Vintage Jewelry Jackpot

Today, in between laundry, working an 8x8 canvas, a 5x5 canvas, buying candy for a Halloween outreach, and having lunch with a Certain Handsome Preacher, I finished almost four jewelry collections for my shop. I am so excited about these vintage pieces.

In the picture above, you are only seeing about a third of the haul I made this past weekend. I was told about an estate sale, and it turned out to be the Vintage Jewelry Jackpot. Seriously....there is so. much. more. I bought a lot. It was not cheap...but these pieces are gorgeous.

I have deconstructed all of it. Every bit. Friends...that took chutzpah on my part.

I ain't gonna lie, I was scared to take stuff apart. I redesigned the pieces to create my very first jewelry collection....actually, four new collections. Pieces of vintage bracelets have become rings. Brooches have become beautiful pendants. Watch faces that were broken will be embedded onto canvases as art. I've mixed vintage with new in everything...four different sets (so far) that, while not mitchy-matchy, go together so well.

One of history's top designers once said, "Matching is for amateurs", and I see the truth of that statement, the more I paint and create and design. To "match" is boring, and boring is the kiss of death. To haphazardly not match is just as bad.

But to purposefully and soulfully and imaginatively mix high and low, luxury and rustic, unexpected colors, prints and patterns, yin and yang...

....well, that is an art.

And mixed media must somehow truly be my heart and soul, as an artist (did I just now finally own that calling?) because I am mixing "medias" in my jewelry and silver, crystals from chandeliers, pieces of leather, torn fabric trims, shiny with matte, old and new.

I have been thinking hard about the model I want to use, when I photograph these pieces. The Preacher wants to put me in a black turtleneck and jeans, and take the pictures himself. He thinks I would be the best model for my designs, but I have someone way younger and skinnier and cuter in mind. We'll see.

Can't wait to share these collections with you! I have truly poured my heart into them...I've worked so hard, all week, and there is so much more to be done before I can put them in the shop! I have to get pictures that do them justice. I also have to design the packaging for must be vintagey, perfect, beautiful.

Hopefully, they will be available in a week or two...

A Gentle Encouragement...

Begin each day well...

Feed your spirit well. Feed your body well. Not necessarily in that order.

Country Living? Nah...

I say I live in the "suburbs"...and I a declining, probably now a lower-middle-class neighborhood. And I live here with a precious grandson whose parents bought a house across the street from me. My other daughter, her husband, and baby girl live almost inner city.

Though my home is in a suburb, it is smack-dab in city limits. With a pawn shop and a liquor store and a Pilot gas station and a drug rehab center and a Strike N' Spare bowling alley, all within walking distance.

The other day, there were two attempted robberies in "my" grocery store. I was there for one of them. The manager confronted a really large, braless, belligerent black woman about some stolen items in her purse.

Three steps away from my Cracker, under 140 Pound Self.

She threatened the young male manager, also white, and smaller than (even) me. Then she bolted towards me. I literally ran away, pushing my buggy. She ran past me, only to be blocked by a few male employees, who tried to form a human enclosure, to contain her until police came. It was loud and scary.

Depressing stuff, I won't lie.

But then I read stuff like this.

(A wonderful blog post that will challenge your ideas about the sweet country farmhouse/Catholic school/private school/home school life you think you want to give your children...)

And like and her entire October "31 Days of Going"  series.

This stuff will mess with you, if you read it. You might want to leave it alone.

On a bad day, I still want to go all Pioneer Woman, and move to the country, milk cows and live in benign seclusion.

But then I hear my neighbor's granddaughter, abandoned by her mother, living with her grandparents - my neighbors - and she is loudly singing in the yard under my window. Someone has to admire her 5 year old soprano, and show her the love of God. I sorta want the job.

Deep thoughts, here at the cottage. I am proud to be a NOT country blogger...a NOT wealthy, suburban grandmother...proving every day that I can be earthy and wise and eat from farm to table without property and livestock. And I can be politically aware, and don black sunglasses and carry a Michael Kors bag without living in a hip urban loft.

I am more like most of you. We can do this thing...we can live lovingly and compassionately and artistically right where we are. Right where we are, we can be a fragrance of Christ.

Daughters, Sons-in-Love, Sons, and Grandchildren

Jonathan, Sarah (one of my grown, married identical twin daughters), and Aidyn Esther....

