Tag Archives: upcycle

Explore, Escape and be Free! Leda May Jones

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Explore, Escape and be Free!   Leda May Jones

iusa_75x75.26070303_90hj il_170x135-1.481719703_m6jz il_170x135.591766197_b3f8 il_170x135.547433707_cvah il_170x135.416682668_gidj il_170x135.496700995_oci3 iusb_760x100.13632476_tbbz il_170x135.596290515_13d7 unnamed-5 il_170x135.481675630_8ehp unnamed-2 unnamed-4 unnamed-3 unnamed-7 unnamed-8 il_570xN.585105421_e9ac unnamed-1    Hello my name is Leda May Jones.  My store name is Ledamay.  I live in a small town of Willits in Mendocino Ca. I would have to say I love Northern California and hope to own my own little piece of it someday. I am a mother of three beautiful daughters and one son that is adored by all the lady’s in the house.  My shops philosophy is to create everything with love and passion and to never get tired of what I’m making by always making it unique and different giving each piece Life!

My purpose with it all is to share a piece of myself with the world

My creative process is forever changing.  I love finding old beautiful fabrics that inspire me and because I have four children and am homeschooling one …waking up early is the time I do most my creating.  The kids will wake up for school and I will have fabric flung all over the house with sewing machine running and a cup of coffee in hand or will be twirling around in my newest creation and my daughters will tell me “ Mom I think that one is the prettiest one yet” haha ( they tell me this with each one.)

I am always changing my work place but I realize I prefer not hiding away I have to be near my children when I’m working and sometimes I think the background noise helps.

I love finding perfection in imperfection I use new fabrics when I can’t find something I need, But the older fabrics just have more character to me ,creating with them is so much more fun!

After I had my first two children I was a single mom needing a career so I decided beauty school was something attainable for myself so I finished and passed state board where then I got a job at Shag salon and would have to say I enjoyed being a hair artist for many years.  It was after I got married and had my third daughter that my husband bought me a sewing machine for our anniversary.

 

           I found the love for sewing and I haven’t put my sewing machine             away since …………………..today is six years later……….wow………………

I would have to say the joy in creating for me is not the in the pieces I’ve made its who I have made them for, like this beautiful lady that came to see me from Oakland I created a dress for her wedding and now on the 25th she wants me to come and do her hair and makeup at the wedding, she has become a friend, and who could ask for more , I am just so blessed to know what I make brings these lovely peaceful people into my life .

  Going back to thinking about my childhood and the first thing I saw being made …My mom had five children and we lived in many different trailers and pieces of property growing up, I was in awe that she always could make a home out of nothing.  We would make furniture out of old tires, rugs out of old rags.  She was definitely ahead of her time with creating things out of old T shirts but we never had a sewing machine and I always thought boy what I could do with one of those!!!!

 

“What you do really does reflect you and what you reflect comes back”

                             You ask what inspires me to create……… Love inspires me

I mostly sell my handmade art on Etsy and I have only done one vending booth and I loved it .

I would have to say you should give artists working out there some major credit because it is… very hard work!  I think once my children are older I would love to do more.

I am very lucky to have a hardworking husband that has a job that allows me stay home with the kids.  The only hard part is that it can be seasonal work so it always seems when he slows down with building my shop picks up the slack, but my dream is to own a home of our own someday that is definitely a driving force when I get tired I just have to pick myself up and find my creative flow.

I love to paint, cook beautiful food ,play on the beach and go hiking with the kids … but I am sad to say I haven’t gone to any music festivals yet.  Growing up we all just played music by the campfire every night we never really had the money or transportation to do so,  and having a baby at sixteen… I never got to explore that life, this team has definitely made me realize what I have missed all these years so I do hope to experience one someday !! I will be thirty this month I better get movin Time goes by so fast !

       What would I like the world to know about me?

                                                   I would like to let the World Know I am a Dreamer

I never dreamed that I would be making women’s clothing let alone wedding dresses My shop on Etsy has been truly magical to me in how it has transformed and created this web of imagination and creativity in my soul I can say I am just excited to see what happens next !!!

