Saturday, January 29, 2011

The World's Best, Not So Best Kept Secret

Well, I wanted to tell you I'm having a Valentine's Sale in the shop. 15% off of everything in the shop, including vintage items, with coupon code "VALENTINE2011" at checkout.
and I made a new banner and profile square for such an occasion:

What I really wanted to tell you about was this amazing site that I've found that has amazing FREE downloadable vintage and antique graphics!
I used quite a few of her free images for my Etsy banner and icon.
This site is a load of fun if you enjoy playing with graphic design elements. I have an almost degree in graphic design, and though hands-on creating with vintage and antique things is my passion, I still thoroughly enjoy making the occasional banner or add, or card. This website makes it so easy to find things with cataogories and such.
Here are a couple of quickie banners I've made for a couple of my favorite Etsy shops:

(Click on the banners to be taken to the shops!)
I hope everyone has a great Sunday! See you again soon.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Surprise Sale and Vintage Assemblage Jewelry for Little Girls

I'm having a sale in the Etsy Shop...
look for the items marked "SUNDAY SALE" for 15% off lots of things. I'm kinda diggin' pink lately...apparently it is the Pantone Color of the Year as well...a color called Honeysuckle, which is a reddish pink. I like happy colors like pink.
I'm also starting a small jewelry line of lead and nickel free vintage jewelry for little girls. Thinking about doing  "mommie and me" earrings and such. For now I have made up some sweet little vintage earrings and hairpins. (I'm listing them today)
teenie vintage porcelain studs

sweet vintage rose hairpins
Would you mind leaving a comment  telling me what your favorite color is to wear? I'm always curious about what colors you like. Do you like the vintage jewelry for little girls idea? No need to sign in. You can leave an anonymous comment with just your name! No passwords and word verifications and such.

Oh, and I have new boxes...kind of like faux Tiffany blue...it was kind of an accident because I ordered white and ended up with these instead...and I like the color, so I bought some ribbon to compliment it and have lots of these vintage millinery flowers on hand....and Voila!(did I spell that right?)
So, this is my new wrapping these days...I mix it up a little with monograms and such. I love for my sweet customers to feel like they are not just making a purchase, but they are receiving a gift of love...sounds a little corny, I know, but seriously this is what I do.
I create the jewelry and then I place it on my little "altar" above my table for the night before I photograph and list it. I thank God for the gift of being able to create and I ask blessings for my readers and my dear customers and I say a prayer that goes something like, "may those who wear the work of my hands, and read my words feel the love I put into each and every piece."
Thank you, each and every one of you for being here today. For reading my words. For leaving such heartfelt comments. For your prayers for healing. I am so grateful for each and every single one of you. So grateful.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Portrait of Self

I want to remember this day. I want to remember this bedhead in bright red with dark roots and makeupless face and wearing all of my spring clothes in the middle of this Michigan winter. Putting on her amazing springtide earrings, and a favorite necklace given to me by my mama years ago by Mati Rose. I put it on when I most need it. I need it today. Bright colors on one side and on the other it says "There is nothing wrong with you." If I can't hear anyone actually say it to me, I need to wear it close to my heart.
redheadbeadhead
I have painted myself with color today...in the brightest I have. Red shoes, green pants, blue shirt bright green sweater....my kids still make comments even after almost two years of it.  I come from literally years of wearing all black...a throwback from working at Eileen Fisher and living in a Seattle suburb years ago. I guess I thought it was easier and more "chic". It was. I desperately wanted to be chic. But that was then. I'm not worried about "chic" anymore. Now I paint myself in layers of color whenever I can. I don't much care anymore even if it really "matches". It lifts me. It was my 40th year resolution and I've kept it going. Quite possibly the only resolution I've ever kept.
Yes, I want to remember this day. The sounds of my little boy playing in the other room. Patty Griffin station playing on Pandora. Jewelry waiting to be finished on the table.
Hope in my heart.
And the feeling that there is really nothing wrong with me. Sometimes I allow others to make me feel terribly terribly flawed. I'll be 42 soon. I like myself. I heard about this revelation when I was 30. How when you turn 40 things change. They have. I've let go of some stuff...some clutter in my heart. I like the light in my eyes and the new big wrinkle in the corner of my left eye that I discovered the other day. (I don't spend much time in the mirror, so it is always a surprise when I really look!) I do, however have issues with my chin. Still trying to make peace with that......
uh-um but anyway, what do you do when you need to be lifted?
Aside from wearing lots of color, I love a big  cup of double-spice Chai tea and take maybe take in the scent and sight of lemons. (I keep lemon oil on my table and sniff it...sometimes even putting a dab under my nose and inhale deeply) I prefer lemons to fresh flowers (they're cheaper too.) Sometimes I keep one or two on my table to feel and scratch and sniff until they loose their lemony-ness.
and I read this poem called The Journey by Mary Oliver that I want to share with you:

