The gift of simple happiness. Is it that really as simple as that?
Choosing happiness, moment by moment, being grateful for something verses waiting to be happy for everything, is a handy survival tool to have in ones pocket. In the midst of all the things that can go wrong, there is a path to happiness... a light at the end of the tunnel does bring joy, even if it is in the distant future. Choosing to focus on the moment of happiness, and nuturing it to grow, helps it take root. Pulling out the roots of unhappiness is harder to do wouldn't you agree?
Is it harder to accept simple moments of happiness, or pull out the thorns of unhappiness?
Simple happiness for me is reminded myself to:
Appreciate what I have and not focusing on what I don't have, staying true to the basics,
Sharing the abundance, treasuring beauty, being thankful
for my family and friends, prayer, not measuring, being the first to say, "I am sorry."
Being happy is easier if we have health, a roof over our heads, a full stomach, someone to love and be loved, and peace at our doorstep. Though as fortunate as most of us are, we still find room to be unhappy.
What are some of your tips to being happy? Or, Your tips for pulling out the roots of unhappiness?
Waiting to the last minute has been my style when it comes to getting things done.
Of course, I waited until mid June before tackling what is due in August. Waiting to the last minute meant I calculated what had to be done, how much time I thought it would need. Then when that last minute arrived I jumped in. Which in the last fifty-four years has worked for me. But, lately a new twist has cramped my work method... unexpected events have been tossed in, causing last minute to be last seconds, dare I say nanoseconds.
Dang unexpected pressure (!) doubled when my creative self drew a big chunky blank. I flipped out, because this project is 100 percent creative, and my creative went on vacation without notice, nor with a forwarding address.
What do you do to get your creative juices flowing? Where do you find your Mojo? Who or What is your Muse?
Flustered and furious with myself I threw down the drafts that I was working on... and as they fluttered to the floor, one of the drafts landed on the console where an old piece of satin ribbon laid. And BINGO, just like that I felt a creative surge, the project unfolded with a vision from something so simple as a piece of paper falling gracefully on a piece of old satin ribbon.
Isn't life's creative flow like that... one unexpected moment cracks the river stone and roars.
Is the river roaring or sleeping for you these days?
We stumbled upon a shoemaker in Valladolid. Leather, shoe patterns, soles made out of recycled tires, and sandals surrounded him and his family. The shoemaker's wife was the salesperson.
Rows and rows of shoes, mostly sandals, hung from a peg board with a small nail that was inserted in the rubber tire sole.
The family did not stop working while we were there.
The shoe maker's shop is on the main square across from the church.
There are several shoemaker's in Valladolid, the shop Coqui Coqui has chicer sandals, but I found the artisan's shoe shop, his family and the soles made out of the tire rubber appealing. French Husband and I both bought a pair ($15 a pair).
Actually I found the entire town of Valladolid appealing: The people, the town square with the many vendors offering their handmade lace skirts and wares, the restaurants, cenotes, shops, the colonial style buildings, the perfectly peeling facades and doorways.
Vallalodia is in land from Cancun, and about halfway between Merida and Tulum.
When I was in high school I had a pair of shoes like this, I loved them. Before leaving for Mexico I hoped that I would find another pair... fortunately I did in Valladolid. I bought a pair that the natural untreated leather will stain with wear, just like the pair I had in high school. French Husband's pair has a polished tan stain on them... they look classy.
(Remember if you would like to win a necklace to add your name to yesterday's comment section.)
Orange Peel, Seeds, Beads, Pits and Beans.... Necklaces from Mexico.
The orange peel threw me a wow isn't this cool. Artistic, clever, and who would have thought it.
I bought a rosary necklace in red beans.
It was my first purchase of the trip.
Dyed apricot pits and seeds of something...Apple? I can't imagine how one drills a hole in an apple seed.
The owner of the interesting shop, full of old gems, silver and precious stone jewelry and other curious artifacts in located in Tulum's center. Had on two colorful apricot pit necklaces with a brightly colored top. She wore a scarf wrapped around her dark black hair and had a floor length skirt in purple. I teasingly asked her, "Can you dress me up in color?"
She laughed, "Sure, but are you going to like it?"
"Like it yes, wear it that is another thing." I said.
That is when I decided to buy a red bean necklace... a little color to remind me of Mexico.
Dried orange peel, cut into tiny circles worn on a necklace with black seed beads and white beans.
