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October… busy month!

October might be shaping up to be a little bit crazy! Along with getting married (!!!) and having a honeymoon, I’ll be attending the ProDoula Conference in Kansas City and expanding my professional world a little bit. So of course, October seems like the perfect time to schedule in (on top of folding 1001 origami cranes and crafting all the other wedding decorations) participating in a planner challenge. If you’re interested in playing along at home, the challenge is being hosted over on Instagram by @boho.berry, @prettyprintsandpaper, and @tinyrayofsunshine. You can find and follow at @PlanWithMeChallenge.

Because you definitely need to plan this much shit out.

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I have to admit that I’m a little bit of a planner junkie, and finding the right system is something I’m always refining. I also really suck at sticking to it so I’m taking the next 90 days and focusing on making it a daily habit. Pretty sure my doula business, certifications, and other projects will thank me. Finding a planner setup that I like has been a slog. I’ve tried SO many planners (please don’t recommend any, I promise you that if it’s a popular planner on the market, it’s 99% sure that I’ve already tried it) and I think I finally found my Holy Grail system of both short and long term planning.

I’m a big fan of the Bullet Journal system but I absolutely suck at doing my daily planning in the BuJo because I get really distracted by all the things. I like going back to read collections and look at the shiny future planning and project tracking. Love the doodles and decorating and creative aspect you can work in if you choose. It’s really hard not to get enthralled by the shiny in my BuJo. Easier to migrate the details (like people’s birthdays) over to a smaller planner for the daily.

The Daily Action Planner is simple, doesn’t include a lot of fluff and nonsense, has monthly, weekly, and daily spreads, easy tabs, plenty of room for a daily brain dump, and no wasted space on things I don’t want. It is a nice A5 size, plenty of room but not too much room. This notebook lets me focus on taking action and accomplishing tasks in the short term and that’s super helpful.

Carrying multiple notebooks is a pain in the ass though, and to that end I love the idea of using a modular Traveler’s Notebook system to keep it under control. After much research, I’ve decided that the Chic Sparrow “Mr. Darcy (size A5, in burgundy)” is the best option to keep my DAP notebook, BuJo, and other smaller modules collected. I have promised myself that if I keep this up for 90 days, I get to buy Mr. Darcy as a reward in January.

After the apathy and depression and disorganization of the last few years, after the chaos of trying to run Honey&Ollie, work the Faire circuit, and get the doula thing off the ground, it feels good to feel like some of the brain fog is lifting. I guess some of us need a little external organizational assistance in our lives to get shit done.

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And with a wedding in 2 and a half weeks, I have a LOT of shit to get done!

 

 

When I went through Effexor Hell about a decade back, I was so depressed I couldn’t leave my apartment. My marriage crumbled. My kids lost the best parts of their mother, for months. To call it a dark, and horrible time is a huge understatement.  I sat in our dark, roach-infested, crappy West LA apartment and tried to hold it together. And for 9 months, give or take a few, I did.

I folded 1000 origami cranes at some point, I don’t exactly remember when, or how I got the idea. I just know that in the darkest, most horrible time of my life, each tiny paper bird was a prayer. Each little string of paper birds represented another day of me choosing not to kill myself, a day I chose my kids, my life, and the light. The pile of paper birds grew and grew, and eventually the light shone back in. The medications that were causing me so much difficulty were straightened out by my doctor. I felt so much better.

I gave strings and strings of those birds away. A friend hung several hundred on the fence at Manzanar. They still hang cheerfully in friends’ cars, in their windows, in their houses; all those little prayers for salvation and light.  Yesterday I gave the last string of those paper birds away and kept just my favorite for myself.

It felt really good to let go of the last of them. I am grateful, every single day, that I chose to live. Life did get better.

I can’t say that things were the same after I got well. My marriage was still done. My kids still had to deal with the fallout of my illness. Financially, it was bad. But it kept getting better and if it wasn’t the same, it was at least a different kind of good. My kids grew up into resilient, sassy, smart young women. We moved to Casa Fabulous and did Faires. I met Captain Sexypants. Started a business. Made pretty things. Opened a store. Lost the store. Left LA. Got a grandbaby (best thing EVER!!). Moved back to LA.

Life went on and life is so full of things I’m glad I got to experience!

I won’t lie. Some weeks depression and anxiety come in uninvited, put their feet on my coffee table, and leave sticky messes in the kitchen. But they always leave again. We’ve learned to deal with each other a little better.

Exactly 2 3 (whoops! I am simultaneously relieved that we have more time, and omg it’s only 3 weeks from now… EEEEE!!!) weeks from today, I am going to stand up with Captain Sexypants and we are going to say some vows at sunset next to the Kansas lake he grew up at, and then we’ll be married. We’ve got rings and everything. I’m so happy, sometimes I’m afraid to admit it to myself.  I’m really happy. I’m a little bit afraid to say that, a little bit superstitious, a little afraid I’ll jinx it, but I think it’s okay to say it out loud.

