Thursday, December 15, 2011

Angels We Have Heard on High

Dear Friends,

Do you hear what I hear?

It is the sound of...angels!

What do they sound like?

To me, they are the voices of my friends and family, and of strangers who have been kind to me. They are the voices of musicians and performers whose work I love. They are the often silent voices of our animal companions. They are the voices of those who have gone before us, marked with the sign of peace, as the priest says at a Roman Catholic Mass.

At this time of year, angels are everywhere, if you know where to find them.

I went looking for angels today, and found some in different places.

From my friend, an altered heart with a sweet little girl angel.

From watercolorqueen on Etsy, this beautiful angel with a Pembroke Welsh corgi.

A couple of years ago, I bought two of Cindi's prints of angels with Scotties for a family member, who just loved them. She's got all sorts of prints of angels with many different critters. Visit her shop if you don't know what to buy for the animal lover in your life!

Here's something unusual: An angel pin made from beach glass. Terribly sweet!

And for a softer approach...a beautiful felted wool fairy! I love her shades of blue.

I also love these cute (and affordable) angel earrings.

And I have just listed this angel bookmark in my Etsy shop. She also comes in shades of aqua and seafoam green, which I have not listed yet, so if you're interested, please drop me a line!

At this busy time, try to remember to listen for the angels' songs.

I hope you hear them--

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Opening My Heart

Dear Friends,

I hope you will be relieved to find I have not actually fallen off the face of the earth.

I just have not been feeling up to my usually jolly self--despite the onset of the holiday season. Instead of going into the gory details, I will delve right into an announcement: My new Etsy shop, My Vintage Heart, is now open for business! Please visit and take a look around. I plan to add new items as soon as I can, and if there is anything special you'd like to see, please let me know, either by commenting here, or by convo-ing me on Etsy.

Here are a few samples of what I am currently featuring:

Little Angel Ornament

Winter Poppet Bookmark

Crazy Quilted Ornament/Wall Hanging

I hope you enjoy visiting! And while you're there, take a look around at the many, many other crafts by Etsians. Make this a handmade holiday, and support small businesses, whether they are online, or in your hometown.

I will be back soon. In the meantime, stay well and stay warm--

Friday, November 4, 2011

Hats Off!

Dear Friends,

Just a quick note to say how pleased and flattered I am to have been featured in a story in The Times Leader yesterday.

My old friend, Mary Therese, accompanied by photographer Clark van Orden, visited the Luzerne County Historical Society and interviewed Mary Ruth, the curator, and me about the hats. We posed for a photo holding hats from the collection, while wearing hats and gloves. I was so afraid I looked like I had a pancake on my head, but the photo turned out fine!

In the meantime...I've been busy with classwork, artwork and just plain life. I hope to post some of my artwork in the next few days.

Speaking of artwork, if you are interested in some back issues of publications from Stampington & Co., I am selling them in my Etsy jewelry shop. Get 'em while they're hot!

I wish you a happy weekend!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Dear Friends,

This post is dedicated to my good friend, Lynn, for a couple of reasons. First, because when I recently mentioned dressing up as a British schoolboy for Halloween back in 1983 or 1984, she asked to see a photo. Second, because it is her wedding anniversary! And third, because I think Halloween is Lynn's favorite holiday. And so, without further ado, here are some blasts from the past.
P.S. Happy Anniversary to you and Dave!

Halloween, 1977.
Here I am dressed as Scarlett O'Hara at age 13. The occasion was my BFF Ellen's Halloween party. I'm wearing my mom's dress from her college junior prom, ca. 1958. A friend later wore the same dress for Halloween. I think by now it is long gone, though for years it hung in our furnace room storage closet.

It's an interesting experience, wearing a hoop skirt. I really don't know how those Southern belles got around in them. At least I didn't have to wear a corset, chemise and pantalettes underneath. 

Mom and Dad at the prom
Here are my parents, with Mom in The Dress. Don't they make a handsome couple?

