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1. In addition to your wallet and cell phone, you can generally easily find extra safety pins, zip ties, a #1 spring clamp and an “emergency” pair of pliers in your purse.

2. You own a dolly with all terrain tires.

3. Your car boot has a 2A:10BC fire extinguisher (recently serviced and tagged), at least 6 burlap wrapped Pepsi liter bottles full of rocks or cat sand, duct tape, a spool of heavy twine, extra burlap and a package of extra tent stakes in it at all times.

4. You can fix anything, and I do mean anything, with twine, a zip tie or a spring clamp. At least, long enough to hold up until Sunday at 5pm. If there isn’t a strong and gusty wind.

5. While you really prefer “period” wooden boxes, you know that just about anything can be used as a table riser, in a pinch.

6. You have at least two bins of extra fitted table cloths, lengths of muslin, linen, assorted Celtic Indian cotton print bedspreads and remnant bits of “pretty” fabric to drape over and hide a multitude of sins. Like, that piece of “anything” you just used as a table riser because it was a pinch.

6. Heavy twine = “Elizabethan Duct Tape.”

7. You’ve spent at least $100 this season on those heavy canvas painter’s tarps from Lowe’s. So versatile…

8. You have two different costume collections. >>1. A set of costumes that you have to wear for those Faires that have strict costuming guidelines and enforce them. These are probably earth-toned, involve steel boning, and about 35 lbs of fabric. Invariably, you have to put them on when it’s going to be 100+ degrees outside and you’re feeling bloated. The only good thing about them is the big straw sun hat you have to wear, that’s actually kind of handy. >> 2. The costumes that you’re actually happy to wear, when you are doing the Faires that let you get away with anything you want. Yay purple! Turquoise! Steampunk! Goggles! Wings! Glitter! Fancy hair flowers with feathers! Because you are a pretty, pretty princess.

9. Fairies are real. You see them at work every day!

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10. Yes, you did spend $250 on the fancy brocade, fringed money/pocket belt to hold your Square and cell phone, and after an hour spent arguing with your accountant about it, you can still see no good reason why the IRS won’t let you deduct it. It’s for work.

11. Costume pieces – machine washable vs. artisan made hand dyed silk flutter fringes? It’s a very real and painful conflict.

12. But, why won’t the IRS let me deduct a pair of $700 custom made 7 button faire boots? They’re for work!

13. You can tuck, knot and roll any configuration of any costume and successfully use a port-a-potty without incident, accidental dipping or any unfortunate outcome. After drinking mead all day from the local meadery that’s three booths down. You can’t make change without a calculator after all that mead, but you can pee without incident.

14. Your “emergency first aid kit for shows” includes a jar of dill pickles.

15. You are always really happy when you see that one guy who brings the crepes and gyro booth down from Portland. He makes the good coffee. All day. On site. You can live on his gyros for 2 days without a problem, unlike the teriyaki chicken two booths down. Did I mention, the good coffee?

16. If you never eat another $5 stick full of teriyaki chicken again…

17. You have a bin devoted to “seasonal” plastic flower garlands and ribbon arrangements so that your booth decor matches spring fertility festivals OR harvest festivals, and you know when spring and fall arrangements go 50% off at Joanne’s.

18. You see nothing at all unusual about bowing to the Queen as she swans by, waving at some fairies, and then calling out, “Hey Captain America! Nice boots!” within the same 5 minute span.

19. Beagle in a pirate suit? Bearded dragon with tiny resin wings? Kitty in a fairy costume? You’ve seen it all. In fact, their owners routinely bring them by to say hello.

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20. This seems pretty normal. Yeah? What about it? Minotaur. Don’t you see random minotaurs at work all the time?
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21. Yes, The Doctor did drop by your booth that one time at that one faire… hello, sweetie!
Meeting the Doctor

Got more? I’d love to hear ’em!

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The last month or so has been all about what I call “doing the work” and much of that work has been somewhat invisible – at least here on the blog!

