Friday, March 27, 2015

Sailor's Daughter

My dad, the original hipster. Bearded and  inherently cool without trying. Laid back and gentle but also manly and tough. He handled life with an honest authentic approach. He was adventurous and creative...kind and truthful even when truth wasn't easy. He was a woodshop teacher and builder with wood, more like an artist at times.   He loved a good joke and he really really loved Three Stooges movies. Like they made him laugh so hard, tears ran down his face. I never really got all of that but I loved watching him watch those movies.

But what my dad loved most of all (besides his family) was to sail. He loved being on the water, the wind in his face and hand on the tiller.  I'm the oldest of his three children, the only daughter and my brothers inherited his love for sailing and boats. I love the feeling of the wind in my face and going fast but I prefer it from the back of a horse than from the deck of a sailboat.  But it's the same thing. The going fast.... 

I have loads of memories about my dad and I could tell you about him forever. He liked to go get doughnuts from the local doughnut shop, Courthouse Creamery where they had a doughnut making machine and we would sneak away and have a doughnut at the counter on special mornings. He also loved a cherry slurpee on a Friday afternoon.  He could fix anything as it always seemed something needed fixing. And he whistled like nobody else. But his singing voice, oh my, it was rich and deep and when we sang together, I knew what harmony was all about.

When I was about 5, we used to travel on summer days on his Vespa scooter, he on the seat, me standing on the floorboards in front of him wearing sunglasses from the dimestore to keep bugs out of my eyes. Our dog Ginger sitting on the floorboards in front of my feet. His arms around me making sure I was safe and shouting things in my ears and I yelled "Wee Bye Bye"...going fast.....My dad  knew interesting people and would spend time listening  to their amazing interesting stories and told some of his own. And he loved my mom like people should be loved. From the time he was 13 she was his best friend, partner in wild adventures and his safe place. And he was hers.  He was a good man, a man unlike anyone I ever known or  ever will. 

My dad has been gone too long, it's hard to believe there is a world without him in it. Cancer sucks and took him away long before he should have been gone. But today I won't think about all that. Today is my dad's birthday and he remains the coolest guy I have ever known and is still so  loved.  I wish I could get to the ocean and sail fast today, I wish he was here with me. Goodness knows I could use his gentle wisdom and  how I would love to sing Michael Row the Boat Ashore with him one more time.  I am grateful for my days on this Earth with my dad and so proud to be a sailor's daughter.  Sail forever and go fast Dad...I love you endlessly

Love wins

Sunday, March 22, 2015

This is my story

“Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.” 
― BrenĂ© Brown

When I started this blog, I had a choice....I could write about the surface stuff like how my business is doing or the shiny version, the one with the pulled together outfits, clean house, I'm so awesome in everything I do kind of stories. You know the version that makes other people think I'm something I'm not.  I decided that if I was going to do this blog thing, I needed to do it on my terms, with my story being woven through the shiny stuff.  I could have just told you all funny mom stories or talked about what is easy to talk about but I'm not that kind of girl. I have an intense need to be authentic and tangled because I'm sort of over doing what I should, saying what others are comfortable with and trying to be something I'm not. I'm a girl with a story and it's not always pretty, but it is real and it is me.

Trying to figure out where to draw the line about what to share and what not to let out of my heart, I'm not sure can do that. So I speak and write my truth. My story. We all have them and we should tell about them, at least that is what I believe.  It's not easy to unmask ourselves and show the grit along with the good stuff. I think they go hand in hand and I think that nobody has it 100 percent together. I don't think we need to. And in the telling and listening of stories, I truly believe we should respect and honor the authentic, raw stuff that we are handed by others. I just do.

Recently, a blog post was  read to  someone who doesn't respect or care for who I am and has no respect for what I have to say. And then my words were twisted and thrown back at me like a weapon. I got scared and defensive and found the unbrave girl in me scrambling for cover and wishing I hadn't said anything that was real and offensive to the word thrower. And I took the cowards way out, I deleted a few blog posts.  And as I write that last sentence, my heart actually feels like it's breaking because I let myself down. I betrayed my promise to myself to live with my truth and vulnerability shamelessly. Because I got scared. After the brave acts of sharing my truth here in a public way, I stopped trusting myself because one person shamed me about speaking my mind.  Dude...this so isn't the way I mean to be.....

So first of all I'm sorry I wimped out and deleted my posts. I regret it because I can't get them back and I was proud of those posts. They were the most difficult and raw things I have ever written and I thought they were beautiful. Words flowed in a way they don't often flow... that part of the story telling was  magical and hard.

Second of all, I won't get scared again. 

