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OK, so I’m here tonight thinking I can relax but I totally can’t.  If I sound really chaotic and twirly it’s because I am.  Ack!

I don’t know if you’ve noticed the new additions to my blog sidebar.  Check them out.  Right there, to the right of where you’re reading.  I have a cool little slide show of some things I make and sell, and I also added links to the two shops where you can find my wares, as well as to my Etsy shop.  I’ve been at The Farmer’s Daughter for several years with nice success, and I just started a working relationship with Gumball Collective this month.  I’m very excited about selling to a new market and will be interested to see what I can offer in that neighborhood.

With two brick and mortar shops to stock, an Etsy shop to stock and three shows coming up in a mere three weeks I’ve gone completely mad trying to figure out which venue needs what kind of inventory.  I start something and forget about the other thing.  I pick up on that thing and remember I didn’t do something else.

But here’s the thing.  I have some new magnets that I know you’ll love.  OK, maybe you won’t love them.  Maybe you’ll even be offended by them.  I don’t care though, because…it’s art, man.

Take, for example, this insensitive piece:

Seriously? You’re making fun of mental disorders now?

Or hey, how about some swearing?

Wouldn’t you say the same thing?

I know!  I’ve gone completely insane, and plus very confused as to where these magnets should be shown.

I’m going to come clean.  These magnets, no matter how offensive or profane they may be will be offered, eventually, everywhere I show products.  There will be other magnets too, because the possibilities for magnets are limitless.  And right  now I don’t even have links to the magnets shown here (in case you are so insensitive or brash to actually want one) because they’re not even on sale at my Etsy shop just yet.  However, they will be, and soon.  Like, tomorrow.

All of you people shopping online, keep an eye on my Etsy shop for the additions coming in the next couple of weeks.  For those of you shopping in White Bear Lake, MN  check out  The Farmer’s Daughter.  If you’re in Northeast Minneapolis, MN visit  Gumball Collective.

Seriously, no matter how mental I get I’ll make sure these venues have some things you’ll love.

Now, back to your sanely-paced regularly scheduled programming.

I came home from work today and Husby had me sit down to the computer right away to look at something ~ it was about the coolest thing I’ve ever seen so of course I had to post it here.

Two songs I really like all rolled into one. What can be better than that? It’s the perfect way to begin the weekend.

Enjoy!

MaryAnn Opened My Eyes

Today I had lunch with my life-long friend MaryAnn.  She’s been quite the Facebook fiend lately, posting a lot about any number of things.  I told her, as I was stuffing my face with fried rice and princess chicken, you totally should take those Facebook posts and put them on your blog.  

A long time ago I coerced MaryAnn into starting a blog and she liked posting for a while, but then the little bloggy space she created was abandoned without a second thought.

During our lunch MaryAnn told me all about some new challenges she’s undertaking to better her life, her quiet time spent at the A-frame cabin in the woods by the river, and some awesome things her husband can do, like building his own saw mill.  I looked at her with amazement and said, duh, more blog posts!

What? You mean my life is actually interesting enough to blog about?

She looked thoughtful for a while and decided that yes, it would be fun to document some of these things in her life.  Then she told me very pointedly that my blog, too, has been suffering.  She wondered if Dobby was ever given a sock and was quite relieved when she read my last post about the candles I poured last week, which was written nearly a month later.

It’s so much easier to find blog posts in other people’s lives.  My own life seems so ordinary and it’s hard to get motivated about expressing the happenings in writing.  Do I really have to have pictures?  What about my horrific grammar and editing skills?  I lost track of why I blog and therefore it got harder.

I have to blog at my own pace and on my own time. So with that I hope I’m a little easier on myself when it comes to blogging, and MaryAnn, won’t you join me?

My Latest Escape

This past weekend I had an escape.  I was in a deep coniferous forest surrounded by the scent of fir trees.

I felt the moist earth along with the crisp crunch of pine needles under my feet.

The air was clean and the smell of the forest was so invigorating.

In the midst of the quiet, cool forest I built a fire with more glowing embers than flame.  I found the perfect stick on the forest floor and with my small pocket knife whittled the end to a sharp point.  Upon that point I skewered the freshest marshmallow ever, and toasted it to a golden brown.

What could be better than a marshmallow melted by an open flame, I thought, than to pair it with a bit of creamy chocolate?  And to sandwich it all between two squares of graham cracker?  They call that delectable treat a s’more.  Anyone who has  been camping, and even many who haven’t, know the utter delight of this taste treat.

Such satisfaction I felt, deep in the woods and indulging in the gooey lusciousness of a s’more.

Except I wasn’t in the woods at all.  And there was no campfire and no marshmallows.  I was busy pouring candles in my studio all weekend long.  But my work took hold of my imagination and I was transported.