I was fortunate to be able to take a couple of really fantastic classes last month – one was a 21 day Instagram course with Melissa Camillieri of ShopCompliment and the other was a Facebook marketing class put on by Lauren Zaslunov from Jewels of Saraswati. Both were incredibly helpful to me as I start to reclaim some social media presence after my 18 month mountain hiatus. This morning I started another 5 day course on branding and the creative process, called Creative Courage. It’s put on by the folks who brought you the “Girl’s Guides” to various things.

At the same time, I’ve been working with a group of folks in the Etsy-preneurship Thrive program and revisiting a foundational course with the Flourish and Thrive community. I’ve been working on revamping my Etsy shop, my website and learning how to use Pinterest. I really like Pinterest! So, you know, there’s been lot going on lately! Gosh it’s nice to be back on the internet.

I confess, it’s not all hard work. There have been a lot of cat videos. I took a 4 day Stay-Cation with the Captain this weekend and we did nothing but catch up on Vikings, see movies, walk by the river and cook.

walk in the river woods

We discovered this awesome path along the Stanislaus River. It kept going but we had to turn back after about half a mile because the park was closing and we didn’t want to get locked in. We saw what might have been an otter, turtles, birds and a lizard. It was awesome.

This last month has been all about a lot the invisible work leveling up some aspects of the business. I’ve had my head rather intensely in that zone and have not much felt like interacting with my blog at all. I am finally feeling ready to come back out of my hibernation and start writing again. Another festival season is here. I’m getting more time in the studio to design and produce work. Spring is springing all around me and I feel like I might have interesting things to say again.

I think there is a lot of value to going inward, getting quiet, and doing your work, whatever it looks like. What does that look like for you?

Be kind to each other out there. Choose love today!

The saga continues.

Some of you may remember that we’ve been having some ongoing issues with keeping our cat Bug in the house when it’s summer and the sliding glass doors are open.

When we moved in to Spacious Green Acres, we made sure that we had a screen door that latched very securely, so that the cat could not get out or slide it open.

The saga continues

I’m happy to report that the door totally works. The cat can not, in fact, slide the door open.

Yep.

That went well.

We have said goodbye to spacious Nuthouse Estates and moved into even more spacious Green Acres. It’s a great little duplex and we kind of love everything about it. Needless to say, it’s been kind of a busy month. Due to some family stuff, we had decided to move down from the mountain and back into the Valley. Our projected move date was “sometime in March.” But then, well, life happened and it turned out that we were actually going to be moving “in two weeks, by the first of February.” Cap had to work a lot during those two weeks of packing and was basically only home long enough to drive the truck down the mountain and unload it, before he had to go back to LA. Then I fell down the stairs of Nuthouse Estates again, while doing some post-move-cleaning, so now I am relegated to the sofa with an ice pack on my knee for a few days.

So. Yeah. Basically, all of that happened.

I’m still living in boxes, mostly, but I’ve got the living room unpacked. I am happy to have my friendly art and my books around me.

Also, high speed internet has been hooked up, which does not suck one little bit. Oh Netflix, I am so happy to have you again. Look at all the series I’ve missed!

Green Acres has a fireplace!

We can’t seem to escape that 60’s era wood paneling! Fortunately it’s just one short wall.

Somehow, during those frenetic weeks of packing, I managed to get the January Earring Clubs out as well.

Teahouse and Travel club earring

“Glorianna” featured some truly spectacular amethyst briolettes and tiny freshwater Japanese pearls.

Fairy Tales club earring

“Little Red Riding Hood” was all about the garnets. I love the vintage, almost Edwardian way these turned out.

Our Fairy Tale club enjoyed a raspberry tisane from Harney&Sons, while the Travel Club got to try some rose scented tea, also from Harney. So far, all reports are two thumbs up on the tea selections.

Back to the sofa and my ice packs… if I don’t emerge from this pile of boxes in a few weeks, send Mounties! Lots and lots of Mounties!

