Thursday, March 18, 2010

Brief Shop Update

I'd love a brick and mortar like this some day!

I have been working, dear friends, on my shop. Just nothing has been coming together as I've planned and I've discovered new avenues and have decided against a few others. I've been pursuing my own business for some time now and it's been quite a process in discovering my niche and what's best for me and my own personal style. I apologize for the lack of updates and the lack of pictures. It's been a rather stressful year so far and not that conducive to creativity. Thank you for sticking with me though this transformative process.

Most sincerely yours,
Jen

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A St. Patrick's Day Sojourn

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Slainte! Good health to you and yours. And welcome! Once everyone arrives, we'll be moving this party to the Emerald Isle. I hope you packed for a bit of rain. Nothing serious. Ireland has what they call "soft" mornings, and a daily dose of a bit of drizzle. Just enough to keep the island lush and green.
Everyone here? Good, good. Benson has taken all your luggage out to the cars. We'll be riding to the air strip together.
We've rented the luxury of a private jet for this affair. Sit back and relax. Drinks will be served shortly after take off. Thanks to the luxury of the Internet, we won't have to wait the 8+ hours it normally takes to fly across the pond.

If you look out your window, you'll see the green patchwork quilt that is the Irish countryside. I feel refreshed already.
Wasn't that much more pleasant than taking a commercial liner? Now then, into the waiting cars we go. Quaint villages pass by in a delightful, colorful blur as we wind our way along the narrow country roads. The cottage is just up ahead.


The locals promised to greet us. There they are now! Don't be shy, they're very friendly.

Ah, there's the cottage now! We'll see to the luggage and let you know about room arrangements shortly. Stretch your legs and breathe in that fresh air. Balm for the soul. If you ramble across the bridge, you'll meet our neighbors lovely herd of sheep. You'd better take some feed for them. A handful will do, just there is the bag. Go on. They won't bite! And you'll make some woolly friends for life! The gardens are just behind, up against the tree line. Pick as many roses as you like. There are vases a plenty in this cottage.


Now then, how about some lunch! If everyone's ready, we'll take a quick trip into the village. There's a wonderful little pub there we like to patronize while we're here. The atmosphere is cozy and if we're lucky, there will be music.





Oh good! The house band is playing! Excellent! You there! No dancing on the tables! At least not until 9pm ;)


The Guinness flows freely and is exceptionally tasty here. I'll buy the first round. Too early? Nonsense! It's good for you!



Now then. Are you ready to order? I do recommend the fish and chips. With extra malt vinegar.





Once we've all eaten our fill (careful there, lad! Don't want to drink too much!), we'll all wander back to the cottage. Yes, wander. On foot. It's not that far. I thought a brisk walk after lunch would do us all some good.
Dessert is waiting. A lovely Guinness chocolate cake. Please, dig in!



I do hope you can stay a good long while. We'll be here for two weeks, enjoying the peace, quiet and soft light that can only be found in old Ireland. I need a soul vacation and this is perfect! Your rooms are open to you for as long as you'd like to stay. Feel free to come and go as you please!
If you get a moment, you may want to wander over to the old church. It's deliciously mysterious.




Thanks for joining me on this brief sojourn to the Emerald Isle! I hope you all have a wonderful St. Patrick's Day! I leave you with happy thoughts, full stomachs, warm ale, and a blessing :



Cheers,
Jen
(PS: Sadly, none of these photos are from my trip to Ireland. I only had a film camera then and have yet to scan them into my computer. If you're curious, you can click on the photos and be taken to their original homes.)

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Art of Slow - A Manor Journal



I see my life the way I wish it, all faded blue and denim, brilliant peacock and watery grey tweed. A full circle of natural spectrum - nothing artificial, neon or blinking. A slow pace, beyond hustle and bustle, above NOW and instant. Where the bleating of sheep is my alarm clock and fresh turned earth mingles with morning coffee.

