Yeah yeah, the unemployment rate is high, the economy is low, the barometric pressure…well, who really knows?!! (hehe…that kind of  rhymes) This is no time to play the blame game. Things are tough all over, but that is no reason to quit. You still have to move forward like it or not. Business is no place for pansies. Get up and face your day with some grace and dignity. Today is all you have, don’t blow it feeling sorry for yourself. Look at all of the things in your life going well. If your health is good, then you have the biggest blessing of them all. Love of your family and friends, boom…you are two for two! A roof over your head…wow…you have hit the trifecta! (love that word) See…life is good. The economy is like a pendulum, it swings back and forth. Every little ting IS gonna be alright. (thanks B. Marley) Just keep your eye on the prize and keep reaching for the stars.


So every day, you do your thing hoping, possibly knowing, it is the right thing to do. If you have a job you absolutely love, as I do, then doubt is virtually non-existent and it all boils down to drive.

I look at it as a cattle drive…people on horses, lots of mooing cows going somewhere and possibly not caring about a destination per se, maybe some barking mutts, toss in a wagon for the cook…ok, you get the scene. The people on  horseback are the guides, directing the cows on where to go…off to market, eventually.  There is a distinct goal, a time-line, and  a definite destination, but the terrain is unpredictable and sometimes rough-going and “things” happen along the way. “You” are one tiny factor and you are not always in control. Actually, I find I am never “in control” and can only manifest what I need and ask for specific things to come along. The time-line part is what gets me riled up. Oh, I have the drive, I bring it every day, but nothing happens in “Michele-time” in Michele-land, but meanwhile…back at the ranch, life is good. I guess you just get up every day and focus on what is moo-ving forward!! (yeah, I could not resist!)

Wow, I love the Winter Olympics! All of that snow on TV and people whizzing by the camera on skis, luges, snowboards, etc get me thinking about how happy they must be just BEING there. I find myself smiling at their accomplishments in my living room. Total strangers, but I am so happy for them. They train so hard and take their spills off-camera, ok, well some take them on camera as well.  I admire all of their hard work and focus to compete and complete the task at hand.

The Olympic arena is about giving your very best ALL of the time EVERY day. Pour that idea into your life…every day, all of the time. Focus on a goal and reach it, heck, maybe even exceed it. Try it for a week. Write down the results. Success is within reach. It just takes an Olympic commitment to yourself!

*Side note…I am so looking forward to tonight’s coverage of Shaun White on the halfpipe…THAT looks like so much fun!!! I can’t wait to see what crazy tricks he has been cooking up on his private halfpipe up the mountain!! Only he could drop in from his private helicopter!

Ok, I am a little off the beaten path of business and art today, but I have this really odd relationship with Starbucks. I use it as a meeting/drop-off  place for customers, sounds like a drug deal, but it is not, I assure you.  It is warm, friendly and inviting. The staff is always pleasant and the aroma is like a heady  cloud of happiness. Yeah, it is Starbucks! At some point, you must return all of the coffee you consumed, and I understand businesses trying to be all “Green” and such. But when I go into a restroom, I want to make the personal decision when it is time to leave. As soon as that light goes on, baby you are on the clock! No loitering people…do your business and get out. I always feel like I am 10 years old again and at the state fair playing that game with the water pistol and the clown head. Squeezing that trigger so hard that the balloon on the clown’s head inflates faster than your neighbors. Pee faster! I cheer myself on..then…I hear the  *click* and out goes the light! Awww, it always gets me. I flail my arms to turn it back on, once again , feeling defeated. Love Starbucks, the restroom antics…not so much. Is there a lesson here? Possibly. But really, Starbucks…can I have a light switch? I promise to turn the light out when I leave.

I am really kicking my work into high-gear!!! This is my year of taking one of my jewelry lines  to a new level. I did not really make this decision, the Universe made it and it is up to me and my team to listen and make it happen. I am really happy about it because I get bored of doing the same old thing and I work best under some pressure. Deadlines are goals, goals met are achievements and over time…it becomes apparent that you must go to the next level. I know the economy is not at its finest hour, but life still goes on. Consumers still consume…no matter what. Ok, well, if that proverbial mushroom cloud appears on the horizon, then we have a whole different scenario. Until then…as business owners we must press forward.

I have to say, that the first step here is not physical at all, but mental. (being in good physical condition DOES pave the way to mental clarity, no doubt!!)  The words you use and the thoughts you project must be focused and positive. Ideas become tangible. We create this world around us. You attract like energy to your circle of friends and associates. I know it sounds all hoodoo/new agey. BUT, if you really stop to think about how the world works. It does make perfect sense. (think “Onion” “multi-dimensional”)It is a typical case of “be mindful of your mind” as I am reminded by my friend, Spellbinding Sherry. Choose your thoughts and words carefully and go for it!

The other day as I bent down to get a drink of water, I was struck by the realization that a water  fountain is a wondrous thing. You desire a drink. You push a button and fresh, cold water springs up out of the hole on demand. I know how simple it seems, but after this week’s horrific earthquake in Haiti, a drinking fountain would be a welcomed sight on that island. As a world decimated by Mother Nature, they wait for relief efforts to provide the simplest of Human dignities and provisions. Our hearts are with them, both heavy and hopeful.

