Google Tips for finding International Vintage Clothing

Street Market in Florence (c) cynicRMV via Flickr

Over at the {NewNew}, Kari of ikyoto.etsy.com just posted a great piece about How-To Find Foreign Thrift Stores & Flea Markets.

When I started planning my first trip to Italy this spring, the Wardrobe Refashion Challenge seemed like an excellent excuse to seek out ways to buy used and handmade garments as souvenirs. Thrift stores and flea markets are some of my favorite places to shop at home, and at first, finding these options abroad was proving challenging. I like to shop in smaller cities with an eye for bargains and an element of the hunt, but many of the shops whose information was available in English or had been blogged by foreign tourists seemed a little pricier and in major cities...I had trouble finding anything there to suit my taste until I discovered a few foreign language search tricks.
Using a few easily-mastered techniques, she found a some cute finds in a couple of really great markets. Read all about her adventures at thenewnewny.blogspot.com


Solar Herb Dryer

Over at craftzine, they've published instructions for how to make this solar herb dryer by renowned green architect Michelle Kaufmann . Aside from the fact that it's practical, I love that you could hang this on a ktichen wall (not flush, but with a bit of space to let air circulate) while its drying for decoration.

Made with reused materials including a wooden picture frame, wire mesh, and 4 old wine corks, the dryer is not only functional but lovely to look at as well. Herbs grown and dried at home are by far superior in flavor to their store-bought counterparts, and they make great gifts when combined with crafty packaging.

Get the full low down and how-to at http://blog.craftzine.com.


Juicy Summer Jewelry

I love Watermelon Tourmaline. Not only does it have a great name and good energy -- it attracts love by balancing energy -- but it's really really pretty. The green crystal feeds your life force, while the pink soothes and harmonizes. Which, one might argue, is not too far from how a deliciously juicy slice of watermelon feels on a oven-baked summer afternoon.

Newly posted at persuede.etsy.com, earrings to go with the starburst confetti necklace on a sterling silver chain.


In Nostrand Park!

Check out the great write up -- featuring my girl, Melody's Addiction and yours truly, Persuede jewelry -- on Nostrand Park, a blog that encapsulates the Heights neighborhood with in-depth coverage of local news, events, politics, recipes, and more.

Along with selling her creations through her online Etsy site, Melody can be found twice a month at the Brooklyn Flea where she often shares a tent with either Persuede or Specimen. Melody met Persuede founder Susan DeCarava, also a Crown Heights resident, during the 2004 election campaign, and shortly after they both realized that they both had a passion for jewelry making....[more]

I am a daily reader of Nostrand Park, just cause I don't want to miss a thing!

Black and White

A new pair of earrings, completed this week.

I like the tension of the jumbled, playful cluster of onyx and pearl against the crisp formality of black-and-white, coupled with sexy gleam of silver. They're sophisticated and smart, and yet at the same time have enough swing to imply there's more to the wearer than meets the eye.

Go gorgeous.


To Your Health

Rose Quartz is a popular tool in crystal healing. It's soothing frequency allows it to interact with the body and the energy fields gently, bringing a nurturing and supportive element into healing. Although its color -- from deep to very pale pink -- links it directly to the heart chakra, Rose Quartz may be placed on the body wherever the energy of love is needed. Holding Rose Quartz is an effective tool for dealing with emotional stress, and a piece placed under the pillow helps improve the quality of sleep.

I learned about the restorative qualities of Rose Quartz first hand several years ago. I was in the midst of one of the most difficult years of my life, and my doctor placed his hand over my heart and said I needed to make room for her to heal, that love was the only way to get through everything. The simple truth of his statement devastated me.

In the midst of what I can only describe as an intense emotional release, he handed me a bar of soap. It was such an absurd moment, I started laughing almost as hard as I had been crying just moments before. Then he too started laughing and quickly explained that no, he wasn't trying to tell me something about my personal hygiene, but it was the only thing handy that contained essential rose oil which I needed to help begin the process of healing. Better yet, he continued, get yourself a nice hunk of Rose Quartz and place it over your heart.

The funny thing was, after smelling the soap, I felt calmer. I'm sure there are any number of reasons one could point to as to why I felt better, none having to do with sniffing soap, but it worked for me.

