I first met Amber Magnolia Hill in 2004, when we both worked at a certain natural foods co-op in Sacramento, California. She was young, single and heart-meltingly beautiful, an artist & poet freshly transplanted from South Lake Tahoe. A lot has changed since then. Amber met and married a certain Graham Hayes (another former co-worker, amazing being, and dear friend,) and together they raise their beautiful 3 year-old daughter, Mycelia Violet. They currently live in Grass Valley, California, where she writes, and sells vintage in her shop on Etsy for a living. For the record: Amber is still a melt-in-your-heart beauty.
Her blog and her shop bear the same name: Violet Folklore, and the style is eclectic, folksy and personal. She has a fondness for Gunne Sax dresses, A-line skirts, comfortable shoes, and loves old towns that pack history. She writes about motherhood, traditional nutrition, herbal healing and about her life, which, like her writing, is unconventional, sincere, at once down-to-earth and starry-ly mesmerizing.
Q: How long have you been blogging, & what inspired you to blog?
A: My first blog was called Nourished Mother. I started it when Mycelia was a year old, as a way to share my experiences and knowledge about birth, breastfeeding, traditional nutrition and herbal healing. It was about that time that I started getting into thrift-shopping, and started to supplement my posts with my thrift store and yard sale finds. I realized that there were tons of blogs out there doing the same thing, and began to create a separate blog just for that. I started my Etsy shop shortly after, and so the thrifting blog and the Etsy blog became one: www.VioletFolklore.com.
Q: Name some blogs that YOU admire, that inspire you.
A: Well, since starting my own blog, I hardly have time to peruse other folks' blogs like I used to do! The ones I do keep up with are written by women with whom I've made online friendships. I love Missa at Thrift Candy, Milla at The Girl Who Married a Bear, Nicole at Flaming Hag Folkwear, and my former Etsy partner, Sasha at Astral Boutique. There's no high fashion or layers of make-up on these blogs, just sweet ladies documenting their lives & wardrobes.
Q: What do you do for a living? What do you do for fun?
A: I run my Etsy shop, but mostly I am a mama to an extremely lively 3.5 year old little sprite. For fun, I read in the bath! Seriously, that's the highlight of my day. And, take walks in the beautiful natural surroundings of the Sierra Foothills. And every now and then I go out on the town with my girls and get hella crunk.
Q: Who is your biggest fan?
A: My partner Graham. He set up my first blog as a present for me, back in 2008, for Mother's Day, and gives me so much support. He does the cooking, the cleaning and spends time with our daughter so I can shop, take photos and be online. PLUS he does all my graphic design!
Q: If you could visit anywhere in the the world, where would you go?
A: The Alps in the springtime.
Q: Who is your biggest influence in your outlook on life?
A: Hm. Well my mom has always been just so chill and easy going. I am grateful to her for modeling that for me. But really I think that my outlook on life is more of a synthesis of all the books that I've read, covering a whole range of subjects.... Two books that come to mind are The Tao Te Ching, and The View From The Center of the Universe by Joel Primack and Nancy Ellen Abrams.
"every now and then I go out on the town with my girls and get hella crunk."Q: Who/What are your biggest style/fashion influences?
A: I adore smocking, rainbow patterns, empire waists, floral prints, eyelet, little hearts, polka dots, and all the hallmarks of little girl clothing. Honestly, I think my style has more to do with the clothes I wore as a child than anything I see online or in magazines today. The photos of my Californian mom from the late '60's & '70's have inspired my style for as long as I can remember. I'm attracted to bohemian style, especially when photographed in a beautiful, natural surrounding. This is something I try to create in my Violet Folklore photo shoots.
Q: If you could give the world anything, what would it be?
A: True self esteem & self knowledge for young girls and women. If women were empowered to truly know themselves, and respect the biological functions of their bodies, the ripple effect would impact every area of society, and I think, be a real catalyst for healing. I've been lucky enough to study with wise women and herbalists, who have taught me to revere my moon cycle, take care of my uterus and ovaries,and tap into my intuition; I am so thrilled to have a daughter to all of this with as she grows.
"I adore smocking, rainbow patterns, empire waists, floral prints, eyelet, little hearts, polka dots, and all the hallmarks of little girl clothing."Q: What are you doing to make this world a better place? What would you like to be doing?
A: Raising up my girl the best way I know how and sharing the things I find beautiful, fascinating, and helpful with all my Facebook friends and blog readers!
Q: What will you be wearing this summer?A: Pretty dresses, pretty dresses and pretty dresses.
Q: Tell me something about yourself, that I might not know.
A: My kinfolk from my dad's side come from the Appalachian region, and I feel a very strong connection to the nature and culture of that place. I've never been there, but it feels like home.
Q: Coffee, tea or other? If other what:
A: Coffee occasionally (with cream and honey and cinnamon!). I love it but I hate being addicted to anything. I try to have at least one herbal infusion a day- nettles, comfrey, catnip, or peppermint.
Q: If you were a flower, what kind of flower would you be?
A: Why my darling, I'd be a violet! Sweet smelling, close to the earth, beautifully hued, and with an affinity for softening the rigidity in human, especially women's, bodies.
You can read more of Amber's musings at: VioletFolklore.com