It’s that time of year when the days start getting shorter, the air is cooler and all I want to do is snuggle under my blankies while drawing and snacking on alllllll the calories! The other day, Gary said something to the effect of “forget pumpkin spice season — it’s chili and cornbread season,” I wholeheartedly agree, though I’ll be baking us some pumpkin pies from scratch using sugar pumpkins and Penzey’s Pumpkin Pie Spice (if you haven’t tried either one of those, they’ll change your life and your outlook on pumpkin pie for REAL!)…
These cooler, darker nights between the equinox and the solstice are a time to reflect on all we’re provided with in life and how much we have to be thankful for, It’s a time to acknowledge those who have sacrificed everything, and those whose ancestors had their land and lives stolen so others’ ancestors could make new lives for themselves on this continent… And it’s a time to be present with ourselves, our loved ones and humankind, and choosing a state of gratitude so we can do better and be better humans.
The last few years have given me plenty of time to reflect on all the things I have to be grateful for. For those of you who don’t know me as well, almost exactly 3 years ago, I learned that I had poorly differentiated grade 3 neuroendocrine cancer of the colon and rectum. As you might imagine, it shook my whole world. Extensive surgery with pelvic reconstruction and a permanent ileostomy were the first step. Then I had 4 months of chemo. Then came 5 weeks of radiation. Then came physical therapy as me body recovered from all of the trauma. Then, my sweet elderly dog, Kermit crossed the rainbow bridge. It was a rough year, followed by another challenging year with family illnesses, the death of a dear friend and a broken arm (and more surgery) as a result of a poor decision involving roller skates. This year started with the death of Gary’s grandmother, we moved houses and I was hospitalized during our vacation for an intestinal blockage, covid hit our house in early October, and several close friends and family members have experienced frightening, life-changing events…
All of that said, my point is not to elicit a pity party… Quite the opposite, in fact. All of those painful experiences pushed our lives in new directions. We don’t sweat the small stuff so much anymore (it’s not cancer, after all). We got to spend more time with some of our family members because we were traveling so much. We got inspired to move to the desert to not only pay off the heaping bills resulting from my illness and inability to work, but to be in a community overflowing with creatives, nature lovers and mystics. It’s a place where every sunrise and sunset is over mountains, full of pinks, oranges and purples, and where I have already been able to connect with more people in a short amount of time than anywhere I’ve lived since college. It’s truly a magical place. For that, I am beyond thankful, and I hope all of you are able find your own silver linings to be grateful for too.
Although I love little things about all the seasons, there’s always something special about fall… To be clear, for me, it’s not about the fuzzy clothing and those super popular drive-thru drinks in green paper cups. In fact, living in SoCal, I actually love fall, because the weather is still lovely for all those summer activities like beach days, hiking and patio dining, but with fewer crowds!
It’s also when fall and holiday makers’ markets start popping up every weekend, everywhere you turn. It gets me motivated to be in the studio more, but it also means I get to spend more time hanging out with my fellow quirky creatives!
I’m set to participate in several events throughout October, November and December, with new dates filling in here and there, so I hope I get to see you in person soon… Highlights include a meditative art activity at the Wind Walker’s Medicine Wheel, The Patchwork Show in Tustin and San Pedro, street markets, pop-ups, and workshop collabs with local businesses around Joshua Tree.
Wind Walker’s Medicine Wheel’s 10th Anniversary event in Joshua Tree will take place on November 11th from 1-6 pm. It’s entirely free, so come check out this amazing landmark and get “zenned out” in this enchanting locale with energy workers and spiritual healers from all over the Morongo Basin!
Patchwork Show fall markets are just around the corner again! You can find Akcara Studio on November 12th in Old Town Tustin, and on December 10th in San Pedro! Check out the Dear Handmade Life website and follow @akcarastudio on Instagram for allllll the info!
