Author: Brett Torrey Haynes



It’s been a while since I’ve traveled to these fair parts and for that, I apologize. I’ve missed the warmth and kindness that the OMHG community overflows with and it’s nice to be back.

Like many of you, I was deeply moved by Jessika’s open and humble call for support. Both she and her mother have been nothing but gracious and hospitable to me, making me feel welcomed and necessary, whether in the forums or during the #omhg chats and beyond. With that said, how could I not want to contribute, in some way, toward Stephanie’s recovery efforts?

It goes without saying that many of us have suffered various forms of trauma in our lives. These challenging days we live in are full of moments that test the limits of human endurance. For me, the journey into adulthood has had the unfortunate shadow of past child abuse as an unwanted companion. I was fortunate that, at an early age, a trusted mentor assisted me with a lot of the interpersonal work that we intuitive feelers are willing and eager to do to try to ‘fix our brains’. What a fortuitous blessing that was for a much younger me, for which I am eternally grateful.

When you start the process of rebuilding your view of your self, one that had been systematically striped of value by a parental unit, it seems that one can never imagine how long the process can take. But I did the work and really believed that I had resurrected a huge part of my identity; that I had become more than an abused child whose body and soul was the punching bag of a man whose life centered on so much anger and pain. I could feel myself become ME.

However, there is another side to abuse that is often unexplored and discovering this unseen territory has been a great awakening for me as I settle into my fourth decade of life. While many of us focus on the mental and psychological effects of trauma, few of us examine and discuss the long-term physical effects. It wasn’t until, after years of doing volunteer work and helping so many others make dramatic changes in their lives, that I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Simply put, my body decided to stop playing along with me. I used to be able to absorb and store my anxieties and those of others quite securely in the center of my body, my intestines. One day, my body clearly declared: “Enough already!” I lost a ton of weight and could barely eat a thing. Long story short: I had worked on my mind without remembering my body, and my body had finally had enough.

Thanks to a treasured friend, I was introduced to essential oil therapy and a book (Waking the Tiger by Peter A. Levine) that opened my eyes to the need for the body to release the pent up energy that comes from years of physical trauma. In the process, I’ve also discovered the power of positive affirmations. What a helpful tool these have been! My body is slowly releasing years of stored energy that occurs when our ‘fight or flight’ mechanism goes unfulfilled and I’m beginning to rewrite the messages that were reinforced in my brain. The inner voices manifest themselves as pain, sometimes so subtle that we ignore their presence until they the grow into larger chronic health issues. It’s a journey, but sometimes the journey is the destination. It needs to be savored and cherished so that each step forward is seen as a victory, each new morning is an opportunity for the glory of being alive to shine and radiate until you can stand still and say I AM WANTED, LOVABLE & WHOLE.

With that in mind, I’ve designed a line of posters, pillows and more and opened a little shop that I call I AM SAFE. To help with Stephanie’s recovery efforts, I am donating all profits from the I AM WANTED, LOVABLE & WHOLE print to Stephanie and her family. Pick up a copy for yourself or someone in your life who needs a reminder that our worth begins when we believe in it. Thanks for reading and for all you do to create beauty in your life.

LABSHOP: Open for handmade business!




It’s finally open and what a great group of artists so far. The LABSHOP is my curated marketplace featuring some of the most talented handmakers in the creative universe. I still have plenty of spaces open and I wanted to extend an invitation to all of you fab handmakers over here in OMHG Land. We’ve already had a ton of traffic over there, so I gotta share!

My goal with the LABSHOP is to create a diverse curated experience that would serve as an additional marketing tool for handmakers with a modern flair. Plus, why should you go bankrupt trying to get a little extra exposure? I feel that, as a blogger who is obsessed with handmade, I have to keep trying to find new and assessable ways to help you get the word out about your handmade goodness. So, here’s some features of the LABSHOP that make it, in my bow tie wearing opinion, a really great place to be:

  1. Every entry in the new shop features, not only 5 images, but as you can see here, a list of links to your shop, Facebook & Twitter pages. That way, even if the visitor isn’t interested in the item being offered, they can head over to your primary shop to see all of your creations. I also will be including bio information and video, if you have it.
  2. You get to change your product three times: once for summer, and the second for early fall and the third for the busy fall/winter shopping season. It’s all included in your membership.
  3. The cost for the May – December edition of the LABSHOP is only $30. That works out to be $3.75 a month, which is really great. It’s another avenue of advertisement that is sure to give you more much needed exposure and it’s less than a Grande cup of Mocha Whatever from StarYouKnowWho. You can jump in anytime you want to, the price stays the same. Of course, the earlier you join us, the better the deal!

The new shop will eventually feature 100 artists and I’ve upgraded to the Big Cartel Diamond package. This gives me the ability to share more comprehensive stats with each participant.

The categories of items that will be in the LABSHOP cover a wide array of handmade goods:

  • Stationery
  • Purses and bags
  • Art, prints & posters
  • Ceramics
  • Jewelry
  • Fonts & Themes
  • Edibles
  • For Kids
  • Handmade Tech
  • Textiles


The Languid Lion’s Origami Geometric Wedding Decoration, in the LABSHOP

Would you like to be a part of the next LABSHOP? If you’ve been featured already on the LAB, then you are guaranteed a spot in the LABSHOP. The last one filled up pretty fast and spots are available on a first come, first serve basis. If you haven’t been featured, please read my Submission Guidelines and then click here to get started. As soon as your transaction is completed, I will email you with further instructions. I am so looking forward to creating a great curated handmade experience. The only thing that could make it better is to have more OMHG folks in there. Why, you wonder? Because I love you, that’s why!


The Power of Thank You

A little package arrived at the LAB yesterday. Inside was an unsolicited note of thank from a handmaker for a post I did a few weeks ago, as well as two handmade tokens of their gratitude. It’s not the first time I’ve received a gift like this and, knowing the kind-heartedness of the handmade community, probably not the last.

I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have to say that each time I receive a note of thanks, my heart immediately warms. For someone to take the time to write (and in some cases, make) a card and put it in the mail, just to say thanks, is something that I don’t take for granted. I do love the little gifts too, but it’s the note of gracious gratitude that impresses me most.

Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don’t unravel. – Anonymous

Let’s face it, we live in a world that has grown increasingly thankless. Instead of diminishing the power of a kind ‘thank you’, that should make us ever more appreciative when someone displays appreciation, even for the little things. I find that I have to stop and ask myself, ‘Have I expressed gratitude to someone today?’.

How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world. – William Shakespeare

For creative folks, most of us have mentors who encourage, friends who inspire and teachers who support us. When was the last time we sent a note of gratitude to them, unsolicited and unconnected, with the hopes of nothing in return?

My question to you is this: Can you think of someone who you would love to thank for helping you to achieve your creative goals? Let us know in the comments below.