27 December 2010

As December Declines

This week is that final slide into the new year. I hope you enter this week satisfied and spent in a good way. I'm feeling pretty good. Reflective without remorse. I wanted to post something pretty for the last or nearly last post of the year. Actually I think I post something pretty most of the time and so it is quite fitting to close the year with handmade beauty and the friendships such work inspires.

I did Suz Reaney's Upcycled Treasures one-on-one swap for Silver Bella. Each participant was to create a one of a kind necklace pieced from vintage jewelry and found objects. Suz randomly assigned a giver and givee to each member of the swap. We answered a questionnaire of sorts so we could please our recipients. I had never done a project like this before nor had I met Lisa Orme for whom I was making a necklace.

Let me show off my contribution. Here my packaging which bears Lisa's initial in a brooch. I was very thrilled to see her wearing this rose later in the weekend.

 Aren't layers just delicious?

Inside the pouch was this cigar can I found at Junk Bonanza in Minnesota.


Inside the cigar box was another pouch! Packaging foreplay...

 The little velvet pocket held a surprise pair of earrings to go with the necklace.

 Seriously, sexy right?

Ahhhh, the necklace. I had such a hard time parting with this!
Every single piece came from another necklace, earring or button jar.

 This pewter cameo was found at the Canton, Texas flea market.

The entire ensemble...I met Lisa after I designed the necklace and packaging. She is gorgeous and laid back, with a hippie feminine chic quality. Once I took in her delicious style, I even more excited that my creation would be a great fit.

 Here is Lisa opening it at Swap night in Omaha in November of 2010.
Look at cute dear sweet Franc Franke sitting next to Lisa.

I loved this necklace so much I offered to buy it from her if she didn't like it.
No sale...

I absolutely fell for Miss Rita Blanks at Silver Bella in 2009. I was lucky enough to cross paths with her last summer at the Gilded Nest event in Dallas.
Somehow the fates assigned her to make my necklace.
Oh good stuff.

This necklace is a generous melange of rhinestones, pearl birds, robin's egg blue, tarnished brass, silver and gold.

Rita managed to make this piece full of intrigue and yet somehow delicate.
That would describe Rita herself. I adore this woman.
I adore her.

I am so happy how this experience turned out. I have a wonderful new friendship with Suz that got very deep very quickly. Suz returned from Silver Bella to devasting news regarding his husband's health. I am so glad to call her friend.

Thank you Suz for this year of friendship, laughter and tears.

Thank you Rita for you whom I enjoy just knowing out there in the world.

23 December 2010

Around Here

Oh Christmas. You have to fight for Christmas.
Fight crowds.
Fight impulses.
Fight over-spending.
Fight demons.
Fight memories.
Fight resentment.

Or at least I always have.

My brother died at Christmas. We have fought to have Christmas most years since. Sadness. memories, bad ones. Last year Christmas was so dark.

Good lord, are you still even reading this?

I was wrapping gifts last night. I was flooded with Christmases from so long ago. The sweet Christmases when I was a child and all the kids were there. All four of us. Before addiciton and depression took my brother and sister away. But as I loaded boxes, folded tissue paper, removed prices, dispensed tape, they were just memories. They did not yoke. They did not tie a concrete block around my ankle and throw me off the deep end. They did not tie me to empty graves. They were just feelings.

Melancholy? Yes. Edge of depression? No.

Wow. Is this what "normal" people feel? Just memories and love? Not fear and loathing? I think I grew up this year. I have been present with this Christmas. I have not been a grinch. I have done all the tasks I always do but they did not feel like a burden. For the first year EVER.

This year has brought such fatigue, pain, anger and love. A grand miracle came this year, some smaller miracles as well. Can a miracle be small? A miracle can be large. That is for sure. I had one of those. I haven't shared it yet. But the timing was miracluous which is redundant. A birth. A saviour in a sense.

I look forward to my little family this year. My brother here with me. Mother. My husband and daughter. The other daughters seen and to be seen. All in order just for now.

And I feel grateful. I receive these gifts.
I fought for them and I am going to enjoy them.

Let's have a cup of hot chocolate, sit with your holiday lights.
I will Be.

20 December 2010

Made By Mabin

I am pretty excited to show you this. I started a flannel rag quilt just after Thanksgiving. I did my buying and figuring, cutting. And cutting.

These are 12 inch squares with an Oklahoma star applique so named because it was drawn and cut in Oklahoma doncha' know...

This quilt for a certain little boy's big Oh Three. I wanted something warm and snuggly.

The beauty of these rag quilts is that you wash them as part of the completion. The recipient can feel free to use and wash without fear of hurting them.

I love how it turned out.

As happy as I am to share it here, I was beyond excited to give it to this little man I know.

