Ciao 2018

ciao 2018

If you have been following my blog you know that I do not sit down and write out a bunch of resolutions for the new year.  Instead I choose a word to help keep me on track with my life and my business. 

So again this year I have 2 words…

For my personal life the word is 

acceptance

 

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) teaches mindfulnessskills to help individuals live and behave in ways consistent with personal values while developing psychological flexibility.

Practitioners of ACT help individuals recognize ways in which their attempts to suppress, manage, and control emotional experiences create challenges. By recognizing and addressing these challenges, individuals can become better able to make room for values-based actions that support well-being.  

 
For my art and business the word is
growth
ɡrōTH
noun
the process of increasing in physical size
No , I do not want my body to undergo any growth; but for my business I am going to make marketing a priority.  Last year I rebranded.  And in my 5 year plan this is the year to increase my online presence and to start to do some shows again.
And my first show in Tucson is January 20th and 21st.  
 
I wish you all the very happiest of new years.
I am off to eat some black eyed peas….  they are for good luck!
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Ciao 2017

I like to write a post that reflects on the past year.
It mostly for me – to gather my thoughts about what has transpired. 

~ So, 2017 proved to be a better year than 2016. ~

The first big event in 2017 came in February when our first grandchild was bornMy Story

Such a blessing.

He is helping me stay focused on my family.

 

 

In the spring, I attended a wonderful art history course on Michelangelo.  That experience has prompted us to plan a trip to Italy in 2018

I had to say goodbye to Homer this year. 

Ms Story

RIP Homer 2003 – 2017

He developed a heart murmur and passed away in April.  There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about him.

So, to get my dog fix I have been volunteering at the Humane Society.  We get up early on Saturday morning and walk dogs.   

 

 

I took some jewelry making classes.  One was in Coronado, CA with Robert Lopez.  Spectacular!

We hit the Big Apple in the summer and met some friends.  Theatre and great food and a ballet at the Lincoln Center.

Spent my husband’s birthday in Santa Fe, NM.  More great food.

And in September traveled to France, Spain and Portugal.  More great food.

I have been studying with Sam Patania – a master craftsman – here in Tucson.  So, my jewelry skills are developing nicely. 

I rebranded my website and opened a better online shopping experience – two things that were on my list to do.

I celebrated a milestone birthday.

Also got to visit Chicago where we lived in the 70’s and 80’s.  Scored tickets to Hamilton which is as good as all of its reviews.  Caught up with old friends.

So as the end of 2017 is approaching I feel very blessed.  I give thanks to my family and friends.  I especially want to say to my husband that I recognize his commitment to making me happy.  That goes a long way as we forge ahead in the 43rd  year of our marriage. 

 

I am thankful that there are still a million things I want to do and see in my lifetime.  If there wasn’t what would I have to look forward to?

I am thankful for all the wonderful teachers out there and for the opportunities I have to continue learning.

I am thankful for coming through a very difficult time in my life still filled with hope and optimism.

I am thankful that the difficult time helped build my strength and character and helped me learn a lot about myself.

It’s easy to be thankful for all the good things that happen to you.  But the mistakes and disappointments helped me to see the importance in all the little things each day.

I take nothing for granted.  Life can change in an instant.

So good bye 2017. 

Life is good

La Dolce Vita

 

Sorrow, saying sorry

Saying sorry  (spoiler alert – a rant is following)

(skip to the bottom to see something jewelry related)

Definition of sorrow

1 : deep distress, sadness, or regret especially for the loss of someone or something loved
2 : a cause of grief or sadness
3 : a display of grief or sadness

Okay I cannot keep quiet about the fall of many high profile men who are being called out by woman for sexual misconduct committed in the past.  First of all yeah.  Better late than never.  I can understand the silence.  And in reading the accounts I am happy that finally several brave women have come forward and are saying – what happened to me is wrong and I need to speak out.  I cannot allow this behavior to continue.  I cannot condone the crime that was committed against me with silence.  I want the world to know what I have endured and that it was wrong.

