Monday, October 31, 2011

Once More, With Feeling

For the third time in four years, I find myself strapped in
to a Holter monitor to track my heartbeats for 24 hours.

With each instance they have become more and more user friendly:
this one is 5 electrodes and a battery pack around the neck - hooray!!!

On my way home from the appointment, I got run out of my lane
on a two-lane left turn with a solid white line (which means stay in your lane according to the DMV)
I rolled my window down to tell the woman she was driving dangerously
and explain California traffic laws
only to have her defend her driving angrily and speed off on a green
going 50 MPH in a 30 zone.

I got my first 'diary entry' for a palpitation from that
experience, so I guess....yay?

But mostly it made me sad, extremely sad.
I want to believe that everyone is doing the best they can with the tools they've been
given, I want to have compassion...

We don't seem to realize how we damage those around us:
to her I was a bitch who tried to tell her how to drive
and she may never think twice about that turn until someday someone
next to her doesn't notice her car drift into their lane.

To me, she was a threat to myself, my baby...

We are at war.

So very many of us are at war.

What if she and I would have met instead at the bagel shop down the street?
Perhaps she would have held the door for me
and I would have offered a smile in return,
a warm exchange on a different plane:
I bet she has a lovely side.

All I know is this: tonight she is my tonglen partner
and I will wish her well with all my might.

Maybe tonight you might offer a bit of care for someone whose best is simply not good enough for you, wishing them the strength and courage we all need to get through this
wonderful terrible life.

With love,

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Time Away

A silent retreat that changed so much in me
dinner at Central Market
decaf latte for me, strong regular for the lovely tall woman beside me
feeding pigeons in San Francisco
dinner at Street with some awesome women...
Home again, home again jiggety jig
Full of so much goodness I can hardly believe how light I feel...
Someday soon I hope to tell you about it all,
but for now the softness of the bed beckons
and I hope to dream of Walker Creek Ranch and the hills
of Petaluma.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Loving Kindness and Chrysoprase


These were the subjects last night in yoga, taught for the last time by my favorite teacher.
In the last full year, I've learned so much more about commitment, love and passion from this woman and the lineage of Tibetan Heart Yoga than I ever knew I could hold.

She transformed my practice from one of physical exercise to mental devotion -
to bettering not just myself, but holding loved ones, strangers and everything in between in one's mind as the practice deepens, offering your strength in the hopes that they may be free of suffering,
that all beings may be free of suffering.

There is no feeling like finding a kernel of love for someone who has bullied you
or devoting a long-held warrior III to someone in need.

Even after the car accident when I could not move very much, I would go and sit quietly on my mat just to be in class.

I've realized through my practice that this work I do with my hands is the ultimate expression of Metta in my life. I try to work when I am at peace, and if I find myself
challenged while in my studio I'd rather not leave a piece with that energy;
I don't 'go to bed angry', so to speak.

Metals and hide get filled with intentions and prayers,
packages get wrapped with love and well-wishes for the recipient,
songs are hummed
gratitude is professed
angst is healed here.

This room with its aqua walls is my solace and my saving grace
on days that hurt.

This piece is a perfect example of love in action;
I hand-rolled two different types of green through the mill:
Mendocino Fern
and Jacaranda, a tree that blooms astounding purple blossoms in late spring.

The chrysoprase cab was worked by me on my wheels at home
and the quality of the stone is astounding; the deepest apple green you can ever imagine
and luminous in big ways.

In this piece are wishes for growth and green, tender thoughts and a few kicks from my baby.
Dancing inside the molecules of the silver are calming words
for your fight -
imploring you to let it go,
assuring you that in surrender you will vanquish something far more powerful than an enemy.

The Lovingkindness extends to my family as well:

This piece will feed us, help me grow my studio
and my spirit, nurture this little life we three are building.

I will be donating 20% of the sale of this piece to the Metta Center.

You can find this beauty in the

this morning.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fallen Flowers and Sentimental Daughters

My mother left yesterday; I drove her up to the airport after a lunch
of Burmese food and a failed attempt to secure a loaf of brioche bread for her travels.

I love the idea of sending loved ones off with something they can savor.
In the wake of her visit, I am sentimental
and slow to smile.

It never fails to happen, but this visit was like super-extra-wow special
for so many reasons, not the least of which being a wonderful time with the In-Loves
and the knowledge that our baby is a boy
(whose nickname is already Bubber - I'll share why later)

but the studio, as is the case most frequently, was a balm for me today.
The radio is set to KFOG
the tea refills itself
and the plants have all been watered and encouraged.

