Tuesday, June 23, 2009
The Rules: (Deadline is Friday, June 26th at 11:59pm)
1. In the comment section of this post, tell me - if you win the giveaway-which color button you'd like and in what awesome little scene you can imagine yourself wearing it.
(Also...PLEASE LEAVE YOUR EMAIL IN THIS COMMENT FOR WINNER CONTACTING PURPOSES... thank you!)
2. Peruse through a few other posts on this blog and leave a comment on at least two of them (I'll be notified when one is left so no need to also let me know which you commented on). This sort of thing helps me to know which kinds of posts appeal to the readership and will inform my future posts just a wee bit.
3. OPTIONAL: I am always looking for artists (designers, musicians, and on and on... ), handmade and independent business owners, and anyone fascinating to feature in my blog. Please feel free to suggest someone you know and admire by either leaving a note in your comments or by emailing me directly: info@CiaraObscura.com
I will be notifying the winner via the email left in the comment section by Sunday, June 28th! Good Luck... ♥
I don't think being in love with one person for your entire life is boring or stale, nor do I think that life needs to be marked by your higher, more glamorous moments. See my face in that photo? That's the face of a content and fully appreciative person who has learned that the markers in life are days, hours, minutes like this... and a perfect little kiss like that.
Next post: June blog Giveaway!
Friday, June 19, 2009
Oh man, this is some good news... Etsy's blog, The Storque, ran an article on Handmade Weddings and my HAPPINESS headband (above) made it as a featured item! I can't tell you how much I've been hoping to be in one of these articles (they're sort of really really coveted... like a Front Page feature, but extra better.). I scored my two and a half seconds of fame with this one. See it here: The Storque.
Here's another great bridal headband, SHEER BEAUTY, and a super stunning birdcage veil, PERFECT BLISS... both Limited Production designs.
Yep. Good times.
Here are some shots of a few pages from the different books I put together over the past several years.
I like to mix decor materials with architectural elements, but with no particular rhyme or reason.
And girly and cheesy with nostalgia and guilty pleasures...
And, who the hell knows what, with colors that I thought might have just looked neat with the strips of masking tape holding it all together.
I find these books especially useful when my mind is too overworked or cluttered up and so I just grab the pile of them and sprawl out with my tea next to me and enjoy the little journey all over again. It can't be helped when I see something that sparks a new design in my head. They never fail to work their magic. And all over again, I feel thankful.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
and mix things up with a dose or two of other goodies- like these killer patent leather style bows in this TUTTI FRUTTI BLACK OUT hair clip fascinator:
and this SHEER BEAUTY headband....
and this TIGRESS broach...
I like to think I'm enjoying a certain fearlessness, that is very uncharacteristic of who I am, in going nuts with these feathers and whatnot in my designs. But, really, they're less crazy than a first glance might make you think... and more pretty and delicate and classic and stunning pieces of stylin' spanking goodness. Who doesn't need a little bit of that in their life?
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
I can't stop listening to this song lately. It's the sort of thing where pressing repeat isn't even enough to satiate the immediacy of the need to relisten to it all over again. Like, when something is so incredibly funny, and you're so astounded by the brilliance of its funniness , you can't even get out a laugh. This song is just like that except, instead of the over bounding of the laughter filling up inside, maybe you are just barely able to hold yourself in a stillness of the astoundedness. And, AND, seeing the video for it for the first time today, I am that much more transfixed. It may be safe to say that Regina Spektor's sheer adorable beauty is the muse for Ciara Obscura- and I don't use that word lightly. In fact, I never use it.
For you , now, this video... this song.
Give yourself a few minutes to float in its crazy insane goodness. I dare you not to press replay.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
I do love them... these shoes. But I suppose my attachment would be looser were the sentiment not related to Sebastian creating this masterpiece of happiness for me. It's a curious thing, then, that Harold and Maude is my favorite movie of all time... given Maude was a vigilante of sorts for non-attachment. Then again, she did have an awful lot of sentimental goodies in her own home. I suppose that these things are visuals, temporarily marking our own journey.
Yeah. I'm gonna go with that... much nicer than feeling like I hoard for no good reason.
