Monday, June 11, 2012

Decorating...with a red pen

Decorating is often more about what you leave out than what you include.

If you follow Glitterfarm on Facebook, you may have joined our recent chat about "decorating weaknesses"-- all those things that make us swoon when we run across them at flea markets, yard sales, antique shops, and even on the side of the road. I call them "weaknesses" because it sounds so much nicer than addictions, lol. This list for me (and for many of you!) is long, and we all laugh as our husbands scratch their heads wondering how many mason jars we need, when we don't actually do canning.

Hodge podge alert! I just had
too much stuff at the show this year. 
As funny as our hubbies are, they do have a point, and one I've (secretly) struggled with when I decorate. How do I display the right things, in the right layout, in the right room, when I have a truckload of collected things that I love? There's a fine line between a room looking pretty, textured, and pleasing, and it looking like a space at a flea market! To me, this is "editing" what I choose to display (and not display), so it presents the right picture.

Even with years of decorating experience, and now my Glitterfarm business, I still find editing a challenge. It's been on my mind lately, particularly last weekend as I set up my Glitterfarm booth at the Remnants of the Past Vintage show. After months of buying and prepping for this twice-yearly show, I'm still overwhelmed when the product is waiting for set up, piled in front of my empty booth.

Atelier de Campagne's booth.
One story, well told. Love it! 
It doesn't help that the other booths are nothing short of amazing! Each and every one is a unique experience when you walk across the threshold. Dreamy WhitesSerendipityAtelier de CampagneChalk Farm Home, and dozens of other names are synonymous with talent, class, and beauty, and their booths show it. These giants of retail display inspire me even more to keep my Glitterfarm booth pretty and inviting instead of cluttered and "hodgepodgey."

A dear friend helped me out this weekend, and reminded me of the basics: grouping like colors, limiting what I show, and having a few key "stories" to tell with product. She also pointed out that mixing those stories -- even with things that I love -- can be confusing to the eye and to shoppers.

The show was a huge success, my booth was better this year than last, and I learned a lot. Probably the most important lesson I learned this year is that with my long "weakness list," I have to edit what I buy as well as what I display. I love so many beautiful things, but as my inventory becomes too varied and too different, display becomes a real challenge, and the flea market chaos starts to creep back into my booth.
I did have pockets of order in my booth. The Glitterfarm
flowers look good with the yellows and creams.

So, as I learn, Glitterfarm is evolving. It will always be a mix of my crafty stuff -- handmade purses, aprons, flowers, and crates -- and the "found treasures" I acquire from suppliers all over California. But I'm editing this down. I'm still writing Glitterfarm's "Organic Glamour" story, piecing together "paragraphs" of product I love with the right mix of color, style, richness, funk, and beauty to delight my customers.

I'm getting out my red editing pen now!


More info: Here's a recent interview of me where I share how Glitterfarm and "Organic Glamour" came to be.

Do you edit your decor? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Yard Sale Romance

I'm an avid garage saler. And by "avid," I mean crazy; like, giddy, weak-in-the-knees enthusiastic. My husband and I (now just past our 15th anniversary) have been going to yard sales together since we were dating, and we both come from families that made yard sales frequent family outings.

I grew up with a single mom who is creative, has a fantastic sense of style, and a keen eye for good junk. Blend that with the fact that we didn't have a lot of money, and I learned early on that yard sales make a dollar go a lot further.

Of course, as a girl, I didn't like the garage sale style. Chippy-rusty-old yard art, mismatched-but-vintage china and silverware, and funky cottage antiques were normal to me, but so different from my friend who had all the new stuff. (I used to think it was so cool that all her plates matched, and of course she loved that all mine didn't : )

Let's say that with age, though, I've come to appreciate my roots. And, having married a man with the same passion for the "thrill of the hunt," we're an unstoppable force on Saturday morning.

