Archive for the ‘gratitude’ Category

When we first moved up to the mountains in 2013, I had three or four dream shows on my wish list. The two Fire on the Mountain shows, Twain Harte Art and Wine and the Sonora Christmas Festival, were really high up on that list. These shows were absolutely a “Congratulations, You’ve Leveled Up” kind of show for me. Imagine how gobsmacked I felt when Honey&Ollie was accepted into both! Actually, we got into all our dream shows this year. I guess that means we need to add more dreams to the list!

This past weekend of course was the Sonora Christmas Festival, and we had a wonderful time. It felt so great to wrap our 2014 show season up with a big, fun, family-oriented, local event like this. I enjoyed seeing so many of the faces that I’ve come to know over the last year and change. The FoTM community of artists is very tight-knit but friendly and we felt embraced and welcomed from the start. I feel like we made some new friends this weekend and I can’t wait to do it again next year.

There was some incredible pottery, art-to-wear clothing, great jewelry (we were proud to be included in such stellar company), and other craft categories in this show. Wood carving, photography, graphic art, weaving, great food and live music from bands like Golden Bough… there was oh-so-much to see and do! I finally caught up with a jeweler that I’ve been stalking online for a couple of years. I’ve coveted one of the sterling crescent moon necklaces from Mostly Sweet for ages. This year, I not only got one of my very own, but I got to make the acquaintance of the wonderful metalsmith who makes them. That was a real treat! Professionally she was really inspiring to me and personally she was just a really lovely person. If you like natural themes, clean lines and metalwork, you’ll definitely love her stuff too. I have a feeling I’ll be adding to my Mostly Sweet collection next year!

It rained all of Saturday and Sunday, which definitely cut down on the crowds a bit, but I’m starting to get used to that aspect of festivals in Northern California. People up here are pretty hardy and they do come out in the rain, if not in prolific numbers. Friday, the one day we had clear skies, was terrifically busy. All in all, we had fun, we made some money, we made some new friends, and we ended our 2014 festival season on a super positive note.

So what else is new in Honey&Ollie land?

Well! Let me tell you! I’m doing a small Etsy update with some of the new pieces that didn’t sell out at the Sonora show, so look for that later this week. I’ve got some fun new pieces in my patina’ed metal “Artisan” line.

We added glitter… these were such a hit that they will definitely be returning to our lineup next year!

Steampunk bridal
I’ve got some other fun one-of-a-kind pieces going up as well.

The Winter Earring Club listings are opening up for enrollment at the end of this week! The new Fairy Tale and Teahouse clubs have been getting rave reviews. Space in these clubs is limited! There are only 6 memberships for sale in each club theme. Sign up early!

Listings for 2015 One Word necklaces and bracelets will also be going up in the Etsy shop soon and we’re offering updated versions of both designs, including a new, all metal version of our One Word bracelets. This was inspired by the many requests from our friends in the healthcare and culinary industries who have to worry about germs and frequent hand-washing! You will still be able to order the old style of silk wrap bracelet, but now you have choices and that’s always nice. Have you started to think about your word for next year yet? I’ve got mine, and it’s going to be a real challenge. Definitely one I’m glad to work with, though. I look forward to hearing all about your words in the New Year!

After all the traveling about to festivals we did this year, I’m feeling very grateful and happy that the rest of my work can mostly be accomplished at home, in my pajamas. Maybe I’ll put on yoga pants if I have to drive to the Post Office, though. Pants are never a bad idea when leaving the house, right?

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Preparation for the Sonora Christmas Festival is in full swing here at the Honey&Ollie Secret Mountain Lair. I am a little bit panicked because I’m pretty sure I haven’t made enough inventory for what is reportedly a Big Damn Show. The show runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday of this week and I believe that there is a small admission fee to get in to the Fairgrounds.

We have to set up for the show on Thursday morning, so we’re having our “just the highlights” turkey dinner on Wednesday. At least, that’s what I thought we were having. We had agreed that we were doing just a few of our favorite things, a mere nod to Thanksgiving. A “Skip the Turkey” nod to Thanksgiving. And yet, somehow, our nod to Thanksgiving has since morphed to include the turkey, gravy, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry, stuffing and not one but three kinds of pie.

I’m not sure what happened to my cunning plan. My, We Are Not Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner This Year Because Big Show Is Big And I Have To Prepare, Set Up, And Also Have A Panic Attack In My Studio on Thursday, plan.

I blame my mom because she’s the one who is insisting on lugging a turkey up the mountain tomorrow.

Me, two months ago: “Mom, don’t order a turkey. We’re just gonna cook a turkey breast or something.”

Mom, every week since two months ago: “Are you sure you don’t want me to order a turkey?”

Me, every week since then: “No Mom, I’ll buy a turkey breast and maybe a thigh.”

Mom: “Because, I could just order a turkey.”

Me: “Mom, really, I don’t want to cook a big meal, we’ll just do a breast.”