Stay tuned for specific dates and times as more events are confirmed, but we’ll will be doing make-and-take workshops at local businesses including Desert’s Edge Vintage in Yucca Valley. Desert’s Edge has a super rad collection of clothing, home decor, records, books and locally handmade accessories, so even if you can’t make it to a workshop, you need to stop by during your high desert shopping excursions!
We’ll be vending at a variety of markets around the Morongo Basin including the Joshua Tree Street Market on December 9th. There are several other events and pop-ups working their way into the schedule too, so be sure to follow @akcarastudio on Instagram for most recent updates and details, and of course, subscribe to the Akcara Studio Newsletter — I promise I won’t spam you, unless you count an occasional joke about the classic Hormel meat in a can — haha!
Oh — and before I forget — I’m already taking in commissions for holiday gifts, so be sure to let me know if you might be interested in a custom painted pet portrait or other unique handmade gift for everyone on your shopping list this season.
In the meantime, I hope you’re staying happy and full of warm fall fuzzies!
Festival and market season is upon us, so I wanted to check in before the whirlwind of monthly holidays sweeps us all away!
It’s official: I’m now a desert dweller! We moved to Yucca Valley near Joshua Tree and we’re slowly settling into the new place. I’ve made some lovely connections (stay tuned for more info on those awesome businesses) and I’m set to vend at the Joshua Tree Night Market on October 14th. The sense of community that I feel in the high desert tells me these serendipitous introductions are only the first of many to come...
I’ve been busy with travel, as well as an unfortunate hospital stay (while traveling), so it’s been quieter than usual in the studio lately, I’ll fill you in another time, but for now, check out this interview I recently did with Canvas Rebel!
I’m ready to dig in and get all my new ideas out, especially with all of the amazing natural inspiration everywhere I look in the Morongo Basin, so tah-tah for now!
Well, it’s hard to believe the spring market season is over and it’s midsummer already!
What’s new, you ask? Well the “Cliff’s Notes” version is:
1) I have a Spoonflower shop!
2) I’ve been vending at The
3) WE’RE MOVING!
If you like unique fabric, wallpaper and home decor products, then look no further than my new Spoonflower shop! I’ll be gradually adding more designs to my library, and if you see any of my designs that aren’t available for sale yet, please message me and I’ll get an order going for you. I’m most excited to use the fabric and wallpaper I’ve already ordered!
Akcara Studio had the pleasure of vending at four different locations with Dear Handmade Life and The Patchwork Show this spring and early summer, where I got to hang out with other makers, meet tons of shoppers supporting small handmade businesses and even made some new friends who are likely going to be longtime members of my “tribe” (aka: the people who seem to get me, despite my endearing quirks)…
If you missed out on the magic of shopping with me at The Patchwork Show this season, never fear — they’ll have a round of fall and holiday markets as well, and you can bet I’ll be there! In the meantime, check out their partner event for makers, Craftcation Conference! I attended this year and after experiencing the magic of it, I will be going every year forever…Earlybird registration is going on right now, so take a look!! (And I’ll see you there in April??)
Finally, in other news, I’ll be around for commission work, but I won’t be making a ton of new general inventory for the next month or so because we’re moving to the high desert! We’ve sold our house in the picturesque, ever-growing Temescal Valley and will soon be residing and creating art in the Joshua Tree region of the Mojave Desert!
Although we have treasured our time just over the Santa Anas from “the OC” and backed up to the Cleveland National Forest, I am ELATED about our new adventures in the enchanted desert, surrounded by other independent creatives, National Parks and Preserves 5-20 minutes in every direction, the serene silence, and most of all, being able to see the stars and Milky Way from our backyard once again…
I’ll update everyone, as more news develops, but until then, I’ll be busy packing up the house (and yes, I’m *totally* accepting volunteers with strong backs and high heat tolerance who like being paid in craft cider, pizza and free lodging near J Tree, so just lemme know)!
