Sunday, February 28, 2016

When Friends Drift Away

A few years ago I was given some of the best wisdom I've ever received in my life. It was during my Reiki training, and the phrase and subsequent discussion came as quite a surprise because it seemed to go against everything else I'd been told.

The simple wisdom was, "When people drift away, let them."

I was going through a break up and at that time, did not want to let that particular person drift away. As a matter of fact, I fought against his drifting away like a caged tiger, and as a result, he came back into my life full speed ahead, which resulted in years of unnecessary drama, loss of focus, and what now feels like just a ton of wasted time. Here's a bit more wisdom - when you don't learn a lesson the first time, life kind of slaps you upside the head with it on the second go 'round.

However it's not just romantic relationships where the wisdom of allowing others to drift away applies; all of our relationships are fluid. People can and will ebb and flow in and out of our lives, sometimes disappearing completely, then resurfacing and reconnecting with us years later, and sometimes the disappearing will be for good. We can't know, and the reality is, when we feel a cherished friendship is slipping away due to life changes, a move, or any other myriad of reasons, we can't try and control what is happening. We can't hold on when we feel a connection slipping away; we have to step back and, hard as it is, allow the shift in this dynamic to take place. It's not about us, after all, it's about them - where they are and need to be on their own journeys.

In Reiki, this shift is considered energetic. Sometimes as we rise in self-awareness, whether it be due to life changes, dedication to new goals, or our own spiritual attuning, we find that we just don't connect on the same level with certain people anymore. Friendships that were once so essential become less and less of a priority. In life, this is simply called change, and it can be tough no matter what side you are on in the dynamic. When I moved across country twenty years ago, I was astonished at how few of the friends I was close to at that time made the effort to keep in touch. I'm an avid writer of real letters and had no problem burning the midnight oil in order to dispatch long missives to let my friends know what was happening in my life. I wanted to stay friends, to keep those connections that meant so much to me alive and strong. However, my mailbox disappointed me more often than not and in time I moved on, making new friends in my new state. When I moved back again, my first instinct was to rekindle those old friendships, but that, too, fell flat. The reality check was simple - we had lost connection, and we just couldn't find it again.

And that was okay. Everyone in our lives isn't going to be there forever. It's an important thing to remember in a society where the most cherished relationships are, for some reason, only thought to be the ones that last forever - best friends since first grade; golden anniversaries; co-workers for thirty get the picture.

But what about the college roommate you lost touch with, but who made those years a sheer delightful time? Or the whirlwind romance that didn't last but a few months, but in recollection, was a few months of sheer bliss? Are these connections less valid because they didn't persist for all eternity? I don't think so. I think we have to realize that not everyone in our life is going to remain in the same place with us. Our closest friend won't always be down the street; our favorite neighbor won't always be across the way; our most delightful co-worker won't always be at the next desk. Unless we live in a place where life completely stagnates, then it's likely that the same people won't always be available to us in the same ways.

A girl I know recently lamented to me that she felt she'd lost her lifelong best friend after the best friend gave birth a year ago. "Our lives are just so different now," she said. And she was right. She was in the difficult process of adjusting to a new reality. Her best friend's life now consisted of play-dates and other moms, of family time and kiddiedom. She was feeling left out of the best friend's life and more than a little hurt, but I assured her, from having been there myself many years ago (I became a mom later in life than most of my friends, so I went through this same scenario many times in my twenties),  it's a natural and normal part of growth to accept we're not always going to be able to walk every step of the way with everyone we've ever been close to. And while she could cherish and hold dear in her heart that friend and friendship, rather than fight for space in her busy friend's life, it might be time to look for what new friends and opportunities life might have to offer.

And this is all okay. Sometimes people slip our of our lives to make space for new relationships to come in. Sometimes they slip out of our lives but not our hearts, something I learned during the disaster of 2015. A friend I had grown up with and been close to for most of my life - I was in the delivery room when her son was born - sent me a large sum of money to help with expenses. This is a single mother of two who is currently putting the very son whose birth I attended through university; I knew it was a sacrifice to send me such an amount, especially considering that I hadn't seen or spoken to her in years. But her words were simple and to the point. "I know we aren't close now, but we were once, and I still cherish those years of friendship."

