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Heavenly Hollyhocks in the Desert Southwest

 

 

Hollyhocks (Alcea rosea) have always been a flower dear to my heart.  Can't explain why besides they have such a beautifully majestic look to them (at least to me) as they sway in the wind.  According to information I've read, they are biennials, taking two years to bloom (although you can't always believe what's written since these seeded last summer and are blooming now).  Hollyhocks are originally from Asia, grown in ancient China by wealthy people.  They spread to the Middle East through trade routes and then were carried to western Europe by returning Crusaders from the Holy Land.  The Latin name of the hollyhock plant, Alcea, is derived from altho the Greek word for healerIn Greek Mythology, Althea is a beautiful goddess of healing and compassion, family, marriage and protection.  The flowers were used as a diuretic, a laxative, an emollient and in anti-inflammatory treatments. Rosea is Latin for for rose, rosy or pink.  The common name, hollyhock, is a combination of two words — holy and hock. Holy refers to the healing powers of the plant and that it was brought to Europe from the Holy Land.  Hock is an Old English word which means mallow.  Hollyhocks made their way to the United States in colonial times in seed packets carried by immigrants.  They symbolize the circle of life and abundance and were traditionally planted near the front door to welcome prosperity.

 

 

 

I'll Stop Wearing Black When - A Short History of the Non-Color Black

 

 

I’ll stop wearing black when they invent a darker color - Wednesday Addams

 

 

Writing about the history of black is probably a bit strange here in the middle of spring with flowers blooming up a storm in all sorts of beautifully varied and cheerful colors.  But just like Wednesday Addams of the Addams Family fame, black has always been a color (or non-color as it turns out) that I enjoy wearing.  Black has a very long and rich history, something I found most fascinating.  I kept reading and reading and reading some more:  interesting information and tidbits about black, both the elegant side and the more “evil” connotations.  So, I decided to share some of the information.  And also highlight unique handmade items from artist friends that feature black prominently in the design.  Other photos of interest about black are also scattered in.  All photos are linked.

 

 

 

For the Love of Earrings - A Short History

 

 

I don't know about you, but I feel strange when I hop in the trusty Dog Mobile and then notice I have forgotten to put on a pair of earrings!   At least there, in the driveway, I can hop out of the truck, run inside and grab a pair to put on.  But, heaven help me, if I get somewhere and realize I am earrings-less!  It's like the world has tilted just a bit on its axis and I’m in the Upside Down.  Being an ardent wearer of pierced earrings since the early 1970’s, I have quite the collection of handcrafted Native American earrings  - and earrings I’ve made myself and then couldn’t part with.  Just LOVE them!  

 

 

 

Christmas Red - Wonderful Handmade Wednesday on Indiemade

 

 

 

As everyone is aware, the color combination of red and green is closely associated with the Christmas season.  From ancient history to modern time, color has been an integral part of cultural awareness and even an understanding of life.  The meaning of colors touched all members of society, conveying deep messages that everyone could “read”:  at one time, only royalty could wear the color purple and the red robes worn by Catholic Cardinals signifies the blood of Christ, even to this day.  The red and green color combination can be traced to the Mabinogion, a collection of Welsh stories from the 13th century.  And these stories were most likely based on an oral tradition that dates back to the pre-Christian Celts many centuries before where a half-red, half-green tree figures prominently in one of the tales.  In pre-Christian times, red represented male strength and desire and green represented female harmony and fertility.

A Bounty of Beautiful Handmade Bracelets

 

 

Right behind earrings, bracelets are one of the most popular forms of body adornment.  The origin of the term "bracelet" is from the Greek word "brachile" meaning "of the arm."  The earliest identified bracelet was discovered in 2008 by Russian archaeologist in Denisova Cave in the Atai Mountains of Siberia.  A finger bone fragment was found along with other artifacts, including a beautiful bracelet created from polished green stone.  The items were carbon dated to around 40,000 years ago.

A Bounty of Blues - Wonderful Handmade Wednesday on Indiemade

 

 

The history of blue is very interesting. If you stop and think about it, there is not a lot of natural blue in nature. Most people worldwide do not have blue eyes, blue flowers do not occur without human tinkering, and blue animals are rare -- birds that are blue only live in certain areas. The sky is blue . . . or is it? One interesting theory suggests that before humans had words for the color blue, they actually saw the sky as another color! This theory is supported by the fact that if you never name the color of the sky to a child, and then ask what color it is, he/she will struggle to describe it.  Some describe the sky as colorless and some describe it as white. It seems that only after being told that the sky is blue, and after seeing other blue objects over a period of time, does the sky look blue in their eyes. I wonder now, when I was very young, if I saw the sky as "blue" before or after it was given a color name.  Something to ponder over!

Gorgeous Handmade Greens for Christmas Gift Giving - Wonderful Handmade Wednesday - December 8, 2015

 

Christmas is drawing ever nearer.  Because of this, my Wonderful Handmade Wednesday blog last week featured artisan made items in red.  This week the color chosen is green - red and green, traditional holiday colors.  But then I started wondering, “Hmmmmm . . . where did the tradition of red and green being “Christmas colors” come from?”  An inquiring mind wanted to know so the google search began.

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