Wow - where has the time gone? It’s a perpetual question, I suppose, but I do know one thing: Spring has definitely arrived in SoCal! Rain, rain, rain, wildflowers galore, and of course, Art markets and festivals popping up everywhere!
Things are a little crazy around the studio right now (more on that later), so I’m not starting any new commissions until at least late May, but I have plenty of in-stock products and I’ve applied to be a vendor at The Patchwork Show in Tustin on May 21st and in Long Beach on May 28th, to offer my original art and handmade and vintage curios, so I’ll keep you posted as I get confirmations on dates and locations.
Meanwhile, be sure to sign up for my newsletters (I promise I won’t overload your inbox!), and follow along with my day-to-day adventures on Instagram to keep up with new developments and even a contest for free stuff here and there! Finally, I hope you take time to enjoy Mother Nature’s annual transformation from browns, grays and white to the greens and rainbows of warmer, wetter weather! If you can’t get away for your own spring nature safari, here are a few photos I took of Mother Nature’s “paintings” in the Anza-Borrego desert last weekend for you to enjoy until I post more of my own originals!
I know, I know — we just welcomed the New Year, but I LOVE Valentine’s Day! I’m a February baby, I love pink and red hearts, and any reason to eat cookies, cupcakes and messages written in chalky candy phrases, so it’s only natural I should have such a fondness for this heartwarming mid-winter celebration!
If the ones you love have an appreciation for beautiful things, then now is the time to commission that perfect handmade gift and visit the Akcara Studio Boutique for a stitched-to-order wearable art piece!
Remember: If you haven’t subscribed to our newsletter, be sure to sign up here… We promise not to spam you (well, other than with an occasional joke about the mid-century Hormel luncheon meat from a can)!
While you’re at it, feel free to follow us on Instagram and Facebook to see what’s going on in my day-to-day, or even just to say “hello”!
Black Friday at the Lake Elsinore Outlets was our last in-person market for 2022, but there is still time to shop small for the perfect handmade gifts!
Akcara Studio is accepting a limited number of commissions for pet portraits, landscapes and digital drawings of classic cars through December 4th! After that, no new commissions will begin until January 2023, so don’t delay in reaching out!!
Additionally, we have some sweet end-of-year deals on commissions, prints, notecards, stickers, and coloring books for Akcara Studio Newsletter subscribers! If you haven’t already, what are you waiting for? We promise not to spam you (well, other than with an occasional joke about the mid-century Hormel luncheon meat from a can)! Sign up on the right side of this page… While you’re at it, feel free to follow us on Instagram and Facebook too!
Finally, a reminder that just because you read to the end of this highlight, you can use the promo code FESTIVAL5 in the Akcara Studio Boutique for 5% off any order through December 31, 2022, and get my in-person festival pricing!
I’ve finally moved into the 21st Century and instead of a “Studio Happenings” page, I now have a blog!
Soooooooo… If you want to read all the Studio Happenings from the first 11 months of 2022, here they are from newest to oldest, but without specific dates. Enjoy!
Side Note: If you would like to see past Studio Happenings with all the cool photos, you can still do so here.
Holiday Market Season Continues!
Akcara Studio had a crazy fun weekend of selling and meeting other makers and handmade gift enthusiasts at the Temescal Valley Community Faire on Nov. 5th and the The Patchwork Show in Old Town Tustin on November 6th!
If you missed out on the action this weekend, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter and follow @AkcaraStudio on Instagram, Facebook and/or Twitter to see where I’ll be next. We promise not to spam you (well, unless you count an occasional joke about the mid-century Hormel luncheon meat from a can)!
Bonus: Just for reading to the end of this highlight, use the promo code FESTIVAL5 in the Akcara Studio Boutique for 5% off any order through December 31, 2022, and get my in-person festival pricing!
It’s Holiday Market Season!
Shorter days and cooler temps (well, sort of — this is SoCal, afterall) mean every single weekend is jam-packed with festivals and markets of every kind!
