A little bit of life, love, and artisan jewelry but mostly the

Home of the Confused Muse..

Where you will find the meadering thoughts of an actively artistic brain - as well as my latest creations, events, soapboxes, dramas, crisis, blessings, and life in general.

This is also the home of "ChrissyMarie Jewelry and Accessories", named for my daughter! Twenty-Five Percent of all sales from this line are donated to B.I.T.S. aka "Better in the Saddle", a local non-profit Equine Assisted Therapy Program ....because we KNOW horses help make miracles!


March 28, 2008

Living with Reactive Attachment Disorder

I started a part time job last week! Wow - I'd forgotten how organized I had to be and how much energy and planning it takes. I do tend to get more accomplished because I'm forced to plan ahead and that's a good thing. But OH MY GOSH! I'm so tired! Now I remember why it's called "work" LOL!

This work is near and dear to my heart. I'm working as a Foster Parent Aide in a household with children who have Reactive Attachment Disorder. Having come up through the Missouri Division of Family Services as a foster child and then an adopted child I can certainly relate to what these children are experiencing.

The other side of that coin is experiencing life with a RAD child when you, as a parent, also have to learn to live and cope with being Attachment Disordered yourself. It's akin to placing magnets with like poles next to one another - they push away from each other even though they are both magnetic.

For anyone not familiar with Reactive Attachment Disorder, it is the inability to form emotional attachments to another person especially a primary care giver - usually the mother figure.

When I was growing up this wasn't a malady with a name. There was no diagnosis or treatment and very little understanding of the effects of abandonment and/or neglect on a child. Until my daughter was diagnosed with RAD I had heard very little about it. I certainly never dreamed I would be diagnosed with the same problem. I must say it's difficult to teach a child to trust you while you are pushing them away at the same time. I did say it was REALLY HARD WORK!

The wonderful thing is this...with enough work, persistence, and love you can learn to cope with, if not rid yourself, of RAD. My daughter and I now share an incredibly close bond and I'm so thankful to have her in my life. It's truly hard to believe that ten years ago I was seriously thinking of disrupting her adoption and returning her to the foster care system.

RAD is incredibly damaging to the entire family. The afflicted child plays the adults against each other and can inflict serious harm to a marriage. In the end everyone involved is bruised and bloody and an emotional disaster.

We were fortunate to finally discover an awesome Social Worker who specializes in RAD. She turned our lives upside down and completely around.

Years ago I wrote a poem about the feelings I experienced growing up. Basically a RAD person spends their entire life waiting for "the other shoe to drop." Not just waiting but fully expecting to be rejected or abandoned, and building a protective shell to ward off love from the people you most want to love you. I first named the poem "Emotion" and later revised and renamed it "The Bruised Heart". I designed a pendant in honor of the RAD child. I think there are a lot of us out there!

This is a photo of the "Bruised Heart" pendant I designed and the description I wrote for my Flickr page and my Etsy store...... "This heart has special meaning for me and if you've ever known someone with Attachment Disorder, who's been adopted, or abused and has trouble forming relationships...this heart is in honor of them.
The heart is a Dog tooth Amethyst named for the jagged edges that form between the Milky Quartz and the Purple Amethyst. Attachments begin forming while the mother feeds her child and eye contact is made. Trust begins. The Milky Quartz symbolizes feeding. In some of the hearts you'll see streaks of Citrine - which is the same as Amethyst until it is heated inside the earth's crust. Then the magic happens and Amethyst becomes Citrine. This process cannot be duplicated in Laboratories! Amazing huh?! Change happens when warmth and love are given. The bruised heart changes.
At the bottom of each heart is a Swarovski Crystal Teardrop, a reference to the tears of a child in the poem that will accompany the necklace.
I've used Black Satin Cord to symbolize the connection between a mother and her child. It is finished with Sterling Silver end wraps and handcrafted Sterling Silver hook and loop. Each pendant comes with a bookmark featuring the poem.

(I only have about 10 of these left. Each heart is different but all are beautiful. If you want one it's time to order. I have to order these hearts to be hand cut in India and I never know how long it's going to take to get them back in.)