I am by no means backwoods (I am Lady of this Manor, after all). I don't necessarily wish to live off the grid. I've lived in the middle of nowhere - with honest conviction I say it is NOT for me. But nor is the city. The hustle, the bustle is not me either. A little patch of land, a garden for my flowers and veg. Several sets of hooves, a cackle of hens. These, yes these are me.

Hurry up, world says. Savor life, says I. Why hurry, I ask? Make more, the pursuit of muchness. Stuff. Ahead. The top rung of the proverbial ladder. At what expense? Health, well being, relationship, sanity? I'm tired of NOW. What about later?

Slow roasted, aged, fresh baked, stone ground. The way grandma made it. All day luncheon. Up with the chickens to feed them then coffee in woolly socks with companionable notepad and pen.

I crave slow. The smell of rain and the taste of sun. These things we rush past. I'm tired of rushing, of enslavement to ringing phone and time clock, of work to pay bills and not to feed the soul. I long for a stroll, not a race of breakneck speed. I don't want to wait until brakes must slam and tires must squeal. Casually I want off this carousel. Incessant spinning, I want to leap. TO experience a momentary weightlessness as toward destiny I fall.

I'll land, barefooted where wild flowers grow. A front porch will greet me with creaking steps and my lungs will shudder at the crispness of air. "I want to walk and not run, I want to skip and not fall". To sip and not gulp. To puddle hop and not race from lot to doors, cursing the weather for not cooperating with my agenda.

Slow. Deep breath. Exhale. Let life happen, not flash before my eyes. To that end I aspire. To shed this convention imposed chain mail and wrap my arms in cotton and wellie my feet and walk on.

Wanderingly yours,
Jen

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Magpie Tales - The Elephant in the Corner


"Welcome to my garden," said the spider to the fly.

"Is that a-"

"No it isn't. Kindly follow me."

I followed, craning, watching, wondering at what I saw. I was certain, convinced an elephant was in the corner.

"Over here you'll see my latest, a pristine example of capital form and function."

"Yes," I scarcely heard her, "but I swear I saw a-"

"You didn't. That's unheard of. Pay attention and keep quiet."

The crowd around me tut-tutted, clacking tongues and lashing eyes. I found my way at the back, looking bored at picture perfect, well groomed and manicured. I'm tired, said my brain, this is maddeningly mundane. Black and white, black and white; all the same, all the same.
"Hush," I whispered, or so I thought. She glared at me, black widow, a hint of red at her throat.

"What was that you said?"
"Nothing."

Liar.

"Would you be quiet!"

"I beg your pardon?"

The brooch came undone, fell to the floor. Out splayed her spider legs and she lunged for me. The other watched without concern as she wrapped me in her web. I was hug upside down, in a corner off to the right.

"That will teach you to go against." She hissed, re-pinned her collar and the crowd walked on.

The pachyderm smiled and lowed me, his kindly trunk outstretched. He took my hand and together we walked around the bend. There was color there.

I wrote this for Willow's Magpie Tales. It's a bit different, don't you think? Wander on by and check out the other amazing stories she has collected.

Cheerio,
Jen

Friday, March 5, 2010

Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child and the smiling faces. Smell the rain and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.

~ Ashley Smith

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Bit of Fun

Today I wanted to post some pictures I took during my blog break. My husband surprised me with a spontaneous trip to our "home" town of Savannah, Georgia one Saturday and we spent the day enjoying a rare appearance by the sun, sipping lattes on Broughton Street, buying candy on River Street, sticking our toes in the *FREEZING* Atlantic, and spending some time with a very dear friend.

"The cure for everything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea." ~ Isak Dinesen



"At the beach, life is different. Time doesn't move hour to hour, but mood to moment.
We live by the currents, plan by the tides and follow the sun." ~ Anon
You never know what you're going to see...




My long-tailed, miniature polar bear, Colby (aka: ragdoll)



"I am you, you are ME. You are the waves, I am the ocean. Know this and be free, be divine."
~ Sri Sathya Sai Baba



Random castoffs from Calypso's closet
(I always bring home a treasure chest full!)


