Saturday, July 30, 2011

Neutral on the Brain, Vintage Assemblage Earrings, Indie Weddings Love

I've been craving neutral...neutrality...calm colors. Calm feelings. Calm surroundings. I think because life seems "colorful" enough for me these days. Sometimes I feel like I am trying to run through knee deep honey...but most days I think I can feel the wind from the passing minutes blowing my hair. To keep calm, I listen to the Patti Griffin station on I light candles and incense. I pray. I eat some chocolate. I eat more chocolate later. I take deep breaths and know that this one life is all I get. I have everything I need today, and everything is as it should be. I truly believe that. But it doesn't mean I don't get overwhelmed. I'm very human.


A friend of mine asked of me many many years ago, when I was without transportation and worried aloud about how I was going to feed and clothe four small children...she asked me, "Do you have what you need today?"
I never forgot that...
I have more than I could possibly want, or need this day. So do my children. When my emotions start creeping up to the blaring red "overwhelm" mark, I have to talk myself down. I count my blessings, my gratitude, my joys. And it calms me and centers me to make things.


One of those joys is being able to still have the ability to create. Earrings are all I have much time for these days. When I commented about that on Facebook, a dear person said that earrings must be all that is necessary right now. I needed to hear that. Thank you Kelly (Barton) for the sweet and encouraging words.
What keeps YOU sane? Please leave a comment and share your story? I'd love to hear it.

Oh, by the way, have you heard about the website called "Ruffled"?...It is a website dedicated to weddings of all kinds...particularly those very creative indie type weddings with amazing pictures. It bursts with creativity! I think I most like it because it is full of photographs of young couples in love...such promise and hope in their faces. I really like that. The promise and the hope.....yeah, that......I need to see lots of that.

I hope everyone has an amazing weekend, filled with little joys.
Blessings to You and Yours,
Jennifer Valentine

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cherir La Vie

My daughter has been working so hard to open her new etsy shop! It is called Cherir La Vie, which in French means to Cherish Life. I love her use of bright color and simple elegance...
Fleur de Lotus
We've been talking "shop" about photographing, lighting, supplies, beads, wording, descriptions and all things Etsy. I'm super proud of her, and only being 18, I think she's done a fantastic job! She has a new seriousness about making her own money in her own way, now that she is going to be a new mama in a few months...(and yes, I'm going to be a new Grandma!) I love seeing her fly on her own with her own creative this amazing locket ring~
Crystal Cluster (only 10 dollars!)

and this asymmetrical peach and gold vintage looking beauty~

Jardin De Corail (only 21.00!)
I love how she photographs her necklaces like they are lost and tangled in branches...there for you to discover. I love that her prices are fair and her work has the same kind of quality you can expect from mine. I love that her work is timeless and young and fresh and pretty. Just like her.
When she was my favorite Etsy model circa 2009
Lovely Mama to be, Emily Cathryn  July 2011
Seems like just last week, I chose to name her after one of my most favorite songs~

Well, I've got lots of work to do myself! I think I've got at least six necklaces on my table waiting to be finished...and twice as many pairs of earrings. Look for new things to come in my shop, and in hers~!


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Idea: Window "Dressing" to Stay Cool

There is a heatwave going on...and I don't remember it being so hot last year. I've been roaming around our old house covering windows as artfully as possible to keep the sun out and the cool in. I'm not a huge fan of summer...strange I guess coming from a woman who spent most of her life in Northern Florida....
I've been keeping cool with the old fans around the house my husband has restored to their original glory, and lots of Coke in little glass bottles...
As I was pondering how to keep the curtains out of the way of the window unit, while simultaneously keeping out the sun, I came up with a quick solution! I used an old necklace as a tie back, and then used two clear tacks to tack a vintage white apron to the top part of the window...thus creating a layered defense that keeps a lot of the sunshine out, while still looking pretty...what do you think?

