Friday, September 16, 2016

All about beautiful aura quartz!

Aura Quartz Crystals are everywhere in our shop right now! We recently got a nice shipment of aqua aura, angel aura (also known as opal aura) and a new shade called astral aura which is mostly golden yellow with flashes of vivid rose!

Aura crystals are clear quartz crystals that have had a coating applied to them to change their color and appearance. The classic types of aura quartz that have been around for decades are aqua aura (blue) and angel aura (rainbow sheen). Since the 80's, many new chemical processes have emerged for creating aura quartz, but they are all derived from taking clear quartz crystals and applying a microscopic coating to the crystal surface. Bonding elements to quartz is quite difficult, which is why many aura quartz processes require high temperatures, ionic states of metal vapor and pigment, and even exposure to vacuums and plasma energy.

In modern times there is a wider variety of colors, combination effects and new finishes available. All aura quartz finishes can be scratched or damaged with enough friction wear over time, so it is important to wear aura quartz jewelry in a way where it will not bang against other jewelry or hard surfaces. Exposing the finish on aura crystals to harsh chemicals found in perfumes, lotions and other body care products can damage their special finish over time in some cases. If you want your pretty aura quartz crystal to say beautiful, treat it kindly by minimizing friction against it and exposure to harsh chemicals.

We have been finding special quartz configurations within our most recent shipment of aura quartz crystals; "ET" or "extra-terrestrial" crystals that have one lower termination and multiple jagged upper terminations; "DT" or "double-terminated" points that have natural terminations present on both ends; and "tabby" or "tabular" crystals that have a flattened appearance.

These special crystal configurations are believed to add metaphysical properties to each crystal. We explain the significance of each in our listings!











Wednesday, July 20, 2016

People have 1 Day to Weigh In on Unfairness of Shipping Discounts to China!

To summarize, The Postal Regulatory Commission is determining the policy of international to USA postal rates (especially CHINA TO USA RATES AND DISCOUNTS) for 2018-2021. The fairness and effects of the discounted postal rates currently being provided to Chinese and other international merchants is being discussed. The PRC has asked for comments, but I just heard about this and the deadline is 4pm EST tomorrow! PLEASE if you care about this issue and feel it negatively affects commerce in our country, take time to express this view! There are instructions and links at the bottom of the article of where to go and how to comment by creating a temporary account. If you have trouble there is a PRC contact with phone numbers at the end of this article, so you can get help.

They certainly did not make it very easy or public for us to weigh in, but there is time and an important chance to weigh in on an issue that is crippling small businesses in our county: the grossly unfair postal discounts being given to China and other foreign countries! Please help try to change this! Please speak up!

From ecommercebytes:

Last year, Amazon told Congress that Chinese sellers can ship low-weight orders to American buyers at significantly cheaper rates than are available to domestic sellers. It cited an example: the cost to ship a one-pound package from South Carolina to New York City would run nearly $6; from Beijing to NYC: $3.66.

Now, Americans have until Thursday to weigh in on an issue that is the root cause of that discrepancy: UPU Terminal Dues. Online sellers in particular may want to voice their opinions.

Terminal Dues and Their Impact on Chinese Imports
The Universal Postal Union (UPU) is an international body that sets rates for cross-border deliveries known as terminal dues, and they're set to meet in Istanbul this fall to set those rates for the years 2018 - 2021. In the US, the Secretary of State, not the USPS, oversees the negotiations.

The purpose of the UPU terminal dues (TD) system is to compensate destination countries for the cost of handling, transporting and delivering letter-post items from abroad. In other words, terminal dues are rates paid for last-mile handling of cross-border letter-post items.

Because sellers in Asia can send small products to US shoppers at low rates thanks to the terminal dues system, the USPS negotiated slightly higher rates through ePacket rates with Asian postal services including China Post, which even provide tracking - but the Postal Service still loses money on ePacket deliveries, according to the USPS Office of Inspector General (OIG).

For online sellers, it's less important whether the USPS breaks even or not - rather, they're concerned about whether their shipping costs are higher than those of overseas merchants when sending packages to US shoppers.

The OIG addressed the impact of Terminal Dues on small US businesses in a report from December 2015 and wrote, "A comprehensive and representative survey of small U.S. businesses would ultimately be needed to determine how much harm small businesses experience in relation to Chinese competitors benefiting from lower terminal dues. It should also be noted that although inexpensive deliveries from China may potentially penalize domestic retailers, they may benefit U.S. consumers who take advantage of the combination of inexpensive goods and low international shipping rates."

However, the OIG concluded that "both terminal dues and the existing UPU governance model need reform to become more agile - and to allow the world's posts to compete in the present fast-paced cross-border ecommerce market."

Ecommerce Amplifies Impact on US Sellers
Last December, Pacific Standard magazine delved into the issues and wrote: "While terminal dues are nominally for letters, that includes anything up to two kilograms and more or less envelope-shaped. The rise of platforms like Alibaba and eBay has massively increased the volume of small packets being sent by international post directly from developing countries."

