Friday, December 26, 2008
She was pregnant, and as far as I knew, quite happy. Her ex-husband had custody of their only child and lived several provinces away, she seldom was able to see her son. The baby was a girl, and was due on January 15th, 1997.
On Christmas Eve of 1996 I saw her in the hallway as I was leaving to spend Christmas with my family. She looked wonderful and I told her so, and she said "Happy Christmas, Karen".
On Boxing Day of 1996, very early in the morning she was murdered by her common-law husband.
This is tragic in more ways than I can say. I had not realized what had been going on. I attributed some things to her personality, and others to the stresses of the season. Only her very closest friend had known the extent of the problem. This close friend had advised her to come over to me the next time there was a violent incident, but my neighbour said she was too embarrassed to let me know what was going on.
I have no philosophical pronouncement, nor any word of wisdom to offer. I hope if I am ever in a similar situation (which gods forbid), that I will pay more attention to the signs. Yes, there were a few signs. And every Boxing Day I remember those two lives taken so cruelly, and I hope they know that they are remembered.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Sending out loving wishes to you all. Especially warm loves to those of you who have lost a loved one at or near this time of year (Veronica, Christopher, Anne), though I am sure they are sending their love to you still. My wish is that we can all enjoy the colors and sounds and textures of the season, and remember that we are loved.
"...Those shining boughs with their strange fruitage of gifts have power to bring hope and good cheer to lonely hearts the world over. They are the symbols, which the Spirit of Christmas sets ashine, of that Tree of Life. And the Spirit of Christmas is only another name for Love, and it is Love alone, the human and divine together, which can bring about the healing needed by hearts in every nation..."
----Annie Fellows Johnston, 1910
The universe gave me the best gift yesterday. I was downtown doing a few errands and I was halfway to the library, sipping my treat of a skinny hazlenut latte (with nutmeg), when I decided suddenly to turn around and go back to visit our local farmers market. I didn't need anything at the market, but it's always pretty this time of year, full of flowers and lovely fruit and good smells. I thought I'd just wander through and enjoy, and then get back to my list of things to do. I was looking at some flowers when I heard a familiar voice say "KAREN!!! Karen Elmquist! I was just GOOGLING you!!!"
It was my dear friend Mia! We worked together years ago and had lost touch. And oddly I had recently been thinking about her too! Mia and Sam and I used to get laughing so hard we would cry!
We sat down and talked for two and a half hours! It was so so great to see you Mia!! best surprise gift ever! I will NOT lose touch again!
I also got to meet her friend Greg and we had some very interesting conversation. It was really a treat, thank you!
I must also take a moment to wish Miss Isabella a VERY happy birthday!! Eat lots of cake! Save me a frosting rose!
The beautiful angel picture at the top of this post was taken by our friend Marilyn in Ephesus, Turkey. Thanks M for letting me use it!
Sunday, December 21, 2008
I enjoy contemplating the past on the Winter Solstice...and not just my personal past, for better or worse, but the way-back past, the misty past, the past we can only know through speculation. We can learn so much form archeology, but so much is hidden from us. We do know with certainty though that this day was noted and commemorated by all of our ancients, throughout the world. That continuity of thought and mind is a wonderful thing to consider and embrace.
Cris has beautifully said much of what I've been thinking on her blog, check it out.
I wish you all joy of the return of the light.
And I pledge to myself to remember that each day, each hour, each minute and each second is a new beginning. Have wings, and use them!
We have spent a pleasant quite day, out of the cold, snug and peaceful. This picture was taken a few years ago but it's one of my favorites of the meadow in winter.
I did just a little decorating to conserve my energy...I have approximately , um, an uncountable number of antique and vintage Christmas ornaments, and much as I love them, it really is a lot of work to drag them out, spread them all over the house and then put them all away again! They are a delight, but they are having a nice rest this year! When I worked in retail, for many years my walk to work took me past a thrift store and I went in every single day. Those were the mythical "good old days" of thrifting, seriously, and I bought hundreds of valuable old blown glass ornaments for pennies...and other things, figural Santas and Christmas ephemera, chenille wreaths and bottlebrush trees...I was teased unmercifully about it at work, vintage Christmas wasn't really fashionable or desirable at the time. HA! It has been many years since I've seen any at a thrift. Here are a few sweet Victorian postcards. It's fun to read the messages.
