Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Memories Now

Oh, San Francisco, home of so many more of my tribe...thank you for the safe arrival and foggy goodbye. Thanks for Presidio walks and Natty and Corey and such good breakfasts and hearing my favorite people laugh so much.
And thank you, National Car Rental, for helping me narrow down my purchasing choices by allowing me to rent a Toyota :)

Friday, April 25, 2008

There Once was a man....

With the bluest eyes and the funniest laugh and the most endearing way of saying, "Garsh!" instead of taking the Lord's name in vain. He was clear and focused and had the whitest hair and the most flattering beard of the same color.
Every May, October and December for years we met at his office where he used to counsel me as a doctor and we'd get in his car ( one of those times he backed over a traffic cone: the only person I have ever known to do that ) and drive to Elizabeth, PA to go to Yesterday's Best, a gorgeous victorian house that had ben converted into a consignment shop. On every dresser drawer ( the goodies were in drawers, too! ) there were parables and bits of sage advice, snippets and quotes from the great minds of the ages. Dr. Brennan would inevitably buy me something outrageous and beautiful and when times weren't so lean I would pick him up a thing or two. I would arrive home later that evening with my battery full and a whole new slew of memories to add to the lifetime of adoration and mutual esteem I shared with this incredibly tall, bearded man of letters. He had known me since I was four.
In 2005 I didn't hear from him in May, October or December. Life was busy and I figured he was hectic with patients. The few times I spoke with him on the phone that year he was scattered, talking of machines that refresh your life-force and trips to Mexico for things he didn't share the purpose of....and then there was the next May: I called him as soon as I was home only to have his sister answer: Jim was very sick. Would I be able to come by?
It was hard not to register my shock when I saw the tallest, healthiest man in a hospital bed in his home, obviously failing but still managing a "Garsh!" and a huge smile. We played him my new CD, I sang to him. He filled us in on his life with colon cancer and cried those tears that you cry without sobs, just two rivers that run down your cheeks. I only had a few more days at home, and we vowed to talk over the phone and when I left him that day I knew it would be the last time I would ever see him. Two things became locked in my memory: the clarity and peace in his bluest eyes and the stained glass window next to his bed, with a scarab beetle and a crow.
We spoke a lot in the coming months, wondering aloud about what his angel name would be when he died, how would I know he was near? I sang to him. He said I was the daughter he'd never had but had always hoped for. I said he was my second father. He passed on July 3rd.
With the scarab beetle haunting me for the last two years I tooled one and it was quickly snatched up by a friend. The scarab, according to Wikipedia:
The image of the scarab, conveying ideas of transformation, renewal, and resurrection, is ubiquitous in ancient Egyptian religious and funerary art.

Well, here is another incarnation of the original. As always, it's for you, Dr. Brennan. No face-lifters ;)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Bigger Isn't Always Better!

Growing up watching The Golden Girls I was in LOVE with Blanche. She was just so sassy and southern and exotic to my northeast sensibilities. She was the 'sexy' one on the show, and she had this small chest -- to my young mind that didn't make sense ( I was already well-programmed by society's 'bigger is better' standard for women ) and my mother would say 'It's not what you've got but how you use it". Amen!!!

I have a shop full of big things, big belts, heavily tooled purses and intricate stitching. Every once in a while I remember how lovely it is to stay small and maximize the tiniest piece of leather canvas. "..How you use it", indeed!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I love apples. I eat nearly an apple a day, which would make my primary care practitioner very proud, if that's still the measure of health. I love tooling apples, too:

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Lunch Break

Nikon D60, I think I love you.

Is it OK....to....feel this way about a camera? Love, like....dare I say ....lust???
I just want to shout its name from a rooftop, but nothing is an unromantic as a product number.... it would be like shouting " I love you, RH679!" And perhaps, in ten thousand years when we have been enslaved by robots and numerically categorized, that will be accurate, but for now I will quietly take pictures and upload them in wonder and awe.
My little Fuji personal camera has served me brilliantly, but a retirement is in order.
I am smitten.
Here are my first images:

(oh, and the necklace ( Brooklyn Bouquet ) is available in the Etsy shop :) )

Monday, April 21, 2008

Delicate Excavation

I was given the most spectacular, emotional task by a dear customer overseas: could I take the collar of their beloved Greyhound named Katie ( who passed away ) and make some keepsakes for her children?

Of course the answer was yes.

It has been a delicate job, and inside the buckle area I even found some of Katie's hair, which I have put into a small corked bottle for her family. Having grown up in a family that always had at least ten cats, I wish I had more than memories: I wish I had something I could touch, and I am so honored to be a part of something so precious.

