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Category Archives: Interesting

I have been amazed to see the season of Mardi Gras (translation: Fat Tuesday) extend to the rest of the country. I was looking at a major women’s fashion magazine recently and it featured suggestions on how to celebrate the Superbowl, Valentines Day, and Mardi Gras this year. It seems everyone wants a taste of that King Cake.

The traditional colors of Mardi Gras include purple, green, and gold. The purple does NOT represent royalty like amethyst but is symbolic of justice. The other colors of the Mardi Gras season, are green which represents faith and gold, which is symbolic of power.

The accepted story behind the colors is that in 1872, when the Grand Duke Alexis Romanoff of Russia visited New Orleans, he was he was given the honor of selecting the official Mardi Gras colors by the Krewe of Rex. These colors influenced the color choices of two major Louisiana colleges. LSU choosing purple and gold and Tulane choosing green and white.

So, in honor of this Mardi Gras season, I chose these jewelry designs in those colors.

Purple glass, craft wire earrings

Purple glass, craft wire earrings

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Purple glass, craft wire earrings

Green rice pearls, prayer box,

Green glass and craft wire earrings

Green glass and craft wire earrings

Rutilated quartz, pearls, gold-filled bracelet

Rutilated quartz, pearl, ribbon necklace

Rutilated quartz, gold pearls, and ribbon necklace

I recently began taking yoga classes. Yoga was always something I thought I could not do. The most obvious reason…I am so inflexible. When it comes to being able to bend over and touch my toes, it takes effort  just to get to my knee area. So therefore, I thought, yoga was not for me. Well, I am still not as nimble and strong as many of my peers in class but I am becoming more flexible and stronger with each class I attend. Yoga is teaching me many other things as well. For example, how to focus on breathing and to silence my mind (at least for an hour or so). It is helping with my posture and balance and reminds me to keep balance in other parts of my life as well.

One of the aspects of yoga that I am learning is the Chakras, or energy sources in the body. There are seven main Chakras but I have read there are actually 114. They are root, sacral, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye or brow, and crown and are associated with areas of the body. Many forms of healing work with these energy centers and disturbances in a chakra’s flow of the energy can result in disturbances in a person’s health, emotions, mind, spirit, or life.

There are colors associated with the main chakras, red for root, orange for sacral, yellow for solar plexus, green for heart, light blue for throat, indigo for third eye, and white or violet for crown.

To keep me mindful in my yoga practice…both on and off my mat, I designed a few Chakra necklaces and bracelet. I chose various stones/beads to represent the Chakra colors. Garnet for red/root, carnelian for orange/sacral, citrine for yellow/solar plexus, chrysoprase for green/heart, turquoise for blue/throat, sodalite for indigo/third eye and violet/amethyst for crown. The last one pictured is a handstamped necklace I made for one of my yoga instructors, B, because he is such a patient teacher.

I have a wonderful friend who is a collector of vintage pretties. Luckily for me, on more than one occasion, she has shared some of her stock. Yesterday, when I got home, she had left me a goodie box. In it were the following: a slim brass-colored metal box with small floral design – possibly a lipstick case; a coin-style charm bracelet with missing clasp (not sure exactly what is written on the coins – I will have to do some further investigation with a magnifying glass); a funky necklace with a mishmash of beads – kind of whimsical but mostly just ugly; a watch with a white beaded and leather band; a blue bead in the shape of a large strawberry with holes in the bottom (hum?); a gold metal dragon pendant; two vintage clip earrings – not a pair, just a single of each; a goldstone pendant; a cat wearing a rhinestone crown brooch.

Well, needless to say, I immediately got to work taking the necklace apart and there were some really nice components in it that I was able to turn into a pair of earrings with an ethnic flair. I can’t wait to incorporate the other “goodies” into various jewelry designs.

The box was repurposed from Philosophy Cosmetics Amazing Grace line and my boyfriend requested it because he loved the inspirational messages on the cover.

Any suggestions on what the metal case was used for or why the blue bead has holes at the bottom would be appreciated.

Salvaged Earrings

If you took a poll of any student at Louisiana State University, most would think that it was always located in the capital city of Baton Rouge. But they would be wrong.

