Posts Tagged ‘jewelry’

There, I said it. The first step is acceptance. I’ve tried every type of mind numbing hobby over the years; quilting and sewing when the kids were little, knitting later on and working in a friend’s shop named “Tanglewool.” Of course writing, cooking and gardening were always there, forming a tapestry of my days, until Great Grandma Ada turned me on to Beads. When I was packing up my aviary last summer, I knew I had to have my beads with me, no matter what!

I’ve already started stringing some green landscape jasper and white jade this morning. Last night I wore a coral and turquoise number to the Love Bug’s school, she was wearing an elephant necklace we’d made together. It was an International Night filled with foods from every corner of the globe, Bollywood dancers and Spanish songs. But I zeroed in on the Mission Table to Uganda – they were selling beautifully intricate paper beads. I realized I was powerless and had to have them.

Before our move to Nashville I’d been venturing outside my comfort zone, knotting pearls and working with tiny seed beads. The results were spectacular but the work was tedious and long. Yesterday I’d stop and look at my design on the dining table, adding something here, subtracting another bead there. This morning after coffee and the daily “damage report” from Bob, I picked out my wire and started stringing.

It’s like a meditation, almost like moving rosary beads in my hands when I was little. Your mind is focused on one thing, all the rest fades into the background noise on the street. And the finished product is uniquely mine, a small piece of art. Out of the chaos of my dining room dresser filled with beads I’ve created something new. Most of the necklaces and bracelets I’ve made I give away as gifts, but sometimes a piece will win me over and it gets to stay.

Some people have said I could sell my creations, who knows? Maybe some day when I get into my Pod and find all those eternity necklaces I made with freshwater and coin pearls. An eternity necklace has no clasp, no hardware or “findings” as we say in the Biz. I wonder what people would pay for them? There is some research yet to be done, and there are plenty of cute boutiques in the area, surely one of them might give it a try? But who knows, what if they don’t sell? Wait, there’s always Etsy!

My sister Kay made beautiful needlepoint pillows, I treasure the one on our bed in the likeness of our Corgi, Tootsie Roll. I have the white cotton coverlet my Nana crocheted over a hundred years ago, and I sent the lilac Easter sweater the Flapper knit to our cousins in California. What treasures will our children and grandchildren decide to keep, and what will go to Goodwill? Everybody is wired differently, and stringing melts away the small, still, everyday stress of life, like reading a good book.

Robins are dancing outside on the grass, and a squirrel keeps promenading up and down the sidewalk. I’m thinking of Spring colors, the yellow burst of buds, the soft green of moss. It’s time for some spring cleaning, but not before I finish this necklace.


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Things are springing up around our little house. Crocus are about to bloom, daffodil leaves are reaching for the sun, and temperatures have been hovering around 70. No bugs or humidity yet; “This is what California is like all the time,” I said to Bob in my most ingratiating tone of voice.

When we were living in New England, this time of year was called “Mud Season.” Snow was melting and everyone coveted a “mud” room, a place to ditch your dirty clothes and hats and gloves and boots before entering your house. The rest of the country might call this a back porch. But Berkshire sentimentality aside, I love seeing bluebirds playing on my deck. Spying a Tiffany-blue breast makes me want to break out in song!

Bob breaks out the tractor and the gardening tools. For him, this is pruning season. When we built this house we picked out every tree and shrub, which means we now must keep them from enveloping us entirely. My French friend looked us up on Google earth and said we must live in a forest, and she’s right. Our tract of land demands constant vigilance! A herd of deer trim our most succulent new growth all winter, and now it’s time for Bob to play his part.

The viburnum, the hydrangeas, the crepe myrtles! No one is immune to Bob’s pruning shears, loppers and hedge trimmers.

Ms Bean must do her part too. She refuses to come in when all the gardening work begins. She offers up a tiny dead field mouse to our back door, while Bob shows me an abandoned bird’s nest at the front door. These “gifts” are received calmly, while I check to see if anyone has taken up residence in the bluebird houses Great Grandpa Hudson put up years ago. Anyone that is, besides the flying squirrel who scared me half to death with her bulging black eyes!

But usually I prefer more indoor activities. The National Men’s Indoor Tennis championships have been taking place at our gym, so exciting matches are on the docket all the time. And when I’m not watching tennis, I was learning how to string and knot pearls this past weekend. It’s slightly meditative once you get the hang of it. It’s an escape from the news.

