Friday, July 29, 2011

Summer Stunners

I've been a busy little bee lately and with the summer semester ending yesterday, I reckon I'll have lots more new creations for you soon!  For now, here's the most recent batches of necklaces (first shared here)!
I bought the above stone centerpiece a few years back in Hungary during an internship.  It's the second time I've made something with it.  Was never truly happy with its first home but now, I'm enamored with its usage.  

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

WoodyFest: The Music

When I talk about WoodyFest, I always talk about meeting my mister, enduring the heat, hocking the goods or spending time with family but what WoodyFest is REALLY all about is the music.

Their kick off concert was held in Tulsa this year at Cain's Ballroom. When I heard that Crosby & Nash would be playing together, I bought tickets the first opportunity I could. I ended up being overjoyed to share that show with my mister, and two of my dearest high school friends (one of which just happened to be in town from Wisconsin!) who I used to listen to CSN&Y with for years! It was so special to share that with them! And to even get to see those talented, harmonizing men perform! Oh my lordy, was it spectacular! There were multiple times tears made their way down my face.

Throughout the entire festival, music is everywhere and sometimes is accompanied by a full moon.

Slaid Cleaves, an artist whose music is played often in our home.
One of our faves, Jimmy LaFave who I had the pleasure of meeting at the Crosby & Nash show.

The unstoppable Randy Crouch.  If you ever have the chance to see him, do it.  And if you ever have the chance to talk to him, do that too.
On the final night during the final songs, every performer in attendance graces the stage and sings Woody songs together.  There's no way to explain the feelings these moments induce.

One of my absolute favorites is David Amram.  His world music expertise keeps me in awe of him, year after year.  His passion for the festival and kind spirit aren't too shabby either ;)

The main stage, where we sell our merchandise, is located in the Pastures of Plenty which is directly below the water tower.  If you can find the tower off of the highway, you can find the festival.

At night, the tower is illuminated, sometimes flanked by a full moon ;)

The music.  It's why the masses come, despite the scorching temps.  It's what Woody would have wanted.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Happy Alliday: Call For Artists!

I haven't talked too much about The Alliday Show on here before but that's about to change!  Last year, I decided that Tulsa was in need of a little something extra - an all handmade arts and crafts show that's free to the public - so I made it happen! 

The first Alliday was produced, complete with 60 handmade artists, in June of 2010 and is being done again, this year on December 17th!  A holiday Alliday!  And this year there is space for 80 artists!  WooHoo!  Yay, exclamation marks!  ;) 

I'm currently accepting applications for our December show from anyone making their own, unique merchandise!  We'd love it if you would help spread the Alliday word!  We welcome you to join us on our Facebook page or our Etsy team.  You can even go ahead and RSVP to the event!
We'd love to have you as a vendor, shopper, supporter or all three wrapped up into one! 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Secret Gardens

Let's finish this West Coast trek up, shall we?!  After we spent some time with Pinkie and Blue Boy at the Huntington Museum, we headed out back to their gardens and then realized why the entrance fee was more than we expected - more than 200 acres of UH-MAZING gardens!  There was everything from rose gardens, desert gardens, the Australian outback to Japanese gardens (just to name a few)!  We had only planned on being at the museum for an hour or so but ended up staying for over three hours due to traipsing around in the never-ending gardens.  We ended up getting lost (even with a map!) and had to use our phones' compasses to find our way out!  The gardens were absolutely breathtaking and such a welcomed surprise.  Our trek in photos:  

