Tag Archive for Homesteading

Interview With BethKaya – By Zoe Wilder – Reposting From Skirt Collective


– When Ms. Wilder approached me about an interview this winter, I admit I was hesitant. It seems strange to talk about yourself but at the same time I liked the idea of someone asking me about my work rather then me putting it in your face as I tend to do all on my own. Her questions were thought provoking and a good exercise in affirming where I am coming from and where I am going with my work. Please check out this article, give it a share and add your thoughts in the comments there or here! Thank You Zoe and and Skirt Collective!

Photo By Geraldine Vallecillos

Front Page:

“As an empathetic artist, I am constantly absorbing energy from my customers and situations. In business, you are supposed to look out for your bottom line. My bottom line is the customer. The balance is tough.”

The terms “homesteading” and “DIY” are relatively new. They didn’t exist because that was simply how people lived their lives. Our great grandmothers had gardens where they grew vegetables and fruit. Everything had natural ingredients. That’s all there were. It was the norm. In so many ways, the world has wandered so far away from that connection between who we are and what we consume.


Intention Gift Set

However, I’ve noticed a growing awareness in the world about where our food comes from, whether it’s made with love and good intentions, and how that affects our health. I see this awareness moving towards skin care products, jewelry and fashion. As people become more enlightened about intention, more spiritual entrepreneurs are rising to the occasion to meet the demand.

One of the most prolific conscious creators I’ve met is Jersey Shore artist, BethKaya. She’s been making jewelry, perfumes, soaps and intentional tonics for me for years. It’s been a real pleasure to watch her succeed. I’m continually inspired by her creations, which inspired me to reach out and ask her a few questions about her craft.

ZW: When did you know you wanted to- had to- create art for a living?

BK: At a very young age, I knew that art, ancient culture, and gems were things I couldn’t live without. As an adult, I did hard time in corporate marketing for a decade with an end goal to make art the full time gig some day. In 2002, I started making various goods like candles, jewelry and salves. I had intended to be a jewelry designer and gemologist by trade, and that’s what I studied at night at the Fashion Institute in New York City while doing that hard time, but it never felt like a real possibility until I had my son. Something about that forces you to give it a go for the sake of being home, and needing a unique income option. I figured I might as well give a go at everything I had pipe dreamed from the beginning, and see if it would stick. Some things did, some didn’t but my voice and identity as an artist started to emerge and so far, so good.


BethKaya’s Signature Fragrance Oils On Custom Designed Reclaimed Wood Display Pieces by J Drew Carpentry

ZW: How do you incorporate holism and spirit into your practice as an artist?

BK: Frankly, it’s the foundation of my work. As I got deeper into motherhood (one of the holiest sacraments) and being a one income family, I started to see every opportunity to do – from less and closer to nature. There’s so much waste spiritually and literally in society, even in business. I realized that the practices I was using in my home to keep my faith and family healthy were the very things that people were connecting to most within my body of work. We have a massive garden. We preserve flowers, herbs and spices. I connect so deeply to our garden and its gifts. For that, I am so grateful. The gratitude is a major component to the spiritual part. Sacred geometry is an inherent component of this because it IS nature, and spirit’s language. Being an international business woman and gem dealer gives me the unique ability to connect with different cultures all over the world for the raw materials that I make my products from. The connections I make seem to trust me in a special way, and offer their customs and rituals to me with an open mind. I believe all of our cultures are meant to be celebrated and am thirsty to connect to sacred customs and mythology. Intention is another facet to my work. It is an energy vibration I deal with, by imbuing these thoughts into my pieces and ministry works.

ZW: I’m in love with your gemstone and botanical infused oils and perfumes; and I’m not the only one. You’re ability to combine scents is out of this world. You have a “superpower” called synesthesia that allows you to smell and taste colors and sounds. Tell me more about this and how it informs your practice.

BK: I never really knew my senses were different until I asked other people if they too tasted color or could smell something like sound. I mean, I knew I was out in left field for other reasons. But, this realization and perfume was a fork in the road. I think that this crossing of sensory wires grants me to cross-create a product like a perfume that will recreate a moment in time for someone on a 360 degree level with a specific energy.


BethKaya’s Signature Gemstone and Botanical Infused Roll On Fragrances

ZW: What are you focusing your creative energy towards lately?

BK: It’s always hard for me to focus on one medium, but the theme is just gemstone and botanical infused products with a specific intention – mostly holistic body care and perfumes. I still am doing custom jewelry pieces as well as orgone energy devices, but that’s being pushed more into the background.

ZW: When you are feeling spiritually bankrupt, what inspires you?

BK: Shutting everything down, and going out into nature with my husband and son. We reconnect and fuel up on the good stuff that life is about. Also prayer – I think praying is really a conversation with our higher selves, spirit and our guides. It’s important to check in with that on a regular basis. This plays into an attitude of gratitude that resets me when I am down on faith.