I just sent out the December shipments for our earring clubs. This was the final month in our autumn round. The earrings this month are a little smaller and more casual than the two previous Autumnal offerings. I was thinking that after all the drama and sparkle, something that you could wear with a cozy sweater would be just about right and these are the perfect earrings for that!
I try to have a small bit of continuity between the two clubs each month. Sometimes it is the basic design or shape and sometimes a bead or stone. I like to keep the clubs related, but not matching. I thought turquoise would be a nice element for the December designs to have in common. I love turquoise and it just so happens that it is December’s birthstone.

The Fairy Tale club was designed around the tale of The Snow Queen.

I have always loved the story of The Snow Queen. In a nutshell, it goes like this. Once upon a time there was a boy and there was a girl, Kai and Gerda. Gerda loved Kai. Kai was a dolt and didn’t appreciate his good fortune. Naturally, shenanigans ensued. Enter the Snow Queen, who froze his heart with a shard of ice, swept him up into her sleigh, and took him away to her Ice Castle. Gerda, having none of that thank you very much, took it upon herself to save him and set out for the frozen north. Along the way she had many trials and in the best fairy tale tradition, she received help from the most unexpected sources, including a rather wise Bear. True Love did eventually triumph in the end. Gerda successfully made her way North without losing any toes to frostbite; she managed to defeat the Snow Queen, rescued Kai, thawed out his heart and then took him home to live happily ever after. The end.

I am fond of clever, plucky heroines who do the saving, as opposed to the ones who sit about wringing their hands, waiting to be rescued. Plucky heroines who are willing to talk to random Bears get bonus points and happy endings.

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In honor of wise bears and girls who listen, our Fairy Tale earrings for December are simple Zuni turquoise bears with AB crystal beads and oxidized sterling silver wraps.

Our Teahouse Travel Club went to the Himalayas this month!

If I were to list all the places I’ve ever dreamed of traveling, Nepal and Tibet and Darjeeling would be right up in my top ten. I’d love to see the snows of Everest (though maybe just from a distance, I don’t think I’d like to climb it). I love the art from this region, the tea that is grown here, the many cultures that converge here, and I love the food! So much history, so much happening right now, and the mountains are such an epic backdrop for it all!

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I loved these fun etched silver and turquoise Tibetan beads. I accented them with tiny faceted carnelian coin beads for a nice contrast of colors. These are light, funky and bohemian but still subtle enough that you could wear them just about anywhere!

Our Fairy Tales club got a sample of Snowbud tea from Adagio, in keeping with the snowy theme of the story, and our Teahouse Travel club got a sample of Golden Monkey from Harney&Sons. It is a particularly nice tea to enjoy with holiday treats.

Now that these are off in the mail, I’ll be turning my thoughts towards tea options and designing for the winter round. That runs January through March. Signups are live in the Etsy store and we still have spots left in both clubs. The new format of tea and shinies is getting a lot of great feedback from happy customers! I so hope you join us!

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Our new Earring Club format is getting raves! People love the new Fairy Tale and Travel themes and I’ve gotten such great feedback about the teas that augment each jewelry shipment. On a personal level, I’m really enjoying the enhanced creative scope, and it’s been pretty fun to pick out some fun new teas to share with you all each month. Not to mention, I get to try them too!

Signups for the Winter 2015 Earring Clubs are up in the Etsy shop – between now and January 15th. We’ve got two club options this time around, and there are only six spots in each club so you’ll want to sign up early and not miss out! Fairy Tales and Travel.

Each month you will receive a gorgeous pair of earrings inspired by a beloved fairy tale or an exotic place that you might like to travel to. You’ll also be getting a wonderful assortment of tea samples from some of my favorite tea merchants. Tea samples are generally enough for 2 – 4 cups, depending on the tea.
Each club is a steal, at just $99 for the entire 3-month club round, plus shipping. It works out to roughly $37 per pair of earrings, including the shipping charges. Most of our club earrings go on to retail for 2-3x that amount in our online shop and at shows. Club designs range from delicate precious metals adorned with elegant gemstones to chunky bohemian creations with art beads and hammered copper. You never know exactly what you’re going to get, but you can always count on something wonderful.

