Saturday, December 31, 2011

A New Year's Message from My Cat

Have a Happy New Year or Imma hurt you.

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Dead Zone

Not that kind of Dead.

A friend of mine used to refer to the week between Christmas and New Year's as "the dead zone,"  the time when one set of festivities is over and the next one has not yet begun.  My friend used to throw a party during the dead zone, giving us all something to do besides wait for the ball to drop later in the week. 

But I'm older now, and I don't mind a little quiet time.  I've got my calendar and planner organized for the coming year, the Chrismas decorations are put away, and my jewelry work area (which was taken apart to make way for cookie baking) is back in the corner of the living room.

I've been spending time listening to music, or to the wind, or to the calls of the crows outside.  I've been drawing, and thinking about new jewelry designs.  I've been getting in bed early with the first of the Palliser novels.

It's been lovely.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dept. of Home Economics: Soup From Leftovers

Here at Old Maid HQ, it's often a challenge to cook fresh vegetables before they go bad, and to eat leftovers without expiring of boredom.  When the fridge gets too full, I make Use-It-Up Soup.  Check out how to make it over at My Life In Food: A Culinary "Art" Journal.

Now you know what to do with the vegetables from that crudite platter everyone ignored on Christmas Day in favor of the potato chips and onion dip.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Words of Wisdom, Christmas Edition: Charles Dickens

"This boy is Ignorance.  This girl is Want.  Beware of them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.  Deny it!... And bide the end."

Merry Christmas, Gentle Readers!  May Ignorance and Want be kept from your door today and always.  May you instead, find peace, prosperity and good company in the new year.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Words of Wisdom: Elizabeth, Age 7

Do the dance
to live your life
inside your heart
and outside your life
with the love of family
and people that are your friends!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Yes, It's Really a Jousting Scar

What Happened Bandages from Urban Outfitters

The Army Dude heard about my thumb getting in the way of a cheese slicer, so he gave me a box of these nifty bandages.  I'm still clumsy, but at least now I'm cool and clumsy.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Words of Wisdom: Louisa May Alcott


It takes so little to make a child happy that it is a pity, in a world full of sunshine and pleasant things, that there should be any wistful faces, empty hands, or lonely little hearts.

Little Men, 1871

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Deck The Halls

"Do you want to come over and help me decorate?" my grandmother would call to ask my siblings and me on a Saturday morning early in December.  And yes, as a matter of fact, we did.  It was the most eagerly anticipated day in the Christmas seasons of my childhood next to Christmas Day itself.

Boxes and boxes of decorations would come out of storage in the eaves behind my grandfather's closet.  There was a long garland of plastic poinsettias to be wound around the bannister on the stairs.  There was gold tinsel garland and scratchy white fake snow that I wasn't allowed to touch (it was probably toxic, come to think of it) to festoon the mantel, where a plastic sleigh with Santa and some wrapped gifts would be pulled by eight tiny reindeer and a Rudolph that was bigger than the rest and didn't match them.

There was a manger scene with all the usual fixings, including an angel holding a banner that said "Gloria," which when I was very little I thought was her name.  My mom has the manger scene now, which she puts up every year and enjoys at least as much as my grandmother did.  When I told her about Gloria one recent Christmas, my mother looked at me quizzically and said "Didn't you think of the carol with the words 'gloria in excelsis deo'?"  Nope.  I was a precocious reader, but more or less average in the understanding of Latin words department. 

At Gram's house, the barn for the manger scene was carefully placed on the itchy, scratchy snow.  I was allowed, as I got a little older, to place the figures in the scene -- which was a grave responsibility, both because of the fragile nature of the figures and the need for traditional accuracy in the placement -- with repeated warnings not to touch the snow (what was that stuff)?  Next to the barn was placed a white church with a steeple that had lighted stained-glass windows and tiny carolers outside it, holding hymnals with their mouths permanently painted in Os.

There were tinsel garlands to festoon doorways, and a huge brandy snifter to fill with colored glass balls and place on the kitchen table.  There were little Christmas figures for the top of the TV (what was already there was removed from its crocheted doily and stored for the season).  Decorations for every room in the house came out of those boxes.  But the scariest ornament of all -- to me as a little kid, anyway -- was the plastic mistletoe that hung in the doorway to the living room.  It was attached to a styrofoam ball decorated with beads and ribbons.

