{ Welcome to the Roost }

   Welcome to Flag - the fateful place our automotive ark finally crash landed after our {three day tour} across the scorching Arizona desert from the moist, palm-laden coast of southern California.  Of course, we weren't on the beach at the time of our pack-up-and-go. (might have been a bit harder to pull us out of the surf had we been. )

   Yes, we (including Miss Winnie .. little trouble maker that she is ..) had been corralled and herded out of the free-flowing artist town of Venice Beach when the rent-paying, home-owning, upstanding residents decided to wage all out war on the "vehicularly housed" (their term - not mine - "vehicularly" .. yuck, bet you can't say that word ten times without losing feeling in your tongue : ). The chased, sadly, included many of the performers and artists who brought the town's world famous "wacky, quacky, quirky, colorful" boardwalk to life .. the same scene that magnetized close to 5 million visitors to their sleepy little beach town every year.

   At one time or another they did like the street scene, well, the superficial -idea- of the scene, but it seems they'd rather see these struggling expressionists bussed in from poorer sides of town - backstage from, say, a shared cockroach motel in the slummy side of Korea town, or tucked away under the cement armpit of a freeway overpass in Studio City .. just not in -my- backyard ..  (as a rule, street vending and performing can be a bit like playing the stock market (or craps) - always at the mercy of the wind or the rain or whatever ball game might be sucking mainstream America into the tube and away from your booth, so a flexible, low-overhead living ((and eating)) situation is favorable/ necessary). What better than a converted bus, bread box or Winnie in the beach parking lot?

   But we're not bitter - in fact - pollen arts candles would have never been born if we hadn't moved down south to a {ramshackle artist community} in an industrial part of town, away from the white poodles, shined hubcaps and starched collars. And it was on the rocky shore of that foggy port town where we rolled up the cuffs of our pant legs and waded out into a tide pool, a very special tide pool that would deliver to us a tiny {antique bottle} and spark our new candle concept ; ) 

   This is the train station - the place where many people with charmingly antiquated features and thick accents ask to be pointed during the high season.  
   The majestic peaks - visible from almost anywhere in town - they're considered sacred to the Native Tribes. And in fact, there's a rare and delicate flower that only grows on the top of that mountain (the flowering souls of their beloved elders?) and this habitat is actually closed off to the public's stomping boots unless there's snow on the peak (pretty hard going at those times) and the little flower girls are safely tucked away in Mother Earth.  

   Next to the railroad tracks and just behind the Roost - a place for snowball fights in the winter and sun bathing in the spring and summer.

   The light click-clack and whine of the train can be heard, or tuned out, at will, from inside the Roost. We love it ; ) They banned trains from sounding their horns through town (guess is used to happen over 100 times a day) so when the defiant conductor pulls the old cord (prompted by maybe a stray dog on the tracks or perhaps a pretty girl waving from the footpath - ((juwels has pulled this one off before.)) It's a pleasure to hear the whistle blow ; )

   This was taken the morning of our first snow - I just had to make a snow man - in the desert, we had dust devils and rattle snakes - never anything this pure, fluffy and playful.

   Top of the hill - great place to watch the city and speculate on the droppings of different hooved creatures. We've seen some sunken tracks from a -very- large cat up there ; )

Sunset on Mars Hill. 

   Jogging starts here ; ) Normally fades to a contemplative amble before I even hit the top of the hill. What can I say - I'm a wanderer, and I only run once I've found trouble .. or a white rabbit ; ) 

   Our studio is in a grey area, a brackish community where industrial meets run-down residential. Perfect ; ) Nobody complains about the quiet throb of the music coming through our tin warehouse walls at 3am - they're sleeping too deeply from long blue collar days or the mental stimulation of lecture halls and coffee infused study sessions. This is the backyard right outside our 18 foot roll up door. It's the scene of crooked tire swinging, childhood games and the occasional quinceañera type celebration.

Spring lawn art - just loVe it !!

   Our warehouse is much too big for our needs, so we share it with a couple other people. We're upstairs, Roosting, but one of the guys on the ground level fixes up old cars and motorbikes. He has soOoo many cars .. they're parked all over the complex, and they cycle in and out of the space.  

