Sunday, August 12, 2012

Renaissance of Amelia



Many things have happened since I last posted.  I am in the middle of contemplating of what will happen after 10 January 2014.  This day of the year has much significance in my life.  It was on this date in the year of 1947 that my parents first met someone who became their only child and loving daughter, Amelia.  Over the years many meaningful events occurred some of extreme happiness and others marked mile stones in our lives.

Have you ever had those days where nothing seemed to jell and was totally disjointed.  Well, one of these days happened on this day.  The family was taking me out for dinner.  We went to one of our favorite locations and the line was so long we decided to try another favorite.  You guessed it, it also had a waiting list out the door and around the corner.  It seemed that there was a conspiracy to keep us from going out for dinner. We had contemplated to eating potluck at home but, finally we found a place that served everything from hamburgers to salmon and in we went.  The meal was okay, but still the atmosphere was still unsettling.  As we were unlocking the door at home, the phone was ringing.  Finally we discovered why the uncertainty prevailed.  It was the nursing home where my mother-in-law lived.  She was looking for the family to let us know that this dear lady had passed away in her sleep.  This life changing event will alway mark this day "bittersweet".  

I recall one time when we were at our daughter's and her husbands home celebrating a family Christmas.  Our son and his wife, my husband's sister and husband, niece and grand nephew all were there.  It was a fun filled day exchanging gifts, and reminiscing of past events and making new memories.  The most significant event that day was the impromptu birthday party.  Our daughter had practiced her baking skills and made me a special cake.  What made it even more special was that she had remembered that sugar was not my best friend anymore.  You see, several months earlier I had gastric bypass surgery and could no longer eat large amounts of sugar.  She had found a special recipe just for this occasion.  What a loving and thoughtful gesture it was and what a life long memory it created.

Art has always been a very big part of my life. Over the years I had kept actively engaged by teaching in-home children art lessons, and occasionally participating in crafts shows.  As a military wife moving was part of our overall plan.  It was when we moved to Maryland that I discovered how important art truly was for me.  Being new to a base, it is priority to tour the base and locate many wonderful programs that are offered for our military families.  The one I found was the Arts and Crafts Center.  To find a wide variety of art and crafts under one roof was an awesome experience.  I had found a home away from home.  It was truly a "WOW" moment.

Being a mother with young children it was difficult to take on a full time job.  So I started out as a contract teacher.  If I did not know how to do something I would teach myself and them pass on my skills to others. I labelled my self as a "multi-craftsman".   Eventually I did join the staff and became more involved in teaching classes to children through adults.

One of the most rewarding experiences was working with medical professionals and those military members who had a difficult time separating their personal life from their professional life.  The classes consisted of an experimental approach to a wide variety of art and craft experiences that included ceramics, drawing, and watercolors to name a few.  One evening a former student came into the center to purchase supplies.  I had not seen her in many weeks.  After she purchased her products, we started talking.  Then out of the blue, she took my hands and said.  "Thank you...you saved my life."  I looked at her puzzled and she continued.  "When I first met you I had tried to kill myself.  I could not separate my home life from my work life.  Your classes taught me how to relax.  I come home from work, get out my watercolors and paint and all my stress stays a the job site."  This confession totally overwhelmed me.  The tears started and hugs followed.  It was then that I knew I had found my perfect job.

You are probably wondering what this has to do with 10 January.  Well a few years later on that date I was hired as the assistant director of this quality of life program.  Eventually this turned into a career as the director.  Unfortunately the program close in the early 90's due to budget cuts.  As many of you know budget cuts and the "Arts" are not close friends.

Fortunately for me, my degree in Art Education qualified me to join the Military Child and Youth Programs.  Working with children ages 6 weeks to 18 years of age has been totally remarkable.  While at the Youth Programs many creative endeavors transpired.  One is a legacy for me.  I was privileged to design the art room that is still used today.  Working in support of our military families is totally rewarding.  Ensuring that their children are safe and well taken care of is quite a daunting experience.  I am extremely fortunate to have been part of this for so many years. 

