… And the Hand-Makery Begins!

For the past several weeks, my guy and I have been tossing around ideas on what our gift giving is going to look like this year. It’s fun to get imaginative and impressive all at once. Easy when you have a family that either totally enjoys cooking or is at the very least – not adverse to eating new and different things. (Read this as we have an even ratio of cooks to eaters in the family.) There’s always the homemade candies and cookies that I absolutely love doing this time of year. The main thing I miss about not going to a workplace with a boat load of co-workers is making up the goody bags or boxes that everyone adored. Hmmmm. wondering if offering my services for this would make a good living wage?

This year I wanted to go in a slightly different direction than just baked goods and store bought items in the gift baskets. Especially since I didn’t really do much of the ‘shopping throughout the year’ thing (yep, it’s a “thing”) that usually gets those store bought items into the baskets. So Bear and I have decided it’s down to all handmade stuff this year. Ceramics, body care items (from the shop), preserves, a cookie, a candy and this new thing we came up with while we had been in that ‘tossing’ ideas mode. A sort of fruit tapanade. I love the savory tapenades made with olives and mushrooms etc. but wanted to see if we could come up with a fruity sweet one.

Today was test day and it was a total success! We’ve got a scrumptious fruit tapenade made with apricots, cherrys, cranberries, almonds with lemon zest and some yummy spices mixed in. Tomorrow we test how well the spices bloom into the mixture and if well enough we go into canning mode with this after making the black n blue preserves he’s planning to put together for the basket.

This coming weekend will be fun fudge time. I’m planning an old fashioned dark chocolate fudge with a layer of coconut goo in the middle and toasted crushed almonds pressed into the top layer. Sort of a homage to the best parts of Mounds and Almond Joys. I’ve always loved the dark chocolate on the Mounds but the chocolate covered toasted almonds on the Almond Joy and would have loved to have seen a dark chocolate Almond Joy show up on the shelves. Since the Hershey’s company has not seen fit to listen to my yearly emails, I’ve decided this is gonna happen my way.

The following weekend will be cookie time. Still haven’t decided what that will look like. Perhaps a chocolate chip and dark cherry oatmeal cookie with white chocolate drizzle? Peanut butter cookies with the bottom dipped in chocolate and grains of salt? Or!!! Maybe a wonderfully multigrain cracker to eat the tapenade on! Brinastorming still happening. Will update when the entire gift basket is done, so until then… hasta la vista baby!

 

The Future’s So Bright… I Got To Wear Shades

 

Ever since this ‘selfie’ was taken with the beautiful emerald waters of the Cayman Islands behind me, I’ve been riding a wave of wonderful ‘get ‘er done’ energy. So much has happened with the business since the relaxing time spent on the cruise island hopping. I had no idea how much of this current future I was preparing for especially on the local front. Networking with other women in business, stepping out into the wider world as a wholeness practitioner, showing my wares at local events, getting the Esty shop stocked with new items in preparation for the holidays and the new year, all that and more!  In addition to that preparation, it is sort of feeling like I’m tying up all the loose ends before stepping into something bigger and better than I could ever dream for myself and every day is a new day, a new step, a new bit of excitement.

I hear from many people that there is a buzz happening, sometimes in the body and sometimes in air that is not necessarily due to the upcoming holiday season because it started several months earlier. How many months depends on the person. I’m calling it the influx of a higher vibratory energy that is affecting humanity as a whole but those who are aware or becoming more aware than they have been on a conscious level are sensing it in hyper mode.

Here is something that I wrote to a dear friend about some of this experience that so many of us are going through – does this ring a bell for you too?