The next day, I went out and bought a piece of Rose Quartz. I carried it with me for a year and whenever I felt overwhelmed by loss or sadness, I'd hold it tight in my hand. Sometimes I'd place it on my chest. If I was home, I'd fall asleep with it. And I felt better.

One of the things that has surprised me about making jewelry is how quickly I've become attuned to the various energetic properties of the stones with which I work. Some ring out to me as clear as a tuning fork. Others are quieter, waiting to be discovered, or perhaps even laying in wait, and I don't see the energy coming until it's practically in my face.

It's taken me a couple of years to realize that when making a piece, often it's for someone I haven't met yet but who I just know will recognize that this earring or necklace or brooch or bracelet, was made for her. But the waiting is so hard! And the picture taking is a challenge too. When the right person is wearing the right piece of jewelry, it looks totally different than when it's in a display.

I haven't figured out yet how solve these riddles. Sometimes I get quite discouraged. But it's difficult to stay down when I have the privilege of working with so many amazing gemstone energies that feed and restore my own creative process. I guess the point is that figuring it out is as much a part of what I do as the actual making.


Summer Kiss

The big guy and I finally picked a time to get hitched next summer. We're still deciding between two dates, but it's real enough that I'm already making lists. Mostly we've been talking about the feeling we want to evoke and to surround our ceremony.

Since it will be July, and probably hot, we're thinking an evening shendig.

Our goal is a little bit of magic mixed in with a generous helping of smiles and laughter, dancing, and lots of love. No dress yet, but I've got a line on the earrings.

Go gorgeous.Link


Red Hot Ruby Summer

The ruby is one of the world's most precious gems, prized not only for its color but also for its durability -- it is the second hardest gemstone after the diamond. In crystal healing, rubies promote powerful and positive feelings, helping to strengthen the aura of the wearer and encouraging spiritual expansion.

The word ruby comes from the Latin ruber, meaning red. Not surprisingly, the gemstone has a strong association with love, passion and life force. Perhaps it's not a coincidence that this powerful birthstone for July is also, when used in meditation, thought to increase vitality and independence. Some believe that placing a ruby over the heart activates feelings of love and protects it from negativity.

Persuede Jewelry has several charming designs that feature the genuine article, providing a beautiful way for you to protect your heart. And did I mention we're offering free shipping for the summer?

That's not a bad deal for a bauble -- something pretty and protective of your life force? Score!


A Green Crab Shell

Not, exactly, green:
closer to bronze
preserved in kind brine,

something retrieved
from a Greco-Roman wreck,
patinated and oddly

muscular. We cannot
know what his fantastic
legs were like--

though evidence
suggests eight
complexly folded

scuttling works
of armament, crowned
by the foreclaws'

gesture of menace
and power. A gull's
gobbled the center,

leaving this chamber
--size of a demitasse--
open to reveal

a shocking, Giotto blue.
Though it smells
of seaweed and ruin,

this little traveling case
comes with such lavish lining!
Imagine breathing

surrounded by
the brilliant rinse
of summer's firmament.

What color is
the underside of skin?
Not so bad, to die,

if we could be opened
into this--
if the smallest chambers

of ourselves,
revealed some sky.

-- by Mark Doty


Catch the Wave

image (c) brennan via flickr

image (c) Mor.gan via flickr

image (c) cody is rad via flickr

These gorgeous, amazing photos are part of the WaterHousing Surf Photography pool. Wish I was at the beach right now.


Cat Tales

This is Zoey.

You've met her before, though she prefers this picture, for obvious reasons. She and I used to live with Edison. Edison passed away two years ago and we've been solo every since.

This is Charlotte.

She lived in a house with a lot of cats and was looking for a new home. I thought that perhaps Zoey might like the company, especially when I'm away at work all day.

We shall see.


Sparkling Pink Weirdness

This is so awesomely weird.

If only she had known about my Think Pink Confetti Necklace before the transformation. Much easier way to incorporate the color into one's day-to-day look...

Think Pink and Go Gorgeous!


Fireworks Confetti

I'm still working on the Persuede Starburst Confetti line of jewelry. Mostly necklaces, but also a few earrings, just to see how they work. So many jewels, so many gemstones, so many ideas!

The most recent addition to the line was inspired by the explosion of color in the Fourth of July night sky.