My favorite quote is

“ everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree , it will live its whole life believing it is stupid “ (Albert Einstein)

Selling Venues:

Artist Contact info: Ledaandfamily@gmail.com

Etsy Store:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/ledamay

Social Media Links: on facebook L.may gowns, and Leda jones photography

https://www.facebook.com/leda.jones.5?fref=ts

Forever Grateful, Deadhead Art Alliance Team

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DHAA Artist of the Month – FEBRUARY 2014 – Margaret Adams (Maggie-Jane O) – Store: Knottymama

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Banner courtesy of knottymama.etsy.com

Hello! I am known to my fellow cohorts as Maggie-Jane O. I was born under the sign of Pisces in the first year of Reagan’s presidency. I am a dreamer of change, an organic farm-ess, a booty shaker, a naturalist, I vote, homesteader, wife, renegade seamstress, but more to the point, I am a Knotty Mama! Knotty Mama is my business, a giant hunk of my life, designing and creating handmade upcycled clothing and accessories out of second hand and orphaned clothing and fabrics.

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Maggie-Jane

My artist process is dominated by the material itself.  I would not be surprised if most upcycled artists begin the same way.  Most of my fabric collection consists of pieces that right away I knew what I would create.  A vintage table clothe with a lace border is already a skirt in my minds eye.  I have stacks of old clothing made from every conceivable material in a rainbow of colors. I love to go to yardsales, and buy those mismatched sheet sets!

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The design of any given piece is determined by what kind and how much of fabric I have.  Patchwork is an obvious way to handle any combination of colors and patterns!  One of my favorite parts of the creation process is the choosing of the materials and draft up patterns.  Makes me glad I listened to my grade school teachers about math being really useful in the real world!  I use geometry and algebra and arithmetic everyday.  My notebook is full of chicken scratches.

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I sew all my garments on my Sears Kenmore from the seventies!  My Aunty Caroline is kind enough to temporarily share her sewing room with me.  We split the glass windowed porch down the middle, though I must admit my chaos does often flow over to her side.  I love my hard core metal beast!  I use flat felled and french seams instead of serging. These seams are professional and long lasting!

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My father says we come from a family of artists.  My sisters and I always wore handmade hand me downs from my cousins.  My grandmother made barbie doll clothing.  When my sister and I were little, the family print shop was in my grandmother’s basement.  The sounds of the press is like music to my ears mixed with the smell of paper and ink.  Both my parents inspired us to be very artsy and to express ourselves in all mediums of art.  I started upcycling at a young age.  I made barbie clothes out of socks from the no-mate basket.       ( Who is that sock bandit? ) 

 

 

1503062_642071015831159_33977829_oI love the process of creating, so it is hard to pick a favorite piece.  I am constantly in love with the piece I am currently working on, if I don’t like the way it is shaping up it ends up in what I call the crap pile. The most rewarding pieces are the ones that challenge me. I have been honored enough to get to create some amazing wedding dresses.  The joy of creating the perfect garment for someone, is only intensified for that very special occasion.

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Everything inspires me to create. I have to make art or I will just die.  I love growing things, it blows my mind that you can take a tiny seed, add a little love, leave the rest to mother nature and you end up with a giant pumpkin or delicate chard. That’s pretty much my life in a hand bag.  The seeds of imagination can culminate into any dimension of the magical.

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I feel like the luckiest person in the world.  I have been able to make a semi living from sewing my entire adult life.  I literally love all of it, except maybe having to seam rip something I have sewn wrong, twice.  Nothing beats finding the perfect score at the thrift store.  I love designing something challenging and using pure force of will to make the material do what I want with the proper tools.  I really like going to show and meeting new people!  The most rewarding part of sewing for me, is when I see someone wearing the clothes I have made!

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-here is a link to a 2003 article from a local newspaper my old partner and I were interviewed while vending     http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Farchives.dailyegyptian.com%2Fimported-20111018203805%2F2003%2F12%2F10%2F25th-annual-craft-sale-draws-large-crowd-of-students-and-com.html

 

My husband, Ethan, is extremely supportive, in fact he basically set up my etsy half a decade ago.  He serenades me while I work and picks up the slack when I am working over time on the sewing machine. No matter the situation, he encourages me to keep creating. My family has always been my biggest supporters.  Fortunately, simple living requires little money.

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me and the husbandito

I am busy as a bee,  when I am not in the sewing room, I have a wide variety of tasks.  My husband and I also run a growing organic farm aptly dubbed, ” Dirty Feet Farm”.  From spring to fall I spend a lot of time in our garden, there is always weeding and mulching not to mention the planting and the harvesting. I put in a lot of time in the summer kitchen, canning and pickling produce and jamming.  We have a pack of mutt dogs, and chickens that require attention.  Sometimes when it feels like it’s too much, I lay in the hammock  all day with a good book to recharge my energies.