   The backside of the building is cast in a shadow, so we get this fun little ice skating strip all winter long, long after the snow and ice has melted everywhere else ; ) 

   The exterior light above our door works as an anti-motion light: it dramatically flickers on and off most of the time, but it never seems to fail that when you take out the key ring to find the right key, it turns off in defiance of it's function. Once you've struggled by cell phone light and found the hole and opened the door - the light comes back on. Just like magic .. I swear, there's somebody with a spy camera and a light switch just having a good laugh at our expense .. . .. but it's my kind of humor, so I can't get too steamed ; ) 


   The whole ball o' wax - 5,000 pounds.  We had to carry this off the truck - then upstairs to make into candles (for one order ??), and then carry it back down to be wrapped onto pallets.

The Roost is up there - behind the draped canvas walls.

   Peeking into wonderland - the other manly-men, running businesses a few doors down, used to cock their heads as they'd roll by in noisy diesel trucks and catch a glance beyond the curtain at the colorful prayer flags and hanging gardens of plants .. but I think we're forgotten curiosities by now. 

   Watch your step -  (occasionally the walkway is littered with auto entrails from the car cannibal downstairs) and follow us back to the narrow set of creaky stairs to our tree fort. The first thing that most people say upon ascending our stairs is, "Oh, my !! It smells heavenly!" It's easy to get honey drunk up here ; )

   Well ... actually ... let's step back in time for a second. We'd never stepped foot in this place before we moved out of CA - just found it on Craigslist "Warehouse. For auto, or other." No price, size, area of town - nothing. But very little opens up in this little town, and the things I'd seen were on par with LA pricing, so I called anyway. I almost choked on my tongue when the guy on the other end (who sounded about 20 years older than he turned out to be) told me that he could rent us 1000 to 1500 square feet for 3 or $400 ..

   I told him what we do (normally, people think - candles? fire? burning, death, law suits .. mess, mess, no thanks !!) But he just gave me a 'uh-huh'. I told him that we work all the time .. and weird hours, all night at times. "Whatever works for you," he said. I even told him about the Winnie and asked if we might be able to pull her in to work on her a bit ... he just didn't care about anything. No application, references, deposit .. the guy didn't even know my last name but was ready to hand me the title ; )

   I hung up the phone, "I found our guy!" 

   "Are their windows?" Juwels asked. 

   "Skylights. And two massive roll up doors. " 

   I could write a whole 'nother blog on securing the place, getting/ pleading with this guy to cash the check we'd sent him to hold the place (so we'd know it was real and that we had a place to land) .. but he didn't care about anything - double edged sword. 

   All things considered, I thought that once we got out there and got a key, fingers crossed, we wouldn't need anything else from him other than other than to collect our rent (he's not super motivated on this either - the last few months I haven't heard from him with rent and utilities totals until the 15th or later in the month. He's a mystery to me .. the dozen or so cars he's collected around the space, where he gets the money to buy them .. the esoteric motorcycle trips he vanishes on..  only to return 3 or 4 days later round trip from - New York ??   

   We were supposed to have space upstairs and some downstairs, but once we finally arrived in town and wrangled a meeting to get the key, the first thing the guy tells me is, "I've got a proposition for you..."

   "Oh - shiiet ... Not this, not now," An inner voice hammered in just behind my brow.

   Mind you, we'd just booked an order for the for the entire Anthropologie franchise (160 stores) + their website & holiday catalog .... we're INSANE to have ever said we could, physically/ mentally take this order - even in perfect conditions, but here we were, watching the grizzly bearded jowls of our new landlord lay out the proposition.

   He asked if we could function exclusively upstairs - it was smaller, but he'd "build it out" for us .. all the way to the other side of the unit (this still hasn't happened) but we did get a small extension, just after the holidays .. when we didn't need it anymore ; ) We supplied the largest chain of boutiques in the equivalent of a floating hallway. .. oh, and the heater was broken with an inside temp of 34 ; ) But the extra space is now a nice place for the hammock, couch, herb garden and inversion table ; )

   A few other character flaws of the place upon arrival. There was one light - one - a large, dusty halogen mosquito-of-a-thing that buzzed and flickered in a way that could give small children seizures. No matter - and no time - so we bought a bunch of shop spot lights and hung them from raw lengths of candle wick from the beams above our tables.

   We only had one - one - electric socket, so we had extension cords running all over the place, tripping us up & getting unplugged. There was also a learned system to what appliances could be running without tripping the breaker and shutting the whole place down. If the melter was running, you couldn't use the heat gun. The heat gun could be used with the hot plate .. but only if the plate was on medium or lower. And the lights would always dim a bit when both melters were plugged and going full bore ; ) We've worked on this since then, but there was no time, or money, back then, so we blindly charged on.

