Friday, December 31, 2010

A Very Nice Year


Sitting here, in this moment, warm in my bed, looking out at the snow, all I can remember of 2010 is good things. I know the world had plenty of troubles, and I had a few too I guess, but I'm choosing to see only what I want more of in the coming year, and there was plenty of that. My long search for Home led me right back to where I started, but nothing is the same. Or maybe it's only me who's different, but that's enough. Change one thing, change everything, and so everything is changed. It's a nice feeling, this moment of contentment. I know it won't last, and I also see that as a good thing, as discontent is what spurs us to imagine and create. But for the moment, it's perfect to pause quietly on the last frozen morning of the year, and take a deep breath, and say, Thank You. This year has been one hell of a ride.

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And now, drum roll please...
The winner of the last Gratitude Bracelet Giveaway is...

Penny!!! 


Penny said...

Merry Christmas to you too :)!

Penny \IiiI

I'm so pleased! Please contact me at kim@kimmiles.com, and tell me where to send your bracelet!

And that's it for the bracelet giveaways. Thank you all for making this fun. I hope you've been encouraged to comment and keep the conversation going, even if there's not a prize to win. We'll see, won't we?

Have a fun and safe New Year's Eve, and I'll see you back here next year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

More From Feeny's Friends


Not long ago I told you about my friend Feeny, who was recently diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, and the amazing way her Taos friends pulled together to raise money for her treatment. We did really well, raising over $15,000. I'm told there is enough for two of the three months of treatment she needs, and now the push is on to raise the funds for that crucial third month. Read more on Feeny's blog, which she promises to update regularly, generously making this difficult time in her life into a valuable learning opportunity for us all.

Now here's your chance to help this amazing woman do what needs to be done. The online sale of wonderful items donated by Taos artists is up and running, with new things appearing daily. I have three pieces there, and it's not an auction, but a regular sale, so all you have to do is swoop in and snap 'em up. And don't miss out on Lenny Foster's "Healing Hands" 2011 Calendar. It's a beautiful thing! The sale items are listed as blog postings, so you'll want to click the links to previous and later entries at the bottom of the pages. Start here, where you'll find my offerings, and then wander through the site for lots of good information and positive energy, and great art.

That's it for now. I got things to do!
xoxo Kim


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Leave a comment on this post to be entered to win this week's Gratitude Bracelet. Enter once on each post from now to next Thursday, and I'll hold the drawing on Friday morning. More details are in the column to the right. Good Luck!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What A Day...

What an amazing day. Like quantum physics for dummies. So much has happened in one little day. There isn't room for this much, but here I am telling about it...

I was up half the night, obsessed with all things dirty and blingy, and slept late to make up for my hours of mid-night wakefulness. Rather than my usual morning routine of computer stuff and blogging, we got right to work and headed to the other end of town to get daughter Julia's stuff out of an expensive storage unit, and into our own storage shed behind the house. It took two long trips, in the snow, moving a big bed, smaller furniture, and lots of boxes of uncovered stuff, stuff, stuff.

On the first trip, Rick went into the office to get the key, and ran smack into Donald Rumsfeld. I swear it's true. Don was sending a FedEx package, and made the friendly gesture of introducing himself to Rick, and chatting about how much he likes Taos, and how the family is all visiting from all over. How entirely surreal. We do not in any way perch on his side of the political fence, and I'm really proud of Rick for being so cordial to a man many people regard as Satan Himself. We figure he's in Taos for good reason. What better place for so many people to shine their little lights on him? He might actually have a chance at becoming a Good Human here. But then, it's really not for me to say...

Some time later, moving done, stuff in its new place, day half gone, we headed out for our reward. Coffee! Then on to the hardware store, where I bought some variations on gnarly wire, and some new spongy sanding blocks--one of my favorite tools. Next stop, the art supply store, where Rick picked up some oil painting supplies. It was so spontaneous and delightful. He'd found an easel in Julia's stuff, and decided it would be fun to make use of it, and try his hand at painting again, after 30 years away from it. I was so excited I cleared half my studio to make room for him. And so here we are, sharing yet another facet of our lives. I'm surprised at myself. I like this arrangement. You'd think we'd get tired of each other, but we don't. We're a good team, so this makes sense too. And I'm so thrilled to see my sweetie making art again.


We spent the first half of the evening in the studio, me making what I make, and dreaming of the new things that want to be made, and Rick making a painting, his first in a long time. Snow's still falling, and Rick is on a run now for veggie tacos from the Guad Grill to go with the champagne we cracked earlier. Does it get any better? I think not. But I've been wrong before.


