What do you get when you purchase something from me here at TurtleBay?
I'm always amazed where my clients hail from. It's incredible to me that I ship beach related jewelry to places like Oklahoma or Wyoming. If nothing else, it tells you that the sea connects us all, no matter where we call home port.
Imagine my surprise when my latest two clients are both in the U.S. Virgin Islands! This is largely in part because a fellow sailing friend from my Women Who Sail Facebook group, who happens to live in St. John, shared my work with many of her friends. In a matter of a few hours, I gained an additional 200 fans on my Facebook business page! Talk about humbling. As an artist, we can be solitary creatures, especially when we sit alone at a workbench all day. Oftentimes, that can translate to self doubt and heaping amounts of self criticism in terms of our art work. In turn, it can become paralyzing, especially if you give in to the inner demons at work. To have so many new people come together and collectively say, "We love what you do! It's so inspiring!"...that eases the grip I've had on my creativity for so long. It raises me up to a place where I feel understood and have affirmation that my passion still resonates in my jewelry. Suddenly, I can sketch again! I have new ideas where my creativity has been barren.
I no longer feel chained below decks and I have to say, it feels good to have sun on my face again.
Thank You to those who support me, those who share my work, those who buy my work and wear it, but mostly, thank you for believing in me. ❤️ I couldn't do what I do without all the fellow dreamers, drifters and fans.
Fair winds and following seas,
Today, I fed a homeless man named Jamie. He's been homeless for three years now. He was born and raised here. He lost his job and hasn't been able to get work. I watched him take his small bag of toiletries to the public washrooms at the harbor. He came back clean and neat, brushing his hair and beard with a small comb.
I was sitting at the break wall, feeling kind of down, watching sailboats blow on by. Watching him reminded me that there's people with bigger problems than my own. I only had an apple to share; it seemed pretty paltry. My husband took one look at me and asked if we needed to go to the market. My husband knows me very well. ❤
We tried to be mindful of his limited space and thoughtfully chose things that were lightweight, nutritious and would last a while. We also brought him a hot and ready pizza. It's Friday. We like pizza on Fridays. Why shouldn't he?
The reason I'm posting this isn't for glory or praise. It's merely to remind myself, and hopefully someone else, that even the smallest gesture can make a big ripple in the pond.
When I was done there, some very cool people who just bought a trawler invited us aboard for a tour and chatted about boats. I left the water feeling much better. The Lord gives good things when you most need them.
Summer is coming to an end. Or so says the endless Back to School ads, the supply lists, the Open House and Orientation meetings, the start of another Scout season. But they won't take me willingly!
I'm a perpetual girl of summer. Even when the stray snowflakes fly here in the Outer Banks, I'm still daydreaming of lush tropical beaches, waves gently lapping at the hull of a boat, the sound of a halyard slapping against a mast. I can see the condensation drip ever so slowly down a frosted beverage of choice, the smell of a fresh slice of citrus complimenting the crisp flavors as the humidity envelopes around tanned sun-kissed skin. The glint of the day reflects back off the water, boats idle on by, the sound of kids playing in the surf echoes in my ears.
Yes, this is what sustains me. This is what inspires me. This is where I belong and where I live in my head. And someday soon, this is where I will create jewelry: on a boat along a distant shore with the natives inspiring new work, new ideas, fresh challenges. TurtleBay Jewelry will become a floating brand, a romantic gypsy traveling the world's oceans, discovering, learning, becoming more eco-aware.
Until that day, we remain here on shore, gazing at the horizon and wishing for summer to never end. Peace and sunlight, friends. Drink it down 'til the last golden drop. <3
Or...at least Spring fever has. The Outer Banks is under yet another winter storm advisory for tonight, but we are still seeing bluebirds and the real life "Twitter"ings of warmer months ahead. Buds are appearing on the trees, wild onion patches are popping up in our lawns and my daffodil bulbs have pushed from their wintery hibernation below ground.
The studio is still a work in progress, as building things from the floorboards up takes time and an endless supply of money, both of which are hard to come by these days. Many of my winter hours have been devoted to leading Girl Scouts and taxiing my son to his various activities. But it's been time well spent and with the arrival of warmer temperatures, it will make work on the interior of the studio more enjoyable. If nothing else, daylight will last longer!
So dear ones, while we await the departure of the lioness and her wintery mane, remember the gentleness of the lamb is near at last.
Website Design. It's no joke, people. It takes hours and hours and HOURS of your life to feel like you've made ANY headway, much less a page that's visually appealing and neatly organized for the general public.
This is exactly how I feel after the last three days of staring at my computer:
So you're wondering why it's taking so long, right? That's a very good question.
Design is a behavior. Not a Department.
For us creative types, or if you're just a mildly OCD, perfectionist, RIDICULOUS overachiever like myself, it's more than just flinging images I've haphazardly snapped onto my computer and uploading them into a template somewhere online. If you can do that and make it look beautiful, my hat is off to YOU! Good enough just isn't for me, so I slave away on every stage of the process. Much like anything worth doing, it's having a trifecta of three things: Purpose, Intention and Content.
It's also (of course) having quality jewelry to arrange on a backdrop. It's having just the right backdrop that will be cohesive through every image. It's lighting and the right camera. And then it's an eye for arranging things to get good images. That alone can take hours and hundreds of photos. Then it's uploading it all to the behemoth hard drive on the iMac, sorting all the hundreds of images you just took, trashing the bad stuff and moving all the good ones to another file. Then we have some minor Photoshop work to resize, sharpen and adjust any lighting issues. After all of THAT, we finally get a point where the images can be uploaded to the site. And THEN it's making sure all the links are working, the indexes are indexing, sizing is right, click through links work properly. Once that part is done, it's cataloging all the inventory and setting up the facts and figures as well as all the copy needed for each product that's for sale. Who just wants to see a bracelet on a page with a price? Not this girl. I take the time to be inspired and design from that place; passing that along to my client verbally as well as visually is equally important to me.
I made a commitment to take 3-4 days and work around the clock to get this site up and running and by golly, I'm going to do just that. Even if it kills me. Which it very well may if I have to spend another 4 hours on Live Chat with Tech Support trying to figure out why you can't have indexes within indexes within indexes. I can't possibly be the only girl who likes her jewelry box neat. Can I?
In any event Tribe, next time you go to get a website design quote and you're rather dismayed at the cost, there's a reason why it's so high. Outsourcing is a time and headache relief, but it's a costly one. Thank goodness I'm so stubborn. ;)
In good time, it will all be working smoothly around here. For your continued patience, I'm most grateful.
Keep Calm and Rum On!
Welcome new friends, fans, existing Turtle Tribe members, family...and those who've stumbled upon us by happy accident! I'm so glad you're here, because without all of YOU, I wouldn't need this site. As an effect, we've realized some changes are in order...
It's been a really hectic year for TurtleBay. We moved from our previous location along the Jersey Shore to a new & more permanent place along the inner banks of North Carolina. Our home and my studio are nestled on a 5.5 acre parcel not far from the beaches of Kitty Hawk & Corolla/Carova. It is a beautiful area that boasts the serenity of quiet country life and also the salt water breezes of beach and coastal areas. Where else can you have fireflies and seagulls?! If there is such a place, then you know what I speak of.