13 December 2010

Must Make Pretty Things

My last post was about the 'r' word. Please read it if you have not. If you did read it, thank you. If you read it and commented, thank you, thank you. If you read it, commented, admitted you had used this word and will rethink use of it, I am deeply touched by your candor. If you said you would talk to your children about use of this and other words, then you have changed the world.

We changed the world.

Life has lots of ugliness built in to it. There is pain, sadness and ugliness. This is why we make pretty things, isn't it? In God's image, we create beautiful, interesting things, driven to do so.
On my return from Silver Bella, I had only unfinished projects. I was impressed that Jackie Peters decided to finish a project daily and post about each all week on her blog. She is so driven, efficient and productive. It feels good to produce. It feels good to make something pretty. It is very important. This is often called craft. 'Crafting' is starting to sound like a bad thing. Arts and Crafts, art vs. craft. Craft used to mean a lifetime's work, a honed skill. A craftsman. What if it is the work of a woman's hands? Creating and producing, making beautiful things. Calming herself, restoring her soul.

I have had some drive amidst the knit, knit, knitting I have been doing to get on with the projects from Silver Bella. One was Teresa McFayden's group project called Art Sisters. It was to be 2 x2 inch squares set in a frame. I found it very difficult to get much done on site. Also, if I make something, I need some incubation time to figure out what I would actually want hanging around my house. I do try to edit. Some people have no such obstacles and busted out some astounding things. This from Karla Nathan, a fully decorated frame. !
Danielle Muller. Oh Danielle. Look how gorgeous this is. And complete. How do people do that? It creates a little competitiveness in me. It also gives that negative voice something to work with. Mostly, however, it is like watching an athlete perform the unbelievable, it inspires me.

I love Danielle's quiet and lovely piece. Also, Danielle is cute all over.

I decided to take the Art Sisters chunks I did complete and combine them with my Junque Journal swap. Sheila Rumney completed the front and gave us the back of the journal covered in music.

I added my Art Sisters to the very back journal cover.

I added the remaining project contents and intructions to the inside face of the back cover. I intend to build the journal from my swap packages.

While I did not take the Kaari Meng necklace class, I purchased the kit. I had some time one late afternoon recently. I rarely work in our library but the afternoon sun called me to this spot and I worked from here.

Here is my necklace and it is fabulous.

From left over pieces, I made these earrings.

I found a beautiful place to sit. I am grateful to have a beautiful safe place to sit. I create beautiful things. Thank you hands, grateful for time.

Grateful for this blog.

Thank you dear reader. I feel inspired by you and these beautiful things.

05 December 2010

It Takes My Breath Away

It happened twice just this week.

The mere act of typing this right now has made my heart race, my breathing shallow. I feel slightly dizzy and a little sick.

It is anxiety, straight up, Shaking, dry mouth, headache coming on...

And it happens every time. And it has happened every time, since I was little girl.

I heard two adults use it this week.

The R word.

I heard 'retardo' twice, then 'isn't that retarded' once.

I am shaking so hard I can hardly type.

What would you do if someone used the 'n' word in casual conversation? Do you respond? How do you respond? I can honestly say I have not heard that word used in person but one time in the last 30 years. My eyes got wide. I shied away. I said nothing. Then the enormous burden of guilt and shame descended.

It is the same when I hear someone use retarded or worse, 'tard, retard, retardo (new one, how is there a new one?).

I want to say something but I am usually far too anxious to do it.

If someone is in medicine or studying medicine I generally say something. I announce to my college students how I feel about the word. I want them to think about the use of that word and make their own decision.

But when a friend, or a friend's child, or a family member uses it, I generally say nothing. I just don't want to see them again.

Does shying away with my feelings help anyone?

My brother is retarded. My court paperwork assigning me as his guardian states that he is "an incapacitated person due to severe mental retardation."

He cannot communicate. He cannot say "what do you mean by that," or "that hurts my feelings," or "please don't say that."

But neither can I.

And I feel heavy with shame and anxiety about it.

29 November 2010

Husband Make Fire

Ahhhhhhh. A drama-free Thanksgiving was had. Mother actually came to eat with us. That is roughly equivalent to a lunar landing. No addicts in the house. So nice. They take up too much space. My daughter left to spend the remainder of the weekend with her paternal grandparents and husband and I went to a cabin in the woods.

Husband likes to burn things. Doesn't he, Spencer?

We took a hike up to this water tower.

It stands watch over a sleepy lake view.

The leaves were devoid of color and yet I found them beautiful.

My constant desire to capture the reflection of the sun. You could feel the heat reflected off the water through the brisk air.

I am always impressed and haunted by these trees that die, then continue to stand year after year, through seasons and winds, storms and intense sunshine. A testimony of strength.

The sand washed out this tree. It will be years and years until it degrades. When the water comes up and covers it, it becomes petrified. Trees are decades and decades old underneath the water.

They just last and last...

Couple of very lonely horses up the mountain.

They cling to each other.

Like we do. Like we must.

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