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Leave a comment on this post to be entered to win this week's Gratitude Bracelet. Enter once on each post from now to next Thursday, and I'll hold the drawing on Friday morning. More details are in the column to the right. Good Luck!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fierce Bling



I recently caught a jewelry demo by my friend Susan Dilger, where she expanded my jewelry consciousness by making a beautiful bracelet out of steel bailing wire. I've had a buzz of excitement keeping me awake at night ever since. I never would have thought of using that dirty, tough wire to make jewelry, although my inventive cousin, Mitzi Miles-Kubota, made some terrific adornments last winter with stainless steel wire, because silver prices were already becoming ridiculous. It's taken all this time for these ideas to wiggle their way to the surface and incorporate themselves with my own sense of design. I like things pretty and sparkly, and I also like them tough and fierce. Yesterday, almost on a whim, I sat in the studio and put this necklace together, using some nasty old wire from Rick's tool box, and a handful of glitzy CZ pendants. I. Am. In. Love.


I'm seeing all sorts of possibilities for this hardware/bling combination. I'm shopping for more blingy bits, and new tools to make the chain-making process easier. I have visions of recycled glass worked into the mix. And colored stones. And silver. And gold, for goodnessakes. I'll try some stainless steel too, but I adore this dark steel wire, and all the down-on-the-ranch connotations that go with it. This is jewelry for people like me, whatever that means. It makes no pretense. It is what it is. Love it or hate it, I don't care. I'm making more. I feel a surge of power from this particular inspiration, and I need to see it through because I think it wants to take me by the hand and lead me somewhere wonderful.


Rick and I are going to see the Nutcracker tonight. I'm wearing my wine velvet dress, Frye boots, and this necklace. If Taos went to the Oscars, this is what she'd wear. And who knows... maybe she will.

Ice Music

My apologies for skipping out on you yesterday. I was busy in the studio, making something... new. I'll show you in a follow up post today. Must be Twos-day! (And a little side note: several of you have been commenting twice to the same post... no, no, no my darlings. Go back and delete your extras or you will be disqualified from the drawing. Sorry, fair is fair to everybody or nobody.)

So last night, after a day of focused and quite unusual inspiration--OK, one small hint... steel and diamonds--Rick and I scooped up our pal Karena, and drove up to Taos Ski Valley for an Ice Music Concert. I've shown you pictures of the ski valley in summer, when we go up hiking. We like to stop in at the Bavarian for beer and fries with mustard, and sit outside soaking up the view and the sun. We did the same thing last night, at least the beer and fries part. But as you might expect, the ski valley is filled with snow this time of year, so to enjoy the outdoor music, we had to bundle up in lots of layers, and dance rather than lounge.


Ice Music is truly that--music made on instruments that are made of ice. And they're not weird pretend instruments. They're things you've seen and heard before, like a cello, and guitar, drums, and a xylophone. There was also a big standup bass and violins, but no musicians to play them this time. I would have loved to hear the violins... might have to go up again... but we were not at all disappointed in what we got. The ice bodies of the instruments create a clear, beautiful sound that's somehow more "pure" than wood. And it was explained that the molecular structure of the ice actually changes as the concert goes on, because of the vibrations of the music, changing and fine tuning the sounds even more. The only non-ice instrument was a harmonica, which makes sense!



From what we saw on the website, we thought there would be an actual ice theater, but we learned that that's in the works. But the concert in only about an hour long, and it was fun to have a reason to stand outside on a cold, clear night, dancing, singing, looking up at the stars. We also imagined that we'd hear some sort of classical music, but it was actually more like "Woodstock On Ice," ending with an impromptu solo by "transgalactic electro-cellist", Michael Kott, that rang out across the mountain in a most eery and beautiful way. If you get the chance to see and hear Ice Music for yourself, I think you should! Visit the website for more (better) pictures, and tickets, and keep up with them on Facebook, so you'll know when the movie they're working on comes out. This music is so weirdly wonderful. Easy to fall in love with, and we did.



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Leave a comment on this post to be entered to win next week's Gratitude Bracelet. Enter once on each post from now to next Thursday, and I'll hold the drawing on Friday morning. More details are in the column to the right. Good Luck!


