Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!!

I love the 4th of July, It holds such special meaning and memories for me, it is about Tradition, History, Liberty, our country's struggle to become Independent, Fireworks and a great cookout, of course not complete without an apple pie. YUM! I have soo many memories with this holiday, as a child running around all day playing with my brothers and friends playing games, eating watermelon and seeing who could spit the seeds the furthest. At the end of the day being hot, sweaty and tired with the sounds of crickets filling the air as the fireworks fill the skies, being completely fascinated and entranced it was like magic in the sky! The years we took out the boat for the day. As a teen my favorite memory was in 1990 seeing the Grateful Dead play in Kansas at the Sandstone Amphitheatre with fireworks blasting above while dancing to US Blues..."wave that flag, wave it high and wide" I was young, just set out on my own and having the adventure of a lifetime, I had never felt so free and independent in my life! That too was a magical night!

And most recently the years when the whole family all meet up at my Grandparent's house in Black Mountain, NC to celebrate my Grandmothers birthday which is the same weekend, we cookout and have our own little firework display and all the kids run around in their yard with Mt. Mitchell in the backdrop. It is truly a beautiful scene, a celebration of family, 4 generations all together!

I love this holiday because it is a celebration of country, family and Independence. It is not a hallmark holiday nor commercial. No presents to buy or decorations to have, just an American Flag!

With this being an election year there are many topics on the table that evoke strong emotions and heated debates from all sides but I encourage everyone to remember regardless of your beliefs, that we all have one thing in common. This country, and please be thankful that we have the freedom to express our opinions so publicly. Not everyone has this right, people have fought and died for us to have this right, do not take it for granted. We might not all agree with every policy of our government but please be proud of our great country!

Bless you all, I hope you take a moment to reflect what meaning this holiday has for you, hold it in your heart and share with your loved ones. Be safe and have fun!!

Monday, June 30, 2008

This Ol' Box

Okay, I really love old boxes! Can you tell??

Look at the way this old box from Morrison's General store in Asheville,NC is made. The tongue and groove detail is awesome, the craftsmanship put into this you just don't see anymore. And to think this was just for shipping, now it has it's place on my fridge. This one is my very favorite boxes.

This old Dr. Pepper case reminds me of my childhood. Sounds weird I know, there was this family that we were close to and the mom drank Dr.Pepper constantly! It is because of my fond memories of her that makes this box so special. This piece sits on an old Hoosier in my kitchen.

I have no idea what this box was made for,

but I know it is really old and the stories it

could tell, it too is made with tongue and groove.I like it and use it to stash things in to keep clutter off my counter.

This other box was used to keep acid in, that is all I know about it because
it actually has acid faintly printed on the side. Now it is on my bathroom wall used to keep my bath salts and oils.

Also a tongue and groove quality made box.

This other box is mystery, but love the grain and weathered look to it. I can only imagine what this

was used for, it is very primitive and has quite a few years

on this one. This one has nails in it. As you can see this is also in the kitchen to hold all my coffee stuff in.

I love wood especially OLD wood, you can't find good quality wood anymore. I love to find old pieces that need a little lovin' and fix them up to bring it back to it's glory or just appreciate them they way they are.

This is a tongue and groove Walco pipe wrench
box I use to put my mail in.

I have old cheese boxes alot like this one that I use in my studio to put misc. work stuff in.

Times gone by is what I think about when looking at these

beauties when things were made to last. When it wasn't a "throw away" society, a time when you fixed things rather than replace it. Someone worked hard to make these boxes with their own two hands, there is history and culture in even the smallest mundane items such as boxes.
People used and re-used these items way past the intended use, and thankful they did to have around for generations to come so people can appreciate simple treasures of our past.

So there you have it, my confessions of an old box addict.

What do you treasure?

"Home" is where the heart is.

