Monday, December 26, 2011


Well, we leave in about 2 weeks. Walker and I are busy biting our nails in anticipation. Jamie is cruising along with no nail biting, Thank Goodness!

There have been lots of changes in regard to this trip. Initially, I thought I would be able to mix work, family, and India. I was so excited about the prospect! Then I found myself waking up at night worrying about how that was going to happen. And I talked with Hema, my friend in India who will be co-authoring a book with me about Indian jewelry techniques, and she said we would only be in one city, Jaipur, to do our research and that we would need about 23 days to fully cover the techniques. Uh oh. I had booked the trip for 31 days. That meant that Jamie and Walker would be stuck in Jaipur with almost nothing to do while I was out having fun everyday doing jewelry research. That would not work!

So I told Hema that I would have to come back on a separate trip. Jamie agreed. I had already booked our tickets, so that meant we would have an extended vacation. Well, that's alright with me, except I'll be gone from work a little longer than I would like. For many reasons. But it would cost over $600 to change the tickets. So we will remain in India for 31 days having a vacation on this trip.

Then I was so excited about the USA Artist fundraising. Well....that did not work out like I expected. Mainly because I got some negative feedback about the process and I backed off on pushing it for fundraising. I heard that it seemed like I was trying to have other people fund my vacation, that people did not understand why I was fundraising when I already had a book contract, that my focus on the trip was confusing. I was shocked that anyone would think I was trying to get something for free, that anyone would think I was not earning my way. The fact that I put myself out in public in a vulnerable way to ask people for money to fund this project felt really weird to me after I got the negative feedback. So I stopped asking people to fund the site and I let the fundraising time expire. At this point, I hope that the Asheville Area Arts Council will be willing to let me keep the grant I received from them, but wait a year longer than initially expected to complete the project. I hope to apply for other grants that are not crowd-sourced, but are privately funded. I hope to put off writing and researching the book for one year. This book is something I really, really am excited about, but one that I want surrounded by positive feelings. So...I am going to wait a year before continuing with the research. Thank you to everyone who was willing to support my project on USA artists. It means so much to me!

Now, onward ho! Jamie, Walker, and I are off to India in 2 weeks! I have a full calendar planned & oragnaized. We know where we are going, and even where we are staying! I felt it necessary to plan the trip ahead of time because of Walker. I am so glad I did! I was able to book long train trips overnight, make sure we reserved cool child-friendly hotels, and now we can pack accordingly.

The main issue we have been dealing with: shots, mainly for Walker. There was some confusion as to what he needed, and of course it all comes down to the last minute. So this week, Walker will complete his Hep A & B and also get a dead Typhoid vaccine. He will be up-to-date on everything else though he will not be covered for Varicella (Chicken Pox) at all because he would have had 2 live vaccines too close. They don't do that. I'm OK with him not getting the Varicella before we go, as Chicken Pox is not deadly. It is unlikely any of us will get any deadly disease. We are going to be on the tourist beat. We will be as careful as we can with food & water. We are bringing all kinds of wipes and anti-bacterial washes. We will sleep under mosquito nets when we can. (This is a picture of our reserved room at Agonda Beach, Goa. The Rama Resort. Nice curtains, eh?)

We will use mosquito spray when we can. Most importantly, we will rest when we are tired & we will take breaks when we are feeling worn out. We will also make sure to eat healthy foods and drink plenty of fluids. (I will be bringing packets of powdered Gatorade & Emergen-C and the pharmacies there carry re-hydration salts for children, if necessary.) If any of us get sick, we will make sure to seek out medical help.

The plane: I made sure to get tickets that had a good route & timeline for us. We fly to Atlanta, have an hour layover. Then we have an 8 hour ride to Amsterdam, a 4 hour layover, then 8 more hours to Delhi. I thought this would be better than a 16 hour trip with an 8 hour layover in New Jersey! We also are renting this child safety device for Walker on the plane. They cost $160 to purchase, but we found you can rent them on Ebay for a total of about $30 for the time we'll be gone. Pretty cool. Not only is it safer for him, but it also makes sure he hmm.hmm....stays in his seat. It comes in the mail 3 days before we leave and we have to send it back 3 days after we get home.

