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They’re turning all of downtown Twain Harte into an art and wine festival this weekend! There’ll be fantastic foods, wines, over 100 art and craft vendors, gourmet foods booths, and nonstop live music. Folks come from all over Central and Northern California to enjoy this rockin’ little mountain festival.

Captain Sexypants and I stopped by the festival for a few hours last year, when we were up here for the first time. We loved the funky and fun mixture of pro and homegrown art, the friendly local vibe and the great festival atmosphere. We loved the booths full of local honey, fancy oils and vinegars, the pottery and the illustrative art. Plus, the local kitten rescue even had a booth! And you know my philosophy… MORE KITTENS! Kittens always make everything exponentially better. I loved it so much as a visitor so I’m really thrilled to be doing this festival as a local artist!

I mentioned we have some new stuff, didn’t I? To start, I’ve been working on a whole new line of Eastern inspired fine silver pieces. The collection as a whole is still very much a work in progress, but a few of the prototypes will be out at the show this weekend so I can see how people respond to them.

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I really love these. I’d moved away from using the fine silver metal clay for a while – I don’t really consider myself to be a “metal clay artist” – I haven’t got the patience for it – but I do really love the medium for making simple jewelry elements. Well these new pieces have fired my enthusiasm back up, that’s for sure!

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This one will NOT be at the show. Well, it will be, but not for sale… on my wrist! I’ve been experimenting with crimps and beading wire and I’m not sure how I feel about them yet. But I AM sure that when I put this beauty together, my little heart skipped a beat and I knew it wasn’t going to be put out for sale. MINE.

This one was inspired by a custom collection I made for a special lady. The toggle design is a little different on hers, but it’s the same general idea. I liked it so well, I decided to make it a staple.

I’l have a few prototype pieces available from the new Tuolumne line as well – this one is inspired by the flora around our mountain cabin. I spent the spring taking some molds of seed pods and flowers and so far I really like how they work up as rustic charms for earrings and pendants.

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I’ve also got some old favorites making a comeback from the Padmavati Devi line – these heavy sterling silver Lotus Blossom hoops have always been a crowd pleaser and I’ve updated them slightly. They’re a little bit chunkier now, not as thin or wide, with a heavy, hammered, tribal feel. I haven’t had this style in stock for well over a year though I’ve done a ton of custom orders for them – it’s nice to have a few pairs on hand again!

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I have to confess that this show has been a really tough one in terms of prep. I’ve had SO much going on with the newly full house. Distractions galore. Neither of the kids drive and even if they’re technically adults, I keep sliding back into the Mom groove. It’s been hard to find studio time, seeing as how my studio is currently doubling as a guest room for the young lady and her cat. Somehow I managed and I’m looking forward to a fantastic weekend!

When we moved up here, there were four big local festivals that I really wanted to do – specifically, the Sonora Celtic, Twain Harte Art and Wine, the All Hallows Festival, and the Sonora Christmas Festival. In the last few months, we’ve done the first three, and we’ve been accepted into the fourth. I guess I can’t really shout “Achievement Unlocked!” just yet, but we’re so close. And that’s super exciting! So if you come out to THA&W this weekend, stop by the booth and wish me a happy anniversary! You’ll get 12% off your purchase, in honor of our first year on the mountain!

Spacious Nuthouse Estates is currently chock full of nuts! And, er, cats. The Youngest and her cat have come home for an extended summer visit, before heading up to the Pacific Northwest. They’ll be making the permanent move later this fall but we get to enjoy them for a couple of months before they continue their journey to parts farther North.

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Er. MOST of us are enjoying the visit. Except for Mr. MacGreedypants here, who won’t share the catnip mice.
I’m particularly glad to have my favorite show assistant back for the start of the summer shows. She’ll be working the next 3 shows with me and I couldn’t be happier about that. I’ve missed her!

I’m busy prepping for the Twain Harte Art and Wine Festival this week – it’s next weekend, the 26th and 27th of July, in downtown Twain Harte. If you haven’t been to this festival, it’s a great one. Two days of artists, crafters, wine tasting, live music and great food up in the beautiful pines.

