Thursday, April 28, 2011

Beautiful Vintage Assemblage Jewelry and Things, for Just a Song...Oh, and Some Change

I'm taking a little break from life is a little troubled, and I guess I don't really want to talk much these days..I just want to work...making my vintage assemblage jewelry is my escape into shiny and bright and takes me elsewhere.
Sometimes my mind wanders to French markets among the bustle of tourists and the Eiffel tower in sight...sometimes it takes me to Puget Sound, with the light scent of the water in my nostrils and the moist green of the ferns and mossy forests from where I traveled so far to get this small town in Michigan. I have become accustomed to this place and all of its hope and  its hopelessnesses.
Always, though, I think of you...and the things I create for you to wear...for you to feel pretty and loved and sparkly as you go about your days. I am speaking to women tonight because I think I only have one or two male readers.
Each piece I create tells a story. A story of  the history and the resurrection of what was once lost to time...but also, know this;
each piece tells the story of hope and of love for you. Hope and love for myself and for each and every woman and girl who struggles with self worth, with letting go, with the negative voices. For you who struggle with mistakes and regrets and wavering I am this moment.
I have made, and remade my life over so many times....and now I feel the pull to begin again. To recreate myself. My life. My work....(and once again, organize my work space!)

In any case, I am having quite a sale over at the shop. I have marked most things down as low as I can make them go. It will be closed for about a week or two in May, while I gather myself, find my center again, and make new things...take photos...write stories....make plans. Some of the things you see will not return again...but I will!

Blessings to You and Yours,
Jennifer Valentine

Friday, April 22, 2011

Loving Spring and a Coupon Code (just for you)

I've been keeping busy, with spring on my mind...

one of a kind flower arranging...

I'm just so happy that spring has arrived...though it has been raining and raining...I'm off to enjoy the rest of the day! But I wanted to leave you with a secret code for 15% off my already lowered prices in the etsy shop.
Just use the code EASTER2011 at checkout. I'll even throw in free shipping (refunded after the sale) just because you are here! Don't worry, you can use your secret code until next weekend. I just got some amazing vintage finds from my lovely source in France. (I have already used some of the gorgeous pink glass in the earrings above).
I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter Weekend!


Friday, April 15, 2011

Where Does the Time Go?

I celebrated my 42nd birthday on the 13th....with a new funky hair-do/highlight thing...I've been wanting a change...and well, I got one. And afterward I felt guilty for being so vain that I'd spend money on highlights....the usual internal tug of war when I spend money on myself. I'm still not used to seeing the new hair...I was a blond until age 4 1/2. Does that count? but do I think I like it. I used a photo app I have on my ipod for my 42nd birthday picture because it is sooooo much kinder to my face! I'm seeing wrinkles pop up in weird places, like under my chin...what's with that?!

We are welcoming spring here in Michigan. It is bursting out everywhere. My favorite part is the tiny clumps of violets that appear everywhere in the yard
and then the daffodils arrive on the very back edge of the yard in big clumps.

I recently watched the movie Eat, Pray, Love...I read the book years ago and just loved it, so I was pretty excited about the movie too. In the movie she talks about the Art of Doing Nothing. I thought about that. I asked myself, if there is ever a time, aside from sleeping, that I am ever just doing nothing? The answer was a resounding "NO."
So I went out into the yard one day this week and did that very thing. I took a photo of it for my journal...this whole notion of nothing doing was different for me, the multitasker-alwayshavingstufftodo-er.

There is a lot to be said for this whole doing nothing concept. I like it. I think I want to do more of it. I did nothing for a full 30 minutes or more....well, I did pet my cats...but I felt the breeze on my skin...the sun on my eyelids...I lay down and breathed in the scent of moist dirt and grass. I began to feel closer to myself...closer to the earth...closer to God. Just those few moments refreshed my spirit and reminded me of what I love best in life: being present in the outside world.
Do you ever practice the Art of Doing Nothing? If you do, where is your doing nothing place? What is your most favorite part of the season you are in?
Thank you for being here today. I'll be back soon with more news and such!

Monday, April 04, 2011

Love, a most favorite poem by a most favorite poet, Billy Collins (and some portraits of Saints)

The boy at the far end of the train car
kept looking behind him
as if he were afraid or expecting someone
St. Teresa

and then she appeared in the glass door
of the forward car and he rose
and opened the door and let her in

and she entered the car carrying
a large black case
in the unmistakable shape of a cello.

