As promised, this post is going to be positive! And there’s no way it could be anything but after you read on! Last year, I vended at MinnCon and had a very unsettling experience. It was a clash of the … Continue reading
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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?)
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!
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:
I’ll be in San Francisco next month and I hope to see you! Sigh…so good to be back!
Customer Feature: Kelly W and Two Weeks to Nashville!
Jodi: This week’s post is a feature on the lovely Kelly W of Milton Keynes, UK! Kelly had contacted me recently asking for specific custom pieces and I was so thrilled to work with her on her items!
Kelly – the floor is yours, baby!
First off, my name is Kelly Winafred Work, I am a mum of 1 little boy named Marc who will be 5 in July. I have been with my other half Darren for 8 years now we have a cat called Scarlet.
I don’t work as I’m a full time mum home schooling my son (Jodi here – um, THAT’S WORK, Kelly! Hats off to ya!)
We live in Milton Keynes, UK. My favorite sayings in life have always been, “live life to the fullest” and “a smile will always brighten someone’s day.”
As you can probably tell by those sayings, I’m a very bubbly and friendly kind of person and always enjoy meeting new people, let it be online or in everyday life 🙂
I’m a MASSIVE supernatural fan and some day dream to meet the cast. I would also love to one day travel the world bit by bit. I’ve already traveled to some places: Africa, Florida, USA, Turkey, Spain and Ibiza.
I don’t class myself as having a creative outlet, but I do love doing arts and crafts with my son. We do things like animals from pom poms or flowers out of tissue paper and baking cakes to decorate 🙂 (Jodi here again – CREATIVE ALERT, WOMAN! GREAT STUFF!!)
I prefer handmade jewelry most because it’s more personal, made with care and unique. Plus I’ve always preferred to help out small business than to spend money in a shop that doesn’t need it or care if they get it or not.
The kind of pieces I enjoy when it comes to jewelry is gems and stones and anything shiny (swear I was a magpie in my past life). I prefer silver to gold as I feel gold always looks dull and fake but silver always looks new and shiny.
I like wire work as long as it’s done right there are some jewelry I have seen in the past with wire work on and it just looks out of place or like it was rushed or just added for no reason
I have to say when I found Eldwenne’s Fantasy Quality Handmade Jewelry by Jodi Zulueta I fell in love straight away.
I was looking at Supernatural jewelry online and came across etsy. When I looked on there a few people’s shops come up, but I saw a piece in Eldwenne’s and went to that one and I couldn’t stop looking!
As soon as my birthday came around and my other half asked what I wanted, I knew straight away. The hard part was to pick what I wanted most, lol! I’ve always wanted a salt ‘n burn necklace but could never find one design I liked. So when I sent Jodi all the pictures of the ones I liked, I left her to design it and somehow she knew exactly what I was after. It was PERFECT –my dream necklace and I love showing it off everywhere I go!!!! Jewelry from Eldwenne’s Fantasy is made with love and care and every bit in its own way personal to each person.
And most of all, it’s all done in a friendly way. Jodi spoke to me and kept me updated every step of the way. It was not a case of ‘yeah, thanks for your money, you’ll get it when you get it…’ I felt nothing but safe buying from Eldwenne’s.
Jodi again – WOW, thank you so much, Kelly!! You rock!! And I must say your little one and other half make a lovely family! So proud to have my pieces in such good company!
Kelly brought up some things that I take to heart – one of the most important elements of my work is that it’s personal. Each piece I make is not only made exactly for you, but the buying experience itself is always personalized as well.
Every time someone purchases something from www.eldwenne.etsy.com, I contact the buyer to thank them, ensure I know proper sizing if they’ve not already indicated, and to let them know there’s a human being behind every piece.
When you receive your order, you get a handwritten thank you from me as well.
It’s that personal touch that I’m also going to be applying to my new upcoming career – teaching. I’m putting it out there right now – I am NEVER stopping my jewelry business. I will continue Eldwenne’s Fantasy both online and at Salute to Supernatural conventions!
In two weeks I’ll be in Nashville to begin my training with Teach for America. It’s going to be hard for many reasons; it’s a rigorous program, and I’ll be away from my family from June 1 through July 18. Forty-eight days. Then I come back to New Jersey, round up the troops and we move down to Tennessee permanently.
On May 23, we are rounding up a group of our friends and family for a “Farewell New Jersey” party – we are going to venture into New York City (which counts as a farewell to New Jersey-trust me on this), watch the brand spanking new X-Men movie, then venture back into New Jersey and grab a bite. Going out in true geek fashion.
If you can be in the metro area on May 23 to catch a 7pm showing, please contact me so you can join us! It’ll be a blast!
And now I leave you with the newest additions to the Supernatural Inspired Necklace Series: The Strength of Jody Mills and The Duplicity of Gabriel!
DCCon: The Jewelry, the Angel, and the Wormstaches
DCCon. Far from the final frontier, but these are the voyages of Jodi and her son, Jaden. It all started out on a Thursday morning on Amtrak, trekking it down from Jersey to DC.
This trip to DCCon was not only another leg of my traveling jewelry tour, it was a chance to try to give my son, Jaden a decent memory from 2014.
