Words of late artist Frank Howell...I totally relate!

"There are few days off and no retirement from this entanglement of knowledge, passion and vision that will be molded and converted into creative expression. There are no guarantees of acceptance, understanding or reward, but...the noise inside the mind never ceases. I will paint today, tonight and for as many tomorrows as I am given..." Words of the late artist Frank Howell...

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Juju Queen's Junk News and a Look at a NYFW Trend

The end of this month, I will be closing my big space at Antiques at the Loop and focusing on my jewelry.  I do LOVE all aspects of working and playing in the antiques business, especially the hunt and picking with friends, but the distance to the retail establishment in Mobile is over 50 miles (one way!) and I try to check in with new things, fluff and rearrange two or three times a week, so that's a lot of miles on my car and me!  Also, the vintage treasures have been taking over my home in a not so good way.  There were piles in the car waiting to come inside, piles inside getting spruced up or painted, and then moved to another area to get tagged and inventoried.  Then I would need to put those pieces inside the car to head to the shop, but first I had to unload the load that was still in the car waiting to come inside...do you get the idea?  I tried to do it all inside my house so that I could still cook and clean and do laundry and all those other homemaker duties that make my house a home...and it sort of turned my house into a crazy place.  I do plan to keep making my jewelry from recycled bits and pieces and will still be involved in Antiques at the Loop with that part of the business...I simply love Antiques at the Loop and just want to stay connected to the coolest antique market in the area.  I'm hoping to be able to announce a special event that will take place before Christmas, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will work out.  Stay tuned.

So now that I've got that bit of news out of the way...

Fab Fashion Friday posts have sort of fallen by the wayside lately. Now that I'm downsizing Juju Queen's Junk, there should be more time to devote to the blog, so I promise to do better from here forward....starting today.

How about a Saturday Fashion Surprise post?  I just checked my e-mails and this alert came to my attention about the hottest trend at the latest shows in New York, so it piqued my interest and I had to check it out...even though it's not Friday.  

It's the off-shoulder dress, and when I began clicking through some of them, I wondered if I had actually clicked on intimate apparel instead of dresses.  Let me show you some of the examples...

Elegant Moments Black Pothole Off-Shoulder Mini Dress

Ummm, no.

Or, this one...

Yoins Off-the-shoulder Short Sleeves Lace Dress-White  S/M/L/XL

Still, no, not for me...but then I explored further and found some really cute ones I would actually wear...

Camilla Beaded Batwing-Sleeve Dress

Camilla Beaded Batwing-Sleeve Dress (see more rayon dresses)

Now, this one (above) is not actually an "off shoulder" piece, but it came up in the search, so I'm going with it because I really like it!  Now, hubby would have a stroke if I actually did go with it.  It's priced at $475, which is my budget for my entire seasonal wardrobe--for the next few years...In all seriousness though, it's a great piece, just a little more than I would be willing to pay unless we come into some surprise fortune in the near future...

And, then I found this piece that I decided to feature...It's affordable--priced at $38.  I think I might actually check into purchasing one of these.  It's great for all ages and body types, and apparently all the rage right now when worn off the shoulder.  Of course, it could also be worn up on the shoulder, as I would wear it.   And, I would walk around holding my arms up just so that everyone could see and appreciate those gorgeous sleeves...

NYFW Trends--Off Shoulder

Monday, September 21, 2015

Gulf Coast Bloggers Meet at Jenna's

Well, I'll  just start this post by saying that it took me long enough to get this one published. Now, let me explain why.

While attempting to take pics at the Gulf Coast Bloggers meeting, using my camera, it flashed  the "no more memory" message after I snapped the first pic....oh no, now what?  I remembered leaving the memory card in my computer when I was working on my last post. Oh well, I'll grab my phone and take pics with that...it takes great quality pics, so that should be fine.  Now before I get too far into the story, let me also tell you that I was taking notes on my computer-- right there at the meeting.  Yes, the same computer with the camera memory card still in the slot--like in my lap... Anyway, once I discovered the card in the computer when I got home, I felt so blonde (which may or may not be my natural color) or maybe I'm just getting old.  Other blonde sisters out there, please don't be offended...I'm trying to rationalize in a humorous why I am so messed up these days....because if I can't laugh about it, I will probably cry.

On to the next part of the story...

Now that I was home and ready to blog about the meeting, I couldn't figure out how to get the pics from my phone to the computer!  I tried connecting the two devices using the charging cord with the USB end on it and couldn't get that to work, but I installed some kind of driver onto my computer that it told me I needed!  I decided I would wait to talk to Son to see if he could help me, because he's a computer whiz...Just then, Hubby walks in and sees me frustrated and fussing over it.  He asked, "Why don't you just e-mail the pics to yourself, then save them?"  I felt so dumb and MAD at myself...Why couldn't I think of that?  Do you ever have moments like that?  Some days I feel like I'm living in a fog...and I can't believe I'm even sharing this with you....it's embarrassing.  I used to be so sharp...thank goodness for hubby.

Now, let me share what I'm here to talk about--the Gulf Coast Bloggers meeting on Ono Island at my friend, Jenna's home.  Jenna's blog is The Painted Apron, and if you follow her, you know she is extremely talented (both in the kitchen and with a paintbrush!) and I feel fortunate to call her my friend. She welcomed the group with the pretty themed table display that told the story of our individual blogging journeys--there's a VW van, the map of our area, a camera, and a necklace (that she purchased from me!) that shares the sentiment, "Enjoy the Journey".  Look at the surfboard on top of the van and the beachy elements.  She really put a lot of thought and effort into making it perfect, and it was. What's hiding right behind that map is a pretty and tasty table full of goodies that was the fabulous lunch she made for us...more about that later on down in the post.