Obviously I have been treated to a daily deluge of this kind of news now for many weeks.  Men who have abused their power by having committed an injustice to a fellow person and are now being called out.  So why did the Matt Lauer story induce this rant?

I like to watch CNN or MSNBC on the tv screen on the treadmills at LA Fitness. 

(I work out 4 days a week by walking 2 miles in 30 minutes at the LA fitness near me – yeah me) 

And today I was greeted with Matt Lauer saying 

“There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions,” Lauer said in a statement provided to CNN. “To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry. As I am writing this I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC.” 

 

Well, Matt Lauer , it is my opinion that you are not sorry for those acts that you have committed in the past that are now being brought to light.  You are sorry that you have been caught.  You have sorrow that people will now see you in a different light.  You are sorry that you have lost your job.  You are sorry that you feel humiliated now.  And you might be sorry to see the hurt you have caused to your loved ones.  BUT I believe that if Matt Lauer was “sorry” for what he did he might have considered telling the ones he loves about his misdeeds on his own without having been called out by his victims.  That brave action would allow me to have some empathy that perhaps he has reflected on his actions in the past and is appalled at what he has done and he is truly sorry.

And there are other men and woman out there right now.  Perhaps they have abused fellow workers or have cheated on their spouse.  But right now they are sitting there all comfy because that was in the past and I have gotten away with it – whatever it may be.  But let those actions come to light and I bet the “I’m sorrys ” would come pouring out of their mouths.

OK enough…..   you get my point.

What have I been up to?

Well I finished knitting a cowl which I took to Chicago with me.  It came in very handy.

knitted cowl

 

Someone said they didn’t like cowl scarfs because they hid your jewelry……  not so….

statement-necklace-cowl-scarf

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My Date with Gian Lorenzo Bernini – art, love, and inspiration

Gian-Lorenzo-Bernini

Well, it wasn’t an actual date date.  My husband went too.  LOL

It is a 6 week course that I am attending here in Tucson on the famous Italian sculptor.  Last spring we took a class on Michaelangelo; and it was fantastic.  That course inspired us to book a trip in 2018 to Italy which culminates in Rome with a private after hours tour of the Sistine Chapel.  This class on Bernini will help us discover all the statues and churches in Rome that we want to see. And of course will help us to appreciate what we are seeing much much more.

We usually travel with tour groups… our favorite being National Geographic and Tauck.  This upcoming trip is with Tauck, but we plan to add some time at the end to really enjoy Rome on our own.  We haven’t been to Rome in over 25 years.

Actually there are other areas of Italy we want to visit also – Florence being high on the list.  And that always brings me to a travel dilemma.  What is the perfect length of a trip?  Should we add the Florence visit to this vacation?  We will already be there and flying to Europe is a big undertaking.  But being gone too long is a problem for me.  And sometimes you just get overloaded with so much to see and do and frankly I get tired quicker now.  I am really trying to think this through.  I think that I would have to plan in some “rest” days to make a longer trip work.  Maybe even find a great spa and relax for a day or two.

I love art.  And I must say that those art history courses that I took way back in college were wasted.  I now have the time and much more appreciation to learn about the history of art and artists.  I am so thrilled to have these opportunities now in my life.  Plus travel always inspires my own art passion – art jewelry.  Plus there has to be glass beads there!!

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Chicago – a weekend getaway to the windy city

Chicago

Cold and crisp

The sun isn’t shining but the lake is beautiful. Right now we are on an architectural tour.

We are here for a long weekend.

A dose of the big city.

chicago-weekend-getaway

Shopping on Michigan Avenue also known as the Magnificent Mile.

magnificent-mile-chicago

Eating at some fine fine restaurants

Visiting with old friends.

And lucky to have tickets to Hamilton.

Plus a visit to the SOFA show.  No it’s not sofa’s for your living room.

It’s the  Sculpture Objects Functional Art and Design show.

Also a visit to the Art Museum and possibly a walk around Hyde Park where we used to live ages ago.

