TeaNoir, I’m talking about you…. I liked tea before… Really, I did… I had implements for brewing tea and neat little mini-paint cans from a well-known tea house stacked high on my counter….I have two italian glass jars (the kind with the hinged lid and rubber washer to keep moisture out) one for Redhot, one for Blackout…. They grace my counter and invite me to brew yet another rich cup…. But now I have a cabinet dedicated to the brewing of TeaNoir. It’s true… I’ve moved beyond Redhot and Blackout, although they are still part of my tea entourage. I now have a dozen different bags of TeaNoir tea for whatever desire might strike me, at any time of day. They are not only tasty but the art that Miss Kate, the TeaNoir Teamistress, has cultivated reveals itself sip by sip… The flavors are layered to perfection. Some versions are drinkable in the most simple sense- they taste great and so I drink them and get a little twinge of panic that I might run out…So I place another order for those and whatever new varieties she has introduced…. Others are like Willy Wonka’s Everlasting Gobstopper… No they don’t turn you into a giant blueberry. They reveal themselves in a most gradual and sensual way… A cupful is a journey, a potful is a most wonderful, epic adventure… Because of my film background, perhaps I see things mostly as photographic in my imagination…. Bangkok, with it’s gentle waves of coconut and sexy lilt of anise, is a sepia toned hotel porch where Hemingway sits before tending to another safari story…. (and yes, I’m aware that Bangkok is not where most safari’s of Hemingway’s work occurred but TeaNoir’s Bangkok tea takes me from Florida to Bangkok to coconut cocktails on an otherwise deserted beach, to writing the tales of this tea journey on a hotel porch in the early part of the century.) Mango Lassi is perfect. A smooth and silky and sweet and tart tea translation of the delicious yogurt based beverage. I’m in Mumbai, exploring the city with a dear friend, and no longer just looking at the postcard of the coastline and the traffic… I can feel the warm air and the market and smell the spices and the sea… I’m at peace but something in me longs to explore…. Anyway, I could spend a month talking about my favorites… But these are the two newest ones that I am enjoying this weekend… Kate of TeaNoir is truly an artist with a most creative and thrilling palate…. Stop on by her digs on Etsy and send her my best…. She does, by the way, offer a sampler on occasion, where you can try a small amount of three different teas… It’s a great way to try some new flavors, or her versions of some of your old favorites… If you have questions just ask- she is very helpful and provides excellent customer service as well as tea.
What lurks beneath….Originally uploaded by CleverGirlBek Cardboard with that….Ewwwww….A usually yummy dinner treat of Pizza Hut delivery (we live in SW Florida…It’s chain pizza or pizza that shouldn’t be allowed to bear the sacred name of this most excellent food… Ahhhhh I miss New York… Even Boston pizza is better than our local pizza, but on nights where I don’t feel like experimenting we have Pizza Hut)….I take a few bites of my 2nd slice of piping hot pizza with red onions and mushrooms and the bite is weird… As in: my teeth should go cleanly through this but they have stopped as though a leather strap has been slipped between them….Horrified I pull the thing out of my mouth.At least it doesn’t look like animal.Phew it’s only cardboard.Only cardboard?Blech.Yuck.Nasty.Freakin’ Pizza Hut.Of course I had to peel the cardboard open.Yup.Exactly as I thought.Corrugated…I may need therapy for this…Ok, so I will not be eating pizza again anytime soon… Probably not the worst thing to happen to this waistline…But seriously folks. Nasty.What if it was floor cardboard? The outer packaging of some box of mushrooms or pre-shredded chedderella blend that was left on the floor?*gag*Anthony Bourdain, dear sir, care to weigh in on eating cardboard? ps. this is officially one of the few things I have accomplished today (updating the blog…)… Miserable time with jaw pain (most likely unrelated to pizza hut incident) that feels like my upper teeth are going to explode out of my head. It’s calm for now (cold beverages held on that side seem to quiet the waves of pain but can’t keep cold on continuously or the pain won’t be tricked!)… Had xrays, etc today… On new course of antibiotics (that should take care of those blasted pizza hut floor cardboard fomites!) and barely functioning, except for right now. Someone please turn the key in my back a few times to get me moving at a proper pace!
