Speaking of forebears, I interrupt this program to ask, Do you have something for your grandfather or father on June 16? Luna & Stella has unusual locket cufflinks into which you can put tiny mementos or birthstones of family members.
Today’s mild weather reminds me that May Day and Mother’s Day aren’t far off. Mother’s Day is a highlight of the year at Luna & Stella, Suzanne’s lovely birthstone jewelry company, for which Suzanne’s Mom blogs.
I hope you know about May Day, too. I’d like to see it revived, the ancient custom of leaving flowers at people’s doors in honor of spring. (I don’t begrudge the workers of the world their version of May Day, but they shouldn’t hog the whole thing.)
Why don’t Girl Scout troops do May Day? Why don’t florists? It mystifies me.
I still remember a May basket I made as a kid from a punch-out book. I thought it was a thing of beauty and kept asking my mother to get me another book like that. But they stopped making them.
Now I work from scratch if I have time. Last year I blogged about one kind of a homemade basket, here.
It’s always a surprise to see what flowers are available on May 1 any given year. Since these are in my yard now, I suspect there will be different ones by May.
Posted in Uncategorized, tagged birthstone, dowser.org, entrepreneur, ethikus, groupon, jewelry, lunandstella, rachel signer, shop your values, startup, sustainability on May 7, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
The article is about Ethikus, which “provides vouchers for small businesses whose practices embody principles of sustainability.”
Writes Signer, “From May 3-10, hundreds of New Yorkers will participate in the first Shop Your Values Week, a project of the New York City-based startup Ethikus. The aim of Ethikus is to generate more business for small enterprises whose practices embody certain principles of sustainability in the realms of product-sourcing, employee relations, community engagement, and environmental impact or mitigation efforts. By looking at those four criteria, Ethikus identifies businesses they want to invite into their network, which functions as a sort of ethics-focused Groupon by providing consumers with vouchers to use in those businesses.” Read more.
Even though small businesses have all they can do to keep their heads above water right now, I think this idea has legs. Should be a great way for those already incorporating the Ethikus ideals to get visibility with the customers they want to reach. I’m spreading the word.
Does anyone do May baskets any more? It’s such a lovely custom, and it’s always surprising to me that florists don’t promote it. How difficult could it be to partner with a Girl Scout troop or something?
On the first of May, you fill home-made paper baskets with spring flowers, place them at the door of, say, a neighbor, an elderly person, or a teacher and run. As kids, we used to knock and go hide in the bushes to see the look of surprise on the neighbor’s face. With fewer neighbors at home during the day now, the surprise is for the person who gets home from work first.
When Suzanne and John were small, they did May Baskets every year. I remember one neighbor (who had figured out where the basket came from) telling me, “Oh, I’m going to be so sad when your children grow up!” Of course, part of the drill is to pretend you have no idea what your neighbor is talking about.
There is a really simple way to make baskets from pages of discontinued wallpaper books. I’ll tell you if you ask. Here is another way.
(P.S. The birthstone rings are from Luna & Stella.)
Posted in Uncategorized, tagged @ut_engelke, angel, angel wing, birthstone, cathedral, cellphone, Dirk-Jan Visser, Hertogenbosch, jewelry, John Tagliabue, Luna & Stella, mobile phone, mother's day, Netherlands on March 6, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
I’m a sucker for any story about an angel because it gives me a chance to mention that Suzanne’s birthstone-jewelry company, Luna & Stella, has a lovely angel charm.
That is why I zeroed in on this article.
“That is because, shortly after the statue was unveiled last April, a local couple, the parents of two children, set up a number so people could call the angel. Business cards soon appeared in pubs, restaurants and hotels with a picture of the angel and the number. So successful was the line that the couple opened a Twitter account, @ut_engelke, managed by the husband, which now has about 2,700 followers.”
Then the church, not amused by @ut_engelke, set up its own number. It charges for calls, and people get to hear recorded messages about the church.
