Sunday, May 31, 2009

Etsy Treasury Feature!

Our shop, ImagineMDD, was lucky enough to be featured in a Treasury Welcoming New Members of the Etsy Bloggers Team! How neat is that!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Symbols of June, Adopt a Shelter Cat Month

I'm a proud new member of the EtsyBloggers Team! What a great idea for a team! This is my first post for their Blogathon, Blog Carnival. So step right up, grab a ticket, come on behind the curtain, don't be shy. I'll do my very best to get this right. :)

This time the Carnival suggestion was symbols for the month of June. They mentioned June birthstones, pearls and moonstone, and the flower, the rose. Wow. As a June baby myself, and a jewelry designer who adores pearls, this was the best greeting I could have received!

But then it said any other symbols associated with June so I'm going to stretch my June-themed carnival post to something else that I always think of once June rolls around, another passion of mine. June is Adopt a Shelter Cat month in the US. The San Francisco Examiner has an article with cats who are up for adoption and other local web sites most likely have done the same. (Image from their site. Cute kitties.)

I don't think people should ever bring a pet into your home without first giving it a lot of thought. But if you and your family have been considering it, this may be a good time to drop by your local shelter and see who might be there waiting for you. Cats are great companions, they can be stress-busters and they can help to remind us that we're all beautiful.

Our last shelter cat, a wonderful black kitty, we adopted in 1986 and he lived for 22 years, a few moves, a few different houses. We miss him terribly. They say that black cats are the hardest cats to place and they have to be most careful placing them.

It''s a big commitment. Once he was 16 we had images of Toonces, the cat who could drive a car. (Saturday Night Live in the early 90s) When he turned 21, we worried that he'd want to start drinking! It could be the start of a wonderful relationship.

June is a great month for pearls and roses and for cats. Meow

Ten good reasons for adopting a shelter cat ...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Tape Art, Cellophane Tape Anniversary

Cellophane Tape was patented on May 27, 1930. It's a great day to celebrate artists who use some form of tape in their work.

The first person who came to my mind is Mitra Fabian who uses Scotch tape, glue and window blinds to create fascinating sprawling floor works and topographies of enormous scale. Her pieces may look simultaneously pretty and fragile, bizarre and ominous, as they appear to be growing out of control.

Artist Mark Jenkins is a master of the world of street art, including his unconventional Scotch Tape forms. A visit to his web site to check out his work, if not to see his work in person is well worth the time.
(One of Jenkins' tape pieces is shown below.)

Danny O signed on as the official spokesman for the 3M company’s 75th anniversary celebration of Scotch brand tape in 2005. He is known for a unique ink-on-tape art form and spectacular collage-style images. Some of his most famous work was created using vintage 'Archie' comic books. “The ink is easily lifted from the coarse paper pages and the hues are vivid," he said.

Kristina Lewis utilizes common household objects such as duct tape, drinking straws, zippers, needles and magnifying glasses. Her work is attractive and provocative. She has a July show at the Oakland Museum Sculpture Court in California.

Mark Khaisman "paints" grand scaled pieces with several layers of translucent packing tape,
applied to clear Plexiglas and placed in front of a light box to give the image shadow and depth. The idea came partly from the artist's work in stained glass. Khaisman will have a solo show at the Philadelphia Airport titled Tape Noir, Sept 14-Oct 10, 2009. Information should be confirmed closer to the date.

Khaisman's 2009 site had a short Q&A where he talked about the use of tape in his work:

How you came to working with tape?
My Tape Art is a conversation with light. I started it like a traditional stained glass artist, but with tape: I found I could continue my conversation with light, but in a more expedient manner. I might have never thought of this “medium” if not for my working in stained glass.

Yet, tape's happened to be much more than just a replacement of the stained glass medium. It miraculously bonded together all my previous experiences.

If you would send me a parcel – how would that look like?

My parcel would look like any other parcel, but it will take me quite a few attempts to get it right.

The Tape Art web site has features about tape artists and their work in different settings including hospitals.

Perhaps the most poignant and moving is The Hope Project: The Eleventh of September: an act of remembrance.

From the main site: "Between 2001 and 2006 we drew every fireman and airline passenger that passed away at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. These drawings were made in 496 locations spanning from the WTC to 123st in Harlem." The drawings were temporary and done in tape.