Feels like it’s been FOREVER since I posted any new jewelry and it really has. I’m trying to get back in the hang of the studio but wow, life sure has been getting in the way.

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These lovelies will be on sale. Focal glass beads are from the super talented Genea Crivello-Knable of Genea Beads. Natural quartz points, sari silk and Czech glass… they are just waiting for a quick dip in some patina solution and then they’ll be good to go.

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I like the geological twist on these, both the coated druzy stones and the copper representation of a fossilized ammonite.

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Plus, new pieces in our Uncial and Urban Tribal collections, and more! Come on out to Twain Harte for some wine in the pines!

sofa
My sofa.

And…

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My recliner.

And…

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My car.

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Ok. Fine. You win that one. But do you deny, sir, that the other day when you and Ollie were wrestling in the kitchen, the both of you went THROUGH the screen door like you were Jet Li and Jackie Chan in a Hong Kong action thriller?

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Mmmm hmmm. I thought so.

JackieChan

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Do you further deny that later that day, you ripped out the mended screen door and escaped for an extended romp through the mountain lion infested forest?

Twice?

Or that you then peed on the sofa?

You know. The one currently covered with duct tape.

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Mmmm hmmm. You, sir, are the reason why we can’t have nice things.

Fortunately for me, I live with a grip (translation for non movie folks – grips hang lights and big screens and make complex “riggings” for those things at work. And at home, when you have a problem, they come up with solutions that usually involve zip ties, duct tape, scrap wood from set flats and other improbable but effective items). Aaaaand, he happened to come home this weekend. Aaaaaand he just happened to be sitting nearby when Bonnie shoved her head through the screen/duct tape seam, and got herself stuck, half in and half out.

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Ten minutes later, the red duct tape was gone, and this had taken its place.

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It’s like, things in my life covered in duct tape but kind of tidy looking and also more effective than the entire half roll of red duct tape I’d plastered all over the screen last week.

Thank you, honey.

In closing, I would just like to state that cats will destroy everything you love. Especially if it’s your grownup couch, which is the first piece of furniture you didn’t get off the side of the road on trash day in West Hollywood, but actually bought new.

And your $95 grown up screen door that you bought at Home Depot because you’re an adult now and grownups buy things like doors.

Cats are basically jerks.

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Well it’s now 14 days since I started the candida diet and 9 days since I started taking the Nystatin. After the crazy die-off symptoms, depression and mood swings of last week, things are getting exponentially, and rapidly, better. I haven’t felt this energetic or just… okay in my body for years. I have at least another two months to go before my doctor will even think about allowing me to try reintroducing certain foods, but dang, I woke up this morning with a bounce and was like “What’s the story, morning glory? I’m cured!”

Of course, it’s not that simple. I’m not “cured.” One of the things that is really starting to sink in is that this isn’t temporary. I don’t actually get to go back to eating whatever I want in two or three months. This is something I have to stick to for the rest of my life. Sure, it will expand a bit in stage 3 but I can’t eat whatever I want every day, not ever again. Not if I want to stay healthy. I think I’m moving into acceptance around this whole thing. As I slowly reframe my outlook, I’m doing my best to just hang out with it, experience the disappointment and then move on. There is SO much habit, emotion, and attachment wrapped up in what we eat. Those things are harder to combat than the yeast, at least in my opinion.

So… travel. Oh boy. That was an eye opener.

I met the Cap somewhere midway between the mountain and LA this last weekend, just so we could spend a few days together. I didn’t really think about it – until it came time to find a restaurant for dinner (and again for breakfast.) Normally when I travel I am all about eating all the things. Local diners, street vendors, great breakfast plates, the best pie in a new town, different bakeries with wonderful bread… I love that. And now I can’t do that.

Frak me. I may have to take up antiquing.

Finding anything that I could eat (so, so, so limited) once we got there… that was hard. We managed, but it was a significant issue. I didn’t like being “that guy”, the one who quizzed the waiter about every little thing. That was a pain in the ass. We’re obviously going to have to camp or stay in hotels with kitchenettes so we can cook for ourselves while traveling. The summer shows will be interesting, especially since I have to travel to some of them. Sometimes you just have to eat out. Sometimes there’s no kitchenette and no campground. Sometimes you just plain want to sit in a restaurant and have someone bring you ice water.