It was originally built in central Louisiana, in what now is the city of Pineville. It was founded in 1853 and named the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy. The institution opened January 2, 1860, with Col. William Tecumseh Sherman as superintendent. The school closed June 30, 1861, because of the Civil War. It reopened on April 1, but was again closed on April 23, 1863, due to the invasion of the Red River Valley by the federal army.

The seminary reopened October 2, 1865, only to be burned October 15, 1869. On November 1, 1869, it reopened again, this time in Baton Rouge, where it has since remained.

But why was it originally located here? It was due to a man named George Mason Graham, a native Virginian but with connections to local, state, and federal government. Graham was named in 1856 as Vice Chairman, with the Governor of the state as acting chairman, of the Board of Trustees entrusted with the establishment of a state university. As it so happened both Graham and the Governor at the time, Gov. James Madison Wells, were from Rapides Parish, and so, not surprisingly, the school was established here.

Graham lived in Tyrone Plantation, which he built in 1843. The plantation is located on Bayou Rapides, about a mile from my home.

The original LSU site in Pineville is located across the street from where I work. The U.S. Forest Service partnered with LSU in developing the site as a historical attraction and opened a walking trail. Along the trail are ruins of the foundation and “ghost walls” to designate the location of the building’s original walls, as well as informative markers.

So almost every day, I pass by both the home of the “Father of LSU” and its original location. How cool is that!

TYRONE PLANTATION

AFRICAN CRESTED PORCUPINE

I am very fortunate to have friends that think about me whenever they happen upon something unusual that they think I can transform into a jewelry design, ie. butterfly wings, shells, vintage jewelry parts, feathers, etc.

But recently, I received a most unusual gift from my friend that volunteers at the local zoo – porcupine quills. Yes, that is what I said, quills – those long, spiky, dangerous looking things. They are from the African Crested Porcupine species which is the largest porcupine in the world.

Don’t worry, no one was harmed retrieving the quills. When the porcupines shake their body, the quills fall out.  They are believed to bring good-luck.

At birth, the baby porcupines, called porcupettes (so cute!), are covered in soft, sensitive bristles rather than hard quills.

The black and white quills are on the neck and back. The tips of the quills on the tail are narrow and hollow. These circular quills can range up to 20 inches in length. They make a rattling sound when the crested porcupine feels threatened. The underside of the porcupine is covered with rough dark brown or black bristles. It is called a crested porcupine because the back quills can be erected into a crest. The crest starts from the top of the head and extends down to the shoulders.

 

Stiletto   (lyrics by Billy Joel)

She cuts you once, she cuts you twice/But still you believe/The wound is so fresh you can taste the blood/But you don’t have strength to leave/You’ve been bought, you’ve been sold/You’ve been locked outside the door/But you stand there pleadin’,With your insides bleedin’,’Cause you deep down want some more/Then she says she wants forgiveness/It’s such a clever masquerade/She’s so good with her stiletto/You don’t even see the  blade/You don’t see the blade

I am staring to get excited about my upcoming April vacation to Tuscany, Italy but was a little concerned about what I am going to pack. The average temperatures for that time of year range from a high of 66 degrees F to a low of 46 degrees F.  So it can be mild and pleasant and sunny or chilly and rainy.

I am very cold natured and also had to consider that I  need to be comfortable but have read that Italians are very stylish. I decided to head to Marshalls, my favorite discount clothing store to see what I could find. Within about an hour and a half, I picked out my complete wardrobe. I decided to stick to a neutral color scheme to make it easier to mix and match. So almost everything is in a black, white, cream, grey and khaki pallette. I did pick out a soft pink jacket that goes with many of the other pieces of clothing. So this is what I got:

                            Item                                                       Can be worn with

1. Long black/cream stripe knit skirt                  3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15

2. Short black knit dress                                            3, 4, 5, 7, 11, 12, 14, 15

3. Long black sweater with tie waist                     1, 2, 5, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14

4. Cotton black and cream stripe sweater          1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14

5. Black/white stripe trench raincoat                   A topper over all

6. Black ribbed knit tank top                                    1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

7. Cotton khaki safari style jacket                          1, 2, 5, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14

8. Cotton khaki matching short skirt                    3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15

9. Cream ruched tank top                                         1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

10. Grey and cream stripe cotton tank top        3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

11. Grey dolman sleeve sweater                             1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14

12. Grey long cashmere scarf                                    Everything!

13. White sateen wide leg pants                              3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15

14. Straw hat with black ribbon bow                      Everything too!

15. Pink sateen blazer                                                  1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14

Every item goes with so many other items so I can wear it all multiple ways. I will probably add a pair of black pants I already own and maybe a few other colored scarves to add interest. I can layer up or take items off as needed.