(The office - accounts receivable, social media center, invoicing, design, the works ; )

   Juwels likes to do everything right, perfect, from the beginning "we might as well do it now, while it's all torn apart ; )" This was her mantra while {building Miss Winnie} as well. Drove me crazy at times .. but I only loosely believe in time as anything more than an idea with no certain beginning or end, so I trailed her for a while during the setup.   

   She tore down all the lose wires from the walls, which went nowhere, patched holes, and taped up rips in the insulation. We screwed down buckled patches in the flooring, tightened the wobbly wood railing, and prime coated the walls and floors. It was around the time that we were wrestling the industrial carpet out of the two back offices, ingesting dust mite clouds in one breath and exhaling ideas of what kind of wood flooring we should search out on Craigslist that I said - we haVe to get to work, yesterday .. now .. quickly. 

   We were {living in the forest} through all this - commuting 10 miles each way to spot herds of deer and elk jumping the road in the night, sleep in the trees and showering from a tiny tea kettle (when we weren't seeking a shower at my brother's place - a must after the dust and paint and insulation days.) 

   "Hi !" (The candle buyer from anthro.) "Can you send us a bio - we're working on a press "push" for you ; ) And how are things looking on the ship dates that we scheduled? Have you taken a moment to acquaint yourselves with our shipping regulations? Let me know if you need any help ; )"

   "Bee-autiful !! Just settling into our new studio!!! We'll get right on it - everything's great ; ) !!"

   Gulp ...

   Below - waiting the Queen's cleaning to finish - are all the possessions we were a able to haul with us from our old space at the Pound in LA. We overheated so many times on the drive up that I thought we'd have to start casting file cabinets and blocks of beeswax overboard, but the breeze was in our favor it seemed, and all the sheep, zebra, lambs and lions made it over in our rolling dinosaur.

   This is only the primer coat - luckily she had it tinted dark from white because to this day, we still haven't afforded ourselves the time to pick and paint a real color. (we'd have to drain the melter and move everything) There's been talk about painting a giant rainbow across this wall, but still waiting for the storm ; )

   I forget why the railing was missing in this picture - I think the landlord was talking about building our extension right then ... but it dragged about for a long while, and we just made sure to watch our step here on the edge of the map where lochness monsters gobbled up ships like jujubees ; ) 

   I think I was trying to navigate Anthro's overly complex tagging and labeling system - we were towards the end of the avalanche by then - four-thousand-plus candles later. And we had other accounts screaming for service ; ) I have a picture that I took on a camera that we'd just received in the mail - it was during the height of the madness. Maybe I'll post it below - not very flattering, but I think it embodies the rat race in my puffy eyelids and dazed expression.

   Hadn't seen the sun in weeks. 16 hour days (when I say days, I mean 6pm - 10 am the next day .. it just made sense to us that way ?? ) followed by comatose dial tone sleep, only to be rudely awaken in a slight panic for another 16 hour shift. (I dreamed of candle making during that lost 1/3 of the day .. ) Wearing snowboard gear to keep warm while the heater had parts on order .. More grey hairs appearing by the day no doubt - but we like a challenge around here and we almost never say can't ; )

   This is three of the SEVEN stacked pallets that we sent off in this order - we'd never even packed pallets before, and I drove the guy at Uline crazy with all my questions about stacking and wrapping in a way that would keep our month and a half of life blood and sleeplessness from smashing to pieces between here and the east coast - truly nerve racking - exciting and daunting - like birthing a five thousand pound baby.

   (We slid the cartons down that slanted piece of wood in the right side of the frame - anything to stay off those stairs for a while .. . )

   Off they go - in the slippery snow - the guy seriously almost tipped the first pallet on its side trying to get it on the lift. We may or may not have both peed our pants a little ... . . 

   Spring now - and the extension is finally build - and you know juwels is on the paint asap. And this time, she'd have time to put a color coat over the grey ; )

   Ah .. nap time ; ) Flash-forward. A few silent days and weeks, hibernation into what we call "death sleep" and we were ready to do some nesting. Most everything in the Roost is either free-found next to dumpsters, in alleys or curbside. Second hand, garage sale, adopted, orphaned, sad and lonely tables and chairs and desks and rusty curiosities come here to bask in the present-moment mentality and live out the rest of their years as well-used, and at times over-cluttered tools of the trade ; )   

   Our version of a security camera ... there's almost never anyone else in here but us, but our hanging ladies keep watch over our thoughts and actions ; )

Juwels - typing up names of people in our Face Book giveaways ; )

   Since we can't always be out with the plants, we've hired a few to come in and work with us ; ) They clean the air, and we give them free room and board. Not to mention all the {Spring} water they can drink ; )

Miss Muffet sits her tuffet down at this station and levels out all the bottoms of the raw candles.