The web site is an awesome memorial with photographs of the artwork and a list of all the 2,749 names of the deceased organized in alphabetical order. The site features a detailed map with dots showing of locations of drawings of each person who lost his or her life at the World Trade Center in September of 2001.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

World Turtle Day, Native American Symbolism

May 23rd is World Turtle Day. It is an annual observation which began in 2000 to celebrate and honor turtles, bringing people's attention to their situation and in so doing to help us see what’s happening to all animals, the environment and the earth as a whole.

Several museums, aquariums, zoos, animal and environmental groups are staging events in to entertain and educate people about turtles and the environment. The celebration officially lasts for a full month with things happening through June.

American Tortoise Rescue (ATR) is a nonprofit organization established nearly 20 years ago for the protection of all species of tortoise and turtle. Susan Tellem, co-founder of ATR, says, "These gentle animals have been around for about 200 million years, yet they are rapidly disappearing as a result of the live food markets, habitat destruction and the cruel pet trade.

"We are seeing smaller and smaller turtles coming into the rescue which means that older adults are disappearing from the wild, and the breeding stock is drastically reduced. This is a very sad time for turtles and tortoises throughout the world.” 

There may be events scheduled in your area today or over the next month. There are always animal organizations, and reptile-specific ones, such as the ATR that could use some assistance, whether donations of money, supplies or time.

The Children's Museum of Science & Technology in Troy, New York and the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston will be having special events on Saturday, May 23rd. Turtle Days is an annual festival in Churubusco, Indiana celebrating the legend of Oscar the Turtle the Beast of Busco! 

Whether your local zoo or aquarium is having a Turtle Day event or not, it’s a great time to visit and to do some personal research into reptiles. Bring out your inner Mutant Ninja, maybe. Get together with some friends and and invent a special reptilian interpretive dance while you think about how to best do your part to help these creatures in your community?

The turtle is one of the most popular tattoo themes around. It is considered to have brought about the creation of the universe from its parts. Divination or foretelling has been known to be conducted by reading a turtle's shell and underbelly. According to Japanese culture the turtle is known to possess a spirit
of healing and profound inner knowledge.

Popular Good Luck Turtle Pendant
Oval Simulated Gemstones, choose color

The Turtle protects by teaching the family to protect themselves. She brings the blessings of heaven to the home. The turtle symbolizes both the stability of earth energy, and the magical mysteries of heaven. Some Native Americans see the Turtle as the sacred life giver, representative of Mother Earth, and have tribal fetish necklaces for her.

A turtle was worn over a woman's heart. Women aspired to be like the turtle and hoped their children would also take on the qualities of the turtle.

Our friends did a significant amount of research before acquiring their pet turtles who are our official Blog spokes-turtles today, Boomer and Scamp, and they're featured in the photo above. They're happy and healthy and love having their pictures taken!

You may choose to express your beliefs, what you love by incorporating those motifs into what you wear and how you decorate your home.

Keep things close, keep it real. There is a vast array of turtle themed tattoos out there. Turtle designs in tee shirts, beautiful stained glass, jewelry of all kinds can be found in many forms, many places.

Links to Resources:

American Tortoise Rescue

Churubusco Turtle Days Festival in Indiana 

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

OM 12-String Guitar underway

Peek-a-boo. Francois is finishing up his current commission for an Orchestra model 12-string guitar. More photos to come. The back and sides are cocobolo, the top is sitka spruce. Bridge and fingerboard are ebony.

When we get more information about the Indie film which features another one of his guitars, you'll read about it here, too.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Amelia Earhart anniversary, Fly, Inspire, Wings, Airplanes, Etsy

May 20-21, 1932: Amelia Earhart is the first woman to fly solo across the

Airplane Flying High
Add Your Own Photo Wall Decal
Atlantic. She flew from Harbor Grace, Newfoundland to Londonderry, Ireland in her single engine Lockheed Vega. 

May 20-21 was exactly five years after Charles Lindbergh made his solo flight across the Atlantic.

She set the record for the fastest Atlantic crossing (13 hours and 30-40 minutes) and the longest distance flown by a woman. 

What can we do to be inspired and celebrate this occasion? Fly a kite? Take flying lessons yourself? Hot air balloon ride? Look into more women's achievements throughout history, maybe.