Call me crazy, but I think it would be fun to be a tugboat captain.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Slow Living, Manorsteading, and New Decisions

During my ten day hiatus, I learned a lot about myself, about my intentions and about my heart. I learned that some of the dreams I was holding tight to weren't things I should have been clinging to. Dreams I thought were dead were revived and some, sneaky little blighters, appeared again, fresh and clean, polished and shining like new silver.

Out of all of the new decisions and re-commitments, I saw one shining underlying thread. Like blue velvet laying against coffee stained burlap, the slow living ideal is tantalizing and hypnotic. Even flown? Rivers from 30,000 feet look like shimmering ribbons woven in a tapestry of greens and browns. Even those that wind through cities lend a magic quality to modernization. This is how I see the thread of slow. I'm reminded of flying out of Paris. The city sprawled below me but the river wound through, trudging onward as it had for thousands of years. Slow and steady, uninhibited by man and his trophies.

Life runs out of control but we hold the reigns. I know, work beckons (demands) and we cannot leap off the merry-go-round as we wish. We sometimes simply have to hang on with calloused hands and gritted teeth, praying for a pause, a glitch, a nod from the Divine that we can, at long last, let go. That's where I am at the moment. I cannot, at the present, quit my job. I am thankful for it and am in the process of making peace with it. It fits like a too small sweater, raw wool rubbing wounds against my once sun kissed skin. Now fluorescent light pale it bleeds but the pain reminds me of life out there, waiting, watchful, always beckoning with open arms.

I may not be able to jump ship (yet) but I can make the ride a little less bumpy as I continue my winding, twisting, convoluted way to the edge. A lot of thinking went into these past ten days, dear friends, and I'm more determined now to work for myself, for my visions and not for someone elses.

It has always been my dream to own my own business and to make a life via the work of my hands and words on the page. That is the end to which I am working. During the next few months, I will be posting the various twists and turns of this new commitment. I intend to be more diligent about pursuit as well as sharing photographic evidence of it. And yes, I will let you in on the little "secrets" revealed as the days go on. I'm just not ready to do so without concrete proof. Castles in the sky still need solid foundations underneath. Those foundations are what I am working on now.

In other news, it's snowing again in Georgia. Bizarre. Cold. Over staying welcome. I love winter. This year, however, I'm in desperate need of summer! Knowing that spring must precede the prescribed season, however, I am beckoning the pollen laden blossoms and stuffy sinuses in exchange for grey overcast skies. Skies dressed in woollen jackets with icy buttons that snag on branches and fall, tumble down, onto street and lamp post. As soon as it sheds those garments, I, too, will be able to shed some burdens.

Until then, I wish you blue sky dreaming and warm breezes,
Jen

Monday, March 1, 2010

Throw those curtains wide!


Dearest friends, it is so good to be back! It was a much needed break, but I am ready to return to my daily chronicles of life at the manor. Flinging open curtains does let in the sun but it also makes noticeable the cobs and dust bunnies. Would it be easier to keep them in the dark, deceive myself into believing they aren't there? Of course, but what good would come from that in the long run?

I was enlightened during my brief hiatus and it is that enlightenment which I want to share with you. Throughout this week, I'll be sharing glimmers of light and mussing up the order of things. It's good to rock the boat now and then. Keeps people on their toes.

My vision is clearer and I'm more focused in terms of goals. It's been a rough week, honestly, but for the best. I'm ready to get moving towards my goal of opening shop. Yes, it is still scheduled to open 01 July and to that I am holding. Be it a menagerie of glorious goodies or a single twig, I will open my Etsy shop the first of July if, for nothing else, to prove to myself that I can do it! I have been known to put things off indefinitely for fear of what others may think. Part of the weeks enlightenment, that? Yes.

Thank you all for your kind words and thoughtful encouragement while I was away. And welcome to my newest followers! I was happily surprised when I opened up the doors to find new friends in the wings. Always a pleasure.

Happy Monday to you all! It's so good to be back.
Jen