Monday, October 24, 2016

International Day of Peace {Jewelry of the Month}

About month ago, D volunteered to be part of the International Day of Peace celebration here in Carmel. He handed out white roses before the service. Here he is with Father Rob, the rector from St. Dunstan's in Carmel Valley.

As an interfaith celebration, there was everything from a haunting kaddish to a Celtic litany and a Gaelic blessing. Father Rob shared thoughts on Dietrick Bonhoeffer's 1934 sermon "The Church and the People of the World"; there was also guided meditation by one of the monks from the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center.

The afternoon was both calming and invigorating. What a lovely, all-encompassing afternoon.

I was inspired to create jewelry this month that represents peace around the world. I selected stones to represent heaven and earth with the brown from Brown Opal, blue from Turquoise and Apatite, and both blue and brown in Amazonite. Each piece also includes a sterling silver dove and hangs from sterling silver earwires.

Peace I leave you. My peace I give you.
Not as the world gives, I give to you.
Peace I give to you.

Let not your heart be troubled and fear not.
In this world you shall have tribulations.
Take heart! I have overcome the world!

Peace I leave you. My peace I give you.
Not as the world gives, I give to you.
Peace I give to you,
Peace, my peace, my peace I give to you.

Monday, September 19, 2016

September 2016: Fire and Ice {earrings-of-the-month}

Just yesterday morning they let me know you were gone
Suzanne the plans they made put an end to you
I walked out this morning and I wrote down this song
I just can't remember who to send it to

I've seen fire and I've seen rain
I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I'd see you again

Won't you look down on me, Jesus
You've got to help me make a stand
You've just got to see me through another day
My body's aching and my time is at hand
And I won't make it any other way

oh, I've seen fire and I've seen rain
I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I'd see you again

I’ve been walking my mind to an easy time
My back turned towards the sun
Lord knows the cold wind blows it’ll turn your head around
Well, there’s hours of time on the telephone line
To talk about things to come
Sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground.

oh, I've seen fire and I've seen rain
I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I'd see you, baby, one more time again, now

Thought I'd see you one more time again
There's just a few things coming my way this time around,
Thought I'd see you, thought I'd see you fire and rain, now
Thought I'd see you just one more time again.

"Fire and Rain" ~ James Taylor

Everyone has a 9-11 story. Just as, depending on your age, everyone remembers where they were when President Kennedy was assassinated or where they were when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded. As I wrote, everyone has a 9-11 story. Here's mine.

I wrote most of this on the 10th anniversary of that life-changing day.

Flight 77 made an indelible mark on my life. When Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, claiming nearly 200 lives, including the life of Suzanne Calley, I lost a great friend and mentor. I watched her husband, Frank Jensen, grieve. I watched my husband grieve. And I grieved myself.

Jake and I were in Cabo San Lucas with friends for a week-long vacation when we began to see news footage of the Twin Towers in New York burning. Because we were in Mexico, all of the reporting was in Spanish. Later we discovered an English-speaking channel. And, probably, like everyone else in the world, we were glued to the television sets. Day and night. They even had the news playing down at the resort's pool. Cocktails, chlorine, and tragedy are odd bedfellows, but they got us through the week.

With all that coverage - including the victims' names scrolling across the bottom of the screen - you would think that one of us would have seen her name. Suzanne Calley. But, for whatever reason, we never did. The border closed and we were stuck in Mexico for longer than anticipated. The evening entertainment at the resort began to repeat and by the time "Jesus Christ Superstar" started up for the third time, we drew the curtains and the guys poured some more tequila.

When the borders finally opened, tourists trying to get home flooded the airport, but I think we were all leary of getting on a plane. Two plane rides and a shuttle bus later, we opened the door to our townhouse, dropped the bags on the floor, and collapsed on the couch. It was then that we noticed our answering machine blinking. 27 messages. Seriously.

It's all a blur now, but I distinctly remember hearing Frank's voice, strained, holding back sobs. "Where are you guys? Zanne would know where you are. Call me. I need to talk to you." That was the first message...and the fifth...and the fourteenth. All the same but with increasing urgency at each call. All wondering where we were and why we weren't returning his call.

Then the series of messages from other friends made it clear: "I'm watching the news and they said that Suzanne Calley died on 9-11. Is that the Suzanne Calley that we know? Call me." "Cam, are you OK? Can you call me? I saw on the news that Suzanne was on one of the planes. Call me." Everyone wanted me to call them. But my knees buckled and I fell to the floor. All I could do was focus on breathing through my tears. Inhale. Exhale.

I finally did make those calls. I took even more time off work. I went to her memorial in Gilroy. But it wasn't till Jake and I accompanied Frank and other family members to the official memorial at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., that it became real to me that I would never see Suzanne again.

