Thursday, April 26, 2007

I've got a secret!

Actually it is more like a confession. I confessed to Rachel the other day and she was supportive as a good friend should be. She promised to help me and guide me. Now it is time I tell all of you.... I don't know if I can....well here it goes...............

I can't read sewing patterns!
I know, who would expect this from such a crafty person like me? I am willing and able to attempt any crafting medium and I love to sew. But the patterns?
When I try to read one, my mind wanders and I can't seem to grasp what they are talking about. I can't figure out which way the fabric is supposed to go and they are always pinning things. I am anti-pinning! How can I sew without pinning? Carefully and if it absolutely requires pinning - then I won't make it. How does Rachel put up with me? I don't know because these are surely the least of my annoying habits.
So here is how I do sew, I need to see the fabric laid out or I need to look at a pre-made item. I can then turn the pieces visually in my head and figure out how to sew them together. Rachel is also a huge help. She is usually the one to figure out the construction of our fabric creations. I'll tell her what I am thinking of and she will show me how to make it. It's all about the visual directions, with actual pieces of fabric not drawings.

I feel better. The next time I go fabric shopping, I can hear the exchange now:

Grandma behind the counter: "So deary, what are you making and how many yards will you need?"

Kerry: "I can't read a pattern! I am making tissue holders, 10 yards should cover it."

Grandma: "Good for you honey!"

Sewing Illiterate and proud!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Cowgirl Spirit!

Kerry and I love vintage and kitsch. We love reinventing vintage and kitsch into new things in our work. Take a look at our salute to Cowgirl Spirit:

(available at in the Milagro Jewelry storefront.)

Sunday, April 22, 2007


My husband and I just returned from a whirlwind weekend to celebrate my grandmother's 90th birthday. It was a quick trip, in and out of Michigan. Just enough time to arrive, celebrate my step-mother's birthday, grocery shop with my aunt, make appetizers, and attend the party.

My Grandma Hannah is some kind of family celebrity. More than forty family members from around the country flew, drove, or ferried to the party. There was a pre-party, a sit down dinner, a cake reception and an after-party! We celebrated for more than 9 hours straight. Grandma and her little brother and little sister (both over 80 years old themselves) were the last to leave at 11:30 pm. If only I could have that kind of energy when I am 90, heck, I would love to have that kind of energy now!

I didn't check my email, the blog, or our sales for almost three days straight! I was unplugged. I don't remember the last time I have gone more than a day without being "connected." Part of me was itching to find a computer and log in. Another part of me resisted the technological temptation and relished the visiting, the party, the family time.

The photo of my grandma's childhood home was part of the celebration. It is the opening photo of an album we made to commemorate her birthday. She opened the album when we gave it to her and said, "Oh, it's our house!" She hadn't seen the photo in years. She lived there with her 6 brothers and sisters and two parents in the two bedroom wooden house in northern Wisconsin.

Her life was truly unplugged. Her childhood didn't have the noise of phones or TVs, or the hum of computers and microwaves. In fact, she and her family lived so far out of town, that in order for them to attend high school, they had to board with other families in the nearest town with a school. And they did. Life was different then.

I enjoyed my weekend away. I enjoyed time spent with my family. I also am happy to be back. Those "old folks" wore me out! And now I can sit down at the computer to plug in...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Etsy - Showcase for Handmade Items

We have recently listed some of the art items on a sales and showcase site called It features thousands of handmade items sold by artists around the country. Every time I start looking at all of the fabulous things for sale on Etsy, I get just sucked in. I can't stop looking and going from store to store. Rachel does the same thing and then we email items to each other in case one of us missed them.

Cowgirl Apron Sold On Etsy

It just amazes me to see how many talented and creative people there are. There are so many artists living typical lives in our country. You could probably find several people in your own neighborhood who make fabulous works of art. You don't have to go to a museum to find art. There are people doing textile work, pottery, woodworking, paper media etc. The list of mediums is endless. I love to see people's work. It inspires me and as I look at their items, I want to create more as well.

Take a look at our store at and let us know what you think. Let us know who your favorite sellers are. We would love to check them out.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Don Quixote

The other day I was writing about windmills. I couldn't think of the fabulous musical that I had taken my students to that had the great windmill icon. I called Kerry, she was not available. I called my friend Lisa, she was not home either. So I ended my blog with the great Bob Dylan lyric, "The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind."

(Bear with me, there will be a connection) Today I have been thinking about the old adage about having all of your eggs in one basket. (Or, don't count your chickens before they've hatched.) This has been pertinent in my life because Kerry and I have been trying to diversify our business. We have found that no one retail (or consignment) outlet is the end all, be all. There is no website that is the panacea for our art/business. This year is about expanding.

