Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Promises

Happy New Year, everyone! We've spent a happy afternoon with friends and fellow-grandparents-of-Arabella-to-be Mary Ann and Greg. Good food and a great visit.

I don't make New Year's resolutions. I can never keep them, and I can better cope with making mini-resolutions throughout the year. You know, "I'll try to be more patient today." "I vow not to eat four Reese's Peanut Butter Cups without taking a breath." "I will exercise today." (yeah, right.)

But I'll leave you with the thought above. I snapped this photo in the St. Louis Botanical Garden, in the section dedicated to George Washington Carver. That sentiment, and the one below, pretty much express my aspirations for my life.

Peace to you, my friends. Welcome, 2010, and all of your promises. Welcome baby Arabella, early in 2010 -- Journey safely to us. I can't wait to see your sweet face.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Arabella's Bell

I have received the most special, meaningful Christmas gift from my dear friend Mary Ann -- who happens to be my daughter's mother-in-law. It's even more special because she bought it during our recent shopping trip in Galveston, and I was completely unaware!

It's a silver Grandchildren bell. Inscribed all around are drawings of children at play. The word "GRANDCHILDREN" dances around the bottom of the bell, and the blocks on top spell "JOY" -- which is exactly what Mary Ann and I feel right now anticipating the birth of my first grandchild and Mary Ann's first granddaughter. Arabella Grace is due at the end of March or first of April, and we are so JOYFUL!

I didn't want to put this special gift on a simple chain, so I made a beaded necklace to show it off. Here's the work in progress:

Here, I've made a silver hook from which to hang the bell, and I've attached two bead links on each side. I've been saving these button pearls for just the right piece.

I like Swarovski crystals, and this black diamond color shows well with the bell's silver gleam. The wire links are unfinished here, because all the bead links are attached and finished as I go.

I love these robin's egg blue freshwater pearls. I'm usually in denim or some shade of blue, so I will wear this necklace often!

Here is the finished piece. I hand-dyed some silk velvet ribbon and wrapped the ribbon connections with sterling wire. I added a silver hook clasp and a bit of silver chain at one end, so I can adjust the length of the necklace.

Thank you, MaryAnn! This gift means so much to me. I'm wearing it now. Every time the bell tinkles, I think of our little angel Arabella Grace, on her way to us.

(p.s. has more silver bells, if you want one of your own!)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

It's a cold, wet, and wildly windy Christmas Eve

but Slipper Moon is warm and glowing with Christmas cheer.

May everyone have happiness

and good health

and most of all, peace,

for the Light of the world is born.

Merry Christmas, my friends. May your life be blessed with this season's serenity.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Snowguys (Don't Peek, Girlfriends!)

Here's how I've been chillin' after long days at work --

-- Making these little snowguys for girlfriends who are coming over this Sunday for our annual Christmas party.

Their heads are made of paper clay, and their bodies are square glass ornaments I bought at Hobby Lobby. I glued a tiny tree inside and then filled them with glitter & snow & all manner of Christmas goodies.

Their hats are wooden shapes, glued together and glittered; and their scarves are tinsel and bead-embellished wire. This shot shows details (but I really hate flash photos!):

These little snowguys were inspired by Sue Pelletier's vintage bottle snowmen, featured on the cover of the Nov./Dec. 2008 issue of "Cloth Paper Scissors" magazine -- here's the website:
and by the work of jewelry-artist-extraordinaire Deryn Mentock. Check out the great snowmen necklaces Deryn featured last year on her blog:
Hope my gal pals like them!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Autumn in Arkansas

When you live near the Texas coast as I do, you miss the glorious colors of Autumn. Usually, our seasons go from scorching hot summer to somewhat chilly winter. In the days between, the trees lose their leaves in a "green-one-minute, brown-the-next, whump-they're-gone" defoliation.

Imagine, then, how beautiful Arkansas looked to me a few weeks ago.

We drove to Eureka Springs in one day, about a 12-hour journey. but we took our time and enjoyed all the Ozarks have to offer in the Fall. These are shots from our drive up the (I kid you not!) Pig Trail Scenic Byway, a section of Arkansas Highway 23 from the south boundary of the Ozark National Forest to the intersection with Arkansas 16.