Zanne was an amazing woman in so many ways. Her passions for life, for diving, and for Frank were evident in everything she did. We spent almost every weekend for two years with them, learning to dive ourselves and, then, because we had worked our way up through the certifications, as Frank and Zanne's divemasters. On our non-teaching weekends, we would go up to their home in San Martin, I would cook dinner and we would drink wine, talk, and laugh a lot. We traveled with them. We spent time at their alpine cabin, skiing and building bone-breaking bobsled runs. And it was on the divetrip that they organized off the coast of Venezuela that Jake proposed marriage.

Though joyous events begin to fill the void made by a tragedy such as this, the loss is no less tragic. I now have Riley and Dylan. Riley's due date was June 11th, 2002, a miracle pregnancy after 18 months of infertility. That is another story on its own. But you can do the math and know that I do believe in angels. Frank is remarried to a wonderful gal named Deb. We have celebrated other friends' weddings and births. Life has gone on. And though time has made the pain less sharp, I still miss her.

Well, it's been fifteen years. But I was inspired to create this month's pieces in honor of my friend. Zanne. 

Ladies, I hope you don't see these as a morbid inspiration. My life was better for having known her.

Your one-of-a-kind pieces feature smoky chalcedony, fiery agate, grey labradorite, moonstone, and more. All are handwired with sterling silver and hang from sterling silver earwires.

Monday, July 25, 2016

August 2016: New Beginnings {Earrings-of-the-Month}

Years ago, I captured this photograph of a nest while hiking in Modoc National Forest. And it popped into my head as I prepare to send my eldest off to high school in August. New beginnings. Big beginnings.

R is a bundle of excitement and nerves. He will be part of a pilot group, forging ahead to bring the International Baccalaureate program to the high school level here on the Monterey Peninsula. He's been immersed in the PYP and MYP programs at his other school, but this is a new beginning.

I still see him as this soft, little boy – most of the time – but I catch glimmers of his teenage self, with harder edges and a wee bit of tween ‘tude. He's gangly and awkward right now, but I am embracing each stage because it passes quickly. So, I’m facing this change and growth head on and enjoying the person he is becoming.

New Beginnings
The August 2016 EcoChic Designs’ Earrings-of-the-Month selections are made in the shades of these eggs, with turquoise, amazonite with flecks of earthy brown, and other gems...all handwired with sterling silver.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Beautiful Chaos {Earrings-of-the-Month}

My husband (lovingly) calls me the Goddess of Chaos.  My email address is – constantmotion. I am constantly moving, constantly creating, constantly striving, and constantly learning.

But the end of the school year is, inevitably, busier than the other 11 months of the year. And each and every May my life descends into chaos.

So, this month, I have made the earrings-of-the-month selections chaotic. I hope the gals find them beautiful despite the chaos.

The pieces are multicolored, multidimensional, and multifaceted. All are handwired with sterling silver and hang from sterling silver earwires. Enjoy…and don’t forget to breathe. Photos to come.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Ice Queen Bling {Pieces of the Month}

My family and I spent a week in Lake Tahoe for the boys’ Spring break. We sledded, snow-shoed, hiked, and just generally loved being in the Winter Wonderland.  Here we are after a day of exploring where Desolation Wilderness meets Cascade Lake. So much fun!

One afternoon atop Mount Rose summit, overlooking Lake Tahoe, I noticed small icicles in the pine needles. The sunlight was hitting them just right to make them sparkle like diamonds.

I saw there, under the trees, for what seemed like hours. It was probably only fifteen minutes; but it was cold. I waited for snow to melt to catch the droplets.

Inspired, I decided to create my April pieces in crystal, silver, and deep green. Enjoy!

I'll post photos of the pieces soon. Notice I wrote "pieces." I have some subscribers who have been part of the earrings-of-the-month club for five years. They have more earrings than they know what to do with. But, not wanting to miss out on the jewelry fun, I have migrated them over to a bracelet and a necklace subscription. So, if you ever get tired to receiving earrings, that is an option!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Happy (Almost) Spring

I’ve always loved tulips. At my wedding sixteen years ago, my bridesmaids carried bunches of tulips with ribbons wrapped around their stems. I commissioned a local artist to create a sterling silver parrot tulip ring for me years ago. I wear it all the time.

To me, tulips represent Spring which, in turn, represents rebirth and renewal.

I love that they are equally beautiful in the garden as they are, singly, in a vase or as part of a larger arrangement. They are statuesque, graceful, and vibrant.

So, this month, I have made the earrings-of-the-month selections tulip-themed.

Some of the gals are getting handmade lampwork glass tulips from an artist in Oregon (Serena Smith Lampwork); some are getting sterling-over-brass sculptural tulip beads; and some are getting pieces with gems that are my favorite colors of tulips.

Enjoy…and Happy (Almost) Spring.