Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Happy Holidays! Until next time.....

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Winter Solstice

The peace and quiet of Winter is finally here. It's a grey, cloudy, warm day here in Tennessee. I would prefer it if it was snowing, but that rarely happens this time of year in the SouthEast. Two days from now will be the full moon. Two days from now is Christmas Eve. Santa will have some extra light as he makes his rounds; not that he needs it.
Enjoy the winter months that lie ahead. Until next time.....

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Upstairs by a Chinese Lamp

Market in the cool white mornin'
Merchants sell while women buy
Milk, tobacco, soap and matches
Sweep the floorWhile the dishes dry
Spring whispered in her earLike soft
Mediterranean wailin'
Sleepy woman by the window
Dreamin' in the morning air
Of the one who takes her sweetness
By a chinese lamp upstairs
The steam of china tea
You could hear the woman sing
In the soft flames of spring
Spring has swept the scarlet side streets
Winds caress, undress, invite
Upstairs by a china lamp
They softly talk in the cool spring night

~~'Upstairs By A Chinese Lamp lyrics' by Laura Nyro~~

When I first saw these spiderweb beads years ago, I automatically thought about this song. These beads are as incredible as the woman who penned this song, along with countless others.
Spiderweb beads or lace beads were made in Japan between 1945 & 1952. These beads were made in the Cherry Brand neighborhood homes in Japan. The artisans were paid by the bead so they could buy food and vital goods.
I've been collecting them for years and just recently decided to share them. I have both finished earrings and pairs of beads for sale in my Etsy shops. Check them out. They are true beauties.
Until next time.....

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Holiday Shipping Specials Going On Now

From now until the end of 2007, I am running a Holiday shipping special in both my shops. In my jewelry shop, I am offering free worldwide shipping on orders over $50.00 and in my deStash shop, I am offering free worldwide shipping on orders over $25.00. Plus, I will be running surprise specials on and off throughout the month of December. I have no idea when they will be happening and what they will be. They're even a surprise to me!
Take time to enjoy this Holiday Season. Until next time.....

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Putting the Cat Out

Winter is settling in here in Middle Tennessee. Early morning temperatures are in the 20's and the first freeze came and went and left a melted looking landscape. Can't say that I'm sad about that either, after the long, hot, dry summer we just had.

It's quiet around here this time of year. Most of the songbirds are gone or not singing. There are no insects chirping at night. Just cold silence. Except for that snoring that comes from under any blanket that's left lying around. Althea had a tendency to root under blankets or t-shirts or anything that's left on the floor and fall asleep. When we first got her, we would throw something over her and she would stay there until she fell asleep. We started calling it 'putting the cat out'.

As I sit here typing this, there is a lumpy blanket on the chair behind me. The lump is snoring. Althea is sound asleep. We won't be seeing much of her around her until Spring. Must be nice!
I'd love to join her, but I'll have to wait until the Holiday rush is over.
Until next time.....

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Over the river, and through the wood, to Grandfather's house we go;
the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh through the white and drifted snow.
Over the river, and through the wood, to Grandfather's house away!
We would not stop for doll or top, for 'tis Thanksgiving Day.
Over the river, and through the wood- oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose, as over the ground we go.
Over the river, and through the wood and straight through the barnyard gate.
We seem to go extremely slow- it is so hard to wait!
Over the river, and through the wood- when Grandmother sees us come,
She will say, "o, dear, the children are here, bring a pie for every one."
Over the river, and through the wood- now Grandmothers cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done? Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!

Happy Thanksgiving!
Until next time.....

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Christmas Candy and Holiday Music

It's official! The holiday season is here. The Christmas music stations are already playing on Dish Network. It's a week early this year, but I don't care. I love listening to the classics.

My shops are ~beginning to look a lot like Christmas too~. So many of the vintage beads that I have look like Christmas candy.
Head over to my Etsy shops and check out the vintage goodies. I'm running a Holiday Shipping Special that runs until 12/31/07. I'm also doing a jewelry showcase today.

To those of you that venture out on Black Friday ~ have fun. And to those of you that shop on Cyber Monday ~ hope to see you on Etsy.
Until next time.....

Friday, November 9, 2007

Turkey Pole

One good reason why an edit button would be nice to have on the Etsy forums!
Although I must say, I love every one's sense of humour.
Until next time.....

