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!