Upcycled Hotel Key Necklace - Holiday Gift Countdown Week # 5 -

This week's easy peasy jewelry tutorial turns a vintage hotel room key into a gorgeous little

(well maybe not so little, little is highly over-rated at times anyway)

necklace that your favorite traveler will love.

You will need to hunt down one of those amazing plastic hotel key tags and an old key.

I even found a vintage hotel room do not disturb sign from Etsy seller Papers of Old that makes the perfect little back tag to this piece.

You will need:


vintage key
hotel key fob
do not disturb sign

Just drill a hole in the bottom of the fob- add a fancy doodad with a jumpring, add the key to the top hole along with your chain and voila - some excitement for the weary traveler!

Mine is being gifted attached to this wonderful little do not disturb sign - love it!

Manifesting for Makers - Part ll (continued) your message matters

by crankbunny
"everyone wants to change the world - no one wants to change themselves" ... tolstoy

See previous posts in this series HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE

We don't have to look any further than our Presidential election process to see how screwed up each candidate's messages are getting because they have attached themselves to an outcome (ie getting themselves elected).

When we have attached ourselves to an outcome, we want or need for things to end up a certain way

- we will manipulate things to try to make it happen and we will be sad and discouraged when it doesn't and maybe more importantly we will resist what is actually happening.

Letting go means receiving what is happening without resisting  - it's the point of acceptance and appreciation of what is.

It's the very vibration that makes us ready to move into the next vibration.

The space where we are satisfied with what is and eager for what is to come, without the need to know what is coming - that's the place where manifesting happens.

So how do we get to this magical place anyway? Getting there just takes practice and isn't that hard, staying there is harder, but we are probably not really meant to stay there anyway. It's never the achieving at the end that is the greatest teacher - it's always the process. The process is intended to take us to all kinds of alternate places and wonderful (and terrible) adventures - that's it's job.

It helps if you can get to a place of relaxation (exhaustion can work equally well - I know we can all get to that place). Deep breathing and meditation has been a key to me - I can also get to this place through exercise or a day of hard physical work.

So get into a state of relaxation - take time to do nothing. Nada. Zip. Start right where you are. Try to let go of seeking for a moment. Stay put. Just breathe. Just be. Now gently try asking yourself why you are wanting this outcome. Go deeper and deeper with this until you get to the essence of what you are wanting.

(the essence will not be a relationship, money, publicity, travel etc - the essence might be love, security, acceptance, freedom etc)

Let's get back to businessy (why is spell check telling me this is not a word - when are they going to put me in charge of spell check so I can fix the damn thing) manifesting here and let's say I am really stressing because I am invested in getting a certain outcome from an email I sent to a magazine or wanting some kind of publicity that isn't happening.

So when I quietly ask my relaxed self what I really want here maybe I end up with the essence of needing to be accepted or maybe I land on a place of needing to be of service - wherever I land, I land. I don't judge what is coming up - I just look at it in a loving way.

(I find if I imagine this feeling is happening to my child I can get into a non-judgy - spell check you are killing me - loving space with it more easily)

then I look at a space in my life where I already have this essence and I sit in the acceptance of that for a while (getting in the vibration of what we are really seeking helps to reduce our attachment to the outcome of the thing we are trying to control - we eventually come to the place where we can feel that we already have the thing we are seeking) - it's not a quick fix, but if we do this enough we will start to see the same essences over and over coming up for us in all kinds of unexpected places.

If needing to be accepted keeps coming up for example I would start to look at ways I can bring this essence into my life in safe, small bites. I would also begin to recognize this need in myself and have compassion for it (remember the compassion in Part I) - eventually I would come to the place where I have totally accepted myself with no need for any outside acceptance.

(my biography will read "she was unattached" and if you want to read my biography and I can pretty much guarantee you that you don't - it will be available by Harper Collins - is there still a Harper Collins? was there ever a Harper Collins? - I think they published Valley of the Dolls - it may be a Valley of the Dolls kind of biography and I want to be played by Sigourney Weaver, ala Ripley in Aliens, a character I could totally see fitting into a Valley of the Dolls type scenario and who is totally how I see myself minus the automatic weapons ... and the cat)

When we give up control and stop trying to get a specific outcome, when we really get that this is like trying to catch fireflies with oven mitts - we give whatever happens the freedom to bring us happiness without giving it the power to hurt us.

