Comparison. Deciding if we measure up based on our assessment of other people’s merit, and whether we think we are better or worse than them. It sounds silly when put that way and yet it’s a trap that most people have fallen into at one time or another. Many times we don’t even realize we’re doing it.
I can be happy and content with what I have, what I made, where I am one minute. Then moments later after viewing images on the internet of other people’s creations, locations, etc. I can suddenly feel deflated.
How wise Mark Twain was to boil this important truth down into one sentence. Nothing can rob us of our confidence like comparison. The reverse is just as unhealthy. If I feel good about myself because I have determined someone else to be inferior, well that’s just not right!
The photograph I chose for this week’s Phrase Art Phriday is one that I took in 2007. I was right in the middle of the antiques business at that time. I had a large collection of vintage hats, many with lush embellishments like velvet flowers, beading, feathers and fur. I enjoyed displaying them in my rented space and most of them sold fairly quickly. The two hats in the photo are quite plain compared to most of the ones I had. I loved the one on the right because of the blush color ~ a color that’s hard to find in just the right shade. It’s displayed on a bowling pin. A humble pedestal for a modest hat. It would surely get lost amongst a display of more elaborate hats. It wouldn’t “measure up.” But set apart on a tattered bowling pin with simple surroundings there is nothing out shadowing it. It is lovely just the way it is.
I have a special place in my heart for good listeners. I think they’re somewhat of a rarity. Finding a good listener is like finding a treasure. You may have to look long and hard to find someone who will really listen, but when you do it is totally life-affirming. I’m happy to have people in my life like that.
The world is full of non-listeners. People who feign listening, while allowing their eyes to be drawn like a magnet to everyone but you. You know the type ~ people who throw an occasional glance and head bob your way, giving you obligatory affirmation at best. It’s like they’re trying, but they just can’t give you the attention you deserve.
Here are a few more examples of “listeners” I have observed:
ë The Interrupter ~ the person who loves to hear the sound of their own voice so much that they cut you off at the pass.
ë The Fixated-On-Your-Mouth Listener, who makes you wonder what substance must be lurking between your teeth to hold such uncanny interest.
ë The I Can’t Wait Till You Finish What You’re Saying So I Can Say What I’m Thinking Listener. Sure, we’re all guilty of that from time to time.
And then there’s the good listener. The one who looks you square in the eyes with no hidden agenda. Who unselfishly puts her own thoughts aside long enough to engage with another human being, giving genuine attention to the one speaking. Who listens intently whether it’s a subject of paramount importance to her own life or not. Period.
Listening is a giving thing. It is often an unselfish thing and sometimes sacrificial. It is most definitely a validating thing. To anyone who will listen (anyone?) I bestow my deepest respect.
I almost titled this post Purple, Pearls and Pudge because that’s how I feel right now! I have been indulging in fattening foods while hibernating during this long cold February. As a result, my jeans are fitting more tightly and I don’t like it! It’s time to shake it off, eat less and move around more.
Just a quick outfit share, not particularly inspired. I purchased this sweater during a thrift shopping spree several months ago. It has a sweet look that is more fitting with how I dressed a few years ago. I was drawn by the pearls and the price and the desire for new things in my closet.
I paired it with a white button down blouse, giving it a slightly preppy feel. I added a simple pearl bracelet and a pair of my lace covered ball earrings.
I’m okay with the overall look for a casual day, but I’ll probably pass the sweater on after a couple more wears.
I’ve been doing the hula hoop for exercise. I’m bored with the treadmill and other “regular” exercise. I can’t wait to get out and bike ride when the weather gets nicer. What’s your favorite non-exercise exercise?
Welcome to Phrase Art Phriday #13. In this series I share my own photography overlaid with a favorite phrase or thought.
It’s no secret that I am a fan of imperfection. Just take one look at my jewelry designs or the way I have decorated my home and you will see that I have an appreciation for the “well-worn”. Pieces with flaws have character ~ a crack here, some fading there, chippy peeling paint ~ none of these qualities are off-putting to me on the right piece. In fact it is often those very flaws that endear me to something.
Mirrors are one of those items that are, to me, better with imperfections. The natural ghosting that occurs over time speaks volumes to me about the transformation that occurs in our own lives as we grow and change. Yes, our appearance changes. Slowly but inevitably beauty fades. The youthful face, so fresh and new, like the shiny, bright mirror finish is an undeniably pleasant vision. The older, care-worn face on the other hand, with years of life and experience showing up in the form of creases, shadows, and fading brightness has a beauty all its own. Just as the ghosted mirror has a mysterious factor about it, the wrinkled face has untold stories of depth and secrecy.
The peeling paint is reminiscent of the battle scars that shape our characters over time. No one gets through life unscathed. Without the peeling away of our outer layers, brought about by circumstances that cause us to reach deep down in our souls and lay aside our selfish tendencies, we would remain shallow individuals with one-dimensional lives. Pain, disappointments and hardship mix with all the happy times of giving, sharing and discovery to create the “texture” that keeps our lives from being flat and dull.
I have long since sold the mirror in the photograph but I have a few other misty mirrors gracing the walls in my home. When I look into them, I will remember that I don’t have to be perfect. I will embrace the beauty of imperfection.
I just added a few pieces of jewelry to my shop and I wanted to give you a preview here. I have been embracing the colors of coral and turquoise a lot lately.
Here’s a cuff bracelet with a vintage metal hardware piece as the centerpiece. I added turquoise patina to bring out the amazing detail.
I was getting a sort of western vibe so I chose cowhide leather with brindle hair for the band.
As you probably know, I am very committed to reusing and reinventing pieces and parts, mostly vintage, to create new pieces that work in today’s design. Virtually all of my jewelry incorporates upcycled items, most of which had nothing to do with jewelry in their original state.
For this necklace I took belt loops from an old pair of blue jeans, overlaid them with vintage lace and formed them into a cross.
A vintage button and swirly coral glass beads add a pop of color.
I do love crosses!
Another material I love to use when designing is items found in nature. We have a lot of trees in our yard and have done a few projects using the wood from them. It’s not often you come across a branch that yields heart-shaped slices, so of course I was elated to find and use this one in my jewelry designs.
Mixing rustic with a bit of bling, I paired it with a glass crystal drop (also vintage)for a simple, natural necklace.
I’ll show you a more colorful version of the heart slice in my next studio share.
Welcome to Phrase Art Phriday, #12. I took this picture several months ago and saved it for the right moment to share it with you.
The subject is a red pear. To my delight, when I peeled the produce sticker off, it took some skin with it, leaving a heart shape behind. When life gives us happy accidents, it’s important to take the time to be thankful and drink in the moment. Beauty is everywhere just waiting to be noticed. Having a thankful heart doesn’t always come naturally but it can be cultivated.
After I took a few pictures of the pear, I cut it up and ate it with some pepper jack cheese that I sliced. Delicioso!
This Valentine’s Day I wish you love and a heart overflowing with thankfulness. xoxo