Keep the earth below my feet
For all my sweat, my blood runs weak
Let me learn from where I have been

-Mumford & Sons

There’s something special about dance.

Something that no other ‘thing’ really has. Dance encompasses just about everything in life. Dance teaches us far more than how to step in a certain way, or hold our arms in a particular position. Dance unites. Dance connects. Dance makes us feel and sweat and move. Dance provokes us to externally expose what we feel internally. Dance, in it’s most authentic form both pushes and allows us to curl up in shame, explode in joy and beat our chests in anger.

Dance is amazing. Truly.

So why all this talk about dance?

For the last several weeks I wake up, put on water for tea, make breakfast, eat breakfast, change out of pajamas into stretchy pants, walk to the bus stop and go DANCE.

And one day after practicing a combination over and over and over, the teacher said something to the effect of:

‘just let go, don’t think about where the floor is. It’s right there, so just dance’


Stop worrying about the steps and just dance.

This my friends is fucking GOLD.

Sometimes it feels like the rug is going to be pulled out from under you.

That the ground you are walking on is quaking and cracking under pressure.

Your eyes and feet trying so hard to find the floor, ensuring it’s location with every footfall.

But when one looks downwards, one goes downwards. It’s just a truth.

Where you look, you go. 


And if you’re looking at the floor, making sure with every step that it’s still there, still beneath you’r feet, you’re likely to miss many more things than just the point.

We look down for various reasons, but the life and travel patterns of ants is not that interesting and not worth it.

I often find myself so concerned about where I’m going, what I’m doing, getting lost in the technicalities, the assurances, the counting and the steps.

I forget that I am indeed GOING SOMEWHERE, DOING SOMETHING. 

Yes, one must be careful where they walk, but unless you’re standing on a sink hole (highly unlikely), the floor, the ground, the earth isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

(In the context of climate change however, yes, the earth is definitely shaking.)

It’s not going to vanish beneath YOU. It’s not going to evaporate or suddenly decide it doesn’t like you and run away.

Hopefully, we’ve taken the time to build a strong foundation and now it’s time to put it to the test.

 To take those steps and trust that it can bear our weight, our will and our wishes.

Trust that you’re feet know where to go and the ground will hold you.

This is all fine and dandy when you have a clear mind, energy and a positive outlook.

But what happens when you’re nerves are frayed? When you’re bones are worn and your blood is weak.

Your world is keeling over and it feels as though you are in a rough ocean, tumbling blindly and reaching for the smallest of breaths.

It’s now time to wiggle your toes and say:

“The earth is here, below my feet. Right here. I’m standing, or sitting or maybe curled into a fetal position, but

I’m not going to fall through.

Or stumble off an unseen and sudden cliff.”

See, the ultra magical thing I’ve discovered is that by trusting your floor, your earth, your foundation YOU can LOOK UP.clouds_01


Yeah, you look up and suddenly you move with freedom and levity because you logically KNOW and faithfully TRUST


And this is, Really. Fucking. Amazing.

One more thing and then I’ll leave you to your day.

Dancers often use a Sprung floor ( a special and preferred floor with more bounce and absorption) to their advantage. They sink deep into the ground before jumping and intentionally brush their feet against the floor before leaping.

Let’s use our own foundations to our advantage.


Boredom Leads To Beginnings

It was August, in Georgia. A hot, humid, sticky Savannah summer.

And I was bored. Very bored and desperately trying to avoid leaving the house.

However, that day I felt compelled by an antique sale to leave the house. Wearing as much clothing as Southern Summers allow I braced myself and opened the door. After living in the South for almost three years and enduring two Summers, I have a deep, deep respect for air-conditioning and shorts.

Ten blocks felt like one hundred. And after what seemed like ages, I had arrived. Walking through the various, picked over stalls in a random corner, I found four pieces of crumpled upholstery leather. And I really do mean OLD and UPHOLSTERY. These leather squares had once been an old chair of some sort. Holes and leftover tacks lined the perimeters, scratches from use covered the surface.


