Just Breathe

Let me preface this with telling you a little bit about me. I’m crazy. I’m a Type-A, high stress, high anxiety monster hiding inside a chic 5″10 girl in heels. I make lists, I’m a planner, some would say I’m a bit OCD when it comes to said plans… I hate sitting in traffic and going to any poorly planned event makes me cringe and my anxiety sky rockets through the roof. I’m a leader by nature and because of all of these qualities I can also be a bit bossy, ask my last boyfriend.

As you can imagine the stress and anxiety monkey on my back, we will call him Carl, gets a little heavy and self-entitled when he wants to. I’ve tried meditating [as if Carl would really let that happen], I’ve tried exercise, I’ve tried counting backwards from 10 and a billion other ways to just, “let it go,” as some would say. So when I met Owner/CEO Jonathan Winn of Breathe Refuge at the #InstaBeerUp networking event last month I knew I had to give it a try. As I told Jonathan, “You had me a yoga mats and blankets!”

Jonathan is a dynamic individual on his own. You can instantly tell he seems to have this calming effect on the people around him – he oozes confidence, serenity and an overall nice positive vibe.  In fact, on my way to class [with yoga mat and blanket in tow] I sort of got this giggly sense that I was on the way to see one of my best friends for a much needed sleepover to vent about life’s frustrations.

As we started to get ready for class to start I felt Carl climbing up my back to my shoulders. What if I wasn’t good at this?  What if I look silly? What if I can’t just breathe?! Woosah. Then Jonathan said this, “If you’re depressed you’re thinking about the past. If you’re anxious you’re thinking about the future. What I want to invite all of us to do is to live in the present. In the now.” Wow – this guy really has a way of saying the right thing at the right time amiright? Back off Carl!  One of the things I love the most is that he takes a no-holds-barred approach to his business and is very frank about the fact that every experience is different for every person. Jonathan seems to intuitively pick up on the emotions of those around him which only feeds the gentle inspiring environment of his studio.

Once we’ve gone around and made our introductions and discussed what we are hoping to achieve it’s time to get started! Jonathan has a great living work space in NoDa with large windows and a calming atmosphere. [He event has a massage studio in the back, FYI]  There is a slight smell of incense paired with a low medley coming from the speakers. Lay back, relax, close your eyes and just breathe. Jonathan teaches you a specific form of breathing that you implement for the first 20-30 minutes of the session [as you’re walking up the mountain] before you return to your normal breathing pattern to come down from the peak.

As I mentioned before, every person will have a different experience, but as for me all I can say when the session was done is that I felt this particular sense of calm that seemed to lay over me like a protective blanket. During the breathing section I felt a slight tingling in the bridge of my nose and more specifically my fingers. Then a slight feeling of cold settled over me as I came to the peak and out the other side it was almost as if I could feel the tension leaving my body through my hands. When I say I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life, I mean I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life. Not only that but I felt rejuvenated – it was like taking a nap but better because I didn’t actually have to sleep [for starters] AND I wasn’t groggy afterwards. I just felt… awake, wide awake! The best part is that I didn’t just feel good for a couple of hours after my session, I felt good for a couple of days after my session. Needless to say, I’ve been singing his praises ever since!

Want to know more about Jonathan and Breathe Refuge? You can find them online at www.BreatheRefuge.com and across all social media platforms. More than anything I encourage you to touch base with him and try it out for yourself! Especially if you’re someone like me who has problems letting go.

Bye Carl! Hello Breathe!

The Originals

These are the Stix+Stones Originals, they are the first batch of stones made to date 10/31/2014. I will continue to post them in batches as I make them.

 

Coming soon to Etsy!

In the meantime don’t forget to follow us on social media:

Stix+Stones Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! Or e-mail us with questions or for custom designs at StixAndStonesCLT@iCloud.com

 

White Turquiose slab | Peach quartz points | Upcycled vintage black agate spikes | Whitewood beads | Gunmetal chain with gold links.

White Turquiose slab | Peach quartz points | Upcycled vintage black agate spikes | Whitewood beads | Gunmetal chain with gold links.