The woman who answers the original phone number doesn’t charge. She answers with “Hello, this is the Little Angel,” and she just sees where it leads.
“ ‘In most cases there is laughter, but there are callers who have no faith in friends or relatives, so they would like to talk to someone they have some kind of faith in,’ she said. A widow in her 80s called from Amsterdam to complain of loneliness …
“ ‘She said she’d lost faith in humanity, in her own family,’ said the woman who lends the angel a voice. Two weeks later the elderly woman called again, to thank the angel. Things had gotten better.” Read more.
I would be interested in your angel stories.
I must have spaced out in the ’80s because I had no idea that Suzanne loved watching a cartoon show called “Jem and the Holograms.” The TV was in the basement, but still …
What’s really interesting is that when Jem tapped her star earrings she activated special powers. I leave it to you whether that explains these earrings at Suzanne’s business, Luna & Stella.
Posted in Uncategorized, tagged birthstone, birthstones, boa editions, Cabinet de Fees, cambridge, Francesca Forrest, kate colby, Linnet's Wings, Luna & Stella, marlowe hotel, Nancy Greenaway, Naomi Shihab Nye, poet, poetry, poets, Scheherzade, Stone Telling, verse on June 21, 2011 | 2 Comments »
I have always liked reading poetry, but there is something extra delightful about actually knowing people who write good poetry.
Nancy Greenaway is a friend I see summers in Rhode Island. I learned last weekend that among other output, she recently published this poem at the Texas Observer site. It begins:
You write ghazals under shade of an acacia,
speak Farsi or Pashto,
eat qurmas, sabzi, lamb kebabs,
wear burqas and hijabs.
I write free verse under shade of a maple,
eat pizza, cod, corn on the cob,
wear jeans and t-shirts.
Francesca Forrest has several online poetry outlets. In the tantalizing “Temptation,” an internal voice whispers,
Throw yourself down from here; try!
This is a dream, and you will fly.
Read “Temptation” here, published at the Linnet’s Wings. Two other poems by Francesca are ”Songs Were Washing Up,” in the publication Scheherzade’s Bequest, and “Old Clothes Golem,” at the site Stone Telling.
When Suzanne was getting ready to launch Luna & Stella, she came to the conclusion that a poet should write the descriptions of the birthstones, because only a poet would have the right artistic sensibility. As it happened, she knew a poet who also did copywriting, Providence-based poet Kate Colby. Here is what Kate wrote about the gems for Luna & Stella.
You might also like to read one of Kate’s poems, ”A Body Drawn By Its Own Memory.” It begins :
Certain labels are impervious
to solvents, impermeable
as drawn bridges. …
I will post poems from time to time. Perhaps you will let me know what you like. Try the comments feature. Or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Thought you might be one of the few who would appreciate our adventures in Boston/Cambridge on Sunday and Monday. Malcolm and I had a one-night vacation by driving to Cambridge on Sunday, staying at the Marlowe Hotel (with a view of the Charles) and hearing Naomi Shihab Nye read and then receive the Golden Rose Award from the Poetry Club of New England. She concluded with her poem about the Block Island ferry (which will appear in her new book of poems to be released by BOA Editions in September.) Before the reading, to the amazement of all in the audience, she rushed up the center aisle directly to me and gave me a wonderful hug.”
Not to give away anyone’s exact birthday or age, I just want to say that Birthday Week in our family is fast approaching for Suzanne, John, and me and is associated with the ruby birthstone. Both Suzanne and I wear Luna & Stella jewelry items that include a ruby.
Some years ago, before Suzanne knew about birthstones, her dad took this birthday picture on our front steps in upstate New York.
Please note that you can comment on this blog by sending e-mail to email@example.com. I will post comments.
When my daughter-in-law was about to be a mom and present me with my first grandchild,
A couple of the women I spoke to there told me about a book group they enjoyed called Daughters of Abraham, located in a number of towns. As the organization’s website says, they are “a group of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim women who want to deepen our knowledge of our own and one another’s faiths. By reading books that teach us about each other’s faith traditions and learning about the practice of our respective faiths, we hope to increase our respect for all the Abrahamic religions. We are committed to building relationships among us.” They find that reading books and sharing the perspectives and insights from their different backgrounds is rewarding and fun.