Yet, in these well worn hides there was potential. I marched home and got to work.

This was the beginning of Bramble & C and that first bag is still going strong.


Here we are now, three Summers later and I’m still making bags. It’s just that now, doors can be left open, one can go outside without feeling like you’re in a sauna and sometimes, you can even wear a sweater…in JULY!

Bramble & C has developed from random whim to actual progress. Designs have expanded and changed and seams have gotten straighter.

So let’s take a look (more like read) shall we?


 All three designs were created with simplicity and practicality in mind.

I’m a pretty no nonsense person and wanted these totes to be just that, no nonsense.

The NOTEBOOK was the first bag to be designed. All I wanted was a straightforward vessel that catered to one object in particular: notebooks. Notebooks of all shapes and sizes, widths and content. Being an art student, a student in general and a person, I tend to carry a lot of flat book like things, Moleskins are my favorite. I also have the habit, like most of us of traveling around with not only flat objects but other important necessities. Running errands, a dinner date, a work day at the cafe or an intense study session at the library, we need our stuff! And it’s my opinion that carrying it around be as simple as possible. So that’s why I created the NOTEBOOK.

An uncomplicated bag that holds all of your notebooks, books, laptops, jackets, water bottles, SNACKS (everyone needs to carry emergency snacks!), all the valuable things.

Sewing in straight lines was getting a bit boring, and so I decided to curve it up all little. That’s how we got the SWITCH BACKNot only did the idea of making a big rounded bag sound quite lovely, but I wanted to solve a problem. A problem almost all women and perhaps men too will understand. The problem I speak of is this: purse/bag/tote straps falling off your shoulder. It’s one of my pet peeves and something I wanted to remedy, limiting as much as strapy nonsense as possible. This bag has been named the SWITCH BACK because the straps are crossed, but it holds a more covert meaning.


The name is an ode to the switch backs on hiking trails. When I’m not sewing or going to school or sleeping, I’m most likely hiking outdoors or day dreaming of hiking outdoors. I love hiking. And on one particularly long trip in Spain, I encountered a full on decline with no switch backs what so ever. What goes up the Pyrenees must come down the Pyrenees. Clambering down that trail was agony, not to mention deeply humbling, and while I trudged downwards I developed a profound appreciation for switch backs.

With the NOTEBOOK and SWITCH BACK cut and sewn, a huge box of leather scraps had accumulated. Instead of waisting scraps of beautiful hide, I resolved to use them. Making the most of this animal, honoring every inch of a being who gave it’s life for usI didn’t want the little guys to be left out, therefore the RUNT was born. The RUNT is a small, patchwork bag made up of the scraps and pieces with extra special character. Raw edges, variations in color and texture, all things that make the RUNT unique. Each one is wonderfully different. Don’t let it’s compact size fool you, the Runt is just as useful and just as practical as the other two bags. 

There’s a lot more to this post than just describing why the RUNT was named the RUNT and the various things these bags can carry.

This is a reminder that boredom can often lead to great productivity and inspiration. 

As an only child boredom was a familiar and at first, an uninvited friend.

However, boredom and solitude have become welcomed, even trusty comrades.

You never know when something will come from nothing.

Things happened when a Southern Summer and an old antique shop were combined.

Ta Da!

What are the old dusty things in the closet or basement or hard drive or mind that are just waiting to be resurfaced?

Redeveloped. Rethought. Recreated.

Thank you for reading and have fun re-inventing!

p.s. I’ll leave you with one more thing…I’ve been thinking a lot about fishing lately. What does that have to do with Bramble & C.?

Well, subscribe to CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC and you’ll find out!

Boredom Leads To Beginnings

A Little Bit About Time

So open up my eyes to a new light
I wandered ’round your darkened land all night
But I lift up my eyes to a new high
And indeed there will be time

-Mumford & Sons and Baaba Maal


I’ll get straight to it…

Despite the feeling that time is fleeting and elusive, there is enough of it.