Go Gorgeous.

fireworks image courtesy of stchuck


A Poetic Fourth

In no less a place than Brooklyn, Walt Whitman published the first edition of a book of poems titled Leaves of Grass in July 4, 1855. It was the work of a lifetime, one he continued to refine and republish until his death in 1892. Exuberant, sensual, political, intellectual, Leaves of Grass created a bit of a scandal for it's free-form verse, it's frank language celebrating the human body and it's embrace of a new American identity -- inclusive across cultural and economic divisions -- that projected a revolutionary vision of citizenship, selfhood, and populace that is still with us today.

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear;
Those of mechanics—each one singing his, as it should be,
blithe and strong;
The carpenter singing his, as he measures his plank of beam,
The mason singing his, as he makes ready for work, or leaves
off work;...
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of
the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young fellows,
robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.
One of the most famous poems from the collection is Song of Myself, where Whitman inhabits the lives of people he sees on the street, and imagines a fluid connection between their consciousness and his, effectively demonstrating how we are all one.

I Celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I grew up celebrating the Fourth of July as a day of remembrance for my ancestors who were not free, though they were as central to the creation of America as George Washington or Thomas Jefferson. We barbecued, we played games, and we oohed at the fireworks, but we also raised our lemonade glasses to Great Grandma Mee, a sharecroppers daughter and the first generation born free. My parents talked about participating in the March on Washington, on hearing MLK Jr speak, on having friends who went on Freedom Rides and came home, irrevocably changed by what they had seen and experienced.

My mom introduced me to Whitman. I first read Leaves of Grass as a smarty-pants junior high school kid, which should tell you a little bit about my social life in those days. I didn't really understand all of it, but the words and ideas spoke to me in some essential way. With repeated reading and thought, there are passages that have grown in meaning for me that today I find transcendent.

This is from Crossing Brooklyn Ferry:

The impalpable sustenance of me from all things, at all hours of the day;
The simple, compact, well-join'd scheme—myself disintegrated,
every one disintegrated, yet part of the scheme:
The similitudes of the past, and those of the future;
The glories strung like beads on my smallest sights and hearings—
on the walk in the street, and the passage over the river;
The current rushing so swiftly, and swimming with me far away;
The others that are to follow me, the ties between me and them;
The certainty of others—the life, love, sight, hearing of others....

Just as you feel when you look on the river and sky, so I felt;
Just as any of you is one of a living crowd, I was one of a crowd;
Just as you are refresh'd by the gladness of the river and the bright flow,
I was refresh'd;

Leaves of Grass has become part of my personal Fourth of July celebration, a way for me to feel connected to a holiday that for a long time I viewed as bittersweet. So much of what I take for granted in my modern, American, daily life is there because a person, or a group of people, made it so. Often with great trial and tribulation and sacrifice. The notion that we can inhabit each other's experience and thereby be refreshed, renewed and more willing to recognize ourselves in them, and they in ourselves, is awesome.

However you celebrate the holiday, make room for a little poetry in your day. After all, it is the expression of a grand idea in a few small words that heralded the founding of this nation and that continues to inspire new ideas of all that makes America. Happy Fourth of July!

-- persuede.etsy.com


Where to Find Persuede This Weekend

image (c) kimprobable

I love fireworks. Especially when viewed from a rooftop. It's the quintessential New York City experience of the Fourth of July.

But before night falls and the magic begins, there's barbecues and frisbee and spiked lemonade and tired kids and too much sand and....all the sticky wonderfulness that is summer.

On Saturday, I'll be just outside Ft. Greene Park for the Independence Day Artisan Market, smelling all the yummy cookouts, sipping a clandestine wine spritzer and enjoying summer in the city. Look for me on Dekalb Avenue, between Cumberland and South Oxford streets.

Aside from all the leafy goodness of the park, the best thing about this location is that it's adjacent to the Greenmarket, so you can shop for your Fourth of July picnic and maybe pick up a bauble or two.

Later on, there's parties and friends and oohs and ahhs.....Happy Birthday, America.

Election Night, (c) kimmchi_kimm



Why, who makes much of a miracle?
As to me I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love, or sleep in the bed at night
with any one I love,
Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon,
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so quiet
and bright,
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring;
These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.

-- Walt Whitman

photo (c) ichabod2