Monday, October 22, 2007

Spreading the Etsy Love

I have two Etsy shops. The first one, where I sell my jewelry, is nearly two years old. My latest one is two months old. It's a bead shop, where I sell vintage beads from my private stash. My experience on Etsy has been enlightening. There are so many amazing shops on that site. It just blows my mind.

The Holiday Season is approaching rapidly! Ready or not, here it comes. In each of my shops, I have a section in my profile entitled 'Spreading the Etsy Love'. I have 10 shops listed- 5 in each profile. They are people that I've bought from in the past, people that I convo back and forth with, people that have beautiful objects that I've yet to buy and people with kind hearts and open minds.
Each week, for the rest of this year, I'm going to make a new list, with new shops. I hope that when someone goes to one of my shops, they take a moment to look at the list and visit these Etsy stores.
In my bead shop this week:
http://jNicdesigns.etsy.com/ ~ homegrown jewelry.
http://mLee.etsy.com/ ~ woodblock printing.
http://gemmafactrix.etsy.com/ ~ metal smith and turtle lover.
http://summersea.etsy.com/ ~ herbs and such.
http://bamabelle.etsy.com/ ~ Vintage!!!!!

And in my jewelry shop:
http://daisycakessoap.etsy.com/ ~ she's my soap girl!
http://honeybee.etsy.com/ ~ the most beautiful metal clay jewelry that I've ever seen.
http://supastarr.etsy.com/ ~ hand silk screened items for your family and your home.
http://blacksheepbeads.etsy.com/ ~ a girl can never have too many vintage beads!
http://canadianwoodcrafts.etsy.com/ ~ woodworker extraordinaire

Until next time.....

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Sure Signs of Fall

It's official now. Autumn's here. The morning temps are in the 40's! That makes me so happy to type that. Coffee tastes so much better when there's a nip in the air.

The trees are slowly changing colors.
And the turkeys are back. They're out in the field across the road every day now. I haven't gotten an exact count on them yet, but I know I counted over 12 yesterday. That's nothing. Last year I counted over 50! They're so much fun to watch and photograph. I'm going to have to walk the field and look for feathers. I love turkey feathers.

The beads and jewelry that are being added to my Etsy shops reflect the change in season. With names like Pumpkin Latte and Pumpkin Spice, there is no mistake that Fall is here.

For those of you that are going into Autumn now ~ Enjoy!
Until next time.....

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Sea and Me

I'm a land locked beach bum living in middle Tennessee. I am fortunate enough to be able to escape to the sea at least once a year.
We just got back from a short stay on the Gulf of Mexico. Great food ~ compliments of John ~ who is our personal chef, good company and rough seas to bob around in.
The sea creeps into many of my jewelry designs. Shells, sea glass and driftwood are scattered around my home ~ both inside and out. All these things keep me going until the next time that I am packing and heading back to the shore.
It was a perfect trip, except the house we rented didn't allow pets. And try as she did, Althea did not get to go with us this time.
Until next time.....

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Waffles and Pancakes= Autumn

As the weather cools off a bit, it seems like I'm not the only one craving certain comfort foods. If you've spent any time in the Etc forum on Etsy this past week, you've gained a few e-pounds with the rest of us. Maple syrup, pumpkin pie pancakes, waffles, crisps and crunches, Fat Daddy's Cupcakes, Rosy's brownies and on and on and on.....
So, of course I added maple syrup to my grocery list. It's a staple in this house from Sept until Spring. And I made several batches of waffles since that purchase. After all, today is the first day of Autumn.
This is one of the simplest waffle/pancake recipes that I have. It's completely foolproof. I use unbleached flour, whole wheat or a mix of both. I add fruit and/or nuts when the mood strikes. So, head to the store, pull out the waffle iron or iron skillet and get ready for Fall.

1 1/2 cup flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons melted butter or oil

mix the dry ingredients together. mix the wet ingredients together. blend them together. bake. enjoy.
~sorry there's no picture. I ate the waffles before I decided to blog about them.
Until next time.....

