Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas 2009

Before we left for Christmas holidays, Richmond had the thrill and then the misery of more than a foot of snow. Here is the misery of it--- our newest car was the only car out of dozens that managed to have a tree fall on it. Fortunately enough snow fell prior to that the damage was minimal small dents and easily taken care of next week in the auto body shop.

Undeterred, we packed up and headed four hours northeast to visit my parents for Christmas eve, day and Boxing Day. Maggie and Lucy (looking a little off still..) are ready for their presents. As usual, they received a pile of new toys, chewies and treats!

Christmas Day. Lucy is not feeling very well. Rainy weather flared up her arthritis and she had an upset stomach. Nothing serious and she is fine now but I felt bad for her because she always loves Christmas and understands it (the opening presents part anyway!) better than any other dog I know.

My mom's lovely holiday shirt. She painted this design on it! Isn't it beautiful? I think she needs to start marketing them.

The view of the front room, Christmas morning. Mom and Dad cut a Charlie Brown tree from their property and set it up. I love it!

Some of my parent's ornaments. They decorate so beautifully every year. Old heirloom ornaments and figurines, lights and pine. I enjoy it all so much.

Christmas dinner at my parent's house with my folk's next door neighbor. My mom made a wonderful dinner of turkey, stuffing and all the trimmings, offset with vintage Christmas tablecloth, plates, and my grandmother's beautiful candelabra.

My husband started with a bad cold the day before we left, so I hurried to get things ready to go so we could get the germ factory out of their house. In between snoozes, Michael took this photo from the drive home on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. A lovely buttermilk sky...

Happy New Year everyone!

Friday, December 18, 2009

a little of this a little of that

Working on presents and such for Christmas. These earrings and accompanying bag went out yesterday. Maybe I'll list some similar on etsy one of these days but etsy isn't lighting my fire right now so I am concentrating on other things. These sterling hammered hoops and faceted turquoise drops are lightweight and rather sweet, every day earrings to wear.

The bag that went with it. I adore making these!

I heart my local quilt shops. Aren't these fabrics fabulous?? Not to mention the threads. My husband checked out my burgeoning supply of silk and cotton threads and declared I have quite enough in the shade of pink, green and blues of every hue.

In the evenings after my husband's work is done, we take time and drive around looking at lights. This is my favorite, probably because it is so very weird. It is a cement truck that has lights circling the body, all blinking so it looks like the mixer is turning and then more lights at the tail on the ground blinking so it appears as if lit cement is pouring on the ground. I love it! I even filmed it. Again, my husband shook his head and put the car into drive... This company does this every year and I look forward to it with great anticipation, making Michael drive way out to the west end of Glen Allen to see if the cement truck is out and lit yet. =)

More random photos. Recently we worked at a llama farm on a piano repair. I spent part of my time when I wasn't needed (which was most of the time), walking the farm. These guys were very interested in me and Lucy. They came running from every direction and watched us intently the whole time we were there. Who knew llamas were so social?

Finally, Mr. Mango sleeping on his new L.L. Bean fleece blanket for our king size bed. Of course we got the big bed for the animals. Pshaw! Did you think it was for me?

We are expecting a heap of snow tonight, not my favorite thing at all. I ran around like a nut earlier today refilling dog prescription, getting presents for the furry kids at Petco, browsing Barnes and Noble and hitting the dollar store for gift wrap and ten for a dollar candy. I made the mistake of walking nonchalantly into Trader Joe's for a few things. Bah! People in line to the back of the store, on all aisles. So I hit the free coffee stand, the free wine stand, the free nacho stand, and left. Then I hit the not free Starbucks and drove home. Happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

one new listing/Mango antics!

First things first-- a new etsy listing. all things work out hand stamped sterling silver pendant. This is one hefty pendant and would look lovely by itself on a chain or grouped with some other trinkets of your choosing, mix it up a little! Now available in my shop

Now, moving on to other things. Isn't Mr. Mango a sweet orange boy? So quiet, so peaceful....

So deceptive!! Here he is on his little kitty perch. This is my husband's work space for a commissioned drawing that HAS to be completed by Christmas. Naturally, Mango has decided the only, only, only suitable object to scratch his little chinny chin chin is Michael's white charcoal pencil.

He's making his move! Come on-- give it to me!

Aaaaahhhh..... Success! That feels soooooooo gooooooood.....

Ah, the life of Mr. Mango. Fat kitty extraordinaire, we love him so!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

blue bird bag

I am just having too much fun making these little bags... This little blue bird bag was completed last night and is in the mail today.