Third of all....I do have a pretty life, there are wonderful, amazing things going on, woven into my story which happens at this moment to include some things that aren't so pretty. But that is where clarity and joy are found. Underneath the worry that people don't want to hear your story down where the truth is. Under the shame and fear are beautiful things. I won't keep them hidden.  This isn't about the person who turned my story on me, this is about me staying brave and true. This is about the fact that I get to tell it the way I see it. Tangled truth..this is my life, this is my story.

By the way I heart Brene Brown....

Love wins

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Bits and pieces

I do love to write and post here. Truly, I wish I could find a way to write and make enough money so that I would never have to wonder how I would buy groceries or find a place to live ever again. Because I would have enough money for my simple little life and it would happen while doing what I love to do. Make things, live life in a happy place and tell stories. But that isn't how it is right now (I'm not giving up on that sweet  thought) and my daily life comes at me so daily and I don't make time to post like I should...That's not to say I don't have stuff to say, I just haven't made the time and I sort of feel like it's not sensational enough. Just regular stuff. So I decided to just gather a few of the things on my mind and do a post. Seems better than not posting at all. So in no particular order here are the things I've been thinking about.

1.  Hank picked a college...After a couple of official recruiting visits he picked Ventura College. A gorgeous Junior College in Ventura California and let me tell you all, it's a stunning setting... The football field looks out at the ocean and the Channel Islands and the coaches were really great to talk with and super excited to have him. The academic support is great. I think he knew in 10 minutes this was the right place for him. I will be doing a longer post on the road to college choices and athletics and why for my son a Junior College was a perfect fit. Plus he is close and I get to watch him play and visit him (not too often I promise).  More about all of this later.  By the way, they put this jersey on him with his high school number. #4.... at that moment it all got super real. The growing up and going to college and leaving...all of it...pride and tears, relief and a mom heart that cracked in half although I didn't tell him that...

2. It's a bit crazy busy for my sweet little kitchen table business right now. Wildflower 57 will be returning to Three Speckled Hens in Paso Robles, CA May 2 and 3.The Three Speckled Hens Show has been ranked as one of the nation's top antique shows in publications such as Flea Market Style, Flea Market Decor and Romantic Homes."  
I have done the show before but it's been a couple of years because of scheduling issues. But I'm super happy to be going home.  Seriously, if you can get there, I recommend it, not just so you can come say hi to me but so that you can see all the AH MAZE ING vendors and their over the top setups and displays.  I'm sewing every spare moment to bring new products. Of course it's not easy to stay focused on creating 20-40 of something when the squirrel party in my head is throwing ideas around day and night. I haven't started the panic state yet but I do admit that even early show prep work is a little chaotic and fun.  I love the beat of my heart as I figure out what my "look" for the show will be and I'm super happy to be sharing a space with the inspiring and gorgeous Polly from  I can tell you that I'm just all about Pretty...that's my look, pretty. Lots of florals and pretty color. Doing a little bit of furniture redos and I'll have a sneak peek on that soon too.  Quilts, bags, aprons, accessories and housewares galore. And clothing...I'm working hard to make my Wild Daisy collection of  clothing debut at that time.  more pretty... 

3.  So I took my mom to the Quilting in the Pines Retreat weekend put on by my lovely employers at .  4 days away from real life spent sewing all day long and enjoying the gorgeousness of Bass Lake California. I'll post more about that too. (OMG I keep saying I'll write about it later. talk about procrastination)..Here is a picture of my cute mom and I and one of our work table with wine, jellybeans and zipper pouches (Three Speckled Hen's here they come) . Believe it or not, we got lots of great sewing done...we also ate and laughed a lot. 

4. And lastly, I just want to touch on how the healthy life stuff is going.  It's going...results are slow it seems but I have admittedly not been as diligent with my eating and it's showing. I'm still losing about 2 pounds a week, I still am moving my body more and I'm still feeling better. I could be doing better, but I really really feel this isn't a race, it's change and health and  brave acts  all going on at the same time and patience is key.....  My personal stuff is still hard, I have amazing days and really sucky days, part of the deal I know. But I work really hard to operate from an open and happy place, to find joy when it really would be super easy to wallow. And sometimes I wallow but only for a few moments and for me that is a victory. Healthy life is healthy inside too and I know that I am asking a lot of myself to tackle so much all at once, but then I sort of love the challenge. Like these hills I did while at Quilt Camp. They were hard, they hurt, a lot.... but it felt like such a personal victory to haul my body up and down this hill twice each morning. I love the feeling of sore muscles, it tells me I am making progress. I am learning to love the feeling of standing tall in support of myself when my heart is hurting, I know that is progress too...And yes ..I will write about all of this more later. I promise because you know how much I love to tell stories and share truths. But for today, some bits and pieces because I am in show mode and the squirrels are screaming my name...