Okay, so I have mentioned I have given up my gypsy ways in trade of growing roots. I have been in this house for 3 years now, the longest I have dwelled in one place since I left my parents house when I was 16. Although 3 years may not be long for most it is eternity for me, I still have to fight the urge to get rid of all my stuff and pack the jeep and hit the road. Of course I am probably getting to "old" for this and have to curb the urges by planning road trips and camping trips. And as I look around to what would go, more and more of the things I own become important to me. I just can't fit all my treasures in a backpack anymore. Now technically my backpack has been "retired" now for 10 years to the month, but have been still moving every year until this house. I do want roots and stability but just haven't found the place to plant them yet. The only place I feel "home" is the mountains of Western North Carolina. My Grandparents live in Black Mountain and I grew up spending alot of time there and on Lake James. Now when I am driving there for a visit I get goose bumps and a burst of energy when I see the first glimpse of the mountain peaks. The same ol' familiar feelings of when I was a youngster filled with excitement and anticipation to get there, to pull up the old dirt road to my Grandparents house. Heaven on Earth!! Of all the places I have been this spot is one of my favorites.

Some things have changed, the sleepy little town of Black Mountain has most definatly woke up and the same goes for Asheville as well. It just makes me think, it seems all the little out of the way small towns are being exploited and overpopulated. Can the towns like these keep up with traffic and the demand for jobs? Is the way of life being altered from "old fashioned family values" to the "keep up with the jones attitude"? All the old family run general stores being replaced by Wal-marts, Local cafe's for Starbuck's. Black Mountain is indead more crowded and the cost of living extreamly high but I am glad to see the shops in town are locally owned and Artisan supported. It has a nice vibe there and although there has been change I still love it dearly and concider it my "home". Now affording to live there is another thing!!

Now the town I live in, just outside of Charleston used to be a small quaint town but has fallen victim to the "keep up with the Jone's" syndrome. We have a Starbucks,Lowes and Home Depot (of course across the street from each other) and a Wal-Mart, Target, Pet Smart, Khols, Peir-One, World Market and the list goes on and on and on.........Gone are the family run stores, with the exception of the historic part of town (thank god for historic preservation!) New vinyl villages are popping up everywhere, the streets cannot hold all the traffic and the schools are busting at the seams. So the town continues to build, build, build. The once charming little town has turned into "any town USA".

So I continue my search of an unspoiled little sleepy town where there is a sense of community, wide open spaces, rush hour means having 3 cars in front of you and knowing your neighbors. When I find this town I am going to settle my Roots as far down as I can, build a workshop, plant a garden and not leave the property for days at a time for this
I will call "HOME"!!

Sunday, June 29, 2008


I love these!
I found these soaps on Etsy made by a lady from Tennessee, you can not tell they are soap. They look sooo real!
I do not know how she does it but they are beautiful! I want to order the turquoise trio for myself. They look so nice in the iron soap dish, they have this natural rustic appeal to them. These lovlies are made to be used, so please check out her site and pick a few up for yourself or pick some up for a gift for that hard to buy person.

"Amethyst Soap is a division of Star Soaps located in Goodlettsville, TN, USA. Each bar of Amethyst Crystal Soap© and Tumbled Turquoise Soap© is hand crafted to recreate the splendor of natural stones and crystals.
We use the finest ingredients to create our luxurious,
exfoliating, all natural soaps.
Please visit our website"

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Love what you do, Do what you love!!

How many of you are following your dreams?
It is interesting how many people are in careers they did not plan. For example, you finish college and take the first job you are offered despite the fact that it is not what you spent the last 4 years (or in some cases more) preparing for. Heck, your in your early 20's you are just happy to be employed!! And the money seems like a fortune, and in reality with no responsibilities it is! So you are happy ....for the time being. Next thing you know 20 years flies by, a spouse and 2/3 kids later ( or a divorce to boot )you take a look at your self and wonder what happened?!?! This isn't what I wanted to do with my life. Time Out...Take inventory....What do I want?!?!
I know getting started can be a challenge and a sacrifice.
Some would say I do not have as much as the next guy, but I know I have all I need and sometimes think I have too much.
My Dream you ask.......

