Although I titled this post "recently" it seems I haven't actually made a post in quite some time.... like... a year. That's not very recent.. but life happens.. and that's what I've been thinking about a lot lately... life.. When you work for yourself, the line between life and work gets very blurred... a huge part of me loves that... loves that sometimes even my work doesn't feel like work because it just feels so much like life itself.. but also there is a part of me that feels I need to do a better job of separating them. I'm the type to take my job very seriously, but when it hardly feels like a job I sometimes get too relaxed in it... I do just enough... When I was working in a traditional setting I was very organized and had my calendar and planner all set and had my team's and my own tasks laid out and accomplished on schedule... but now that its just me, I find I don't hold myself as accountable as I did when I was working for someone else or had someone working for me.. I suppose that now when I look back on it I really thrived under that sort of pressure and responsibility... and not that I don't feel pressure now supporting myself on just my own efforts, but it feels totally different. It's all up to me now what I do... sometimes that gets really overwhelming and I end up doing too much and sometimes I take advantage of how relaxed it can be and do too little... even after two and a half years I still don't feel I've struck the perfect balance... I think I've gotten MUCH better at it, but still there are plenty of struggles. I procrastinate a lot on things that aren't top priority even though they still need to be done... I'm not as organized as I'd like to be... (after accidentally forgetting a couple of events I not only signed up for but also paid to participate in) I finally got a big calendar I do alright keeping up with.. I set reminders on my phone so I make sure and pay my taxes on time every month... I downloaded MileIQ so I'm not just guessing how many business miles I drive (which YIKES. its A LOT).... I do my best to get my custom orders taken care of and sent out as quickly as I can... but I fall short... often... obviously I forget I even have a website sometimes! I said on January 1 this year that I was going to make a much, much bigger effort to manage my time better and to balance not only life/work but also fun work/not so fun work better... and now its almost June and I can't remember the last time I filed a receipt... I'm not going to say I haven't done better in some areas... but still, in some, I need improvement. I'd like to post more frequently on here... I'd like to find a way to potentially get my online sales up again... I'd like to learn a few new skills (like some 'light' metalsmithing to make rings and bangles for example)... I'd like to get a savings plan going... I'd like to find some resources for better bookkeeping that's more specific to my work... I'd like to participate more in the maker community where I live... there are plenty of things I'd still like to do better or finally commit to doing! I guess I've just been sitting and dwelling on these things, but it seems when I talk about them or write about them I do hold myself more accountable... so that's what I'm doing now. I'm writing all this for you to see so that you can help hold me to these things! If I go a while without making a post on here, yell at me! I have a lot of new ideas brewing and I'm going to need to stay on top of EVERYTHING if I want to do it all well! I'm going to start putting the right kinds of pressure on myself... not for perfection because that keeps me from doing and trying things altogether sometimes... but pressure to just do better. starting right now! Stay tuned!
I've always been interested in Eastern culture... the religions and beliefs, the customs, traditions, histories, etc... and in my post about the stone fluorite, I referenced the chakras and realized some readers may have never heard of them! A perfect opportunity to share one of my favorite Eastern schools of thought!
There is so much information about the chakras that instead of shoving it all in one post, I'd like to introduce the chakra system itself and then focus on one center at a time in shorter posts. Each chakra has its own fascinating story with its own color, stones, deities, aromas, breathing techniques for opening flow, meditations and mantras... a whole little entourage of energy companions!
The chakras are energy centers in our bodies that are aligned on the spine from the crown of our head to our tail bones. The word chakra in Sanskrit means wheel or disc, and we can imagine our chakras as whirpools of energy, constantly spinning in our subtle bodies. The subtle body refers to our energies and auras versus our physical body. Although there is much belief that the chakras do indeed affect our physical bodies as well, I will focus on the chakras and our subtle bodies. Because energies are always moving and flowing, its important to keep our chakras open and balanced. They are our emotional, psychological and spiritual centers and if we can become more aware of our chakras and their influence on our well being, we can help keep them spinning in harmony.
