Monday, April 30, 2012

OMG, It's "The Fray"!


If this tour consisted of all women, when I stepped out of our green room and encountered a tour lady, she might say to me, "I just came back from the most adorable vintage shop down the street right across from the venue! You must check out their 50's dress selection. Also, if you walk a little further there is a "mom and pop" cake shop with the the most delicious banana cream cupcakes you've ever tasted!" Of course, in reality, the tour consists of all males with Dia and I being the exception, so our conversations with musicians we encounter back stage proceed a little differently.


Yesterday, Joe, "The Fray's" charming and charismatic stage-right guitar player, pulled out his iPhone while greeting Carlo and I as we changed strings on our guitars. (Well, as Carlo changed strings on our guitars.) "Check this out! Today we went fishing, and we found an alligator. Look! That's me grabbing him by the tail and dragging him backwards. That's what you're supposed to do, you see." He focused intently on his iPhone screen as he pointed out the menacing jaws of the alligator that he appeared to indeed be dragging backward along the sidewalk. "Then", he paused for effect, "I tried to grab onto his snout, because that's how the real pros do it." His face squished into concerned wrinkles, "but he squirmed away…"


So much for those quaint conversations about frilly clothes and tasty delectables.


"Wow, fishing and alligators. You guys have had quite a day!" I exclaimed politely, just dying inside to discuss if the band hires someone to dress them, and who Joe's hair stylist might be?


The stage manager called our band to set up our gear on stage in that moment, so Joe sauntered off back to his green room, and Carlo and I began pushing our amps up the ramps to the stage.


I've passed Isaac, "The Fray's" lead singer in the halls backstage a few times. He always gives me a gracious smile as he hurries on his way to his next interview or sound check or wherever it is lead singers are so eager to rush off to. If I would have crossed Isaac Slade from "The Fray's" path a few years ago, my voice might have become a tad shaky, and my legs might have failed to hold me up, but since I've grown up just a little since then, and the whole "touring" bit I have experienced has demystified the mystique of most well-known musicians and bands, I found myself quite capable of nodding hello to Isaac with no danger of my falling over.


Dia announces from the stage each day how "excited to I am to be on tour with 'The Fray' because they are such nice guys". Maybe some people in the audience think that she says that about every band we tour with, but she really is telling the truth in this case. All of them introduced themselves to us the very first day we joined the tour. Rob, our guitar tech/merch guy, told us just yesterday that all the members of The Fray watch our 30-minute set every day.


Yesterday, Nick and I snuck out into the audience to watch "The Fray". They have quite an elaborate production, with giant swaths of cloth streaming down from the ceiling of the auditorium on stage. Explosions of pink, green, and blue lights change with the rhythm of the kick drum, swimming along the silky back drop, surrounding the band in an ephemeral dance of light and sound and energy. 


Isaac dances around the stage, he leaps right up into the faces of the audience in the front rows, swaying his hips and back and forth to the rhythm. For the finale they played a medley of all of their hits that I instantly recognized from my trusty car radio. The brilliant colored spotlights, during their encore, erupted first to focus on the band members, and then just on Isaac blasting away on his piano, and then out to the audience, blinding them momentarily before returning to the stage. 


And then black, and clapping, and cheering. 


Honestly,
Meg

Friday, April 27, 2012

Tiny Break, Big Break

Four beautiful weeks off tour and at home. I had begun to live a daily routine of waking up at whatever hour of day suited me, eating three savory home-cooked meals concocted by my mother, laying out in the sun by the pool while reading a new delicious novel, and then spending time with my little sisters, my dog, and my robots. Ain't that the life?

I immersed myself in new jewelry designs. I started going to a few challenging yoga classes, feeling my body regain flexibility and strength I had lost. Sleep and meals focusing on fresh fruits and vegetables along with some spicy Korean dishes rejuvenated my health in no time. I met up with some very long time girl friends I haven't seen in ages to discuss all of the exciting things that were happening in their lives that I had missed while I was traveling. I even attended a very dear friend from high school's wedding reception and caught the bouquet! I started to feel so very normal, comfortable, and warm. 

