Tuesday, November 7, 2017

40 year friendiversary aka road trip down the west coast with three killer people and two brilliant dogs

It all started at Dupre Elementary, Lubbock, Texas, 1977.
My mom, our dog Permella, and I had just moved so that my mom could go to graduate school at Texas Tech.  We didn't know a soul.  But the first day of first grade would change all that.

My mom and I didn't remember this but one night over dinner a few weeks ago my best friend's dad reminded us that our meet-cute happened in the hallway on that first day of school when we were all in search of Mrs. Wages' classroom.
I actually don't really remember my life without them.  I shared a bit about it here.  But for those of you who have not read my blog obsessively (what?!?!?!) here's how it goes:
Kim and I became instant friends that six year old year.
I look back and the gratitude I feel is overwhelming but when you're six stuff is just happening and you don't really stop to think "wow, this is pretty cool!"

My parents divorced when I was almost four. Instead of crumbling, my mom, all of 25 years old, put her big girl pants on and finished college.  And then, because she possessed some kind of drive that I will forever be in awe of,  decided to pack up her almost six year old kid and her dog and head off to graduate school.  She started school.  I started school.   

After recognizing at age six that we were destined to be lifelong friends, we pulled the rest of the family in along for the ride!  Before we knew what was happening everything just became intertwined.  Together they applied for and got us into an innovative new school in Lubbock.  Tina (Kim's mom) took us to school every day, my mom picked us up every day.  My mom made our lunches for a week, Tina made our lunches for two weeks.  She had two kids - hence, two weeks - there was Kim and her little sister Natalie.  The three of us endured years and years and years of canned vienna sausages, peanut butter, mayonnaise, and lettuce sandwiches, pimento cheese (newsflash: kids don't like pimentos.  much less in grated cheese and mayo.  what's with all the mayo?!?), and whole wheat carob chip cookies!  Tina typed my mom's college papers for her including her final thesis.  I stayed with them when my mom went out of town and they stayed with us when their parents were out of town.  We went to summer camp together, we put on "show" after "show" selling the desserts Tina baked back to our parents for our "concession stand".  Our moms started a holiday baking day that is still running to this day!  The three of us played school so often that we were convinced that Natalie would eventually graduate early because of the amazing education she was receiving from the two to one teacher:student ratio.  And she totally did!!!  And I believe with my whole heart that it was 100% due the back and forth arguing over whose turn it was to be teacher next - always Kim and me by the way.  
They were my best. Best. BEST friends.
And then we moved.

My mom got a job as a speech pathologist near Austin and so in the 7th grade we moved. 
There is a moment I will never forget.  I can still see it, hear it, feel it.  The moving truck in front of our cute little house.  Lloyd (Kim and Nat's dad) and I in the front yard.  He picked me up and hugged me and his big, deep voice cracked and he whispered in my ear "I'm losing my third daughter."  
But pretty soon I learned that the good thing about our parents being as attached to us as we were to each other meant that they would bend over backwards to make sure that we never fell out of touch.  We took turns flying back and forth, each parent covering one leg of the trip.  We made it out for birthdays and summer vacations.  It proved to be just one more example of how incredible our parents were.  They fought hard to keep us intact.  And eventually Kim would move to Austin.  And then Tina and Lloyd.  And then Natalie (for a little while).

And now its been 40 years!!!  I actually do not know how that happened.  One day we were like 14 and then all of the sudden we were 40 something.  I don't know why I said 40 something.  I just told you the year and that it's been 40 years.  Pretty sure y'all are all math geniuses.  

A couple of years ago, when my Dad was sick, Kim offered to drive with me to visit him.  We had the most amazing time!!!  We drove from Austin to Santa Fe with a pit stop in Lubbock.  I could write an epic post just about that trip...and I need to.  But since its 2:30am and I just spent 20min buzz-linting my wool robe in heavy avoidance/denial...I think I'm gonna save that for another day!
But my point is that we had The. Best. Time. just driving together.  Just being in the car, listening to music, talking, laughing, crying.  So when I realized that we have been friends for 40 years I immediately thought - ROAD TRIP!