As I mentioned, the chakras are all associated with a particular color and I'd like to explain a bit of this now because the color and placement on the spine are generally the two most easily recognizable aspects of the chakras. Even before reading this post, you may have seen a chart of the chakras at some time depicted as a figure (usually seated in lotus position) with colored symbols lining the center. You may have even noticed that the colors are in perfect order with the rainbow- red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Their position on the spine and subsequent color are no accident. The spectrum of visible light, as we all know, is a matter of wavelength, with red having the longest and violet having the shortest. This order of color and wavelength is the reason for their association with each particular chakra and its place on the spine. The first chakra, also known as the root chakra (located at the base of the spine) is our center of stability and "groundedness" so its no surprise then that its associated with red because of its long wavelength and slow vibrations. The seventh chakra, located at the crown of our head is our center of spirituality and higher consciousness, so naturally violet, having the shortest wavelength and most frequent vibrations makes perfect sense!
I learned a lot about the chakras during my time working for Aveda, and I'm excited to delve a little deeper and do a bit more research so I can share their interesting stories with you! You can leave me comments and questions below! Don't forget to subscribe and stay tuned for more!
It's my FAVORITE DAY OF THE YEAR!!! It's pi day!!! Pie is my favorite food.... no kidding. My favorite food ever. I love all kinds... blueberry, apple, key lime, chess, pecan, raspberry, chocolate, lemon, but most especially BLACKBERRY. So in honor of this most amazing holiday... I made a blackberry lemon zest pie!!
Here's the catch.... it's actually pretty healthy! (well, maybe not healthy... but it's at least not terrible for you!) It's gluten-free.... organic... and it has a bit less sugar than other "healthy" pie recipes! So you can feel a little less guilty indulging!! I even served it with dairy-free almond milk vanilla ice cream!! yummmmm....
This is the first time I've ever made a gluten-free pie crust from scratch, so I was a little anxious about how it would turn out... I used a regular pie recipe I have (why I didn't specifically use a gluten-free recipe I have no idea... so silly) but I adjusted it to fit my gluten-free flour. It helps when the dough is chilled in the fridge, but I got a little impatient and just went for it... it definitely turned out a bit more "rustic" than I had hoped... I love a perfectly pinched edge... but it tasted so good I didn't even care!
I will also mention, because it makes QUITE the difference... I used an 8" cast iron skillet.. so it's a bit smaller than a typical pie tin... but if you skip hand making the crust and just go with a packaged kind, you should be fine!
Anyway... below is the recipe and I hope you enjoy making my favorite dessert... with a healthy little twist!
1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour (I used glutino brand)
2 tblsp organic brown sugar
1/2 tsp organic cinnamon
1/2 cup + 1/2 tblsp warm water
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt
6 tblsp grass fed butter
1 1/2 tbsp organic coconut oil
3 - 6oz containers of organic blackberries
1/4 cup organic sugar
1/4 cup organic brown sugar
1/2 tbsp organic agave syrup
1/4 tsp pink Himalayan salt
3 tbsp arrowroot powder
2 tbsp grass fed butter softened
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
First you want to get your dough made and chilling in the fridge while you work on the filling...
to make crust:
1. combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt and baking powder in a large mixing bowl
2. fold in butter, coconut oil and warm water... mixing with a fork until dough ball forms...
(it's beneficial if you know a bit what to look for in a pie crust... it needs to be soft enough that it won't break apart easily, but firm enough that it holds its shape against the edge of the pan)
3. leave the dough in the fridge while you work on the filling!
to make filling:
1. wash berries (duh!)
2. melt butter in saucepan (I used my wok...) add berries and heat over medium temperature
3. once the berries get a little soft mash them with a large wooden spoon against the side of the pan
4. stir in both sugars, salt, agave syrup, and lemon zest... bring to a simmer
5. slowly stir in arrowroot until the mixture thickens... turn temp to low and return to making crust
Rub coconut oil inside the pie pan.
Roll crust out to about 1/4" thick and place into the pie pan (if your dough isn't chilled enough, which mine was not, you can place a lump in the bottom of the pan and mash along the bottoms and side to about 1/4" thick) using a fork, poke holes all around the bottom of the crust.
