Tuesday, March 31, 2009
For those unfamiliar with Etsy, a Treasury is a page that any old user creates (or "curates" ) by choosing 12 items they love and listing them together on a page, usually with a theme, like "Bright Colors" or "The Ocean" or anything they see the items have in common. The Treasury remains up on the site for 3 days, I think, and it's just another way for buyers to browse through and enjoy all the beautiful things on Etsy! Here's an example of a Treasury.
I need to bookmark the Treasury Tool and check it daily, really. I thought about it today, put in one of my stores, and found out that, although it wasn't actually featured in a Treasury today, one of my items was waiting in the wings as an alternate! Fun!
I know for sure that one of my items was featured in a Treasury a few months ago because the 'curator' convo'd me to tell me, and I suspect another might have been at some point because there was one day my number of 'fans' went up at about 5x the usual rate. It's a dream of mine to one day be able to curate a Treasury of my own.
Right now it's hanging in my dining room, over the buffet. During different seasons I put small items on display on those handy shelves and drape silk flowers over the top of the window. Right now I have the metal and mirror piece hanging from two small nails to decorate it, instead.
I like the window on this particular wall because the painted hydrangea wall treatment shows through nicely.
Monday, March 30, 2009
I remember the day I stood in front of a convenience store clerk in Germany, dripping water onto the floor and sputtering incoherently. It was one of my "stray dog" moments -- an unexpected milestone. On that day, I was 23 and had spent the last six months as an exchange student, living near the big city of Cologne. If you had asked me before I set off on my overseas adventure what the most difficult part of the year might be, I would have said, "Learning to speak German," and my words would've been prophetic. I was an absolute beginner, but I’d studied, practiced, and even attended language courses upon arrival in my host country. Still, as prepared as I felt for the challenge, the reality was much worse than I’d imagined. I had no idea how much I’d taken for granted the ability to express myself and was completely unprepared for what it felt like not being able to converse with ease. It made me feel helpless and, somehow, anonymous.
When you travel on vacation, it’s novel -- fun, even -- to struggle with a foreign language. You often encounter friendly natives at hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions who are only too willing to help you along. But, when you face language difficulties day in and day out, month after month, and in everyday places like banks and libraries and grocery stores, where tourists don’t typically tread, it can get old, real fast. Naturally, you meet people who are busy and just want to get down to business, who view your lack of fluency as a problem and an inconvenience.
I had developed a pretty extensive vocabulary, but there was the issue of pronunciation: the pesky way things were upside down and otherwise different from English.“S” is pronounced “Z”, “F” is “V”, “ie” is “ei” and vice versa – and don’t even get me started on those articles. I had to concentrate very hard to get that verb on the end of a sentence, and I knew that if I forgot to use the formal "you" it could be very offensive. I always felt that, even if I knew the correct words, there were still literally a dozen ways I could say it wrong!
But more than the mechanics of the language, my problem was with the nuances of it. I had never realized how much of the art of conversing is in the colloquialisms, the framing of our words, and the artful stringing-together of phrases that can create things like tension, and curiosity, and humor. Try being funny in a language you're not fluent in -- I tell you, it can't be done!
I became accustomed to all kinds of little humiliations: people finishing my sentences for me because I was taking too long, echoing back my words to me, corrected, or turning to someone else and asking them, as if I wasn’t there, “Did you understand a word of that?” Strangers furrowed their brows as they listened to my strange accent and broken German. Sometimes they squinted their eyes, and looked me over from head to toe and back, as if trying to decide where I could possibly have come from!
I found myself waving my hands around, trying to communicate via improvised sign language. Once I had to ask in a store for saline solution but, since I couldn't find it in my German-English dictionary, I described it to a clerk as “water with salt in it, for contact lenses.” Then there was the time that, to my horror, I noticed that my host mother addressed me with a particular tone of voice -- and that it was the same one she used when she talked to small children, and the family dog! You know what I'm talking about. There were a lot of times I found it easier to just smile and keep my mouth shut.
