Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Milla Hippy Love Festival

...and her spider-wrangling husband.

Dear person who keeps finding their way to this blog using the title keywords, I'm so sorry. Everyone else, hello there, long time no see. I've been mad busy not just documenting spider-wrangling, but basking in the unseasonal warmth (insert climate change spoiler), working on jewelry and getting down and dirty with some soil.

Thank you everyone with your generous support of me and my little business endeavors. I just shipped off my first orders and feel like it's been a great start!
As for spider-wrangling: have you ever seen a batch of spider's hatch? It's the most miraculous thing. All spring you'll see spider mamas dragging around these huge eggsacks in the garden and the ceilings and rafters. Then one fine day, they'll suddenly hatch, a hundred tiny spiders all perfect and ready for the world. Some hang out on the mamas webs, while other kinds make use of their little spinning machines and take to the winds on threads of silk.
One such strand greeted us on Saturday morning, before the party at Larkspur, right outside our door and we had to take a moment from our otherwise hectic day to marvel at them, and yes, wrangle them to a more advantageous location.

I have a thing about spiders, particularly house spiders.  I love having them around, especially because they keep bigger spiders that are more likely to bite you, flies and other bugs at bay. We have an agreement: every couple of months I sweep away webs from one room, but I never kill the spiders themselves. They just move to the next room, or start rewebbing whatever room I just cleaned. They're like little house spirits, home helpers.

A few years ago my mom was visiting and thought she'd be doing me a great favor by eradicating all the spiderwebs, which she considered part of our messy lifestyle (ask me about how messy our house is!). Though I didn't show it to her, I was distraught. All the spiders were gone. After she left we had our big remodel and painted the house and I was worried the spiders might never return, so this February when C. called me to the bathroom to show me a mama spider with an a sack full of eggs, I was delighted. They hatched and now we have plenty of house spiders again.

After the spider shenanigans we headed to Larkspur for some very last minute decoration and renovation before our big one-year anniversary.

When we were done, the shop looked so spiffy, with lots of new goodies and vintage in it. I was particularly proud of this make-shift jewelry hanging rack that Amelia and I put together after our previous plans didn't pan out. Is there anything you can't make out of driftwood? I think not.

Piper's been spinning and knitting up a storm and I adore her display rack too, it's so sweet and old-fashioned.


In the spirit of kid-birthdays I also made paper crowns, which is my new passion. Lately I've been really into simple crafts, like the kind that 5-year-olds do. It's somehow meditative. I've made animals and beads out of paper-clay, crowns and water-colored animal mobiles. Maybe I'm regressing....
Everyone just looks so good and festive in a crown. I think everyone should have one they could slap on when they're having a bad day.
We put so much work into having inventory and making it sweet and inviting. We hung up a clothesline, worked on our displays and set up a picnic blanket, spent hours on making inventory, and baked cakes and cleaned and organized.


Owning your own little business is such a funny thing. While ours was a pretty easy start, with minimal investment and expenses, it's still been pretty touch and go. Having a small, groovy shop with a decidedly youthful aesthetic on a tiny island isn't exactly a moneymaker, and perhaps never will be.
Over the years the Island has seen so many businesses come and go, that any particular location already holds many stories of lovely ideas and inevitable failures. Salons, video rental places, restaurants and antique shops have come and gone.
New businesses appear and disappear each year as different Islanders decided to try their hand at making money with something they love, or are good at. Some thrive, others limp along, others still disappear, change ownership.

Life circumstances and economies shift, people move, or lose interest, or simply run out of money.
The only way to know if your particular venture will fly, is to give it an honest try and that's what we feel like we're doing. Trying to turn our passions into another little side-job, to supplement waitressing, gardening, editing, assisting artists, the many things we do to make a little money around here.
Sometimes we joke that if we had our shop in a city somewhere, we'd be making so much more money. Our stuff is good, our shop is well-curated and beautiful. We're proud of it. Somewhere else, we might reach bigger audience, more folks who appreciate the things we appreciate.
Then I remember how it kind of drives me mad when I hear people lament how there's no money in their particular passion, how it's so unfair that they can't just make money doing what they love, like it's some sort of a birthright to be able to make a living in your chosen field, whether it be cupcakes, or crocheting doilies, or writing bad poetry.

I figure if you love it, you'll keep doing it no matter what and if you keep doing it you might eventually figure out a way to make money with it, but if you love it, that won't matter one bit.

We don't live in Seattle, or Portland. We live here, because we choose to, because we wouldn't want to live anywhere else, and if this particular thing isn't going to be what makes us a living here, then so be it.
In the meantime, it's summer. Our friends spend their hard-earned pennies on our beauties and hang out on the lawn with us.

We're having a good time. We're making beautiful things and learning. We're doing what it takes. Waitressing and weeding and watching babies. Having lots of seemingly disparate ventures.
Because that's sometimes what it takes to make your life the one you want.
So here's to a Larkspur's first year! And second! And all your dreams and ventures and hard work!
And spiders! Especially spiders!