Use the excess dough to make a lattice... or like me, you can cut it into little flower shapes or stars or letters or get creative!!
Pour in filling and place topping crust... brush on a little melted butter (or a bit of egg white for a nice glaze, I wish I had but this time I skipped it) and sprinkle on a bit of sugar!
Bake at 375 degrees for 35-45 minutes depending on thickness of crust (or bake to directions of packaged dough!) until the crust is nice and brown and the filling is hot and bubbly!
Let pie cool before cutting to help keep the filling from running too much and serve with your favorite ice cream!!
HAPPY PI DAY EVERYONE!!!!
To me, there isn't much else quite so intoxicating as a beautiful bookshelf. I have a folder full of pictures just like this one.... sometimes when I need a little pick-me-up I look through all the images and pine for my future home... I will have convinced my hunky man to build some lovely shelves for all my books and I'll be sitting in a big comfy chair drooling over the pages...
Today I was taking a closer look at this photo in particular and noticed the big Sherlock Holmes collection right at the end of the shelf... Not only has Sherlock Holmes been my all time favorite since I was a kid, but I actually own those very same books! They are a huge, thick set of three volumes with illustrations, annotations and extended content! My wonderful boyfriend got them for me a few Christmases back and they've been the most prized piece of my collection ever since.... I can't wait to have the perfect spot for them someday!
Fluorite is one of those stones that I just can't get enough of. It comes in so many colors and varieties that although they share many properties as a whole, they also have several unique characteristics specific to each variety. In fact, I could probably write separate posts for each variety and still not cover all the information! So I'll just give a brief overview of the stone itself, as well as a few different varieties and several bits of info about each. All types of fluorite are a translucent to transparent clarity but vary in color.... from perfectly clear to green, pink, purple, blue and even yellow... with some varieties containing a combination of these colors known as rainbow fluorite (how lovely does that sound?!) In any form, fluorite is a beautiful stone with loads of great properties that make it perfect for meaningful, powerful jewelry.
Fluorite of all kinds help to cleanse negative energy and that is my very favorite characteristic of the stone... this is the first quality that I mention to everyone!! Like quartz, it is also a very balancing and stabilizing stone, bringing all your energies into harmony. Fluorite helps to bring mental clarity and can aid in opening the mind to absorb and understand more complex information. It can quiet the mind which helps in not only learning and concentrating, but also meditating. Our bodies are constantly bombarded with high energy vibrations so wearing fluorite can help absorb the "excess" and allow us more mental peace.
The enhanced mental peace of fluorite can lead to a reduction in anxiety, depression, stress, fear, and tension. Can you think of any areas in your life which cause you stress, anxiety and tension?? Chances are almost all of us will scream, "YES!!" And after a day spent at an elementary school and witnessing the chaos that is that environment, I did a little deeper research and found that fluorite is also an excellent stone to have around small children to help minimize conflict during playtime!! How neat is that?! Teachers, mothers and anyone else who spend tons of time around children can help reduce their stress by wearing this stone!!
All varieties of flourite have many spiritual qualities as well. It can help connect us to the universal consciousness and increase our intuition. It can help us to relate to each other on a higher level of understanding as well as better self-awareness.
Here are just a few points about the different varieties of fluorite... [ Its also helpful to know that because fluorite comes in so many colors, each color and type essentially correspond to our chakras (Maybe you've heard of chakras before? Maybe I should write a post about that someday? Very interesting stuff!!) Each chakra is associated with a particular color and thus corresponds to each of the colors of fluorite! So if you know anything about the chakras, it will be easy for you to choose the proper variety of fluorite to harmonize any chakra imbalances! ]
Clear: this variety, because of its purity in color and clarity, is associated with the purification of mental, emotional and spiritual energies... it helps to align all your chakras and harmonize the mind, body and spirit... one of my favorite quotes on clear fluorite- "This crystal allows for a shift in perspective so one may recognize the difference between struggle and the need to perpetuate it."
Green: I would say most everyone associates the color green with nature... so green fluorite's ability to harmonize us with nature and our environment makes perfect sense! Additionally, the color green has gotten more attention lately with research showing that it can boost creativity... its no surprise then that green fluorite is said to inspire new ideas! Related closely to our heart chakras its also the stone of self love.
