Thursday, May 29, 2008

coulda, shoulda, didn't

Tamarack Mosaic
Originally uploaded by secondsister

I really should have stayed home and cranked out some jewelry orders today. I could have planted more hollyhocks behind the rose and cut back the ground cover. I really should have gotten some wash done. But I didn't. What the hell.

Ode to Laundry

Oh laundry, how I hate you.

I hate your stale smell.

I hate the way you crawl, seething up the wall.

I hate the way you lurk in dark corners and behind doors, waiting always waiting.

I hate the way the very sight of you makes me feel.

You take away my peace.

You rob me of my contentment.

Someday, I will conquer. I will tame you like the wild beast that you are.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

manual labor wednesday

Today is a yard day. I have saved all the muscle jobs for my brother to do. We are headed to the nursery and down to the beach to pilfer some large rocks. I plan on having a very hard working, satisfying day. Sugar Daddy is lawyering at his office so I will have my brother to myself.

Here is a little something for you to enjoy while I work. This man makes me happy.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Los Angeles

Los Angeles
Originally uploaded by secondsister
Mr. Hotty Mc Hot Stuff (my little brother) is in town for the week. We spent the day in L.A. at the Farmer's Market and Olvera Street. I can't say it was worth the drive to get there, but we did see some fun stuff.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Today is overcast and sprinkling a little. It is a good day to play quiet games and work on jewelry.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

rosarita and the three amigos

The story goes something like this. My brother dated Natalie (a.k.a. Rosarita refried beans girl) for some years. They did everything together, even mundane tasks like packing sack lunches and nail grooming. Essentially, they acted like a married couple, but for reasons unbeknownst to anyone, or at least anyone I know, they broke it off a couple months ago. While the two of them are for sure not dating anymore, our family has yet to break up with Natalie. It was all just a little too abrupt for our liking. We need time accept these types of things. We're tender that way.

I am starting to get used to the idea, but Natalie and I still talk on the phone and email occasionally. She called a few weeks ago and said that she was coming to town with some "friends" and could I recommend any good beaches? Well let me tell you, when I found out that the "friends" were three guys I developed the most irritating tick in my right eye. And of course, I had to be gracious and invite them to dinner, which I thought might be kind of uncomfortable considering the unabashed nasty looks I would be giving them, freaky ticking eye and all.

Well, they came. I have to say, I was expecting something a little more along the lines of my brother. See photo 1a.

Yes, I know my brother is hot and yes, that thought kind of grosses me out. No, I was not so lucky to inherit the same wonder genes.

This is what walked through my door.

Eric, Jake & Jeremy

They fought amongst themselves like brothers. They told dumb jokes and I think one of them peed without washing his hands before dinner. In short, they were hilarious.

They were asking every girl they could find who was the most attractive of the three. Was it Eric, the tall cerebral Indian? Maybe Jake, the most serious, and muscular of the three. Or was it Jeremy, with his all-American good looks and goofy antics? I wasn't quite sure how to answer this question. Maybe you will. Please vote on the poll to the right if you feel so inclined.

The story continues and involves a seedy motel by the Mexican border, indigestion via Vietnamese food and three smelly bodies sleeping in my living room. But for now I will just say that I found myself rather amused by the three amigos and was glad to have met them. It was great to see Rosarita for a few days, and I truly hope she can find love again, if not with my brother, then with one of her crazy friends. I have already paired her up with Jeremy in my mind.

Jeremy, Jake, Eric & Natalie

If you are interested in actually going on a date with any of the amigos, leave a comment, I'll see what I can do.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

design sunday

Today is all about European jewelry artisans. If you are into this type of thing, like I am, definitely check out Deep Fling. It is a store here in Carlsbad that only carries Scandinavian jewelry. It took me a while to narrow down my favorites. I finally decided to feature artists that I plan to buy from in the near (meaning if and when my Etsy sales allow) future.

Rosa Templin Bunny Necklace

German designer Rosa Templin is celebrated in Europe for her playful, imaginative, and delectable looking jewelry. Her pieces have stories to tell, sometimes romantic, sometimes pure fun, always delightful. These creations are available in the United States only at the Shop in the Garden.

Polly Wales Hand cut Silver and Felt Earrings

After graduating from the Royal College of Art, London based Polly Wales put her creative juices to work and began crafting her own jewelry label. The talented designer works with a variety of materials including semi precious stones, resin, metals, felt, crystals, and even bread. Wales’ designs run the gamut from bracelets, brooches, rings, to earrings, with each stunning piece possessing a modern, eclectic feel. The artist also plays up her pieces with bold contrasting colors, making for a neat and striking effect. Although I am not a big fan of her other design styles, I have been drooling over her hoop earrings for months now.
Her earrings are available at Barney's New York.