Go ahead... Treat your loveliness to something pretty...
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
My process goes something like this:
1. get drawn to awesome material
2. unload it in the studio
3. utilize the designs concocted prior to getting these and mix them with a dose of the new and evolved designs.
4. crack out the thread and glue and findings and creative juices
5. make some tea or coffee
6. stare at the goods for a while
7. dig in.
What results is a series of fine fine pretties... to be launched in the next couple of weeks.
8. get giddy.
Monday, June 8, 2009
I'm a dreamer. An unapologetic, shameless, staring into the sun dreamer. Sometimes I thought maybe I shouldn't trust myself with my grand ideas and secret wishes... that probably if I let myself really dive into feeling happy and content in these thoughts, that I would, eventually, just be disappointed in not having the things and the awesome experiences I dreamed I would have at different stages in my life. But, in some of the darkest and overwhelming times in my life, I have always- without fail- gone to my "happy place".
I can remember when I was six years old and my mother was dying. Something shifty was going on. I paid attention to every detail of my Mom's changing face, her hair falling out and trying to cover it with a kerchief or a wig. But, most of everything, I remember her amazing smile and her grace and strength and full love. I had no idea she was going away from us until she was gone. Clueless then blindsided. After that, for years, it was witnessing my Dad struggle to raise 6 children on his own... working his ass off while still being there for us in any moment that we needed him. My father is nothing short of my hero. This was, no doubt, a troubling time, but it was in these years that I first learned to , by contrast, find a better place to be. My clearest memory is of hearing my Dad crying one late afternoon in his bedroom, maybe a few months after my mom passed. I just knew enough to go in and hug him, but after that I went into my own room and curled up with my dolls and thought of my mom hugging Dad and dancing with him to Benny Goodman in the kitchen and drawing roses and painting my toenails and imagining my Mom in my life at the age I am now... I can tell you that I felt calm and peaceful and in a safe world. I was a daydreamer before this- like playing in the creek by the side of our house as a four year old- but this was the first time I remember dreaming about myself with the larger picture of a future attached.
I share this bit with you because this was my initial recollection of how thinking nicer, surreal thoughts of grandeur would allow me the chance to feel better. The hope of existing more in the space of sunshine and rainbows (don't knock the rainbows) and less in a space of darkness, appealed to the six year old then and , still, the six year old inside me today. There's no real difference- except that maybe I'm allowed to drink coffee and stay up until all hours of the night if I feel like it.
That said, I encourage you to give yourself the same opportunities to stop for a little in your day to day lives and embrace the staring off out the window or into your coffee cup or at the people rushing by. These are your moments to imagine the beauty that you want to feel. And I can assure you that as long as you allow yourself that much, you will ultimately have the reality and the dreams that you once let yourself think up.
The contrast is not to be taken lightly. You have a shitty day or week or year or life, but you've also got your creative ability to make the life you want happen... if not by exact details and standards than by the feeling of appreciation in wherever you are in any given moment. We are lucky and fortunate beings to have this ability.
And look, my life is full of less the excess of things than the abundance of goodness ...like the love and friendship of my super artistically talented husband and a space to dream in so that I can conjure up thoughts of the life that led me to make a living off of selling pretty wares (like the Perfect Bliss birdcage veil in the photo above).
It's really okay to be cheesy and dream. In fact, I'm just gonna say, it's the only way. Life could really suck otherwise... or, at least, might not be as amazing.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
I talk too much, tend to be judgmental, have serious moments when I gravitate toward negative thinking, get frustrated fairly easily, and am a bit of a sensitive soul. Sometimes I dwell far too long on what spewed out of my mouth in social situations. It's in these moments and, the hours and days following that I feel like I've totally screwed up and lost my street cred. Thing is, I'm not sure if others notice it half as much as I do, but it still bothers me. I have no patience for my imperfections.
