Newest Custom Work

This is the most recent custom work that I had the pleasure of completing for my friend Amanda.  She has three boys, and wanted a “mother’s necklace.”  I was able to design something uncommon enough to be proud of, while still keeping the look that my friend had fallen in love with.  Each piece is made of a different material, with individual texture markings – which kind of resembles how each child is so unique from the others!  I also made the back of the piece attractive by adding criss-cross texture marks, in case she chooses to wear it reversed, and then made the chain adjustable in length.

If you are interested in having me make your own, please email me at chelseyalyse@gmail.com, or visit my etsy shop and send me a “convo” for custom work.

Enjoy!img_4678

 

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Day 42 of my New Job

I get nervous when writing in a new journal's first page - so I draw instead.

I get nervous when writing in a new journal’s first page – so I draw instead.

So, today was pretty fun.  Some serious metalsmithing was made more enjoyable by the nearly-perfect candle.  Unfortunately, I burned over 50% of it in one day, and they’re no longer on sale for half-off at Bath & Body Works.  Soooooo, that’s dumb.

Monday, I began my work-day by scouring the internet for a specific brand and scent of candle.  Did you know that some companies just “DISCONTINUE” their best products for the sole purpose of making you angry and disillusioned?  It happens all the time in the fragrance world.  Makes me so MAY-ad.  Mad.  Anyway, on a recent kayaking trip with my girlfriends, I bought a teeny-tiny candle for our teeny-tiny cabin, to burn while watching regrettable chick-flicks and eating dark chocolates.  It became my favorite candle in the history of all candles.  All 2.9 ounces of it.  And now it’s GONE until “Mrs. Meyer” decides to bring it back to production.  At least, that’s what the girl on their help-line told me.  Can you believe I wasted almost an hour hunting down a candle, and now blogging about it?  That’s what happens when you’re a synesthete and you want to re-live a kayaking trip via candle-induced hallucinations.

Meanwhile, back at the farm…..

Today – I did laundry, cleaned dishes, watered the plants, read scriptures and prayed before getting very far into the day, prepared nutritious meals, made and photographed and edited my new spiral earrings for Etsy, drank approximately 30 oz. of organic hazelnut coffee, and started writing in a brand-new journal.  I felt busy.  And I reeeeaaaallyyyy liked this type of “busy.”

I burned this candle the EN-TIRE time I metalsmithed today.  It was glorious.

I burned this candle the EN-TIRE time I metalsmithed today. It was glorious.

 

Ta-Daaaaaa.

Ta-Daaaaaa.

 

But can I just do this and make money? Either way, I’m grateful for the chance to work hard at my “dream-job.”

-Chelsey Alyse

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Day* 39 of my New Job

*It’s actually late in the evening.  And no, I didn’t work today, because I spent the majority of the day traveling to Nashville to see one of my littlest sisters perform in a musical tomorrow.  Here she is, being cute:

Caroline Jo (C.J.) circa 2012

Caroline Jo (C.J.) circa 2012

But I sort of worked today!  And by that, I mean that I got some people to follow me on Instagram, and then I followed them back.  I think that’s how you’re supposed to do it. When it comes to using social media to promote my business, I just feel kind of sneaky. Like when you are a little kid and your mom makes you wear clothes that totally aren’t your style, so you kind of tip-toe around your friends in hopes that they don’t see you and advertise your weirdness to the whole group.  But I’m getting over it.

Anyway.  Here are some pictures of old jewelry I made, since I didn’t get studio time today.  This is the matching earring & necklace set I made for my best friend when she got married:img_4057
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And this is another piece of wedding jewelry I made for myself to wear at a friend’s wedding a few years back:

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- Chelsey Alyse

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Day 38* of my New Job**

Here's a recent necklace in my "unrepeatables" collection.

Here’s a recent necklace in my “Unrepeatables” collection, a one-of-a-kind piece found on my Etsy store.