My message today is one of thankfulness and Zen. Be present and appreciate what today has to offer. Tomorrow is always just a whisper of promise. The mystery of it all keeps us plugging along. For me, being thankful for that water fountain was just a metaphor for every day life. I am here. My needs are met. Be productive, be happy  and drink life like you mean it…oh , and don’t forget to say “Thank you” and “I love you” because any dialogue past that is extraneous at best.

Ahhh, we loved it in elementary school…the quick slip of the hip when the ball came zinging our way. You could feel the Whoosh as it breezed by you, another triumphant miss! Yesssss. I stay in the  game. Well, I see business as this very sort of activity. It is you against everyone, you have to keep your eye on the ball, and you have to constantly re-adjust your position to stay on top! Staying in the game is no small task  today. You have to be creative on all fronts and find new ways of doing things when you have exhausted the old methods. Every year, it seems the old methods are just that, old. I am always thinking of  new ideas.

One came to  me just this week.  I got my “end of the year massage” so I go rolling into the new year feeling refreshed and revitalized. It was a salon I had not ever tried and when I walked into the office, I immediately loved the decor. I did notice it was sparse.(Maybe they are minimalists…you never know) Anyway, after my session, I complimented the owner on the interior and commented on the sparse part. They are not minimalists, they ran out of money for the rest of the office. My light went on! I offered him my art work to finish the look and put discreet prices on them. When an item sells, they get a commission for the sale and I replace the inventory and rotate it periodically. He thought it was a great idea. He gets a finished look to his office,  passive income for selling art and a new network of my customer base…they can now come see my work in person and maybe book a massage in the process. I get a new place to show my work, a broader network of his client base, and potential income for selling there. Definitely a win-win situation. Whooshhhhh, another miss. I stay in the  game!

If you reference the Michele-vision dictionary ( I keep telling you, it DOES exist), you will find the meaning as follows:  an imperfection, an unexpected addition from  the Universe to the element of creation, a twist, an epiphany in a process, my personal ability to see beauty and interest in freaky things happening in my life and my kiln.

My son actually coined the term when I first started making table items. Most times, I experiment (hehe, the Scientist in me !) with my materials and love to try new things. I rarely consult anyone, as I find it more fun (and I am all about the fun) to blaze my own trail of creativity. Well, my first couple of bowls went fine, but then as I got more involved…bigger items, longer fusing schedules, more difficult shapes, etc…things got hairy…and woogly, evidently! Of couse it was said with love and I took it more as a compliment than anything. The woogliness of my work was really interesting and of course I could never re-create the woogle. So I went with it. I learned to let go of things you cannot control and embrace the joy of  the process.  The joy in the unexpected. The joy in mystery.

I never got too involved in what other Glass Artists may think about the imperfections of my work. I think other Glass Artists probably get my woogliness because we are a cool bunch…and really, who would be so brazen as to hurl a rock at another Glass Artist’s work?


don't worry be happy

Pack of what ? you may be asking yourself…hehe,  this “pack” refers to other creatives, other retailers, other sellers of stuff.  The holiday season is  full of twinkling lights, celebratory fanfare, traditional music and many things to distract you as a consumer. Glossy ads and “wish books” get hurled at your doorstep prior to Black Friday to entice you into big box stores with hope of a “great deal”. But what happens after the purchase? Is it beautifully packaged? Is there information about the origination of the item or its creator? Is there a funny/informative story or history behind the purchase? Will the purchase last more than a week? Will the recipient of your gift love it so much they will want more of the same next year? (i.e. collectibles?)

As a creative, I look at all of those aspects of my work.  I work the color purple (hence Purple Cloud Studio) into my packaging every chance I get. I include information about my studio and where you can reach me if you have questions or comments. Over the years,  I have  gotten many unexpected cards and e-mails thanking me for making a gift they received that they absolutely love! The feedback is worth it all. Knowing that I made someone happy seems to be a big part of why I am here. Making you happy makes me happy.



In the news, stalkers usually suffer a terrible demise. But I have to say “Thank You” to my stalker, Violet. First of all, I love your name!! (Purple is my favorite color) Your stealth abilities to find interesting goods on Etsy, the website for Artisans/Crafters, are applied in the right direction. My beautiful little fused glass dessert plates were featured with other coolio plates for the holidays. Don’t deny it, you are eating dessert, repeatedly. I find myself in good company of creators of awesome stuff. Violet, you rock baby! Thank you. Read her blog at

Today being the day of shoppers bliss, AKA Black Friday, please visit my store and other Etsians stores and purchase cool stuff for your closest friends and family members. You will be the best gift giver on the block. Spread the word.

AND, as a side note, after the turkey was gleaned and put back in the fridge for a snack later, my family settled in to watch the movie “Confessions of a Shopaholic”. I, for one, thought it was a most appropriate flick for the night before the gathering of the “Other Kind” commences. We laughed out loud and could identify with being distracted by new shoes….ooooooo, shoes! We now begin the quest for the green scarf!






Michele Palenik & Baxter

Michele Palenik & Baxter

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