Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What Would You do if You Knew You Couldn't Fail? (leave a comment for my GIVEAWAY!)

Today I am celebrating the official release of the summer issue of Somerset Life, and the article I wrote to be included with my artwork...

It had been awhile since I've written for publication, and I was hesitant about the work I had to offer, but I decided to take a chance. These words came to mind, "What would you do if you knew you wouldn't fail?" and so I asked the editor, dear Christen, if she would be interested..and she said YES! I never thought my humble decorated vintage oil can photograph displays would ever make it "out there", and I am so grateful to her for giving me the opportunity to be published.
I have always loved the idea of functional art. The oil can idea came to me last year as I was thinking of Christmas presents to give to my sister Kelly Rae and her husband and the old oil cans I had on the shelves in my studio came to mind. I was so excited about my new idea that I had to pull my car over to record it into my phone and make a little sketch...

I've been busy making more Sentinels and Oil Can Photograph holders for my shop, Sacred Cake, but I've only one set posted so far. You can see them here. Look for more coming very very soon!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I try not to be a self absorbed blogger...but my attempt to connect; to relate with you, the reader, also helps me to connect with myself...and something about "putting it out there" in space and time seems to make it more real. How much better it is to go to a play or a show with someone else, so you can turn to them and say, "Wasn't that amazing?" "Aren't you glad we came?"
I guess that is what I need. To feel that connection with humanity, to satiate the hunger that I have for goodness....for the knowledge that there is inherent good in a world filled with the constant bombardment of sex and rage and the push to be more than all you can possibly be.
Here I am. And this song of myself, is also a celebration of you.
I celebrate my eyes and for all they have seen.
They have seen births and deaths;
tears wiped away in frustration and anger,
in sadness and with immense joy...
because they see you.

I celebrate my ears,
because I hear you.
My aging earlobes pulled south now, ever so
slightly, by earrings created with my wrinkled hands...
hands that have felt the smoothness of a child's skin
and felt the emptiness and the wonder of death.
Hands that have joined in prayer for you,
not ever knowing if you feel it.
But still, I pray.

and I celebrate my mouth and the song
that wafts from my throat
though you may never hear it,
I sing for you, and for the missing
of those I can no longer see
ever again or maybe just for a time.
I am grateful for the voice and the song that appears
from the corners of the creases and the scars
and the age of my lips.

and I could go on, and on
but I am so tired today.
The essence is this

I'm so glad you're here.
I'm so glad that I'm here, so that I
can see you.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Yesterday, during an incredible thunderstorm, I was thinking about one of my favorite poems. Maybe because of the references to water...
My husband and I often read aloud to one another on long trips or sometimes before we drift off to sleep. Yesterday, I opened the curtains and we lay in bed together to watch the play of the wind in the trees and listen to the thunder. He listened attentively as I read aloud the many pages of  The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock...

"There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea."

                    My Husband and fellow poet, Ken.

And, with gentle humor, during the rare moments that I look closely at my aging face in the mirror, I have been known to quote Eliot's words:

"I grow old ... I grow old ...
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?

I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."

and then, the end; is my most favorite part:

"I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown."

Make yourself a cup of might like to read the whole thing here.
Do you have a favorite poem? I'd love to know what it is....

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Suprised to be There...and so grateful to be seen.

My work was featured in this amazing treasury today, curated by LUCIUSjewelry. I am always amazed at the selflessness that goes into making treasuries of work by other folks, and not one with your own work in it...and Christy at LUCIUSjewelry needs to be noticed for her incredibly beautiful creations. I have already found favorites.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Many Beautiful Things

I've been meaning to tell you all about Stephanie Lee for months. The incredible metal and plaster book she gifted me sits quietly on my dresser..well, more like an alter of sorts I guess, in my bedroom on a stack of my collection of jewelry boxes I spoke of many months ago. I pass by it each day and I remember her words to me, the only ones I remember by heart, "Now that the sweetness of your jewelry is in the world..." and I think to myself, who could give such a gift....a gift created with so many hours of work and given so freely. I cried when I opened it, I remember....

