Sunday, July 31, 2011

Four Letter Words: Book

Give me a good book to read and I'll stay out of your way till I finish reading it.

As a young child, the bookstore was THE place to go for me. While dolls and little porcelain tea sets caught my eye, books really made me go crazy.  I remember wandering along the aisles, gazing up at the shiny hardbound covers wondering what kind of world I would step into once I opened them.  At 11, I read Alice in Wonderland three times while I lay in bed in the hospital after an operation for a ruptured appendix.  I carried a dog-eared copy of To Kill a Mockingbird in my school bag when I was 13 - and pretended it was the first time I read it in my senior year in high school when it was given as assigned reading.  My all-time favorite childhood Christmas gift was from an aunt -- two thick volumes of ghost stories that were read from cover to cover numerous times and which I handed down to my daughter who seems to have inherited my love for the written word. And when I have money to spend, I never end up buying that lovely dress I had been eyeing for weeks -- I always seem to end up buying  a good, fat, book.

Writing is also something I enjoy so I have in my possession all manner of blank journals and notebooks - some have entries in them, others have my sketches. The handmade ones are my favorite, especially the leather bound ones.  So it was no surprise to me when I hooked up with two handmade book makers at the last art fair I was in.  Seeing their work inspired me to make my own little versions of handmade books - the kind I can wear.

This one was made from leather which I distressed myself by giving it a few swipes with some sandpaper and rubbing in some dark brown acrylic paint.  I cut up a few pages of an old book and attached them to make little pages by sewing them into the spine with a dark brown leather cord.  The same cord was cut long enough so that you could wrap it around the book and tie it up in front.  Of course, I couldn't leave out the beads so a delicate dangle of tiny, tiny, round jasper beads and gold stone beads were strung together and attached to the spine where the cord peeked through.  Here is another look

 I enjoyed making this first little one so much I decided to make another one, this time with some purple suede leather.  I distressed it a bit with sandpaper and got the look I was aiming for. What do you think?

This wee one had blank pages in it, cut up from one of my watercolor pads.  I thought I wanted one that I could write little things in -- like spells. LOL. The dangles were made of brass spacers, majorica pearls and the tiny round jasper, moonstone and gold stone beads. Like the first one, this little book is attached to an antiqued copper chain.

Of course a book isn't a book if you can't open it, so this one opens up just like the first one -

Two of my favorite things in one --- handmade books and handmade jewelry.  Now, I can't wait to wear these babies when I go out.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Water Baby

I long to be near water.  Sand squishing through my toes, the sun on my face.  Wild wind turning my hair into an unruly tangle of black.

Summer came and went and I didn’t even go near the ocean.  I had plans – oh boy,  did I have plans.  But daily concerns kept me from turning these plans into reality. And I am all dried up – I need to be near water.

The monsoons have started so that pushes my plans back a few more weeks, or even months.  But I will get to the ocean somehow.  And when I do, I will dive headlong into the white water that splashes along the shore, and walk on the sand each day I am there searching for treasures that the deep has left for me.  I will feel the sun on my face and let it leave its warm glow so that I can still feel it on my skin when the evenings grow cold.  And I will sit still, so still, close to the water’s edge and listen to the secrets the waves spill out.  They are secrets for me and me alone – little truths that will carry me far, tiny whispers containing clues to where I should walk to next, what I should say, what I should create. 

In the meantime I will have this

Three strands of the ocean’s tears around my wrist to remind me that my good friend misses me and calls to me and wonders if I forgot.  I didn’t forget.  It’s taking me a while to get there – but I'll see you soon.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Christmas in July - Happening Now!

I have a co-worker who, each time December rolls round, wishes that Christmas happened everyday. I like Christmas but having it everyday? Well, I don't think my waistline would like that. Not to mention my wallet.

