Thursday, February 28, 2008


Today I cleaned out my son's nightstand drawer. He says it is his "safe keepin'" place, where people can't get it. What people he is concerned about we're not quite sure. Amongst numerous candy and bubble gum wrappers (household contraband) this is what I found:

One Spiderman valentine from Grandma and Grandpa
One small tub Winnie the Pooh lip balm
Four unsharpened pencils with various themes
One tongue depressor with magnets glue on the end
One sea shell
One SpongeBob plastic wallet
One half painted wooden rocket
One plastic pizza box holder upper
One Chucky Cheese token

The token is an enigma. We have only been to Chucky Cheese once, when he was like two or something.

I also found this set of drawings that I thought very curious. I wonder if he was experimenting with facial expressions or could this be his first attempt at journaling?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Rocket Boys

If you read Homer Hickam's memoir or saw the movie "October Sky", you know what a rocket boy is. My dad was, or I should say, is, a rocket boy. Throughout his youth he and a group of buddies were fascinated by rockets and space. As any mother could guess, many shenanigans ensued.

My son just got his first rocket this week. It is all assembled, gleaming white with red racing strips and waiting on his dresser for the big lift off.

My dad is still letting off rockets. He is an aerospace engineer. I wonder if my son will follow in his path.

I just finished and posted this ring today. I have several special orders that I am also trying feverishly to complete. I really hope I can get all caught up this week.

And then there's the laundry. . .

Monday, February 25, 2008

double happiness

Amy's Twins

Part of our adoption home study included "parenting" classes. It came to light three quarters of the way through the course that the teacher, in fact, had no children of her own. No wonder she was an expert on parenthood.

Anyway, one of the good things to come out of the whole deal was that I made a really good friend. Amy and her husband had been waiting for two years for their referral. She was desperate to become a mother. She was jaded by years of infertility. And then things changed.

Amy and Tim finally received a referral, for not one, but two baby girls, twins in fact. I had made Amy a necklace with a cherry blossom and the Chinese name she had picked out which means cherry blossom. I had to quickly add another link with a second name! Katy and Julia have since entirely taken over Amy's gorgeous, sophisticated house. I'll just mention that now, there is a rather large train track encircling their grand piano.

We get together every now and then and I love to see Amy mother her two rambunctious little china dolls. She is a natural.

I think often about the twins, because they are so cute and the story of their adoption is special, but also because, in my mind, Mei Mei has taken on the likeness of Amy's girls. When I dream about her, she looks just like them. They give me something semi concrete to hold on to.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

design sunday

Ahhhh, here we are again, Sunday afternoon. Designer day. This week I picked one of my absolute favorite Etsy sellers. Designer Hadley Fierlinger began creating baby knits in 2002 after a move to New Zealand inspired her to work with native merino wools. Over the years has attracted a small but faithful following of customers who love the simplicity of vintage style and natural fibers. In 2006, expanded into selling knitting patterns. These patterns are available as a PDF download or as a printed booklet.

I purchased the pattern for the floral wrap sweater and the pixie hat. I bought 5 balls of the most luscious cashmerino yarn in pale pale pink and handed the whole project over to my mother-in-law who happens to be a talented knitter. I am sure Mei Mei will be absolutely irresistibly cute in the ensemble.

Why is it that I am so completely ga ga for handmade baby items?

I have also decided that I must, must, must have this precious car coat.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Ish Kabibble

I come from a long line nicknamers. Everyone in my family has a nickname. My mom stayed with us for a week and for some reason, unbeknownst to us all, started calling Thom (a.k.a. The rodent, a.k.a. Mr. Bean, a.k.a. Tommy B) Iscabibble.

Me: "Mom, what's up with that name? Where's it from?"
Mom: "What? Iscabibble? Oh, I don't know. Grandpa called him that last time you were out."
Me: "Well, like, where is it from? It sounds Jewish."
Mom: "You know Grandpa, he has all kinds of names for everyone. Fits him though, don't ya think?"

Well, actually, it kind of does.