The mantle, there is a wonderful fire int he fireplace tonight. The stocking was sent to me for my first Christmas by my Auntie Ivy and Uncle Claude, so it's very old. Hehehh! Yes, the left hand poinsettia plant is in a plant stand made from a WWI artillery shell. So has an interesting if rather militant taste in collectibles. I say, if you can't blow it up, put a flower in it!
We actually had an hour or two of sunshine yesterday, such a rarity here lately, it has been so dark. Valentine is convinced that if the sun is shining it is SUMMER. She wanted outside so badly I finally let her go out.
WTH? This is COLD!
I do not approve. Is it better over here?
To HELL with this! Want in! Poor kitty. It took her a good 10 minutes to lick her toes back to tolerable warmness!
Friday, December 19, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
We're off to the lake in a few hours and I'll be spending the week up there with plenty of peaceful time for work and pleasant projects. I'll do a bit of baking, work on my murrine and some silver clay work I'm looking forward to. Lots more ebay items to prepare, too.
I haven't received my print Bead and Button Class Catalogue in the mail yet, but the class list went live today on the show website. There are some great selections to ponder though one instructor I was hoping to take a class with, a wonderful beadmaker named Andrea Guarino, is not teaching this year. It will be fun to figure out which classes I would like to take and make it happen!
I was very sad to see that pin-up icon Bettie Page passed away today at the age of 85. I knew she was in a coma so it wasn't an unexpected thing. I hadn't realized what a complex and tumultuous life she had led. I have always loved her joie de vivre which came across so clearly in her photos, and that incandescent smile was simply unforgettable. Here's to you, Bettie, you'll never be forgotten!
I opened my etsy store today, it was really easy to figure out their user-friendly listing system. There is a link to it just above my picture on the top left. I'll be adding more beads, jewelry and fairy dolls just as soon as I can get really nice photos taken.
I hope you all have lovely weekends. Stay out of the malls if you can possibly help it, it's really not good for your stress level!
Monday, December 8, 2008
Here is the beginning of a project, pretty impressive for three hours of work, huh? I know, it is not terribly impressive! This is an eye murinne, I got a very nice even pull of about 15" and another larger inch at each end I can cut off with the saw.
It was about the size of two golf balls when it was ready to pull.
A little flattened at the end, but still usable, it can be heated and pulled smaller.
Friday, December 5, 2008
...Tackling the laundering of the mountains of linens from the last auctions sale, the washer and dryer have been happily humming along, 11 loads so far, not nearly done yet. Dear Santa, I would like an automatic linen-ironing robot, please.
...trying to photograph some quilts and chenilles. The sun will shine brilliantly for a few minutes, so I stop what I am doing here, race to the room the quilts are set up in, take photos frantically for that few minutes, and then the sun disappears and it snows for a while. I really, really prefer natural light for my photos which is quite difficult in the Canadian winter!
...enjoying looking at these wonderful c.1880 Berlin woolwork patterns for embroidered slippers.Delighting in the unexpected color harmonies of thrift store finds! A Fire King Blue Delphi bowl, packages of vintage baby ric-rack, a mohair scarf, a silk tuxedo scarf, a 50's edition of the Borrowers.
...playing with these GREAT 1930's Czech glass beads. Aren't they a gorgeous color? But wait...there's more!
They're vaseline glass and they POP under blacklight!
...tracking down some missing images for my ebay store. Don't know how they got deleted, I am so careful, but fortunately I have most of them on file
...working on the face drawing for my murrine project. The first part (the eye) is done but it's just too dark to photograph today, I have some fun little owl beads to show too, maybe tomorrow.
...FINALLY getting some egg beads ready for my Etsy store!
...being grateful that these people are not our neighbours. Interesting, but one look was enough, and this would send So screaming down the street with her hands over her ears. I hope they live far, far out in the country!!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
A few interesting things to look at:
Some stunning underwater sculptures by artist Jason de Caires Taylor.
Anne's web sale of her bold fine silver and gemstone pieces...I envy whoever gets one of these for Christmas!
Metal Detecting World, a fascinating site by a dedicated metal detector and relic hunter.
Molecular jewelry at Made with Molecules . I'll take a dozen of the serotonin, please and throw in a chocolate and an estrogen while you're at it!
Cor Silver soap at Wishingfish...do you suppose all these claims are true? I'm pretty sceptical!
Kim Miles is blogging about her teaching trip to Africa .
Cute silly iPod "Lego" speakers at Wishingfish.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Our last few days of vacation were spent relaxing at sea, then a final day in Miami...So rested and I indulged in another visit to Anthropologie. Such a fascinating store and concept. It's probably for the best that there are no stores closer to home than a two hour drive.
