Let’s brooch the subject

…because it’s winter again, and those wise sages who design sweaters have yet again chosen to deny you and I the opportunity to button or zip our cardigans.  Why why why?  Is there some desperate shortage of buttons somewhere?  Are they being shipped off to help with a war effort that we’re not being told about?  I for one would like to see the airship that’s being forged from mother of pearl, plastic, and balsa wood laminates.  Either that, or the sweater factories are in cahoots with drug manufacturers.  The correlation; if one catches more colds and flus wearing their garments open to the wild winter winds, one is more likely to purchase drugs to cure their ills.  So nefarious, it’s almost believable.

ANYWAY, I digress.  As a person who enjoys meeting these crucial fashion emergencies with grace and aplomb, I go for a large brooch to hold my garments together, thereby gaining the opportunity to express my joy of jewelry while thumbing my nose at Phizer and their ilk.  I made these back in the late 90’s – yes, they are huge and in your face, like the decade itself; bold and overflowing with un-secured optimism.

ThTall broachlapis web broach

This one is aptly called “spider web in the morning” but it’s a bit too brightly plated for any self-respecting arachnid to want.  That was not a good decision.  I should always go with burnished metal…the bright stuff never did suit my style.

And then, there’s this wonderful designer called Alexis Bittar, who was hanging around the streets of Soho selling his wares the whole time I was living in NY and going to jewelry school at FIT.  So how did I ever miss seeing his awesome stuff and how did I not get in on the groundfloor of what has become a handmade, high fashion jewelry empire to rival those of mid-century French fame?  Beats me.  Now I can look at his website and drool over pieces like this one.  It’s not really indicative of his style in that it doesn’t utilize any resin, but the bold, straightforward look is very “Bittar.”

starburst pin

So the next time you see a sweater that you like, even if it’s missing buttons, don’t fear.  Just get one of these babies and you’ll be warm this winter, and hopefully free of cold and flu.  Ew.

smoky qrtz flower pinmop flower pin

Smoky quartz and coral flower on stickpin:  Mother of pearl and carnelian on stick pin.

Designed by Chris Unruh, 2005.

Tiny Worlds

I don’t know anyone who at some point in their lives were not fascinated by miniature worlds; be they in the form of dollhouses, puppetering, or leggos and erector sets (the ultimate in miniturized building!).  It’s also no wonder that so many of us adults still make it a point to go see the Christmas windows at Neimans / Macy’s / Barneys (pick your price bracket) which almost always are elaborately composed scenes created using smaller-scale dolls, mannequins, and papier-mache creatures of dream and nightmare.

I figure this is the same reason that normal, sane adults are so taken by the wee, the tiny, and the twee (that’s wee and tiny put together).  Things like this make us screw up our eyes and force us to move in closer, while putting us in touch with those delicious feelings of youth. In this example, there are tiny concrete boxes with little itty bitty plants growing inside:  I love both the use of concrete and plants, but also the fact they managed to make it wearable.  Genius! (p.s., these are available on etsy.com)

nature necklace

And then, there are these tiny aquatic environments.  If some of you who saw us at one fo the outdoor shows might recall, we *tried* to create small hanging fish bowls using lightbulbs and wine glasses that have been strung and tied to hang from a hook.  Nature had her way with these hanging environments, tossing them around in high breezes and nearly boiling their little fishy inhabitants in high heat before I just had way too many protests about the cruelty factor.  We eventually agreed that as cool as it ‘could’ be, this idea just never panned out as hoped. (they did however work well as cut flower holders!)

Jeweled goblet showing detail

This creation was much smaller in reality than in this photo, lol!  This little fish did okay for a while but I eventually returned her to the larger 20 gallon tank.  She seemed dazed and confused before I did so – probably a lack of oxygen coupled with the tiny space freaked her out.

Now, an example of doing it right: *This* is a great way of creating a true underwater environment in which no fish/shrimp/snails have been harmed – the wonderful marimo ball!  Japanese myth hold that these little algae balls (which supposedly do continue to grow) bring good luck; as such, I need to get a hold of a LOT of these adorable green suckers.  Don’t they look fantastic in these lightbulb vases?  Again, genius! 

marimo ball bulb aquarium

And then there’s this incredibly artistic tree perched on a ring; the ultimate in tiny worlds.

tree ring

One Fish Two Fish is changing!

As fish often do, we’re wiggling off the hook and diving back down into cool waters… only to emerge topside with a more appropriate name for this operation/adventure/avocation:  Concrete Notions.  Steve and I (two fishy folks if there ever were some) decided it better portrays what we are doing and makes for a more ‘solid’ brand (pardon the pun there). 

Stay tuned for more about this.  Same great concrete pots and plants… 

dancing fish

 

 

 

Shazbot! and Fun with Words

It’s a new year, so they all say. That must be why I found myself digging around in my bright-green Ikea desk like a french pig with a line on a truffle, kicking up dust along with business cards, sticky notes, and errant stamps. Someplace in the melange I uncovered a brief list of funny words Steve and came up with last year. Some of them do harken to earlier years, but most of them are solid 2012 vintage.