For you, for everyone.therewillbetime_-2


(isn’t that amazing?)


There’s no need to spiral into a frenzied panic after you realize June’s gone and July has arrived, suitcase in hand and ready for a visit. Personally, I will admit that as everyday of June passed and July drew closer and closer I dug a bit deeper into a hole of denial. Kind of like how a gopher digging lots of tunnels. But it wasn’t a depressed denial but kind of like a “can everything just pause for a moment” sort of denial. Until, the simple truth of reality nudged me to stick my head up out of that tunnel and face the warm reality of July. And hey, Gravenstein apples are a pretty lovely reward.

Lately, the notion of ‘season’ has been springing up quite a bit. Elizabeth Gilbert mentions it in her book Big Magic (if you haven’t read this yet, add it to your reading list pronto. It’s so good!) and the totally awesome Rob Bell talks about seasons too. Listen to his podcast, The RobCast, it’s kind of life changing.

There are four seasons in nature. There are many seasons for many things.

An ebb and a flow.

There are times to rest and times to work. Times to be with others and times to retreat to your cave. Times to be a vegetarian and times to devour hamburgers like none’s business.

For thousands of years people have been following the seasons. Basing their entire life schedule on seasons, the natural course of nature. Now, in the modern world we base our life on 365 days, a month, a week, 24 hours. We input our information into tiny devices and base our cycles, our seasons on what? Definitely not the cycle of the moon, or the change in weather or the solstice or the harvest.

Farmers till their fields, plant their seeds and wait. They wait. Because they know waiting is not only important, but essential to the process of growing things.

Unlike farmers, who literally can’t make things grow faster, most of us don’t wait. We desperately try to push the river or change the tides. Altering the seasons. Seasons that were formed into our world for a reason.

Why do we need tomatoes all year round? It’s totally unnatural. But we do it anyway. Maybe we just like pasta sauce, or maybe, our culture just wants everything all the time. 

The Industrial Revolution changed our clocks. Our patterns were drastically altered. Mechanized. Driven by steam and steal instead of earth and season. People went to work in large buildings instead of open fields, rose at unnatural times and worked long, unhealthy hours.

The concept of industrial TIME and SCHEDULE was instilled into us.

Prompted by curiosity, I read an article titled “The Social Impact of the Industrial Revolution”. There’s lots of interesting information, but something I found most significant was that when the system began to change and men were drawn into the cities to work, farmers who had once been highly productive and highly skilled in agriculture were ineffective in industry.

Our culture has largely lost the ability to patiently plant and cultivate the seeds that we plant. We want overnight results. Instant fame, or instant fortune. People, especially young people, have become dangerously familiar with overnight success and results.

Really? Those seeds we just planted today are going to be fully grown tomorrow? HA! That’s comical.

Jack’s magic beans only exist in Fairy Tales. And while magic is wonderful, beans, especially detailed, intricate, big ones just don’t grow over night. 

In a recent interview, Austin Kleon talks about how it took him about 10 years to gain some sort of real notice. He didn’t sound panicked or ashamed. Ten years was just the time it took, a simple fact in the development in his life.


But then I thought about it… ten years is a freaking blip.

Ten years is also a freaking breath of fresh air. Take a breath, and go at a snails pace.

A great deal of our time is spent panicking that we don’t have any. Worrying about the sand slipping out of our hands, when really it’s LIFE that’s rushing by. 


We can bury farther and farther into an anxious tunnel of passing time that suddenly we can find ourselves in a hollow of missed opportunities and occurrences. 

We often spend so much time DOING, that we forget about BEING. 

So just let’s just BE shall we. Let’s open our eyes.

Let’s feel into the wonderful reality that we do indeed have time. 


A Little Bit About Time

Please Excuse Me, I’m Just a Human.


Where to,

Where to Begin.

-Ben Howard


Has anyone felt like there’s so much going on, the world is spinning like a massive hurricane and you are trying to take cover in a basement or perhaps under the comfort of your duvet?  Well, this is how I’ve been feeling.

