Friday, July 31, 2009

Etsy Treasury: In the Pink with Ebony and Ivory

My Zuzu's Petals necklace is in a Treasury! In the Pink with Ebony and Ivory

Nice to be included with so many pretty things!

Surviving 'Anniversary Reactions'

Rustic Ridge Refillable
Leather Travel Journal
- 6" x 8" - Saddle Brown
Are there anniversaries that you remember, days that are are very personal and unique to you? The diagnosis of an illness, the date of an accident, injury?

The date that a crime took place or a legal situation came to a conclusion? The date of any kind of loss or change -- a divorce or separation, the loss of your home, your wedding anniversary after you're divorced. The death of a loved one.

How about a beginning of sorts? The start of a diet or date reaching a goal weight? Five years cancer-free. Many of these events can be life-changing and may somehow live in our DNA and bring about what's called the Anniversary Reaction.

"Do you remember where you were when..." Some may be one-time events, the wedding day of an ex, for instance. Each September 11th many people mark the date in their own personal way.

I have a line of jewelry based on Transitions. One necklace is called What Would Mother Do? The letters WWMD are spelled out in Morse code.

Otherwise relatively happy occasions such as holidays, especially considering the traditions associated with these times, can leave people feeling sad and stressed. What were once other happy occasions, such as wedding anniversaries and birthdays, can now be disconcerting.

you no longer part of a couple having that anniversary? Is part of the family missing? Is someone very ill? How do you deal with this?Family and friends of the person who's going or has been through the event may not be sure of how to help. Working through the feelings, 'putting one foot in front of the other' you will get through it, but there are things to do that may help make the process easier.

The National Center for The Victims of Crime has a site, Coping with Holidays, Anniversaries and Other Important Dates, with very good information for anyone having difficulty getting through something like a holiday or family gatherings after a life-changing situation.

In the future, I'm going to look at different ways that people remember, ways we can commemorate, celebrate, acknowledge and maybe feel somewhat back some control.

These are just some of the ideas I've accumulated by researching what others are doing. What works for one person may not work for someone else and there's no place for judging in your process.

Try creating a journal, shrine, scrapbook or some other form of artwork. There are many beautiful journals out there.
Light candles. Talk to a counselor, support group, friend or arrange for time alone. Take a walk or take a trip. Listen to or create music. Watch a drama and have a good cry. Watch a comedy and have a good laugh. The Marx Brothers Silver Screen Collection has five of their films on DVD.

Create your own one-time or annual ritual or ceremony. Get a tattoo. You may choose to wear a significant color, a piece of clothing or jewelry, something that's symbolic. Fly a kite or blow bubbles. Clean out a closet, donate your time to help others, make a donation to a charity.

In Harpo Speaks! one of my all-time favorites, Harpo Marx, lists what were his House Rules. I typed them out years ago and have had them up on our living room for over 20 years now. Here's a little bit:
"If things get too much for you and you feel the whole world's against you, go stand on your head. If you can think of something crazier to do, do it. Don't worry about what other people think. The only person in the world important enough to conform to is yourself."

These 'anniversary reactions' are experienced by people every day but still aren't talked about that much. It's sometimes expected that a wedding will take a year to plan, but you are supposed to 'get over' a loss in a very short time. I think that finding a balance can help to make life easier and can help see what others are going through, too.

Objects and Memory was a program on PBS. In part, as their web site says, the program also explored "
the need to keep and offer meaningful objects in the context of other traumatic national events and memorials." People often collect or keep objects that mean or represent something to them after a loss or an event.

The Mayo Clinic has an article about grief and coping with reminders after a loss.

I welcome anyone's suggestions for what they do when a significant date rolls around and will try to feature suggestions in upcoming blog posts. We can all help each other. Thanks.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Little Bunny Foo Foo adjusting his Rabbit Ears for You

July 28th is the birth date of Beatrix Potter, who wrote the Tales of Peter Rabbit. This is a different version of my regular Same Name Game series.

Hearing it was Beatrix Potter's birthday made me think of the immortal song,
Little Bunny Foo Foo (aka Little Bunny Fu Fu). Does anyone remember that little ditty? Well it turns out that bunny's all over the place at Etsy, and has never looked better!