Buddha said that attachment is the cause of all suffering. It can also be a slippery slope toward a loss of integrity (something it is more important than ever to stay in because universal energy is bringing everything hidden up to be dealt with now).

This is getting a bit wordy (.... waiting for spell check - let's just all agree we can add a letter "y" to any word and create an adjective) so I guess this part will be a 3 section so I can tie this into our message as makers - back next time to tie part III up (not in any kind of kinky way- get your minds out of Valley of the Dolls). Have an amazing day all!

Manifesting for Makers - Part ll - your message matters

photograph by pretty petal studio
When Oprah introduced The Secret a few years ago on her show, the glaring, hit you right between the eyes, problem with it was that all the "success" stories on the show

(maybe not all, but I am remembering it was all)

were people making money off The Secret.

Not in a "I am applying these principles and manifesting abundance" kind of way, but in a "I am teaching these principles and charging for my teachings and manifesting abundance" kind of way.

On the one hand this made the whole thing feel quite spammy and scammy, even for a Course in Miracles - inward and outward polarity manifester like myself. It turned me off.

On the other hand this made total sense because this was clearly a message whose time had come,

(the cynics in my life would say due to an entitled, lazy audience who thought this sounded easy)

there was a huge tribe of people open to these ideas.

The success of those people on the show had more to do with their message resonating with the energy at that time and what it would do for others (and the part this 'success' played in their own journey) as it did any particular steps toward manifesting those speakers took and their actual creation (ie end product - book, DVD, etc).

It's the same for us with our makings. It's not the actual makings that count so much

(you can absolutely manifest abundance in your life by producing crap - it happens everyday - but let's not do this because the world doesn't need anymore crap)

it is our experience of ourselves within our makings and how it aligns with others that is the true purpose behind what we do. 

When we connect with that purpose we can create through universal flow; without stress, tightness or attachment to any particular outcome.

Last spring I began to realize (actually someone else had to realize for me) that I had lost my focus and motivation. I didn't feel sad. I just didn't feel any joy - I didn't really feel much (except for a frequent tightness in my chest and solar plexus). I was using words like burn-out and exhaustion to myself - trying to silence the little voice inside me that said "go deeper".

I had felt a definite pull to do something, had it supported by amazing synchronicity and then it didn't seem to work out. I realized this had been my "story" in different areas of my life. I also realized that what the 'work out' part meant (what happy ending was going to satisfy me anyway) was really all in my head.

I knew that even when our creations (everything we do is an act of creation) don't manifest the way we would like them to, there is always a pay-off, providing of course we are not lost in the need for a pay-out.

I knew that it was this need for a pay-out that had me trapped. I also knew that when there appears to be a blockage in our creative affect in the outer world, it is certain there is something wanting our attention in our inner one - knowing this wasn't helping me release it though. I was tired of being a hostage to an outcome.

I will continue Part II later in the week (and connect how releasing our attachment to an outcome frees our message) - have an amazing day everyone! xo

Upcycled Holiday Gift Countdown Week # 4 - Book Clipboard

This week's easy-peasy upcycled gift is an amazing little clipboard book.

(you are probably now certain I am obsessed with books and clips and organization and you would be totally wrong - at least about the organization part - I am whatever the opposite of obsessed with organizaton would be right now)

I use these to hold my order forms at shows, but everyone needs a clipboard to keep all their little notes, photos and doodads handy.

This also looks great hanging on a wall or standing on a book shelf.

You will need:

a book, clipboard clips and hardware, screwdriver, drill

Grab a second book with your clip so you are not fighting to keep it open, mark your holes, drill, screw and voila!

If you need a personalized magnet for yours (any wording) just contact me and I will pop one in the mail to you.

I am making a half wall of these in my studio, will grab pics when I finally get the "about me" shop pics done.

My hard drive died yesterday and I am waiting to get my computer back with a new hard drive - fingers crossed tomorrow - they saved my files, but not the programs - why can't they ever save the programs? Ugh!

