Friday, March 20, 2009

And the winner is....

I used to pick the number and the winner is my dear friend and fellow artisan - Cameron! Congratulations. Your treats will go out in today's mail! Yippee!!

I have to say that you all shared some incredible wisdom. I got a few entries that were emailed instead of posted. I'll share a couple of my favorites...
  • "He" is neither the problem nor the solution
  • Forgive people, they really don't know any better
  • Just because they're playing your song doesn't mean you have to dance
Thanks again everyone. You are amazing!

Speaking of amazing, I received this email the other day and it could not have come at a better time. I don't usually forward that kind of stuff but I felt compelled. In turn I received several replies from others who also heard what they needed to hear at just the right moment. I love how that works. Feel free to copy and paste it and send it to someone you love. It just might turn their day around!

Dear God:

The lady reading this is beautiful, classy and strong, and I love her.

Help her live her life to the fullest. Please promote her and cause her to excel above her expectations. Help her shine in the darkest places where it is impossible to love. Protect her at all times, lift her up when she needs you the most, and let her know when she walks with you, She will always be safe.

Love you…

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What I know now that I did not know then

Yesterday was my 40th birthday. It was such a fabulous day. I had many calls from friends and family singing me silly songs and telling me what a special person I am. I had 6 Etsy orders including one from my amazing friend Jen - thank you honey! I went to lunch with my Aunt Mary whom I only see once a year but have a special kinship with, my mother and my husband. We dressed up like civilized people and had the full meal at a upscale, swanky bistro. I savored a scrumptious mussel appetizer, a lobster and avocado BLT with a lovely salad, and french pressed decaf with fresh berries for dessert. It was such a wonderful meal that I'm still going over the details in my mind. Then Tim and I went to a late afternoon matinee to see Watch Men which was a bit violent for my taste, a little depressing too, but a REALLY cool comic movie if you are into that sort of thing which I am. (I watch Heroes and Star Trek too).

When we got home, my kids had been fed and were waiting with anticipation to give me the beautiful gifts they made for me. My mom also gave me a gorgeous purse that I had drooled over a few months back. Not because I do the whole fashion thing, but because I want to learn how to make these!!
I am hoping my pal Sooz will able to look at it more closely while we are at Inspired and tell me how to approach making my own version of this. She is such an AMAZING seamstress!
And to finish off a perfect day, I watched Damages and Lost - 2 of my favorite shows. I fell asleep peacefully. Just before I drifted off I thought about what I know now compared to when I was 20. Either it is a cruel joke or a built in checks and balances system, but isn't it ironic how when we look our best, have the most energy and "potential", we tend to have so many more insecurities, far less contentment and often very skewed goals? I spent most of my 20's feeling fat (even though I was 15 lbs. lighter than I am now), feeling unlovable (even though I was totally loved) and chasing aspirations that are so far from what I want for myself today. I thought I knew it all and that I was invincible.

So I decided to construct a list of "20 things I wish I had known when I was 20". I am also having a drawing for a vintage goodie pack including several pieces of beautiful jewelry and some amazing ephemera.

  1. Wear sunscreen all the time
  2. Boys are not a hobby - find a passion that is not tied to another person and let it fill you up
  3. The best way to find happiness is to give to others
  4. Develop the habit of exercising everyday so when your older it will already be ingrained in you
  5. People are not thinking about you all the time. They do not care if your purse matches your shoes. They are too busy focusing on themselves.
  6. It does not matter how many friends you have, what matters is how you treat people
  7. Tell the truth.
  8. You do not have to be the center of attention to be noticed and you are not invisible.
  9. Be kind to your parents and grateful for the things they do for you. They are people just like you.
  10. Compassion does not mean taking on others problems
  11. Drama is not as attractive as you might think
  12. Make a gratitude list every day
  13. Dreading something does not make it easier to experience, it just prolongs the discomfort
  14. Just because you do not feel like doing something, does not mean you do not have to. This is when you probably need to do it the most. Just put one front in front of the other - who knows, it may be fun.
  15. Do not choose a major because you think it will allow you to make the most money. Do what you love and success will follow. Do what you hate and success does not matter.
  16. "Be the change you want to see in the world" -Ghandi
  17. Release negativity of any kind - it is poison. pursue forgiveness and kindness and you will be filled up with the power of love
  18. Be yourself without apologizing nor adapting to your surroundings. If you can find a way to be authentic and let go of what others think of you people will see your strength and be drawn to it.
  19. Trust that everything will be alright - it may not look the way you thought it would, but it will still be OK.
  20. Hug yourself and thank your body EVERYDAY for all the things it does for you - protecting you from disease, healing wounds, cradling your soul so you can experience life.
OK friends - let's hear your thoughts. Tell me something you would tell your 20 year old self. A prize awaits you! I will announce the winner tomorrow AM.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Thinking about Never, Never Land