Back home, even though I wasn’t what you would call a pushover, or a doormat, I often held my tongue out of fear. I was the type that would never have the nerve to ask for a raise, or get on my roommate’s case for leaving dirty dishes in the sink for two weeks. That year I was in Germany, I thought back to how silly it had been not to speak up in those situations. It should be easy to say what needs to be said when you have the power of language and comprehension behind you -- shouldn't it?
One day I was in the city doing some shopping. I hadn’t had the best day and was already feeling discouraged when the sky opened up and rain began to fall. It was very cold out, and I had no umbrella. I decided to cut the trip short and made my way to an unfamiliar streetcar stop. As I stood under an awning to wait, I scrounged through my purse for the fare and realized I was without any change, only large bills. This was a problem because the streetcar drivers didn’t make change. Then I spied a kiosk, a small convenience store, across the street. So, I ran to it in what was by then a downpour.
I walked into the kiosk, drenched. The clerk looked at me haughtily. I approached her with a brave smile and politely asked her to make change for my bill. She shook her head in response and gave a negative response: “nein.”
I was taken aback. Surely she’d misunderstood. I started over and slowly asked again, this time explaining that I needed change to be able to ride the streetcar. She gave me the same response, this time with an upturned nose and a dismissive look as she turned away.I gritted my teeth and looked around in defeat for something to purchase so I could get the change on the up and up, no favors.
I settled on a small pack of gum. I set it in front of her on the counter and handed her my bill. She took my money without a word and then slapped my change on the counter in front of me. I might have known there would be trouble when she hesitated a moment before removing her hand from it, smiling smugly. She had given me large coins as change, and, judging from that smile, she derived great enjoyment out of denying me the small change she knew I needed.
So many words rushed through my mind as I stood there in disbelief (all of them in English): I wanted to ask her how she could be so cruel? Didn’t she have a life? Did she enjoy torturing poor, defenseless foreigners?
I just knew she was only treating me that way because I couldn’t speak properly – she’d made the mistake of believing that just because I had a small German vocabulary, I had a tiny intellect in any language. It was so insulting, and so unfair!
That was when I had a life-changing moment. I opened my mouth and scolded her as best I could: a little English, a little German, and a lot in-between and incoherent. I wasn’t yelling, but I was talking very loudly!
She stood there with her mouth open. She wasn’t smiling anymore. She might not have been able to understand my words, but she did get my meaning. In fact, the look on her face was so satisfyingly startled that I was able to turn around and leave with dignity intact. I had some gum I didn’t want and I had to overpay the streetcar driver, but I also had a brave new voice. I vowed from that day forward I’d never lose it.
It has been over 20 years since that day, but I’ve never forgotten it. It was among the most memorable days of my life because it was when I made the decision to always say what needs to be said because I can: I have a voice, and I know the words.
I’ve had to take care of my aging parents and tell them things they didn’t want to hear; and then I had to say goodbye, and speak at their funerals. I’ve had difficult conversations with siblings. I’ve had to deal with bad neighbors, nasty coworkers, and hurtful friends. I crossed The Boss that no one crosses -- and lived to tell, with job intact.
I've taken some very unpopular stands, because of the principle involved. I've also spoken tender, encouraging, and loving, and apologetic words, risking personal pride, and vulnerability. And, you might have liked to have been a fly on the wall during some of the debates I've had with my professors at SMWC!
Whenever I get that heart-pounding, nervous feeling about a conversation I'm about to have, I think of that kiosk in rainy
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
This morning was almost like Christmas for me when I was a little girl: I awoke early (7 ish on a Saturday) and pitter-pattered downstairs to...feed the cat, let the dogs out, feed them, too...and eventually I was able to sit down at my computer, go to Random.org, and choose a winner for my "Breakfast at Tiffany's" prize package, which goes to (deep breath):
I want to send out my heartfelt thanks to everyone who entered this little giveaway. I wish you all could have won, I really do. I'm very happy to have made the acquaintance of the newest followers and hope to get to know you all much better in the coming days!
Friday, March 27, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
But anyway, my husband and son's "breaks" have overlapped one week, which has been fun. The other day I had a chance to get together with a good friend and her kids for a rare, mid-week visit. She was in the mood to craft but didn't have any special project in mind.
