their set ways and personalities, as we’ve all learned over the years about these characters is that nothing is ever static, everything can change.  The variety in the lines; their appearance of being random, is actually quite deliberate on my part.

Back to my point – for someone to come up to me and say that I shouldn’t name a piece what I’ve named it – well, that’s the same as walking up to someone and telling them you don’t agree with what they’ve named their kid.  They have their reasons, personal or not so personal as to why they chose the name they did.  As do I.

Each piece is made with my heart and so much intention to represent MY interpretation of the characters.  Hey, don’t get me wrong – I’m always up for healthy debates.  There have been fans who approach me at cons and ASK me why I named a piece what I did and we talk about it.  But then there are people who just outright TELL me I’m “wrong”, “don’t you watch the show” or have a snarky “if you watched episode 6.2 and freeze framed it at precisely 32.5 minutes in, you’ll clearly see that you’re wrong.”  The shoot first and maybe if I feel like it I’ll ask questions later attitude.  It’s hurtful, uncalled for, and definitely not what the SPN Family is all about.

Everyone is entitled to their own interpretation, so let’s please show each other respect.  I’m not saying don’t ever ask me about my work – I am HONORED to be asked about it – nothing warms me more than having people care enough to ask me about my process, why did I make the piece, etc.  What I am saying is that if you don’t like strangers approaching you and telling you something that’s dear to you is wrong, please don’t do it to someone else.

I’m happy to say that 99% of my encounters with fans are wonderful, amazing, and I’ve made lifelong friends of many of them.  The 1% that were hurtful were pretty damn hurtful, and one was as recent as yesterday, hence my post.

Lastly, my best friend, Shannon, (designer of the amazing t-shirts!) said this to me, “bc you are an artist, the negativity is a catalyst to create more beautiful work.  Name your next piece ‘go fuck yourself’” – ok, I MIGHT not use that title, but she’s absolutely right and I’ve been taking this to heart and have been creating MANY new pieces!

Come say hi to the newest in my Supernatural Inspired series:

The Initiation of Sheriff Donna

The Initiation of Sheriff Donna

The Guile of Rowena

The Guile of Rowena

The Fortitude of Jo Harvelle

The Fortitude of Jo Harvelle

The Devotion of Ellen Harvelle

The Devotion of Ellen Harvelle

The Propriety of Death

The Propriety of Death

The Soul of Sam Winchester Earrings!

The Soul of Sam Winchester Earrings!

The Soul of Sam Winchester Ring

The Soul of Sam Winchester Ring

Sam and Dean Winchester Brotherly Bond

Sam and Dean Winchester Brotherly Bond

I’ll be in San Francisco next month and I hope to see you! Sigh…so good to be back!

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TorCon Mayhem, Dick Roman Squeezes the Karaoke Party, and Fair Leather Friends

 

Wow.  Just, well, WOW!

 

TorCon came and went in a blast of craziness.

I arrived in Toronto on Thursday to set up for those who were pre-registering for the weekend.  I’m not too sure if I’m going to continue to do that in locations where I’m staying in a hotel in the future.

If you are going to be a part of the pre-registering Thursday crowd and would like first crack at my wares, please let me know.  If the response is large enough, I just may continue to do it.

I’ll definitely be setting up on Thursday evening for BurCon, but not sure about future events. Please let me know.

I digress (as per bloody usual)…I arrived early enough to enjoy a couple of hours of downtime before getting ready for the pre-registration crowd, so I took a stroll around Toronto.

Lots of things to see, I just wish I had more time to do what I really wanted to do – go see that Bowie retrospective!

Was I the only one that thought something COMPLETELY different than what this really meant?

Was I the only one that thought something COMPLETELY different than what this really meant?

 

Evil Dead - the Musical - This BETTER make its way to the States!

Evil Dead – the Musical – This BETTER make its way to the States!

 

A sculpture.  I leave the comments on this one to you.

A sculpture. I leave the comments on this one to you.

Only in Canada

Only in Canada

It was a relatively quiet evening, however, you could most certainly feel the buzz grow.  Everyone’s excitement was palpable.

My table was set up.  My lovely friend Ruthee sent me the most beautiful goddess candle that I proudly displayed on my table.  She is so incredibly talented.  Please let me know if you’re interested in having her make one for you.  You can email me at eldwenne@yahoo.com and I’ll arrange for her to make one for you for $15 each plus shipping.

Set up and ready!

Set up and ready!

 

She also made these lovely gift packaging boxes and envelopes.  Many people were buying my items as gifts, so they were grateful to have gift packaging!  Again, if you are interested, please let me know and I will arrange the order for you.

