It’s always exciting to travel when you live in the remote Alpine, TX

innerSpirit Rattles story card

We are excited to announce we’ll be exhibiting with hundreds of other artist at ACRE Philadelphia, an American craft tradeshow produced by IndieMe.com. IndieMe™ is the premier online marketplace for retailers to source 1,200 juried American and Canadian wholesale artists featuring jewelry, gifts, fashion accessories, home decor, garden accessories and more, in a variety of price points and styles. Enrollment is free for retailers.

It’s always fun to travel from Alpine, TX to Philadelphia. John’s been traveling to Philadelphia in the chill of February for one show or another for over 20 years, and not were more eventful than the one in 2010 when he and our daughter Hannah, found an unexpected surprise. You can read about it in our blog Blizzard, Philadelphia, and Handel’s Messiah.

Even though it’s almost always snowing there this time of the year, it’s always fun! We hope to see you in Philadelphia!

AMERICAN CRAFT RETAILERS EXPO™ (ACRE™) PHILADELPHIA

FEBRUARY 18 -20, 2017

PENNSYLVANIA CONVENTION CENTER – HALL A  

Hummingbird Migration Best in the Fall

Hummingbirds in Alpine, TX

Hummingbird banders are hopping this time of the year. The end of summer is the best time to experience hummingbirds. As the days get shorter and the sun sets lower, the world’s tiniest birds fatten up for the long journey ahead of them.

There are more birds migrating south than north each year, because of the number of hatchlings born in the spring, and it seems the older birds get to their southern destination faster than the young birds. One group of ornithologists determined the younger birds at the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama outnumbered the older birds 28 to 1.

Instinctively every fall, when the days start getting shorter and the flowers in bloom and insect population start declining, hummingbirds migrate from the United States to Central America.

You might think that hummingbirds rely only on nectar bearing flowers, but they also rely on insects, which are a critical source of protein for hatchlings. The tiny birds have a relentless demand for food. Mother hummingbirds collect nectar, pollen, and tiny insects to feed her chicks an energy-rich slurry.

Hummingbird in Alpine, TX edited with Prisma filter

Hummingbird edited with Prisma

Because ruby-throated hummingbirds are the most abundant hummingbird in the states, they are also the most studied. Hummingbirds are too small for radio tracking tags, so scientists rely on capturing and banding the birds to tract their movement.

Studies show that hummingbirds have their own migration route and many return to the same feeders on the same day of the year each year.

The difference in timing of migration may be that not only are the younger birds unfamiliar with the migration route, but also because they need more time to fatten up on insects and nectar. Older birds are better foragers and more assertive.

You might have heard you should take your hummingbird feeders down in the fall to encourage the birds to migrate south, but that is a myth. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology encourages “people to keep their hummingbird feeders full for several weeks after they have seen the last hummer just in case there are stragglers in need of additional energy before they complete their long journey south.”

Hummingbird Whisperer innerSpirit RattleHummingbirds are one of everyone’s favorite birds, so it’s most likely you have a bird lover among your loved ones. Our new Hummingbird Whisperer innerSpirit Rattle is quickly becoming everyone’s favorite. Raku fired with a shimmery one-of-a-kind surface makes it look like buried treasure.

Grandparents Day is September 11, and innerSpirit Rattles make wonderful gifts; small enough for a bedside table, and meaningful enough to become a cherished memento.  Find a retailer carrying innerSpirit Rattles near you, or order one to be shipped by visiting our online gallery.

Ready for the humingbirds

Calm in the eye of the storm

Soothe Your Anxious Mind

Anxious thoughts can ruin even the most perfect day. They distract us from the real situation at hand by pulling our attention from the present and thrusting it into the future…. into the land of the boiling churning crisis that most likely will never be.

Often anxiety stems from feeling unprepared and not in control.

Elisha and Stefanie Goldstein give 11 tips to “Soothe Your Anxious Mind” in their article in the latest Mindful Magazine.

Here are a few:

  1. Slow down: Because everything races when we are anxious- thoughts, heartbeat, breathing- taking time to consciously slowdown helps us think more clearly. Be intentional about doing things slower when you feel anxious.
  2. Focus on your five senses: When we’re anxious, our focus becomes narrower. Broaden your thoughts by practicing 5 X 5, try to name five things you notice about your five senses. What five things can you feel, smell, hear, taste and see? Finding five can sometimes be tricky, but this practice of focus can immediately stop racing thoughts.
  3. Perform a familiar task as if you’ve never done it before: Feeling out of control causes the most damage to our emotional state. Being mindful of a normal routine helps remind us we do have control of our choices. Choose a simple task like drinking water, eating, gardening, or cooking a meal you’ve made many times before.
  4. Lie down outside and gaze at the wonder up above: Watching the clouds go by, or for stars falling is an age-old mindful practice that makes you more aware of the reliable, but transient orderliness of nature.
  5. Cultivate patience: Impatience breeds anxiety. Tempers flare, chaos ensues, and control is much harder when impatience manifests in the body. The authors suggest “if you want to create a mastery around patience, you need to be on the lookout for impatience and get curious about it.” Learn how being impatient affects your emotions and moods.

Anxiety cannot always be prevented, but the tips above will bring more calm to hectic days. By directing your ominous thoughts to the reality that like nature, the gifts of imperfection bring beauty to our lives.