ZW: While more and more people are becoming hip to the concept of intention and the role this plays in what they eat and wear, there are still many people who have not been introduced to this idea. How do you reach the mainstream? Or rather, how does the mainstream make its way to you?

BK: A lot of spiritual concepts seem to come in and out of vogue. Right now “crystal energy” and “intention” have become hot buzzwords. Frankly, I see a lot of it watered down as a marketing gimmick, but I also see a lot of genuine interest in boarding a “spiritual arc” so to speak. This is an awakening that is growing rapidly, and extending itself to social media. Partnering with peers who are participating in this journey as well as using hashtags to call in those interested in seeking out what I am putting out there has drawn in the unique audience that appreciates and utilizes my work to the fullest.

ZW: How do you balance being an artist with being an entrepreneur?

BK: This part is pretty tough, admittedly. As an empathetic artist, I am constantly absorbing energy from my customers and situations. In business, you are supposed to look out for your bottom line. My bottom line is the customer. The balance is tough. I have to create for myself in addition to the demands of my clients. So I try to create a few things for myself before I jump into orders and purify my space via prayer and smudging. I focus well at night. And, I really am a better business woman in that zone than I am by day.

ZW: Homesteading is a big part of your life: gardening, canning, making natural cleaners, etc. It has even inspired you to make your amazing natural skin care products. At first glance, becoming so self sufficient can seem overwhelming. What advice do you have for aspiring homesteaders?

BK: It’s overwhelming because it’s exciting. My first piece of advice is to grow something that will provide you with something in return. An herb garden is a great thing even if you are in an urban setting. Then, I recommend getting a big jug of white vinegar and two essential oils:  tea tree oil and lavender. Those three things have a myriad of uses! Cleaning products, antibacterial functions, and crafts galore. There is so much information out there: forums, Pinterest, books. Dive in. Solve a problem for your home in a self sufficient way. This is the foundation!

You can follow BethKaya on IG and Twitter: @BethKaya

FACEBOOK: BethKaya Design & Consulting

ETSY: BethKaya Etsy


Summer Tease 2014 BethKaya


Hello BethKaya Tribe! If you have been following us on social media you are seeing the BLITZ of products that we are pumping out for Spring and Summer! Items we love right now?

Holy / Sacred Woods – Palo Santo, Hazelwood, Teak, Siam Rosewood, Tulsi.

GLITTER – Special Shapes imported from everywhere and mounted under genuine polished glass in antiqued bronze or silver plated bezel settings.

Sea Glass – Locally Sourced

Feathers- Ethically Sourced

Hair – Synthetic and Human – All Ethically Sourced

Butterfly Wings – Ethically Sourced

Space – Spacially Sourced

Paper – That I have collected and hoarded for the last decade, paintings, clippings, liner notes & album covers

Metal – Blanks, Custom Pieces, Bangles, Charms

Engravings – You Say It – We Stamp It

Look for items featuring these! Also we are testing scents/ potions / soaps and eventually candles! Chime in with your favorite unisex scents!

This summer BK will be DJing locally and also providing creative entertainment via Henna tattoos, Glitter tattoos, Facepainting, Hair and Nail Art and Event Support! Get in touch to book us for your special event! We have a TEAM of awesome artists and creatives waiting to make your event really pop off and be memorable. BethKaya@gmail.com – REACH OUT NOW! The schedule is filling up!

Photo Candy Time –


Malas of Sacred Materials for Men & Women

Our Eternal Color Pallette

Coming to the Shop! Shannas Soap N Shave Cubes! All Natural Awesomness!

Stones, Stones, Stones

Hand Blended 1 at a Time – With Herbs, Flowers & Gemstones – EXCLUSIVELY @BKDC

Charm Bangles!



Double Size Glass Cabochon Rings in Antiqued Brass Settings


Pin, Antique Bezel Style setting, Feather N Glitter + Deep Space.. Yes

Rough Gem Parcels – This one went for $12 bucks!! Follow @BethKaya to get in on the game!

Love & Blessings – BethKaya

Summer is gonna RIP!

Exp of Gem Parcels for Sale and Auction on BETHKAYA instagram! Follow U

We Got Spirit! Yes We Do!


