Sunday, January 29, 2012

Assemblage Wedding Jewelry, My Brides, and Birthin' Babies

one of "my brides" rockin' a hair comb & earrings from Sacred Cake!    
close up...assemblage comb with matching earrings
vintage assemblage bridal comb, silver, rhinestones, and leaves
 I always, always love it when i get a sweet little surprise message from one of "my brides"...I thought this particular photo was great! There she is, in her lovely wedding dress, wearing the assemblage earrings and the bridal comb that i made with a Rolling Stones jacket over her shoulder! Don'tcha love that?

Lovely Sam with her Brooch Bouquet (she made that!) (I made the hair combs!)
For Sam's wedding, I made these matching combs for her and her maid of honor, Danielle~

And I'm at it again with my favorite pallet of shabby whites and antiqued gold. I am particularly smitten with antique buttons. Have been for ages. They are like tiny works of art in themselves. Have I said that before? I'm sure I have somewhere along the way. I spend way too much time sifting through the buttons at my favorite antique haunt. It is like some strange form of meditation for me.
Forest. antique assemblage bridal earrings from Sacred Cake

antique Victorian picture button earrings from Sacred Cake

Lately, my days are filled with helping Em care for sweet baby Benjamin, my assemblage jewelry work, and helping my oldest daughter prepare for her baby heard me right. They swear they didn't plan it that way, this double grandma whammy thing going on. Benji was just born in November and little baby Vincent is due the beginning of March. I'll be there when he is born too. And I think that will be about all I can take of birthin' them babies for awhile!
our sweet grandson, baby Benjamin
 See you again soon. Thank you so much for being here today!

Jennifer Valentine
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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Handmade Shabby Chic From the Hearts of Etsy

I got a special package just the other day, from a dear couple in Idaho, who have an Etsy shop called KMHandyKrafts. When I found their little shop, I was instantly enamored by their original style and Eco friendly, shabby chic approach to creating. I fell in love with a precious hand made heart featuring a sweet little bird on a real branch, sewn to the puffy heart with the word, Dream~
front of shabby birdy heart

But that wasn't the best part. There was more on the other side! Hand sewn words, vintage buttons and precious beads made from antique papers...the time and attention to detail on this sweet little heart was obvious. Their work truly comes from the heart.
back of shabby birdy heart!
What really got me was the extremely low prices. I almost feel like I am taking advantage of them! (SO I sent them a big box of goodies from my stash!) If you need a sweet little hand made vintage something for a gift or something to make you smile that is very very easy on your wallet, this is the shop to visit. Mary and Kerry did not put me up to this post...I'm doing it because they make things that make my heart happy. And I want to share this heart happiness with you!
shabby chic pale pink draw string bag with antique photograph transfer
I love what Mary says about her shabby chic bags~ "I love to create my little bags with raw edges because I think it adds to to overall feel that I am trying to get. I love to use scraps and left overs-It is like our lives-little pieces that come together to make us who who are-rough edges and all. Stray threads and torn edges are a part of what I create and they are left because I think they add to the Shabby Chic Vintage look."

my wonderful extra "loot"!
Mary was so sweet to send along some extra gifts in the sweetest shabby chic bag I have ever seen...she sent a tiny little decoupaged heart box, some tiny doilies, a tiny vintage perfume bottle, a vintage metal child's spoon, antique skeleton key, and a darling hand made slide pendant that says "work of love"...well, that is so obvious when seeing their work.
There is no perfection, just honest creative goodness, raw edges and all.

little heart wall hanging
Last, but definitely not least, a lovely little wall hanging made with deckle edged paper, sewn with tiny beads, ribbon and vintage lace.
     I feel completely spoiled, and ever so grateful for the extra love. As we "speak", the shop is packed with hearts for a Valentine's Day celebration...and everything is priced more than fairly, if you consider the amount of time they invest in each piece they create together. I'm so glad I stumbled upon their shop when looking for heart things on Etsy...I find myself smiling as I visit each new item...I visit their sweet Etsy shop every day now, to see what is new. I particularly love the handmade journals...such a joy!

