Remember when Finny and I took our trip to Santa Fe and fell head over feet for the artist galleries? One of my favorite was filled with Mexican curios — including several walls of milagros. How I wish I’d pulled out my credit card and purchased a handful of these! These “miracles” are made of a variety of types of metal and are placed with candles at offerings for specific prayers. For example, having hip pain? Lost your cow? Include a leg or cattle milagro with your prayer candle. I saw a few of these when I lived in Mexico, but more so when visiting Guadalajara with Alma where we visited a huge cathedral. Milagros intrigue me.
On one hand, my faith says don’t worship false idols; I’m not putting my beliefs in the actual object. On the other, I think it is a fascinating form of folk art. When I found a lot of them for sale on Etsy via Supply Pusher, I jumped. Initially I was going to make small zippered pouches with a stamped prayer and a milagro. Alas, the sewing time and machinery this week haven’t worked in my favor. Instead, I pulled out some card stock and whipped up some written prayers of my own to be included in a handful of cards.
I think Frida would approve.
I haven’t watched much TV this week, but the little I’ve caught has been littered with horrific commercials trying to convince the men of America that all women want is a tacky diamond heart necklace. If there is one thing I can stand by this Valentine’s Day it is that I do not want diamonds. (Not that this is really an issue; just making a point.) Roses and chocolate don’t do it for me either.
Local wildflowers, not shipped in from Ecuador where children work in flower factories removing thorns — are always sweet.
As for jewelry, I love it and wear it daily. I even wear earrings and a bracelet to the gym most days. Bling makes me feel girly and pretty; I don’t like taking it off to go to bed, but I do so grudgingly. Yet my idea of bling typically doesn’t sparkle and certainly doesn’t come from Jared. I have given away my silver Tiffany jewelry for just that reason. Tastes change with time, and these days what I wear most comes with a story. My favorite necklace came from Cameroon. My favorite earrings I bought at a Balinese nonprofit event benefiting female aritisans. My favorite bracelets came from Namibia and from my grandmother. My grannie’s bracelet is sterling silver with chunks of turquoise, handmade by a Native American craftsman my grandfather has been purchasing jewelry from for 40 years. This piece they bought on Route 66 on their way to Arizona. See? Tell me that isn’t an awesome story.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not immune to the “wants.” There are a pair of earrings at Tiffany right now that I have my eye on, in part because they aren’t something I imagine I’d see regularly on others. Yeah. I’m fickle. I know.
As for the chocolate, I’d rather have a container of medjool dates and a chunk of sharp cheese. My mother? She’d love the chocolate. And the roses. And the diamonds. Women vary but being thoughtful is universally charming.
So, while I am sending Valentine’s cards as a way to remind my friends and family how much I love them, I’m not buying into the rest of the holiday hype. There is nothing more fantastically frugal than love. Local, sustainable, handmade — they make me a happy hippie.