Carmel cut agate stone with gold trim and wire wrapping | Black asymmetrical coconut shells | up cycled gold vintage disks | Suede tan cord.

Carmel cut agate stone with gold trim and wire wrapping | Black asymmetrical coconut shells | up cycled gold vintage disks | Suede tan cord.

Phantom Amethyst Purple Quartz Point | Gold wire wire wrapping, by hand | Gold silver circle chain.

Phantom Amethyst Purple Quartz Point | Gold wire wire wrapping, by hand | Gold silver circle chain.

Phantom Amethyst Purple Quartz Point | Gold wire wire wrapping, by hand | Gold silver circle chain.

Phantom Amethyst Purple Quartz Point | Gold wire wire wrapping, by hand | Gold silver circle chain.

Rainbow Mystic Quartz | Tiny silver beading | Dainty gold chain.

Rainbow Mystic Quartz | Tiny silver beading | Dainty gold chain.

Rainbow Mystic Quartz | Tiny silver beading | Dainty gold chain.

Rainbow Mystic Quartz | Tiny silver beading | Dainty gold chain.

Large Turqouise Agate Slab | Natural Coconut Spikes | Small White Shell Beads | Small Cork Circles | Dark Brown Wooden beads with Design | Copper circle looped cord.

Large Turqouise Agate Slab | Natural Coconut Spikes | Small White Shell Beads | Small Cork Circles | Dark Brown Wooden beads with Design | Copper circle looped cord.

Large Turqouise Agate Slab | Natural Coconut Spikes | Small White Shell Beads | Small Cork Circles | Dark Brown Wooden beads with Design | Copper circle looped cord.

Large Turqouise Agate Slab | Natural Coconut Spikes | Small White Shell Beads | Small Cork Circles | Dark Brown Wooden beads with Design | Copper circle looped cord.

Two-toned Arrowhead and Beading | Freshwater Pearls | Rainbow Mystic Quartz Points | Dainty gold chain.

Two-toned Arrowhead and Beading | Freshwater Pearls | Rainbow Mystic Quartz Points | Dainty gold chain.

Sea Urchin Sticks | Black Dyed Coconut Spikes | Slate Grey Druzy beading | Grey Suede cord.

Sea Urchin Sticks | Black Dyed Coconut Spikes | Slate Grey Druzy beading | Grey Suede cord.

Sea Urchin Sticks | Black Dyed Coconut Spikes | Slate Grey Druzy beading | Grey Suede cord.

Sea Urchin Sticks | Black Dyed Coconut Spikes | Slate Grey Druzy beading | Grey Suede cord.

Blue Mystic Quartz Points | Vintage gold disks | Gold chain.

Blue Mystic Quartz Points | Vintage gold disks | Gold chain.

Five Quartz Points | Gold wire wrapping | Upcycled dark brown wooden beads | Vintage wooden disks | Suede tan cord.

Five Quartz Points | Gold wire wrapping | Upcycled dark brown wooden beads | Vintage wooden disks | Suede tan cord.

Turquiose Multi Druzy Agate Slab | Freshwater Pearls | Slate Grey Druzy beading | Gold wire wrapping | Grey Suede cord.

Turquiose Multi Druzy Agate Slab | Freshwater Pearls | Slate Grey Druzy beading | Gold wire wrapping | Grey Suede cord.

Turquiose Multi Druzy Agate Slab | Freshwater Pearls | Slate Grey Druzy beading | Gold wire wrapping | Grey Suede cord.

Turquiose Multi Druzy Agate Slab | Freshwater Pearls | Slate Grey Druzy beading | Gold wire wrapping | Grey Suede cord.

Blue Mystic Quartz Points | Silver mini beads | Whitewood Beads | Suede tan cord.

Blue Mystic Quartz Points | Silver mini beads | Whitewood Beads | Suede tan cord.

Blue Mystic Quartz Points | Silver mini beads | Whitewood Beads | Suede tan cord.

Blue Mystic Quartz Points | Silver mini beads | Whitewood Beads | Suede tan cord.

