Monday, November 30, 2009

Color Color Everywhere!!



Returning from the frozen (ok, not frozen, but really cold!) tundra of Minneapolis I see this unreal state with new eyes all over again.

It is so sunny, so green and lush regardless of the chilly temps. I cut some lavender off of the giant bush out back and caught up to my dried bunch from a week ago: I am going to make sachets!!! Oooooo, projects!

In preparation for the show I have begun to make earrings and smaller necklaces, but I'd really like to post them in the shop this evening because I want them to be available to everyone. I am really enjoying earrings these days!

I made the two smallest necklaces using beach glass collected by yours truly in Bodega Bay back in September. 
One of the pieces is a simple Shelter Necklace:

A little bare sprout stem gently bending over a lovely little emerald glass.... such a peaceful feeling!
The other beach glass went into a mini Anini Beach Snorkel Necklace:

A valentine to a beach using a stone collected on another shore....sigh. Romantic indeed!!!


The most impressive in size and scope is a Boundary Necklace using two rows of reinforced silver for extra protection for a little light blue Larimar soul. Larimar is a rare and special stone from the Dominican Republic and it looks quite like shallow water in the Florida Keys... just lovely.

For the earrings I chose bright stones, like Coral:


Asymmetrical: one earring has two strands and one has a third: a little coral branch. All connections are closed and ready for a lifetime of wear.


A pair of little Carnelian Cutouts....light and delightful, measuring in at 1.5 inches!!

And one last pair: a whimsical and lighthearted pair of danglies featuring two little glass tulips in yellow, orange and red hues... these are so fun and sweet!!!

I missed the studio. I missed the cats and this house: in the morning hours while I was soldering I was blessed enough to be able to catch some mourning doves bathing in the rain-filled gutters above a neighbor's home.

I was caught off guard by a wave of intense gratitude and carried off to sea.

Tomorrow I get to wear the Holter Monitor: I am sure I'll have some thoughts to share with you on the experience, my distant comrades!!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Land of the Misfit Santas

Somewhere near my sister's home in Minneapolis, Minnesota lies a small thrift store by the name of  Value Village, but for my sister and I this shop has become something very different: The Land of the Misfit Santas. 

Five years ago we discovered this winter wonderland by accident and found ourselves laughing until we cried over versions of Saint Nick like 'small-hands-big-body Santa' and 'wood plank Santa' and I actually took home a small, misshapen Santa who has become our mascot for Christmas. He has no arms, no legs, and a wild, curly white polyester beard that looks like a cloud of octogenarian pubes.

You'll meet him in time :)

This year I went in armed with an iPhone and caught a few different species of Santa to share with you, because who couldn't use more laughter in their lives?

Please pardon the shaky images: you can imagine that we were mighty jolly what with the extravaganza of freakishness around us!!

Here we go:


Christmas love, indeed! Here we have a burlap rat emerging from a clay pot that has the words "God Jul" handwritten in Sharpie on the side. You know it's Christmas Rat because he's wearing a scarf and hat in telltale red and green.

He is flanked by a tiny Yuletide Cheerleader and is the conveyance method for a sinister little Santa clip-on creature. You would never want to see a close-up of its eyes because sleep would elude you: I should know!

What Christmas decoration is complete without Carolers? Especially a minstrel with a strange earthworm-like growth emerging from a donut hat? 
I imagine his voice sounds just like the Swedish Chef....

This time around we found Santa's distant cousin: no arms or legs!!! I think our Santa would be very jealous of this model's ZZ-Top style beard and real fur hat, though, so we left him in the Land.

Oh, dear - Pine Cone Santa, anyone? I wonder if this Franken-Claus haunts its creator's dreams? I also wonder why a store would offer the body-less head of Santa....


Here we have another wood-plank Santa right next to the biggest Santa Regret I have ever had: - why oh why oh why did I not take Disco Boots Santa home?

Look at him!!! He's got on 'his his his his his boogie shoes'!

 He wants to shower the children of the world with gifts like 8-tracks of 'A Fifth of Beethoven' while doing The Hustle in his Funky Sleigh!! 
Instead of mistletoe this Santa kisses Mrs. Claus under the Disco Ball.

Sigh.

Gahhhhhhh!!!!!!! 

One Armed-Peg Leg Santa, a tragic figure....

But no more tragic than what it must feel like to hug a decapitated child!

I wanted to leave you with something heartwarming that captures the spirit of The Land of the Misfit Santas, so without further adieu, I give you....um .... this creature!!!

video

I missed you all something fierce!!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mad-ish Rush



Friends,

I just wanted to wish you all the happiest of Turkey days - I am waking up at 2:00 AM (blergh!!) to go to Minneapolis, MN for the yummiest day of the year with my Schmilly and my whole nuclear family will be there!!!

I will miss Bonnie, John and Beth with whom I have spent the last two Thanksgivings: my new family!

I have cut out something like 40 leather necklace parts so that when I come back it can be an effortless-ish push back into work with at least one portion of my re-stock done and ready to be tooled.

