Thursday, January 17, 2013

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

I have a confession to make....it 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 hand....now 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 pages....you 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!


38 comments:

  1. Your hands are far from ugly! How can something that creates such beauty ever be called ugly? You continue to inspire, amaze, and, of course, amuse me! Thanks.

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    1. Thanks for always seeing the good, Meryl. You are equally inspirational to me and are part of what makes my world such a happy place!

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  2. I always truly enjoy reading of your adventures, digressions, and just happy happenings in your corner of the world !!
    You are a true inspiration to so many women.
    And I'm grateful that you share it with us here !!

    Congrats on the project in the new book! It's fabulous !!

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    1. Amy:
      Your business acumen is a source of REAL inspiration. Running two successful full time businesses is more than I can imagine....

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  3. I love your blog, Pat! But I think I could go mano a mano with you as far as who has the ugliest hands. I've broken a couple of fingers in the years when I was riding and now that my joints are starting to swell, the fingertips are starting to go off in odd directions.

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    1. Sadly, that "going off in odd directions" description could apply to my ass. *Sigh* Growing old ain't for sissies, but at least we have had fun getting here!

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  4. You make beautiful creations with those hands, smiles with your stories, and are an amazing person. Congrats on your project in the book.

    Yeah, for the goat Ho Ruby!

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    1. We miss you, Kelly! Tuesdays just aren't the same without you and your wheel! Re Miss Ruby: I thought of Chelsea when Ruby was out strutting her stuff. I had just gotten through regaling the Breeder with my concerns about the process when it became clear that Ruby knew what Ruby wanted...Yikes! When is Chelsea going to get HER turn so that I can point and laugh?

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  5. Great post, Pat! Too funny....I've read your post and now I'm staring at my hands! Being here in Upstate NY with a stretch of temp's in the very low 20's, I realize I absolutely cannot live without slathering my hands in lotion (Lubriderm to be exact!) :-) Thanks for another thought provoking post!

    - Ann (of the "Sheila Ann" team!)

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    1. It is funny that you mention Lubriderm, Ann! It is what I use on the rare occasion when the weather turns cold in Florida! We had a rare low of 49 degrees this morning...BRRRRR

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  6. Wonderful post as always, Pat. Can't wait to see the book - any that include your work are a Must Read!

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    1. Thanks, Joyce! I see that you are hosting another Customer Garage Sale next week-end...wish I lived closer! Er...I am in Florida and you are in MICHIGAN. Let me say that I wish that YOU lived closer! I hope that everyone sells a ton and buys a ton!

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  7. Such a well-worded post! I can't recall the last time I've felt such mirth at reading a well-spun entry :)
    I'm glad the book features at least ONE of the MANY beauties you create, and hopefully you'll be able to share more with a larger audience on a larger scale down the line! Congrats!

    Keep us updated on the (hopefully) preggo Ruby!

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    1. I miss seeing you at the Fiber Group, Chris! Are you REALLY working that hard or are you tired of hanging with the Golden Girls?

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  8. I must say Pat that when I met you and shook your hand, I didn't think your hands were ugly at all. I would hate to see a person that didn't have care-worn hands. Hands that have made themselves useful and loved. My mom had hands like those and I'm proud to say I am follow in her hand-steps.

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    1. Lori:
      Nicely said....You are such a lovely addition to our fiber group!

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  9. Wow Pat, you could be writing about my hands. Ugly hands, short nails, dry skin, ragged cuticles - I have them all! Still, I view these as a badge of honour. These are hands that do things and are not afraid to show it. It's what's in your heart that counts, and you have an amazing advantage there. Thanks for another awesome blog Pat! Once again, it made my day!

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    1. Hedy, thank you for adding some needed Warm and Fuzzy on a cold Florida day!

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  10. Funny and interesting blog as usual, Pat. It reminds me of when as a child I used to look at my Grandma's wrinkled face and veined hands and thought that would never be me. Now I see my grandgirls giving me the same looks and it reinforces the concept that everyone gets a turn at showing how full their life was through their skin. Scars and wrinkles are just etched memories. Really happy you are featured in the book - you deserve the recognition! Deb

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    1. Perfectly stated, Deb. We have earned each and every one of our wrinkles through lots of love, laughter, and productivity!

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  11. So happy to have discovered (thanks to Klambach on facebook) your entertaining blog. You made me feel so much better about my hands. I gather that the hands in the first photo are not yours.

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    1. Hahaha...those hands belonged to my Stunt Hand Model! I am so glad that you found me, Barbara!

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  12. I love this post! I actually used to spend time and money on beautiful nails like those in the photo above. Now that I'm older (and wiser, and BEADIER) I would much rather have 'working' hands that CREATE beauty - not just with beads, or yarn, but in my garden too. Long beautiful nails and garden soil definitely do NOT mix. I'd much rather be known for my bead work and thriving garden than for my 'nice nails' any day....

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    1. Totally with you, coolmoon! ...as my mom used to say "Pretty is and Pretty does" so maybe we have pretty hands, after all!

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  13. I just love your blog!! And would love to win the book too :)

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    1. I will keep my fingers crossed for you, Susan!

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  14. Pat, I have working hands too! Ha, ha! I absolutely think the connection is being an artist. We artists abuse our bodies as much as we abuse our emotions! I'm glad to see your blogging again - I loved Crafty Retailer! Hope I get to see you again soon. I'll be in Tucson this year with Wild Things Beads on the weekend of Feb. 8th and again the next weekend. Maybe we can connect?

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    1. Oh Cheryl! I am skipping Tucson this year! I am finding that the establishment of a suburban farm is tending to put a crimp in my travel plans! Will you be getting to Florida any time soon?

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  15. Fun post! And your Tribal Princess cuff is so explosively colorful, cool!

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    1. Thanks, Leslie. High praise, indeed, coming from YOU!

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  16. Hand that create beautiful items are beautiful.

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    1. I love that, Suzette!!! My new mantra, for sure!

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  17. Although I have yet to make a meeting due to my work schedule, I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog, envy the time everyone gets to spend in your studio and enjoy seeing projects unfold. Someday, I will get to join the group and then we can all compare hands! Mine are scarred, nails are bitten short and my fingers are starting to get those twists and turns that come with life. My hands work, play, create, destroy, but mostly, my hands stay busy!

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    1. Well, you KNOW what they say about "idle hands!" I am just doing my part to stay out of the inferno....

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  18. You have a great way of creating a fun visualization for us readers. I love your Ruby the Ho story. Way to go Ruby...LOL!
    ~Beth

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    1. Beth:
      You are a delightful addition to the Fiber Gals....I am so glad that you found us!

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  19. I think we have a lot in common - I graduated in art and ended up in goats! Be careful, it takes you over! And I have the ugly hand syndrome too! Just attended a class last night learning how to make my own cream and it was awesome! So easy and natural too! Call me and catch me up on the sick goat.

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  20. Pam, you were SPOT ON with the diagnosis...poor Dolly is Calcium Deficient! The vet was nice enough NOT to make me feel like a complete dunderhead....

    Homemade Hand Cream? *WHINE* I wanna learn how to make hand cream! Where did you take the class?

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