Farm Life

A Productive Wait

Yup, horses can lie down and not be sick. I’m not sure where that rumor originated from.
Our wild/domestic turkeys enjoying the poo pile.
swimming ducks
Pip and Pepita enjoying some swimming pool time. They enthusiastically jump right in as soon as it’s freshened up.
Two of the farm’s many beautiful horses. I’m so glad I got this opportunity to work with horses and become more comfortable around them. They terrified me before this.

Yesterday, I finished my last full week of work as the Assistant Animal Caregiver at the sanctuary. The first few days had me second guessing myself but after the third day I couldn’t sleep at night because the body aches were so bad. Once again, thank you Aleve. I know for certain that I’m making the best possible decision for myself, although I’ll miss the staff and animals terribly. I had my second interview for the Programs Manager position set for today but it was rescheduled for next Thursday due to 6+ inches of snow in the forecast. Will it ever end? This winter has been absolutely staggering. Between below freezing temps and being buried in snow, I can just about say that I am–stick a fork in me–D.O.N.E. I’m exhausted in every way. It would do me good to once again state how much I enjoy Connelly and how humbling it is to be here in the midst of all this snow-covered chaos. Last night, some angel came and plowed everyone’s driveway, just for the heck of it. This place is getting to me. I’m beginning to think that generosity like that isn’t in short supply after all. Darn it, is this place making me a better person!? I must…maintain…my…cynicism…

So while I wait until my future figures itself out, I’ll be making soap. Yesterday, my oils arrived after being lost in the vortex for nearly a month. I’ve been studying up on how to make my soaps more eye-catching while keeping them as natural as possible and I’m chomping at the bit to put what I’ve learned into practice. Ugh, so many great ideas to execute. It really is an art and a science. I almost wish I’d bought more silicone molds so I can make a trillion varieties at once, but I’ll have to once again practice patience.

Some musings of interest:

♥ It’s a go for The Treehouse! Hip-hop, hooray, ho! I’m so ecstatically overjoyed for Kathy. They’re moving in March so I’ve got to start making goodies to fill that place up!

♥ A long-lost friend from high school sought my input on opening up a natural grocery store & cafe in the Ocean City, MD area–not too far from where my brother lives. As fate would have it, she wanted to open up something exactly like what I’d always envisioned a Sweet Pea’s Groceries brick and mortar store to be. So I encouraged the heck out of her plan AND I’m thrilled to report that she just signed a lease for a storefront right on the main drag in OC! I’m so proud of you Shenandoah! I can’t wait to see it!

♥ This is just a little inner musing that I thought I’d share in the hopes of getting your insight. I love blogs, etsy stores and instagram posts that feature items made from ethically sourced animal parts such as bones, feathers, skulls, pelts, etc… I just love all of that stuff and I collect anything like that on my hiking adventures. However, as time goes by I’ve become increasingly uncomfortable with it but for reasons I couldn’t quite elucidate. Last night, as I was salivating over such creations, I began reading the comments on such blogs and posts and I couldn’t help but get the feeling that people are treating this as a trend. Would most of these people purchasing a necklace made from a coyote bone even know what a coyote was? Would they be able to identify one in a line-up of animals? When they buy those earrings made of bison teeth, do they know anything about the history of bison? What about the necklace made from turtle toes. Do they realize that we’re losing them? Do they even really care? I think such creations provide teachable moments and can potentially inspire a deep appreciation of our natural world, however, I’m worried that most people just see them as trendy trinkets. Something to ponder…

Making Crafty Magic

Exciting Times for The Treehouse

The Treehouse in New PaltzThe Treehouse is a small retail fine craft gallery in New Paltz, NY. Since 2012, owner/artist Kathy Preston has gone from representing eighteen Hudson Valley artists to over thirty-five artists in a variety of media, from emerging artists who have never sold their work before to established artists with decades of experience. Kathy is in the process of moving to a new space right around the corner that would allow The Treehouse to create a new community arts hub with over twice the retail space, room for a full-service tailor shop, and workshop space for adult and children’s art classes. Kathy will be partnering with Cindy Capraro in this new phase. Cindy has been a professional costume designer and tailor for television, theater and dance for the last 18 years. She is also an artist known for using found and discarded objects to create beautiful and unique art and home décor.

