Saturday, February 28, 2009
Friday, February 27, 2009
A gift from the Bard to all of us, from Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice.
PORTIA: The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy...
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Our poor hummingbirds:
I know this is nothing compared to what many parts of the country receive (I grew up near Buffalo), but it's been a lot of cold this year for Seattle.
But I know spring is coming. Just a couple of days ago I was walking at Discovery Park and the place smelled like the inside of a greenhouse, all wet and warm and green. And, it's only about 1 month until the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.
So today, in anticipation and for inspiration, I spent some time with tulips.
Like this:And this:
Sunday, February 22, 2009
You can see from this photo that the central core of Seattle is not at Alki Beach. If you look closely, you will see the Space Needle peeking out from behind Duwamish Head, the land that is curving out on the right side of the photo. It turns out that the original party spent only 4 months living at Alki Beach before they decided to move across the bay to the area we now know as Pioneer Square in downtown Seattle.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
The title of this post is directly taken from a chapter in J Kingston Pierce's book, "Eccentric Seattle", one of the books I've enjoyed recently. He is referring to German immigrant Dorothea Georgine Emilie Ohben, known in Seattle as Lou Graham. From all I have read, Seattle was a pretty crazy place, well into the 1930's at least, a real frontier town, with all that you might expect from a frontier town. When Lou arrived in 1889, it was shortly after a series of reforms had (temporarily) closed all the gambing joints and various vice dens and the city was hurting, since vices paid for much of Seattle's revenue at the time. Lou set up shop in downtown Seattle, at the edge of the then red-light district and soon business was booming. Her business was regarded (at least by some) as a class act, a place for intelligent conversation, and a fine place to meet if you were a representative of Seattle city government (drinks were free to them). Lou paid the city large sums in taxes and fees. She also helped out some prominent Seattle citizens by making loans to them during the terrible country-wide economic depression that began in 1893.
A couple of tidbits about Lou: 1) Pierce notes that she loved jewelry and particularly loved diamonds. She even had a pair of gold garters in which diamonds were embedded. 2) As necessary, her girls described their occupation as "seamstress". The sparkly button bracelet shown above came from reflecting on these two tidbits.
Obviously I don't condone the activities in which Lou was engaged, but I find it interesting to think about her contributions to the growth of Seattle, and I wonder about her as a person and how and why she ended up where she did, doing what she did. By the way, Lou's original establishment still stands in downtown Seattle - it is now the Washington Court Building.
And the hills the greenest green, in Seattle.
Like a beautiful child growing up free and wild,
Full of hopes and full of fears,
Full of laughter full of tears,
Full of dreams to last the years in Seattle, in Seattle.
Recognize that song? It is the theme song to the TV series "Here Come the Brides" that ran from 1968 to 1970 on ABC. The series was based on a piece of Seattle history: Asa Mercer's efforts to secure brides in the east for eligible Seattle bachelors. According to J Kingston Pierce's book, "Eccentric Seattle", the original party of white settlers arriving in Seattle in 1851 were evenly divided between men and women but after about 10 years, as the number increased to 200 or so, men outnumbered women about 9:1. Asa set out to solve Seattle's "woman problem". It turns out it was not an easy task to convince unmarried women to leave their homes and make the journey to the Pacific Northwest. Asa's first trip to the east resulted in 11 women returning to Seattle with him and his second trip, right at the time of Lincoln's assassination, resulted in 34 new recruits (he had planned for 500). These are "the Mercer Girls", upon whom the TV series was based.
Creativity is a funny thing. It's the first line of the song above that gave me the inspiration for this bracelet:
The song got me reflecting on whether or not the bluest skies really are in Seattle. I'm betting there are lots of places with amazing skies, but what I do know is that after weeks and weeks of rain, when the sun comes out, the sky does look pretty blue! (Check out the photo in the previous post...) It's all relative, I guess.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
One of the most gratifying aspects of working with old glass is its capacity to reflect and enhance light. Some pieces can look like they have their own internal light source.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
These were made in France, likely 1940's. They are a glorious rich ivory, in perfect condition on their cards. A great find. They pair beautifully with antiqued brass, vintage rhinestone buttons and 1940's Japanese glass pearls, as below:
Friday, February 13, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
I crocheted this scarf with Noro's Kureyon sock yarn, very simple single and double crochet pattern and to me it looks just like Discovery Park in the fall (I'll post more about Discovery Park later, it is one of Seattle's jewels and I get a lot of inspiration there). I love the fringe, alternating shades of dangling green vintage Japanese crystal beads. Perfect for cold, wet, grey, cold, did I say cold? days - they wink and sparkle like mad. Just like little pine trees, only shiny. I feel warmer just to see them.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Monday, February 2, 2009
In Seattle every February, just when you think you can't take the grey/green/wet chill a second longer, a wonderful thing happens. The sun comes out. Always in February, it seems there are a few days that are pure treasures, when the sky is blue, the air is a bit milder, the buds that have been only potential become something more. If we are really lucky, this will happen during a full moon, and then the evening is just as spectacular as the day. The twilight slowly deepening and the moon rising, during the depths of our February winters, were the inspiration for the mira la luna jewelry I made from the vintage glass rings I love so much.
My husband gets the credit for naming these pieces. Mira la luna. So soft, so roundly romantic. Just makes you want to take a breath, relax, and do a bit of moon watching.
February moon cycles for Seattle Metro can be found here.
For a wonderful Seattle moon picture, go here.
Sunday, February 1, 2009
There already are some pieces in the shop made with the lovely green and blue rings shown below. My "mira la luna" jewelry is made using large and small pale blue rings, which came from Japan in the 1930's. My daughter Emma says that the luna bracelet makes her feel happy just to look at it.
My best information on the green glass is Czech in origin, 1960's in vintage. It's a very light, lime-y green and works really well when designing for spring. The other thing about glass rings is that while they look fragile, they are strong, and they are incredibly light, so they are a dream to wear. The tulip bracelet is available in my Etsy shop.
These cobalt blue (below) are very special and are my most recent purchase. They were made in the mid to late 1800's in Europe, likely Germany. These are the most exquisite creations, as I hope these photos show. You can see the hand of the artisan in each one through the bubbles and the roughness of the circle join, as well as the unevenness in size and width. Look for jewelry from these beads in the shop soon.