But I really did want to know where the name came from, so I did a little sleuth work online. It turns out the name "Ish Kabibble" shows up here and there throughout time, in children's books and music. I think, however, that it is most likely that my grandpa heard the name on the radio.

Ish Kabibble was the nickname or stage name of Merwyn Bogue (born 1908), a comedic singer and trumpet player for Kay Kyser's swing band on a radio show in the 1930s.

I also read on one website that “ish kabibble” is Yiddish for “I should worry?”

I was able to snap a few jewelry pics when the sun finally came out yesterday, right before it went down.

Friday, February 22, 2008

and the rain came down. . .

Rainfall to a child:
Drops of water, coming from
God's watering can.
by Dave Seaman

So many jewelry photos to take, so litttle sun to do it in.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

rita hayworth earrings?

I have been toying with the idea of starting a new line of jewelry commemorating Hollywood as it was during the 30's through the 50's. I find inspiration comes easier for me when I concentrate on a specific subject. My first collection was the Cousteau collection in which I experimented with the surreal form and colors of sea life. I have also been continually adding to my Jane Austen collection and of course my adoption line. About a year ago I started making pieces that resemble the Native American jewelry that I see when we go to Sedona. My Chinese inspired pieces could be considered a loose collection, although I don't think of them as inherently connected.

Jane's Bonnet Earrings- Jane Austen Collection

I have always loved the glamour and mystic of old Hollywood actresses. I don't know, however, if glam and sparkle are the kind of elements I want to add to Secondsister jewelry. I've always leaned more towards rustic and worn. It's an idea that, like so many others, will probably rattle around in my skull for sometime before I do anything about it.

Monday, February 18, 2008


soundtrack for today

Spent today getting caught up on special orders and chatting with the Craft Queen (my mom) who flew in from the cold North on Saturday. I have never known a time when my mom wasn't working on a project. I got a healthy dose of her craft genes coupled with the hobby genes from my father. I have, what I like to call "do-it-yourself deoxyribonucleic acid" (DIY DNA for short).

My mother will be spending the week here in "paradise", and I am so glad to have help with The Rodent. Do all boys become exceptionally messy at four and a half? In the last 48 hours I have cleaned up spills of Tang, flour, dirt, muffin crumbs, sand, Playdough, Legos, Cheetos and Gatorade. I also found a cup full of worms next to his sink and a booger smeared on my sofa.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

broderie anglaise

When I just can't look at another bead or piece of silver, I come in from my work bench, put on my pajamas and break out the needle crafts. I have been working for some time on two crocheted blankets for Mei Mei. I love the rhythm of crochet. The in and out of the needle, the pull and tug of the yarn. I like to nestle in the corner of my large sofa and watch Nova or Project Runway, crochet and snack on things I shouldn't be eating at night- like sour patch kids or milk duds.

Sweet Pea Blanket

Spumoni Blanket

Recently, I have been dabbling in English embroidery (broderie anglaise). I find it very relaxing. My work tends to be less English and more modern American doodling. For my next project, I want to make a watch with an embroidered band. Keep an eye on my etsy shop!

Keep a green bough in your heart, and a singing bird will come!

-Chinese Proverb

Monday, February 11, 2008

Tales from the Workbench

I have been working away at my bench, trying to get caught up with all the orders. I have this really great friend who is launching his own design firm. We are working together to create a new secondsister logo and brand. Hopefully, there will be some changes to my shop and blog over the next week. I have been a little surprised at how much thought and time goes into creating a brand. I have been looking through design book after design book. My mind feels a little fuzzy over the whole thing. I decided to offer to make his wife some jewelry. I will post the results of that venture in a day or so.

I love quiet mornings at my work bench when the sun streams through the window and lights up my space.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


I have decided, that every Sunday I will feature artists that I deem noteworthy. It empowers me that in this little world that is my blog, I am queen, president and chief bottle washer. I call all the shots. This isn't the case in every other facet of my life. And so- "henseforth, Sundays shall be design day!", speaks the queen.

