life in balance

Mixtapes and Talismans


Did I ever tell y’all I was a college radio DJ? Probably – I tend to bring it up a lot – definitely one of my favorite parts of my college experience. Right after I got back from Squam this fall, I found out about 8tracks. Awesome for those of us who love the mix tape genre, it lets you upload songs, create album covers and publish mixes to the web. I decided to test out the site by making a re-entry mix for this season’s Squam returnees and am so happy to share it with those of you who are reading the blog. Just click the image below to load the playlist.


Those of us who go to Squam refer to the process of readjusting to everyday life as “re-entry”, and I’ve found it such an apt term that I apply it to every travel experience now. I’ve had a bit of a rough re-entry this past week as I get used to being home from Snow Farm, which has taken me a bit by surprise. I wasn’t expecting to feel this challenged; for me, Snow Farm was pretty business-like. No messy personal epiphanies, just a good time art-making. But it’s been tough not having criteria in place that push me to work nonstop. I’m finding that I’m best suited to an aggressive schedule, producing a lot of work very quickly. Unfortunately it’s also physically taxing to work like that, so now my challenge is to find a happy medium, and it’s a tough thing to do.

The perks of being home again - my happy sunshine sheets and the beautiful window light

The perks of being home again – my happy sunshine sheets and the beautiful window light

Today I got some great catharsis by finishing a project I’ve been working on for a couple of weeks – though perhaps “mulling over it” is more accurate? I’m a Creativebug subscriber and have been enjoying Alix Bluh’s tutorials on the site lately. She has really interesting ideas, but is also able to simplify things so that the projects are easy to understand and quick to execute. I took my time working on this necklace and really enjoyed dwelling on it for a while, but it does feel great to have it finished.

Necklace in progress (with cider and homemade granola in the background)

Necklace in progress (with cider and homemade granola in the background)

The pearls came from one of my college jobs as a jeweler’s assistant, and my husband bought me one of the charms while we were at Cardiff Castle in Wales. The leather came from Knack in Easthampton, where they sell scraps of leather for 25 cents a piece. It’s really neat to look at this necklace and see how the pieces all came together to form the whole; Alix calls these talisman necklaces, and it’s definitely that sort of piece for me.

Up close with my Talisman necklace

Up close with my Talisman necklace

Some notes:
– The class that outlines how to make this necklace is here, if you’d like a little guidance to make your own. I really love Creativebug and recommend it as a self-care treat; their prices are low, especially for the subscriber packages that let you watch unlimited videos.
– One tip for any of you who do the leather closure and use multiple strands like I did; be careful when you string your strands through the leather. A couple of my strands don’t lie in the same order on both sides. It’s hardly an earth shattering problem, but I like things orderly so it sort of bothers me. Check how your necklace hangs before you glue your knots and make sure all the strands are hanging the same on both sides.


7 thoughts on “Mixtapes and Talismans

  1. Pingback: On the Road: Knack | nine05

  2. Your talisman necklace turned out so pretty, and full of special components that evoke memories such as the pearls and charm from your husband. Thanks for sharing your experience creating this necklace…I saw your necklace in the gallery on Creativebug + I’d like to try this necklace one day soon…. don’t know the first thing about crocheting though! 🙂

    • You should definitely give it a shot – it’s so easy! You only need to know the most basic thing in crochet to do the necklace – I have total confidence you can do it. Do you have the subscription to Creativebug yet? Mine is set to expire in January, so I’m thinking I’m going to renew while the subscriptions are on sale for the holidays – the price now is the cheapest I’ve seen it in a year of being a subscriber.

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