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Saying Goodbye to a Generation

Today I said goodbye to a friend. And that is never a good thing. She lived across the road from me, with her sister, on a farm that they grew up on in the early 1900's.
I never got tired of listening to her stories that she repeatedly told me about her childhood. She painted such a wonderful picture of the past with her words.
I love old country folks. In the 30 years that I've lived in Tennessee, I've met and loved and lost a lot of them. But this one hurt so much more than the rest. She was the last of that generation.
Every time I look out my window, across the road to the farm and see a rainbow over your home place, I will think of you.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Autumn's Calling.....

This morning when I went outside, it smelled like Autumn! We had a sprinkling of rain and everything smelled sooooo good! Not enough rain to water anything. The ground is still rock hard and cracked open, but the temperatures are not in triple digits anymore and the high for one day next week is going to be 78. This summer was a hot one and a long one. Bye Summer~ Autumn's calling...

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Morning Glories

The morning glories growing in my gardens haven't heard that we are having a severe drought. If you just look at the collage of them, you'd never know that the rest of my property looks like carp. We've had the hottest, driest summer in a long time and it's taken it's toll on the landscaping and gardens. It will be interesting to see what survives and comes back next year.
Thank goodness for my morning glories! They have always been one of my favorite flowers. Their colors are amazing. They make wonderful living screens. One plant can block out an unsightly area or nosey neighbor. And they grow everywhere and anywhere and don't ask for anything.

One of my favorite varieties didn't come up this year. It's the Blue Star Morning Glory. They have white backgrounds with a blue star and a yellow center. Truly a thing of beauty. I did, however, make earrings with vintage enameled flowers and chain that are fashioned after them. I've sold several pairs so far and made one for myself. I will continue to make these until I run out of materials. You can find them in my shop under the 'Cottage Garden' section.
Thank you ,morning glories, for getting me through this gardening season. You bring light and color to an otherwise brown landscape.
Until next time.....

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Excessive Summer Heat and a Passed Out Cat

It's been extremely hot here this past month. Triple digits for days in a row. I know that it was just the Dog Days of Summer, but this is unusual. We've been breaking records left and right.
I've been spending a lot of time indoors sorting beads and taking pictures of beads. And counting beads and listing beads. I've even been dreaming in beads ~ 1000 pixel squares of beads.
Althea's been doing what a cat should be doing to help pass the Dog Days of Summer. Sleeping everywhere and anywhere she can squeeze or sneak into. As my mom used to say "She's living the life of Riley".
Until next time.....

Thursday, August 16, 2007

BlackStar Times Two

So, today I got around to opening my second Etsy shop. I've been toying with the idea since V2. My second shop is named BlackStar Beads and it's strictly for deStash of my overload of vintage beads, findings and costume jewelry parts. I'm listing items slowly but surely. It's a strange feeling; having two shops. I've been selling some of my deStash in my original shop, but wasn't happy with the arrangement. Thus the change. Only problem is, I miss the cat. She's running the jewelry shop. Hope she can handle it. Stop by and say hi: http://www.blackstarbeads.etsy.com. Until next time.....

Sunday, August 12, 2007

For the Love of Wood

I have always been in love with wood ~ trees, beads, furniture, doors, window, trim, siding, barns, firewood......you get the picture.
I've spent a good part of my life living in the woods. I find comfort being surrounded by trees- listening to the wind blow through the pines or watching the leaves turn a bright orange in the fall. I just couldn't imagine my life without trees in it. My farm was in a holler, down the creek from Kelly Holler:*Kelly Holler is in middle Tennessee, once owned by Miss Kelly. She was different than most locals in that part of the country. She made moonshine. She birthed babies. She liked hippies. She was a wonderful woman. But when I went past her house, in the dark, alone, for some reason I ran through the dense woods mangled with knotted grapevine. This necklace reminds me of Kelly Holler. It can be found in my Etsy shop.*
Our land at Crystal Lake is on the top of a mountain. We have a small, spring fed, ice cold lake in the middle of 17 acres of trees. Chestnut oaks grow up on the mountain. They are huge beautiful trees with giant arms - perfect for hanging a porch swing. Their color in the fall is breathtaking. When I zip open the tent on a crisp autumn morning and the sun is just starting to peak over the treeline, the color of those trees is blinding.
Autumn is just around the corner. It won't be long until I will be sitting next to the campfire, smelling the smoke from the firewood of the fallen trees and gazing upon the biggest and brightest trees in Tennessee. Until next time.....