It went on to report, "Things like audio cables, sunglasses, and circuit boards, which had previously been bulk shipped to wholesalers in destination countries, have begun to flow instead through the postal system, directly to buyers - and subject to UPU terminal dues agreements."

It then goes on to cite research that shows what small online sellers have been experiencing over the past 5 years:

"A comprehensive study by the research group Copenhagen Economics has found that the misalignment of terminal dues rates is leading online shoppers to order directly from countries with favorable UPU positions, rather than from suppliers closer to home - even if the price of the item itself is identical."

Americans Can Weigh in on Terminal Dues
The Secretary of State is required to request the Postal Regulatory Commission to submit its views on whether the Terminal Dues rates are consistent with the standards and criteria established by the Commission under section 3622 (US Code Title 39 Sect 3622 sets out rules governing market dominant postal rates).

The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) in turn is seeking public comments on the proposed terminal dues rates for 2018 - 2021. Unfortunately it's very difficult to understand what those rates are and the impact they will have on US merchants in order to post a response. There are six categories of countries paying one of three different rates based on a basket of currencies known as SDRs - Special Drawing Rate.

Jim Campbell, a lawyer in Washington who works with private carriers, is an expert on terminal dues. He told EcommerceBytes he expects that the discount for proposed terminal dues rates for mail from Hong Kong, Singapore, China to drop from the current level of about 70% to about 50% by 2021. "This is a step towards more equal treatment for ecommerce goods from China et al, but, over 5 years, a pretty small step in my view."

However, he said those are estimates - the real situation may be better, or much worse.

"I think that the overall discount, or pricing preference, that USPS will give foreign mail in the 2018-2021 period will represent about $1 billion in lost revenue, which American mailers will, of course, be required to make up one way or another," Campbell said.

We asked him what he believes the PRC and/or the State Department should do about the issue of terminal dues - his answer follows:

"The question that the PRC must answer is whether the proposed terminal dues are consistent with the standards and criteria which it has established for regulation of market dominant products of the Postal Service. Then the PRC must so advise the Dept of State. I would like the PRC to make this determination based on the law and the facts, with a full and transparent explanation of its decision.

"Under the law, the Secretary of State must then ensure that U.S. obligations under the next UPU Convention are consistent with the Commission's views, or alternatively the Secretary may determine that the foreign policy or national security interests of the United States require conclusion of an agreement that is not consistent with the modern system of rate regulation established by the Commission. If the Secretary decides that the foreign policy or national security interests require the Department to override the views of the PRC, then it must prepare a written explanation of its decision. I would like the State Department to follow the law. I would also like the State Department to explain the inconsistency with U.S. antitrust law."

Deadline to Comment: July 21st
Americans can submit comments to the PRC (that will be publicly viewable) "on the general principles that should guide the Commission's development of views on relevant proposals, in a general way, and on specific relevant proposals, if the Commission is able to make these available."

The relevant docket is found on the PRC website here:http://www.prc.gov/dockets/showdocket/IM2016-1

Within the docket, Document 40 (can read document 40 here:http://www.prc.gov/docs/96/96632/Attachment%20B.pdf ) contains the UPU Proposed new Terminal Dues system for 2018 - 2021.

Instructions on leaving a public comment are found in the user guide on the PRC website, including the following FAQ:

I only want to file a Comment. Can I do that without a Filing Online Account?
The best way for a person who simply wishes to file a comment with the Commission in response to a Commission Request for Comments is to apply for a Temporary Account. Go to the Filing Online login page and click the Need an Account? link in the side navigation bar; then, click the button for Apply Online for a Temporary Account. Complete the form, and you will be able to file your comments right away. The Temporary Account expires after 10 days, so if you think you might want to file comments more often, you should complete the hardcopy application and establish a Permanent Account.

Here's a link to Apply Online for a Temporary Account:https://www.prc.gov/filingonline/account-app

Be warned: the deadline for submitting a comment is 4:30 pm ET on Thursday (July 21, 2016).

Update 7/20/16: People have reported problems submitting a public comment on the PRC website. Here's one reader's description of the problem:

Following your directions I opened a temporary account this morning on the Postal Regulatory site. I completed the document and attempted to submit it. Three times I received the following error message:

Error
The website encountered an unexpected error. Please try again later.

(marjorie's note: I just had no problem creating a temporary account. The website automatically tried to use my email address as my user name, but because that has characters in it such as "@" I manually entered my own letter-only username and that worked great!)

Mary Hanks, Dockets Assistant at the PRC, told us one common problem is if you have special characters in the file name - make sure it doesn't include a comma, for example. (Also keep in mind you must submit all contact information when filing.)

Anyone who continues to have problems can call her at the main number, 202-789-6800, or her direct line at 202-789-6845. Mary is extremely friendly and helpful, so don't give up.

*****************************
Update- MORE CLEAR INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO COMMENT:Everyone, I hit confusion in the process of trying to submit my own comment so I called Mary. She is extremely helpful and gave me clear easy step-by-step instructions on how to file a comment that I will now share with you all. If you are still stuck after my instructions, call Mary at above posted phone numbers. She is EAGER to help and have the public weigh in en-masse on this!

