Leaf and Hawk

After the receiving the first pair of Leaf and Hawk earrings I was hooked! It was even hard to accessorize without putting them on. I could dress them up, or dress them down. They made every outfit feel complete. Nicole says, "When I create these pieces, I am just a vessell. Truly. That sounds corny even saying, but I just think of the person I am creating them for, I look at my feathers, and fade into it all. I get lost in it and then fall in love with every one and send them off  to their mamas and papas". I almost think that is why these can't stay off my ears. They are made for ME!  I since have added to my collection and now have a piece of Leaf and Hawk that could go with any outfit. (As if I didn't already wear them with everything before).

The crazy thing is how often they are noticed. I can't tell you the last time I wore them and did NOT receive a compliment. I was recently in New Orleans with my husband and on the last day of our trip the rain had subsided and we went out shopping to get souvenirs for family and friends. My husband was astonished by how in EVERY store someone would notice and compliment my jewelry. He knew how much I loved them but realized on that trip just how unique and beautiful everyone else sees them too. 

Nicole Creel, owner of Leaf and Hawk, is an amazing soul. One can meet her and instantly feel what an incredible person she is. She exudes confidence, happiness and an all around good energy. If you are having a bad day and Nicole happens to bump into you, I'm sure your day will change and you will be leaving her with a refreshed outlook and pep in your step. I am fortunate enough to have her in my daily life. Challenging me to look inside myself and she brings out the very best in me. She is my cheerleader, confidant and great friend. 

A dancer for all of her childhood and a fan of art her whole life, Leaf and Hawk was the equation of what happens when you let your heart guide you. Allowing yourself to be front and center and go after something that could never feel like work. Nicole remembers nudging a friend to create jewelry by saying, " Come on, you can make jewelry. Imagine if you got to make jewelry all day long? I WISH!". It connected later and she thought, "Well...maybe if I think that is so dreamy, why don't I do it?". After she started to she often thought, "People are requesting these? I get to make jewelry? People ARE PAYING ME?". She enjoyed doing something she loved and it not feeling like work. She challenges, "don't forget to listen to the advice you offer others. Often it might be great advice for yourself". 

The story behind the name Leaf and Hawk starts during an 8 month soul journey of training to become a yoga instructor. Nicole says" I fell in love with the space yoga offered to me to remember myself. I felt my heart. I felt alive. I felt it was a tool to remember all the pieces of me. Well, I was in the car driving to Stockton for my outside sales job I held for 7 years. There was a brilliant, yellow, bold, beautiful maple leaf stuck under the hood of my car on the front windshield. It clinched on the entire way going 80 on 80. I tried setting it free by turning on wipers, but it didn't work. Every so often, this maple leaf would tear and lose a piece of itself. By the time I arrived to my destination, you could't even call it a leaf. It resembled a stick and was so tattered. It was so sad to me. I kept thinking if it only just let go. It might be lost but it would be whole. (I know I am crazy. These are real thoughts I had about a leaf!). And it hit me. I was choke holding my own life. I was grasping onto a hundred things, expectations of myself, thoughts, people, my job that I thought I had to do. I was offering everything I had to everyone I knew and didn't know and never serving myself. I felt myself walking away from myself everyday, further and further. It was just an awareness that hit me that day. I didn't take any action, but there it was. 

I didn't walk away from my job that day. But I knew it was coming. I knew that leaf represented me. I knew I felt frail and sunken in and my spirit was not soaring like I always dreamt it would. 

As for hawks, I just notice them almost everyday since I can remember. My mom always pointed them out to us while driving when I was a kid. She would shout, "HAWK! On that lamp post. HAWK! swooping down. HUHHH! 2 HAWKS!" (Well, you know, Taryn and I share this too). But I find them absolutely majestic. I think the most I have seen in one day was 15. (Now, I did a lot of driving for a lot of years, but still!). One particular day I was driving home a hawk swooped down right in front of my car on the freeway and snagged a mouse. It was awesome. I thought to myself, in my life I want to be like a HAWK. I felt that I was acting like that fricken mouse. No offense to mice, but I didn't want to play small anymore. I wanted to take action on my dreams. I wanted to have vision.  I wanted to fly. I wanted to soar. I wanted to work smart and hard to fulfill MY dreams. 

Still no action, but things piece together when they are supposed to. I trust God's timing. And then I was in church one day just sitting in silence and solitude really. Big kids were in Catechism and baby Ryder was asleep and I literally heard "Leaf and Hawk". It was one of the rare times I have heard God's voice I would call it. It was so clear. I just wrote it down in my notebook. I was excited. I LOVED it. I just didn't know what to do with it fully. I always wanted to just follow my heart and work for myself but could never choose a path.  

Fast forward to Christmas time, I am going up and down every aisle in Hobby Lobby and came across the feathers which are located near leather and jewelry supplies and something clicked. I had a wonder. Could I make a pair of earrings? I made 2 pair for some cousins in Utah. I posted them and I have received nothing but love and requests since. It is the thing dreams are made of! Well, not my dreams because those are more like an M. Night Shyamalan movie, but there you have it so far... and it continues to evolve. I am forever grateful for my husband, family and friends for all their encouragement and support in fueling my fire and believing in me when I didn't".

Expect when you wear a piece of hand crafted jewelry by Nicole Creel, to really feel the love. Plus, they are rad! If you are ever out and about, expect to turn some heads and take a compliment. (And then feel free to refer those compliments to Nicole and support a Nor Cal artist, wife, & mama of 3). 

What are three things you always have in your purse? 

"Essential Oils (Balance, Breathe, Peppermint and Wild Orange, Past Tense specifically). Suncreen for kids and myself. Notebook".

Single/ Dating/ Married? 

"Married to the only man that can handle this". 

What is your favorite lip color? 

"Diggin Honeylove by MAC".

Bronzer, Blush or Both? 

"Both".

Red or White wine? 

"Beer then Red". 

What is your favorite candy? 

"Hot tamales". 

Three must have products? 

"Pomade and Brow Powder Duo by Laura Mercier, Tarte Mascara, doTERRA anti-aging skin care system". 

How often should one accessorize? 

"As often as they feel. Personally, I am a statement piece person".

When you aren’t making beautiful, hand crafted feathered jewelry, where would one find you? 

"At the gym (with Taryn) or with mi familia". 

Contact info: Instagram.com/leafandhawkfacebook.com/leafandhawketsy.com/shop/leafandhawk

Photos by: Nichole Bremer Photography