So, I packed up all my paper crafting stuff, and printed out a wonderful photo tag tutorial that Nikki had posted several weeks ago on her blog. You must go see her stuff -- it's great!
There were three of us - me, my friend and her 11 year old daughter (our sons were otherwise engaged) - and we each made two photo tag folders. We used my delicious Amy Butler paper by K&Company.
Here's the first one I did; I followed the tutorial and then I added to eyelet holes on each end, which I threaded some sheer ribbon through, for an extra touch.
Here's how it turned out:
This is my second folder:
1. What is your favorite type of soda (if you drink soda)?
I try not to drink soda. But, when I do partake, my current favorite is Diet Coke. I never, ever drink soda that's not diet - way too sweet (yuck!)
2. Do you believe in astrology? If so, what does your sign say about you?
I don't believe in astrology. I'm a Virgo with Leo rising and find some of the characteristics to be accurate.
3. Who is John Galt?
This question has been plaguing me since last summer, when one of the trainers at my gym said that the novel, Atlas Shrugged "changed her life." I was determined to read it to know why. But, even though I find Ayn Rand's writing lovely and entertaining, the story moves so slowly that I can't bring myself to finish it. So I don't know who John Galt is, and I fear I never will.
4. What is the last thing you do before you go to sleep at night?
Take off my slippers.
5. Who's your Daddy?
My father was a wonderful, handsome man - a World War II veteran, a carpenter, a husband, son, brother, and grandfather.
6. Jelly beans or Jelly Bellies?
I actually like the beans better. I'm not a stickler for all those different flavors and, like Professor Dumbledore, am always worried I'll get an ear wax flavored one or something.
7. What do you think about yellow car? Why car manufacturer actually made yellow cars?
Really, I don't care for yellow, pink, or purple cars. But, to each his own.
8. Holding on or Letting go?
9. What kind of underwear, if any, do you wear?
You don't want to know.
10. Who is your daddy and what does he do?
See number 5.
11. Spring - is it here yet??
Hardly. I live in Colorado.
12. Does Google Streetview scare you?
No. I don't scare that easily. I'm a mom.
13. What is your favorite brand of ice cream?
Dreyer's, or Haagen Dazs
14. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Dreyer's Rocky Road. And I wish Breyer's didn't exist, because people are forever confusing Breyer's and Dreyer's and I can't stand Breyer's.
15. Do you ever get tired of your everyday routine?
I do. At those times, I just need to get in the car and drive.
16. What inspires you?
Beauty, creativity, eloquence
17. It’s springtime-do you spend more time outdoors?
I will when it really is Springtime around here.
18. When do you think Bud will let us see the DVD of him and the french twins?
Um. Who is Bud?
19. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you, and why?
I have too many answers to this question. Today, I think I'd live in a beachfront home on Kauai. I love the pace of life there: slowwwww.
20. Why do you blog?
I blog because I love to write, and I love to read what others write, and I love to get into these conversations.
21. What are electrolytes and why are they good for us?
I used to know this.
22. Do you twitter? Why or why not?
Not yet...because I'm very busy and I don't want to start up something else that requires me to be on the computer, and I refuse to text.
23. What did you dream last night?
I dreamed I was at a huge music festival and I won a prize. When I went to claim the prize they didn't have that exact item, but they offered me a choice of some other stuff that was really fantastic. The prizes were all very collectible music and movie memorabilia.
24. What is the strangest thing you've eaten?
Alligator sausage. Blech.
25. What was the last picture that you took?
I photographed some paper art I made.
26. What is your favorite part of spring?
The sound of birds singing.
27. What is one thing that you did this past week that no one knows about?
I bought a fabulous antique mini, or lap, quilt at the thrift store. It's in muted colors, in silks, and although it has some condition problems, it is gorgeous and I had to have it.
28. What kind of bandages do you typically have in your household?
ALL kinds. My husband is always complaining he can never find one when he needs one so I have them in all the bathrooms, etc. Currently we have plain, flexible, special for blisters, Spongebob Squarepants, and Star Wars bandages, along with several first aid kits.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
In order to participate, you need to join up, visit 20 of the participating blogs (not hard - there are hundreds!), and then look at the prizes to decide which you'd most like to win.