One of the women had gone on to found a nonprofit that does something similar for the children of the three traditions. “Kids 4 Peace Boston is an interfaith, nonpolitical organization of Jews, Christians, and Muslims that fosters friendship, understanding, and respect among children and families in the Boston area, and hosts children [of our three faiths from Jerusalem] in a summer program. … Kids4Peace Boston practices hospitality — a shared value of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. We strive to create a place where faith and friendship thrive.”
I have been trying to interest the religious education director at my church to bring in the woman I met at the baby shower to talk about the Kids 4 Peace program.
Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Suzanne is the founder of the birthstone jewelry company Luna & Stella. She asked me to do a blog and write about anything I felt like writing about, which is exactly what I have been doing. Thanks for visiting.
Posted in Uncategorized, tagged asakiyume, birthstone, blanket, bluefaced leicester sheep, britain, british, cushion, dales, england, enterprise, entrepreneur, environment, environmental, gis, green, jewelry, laura's loom, leicester, looms, optics, rhode island, scarves, silk, small business, sustainability, throw, uk, weave, wool, woven scarf on May 29, 2011 |
Both because of my job and because of the jobs of many friends and family members, I keep hearing about small business. Suzanne’s birthstone jewelry business is one successful example, and you can read more about its history on the Luna & Stella site. Suzanne’s brother is an entrepreneur, too, in the optics field. And where I work, a number of my colleagues collect data on small businesses and work to improve conditions for them.
At lunch, I heard about an English woman who used to work on GIS mapping for environmental groups in Rhode Island, where I am staying this weekend. Today the woman lives with her husband and children in northern England, where she is into a whole new field (one that benefits the environment, but differently from GIS mapping) — she weaves local wool into scarves, blankets, cushions, and throws.
From a UK site called Keep Trade Local, I learn, “Green business ideas that might benefit the Yorkshire Dales National Park are being offered a cash grant to get started. The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund (SDF) – now in its seventh year of operation – aims to support new business ideas, community schemes and environmental projects that demonstrate ways of living and working in the Dales and that benefit the National Park and its communities.”
The site notes that support was ”given to local businesses producing locally-sourced produce, such as the Sedbergh-based Laura’s Looms. With two grants from SDF, Laura has been able to develop and expand her business creating high quality woven ‘Howgill Throws’ using Bluefaced Leicester sheep fleece obtained from farms in [nearby] Garsdale and Dentdale. She is now selling them both locally and on her website at www.laurasloom.co.uk.”
Laura writes, “I create exquisite handwoven silk and wool scarves and I design and produce The Howgill Range, an exclusive collection of luxurious wool throws and scarves woven from organically processed pure British wool. Beautiful woollen baby blankets and covetable wool cushions can also be found in my online shop, along with the occasional appearance of my one-off, highly textured handwoven throws. I love to weave!”
An aside: Laura’s husband teaches in the international business school where Suzanne met Erik.
Comments should be sent to email@example.com. And I wouldn’t mind having a photo of bluefaced sheep I could post. It sounds like something out of a fairytale.
Asakiyume answers the call with a photo she found at theshadowsheep.
Suzanne knew that I blogged at work and asked me to do a blog for Luna & Stella, her birthstone jewelry company. She said I could write about anything that interested me, which is a good thing because as much as I love birthstone jewelry, it would be hard to say something new about it every day.
The things that interest me include the arts, the environment, my family, and people who try to make the world a better place. So I think I’ll start out by telling you about an organization that I learned of from Suzanne, The Homeless Prenatal Program, which is based in San Francisco. “HPP has three major goals: Healthy babies … safe and nurturing families where children thrive … and economically stable families.” I love that this organization is really preventing problems before they start. Check it out.
Blog comments should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will post as many as possible.