Some examples of Ruthee's beautiful gift packaging! Contact me if you want to order!

Some examples of Ruthee’s beautiful gift packaging! Contact me if you want to order!

 

I had quite a few new additions that have never seen the light before.  Lots of fun SPN-themed stampings, such as my “I found a liquor store” “And I drank it” pair of earrings.

Also new were my experiments with leather cuffs.  I took leather cuffs and added stampings to both the leather itself as well as including stamped silver plates with sayings such as, “Hello Boys”, “Balls”, “Bitch”, “Jerk”, “Moose”, etc.

I never used leather before so this was a huge leap of faith for me.  And it seemed to work out better than I expected!

I wish I had pictures to share of what I came up with but these literally flew off my table quicker than I could make them!

After spending close to three hours setting up my table, the doors were opened and the rush of people came in.

A lot of people were doing window shopping; budgeting for the weekend.

What caught a lot of attention were the cuffs, the stamps, and of course, anything with a pentagram on it.

Friday morning came and I was raring to go.

More people filed in and circled round my table here and there.  The custom requests started to come in – custom stampings, on both leather cuffs as well as metal stampings.

A lot of time was spent on my feet, hammering away, but I was in the zone!

I was really looking forward to later on in the evening when my friend Shannon would be coming in.

Shannon was rooming with me at the hotel as well as vending next to me in the vendor’s room.

For those who don’t know, Shannon is the brains, brawn, and beauty behind Clifhangers.

Clifhangers are fans of Clif Kosterman, the bodyguard for Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki, also known as J and J.

Shannon designs and sells t-shirts for both men and women, as well as beanies.

My Clifhanger shirt is sooooo well-loved.  I’ve worn/washed/lived in it so much and it looks exactly the way it did when I first got it.

And what I love most about my Clifhanger shirt is that Shannon knows EXACTLY what kind of cut flatters a woman.

The neckline is a modest v-neck, the length is just right – it disguises a lot of things I like to keep under wraps, lol!

Please go say hi to Shannon and Clif at the Clifhangers FB page:  www.facebook.com/clifhangers

Friday night wrapped up in the vendor’s room, Shannon arrived, and we grabbed a bite at Miller’s Tavern.  One of the best burgers I’ve had in a looooong time!

No Salute to Supernatural convention is complete without seeing at least a tiny bit of the infamous karaoke party.

Richard Speight Jr. (Trckster/Gabriel) and Rob Benedict (Chuck/Edlund Carver) were amazing hosts.

Matt Cohen (young John Winchester) was delayed at the airport, so Rob stepped in and rocked the house.

Did you know that Rob has a band called Louden Swain?  Did you know that their music is fricking AMAZING?  I downloaded their latest, Eskimo, and I’ve been listening to it non-stop.

You really need to check them out as well as follow them on Twitter @LoudenSwain1

It was great to see so many cast members get up on that stage and have a good time such as Samantha Smith (Mary Winchester), Jim Beaver (Bobby Singer), Ty Olsson (Benny/Eli), but what had the crowd in a frenzy was when James Patrick Stuart (Dick Roman) stepped up to the mic.

Samantha Smith and Jim Beaver getting their karaoke fix

Samantha Smith and Jim Beaver getting their karaoke fix

James did an incredibly soulful rendition of ‘Tempted’ by Squeeze.  Who knew Dick Roman could belt out a tune?

James Patrick Stuart Tempted the audience

James Patrick Stuart Tempted the audience

We stepped out of the party well before was a respectable time to do so, but we had a big day ahead of us, as the vendor’s room was to open at 9am and stay open until 7pm.  Needed to get some rest and eat our Wheaties.

Saturday morning came and we made our way to the vendor’s room.  I met soooo many fantastic people!

The costumes were incredible, like this leviathan.  I can’t even tell you how many times I had to keep looking up to make sure I was really seeing this!

LEVIATHANS! (Sorry, I was channeling Cas)

LEVIATHANS! (Sorry, I was channeling Cas)

The afternoon became a bit interesting as Misha Collins set up to sign autographs.  Twenty feet away from me.

I had a necklace that I made for him to give to whomever, lol, so after everyone received their autographs, I strolled up to him and gave it to him.
“Wow!  What the hell is it?”  Um, not the reaction I was hoping for.
“It’s a necklace, Misha.”

“I know!  But what the hell is it?”  It was then that it dawned on me that he was asking me what it was made of.

So I explained the materials to him and he seemed to genuinely appreciate it (although he IS an actor, lol!).  He then complimented me on my dress.  That I bought at the salvation army for $2.  I shared that with him and he gave me a thumbs up and some comment about $2 being an excellent ‘price point’ in my wardrobe selections.