I emerged into Spring with a really raw and fragile perspective.  My yard always gives me renewed connectivity to Spirit every season. The whole process of it – preparing the soil – tending to seedlings, playing dominion, the whole bit. My little family with our little “bit of earth” makes the most of it. The person who owned our house a very very long time ago put a lot of love and effort into the house and yard. They even left of trove of depression era Mason Jars inside of a handmade canning closet inside the garage. (My husband neglected to tell me about this after investing about a hundo in jars). To give him credit back,   my husband maintained this magic yard with his gentle respect and connection with nature , animals and plants. In our tiny little plot, there is generation after generation of natural magic. You can’t just buy this gorgeous piece of land and expect to grow things on it in this day and age. Bees,  are having a harder and harder time finding refuge with the pile of ecological issues going on. The word gets out. Animals know what trust means too!  Bees are in well abundance in our yard. If we were to ever leave, we can’t just take this with us.  Every state bird, caterpillar, worm, flower, butterfly, small animal and neighborhood vagrant et all , have traipsed through my yard at some point to mingle with our abundant species of plants, or my animal-speaking husband and little boy.

A little known fact about the latter portion of my child hood, we had cows, pigs, bees and sheep in our larger “backyard”. The bee pen shared a fence with our acre of land. I could unlatch a little link and enter a pen of easily 100 k bees in 9 hives or so. Bees smell fear. They smell threat. When you pose no threat, you are only getting stung if you step on them or they encounter you by accident. At certain times of the summer, honey bees drink a lot of honey and get really intoxicated. The queen  leaves the hive and flies to a pre-selected tree and all of the bees follow her. They swarm into a massive buzzing ball of bee. Our beekeeper neighbor explained and coached us little ones on the process. You can pet this phenomenon. They are so bloated from honey, they can’t shake their booty to sting. It’s absolutely incredible.

Why the bee talk? Well I did a lil tune up work with a light worker this Spring and Summer and one of the biggest take aways was that I needed to get down and respect a few things more and take on 2 major rituals.

– Daily Prayer                               and….

-Daily MULTIPLE Uninterrupted Moments with Nature – Trails, Walks, Lakes, Bays, Beaches, Garden alla Bare FEET!

Being raised in a bi religion family prayer was suggested, but not enforced.  It’s honestly just not a habit I really hadn’t been into unless I was begging for mercy. I know we’ve all had these lows where we look up at the sky and say “OK big being, take that wheel at any time now!”

Some days literally feel like every 10 minutes something is going wrong. HOW do I continue to be the inflatable clown that pops back up every every last blow?

What Am I Some Kind of Clown?

It’s praying when there is no wrong, but just to reflect on all of it. The good, the bad, the just because. This is your time to ask questions. To talk to anything that’s listening including Spirit/s, Ancestors  and “Our Higher Selves”.  This seems abstract but go with me here – It’s like having manners, to SPIRIT. Whatever you believe, you HAVE to resign yourself to one fact – this world is spinning in your very eyeholes. What harm does it do give credit where due? So just because I’m knocking a little, “What is up spirit? Thank you SO much for giving me all of the beautiful squashes, that came from bees that are SURELY doing their sacred work in my little sanctuary here.” back,  OR  “THANK YOU for this sanctuary, for the littlest bit of earth that my family has that was turned into a place where animals of all kinds feel safe, have food and give back to each other so my family can learn so many of your lessons and have wonderful foods to eat!” OR EVEN – “Dear Spirit, Where am I looking right now? Can you give me a piece of nature to guide me?” …..Run – On – Prayers over here.. you get the point.

Garden Bounty!

Grateful living is for REAL. I’m not saying ignoring the “real world” outside of being overtly gracious and concerned with what the rest of the world thinks. I feel SO much better when an entire gallon of orange juice falls out of the fridge onto a broken saucer with my 2 year old dancing in it when I take a second, BREATHE and say – ” ahhhh thank goodness I am home with him today and have the air in my lungs to breathe this air of frustration!” OR “What did I just learn from that?” How can I honor that it was really upsetting to break such a special dish and spill a whole gallon of orange juice but also put it all back into perspective here. It’s really honoring it and vocalizing things in a way of light even if dark. Picking the battle inside of the perspective of it’s place within the greater meaning of it all. Spilled Orange Juice? Annoying and wasteful perhaps, but not the end of the world. I had and have a lot of bratty behaviors that just have got to go in order for me to really really shine. These practices are curbing them into respectful places!

Easier said then done I suppose, and I certainly find myself caught up on a bad day or two, or more!

Sacred Fibonacci












WHY ALL OF THIS BABBLE? Reconnecting with my spirit, with my mother, earth inspires me. When I eat, and feed my family what we GROW OURSELVES it connects me with a spirit and she invigorates me with fire in my idea cauldron. We are literally EATING spirit! It’s incredible. As the growing season winds down I know my production level too will die down. That doesn’t mean we’re going to sleep! This means we’re going to school, to the thinking tank, to the white board.