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Hot Springs Christmas

I didn't take any pictures yesterday... Eek! There were swimsuits involved! Just imagine a nice, relaxing day at Ojo Caliente, soaking in the hot pools and enjoying the sun. We brought a little picnic, all the dogs, and our friend Karena, so it turned into a nice little party. It wasn't like a "regular" Christmas, and I sort of missed the kids and family, but it was fun. It was good. And today I sort of feel like I "made it through Christmas." I love all the weeks leading up to The Day, but Christmas Day always leaves me feeling a little down. Now we can just coast through the week, doing whatever seems like fun, and maybe a little work too. I have some ideas to try, and a website that looks tired to me. Time for a renovation. I admit to feeling a little bit lost, a little in-between, but that's not a bad thing. It's just a thing. I'll sit tight and wait for further instructions. They always come eventually.




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Leave a comment on this post to be entered to win next week's Gratitude Bracelet. Enter once on each post from now to next Thursday, and I'll hold the drawing on Friday morning. More details are in the column to the right. Good Luck!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

We went to Taos Pueblo for the Christmas Eve celebration. I would so love to show it to you, but photos are forbidden. The only way to experience this astonishing event is to come to Taos and attend it yourself. I'll try to entice you... imagine hundreds of people gathering just before sunset, chatting with friends, but eyes turned to the church, with the setting sun glowing pink and orange behind it. As mass lets out and the sky darkens, a procession begins from the church courtyard. Large torches, native dancers, menacing men firing rifles into the air, and a large canopy carrying a beautifully dressed Virgin Mary, carried high on the bearers shoulders snake past as onlookers squeeze in to see them. It's a strange mix of native and catholic traditions that doesn't make a lot of "sense", but works quite beautifully. As the procession weaves through the crowd, large, artfully stacked fires are lit, some as tall as 30 feet high. Men climb to the tops of them to light them, and as they ignite from the top down, they look like giant, flaming Jenga games. The black smoke spirals from them in black tornadoes, filling the air with glowing sparks. It's beautiful and other-worldly. It's thrilling and terrifying and uplifting. It's Christmas Eve at the Pueblo, and it's essential to many of us who live here.

Today we wake to a quiet house and a warm day. Our kids are all elsewhere this year, so we've decided to load up the dogs and go to the hot springs. We've found, and created, more than our share of magic this Christmas, so today we'll soak our bones and relax, reflecting on the glowing good fortune that forms our lives.

Merry Christmas to you all, from our Home in Taos. I hope you have a wonderful day!


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Leave a comment on this post to be entered to win next week's Gratitude Bracelet. Enter once on each post from now to next Thursday, and I'll hold the drawing on Friday morning. More details are in the column to the right. Good Luck!


Friday, December 24, 2010

Another Winner!

Congratulations to Nancy, who slipped in at the last minute this morning, and won this week's Gratitude Bracelet! It was a random drawing, as always, but here's her comment, in case we have more than one Nancy:

"Nancy said...
I have told myself many times that if I am patient things will fall into my lap. Patience can be hard....but it is very worthwhile in many ways.

Nancy, please contact me at kim@kimmiles.com, and let me know where to send your bracelet!

I have one more bracelet to give away next Friday, New Year's Eve! After that... I don't know yet! Maybe something else! I like giving stuff away. Mostly because it makes me feel good. But on a practical level, it generates more comments to the blog, which is good too. So please keep reading and commenting. It encourages me to keep writing, and who knows, maybe someday I'll actually be able to make a living at it. Stranger things have happened!

Merry Christmas to all of you. Do whatever it takes to feel the Love and Light, and pass it on!

(Visit MakaylaS on Etsy)

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Leave a comment on this post to be entered to win next week's Gratitude Bracelet. Enter once on each post from now to next Thursday, and I'll hold the drawing on Friday morning. More details are in the column to the right. Good Luck!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Soup Is Good Food

I made an excellent soup last night. I can't take credit for the recipe. I got it from Rachael Ray. But since it was online, I can share it with you. It's a beans-and-greens soup call Deep Winter Minestra, and it's delish! I veganize it by leaving out the bacon. It doesn't miss it a bit. Last night I added some Tofurkey sausage for a change of pace, but I probably won't bother with that again. Who needs faux meat when you have all those lovely mushrooms, beans, greens, and pasta? Mmmm... perfect for this time of year, and really easy to make. I always make way too much. Time to get Soup Night going again on a regular basis. Feeding people is one of my favorite things. Make a pot, and share it with friends! Enjoy!

