Saturday, October 25, 2014

A Month of Thanksgiving

To kickstart the Holiday shopping season at my Etsy shop, I’ll be offering a deep discount on one item a day from October 26 to Thanksgiving Day!  And if you use Coupon Code FALL14 at checkout, you’ll get an additional 20% off on your entire order.  

Here’s the first deal--Was $32, now $16:


 Check my Facebook page ( www.facebook.com/BearChick ) or Etsy shop ( www.etsy.com/shop/Bearchick ) every day for the Daily Deep Discount.

Whether you’re shopping for simple, cute earrings, one size fits all bracelets or sparkly necklaces, you’ll find something for every Chick on your list.

And don’t forget, the FALL14 Coupon Code at my vintage/destash shop on Etsy gets you 15% off! 

C’est La Vie! Do What You Love!


Sunday, August 31, 2014

What’s Up? Steampunk and France!

It’s been a while, boys and girls.  My creative mojo has been on hiatus.  I took a French class.  I stressed out at work.  I visited friends and family in the Boston area.  I ate way too much. I read a lot.

Sometimes I feel like I stepped back from my inner life and my physical life.  I retreated.  Don’t know why.  These things sneak up and hide themselves in your head,  so you don’t realize you’re not doing anything--creating, exercising, thinking.  

But lately I’ve been getting creative again, making some jewelry and working on a Steampunk character.  For those of you who don’t know what Steampunk is, it’s basically a Victorian vision of science fiction--think  H.G. Wells and Jules Verne.  More recently, read the Leviathan series by Scott Westfield or Gail Carrigers’ Alexia Tarabotti books (which mix Steampunk with vampires and werewolves).  Steampunk is anything goes--from corsets to tricked out weaponry, top hats to gears as embellishments.  Characters range from scientists and royalty to adventurers and ladies of the evening.  We already have our reservations for the HRH Steampunk Symposium on the Queen Mary in January, so I’m gathering materials and making my costumes and accessories.

Cats are a big part of my character, Felina Reid’s, life, so they will figure in parts of my costume.  Like my hats--yes, those are cat ears!  

 
And the embellishment also features a cat pin.

Here some great shoes I scored at Goodwill yesterday:


I’ll be making a drawstring bag (and probably my skirt/bustle) out of velveteen fabric I used to use on my tables at craft shows.  The fabulous trim I found on Etsy.

We’re also planning a trip to France next year.  The Mom recently gave me a monetary gift to start a Paris fund.  I wanted to go next year for our 35th anniversary and this money gave that dream a big boost!  The Husband is a military history buff, so naturally wants to see the D-Day beaches in Normandy.  I’m a museum rat and flea market shopper, so that’s what I’m looking forward to in Paris.  You’d think the Louvre would be #1 on my list but it’s actually the Musee D’Orsay, since I love the Impressionists.  We also love to walk, so seeing Paris on foot is going to be exciting.  I remember walking in San Francisco--a walking pace at ground level allows you to see so many tiny, amazing details!  
 
I love the planning of a trip as much as the actual travel, so lately I’m either elbows deep in beads or French tour books.

I’ll keep you up to date on what I’m making and planning!

C’est La Vie! Do What You Love!

http://www.bearchick.etsy.com
http://www.bearchicksundries.etsy.com

Monday, August 5, 2013

How A Compulsive Reader Rolls

My name is Mare and I’m a compulsive reader.  When there are none of the below outlets for me to peruse, I read posters in the doctors office, signs in the windows of fast food places, those little A-frame advertisements on restaurant tables for seasonal drinks and desserts.  And I’ll read them over and over again until the doctor or the traffic signal or the meal arriving interrupts my obsession.  I’m not looking for a way to cure myself.  Far from it!  I’m embracing all the ways to read!

Books will never go the way of the dinosaur.  There will always be people like me and Captain Jean Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise who will have a soft spot for paper in this increasing age of technological libris. 



Or the people of Milton Keynes, who staged a campaign to empty their library of books, to show the evil town council the need for the Stony Stratford branch library (read story:   http://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/jan/14/stony-stratford-library-shelves-protest).

Our house is filled with shelves of books and piles of magazines.  I have a standing Saturday morning date at my local library, dropping off what I’ve finished that week and picking up new material.  It thrills me to be the first to put a Newly Acquired book on hold. Sometimes I stop into the bookstore on the ground level and a few times a year they hold book sales, too!  And still, this is not enough for me, the compulsive reader. 