I got to meet a bunch of lovely ladies affiliated with Random Acts. From their front page at http://www.therandomact.org:  “Random Acts is a non-profit organization that’s aiming to conquer the world, one random act of kindness at a time.”

I met a woman who was literally moved to tears because she had gone to Haiti and worked on a project with the Random Acts Team.  They had each signed a banner after their project was completed.  She really wasn’t expecting that banner to be hanging on the Random Acts table here at TorCon:

Random Acts is a non-profit organization that’s aiming to conquer the world, one random act of kindness at a time.

Random Acts is a non-profit organization that’s aiming to conquer the world, one random act of kindness at a time.

 

I made a modest donation to Random Acts and received adorable Misha Collins drawings to color in and a cute little froggy sticker!  Here’s what my two youngest. Phoenix and Raven did with the drawings:

Random Acts Goodies!

Random Acts Goodies!

Phoenix's and Raven's Misha colorings.  Please note Phoenix's message, "Don't Fall."

Phoenix’s and Raven’s Misha colorings. Please note Phoenix’s message, “Don’t Fall.”

Richard Speight Jr. was in and out of the vendor’s room plenty of times and I finally had a chance to give him the necklace I made for him.  It was very graciously accepted – super nice guy!

Sunday was a complete and total whirlwind.  Vendor’s room opened at 9 or so and was open until 6.

Basically we were expecting to hear crickets in the vendor’s room since the Js were in the building.  Between photo ops and autograph sessions, were people really going to be coming in to see us?

Well, they did!!

I took a quick break to grab some lunch for Shannon and me (to eat while we sat in on a bit of the Js panel!) and who do I run into?  Jim Beaver.

He was such a NICE guy!  Very sweet as I shook his hand and introduced myself.

I also ran into Rob Benedict and Richard Speight Jr (who remembered my name, astonishingly enough!).

He thanked me again for the necklace and Rob turned to me and said, “Wait – you gave me one at VanCon!”  I said that was right and thanks for remembering.

I have never met such nice actors before in my life.  The SPN crew is a bunch of genuinely nice people who seem to really appreciate their fans.

I’ve been asked why I give pieces of jewelry to the actors.  I do that because they give me and my family a lot of enjoyment on SPN.  And because of SPN, I have a career doing something that I love doing.  How can I not give back? I’ve made jewelry for a very long time.  But SPN has given me the inspiration and opportunity to make this a CAREER.  It’s a thank you to the SPN world.

I was sad when it ended, but thinking about everything keeps a smile on my face.

Like how TorCon was full of surprises.  For example, does everyone remember my lovely guest blogger, Kyra who had written about her GISHWHES exploits?  Well I had the pleasure of meeting her mom!

Her mom was super sweet and I loved spending time getting to know her better.

And my friend Rachel Cree-Lowe sent an ambassador, lol!  Bonnie came over and said, “Our friend Rachel wanted me to tell you she said hi” – I nearly fell out of my seat!  Rachel – that was AWESOME!

Those that couldn’t make it but were there with me in spirit like Ruthee (the goddess extraordinaire), Kendra, Doree, my husband, Merrill, our four kids David, Jaden, Phoenix, and Raven, David’s beautiful girlfriend, Vi, all made the weekend so special and I really felt like you were all there with me.

Getting to meet and to talk with so many of you is what I love doing most at these conventions.

My inspiration to keep going comes directly from YOU.  When you come to my table and ask me about my work, it really makes me feel great about what I do.  It’s not about who buys from me; it’s about the appreciation and the time you take to look at my work.  It’s seeing the admiration in your eyes when you hold up one of my pieces.

I wish I had the opportunity to take pics of all of you – I know I missed many of you.  If you bought a piece from me, PLEASE send me a photo of yourself wearing it so that I can properly feature you!

The lovely Carolina who had me make a Non timebo mala bracelet

The lovely Carolina who had me make a Non timebo mala bracelet

Maryam with a spider web necklace

Maryam with a spider web necklace

Lexie with a Hello Boys bracelet

Lexie, Cas cosplay maven, with a Hello Boys bracelet

Kristi made a point of coming to see me - thank you!! It was great to finally meet you!

Kristi made a point of coming to see me – thank you!! It was great to finally meet you!

Manon and Sarah - Manon brought the lovliest stone and asked me to create a pendant out of it for her!

Manon and Sarah – Manon brought the lovliest stone and asked me to create a pendant out of it for her!

Stella showing off her vampire charm bracelet!

Stella showing off her vampire charm bracelet!