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Comment on this post to be entered to win this week's Gratitude Bracelet. The random drawing will be held on Friday. For more info, scroll the right hand column of this page.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas at the OBL


The annual Michael Hearne Christmas Singalong at the OBL Restaurant in Taos is not to be missed. This year was the best ever, and I'm not just saying that because I'm newly re-smitten with Taos. Everyone in our big party said so, and we know a good time when we see one.

It's always a family event, with kids onstage singing with the band, and a visit from Santa, who we know is awfully busy this time of year. There are song books on all the tables, and the audience sings along between mouthfuls of great food (my veggie enchiladas were the best I've ever had there), and sips of make-sure-you-have-a-designated-driver margaritas. We had Santa hats and Elf hats and jingle bells, and sang our selves hoarse, laughing all the way.


Later in the evening, during the "regular music" set, especially festive-looking folks--Deborah and Thomas, in their Santa hats, among them--were pulled from the audience and brought on stage to sing the ever-popular Drift Away, which was written by Taos's own Mentor Williams, who is also the husband of country singer, Lynn Anderson. Mentor and Lynn weren't there, but I think they would have been pleased with last night's rendition.

(I tried all day, literally, to upload a video of that performance here, but nooooo... it just wouldn't load. This explains the very late blog posting for today. Technology... love it/hate it!)

On the way home, we pulled into the best decorated neighborhood in Taos. A lot of people put lights on their houses, but this little strip of mobile homes, tucked behind the liquor store, has a sense of spirit and fun and holiday pride that beats them all. These homes may be humble by some standards, but they sure know how to dress up and make a whole town happy.



I hope you're enjoying this holiday season as much as we are. If not, pick up a couple of Michael Hearne's CDs for a nice audio hit of Virtual Taos. I can recommend Taos Christmas Eve for this time of year (listen to the title song here), and any of the others are guaranteed to make you wanna put on your boots and do some two-steppin' around the living room.  In the song New Mexico Rain, he says, If I ain't happy here, I ain't happy nowhere... Amen to that, Michael. Thanks for singing us into Christmas!


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Comment on this post to be entered to win this week's Gratitude Bracelet. The random drawing will be held on Friday. For more info, scroll the right hand column of this page.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Staying Open


I was joking with Rick last night, as we waited up for the lunar eclipse, that it would be so funny if the County Parks Boss in Ashland called to offer Rick a job, just as we're starting to feel somewhat grounded in Taos again. That's the way it works, doesn't it? The minute we're content with what we've got, something new is offered. When we let go of wanting something, that's when it can find its way to us. It happened that way when Rick and I met. That very morning I'd told my boss that I was fine and dandy raising my kids by myself, and that's just what I planned to do. Then at lunchtime, I bumped into Rick at the park, and we've been together ever since. I only found him because I wasn't looking for him.

So it's no surprise that bright and early this morning, County Parks Boss called to see if we might want to camp host again next summer. I made some kind of weird Ninja Camp Host face, and Rick told him that we didn't really want to do that again, but he'd consider a paid job if one came available. He added that we'd also need a place to park our trailer for the summer. Might as well ask for everything you want, right? Well, the Boss was very encouraging, saying that he thought they could find a spot for us, and he'd call again soon...

Hilarious! We just looked at each other and laughed. If a real offer comes through, we can decide what to do then. Summer in Ashland and winter in Taos would be ideal for me. I don't love the spring mud-and-wind season here, or the summer monsoon season, but I do enjoy the fall and winter months. I'm sure a bunch of other things to consider will pop up between now and then, but it's already fun to think about another summer in Ashland, hopefully without camp hosting, and without a bead tent. What would I do instead? Well, I'm not the one to ask, that's for sure! But I do know that staying open to everything brings a lot more options our way. We still get to say the final Yes or No, but it sure is nice to have some fun choices to pick from. It's also nice to get those reminders that the Magic still works. Hold on really, really tight to whatever is in your hands, and you've got whatever that is. Open up and let it go, and anything can land there in its place.


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Comment on this post to be entered to win this week's Gratitude Bracelet. The random drawing will be held on Friday. For more info, scroll the right hand column of this page.

Monday, December 20, 2010

I Guess I Can Say It...

Well it looks like we really did take the long way home. We've been thinking it for a while now, and we're saying it out loud these last few days. Taos let us go. Then it called us back and asked us to stay. It provided friends who are really family, and in the short time we've been back, new friends to add to the circle. It gave us a community that took us right back in with love and hugs and encouragement, even after we rejected it so thoroughly before we left. Yes, I guess I can say it. We're Home. We're staying. We're happy here again.