Sunday, August 5, 2007


I have my first batch of chigger bites for the summer. If you've ever had them, then you know how itchy I am. That's OK though. I'm not complaining. We went down to Crystal Lake for a couple of days. I knew that I would come home with them. At least I didn't bring ticks back too.
I love that place and can't wait until I can live up on that mountain permanently. Until next time.....

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Christmas in July

Prompted by Sunday Avatar Day on Etsy, I decided to give it one more try. I bought these antlers two years ago because I had plans of making a holiday card with the new cat's picture on it. Well, Althea would not cooperate. When she did leave the antlers on long enough for me to get a picture, she looked pissed as hell. Not exactly what I was looking for.
But yesterday, while she was passed out cold on a hot summer's day, I was able to get a shot of her with them on before she woke up enough to figure out what was going on.

Having Althea in the house is like having Christmas every day. Thirteen years ago today, we had to say goodbye to #1. #1 was a long haired, white cat too. But that's where the similarity ended. She was a country cat. She was independent and she loved fresh corn. She used to love corn season. I'd shuck an ear for me and one for her and we'd both sit in the shade and eat. This week I'll be harvesting corn. Somewhere in that cornfield, I hope to see the ghost of a cat.
Until next time......

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Dude's Back and He's Not Alone!

Last summer, when I was weeding the garden, something ran out from under a bush. Scared the carp out of me! Turned out it was only a turtle, but at that moment I had no idea what was about to come out from the brush. He was as surprised to see me as I was to see him. I ran inside and got my camera so I could take pictures of him. I named him the Dude. I had no idea if the Dude was even, in fact, a dude.
I looked for the dude every day after that, but never saw him again.

Until now! I was outside this morning, pulling up a soaker hose to move to a new spot. It was staked down with metal pins. I was pulling on the hose to loosen the pins as I made my way down the row, when suddenly a big clump of dirt or mulch(?) popped up and landed in front of me. It wasn't either of those things. It was a turtle! And no, I didn't hurt it. I immediately picked it up and checked out his markings. Looked like the Dude to me. The Dude had a chip on his shell just like this one. It's a possibility that it's not him, but I'd like to think that it is.
So, I put him down and started to go in the house to get the camera again , when I noticed a dark blob in the weeds right next to where the Dude was. It was another turtle, but this one was a lot bigger than the Dude.
Oh Crap! Was the Dude doing it when I pulled the hose up and flung him through the air? I really hope not!

I got the camera and took a few photos. Then I put the turtles back in the weeds and went back to what I was doing. About thirty minutes later, I checked on them. I only saw one turtle, but decided not to look around for the other. I already disturbed them once.
I don't know enough about turtles to know if the male is bigger than the female, but I do plan on googling it. I'd like to know if my Dude is actually a Dudette.
Well, I won't be tilling that area as planned. I'm hoping the Dude will be laying eggs somewhere in the garden.

I now know what's been eating our tomatoes. I thought that we were losing an awful lot this year to some critter, but ruled out the Dude because I didn't think he could eat that much. But two turtles could. I always plant more tomatoes than we can use and this is one of the reasons why. Seeing a turtle with a face full of tomato seeds and juice dripping down his chin is priceless. Until next time.....

Saturday, July 21, 2007

It's Tomato Time in Tennessee

Once again, I'm knee deep in tomatoes. And that is a feeling that I love. Endless piles of organically grown, sweet, juicy tomatoes ripe and ready to eat and put up.
I don't take these days for granted. I eat fresh tomatoes every day because when they're gone, they're gone. I refuse to eat those pseudo tomatoes from the market.

This week begins the tomato canning and freezing marathon. I'll be canning Roma puree, tomato juice and tomatoes. I'll be freezing pasta sauce, tomatoes, tomato paste and tomato water.

I'm considering buying a food dehydrator so I can dry Romas to pack in olive oil. I tried sun drying them, but we don't have the right weather for it here and they mold before they dry.

So, if you don't see me or here from, you know where I'll be. Until next time.....

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sunflowers = Summer

The heat is on! Summer's in full swing and the gardens are growing like crazy~even with the drought.
One of my favorite summer flowers are Sunflowers. So, so easy to grow. They tolerate drought and heat. They're packed full of seeds for the goldfinches (and me) and their colors explode randomly throughout the garden.