As the other two necklaces I previewed in their unfinished state seem to have been
snapped up already,
I have this offering:

A Fallen Labradorite Flower
with warm, curling copper petals
and a luminous labradorescent stone with fire in a trinity of colors:

cobalt blue
and a nearly green turquoise!

This piece balances perfectly, and is a wonderful option for everyday wear.

It wil be in the

this evening before I leave for yoga.

With love,

Monday, October 24, 2011

Born Again Half Belt

Twin bird skulls (my Wright's Beach skull)
frame a juicy, pomegranate carnelian cabochon
set in fine silver and copper
stitched in to warm toffee colored leather
and soft as a silk saffron lamb suede.

"Born Again"
reads the stamped inscription inside.

That phrase can mean anything from
finding new life in religion
to discovering untapped reserves of strength within
recovering from trauma
relinquishing attempts at control
or just simply rising again with the morning sun,
grateful and exuberant.

There is something autumnal about the coloration
but season-less is the subject matter:

death and rebirth are a favorite subject in my studio,
a necessity in the growth of a soul
and the history of earth.

This half-belt measures 28.5 inches ring end to ring end
and looks fabulous strung with a scarf:


Rich in tender touches,
this is an heirloom piece
for a woman who knows the joy of
from slumbers both physical and spiritual.

In the Leather Shop:


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Beautiful Luxe for Lovely Ears

A few weeks ago at the farmer's market I visited my favorite stand and inquired
after the heirloom tomatoes -
"All gone" was the answer from the pretty girl, and we shared a wry smile.

Last of the season can be a sad moment
if you can press the 'last of' into metal, well then:
spring all year!


These are my last flower petals, adorned in rivets and surrounded by
delicious, nutritious color

monochrome rainbows are the theme:

...hits you right in the heart chakra with a cleansing burst!


Supremely luxe Mexican Fire Opal


This pair is asymmetrical, with one earring ending in a riveted petal, the other sans flower
parts: it's a bit rock and roll, and oh so posh!!!

Maidenhair Fern and perfect aqua fluorite

So fresh!!!


Short petal dangles and turquoise rondelles

Lovely, lovely luxe

for your beautiful ears.

Do any of these belong to you?

me -
I will set them aside and you can take them home when I update the shop this coming Wednesday!



It is currently 5:33 A.M. (the internet being down, this was written in TextEditor) and I have been up for the better part of three hours: insomnia, for the first time since living in New York City.

Granted, Anthony has a head cold and a cough that pops through intermittently in his sleep, so the night sounds have not exactly been peaceful


Sitting here in the dark of my kitchen with only the stove light on I am reminded of that tiny little bedroom in Astoria, Queens, with one window and a futon mattress on the floor, clean as a whistle and containing the only things I owned, mostly excellent castoffs from trash day in the more upscale parts of the borough:

the fabulous heavy dark wood liquor cabinet that held most of my valuables, carted home at midnight on a dolly borrowed from a corner fruit market… the bamboo corner table, the batik print wrap used as a makeshift curtain…

I am reminded of all of the little lives contained in the larger: I've been so many places in my life and time, just like Donny.

There have been a few tears shed here at the table this morning, mostly fatigue but also the deep existential sadness that 5:00 AM brings when the balm of rest has been elusive. Tonight after a rousing game of chicken foot (where I talked such horrendously delicious smack and laughed until I cried at my mother's delightful nature) I felt the first movement in my womb that I knew would translate to the outside world. I put Anthony's hand right below my belly button and waited for Orion to shift and when he did I looked up at Anthony's face and saw such happiness and wonder. Right behind his head like a cancan line, the beaming faces of his mom and dad, mouths open like children.

Later as he tucked me in to bed he would say, "I felt my son" and I would smile at that milestone moment, knowing that there are so many to come.

That is where the tears come from: the nature of change, the beauty of the shifts, the answering of prayers and blessings we beg for… someday my boy will be bigger in my womb, felt by any hand that touches me and even further down the road if God is willing I will hold him in my arms and look into his eyes, slowly learning to give him back to the universe from which he came.

It is an almost unbearable tenderness, this love. Everything seems to melt into it - all of my rancor and misgivings fall powerless like constellations against the heavenly body of the morning sun, invisible. I welcome the way it crushes me even though it hurts so raw and big - we are not supposed to leave this life the way we came into it. I think that part of the divine plan is that we grow bigger, brighter, more generous and compassionate because of our experiences, because of our discomfort and pangs.