A Reiki master couldn't have put it better.

Allowing change, not holding on, honoring what was, allowing space for what will be. These can be difficult, but they are all part of our own growth and the growth of our relationships with others. We step in and out of many lives as we make our way. We'll have many chances to connect and reconnect with many people. Instead of fighting for space, allow space. Instead of holding on, let go a little. It's a tough lesson, but one worth learning.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Pan Pan Studios Art News ~ See You At SpringFest

Just a little mini-post to share some exciting news! Pan Pan Studios was accepted as a vendor for Greenwood, SC's upcoming SpringFest

March 24th 5-8 PM

Uptown Market, Uptown Greenwood

Greenwood is FULL of amazing local talent.  This free event is a celebration of all things local ......musically and artistically!!     

This is a celebration of local artists and musicians, and we are very excited to be a part of it! We'll be selling some funky found object mobiles, paintings, and a new item - weavings!

The boy has become addicted to weaving and is hoping to sell a few of his creations to earn some extra Legoland money. Future entrepreneur? You just never know! The hard part for me is not keeping them all myself!

 Several of our awesome artists friends are vending too so there may even be some insider-artist trading going on! If you come, be sure to visit one of my favorite Uptown haunts, Caffe 312! (Ask for my new favorite drink, a London Fog!)

Have a fabulous weekend! Today we had temperatures in the 60s. I'm hoping winter is finished rearing it's ugly head! For a sampling of some of the items we'll be selling during SpringFest, follow me on Facebook at PanPanStudios!

**SpringFest promotional material courtesy of

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Goodbye Netflix - Why Lent is a Great Time for Lifestyle Changes

I have never owned a recliner until this year, when I was replacing furniture after Floodmageddon and someone offered me a free, funky vintage recliner. Blue pleather, wooden could I resist?

So. Much. Love. for this chair!

 So it became part of our 'new' den and it only took a couple of weeks for me to realize it was the yin to the yang of a potentially deadly combination...

A recliner...and Netflix.


Oh, yes, though I'm ashamed to admit it, this I-rarely-ever-watch-television person quickly became a watch-Netflix-on-a-daily-basis person. I think it had something to do with relieving stress and just being mentally transported to another place for a bit.

That's when I suddenly got it, how the power of television can be so addictive, whether it's sports or dramas or just vegging out. For months, I found my way into the recliner and vegged out to Netflix, justifying it by working on knitting projects at the same time. Here's the issue I finally took with that - I wasn't watching Netflix while I knit, I was knitting to justify watching 3 hours of Frasier or The Office. And staying up really late to do it.

Then I noticed my son, the-rarely-ever-watches-television child, was becoming prone to Netflix binges himself on weekends, snow days (yes, ugh, we've had some real winter this year!) and other times when he could and should have been doing something more meaningful with his time.  Throw in those sinfully delicious Thai Chili Doritos that always seem to be finding their way into our home, and suddenly there was a recipe for complete and total lifestyle disaster.

Here's the no-brainer...Netflix is still television, it's just television at your fingertips. That's why it's so seductive. I'm not sure we would have so easily fallen under the spell were it not for the stress we were going through in those months, but here we were, 3 months later, still captivated. So when it came time to decide what we would give up for Lent, what would be the most meaningful thing to sacrifice so that our lives could was crystal clear.

Goodbye, Netflix.

Wednesday morning I did the deed, and it's already made a huge difference in our lives. By Friday I was on board with a local cafe as art show coordinator and planning an awesome exhibit for May (more to come on that!) My son is working diligently on weavings that he hopes to sell to raise money for our upcoming trip to Legoland and building new and cool things with Legos. This Lego Little Free Library has all of my heart!