And last, but not least...
Halloween 1981
I think I found this dress in my friend Susanne's attic. It was an honest-to-goodness relic from the '60s. Now, some people would say I was not dressed up for Halloween that year, as I was heavily into punk rock anyway. However, I would not have worn a dress to school, most likely.

I wish I still had that handbag! It was faux leopard. Soft and furry!

Lynn, I couldn't find the "British schoolboy costume" photo. It must have gotten lost or tossed at some point. I hope you enjoyed these pics instead.

I wish everyone a Happy (and safe) Halloween!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Last of the Monarchs

Dear Friends,

We are finally getting some beautiful autumn weather, and today was one of those spectacular fall days! Not too hot, and not too cold. And no rain! By mid-afternoon, the sun was shining so brightly I needed my sunglasses.

After I left the historical society for the day, I crossed the street to a lovely garden maintained by a certain lady who shall remain unnamed. For many years now, she has cultivated a "publicly private" garden in the center of the city. Located next to a humdrum parking lot, it brings joy to those who visit from March through November.

I have long dreamed of having a garden that begins its cycle with snowdrops and continues until snowfall, but a lack of yard space, time and other factors have prevented me from doing so. But, anytime I want, I can drop by Mrs. X's garden and see what's blooming.

Today, a squirrel chattered at me crossly as I walked down the sidewalk to view the huge dahlias. I tried to capture him on film and had no luck!

Who did I find, however? The last of the monarch butterflies, no doubt, before he heads to Mexico! This fella (or gal) was incredibly busy, as guessed it! A bee!

This bee was one of several buzzing about, including the fat "bumble" variety, my personal favorite!

On to another dahlia...

...and back again...till he rose into the air and disappeared. Heading south, no doubt.

I'm not sure what kind of flower this is. I've never seen it anywhere else. If you know, please leave me a comment or drop me an e-mail, OK?

Could this be the last rose of summer?

And is this the last of the red hot chili peppers?

Such a beautiful day!

I wish you a beautiful day, too!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Mad About Hats

Dear Friends,

Do you like hats? Are you one of those people who thinks hats should make a comeback?

I definitely am, and that's why I've been a bit absent these past couple of weeks.

I was thrilled to be asked to be guest curator at the Luzerne County Historical Society, for an exhibit titled, "Mad About Hats." As someone with a lifelong interest in both history and fashion, this exhibit was the perfect blend of my interests!

Hats from the early to late 1800s. Aren't they charming?

With the help of the museum's curator, her assistant and my husband, the exhibit was pulled together in just two weeks, opening on October 7.

Children's hats

"Mad About Hats" is accompanying "The Polish in Luzerne County" exhibit, which focuses on the experiences of Polish immigrants who settled here during the "boom years" of immigration in the 18th and 19th centuries. 

Fluffy Edwardian hat

I feel extremely privileged to be able to not only view, but handle these delicate millinery works. Some of them are very tiny--I cannot imagine how small the women who wore them must have been!

Some examples from my favorite era, the1920s, including a girls' basketball uniform beanie

They were made from all sorts of materials--horsehair, velvet, silk, ostrich feathers, felt and fur. The clothing of the past seems so much more glamorous than that of today! Not that I would want to be squeezed into a corset...especially in 90 degree weather...

The fabulous '40s. Check out that evening headdress in front, at left!

There are some adorable crocheted baby caps and bonnets. The handwork on them is unbelievable!

More children's hats. So sweet!

Some samples from the 1950s and '60s

Also included in the exhibit is a case of related ornaments, such as hat pins (which are way longer and more pointy than I had imagined!) and combs.

"Mad About Hats" will run through November 12. If you are in town, please stop by and pass a pleasant hour viewing these vintage beauties!

The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Thought for Today

Image by Mikeinwayne

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Mary Oliver

Dear Friends:

I needed this poem today to remind me that it is OK that I am not a superstar, that I am not burning up the world with my brilliance and that it is OK that I just am.