Really having fun

casual chic outfit for travel

casual chic travel outfit

In my last blog I shared some photos from my recent travel to the Basque Country.  So today I want to talk a little about what I wear when I travel.  This is a simple outfit that is very comfortable yet extremely chic.  I want something that is super comfortable especially on long overnight flights to Europe because I have to sleep in it.  For shoes I always choose flats because you never know when you have to run through an airport.  I like a large handbag when I travel and this one is great because it closes which is important when it goes through security.  And because the outfit is minimal a great statement necklace makes the look perfect.  Plus when you arrive to your destination you make a great impression.

Here are the links

outfit and shoes
handbag
necklace

statement necklace

 Follow Louise on Instagram

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Vacation and the Guggenheim – Bilboa – the museum building is art itself

Vacation in Basque Country 

and a visit to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao

I just came back from a wonderful vacation aboard the National Geographic Orion.  The trip was titled Cultural and Culinary Adventure in Basque Country….    and it did not disappoint.  We ate and drank our way along the coastline of France, Spain, and Portugal while learning about the culture of the area.  And for me the highlight of the trip was our private morning tour of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.  You cannot take photographs inside of the museum except in the foyer.  So I will just dazzle you with some photos of the outside….

Guggenheim Museum – Bilbao

Bridge over the Nervion River, Bilbao Spain

 

Foyer – entrance – Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain

 

Elevator, Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain

vacation

Tulip Sculpture, Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain

vacation

me, taking a closeup photo of the tulip sculpture reflection

vacation

Steam Experience at the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain

These are just a few of the photos I took.  You can walk all around the perimeter of the museum and each angle of the building is more beautiful than the last.  And the last photo shows steam being released.  It hangs over the water and creates quite an atmosphere…..  What an experience.

But I am back in Tucson now and the studio is calling

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My journey with beads

Someone recently asked me how I got started making jewelry.  So I have reflected on my journey with beads and thought I would share it.  

First, I started to create some simple jewelry pieces.  It began when we were going out to a special dinner and I felt I did not have the right piece of jewelry.  I had just visited a bead shop for the first time because I was asked to incorporate some beads in a cross stitch design that I was creating for a local needle craft store.  And well….  I couldn’t get all of those beads out of my head. 

I didn’t know anything about jewelry making..  what do you use to string the beads on?  How do you end the piece?  So armed with an antique button, I went back to the bead shop and bought some stone beads and silver beads and got a hasty how to and went home and created this piece.  Little did I know the journey had just begun.

my journey with beads - the first piece

I had no plans to sell my work.  It was just fun creating.  But then I discovered lampworking and for the first time found a medium that I loved.  Glass is mesmerizing.  You work it hot in the flame and sometimes the colors change when the piece cools.  It is mysterious.  It has a mind of it’s own.  And I set out to conquer it.

Fall in Tucson

It’s still in the 90’s but the sun is not as strong and the mornings and evenings feel cooler.  The fun weather of Tucson is about to begin.  The barrels are blooming….  

The blooms are absolutely gorgeous

A few more weeks in the pool.

Then it will be time to think about the fire pit and lovely evenings under the sparkly sky.

We have a vacation coming up. 

Culture and cuisine….  an expedition with National Geographic.

My psyche continues to heal.

Making art is my salvation.

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But I feel the need to banish her again

banish

 

Friendship Day

I am starting to write this post on August 6th – Sunday which according to some is International Friendship Day.  To tell you the truth I didn’t even know there was a Interational Friendship day; but I like the idea of one.  So I did a little research.

