Friday, June 24, 2011

Vintage Assemblage Wedding Jewelry and a bit about Summer

Well, once again, I've been away awhile...busy with life, children, work, and getting better.
I've found myself relishing the cool days and the rainy weather we've been having...strolling around the yard after the rain subsides, looking for bits of roses and green things to trim to bring inside. I can't bring myself to cut any roses unless they are almost ready to shed! If there are enough blooms, I'll treat myself to some little buds. Our bushes are still young and not producing tons of roses yet. I've always wanted a rose garden, but never took the time to cultivate one...or splurge on bushes! This year, my husband has been lovingly planting them all over our sunny back yard. Such lovely colors... and I cannot convey the incredible sweetness of the scent some of them have...there is one in particular that is large and pale yellow that smells so amazing that it is difficult for me to tear my nose away from its velvety splendor...have you ever smelled a rose like that?
Today, I brought a  few inside to enjoy, along with some bright orange day lilies and a sprig of hydrangea...
I've never been a big fan of summer, but life has a certain amazing sweetness these days. I feel like I am more fully present in it. Less worried. Practicing being more mindful. Praying more. Feeling more and more grateful for my life, my family and my relationships.

I've been thinking about weddings again...and how much I still love making special occasion jewelry! I found myself making a couple of vintage assemblage bridal hair combs for the shop from some of my pretty vintage jewelry parts and pieces...this is one I was particularly fond of~
Cherry Blossom and Crinoline, shabby bridal comb
I used a bit of antique crinoline, a large leaf brooch, a gold plated flower piece from an old bracelet, and a few vintage shabby pearl and rhinestone earrings...I have had a couple of brides that I've made jewelry for send me amazing photographs of them wearing their jewelry and it is always so deeply touching for me to see. I feel so incredibly fortunate that they want to wear my work out of the thousands of jewelry designs out there to choose work speaks out to them somehow, through the thousands of others...and I am so incredibly grateful to be a part of something like this~
Jenny's Wedding

I think it is because it makes me still believe and have faith in happily ever after.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The 4th of July, (a re-post of something from last year that you may have missed.)

Chicago circa 1940's
     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.

Do you have a favorite photograph? If so, can you share a bit about it with us? It is very easy to comment. No need for an account. Just use the "anonymous" feature.

Love and Light,

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Quilts of a Thousand Prayers; an interview with an extraordinary woman, Cindi Tyburski

My beautiful quilt, a gift from Cindi. Also, my most favorite pillow from her shop.
(a small excerpt from our Etsy conversations)
ME: "I've been feeling awful...barely able to finish the day...and not sleeping well...
I want you to know that your quilt has become a comfort for me...I actually hold it like a child would a security blanket throughout the day when things are particularly bad..."
CINDI: "I often wear a quilt too--my mom made one for me--she calls it the quilt of a thousand prayers. It makes me feel better, I can feel her love."
I met Cindi on Etsy a couple of months ago, when I discovered her shop filled with lovely one of a kind pillows, vintage pre-cut sheet bundles for quilting, baby quilts and even colorful quilt kits...through our written conversations, Cindi has become quite an inspiration to me as she battles her own rare illness and  keeps her spirit strong with her unwavering faith in the divine, through her creativity, and selfless giving. Cindi uses the proceeds from her etsy shop sales to buy supplies to make quilts for children fighting cancer.
I asked her a few questions so you could get to know her and be inspired by her and her lovely work.

part of my personal pillow collection! Perfect on the vintage sofa...

more beautiful vintage Barkcloth  pillows...
ME: "Cindi, tell me a bit about how you got started with quilting and how you got started creating quilts for children with cancer."

CINDI: "I began to sew when I was 5, my mom would let me sit in her lap. I would steer the fabric and she would press the pedal. We made baby doll clothes and later clothes for me. I have a truly wonderful Mom.
      I started making quilts for kids battling cancer a long time ago. Something about quilts is magical to me--they carry healing and I think of these children and their brave strong spirits. I pray for them, even though I don't know who will get what quilt. It seems God and/or His Angels somehow guide these efforts. One of our recent receipients was a little boy who had a brain tumor. His pastor had visited the day before my daughter delivered his quilt. His pastor told him that "FROGS" was to be his word, he was to say it if he was sad or scared. His pastor said the meaning: Forever Rely on God's Son. He loved his FROG quilt and his Mama said that she couldn't get it away from him to even get it in the wash. (She sleeps with it now and it brings her comfort.)"

ME: "I love the vintage bark cloth you use in your pillows, what is your most favorite medium?"

CINDI: "Vintage Sheets, bright colors, and whimsical cotton quilting fabric."
pillow currently in Cindi's shop (click image to be taken there!)

vintage quilt kit. all you have to do is sew it together!

 ME: "Tell me what you do when you feel discouraged?"

CINDI: "I really don't get discouraged. For me thinking of these brave children means I have nothing to ever be discouraged about. You see, no matter what, they show extraordinary strength of spirit and love so pure. They are my inspiration."

Please stop by Cindi's Etsy shop and see what's new! She is an extraordinary woman  who I am so grateful to know and introduce to you. I love knowing that the things I purchase from her shop help a very special cause...bringing comfort to sick children. Her work is impeccable, creative and just beautiful. You can seriously feel the love she puts into it.

With Love and Light,
Jennifer Valentine

Friday, June 10, 2011

Silent Prayer made Visible, Vintage Assemblage Religious Jewelry

Some of you have been wondering where I've been...I've been making the best that I can of my days, which have been consumed with being a mom to four children and dealing with significant pain issues, nausea, exhaustion and tremendous difficulty getting moving in the morning. Not good for me, who was always quite the morning person...I have suffered with  neuropathic pain for several years now and was diagnosed with Fabry's disease in January of 2010. It's very very rare, but it put a name on the neuropathic pain issues I was dealing with. My condition has deteriorated quite a bit in the last few months, and as of late, I have had  trouble breathing, and a lot of weakness which landed me in the ER last weekend.
And finally another diagnosis: Fibromyalgia. Through my struggle, I have continued to work when I can, determined to continue doing what I love in quiet prayer. No matter how foolish it may sound, I am a strong believer that whatever happens to us has a reason...a divine reason that we cannot comprehend.
I don't consider myself an organized religion type of person, but I believe in Christ and in the existence of God. I experience miracles every day...connections in life that just cannot be happenstance...
I believe in a divine plan...that the people and circumstances in our lives are there to teach, to reveal, to help us learn to love as God loves us.
There is a bible passage that I keep over my work table that reads:

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart,
and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways, acknowledge him
and he shall direct thy paths.
                 Proverbs 3 5-6

Here are my quiet prayers made real:
"Like Water into Wine"
"Like Water into Wine"
"Dreams of the Sacred Mother"
"the Dogwood Tree"
"Dreams of the Sacred Mother"
"the Dogwood Tree"
These necklaces will be available on etsy soon, along with the stories that inspired them.
I am finding such joy in the little things...finding immense joy in my children and my friends and my dear husband..and I am staying strong through my faith, which has become so much stronger through this illness. I am sending healing thoughts and light to those of you reading this post. You are never far from my thoughts.
I'll be back tomorrow to tell you about someone very special to me,  my dear friend Cindi of Cindi0 on Etsy.
An extraordinary woman dealing with her own illness, who makes beautiful quilts for children with cancer...stay tuned.
Love and Light,
Jennifer Valentine