It is frustrating when you feel that you are doing all the right things to move down your chosen path, and you still feel you are not progressing. But, I guess that can happen when there are outside factors that effect your progress.

So, tonight while I was thinking of having all my eggs in one basket, I googled it. (Kerry already told you about my googling habit :) ). And what should I find, but a quote form Don Quixote! Just what I was trying to think of the other day! I guess life always comes full circle; sometimes it happens more quickly than other times.

"It is the part of a wise man to keep himself to-day for to-morrow, and not to venture all his eggs in one basket." --Don Quixote. Part i. Book. iii. Chap. ix--Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Maybe Don Quixote was trying to send me a message... windmills are good, and be wise to diversify! Take what you will from it. I guess for me, it is just one of life's small ironies. Another lesson that I will have to learn and relearn over and over.

Both Dylan and Cervantes were both correct. The answer eludes, even the wise man. It always keeps us guessing.

American Idol

Recently Rachel was googling us, (Yes, we google ourselves, doesn't everyone?) and found us on the American Idol site. Apparently Gina Glocksen, who was unfortunately voted off, had one of our necklaces listed in her style section. You would think we would then have a huge run of selling these pieces but unfortunately not. But it is nice to have our work recognized on something with such huge exposure. I am including the link for anyone who might be intersted in looking.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Casa Bonita

What is there to say about a restaurant that is in a giant pink castle and your food appears mysteriously out of a hole in the wall?

More sopapillas please!

Who is behind the mystery food hole?

Every Spring Break, Rachel and I
head down to the Casa with the kids for an afternoon of cheesy entertainment and bad Mexican food. Watch spectacular shows while you eat - a gorilla runs through the eating area, an old fashioned gunfight and cliff divers. Take a trip through Black Bart's cave with the smoke breathing dragon and watch a puppet show afterwards where one of the rocks in the wall speaks.

So if you ever come to Denver, don't forget to visit the Casa. Raise your flag for more sopapillas and definitely have a margarita.

To see more of the Casa make sure you watch the South Park episode where it is featured. Sadly, the cartoon is pretty much exactly what it is like.

After all is said and done, we love the Casa and no childhood in Denver is complete without it!

Friday, April 6, 2007

Blowin' in the Wind

Over spring break, we took a quick road trip from Colorado to Utah to visit family. Anyone who has travelled I-80 across the western United States, knows the meaning of wide open spaces.
For miles and miles, through Wyoming and Utah, there is nothing but wide open spaces. Few houses, few buildings, no industry, no factories, no malls, no stores. Even the gas stations and rest areas are few and far between.
What occupies this stretch of highway? Tumbleweeds, antelope, coyote, sage brush, and wild grasses all populate the open prairie.
And wind.
The wind through this area is relentless. We have travelled this stretch of highway in all seasons, and all types of weather. The one common denominator is the wind. The wind can lengthen or hasten your trek, whether you have to drive with or against it. This trip we cautiously watched several semi trucks as the cross wind tilted and tipped their trailers as they sped down the highway. It was frightening.
What, you may ask, do they do with this land? In this particular part of the country, we saw very little farming. I imagine the wind would blow any seed a farmer tried to plant. Perhaps the very topsoil needed for growing also blows away. There is one type of farm that does quite well: the wind farm. seriously!
There are rows and rows of wind generators that use the energy of the wind to generate power. (see the photo). These turbines are huge! They stand in rows and rows across the prairie, like sentries standing guard, their arms rotating, fast or slow with the wind. With no buildings or cities nearby, the wind farms appear other worldly. They almost look out of place sprouting from the dry grassland below. They are impressive, to say the least.
It was interesting to see several of these farms on our trip this year. Some of the energy that we use in our home and at the art studio comes from these farms. It is good to know that some of the energy we use comes from a completely renewable, non-poluting source.

I am still not sure of the question, but I like Bob Dylan's response:

"The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,The answer is blowin’ in the wind."

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Mundane is Beautiful

It's Wednesday morning. I am listening to the (joyful) sounds of the kids eating their breakfast. Today they go back to school after a week and a half long spring break. (My spring breaks were only one week long, but I guess that's the topic of another blog)

We had a good time over spring break: a quick road trip to Utah, a fabric shopping spree, our annual trip to Casa Bonita (a real treat! also a topic of another blog), gardening, jumping on the trampoline, visits to the park, and play dates with friends.

Perhaps the busyness of vacation shows us how wonderful our everyday lives really can be. Sometimes mundane is beautiful! Now I am ready for ROUTINE! I want to get back to work, to create, to walk, to talk with adults, to do all the things I normally do. So, on this lovely spring morning, I want to share this daffodil from my garden.