“Everyone on the front lines of ushering in higher vibrations for the transition of the world is a Phoenix. It’s not the young ones that are coming in already transitioned. who btw are definitely helping to raise the vibrations…shaking things up. Those who have paved the way for this to happen on a grander scale than has ever taken place in the past…those are the Phoenix of this point in time. One becomes a Phoenix by rising from the ashes of the fire. That fire being the testing, the tempering of steel, the lessons learned the hard way, the releasing of a host of beliefs, the opening to spirit, the submission to grace, the loving of the experience, encompassing the compassion of everyone on their path to source…it is the rising into being and letting others seek YOU out, often through the path you have already walked because the Phoenix with a gentle heart can convey the love and compassion to those who are still wallowing in fears, tears, joys etc. in the full flux of the lesson and show that it is not the end of the world but that balance of all this emotion is the opening up to such greatness that it cannot be imagined by the human emotional body.”

Reaping the Benefits of Vacation

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So it’s been little over a week since returning from a vacation to the Western Carribean. All I can say without all the oooo-ing an ahhh-ing is this… Yes! The water is *that* gorgeous and depending on which island you are visiting the depth of blue or emerald changes but it is always breathtaking! It was an awesome way to relax, recalibrate the mind, open myself to a bigger more beautiful experience, to become daring and be okay with including fun on a daily basis. Recalibration truly did take place and I am ever so grateful for that because I am able to bring this wider POV back into my everyday life at home.

As for what is in store for the business, I am preparing for a number of action plans. The main one is working out a body care class for Do It Yourself – Pampering Spa Kit. The supplies are finally gathered and pictures of complimentary kits are getting taken, merchandising and promoting is also on the short list.

DIY Lip Balm Kit

DIY Lip Balm Kit

Second, I’m searching for a writer/virtual assistant to get more done in a day. Third, looking to create a video to post to the shop youTube page for one of the DIY Kits. There’s even more on the short list that needs done by the first week of next month. Here’s to being productive in the last quarter of the year!

When Things Go *Splat*

In this case, it is the sound of clay hitting the table while wedging.
 

Ha! Last year, little less than a mere six months ago *that* sentence would not have come out of my mouth.let alone through my enviable writing and typing skills. (tongue in cheekily) Such is life in this adventurous world of mine. I love the idea of learning new things to keep the old thinker thinking…working, wondering and humming along with new knowledge or innovative ideas in a sort of perpetual motion type of thing.
 
This, of course is a part of product development and this time, the decision was made to bring in a new item for our shop in the form of personal aromatherapy necklaces. After a ton of research and a couple of months of trial and error, I tried air dry clay, poly resin clay and then decided a true ceramic was going to be the best choice for my mental picture. The dream was brought to life in the form of kiln fired clay pieces. This part came with some weeks of trial and error which was fun, exasperating, annoying, fun, exciting, time consuming, annoying again (when hard work blew up), a learning experience, fun, and in the end something creatively rewarding. You see this was all punctuated with FUN in between all the ‘stuff’, both good and bad, that is always the life blood of the endeavor.
 
Here is a visual clay feast for your eyes! I was so in love with my first ever attempts at shaping beads and forming the pendants as I had envisioned them in my mind…well, kinda, sorta, maybe. I was happy with this so far. Of what you see here, some never even made it into a fire. It’s amazing how much banging around one does just living the daily life, but you *learn* just how much when you have a bunch of small delicate things waiting around to dry enough to actually go under the fire.

Pretty = before... overcooking or exploding

Pretty = before… overcooking or exploding


 

The true vision I got for my pendants looks much different than what I have made here and the main reason is because I have not yet achieved enough knowledge or skill to hand shape what I hold in my minds eye. Considering I have never taken a class or had any experience working with any kind of clay except for calcium bentonite clay, used for internal and external health applications (a far cry from making clay shapes), taking baby steps was the way to go with this.
 
