the Tiffi

As I gear up for the big launch…which is in a WEEK…I am going to up my blogging game. My goal is to have at least 3 more of my dedication pages written and posted for you guys…this way you get a sneak peak at the jewelry AND you get to hear the story behind the pieces.

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This bracelet reminds me of bubble gum…it’s happy and fun and there’s something soft about it…and at the same time it reminds me of boulders…strong with smooth sides changed but not destroyed by weather…It’s inspired by one of my dearest friends…Tiffani!

You know how in old cartoons sometimes a little tiny devil and angel would pop up on the shoulders of someone…well Tiffani is kind of like my little shoulder angel. We’ve been friends for a long time…possibly the longest I’ve had a friend…we’ve laughed, cried, moved away from each other, moved back to each other, traveled the world together, she even stood by my side at my wedding…in a beautiful purple dress….And when things get hard in my life, or I find myself lacking joy it’s like she pops up on my shoulder and starts giving me a pep talk, encouraging me to remember Who God is, His promises, His love…and to find joy in those things.

Tiff and I first became friends when she started hosting a bible study at her house, I was new in my walk with the Lord and super excited to be a part of a group of young women who wanted to study the Bible…actually I was so excited I came a week early to the first one! 

I continued the tradition of coming early every week…but I showed up an hour early instead of a week…to make the tea and coffee so that she could clean…which I didn’t really understand because her house was always SO clean…we would spend our time chatting, but secretly I was watching her, studying her.

You see, Tiffani is joyful, like really really joyful. If you asked me to describe her in just a few words joyful and bubbly come to mind…also tough, but we will get to that…and sometimes I use to wonder if it was real or not, if she was really that full of joy.

Being in her home, seeing her prepare for these young women to come over, watching her interact with them, this joy was always there…it wasn’t an act! She was the same person in her home when it was just the two of us as she was out in the world.

Over the years I have continued to watch her. I have seen her walk through trials and great challenges in her life…many of which have not been joyful…yet there was always joy. Sometimes the joy has been a choice…some conversations I’ve had with her have felt a lot like her giving herself a pep talk to rejoice through every situation…and at times it has literally just flowed from her.

But it’s always been there!

I think that constant presence of joy is what makes her so tough. She is determined to rejoice, to hope, to love people, to worship God with her life and her interactions with others no matter what life throws at her. And it hasn’t always been easy…there’s even been seasons where it feels as if it’s NEVER been easy…but she has always chosen to rejoice.

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Tiff has influenced me in so many ways, and I see this determination in my own life…the choice to trust and hope and rejoice…and I know that it is something I learned from her, something she modeled for me. I also think she’s a big part of why I have decided to live a transparent life…with people welcomed into our home and our family so freely and being honest about the things we go through in life…because seeing that she was the same person in front of people and behind closed doors made such a huge impact on my life.

She doesn’t know that I’m writing this…and she doesn’t even know that I designed a piece of jewelry that is inspired by her. But I did, and it is…because she has made such a huge impact on my life, and even though we don’t get to spend near enough time with each other these days she is still one of the most important people in my life!

Thanks Tiffi!

Shop the Tiffi

 

Don’t forget the big launch is happening next week

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Just practicing 

Since you guys seemed to enjoy the awkward blog so much I thought that I would attempt to entertain you with another slightly embarrassing story about the challenges of starting my own business.

Added bonus…this story comes with a big finish and a massive announcement…at least massive in my world.

Here it comes…

One of the most terrifying things through this whole process of starting a business…in fact THE thing that kept me from moving for a long time…is…THE POST OFFICE!!!

I know…it’s absurd…ridiculous…irrational…I’m sure it’s lots of other things too but I can’t think of anymore right now. 

I think it has something to do with the way I grew up. We moved a lot, and I spent quite a bit of time growing up in third word countries. When I moved back to the US for college there were lots of things that scared me…and not like made me uncomfortable or I just things I didn’t like to do…but legit scared me….

