Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Athena's Armoury Featured on

Very cool news: Athena's Armoury has been featured on the homepage of a shopping guide website called! It's a ring called Finger Armour. It was made using the Euro 4-1 chain maille weave which is the very same weave used to make armor for centuries. I've been told that the ring will be on their homepage for a full week and then be available in their archives for forever and ever. You can go directly to their listing here.

If you click through on the picture on that last page it will actually bring you to the ring section of my shop, so it shows that I have other ring options available, too. Yay!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Woman Warrior: Victoria Woodhull

During Women's History Month (March), I featured a few women who made an impact in our world: whether by pursuing women's right to vote, progressing women's economic independence, or simply by living outside the box that patriarchal society put them in. There are so many of these women warriors who have inspired a change in our world, that I have decided to continue the features beyond Women's History Month. I hope you find these stories, profiles, quotes, features, and pictures as inspiring as I do.

Today, we face the very real possibility of our very first female president. Hillary Rodham Clinton is not, however, the first woman to run for the presidency: there have been 16 contenders before her. The first was Victoria Woodhull.

She was known for her work supporting women's rights, free love, and labor reforms. Her first "first", however, was as a broker: Victoria and her sister were the first female Wall Street brokers. It was their work as newspaper editors, however, that gave Victoria a chance to start addressing issues close to her: women's suffrage, short skirts, spiritualism, free love, vegetarianism, and licensed prostitution. The paper is now known primarily for printing the first English version of Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto in it's December 30, 1871 edition.

Also in 1871, suffrage leaders Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Isabella Beecher Hooker heard her address the House Judiciary Committee. Woodhull argued that women already had the right to vote - all they had to do was use it - since the 14th and 15th Amendments granted that right to all citizens. They applauded her statement: "women are the equals of men before the law, and are equal in all their rights." Woodhull catapulted to the leadership circle of the suffrage movement with her first public appearance as a woman's rights advocate. Although her Constitutional argument was not original, she focused unprecedented public attention on suffrage. Following Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Woodhull was the second woman to petition Congress in person.

Woodhull was nominated for President of the United States by the newly formed Equal Rights Party on May 10, 1872, at Apollo Hall, New York City. Her nomination was ratified at convention on June 6, 1872. Former slave Frederick Douglass was nominated for Vice President. Although the first woman to run for President, some critics argue the legality of her run citing one of the following reasons:

-The government declined to print her name on the ballot.
This criticism is not valid as the government wasn't responsible for printing ballots.
-She was under the constitutionally mandated age of 35.
This is the most cited criticism in the 20th and 21st centuries, but was hardly noticed in the 19th. There also is no legal primary evidence that Woodhull was born in 1838. Ohio did not require the registration of births until 1867.
-She didn't receive any electoral and/or popular votes.
While it's true that Woodhull received no electoral votes, there's evidence that Woodhull did receive popular votes that weren't counted.
-Women couldn't legally vote until August 1920.
Although it's true that most women couldn't legally vote until 1920, some women did legally vote and hold public office prior to 1920. Some believe that when the 19th amendment passed giving women the right to vote, it implicitly gave women the right to run for President.
-She was a woman.
This was the most cited legal impediment in the 19th century. Some of Woodhull's contemporaries believed that because she was a woman she was not a citizen and, therefore, not entitled to vote. Since the Constitution required that the President be a citizen, she would also be excluded from holding the office of President. Others believed women were citizens, but that the states had the right to limit the franchise to males only. Some Woodhull supporters believed that even if Woodhull couldn't vote legally, that wouldn't have excluded her from running for public office. United States law has its roots in English common law, and under English common law, there was an established precedence of women holding public office.

It wasn't just her gender that made Woodhull's campaign notable; her association with Frederick Douglass stirred up controversy about the mixing of race and fears of miscegenation.

On Saturday, November 2, just days before the presidential election, US Federal Marshals arrested Woodhull, her husband Colonel Blood, and her sister Tennie C. Claflin for sending obscene material through the mail: she published an article in their newspaper in order to highlight what she saw as a sexual double-standard between men and women. The event incited worthy questions about censorship and government persecution, but also prevented Victoria from attempting to vote during the 1872 presidential elections due to her incarceration. Woodhull attempted to secure nominations for the presidency again in 1884 and 1892.

