Craft In The Time Of Coronavirus

Social Distancing & Staying At Home Is Becoming A Thing? Crafters: “We Got This.”

For the past few days, I’ve been wanting to share photos of some new products, but felt I first needed to take a moment to address the thing that so many people are talking about, which is of course, COVID-19.

dozens of chainmaille craft kits are spread out with meme text reading: Confessions of a Crafter - This is What My Panic Buying Looks Like

Mitigation

Over the past few days it became clear the containment effort of COVID-19 has not been successful in the US, and things are going to get worse before they get better. The virus’s exponential growth needs to be stalled and reversed to keep US hospitals from being overloaded. The continued spread is inevitable. What this leads to a few months down the road can be vastly different, based on all the actions we take or don’t take moving forward. The sooner we can slow this growth, the better. (Here’s a great video about exponential growth and epidemics.)

Even with the best efforts, there’s going to be disruption in many people’s daily lives, sometimes minimal and sometimes substantial. I already have customers (and family friends) across the world who are under lockdown or self-quarantine. The mother of an acquaintance died on one of the cruise ships. People are panic-buying all over the country.

B3 Response

There are obviously a lot of unknowns with this situation that experts rightly refer to as “rapidly evolving.” I know that right now, the coronavirus risk to me personally is very low. There have been no confirmed outbreaks in my neighborhood. I, like everyone else, am still far, FAR more likely to die from heart disease or a car accident. But, should I catch the virus, I could easily carry it and pass it on to someone vulnerable.

My mom is one of those vulnerable people, due to age and a compromised immune system. I see her multiple times a week, and she helps out with B3 kit assembly. She’s pretty much all the family I have, and for her sake, starting February 29, I began minimizing my risk by essentially being a hermit until the situation is more understood and under control. To be honest, being a homebody is basically my normal lifestyle, so this isn’t actually a huge change or sacrifice for me. Introverts, it’s our turn to save the world!!! 😉

As far as Blue Buddha goes, I’m still prepping and shipping orders and will continue to do so while adapting to the situation. (For instance, my trips to the Post Office may eventually become fewer and far between). I’ll keep you guys updated on this blog, on the B3 Facebook page and/or in the announcement section of the B3 Etsy shop (scroll down on the main shop page past the listings until you see Announcements.)

Crafting is soothing for many people, and I want to keep inspiring you especially if you’re struggling. Because the more soothed and calm people we have in the world, the better. Also, if you’re stuck at home for days on end, it’s great to have something to do to keep your mind and hands occupied. Not to mention, you wind up with something tangible, which is more than can be said for binge-watching a TV show! I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure I’ll do some binge watching in the next couple months, heh.

Let’s Hang Virtually: B3 Community Craft Session Online Coming Soon!

This is the perfect time for me to launch a hangout session, which we used to do in-person at the Blue Buddha shop in Chicago. I’ve been meaning to do an “ask the artist” video/webinar to answer a few questions an artisan sent me… maybe this would be a good chance for me to answer those questions while y’all craft. Are ya down? I was thinking a YouTube livestream would probably be the best and easiest way for most of you to listen/watch. If you have other suggestions for platforms, let me know in the comments below!

I wish all of you the very best. Feel free to reach out anytime.

P.S. The title of this post is a play on words from Love in the time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquezz, one of my favorite authors. If you’re panic buying, might I also suggest books? There’s a few suggestions in my recent post on sci-fi audio books.

 

It’s Our 17-Year Anniversary!

Leave A Comment For Your Chance To Win A Free Kit

B-day-cakeWoo-hoo! 🎉 As of this week, Blue Buddha Boutique is 17 years old! 

It’s been a journey with countless “ups” and a few “downs” … and overall, I couldn’t be happier to celebrate with you.

A handful of you have been with us since the very beginning! This astounds me, and I am deeply grateful for your continued support for so many years. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Along the way, many new customers have joined us. You offer new energy and enthusiasm to this craft, and I’m thankful for each and every one of you.

Honestly, all of you continue to motivate and inspire me. It is because of you that I didn’t completely close down a few years ago, and instead have kept the torch burning, albeit at a much smaller scale. You seriously are the best customers I could ever ask for.

To help celebrate, how about a giveaway?