I unpacked my sparkly black dress I used to perform in, replaced my golden-sequined shoes back on the top of my dresser, prepared to catch up on a few episodes of "The Office", and that's when I got the call. 

When you are a musician the calls you receive can only be from a few select individuals. (most of the people in your life stop staying in touch because they correctly assume you aren't at home.) The people who are left include: all of your band members, your manager, your mother (and if you are a guy, possibly some angry blonde babes from Detroit you asked to meet you after the show and then stood up.) That's about it. There are no surprises as to whom you will receive a phone call from, but as far as what that phone call will be about…well, it could be anything.
"I know I told you guys that you had the summer off, but hop back in the van and drive to Florida tomorrow because we are opening up for an arena tour!"

"Hope your week off was great, we are playing 'Saturday Night Live' on Sunday. Polish up your parts and maybe you ought to buy a red dress..."

"How does a tour in Europe sound next Saturday?"

This is why whenever I pick up my phone I am mentally prepared for the speaker on the other end to tell me to suit up and pack a lunch because tomorrow I'll be traveling to the moon.

Nick called me. "Hi Meg"

"Hi"

"So something kind of came up."

"Really? You found a house didn't you? I can finally move up north and start organizing the craft room and kitchen I've always dreamed of in my very own place?!"

"Um, no. The opening act for 'The Fray' just canceled, and they want to know if we can fill in for the rest of the tour. You in?"

"Well, I need to think about it."

"O.k., well, when will you know?"

"I don't know."

Then I hung up, grabbed one of the mountain bikes in my parent's garage and road that bike straight up the mountain by my house. 

I don't ride bikes.

I needed to breathe some fresh air, find a quiet space to think. Why was the decision so huge you ask? I tour all the time. I know. It's just that I was promised a little, TINY, break.

Well, I guess touring with "The Fray" could be a BIG break. So I rode home, called my manager and Nick on a three way conference call and told them very calmy and assuredly, though my heart was pounding between my ears.

"O.K. I'll do it."

Honestly,
Meg


On Tour With "The Fray"

First show was in Atlanta, Georgia

We had lunch at R. Thomas

We like animals, especially animals that whistle at us.

Last night we made it all the way to Monroe, LA

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Fray Tour Routing

We are hopping on The Fray Tour. The band that was opening for them suddenly dropped off and landed this opportunity in our laps! Not much time off from the Blake Shelton tour to this one, but what are you going to do, say "no" to The Fray? Nick and I are driving the van across America to Georgia right now. The rest of the band will be starting the set tonight with an acoustic set before The Fray set in Louisville, Kentucky. Unfortunately all of the shows are sold out, but hopefully some of you already have tickets The rest of the tour dates we are on are as follows:

 Tue 24-Apr Louisville, KY Louisville Palace Theatre
 Wed 25-Apr Atlanta, GA The Tabernacle
 Fri 27-Apr Monroe, LA Monroe Civic Center
 Sat 28-Apr Dallas, TX The Palladium Ballroom
 Sun 29-Apr Austin, TX Stubb's Waller Creek Amphitheatre Mon
30-Apr Houston, TX House of Blues
 Wed 1-May New Orleans, LA Tipitina's Uptown
 Thu 3-May Orlando, FL Hard Rock Live
 Fri 4-May St. Augustine, FL St. Augustine Amphitheatre
 Tue 8-May St. Louis, MO The Pageant
 Fri 11-May Morrison, CO Red Rocks Amphitheatre

 Honestly, Meg

Thursday, April 19, 2012

New Additions to My Shop!

Don't know if ya'll have noticed, but there have been a few new pieces added to my collection. Since I released the "Out of Time" earrings last year, I have received quite a few requests for a matching necklace, so I designed an "Out of Time" necklace in both copper and silver. ( Some of us ladies like to match EXACTLY. It's just one of those things. I totally get it!)


