Ribbons and silk

Steve and I went to London recently to look for a cravat for him to wear at our May Celebration.  I’m wearing a deep pink dress and he was looking for something green to wear with his grey suit. We have chosen green and pink because those were the colours of our handfasting ribbons at our Soul Wedding in 2010.


Surprisingly, quite a few young sales assistants do not even know what a cravat is!  We were directed to neckties or pocket squares.  A couple of shops near Jermyn Street had cravats and waistcoats, but we didn’t find anything suitable that was ready made.   One possibility was Andy & Tuly.  They had a selection of silk dupioni and made cravats to order.  We took some tiny samples of green to put next to my dress.

Finally, we went to The Silk Society in Berwick Street.  There, we found some beautiful embroidered green silk.


We were given some samples and they wrote a reference in a notebook, so that they will know exactly what we require should we decide to order some fabric.  The darkest thread matches my dress perfectly.


I thought I might make Steve’s cravat, but I chickened out in the end.  The fabric we chose is quite expensive (£95/metre) and I’d rather experiment for a less important occasion.  I got in touch with a very helpful woman at The Cravat Company in Leicester.  She measured their pattern and we figured out that they will only need about 30 cm of fabric.  One side will be embroidered and the other side will be plain.  I made the purchase from the Silk Society, sent it up to Leicester and we should receive a beautiful, bespoke cravat any day now.

A couple of weeks ago, we found ourselves in the haberdashery department at House of Fraser in Birmingham and picked out some ribbons for the handfasting that we are having as part of our May Renewal of Vows.  They are slightly wider than our previous ones and the colours are deeper.  Wider and deeper, just as our marriage has deepened and widened.


It is going to be a very beautiful day!


Our Hands

Hello!  It’s been awhile. :)

Steve and I are planning our Fifth Wedding Anniversary Celebration which will take place in the Merrie Month of May.

A Facebook friend of mine has recently asked me about our Soul Wedding in 2010, as she is helping her friends plan their wedding and wanted some inspiration.  My big advice is for the couple to do what is meaningful to them and to put a lot of care and thought into everything that they do.  I would also add, get a really good photographer.  Photos from well meaning friends are great too, but the beautifully captured photos of our day are so well cherished by us.  We had Emma Solley who is based in Exeter capture our wedding days.  Unfortunately, she will not be available for our 5th year celebration, but I am sure that we will find the perfect person.

Back to now, our invitations for our May Celebration are going to the printer today.  We’ve chosen one of Emma’s B & W photographs of our hands for the card.

our hands001

The same photo, in colour.

our hands002

We had two wedding ceremonies – a Registry Office Wedding, followed by a Soul Wedding Ceremony and Handfasting the next day.  Another photo of our hands from our Registry Office Wedding.

our hands003

Receive my pledge, accept my troth, take my hands in yours.


Comfort (v.) late 13c., conforten “to cheer up, console,” from Old French conforter “to comfort, to solace; to help, strengthen,” from Late Latin confortare “to strengthen much”

Comfort is one of the things I treasure the most in my home and in my relationship with Steve.  We live in a beautiful and warm house with a well stocked larder which supplies much physical comfort. I also get a lot of emotional comfort from my marriage.  Yesterday, Steve was here working from home in the kitchen and I went into my studio to make some Holocaust Butterflies for a project with the Houston Holocaust Museum.  I am making mine with images of the Native American Holocaust, which is personally very relevant to me as I have Muscogee (Creek) ancestry.

Chiricahua Apache before and after assimilation into Carlisle Indian School

Chiricahua Apache before and after assimilation into Carlisle Indian School

We started the morning in our light filled kitchen with coffee, tea, breakfast and The Observer.


I went into my studio for the afternoon and had a very deep art-making session, sometimes tearful, very healing.  Occasionally Steve would pass on his way to another part of our house or poke his head in to offer a cup of tea.  I asked for a hug from time to time or came into the kitchen and show Steve what I was working on.

From my studio window, I spied a pair of jackdaws, perching close  together in the still bare branches of a tree.


At the end of our day, we came back together in the kitchen to talk about our respective days and to share a hearty meal of braised ham and cabbage with carrots and haricot verts.  Nourishing, comforting food for the body and soul!


The love that endures a lifetime


A part of every woman and every man resists knowing that in all love relationships Death must have her share.
We pretend we can love without our illusions about love dying,
pretend we can go on without our superficial expectations dying,
pretend we can progress and that out favorite flushes and rushes will never die. . .

If lovers cannot stand these Life/Death/Life processes,
they cannot love one another over and beyond hormonal aspirations. . .
As woman is keeper of the cycles, the Life/Death/Life cycles are at the center of her concern.
Since there can be little life without a decline in that which has gone previously,
lovers who insist on attempting to keep everything at a psyche-scintillating peak will spend their days in a increasingly ossified relationship. . .

When lovers are able to tolerate the Life/Death/Life nature,
when they are able to understand it as a continuum
—as a night between two days—and as the force that creates a love that endures a lifetime. . .
Then together they are strengthened, and both are called to deeper understanding of the two worlds they live in,
one the mundane world, the other the one of spirit.

– Women Who Run With the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Sunlight and shadow

Pompei, Italy

Mosaic floor, Pompeii, Italy

One of the most important truths of my marriage that I hold in my heart and mind is the realisation that Steve and I are two separate people.  No duh!  But in an ongoing, day to day relationship, it can be easy to forget this.

When Steve and I were on our honeymoon in Italy, I nearly started our first fight.  We had spent the morning at Pompeii and were on our way to another ancient Roman ruin called Herculaneum.  I was driving and Steve was navigating.   It was a hot day, on unfamiliar roads, in a foreign country.  We missed the turn off from the motorway to Herculaneum and I found myself driving into Naples on a two lane road which, somehow, had three lanes of traffic.  I started to get really pissed off.  At Steve.  But I caught myself and remembered that I probably wouldn’t be doing any better if I were in the chart room.  I also realised that I was not feeling confident behind the wheel in a big Italian city and was scared about ending up in Rome, driving in crazy Italian traffic.

It would have been really easy to explode with anger and blame Steve, but I was able to step back and get some perspective.  Instead of blowing up, I asked Steve to find a place where I could turn around.  We decided to go back to Atrani and venture out to Herculaneum another day.

Yes, we are two people and have infinite space between us, but can use understanding and communication to build bridges to one another.  Whether times feel good or bad, it is so important to step back and be mindful of the space between.  Then we can truly come together in a balanced way, in sunlight and in shadow.

This Marriage

I’m in our kitchen and realise, have realised for some time now, that neither Steve nor I have been writing on this blog.  But that’s OK.  Other things are happening.

I came across this song tonight.  It is a setting of ‘This Marriage’ a poem by written by Rumi (13th century) to music composed by Eric Whitacre (21st century).  This poem was in a book of poetry by Rumi given to us by a friend and well wisher on our Soul Wedding day.  It felt good to become re-acquainted with it in song tonight and to be looking forward to celebrating our second wedding anniversary in a couple of weeks.

This Marriage

May these vows and this marriage be blessed.
May it be sweet milk, this marriage, like wine and halvah.
May this marriage offer fruit and shade like the date palm.
May this marriage be full of laughter, our every day a day in paradise.
May this marriage be a sign of compassion,
a seal of happiness here and hereafter.
May this marriage have a fair face and a good name,
an omen as welcomes the moon in a clear blue sky.
I am out of words to describe how spirit mingles in this marriage.