Every day or so, I see the wild geese flying south, honking their mournful honk, and I feel a certain sadness. A friend found me weeping in a flower garden several days ago. She asked what was wrong, and I replied that the flowers were so beautiful, and I was crying because they would be dead soon. 

"But they're here now," she reminded me. 

And now is all we have. I need to remember that when I worry about what my future holds.

I wish you a wonderful now, a wonderful be and a wonderful am

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Goodbye, September

Hello, my friends--

September came to a close yesterday. I can hardly believe it is October, one of my favorite months. October is the month when the geese fly south, the trees put on one last show before their winter sleep and the squirrels run like mad, gathering food for their winter store. October is the time to savor the last warm, sunny days of the year, and to enjoy things like apple cider, apple dumplings and pumpkin seeds.

October also brings me to the end of the ICAD project. I'd still like to continue with a daily art project, but I am not sure what I will do. No matter--I know it is good (maybe essential) for my soul to make some art every day.

Some of my cards from September are private rants that I won't be showing to anyone. I'll probably include them in my stack when I bind it together, though, since rants are part of me. (Perhaps a too regular part of me, but that's another story).

I have truly enjoyed both making the ICADs and sharing them with all of you. And I want to thank every one of you who has made a comment on my cards, either here on my blog or on my flickr account (see my sidebar for a link). I also look forward to sharing my next art adventure with you as well.

Here are some of my cards:
Little Sisters. Materials used: Scrapbooking paper, image from, transparency, die-cut.
Turquoise. Materials used:  Paper Whimsy image, acrylic paint, assorted papers. 

Watercolor. Materials used:  Frisket, Caran d'ache Neocolor II watersoluble crayons.
Dragonfly. Materials used: Hand-carved stamps, Chalk Inks, Faber-Castell Big Brush pens, Distress Stain, background papers from 7 Gypsies, Glaze and Gelly Roll pens. 
Masking Tape ICAD. Materials used: Tim Holtz stickers, Paper Whimsy image, die cuts, Glaze Pen, acrylic paints, and background created with masking tape.
Tiny Little Houses. Materials used: Portfolio water-soluble oil pastels. 
It Takes a Village. More tiny little houses, this time done with Bic Mark-It Permanent Markers.

Have a wonderful and safe weekend! And, Happy October 1!

Till next time,

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I've got mail!

Hello, Friends--

Is there anything better than getting snail mail? Why, yes, there is--getting mail art!

Recently, I took part in Lenna Young Andrews' "A Summer's Day" postcard swap. I have been collecting postcards for about 40 years now (OK, I'm definitely giving away my age now) and am always happy to add more to my rather large collection. I've taken part in Lenna's swaps before and have been more than pleased with what I have received. The challenge was to make three postcards using the medium of our choice, and complete the phrase "A Summer's Day Is..." on the reverse side. I decided to hold my nose and jump into the water!

I received my three postcards yesterday and today. First into the mailbox was  Cynthia Zdanzukas' fun and flowery card, titled "A Summer's Day is cooled by shady trees."

Cynthia's card incorporates vintage sheet music, fabric flowers, and an image of that good, old-fashioned American pastime for kids in summer: bicycle riding! Cynthia, thank you so much for sharing your vision of a summer's day with me!

 Next, I received a swimming-themed card from Val Cowan in Scotland. Complete with stitched edges, a metal fish and some very cool watery images, Val says, "A summer day is a day for swimming!" I couldn't agree more. Thank you, Val! I'm pleased to add your card to my collection.

And finally, Marion Bockelman of Munster, Germany, has made a postcard to be remembered, just like her summer's day! Two Victorian ladies and three large seashells adorn the front of her card, along with nostalgic rubber stamping. To see more of Marion's artwork, visit her blog at Marion, thank you very much for your card!

Thank you again, ladies, and thank you, Lenna, for hosting this swap!

Until next time, stay well, and stay dry!