Such an infinite variety of colors, fabrics, dyes, threads, shapes.... I love it all.

This holds a pair of commissioned earrings but it is the perfect size for small eye glasses, cosmetics, pens, or a little bag to hold the odds and ends of your pocketbook. Should I sell them on etsy?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

do not be afraid

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27

One of my favorite bible verses put onto sterling silver with added natural and vintage elements. Now for sale in my etsy shop

We travelled up to Wallops Island to visit my parents for Thanksgiving. While there my husband took these photos of Assateague Island at twilight.

Ibis in flight. Quite something to see and I am very sorry I missed it in person but happy Michael captured them on the camera.

The day after we devoured a good portion of Mr. Turkey and trimmings, we did what all nutty Americans do even though we know it's a bad idea-- we went shopping on Black Friday. My mom, my husband and yours truly all trekked up (with Lucy and Maggie, who refused to be left at home, in tow as well!) to Delaware to go outlet shopping. Afterwards we drove the 1/2 hour to Dover to stop at T.J. Maxx and a few other places before heading back to my parent's house. It was a long day and the dogs did very well considering they were in the car (although walked frequently) for more than eight hours. We did very well with our shopping bags too, scoring good deals on bedding at L.L. Bean, as well as jeans, thermal socks, sweaters, shirts, and the list goes on.... Here I am with my husband in his favorite Steelers jacket, enjoying a stop at our favorite Rehobeth Beach Starbucks.

And with my mom. One grande eggnog latte and one grande mocha latte, non fat milk with extra whipped, please! Oh, and some cookies, too, thank you very much, even though we ate enough to choke a cow the day before...

My dad opted out in favor of showing his photographs at a one man art show. He did well with sales for this time of year and in the economy.

Saturday my mom and I went, where else? Out for some more shopping excursions, although this time at a local school craft show. A lovely painting now graces our wall and some hand painted Christmas ornaments are stowed away awaiting the arrival of our Christmas tree. Hmm.. did we get something for anyone other than ourselves either day?? I don't think we did...
My husband worked on some pianos at churches on Saturday and Sunday we drove home, full of good food, good times and anticipation of heading back in a few weeks for Christmas!

We are going to Williamsburg this Saturday to spend the day. Walk on Duke of Gloucester Street, look at lights, eat a good dinner and the best part- choose our Christmas tree! Oh, boy, I love the smell of pine at Christmas!

This year, as last, we are doing all hand made gifts, except for a couple small things. I am a few days away from the panic that set in last year when we did the same and it was days before Christmas and madly wire wrapping and making books and painting and everything. Hopefully this year will be a bit more calm without preparation for a big trip overseas looming.

Tonight? We are off to the historic Byrd Theater in Richmond to see one of my favorite movies of all time-- Julie and Julia. *sigh*!! I am still obsessed. It's out on DVD in a few days but I may not be able to wait til Christmas!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

each necklace comes with a bag sorta like this one

It's been a rather quiet Saturday for a change and I've spent most of the day kinda tired and ready for a nap that just wouldn't come easily, even though I crashed in bed at 3 p.m. for a while. Too many things to think about...

At any rate, each memory necklace I make comes with a lovely freebie bag such as the one pictured in these shots-- all hand made, with machine and free hand embroidery, interesting textures of batik, recycled thrift shop fabric, couture silks- you name it, I'll pair it together. All cotton and silk threads. For some reason, polyester threads don't do well in my sewing machine.

Make a wish, people, it's almost Christmas-time!

Vintage cut steel button (purchased at a rural Pennsylvania antique show this past summer) with silks, tulle and hand made multi-colored sash.

Time to play with Mango and wear him out a little, then hit the bed early for a change. My husband is seizing the moment and energy to work on his drawing.
Saturday night married life-- full of excitement!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

another twinkling memory necklace

I used up the last of my really beautiful stash of fabulosity-quality faceted round amethyst for this memory necklace that is being shipped out tomorrow. All silver wire and chain, with bottom dangly stones of super lovely green tourmaline, citrine, pearl, green aquamarine and rubies.

This is the requested stamping on the pendant reverse. What a lovely quote...

I've been happily finishing this necklace up and making the collaged fabric bag that will hold it. In this disposable society, where electronics rule and everything is old and boring and tossed away as soon as it hits the stores, I feel honored and humbled to create small works of art that hold something so precious, something that can't be bought for a high enough price, for any price-- memories. "Oh, you are too nostalgic. Come on, live in the present!" Yes, but live for yesterday too and for all the days and people, homes, dogs, cats, travels and so forth that came before it, for that is from whence we become who we are, hopefully a good thing. Reminiscing doesn't necessarily lock you in the past, it teaches you about who you can be today and in the future.

