Saturday, July 31, 2010

True North

I received this letter today. It was resting upright on my jewelry table when I awoke this morning. Of course the tears came...in this letter he speaks of our favorite song together, Float On by Modest Mouse. And in the top right hand corner his letter says "True North". Something I told him years ago that he never forgot. I talked with him about what it meant and how to know if he was truly heading in the right direction in his life...what made him truly happy...and what his personal True North is. He has overcome so much in his 15 years of life. A rare congenital disorder, learning disabilities, being teased and bullied in school because he is so different. Still, he remains the tender hearted, creative, hopeful child filled with questions and wonder that he has been from the very beginning. My compass. My constant.
This child of mine....this child, holds a constant mirror to my soul. (I am tearful with joy and gratitude as I write this.) Such joy I find in my children...I know how fortunate I am. I know....
He says to me in his sweet letter, written in his best hand, that my father would be proud of me. That Jerry would be proud and that I am stronger than most and that he is proud of me....and to remind me, that no matter what, no matter how heavy things get, we will all float on alright.....my dear child, this I know. We will float on.....and on. Alright.

Friday, July 30, 2010

For Free Friday: An Exquisite Bird Illustration (my favorite) from an 1876 Almanac

Another favorite of mine is birds...this is a particularly stunning engraving from an 1876 Almanac. I have included the cover. Though it is quite damaged, it is a nice example of the typography of the time. It is hard for me to believe that I actually own something made of such delicate paper, that is 134 years old. I found this, and most of my antique paper collection in a dumpster several years ago. I was stunned to see that a family, cleaning out a home after an estate sale, threw volumes of old family photographs, paper antiquities such as this, and other antique items away. To them, these things had no value. To me, they are priceless.

Keep your eyes out for the next giveaway. It will be fun! (I am almost finished with the cabinet card and ephemera packages and I'll be mailing those out tomorrow. August 1st.)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Assemblage Necklace Display Project Idea (easy and fun!)

I thought I'd share a little project with you today. It is a necklace holder/display created with vintage glass knobs and a hunk of antique door frame. I really love it...
It is a very simple project!

Materials:
1 Hunk of old wood
Several vintage glass knobs
Wood screws that fit the size of the knob and long enough to screw at least 1/2" into the wood
Picture hanging hardware (or two screws and some wire) 
Screwdriver

Directions:
Decide how you want your necklaces to hang on the hunk of old wood. Screw the knobs on, taking care not to screw down the screws too tight and crack the glass. Nail on the hanging hardware. Hang on wall. Display your favorite necklaces.
This project could have hundreds of creative variations!

Assemblage Necklace Display

Necklaces from some of my favorite Etsians

Playing with Light, Dreaming of Autumn and Christmas in July

Provincial Earrings

Egyptian Alabaster and Turquoise Earrings
I was gone all day today, and in my rush to get some creations posted, I caught the last bit of evening light right here are the desk. No tripod. No fancy background. Just the window, a piece of printer paper and the light. I thought these photographs came out fairly well for such a quickie operation.

There is still time to catch my Christmas in July sale! Everything in the shop has been marked down, with an additional 10% off of necklaces and bracelets.

These days, I've been thinking quite a bit about Autumn. Maybe because of the oppressive heat wave we've been having? I'll be posting some more summer colors very soon, along with some very rich fall pieces using beautiful polished tiger's eye, tumbled garnets, golds and plum.
More soon!
P.S. Still a few envelopes left for the ephemera and cabinet card giveaway!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Gratitude on "One of Those Days"

Today is one of those days. One that I need to focus more intently on what I refer to as my "Mental Gratitude List". I have days like this. I do. Days when I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. OK, a lot overwhelmed. A little of feeling sorry for myself mixed with feeling like I'm not doing enough. Not being enough. Not a good enough parent, mother, sister, writer, maker, wife, friend....insert various roles. Feeling undeserving of the incredible and lovely words I read from those who take the time to write and to comment. Days where the sweetness doesn't come easily and I have to keep readjusting my focus. Bringing back my awareness to the now.
I have become acutely aware of the preciousness of time. Maybe because it seems to evade me somehow. Like sand through my fingers. It always seems to me that there is not enough of it. (Though there is always enough sand.) There are days that I am angry at my body because I hurt, or am exhausted for no apparent reason and I don't want to sleep. I feel that if I sleep, I'm giving up. I'm missing out. I'm not enough. And I feel like my body has betrayed me.
But I didn't come here to whine or elicit sympathy. I really didn't. I came to share with you some of the things that are on my mind; but most of all, some things that are on "the list" today.
Waking up in the middle of the night with Alice, one of our kittens, curled up next to me. Here she is, asleep in the sun.