Jaden went through quite a lot from 2013 up until recently. He was bullied all throughout last year of school. We were not aware of exactly what was happening, but we knew something was wrong. Finally, during the summer, we were able to figure it out – another child was brutally bullying Jaden. Psychologically. This kid had Jaden terrorized and afraid to speak up for himself.
Long story short, we pressed charges, the bully got what amounted to a slap on the wrist, but the act of standing up to this bully really empowered him.
But it wasn’t enough. Jaden has spent the past school year guarded, defensive, suspicious, and hurt. He was withdrawn. We basically lost the outgoing, chatty, vibrant young man we once knew.
I thought taking him to DCCon would be a welcome distraction for him, especially because he truly loves Supernatural, devours the novels, and finds a welcome escape watching the episodes.
Upon arrival in DC, we rushed to our hotel. Unfortunately we were staying in the spillover hotel, not the actual event hotel, but it wasn’t far away.
We settled in, unpacked, ate, and then went to the Con to start setting up Eldwenne’s Fantasy and Clifhangers tables.
Thursday was a loooong day for us and by the time the vendor room closed for the night it was after 10:45pm – we had been on the go since 3am!
Friday was going to be a cinch – the vendor’s room was going to be open from 9:30 – 6:30. Not bad.
When I did VegasCon, I had a raffle to vote for your fave – Crowley vs. Abaddon. It was wildly successful and the fans had a blast voting for their favorite. Will there be a King of Hell or a Queen of Hell? The fans chose Crowley (as did Supernatural, as per this past episode!)
I wanted to give the fans some more fun so I held a raffle to win the companion bracelet to Castiel’s Grace necklace:
In addition to trying to win the bracelet, it was also a chance to vote for your favorite version of Cas – Angel or Human!
Most importantly – half of the proceeds from the raffle were donated to Random Acts of Kindness! Everyone wins!
What were the results? You’ll find out at the end of this post!
So what makes Fridays special at any Salute to Supernatural Con? KARAOKE PARTY!!! Jaden was up to going. So we went. And oh. My. GOD! This event really solidified to me how wonderful Supernatural fans are.
I can’t count how many lovely people saw Jaden and me and shooed us up to the front of the crowd so that he could see. We didn’t ask anyone, we didn’t complain, people just went out of their way to give Jaden an amazing experience. I cannot thank all of you enough for that! It really epitomizes the generous and giving spirit Supernatural fans have. I’m so proud to be a part of the SPN Family.
Here are some pics from the evening:
The true highlight of the evening for Jaden:
We stayed until the lights went on – and the next day was going to be a long one for us in the vendor’s room – 11 hours!! Jaden decided to ease into his morning:
Saturday is always the long day for us vendors – it’s usually an 11 hour day. Jaden slept under the Clifhanger table for a bit, lol! Then he went off to some panels.
Saturday was the big day where a lot of people began to notice my Supernatural Inspired necklaces – it was quite an amazing reaction and I’m so pleased with how many of you came by to admire my work!
I always say that the biggest compliment I could ever receive is to see someone wearing a piece of mine. I was floored for the entire weekend!!
ALL seventeen of my designs were snatched up by you guys – THANK YOU!! It was such an amazing response to my work that I decided to mark down the necklace in my online shop: http://www.eldwenne.etsy.com – from now through midnight May 12, you can buy these necklaces at the same low prices I was offering at the convention! You can get the following:
Castiel’s Grace is still the all-time favorite!
ALL of these pieces are currently at their low convention prices at http://www.eldwenne.etsy.com
If you happened to buy a piece from me at the convention – send me a pic!! I’d love to feature you – like these beautiful ladies!
This young lady bought my pride and joy – The Winchester Family Tree necklace!
Some other amazing people strolled into the vendor’s room:
This whole weekend was so incredible for both Jaden and me. I finally saw Jaden smile for the first time in months. And who put that smile there? Not just the amazing cast of Supernatural, but YOU! The fans treated him so well and restored his faith that there are genuine, good people out there!
Kim Rhodes was super amazing and tweeted this pic of her beautiful daughter wearing a necklace I made for her!
So without further ado, I’d be remiss in not including my Wormstache Brigade!
And I also want to highight some pretty frigging amazing cosplay by Mel!
And lastly – the memories my son will have for a lifetime!
The results of the vote: Human Cas got 14% of the vote. Angel Cas received a whopping 84%!
Thank you Creation, Kim Rhodes, Chad Lindberg, Gil McKinney, Rob Benedict, Osric Chau, Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins, and all of you amazing human beings who made DCCon the best experience for Jaden!
Remember to stop by online at http://www.eldwenne.etsy.com and come say hi to Clif at http://www.facebook.com/Clifhangers
The next few weeks will be intense as I prepare for a six week stint in Nashville, preparing for my Teach for America training. Wish me luck and I’ll talk to ya’ll soon!
Wormstaches, Ruler of Hell Results, Free Necklace Op, & Why SPN Fans are the BEST Bunch of People to Get Your Geek on With!