Oh ....I wanted to show you my new shirt. A teeny reward for a good month of brave acts and because I love it. Giraffes on a tee. I got it from my friend Laura at and it made me ridiculously happy. Soft clothing, treats once a month and loving every step of this road. And a little sass... we all need some sass.

Until I can think in longer sentences and write more about all the stuff I want to tell you, I am off to sew and make things. I can't wait to show you the pretty for the show and tell you more stories. I love you all like a tee with giraffes on it.
<3 Barbara

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Brave Acts- The Tale of the Tattle Tail

I have Brave Acts on the brain these days. I see them in every day life, every time I don't allow what I may have allowed before because I wanted to "be nice" or just keep things calm. I find myself looking for and valuing Brave Acts and holding onto the lessons learned like they were pennies I need to save. I want to tell you about Brave Acts, some ordinary, some big. And because I love to tell stories of good things. With my daughter Abby's permission, here is the Tale of the Tattle Tail.

Abby is the oldest of my five children. She was and still is kind, funny and sensitive. She wasn't a rule breaker or misbehaver at all. She was and still is a delightful and considerate person. At preschool the teachers and staff adored Abby and she adored them, especially her teacher. She was shiny and lively and would often burst out in song like a happy Disney movie in real life, the whole class would join in and she brought a sweet unfettered joy to the school. Every day I would be met by the teacher with a story of how Abby was kind or made everyone happy with her skippiness.  

Until one day, I was pulled into the Director's office and then heard the words that parents dread ...."we had a little problem today with Abby"....As I listened she rolled out the story of the "incident".... It seems that the staff had attended a conference the previous weekend where they discussed among other things, the way to handle what we all call Tattling. You know, when kids tell on other kids for small things, it's annoying and everywhere in a preschool and early school setting.  The conference (taught by Puritans as far as I could tell) suggested that when kids were Tattling, that way to handle it was to pin a "tattle tail" on the offender. Much like Pin the Tail on the Donkey. The intention was to humiliate the kids into keeping quiet.  Yes, humiliation as a technique, why not just put them in stocks in the middle of the playground and throw fruit at the little tattlers?

Abby it seemed had been a victim of our neighborhood bully (who also attended the preschool) ...(trust me, he was a jerk in the making, I can say this with confidence because he lived on our block and rode his bike past our house to yell things at my kids daily, I already didn't care for the pisshead)  He had been tormenting her at school as well. So on this particular day after the Humiliation as a means for controlling students Seminar, Abby was again being followed and taunted by this kid so went to her favorite teacher to get some help with the situation. But instead of receiving any help, my sensitive daughter who was until that moment the bright light of the pre-school was pulled into the office and told she was now considered a "Tattle Tale" and her punishment would be to wear a long piece of cloth pinned to the back of her dress, a tail for a Tattle teller. My girl fell to pieces, terrified, humiliated and betrayed.  She became hysterical, distraught and begged for them to call me. The director saw how upset Abby was but instead of backing down, she brought in Abby's favorite teacher to force the punishment on her and pin the tail to her. It took 2 grown women over an hour to stop her sobs and get her calmed down. And at the end of it, they put that tail on my girl's dress and sent her out to the playground.  Betrayed by the people she had counted on to protect her.

And then that sweet sensitive girl did a brave thing. She curled that tail into a ball and sat on it. She wouldn't budge from where she was. She couldn't stop them from doing their cowardly act and she was far from defiant, she just got super creative and didn't let them humiliate her in front of the whole school. 

I know that the director was expecting me to jump on board their crazy train idea but that didn't happen either. I let them know that they should be ashamed of using humiliation as a tactic, I told them that if ever a child of mine required 2 adults to calm her down for over an hour, they had better make a call to me. And I told them they had no business being around children.  I wrote a letter to the newspaper which was printed and one to the Licensing Board for preschools in California and that preschool was investigated and closed for multiple violations including the use of what was deemed to Corporal Punishment as it seems the Tattle Tail was much like the Dunce Cap not allowed in preschools...Thank goodness..

In every brave act there is a lesson and this one has stuck with me. Abby is a grown up bright light, she has a strong sense of what is right in this world and remains one of the kindest and most considerate people I know. She is raising a couple of bright light boys which is good news for this world. What I learned from my girl and her brave act is that  you always always have some power in any situation, even if you are 5 or 57. She didn't let the bully win, she didn't let the adult bullies win. She was braver and smarter than they were. It's taken me many more years to get this than it took Abby but lately I have thought about what courage it took to say "enough." ...Brave Acts every single day.....  That's the deal, be brave because you don't have to wear the tail people pin on your dress.... 

Love wins