Julie and Blu of Blue Morning Expressions are once again hosting the popular "Mother's Day Countdown” on their BluPrint blog. Last year's Mother's Day Countdown 2016 was a resounding success so a 2017 version, which started last week, is up and running. Mother's Day will be here before we all know it! Now is the perfect time to start browsing gift ideas and buying that perfect gift(s) for your Mum. Any one of the handmade (many of which are one of a kind) and vintage items shared this week are perfect. Visit the shops of the artists featured and buy Mum something that was handmade from the heart or that will re-live as a vintage piece.
St. Patrick's Day (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig, "the Day of the Festival of Patrick"), is a cultural and religious celebration held on March 17, the traditional date when Saint Patrick died. What began as a religious feast day for the patron saint of Ireland (c. AD 385–461) has become an international festival observed by the Irish and the Irish-at-heart. Irish culture is celebrated with parades, dancing, special food, beer and a tremendous amount of green (including copious amounts of green beer).
The weather has been unusually warm here in the Desert Southwest (sorry about that to my northern friends!). Winter was only a glancing blow a few times. Since the days have been warm with plenty of sunshine, the grass in the back yard is beginning to green up and some fruit trees are already blooming, masses of pale pink and white flowers. One of my geraniums is blooming, the hot fuchsia color is so welcome, and the hardy roses are putting on lovely reddish new growth. Am sure they will be in full bloom in several weeks. And, happily, the much beloved Spanish lavender is setting buds. Soon the cacti and other native desert plants will be in full bloom - maybe not the showiest of flowers, but gorgeously sublime nonetheless.
I have always been fascinated with words, especially when it comes to colors. Just how many different words are there to describe a color? But one person “blue” is not always another person’s “blue.” My husband is a good example. This past weekend we were at Lowe’s looking at paint chips: yellows, blues and greens. DH’s definition of any shade or tint of blue, whether it is a pale baby blue or a dark navy blue, is “blue.” I, myself, am much more exacting most of the time. So, if I see “cornflower blue,” I will call it that.
Since purple is a fairly rare color in nature, an almost magical aura has been associated to it throughout human history. The first historical record of a purple dye, called Tyrian purple, indicates that it began to be manufactured in the Phoenician city of Tyre in the eastern Mediterranean in the 14th century BCE. The dye was extracted from the glands of several types of shellfish, but especially the Murex brandaris. The process to extract the dye took about three days. Thousands of putrefied, crushed shellfish were left to bake in the sun. Salt was then added and the mash of glands were boiled down. (Can you imagine the overwhelming stench of the process!!!). It took about 12,000 shellfish to extract 1.5 grams of the pure dye, barely enough to dye a single garment the size of a Roman toga. In 301 A.D. during the reign of Roman Emperor Diocletian, one pound of purple dye cost 150,000 denarii or around three pounds of gold. This is the main reason the purple color was reserved for emperors or individuals with titles of royal authority.
Christmas has come and gone and a New Year is almost here. And then on to Valentine’s Day with Mother’s Day not far behind. Looking back on 2016, I find it has been a whirlwind year full of shows, jewelry making, photographing jewelry, listing and . . . sales. Yay! A year of double down hard work is paying off.
No rest for the weary, however. This blog post features six new pairs of earrings, one new necklace and three “oldies but goodies” that are still looking for a loving home. All of the earrings and necklaces featured here are handmade, one of a kind designs; a bit boho, a bit classic and all extremely in fashion. When purchased, YOU will be the only one with such a unique piece.
The color combination of red and green is closely associated with Christmas - for example, Santa’s red clothing and green holly with red berries. But how did this come about? From ancient history to modern time, color has been an integral part of cultural awareness and even an understanding of life; it touched all members of society and conveyed deeper messages (such as, only royalty could wear the color purple). Red and green as Christian symbolism can be traced back to Medieval Miracle Plays and rood screen painters. The color combination can be traced to the Mabinogion, a collection of Welsh stories from the 13th century. And these stories were probably 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 and green represented male (red) and female (green), strength and harmony, desire and fertility.
It has been almost a month since I shared handmade jewelry from my Indiemade shop. Arts festivals, company and a bit of traveling has kept me very busy. But I have a short break now between shows, so decided to feature the new, one of a kind necklaces and earrings which can be found in my shop. A few have already sold, but I wanted to share them, just the same. I hope you enjoy these twelve unique beauties:
The other day, as I was pondering the theme of this week’s “Wonderful Handmade Wednesday" blog post, I ran across a very colorful quote from Roy Bean talking about autumn in the desert: “And Fall, with her yeller harvest moon and the hills growin' brown and golden under a sinkin' sun.” Aha, I thought! The handmade theme of earthy yellers, browns and goldens was then set in my mind.
My husband, Seamus (our sweet, goofus Moose of a dog) and I are fortunate to live in the Desert Southwest, a part of the country where the sky is immense and an ever changing blue most of the year. In fact, a cloudy day (like today!) is actually a treat! I was gazing out the window in my studio the other day when a Thomas Carlyle quote came to me: "The old cathedrals are good, but the great blue dome that hangs over everything is better." And I have to agree! Even though I love visiting old cathedrals with a sense of wonderment, spirituality and awe - Canterbury Cathedral, Koln Cathedral, Notre Dame, National Cathedral, St, Paul's to name a few - I absolutely revel in the everchanging "great blue dome" that is above my head almost every day. The colors can range from the palest blue to a deep, mystical, velvety blue that occurs 45 minutes or so after the sun has dipped below the horizon and the sunset has faded.