When my husband and I were first married, we'd be up at 6 on Saturdays, getting coffee and rolling up to the 7AM sales just a touch too early, hoping we'd find someone who thought of us as customers rather than "early birds." When we did, we'd scope the sale (and the still unpacked boxes) with the flashlights we'd brought, searching for treasure in the pre-dawn chill.

Since then, we've made garage sales, yard sales, estate sales, tag sales, barn sales, car boot sales, flea markets, rummage sales, jumble sales, and all the other "piles of junk" a part of our Saturday mornings. Even on vacations, cross-country trips, overseas excursions and business trips, if we can fit in some g'sales, we'll do it.

We use an app called iGarageSale which plots sales near your location. Great if you're at a hotel in the DC metro like this trip. That's a lotta sales!

Hmmm, this could be interesting.
When walking to NYC sales, the scenery is different than when driving to a local Central California barn sale.
...too bad. This wouldn't fit in the overhead bin.

Mostly I would look for chippy furniture and home accents while my husband is always searching for American-made tools and lighting to rewire and sell.

Today, we do some resale through Glitterfarm, my creative outlet, online community, and business. This has only fueled our enthusiasm, spilling over even to our kids who frequently choose to spend allowance dollars on Saturday vs. during the week. 

I couldn't imagine not garage saling. Even on mornings when I start out thinking, "Nah. I'm tired," I get the nagging, "something good could be out there," feeling, and we all pile in the car. 

Anyone else have the bug? Leave your comments, as I'd love to hear about what you love about yard sales.


(By the way, I'll be at the Remnants of the Past vintage market this weekend with some of my finds. If you're in California, or know someone who is, take a look! Here's the page and the blog.)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Living Unscripted

Most days I wake up with a plan. I know the first six things I plan to do as soon as I have my first cup of coffee. I can't help it. I'm a planner-list-maker-type. With four littles, the wheels would come off the bus if I wasn't! 

But there's a downside. It can be hard to just let life happen. "No plan" means uncertainty. Spontaneity, but a lack of control?! That's crazy! But, no-plan days often make the best art days, and sure, they're usually more fun. It's a bumpy road during the day when there's no plan, but sometimes that's when the fun happens.

Our littlest farmer lives life "unscripted;" it's obvious on days she picks her own outfit. 

"Today, I'm Supergirl, mama," said the confident 3-year-old this morning, as she padded down the hall in this little number:

Pink superhero mask, leopard-print top, gray tights, and purple suede boots, each on the wrong foot.

"Sweetie, your boots are on the wrong feet," says Mom. 

"I love boots on wrong feet, mama!" says Little Farmer, breezing down the stairs and heading for her tot bike. 

Confident uncertainty. Unscripted beauty. Always fun. Life lessons from a 3-year-old?

I like that.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My online/offline tug-of-war

Does anyone feel like there are more things to do online than there are hours in the day? I'm a crafty mom who loves to create, but with Facebook, Pinterest, this blog, my website, and etsy store, my computer and sewing machine are always fighting for my attention!

So, I'm sorry for the long delay in blog posts. I'll be adding more (but shorter) posts so I can still get it all done (there's that family competing for my attention too : )

The Glitterfarm May Flowers promotion, is going well so far. But, as I started to see my Facebook Likes grow, it occurred to me that I want people to think of of more than Paper Flowers when they think of Glitterfarm. The ladies who stopped by my booth at a recent local craft show loved these little sachets and flower clips, so I'll start posting these cuties on etsy soon.

Let me know what you think of these, and I'll post more stuff here (including things my hubby is doing with wood and metal).

OK, my sewing machine is whining, so I have to go. More soon...

This is what cashmere J. Crew sweaters look like when reincarnated: 
a super-soft, clip-anywhere lavender-filled sachet.

A little bit country, a little bit rock-and-roll. This clip blends linen, lace,
burlap, and a vintage mother-of-pearl button.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Something I'm working on....