The orange peel is more rose color than orange.
I loved it.
A pair of hand made paper mache angel mask.
An acorn necklace.
Creative style n'est pas?
As I type this blog post today, sitting outside by the sea, I realized that the business card of the shop that I am writing about is back a few steps were we are staying... the sun, the waves, the blue, the time that floats gently by is not helping me to get up and go get it.
As they say in Mexico, "Tomorrow." I will add it.
White bean necklace.
Would you like one? If so tell me if you are a jewelry person or not. Do you prefer gold to silver, diamonds to apricot and bean necklaces? Do you make you own? Wear only heirloom pieces? Or are you like my mother and never wear jewelry, other than rings?
Leave your comment in the comment section today and tomorrow, and I will randomly pick three of you, and send a necklace to you.
If you want one, let me know, they cost about $10 a piece (includes postage) and I'll send you one too.
If Martha Stewart was a bird she certainly would bulid one like the one my Aunt Louie found in her backyard- full of scrap ribbons, pieces of colorful paper, woven with flowers tied with strains of hair.
Martha Stewart honors home making, and obviously the bird who created this nest isn't your ordinary bird... I think she is the Martha Stewart of birds.
Rather than do what is expected, why not celebrate the ordinary with creativity?
Have you ever seen a nest like this before? It mesmerized me: Sure bird's build nest with two wings, a beak, and two tiny feet. But I have never seen a nest like this before, have you?
The ribbons, the addition of flowers and leaves to this nest made me wonder: Who is this bird? And does she see this world differently then her feathered friends?
I could hear the conversation now between her and her mate:
"Honey do we need to weave another dried flower into our nest? Seriously the nester's next door just used twigs and they have hatched five eggs?"
On a sunny day my Aunt Louie found the nest in her backyard, "There were two," she told me, "The other one wasn't as nice as this one."
How I wished she had kept the older one too... Gifts as such are a rare treat.
As I admired the originality of the nest, I couldn't help think of the bird, the avain architect, who created it...a rare bird indeed... or I should say: A bird who flew to the beat of a different drum.
A home... how do you create one?
Egg and nest.
Home and heart.
Where does it begin?
Photo Source: La Belle Brocante. Alwen Rambo's original artwork.
Each Saturday I focus on a different artist that I admire. From potters to painters, chefs to collectors, seamstress to songwriters, lifestyle to lovers... anyone who set the paintbrush, pastry brush, hands and heart on fire to create.
Those who inspire art to flow where it may.
Today I would like to intoduce Belle Brocante, Alwen Rambo, a collector of French ephemera.
Above shadow box: Alwen describes it, "Custom open-front shadow boxes. Reproduction and original vintage imagery. 1800s medicine vials and corkscrews. Finished with turned wooden feet (not shown)."
Alwen describes how she started to collect French ephemera,
"La Belle Brocante was born of carbonation ... sitting in front of a cafe in Anduze, France watching the bubbles rise to the surface of the glasses, watching the world pass by. Musing on the word Quincaillerie, and the fact that it would probably be challenging for English speakers to get their tongues around, though it was the essence of what we wanted to do. A mixture of old treasures, old ruins, snippets of life in the beautiful south."
Alwen describes her shadowbox (above): "10" x 20" stretched canvas. Vintage photographs and paper ephemera. Embellishments: brass finials, dip pen, monopoly car, shell buttons, optometrist lens, clock hand, charlotta doll, French box lid, fossil, human tooth, enamel pocket watch face. A mosaic of thoughts and stories."
I love the way Alwen describes her photos and artwork on her blog,
"Teeny tiny ink bottles to add a little dose of French sweetness to your studio decor." Alwen mixes snippet of poetry, and fact, "Bottles are approximately 2.5" tall and are for decorative purposes only ... after decades of opening and closing and waiting to write that fateful love letter, the ink has dried up in despair."
"My life via a vintage telescope lens." I love how Alwen describes her life as a collector in this quote and photo.
I thought I had the peeling, rusty, chipped, faded, dusty French brocante bug badly... until I discovered Alwen's blog. Alwen makes my collection of bugs look like a hiccup.
Last week when I asked what do you collect I was giggling inside thinking of Alwen and her mass collection of brocante bugs.
I admired too, that my cousin and another reader, who do not know each other, both said they collected their cat's whiskers. I am sure Alwen smiled reading that too.
Collecting what we love, what inspires us to live an artistic life.
