The Company of Women

We are not all here for this shot, but from left to right are; Emily, Stacey, Martha & Emma.

I can’t beleive it’s been a whole year! This weekend She Creates Union participated as a group in the Elgin Art Studio Tour. This time last year Emma and I were hatching an idea for a group for women makers and artists whose sole function was to fully support each member creatively while helping each other navigate branding, social media, marketing, and general business best practices.

I remember talking it up with Emily (www.paintbrushprintcompany.com) while were both doing demos that weekend at G&M Drygoods.

Community

While there are groups like BossBabesATX that organize events and meet-ups in Austin, we were interested in forming a more intimate community in our small town just 19 miles east of Austin and the neighboring towns like Paige, Bastrop, amd Lexington. We particpate here in local events and will be expanding our efforts later this year to markets in Austin and Pflugerville.

Since we formed SCU we have participated in one large festival, an art studio tour, and a couple pop-up shops. We meet once a month and talk about things we’ve been thinking about doing, things we’ve done, and generally cheer eachother on.

Whether at our monthly meeting or via our Slack channel, there is always some nudging, sometimes gently, sometimes not, eachother to raise our prices. We generally suck at pricing our work, but we’re getting better.

I recently saw this quote, “You’re priceless, your work is not.” I cannot find where I saw this yet, but wil link when I do.

Always Learning

To say we’ve all learned a lot in the past year would be an understatement. We are constantly investigating and learning as individuals and bringing our acquired knowledge to the group. Sometimes these fact finding misssions look like sitting in a sales tax class, taking an online course, or visiting a craft market or festival. It’s all learning.

Run Like You Stole It

No, I’m not running for city council again, but this photo pops up in my feed each May like a bad penny. It reminds me that I once did this super scary thing which was so out of my comfort zone and the rewards are still being counted. Steve and I had been living here less than 2 years (this timeline may be edited later), so this felt crazy.

I was a write-in candidate for my first election… so obviously unplanned and late. As soon as I sent off my application I was struck with fear and called the city secretary to ask about withdrawing my application. She said it was not possible, but that I could run a really bad election if I really didn’t want to win. Excellent advice.

Later that month I was chatting with some people at an art show or potluck and mentioned I wasn’t sure if I was the best person for the job. A local attorney asked me, “Well, are you the worst?”

My reply, “I hope not.”

So I won my first election as a write-in candidate, ran unopposed for my second election, had my drunk neighbor run against me for my third, and had my ass handed to me my fourth run by a candidate who had more cousins than I had votes.

The takeaway?

If I can do this, so can you. All I had to do was show up to serve and listen. A lot. In return I realized I was more brave than I’d thought and gained a host of new friends and a whole new community.

Here’s to making your world larger every day.

Best of Both Worlds

Traffic Jam, Elgin, Texas

I am often reminded of how great it is to live in a small town. Recently I was able to use my neighbors’ oven when my oven would not light and I had 2 dump cakes* to bake for 2 potlucks. This weekend a local shop offered to wrap my print job and place outside their door for me to pick up after hours, with instructions to just push a check through the mail slot or call Monday with a credit card number. Just would not happen in a large city.

I enjoy working in downtown Austin and coming home to the Sausage Capital of Texas every day. It blows my mind that I can spend a lunch hour at an art museum, shopping at a gourmet shop, or eating ramen, and return home where my friends and neighbors are dancing to a band playing at the gazebo in the center of town. The best of both worlds, I feel very lucky. Still.

*Is dump cake mostly a souther thing?

Buy This Card & Empower Lives

Down Home Ranch is a nonprofit working farm community for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities located in Elgin, Texas. The ranchers and their extended community are ever present at Elgin’s many annual festivals, monthly Sip, Shop & Stroll events. Locals look forward to their tomatoes, lettuce, jellies, potted plants, eggs, and cards (like the one above), at the Bastrop 1832 Farmers Market.

In addition to their greenhouse operations and plant sales, Down Home Ranch supports an Etsy shop which sells cards featuring original art by ranchers, embroidered tea towels, and engraved travel tumblers. All proceeds support their mission: Empowering the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities through social, educational, residential and vocational opportunities. I visited DHR a few years ago, you can read my post about the experience here.

Shop Down Home Ranch Etsy shop here

Find out more about Down Home Ranch at downhomeranch.org


Friday Favorites: Winterspring & the Simple Art of Not giving a Hoot

Texas Redbud, (Cercis canadensis var. texensis)

Winterspring

In my mind there are 6 different seasons in a calendar year. Winter, Winterspring, Spring, Summer, Summerfall, and Fall. I especially love the misty, froggy, blossomy time of winter just before Spring.