So much has been whirling about that I lost my breath and my feet flew up from the ground.

Yet, here I am. Here we all are. Feet on the ground, heads up and walking into the flux. 


Has anyone suddenly felt that the standard of being human has been raised?

That just ‘being’ isn’t enough. That one must operate on an extreme frequency in order to run with the pack? And that the level of expected productivity and perfection is unrealistic and near impossible?

Perhaps this is just an illusion.

Yes, I do believe it is.


Even so, in a world where news circulates the globe in the blink of an eye and fame seems founded in a heartbeat it’s difficult to keep up. Or at least it feels like it.

I think the title above explains it. We can’t do everything. We can’t be everything. And at a certain point, all we can do and all we can say is ‘I’m just a Human’. This doesn’t by any means pardon us from doing our very best, being our best or loving our best.

It only means that by saying ‘I’m just a Human’ we can be a bit gentler with ourselves. For instance,  if we drop a pie, and it splatters all over the floor and makes a huge fucking mess, it’s alright. It’s okay. You are okay and We are okay.

In this time, we beings, surrounded by plastic and petroleum often forget that we are  made of organic matter. Substance. Fiber. Blood. Muscle and Bone.

In the rapid speed of it all, we can forget that

When we are cut, we bleed.

When we fall, we break.

And when we don’t breath, we die.

The devastation in Brussels earlier this month does indeed remind us of the jolting fact that our time here is impermanent. That our bodies are nothing but small blades of grass compared to bombs. That we cannot withstand the shatter of a blast.

However, from day to day, day in and day out one can often overlook the simple miracle of being alive. And it takes something like tragedy and disruption to wake us up.

Like water poured on a sleeping youth.

We suddenly shoot up from our sleep, eyes open and heart pounding.

Obviously, I’m not the first one to come up with this idea. This concept that realization often occurs through disruption is not by any means new.

It is most definitely and sometimes unfortunately true.

In conclusion, I urge you, just as I urge myself to keep breathing. To feel your heart beating  and blood circulating.

Go out and take a hike. Put your hands in the dirt or walk around in some.

Go do whatever reminds you that you are both Simply and Exquisitely Human. 




Please Excuse Me, I’m Just a Human.

What We Do for Love


“In these bodies we will live, in these bodies we will die
And where you invest your love, you invest your life”

-Mumford and Sons

I realized, as I stood in my disassembled room in utter disarray that I’m really committed. And that the only reason I’m doing this is because of love. Love and dedication to this thing we call art and a thing we call fashion.

And…to an even bigger thing called life.

What we all do for love can be pretty huge.

Love (and I don’t mean “LOVE” as in the tagline stamped across Victoria Secret panties) is pretty powerful.

Authentic love can move us and compel the human spirit to accomplish great things.

Love of all capacities has power. More power than any power hungry politician.

 I think the power of love isn’t so much about the BIG picture, but the LITTLE ones.

Small steps and small acts.


I love what I do so much that I decided to invest a boatload of money into my education (see post below), leave one school after two and half years to then transfer to another, pack and ship just about everything I own in three days and send it 3,000 miles cross country.

Now I’m here, at my new desk.

Over the last two months, I’ve been doing quite a lot of thinking. And while my thoughts/realizations are just about as scattered as the boxes I shipped via USPS, UPS and AMTRACK they are starting to stack up into some kind of order.

As a youngster, who in the large spectrum of things has really a very small amount of knowledge and experience I’m doing my very best to gather and sort the lessons and wisdom I find most helpful and interesting. This post is like a large, public


If this isn’t your cup of tea, please go find yourself a cup of coffee.

(I really have nothing against coffee or coffee drinkers!)


 Art is actually really weird. SO WEIRD if you think about it for long enough.


