Ever since Neil passed away, I needed to constantly and consciously distract myself. On one of those sleepless nights when I kept thinking about life, death and everything in between, I forced myself to snap out of it and began browsing the jewelry section on Etsy.com. People who know me are now laughing or scoffing in disbelief because, one, I don’t like shopping; two, I know nothing about jewelry and; three, when I do buy earrings, I don’t spend more than $3.00 on them.
So it was no surprise that I balked at the cost of these overpriced, handmade trinkets: $75.00 for a pair of earrings?! I didn’t care if the gems were molded and pressed in a clay kiln in Africa, I’d rather go to Michaels, buy a set of beads and make my own earrings. Hey, I thought, why don’t I go to Michaels, buy a set of beads and make my own earrings?
I, immediately, envisioned waves of creativity overflowing from the right-side of my brain, enabling complex jewelry designs that would astound artists, jewelers, and even Pink Panther, himself. A quick trip to Michaels and my bill was as follows:
- 2 boxes of beads: $ 5.98
- Earring hooks: $2.99
- 2 sets of silver wire: $7.98
- 1 Tool set (6 pliers): $9.99
My total came to $28.83, incl tax. If I made 6 earrings, the average cost of each earring would be around $4.08, so I decided I’d sell my waiting-to-be-famous pair of earrings for $8.00 each.
The heart of jewelry making is, of course, learning how to twist and turn the silver wire around the bead by using 2 or more pliers. As soon as I started twisting the wire with my pliers, I realized that the wire width was too thick and I could barely make the shape I wanted. After an hour of twisting, turning, grunting, stabbing myself with the wire, and then with the pliers, and almost poking my eye out, my wire took the following shape:
My right brain, unable to blossom, nodded in bitter disappointment at my lack of motor skills while my left brain quickly tried to suggest possible alternatives:
Why don’t you reduce the number of beads in the design from 6 to 1? Simplify!
Why don’t you outsource the actual wire wrapping to Freddie?
I paused to consider that alternative. Freddie is our gardener, but Dad uses Freddie for everything, from mowing the lawn to filling the air in our bicycle tires – it was only a matter of time before Freddie started making earrings for us.
A true consultant, my right brain sneered: first you mess up, then you want someone else to fix it, and I’m sure you still expect to get paid for your ‘services’. Meanwhile, my left brain suggested I pop some Zoloft pills to take care of ‘Debbie Downer' on the other side.
So after gulping down pills, smelling some magic markers, and sniffing some glue, I decided to not give up and finish at least one pair of earrings no matter how long it took me. After some amount of determination and perseverance, I actually ended up making a pair of earrings that I was unreasonably proud of:
Sure, the lengths are different, and yes, the workmanship is shoddy and, duh, the creativity behind it is subpar, but look! Now I have semi-homemade earrings! And it only cost me $28.83.
After this stint of lucrative meandering, I decided my jewery-making career had peaked. I stared at the disarray of pliers and wires resting on the table and wondered: what was I thinking? Of all the things I could have distracted myself with, I chose jewelry making? Without further ado, I reached between my round-nosed and flat-nosed pliers, picked up the TV remote and proceeded to watch an episode of Modern Family, instead.
And, Neil, I still miss you bud.