My little angel turned 11, such a magical age, full of passion and possibility. My daughter often comments on how much alike my granddaughter and I are, we are interested in the same things, we have the same sense of humor, we both love being creative and we both love shoes and hats!
She has such a sweet loving spirit, she is a wise soul for her age and is full of compassion for others. I adore her!
Isabella spent the weekend with me before her Birthday Party so my daughter could redecorate her room as a surprise. We had so much fun, shopping, baking, watching movies and re-organizing my sewing room, (Isabella's idea), I didn't want the weekend to end.
We made Marie Antoinette cupcakes, (Thank you Constance for the inspiration), and she modeled one of my hats.
When I took her home my daughter surprised her with her completely remodeled bedroom.
This was done by my daughter after she completed a three tier deck off the back of the house, what amazing girls I have.
I have always been fascinated with angels. This fascination came from many hours spent at mass in St. Mary's Star of the Sea Catholic Church in Jackson, Michigan.
These images are so ingrained in my mind they are a part of me. As a very little girl whenever I would get fidgety, which little girls often do when required to sit for long periods of time, my Mom would bend down and whisper in my ear, "Just look at the stained glass windows". I became mesmerized by these images, they were hauntingly beautiful. The way the light shone through them illuminating every intricate detail.
I remember thinking about how powerful and yet sad the angels were. One window depicted a battlefield with wounded soldiers and nurses attending to them with angels hovering above, and so began my fascination.
As an adult these images never left me, when I began to sculpt I was drawn to sculpting these magnificent winged creatures. These are just a few of the small angels I have done, they are not magnificent in size they are what I call my angel sketches. I sculpted them directly in stoneware with a sewing needle and then fired them in my kiln, they are about four to five inches in size.
I call the last one "Guardian". Growing up in the Catholic faith there was always a lot of talk about Guardian Angels. I used to wonder what mine looked like. What I have learned since those very innocent times is that if you want to know, you have to look in the mirror. I have learned that sometimes you have to be your own guardian and protect yourself, trust your instincts and try to make good choices. There have been times I have failed miserably at this. Once in a while though when life knocks me down so hard I don't think I can get back up, a strength comes that I didn't know I had.....you never know..... maybe an angel, helping me up.
I sometimes daydream about living in an old country estate in France. Today as I was traveling through blogland, I stumbled upon a post about Madame de Pompadour's country house being on the market. This fueled a search for real estate in France. I got lost for a couple of hours just wandering through magnificent estates. I tried to imagine what it would be like to live in one of these amazing, centuries old places, somehow held in a time and space that no longer exists, like living in some sort of alternate universe.
Daydreaming can certainly be a sweet and brief departure from reality and just like coming back from a vacation, it is always good to be home. I love my petite space on the planet!
A peony in my garden.
A Tiramisu Cake, made with love for my family.
An antique cement planter.
A place to hang my necklaces.
A trinket holder that belonged to my Mom.
A funky antique hand mirror.
A precious lamp my sister gave me for my birthday.
The beautiful silver wing, a gift from my son.
It is great to fuel the imagination and bring pieces of it into reality. I may not live in an old stone farm house in France but I can create a bit of the feeling it evokes. I think I may start in the garden!
I love to create little vignettes. I worked for many years in visual merchandising, first for a large department store and then for an art gallery and gift shop and then I had my own boutique. I then worked freelance for a couple of shops, in a nearby resort town, creating their seasonal window displays. I guess you could say I am a frustrated shopkeeper.
Telling stories with the things that we hold dear, for whatever reason, is a little like journalling using three dimensional items.
This vignette is made up of a set of Book House Books that had belonged to my mother as a child, an antique framed print of "Hope", by George Frederic Watts, two McCoy cornucopia vases, a cement garden angel, Mccoy bookends and some dried branches.
I always find myself drawn to winged creatures, angels, birds, butterflies and such.
This is not part of a vignette, just a favorite antique hand embroidered pillow on linen.
Another vignette with books, branches and a little girl.
It is nice to have things around us that are aesthetically pleasing and so often those things hold sentimental value, usually because they remind us of a person or event we hold dear. I have many of my mothers things around me, she has been gone for four years now, there is not a day that goes by that I don't miss her terribly.