1.) Once you have successfully created a temporary account using this link:https://www.prc.gov/filingonline/account-app and by creating a username with all letters, this is how to proceed.

2.) Please understand there are two ways to weigh in. The less effective quick non-public way to leave a comment that will make it to Postal Regulatory Commission attorneys and analyst is to simply click the "contact us" white envelope in the upper right hand corner of the website. A form comes up where you can fill out name, contact info etc and your comment. Fill all the fields out. Your comment is not posted on the website, it is simply forwarded to the attorneys and analyst working on this docket. They don't share your info, but see the comments. Be sure to include Docket IM2016-1 in that comment.

If you wish to leave a more powerful formal comment that carries much more legal weight and becomes a permanent part of the record of this docket, then you create a business letter with your comment in a word processing program such as microsoft word, and you upload that file after you have created it (which I will clarify the steps for in a minute).

So to see examples of other formal legal comments the public has already left, and for a decent business letter template to model your own letter after, just look at this page and click on any individual comment to see it:

http://www.prc.gov/dockets/doclist/IM2016-1/Comments/ (so these are comments already submitted to help you craft yours, examples) .

PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT ALL INFO IN YOUR COMMENT LETTER GETS POSTED PUBLICLY THIS WAY, SO YOU MAY OPT TO LEAVE YOUR PHONE NUMBER OFF THE TEXT OF THE LETTER, ETC. It is important to input a working phone number and your real name/address while creating a temporary account and in any field where the website directly asks you for it. Mary said they don't share what you give them for personal info but sometimes do check to assure validly of identity of participants. Only your uploaded letter with your comment gets displayed publicly so choose your content there according to your privacy desires. But enough information must be included for it to stand as a legal document from a known citizen who can be verified.

3.) Once you have written and saved your comment in a word processing program such as microsoft word, you click the white "file online" cloud with an arrow inside it on the upper right hand corner of any page on this website.

You will see a screen that says "Welcome to filing online, so-and-so name here, temporary account holder". Underneath that are options; you click on "create filing record".

4.) Now you have a form to fill out. First field is the docket number, for which you must enter IM2016-1 .

authorized by: your name
filing party: don't worry about this field
document title: comments of first name last name of businessname.
Click "upload files from computer" and select your comment letter file you made for upload.
Comments for the docket staff: can leave blank
Defer filing: check the box that says "no deferral"
At the very bottom click the box "submit filing record"

Then another page comes up where you MUST once again click "submit" or the comment does not go through. So you will have clicked a box that says "submit" twice of the system will not get your comment.

******************************

So PLEASE, if you care about this issue take a few minutes to write out a comment in a word processing program and upload it to be part of the legal record.

If you feel this is too much trouble, then please at least take a minute and use contact us option to submit some kind of comment that PRC Public Affairs Office will get and forward to the attorneys and analysts working on this docket. Be sure to reference Docket IM2016-1 in your comment

Your opinion MATTERS! If people submit comments en masse that has an effect. Don't let the user unfriendliness of this website discourage you from weighing in on this very important issue. The decision that comes from these proceedings will have huge impact on ecommerce through 2021!

Update: I just filed my comment by uploading a word document.

I would like to add info to the step where you upload the file. It takes you to a screen where you click the choose file button (any file ending in .DOC, .WPD, .RTF, .XLS, .DOCX or .XLSX). After you have chosen the file for upload, there is a button that says "upload file and return" that you must click. Then you are taken back to the original filing template screen with your document showing as attached.

There will be a button underneath the "upload file" section that says "convert to PDF". You have to click that button. Then the system automatically generates a PDF from the original file you uploaded and attaches that to the comment you are filing. The system requires PDF's, it requires this step.

Make sure the "no deferral" box is checked and click the box that says "submit filing record". Then you are taken to a second page where you review general details and must once again click submit. Then you are done!

Imagine if the postal discounts given to China ended. Imagine how the dollar garbage that has no profit in it would disappear from all of our ecommerce venues as soon as these merchants had to pay fair postage like the rest of the world. Imagine the billions of junk listings that would disappear over night, freeing up traffic and search results so honest national merchants goods could be seen again! This could have such huge impact, please PLEASE submit your comments!

peace,
marjorie

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Latest Wire Wrapped Pendant Creations for early March- lots of pastel color!

Spring has sprung in sunny Arizona!  We have been very busy at work, struggling to make items as fast as they sell! Lately, pastel gemstones and crystals have been a focus of our work. Here are some of our latest shop additions, several made with new and interesting stones we found at this year's gem show!
























Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Ethiopian Opal Pendant and Roman Glass Pendant- Woven Wire Wrapped Mosaics in Bronze as $4.99 Auctions!


In honor of the official kick off the the holiday shopping season (right after Thanksgiving), I have been trying to list some more spectacular offerings for my fun $4.99 wire wrapped pendant auctions on eBay. I have these auctions ending most nights of the week during the holiday season. They are a great way to get a nice gift at a good holiday bargain price. Sometimes my auctions have several bidders participating and other times they seem to not bid up at all- but after doing this for many years I can honestly say that the auction ending price almost always ends up being deeply discounted from what the item would be priced at for sale in my shop. And these pendants are shipped first class mail for free, like everything else in my shop!

