Sweet Nettle: My Darling Finnish Elf From the North Country

It's been a few weeks now since I received a surprise package in the mail from Milla.

It was just the kind of surprise I like to get- full of good books! And two perfect handmade cloth bags that I have used a thousand times since.

Ella and Mycelia were very excited about all the items there were to remove from the box and peruse.

This beautiful coloring book was one of my favorite things included in the package.

And the girls got right to work coloring in it and reading through the sweetest li'l book, Children of the Forest by Elsa Beskow. If you've never seen her books, I highly recommend them as the perfect vintagey woodsy gifts for the children in your life.

I can't wait until Mycie is old enough to read the Narnia series. Thank you so much for these Milla! I have begun reading The Golden Spruce, and I love how it transports me to a misty, numinous Northern land where boundaries are shifty and unusual events take place (it's a true story!).

Milla also included two of the most darling mugs I have ever seen (and I'm a girl who loves and collects darling mugs). Both whale themed, I've used them every day since their arrival.

Check out the little whale tail INSIDE the mug on the right. I love that the one on the left has an image of the great white whale (okay, it could be a beluga, but since its baby is dark I'm saying it's a sperm whale).

And what do your eyes see here?

Delicious dried stinging nettles that Milla hand picked up on her lush island last season! Nettles are extremely nutritious and make a soothing, grounding tea. I've only ever found one patch around here that I am loathe to pick from and thereby diminish, so all of the many nettle infusions I have drunk over the years have been store bought. I can't tell you enough how much it means to me to receive such a gift. For more on the many, many benefits of nettles, check out Sasha's post from her one time blog Kitchen Witch.

I got right to work filling those whale mugs up with nettle infusions. I had been having sinus issues- I think due mostly to the extremely dry atmosphere that permeated Nevada City before we finally got some rain (and would you believe that we have one of the worst air qualities of any place in California? It's true, due to the fact that pollution from the nearby great central valley pools up here in the foothills), and perhaps from some early pollination thanks to all the sunny weather- and was using the Neti pot every few days. I was grateful to have gleaned this one bit of information from my herb teacher Kami McBride that I have never read in any herb book: If you are using nettles to help with mucus membrane issues (which it does), make a cold infusion instead of the usual hot infusion, or it will kill the components in the herb that soothe the membranes (though the vitamins and minerals will be retained). For more on making infusions (which are simply long-steeped herbal teas) see Sasha's post linked to above.

"Nettle makes us open up to life and our senses, but because she doesn't take any crap, she also imparts a vital sense of self-protection." My goodness, re-reading Sasha's words is really making me  miss her herb blog!

Cheers with mugfulls of nourishing herbal brews to all of the amazing women in my life whose friendships fill my heart with love and my mind with fresh ideas and my body with strength and healing.

(Oh! Be sure to check out my current **$50 vintage gift certificate Giveaway!**)

Warm Hearted Revelry at the Winter Bizarre

Last Sunday was the Nevada City Winter Bizarre, an event that is only two years old and yet has become one of the holiday events I most look forward to.

This time it was a bit different for me, as I had my favorite ladies to share my booth with! I was flying solo at last year's Winter Bizarre and at the more recent Summer Bizarre. Looking at this photo I realized that each of us is wearing a dress here that we modeled for the shop at one time, then decided to keep instead.

It was also different in that we got hooked up with a cozy corner spot. I am definitely going to request the same space in the future.

This is why I love this event. Not only do all my favorite Nevada City friends come out for it, but my favorite friends from nearby make the trip too! Becky & Heather (who has already posted about the event!) came from Placerville, and Kim from Oakland. It's like our unofficial bi-annual NorCal vintage loving friend meet up. Speaking of, the lovely Sadie from Lost Boys & Lovers couldn't make it this time, so I wore my tooled leather harness from her in her honor.