I will be gone until the 30th - if you've purchased something in the past few days and paid the items are shipping today - outstanding payment items will ship upon my return!!

May all your travels be merry and full of humor, may all your turkey or tofurkeys be delicious and tender and may you find love around every corner and fold.

You are dear to me and I send you hugs and an abundance of happiness, because I am overflowing :)

xoxoxoxox,
Allison

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Jewel Tones

Today was a day of overwhelmingly lovely color in Petaluma, with the trees bearing the most spectacular leaves I've seen in nearly seven years: Los Angeles has like, three trees that change color. In the whole city. Three.

I took a walk and captured some of the loveliness for this little digital diary and also had the time to finish some pieces I've been in the process of making:

A stunning, deep deep red rhodolite garnet crescent moon necklace on a hefty and handsome chain. The stone looks deceptively black here: it has a nearly purple red tone and tons of luminous angles.


A simply set piece of  phosphositerite, a stone of such true and lovely purple that it warms the heart and causes frequent smiles.
Nature created this perfection!
Size 6.5.

Oooh

La

Laaaaaa!!! 


Viva Petaluma, viva fall and the ability to experience it again far from the east coast.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Day in Reverse


Do you see this moon being swallowed by the evening fog?

A few hours ago when I was driving to Point Reyes Station it was nowhere to be seen, completely hidden by cotton candy clouds - I wish upon wish that I had the skill to take pictures while driving because you would have seen taupe hills capped by what looked like ice cream: strawberry ice cream scoops from God's own Creamery Shoppe.

What a sight! 

Something very thrilling is happening in the hills surrounding my wee village:

Sonoma County is becoming Ireland. (!!!!!)
I was expecting a fully brown and sadness-inducing winter that made me pine painfully for spring, but...er....... look!!!!




The cow farm smell I endured to show these to you made me feel like the bravest set of nostrils in (or 'out of', I guess) town.

Whew!

My goal was to get here:

Oh, my friends: if you ever visit we will drive to The Bovine Bakery and get a ginger cookie, rich with molasses and topped with organic granulated sugar.

Everything here is organic, sustainable and wonderful - they saved five ginger cookies for me
and now there are four.

Oh my goodness. That's about all I can say until you visit :)


There was also work done today: I made a few pairs of earrings using a gorgeous vintage brass chain that looks so much like snowflakes that I felt compelled to use slightly different shapes and sizes for the beads, while keeping the continuity of the mineral type:
We have amazonite:


And we have Serpentine:

I also finished two necklaces I've been working on, one of which blend handmade chain with some rather perfect commercial links, Serpentine and Turquoise rondelles:


And a little Guided and Protected necklace with an agate Bear fetish, the ultimate protector with a fierce heart and loud roar!

It can be worn with the bear against your chest or flipped around and worn with the words against your heart. Either way, it is endearing and special.

These pieces will be in the Metal Shop this evening and then I am off to make some good supper for our little family.

Side note: Janey is the one who has been peeing outside the litterbox, not that silly Jones as I had thought: I took her to the vet to rule out infection or crystals and they gave me non-absorbent litter for her to pee in so I could get a sample. One full day went by completely dry, then yesterday still nothing. I cried a lot to think I was causing this little innocent any pain or anguish. 
Last night we sat with her in the kitchen where she was isolated and Anthony was singing popular songs to her, substituting subject matter to revolve around the joy of peeing. He also scratched around in her litterbox like he was a cat and he had me laughing so hard.
After two days of no pee, we relinquished the new box and returned her old one and she went immediately and copiously.

So it's behavioral, and we've got our work cut out. Wish us luck! I always said, "I will not have a house that smells like a litterbox" - unfortunately in renting this amaaazing (otherwise) house sight unseen, I got one.
I have poured Nature's Miracle everywhere. I have steamed every inch of carpet until my human nose wasn't offended. I have wrung my hands biblically and gnashed my teeth. 

A move in April is imminent - the wet season brings all the gloriousness up out of the carpets and into their nostrils, giving ideas we don't want them to have.

If life was perfect, what would we have to keep us grateful for contrast????

Love to you all and a fine weekend ahead!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Feathers and Fins

A yellow koi necklace - I am so tempted to call this the 'Lucy' koi, after one of my girlfriends who named hers just that.


A Feather Mini-Clutch!! Ooooh, this one gets to me in the best way - three tooled feathers with ruby roots and peach tips...

And on the back a soaring hawk in a sunrise.
7.5 inches across, 5 inches tall, two inches wide, perfect for the essentials when you step out on the town in your boots and best coat.

In the leather shop later today!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Little Something for your Chakras


I do Hatha Yoga two-three times a week and I can tell you with conviction and gratitude that it is life-changing. That being said, I think anything we put ourselves into with devotion and discipline is life-changing. 

I think the key is committing to something, be it love, service, health or the betterment of people, places or animals.