The remnants of sunsets that I can see from the back steps of our home. Black outlines of the trees against the open sky. Sometimes the entire sky is pink...and on a moonless night, laying in the back yard beneath the sky with the children and laughing under the stars.

The scent of a freshly cut lemon.

The sound of my children laughing.

and always, him.......
                                             
What's on your list today?                   

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Free Friday (on Saturday Night), and a little Giveaway fun!

I have quite a large collection of antique cabinet cards... These are a few of my favorites. I'd like to send random cabinet cards to the FIRST TEN people who respond to my Free Friday (on Saturday night) post and ask for them! I'll send one to each person, along with some other vintage goodies. Just for fun! You can email me your address at sacred_cake@yahoo.com...and I promise I won't show up at your door, nor add you to any junk mail lists. Pinky Promise.
I got this Giveaway idea from one of my favorite Assemblage Jewelry Designers, "Fanci" at FanicfulDevices on Etsy. When you get a chance, click the above link, stop by her shop and tell her SacredCake sent you!




Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Crystal Springs and Dreams of the Sea, assemblage necklaces and Stories of Water and Wonder

When I was a girl, I went to Crystal Springs, Florida with my family...and rode in a glass bottomed boat. I will never forget seeing the fish swimming under the boat as we cruised along....the water, was so clear that you could see the bottom from where you sat in the boat...we gathered around a window to the springs....a window to the summer of my youth. I remember being a little scared, but feeling the comfort of family enough to bravely drape my little sun-kissed hand over the side of the boat and let my fingers trail in the coolness of the spring water....Yes, this necklace is about coolness and clarity, and summer and family, and the beauty and silent wonder of water.
You can see more of it here.

Then, there are Dreams of the Sea... several years ago when I could still feel the gentle rush of the ocean over my toes, and the crush of tiny shells beneath my feet; I fed the seagulls on the Jacksonville shore with my mother. It is my absolute fondest memory to date...our hearty laughter mixed into with the whipping ocean winds and the cries of a huge flock of gulls overhead. They were so close we could look into their eyes, and they were riding on the wind...somehow they remained stationary above us, and all vying for the perfect spot to catch the next morsel. Some were brave enough to eat right from our outstretched hands. I remember the feel of a rough beak grasping the tips my fingers for a moist crust of bread, and the boisterous laughter and  the wonder in my mother's bright eyes when she looked at me... In that moment, it was only she and I and the ocean and everything else between us dropped away; lost to time... lost to the sea.
You can see more of this necklace here.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Every Little Thing Gonna Be Alright

Last night I broke down just a little...just a little. At my jewelry table in the darkness (surrounded by the circle of light from my old desk lamp), after reading an email from one of my most precious patrons. There was a feeling of profound gratitude for her words mixed with a deeper sadness. Kind of feeling sorry for myself mixed with the sweetness of life and the knowing of how fragile it is. How transient we all are.
...focusing on others tends to keep that ghost away. The ghost of sorrow and worry and the confusion of the questions and the why me?
I have thought about sharing what I am going to share with you this morning, and whether I should. I have told one of my special customers, my dear LoveLady about it, and a few friends and family. Maybe I fear that it will be minimized and brushed aside again, as it has by some so close to me.

But this is real and this is my truth. I suffer daily from quite a bit of physical pain due to arthritis in my spine, and a very rare disease I was recently diagnosed with, called Fabry's Disease. It causes severe nerve damage and severe pain among many other disturbing things....it shortens life. It makes life a little harder. And then a lot harder later on.  A little sweeter too...in a strange way, and I'm scared. That's it. I'm scared.

Over the past two years, I have gradually lost the feeling in my feet almost completely now. Nerve damage is a strange thing...I can no longer feel the dewy morning grass or warm beach sand beneath my feet, but I can feel the pain of my nerves that rage at me incessantly because of their lack of feeling....and now the dullness is creeping up my shins....and I am now loosing feeling in the tips of my fingers. That's where it starts. I knew it would come, I just didn't know how soon. I've been dropping things...
And so it begins; the loss of my hands. And I feel helpless.