Be it objects, or memories, or most likely a collection of those things and thoughts that make a whole.
"The teeny tiny things that accumulate in my studio:
Vials of watch parts. Mourning pins. Wee carnivorous teeth. Clock hands. Gem sized photographs from early photobooths. Small bones. Military buttons from forgotten conflicts.
Bits and pieces of a creative life."
"Beautifully worn handwritten mailing labels. Glued to small wooden boxes that were used to post gold and other valuables, the boxes were then wrapped in twine and secured with wax seals."
Alwen comes to France, in search of those bits and pieces that are often overlooked, she said,
"...Early morning brocante in the Super U parking lot. Bits of magic unceremoniously displayed on rickety tables and blankets laid out on the ground. Old books and piles of engravings. Zinc basins. Enamel clock faces and hand blown wine bottles. Wooden crates of postcards and letters and other ephemera. And at the back, a jumble of handmade lace, knotted and tumbled together. In amongst the larger pieces were cards with lengths of the sweetest lace pinned to them. Fine as cobwebs, and not much more expensive."
and her humor, "Because really, when does pink ever get a mention?"
Found at the brocante, Alwen is someone who knows the affection that the brocante bug gives, she gets the passion, she has the artistic eye that sees the world as beautifully old and worn in perfection,
"An enormous stack of antique documents from Paris and its environs....mostly 1700s....some 1800s....some 1600s....incredible wax seals....hand drawn maps....little attachments stitched on with fine thread....steel pins holding pages together....the most heavenly aroma, that mixture of cedar and tobacco that makes me swoon every time....beautiful watermarks....parchment so fine it is transparent....ragged edges....creases and stains....the foxiest foxing...."
Description of Alwen's shadow box: "Studio Collage. 23" x 47". Antique French botanicals. Ooooold French script. Cabinet card. Wooden Loto markers. Clock faces."
Description of Alwen's Shadow Box:
"Elements being arranged and rearranged, added and subtracted, and moved once again:
Wouldn't Alwen's collections, musings, shadow boxes make a BEAUTIFUL BOOK!!!!!!!!
Description of Alwen's Shadow box:
"6" x 8" wooden box collage. Vintage papers, early French photos, Muybridge imagery, bone/ebony domino, vintage copper upholstery nails."
"I find it more and more difficult to distinguish between art and collecting. Shadow boxes line the walls and the elements within them move fluidly from one to the next, making room for new arrivals, new stories. Things are not fixed in the sense that would traditionally make them become art pieces, but I think they serve much the same purpose. (Perhaps I'm an unrequited interior designer?) With collage I am a little more sure-footed. The building blocks of paper, paint, and charcoal, familiar elements telling new stories. The common thread is the story, the narrative that unfolds through alignment and juxtaposition, heartache and humour."
All text quotations are from Alwen.
The turn of the century music booklet cover says,
"I dreamed of loving you."
Sounds good to me.
My Mother made a Valentine
for my Father every Valentine's Day,
and placed it on his dinner plate.
Besides my Mother's handmade Valentine she would also composed a poem for my Father.... Now you may think how sweet, how tender, how romantic, how loving.... and all that is true. But my Mother's Valentine poetry to my Father had to do with an incident that happened before they were married.
Long long time ago when my Mother was a Mere Babe in the Woods, yet danced a mean jitterbug at the Grange Hall in Bayliss... my Father, a Dashing Guy with A Red Convertible asked my mother to a Valentine dance. My Mother being (and still is) a tease said she already had a date. My Father knowing her teasing ways laughed and said, "Right, you do. So I'll pick you up at eight and don't be late!" He teased her back. My Mother pursed her lips, tilted her head to her shoulder, waved her finger and said, "Don't bother, I'll already be there with my date."
My Father laughed and drove home to milk the cows.
My Father drove up in his red convertable, with a heart shaped box full of chocolates in his hand.
He sat on the couch while waiting for my Mother, and talked to her sister (my Aunt Frannie)... Later he would say, "Gee, Dolores is running late isn't she?" Only to be told, and my Aunt Frannie had to tell him several times cause he didn't believe her, that my Mother was already at the dance with another guy.
Oh that tease!! The Stinker! The Hefer (A favorite nickname that I wish I could hear my Father say to my Mother now...)
As my Father drove off, he tossed the Valentine box of chocolates out of the car.