This week I made and listed a gemmy rainbow fire flash Ethiopian opal woven wire wrapped bronze pendant. I am very pleased with how it came out!





Ethiopian Jelly Opal: This stunningly beautiful and colorful opal occurs within spheres of nodular rhyolite mined in Ethiopia (first discovered in the 1990's).  As with all opals, it is a very energizing stone that is thought to increase productivity and spontaneity. It is believed to facilitate astral travel, conscious dreaming and clarity of perspective for difficult decisions.  It is also thought to help awaken your intrinsic psychic and intuitive abilities-excellent for inspiring creativity and releasing inhibitions. Called a "Stone of Joy", it is believed to activate the base, heart and crown chakras, bringing the joy of the non-physical realm to our world!


I am equally happy with a similar creation- a pendant using ancient iridescent glass remnants, which are commonly called "Roman Glass". Although it is not a gemstone, Roman Glass has been hiding within Mother Earth for so many hundreds of years that it feels like a gemstone in many ways (energetically). The beautiful iridescence comes from the "patina", a chemical reaction residue that has formed on the surface of the glass remnants over centuries!








Ancient Iridescent Roman Glass: These beautiful glass remnants are more than 2150 years old, dating to the Greco-Bactrain Kingdom in north central Asia from 350-150 BC! This kingdom represented the northernmost reaches of the Hellenistic Empire, essentially an extension of the ancient Greek civilization.  These glass pieces were once beads, bottles, jars, cups, vases, perfume containers and decorative tiles.  Over the ages they became buried and broken into small bits that began to collect mineral deposits from the earth that covered them.  These deposits then developed into what collectors call “patina”- beautiful layers of iridescent color. These ancient glass remnants have been said to carry an energy joyful living, perspective regarding one’s problems and allowing what is most important in life to become clear. Simply put, they seem to emanate happiness and the need to cherish life!

If you would like to visit either of these auction listings, just click them now to activate a link to the ebay listing for each item. They will each belong to someone in a few days, when these auctions close!

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Ethics of Crystal Healing Claims


I have a strong education in science. Most of my customers do not know this about me. Years ago, I underwent a very important paradigm shift in my life (one of many). It involved learning about the emerging implications of modern quantum physics. It was a very empowering thing for me, because I started to realize that there was much more to discover about the true nature of our reality. I began to understand the value of consciousness as it pertains to creating reality, or perhaps manifesting it out of an infinite probability cloud. With this new perspective, came the realization that many ancient spiritual beliefs had some grounding in scientific principles. Among these were the ideas of crystal healing.

Do crystals have an effect on living beings? The short answer is yes. When you fully understand science, you understand that we are living in a massively complex energetic ecosystem of frequencies (likely on multiple dimensions that we do not yet fully understand) so truly EVERYTHING EFFECTS EVERYTHING. But let’s examine this question on a more concrete mainstream level.

When most people begin getting interested in crystal healing, they will google about various crystals or stones and be barraged by some pretty fantastic claims. According to the internet, crystals and stones can fix our financial struggles, our failing relationships, even our diabetes! Just pay $99.99 for this special crystal right away and your life will be fixed, right? SO SO WRONG-So wrong on so many ethical levels it makes me want to cry.

Navigating my love for crystals, nature, science and spirituality in the ecommerce age has been an important challenge. My business began a few years after my own paradigm shift where these concepts took on great value in my own life. But I am trained in science. What that means is that I have a background that helps me understand exactly what a spiritual tool can and cannot do for me, at least in the world of provable results.
So back to the point- do crystals have an effect on living beings?  Yes, in several ways.

Crystals most definitely affect people from the perspective of personal belief- what science calls “placebo effect” and the new age movement calls “manifesting your reality”. If you personally believe that a big chunk of blue opal will help you sleep better, the chances are good that you will experience better sleep once you have that blue opal.

But I suspect it goes even farther than this. Based on quantum probability concepts about how consciousness concretely affects reality, I suspect that when a large group of people hold the same belief about something, that also has an effect.   The easiest way to explain this idea is to imagine “placebo effect” or “manifesting your own reality” magnified synergistically by a collectively held belief. An example: the “statins” are drugs that were introduced years ago for their ability to lower cholesterol levels in people. They work because the molecules of the drug interfere with an enzyme in the human liver needed for production and processing of cholesterol in our systems. But I suspect that statins may clinically perform even better than the confines of their physical form will allow because now there is a whole strong societal belief built up that they lower cholesterol. I believe that something can have even more effect when group consciousness believes it can do the job-it gets a boost of efficacy from the power of collective beliefs and how that interacts with reality on a quantum level. No on that I know of has studied this kind of an example concretely yet, but this is how I suspect reality and group beliefs function on the quantum level (and by the way, many theoretical quantum physicists suspect the same thing). The statins have only been with us for mere decades. Now imagine beliefs held about crystals and stones over many centuries! Does all that collective consciousness from over the centuries have an effect-probably.  That is my conjecture at this point.

