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Archive for the ‘gratitude’ Category

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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Perfect for a pirate queen.

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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”…

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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.

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Things like…

1. important messages writ large in sidewalk chalk.

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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!

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5. Blue food!

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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

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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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I had a fantastic day off this Mother’s Day! I went down to my mom’s place in town, and spent some time with her. I missed my girls so much – it was my first Mother’s Day without any kids at home – but it feels good to know they are out in the world rocking their adult lives. I will always be there to hug, advise and love them whenever they need me, but they’re both really doing it on their own now.

“Mischief managed,” she said, remembering milky babies and taking a moment to taste the bittersweet sense of change. Then she gave herself a big high five and turned to face her future.

It can be a real headtrip when you step from one long-time life role into another.

The transitions are as varied as the women who experience them… from mom to empty nester, worker bee to retirement, single lady about town to new mama. We are evolution incarnate. Our lives are always changing but there are some soul truths that remain constant. It is so easy to lose sight of them, to stop listening, to get distracted, isn’t it?

One of the things I set out to do with my jewelry when I started was to make pieces that reconnected people back to their own soul truths. I wanted to make pieces that were little doorways to Self and made you feel bigger, somehow. You know that feeling you get when you pick up an amulet or a piece of jewelry, a pair of earrings or a fabulous and funky gemstone and it evokes a moment of deep, wild, joyful connection to your deepest self. On a personal note, I always experience that with a sense of delight, like I’m being reminded that I’m bigger on the inside. It’s like a flash of insight that I am more than I think. That sense of something being a touchstone to Self, more than anything, is what motivates me to choose my adornments these days. It’s why I love my silver charm necklace from Beth Hamila, my amethyst ring from Jennifer Lynn, my bone pendants from Chris Miller. Why I pick them up and put them on day after day.

That is the kind of work I want to create all the time, no exceptions.

Somewhere on the way to Crafted, somewhere along the road, I lost sight of that intention. In the last 9 months, ever since we moved to the woods, I’ve been coming back to center. I experience my work with an increasing sense of delight these days. The quiet of living on the mountain has been really good for hearing my inner voice again and I’m happy with the pieces that are coming off my bench.

A few days ago I talked about being afraid of success, of self-sabotage and of not following through. I think that it might be easier to be consistent, follow through and be fearless, when I remember to keep my North Star visible. To remember that I am bigger on the inside and to create art that helps other people remember it too. Not to back down in fear or get bogged down in excuses about not following through. It starts with one step forward. So here I go. Stepping from one lifelong role into another.

There are so many ways we do that, so many layers in our lives. How have you been transformed? What have you left behind and what have you become?

The road is already shinier and more colorful from here.

She couldn’t see There from Here. But she knew she had come to a fork in her road, a place where the journey would change if she just had the courage. So she dropped her excuses by the roadside, laced up her boots, and turned left at Albuquerque.

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…in a word? Bloody brilliant! Ok, that was two words, but really I haven’t had such a great time at a show in a really long time. The site at the Sonora Fairgrounds is just so lovely anyway and then they went and filled it up with Faire folks, pipe bands and all the goodies you could ever want. We did really well! The new lines got so much great feedback. I am a happy designer today and feeling more on track than I have in a good long while.

The weekend started out spectacularly when I fell down our stairs at 5:30 in the morning (that’ll larn me to try to walk without coffee) and pulled and strained a bunch of things that are best left unpulled. Like knees. And then I was pretty busy all weekend so I didn’t really walk around but there were a few things in our immediate area that really stood out over the course of the weekend.

First up? Blooming Lotus – a husband and wife duo who teach yoga and make the most stunning wind chimes you might have ever seen. These are works of art and a set of amethyst and copper chimes followed me home. They were promptly given to Captain Sexypants, because I love him and something so beautiful could not possibly exist without me wanting to give them to him, along with the moon. Seeing as how the moon is impossible, windchimes it is! They were technically a birthday gift .

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I’ve heard it said that “True Love Waits” but in this case True Love was pushy and started whining until the Cap agreed to unwrap what was in the shopping bag RIGHT NOW, two days early, instead of on his actual birthday.

Sometimes True Love gets like that.

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Fantastic, non? Love the fire patina on the copper and all those rough stones. They are making our back deck rather fabulous. I’m a little worried that between those, the zen bells and the Tibetan prayer flags all over our front porch, our neighbors might think we’re pinko hippie liberals. Or something. Heh.

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Musical high point of the whole weekend was definitely this Celtic rock band called Stand Easy. I got a huge kick out of them. Their show was a lot of fun! Good times, good times… please allow me to offer up a YouTube that I have randomly found, just for your delectation.

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All I have to say about that is, “wow.” Their singer/piper fellow John is really nice and wow can he ever rock the pipes. Throw in a pair of stompy boots, a fetching chapeau, a kilt and er, hello there Mr. Bagpipe Rocker Guy! You make the world just that much better with your bagpipes and your music (not to mention your knees, not that I was looking at them. Well maybe a little.) You just keep doing what you’re doing, ok? It’s working out fine. Carry on.

Seriously though, aren’t we all just sooo grateful for Scottish rock bands?

Mittens the Studio Cat would like to interject that he is not grateful for Scottish rock bands, however I feel that he is operating under some bias seeing as how cats + bagpipes = generally not a winning combination. Also, nobody cares if you think kilts are overrated, Mittens. Go find some glitter or something to knock over, ok? Wait… on second thought… oh never mind.

I think the most exciting part of the weekend was getting the opportunity to wholesale some of my work to a great little store in Ventura, CA. It’s a shop that I’ve been in love with when I saw it during the first Craftcation conference 3 years ago. The whole thing manifested in such a serendipitous way, too. I can’t even begin to express how much gratitude and delight and pure squee I’ve got going on about that.

You know that part in Buffy Season 5 (4?) where Xander gets split into two Xanders and they each think that the other is a demon and Goofy-Xander does the Snoopy Dance to convince Willow that he’s the real Xander? Yeah, that’s totally me right now.

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The happy dance part, I mean. Not the being split into two of myself by the powers of darkness part. At any rate, the next time you’re in Ventura, look for Honey&Ollie at Heart’s Delight on Main Street. Because we’re totally there. In their store. Dream come true. Go and look for the Honey&Ollie girl! Yay small local businesses supporting other small businesses!

Thanks, Celtic Faire! I feel totally rejuvenated and like I got my groove back, oh yes I do.

What’s next? OH! I’ll tell you what’s next. We just got accepted to the San Jose Fantasy Faire on April 12 and 13th. See you there?

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