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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Politics and other Scary Stuff

WARNING:  THIS IS NOT A TYPICAL "Crafty Retailer" POST.  I am violating every marketing rule ever written, but I am going to do it anyway.  Yup...I am a rebel---a middle aged outlaw----and a  fairly intense human.  I have always "pushed the envelope" and sometimes it works.  Other times....not so much.  In any event, the middle of the road is a place I rarely travel.   I have a tendency to speak my mind even when it works against me.  I have been that way ever since I was a kid.

 FLASHBACK:  6th grade Student Council elections.  After a "primary" it had come down to me versus Jimmy, a cute hippie boy that I was crushing on.  The 25 students in my class were told to write the name of their candidate on a slip of notebook paper.  Crush be damned....I was on pins and needles as the teacher counted the slips.  Yippee!   I won the vote 18 to 12! 

  Oops.  25 kids, 30 ballots.  

Chicago style politics in Sarasota, Florida, circa 1972.   I debated whether I should remind the teacher that there were only  25 kids in the class.   What to do?  What to do?  Gee whiz....I really wanted to be on Student Council!  What to do?  What to do?  Of course, the safest bet was to keep my 11 year old  mouth shut.  After all, I didn't do anything wrong!  I didn't bribe my classmates to cast more than one ballot.  It wasn't my fault that the teacher couldn't count! My stomach hurt.   Despite a brief wrestling match with my conscience,  I ultimately pointed out the obvious and we voted again.  I lost by a wide margin.  Paybacks are hell.  But ya know what?  My stomach didn't hurt any more.  I didn't have a crush on Jimmy anymore, though.

My stomach hurts now.  It has been hurting for months.  The political nightmare we are living is making me nuts.  I can usually deal with the tumult by gardening, felting, crocheting, or some other crafty endeavor.  Those  are my "thumb suck" activities and generally work to soothe me.  It isn't working.  I hate making people uncomfortable....I am in sales for God's sake! like most rational people I try to monitor my public speech in an effort not to offend anybody or ruffle any feathers.  I will go for months keeping my most controversial thoughts under lock and key....doing deep breathing exercises and praying for restraint all the while.

But you know what?  I feel as though I am going crazy...kind of like Alice after having fallen down the rabbit hole!  The country is changing...right before my eyes.  I am screaming in my head.  I want to ring some sort of an alarm, connect with kindred spirits, etc.  but  all I see around me are folks watching Reality TV and eating cheese doodles.  

This is bigger than matters little whether you consider yourself on the Left or on the Right of the political spectrum.   We are fundamentally changing the country.  Is it for the better?  We are approving entitlements that we cannot possibly afford and are obstreperous in our refusal to accept the fiscal reality facing us.  Where is our common sense?  I see a country that is morphing into an entity which is unrecognizable.  Something that is markedly different from the America I grew up in.    A country that is starting to look more Socialist than Republic (note:  we are a Republic, NOT a Democracy).  Am I imagining it?  Does anybody else see what I see?  Is anyone else getting a little nervous?

QUERY:   Does my concern make me a Racist Right Wing Religious Nut? 

HELL, NO!    

I am ever so weary of the politicians who try to pigeon hole me!

They do it to scare people and it is MARKETING BULLSHIT. It is not reality so why do so many people buy into it?  I mean, I am sure that there are tobacco chawin' gun totin' bigoted right wingers out there, but I don't have any in my social circle.  Frankly, I don't even KNOW anyone like that!

I am not Christian.  I am not rich.  I am not racist.  I do not want Roe v. Wade overturned.  I am a middle aged Jewish artist with a belly button ring and a hankering to get my nose pierced.   My daughter is trying to talk me into getting a tattoo with her when she turns 18. "C'mon, Mom!  It will be a bonding experience!"   I might actually do it if I can find a part of my body that is completely hidden and  resistant to sagging.  I haven't found it yet. ...

But I digress.....

I do not care what color you are, who you worship, what you smoke or who shares your bed.    My son's girlfriend has plans to move in with him in a few months.  No sweat.  I lived with my husband before I married him.  We have been married for almost 26 years.   We consider it our responsibility to be charitable...we recently paid for a young Filipino girl's education.    It wasn't in our budget and we had to sacrifice to make it happen but we thought it was the right thing to do.   She had been kicked out the the World Vision program because she got pregnant.  She needed a future...a plan to support herself and her child.  We could help.  So we did.    Get it?  I am a child of the 1970s.  I don't want THE MAN keeping me down. But I don't want him propping me up, either!   Does this fit the media image of  a political conservative?   Nope....and yet that is also part of who I am.  I am an unrepentant CAPITALIST.   I have spent the last three years working like a demon to pay down debt I incurred because I made poor business decisions.  My problem, my responsibility.  I did not ask for a bailout or public assistance.  I love the Constitution.  I believe that the men who wrote it were divinely inspired and I am more than a tiny bit troubled by our politicians, their vision for the future, and the impact on the country I love.  I cannot know what is in the president's heart, but his philosophy appears to differ markedly from my own.
[OMG!  Did I really just type that out?  For the whole world to see?  I hope I used my invisible ink!]