Rural road lined with cypress trees, Le Crete region. Tuscany, Italy

Mari Villa Cortona, Italy

Liz with Short Hair

It is funny how you remember certain events in your life like they were yesterday. For example, I distinctly remember when I chose to cut my then long hair into a shorter pixie cut about 11 years ago. It was on a trip to New York City with my brother and son. We had gone to one of the many trendy boutiques either in Soho or some other just as cool area of the city and I saw a sales girl that had the cutest short cut. It was then and there that I decied to go shorter. Well, this time, it was kind of forced upon me…I won’t go into all of the excrutiating details now…maybe in a future post…but I love the end result.

BTW: I did not see the Oscars last night, but I did view the red carpet photos online. Below are some of my favorite actresses’ looks of the evening  and all sporting short hairstyles.

Michelle Williams Oscars 212

 

Viola Davis Oscars 2012

Gwyneth Paltrow Oscars 2012

“A healthy self-love means we have no compulsion to justify to ourselves or others why we take vacations, why we sleep late, why we buy new shoes, why we spoil ourselves from time to time. We feel comfortable doing things which add quality and beauty to life.”   Andrew Matthews

 

Yes, Valentine’s Day is coming up in less that one week. It is supposed to be the day of “love”. Why not practice some self-love or self-care instead on a daily basis. Some of the principles of self-love include:

1. Value your time and energy. This might mean saying “no” more often, whether that is not committing to doing something you would prefer not to do or not overextending yourself.

2. Quit waiting for the world and poeple around you to change and start changing your views.

3. Learn how to forgive…not only others but  yourself.

4. Be more open to new experiences and people. Be willing to listen and learn.

5. Be able to receive as easily as you give. By recieving, you are allowing another person to give…and they are both wonderful feelings.

6. Learn to appreciate your attributes…whether it is your sense of humor, your ability to comfort others, your creativity, or your ability to balance your checkbook every month!

And if you want to treat yourself with some specific ideas to practice more of the art of self-love, see the suggstions below.

a manicure or pedicure

a long bath… preferrably with bubbles

a massage

reading a book, magazine or anything else that may interest you

listening to music…maybe even dancing if you like

walking at whatever pace makes you happy

doing whatever hobby you enjoy

buying something you know you will like…anything from jewelry to shoes or as small as  lip gloss, lotion, or  a candle, etc, etc.

Fill Up Your Bottle (and Your Life) with a Little Self-Love

So, I liked my pedicure so much, I decided to get a manicure with the same polish, OPI Lincoln Park After Dark Matte, with clear gloss tips. Also, I made a new ring. It is a very simple but fun design using sterling silver chain and faceted crystal beads.

Lincoln Park After Dark Matte/Gloss Tips Mani

Another Look

For me, designing and making jewelry is addictive but Pinterest may have it beat. If you are one of the few that has not discovered this website, be prepared to spend lots of time collecting “pins”.  According to the site, “Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.” Their mission is to connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting.  The “pins” are collected on “pinboards” that are organized according to subject matter  that can be very diverse.

Humans are very visual creatures, so no wonder the appeal of this site. Our imagination is a powerful tool and when we see a picture, our mind has the ability to create images of what we WANT in our lives.

Which leads me to scrolling through lots of pictures to make a “dream book” or scrapbook of things that appeal to me collected on my boards.

So this led me to finding a cool mani/pedi design which I brought to my nearby nail place to recreate. So here are pics of my pedi and the orignal mani from the blog http://chloesnails.blogspot.com/2011/02/back-to-basics.html