It's all in the layering...on top of the curtains, I also hung a white vintage dress on a wooden hanger and topped with an old, three layers. The apron up top, then the curtain, then the dress(es). You could even tie the apron onto little brass hooks, or layer the aprons by tying them to each other to make a valance.
Bedroom window

close up of lampshade
I dressed this old lamp shade up with bunched up layers of old lace and a favorite rhinestone brooch.
window layers

OH, by the way, I'm having a Christmas in July sale! and you get a free pair of earrings with ANY purchase through July at the shop.
FREE with any purchase from Sacred Cake
Hope you like my idea!
Love and Light,

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Mountains of Inspiration

Jennifer Valentine circa 1983
     When I was young I'd often visit my grandmother in New Jersey and I'd go to youth camp for a week in the mountains of Vermont...we would gather together around a fire and sing in the evenings...laughter and song bursting into the darkness around was a place where I felt a belonging. I know we all felt it...
and we'd sing my favorite silly song "His Banner Over Me is Love". To make a long story a bit shorter, the song required a lot of silliness with hand gestures and body contortions that had everyone laughing hysterically and feeling present in God's love all around us. This necklace is homage to those summers...we, the branches on the vine of deep and compassionate, unconditional love.
The photo above is of me, my first summer there in Vermont, hiking on Mount Killington. I was 13 and wearing my first pair of Levi's; a bouquet of wildflowers in my back pocket...a Florida girl, touching a mountain stream for the very first time. This picture, I cherish, because it captured me at my essence...a girl immersed in nature, noticing the intricacies of life and flowers and the pebbles in a innocent heart filled with the joy of creation. Even then I knew that the beauty of this world is no accident.
He is the Vine, religious assemblage necklace
He is the Vine, religious assemblage necklace
He is the Vine, religious assemblage necklace

This religious assemblage necklace I created has amazing luminous antique opal beads,  flourishes of Art Nouveau elements, bits of vintage chain and an antique, well worn cross. I really love to incorporate leaves and the organically shaped elements of nature into my work.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Custom Vintage Assemblage Necklace from Grandmother's Vintage Buttons

Recently, I was approached about creating a memorial type necklace for a beloved client who recently lost her grandmother. I was excited about the challenge of using personal mementos to create something my client could wear to keep the memory of her grandmother close...
She sent several buttons and a pair of earrings and asked that the necklace be created in silver and red. The earrings she sent me to use were a bit of a challenge because they were bright and shiny silver, but the rhinestone buttons fit right in.

I added bright silver leaves from an old necklace to echo the beads she gave me from her grandmother's earrings, red rhinestone findings and glass flowers, matte red navettes and vintage Czech glass and Swarovski beads to add a little sparkle. I also used a vintage filigree base in silver and added a secret locket in the back to hold any small personal mementos. That was a last minute thought that I really love...I think she will too!

The silver sparrow on the chain echoes the bird on the antique button dangle that she sent quite nicely...then I added some silver chain and a pretty red glass drop at the end of the chain to make it adjustable in length.
Just wanted to share this custom creation with you. If you are interested in a custom memento or remembrance locket necklace like this one, using your own personal elements, contact me through my Etsy Shop. Or email me.
See you again soon!

Blessings and Light,

Thursday, July 07, 2011

The Rapture of the Lego Men

I wrote this today...kind of formulated it in my mind as I vacuumed and actually had a moment to write it all down! (not easy with a six year old home for the summer!) keep in mind, I never profess to be a real poet...I just put thoughts down and make it look like I might know what I'm doing...

  The Rapture of the Lego Men
As I vacuumed today, I thought of it.
How many times it has been done.
Three boys and 25 years now,
off and on again,
I've come for them,
I, a gentle beast
with a sucking machine.
I don't really mean to be.
But once again I become in charge
of the rapture of the Lego Men.

They wait for me with some uncertainty
in crevices behind suitcases and trunks,
under couches and behind curtains, they wait
to be raptured up into the dusty air
with ardent faith in where they are going.
There are others there,
they tell me.
There are others.
I tell them I know.

They look up to the heavens
with eyes transfixed,
sometimes half-smiling and
missing their hat or their arm or their vestiges.
Forgotten by boys who have found
other toys
or whisked away by age or circumstance.

I wonder to myself
as I push and I pull,
what my own rapture will be.
Will I rise up in a whirl of dust
and float and glisten
in the rays of the sun?
settling gently among still water, the leaves of trees,
sprigs of new grass, and on the tender hearts of mankind?

I have listened to the Lego Men.
They tell me there are others...
and I believe.

              (copyright July 2011 by Jennifer Valentine)