Exploring the Past on Your Vacation Spots Cibolo Creek Ranch South of Marfa

(Beyoncé | I Am) Prada Marfa

Beyoncé’s West Texas Road Trip

By Anna Woodward

If you’re looking for vacation spots for your family there are certainly plenty of options available. But if you’re interested in exploring historic adobe forts from the 1850s, making your way through deserted silver mining towns that are now only occupied by the ghost that forgot to leave, and looking up at the stars at night tucked away in the heart of the most beautiful part of the country you’d ever seen, you might want to try a little town near the Chianti mountains called Marfa.

This is an area that could take you weeks to explore and you’ll never grow bored with what you find. There’s something here for everyone, which is why it such a wonderful family retreat. There are a lot of vacation spots in the world, but there are not very many places like this.

The area around the Chianti Mountains is full of Native American rock art surrounded by land that is for the most part untouched by man. When you come here you feel like you’re back in time. You almost expect to see a Native American standing in the high grassland watching you with the steep orange and brown canyon walls looming above, and the deep fast flowing rivers cutting through the canyons. The only sounds you expect to hear are the water flowing and the wind rustling the grass around you as you fall back into the past.

This is one of the few vacation spots when you can explore abandoned adobe forts and imagine what life was like not that long ago in the 1850s when this area was first settled. These unexpected forts appear suddenly, looming out of the rocks, and tall grass and the canyons and are reminders of our past, full of forgotten battles. Now they just seem to be full of the shadows of a soldierly ghost waiting for battles that will never come.

And how many vacation spots can offer a ghost town to make your visit complete? Located not too far away from Marfa, is a little silver mining town that was once known as Shafter. As you explore the empty buildings and deserted streets that once housed the hopes, dreams and ambitions of silver miners and their families long since gone, you may hear a whisper or feel something brushed past you on the street. Is it a ghost of a miner still intent on finding the mother lode or is it just the wind blowing through this deserted little town?

And when you’re done exploring at the end of the day you can look up at the nighttime sky that goes for ever into the heavens, and try to count the stars sparkle like silver diamonds above you. You will probably never be able to count them all, but you can spend a quiet restful night trying surrounded by the ghost of the past who may be looking up at the same stars trying to do the same thing.

Texas vacation spots in the sprawling, gorgeous TX landscape can make your next getaway a memory to treasure forever. Don’t settle for a generic beach or overpriced theme part: learn more at Cibolo Creek Ranch.

 

Tips for creating a meaningful space

Creating a meaningful space

Wabi-sabi is the 16th century Japanese philosophy that places value on simplicity, imperfection, and the transience of all living things.

Reflecting on gratitude when things are not going the way you expected is made easier by incorporating imperfect items of sentimental value into your living space.

Here are 3 tips to creating a home that reminds you to enjoy the imperfection of life:

  • Decorate with handmades. Items made by hand are naturally imperfect. That’s part of what makes them special. Raku pottery was created by a 16th century Japanese tea master in retaliation to the porcelain perfection revered at the time. Raku was deliberate imperfection. The variations in colors, shape, and even the small cracks in the raku tea bowls became highly treasured.
  • Celebrate the seasons. Changing out a display inside a glass vase with fallen leaves, bare branches, a wildflowers, or shells collected during a summer vacation help remind you to enjoy the season, and the transience and beauty of the changing flora and fauna.
  • Create a meaningful niche. Designating a small alcove for treasures near and dear to you can help remind you to count your blessings. Choose keepsakes like innerSpirit Rattles to focus your attention on to help shut out everyday distractions and prevent your wandering mind from worrying about last night’s dishes still in the sink.

 

 

 

Square Bumblebee Raku innerSpirit Rattle

Square Bumble Bee Raku innerSpirit Rattle

Be Mindful of Wisdom

A single bee is not terribly wise, but a beehive holds collective knowledge – it knows everything that has ever happened to it. Bees are fabled to have the intuition to anticipate changes in the wind and make preparations to ensure the safety of the hive. Their steady hum is a constant reminder that bees are deep in thought as a single mind. This innerSpirit Rattle is to encourage wisdom.

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Square Dragonfly Raku innerSpirit Rattle

Square Dragonfly Raku innerSpirit Rattle

Be Mindful of Resilience

Dragonflies were a recurring symbol in many Native American tribes. For the Navajo, they represented pure water, which endures no matter how often it changes form. The dragonfly has endured through the ages, since before the dinosaurs, and it’s a beautiful symbol of resilience. This innerSpirit Rattle is meant to encourage resilience in your spirit.

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Square Sea Turtle Raku innerSpirit Rattle

Square Sea Turtle Raku innerSpirit Rattle

Be Mindful of Endurance

Sea turtles are long-lived. Over 110 million years ago, the family of sea turtles became distinct from all other turtles, and they’ve remained nearly unchanged for all that time. Patient, wise, and steadfast, their protective shells make them independent and strong, an emblem of longevity and stability in many cultures. This innerSpirit Rattle is to encourage your sense of endurance.

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Square Seahorse Raku innerSpirit Rattle

Square Seahorse Raku innerSpirit Rattle

Be Mindful of Tenacity

Seahorses are surprising little creatures. They are not good swimmers & can die of exhaustion in tumultuous water. To prevent being washed away in a roiling sea, seahorses anchor themselves with their prehensile tail to coral or sea grass. This innerSpirit Rattle is to encourage holding your ground and tenacity.

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Square Smooth Raku innerSpirit Rattle

Square Smooth Sailing Raku innerSpirit Rattle

Be Mindful of Peace of Mind

When times are rough and difficult, it’s a comfort to touch something smooth and delicate to remind you of calmer times that lie ahead. Our Smooth design is beautiful in its simplicity and serves as a touchstone that carries you through even the stormiest seas towards smooth sailing. This innerSpirit Rattle is to nurture your peace of mind.

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