Blue: like staring at the ocean, this variety is said to bring calmness to our beings... it can bring order and rationality to the mind... and because it is linked to our third eye and throat chakras, it can help with our reception of information and improve our communication skills!
Purple: the color purple has long been tied to our mystical and spiritual qualities... this variety of fluorite is thus related to our crown chakra where we are connected to the Spirit and higher consciousness... it boosts our intuition and imagination!
Yellow: this variety is related to our 3rd charka near the solar plexus and its the center of our will-power, intention, and our "gut feelings". Yellow fluorite can help keep us goal oriented, help us to work well with others, and help us to trust our instincts.
Pink: although the color pink is not associated with any particular chakra, the color is often identified with the feminine energy... therefore, pink fluorite is perfect to regulate hormones! It also helps to balance emotions (which all us women will appreciate ;)
One last interesting fact: the purest of the clear variety, with the most exceptional optical clarity, are often used for lenses in cameras, telescopes, and microscopes!
I could go on and on and on about this incredible stone and even more varieties and qualities of each! There is so much information out there that I haven't even covered half! Hopefully you've learned a little something ,and if anything has sparked your curiosity then there is plenty more to discover!
Many of you know I have a thing for beads... you would think that's so obvious because I use them for my jewelry... duh! But that's not the whole story...
This past weekend I was at an event and the booth next to mine belonged to a sweet guy selling antiques... We got to know each other a bit during the moments of slower traffic, but while we were busier, I could feel him watching and listening to me talk to the people at my booth... It made me a little self-conscious... Not that I felt he was judging me or anything like that, but more that he was truly and genuinely paying attention to what I was saying. When people are browsing my work, I try to explain everything I can about what I've used to make something... All my soaps and essential oils are fragrances that I can talk about... frankincense does this for your body, lavender can help with this, eucalyptus is good for this and this... so on.. same with my beads... fluorite can help balance this, rose quartz is best for this... I do my best to learn as much about the different crystals and stones and oils as I can, and then I try even harder to relate all this information to my customers in an interesting way. That's always seemed like a natural thing to do, but here was this guy who wasn't interested in buying anything from me... he was just listening... it felt so different. At the end of the day he told me that he enjoyed hearing all the stories I told about each item and how he was surprised there was so much to learn about beads! I started thinking about how often when people are looking at my jewelry, they are seeing it simply for what it looks like... sometimes they love it just for what it looks like, and sometimes I'm sure they say to themselves "that's just another necklace" and don't have a second thought about passing it up... but once I see which piece they have their eye on and I start telling stories about what the beads are and what they can do and where I get them, it becomes more than "just another necklace"... and the ones who liked it just for what it looked like, now love it even more... I love building a connection between something meaningful and the simple string of beads.. and as much as I love and enjoy it, I had never really given it much more thought than solely passing the stories onto my customers - until this man told me he just enjoyed listening. He gave me an idea....
Of course all this information about beads and essential oils is out there ready to be taken in if you just search for it... but maybe you've never even thought to look! I'd like to make short posts about the beads and oils that I use, so that maybe you can learn something new, get inspired to use these materials yourself, or just enjoy a story or two! Subscribe and stay tuned!
happy new year!!
I can't believe I've made it this far! When I first opened the shop, I was so excited but also so unsure of what the future would hold. I was confident in myself that with enough hard work, love and support that being successful wouldn't be too far out of reach. But I guess a part of me, in the back of my mind, still wondered if it was all really that feasible. Can I really do this long-term or is this just an exciting little journey I can enjoy for a while? Where will boxwood really be a year from now? just a happy memory? I think there is always a little tiny bit of doubt in the back of every small business owner's mind. I guess the key (it is for me anyway) is to continue to believe in yourself and your work... to constantly pat yourself on the back and give yourself encouragement through the hard days... to remind yourself how lucky you are to live out your dreams.