Anne Black Porcelain Jewelry

The young designer Anne Black, is one of Denmark's most influential and contemporary ceramic designers. Each piece in her collection, distinctive for its shape, is decorated with a number of different graphic perforations, decals, hand paintings or a combination of these applied designs. Anne's approach to porcelain is uncompromising. Each product is unique, crafted by hand, and of high quality materials.

I bought my first Anne Black piece just a few weeks ago from Deep Fling. It is a flower necklace with little periwinkle squares. I love it. I have my eye on some of her bowls for my next purchase.

Friday, May 16, 2008


I am officially addicted to hydrangeas and have been most of my adult life. I am up to ten plants in my yard. All of the above photos were taken at various spots around my garden except the top left hand photo. It was taken on Alcatraz Island of all places. I am going today to pick up two more plants. A girl can never have too many hydrangeas.

This is a digital piece of art I have been working on. I took a photo of my hanging fuchsia plant and played around with it. I think the end result looks like a photo from a 1960"s gardening book. I want to send it off to be printed on cotton paper.


And a little later in the morning. . .

I finished my post and set about my day. I was standing in my closet trying to pick out what to wear when a few things caught my eye. If you have seen the movie To Kill a Mockingbird or Amelie, you will recall that each movie has a box that is filled with a child's prized possessions. I did a blog a while back on my son's treasures. I am extremely interested in the things people keep in their bureau drawer. I think if you really want to know someone, you should ask to look through their valet tray. Here are a few things from Sugar Daddy's stash. The thing that stood out to me today is that the things he keeps in his drawer, don't represent who he really is, but more who he would like to be in another life.

A set of brass knuckles, a harmonica, a vintage Russian watch, a Blues CD, a pocket knife, Faconable cuff links I gave him for Christmas, a Zippo lighter, swim goggles and left over cash from his trip to Nicaragua.

So according to his valet drawer, I'm married to a member of the Russian mafia, who smokes, but takes pride in his appearance and listens to Blues. He may or may not have traveled to Nicaragua to do a hit.

Sounds just like the straight arrow attorney I know and love.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

the birds and the bees

We have this really great enclosed patio. When we were looking for a house to buy, the patio sold us on the house. Someday I'll give the Mabel Campbell tour of all my plants on the patio, but today's story isn't about plants.

A mother bird has taken up residence behind the curtains. So far, she has been a pretty good tenant. Her nest is very tight and tidy, she doesn't poop in the surrounding area and she has a very sweet little chirping song. Every morning she perches in the Japanese maple and sings and stretches her wings. She has, however, made it difficult for me to enjoy my patio. Every time I go out to sit on the couch and have a cold drink, I get majorly told off in bird talk.

This morning, curiosity got the best of us and Sugar Daddy got the camera and a mirror. I'm guessing they only hatched a day or so ago.

Yesterday was a work in the yard day for me. I put in several new plants (photos to follow in a few days). The beast and the boy love to follow me around as I work. Thomas is a good helper and Finn, well let's just say the neighbors got an earful.

The boy is OBSESSED with bugs, much to my chagrin. I think he has three or four bug jars going right now. How anyone can like an earwig is way beyond my comprehension. He is especially interested in bees. I have been warning him for weeks now not to mess with bees. I guess it's just one life's lessons, like hot stoves and baking chocolate, that a kid has to learn by himself. So yesterday, as I was easing my new mini rose tree into it's new space in the soil, I heard the tell tale blood curdling scream of a stung child.

Five minutes of tears and a Popsicle later, he was fine. It didn't even swell. It is something to be able to be a stay-at-home mom and experience all the little things that make up life in detail with my son. I feel blessed. Blessed to know that my son isn't deathly allergic to bee stings but more so because the birds and the bees we are dealing with today are just that- birds and bees.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

in search of maggie

Navajo child wearing traditional jewelry.

My husband's family has their roots in the West. His ancestors were Native American with names like "Shot in the Eye". I gather they were a motley crew, but had an aesthetic eye for the fine art of silversmithing. The entire family, including myself, like to buy, wear and ogle Indian jewelry. There are a few squash blossom pieces that have been passed down from previous generations. They haven't made it into my jewelry box yet, and may never come my way, being just a daughter-in-law. Over the last ten years I have been adding to my own collection. A trip to Sedona usually sets me back more than I want to mention here, so I started making my own pieces similar to the things I have seen.