Part l (continued) - how compassion can unleash our passion

print by yarrow summers
see part 1 HERE

Compassion is a frequency. It's the frequency of sameness and acceptance

(the place of only one of us here - the place where we all connect).

It's the part of us that holds the essence of the universe - the place where there is no judgement. 

It is the space where expansion happens.

Wherever you are, is just fine…You can get to wherever you want to be from wherever you are… It’s time to stop measuring where you are in relationship to where anybody else is. The only factor that has anything to do with you is where you are in relationship with where you want to be.   --- Abraham

The more we connect to our compassionate self the more we will be heardIt's the sound that allows the universe (angels, our higher selves, universal consciousness - whatever you resonate with here) to recognize itself in us.

One day late last winter, I think during David's first relapse, I had to call a couple family members to let them know what was going on. Family help had fallen away and hubs and I were feeling very much alone at this point. I picked up the phone with a heavy heart, thinking I would lose my mind if I was about to hear "we told you so" while my heart was so broken open.

I stopped. I put down the phone. I knew that was exactly what I was going to hear if I brought that energy into the conversation. I knew that I created my own reality. I needed to get into the compassionate place of no judgement with everyone involved in the situation and not just David.

I took some deep breaths and did a few rounds of pranayama* to see what I needed to open up to.

*(alternate nostril breathing - holding one nostril closed at a time and taking some deep breaths - helps with relaxation and clear thinking - my left nostril which accesses my right "feeling" side - as opposed to my thinking side - is usually more closed. I always get my best work done when both sides are open and more equal. If you are ever driving when tired, covering your left nostril and breathing through your right nostril only - activating the left thinking side - will keep you more alert - it works)

I took the time to get myself into a more compassionate, loving space so my higher self could connect with their higher selves. I dialed the phone and told the first person what had happened.

The words from them that I would have heard as "I told you so- we've been through this before you came into the picture- David always does this - you can't fix this - who do you think you are" a few moments earlier - those exact same words were heard by my heart as "I did my best - don't make me feel guilty that I didn't do more".

In that moment I totally got that everything was exactly as it should be. There was nothing to forgive here.

Hubs and I had more to give at that time and so we gave more - family members pulling away had nothing to do with me and by pulling my judgement away from the situation everything changed. I offered them compassion, I said "yes, you have done so much - please continue to keep your heart open that we get healing in whatever way is possible here".

Well, maybe I didn't say it exactly like that, I didn't suddenly start channeling the Dalai Lama , but by offering them love instead of guilt everything changed in a moment.

Instead of looking for blame, like I would have if I had stayed in my lower self, I reached for compassion - and maybe reach is the wrong word here, I slowed myself down enough to see the other path- the one not in the frequency of my lower self - the one I could only feel.

I got into a space that was so free and so joyous (stayed there for a couple days) and so familiar that I recognized it was where I wanted to live. The compassion for others brought me into a space where I felt compassion for myself.

(I also created a whole hell of a lot of amazing new work the next day)

I have a friend whose husband had an affair and they went to a counselor - a wise counselor who said to my friend who couldn't forgive her husband - maybe you can't feel forgiveness, but can you feel compassion for him? It was the start of their healing.

I promised an exercise (in snap decision making) and will post it in a couple days since this post is too long already and I have an upcycled gift tutorial to post tomorrow!

Next week - Manifesting for Makers Part ll - why your message matters

Manifesting for Makers - Part I - how compassion can unleash our passion (plus a new moon in libra)

kissing print by and at BokehEverAfter.etsy.com
Since David came into our lives compassion has become a major theme in my life.

(like a giant mirror was being held up to me - in fact I even started collecting vintage hand mirrors and hadn't connected the two things until just this moment-

a mirror saying "this is how you are now being - this is who you are" picture Dumbledore; a mirror saying "how's that working for ya'" picture Dr. Phil)

I am not sure how many people will resonate with this, but since compassion feels like the root of all that is authentically real to me these days, I think we will start with this.

I am not talking about the dictionary definition of compassion which is : a deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it; pity.