The house is still for sale because it still makes sense to sell it and buy/build something we can afford. But what makes sense one minute can turn into total silliness the next. We're keeping all options open, and we're not doing anything out of desperation. We're not desperate. And if the Universe wants us to keep this house, which really is quite lovely, It will also provide us with the resources to do it.

I'm spending some time this week and next pondering options and opening myself to things I've not yet thought of. My Big Question to God is, What now???, and I'm hoping for an answer soon. And if it all turns around again, and we get the call to go somewhere else, well, that's still a possibility. But if we have anything to say about it--and I'm not at all sure we do--we'll take Taos. I feel like Dorothy, waking up, still a little woozy, in my own bed, in my own room, after a long and amazing adventure. Dorothy was right. There's no place like home.



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Comment on this post to be entered to win this week's Gratitude Bracelet. The random drawing will be held on Friday. For more info, scroll the right hand column of this page.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Another Bracelet Winner, and a Week Well Spent

Congratulations Barb C!!!
You're the winner of this week's Gratitude Bracelet!
Please contact me by email and let me know where to send it. (kim@kimmiles.com)

I'll do next week's drawing on Friday. Good luck everyone, and thank you for your wonderful comments!

And now, a few more pictures from Taos Feeds Taos. Rick and I spent three days helping pack and distribute over 1,100 boxes of food, plus hams, turkeys, and bags of apples and potatoes. We're tired, but in the happiest possible way. This was the 25th year of Taos Feeds Taos, which is run entirely by volunteers and donations, along with a lot of help (and muscle!) from the National Guard. What an amazing bunch of people. We're so happy we had the chance to participate this year, and hope to do it all again next year. Thank you Taos Feeds Taos for making our Christmas happier! And if anyone wants to give me a holiday gift, make a donation to Taos Feeds Taos through this link! Thanks! I love it, and it fits perfectly!






Friday, December 17, 2010

Round Two

We had an amazing day yesterday, helping to fill over 1,100 boxes with food. Just when we though we were finished, someone found a wall of tortillas, and we all scurried around, tossing them like frizbees into the ocean of boxes.


It snowed overnight, which is so beautiful, but might cause problems for some of the people coming out to pick up their boxes today. We'll be there though, bundled up and ready to push shopping carts for the recipients of the food. I'm reminded of our friend Marta in Ethiopia. Although she's over 80 years old, she still insists on serving everyone before herself. She credits her name, which means "servant", and is always proud and honored to serve others. She is such an inspiration to me. And she's right, it really is an honor to serve in any capacity. I'm so looking forward to spending this day talking to people and helping to make their holidays a little bit happier. It's really very selfish on my part. I get much more out of it than I give. Shhh... don't tell...

I loved reading your comments from yesterday. Some of you are real Super Heros! My hope is that we can all inspire each other to do just a little bit more. And if you're one of the ones who hasn't been doing much, but feels the need to, tell us what you'd like to do. It's a good start! Then go make a phone call and get to it.

I'll bring a real camera today (only had my phone yesterday), and will be back tomorrow with pictures and stories. There are surprises waiting for all of us today. Let's go get 'em!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Taos Feeds Taos

No time this morning! Rick and I are heading to the National Guard Armory to help load boxes of food for Taos Feeds Taos. It's a huge operation that only happens once a year. I helped out once a couple of years ago, and loved every minute of it. If I were a Rich Lady, I'd be volunteering all over the place. Maybe I should pay attention to that. Hmmm...

Anyway, no time to ponder life options at the moment. I'd love to hear what you're doing this season, or any time, as a volunteer, doing something good, just because it feels good. Let us know!


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Elf Yourself

Today, my friends, we have some silly fun. Watch this, and then, go Elf Yourself! xoxoxo


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Pi

A few years ago, Rick built a really nice labyrinth in the back yard, out of river rock and gravel. It's a wonderful, calming, meditative space. To be clear, a labyrinth is not a maze. While a maze has options, allowing you to get lost and bump into dead ends, a labyrinth has only one way in, leading you to the center, where you pause and leave your troubles before taking the same winding route back out. A lot of people don't know that. Now you do.


After the labyrinth was completed, we felt it still needed... something. And as Rick looked around the yard for inspiration, he found three nice cedar poles that fit together perfectly in a sort of Asian looking archway. It also looks like the symbol for Pi, and we soon dubbed it the Pi Gate.