Santo Domingo Pueblo Earrings

Turquoise slab earrings are a very traditional native American style. It happens to be my favorite style, and I own three pairs. Because Santo Domingo Pueblo is located near the ancient Cerrillos turquoise mines, the village people have a distinguished history of making fine jewelry and heishi. The Santo Domingo people are highly skilled in the art of shaping turquoise. I would love to learn how to shape and polish turquoise, but until then, I want to support the native people by buying directly from them.

The best slabs to be had (in my opinion) are made by a woman named Maggie Garcia. I have been trying to track Maggie down for some time. She is a fairly allusive character. I like her slabs because the tend to be thicker than others and thus more stable and less likely to break. In the past, I have bought her turquoise beads through a retailer, but I would really like to deal directly with her.

Here is Chief Medicine-Crow sporting some slab earrings. They look to be either shell or spiny oyster.

I had never given much thought to the injustice that the Native Americans suffered until I married into my husband's family. It is however, a common topic when we are together and I find that now, I am just as passionate about it as the rest of them. I love the passive defiance of the woman in this photo. Notice the American flag used as window covering.

The news from the home front is that this Friday is Father's and Son's Camp Out. That means that yours truly will be 1: going out for sushi 2: watching a Doris Day movie 3: shopping for gems on Ebay into the wee hours 4: sleeping-in 5: going for a long run and 6: shopping. What can I say? The boys need to bond, so I'll graciously let them go.

My Boys

Monday, May 12, 2008

protect this girl

This is how neurotic I am: When I heard about the earthquake in China this morning, I wondered about our birth mother. Did she live in the Sichuan Province? Was she okay? If she does live there, did she loose anybody she loved?

China is so massive that the chances that our birth mother even felt the quake are slim, but I have come to identify anything Chinese as relating to our adoption. Everything seems personal. Chinese traditions and culture have become part of our family, who we are.

I wish I could send a tiger hat to our birth mother. I wish I could hold her hands and tell her that we think of her often and pray she migh have health, happiness, courage and safety.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

design sunday- happy mother's day!

This Mother's Day I am featuring an adoptive/bio mom who is selling hand sewn baby products to help pay for another adoption of a little girl from Ethiopia. I have heard that slings are the one of the most comfortable ways to carry a child. I want to try one out when we get Mei Mei.

Small Wish

Friday, May 09, 2008

1234, tell me that you love me more

The day didn't go very well. Nothing serious, just a series of little things that ticked me off. But how can I not smile when the boy sings Feist in the shower?

And in jewelry news. . .

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

swim caps make everything better

Lord have mercy, it's swimsuit season again and this year I'm sporting an extra ten pounds. It's not that I don't want to work out. I try to exercise five days a week. The thing is, I like to eat. A lot. I hear people say nothing tastes as good as skinny feels. Well they obviously haven't tried cardamom-infused dark chocolate truffles. And that's just for starters.

I guess I just need to take my button-poppin', muffin toppin', pot-bellied body to the gym for an extra hour.

Monday, May 05, 2008


We went boating last Saturday on Mission Bay in San Diego. This photo pretty much sums up the day. We laid basking in the sun, eating potato chips and Twizzlers while Captain Andre scampered around the boat. As we passed these seals one of them lifted his head long enough to glance at me with a look that said, "Oh yeah, you know you want some of this." It was a great day.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

design sunday

Today I want to introduce you to a photographer whose work I find mesmerizing. I have purchased a couple of her photos. I hung them in my laundry room with my ceramic double happiness. It makes the dreaded task of doing the laundry a little easier.

As is usually the case, I found her on Etsy. It is worth taking a few moments out of your day just to look at her fabulous images.

Friday, May 02, 2008

winging it

A family of birds has decided that the top of our chimney is the perfect place to live. They sing all day long and their sweet little warbles echo down the aluminum pipe and spill out into our family room. It makes me happy.

Did you know that baby birds babble like humans before singing?

Thursday, May 01, 2008


Nothing can drive me to insanity faster than losing something. It's one of those things that enrages me mostly because I have no one else to blame. When I was little, I simply accused other family members of stealing to save myself some discomfort. I still occasionally try this tactic, with little success.

A while back, my brother bought me a couple Japanese prints. One was by Katsushika Hokusai, one of my all time favorite artists. I am especially taken with his piece called "The Great Wave".

I have hunted and hunted and hunted. I can't remember where I "safely stored" those prints. It has kept me awake at night. At 2:32 am last Tuesday night, my eyes popped open. I laid there with a sweaty back and listened to the chorus of deep breathing from Sugar Daddy and Fin. I mentally searched the house for the prints. I strained to think of new places I might not have checked. I got nothing.

The next morning I sat at my work bench still thinking of my missing prints. The Hokusai Wave earrings were born.