True compassion holds a higher vibration - it has nothing to do with removing the pain or suffering of another person which we can't really do because the karma (ie energy attraction, cause and effect, our perfectly pre-planned, but not predestined life experiences) - that created it in the first place will just recreate it in another form.

(I think the real secret so many of us do not arrive at our destination by manifesting just what we want exactly when we want it, without explanation and without teaching is that our higher self always seeks the inner journey -

the way our outer life unfolds is not as important - there are lots of roads that lead to the same place;

the inner journey that teaches love - for ourself and others - and imparts wisdom and compassion through process.

Of course the way our outer life unfolds is important to us - to our personality, our ego - the part that makes me Cat Ivins and makes you the person I would get to know first if we met for coffee at Starbucks - which we would never do because I do not drink coffee at Starbucks, but I could watch you drink coffee at Starbucks and pretend I was totally satisfied with the green tea I would order)

Compassion is not about seeing anything or anyone as less than or as broken. It's the opposite of that. 

Pity is about judgement and compassion, in its highest sense and the only sense worth working with, is about non-judgement. It's really about the active expression of acceptance for the world and for people exactly as they are; exactly as we are - being able to look at the whole world (and so ourselves) without expectation that it should be any different.

You may be thinking so what does this have to do with manifesting?

(although you probably know by now I am a wordy blogger and have to work circles around my circles to get to what I am trying to say; "spit it out" my Jersey father would have said - this is not to make you dizzy dear reader - although I do have a certain fondness for this state of being - but rather to draw you into something slowly - so that even if you come away thinking 'she has totally lost her mind with her ramblings' at least you will have had a few minutes of quiet time - you're welcome)

Manifesting happens in the current moment (it is miracle-making after all).

Compassion gets us into that moment. It allows us to still hold the vision of amazing possibility for the world (and ourselves) but we don't use it as a standard of comparison for rejecting where the world (and we) are right now.

You don't get what you want by hating what you have. They are two different currents and you can't jump ship from that place. Compassion gets you into the place of accepting what is. 

I will get back to this on Wednesday - just a quick heads up that we have a wonderful new moon in Libra today - in fact within the hour!

This is a powerful time (for the next 2 weeks) to start something new by joining our intentions and action with this energy - especially Libra stuff (if you know what house Libra is in in your chart this could get more specific) - think relationships, cooperation, legal issues and since this is a new moon in an air sign, it's a good time for anything having to do with the "mind" of our businesses - communication, inspiration, writing, marketing, strategyzing, etc.

We can't see the new moon (until it forms a crescent later on in the week) - it is literally the time we are "in the dark" - we are planting the seeds we will harvest at the Libra full moon in six months (note - jupiter is retrograde so the issues this new moon rules may not be everything they appear- it can make things look too good to be true, so we need to stay grounded).

This new moon is powered by Mars trine Uranus from yesterday and the new moon is on the lucky star Spica and suggests a brand new start (a trine means ease so blockages toward something happening are removed, that could be something good or something bad - again the nonjudgment of the universe is always in play!) and Mars trine Uranus gives us the courage to look at something and deal with it once and for all - we can do this thing!

Tomorrow I'll be posting another easy-peasy gift and then on Wednesday finish Part l of this series before next week's Manifesting for Makers takes us to Part ll. Have an amazing day everyone! Don't forget your New Moon Wishes (see HERE) - although I always change the words "I wish" to "I choose". 

Upcycled Vintage Finds ... it's not about what it was made for - it's what you need it to be ... plus I blame chemtrails

ruler picture holder - I use this for biz cards sometimes, too
This week has flown by - how did it get to be mid-October already??

