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Thursday, December 31, 2009

goodbye to the end of a wonderful year

2009 has been a year full of firsts, and more than ever a reason to truly "believe" in what I have dreams of doing in the coming New Year.
As I prepare for 2010,
I do "believe" I can see the light(s). Bright lights have always called my name.
They twinkle and flicker with such an alluring glow.
As I browse through the hundreds (and hundreds) of pictures I've taken in 2009, I see what a magical road I've traveled this past year of my life.
I see many captured moments of joy. Little capsules of what life is all about. People. Places. Not things.
I have come to understand what is really important.

"cat tales"

The cat's finally out of the bag, so to speak, on the Secret Santa gift I mailed to my SS recipient, Tami Roth, just before Christmas. I was so excited to get my package in the mail, only a couple photos showed up in my camera! Tami adores cats, so I decided to use one of the hand-carved bone cat faces I've had in my stash for some time (per Molly we had to use supplies we had on hand), in Tami's gift. I added a brass filigree focal piece bought from Brass Bouquet, crystal quartz nuggets and a single large crystal quartz drop, Swarovski crystal rondells, mother of pearl spacer beads and two types of vintage raw brass chain.

I also included a pair of earrings in her box.

I especially like a new vintage inspired bead I designed and used for the first time in Tami's necklace and earrings. I believe I've had these delicate mother of pearl spacer beads for quite awhile. They came alive sandwiched around an oxidized swarovksi crystal rondell.

I am on holiday and have been since Christmas Day! I have had a full week of doing absolutely not much! It is a time I especially look forward to each year. A time to re-fuel and meditate on the intentions of the coming year!

I will be back visiting each of you when I return. But, until then, please know I cherish each and every comment you leave. I truly enjoy hearing what you have to say, and love visiting your blogs when I can. Your friendships mean alot to me.

Take care and have a safe and happy New Year!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

the end is only the beginning

Isn't this beautiful?
Thus begins a Christmas story.

A very talented friend, Molly Alexander, contacted me several months ago, asking if I would like to participate in a Secret Santa Jewelry Swap! I said "yes"! Turned out Molly and ten other very talented ladies also decided to participate. See the list on Molly's post here.
We had until December 15th to get our secret piece in the mail, then post about it once it was received.
So, on December 15th (or soon thereafter), I started keeping watch outside my window.
I even kept an eye towards the heavens. Never know, something could fall from the sky!
But alas, a lovely white package came via USPS.

I love the sound of the big brown truck stopping in front of our house. The brakes squealing as it roars to a quick stop. In just a few moments I hear the ring of the doorbell, letting me know there's a fellow standing at our front door holding a package.
Oh, that's right...that is UPS. Not USPS. Sorry, I got sidetracked.
Well, anyway, I received my Secret Santa gift in the mail from the United States Post Office last Friday!
What a beautiful work of art!
My art sister, Riki Schumacher, sent me the most gorgeous and thoughtful gift. She totally designed an etched metal & vintage rhinestone encrusted picture frame that holds a picture taken this last April while we (three sistas, Riki, Diana, and I) were at a jewelry retreat together with Stephanie Lee. I cannot begin to tell you all the thought and preparation Riki put into my gift.
See the back? The detail of the etching, and the delicately soldered hing that keeps it standing upright so perfectly on my work desk. See how she used tiny screws to hold the front piece she methodically cut out with her jeweler's saw, to the back?
Not only that, the package was just as beautiful. My little frame was wrapped in bright white tissue paper, and tied with various strands of yarn. Riki even tucked in a tiny twig and bird feather. And, a dove shaped gift tag, which now (will always) hangs on my Christmas tree. So fitting from my far away art sister who dearly loves nature.

Thank you sweet Riki for blessing my soul with this gift.
You are the best!
*the end*