Sometime I will share with you stories of how I overcame my fear of the grocery store…lets just say it includes tearful phone calls to my mother from the parking lot and once I even abandoned a full shopping cart at the checkout line because I realized I didn’t know if you were suppose to bag things yourself or not so I panicked and fled!

So, this week I started thinking about how scared i am to actually open frippery house because it means I have to mail things. And I decided to conquer my fear step by step…just like I did the grocery store…hopefully without any tearful phone calls to my mom from the parking lot…I am 35 now…I can do this!!!

So this week I “practiced” going to the post office.

I had a pep talk with a friend who has an Etsy store, I read every blog I could, I read the USPS website, I weighed my package…I spent 24 hours prepping myself…and then I decided to give it a try.

So, I opened my Etsy store…posted 1…and only one…item for a dear friend and 24 hours later I was on my way to the post office!

Oh, and this week was also monumental in that I opened my Etsy store made my first sale AND sold out the store! 

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I took help to the post office with me…a 10 and a 9 year old so that they could encourage me and we could all learn together. The lady at the post office was SUPER helpful and she did a great job of helping me figure out where to start with shipping. She treated me like I was a normal person just starting a business and figuring things out.

When we decided on the best option she typed in the address…and my cover was blown…I was literally mailing my package across the street…I was not normal!

She asked me why I didn’t just hand deliver it, especially since we had already established I was with the children of the recipient…save myself some money. I told her I needed to practice…she looked at me funny…and then we all laughed.

The next day the package arrived and my mission was deemed a success…I have conquered the post office…and now that the final piece has fallen into place I am filled with the confidence to make my massive announcement and take the next step for Frippery House…

Tuesday, August 23 – FripperyHouse.com

will go live and my first line of jewelry will be available for purchase

I’m super excited and I’ll be super busy the next 10 days getting ready with lots of sneak peaks and more dedication pages for you guys.

 

Super Awkward Me

Funny story…I was pruning bushes in the back yard earlier this week, and I came to an exceptionally stubborn limb. Next thing I know I was standing there shaking my head dazed and trying to figure out what hit me…?!

…it was me…

I punched myself in the face! I don’t know if any of you have ever been punched in the face, but it hurts! And it doesn’t just hurt your face, my whole brain hurt. I felt like I walked around in a fog the whole day and wasn’t able to think straight.

I tell you all this because my post punching brain fog caused me to forget about blogging on Tuesday…I even had it pretty much ready to go just had to post…but without any further delay…and yes I am fine and will be safer next time…here it is.


Get ready for me to get real with you guys…I am discovering that while I have the creative thing going for me…ALL the other facets of business are pretty challenging for me.

Building a website, writing product descriptions, setting up business plans, and networking on social media have all been pretty challenging for me.

My latest discovery is that face to face networking is very challenging…and I mean very very challenging…for me…I’m so awkward!

I had a couple of encounters with people where I had amazing opportunities to pitch Frippery House and network with people who could really help me get my jewelry into the local market in a really great way…and I was just weird..awkward…and super lame…maybe they’ll just chalk it up to me being an eccentric artist.

Let me give you one scenario…I walked into a cool local business…in the hip newly renewed part of town..and I’m checking out all their stuff and chatting with the friendly…and super kind…owner when she asks what it is I do for a living and I say ,”I make jewelry.” That’s it, I just throw it out there, I don’t engage her in a convo, I just kind of say it.

So, then she asks “Is that necklace one of yours that you’re wearing” or something like that. And I awkwardly reply that yes it is…and then in an instant, every insecurity I’ve ever had…primarily ones having to do with creating/failing/not being cool…flood into my mind and suddenly the whole interaction went from lovely to TOTALLY awkward because I realize that it’s been several seconds and all I’ve said is yes. And that while I was able to have a very pleasant conversation with her about other things, as soon as it switched to Frippery House I got weird.

