The Things that Form Us (and weaving them into life)

IMG_1971

The Holly Hobby lunch box stood behind the vendor whispering.  She whispered of kindergarten, and my old Holly Hobby book, and my favorite quilt pattern.  Of coloring books and the bonnet I still have that my grandmother sewed for me on my fifth birthday.

IMG_1973

“Will you take $10?” I asked meekly.  With a silent question to her partner and a nod she smiled and handed me the lunch box.  I began to cry, which surprised me, but the rush of childhood and innocence and fresh beginnings so moved me at that moment.

pioneer

Looking at her dress and apron and her early influence on my life, is she the reason I have such a love for pioneers and the old fashioned?

IMG_1967

Up until my twenties I had never heard that I was possibly Native American.  It wasn’t until I became an herbalist that I started searching for that link. Where does my odd clairvoyance come from?  Where does my innate knowledge of plant medicines come from?  I know now it comes from both sides.  I need to find help to break my genealogy addiction!  I was excited to see that I am the granddaughter of a Cherokee chief but I am not sure what role that plays in my present life!  Is the knowledge and personalities, just as DNA, passed through our grandmothers and grandfathers into us?  That would seem as probable as getting blond hair from a relative through DNA.  Everything that goes into forming us is so complex and fascinating.  Through this journey we became involved in a wonderful Native community and place where both of us can worship.  We have made great friends and I have been honored with their trust of my plant medicines.

IMG_1970

Now standing looking out on the next chapter of our life, literally building each piece from scratch, it is easy to see what parts of us we want to use to create the next step of our life.  Choosing a job, Doug made the decision to not pursue the IT field and go for something different.  He has his third interview with Starbucks as a shift supervisor tomorrow.  If you know Doug, he is very talented in the computer field but he really thrives around coffee and customers.  He is happy and easy going and with benefits and a steady paycheck he will do great and create a fun environment for others working there too.

IMG_1969

I know my calling and I cannot wait to get a little shop open so that folks can find me.  A lot of people thought we disappeared when we left for Calhan and a lot of people have expressed excitement that I will be making medicines and being in one place where people can easily come for help.  We had our second showing on the house yesterday.  Everything is moving forward and as we build our life, we will incorporate gardens, and herbs, and art, simple living, and community.  For community has formed us too.

We Sold a Goat and Now We’re Out Drinking (a field trip)

old colorado

The light filters through the vibrant greens of trees in the park across the street through the large windows.  I sit in Jives Coffee Lounge in Old Colorado City admiring its black ceiling, wooden floors, amazing coffee (dark chocolate mocha with cinnamon, ginger, and paprika…died and went to coffee heaven), guitars in the corner, comfy lush chairs, sprites painted across the walls.  Youth reverberates through this neighborhood infusing it with spirit, hope, unlimited potential and dreams.  The rain lets up.  An older artist in painted smock walks down the sidewalk.  I suddenly long for canvas.  The library beckons from the corner and shops line the main corridor.  Festive twinkly lights outline yards and the urban homesteading scene is alive and thriving in this little pocket of Colorado Springs.  Goats are allowed, as are chickens, and clotheslines, and bicycles with baskets.  Bees, backyards, and life fill the West Side.  If I were to move to the city, this is where I’ll go.  But alas, they probably haven’t allowed sheep yet.

We finish our coffees, close our books, and get back in the truck to go get chicken feed.  A stop here and a stop there and we still don’t want to go home.  We head out to Bar Louie for a happy hour drink and a snack.

For a moment we are city people, sitting on bar stools, holding hands, watching the rain on the outdoor patios, imagining sun and summer.  Never have we been so late to plant.  I swirl the red wine in my glass as he tells me about a rule change in the NFL.  The waiter comes over and inquires whether we’ve come out for dinner.

“No,” I say, “We are farmers and this is supposed to be our busiest month.  But we can’t plant in all this rain so we sold a goat and now we’re out drinking.”

Silent pause.

“That sounds like a good story line.” he says.

(Elsa was picked up by five extremely thrilled homeschooled children and their mom to start her life in New Mexico yesterday.  Elsa never really liked it here once we moved.  She was used to being literally in the back yard and she just wasn’t getting all of the attention she had grown accustomed to.  She jumped in their mini-van and was off!)

Here’s to the sun coming out today!

The Importance of Hobbies (doing more of what we love)

IMG_0611

What did you love to do as a kid?   Or a young adult?  I used to love to do many things drawing.  I do a good job of trying to keep up with my hobbies and passions but a few things start to creep in.  My closet is already filled with paintings!  Art supplies and frames cost money.  What will I do with all of them?  I sell about two paintings a year.  Now what do I do with the rest?  And then there is the ever, well, I am not quite as good as other artists…I try to quiet down these rogue thoughts that try to keep me from doing hobbies I love.