I took a few pictures today of new flower designs I'm working on. What do you think? I'm in production mode for Remnants of the Past coming up in June.

As a mom, I don't have a lot of time, so I have to start early. Working on new designs makes me all giddy thinking about the show. It's like a trip to Disneyland or the night before Christmas with all the anticipation.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The fairy princess is in the house

I promised to tell you the story of the littlest little to arrive literally on my door step. Well,

it is quite a tale. At this point in our lives we were adjusting to this new life. We were inundated with social workers, therapy, doctor visits, dentist visits, IEP meetings. I'll tell you more about that later. I had been faithfully driving my new littles to visit their birth mom every week at social services. Careful not to be seen dropping off my new charges by said birth mom. On one occasion I was told the meeting needed to be changed to the local hospital because the mom had a doctor appointment. Okay, I'm a reasonable person. No problem....
Then on the next scheduled visit it was cancelled at the last minute. Ok. No problem. I hate driving down to ... so, hey, I was happy. Several months later came the phone call. The one my heart had been waiting for all along. Oh, did I mention I had been taking on wedding cake clients to use my culinary training? I had the distinct pleasure and privilege to attend The French Culinary Institute while living on the East Coast. So I thought I should put that training to good use. On this particular week, my very talented husband was working in Sacramento for the week leaving me in charge. That year he did that route every other week. One week here, the next in Sacramento. Okay so here's the down and dirty of it. I had a wedding cake due for a party of 300. Three littles to tend and my husband out of town. When the fateful call came. "There is a baby. She is 4 days old. Do you want her?" Oh my heaven. Okay, DO NOT PANIC!!

I said to the person of the other line, "I have a few phone calls to make, I need to call you back."

"Okay," she said, "but we don't have much time."

The thing is they don't give you time. You are either in or you're out. I make my phone calls, ask my husband, what do we do?!)^&? They want to bring her TODAY!!

Well, this was friday, he would be home on saturday, before the cake was due at the wedding in Paso Robles for the blushing bride.

Are we crazy? Is this God? Do we leap? The answer to all these questions, "YES!"

This baby is the sibling to the other 2 littles that came into my life, which is why I got this phone call in the first place.

So, the answer to the question is yes, bring her, we want her, yes yes yes!!

GO BIG or GO HOME was always my grandfathers motto, so I think I inherited that from him. Thank you Grandpa. I love you.

What's my next move? oh yeah, it's still only 10:30 in the morning. I have enough time to do a bonsai trip to Target in the north county before my little bundle of joy arrives. The other littles are at school. I have just enough time to get there and get back before they get home. I enroll my dear friend and mommy in the trenches to meet me at Target so I don't get overwhelmed.

We fill the minivan with all things baby. Mind you, I haven't had a baby since my first little was born, and I'm rusty. But, luckily, it's like riding a bike. Diapers, check, formula, check, carseat, check, cute onesies, check.

The stork social worker arrived as scheduled at 4pm. Lots of papers to look at but who cares? I want the baby. She is little with a HUGE head of black hair. Not much besides the shirt on her back to speak of as her belongings. And now she is ours. Well sort of. Until the court deems it to be true. She is perfect and pink and she needs me.

Today, we are as I said in my last post a crazy, loud, busy family. The adoptions have all been completed. We went to court and pledged our whole heart to these four little people.

They didn't come the way most people expect but the roller coaster ride is just like California Screamin' -- super fun, a little hair raising, and as soon as it's over you want to do it again. I love these little people sometimes more, sometimes less given the days circumstances. But that's normal, right? Everyone has good days and bad days. But everyday in our house is crazy fun.

More crazy stories to come. Stay tuned...

Sunday, February 5, 2012

I'm 12 years into my adoption story....