And so it goes….

My short ligaments stretch, my baby boy moves my body outward and breaks my heart: I cannot wait to see what future beauty he makes of me.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Day In The Life

An homage to the "Day in the Life of a Dove" entries that my dear Umber
Today was one of those days that words fail,

9:06 A.M.

9:22 A.M.

10:00 A.M.

10:22 A.M.

10:37 A.M.

12:45 P.M.

3:15 P.M.

Every moment of the day past 10:43 -
thoughts of our boy,
our Orion.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Botanica in Progress

It starts with a handful of wonderful stones:

a rare and deeply colored Parrot Wing Jasper
a self-cabbed piece of Australian Chrysoprase
a brilliant and gem-quality Australian opal
and a stunner of labradorite.

In progress: a double layer of botany:
fern and jacaranda tree leaves
in an asymmetrical necklace

A long seed pod sculptural necklace in which the opal will rest


A Fading Flower Necklace - To-Be...

And this final study, a leaf I had collected a few years back in Petaluma,
stuck in a pocket of my grey peacoat and forgotten

until a few weeks ago when I was looking for change:
The leaf had become nearly skeletal, perfectly supple and soft
like an old flannel.

I hope to have these pieces done by the end of the month.

November will be a very sparse month
as I'll be gone for half of it,
split between

I am getting these beauties in while the energy is right
and the studio is a warm, loving blaze of passion!

Tonight my mother arrives: the best birthday present a woman could ask for!!

Have a wonderful night,

3 years of Love

kiss by sunnyrisingleather

About four and a half years ago when Anthony proposed to me,
I had the brilliant idea of getting married on my birthday -
a new thing for a day celebrating freshness.

The things people came up with as 'Devil's Advocate' concerns were adorable,
ranging from "but you'll get half the gifts!" to worries I would be overwhelmed.

Nothing could be a bigger gift than waking up to this man,
this wonderful human being with whom I peel back like an onion year after year,
in whose hands I feel as safe as possible.

Happy Anniversary, Schmilly:
you are a champion of reason, a warm romance
and a reminder to be my best.

Let's make this year an adventure to remember!!!


kiss, a photo by sunnyrisingleather on Flickr.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


If you've ever been to my little bungalow
and looked in my studio closet before yesterday,
you'd know this is a brand new world.

I've not been able to walk more than a half-pace inside of it to fetch what I needed,
what I needed being way below eye level and buried in the darkness of a deep, dark hutch-top
that was used for shelving.

No more!!!
Thanks to a 45 dollar tall white bookshelf from Ikea
and the use of the rolling cabinet I already had,
the closet is truly one I can enter and exit
without stumbling or bumbling.

The next phase in my studio shape-up
is the offloading of many findings,
most of them raw brass, pressed into the shape of things that are pretty.
I will be doing a big destash.

I may open an Etsy shop to make it simple
as there are quite a few things that need to go, or I may just put pictures up here
on the blog and take offers - I don't know yet what makes the most sense.

In the meantime, I am determined to have the studio be a place of great peace and ease so that I can keep creating without added stress after my maternity leave in March, April and May.
Who knows: I may sneak in and make a few things during that time:
the perils of loving my job!

Have a wonderful Sunday,

Friday, October 14, 2011

Double Happiness Bird Belt with Jadeite Tone Chrysoprase


This One is a Tearjerker;
I finished it and cried.

There was something so tender and gentle about its finished self
that it ached my heart.
The chrysoprase so green and domed,
the birds so full of their own personality
the stitching measured by instinct and sewn while singing along to classic rock
the scalloped edges of lavender suede...

Flower rivets, hearts at the end of the belt where the loops are...

For those unfamiliar with my original half-belts, they are a strip of tooled leather with nickel rings at both ends, through which you can thread a
soft piece of hide or a vintage sarf
and make the piece into a waist cincher,
a guitar strap
a low slung hip-belt
or anything your heart can imagine.

I came up with the idea a few years ago because the women I design for come in all shapes and sizes, and this honors the differences and celebrates our curves,
however you see fit to sling this baby!!

From ring end to ring end this belt is 31 inches of pure joie de vivre, stitched
and riveted to last for centuries to come.

There has already been a wonderful woman who expressed interest in the belt,
and so I think it may be spoken for, but nothing is written in stone. When it is, I'll label this 'reserved' in red.

In the meantime, feel free to inquire.

It IS well.

Have a wonderful weekend!!

Metal Shop update will happen late tonight, as I have a date with my yoga
mat and a delightful teacher.