IMG_0631

I have moved to an enchanting place.  It is the most beautiful and most magical place I have ever lived.  I have seen bald eagles, two different types of owls, hawks, rabbits, foxes, coyotes, antelopes, horses running across miles and miles of open pasture, and sunsets and sunrises that have left me in awe.  Without the neighbors and buildings so close, like in town, I have been able to greet the dawn as soon as she makes her way over the ridge of prairie grasses and it fills with me a sense of peace as I admire her colors and paintings.  I want to capture them as well.

IMG_0630

I purchased some pastels and paper from the store and woke up before dawn each morning and painted a different scene from each window.  There are more dawns to capture, and sunsets too, as soon as the weather warms.  I placed them in frames that were on sale and will take them to a local coffee shop.

IMG_0629

If you are an artist, a previous artist, or a budding artist, you can call around coffee shops and ask to hang your art work.  Many of them will let you sign up for a month at a time.  They get rotating art from local artists and you get exposure and perhaps sell a piece or two.

Another piece I will display this month.

Another piece I will display this month.

I am also going to look into Etsy.  And art galleries.  And displaying art at our shows (though I do not like doing outdoor markets with art.  Too nerve racking!  One gust of wind and….eek!)  The point is, if we love to do something, even if it doesn’t bring us an income, then we should find ways to incorporate it into our lives and if it is only because things are piling up in the back room that we stop, then we should share our hobbies with the world.

IMG_0633

I gave art as Christmas presents this year and sold one.  This month at the coffee shop I will bring my new pieces and a few of the old.

IMG_0006

The landscape out here is different than any other I have lived in, even though I am a Colorado native, it’s like I have never seen my own state before.  Out here feels like one western painting after another.  Like every piece of fine art portraying western scenes was painted out here.  I also bought an inexpensive set of oil paints.  I used to paint with oils and I would like to try it again.  Why not?  When it gets warmer I will be out on the roadside attempting to capture a snippet of what God’s painting looks like.

IMG_0505

How to price art?  Let’s talk about that.  Few can afford fine art these days.  Don’t price your art according to the huge dealers downtown.  One would be hard-pressed to get $700 in a small town or even a big town these days.  Price it reasonably.  Then you’ll have more room to make more art and a little change in your pocket.  I am going to sell my pastels for $20.  After the 20% the coffee shop takes and the cost of frame I will make $11.  But I loved creating it.  It made me get up and view the dawn, to greet the day, and it was a pleasure pursuing what I love.

San Miguel

What would you like to do this year?  Grab a sketchbook?  Start quilting?  Start a blog?  Learn to make cheese?  Take a dance class?  Finish a project from a long time ago?  Go to a knitting club?  Let’s spend this year doing as many things as possible that we love!

Painted Letters

IMG_0010

It’s too cold still to be gardening here and most of my projects are completed for the winter.  This is the time of year that I recoup, reinspire, rediscover.  I hope you have followed along and completed your lists of things you love, things you are okay with, things you dislike, and things you want to try.  If not, click here!  We have written poetry, and broken writing rules, and today we paint.

IMG_0005

I finished the book “Paris Letters” by Janice Macleod, a lovely tale about a young woman that sold everything she had, and took the leap to Paris.  Where, incidentally, she meets a romantic and not bad looking fellow.  She began to carry watercolors around with her and painted scenes that became stationary for her Paris Letters.

IMG_0004

After completing my list of what I love to do, what I am okay doing, what I dislike doing, what I want to try, I was surprised to see painting on my okay with, not what I can’t wait to do list.  I think by the time I find all the paints, the canvas, the easel, and drag everything where I want it, I am too tired to paint.  Presently, my paintings are being displayed at the local coffee shop.  I did expect to have all new paintings there, but alas I have not painted in a year!

IMG_0006

I decided to go get a two dollar pack of watercolors and watercolor paper.  It fits in my ginormous bag that I carry with me everywhere (filled with books, tinctures, salves, day timer, phone, and Maryjane’s toys).  I put water into a small canning jar and put that in my bag too.  I can easily sit and paint at the spur of the moment.  In two weeks, I have completed five paintings.  None that should win awards, but perhaps delight the recipient.

IMG_0007

IMG_0009

I painted an elementary picture of Elsa, the baby goat, beneath an elm tree for my pen pal, Holly.  (Want to be my pen pal?  Click on the pen pal post!)  I painted a rosemary plant and wrote a heartfelt letter to Nancy before she died.  I painted a simple tea cup while at the coffee shop and sent it to my other pen pal, Debbie.  I painted a duck yesterday at the coffee shop and wrote a letter to my great aunt Lila.  Then last night I painted a cast iron skillet for my great aunt Donna.

IMG_0011

Aunt Donna called me a week and a half ago after reading the Homesteading Oven post and said, “Now I know you don’t like electronics, but you need an oven!  How can Shyanne bake without an oven?”  And so, my dear aunt graciously and generously bought us a stove.  So, the skillet will go out in the mail today to serve as a thank you note.

All of a sudden I am painting again and connecting with people.  I encourage you to pick up a two dollar watercolor kit and fool around painting in the coffee shop.  We have time.  It’s not time to garden yet.