After 3 weeks of isolation from the real world, my perceptions were slightly skewed. Fortunately, lack of sleep and the recent memories of a violent bout of the stomach flu created a fog and listlessness that prevented me from feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work I had missed, nor panicked because I was now 3 paintings behind in school, nor doomed because I had not addressed bills, laundry or grocery shopping in quite some time. In fact, by the time I really came to, I was so darn grateful that my family was healthy, the sun was shining and that I did not feel nauseous - nothing could rattle me.

Our kids were just wiped out by a relentless virus that would eventually hit mom and dad too and turn into pneumonia for my little 3 year old. Two and a half weeks into this high-fever-croup-like-coughing-body-aches-sore-throat-runny-nose-super-cold, the stomach flu stopped in for a quick visit. Over the course of 4 days the 4 members of our family took turns soiling linens, moaning from horrendous nausea and begging for relief. It was not pleasant. But once it passed we became very grateful for our returned health so at this point, I am considering the whole episode as a gift.

During this time, I was selling all the old inventory I had from Jilliene Designs on ebay to keep some $ coming in and so I could feel like I was doing something other than taking temperatures , tylenol and naps. I had the computer right at my bedside so I surfed around ebay for hours while Eva lay there. By complete accident, I stumbled into the world of vintage costume jewelry. First I just looked, then I started reading articles, and one night I impulsively bid on a huge lot - over 100 pieces and since the closing time was at such a late hour (1:00 AM pst), I won it for a very fair price. When my box of treasure arrived, I started posting items on my ETSY store so the ladies attending Inspired could pick up a piece of vintage jewelry as required for Jennifer Stewart's kicked up canvas class. I had so much and I wanted to share with my friends. I listed big brooches and gorgeous rhinestone pieces for $3, $5, $8 each, not having any idea what things were worth nor feeling inclined to figure it out. Soon, antique dealers where buying up my lisrings.

"Hmmmmmmmm. What is this about??" I wondered, so I did a little digging and soon discovered that I had sold several items worth a lot of money for next to nothing. "Oh well," I thought - I had the same luck when I won the original lot on ebay for such a good price.

Little did I know, I would stay in bed with sick children for another week and during that time I became educated in the fascinating world of costume jewelry collecting. I am now enthralled. I have fallen in love with the timeless glamor, various designer styles, wonderful materials, rich history and amazing craftsmanship.

I've now got about 30 different pieces listed on my Etsy store and I've sold 15 more. I'm having a wonderful time researching each and every piece. It is like solving mysteries. I tell you all of this because I expect I will be sharing more about his amazing new interest and I thought the story of how I stumbled into it to be a nice introduction.

This new interest has rejuvenated my little girl spirit. I look at all the gorgeous pieces and I think about playing dress up and pretending to be a fabulous woman dripping in in jewels and feeling beautiful and important. Life was nothing but possibility back then. Pirates and treasure, fairy god mothers and glass slippers, and genies and magic carpets tickled us inside with wonder, hope, dreams of splendor. I rarely drift into that train of thought as a grown up and I am perfectly fine with that. I don't need Royal Balls (I'm referring to the dances at the palace :oD), fancy clothes or wealth and clout to feel like a fabulous woman. But I do miss that wonder, that air of possibility and when I look at the big heap of gorgeous jewelry I acquired late one night, I regain my access to that paradigm of thinking and it makes me happy. As my WASSIMA girls say - swirls - sparkle - shine