Please visit my shop for more details on these pieces: http://chandler-the-robot.goodsie.com/

I designed a "Willies" Necklace in silver as well:)


Also, I'd like to introduce my version of the classic "Best Friends" necklace. I'm calling my version the "Best Friends Forever" necklace, because...it only seems right that best friends should stay together forever, and plus the title has a super hip acronym! (Nerd alert.) This piece is designed like my original CTR pieces, out of polymer clay and vintage watch cogs their in the middle. Both necklaces are included.


To check these new designs out, visit my shop: http://chandler-the-robot.goodsie.com/

Honestly,
Meg

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sidewalk Art On a Saturday Afternoon

I just had to share the artwork of two awesome ladies: Rachael Housekeeper and Alyce Patmides




Thank you girls!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ponderings About Identity

Since, I've been home, I've been like a little kid in a candy store, jumping from CTR project to CTR project. I can't sleep, I get so excited. While I'm laying in bed, instead of counting lofty sheep jumping over cotton candy pillows, I'm day dreaming about color schemes for my business cards, the way the hat tilts on my next robot, and jewelry photo composition. My mind just doesn't shut up! 

Sometimes, an activity that I'm working on goes less than perfect…Imagine that! Today I prepared all morning for a Chandler photo shoot outside in my backyard. I picked out the background colors. I decided on the positioning of my pieces. I waited until exactly two o' clock in the afternoon to shoot, because I knew the light would be perfect. 

I snapped some photos, re-adjusted, and then snapped some more. "Yeah, Chandler. Give it to me! Smile for the camera! You are perfection, yes?" I buzzed with excitement, running up the stairs to my studio to upload the photos. I started pouring over them, picked out a few that stood out to me, edited them, and uploaded them into my online shop.

Now I'm going to tell everyone a little secret: I'm an idea stealer.

Yes, it's true! I steal ideas from nature, from my little sister's logo on their clothing, when I'm walking through a furniture store with my mother. I steal ideas from the interior decor of a fancy restaurant that Nick and I are dining at. I steal from pixar, Disney, Tim Burton. I'm sorry. I'm guilty as charged!

So, lately, while I've been racking my little brain for ideas for jewelry photos, I decided to check into what my good friends over at Anthropologie were doing with THEIR jewelry photos, and…I stole from them too! They took their photos from an arial view. They included the pendant and the entire chain. The chains always flow in a wavy pattern. The photos were taken on a neutral background. They were very classy, chic, and professional.

I need to learn to be inspired by other ideas, but to make those ideas MY OWN.
While my "photographer" attempts somewhat captured the initial idea, I became frustrated with the way my photos turned out. Some of my designs are very small, so the intricate details went missing when I tried to photograph the whole piece. The color was wrong. The "professionalism" came out contrived. 

I forced myself to step away from my laptop, sit outside of the pantry and listen to my little sister masterfully perform piano songs from her favorite anime movies. (Yes, my parents' piano is in their pantry. Don't ask.) Then I made some iced peach tea, sat outside in the veranda, and
thought.

I can't be something that I'm not.
I discovered that I'm not Anthropologie. Surprise! I'm me. I make quirky little robots. I'm not a BIG company. I'm the only woman who runs my business and makes all the decisions, so everything is probably not going to look 100% professional. I'm almost an…indie designer of sorts. 

On the music side of things, I can't be Jimi Hendrix either. (Why, oh why did the heavens not bestow upon me Jimi's chops?!) I'm just a girl (thank you Gwen Stefani) who plays guitar, but is more of a song writer really, who comes up with meaningful and simple riffs. I don't "scream" with my instrument, I "think" with my instrument. That's what I do. And I've got to take it instead of leave it.

So sexy, right?


Chandler isn't just jewelry, like the jewelry in the photos I was so graciously attempting to mimic. Chandler is a character, my little buddy, and his photos ought to represent that. (I've got some great ideas! Photos coming soon! My ideas might take me awhile to implement though.)