Other things I am bringing for Walker (who will almost be 3 years old): books. Lots of soft-back books. My ma-in-law got us these small soft books, so we will take several of those, too. I got all my books at a church sale in October and just hid them til Christmas. I got one of those hard paper board things with movable stickers. It is a city with a bus, people, etc. I got a small soft Woody doll. I ordered a 'Mater fold up pillow, it is about 1" thick and 8" at its largest. He can use this as a travel pillow. I have drawing paper. I got red firemen about 3" tall at the dollar store. I have snacks that I think the airline will let me bring aboard, and some I hope they will. Last but not least, we have a netbook (a mini computer) to which I have downloaded 4 kid movies. The battery life is 4 hours, so hopefully we will be covered by 2 movies, reading books, playing with small toys, walking down the aisles a few times, eating, and sleeping.

Next post: Itinerary & hotels. So exciting!!


Friday, October 28, 2011

India...We shall see you soon!

Soon enough, the Stirlings will be on our way to lovely India! Jan 9-Feb 10th 2012.

We are getting ready...mentally. Deciding where to go, what to bring, thinking about what Walker will eat, hoping he is out of diapers before we go, figuring out hotels to stay in (budget or mid-range?), getting Walker a new traveling big-boy back pack. This is some fun stuff!

I have moments of fear--that Jamie will not like it or that Walker lets go of our hand and runs into traffic. That Walker get dehydrated from the poops or that Jamie gets dehydrated from the poops. That Walker will be a pain in the ass in restaurants. That Jamie won't like the food. So much to worry about, but I think it is natural to worry about not being in one's comfort zone. And that is one thing I love about traveling--not being in my comfort zone, but figuring out how to be comfortable anyway.

The one main thing I take with me that helps me feel comfortable is my blankie. My blankie is a cotton covered down blankie, made for use on the sofa. It is small, it folds up even smaller, but it is Oh-So-Warm and delightful. When sad I am away from home, I just cuddle up with my blankie! The other thing I like to have around me are delicious drinks. In India, I particularly like a mango flavored box drink called "Frooti." I hope Jamie and Walker also find these delicious. But of course, I always enjoy a cup of Chai or a sweet and salty lime fizz.

Then there's breakfast/ Breakfast in India is a special thing for me. It is a great way to get used to a new day, and one of the most enjoyable things for me while in India. I particularly like having an egg sandwich, freshly made form a street Chai Wallah. But I also love the Porridge with fruits. This is like oatmeal in the USA, but better. It is grainier, without seeming too overly "healthful" if you get my drift. I think Walker will particularly like this dish for breakfast. I will miss my morning smokes, but I am a changed woman and will not be smoking on this trip!

I am so excited to have Walker with us, as I can't wait to see how this affects our communication and interactions with people. I think he will open many doors for talking to people. Indians are pretty darn chatty as it is, so this should be amazing having Walker around! I hope he likes it!

Also this time I am thinking of bringing some nicer clothes. Nothing fancy, just not as raggy as I have been before. Not that I ever showed myself to be dirty or anything, but perhaps I will make myself up just a tad. I feel that being a mother and a bit older this is only appropriate! Maybe I'll change my mind though. We'll see.

In the meantime, please check out my new website at It is pretty awesome. Next week you can order online. You might even be able to order something now.

Namaste Dosti!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Attention all paper artists, graphic designers, and creative types in the Asheville area:

I am looking to hire someone to make display boards for Jewelry. These boards will be used to show jewelry to potential wholesale customers.

These boards will be:

· Lightweight

· Small enough to securely stack for easy transportation

· Able to be carry-on luggage

· Professional in quality and creativity

· Representative of my jewelry business design aesthetic

· Inclusive of item numbers and prices of each piece.

· Able to stand up for easy viewing.

They must securely hold pieces of jewelry, yet also allow the jewelry to be removed over and over again without quickly wearing out.

Please email me at to discuss further. Will pay $500 for the completed project or more if the boards exceed all my wildest dreams.