09 January, 2014

Fits and Starts

Alright, alright.
Last year wasn't a total suckfest.
I did get a new niece. And she's pretty fantastic.
And there were some other not so terrible spots, spots that I filled by starting things.
I'm very good at starting things.
But not so very good at finishing them.
Like "Infinite Jest".
I started reading it on vacation. In October.
 It was one of those perfect beach weeks: warm-bordering-on-hot, sunny, and off season, so there was no one, no one, around.
A seemingly perfect time to dive into this giant tome of a book.
I got through 171 pages. Of a 981 page book.
Instead, I spent my time napping and working on a wicked sunburn.
And haven't touched it since I took it out of my suitcase.
I enjoyed those 171 pages. And I fully intend to enjoy the remaining 810 before the end of 2014.
I also started knitting a blanket,
A blanket that I thought about knitting for, like, 2 years beforehand.
So maybe I'm not so good at starting things, after all.
But anyway.
This blanket is a patchwork extravaganza.
A million little squares.
Each knit in a different pattern
(I have this old Reader's Digest book of stitch patterns. I think it belonged to one of my grandmothers.)
The going is slow.
It may wind up on my bed by the time fall winter 2014 rolls around.
Or maybe 2015.
I also finally started watching the first season of "Girls".
Wait- I might have actually started that this year.
Either way. I plan on finishing it sometime in the next 12 months.
Under my new blanket, with my feet propped up on my giant ottoman of a book.
Cheers to that.

06 January, 2014

Auld Lang Syne

And so here we are.
Here, in a bright and shiny new year.
And here, in this place, my own personal, but decidedly not private, corner of cyber space.
And it feels good to be here.
It feels good to be anywhere that isn't the year that just passed.
For that year was a dark and terrible place. Right from the get-go, and through to the very end.
A dark and terrible year that taught us invaluable life lessons; like don't ever, ever, ask how it could be worse.
And to never take a moment for granted.
A year that none in my family wanted to see, actually see, the end of; opting instead to hide under the duvets, desperately willing ourselves to sleep through the chime of midnight, emerging on the other side in a clean, fresh year.
And so we did. And here we are.
And maybe this year isn't as bright and shiny as years past, but it is new.
Wrought with opportunity and unchartered territories.
For us, anyway.
And we will navigate these new and choppy seas.
And we will seize opportunities- another lesson learned.
We will carry on.
Why shouldn't we?
There's too much in this great big world to not stop and appreciate just a little bit of it.
So here's to new beginnings.
New adventures.
And to feeling alive again.

07 August, 2013

Summer Lovin'

One of the great joys of summer is, undoubtedly, a good, juicy, beach read.
For me, this usually means becoming engrossed in a Patricia Cornwell novel.
Not exactly trashy, by most standards, but not exactly cerebral, either.
Just a mindless escape for a few hundred pages.
(After all, isn't the escape all we really want in a summer read?)
However, when it comes to warm weather reading, most, it seems, gravitate towards romance novels.
Don't believe me?
Take a look at the half concealed covers of those lazily reading on blankets in city parks; on beaches;
barefoot at the edges of fountains.
You'll probably find at least half of the word "Harlequin" and at least part of Fabio's face peeking out between fingers not quite wide enough to hide the whole cover.
That is, of course, unless that romance novel has fallen into
 the incredibly talented hands of Lauren Scanlon.
But it's what Scanlon, a paper cut artist, does with the inside of these books that really wows.
Using, fittingly, the floral motifs of vintage bedding as her inspiration,
she and her army of blades attack page after page of tales of burning lust and desire
with the same passion she used to read those same pages, given to her by her grandmother, as a child.
{all images Lauren Scanlon}
 Summer reading has never looked better.

31 July, 2013

It's All In The Details

When it comes to clothing, I am an absolute sucker for a quirky detail.
I swoon over a perfectly off set pocket or pleat.
Gasp at the hem stitched in a color that doesn't belong...but really, couldn't be more perfect.
And if something has a clever tag? Particularly one with a scrap of ribbon or a tiny charmed doo-dad hanging from the end?
No question, that particular garment will be finding a new home in my closet.
So you can imagine the breathless squeal I emitted when I happened upon these beautiful Isabel Marnat pieces with dreamy landscapes printed by French artist Emilie Faif.


And though these gorgeous scenes are concealed inside the garments, you can place a sure bet that, were I to see them hanging on a shop rack, and had the deep pockets it would take to make them mine, I would most certainly do so.
And I would feel especially lovely every time I wore them,
despite the fact that no one would see the details that make the pieces so special.

{all images via Emilie Faif}
Like my own private art collection.

30 July, 2013

Go Go Go! On An Adventure

I've been pretty quiet around here lately.
Ok, fine. Downright silent.
But not without good reason.
I've been busy...cultivating...other aspects of this handmade lifestyle.
I've added a slew of new shows to an already busy repertoire.
I've gotten the pretties into a few shops (VIX Emporium in Philadelphia, PA and Modern Charm in Terre Haute, IN...and maybe more to come ;)).
And with all of this cultivating and growing of opportunities to sell comes the need to develop and make more, and most notably, new, product.
So I've been busy doing just that.
Some of it has yet to catch on.
But some of it...well, phrases like "gangbusters" and "like wildfire" come to mind.
And all it took was a simple change to something I was already doing (always room for improvement; for change).
I've been making my pretty hooks since the beginning, but they've only really taken off in the last year.
But when I changed it up with the addition of a map?
It seems people have a fondness for a sense of place.
It seemed a pretty good recipe.
So I applied it to tote bags, too.