This is a bell, not a ball, but you get the idea.

It wasn't scary looking, but it was very scary to a shy little kid because proximity to it meant getting kissed.  Or having to kiss someone you really didn't want to, like your brother, for instance (on the cheek, but still).  I used to pause about six feet from the doorway, make a visual reconnaissance of the area, and then run through the doorway at top speed once the coast was clear.  I would be sternly reminded not to run in the house, but it was worth it, and in any case the grownups tended to be more lenient with the antics of excitable children at holiday time.

Despite my childhood anxieties, when I found a bunch of plastic mistletoe among the boxes of Christmas things I saved from going to  the Johnston landfill, I had to keep it.  It's hanging in the doorway between my sunroom and living room and in the unlikely event anyone tries to kiss me when I don't want them to, they will get, as my mother would say, a punch in the snoot.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Two Blogs, Two Etsy Pages

Let's face it: just as I have too much fabulousness for one blog, I have too much fabulousness for one Etsy page.  I'm still making and selling my handmade vintage, repurposed, and reclaimed jewelry at Sow's Ear Jewelry, and now I'm also selling fun vintage items at Carmen Miranda's Vintage & Kitsch. I seem to have an eye for kitschy vintage stuff.  Who knew? 

Right now I'm focusing on finding new homes for some vintage Christmas ornaments that I rescued before they went to the landfill.

This Vintage Koestal ornament is handcrafted with handpainted wax heads.  It's from about the 1940s.  No way was I going to let this end up in the trash.  It's even cuter in person.

This is an awesome example of 1960s beaded crafts.  It's a handmade angel ornament that's nine inches tall and can stand or hang.  What's more awesome than baby blue paillettes?

Maybe a faux-Faberge egg ornament made from turquoise flocked material and dozens of faux-pearl beads.   It's really pretty from every angle.

Of course, nothing says Christmas like a pair of demented choirboys in your floral display.  You can quote me on that.

Dear, sweet, two-pound Baby Jesus is beautifully proportioned.  It feels like you're holding a (small) real baby.  I'm actually getting kind of attached to this one, so I hope somebody buys it soon.  I might end up being the crazy lady pushing a baby Jesus statue in a pram, and nobody wants that.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Words of Wisdom: Harpo Marx

I don't know if my life has been a success or a failure.  But not having any anxiety about becoming one instead of the other, and just taking things as they came along, I've had a lot of extra time to enjoy life.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

New Items in my Etsy Shop

Dramatic Black & White Dangle Earrings $13

I love the combination of black and white. It always looks crisp, chic, and modern.  I liked the idea of black & white earrings to finish a black & white ensemble, add punch to an all-black outfit, dress up a white summer sundress.  The frosted glass beads pick up colors, too -- so the earrings can actually be worn with a lot of outfits.

Mixed Metal Dangle Earrings $12

I love the look of mixed metals.  Simple, modern earrings go with warm tones or cool tones, and they coordinate with  both silver and gold jewelry.  Or you can be on-trend and mix silver and gold in your other jewelry and wear these to bring it all together.

Three Circle Dangle Earrings $12

These earrings have a lot of fun movement, and they add polish to any outfit.  Slim jump rings give lightness to the stainless steel washers.  These are the earrings to reach for when you are looking for something not too big, but not too small.

Industrial Dangle Earrings $13

These earrings make a pretty bold statement.  While some of my other earrings incorporate hardware in such a way that the observer might not notice, the number of hex nuts here draws attention to the fact that they are hex nuts.  In a cool way.

One thing I've realized since I started wearing hardware jewelry a couple of years ago is that guys notice it, they can tell what it's made of, and they think it's cool.  I'm not saying for sure that wearing my jewelry will get you a date, but it might!

Check out everything at Sow's Ear Jewelry on Etsy.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Helping To Make Your Season Bright


During this stressful time of year, what could brighten your day more than William Shatner? (Or as I like to call him, "The Shat" -- and yes, I do know what that is the past tense of, thank you very much.) Here he sings Bohemian Rhapsody with such dramatic pauses, such hilarious pathos, such utter... Shatnerness that your heart will be filled with joy. Or at least you'll laugh for five minutes and forty seconds. Enjoy!