Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Yes, I am working on Christmas Eve, finishing up some last minute details on a big job that needs a little pre-Christmas attention. I will take half the day off (at some point) so I can head home to wrap my boys gifts (they go crazy with anticipation if I put too many presents under the Christmas tree too far in advance), make some homemade clam chowder and then get ready to go to church tonight and watch my children participate in our church's annual Christmas production. For my family, Christmas is this:

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the
government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called
Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bold Costume Jewelry, Sonia Boyajian, Calder and The Fresno Bee

What do all of these things have in common? Let me explain: Every morning I get up extra early so I can have a cup of coffee and read the morning paper with my husband before my kids wake up and before I have to haul myself off to work. I am usually an 'online girl' when it comes to getting my news, but I still get the paper delivered to my house because there is just something relaxing about sitting in my cozy chair, wearing my comfy robe, sipping my coffee and holding the edges of the newspaper as I comb each page for pertinent trend info. This morning on the front page of the Life Section was an article called Bringing back big, sparkly, bold and sassy. Being a jewelry designer by night, I was intrigued. It was about the return of fabulous costume jewelry, and it spotlighted a young jewelry designer named Sonia Boyajian who has created and worn her own line of jewelry since 2001. The story goes on to talk about Sonia's upcoming wedding to songwriter Alexander Rousmaniere, who is the grandson of New York art dealer Klaus Peris, who launched sculptor Alexander Calder's career. Seems Boyajian is also a lifelong fan of Calder (who I just blogged about!) and has been inspired by his inventive jewelry and mobiles. Her bold use of wire is often sculptural, balancing beads and chunky crystals with feathers and exotic elements.Boyajian designed Scarlett Johansson's 3-carat diamond engagement ring (!) and her pieces can be found in some of the most trendsetting boutiques in the world. Hopefully at this point my story title is making sense.Bottom line: Make a statement with a bold piece of costume jewelry. Wearing a fabulous accessory can make last year's outfit look right on trend!

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Jewelry of Calder

Ever since I studied art back in college I have loved the work of artist Alexander Calder. He revolutionized the art of sculpture by expressing movement with his invention of the “mobile,” a word coined in 1931 by Marcel Duchamp to describe Calder’s kinetic, and often whimsical, sculpture.And it was his mobiles that I found most intriguing.....until I discovered his jewelry about a year ago. I don't recall studying Calder's jewelry in college. Maybe I did but it didn't impact me at the time because I wasn't into jewelry making like I am now. Some 90 of the 1,800 pieces of jewelry he made over the course of his career are being given their own exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum — the first museum show to focus on Calder’s jewelry. His use of the spiral - a favorite image of mine - is a repeated theme in his jewelry. His bracelets, earrings and necklaces were mini-mobiles that dangled from the wrists, ears and necks of sophisticates like Peggy Guggenheim and Jeanne Moreau.The works in “Calder Jewelry” are made of wire,brass and steel, with bits of ceramic, wood and glass. All are unique objets d’art; Calder had many opportunities to sign off on reproductions, and always refused (much to his dealers’ chagrin). Read this and take a look at his wearable art:

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Peace for Christmas

Peace..........What a great word. What a great concept. It is often elusive. Peace, or at least the symbol for it, is fast becoming a Christmas icon. As the peace sign continues to celebrate it's 50-year anniversary, it winds down the 2008 year with a Christmas bang. Here are some favorites:

Peace ornaments from Alisa Burke, who makes the coolest stuff out of painted canvas. I just saw them on her blog and went straight to her Etsy site to purchase them but they were sold out! Alisa, make some more pleeeaase! Then I found these fabulous Love Dove cookies from Eleni's. Mmm. I am feeling the love and the peace.
Barney's New York holiday windows features this 'Have A Hippy Holiday' peace and love display. Isn't this fun? And so very PEACEful.

Sundance catalog gives peace a chance this holiday season with peace ornaments. It's a trendy was to commemorate the peace symbol's anniversary.

