Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Chance to Win!

Would you like to win some Cornerstoregoddess snowperson earrings?  You'll have a choice between a snowman or a snow woman.  All you have to do is watch my slide show and, in the comments section, tell me how many times you see Gilda in the slide show.

As a hint, this is Gilda.

As another hint, the slide show is here.

Want to be entered more than once?  Leave a comment on my blog, on any other post.

Want to be entered again?  Become a follower of my blog.  If you're already a follower, leave a comment that says "I'm already a follower!"

All entries must be received by midnight Sunday, January 3rd.  The winner will be announced on Monday, January 4th.

Let the game begin!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Is it a bad thing when your cat dreams about her human's obsession?

Gingerbread Musings

Thoughts on Gingerbread

(Hey!  I bet you think about strange stuff, too!)

You know, I never liked the story of the Gingerbread Man. He was so arrogant, thinking that, just because he could outrun senior citizens, he could hold his own with a fox.

Not that I wished him harm. Eating him was, after all, the fox's job.

I didn't even like gingerbread boys and girls for eating purposes. The icing didn't taste nearly as good as it looked, and those suckers could get rock hard. But what I liked was the smell... and the look. The pink or aqua icing against the rich browns of the gingerbread, and that pungent aroma.

With this is mind, I started collecting gingerbread charms and beads.  (Yeah, I know... OCD strikes 1 in 10).  And soon I had a tidy stash.  But the beads had to be just the right colors.  I wanted to conjure up those delicious-smelling cookies.

And so I made this bracelet...

...and these earrings.

They don't smell like gingerbread, but they're pretty cute, and you can find them in my store if you run, run, as fast as you can.

I am also reminded of the e.e. cummings poem, which begins: here is little effie's head
whose brains are made of gingerbread
when the judgment day comes
God will find six crumbs

Hope you find more... and that they are delicious.

Run, Run, as Fast as You Can...!

The True Story of the Gingerbread Persons and Their Sad Demise

Once upon a time, a little old woman and a little old man lived in a cottage, which they held onto through a loan modification. One day the little old woman make some gingerbread people.  Her husband was quite deaf and she needed someone to talk to. She gave them currants for eyes and cherries for buttons. Then she popped them in the oven to bake.

The little old woman and little old man were very hungry and wanted to eat the gingerbread men and women.  She brewed a pot of coffee and they waited for the oven timer to DING. As soon the timer went off, the little old woman opened the oven door.  But the gingerbread people. who clearly were made from more than flour, butter, and molasses, leapt off the cookie sheet and ran out of the open window shouting, "Don't eat us!"

The little old woman and little old man ran after the gingerbread people."Stop! Stop!" they shouted.  But the gingerbread people didn't even look back. They ran on, and started to chant:
'Run, run as fast as you can! You can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man!'  (The gingerbread girls chanted "Run, run as fast as you can. Gingerbread girls outrun any man!")

Down the lane they sped until they saw a pig.  The pig said, "Snort, stop!   would like to eat you!"

"First you'd have to get out of the mud," answered the gingerbread crew as they raced down the road.  They started up their chants again.  "Run, run as fast as you can. You can't catch me,
I'm the gingerbread man"  and "Run, run as fast as you can. Gingerbread girls outrun any man!"

A little further on they met a cow. "Stop! Stop! " mooed the hungry cow.  "You look good enough to eat!"

But the gingerbread people were too fast.  They sped on down the road, shouting, "Run, run as fast as you can. You can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man"  and "Run, run as fast as you can. Gingerbread girls outrun any man!"

The cow began to chase the gingerbread crew along with the pig, and the little old woman. (The little old man had gone back to the cottage and to drink all the coffee.) But the gingerbread people were too fast for them.

It was not long before the gingerbread troops came to a horse. "Stop! Stop!" shouted the horse. "I want to eat you all!"

And did they stop?  Nooooo.  Instead they ran on, shouting "Run, run as fast as you can. You can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man"  and "Run, run as fast as you can. Gingerbread girls outrun any man!"

The horse joined in the chase. The gingerbread people laughed and laughed, until they came to a river. "Uh-oh!" they moaned.  "How will we cross the river?"

That's when the sly fox appeared.  "I can help you cross the river," said the fox. "Just jump on to my tail and I will swim across."

"But won't you eat us?" asked the gingerbread folk.

"Of course not," said the fox. "I just want to help."

Having crumbs for brains, the gingerbread people climbed onto the fox's tail. Soon they began to get wet.  Very wet.

"Climb onto my back," said the fox. So they did.  (Did I mention they had crumbs for brains?)

As he swam the fox said, "You are very heavy and I am getting very tired.  Please jump onto my nose." The Gingerbreads did as they were told.

No sooner had they reached the other side, than the fox tossed the gingerbread people up in the air. He opened his mouth and 'Snap!' that was the end of the gingerbread people.  Except on this bracelet, where they are safe.

They're pretty safe on the earrings, too.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Eggplants, Hawks, and Mt. Fuji, Oh My

Hatsuyume (初夢) is the Japanese word for the first dream had in the new year. The contents of that dream foretell the dreamer's luck in the year ahead.  Of course, like in so many places, in Japan, the night of  December 31st is often spent wide awake.  Thus the hatsuyume was often the dream seen on the night of January 1st.  For this reason, January 2nd (the day after the night of the "first dream") is known as Hatsuyume in the traditional calendar.  

It is considered to be particularly good luck to dream of Mount Fuji (seen here as a vintage sterling silver charm shaped like a fan, with pictures of Mt. Fuji on each side)...

a hawk...

(seen as a sterling silver 3D charm)...

and an eggplant...