To start out the list fresh, I found some luscious Little Bunny Fu Fu Soaps at NemesisProductions' shop. You get a two different bunny soaps.

Artstudioshanti's Shop has a Hand-stitched little Bunny Foo-Foo doll.

When it's time to dress up your little one, baby can be Foo Foo head to toe! Valeriesgallery's Shop has Felted Wool Little Bunny FuFu Infant Booties and Gittinknittywidit's Shop has a Little Bunny Foo Foo knitted baby hat.

Rebelbowsboutique's Shop has Little Bunny Foo Foo Piggy Tails for when her hair needs just the right touch.

You don't have to go Foo Foo-Free, yourself. There is a Little Bunny FuFu Babydoll Dress Top at Deadworry's Shop.

JodiesFlowers' shop has a line of different fun Bunny Foo Foo patches. This includes Teal Bunny Foo Foo (photo below). If you need a specific color, you'll probably find just the Foo Foo to suit you.

Dogties' Shop remembers that our pets need some consideration, too. The Little Bunny Foo Foo Dog Tie is just right for when Fido is in that Foo Foo frame of mind.

These aren't all the Foo Foos or Fu Fus you can find at Etsy. Thank goodness that bunny is still around.

But don't forget...

The good fairy could come by sometime to say...

Little Bunny Foo Foo,
I don't want to see you
Scooping up the field mice
And boppin' 'em on the head.
I'll give you three chances,
And if you don't behave
I'll turn you into a goon!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Lucien LaMotte, Song for George, Misenti-Despres Designs guitar

Lucien LaMotte, Song for George
-- features Misenti-Despres Designs guitar

"Song for George is an instrumental acoustic guitar piece written by Eric Johnson in DADGAD tuning. I performed this piece on a guitar handmade by Luthier Francois Vadeboncoeur. The guitar is made of Indian Rosewood and Sitka Spruce and has a very resonant and even sound throughout its compass." Lucien LaMotte

We're proud to have one of Francois' guitars featured in this video. Lucien is an amazing musician.

Luthier apprentices making ukuleles in a team effort
Find this video on YouTube

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Alzheimer's Disease, two book recommendations

When a family is dealing with Alzheimer's disease, you may find yourself becoming almost infomaniacs. What is the best information for our situation, where is it, is it the most timely?

When we were caring for our Mother, her doctor recommended a book which helped us -- when we found time to read it. This is a book I've bought more than once to give as a gift to friends who are going through the same thing.

There is a Question and Answer book available for the person with AD themselves. In our case, we found it was better in the earlier stages of the disease. Alzheimer's: The Answers You Need. The book answers questions that the person may be wondering about what might happen to them.

Questions include: How will Alzheimer's Change my Marriage?, Can I Continue to Handle my Finances?, Will Alzheimer's Affect my Driving? and Should we Tell our Friends?

Our doctor suggested it to us, and I wish I could find a more recent version of this one. Still, we found it to be well written and valuable in establishing communication and more. These are absolutely by no means the only books we read or recommend nor are they the only resources that we consulted.

I'll revisit the subject of Alzheimer's again in this blog. I'm working on a necklace with an AD theme in my Mother's honor and will talk more about that as well.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Water sommelier

Bottled Water with a Difference

Many people would probably think that water is all the same, but one Berlin connoisseur has a different opinion. Water sommelier Jerk Martin Riese co-authored a book on the subject. He sampled various bottled waters for euromaxx.

Riese can identify the distinct characteristics of different waters, which should hardly come as a surprise since the restaurant he manages includes 40 different kinds on the menu. There are other water sommeliers in establishments throughout the world.

The most recent information I can find says that Alice Waters has banned bottled water at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California. Citing environmental reasons, her restaurant, along with several other high-end Bay Area spots, has gone tap-only.