because I knew about the hours, the smell of the solder, the hand stitching, the carefully smoothed plaster pages...I knew of the self that goes into an artists work, and each time I pass it by, I smile to myself in disbelief that it is actually mine.
So many times, I've caressed it and admired it and brailled my fingers over the smooth cool plaster....thinking to myself, whatever goes into this book has to be, must be as amazing as the treasure beautiful as the one who created it...
...and It  finally happened...only yesterday; and want to keep this tiny memory for the rest of my days, and retrieve it when I begin to wonder if I've really made a difference in this I do I think maybe we all do.
We have five children. Our oldest girl, now 19, is on her way to her own life. She still lives at home, working and going to college and saving little by little. She is becoming her own woman now, yet I see the little girl in her emerge now and again. The little girl who sleeps with kittens...
and brings me feathers....yes, she knows of my adoration of feathers and birds and natural things and somehow she carries that inside her everywhere...a seed that I planted so long ago, when I would take her for strolls and present her with gifts of colored leaves and feathers and dandelions to blow and make wishes on. Before her memories began.
Yesterday, she brought me the tiniest, most perfect feather. Not just any feather, but one she found and carefully carried all the way home from her walk from work...and presented to me as if she knew how much it would mean; like she knew she was giving me everything she had, as she smiled to herself with the light of wonder in her eyes.

A first tiny entry into "Many Beautiful Things". Not a favorite poem or a love letter or a concert ticket or a pressed blossom or leaf, but an ordinary yet extraordinary feather and the memory of that smile and a mindfulness; a single profound thoughtfulness from one so understandably caught up in the swirls of her 19th year.
Later, I will write a line or two on light paper and "marry" it to the beautiful plaster page, as Stephanie so eloquently says to do. and I shall find a tiny vellum envelope for my tiny grey gift of love that will reside within a gift of such love.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Antique Rabbits for You Today

This plate came from a book from is by far one of my favorites, now here for you to enjoy for your projects.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Birthday, my Sister, my Friend

There are better photographs of her and me, but this one, with its less than perfect color and all of its faults, is by far my favorite. Maybe because it is at a time when my memories of her really began to take root....I don't ever remember my mother being pregnant, but I do clearly remember the first time I saw her there in her Jenny Lind cradle in her pretty pale green room...and every year I tell her the same stories and every year she kindly listens to me go on about her pale green room and of slinging around her sock monkey by its tail and how I loved to hear her baby laughter as I did. She listens to the same stories as I tell her of how I loved to finish her baby food deserts and the sound of the tiny bubbles in her plastic bottle at night as she drifted off to sleep next to me...but this year, it seems so different, so much more intense; so much more special...because this year, she'll have a little one of her own. My baby sister, my only sibling, is having a baby now. A little nephew, who I'm sure will look much like the cheeky little face above, and who I know will completely steal my heart at first sight...he really already has.
Kelly Rae, I am in complete awe of you. I have so loved watching you become the incredibly talented (in so many ways!) and soulful and spirited woman you are. You bring such joy and such clarity to me and for that I am so deeply appreciative. You have been one of my greatest teachers and a healer when no one elses voice could calm my tearful ranting. You have brought me back to me so many times, and inspired me to dream bigger than I ever imagined. For all of my selfish, selfish reasons; I am so grateful you were born on this June day in 1975. I hold your memories inside of me like sacred points of light. Know that you live in my mind and in my heart  each and every single day. My sister, you make life so faceted and so lovely. Thank you for your grace.
Happy, Happy Birthday my sister, my friend!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Free Friday (a little late) Antique Prayer Cards from my collection