I have ordered two amazing paintings from this artist. Her work is absolutely magical. This is how she describes herself and her art:

"I, Alison Whittington, am a freelance writer and artist currently living in the Tidewater area of Virginia, but am originally from the west coast, California and Nevada, and count Philadelphia as my second home. I am crazy about vivid colors, incredible adventures, intriguing stories and magical settings. One of my many dreams is to build my own sailboat or ship and sail around the world. I don't know how to sail yet, but I'll learn."


Friday, February 08, 2008


I started out the new year with a bang. My "New Year" necklace was featured on the front page of Etsy and so my sales took a nice jump. I spent two hours at the gym, boxing and spinning. I visited one of my favorite bead stores in San Diego and took The Boy to get some pho' for lunch. He had a strawberry smoothie, I had a "three beaner"* I was crafty enough to get out of making dinner at home by offering to take a sick friend's children out to dinner. I am such a giving, service oriented person when I can somehow work it to my advantage. Note to self: work on true selflessness, starting next year. I had movie night with Sugar Daddy and watched a documentary on the very twisted artist/novelist Henry Darger. It was a good day. I hope it is an omen for the year to come.

Illustration from Realms of the Unreal by Henry Darger

*See cucina chronicles

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Rats & Traditions

Welcome to the year of the rat! Today is officially Chinese New Year. I was so happy to see that Nick Jr. has a new show starting today called Ni Hao Kai-lan celebrating Chinese culture. I hope The Boy likes it. It could be a great way to expose him to all things Chinese. I am going to San Diego to one of our favorite Chinese bakeries to pick up some yummy treats for dinner.


Last year I made a necklace in celebration of Chinese New Year, so I decided to start a new tradition and I made another one this year. This is the year of the rat, however, I decided to stick with using a dragon because, after all, it is hard to find a nice looking rat. Not that there is anything wrong with rats. Sugar Daddy is a rat (in the zodiac sense only).


Monday, February 04, 2008

To see or not to see. . .

If I ever get pulled over in my car I'm really going to be screwed. My drivers licence says I'm supposed to be wearing glasses to drive. The thing is, I lost my glasses like- I don't know- two years ago.

The problem is my vision isn't so bad that it bothers me. I am near-sighted, ( or maybe far-sighted, I never did remember what is what) so I can see pretty good up close and things far away are just slightly fuzzy. But I really don't want to get in trouble with the law, and it would be nice to see every mole and sweat bead on the silver screen, so I broke down and ordered some new glasses. I went for very non-conservative frames, because
after all, I couldn't pass as conservative taking the sacrament on Sunday, and I like spice.

So here they are, color 08, eggplant purple. They are called "Gal Friday", and the company slogan is "Eye wear for the irreverent and slightly jaded". Sounds about right for me. Anyway, the frames on eyebobs aren't very expensive and they have great styles. I am planning on ordering some magnifying glasses to help me see all the teeny tiny silver pieces I look at for hours at a time.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

gong xi fa cai!

Tell me, how does one go about writing the first entry in a new blog? Introductions seem superfluous, you can read about me elsewhere on this site.
Maybe I will start with a few disclaimers. First off, let me just say right now that I am essentially anti-grammar. People rarely speak in full grammatical sentences, and because I intend this blog to become a "stream of consciousness" of sorts, I refuse to adhere to, what I perceive as, constricting grammar rules. SPOGG members beware. *
Secondly, I have come to the conclusion that many people create blogs as a forum in which it is socially acceptable to brag. I am no exception. I think my family is wonderful, my art meaningful and my taste impeccable. But there is a small caveat here. I also know that my family is far from perfect, indeed sometimes down right weird. At times, I have extreme insecurities about my jewelry and other artistic ventures. As for my taste, well let's just say I've been told by those near and dear to me that I tend to get eccentric every now and then. SO- just know that although my posts may sound rosy most the time, I'm here at home, unloading the dishwasher, kissing hurt knees, worrying about our adoption and screaming at the dog (I find I am more of a "dog screamer" than a "dog whisperer").
*These people need to feel the exhilaration of breaking a rule every now and then.