Y’all, I’m really, really, really happy.

I was browsing Pinterest looking for DIY wedding decorations and ideas the other day (because what other kind of wedding decoration would the Cap and I have, this is us after all), and found some lovely pictures of weddings that used strands of origami cranes as decorations. “How lovely,” I thought. And then I thought, “How perfect.”

and I started to fold…

Each tiny bird, a prayer of thanksgiving for the light. For prayers answered. For my life. For the happy. For the life we get to build together.

They’ll hang from the rafters and from the poles of our huppah, those tiny little paper prayers of thanksgiving and blessing. Little wishes that, when times get hard, we hang in there, keep going, and keep loving each other.

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How perfect.

125 tiny prayers down. 876 to go…

And I just want to say, reader… if you are in a dark place right now or if ever you find yourself there? If you are looking for the light and you just aren’t sure you want to stay here anymore?

I want to tell you, I hope you choose to live too. I promise it gets better. I hope you grab for the light with both hands and hang on tight until you’re held up again by the good people and good things around you.

I’m rooting for you.

So that happened.

Honey&Ollie Designs will be closing permanently, at the end of September 2016.

 

This was, in some ways, a really hard call to make. At the same time, when I got clear that this was the right step, it was a really easy call to make.

It’s hard to split your attention. You can’t really serve two masters. And some things deserve 100%.

I am choosing to focus – really focus – on my doula certifications and business. I have 3 certifications to finish by March, and a practice in a new city that needs my time and energy. I can’t have the kind of focus I need if I’m also running H&O – not with all the ‘back end’ that a business entails. Throw in production, design work, and shows, this is not a place where the power of “and” is going to serve me well.

Trying to do two things at once, in this case, means that neither is getting done well.

I’ve forgotten what making art for arts sake feels like. I’ve totally lost the joy of creating. Sitting down at the bench feels like drowning. I pick up a brush and nothing is there. Having the opportunity to create art – for myself – without the pressure to somehow create legitimacy by monetizing it or feeling pressured to turn it into “content” and stick it up for consumption, (though I do hope to share my process and results on this blog as it moves me), is something I want to explore.

I want making art to be a pleasure again.

The online shop will be open through the end of September. I’ll be putting up the last little bits of inventory between now and then and it will close for good, on October 1st.

It’s been a wild almost 7 years. I’ve had some amazing times and I’m so grateful for the support from you, my friends, customers and readers. Starting out, doing Crafted, moving to the Faire circuit, it’s been incredible, growthful, fun, at times painful and exhausting. I have no idea if I’ll come back to any of this. But I do know that the next stage is calling, and I can’t step into it fully with one foot in the new and one foot in the old.

Thank you for all your support over the years. I could not have had that wild ride without you.

Also, I hope you stick around. I’ll be maintaining this blog, but as a place to talk about art and fiber and process, not to talk about art I want you to buy.

F*ck “should.”

No really. Fuck it. Have you seen Elizabeth Gilbert’s amazing Facebook post today, about feeling the “wrong” emotion? If you haven’t, take a minute and go read it. I’ll wait.

This is one of the most powerful, truthful, naked things I have ever read and I spent a large chunk of it thinking, “Oh yes, me too. Yes. ”

My friends, listen: I want you to learn how to feel what you are feeling — not what you think you are SUPPOSED to feel, but what you ACTUALLY feel.

And I want you to guide your own life based on that, and only that.

Phew. Read that again. Go on. I’ll wait.

For the last couple of years I’ve been stuck on this idea. I am supposed to be “aging gracefully.”

And what’s more? That I’m supposed to LIKE IT.

I decided to “age gracefully” a few years ago. (Actually I think I was just feeling too lazy to go to the salon to get my roots done, and I constructed an elaborate scheme to make it okay. -ed)  Filling Pinterest boards with youthful looking, active ladies doing yoga, sporting sleek grey hair and skinny jeans, I decided to let mine grow out. I kept telling myself I was really happy with it. That yoga isn’t so bad. Truthfully?

My new grey hair was not sleek.  I can’t wear skinny jeans.

hate yoga.

The internet says that my 40’s are this powerful and amazing time of self knowledge, where all has been revealed. That’s the industry standard of aging, now. Your 40’s are supposedly the new 20’s (or some such bunk).  Well that’s not how my 40’s are feeling.

I am feeling the wrong emotion, y’all.

Definitely this decade has a leg up on my 20’s. I do feel a lot more at home in this skin overall. I’m more confident, that’s true. But I still feel like I’m just doing my best to figure it all out. Only now – in addition to staring into the unknown – my knees hurt, I can’t eat dairy and y’all, I am having a hard time embracing my saggy chin.