Cindy will run the sewing studio and also offer sewing classes, full-service dressmaking and tailoring. Kathy has local artists committed to leading after school and weekend art and craft classes for children and teens, as well as teaching adult classes in drawing, illustration, paper marbling, knitting, crochet, mosaic, jewelry design, printmaking, and more. As The Treehouse grows, so will the breadth and scope of instruction. In this new location, they’ll also be able to offer affordable hourly rates for group meeting space, and free open studio sessions for people to come with projects and receive feedback and assistance. They are focusing on reuse, repurposing, self-sufficiency, and sustainability– building practical skills that also nurture an appreciation of fine art and handcraft.  Kathy is looking for new artists to sell their work in the expanded location, as well as artists interested in teaching classes. You can find out more at or mail Kathy at Anticipated opening dates are March 1 for the shop and April 1 for the workshop space.

♥ The Treehouse is also running an online campaign right now where donors can receive fantastic perks like tailoring, art, class discounts, and more here ♥

I’ve been lucky enough to be an artist at The Treehouse for more than a year now (it may actually be more like two years–I have no concept of time at this point). Through this experience I’ve had to the opportunity to meet many new customers, artisans and friends. I’m so excited that these two lovely ladies are pursuing their dreams to the fullest and taking the entire community along with them to help others do the same. I’m crossing my fingers and toes that this move will happen because I’ll be right there knocking on their door. Whatever you ladies need, count me in! For more pics of just what kind of crafty curation Kathy is capable of, even in the smallest of spaces, visit my post here.

Making Crafty Magic

The soap debacle has ended in joy!

So luckily this mess…

6c4c7b123bf311e3849f22000aeb126c_8Turned into this awesomeness…2013-10-24 10.12.45By the beard of Zeus! By last night, I was 100% positive that I was going to have to scrap this soap. As I shook the soap block out of the mold I was absolutely dreading what I was about to see. I apprehensively peeked at it with one eye, preemptively wincing, to find that it was, in fact, beautiful! It’s made with olive, organic coconut, castor & avocado oils mixed with natural colorants (turmeric, spirulina, activated charcoal, pure cocoa, cloves, & cinnamon), fullers earth clay, french green clay and cinnamon essential oil. Not too shabby for my first (and probably last) attempt at the faux funnel pour.

Also, I’m featured in the Artist Spotlight on The Treehouse’s blog. If you’ve ever wondered about me (and many do…myself included), feel free to read this. It may help clear things up or perhaps make them even more mirky…who knows!?

Here’s what I’ve accomplished today…

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I have three more of these particular messenger bags in the works. All bags and jewelry will be sold at upcoming shows and eventually make it to the Hazardous Materials Etsy store.

2013-10-24 18.10.50And what did I do with all of my little, teeny, tiny, wee scraps of fabric from making these bags, you ask?2013-10-24 18.07.20

Well most people would probably throw the scraps out BUT I can’t seem to throw anything out (with the exception of bills and the like). And no, it’s not a good thing. I seem to have a guilt complex around this issue. Perhaps something inside me sees an opportunity wasted? I don’t know. Nevertheless, I managed to make some really adorable jewelry out of the scraps from my recent sweatshopesque bag-making extravaganza. Just what I needed, more incentive to hold on to my hoarding habit.

Other points of interest that I thought I would pass along:

♥ For those of you who have a craft show display fetish, like I do, Laura from Roots and Feathers just posted the coolest jewelry display EVER! There’s no doubt it would make people stop to shop. Afterall, it’s all about curb appeal…just like so many things in life (Ooh, that’s my gutter mind sneaking into this blog post. Bad Jaime!) . See it here.

♥ This nice gal named Carli just contacted me via Etsy about submitting a product for review on her website, Livin’ the Mom Life. Sadly, I’m pinching every last penny so I’m not participating in any product reviews at this time BUT I wanted to share her site because she has a lot of information on product recalls and coupons (which I need to actually start clipping more of, speaking of pinching every penny). Visit her site here.

♥ Last but not least, I need to give another shout-out to my girl, Lisa. Just a few short weeks ago I helped her get her product review website up and running and she’s already gotten over 400 subscribers! She’s the Little Engine That Could of the reviewing world. Keep on chugging woman! Jesse from Themis and Thread is going to be sending her some clothes and jewelry to review. It’s always great to be the catalyst behind bringing two great people together. I plan to help her out from time to time on product reviews when/if she becomes overwhelmed. Check her out cuz she’ll be Checking U Out!


Meet the Artists

The Treehouse.
The Treehouse.

