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An excerpt from a letter to a friend, & a shift in my writing:

We live in a world that praises the sleepless, the busy & the sociopathically cheerful despite it all.

Full excerpt to follow.


October Holiday Prep

Advent Calendar!

This is actually a post from 2010 that I’ve rescued from obscurity. Originally a series of mindless commercial plugs fueled by a holiday consumer madness, I’ve taken the original thoughts & fleshed them out. Holidays are special to me, and as I grow older, I feel more reflective each year. I’m alarmed by the Christmas madness that comes up a month earlier every season, & as an adult, I have a growing awareness of the sort of craziness that people put themselves through during this season that I cherish.

I have such high aspirations for the holidays; tree, lights, presents, baking, candy making, house decorations.

My parents always bought us one of the 12″x12″x2″ advent calendars with chocolate in them as we counted down the days. It says a lot about us, that we had one sweet per day, never much extravagance. I’d get one very nice present that I’d lobbied for in the months leading up to Christmas, but was never certain that I’d get. Stockings were the best, because Santa would cheat & sneak other little presents & treats into my stocking, as a surprise. The spirit of Christmas as Shawn defines it is alive in the stockings we both spill out across the bedspread on Christmas morning, while neatly wrapped packages sit under the tree – we usually already know what’s in them. But not the stockings.

It wasn’t until I grew up & moved out on my own that I started seeing advent calendars that didn’t resemble the ones I grew up with: these were a hybrid of a Christmas stocking & what I knew of as an advent calendar:

Burlap Sack Advent Calendar

When did this happen? I love the organic look, & my inner child is doing a little dance at the thought of that many tiny presents…but that is a lot of stuff. “Stuff” being a dirty word these days – I get that that they’re customizable, & if I were doing this, there would be Fran’s Chocolates, iTunes cards {little ones}, small toys or tools – can you imagine five of these containing one Swiss jewelry file a piece?

…I don’t think anyone would do this for me as well as me. Maybe some kind of exchange program where Shawn & I both fill one up for the both of us is in order.

If we’d had one of these when I was a child, it would have put a lot of pressure on my parents, who weren’t always able to, say, buy 25 straight days of presents. I think it would’ve been filled with satsumas, nice chocolates, & maybe three of them would have something small off of my list – the things I still wanted, but weren’t a high enough priority for the lobbying campaign. If something didn’t fit in the pouch, my dad would probably have written up a series of clues, as he did one year, leading me on a scavenger hunt around the house.

As an adult, I think it would be fun to have one of these for a holiday party: have everyone draw numbers & then watch the trades & sweet hoarding begin. Because 25 days of presents is a lot in a year when all I want is a pair of dress boots, a yoga top & a clean house.

October begins with Etsy Boot Camp newsletters filling my inbox, new earrings half-finished on my bench, the last of my enormous wardrobe selling one by one on eBay. I’ve decided to start the season of selfishness off by selling my most prized sweater, because I’ve only worn it once, it is that precious. Once it’s gone, I’ll probably never find another one like it. It’s a fitting symbol of my new mindset: you can’t have everything. Where would you put it?

October ends with gold & red leaves pouring down our streets ahead of the first November windstorm,  newly finished work being photographed & edited, a trip to the gem show, & a daylight lamp being installed in my office.

♥ Momo

Holiday Show & Work Photos

Dahlia Ring: Sterling & Ocean Jasper

I have five pieces in the Danaca Holiday Show!

Dahlia Ring

Agate & Sterling

This necklace is a point of particular pride; I found this stone at the bottom of a box of tools donated to my starving artist studio. Sad & alone, it’s a peculiar cut that I stared at for a week before I took a breath & sat down to set it.

Agate & Sterling

Agate & Sterling

Agate & Sterling

Rutilated Quartz Cube & Sterling

This is probably the cutest choker you could ever get for the holidays. It’s tiny, but still stands out above a little black dress or even a t-shirt. I have a limited supply of these rutilated quartz cubes, and am making them to order for $32.

Rutilated Quartz Cube & Sterling

Moonstone, Labradorite, Ruby & Sterling Necklace

I love the color of labradorite: that blue flash with a subtle backdrop of grey, brought out by the white opalescence of rainbow moonstones. I added a tiny string of raspberry-red rubies just up the collar.