I've taken a good, long look. My top 3 choices would be: Int 36, 58, and Int 68 (in that order.)
Besides those top three, I'd be thrilled to win: 2, 19, 21, 57, 57, 58, 88, 89, 101, 109, 123, Int 2, Int 7, Int 19, Int 23, Int 26, Int 33, Int 36, Int 57, Int 61, Int 66, Int 68, USC 5, USC 8, USC 16, USC 27, USC 57.
Of course, I'd love to win anything, who wouldn't?
This party runs through March 27, just like my own giveaway for "Breakfast at Tiffany's," which is open to all bloggers. So, go and have a look!
For beautiful pictures of her, visit Audrey's official site:
Monday, March 23, 2009
Besides the fact that José da Silva Pereira was Brazilian, not Spanish, I'm wondering where he and Holly might have found a bullfight to go to in Manhattan?
I'm just sayin'.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Julia was kind enough to give me my first blog award:
Five things I think are fabulous:
1. Reading. I don't talk too much about it on my blog because, let's face it, there's so much other stuff to talk about. But, reading is my first love. My idea of relaxation is to put my feet up and enjoy a good book. Libraries are among my favorite places. Jane Austen is my hero.
2. Being a mother. I did not have an easy time becoming a mother, and my journey included infertility, multiple pregnancy losses, and becoming licensed to adopt. Ultimately, I was able to have my son who is now 11 going on 12, and I'm thankful every day.
3. My husband. We'll soon be married 18 years and it's gone by in the blink of an eye. Here's just one of the things that makes him fabulous: he does ALL the laundry. Without being asked. Including hand washing if necessary. I think I've done about 10 loads in the last 4 years. He also folds it and puts it away!
4. Fettucine Alfredo, aka Heart Attack on a Plate. I know it's not good for you. How many of the best things in life are? I think Fettucine Alfredo is a food of the gods. I like it with a little garlic and no nutmeg. Put it together with tomato salad, garlic bread, and red wine, and you have my first choice for a last meal.
5. Blogger. I love this service -- it lets me publish this blog, upload tons of photos, connect with all you wonderful people, follow your blogs, and all for free.
Now, I'd like to pass this award on to some of my favorite reads:
Follow My Bliss
The Creative Ramblings of Mangy Cat
Design to Shine
All I Ever Wanted
You are all fabulous!
Saturday, March 21, 2009
The title Breakfast at Tiffany's was inspired by an anecdote popular among Capote's social circle about an out-of-towner who, upon being asked which glamorous New York restaurant he would like to visit, answered, "Well, let's have breakfast at Tiffany's".
It was George Axelrod who took Capote's novel and adapted it for the screen. To do this, he softened the language, sanitized Holly's call girl activity, added a few new characters, including unfortunately Mr. Yunioshi, and created a happy ending, among other things. When it came time to cast the film, Capote famously disagreed with the choice of Audrey Hepburn to portray Holly Golightly. His first choice was Marilyn Monroe.
Luckily for us, the part went to Audrey, who turned out to be the perfect choice. And an icon was born.
Friday, March 20, 2009
I see some buds on my lilacs, and the first bulbs are showing their green, barely. But that's it.
Here's what the landscape looks like around here (taken when we walked the dogs this past Tuesday):
That's Snoopy. Yeah, about the only thing green around here is my bright, flowery shirt!
I did see a nest or two in the bare trees.
It reminded me to remove the wreath from my front door, lest we get another bird family trying to nest in it like last year.
Here's something spring-like: the print from some draperies I'm getting ready to list in my Etsy shop:
I guess that will have to do me for now!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
1. The last flight of stairs you walked up/down - were the carpeted?
Ya-huh. They were the staircase in my home, and they are carpeted despite my cat Kyra's best efforts.
Green or purple grapes?
Either one as long as they're seedless.
3. Do you like Peeps?
NO! My family loves them but I think they're so gross.
4. The smell of Vicks - like it?
Yes; it's a good smell because it warns me to stay away from the person who smells like it = germs!
5. Do you put decorative cling-ons on your windows for different holidays?
No - it would scare the neighbors, don't you think?