It’s that wonderful time of year when The Treehouse has it’s semi-bi-annual Meet the Artists Reception and Preview. Now is the time. Today is the freakin’ day people. Let’s do this! From 6 pm to 8 pm at 5 North Front Street in New Paltz, you can enjoy some snacks and beverages with the artists that make The Treehouse so darn eclectic and awesome. Come visit me. I would love to talk to you about what I do and answer any of your questions. We’ll laugh, we’ll cry, and we’ll have a great time doing it.

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The last reception was a hoot! I got to meet so many wonderful people and I can’t wait to do it again!

Also, this Saturday is the last outdoor Saugerties Farmers Market of the season. If you hear some disembodied whimpering right now, don’t worry, that’s just me crying. The indoor winter market will start up at the end of October but sadly, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make it. We shall see. In any case, please make an extra effort to come see me this Saturday if you need to purchase anything before the holidays. I will have more $2.00 soaps and $4.00 Halloween soaps, plus $1.00 soapy sticks. Concentrated liquid soaps are also back in stock: Lavender & Tea Tree, Lemongrass & Tea Tree and Sweet Orange & Tea Tree–8 ounces for $8.00. These liquid soaps can be diluted and used for dish washing, body washing, hair washing, dog washing, laundry washing, washing out someone’s dirty mouth…pretty much any washing need you may have. Plus, dilute a little bit in water, add some vinegar and lemon juice, and you have a fantastic household cleaner. And behold the awesomeness that is the $6.00, 2.25 ounce deodorant made with beeswax; neem oil; lemongrass, sweet orange and tea tree essential oils; olive oil infused with herbs; and shea & cocoa butter. This is some seriously good stuff here–it’s like a salve on steroids–and I will have it available. It can be used as a lotion, as a solid perfume (because it smells fantastic!) or a deodorant. And if none of this sounds even remotely appealing, remember, I don’t just sell soaps in my booth. Heck no! I also sell bags, table runners, tea cozies, and jewelry so there’s lots of shopping to be had.

IMG_20130907_134315As always, I will be available via Etsy (and I’m working on adding a store to this site) but my vending schedule is still being worked out. If you know of any events that you think I’d like to attend, please let me know. I want to do as many shows as possible this season. Ling Ling is getting her scarves ready to sell (she outsold me last week…jerk!) so we’ll be able to divide and conquer the craft show circut.

Essential Oil Deodorant & Solid Perfume Bar: infused herbs, beeswax, neem oil, butters, tea tree, lemongrass, sweet orange, salve, body bar

Making Crafty Magic

The Treehouse: A Post to Drool Over

I’m in the process of spring cleaning everything, including my computer files, and came across these pictures I totally spaced on sharing. Doh! I took these a few months ago when Kathy (the wonderful owner of The Treehouse) allowed me to work in her store for the day. I’ve never wanted to work somewhere so much in my life! Usually, I have the opposite problem. Amazingly enough, I walked out at the end of the day and didn’t purchase a single thing. I was super proud of myself because as soon as I walk into that place I usually lose all impulse control. Although some things have changed since I took these pictures, at least you can get an idea of how gorgeous the space is and how thoughtfully Kathy curates the store. If you see something that you just can’t live without or if you want to visit, click here for more info.

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Here are a few photos from The Treehouse’s 1st Anniversary Party & Artists’ Reception:

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Helen (as in Helen of Memphis) is talking to another talented artist. Click on this photo to see what Helen is all about. You can catch her working in the store on Wednesdays.

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Last but not least, this adorable creature is named Erin and she has a brand-spankin’ new store called The Modern Dream in Saugerties. Click on her picture to learn more.



A Hudson Valley Hike: Mohonk

capture_01-1Here are some photos of the hike I took at Mohonk with my friend Ami. It’s days like this that I realize just how good I have it. The Mohonk Preserve is a fantastic place to hike and boulder (or do just about any other outdoor activity you can think of…from rock climbing to boating to tennis and everything in between). The views alone are worth all the huffing and puffing. Plus, the Mountain House is an incredible sight to behold and the inside is open to overnight AND day guests so anyone is welcome to walk around and enjoy (there is a day use fee). They have a museum, a gift shop, a spa, a greenhouse, a restaurant… The list of amenities is too long to post here but you get the idea. Bottom line: it’s an awesome place! They even have an outdoor ice skating rink with an enormous fire pit at one end (kind of defeats the purpose in my mind but it’s still neat).

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