Monday, December 27, 2010

blizzard life

i don't need a blizzard to put my thoughts to paper or to tap some into my computer. it sure helps though. There seems to be something sacrosanct about being the first to inscribe their mark on freshly fallen snow
(or a fresh open blog page).
I just dared to do this by taking my dog to pee at 4 a.m. today. Yes, i am a night owl. Or am i just totally an insomniac? it is neither here nor there. There is a blizzard outside making its presence known. it is more interesting than today's subconscious getting to take a rest.
the howling wind, the rattle of the storm windows (the one right behind where i sit, was installed today... thank you graham!) and the still accumulating snow are making my house feel so cozy and appreciated.
Yet my mind is wandering all over the place.
Some stories are nudging at me trying to be told aloud. None of my family is interested in most of what i have to say. yet, they are fearful that something good might happen if they miss one of my tales. i insist upon being their modern day Sheherazade or someone like that.

several things have happened to me of late. i would say almost all of them were computer derived and profoundly touching. if only to me, then that would be a nice thing. i am finding somehow that they are interconnected and worth sharing outside of my silly familial range.
i am sincerely sarcastic and sentimental. for years, the inmates of this asylum have been asking me forever if i was being sarcastic . Even when they were well under 10 years old. my sentimentality usually scares them. of course when they hit over 10, i broadened my need to teach them more life as i see it.
i teased the issues of irony, sardonic and sarcasm into more discrete piles for them to investigate.
after all, how would they know if i did not express them, the secrets of my ever changing riffs?
in this, i shared a rather long and full figured story with my son, my two daughters and husband (as of today, for the 3rd time. this is yet another topic though. the ability to listen and do it carefully) . the dog doesn't care to ignore me, i feed and walk him, so anything i say is usually just what he wants to hear.
i can feel how much he adores me without pulling ear buds from his ears unlike the kids.

now when i told my son this round about story or set of circumstances, he asked if there was going to be a "hallmark" movie made from it. it was a snotty little response... which made me think he was too touched by the stuff i told him and he didn't want me to think he was sensitive or something. so his sardonic response gave him away. it proved to me that he was not only a little verklempt,
but also wily with his ability to take a lesson on sarcasm to heart and delineate appropriate sentiment as it applied to his feelings about the subject matter at hand.
i taught him well. now i am a little verklempt.

so it is time to try to tell the mass of small stories. and they come together somehow. at least in my own mind.
there is my re-telling them and of course altering them as i do... which is unintentional... but natural as they roll around in my head.
the first is one of life style change as told by one of the "brave girls" found at:
the long and short of this is that Melody, one of the brave girls,
has told a story of her family and an ordeal that they survived.
her husband had a traumatic brain injury that plagued her, her kids, her business and her husband. he is well now, but it was very disconcerting.
i recommend you read the link to the story, rather than my retelling it badly.
the moral of her story was : be gentle with others, you never know what has happened to them.

a second component is that i fell in love with a graphic artist.
i found her stuff on my facebook page under "handmade spark", a blog posting.
when i say i fell in love with her, i mean that in spite of very different ideas about life
(she being gifted with a religious part to her life and
me being a heathen with skittish interest in personal spirituality... ).
she is one of the nicest and most fabulous graphic artists.
I love her studio,
her generously created free images for graphic wannabees,
her sense of wryness and more.
She has posted some truly mind blowingly clever projects for folks to try out.
not every project speaks to me, but a lot do.
i missed the period that all the cool kids enjoyed a few years ago.
the one where folks put vintage decals anywhere they could.
i fell in step late behind everyone else. Now i am enjoying a personal renaissance.
there was lesson on how to make decal penny pendants and it put quite a twist into my knickers.
i had to try to make some.
i collected all the ingredients to try these out.
i know, it is really compulsive on my part, but i really wanted to try to be cool like cathe.
cathe holden that is.
this is her website. i found the nifty penny decal in her section "JSIM" aka just something i made.
i wrote to cathe, as she asks if anyone tries her ideas out, to let her know how they came out.
i felt a little shy at first, and then a little bolder by the second.
eventually, i practiced the art of "fan-girling" as my college aged daughter mocked me with.
rotten child.
but also is educated by my teaching and is known for her own biting wit.
anyways, i wrote to cathe and added some pics in the email.
she encouraged me to add them to her flickr pages set up for us sycophants to show off.
her clever tutorials allowed me to be in this club.
gladly i did this.
as we were emailing back and forth, i offered her a necklace that i made using my penny pendants with.
she was tickled i thought.. and i was still overdoing it in fan-girl mode.
i offered to send another necklace to another of her blog readers if she wanted to host a giveaway.
now you already know most of this if you have read my repetitive postings. ( i swear that i will get off this topic sometime soon (1) and i also promise to become interesting at some time(2) and ultimately, i promise to finish this long ass posting(3). NO, i am not being sarcastic here at all either).