More than a few of these pieces ended up over baked, dark and bubbly or warped. I never suspected that you could over bake clay, but I learned that you can. Another few of these exploded and I later found out could be attributed to one or two things or both, who knows which of these were my errors, but I learned from them. One is not waiting long enough for the pieces to dry all the way through before firing. If they are cool to the touch when placed on your wrist, they still have moisture in them which can boil in the high heat, causing expansion, then explosion…and poof! There goes all your sweet work blown to pieces. Second is not having enough compression in your pieces, meaning there are still air pockets in the clay when you are shaping or rolling them out. Same type of explosions are possible or bubbling of your pieces. On the ones I had over baked, there was warping, bubbling, fissures. This could have been due to not working the clay enough or a technique called ‘wedging’. Although the word sounds familiar, this is nothing at all like pulling your little brother’s chonies up from behind. 

Thank you YouTube! for showing me the way. I love these modern times where the internet brings to our fingertips the access to skills we may never have had such access to within a matter of minutes. I adore this way of learning through others. Of course you have the whole gamut of ‘teachers’ available and I was able to pick out the videos that worked best for my learning needs. Here’s where the ‘splat’ sound comes in, what fun it is to drop or lightly slam a piece of clay onto your cloth covered table to shape it into a square-ish cube then fold it into the rams head wedge. It really does look like a rams head! Then slam it again over and again through the process. I can certainly say I learned some other techniques about working with clay as well and look forward to trying other processes, though I’ll not attempt the potters wheel any time soon. If I ever decide to, I’ll surely take a class for that.

When There Is Just Not Enough Time – What To Do?

With Spring then Summer come upon us, I’ve used the excuse of not having enough time on my hands to write a new blog and my initial intention had been to write at least two a week. Although not quite bad enough to classify as an epic fail, not enough time has passed for that, it is a minor failure. So this is my attempt to include something more instead of let the sleeping dog lie. So in answer to the question in the title – – you write about it and just get it done.

The main thing that lets me feel at ease and not a complete and utter failure in my blog goal setting is that other areas of the business have been humming along. This month we have officially incorporated, taken care of most of the baggage that comes along with that. I have developed several new items that are currently in various levels of testing mode before release. I took a spontaneous trip to meet a friend and show her around my old stomping grounds in New Mexico and totally enjoyed myself. Even made it out to a place I had never been in all my years as a NM native – Roswell. LOL We had to get our alien on. With all this and more orders to fill – it’s been a successful and fun month.

In the end of this short post, I just want to say – you gotta acknowledge all your wins big and small, even through what you may feel is a failure. It is THIS action that invites more wins into your life. Of course you acknowledge your failures because that’s the motivation to be better, get better, do something different next time around, but you don’t dwell on them, you use them as an action item and get ready, set…GO!

Lots of us will easily accept our failings but find it difficult to accept our wins. Make it a goal from here on out to be more aware and thankful for those things that you DO accomplish, these things are okay to dwell upon, smile about, brag to yourself about, as they will serve as your magnet for more to the x power to occur as you take action on your desires.

 

Talking About the “Ewwwww” Factor

In the course of conducting business over the past couple of years I’ve advertised in many different places, online and offline. One of the online places that I have found to be fairly interesting gives people an avenue to share their thoughts about a given post, picture, product, what have you… something that has piqued their interest enough to comment – good, bad or neutral doesn’t matter, but they can pass it on to their group of friends and have a dialogue with no holds barred. I truly appreciate the ones who have an honest interaction among friends. This gives me food for thought as well as fodder for blog. Today, I’d like to thank the contrarian voice and opinion.

On a recent advertised image of a newly listed item on A Hippie Adventure’s Etsy shop, there were several “shares” with interesting conversation. I can infer my own thoughts behind the “shares” because I don’t really know, but I’m going to guess they were by people who had already hear of washable menstrual pads, may not be an actual user of them but perhaps had considered the possibility of someone, even if not herself, using them. Comments ranged from “ewww!” to “How unsanitary!”, “There are just some things you don’t reuse.”, and my favorite one of all “Why would any woman do this ever? I’d rather eat my own toenails.”

Ha! That’s some real disgust with the thought of anyone using a reusable cloth pad. Granted, the lifestyle involved with using cloth pads is not for everyone, but I truly feel that eating toenails is not a preferable choice to make.