These symbols of peace are sending a pop culture message. Everyone is looking for peace in a time of uncertainty and change, especially during the Christmas season. Eat a Peace cookie. Hang a PEACE ornament. Think peaceful thoughts. Here is my list of how to be at peace this holiday season:

  • Be a courteous and peaceful driver, especially around the mall or during rush hour traffic. It's just as easy to give a friendly wave to someone to go in front of you as it is to shake your fist at them as they try to cut you off. Think: Peace on earth, good will toward men.
  • Don't buy into all the Christmas commercialism - it's so UNpeaceful! Make new family traditions instead. We like to walk Christmas Tree Lane. What are some of your favorites?
  • Focus on the reason for the season. It's not about getting. It's about giving. Give of your time if your resources are limited - maybe that means bringing cookies or a dinner to a needy neighbor.
  • Focus on all you do have. At Thanksgiving and Christmas we make it a habit to say at least one thing we are thankful for before we feast on our holiday dinner.
  • Have a family craft night and make your own PEACE ornaments. It's a fun way to bring a little peace to your home, and you can decorate your tree at the same time.

Thanksgiving in Pacific Grove

Let me share with you how I spent my Thanksgiving vacation.......My family and I spent a wonderful three days in Pacific Grove on the Monterey Peninsula. My sister, Stevie, and her family live there and invited us to come join them. This is the first time I have ever spent Thanksgiving with my oldest sister at the coast. Not one to miss out on a party, my other sister, Sandi, came from Las Vegas to spend the holiday with us. We all had so much fun! My niece, Kate, and her husband Steve, have a beautiful home that they opened up for everyone to enjoy as they hosted our yummy Thanksgiving dinner. There were over 25 of us!

The next day, Friday, we got up early and drove around the coastline of the peninsula taking in the beautiful view of the ocean waves. It is really breathtaking! We only live about three hours away in Fresno and I wonder why we don't just come over to the coast more often. There is nothing more humbling than a long look at the ocean.........
Next we headed to one of our favorite places to eat breakfast, First Awakenings, on Ocean View Blvd. If you go to Pacific Grove you really have to eat here. It's so delish! After a hearty breakfast we headed back up to Lighthouse street. It is such a quaint street with its Victorian buildings and its lampposts adorned with Christmas wreaths. I have visited this coastal town a million times since I was a little girl and I never get tired of it. I love it here! We walked around and did a little shopping. And then we found a totally funky little artsy store called Tessuti Zoo on Forest Street just off of Lighthouse. I recognized the whimsical hand sewn fish dangling in the store window from ten years earlier when I had purchased a pair of them to hang from the ceiling in my soon-to-be-born baby's nursery. Owner Emily Owens sews these whimsical creations and offers them - and about a zillion other crazy and colorful items - in her store. OH MY GOSH! Talk about eye candy for the artsy girl! I introduced myself to Ms. Owens and told her what a fan I was and may I please take some pictures for my blog??? She was so kind, and Yes, yes, you may, of course!

We found some treasures we just had to have! And look how fun our bags are........we even got delicious suckers on long sticks stashed in our bag of goodies. Of course my boys stole mine right out of my bag! That night we went out to dinner down on Cannery Row. It wasn't that crowded for a Friday night - probably a combination of a struggling economy and happy relatives eating leftover turkey sandwiches for dinner. After dinner we headed back to Kate and Steve's where we all stayed up late playing games - the kids played Guitar Hero downstairs while the adults played a word game called Taboo. You learn a lot about a person from the word clues they give! We had a blast! It was after one in the morning when we got back to our hotel room. Saturday was our last day..........After saying our goodbyes to our dear family members we headed down to the surf once more. We walked around on the sand and climbed rocks amid the roar of large waves. We saw jellyfish washed up on shore, a poor dead seal and bunch of hermit crabs scurrying underwater as the tide carried them out. We headed home to Fresno a happier, more rested family with many, many Thanksgiving memories!


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