We just love Little Free Libraries!
And while I could have turned off Netflix at any time, there is something about making lifestyle changes at Lent that I find very empowering. Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, it is a great time of collective energies swirling all over the globe, all committed to giving up something for the 40 day Lenten 'fast', all supporting and encouraging one another. I even know non-Christians who make Lenten sacrifices during this time, and I think it's wonderful. A big, current movement is giving up 'stuff'', i.e. 40 bags of stuff in 40 days, but that wasn't an area where we needed a push. This was. And though I love the shows on Netflix (obviously!) I won't be renewing my subscription after Lent. There is simply too much life out there to be lived, and I will survive without having finished the last 2 seasons of Frasier, the next season of House of Cards, or ever watching The Making of a Murderer. (Shows I truly value, I can always purchase on DVD at a later date. It's the binge-watching that was affecting our lifestyle, not television/cinema in general. I do respect quality programming and film as an art form!)

How about you, what are you giving up during this special time? Have you already noticed life changes?

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Thrift Store Score Thursday - Just In Time For Valentine's Day!

I love Valentine's Day! The red and pink hearts, sequined everything, and of course, chocolate! This year it falls on a Sunday, which is going to be great! Our predicted weather, however, is not great...cold, so, so cold, with a chance of a wintry mix. Definitely a bundle-up kind of day.

I'm really over winter the moment Christmas passes. In addition to the miserable unpleasantness of the being outdoors even for a second when it's freaking freezing (sorry all my Northern friends but you can't sell me on the idea that it can be pleasant and/or fun!) it's quite hard to feel fashionable when you have to wear more layers than the Michelin tire man and your friends don't even recognize you when passing on the street. So I was delighted when, on a recent thrifting venture, I found this scarf, just in time for Valentine's Day!

Double take! It's reversible!!!
I love when stitching is visible on a garment, and when I saw this tag, I was even more excited!

green 3 apparel seems to be a pretty amazing company. Committed to high-quality eco-fashion, made in the USA, all organic, and they even work with Aspiro to provide opportunities for for disabled adults. I was delighted to discover this brand! And all of their artwork is hand-created, original to green 3 apparel. Sweet.

Love it!
And folks, my investment was a mere $1! So I'll be rocking my new scarf while out and about this cold Valentine's Day! How about you, what will you be doing on this day of love and friendship?

Happy Thrifting!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Vintage Fashion Exhibit! (or, Anti-Fast Fashion!)

I grew up with a love of old things inherited from my father, a junker and antique collector. At a young age, I learned to see the beauty in something that had a story, a little wear and tear, and best of all, was handmade. It's only natural that my passion for old things and also love of fashion would lead me to be passionate about...vintage fashion. So last Saturday, we headed down to Columbia to see the Threads exhibit at the State Museum..

Vintage clothing with a SC story! I was so on board with that! And while sadly this exhibit is no longer on display - we caught it on the last day - I snapped plenty of pictures to share with you! I learned a lot about vintage fashion during our tour of the exhibit. It was thrilling to see so many handmade, slow-fashion items on display!

Handmade dress from the 1940s, for a woman who obviously had curves. Lack of curve love is a problem for me when shopping for vintage clothing; until I saw this dress, I was under the impression that no one was over 5'2 or 95 pounds until maybe the 1970s!

Gasp!  A fashion designer, in the 1950s of all times, from my own hometown! This utterly amazed me as I've never heard of her! A career woman in the 1950s, too! So many reasons to thrill at this!

One of her lovely creations. I definitely need to learn more about this lady!

While I appreciate the handwork involved in making this garment, absolutely nothing about it works for me fashion wise.. But it was from the 1800s, which of course, made it thrilling!

Squee! Flapper dress alert!!!!

This one, all day long. A little jazz and Fitzgerald anyone? I was so born in the wrong era...

Or maybe not. While I could dance away the night, my silhouette wouldn't have cut the mustard of the 20s standards!

But the 1960s? Now we're talking.  I could so rock this minidress!
Not at all sure what to make of this...

A little more perusing...

Do you see the famously Southern seer-sucker pants?

And we came to the belle o' the ball...a vintage clothes lover's lotto. A hand-embroidered petticoat from the 18th century!