these chickens give me smiles for miles...
Be Still, Listen. inside of shabby pink journal
I hope you'll visit Kerry and Mary and be inspired! (click on any picture to be taken to their shop)
Blessings and Light,
Jennifer Valentine of Sacred Cake

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Apple Blossoms and Fences

      Kim’s passing has changed me. Last night I dreamed of apple blossomtrees and skipping and running my fingers along a chain fence…I’d forgotten how that felt. I knew she was the reason I was experiencing those things. Winter is here in Michigan, and the landscape is wiry with empty trees and sheets of white. No wonder I dreamed of childhood and springtime…but even then, asleep; I was aware of her presence.
     There is not a moment that is not infused with the knowing that it could have been me in that truck, on that road, on that wintry day. Or any other day for that matter.
Each moment of my life has become more vivid, more detailed, more about love and loving more, and less about the lack of things.
     Now there are times, like any human being, that I loose my way and the frustration of every day life cowers over me. I grumble about this and that, like we all do…then I think of her.
     And I wonder if she knows how she has changed the world in the leaving of it. I wonder if that is ok to say. There are so many questions, as always, that I have learned to accept. Questions that never have answers…like why someone so vibrant and lovely has to die and leave little girls  behind. My sister and I were those little girls once. Left behind by the death of  someone vibrant and loving, and left with the wondering why and the unanswered questions.
     Kim has put the color back into my life. She has infused each day with the intricacies  and wonders of it…she has brought brilliance back into glints of sunshine through the trees and richness in sounds and more joy in the every day moments that get lost in the day. For me, there are a lot less of those lost moments now. I have become more aware of my life and those moments…more absorbed into them…needing very much to braille them into the pages of my memory.
     I wonder if she knows this. I want her to know this. Her passing was not in vain. She lives inside of me, so that I may pass that vibrancy of life and loving on to others…and on, and on, and on.
     It is a strange thing, this grief. It is a muddy composition of sadness that catches me off guard, and an awareness of overwhelming joy and gratitude for the gift of life that I have been given.Each day; a gift.
     Thank you, sweet Kim, for your presence here in this life, so that I may be more present in mine, and in the lives of others. It isn't with selfishness that I say these things. Your passing was not in vain. You are not lost to the world. You are forever a part of it; living on through your children and through those who will hold you in their hearts and minds always.
Generations are touched by the sun of your smile.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Thank You....Thank You.

     The outpouring of generosity for Kimberly and Tim Jacko's family was more than I could have ever imagined. I did not expect that I would have over 1,200 raffle tickets to run my grateful fingers through. I visited Tim the day after the funeral. He asked me to thank you, from the depths of his heart, for your generosity and gracious gifts...he wanted me to tell you that he wanted the money to go toward something meaningful. I admit, I still get choked up, even trying to type the words...but I will, because you should know. He is using some of the money collected to buy Kim's grave stone. It is something that he would not have otherwise been able to purchase for her memory.
     When I went over to visit him and his daughters, it was very emotional for was a bit awkward because I wanted to hold it together for the youngest. I did. But it took all of the composure I had. Kim was all around there...every single wall of their little home was covered with family photographs. She valued family. She valued togetherness and children and laughter. SHE was valuable. Tim said she was in the midst of preparing for the new year with a fresh start. She was rearranging photos, organizing cook books and kitchen cabinets...and I thought of how often I'd done the same, never ever thinking that I may never be able to finish...but all of that has changed for me. I think of her every single day. And I'm sneaky. I quietly let the tears go when no one is around and it is quiet (like right now) and before I drift to sleep at night. They are tears of sadness mingled with tears of overwhelming gratitude for the life I have been given. For the outpouring of donations for her family that I never expected. For the restoration of my own hope in humanity. For divine grace.
     Tim's daughter Shaylee is 14, and Kim's death has been so difficult for her. After leaving the house, I could not get her little face out of my mind. I saw myself  in her, sitting there with the saddest eyes. I was transported back in time, fresh from the funeral of my step-father, who was the absolute world to me...he was every joy to me. I was 14. Just as Shaylee is...and floundering to make sense of something so senseless. It has been almost 30 years since his death, and I still get tears in my eyes and an ache in my heart with the missing of him. Angela (my sweet neighbor and friend) is actually making a birthday cake with Shaylee today, since her birthday is tomorrow.
I am going to put a donation spot on my sidebar here on the blog, for the family. There are still at least two weeks left until the drawing.