History

Friendship day was originally created by the greeting card industry in 1919 by Hallmark.  Friends were encouraged to recognize their friendship by sending each other cards.  But this made up “holiday” eventually fizzled out.

friendship day

However, in 1998 Winnie the Pooh was named the world’s Ambassador of Friendship at the United Nations (believe it or not!), and in April 2011 the United Nations officially recognized 30th July as International Friendship Day; although most countries celebrate on the first Sunday of August!  (wonder why)

Here is what the UN says about Friendship Day…

“Our world face many challenges, crises and forces of division — such as poverty, violence, and human rights abuses — among many others — that undermine peace, security, development and social harmony among the world’s peoples.  To confront those crises and challenges, their root causes must be addressed by promoting and defending a shared spirit of human solidarity that takes many forms — the simplest of which is friendship.  Through friendship — by accumulating bonds of camaraderie and developing strong ties of trust — we can contribute to the fundamental shifts that are urgently needed to achieve lasting stability, weave a safety net that will protect us all, and generate passion for a better world where all are united for the greater good.”

Well, I’m on board for sure.  So even though you all will be reading this a few days late.  I want to say I am grateful for all my friends out there who mean so much to me.  Without them I would not be the person I am today.

So I have to tell you a little story.  

A few Saturdays ago Alex and I headed off to one of the popular Farmer’s Markets here in Tucson.  I was mainly looking for fresh vegetables, but then I saw a booth with 4 woman wearing traditional head scarfs and dresses of the Muslim religion.  So I stopped by their booth and was enticed to see an array of traditional Syrian sweets that they had handmade and were selling.  They were very proud of their heritage and culture and wanted to share.  So of course I sampled some and bought a few to take home.  And I hope they understood it was my way to say welcome them and say I am glad you are here in the US.  But I plan on going back….  the sweets were delicious.

Don’t forget about the importance of jewelry… and friendship

Jewelry has always played an important role in Friendship.  Remember those friendship bracelets we used to make at summer camp?

friendship day

I think knowing that jewelry can make someone very happy (both giving it and receiving it) is one of the reasons I make jewelry.  We all need more happiness in our life.  Reach out to a good friend today!

 

Rituals

A Ritual is……. according to Webster

  1. of or relating to rites or a ritual :  ceremonial ritual dance

  2. according to religious law ritual purity

  3. done in accordance with social custom or normal protocol ritual handshakes 

 

I just finished reading an article in the Arizona Star of a high tech product that I didn’t know about, but now am fixated on buying…. Maybe.  

What is it?  A machine to brew tea.

a picture of a machine to brew tea

 

Really cool – right? 

Err…. but you might ask – what does that have to do with rituals?

 

Tea

I love tea.

I love to drink hot tea and iced tea.  I even drink hot tea in the summer.  I like to drink my hot tea from a porcelain tea cup that my Mom gave me.  I have had it for 30 years.  Drinking tea relaxes me.  So when I saw this machine that touts it brews the perfect cup of tea I got very interested.  And I started to think about my cup of tea and why it made me feel so good.

tea ritual

On a trip to Japan in the 80’s I attended a tea drinking ceremony, which I realize now is not about drinking the tea, but is a choreographed ritual of preparing the tea and interacting with the host.  It is about the aesthetics of the bowls, the pot and even the utensils.  And it’s about beauty and peace and serenity and reflection.

So, I think it’s more than just the tea that I love.  When I lived in Ohio and it was a rainy cold day (which happened a lot) my mother and I would have tea in the afternoon.  ( my Mom lived with us after my dad died)

She bought me a lovely wood box to hold my teabags.  We would get it down and choose which tea to have.  Then I would put on the kettle and we would sit and chat while the water boiled.  And chat some more while the tea steeped.  And finally, we would sip the tea before going back to real life.

I have liked to drink tea most of my life. I realize that when life dealt me things that were hard to deal with, sitting with a nice cup of tea helped me to sort things out.  Last summer – one year ago in fact, my husband and I went on what was supposed to be a fantastic holiday in Great Britain.  I drank a lot of tea there.

 

So back to the perfect tea brewing maching….

this high tech product is the Teforia Leaf  

It looks high tech and beautiful and graceful all at once.

It really appeals to me, but…

Do I really need a $400 gadget to brew tea?

Do I really want a whole new ritual for brewing tea?

Probably not…..

  But damn it looks so cool!

creating the desert in glass and metal