Mom: “How about I buy a thigh and a leg and the wings and the breast??”

Me: “Somehow I feel that you are missing my point.”

My mom: “HALF A TURKEY.”

Me, sighing: “Fine. Ok. Half a !@# turkey.”

Mom, a week later: “The butcher won’t sell me half a turkey.”

Me, burying face in palms, smacking head against dining room table: “Ok, how about I just get us a turkey breast.”


Me, giving up: “Fine. FINE! OK. Fine. We can cook the turkey. I’ll order a pie, we can make a small pan of stuffing and THAT IS IT.”

Mom: “Gravy.”

Me: “Ok. OK. Gravy. You can make gravy.

Me, later: “Actually I would like to whip up a small batch of sweet potatoes.”


Me: “…”

Mom, later: “Also I got a bag of these little Yukon potatoes. Just to toss in with the turkey.”

Me: “Giving up now.”

Mom: “Happy Dance Of Holiday Triumph.”

So… turkey.

I think that the next time we have a parley to agree on “just the highlights” I am going to get her to write down what the actual highlights are. And then I will engage a notary. Because between you and me? The list of “Thanksgiving highlights” keeps getting longer. I’m all, “Yo I thought we, like, came to an accord?” and Mom is all, “THE PIRATE’S THANKSGIVING CODE IS MORE LIKE A SET OF LOOSE GUIDELINES!”

I give up. Just hand me that pie plate, will you?

I probably won’t get back online before the holiday, so I am giving you your Black Friday Weekend Holy Cow There’s PIE! ShoppaPalooza Holiday Goodie a few days early. Just use the coupon code OLLIEFREE when you check out on our Etsy store – it’s good until Sunday night – and it will give you free domestic shipping.

Oh and hey, speaking of our NOT-Etsy store? It is now totally integrated with our Honey&Ollie Facebook page! Just click the green shopping bag under “Apps” on the left side of our page. Now you can totally surf the endless scroll and order earrings at the same time. WINNING! Unfortunately I haven’t figured out coupons there yet, so if you want the free shipping, you have to go to Etsy.

Happy Thanksgiving from the cats, the Captain, and me. We all have a lot to be thankful for this year. Not the least of which is all of y’all who have been so supportive of H&O this year. I throw you air kisses! MUAH!!

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My little container garden out on the back deck is thriving these days. It makes for a nice place to sit with a cup of tea in the morning. I like watching as the sun slowly tips the pine trees with gold and the pool of dappled sunlight slowly moves down to include the cabin and the flowers. I like it in the afternoons, too, as the shadows lengthen and little breezes shiver the pine trees. We have had a few industrious bees buzzing around our blossoms, not as many as one would hope, but certainly one or two pollinators. No honeybees, which makes me sad. I do like honeybees. Maybe we are too high. Lots of big fat bumblers, though. Ollie really likes the bumblers, though he learned that they are hot when you swat them. I did warn him. He never listens.


I think my only disappointment is the tomatoes, which have not borne much fruit. The few tomatoes that have formed are all still a dull green and they don’t seem to want to ripen. Perhaps it is just too cold up here at night for tomatoes, or the sun doesn’t hit our deck for enough hours in the day.


Fortunately my mom’s garden down in Riverbank is producing more tomatoes than she can eat, and she has been sharing her bounty with us. And at least I have all the flowers!


I’ve come to appreciate the quiet of this place so much. I think I will appreciate it more and more as I hit the late summer/fall stretch of my show season. The remaining shows are lined up one after another without a lot of time between. It seems so busy now! There is always something to do and there aren’t as many opportunities to sit and watch fat bees, or cheer on the various racing teams of hummingbirds. Of course, that just means that I enjoy it even more when it does happen.


I am grateful for the busy, grateful the business is thriving (and grateful for the quiet when it happens).

I’ll be driving the Youngest up to Portland soon, and Cap Jr. will be heading up to the Pacific Northwest with his mom a few weeks later. Our nest will re-empty soon. The Cap and I will finally be able to make that beach trip, right when I don’t need it quite as desperately. In just 3 and a half short months, my run of shows will be done and we’ll be stacking wood and stockpiling staples for winter. Settling in for the dark months of quiet, woodstove mornings and (hopefully) a lot of snow. But that’s in 3 months. This is today.

Today, I am not thinking about show prep or packing the Honda with bins of supplies or wondering about booth setup. Today, I am thinking that one someone has piles of laundry and the other someone wants to go to town to get some Internet. A movie matinee has been requested and one of the someones needs to practice his parallel parking. I have to clear my studio slate of repairs, pack sale orders, work on custom orders, fix the back door and make sugar water for the hummingbirds. The catboxes want cleaned, the house wants vacuumed, the toilets want scrubbing, the kitchen floor wants mopped, the deck garden wants watered and I should probably roll up the canvas booth cover from last week’s show and put it somewhere safe that is free of cats. Reorganize the upstairs storage closet. The downstairs storage closet. Clean my studio. Clean my bedroom. Rake the yard. You know. All the stuff you do when you have the weekend “off.”

