Thursday, February 23, 2012

Handmade…. For all Generations

This post is about honoring art and craft, a celebration of creative people of all generations.

I think the creative gene is well established in me. My mom is a quilter and seamstress extraordinaire. My dad was a wood worker and a crafter. He was a master with the table saw. I have very artistic brothers, nieces, nephews and cousins…Well the list could go on, but my point is the idea of handmade is well ingrained in me.

  This is a butterfly I embroidered when I was about 13-14. I already had the creative bug then and I embroidered and embellished all my denim jackets and jeans.

 My dad loved wood, and the more exotic the better. He had a vast knowledge and collection of wonderful rare and exotic veneers he used for all his projects. He loved to make toys, tables, knife holders, baby cradles, etc. If you brought him a picture of something you wanted, within a few days he would have five of them lined up in various stages of production!  
Here are some of the pieces he made that we cherish today.

 A cute barn he made for my son when he was little, it includes all the wooden animals but I didn't unpack them. Notice the little gate peeking from opens and closes!

 A cedar box he made when I was a child.

  I remember my very colorful grandmother collecting driftwood at our lake cabin in the summer, bringing it back to her home in Chicago and creating fantastic pieces of art with her florist friend.  

Unfortunately we don't have any of her wonderful creations, but if my grandmother were alive today she would be creating something with this!

And as you all know my mom is 91 and still going strong.  Her quilts are all beautiful treasures. Everyone in our family can’t wait to receive on of these coveted prizes!

  This is a quilt she made for me.

...And these are two twin size quilts she made for my son when he was little. We drew the design with colored pencils. They are really amazing and I hope someday my son has enough wall space to hang them. They are really pieces of art!

I recently spoke with a woman whose 94 years young mother still crochets for all her friends.
I think that generation knew the value of handmade. And by the looks of Etsy, Artfire and all the online venues for selling crafts and handmade goods there is a new generation who know the value of handmade.

 So I encourage you to know the value of handmade, support an artist, buy handmade, or maybe stretch your creative wings and start a craft of your own!

"Do not worry about your originality. You could not get rid of it even if you wanted to."
- Robert Henri.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentines Day…A Few Fun Facts

“I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach.” -Elizabeth Barrett Browning

You all know I couldn’t let Valentines Day go by without some Valentine Fun Facts! So here are a few sweet treats for you this Valentines Day:

Saint Valentine’s Day was established in 496 AD by Pope Gelasius to honor  the Christian martyr Saint Valentine.
Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, when lovers said or sang their Valentines. Written Valentines began to appear after 1400.
Symbols associated with Valentine's Day include: love knots; hearts, cupids.

Cupid, that sweet mischievous little guy is the most famous valentine symbol. Who doesn’t love a chubby little winged child with a bow and arrow!
In ancient Greece he was known as Eros, the young son of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. To the Roman's he was Cupid, and his mother was Venus.
The symbol of the heart is an ancient one, and difficult for historians to trace.
Perhaps the first known use of the heart shape comes from the 7th
century BC, in Cyrene. In that city, at that time, Silphium was a
plant so highly prized for it's use as birth control that it became
extinct. The seeds of Silphium were shaped like hearts, however,
making historians believe that the heart shape we know today was based
upon this early form of birth control. ….Hummmm
  The Love Knot is a stylized knot regarded as a symbol of the constancy of two lovers. Also called lovers' knot, modern western knotting literature has the name for these related knots deriving from stories or legends in which the knots symbolize the connection between a couple in love.
Enjoy Valentines Day….eat some chocolate  and watch out for Cupids Arrow!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Happy Birthday…. February!

A little birthstone history, fact, lore and legend.

February, known in Welsh as “y mis bach” – the little month, is also known by the Anglo Saxons as “Sol-monath”, the cake –month because cakes were offered to the Gods during this month.
Along with Valentines Day, I’d say February is pretty “sweet!”

February’s  traditional birthstone is the amethyst.
Amethyst, the gemstone believed by ancient Greeks and Romans to ward off the intoxicating powers of Bacchus, also is said to keep the wearer clear-headed and quick-witted. Very handy if you’re  spending a bit to much time with Bacchus!

  Throughout history, the gemstone has been associated with many myths, legends, religions, and numerous cultures.  English regalia were even decorated with amethysts during the Middle Ages to symbolize royalty.
Amethyst is purple quartz, a beautiful blend of violet and red that can found in every corner of the earth. Historically, the finest amethysts were found in Russia and were featured in much royal European jewelry.
And if you remember from January’s Birthday post, most months have more than one birthstone, the modern and traditional, and the mystical. 

February’s modern birthstone is also amethyst. Alternate birthstones are onyx, and moonstone.

The mystical birthstone for the month is bloodstone. Bloodstone is a variety of dark green chalcedony spotted with red is also known as Heliotrope 
Bloodstone was once used as an amulet in the belief that it could stop bleeding. It was also said to be able to turn the sun red and to make thunder and lightning occur. It was supposed to give the wearer clairvoyance while preserving his faculties and health.

Enjoy "y mis bach" , Happy Valentines Day...and Happy Birthday February!

Stay tuned, next month for Happy Birthday… March!

“All the world is birthday cake, so take a piece, but not too much.”
- George Harrison