A lot has changed in the year though... none of which I have shared here. I opened the store at the beginning of February and spent nearly all my time there. I hosted some art openings, held a few fun classes, even a birthday party! But in the spring, an interesting opportunity presented itself. Anytime I visit my parents at home in Chattanooga, we always go down to the farmer's market on Sundays. Its always been my favorite weekend tradition... they have the best food trucks, flowers, music, activities, so many vendors you could spend hours there. I can't tell you how many times I've walked through that market wishing I could have a booth of my own. So finally, I applied for a space. I was accepted and started traveling to Chattanooga most weekends for the arts market at the aquarium on Saturdays and the big farmer's market on Sundays. I couldn't have been happier! I loved spending so much time outdoors and meeting so many people and making new friends with all the other vendors... I loved the community. I started to realize that as much as I enjoyed the shop, I was spending most of my days inside alone... sure, people would come in and I've made a few really dear friends from people just "stopping by to browse"... but I found I was so much happier at the farmer's market.
I know it sounds strange to trade in a beautiful brick and mortar for a 10x10ft pop up tent, but I'm so thankful I did. I decided in July that since I was packing up most of my shop to take for my booth and spending my busiest days, the weekend, closed and in another city that maybe I ought to consider closing the store permanently. I felt bad having to leave a sign on the locked door apologizing for any inconvenience... my hours became so unpredictable... I knew my priorities were shifting and I didn't want to give my sweet little shop a bad reputation because its owner was always off being a gypsy. I had a tough decision to make. I didn't have the means to hire any help, and since I was enjoying the markets so much, that as hard as it was imagining closing the store after such a short time, it was the right thing to do. I loved the store, I really did. I enjoyed being there and creating in that space, and I miss it all the time.... but I couldn't be any happier with my decision. I have the freedom now to travel anywhere, anytime, for any event. I've done markets and events all over Tennessee and even a few in Georgia and North Carolina! I spend most weekends in my spot at the farmer's market, but occasionally I'll spend a weekend at a music festival or an arts and crafts fair (or even once at a storytelling and junior YODELING competition)! Doing farmer's markets and events like that are so much fun and are always interesting, but having a job that depends so heavily on the weather isn't always easy, and wasn't something I worried so much about at the store! My new lifestyle has its own challenges, (like now, in the winter when the market is closed until April!) but I had a very successful first season and I'm counting down the days til we open back up! (only 107 more!)
But the most difficult part for me through everything this past year has been learning to balance my time. I spend the majority of it making things and being creative (which yes, is arguably the most important part since without the things I make I wouldn't have a business at all) but I've struggled to make the time for proper bookkeeping, keeping up with my etsy shop (its empty now, I know, I suck), making any posts on here at all, I forget I even have a facebook.... which are all vital to the health of my business! So my goals going into my second year are to work on balancing my time, to devote serious effort to having well kept books and records, to load up my etsy shop (especially for this winter break!), to make posts here more regularly and to try and remember I have a facebook page!
I suppose having your own business is always going to be an ongoing process of learning, adapting, overcoming and growing... it will always have its ups and downs... but boy, am I lucky to have it all.
I just thought I'd share a little bit of the journey from this past year and take a moment to thank you all for your continued support going into 2016... I can't wait to see what this year holds!!
If you're anything like me, you might get bored with your surroundings pretty easily. About as soon as I get a set of throw pillows on my couch, I'm already over them. Once I'm used to a good piece of art on the wall, I'm ready to replace it. I'm constantly collecting bright, funky knick-knacks, colorful blankets, and even my kitchen towels can't make it a month before they are swapped for a more interesting pattern. These little changes can make a big difference in the look and feel of a room, but occasionally... you need a change that's going to make a statement.... a bold statement. I'm talking accent walls.
Paint can be intimidating. But why? It's the MOST impermanent thing in the world. But what if I don't like it? PAINT OVER IT. But what if I don't like that either? PAINT OVER IT. I still hate it. PAINT IT BACK TO WHITE AND GIVE UP.
The biggest mistake you can make is not letting yourself get creative. And the second biggest mistake is getting too brave and painting an entire room a nutso color you aren't sure about. ha. Chances are (if you're like me) even if you LOVE the color, you'll end up getting sick of it within a few months and then you have the daunting task of either painting the whole room again or just living with it. Why not keep all the walls a nice, calm, neutral color and make a big statement with an accent wall.