I love having major life breakthroughs on Tuesday mornings.

Honestly,
Meg

Monday, April 16, 2012

Design Ideas and a Birthday Card

An adorable birthday card by and . Thank you you two!

Of course they took care to include everyone!

Metal cowbot, much like the clay cowbots I made for Blake



So, these are the two designs I'm currently working on. Would love to hear any suggestions from any of you!

Honestly,
Meg



Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Little Song I Wrote Called "My Monk"

I checked my CTR inbox today like usual, making sure that none of your robots' heads were falling off, and everyone received their orders o.k. 


One of the emails caught my eye. (I haven't asked the person who wrote the email if I could publicly write about him on my blog, but since I'm not naming names, I'm assuming it's o.k. with him!) It read:


"Hi Meg,
Please ship to: (And of course I'm not going to write his address here!) Paypal is giving me a hard time changing the address, since I'm an international order. These "Out of Time Earrings" are for my girlfriend. Can you please include a note that says, "I'm still counting. Thanks!"


And then, later on in the day I received another email from him, kind of re-writing a few things he already had told me in the first email along with a few more details about his order..


"Hello Meg. I just placed an order for the "out of time" earings for my girlfriend in Alberta, Canada. The address on my paypal is in New brunswick, but she is in Alberta you see. I'm hoping you got the message I left on the paypal note, but I wanted to send you another message to be sure. Time is a big importance to both of us. We're counting the days until we can be together again, and these earrings are a symbol of that. I also forgot to mention her name is "Jessica".


Now, bear in mind, I've met a few of you at shows and the like, but with most of you we are mainly inter web buds (which is awesome, I'm not complaining.) I'm only mentioning this, because for some reason, although I have never met the boy who wrote the email, I couldn't help but feel incredibly excited about their budding long distance relationship. I thought his "personal touch" was so cute. So I wrote a VERY unpolished song, recorded in my home studio (a.k.a. my computer) about what I imagined their story was like, making the chorus lyrics "Counting down the days" of course. 


Please don't judge the sound quality of this track. Also, I also made the man in the story a monk, because I've always found a little "randomness" improves my art immensely. Plus, kind of adds a little spice to the story, since monks aren't supposed to be in love with earthly women, ya know? The lyrics are underneath the track.


Honestly,
Meg


video


"My Monk"

I give myself away to young love in the summer days
I found myself a boy in orange robes with his shaved head
I know his idea is to live above love
HIs soul handed over to his Buddha, his God, but

We are counting down the days
Counting down the days
We are counting down the days
Is that wrong?

The miles, yeah, make it hard
And his silence stole my breath
I wrote him a post card every time I felt like it

One day I held a letter in my hand 
He signed his name
Ripped it open, and my soul bent as the words began
It read:

"I am counting down the days
I am counting down the days
I am counting down the days
till' I see you again

When I am studying I see your face
When I am sleeping just the same 
I am counting down the days till' I see you again and again..."

Monday, April 9, 2012

Egg Hunting

"Um…Happy Easter?" I said to my mother while reaching for a box of healthy (but not really) cereal. "Oh, right," my mother replied nervously. Families only celebrate Easter when children in the house are still young enough to have their cute little runny noses wiped by their mothers. Our household has no such children. Not an Easter egg in sight. "Why do we celebrate Easter anyway?" my mother inquired. She pulled two plastic containers of blueberries and blackberries from the fridge and began to rinse them in the colander over the sink. "I think it's Jesus' birthday," I answered while scrutinizing the nutrition facts on the side of the cereal box. "God's birthday…" my mom slowly mumbled into the air. A juicy bite of my cereal plopped into my bowl splashing milk.

Maybe we ought to be celebrating then…

I finally rummaged through my parents' entire house, (no easy feat if you only knew the square footage!) scraping away my lost memories tucked underneath beds and stuffed into cracked plastic bins under the stairs. Shoes and clothes and books that haven't seen the light of day for years while I've been away. I sorted through foreign objects, trying to figure out if these strange items were indeed mine.