 Though I am not catholic, I collect antique prayer cards. I am just smitten with iconography and religious symbolism and churches and cathedrals, stained glass and statues... and each delicate or gaudy gold nimbus and the soft stares from Mary and from Saints and the Christ child. These are all at least 100 years old. Lovingly preserved in ancient bibles; pressed into desperate hands. Prayed on fervently; gazed upon with hope and adoration...just a few of the reasons I love them so.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Trespassing, Chaos and the Weeping Willow

Today I said something that I thought I'd never hear myself say. "Life is too short not to trespass." But the temptation was just too much on this hot day...and the 100 year old (or older?) Weeping Willow was beckoning us ever so gently to visit and stay awhile in its glorious breezy shade. We had just gone through the drive through at McDonald's for cold drinks and we were on our way to our favorite antique mall when we spied the enormous tree in a vacant lot next door.
I drove our minivan right through the mowed lot and right up next to the close that the breeze blew the tips of its wispy arms right into my window.
It was quiet except for the low hum of traffic on the freeway and the soft rustle of the leaves as the branches swayed in the breath of the sky. The air was so wondrously cool there in the comfort of it...I felt as if it was whispering to me about simply being in that moment...and that life would slow down a little if I took the time to let it, instead of trying to fit work into each and every spare moment I am given.
I've been utterly and completely overwhelmed lately... the challenge of parenting our three teenagers in their varying stages of teenhood, and being  mommy to our 5 year old too...coping (or attempting to cope) with the unrelenting pain of neuropathy and arthritis in my spine,  running my online business and trying find more ways that I can "get myself out there" so that I can be a better provider, writing and creating for publications and businesses, and trying not to loose myself (and my mind) in the process. None of this is really new, but I think I am just feeling more fragile these days.
Today, time stood still for a little while, and I wasn't thinking of any of the things I just spoke was just us and the Willow and the breeze. My husband, our little guy, me, and that ancient tree whispering to me about time and how much it has already seen and how if I would just take a moment to be....just be, that time would slow down a little so that I could catch my breath.
I happened to have my camera today. I wanted to share a little of that moment under the Willow with you...and I'd like to thank you for being here, in this moment. I feel so blessed that you are out there in the world and spending this time to read what I have to say.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

A Snapshot of Morning and a Question for You

     This morning, the light was filtering through the sheer curtains and the gauzy white Victorian dumpster-rescued dresses hanging in the bedroom windows, and I turned to find my little son staring back at me from the folds of his favorite blanket. We lay together in a sea of crisp white sheets and squishy feather pillows trimmed with antique lace. I wanted time to stay still. I wanted to always remember that moment....
     I feel so fortunate today to live in the midst of things that I love, things that speak to me in a positive way...things that tell the story of the years they were abandoned, unused and forgotten and then found again to be celebrated and cherished. I have been a firm believer in celebrating and elevating the ordinary for many years now. My journey began in 1995 when a dear friend gave me a copy of Simple Abundance, by Sarah BanBreathnach. It was a  book that deeply changed my life. It rescued me from despair about my living circumstances, and as I worked my way through her book that year, I was profoundly changed.
      My most cherished things have been rescued from dumpsters or found for a "song" at tag sale.
I'd love to hear about a belonging treasure and the story behind it. Did you find it in a dumpster? In the deep recesses of an old antique shop? On the side of the road perhaps? What story does it tell?

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Like Momma's 70's Sewing Box

I can't really remember
if it was a sewing box
or just a box
but I was only 8
and that was a long time ago,
but I recalled it, when
cleaning these old beads.
it was brown and seventies swirled
and like a tortoise shell
or so I remember.
The handles crossed one another
over the top
when the lid was closed,
like an ungrateful child who didn’t get her way.
I recall loving the transparency of it
and the roundness of it
because, even when it was closed,
it allowed me to see what was inside,
kind of like momma, you know?
I could see even then,
through the responsible exterior,
a transparent softness and clarity and strength;
and the way she swayed
to the crackled songs on the
record player as she
sipped her hot tea;
I knew even then
that I wanted to be
very much like her
and her seventies swirls.