Wednesday, September 29, 2010

i thank you God for most this amazing, a favorite by e. e. cummings

I created this from a scan of a favorite book cover of mine, and thought I'd add an equally favorite poem. I've been an e. e. cummings "fan" since high school. His work never gets old for me. It was he who first taught me that poetry did not have to rhyme or have perfect punctuation or be even, to be poetry. Reading this again; hearing this again; reminds me to remember to be lifted from the no into the beauty of the day we are given. What is your simple joy today? Share it with us in a comment, won't you?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Plain Brown Wrapper

I only have the picture in my mind. I didn't know I'd have this encounter....
The other day my husband and I went to the cemetery for a visit, which was bordering a pasture......we saw the horses from the highway.
I noticed the large and simple brown horse in the pasture next to where I was standing and walked over to get a closer look...what happened next was so magical, I don't think I'll forget it. Not for a long time.
He saw me and began to gallop, not trot or walk, but gallop toward me. I used to care for horses years ago near Seattle, and I could feel the velvet of his ears and the smell of his neck before he ever got to where I was. When he got to me at the edge of the forest brush and barbwire fence, he stood there within arms reach, flicking his haunches to ward off the pesky flies; like he was waiting for something...I reached over the spiked fence to touch the softness of his neck with my finger tips. I spoke to him of his majesty and beauty and thanked him for coming to me; and we stood there together for the longest time. He was so plain, just brown and nothing else, yet so incredibly beautiful. Brown was all he needed.

I see that in so many people...the beauty in the plainness. I see it a lot here in this very unglamorous small town. Makeup-less faces and pony tails and tanned faces worn by hardness and years under the sun. Weathered hands roughened by farming and fixing things...there is beauty there in the plainness. the roughness. the weathered lines....The plain brown wrapper of life. This beautiful, beautiful, unpredictable life....

Thursday, September 23, 2010



I am so honored and amazed (still) that Mia would take the time to write about me and my creations...selecting photographs and words the way only she can.
Mia has a way with words and photographs that steal my breath. Her latest Monday Musings about her mother's Vietnamese garden left me wide eyed with wonder...
More soon!
Love and Light to you all,

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Letter to my Father

Dear Dad,

I put your picture away today. I had it put away while mom was here out of courtesy, but after she left and I put it out again it just wasn't the same.
After watching her sleep and hearing her soft breath next to me...after watching her delightfully play with the kittens and with Jeremy and make chicken parm and cake stands from candle sticks and old plates;
I realized that she is all I ever needed. I'm relieved that you weren't there to help raise me. She has been my mother and my father almost all of my life. A big job for such a small woman, and I've been an "interesting" child to say the least...she did everything she was capable of doing. Loving me the way she loves.
I have spoken to you more since your death than I have my entire life. Sometimes I think one sided conversations with imaginary answers are best. You apologized and told me how sorry you were that things ended up the way they did. You said you were grateful that my mother was my constant, the one I could always look to. You said you knew it was probably best that you weren't involved in my life after all. And I'm alright with that now. The tears don't come any more. Not for you, but for the missing of her.
I'm letting you go today, though I'm certain this won't be my last letter.
I just wanted to let you know.


Monday, September 20, 2010

I love the name of this curated spot on!

Handmade Gifts
I have made the move to Artfire to save my customers some money and so I can have a nicer online shop. I want to be able to offer my work at more reasonable pricing! I'm pretty excited about the move. Artfire offers much more custom options, too numerous to name...also, when I am done "fluffing" it, it will look better than my current website! Stay tuned for a special coupon next week when it's all finished for all of my sweet readers!
I'll be back soon.
Thank you for being here...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Song in my Heart

Today I drew a name for the special celebratory earring giveaway...I took the time to write each person's name on tags that I made from antique sheet music. It seemed appropriate. Those of you who visit my blog are such a song in my heart...your words about Autumn were such a gift to me! Thank you for taking the time to leave your most favorite memories. I so enjoyed each and every one of them and I'll be sharing some of them in tomorrow's post, as well as one or two of my own, but today, here is the winner of the giveaway:
There is something about physically writing...almost like leaving a tiny part of yourself on paper for others to experience. As I wrote each of your names, I thought of you and the inherent beauty that each of you possess. After I wrote out 26 names, I placed them in my most special vessel...a little old two handled sugar bowl that I've had for almost 15 years now. As far as possessions, this is by far my most favorite. I found it  so long ago and it has
followed me as I've zig-zagged from one end of this country to the other and back again. Its familiar shape, a reminder of simpler times in a little white bead-board house in the country and the things that truly matter. Simplicity. Hope. Love. Living in the moment...
I placed my hand over your names in that little white bowl and sent thoughts of those things to each and every one of you. I sent thoughts of hope, love, strength, light, simplicity, and peace to you all. My hope is that somehow you receive them.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

In Celebration, a Saturday Giveaway!