This week I was overcome with thoughts about our chakras, those spinning energy centers in our energetic body that serve as gateways to our highest good and are to be protected and nourished by us - I wanted to make some pieces specifically for the chakras.

I know there are seven, but I chose a few that seem to give people the most pause: specifically the Heart chakra, the Solar Plexus chakra and the ever-important Throat chakra.

The color for the solar plexus chakra is yellow and so I chose a stunning Mexican Jelly Opal that has both elements of yellow and orange: it is luminous!

It is a boundary necklace on a really luxe chain that is a series of sterling four-leafed clovers liked together - it is 21 inches long and meant to be long enough to give the sense of reaching to your belly. At the back of the neck where it fastens is a little tag that reads
"Guided & Protected"

This is one of the most important chakras to be protected: its function is will, its innate states are joy, laughter and anger and when in balance it allows you to better use your intuition, eases tension and calms emotion and frustration.

The next chakra north is the heart chakra, the center of compassion and love. Balancing this chakra is essential for the circulatory system and the human heart. When everything is in balance it affects everything from love to a sense of universal oneness.

The stone I used for this particular piece is a gemmy piece of chrysoprase in a watery green: just lovely. It hangs at 18 inches and can be worn with the opal boundary necklace or on its own.


For the fifth chakra, the Throat chakra, I chose a ring with a rather dramatic piece of blue calcite as the centerpiece. This chakra's function is communication and creativity.
When in balance it positively affects our speech and interpersonal relationships.

As silly as it sounds, I made the ring in a shape that is conducive to being placed in the throat hollow: the shape seems to be perfect for it! I imagined the wearer having a hard time speaking about something important and taking a moment of privacy, placing her hand at the base of her throat with the stone in the beautiful hollow and breathing in the healing power of the stone.

I know that everyone has their belief systems and this has been where my meandering path has taken me: in my estimation, we are all spiritual and energetic beings in a meat suit :)

The pieces will be in the shop this afternoon or evening - thank you for taking the time to read this and visit with me on this fine day!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Treats and Revelations

Dear Friends,
The afternoon California sun is filtering into my studio with such loveliness, spilling over my cds (today it was a Peter, Paul & Mary kind of day with a side of Indigo Girls) and my work and my comfy chair...

I must confess: the experience of Friday night sent me into my studio Sunday with a near fever of love for what I get to do for a living:

I get to make rings our of rare stones (eclipse stone!!)

I get to name my pieces and hand scallop my edges...

I have the unique opportunity to marry my chosen arts: silver, stone and leather...

become energized by earth that took the color of marigolds and ebony and wrapped them into a picture of the original big bang!

The cuff was a result of my fervor, the ring a result of my love.

They will each be in their respective shops this evening.


I had a huge revelation on Friday night after all the emotions died down: my comfort zone-though not to be pandered to- need not be pummeled.

In my well-intentioned urge to make sure I wasn't afraid of living I scared the living merde out of myself and found my body responding in a way that any being responds to big stress:
heart palpitations
digestive issues
jagged emotions...

This is not to say for one second that I am not thrilled to have done what I did, or that I am not completely excited that I was so brave - what I am saying is that there are ways to push the box that are a little less extreme. A little less shy-girl-onstage-at-a-honkytonk!

And
am
so BEYOND
grateful
that my body is so vocal in its complaints - what I need to learn how to do is listen with compassion and love to those unspoken words and decide with each passing option what feels best and act accordingly.


side note: I just got a card in the mail today from one of my Canadian crew and I cried, big happy tears to read the sweetest words - thank you, dearest like-minded friend. 
This is added to care packages and jam and notes and stones and all the wonders I have received of late: I am truly grateful for the kindness showered on me, my stomach and my steadying heart.
You truly rock my world.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Alas....

Twas not meant to be  - the sassiest and loudest vocalizers of the evening took the prize, and I, as you know, am a subtle bean.
I love how much you supported me and I cannot wait to NOT be nervous for another week.

I love you with all my heart,
Allison

Yes Indeed!!

Tomorrow (Thursday from Wednesday's post) was indeed better, thanks in great part to your incredible friendship and encouragement.
Thank you.

A lot of very important things got done and they were done with a sense of peace and wonder: I had an especially amazing piece of Japanese Rhodochrosite I've been holding (literally) every day for nearly a year: it was time to set it and to do so I made an Anini Beach Snorkel setting and voila:



It is the yummiest gemmiest pink stone on incredible depth and a peaceful spirit. I felt it was very important to wait until a deeply peaceful time to make it -and- (as you well know) the days after a good old-fashioned cry are rich with what remains when the tears carry the toxins and emotions up and out.

Space.

Lovely, lovely quiet.
The perfect moment for making!


I also made a little labradorite necklace for some lover of double-chained simplicity:



And finally a custom ring for a budding collectress  - yay!


After these items are listed I am off to Kodiak Jack's for round two of Sonoma County Idol!!!

Throw me some fairy dust for good luck :)

xoxoxoxo,
A