Supporting myself as a full time artist moving back up to the mountains ( where I belong!!!!) and pursuing a simpler lifestyle.
Everyone's dreams are as individual as they are....What are yours???
Do you want more or less? A promotion, career change, to quit working, to start a business?
Then there are the people who know early on what they want and stay the course to become very successful in their own right. I have always been very aware of my artistic abilities from an early age, and have been active in my craft for more than 20 years, but I did not start to seriously focus on cultivating it till now. I'm in the redefining my life stage, realizing what is important and what is not. While most people were going to college and building a career, I was a modern day gypsy drifting around from place to place mostly out West and Hawaii, supporting myself with jewelry sales and bartending jobs. Wanting to take in as much as I could, I was young and had no responsibilities. This was my time, a part of me must have know it's now or never. After years of being on the road I came home for one of my brothers weddings and was visiting some old friends and one person said how they envyed my lifestyle, I thought that was interesting and asked "why?" and she said she felt she had done nothing exciting with her life, yes she continuded with school and had done what was expected of her, but she had no "passion".
INTERESTING!!! From my perspective I thought she had it good, she had a nice paying job, and starting a family: stability. But she never had the chance to spread her wings to see if she could fly. Me on the other hand had proved I could fly, but when I started to settle down and seek a "real" job. I had a hard time without a college degree and any real work experience ( bartending isn't really respected in the corporate world). My salary, if you could call it that, was the same as a high school graduate. That struggle to try and "fit" into the corporate world has convinced me that following my dream of being a full time artist is the best for me!
Life has a way of working itself out, struggle is good. It helps us to figure what we want in life, It helps to shape who we are. Stuggle lights a fire inside us to overcome and value what we have worked so hard for.

"A gem is not polished without rubbing, nor a man made perfect without trials."
Chinese proverb

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Oh the difference a picture can make!

This has been one of the biggest obstacle I have been facing, lack of computer knowledge taking the #1 spot! But it's true that the pictures are what sell the item when selling online.
My first attempts were disastrous! The light kept bouncing off the stones causing a glare so you could not tell what it looked like. I then bought a light box and it improved the lighting greatly, but my pictures were fuzzy (from user error) and my backgrounds too dark.

I was able to improve the fuzziness just by exploring the different settings on my camera, but the background has been a bit of a challenge. I love the look of old worn wood and I have this old table I got from an antique store and wanted to use it for displaying my jewelry. There has been great debate over this, to use a plain(white) background to keep focus solely in the item or create a "scene" having the picture deliver more than just an item. I like creating a picture to have the viewer "connect" on some level. I finally admitted to the fact that the wood was too dark and might not be the best for displaying my jewelry. My Dad got to have his "I told you so" moment because he had been trying to tell me that all along. A few did turn out good so I am sticking with them. Of course I was being stubborn feeling hesitant to let go of creative control. But when I got to Etsy I realized just how important photography is and my creative juices began to flow. I don't have to give up creative control, maybe I can't use the wood but I can create the same feeling/mood. Using a neutral background will still highlight the piece of jewelry and still offer something extra to the picture. These are my end results. What do you think? That is what art is all about after all, constantly evolving, trial and error, trying new things.

Monday, June 16, 2008


What inspires you to do what you do?

For me? Lessons I learn from trial and error, the great sense of accomplishment I get when I succeed and the challenge to overcome when it gets difficult.
Nature grounds me and music moves me.
A good road trip can soothe the soul! With the open road and a great set list, putting the past behind you to clear the head even if it is just for the day. I love to go to small out of the way towns with a couple of antique shops. A ride through the mountains or just a day relaxing on the beach with the salty air embracing me and the sounds of the waves crashing before me. Its like hitting the refresh button, charging the ol' battery, getting a new perspective.
Everyone finds their inspiration in different places. Where's yours?

"Once in a while you can get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right."
Robert Hunter