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Dirty Feet Farm

We are trying to get to the point of 100% off the grid.  We currently reside in a military tent, on top of a deck, like the one in Mash.  We have solar power for light and for charging our electronic devices.  In the summer when the panel is getting good light I can even sew there.  This is temporary.  We have been scrimping and saving to build our dream docile for several years.  We have plans to build an earthbag dome this summer, complete with a studio for my sewing and Ethan’s music.

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studio and living tent

Growing up, the first live music I was exposed to was around the fire at my parent’s parties.  My mother, sisters, and I would compose impromptu operas doing house work or in the car.  But, I had little experience with contemporary or popular music, I was only allowed to listen to the oldies radio station until I was in Jr High.  My first live concert was George Clinton and the P funk, a free concert at the local university.  It was pretty amazing!!  I was introduced to the Grateful Dead through some beautiful people, who have become life long friends.  The fist time I heard “Fire on the Mountain,” I was instantly addicted!!  I had these old boot leg tapes that I would listen to over and over.   The first festival I attended was Woodstock in ’99.  Three friends and I packed up in my 1987 Monte Carlo and drove to the east coast.  It was a life altering experience, especially because when I came back I made my first mama top.

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Living a simple free spirited life is my main goal!  I truly believe that everyone needs to be the change they want to see in the world!  For me, running my eco friendly sewing business fits in perfect with my homesteader bohemian view of the world.  I do not have to sacrifice any of my morals, Knotty Mama allows me to make a small living off of other people’s waste.  I also really like the fact that I am offering people a different choice, they do not have to buy poorly constructed clothing made by unfair labor practices, sold in earth destroying big box chains.  Soon I will be able to do all my sewing  with the power of the sun, then I will be really dancing down my path!!

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favorite quote

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do”-Rumi

 

She is also the leader of our DHAA team in charge of the Quilt Team and we’re happy to say that 20 artists and almost a year later we’ve completed something special!

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Selling Venues:

Knottymama.etsy.com

Artist Contact info:

Knottymama@gmail.com

Social Media Links:

www.facebook.com/knottymama

www.facebook.com/dirtyfeetfarm

DHAA Artist of the Month – December 2013 – Margaret Anderson Kasper – Store: Mountain Girl Clothing

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My name is Margaret Kasper and I have been born and bred in New Hampshire.  I’m the one woman army at Mountain Girl Clothing.

I create one of a kind up-cycled women’s clothing and accessories for the one of a kind ladies out there.

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The name Mountain Girl was cultivated because I grew up in New Hampshire.  When I went to school in the city at Massachusetts College of Art and Design for Fiber Arts, I felt out of place.  I was not in my true atmosphere and I longed for the Mountains of New Hampshire, thus Mountain Girl was created my last year attending MassArt.

I graduated with a Bachelors in Fine Arts (Fiber Arts) and Im also a certified Doula, although I have not had time in the past few years to keep that going.  I’d love to get back to it someday.

 “doula” definition:   The word “doula” comes from the ancient Greek meaning “a woman who serves” and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support.”

Later the name correlated pretty well when I started to incorporate old Grateful Dead shirts and artwork in my clothing.  My father and I love collecting old and used Grateful Dead shirts together and it’s something that I hold dear with him.  We love the music and  the artwork surrounding it.

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Mountain Girl did not happen over night.   It took about two years for it to really get going full swing.  Right out of college I jumped full speed into Mountain Girl and did not have another job, besides babysitting and odd jobs, so I had a long time on living on Ramen and Pabst!

Two things which I still love.

I use recycled and repurposed materials to create my clothing.  It is truly a labor of love and my true passion in life.  I eat sleep and dream Mountain Girl and I hope that comes across in my work.

 It made my mom nervous, but eventually she warmed up to the idea once she saw how passionate I was AND that all my hard work was paying off.  Mountain Girl stared in a small spare room with one hand me down sewing machine (which I still love and use) a desk as a sewing table and ONE old ugly fisherman’s sweater.

Almost six years, over 5,000 sales later, it has grown to a 1,500 foot studio space in an old mill building in Nashua NH with three hand me down sewing machines (not just one!) and two sergers (one of dark threads, one for light).

Mountain Girl Clothing IS my day job, my night job, my weekend job and my LIFE job…  And I love it.

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 The website Craft Count which tracks Etsy Sellers by Category at this time of publishing shows Mountain Girl Clothing as the top 100 sellers in the

handmade – clothing category – What an amazing accomplishment!