(with a pewter eggplant 3D charm).  (Do you know how hard it is to find an eggplant charm?  VERY hard.)

Though this belief has been in place since the early Edo period, there are various theories regarding the origins as to why this particular combination was considered to be so lucky. One theory suggests that this combination is lucky because Mount Fuji is Japan's highest mountain...


the hawk is a clever and strong bird, 

and the word for eggplant (nasu or nasubi 茄子) suggests achieving something great (nasu 成す). 

Another theory suggests that this combination arose because Mount Fuji, falconry, and early eggplants were favorites of the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu.  

You can see the falconry angle, but I'm having trouble picturing him eating an eggplant.

Given the eggplant, the bracelet had to be created in a deep eggplant purple.  

I have done this with artisan lampwork and foiled lampwork beads, amethyst, fluorite, artisan glass furnace beads, cat's eye beads, Swarovski pearls, and Czech pressed glass and fire polish crystals in deep amethyst.   

Each Cornerstoregoddess bracelet comes with a bead to protect the wearer from the evil eye.

It could very well be the ONLY Hatsuyume bracelet around.  It is certainly the only one that looks like this.  And it's here.   

Monday, December 21, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

A contest... with a prize!

Would you like to win a piece of Cornerstoregoddess jewelry to give as a special gift... or keep for yourself?  Then read on!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

How the Maneki Nekos Saved the Elves

As most of you are aware, Santa is a slacker. He lives at the North Pole, which has a high unemployment rate, and he works one day a year, when he delivers toys to all the good boys and girls around the world. It is true his day is longer than most, since he crosses all the times zones. But still: that's maybe 48 hours of labor a year. Most out-of-work actors work more than that. In addition, many households leave him snacks, so essentially he is taking all the law-mandated breaks for the year during that 48 hours of intense labor. The rest of the work is done by elves.

Long ago, Santa used to supervise the elves. He's read off his list: "Billy wants a pair of skates, Susie wants a dolly, hohoho..." And the elves would hop to and make said pair of skates and said dolly. But face it. Anyone can read off a list. So Santa handed that task over to the elves, as well. As for making a list and checking it twice? You guessed it. More elf labor.

The along came swine flu. You'd think, at the North Pole, germs wouldn't have a snowball's chance of surviving. But think about it. All the children write letters to Santa. They use big fat pencils, which they chew on. They sneeze of the lined notebook paper. And then, when their germy letters are finished, the put them in an envelope and lick the flap shut. Stamps are self-adhesive these days, but more than one child has sealed his letter with a big fat kiss. Make that one germ-infested kiss.

Most years a few of the elves come down with the flu, and many come down with tiny head colds. (They are elves, after all.) But this year, swine flu hit them like a ton of, well, pigs.

There were only a few weeks until Christmas and the elves were all sneezing and coughing and using all the fake snow as handkerchiefs. It was a mess. Santa was forced to consult the lists himself. He had to read letters himself. And he needed help.

But where does a legendary world figure go for help in a time like this? Duh. Craig's List.

So Santa checked the ads. And there it was, right next to "girl's who know how to use apostrophe's" and the person who will teach you how to walk your cat on a leash. Small creatures who bring good fortune and happiness, willing to work all around the world, in any climate. It sounded like the answer to Santa's dilemma. he did, after all, need small creatures who didn't mind the cold (-16 degrees F today) and didn't mind hard work 24/7, no breaks until December 25th).

In truth, the creatures in the ad were Maneki Nekos. Known for their work in Japan, where they bring good fortune when they raise their right paw, or business to an establishment when they raise their left paw. They had been working on a marketing campaign of world-wide recognition, and were willing to do most anything to attain their goal.

Their statues could now be seen in front of Japanese restaurants world wide.

And more had been appearing on jewelry, and desktops.

Still, they were not as widely known as they would like. To gain greater visibility and to market themselves more effectively, they applied for the job of Santa's elves. It was only a short gig, after all, and their visibility at the North Pole was close to zero. (In fact, visibility at the North Pole was close to 0.)

Santa, having no other options, sent his sleigh to pick them up.

You might have caught the NASA reports on the news about an airborne sleigh pulled by eight reindeer (Rudolph had the night off) and no driver. Since the sleigh normally was filled with toys, packing it with maneki nekos was not a problem. It picked them up in Hawaii and Australia, Canada and Guatemala, Lapland and Greenland and Russia and Mongolia. It did a worldwide sweep and collected every willing maneki neko on the planet. Then, with all of them waving wither their right paw, their left paw, or both paws, off the went to Santa's Workshop.

Santa was a bit distressed when he realized his new workforce didn't have opposable thumbs.

This slowed the nekos down a bit. In fact, they started to suffer from elf esteem. They soon felt overworked, underappreciated and like they didn't exist to others during the holidays while in actuality, the season's success depended on them.

But they were maneki nekos, after all. They had magical qualities on their side, or so the legend goes. By waving their right paws and their left paws, and forming an assembly line, they set to work on the toys, whistling as they worked. (They thought that was part of the job description. Actually that was a job for dwarf miners.)

Bruno was in charge.

Harrison and Maribell were in charge of dolls and stuffed toys.

Bernard, Noriko, and Kyoko handled building toys.

Jesse was in charge of puzzles and games.

Masako handled CDs, computer games, and DVDs.

Ken oversaw sporting goods.

James took care of story books.

Then everyone pitched in. The wrapped the gifts and and loaded up the sleigh.

And away they all flew, like the down on a thistle. And I heard them exclaim, as Santa drove out of sight, "I hope the kids of the world like maneki nekos, because that's what's in every one of those packages!"

Someone even got a bracelet.

And to all a good night.