I love the Kindle app on my phone, because even if I’ve found myself in a situation where I don’t have a real book (??!!), I always have something to read (yes, I always have my phone with me…).  I buy books for my Kindle that aren’t in the catalog of my local library.  What my library does have, though, are e-books you can download through Amazon to the Kindle app, which I’ve done several times.  Also, there’s a trend recently for authors to write short stories or novella’s exclusively as e-book content.  They usually run from .99 cents to around $5.99 and serve as welcome little treats between full books.  Read my latest Old School Mare blog post to see how I’m using my actual Kindle device for school: http://oldschoolmare.blogspot.com/2013/07/bonjour-mes-ami.html

  
I have a problem with magazines.  I find them a great temptation and, as stated, have heaping piles of them wherever I sit for more than 10 minutes…  When I bought the Kindle, I was hoping to use that for magazine subscriptions.  What I didn’t realize is that the black and white Kindles don’t support magazines…  Someday I will get a Kindle Fire but for now, my local library has a subscription to Zinio, an online magazine system.  Their selection is limited at this point but I have been able to access issues to read the one or two articles I was interested in without having to pay the $4 or $5 to do so.  Awesome!


The other thing I’ve been doing lately is getting books on CD’s at the library.  I download them to my phone and listen when I’m walking or at other times when I can pay them most of my attention (making jewelry, washing dishes, shaving my legs).  Usually, the books I find on CD’s are things I may not have noticed in my usual sections of the library (mystery and non-fiction/travel), like The Girls of Murder City about the women who the play and movie Chicago are based on and Then Again, Diane Keaton’s autobiography read with good humor and emotion by Keaton herself.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve gone to the Dark Side by embracing alternative reading methods.  My father ran a printing press for most of his working life (it was at a box factory, but a pressman is a pressman…) plus my Day Job is doing payroll for a local shoppers publication that has seen a sharp downturn in recent years.  But I think as the world changes, some things diminish and other things expand in a natural progression.  Writers still write and readers still read and the variety of ways we can partake of words and sentences and paragraphs will always keep the Force strong within us.

Do What You Love!

http://www.bearchick.etsy.com
http://www.bearchicksundries.etsy.com

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Snip Snip!

Here’s the biggest reason I refused to cut my hair short: Too many times I’d hear that once you get to A Certain Age, it’s time to cut your hair. Just like at A Certain Age, you buy your first bottle of Geritol and your first pair of orthopedic shoes. I always admired Dyan Cannon, who kept her hair long and fabulous way after she “should” have.

Of course, that was back in the day… Seems that now, anything goes--long (Demi Moore, Michelle Pfeiffer), short (Judi Dench, Jane Fonda), gray (Helen Mirren, bless her)… But still, I was dismayed when the urge to cut my hair veered into obsession mode. I didn’t want to look the dreaded Certain Age…


As much as I deny it, I am of that Certain Age when hair starts to suffer. Breakage left me with a fist full of strands after every shower and my hair started to feel a bit coarse and dry. Hot oil treatments and vitamin B complex have helped but I really wanted a fresh start with my crowning glory--excise the unhealthy, frizzy length and get the rest really healthy.

Over the course of a few weeks, I kept reminding myself that it was my hair--long, short or in between--people will form their opinions and those are none of my business. I’m just trying to be happy and healthy. Have I mentioned that my hair is an unusual purple shade? If I’m not worried about how people perceive that, why in the world worry about the length?! Sometimes, we make ourselves crazy over the dumbest things. I’ve heard it referred to as “unexamined beliefs” -- buying into something for so long and not giving it the thought required to determine if it’s true or, more accurately maybe, relevant.

So, I went to a chain salon to get my hair cut, having faith that it was the right thing to do and I’d find someone great to do the deed. I had a picture of Carla Gugino with just the style I wanted. Christina and I had a great conversation about how my hair would act with a cut like that, how I may have to use mousse, etc. and she made sure I understood it might not look exactly like the picture, which put me at ease, having proved she knew her stuff.


When she made the first big cut, about 8”, I felt so much lighter. And when she was finished cutting and styling, it felt totally natural. I let it dry on it’s own and the wavy curls I ended up with had a bounce and fullness my hair hadn’t had in a long, long time. The part is slightly off center--I’ve always had mine right down the middle--and it makes a nice, subtle change.


I don’t miss the length at all. At first, I was making that classic flipping motion long haired girls do without thinking, tossing hair back over their shoulders, but that didn’t last long. And it’s still just long enough to tie back if I want to. And it’s so much easier to take care of!! Wash, scrunch, go!

So, the moral of this story is: Just do it! Whatever it is you’re reluctant to do, stop holding yourself back and just do it!


Gotta go. Time to get my hair trimmed. See ya!