About 31/2 to 4 years ago I felt a need to do more in my personal creative endeavors.  I am known to do a some of many things but a master of none.  I tried teaching my self to knit.  Never finished the scarf.  Then I got out the drawing materials.  A few sketches but nothing serious.  Finally I remembered that my dad had dabbled in jewelry making.  Somewhere in my garage was all his polished stones.  Digging out the garage was such a daunting task I decided to visit the local craft store and there were the jewelry making kits.  I knew that buying a kit would let me know if I really like this medium.  I fell in love with making jewelry.  Searching on line I found wire wrapping and sculpture.  I was totally hooked.  I had always wanted to sell my art, but never had really tried.  I found Art Fire.  I was at home again.  Several month later I posted my first pieces which I had made on Amelia Originals...Handmade Jewelry and Things.  Again I was hooked and planned to make a go of this opportunity.  To the amazement of my kids I was soon on Face Book and Twitter.  I have also created a website, Amelia Originals.  This has truly become a passion and a dream for the future.  

My career has taken twists and turns as most careers do.  The journey beginning with "my perfect" job, "Renaissance of Amelia" had begun in May 1984.  What a winding path it has been.  This path is quickly approaching the final turn headed to the "retirement years".  Which brings me back to 10 January 2014.  Since my dream career started on 10 January 1989, I felt it appropriate to start my dream retirement career on the same date 25 years later. 


Keep Creating...and never stop DREAMING!!!

Here are few of my latest creations...

Wire Sculpture Flower Avatar Signature Piece (Not Listed)

Wire Sculpture Flower Avatar Signature Piece (Not Listed)

Plum Daisy Handmade Link necklace (Not Listed)



Pink Sculptured Flower Pendant/Brooch w/Pearl & Briolette Beads
                        

















Sunday, September 11, 2011

"The Day Life Changed Forever...9/11/2001"



As so many other Americans today, I am sitting here reflecting on where I was on the day life changed forever.  Working on a military installation outside Washington DC, business was as usual that morning.  I was opening a new office on the base and was alone in the small building.  A civil engineer was walking through with me planning minor renovations required to open to our military family by 1 October 2001.  You see it was to be a one stop shop for requesting child care for all children and youth eligible to use the facilities.  We were all excited to open this office to serve so many families more efficiently.  

The engineer left and I went into my office to start my business day making preparations for this new venture.  Excitement was in the air and the anticipation in starting something new and so beneficial to so many was exhilarating.  I only had a desk, a chair, a computer and a small radio in the office at that time.  I opened my computer and clicked on my email to find an email from my daughter who lived in Pennsylvania.  She very seldom emailed or called during the work day.  Her message was short and very to the point.  It read..."Mom, are you alright?"... I was so puzzled by her statement question I replied back..."Yes, WHY???"  At that point all computer communications went dead.  At first I did not think too much about because the system was a dial up and went dead often.  

When I could not get it back up and running I went over to the radio to get some background music to keep the mind focused and to start a more minimal task of sorting lists and supplies.   To my horror the radio did not have music but somber voices describing what was happening in New York City and the World Trade Center.  I listened in shock and disbelief of this freighting accident happening.  Then the newscaster soon interrupted that the second building was hit by another plane.  Then the ominousness truth of the day began screaming into reality.  Here, I was alone and dismayed but still so innocent of what was about to transpire just twenty plus miles away.  

Shortly thereafter the same newscaster urgently announced that the Pentagon had been hit by yet another airplane.  Empathy for all those in dire need in NYC was joined by fear for acquaintances, friends and family who were working at or close to the Pentagon.  Many of the military families that our programs served worked at the Pentagon.  My husband worked in Virginia and frequently had business to conduct there.  Our son worked in and around Washington DC.  I became frantic and immediately tried to contact my family by cell phone but all communication was down.  At this point I no longer wanted to be alone.  I needed to do something to help somewhere, what I could do was so unknown, but something had to be done.