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 Mountain Girl Clothing starts when I wake up around 7 am and feed the doggies.  I Get ready and head to the studio.  I start my music or news radio and brew a big cup of coffee.

At first, for at least the first year, I  did not have a set plan or routine – I would just go with the flow.  

That worked very well until I started getting busy in the shop.I then learned the be more efficient by planning my day and having set goals for the week.  I will literally wake up at 7 and I sew from 7:30-7 pm most days or well into the night.  I literally can’t stop!

I don’t use patterns so each piece is truly organic.  Although I have set ways of and processes of making pieces, I don’t have a pattern to follow. That is way when I tried to go to fashion design classes it was the opposite way I organically work so needless to say, I didn’t enjoy them.   I just follow the fabric, texture and prints and lets those do the talking for me.

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Music inspires me, textures, smells (nag champa in the studio!) and wandering the halls and isles of thrift stores for sure.  Its my heaven on earth.

Grateful Dead Bertha Skeleton Blue Raglan Open Shoulder Upcycled Oversized Tshirt/Tee/Top/Shirt Womens Hippie Boho Festival Vintage Trim O/S

My favorite piece I’ve ever made was a sweater a few years back. It had a gorgeous crochet appliqué on the back, big bell sleeves and a huge comfy hood. Very colorful.  It is hard to let go of some of my creations but that I guess it’s just a reflection of life.  You have to let things go in order to keep moving forward.

 
Floral/Plaid Upcycled Eco Friendly Patchwork Quilted Vintage Fabric Cotton Cowl Scarf Neckwamer Hippie/Bohemian One Of A Kind
 

When things are slow and money is tight I actually work MORE.  

I find that putting more energy into my creations helps generate more sales (or maybe I am just imagining this) but it works for me and picks me up out of a rut.

MADE TO ORDER Simple Black Off The Shoulder Stretch Knit Top by MountainGirlClothing

It is scary to have your own business.  

To know that you have no fall back and when things are slow there is nothing you can do but wait and work your little heart out.

In my down time I love to sit on the couch with the dogs and watch some shows and zone out.  I also love to go to my dads a few towns over and hang out with him or my brother will come up from Boston sometimes and it’s always wonderful to spend time with everyone together.   Those moment are rare but I love them.

My parents were huge influences on my love of creation.  Here is a photo of my parents and their band in the 70s, they were called The Secret Sam Band.

My mom and dad are on the left in the front together

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 I also love to go to shows and concerts.  I love the energy of all of the people and music lights and sounds.  You can’t get that anywhere else!

Son of Jump – Secret Sam Band

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Mom Singing in 2012

  I remember the first show I ever saw, It was late spring and warm out. I went to a night concert in Boston at the Bank of America Pavilion.  It was Sigur Ros performing.  Their song Agaetis Byrjun started to play and it started to pour.  It was truly a beautiful moment and brought me to tears. A lot of hardships were going on in my life at that very moment but somehow I felt put back together after that one song.

Bohemian Heart Patch Bell Sleeve Cable Knit Upcycled Hippie Boho Cardigan Sweater Jacket Boho Festival Womens Size Small/Medium Hippie

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I just wanted to remind our alliance that we as artists, have an amazing blessing.

Here is how i know this to be true:

This past summer, I lost my mother to breast cancer.  She was my rock and my heart.

I was in the depths of despair and honestly still am in many ways.

But.

The one things that is helping me heal is to create, and make and make and make.

We as artists have an outlet, a born outlet to express out emotions through our artwork.

Not everyone can do this.

For that reason we are blessed.

So if you are going through hard times…sit down and create. It will help heal your heart.

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favorite quote:

Bette Midler — ‘Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.’

Selling Venues:

Artist Contact info:           Mountain Girl Clothing LLC, http://www.mountaingirlclothing.com, Margaret Kasper, MountainGirlClothing@gmail.com

Social Media Links:           http://www.instagram.com/mountaingirlclothing  www.facebook.com/mountaingirclothing Twitter: mntngirletsy

Margaret, Thank you for sharing your world and for being a leader of the deadhead art alliance.

She has been an inspiring artist to me from the first time I looked at her store,  I had just started the team, and asked her to be a leader because I could feel her kind musically inspired vibe radiating with the love of our Grateful Dead inspired community, and am happy that I did.

Artist Of The Month: Melissa from Gr8fuldreadgrrl

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My name is Melissa aka Gr8fuldreadgrrl.