Before I delve into my Sin City experience, I want to announce that from this post forward, I will be having a contest for my readers to win a free piece of jewelry each week! Wait until you hear which piece is up for grabs this week – whoo hoo!
VIVA LAS VEGAS – Whew! I arrived in Vegas early Wednesday evening. Wow was it hot. As my friend Ana Marie said to me via text, “You’re in the desert, baby.” Um, yeah. That would be a good reason why I was a tad uncomfortable. I took her advice to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate and then set up shop in the vendors room.
I was selling both my wares as well as the best t-shirts and beanies you will ever own – incredibly awesome Clifhager gear!
Thursday morning was amazing. Before we opened the vendor’s room, Kat Sloan had a meet and greet with some fans. Kat Sloan is an author whose book ‘Half Blood’ is a MUST READ. It’s been very well-received and I will be designing jewelry based on this epic saga!
You can reach Kat and grab her novel here at http://www.katsloan.com/ – check it out and you won’t be able to put this book down!
After the meet and greet, Kat and I went to our respective tables. Now Kat’s table was so amazing and beautiful and I wish I had a pic of it! Please check her out and see if she posts one – it was like being in a gorgeous Victorian living room!
I thought it would be great fun to have a couple of things going on at my table besides the constant hammering of me making new pieces. So I decided to give everyone that visited my table a memorable moment. I bought gummi worms and offered everyone “FREE WORMSTACHES”
It was a huge hit and I got tons of people coming over to do the ‘stache – including a couple of recognizable faces…the Brigade of the Wormstaches will be at the end of this post – if you did a ‘stache for me, come see!
I also thought it would be fun to get the visitors at my table involved in a mock election for their choice for the ruler of Hell. Should Crowley remain as King? Or do we need a woman’s touch via a knight to remember – Abaddon?
The way the contest worked was that at the end of the election, I would take a random name from the Crowley voters and a random name from the Abaddon voters. The Crowley name would receive a King of Hell necklace. The Abaddon name would receive a Queen of Hell necklace.
Alaina Huffman and Mark Sheppard were fantastically supportive of the fun and I updated them with the statistics via Twitter every evening over the course of the convention.
The results? In the beginning of the eletion it was looking like quite a slam dunk for Crowley, however, girl power began to resonate and Abaddon started to gain in popularity.
The tally went from 78%/22%, then 80%/20%, then finally, 77%/23%. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to overthrow the King, but it did demonstrate that the fans are definitely interested in seeing where Abaddon could take things! Congrats to both Mark and Alaina for being their awesome selves!
And a HUGE congrats to the winners of the King of Hell and Queen of Hell Necklaces!
There were a couple of really REALLY great Abaddon cosplayers:
Free Necklace Op!
I made Mark a King of Hell leather cuff bracelet that I gave him on Sunday. He seemed, well, very Crowley about it – Mark – if you’re reading this, I’d absolutely love a pic of you wearing the bracelet! If anyone can make that happen I will give you a very special gift:
That’s right. If anyone has the divine influence to get Mark to snap a pic of himself wearing the King of Hell bracelet I made him – I will GIVE you my smash hit necklace, “The Deception of Crowley” for free. This necklace was hot as hell at the con (puns always intended).
My entire series of Supernatural-inspired pieces did very well – especially my Castiel’s Grace piece:
The entire series is available at http://www.eldwenne.etsy.com. For a limited time, I will be selling them at the special Convention price of $35 each along with FREE US SHIPPING! This will be ending on April 15th or while supplies last, so come get ’em!
From top left across:
Castiel’s Grace (which Osric Chau laughed his rear end over for some reason…)
The Deception of Crowley
The Purification of Sam WinchesterThe Tenacity of Dean Winchester
The Heart of Castiel
Here are some of the lovelies wearing theirs!
I’ve said this before but I have to say it again – there is no bigger compliment than seeing people adorn themselves with my jewelry.
Like this lady you may recognize – the stunning Kim Rhodes!
I had designed a necklace specifically for Kim. Kim had sent out a tweet asking if anyone had bubble bath. So I tweeted back, “Kim – I’ll give you a GALLON of bubble bath if you come to the vendors room and pick up the jewelry I made you.” SHE SHOWED UP!
Kim immediately put the necklace on and kept it on the entire time she was on stage and in her photo ops. So for those who had a photo op with Kim – the necklace she was wearing was my gift to her – unreal!
Not only did she just run over, grab the necklace and go. She took the time to talk to me. Kim was extremely gracious and we talked about education and kids. She’s extremely dynamic and her energy is infectious, like her beautiful smile!
Thank you for being utterly amazing, Kim! And I think I still owe you a gallon of bubble bath, so for now, please accept this virtual one until the next convention!
Talking about how people wearing my jewelry blows my mind, let’s talk about the lovely Jenna. Jenna was one of my first customers EVER at a convention back at NJCon, almost a year ago. She had bought a woven pentagram necklace that she actually had with her in Vegas! She brought it down and wore it to show me she still appreciates my work – how amazing is that??