The little spruce tree we used to decorate outside the house has doubled in size since we moved here, so this year we decided to decorate the Pi Gate instead. It looks just gorgeous standing out there all by itself at night. The lights on it illuminate the labyrinth enough for night walking under the Milky Way. And I guess I won't be surprised if we start to see strange objects hovering over the yard. We may have created a landing pad of sorts...


Rick doesn't know it yet, but I'm going to lobby for leaving the lights up year-round. It makes my eyes happy, and I'm much more drawn to go out there and center myself, in that beautiful light, surrounded by the soft, dark night.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Small Town Love


Feeny Lipscomb is a long time Taos resident, much loved by her many friends, and recently diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. Let me quickly stop you from sending sad and dismal thoughts her way. Just stop it right there! Because Feeny is not only a fighter, but has Taos Love on her side, which is a very big thing. Last night Feeny's friends got together to throw a fundraiser for her at the KTAO Solar Center. The place was packed, money flew out of wallets, silent auctions lined table after table, raffle tickets were snapped up, music played, the bar was open, food was served, and people partied like crazy. Never once, in the entire evening, was there so much as a downcast look, a sad sigh, or any indication of gloom. The overwhelming mood was that of Love, and it had a contagious, healing effect on everyone there.







(Thanks to Jaap Vanderplas for taking over my camera for a while)

Feeny's cancer is inoperable, and so she has done her research and chosen to use "alternative", natural methods to heal herself. I hesitate to ever use words like "fight" or "battle", because what we fight, we feed. I always think it's better to focus our loving attention on Health, spending more time thinking of what we want, rather than what we don't want. This was how that huge crowd of wonderful Taosenos (taos-en-yos) behaved all evening, accentuating the positive in a big way.

This is what small towns do for their own. At least I like to think so. I've seen it time and again in Taos, and right now, I'm so proud of this town I could just burst. I want to invite you to join us. Maybe you can relate in some way, and maybe you can use a hit of this Taos Magic for yourself. Let me assure you, you are most welcome. Feeny can be found on Facebook, under Friends For Feeny, as well as on her blog, FeenysFriends. Last night's silent auctions have ended, but there will also be an online auction soon, which I'll be sure to link you to as soon as it's up and running. We need to raise at least $36,000, and I know we can do it. Please help us if you can, and no matter what, please keep the positive, healing, loving thoughts flowing, not only for Feeny, but for yourselves and everyone you come into contact with. Love, Love, Love to you all.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Taos Shines

The Lighting of Ledoux St is an annual event that literally outshines all others. The whole town turns out to stroll along this quaint little street, filled with galleries and shops, and lined from end to end with paper bag luminarias. The humble bags-with-candles are also called farolitos, and last night I heard someone call them bagolitos. Funny! Crackling camp fires blaze at intervals along the way, so people can stop and warm up, while sipping wine or cider, munching cookies, and chatting with friends. Last night was, by all accounts so far, the Best Ledoux Ever. The pictures I took are terribly blurry because I hate using the flash, so I did a little digital magic in Photoshop, and made them look like paintings. It's a perfect way to depict Taos, which I think must have more artists per capita than just about anyplace. Enjoy...






Saturday, December 11, 2010

Winner and Watercolors

We have a winner! This week's Gratitude Bracelet goes to...

MoonRae (Sharon)!
Congratulations!!!
Please contact me right away by email, and tell me where to send your bracelet!
(kim@kimmiles.com)