From Euromaxx, on Deutsche Welle DW-TV Deutschland Germany

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sticky Brain or Growing Brain? You do the shopping at the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia

Throw these sticky toy brains against almost anything and they'll stick.
A great gross out toy for your next boy party favor bag,
your next all-nighter study group break. Keep your mind clear, let off some steam. Throw some sticky brains against that dorm room wall... Soft sticky plastic

....Growing Brain: Smart, Smarter, Smartest 
Pack of 10 Watch It Grow BRAIN- Collectible Magic Growing Thing
Perfect for Final Exams Week

Deaf Theatre, Call for Entries- Art Show, Disabled Performers

Flying Solo - July 23, at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. "An evening of monologues from theater artists representing Deaf West Theatre, Gallaudet University, the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, the National Theatre of the Deaf & Quest: Arts for Everyone." (Photo from Deaf West Theatre production of Big River)

Call for Entries: Artwork, 09/11 deadline. In conjunction with the city's DEAFestival, Los Angeles citywide Deaf Awareness Month Art Competition. The art competition is open to all individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing and deaf blind residing in the greater Los Angeles area. Entrants may be middle school through high school students under the age of 19. All entry information is available online.

Call for Entries, Films, 10/25/09 deadline. Feature length and short films (30 minutes or under) are now being accepted for showcase in the first annual 2009 Different from what? Film Festival. The festival will be held in Tempe, AZ Jan 29-31, 2010.

Call for Entries, Films, will begin 11/01/2009 for The 2010 Superfest International Disability Film Festival. Keep checking their web site.

VSA arts is seeking performing artists/groups with disabilities who are interested in performing at the International VSA arts Festival in Washington, D.C. From June 6-12, 2010.

"VSA arts - the premier arts and disability organization - will bring together artists, educators, researchers, and policy makers with disabilities from around the world for a multicultural celebration of the arts and arts education." (Photo from the VSA Arts web site.)

The festival will feature visual, performing, literary and media artists from all corners of the globe. Applications and materials must be received by August 3, 2009.

Support India's Ability Unlimited dance company. Don't know when or if they are auditioning for new performers.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Instant Soap Opera: Write, Act, Film and appear on YouTube

Has your life become a melodrama? When you're finally catching your breath after particularly heated moments, do you swear that you hear violins and organ music?

Are you working on a way to loudly hang up on someone over your cell phone? (Pressing the "end" button really hard and snapping the little phone shut like a Venus fly trap just doesn't have the same impact that slamming down the receiver did. Darn it.) I have a strange interest in carnivorous plants, but we'll talk about that some other time.

Well, if you're living your own little soap opera, why not head on over to Godstone in the UK where the good people at the Orpheus Centre are doing an intriguing sounding workshop called The Instant Soap Opera. It just may help to get out some of that pent up drama. You may go into the workshop just another name in the crowd and come out a star ... on YouTube at least?!

"On this course, you can create, write, star in, film and edit 3 episodes of your own soap opera – in a week! Then broadcast it on You Tube for all your friends to see. You’ll look at what makes a good soap, then as a group you’ll come up with characters and storylines, learn about scriptwriting and acting on television, and put the whole thing together for a world premiere screening to an audience on the Friday evening, before seeing your work broadcast online!" Runs July 26-August 1

The Orpheus Centre is a residential performing arts centre for young disabled people. "We don't set out to train our apprentices to be actors, singers or musicians. We use their enthusiasm for the performing arts to teach skills for living and improve self-knowledge, self-confidence and teamwork." (Photo above is from their web site.)

The main tutors, Pete Lawson & Jenny Sealey, are very experienced in The Biz. Pete is an acclaimed playwright and screenwriter, with experience of creating work for adults and young people from the National Theatre to Radio 4. Jenny’s directing career started with Interplay Theatre Company. Her reputation for devising signed plays for deaf audiences and creating multi-sensory theatre enabled her to become Artistic Director of Graeae in 1998. You can read more about them on the Orpheus pages.

I'll put YouTube links here when they become available.

(Venus Flytrap photo from

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

ImageS: Illustration art you've never seen - the way you've always wanted to see it

ImageS, the magazine devoted to classic illustration, has just announced the publication of Issue #11. This special issue, guest-edited by Susan McKinsey Goldberg, features 54 works from the collection of Susan and Eric Goldberg. Most are printed actual size and 30 of them are from the original art.

