“Now, don’t get all in a swivet”

Well, I did. Yesterday. As I was trying to get some pieces together to drop off at the Center for Maine Craft in Gardiner, on April 18 when I travel south to see my friend Holly in Connecticut and Susie in New York.

I  went through a jury process 2 years ago at the CMC and was told I was accepted. I was also told they had plenty of jewelry on hand and that they would get back to me when they had an open space.  After a while of not hearing from them, I put it out of my mind. A  few weeks ago I was contacted by the manager and told that I could bring work in if I was still interested.  (Of course I am!)  They wanted it there by May 1, in time for Mother’s Day shopping. Could I bring a selection in sooner so they could choose what to display? It all seemed to fit well with my travel plans, but could I get enough work done in such a short time?

I thought so. As the week ended I planned to do my pricing on Sunday.  I started to gather my finished work. Some of it was very recent and some was made earlier this winter.  I tried to get organized and I started to panic.

I was already thinking ahead to the next deadline after Wednesday. I needed to finish up work for another gallery by the first week in May. I was going to be gone from April 18 to 24. I needed to visit my mother before I left. I needed to visit her again soon after I got home. I had a writing deadline on May 5. My brother and nephew were planning to arrive for a few days on May 4. When could I get more work done? Maybe I shouldn’t go away? Why do I have so much trouble focusing? What if the manager hates my work? Why didn’t I use my time to make more of A , B or C instead of D? Self doubt was pouring down on me…and then I heard words my father used to say, “Now, don’t get all in a swivet.”

My dad has been gone for almost 17 years, and while I hold so many memories of him, I have not thought of that phrase since I heard him say it to me as a child. I even looked up the word, swivet, to see if it really was a word or one that he had created. Yes, it’s a word and it describes exactly what I was in. I remembered advice from a friend long ago, a suggestion to follow when I felt overwhelmed by work.  “Start where you are and do what you can.”

I wrote down the name of every outlet I had for selling my jewelry. I took all of the trays of work I had; including the one where I toss work to be taken apart so I can use the pieces differently, including those pieces I have already photographed for Etsy and have yet to put up in my shop, including the new work I had finished for CMC. I sorted it all. Which doesn’t look like much, but for me it was a huge step. I polished pieces and bagged each one separately with it’s own anti tarnish paper.

I did not have as much work as I thought I had for the CMC, but I had 30 pieces to price and pack up. The display space is only 12″ by12″ so that is more than enough to start with.

I was also able to set aside pieces for the next gallery deadline in early May. It’s enough to give me a head start and a clear focus on what I need to do when I get back from New York.

When I was done, I found I had the energy and inclination to clean out my freezer, another task I had put off for far too long!

Note to self: How about a label next time?  (I could not determine what this was.)

Second note to self: Don’t bother taking other people’s leftover hot dogs at the end of summer if you never eat hot dogs anyway.

Third note to self: Don’t get all in a swivet. Wear life like a loose garment.

18 Comments

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18 responses to ““Now, don’t get all in a swivet”

  1. I’ll take that advice considering what’s transpired lately! ;)

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  2. Glad you’re back blogging- I missed you!

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    • Barb Fernald

      Thanks Pam. It is so easy to put it off, especially at this time of year. But then I miss my friends, like you!
      Summer is coming. Here we go….

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  3. Evelyn

    Love swivet,use often. And can totally relate to not taking food at the end of the season that you would never eat, filled the freezer one year and then “I” had to sort it all out for the gulls. Lesson learned. Jewelry is beautiful.

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    • Barb Fernald

      Those hot dogs were individually wrapped. I think that’s why they made their way into the freezer in the first place….2 years ago, ha ha!
      My dad used to refer to all the little dishes of left over food in the fridge as “bird baths.” As in, “Why does my sister leave all these bird baths for us to clean out?”
      He is on my mind a lot these days.

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  4. LeAnn

    Oh gosh that’s a great expre
    ssion and word. I get all in a swivet fairly often myself.It’s funny isn’t how much we can get done if we just step back a little.

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    • Barb Fernald

      So true LeAnn. Things are always more manageable after I step back and breathe. But, it is usually not my first inclination!
      I’m so glad to see that you’ve been able to work in the studio. And hear that your daughter is okay in Kansas. Yeesh. Scary times for your family lately, eh?

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  5. I can’t decide which part of this post I like the most: the new-to-me word “swivet,” the memories of your dad, the idea that after 17 years he is still in your head, the fact that I’m not the only one who struggles with being disorganized just when I need organization the most, or the mystery parcels in the freezer! I love it all; just decided. I have a friend who says “Don’t get all stoved up,” which I’d never heard but she got from her grandmother. Good stuff.

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    • Barb Fernald

      Hey Nancy, was your friend’s grandmother from New England? I never heard “stoved in” or “stoved up” until I moved up here.
      I was thinking of you and your posts on memories as I was writing about my dad. He also died too young from cancer.
      I’m starting to think it is really a small minority of people who are truly organized and most of the world is like us…..

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  6. love the hotdog bit (individually wrapped?) and that is one impressive array of completed jewelry you have there…..see you soon!
    xoxo

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    • Barb Fernald

      Oh man. I could have brought those hot dogs to you tomorrow along with the lobsters! They still looked pretty good……

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  7. Fabulous post, Barb! I’m so impressed by your logical approach to sorting out your inventory. I usually get to “logical”, but sometimes only after I get “in a swivet” first. Have fun!!

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    • Barb Fernald

      Thanks Wendy. We’re going to be rockin’ some polymer clay beads and components, we hope!
      I am almost never logical or focused. My left brain likes to nap most of the time.
      Are you going to the conference? I can’t make it. Bruce and I are going to a wedding in Vermont.

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  8. crnbrycst

    Great post Barb…this could be your next column…about the swivet!!! We all get into swivets this time of year and all summer…great advise!!! Have a wonderful week. xoSusan

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