Instead of an actual post which I would have to have some functioning brain cells to produce at this very moment I have grabbed my trusty Canon

(although it is not so trusty these days because I have to manually focus, which creates lot of problems for someone like me who's right hand can't remember what her left hand is doing ... )

and snapped a few quick pics around here of some upcycled goodies that may inspire someone, somewhere, someday to forget about that cute and colorful whoseewhatsee from Target and use what they already have in some of clever way ..

cork storage in vintage sugar bowls and barn sink - you
may not have this much cork - I hope for your sake
and the sake of your liver, that you don't have this much cork

Olive's Red Ryder porch bed - with her favorite wool blankie for fall
vintage microscope with family photos in the glass slides

Also I should report that I had to get my driver's license renewed this week (yay, I finally got rid of that crappy picture so I could get ... a slightly less crappy better picture) and I was chosen for a random eye exam (?) - at least I think it was random,

because everyone else went right to the "get your picture taken" line and I went right to the "get your eyes checked" line - maybe I was the only one in there who wears glasses - is that possible ... does anyone not wear glasses these days, or do I just know old people now -

anyhoo, a man who'd probably been filed under A for Alive at some point during the last century, I kind of thought I recognized him from the state seal, called me over.

He put on a pair of THICK eyeglasses that could double as a welding mask (at least someone else was wearing glasses now), picked an invisible thread off the J in his NJMVC patch, and told me to have a seat.

my license looks kind of like this -->

except for the picture and the name and the address and the driver's license number and also the fact that this man is smiling BIG

(because it screws up our state's facial recognition software -  
which I do not believe for one second we actually have - we are not allowed to smile BIG in New Jersey for our driver's license photos - which is surprisingly not a problem for those of us living in New Jersey)

After I have no trouble reading the ten-letter clump of nonsense on the eye exam he asked me to look at four different shapes through the view finder. "Tell me what each of these are," he said, his accent thick enough to join the cast of Jersey Shore if Snookie ever needs a really, really tired looking great-great grandfather.

"A red octagon, a yellow rectangle, a yellow circle, and a yellow triangle." "Well, that's a first," he said, picking another invisible thread from his shirt.

"What? nobody else knows what they are??" (I am thinking what the hell is happening to the brain cells of the people living in NJ ... I blame chemtrails)

"Nope. Nobody else ever just told me the shapes. You're s'posed to tell me what the signs are."

"Oh." I was less embarrassed than I was excited that I'd done something no one had done before.

"A stop sign. Um... maybe a warning sign? Or a children playing sign like in that one development, the one where all of the houses look like the red monopoly pieces .."

"And the next?" he interrupted.

"Uh, that one's a railroad sign, you know, my husband had a cousin who was hit by a train."

He blinked, almost audibly. "Continue."

"Well, he may have been drunk and fell asleep ..."

"With the signs. Continue with the signs."

"Oh. Maybe a Men Working in Trees?" (we do have such a sign, I'm not just randomly making stuff up here)

He said nothing, picked the last invisible thread from his shirt, took a deep breath, stared at his hands and sent me over to get my picture taken.

Which I did.

And it looks amazing actually (in a sort of attractive if you squint, slightly less crappy than my last driver's license photo kind of way).

I love New Jersey.

Christmas Upcycled Gift Countdown Week # 3 - Tray Magnetboard/ToDo Board

This is what I ask myself when prioritizing my day.

(yup it's pretty much the secret to my success here at Olive Bites folks, works pretty well for me - I do spend quite a bit of time napping, eating snacks and solving mysteries though, so it might not work for everyone)

This is a heavy vintage, enamel metal tray (a similar type of thing can be done with a smaller, lighter weight tray, too - see LOVE pic below),

some large adhesive letters from Lowe's ($1.50) and some magnets that read NOW, LATER and NEVER

(I can hook you up with the tops of these just email me and add your own magnets)

Now, you are probably thinking this does not need a step by step - you're right. It's pretty much cut and stick. I did have to take a few pics though so I can call this a TUTORIAL, otherwise it would be cheating.

(the LOVE tray has a little adhesive back hanger that I could hook you up with, too)

You could stencil something like this, too, if you are feeling very crafty and if your recipient might think stickers a bit .. tacky (stickers ... tacky ... get it) - the vintage green one above is a bonus gift for a special someone on my list. I do not think she minds tacky - especially when it is an awesome mint green circle of blooms and rust covered with hugs and kisses - who could resist that?

Manifesting for Makers - Introduction - the act of creating is the act of allowing

CREATE print by and at wallfry.etsy.com
The definition of manifesting is "to make clear or evident to the eye or the understanding - to show plainly" -

this is probably not the definition that most people are thinking about when they are trying to manifest (ala the law of attraction) something.