It is a diverse selection with a different perspective on the type of art, but with a lot of familiar names such as Honor C. Appleton, René Bull, Edmund Dulac, A.B. Frost, Warwick Goble, J.C. Leyendecker, Kay Nielsen, Ida Rentoul Outhwaite, Willy Pogany, Norman Price, Harry Rountree, George Studdy, Lawson Wood and more.

While some back issues are still available, the gorgeous editions of ImageS have become collectible themselves. Several early issues and Annuals are already sold out.

A virtual education particularly for those who are interested in the art of illustration can be found within the pages of the magazines. Printing is done via a screenless Stochastic process that allows a magnificent level of reproduction.

They may end up being left out on your coffee table. There's certainly a surprise that you're getting to see some of these works of art at all.
Works in the editions include pieces in private collections, some that are rarely displayed.

their web site attests, ImageS is "dedicated to resurrecting fine illustration art that might otherwise be lost to the vagaries of time. Through magazines and books, we present again some of the best and the most obscure artwork in prestige formats. Little-known art by classic artists is juxtaposed with classic art by little-known artists."

Past issues include a special issue devoted to Frank Brangwyn and Gustaf Tenggren (#6) and features onon Gustav Adolph Mossa and Edmund Dulac, Frank Brangwyn, Russell Flint and John Bauer (#9 & #10 in particular).

Cowboy Poetry Sampler

I think that my being a poet and creative writer must somehow influence my jewelry design. Many of the pieces tell stories. They're often more introspective and have special meaning behind the designs. The care taken and fun with item titles certainly is a part of that.

While I'm always looking for events in the visual arts communities, I also look to see what's up in the various writing circles. Cowboy Poetry is a wonderful tradition.
The Cowboy Poetry web site offers a lot of basic information. It has a terrific calendar of events broken down by month. If you can't make Show Low in July, maybe you could swing Lone Pine in October or Cartersville in March?

Nevada Public Radio's National Cowboy Poetry Gathering site offers downloadable audio to enjoy, including a visit by US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor who delivered the keynote address.

The Annual Montana Cowboy Poetry Gathering & Western Music Rendezvous takes place August 14-16. I couldn't neglect mentioning Montana!

Upper Left; Check out other note cards online at Zazzle

The Western Music & Cowboy Poetry Blog is a good source for information. Larry Gibson lets readers in on events, videos, his opinions and introductions to people in the life.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Etch-A-Sketch Art

The Etch-A-Sketch was released July 12, 1960. Now, not only has the toy has reached iconic status, but some artists are using it to create.

Arthur Granjean displayed his prototype, which he had built in his basement and called "L'Ecran Magique" ("The Magic Screen"), at the 1959 International Toy Exhibition in Nuremburg, Germany.

The Etch-A-Sketchist Blog is a one-stop shop for a lot of goodies on the subject including videos showing where the toy is popping up today. For a more than fair price, you can get a professional Etch-A-Sketch image of yourself created. (see below for example)

Jeff Gagliardi first tried using the Etch-A-Sketch when he was in college. His web site contains some amazing pieces that he's created along with biographical information. Gagliardi is also a painter.

George Vlosich's latest work of President Obama was part of a gallery show in D.C. called MANIFEST HOPE

Protect your iPhone and iPod with these stylish Etch-a-Sketch® hard cases.

Made from impact-resistant ABS plastic, the Etch-a-Sketch® case is available for the iPhone 4, iPhone 3G/3GS, and the iPod Touch 4th Generation.

Please note: the knobs are ornamental and do not turn.

The HowStuffWorks team looked inside an Etch-A-Sketch to see how it functions. Two knobs control the movement of a single stylus horizontally and vertically through the aluminum powder. As the stylus moves, it leaves behind a black trail on the screen. Shaking the device remixes the powder, thus clearing the screen.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Casting Call: Project Artist, Project Runway's new little sibling

Back in April, I wrote a blog post dreaming of what a season of Project Jewelry Designer, a fictional take-off on the Bravo tv show, Project Runway, might be like.

