Janine Feminella is creator and owner of Sreang. She creates hand crafted powerful jewelry with hammered brass, electro-formed copper, raw copper, natural gemstones, healing crystals, gold and sterling silver. She lives in Smithville, Texas with her husband Joseph. They own Sign and Banner Texas, a local print shop in nearby Bastrop, Texas.

1. Why did you choose to live in Bastrop County? 

My husband Joseph and I moved to Bastrop county from western Massachusetts back in 2008. we were looking for a change of scenery and decided it would be fun to try Austin, so we bought a house we found online in Elgin, packed our cat and car and headed south.

2. What compels you to spend time creating?

Growing up, my mother was always making things… sewing, crafting, making baskets, wood burning, calligraphy, you name it. She really instilled in me this passion to always be creating and trying new things. Working with my hands and watching something transpire from beginning to end helps keep me grounded and out of my head so much.

3. Tell me three things you’ve learned in the past five years.

  1. How important it is to set boundaries.
  2. Love is so much more powerful than hate, nothing transcends love.
  3. To let go of the things in which I have no control.

4. What are you currently making, reading, watching, or listening to?

Well, i’ve been a little consumed lately with researching my family history and building a family tree. I’ve been specifically interested in tracing my maternal lineage back as far as possible in Ireland. Nobody in my family knew the name of my mother’s great grandmother and I was able to find her searching through handwritten baptism records. It’s been an amazing way for me to connect with and honor my ancestors.

5. Cake or Pie?

Definitely cake, chocolate cake all day long.

Instagram @_sreang

Etsy Sreang

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In a Rented Minivan and Lighthearted we Took to the Open Road

Somewhere in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia

I’m not sure we realized how much we needed to put miles between ourselves and our home, our laptops, and our increasingly codependent dogs until somewhere near the Texas/Arkansas state line. We fell in love while road-tripping in 1995 and I’d forgotten what good road trippers we are. We’ve been on shorter road trips since living in Texas, but there is nothing like 3,500 miles of windshield time to reconnect and refresh.

Although this year has meant much more time at home than ever, most of that has been with my face in my laptop. In the beginning there were many delicious meals and coffee breaks during each work from home day, but somewhere along the way the Ines between my work day and home life began to blur and dinnertime became a chore again, my husband felt like he needed to tip toe around the house when he was at home during the day, and I found i dinlt mind working until 11:30 at night and jumping on my computer again at 6 am becasue at least I was home, right?

Like may of us, I am heading back into the office with my colleagues next week. I have mixed feelings about it, but know I will enjoy the camaraderie and change of scenery. One of the great gifts of this pandemic, beside being lucky enough to work from home, has been gaining back my evenings. I will continue to work from home on Mondays, and go in early so I can be home earlier.

I really loved this podcast episode “What’s Happening in Our Nervouse Systems?” of On Being with Krista Kippett.

I wish us all the best as we venture out into our new normals.

Watching & Knitting

Jean Smart is having a moment. If you’re not watching Hacks on HBO Max you need to remedy that tout-de-suite. Jean Smart’s bombastic, take no sh*t from anyone portrayal of comedian Debra Vance is spectacular. I wanna be her. I’m serious.

Hannah Einbinder either drew the short or long straw to snag the role of Ava, a young comedy writer hired to make Vance’s act more relatable to a younger audience. I say this because she has the herculean task of keeping up with Smart’s comic delivery, which cannot be easy. Their chemistry is what makes this show tick.

Smart is equally amazing on Mare of Easttown playing Kate Winslet’s character Mare’s mother. 

Hacks contains a lot of peppery language, as does this trailer.

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