Tatjana (if I got your name wrong, please let me know!) - she had me make a bracelet with a G Clef and blue roses - I love it!

Tatjana (if I got your name wrong, please let me know!) – she had me make a bracelet with a G Clef and blue roses – I love it! And that’s Misha Collins in the background signing at the table.

VERY determined young ladies.  Stefanie (r) took a BUS to get to an ATM so she could pay for her "Sam and the Honeys" custom stamped necklace! Her very cool friend, Gina, is on the left.

VERY determined young ladies. Stefanie (r) took a BUS to get to an ATM so she could pay for her “Sam and the Honeys” custom stamped necklace! Her very cool friend, Gina, is on the left.

Max with my signature wrap necklace - wearin' it with 'TUDE and I love it!

Max with my signature wrap necklace – wearin’ it with ‘TUDE and I love it!

Joy wearing a one of a kind silver bracelet!

Joy wearing a one of a kind silver bracelet!

I took a selfie with some guy named Ty...

I took a selfie with some guy named Ty…

I know there were MANY many more of you, so sorry that I missed including your photos.  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE contact me at eldwenne@yahoo.com with your pics – I’d love to show you off!

My ClickStartMe campaign is running out of time…I’m going to be trying to get to many of the future events such as Las Vegas, Washington DC, and of course VanCon and TorCon for next year.

I’m still offering an amazing set of incentives!  For those who donate, you will receive a never-expiring (good until ya spend it!) gift certificate good towards any merchandise in my shop www.eldwenne.etsy.com that will be equal to your donation amount.

Are you donating $25 or more?  Well then you’re going to have an ADDITIONAL $25 added to your gift certificate value!

Are you sharing my ClickStartMe link and someone you shared my link with donated to me?  Well then they get a gift certificate in the appropriate amount and YOU also get a gift certificate worth $25!!

You can’t lose! If you can please share my link: http://tinycs.me/9T I’d greatly appreciate it!

Handmade Jewelry On Demand Party and a Discount!

Wow, it’s been a while, huh?

Ok, well lots of things have happened.  I lost my day job, started studying to obtain my teaching license, and am considering moving from Jersey City to a suburb outside of Nashville.

And that’s all within the past MONTH.

2013 started out to be quite a challenge, however, it was the kick in the pants that I needed to get my life on track.

My husband and I were running at the track this morning and I was telling him about my new service that I am offering called Jewelry on Demand.

I go to people’s homes (or they come to mine) and I display samples of my unique, handmade jewelry.

My clients point to what they want, I sit down and make it then and there on the spot, in front of them.

Beach Stone Pendant

There really truly is something behind seeing the product come to life in front of you.  I initially got the idea a couple of years ago at a flea market.

I was at a flea market trying desperately to sell my jewelry.  A little girl came over and told me how pretty a pair of my earrings were but she wanted to see them in red.

I always bring along my tools and some supplies with me to flea markets so that I have something to do while I wait pathetically for clients, lol!  It also comes in handy if a client wants to adjust something, like changing the length of a necklace, for example.

Anyway, I crack out my tools and supplies and get to work making a pair of earrings for the little girl.

Her mother came over and asked me what I was doing.  I explained that her daughter wanted to see a different version of the earrings and the mother then said, “Can you make me a pair in blue??”

So I got right on that and before I knew it, I had a line of people waiting for me to create something right there in front of them, to their specifications.  It was SO MUCH FUN!

I coined the term “Jewelry on Demand” because that’s pretty much what it is!  You demand, I create.

20130101-122516.jpg

Imagine throwing your daughter a birthday party where the guests walk away with unique, one of a kind jewelry handmade before their eyes….or jewelry that they make themselves under my instruction!

Movement was a key part of this design.

Movement was a key part of this design.

So my husband said, “So you’re throwing JODI parties.  Jewelry On Demand Inc. parties!”

Now why didn’t I think of that???

He’s clever like that, so I’ll keep him : )

I am very VERY pleased to announce that JODi parties are now happening and if you live in the NYC metropolitan area,  I’d be delighted to come on over!

If you’re the kind of person that doesn’t feel like stressing over having company – come on over to my place instead!  I’ll put on some coffee or tea, we’ll have some snacks and I’ll get cranking with some one of a kind designs specifically for you!

MAN it feels so good to take the reins over my life – give it a try!!

So if you’re interested in a JODi party, convo me for a special discount towards your party!  AND just because, here is a Coupon Code to use in my etsy shop for 10% off your jewelry purchase in my etsy shop: RETURN10.

http://www.etsy.com/shop/Eldwenne?ref=si_shop