the woman who won the necklace, Karin, also had a blog. so i read some of it. for a quite a few pages as well.
and this particular posting made me nearly cry.
(the monday dec. 6th 2010 posting)
suddenly, the second mention of the brave girls club made an appearance on my screen in the same day.
i was shocked... since i am a bit of a know-it-all and thought i was aware of stuff that would interest me.
well sometimes i forget how big the world is and how little i am entitled to take ownership of.
the net result was that i sent this woman, karin, her necklace.
i felt it was going to just the right person.
it made me feel really good to do it too.
so i got to send 2 of my creations into the wild of the universe,
rather than to a private school kindergarten silent auction fundraiser. it was personal and vastly more meaningful. not that my kids' schools don't need to buy and use multicolored skin tone crayons to embrace greater understanding and such... but this was for me.
and it felt good in a personal way.

now this all felt pretty well pulled together in a wendy styled package for a few days.
then my friend sheri asked me to make one of my necklaces for her sister. a bread and butter piece that i have made for years. not as many are done these days, but i would do anything for sheri.
apparently, her sister has been dealing with breast cancer.
i think that it is truly an evil disease.
no one likes it and there remains no sure cure at this date that i know of.
(my knowledge again on yet another important topic is tested with very poor results... sigh).
when sheri asked me to make a necklace for her sis, she asked that it be pink.
her sister used to love pink and it was once her favorite color.
with the onset of breast cancer and all the pink that accompanies the entire issue,
she became disenfranchised with it.
sheri's wish was that her sister rejoin her love of pink as she returned to good health.
i surely could agree with that.
so i made a pink necklace for one sister to give to another.
an intimate and hopeful gift between two dear women.
not only did sheri give this to her sibling, but she asked prior to the giving if i had a name for this necklace. those of you who follow my jewelry and stories about those pieces know i name all of them.
i have no reason to be so fluffy about this, but it is not uncommon.
and i went with it.
i was at sheri and her husband don's holiday party when i was asked what to call this necklace.
so i told sheri my stories that are above.
we were standing next to my husband at the time, who of course didn't hear any of it..
{since not one of the words included were ice or hockey.
hence my comment about careful hearing earlier}.
i suggested that we call this
in keeping with my sense of how
unsympathetic,selfish and rushed seeming we humans are seeming these days.
along with the gift of several other things and the necklace, sheri included my story,
the amalgamation of all the chapters of how i came to the name.

two years ago this coming spring, my husband suffered a small heart attack. we are both self employed and he was unwilling to let anyone know of his infirmity. macho .. right? well at this time i could have used a little love and support. i was not permitted to ask for it, as it would defy his wishes. i understood it and was willing to participate, but it was freaking hard to do more of what i had to do and what felt like his share as well.
i can only say, i understand the issue of being gentler with people.
you never really know when someone needs kid glove handling.

and back to sheri and her sister. when it came time for the present unwrapping and reading of the note, the sister had the epiphanic christmas moment. she felt all of what she had been experiencing in a fresher and rejuvenated place. she was ready to try to love pink all over again, and in a more fun way.

i really loved hearing this from my friend. my mental meanderings have been all over the place. still they did what they usually do... they came home to roost with me.
they are not really related, but the entire idea of gentility should be more of an every day idea.
if i forget about it for one day, i hope now to try to get myself back on track with it.
i want to try to return to gentler living.
if i didn't know myself better,
it might seem a little like some weird new year's resolution is in the making.
the new year starts tomorrow.
every day... or at least a little more regularly.

ok, i have rambled... thanks for joining me.

xoxo. wendy.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

ho. Ho. HO. pre-holiday jitters

It has been quite a slippery and fast flying week. I apologize for not sharing things properly... i feel like i am living within a silly sitcom.
Since it is very late now, forgive how my sensibilities are a little bit loopy ,please?

So much to report on... the boy for any of you who may be waiting on tenterhooks for news (yeh, sure you are...)... well he is just fine. back to crusty bread, pushing my limits and torturing his little sister. consistency is where he is at.
just as things are looking up, no dry socket seems as if it is occurring, the boy took up smoking for about two puffs. my reaction was so irate, that he lost his ipod for many days. on the up-side, he has finished his time sensitive job application for next summer. i suggest that he do this as he may lose his spot in the job program if he doesn't. Now all we need is for him to finish up with his college applications. as many of you may know, this is a very stressful process. i am getting very little sense that he is feeling that pinch. we shall see.