Amelia Earhart

On this historic anniversary We can think of wings; airplanes, propellers, birds', insects' and butterflies' wings both literal and abstract. How can we use these decorate our homes and ourselves? How can they inspire us?

Hepburn went flying with Howard Hughes
Philadelphia Story
Choose size
Different actresses have played the part of Earhart in films. Recently Hilary Swank and Diane Keaton have played her.  

Keaton in Amelia Earhart: The Final Flight, 2013 and Hilary Swank in Amelia, 2009.

In the 1930s the inspirational Katharine Hepburn talked with Howard Hughes about making a film called The Amelia Earhart Story. 

Hepburn said, "motion pictures could be one of our greatest mediums of education today." --  Katharine Hepburn: A Remarkable Woman, by Anne Edwards

There are different photos of her as a pilot including a poster print of Hepburn inside a vintage airplane.

The Wall Decal above right comes in a number of sizes and shapes. Brilliant high-resolution printing on self-adhesive fabric paper. 

It's easy peel and restick up to 100 times. No wall damage or sticky residue. Place your girl in the pilot's seat. What's on Special? Check out All Zazzle Sale Items, Coupon Codes Customize, Create Your Own item from scratch.

Gee-Bee Squadron Mobile
4 Plane Models
for Nursery/Playroom
Designing an office, reception area, a game room or someone's special room? If it's got a science, space or aviation theme, consider and airplane or planet and Stars Pendant Light.

So why not figure out a way to celebrate Amelia's achievement? Let out your inner butterfly. :-)

One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar.
--- Helen Keller 

Prepare Amelia Earhart's Favorite Fried Chicken & Biscuits
Royal Baking Powder ad 1937

Her mother says it's her favorite.

Links to related pages, books of interest:

Astronaut Suits, Space Travel Firsts, You can be an Astronaut

Crystal Tattoos, Wings

Black and White Costume Wings, Dragon Wings, DIY

Katharine Hepburn: A Remarkable Woman by Anne Edwards

Amelia Earhart t-shirt
Amelia Earhart t-shirt  
"I want to do it because I want to do it" 

Friday, May 15, 2009

San Francisco Artists in Residence-Recycling & Disposal, Tour de Trash in Honolulu

Talk about Upcycling....

San Francisco Recycling & Disposal has an Artists in Residence program. Their next art show is on May 15 & 16, 2009. They say that the goal of the Artists in Residence program is "to use art to inspire people to recycle more and conserve natural resources."

One of the featured artists will be Bill Basquin, whose work, he says, includes "images from the series Fruits Uneaten and Now Past Their Prime. ... Depictions of citrus peels generally indicate fruits that I did eat." Photo is from his web site.

I previously did a blog post about the upswing in green and recycle fashion including a small Earth Day show calendar. Recycle, upcycled artwork is a big thing as well, and hooray for that. If you would like to apply for the San Francisco program they have information at their web site.

Opala is the Hawaiian word for garbage. The Honolulu Department of Environmental Services has a multi-part Tour de Trash, where people can become more familiar with what happens to the things that we throw away. It all helps so much with our awareness of how we might better conserve and reuse our resources.

I'd be interested to hear of other recycling or upcycling art shows, fashion shows or opportunities out there so we can all find out about them.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Nursing Home Week, Seniors, Relatives Considering Moving

National Nursing Home Week 2009 began on Mother's Day, May 10 is scheduled to run through May 16th.

Aging is on the minds of many baby boomers these days, due situations with their parents or other family members and/or issues in their own lives as we're growing older ourselves. Elder care is something a lot of us are dealing with right now.

This week is an opportunity to acknowledge and honor the people who reside in nursing homes as well as those members of staff and volunteers who help them and help to make their lives better. I can't completely endorse nor guarantee any of these sources, but think that they're a good place to start when sometimes we don't have an idea of where to turn.

Some families may have in-home care. There is a site with information on things to consider when arranging in-home care for persons with Alzheimers.

Whether one chooses an assisted living, home health facililty or nursing home, it may be a voyage into uncharted territory during a difficult time. In the US, your state Department of Health should have information where you can check on facilities (including any reports of abuse, public health and patient rights).

For instance, there is a page regarding the licensing and certification of Health care facilities in California.