They pretty much sold out at the first show I had them available at.
So now, while I keep myself busy enjoying this virtual road trip traveled through accessories,
I am plotting my next big move.
Keeping busy.
On all fronts.


29 July, 2013

All A-Buzz

Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to at long last introduce you to the newest member of the hive.
My niece, E., was born just shy of two months ago.
She came screaming into the world at a little under five pounds.
But don't let her size fool you- she has a head full of red hair and the sass to match it.
She's been letting everyone know just who's in charge since she was still in the womb,
and that hasn't changed in the short time she's been out.
She has each and every one of us wrapped around her long, slender fingers;
particularly her two big brothers, who are pretty certain the sun sets and the moon rises just for her.
And they just might be right.

31 May, 2013

Beyond the Sea

When I was a little girl, my grandparents, like so many of their generation who had spent their entire lives in the Northeastern US, decided to pack up the house that my grandfather had built, the one with the pool and the really big rock in the backyard, and move to Florida.
They built a new house, a rancher, with a screened-in pool and wall-to-wall brown pile carpeting- even in the bathroom. And this new house they built on the Gulf Coast of Florida was butted right smack up against a town with a really funny name: Weeki Wachee.
This new house that they built seemed to be a million miles away from here- we had to either take a plane or drive for days to  get there. But when we did, it was magical.
Because this far-off town with the funny name, the town butted right smack up against my grandparents' new home, had a pretty big claim to fame: it had a live spring full of just as live mermaids.
Real, honest-to-God mermaids.
And to a six year old girl  in the early 1980's, there wasn't much more wonderful than a mermaid (unless you could produce a unicorn).
The mermaid show at Weeki Wachee Springs has been running since the middle of the last century.
And I went to see it every single chance I got.
I almost think that I was more excited about seeing the mermaids than about seeing any of the various family members who had followed my grandparents' migration south.
For these mermaids were no mere mermaids.
They were also ballerinas, who danced their dance deep under the spring.
They ate bananas.
They drank bottles of Coca-Cola.
Under water!!!
They were about as perfect as things could get when you were a six year old girl.
Or even a slightly older girl,
who still believes anything is possible.
Even mermaids.

29 May, 2013

On The Road Again

{J.D. Salinger writes. At a nudist colony.}
Oh, hey there, hello again.
You're still here? Glad to see it.
Seems the last time I checked in, it was the dead of winter. And then this past weekend came, marking the official unofficial start to summer.
And that seemed as good a place as any to start this back up.
The perfect time to start an adventure.
And we can go on this one together. A sort of virtual road-trip; a meandering journey through cyber space.
Jaunts to far-off lands that require no passports; stopping along the way to admire things that are often pretty; sometimes wondrous.
An odyssey. An exploration.
A new beginning.
Buckle up.
Because off we go!

26 February, 2013

Quiet is the New Loud

The world is a noisy place.
Traffic. Construction. Crowds. Other people's cell phone conversations. Horns. Bells. Whistles.
It can be hard to shut that out; even if it is managed, there's still the noise within to contend with.
All of the thoughts, the plans, the ideas.
The never ending list running through your mind of all the things that need to be done, the things that have already been done: were they done well enough? Could they have been done better?
Searching through all of the memories, facts, useless information stored in the deepest recesses of your brain, trying in vain to find the punch line to the joke you were in the middle of telling.
The fragment of song that has been stuck on repeat for your ears only.
Not to mention the distractions.
Finding a moment of stillness, of quiet and peace, is fleeting at best.
But that fleeting moment is just what Mexican photographer Miguel Morales (Oidos Sordos) manages to capture in his beautiful, double-exposed portraits.
Superimposing nature scenes, cityscapes, and sunsets over top of human profiles, Morales creates images of internal stillness and reflection.


21 January, 2013

Metal Baby

I have spent the better part of this brand new year completely immersed in jewelry.
Turning old brooches into floral garden bib necklaces, the bigger the better.
Turning slightly smaller flower collages into corsage-like cuff bracelets.
Re-imagining old clip-on earrings, marrying them with natural stones to give them a more modern nod.
And just about anything not nailed down is now a cocktail ring; enough for every finger.
Rebuilding my collection; so much of what had been there found its way under the Christmas trees and stuffed in the stockings of lucky ladies all over Philadelphia and beyond.
The necessity for this rebuilding at such a fast and furious rate is the upcoming
 Clover Market Winter Market, which promises to be big.
And it's that promise that has me spending equal amounts of time staring into space in an uninspired panic.
 During those times of panic, I often find myself wasting hours online, clicking and searching and hoping to find that missing bit of inspiration.
And every now and then, I stumble upon something that grabs me and shakes me and makes me say wow.
Like these uh-mazing pieces by Taiwanese designer Heng Lee.
Combining metal pieces that look almost pixilated with embroidery inspired by traditional Chinese design, Lee's strange bedfellows make for the perfect marriage of modern vs. ancient, soft vs. hard.
And they are completely inspired.