When a friend told me she and her husband were in a Jewish Community Center yesterday when a bomb threat was phoned in, I didn’t realize it was one of many seemingly coordinated around the country. And I wondered if the Love Bug’s preschool was shut down again for the third time since Mr T’s inauguration. And a knot formed in my stomach, the kind that’s always there whenever I try to suppress an emotion.

I wonder how a president who shouts down an orthodox reporter and scolds him for asking  a complex question about anti-semitism, only to bring up his polling numbers again and again can possibly protect this nation and heal our divided people.

Here is my second attempt at knots, with pearls and lapis – a “so-called” selfie/portrait with Bean and an old gardening broom in the background. img_0119


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OK, so we’re all getting plump on comfort food. We’ve participated in a peaceful demonstration or two, or three…we’ve made calls to the Hill asking that our already “Great” country stop pissing off the rest of the world. Too late, even the Terminator is tired of his tirades. What’s a girl to do?

Retail Therapy of course! I had lunch with Anita this week in the Heart of the Confederacy; which may be second in fervor only to my town, the Capital of the Resistance. And since a certain Rocker Wedding is coming up, I thought I’d do myself a favor and find a good concealer. You know that magical make-up tool that can take ten years off your life. I’ve tried every drug store variety to no avail; too raccoon-like, too cakey, too too.

Nordstrom is my cathedral of choice ever since I stepped foot into their San Francisco store with live piano music in the lobby (and it wasn’t Christmas). I met the Real Cher at the jewelry counter, it was really her in a cowgirl hat, and later found myself treated with dignity and respect by the shopgirls. Today, the Richmond Nordstrom lives up to its name, and has shopboys to boot.

The cosmetics section was hopping after lunch when Anita stopped for some creamy blush. That’s when it hit me, my total concealer fail. Here is my warning to all women of a certain age – NEVER sit down at the cosmetics counter in a fancy department store. Bobbie Brown had me at “Hi, my name is Judy, how can I help you?”

An hour and a half later I had an entirely new face and the smallest, most expensive grey Nordstrom bag stuffed with serums and elixirs and creams promising immortality. Honest. Oh and that thing I wanted, concealer, it was being mailed to me because they were out of it…that Judy could sell Finasteride to Mr T to grow hair…wait.

My therapy continued at the Verizon store where I purchased a new Iphone 7. Since Judy had wrangled all my contact information out of me, and I almost never give out my email, I was shocked to see all the buzz about Nordstrom in the news on my new cellphone. I finally remembered my Twitter Password when all these heart-felt apologies started scrolling down my palm.

“We’ve always said our buying decisions are guided by brand performance and based on that, we decided not to buy it this season.” 

That sounds strangely like “We decided not to renew his/her contract,” like “You’re Fired” in a nice, democratic tone. What was all the hubub about?

Ivanka Trump’s brand of course. Before I sat down at the Bobbie Brown counter, I had picked up a pair of Ivanka Trump shoes, and had a visceral feeling when I saw that name. Like my hand had been burned. I put them down immediately, and felt the blood rush to my cheeks. I knew enough not to buy Mr T’s wine, but hadn’t heard about this:

“The “Grab Your Wallet” campaign has now targeted more than 60 companies — a group that includes Trump’s golf courses and hotels, those that sell Trump-branded goods, and other businesses whose leaders endorsed Trump or donated to his campaign.”

Now this is a Buycott I can get behind. Thank you Nordstrom! https://grabyourwallet.org

Next week we’ll be headed to the desert for Ms Cait and the Rocker’s big day. Continually beading bracelets in shades of green has given me solace as well. African turquoise, jade, Dragonblood jasper and jade are spinning round and round in my hands, like Rosary beads that once offered redemption and courage.  img_0006


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Last night I had the pleasure of meeting Beatrix Ost, http://www.beatrixost.com, a surrealist artist, theatre producer, designer and fashion icon. It was like meeting a haiku, elusive yet familiar. One cannot help being drawn to her. Wrapped in a long silk, printed sheath, her hair in a turban, she wore pointy toed yellow boots from another century. It seems she divides her time between a farm in Cville and an apartment in NYC.

Ost told the group at her book signing that she had wanted to interview several interesting people – such as the war photographer who lost three limbs in an IED explosion – and she asked each person one question:

“What is the marrow in your bones?”