Are there scientific studies that prove and disprove that quartz crystals have a measurable effect on living things? Yes, there are actually both. Studies can be a fickle friend to knowledge until the sample size gets big enough-in the several thousands. And large studies like that are EXPENSIVE. Right now there is no funding available from any organization to truly investigate, on a large reliable scale, some of the claims of crystal healing. There is no institutional profit in it (i.e. pharmaceutical companies and modern medicine have no vested interest in properly researching this).

The other issue I see in researching these claims is that we may not yet have the technology to even look in the right place.  It is likely that there are other multiple dimensions at play in living things beyond just the physical and mankind does not yet understand those dimensions or how to measure changes in them. I believe that there are all kinds of energy fields associated with living beings that go WAY BEYOND THE SCOPE of what our primitive science today can understand. The effects that crystals and stones have on living things may fall into this realm and be very hard to measure until we understand things better.

When I share about metaphysical properties of crystals and stones in my online shops, I try to speak in very general terms for a reason (this stone is thought to…….it is believed that). I do that because it’s not fair to say “this stone will heal your heartache and fix your relationship problems.” I also avoid bringing up the medical and health beliefs associated with stones because these things have not yet been studied or proven. If I was giving stones away for free, perhaps I would feel comfortable sharing beliefs from the past about how stones can possibly help our health. HOWEVER I am charging money for jewelry I have  made from healing gemstones and crystals, and so I cannot in good faith make any medical claims. It does not feel spiritually correct to do so. That information is out in the world for people to find in many other ways, if they seek it out. It is not proper that it should come from me when I am accepting money for a product made from a crystal or stone. One day, if there are scientific studies that one can cite along with the claims, then it may be a fair thing to do-but not until then.

Please remember, if  your heart is aching for a very expensive crystal or stone because of its metaphysical properties, you always have the simple option of getting (or even finding outside for free) a simple piece of quartz crystal  and infusing it with your own intention to “be like” the stone you desire in every way. This is a long held crystal healing practice that has worked for many. This is honest advice that can be given when people want a very expensive crystal or stone only for its presumed energies- they should be informed about this option. Melody and many other highly respected crystal healing sources have written about this technique, and the concept has been around for centuries.

I love crystals and gemstones. They are an important part of my life now. I feel many positive things when I spend time connecting with stones. I am very fortunate to be able to earn my living working with them. To me (and my customers) they are special. They enrich our lives in many ways. And the remaining mystery about them is exciting to me! I look forward to more that will be learned over my lifetime!

Our latest creations:


Angel Aura (Opal Aura) Quartz Crystal Wire Wrapped Sterling Pendant 




Pink Lemurian Quartz Crystal Wire Wrapped Sterling Pendant


Clear Petalite Crystal Wire Wrapped Sterling Pendant


Pink Lemurian Quartz Crystal Wire Wrapped Sterling Pendant 


Peruvian Blue Opal Wire Wrapped Sterling Pendant with Aquamarine

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Jail Dogs, Fairy Dogs and Vampire Guinea Pigs! Oh My!



  Happy Halloween! Today was a fun day. I got less work done than I would have liked, but the opportunity to parade your pets around town in costumes only comes a few times a year!

Furby, our Boston terrier LOVES dress up because she loves attention. She came from a home where the woman really disliked her. Furby lived knowing she wasn't liked for the first 6 years of her life, mostly sitting in a backyard trying to get people's attention through a fence. That is actually how I met her. I convinced the woman to allow me to start walking her and several years later, when she began running away from home, I adopted her.

Furby was a fairy dog today and she enjoyed  being showered with attention!



As for my other dog, Lancelot the rescue husky was a VERY NAUGHTY BOY yesterday. He took a good 10 years off of my life by bolting out the door as I was coming inside from running errands. I have had him for two years and he has never done this. He actually has extreme separation anxiety so I was shocked. (I think he was angered that I went out without him and without walking him first, as I usually do prior to errands). He almost ran into a traffic filled street and made me chase him all over the neighborhood! This was my absolute worst nightmare- I was terrified while he was loose. I was finally able to grab him by the collar when something up a tree distracted him and I pretended to also be interested in the tree activity. My trick worked, thank goodness!

Fortunately, I have the perfect costume on hand for recent events...the jail dog costume that says "Bad Dog" on the back. You can see him rolling his eyes at having to wear it, but I feel it is highly appropriate for right now:



As for our CEO, Puppy the Guinea Pig-while he is a highly skilled model and world renowned celebrity, he is not really into dressing up at the moment. So he is represented on social media via his virtual costume of Count Muskula:

Tonight we enjoyed having several trick or treaters stop by- I filled my walkway with color changing fairy butterfly lights to attract them! 

I hope you also did something fun today. I try to do something to make each holiday memorable. Life is for enjoying. I find that living life by honoring what was most important in childhood has a way of keeping joy in my heart. If we get too busy and take ourselves too seriously, before we know it the years will have passed us by with no joy-filled memories to cherish! These small moments matter.

