Thursday, January 17, 2013

Ugly Hands, Silly Goat, and an opportunity to Win a Book from Kalmbach!

I have a confession to is more silly than salacious, more vanity than anything else, but the truth of the matter is...I have ugly hands.  REALLY ugly hands.  I keep my nails short and try not to draw attention to them.  Mind you, this is not something that the occasional manicure would cure, although it probably would help a bit.  I tend not to remember to wear gloves when gardening, to protect them when cutting glass, or even to slather them with moisturizer on occasion.  I am always a little embarrassed when I meet someone for the first time and have to stick out one of my scarred paws for a handshake.  No doubt, my hands are the most abused body part of my body.  My liver is scoffing, but it is true.  My hands are a wreck.  The thing is, years ago, back when I was a pretty young thing capable of the scorn and derision particular to teenagers, I knew a woman--an old lady who I did not respect at all---sporting  hands that looked a whole lot like the hands I have today.  Her hands really freaked me out and I can actually remember the visceral disgust I felt when looking at them.   

UGH!  GROSS!  My God, Woman!  Take care of yourself!  

I vowed that I would  never, ever, ever have hands like that!!!  Except that I do...Life is funny that way, isn't it?

I was in the airport recently on my way home from the Houston Quilt Show and was sitting at the gate, working on a beaded cuff to pass the time before my flight was called.  I looked up at a group of women making their way to nearby seats.  These gals looked to be about my age, although their 50-ish looked MUCH better preserved than my 50-ish.  No sensible shoes for these ladies!   Stiletto sandals, long hair, full lips, perky boobs....and beautiful hands.  Turns out that the flight following mine was heading to Los Angeles.  Figured...these gals were clearly not from Lutz!    I continued to sew Swarovski crystals onto the cuff, listening to bits and pieces of their conversation, most of which revolved around calories and exercise.  Zone Bars?  Personal Trainers?  I was a stranger in a strange land, indeed.  I felt one of them staring at me so I looked up and smiled.

She complimented the bracelet I was wearing and started to ask questions about my work.  She appeared genuinely intrigued and wanted to touch everything, trying on this piece and that piece while I explained the felt making process.  My flight began to board so I gathered my things, and as I walked away she said something that made me laugh.  She told me that I had "working hands" and that she was glad to have spoken with me.  She told me that I "had such a pretty face," but that it just didn't seem to "go" with my hands.  She had not been able to reconcile the two.  Once we had spoken and she realized that I was an artist, it all made sense to her.

I reflected on the conversation during the flight home.   She was right...I DO have working hands! Yikes!   I had been away from the garden for a week and there was still dirt under my finger nails!

....and yet, I cherish these old, worn, damaged hands....

They bear the scars of roughhousing  with the sharp toothed puppies that have crossed my path over the years...those that have become part of my family and those that I have fostered on their journey to find a special family of their own.  There are burn scars from meals that I have cooked for people I love, and jagged scars earned while cutting tile and glass.  I got my most recent scar a few weeks ago when I was bitten by a Brown Recluse Spider while working in my wood shop.  The doctor told me I could lose my THAT was scary!  Ugly as they are, my hands have created beauty, they have wiped the tears from the faces of my sweet children, and rubbed the back of the man I adore. They have served me well over the years and I have learned to love them...most of the time!

In a funny twist of timing, I recently had an opportunity to peruse a killer new book, Crystal Jewelry Inspiration , compiled by Karin Van Voorhees.  It features the work of thirty Ambassadors with Swarovski's Create-Your Style program and I am honored to have a project included in this gorgeous book.  Karin had asked me what my favorite tool was and I had forgotten my answer until I saw it in black and white on page 45:

"My hands, of course!  Ragged and worn, they serve me well."

Yup, they really do!

YOU CAN WIN A COPY OF THIS BOOK!!!  Simply comment on this post and you will be entered for a chance to win a copy.  Hurry because the drawing is Monday! The book is jam packed with gorgeous photos and detailed instructions for every project.  There is a heck of a lot of talent between these will NOT be disappointed!  Better yet, make sure to "Like" Kalmbach's Facebook page so that you can be the first to hear about their exciting new offerings!  

Of course, life isn't all about artsy craftsy stuff in my world.  We had a major bit of excitement recently when Ruby (the black goat pictured on the right) took a ride in the back of my Suburban to meet her new boyfriend.  I was as nervous as could be, worrying that she was too young, too small, too pure for such an endeavor.  HAH!  She acted like a wanton vixen, chasing the poor buck around after the deed had been done (and done.  and done.  and done.....) until he finally lost his temper with her.  Oh dear.  Could I possibly have a Goat Ho on my hands?   Our fingers are crossed that she is pregnant and we are hoping for a June baby!