So I spend the next 5 min wandering the store trying to decide if buying something would make it all less weird. Before settling on just saying nice to meet you and goodbye…because let’s be real, I don’t have money to buy anything other than supplies to make more jewelry…to her credit this super awesome store owner totally redeemed the convo and gave me business cards and told me to contact her when I’m ready to wholesale before I left.

So…this week’s goal is to branch out and have conversations…with new acquaintances…about Frippery House.

Here’s to hoping that this girl’s awkwardness is redeemable!

 

Say hello…

As promised I’m finally blogging about this summer’s EPIC trip…6 countries, tons of people, and 30 days is definitely once in a life time. I am going to start with the most unexpected experience of the trip…PARIS.

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I know this is totally abnormal, but I’ve never really had any desire to go to Paris. I’ve had opportunity to go to France a few times, but have always chosen to go somewhere else instead…I ended up in Scotland the first time and the Netherlands the secondI think it’s partially because I until I lived in Bangkok I never liked big cities…I had never really lived in one, so I think I was just scared…and Paris is a BIG city.

When planning for this summer, Andrew and I decided that it would be much more exciting to take the train back to England at the end of our cruise instead of flying, which meant ending up in Paris…which he was excited about. We shared our plans with my mom, and she decided to join us, then my sister-in-law and niece got on board with it, and even one of my brothers.

So, after a long and exhausting cruise…plus a couple extra days at the beginning and the end enjoying new and exciting places…6 of us boarded a train in Barcelona and headed for Paris.

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The six of us in front of la tour Eiffel

I feel I need to have a disclaimer here that I had very low expectations mostly based on stereotypes…it’s dirty, people are rude, it’s too crowded…but I had been given one small piece of advice, and that piece of advice may have completely altered my whole experience.

Say hello

Every time you walk in a store or restaurant, wether you think people can hear you or are paying attention or not…just say bonjour…that’s the advice I received from friends a few days before we headed to Paris.

So, I did.

I said bonjour to every person I encountered. Every store and restaurant we walked into, every counter I walked up to, every bus I got on…I said bonjour. And, you know what happened…I found Parisians to be some of the kindest and most friendly people…it didn’t get rid of the crowds or the trash but did I mention that Paris is a BIG city…I think that’s just part of big city life…

People were eager to help us speak French, helpful and patient with us when we didn’t understand. People were kind to us on the Metro, offering up their seats to weary travelers. When I was walking around looking lost, people stopped to ask if I was ok and if they could help. There was so much life in Paris…all those people sitting in parks talking and laughing and drinking…I was only there for a few days, so I am not any sort of expert on Paris or the people of that incredible city, but it seemed to me a wonderful place.

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This was one of my favorite things…sitting around ponds talking and laughing and watching ducks!

My experience there has had me thinking a lot about kindness. About how I engage strangers, and how I interact with the people I encounter in my daily life.

Do I say hello?

When I walk into a coffee shop is my first priority greeting the people there…both employees and customers…or do I walk in and say my order. I don’t think I am rude by any means…I don’t walk in and bark orders…and I’m very polite within what this culture says is acceptable…honestly people may find it very weird for someone to walk into a coffee shop and say hello to the room…but what if I took this advice and applied it to life here?

Would life change around me if I started saying hello? And not just when the cashier says it to me first, but initiated it, made eye contact, allowed it to lead into conversation…meant it the way I mean it when I see a friend.

Would I find just as much kindness and life here if I engaged people around me with this simple gesture? Because I think it’s more than just a gesture, more than just politeness. I think it shows a bit of humility, it demonstrates respect for the other person, an acknowledgment that life is about more than just me. And, maybe, in our culture of me, the simple act of saying hello is the kind of thing that Christ meant when he called us to be salt, to be light, to be in the world but not of it.

Oh, there was another piece of advice…to say au revoir…until next time my friend.

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Street performer tuning his piano…he just rolled down the street…in preparation for his performance in front of Notre Dame…LOVE this

 

the Lauren

As promised the next dedication page is here…wild cheering and applause!!!!