Here we are over 130 years later and women are still trying for the highest office in our nation. Instead of debating Victoria on the issues, her opponents attacked her personally. If Hillary didn't have to deal with critics shouting "iron my shirt" or condemning her for sounding like she is 'scolding', imagine the lively debates we would have. We've come a long way, but we sure have further to go.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day!!

I am an avid beach bum, so I care a great deal about our oceans, beaches, and it's wildlife. For the past couple of years, I've participated in the International Coastal Cleanup. Rubber gloves and garbage bag in hand, I've picked up countless cigarette butts, soda cans, tires, cigarette butts, condoms, snack bags, balls, cigarette butts, frisbees, plastic soda bottles, fruit pits, more cigarette butts, and plenty of other things I can't even think of right now. The Ocean Conservancy organizes this event every year; you can find more info about volunteering here.

I just signed the Ocean Conservancy's Earth Day Pledge to take simple actions to help keep trash out of our oceans.

The Ocean Conservancy's strategic priorities include:
1. Restore Sustainable American Fisheries
2. Protect Marine Wildlife from Human Impacts
3. Conserve Special Ocean Places
4. Reform Government for Better Ocean Stewardship

Will you take the pledge with me and help save the planet's oceans, one of our most amazing and beautiful resources?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Moving Right Along

My local Costco is now carrying Caravan Canopies! Yay! I will be able to make a tent purchase locally and be able to save on shipping. I'm so happy. Now, I only have to figure out how to decorate/disguise it. I have a few ideas that are very earthy and nature oriented, but need to think more about how to suit it to my metal. The thought of maille curtains crossed my mind.

I just recently finished one of my Crown Royal sized Dice Bags for a friend at work.

Now that that's done I'm moving on to bulking up my inventory with more armour. Coming soon: a Bishop's Mantle. I can't wait to start on a big project again. I actually enjoy them more than the smaller scale jewelry items. Work in progress pic's to come soon. First though, I have to coil and cut all of my rings.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Make a Difference

In honor of Earth Day coming up in a few days (April 22), I'd like to talk about a grassroots campaign called Take Back the Filter. My friend Cat over at The Green Cat, posted about it recently. The purpose of the campaign is to get the US Brita company to start a take-back program for their filters. While the original European Brita GmbH company has created a take-back recycling program for its filter cartridges, Clorox (the US Brita company) has no such program in place for re-using or recycling Brita cartridges. This means million of plastic cartridges get dumped in landfills or incinerated each year.

The campaign is requesting that Clorox:
1. Redesign its Brita filter cartridges so that the plastic housing can be refilled rather than discarded each time the filter is changed.
2. Provide a take-back program, such as the one that exists in Europe, so that used cartridges can be returned to the company for recycling.
3. Create a system for the cartridges to be dismantled and the components recycled/reused domestically rather than landfilled, incinerated, or shipped overseas.

Please take a moment to go check out the official Take Back the Filter web page to learn more about it and find out how you can help (sign the petition, I did). This is truly a grassroots effort that can inspire some major environmental change, but it needs your help.

Make a difference in our world. Thank you.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Check Out Athena's Armoury in TWO Places!

I'm pleased to share with you that three items from Athena's Armoury are being featured in the Fantasy Artists of Etsy Street Team's Spring Fever Exhibition! There are all kinds of fun goodies included in the exhibition, such as: artwork, jewelry, ritual oil, dolls, sculpture, accessories, housewares, masks, and more. Items from the Armoury include:

Napkin Armour for that spring picnic:

A Beaded Daisies Bracelet to wear to the picnic:

And the Katie Collar for your pup:

Athena's Armoury has also been featured at MyFairyBabies, a blog run by Hyla with the Etsy shop of the same name. This shop contains all kinds of fun kiddie items, fairy dolls, and dragon ornaments. I actually love Hyla's other shop: Steampunk Box Books. It is thanks to her that I was introduced to this fabulous genre. And finally, Faewood Creations houses her fingerless gloves, tote bags, and jewelry. She's a busy lady!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

"Real Life" is Bull: A Rant

This post is a part of the Etsy Bloggers Street Team Blog Carnival.
The theme is…BULL! Anything to do with bull: the animal bull, bullfights, just shooting the bull, the zodiac sign Taurus, something with the characteristics of a bull (stubbornness, strong will, strength) anything you think is bull, a bull market, the word bull and words that begin with bull as in bullies, bullseye, etc.

