Friday, May 29, 2015
Sunday, January 04, 2015
I hope somehow this has inspired you, especially if you work from home and need a little lushness in your space.
If you cannot go out, just go UP!
Friday, November 28, 2014
|St. Dymphna Free Me, assemblage necklace|
--still my favorite pieces to create.
|Holy Mystery, assemblage necklace|
Friday, November 14, 2014
|NEW Topaz collet necklace, "Illumine"|
|"Northern Lights" collet necklace|
|Anna Wintour Style at a great price!|
Saturday, November 08, 2014
Saturday, August 23, 2014
And I rise...
Sometimes when you begin to think that you have nothing, it really becomes everything you ever needed.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
|pink line of Creative Co-op Jewelry (being discontinued)|
I was told it was strictly a business decision and not to take it personally...that jewelry lines do not last very long...and i thought, well, no one told that to my idol, Miriam Haskell. Her jewelry line has outlived HER!
The truth is, if I had it to do over again, there would have been much I would have done differently. But I suppose that is where that cliché about hindsight comes from. It is always easier to look back and see where things may have gone awry...but the truth is, that I know in my heart that I did my absolute best. It is really difficult for me because I thought that this "partnership" was going to be the thing that i stayed up all of those nights for, falling asleep with my pliers in my hands...
And that voice in my head that told me to keep going...surely the answer was Creative Co-op. That was the reason. My dreams had finally been realized.
It was all finally going to be ok.
Because the royalty checks were going to be the answer to the financial poverty that is all that I have known my whole adult life. (I say financial poverty, because I have never been impoverished of spirit or joy or gratitude!)
I am right back where I began, wondering what to do. Living below the national poverty line and struggling to make ends meet. Feeling like i have, once again, failed myself and my children. I wanted my children to see that it was worth it. That hard work pays off. That the underdog can win...That all those nights i worked away at my little table were worth it.
I wanted to be their hero.
I'd be lying if I said that it didn't really sting when my boss asked for more products, only to later say that my line was being discontinued.
I'd be lying if i said i did not take it personally.
I'd be lying if i said i didn't still cry about that loss...and the loss of that identity...that feeling of "Look Ma, I finally managed to make something of myself!"
The truth is though, that i adore my work.
Giving it up, for me, would be like not breathing.
I make pretty things that make women all over the world feel better...I create pretty things that become part of their life story. I bring what one of my customers called "necessary beauty" to her life. That is what keeps me going, when I am doubtful.
I teach local women through the library system, how to make their very first pairs of earrings...i witness the look of joy and accomplishment on their faces.
That is worth more to me than all of the money in the world.
I have to believe that the end of Jennifer Valentine Jewelry with Creative Co-op does not mean that it is the end of the line for me. I have to believe that it is only the beginning of something greater and more significant.
I dreamed of you last night.
You were my delicious secret, among the class
of delighted beginning painters,
disciples of your inspiration,
tribe of your tribe.
In secret I embraced you like a big sister would,
after a long journey home to you.
I called you shorty and I stroked your cheek.
It filled me, this dream.
Until I can see you again.
Monday, May 26, 2014
or your stories of getting on "the chopper" for a brief reprieve from the war to come see me right after my birth.
And there were times I wished you would have died there. That would have made a better story than a man who found the bottle more important than me.
There were times I wished you away, and hoped you would be replaced by the kind of father that I always dreamed of.
I got my wish, but then I lost him too.
Sunday, May 25, 2014
Today, you and I, lay under the relished shade of the volunteer Mulberry tree.
Its berries, still tight and spring green. Nothing came between us but glinting slants of sun through the branches above, and for a very long while our world was silent, except for the soft chorus of our voices and far away birdsong.
Blue, blue sky and puffs of distant clouds were heralding the late afternoon heat to come, but we were cool together then, in the early hours of the May day.
The mortgage was not calling to us, the must do list wasn't mercilessly pounding like storm waves...the weight of things not pressing in.
Just you and I, for a beautiful while,
falling up together.
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
"Emerson, I am trying to live, as you said we must, the examined life. But there are days I wish there was less in my head to examine. Not to speak of the busy heart."
Today was one of those kind of days.
The one in which I found myself lost in thoughts of how far I could get from this particular life on the money in my bank account...
Which meant I was not going to get very far.
I caught the sky over an open field as I was driving and decided to pull over. I marveled at the beauty of the clouds and the way the rays of the sun made streaks, like light is depicted in ancient religious paintings.
Emerson would have been proud...
Thursday, February 27, 2014
|collet necklace and french flourish earrings|
|Anna Wintour Necklace|
|Sacred Cake's navy blue french inspired bridal earrings|
PHOTOGRAPHER: Peepsakes Studios
HAIR & MAKEUP: Simply Beautiful Artistry
FLOWERS: New Creations Flower Co
CAKE: Got What It Cakes
ACCESSORIES: Ritzy Rose
JEWELRY: Sacred Cake
HEADPIECE: Gilded Shadows
|Amazing cake by "Got What it Cakes" (click photo for link)|
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
I've done it a thousand times...with each child. Jeremy (in the photo) is my fifth (and last ) child, and tonight I watch him sleep just as I did with my Jonathan, my Rebecca, my Emily, and my Christian.
