Gotta Respect Black-eyed Susans
The Blackeyed Susan is a hearty flower. I know because they’re growing by a rock wall, next to my house. I didn’t plant them and I do nothing to care for them.
Unfortunately, I have come to face the fact that I’m a plant killer. I don’t mean to, but somehow I forget about them. Even when I try to nurture plants, they seem to linger a little while, but eventually fail to thrive.
Maybe the flower fairy felt sorry for me one day. Flying over my barren property, she may have dropped a little fairy dust in the form of seeds. Walking past the rock wall this summer, I noticed a profusion of happy daisies with golden petals and dark, come hither eyes - the non assuming, but in your face, Black-eyed Susan.
Black-eyed Susans symbolize motivation and encouragement. They’re not fragile and won’t wilt with the first frost. I wouldn’t call them exquisite like an orchid, or lovely like a rose, but they are fun, flirty and dependable.
By the way, ever wonder where the name, Black-eyed Susan came from? An old English poem was written by Poet John Gay (1685-1732), who penned the name. The poem was about a young man named William who was setting sail for the high seas. Before his embarking, his true love, Susan, came on board to say goodby.
“ All in the downs, the fleet was moored,
Banners waving in the wind.
When Black-Eyed Susan came aboard, and eyed the burly men.
"Tell me ye sailors, tell me true
Does my Sweet William sail with you?"
In any case, I’m very glad the sweet Black-eyed Susan popped up in close proximity. For their own sake, I will leave them alone and admire from a distance.
Jellyfish And 14 Year Old Girls
A 14 yr old girl comes up to my table one day and takes her time looking at everything I have to offer.
She points to an octopus necklace and says, “I thought that was a jellyfish.”
I smile and say, “No.”
She answers, “I love jellyfish.”
Hmmmm... jellyfish. I grew up on Long Island. In the summer, our family went to RobertMoses or Jones Beach. Jellyfish sightings were definitely common and I can’t say i was a fan. Even so, the jellyfish were the more benign terrors of the sea.
I never did like the fact that the ocean water wasn’t clear. Step by step, I wandered out into the ocean depths wondering when I would step on a crab or worse. The nice thing about jellyfish is that you can avoid them if you are careful. They swim close to the top of the water and are visible. If I ever saw one, I muttered, “Yikes!” and slowly moved away from it.
So, this girl was a lover of jellyfish. In her honor, I decided I would do an alcohol ink painting of one. I knew the orange-pink color of the jellyfish would contrast well against the blue of the ocean.
Funny how people affect each other. If it wasn’t for this young girl, I don’t think I would have ever painted a jellyfish.
Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
At the Geneva market, there is this very old dog. I don’t know it’s name. It belongs to one of the vendors there, but I couldn’t tell you who. I only know that we’re not allowed to feed it because it throws up in the car on the way home.
This dog wanders around from 7:30 in the morning unti 1:00 in the afternoon. It never stays in one place long.
This week it sought refuge underneath one of my tables. It wasn’t looking for food, water or attention. It just wanted to rest a bit. I guess it felt safe in my space. Am I crazy to feel a little honored?
Family, Fun And Sparklers
It doesn't take much to bake my happy cake. The ingredients are family, laughter and a fire pit.
My daughter, Grace, and I went down to Long Island this past weekend to see my sister, Diane, and her family. Saturday we had a barbecue and my brother, Dave, and his wife, Ida came out from Brooklyn. Now, a barbecue to me means hamburgers, potato salad, and a beer. But to my sister, it means filet mignon, grilled shrimp and cocktails. All I can say is vive la difference!
My brother-in-law, Doug, cooked the meat on the grill, while Dave gathered wood for the fire we'd be sitting around later. When the meal was finally done, we ate a feast of steak, shrimp, Greek potatoes and a Greek salad. I will admit I took two skewers of shrimp. If there was ever a hostess contest, Diane would win hands-down!
Later we made our way to the fire. My niece, Joyce, started a game in which everybody had to answer the same question in turn. They were universal questions like - what is most important in life? Or, what personality trait do you most deplore about yourself? No judgements or comments were allowed while people answered. Diane tried to sneak in a few comments, but any rule breaking was quickly shut down. Even Dave entered the spirit of the game and did not roll his eyes or mock the questions.
Finally, Joyce brought out the sparklers. I love sparklers. Beats me how she found them, but she did. And that, my friends, was the icing on my happy cake!
When I was a kid, our family had a sickle pear tree in the front yard. For a little tree, it put out a lot of fruit. Our neighbors would come over with shopping bags and fill them up to take home. I remember many a warm September day, passing by that tree and pulling 2 or 3 pears to eat on my way to a friend’s house. That little fruit tree served our family well.
When I had my own house and my own children, I didn’t think too much about fruit trees until one day, my son asked me to plant some in the yard. Money was pretty tight at the time, but I heard about a farmer who was selling fruit trees cheap. I went to his farm to take a look and, lo and behold, he had one little, sickle pear tree for $18 bucks. I bought it and we planted it on the side of the house. Well, the tree grew bigger and fuller each year, but it never had any pears! Each summer would come and pass with no pears. I finally gave up looking.