*Ahem: 38 work days, but 52 total days have passed since I started whatever this is that I started. For those of you who don’t know, I quit my retail job to focus on my jewelry-making and painting. I’m still figuring it out. I suppose I need to get used to choosing a good attitude when I feel like I’m in the middle of that cringe-inducing “figure-it-out-mode.” I just want to work things out sooooo fast so I can be done feeling inept and get on with feeling awesome instead.

If we’re honest, aren’t we all clueless all the time, about mostly everything?  If our sense of hope and security is found in knowing everything we want to know and conquering everything we try, then boooyyyyy are we in trouble.  There are a great many things I want to know, understand, accomplish, and become when I grow up:

  • I want to be a metalsmith and painter who actually sells stuff. To complete strangers.
  • I want to know how to cure liver disease, and cancer, and comparison, and selfishness, and poverty, and “selfies.”  And that awkward stage of life from age 9 to 26 – because that’s how old I am and it never went away.   :/
  • I want to be a photographer, a darn good one.
  • I want to be 100% ultra-super-awesome-perfect at loving people.
  • And more recently, I’ve decided that I want to be a farmer.  A snooty one, who only grows organic, non-gmo, pesticide-free crop and drinks non-pasteurized milk and juices.
  • (And…. I want to look kinda pretty doing all that stuff.)

Those are, for the most part, good things to want.  But Lord help me if I want those things more than they should be wanted.  More than I want to align my mind with that of the Creator of all truth and goodness and purpose.

So, self, remember: Out of all the possibilities of what you can do, or be, or know, or accomplish…. only ONE is an occupation of eternal weight, and that is my identity as a follower of Christ.  Cultivate that, and all the rest will fall into place as it should.  Even if I still feel cringy-anxious from time to time.

**My Job:  As for my job…. Well I could use some help here too.  I sell my items on Etsy, and I need to boost traffic and sales.  Can y’all help?  Re-pin my items on Pinterest, follow me on Instagram, like me on Facebook, and favorite my shop and/or items on Etsy!  Somewhere to the right of this post that you’re so graciously reading, there are cute little buttons you can click on to do all of the aforementioned things.  Oh man, you’re great.  Thank you. =]

And here is another picture of something random in my shop, because a “successful” blog post contains at least one picture or everyone gets bored and quits reading:

I'm always scavenging for interesting old buttons and broken pieces of jewelry that need a new life.

I’m always scavenging for interesting old buttons and broken pieces of jewelry that need a new life.

Okay fine, here’s another one:

Vintage Blue Daisy Ring - https://www.etsy.com/listing/192579265/vintage-blue-daisy-ring?ref=shop_home_feat_3

Vintage Blue Daisy Ring

THANKS!!!!!!!

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Day 2 of my “new job”

Today has been excellent.  I got three orders shipped out or hand-delivered.  I learned how scary Etsy ISN’T when I take time to read the forums and figure stuff out like a fully functioning, capable adult.  I’m an adult, man.

One big swamp of things I’ll have to think through is how many hats I wear, and where to keep them all:

Designer.  Maker.  Seller.  Marketing Manager.  Shop Manager.  Blogger.  Bookkeeper. QA Inspector.  Purchaser…..

I’m going to have to talk to real people and say stuff like, “Hey, you over there, come buy my art,” or something to that effect, just more polished.  I haven’t really thought through it all just yet.  But I hope that my artwork (jewelry and paintings) will eventually speak for me, or at least for themselves.  I think it’s going to be fun.  I think that, whatever the outcome, this time will be worth the investment.

Today’s work:


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Day 1 of my “new job”

Today, May 27th of 2014, is the first day of my entrepreneurial adventure.  Since graduating in 2010, I’ve taught some, traveled some, and then (begrudgingly) settled into a full-time retail job.  It wasn’t planned.  None of this was in my plan. During college, I had this very hazy, un-thought-out idea that I’d end up in a lifestyle where I could do metalwork and painting all the time, uninterrupted by bills and responsibilities and grown-up things.

