Things I Won't Be Making In February

...mountains into molehills
...silk purse from a sow's ear
...a mess
...turtle soup

Did I miss anything? Let me know if I did in the comments section. And come February 1, check out all things I do make in February as part of the Thing-A-Day challenge.

Creatives, rise and be crafty!


Just Do It

Yes, I am committing to create one new thing a day for the month of February.
Yes, that is as insane as it sounds.
Yes, I'm also really looking forward to it.

And yes, you can too.


Dangerous Textiles

Thanks to upstatefancy, I just discovered something extremely dangerous which I am loathe to tell you about, if only because I don't wish to be blamed when things go wrong.

And by wrong I mean you end up with yet another closet full of fabric you can't possibly use in a lifetime, yet could not resist purchasing.

Was that too revealing about my own secret fabric stash?

Spoonflower is this fabulous service that will custom print, to order, cotton fabric with a design of your choice. By which I mean your design.

Okay, I need to start all over again cause I'm too excited to make sense.

Spoonflower allows anyone to upload their own designs and have them outputted on cotton MODA fabric. For $18 a yard.

Don't say I didn't warn you.


Crystal Healing

Not too long ago, I went with my friend Pam to the Museum of Natural History to check out their gemstones, crystals and mineral galleries.

I was inspired by a trip to the National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C., where they had, among many many amazing things, a HUGE chunk of quartz roughly the size of a 10 year old that took about 10,000 years to grow. Or something like that. Talk about good vibrations.

In addition to liking pretty, sparkling, colorful things, the exhibition totally brought out my long dormant inner science geek. I was fascinated by the variety and complexity of shapes that crystals form naturally.

The picture below is of Stibnite. The Museum of Natural History in New York has a (somehow, I think this word only works when written in caps) HUGE piece -- the biggest ever found I believe -- on permanent display. It's like crystalized silver. Both scary and beautiful, all at the same time.

Inside the mineral and gems gallery, it was all I could do not to throw myself on this giant amethyst geode.

For years I've collected mini-geodes, random pieces of raw crystals and gems with the idea that someday, I'll do something with them. These two trips were just the inspiration I needed to actually make good on that thought. I can't wait to get back to my studio and do something with these.


Let America Be America Again

I first ran this poem back in October 2007, but it seems especially fitting now. Thanks to Kimmchi for the fabulous photo of Fort Greene, Brooklyn on election night.

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek--
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean--
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.
O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home--
For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
To build a "homeland of the free."

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay--
Except the dream that's almost dead today.

O, let America be America again--
The land that never has been yet--
And yet must be--the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME--
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose--
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain--
All, all the stretch of these great green states--
And make America again!

-- Langston Hughes


Land of the Lost

I just found this earring in the back of my top dresser drawer.

Not lost, just waiting for its mate to appear. Which she will, some day. I know she will.

Are you there, jewelry gods? It's me, Susan.

I love(d) these earrings. I must have worn them for a month straight. I like(d) how they swi(u)ng from my ears. The flash of blue from the labradorite, the pearly grace notes. And then one day.....poof! No more fancy, just a sad little fan, all alone, under my dresser.

I refused to believe that I wouldn't find the other. So I tucked her in for a long hibernation in my top dresser drawer, hoping that absence would make magic and I'd be able to wear both again. Some day.

Obviously, that hasn't happened yet. It's been a year. I forgot she was back there (oh, fickle memory!)

But I believe.

I. Believe.


Between Friends

January, the red eye of winter, is the month of garnets.

Garnet's powers include healing, strength, and protection, perfect for withstanding long, dark and cold nights.

In earlier times, garnets were exchanged between friends to demonstrate their affection for each other and to insure that they meet again.

Perhaps too, they remind us that the heart beats steady and true, keeping us warm through the grayest time of year.


A Snuggie of My Very Own

Okay, so it's not the snuggie, as seen on TV. (Sleeves on a blanket...why didn't I think of that??).

But it is warm and soft and beautiful. The color makes me think of winter dawn. I think I've found my new knitting project! And did I mention that the pattern is free?

Although given how long my last project took...well, here's hoping I finish this one in time for next winter.

All praise to brooklyntweed for the links and the picture.


For Readers Who Write: Upcoming Submission Deadlines

Charmed Silver Shoes has posted a great list of upcoming submission deadlines for writing competitions in January and February. Now you really have no excuse for not fulfilling item #3 on your New Year's resolution list... Good luck!


Welcoming the New Year

One of the things I've learned from the big guy is to celebrate the new year all year. To be thankful for every new day that clears the horizon, to bless every minute we take a new breath. Birthdays are new years, as are anniversaries. Love can make a year new. So can tears. Gifts for any reason make a new year -- even if only for a moment. Hugs and kisses too.

Be kind to yourself. Love more than you think you're able. And have a happy New Year!

Thanks to jewelflyt for the photo.