Time for Nature

In Maine winters are quite long, cold and often lonely, many people living very isolated lives. When spring comes, nature comes alive and everyone seems to come out of their hibernation. I love flowers and birds and this spring we did some landscaping in our backyard to attract more birds and see more nature. Now we have our own little bird sanctuary and we love it. Having had health issues and some days where I don’t even leave the house, looking outside at these birds and flowers is now a great gift. I love taking photos as some of you already know and these are a few of my most recent ones. I love to watch life unfold right before my eyes. Birds go in waves, they have what I call rush hour, where they are at all the feeders at once and then there are times when no one is around…it’s too warm or dark outside or not time to eat. Hummingbirds love the in between times when no other birds are around, mostly as a safety issue. They also generate a lot of energy while they fly or drink nectar. It seems our garden is a place of rest of them. A month ago Zippo, one of our hummingbirds who comes back every spring was resting every evening at dusk on a bush by the house and we could tell he was mostly resting/sleeping. We have also a whole family of bluebirds, mom dad and their 4 children, who first started in one of our birdhouses and they are always visiting on a daily basis.

Of Course watching birds and flowers hasn’t been my only occupation. I learn a lot from nature. Sometimes I really want to see my birds and they just seem like they vanished at that time. I have to learn that creativity and inspiration just work the same, you can’t make it happen. You have to wait for the right time. The same happens with my jewelry…inspiration comes in waves like the birds. I have made many new necklaces and earrings in these past few months. My Etsy shop has been quite busy. I’ve had 171 sales since Jan 1, 2018.

Last but not least, our daughter has two small children whom we adore and try to spend as much time as possible with them.

Hope you are all enjoying a wonderful restful summer

 

The All New Me

Since I last wrote My Favorite Blue Piecean article on my blog, a lot has happened to me physically. In April 19 this year I had a Stroke (Acute Arterial Ischemic Stroke, Vertebrobasilar, Thalamic) and have some annoying numbness in my left hand and mouth as a result. Of course I was hoping to recover feeling in my dominant hand but it didn’t happen yet. I am still praying every day for that miracle to take place. Apparently I was blessed that this is the only problem I have since fatalities are common when someone suffers such a stroke. My whole world was shaken with this unfortunate event which happened coincidently the same day my youngest sister Agnes attempted suicide. We are all grateful she survived this ordeal after two weeks in a coma and is basically healthy and getting better, as I am. What brought on the stroke was inactivity from my broken foot that took 6 long months to heal. I don’t want to be ranting about how difficult life is, but want to let you know why I have been so quiet. Life has been quite overwhelming with MRI’s and many doctors and chiropractor appointments which didn’t help much.

In July I started having horrible Migraine Headaches which actually are still present I am sorry to say. They were triggered by the stroke. Any kind of stress triggers them. I have a hard time tolerating any medicine that is not natural, so all the medications for headaches gave me terrible side effects and I had to stop. One wonderful woman told me about Medical Marijuana (or Cannabis) which is about to be legal here in Maine where I live. Honestly I wasn’t thinking that would even be an option for me. When I heard that there are Cannabis Tinctures that are not dope but actually used for pain for people with autoimmune diseases, cancer and other sicknesses, the light went on. I have been using this for now maybe a couple months and the greatest thing is that it helps my sleep as well.  So I am slowly getting my life back.

Hand Knotting a Blue Pearl Necklace

In spite of all these intense hurdles, I never closed my Etsy Store. I continue to make new designs and love what I do. Most of my fingers are numb on my left hand but I still can feel them, so I am able to wire wrap and solder and do most of everything I like to make… but with more effort and sometime frustration though!

I bought some gorgeous High Quality Freshwater Pearls from my two favorite suppliers in the Greater Boston area a few months ago. I made for the holidays a lot of new Single Pearl, Double and 3 Strand Pearl Necklaces and Pearl Earrings with these amazing pearls. I have also removed from my store the custom orders because that takes too much of my time and brings on stress. I love what I do and put all of myself in it. I am happy to say that all my efforts haven’t been in vain and this past month of November was my best month ever in my almost 7 years on Etsy.