Thursday, December 10, 2009

December 4....a day to remember

Last Friday we had snow! Yes, we did, and a lot fell in downtown Houston! Quite a surprise, as we rarely see the white stuff this far south. But, the timing was just right, and yes indeed, we saw enough to get our hearts racing.
My daughter and I had been making plans for weeks. I was to leave for San Antonio right after work, as December 4th is the day my daughter was born 34 (fast moving) years ago! Instead I left early Saturday morning. No problem.
There was ice (a beautiful glistening result of the melted snow), but not enough to stop me from canceling our weekend plans. You see, for the last three years we have gone to the King William District Christmas Home Tour. The homes in this historic part of San Antonio are just amazing. But this year it had been canceled.
With a little google help, we found another in nearby New Braunfels.
We were blessed with the most amazing cold, sunny day. Perfect Christmas weather. It was simply gorgeous. We bundled up, took our little green map, and visited 5 homes decorated in Christmas finery.
No pictures (please) made my camera go quickly back into my purse, but since this was a driving tour, we had several opportunities to stop and take in what this great German town had to offer.
We don't really have four distinct seasons here in Texas.
But, maybe just maybe, that will be changing. Just a little. Well, maybe just this year!
On Monday I had a small suitcase sale at my daughter's office.
A few pieces came home with me, and would really fit nicely in Santa's bag or perhaps in a stocking above the fireplace?

It will come wrapped and tied with a beautiful Christmas bow.

Crystal Princess
Each of the princess necklaces I design have different components. This latest creation has oxidized sterling silver & Swarovski crystal rondells, faceted crystal quartz nuggets, brass filigree beads from Brass Bouquet, and vintage brass bar chain I brought home from California in a tiny fuchsia colored bag.
The vintage leaded glass chandelier crystal was found in Warrenton.
Ice Roses
These are some of my favorites, and one pair actually stayed in San Antonio. Thank you Lori! The faceted crystal quartz drops pair beautifully with the brass roses.

Czech Swings
The delicate tulip swings on the left have dangles taken from vintage clip earrings that were covered in a cascade of crystals and tiny Swarovski crystals rondells.
I love the aged patina of the brass trimmed rondells. $34
The tulip swings on the right have oxidized bronze wire, tiny brass spacers, and delicate
Vintaj brass dangles. $32

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

{Echo} Week 3 - Surprise

Once again Lani and I have surprised ourselves with the Echo prompt from Chrysti and Susan. We are all so busy this time of year, but if you have a chance go take a peek to see their interpretation.
Chrysti's made me cry (my heart is aching for you) alot.
Lani tells me her picture is a combo of shots. Looking through an antique glass bottle (which she loves to do), added to one taken at a puppet making workshop. Very nice. Love this technique.
My shot was taken of a South Texas wildflower, with an added layer of burned texture from les brumes. The surprise for me was being able to catch this little bee in stop action.
They can be so flighty you know!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Where the road meets the sky

I have returned home once again, just as I have for the past thirteen years, from a long Thanksgiving weekend out of town. The magic of South Texas always proves to me, over and over again, just how beautiful this world is.
Especially in a place you might least expect it.
Each morning we woke up early,
hours before the sun peeked its head through the mesquite trees.
While it was still dark outside and even the jack rabbits and cotton tails were sound asleep deep in their holes.
We bundled up in heavy coats, and drove up and down the hard red clay hills.
This is a feeling like no other. No words can explain it.
It is here I see the brightest of reds.
Crimson reds.
Found in the rising of the South Texas sun,
and later that day
in the wings of hundreds of butterflies we found feasting on the abundance of Texas wild flowers.
Rare this time of year.
And, there are the browns.
The sure sign of the first freeze.
It comes much later here.

I love it here. I can breathe in, and I can breathe out. Pure, fresh air.
No expectations. No hurry.

I love it here.
But then, once I am home,
I am looking forward to a Suitcase Sale in San Antonio.
Ahhh, I love it here (too).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

{Echo} Week 3 - abundance:light

This week's Echo prompt: Abundance.
I chose abundance:light.
Abundant and so very important in my life.
Something I take for granted.

Color would no longer exist without it.
What a bleak thought.
It helps me find my way.
The Brenham House B&B
Brenham, Texas
September 28, 2009

It brightens a dark spot.
Warrenton, Texas

September 26, 2009

It helps me share a beautiful day
one very bright light of my life.
Excess Field
Warrenton, Texas
September 27, 2009

And, as always, visit the originators of Echo:
Chrysti and Susan
for (more) abundance.
You will be blessed.
Addition to post:
The collaboration can be seen here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Warrenton Antique Week Day One

I am often asked what kind of jewelry I design. I have had to think about it before I could answer. I have said more times than once.....(especially this last year),
deconstruct and reconstruct vintage jewelry.
Often I find myself first
deconstructing a vintage piece, most often a rhinestone necklace, bracelet, brooch or shoe clip. I then begin adding and/or subtracting gemstones, pearls and crystals, charms, chain and relics, lockets and vintage findings,
constructing to my heart's desire!