I have been an adoptive mom for 12 years. I still feel the ache of not having a biological child. Less than it was, but when I watch Addison trying for a baby on Private Practice it brings it all back. We tried embryo adoption for 4 cycles but it didn't work. Today, I have 4 beautiful rambunctious kids. They are not biologically mine but in my heart I know they were meant for me. I am a super busy mom, taxi, chef, E.R. nurse. counselor, same as any other super hero normal mom out there. The story of how they all came to be mine still amazes me. I think as a girl I always knew I would be a mom. I really only wanted to be that. When I got married and started trying for a baby, I was dumbfounded by the news that we were infertile. The news is almost more than one can bear. Someone must have made a mistake. This only happens to other people, not me. Shortly after that devastating news we started to talk about adoption. The first thing we learned was to start talking about it with friends and family. "you never know where a referral will come from" is what we were told. So we talked about it. Even though it was hard. Not too long after, we got a phone call from a friend saying she had a young pregnant friend who heard our story. She wanted to give her child to a couple who wanted to adopt. I almost fainted. It took me awhile to regain my breathe to call her back and say okay now what.

After mountains of paper work and 6.5 long months of pregnancy. We were flying to Hawaii to meet our newborn son. I was a mom. My labor and pregnancy were short but not any less painful.

That was our first experience. Pretty easy as adoption stories go.

The next 2 years we loved and parented our precious little boy.

Then it felt like it was time to try again. We thought of another private adoption. We looked into foreign adoption. Special needs adoption. We moved to the east coast which put a 1 year wrinkle into the program. Then we heard about frozen embryo adoption. People who had gone through IVF and had successfully had a baby or maybe twins but were now ready to place their unborn frozen embryos for adoption to help a couple like us conceive. I was hooked. All the blood work, all the prodding, both physical and personal  didn't make a hill of bean to me if it meant I could carry a child. I could be pregnant! The hormone therapy, the twice a week blood work. The weekly pregnancy tests. It was an intense year. We went through 4 cycles of IVF with frozen adopted embryos, with no success. I was heart broken every month. Devastated again and again and again.

Once we had exhausted our mental and physical capacity on this, we decided it wasn't meant to be.

We moved again.

This time back to California. Here, we immediately started the process of becoming certified foster parents. The mountain of paperwork can be overwhelming but we were not daunted as we were feeling like some kinda veterans by now.

Several months after becoming certified foster parents. We got the phone call that changed all our lived forever. A boy and a girl, siblings needed a forever home. "They have been hard to place because most couples want a baby" is what I was told. They were 4 and 6 years old.

"Could I meet them", this was an unheard of question in foster care. The county is more along the lines of "you get what you get and you don't get upset" Ha ha. I wasn't going for that. If my heart was going to be committed for a lifetime, you better believe I wanted to meet these little people before hand. It's been almost 4 years since that day. I drove an hour and a half to meet them in a Mcdonald's playplace. My husband was out of town at the time. I was so nervous. What if I met them and was like" no way Jose" What if they felt that way about me. Oh Lord. I was running on lots of faith.

The truth is the God of all the universe had my back that day. The moment I saw them I knew they would be in my life forever. The little faces looking at me. Wondering who is this we are meeting. Today we look and act like any crazy normal family with 4 kids. We fight, we are loud. We have sleepovers and homework and family vacation to Disneyland. There are special circumstances too. Therapy, Medication, Special ed. These are all normal for the life of an adoptive mom. Oh, and here's the cliff hanger. I did say 4 right! but if you count my story there is only three mentioned. There is one more and her story is next. This is a crazy life. But it's a good life.

