Cultivating a New Attitude for a New Year…

And Contemplating a Fresh Start

Talisman- Beckoning Cat


After a very difficult six months or so, I find myself at the intersection of ennui and opportunity.  I freely admit that a long period of stress culminating in the trauma of losing a loved one has left me a bit lost and reeling in its aftermath. The holiday season was difficult, though in retrospect, trying to make things as normal as possible, keeping my humble but satisfying traditions— shopping, baking and making a celebration for my children and grandchildren— actually helped. Now that it is over, and I am without that focus, I am floundering somewhat, battling depression and faced with an emotional vacuum I am nowhere near ready to fill. However, I know in both my heart and head that it is time to do something about this rut I am in.

Gaia and I opened O Deer Mercantile  on Etsy last spring only a few months before my father fell gravely ill. Though I kept it open and did some marketing and social media, my full heart and attention were not on it. I was often at the hospital or my father’s house, and preoccupied so much of the time. I think that we have the opportunity and the obligation now to turn our attention to both the shop and to this poor neglected website. I realize that posts had gotten few and far between the last several months— and it is my intention at least to begin to remedy that.

Local Shopping… Downtown with Gaia during the Holidays.

This is the reason that our featured photo this post is Lucky Cat, called maneki-neko by the Japanese. I was going through our stash of photos, looking for something to inspire me to write a post for O Deer when I happened upon Gaia’s picture of this cute “beckoning cat”.  As I have said before, Gaia is a purveyor of cuteness! She loves all things cute (check out her post from November— O Deer ~ Gaia’s Gift Guide 2015 and see some of the extreme cuteness.) , she sleeps, eats, wears and breathes cute, and her art also reflects it. She also loves many of the games, movies, cartoons and items that Japan has exported to America— and cats. She has quite a few cat and kitten figurines, and this adorable Lucky Cat dwells among them. I have chosen to greet this new year, 2016, with the fellow pictured above.

Maneki-neko has become extremely popular in China and America, as well as his place of origin, Japan.  This talismanic figurine depicts a cat beckoning with upright paw or paws. There are various interpretations of the different positions, and of the items he often carries in one paw or another, often a coin or coins, but sometimes a fan (obi), a fish, a tablet, a god figurine, etc. These cats come in different colors also. White is for good luck, black is good health, while green and blue are supposed to bring academic success and pink signifies the attraction of  love. Most common is white with orange and black spots, a nod to the calico Japanese bobtail cat, but they are also found in gold and other colors.

In Japan, in Japanese and Chinese restaurants and increasingly in this country, Maneki-neko may be found waving from a front window or counter of the business. His job is to beckon customers and lure in trade, to bring abundance, prosperity and good luck to his owner or establishment. It seems fitting to me somehow, that as this New Year begins to unfold, Gaia, Kaylah and I figuratively place this Lucky Cat at the front entrance of  our Website and O Deer Mercantile Etsy Shop.  It is surely time to look and move forward.

Beach Street in Downtown Daytona Beach

I am going to try hard in these weeks to come, to rediscover my joy and passion in life and in O Deer, and hopefully to make it into an online place to visit and a business to be proud of. At some point, Gaia and I will get back out into the extremely neglected garden, and I have some treats from the kitchen to feature. We will talk more about  the subjects we love— crafting, decorating, our vintage love affair, and our excursions around town and the Central Florida area to the thrift shops, farmers and flea markets, nurseries and other amazing local businesses.Donnie's Donuts- Seabreeze blvd. Daytona Beach, FL

Look for a feature later this week on new Local Crush— Donnie’s Donuts. They are located on the Ormond Beachside, on Granada Blvd. I had heard about them for months, then Kaylah went over recently and raved, so yesterday morning after a fog shrouded visit to the Farmer’s Market, we took the trip across the bridge for donuts and coffee. My word of the day yesterday was Yum.

Some of you may have noticed the O Deer Website is undergoing a bit of redecorating in the new year. I have the basics done now on this new WordPress theme, but I still  have a lot of work to do, tweaking layout, reconstructing sidebars and freshening up our content. I would love to hear from you. Let me know what you think, and help me find the places where I need to do something different. We love your comments.

Other things we have in the works over the next few months are some painting and decorating projects, and I am pretty sure that Gaia is planning more sewing tutorials in the future. Perhaps, if we ask her nicely, she will do a feature on her rather extensive Hat Collection. She began amassing a wide array of interesting headpieces as far back as middle school, and the proliferation of unique millinery grew from there. I think it would be fun to see just what she has collected. gaiaHats

I am sure that Kaylah will have some interesting additions to our site also. Whether she is contemplating a new piercing or tattoo, or a fresh fashion direction, it is always fun. Hopefully, we will get to see plenty more of her intriguing photographs. She is planning on moving out of her Mom’s house soon, and I can’t wait to see what decorating directions she will take in new digs.

I truly think that 2016 will bring many changes for all of us at O Deer, and I am going to both wish and intend that they are fortuitous ones. I wish the same for all of you…