Alternatively titled "When The Girl Who Married a Bear ate some Thrift Candy in a Moonshine Junkyard while wearing Flaming Hag Folkwear and looking out Windows To Green and telling tales of Violet Folklore with SadieDELUXE" (but that's quite a mouthful, don't you think?).
It all started right at the turn of the New Year, when Milla sent Heather, Missa, and myself a message telling us that she and Charlie were coming to California come February (and quoting The O.C. theme song in the process). This was the beginning of what would become an ongoing conversation and weekend planning between the four of us, which later expanded to include a few other fabulous NorCal ladies as well.
We decided pretty quickly that the husbands and children would have to be a part of our weekend, and that we would spend the time between Sacramento, Placerville, and Nevada City. The long anticipated day finally came, and Graham, Mycelia, and I hit the streets of Sacramento ready to meet these women, men, and a certain little Clover for pizza and vintage shopping. Mycie donned her best vintage for the occasion (and then ended up changing clothes about 14 times before the day was through).
Here are the girls at Nicole and Kara's darling little boutique Crimson & Clover. This place is not only where I met Nicole, but also where my and Heather's friendship first blossomed on a chance encounter a year or two back. So the three of us had met each other before, and Missa and Milla had met each other before, but there was much newness to this gathering and we all did our best to put our nervousness at rest.
Which was a pretty easy thing to do, because the open, loving, sharing, supportive feel of our online relationships transferred beautifully into the real world. I think the fact that we all had our closest loved ones with us helped to ease the transition into the excitement of the weekend.
That and the fact that our first real activity centered around the very thing that had brought all of us together in the Blogosphere in the first place- vintage clothing.
And adorable handmade accessories.
Nicole had sweetly wrapped gifts for her fellow Aquarians, and by the next day we were all wearing some of our new items from her. We all left her with goodies too.
That's Milla, Nicole, Missa, myself, and Heather.
Nicole also gifted Mycie this little rayon summer dress, which immediately went on.
Next stop- the foothills. We left Nicole to tend shop (and with plans to see her the next day) and headed up the hill aways to Placerville, where we stopped first at Heather's work (and one of my favorite places ever) The Bookery. I really wish I had photographed more of the sections here, they were truly amazing. (I'm thinking Heather should really do a whole post just about that).
But I just documented those subjects that lie dearest to my heart at the moment :-)
We walked through the historic downtown, cameras blazing away, to get us some tacos.
We were probably all feeling a bit worn by this point, and were ready to go to Heather's, eat our dinner, drink some beer, and really get to settle into one another.
Which we did, soon after Charlie made a new friend.
Heather and Darin were so wonderful for having eight extra people (and all their stuff!) staying at their house for a night. And Heather's mom too, for spending the night elsewhere so that there could be room for all of us.
Lucas (Missa's), Graham (mine), Darin (Heather's), and Charlie (Milla's) chatted while us girls retired to Heather's room for an All Out Gift Exchange Extravaganza Of Epic Proportions.
Just a few of the gifts Milla gave me. (One that I gave her was the pin in the photo that opened this post. I peeped it in her Etsy Favorites and, seeing how perfectly it represented this gathering, simply had to get it for her).
Milla and Heather had piles of clothes for Mycie and Clover- these little girls will be decked out in darling vintage dresses for yeeeears to come.
And will be posing all the while.
Heather's room was a total wonderland. In this wee corner she had hung an outfit her her friends' new baby :-)
But the endless bookshelves were my favorite part about not only Heather's room, but the entire house. Not only does Heather work at one of the best used bookstores on the planet, but her mother is a librarian.
One of two regrets got brought up for me this weekend, and the first is selling so many of my beloved books 5 years ago (actually, to The Bookery! I made a special trip there from Sacramento when I lived there) when I was strapped for cash. Heather's house made me realize that you really can't have too many books in your home.
I think I got really lucky- my camera seemed to capture quite a few fits of laughter throughout the weekend.
Plenty of kitty snuggles.