Isn't this just all that and then some?

Those ladies were definitely not about fast fashion!

And while this exhibit is no longer on display, there is so, so much to do at the State Museum that it should definitely make your to-do list if you are in the Columbia area. I mean, where else could you take in a vintage fashion show and Megalodon in the same building?

After being in the presence of so much exquisite vintage fashion, I was a bit embarrassed to be wearing jeans. 

Art is everywhere in Columbia...

I remembered a quote from a former 20s flapper I read in a book recently, "Why does everyone want to go around now just dressing up work pants?" Of course she meant jeans, but maybe she hadn't seen skinny jeans yet? Nevertheless, this show renewed my commitment to not purchasing any fast fashion in 2016 and remembering to upcycle, recycle, refashion or shop thrift, vintage, and eco-friendly fashion labels only. And because so much money is being saved by not buying fast fashion, I can buy other things, like art!

This sugar skull kitty was calling my name!
Artists supporting the work of other artists is a time honored tradition I love participating in! Check out this wonderful art by Jay of 3 Crow! Jay and Rodney are regulars at Columbia's fabulous Soda City Market, so after you follow them on Facebook, be sure to visit them at the market. Just make sure you have plenty of wall space first! I'm trying to figure out where I can put more of Jay's work myself! Great guys and great art!

I hope you have a wonderful start to your week! Coming soon, some new show information and some thoughts on giving up something for Lent! 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Thrift Store Score Thursday - From Tan Pants to an Artist's Dream!

I'm so thrilled my son embraces thrifting for all the same reasons I do - to stay away from fast fashion, help the planet by reusing what's already here, and save money for things like trips and fun experiences. So when he asked if we could run by the thrift store last week to look for some tan pants to wear to his first dance (what?!) I was happy to oblige him.

Where could he possibly have gotten the idea that tan pants are cool?
He also wanted to look for a hat rack for his bedroom. Tan pants and hats. I just love his fashion sense. And since I hadn't had the best day at work, I was looking forward to a bit of thrifting to lift my spirits. Five minutes into our favorite shop, I found this book for fifty cents!

I judged this book by it's cover...which is wonderful!
Then we found the perfect tan pants, a steal for just a few dollars. I neglected to snap a photo, but in all honesty, I think one can use their imagination here.

However, this beaut below was the find of the day! Every since I discovered single-serve French press at Caffe 312, I have wanted a tiny French press for myself. And, voila! The thrift shop delivered!

And it's gold! Squeeeeeeee!
And there was even a handmade pottery mug to go with it! We've been slowly converting all of our dishes to pottery, and I love the color blue, so this baby came home with us as well!

No words. Just Awe. #potteryobsession

HW made this mug twenty three years ago.... I love things that have a few years on them, and a story. Who was HW? We'll never know!
Of course, when you live in a small space, something old has to go whenever something new comes this baby went to a friend who is moving and needed to stock up her mug collection!

Sayonora, Starry Starry Night. You served me well, but it's over now.
Of course, there is often something I stumble upon that is akin to winning a thrift store lottery. And friends, this was it. Right here. An artist's dream, especially an artist without deep pockets who knows exactly how much these sell for new...

TEN DOLLARS??? I'm speechless. I am without speech. 
Alas, this easel could not come home with me because I already have a perfectly good one, and these tend to be one-time investment kind of purchases, but if I had a wee bit more space, I'd have certainly snatched this up! Instead I immediately shared it on social media, and an artist friend snatched it up! Sometimes you just have to share the thrifting love!

What were your finds of the week? The tiny French press made my day and my son can't wait to wear his new tan pants to his school dance. They need a nip and tuck here and there to fit perfectly, but the money we saved, not to mention charity we supported and environmentally-destructive fast fashion we didn't buy is worth a few minutes with needle and thread! The entire total of our purchases that day? Around $7, and that includes the wall mount hat rack, which we also found!

Happy thrifting!

***Jack Kerouac photo from Levi Strauss article 15 Facts About Tan Pants.