Today's Creations:



A fun $4.99 starting price auction: Aqua Aura Spirit Quartz Wire Wrapped Pendant in Bronze



Friday, October 30, 2015

A Handmade Artisan in the Ecommerce Age


Well, it’s been a looo-o-o-o-ng time since I posted on this blog! Why? Because when you make your living creating one of a kind treasures and then photographing them and programming them into online venues so they can sell....there are not enough hours in the day!

I love what I do! I am so grateful for our precious little business, Puppy Love Jewelry. I say "our" because I am not alone in this endeavor. I may be the only human, but I consider this business the baby of our little family which consists of me and several different kinds of animals that people had let down. I created a family out of rescues, and they are all part of this business. And if you hadn't heard by now, Puppy the Guinea Pig (International Rodent Superstar) is our CEO. He is an amazing being that fills my heart up in so many ways!



I have always been very active on twitter-it is where I share bits and pieces of my life. But recently I have decided to revive my blog and also become more skilled at pinterest and instagram. Pinterest is FUN...it is a giant sparkly happy black hole that will suck time out of your life if you love fairies, animals, crystals and creativity (so I'm pretty much doomed)!

Being an artisan earning a living from her craft is challenging. It requires skillful time management, if you are going to truly do all the things a business should do. Most people making a living at ecommerce simply buy what they sell from factories. Sometimes the stuff even comes with pre-manufactured photographs for them. As an artisan I spend the majority of my life making the jewelry, sourcing the materials to make the jewelry, photographing my work and then programming it into online venues. To keep up with search engine optimization and social media promotion too- it’s almost like having two or three jobs all going at once! 

But as I said earlier, I LOVE what I do. Handcrafted artistry is a fading presence in the ecommerce world because we are getting buried by junk from other countries selling for one cent. It has become more and more difficult to get customers to see what we are selling amidst all the fake garbage. I am sad to say that all the wire wrap artisans whose work I admired when I started this business are gone from ebay and many are gone from online selling altogether. Maybe they are selling locally-I hope so. 

While artisans struggle more and more to sell their wares on the major ecommerce venues, at the same time it seems there is a growing demand for what we create. But we cannot easily connect to the customers and the customers cannot find us amidst the sea of cheap mass-manufactured stuff. The big companies pay to direct traffic their way and are given contract advantages on the large ecommerce venues. Also factories have started trying to make their items look handmade (yes, there is machine/factory made wire wrap jewelry all over the internet for sale, trying to fool the less experienced shoppers...and don't even get me started on the glass and plastic being sold as gemstones and crystals.)

I just want to earn an honest living. I want to work hard at something I love and in the end feel satisfied at earning an honest living. This is the path I choose. Every day of my life I spend moments considering how fortunate I am to do this for a living. Most people cannot say they truly love what they do...most people suffer in unhappiness at their work. Most people have to compromise their ethics and values to some extent when they work for someone or something else.  So I'll take the lean times, the tech challenges and the constant struggle to keep current with social media....I'll take it all in stride with a smile because I know how fortunate I truly am!


I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to all of our customers who make this precious little business a reality!

Today's creations....

 for sale in our Handmade at Amazon Shop!
Aqua Aura Spirit Quartz Crystal Pendant in Sterling 

 For sale in our Handmade at Amazon Shop!
Giant Pink Lemurian Quartz Crystal Pendant in Sterling (the crystal has a channeled message from a crystal healer too!)


For sale in our eBay store!

Aqua Aura Quartz Wire Wrap Pendant in Sterling



Bedtime for us now!


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Bloat care document, written for rabbits but can apply to guinea pigs as well

(This is something that was shared with me years ago, I believe originally from a UK vet. I am not a vet and am just sharing this information online because SO MANY guinea pigs pass away from bloat and I have nursed them through it before with great success. I originally posted this on my blog for a twitter friend who was having email problems so she could just go to this page and read the document. Ultimately I decided to leave this information up, in the hopes that others may find it helpful when it comes up in google searches. Consult your own vet before following any directions given in the below document-only your vet can guide you on what intervention your guinea pig needs after a careful history and physical exam.)

Normalize body temperature FIRST – be sure not to overheat!

Administer Analgesics for Pain Relief
Flunixin meglumine (Banamine) for up to 3 days usage
1-3 mg/kg IM or SC every 12 to 24 hrs
Contraindicated in animals with kidney disease
Sulfasalazine (500 mg tablets)
1/8 to ¼ crushed tablet per rabbit every 8 to 12 hours
Butorphanol 

(marjorie's note: I have learned the hard way treating pigs with bloat that any opiate pain medicines block them up even more because they have the side effect of slowing down movement in the gut- I feel strongly that all opiates should be avoided in treatment of bloat if you have any hope of saving the pigs life by getting his gut moving again. I am not a vet. I am speaking from years of experience caring for guinea pigs and discussing their care with highly trained exotics vets).

Subcutaneous fluids (warmed Lactated ringer's solution) - 100 ml/kg/day divided every 8 hours (marjorie's note: I warm the lactated ringers solution bag on a heating pad until it is slightly warm to touch before giving each injection to avoid stressing the system with cold. supplies to ask your vet for if you are going to administer at home: 1000cc bag lactated ringer's solution, large 60 cc sterile syringe for each dose-must use new one everytime, a few large bore 16-20guage straight needles to draw up fluids-can recap and reuse as long as you keep sterile, sterile 20 guage butterfly syringe for each dose, use new one everytime. I clean skin of injection area with a little iodine).