All these bee-bees are living in happy homes now ; )

Our holiday pine forest ; ) 

Neatly packed and stacked XL Maple syrup bottles, headed to a holiday gathering ; )

Bartered this cute little cross stitch with a facebook friend ; )
and yes ... we are busy bees ; )

Scalpel. Check. Tweezers. Check. Time for an OCD cleaning and leveling by the Queen Bee .. 

   Toxic runoff - byproduct of the manufacturing process - we seal this stuff in thick stainless steel barrels and bury it under the site of a soon-to-bee neighborhood park or sink it to the bottom of the ocean ; )

Any wick - pick a wick .. many candles have their own special sized wick. It's a science ; ) 


We were going to advertize these as holiday ornaments, but never got around to it - next year !! 

Packing and shipping department. Also used as a base to {build forts} for those nights that we just can't bring ourselves to drive home in the snow.. . 


Juwels just had to buy this pumpkin because it looked like .. A BUTT !!!! 


For downtime or cranky peter time ...

Futon - and a pretty damn good one ; ) And that mad hatter, cut-up quilted pillow was another barter with an etsy friend named lily ; ) <-- check her out ; ) 

Our newest toy !
Scored this incredible contraption at the Goodwill for a 1/4 of the price.
Great for lengthening your spine, readjusting your organs and making your eyes feel like they are going to pop out of your head ; )  

This system of magnets and numbers makes sense to Juwels - I stay out of it ; )

A gift ?? For me ?? !!

   This little aloe comes in more handy for cuts and burns than you'd imagine - we finally had to buy some in a tube to save this little buddy from over grazing by the clumsy battered humans ; )

Thai Basil, Chocolate Mint, Lemon Balm, and Parsley. Refugees of the green house experiment - got a little cold in there, so we had to bring the kids to work ; )

   Although I've lobbied for printed shipping labels for etsy orders, juwels sometimes sneaks over here when she thinks I'm not paying attention, and taps a few lucky names out .. normally for gifts and giveaways ; )

   Bring on the chairs - we have at least 5 chairs for every single bum-bum in the Roost, not counting the futon or hammock. This one - $2 at the Goodwill - how could you say no ??

Dumpster dive - it matched the white table perfectly - I'd like to believe they were displaced at birth and we finally reunited them ; )


   Found on our latest trip down south - literally in a ghost town -  handmade by an old metal smith. Milk jug + tractor seat = amazing. I'm sitting in it now, and my ass is only starting to fall asleep after 2 hours, and I'm stupidly propping it fwd .. anticipating the end of this monster of a blog when I'll retire in the hammock, not cranky, but sleepy and self satisfied in finally tapping this thing out ; )  

   Found beside our very-own dumpster. A -rocking- lazyBoy ... that's a recipe for early retirement bliss right there. This thing should come with a free hand-carved tobacco pipe and a sleepy golden retriever ; ) 

   A dog had peed on it - I saw the sprinkles - but with a little Myers spray and a good sweep under the cushion "Hey !! A quarter !!!" This old leathery grandpa's ready for action ; ) I never thought we needed a Will until plopping into this chair - reupholstered family heirloom for sure.

   Don't ask - but yeah - it works ; ) $10, briefcase not included. The little red pot atop the twisted knot table was where pollen arts first spilled forth from, and the table itself used to prop up juwels' hand-spun jewelry display on the Venice boardwalk ; ) 

   If you don't over-burn our XL candles and keep the wicks centered (poking at them with your scissors is the best way to prop them up straight.) these shells can bee used as awesome planter pots. Just poke a few holes in the bottom, and move your new friend in ; )


   This 4 inch vent pipe runs conveniently right through the kitchen nook and in front of the shop sink. It's on the list of things to do/ fix/ battle with tools and gritted teeth. But I don't know why .. when I first saw it there, I kind of liked it in an abstract way ..  


   Cleaning the melter - on this very night - somehow - I splashed wax UP my NOSE and across my mouth. Luckily, I wasn't talking at the time, so it just sealed my lips shut like an engraved stamp on a royal letter. Good times ; )

   Old faithful. That there on the lip of the pitcher we call a "bird beak". (did that kind of sound like a cowboy just said that?? ) It develops drip by drip, pour by pour - an earned spout that needle-points the wax in a nice clean stream. But as all things go - it keeps on growing as the pouring goes on, and eventually gets too big and needs to be blasted off with the flame thrower only to be started again by scratch. The candle industry Needs a better pouring pitcher with a built-in bird beak.