And so she began to tell us all what drives her to continue creating art. She grew up after the war in Germany, with very little. Hardship is a fine anvil when coming of age. She remembered an aunt who lived outside the city, on a farm. This woman had taken an American officer as a lover, and so she would drive into the city to visit Ost and her mother in a Jeep. Cars were also very rare at the time. Out of the Jeep stepped a magnificent  creature; her aunt was wearing the officer’s jacket, belted tightly around her waist, epaulets at the sleeves, and cork espadrilles. She was stunning.

A sense of style and the meaning of adornment, of creating beauty in the midst of chaos was born. And just recently she met Camille Hautefort, a young woman who was making jewelry out of salvaged bombs from Laos. The woman handed her a weightless spoon one night, it was made from the ordnance found in the highlands of Xieng Khuang province, in the village of Ban Naphia , and Ost said she was so moved she nearly cried holding it in her hand. She knew she wanted to collaborate on jewelry design.

Now this company, Article 22, is helping artisans in Laos and clearing unexploded bombs from fields. Ethical jewelry. And I thought of all the bombs our country has dropped, all over the world. Of how women and children suffer in war-torn countries because men like to play at war. Of how our local candidate for Congress, Jane Dittmar, recently tweeted:

There is an armed man outside of our Fluvanna office intimidating volunteers – if you feel uncomfortable please contact 911 immediately.

Here is a film of Ost’s “Wild, incredible paradise” in the Virginia countryside: https://www.nowness.com/story/no-sour-meadows And you will find her book ,“The Philosopher’s Style,” along with this transformative jewelry at Lynne Goldman Elements, downtown Cville. img_5437


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Last weekend, we had our good friends Al and Mary Jo aka MJ over for dinner. They are a big part of our history; we vacation with them frequently as part of the “Big Chill Thanksgiving.” Al graduated from high school with us, and he lived with Bob during part of college at Duke and med school. Our adult kids are more like cousins. When Al’s Mother Angie died over the Bride’s wedding weekend, he didn’t tell us. Great Grandma Ada and Angie were pretty close, and he didn’t want to cast a shadow over the festivities.

That’s a special kind of friend. One who figures out how to raise an unheated pool’s temperature just enough by recycling the water through black hoses in the sun. Yep, this engineer made a solar water heater for me on one trip! And MJ is a retired psych nurse, so her sense of humor is totally aligned with mine. While they were here, I gave MJ a gift of one of my eternity necklaces. IMG_3855I’ve been stringing pearls and seed beads like crazy lately. It’s a way to create and relax, to focus on one thing for awhile. Since I broke my finger, knitting has taken a back seat to stringing.

So when I saw an “MJ FEVER” license plate in a parking lot, I had to chuckle. I’d just started reading the non-fiction book, “Age of Ambition – Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in the new China” by Evan Osnos. His very first sentence is about the term the Chinese use for a new fashion, a trend, and even an American police show on TV:

Whenever a new idea sweeps across China – a new fashion, a philosophy, a way of life – the Chinese describe it as a “fever.” In the first years after the country opened to the world, people contracted “Western Business Suit Fever”…and “Private Telephone Fever”…

Such an apt term. A fever is fleeting, like snap bracelets and dance aerobics. It’s like the tide, but it can also be an obsession. We here in corporate America take our fevers very seriously. For instance, the latest arbiter of color for fashion has come out with its Spring colors. And in this pusillanimous political climate it’s no wonder the fashion industry wants to inject a bit of peace and calm into fashion week!

Pantone has deemed Rose Quartz to be the color of the moment.

“Rose Quartz 13-1520 Percentage of designers who used this color: 22.55 This really is a beautiful pink that will radiate well on the skin for women as well as men,” Eiseman said. “Women can always be helped along by cosmetics, but guys have to rely on the colors they’re wearing to sometimes make them look a little healthier.”   http://wwd.com/fashion-news/designer-luxury/pantones-top-10-colors-for-spring-2016-hint-at-calm-10214532/

I wonder if the Republicans changed their tie colors to rose quartz instead of red, I wonder if they’d stop sounding like schoolyard ruffians? I don’t know about you, but I have Spring Fever. Our crocus leaves are up, no flowers yet but buds are bulging on trees. Bob has been pruning to beat the band, he has a “Pruning Fever.” My necklaces are very Downton, one might say I have an “Eternity Necklace Fever.” And they are MJ approved and getting pinker every day.   IMG_3897



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