I just cannot thank you enough for your selfless gifts for Tim and his family. To everyone who contributed in every way, may your lives be blessed.
UPDATE: I am going to be giving away more than six pairs of vintage assemblage earrings. I received a generous donation from one of my favorite suppliers to make at least six more pair of Kim's favorite green earrings. Many thanks to Scarlett of Valclaws on Ebay for your generous donation of supplies!
I better get busy, eh?

Blessings to You and Yours,
Jennifer Valentine of Sacred Cake

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

A Heavy Heart

What I am going to tell you is hard to hear. It's sobering. It's sad. It is real.
I met Kim last year through my dear neighbor, Angela. She loved my jewelry, I loved her smile and her enthusiasm and the way she looked at her little girl. I gave her a simple pair of earrings and you'd have thought I just handed her the entire moon...she was like that. She was feisty and bold and funny. She was a mother, a wife, a daughter, and a friend...
She was you. She was me. She was any of us.

Kimberly Jacko and her daughter May 2011
On new years day, she was gone. A snowy road on the way home claimed her life.  A car accident that left her little girl without her mother, and a husband and family and friends drowning in grief. It was the first snow here, and after 8 years of life here, I know all to well, that the first snow always claims lives and injures people. But no one ever thinks....


There is a heaviness here, in this little town...almost like everyone has felt their own mortality smack them in the face.
Including mine. My grief is private, and tears spill in the quiet spaces of my evenings when the house is still. When I look at my young tiny husband... My head is reeling with constant thoughts of my brief time with Kimberly, what her family must be going through, the grief her husband must feel...the mental list is endless. And dear Angela, my sweet and kind neighbor, she is beside herself with grief...coming to me with sad eyes that I can hardly bear to see from such a joyous soul. They were good friends. And in her grief, Angela is gathering tangible and useful things from family and friends to take to Kim's husband and family to help. Kim was not only a mother to her and her husbands little girl, but step-mom to her husband's older children as well.
Kim and Angela 2010

Kimberly and Tim's Children 2011 (photograph by Angela)
I am asking of you something simple. Look around you. Count your blessings. Take a breath. Thank God for it. Call your friend. Send the unsent letter. Sing in the grocery store (or sing and dance, as I often do.) LOVE your life. Love the questions. Let go. Choose to be happy.
Kim and Tim
Tell your child you that love them. Call them now. Hug your loved ones...your friends. Make amends. Hold you husband. Your wife. Your family, your friends. Really notice the little things.

Live for women like Kim.

I have always believed in a collective good...that togetherness makes us stronger. That we should try to use our gifts for a better world.This is how I want to honor her on this snowy eve,  and use my gifts to do so. It is all that I have to give. Her family needs the help.

I am asking you to please purchase a raffle ticket. All that it will cost you is one dollar. I am raffling off  a gift certificate for FIFTY DOLLARS worth of merchandise in my shop, Sacred Cake on Etsy.
When you win, I will give you a special code to use for your gifts in the shop. You can use it any time on anything you'd like. EACH DOLLAR YOU DONATE EQUALS ONE TICKET. Each ticket you purchase increases your chances to win.
Peridot green necklace by Sacred Cake
ALSO, There will be SIX MORE lucky winners of a pair of simple, pretty peridot (pale green) crystal drop earrings in remembrance of Kimberly.

Kim's last words on Facebook were these~
"HAPPY NEW YEAR! Live well, be healthy and happy and appreciate all of your blessings!"

I am asking you to help me to help her family in their time of need and grief. Receive something special in return. A chance to win something pretty and a chance to make a difference...a chance to be a part of the collective good in the world.
Please spread the word. Click on the "Share this" in green letters under the post between the comments and the post itself. Then you can easily choose to share on facebook, twitter and a multitude of other ways.
Winners will be drawn on January 31st, for a 50.00 gift certificate and six earring winners. Remember that each dollar you donate equals one raffle ticket in the pot.