And there’s Adina – Adina is one of those souls that you just connect with and it seems like you’ve been friends with forever, you know? I’m doing a feature on her next week – just watch this space for an amazing post! She’s a woman of talent, drive, and also has some pretty good taste in jewelry, I must say…
Adina introduced me to her friend Ally – another wonderful human being! Ally – I’m coming after you for a guest post too, so if you’re reading this – send me your email address!
There are sooooo many people that I’ve met starting with my very first con back in NJ last year to my most current con in Vegas last week. I have to honestly say that I’ve never met a better bunch of people. Ever.
They are all a bunch of generous souls. Here’s an example of random goodness. I was chowing down on some mints the hotel had left by the water cooler in the vendors room.
A woman, Lynn, was also a vendor there and had stopped by my table. She asked how I was and I had a mouthful of mint, so I apologized for eating my ‘lunch’ while talking to her. She couldn’t believe that the mints were my ‘lunch’.
Do you know what Lynn did? This woman went back to her hotel room and MADE me a sandwich with her own two hands. AND gave me a cheese stick as well.
Talk about your random acts of kindness – this really epitomized the spirit of the Supernatural fandom. Lynn – if you’re reading this, I need your contact info so that I can do a feature on you!
There was a very important table right next to me – Legacy X. Legacy X is about anti-bullying and building yourself up. I met a bunch of fantastic women, including Brittany.
I met a lot of great women such as Brittany, Luvina (Brittany’s awesome mom), Kim, and other amazing women who worked diligently to collect as many anti-bullying messages as possible. Hardcore, dedicated women who each have heart-wrenching stories to share.
Kim’s enthusiasm was catchy to say the least and I was really pleased that she asked me to make pieces related to their cause, such as a Legacy X bracelet and a Recycled Percussion bracelet as gifts for others in their amazing organization like Justin Spencer!
I will be doing a feature on the beautiful Brittany very soon! In the meantime, please check out Legacy X’s site: http://www.legacyx.com/
What Makes Supernatural Fans so Amazing?
I had the honor of being interviewed by Mitch Kosterman for a documentary he is making about the fans of Supernatural. I was asked what it was about the fans of Supernatural that I thought was different than other fandoms.
Supernatural fans are people who go out of their way to support each other. Even total strangers. Everyone looks out for each other. There is such a sense of community, support, and the willingness to do kind things for others without expecting (or wanting) anything in return. There is no other place I’ve experienced people like this, especially all under one roof.
Some of the strong underlying themes of Supernatural that I get are: doing the best with what you have, putting your loved ones before yourself, helping others, and my personal favorite, ‘family don’t end with blood.’
Every fan I’ve ever spoken to seems to uphold these values to the fullest.
The show has helped me in so many ways it’s unfathomable for me to list them all here – but one thing I will say is that I’ve learned who to surround myself with and who to cut loose. It’s Team Free Will to the fullest, baby! Make the best of what we have, carve your own destiny, and well, CARRY ON!
I had so many amazing experiences and there will be a LOT of features coming out of this convention. So watch this space for much more!
And, as promised, the Wormstache Brigade is here! Look for your ‘stache moment below!!
You know what makes Osric Chau so effing cool? He did the ‘stache for me!
I bet I’m the only person on the planet who got Executive Producer Jim Michaels to do the ‘stache!
If anyone has pictures of yourselves wearing my jewelry, please feel free to send them along, I’d love to feature them in an upcoming post!!
So don’t forget – if anyone sends me a pic of Mark Sheppard wearing my King of Hell bracelet – you get The Deception of Crowley necklace FREE!
And for a limited time you can get each of my necklace series at the special convention price of $35 each and FREE US SHIPPING!
Watch for next week’s post – a feature on the lovely Adina!!
I leave you with the ONE pic of Elvis I managed to take while in Vegas:
My Featured Victim, Er, Customer – Judy G!
Jodi: Judy is quite an amazing woman.
I did an interview with her in May 2013 – you should check it out
I wanted to do a follow up interview with some fun questions this time around, so, without further ado, take it away, Judy!