But having an early Christmas is quite a treat don't you think? And that's exactly what Artfire had in mind when it launched it's annual Christmas in July event.  Where else can you find well-made, beautiful and unique handmade pieces like these

Stunning Necklace from Austin Leigh Designs

Rhinestone Cufflinks from YourTime

Aventurine Earrings from Artistikat
And it's not just jewelry.  We've got journals and bookmarks

As a journal junkie, these pieces from Modern Marbling are waking my want monster
Yummy soaps and bath products
Yummy Patchouli Honey Handmade Soap from Forget Me Not Soap Shop
Luscious Goat's Milk Blackberry Sage Shampoo Bar from Mr. Guru's Soapery
And of course, not only do we have handmade, we've got vintage!

Large roomy vintage purse from Born Too Late Vintage
Smokey Amethyst Vintage Vase with White Florals from  Refined Vintage
Just looking at all these is already quite a treat for me! And I'm sure you'll find something you like among the hundreds of items on sale now at Artfire.  Artfire members are really going crazy giving away gifts with your purchase, discounts, coupons and other deals that it really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Check back often - I'll be posting more awesome Artfire deals all month long! Can't wait to see them? Then drop by Artfire today and see all the great items being offered.

With shopping this easy and fun, I don't think my wallet would have any problem with having Christmas everyday.   Now, to find a way to solve the problem with the waistline. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Gossip I Like

No one I know wants to be talked about - especially if the talking is going on behind their back.

But being mentioned in this article on Entrepreneur Philippines Online is the kind of gossip I like.

Look, they even put up a photo of one of my rings

Did I scream? Of course I did -- the neighbors can testify to that.  And I think my sons think I'm cool for turning all those cartwheels out of sheer joy. LOL

And here I was thinking I was invisible. :-)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Ship Captain's Wife

I met her many years ago - a young woman grieving over the loss of her husband.  A large wave had caused the cargo ship he was in to flip over and bodies of his shipmates had been recovered already.  We were called to help her find out if he had passed on or if he was lost somewhere, adrift at sea, stranded, waiting for rescue.

I remember the little crib that sat in her living room, her 3-month old son sleeping quietly in it, unaware that his mother was slowly shattering to pieces as each day without news went by.  Her daughter played with her dolls under the stairs, directing a make-believe play where the prince returns to his princess after having been given up for dead.

She had looked at us with such hope, and we had searched our souls for words to tell her that it was going to be alright.  The others who were with me said things that made her smile. I merely sipped my coffee and watched the baby sleep.

I could not feel him. Well, I did actually but only because he seemed to want to say something but I knew he was no longer here. I sipped my coffee slowly, I tried to find the words. They did not come.

Years later I received a text message from her. That she was still waiting, that she had not lost hope.  She told me about her daughter and her son and how they were growing up without their father.  She told me she still cries now and then but the moments between the crying fits have become longer and she feared that she was beginning to forget.  She said she could not stand seeing the ocean, but that she had taken many trips to its shores, listening to the waves for news.

That was many years ago.

She was who I had in mind when I finally finished this piece.

I had been working on it for some months now and for some strange reason I could never quite finish it.  I would start, then stop and start and stop and stash it away someplace and forget.  Then I would come across it and start working on it again.  But each time I would tear it up and put it away -- somehow it felt that it wasn't saying what I wanted to say.

And then the memory of her sitting across me from that dining room table, the glow of a small lamp hanging from overhead casting a shadow on her young, pained face, her voice eagerly asking us of news, returned.  I suddenly realized why I was making this piece and who it was for.

I wonder if she still sits and waits and hopes. And if she has found peace with the ocean and its turquoise and blue depths.   I ask myself if she still cries, her tears falling down her cheeks like pearls.  I also wonder if she will, forever, shroud herself in grief or if she has finally, after so long, learned to live again and be happy.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Four Letter Words: Pink

First blush
A baby's lips
A single rose, though silent

By  Sovereign Sea

Of hope and life, of birth and beginnings

By Pigtail Creations
The tips of clouds in the early morning

By Sages Cupboard

A little girl's Sunday dress
With matching shoes and bow

By Nature and Zen

Come a few years, those lips will be tinted with a sweet pink glow
And a single rose will be offered

Still silent, but it  speaks
Of love's first blush, and promises to keep

By Entwined Vines
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