We had so much fun on the last trip that we just wanted to recreate it nearly exactly!  Santa Fe, stop in Lubbock for a little Orlando's pizza, wake up and head to Pasqual's for coffee, toodle around the square...you know!  But Natalie (who I'm pretty certain is still trying to make up for not getting her way much when she was little) said what about a trip down the west coast?!?!  Start in Portland and end in San Francisco?  OKAY!!!!!

And off we went!!!

Natalie's best friend Dean, Kim's dog Georgia, and my sweet babe The Business Man all came along for the ride.  We began by getting tattooed in Portland my the amazing Kirsten Holliday and then began the driving, the laughter, the tears, car singing, hikes, the wine, the rock hounding (Natalie!), the wine, the cards, a wee bit of sarcasm and a whole lot of opinions, some wrong turns that turned into right turns - we decided that going the wrong way was our thing...the ocean, the redwoods, the planned and the unplanned...getting to see "Cabot Cove" which nearly caused me to have a come-apart...
*me and my paparazzi in front of JB Fletcher's house*

...so much of it felt just like when we were kids...there was lots of love and we can in fact still argue like when we were kids.  And it's only your truly great friends that you are ever brave enough to argue with.  So that was oddly comforting.

*Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach*

 *Secrets Beach - and four hours of rock hounding in which Nat looked at each individual rock on the entire beach*
 *The Business Man on Secrets Beach with the rocks he hounded*
 *Natalie, Georgia, and Kim on Agate Beach*
 *Dean, The Business Man and me in Klamath, California*

*inside of a single tree in the Redwoods along Avenue of the Giants.  We were in a tree.  Like inside of it.  In the trunk of a tree.  How can three people and a dog be inside of a tree trunk?!*

As the end of the trip neared I started to get a little sad.  This uninterrupted time with people who know my ins and outs is invaluable.  I don't think I realized how "on" I am a lot of the time.  But when you're with your people and you can just be...it's restoring.  It was a week I will never forget.  

When I got home I immediately made bangles with song lyrics from our trip.  Nat documented a bit of our car singing on Instagram but I needed a way to keep this trip with me always.  And they are such good lyrics that I decided to offer them up in my shop!  So you can go snag your very own.

A little Maria McKee, some James Taylor of course! since he was the soundtrack of our childhood and we've seen him together live three times...
quick funny story - the three of us were in a little shop in Santa Fe in the early 90's and Nat and I were both wearing JT concert t-shirts.  The owner of the shop came up to us and said she was friends with James and how cool it was that we were so young and were fans.  She grabbed a post card from her shop and told us that if we'd write him a note she would get it to him!  So cool.
...and then there is Olivia Newton John (another childhood beloved) and Gene Kelly because hello! Xanadu!  Beyonce - because we listened to AND watched Lemonade in the car.  Some Kesha (who knew I liked Kesha?!?!?  I'm more shocked than you I promise!)  Ride or Die.  Because...well, RIDE OR DIE!  And lastly, the song that sparked all the debate - River by Joni Mitchell.  Kim and Natalie are of the belief that the Indigo Girls version is the best but I am of the correct opinion that there is actually no debate needed and Joni Mitchell sang it best.  period.  the end.

But it's not the end.  It'll never be the end with friends you've had forever.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Baking Relief - Hurricane Harvey

A friend of Tom's is making a few home cooked meals for some Houston evacuees here in Austin. I committed to making four loaves of bread to contribute to the dinner. In my over-zealousness, as I'm prone to do when baking, I've made two extra loaves...

I've been mulling over ideas on how I (we) can help all those affected by Harvey. Donating a portion of jewelry sales was an obvious option (and one I'm still going to do, just tweaking ideas). But today as I was baking bread I thought maybe baked goods would be a way to go... Would anyone be interested in this?!?