6. Finish the sentence - I spent too much money on ________ .
German food. I visited a German deli with very authentic, delicious food the other day and went a little crazy on wurst and Milka chocolate.
7. Which celebrity should be flown into outer space or placed on a desert island?
This is a tough one. As far as I'm concerned, we should charter the space shuttle and/or a cruise ship to transport as many of them as possible.
8. Would you support schools changing the "open" time? Such as 10am - 5pm, for example?
I would; I think those hours work so much better for teenagers, especially.
9. Do you go fishing?
Well, I go along. My husband and son fish and I do other things. Like read, and take pictures. And hold back the dogs, who always want to fetch the floats. They also think the fishing poles are a big stick and we're faking them out when we cast.
10. What question should we ask next week?
I think you should ask, "What did you dream last night?"
How could anyone not like pastry? The only thing I can think is that it may have had something strange inside -- like marzipan. Lots of people don't like marzipan.
Anyway, I remember when I first saw the movie thinking she looked very glad to toss away her uneaten breakfast. I also remember thinking, "That's how she stayed so thin!"
In case you've never had the pleasure, here's the original trailer from the film:
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Here are the details of my giveaway: The winner will receive a new copy of the video of the film, "Breakfast at Tiffany's." They'll also receive this vintage print of a Central Park, New York landscape, from roughly the same period as the film (artist unknown.) And, as a tribute to George Peppard, I'm including this vintage, new handkerchief which is a checker pattern in a pale spring palette. Finally, the winner will receive this small bejeweled heart decoration, hand made and beaded by me, in the robin's egg blue that Tiffany & Co. made famous.
This giveaway is open to anyone who has a blog of their own! Here's what you'll need to do to win my "Breakfast at Tiffany's" package:
- Follow this blog by either clicking on "Follow Me" and completing the process, or by subscribing to this blog's RSS feed. (You can find the links for both of these in the sidebar/column on the right.) Then, post a comment here telling me you've done so. This gets you one entry in my giveaway. Already a follower? Post a comment and remind me that you are -- this counts, too!
- Blog about this giveaway on your own blog in which you include a link to this post. Then post that link in another comment on this post. This gets you one entry in my giveaway!
Please leave your comments for your entries on this post only no later than 11:59 Mountain Time (GMT -7) on Friday, March 27, 2009. On March 28, 2009, I will use the random number generator (or other random method) to choose the winner!
I hope you'll enjoy celebrating "Breakfast at Tiffany's" with me! Over the coming week I'll be posting more photos, facts, and trivia about the film I love so much.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
My first crazy quilt pillow...
One made from a 1940's cutter tablecloth...
and vintage button & trim.
More tablecloth pillows...
This one is from a vintage tea towel.
This one's completely stuffed with lavender; it also has antique french pom pom trim on the edges.
If you're new to my blog, please note that many of my pillows can be found in the coming days in my new Etsy shop, Twice Shy Restored. If you visit, please mark the store as a favorite and check back, or email me from the "Email me" link on the right sidebar for a particular pillow!
Monday, March 16, 2009
The plastic bins on the left contain (bottom) portraits and black and white, old family photos and (top) unsorted snapshots and Polaroids. The black box with the open lid contains packages of negatives, some with photos in them. The stack of snapshots next to it cover about 18 years.
Also in the photo are my scanner, a negative storage system I bought a while back from Creative Memories, and a light board for viewing the negatives. My HP scanner is very cool because it also scans negatives. I learned it works well on the typical 35mm negs; we'll see how it does with the older, smaller formats.
This project is something I committed to doing 4 years ago when my brother and I packed up the house my parents lived in for 38 years. I'm going to organize a lifetime of photos, catalog, and copy them. CDs will go to family and I'll distribute the originals wherever I see fit.
After that, the scrapbooking begins. That will be enough to keep me busy for years, don't you think?
When I saw that I was nearly finished with my coursework last week, I began to get all the photos out and sort them. I stopped working on it after a day or two because I couldn't take it anymore -- makes me miss my parents and times past. I'm getting ready to start up on the project again tomorrow and continue working steadily on it in the coming weeks.