You will go insane trying to think it out. Move from your heart, and not your mind.

amalgam_initial inspiration


I’ve noticed that I spend a lot of time wondering why I make such a mess when I’m working. For instance, why did I convert my kitchen into a slap dash painting studio with only the smallest of pathways leading to the necessary kitchen appliances? Well, it was just a matter of circumstance and a matter of process.

So many great thinkers and doers and creators fully committed to their process and ended up a great deal more “successful” because of it.

And for those of us who are still discovering our process, maybe all we have to do is completely commit.



While buried in work and difficult decisions, I realized that the work I’ve chosen to pursue is by no means a matter of life or death.

This was a great moment.

This thought occurred to me as I binged watched Madam Secretary. Now, her job is stressful. A true matter of life and death. My responsibilities do not include preserving the well being of America, nor do my decisions decide the fate of our nation, or the world.

And if I think that working with fiber and fabric, paper and pen is stressful than we have a problem.



No matter what way one looks at it, there are parts of life that are (really) scary.

(kind of like airing out your dirty laundry for all to see, and kind of like posting this post)


But whenever I feel overwhelmingly scared, I think of this video: the Scared is scared

GO WATCH IT. Even if you aren’t scared, it will brighten your day.


This is equally AWESOME and AWFUL.

Having freedom and knowing how to harness it can be just as challenging if not more so than moving within tight parameters.

Austin Kleon posted a link to this article. It was so helpful and made so much sense.

If you haven’t already, go check out Austen Kleon and his work, he is great!


(also, they are never quite finished)

Start early, and be PATIENT.









 (try and) LAUGH ABOUT IT.


Let’s take flight before then.


What We Do for Love

Bamboozled Seems To Be the Right Word


Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’

                           -Bob Dylan


Alright, so I’m back.

Yes, I’ve been in hibernation. And yes, I haven’t worn “real” clothing  for the last 10 days except for on Thanksgiving and a work day.

So…I’ve been thinking, perhaps over thinking, but I think that’s just a human condition. So is over feeling. There’s a balance.

And here are a few things I’ve been thinking about most recently:

I can’t even wrap my head around what’s happing in the world, much less what just happened 7 hours away from where I live.

I don’t understand how a man in South Carolina had a “collection” of nearly 5,000 guns just hanging out on his property without anyone knowing about it.

The world is a confusing place. It’s also a glorious and wondrous place. Let’s not let the brilliance of it all be tarnished by bombings and brutality.




Another thing…I just watch one of the most upsetting, condescending videos on youtube. It wasn’t about terrorists, or guns, abortion, drugs or about how women are constantly cat called walking down the street just wearing a freaking sweatshirt and jeans. No, it was about student loans. Kindly provided by Federal Student Aid this infomercial creates a friendly, non threatening synopsis of student loans and repayments. The narrator’s tone is unassuming and even nonchalant. But let me tell you, or better yet let the 40 million Americans (according to CNN) who have student debt tell you that student loans aren’t unassuming, friendly or non threatening. This guy, whoever he is made everything sound so simple, so straightforward, so easy and so normal.


It logically doesn’t make sense to thrust mountains of debt, and I mean mountains onto the majority of a growing generation (once) filled with energy and inspiration. Just think of the scene in Harry Potter when they find the Huffelpuff Cup horcrux in the vault at Gringotts bank. There’s an enchantment on the contents that causes the objects to multiply at an alarming rate whenever touched. Harry, Ron and Hermoine are practically covered/ drowned in thousands of gold coins, silver platters and other sorts of wizardy treasures. Think of the contents of Bellatrix LeStrange’s vault as loans/money and the multiply charm as interest, semesters and years. In the muggle world, it’s not these magically talented youngsters who are caught in a deluge of debt, but the real life boys and girls trying to combat assholes like Voldemort and actually do some good in the world.

So WHY? WHY can’t we get it together?

If we can’t even properly educate the Nation’s children and growing adults, how are we going to face the world’s precarious future. How can we be proud Americans when a good amount of the population can’t even put together a proper sentence? Most people in my high school government class didn’t even pass the faux citizenship and naturalization test.