 

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I am a Wisconsin native, now residing in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, near Seattle. Recently Moved from Joshua Tree,CA. That is where my shop started 5 years ago. I now create mostly from t-shirts, and other recycled materials. My main things are the Patchy goodness t Skirts, and my T gauchos. And its no lie, I am obsessed with exposed seams. I sometimes even wear my tshirts inside out to expose the seams, HA. I love recycling and creating items from handfuls of items that are no longer loved or needed.

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My team is me. Although, Ethan my son, is awesome at helping.

 

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He plays the drum set while I sew, dances around with me, tells me how cool stuff is, makes me fake food in his kitchen, and keeps the pretend coffee coming! He is the best!

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My shop name came from my way early years in the Deadhead chat room in AOL, yeah, remember that? Ha. I have been Gr8fuldreadgrrl everywhere online since. Gnarly Garments came from Gnarly Head wine, ha! One of my favorites! So I just combined it all to work for me.

My creative process starts at the thrift stores I guess. So many amazing items to find thrifting!! I am in love with vintage and wild stuff from the 70’s, and even starting to appreciate awful 80’s prints. Ha. I then get all the shirts and such, washed and pile em in the sewing room and start laying out stuff that looks great, move, throw, cut up, and rearrange items until I like what I see. Lay em out, cut, pin, sew, finish, photo, list. Sounds easy enough right?

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My last day job was in CT. I was the pregnant chick working at the liquor(package) store, ha. I was supposed to replace the other pregnant girl, and found out I was too! Backfire! But we didn’t stay there long and headed to California. There and since, I stayed an at home mom, and stitching mama.

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My mom was and is very crafty and sold her crafts when I was a child too. I do remember a pink crocheted blankie she made me when I was around 5. She also made some clothes for me, and all the rocking Halloween costumes. But I always remember my grandma, and great grandma’s being crafty as well. My mom had a sewing maching out for the later part of my childhood, and then I started to tinker around with it, and making myself some patchiness. Until, she later bought me my own machine, which I still use today.

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Well let’s see, if you read any of my listings….pretty much everything I make is my favorite! Its so hard to part with items!! But I am boarder line clothing hoarder as is! I really stand behind the gauchos being the comfiest things ever. I do believe the skirts are too. I love easy to wear and comfy items. Everyday pieces, that can be worn whenever and wherever you want.

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Big surprise here, but yes the Grateful Dead, HUGE inspiration. I mean all these great shirts, all the phenominal artist that make the shirts, tie dye, colors, patchwork, other stitchin mamas, music, festivals, food, smells….there is just soooo much!

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This all started when I had shirts from festivals and shows I didn’t wear. I never had enough to come home with the amazing patchworks from the lot that i drooled over, but I could usually sewing a shirt. Downside is they were all over sized mens shirts. So instead of sitting in storage I started tinkering around with them to actually wear them, turned out others liked what I did!

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The shirt hunt make it interesting for me. I am obsessed with grateful dead shirts, and thrifting. I still have some shirts from my aunt and uncle, and ones they brought me back while I babysat my cousin, while they would hit a dead show or two. I still get sooooo excited over shirts I haven’t had yet. I always have about 5 that stay in my “to keep” pile. Did I mention the Shirts?!

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The lovely people I have met while doing this also make it so very rewarding. I swear I have some of the best supporters, sisters, friends, and customers. They also give the best feedback. Totally keeps me going!

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I think my first concert was Lorrie Morgan. My mom liked her, and I have seen her more times than I would like to admit. I have also rocked out at def leppard, tim mcgraw, journey, bad company, ted nugent, slipknot, tool, black Sabbath…you know, just trying to appreciate all music! First festival would be Ozz fest 1998, alpine valley.

But by 2000, I bought a 1973 VW bus (Herbie), started my first set of dreads, and was hitting only the good music, string cheese, further fests, Dead family reunion, phish, ekoostik hookah, big wu….all the Wisconsin festivals I could get too, 3 G’s will always have a place in my heart.

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I don’t mind slow time. My kid is the best, and I would never complain about more time with my favorite lil man. My shout outs to Stealie the gumpy old cat, Phillmore the puppers, Jon my main (and only) man. Ha. My mom is pretty great too! They are my heart! usfamily

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{{I have a twitter, I don’t twit much though. Ha}}
My etsy shop www.gr8fuldreadgrrl.etsy.com
Google+ as Gr8fuldreadgrrl