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I’ve known this lovely lady for ages…since she was a girl really…and I was a much younger adult. The first real memories I have of her are on a mission trip in the Philippines. I don’t remember what it was we were eating…probably fish with it’s head on or something like that…but I was just blown away by how willing she was to try it.

She definitely wasn’t excited about it, but she just had this incredible attitude about it…now that I know her better I realize that she HATES eating weird things and this was a huge deal! Over the next week there were so many situations where I remember being impressed by her…no running water and we have to bathe with a bucket, show me how to do it

I left that encounter totally impressed with ADORABLE high schooler Lauren. This girl was beautiful, bubbly, kind, humble, and eager to love people…people who love to love people are my favorite kind of people…

Over the next couple years our paths crossed whenever I was in Colorado visiting from Thailand and she was home from college…and then two years ago the Lord brought our paths together in a new way. I had moved back to Colorado, she had graduated college, and we found ourselves teaching together…we were peers!

The last couple years we’ve become great friends, I’ve had the privilege of watching her meet, date, and marry the man who made her a Mrs. I continue to find myself impressed by her all these years later…she inspires me to find joy in every day, to love people and to be excited about doing it.

Lauren a ray of sunshine in my life…gag that is cheesy, but anyone who has met her would agree.

I think the most inspiring thing I have discovered about her is her strength…she has conviction, a desire for purity, righteousness, justice…I have seen her seek justice and seek out reconciliation, things that are hard and require so much strength of character. Her heart is so rooted in the truth of God’s word, His love, and who she is in him…she’s awesome!

the Lauren is definitely more bubbly happy sparkly Lauren than strong Lauren…but it is so very her! I really wanted to create something that wasn’t just inspired by her, but something she would love to wear…she even contributed to the design by suggesting that the stones inside the pendant dangle. And, I think she does…she put it on last night and I didn’t get it back…

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*If you love the Lauren it can be yours soon! Frippery House is daily closer to launching and I can’t wait to share the rest of this first line with you all.

 the Lauren is available 

*Make sure to follow my blog for all the latest FH info and for more sneak peaks.

Vacation is over…

 

We are home!!!

It’s been just a couple of days since we got back, not quite a week, and it’s good to be home. It’s a bit strange to wake up and not have my parents, my niece, my sister-in-law, or my brothers around. I miss them. I miss being on vacation…but then again I came home to no job…permanent vacation

Actually, no…vacation is over.

It’s back to laundry and grocery shopping, cleaning house, pulling weeds, paying bills…oh yeah, and starting a business. Yesterday I decided to jump head first into Frippery House stuff…and it felt a bit like I landed against a brick wall. Seriously though, I kind of just sat there for hours stunned and dazed. I was suppose to be writing product descriptions, but instead I spent about an hour staring at half a sentence on my computer screen…More than just an accent piece, the Faye… That’s not enough to sell the product…at least I don’t think so.

So, product descriptions will wait for another day. Instead I’m going to take some time to reflect on the trip, on the people I spent it with, and on the things I learned. It was an incredible time! I don’t know how much my son or my 9 year old niece will remember, but I will remember it always.

I learned a lot about myself on this trip. I learned a lot about my family. And, while it wasn’t necessarily all good…some of the things I learned about myself I didn’t really like…here is my biggest take away.

I have an incredible family.

 

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I have the most generous parents ever…seriously I would enter them into a contest if there was one. My father has energy that won’t stop, and my mom carries with her a peacefulness that we all benefit from. They’ve been married for ever, have lived on four different continents, have moved what I’m sure feels like a million times, have watched their children grow into adults…and all the good and bad that came with that…and now they are watching their grandkids grow up from a distance….for now.

They are the coolest!

Later this week I’m going to post my next Inspiration Page with a sneak peak at the latest design in Frippery House’s first collection!!!

 

London loves me…

I know that a place can’t really love me, but London does. Actually, it’s not just London, it seems to be places that are stereotyped as rainy and dreary…London and Seattle. Whenever I visit both places seem to put on a show for me, keeping the rain clouds and stormy weather to a minimum and instead displaying sunny skies with moderate temperatures…which nearly convinces me that I may be in love with them too.