Other pieces are in various stages of completion, both Christmas gifts and etsy listings. Lots to do... Lots of small triumphs. It's a good thing because I already got notice that I didn't get the rather rinky dink job I interviewed for the other day, which is actually quite ok with me. Quick as it came, they must have had them typed up before I even walked in the door to begin with.

Lucy is coming back to me again and again, nudging my arm to come to bed with her, so best to give in to the doggie's whim and head on in with some needlework instead of jewelry work for a change.

My husband is busily working on a pencil drawing. It is quite beautiful and is due for his own customer in a few weeks. He's making good progress and I'll post a photo when it's completed and after it's delivered. I'm so glad and grateful that we both have absorbing art pursuits that fill us with contentment. With all that is going on, it's so important for me to have something other than the everyday worries.

Monday, November 16, 2009

bright sky over winter earrings

I don't know why I love earrings that move or any piece of jewelry with alot of jingle. It's gotta have movement or I probably won't wear it. My wedding rings fit one into the other, my necklaces, both bought and self made, are almost all accented by numerous interesting dangles and parts. And the same with earrings. Here is my latest offerings on etsy. The smoky quartz barrels twinkled so beautifully, they demanded to be paired with something interesting and different. These remind me of a lovely winter day, the contrast of the brown, gently laid to rest winter landscapes with a clear turquoise blue sky. For added interest and movement (again) I soldered a number of hand made jump rings and allowed them large enough to freely move up and down the layers of beads, but just enough to keep them from coming off the top or bottom bead. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed creating them. =)

A closer look.

What a belly buster! Oh my sweet big boy, he is my little (?) love. =) This is the epitome of the lazy cat. Why lay on the floor when you can sleep on the sofa with your big orange head resting on a vintage pillow? Why indeed??

I've several orders to get finished up tonight and I am still coming down from a job possibility that looked promising but ended up disappointing. Always I am reminded how much more I like working in my studio than going out there trying to find another way. If I put all that time into making things I maybe wouldn't need the other way of life, and every time I go to a job interview for a job that is less than stellar, it motivates me back into the studio. Not many people other than those who make art themselves realize what work it is to produce artwork, jewelry, or whatever is your medium for sale. It is hard work. But I love it. What am I so afraid of?

This is definitely a coffee shop night.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

My lovely grandparents, Virginia Louise Freet Bair and Charles G. Bair on their engagement day. Salem, Ohio.

Going through the daily motions on this rainy day, it seems fitting to remember the past. Mostly today I am thinking about Veteran's Day. I wrote the following last year, and it still is one of my favorite posts. So, here it is again...

On a grander and more important scale, I am remembering all the Vets out there, living and dead, who have done so much to protect our country. My grandfather on my mother's side was a WWII vet, stationed in the extreme remote wilderness of Attu, Alaska for several years. Some of the worst bloodshed of WWII was fought on Attu. My mom was a tiny baby when he left, a three year old when he returned. I can't imagine not seeing my family for such a long time. I can't imagine his loneliness, living in a tiny quonset hut in the freezing cold, or my grandmother struggling to support a household that included my mother, my great grandparents, and my great aunt, who was a high school student at the time, all on a bank teller's salary. This is how people looked out for one another back then. But she never complained, either at the time or years later, an admirable quality I wish I possessed.

While the war raged on, my grandparents kept up a correspondence, writing each other every day the personal and plain events of their lives, documenting my mom's development from an infant into a toddler and all the events that my grandfather was missing back home in Ohio. The letters are voluminous and detailed and they were saved by my grandmother for more than forty years after my grandfather's untimely departure from this life at the age of 51. I never had the pleasure of knowing him, a gentle and kind man, and my mom was deprived of her beloved father and my grandmother her beloved husband for the majority of their lives. After my grandmother's death in 2000, my mom discovered these letters kept in a large wooden box, preserved in order, along with tiny Eskimo dolls, postcards and the long awaited cable from my grandfather, telling his wife that he was finally coming home...

