First Customer Feature of 2014: Melstiel!!

Welcome to the first post of Down to the Wire for 2014 – whoo hoo!  

I wanted to kick it off with a great interview I did with a lovely lady who goes by the fabulous name Melstiel.  She and I met at TorCon this past October.

Melstiel is probably one of Castiel’s biggest fans and it looks like the feeling is mutual: Image

I’m happy to give her the floor for her to strut her stuff for us today!  Take it away Melstiel!

I am Melissa but I prefer to be called Mel. I am a bionic woman, with a cochlear implant to help me hear better. I identify as pansexual and polyamorous. I am in a family of five which includes my significant other Christopher, my hearing ear dog Rocky, and my two cats, Artemis and Satine.

I work in maintenance of recycled soft goods at a thrift store and take on research and program evaluation contracts from time to time. I have a graduate degree in forensic psychological research and I am taking courses in Case Management so I can get a certificate in that much more practical field. I love cats, ancient civilizations, video games, psychology, sexuality, and art. I am a devoted Superwholockian. 

As you can tell, I am completely enamored with Castiel and Misha Collins. Like Castiel, I am a socially awkward rebel who is fiercely loyal to their friends and feels guilty for mistakes made in life. Misha makes me happy and is just a beautiful human being with a dose of crazy. I did GISHWHES ’13 and look forward though fear doing GISHWHES ’14. Here’s an example of a GISHWHES ’13 item – the objective was to raise funds for the food bank by ‘panhandling’ as a dragon attack victim on a busy sidewalk Image

That was a challenging item for me because of my social anxiety but I persisted. I wish I knew of Misha when I was younger because I was not accepted due to being ‘eccentric’ and he would have been a wonderful role model.

I do mixed media and recycled art under the persona of Felivalkyria, concocted from “feline” and “valkyrie”. My art often has fantastical themes and includes portraiture of animals and people important in my life. I am part of Moods Expressed, a local working group for artists with mental health issues, and we have a website at http://www.moodsexpressed.com . Under Artists/Artisans, you can find me as Felivalkyria (Melissa Pagliaro) and view my art there. I do a few shows a year thanks to the help of Moods Expressed.

I used to write but I don’t so much anymore as visual art is more my discipline these days. I have been dabbling in making jewelry and recently made a Castiel necklace with pearls and cubic zirconia. I was lucky to find a tear drop bead dangle that is similar to the cubic zirconia I used and makes it looks like Castiel’s tie is dangling between his wings! Image.

I am very much someone who experiments with it all – recently, I got a new camera (Panasonic Lumix G6) and my favourite picture that I have taken so far is of my cat, Artemis Image.

I like cosplaying, especially as Cas, and I am always striving to improve my work Image.

 I appreciate handmade creations because they have much more love poured into them than storebought, factory manufactured items. Precious time is spent to create unique and one-of-a-kind items when they are handmade. I like supporting independent artists’ creations as opposed to big corporations which I feel are often detrimental to society. In fact, commissioning one artist’s work has become my yearly Christmas tradition.

 There is something truly attractive about the shiny! That is why I like to work with cubic zirconia. I also love materials with interesting textures like feathers, leather, fur, and velour. I work well with tactile sensations because my sense of smell is nil, having anosmia. I have a penchant for long dangling jewelry because I consider myself feminine.

 Eldwenne’s Fantasy actually stands out to me because Jodi is one of few independent vendors to display their work at Creation cons. 

Jodi here again – thank you so so much, Melstiel!  As some of you may know, my daughter, Raven also has cochlear implants, so both she and Melstiel have something in common – bionic women!

I have to say I love where you’re going with your jewelry – please keep going with it! And all of you really should check out Melstiel’s artwork at  http://www.moodsexpressed.com – use the dropdown menu to select  Felivalkyria (Melissa Pagliaro) and you will be giving yourself a major treat.  

Check out all of her artwork, but especially the Fantasy section – this woman knows how to mix her media and create atmospheres and new worlds.  There’s a piece I was particularly drawn to with two women lounging alongside an eagle.  Also looks like Artemis is making a cameo!  Bravo, Melstiel!!

Is anyone going to VegasCon?  I’ll be there with my Eldwenne’s Fantasy table selling my quality handmade jewelry, jewelry boxes, keychains, and whatever else I can think of between now and March!

Don’t forget to check out my shop at http://www.eldwenne.etsy.com for TONS of new designs added daily including Supernatural, Vampire Diaries, and Walking Dead!!

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                                                   Castiel’s Grace Necklace

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                  Watch Your Mouth Sunshine Daryl Dixon Quote Cuff Bracelet

February is going to be chock full of great posts including a great feature on my lovely customer Judy!

See ya’ll next week! (Yes, I’m practicing my Southern for my big move this spring!)

Jodi

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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.

Misha Collins shopping around at my table at a Salute to Supernatural convention

Misha Collins shopping around at my table at a Salute to Supernatural convention – if it’s good enough for Misha…

I'm in good company here...

I’m in good company here…

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.

Let's pay some respect to Kevin Tran - aka Kevin Fricking Solo!

 

Inspired by the episode of the same name - Cas' first episode as a human

Inspired by the episode of the same name – Cas’ first episode as a human

Family Don't End with Blood - Bobby Singer, you've never been more right.

Family Don’t End with Blood – Bobby Singer, you’ve never been more right.

 

I love working with wire and glass to create ethereal, one of a kind pieces

I love working with wire and glass to create ethereal, one of a kind pieces

Making ordinary materials extraordinary

Making ordinary materials extraordinary

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!

The Walking Dead - aka my new life-ruiner.

The Walking Dead – aka my new life-ruiner.

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!

Providing education equality and my passion for teaching!

Providing education equality and my passion for teaching!

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!

This pretty much describes exactly how I feel!

This pretty much describes exactly how I feel!

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!

Goodbye 2013 - Hello NEW LIFE!

Goodbye 2013 – Hello NEW LIFE!