Heading Home with Mixed Emotions

As many of you know, whether you're an Etsy client or a Blog Challenge member or a follower on social media, I've been here in the U.S. since December 2016 helping one of my sisters with MomCare so she could come home & not stay in a facility after rehab.

Well, our Dear, Beloved Mom of 96.10 years passed in November. I had gone home in October for a few weeks and was informed at the end of the month that her health was declining rapidly. So I flew back to be with Sister & Mom at Hospice.
Mom & I in March 2017, just a few days after she came home from a 2-1/2-month Rehab. And the beginning of our
'CNA internships', a definite learning experience. A rare posted pic of myself sans makeup:).
Mom's absence is a constant presence and we're slowly learning how to redesign our lives. My 'real' life is in France & has been for 28 years. With mixed emotions, the time has come for me to migrate back home & re-connect with family & friends & cat & garden, all the while questioning such a decision and knowing that it will affect many. Of course, I'll continue to travel at least once or twice a year to the U.S., next trip is already scheduled at the end of May 2020.

The reason for this post is to inform & reassure current & future Etsy clients of my plans for the shop & the logistics of how to attain those. I am going to continue selling on Etsy.com and in USD; I may possibly add facebook or Instagram sales in future. Links at end of post for social media channels.
***Please either follow this blog and/or our social media channels to receive further updates after the beginning of the year.

After 1/20/20 I will be making & shipping from France. Remember, you will still pay the USD price shown on Etsy.com, I'm just shipping from there. Postage will be more expensive from and I hope many of my U.S. buyers won't be too offset by that fact. I will assess the costs once I arrive. I do know it can take up to 10 days for any items mailed from France to reach a US address.

Sister has offered to keep & post from the U.S. some Ready to Ship items. I will also make some New Beginnings Pendants (small & large; normally a made-to-order item) and prepare them to be shipped from GA also. I will be scrambling to do that in the next few weeks. A separate, new listing will accommodate those. For the first few weeks back I will not have a tumbler which is indispensable to harden some pieces, and not sure of any plan B at the moment. I just know that the NB Pendants & any Penannular Brooches are much sturdier with tumbling than with simple hammering.

I started making jewelry in 2017 when I revived our dormant Etsy shop where we previously sold our upcycled clothing & accessories. I had only planned on staying a year at the most since we all thought Mom's health was worsening. She hookwinked us all ;). I had no income here in the U.S. after quitting my job in France, and am overjoyed & so grateful that so many love my pieces enough to choose them. My biz partner, Peg, has been on a long hiatus also so I've been going it alone though we're still partners and listed as such in much of the shop. I hope she'll decide to start selling her awesome items again soon.

The most popular made-to-order items in the shop are Outlander Inspired New Beginnings Pendants & Penannular Brooches (images below). I don't know yet if I will have time to finish any Brooches.

Another reason for making some above-mentioned pieces before leaving is that I will need some time to acquire a few new tools used for fabrication that I cannot feasibly take overseas; either because of weight or electricity differences or simply because of airline restrictions. Such as a Tumbler to harden metals; a larger propane torch that I use for larger gauge wire & soldering big pieces where more heat is required. I'm not allowed to take even empty / new propane mini torches in checked bags. Much less the refined fuel that I use for them.

A few reflections:
In spite of my now semi-retirement and my heart wanting to stay in the U.S. a few more months to make jewelry & travel around to visit long-unseen relatives, my brain knows I need to get back home. Ironically, daughter is now working & living here & expecting my son-in-law & my granddog to join her soon in their new apartment, which makes my decision only harder ....
But, one-kidney cat Cannelle needs care & meds & my attention & a lap to curl up and sleep on. My son (24) needs (even though he doesn't realize it) Mom's advice. Though I'm only a phone call, email or message away, talking face to face is preferable. Garden is overgrown & I couldn't get even half of it cleaned up while there in October. House needs serious fixing, painting, new stuff & guess whose job that is. Good friends are waiting to have fun & see each other often for laughs & serious conversation. PLUS, I have some opportunities to work part time again. I'm in good health, so why not earn some extra money doing another thing that I love which is teaching English to adults and children!!
One of Mom's many paintings. She was a very talented artist in many mediums, including Chinese Brush Painting, Watercolor, Oils, Acrylics, knitting, crocheting, tatting, sewing ... Sadly, she couldn't continue any of them (to her standards) after her stroke in 2016, though she did regain use of her arm & hand. And her brain and speech were definitely working!!
So there you have it, changes afoot & what I hope to accomplish & what I risk losing. I welcome any comments and/or suggestions that you may have.

Have a Great Holiday Season & Safe New Year,
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  1. Dearest Altsen,
    Words cannot convey the contents of ny heart. First, I'd like to thank you for choosing to be there for Mom, each and every day, in such a loving way. I know how challenging caregiving can be. As time goes by, you will begin to get back to your life pre Mom Care. It takes time to process such a loss, however prepared we think we are. I am glad to hear you are homeward bound and anticipating such activities as home repair, maintenance, re connecting with English students, and come spring gardening. Give yourself plenty of 'down time' REST well, dear friend. You have EARNED it. Snuggle your Calico, cozy up with a favorite book, movie, or whatever brings you JOY. I look forward to keeping in touch thru FB, Etsy etc. Know now as always, you are in my thoughts. I love you, Frances

  2. Dear Francy, Thank you so much for your kind, thoughtful & encouraging words. I also look forward to keeping in touch with my "oldest'' (we were 10!!) childhood friend. We've done so over the past 50+ years, some years more sporadic than others :). I Love You Too. xoxoxoxo

  3. I am sorry to hear about your loss. Maybe, if possible take some time off for yourself, you deserve it. You can always continue shipping your items from France through etsy. I wish you safe journey and peace of mind in the new year.

    1. Thank you so much Divya for commenting. Since I started my jewelry artist journey here in the U.S. when I came to MomCare, all of my Etsy customers have been here in the U.S., and used to getting items in 3 days to 1 week ... Back when we opened in 2009, I did ship from France, mostly to the U.S., and to a few other countries. So though I will probably get a base of clients in France & Europe, U.S. may fall off if they don't want to wait, or pay higher shipping costs ... Different dynamics will be in place, and I'll just have to go with the flow :). And Peace of Mind to you also in 2020. xoxo

  4. Somehow I missed this. I'm am so sorry to hear about your mom, but happy that you're getting a chance to head home and take care of what needs to be done there. I hope the transition goes well and am sending you some virtual hugs as so much is changing for you right now. And, I apologize for being so late in these wishes. Looking forward to what comes next for you.


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