Sing on Saturday – O Happy Day, sung by Soweto Gospel Choir

Starting today, there will be a song from around the world every Saturday. Some will be in English, some might be in Gaelic, or Zulu. But even if you don’t understand the words, you can always understand the feeling. Today’s song is an American Gospel Song, all the way from South Africa. Enjoy, and have a very Happy Day!

I made this necklace recently, recalling my time in Africa. I call it Serengeti queen. You can find it on my Etsy shop.

I made this necklace recently, recalling my time in Africa. I call it Serengeti queen. You can find it on my Etsy shop.

ArtsyGenius travels the world in search of beauty, and brings back a tiny piece of it for making jewelry. Here is one of our items inspired by travels…

sowetogospelchoir

For more information on the Soweto Gospel Choir, please go to http://www.sowetogospelchoir.com/

Abusing the French, My Fun Cinco De Mayo Tradition

mole and arroz rojo

Chicken Mole, an authentic Mexican dish from Puebla, Mexico. It’s made with chocolate!

Do the French annoy you? Have you ever seen public buildings in Mexico and thought they looked curiously French? Well here’s a little ammo so you can poke your French friends (I have many, by the way) in the ribs.

What? Isn’t Cinco de Mayo about Mexican independence day and drinking margaritas? Nooo…it’s the day of a battle, when a small army of Mexicans kicked French butt!

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Teatro Degollado in Guadalajara, Mexico

Napoleon III invaded Mexico and setup his relative Maximilian as the emperor. The Mexicans weren’t too keen on having their country taken over, so this resulted in the Franco-Mexican war. On the 5th of May in 1862, the Mexican soldiers who were greatly outnumbered and ill-equipped (4,500 Mexicans against 8,000 French), crushed the French army and sent packing!

Although ousted, France left an impression on Mexico. The Degollado theatre in Guadalajara looks a whole lot like the Palais Bourbon in Paris, where the National Assembly meets. And there is a multitude of statues in Mexico that look like they came out of the French revolution. But we need to be extremely grateful to that small Mexican army for 2 things. If the Mexicans had lost, the USA would have snobby French neighbors on its southern border. Second, we’d have lost all the tasty food like chicken mole, flautas, and maybe even Margaritas. And that would be true tragedy!

So go ahead, have a Margarita, and make fun of your French friends like I do! 😀

–Click on the button below to get $5 off any order of $35 or more in my Etsy Store before Mother’s Day.Etsy Coupon Codes for ArtsyGeniusJewelry

Happy Communist Day! Go Wear Something Red!

ImageI’m not a communist, nor do I play one on TV. I’m just a joker who uses any excuse to don costumes and colorful clothing. And if you think about it, would the communists have been so popular if they’d worn something sedate like flannel grey or brown corduroy? Red makes a statement. It is bold and emotional.

Red is dynamic. It flows like hot lava and overtakes your senses. It is the color of love and passion.royal red-701 I made a red necklace about a month ago, which I displayed 2 weeks later at a networking event. The director was a stylishly sedate woman, the kind of woman who feels most comfortable in beige (not knocking beige, but you know the type). She told me she didn’t like dangly things and since most of my necklaces have pendants, I told her I’d be happy to remove the pendant or turn it horizontally. I was slightly surprises that she’d kept this red necklace in her hands, but even more surprised when she said she loved it the way it was, and wanted to keep the dangle. So now she’s out there in the world, wearing red! I wonder what emotional response she’ll evoke in those around her.

Valentine Flower-524I just made this necklace. I’m going to call it Valentine Flower. Perhaps I should have made it in February, but oh well. My sister gave me the red flower. It was on a necklace that she picked up from some Chinese wholesalers in Los Angeles. It was clunky, mismatched and absolutely horrible. Chinese make great food, but I gotta wonder about their style choices sometimes. I cut up the necklace, kept the flower and tossed the rest. I combined it with stone jet beads, glass pearls, red glass beads and brass wire. The result is beautiful, I think. What does it evoke in you? Does it make you want to turn communist?! 😀

If you like my jewelry, please check out my Etsy store or drop me a line if the piece you like isn’t there. Thanks!