I finally got legit with my shit this time, with a sign by local artist Tahiti Pehrson and with business cards. (Okay, so they were stickers with my website URL handwritten on back. But very pretty stickers! I'll get legit next time). I had just scored these big abalone shell earrings a few days prior, and I love how the shimmery rainbowness of the sign is so similar to them.

The best new thing about this Bizarre was having Jen vend her beautiful handmade jewelry alongside my and Suuzi's vintage clothing. She has been collecting antique beads for decades and has amassed a collection of truly rare and valuable beauties that draw in jewelry lovers like a magnet. She is currently working on a necklace for me made with a woolly mammoth tusk bead. As a lover of elephants and mammoths, I am beside myself with the prospect of walking around with such a thing resting near my heart.

The view from our booth.

Meet Skylar and his amazing crochet blanket pants & skirts. There was not a dull moment having him next door. He even changed his outfit more in one day than Mycie and I do combined!

Jen got so many compliments on this sweet 50s style dress I thrifted this summer.

Ms. Sequined Egyptian Goddess sold in a heartbeat.

Baileys, to up the warm hearted revelry factor.

Also in attendance at the unofficial bi-annual NorCal vintage loving friend meet up were Nicole and her darling daughter Kama. I like to think that there is not a better dressed, or more confident, 11 year old girl out there. Sadly, I didn't get any photos of their Crimson & Clover cohort Kerry. It was a joy to see her there and to connect with the one person there who I've known longer than anyone else.

And Sasha! She was not vending this time, but that didn't stop her from looking like the most fabulous vintage boutique owner around.

My own little dear was there too.

As was Becky and Jordan's! Oliver is a steal for only $2, don't you think?

As heather said, we were proud to be in the dance party corner. Fun, fun times. I can't wait to do it again...

It's a beautiful town with the rain coming down...

(I couldn't help but follow in Heather and Milla's recent footsteps and title my post after a song off of Joanna Newsom's latest album Have One On Me).

Endless rain you guys! Heavy, pounding, determined rain. A lot of the folks around me are starting to feel pretty bummed, but I am feeling amazingly okay with it all. I can just feel how near spring is, and how beautiful and vibrant it's going to be thanks to all of this lovely, life giving water. (You might not be able to tell but it was coming down on me in buckets while these shots were being taken. Which means that this is not just a cute pose- I am actually looking up at something!).

Truly the hardest part about the endless gray/cold/wet has been, for me, putting off the debut of some of the lovely vintage dresses I have recently acquired. I want to wear them! In the sunshine! For now, I am dressing as if it were already spring (well, color-wise, at least). It makes me happy and, when the print is as bright and cheerful as this skirt, it makes other people happy too.

The sweater is quite optimistically hued as well. I got it for $2 in the childrens' section at the Salvation Army the other day (as well as a pink cashmere sweater!). The skirt came from Nicole on a trip to Crimson & Clover a while back. I have the hardest time finding tops tight enough to work with high waisted skirts, as far as tucking-in-without-too-much-extra-volume is concerned. The top I am wearing, cream colored with a strip of lace running vertically up the center, *almost* works, but not quite. But hey it was another cheapo Salvo score, so I can't complain. The boots are my trusty vintage 70s Sears waterproof life-savers, Salvo. The hat was thrifted years ago and just pulled out of the back of a drawer yesterday! The heart is suede and is an actual pocket :-)

This is me imploring Graham- with my look of exasperation and determination-  to TAKE THE PHOTO damnit! I'm cold!

Speaking of the song quoted in the title, check out Sasha's recent post about our friend Carabeth's new Etsy shop Lay Swing Boutique. Carabeth is a talented seamstress and has fixed up many a Violet Folklore piece before it hit the shop. Her new line of pillows, purses, and t-shirts is truly original, super stylish, and very covetable. You may have seen her lovely face smiling at you from these here pages before, as she is a cherished friend of mine and her daughter Esme and my daughter Mycelia are little besties. Have been since they were babies. Baby besties. And now that she is on Etsy we can all be Betsies!