Upcycled wooden cylinder | Rainbow Mystic Quartz | Vintage wooden discs | Suede tan cord.

Upcycled wooden cylinder | Rainbow Mystic Quartz | Vintage wooden discs | Suede tan cord.

Upcycled wooden cylinder | Rainbow Mystic Quartz | Vintage wooden discs | Suede tan cord.

Upcycled wooden cylinder | Rainbow Mystic Quartz | Vintage wooden discs | Suede tan cord.

Stix+Stones FAQ

When was Stix+Stones created?
Stix+Stones began as a simple idea in Fall 2014, I took what little knowledge and tools I had and began to create! Learning along the way by means of fellow crafters, local classes and trial and error, here we are with beautiful, unique, one of a kind pieces.

Where is Stix+Stones Headquartered?
We are based out of Charlotte, NC. However, we ship across the US!

What is the concept behind Stix+Stones?
Our goal is to create unique handcrafted jewelry that is just as diverse, unique and beautiful as each women who sports it. Each of our pieces start as a concept, each bead is then hand picked, and each piece is handcrafted right here in Charlotte, NC. We even offer custom design options because we believe your accessories are an extension of your personal style.

Don’t see something you like? Please email us – we love a new challenge and would love to talk further with you about your style!

What are Stix+Stones jewelry made from? 

Our jewelry is predominately made from a mixture of new items from local bead shops, [Thank you Beads, Inc and Beadlush!] a handful of preferred vendors, and up-cycled materials I find when I am out vintage shopping. You’d never believe what you can find right at your local vintage shop if you just learn to think outside the box and let your creative side take over!

How can I purchase a Stix+Stones original piece?
You can purchase by e-mailing us at StixAndStonesCLT@iCloud.com. We then use PayPal to issue invoices and receive payments.

Not familiar with PayPal? Please feel free to contact us so we can explore another option for payment with you.

Where Can I find out more?

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Stixandstonesclt
Twitter: @Stix_StonesCLT
Instagram: @StixAndStonesCLT

Or on my personal Instagram & Twitter @AllyBFraz

First Line

DIY No Sew Beanie

I’ve always considered myself fairly crafty, after all I do design my own jewelry, but one trick of the trade I have yet to master is the sewing machine. Is anyone else intimidated by that oh so little, loud, whirring machine?

So when I found instructions for a NO sew Beanie online I just had to give it a go.

What you’ll need:
1. An Old Sweater (I used an old knit sweater that had pricked over the years but I just wasn’t ready to part with).
2. A Scarf/Headband – nothing that will stretch or shrink when you take it on or off because you’ll use this for measuring.
3. A measuring tape.
4. A hot glue gun. (They also make fabric glue for hot glue guns, but I used what I had on hand and it is holding up just fine!)
5. Sharp Scissors.
6. Sharpie.

Directions:
1. Wrap the scarf securely around your head where you want the edge of the beanie to sit. Secure tightly with a knit in the back. You will use this to measure the width of your beanie so that it fits on your head comfortably and securely.

2. Once knotted, place the scarf on the bottom of your sweater (along the bottom edge). The length of your beanie will be. Measure from the top of your scarf to the beginning of the knot on the opposite side. (I actually tied mine just a tinyyy bit smaller to make sure it fit snuggly – what can I say, I have an odd shaped head).

3. Use your measuring tape to now mark the height of your beanie. Place it in the middle of your scarf and measure. I measured 12 inches for a super floppy, off the head beanie. If you’re looking for a snugger fit measure between 9 – 10 inches.

4. From here mark out a rough pattern for your beanie using your sharpie. Draw from the tips of your scarf to the tops of your measuring tape in a rounded shape. (See the link for photos)

5. Once you think you’ve outlined it to the shape you like begin cutting on your line. Cut both layers of the sweater at the same time! This is essential to making sure the final product comes out identical.

6. NOW. turn both pieces inside out. This means that the outside of the sweater are touching, and the inside pieces are facing out. (Really, the “inside” or “outside” depends on which side of the sweater you want to show. The main idea here is that it needs to be inside out from the final product at this stage.)