This brings me around to the beginning of my post...who wants a loaf or two of homemade bread? I'm thinking $10 per loaf. I know that's a lot for a loaf of bread but if you think of it as a $10 donation where you happen to get a loaf of bread - it's not too much! We would have to work out pick up/delivery for tomorrow...

Depending on the response/enthusiasm I get here I maaaaaaaay bake something each day with 100% of the $ raised going to either a food bank or an animal charity directly helping Houston and the surrounding areas.

Baked Good Selection

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Christmas in July, er, I mean August

It's Christmas in July!!!!
Well, it was supposed to be anyway.
I've been doing this week long Christmas in July sale for several years now and I love doing it!  It's fun, it pushes me to try new things, and I get to have more interaction with my customers.
But somehow this year time got away from me.  This year has been nutty so it should be no surprise to me that I am not 100% on my game timing-wise.

Think the photo below could have anything to do with it?!?!?!
Soooooo, it's Christmas in August!  and I think Ima pretend I waited a month on purpose!  ;)
One of the things that could have a little to do with me being a bit behind is this little fur ball and her brother.  Cybil, and her brother Cake, came to us back in April.  After a day of thinking I had THE noisiest birds on the face of the planet in my yard we learned they were not in fact birds but two orphaned baby raccoons in the wall of our house.  I'm not sure if you know this so I'm gonna share this little fact with you - baby raccoons were put on this earth to make you nearly die from cuteness overload.  It's an actual proven fact.  I can prove it because it happened to me in real life.
Stay tuned for a more lengthy post on how all of that has panned out...but in the mean time little Cybi is "helping" me get this sale under way.

Here are just a couple of photos of some of the new things I've been working on that will be available this week.
Check back next week and I'll try to gather all of the cute photos of the raccoonie boonies and share their story with you.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

And the winner is...

Well I'm true to form, that's all I can say.  I know I told you all I would draw the name out of a hat on Friday...well instead I drew the name out of a bowl on Wednesday!  So sorry that I am so so tardy!
I enlisted Dana to shake 'em all around and draw the winner winner chicken dinner!
And the winner is...
Congrats Gaylynne...you will soon be getting a goodie box from me including the druzy necklace and a plethora of other fun, possibly yummy, treats!   I'll shoot you an email to confirm your address.
Thank you all for participating!  I really loved reading your "because it's worth it"s.  They were inspiring!  
You guys are the best!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Goodie box give away!

A few years ago, right around my birthday (like it is now), I made a necklace with the sole intention of giving it away.  I had been inspired by a goodie box that I'd just received from my Dad and I wanted to create a goodie box that would include this cool necklace.
Well it's been almost three years since that last goodie box so I think we are way past due on a follow up!
I've been wanting to make another piece for a give away goodie box for awhile now.  There has been so much going on between custom work, Dana being home, and the raccoons (yes, I did say raccoons.  Blog post on that to follow) I just haven't had the time to devote to this.  But I've had the idea for it tumbling around in my head for awhile.  I knew I wanted to incorporate hand pigmented resin and stone...once I chose this beautiful robins egg blue druzy the shape and color for the rest of the necklace just fell into place.
On the back of the necklace I used a line from one of my favorite YouTube videos.  I know, a YouTube video is a really odd place to find inspiration!  But if you have never watched any of the Marcel the Shell with Shoes On videos - go watch them NOW!  They are the sweetest, funniest, innocent little videos you've ever seen.  And the quote just seemed appropriate on so many levels...it's the reason I made a necklace just to give it away - because it's worth it
Yesterday we woke up to news that one of our neighbors, a police officer, had been shot and killed in his home in the early morning hours.  Our neighborhood was practically on lock down.  There were police, marshalls, FBI, and media scurrying all over.  There were police cars and SWAT vans up and down the streets.  My brain and heart ping ponged between a plethora of different emotions.  At first it was entirely selfish, not wanting Tom to leave for work for fear of him being attacked between the front door and his car (I have a very active imagination when it comes to worrying!).  Then I felt so much sadness for this mans family.  Then I felt angry that some person or persons had stolen the safety I've always felt in this neighborhood.  I first moved here when I was just 14 years old.  I moved away during college but then, nearly 18 years ago, Tom and I bought our house, just a couple blocks from my parents and the house I grew up in.  This neighborhood has always felt a bit like Mayberry.  But sadly the state of our country these days feels very, very far from Mayberry.
After all of that worry and sadness yesterday I woke up this morning feeling even more excited to finish up this post and share this necklace with you.  The whole thought behind "because it's worth it", well I think it might just become my new mantra.  The idea of doing something nice - because it's worth it.  Being kind to people different than you - because it's worth it.  Volunteering your time - because it's worth it.  Making someone smile - because it's worth it.  Just being a good human being - because it's worth it.
So let me tell you how you can be the one to get this necklace and the goodie box it's packed in!  There are three ways to throw your name into the drawing:
1.) comment here and tell me your "because it's worth it".  What do you do because it's worth it ?
2.) share this post on Facebook (you can either cut and paste it to your page or just go to my Metalsgirl FB page and share the link that I've already posted there.)
3.) follow me on Instagram (metalsgirl), like the post about this necklace, and tag three friends (and make sure you tag me so that I see it and know to add your name to the hat again!)

