A Good Death

Today I said goodbye to my first Hospice patient. She would have been 100 in December. They work hard to match up volunteers with patients, and they did a fantastic job with us. We bonded quickly and talked about everything, from how short Tom Cruise is to how worried her five-year-old self was that her father would have to leave the family to go fight in WWI. She talked about "the tremendous progress of the female" over the century of her life (she was especially sympathetic with all the hardship the pioneer women endured), and she often told me that I don't need a man and, in fact, better keep 'em away from my hard-earned assets!

She was also extremely encouraging of, well, just me. My life, my path, my business, my motherhood. She thought I was truly amazing, and melted my heart to tears a number of times with her loving praise. A lot of people love me and encourage me on, but there was something about her words and her expression and conviction that went right to my heart and made me believe that just maybe she was right. She really saw that I had different opportunities than she had, and was proud of me for working toward what I want and feel called to.

She was also feisty and funny and raw, even as she struggled with the challenges of very old age. The last time I saw her she looked at me and said, "My advice to you kid is- die young!"

I thanked her today for initiating me into this work and for her endless encouragement. In her courageous spirit, I will be beginning to speak publicly (something that I absolutely hate doing and have avoided for many years) around issues of death and dying in and around our community in the next few months, along with my friends in the Full Circle Living & Dying Collective.

I am so grateful for my youth, health, passion, and supportive community.

Onward 'till the end!

(Stay tuned! I'll be hosting Nevada County's first Death Cafe next month and it'll be a rockin' good time. If you're interested but not local, check their website to see if this ever-expanding movement is headed to your town soon!)

What Is Past Is Prologue: Five Years of Violet Folklore

Today is Violet Folklore's 5th anniversary! It was on September 19th, 2008 that Sasha and I, after weeks of talking about how we'd work it all out, plunged forward and set up our Etsy account. We had met at a local herb class the previous year; I remember noticing Sasha right away on the first day of class because of the beautiful prairie dress she was wearing. What a sweet sign of what was to come! Violet Folklore

This was our first attempt at taking an Official Marketing Photo. It was a very serious endeavor. (And apparently we were twelve years old).

Sasha went on to found her own Etsy vintage shop called Astral Boutique. She has carried her wild-eyed, golden-hued, flowers-in-her-hair vision forward with her and has been very successful with her shop, even being Etsy's Featured Seller back in July! Sasha is responsible for many of the early photos featured below.

I thought I'd celebrate today by posting a retrospective of some of my favorite vintage pieces, shot on a dozen different cameras over the years in some of the most beautiful locations in and around Nevada City and worn by (almost) every model Violet Folklore has ever featured. **I have deleted tens of thousands of photos off my computer over the years, so I know there are a few girls missing from this post. I'm sorry ladies, and I love ye dearly and thank ye endlessly!**

Carabeth

Carabeth modeled the first piece we ever sold. We felt triumphant!

Sarah

Sarah has been killing it with every pose all throughout these five years.

Cynthia

Cynthia is now Sasha's bandmate in Mt. Whateverest. CHECK THEM AND THEIR AMAZING OUTFITS OUT.

Sethy

Sethicus was VF's one and only male model. All the ladies swooned.

Alela

 Alela wore a Daughter of the Sun necklace on the Winter Solstice.

Maria

Maria was red hot.

Lucia

Lucia channeled Eve.

Bette

Bette channelled Little Red Riding Hood.

Candace

Candace modelled one of the prettiest Gunnies ever.

Sasha

Along with the one Sasha modeled in this self-photographed moment of crystalline sweet pea reverie.

Toni

Toni (of Moonchild Vintage) struck a pose at one of the many local Gold Rush historical sites- Empire Mine State Park in Grass Valley.

Amber

I breathed in the big sky in Nevada (the actual state).

Lily

Lily managed to remain earthbound.

Suuzi

Suuzi looked down, smiled, and created one of my favorite photos ever.

JenJen

Jen offered her beauty & grace to the world.

Mycelia

Mycelia brought the kid's vintage to adorable new heights.

Annie

Annie's playfulness was perfectly captured by Simon Weller's photographs in the Little Town of Washington (he took the following five pictures as well...)

Ariella

Ariella didn't even have to pretend to be a magical woodland nymph.

Kate

Kate embodied a ghostly miner's widow at Malakoff Diggins.