Please take a look at my New Designs if you get a chance,

Happy Holidays to you and a Merry Christmas

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Back on My Feet…Almost!

 The Boot
The Boot

Here I am  again after a long absence. A long series of physical issues and overall exhaustion have kept me from blogging. I’ve had my foot in a boot more or less for 4 months now. The ER misdiagnosed a sprain. I had extreme swelling, extreme pain etc. Eventually MRI showed that my foot was badly broken and on top where the healing takes the longest. The Prognosis on Nov 17 was 3 more months in the boot. I am coming to the end of what feels like a prison sentence. I love to walk and haven’t done that since September 26. The good thing is that I have been getting around a bit because it is my left foot and I can drive. Snow and ice in Maine haven’t helped but it has actually been a mild winter for here. CT Scan in a few days will hopefully show that the bones have fused together and the boot will come off.

In spite of everything I haven’t stopped doing and selling jewelry these past few months. God has been good to me and taught me to relax. I prayed for patience and will never pray for it again!!!!! Since Sept 26 when I fell I  was able to fulfill 67 jewelry orders which seems like a lot but has been done at a slow pace and in peace – something I couldn’t do before.  I have learned patience and perseverance through this trial. I have also learned to really appreciate my kind, loving and caring husband who has been just amazing through it all. I am eternally grateful for him. He is also an artist so we do have flexible schedules and that really has helped this healing process.

I just want to also let you know that there is a 25% off sale in my shop. This is a good time to get Valentine’s, Anniversary or Birthday gifts.

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Artistic Origins

I received the most praise growing up for the way I painted, that was my gift! I had found something that would get my parents attention. Being one of 8 children It was hard to get your parents attention. My mother grew up surrounded by the art world. Her parents were antique dealers in Cannes, France and had a good reputation in their field. They were both self-taught and learned everything from books. My grandmother was an avid reader and learner and that is something I definitely inherited from her.

I wasn’t a good student in school. I had a terrible time memorizing things, my mind was always wandering and trying to figure things out…I couldn’t concentrate…it still is hard for me! When I met my husband, he loved to read, which was a difficult thing for me, but eventually I got into it. In my early 20’s I started reading books that I missed reading when I was a child. For example I read every one of Jules Verne’s books. The only books I would read before that were books about Prisons and War. I believe I was so hurt inside and so isolated, I just identified with these people’s pain. My husband on the other end would read submarine books. He did that for years…now he still reads a lot about boats, but they don’t have to be submarines. I believe it had to do with all the bottled up feelings he kept inside as well. What a pair! Eventually when I found the Lord, I got really hungry to learn all I could about Him and I just couldn’t get enough. Now my house is filled with books just like my grandmother’s house. This is part of my inheritance!

Family Outing with my siblings and Dad. I am 2nd left.
Family Outing with my siblings and Dad. I am 2nd left.

So when I grew up, I was surrounded with antiques and the art world was just a really big part of my life. It was kind of hard to stay in the present moment as we were surrounded with old things and always talking about them. They were like live idols living among us. They definitely took a lot of time and space. I wasn’t that interested in them. My Mom was an amazing artist, she had gone to the French Art School “Les Beaux Arts”. She was catholic and found the Lord painting Icons like Greek and Russian Icons in her later years after my dad died. It was her way to communicate with God. In my family it was an honor to be an artist. So I went to art school and found great relief in expressing myself through drawing, painting, pottery and such, but mostly through color. I couldn’t express myself in words but color was my tool. When I was 12, we had an art class at school and I had a couple of assignments to do at home. I did two paintings one of “Guignol” a famous French puppet that we had at the house and one of a clown. When I turned in the paintings to the teacher, she didn’t believe I had done them myself and I was rebuked and got a bad grade for it. I didn’t have parents who would have defended me for such a small matter…so I thought and I didn’t say anything at home. I was totally devastated. How could she have done that? I resented that teacher for the rest of the year. This is how I dealt with resentments: don’t tell anyone and let them fester forever! It didn’t work! Fear ran my life and left me paralyzed, with no hope for help. If my parents didn’t think it was important, then it wasn’t! The other side of this story is that if my teacher really wouldn’t believe I had done the paintings, then it must have been pretty good and it really was a compliment, but I couldn’t see it that way.