Comment below (or on our post on Facebook) as if you were signing B3’s birthday card. Tell us your favorite B3 memory or experience in your comment. One randomly chosen winner will receive a FREE kit and instructions of their choice.*

Comments made through midnight, Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020 are eligible. A randomly chosen winner will announced on the first week of March 2020.

We can’t wait to hear your stories. Happy weaving!

*Any base metal kit + PDF instructions (or hard copy included instructions for 3rd vendor kits) available on the B3 Etsy store with a total value up to $45. Redeemable through June 30, 2020.

blue buddha boutique logo with celebration hat

Creative Challenge Report: UFO Is Finished … and Sold!

Sometimes The Universe Is Just Waiting For You To Say You’re Ready

Last month, I challenged you to find an un-finished crafts project (UFO) and commit to finishing it by the end of the month. A few of you commented on the Facebook post, and one person sent me email, to share your commitments. Thank you for doing that!

I’ll be honest – part of my motivation for this challenge was to motivate myself to finish a project! I have far too many unfinished projects, but there was one in particular I wanted to tackle.

I’d had the idea floating in my head for awhile to create a series of necklaces based loosely on my infamous Poseidon’s Embrace piece. I’d already made one necklace, and had started the second…but then the holiday show season crept up, and then end-of-year inventory, and after that I ran out of excuses, but kept procrastinating. I knew I was putting off this project because I honestly had no idea how to create what I envisioned, and somehow the idea of just not doing anything was easier than sitting down at my worktable and pushing through the discomfort.

Hence, the challenge.

Despite getting off to a slower start due to a seasonal cold, I finished my piece by my deadline. And … *drum roll* … the piece sold before I even posted it online!

As I was putting the finishing touches on the necklace, a woman who’d purchased a few pieces from me at a local show messaged me looking for a statement necklace. I sent her a few images of the previous necklace I’d made, took a quick photo of the current necklace in progress, and also sent a few color palettes. I needn’t have bothered with the color palettes, as it turned out she loved the necklace I was working on, and wanted to buy it right then and there! Serendipitous!

Here it is. From the pile at left, to the gorgeous piece, named Resilience, at right. Resilience is created with links of various metallic hues in two sizes. Inspired by dystopian fiction and the idea of creating beauty out of the wasteland. Also, not gonna lie – it’s something I imagine the hero might wear when she wants to dress up while continuing to look badass.

pile of metal mesh links at left with arrow pointing to assembled necklace made from the links at rightOverall, I’m so happy with how this came out, and I’m amazed that someone purchased the piece right as I was finishing it. This is the first time this has happened to me in the 17 years I’ve been doing this! I’d like to think the Universe was delivering me a resounding message of “You’re on the right path.” And now I’m eager to figure out what my next commitment is!

Stay tuned for other Creative Challenges this year. And in the meantime – if you’ve got a UFO sitting around, go finish it! Maybe a buyer (or gift recipient) is waiting for you as well.



Giving Myself Permission To Take A Sick Day (Or Two)

The Culture of Guilt Around Sick Days … Is, Well, Sick

rebeca mojica drinking tea

Artisan shout-out: The awesome striped black artwork behind me is made from bike tubes! It’s by Beatrice Holiday and is one of two pieces I purchased from her at a show out here in LA. I don’t think she sells artwork on her website, but you can check out her lovely jewelry online. My sweetie bought a couple of cuffs from her! Sadly, I can’t remember where I purchased the mug. 😞 I’m usually so good at remembering all my artisan purchases, but this one escapes me at the moment. If you recognize this, or think you do, please let me know!

 

Whelp. I caught my first cold in at least 3 years. (There are many things I miss about Chicago, but all the buses and trains full of coughing, runny-nosed people is NOT one of them. Ha.)

I had all these grand plans for this week, and instead, I’m forcing myself to slow down. I’m reading some business books, napping, drinking lots of ginger-lemon-honey tea and slowly walking a couple miles a day instead of hitting the gym hard. I did ship orders (note that I sanitized my hands and put on nitrile gloves while packing the orders, so hopefully I’ll keep my germs to myself!)

I’ll be honest, though, it was hard for me to not follow through on my previous commitment to work on my chainmaille necklace on Monday! I mean, I just introduced a challenge and was so excited about it. I felt I needed to step up and be a role model for y’all. I committed to doing something, so, I should do it!