The National Center for Assisted Living report offers a state-by-state summary of assisted living regulatory review.

The US Dept of Health & Human Services has a national Nursing Home Compare site. One of the things they offer is detailed information about the past performance of every Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing home in the country.

The Alzheimers Association has a Senior Housing Finder. The Senior Resource Guide Blue Book offers different information including that on housing. I'm not aware of how this data was compiled but the local version of this book was informative to us.

You may want to visit the US Senate Special Committee on Aging and The US National Institute on Aging web sites.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Same Name Game: Vintage Spring

Ah, Springtime. The premise of the Same Name 'Game' is that I look to see what other items on Etsy have the same name as pieces of jewelry that I've created. [Please write/post a comment for information on any of the jewelry you see on this page images and designs (c) ImagineMDD]

The Vintage Spring I had in mind with my necklace was a wine fount. The time of gathering the crop of grapes or making the wine for a season. Is there an Art & Wine experience in your future? Maybe just a nice glass of wine? :-)

Not unexpectedly, I found several other pretty items on Etsy with the same or similar names. The one I chose to feature is Vintage Spring Green Flower Pins from jodifrench's shop. This is a trio of pins created from fancy upcycled fabrics and vintage beads and handpainting. These are clever, eco-friendly, really pretty and how you wear them is up to you.

Something to say Springtime. She makes some nice and unique pieces and I'd suggest a stop by her shop to look around. We used to live in Ft. Myers, so it's a double treat!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Happy 90th Birthday Pete Seeger

Several years ago, I was lucky enough to have attended a concert featuring Pete Seeger and his sister Peggy Seeger. That was some of the most fun I've ever had. On May 3rd, Pete Seeger turned 90 years old and there was a sold-out concert in his honor in New York's Madison Square Garden. Proceeds from the event went to Clearwater, an organization that is helping to preserve and protect the Hudson River.

Musicians performing at the concert included Arlo Guthrie, Steve Earle, Billy Bragg, Kris Kristofferson and Joan Baez, Kate and Anna McGarrigle (NaCl) and Bruce Springsteen.

Pete Seeger sang with The Weavers, you may remember their 1950 version of Goodnight, Irene. He's probably best known for songs such as Turn, Turn, Turn, If I Had a Hammer, This Land Is Your Land and We Shall Overcome. His recordings with Arlo Guthrie are priceless and some of our personal favorites. It would take forever to list resources for his music and biography. He's featured in the Smithsonian Folkways series which is definitely worth checking out.

In 1955, Seeger was convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to discuss past membership in the Communist Party. The conviction was overturned on appeal in 1961, but his blacklisting lasted from 1950 to 1967. Even then, CBS censored his anti-Vietnam War allegory, Waist Deep in the Big Muddy on The Smothers Brothers program.

Pete Seeger was profiled on PBS' American Masters series. He's had a fascinating life and if you're unfamiliar with him, he's well worth a look and a listen. He's done a lot of good for the planet and a lot of people.

Peggy Seeger, by the way, has some wonderful songs, such as Little Girl Child, Gonna be an Engineer and Talking Wheelchair Blues.

Friday, May 1, 2009

BADD, We're all in this together

People make suggestions, offer advice all the time. Much of it is unasked-for and much of it is based on partial knowledge of someone’s life, based on how the advice-giver perceives you or it seems to be based on something completely amorphous, more to do with the person dispensing the advice than the person receiving it. Just about everyone faces this at least once in a lifetime. New moms are stopped by total strangers who tell them how to parent. The self-appointed weight police are out there, too. They’re just trying to help.

Disabled people get our fair share of comments and suggestions, some of them assuming that we haven’t considered the obvious or that we’re incapable of running our own lives. Right now in the news, we’re hearing them say to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Wash your hands regularly. These are things we know to do, but they’re reminders. Similarly, treating someone how you’d like to be treated is a good reminder. Do I really know what his or her life is like? How they feel?

Putting yourself in someone else’s place is a good idea. Everyone has demons that they’re battling everyday so why assume the worst and add to anyone’s plate, particularly with advice that borders on the judgmental? “Criticize things you don’t know about,” was a line from the Grandmother's Song on one of Steve Martin’s albums in the 70’s. (The next line is, “Be oblong and have your knees removed.” The two go hand-in-hand in terms of rationality.)