This road meanders around, up and down, just as a pig might wander. But the scenery is beautiful, especially this time of year.

I especially love this waterfall. Somehow it reminds me of Frank Lloyd Wright's designs, or maybe it simply suggests his house, "Falling Water," in Pennsylvania.

The scenery after we turned off the "Pig Trail" was just as spectacular. I'm glad I wasn't driving. I couldn't take my eyes off of Mother Nature's glory, but Neely gladly pulled over at each new vista, so I could take photos.

Eureka Springs was also dressed in Autumn's finery. Look for an opportunity to visit, if you haven't been there. The town still has its old-fashioned character, and the shops are housed in quaint buildings. Just outside of town is the Razorback Gift Shop -- Yep, these folks love their college football team! Several years ago I bought slag glass there to decorate my garden. This time, I "needed" just a bit more, and Neely and I spent happy minutes selecting just the right pieces.

Then I just had to climb the old fire tower -- Yikes, all the way to the top! That speck in the tree's shade is Neely, taking a photo of me as I scale the heights!

But the effort was worth the sore muscles afterward. Just look at this view:

We also visited Thorncrown Chapel, a few more miles down the road from Eureka Springs. I love this sacred place.

The Chapel's glass walls make me feel that there's nothing between me and God's majesty.

The trees were raining brilliant leaves onto the glass roof. Such peace and serenity.

Finally we left Arkansas behind, on our way to visit our daughter and son-in-law in Chicago. Just one last look at the beautiful Ozarks:

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. God's Bountiful Blessings to you. While you're giving thanks, please remember all those who have served and are now serving to protect our beautiful country. Their sacrifices have given us our freedom. Remember their families for they sacrifice much, too.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Back to Work -- And Missing Slipper Moon!

I'm filling in temporarily for a former co-worker who's on maternity leave. So just for a little while, it's out of retirement and back to work for me.

I almost said, "It's back to real life for me," but that's not true.

Retirement is such a gift. Real life for me now is made of gentle moments:

having lunch with Neely on our front porch, listening to the garden fountain gurgle and the wind whisper through the pine trees. If we're lucky, the local deer join us, browsing on grass in my neighbor's field across the road.

creating jewelry, or quilts, or knitted things, or just day-dreaming in my quiet little second-floor studio, where I can watch my dogs playing in the yard below.

cooking and trying new recipes, planning our meals and shunning take-out. I'm no Paula Deen, but I love putting good, nourishing food on our table instead of packaged convenience stuff containing who-knows-what!

caring for our home, seeing the gleam of freshly waxed furniture and smelling the scents of a well-loved house. I don't even mind polishing pine floors (well, not much, anyway). Clean corners and tucked-in edges are enormously gratifying to me now.

photographing my tiny miracles to share -- like this wren's nest in one of my hanging plants. Is that egotistical? Probably. Why would anyone else care about my day? But I so love life and the world's beauty that I want to share it with anyone who happens on my blog.

Ah well -- back to that alternate universe for a few months. After all, it's a blessing in its own right, to be given an opportunity to earn money, especially in our shaky economy. God has smiled on me (may I remember that when deadlines start to loom!). And at the end of my temporary employment, I'll return to REAL life with renewed appreciation for its daily blessings. Slipper Moon will be here waiting for me, peaceful as ever.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Ghoul Eeevening!


and all the gang at Slipper Moon.

Have a spooky time and keep those jack-o's burning!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Bird of Paradise

We're a week away from Halloween. Should my Bird of Paradise be blooming this time of year, when I'm thinking of chrysanthemums, football homecoming games, and jack-o-lanterns?

I raised these plants from seeds many years ago, and brought them with me when we moved twice. After each move, the plants took four to five years to acclimate to their new surroundings. Unfailingly, they bloomed the fifth year.

This fresh bloom really suggests its namesake

and this one looks like a phoenix with blazing wings.

This bloom is ready to burst.

My garden keeps its own rhythm, which usually has nothing to do with the calendar. No matter -- I'll just be quiet and enjoy!

Have a splendid day, all!