On Sunday night, I was bemoaning having to go into work the next morning and Scott said something to the effect of "welcome to real life" or something like that. Anyway, that got me to thinking. . . Why is it that "real life" consists of people having to go to a job they hate because they have to make a living? Yes, I realize that people need money to survive and that we haven't reached a utopia where we can barter and trade for what we need. However, does that mean that people have to waste away at a soulless job to justify their existence? I mean, think about it:

40 hours a week sitting behind a desk being bored to tears (my current predicament)
56 hours = 8 hours of sleep, 7 days a week
5 hours = 1 hour to get ready to go to said soulless job when it's only on 5 out of 7 days per week (sometimes it's more)
10 hours = 1 hour commute there and another back home
111 hours total. 111 HOURS out of a 168 hour week.

There are 168 hours in a week minus the 111 hours of "real life" bull leaves a total of 57 hours to do other non-bull stuff. When I'm lucky enough to have a full 48 hours off in a row, that leaves a total of 9 hours total for the other five days: approximately 1.8 hours each night. God forbid there are appointments, grocery shopping, cleaning, or other 'home business' that needs to be tended to.

I was lucky enough to have a job I loved for a full decade straight out of college. I was a stage manager for Broadway national tours, theatre in NY, regional theatre, a production manager at one of the busiest road houses in the country, and even did some business and industrial theatre. I always knew I was lucky to have a job that I loved and actually felt sorry for those that didn't. I couldn't fathom what it would be like to slave away at a job that I didn't love. Unfortunately, times have changed.

This is why I got so upset when Scott said "welcome to the real world" or whatever. Why does it have to be like this? I may sound naive saying this, but it is very upsetting to me.

This only makes me want even more to commit to my plan to start making chain maille for a living. I'm having problems figuring out how to do it with what little time I have left after the "real life" bull, though.

How do you do it? How are you reaching your dreams and living in the "real world" at the same time? How do you stay sane in a world where you might have to get by doing something that is not your passion?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Tagged, Tagged, and Tagged

I've been tagged by MrsDragon, Izile, AND MyFairyBabies!! I'm a bit behind on my blog lovin', so lets see if I can catch up on all of this insane tagging. . . Luckily, all three have the same rules.

The rules of tagging are:
1. Link to the person that tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.
4. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
5. Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.

Okay, six things. . .
1. I love museums. I love learning about art, history, and culture. Even if I don't necessarily understand or 'like' a piece, I can still appreciate it. I love soaking it all in. When I was a child and I would visit a museum, I was inevitably drawn to the ancient Greek and Roman sections as well as the arms and armor. Little did I know that I'd eventually take up making armour.

2. I am an only child, so I grew up in the company of adults as well as entertaining myself for hours. I still have no problem hanging out by myself, in fact I am very much a home body. That said, it's also kind of difficult for me to make friends because I'm so used to being by myself.

3. The beach is my solace. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed lately and went to the beach over the weekend. Despite getting a bit of a burn (first time out this season, it was inevitable), it felt wonderful being there. I even got a forty minute nap in while I was there.

4. I never in a million years thought I'd have a cat. I've been a 'dog person' my whole life and then Jack showed up. I love my little kitty cat.

5. I really want to get my tragus pierced! The tragus is the small area of cartilage that juts out in front of your ear canal. I think I would love a tattoo, too, but I have absolutely no idea what I would get or where.

6. I hammered my thumb yesterday. It's got a teeny, tiny little bruise under the nail. I really need to get a bigger anvil. . .

Okay, so now I have to tag six people:
Kirsten Skiles with the Etsy shop knitsteel
Cat at Darkling Woods Studio with the Etsy shop of the same name
Up From the Ashes with the Etsy shop of the same name
Joey and Aleethea with the Etsy shop of the same name
Kristin at the fantastical ramblings of aquariann with the Etsy shop aquariann
Helen at Visiting the Muse with the Etsy shop krummenacker