Not long ago, I went through several life situations at once, including dealing with my own injuries, my mother’s extended illness, those of another family member, the loss of my job and struggling through a tangled system to get care. It was a time when I found out a lot about my own courage and ingenuity. “Make it work,” took on a huge significance in everyday life.

Theres's a post appropriately called Stereotypical World in the Oddly 'Mod blog that fits in here. 

I found a book that was helpful to me and it may help others, Surviving: Coping With A Life Crisis, by psychologists, Dr Bob Montgomery & Dr Laurel Morris. One tidbit in the book resonated as the authors offered a suggestion to those of us on the receiving end, as we all are at one time or another:

"Have the courtesy to listen to those who offer you unasked-for advice, and the sense to consider if it is really helpful to you. If someone wants to give you unasked-for advice -- we call such people psychopest -- don't be afraid to assert yourself:

'Thanks for your concern and suggestions. I appreciate the fact that you care. However, when you tell me what I should do, you are putting down my ability to run my life for myself, and that annoys me. I'd like you to wait for me to ask for your advice, when I feel I need it.'"

"Carry on," a famous Tim Gunn-ism, was one of my mom's favorite sayings. ("Don't let the turkeys get you down," was another.) So I put blinders on, and now I've got my own fledgling business. I'm designing and selling my own jewelry. One focus of my line is to create pieces that are easier and more comfortable for disabled women to wear and get on and off. I'm looking for feedback on what women's specific needs are. I respect jewelry designers who are also working with our community in mind. This grew not only from my dream of creating jewelry, but my own desire for pieces that were easier to wear and not being able to find them.

It's far too fun, challenging and distracting to work on my designs and everything else connected with the business. We don't have time to worry about what uneducated people think or say. Paying the bills and meeting our personal goals are more important and real. We're making wonderful new friends online and off. We are carrying on.

I have some great blogs on My Blog List that you may want to visit.

Some helpful web sites:

Chronic Babe For Babes, who just happen to have chronic illness

These books may make your life easier, help you to feel less alone, more informed and empowered.

One woman's journey dealing with migraine headaches. An informative and actually fun read that a lot of people could relate to regardless of what illness/disability you're dealing with:

Great book for couples from those who've been there:

Very helpful with basic (handy) tips:

One person's pursuit of treatment for chronic back pain:

A variety of information about walking & mobility:

Great book about women with different disabilities in work situations. Very validating, work against pariah-syndrome:

I'd be interested to hear about other blogs, web sites and books that have helped you. I'm particularly interested in other disabled artists and craftspeople.

Below is a list that I first found posted years ago on the But You Don't Look Sick web site. Since then I've seen it, in various forms, circulated on different sites. Although the title suggests it's a list of the worst things to say to someone with chronic illness, I think it's some of the worst things to say to someone who is disabled or who is ill or injured in any way. Assumptions aren't usually such a good idea and say more about the person dishing it out than the one on the receiving end.

** Nothing below was written by me; I didn't write the parts in parentheses. This is one of the versions of the list. **

The major worst suggestions commonly given to someone with a chronic illness:

1) Have you tried holistic options? (many. I'll bring it back up with my doctor on my next visit, thanks.)

2) Could it be your stress? (My opinion is, it is my illness. I'll bring it up with my doctor though, thanks.)

3) Could it have to do with the altitude/weather? (I'll bring it up with my doctor...thanks.)

4) I read in {insert any generic magazine here} about a new medication. Have you heard about it? (I was on it when it came out 17 years ago. but I'll bring it up with my doctor. thank you.)

5) Have you thought about being in a trial study? (I'll ask my doctor. thanks?)

6) WOW. If I were you, I don't know what I would do. I might just kill myself. (Thanks?)

7) Have they found what is causing the problem? (no. my doctor is an idiot, thanks!)

8) Have you tried hypnosis? (I'm still sick, but when the phone rings I bark like a dog.)

9) Have you Googled your illness? (! thanks!)

10) Maybe you’re less able to handle pain / tolerate changes in the weather / spicy foods / wimpy / {insert ignorant comment here} than most people…. (meaning your illness/injury is not real, Suck it up! Snap out of it! Stiff upper lip! Get on that wheaties box!)

You can go to the Diary of a Goldfish blog to see who else is Blogging Against Disablism.