Monday, May 14, 2012


For the past few months, there has been a secret project percolating around here. I don't know about you, but when I'm working on something I find that the less I reveal to others until it's done, the more confident I feel about its chances to succeed. Usually, the more folks talk about their grand plans, and certainly the more I talk about mine, the less gets done. Or maybe I'm just superstitious. Voicing your wishes and goals and dreams, instead working towards them quietly, leaves you extremely vulnerable.

Therefore I have kept a pretty sizable secret from friends and loved ones and readers.
Since the super-moon-y night of the Lunar Beltane I have been a partner in:

It all started while I was still in sunny California. I got an email from my friend and then co-worker, Lissa, who told me apropos that her and another friend of ours had secured the lease to the two-room business place in the front of the building we already worked at in a restaurant/juice bar/lovely local hang-out (my main gig). Would I be interested in becoming a partner?

I guess this is my year of saying yes to things, because yes I said.  This in spite the fact that my main making has been focused around friend's birthdays and Barter Fair and already had a fair number of things on my plate.

Whether it was the sense of adventure, the fact that little sister is one of the other lovely four partners, the low rent that makes it all seem so much more doable, or a combination of all these things, it seems like this is the year to make things happen, grab onto the momentum of the moment.

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And so for the last few months we've been making and painting and adding and meeting and then finally pulling it all together the night before. IMG_5949
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Or more like the morning of. Either way, our opening day turned out lovely, a success in every sense.
It was sunny and blustery and the five of us got hopped up on coffee and excitement and spent the day milling about, making decorations and accepting congratulations.

We made our first sale auspiciously right at 10 AM when we opened, though superstitious or not, we didn't save the first 20 bucks we made.  
Since it was not only the Lunar Beltane, but also Cinco De Mayo, I invested some of Amelia's enameled jewellery in the style of Mexican sugar skulls (I know-different holiday! Cultural appropriation! Outrage!).  
We made tissue paper garlands, situated the lovely bouquets we'd bought from a local merchant (Passion flowers! Snap dragons! Calla lilies!), Amelia taught us all how to fold craft paper stars. With little success on our part. I blame the copious amounts of coffee
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 Mali and I do most of the vintage stuff in the shop right now, mostly a mix of blouses, frocks and Pendleton woolens.

Amelia makes the aforementioned, utterly gorgeous enamel jewellery. These beauties are first cut and filed from copper, than sprinkled with glass powder and fired about 8 (!) times in the kiln.  She even makes all of her hardware other than her chains, which makes her earrings particularly covetable. I'm totally enamored with her giant turquoise bug wing earrings and the dip-dyed look of her feathers. 
If you feel the same, make sure to check out her Etsy shop Buffalo Gypsy.

Piper makes fully handmade, totally local woolens, dyed with lichens, hand-spun-and knit hoods, ponchos, hats and hand-warmers. 
Check out these awesome, hardy and beautiful bags from Elisabeth. She sews them out of organic cotton, waxed canvas and other hardy and pretty materials. They are our most popular item by far and you too can own or just ogle some of her wares through Etsy. Check out her Barnacle Bags blog too. 
I'm making a little bit of jewellery as well as my customary hair accessories. This little store has totally inspired me to try out new things. I've gotten a bunch of new tools to try out and am really excited to come up with more ideas for wares.  

Mali's been making gorgeous little books and illustrations. She had a big hand in our decorating process and I'm excited to see what she comes up with next. There are definitely a couple of pretty fun things the two of us are working on together.
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 The actual opening party wasn't to start until four, but the whole day had such a celebratory mood that it felt like we'd been partying for hours by the time out evening guests arrived and the first bottles of wine were opened. 
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We made a bunch of sales and learned a lot and still felt like we were just "playing shop". Our friends and neighbors came over and sat on the lawn till dusk, sipping and singing and talking.
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And when it was all over and done with, we cleaned up and closed up and drove to our friend's house for a big Beltane bonfire. We ate soup and lit the fire (with a giant whoosh-someone's maybe a little fond of gasoline...). The moon rose, big and white. The air stilled. An impromptu band struck up. We danced to the washboard and guitar and drums and washtub base.  And as I walked down the driveway to take my tired legs home, it was to the tune of "Wagon Wheel".

Definitely one of those glorious days when the magic of my life felt so acute to me. Those days when you can scarcely believe your own luck. 


  1. Strange coincidence -- I was listening to Wagon Wheel as I was reading this post!

    Your little shoppe looks like such fun. I wish you luck in your new business venture. Maybe I can come by in a week or two when I'm up in the islands?