smoking a cigaret in a tobacco field near Paris
smoking a cigaret in a tobacco field near Paris

Since I could hold a pencil or a brush, I loved drawing or painting. I painted the garden, the house, little fantasy outside scenes etc…it was also something that Mom and Dad approved of, so it led me to do more. After barely finishing high school, I entered Art School while still living at home and these were some of my most exciting years. I became a teacher in a center for children from 4 to 12 and they all called me Mom, which made me feel good. I taught them to do hand-built pottery and painting. I got really attached to them as they loved me unconditionally and filled some of the void inside of me. I graduated from that school with honors having learned all kinds of crafts – my favorite ones being pottery and painting. When school was over I moved to Biot, a little village in the South of France where I worked hard for a silversmith. Denis was Iranian and a fun guy who had a problem with lust but never laid a finger on me, he jokingly called me his slave…I made pennies while he often went sailing on the Mediterranean Sea. I was the only apprentice there. He taught me the craft and was a very good and patient teacher. I was a good worker, very productive and learned the craft fast. At the time I was 21 and had left home with the idea of never going back there to live. I wanted my freedom and I did get that! I shared a little apartment with my oldest sister Jacqueline. I was still under the authority of my older siblings but we were all in rebellion so we rebelled together. My oldest sister who was always difficult with us when Mom and Dad would go away and leave us with her, changed drastically in Biot. One day she brought home maybe 20 or 25 hippies who had no place to spend the night. Our apartment was very small, just a studio, and we had people all over our floor…they slept there. We never did drugs in those days and I believe our Mom’s prayers had a lot to do with it. In the beginning of my second year in Biot, I met my husband David. We lived together for 5 years in the south of France, Italy and then Paris. We had the moving bug and never settled any place for very long. Then we thought we would go to the USA and see if he could sell his artwork. We thought we were leaving for 2 months but we never returned to Europe to live. We have now been in the USA for 38 years!

My sister who lived with me then, worked for a talented artist who did exquisite Leather work. My brother who lived in the same town had his own business restoring very intricate antique French furniture, his specialty being Louis XIV Brass and Tortoise Shell inlaid wood work. I worked for him for some time too. So we continued the family legacy.

Now I am back to working with Sterling Silver and using every bit of advice I learned from Denis, my teacher who died a few years back. I still absolutely love creating jewelry and am so grateful I can do something I love and have people wear it. My next phase in jewelry starting very soon is to include soldering and extend my creating possibilities. It will open a new perspective and I am looking forward to seeing what comes of it.

What is the hobby or activity that helps you tap into the creativity God has given you?

From Pain to an Amazing Pearl

Oyster and Pearl by Kelly Bermudez
Oyster and Pearl by Kelly Bermudez

Visual Devotion: From Pain to Pearl

Kelly Bermudez is an artist I just discovered recently and I absolutely love her work. Here is an example of her work and just the heart behind it.

I have written before about the pearl and the oyster shell as I have always been fascinated by this process. I have been that grain of sand time and time again and it seems the beautiful pearl is a long way off but I’m in the process. So many things have irritated that grain of sand… and these are the things that have formed my character best! I love how the oyster coats that grain of sand with that precious substance to protect itself from irritation.

To protect ourselves, we do similar things:

  • We numb ourselves with food, drugs, drink etc.
  • We build a wall around us
  • We get angry at people
  • We do the blame game
  • We avoid people and isolate because people hurt us!
  • We do anything except accept the irritation and let that turn into a beautiful pearl

I don’t know about you, but this is the way my defense mechanism goes into action. Believe me I haven’t always been able to turn the pain off…I had instances (and that is what saved me) where all I could do is surrender and let God do His work in me. There are days when I thought the pain would kill me! I feel in my heart like I am about to enter a similar process again soon.

What do you do when Pain knocks at the door of your Heart?