It wasn’t an accident that I poured a large batch of Northwoods Dream pillar candles, a lovely fir scent that takes you deep into the woods of northern Minnesota, a batch of Toasted Marshmallow votive candles and a batch of German Chocolate votive candles.  The three scents took me away from what would normally be considered work into the fantasy of a lazy afternoon in the peace and quiet of nature, not to mention the decadence of s’mores.

The sense of smell is one of the most powerful of our five.  One whiff past the nose can take you back to your childhood or to a cherished place.  Never underestimate the influence of scent and the primitive power of a single flame.

Auntie B’s Wax has a variety of scented candles.  Check them out and come back often as there will be additions to the shop periodically. 

 

So here’s the thing.  I’m having a little fit of pique these days and it’s frustrating me to no end.  I can’t seem to motivate myself to do anything more than the bare basics of survival.  You know, eating, some sleeping (not enough, of course), keeping my abode clear of dust bunnies, and earning a living.  My writing has come to a standstill, and that’s even counting e-mails to people, commenting on blogs I might have time to read, and responding to comments on my blog, much less blogging or writing for pure pleasure.  It’s a disgrace and I feel like Dobby, wanting to beat myself about the head and neck for not living up to my potential.

Dobby is not living up to his potential. Dobby must punish himself!

What can lift me up?  I know ~ this weekend I’ll be at the Cannon Falls Wine and Art Festival showing my wares.  I’m really looking forward to it, and I have a lot of candles, drink charms and magnets to show the world.  And don’t even doubt the whole world will be there.  It’s a great show with a ton of artists and a whole bunch of local wineries offering samples of their delicious wines.  I even got a haircut for the event!

Hannah’s Bend Park during the Cannon Falls Wine and Art Festival. So much fun!

I’m looking forward to hobnobbing with customers and fellow vendors, eating some good food and listening to music.  I’ll go into the weekend with a spectacular attitude that will ground me into my crafty business.  When that happens everything else seems to fall into place.  Who wouldn’t be energized by a weekend in a beautiful park by the river, meandering along a path of lovely artwork and delightful wines?  Plus, I know spending some time close up with my products and the people who enjoy them (and will hopefully buy them) will give me a boost of energy to push me out of my funk.  I’ll have more energy than I’ve had in a while and will be free once again ~ I’ll feel like Dobby, getting his sock to freedom.

 

Time

Time has been a weird thing this past week.  Sleep patterns and free time are disheveled, interrupted with a mental to-do list.  Productive time is unfocused and laborious.  The bright spot is the fact that I haven’t had to think about the day job.  Mom went into the hospital last Tuesday and everything has been centered around her and her care.  I don’t mean for that to sound like an imposition, because it’s a priority I’m glad to work around.  But time…time is so turned around.

It’s during events like this that I realize I’m much more routine-oriented than I think.  The interesting thing about that is when I compare my life with others mine seems to be so much more free-floating.  But even with so much flexibility I have I still have my routines; I hope I’ll be able to get back into them this week so time once again is measured by hours and minutes rather than by darkness and light.  I want to be able to tell someone what day of the week it is, and more heroically the precise date on the calendar.

Mom is doing well and I’ll be back to work this week.  She’ll still be a priority as I’ll be available to help with anything she and Dad need and will be spending some time with them when I normally wouldn’t if she hadn’t had surgery.  But time will become more clear.  I’ll get back to my sleeping routine, my work routine and my home keeping routine.  That thought is somewhat comforting.

On the other hand, a timeless life might be a good thing if I got used to it.  To eat when I’m hungry rather than at specific times of the day.  To sleep when I’m tired and to wake without an alarm telling me I have to.  I could cook and clean into the night if I wanted to.  I could work on my crafty business with no constraints.  Perhaps my life will be more like that after I retire from the day job.

But still, some routine is good.  It’s grounding and provides some discipline to do the things that must be done.

At this point I can’t really say if I’d prefer a timeless life or a routine-oriented life.  Maybe something in between.  Don’t make me decide right now.  Right now I’m just living in the moment, even though I’m not really sure what time of day or night that moment is.

We had a long, hard winter, and for that reason alone it’s hard to get into the heat these days. I’m not complaining by any means; the warmth feels good after so many months of cold, damp weather. But when there’s a task to be done, a task that requires a lot of exertion, you’re gonna break a sweat these days no matter how scantily clad you are.

I just had such an experience. Sweat was pouring out of my little red face while I put forth the effort it took to complete the task. When I was done I wiped my brow and sat still for a while. It seemed the longer I sat the hotter I got! I’m not sure what that phenomenon is but I can attest to the fact that it’s valid.

As I sat, sweating more and more with each minute of trying to cool down a song came into my head. As it played through my mind I began to feel better, not only cooler but more relaxed. The song is Cool and Green and Shady and it’s sung by John Denver.

John Denver?! you say. Yes. Don’t judge my John Denver loving nerdiness. This song wasn’t a top forty hit but I’d say it’s one of my favorites. I especially love the clarinet solo.

If you’re feeling especially warm or just want to calm down and catch your breath listen to this song. I guarantee you’ll drift away…

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