I love scanning Etsy, perusing local antique shops, visiting favorite vendors at antique and quilt shows, AND occasionally happening upon an estate sale.....often times with my daughter. Yep, she too has the bug. No, not looking for vintage jewelry, but for just looking.
That is where it all starts you know.
I can see her now in my mind's eye last September during Antique Week.
She is my spotter. Making that second sweep through a tent is a critical job.
And, she is good at it. Really good.
You never know what you might find hiding in just the most tiniest of places.
Perhaps a lovely old tin sitting unnoticed on the end of a dresser.
How about these? Could I possibly use a pair of children shoes?
Or, how about this lovely old jewelry box?
Perhaps a new
prop for my display table.
I see so many stacks of Mexican sugar molds.
This was a first, rising out of an old washtub ....just like the one my grandma (Josie) used.
Layers of lace piled high on silver cake stands. The lace, $8-$20,
was a little too pricey for me.
I looked further. There is always the next tent.
I find two of these. Stuffed full of lace. And, in a vintage mason jar.
Two for $25 or one for $15...why did I just buy one?

Now on to the good stuff.
That will have to be Day Two.

(Texture credits go to: les brumes)

Monday, November 02, 2009

{Echo} Week 2 - decorate

diane / lani
It never ceases to amaze me how a prompt, in this case through the camera lens, can be interpreted so differently by each contributor. I must admit that this week was quite a surprise. Each of our photos so different, yet so very captivating side by side.
The second week of Susan's and Chrysti's bi-weekly prompt, through the lens of their camera, is
Lani began our collaboration by sending her picture for decorate:
offering. She has more to say about it here.
My contribution is one made up of several layers. Much like adding layers of decorations to an area of my home during the holidays, or outside during different seasons of the year; my pictures were all taken in Santa Fe, New Mexico this past March. I walked Santa Fe that week, camera in hand, snapping hundreds of photos.
More details on what makes up each layer can be found on my flickr.

Want to take this ride with us? Details are found here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

{Echo} Week 1 - Emerge

My ever so talented Visual Poetry teacher, Susan Tuttle, and her likewise talented friend, Chrysti Hydek, have begun an artistic journey together as they explore a bi-weekly prompt (every other Wednesday), through the lenses of their cameras. The first prompt emerge. Their first collaboration is seen here. Visit Chrysti's blog to see their second. We are invited to play along (it's not necessary to pair with someone, but if you do, it is much fun -- just interpret the prompt through your own camera lens, post your photograph on your blog, and leave a link to your post in the comment section of either of their blogs.
I have collaborated with an artist friend, Lani Gerity Glanville, who took Susan's Visual Poetry class, along with me and 28 other artists. I love Lani's interpretation picture(the one on the right), which she said was taken in a butterfly garden. The pumpkin on the left, my way of expressing what emerges ~ beyond. (Click on photo for a larger version).
I look forward to seeing
you there....through your eyes. I believe tomorrow is time for the next prompt!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

where my heart lies

I love this heart I bought from my friend Stephanie Lee right before Valentine's Day. It has been fun to see where it will show up, as my husband and I leave it for each other in different little places.

It also has become a reminder just how fragile life really can be. Like the words in Mat Kearney's song Closer to Love,
"we are just one phone call from our knees".

When I read of the battle a Texas friend was going through,
my heart knew where it should go.

I ache as I know of the road she is walking. It will be a long and winding one. It is not a road I have walked. It is one my mother has walked as she has fought breast cancer.
My friend's name is Tina Wright.
She is battling colon cancer. A friend's note:
Dear Friends,
We are hosting a benefit dinner and silent auction for Tina W
right on October 29th near College Station. Proceeds of the benefit will go towards Tina's brave fight against cancer. We need your help and support to make this event a great success. Please let your creative juices flow and send us items we can use for the silent auction by October 28th. My address is: 3206 Von Trapp Lane, College Station, TX 77845. If would like to attend the event or need more information, please email carolyn.mccully@wwrd.com or call 979-575-6458.
Carolyn McCully

Brazos de Dios, Harley Owners Group
How could I not respond to this? Could my heart really be that hard? What if it were me battling cancer? Maybe one day it will be.
These earrings will be slipped into the mail today.

"1920 pearls"
The pearls I used are vintage Japanese, bought from
Sandy Schor at the International Quilt Festival a couple of weeks ago. They have the most gorgeous buttery glow.

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.
John 13:34