I was wrong.  But I’ve been fortunate enough to learn that lesson while working full-time, living at home, and saving money that will enable me to strike out again with a (progressively) corrected point of view.

So here are a few things that happened on Day 1 of the new job:

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Why I’m Glad I Got Pulled Over By A Cop

I got pulled over last Sunday night near midnight after pulling out of the “world famous” Dairy Palace.  Reason?  My lights weren’t on.  I had no idea, since the officer turned the vehicle’s lights on to pull me over only 3 to 5 seconds (LITERALLY) after I had pulled out of the parking lot.  I was completely baffled.  Baffled and SAD.  Added to my distress, which was great, was the fact that as I was trying to explain myself, the officer cut me off and wouldn’t let me finish my sentence.  Almost as if to solidify the fact that there was no desire or openness to hearing my appeal.  The officer had already determined to give me a citation, and there would be no stopping it.

But my explanation was going to have been so good!  I was driving my grandmother’s car, since mine has been sick recently.  It’s still so foreign for me to drive it, PLUS it doesn’t have automatic headlights.  I feel confident that I would have realized my error and turned my lights on before I got any closer to the highway, before any real damage or danger would befall myself or anyone else.  Also, I was driving wayyyy too slow to run over any unsuspecting pedestrians (which Canton doesn’t have on non-first-monday days anyway).  I mean, barring some unforeseen calamity, there was NO way that I was causing anyone harm.  Especially not from any obvious malicious intent.  Still, however, my quiet and scared and humbled and entirely sober 17-year-old appearance did nothing to soften the officer’s demeanor.  Listen, I realize that officer training probably demands that they be abrupt and tough.  I’m glad.  If not, they would probably get taken advantage of and not respected as someone in their position deserves.

But it still hurts to be a submissive lil girl who gets suspected of drunk-driving or reckless irresponsibility.  Once the officer saw that I was not only sober but also meek, don’t you think I could have simply been given warning?  Alas, I hardly ever get warnings.  No grace.

So, I cried loudly all the way home (driving very carefully), wailing “Cops HATE me, I NEVER just get a warning, they AWLAYS think I’m awful and EVERYONE hates me.”  - it’s been a tough few months, or I’d probably not have been quite so dramatic.

(AND, all this was made worse by a customer at work who had walked out on me the day before as I was trying to explain something.  She didn’t like my answers, and when I tried to hand her off to someone who could help her more effectively, she got mad.  Presumably because she felt that I disrespected her, who knows.  But it stung and felt awful and she completely turned her back on me as I was mid-sentence.)

But anyways, guess what happened as I drove home after receiving my citation?!?!?  God taught me that REJECTION is at the core of the GOSPEL.  I always thought the Gospel was that Jesus died a horrible death for my sin.  What I never truly realized before, was that Jesus was rejected by God – FOR MY SAKE.  Just as I had been feeling unjustly “walked out on,” forsaken, defenseless, and unheard, Jesus had to experience the wrath of God poured out on himself because he chose to wear my sin and become the target of God’s rejection, since a perfect holy God cannot (and SHOULD not) tolerate sin.  Perfect Jesus chose to be separated from the only perfectly loving relationship He’d ever had (with God the Father), crying from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” so that I could be reconciled and receive adoption in His place.  Mercy!  Compassion!  Love!  Only God could do that.  Only GOD could love people who are altogether hateful and ugly and unlovable.  As one of my favorite pastors says, “God doesn’t love some future version of us.  He loves us from the start.” – paraphrase of Matt Chandler.

And I just kept thanking Him,

“Jesus, thank you for being my compassionate Priest!  Thank you for being willing to listen to my hurts, even though I’m GUILTY!  Thanks for bearing the rejection that I myself earned by my sin.  And thanks for helping me to realize my guilt – I could never have been so humble as to repent of my sin without the help of God.  You are so good!”

People, Jesus loves, and He alone can rescue.  He alone is acquainted with every single hurt your soul could ever experience.  I’m praying for you.  I’m begging God to help you see Him as completely compassionate and loving, because only then can you understand the Gospel and repent of your sin, and only then can you learn to love God back.