  1. um, so this post ISN'T milla's hippy love festival?

    there's a lot of simple, but awe inspiring, beauty going on here. from that cake up above to paper crowns (!!!), from baby spides to parties that happen with minimal effort....the only thing that person might want to add to their search engine is the word "magic".

    and i wish i could be right there with you about "if you keep doing it you might eventually figure out a way to make money with it, but if you love it, that won't matter one bit." i think that's where i have always been, and now i am entering sure as hell matters if i get paid. my work is a labor of love and passion of the heart and the burnout is way too high without some kind of reciprocity. this, as you know, also has a lot to do with living in a ridiculously expensive metropolis.

    speaking of which, yes, your store would make bank here. but i think the island would always love you more. xo

  2. Yes, yes, yes! Dear Milla--I've been reading your blog for, um, years now and your light has seen me through some dark times, inspired me to keep living my heart, finding my tribe, making my art and loving my place. Like faeries and magic, we must believe in things before they become real. I believe in you.

    Thank you for your song of image and word, for sharing your life. May all good things find you.

  3. yeah!!!! I love it all. so so good! The shop looks great, I need to come back and look in person aaap. and i had no idea those were piper's knits!! I love amelia's necklaces... ooooh, the isle is a callin me (us). this heat has been nice, Liberty asks my phone (it has a talking robot in it) what the weather is like on your island every morning, she says she misses her girls. xo m

  4. Milla, Milla, you make my heart sing.

    All of your posts recently made me truly happy, but this one sums it up, I think. And yes, you are right where you need to be - in fact, this picture of you with the birthday cakes clearly shows (for some reason) the high percentage of faeries and magicians in your lineage or past lives.

    Which means that if you put your heart, love and happiness in what you are gifted for, these creations will make other people happy - just like that.

    And the more you create, the happier you will be.

  5. Congratulations on Larkspur's first anniversary! The shop looks so lovely. And I couldn't agree more with keeping on doing what you're doing, following your dreams and passions. I wouldn't exchange the freedom I have now for all the money in the world :-) x

  6. marianne just saw that last pic and is now singing happy birthday. so, happy birthday to larkspur from marianne and myself! i can't believe it's been a year already. i hope to one day visit it in person, it really is a beautiful shop :D

    i love the pictures of the spiders! how cool! it reminds me of charlotte's web. i have a spider on the patio that busts out the webs overnight. i keep dusting them away and that little fella just keeps on making more. i'll see it run into a crack sometimes and the other day i saw it had caught a little gnat so i left it for him :D

  7. "Because that's sometimes what it takes to make your life the one you want." yes darling girl, i need to remember this. I'm coming out of my three (?) month slump, so lusty for life and living and joyous about so much right now...this post of yours only adds more value! YAY! Happy birthday Larkspur, and I'm flippin overjoyed about your Etsy store too! Paper Crowns. Man, you rock. xo

  8. There is such joy in this post, Milla! Your store looks amazing, and I wish we lived closer so I could come visit it (and YOU of course)! Happy First Year, Larkspur!

  9. "Everyone just looks so good and festive in a crown." I love this and you are right! And I love the shop. Precious.

  10. I didn't think it was possible, but you've made me re-evaluate my shuddering knee-jerk fear response to spiders. Those baby spiders are freaking adorable. Spiders! I used the words spiders and adorable in the same sentence! It's completely flummoxing my brain. Thank you for that. And I love your attitude. So, so much. If you love it, do it... whether it becomes a money-maker or not, do it. Revolutionary. ALSO also, I would spend many of my hard-won dollars on the beautiful things in your store if I were there, wherever "there" is. It looks like a wonderful place. I'm going to make myself a crown when I get home from work today, too. Princess Jen, wheee!

  11. soooo beautiful and magical in every way. i want to be at that party, chilling on the grass and patting that pup and singing happy birthday to lovely larkspur! what a gorgeous and enchanted island existence you have and your approach to business is utterly inspiring especially as we intend to embark on a similar journey in a similarly non-lucrative locale. but our hearts will be merry and glad indeed!

    1. I'm so excited for your shop, dear!

  12. I personally am so happy to have Larkspur here on Lopez. Now if we can just get a little farm-to-table, rustic restaurant, minimalist decor, with a one sheet menu and herbal infused cocktails...sigh.. I feel proud to know all of you beautiful talented ladies, plus Nitsan! As you said, your stuff IS good and well curated.
    Here's to many more fulfilling years!

    1. Thanks Eleanor! Herb-infused cocktails, eh? ;)

  13. I received my earrings a few days ago and I absolutely LOVE them! Congrats on your anniversary at Larkspur. I hope I will get to visit your shop someday and I would certainly love to meet you next time I make it up to the islands!

    1. Happy to hear it! Come visit anytime, pls!

  14. "Dear person who keeps finding their way to this blog using the title keywords, I'm so sorry"

    I believe this is me, and I don't know why you are sorry! Perhaps I should be sorry that I hate the bookmark function of web browsers, therefore I have a copious amount of blogs that I read from memory by googling the titles or remembering the url - I always remember yours isn't what I think it is, therefore I do a basic google to find you when I have time to check in.

    I keep coming back because I love your writing, your lifestyle, and your theories on the world. Escapism from my everyday, the mundane, the dual computer screens and digitizing. It's nice to know there are people out there rescuing baby spiders and haunting woods that I dream of. So don't be sorry, just be yourself.

    As long as you do that, I'll keep googling.

    1. ♡This comment made my day! I was gonna say that it must pertain to Milla Jovovich going to SwxSw, or something, but it's so much cooler that it's actually about me! Thank you, my dear. It's nice to know that there's good people out there dreaming of the woods and baby spiders. Come visit them anytime.

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