Our flight home was uneventful...except that a woman two rows ahead of us had her cat with her. His name was Tucker, I got to pet him in the airport and received a nice kiss on the nose from him (which I appreciated as I was really missing Valli at that point!) She was flying from Miami to Detroit, had a 1/2 hour stopover and then was flying to Germany. The cat was in a soft carry on, the kind that can go under the seat, and he was not impressed by this. She was wonderful with him and obviously adored him, and I am SO glad he wasn't checked into the cargo hold (which I really think is barbaric), but his plaintive me-yowls were breaking my heart so I spent the flight with my iPod turned up to almost hearing-damaging levels.
Yesterday I tackled some of the work waiting for me but pooped out by 9:00 PM, and decided that was it for the day!
The work will always be there, it will get done when it gets done. Today I am back in town, with a short list of stuff to do, to ease me back into the daily routine.
I have some projects planned and some interesting ideas I'm looking forward to trying, though it's chilly in the studio. Fortunately the radiant heater I bought two years ago really makes a difference, as do various layers of thrift-store cashmere. (Being from the thrift store I don't care if I burn holes in it with flying hot glass!)
I'm looking forward to my upcoming offerings for ebay...lots of work to prepare them, but there will be some very nice things with good age. I have quantities of lace, some wonderful Victorian red damask tablecloths, redwork embroidery, Society silk embroideries (and some of them are spectacular!), a magpies treasure trove of fun rhinestone jewelry, more vintage shoes and hats, and...well you get the idea! If only I could actually get all the work done instantly but alas, good vintage presentation takes time!
Most of the Christmas shopping is done, I'm not finished the gifts I'm making but they are coming together well. My gifts for General Mayhem and Major Destruction have arrived from Japan...Pokemon bento boxes and assorted colorful Japanese sweets. JBox really has cute stuff!
My sister commented once that the boys are reluctant to eat anything new or unusual in the shape of a vegetable, salad or fruit, but if presented with a plate of bizarre, unknown and peculiar candies, would have no trouble chowing down! So hopefully the unintelligible labelling won't present a problem when the ingredients are primarily sugar and/or chocolate!
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Here I am relaxing on the beach on the island of St. Thomas....oh, no, wait, that's not me, it's an iguana. Heheh.
After I took these pictures he perked up and made a beeline for our towels for a little visit. I think he wanted a drink of So's Diet Coke. He certainly seemed to like having his picture taken. The long stripey tail was most alluring, but I've heard they can give you a wicked slash with them so I stayed clear.
Quite relaxed after lunch.
By request, for Samantha, some sculptured fruit. Delightful what they can do with it, and there are different ones every day.
These heavy iron panels were on the ends of all the benches on the French side of the island of Saint Martin. We liked the French side very much, it reminded us of New Orleans.
Today was an at-sea day, and the sea was very rough. Most passengers were staggering around, no matter how hard you try it's very hard to walk a straight line when the boat is rolling ponderously back and forth! It's very soothing for napping, though! And it hasn't affected our appetites (thanks to the Bonamine, for me at least), I am sure I have gained 20 pounds this week. I suppose everyone feels that way on a cruise. It will be quite bleak to go back to making my own breakfast, and my own bed, and not having dessert with lunch every day. But I have a few more days to enjoy it and I will!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
This palatial complex is at the very end of the Port and is only accessible by ferry. It always looks so beautiful in the sunset, and what we can see of the interior looks quite amazing. A different life.
Here is the very front of the ship, it is even more monumental than it appears here! Quite imposing! Truly a floating city.
Another view. Just amazes me that we are floating around in this!
Graceful shapes on the waterfront of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
So and I were quite taken with this pretty horse with it's beautiful markings.
These blue-glazed bricks were apparently used as ballast on cargo ships in the early 19th century, and then reused as cobblestones. The colors and textures are very attractive. I don't think they will let me bring a few of these home with me.
The glazed ceramic tile front of a building in Old San Juan.
Here is the mascot of the "Polo Norte" brand.
And on the other side, the mysterious machine which apparently causes the bottles to have anti-gravity properties. I can't understand why this never caught on!
One of my absolute favorite shops in Old San Juan, "Moon Dance". It's a glorious emporium of beautiful things, mostly from the far east, full of color and sparkle. The staff kitty was around, but was off about her own business when I was taking pictures. She's a tiny wee tabby, and her name, Ranichandra, means queen of the moon. Such a big name for a wee cat!