I don't know that I would recommend taking a dive into memory lane to anyone. A photograph here, a stuffed animal there, a blank greeting card, my first business cards for Chandler the Robot. I used one of those really corny pre-made templates. Terrible, just terrible. Sometimes the feeling the memories bring back is a pleasant one....sometimes not.

I arranged all my jewelry supplies and pieces in a somewhat manageable fashion. When I first came home, I had clay sculpting tools, talcum powder, envelopes, and lobster clasps falling out of grocery bags, bins, and packing boxes. After organizing, I pinned up some new designs that I wasn't able to focus on while touring onto my "Creation Board". O.K. so what if my creation board is actually a regular old cork board? You never would have known had I not just told you! 

I held up a tiny silver "Willies" necklace to the sparse light shining through the wooden slats in my window. "Why, she's beautiful!" I exclaimed to myself (or maybe out loud…) A random onlooker peering into the scene in my make-shift jewelry studio might have guessed I was staring in awe at a pale damp butterfly wing just bursting out of a cold cocoon. I ran downstairs to show my parents. (It's been so long since I've been able to just run downstairs to impress the folks. Only a month more of this, and then this 27 year old is back out into the real world. I have to admit though, it is quite a rush feeling like I'm six again.) They seemed mildly impressed, more so impressed with my excitement then the actual design.

Who knew little copper robots would bring a gal so much delight?

I'm impatiently waiting for some more shipping supplies so that I can mail out your "Widgets" to you. 

Happy Easter. I hope that some of you painted an egg or two.

Honestly,
Meg

P.S. I'm in the process of taking photos of the new designs (including the silver "Willies" necklace).  They will be available soon!

Friday, April 6, 2012

April's "First Thursday" piece: Widget!

Thank you to everyone who already "pre-ordered" Widget! I'll start shipping out orders on April 15th when I have them all ready for you guys. For everyone that hasn't heard about "Widget" yet read on. Please note: I only have a couple dozen left! (I'm saving one for our family dog as well, so a few dozen minus one:)


Are you an animal lover? 

Do you have a person in your life who will happily spend a month's rent on gourmet dog food?

Well, Widget, April's "First Thursday" Limited Edition Piece was made for you!

Order Widget, a bot's best friend, on my ONLINE JEWELRY SHOP today!


Our dog "Gemmy". Aren't her bows the cutest thing you've ever seen!?


While traveling as a touring musician on our tour bus this last tour, all of us band members were dying to have a "tour dog". Every single time we would pass by an owner and their dog, Jonathan and Dia would squeal in delight, posing with the pup until the owner became a bit uneasy with all the attention.

In reality a tour dog wouldn't be practical, but because we were unable to have a real dog on the road with us, I had an idea to create Widget instead! Sorry everyone, but Dia and Jonathan will be the first to receive theirs! (I promised them.)

Chandler has a new pet! He's tiny, cuddly, adorned with 4 canine wire-wrapped legs, and is made from an alloy metal with mixed silver and copper coating.

-please allow 2-3 weeks for Widget to arrive BEGINNING April 5th
-Only 100 Widgets will be available and they will go fast!
- 2 cm high, 3.5 cm long
-18" chain 
-PRICE: $50.00 