Best laid plans, right? I have a general rule of not weaving while I’ve got a cold/flu, etc. Scientifically speaking, I know the cold virus won’t last more than a couple days on a metal surface. But I just don’t like the idea of infusing my pieces with my “sick energy.” I’d much rather weave when I’m in a joyful, optimistic state, and not suffering from a contagious virus.

So, self-care came first and my current projects are on hold until after this weekend. Thanks for bearing with me.

Having not had a cold in so long, I’d almost forgotten that we live in a culture where “calling in sick” often makes us feel guilty. Even if we’re our own boss! I really wish that weren’t the case. When I was a boss, I sometimes worked ridiculous hours and wasn’t the best model of self-care. I tried to be supportive of the team when they needed time off, but I’m guessing many of them felt guilty or bad for calling in, and I know I didn’t always succeed the way I wanted in leading by example. When I have employees again, I plan to do a much better job at this. Because all humans should be able to rest and recover without feeling guilty or terrified of losing income. Right? I’m not really sure what I can do to impact this on a larger scale, but in the meantime, hopefully “yet another blog post about self-care” might make a difference and help at least one person give themselves permission to truly take care of themselves when they need to.



Listen While You Craft! My 2 Most Recent Sci-Fi Binge-Listening Books

These Books Aren’t New, But They Are New To Me, And I Love Them!

Disclosure: Some of the links to products below are affiliate links, meaning, at no cost to you, I may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. It helps me create content like this for you, and I thank you for your support.

When I started making chainmaille in 2002, I also started listening to audiobooks. Over the years I’ve gone through phases, sometimes preferring to listen to news radio or podcasts over audiobooks. But this past summer, the audiobook bug bit hard!

Cover of Dark Matter book by Blake CrouchI tend to listen to nonfiction (mainly social science, cognition, cosmology, and biographies) and science fiction. For the past few months I’ve been on a HUGE Young Adult dystopian fiction kick. My 13-year-old self would’ve been absolutely obsessed with some of these books, and my adult self is enjoying them too.

Sidenote: If you’re curious, I use the Libby/Overdrive app to listen to audiobooks from my local library … because libraries ARE AWESOME, duh. 😉

Of all the books I listened to during the final months of 2019, there are a couple of Sci Fi books that stand out, because I completely, unashamedly binged them. Usually I only listen to audiobooks while weaving or maybe while walking to the Post Office. But these books, I couldn’t get enough of. I listened to them pretty much nonstop. Once, I even turned into a live meme, eating popcorn while I listened. (Until, 4 or 5 chomps in, I realized I immensely disliked the sound of me chewing while trying to listen to a book. Ha.)

I’ll provide links to the books on Amazon, if you’d like to check out more information or reviews.

 

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Lots of people know about this book because of the movie. I didn’t see the movie when it came out, because I wanted to read the book first, and boy am I glad I did. Its narrated by Wil Wheaton and he is absolutely fantastic. I honestly just felt like I was hanging out with someone from my nerdy Dungeons & Dragons crew, who was filling me in on his epic video game adventures. (In fact, I loved Wil’s narration so much, I quickly followed up by listening to him narrate one of his own books, The Happiest Days of Our Liveswhich, despite the name, had me crying multiple times.) Some readers complain that Cline belabors a few points, providing copious details about, well, everything. But I loved it. I know that when people are passionate about their hobby, they can and do provide all sorts of details! It really was just like hanging out with a friend, and I was rooting for the protagonist the entire way.

AMAZON:

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

I don’t know how this author flew under my radar for so long, but I’m now hooked and plan on reading his other works. At the very beginning of Dark Matter, I was reminded of the short-lived TV series Awake, and I was wondering if the books was a “dream world vs reality” situation. Then I realized what was going on. But then…plot twist! And then, another plot twist! Everything was conveyed in such vivid detail; my brain really enjoyed bringing this world to life. All in all, it was an excellent ride and it certainly took me places I wasn’t expecting. Oh, and bonus, it takes place in Chicago, and I always love it when writers throw in street names and neighborhoods that I know!

AMAZON:

Those are my top 2 Sci Fi recommendations from Fall Quarter 2019. The next book in my queue (it finally showed up this morning, after being On Hold for 12 weeks!) is Fifth Season (Broken Earth Trilogy) by N.K. Jemison.

Now that you know a bit about my taste – do you have any Sci Fi audiobooks you’d recommend? Let me know in the comments below!

UPDATE: See all the great suggestions on the Facebook thread about this post, too!