7. Hot glue gun time! Once you have your pieces cut and lined up glue from one corner, over the top, to the other corner. Leaving the bottom open. Careful here as hot glue will burn your fingers and seep through fabric depending on what you are using! Let dry for a moment.

8. Now, once its dry and secure cut about an inch of fabric right at the VERY top of your beanie. This will prevent the beanie from sticking straight up/out and making you look like a cone-head (as if I need any help in that department).

9. Pinch and gather each side together, forming two loops.

You can see here how she loops the top of the beanie prior to gluing.

You can see here how she loops the top of the beanie prior to gluing.

10. Now use your glue gun one last time to glue each loop together at the edge of the fabric. Let Dry.

11. Flip your beanie back right-side in and BOOM, you’re done. Handmade, no sew, DIY beanie. Perfect for Fall and straight through winter.

Here is a photo of my finished product: Finished No Sew Beanie

I love upcycling old clothes and materials! What are your favorite re purposed DIY projects?

Eight Sushi Media Night Tasting

On October 23 I was invited to attend Media Night at Eight Sushi located at the NC Music Factory in Charlotte, NC. This is a brilliant and brand new sushi location in the heart of the Music Factory that offers a fun and eclectic atmosphere and down right delicious food. Although the night was chilly, they boast a large patio area with plenty of seating, along with a bright and invited indoors. There’s a long sushi bar upon entrance that leads back to a small area with tables for sitting.

 photo 99825A82-B9CB-4D85-8314-8DD12436CB8D_zps4zfimxwn.jpg “Sushi Bar and Decor”

The first thing you notice upon entering Eight Sushi is the dynamic decor. Ranging from skateboard decks and Asian graffiti-esque artwork, to bare hanging bulbs, 3D sculptures and funky furniture they create a feeling of edgy yet upscale. They also offer a wide variety of food, not just sushi, and boast an extensive wine, beer and sake list. Eight Sushi offers a great place to hit both before AND after shows at the NC Music Factory.

 photo 14C7AD08-2431-4914-ADCA-C36327CE96B2_zps55ljmuqa.jpg “Eight Sushi Media Night Tasting Menu”

They started off the night with delicious Korean Beef Skewers and Edamame Hummus with Shrimp Chips, both light and delicious. This was followed by three sushi rolls, all very different from each other. The Pink Roll is rolled in a pink soy crepe which gives it the pink tint that makes it a great seller for October, Eight Sushi is actually donating money to Susan G. Komen this month for every Pink Roll sold!

 photo 83F22213-A452-4841-A5CF-D1DD9509C7EF_zpsqgvctpwc.jpg “Pink Roll, Proceeds to Susan G. Komen”

My favorite roll of the night was the Panko Tuna Roll. The roll itself was actually made from tuna which wrapped around crab, avocado, coated in panko bread crumbs and then flash fried. This roll was absolute heaven! Especially if you love the seared tuna options often offered at sushi restaurants.

 photo 385B58F9-4FCB-4B11-A4C0-E8556794BD9B_zpskt5arolp.jpg “Panko Tuna Roll – Yum!”

They topped the tasting off with Saignon Spring Rolls, filled with pork, shrimp, ginger, carrot, sambal, lettuce and nam pla sauce. Generally, I find that spring rolls don’t have enough taste or sustenance for me but these were delicious! Filled to the brim with ingredients full of flavor.

Last but not least, I’d like to thank Corri Smith, Marketing Manager at NC Music Factory and Social Media Rockstar, for the invite! Isn’t she just a fabulous little minx? I know, her skirt is to die for. I myself was rocking my favorite asymmetrical Philip Lim 3.1 blazer over a casual white tee, high waisted J.Crew black denim and Michael Kors boots with a Stix+Stones original Design. [[You know I had to squeeze my fashion fix into this post, right?]]

" photo 809FDBAE-A5B3-4A83-A0B5-E7D719E9CDBA_zps3cn1ivbj.jpg “Corri and I ”

All in all I had a wonderful time and can’t wait to return. I would highly recommend Eight Sushi to any local sushi lovers!