I've just read, thanks to Alyson B. Stanfield, the ArtBizCoach, that Bravo is having an open casting call for a yet unnamed Art program.

The casting site says they're looking for "emerging or mid-career artist with a unique, powerful voice that demands a bigger stage."

Casting runs July 11-18 in Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago and New York. The casting site will tell you all about eligibility, what to bring with you, etc.

Project Runway, season 6 is on Lifetime tv this August.

What do you think? Want to go for it?! Do you like to watch?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Miesmama: July's featured Etsy Blogger

Many of the pieces in Miesmama's Shop on Etsy remind me of interesting and vibrant Folk Art. She has a good range of items.

As a fan of buttons and the combo of blue and white, these pretty pins (sold separately) caught my eye immediately.

The one on the right is called the
Poppy Blue. They look so nice together. She has a wonderful sense of color. You'll enjoy a visit to her shop just to see the assortment of pins and headbands offered.

There are a bunch of other items available, such as felt garlands that could have many uses year-round in your home. The xoxo felt garland is approximately three feet long.

Hugs and Kisses are nice for any time of year. Maybe it's just right for that champion Tic Tac Toe player in your family? :-) This could be sweet for an anniversary dinner, too.
I'm not sure which anniversary calls for Felt, so that material is up for grabs any anniversary at all.

You'll enjoy visiting her beautiful blog.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


We're trying to get this feisty blog onto something vaguely resembling a schedule. The Taming of the Blog is a big endeavor.

My goal is to do more features on
my jewelry pieces, and let you in on my process and inspiration. Those things are important and I hope will be of interest to other people.

The different series, particularly the Transition-inspired jewelry usually comes from my own experiences or those of people I meet, challenges we all face. I plan to show more of that and how it impacts the jewelry I make. When someone's life story inspires a design, I may be talking about it here.

In what ways do people choose to commemorate milestones in their lives? I'm looking into different things folks do around the anniversaries of events such as a significant loss, a diagnosis, etc. Planting special gardens, significant tattoos, parties and rituals. What do we do so that events don't go by unacknowledged?

The acoustic guitar half of our business is going strong and we're going to chronicle that more and more, too. Watch for information including photos of Francois' Misenti-Despres Designs (MDD) guitars and his working in the studio.

Fran also upcycles salvaged and leftover 'scrap' wood. using it for beautiful art furniture, and he's made me some useful items such as a designer holder for my beading wire. He made my jewelry bench. There may be a feature on some of that in the future.

Info about the arts in general will be ongoing. Artist profiles, bits about upcoming events, different styles and media out there. I'm working on a series of posts about artists who use nontraditional materials in their artwork and another series about different types of public and guerrilla art.

I enjoy featuring other artists whose work I admire. One way is with the infamous Same Name Game. :-)

There'll be a regular cycle of posts on disability issues. One of the focuses of my jewelry is that it be more wearer-friendly for all women, and I'm always looking for happenings with other disabled artists or interesting stories to feature.

I have plans for more posts on aging, similar to the previous ones on Croning and Kanreki ceremonies and caring for our aging relatives.

Finally there will be some just fun stuff. More British comedy, videos, photos, scavenger hunts, giveaways, you never know.

I very much appreciate everyone who's visited the blog.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Christmas in July

It's early July and the June heat-wave is over at least for this afternoon. What better time is there to start thinking of Christmas? This is a good time of year to begin preparing for the upcoming holidays.

I used to collect Christmas ornaments and still have quite a few. Most of them are cats. Here's one by Irene Spencer in honor of our Siamese kittens. Does anyone remember the program Personal FX on the FX network?

When on vacation summertime or any time, a collector, like a beader, finds a way to scout out shops where they're visiting, places that might carry what they're passionate about. Nowadays, when I'm off on a trip, I ask if anyone knows of a bead shop, something like that near where we're going.

This is a good time of year to start making jewelry for sale at holiday shows and fairs later in the year. A friend and I are getting ready for a home jewelry and art party.