Filtering wax .. through knee-highs, yowza ; ) 

Hot, left - cooler, right ; )  Love the way it spider webs as it's cooling ; )

... and cutting through the hot buttery top with a sharp knife is a pleasure not to be missed.

Many-a-Meal have been cooked on these very inefficient burners .. the one on the left just burned out the other day. We're looking for a vintage equivalent at the thrifts now.

Mail from pen palls and friends and a very interesting boy named Peyton


Born Chief - look at that expression ; ) 


   I'm finally to this picture, and I think it's telling me something. I have a plate of food that's gone cold on the desk next to me - juwels placed it there 5 minutes ago, hot, but I'm not a mouth anymore - only hands and eyes and grey matter, I can see the finish line --- have any of you actually followed me this far? You could never give me anything more than that ;  }

   Towards the end of the night, we always try to turn off the big white lights (which the plants actually love) and flick on the holiday cheer ; )

   Filled with wild & free spring water from Oak Creek Canyon, born from the earth and rushing directly into our bottles .. then bellies and cells. You can read an action adventure story based on this water cooler and one very ominous floating particle - here ; )

The light is not this red in "real life" .. the camera just favored that tone that night ..

Cleopatra - after hours ; )

Oh - and how could I forget - where juwels makes her other art and magic? 

   This is where we come for a boost. Bee pollen shots - honey by the handful - mushroom teas, millet, quinoa, herbs, heirloom veggies and Raw milk (... . which we buy with small, unmarked bills in shady late-night meetings with dairy farmers, in dark alleyways or abandoned warehouse buildings ... what can I say, we're hooked. : )

Squirreled away supplies. 


That's a very interesting mushroom up front - Reishi - worth looking into, great as tea ; )

We used this sign at a show - made the frame from old farm fence harvested before we left the Pound.

   Left to Right - Chaga Mushrooms (the KING of plants), Chai tea, Pau d'Arco, Coconut Sugar, Goji Berries, Wild Harvested Mint from Oak Creek, Wild Harvested Horehound from Fossil Creek, Hibiscus Rose tea, and Wild Harvested Mullein from our own backyard ; )

   Okay - my food is crying beside me, so I'll take it for a swing in the hammock, and let Juwels read this all over (my favorite part of the writing process, btw ; ) Thanks for stepping into our world -

loVe, p&j

Hang on ... I've just been informed by juwels that we Forgot the Fort !!
So let me tuck you all in to our flora fort before we say goodnight ; )

Paint canvas and heavy duty clamps make up the walls. 

We always have a guard at the door - btw - never had a bad dream in here ; )

More green jelly fish swimming overhead as we sleep ; ) 

   And some very cushy sheets - which I have to pack up directly from sleepy juwels' pj'd body - only way to get her up at times .. 

Sweet dreams,


  1. What a monster of a post! Thanks so much for sharing it all. (I love all the plants above the bed).

  2. I love it! Great post and beautiful space :)

  3. thanks so much for taking the time to comment - we always get so excited to hear your feedback !! glad you liked it ; ) We'll have to do another on the Winnie in detail ;)



  4. What a wonderful post to read - thanks for sharing! I love what you have done with your space - in all senses of the word :)

  5. Wow, that was a long one but I admit I enjoyed every minute of my visit. It's nice to meet you and I'm glad I've found your blog. I'm really in love with your candles. Great shapes and styles. Most adorably beautiful. Thanks for sharing. I'll be back for a visit soon. :)

  6. You guys are a total inspiration to my husband and I ~ and so many of your stories sound like our's! I wish we were as good a blog writers as you are though!!! We're sorta new to the blogging world so maybe we'll get the hang of it before too long. Anyways, Luv ur blog ~

    1. Thanks for the kind words ; )

      We have a lot to share .. as you can tell from the 4 feet of scrolling through this post ; )

      I'll click over to your blog now - don't worry about writing well - if you can talk, you can write.



  7. I'd completely lost where you were in your adventures several years back! Sometime after I purchased your book and during the time where I was chasing my third toddler, I lost all contact with the blogging world. Lovely to have found you two again. My belly is comfortably warm after devouring much of this blog in one night. Glad to see that you're still living beautifully fulfilling, albeit exhausting lives (and that's a great thing)! I'll be checking back in often for more soul satiety:)