2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Believe.  Repent.  Accept.

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Heirloom jewelry, re-constructed

These were my most recent custom orders.  The lady who commissioned me had inherited some beautiful costume jewelry from her grandmother, and wanted Mother’s Day jewelry she could pass along to other ladies in her family.  I absolutely l-o-v-e repurposing old jewelry, especially with such special meaning to the wearers.  So fun!  All 5 of these necklaces contain heirloom elements; mostly pins, earring parts, and crystals…

Also, I’ve been trying to improve my photography skills and use of backgrounds.  Eh, I know I could do better, but I still just think some of these are so pretty!



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dovetail

I recently had the pleasure of creating custom pendants for the band Dovetail.  They were a gift, marking the release of their first album, entitled “Mount Karma,” which released on 3-24-12.  (This is what I stamped on the pendants)  Dovetail’s music is an eclectic mix of indie, pop, and rock ‘n’ roll.  Cool stuff.  Anyways, the lovely sister of two of the bandmates commissioned me to design pendants in the shape of a dovetail arrowhead, from whence the band procured their name.  So I did some research, drew some sketches, made a sample, and got going.  It was a blast, and reminded me just how much I enjoy creating custom orders.

Here’s a few pictures documenting the process…

These are not the most detailed of my drawings, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

close-up of a high-polished piece, before drilling the hole and stamping the text

After stamping and drilling the hole.. Still so shiny! I hated to mess with that polish, but I’ll bet the guys wearing them are grateful I roughed the finish up some!

They were so polished, they mirrored the paintings in my room. I thought it was pretty cool-lookin’.

All done! And packaged nicely in a recycled box. Yahoo!

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wild flowers

Nature holds messages for us…

Ever since I was a small, fatherless child, I’ve struggled with believing that I am loved.  I’ve felt broken.  Messed up.  Incapable.  Unable to do anything right.  Yes, yes I know that’s “silly.”  From the outside looking in, it would seem that I really have no excuse to possess such a problem.  I’ve always been loved-on, doted on, praised by my family and friends, cared for financially, emotionally, educationally and spiritually.  I was even given an adopted father at age 10.

But, the fact of the matter is this:

when you feel broken, it’s because you are broken.

So a year ago when I found myself on the streets of Bangkok, walking to my amazing summer job as an art teacher, I felt unspeakably, immobilizingly broken.  Still.  Being in an unfamiliar place always churns up ones’ unsolved problems.  As I was making my way down a calm back road one morning before the rush of the work day, I half-heartedly prayed for clarity, for freedom from self-hate, and from feeling so distant from Father God.  The dense tropical greenery seemed to lean in toward me as I walked, as if it wanted to enclose me.  The vines seemed to reach out their tendrils and whisper…

“I want to hold your hand.  I was created to demonstrate God’s love to you.  Let me do this, let me love you.”

(Yeah yeah, I’m a foolish girl.  Talking plants that possess cognitive reasoning skills, and which furthermore want to embrace me?  Stay with me…)

I had forgotten about that encounter until just recently.  Now it’s spring, and I’m living in beautiful east Texas.  The recent rainstorms have left us with billowy green grass and wildflowers.  After the past month or so of a mini-depression, I decided that my camera and I needed to enjoy a nature walk.  And what did we run in to?  Flowers and leaves that wanted to show me the love of God….

Now listen, I know that plants don’t truly feel, think, or try to communicate.  But God uses them to demonstrate His love, and He chose to reach out to me last year through their beauty, because at that point, I couldn’t believe that a man could truly love me.  So isn’t God crazy-nice?  There I was, stubbornly wallowing in self-pity, not believing that God loves me.  And yet He shows up with this bouquet of tropical flowers, as a promise that He WOULD change my unbelief into trust, that He WOULD fix what was broken, in His good timing.

And He has…

And will continue to do so…

Please trust Him with me?




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