This is the definition we are going to work with though (the making clear and evident one) because it is a higher vibration and life is supporting a higher vibration now.

(the vibration is important because it works sort of like a key to unlock the higher paradigm within us; the thing we are reaching toward - this must have been what it felt like for people alive on the planet as the Dark Ages moved into the Enlightenment .. scary and exciting and unchartered and we are making it up as we go along and that is totally ok and more than ok actually because if not us who? )

I think the last few years has shown us that hundreds of thousands of people setting intentions to manifest specific things for themselves, the things we thought we wanted (the gimme more, bigger, better, best way of thinking that is born from the fear that there is not enough) can really muck things up

(of course, as with all mucked up things - it is just a mirror reflecting our own mucked-up-ness back at us - we are never really victims but just people being shown our weakness)

the real "Secret" may be that we have this manifesting thing ass backwards -

of course, we have also been brought to this point by hundreds of thousands of people taking their power back and setting intentions to manifest something else, something new and authentic and real - the very energy of which is totally supported because everything either evolves or becomes increasingly unstable until it breaks down - the new that is totally unstoppable.

We aren't here to figure out what we want and then manifest that.

The idea that manifesting is about figuring out what we want and then going for it, is the reason so many of us are stuck, sitting in this place of  indecision "well, what the hell do I want?" -

because we are thinking this with our mind (our soul is awesomely ok with any and all circumstances) - the part of us that can only offer up answers based on our past conditioning and often based on what we don't want - based on fear.

The difference between coming at things from love (think : soul/heart here) or fear (think : mind/thoughts here) is the difference between wanting to manifest a partner because we're uncomfortable being alone and afraid we will always be alone or wanting to manifest a partner because we see an old couple lovingly holding hands and whispering in the park and our soul cries out YES, I WANT THAT!

I saw just such a couple yesterday and they made my heart so full that I found myself drawn very near to them and I asked them how long they had been married and the old man looked at me with a mischievous twinkle in his eye and said "we're not married, but we've been living together for 4 months and 6 days" - I thought my heart would explode with happiness.

Anyhoo, I only wanted this to be an intro - a little taste of where we are headed with this series if anyone wants to come along - this journey to manifesting; the allowing = creating kind of manifesting that is what we makers are really here to make.

Next Week: Manifesting for Makers - Part I - how compassion can unleash our passion (plus an exercise in how to figure out what we really want ... within seconds)

Dish Towel Holder Tutorial - Upcycled Gift Countdown Week 2 - and a quick history lesson for lazy hubbies - LESSON: no hubby has ever been shot while doing the dishes

Anyone who reads my blog

(and is paying attention I know that leaves many people out ... I won't hold it against you)

knows that I have a little bit of an obsession with upcycling books - as in I have the need to drill holes in them and otherwise destroy them.

(I blame my Nook)

This is a very simple gift that is as usual easy-peasy to make. I made this for a friend's black and white kitchen.

(I am trying to show her how vintage pieces can add character to a space - for times when my actual old as dirt self is not at her house providing the vintage character personally)

You will need:

a book -

that you can bear to part with, preferably something a little kitcheny - if it has Julia's face on it that is a total plus -

vintage kneader/masher, pipe holders, screws, marking pencil, drill, hanging hardware

1. mark your holes 2. drill your holes - as always when drilling into a book - go slowly - this is a lesson from Smokey the Bear, folks 3. attach your pipe hangers NOTE - you have to add your kneader/masher - what the hell is this thing anyway? -  at this point - I had 2 screws in when I realized there was no way to add the kneader/masher without taking them out - luckily you have me to guide you through this and you will not make this mistake  4. add a sawtooth hanger (drill, glue, hammer) to the back - you can measure the placements of everything - I just kind of eyeball things (since it's not going in my kitchen after all - ack)

VOILA! now you just need a super-amazing dish towel - I highly recommend one by the amazing Xenotees 

For another towel rack featuring a vintage rolling pin see my other tutorial HERE and for something else to do with the kneader/masher thingamajig see my other tutorial HERE