Spring printing…Originally uploaded by CleverGirlBekThis is how I dry my cards after I print them with my Gocco printer…And I thought plantation shutters were just an aesthetic thing…Realized quickly that I don’t, with my other creative endeavors, have enough surface area to dry the amount of cards I print for one batch….Judy over at Northwood (http://northwoodstudios.tripod.com/) suggested taking cookie sheets (the kind that have 4 shallow sides) and stacking them up… Great idea, but not for me (I don’t bake. Too many rules to follow!)I tightened up the shutters so they wouldn’t tilt and spill under the weight of the cards and voila….I noticed the print pad on my gocco wasn’t sticky enough so I grabbed some xyron adhesive that had run through the xyron without anything on it (it’s one of the 510 xyrons- where you have to peel the plastic away from the backing and the sticker is sandwiched between the two…. Took the sticky plastic, put it sticky side down on the gocco pad… pressed down the gocco top/lid a few times…Carefully peeled the plastic film off and yippee! The pad is nice and fresh and sticky again….BUT now it’s too sticky!So next time I’ll try the repositioning adhesive from xyron…. But until then, I’ve put down some painters tape on all but one little square of the pad- just enough to hold the cardstock without holding it hostage and risking me ripping it up or warping the paper….Of course, your mileage may vary….I’m just happy that my gocco is sticky again AND I got to use that wasted xyron material….Woohoo…By the way, if you are wondering about the cards- these are my gift with purchase cards…. I realized awhile back that I love giving gifts to folks and I love ordering handmade goodness online to use for those gifts… BUT most things ordered had a way of hanging out around here until one of us remembered to pick up a greeting card (or get around to making one or remembering to order a bunch of multi-purpose handmade cards)…I figured that maybe some of the folks purchasing my creations might be in the same boat… So, with gocco in hand I set to work…. Now every item ordered from me comes with a multi-purpose card, and every piece is gift wrapped… Hopefully this makes giving a gift of CleverGirl jewelry an even happier event…
Glass Butterfly for Sarah’s Wedding….Originally uploaded by CleverGirlBek None of my formatting is holding… Off to explore a fix for it… But here’s my post anyway…. I made this piece for my little sister, who is getting married (eloping! woohoo!) this weekend… This piece, and Sarah (my sister) mean so much to me for so many reasons…. Some of you know that I am, or was, an only child for 30 years…. Some of you know that I was also adopted into my family at 3 weeks old…Two years ago, just before Christmas, I got an email that started something like “I think I may be the person you have been looking for”… A couple of weeks later I received a sweet card from another woman I had never met that was supposed to arrive, I think, before that startling email but because I forgot to change my address on that one online registry, it took the scenic route…They found me. My birthmom, Julie, and my little sister, Sarah. They found me.After a near match with a possible biological father and his sister (that proved heartbreaking all around, it wasn’t a match but I still occasional email with my not-really-my-aunt but still so wonderful) I finally just let my desire to find a biological relative cool off…. I figured that it wasn’t meant to be… Arizona (where I was born in 1975) and NY (where the adoption was finalized and where I was raised) have rules on searching and records and releasing even non-identifying information that excluded me completely from receiving even pleasantries from either state agency…. The adoption lawyer, Stanley Michelman, has long since left law but had been working on cataloging all of the old files and promised to keep in touch…I just let everything go. I lost hope, but not in a hanging my head low sort of a way…I really let go and moved on without another thought…. For the first time in 30 years I didn’t totally lose my marbles on my birthday. Ok I didn’t celebrate either, but I wasn’t a complete mess like I had been every year since I was a kid and it dawned on my, on that day, that someone that I didn’t know might be thinking of me, someone that I didn’t know might have blanked me out of there mind, someone that I didn’t know might just not care, and that someone that I didn’t know carried me around with them for 9 months and just gave me away- and from the story that I knew, of my adoption, they kept me for 3 weeks and then still decided to give me away. While I know the true story now, and learning it has been a long, intense healing process for all of us involved, it’s really hard having that one day a year and not wanting to get out of bed, and having nobody (at least nobody I knew pre-wide spread internet use) else who could understand….So they found me. Not only was there one person who thought about me on my birthday, she thought about me more than that… In fact, I quickly learned, I have four siblings that were all raised knowing that they had a big sister out there in the world somewhere.Imagine wishing every year, as a child, that Santa would bring you a sibling and then 30 years later, after abandoning that wish, you get a Christmas card from a sister you didn’t know you had. Yeah. Intense. Between the email from my biomom, and the many emails that have followed, and the letter she sent in a Christmas care package and my sister Sarah’s card and letter I was a mess. I was a happy mess, but I couldn’t stop crying long enough to say a single word. The decision my birthmom made to give me up when she was 17 years old did change our lives forever. I was always told, when I took my parents for granted, which all kids do, “Imagine if ‘she’ kept you, what your life would be like”…. But there was no imagining with me- I never imagined any of it. I was a creative and imaginative kid, but I never let my brain go there. It’s probably the one thing in my life where I have never said “what if….” and maybe that was a saving grace at times….The decision my birthmom made to find me (she searched for so long and then boom, one night, there was my information…we were so accidentally close at times- she worked in the same company as my parent’s next door neighbor who adopted twins around that time so my mom and I were discussing the whole adoption thing with that neighbor while in the next state my birthmom was working away and wondering….) was perhaps more life changing. The loose ends have been tied up. The questions have been answered. My heart and soul have healed so much. Being given up at birth by your mother is known in adoption as “the primal wound”. That primal wound will always be a part of me, but it is more of a scar these days….Slowly fading and sinking into the skin….And I have siblings.Sarah, who is the oldest of their family, and I are very close…. She came to visit last year and it wasn’t weird or awkward like everyone assumed it would be. There was this calmness, this familiarity, this connection…. Like you have with your oldest friends- you know the ones, you lose touch for awhile, life goes on, and then somehow, someway you reconnect down the line and it’s like not a day has passed, except there are some new tales to tell…. Anyway, Sarah is getting married this weekend….Her/our grandma passed away a few years ago and she and Julie still talk about her and still have a hard time with her passing- understandably so, from what I have heard she was an amazing woman…. She collected glass and crystal for years and loved butterflies…. Sarah mentioned a few times that she wanted to incorporate butterflies somewhere in her wedding….When Sarah was visiting us here in Florida awhile back we went for a nice slow drive through this local nature preserve…. We got out of the car to take pictures and a single, beautiful monarch butterfly followed us around. It felt like the past, and Sarah’s grandma, was saying that everything was good. And it was….It is good. There are hard days and moments still, but it is so much easier to weather them with so much love around me. So I made this piece for Sarah….She should be getting it today, before they leave on their drive to the Smokey Mountains for their wedding weekend… Sarah and Greg are doing their wedding in a way that is a perfect match for them- surrounded by peace and quiet and nature and soft sounds…. I am so proud of her and can’t wait to meet Greg in person (although he and Jeff look and act so much alike it’s kind of crazy sometimes)….So this is a vintage, glass butterfly…The theme and material borrowed from the memory of her/our grandma…. Set in sterling silver, by me…..With love…. A connection to the past brought to current times….Congrats little sister! I am forever in awe of you.