Later this week, i had a weird day. i shall report on this and all of the repercussions. it merits its own posting.

And just how did i miss out on having a coffee with one of my favorite people? so stretched, i misread the time... and screwed up my timeline to meet her. ugh.

End result of dealing with many grinched out folks... was a small ember of joy just burning slowly and surely in my heart. i am truly grateful for so many things. here is a short manageable list:

1. eldest child home from college.
2. eldest child came home on the train and i did not have to drive to boston to bring her home.
3. because i looked so shabby to others this week, i took the lock off of my pursestrings and bought a wonderful green blouse. i can't wait to wear it and look less yucky.
4. made a very nice necklace this week for a friend of mine... and i will get to see it in action at her party tomorrow night.
5. party tomorrow night.
6. found last copy of vogue knitting from this past fall. Now i have 3!!! patterns i want to knit. I have not had much interest in this for a few years. I think that between these patterns and perhaps making some socks i may feel cozier this winter.
7. i even feel like sewing again! the creative juices feel less stodgy and stuck suddenly.
8. i applied to get into a show in february. perhaps i will manage this experience based upon the last year, a whole lot better. this is of course if i make the grade to be admitted to the juried show.
9. dinner the other night with roasted chicken, smashed red potatoes and pan roasted white asparagus (sale on this for 3 bunches at a buck each made me want to try it). i charred it a bit in a cast iron pan with a little olive oil, garlic and balsamic vinegar. All in all , it was the tastiest meal i have made for a long time. the key is now to buy the koshered chickens at whole foods.
two nights of food was $18. the grand total price per inmate was roughly $2.25 and freaking delish. none of the crazies here had anything to whine about. this is very unusual.
10. i visited a couple of friends at their store today and was able to score a great gift for someone i love.
i can't wait to hang out with these two lovely ladies in january and do some promotional work with them. i am sure it will not feel like work, but more like a good giggle and some crafting. their warmth fuels my heart.

It seems like a good time to make a cup of tea and watch masterpiece theater. it's a repeat, but i am very forgetful. the show is as good the second time around...

night night.

earrings from this week. btw...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Balancing Act

Everyone is over subscribed these days. Plain and simple.
I see folks who cram art and living into every small crevice of their living.
I wish that I could be more productive in this way.
Maybe I am being too hard on myself...
or maybe it is just that there is not enough room to live all the things that I want to.
If tasks are accomplished to a certain internal expectation level, then they seem to be done.
Not everything is up to that personal level some times.

My son had his first pair of wisdom teeth extracted yesterday.
He was enthusiastic and prepared for the experience.
That was on the way in.
Novacaine helped on the immediate exit from the hospital.
That was temporary at best. I knew what fresh hell he was in for.
He was feeling a little cocky at this point.
We got home where i tucked him onto the sofa with a movie and an ice pack for the swelling.
By this point one of his dimples had disappeared from swelling.
I knew what would come next.
Rushing to get prescriptions filled, I forgot the gauze pads on the way home.

In that hour of shuttling the boy home,
getting his meds , ice cream and returning to the nest,
a rather helpless moaning person had moved into his body.
The joy of being the caregiver.
The joy of seeing predictable reactions.
The joy of seeing someone you love in pain.
It can be truly disenchanting.
Eventually, dinner happens, dishes are done, multiple ice packs are made and changed out, ice cream is scooped out... and exhaustion takes hold.
After a good 6 hrs of sleep, the boy has erupted into a more manageable patient.
That and a second trip to the pharmacy for more comfort items, gauze pads,
a magazine for me ( i think i deserve anything to take my mind off of things),
a fresh cup of coffee, a nap and a new movie... I can see the seeds of recuperation in hand.

thank heavens.

while under the cloud of this experience, I tried to fit some shipping, taking new pics of older jewels, editing those pics, listing a necklace for my etsy store, and walking the ignored dog...
Life begins to resume its normalcy.
Perhaps the following pictures will tempt someone to make a holiday gift giving experience more attractive as I continue to work on my delicate balancing act.

thank you for looking in.
xoxo .w.

Monday, December 6, 2010

SHIFTING and design gears

Firstly, all you folks who do not mind reaching for the capitalization key, I really honestly and truly apologize for being so erratic and slipshod about its usage. I try sometimes, but it gets in the way of my trains of thought. These are slippery enough to harness as it is. So, please forgive me for my lack of discipline.
So now I shall give my increased effort to slow down
and use you dear "ole SHIFTY".

