Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Words of Wisdom: Me

Shallow is the new deep.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

My Etsy Shop Is Open!

One-of-a-kind reclaimed earrings with hardware accents $18

After some struggles with the online setup and learning to use a new camera (based mostly in my unwillingness to read directions), my Etsy shop is open for business!  My jewelry is made from repurposed hardware, reclaimed jewelry parts, and commercial findings such as jump rings and clasps.  Occasionally I make a piece out of all new jewelry parts, but not very often.

Hardware necklace $18

 The idea for this necklace came to me as a friend handed me a big coffee can full of hardware he wanted to get out of his house.  I thought, Oh look, a brackety thingy.  I wonder what I can do with it?  A little while later, I was at home carrying out what I'd pictured.  I've gotten lots of positive feedback on this piece, and the inspiration behind it really was as simple as that.

  Chunky hardware earrings $13

I liked this pair of earrings so much I made another for myself.  I love how I can wear a plain turtleneck and jeans, and when I put these on I look dressed. You know, like I made an effort.  I enjoy that in an accessory.

Modern chain bracelet $18

I didn't expect the photography process to be as fun as it is turning out to be.  I'm having a great time looking for just the right backgrounds and learning how to light the pieces properly.  The way I photographed this bracelet is my homage to Yves Saint Laurent's iconic mid-'60s Mondrian Collection.  But you knew that, right?

You can check out everything I have listed so far at http://sowsearjewels.etsy.com/.  I've got more to list in the coming days, and lots of ideas going forward into the new year.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

My table centerpiece: a bowl my brother made me filled with colorful fallen leaves.

Happy Thanksgiving, Gentle Readers.  I'm thankful to each and every one of you for taking time out of your busy days to read the crazy goings-on in my life and in my head. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Dept. of Home Economics: More Fun With Broccoli Stems

Not a fan of Cream of Broccoli Soup?  Fret not, Gentle Reader.  There a lots of other things you can do with your broccoli stems instead of throwing them away.  Check out some ideas at My Life In Food: A Culinary "Art" Journal.  Plus, there is a Jane Austen quote and I take a couple of shots at Martha Stewart!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The WHATcracker???

Sometimes blog topics just get handed to me.  Quite literally in this case, because a card advertising this heartfelt production was handed to me as I left the opera on Sunday.  I can only imagine the reaction of my fellow patrons -- most of whom were over the age of seventy.

Seriously, people, have high school kids completely taken over the theater in BostonThe Slutcracker?  Nobody over the age of eighteen could find that name and image anything but stupid.  Could they?  (Please, God, let the answer to that be "no.")   

You can click here to see what it's about, but be warned: it is Not Safe For Work (and not safe for you at all, Mom). 

Image: theslutcracker.com.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Macbeth...and Zombies

Playtex Living Gloves


On Sunday, I went to see The Boston Lyric Opera's production of Macbeth.  It's an early work by Giuseppe Verdi, but as the music director pointed out in the lecture before the performance, it is not an immature early work.  The music is lovely, with choral passages that are just breathtaking.  The performers had amazing voices and the orchestra did a great job of supporting them without overwhelming the beauty of their singing.

The staging, however, was another thing entirely.  It was as if the opera had been staged by a high school student who had just discovered symbolism: heavy-handed and unintentionally hilarious.

The entire chorus was made up of zombies.  As characters died, they returned to the stage wearing the same zombie makeup so it became hard to tell who was really dead and who was faking it for the sake of Art. The women wore vaguely 19th century peasant garb and the men were dressed vaguely as early 20th century newsboys.  The colors were drab and lifeless.  Maybe this was a comment on how tough life was when the people of Scotland were ruled by kings who killed people right and left.  When the chorus was portraying the nobles of the court, however, they were dressed exactly the same way.  You'd think life at court would be a bit better -- or at least, courtiers would dress better.  In this scene, Lady Macbeth is singing before the royal court.  Not that you would know.

See the red gloves?  The chorus waved those gloves around and danced like they were at a Miley Cyrus concert.  They wanted to make sure you were paying attention to the gloves, which were red because the Macbeths have blood on their hands.  Get it?  It's symbolism.

The yellow gloves at the top of this post were props in Act I.  While Macbeth got his prophesies from the witches in a forest, Giant Playtex Living Gloves painted onto particle board waved in the background.  Toward the end of the scene, the gloves were flipped to reveal bloodstains.  Macbeth is going to have blood on his hands.  It's foreshadowing, y'all.  My drawings pretty accurately portray what the gloves looked like.  They weren't just Gloves of Doom.  They were Cartoon Gloves of Doom.

I knew we were in trouble when the curtain rose to reveal a raised stage made of riveted steel.  It looked like the deck of an aircraft carrier and was surrounded by metal staging and stairs.  I hoped that perhaps we were in for a modern take on Macbeth (which could have been interesting if it was well done) but then the chorus came out in their garb of unidentifiable provenance and zombie makeup and I realized we were in for a bumpy ride.

The chairs on the stage are supposed to be seats for the king and the highest-ranking members of court. I could see, even from the last row of the mezzanine, that the chairs had been purchased at a local Goodwill and spray-painted with sparkly gold Krylon. I'm all for an eclectic look, but really? The king of Scotland can't afford something not held together underneath with ye olde duct tape? Those chairs moved all over the place -- around the stage, up and down the staging, and over the heads of the zombie court while the principals were singing their hearts out. It was very distracting.

