Hey there, Sparklefans!
There are some exciting new things happening in the studio these days! I'm relaunching this little blog, for starters, in hopes of sharing some of what I've learned through and about my work, and giving you a closer look at what goes into the pieces I create.
Stay tuned for information about stones and crystals, symbolism, color healing, chakra work, vegan food, cocktail recipes and maybe an occasional beadwork lesson.
For right now though, I want to talk about Love.
You see, it's February.
And I'm realizing more and more that as much as I love a cozy Christmas, and as much as my inner goth-kid loves Halloween, my actual, absolute favorite holiday is Valentine's Day.
Lame, right? Hear me out.
Valentine's gets a bad rap for being a “Hallmark Holiday” - Manufactured, tacky and exclusionary. And I can see how it's earned that. BUT.
The way I see it, everything, every day, is exactly what we make of it, and Valentine's is no exception. I like to take full advantage of a whole day just to focus on and really celebrate Love in all its forms. Even self-love. Heck...ESPECIALLY self-love.
The Captain is a giant gushy romantic, and that's awesome, but my love affair with Valentine's Day goes back to before he came along. Single me would spend the day stockpiling and prepping my favorite treats (Good chocolate, red wine or champagne, take out thai food, a luxe bath bomb, deep conditioner or face mask), tidying up The Cottage, wearing something comfy & pretty, and watching a romantic movie. (I never get tired of Breakfast at Tiffany's or Four Weddings and a Funeral)
History and past heartbreaks aside, why not flip the script?
Single? Instead of raging against love and reveling in Anti-Valentine's rage (Who's against love, I mean really?), why not treat yourself to your favorite self-care ritual, or meditate on being a loving presence in the world. Do something sweet for yourself, a loved one, or a total stranger.
Coupled? Skip the stress and the crowds, and celebrate each other in small ways. Every year, the Captain and I cook a romantic meal together and open a bottle of something lovely. If we do gifts, they're small, frugal, and either deeply meaningful or completely ridiculous. (Although he insists on sending me flowers....which I can't say I mind completely.)
There's no reason you can't assign a deeper meaning to the day, and skip all the foil hearts and expensive, high-pressure expectations!
My personal celebration seems to take up more and more of February every year.... the cottage gets decked out only slightly less than it does for Christmas, and both the work I do and my view of the world becomes laser-focused on creating and perpetuating loving energy, for myself, for those around me, and for the world as a whole.
On that note, this month I've been up to my neck in Rose Quartz – the ultimate love stone!
(Shown here alongside a rhodochrosite cabochon and a tiny rectangular piece of pink peruvian opal... we'll talk about those another time)
Rose Quartz is a stone of Universal Love, and love in all its forms. It can help to dispel negativity, promote gentleness and tolerance, and bring loving energy into any space. It is calming, protective and reassuring, which makes it an excellent stone for children, or anyone with a tendency to be anxious or emotionally erratic.
Rose Quartz is an excellent stone to help promote self-love, self-forgiveness and self-worth. Is the voice in your head being mean to you again? Help tune it out with rose quartz earrings, and listen to something kinder and more loving.
It is an excellent stone to give to someone you love (including yourself!), or to help bring love and loving energy into your life.
(Waiter, I'll have a plate of love, with a side of love, and a little extra love sauce, please!)
Lately, I've been working with it in meditation, either physically or figuratively.... I just sat in a guided meditation last week, in which we were each given a gift... mine was a beautiful rose quartz egg, which I realized later that I already owned! That piece sits on the shelf above my workbench now, to remind me that love (specifically self-love) is the egg from which everything else hatches in its time.
I'm also finding that aside from the obvious heart chakra work for which it is obviously well-suited, it's also helpful for bringing loving energy into every other energy point. Want to speak more lovingly to yourself and others? Rest a tumbled stone on your throat chakra and meditate on creating gentleness in your voice.
It's a wonderful stone-friend to have around, and just happens to also be remarkably affordable...I picked up the huge chunk I keep on my coffee table for about $20 at the Renaissance Faire, and tumbled pocket stones can be easily found online or in metaphysical shops for just a few dollars.
Before I go, I have one more treat for you... we discovered this simple cocktail last year around Valentine's Day, and have fallen absolutely in love with it! Champagne, flowers and berries.... it has romance written all over it, and can easily be made for one or two... or more!
(Adapted from www.justputzing.com)
For each cocktail, add to a shaker with ice:
½ oz Gin (we like Hendricks)
¼ oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
¼ oz Chambord
¼ oz Peach Schnapps
Shake and strain into the appropriate number of champagne flutes, top up each glass with Prosecco and garnish with two or three fresh raspberries.
Don't forget to check out our Etsy shop for the newest collection of rose quartz pieces and other Valentine treats!
So, remember back in March, when I showed you the contents of the Box of Awesome that Cece Cormier, The Beading Yogini, sent me? I've been waiting ever since to show you what happened with those beads!
I *literally* cranked out a couple of sparkly bits the day it all arrived... Cece's own handmade lampwork was too much to resist! I put the glass together with findings and bead caps from the soup, and one of the gorgeous focals she sent....a lovely terra-cotta feather by Birgitta Lejonklou. (AngelWhisperer on Etsy). I'm definitely going to be adding more of her ceramic pieces to my work!
These two beauties are not only remaining in my personal collection, they've been worn almost daily since I made them!
I felt like I really needed to create at least one smashing statement necklace, and I wanted to step away from my usual vocabulary and play with some of the textiles my partner had included in my package...
Believe it or not, everything in that necklace except for the little blue sea star beads came out of my soup!
But wait.... there's MORE.
With some of the bits and bobs and oddments, I put together a few pair of earrings. The dragonfly wings captivated me, and I think that I'll be restocking them when I finally run out!
There are still some amazing pieces left for me to play with (two huge chinese lock pendants...perfect for my other life as a tribal belly dancer!).... this really was the the gift that kept on giving.
Thanks again Cece!
You should definitely pop over to The Beading Yogini and have a look at what Cece did with the soup I sent her...I'm blown away!
Want to see more? You can find a complete list of participants here: http://www.prettythingsblog.com/2014/05/welcome-to-8th-bead-soup-blog-party.html
Has it REALLY been since January that we've visited? My bad... it's been a madhouse around here. The single biggest show of my career to date is creeping up on me, and I've been in nose-down production mode since the beginning of the year. So much to do!
In the interest of keeping myself from going cross-eyed, and in hope of stirring up the creative pot, I took a little break and signed up for the Bead Soup Blog Hop....a bead swap with a built-in challenge. I heard about it for the first time ON sign-up day, and had to make a quick decision! My word for the year is "Embrace", so in that spirit, I embraced the synchronicity of the whole thing, and went for it!
My soup arrived over the weekend, and I haven't been able to keep my hands out of it!
All I can say about it is: Above and Beyond! I couldn't believe the treasures that kept coming out of that box, one after the other....
Lots of silver bits & bobs, including a collection of tiny Hamsa hands, eye charms, hearts and a world-tree....
And the focals. OH the focals! Not to mention mixes of blue , turquoise and purple accent beads, with a healthy dash of my swap partner's own lampwork!
My super-generous partner in all of this madness is the talented Cece of The Beading Yogini, who does incredibly gorgeous micro-macrame work. You should definitely pop over and have a look at her lovely pieces!
Reveal Day for finished pieces from this swap is May 3...the suspense is killing me!
Living la vie Boheme, on an endless quest to adorn the world.