What new and exciting ventures have you gotten involved with since your last feature? How did you get involved and what new things are on the horizon for you for 2014?For 30+ years (since I was a teenager) I have been overweight and in the last 15+ years I have been the unwilling recipient of various health problems (many of which are made worse because of being overweight). So last summer I made the decision to seek the help of a Bariatric Doctor. I met with the Doc last August and hopefully if all goes well, I will be having Gastric Bypass Surgery this March to be able to finally lose weight and keep it off. I am so excited about this new “adventure” in my life.2014 is going to be the year I take care of “ME”!!!!If you could have a superpower for 24 hours, what would it be and why?To be able to pick the correct lottery numbers so to win lots of money to share with and help lots and lots of people. But really any superpower that allows me to help others would be awesome. (Jodi here – Judy – you already have that superpower!)The Winchesters knock on your door and tell you that you need to evacuate your home immediately because apparently that gorgeous vase you bought from the antique dealer is a cursed object – the last three owners of that vase wound up having an overwhelming urge to sing Barry Manilow songs off key until their eardrums exploded.Everything you own is completely accessible but you are only allowed to grab three things and they have to be completely shallow. What would they be and why? And Dean Winchester doesn’t count as one of them!My cell phone, my laptop and an extra pair of flip flops.Because:cell phone – I can’t seem to live without it (and need to have it ready for Dean and/or Sam when they call me)laptop – can’t live without it either (I need to stay in touch with the cyberworld and may need it to help look up info for Dean & Sam)flip flops – Cause my tootsies always look awesome in flip flops and I gotta look good when I go out on the town with Dean.Back to semi-serious – I’ve always found that humor has been a great way of getting me through some bumps in the road. What do you do to get through tough times?Laughter is def the best medicine. I do look for humor and sunshine when it’s dark and cloudy.I rely on my family & friends for the needed support –My hubs is good at holding me and wiping away the tears.My sister is my bestest friend – we’ve been through thick n thin together and boy the stories we could tell yah. Most would keep you rolling on the floor.My best friend Courtney is the much needed humor for any issue or problem. She can keep you laughing till your sides burst. (Like when she thought “Keyless Entry” meant her car didn’t come equipped with a key hole.What keeps,you coming back to Eldwenne’s Fantasy? (And will you come back even after that Barry Manilow question?)I have returned to Eldwenne’s Fantasy several times because your jewelry is WOWSOME!!! The pieces you make each have their own “spirit”. They can be statement pieces or pieces to compliment something else.And the compliments I receive on each item I wear lets me know that your jewelry speaks to everyone.YES!!! I will definitely come back again and again for more jewelry (Barry Manilow can’t keep me away from my fave jewelry lady.Wow – THANK YOU, JUDY!! We’re all so proud of you and look forward to more updates on your journey of doing something that’s incredibly difficult for all of us, but often neglected – taking care of OURSELVES! Kudos to you, m’lady!!VegasCon UpdateI am now officially in stress mode – I had a dream that I had a dream about VegasCon. Yes, you read that correctly. I dreamt that the vendors room was in some god-awful, dark, dank, basement the size of a closet and that my table consisted of a 3’x3′ desk. Then I woke up and realized, “Whew! It was only a dream.” Only to still be in a dream. And the vendor’s room was still in a god-awful, dark, dank basement the size of a closet with a 3’x3′ desk.Then I woke up. An hour late!! My boys had to stay home from school. I can tell you they were SO broken up about it. It took hours to console them.Ive been working my tail off with tons of cool new designs PLUS I’ve got some really cool new items that I’ll be selling, like my ode to Bobby Singer – an Idjit flask!All of my designs are available at http://www.eldwenne.etsy.comAs well as some brand new coffin jewelry boxes and more bookmarks and keychains, oh my! And I’m going to be having a MEGA cool contest there! More details to come!
Are YOU going to VegasCon?? Come say hi to me and my friend, author Kat Sloan! She and I will be hosting some fun giveaways that weekend!! Come check out Kat’s site at http://www.katsloan.com – her brand new book, Half Blood, can be bought directly from her site and you can read all about her plans at VegasCon, including a meet and greet with her!Come follow her on twitter @katsloan7 and see her FB page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheLycanthropireSaga/Thanks again to the lovely Judy G and check back with me next week for yet another fabulous customer feature – Ana Marie S!! YES – two customer features in one month! Look out!Until next week, by ya’ll!
Viva Las Vegas, Partnering with Kat Sloan, and Saying Goodbye to the Hoboken Shelter
Better Late Than Never?
Well it certainly has been a long time. I’ve spent the better part of January and February preparing for the second Praxis exam I needed in order to satisfy requirements for Teach for America. I was almost sure that I wasn’t smarter than a fifth grader.
I’m happy to report that I passed the exam (with only a handful of meltdowns!) and am now putting my nose to the grindstone to prepare for the next big event I’ve got coming up – the Salute to Supernatural VegasCon!!
I’ll be arriving on March 12 and the convention will be on from March 13-March 16. This is the first time the Con will be 4 days long, so I’m really looking forward to seeing how it turns out for me!
And as per usual, you’ll find me there selling my handmade jewelry, my custom Supernatural pieces, as well as a pretty damn good supply of custom Walking Dead pieces too! I’ll be taking requests that I hammer out as you wait, as always!
You’ll find some goodies like:
And of course, brand-spankin’ new Supernatural and The Walking Dead designs!
Additionally, I’ll be manning the Clifhangers table. Clif is the bodyguard for Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles. Clif has an amazing fanbase, affectionately known as ‘Clifhangers.’ I’ll be selling the best t-shirts ever made, designed by the t-shirt goddess herself, Shannon Price. Come check out the Clifhangers FB page and show some love! https://www.facebook.com/Clifhangers
What is extremely exciting about this upcoming convention is that I will be partnering up with a very talented woman, Kat Sloan. Kat is an author who’s written an amazing book: Half Blood – The Lycanthropire Saga
I am going to be designing jewelry based on her book as well as partnering with her at VegasCon to hand out some amazing promotions she and I have put together!
Kat and I will be hosting a meet and greet on the morning of the Con’s opening on Thursday, March 13 at 8:30am. For more information, please check her page: http://www.katsloan.com/upcoming-events.html – GREAT giveaways exclusively for our guests!