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Je t'adore


Isn't this just lovely?!
Thank you to RewElliott for including my luscious Cobalt blue French perfume bottle. (at the time it is still for sale!)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mamma, the Beach and Edgar Allan Poe

When I was 16, my mother presented me with this book.
I was a young novice poet, writing and brooding about broken hearts and love and wounds and teen angsty things...and I loved the dark words of my (then) favorite poet, Edgar Allen Poe. I learned from a friend that today he'd be 201 years old. My little antique book was published in 1882...I don't think I own anything else that is quite that old, or a possession that I've had quite as long.
My little Poe book has moved with me more times than I care to count. Packed and unpacked. Darkness and light. And always in the first box  I opened in the new place. My Poe book and my children and I have criss-crossed this country from cities and towns in Florida to Seattle,Washington, and then finally landing here in small town Michigan where we live our days celebrating each unique season. Though my three teenagers would disagree, there is something very charming about living here for the past seven years.
In each place I've ever lived, my little old Poe book became a reminder of my mother and from whence I came. It grounded me. It has always been there, resting quietly until I take it down from its place and gently turn the brittle pages and run my fingers over the lines of my favorite Poe poem, Annabel Lee.
I once recited it in High school English class, bringing with me my red "boom box", and on it, a recording of the ocean waves (I crept out that night before the assignment and traveled with a friend to the beach to record them.)  Barefoot and skipping in the shallow waves and twirling in the darkness, I practiced the poem aloud with the ocean mist in my hair and recorded the gentle rushing forth and receding of the waves. Yes, I was quite the romantic then and the world was wide open. Quite the dreamer at heart...and I suppose that hasn't changed much.
There was something about those last lines of Annabel Lee that resonated within me and furthered my love for poetry. For the past 28 years I have written off and on, sometimes going years uninspired to write...but always, my little antique Poe book was there waiting quietly for me. And my mother, never too far from my thoughts.

So, Happy Birthday Edgar...and thank you for your words pressed into the yellowed pages of a little brown book that made everywhere I lived a home, and inspired me to write. And thank you mama, for the very first gift of poetry...and the little old book that holds the memories of my young-ness and my spirit....and always reminds me from whence I came; of you mama, my forever home.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Resolution gone BAD....and maybe it's GOOD?

OK, I didn't write down any resolutions or words for the year yet...I only know this: I told myself I'd be more organized. I wasn't really specific. I made myself a notebook this year to keep track of labels and receipts and such, so I got that much done....and well, that's about it. I clean my work desk at least once a month and it takes A LOT of my time to do. I always feel better afterward....and then two days later it looks worse and worse and worse...........and I am surprised I get anything done. I really do have a great little space  and I am planning to paint the ugly tannish-brown colored walls soon. Anyway, an excersize in humility brings me here to show you where I work. Where I spend serious blissful hours making things for you...infusing them with joy and with love...in an organized chaos. Is there such a thing?
Thanks for being here today and sharing your time with me. I really enjoy sharing my life here. It is very cathartic for me; but also, someday my children can come here and see where their mama came from....
(my apologies for the video quality ahead of time.)
video

Friday, January 14, 2011

Off the Cuff...Well, I guess really it's ON the cuff..but it seemed clever enough...

I'm smitten these days with bracelets. Particularly cuffs. I have a large amount of vintage Art Nouveau stampings,shapes and swirls, little leaves, religious medals, vintage earrings, rhinestones...oh my. I've been collecting vintage and antique "supplies" for a couple of years now. It's time to use more of them. I've found the versatility of the brass cuff...
The Beekeeper's Daughter

Wedding Song
My Baroque Valentine

Oh, and for the rest of January, I am giving away free button or rhinestone or button-rhinestone hairpins with each order.
Thank you for being here.
Blessings and Light,
Jennifer

Sunday, January 09, 2011

An Easy Shabby Pendant Lamp Idea

It has been ages since I've decorated anything. I am slowing down a little this month and focusing on organizing and such. I wanted to share with you an easy project I did today. The supplies involved are fairly simple:

*a thrifted  lamp (mine costs about 6.00)
*cheap lamp shade (old or new) (a little too large or too small is fine)
*bunches of old lace, vintage hankies, silk flowers
or anything that you fancy
*hot glue gun
*ceiling hook
*extension cord

Ok, so to make the pendant lamp just really entails using bunches of fabric (I used lace) to cover the shade enough to make it kinda flouncy. I began by loosely hot gluing some old lace around the bottom. I used the "cool melt" kind of glue so I didn't burn the skin off of my fingers! I just gathered the lace, added a blob of glue and pressed the lace into the glue. It kind of squishes into the lace layers and holds it where you press it down.
I began with a layer draped around the bottom, then added two more layers. No need for perfection. I wanted it to be kind of haphazard and messy.
Once the shade was covered, I added it upside-down on to the inverted vintage glass lamp base and hung it from the ceiling. I covered the cord loosely with a long length of vintage lace and puddled it a little into the open lamp base. The lamp then plugs into an extension cord. The joined ends are perfectly hidden in the fluffs of lace, so it just looks like one continuous cord.. Anchor the lamp cord to the ceiling hook by just looping it back over itself a couple of times and adding a tie. I found a low wattage bulb is best. I put a 60 watt in for this photo and it got a little too hot.