The installation was shut down; no one was entering or leaving.  The silence in the atmosphere was horrendous.  That perfect beautiful late summer day was so different.  I contacted my supervisor to let her know that I was leaving my office and going to help at our youth program.  Once there I was with others who were desperately trying to reach loved ones and consoling parents as they were trying to find out where their children were.  All the youngest children were safe and accounted for but the school age children were outside the base at their schools.  Their buses were not allowed to enter the installation.  They were transported back to the schools.  The parents were having difficulty getting from their jobs to get their children.  The children were only released to their parent.  It was total chaos.  We were prepared to face whatever needed to be done to help our military family.  No matter what it was, we were preparing to do it.  Gradually communication systems were restored and information was soon getting to us.  I was able to finally reach my husband.  He had spoken with our son and both were fine.  Parents were calling to let us know that they found their children and all were safe.  Then another shock, a plane crashed in Pennsylvania.  

The following days were so sobering as all the facts of the day’s events became known.  For those of us who could go back to work to what had not physically changed, had changed.  I returned to my one man office that next day to continue getting it ready for our opening.  The heightened security was profound.  The little old building was next to an entrance gate.  Reinforcements guarding the gate were phenomenal.  A very large truck was stationed outside my office with its engine running 24/7.  The drone of the noise was heart pounding.  Sitting here 10 years later I can hear that drone and feel the vibrations within my body.  But I knew that if necessary that person behind the wheel of that truck needed to help protect the installation he or she would do so without any questions asked.  Even though we were vulnerable, I felt a sense of security.

Over time we would speak with others about where we were on the "Day Life Changed Forever". Our stories are intertwined forever of a theme of memories of lost loved ones, of heroes, of near escapes, of compassion, but most of all of a since of family.  In the words of Todd Beamer of Flight 93, "Let's Roll!"  We are united together forever as a family of millions. 

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Daisy, Daisy, Daisy!!!!!!

 
 


As a young girl, I spent summers with my grandparents.  They lived in a rural community in North West Florida.  Both were avid gardeners.  The fruit and vegetables eaten on those summer days are still tasted today as the mind wonders back in time.  My grandfather's pride and joy crop were his prize winning seedless watermelons. They were so sweet and delicious, it makes my mouth water thinking about them. 

One day I remember asking him why he always had to go to the center of the field to get a melon, when some of the largest were next to the road.  He replied,  "Well they are for all the kids who want to steal them."  I must have looked perplexed so he followed by telling me that the teens loved stealing the melons, and if the good melons were on the roadside, we would not have them to eat.  Even though I was young, I seemed to understand.  The center of the field was just for us.  That made them even taste better.  To go back and revisit that wonderful safe time is truly one of the dreams of now.

The early morning hours were spent in the field gathering the crops of the day.  By noon the kitchen was filled with the most awesome smells.  Fresh snap peas, corn, tomatoes, okra ...... too many to name.   We always had dinner.  Who could not wait for supper and have the left overs.  They were even better then.  If I had a mess of peas and okra right now I would be in "pig" heaven.  

My grandmother's specialty were the flowers.  Hydrangeas, camellias, gardenias and DAISIES!!!!!   The hydrangeas where as tall as the house and as big has dinner plates.  The blues and purples of the blooms were so deep and vibrant no wonder I fell in love with color.  The camellias were so perfect they looked like wax.  Their dark pink heads against the deep green of the leaves still live in my mind.  But the favorite was her row of Shasta daisies.   

In early spring she would start removing the pine needles that protected the tender plants from the frost of winter.  By summer their little heads were in full bloom.  The sparkling white and yellow centers were awesome.  Many of the blossoms measured 5 to 6 inches across.  Seeing this little lady in her long dress, apron, and over sized sun bonnet tenderly minding to her prized plants is such a fond memory.  To better give a picture of what I was seeing, imagine granny on the show "Beverly Hillbilly" walking amongst the daisies and their little faces smiling back at her.  By the way she had the same spunk and that granny too.

Recently I was shopping for jewelry supplies and came across the Swarovski crystal daisies.  I knew that I had to have them.  The next dilemma was what was I going to do with them.  One day I was experimenting with sterling silver wire and beads then a light went on......USE the Daisies.  