If you’re going to VegasCon and want to join in the fun at the VIP Party, just click on this link: http://www.katsloan.com/vegas-con-exclusive-vip-giveaway.html
Want a wild ride? Go buy Half Blood! It’s available for purchase on her beautifully-done website: http://www.katsloan.com/shop.html
Please follow Kat on FB https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheLycanthropireSaga/
Her Twitter is @KatSloan7
Please drop by and tell her I sent ya!
What’s After VegasCon?
After VegasCon, life will become quite a blur of activity. For about 11 or 12 days my daughter and I will be in Santa Monica visiting family, then after being home for about say, 2 days or so, I’m back on a plane going to Nashville for a job fair with various principals from the Nashville board of Education. Teach for America will have circulated my resume and this will be my chance to meet and hopefully get hired by one of the great school districts.
After several days of being home from the job fair, it’s back to the convention circuit and this time it will be Washington D.C. – very cool!
For five weeks starting on June 1 I’ll be in Nashville again beginning the “Institute” portion of my life with Teach for America. This time will not only be spent immersing myself in TFA philosophies and techniques, but it will also be my chance to search for a place for my family to settle in.
At the end of July, we’ll be officially moved into Nashville.
Saying Goodbye to The Hoboken Shelter
All of these upcoming events mean that I have to end something that has been a part of my life for a long time – teaching art at the Hoboken Shelter.
I handed in my resignation this past Monday with a very heavy heart. My last class will be taught on Monday, March 24. The people that I’ve met throughout my time at the Shelter have become an extended family to me. I have people who are no longer guests of the shelter and still hop on a bus from out of town and come into class every Monday night – that means more than you can possibly imagine.
Everyone I’ve met has wound up teaching me so much about life, about spirit, and how creativity really has no bounds. I’m taking these experiences with me to Nashville and will ensure that my students benefit from all of this.
If you’d like to volunteer at the Hoboken Shelter, please contact the shelter at http://www.hobokenshelter.org
Next week’s post is going to be another AWESOME feature with my customer Judy!! We’ve met her before, and you’re gonna love her even more after this next post!
See ya’ll then!
Two Days to Goal, The Walking Dead is Ruining My Life, and to All Those Who Have Screwed Me Over in 2013- I THANK YOU!
Today marks two days left before my Click Start Me campaign comes to an end. I’ve made $200 of my $5,000 goal…I want to thank all of you who have donated and supported my campaign.
The campaign is needed in order to grow my handmade jewelry business, Eldwenne’s Fantasy. Eldwenne’s Fantasy has two specific components; an online presence via my etsy shop: http://www.eldwenne.etsy.com and I travel all over the country (and to Canada) selling my jewelry at Salute to Supernatural conventions, where I specialize in making custom Supernatural-themed pieces for you.
With just two days to go, I’m trying to rally the troops – if you could please share my link for my campaign – http://funding.clickstartme.com/project/help-fund-my-handmade-jewelry-traveling-business/
You’ll be helping me jumpstart my dream by providing the resources to grow Eldwenne’s Fantasy into a healthy, flourishing business where I can provide you with quality, handmade jewelry. My jewelry is original, one of a kind, and also inspired by the hit show Supernatural.
And now a new fandom has wormed its way into my life – The Walking Dead. SERIOUSLY?? Screw you Netflix, The Walking Dead, Norman Reedus, crossbows, the whole shebang! My husband and I have made it our mission to catch up on the entire series. We’re 4 episodes shy as of this writing. We only started watching it about a week and a half ago. Yup. This is serious, personal, and now the jewelry ideas are brimming. Watch this space for my The Walking Dead inspired pieces!! AMC – bunch of jerks. THANK YOU AMC AND FRANK DARABONT – WE LOVE YOU!
And now, as we all prepare to kiss (or kick) 2013 goodbye, I took some time to reflect on the year in general. As most of you know, my husband got sick in September 2012 (and still is.) I lost my job on January 23, 2013. I’ll never forget that day for as long as I live. It was quite literally the end of an era.
I spent the past 20+ years of my life on the corporate treadmill, terrified of jumping off. We couldn’t afford for me to not continue to work in the financial industry. But my former job took that choice away from me. As I left the human resources office, I called my husband, got into my car, and by the time I met up with him 20 minutes later, already had my plan formulated to start a new life for all of us.
So while losing my job was definitely not something I planned on, not something I was happy about, it was definitely something that needed to happen in order for me to take my life by the reins and move forward.
Within a short period of time I was able to start doing flea markets and eventually my first Salute to Supernatural convention. That was a life-changing event for me if there ever was one. The convention showed me that my jewelry is desired, wanted, even demanded! The wonderful people I met encouraged me to plow ahead and make a name for myself in the convention circuit.
This year I was able to sell my handmade jewelry at NJCon, VanCon, TorCon, and most recently, BurCon. Each of these events were a success for me and allowed me to learn how to do things better. If I can continue to do this, it would mean the world to me. Thank you all for being so incredibly supportive!
We had setbacks. My husband got sicker. Our 11 year old was so severely bullied we had to take it to court. Things spiraled out of control. The saying is to “roll with the punches.” Nope. I’m putting my arms up and swinging back. Rolling with the punches got me 20+ years of my life being thrown down a corporate toilet.