For each of these that you do I will jot down your name and throw it in the hat. 
Make sure to leave your email address with your comment so that I can notify you if you win.  I will draw a name this Friday !
Have a very happy day...because it's worth it!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

what I live for

A couple of months ago I was approached by a customer (Lili), who quickly became a friend, about making a ring for her inspired by her three dogs.  Hello!  This was made for me!  As we discussed the ideas for the piece she told me that one of her babies had TCC, the exact same cancer that Clarence had.  Over the next several messages I shared every up and down, every treatment, every food choice and holistic supplement, every. single. thing.  It was such a serendipitous thing that we found each other.  Of course I was even more attached to the project now.  I felt a connection with her and wanted to make her the most badass ring in the whole wide world.  Lili wanted me to incorporate their hair and she didn't mind going big.  Other than that she gave me free reign!  These are the projects I live for.  
Rings. Big Rings. Add in dogs. Done.
Making this ring was a joy.  I was all in from start to finish.  Her precious dogs, Zombie, Frakenstein, and Flower (cutest names ever) were blonde, black, and brown.  I ended up building a sterling silver half flower with a petal for each dog.  A blonde petal, a black petal, and a brown petal.  Each petal had the bit of dog hair and in the center I placed a mix of hair from all three dogs and then covered it with a vintage robins egg blue faceted glass cabochon.  The mix of hair is a little hidden secret, but Lili will always know that it's there.
Sadly, after a hard fought battle, sweet little Zombie passed away just a couple of weeks ago.    Having gone through such a similar fight with Clarence I was just crushed for Lili and her husband.  It is insanely hard to lose any of our babies, but somehow when you lose one mid battle it is more excruciating.  I don't know if I can articulate why...I think it just feels incomplete.  It feels like you were robbed.  I don't know if that makes sense.  Bottom line I suppose it doesn't really matter.  It always hurts.  It breaks our hearts every. single. time.  And we go back for more.  We go back for more because the love, the unconditional, unending love our dogs give us is worth every bit of the heartache.  And if I can make something for people to hold on to, to wear when their loved one is gone then that is an absolute honor.  These pieces are what I live for.  

Monday, September 28, 2015

beach discards series

It's that time of year when we all look up and say, "Where has the year gone?!?"  I actually have one foot steadfastly in the hope of Fall and one foot lingering in the vestiges of Summer.  Actually, the only thing tying me to the warmth of Summer are the memories of the three days we spent at the beach and wishing I could Samantha Stevens my way back there right now.  It was a pretty magical trip, not fancy, but perfect.  Slow mornings with coffee and a thick book, long, hot days on the beach, and sunburnt evenings playing cards with family.  My version of perfect.  

We kinda rushed to plan a beach trip this summer.  I think I was in denial that time was closing in on the kiddo leaving for college.  I just did not want to think about how we really had not done a very good job of cramming 18 years into the one and a half years that we've had her.  We literally had weeks left when we planned this trip - sweet girl had never seen the ocean!  