So on that note, I’ve got a couple of tips about how to travel and eat in restaurants without being a total dick about it. If you’ve been doing this for a while, this is old hat, but I’m just figuring it out, so I thought I’d share.

1. Stock up on snacks before you go. Stuff like precut veggies, Sunbutter, fresh berries and maybe some lean protein. Whatever is in your food zone, really. Put a cooler in the car for your drive. Create a safe food zone while you travel, so that you don’t sabotage yourself if you can’t find restaurant options.

2. Use the internet! Before you leave, make a list of potential food options in each city or town you might stop in – and print out maps so you can get there from the freeway or where you are staying! Pro tip: search Yelp for “gluten free” or “paleo” restaurants. I promise this will narrow it down a lot for you.

3. Avoid big national chains – I’ve noticed that most mom n’ pop style places (especially ones that offer gluten-free options) are generally more accommodating about substitutions.

4. Don’t try to explain. Just say you have allergies. Your waiter doesn’t care that it’s a sensitivity or that you’re paleo or that you are candida cleansing… Let me sum up. Buttercup is gonna marry Humperdink in half an hour just say allergies.

5. If your waiter got you veggies instead of potatoes, walked to the kitchen to talk to the chef on your behalf or otherwise took care of good care of you… tip him or her really well when you leave. Say thank you for the specific thing he did for you. Show appreciation. You’re frontloading the deck for the next guy. Or for yourself, if you come back. When you get home, give ‘em a nice Yelp review so the next food-sensitive guy to visit Fresno (or Topeka or Honolulu) knows he can get a decent, hot meal that won’t make him sick.

6. It’s a big old multicultural world out there. You can get these nifty cards to hand your waiter to inform them about allergies. They come in different languages. Consider acquiring some. They are Helpful.
Yes, it’s SO much work.

All the planning. All the money. All the chopping. All the dishes. (SO. Many. Dishes.)

And yet… it’s worth it. Completely. I’m so glad I stuck to my guns and ate the right way on my trip this weekend. Because I feel so good. When I did Whole 30 last year, I just couldn’t wait for it to be over so I could have the things I liked again. It was all about what I couldn’t have till Day 31. It’s not like that now. I’m thinking of “when it’s over “ in terms of maintaining a lifelong, yeast-hostile, and delicious diet, just… with a little more flexibility. HUGE mindshift.

But I’m really not sure that antiquing is ever going to replace pie.

I seem to be in a bit of a creative doldrums. Not sure why, but I seem to have a -10 to finding the motivation to get into the studio and really create wonderful things. Ditto just going in and re-making already created designs.

What’s up with that? I don’t want to make beads, paint or make mandalas. I walk into the studio and then walk back out because I would rather have a nap.

The situation is more than a little distressing, given that the summer shows are coming up and I must work. I suspect I will have to take myself sternly in hand and just sit at the bench until something gives. In the meantime, I’ve been doing lots of non-bench, not-creative things around the biz. Redoing all the shop photography for the new website, updating stuff on the new site in general, inventory… but..

I’ll be honest. I’m not feeling it. Looking back over the last couple of blog posts, I think, “Wow, I’m in a downer mood lately!” and that just can’t stand. I mean, it’s ok to be in a downer mood, but, I’d rather not noodle around in it. I’d rather do something about it.

With the Cap gone for work so much, I’m single momming it up here, and it gets old. I feel like if I have to plan one more week of meals and groceries, I will start screaming and never stop. If I have to think about another person’s needs, if I go to eat an avocado and discover that someone else ate ALL the avocados a day after I bought them, if I realize that we’re out of eggs again, if I have to be serene, calm, maternal and kind when I am really feeling cranky and non-nurturing, if I find another collection of dirty water glasses on the coffee table, oh god I will explode. Not to mention the cranky, yowly old cat who wakes me up at 5 every morning, who forgets to poop in his litter box, and forgets that he’s already eaten breakfast, second breakfast and elevenses. Today is just that way, unfortunately. I remember sometimes feeling this way as a mom with young kids. Or older kids, even. Truly I had not expected to be here again after the nest emptied.