There was a lot of red splashed about in this production.  A lot of red.  That's because a lot of blood is shed in this story.  It's symbolism.  The men in the angry mob above are wearing Red Ballcaps of Doom because Macbeth has just been stabbed by Macduff (not to be confused with McGruff).  Blood is being shed.  Get it? In the previous scene, women were wearing Red Kerchiefs of Doom to let you know Macbeth's doom is approaching.  In case you've never heard of Shakespeare and you need a warning that Macbeth dies in the end.

This is the scene where Lady Macbeth descends into madness (quite literally, as you can see).  I wish the BLO website had a photo of the Jedi Rolling Pin she carried around in the first part of the scene where Lady Macbeth is wandering in the night muttering about the blood she can't wash off her hands.  I thought at first she was holding a black light, since using a black light is the best way to reveal bloodstains even after the area has been washed.  But no, it was a rolling-pin-shaped gadget that lit up and she waved it around for a while.  It distracted from the bravura musical performance she was giving, which was a shame.

The zombie in this picture is a doctor.  You can tell because he's wearing a Red Lab Coat of Doom.  Maybe the coat is red because in Shakespeare's (and Verdi's) time, doctors bled their patients.  Maybe it's a comment on the medical system of today and how it's bleeding us all dry.  Maybe it's foreshadowing that in the next scene, Lady Macbeth dies.  Maybe all three.  That's some deep stuff, my friends.

In the final scene, Dead King Malcolm, Dead Mrs. Macduff, and Dead Lady Macbeth (with their otherworldly garments helpfully marked in blood with the spots where they recieved their mortal wounds) drip rose petals down over little Banquo, Jr. who is still alive and will someday rule Scotland.  They do this to let audience members who may have nodded off know that his reign will come to pass because of the blood that has been shed.  In the background, the newsboys in the Red Ballcaps of Doom sing about how sad it all is.

Photos: blo.org.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Conceive of my shock, Gentle Readers, when I was on the phone with the Army Dude this morning, chatting of this and that, and the Army Dude said "Chanel?  Who's that?"

It was a few moments before I regained my powers of speech.  I then explained to him, in the politest tones I could muster, who she was.  He replied "Oh, right.  An old dead lady."

An old dead lady?  Next he's going to tell me that Gene Kelly isn't really my boyfriend. 

I haven't been this upset since my sister started wearing legwarmers.  I need to lie down on my chaise longue with a cold compress on my fevered brow, a cup of tea, and Young Men In Spats.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day

The Army Dude is old school: photos from below the name tape down only.

I know I tease the Army Dude a lot on my blogs, but the truth is I am fortunate to know someone who is not only a squared-away soldier, but an excellent human being. 

Thank you for your service, Army Dude.  And thank you to everyone who puts his or her life on the line for the rest of us.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dept. of Home Economics: Cream of Broccoli Soup

Did you know you can make delicious soup from the broccoli stems you usually throw out?  It's cheaper than the stuff from a can, it tastes better, and it's better for you!  Check out the recipe at My Life In Food: A Culinary "Art" Journal.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011


"We live and learn from our mistakes; the deepest cuts are healed by faith"

This song has been in my head for a couple of days, courtesy of a mix CD (remember those?) my sister-of-the-heart Monica made way back in 2003.  Monica introduced me to this song, as she has to so many cool things that have been recorded since dear Mr. Gershwin's untimely death.

What's not to love?  The song is catchy as hell, Pat Benatar is belting it out, and there are mullets in the video!


Monday, November 07, 2011

Anything Went

Last night I watched Anything Goes, starring Bing Crosby, Donald O'Connor, Mitzi Gaynor, and Jeanmaire.  There was a lot of talent on that screen, but the movie itself was just... meh. 

The costumes by Edith Head were gorgeous, though.  So that was something.

The musical numbers were mostly annoying.  The only thing that saved a few of them was the presence of Donald O'Connor.  I may not be the best judge, however.  I'm still harboring a resentment against Cole Porter for rhyming the words "nina" and "neurasthenia."

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Auntie Maria: Jewelry Designer

I need to work on my photography.

Things have gotten kind of interesting around here lately.  What started out as a hobby making jewelry for myself and as gifts from repurposed and reclaimed materials has turned into the beginnings of a business.

Granted, my first customer was my sister Rachel.  But she paid me!

So now I'm ordering business cards and brainstorming with friends about marketing.  I've started keeping track of what I make so designs can be duplicated.  I'm assigning them stock numbers and everything.

What I really enjoy, though, is taking out all the sparkly and shiny materials and spreading them out so I can play.  That's the fun part.

A new work area in the corner of my living room.  The creative projects have been taking over my dining table and a girl's gotta eat.

This is just how Coco Chanel got started.  Well, actually it was hats, and she had a rich, titled boyfriend as a financial backer.  But close enough.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Words of Wisdom: Erin

"There is no squeezing in ballet!"

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

She Is Too Fond of Books

Can you guess who I am?

Last night I dressed up as an Aunt of Literature to give out candy at my friend's house.  Even with the book as a prop, the only people who knew I was Louisa May Alcott were women over the age of forty.  The costume itself was a smart choice, though.  All those petticoats and layers (and the fur lined coat I borrowed from my friend as a finishing touch) kept me toasty warm.

Next year, maybe I should dress as the girl who wrote the Twilight series.  Or I could go as that Snooki person.  She wrote a book -- I saw it at Barnes & Noble the other day. 

Somehow, the idea that girls are reading Confessions of a Guidette instead of Little Women scares me more than all those creepy clowns and zombies I saw last night.