Our beach is a Texas beach, ie. unfancy.  We don't get big, lovely shells washed ashore fully intact.  We get pieces of shells mostly.  We get everything the ocean has churned and beat up and decided to finally let go of.  But there is still so much beauty in the parts that have been discarded.  We combed the beach each day and I came home with a rather lovely pile of what the ocean gave up.
As I dug through my little bag of treasures I thought how cool it would be to honor it in some way, to pair it with sterling silver and druzies and other stones and create my own little beach discards series.  Texas might not have the most traditionally beautiful beaches, but there is true beauty there, literally right at your feet.

I was so unready to leave when our short trip was over.  But it was nice to close our summer on a high note.  And when I walked off of the beach that last day all I had was a bag full of shells and the promise of what they could become...

Thursday, June 18, 2015

how a little red cotton ball changed my life.

If you know me at all you know that if I have the opportunity to make a short story long I'm gonna take it!  So let me start with the short story: Volunteer.  That's it.  It's good for your heart and soul.  That's the short story.
If you don't have time to read more you can stop right here.  Just volunteer.  Somewhere.
Here's the long story:
Way back in 1999 when Tom and I had just one dog (Seven) I decided we needed a Great Dane.  NEEDED.  Coincidentally Tom and I had each grown up with Danes and wouldn't it be so cool if we had one together now?!?  That was my thinking.  It shocks me now, but back then I started looking in the classifieds.  (wtf?)  I'm actually not sure what led me to start looking at rescue instead, but I did.  I guess maybe I believed, like a lot of people do, that: 
  1. if you want a pure bred dog you go to a breeder
  2. if you want a mutt you go to the pound.
We had adopted Seven from the Humane Society, but she was a mix breed (aka perfection!) so maybe I just thought, hell, I don't know what I thought.  I was young and dumb.
For some reason around this same time I subscribed to a local e-newsletter that had news about local rescue, dogs in need, etc. and in the process I learned about the overwhelming pet overpopulation problem.  It was kind of amazing, shocking really.  At the time Austin was killing thousands upon thousands of animals each year.  It was an eye-opener.  I thought I lived in this progressive city.  I thought Austin was cool, forward thinking, and way too hippy-dippy to ever be a city that was euthanizing more than 50 animals every DAY!  At that point I knew we would never ever buy a dog not ever not in a million billion years!  Instead, not only had I decided that if we were getting a Great Dane he would be adopted, but he has to be the most pitiful, needy Great Dane in existence. And by existence I mean drivable from Austin.  The closest Dane rescue group (yes, there was a Dane specific group...turns out there is a breed specific rescue for every single breed out there, and lots of 'em!), anyway, they had a Dane puppy that was deaf and blind in one eye.  Done!  Well, her foster family decided to keep her.  So...we adopted the second most pitiful dog they had, a 10 month old deaf boy we named Preacher.  And after the entire experience I knew I wanted to foster dogs...
A few months later we found a rescue group and that day we met the cutest little red cotton ball named Martin.  I don't think it is an exaggeration to say that our lives changed forever that day.  
Because of that red cotton ball (whose name quickly changed to Ozilline) Tom and I would spend well over a decade devoted to and emerged in dog rescue.  Because of that red cotton ball a few folks sat around my living room and formed Blue Dog Rescue.  Because of that red cotton ball I would have the honor of loving and being the person to Clarence, Pasqual, Vincent, Monkey, Clishy Marie, Veruca Jane, The Business Man, Horatio, Jessica Beatrice, Delta Dawn, and Angela Lansbury.  Because of that red cotton ball Tom and I would personally foster and essentially save the lives of more than 200 dogs over the course of 13 years.  Because of that red cotton ball I would make friends that I will have for the rest of my life.  Because of one, small three month old, red chow/golden retriever mix puppy my life would become infinitely better.
I had to say goodbye to that little red cotton ball a few days ago.  It broke my heart and left me reflecting on the day we met him and the turn our lives took after that day...You just never know what small (or large) choices you make will go on to influence your life.  Our decision to volunteer, although a seemingly small endeavor at the time, turned out to bring so much more love and positivity to our lives than we ever gave.  
So if I'm ever in the position of giving out life advice it will always be this: volunteer.  Just look at that cute red face I got to love - how can you argue with that?