The universe has thrown some balance into my life and allowed me to pursue my other dream – to become a teacher. Through an extremely arduous application and interviewing process, I was proudly accepted into the Teach for America program!
The organization has made it possible for my family and me to have a brand new life. We will all be moving to Nashville, Tennessee by the end of July 2014! A brand new environment will help us all thrive.
Another eye-opener this year has been that I definitely needed to pare down the baggage in my life. You’ve heard the rant before – when things are going well, cheerleaders are in your face. When things start to fall apart, ‘friends’ and ‘family’ kind of take several (many?) steps back in the opposite direction. Run to the hills. Start judging and blaming. The few times you do wind up hearing from them is for them to have the balls to actually try to one up me on the crap things that happen scale.
Seriously, there are so many people, just in my life alone, that thrive on “wow, your husband’s sick? I had a nightmare and think I may have the same problem your husband does.” “You lost your job? Wow. Sucks. Sorry it took me so long to write, but I was busy working a full time job.” Yes, I’ve gotten emails like that. That last gem was written about a month after I lost my job.
As a result of these things (and many others that I really don’t think I’ll post here – yet!), I’ve decided to remove those people from my life equation. Wow, that felt GOOD!
2014 is a clean slate, a fresh start and any other cliche you can think of. It’s been liberating, honestly.
So to those of you who have screwed me over, went out of your way to kick me when I was down, to judge me, my family, I want to thank you. Without you all showing your true colors, I’d be jumping right back onto that corporate treadmill going nowhere exceptionally fast and setting myself up for continued failures. Thank you for revealing who you really are and I thank the universe my eyes were open enough to finally see things for what they really were.
In 2014, I will be doing the things that make me happy for the first time ever. I think I’ve earned that.
Goodbye 2013 and Happy New Year to you and your loved ones!
The Hoboken Shelter, Nashville in Motion , and ClickStarting Me is Down to the Wire
I know I promised you a feature on my customer of the month, Melstiel, but we’re running just a bit behind schedule with that, so I will do my best to get that posted next Friday. Today I wanted to … Continue reading
Thankful for My Family, the BurCon Experience and Phoenix Wins!
Okay, well first things first – As you all know, I’ve been trying to get to BurCon for quite a while now. And thanks to my family out in California, Aunt Doree and Uncle Jeff – my son Phoenix and I made it!
BurCon was an incredible opportunity because it would be my jewelry’s first West Coast exposure in the US. A completely different demographic that I’ve never had the chance to tap into and meet.
Thanks to my my family’s generosity using my ClickStartMe campaign: http://tinycs.me/9T I was able to fly over from New Jersey to Los Angeles and see a part of the country I’ve never been to. And my son has NEVER been on a plane or left the tri-state area, so this was a special treat for him as well.
This trip wouldn’t have happened otherwise. Thank you, Doree and Jeff. I love you.
My incredibly supportive husband, Merrill, as well as our oldest son David, our younger son, Jaden and our daughter, Raven all are the most amazingly understanding people on the planet and I love all of you so much!
What made the trip extra special as well was that one of my cousins from Tennessee, Alexis, and her beautiful son, Zane were going to be there as well – a rare treat getting us together!
Upon arrival, seeing my aunt, my cousin and her baby boy were a heartwarming welcome.
Unfortunately my trip was mostly business, which meant I spent most of my time at the convention working while my family took care of Phoenix. But we did sneak in some quality time together and will be doing much more of that in the upcoming months, which I look forward to more than anything!
My first night there was spent learning that the rumors of LA traffic are TRUE! We spent forever on 405N. It was literally a parking lot. For those who chose not to turn their cars off while we waited learned the hard way and there were many stalled cars once the lanes opened up again.
I arrived to the convention late, but still had JUST enough time to set up the majority of my wares. I was very excited about the new coffin jewelry boxes I hand-painted and lined them up along the front of the table.
My very patient aunt Doree waited until the vendors room closed and we went back to her home in Santa Monica.
The next day I was to get a much earlier start and Doree drove me into Burbank. It was great! Almost no traffic! For me. After Doree dropped me off, she got stuck in traffic for hours on her way to work. Sorry!! I still feel terrible about that.
It was a great day. Many people stopped by to check out my table and budget the weekend away. Everyone was trying to figure out where and what to spend their money on. There was so much great stuff around like a makeup table, movie posters, books, a rare gem jeweler, and CLIFHANGERS!
Yup – I was Clifhanging again! I had a great table lined up with Clifhanger shirts and beanies (including rocking grey ones!). My beautiful friend Shannon designed the gear and owns the company with none other than Clif Kosterman – the shirts are amazing, the beanies are rockin’ and you NEED to get the edge and WEAR THE GEAR!
Come visit the Clifhanger page at http://www.facebook.com/Clifhangers
Saturday continued to be pretty eventful for both Phoenix and me. Doree and Jeff took Phoenix to Disneyland! How cool is that?!? He refused to wear the mouse ears, but did get an awesome Jack Skellington baseball hat!