Justin, our "other twin" Hannah, and the never-still Timothy Paul (The Preacher's namesake)...this picture says it all!

Hannah and Timothy. Oh, those two year old boy eyes!

The Preacher and I have known our share of heartache...we have sons who are "working on their testimony", and the stories about that...aside from the stress of ministry...would drop your jaw. How is it we are still friends and still in loving relationship with sons who have pulled what our boys have pulled? How is it we have managed to raise the bar (in terms of our Godly standards) instead of lower it, draw lines where lines should be, yet still exhibit grace? Still preserve relationships?

At great cost. By grace alone. Living by the law would be way easier. Like...way, way.

The Gospel. Living of the Gospel. That is how we do it. Our relationships with our children (and their spouses or Significant Others...and our grandchildren...and our friends) are infused and suffused with grace. Perfectly imperfect.

I am, like seriously, sloppy blessed. Still living a dream I have not earned and do not deserve.

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Of Jaunts and Junkets

The Preacher and I "slipped the surly bonds" of chores and counseling and obligation yesterday...we couldn't finish errands until the afternoon, so our jaunt lasted only for a few hours; we were back home working on mowing and church manuals and preparing for overnight guests by 7.

But guess what I found?

The most adorable vintage (circa 1960's) children's books...two of them, three dollars apiece, and in almost new condition. Every page with a winsome, beautifully rendered animal (in one) or an illustration of a nursery rhyme (in the other).

Even the lady at the cash register was jealous. I was firing off questions at The Preacher, as creative ideas tumbled out..."Is our flatbed scanner big enough to scan these pages? They are public domain, now!". "Will these images print on cold press watercolor paper, you think?"

She asked me what I was going to do with the books, and I explained how, as a mixed media artist, I intended to share these gorgeous children's books with the world, reincorporating them into art, while fully preserving the original books themselves.

She looked me in the eye, and said, "You totally just scored. I don't want to sell them to you, now. I want to do what you are describing. They are beautiful books, and your ideas are amazing. I wish I had thought of them."

Then she grinned and gave me her blessing.

Not that she had a choice. I was prepared to punch her in the neck, and run away, yelling brilliant artsy rhetorical flourishes at her as I exited the shop. Much like Grandma Moses might have done.

Never get between an artist and her muse.

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New In the Shop

New in my shop this afternoon...

I am venturing into a genre called "She Art", and I love it way more than I expected to. My intentions were to dabble, here and there..., I want to create little other than "She Art". I am on a big, big She Art kick. Such an encouraging category.

This is an 8x8 print of the original I painted last week. The painting is entitled "Maria", and was inspired by a time of personal prayer over a friend. As I prayed, this is what came out...and I sensed that it was on target.

Don't we all need to hear encouragement to keep doing what we are doing, in spite of the difficulty and the pain?

This print is, as of today, beautifully framed in a simple, elegant, well made black frame. It is available for purchase in my shop.

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Look at how utterly, heart-squeezingly adorable. My little Aidyn Esther.

It rocks to be a grand mommy. It rocks to be me.

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Working ideas out in the art journal first. My favorites...the ones I'm really feelin'...will be done again on canvas.

I am feelin' today's results. This will definitely become a rather large canvas.

It says, "Strength and honor are her clothing, and she shall rejoice in time to come..."

I preach the Good News to myself, through my painting.


Preparing to serve dinner to 13 people...leaders representing three churches.

Many thanks to my two daughters for beautifying our huge outdoor dining space...

It isn't 4th of July, I know, but this is the only bolt of fabric I have that is large enough. I love it.

...the fire is laid in the brick fire pit...

The guest room is fluffed and ready for our dear Pete Beck. God is so very good.

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Soft breezes...waxing sunlight, diffused by clouds and soft coffee..."October's meditative haze"...peace and plump fruitfulness...Bible reading...prayer...feeling nested.

My very heart nested this morning.

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Studio Addition

This evening, as I was working on a huge painting (the biggest one yet) The Preacher noticed that several inches of my canvas was hanging over the edge of my table...the piece covered my entire table, and then some.

And now, just a couple of hours later, I have a new, bigger top, firmly attached to the old tabletop...

...and painted with black chalkboard paint!

Love it! Not only is the tabletop able to accommodate the large canvas I was working on, but I have extra inches to sit my tubes of paint, the bowl I use for matte medium, and my jars of brushes and water.

Fun stuff.

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