If you choose a wall with no window, no door, and no other funny shaped object to tape around, you essentially have a big rectangle to paint. And, if you choose a small wall, let's say in the dining room or entry way, a littler rectangle!
That's it! Tape off the ceiling, floors, and corners and have at it! With a good paint and primer, you may only need to apply one coat, and boom you're done in less than 2 hours! (not much longer than that even if you need a second coat!) And price? Depending on how big your rectangle is, a couple quarts should do the job, and you could get out of the hardware store for under 20$!! (given that you have all the various accoutrements...roller, pan and tape... if not? you're closer to 35-40$ for your first go at the big rectangle... but still! not an expensive project!) The most common misconception about painting is how much work it is. Yeah, you're right, taping off and painting an entire house or even a whole room can be a lot of work... but we are talking about a big rectangle here. A 2 hour task that will change the whole feeling of a room.
And my very favorite part about an accent wall?? VERSATILITY. Here, you have the opportunity to get crazy. Go for something bright and bold. Something unexpected. A color you thought would clash with that Mustard Seed Yellow retro chair, but actually makes it all that more interesting.
Because guess what? In a few months, you'll remember how easy it was to paint that big rectangle the first time and you'll be ready for the next exciting color! (especially now that your upcoming trip to the hardware store will be for paint only!) What the heck, paint it for every season! That's the most brilliant part about paint, you can change it a million times! Any time you get a creative whim, you can be confident that your accent wall can't let you down. And quit worrying about your decor "matching"... just take a look at some of these photos! Mix-match is IN!
So the next time you feel like your room needs a makeover...... fear not! PAINT!
working on a piece about indigo... doing so much research... what a fascinating color... stay tuned.
It may seem ironic... and even a little hypocritical to write a blog post about the overuse of technology. Especially this being only the second post I've even written! But it's something that weighs on my mind a lot lately, and I figure I might as well write about it in the beginning.
I've become increasingly more aware of how much I use my phone and computer for reasons that are unnecessary and add no value to my life. I realized not long ago that my phone was the last thing I touch before I go to sleep, and the first thing I touch when I wake up. It's my alarm clock. It's the reason I open my eyes in the morning. Its the first thing I reach for each and every day. Instead of being woken up by a clock- who's sole purpose of existence is to tell the time- I wake up to missed calls, text messages, emails, and the endless scroll of social media. I am immediately immersed in the chaos of the day before I've even scratched the sleep out of my eyes. And at bedtime? I've been startled awake by the tone of an email and actually replied right then and there... in the middle of the night... as if it couldn't wait until the next day.
We are becoming a society who cannot fathom the thought of being disconnected, for even a moment. What stress we feel when our batteries are on 2% and we forgot to CARRY OUR CHARGER WITH US! We swerve to avoid oncoming traffic because we just HAD to reply "ok" to a text message. We are lost in this idea of the importance of "connectedness." The usefulness of the network has been so decimated that now we use it to let all others know what we ate for lunch. We have begun to overvalue our every thought. The most mundane and often even hurtful thoughts are typed up for all to see. How is this adding value to our lives? We are abusing the unique opportunity we have to use the internet to inform, uplift, and learn from each other. Sure, I'm guilty of scrolling and scrolling and scrolling on social media... I've posted a picture of my breakfast more than once... I've even recently discovered pinterest (shoot me.) It can be addicting. There is something about knowing that there is truly no end to what you can see online... The thought, "but if I just scrolled a LITTLE further I'm going to see something I just know I couldn't have lived without seeing!" But is this true? Am I really going to just fall over dead if I didn't see that picture of your salad? Did you REALLY need to see mine? And sure, pinterest is FULL of great ideas and how-to's that truly are helpful to me and my business... but, I don't think I would die if I didn't scroll for two hours looking at every single post about recycling pallet wood. I think I might survive.