There is now a very wondrous cuff and soon a key fob. And something special for my dear friend who made the requests.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

March of the Koi

More...more!!!!! :)

Bright, Sunshiney Day

The sun has been shining outside my window and in my heart today. After weeks of tending to large custom orders and large designs I had to get out my mind, I took the weekend to tool and make my very favorites: leaves and koi. I am listing them today, and it feels like restocking a pantry after weeks of looking at rice and canned beets. I certainly love rice and canned beets, but I also love crispy Kashi bars and noodle soups!! A well-rounded pantry is a dreamy place.
So is a well-rounded shop!

Thursday, April 17, 2008


This is a preview: the whole shebang is in the shop

( http://sunnyrising.etsy.com )


Today is Self Portrait Thursday on Flickr, a chance to say hello to crafty friends near and far. I keep forgetting to do them, and I remembered today, but what was most disarming is how happy I appear to be. In the midst of busy-ness. I think it's the Pilates!!!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


This unfinished feather has a twin, and hopefully by the end of tomorrow they will become all their mother hoped they'd be. Together. In a design to end all designs. Perhaps they'll need a good therapist with all this intense expectation surrounding their existence. Anyone have any reccommendations?


Jones and the Terrible, Awful, No Good Foot

I went to visit a dear, dear friend of mine and her fiance, house-sitting in the Hollywood Hills. In between swooning over the landscape, loving the trees, eating excellent pizza and gabbing with my princess and her betrothed ( all done outside, mind you, as it was gorgeous and warm ) mosquitos banditos came along and made off with my blood.

As evidence: these photos. ( Jones, looking relatively normal 'before', is obviously horrified -- and that's only ONE foot!! )

If you have seen these mosquitos, please remain indoors or behind a screen and call the police, as these are some dangerous outlaws!!!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tweet Tweet!!

This week is certainly looking bright, so I was compelled to make a bluebird of happiness buckle, which is currently in the shop. Everywhere I look it is spring and bright green leaves in LA.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Les collages de mon ame, vraiment. Les moments se passe....moi, je baise les coeur ( de les moments ).

Lucky Feather

Now in the Etsy store, waiting for its rightful owner.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Phase 3

Painting to follow the final riveting of the stars upon the leather. I have time to do this now: I have three custom orders left to finish and the shop has been S i l e n t.
S i l e n t.

For a full week.

I am trying not to panick, trying not to think this is simply the way things will be from now on, but it is hard to compel an imaginative mind to follow one specific road. I keep reminding myself that when I quit the corporate dayjob last March I only had three months worth of living expenses. That was over a year ago, and here I am with the same fear.

Do we ever learn to finally have unwavering faith? Is it honestly possible? I just told Anthony this morning that I think a silent retreat is in order for me: I have never done one, but it is all I can think of. Of course he is supportive, my love, my future hubby. In the midst of fear there are too many blessings to count to remain idle for long.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Fullness of Time

'The Fullness of time is here' is a quote I have long loved. This day, I found many pieces I had worked on when I first started crafting, having put them aside for grander things, or because the piece they belonged to didn't quite work. Today I had the idea that they belonged in a collage whose background, yet uncreated, will say " The fullness of time is here" with stars like a night sky. These lovers of mine deserve such: they were my 'firsts': my ideas that came to fruition and missed the mark by a few inches, like spare pieces of sterling still having value if melted down.

These are my melting efforts, and I am so excited to see the project finished, because today is one of those cleansing days when the closet gets aired out, things get sent to Goodwill the leather shop gets overhauled. Quite literally, with the creation of this piece that melds together all points in my experience with leathercraft, the fullness of time IS here.

My heart goes out to the Plume today: she is in my prayers and thoughts. I am express mailing hugs her way every ten minutes or so. xoxo.

Monday, April 7, 2008

(mis)adventures in silversmithing

Harumph, says I. I decided to take a class in bezel setting, as I really really want to incorporate little bezel cups into my work with leather, and I chose the wrong gauge bezel sheet: 24 instead of 28. It just wouldn't go over the edges of the stone, a gorgeous boulder opal from Australia, so I kept pushing and pushing and pushing until my left thumb went numb. I had a gig that night, and couldn't play piano, so my dearest Matt, musical brother to me, played guitar and we still had the world's best time.
As of today I have a little sensation in my thumb and the overwhelming desire to purchase a Smith Little torch and change the configuration of my workspace to seriously include all things smith-like. I have been bit by the bug, and regardless of the discomfort I feel it is very important to keep growing into newness and excellence. It doesn't always start pretty. Here are a few pictures of my partially set opal. When the teacher was polishing my piece the jump ring caught the wheel and it flew across the room, so the jump ring has taken on a somewhat....er.....organic shape :)