Avoid Getting Eaten by Lions

ImageI was driving around by myself in South Africa’s Kruger park, taking photographs of the wildlife when I came across two lions. I rolled down my window and started taking photos with my SLR. Since an SLR requires you to hold the camera to your eye and look through the viewfinder, I couldn’t see the lions directly, only through the lens. The lions were about 300 feet away from me when I first saw them, so I zoomed in to the max to get a good closeup. I began tracking one of them as he moved, and I’d zoom out as he got a bit closer. After a few minutes, I realized I was zooming out a lot and the lion must be quite close to me. I pulled the camera away from my face and found myself about 10 feet away from the lion, including the space taken up by my passenger seat. My passenger window was rolled down, so there was nothing between me and the lion except air. “Did I look like lion food?”, I wondered. I knew that if the lion was planning to attack me, he could jump ten feet much quicker than the speed at which I’d be able to reach across to my passenger seat and roll up my window. There was nothing to keep me from being lion food, other than the lion’s lack of hunger or disinterest. I decided that panic would do nothing for me, so I might as well keep taking great closeups even if I was about to die.

The lion got closer and closer, and then the most marvelous thing happened. He came inches away from my passenger door, and then suddenly plopped himself on the grass and proceeded to take a nap! He lay there purring like a kitten and he looked so sweet that I was tempted to reach my arm out and pet him. I’ve touched lions before, in wildlife sanctuaries. Those lions are still wild, but they’re well fed and not likely to attack you if you don’t upset them, but this lion was the king of his jungle and I was just potential lion food. But there he was, so calm, and I really wanted to touch him. He wasn’t even hungry!

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAI was prevented from following my desire by a little factoid in the back of my head. “Lions are cats.” Maybe he wouldn’t eat me, but if I dangled my skinny arm like a piece of string in front of the giant sleeping kitty, and he happened to wake up, he’d probably swat at the string the way kittens swat at yarn. So though it would be awesome, having the big cat swat at me out of curiosity might mean the loss of my arm, which I need for driving, holding a spoon, and stuff like that. So I watched him a good while, and decided to keep my arm for another day. Not to mention the rest of me, which I’m quite fond of. But next time I get a chance, I’m going to pet another lion. They feel just like stiff carpets! And if I’m lucky, I won’t get eaten then either.

The Answer to “Too Much Jewelry”

family heirlooms1The other day a woman said the oddest thing to me… she said she had “too much jewelry”, so she couldn’t possibly buy another piece. Many a woman would argue that there’s no such a thing, but if you truly believe you are in this predicament, I have the answer for you, so please read on.

In my travels around the world, I’ve acquired many pieces of jewelry that are beautiful and interesting, but end up not getting much use because I simply forget to rotate my pieces. I wear my favorites the same way we all end up in our favorite old jeans or shoes, when we have a closet full of other things to wear. As I look through my exotic collection, I feel so fortunate to have visited so many places that others in my family might never see and I wish I could share my experiences. And then I realize, I can share them. All I have to do is… GIVE IT AWAY! Open up that box of treasures, pull out a few favorites (or a dozen favorites, since I have tons of family), and lovingly choose which piece goes to who. After all, I know my sisters and nieces enough to know their favorite colors. And I even know who saw these pieces on an occasion when I wore them and heard her sigh “Oh that’s so pretty”.

In a sermon I heard long ago, the preacher remarked that the three kings from the east had opened up their personal treasure boxes and given things that cost them dearly to the Christ child. They hadn’t gone to Walmart or even Bloomingdales. They didn’t go to the mall to shop. They had given something personal, something that they had originally intended for themselves. That story stuck with me, and one Christmas when I was low on funds, I decided to open up my treasures and gave them away. My mom, sisters and nieces were delighted and I even had some non-jewelry treasures for brothers and nephews (I don’t have children). Since then, I have kept up the tradition of giving away what I love instead of shopping for generic items at the mall (OK, I do buy my maglites at the mall, but they’re fantastic tools that my relatives of both genders love). And now, I can keep buying wonderful new things in exotic lands without ever having the problem of having “too much jewelry”.