I brailled the contours of their faces with my eyes, stopping for a moment to ever so lightly trace a little finger or the edge of an ear.
As I watch, my mind overflows with thoughts of what their dreams are like, how much I want to protect them, who they will become...and of course, what they think of me and what moments they choose to remember and cherish long after I am gone from this world.
I can only hope that my super silliness and singing and holding hands and twirling to the Bee Gees, favorite books read before bed from dog-earred pages, soft words of comfort in the stillness of nighttime and heart shaped birthday cakes and rolling down grassy hills...all of those things...I want them to remember always.
Never the impatient sighs, the old cliches, the exasperated tone or the words poorly chosen. Though I know they will.
I can only hope they choose the light and laughter and lots of the silly.
I swear there is no sweeter sound in the world than a child's laughter...except perhaps the sound of their breath as they sleep. So beautifully as angels must; carried in sleep by the hands of God and the tangible tide of a mother's love.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Basic materials you need for this project:
broken jewelry parts (Ebay, Etsy)
old (or new) millinery flowers (Estate sales, Etsy, Thrift Stores)
round, beveled mirror that fits into the center of your plate (I got mine at Michael's)
old plate (check thrift stores, garage sales, estate sales)
E-6000 and/or hot glue gun (Michael's, Walmart, Etsy)
blue painter's tape (hardware store, grocery store)
|close up of assemblage mirror plate embellishment|
|large chipped vintage Wedgwood dinner plate, embellished with flowers and old jewelry|
Use hot glue to adhere the millinery flowers to the plate. Since they are not weighty, they shouldn't come off easily.
Use the E-6000 to adhere the jewelry parts, using the painter's tape to keep pieces from sliding around if necessary. Let cure for 12 hours before hanging with a plate hanger.
Monday, February 17, 2014
Did my waist line ever exist? I think it actually left the building. I am working on weight loss, but it has been a slow process. It has been about lifestyle changes, breaking old cake habits (new cake, old cake, birthday cake, coffee cake, anykinda cake) and trying to work in more exercise. I've lost two dress sizes this past year, but I'm not certain my waist will ever come back no matter how hard I look for it. One thing is certain, the good lord made clothes for us waist challenged ladies. I've taken to low slung jeans, with a wide cuff, a pair of cute comfy shoes and a sweater or a tank and a funky jacket for those hot flash kind of moments....I'm either freezing or boiling and nary the twain shall meet.
I wanted to share with you some easy to wear goodies I've discovered over at my favorite handmade marketplace, ETSY.
Whenever I complete a major milestone, or a big project I've worked hard on, I reward myself with something pretty. Recently, I bought two more beautiful hand dyed vintage slips from a favorite shop called MIREIO on Etsy. Wende is so kind, she keeps an eye out for slips in a larger size and lets me know when she's made them up. Not only are they hand dyed to perfection, she makes an amazingly beautiful flower pin that matches the slip color.
These are perfect for layering, wearing to bed, wearing under a favorite denim jacket...perfect for travel. I wear mine over leggings or jeans with a cute thrifted jacket. (I am ALL about thrifted finds.)
|My Hand Dyed Vintage Slip Collection from Mireio|
|A Slip from Wende's beautiful Travel Pretty Collection|
It was a defining moment for me to finally "gift" myself with such a pretty piece. All the way from Australia...made just for me.
|just for me|
|Photo from Pamela Tang on Etsy|
Sunday, February 09, 2014
Jessica Seivane said this to a friend of mine on Facebook when she needed encouragement today...Thank you Jessica. Though I don't know you at all, you softened my heart today. I truly needed to be reminded of this verse and wanted to share it.
Corinthians 12:9-10 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
That is why, with careful consideration, I chose to get this, my only tattoo awhile ago...done in my mother's handwriting (which is very precious to me), and placed on the inside of my left wrist...as a reminder of God's grace at work in my life.
Wednesday, February 05, 2014
My hair is noticeably thinner and I've just let it grow like long rye grass on top of my head. Sparse and whispy like cotton candy...and it's ok. They say your hair falls out two months after a stressful event...but I can't think of one that would be any more major than others...I think it is just age and genetics. I'm ok with that. I'll either cut it impossibly short and dye it blonde, or just wear a hat. I'm still thinking about my options.
I have "crows feet" around my eyes, wrinkles and lines that get longer by the year...but I celebrate it. I earned my stripes fair and square...from lots of laughter. If laughing so much in my life means I get wrinkles to prove it, then bring 'em on! Laugh lines! The best kind of line in my opinion.
But can we talk for a minute about my chin? My chin has always been an issue with me. I've been painfully aware of it, and have been since high school, though no one ever made mention of it...they only teased me relentlessly about my unusually long legs. Bet those women wish they had my legs NOW. (smiling to myself) Though I'm sure no one else goes home at night and says to their friend or spouse, "Did you SEE the CHIN on her?!" It isn't really that bad, but we know how we magnify, in our own self defeating way, our flaws both real and imagined. You do it too. I know you do. It's part of being human.