Pink Ocean Jasper & Sterling

I love this stone; it looks like candy. ♥ Like the ring and the agate pendant above, this is a one of a kind piece, with a chain handmade by me! It will be on display at Danaca through the end of the month, and if it survives the show without sale, will go up on Etsy.

Pink Ocean Jasper & Sterling

I’ll be adding a few other pieces to the shop over the weekend; earrings for stocking stuffers, a couple of bracelets, necklaces, and a couple of one of a kind fabricated pieces with cabochons to capture your {or your sweetie’s} heart.

I also have a shameless plug about the joys of supporting a small artist rather than venturing out into the violent holiday madness of the season. Have you seen the ads that have come out this week? “Better than Black Friday”, “Post Black Friday”, “The Next Black Friday”. Before T-Day, there were pre-Black Fridays, and now we have desperate marketers with three more before the Big Day. Wal Mart is even having Black Wednesday.

I’ve been out for only one Black Friday in my life, and all I remember was how sad it felt: people lined up in the cold at 4 a.m. with coupons either in hand, or jostling everyone else uneasily, afraid that they will miss out on the limited number of “first come first serve” coupons handed out when the doors opened. I was hit multiple times by a cart pushed by a woman who wanted so badly to get past a child who was in her way that she didn’t ask, she shoved. It was just a lot of junk, but I had the chance to have it for $25 less.

So I make a point of not going shopping that day. No one I love or who loves me wants anything from me from a sale like that. Nothing worth having can be found amid the throngs of angry, anxious shoppers running through a Wal Mart for something that was made with the sweat of factory girls in China or Taiwan, Mexico or Haiti. It’s 50% off? It’s never going to be 50% off of the people who worked inhumane hours & wages to make it, or the time that American retail associates are putting in working til midnight or later at minimum wage to make it available to you.

And no one I know wants a present with that much karmic stress attached.

I’m baking this year. Chocolate stars, vanilla wafers, ginger cookies, butterscotch brownies. {Someone recently asked me if this was made with those butterscotch chips from the store: no. Just lots and lots of sugar, with some more sugar for good measure and a lot more butter than you really want to know about.} I’m doing something small and fun for each person, but I’m not actively shopping for them. I just find things when I’m out & about throughout the year that make me laugh, & look somehow just like that person to me, & I hope that when they open their presents they feel as much joy as I did in putting them together.

My shameless plug: I hope that something I’ve made inspires you to buy it for someone special. I understand that everyone’s budget is tight, & I try to make my prices reflect that. I hope that your holidays are bright, full of laughter & good food!

♥ Momo

Playful Holidays

Big Eye Toys

Big Eye Toys. Very cute.

Toys were never what I was after for Christmas when I was growing up; I wanted what the adults had: I wanted jewelry {go figure}, I wanted CDs, books, clothes, but never toys. Now that I’m an adult,  I love toys. Toys are somehow at the top of my list, but I’m trying to reduce the mass of my worldly goods, so I can’t really ask for them. That would be silly…right?

P&C Christmas Cracker

Holiday crackers are perfect: the pops, the laughing, the exclamations of joy after everything is collected, the fights over the better bits and pieces. I know people who still have their favorites stashed away in memory boxes. {Guilty} Crackers are designed to make you smile. ♥

I never had much use for dolls, but my inner child is apparently in charge of my adulthood. Non-sequitur: when I was little, a big, fat amanita mushroom grew up overnight in the middle of my front yard. It was surreal in a very David Lynch way. A couple of mornings after it appeared, my Dad & I went out to inspect it, & saw that there was an itty-bitty bite out of one side of the mushroom – & a very dead field mouse about a foot away. It didn’t make it far! I’ve been a little obsessed with amanitas ever since.