Restore Gastrointestinal Motility
Cisapride given at 1- 1.5 mg/kg every 12 hours
Metoclopramide given at 1 – 1.5 mg/kg every 12 hours
(May work best using both medications in combination)

AVOID in cases of TRUE OBSTRUCTION (xray can usually tell a vet if true obstruction is present or not by analysis of gas patterns in gut).

Stimulate appetite
Vitamin B Complex added to the fluids

Prevent/Treat Enterotoxemia
Questran (Cholestyramine) – 2 grams suspended in 20
ml water every 8 hrs PO 


Or Biosponge Platinum paste (does same thing as cholestyramine, binds to clostridia toxins and renders them inert).
Antibiotics only if indicated (Trimethoprim-Sulfa 48 mg/ml
dosed at 30 mg/kg every 12 hr)

Syringe feed if not eating - liquid important to soften/rehydrate stomach contents
Oral fluids (no sugar) 10-20 mls every 8 hours
Oxbow critical care, feed with syringe every 4-5 hours- YOU MUST WAKE UP IN THE NIGHT FOR AT LEAST ONE FEEDING, THIS COULD SAVE PIG'S LIFE.
First day (rabbit) - feed 20 ml every 6 hours (4X per day)
- increase to 30 to 40 mls every 6 hrs until eating well on
own


Fresh, wet, leafy greens – 4 cups per 5 lbs of rabbit daily
Kale, mint, basil, dill, cilantro, tarragon, sage, fennel,
parsley
Snip ends off stems and wave under nose, place in
mouth, or tap face

Pediatric gas relief simethicone liquid ( 20 mg / 0.3 ml ) – to reduce gas pain
1 to 2 ml once an hour for 2-3 doses

Exercise can help get the gastrointestinal tract moving again

Administer gentle abdominal massage on vibrating pillow as tolerated several times a day to stimulate bowel movements.
*********************************** 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Come cast your vote for The Christmas Mouse of 2010!

The naming of the Christmas Mouse on Christmas Day is our tradition of many years. Yes, I know that guinea pigs are not exactly mice, but humor us! They do have rather mouse-like faces and each year they all strive and campaign for this great honor! We have ELEVEN candidates (you can read about each of them in detail by clicking here)!  You, their adoring public, will decide who wins the coveted Christmas Mouse Crown this year with your votes! This is not a mere photo contest- you are voting for the pig most worthy of this year's crown! (You can vote multiple times- voting limited to once every 6 hours- PLEASE do not ruin this contest by using vote cheating software!) The results and pictures of the Crowning Ceremony will be posted Christmas Morning! 


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

How to Meditate With Crystals and Stones

To begin, here is a list of the some stones/crystals and the chakras they are associated with. The color of the stone often matches the color of the chakra but not always. Also please note that many crystals resonate with several of the chakras.

Base Chakra (Red)- Harlequin Fire Quartz, Garnet   
Sacral Chakra (Orange)-Tangerine Quartz, Carnelian 
Solar Plexus Chakra (Yellow)-Citrine, Golden Topaz 
Heart Chakra (Green or Pink)- Chrysoprase, Pink Peruvian Opal, Pink Kunzite, Rose Quartz 
Throat Chakra (Blue)- Aqua Aura Quartz, Celestite, Aquamarine 
Third Eye or Brow Chakra (Indigo)- Apophyllite, Atlantisite 
Crown Chakra (Purple)- Amethyst, Holley Lavender Agate, Phenacite 
Grounding Stones to be placed below feet- Pyrite, Apache Tear, Jasper, Malachite, Hematite 
Quartz Crystals (2)-To be placed one in each hand
 
(The color of the stone often matches the color of the chakra but not always.)
 
 
720Chakra20Image.jpg picture by marjorie_loves_puppy
 
The Chakras
 
What's a Chakra?
 
 
Chakra is a Sanskrit word meaning wheel, or vortex, and it refers to each of the seven energy centers of which our energetic body is thought to be composed of. It is said by sensitives that from a side view, a chakra looks like a cone with its point plugging into your spine to receive energy, and it is opening about four inches from your body.  
These chakras, energy vortices, or energy centers, are thought to function as pumps or valves, regulating the flow of energy through our energy system and transmit the life force throughout the body. This life force is called Prana by Indian Ayurveda doctors and Ch'i by the Chinese Doctors. Certain gemstones are considered in tune with these Chakras and are used to cleanse the Chakra and bring balance.
 
 
Why is Activation & Balancing of Chakras (energy centers) Important?
  