The fall my son, Ben, went to the Naval Academy, I was mowing the lawn on our riding mower. I approached the pear tree to mow around it, and suddenly noticed something I had never seen before - pears! How did it happen? It must be a miracle! To tell the truth, I know very little about plants and less about trees. I didn’t know that fruit trees have to cross pollinate to produce fruit. Yeah, I was sleeping in biology class. My poor, little, pear tree had never had a sweetheart! But, unbeknownst to me, my neighbor 3 houses down had planted a sickle pear tree in her yard that spring. Apparently that was close enough to start a romance. This year my tree has outdone itself in the fruit department. The pears are a good size and in a few weeks they’ll ripen. I’ll grab what I can and the deer can eat the rest that fall to the ground. I’ve never been disappointed in the sturdy sickle pear tree yet!
Always Trying Something New!
I get bored easily, so I'm always trying something new. I am loving the effects I’m getting on jewelry by mixing my Pebeo paints. There are so many creative ways to combine different metals and different mediums. For the stainless steel pendant above, I used a Vitrail cobalt blue paint for the background and then accented with a Prisme Caribbean Blue.
I used the same paints for the copper earring blanks to get a matching effect..
For the aluminum bracelets, I decided to switch it up a little and add a Prisme Emearaude to the other two paints. I really like the results.
I'll wait for these pieces to dry, then resin them and get them ready for market!
Super Hero Pendant
I was at the Geneva Farmers Market yesterday and an 8 year old boy spied my copper, lightning bolt pendant and immediately bee-lined over to it.
He wanted it and he wanted it bad. His mom agreed to buy the pendant, and there was no putting it in a bag for him. He ripped it out of the box and tried to pull it over his rather large head.
I laughed and commented, "Wait a second." Clasping it around his neck, I said, "This is a super hero necklace, you know."
He looked up and asked, "Does it give me super powers?"
"Absolutely, it does," I replied.
It’s a New Year! Be Quirky
Some time ago, during a conversation with my daughter, she suddenly referred to me as being weird. She meant no harm and said it matter of fact, as if it was a given. My initial reaction was, “What? I’m not weird. What do you mean?” She couldn’t quite explain it or give me a reason, but she meant no offense. And you know what? None taken. I am a little weird, though I prefer the term “quirky.”
The dictionary definition for quirky - This informal all-purpose term can be used to describe anything that doesn’t quite fit in. The adjective quirky is often used to describe those unconventional things that are characterized by peculiar behavior or an unexpected point of view. It can be unusual in an interesting or appealing way.
Urban definition - Quirky is weird in a good way.
My own definition? Quirkiness is not contrived. It’s not something you labor with. It’s fun, surprising, often spontaneous, and often humorous. It’s you at your most you, without being self conscious.
So embrace the wonderful weird in the coming year. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Laugh at the absurdities in life, which are plentiful. Don’t release the Kraken, but do release the Quirk!
Craft Fairs And Humble Pie
I went to the Geneva Holiday Craft Fair this weekend to sell my jewelry. The craft fair was held at the Community Center and the vendors had tables in a huge gym. There was a nice crowd and I was standing by my table when a couple came up. The woman was drawn to a pink necklace and reminded her husband how she loved the color pink. I waited for the man to reach for his wallet but he didn’t
“Geez, guy,” I thought to myself. “Can’t you cough up $32 bucks to make your wife happy?”
Alas, they moved on and I was left with my dark thoughts. But overall, the day went well for me and I sold quite a few necklaces as well as art prints. Just before the sale ended, the man who wouldn’t buy his wife a necklace came back. His wife wasn’t with him.
“I’d like to get this,” he said, picking up the pink necklace. Then he went on to say how he loved the city of Geneva and that it was so great to see so many creative people in one place. I wrapped up his necklace and handed it to him. And then the man shook my hand!
So what humble pie lesson did I learn from all this? Don’t be so quick to judge someone, because a surprise might be right around the corner to upset your apple cart!
Everyone Needs A Sanctuary
,Two weeks ago I️ overhauled my bedroom. I️ wanted a sanctuary where I️ could relax and read. What I️ had instead was a cluttered storage bin. It was filled with canvases at every stage of painting. A lot were brand new, some were half painted and others had a few background layers. I️ put the culprits in closets, on shelves, and in my catch-all room. Ah, I️ could breathe again!
I️ wanted things that I️ love in the room. I️ love original paintings by other artists and, though I️ don’t have very many, I️ found the perfect piece to go on the little dresser by my bed. I️ put my kindle there too.
Across from the bed is a bookcase that my husband made me when we were dating. My favorite things line the top shelf. There’s a black and white photo of my mother in her 20’s - high cheek bones, deep set eyes, soft hair to her shoulders - a classic beauty. Two funny, little ceramic men stand next to her. A friend gave them to me many years ago. I️ don’t know why I️ like them so much but I️ do. Then there is the glass piano at the other end. I️ fell in love with it in a shop. Unbeknownst to me, my husband went back to buy it for my birthday.
On my dresser sits my mom’s old jewelry box and a beautiful, little, perfume bottle that my sister gave to me. The picture of Jesus with the little children was in my bedroom when I️ was a little girl. It’s one of the few things I️ have from my early childhood.
On my bed are two pillows that my friend, Kim, made. I️ think they’re pretty and they fit the space. She writes in her blog about putting up fairy lights in her rooms. I️ decided I️ would try it and I️ love the result. They light the room with a warm glow. Now when I️ want peace and restfulness, I️ go into my bedroom, turn on the fairy lights, play instrumental music and grab my kindle. And I’m surrounded by things I️ love.