Bees also love Sunflowers. It seems that whenever I take pictures of them, there is a bee on or buzzing around the heads. Which brings me to the subject of bee stings. I found that the best thing to put on bee stings is Vitamin E. I pierce (usually bite) a capsule and squeeze the oil on the bite. It takes away the pain and reduces swelling and itching. I keep some in the medicine chest and in our first aid kit. Try it. You'll be surprised.
Until next time.....

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Vintage Enamel Addiction

Everyone who knows me, knows that I love anything vintage. I am convinced that I was born in the wrong decade. But that hasn't stopped me from surrounding myself with pieces from the past~most of them handed down to me or thrifted.

My bead collection is comprised of vintage beads and components. For years, I have collected vintage glass beads. Thanks to all the folks that thought enough about these beads that have been stored away since the 40's and 50's, there is a plethora (I love that word) of uncirculated beads and findings ripe for the picking.

Here lately, I have noticed that my collection of vintage enamel is growing. I love, love, love it! I have a healthy (so far) collection of chain, bead caps, flower beads and charms. I've been selling some of them in my 'destash from me to you' section of my Etsy shop and I've been making earrings and necklaces that are laced with these treasures.

The top picture is a photo collage of some of the chain that I bought. The bottom is a picture of some of my finished pieces. But, I didn't photograph my latest love~ vintage enameled bead caps. When I take them out of the tin that they are stored in, I feel like I'm sifting through a treasure chest.
It really is treasure~ vintage treasures from the past, made available once again to a generation that is hungry for it's timeless beauty.
Until next time.....

Monday, July 2, 2007

Summer Rain

I almost forgot how wonderful a Summer rain smells and sounds. We had such a dry Spring. I mean reallllly dry. The Earth had cracks in it, just like it does in August- yet this was the end of May.

We finally got 1 1/2" of rain this weekend. The smell of Summer rain takes me back to my childhood. It always smells like my house, on my street, in my town in New Jersey no matter where I am. I love that smell.

And the sound of the rain~~~~~I just opened up the doors and stood there and listened. I soaked up every sound~ the rain running down the downspouts, the raindrops on top of the umbrella, the rumbling of the thunder. The gardens and I both smiled and sighed .
I missed you old friend. Try not to stay away so long.
Until next time.....

Thursday, June 21, 2007


And the livin' is easy
Fish are jumpin'And the cotton is high
Your daddy's rich
And your mamma's good lookin'
So hush little baby
Don't you cry
One of these mornings
You're going to rise up singing
Then you'll spread your wings
And you'll take to the sky
But till that morning
There's a'nothing can harm you
With daddy and mamma standing by
Summertime,And the livin' is easy
Fish are jumpin'
And the cotton is high
Your daddy's rich
And your mamma's good lookin'
So hush little baby
Don't you cry
Thank you, George Gershwin!

~~~~~Happy Summer Everyone~~~~~

Until Next Time.....

Sunday, June 17, 2007

.....with their running shoes on

I love when the Killdeer come back every Spring and make a nest in our driveway. You read that right- in our driveway. That's how they make their nests- just push around a few pieces of gravel and you're good to go. I often wonder why those birds are not extinct. What are the chances that the eggs make it the 26 days when they are sitting in the middle of someones driveway (actually off to the side)?

I love the sounds that Killdeer make. They are shorebirds. I can close my eyes and feel like I'm at the ocean- a real treat for this landlocked beach bum.
So, in mid May when I walked out to the mailbox and Mrs. K started doing the "I broke my wing and I'm helpless, come get me" routine, I knew that there was a nest somewhere. Sure enough, on May 13th the first egg was laid. Each day after that for the next four days, there was another egg.

I'd check every day to make sure we still had eggs and when it came close to the due date, and we still had eggs, we got pretty excited around here.

On June 12th the eggs hatched! Killdeer babies are adorable. They look furry. They are precocial birds- meaning that they ripen beforehand. They don't lie in the nest and get waited on. The come into this world with their running shoes on. And that is so true. The day after they hatched out, they left the yard. I wanted so badly to collect them and bring them back. But, I did my job, Mr and Mrs K did their jobs and it was time for the babes to hit the world. After all, they did have their running shoes on. And they looked like Chucks to me.
Until next time.....


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