Monday, January 23, 2012

Rural Women Rock

Hi! My Name is Erin and I blog today for Rural Women Rock.
Isn't it funny how,
you have to slow down to realize you are..... right where you want to be?

For a long time, I didn't believe these words. I moved pretty much all the time, all over the country, since I was young enough to have left the search of....who knows! At one point I had such itchy feet, I couldn't stay ANYWHERE for more than 3 months.... I thought that where I always was, there would be something better around the corner....A better place, a better town, better people....

and then one day, I found where I was living at the time,
was right where I wanted to be.

I live in Northwestern Montana in a great little town, Whitefish. There's a Ski Resort just up the road, Glacier National Park around the corner, and I am surrounded by some of the most gorgeous wilderness areas in the country. BUT I definitely wouldn't consider Whitefish *Rural* Montana. My town is small, yes, just over 8,000 people year round....but that doesn't include the silly influx of tourism during the ski season, or in the summer when Glacier Park opens up. There's a great martini bar in town that bacon-infuses their vodka (yup) and a brewery that makes huckleberry beer, I can get a fair-trade cup espresso any hour of the day, and there's even SUSHI...but for me, it's not the things you can get here that make this place special.

There's no Wal-Mart here, no box stores at all really. 5 minutes out of town is just that. OUT of town. The post office folks know me by name. If you're at the grocery store, you are guaranteed to run into someone you know. Montanans are some of the friendliest folks I've ever met...My bank teller gave me a jar of homemade applesauce for christmas, through the drive thru! I like that, in a small town, there is no anonymity. If you've done something wrong, cheated someone or worse, it usually comes back to bite you harder than you were bit. And everyone knows it. I feel like it keeps us all honest, and a little bit more respectful. Good reputations are easy to ruin, and hard to maintain. You have to earn it here. And I like that.

The seasons in between our crazy tourism influx is my favorite, when the town empties and the world starts to slow down a little.
*mud season*
Its a great time to catch up on a good book, go for an awesome hike, and for me, to bury myself in my studio.
Who am I? Well, I am 27 years old. I grew up in the suburbs of the front range in Colorado. From a pretty early age, I loved outside more than inside. I am one of those girls who is usually happier dirty, and usually IS dirty! I love wide open spaces and warm faces in the country, round bails of hay and the smell of burning ditches. I love my mama, and there is not a cuss word I didn't learn from her! I love canning my own tomatoes and starting campfires. I love my rubber garden boots. Baking is usually some form of stress relief, and I still don't understand why my family loves sauerkraut on their pizza. *ick* I can't stand bickering and have no patience for people who believe they "can't". I'm a sucker for thrift store dishes, red wine, and the vintage whites market. I love to skate-ski in the winters out on the lake near our house, and November hunting season in my house means quiet time to myself, until the boys are back *hopefully* with some meat for the freezer, and some Ivory for me! I have been in the process of learning the world of metal at the community college here in Kalispell, and am proud (and scared shitless!) to have quit my day-job to pursue metalsmithing full time. I will graduate this spring with a degree in Goldsmithing and Jewelry Arts.
I left Colorado 6 years ago, looking for a sense of place in the mountains....
and have fallen madly in love with the state of Montana. and my native-montana man, Jesse.
We met 5 years ago,

and we both crave outside adventure. fuel for your fire.
which for both of us, is usually lit with a very thick, black, cup of joe in the mornings.

in alaska this spring....glaciers are amazing!
on the river in the summer....
and usually with Tex, this handsome dude.
I love that nature has been so intricately entwined into my life, part of my backyard, part of my identity. I have never felt so more at home than here in the great northwest.
I consider myself to be a very lucky girl, and am blessed for the friends I have, the beautiful country i am surrounded by, and the adventures I have been on....

The beach and the garden are two of my happy places.
although, in landlocked Montana, I get a lot of the latter.
and that's just fine with me.

But my REAL happy place, the place I can center my head and slow down....
My Studio.
and lately that's been in fifty million places.
the name of the game in 2011 for Jesse and I was MOVING. *ick*
carting around heavy metalsmithing equipment is not exactly my idea of fun.
currently my work space is chaos...but it works.

One day
it will be all in here.
in this little space.
and it will be a sanctuary for creative juice.
My little business, Rag and Stone, will have a home.

The bungalito, the name for my little building was all Jesse's idea.
What girl WOULDN'T love their own building???

I love to create out of metal.
I have always loved creating, but this medium...
I don't know if it's the fire,
or the silver,
or just the shiny stones.


I love creating pieces for strong women. for strength.


we ARE strong.
we build ourselves every day.
and yes......
we ROCK!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


I hiked up to the "L" twice during the weekend, ate the best pizza in the world, shopped at my favorite tea/coffee/funky stuff store, found a great deal on a wool coat, soaked in hot springs, and got to spend the weekend wandering downtown with hot tea and nowhere to be.


and then we drove home and it got even better!

on the side of the road, on the way home.

man I love Montana.

and.....the best part of it all.....

we came home to this......


side note: I am back in school.
last semester.
started on Tuesday.

here we go again.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Headed out of town for a long weekend....big city of Missoula.
Hot springs and Thai food. maybe a little skate-skiing. : )
Our cleanse diet is done, so now it's off to breweries and a little shopping!
and If I am lucky, Harbor Freight.
(They have an awesome potbelly wood stove I have been drooling over for the bungalito.)

Orders in my shop will ship 1-17.

Much love.