Life often hits us with what we had not expected. But, today, I’m not feeling it. And I know that’s ok. I feel guilty, but, really it’s ok not to be feeling it. Just, how do I get to feel it again?

What’s real for me today is that I really just want to chuck it all and get out of town for a few days. I’m told that extreme moodiness is common during candida die off. I’m not sure if extreme camping needs are, but maybe they are one and the same? But that’s what I need to do. Go to the beach for a week and camp in nature. Take a good book, a sketchbook, some watercolors, my camera, and go.

I know, I live in nature.

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There’s more life and natural beauty than you can shake a stick at up here. I mean, look at this natural beauty! I’m so lucky to live in it.

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But right now I need to be in different nature. I need to be in some wild that feels like vacation, not home. I’ve got to do something or something is going to pop.

I promise, I’ll come back. I could never leave the cats for long. No, not even the old cranky yowly one.

Cranky old Poo. And me.

I’ve been adding to my little porch garden. Yesterday I got a dahlia and some lobelia and some other neat flower and stuck them in pots. Rite Aid has half price flower pots that are very nice, by the way. If you need cheap but pretty flowerpots. That was ultimately very cheering, as was the lovely rain we got this morning that pattered on the roof off and on in the wee hours.

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Still, I kind of want to run away today.

So what are your tried and true methods for shaking yourself out of a creative slump and a bad case of the “I don’t wannas” that don’t include leaving town for a week? I’d love to hear ‘em. Because there’s a beach trip in the planning, but it may be a week or two before I can arrange my complicated life to get there. In the meantime, I’m up for suggestions!

The Cap is back down in LA for a few days, doing what he does best, so Cap Jr. and I are on our own this week. I feel a little sorry for the young man. Me coming off caffeine and in the grips of candida die-off is not the most fun me ever. So far the worst part is the sense of crushing fatigue. I feel like I am being weighed down with a lead blanket. Yesterday afternoon got eaten up by a 4 hour nap. Not loving the Extreme Nausea, either, though I’m not sure if that’s die off or Nystatin. I guess it doesn’t really matter. This too shall pass, but the unpleasantness is kind of unreal at the moment.

I have to be honest, it’s been tough and I’m struggling. Lots of medical bills piling up and sales are slow. There’s only so many partial payments you can negotiate to make in a month before you run out of money to make payments with. It’s been hard not to let myself get dragged down by the worry about it. BUT, the late summer shows are going to help. Feeling so tired and so sick all the time hasn’t been helping me stay upbeat. I know that things will be all right in the end – they always are – but keeping an optimistic outlook is really a conscious, consistent effort right now.

So this is one thing that cheers me up tremendously. We planted tomatoes, and also a blueberry bush! I’ve been intrigued with the idea of having a blueberry bush ever since we moved up here. I had this idea that blueberries were farmed, mysteriously, on free range blueberry ranches located in rural Maine, behind a misty, foggy curtain of romance. Grown according to secrets known only by the scions of ancient families who’d been berry farming for generations. But when we moved up here, I saw an article about growing them yourself (!!!) at altitude (!!!) and that’s when I thought I’d like to try it. Let the misty, generational, free-range blueberry farmers of Maine keep their secrets! I’ve got Bob. Bob is a “high bush” O’Neil variety blueberry bush.

Hopefully he will survive.

My plant-killing abilities are legendary. I have decided to challenge this since we moved to the mountains, and so am attempting to bring green, growing things back into my life. I’m happy to say that the tomatoes we planted 3 weeks ago are all still alive. No flowers or actual tomatoes yet, but the plants themselves are still kicking. This encouraged me to try my luck with a rosemary bush and that’s how I met Bob. He was hanging out at the nursery near the herbs, looking handsome in his little black one-gallon pot. The thought of my own succulent blueberry harvest was too tempting, and Bob was half-price (eight bucks!) which kind of cinched the deal.

I love sitting on our back deck in the mornings, looking at my brave little tomato plants and now, there’s Bob. Sometimes it’s the little things in life that keep you going through the hard stuff. They really aren’t kidding when they say that gratitude is a game changer.

Thanks, Bob!

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