Here's our hostess, Jenna (in the stripes).  And there's Donna enjoying a cup of coffee as we waited for our special guest speaker to arrive...

...and Leslie Anne, modeling her pretty dress...that matched everything--her tablet, the glass in her hand, the walls, they sky, the water.....

And there's Alan up behind Hope and Leslie Anne...

Our speaker and special guest was Judy Oxford, from the Coastal Arts Center (formerly Orange Beach Arts Center) in Orange Beach.  She serves on the Board of Directors (aka Friends of the Arts) and was very enthusiastic about the future of the organization. She shared with us plans for the new arts center which is scheduled to be constructed within a year or so...still working on the final plans, so there's no completion date set in stone yet. It's going to be fabulous!  I was impressed with the old one, so I know the newer and improved facility is going to be something to really be proud of. She shared lots of info about classes, the hot shop where they blow glass, kids activities and plans for the future.  I'm looking forward to visiting the new arts center, and I've always wanted to try that glass blowing thing!  

There's Linda listening and taking notes as Judy shows us some pictures of the plans for the new Coastal Arts Center.

Once Judy finished her presentation, we each shared what was new in our lives and blogging tips, troubles, questions and answers.  It's hard sometimes to fit everything into a meeting that's only a couple of hours long--we could talk forever when we get together.  

Now, back to the food and drinks that Jenna prepared for us...

This pretty and beachy drink was peach tea, which was served with playful and colorful straws...and in pretty blue Mason jars that were the color of the water just outside, and Leslie Anne's dress, of course...

I didn't get a shot of the entire table, but just trust me when I tell you it was prettier than anything you've ever seen at any party or restaurant!  I did get some close-up detail shots of the individual dishes.  Jenna shared the recipes on her blog...just click here for that link.

That pimento-cheese and strawberry paired together in the croissant sandwiches--amazing! And the sweet crunchy nuts in that fruit salad...mmmm good.  It was all good, but these are the details that remain in my memory as favorites of the day.

And here's the view from Jenna's living room.  Isn't it just so serene?  It made me feel as if I had landed on some island paradise somewhere--wait a minute--I had.  Ono Island is an island paradise...

Here, Karyn visits with us as Linda and I enjoy lunch out on the deck.

Back inside, I'm in love with all the color and texture in Jenna's home.  Just look at this fabulous tile in the powder room!  And there's Linda telling me, "I can see you in the picture, Judy."   I see you too, Linda!  I'm sure we're not the only two bloggers who blogged about that tile!  It was so unique and full of gorgeousness!

...and the glass sink...Simply.  Dreamy.  Like a mermaid's sink...

...and the texture and color of the boards on this table made my heart skip a beat.

Jenna's art adds the fun factor to her home.  She uses lots of texture and a bright palette of colors. Trying to categorize the style of her work left me thinking "representationalism" carried out in a very loose manner, with some abstract pieces appearing here and there.  All pieces are lovely and a feast for the eyes.

Thank you Jenna for your gracious hospitality!  It was one of my favorite meetings of all time, and the lunch was a special treat!  We look at pics and read about your scrumptious cooking several times a week, and we finally got to actually eat some of it!  It did not disappoint!  

You can click on each blogger's name above as they first appear in the text; their name is linked to their blogs...Please go check them out and maybe you'll see one (or two or more!) that you would like to follow.  As a diverse group, we cover a broad range of topics on our individual blogs--just go see!  I love hanging out with my blogger friends and I'm looking forward to the next meeting in October!  We also welcome new bloggers to come join us and be a  part of our awesome group. Just click on this link for more info on the Gulf Coast Bloggers.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Sharing Some Great New Bracelets

I've been working on some new bracelets the last few weeks whenever I get a minute or two to spend in the studio.  You know I'm all about recycling, and so these bracelets are all made of leather belts that I've found in thrift stores.  I get all excited when I spot a real leather belt among all those less desirable ones hanging on the rack, and if it's a large size, well, I might just do a happy dance! I can get an extra bracelet or two when the belt is longer...Anyway, let me show you in pictures some of my latest creations.

This one is embellished with a rusty bottle cap that I found on the ground at a local restaurant. When I bent down to pick it up, hubby just shook his head and smiled...he's learned to not even comment. It was smashed perfectly flat and has that gorgeous rusty patina that I couldn't recreate if I tried. And since I love dichotomies, I paired a mirror and some sparkly rhinestones with the rusty piece. Don't they play well together?

The next couple were made from a great printed leather belt.  I made some that were just plain, because the leather itself is so pretty, I wanted it to be the feature.  The piece that I cut from the end of the belt had holes that presented a dilemma--should I just use it with holes left empty, or add something to the holes?  I decided to add bling.  So, here are the two different styles that I made using the printed leather belt...

I'm working on more leather ones too, and I'll share them once they're finished.

Here are some new denim ones...

This first one is hard for me to let go, but it is in the shop...It's dramatic, with a long piece of vintage handmade lace that hangs down over the fingers.  Very Bohemian.

This one is from a piece of recycled printed denim, to which I've added some vintage handmade lace.

This one has a satin ribbon rose that I stitched on deliberately in a haphazard way with a zigzag stitch.  It also features a bit of bling in the center and some vintage lace.  Another dichotomy- silky rose and bling with a little bit of messiness and casual denim.

Here's a casual look for fall-- very simple with a raveled edge.

This one is the actual cuff from a long-sleeved denim shirt.  I just added vintage handmade lace and used the existing button and buttonhole for the closure.

So, I've just shared a few examples of my recent playtime creations and they are all available in Juju Queen's Junk at Antiques at the Loop in Mobile, Alabama.  It wouldn't cost much to ship one of these...they are so lightweight.  If you're interested and not local to Mobile, just call AATL at 251-476-0309

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