For those of you whom suffer from RAD....please do not lose hope! You can do this! For those of you expecting your first child...please take the time to bond with your child while they are still infants. Make eye contact and appreciate the wonder of the love you have for your baby.

If you'd like to know more please click on this link: http://www.radkid.org/

March 21, 2008

blue chalchedony daisy brooch

This is one of my favorite pieces! These pretty Blue Chalcedony teardrops just looked like flower petals. I added Swarovski Crystal beads for extra sparkle too. The glass leaves were a challenge to add. You know how it is when the picture you have in your head just isn't as easy to accomplish as you thought it would be? Well, that would pretty much explain this pin :) I really enjoyed working on it though and I hope you enjoy it as well! I'll be listing it in my Etsy store soon so check back soon!

Take care,

Fly me to the moon necklace

I love the expression on this hand carved bone moon! So sweet and peaceful. Hand wirewrapped in non-tarnishing brass wire on gold plated brass chain. I added a gold colored star (see the crystal above it?) and a pretty little Swallow on it's flight path to the moon. Fun and sweet!
A great piece for spring and summer too. Look for this piece in my store at www.adriennedesigns.etsy.com SOON!
See you soon!

March 10, 2008

Changes....good, better, and best! Part III

I can't believe I'm posting again so soon! This could get to be a habit if I'm not careful...

I've talked about the changes in my life of late. The good and better have been covered! Now let me tell you about the BEST change coming in my life....I'm going to be a Grandma! I've got to tell you I'm so excited I could just dance a jig :D

We're just in the very beginning stages of this little ones development and right now our concerns are with the Mommy and Daddy. My son, by the way, is "Daddy" and his beautiful wife is "Mommy". They are experiencing this first pregnancy with the shock and awe of most first-timers. She is begging for just one more little nap as she drags herself through the hardest days of this first trimester. We mom's all remember how overwhelming the exhaustion can be in the first few weeks! And I hear that Daddy has been up in the middle of the night to rummage for saltines and any clear, carbonated drink he can come up with. He's going to be a great expectant father.....

So, this is the biggest and best change coming. It's just one reason I've decided to take a step back and rethink my priorities and goals. I'll still have my store, my photos, my blog, and my custom orders. Heaven knows I already have enough pieces made up and ready to sell...I won't need to design anything new for quite some time. Looks like it's time to start clearing the calendar and collecting frequent flyer miles!

Tiny Stitches, I'll be there with an order soon I hope! Now, if I can just get them to tell me "what" we're expecting!

See you soon! Take care....

KC Etsy Street Team Members

Just wanted to make something VERY clear regarding my experience with KC Etsy. I have nothing against the members of KC Etsy in general. What happened to me was an issue that did not involve the group as a whole. There are wonderful people in this group! They have beautiful handcrafted art to sell from every genre imaginable. Please, please, please shop with these artists.

Not all of the officers/leaders are a problem and I can't name those who are so, what the heck, just shop with everyone! Just because we have different opinions on how a Team is supposed to work doesn't mean you shouldn't enjoy the wonderful shopping! I'll even tell you about my favorites!

Shelli of MondeDesigns has the most gorgeous custom embroidered wedding items! http://mondedesign.etsy.com/

Suzanne of Dumb Kid Designs has the cutest little wallets you've ever seen. Great little gifts for anyone! http://dumbkiddesigns.etsy.com/

Cindy of Cinderelish has a wonderful shop full of colorful pottery and tableware. I'd love to have several of her pieces too! http://cinderelish.etsy.com/

My competitor in jewelry design is Julie. A sweet lady with a great eye! Her store link is here: http://jewlli.etsy.com/

Another favorite is here at http://busymomcreations.etsy.com/. She truly is a very busy mom and still has time to make very cool stuff!

Click here for the most elegant greeting cards you've ever held in your hands!http://bbesigns.etsy.com/

And for the sweetest children's linens and infant needs click here: http://tinystitches.etsy.com/
This is one of the reasons I can't wait to be a Grandma!

