When I first started crafting jewelry, friends would comment that many of my beads made them think of candy. Hard candy, to be specific. I laughed it off at the time, but as the years went by I began to see a recurring theme in the beads I purchased and, almost, in the way I put them together. The components all went to support how much the beads looked like candies!

Many of us never get over our love of candy. I know for me the trip to the Whiskey Hill Store to spend our can and bottle money on candy was the best part of our Summers. Jolly Ranchers were my favorite, and I know we loved Gobstoppers and Jawbreakers too. So why not embrace this theme in presentation, inspiration, and even how I market? Sounds like a fun idea, actually.

As I began brainstorming this post, I also started looking for a stock photo to use as the featured image. Photo after photo of hard candies set in artistic fashion made me realize that I should use this recurring theme of hard candy as a selling point during the Christmas season. Perhaps even during Halloween if I use the darker beads I’ve been hoarding (and, of course, the beads that are different shades of yellow and orange).

Candies can be crafted into so many lovely shapes and colors, and I’m looking forward to attempting to find even more beads that seem to play on this as their inspiration–and mine.

Keeping Connections

My mother was a “crafty” person: tatting, crochet, knitting, sewing… she did it all–and very well, too. I truly believe that making jewelry has become my way of connecting with her memory–keeping her close as it were. That isn’t to say that I don’t still think of my characters, and stories, and “what-ifs” that I pose to the hubs. I will always think of myself as a writer, but for the moment there is no joy in it for me.

Without joy, the story and the characters are almost lifeless, and they deserve more than that.

I still fondly remember the first time I told my mom that a friend from work had begun teaching me how to make jewelry. My mom hugged me! I still smile and shake my head to think of it, especially when I remember how she said that she had almost given up hope that I would ever become interested in anything of a crafty nature. Of course, because this is the kind of mom she was, she began crafting jewelry as well. Although, to her credit, she delved into the much more challenging areas of polymer clays and bead stitching (using seed beads and buttons in intricate patterns). If she had not passed away, I feel fairly confident that she would have expanded into glasswork, or perhaps loom stitching.

As I said, she was a very crafty person, and now it has become one of my fondest memories of her. Almost a motivation to continue to study, learn, and grow in my own abilities–to challenge myself and experiment. Of course I would rather have her here with me, helping me make sense of patterns or teaching me how to bead stitch… but hearing her happy voice in my head as I improvise another set of earrings and necklace or bracelet is enough.

Writing With Christmas Flavor

Tis the season for Christmas romances on the Hallmark channel. Some are corny, goofy, or cliche, but all of them are clean, sweet, and brimming with holiday cheer and happy endings.

Today I watched one that was particularly delightful, much to my surprise (since I’m one of those people who don’t really seek out RomComs or any heavy romantic movies). The title was ‘A Bramble House Christmas’ and it followed our heroine Willa and her son Scout as they took a vacation that was gifted to them by one of her clients (she is a healthcare worker) who had recently passed.

Watching the relationship bloom between her and Finn (the son of the deceased client) had me thinking about how a writer comes up with a holiday season romance. In my mind it doesn’t seem like it would be an easy task since so many things need to come into play before the season ends in the story… And I have a tendency of writing relationships that are months in the making.

So how would I do it? Would it work to have a Christmas season romance that spans more than one Christmas season? Maybe a collection of short stories that take place during the various holidays through the year? Is it worth the time and effort to take up this particular challenge? Maybe I should start looking into other romances that take place during the holiday season?

It’s definitely something to consider, especially since Christopher and Sara haven’t celebrated their first Christmas yet.