Amanita doll:

Momiji Dolls: Snuggle

Amaretti cookies. {Not amanita, much tastier & better for your health, given context.} In my experience, you either hate them & regard those who love them with newfound suspicion, or you love them & value them the way one might value bricks of solid gold. The crunchy, crisp cookie melts away into a perfect, caramelized sugar in your mouth, with sharp balls of solid sugar on top….you get the idea. The red Amaretti tin is one of the most coveted sights in my family:


This holiday, we’re limiting our gift giving to a maximum of $25/person, which started because the economy has stretched us all pretty thin, but I’ve come to realize that it might be nice to do every year. I haven’t spoken to anyone else in my family about this, but the budget has made me take more time with what I’m finding for everyone, and it’s made the whole process a lot more fun: I always get a little stressed out about the monetary value of everything associated with Christmas. {Ok, I stressed out a lot, I may have a history of holiday season-related panic attacks.}

But now we all have the same budget, & I hope it means that we’ll spend more time catching up without the pressure of the shiny boxes under the tree. {Gift giving can get competitive in my family.}

…I might add that a one pound shiny red tin of Amaretti cookies falls five cents below the maximum for our gift giving. Just thought I’d point that out. ♥

Wrapping paper! What’s actually inside the presents is only slightly relevant. I love wrapping presents. I would wrap empty boxes if the paper that I’m partial to weren’t so very expensive. {I really ought to get myself a job at the seasonal wrapping places around town, now that I think about it.}

Smock Wrapping Paper

Peppermint puffs:

Peppermint Puffs

Happy holiday planning; I wish you sanity & calm.

♥ Momo

On Style.


Foxes on the brain ♥

I have to be picky about the jewelry I wear. The inevitable course of the daily conversation goes: “What do you do?”…”Oh, so did you make that ring you’re wearing?”.

There had better be a good reason after “no”, although as soon as you’ve said it, you’ve lost them. I don’t know why. Are we all so judgmental?

I like supporting other artists, & there are incredibly talented women in this industry who deserve recognition & support, so I will still wear other designer’s work. Currently, I’m a fan of Leah Dawn, who is local, & incredible. I would like to be her friend, but I have to stop coveting her work so much, because it’s putting me in an awkward position when I talk to her.

OctopusMe. I have a ring from their Etsy shop, & it was meant to be, because I wanted it for a long time, but a friend of Shawn’s received one from her boyfriend, which made me incredibly jealous. Then they broke up, she sold it to Shawn, who then gave it to me; because it was always meant to be mine. Cast from real octopus. Too cool.

For some reason wearing anything Anthropologie – jewelry or clothing buys me an automatic pass in this town. When I say “Anthro…” instead of “No, I didn’t make this”, there’s this nod of conspiratorial understanding that passes between us, like Anthropologie is some kind of speakeasy whose full name must not be spoken aloud. Weird. Not sure how comfortable I am with that. I want to be my own person, with my own style, & Anthropologie has this growing influence & recognition in Seattle, so that anything I wear might be recognized as being from Anthro. It’s fine in the short term while I work out my sartorial style & establish myself as someone to be known for style here, but it bears thought later on in the process.

The other loophole is vintage {Edwardian} jewelry Shawn buys me. I’m spoiled for choice.


♥ Momo

Nisshin Seifun: Ghibli


Capitol Hill

I was walking around the hill the other day, and found myself in the middle of a heated shouting match, but thankfully not the usual kind:

I might have been cramping his style, but he kept on yelling to the other birds across the street well after I’d pulled out my camera. I think he was self conscious, because after a few photos he stopped to look at me. I wonder what it was about?

♥ Momo

Circus Themes

Circus Birds

Designs for one of my favorite books, Water for Elephants. I am so in love with the sugar and creamer above, and it just gets better:

I am actually fortunate enough to have this piece; it sprang from my wishlist into my delighted embrace last Christmas ♥

Merry Go Round

I don’t know if these really say “Circus” to anyone else, but they just sort of fit for me. They also do double time in tropical themed parties, or a fancy dress party in Vegas:

Parrots at the Circus

I’ve got to try to balance the baking and fashion on this site better; I’ve just been so excited about a lot of the new work on Etsy ♥ Coming up: Dueling Zucchini Spice Loaves, Part I!

♥ Momo

Orange Cat & Blue Bird


Wednesday Pounce! This sounds like the beginning of a great children’s story: The Further Adventures of Orange Cat & Blue Bird! We last saw our heroes romping in the weeds while innocent bystanders drank coffee and ate delicious Zucchini loaf, completely unaware of the events to unfold that day. That’s what I’m talking about.

In fact, everything this artist does is pretty fantastic; I love how whimsical everything is in her Etsy shop. Just check this out:

"Fancy meeting you here..."

Cat Butt!

Cat Butt. It’s the thing that’s been missing from my life…oh wait, this is what I wake up to every morning! I love it!

♥ Momo