For November’s Fairy Tale club, we explored the story of Snow White, or the Snowskin.

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I’ve always been really fascinated by the Evil Stepmother. Why was she so evil? What happened to make her such an awful person? Was she always that way?

Fairy tales are often grim and the Snowskin’s sad tale is no exception. In order to get her happy ending, the poor girl has to suffer through an abusive childhood, waiting on seven slovenly (but kind!) little dwarves in an isolated cottage, several murder attempts that finally culminate in death by poison apple, and adding insult to injury, she’s kissed by an obsessive Prince who likes dead girls in coffins. But as with all good tales, in the end, good triumphs, true love wins, and Evil gets her comeuppance. In some versions, the Evil Stepmother is forced to dance in red-hot shoes at the wedding of Snow and Charming. In other versions, she is torn apart by horses. The Disney version is actually pretty mellow. Evil just falls off a cliff and she’s never seen again. We are left to assume she is dead, but then again she just as easily could be on a Mickey cruise, doing the limbo on the Lido deck.

I decided to design this month’s earring along the grim notes of the story. I chose the black druzy to be representative of the Evil Stepmother’s hard and blackened heart. The sterling bowl it sits in is, of course, a substitute for the box that Evil gives the Huntsman. “Bring me back her heart. Leave the rest.” Evil says. “Because, Evil reasons.” And you can’t really have a box (or a bowl) of heart without a little bleeding, can you? The result is a stunning ruby and druzy chandelier earring with some swing and drama, something that will work well at all the Evil winter parties!

The Fairy Tale Tea this month was in keeping with our theme, we sent sachets of a caramel apple tea from Adagio. A fine loose-leaf black tea blended with apple, cinnamon, and caramel flavors and I promise, all stepmothers and others involved with the making of this tea were of the Good variety!

Our Teahouse club went to Iceland, the land of Fire and Ice.

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Iceland is such a remarkable place with crazy contrasts of color and landscape, texture and extremes. I wasn’t sure which aspects to narrow it down to when designing the club earrings this month. I did the whole set up one way but I really wasn’t happy with them. After I did the Snow White design, I really loved how the crossbar and chain really set off the druzy, so I went back and totally redid the Teahouse set. For ice, I used a natural white quartz druzy as the focal stone. Each druzy is set off with Ethiopian opals above (Northern Lights), and luminous sunstone below (fiery volcanoes) – Iceland is the land of Fire and Ice, after all! I loved the contrast of the mixed metals – each druzy is wrapped in warm bronze and hung on cool sterling silver. These are warm and cool all at the same time, with all the swing and sparkle you could want in a holiday earring.

The tea sent out to our Teahouse club was a delicious white camellia sinensis tea called “Snowbud” from the Fujian region of China. It came via of my favorite tea merchants – Adagio Teas.

If you’re curious about what we did in October, well you can read about it here. December is the final month in the Autumn round and I’ve got some special treats lined up!

Our Winter 2015 Earring Clubs are going to be a lot of fun. The clubs run through January, February, and March. We will be exploring several of my favorite places and folk stories!

January: Little Red Riding Hood or Tudor England.
February: Beauty & The Beast or The Black Forest
March: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz or Ireland.

I so hope you will join us! Signups for the Teahouse and Fairy Tale clubs are open now in our Etsy store! Space is limited!

Shop Update, part the first!

Working on a two-part, two-shop update this week! Today was a fun selection of earrings from our hand-colored “Artisan” line which all went up on the Etsy store today. They’ll be going up on our Shopify site later this week, along with a few other goodies.

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I’m really loving this hand-colored metal – it’s a lot of fun to do and it really hits the spot for me when I haven’t got time to paint!

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Some new Wax Seal options are up, compass roses are back and we’ve now got dragons!

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The nice thing about taking pictures of the new stuff? Totally a pants-free activity. Pajamas for the win!

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