Happy Veteran's Day, everyone. Thank you for your service.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Angel stamp

Wow, I haven't posted in about eight days... Since last post, I have been down for the count with the flu and still recovering a bit. Right before I hit the bed for a few days, I sketched out this image of an angel and transferred it to a rubber carving block and went to work carving it out. For several years I have had a set of sharp carving tools in various sizes but never tackled the carving block until now. I think it turned out pretty well and am using it on some vintage distressed muslin for fabric work. This item is available on

It was such fun carving this image that I carved a couple of pine trees, a self portrait of myself and my husband in miniature (this is hilarious), one of a dog sitting, a row of buildings and I have a few more sketched out but not yet carved. It does make a mess of rubber shavings all over the place and I keep finding them everywhere, even after I clean up with vacuum and attachments.

I see hand carved rubber stamped images for our Christmas cards this year. =)

Otherwise I am just applying for jobs since business is so terrible for my husband in this recession. I read yesterday that acquiring a job these days is akin to getting into Harvard. Very encouraging.... But I keep looking anyway. I'm pretty sure I could get into Harvard if I wasn't so old....

The most exciting thing I have done otherwise is color my hair. Grey be gone! yes!! Nothing real exciting for color-- just a golden brown. No red hair or white blond spikes. I keep thinking I may have an interview I'll have to look normal for. Or a Harvard application.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

the pumpkin patch/a few new etsies

I've listed a few more of these neat little fabric swatches to my etsy site. So far, no buyers. I think they are sooooo cute and for anyone who adores vintage, stained, rumpled, frayed bits of fabric art like I do, these are wonderful sewn onto a quilt, a fabric journal, a purse, or whatever you want. I made a few for myself to sew onto collaged fabric purses and they look fabulous. So there is my plug for my etsy shop for the day. =)

One more listing! I believe in so many things.... do you?

Michael and I bought our pumpkins this year from a country market where they had three wonderful patches to choose from. They had one patch with cut pumpkins, where we got these, and two with cut your own from the stalk. And they had gi-normous cut from the stalk pumpkins in their main market. I fell in love with all of them, which wasn't difficult for me since I love pumpkins to the point of dreaming of the day when we may live somewhere where we can try our hand at growing giant pumpkins. I'm talking HUUUGE pumpkins, like were on the PBS program last week, 1500 pounders! Fascinating! I read books about it, read online about them and their growers. I know. It's weird. Anyway, we already had one big orange pumpkin, and here he is perched on his kitty beanbag, looking a little peeved that we bothered his favorite big kitty resting spot. What an expression... Mango Man! We love you anyway, big guy.

Michael choosing a little pumpkin.

So many choices!! I picked a big one. Sadly enough, we've been so busy we haven't had time to carve them and now it's already going into November 2. We still plan to do it.

What else is going on.... We're like many Americans who are self employed these days, watching our ship slowly sinking at the same time as we are waiting for another better ship to come in. Hopefully my husband's business will pick up this week. Michael just finished restoring a grand piano and shipped it out to the customer. Now he is working on another but day to day jobs are scarce. It's kinda scary, folks.

This morning, since it was pouring buckets of rain, we did something revolutionary and cleaned our apartment. Michael took to spraying nasty smelling stuff into the moldy shower and I took the rest of the apartment-- a fair exchange, I thought. Afterwards, we took Lucy out in her little red doggie raincoat, got her rubbed down and wistfully settled in the apartment, then took off to go see Michael Moore's latest, Capitalism- A Love Story. We knew alot of this was going on, of course, but what an eye opener. We both laughed and cried throughout the movie, it felt so much our story and what we relate to with our every day living. After the movie, of course it was all we could talk about. Then it was on to Costco and then home.

Tonight I've mostly rested in the big warm bed with a big orange kitty at my side and a sleepy dog on the other, working on my stitching projects. I'm sure not many people outside my family know that I am an avid needleworker and love it probably more than any of my other creative endeavors. Someday I would like to design cross stitch charts but for now I am quite satisfied when happily stitching that of others. To explain what all I am working on would require another blog altogether, which may not be a bad idea. =D

Tomorrow is another day. I have my list ready!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

a few new items with lots more to come

I'm delving into fabric art, as I am making art quilts. These sweet little bluebird stampings are too lovely to resist on my own work, so they are to be offered up for sale on etsy tomorrow...

this is the cutest teeny tiny postcard on overdyed distressed muslin. so sweet!! about ten more to go on that front... have to work on the photos tomorrow and then upload. i'm spent tonight!

LOTS of new etchings, themes this time of vintage Paris. Each set is a mis-matched set of scenes and items pertaining to vintage Paris. Voila, mon cheri!

Check them out at

believe. There is no other way...