Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Just What the Doctor Ordered

I've been sick with a cold this week, so I'm spending my days napping, drinking tea, and watching movies. A Day at the Races is in heavy rotation. A friend gave it to me for Christmas and it never fails to make me laugh.

"You must forgive him. He doesn't spell very well." It kills me every time.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Remembering Paris

I've been thinking a lot about Paris lately.   Maybe it's because The Foodie and I recently feasted on Laduree macarons and Angelina hot chocolate.  Maybe it's because within the last few weeks I've watched Charade, De-Lovely, and Coco Before Chanel -- all of which are set at least partly in Paris.  Maybe it's because the other day I made a really delicious french country soup (you can read about it here).  Whatever the reason, I've been looking at pictures I took last year in Paris, and I thought I'd share a few.

Paris street scene

Notre Dame de Paris

The Seine

Musee National du Moyen Age

Another street scene
A park near our apartment
Chanel on Rue Cambon (a.k.a. "The Mothership")

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Words of Wisdom: Tilda Swinton

I always wear things that are easy to put on and take off, pajamas being the rule of thumb.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Dept. of Home Economics: Healing Herbs

Did you know that in addition to being delicious, cinnamon does lots of good things for the body?  The next time you sit down to a piece of apple pie, you can call it health food.

Get the scoop at My Life In Food: A Culinary "Art" Journal.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

New At Sow's Ear Jewelry!

The new items I've put up at Sow's Ear Jewelry on Etsy in the past couple of weeks have been mostly variations on a theme.  Sometimes I get an idea in my head and I have to keep playing with it until it reaches its logical conclusion -- or until something else comes along to capture my attention and send me in a different direction.

This time it's been the geometrics trend.  The necklace above is very simple, relying on the "pop" the circles give it to make it interesting.  The circles are washers, of course.  I'm going to make myself one of these, since I can see it with practically everything I wear all summer long.

This is the same style of chain and the same size washers in a 35-inch necklace.  The washers are placed asymmetrically to add interest.  It was inspired by a similar necklace I made for myself and I wear a lot.  It's the perfect finishing touch for so many outfits.

These earrings coordinate with either of the necklaces above for customers who like matched sets, but they look great on their own as well.  I really like the classic-yet-modern feel.

My sister the equestrian (and a fan of my jewelry) was part of the inspiration for this necklace.  Another part of it was as simple as "Hmmmm.  I have eye screws.  I wonder what I can do with those."  I love how this necklace is a nod to the classic snaffle bit design while at the same time it's industrial and totally modern.

These earrings were also inspired by a person rather than an abstract idea.  Hattie loved the Steampunk Earrings made of reclaimed earrings and hardware I had in my shop, but she is very petite and needed something on a much smaller scale.  These are only 1 1/2 inches long from the top of the ear wire.  I textured the brass washers to complement the antique look of the silvertone hoops.  I'm really happy with the results -- and so is Hattie, who owns the originals.

Check out these pieces and the rest of my designs at Sow's Ear Jewelry!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fly The Cute Skies

Anyone who knows me well is aware that while I love going to new places, I hate airplane travel.  It brings this introverted old maid into too close contact with the rest of humanity, its noise, its television preferences, and its astonishing selfishness.  I bring lots of reading material, which helps.  A little.

I could, however, get pretty excited about flying if I were taking off in EVA Air's new Hello Kitty Jets.

Dragging my bag and baggage (I always pack too much) through that long line to check in would seem so much nicer if at the end I got these cute boarding passes and luggage tags.

And look what pulls up to the gate!  Not just any jet, a special Hello Kitty jet!  Unfortunately, EVA Air is based in Taiwan, so I don't think they'll be adding a Providence - Tucson run before I take off in a few weeks.  That's disappointing for a lot of reasons, but mostly because flying in one of these jets would motivate me to pack lighter.  I'd need extra space to squirrel away one of those Hello Kitty seat cushions.

Even the food's cute!  Check it out at My Life In Food: A Culinary "Art" Journal.

Images: EVA Air via

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What I'm Reading: Apocalypse Not

Are you tired of the end of the world yet?  I am, but I've been hearing about it since Comet Kohoutek back in 1973 and I decided at about the time Y2K came and went not with a bang but a whimper that if the world is coming to an end it can probably do so without my worry or supervision.

Lots of people these days are talking about December 21, 2012 -- the end of the Mayan Long Count Calendar -- as the start of Armageddon or a global shift in consciousness, either of which is guaranteed to create stunning changes in our lives.  Some people are excited because they are headed for a quick trip to heaven while the rest of us get to hang around and suffer for our sins; others are excited because the Age of Aquarius is upon is and things are about to get really groovy up in here. 

John Michael Greer talks about that and more in Apocalypse Not: Everything You Know About 2012, Nostradamus and the Rapture is Wrong.  Greer traces the concept of the apocalypse from its invention by Zarathustra, the founder of Zoroastrianism, in the 7th century B.C.E through to the present day.  Greer has a gift for taking complex concepts and making them accessible, clearly explaining ten centuries of apocalyptic thinking in 178 pages that despite the serious subject matter are laugh-out-loud funny in spots.

It's not the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

Monday, February 13, 2012

NSFM: A Definition

Regular readers of this blog may have noticed that I occasionally use the acronym NSFM when I'm linking to another site.  I've said that it means Not Safe For Mom, but I thought a fuller explanation might be helpful.

I try to keep things PG-rated around here.  That means being a bit thoughtful about my subject matter and keeping the four letter words to a minimum.  I'm not saying you won't find any cussing -- that would not be true -- but I try to keep it in check.  For one thing, my mom reads this blog; for another, it's easy make something funny by dropping F-bombs into it.  It's harder to be funny while keeping it relatively clean and I'm a girl who enjoys a challenge.