Friday, February 3, 2012

My friends at Willow Nest

There's this gal I know, you may know her too. Her name is Linda Flynn. Of course, that's not her name anymore but it was when I met her. Really she started out as my mom's friend. But because my mom and I like to pal around together I get to hangout with a lot of her cool friends. So anyway... I want to tell you a story about this woman. She is an incredible entrepreneur. She was a hair dresser in L.A. in a past life. Way before I met her. She lived in my small town and owned a little consignment shop for fashion and other fancy finds. She was always thinking of a new project, you could hire her to ruthlessly clean out your closet for you or decorate your entire home with what you already had there. She was HGTV before HGTV and all their cool design shows were born. She was always fun and sassy and I like love people who are sassy. Sassy in a good way. So recently we have gotten back in touch. She lives with her adoring husband Ludmil in Texas. Soon they will be relocating back to my small town and I couldn't be happier. So why am I telling this story well it just so happens that she had a very profound affect on the course of my life. When Linda had her little store downtown, I needed a job. I had a job but they had cut my hours and I needed to supplement my income. So I went and asked if I could work for her a couple days a week for as long as it lasted or till she got sick of me. Coming to work was always fun because I would come dressed but without any accessories. As employees we were allowed to accessorize with merchandise in the store and it usually helped sell it. I still have some Sand Castle belts that I love from her store. I met a new friend Lee Ann and she, introduced me to my Savior. Aside from changing my life forever we had loads of fun in the store together. She was and still is a great salesperson. We did lots of laughing and lots of soul searching together and we always looked fabulous. I will always be grateful that Linda gave me that job and I am thankful to still call Lee Ann a friend. If you have a minute stop by to say hi to Linda and Ludmil on their blog Willownest

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Just something I've been working on

I have been so inspired to learn and grow in my art this year. I love to watch christy tomlinson and all the brave girls club videos on youtube. I'm also totally addicted to watching the new My Craft Channel webcast.  So I thought I would share some of the art I have been working on.  

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Farmhouse Porch: Desk Reveal! New CrUsTy shelves,sticks, and a nest...

Today is a great day. The sun is shining, the kids are all healthy.  My workout is over, and I found a new yummy blog to follow. check her out here. The Farmhouse Porch: Desk Reveal! New CrUsTy shelves,sticks, and a nest...: Hi Everybody!! How are you today? I'm having a great morning. Anytime I get to play with new "junk" I'm as happy as a baby with candy. ...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

It's a new year, It's a new day.

I went to a conference in September  called in St. Paul, Minnesota. I learned so much. I took classes that were inspiring. I met amazing women that were just like me,  trying to do their craft, raise a family, stay sane.  You know the drill.  What I learned from that experience is to live your life with no regrets.  I got to Minnesota a little before the conference started, I was cruising the lobby looking for artsy people like me. I met some very creative people. Stacy Julian, Jo Packham, Melody Ross,Holly Becker. just to name a few.  In the process of checking in I noticed these girls having a problem with their room. "what's going on?, I said"  they said we wanted to stay here but we were booked in the other hotel where the VIP's are supposed to stay.  So I come to find out these lovely ladies are none other than Stacy Julian and her friends. They were the VIP's. Stacy was one of the speakers at the conference and talked on several panels.  They asked if I wanted to trade rooms to take my humble broken suitcase down about a block to another hotel and I said.... No. I can't believe I did. But I was so tired from traveling and I hadn't really decompressed from my crazy life yet.  Having just arrived and after 3 plane trips to get to Minnesota. Up at 3am. I said no. And I regret it. Every time I think of all the amazing women gathered at this convention. The people I met. The cool art I got to do sitting next to Holly Becker and Leigh Stanley a.k.a. . I got to meet Susan Branch during the speed dating round on the first day. A get to know your neighbor ice breaker. I said no to Stacy Julian. If you don't know her you should. SHe is an amazing woman. A mom, a business woman, an artist, a crafter. So.... I have learned so much in such a short time between then and now.  Live with no regrets! I think that is my word for this year.  So today I am finally.... starting this blog.  I want to tell you my story. And I will. About crafting, about adoption, about cooking,  about parenting.  This is my journey....   join me.
I have an idea... class I took with Melody Ross and Kathy Wilkins from Brave Girls Club 
me with Melody Ross

Traci Bautista and me

my new friend Renee from

Jo Packham and Nancy Soriano

Kelly Rae Roberts and Leigh Standley