 We all look at the world through our own individual lenses.  My perspective is my reality and your perspective is your reality.   I totally get that and I would love for you to share what it is that you see.  Do you think I am crazy?  It is totally possible...tell me where I am wrong.    Please give me some facts to support your position.   Are we on the right path?  Will the road  we are on lead to something good for your business?  Your family?   How do you see it?  Are you shocked?  Chagrined?  Asleep? Are you educating yourself?  Following the congressional votes?   Let's open a dialogue, here.  I am a kind, compassionate human.  I don't fit society's stereotypical image of a conservative.   I do not want sick children to go without medical care or poor old people to eat dog food.  Similarly, it is probable that you don't fit into the box society has created for "typical Obama supporter," either.  Let's talk...maybe we will all learn something.  You can be anonymous if you wish.


Too much information?  I am still the same gal ... now you know just a bit more a bit  more about me.  I hope that  you don't have smoke spewing from your ears.  I hope your brain has not exploded.   I really hope that we can still be friends and share a blogging good time and that you will continue to read my tutorials and buy stuff from me despite my gauche breach of political correctness!  My brilliant business major son urged me not to hit the send button  because he thinks that it will be my self destruct button...but a gal has to do what a gal has to do and I have faith in you, dear reader.

Keeping it real is kind of scary....but at least my stomach doesn't hurt anymore.  


It is finished!  The piece is finally finished!  I love my new cuff bracelet and I hope you do, too.

I was delighted by the response I received to Part 1 of the Embedded Crystal Cuff tutorial and I have finally finished the piece.   I was originally looking forward to making a camouflage themed cuff, with lots of greens, browns, and black.   However, once I got the base felted, I couldn't seem to get moving on to the embellishment stage.  Every time I looked at the  piece, my hands and heart remained uninspired.  Bummer!  However, I have learned over the years that I need to go where inspiration takes me, so I decided to forget about the project for a while, leaving it to ruminate in the back corners of my addled brain.  A  KILLER FIND at a local estate sale, combined with  a peak at Kelly Burn's use of chain on the cover piece of Bead Unique magazine, got my creative juices flowing again.

I snagged a wonderful assortment of sewing embellishments at an estate sale last week...including a BAKELITE belt buckle!  YUMMY, YUMMY, YUMMY!  The lacy bits got me thinking.....Kelly's chain usage got me ruminating....and soon I was on a roll!


We are still waiting for a few slowpokes to get their photos in from the April Craft Challenge, but the ones that we have gotten have been pretty darn amazing!  We will have pictures of all of the projects as well as information about the creative process and the identity of the artists posted on the website by the beginning of next week.

Each participants received the kit pictured below---at no charge:
What a delight to see the varied and disparate collection of pieces!  Here are just a few examples of the stunning  submissions that we have received so far:

Pamela Maxfield, the talented owner of Bello Modo and her right hand employee, Shelly Haas crafted this incredible piece at right.

I found the asymmetrical quality of the piece very appealing.  The fiber flower packs extra punch with the addition of the Hot Fix Crystal Rock.  It is a statement piece that is a real show stopper!

Hannah Rosner of Good River Gallery did the incredible cuff bracelet pictured at left.  Hannah is an incredibly talented artist who seems to possess an unlimited bag of talents.  Be sure to check out her blog post on the piece, which details her creative journey!

Barbara Howard used our components and seed beads to paint the incredible picture highlighted above.  She actually embroidered the piece on a leather shirt!  Barbara had this to share about her piece:

My theme is the famous Foot Prints in the Sand. I used taupe pearls as the foot prints, the Swarovski squares for my camp fire on the beach, The Iron on Swarovski’s as the rock in the water, The Swarovski rings and gold pearls and seed beads for the sun and its rays.

Brand new felter Linda Ratka impressed me with her sophisticated hat!  It is nuno felted and hand sewn...truly a visual feast!

I first met Linda when she participated in the Nuno Felted scarf workshop that I taught for Swarovski this year.  Linda has clearly gone on to bigger and better things!  Way to go!

Thank you to all who have participated!  We have a new Challenge kicking off June 1....stay tuned for the details!