Do What You Love!




http://www.bearchicksundries.etsy.com

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Nose Art and Paintings and Sculpture, Oh My!

The Husband enjoys the heck out of the Palm Springs Air Museum. I admit, usually I zip through a few exhibits and go read in the café. But since we hadn’t been there in quite a while, I was a little more engaged because the set up had changed a bit and there were some new things. We ended up together in the café for lunch. Aside from the 105 degrees we braved to see the planes outside, it was a good visit.

Here’s some of the fun nose art on display:









This is a painting on tiles that local school children contributed their skills to. It’s a beautiful piece and I saw the image on t-shirts in the gift shop.


Doesn’t this sculpture make you want to go outside and leap around barefoot in the grass??

And here is the Tuskegee Airmen mural by artist Stan Stokes. I didn’t think I’d be able to get it all in the photo!


Here’s his blog, detailing the unveiling of the mural, attended by 7 of the Airmen themselves: http://stanstokesredtails.blogspot.com/

 

You can see a passel of Stokes’ murals and painting at the Palm Springs Air Museum, as well as the Ronald Reagan Library and the George HW Bush Library. Military art is his specialty but he also paints sailing ships and cool cityscapes with cats.
Do What You Love!



Monday, June 17, 2013

I’m Back~With Artful Things

So, my creativity has been at low ebb for a while. I guess we all go through this, at different times in our lives. The Day Job zaps energy and the will to create. I feel like I’ve been in a library-shaped cocoon, reading and avoiding the world. But lately, I’ve been jotting notes for things I want to write, create and, gasp (!) sew. While texting with a friend a few weeks ago, I looked up a cameo company online and bought a bunch, which will be showing up in my Etsy shop soon as necklaces and earrings and even pins (!). There’s a stash of fabric in my workroom and patterns I got on a super sale at JoAnn. And I’m even thinking of starting classes toward a general ed degree.

 

Right now, I just want to get blogging again. Expect to see art around town, book reviews (I’ve discovered a lot of new mystery series lately), new jewelry and just things I find interesting and think you might, too.

 

Last week, The Husband and I celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary in Palm Springs. Today, I’m going to post some art from around PS and their great art museum. The next blog will have nose art and some other paintings and sculpture from the Palm Springs Air Museum. Enjoy!

 

Here we are, posed beneath Marilyn Monroe in her iconic pose from The Seven Year Itch. This great gal, a huge sculpture by Seward Johnson, is quite a draw!



I knew you were wondering!


We saw this sculpture a few years ago and we’re still amazed by it. I keep expecting her to blink!


Full length



Her feet are so dang lifelike!


This is a performance art piece on a 12 minute loop. It mesmerized me. So simple--a woman holding a container of milk--but so fascinating. I think because it was presented as a piece of art on the wall, the fact that you could see her breathing and working to keep the container steady but dribbling on the floor and her black dress, it was like watching through a window. And she never looks up, never tries to make contact. Hmmmm, that does make me a voyeur?!



Here I am with Your Dog, in the front lobby of the musuem.



No explanation--just fun! I posted this on Facebook with the caption, “I’ll never get these dishes done!”, contributed by The Husband.



Loved this Glass House



Loved this Glass Man. His pants are concrete, I believe, but the jacket and the head are glass. The jacket and hood seems to have been painted, but the back of the shoulders and the face were left raw, creating the glow of light. Beautiful!



Face detail.



I was taken with these ornaments hanging above the second tier of the museum, even before we discovered that each of the 100 pieces holds a note or piece of artwork from artists all over the world.



And here’s The Husband, with a driftwood horse he admired.

And just to show that art and beauty are everywhere, here's a beautiful flower we saw on our way to the museum.  So bright and happy!!


Coming soon, The Palm Springs Air Museum!


Do What You Love!


www.bearchick.etsy.com


www.bearchicksundries.etsy.com

Friday, March 29, 2013

I *Sparkle* The Husband

I know it’s been a long time since I posted. Sometimes life intrudes…

But I have been a little creative. One thing I tried this year is a tunnel book.
Behold, The Sparkly Husband:


Working in layers is like a puzzle. I think I did the words backward, but it’s still readable.


 This technique is so limitless—you can use different papers or backgrounds for each layer. Words, stamps, photos, glitter, paint—oh my! The possibilities! Next time, though, I’ll sketch it out and do more pre-planning for color, placement and general design.



The Husband really liked his tunnel card and wants to try his own. He’s a master at pop up cards, so this should be easy for him. We’re planning a tunnel book day soon, maybe for some upcoming birthdays!

 
Do What You Love!




www.bearchicksundries.etsy.com