Akcara Studio is so excited to be filling our calendar with event dates, including The Patchwork Show in Old Town Tustin on Sunday, November 6th, from 11am-5pm! We’ll be offering a playful and quirky variety of art pieces, and handmade and vintage curios, perfect for gift-giving and for brightening your own space as well! Additionally, I’ll be hosting a super fun make-and-take booth, where visitors can create their own quirky collage greeting cards, so you definitely want to mark this on your calendar!
On November 5th, Saturday of that same weekend, I’ll have a booth set up at Deleo Regional Sports Park in Temescal Valley for the Temescal Valley Heritage Foundation Kids & Krafts Faire from 10am-5pm. The event benefits our community’s mission to preserve our local history and celebrations keeping TV a unique and pleasant place to live as the community’s population grows and evolves. There will be tons of local vendors including handmade goods and food items, and activity booths galore for the whole family to enjoy!
More events are currently in the works, so stay tuned!
First Annual Funny Cars & Handlebars Event October 1st!
Almost everyone knows I’m a dog lover, but here’s another fun fact: I love classic cars too!
I’ll have a booth set up at the Lake Elsinore Outlets from 11am-4pm on Saturday, October 1st. The event is $10 per adult, benefits Mission K-9 Rescue and the Warrior Built Foundation, and will feature lots of great entertainment and some famous classic cars, including one of First Lady of Drag Racing Shirley Muldowney’s funny cars (and hopefully some super cute K-9 veterans as well)!
I’ll be featuring mainly prints of dogs and cars, but with throw in a few of my usuals for a little variety as well. I’ll also be customizing prints by hand watercoloring or adding text for that extra personal touch, as well as taking custom orders. These are going to be the perfect gift for that hard-to-shop-for someone in your life, but also a great way to treat yo’self to some new art!
Come on out and see us!
Fundraising for Cures
Through Labor Day, a portion of every sale in the Akcara Studio Boutique will be donated to Team Challenge, supporting the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation as they raise money for research and awareness with the goal of curing IBD once and for all.
As one of over 3 million Americans living with these diseases, this organization is very close to my heart. I have participated in Team Challenge events in the past, and they have been truly life changing for me. I overcame challenges I never imagined, I have made countless friends I refer to as my #TCfamily, and throughout the years, the money raised has brought numerous groundbreaking discoveries in the field of IBD research and treatment.
Until September 5th, 2022, Akcara Studio will donate ALL net profits from items purchased from our Team Challenge Collection, as well as $5 per order when purchasing pieces from any of our other collections.
We have tons of new items and artworks right now, as well as all the “classics”, so why not look good while doing good?
Love is love every single day, but June is a great time to celebrate in honor of Pride!! Throughout June, almost every product in the boutique is being discounted 6.28% in recognition of Stonewall — the original Pride — on June 28th, 1969! All artworks are included in the discounts, but be sure to check out the “Pride” collection for an extra boost of color!
New Active Wear Collection!
These awesome pieces are made from eco-friendly high-performance cooling fabrics containing recycled polyester and spandex, and will make you look and stay cool, whether you’re working up a sweat or just plain working it!
Akcara Studio had a great day at the 2022 Riverside Art Market on April 9th! Benefiting the Riverside Art Museum and The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture, the event included live music and dancing, food vendors and visual artists of nearly every medium. Cara was joined by fellow painter, Jeff Lee, drawing visitors in with his enchanting metallic acrylic-on-black paintings, velvet portraits and Bob Ross-inspired landscapes featuring familiar pop culture and sci-fi cameos!
Akcara Studio & LeGaleriste
have partnered up with a new clothing line featuring original artworks by Cara. These fashion and home decor pieces are artisan-made to order in Montreal and come in a large variety of designs and sizes. Be sure to visit the online boutique often, as Cara regularly releases new designs and pieces!
As your favorite serial dabbler, Akcara Studio is always up to some new adventure or experiment…