Last night, at our good friends' going away party, I had several different conversations with just as many different people. Good times were rolling, all was well, no crazy mess ups. Then I was chatting with a couple of junior high teachers about , essentially, how I admired their appreciation and optimism in children of this age group. Since I've always been more easily "at one" with younger children, I said, I can't identify with the pre-teens/teens with as much grace and understanding. What followed was my rant about something like how they text too much, can't communicate well, are inconsiderate, and on and on. Thing is, I feel this way MAYBE five percent of the time. Why did I unleash this horribly uncharacteristic verbal spewing (that felt like it lasted an hour, but probably lasted only three minutes) about these kids who are perfectly fine and who are doing their best to navigate through a world that can be incredibly overwhelming? I felt embarrassed. But I also felt that if I back tracked and tried to explain myself, I would have dug myself even deeper into that very yucky place.
I wondered, today, why I did that... why I have a tendency every now and again to go on with the negative... ESPECIALLY when I don't even agree with three quarters of the shit I'm saying. In the case of the junior high teachers, I know exactly why. I think I have this weird pathology where I bring myself down to a lower level because I, illogically, feel that I can over emphasize my praising of the other person's work/behavior/talents/skills, whathaveyou and, therefore, make them feel even better about their accomplishments. Rationally, I understand that it's just a silly backwards way of complimenting someone and that putting my own self down only leaves me feeling like I've messed up again.
Now if my husband, Sebastian, was there with me, he would have made a joke about it and given me a hug and a kiss on my forehead... instant rebalancing. But because I was on my own... I struggled with that balance. I'm left wondering why messing up in such a really trivial way like this, and in other moments when I express harsh judgment and so on, makes me feel like I am the worst person in the world. And I think it comes down to the fact that facing our imperfections is a very very scary thing... especially when facing them becomes a daily occurrence. Why is it that the one single solitary negative thing I do, or negative comment I hear from another person is what stands out for a longer period of time and with such impact than that of the five gazillion really nice and positive things I do and say? Can I blame it on the 12 years of Catholic schooling and the subsequent and prolific Catholic guilt? Wish I could. Instead, I continue on the path of my rather elongated series of life lessons.
I learn to go easy on myself (another invaluable bit of love and support that my husband has taught me)... like I imagine that my screw up doesn't exist anymore and the I go make some tea, or take out some really great material and make a new piece of jewelry or write a letter to a friend or hug my dog or stand in the sun in the patio garden or tell Sebastian I love him or look at the wedding album or practice the guitar or visit with my elderly neighbor (she's so good to me) or, really , just say, "screw it."... a more effective form of denial. It doesn't matter if I messed up this one millionth time 'cause, hell, overall I've already done a pretty damn good job of myself. And I should just pipe down and enjoy these moments just a little bit more. Even though the 5% of nastiness and embarrassment packs a heck of a punch, I remind myself that it's the other 95% of the time that is actually creating my life. This is a much more satisfying thought. And, in this better moment, I'm choosing the 95%.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Meet Kasey. This stunning gal is noteworthy... a gifted singer and musician (for the band
The Majestic ), a smart cookie (finishing up her clinicals for her degree in Respiratory Therapies), and a dreamer. I'm especially fond of dreamers who are actually inspired to follow through with their creative innovations and make their lives an extension of their dreams... Kasey does this with awesome grace and pure loveliness. She's one to know. You just wait.
More bits and pieces below...
Did you play dress up as a kid? If so, what was your most memorable ensemble?
Oh yes, I surely played dress up as a wee one. There was no particular ensemble that stood, they all stood out. I would put on fashion shows with the neighbor kids and at the same time, be the girl climbing trees/rolling around in mud.
What's your most treasured possession?
My grandfather’s Navy “Seabees” ring. Long live Hippy!
Backyard: Garden or the ocean?
A garden is something you create, maintain and watch thrive. I pick garden.
Hobbies and artistic endeavors?
Writing, singing, making clothes, painting, collecting tiny trinkets, playing/learning numberless instruments, cooking, hiking, biking, learning about different cultures, finding cures, laughing, singing in the rain, drinking green tea and playing with my dog, Paul.
The one band that you can listen to in any mood, any time of day, any place?
Where do you get your inspiration?
The world around me: the good♥, the bad and the tolerable
Imagine a single room all to yourself, all for you. What's inside?
Green tea, candles, flowers, papasan, relaxing music, calligraphy pen and paper.
or candy apple?