    The northwest sun feels extra good today, like the sweet embrace of being home again. I hope you are enjoying it as well!

  2. congratulations milla!!! what a beautiful shop filled with pure magic! and what an exciting adventure to say yes to! the shop has such a clean, feminine, artsy feel to it... my kind of place for sure! i hope to visit it in person one day :D

    best wishes and much love to you and all your crafty partners! may much success be in the near future for you all :D

    oh yes, how could i forget to mention the gorgeous photos!!!

  3. Wow, congrats! I feel happy for you all! It looks like a really beautiful and cozy place :) Best wishes!

  4. I am counting the miles from here, thinking how nice it would be to pop by pick me up some gorgeous earrings, and bring a shop warming gift to this circle of wonderful lassies. You gals look so smart, and creative, and gorgeous, and bright and beautiful and inspiring. I am quite sure you will run a very busy happy business there. I wish you all such bliss in your work, but it seems you got that goin on.
    Congratulations and immensely Special blessings on all you do. I adore the name LARKSPUR!!!!!

    I opened my studio on the 5th for the first of many summer afternoon openings. I will post about it again soon.
    Happy Days Milla.

  5. YAAAAAAAAAAAY! congratulations! And yes, I'm totally superstitious, I wouldn't tell anyone my endeavours either...until it has commenced. Tread softly softly. Did you make the feather earrings? I would like to purchase some for my best friend...not just any ole friend, m best one!! Well done chum! I would love to do something like this myself, tie in with a group of others, and bring together home-made and pre-loved stuffs. all the best darlin x

  6. ummmmm, dream shop. what an endeavor of pure magic. every detail is so charming and fresh and pretty, you ladies have the best taste and i cannot wait to set foot into that whimsical little emporium of lovey craftiness. that rack of frocks pitter patters my heart, and do i spy a friend later wearing one of them, with the patchwork? out for a spin already! i commend you and the gals heartily for this project and i am not a bit surprised that your opening was such a success. this is exactly the kind of place becky and i and a few other gals would like to open in our town, so i may be picking your brain extensively in the near future :) love love love to you! and a big sparkly cheers to success!

  7. woo hoo and yayyyy and super duper ALRIGHT!!!! wow...i've always thought having a little shop would be the best. i totally would have jumped at the chance too...but i guarantee you it would not be as dreamy as this little corner you've created. congrats honey!!!! i hope to visit someday and in the meantime i will just shop virtually. i cant wait to see what you come up with next...both for the shop and in general. and where are the books? i just realized....milla and books are like chocolate and pb. much love. lucky indeed!!

  8. Onnea hirmuisesti!! Aivan hurmaava pikku kauppa:-)

  9. wow that sounds incredible!! what a good idea. everything looks lovely- i love all the hand made items as well. congratulations! when we come up that way we will definitely have to stop in.

  10. !!!!!!!!!!!!! Well, to say that I love it would be an understatement! But I do, love it, love it, love it! What a dream venture to be involved in. I'm so happy and excited for you and all the rest of your lovely talented partners, you ladies all shine so brightly and your shop appears steeped in magic... I wish I could come shopping! :D

  11. congrats, milla! having just gotten bad news about a venture i spoke perhaps too willingly about to those around me, i believe you are right about keeping things to yourself until you are ready to sing it out! your shop looks so inviting and sweet. excellent work by you and your mates!

  12. MILLA! this is big news! i am dying to come visit your shop!!! so so exciting - congratulations to you all. what a wonderful journey to to take on the wings of this dragon year. xoxoxo

  13. Ah that is so fantastic! You can't say you're not living a dream now haha... congrats to you all, your secret hard work has definitely paid off :D

  14. Congratulations! I had a vintage shop on Etsy for a few years and I really enjoyed it. It is so fun to find things and then send them off to a new home. Good luck with your new adventure.

    PS I love how you used a suspended branch as a clothing rack!

  15. milla, when i was writing my last post i almost came to your blog to search for that post! if i had had time i totally would have :D do you still have your poncho? if so, we can be twins :D

  16. Hot damn, what a cool little shop! May it flourish! Also - I am superstitious in that same way.

  17. Miiilla! I am so happy for and proud of you ladies!!

    Oh where to begin... Wow. How about there- wow.

    I want to reach my hands through my computer screen right now and pick through that vintage rack. I can see the pieces I want to know more about! Piper's woolens look amazing, and I am so glad that you're selling your leather crafted pieces!

    It looks very clean and simple and inviting, you girls did a fantastic job with the displays and other decor. Now I HAVE to come visit you!!