Reminds me of a Joke…

This Fresh Air podcast interview with Mary Pipher about why older women are happier than their mothers were at their age. I love when she shares about how she starts her day with a cup of coffee just watching the morning come alive outside. This reminds me of a long standing practice in our home. I don’t wake crabby, but I do wake up slowly… drinking coffee, watching the bird feeders and the morning light hit all the trees in our back yard. The second cup is often enjoyed outside. https://www.npr.org/2019/02/27/698620524/why-older-women-are-often-the-happiest-demographic-in-america

Oh, the joke?

What’s the difference between a woman in her twenties and a woman in her forties?

The woman in her twenties always wants to know what your thinking, the woman in her forties doesn’t care.

Thank you, I’ll be here all week.

Definition of the Week

These are by far my most favorite pencils of all time. I love the very black lines it makes and the flattened ferrule is cool because it is refillable. I don’t know about you but I always run out of eraser before I run out of ideas.

Palomino Blackwing pencils


Hogeye Festival Update. Why? Because Olive U

Game of Scones_ spreader Potluck Tableware Bean and Noodle photo by Stacey Van Landingham

“GAME OF SCONES” Cheese/Butter Spreader. Photo by Stacey Van Landingham

Also, because I cannot wait for GOT Season 8. C’mon already. Cue the opening credits, jam, and clotted cream.

Olive U_pickle fork Potluck Tableware Bean and Noodle photo by Stacey Van Landingham

“OLIVE U” Olive/Pickle Fork. Photo by Stacey Van Landingham

Because OLIVE U… and picking up pickles and olives with your fingers or toothpick is barbaric.

Pile of freshly tagged Potluck Tableware

Ready for Hogeye. photo by Stacey Van Landingham

Please come visit our booth at the Hogeye Festival tomorrow, Saturday, October 27th. My crew She Creates Union will be selling original designs and hand made items. Be sure to check out our new website Emma created SheCreatesUnion.org.

Festival attendees who sign up for my email list will be entered into a drawing for a “Mind Your Own Biscuits” Spreader. You don’t have to be present to win, but you do need to to sign up in person. I’ll be drawing for the winner Saturday night at 11pm.

See you there!

 

Friday Favorites: Pie, Pie & More Pie

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This year our Pi(e) Day Social was a great success. Lovely pies and reasonably good people. Image courtesy of @dchav_

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And speaking of pie…I found myself needing a super quick piecrust because my frozen pie disk had taken a bad turn during a power outage. Though conventional wisdom tells me it’s unwise to try something new when entertaining, I decided to give this quick pie crust a try. I scoffed at the claim that this piecrust is revolutionary… but am now a convert. The crust is kind of shortbready, buttery, flaky, and so easy. Perfect for single crust pies. You can buy The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook here.

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I find it hard to find sprouts in the small amount I need, so felt it economical to try sprouting my own. I found these on Amazon. I believe these are radish, lentil and some other guys.

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I am just about to bind off this lovely poncho in Rowan Felted Tweed and am itching to start something with Euroflax Linen, maybe this tunic or another wrap.

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Sharing your bounty. While planning your spring garden, plan to plant just a little bit more to share with your local community food bank. Contact them first, but many of your local organizations will gladly accept washed, home grown produce to offer their clients. Ample Harvest has a Find a Pantry button on the top of their site to help you find a local food bank or soup kitchen that would love to accept your produce and eggs. If you live in Elgin you can donate food here.

Five Fab for Friday: Arturo the Aqua Boy & Pick Your Own Damn Bluberries

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1. Geek Love. The author Katherine Dunn passed away this week. I cannot tell you how this novel ruined everything I tried to read afterward for quite some time. It was as if I’d tasted the most perfectly tart rhubarb pie and everything after was Pop Tarts. Warning, the wild tail (pun intended, spoiler alert) in this book is not for the faint of heart. It appears nothing she did ever was. She was one of my heroes. I love this story in the Willamette Week.

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2. Pick Your Own Damn Blueberries. It just wouldn’t be time for Memorial Day Weekend without me mentioning these bad boys. I do believe I may have just found the perfect name for any pick your own farm. Each year I reach out to Bill at Chickamaw Farm and Ranch in nearby McDade to see how close they are to picking. As of this morning, these are still a couple weeks form being ready to pick. Bill says, “Berries are out there just waiting for the rain to quit and the sun to shine hot and long.  I figure in a couple o’ weeks at the most but stay tuned.” Cannot wait. Call before you head out 512-567-3456.

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3. An actual finished knitting project. I have not been my usual knitty self these past months, so it feels so good to finally complete this incredibly basic garter stitch shawl.  The yarn is Mountain Colors, 4/8’s Wool in Harmony Rose.

4. I recently found these incredibly helpful cheat sheets for knitting shawls without any real pattern in mind…hence the above finished shawl. She also has some lovely patterns. You will want to download these PDFs. 5 Basic Shawl Shapes and 5 Basic Shawl Shapes in the Round. Find many more helpful tips and lovely patterns at Laylock.org

5. This recipe on Pinterest. I am craving a fried chicken sandwich and this. Seriously.