That's why I have decided (and encourage you) to take a real, good look at your use of technology. I've made a pact with myself that I'm going to make an effort to put my phone on "do not disturb" (because let's get real, emergencies DO happen and with the disappearance of the landline... I should at least be able to be reached) at and after dinnertime, until I go to work, when I'm out with friends, when I'm reading - yes, I read. A lot. And any other time I would rather be fully immersed in real life than distracted by virtual reality. I'm going to wake up and enjoy the first bit of the day under the covers, laughing and talking with my love and snuggling with my puppy. I hear by solemnly swear to quit scrolling in bed. And I promise to fill up my blog with things that are interesting, cultural, helpful, unusual, creative, beautiful and enlightening. I'm going to ask myself every time my finger is poised over the "post" button, "is this going to inform or uplift? Will someone be glad they saw this? Will it help someone, or at least brighten their day? Should I be outside right now?" I'm sure that I'll cave to the occasional pointless post just like everyone else. But, being aware is always the beginning of change, and I hope to lead a life less consumed by technology and more concerned with living and learning. Time is the most precious stuff in the world, let's not waste it.
I guess I should start by telling a little about myself and the journey I've just begun. I was always a little artist when I was a kid... constantly drawing and making things... I grew up and even went to university for a degree in painting and art history. After I graduated though, I got a job managing a salon. And for the first time in my life, stopped creating. I was making great money and the benefits were nice, I even loved my team... I just felt so empty. I stayed there for a couple more years before I knew it was time to be myself again. I'm a true believer in fate. The universe gives you exactly what you need when the time is right. It puts you in just the right places and with the right people. Always trust the universe. So when I got a call one day with a job offer to paint murals... I knew it was fate. I put in my notice, picked up my paintbrush and began my life as an artist.
It wasn't long before I started imagining having my own place... I started to miss throwing ceramics, sewing, making paper, book binding, photography, and all the other things I had learned over the years. As happy as I was painting, I had a yearning for a place I could do and make anything I felt like. A place for learning and teaching and creating. My boyfriend and I (we met in art school... and accidentally fell in love...) got invited to be a part of a group painting show at the beginning of December. I was too busy to participate, but he hung a new piece with them- and that weekend we went to the space for the opening. It was the most beautiful place I'd ever seen. Huge windows and skylights...white brick walls... light concrete floors... 20 foot wooden ceilings... a glass wall leading out into an enclosed patio covered in a mossy green patina.... I commented to my friend hosting the show how fabulous the building was and she said, "I know, it's for rent too... I hope whoever takes it keeps it an artistic space, it's just too perfect." I knew it was fate. I signed the lease in less than a month, and began the journey that is boxwood brake.
I opened the shop in 28 days. It was an overwhelming 28 days. Overwhelmingly hectic and stressful, but also especially exciting and so much fun too! My mother and I refinished 15 pieces of furniture, made a collection of jewelry, a collection of pillow covers, my grandmother helped to make a line of women's shirts and wraps, I assembled a selection of oils for custom perfumes and body scrubs, and we styled the shop to absolute perfection. It was exactly as I had envisioned from the moment I first heard the words "for rent." My boyfriend, Woods, has always supported himself with his art. He makes incredible paintings, he designs logos and art work for different companies and events, he even welds together dinosaur skeletons for museums. He's pretty amazing. I was always jealous of his life as an artist and he had always encouraged me to believe in myself and my abilities. The shop was the perfect way for us to have a life supported by our own hands. He helps me teach painting classes and works for me when I'm at a market or pop-up shop. My mother and grandmother still make a lot of the clothes and bags. It really is a family affair- and that's my favorite part! Opening the shop has brought us together and given us a unique outlet to be creative and collaborative.
As a creative space, we use the shop as a studio, a gallery for various shows, and a classroom where we teach and host different tutorials and special creative events. I book private parties for crafts and cocktails, and I host bridal and baby showers too! It's such a neat thing that I'm getting to live and work as an artist- and to share my skills and my beautiful space with others! I decided that writing was another one of those arts I missed... and maybe I should start a blog. I would love to share all the neat things that I come across in my daily research for new techniques, inspiration and my incessant quest to learn everything I can. So, here's to boxwood brake.... hope to have you on the journey with me.