Friday I was going to a hooker show, and en route I picked up a friend of mine from college. I won't embarrass her here, (ANGIE), but I walked in her house and my jaw dropped. Not only is she gorgeous, inside and out, but so is her house - and she does all of her decorating and makes a lot of her accessories. Right in the front door was this kick-ass lamp that had a burlappy-linen shade, and there was a big letter "P" painted on it (last name). She made it. Right around the corner was a big framed print that had all of the addresses at which her family had lived in the past 20 years (she moves as much as I do!), and it was cool and edgy and sentimental. Yep, she made it. Beautiful photo arrangements and art and accessories, all made by her. She is an undiscovered treasure, and I hope she either opens a store or starts selling on etsy or begins decorating people's houses, starting with mine. Talent, talent, talent. In the words of Vince Vaughn, She's money and she doesn't even know it.
I have a great posse of friends in my previous town of Mount Vernon, Iowa. Some of them I talk with regularly, and some of them I don't talk to nearly enough and am WAY overdue for some time with them, but everyone gets tied up with kids and lives and such, so I know it will happen eventually. Today I was missing Mount Vernon and all of the creative people I know there who always bring the funk. My friend Tommie is an amazing photographer, and she has a show at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, so I loaded up The Son and we drove to see it.
She is too legit to quit.
The show was amazing - an abandoned warehouse in Burlington from (I think?) the 30's and 40's that still has cans of pineapple and toilet bowl cleaner ("Also works on automotive radiators!") and coffee beans on the floor, and she took photographs of the place with its natural light. Amazing. The pics I took of the pics are crappy because A) I am not a photographer, and B) there was a glare on the glass, so you'll have to take my word for it, they are fantastic. Then I went to her store, where she had these lovely baubles that she made:
I know, right?
You can like her store site on facebook at "fuel....art and espresso"
Remember when I talked about making spaces for yourself in your house or wherever to feed that creative side? I had Tommie take pics of her studio a while ago for your viewing pleasure. She has an incredible eye, as you can see from these pics. This is a room behind her garage. I shall live here:
A bed in the studio. Because you just never know.
But if I stay out here I might steal all of her stuff.
I left her house and drove to her store, where I walked out with a cappucino, a homemade cookie as big as my head, a bag of coffee beans, a kickass bracelet, and a smile.
I drove to my friend Jana's house, and saw her new bathroom and some things she's done in her house to change things up, and I wish I'd taken a pic of her mantel. The entire fireplace area is painted ruby red with a mantel she had made by an ironworking dude in town, and then had a large yellow pear sculpture that is the twin to my pomegranate, made by a local MV artist, on said mantel. It is very dramatic. This woman is amazing - she has a Biology degree, has a published science textbook in Spanish that she wrote, she can knit amazing socks and mittens and sweaters, makes funky screenprinted sachets, is an amazing cook (she HATES it when I rave about her cooking, but really, it is the shizzle) and worked for a taxidermist.
While I was there, another friend of ours, Elizabeth, who lives down the street, came over to borrow cumin. She is a photographer and adventurer and made a documentary on the Lincoln Highway and has taken her children to India and Turkey and has her junior doing a semester in Germany right now.
I drove home from this soul-replenishing visit and thought about all of the amazing women I know. Women who are brilliant and creative and edgy and fan-fucking-tastic, all the while being humble and truly good and kind people. Just, wow. They are inspirational, and make me strive to be better. And I'm not the only person who knows women like this - we all do.
Oh my God, I'm having an Oprah moment.
Sweet baby Jesus, that was scary. Let's get Julie back to normal - um, they all have great racks, too. Except Elizabeth, but she has a huge personality.
So go forth, Wifers! Create your space in your home, even if it's just under a couch where you secretly eat Oreos and listen to ABBA. Find your happy place - but not in public, you may get arrested. It is contagious. Well, hopefully not what you find in your happy place, but if it is, contact your physician.
UPDATE on Monday a.m. - I'm wanting to respond to Peruby's comment, lest anyone get the wrong impression from this post....I'm not saying people need to DO more - Good Lord, there are days when I'm not able to use the bathroom for 12 hours - but more about making sure you take a little time for yourself, and carve out a little space for you. Because joy comes out of that space you make for yourself, whatever that may be. And out of the four women featured, only one of them is making money from those things they love. I work an average of 45 hours a week and travel a lot in the fall, but I make time for the blog, which usually takes about 5 hours a week, and I don't make a dime from it. But it's MINE.