Have yourself a wonderful MLKjr. weekend everyone!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dark and Stormy studs

A day spent without the sight or sound of beauty, the contemplation of mystery, or the search of truth or perfection is a poverty-stricken day; and a succession of such days is fatal to human life.~Lewis Mumford

what a magical little set of studs.


i swear.

magic and.....
a little liver of sulphur.

These are actually faceted rose quartz stones, very clear, barely pink at all. The liver of sulphur bath I used to darken the metal kind-of leaked through the backplate, and I got this ridiculous patina UNDERNEATH the quartz.

Planned? Nope.
Surprised with what I got? Yes.
Sure I can do it again? Definitely not!

............ but I got magic nonetheless. They have the feel of lavender, or labradorite. Flashy and dark, but light and friendly. They're like the good witches pair of earrings...

Mystery in a set of studs.
Sometimes it's better when there isn't a plan...

...Listed on Etsy....

Dots and Lines

New ring today!

Just listed in my Etsy shop.

and don't forget...

20% off thru January in my shop!!
My little hat-tip to 2012.
new beginnings and all.

I have, over the past few days, been struggling with my studio space. My time spent seemed it would go around in circles till I nearly wanted to cry. Now, I have created something I like....and I don't want to cry anymore. Funny how that works.

Dots and Lines. A simple band.

so pretty. so sturdy.
maybe just what I needed.
a sturdy little ring to set me right.

You don't have to re-invent the wheel all the time.

Just give it a good heave-ho.
and see what happens.
Trust yourself.


I am resolving to make my studio space, the space that I have work, because it does.
I just so desperately wanted to be in the bungalito.
I've been talking about change, and about building.

and really, I set it in my head that I HAD to be moved in for 2012.

well now, thats silly.

It sits vacant this winter.
and it's a little saddening to see it.
out there in the weather, with no warmth in it.
no floor, no electricity, no heat.

hrrmmm....a bit of a project.

but it isn't going anywhere.
and neither am I.

patience is a virtue.i guess.


Friday, January 6, 2012

“Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one's thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.”

-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Getting back into the studio, getting into the groove...

has been, lets just say. kind of a chore.

I am the kind of person that puts roadblocks in my mind, things that need to be done before other things get done, or before that is done, this ABSOLUTELY MUST be finished. I get hung up on dirty clothes and dirty dishes, on little projects and big dreams. I make excuses for myself, ridiculious ones, and then justify them to no end. I can't see the light sometimes. I get angry. and stubborn and rude. I get whiney and so wishy-washy I make MYSELF dizzy. Focusing on one project ends up focusing on too much of the big picture, and then I end up doing nothing....and am pissed about it. I want to move forward, but x-y-z needs to get done so I CAN do that (even though I really know, deep inside my little head, that this is nonsense, and just do what you want to do....right?)

Sometimes I make myself myself.

ever do that?


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

This is a photo a dear bloggy friend took near her home in Newfoundland....

Her name is ShannonAnn (with a wonderful blog to check out!), and she has been gracious enough to pass on something called the Liebster Blog Award.

The Liebster Blog award is given to bloggers with fewer than 200 followers.
The rules:
1. You are to thank the giver, the person who awarded you the gift.
2. Reveal your 5 blogger picks, and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and Paste the award on your blog.
4. Hope that the people you sent the award to, will forward it to their 5 favorite bloggers.

My five Liebster picks are:

1. Silver Sparrow Designs - This woman makes incredibly unique jewelry, and has such a way with words. Very inspiring. Her musical taste is also lovely, I know I can always get myself out of that music-rut just checking out what she's up to!
2. Rural Women Rock - This blog is up and newly running, with a force of great women behind them! I am very excited to see where this project leads these ladies, always worth a look!

3. Bikbik and Roro - What an eye for design this woman has, I love all her "loving today" posts.

4. Betsy Bensen Jewelry - Professional Jeweler living in Portland, OR. Her work is hands-down amazing.

5. Yon Tracker - I don't know if it's kosher to add him in the mix (his blog doesn't have a list of "Followers", but this is my dear friend Canyon....and he is a RIOT! His camera-lens goes places not many people get to go. Check it out.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

So here it is, another year ahead.

and I am full of butter.
and sugar.
and caffeine.
and all the fixings of a great holiday dinner.

and I feel like sh*#


I think one of the best things I can do for myself right now, in order to BUILDa better me...

is change my eating.

and do a little body to speak.
Now I don't want to start blogging about diet, or my diet, or a specific diet each their own, really.

but I will say this.

I am not a "diet-y" kind of person.

I have learned from my mama to eat well, take care of my body, and I am pretty active outdoors. Some of my favorite books are about the relationship we have with food, growing food, and eating food. I wouldn't say I need to loose weight, and this is NOT what my intended plan is. But, in lieu of the holidays, I most definitely can say I have de-railed my fairly healthy-concious eating habits with too many mexican wedding cake cookies, too many late afternoon cups of coffee, and let's just say I had my fair share of hot buttered rums (which are my absolute favorite, by the way, rivaled next to my love of red wine and irish whiskey)

I have invited a few friends, and Jesse, to a 14-day detox and cleansing diet. And we started yesterday.

The first week is eating super healthy. no wheat, no dairy. a ridiculous amount of organic greens I've never even known to exist.

and flax.
(wtf is flax?)

and hemp whey.

and the whopper will be the fast on sunday.

I've done fasting before, in healthy realms, in healthy times in my life. There are good ways to go about not eating for a day....And actually, I am looking forward to it. It is a great time to focus on the now, and slow down a bit in life. a great time to build.


Keep you posted as the week progresses. Like I said, I don't want to blog about diet, or my diet, but I thought it worth mentioning.