I go into several reasons why a woman would subject herself to the lifestyle in the first place in the description of each of the LePads listings in the shop. Briefly, it’s a long lasting purchase with an average 5-8 year lifetime thus promoting a great eco alternative to thousands of pounds of mass produced store bought pads and tampons in our landfills. It is estimated that a woman will use approximately 15,000 pounds of disposable feminine products during her lifetime.

These same store bought pads also bring the toxic chemicals they are made with right next to your most private and highly sensitive parts. Some folks never give a thought to the rashes and itchiness, let alone the discomfort, level of cramps and headaches they may experience during menses as being the result of the chemical interaction of the moist pads next to this sensitive skin. Yet once you stop using these types of mass produced, chemically laden products, you find that many of the symptoms that were thought to be part and parcel of having a period will ease up or just won’t happen.  This alone begins to make you think, seriously think – What have I been subjecting myself to by using these products?

These same products cause people to think that they are sanitary and safe because of corporate packaging and marketing. However, they don’t have to tell you what they’re made of. Have you ever seen a product panel on a box of sanitary pads or tampons? There is a woman from Texas who made the news when she reported about her interaction with a major tampon company upon discovering mold on a tampon. MOLD! On a tampon straight out of the “sterile” plastic packaging…and we’re shoving this inside ourselves without EVER looking at them? We are assuming they are safe. Meh! Give me the washable cloth pads. I can make sure they are as clean and disinfected as I want them to be. Yeah, it’s a little more detailed in how I need to care about the whole process, but I certainly am willing to go through the joy of knowing what I’m putting on and in my body during this time of month. Menses has turned from taboo to something normal and natural.

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Welcome to my rodeo!

 

The rodeo reference is a nod to our home state of Texas. It’s such a varied and beautiful place. I had no idea what I would be doing after relocating here almost two years ago. I was so deeply connected to the culture, the mountains and the roots I had grown for 26 years in Albuquerque, NM, and I had no clue that I would come to love the Fort Worth area as much as I have. It is the truest mix of country and city living and here is where A Hippie Adventure began.

I have finally realized the website going live, and I’m so very excited about it. Special thanks to Yogi at Custom Website Studio for developing this site with my vision for it in mind. Let me also take this moment to welcome you to this brand spanking new baby. We’ve still got some updating to do on various pages but I’ll go over the long and short term plans for the site, introduce you to how to interact with us and we’ll get the party rolling along.

This will eventually be a portal to the many different avenues of expression that have become a part of my experience. The main focus for the time being is on the shop in the Etsy marketplace. It has been in existence for almost two years, our anniversary is July 16th and we’re planning a “sale-a-bration” (I know, corny but you can imagine that with the bellowing car salesman voice from your local t.v commercials…now isn’t that fun?). There are several different items available in the shop as you can see from various pictures on the site and you can always get there easiest by clicking on the link on the lower right side of the page. We also feature an Etsy mini version of our shop on our About page. A click on any item shown there will take you directly to the listing in our Etsy shop.

Long term (6-12 months) goals are to bring in a shopping cart and feature more varied handcrafted items that are still relative to the shops image, made in small batches, in the U.S. by a group of people/makers leveraging their skills in a community concept. That’s the idealized version, as we all know, life can throw a curve ball and I’m on the balls of my feet to catch it so if the steps are long or short, I’m certainly ready. Short term goals are already in the works, a few new products to feature and a subscription plan for our main product line, LePads.

Now, communicating with us will be easy through comments on the blogs. You can join the conversation on our Facebook page where I often show early releases before they list. You can also sign up for our newsletter at the bottom left of any page of our website, (monthly or bi-monthly, I haven’t decided yet) to get not only special coupon codes for subscribers only, enter contests, get varied calls to action, articles that support the reasoning behind offering the products we offer and much more. Finally, you can always shoot us an e-mail at care@ahippieadventure.com.

Once again, welcome to our web presence. Thank you for being here!