Thursday, January 20, 2011

New Year, New Blogging Digs for Stelladanza

Hello, lovely folks in the blogosphere! This has been my blogging platform for the last four years, and I have enjoyed the experience. I have, however, migrated the content of this blog to my new website,, where I will be posting from now on. Please join me there. Thanks!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Mother as a Toddler, with Doll

Happy Holidays! I hope you are still enjoying the Twelve Days of Christmas, a tradition I hold dear.

I'm sharing these snapshots of my mother from 1927. This is my first Christmas without her. As I went through the ritual of pared-down decorating this year, I did feel her presence. Bittersweet memories.
My Mother as a Toddler, on Rope Swing

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sunbonnet Girl & Toys

I found this early 20th century vernacular photo a few weeks ago at a local antique shop. I love the subject matter of the little girl in her sunbonnet surrounded by her picture book, dollhouse, dollies, and teddy bears.

As December arrives and the focus is on wrapping up loose ends and preparing for a new slate in 2011, I'm reflecting on this year and manifesting what's next and participating in the #reverb10 project.

My words of the year for 2010 (which I selected last December based on Christine Kane's blog) were "comfort & joy" and "transformation".

Six weeks into the year, I lost my beloved mother, and comfort & joy and transformation were engulfed by grief.

I found comfort & joy through transformation (and a healing path through my grief) by participating in Christine Kane's Uplevel Your Life and Uplevel Your Business programs. Thank you, Christine, for providing that path.

I have selected my word for the New Year: flourishing!

Friday, November 19, 2010

National Novel Writing Month, November 2010

I've been participating in National Novel Writing Month since November 1st.  I'm polishing up some stories that I gathered from my Mother over the years and fashioning them into a memoir. There are eleven days left in the month of November and I have many more words to go to hit the magic number of 50,000.

Do you have a favorite family story that you'd like to share?  Please comment below and join me in participating in Nanowrimo.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Ragamuffin Skeins All in a Row

I took advantage of the recent hot Santa Ana weather in San Diego and set the twist of several dozen skeins of handspun Ragamuffin yarn. I'm using some of it to make wreaths for a local craft show in a few weeks.

"Setting the twist" of a handspun yarn can be accomplished by steaming, but more commonly it is done by washing and drying the newly spun yarn once it has been secured with ties into a loose skein form.

I wash the Ragamuffin yarn by hand in a small wash tub like the ones my grandmothers and great-grandmothers used. Next I feed each skein through a hand-wringer to remove the rinse water.

One of my dearest friends (who loves hand-laundering) encouraged me to buy the hand-wringer from the Lehman's catalog a few years ago. It has been an indispensable tool in the making of my Ragamuffin yarn.

I had experimented with washing and drying the skeins in a conventional washer and dryer. The result: too many tangles. The old way, in this case, is the better way.

The whole process of handwashing, wringing, and hanging the yarn out on the clothesline to dry is meditative. I find myself slowing down and reflecting on my foremothers and their graceful dance of daily tasks.

Ragamuffin Wreath

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Handmade Wedding Dress

Christmas 1981, originally uploaded by stelladanza's confections.

Christmas 1981

I was a newlywed that December. In this photo taken by my sister-in-law, I am wearing my wedding gown which I upcycled from a vintage fine lawn eyelet bedspread I had bought from a sweet woman at a garage sale in Houston.

The pearls were a gift from my parents, the brooch an heirloom from my Dad's Mom. The narcissus in my hair was plucked from the neighbor's yard (shhhh!).