Alli

Alli lounged in between rounds of Bloody Mary's at the famous Willo Steakhouse.

Chia

Chia (of Out of the Mystic) was the Golden Queen of the Summer Solstice.

Erin

And Erin radiated her calm beauty out into the sunlit pines of the Sierra foothills...

LadyPower

I'll leave you with yet another early Official Marketing Photo attempt. I'm pretty sure we were going for a Lady Power! vibe with this shoot- you can use power tools, be a mother, and rock out all while wearing pretty vintage! And you know I've learned in these past five years- IT'S TRUE.

Solstice Confluence: Golden Summer Look Book

 

A confluence of the most amazing vintage, loveliest model, most fantastic photographer Simon Weller, and totally epic location. Items available at Violet Folklore *except for the beautiful Gunne Sax, which Chia hemmed to perfection and which belongs in her closet. I would love to see more retro-fitting of pretty Gunnies like this. Someone, please, do it.

 

sit back and just watch them form from nothing... pregnancy news!

Drop whatever you are doing right now and head over to Heather's most recent post Beyond My Wildest Dreams to read all about her exciting news, and what a long journey she's been on to get here! It will absolutely fill your heart with joy. That's right, Heather & Darin are soon to grace the world with a dear little baby. And guess who else is pregnant!? Our very own Suuzi! She and Spencer are every bit as thrilled as our neighbors to the south. I took this video last month at the Bizarre, and have been very anxiously biding my time until I could post it!! (All of these exclamation marks are totally called for!!)

How lovely and amazing are these mamas?

Jen and I were lucky enough to be there when Suuzi took her test a few months ago (Spencer was out of town!). I cried and smiled and smiled and cried. I usually only have that cockamamie grin on my face when I'm a little tipsy. (Speaking of, Suuzi was drinking homemade kombucha in that fancy crystal goblet). I still sometimes cry just telling someone about her pregnancy! She was already, as you can see, deliciously round and soft and glowing with the little light inside her. Some people, like both of these couples, were just meant to be parents. And are at the exact right moment in their lives to do it.

Jen took these wonderful photos, Suuzi and I loved how she laid the test on a giant rose quartz to get this image.

I was also lucky enough to hear from Heather pretty early on. I got her message when I was with my family in Tahoe, and so Adam and Mycie and I decided to drive back home through Placerville instead of our usual route through Truckee and surprise Heather at The Bookery! I had to keep my excitement kind of hush-hush because she hadn't told her co-workers yet. But I was beaming just as much as I had been with Suuzi (and, it appears, wearing the same dress).

Here's to the world going 'round, beginnings and endings and laughter and tears and love from one generation to the next.

And here's to Mariee Sioux, a friend of all of ours, for writing the beautiful lyrics quoted in the title...

"The Past Is Never Dead. It Isn't Even Past"

(This William Faulkner quote has run around in my mind constantly since I first read it sometime last year.) A few days ago Sarah and I scurried down to the Miner's Foundry (home of the Nevada City Bizarre and the place I saw the secret Red Hot Chili Peppers show) to bust out a quick photo shoot in front of a gorgeous stone & ivy wall.

The Foundry is less than half a block away from us, but we drove my van anyway so that we'd have a semi-private place to change ;-)

All of these items are already listed in the shop.

I realized that our booth at the most recent Bizarre was on the other side of that window on the right. Heather's was behind the window on the left!

This car is somewhat infamous around town, and I cracked up when I looked to my right while snapping shots of Sarah and saw this little scene. Curious cat!

Crazy story about this dress- I found a similar one in black last month, and Kerry bought it at the Bizarre as a secret xmas gift for Nicole before I ever had a chance to list it in the shop...

(Here's the other side of that window!) I can't believe I found a slightly different sequined Egyptian dress by the same maker only a few weeks later.

I oughtta make a folder just for shots of behind-the-scenes laughter at photo shoots. Flared nostrils and all.

I almost hope this dress doesn't sell, it would be sort of perfect for my upcoming trip to Big Sur(!!!)...

AMAZING red suede corset boots. Size 7.5.

Forgive me for being such a tease all the time, but I am, as usual, having a Keep Or Sell crisis with the following two pieces:

Royal blue is kind of my color, and I've been looking for vintage overalls like these for years. But I am much more likely to wear the dress than the overalls. Hmm...