It may simply be symptomatic of my erratic state of
organization and focus.
Maybe this ought to be on my upcoming list for self improvements for the new year.
I will think on this. I like the idea of making progress on some small task in my life that i feel is lacking.
One of my little ideas is that big changes may be the result of small tweakings.
I started with changing the direction that the toilet paper unfurled from its holder.
It held for a week.
It was an interesting experiment.
I figured if I could slow down and change something, another change might ensue.

Another shift is desired. I go up and down about my work.
Since it is all self initiated and imposed, it is all totally up to me.
The problem is that I get stuck a lot.
Now it isn't worth whining about... since it is easy to get unstuck pretty quickly too.
Recently there have been more than a few custom necklaces to make.
I genuinely love these.
Essential to forward movement with custom work is a little bit of cleanup between projects.
That is if I want to start another.
Not sorting and cleaning can cause an overlap of ideas that are just not worth finishing.
Sometimes, false starts allow for earring pairs or just an odd little bit to pop into a necklace
somewhere down the line.
Nothing is wasted really, it's just a little progress speed bump.

A customer from Oz, down under, asked me to start something for her.
I really want to, but the main idea was based upon something that I had already done.
The problems posed with this, is that I rarely have two of the same things to play with one after another.
I got stuck again.

I pulled all that I could and made a few arrangements that may or may not come together.
I don't know if my customer is inconsolably set on the one she originally liked. My ability to move the "jigsaw component" pieces around to make a fresh composition, is something I rely on heavily. I constantly am second guessing what is needed to start. At a certain point, I feel the need to just find a starting point and try. If i am really lucky, I can get a little traction and commit to beginning a fresh piece.
This is the necklace that was sold a while back. It is the model for my new design. I know the colors,scale and shapes are different from the original ones. I think that it can be pulled off though.
The newly proposed palette is this one.

I am telling you all of this, since it is on my mind today. I have no idea how other folks come to their designs, so I thought it was worth sharing. Now it's time to get this started. Surely, this will be shown off when i finish, since i am a little shameless.

thank you as always for dialling up....

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Tickled Pink in Providence...

My kids have new word combos for everything. Of course myown parents might have said the same about kids in my own age bracket so very long ago, when i was similarly aged. If Fifty Cent were around then, i could have easily put my mom into her grave. She was busily flipping out then about that radical, James Taylor. oooh that Fire and Rain LP
gave her some good ranting juices.
Still, it is a sign both of the ages and of the times, that the same sort of stuff can make a parent scratch her/his head. Progress is rough on folks. Me sometimes in particular.

(Cathe's Penny Pendant to left)

Last weekend when my eldest child returned from college and was visiting in the most incommunicado method possible.... one foot in the house of her childhood and the other dancing with glee to the tune of her first semester outta here at college, we opted to go to Borders to read together. If she had nothing to chat about, then perhaps we ought to be like MEN. you know what i mean...
the way that they are most comfortable ...
spending time in barcaloungers with a drink at hand reading the newspaper.
NO TALKING is the best way of bonding for so many of them. I am not completely stupid. if my kid did not want to share with me intimately,
we would go into a public forum and share an experience that without divulging details would make
our time together commonly appreciated.
We got two of the comfy chairs and sat with our stack of reading materials.
Hers were mostly comic and manga related.
Mine were magazines about lifestyles and artistic sensibilities... the Stampington/Somerset collection.
As we were cozily reading, looking at pics and other self amusements...
a younger woman approached and claimed the seat next to me.
She point blankly asked me if I was a knitter.
She then flitted away to bring back some knitting magazines
( i wound up buying one, since the sweater on the cover was exactly what i need and have been looking for... ).
We chatted a bit and I admitted that I am a knitter, and have been passionately interested in the skills, design, and comraderie that its craft has afforded me over time.
Now this woman had no idea at all that I am a fallen knitter, nor did that matter terribly.
She was just looking for some company.
In a matter of a few rather disjointed conversations, she fell asleep in her chair. I fear that she is not a well person, but it was interesting to talk with someone with so much intensity, curiousity and intelligence. Unfortunately, I found that there was no way that I could have helped her other than to share with her the secrets of turning a heel on a sock (this is really magical too),
as she had her own up in her hands and off of her foot.
I have a little problem with folks. i do not always see when there is something more deeply wrong with them...
than the surface observations may allow me to deal with.
anyways, her friendliness and enthusiastic interest in things
allowed my daughter to share a term that is new to me.