I had a dream the other night that my birth father came to see me and we just held each other for the longest time. He asked me what happened and I said to him that I was getting old, and that was the reason I didn't look the same as the last time he saw me. I told him I'd be 45 soon and that years have a way of sneaking up on us.
They have! Suddenly I need glasses! I carry "readers" in my purse for the times when my regular glasses won't do.
But I am embracing the changes. Almost in a curious, science experiment kind of way.
I go most days without any makeup, and once and awhile, I catch a glimpse of myself in the post office window while waiting in line and I think, damn, I look awful! These people probably think I'm really really sick!
I am, and always have been prone to dark circles under my eyes and now with the extreme hair loss and pale crepe-y skin, people must wonder! (and that is ok too)
Though they might wonder, I see wonder. Instead of going into aging kicking and screaming and smearing creams and potions onto my face and neck and fretting about looking older, I marvel at the aging process. I almost laugh at it. What I love most is, the learning process that comes with it, and being o.k. with who I have become.
I would imagine for years how I would look with a suction/lift "chin job"...looking in the mirror with my hands holding my little second chin up to see how I'd look with no "pouch" there...
BUT Today I had a revelation.
My youngest son and I were up here in my little studio and I had on the most amazing, colorful,vintage rhinestone necklace that I just repaired. He noticed that the rhinestones were catching the sun and making rainbows. All around us were colored orbs on the walls and ceiling...moving as I moved, and reflecting upward on my chin.
I asked him to capture a photo of it.
He took this one, and this one~
Saturday, February 01, 2014
The house is quiet, which is rare these days, and I can concentrate a bit to write. Grand babies are asleep, and the big boys downstairs in the "man cave" eating subs and playing games. Around here is a little crazy as of late, since my youngest daughter is temporarily back home with her children. Life is very full with homeschooling our youngest, trying to keep our 18 year old son busy, my husband Ken teaching college, me working away and trying my best to stay well and energized, and our daughter trying to find her way through school and parenting and life.
Life is very VERY full.
Recently, I was asked by an amazing man and very talented stylist, Christopher Fulton, to create some hair jewelry pieces for an upcoming movie he is working on. It was quite a challenge, which I truly love.The movie is set in the late 1980's, so I had to do some period pieces, which was great, (since I was very much there in the 80's and all) and I remember that time very well....(I'm smiling to myself)
One character is a high class woman, for which I made a selection of barrettes, combs, modern pony tail holders, hair bands (made from vintage modern necklaces), and clips~
|80's style hair jewelry|
The second character is a bohemian type artsy woman, quite the opposite of the first character. She has long, flowing hair and needed pieces in a boho-hippie style...hair sticks and simple pieces reflective of her character. For her I made hair sticks out of antique fan parts with authentic Art Nouveau pieces, combs and ties made from real Art Nouveau and Victorian Gothic buckles, and a leather barrette made from a very old tooled belt that I aged and sanded further to make it look as if she'd had it forever~
|bohemian style hair jewelry|
I think that is what I like most about creating the things I do...I get to be a part of something much bigger in the world...people that wear my work carry with them a bit of myself, my thoughts, and my deep love for my work and for humanity, into weddings, huge events, little victories, into work and now into a movie...how truly wonderFULL life can be.
|me, circa 1988 (see? told you I was there!)|
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
I just wanted to share with you some of my favorite things lately. Comfort food for my spirit while the snow piles up outside! I want to begin with Tracey. My latest obsession, the ethereal, heavenly paintings of Tracey Nicholas on Etsy.
Her ethereal abstract landscapes surround me in my second story studio/bedroom...this attic room from which i write has one larger window and little oddly placed windows that make it difficult to see outside, and her paintings make a soft landing spot for my eyes during the hours I spend up here working. The last one I bought so moved me me with the title of it. It is called "All I Know"...a lovely mix of soft pink, white and even a touch of orange...
My studio/bedroom has become a haven for me...a place to dream, have tea with friends...a place to write and create. I am building a lovely nest in soft hues of pink and white and aqua blue. It is a bit untidy at the moment, but what real life is truly as tidy as a perfect photograph? That is what paintings like Tracey's are for...
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
|View from Studio Window This Morning|
Forgiving myself is much harder for me than forgiving others. Letting go is hard...and I wonder why it comes so easy for others. Trust is hard, but I cannot profess that God has a plan and then question it.
I want you to know that you are not alone in your struggle. I am here too. Peeling my own white knuckled fingers off of the edge of certainty. Falling is never easy. But you are not alone in it.
Let's trust. Let's let go together, shall we?
Tuesday, January 07, 2014
|deep navy blue vintage rhinestones, pale sapphire navettes|
and tiny swarovski crystal dangles...Delicate.
|"The Railroad" by Manet|
|vintage jewel collet necklace, rare vintage rhinestones|
|Japanese Footbridge, by Monet|