Let me preface this list by telling that most of these have been inspired by cats. If you have kids, you will no doubt have similar aha moments when they do something that just defies standard vocabulariar boundaries and demands a new construct. Let me illustrate:

Butzinface – What someone working at their computer in our household is going to wind up with within moments of sitting down to work. Applies most often to Lenny, but can be applied to George.

Farking – Pretty much what it sounds like, right? So it’s a mesh of ‘f*ing’ and ‘larking’ and a bit of ‘malarky’ thrown in, just to mollify our Veep. And because Irish phrases are funny.

Gargolying, Vulching, Hoovering – well these are not new really, so I can’t take credit. Maybe Gargoyling. Our Russian Blue cat, George, looks particularly regal and Gargoyle-y when poised on his haunches on top of the refrig or cabinets, with neck extended.

“Honey, the Varmpires are Calling!” – okay, this one has nothing to do with cats. It refers to the blood bank that has our cell phone numbers and like to abuse them on a regular basis. I like to repeat their messages with a Transylvanian accent, just for fun. “We vant to have yer bluuud!” I know, I know. I will give and I do. But seriously, shop calling on the 61st day after my last donation, will ya?

Snorkeling – what Lenny does with his water dish; he’ll sit and wrap both arms around it, like he’s hugging it.

Marinating – what Lenny will do with his Super Fuzzy Worm (you know, the kind that does ‘amazing tricks!’ on a clear cord that no one can really get to work, but which cats adore). He likes to put it in his water dish, for safe-keeping.

Snizzle, frizzle, and schpool – all the ways that Gracie will drool freely over arms, chairs, and pillows. ew.

Foosy-putting – Take Pussy-Footing and rearrange the first letters. This happens on our countertops when we have all the plants inside and the cats are trying to work their way through them to get to the sink or to the latest chicken dish resting thereon.

Okay, that’s all for now…so I can finally throw away this bookmark I had them all written on. Yeah!

Change isn’t just a few coins in your pocket: Emma’s Revolution

Video

http://youtu.be/I7q36lWLqZ4

The best theme is peace.  This is another ‘new to me’ band called Emma’s Revolution, featuring social justice themes woven into beautiful melodies and harmonies.  Enjoy.

Bonjour, salaam, shalom, Konichiwa-wa!

Video

I just love Michael Franti. His songs are so upbeat, positive, germain, and politically hopeful.

Hello Bonjour

I don’t need a passport to walk on this earth
Anywhere I go ‘cause I was made of this earth
I’m born of this earth, I breathe of this earth
And even with the pain I believe in this earth
So I wake up every mornin’ and I’m steppin’ on the floor
I wake up every mornin’ and I’m walkin’ out the door
Got faith in the sky, faith in the one
Faith in the people rockin’ underneath the sun
Cause every bit a land is a-holy land and
Every drop a -water is a holy water and-a
Every single child is a son or a daughter
Of the one earth mama and the one earth papa
So don’t tell a man that he can’t come here
Cause he got brown eyes and a wavy kinda hair and
Don’t tell a woman that she can’t go there because she prays a little
Different to a God up there
You say you’re a Christian cause God made you
And you say you’re a Muslim cause God made you
You say you’re a Hindu and the next man a Jew
Then we all kill each other cause God told us to? No

So hello, hello
Bonjour, bonjour
Hola, hola
Konichiwa, konichiwa

Follow me follow me follow me
Let me take let me take you to the dancehall now to come a rock this rhythm
Follow me follow me follow me
Let me take let me take you to the dancehall now to come a skankin’
Follow me follow me follow me follow me
Let me take let me take you to the dancehall now to come a rock this rhythm
Follow me follow me follow me
Let me take let me take you to the dancehall in a spearhead stylee
Now hear this!!!

So you dance to the rhythm
Bounce to the rhythm
Shake to the rhythm and you roll to the rhythm
Sweat to the rhythm, get wet to the rhythm
Make love to the rhythm, clean up to the rhythm
When you movin’…you come alive
And when ya groovin’… in rhythm we survive
So don’t panic don’t panic
No drum machine this is all organic
Just sly and Robbie on the drums and the bass
Stickie on percussion and we mashin’ up the place
Givin’ you a beat you can rock and roll to
Givin’ you a sound you can shake your soul to
Hip hoppas
Punk rockas
Roots rockas even Woodstockas
Don’t need a passport
Just send a postcard
Send me a message let me know how you are
Whether you are walkin’ or drivin’ in your car
Throw your hands high and tell me who you are

So hello, hello
Bonjour, bonjour

Hola, hola
Konichiwa, konichiwa

Bubble from Nigeria to Botswana
Bubble Botswana to Ethiopia
Bubble Ethiopia to Zimbabwe now
Bubble Zimbabwe to Mexicana
Bubble Mexico to Braziliana
Bubble Brazilia to Americana
Bubble from America to Japan
Bubble from Japan to China
Bubble from a China to Pakistana
Bubble from a Pakistan to Australia
Bubble from Australia to Palestina
Bubble from a Palestine to Israel
Bubble Israel, Booyaka, Jamaica
Bubble to Italia, Espana, Britannia, bubble, bubble dance to the sound