Later that day Mycelia and I decided to go on a walk. Someone had told me about a trail down behind the Miner's Foundry, so I set off down that-a-ways for the second time that day.

The trail wasn't really there, but there was an abandoned house with Deer Creek running behind it. We decided to go for it, the sound of the creek was so sweet and inviting...

Green moss, green cedars, green sprouts, green irises...

I'm always trying to capture the beautiful colors in her eyes when we are out in the sunshine.

Sitting there, eating seaweed snacks, I noticed this very rusted horseshoe hanging on the little tree in front of us.

I swear, everywhere you turn in this town you are surrounded by what once was.

We had to climb up a treacherous, dry-leaves-and-pine-needles-covered hillside to make our way back up to the street. When we got there we were greeted by this beautiful hawthorne tree. I wish I could make a career out of photographing hawthornes at different times of the year.

The little white flowers that blossom in May are delightful in a fresh and hopeful way, but there is something so compelling about these overripe, bordering-on-decay winter berries.

We walked back by the Foundry...

And Mycie decided she wanted to play (and SING) around the 19th century equipment before heading home. This is an old wine press at the Nevada City Winery, mere feet away from the Foundry.

You may have noticed I've been adding a lot of videos to my posts lately. That's because my new camera has that option on it, while my previous one didn't. It's so fun being able to capture little moments like this on the fly, moments that I will treasure forever even though they'll break my heart. I recently watched this adorable video of Mycie when she was 3, and I cried my eyes out with sweet sadness over the fact that that little girl is gone, that that moment in history, when she had her little curls and she called her dad "papa" and she pronounced her words that way, is irretrievable.

I have always been lucky enough to live within walking distance of some sort of historical landmark, from Empire Mine to the Foundry to St. Joseph's Hall (which, like the Foundry, is a building from the Gold Rush days that now bills itself as a "Cultural Center" and always has cool events going on).

I really do appreciate living in a place where there is such a palpable sense of the past. There was no such feeling where I grew up in South Lake Tahoe, CA (despite its entanglements with such historical giants as Kit Carson, Mark Twain, and John Steinbeck). And I have been to places (like where my cousin lives in Prescott Valley, AZ) that literally didn't exist 20 years ago and that are made up of nothing but strip malls and housing developments. I suppose one can always find a sense of history out in nature, but I have a feeling that people who live in such places prefer to spend their time at Kohl's and Cost Plus instead.

Geez, I was just saying that I feel like I've been gushing lately on this blog about how cool my town is, and I want to try to tone that down a bit. And here I am doing it again! But I just can't extricate my life and my daily experience from this place, it's all around me. And the feeling and personality of Nevada City/Grass Valley really do infuse each moment in a way unlike any other place I've ever lived. Every house I've lived in here in the foothills has been over 100 years old and has felt very much like it. Aside from the odd layouts and scrappy single pane windows and antique keyholes and doors that hardly fit in their frames anymore, they were/are all on a slight tilt. This is due both to settling over the century and to the fact that there's hardly a lick of level ground in these parts. Most every step you take is either up or down an incline. When I cook eggs in the morning in bacon grease or butter, all of the liquid fat pools to one side of the pan, and I have to nudge it over before I crack the eggs in. When you sit on our toilet, your whole body slides slightly to the left and you can't help but just rest your head against the wall right there and be grateful for a moment of rest. Having lived in the level bowl carved out by an alpine lake in the High Sierras (Tahoe) and in the great central valley of California where there isn't an incline for hundreds of miles around (Sacramento), I must say I prefer the charming quirks that askew foothill living (right in between the other two) has to offer. And I have come to believe that it has something to do with the profuse creativity that has poured out of here and given this area such a distinct personality. (In fact it was just listed in Lonely Planet's list of top ten travel destinations for 2012).

It's sort of like how everyone says they "have the best friends ever!", and how we all (if we're lucky enough, or are good friends ourselves) feel that way. We all have the best friends ever, and that's such a good thing! People are awesome. And I hope that everyone loves where they live as much as I do just like they love their friends as much as I do. Only I'm more self-indulgently and long-windedly vocal about it all.

Okay and seriously, if you haven't read Faulkner, you haven't lived...

“Memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders.”

“Wonder. Go on and wonder.”