Bunnyhenge: Festival Of The Rising Sun To Raise Awareness

This Saturday was the much anticipated Bunnyhenge, a one day music festival and camp out that Sasha of Astral Boutique and her husband Chris organized just in the last few weeks. They cleared weeds around their home for tent pitching, set up a stage, and coordinated musicians from Grass Valley/Nevada City, Sacramento, and the Bay Area.

Sasha, of course, looked amazing. And rocked the fuck out.

Cynthia with the disco ball while everyone is setting up.

Chris gets pumped, shows off the world recognized rock n' roll bunny ear hand gesture.

My outfit was heart themed.

Even the shirt!

Greg Moore of The Moore Brothers, who asked me "Do you think Sasha just dresses like this every day, doing work around the house and yard and stuff?" To which I replied "Yes."

And Thom Moore. Completion of The Moore Brothers. Best brothers in town.

Okay these folks. They are the owners of the land that Sasha and Chris live on. They themselves live in Arizona, and their son lives on the property and is the awesome "landlord". They visit once a year, and just happened to be coming this year during Bunnyhenge. Sasha was worried when she first learned that they were coming, but come to find out they were her biggest supporters. In fact, her expression here is a reaction to a $60 check they are presenting her with in support of Bunnyhenge. $60 because they are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary this year. After the music making got under way these octogenarians got up on stage and each made a speech, with her saying she was so happy to see the young people expressing their joy and sharing their creativity with the world, and him saying something along the lines of "We bought this land back in 1985 on the word of our son, and it sure is a fine piece of land..." There were tears in the eyes of many of us young people in the crowd.

Graham shows off the T shirts they had made.

Clothes rack in the woods- how Astral Boutique/Violet Folklore :-)

As usual, Sasha has it all taken care of.

Me and G hanging out with Holly and Neil, who left Nevada County in the fall to start a new life in Missoula and just happened to be visiting home when their best friends were throwing a crazy music festival.

The Dazzling Strangers prepare to kick things off.

And commence the kicking.

Jessica, Simon, and Kristen bask in the almost Solstice sunlight.

Neil wails.

Rex, Esme, Carabeth, and Jessica, who was wearing, I might add, a Violet Folklore dress :-)

Artemas and a man I don't know but who, like Artemas, has nice smile lines.

Watching Graham perform. (It was a chilly evening and I had brought plenty of layers. Luckily for those who didn't Sasha, of course, had tons of adorable sweaters and jackets. I kept complimenting people's outerwear later in the night, and inevitably they'd reply "It's Sasha's").

Graham performing.

Best dress of the night. In the picture above this one you can see me cozying up to this gorgeous woman in order to get the full story behind her fabulous outfit. The dress was scored at a Sacramento thrift store that folks are always telling me to go to (the SPCA one). Check her out at her band Thousands Facebook page.

The crowd from above.

Greg Moore, being the awesomest person ever, upstairs in the warm house.

The stage at night, with people dancing in front while Psychic Zoo plays.

Ariella Daly, one of my best girls, viewed from my relatively calm and restful spot up on the porch.

And this is my new friend Addison, from Sacramento. Addison works at the amazingly yummy, family-run-for-thirty-years, natural foods eatery Sunflower Cafe in Fair Oaks, California. They make the best nutburgers EVER and I haven't had one in like 7 years, but I think of them often. And guess what!? He had brought a bunch of them with him for the barbeque! As if he didn't endear himself to me enough by making sure I got one, he then topped off my Bunnyhenge experience by putting a pair of glasses on this stuffed bunny. We laughed our asses off.

So that's my tiny little slice of Bunnyhenge documentation. Sasha was a bit too busy taking care of everyone and dancing like a gypsy to take photos, but plenty of other folks did so hopefully she can use those to tell the whole story. There were lots more musical acts and people in attendance than I showed here.

Here's hoping this was the 1st Annual and that we get to do it all again next year!