Guys! The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4th, 1776!

The Star Spangled Banner is our National Anthem


George Washington was America’s first president.


Yes, I understand this is cynical. But really, when a young kid can’t even take their eyes off of a screen and interact with another human, how can we expect our country to progress?


This brings me to another point. I’m getting tired so I’ll make it quick.

Is a four year college experience really worth it?

Our world is what we make of it, our reality is what we create. Brilliant people have gone to college and settled right back down where they grew up. And many people not so academically inclined or brilliant but bored to the point of becoming a drop out have succeeded. There are exceptions to every rule. But in a day where change is as fast as lightning and you can learn more on youtube than in a class you’re paying money for is it really necessary to do the expected and historically correct thing? Attend a four year college, graduate with a degree and then go out there and…



Times are a- changin’

Bamboozled Seems To Be the Right Word

a sporadic excerpt/spew/pelting

“I remember when, I remember, I remember when I lost my mind
There was something so pleasant about that place.
Even your emotions had an echo
In so much space”

Gnarls Barkley




The last post I wrote was during midterms…now it’s almost FINALS.

Lately I’ve been thinking….so much. Perhaps too much. Yet, all of this thinking, or rather feeling has led me to some very interesting thoughts.

So here is a sporadic excerpt/spew/pelting of some of the goings on in my mind:

Is a project EVER FINISHED? Is it EVER GOOD ENOUGH. When should you call it? When do you feel content enough to lay it to rest and move on?

Is school really where you get your education?

Like Mart Twain said, “I’ve never let my school interfere with my education”. He was on to something there.

Quality over Quantity is supreme.

Note to self: buy toilet paper and light bulbs. I walked away from the grocery store with 16 rolls, avocados and no light bulbs. I’m set for a good, long while.

Quantity of Quality won out  in the scenario.

Why are people paid to do jobs they can’t actually do.


When is it uncomfortable in a good way, and when is it just time to leave?

Why does everything close so darn early here?!

4:30 pm is not a logical time to close friends. Especially given that you are one of two fabric stores in “city” with a flipping art school. I don’t understand?

WOW! I wore a sweater the other day and it was the highlight of my month!

I LOVE Sweet Potatoes and Farmers and Waldorf School.

Is coffee making me even more tired? Yes, yes I think it is.

I should learn French.

What is FASHION anyway? When you really think about it, it’s a pretty absurd notion. But a cut throat business.

Do I want to willingly enter this sea of vicious piranhas?


On my own terms.

I listened to an TED talk about high performance chickens vs. normal ones. The high performance chickens pecked each other to death at the end of the experiment. The normal ones were happy as clams.


Why does our culture promote this dog eat dog, cut throat, back stabbing climb to the top?

I’ve decided that being a high performance chicken doesn’t mean I need to decimate my fellow flock members.

Is green paper, a fancy house and shiny car really worth your soul? If Heaven and Hell really do exist in the way so many believe, a lot of people are going to Hell. A LOT. And then again, a lot of people are going to be going to Heaven too.


Aren’t we all…in our own way?


Note to self: write todo list and put writing a todo list on the todo list.

Why are people mean, bossy and passive aggressive?

What am I doing here?

Oh right, it’s called a dream. I forgot that in the midst of finals, complex computer programs, bills, too much coffee, weird social situations and other stuff.

It’s called a dream and it requires gumption, determinations, sleepless nights, support and love. HA!

Also, working hard isn’t glamorous….at all. But it’s 100% worth it.

But, because I think honesty is always the best policy, I will admit that I’ve spent a lot of time over thinking and over analyzing things.

 A lot of time. I’ve also spent a few too many hours moaning about things and situations that are not exactly ideal, but I could have just moved on and gotten back to work. But….I’ve learned from it. And that’s good.

Speaking of good, the documentary, IRIS is GREAT! WATCH IT!

This spewing of thought was cathartic, I recommend you do the same.

a sporadic excerpt/spew/pelting