10 Great Ways to Get Noticed as a Blogger

Many crafters are trying their hand at blogging, but most don’t know where to start. After all, artsy people are often “head in the clouds” types, instead of practical “tell ’em what you’re going to tell ’em, tell ’em, tell ’em what you told ’em” practical writers. We hope this will give you all some ideas of how to improve your blog and reach a wider audience.

Crack, Stones and Mohammed Ali

(This is a reprint of a travel story I wrote a few years ago)

Two weeks ago at Cinequest (San Jose Film Festival), I saw a cute guy standing on the street. He called out to me as I drank my latte. “Hi, I noticed you looking at my chest.” And I was indeed looking at his chest, but only because he had little dangly things on it, and I love jewlery… especially dangly chains and earrings. At this distance I realized that what dangled from his neck were many little bottles with something white inside them, and though I’d never seen any in person, I would have to say the little bottles looked like Crack!

tictacsThe cute guy was handing out little fliers so I took one. “Our film is being screened at 2 O’clock. It’s called Cocaine”, he said to me. Duh! The little bottles were a marketing ploy, and I’d been suckered by it. “They’re just TicTacs”, he added. Well… shows you how innocent I am… can’t tell the difference between Crack and TicTacs! The good part of it is that I can eat them, and I won’t explode or go to jail. It’s a win-win situation really.

alimosqueFunny thing is, the Crack that comes in little bottles isn’t the only kind that can land you in jail, at least depending on the country… why just 2 weeks before I’d been in Egypt, where I saved two stupid tourists from prison and public ridicule. I was touring the Citadel, an old fortress built 400-500 years ago. My mind kept spinning with imagery of eras gone by, and more than once I had to laugh when I was reminded that the largest mosque inside the Citadel was built by Mohammed Ali (can you imagine it… a boxer building a mosque?!!). OK, Mohammed Ali and Mohammed Ali are two different people, but my brain is weird and I can’t help make the connection.

Taking a walk down the road from Mohammed Ali’s mosque, you will come to… another mosque! This one is mostly in ruins, the roof is missing, but the Muslims still like to honor it. For this I give them credit. We took off our shoes and I covered my head, as is the custom of respect inside all mosques. Then I walked around and snapped a few pictures. KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAWalking back towards the exit, my heart nearly stopped. Sitting on the steps inside the mosque were a man and a teenage girl. In a country where women are covered neck-to-wrist-to-ankle, and even men don’t show their arms, were two people in t-shirts way too small for them. And why was this so shocking? Well guess what happens when your t-shirt is two small, your pants are too loose, and you sit down while bending forward… bingo! Your shirt rides up, your pants ride down, and you expose the world to something that comes in little bottles…. YOUR CRACK!!!

homerbuttcrackHashish will get you many years in Turkish prison (seen Midnight Express?), but showing crack in a mosque would most likely get you stoned on the spot… and not the kind of stoning you’d enjoy either. I crept up to them quietly, trying not to attract the guard’s attention, and whispered the words I hoped they’d understand. “Be careful when you sit. Your backsides are showing”, I said. The man’s face turned red and his teenager looked blankly. “Thank you”, he said, pulling down his shirt.

There would be no stoning in Egypt that day. No public protest of outrage besides the ones about the Danish cartoons of the Prophet. An international incident had been averted. All because of me!

The moral of our story? It is to take care to keep the innocent, well, innocent. Do not expose your Crack to young children or mosque-goers in Egypt. And if you must carry a little bottle around your neck… fill it with TicTacs.

A public service announcement by,

ME 😛