With under 100 more community members to go before reaching 1000, we're almost to the end of our latest Facebook Community challenge - the Braille Fashion Cheat-Sheet Challenge 1000!
The twist this time (thanks to the suggestion of community member, Kimberly Y. (who's getting a little giftie in the mail) - when the 1000th person signs on, we'll do a random drawing of all community members (though, it may take me a couple of days to figure out how to do it through Facebook). The person whose name is drawn AND the person who referred them (you'll have to tell me) will each win a braille fashion alphabet bracelet (soon to be a rarity) and a sterling silver spin ring! Keep 'em guessing 'til the end, right?!
Speaking of keeping people guessing, I think in my rather emotional writing haste (you, Leslie, really?!) it sounded like I was closing out of everything to do with jewelry, when it's actually only the mass-produced pieces (i.e., the braille fashion alphabet bracelet (as opposed to the solid sterling silver with pearl or gemstone clasp, which I will continue to hand make per order); the silver plated heart pendant; the Faith pendant; and the sterling silver spin ring.
The mass-production and all that entails has always made life more difficult. Any time they feel like it, manufacturers can raise prices, lose, or change jewelry molds, and raise prices - without letting me know beforehand! I kept trying to keep shlogging through all of it thinking/hoping it would settle and/or organizations would take advantage of the discount for ordering larger amounts to use for raising funds. That never really happened, though, so after my last huge order, when the bracelets manufacturer raised the prices and added an interest rate, I decided that was the biggest culprit of my unhappiness and dissatisfaction with the jewelry. So ...
I will continue hand making pieces for people per order, and will always enjoy working with many of the incredibly kind and lovely people I've worked with through the last 11 years; I've got at least another five years or so left in these hands!
New things: Check out this video of the RNIB BrailleKing pocket slate & stylus, which allows you to write as you normally tend to think of braille; left to right, instead of having to braille "backwards." I ordered two dozen from them and am selling them for $25.00. One US catalog company is carrying them for $32.00, but I just think it's so much easier to jot a quick note this way, encouraging others to do so, as well, that I want to sell them as low as possible! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYRSmCxLUyU
I've also got this new hand poured and finished pewter piece that can be used as shown (a bookmark), a necklace or bracelet for $30.00. I'll have more as soon as I get out from the house hell ; ) we're in with our pending house sale!
Last, I'm in the thick of end-of-year, and retirement pieces that I will get out this week so we can move from the family home we've enjoyed for the past 12 years, and into the Scholar's Apartment in the Honor's Dorm at the Univ. of North Texas for the next two years. With excitement (and I must confess, a bit trepidation on my part) w'll be living with our two teenage boys in a 2/1.5 apt. among some of the brightest kids on the campus, allowing our boys to learn the campus before they even attend college there. It'll be particularly useful for Ethan, our white cane user, to learn to map the campus three years ahead of time, and with his love of languages (he's spouting a little something in over 45, at last count) he'll be able to have conversations with kids from all over the world!
Change is good and we're all excited about this, but I'm quickly (at least, I hope) getting to a time in the next few weeks when I'll be trying to squeeze our belongings into new and tighter spaces, and setting up my studio in a little apartment near our living space. The timing should work fine, though, as June and July are usually not busy months, anyway; bear with me, though, if you would.
Thanks for all of the good wishes and kind thoughts from everyone who wrote to ask me not to close down completely - I appreciate every singe word of every single note; thanks for your patience, too, as I change and grow!
Leslie and the boys <3