It is "fan-girling".

Out of the mouth of my silent daughter...
writhing with the amusement of someone not in the "situation" i was in.
She thought I might have known this woman, since our conversation was so animated and on topic.
Of course I didn't.
More to the point, it seems my kid found that anyone could strike a conversation up with me and make it seem so personal and ooky at the same time.
It was totally funny to my kid and she shared with her siblings
that it was hilarious that i got fan-girled. Nice kid huh?

So this brings me to the point of this little off-topic posting (seriously, were you wondering where I was going if you were still reading by now?). I have integrated the phrase of my kids' age into my own ridiculously grey haired life and done a little "fan-girling " of my own. See the purpose of growing old is to refuse to learn new things. I know that I still have a moderately thirsty mind and am
more than willing to adopt some fresh ideas... ESPECIALLY when I can reciprocate and embarrass my kids with what was held dear to their furry hearts.
I can use their hip, rad lingo and for my own nefarious needs.

I am now fan-girling Cathe Holden She is a blogger who started out as a mom
and a graphic designer. She's got it all going on. So much so, that I snagged one of her ideas for a little penny pendant and made it my new best friend. The love is not stopping dead there. Cathe has a necklace for her own wearing, as well as the chance on her blog to give a
nother one away to a lucky commenter on her posting about this collaboration.

I implore you to take a look at her groovy blog and participate in the giveaway.
It is for the sake of the season, the ideas, the fun, the excitement and all else that this is going on.
Consider playing in her reindeer games if you will. It might be nice for you to have a little holiday love of your own.

thanks oodles... xow.

Friday, December 3, 2010

how i spent my sunny day...

today was a wash. i rushed to meet a friend to drink coffee and catch up. it is a standing date, but sometimes life gets in the way.
this created a fortunate opening in my extremely over scheduled existence... ok, being a firm user of sarcasm, you should know this is a shot at myself.

i had really wanted to make things move a little forward a
nd that is impossible unless i take decent photos of my work. recently, everything feels out of whack and a little stale. so i played with some earrings and took advantage of the sunny daylight. if things go well, it may be a repeating work experience tomorrow... sun, snapping, styling and luck. all would be well ar
e a few of my photos that i liked. More on this learning curve tomorrow.

well that is about enough of this particular vanity... maybe tomorrow i will finish it off.
nighty night all... xow.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

if only all my pennies had flowers...

I am sort of addicted to surfing the web.
Yeah, you heard me. One of my things to do is look into many of the etsy related blogs. Through one of these, I found the most adorable blogger, Cathe Holden. There is NOTHING that she can't seem to do. Her first post that I read was a tutorial for making small inexpensive gift bags with really cute graphics. Needless to say, I wanted to make them but reading about her other ideas distracted me and kind of took over rational thought. The following link is to the directory of things that the graphic genius has to offer for those of us headstrong design junkies, by this I mean dj's that can enjoy periodic instructions.

Truly I would love to make a lot of the things in that directory, but once I hit on the penny pendants with Meyercord decals, I was fixated. I collected all the stuff needed to make the pendants with and found the decal sheets at a nearby consignment store.
I waited til all of my family was asleep one night so i could start the project.
I taped a bunch of pennies to a board and drilled them with a drill press. Older pennies made only from copper were nicer since they had no little ring of nickel showing through. Now that is just a personal picky issue. These are so damn cute once the glaze and decals are applied, nobody would ever quibble about this.

these are what they looked like when
they were just out of the oven with their little protective coating of glaze material had been applied and heated.

Somewhere on Cathe's blog, she has a general request for photos of things made from her instructions. I wrote to her and let her know I was over the moon happy with having made some penny pendants.
I then was able to load the images of my penny
projects onto her flickr group for people like me.
As gracious as Cathe was to encourage my pennies joining in with other cool projects, she told me that she was liking some little bendywho necklaces made using the pendants. Now one of them is winging its way to her home somewhere over the design rainbow.

As our email conversations went along, I thought... whee! I want Cathe to give one of these little charm necklaces away to one of her many talented readers. Heck, it is the season of giving after all!
Cathe agreed to do this giveaway on her site and when that time is clearer, it will be all over facebook.

This one is
for Cathe on the left.
The one below is for the blog giveaway.
(i still have no control over where i position my photos... sorry folks)

this is the whole bunch of the necklaces.
I will update things as soon as i know more
giveaway news.

These are exciting times!
thanks for looking in.