Later he would say, when he saw the Valentine chocolates from his rear view mirror, be bopping along the pavement he thought to himself, "That was dumb. Those were good chocolates."
Photo Source Brandy.
I remember the homemade Valentine's my Mother made for my Father. The poems she wrote were funny... they told the tale of their Valentine Tango long ago... the tease, the date that wasn't, the tossed chocolates... then she would write how she loved him and hoped he would bring her chocolates....
Which he never did.... That Valentine tease!
After dinner my Mother would take the Valentine and stuff it in her red checked Betty Crocker cookbook.
As a child I liked to look at through the cookbook and see those Valentines.
A few years ago I asked my Mother about them... as I couldn't find them... had she hid them somewhere?
My Mother simply said, "Now that Dad is gone I didn't think they mattered."
Oh they were the only Valentine's that I ever mattered to me....
Teasing, loving, ever true.
Etsy is a treasure trove, a creative sources for inspiration, a wonder for artist and collectors. On Etsy you can buy unique handmade and vintage items directly from independent sellers from around the world.
Here are a few of my favorites for SATURDAY ART SAVES SERIES. Each Saturday I will focus on an artist, collector, cook, shop... that inspires me to be creative.
Click on the link underneath any photo and it will take you to the site of the blog and or source of creativity.
Above photo: Vintage inspired stickers.
Wooden letter form to make your own letter/envelopes.
Kraft paper long labels.
Old bleu toile fabric from France.
1880 French wedding crown wax orange blossoms.
See through lace tape.
Vintage inspired letter tape.
I think I like tape... it must be from all those pacakges I tape up and send from my online brocante.
Cannisters with chalkboard labels.
If you have a favorite or your own ETSY pages/site please list it.
(All photos on this post belong to Baucis & Philémon)
Every Saturday I highlight a creative blog that I admire.
Baucis & Philémon is a blog by Corinne, a French blogger who creates decorative art objects using antique ephemera, and textiles.
Photo above: Corinne made the crown above using a piece of old outdoor zinc house trim.
(Photo by Baucis & Philémon)
Corinne's blog's name is taken from Ovid's fable Metamorphoses.
In the fable of Metamorphoses, two men went into a village begging from one home to the next for food and shelter. Though nobody in the village would open their door to them. Baucis and Philemon were an elderly couple living in a humbled home in the village. When the two men knocked on their door, the elderly couple welcomed them with generous hospitality. The two men were later revealed as the gods Zeus and Hermes.
Corinne "welcomes" old used material, finding inspiration in the forgotten bits and pieces of ephemera that she collects from the brocante. Corinne's gentle artist touch brings them to new life.
In the photo above Corinne transformed nineteen century wallpaper into a paper mache tea cup and saucer.
(Photo by Baucis & Philémon)
Paper mache mushroom using eighteen century letters stand on old pharmacy pill boxes.
(Photo by Baucis & Philémon)
Corinne's handmade lampshades, using antique textiles and engravings are some of my favorite works of hers.
(Photo: a pair of lampshades, by Baucis & Philémon)
Corinne is a perfectionnist, no detail is overlooked.
(Photo by Baucis & Philémon)
I admire the way Corinne marries old fabric and paper into pieces of functional art. Art that settles into a home bringing style and beauty, but doesn't forgo comfort and practicality. I gotta learn that creative yet practical trick.
(Photo by Baucis & Philémon)
Corninne also creates sweet decorative items. Practicality isn't the only goal when it comes to Corinne's artist talent. Such as the delicate little antique lace shoe she created. Though wouldn't it be lovely to use at a wedding as the ring holder? Cinderella winks.
(Photo by Baucis & Philémon)
A creative way to hold ones extra candles.
Corinne has that elegant way of turning everyday items into pretty treasures. Which reminds me of my Mother who takes her laundry soap out of the over sized colorful cardboard box and puts it into "something nice", because she finds it brings charm to the chore. Certainly, adding a charming touch to common packaging creates beauty in the mundane. I would much rather take my candles out of a pretty packet then peel back plastic wrap.
(Photos by Baucis & Philémon)
Baucis & Philémon, Corinne's also takes amazing photographs of brocante items. Bits of history that speak softly of another time. Photos that inspire me, get under my skin and urge me to do something creative.
(Photos by Baucis & Philémon)
Snippets of antique silk made into a quilt.
For more information about where to purchase Corinne's art, and or to follow her blog, click here to view Baucis & Philémon blog translated into English.