Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Tree

A few months ago, I went to lunch with my coworkers and we wound up at this fancy drugstore near our office. You've heard about adventures like this before - say, back when I bought myself a slap watch. Although I didn't have a budget, and although I really didn't have a need, I bought myself a necklace. It was a dark silver color and had a cut-out tree on it - definitely not fine jewelry! For $13, I left the shop a happy woman. I thought I was going to like it, and as time passed, I realized I had underestimated just how much I would like it. I wore it with work clothes and casual clothes, basically everywhere I went. I wore it so much I never even took a photo of it! But, thanks to the wonders of the internet, I found a link to a similar one on Amazon, if you want to see. Just imagine it in a darker color.

So, one night, I wore the tree necklace out to a social function and when I got home, I realized I didn't have it any more. I spent a couple of days double-checking my pockets, looking at the floor of my car in case it had fallen off while I was driving, but all to no avail. The tree necklace was gone.

After that, I started thinking about how to replace it. I went back to the fancy drugstore, but the tree necklaces were gone. I also did some internet research, but I hesitated. The necklaces I found for sale online were more expensive than the one I'd bought in person, and were going to be subject to shipping charges. Woof.

Then, I found myself in the jewelry making aisle at Michaels. I know I was looking for something else, though I can't remember what, when I found these.
I scooped up this card, which was not even $5, even though there was really only one charm of interest to me.
This one.

I took this little set home and got to work, combining the charm with chain, which I cut to size, adding the appropriate hardware to make it into a necklace.
I put it together quickly and was very satisfied with the result: a neat project that I'd made myself with a total materials cost of well under $10. Nice!

Over Memorial Day weekend, I happened to be out shopping at Patina, a boutique that sells gifts, stationery and jewelry. I was looking at the jewelry, curious to see if they might have a tree necklace of their own. That's when I spotted these!
I was soooooooooo tempted. I mean, come on, right? These are exactly like the charm on the necklace I had. Same style and everything. I ended up buying a housewarming present to give to a friend while I was shopping at Patina, so I decided it was imprudent to buy these as well.

Something else strange happened while I was at Patina, though. I ran into the nurse practitioner who works with my neurosurgeon! (I've had some pretty serious health issues that resulted in my having brain surgery back in December - you can read any details you want by clicking on the health label). It was so funny to see her outside the hospital. We chatted briefly and introduced each other to our shopping buddies and all was well. As we were about to part ways, the NP said to me, "We'll see you in a couple of weeks." That was the plan: after my diagnostic in early April and a good meeting with the surgeon in mid-April, I had decided that I was ready for my second round of brain surgery. I responded with, "He's not going on vacation during my surgery, is he?"

He was. The NP didn't know at that particular moment; she called me back a few days later and told me that they'd confirmed he wasn't going to be available. When the surgery had been scheduled several weeks before, she'd suggested that there was a "small chance" that the surgeon would be gone. I don't know why that date was offered to me even with that "small chance," because of course, now it has turned into a certainty. I had tried to be cautious about even announcing the date, but when they didn't call me to cancel, I just figured that he'd decided not to go on vacation. Since my first surgery in the fall was cancelled, I had some ideas about how to manage the stress, but it didn't work very well. After a few days of coordinating the three doctors on the team, we've picked a new date in early July. I think it is going to work out fine. But, as you can probably imagine, I basically lost it when my surgery was cancelled.

Answer? Shopping.
I still wasn't that excited about the tree earrings I'd seen at Patina. They were beautiful, but I don't like the wear such big earrings at work because I spend so much time on the phone. Then I had an epiphany! I figured that, if I could find the right supplies, I could actually turn the charm from the earrings into a charm for a necklace. Yay! The next weekend, I actually walked to a different Patina shop that's much closer to my apartment, and scored the earrings.

Then began the mad dash to find the right kind of hardware and chain to match this bright, matte, almost white-ish silver color. It took me quite a bit of searching, but I did find it eventually. I got the hardware above at Michaels. (Seriously. I think they know me there.)

And I got the chain at the Bead Monkey - an independent bead shop located at 50th and France in Edina. I've shopped there before, though this experience was a little bit different. I walked all over the store and looked at tons of interesting things. (I bought a few - stay tuned for more jewelry posts!) They had a display of chain, and I didn't see anything that was the perfect shade of bright, matte silver. I was just about to pay for the other things I'd found when I happened upon a display of sterling silver chains. This was one of them! I'd never worked with chain like this before - where there aren't links to hook the hardware on to. I spoke with the girl working at the time, who sold me the appropriate hardware and told me how to use it. She was completely right and it worked like a charm. I'm totally impressed! I also bought enough chain and hardware so that I could make a second necklace. After all, I have a second charm already and now I have a back up in case I lose the original!

Here I have my two finished tree necklaces - in metals for every mood!

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