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Jennie Nguyen
Lives in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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Jennie Nguyen

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Dear Diary, So today has me thinking about opportunities. Some people are quite fortunate. Their opportunities come in the right form, at the right time. I am not one of those people. Usually I have to scramble to make the mo...
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Jennie Nguyen

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Dear Diary,
 
So today has me thinking about opportunities. Some people are quite fortunate. Their opportunities come in the right form, at the right time. I am not one of those people. Usually I have to scramble to make the most of the opportunities presented to me and they usually involve a lot of tears. It was that way with my second dog (my dad was furious, but I couldn’t have asked for a more loving, loyal companion and incidentally he’s the best cuddler I’ve ever known, though don’t go telling my partner I said that), my career and my relationships.  

I mentioned in my previous post that I’d decided to create a beading business. I’m in the planning stages at this point in time and I’m finding that the more I sit and think about it, the more things I think of that need doing before I can even think of teaching and selling. It’s overwhelming, it really is. There are so many things that need doing, all of them are important and all of them are being held up for one reason or another. It makes me feel like I took for granted the amount of effort that my favourite beading businesses put in to make my time as comfortable and enjoyable as possible…

Anyway, among the tasks I have to get done is organization and stocktake. A problem every beader faces is creating a storage system that is both efficient and doesn’t cost more money than the beads themselves. Ideally, any storage should be clear (seeing your beads usually helps you picture how you want to put them together), plastic (so that you don’t risk damaging the beads when they go in and out of the jar) and screw top (so that you don’t spray beads everywhere when you finally manage to uncork/uncap the bottle).

The store where I bought my last stash of jars recently informed me that the manufacturing company she purchases from no longer make my jars and that any subsequent orders would be more expensive, on top of this the owner hasn’t been the most reliable about contacting me with orders I’ve placed with her in the past, so I wasn’t feeling too optimistic to say the least.

Home I went to rethink my storage strategy. Now, I don’t know about you but sometimes to get a solution to a problem, I find it helps me to blank out and troll websites. Pinterest (great for creative ideas) or Youtube (to find and learn techniques) usually lead me to eBay or Gumtree in search of things to work with. So I was trolling Gumtree the other night for free things when I happened upon a person who was giving away 15,000 lolly jars. For FREE!?! Turns out they hadn’t stored them properly and the lollies were out of date.
 
Now I mentioned previously that the timing of my opportunities and the way my opportunities present themselves is never quite ideal. Well, currently I’m living with my in-laws who due to circumstances beyond their control are being forced to sell up their home. To do this, they need to do a lot of work on the house to make it presentable. High on their priority list is getting rid of all the junk (mostly mine) which also means no junk in. I was pretty sure that at this point in time in their eyes, 15,000 lolly jars would classify as junk… And though the lolly jars were free, getting them home would not be. Not to mention where I was going to get the help to load and unload said lolly jars.

My partner hasn’t been impressed with my Gumtree finds in the past, mostly because he says in my excitement I never think about how I’m actually going to get whatever I've found home. That’s probably a fair criticism, but when opportunity knocks, you answer, right? So, much bribery (I’ll let you use your imagination here), 1 rental truck and a 1 ½ hour drive later and I found myself standing in front of a mini mountain of lolly jars. I took a moment to mourn the jelly beans that would never be eaten (what can I say? I’m sentimental). Then it hits me, this wasn’t going to be anywhere near as easy a job as I thought it would be. Originally in the picture I could see a mini mountain of unboxed jars but I’d noticed that they were surrounded by pallets of boxed jars in the background. Of course my luck being what it is, we had had record breaking rain falls in the past week and all the boxes on the pallets peeled away at any attempt to lift them. One of the first boxes we placed in the truck, when we tried to lift it to take to the back of the truck split open like the zipper of a fat lady’s undersized jeans, spilling jars everywhere and punctuating the silence with the sound of breaking glass. Fail.

In the end we had to go to the supermarket to buy garbage bags, wade through the mountain of wet cardboard and carefully (so as to avoid cutting ourselves on broken glass and watching for spiders etc) hand pick jars out of the mess and load them into the bags. Incidentally, we did come across a leach of all things clinging onto the cardboard and sucking for dear life… All this while I was sick (stupid bad weather). It was slow going, but I think I ended up with about 3000 jars. I would have liked more but my partner needed to get back home to fulfil his refereeing commitments that day.

They will eventually need to be gutted (that is to say the lolly bags pulled out) and given a thorough scrubbing but I think the $3000 or so I saved was worth it.

Hopefully at some stage I’ll be able to post a pic of the jars in my ‘studio’. I just have to make the studio (hmm).

Till next time…
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Jennie Nguyen

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Dear Diary, If you knew me at all, you’d find it strange that I’m using blogging to record my life’s journey. I was raised to be an intensely private person, so putting my thoughts out there where they can be read by stranger...
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Jennie Nguyen

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Dear Diary,

If you knew me at all, you’d find it strange that I’m using blogging to record my life’s journey. I was raised to be an intensely private person, so putting my thoughts out there where they can be read by strangers is to say the least, a little out of character. I tried keeping journals and scrapbooking but with limited success. I found that I failed to capture my voice in journaling, often I felt my thoughts were too trivial and insignificant to commit to paper and so my journal became more a recording of events rather than my interpretation of those events. As for scrapbooking, there’s just not enough time to beautify one thought before another thought comes to mind.

So why the desire to try committing my story to ‘paper’ again? Well, a couple of years ago I was diagnosed with depression. It was probably brewing long before but I was diagnosed following a crippling breakdown at which point I withdrew from society almost completely, quitting my job as a vampire (that is to say a scientist in a hospital blood bank) and quite literally locking myself away in my room. After some time spent trying to mend, I returned to the Bead Room where I’d originally learnt to make jewellery. Little did I realize it would be the place that I would learn to be human again, it became my sanctuary, a place that I could quietly sit with my beads and learn to create. It gave me a much needed sense of achievement each time a piece was finished, or I managed to work out how a piece was constructed. It may sound like nothing, but it was everything to me when I felt moronic and incapable of doing anything right. It allowed me to be surrounded by people from all walks of life who shared my passion and who loved to gab as they worked. Slowly, I found myself joining in the banter and found that these people who didn't know me and whose judgement I feared were nothing but accepting of me and only too happy to share of themselves and their experiences.

Sadly the Bead Room has since become a predominantly online business (check out the range of findings and Czech glass beads on www.thebeadroom.com.au, you won’t find better elsewhere) and although Carina (the owner) does still teach, it’s only on specific days rather than dropping in unexpectedly. Since she closed her bricks and mortar shop, I have found myself wanting to recreate the atmosphere of welcoming, of creativity, of inspiration and learning, to share the joy and the knowledge that I have accumulated and so I made the decision to commit to making my own business.

This blog is meant to record and share my experiences; of depression and my journey to recovery, my attempts to create a business, of creative inspirations and creations and everything in between.

Till next time...
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Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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Undecided crafter; I love all things creative but focus primarily on beaded jewellery
Introduction
I love all things creative and have a tendency to dabble. So far, I have tried beadweaving, bead embroidery, wire work, chainmaille, mixed media, scrapbooking and crochet. I plan to add to that repertoire with the intention of one day being the perfect grandmother. I particularly want to try my hand at silversmithing, soutache, sewing, quilting and baking. My personal taste seems to vary but unwaveringly I have a love of all things vintage, steampunk and upcycled but am inevitably drawn to creating sleek, sophisticated pieces.
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Female