She looked like an angel with a high forehead
and somber eyes and her hair
was tied up behind her neck with a black bow.

And because of all that,
he seemed a little awkward
in his happiness to see her,

whereas she was simply there,
perfectly existing as a creature
with a soft face who played the cello.

And the reason I am writing this
on the back of a manila envelope
now that they have left the train together

is to tell you that when she turned
to lift the large, delicate cello
onto the overhead rack,

I saw him looking up at her
and what she was doing
the way the eyes of saints are painted

when they are looking up at God
when he is doing something remarkable,
something that identifies him as God.

St. Catherine by Raphael
St. Agatha by Niccolo de Simone

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Reaching Out Together with the Red Cross

I bought quite a few vintage gems recently...and I've been waiting for their arrival so that I could do a fundraiser for the Red Cross. I know with so many crises going on, great organizations like the Red Cross are strained. I want to do something manageable and something simple. And the reason I waited until now is because so often, we tend to jump in to help in a crisis situation right at the very beginning, but then life gets in the way and our focus is redirected elsewhere. It isn't our fault, really. Life just happens. We get caught up in our own worlds.
When my step father died more than 25 years ago, people came from all around to help....and in the Deep South, what people did to help was bring food. LOTS of food. I was 14, and deeply grief stricken...and all I could remember seeing the next week or so after his death was literally every surface of our home covered with bowls of salads, casseroles, cakes, pies, bread, meat, sandwich fixin's....and I think food was the last thing on our minds. We had to eat though, each visitor would say.  Cooking wasn't really on the agenda either, so the food was really nice to have and bless all of the sweet sweet folks for bringing it. Truly. That is just what a good Southern neighbor did...and we had a lot of them. But what about later? When all the old food had to be tossed and the funeral was over and the flowers and cards stopped arriving and everyone went back to their everyday lives....and we were still floundering around inside of grief and uncertainty and heartache?
Then would have been the time for someone to come around and offer food, or to cook or wash clothes or help in some way. And actually, a few folks really did. And it was a comfort, but time went on...
Those of us who have suffered deep, deep loss completely understand why I waited to do a fundraiser now. A month after the earthquake in Japan. I don't expect to make a whole ton of money, but whatever money we give now is right where it is needed the most. Well, that's just the way I see it I guess.

So, for the next month or so, I am offering all of the proceeds from the sale of these earrings in my Etsy shop to be allotted to the Red Cross. You get something beautiful to give as a gift, or keep for yourself, and we both feel like we've helped in some way...even the smallest way helps. It really does.
 If you aren't a fan of the color in the listing photo, I have other options. Just leave your choice of the following colors in the message to seller at checkout on etsy. If you don't see the listing, just wait a moment for me to renew it. The price is right for these beauties and I'm hoping you will spread the word! They will each come sweetly wrapped. I will also ship to another address if you'd like that.

the colors available right now are:
Siam red
Smokey topaz (lovely brown color)
Light Pink
Light Amethyst
Montana Sapphire
montana sapphire
If you don't really want the earrings and you'd just prefer to donate,  click here to be taken to the Red Cross donation site.
Thank you for your help!
Blessings to You and Yours,

Friday, April 01, 2011

Winners of the Giveaway!

being silly with my oldest Daughter a minute ago
It's Friday morning....well, it was.....after an emergency vet visit for Cutie, whose Christmas antics post seemed to make lots of you smile! He's ok. Just a fever and a cold. Whew! He scared me there for a minute...or two.
SO, I'm back after throwing on clothes and no makeup and a hair-don't and rushing to the local vet to give you the winners of the Giveaway! (and winners, be sure to get in touch with me!)

Mia, you are a winner of the earrings!
Karen, you are an earring winner also!
"I aim for Grace", you are a winner of the feather hairpins!
"Teal Water", you are also a winner of the gold plated feather hairpins!
and the last drawing was for the magazine and, Terri Ann, you are the winner of a copy of the Jewelry Affaire magazine!....I feel weird asking if you want me to sign it....I mean, just in case I get super famous or know....(laughing)
I hope everyone has a great day! Remember it's April Fool's day!
I've already been fooled once. I'm soooooo gullible.
So LOOK OUT. And now I have to research why all the vintage April Fools' cards involve someone holding a fish.....I think maybe because "Fool" in French means "Fish"? So it's just the French cards...

Thank you CHICKS57 on Flickr for the amazing antique postcard images.