My camera took an unscheduled nap until the following evening, so the next pile of photos were stolen from the other girls' blogs. After checking in with the menfolk and putting the childfolk to sleep, us womenfolk took a stroll around the block. Milla had brought a delicious homemade raspberry wine and a luscious herbal smoking blend with her from the island, and they made our magical walk under the full moon all the more memorable.
The next morning I woke up to an incredible breakfast of pancakes, bacon, eggs, potaoes, and coffee being prepared by Graham, Milla, and Charlie. After packing up we headed north toward my neck of the woods, Nevada City, stopping first in the little town of Coloma, where gold was fist discovered in California in 1848.
Heather's sister Adrienne joined us for the day, wearing the cutest little Gunnie you ever did see (until you adjusted your eyes slightly to the left and checked out Milla's).
After posing in front of the bridge it was on to Nevada City! Where we ate at Ike's (my favorite place to eat in this town and employer of Adie's husband Art), and then checked in to the cottage I had secured for us in downtown NC.
After the Missas and the Millas settled in a bit (Heather and my family were going home to sleep), Nicole's family arrived from Sacramento. It was my first time meeting her husband Eddie, but I was already acquainted with her beautiful children Kama and Irie. We walked across the street to one of my favorite Nevada City haunts (haha), the old 1800s St. Canice Cemetery.
From there it was a quick jaunt down Broad Street to The National Hotel & Bar, where we sadly said goodbye to Adie but happily said hello to Sadie! (and her sweet little boy Asher) (and where we were all able to see some of this area's oldest historical landmarks).
We walked back up the street to our little cottage.
Mycie holding Milla's hand or asking me to ask Milla to carry her the whole time.
In for the evening, Eddie and Graham share a moment.
I explain something deeply important to Nicole while Irie jumps on the bed and Sadie leans in to better hear Milla.
I was delighted to see that Clover and Missa are familiar with one of the weirdest, raddest vintage children's books of all time The Wedding Procession of the Rag Doll and the Broom Handle and Who Was in It.
There's Kama on the right. And here we come to regret number two- cutting my hair! No, I'm glad I did. But this photo really makes me miss it! And it really makes me miss of these girls. Oh, and did you notice the latest arrival, top left there? Yes, Suuzi came to join us! I was so thrilled for the girls to meet her and for her to meet the girls, and they all loved each other just as much as I knew they would ;-)
Okay, now it's time to get philosophical. This whole experience was so much more than just a "blogger meet-up". It was truly a coming together of kindred souls, a totally unexpected February gathering of folks who had, for the most part, never met each other before but who immediately felt a deep and abiding bond with one another. There is truly something to be said for sharing your life and your thoughts through pictures and through writing, and we all felt that we actually know one another much better than many of the people who are in our everyday lives know us, because we closely read each others' words.
I still can't believe that this ever happened. Like Missa said- it's like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz waking from her dream and saying, "And you were there! And you were there!" It's not just how strange it seems to see my own self inserted into a photo with people who I have only ever seen online before this, but that I just feel so incredibly blessed to have been gifted the time I got to actually spend in their presence. What did I ever do to deserve this? Who would have thought that something as seemingly simple and, well, frivolous as posting photos of our outfits and thrift scores online could have ever led to this?
But it did. And it led to a moment that was too special and powerful to be captured on film. After some of the folks had left, Suuzi, Missa, Heather, Milla, and myself bundled up and walked back to the old cemetery across the street. We stood in a circle and held hands and sang a song that Milla had learned on her island, an old earth song, invoking the trees and the grandmothers and the rivers and all things sacred, while overhead the full face of the moon smiled down upon us.
Oh, and perhaps I should add that the blood mentioned in my title here (and which Heather has made mention of) refers to the fact that the four of us discovered that, though hundreds of miles apart, our lovely little wombs are all on the same cycle. Moon sisters indeed.
But all things must come to an end, even beautiful and magical and sacred things. So we took some last shots before parting ways.
The husbands made fun of us and told us to cast downward glances (as we so often do when posing for our blogs).
And it all degenerated, once again, into laughter.
Until next time...