As for me, I met some guy named DJ Qualls….a few weeks ago I had tweeted DJ asking him to come by my table at BurCon so I can give him something. He replied back saying he would. Oh SURE he would!
Would you believe He SHOWED UP?! I showed him the bracelet I made for him and he asked me to put it on him, gave me a huge bear hug and a kiss. I hereby declare that DJ Qualls is one of my favorite people ever!!! What a nice guy!!!
Saturday was when things started to pick up a bit. More people arrived, the excitement was building.
You think that would be the icing on my cake of a day, right? Nope. I had dinner with one of my friends that I hadn’t ever had the pleasure to meet in person. We’d been friends via internet for years, but never had the chance to sit in a room together.
Here’s the view of the other side of the dinner table:
We had such a great time catching up and talking about our businesses, our kids, life in general. Julie Anne is the owner of http://www.personalchefapproach.com – I’m a proud member and her services have literally changed the way I cook and my family eats. If you’re a busy person – and who isn’t – this website will save you countless hours. Julie Anne has dinner all planned out for you or you can plan it out yourself with her menu builder! Check her out and tell her I sent you!
Julie Anne is extremely passionate about her membership – it’s a cyber family that she cherishes and appreciates so much!
Phoenix was absolutely beside himself to meet her – she inspired him to start his own food blog:
Sunday was a huge day because Phoenix would be with me for the day – I barely got to spend any time with him.
Phoenix was jet-lagged and a tad cranky, so I decided to take a break from the table and walk him down to the Random Acts table. Random Acts is a charity founded by Misha Collins. They had some cool activities to do at the table, so he decided to write a note in a book to Misha and color a Misha drawing in.
We made a donation and Phoenix’s name was entered into a raffle. Which he WON! Phoenix became the proud owner of a Random Acts journal signed by none other than Misha Collins!
So the lesson Phoenix learned from all of this is “get cranky and miserable and you’ll win an autographed prize from Misha Collins.” YAY!
Then it was photo op time! Phoenix was getting a trio op with Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, and Misha Collins – WOW!!
When it was his turn, he showed Misha the journal. I then asked Phoenix if he wanted me in the pic – Misha grabbed me and said, “Of course he does!” and pulled me into the shot. Then Jared tried to pull my Clifhanger beanie off my head for some reason…I’m sure the photo came out well and we’ll have it in the next few weeks.
This was Phoenix’s first photo op and he was very VERY happy.
So what were some of my big sellers? My coffin jewelry boxes were a big hit!
Some other big sellers of mine were my leather cuffs with stamped plates! Such as this one:
The highlight of my weekend? Meeting YOU!
Leah was one of the most interesting people I met – she collects quotes and gave me a couple of her faves”
“No artist tolerates reality” – Nietzsche
“Normality is a paved road – it’s comfortable to walk but no flowers grow on it” – Van Gogh
I had the incredible fortune of meeting this young woman, Shanaya Fastje. She is an accomplished author who specializes on the subject of bullying, which all of you know is near and dear to my heart. I obtained a copy of her book, “Bully in the Mirror” and am sitting down with my son to read it tonight. If you’d like more information, please read on at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanaya_Fastje
There were so many more of you – if you can send me a pic of yourself wearing the jewelry you bought from me to firstname.lastname@example.org, I’ll publish your photos in an upcoming post!
And next week’s feature is going to be great! It’s going to be a Featured Customer of the month starring Melstiel!! Keep your eyes on this space!
As of today, I am 30 days away from the end of my Click Start Me campaign: http://tinycs.me/9T
I will have exactly 30 days to meet my goal to raise funds which will go 100% towards building my handmade jewelry business:Eldwenne’s Fantasy
If you are in need of a gift idea this Black Friday or Cyber Monday – I have FANTASTIC offers!!!
If you donate $25 or more, you will receive a gift certificate from me worth the exact amount of your donation PLUS an additional $25!! Spend it on yourself AND use it to buy gifts – including custom orders!
If you share my Click Start Me campaign with someone who donates – they will receive a gift certificate in the appropriate amount – and YOU will receive a gift certificate for $25! It’s a win/win that costs you nothing!
My business is a primarily online presence which I am in the process of building in two ways: developing my own domain:www.eldwennesfantasy.com – which is currently under construction. In order to get the domain to a point where it provides my customers with an excellent shopping experience, it will cost me in fees and possibly bringing in developers.
The second way I am working on this is to put money into advertising on both Facebook and on Etsy.
I am also building my brand as I tour the convention circuit for Supernatural and The Vampire Diaries. The travel expenses I incur just in airfare and hotel alone are vast and while I am trying to build a strong presence, I am in need of support to get me to the locations that will be successful for the business, such as the upcoming The Vampire Diaries convention in Florida in a couple of weeks.
The supplies I buy are expensive and the funding will help cover those as well.
If you donate to my campaign, know that you are investing not only in my handmade jewelry business’s future, but you are also helping a woman realize her small business dream.
Thank you for reading and sharing!
And THANK YOU to DOREE, JEFF, ALEXIS, JENNY and ZANE!! I MISS YOU GUYS!!