I have accepted the loss of my feet. I had hope that a rare treatment option, a monthly two week infusion, would bring them back, though I know that once a nerve is severely damaged it is gone forever.
But now, my hands are leaving me. My tools of bliss. My joy. My life is here....in these weathered gems with which I speak.
There is a treatment available, yes. There is. But not just yet. It doesn't always work. Sometimes the treatment is worse than the illness. And I think the letter I received from the company the other day took some of my hope with it as I filed it away...it basically said, that treatment (the infusions) will be delayed indefinitely. No new patients. My heart sank.
This translates into more pain and more damage to my body ...but the worst part. The worst possible part, is that this disease has a hold of one of my children. Her treatment has also been delayed. Fabry's has been given a beautiful pale-skinned canvas...to paint what it will...to muddy the colors of her perfectly painted insides....to ravage her spirit.

Last night, as I sat creating under my little circle of light in the 2 a.m. darkness, I began singing this song to her as she slept near me. And I woke up with it in my head and thought I'd share it. I am thinking of us. E. and you out there and me here, and how we are all here together. Each of us with a story to tell. Each one of us, touched by pain of some kind. Each one of us so fragile. So human. So needy.

Each day, I search for God. And each day I find God; even in my sorrow and in the questions.
This morning, I found God in my childs breath rising softly from the early morning. This morning God was in my prayer for healing for me, for my talented and quirky E. and for all of us. This morning is a gift, and somehow this illness has become a gift. Life has more intensity. More purpose. More urgency. More beauty. More intricacy.
God was the sunrise and the song and the gift of another day.
This morning, God was Bob Marley with a sideways sunrise... and a laugh when after much trial and error, alas, I couldn't figure out how to fix it upright.
video

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Studio Views

...well, it really is more of a laundry room turned place to house my burgeoning collection of old things. I can't sit in there yet, but I am working on that part. Other things are still stashed all over the house and then there is a corner of my own where I can sit and create jewelry, my true passion, late into the night. I am truly a fortunate girl. In one of my all time favorite books, Simple Abundance, I remember Sarah talks often of how order in your environment creates a sense of peace. I agree. I feel so  much more at ease now that my collections are where I can easily see them and enjoy the possibilities for future compilations. Assemblages are second to jewelry making these days, but I feel their pull each day...the objects call to me to wed them, one to the other to the other. Rusty old skates and bed springs, big Ben clocks that beg for paper wings, radio tubes, old frames, hairpins and as I discussed in my prior post, massive amounts of all types of vintage and antique papers all clamoring for my affections and the squeeze of my hands. Soon my pretties......soon.




         ( a favorite drawer)

Friday, July 16, 2010

For Free Friday today...Antique Postcards from Varese, Italy (and a tiny...confession)

Such architecture and finery...
I found these as I was cleaning my little studio yesterday...there is a whole set, joined together by twill and they fold over one another, but I won't bore you with the whole set...have I told you of my secret? Well, I imagine if I am telling you, it won't be a secret any longer, but here it is:
I have a "thing" for old paper.
I have an extensive collection of antiquated and vintage paper things. Not just the usual postcards and photographs, but hunks and bits and pieces of old stained cardboard from the backs of picture frames, book covers, stamps, catalogs, life magazines, stacks and stacks of old books, sheet music, old letters, vintage typed documents, ledgers, journals, newspapers, doilies, antique negatives...even vintage pastry crust liner and shelf paper and bits and rolls of very old wallpaper.....until now, only close friends and my children knew of my secret. It feels good to share it here. I have enough old paper for years and years of "Free Friday" downloadable stuff....won't you stay awhile?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

WINNER of the Giveaway!

Susan, you won the little oil can assemblage featured in the current issue of Somerset Life...would you contact me so I can send it to you?
How I chose the winner:
I wrote each of your names on a little piece of paper, folded it, placed them in a favorite bowl....swished your names around, while I said a small prayer....my hopes for you, my gratitude for your presence and for each of you to proceed with your dreams as if you couldn't fail. My hope is that I helped shine a little light on your dreams to keep them alive. That was the reason I asked for your comment.
So please proceed.....as if......you could not....fail.
This life,
this one life,
is all we get.
Live inside your dreams. Even if it is just a tiny step at a time.
Make a plan. Dream BIG.
Why not?
What is the worst that could happen?
You won't know, until you try.
So try.
Find someone who is supportive. Someone you can tell your ideas and dreams to....If you feel you don't have anyone, then write to me. I will hear you. I will support you.
Don't feel silly.
You matter.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Talisman of the Sea, a vintage assemblage necklace

Talisman of the Sea;
amid the reports of bomb vests
and shootings
and those who are lost,
you are here
to remind me of the sound
of the sea shore--
the earth
breathing life;
throwing itself at our feet
over and over and over
again.
Love me.
Love me.
Love me.
Love me....