That is just a sampling of the creative artists on the KC Etsy Street Team. So give THEM a chance and help them grow. You can't let a couple of bad apples spoil it for the whole bunch!

Now go shop! And don't forget to stop off at my store too :D

March 09, 2008

Changes....good, better, and best! Part II

Things happen for a reason. I'm just sure of it! I may not understand and frankly, I don't need to understand everything that goes on in my world. Just knowing that a purpose was served is enough for me. Change is a stressful thing but not all change is a bad thing.

In my first post about change I told you about the hard lesson I learned about being in a group without leadership and I mentioned how much I love being a part of my church. It was because of a sermon my pastor presented a few weeks ago that I decided to make a change in the groups I had become involved with. I realized that it's hard to expect Christian and Faith based behavior from people who don't live it everyday.

I joined CAST, the Christian Artists Street Team on Etsy.com. The welcome was quiet but sweet. The change in attitude amazing and the craftsmanship? Well, let's just say there are some pieces of art that are of Divine Inspiration! I'm meeting new people who are led by the the very best - God. Who better to lead?

I know that sounds a little naive. The point is, with God in the hearts of the membership we have a better chance of succeeding as a group and surviving as friends. Sharing the same values make a huge difference!

I'm finding that I don't always make the best choices for myself the first time around. (I don't know why that always surprises me!) Sometimes we just have to listen to the messages coming in around us and concentrate on God's voice, push out the harsh tones of those who bully and hurt us, lean on those who support and lift us up...and make a change for the better!

Check out the art of the Etsy CAST team by clicking on the title of this post. There is real talent here....

Changes....good, better, and best!

Wow, it's amazing what can happen to a person in a few weeks time!

I'll start with the worst of the changes - which as it turns out, is a really good thing....

Several weeks ago I posted here that I don't do well with groups. I admit it! I don't do well in groups because I'm not the kind of girl who likes cliques. It's just so "junior high school". I like so many people and I enjoy meeting new people so boxing myself in to a group just goes against my personality type. Now, having said that, I also love being a part of something really special!

For instance, I love my church! TVBC is such a special place and filled with such a wonderful array of people....well let's just say I love them all.

Dream Catcher's Equine Assisted Therapy Group is an AWESOME group of people who serve a very special group of children and adults with disabilities through hippo therapy - therapy on horseback. My daughter has participated in this group for several years now as a client. The result has been amazing! She has grown and developed so because of the horses and people in this group. Not only has she benefited from this group but my husband and I have benefited from being a part of the volunteer group who make up the Dream Catchers. (I'll blog more about this subject later and in the meantime be sure to check my Favorite Link List for a web link to this group's site.)

However, there are groups we get involved with that do more damage than good. When the leadership doesn't know how to lead, develop fair and balanced rules and guidelines, or how to avoid conflict of interest issues then it's time to ask questions. Unfortunately I asked questions and chose to do so in a private manner. I was not willing to embarrass the self-appointed leaders of the KC Etsy Street Team or cause a huge upset by posting my questions in the public forums so I emailed them privately and in the process learned a very hard lesson. Privacy not only protects but it also allows for an atmosphere of secrecy. Bullies lurk in the most unexpected places and never having been a victim of bullying, I didn't see the attack coming. In short I am no longer a part of the KC Etsy Street Team - this is my choice. I have been banned from the KC Etsy Flickr group because they are terrified I will post the truth of what took place. I opted not to do that before the ban was ever placed. It was a moot point.

I'm choosing the "high road". I have been threatened, lied to, bullied, and banned. Pretty vicious stuff for a small time group or "team" as they like to call themselves. What the leaders of that group didn't realize was that I had archived all of the emails shared between us and I am perfectly willing to share those records with any member of the KC Etsy Street Team who would like to know why I've been banned. I will not waste more of my time on this subject.

The bright spot in all of this was meeting the rest of the membership on the KC Etsy Street Team. There are wonderful and talented artists in Kansas City and many of them are a part of this group. Please check them out and by all means....BUY!

I'll be covering the "Better" part of this post in Changes...good, better and best! Part II.