Saturday, February 6, 2010

Renaissance Soul? Or Simply Scattered?

Photo courtesy of Amazon

Those who know me, know I have a myriad of interests. All of them varied, few overlapping. I love learning new things about preventative health and how our mind/body systems work together. I love to learn about healthy new foods and how to prepare them. I love to make un-cooked and cooked meals. I love to bake. I love to garden, compost, and raise my chickens. I love making junky stuff into art. I love to see great movies and spend time in the great outdoors. I love photography and want to learn more about it.

I also love big cities like NYC and Montreal and traveling and being in quiet solitude in the country. I've always wanted to learn to play a stringed musical instrument. I want to learn to Irish step dance and make quality jewelry. I love sushi (minus the fish!) and a simple meal of bread, cheese and apples (which I can't eat anymore).

My point is, my interests and tastes are varied, and often opposite. Sometimes I think I have multiple personality disorder, other times I think I'm just interested in a lot of stuff. There are so many causes and missions and good works I believe in--sometimes it's hard to decide who to support with my time and money.

Years ago, when I was searching for my "dream job," I read this book, "Renaissance Souls". I remember loving it because finally I felt like I wasn't the only person out there who felt this way. I guess it's either that I'm truly a Renaissance soul, or that I suffer from ADD, either is a strong possibility.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Creative rush(es)

Finally, FINALLY, I took some time to play with my vintage jewelry stash. I've never been interested in making jewelry. I've tried it once before and my interest lasted, oh, about two weeks. Part of it was that there is so many choices to make: earrings or a necklace? Pearl or wire? Beads? What color/shape/size? How do I attach everything? It can be a little overwhelming.
Another part is that it can get expensive buying all the findings, pendants, books on beading, etc. And of course, there was the whole patience thing. I'm not a very patient person though I'm striving to be. Working with itsy bitsy pieces and beads that want to go one way when I want them to go another isn't very relaxing.

Re-purposing old stuff though, that's something I'm good at.

So, I decided to try my hand at making recycled pieces of jewelry and wow, did I have fun! In fact, I worked on my two projects all weekend, on and off between diaper changes and book reading and running errands and talking with my hubby. It's sort of addictive. It's very fun. And it's a creative, inexpensive outlet that I can feel good about.

I'm donating part of all the proceeds I make from sales at my Etsy shop to Shared Hope International, an organization working to end sex trafficking around the world.
If you're interested in re-purposing old jewelry into new creations, I'd highly recommend, "Vintage Redoux," which my lovely parents gave me recently for my birthday. Though I'm not good at following directions, I like to look at the pictures and get ideas for my own projects. And there is a "techniques" section at the end that is helpful.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lovin' the Body Shop

(Banner from

I love companies who do more than just sell stuff. Businesses who have more than a "what can I get from this?" approach are my favorites and the ones that I try to frequent most often. Why don't more companies and businesses realize that when you do good things, donate to good causes, and take care of others it will improve not only your bottom line but your popularity in the world at large? Good karma, good will--whatever you call it, it's good for business.

Take the Body Shop for example. One of their most recent campaigns is raising awareness about one of my passions, something that I advocate strongly for and hold an annual fundraiser to raise money and awareness about: ending sex trafficking.

Right now the Body Shop is holding a "STOP Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People" campaign. Find out more about it and how to join here.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Gluten/Dairy/Sugar-free blog

I love, love, love this blog I found. It offers great resources, delicious recipes which are gluten, dairy and sugar-free, and has lots of great "food for thought" (pun intended!). Check it out when you have time.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Have a little fun

This is one of those "old to new" projects I was talking about. I made this art skirt a couple of years ago as a final project for an art class. The project had to be a 3-D piece, and I think it had to incorporate a few different elements--this project uses paint, fabric, and ink.

Here's another shot:

And one more:

Friday, January 15, 2010


Many of you who know me, know that I'm passionate about the plight of victims caught in the sex trafficking industry. Honestly, I can't think of anything worse in life. For many of us, rape is our worst nightmare. The women and children, some as young as six or seven years old, enslaved in the sex trafficking industry deal with this every single day, over and over again.

I've learned so much about this in the past several years about this industry and hold an annual fundraiser of some sort to raise awareness and money for organizations working to end this horrific and barbaric practice.

Below is a five minute video of an art installation in New York City, called "Journey," dedicated to sex trafficking. This was compiled and is narrated by actress Emma Thompson, who I have an even greater respect for now. Please, please watch it.

I wish I could have seen it in person, but the video is amazing. Earlier this week I started thinking about what I could do for this year's event. I'm playing with a few ideas but am always open for suggestions.

Many thanks to Nancy at Shared Hope International who told me about this art installation.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Old to New

In the spirit of the new year, (and just because I really like it,) I'd like to chat about recycling. Not the kind of recycling you do for your plastics, metals, and papers, but recycling clothes, jewelry, and even junk, into new and gorgeous items.

One of the books I received for Christmas was, "New From Old: How to Transform and Customize Your Clothes." What a great book! I'm excited to start re-exploring the art of recycling old stuff into fresh, new things I'll actually wear.

If you're like me and like to dabble in art or creative pursuits, restructuring clothes or accessories is something to look into. Wearable art is a fantastic way to literally wear your art--on your jacket, dress, skirt, jeans or around your neck. I've made jean skirts into art, restructured shirts and am currently working on creating jewelry from straws and yarn (sounds scary but it's pretty--I'll post pics soon). All you need are some old clothes or accessories (excuse to go to the thrift shop), cheap paints, and any other artistic finds you have on hand or find by the side of the road (beads, found metal objects, fringe, etc.).

Of course, one of the best things about this kind of endeavor is that your saving materials which otherwise would end up in the landfill. It's the ultimate recycling plan and lots of fun. Here's are just a few online sites which will help get your creative juices flowing:

  • is a great place to learn more about restructuring clothes and household items. Lots of tutorials, pictures, and threads of the forum for anything you might be interested in learning more about.
  • Etsy--This is a hugely popular crafty site. The products here are for sale but you can use photos of finished products on this awesome site to inspire you. There are often also patterns for sale if you want to create things from scratch.
  • Altered Couture magazine--This magazine makes me salivate. You can find it locally at Joann Fabrics and Barnes and Noble. It's full of absolutely beautiful altered clothes. A little pricey though--I always hold out and use my 40% off coupon at Joann's.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New year, new you. New decade, too.

Here it is: a new year. What are your hopes and plans? What have you been dreaming of doing for the longest time, that you'll finally begin? Starting an exercise routine? Volunteering with a local nonprofit? Eating more healthfully? Taking a class? Getting organized? Adding more fun and silliness into your day? Starting yoga or giving up cigarettes?

Whatever your dreams are for the year ahead, I wish you much success.

As for me, New Year resolutions are a thing of the past. I'm tired of making a gigantic list of 20 things I want to change in my life and then feeling let down and discouraged when I find the list (usually forgotten in a drawer or notebook somewhere) months later and realize I've met few of my goals.

This year I'm going to continue to ask God for directions on the road. I want to increase my health and energy through healthful eating and exercise, add more creativity back into my life (I'm exploring mixed media jewelry making), make more time for fun and connection with my husband, sisters and friends, and mostly, to remember that my job here on earth isn't what I do to make money, it is something much, much bigger.