Thursday, July 21, 2011

WoodyFest: Tales from a Vendor

You must think I'm crazy to voluntarily set up an outdoor booth for three days in 100+ degree Oklahoma heat in July.  Well, I am a bit crazy but after six years of setting up there, I've never regretted a moment of it!  
In July 2006, some old friends of mine from OKC (their awesome birdhouses are pictured below) convinced me to come last minute to the festival to set up a few items with them.  I packed a small bag and my tiny tent and went to the town of Okemah, which I'd never visited before.  Meanwhile, a man I'd never met before packed up his own bag and headed from OKC to his hometown of Okemah to enjoy the festival.  Hours later, this last-minute vendor and that hometown-bound man met and never looked back.  We married two years later and continue to return to the festival every year to celebrate that chance meeting, to enjoy one of our favorite Oklahoma events, to visit family and friends and to celebrate the legacy that Woody left behind.
It's hot, sure, but it's not unbearable.  The major festival events happen in the evening which is when vendors set up.  We bring a HUGE water jug filled to the brim with ice water and I continuously soak scarves in ice water which I then wrap around my head or neck to cool down.  Loose clothing and oscillating fans are your best friends here, too.
In years past, I've always shared this booth with various friends but this year, I went it alone!
Well, kind of alone.  These guys were adamant on showing off their goods as well.
From our vendor spaces, we have a great view of the stage and the giant water tower that is illuminated in the evening hours.
The crowd that this festival brings can't be beat.  Nicest and most diverse people around.  I've had shoppers come back year after year to get their WoodyFest souvenir from ME!  One woman told me she has almost replaced all of her lightswitches in her home thanks to my switchplates and WoodyFest :)
You'd think with it being as hot as it is in July people wouldn't come but they do!  They come from near and far and love every minute of it.  I'm on my sixth one and can't imagine missing any in the future, vending or not.
It's a rejuvenating time for me.  The town, the people I get to interact with, the music, the laughs, my family and so much more make it good for the soul.
My mister was a picture taking MACHINE during the festival and got SO many good shots that I've decided to break it all down into multiple posts, much like I did with my West Coast trip.  Still to come is the music, the town and the people :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pinkie & Blue Boy

This summer has been absolutely jammed packed with awesomeness, so much so that I'm way behind in my updates for you!  We just finished up the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival which I will have many posts to cover all of the goodness that the festival produces!  Until then, I still have a few more West Coast posts to finish up!

If you recall, I went to visit my sister in the LA area last month for a very quick weekend trip.  Most of the trip was unplanned and very relaxed with one very important exception for a very important reason:  a trip to The Huntington Museum.  
Bear with me as I'm preparing to go into a bit of a tangent but for a very good reason :)

I was born into a houseful of cats.  I've never known life without one and can't imagine a home being a home without a feline.  
When I was about 6 or 7, we began our family of 'the four' cats that would live with us for the next two decades.  Alice was the first (pictured below on my stomach), followed by Sasha (the cat who sparked my obsession for fluffy, social kitties), Blue Boy (the shy, lone male) and Pinkie (the cat who stole my heart).
Pinkie and Blue Boy were young, feral siblings who we caught and took in when their mother disappeared.  They were scared of the world and it took us a loooooong time to get them comfortable with us.  My mom named them after two prints of some paintings she fancied that hung in her high school growing up.  As the years continued, we became familiar with the imagery they were named after but didn't think much more of it.
While I loved (and still do) all of those cats, Pinkie was my baby.  (Pardon my youthful photography ;)
Without getting too weepy (too late on this end), Pinkie was the first of the four we lost after a long illness.  I doctored her for a long time until we lost her when I was 18.  Fourteen years later and it's still hard for me to think about.

In a nutshell, it was Pinkie and Blue who taught me to be patient with animals (AND people) who may need a little more TLC than others.  These cats paved the way for my volunteer work with cats.  They always provided warmth for my soul, thus I have always felt the need to repay all cats by fighting for the warmth they so deserve.
Fast forward to last month.  Not too long ago, my sister randomly did a search regarding the original Pinkie and Blue Boy paintings and was FLOORED to find out that they were displayed a mere twenty minutes from her home!  We HAD to go see them during my trip.  And we did.  And it was moving.

Blue Boy
It's hard to put into words how special it was to see these two paintings in person and to share that experience with my sister.  They were spectacular, as was the experience.

The Pinkie and Blue Boy paintings have an interesting history themselves.
Even the other paintings in the Portrait Hall were breathtaking.  We spent a good amount of time there just sitting and taking it all in.
It was quite the catty day, actually with this happening later that afternoon ;)

It's still all hard to believe.  What are the odds she would have searched for the original paintings' location before I visited?  How bizarre that the paintings were right next door to where she lived?  That we'd have the opportunity to see them?  Together?  That my mom chose to name our fuzzy works of art after these stunning works of art?  That our frightened Pinkie and Blue Boy would have had such an impact on our lives?  

I'll never forget that day.
We ended up spending many more hours at the museum exploring their unbelievable gardens which I will share soon.  Thanks for sticking around :)
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