This vintage assemblage necklace is for sale in my shop right here.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Tears for the Bookbinder's Son, an antique assemblage


It has been quite some time since I've created an assemblage. I have been focusing my energies on creating "functional" artwork and jewelry. I think this is actually the first though, that I have had a specific feeling behind the creating of it...I guess maybe more an emotion...or quite simply; grief.
This piece is about my father, as a way of expressing some of the emotions I've experienced since his death. Looking through old journal pages the other day, I came across pages from a time many years ago, in which I struggled with debilitating depression. I often had days in which I simply needed to list "what was good"...as if seeing it in writing made it somehow more real. It helped to keep more focused on what was important and what was, in fact good. Going over my list, I came upon an entry that stole my breath and made me choke on the sobs that wanted to escape from my throat. Just one line in my short list that day, of what was good:
"Hearing my father's laughter."
I have good days that string together one to another to another, when I think the worst of it is over....and then there are those days when my heart feels as if a heavy stone is tied tightly to it and the tears leak from behind my eyes no matter how I try to stay out of the shadows of grief and focus on the light.





p.s.(I took these shots without a tripod, by the way, thus creating the not so crisp pictures...I have since ordered a little tripod.)

Friday, July 09, 2010

In Memory of Bees, a vintage assemblage necklace


It was the summer of '04 I remember. We were on one of our grand adventures when we found them...row after row of beat up bee hives...down a winding dirt road we found by happenstance, wasn't it? I got so close I could hear the deep buzzing and I could see the comings and the goings of the bees. They were all around me.

You shouldn't get so close, you said.
And I said, I want to get closer...I want to just crawl inside the big white box with them and touch their soft bellies and the feel tiny wing-beat breeze on my skin.
I said I'd never been stung in all the years I'd known them.
And you said, but you are making me nervous. You need to come back to the car now.
And the bees must have felt it because at that moment I got stung right on the left nostril.

I was so worried for you; you said. I thought you were so foolish getting so close to those bees. They could have killed you, you know.
And I said, sometimes you have to take a chance like that to be a part of something so beautiful. And now I have the memory of all those glorious bees, I said....all of those bees.
 ( This necklace is for sale in my Etsy shop here.)

For Free Friday...I have Babies on the Brain

My sister, Kelly Rae is due soon with her first child. My nephew....I'm going to be an Aunt. I cannot even express in words how much it means to me. I cannot wait to see his little face for the first time. But until then, these will have to do.
These portraits span generations, and come from my very large collection of all kinds of photographs. Cabinet cards are my favorite, followed very closely by vintage photo booth photos. Most of these were found discarded in a dumpster 3 summers ago...I was so perplexed. Why would anyone throw out such loveliness? Such history? Such sweet faces.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

An Early Morning Rain

Today there was an early morning rain. My little son came running in to me excitedly to let me know...he had gotten up before me and raided the freezer for some Ben and Jerry's Cinnamon Bun ice cream for breakfast. (he knows better, but I was asleep so it was fair game)
When I asked him if he'd like to go out in it, his eyes lit up and we proceeded to go through my beconning and messy studio to the back door and he excitedly ran out into the heavy downpour. Dancing and laughing and playing like a five year old would. Then he asked me to join him....at first I said no because I was still in my pajamas. But then I remembered, this life is the only one I have. As I remembered from Simple Abundance, this is no dress rehearsal. This is it. This one life. And  so I ran out into the warm summer rain in my black faux satin Walmart special p.j.'s and I stood there under the sky and I felt so connected to the earth and to God at the same time as the rain pelted my body. In that moment, I remembered again, that this joy....this kind of high, can be attained every. single. day. It is all about living in the moment. It is all about mindfulness. It is all about realizing what really matters in this life; and it isn't about what the neighbors will think of me out in the rain in my pajamas. We all know what it is, but if you are anything like me, you get lost sometimes....and you need a good rain to wash away the dust of day to day living; the film of weariness that sometimes covers us...we get jaded and we loose hope. But know this; you are not alone in this world.
I need to hear that every now and then. I just need to hear it, I need to read it I need to feel it I need to breathe it.
Today, I felt it in the rain. I felt the splendor that this world can hold in a single raindrop. The wonder of life and the joy that comes with just being.
If I could bottle it somehow and give it away....that kind of simple joy that I felt today...well, this is as close as I can get...this blog is a message in a bottle, of sorts.
My message to you (and to myself) would be simple. My message would be:


Wednesday, July 07, 2010

The Sacred from the Ordinary

I made this treasury today, my second one. My first Treasury West, I think...but I think it is lovely...probably because it is packed with some of my most favorite sellers! Click here for a clickable version.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Morning Light Views, (and being published again)

I like morning light best...it so soothes my spirit. And the abundance of Queen Anne's lace I have waited for months for has finally returned and I'm so grateful for its lacy presence all around (and now, in)our home.This year, my son Christian planted vast quantities of Cilantro, and I am amazed at how lacy and lovely it is when it blossoms. It mixes delicately and perfectly with the other lowers.( The mirror piece above is something I created from shabby antique plates and an old mirror.)
                                                         (morning view in the kitchen)

                                           (morning view in one of the bedroom windows)


Well, today we traveled to Barnes and Noble to purchase  the latest issue of Somerset Life. It is a pretty huge accomplishment and blessing (thank you so much for the opportunity Christen!) for me to be published again after so long...and in such an incredible Magazine!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

The 4th of July

I think of this little girl every fourth since I found her picture almost 6 years ago. This, aside from family photographs of course, is my most prized and adored photograph. I have made up a thousand stories in my mind about her and a thousand questions....where was she?what was her little name?who decorated the buggy?did she tie her own boots? Did she have a good life? Somehow, does she know what she means to me?Though I know she has most likely left this world already....somehow does she know that I send love to her every time I see her face?
I'd like to think so. It gives me peace to think so.
I don't think I could manage this life if I lived it believing there was nothing more after this world...that this was all there is...that there was nothing divine about our humanness...

Somehow this has me thinking about my father and how I hear his voice speak to me often since I learned of his death. In the small and quiet places when I can talk to him out loud, he answers me. Is he really speaking to me, or is it just a way to cope with his loss? to cope with the profound loss of the hope for reparation that came with his passing from me? Does it really matter?
My thought is, that as long as love and gratitude and wonder take the place of hate and despair and hopelessness, then the world is better....humanity is better....and healing takes place. And that is what works. It is those things that make a difference. It has nothing to do with religious rites or "moralists" or the people out there trying so adamantly to prove that no God exists. I think it is about loving the questions and regarding the mystery with wonder.
This little girl, the one in this photograph, does she know how she's changed the world? By posing for a photograph on a hot July day so long ago. Simply standing there in her boots and in her innocence...she has changed the whole world. And she knows it because I tell her, and she hears me...and because I am here to tell her story with love and gratitude and wonder.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Pretty Treasury includes my Pretty in Pink Piece

S and O Productions has included my work in their Elite Eight Tuesday blog post about curated treasuries on Etsy. My pink mirror piece made it into a lovely lovely treasury by Talula, a very very talented Etsian! This was made back in May, and I forgot about it until I was going through my drafts....but I love this soft treasury so much. You can see more of the included mirror piece here.

Friday, July 02, 2010

A Map of the Sea, a vintage assemblage necklace

This is a new style for me, but it has been in my mind for a long time....the desire to create necklaces from colorful polished chunks of the earth (this necklace, exquisite Peruvian opals) and vintage glass...now finally out of my mind and into a Map of the Sea...this necklace reminds me so much of the colors in my favorite vintage maps. Believe it or not, it is the ocean part of the maps that appeals to me the most...and the beautiful Gulf Coast, Indian ocean and Pacific Ocean call to me...beckoning me to the mast of a little blue sailing ship with the wind in my hair and the smell of the fresh ocean water on my skin...sprays from the wake of the bow misting my ankles...yes, this evokes such things.....
..and while I am out on the sea, the leaf reminds me that home is waiting, when you are ready to return.
This necklace is for sale in my Etsy shop here.