When I was about eleven I asked my mom if I could please put her silver and onyx baby ring her father had given to her as a gift when she was born, on a necklace chain and wear it. She said it would be fine. I cherished it, and then one day it was gone, the chain must have broken and I didn't notice. I searched everywhere and agonized over how to tell her, then finally one evening, when she was saying goodnight, I burst into tears, I could barely speak. She grabbed me and hugged me close and asked what was wrong. Through tearful sobs I finally told her about the precious baby ring. She hugged me even tighter and said,"It is just a thing and things don't matter, only people".
This has helped me so many times, to put things in perspective, especially when life can so easily go askew.
The most precious vignettes are the ones with people in them, so I will leave you with a picture of me with one of my favorite people, my sweet, beautiful daughter, whom I cherish deeply.
Let me introduce you to Fiona. I adopted Fiona from a rescue shelter a few months after my cat, Hendrix, who had been with me for fourteen years, died. Fiona was the saddest looking cat at the shelter, a little misfit, with a piece of her ear missing, and a depressed look on her face, I knew she needed a lot of love. Here she is, she has been with me for about six months now and she is one happy cat these days. She is never more than a few feet away from me. She likes to find places to perch that she can just barely fit on.
Now that you have met Fiona, I will show you my latest creation. In going through my stash of ribbon, I was inspired by a peachy copper ribbon, and still longing for spring, made some ribbon flowers and embellished them with some iridescent pearl beads and copper chain. I also made a small pair of earrings to complement the necklace.
I love felting! My first experience with felting came quite by accident when I washed a favorite wool sweater in warm water. Intentional felting ends in a much better result most of the time.
I decided to try my hand at Nuno Felting after seeing many beautiful, wearable items made using this technique. If you are not familiar with this method, it is the felting together of silk crepe, (or other natural fabric) with wool roving. I thought I should probably experiment with a small piece to start, since I wasn't sure how it would turn out.
I put the wool roving on one side of the fabric and commenced with the felting process. When the final step was completed and the piece was dry, I determined that I liked the silk, ruched side better for what I envisioned. Here is the completed piece, a wrist cuff, embellished with pearls from an antique necklace, and silk ribbon.
I laced the cuff with the silk ribbon after inserting grommets.
I love the random ruching effect that takes place during the felting process, here is a little closer look.
I am excited to try this again soon, it is always fun to venture into unfamiliar territory, learn something new and end up with a piece of wearable art!
I decided to make a wearable accessory a week! In wanting to expand my skills, I plan to explore new mediums and new techniques. My first piece combines mostly new objects and one found piece I have had for quite some time and have not known what to do with until now.
The winter here in Michigan is very cold, snowy and mostly grey, but....there is always the promise of spring, and what better reminder than a flower to make it feel like it is just around the corner.
The flower is made out of seashells, this combined with the sea green glass and the mother of pearl also reminds me that if spring is on it's way then summer is not far behind.
Sending you dreams of flowers, warmth and sunshine.
In the mean time we will just have to throw another log on the fire.
New year, fresh start. My sister gave me a wonderful gift, she constantly gives me the gift of encouragement, and along with it she has given me a catalyst to creativity. If you have not already heard of "365: A Daily Creativity Journal", then let me be the first to share it with you. Noah Scalin created this journal based on his experience with committing to creating something every day for an entire year. What I love about this concept is that it forces you (in a good way) to challenge yourself daily.
My sister also gave me a sweet little ornament designed by the wonderful Kelly Rae Roberts. www.kellyraeroberts.blogspot.com. Another reminder to create.
I am excited about the prospect of creating something every day, and as much as I want to, I am leaning toward creating something once a week. The author says "there are no rules". I do not want to undermine myself before I even begin, so, knowing my work schedule and given the energy drain my 9 to 5 causes, I am going to be realistic and go forward with a once a week plan for now. If time and energy permit, I will certainly do more.
Having made the decision about how much, now comes the best part of all...What. What shall I choose as my theme, subject or medium? I loved reading about the things people chose. The author of the journal chose to create a skull a day, it was amazing to see what he came up with. This is the magic of the challenge, no matter what the subject matter, the possibilities are endless.
Armed with my journal, reminder, and a pair of reading glasses, (never thought I would need them), I am off to make a decision. I will reveal my first creation within the next week!
Be sure to check out the blog and the journal, even if you don't want to do something like this, there is a lot of inspiration in them.
Hoping for new and wonderful things to come your way in the New Year!