The human form is linked into multiple aspects of itself, each section expressing a range of frequencies or vibrations, within a network of zones of energy, spheres within spheres. Chakras are thought to be energy vortexes in our emotional, mental and spiritual bodies. The physical body is a series of separate, yet related systems of energy. This system is referred to in the ancient texts as the Chakras. A Chakra is thought to be the interface point between the physical and non-physical form. They lie along a linear pathway (along the spine) from the Crown Chakra, located at the top of the cranium, to the Root Chakra, located at the base of the spine. There are 7 primary Chakras with colors representing the 7 Rays. It is said that activation and balance of energy flow in Chakras allow the body system to be at optimal connection with the higher self.
 
 
 
Here is  a little about how I meditate with crystals to get you started....
 
I guess there are many ways to meditate with crystals, but there are some basic things that everybody likes to go by and this is the way that I use and like best.
 
There are the 7 basic chakras shown in the picture above (actually there are more, but 7 main ones) kind of energy centers in your body.  Well, they have colors associated with them too.  An easy rule is to pick a stone the same color as the chakra for that chakra, although there is always some unusual ones that are different.  And you can't mess up!  Its not like something bad will happen and the universe will implode if you use a throat chakra stone on you solar plexus chakra
 
The first or "base chakra", located at the very base of your spine, is about wanting to exist in the physical world, survival, passion for life.  Some stones for it would be rough ruby, fire quartz or garnet, red jasper.
 
The second chakra, sometimes known at the "tribal" or "sexual" chakra, is located in your pelvis just above your pubic bone.  Its color is orange and this chakra is all about relationships, connections, and again intensity.  Some good stones would be carnelian or tangerine quartz.
 
The third chakra, the "solar plexus" is located between your ribcage and your navel.  It is about our sense of self or ego (not in a bad way) in the physical world.  It is associated with the color yellow and some stones would be citrine or topaz.
 
The fourth chakra (my personal favorite!!) is the "heart chakra" located in the center of the sternum (breastbone).  This one is all about emotions and sadly it is where much emotional pain can accumulate.  Now this one is different in that there are TWO colors associated with it--pink and green.  This means there are a ton of stones for the heart chakra...rose quartz, jade, rhodochrosite, chrysoprase and pink kunzite, just to name a few!
 
The fifth chakra is the "throat chakra" located at the base of the neck.  It is all about expression of course (not just speaking your truth, but living your truth, manifesting your truth, etc).  Its color is blue.  Some stones would be aquamarine and aqua aura quartz.
 
The sixth chakra is called the "third eye", located in the middle of the forehead just above the brow line.  This chakra is all about your innate ability to see and perceive beyond what is in this world!  And here the color system breaks down a bit.  an indigo stone such as iolite is a good choice, but there are many others good for the third eye-herkimer diamond is a nice one!  Apophyllite is also a good one!
 
The crown chakra is focused actually several inches up off the top of your head (at least for meditation purposes, the way I've been taught).  It is a gateway to all of the chakras in your body and is associated with the color white!  Quartz crystal is an excellent choice for this chakra as is amethyst or phenacite.
 
Now, when you meditate whith stones, you need one stone for each chakra, a grounding stone at your feet and two pointed crystals to hold in your hands (like nice sized quartz crystals or whatever you are drawn to).
 
The idea of grounding is that it drains any excess energy from us that we do not want there, kind of a negativity vacuum.  Good grounding stones are Howlite, hematite, pyrite, apache tear and black tourmaline.
 
You proceed to lie down flat on your bed or a mat with a pillow for your head, a blankie near you in case you get cold, and your stones in a pile in your hand or within reach.
 
You begin by placing the grounding stone about 6-12 inches down from your feet. Then you lay the red stone on the base chakra, the orange stone of the pelvic chakra and so on up until you are lying flat reaching up over your head to set the crown chakra stone in place 6-12 inches above your head.  Now you have all your stones in place--be still all they will wobble off!  Take your two larger quartz crystals.  Place one with the point touching the palm of your left hand and place the other with the point facing out in your right hand (arms should be resting out at your sides with the crystals in them).
 
Basically, once you do this you can then use whatever meditation technique works best for you.  I like to deep breath imagining that I'm getting rid of everything that feels negative in waves going down to the grounding stone as I exhale.  I do that for awhile until I feel a difference.  then I focus on each chakra and the stone there starting at the base and going up, trying to build the energy there.  When I get to the crown chakra, i imagine mine open with white light from the universe, god, whatever you wish to call it streaming in.  Then I focus upon my hands.  The left hand if for receiving the energy of the stone, so I just focus on letting that in.  Then the right hand is for manifesting in this world what you want, kind of like holding a wand!  That part is fun!  I focus on everything i wish to create and manifest in this life (which has a much higher probablility of manifesting, when you are in a deep meditative state like that)!  Then I just get quiet and try to still all thoughts so that anything can come in that I am meant to hear. 
 
Best of luck from Puppy and me on your journey exploring meditation! It has become challenging for many of us to become still in this sometimes frantic world. However the benefits are immense! If you are a concrete thinker who wants to stick with the proven, there are numerous studies which conclude that meditation improves quality of live and reduces stress related illnesses. For those willing to consider the more abstract, it is said that regular meditation helps us to "raise our vibration", which essentially means make spiritual progress during our physical incarnation. People report seeing clearly on a creative and intuitive level during meditation.  It is a worthwhile practice that crystals can enhance!