We'll start again on Monday. There are still 3 more bracelets to win! Thanks everybody!!!
~~~~~~~~~

And now, a quick visit to the studio. Sure, I make beads out there. But sometimes I get distracted by something other than glass, like the silver pipe cleaners the other night. Yesterday it was a worn out set of dollar store watercolors and a stack of biz card sized watercolor paper. Going with what I remembered from my cousin Mitzi, who is the Queen of Watercolor, as far as I'm concerned, I soaked my scraps of paper, swirled some water into the paints, and started playing. Gravity, paper towels, and a small pink hair drier played their parts in the process, and a little while later, I had three tiny paintings resting on my torch table in a pile of clear glass.


Are they any good? Well, no, of course not. That's not the point. The point is they were fun to make, like the pipe cleaner tiaras. It's easy to forget that creative play is important, not only in stretching an artist's vision of her work, but in everyone's daily challenge to make life interesting. We're supposed to have fun. We're supposed to create. We're supposed to play and explore and do things we don't think we know how to do. It's all part of the process of creating our lives. I hope you have some fun today. Ready? Set? Go!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Snowflakes and Tiaras


Last week, Deborah and I watched with envy as the kids at the Festival of Trees and Wreaths sat at long tables and made snowflakes out of sparkly silver pipe cleaners and plastic beads. We both wanted to join in, but hadn't thought to borrow a child to get us admission to the craft table. That didn't stop Deborah though. Always resourceful and creative, she hit Hobby Lobby in Albuquerque this week, and last night we were at her dining room table, elbow deep in silver pipe cleaners and plastic pony beads.

The intention was to make snowflakes. Deborah had started before I got there, and had several fine flakes already finished. I made a couple, with pretty good results, and then the third one took off on its own, curving in an odd direction, and eventually taking shape as a... tiara. Wonderful! I love how this happens. I plan to do one thing, and then the plan changes as I go along. It happens here on my blog, in my studio with beads, and in most parts of my life. I've said it before--Make a plan, and plan to change it. 

After a while, we looked at the growing pile of sparkly stuff on the table, and wondered, What are we going to do with these? I suggested putting the snowflakes on an outdoor tree, and left everything I made there with Deborah. For me, it was not about having these things, it was about making them. As for the tiaras, they look marvelous on Deborah. I hope she'll wear them when she celebrates her birthday, and maybe in her studio later, to help keep those creative juices flowing.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

No Such Thing as a Cheap Couch

I blame the couch. It started all this... all this... nesting. The old couch was a smelly memory, gifted to a happy couple in a smelly house some weeks ago. Our empty living room became the Hooping Room, where I could practice my clumsy hoop-dancing moves while watching Oprah on one of the two channels we get in the house. It was perfect. Then Deborah sent me a link to a couch for sale on Craigslist. Green leather, near us in Taos, and only $75. I had said it out loud, I want a couch. And while I wasn't specific about the color and fabric, here was the answer to my request--a good sturdy couch at a price I could afford. We drove out to see it, and brought it home to live with us... even though it's green leather.

Leather is a tricky thing for vegans. We, mostly I, don't eat meat or other animal products, except for the rare special occasion cheese splurge. Rick, it turns out, is one of those people who craves a good chicken mole enchilada periodically, and I can't fault him for that. I'm perfectly happy with grains, greens, and beans, and feel good not supporting the animal "processing" industry in this country. I won't talk about it here, but if you want to know more about my whacky sounding choices, Meat.org is a good place to start... But anyway, back to the green leather couch... I would never buy a new leather couch, but we are at least the third owners of this one, so at this point it can practically be classified as recycled. Every time I sit on it, I stroke it lovingly and thank the big green cow who once lived in that skin. We treat it with respect, and we intend to keep it for a long, long time.

So the couch moved in, and few days later, we did too, as you might recall, with deep resistance. We sat on the couch, surrounded by the red walls we had painted several years ago, and almost immediately I announced that we (meaning Rick) would have to paint the living room. He knows me well. I was not going to let this go, or be easy to live with if my house wasn't making my eyes happy. So the very next day he brought home some paint chips, and the day after that he started painting. After one false start, we got the color right on the second try. I wanted "chocolate," and what we got was more like "Swiss Miss"-- sort of an anemic, watery brown that simply wouldn't do. Back to the paint store for the darkest brown on the chart, and we had it, a deep, delicious looking chocolate color that looks good enough to eat. Deborah came over to help, because she says she likes to paint, and the two of them knocked it out in just a few hours. It's really beautiful. And I'm really happy... but the room's not finished...

A new couch and new walls call for new curtains, of course. And pillows. And maybe a rug. And with everything so new and clean and pretty, the raggy, hairy old dog bed has to be replaced. But at least we already have a lot of wonderful art that we could just shuffle around and re-hang. Old paintings look new again, and the whole house seems to be refreshed and breathing and smiling.