Candy apple (green)
One memory that brings you to your happy place.
The memory of my mother and me saying the Serenity prayer every morning together. She always made the best of every situation, even when we had little to no money, and also instilling the greatest values, I’m extremely grateful. She is my hero.
If you had the ability to give one million dollars to one charitable organization or cause, what would it be?
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Share a quote.
“I love to hear a choir. I love the humanity to see the faces of real people devoting themselves to a piece of music. I like the teamwork. It makes me feel optimistic about the human race when I see them cooperating like that.”
What piece of jewelry or hair adornment do you own by Ciara Obscura?
My inspired earrings, my fave :)
Who, in history, dead or alive, would you most like to spend a day with? why?
Florence Nightengale, for she was an intelligent, strong , compassionate, goal-driven woman that I believe I could learn a lot (more) from.
Fort or Tree House?
Monday, June 1, 2009
The thing is, I want a new kitchen. And new bathrooms. And solar panels. And skylights. And better storage. And low flow toilets. And a couple new doggy beds. Oh and chairs for the dining room table... and some area rugs... and more pots in our yard for growing food... and more comfortable patio furniture... and .... Holy crap. Once I started, I couldn't stop seeing what we didn't have. Perception is a bitch.
So I cut myself off and decided to take photos of everything I love about our home. Appreciation, in and of itself, realigns a person with all that feels really amazing and always always- without exception- makes life feel good again. After I downloaded the photos and took some time just looking at them, I had no choice but to love what I already have (which, really, is everything I need.) and learn to shut the hell up about that new kitchen and the new bathrooms ... at least for now.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Runners up for this month will receive 20% off their total purchase from the Ciara Obscura website.
Kerstin of kmonberg is also a runner up (there was no link for a contact email- so I will need you to contact me if you decide to take the 20% off deal!).
Thanks everyone, this was a great beginning to my monthly giveaway spree! Yay!
Upcoming posts... Fabulous featured artists, ramblings and Featured Gal #6: Kasey♥
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
This is what I love about Pam... She's a big fan of the wonderful vibrancy of color and her home attests to that. Pops of rich and dynamic hues play off throw pillows, area rugs, artwork, bedding, plates and mugs and clothing. She's traveled all over the world and can find something to appreciate everywhere she visits. Pam writes poetry abundant with imagery; in fact, she wrote and read a poem for mine and Sebastian's wedding. It was perfect.
But mainly I love Pam because she's a friend... present, generous, patient and kind.
I am a very lucky girl. Find out more about her in the interview below...
♥ Did you play dress up as a kid? If so, what was your most memorable ensemble? I was a little cowgirl with plaid flannel shirt and cowboy hat.
♥ What's your profession/day job/night job/way of making a living/something that occupies your day? For 35+ years I played with teenagers as I shared books and writing as an English teacher. As a retired teacher I still play with reading and writing.
♥ What's your most treasured possession? Memories . Material possessions clutter.
♥ Hobbies and artistic endeavors? Currently, reading, walking, .
♥ The one musical band that you can listen to in any mood, any time of day, any place? Not a band, but Bruni and Melua, female singers.
♥ Where do you get your inspiration? Nature, friends, and sadness.
♥ Imagine a single room all to yourself, all for you. What's inside? I have one with a round window that reflects the moving moon late at night.
♥ Your ideal day, from morning to night, as it occurs to you in this very moment? Being with my best friend for a few hours, reading, wandering in my yard, fixing a salmon dinner and chocolate dessert, and a game of Scrabble.
♥ The best part of living is. .. Waking up happy and painless to a free day.
♥ or Tokyo? Definitely South France for its food and sunflowers
♥ What's the one thing that sustains you? Loving, returned love
♥ What piece of jewelry or hair adornment do you own by Ciara Obscura? 2 necklaces, 3 earrings, 5 hair adornments, all favorites!
♥ (fill in the blank) I am most proud of...my patience
♥ Favorite meal Salmon, mashed potatoes, green salad, and a luscious chocolate dessert
♥ The outfit that makes you feel most alive and radiant Any outfit I am wearing that receives a compliment so that I stand up straighter and smile