Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Holidays!

This is the winter moon as I saw it last night from my back garden. Yesterday was winter soltice and the moon always seems so special to me at this time of year. It's that one time of year when we've gotten the shortest day of the year  in the northern hemisphere. It all gets brighter from here. The days get longer little by little, I start to feel that sense of renewal that comes with a new year and with spring on the horizon. It seems such a time of great hope and anticipation.

We are off this morning to spend the weekend with our daughter in law and grand daughter. Our daughter is working in Hartford, CT so we won't see her. But we've sent her a little Christmas in a box. We'll celebrate a late Christmas in January with her.

  But we will be able to spend our first Christmas with our son's new wife and daughter. We are over the moon happy to begin this new journey of family with Tammy and Alyssa. We'll be bringing up family Christmas ornaments, baking cookies, and decorating a tree together, cooking a special dinner. 

We've been asked to stand in as Santa for my son while he's away in Afghanistan. So we've got a sleigh full of stocking goodies packed up and ready to go. We've even got the stockings that he ordered and had sent to us along with a very special teddy bear for Alyssa's stocking. I don't think I've looked forward to Christmas morning this much since my children were just little. I'm not sure that there is anything more magical than littlies opening stockings on Christmas morning.

That's my grand daughter modeling her new snow pants form Nana. I am hoping we won't actually need to have snow pants. I can have quite a nice Christmas without any snow, thank you very much.

Wishing you peace and joy.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas in Afghanistan

 As many of you know, my son is in Afgahnistan right now. He's stationed on the border of Pakistan in the very rugged very high mountains in Kunar province. This photo is from a recent mission where they were dropped off by Blackhawk helicopter onto a mountainside. There was no level ground and they had to drop (fall) out of the helipcopter and roll away until they could find footing to stop the tumble down the mountain. In the middle of the night. He retreived his gear the next day 'half way down the mountain.'

That's my baby. He's looking a lot thinner than the last time I saw him. I think we can fix that up with some home cooking when he comes back.  By the way this mission was deemed cold and boring. This mum loves to hear that a mission is boring.

This little vingette warms my heart.  Soldiers go in taking vey little and leaving with very little when they are deployed. So sending Christmas presents is a challenge. We've sent two disposable Christmases now. Bright colours because one of the things soldiers say over and again is how much they miss all of the colour at home.  Favourite treats, like Tim Tams and cashews. I send toys because I feel like everyone needs a little whimsy in their life. Really, doesn't everyone need to juggle a slinky or launch a wooden air plane once in a while? And they can always be passed on to children when he leaves.

This photo arrived in my email not long ago with the message that he'd spent 'a quiet evening decorating his little shelf while 'drinking the cocoa from his wonderful wife and a tree from his awesome parents.' Did you catch that? I am awesome :-) I think I got my Christmas present early because it's not too often that I am referred to as awesome. Oh, and he's the only soldier on his FOB with Christmas lights. Probably, that is why I am so awesome.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Golden Snitch and a Holiday Story

My retreat to the studio has been good in many more ways than I can count. I've returned to a long ago past when I first learned metal smithing from my father. Only we never made beads. I love a hollow bead. There is just something about that shape, round on the outside, hollow within, an empty vessel that contains whatever you would like to put in it.  I always find an enclosed hollow form like a bead to have a bit of mystery. You can feel the void within the form but you can't see inside. It is totally up to you to imagine anything or nothing at all inside.

Never mind those hands up there. They are working hands and a distraction from the holiday side of this story.

I showed this photo to a friend and her young son remarked that it looked like a snitch. He's a Harry Potter fan. It brought me back to the first Harry Potter film. We were living in Australia at the time and Peter and I and the children all ditched work and school to see a matinee of the film. Unanimously, our favourite part of the film was the Quidditch match. We all loved the golden snitch and it's role as the game piece. If you've no idea what I am talking about you really need to watch this very first film! Even read the book!!!!

We saw this film a few days before Christmas some ten years ago. For many reasons, this was something of a watershed holiday season for us. Our children were on the verge of becoming adults and leaving to lead their own lives. This film is one of the things that we shared that season that strengthened our bonds with each other. I'd all but forgotten this detail of that holiday.

Thank you my young friend for bringing the Golden Snitch back into my holidays!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Thank you one and all

I always feel uplifted and a deep sense of gratitude when I share the personal side of my life and you respond with such heartfelt support and love. It has been a difficult week coming to terms in my own way with my Mum's health. Grief takes many forms and what I feel is difficult to explain even to myself.

What I do is retreat to the studio because in the silence of making I find the space in my mind to come to terms with the things I have no control over. I can let go. This week I made boxes out of sheet brass. Each was created with a specific person in mind. Each are reflections of what I feel for them. All people I love. Each a person that has made a difference in my life. Little acts of making ground me to the here and now, and pull me out of the conflict of emotions I feel around my mother's last days.

Mum is doing well. She is comfortable. She has said that she is at peace, that she is ready. We have no idea how long she has. But that she is ready is something that gives me great comfort.

Once again, thank you all for your very kind support and well wishes. It's not all sadness here. While I look at closing one door, I look at the future too. We've got wonderful plans for the holiday, welcoming our newest members into the family and building new traditions on the foundation of our old ones.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Hitting Pause

Hi, I'm taking a little pause from blogging over the next week or so. My mom's most recent test results have come back. Her cancer is advancing quite rapidly and has spread to more distant sites. She's comfortable but having a lot of difficulty with memory and speach. So I'm taking a break while I sort through my thoughts and feelings.

Thanks everyone for all the lovely comments you've left here. I'll be back soon and I'll be catching up with you on your own blogs. I just don't have a lot of words for this blog right now.

De Los Ninos

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Finished! well almost

Remember the little peek from back here?  Well I am almost finished with the batch. Now I am testing out my patience waiting for the resin the porcelain pieces are set in. You know, watching resin cure is even more interesting than watching paint dry. Obviously, I had a little trouble in the patience department because I could not resist making one of the pendants up into a necklace.

Do you see what I see up there? There is one bead that does not match the others. I was sure I had 4 glass beads that matched. I'm leaving it. I'm calling it design perogative. The lesson here is match beads twice, wire wrap once.

This one is going off to someone special. It's not really a surprise so I can show it to you here. I'm pretty fond of this one. In fact I'm pretty fond of this whole idea but I've got a few things that I want to work out yet. Not the least of which is beefing up my patience with resin.

I really like the etched backs on these pendants. It's like a little surprise. I had a ceramics instructor once who insisted that the bottom of a pot should be just as special as the top. He did all of these amazing designs inside the foot ring of his pots. His thinking was that as you are washing up, you should enjoy looking at the bottom of a bowl or plate just as much as you enjoy the top. I think that's a sort of sweet idea.

Happy Weekend!!!!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Coming Home to Roost

This owl bead went out and came back home magically transformed into one of the best bracelets I have ever owned. Bev, over at No Easy Beads made this bracelet using seed beads in ways that are totally amazing. I have no idea how anyone works at this small scale. But I do love it!

I snagged a pic off Bev's etsy site. She's got a some wonderful pieces there that are done in a similar way to my bracelet. All beautiful and I want them all but I'm not greedy. You can have a shot at them.

This one has a focal bead by Pam Wynn, mother of Heather Wynn Millican, ceramic bead caps by Elaine Ray, and a glass disk bead by Blue Seraphim. A stunning composition, I think.

Thanks, Bev, for making my owl find a beautiful home to 'roost' in. I love it!