Support Orange Graphix and Get a Painting!

If you’ve been following the blog, you already know that my husband and I are taking the plunge. We are opening a screen print and graphic design shop here in Orange, MA. We are so excited to be embarking on this journey together!

Side note: The question I get most is “Will you still paint?” Yes. Yes, I absolutely will.  Bring on the commissions. 🙂 

Support Orange Graphix

As we transition into this new phase, we are faced with lots of challenges that come up with opening a new business. And a good chunk of that is financial. Crowdfunding doesn’t feel like a good fit for us, but I have decided to hold a “Support Orange Graphix and Get a Painting” sale. This is a great way to support a local business AND get some cool art created during the 100 Paintings in 100 Days project. (FYI: That project will be hard to top. It was so intense! But I may try another soon…)

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Paintings, like the one above, are ready and waiting. Pick one price or two, it’s totally up to you. No matter what you choose, you have my deepest gratitude. By buying yourself (or someone you love!) a painting, you’ll not only get some art and you’ll be part of this bigger project that’s happening right now.

Search “100 Paintings” in the shop section to pick your favorites and support a local business. 

With love and so much gratitude,
Amber

PS: If custom apparel or graphic design appeals to you, your business or club/sport/facility,

The Final Crescendo.

Last year, I wasn’t prepared for it. Now that I have some experience, I should have been prepared for it.

But I wasn’t. 

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It’s the end of another dance season and I’m surprised how sentimental it makes me. To see the hard work for months on end wrapped up into a neat little bow is not really a gift you can prepare for. And I’m not even sure it can be explained.

But I’ll try. 

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For months, I’ve been packing dance (and snack!) bags, tying shoes, doing hair, and working my business matters around various schedules. The dance schedule being one of them. For months, my daughter has been learning new moves, practicing “just because I want to,” and growing as a dancer. She may have even cast me in a show or two as a mermaid. Our kitchen shows are quite spectacular.

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But it’s not just us.

Countless hours have been spent orchestrating a fantastic show (in this case FOUR shows). Everything needs to be mapped out; lights, choreography, costume changes, music, times, dates, locations, photos… and that’s not including the patience required when dealing with wee ones that might not feel like dancing that day…or are just feeling cuddly or silly.

 

Finally, it’s showtime. The backstage and dressing areas are complete madness. Costumes are tossed, hair is whipped up into perfect little buns, and it’s likely you’ll slip on a pile of broken crackers if you’re not careful. Echoes fill the stairwell and doors are shut silently. Backstage with its special lighting and the voices are hushed as the crowd applauds the previous performance.

Then, the music starts. 

Fear, fatigue, and all that chaos falls away. Another beautiful performance flows in and out. Seamless. Then a silent rush downstairs for another costume change. The audience unaware of the circus that lay just a floor below.

They are also unaware of something else. 

It’s not something that can be measured or dressed up. There are no lights or glitter to illuminate the displays of kindness or human interaction that aren’t always found in day-to-day life. In fact, they might be so simple – and so small – they might go unnoticed altogether.

You’ll find it in the sharing of bows when one goes missing. It’s in the lending of bobby pins. It’s the stage moms volunteering their time to keep the flow of traffic moving and putting in the extra effort to make sure your kiddo looks their best. It’s as simple as the mom that stands ready to intercept your child for a quick costume change in case you can’t make it back to the dressing room fast enough. Or the one who doesn’t wait to be asked and comes over and says, “what do you need me to do?”

These are moments you don’t see everyday. 

And before you know it, it’s over. The memory is made. And that’s when this unexplainable feeling comes in. If I had to pick only one word?

Gratitude. I have so much gratitude for everyone that puts their whole heart, sweat, and tears into productions like this. I’m so thankful to have strong women around my daughter. They are helping to shape the person she’ll become and I couldn’t be happier to have such dedicated and caring people in her life.

It’s hard to see it all end. But I know next season is approaching fast. And then we’ll begin this circus all over again.

The crowds always part, but I’m so grateful to be with my girl and witness this final crescendo every year. 

Introducing: Skylar

If you’ve been hanging out with me here or on Facebook, you may know that we recently had to put our 11-year-old pup, Chewy, down. It was so unexpected and sudden, it took my breath away. The whole experience was crippling.

After a week, I took to Petfinder to search for his old rescue ad, holding out hope that maybe someone forgot to take his photo and information down.  No such luck.

Instead: I found Skylar. 

He’s a husky/shepherd mix, just like Chewy, and was available for adoption. Of course, what drew me to him was his appearance. A spitting image of Chewy. Then I watched a few videos of him and it was all over.

His mannerisms were spot on. In a room of 15-20 dogs, he wasn’t too puppy and his antics were adorable.

Before we knew it, we were planning a camping trip five hours away and packing up the van. We discussed that Skylar was not Chewy’s replacement, to which my son replied, “no, replacing him would be if we called him Chewy, too.”

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Can’t argue with logic.

It didn’t take us long to know he belonged with us. At 2 years old, he was the perfect match. And our 12-year-old dog, Kiko, was appreciative to NOT have a brand new puppy all up in his face, too.

In less than 24 hours, we had him walking on a leash (which he wasn’t a fan of), riding a boat, and sleeping in a tent. It was odd how quickly he blended into our little family. It made the transition that much easier since I was still carrying some grief and a side guilt to go along with it.

For the first few days, all I could think of was Chewy. How much he looked like him. How much he behaved like him. How much shepherd was in him. But time wore that away and I began to see Sky for who he really was.

A total red-headed husky.

He’s such a ball of energy and a complete snuggle bug. Within a few hours of owning him, he was glued to my side. It amazed me at how well he did with the kids, right out of the gate.

Also, he’s a total pillow stealer.


Sky transitioned to our home very quickly. It’s been a week and he’s already getting down the basic commands, settling into routines, and participating in shenanigans.

He’s doted on and growled at (by Kiko) and learning his place in our family dynamics.

Our nightly walks have improved by leaps and bounds… or should I say there’s LESS leaps and bounds?

He has been a perfect gentleman in every way.

(Except maybe his ferreting/late night partying tendencies.)

It’s been an interesting ride this summer. I am so grateful to the woman who saved Skylar (literally on the day he was scheduled to be put down) and brought him back to health.

I contemplated sharing some of his “before” photos, but they are just so heartbreaking and we’ve had enough heartbreak around here. Instead, I see this as such a happy turnaround for two very undesirable situations.

Where one dog found his wings, another landed himself in a butterfly headband with wings of his own. 


Welcome home, buddy.