I recently read something that said how after 40, the training wheels come off. Boy howdy do they ever.

Shit gets real.

What’s real is? Time is marching. There is no time to waste on the wrong emotion, other people’s ideas, or  any “shoulds” that you bought into.  Fuck other people’s arbitrary rules about how we age. Fuck the elaborate facade of crunchy, natural womanhood. Or carefully polished, made up womanhood, for that matter. You do you.  I’m out, y’all. I missed my brightly colored hair, I missed lipstick, and I’ve really missed getting my eyebrows waxed. I’ll try being youthfully grey and all-natural in another ten or so, okay? I’ll try yoga again then too.

What’s real is, this is what we get.

SO MAKE THE MOST OF IT.

I have Elizabeth Gilbert to thank (or blame) for this, btw.  I read her post this morning and decided to go all in with what I really wanted.

I’m so glad I did. Welcome back, baby. The insides match the outsides once more. I’m so happy!

Finally. I’m feeling the right emotion.

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Oh yes! I’m back! The insides match the outsides, once again. Thanks to Lora at Studio C in Monrovia, CA

Btw, we packed up the cats, the yarn, the art studio and the books, and trundled back down to the land of swimming pools and movie stars a few weeks ago. Because, Reasons. Which means, that…

If you need an awesome labor or postpartum doula and you’re located in Southern California? You’re in luck! Call me! The San Gabriel Valley Doula!

Orlando.

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My heart broke into pieces this weekend. 49 pieces. The hateful events that took place in Orlando, the murder of so many people, people who were murdered because they were in a gay club on Pride weekend…

I am so sorry.

I wrote this on Facebook earlier but I figured I would put it in every forum that I have a voice, because it matters that the words be said over and over. In case I haven’t said this enough? To my friends who are gay or lesbian, who are transgendered, bisexual, who are intersex, asexual or who identify as queer in any way.

I love you.

I celebrate and support you .

Moving forward I promise that I will do better about speaking in support of you, in places where words will actually do some good.

I will make your community and your rights a priority, when it comes to my political choices. I promise to be more careful in ensuring the people I vote for are people who will actually support your community with their actions as well as their words.

I promise to do the same thing, with actions and not just words.

I will speak loudly when it comes to issues that affect your community, your rights, and your well-being.

I will do my best to get more involved in actively supporting the LGBT community where I live and elsewhere.

I will respect your safe spaces and I will protect them when I can.

I won’t just rely on words via social media, I won’t make the mistake of simply spouting my opinion on Facebook or Twitter anymore. Because that might as well be silence.

Thoughts and prayers are not even remotely enough.

I am so very sorry.

I support you. I love you.

Your lives are precious.

You matter.

Wear It.

What women over 30 should wear.

“Women in today’s world are hit from all sides. Do this. Wear that. Don’t do this. Don’t do that. Speak softly. Smile. Agree, agree, agree. Assimilate. Shut up. Stay down. 

The last thing we need is other women telling us what we should and shouldn’t do. Stand up, ladies, and stand together. Don’t be like Kallie Provencher. (Especially don’t be like her.) Wear what you want, do what you want, and support one another! And like all of these fabulous ladies, don’t give a fuck.”

So here’s the deal. I found a system that works for me, right? You know why it works for me? Because it’s what I choose.

Wear whatever you want. If that’s a sparkly Hello Kitty shirt, wear it.

If you’re into selecting clothes based on a carefully curated “system” of color family and design line and you want to wear it?  Wear it.

If it’s not in your color palette and you want to wear it? Wear it.

If it’s a bikini, if it’s got sequins, if it’s above the knee and you want to wear it? WEAR IT.

Do not let anyone tell you what you can’t do because they have internalized an ageist, sexist bias and they happen to have an outlet that allows them to spew that b.s. into the public consciousness.

Wear what makes you feel supported, awesome and yourself.

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I totally made a thing today.

All stash or slush bowl. Pure inspiration. All mine*.

A triple strand of dreamy aquamarine, pink-hued freshwater pearls, rose quartz rounds, amazonite and Austrian crystals for a touch of bling. Accents of moonstone and labradorite, with one mauve stick pearl to balance the sterling floral toggle closure. And maybe a touch more bling.

This necklace is happy like a box of puffy white kittens. It is cotton ball fluffy clouds skidding across a sunrise pink sky, morning sunlight sparkling off of cool water, and it feels like sinking back into a downy morning dream.

Put this on and feel your heart chakra expand.

This necklace says, “Have a cookie.”

*By which I mean, it’s totally awesome and I kind of love it and I’m keeping it because I’m allowed to do that sometimes.

Yum.