I LOVE Colorado, but I hate not being able to sit in the sun. Some of you may be able to enjoy this luxury, but I get sunburns in the shade in Colorado…with SPF 300 on! So I love how when the sun shines here it’s just warm and you can stand in it and soak it up and it’s just wonderful.

Other than seeing my family and one of my favourite people Emily…who is so obviously the absolute best thing about any trip to London…the highlight of the trip was getting to go on the London Eye…it’s a giant ferris wheel over the Thames and it was incredible!

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Tomorrow evening all of us head to Venice to start our cruise…it’s so incredible how family grows over time, how the five of us have turned into nine, and then some day there will be even more.

You have an incredible week!

Leaving on a jet plane…

It’s here, it’s finally here! Today is the day that I board a plane to go to visit my parents…in England…for a whole month!

There are a whole lot of things to be excited about in that statement…traveling, England, vacation…but I think the thing I’m just the absolute most excited about is my parents…and the rest of my family of course. My husband is joining us in a few days, my niece is traveling with my boy and I, both my brothers will be there, and I get to spend a lot of time with my sister-in-law which I really enjoy…growing up with brothers I really enjoy having sisters now!

But, I really miss my parents, I miss having them in my life daily. So, I am looking forward to being at my parent’s house and not having to run around and see every touristy thing possible, but just living life. I’m excited to pick my dad’s brain about business planning stuff, and to talk with my mom about the creative stuff…she’s going to help me figure out my packaging because she is a genius with fabric and unlike me the sewing machine is her friend not her foe. I’m excited for my son to spend time with my parents, especially my dad, just hanging out at the house and really getting to know him.

Oh, and I’m excited for Ian and the boy to see London in the summer…I love London in the summer!

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London last time we were there…cold and dreary

I’m also looking forward to getting away. Life has been crazy piled on top of crazy with a side of busy shoved in. I haven’t had much time to work on business stuff, hadn’t sat down to make anything in my creative space for weeks! Until yesterday when creative inspiration struck!!!

I finished a piece I’ve been working on for MONTHS that just wasn’t feeling right…I had assembled, disassembled, reconfigured, started over from scratch, and then yesterday everything just came together on it. I also came up with two other designs inspired by two of my most incredible and unique friends that I’ve just been having such a hard time designing for…I want to design something not just inspired by them but that they would wear and they are just so cool I am crazy intimidated by this process. But yesterday, I was on a roll.

Now, I feel like I have a boost of energy I didn’t have yesterday…I may just be ready to take on the world today. Which is good because I have a LOT of things to get done before we leave this evening and even more to do this month while I’m gone. I just want to launch this business already!!!

Next blog will be from one of my most favorite places in the world…London…in the summer.

 

The Frizz

Mrs.Frizzle

I have always loved and I mean LOVED Mrs. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus series of books. She always was so interesting, so cool, and had such amazing outfits! There was just something about her that I found so fascinating. Honestly I still find her fascinating.

Becoming a teacher helped me to understand what drove my love of the Frizz. It was her excitement and willingness to allow her students to learn.

She was always more of a side note to their adventure than a main story line. She facilitated the experience, but the learning happened through the kids themselves, through their choices and actions.

She was excited and passionate and just so chill. As someone who has probably never been described as “chill” I particularly appreciate her ability to not freak out when her students get baked inside a birthday cake or swallowed by a fish. I had to learn how to not freak out when a self portrait ended up with a green face and purple hair or a kid though it would be better if their polar bear was dancing on two feet instead of walking on all four.

There are days that I walk into the bathroom after work and catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror; my hair is usually crazy, my already colorful outfit now covered in paint, sometimes pencils or brushes in my hair…and all I can think is Mrs. Frizzle!

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Recently I started to wonder, did I turn into Mrs. Frizzle because I loved her so much? Or did I love her so much because I am Mrs. Frizzle!?!