Shockingly, that all sounds great. It sounds like Life. Life goes very fast doesn’t it?


Remember, our 15% off Sweet Summer Sale starts tomorrow and runs through the entire week, Sunday to Sunday! If you’re on our mailing list, check your email, you got a nice little sale preview window and your own special coupon code. If you aren’t on our list, sign up so you can get in on the next sale preview!

Hope your weekend is busy in all the ways you want, and quiet in the ways you need.


I wonder if this fellow has a busy weekend planned? And who his cell provider is. Because I certainly don’t get reception on the back deck!

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We had such a great time this past weekend at the San Jose Renaissance Faire. What a fun little Faire and what a super welcoming crowd! We will be doing many more productions with this group in the future, I can tell. I was super impressed with the organization, the number of very competent folks who were working in a support capacity for the production, and the vendor coordination. That makes a huge difference.

Rain and Em in the market stall
Ignore the exhaustion and the sunburns, really, we were having a great time. The new market stall worked great despite a few technical glitches (it broke during setup, twice, but fortunately Captain Sexypants has Solutions to these situations).

Bolstered by success, I’ve sent out a new application at the last minute. It looks like the KMVR Celtic Festival might be getting tucked in to our summer lineup as a last minute addition! I’m super excited about possibly doing this festival. It’s a 3-day Celtic music festival in beautiful Grass Valley, CA, with a wonderful Celtic/handmade marketplace. I’ll have more information as soon as we’re confirmed, so stay tuned.

I’m taking a little break from shows for the rest of August. Time to make new product and get some of the new stuff up on Etsy. I’ll be having a little flash sale next week – all y’all are gonna be getting a sweet 15% off Honey&Ollie goodies for a few days. HINT: folks on the mailing list get the coupon code a full 48 hours before everyone else so if you aren’t on our list yet, just click over to your right and sign up! I promise, no spam. We’ve got a short trip planned for Labor Day weekend to get the Youngest settled in her new environs, and then I’m back on the road for 5 more shows in September, October and November.

Our new Eastern, mandala inspired fine silver pendants and earrings will be up this week. And a fresh take on Padmavati Devi hoops, too!


A fun twist or two on the Urban Tribal “Uncial” collection!

Perfect for a pirate queen.

The merchant’s stone, with bronze. Like liquid sunlight.

And here’s a sneak preview of our best-selling wax seal pendants – but upscaled with gemstone and sterling silver rosary chains. After 2 years of selling them on ball chains, I figured it was time to offer people something fun and different! They’re terribly luxe and the bejeweled rosary chains just make them look even more vintage-fabulous! We almost sold out of these on their inaugural weekend, but I’ve got more coming off the bench. Talk about “get ’em while they’re hot”…


All this and more. Stay tuned and watch Etsy!

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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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Thank you!

Here for Bead Soup? Click here for my reveal!

SOMEONE, I don’t know who, sent me a huge bag of Pamela’s gluten free Artisan Baking Mix and a bunch of “gluten free” murder mysteries. There was no name or card in the box.

Thank you so much, Mysterious Gifter of baked goods supplies and new books!

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A simple old life.

Here for Bead Soup? Scroll down! Or, click here!

A band of storms rolled through the mountains this week, with rumbly thunder and lighting flashes. We were all tucked up snug in bed for it. I just love being snug inside when the weather is bad, hearing the rain on the roof and the thunder in the distance. Maybe I appreciate it more than I once did, after living in LA. Rain still feels rare and wonderful. Life continues in a quiet sort of holding pattern, the pause button pushed for the summer schedule of shows and faires. As a result, most of the work in the studio is of the quiet and invisible sort that makes for really boring blog reading. Inventory. Counting. Thinking.

Sometimes life is like that which makes for more room to enjoy the little things.


Things like…

1. important messages writ large in sidewalk chalk.


2. The 3 year old who lives at the end of the block bringing offerings of little yellow wildflowers because she is (not so) secretly hoping that you can be easily persuaded to share the aforementioned sidewalk chalk.

3. Sharing your sidewalk chalk.

4. Onions!


5. Blue food!


6. The knee doctor’s orders of ice, elevation and rest which has given me plenty of time to sit and watch the abundant birds off our back deck.

7. Daisies


The little hill outside my studio is covered in a blanket of wildflowers and tall grass. The neighbor’s cats stalk through it as if they were tigers in the jungle. My own cats watch with envy, confined as they are behind the windows of our cabin. They are fat LA housecats, after all, not woodswise. Sometimes we let them out on the deck to roll about (supervised) in sunbeams, but that is probably as close to tiger-hood as they will ever come.

What was it that Bilbo once said? It is no small thing, to live a simple life. And I’m grateful for mine. It’ll speed up and get interesting again soon enough, I’m sure. For now, this is nice.

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