Autumn is finally showing its grace here in rural is my most favorite season of the year. I've been busy making lots of new things for the shop, that I'll be posting throughout the weekend and I am offering a 10% discount on everything in the shop until Monday evening at midnight. And To celebrate being published in Belle Armoire Jewelry and the coming of fall, I will be giving away a pair of these beauties:
(vintage rhinestone teardrops in an exquisite shade of Madeira Topaz)

I just love these earrings! The antiqued brass elements are so highly detailed, along with vintage rhinestones in a shade (Madeira Topaz) that you just don't see in modern jewelry.
No special hoops to jump through to win these! Just leave a little comment to be entered, but I'd love to hear your fondest memory of Autumn, whether it be jumping in huge piles of leaves as a child, collecting and pressing leaves, or drinking warm apple cider.....and might I share some of them in a later post?
Thank you for being here today.
Jennifer Valentine

Friday, September 10, 2010

Free Friday, Two Hooters

Since Owls have become the latest craze, I thought these two owls would be neat for collage projects and such. I hope everyone has a fantastic day! I'm picking my beautiful mama up at the airport in an hour....I can hardly wait to see her!!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Newly Fallen

I found the leaves
neatly pressed in pairs and threes
between the pages of
the dic tion ar y
as I looked up
I imagined you there
in your soul soaked old man coat
(the one I mended with silver thread)
conducting a
silent gathering
of the newly fallen
as you flowed through
the arms of forest--
contemplating which
of thousands
to send
to me
to win back my heart
which was
never really lost.
I found the leaves today...

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Belle Armoire Jewelry and a Little Ol' Challenge

When my copy came in the mail the other day I was still quite ill...and instead of being in the moment, I was worried because since I was sick, I didn't have any really "good stuff" in my shop to make a good impression on folks who might visit after reading my article. I had to remind myself to be as kind to myself as I would be to others in this situation....I took a deep breath and told myself that not having my shop chocked full of Intention Lockets was okay. That this illness was present in my life for reasons. To teach me to slow down a little. To be kinder to myself. To remember what is important. to name a few.
And it is hard for me to feel deserving of such an be alright with being included in a beautiful publication such as Belle Armoire Jewelry with so many jewelry artists who do so much more than just put things together. They forge and twist and mold and pour and sew and bead...and all I do is stick things to things with glue and add some beads and stuff. I think to myself, who the heck do I think I am?! Anyone could do what I do. You don't really have anything special. No one is gonna care about your lame stuff after looking at everyone else's beauties.
Once again, I gently remind myself of the things I'd say to someone else. What you do IS important. What you do is relevant. Your work is unique and valid. What you do brings joy to others, and that is what matters most....not how many lockets are in your shop this week or how many opportunities you have  to get yourself "out there."
Readers, I challenge you all to do the same.
So often we are not as good to ourselves as we are to strangers, to friends, to colleagues or family. The next time you want to crush your self worth, or talk yourself out of the stuff that dreams your are made of, think of my challenge this week. Change your inner dialogue. Say the kind things to yourself that you'd say to others. Be as kind and as loving to yourself that you would be to someone else....and I promise I'll do the same.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Making a Comeback

This is me lately. unaltered. sick. unwaxed eyebrows. in terrible need of a haircut and dye refresher. dark- dark circles. in pajamas most of the day... but right now, this is my reality. It is days and weeks like I've been having that make me realize how precious it is to have feel really good. To move freely. To bend and twist and dance...
I've been angry at my body. I've been weepy. I've felt sorry for myself briefly....but I don't stay down long. I suffer from chronic pain, nerve damage and spurts of extreme exhaustion. Finally diagnosed with a disease (Fabry's Disease) that makes all of these things finally make sense and I am truly thankful for that. What used to come and go, now just hangs around all day and all night, at times reducing me to tears of frustration...but this I know: the show must go on...and there are those out there so much worse off than I am. There are children out there suffering from much worse and I've already been blessed with 39 years of feeling good and lots of chances for yoga and dancing.
I am still hopeful, and grateful to be alive. And I have managed to make some things while I've been away.

Just some simple things for the shop. (available here)

Thank you listening to me ramble a bit. I've missed you all and I've thought of you every. single. day. that I've been away. The pull to the computer has been overshadowed by the pull to the bed. But I don't stay down for long. Nope. I don't.