Honestly,
Meg

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Bed and a Guitar

I'm writing this post lying on the floor on my stomach in an empty room aside from a few bloated cardboard boxes and an ikea floor lamp. Nick is prancing through our empty apartment spraying spritzes of one of his homemade "natural", "essential" oil mixes. The window is open. I'm staring at startling greenery (for Austin at this time of year. Thank you spring rain!) and smelling hints of lavender and evergreen. Nick opens the door, peeks his head through, and asks me, "What are you doing in this empty room on the floor?" I give him the same glance I give to everyone when they interrupt me when I'm either writing a song or a blog post. My eyebrows come together and do a little dance and my lower lip puckers outward. "I'm writing a blog!" I wine in an effort to exaggerate the fact that I'd like some time alone. "Well, why you gotta do it in here?" "Because there is music out there, and it's calm in here." "Well, it was", I think to myself. He gives me one of his "looks" and then turns and walks away. I couldn't help thinking about what I knew he was thinking as he continued with the finishing touches on our apartment: "God, why am I dating a "creative", artist, hippie chick with extremely irritating dietary requirements? I should have listened to my mother and stuck with Anne back in high school. Yeah, she had a boring hair cut, but all of her meals were loaded with butter and sugar, and she would never EVER pay more attention to a blog than ME…"

Yes, we are in the midst of packing and moving. I can't wait for the day when I can stop this "packing and moving" bit. It's tiring and dull.

I spoke to my mother today and raved about Nick being the "Craigslist King"! You guys should have heard him wheeling and dealing on the phone, "What?! $75.00 without the wooden slats? What am I supposed to do with wooden slats with no matching head board! No, I will not accept that measly amount for a mattress! You want ME to deliver it to WHERE?!"

 I usually try to coax his blood pressure down after one of these conversations with one of my oats, dried berries, and ground flax-seed meal concoctions, but I gotta tell ya, his mood just doesn't revive the way it used to when I used to butter him up with  "fresh-out-of-the-oven" milk chocolate brownies lathered with sinful chocolate frosting.

My mother gave me the gift of health for my birthday, paying for my attendance to the "Engine 2 Immersion" that took place this past weekend in Austin. The event took place on "Boggy Farm", the oldest organic farm in the nation. Fresh fruits and exotic vegetables sprouted from the ground in vibrant green rows. The owner, Leanne, hoed and watered alongside our large tent, while speakers educated us on the wonders of the Dinosaur Kale and the horrid "national fad" of coconut products.

"Boggy Creek Farm" in Austin, Texas


I am thankful for the knowledge I have soaked up over the past two days. I tell Nick how strange I feel when I am the youngest person at all of these health conventions and jewelry conventions I attend. I tell him that because I started touring at 18, I went from 18, toured for 7 years, and didn't continue being a mid-twenties person, but passed right through that stop and headed straight for the 50's and 60's station. Here I am learning about blood pressure levels and cholesterol levels and wire-wrapping jewelry. (Nick really is a brave man…)

I'm turning 27 tomorrow. I had a strange and powerful urge to buy french-manicured nails for myself for my birthday. I'm not sure why I have always wanted them. I just think they are so beautiful, and I love the "clicky" sound they make when a woman at the grocery store with long nails tallies up my grocery bill. "Nice day today." Click, click, click. "You makin' a salad bar?" Click, click, click.

I asked Nick what he thought about me having longer nails. Whenever I ask him about what he thinks about a new haircut or some sort of physical change, he always says he likes me the way I am. That's what I like about him. I sat on his lap, while he reluctantly slashed a few prices on a washer and dryer still for sale on his laptop. "Babe," I began in a soft voice, "What do you think about me getting some of those long nails?" He would have seen my eyelashes flutter if he had only looked away from his computer screen for a few moments. "Huh? Well, ya know, I don't really mind one way or another." Wait for it…" They seem to be a bit in the way though, and also an unnecessary expense. How are you going to play your guitar?"



Hmm? What guitar. I peeked over my shoulder. Oh, I guess my guitar was here in my room the whole time. One of my last possessions to be packed.  Maybe I didn't want to notice it laying there. Maybe I haven't been ready to see it quite yet, not after playing it every day for three months straight. "Actually, I hate long nails. No. Don't do it.  I'm against them. Why would you do that to yourself!"I knew he would come around.

Maybe I should pick up my guitar today and tinker around a bit in between cleaning out the pantry and vacuuming these empty rooms…or maybe I should wait a few more days.

Goodbye Austin.

Honestly,
Meg