My husband and I built ourselves a studio and now I have tools in home at my grasp. This summer was her first ride. I produced more than ever in a single summer and also have the biggest financial summer as an indie designer. My husband has a little recording and digital music making situation going on in the same room. This winter we fully expect to collaborate there as a family and produce exciting things musically once again. I’ve played harmonica for a long time now. It’s another facet that I’m not sure some people who are newer to my work know. Harmonica is an instrument that is classic to the original dub music made in Jamaica. It is also a bigtime American Folk Instrument.  I can work many genres with the use of modern effects and with my husband and my vast musical collection and knowledge – its REALLY exciting to think about. I hope you guys will help us spread our music when the time comes.

Here is a snapshot of the big projects I worked on this summer as I wrap things up for Autumn:

The most important project of all – ReBranding BethKaya



New Business Card



New One Sheet







Handpainted Items





Upcycled Scrap Headbands













I had a lot of gas in my creative tank to produce this stuff. Being open with my inspiration, giving credit and thanks where due. (Thank You, Brett Joseph and Terra Kroll for your mentorship)  This precipitated a lot more opportunities for me that I’ve had to date while working on my own. I actually worked my arse off to also be fair but I very much have been propelled by a deeper connection to my “dharma” my “sacred path” and have been given the light to work because of the light in my heart. With new angles on the work I am here to do, I can do things better, bolder, and with a greater impact.

Think about the women before us. Think of the conveniences we have now.  Lets reconnect with that and use our modern conveniences right along with it. This is the time to be more grateful, connected, mystical, and more enabled then EVER to do what any one truly wants to in their hearts.




P.S. If you’ve made it this far – hit me up for a free Tarot Card Spit – I’m resurrecting an art that means a lot to me in the name of new techniques and vision.

Message me Today!

The Neo Homestead


When a lot of us think about a “homestead” we often think of some backwoods shanty with roosters running around with children in the treetops. While I think some if not ALL of that can be true, the reality is homesteading is an idea of self sufficiency, sustainability, low impact and low reliance living. In our daily rigamaroll, we are literally bombarded with convenience to deter us from what we know are better choices for our selves and our families.

It goes beyond food choices and is an idea that we live out in every choice we encounter. A great example for instance; and this applies to single folks and family folks – you have to buy someone a gift for an occasion. This often involves physically transacting with a business. Giving the money that someone went to work for, in exchange for a good, that comes in a package. That package must then be put into another package, packaged along with a little paper package (card). In addition to the gift, you’ve now spent an additional 6 bucks on another 2 package products.

In a scenario like this, the homesteader will do one or all of the following:

– Make Gift Entirely

– Wrap purchase in cloth, found ribbon or something that is on hand and will do

– Make a By Hand Card

– Purchase Gift from a small business or crafter

Now, I am not saying we all have the time and decadence to make things, but everyone has time to make choices. A homesteader is a conscious choice maker. It becomes a way of life. Once convenience and reliance is cut out of the equation – options are easier because they become innate and on hand. Do you want a new backsplash in your kitchen? Do it your self? Not so handy? Hire a trusted family friend and help their business grow!

Big business wants you to feel like you don’t have any other option BUT to turn to them to sustain your life. For your home decor, for your food, for your clothes, for everything. You don’t! Simple choices can not only cost you less in the long run but really give you back an authentic and sincere way of life. Nothing has felt more honest and true in my intention and way of life, than being able to be home to learn this art of living off ourselves.

Another element to the neo homestead that must be addressed is space. It is often considered that you must have a bounty of real estate to be able to self sustain your life. Homesteading is about making your home a working machine, a vital tool for your life. Scale is all a matter of perspective. Keep your visions on a smaller scale and execute them for the space you have to work with. Live in an apartment and want a garden? Next time you buy store bought yogurt, buy the kind with a container that states “made from plants” on the bottom. Save every one of them. Drill/punch holes for drainage in the bottom, put them on a dinner dish and plant some herb seeds in them. There you have it, a small herb garden on a dinner plate you can move around from sunny window to the next. You do not have to be home full time to participate in this thinking and that is not an excuse either. Bringing lunch to work, in a reusable container, bringing your own coffee to work, drinking from reusable water bottles and mugs, these are all lifestyle choices we make every day.

If you want to be a neo homesteader you have to throw out the way you were probably raised to think, unless you were raised on a homestead!  Everything all of us do, has a cause and effect. Karma is not just some JuJu fairy that floats along striking justice where it sees fit. It’s an actual principal of action and reaction. 1 choice we make, has many implications.

This is something I personally am on a quest for and I am finding rewards over and over again. What are some of your homesteading tips, tricks and thoughts to share? As a newcomer to the full time home steading game, I am  thirsty every day for another way to stretch here, conserve there and prove that there NO sacrifice for luxury or quality of living by becoming less dependent and impactful.

*This is a photograph of the old Black Rock Mill in the early 1900s. This mill was about a half mile from the house I grew up in. We’d swim in the creek and play along it’s ruins. I’m sure many of my Maryland readers know this location today.