I'm the one who always says, no more stuff, but I have to ease up on myself here, and remember that this is our home, for now, for a while, maybe for a long time. So maybe there's no such thing as a cheap couch. After all, it made it necessary to make so many other changes. But so what? Change is good. It's part of the creative process. I'm grateful to the couch for being a catalyst, and an inspiration. Bringing this one beloved, used thing into our home has helped us to feel comfortable here again. I don't know how Rick feels about it, but to me, it's already a member of the family.


I don't have everything in place yet, but here's a sampler from the new Chocolate Room. I'll show you more when it's finished.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Nothin'

I got nothin' for you today. Sorry! I'm in the studio, and feeling much to fragmented to try to do everything, like I usually do. Bet you know the feeling! But you need something to comment on, to boost your chances of winning a bracelet. There are four more to win! Of course you could buy them too... just sayin'...

Have a great day!
xo Kim

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I Like MOO -- You will Too

Have you heard of MOO biz cards? I've gotten my cards, um, somewhere else, for years, and although I'm rather new to MOO, I'm already a total convert. I've ordered from them three times now, and love, love, love everything they do. 

The quality is really beautiful--nice paper and good printing, which means a lot to me. (Did you know I used to run a big, messy, inky, noisy printing press? True story.) And the card sizes are a bit larger than standard business cards, so they have some oomph, if you know what I mean. They also have mini cards, which are half the size of the biz cards--so cute.

And while they offer some really nice designs of their own, the coolest thing about MOO is that you can use your own photos, and if you want to, a different picture on every card. Love it. You can also get books of little stickers, postcards, and greeting cards, all with your own mix of pics. Endless, possibilities. Sometimes I just go to their site to play, but like I said, I've already ordered three times, and keep coming up with cards I just need to have made.

I like them so much I joined their affiliate program. If you order from them through the link below, I'll get a little kickback. Sweet. I've decided to host only ads for companies I know and love and buy from myself. I'm sharing MOO with YOU, because I love you. Have fun!

SHOW OFF! Design a portfolio in your pocket!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Little Birds



We have a small, fake Christmas tree that I bought a few years ago. It's tall and skinny and sort of funny looking. It doesn't even try to pretend to be a real tree, and I don't try to make it look like one. We used to get real trees, but every year I'd feel so sad and terrible when it came time to take them down and dispose of them like old lettuce from the refrigerator. We try not to waste lettuce, or any food for that matter, which I illustrate at this very moment by eating leftover zughetti reheated with leftover rice for breakfast. When I think about all those Christmas trees that spend years and years growing, only to be cut down, adored briefly, and then unceremoniously scrapped, well it just doesn't seem right to me. I feel disrespectful doing it, so I bought the funny fake tree, and continue to love it year after year.

I wasn't planning on bringing it inside this year, but I had it in the studio with the lights on it. Then when we unexpectedly moved back into the house, I decided, what the heck, might as well bring it into the living room. But then I decided not to drag out all the old sentimental decorations, because I'm feeling sort of fragile and emotional and vulnerable this year. Too many changes, and not enough sleep are making me weird and weepy. I decided that since pretty much everything is different these days, we'd have a different tree too. 

When the bright idea of a Bird Tree came to me, and it was instant obsession. I like birds. Always have. I remember my Mom buying fake feathery birds to decorate the patio with in the summertime, and I adored those beyond reason. I like real birds even better, but couldn't think of a way to get them into the living room. So last night, in another hours-long bout of insomnia, I hit the internet in search of some sweet little fake birds.

I looked on Etsy, and although there were a lot of nice handmade felted birds, they weren't really what I wanted. Ebay had a lot of vintage glass birds, but that wasn't what I was after either. I wanted real-looking fake birds to put on my fake-looking fake tree. I had a vision, and would not be persuaded to compromise. 

After a while I gave up and tried to get some sleep, then, bleary eyed, got back to googling early this morning. It was beginning to look hopeless until I came across the term "mushroom birds," which were exactly what I wanted. I few Craft Supplies searches later, I found FactoryDirectCraft.com, and landed in birdy heaven. I found little mushroom birds of all types and sizes, as well as feathered birds like the ones Mom used to get. A lot of them come on little clips, but I also ordered a bag of metal hair clips to glue the clipless birds onto, so they can all perch on the tree branches without falling off and becoming dog toys. I caught Heidi-the-wiener-dog nibbling on a branch this morning. Obviously, she cannot be trusted...

Maybe now that my birds are on the way, I can relax and get some actual work done. Or maybe I'll just take a nap. I'll show you the tree when it's all be-birded. I think it will be really pretty, and I know it won't make me cry. Maybe next year I'll feel grounded enough to dig out the old decorations; the ones my kids made, and my Mom gave me that last Christmas of hers, so long ago. For now, I'll stick with the birds. I can trust them to be gentle with me, and I think they'll be really happy in the fake tree. Maybe it's my fuzzy, sleep deprived brain talking, but I'm thinking reality is sort of overrated...


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