NSFM means that what I am linking to is not graphic, pornographic, or violent, but it's not... well, something you'd share with mom around the dinner table.  The language might be rough, or the subject matter might be a bit crude, and it's possibly NSFW -- for example, a link to a theater production with men acting idiotic while wearing hats shaped like male genitalia.  (Which made sense in the context of the original post, honest.)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Impulse Purchase

When I saw this vintage cigarette case at Second Helpings in Bristol, RI, I said to the friend I was with, "Look how pretty that is!  Do you know anyone who still smokes?" 

I realize now that I know people who smoke, but even with my vivid imagination I can't see The Fisherman opening a case like this to pull out a Marlboro while standing on the deck of an offshore fishing boat.

I looked at the case with visions of old Hollywood glamour dancing in my head, and then it occurred to me: repurpose it.

Thus, a rather elegant (if I do say so myself) business card case was born. I'm ridiculously pleased with it.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Dept. of Home Economics: Healing Herbs

 In days of yore, every housewife knew how to treat illness and keep her family healthy with herbs and home remedies.  Did you know that you can make a tea from something that is probably growing in your yard right now that is rich in vitamin C and is good for winter illnesses such as coughs, colds, and sinus congestion?  You can read about it over at My Life In Food: A Culinary "Art" Journal.   

Thursday, February 09, 2012


I want everything in this Christian Dior collection -- fully lined, of course.  But if I'm paying couture prices (IN MY MIND) what's a few extra bucks for linings?

Yes, I know I make jewelry out of hardware and things I pick up in the street, I value repurposing and upcycling -- and yet, I covet a fashion collection where each piece undoubtedly costs thousands of dollars.  What can I say?  I'm a mass of contradictions.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Words of Wisdom: Joan Duncan Oliver

Being nice may not guarantee a long life...But it can make the journey richer and more rewarding, whatever its length.

Monday, February 06, 2012

R.I.P. Miss Jenna Dog

I report with great sadness that Miss Jenna, beloved dog of my friend and former co-worker The Fisherman, crossed the rainbow bridge last Friday.

I got to know Jenna because her she and her dad were inseparable.  She would sleep in the truck all day while The Fisherman picked up parts and repaired the boats.  Jenna' s birthday and mine were only days apart, so as fellow Cancerians we understood each other.  Or at least, I felt like Jenna understood me when I'd go to the parking lot outside the office to pet her and tell her my troubles.  A little dog love always made me feel better.

Jenna was the kind of dog who never met a stranger.  She was friends with all of mankind, and most of dogkind, too.  People would stop The Fisherman on the street to say "You've got a great dog there" -- which he knew, but he always thanked them.

Miss Jenna was a very popular old gal.  She leaves behind many friends and admirers, and of course, her devoted father.  Godspeed, Jennadog.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

New This Week at Sow's Ear Jewelry!

Even though I'm pretty upset that  Punxsutawney Phil predicted another six weeks of winter, I managed to drag myself to the worktable this week and create some new pieces of handmade jewelry for my Etsy shop, Sow's Ear Jewelry. The object on the end of this necklace is a repurposed brass door latch.  Pretty cool, amirite?

I also added international shipping to my shop, since I've discovered I get a fair number of blog hits from Europe and Australia.  (Also, the actual process turned out to be easier than I thought it would.)  So my international Gentle Readers, if you see something you like, click on through to the shop!  Anything there will look simply gorgeous on you I'm sure, because all my readers are very good looking. 

I made one of these bracelets for myself, then I decided to sell the style in my shop when a friend basically bought my bracelet off my arm.  It's very lightweight and comfortable to wear, even though it looks chunky.  I've also given a couple of these as gifts and the recipients loved them.

I'm still working with contrasts.  I love how this rusted washer on a chain makes a delicate, simple, and pretty necklace.

This washer has a gorgeous patina, too.  It almost looks like leopard spots.  In a good way.

I had fun creating this necklace, which is classic and edgy at the same time.  The aluminum chain is chunky but very lightweight.

Pretty soon I'm going to start my Spring/Summer jewelry collection.  It's going to be different from what is already in the shop.  I'll give you a hint: think Carmen Miranda Goes To Palm Springs.

Thursday, February 02, 2012


Books like Pantone: The 20th Century In Color make a vintage lover's heart beat just a little faster.  The description from reads:

Pantone, the worldwide color authority, invites you on a rich visual tour of 100 transformative years. From the Pale Gold (15-0927 TPX) and Almost Mauve (12-2103 TPX) of the 1900 Universal Exposition in Paris to the Rust (18-1248 TPX) and Midnight Navy (19-4110 TPX) of the countdown to the Millennium, the 20th century brimmed with color. Longtime Pantone collaborators and color gurus Leatrice Eiseman and Keith Recker identify more than 200 touchstone works of art, products, decor, and fashion, and carefully match them with 80 different official PANTONE color palettes to reveal the trends, radical shifts, and resurgences of various hues. This vibrant volume takes the social temperature of our recent history with the panache that is uniquely Pantone.     

The whole 20th century, by color.  Are you feeling a little faint with excitement, Gentle Readers?  I am.  The question now is, which format do you like?  There is something to be said for a nice big book where you can revel in the photos.  There is also something to be said for the portability of the Nook version that can be taken on shopping expeditions. 

I have Ye Olde Nook that is in black & white only, so it's going to have to be the book version for me.  I don't mind, though.  I love the smell of ink.