COMING NEXT WEEK:  Frugal Marketing Ideas for the Financially Challenged Retailer.


  1. You go girl!

    I tell people all the time that government is *not* a business - they have no incentive to do any of the things *we* businesses have to do - like pay bills or be friendly to the customer. All government does is print more money (IOUs).

    Just got an ad for a new candidate for governor here in Arizona who is promising to be a fiscal conservative - sounds good to much as I would love a new Mercedes convertable...well, I just can't afford it this year :-P

    erica in AZ
    Knit 1 Bead 2

  2. I hear you. I have started to keep a journal --- years from now it will be interesting to look back and see how it all played out. I can tell the grand kids what it was like in the olden days! We are truly living in historic times.

  3. I read your blogs weekly as I would a professional journal--thanks for the good, creative ideas. That said, I am a politically conservative Christian and am appalled at the direction that our country is taking. My solution is to pray, both for personal direction and for our country.

    Truly, I believe that it's possible that we are witnessing the downfall of the USA. On a professional level, I continue to sell beads because I don't know what else to do. On a personal level, my husband I have purchased bulk food for long-term storage and are considering using our life savings to purchase remote real estate, totally off the grid.

    This year, I have written more letters to Congress that I have ever written in my life. Sadly, it was a total waste of time. They simply continue merrily on their way.

    People are scared and rightly so.

    Thanks for being persistent in discussing this topic. Hopefully, it will (at least) cause people to think.

  4. feels good to hear other folks say it out loud! There is strength in numbers. Our elected officials are more afraid of the leadership than they are of was evidenced by the vote for health care despite overwhelming opposition. We have the power to change the dynamics....the country is waking up. Keep the faith.

  5. I agree. Wake up America. We don't want to go where Obama and and his like-minded socialist pals are taking us. So glad to hear others express their concerns. I think many Americans need to realize there is a price to pay for a nanny state. Whatever happened to self-reliance and taking responsibility for one's own actions?
    My one consolation is remembering who is in control of this world. PRAY- I believe the National Day of Prayer is this Thursday, May 6. May God help us.

  6. I guess 'Im the lone wolf here....DON'T Agree

    The OLD Day's are gone move on!!!

  7. The ability to engage in a discussion is part of what still makes this country great. I have two questions:

    1. What specifically about moving on are you looking forward to?

    2. What about the OLD days are you glad to leave behind?

  8. BRAVO, WELL SAID! And, lack of common sense; that seems to be missing a lot, too.

  9. Thank you for the support! Not everyone agrees...I lost a customer as a result of the post. What a world we are living in.

  10. Pat, Fans of Ayn Rand tend to be Right Wing Capitalists (when the Right Wing means a stratified society and Left Wing means a leveled society). They also believe, as did Rand, that right and wrong are found in your own life through Reason.

    The problem with Objectivism is, there's no pre-existing Truth, no pre-existing Morality. No common right and wrong for humanity, nothing Universally True. In short, no God.

    Therefore, another person (with a different reality) may climb to power and exercise their own moral judgment (which they also "found" in their own life, through Reason), which may be radically different from your own. You are left with your world shaken and new decisions to make. You are left in a reactive state rather than a proactive one.

    In Rand's competition for ideas and control where each reality and each morality are different for each person, what's to stop an Obama from manipulating the poor and tricking the disenfranchised into demanding more and more goodies and leaving someone else to pay the bill?

    The Obama crowd can deny any kind of truth if it wasn't a moral code they found through reason in their own lives. So they can easily push Communism-- it may work this time! Just because it didn't work before (in another reality) is no reason it can't work now in this one! Of course, they wouldn't be Right Wing Objectivists, but still, any Atheistic philosophy gets you to the same argument whether it's Marxism, Fabian Socialism, British Idealism, or Nazism.

    What we need is the END of Objectivism! To bring back the fact that we SHARE a common reality and we SHARE common TRUTH. That Right and Wrong do pre-exist our lives, and that Social justice is Immoral for all, even if it levels, while Equal Justice is Moral for all even if the results are unequal distribution of wealth. In short, that Universal Truth exists. That some things are simply true for all people in all places at all times.

    Other than that, we agree completely. We are living in scary times indeed.

  11. Don't agree with Anonymous (funny, they wouldn't put their name on here)--Okay, "the old days are gone". Move on to what????? Can you give me a hint???

  12. Oh Honey! We have to do lunch! Please contact me.

  13. I don't like the "move on" that our government seems to be taking. It is scary. I pray daily too.

  14. Labels are an evil thing. The extreme right and extreme left seem to want to pigeon hole everyone into one of their labels.
    Just be a good person and do unto others...that's my motto.