A mishap with the old plaster walls while attempting to tear down some tacky plastic paneling (glued and nailed to the plaster walls!) became a welcome bit of shabby chic-ness that my husband and I both like a lot. We decided to leave the rest of the walls alone and cover them with antique sheet music and book pages. It is still a work in progress...I'll post that project next week.
If you decide to try this lamp project, I'd love to see your creations!
Thank you so much for stopping by my blog today.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Yes, I'm Being Followed by a Moon Shadow

Moon Shadow, unknown date

I dreamed of him again last night. Every now and again he visits and I tell him how much I miss him...how much he meant to me...and I hold him tightly as long as I can before he has to go away from me once more. Even after almost 30 years, the tears well up and spill over my cheeks with the intense missing of him...my step-father, Jerry Roberts. He came to us a funny, gentle and playful angel. He made our mother smile and laugh like we'd never seen her do...he made us all feel safe and loved. He made us feel precious and seen and relevant. We mattered. He loved our mother deeply and he loved us girls like his own.
And then he left us. He didn't want to, but for whatever reason, God took him home. He was killed in a car accident in December of 1983.
We watched the joy leave my mother's face and turn into deep sadness. Our little world, our utopia by the lake, under the boughs of Hickory trees laden with moss...was completely shattered. Only a deep chasm of emptiness and grief remained. My sister and my mother and I were forever changed...forever altered by an unimaginable and unbearable grief.
and Here I sit, almost 42 years old....with the same wounded heart of the 14 year old girl he left behind...
I need to tell you this. It is a part of my story, but it is only a part of the reason why I am writing this now. Sitting here vulnerable. Fighting the tears that blur the computer screen as I type.

He comes to me in dreams every now and again...sometimes picking me up in his truck. Sometimes we talk on the phone. Sometimes we meet at the lake; but this time we met at the track and he let me drive the dragster he named "Moon Shadow". Why, after almost 30 years, did I get to drive it?
I think I know.
He knows how I struggle. I feel his presence around me much more so these days...and I hear the sweet phantom sound of his southern voice. When I worry about not being alive for my children....or when i feel the energy drain from my body and I succumb once again to the blue-plate-special-illness of the month. When I am fearful and a little crabby, I remember his playfulness and his smile and his laughter....how i reveled in his attention and generosity; his dark and kind eyes looking back at me...his gentle voice filling my ears. I adored him beyond reason. He was mine, and our everything. He was a wonderful father to me and my young sister. The only one I ever really knew. He loved us deep and wide.We felt it. We knew.

...and so now, I've gotten to drive the car. I had always yearned to. I would dream of it when we'd go to watch him race at the drag strip....he'd let my sister and I sit in Moon Shadow every now and then just to have the thrill of sitting in it...
I know it sounds silly, but I think the dream, well it was a message from him...and in a way, a message to you and that is why I am spilling open here, wider than ever, to bring you the message.
He knew I needed to finally drive the car. To feel the power as I pressed down the gas and the loudness came and the front end came up off the pavement. I felt empowered. I felt alive and joyful. I knew where I needed to go. I knew what I had to do. I instinctively knew how to drive it and I wasn't alone because he was watching and he was proud.
In the dream I was driving the dragster, yet I could also see myself in it at the same time. He was showing me that I could do it...he was showing me what he saw as I drove.
and what a thrill it was to be driving!

But more so, I think his message was this: no matter how limited our time here on this Earth, love is the only thing that matters. It is the only thing we can truly leave behind.
What we leave behind in the hearts and minds of others is all we have. It is all we can truly give.
He gave me all of the generosity, laughter and love to pass it along. Life is so precious. So mysterious. So filled with beauty and despair and resilience and grace and tragedy. I am learning how to love the questions. I'm learning to love with my best possible love. I understand that I will always be a work in progress. I am learning to be more gentle with myself. I'm learning to find more and more humor in it all. And I've finally gotten to drive Moon Shadow. I know I can leave here any time now, knowing I've planted seeds of laughter and generosity and love. This was his message to me.
He gave that to me.
He gave me that, to give to you.



In Loving Memory of
Jerry Stephen Roberts
November 6th 1949 - December 27th 1983


Monday, January 03, 2011

Garn-Etsy, one of the prettiest treasuries I've ever been a part of...




This is just the most visually striking Etsy Treasury I've ever been included in. Maybe if we all click on it, we'll make it to the front page?
Notice I say "We"? I can't; I don't do this alone. I draw my inspiration from all of you...the beauty and depth of the human spirit...the individual and collective beauty of all you out there reading this now.
I am so grateful for "Cynmb" for including me in this beautiful collection.