This week is my last week teaching, not just for the summer, but for now. I have loved and served these families, instructed and inspired these kiddos for 5 years. It’s longer than I’ve ever lived in one house, longer than I was ever at a school as a kid. I think that’s part of why this transition is so emotional for me.

For the last couple of weeks I have found the moments when I am in my classroom alone almost unbearable. It’s like my room is suddenly filled with an ocean of memories and they are threatening to drown me. But this morning I sat in my classroom with tears flowing freely from my eyes and I choose to let the waves of memories crash into me.

I remembered the kiddos who came to me young and chubby as 4 and 5 year olds and how much they’ve grown, what incredible 9 and 10 year olds they are. I remember the girl who covered herself in paint, the boy so scared to get his hands dirty with paper machè and after just a mild encouragement was suddenly covered from head to toe in it. I remember the conversations, the tears, the laughter. Oh, and the dancing, you can’t forget the dancing! Some of my most precious memories are of the times that we were all working and dancing and signing.

This school is in a very real way a part of my family. For reals though, my son came to me through this school, so it’s not just an expression. I have celebrated with our families, laughed with them, and grieved with them. I have had the privilege as the art teacher of having the same kiddos year after year, of building relationships, of getting to know them all. Of knowing all the siblings and most the moms and dads. And not just knowing their faces, but knowing their stories, their trials, their sadnesses, and their joys.

As I step in faith away from this and towards what God has for me and my family next I am both excited and sad. I know I walk in obedience, and I trust God’s plan…but my heart is heavy as I go.

I hope that I was of the same breed of teacher as Mrs. Frizzle. I pray that my students came to my room excited, anticipating what we would do next. I hope they have been filled with a sense of wonder and curiousity about history and science and math. I hope that they have left my art room marveling at the beauty in this world and the awesomeness of our Creator. Because that’s what they did for me.

the Jill

I really thought the whole writing about who inspired the jewelry I’m creating thing would be easy…but it’s not. It’s so personal and real and I have to be pretty vulnerable in it, and that’s tough. Capturing who these women are to me in a few brief words has been nearly impossible.

Case in point…Jill.

When I made these earrings for my lovely friend I was a little worried she would never wear them. They aren’t something I think she would buy for herself, she may not have even given them a second look in the store honestly, but they are so her.

Over the last couple of years Jill has become my best friend, actually more than a best friend…family. I have so much fun with the girl! We are very different, but we have this mutual appreciation and respect for who the other person is. We’ve shared tears, prayers, loss, and laughter…lots and lots of laughter.

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She hated me taking these, but was such a good sport about it!

Her and the hubs walked the whole adoption journey with us. She talked me through the insanity of feeling like God was calling us to adopt a 12 year old boy, and showed up at my house to help me clean and get the room ready for the boy that was the answer to the question “am I crazy for thinking this is the Lord”.

Side note, Jill has had my boy as her student two years, one before he was ours and one after.

She is the most real and genuine person I know. She’s not afraid to be vulnerable, not afraid to enter into someone else’s pain with them. She’s eager to help in any way she can, to do whatever she is able, to relieve other’s burdens. And, she comes as a package deal with this amazing hubby and preciously wonderful kiddos.

And, Jill is cool. She has somehow transcended the natural rules of coolness by living a life fairly oblivious to most things pop culture, not really caring about fashion, and walking around thinking she’s not cool. Yet, she’s always adorably put together and totally relatable. I have not seen anyone rock running gear the way this girl does!

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I love these earrings, because they remind me of Jill. They are real and natural, and cool, and beautiful. They go with everything, but they are anything but plain. The crystal is transparent, but not perfect, the labradorite catches light to show you different colors.

In a world of putting on faces, of pretending, of hiding reality to show an ideal…I am daily blessed by my bestie Jill. She is something very different and so very real, she daily lives out her faith and where she walks she brings peace and love and joy…lots and lots of joy!

The Jill is available now!