My mind works in a very strange way.  I really do not plan ahead while creating.  I design one thing and be fore I know it, it has developed into something else.  At the end of the process my daisy, sterling silver necklace and earring set hung in front of me.  

 



This creation having been inspired by such fond memories is one that will remain special no matter who may enjoy it in the future.  It is perfect for an upcoming wedding or special anniversary.  The sparkle of the daisies is eternal similar to the shining of daisy white color in the Florida summer sun.  The alternating handmade links are made with Swarovski crystal daisies and Swarovski rounds on sterling silver 20 gauge wire.  The links are held together with hand made sterling jump rings.  The neck and earring chain is silver plate. This is truly a future family heirloom.  This treasure comes with gifts of good luck and good fortune.


Keep in touch for the next loving memory of my family.  Families are in many shapes and sizes........












Sunday, February 21, 2010

Welcome


Welcome to Amelia Originals, home of one of a kind handmade jewelry and things. This is the beginning of the challenging experience in blogging. Being my first experience with this media, I was very nervous as to all the unknowns. I was literally afraid to hit that sign-up button. But, here I am.

Let me digress for a few moments. Approximately 2 years ago I was between creative endeavors. I am one of those persons that when you have learned a technique it is time to move on. I had tried teaching myself knitting. My mother had been the champion knitter/crocheter. Me I couldn't read the patterns. Too much of this and too much of that. So when I learned how to triple stitch in crochet, I decided to make ONLY granny squares. I did not have to read a pattern. We had Christmas stockings, small appliance covers, chair head covers etc., etc. ..... So when I recently tried knitting, I soon lost interest. I was back to that pattern reading.

One day I was making my way around a craft store and I came across jewelry making kits. So true to form I bought a kit to make earrings. I found it to be really relaxing and it satisfied my need to create. Leaving the world of stress and the need of others was so self revitalizing It is hard to find the words to describe.

But it was not long until the challenge started waning and something more was needed. I was online searching for something new, when I found wire sculpting and wire wrapping. This is what my search for challenges needed. I have always been fascinated by the art elements of line, shape and movements. This was perfect. My passion had finally been identified.

In college I took this pottery class. I loved it but did not want to deal with the fast movement of wheel throwing. My instructor, allowed me to concentrate on hand-built pottery. One requirement was to sketch what we were to make then make it. Every time I tried this the pot flopped!!!!!. So I built the pots and then drew them so my sketch book would be ready for grading. I thought I had tricked her, but when she described them as the "growing pots" I realized she knew what I was doing.

Now back to the jewelry and wire sculpture/wrapping. This is the perfect media for my "growing pot" mindset. I love to doodle so creating with wire is much the same thing. As a matter of fact, I designed something I call "Paper Doodles....Bookmarks with Attitude". Much of my wire wrapping is using this technique. It is much like creative dance.

Shortly after I started making jewelry a group of friends took a "girls week-end out". All the gals knew I had started this "hobby" and wanted to see what I had made. To my delight all of them loved my work. As a special memory of the weekend away, I presented them with their choice of jewelry. They were so encouraging and pushing me to sell my wares. Since I have a full time job, time is of the essence. Hence, I thought of the Internet. One evening while searching online I came across something called Artfire. Wow, a creative community with all these wonderful artisans selling anything and everything handmade. After much consideration
I signed up.

For those of you who remember the "Welcome Wagon" can relate to how this community embraces the new kid on the block. For those of us, like me, who has limited knowledge in the field of technology, they are the most fantastic support system. If not for the co-artisans sharing their knowledge many of us would give up and say good-bye. The Artfire administration is one of the most supportive teams around. They are constantly in the forums and offering their expertise and have the answers in a flash. This community is all for one and one for all. An individual's success is cheered on by all. For those of you who is toying with the idea of selling your creative endeavors online, Artfire is the place to call home.


The creativity of this team is remarkable.
The marketplace they have created is
AWESOME!!!!!!!!


Take a moment and visit MY ARTFIRE