Monday, June 1, 2015

Month long FUN!

For years I've had this idea...
it's not a new idea actually...
or even my own idea...
so me saying "I've had this idea" is totally wrong!
Lemme start over!!! 
So, I've been wanting to do this thing that was totally somebody else's idea!!
Lemme start over again.  Uggg.
There's this exercise I've been wanting to do for years.
There we go.
A lot of art workshops do it...Basically the premise of the exercise is to make one piece in one day for a certain number of days.  One painting, one ceramic piece, one metal piece - what ever your medium is you make one finished piece in one day usually over a designated number of days.  So say for one week, each day, you start and finish one piece.  I've never actually participated in a guided version of this but I've always wanted to try it.  I constantly have a million ideas jogging around in my brain, sometimes I sketch them out, sometimes I even turn them into an actual piece.  But more often than not they never make it out of my noggin.  Sometimes it's just because there are never ever ever ever ever ever enough hours in the day.  But sometimes, a lot of times, it's because I over think it.  Rarely do I think: oooh, it would be cool to make xyz!  And then go right in the studio and make xyz!  But how cool would that be!?!  Who knows what might come out when you don't let yourself get bogged down in the minutia of it all.
So I'm goin' for it!  I'm saying yes! to my own challenge and for the whole month of June I will make one new piece each day.  No real rules other than it has to be started and finished in that 24 hour period.
But now here's where YOU come in:
Each piece I make will be for sale the day after it's made and 100% of the proceeds will go to Blue Dog Rescue.  I'll post a photo of the piece on Instagram and on Facebook and will list it in my shop and from there you can snatch it up if you wanna!
I'm anticipating that the pieces may vary pretty widely.  By that I mean in metal, in time put in, in price range (which will be determined by the materials and time), in style, who knows...I just imagine the piece may be very different from day to day - since my goal is to challenge myself to new things!  I am allowing for the possibility of pulling out a few old tricks a couple of times over the course of the month.  I have a few days this month that are already pretty jammed (the kiddos's graduation, a quick turn around trip to Houston, the husbands birthday), so I may allow myself a little latitude on the "new ideas" rule on those days, but my goal is still to produce something new Every. Singe. Day.
Today is Day One!  So I am making something new today, I'll post it to the shop either late this evening or tomorrow morning, and so on and so on and so on...Items will be available in my etsy shop under the category: Blue Dog Fundraiser.  Each item will be available until it sells, but there will be just one of each item, so when it's gone, it's gone.
Ok!  Sound like fun?  I'm super excited for two reasons:
1.) I've been wanting to do this for ages and I'm finally just giving myself permission and saying, "no time is ever perfectly convenient.  You'll do the best you can.  It doesn't have to be perfect.  This could make you produce some cool work.  Go for it!"
2.) if things go well, I might be able to raise a nice little bit of money for an organization and a cause that I champion and that is very close to my heart.  A little more so these past few days...I'll explain that, and why I chose BDR to be the recipient for this little project, in a couple of days.
So, because of that last reason there, help me spread the word about my little project!  Tell your dog loving friends or you art-y friends, or anyone!  Let's raise some money for a worthy cause!
The fun starts tomorrow, June 2nd!  Well, for me the fun started today, but for you it starts tomorrow!!
Alrighty, I gots to git!  I don't have to to sit around chattin' it up with you, I've got things to do!
See ya!
"Miss Della Street"
"Mr Pink"

ps, the jewelry photos are just to give you an idea of the work I do.  Nothing's been made yet, so I can't really share any pictures now can I!
And the dogs?  Just some sweet faces we've fostered, that wouldn't be alive if it weren't for Blue Dog Rescue.