Monday, October 29, 2012

Mindcraft. Teenspeak.

Listening to my son playing Minecraft on teamspeak...Kinda proud of his leadership skills. But in a geeky way.

Mistakes Are Beneath Me

“What about mistakes” he asked the flustered fairy, who was animatedly painting a bouncing crocus blossom red.

“Mistakes are beneath me,” she said.

“You don’t make mistakes, then?” he asked.

“Yes, mistakes are beneath me,” she repeated, motioning to the tall pile of flower petals under her feet. “I’m standing on them. With my mistakes beneath me, lifting me higher, I can reach the taller flowers.”

Rhiannon the Fairy Queen is featured in an exclusive eBook:

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Things You Can Do To Save Your Family

Things You Can Do To Save The Planet Your Family

One of our original purposes of supporting artists and giving the charities was to live according to our family's conscience. For example, little children should not be making clothing as slaves, workers should not be asked to sleep upstairs in the factory every night, and workers deserve a living wage. 

But as I perused my designer labels a couple of years ago, I justified my choices by thinking that surely fashion designers were vetting their factories in China pretty well. Surely nothing I bought during my corporate career was made by a child. 

Granted, they weren’t always the greatest quality, or even my romantic style, but they were safe from the bad energy of slave labor. Surely.

As I shopped online, it amazed me how often the flowery description of a casual shirt omitted its origin. And the customer service representatives were no help at all. They could tell me the color was azure, but had no idea where the pricey pieces were made. 

I’d already begun buying bespoke garments for myself from reputable independent designers, and was planning to carry original designs in my gallery, but much of my closet was a garish nightmare of uncomfortable, ill-fitting, often ugly-yet-high-end rags from Chinese factories. Clipping the labels out of them was not helping my conscience at all. 

I felt like a sucker. I was walking around town oh-so-cute in clothes possibly made by the hands of slave labor instead of mindfully sporting less-than-current, vintage-y shirts I had bought in college. Actually, that had been one of my finest fashion qualities. I was ready to get back to some of my finest qualities. 

Not yet a crusader for fair trade (again), I began to inspect my clothing purchases with the rigor of label reading I exercised at the health food store.

When voting with our dollars, we must find middle ground that respects our values, our human brothers and sisters, and our depth of responsibility. Yeah, it really does matter what we buy. It matters how hard we work to live with a conscience—it makes it easier to live with ourselves! 

We make choices every day. We consume, we waste, we want to care... We justify our wrong choices. What can we really do to save the planet?

Buying vintage clothing is easy. I placed my China labels in a consignment shop and stashed the copious cash from their resale in more artisan-made goods now for sale in our gallery. The sale of those goods will feed the artists’ families, all while making conscientious fashionistas drool-worthy. 

And we have a teenager watching it all. So we’re really saving our family. My son has gone to school with wealthy kids from China. I want him to think of making a better world for the less wealthy ones. It’s his choice. 

But perhaps ours will set a good example. His favorite tee these days is an organic USA-made, locally tie-dyed logo tee from our gallery. At least I believe it’s his favorite. Anyway, he owns one. It’s soft, it feels good, and he knows the difference. 

I’m confident he’ll make a difference during his lifetime.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Not Marketing, Just True.

They walked into the sunny shop with its bright art and orange sides and paused, as if interrupting something important. After being greeted by the owners, they thought, we must have imagined it. But the energy was different. This was not just a shop, but a family. The goods were marked by the hands that made them--not touched by slave laborers, but worked with love by creators.

It was almost too much, but just enough. It was breathing in and knowing the air was alive with grace. Humans don’t earn walking into another’s space, it is opened to others through hospitality. 

So if there is a conversation going when you enter here, and we pause to greet you, you are not interrupting, you are the invited guest arriving to the party. You’re expected and welcome.

Sure, we are living a rich life of struggling and investing capital and sweat into this adventure you just entered. It’s not a shop, but a gallery. It’s not a business, but a livelihood. It’s not stuff, but one-of-a-kind art. 

You’re part of this life. Step inside. We put this all together with the artists just for you. Appreciate this. Reciprocate if you can by falling in love with something here. Each piece was created for its rightful owner—perhaps you?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I'd Make Soap On a Bouncing Bet, No Lye!

I’d Make Soap
On a
Bouncing Bet,
No Lye!

You know that place right before payday back in college, when you watered down your dish soap to make it last a little longer? Yeah, most of the country is there about now.
In fact some of us have started making our own soap…

Social, political, international, economic factors—and gut feelings about all of these—finally reminded me to write this note to myself, which I may as well share with you. If you read this as part of a cyber archaeological site sometime in the future, well…

1 Cup Soapwort Plant & Root : 4 Cups Water

Simmer Until Soapy 

Store in a Glass Jar for Up to 7 Days

Look for my seed packet for Bouncing Bet and add a 4x as much H2O to the resulting mature hydroponically-grown plant (or however you’re growing plants in your century) including the root. Apply heat to the mixture until it begins to bubble and become basic. 
That would be called simmer until soapy in our day. Et voila!  You have just created pioneer survivalist soap.

 Bouncing Bet 

Saponaria Officinalis 

blooms out in flowers that smell like cinnamon, and makes soap that is easy on the skin and fabrics.
I made some thyme soap once that smelled awful, but if you want to add any other herb waters such as
lavender to spruce up the aromatherapeutic qualities of the soap mixture, just be quick about it. Without the preservatives found in commercial soaps or the cured properties of lye soap (which is a whole big deal to make, taking days instead moments), this soap lasts less than seven complete spins of Earth on its axis.

I’m sure you’ll use good sense: Please don’t drink soap or get it in your eyes.

Enjoy getting clean!