I sit with fans blasting as I work at the jewelry bench sorting, looking for just the right pearls. Sometimes I listen to some Christmas music for inspiration. Someplace I have Bing Crosby and David Bowie's singing Little Drummer Boy. It seems like just yesterday that we saw the Christmas Jug Band.

It's fun now to order special festive holiday bags, bows and boxes to use at holiday-time. If I focus enough, maybe we'll actually feel a chill even though it's getting into the triple digits on some days this summer. :-)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Guitar in clamps, Blue and Tan

After two have recently sold,
Francois is working on a few different guitars at once.

[Snakewood wedge above]

The newest completed guitar
about to make its debut is
an Orchestra Model, O-6-14
Walnut Body
Bearclaw sitka spruce
Cocobolo bindings

Cherry neck

Ebony fingerboard and bridge

Rosette is amboyna burl and cocobolo
Includes various colored linings

Don't fret, information and photos coming soon.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Wild Blue Yonder, Same Name Game

It's nearly Independence Day in the US, so for this Same Name Game, I thought I'd highlight Wild Blue Yonder.

The premise of the Same Name 'Game' is that I look to see what other items on Etsy have the same name as pieces of jewelry that I've created
. [Please write/post a comment for information on any of the jewelry you see on this page images and designs (c) ImagineMDD]

My Wild Blue Yonder necklace is sterling silver, aqua Swarovski crystal and Italian glass. The color is vivid and so pretty. I love the sparkle of Swarovski.

I remember when I was in the bead shop and walked by these glass cubes and had to go over and take a closer look. I just love them. The crystals and the glass beads went together perfectly.

I experiment playing with color, with tonal differences, pieces in the same basic color but some components transparent, some opaque, some translucent.

This is a wonderful piece showing off vivid colo
r, different shapes and incorporating the smooth texture of those cube glass beads. Yum.

I found a skirt on Etsy that also combines pretty blue colors and cool textures. It's modern in how it's upcycled, recycled and sustainable. The skirt is called Off Into The Wild Blue Yonder She...

It's in blossomnbird's Shop. Her shop is so cute, consisting of clothes, original art, accessories and fabric dolls. You'll really enjoy your visit.

It's when you mix and match materials that you often get the prettiest and most unique pieces.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Mollie Sugden, Are You Being Served 1922-2009

Mollie Sugden, perhaps best known in the US for playing Mrs. Slocombe on the British comedy, Are You Being Served? died on July first.

Mary Isobel Sugden was born in Keighley in Yorkshire on July 21 1922. Her father ran an iron and steel company. She trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.

She was best known for her comedy roles often playing battleaxes. She also appeared as the fearsome Mrs Hutchinson in The Liver Birds, but she played numerous roles through her long career. In the 1990s, Are You Being Served? had a spin-off called Grace and Favour. It was popular in the US as well titled Are You Being Served Again?

"I am unanimous in that."

In early episodes, Mollie Sugden had her hair dyed, bleached and re-dyed every time Mrs Slocombe changed her hair colour. It had been her own idea, but it meant that she sometimes had to turn up at her sons' school with her hair a multi-colored mess. Later, she saved her own hair by wearing wigs.

Mollie Sugden and her husband had identical twin sons, born when she was 41. She confessed that when they were very young she had to keep them labeled so that she could tell them apart and that "more than once I bathed the same one twice". She feared having both name labels off at the same time. Sugden's twin sons, Robin and Simon Moore, were at her bedside, according to her agent Joan Reddin.

Sugden lived in Surrey and was married to fellow actor William Moore, who died in 2000. She never fully recovered from his death, said Ms Reddin. "They were very much in love," she said. "She started to go down when he died."

An interview asked about the high points of her career. "Oh there's been so many. I've been lucky. I've had a lovely, lovely time.

"Obviously ups and downs and worries, especially when the children were at the school, and if my husband was up north working - and he worked in Coronation Street for two years. ... So there were times, but on the whole I've had a lovely time."

Some photos & info from following sources & cited above:
The Telegraph
Yahoo UK News
Guardian Obituary of Wendy Richard

Also check out:
Seniors World Chronicle