Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Whimsy Wednesday 3/30/11

Spring Song


 
THE air was full of sun and birds,

The fresh air sparkled clearly.

Remembrance wakened in my heart

And I knew I loved her dearly.



The fallows and the leafless trees

And all my spirit tingled.

My earliest thought of love, and Spring's

First puff of perfume mingled.



In my still heart the thoughts awoke,

Came lone by lone together -

Say, birds and Sun and Spring, is Love

A mere affair of weather?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sha's Casual Elegance -- Today's Featured Artisan

Hi this is our interview with Sha, from Sha's Casual Elegance Jewelry Design.


When and how did you first become interested in crafting?
How long have you been creating your chosen craft?

I have always done some type of crafting, model cars, crochet, cross-stitch, just to name a few. I started beading about 3 yrs. ago after I found that I could make my own accessories that were comparable to what I saw in stores. I found it to be addictive and it has become my passion.



What are your crafting influences?

My mother was a seamstress and very into fashion, she would never leave the house without the right accessory. From her I learned what a well placed brooch, earrings or bracelet could do to transform an outfit.
Mauve Lampwork Disk - Brown Eyes Blue


What kinds of places have you displayed your craft in your life?

When I felt that I had created enough pieces to display I did my first craft show and I couldn't believe the compliments I received. That was it, I was hooked! I did my last show in Nov. 2010 and throughout the holiday I sold out of nearly every piece (Good Year!).

Because I also have a full-time job with the USPS I decided to join Artfire, haven't made a sale yet, but I'm still working on the 45 day plan.



What is your favorite piece that you have created so far?

I think my favorite piece was the first custom order I did which featured a brecciated jasper pendant, (didn't even know what that was at the time). The client was delighted and I gained many repeat customers. That really helped boost my confidence.



What does it take to create pieces like that?

As with anything that you decide to do, you have to LOVE doing it. If it takes all your free time, if it requires you to stay up till 3 or get up at 4, (I do this), it will give you a sense of accomplishment, and a peace that only you and others like you understand.



What makes this kind of craft "good" to you?

If I did this for the money, I'd be broke. I want to create pieces that people wear often, pieces that become one of their favorites, that are comfortable and that make people ask, "Hey where'd you get that!” Thanks for listening, Bye!
 Marys Cross Necklace

You Can see more of Sha's lovely work at http://www.artfire.com/users/ShasCasualElegance


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Gardening Terminology

I love to garden, however I have to confess that on occasion the terminology stumps me. This is because the pros have their own terminology and then I have the terminology that I learned growing up. Not to mention that gardening terminology can be confusing to those just starting out and it tends to be different at different levels. Whether you garden as a hobby, as an obsession or as a lifestyle knowing the basic terminology will make things easier for you.


The following list is what I have deemed are the top ten most common gardening terms that are essential to know for successful gardening at any level.


1.) Annual
     a.) annuus, -a, -um -- is the species designation that indicates annual

      b.) Is a plant that germinates, grow, flower, sets seed for self propagation (depending on type) and dies over a few month’s time. While this generally happens spring to fall, it can be done any time of year if the conditions are favorable.

     c.) The second type of annual is when a plant is treated as an annual. Generally they are grown as ornamentals. Gardner’s refer to many types of perennials, bulb, tropical plants and grasses are referred to as annuals.
     A good example of this is when you have a tropical plant like begonias, which are used as a bedding plant here in the Pacific Northwest as treated like an annual by most gardeners. However, if they were protected from frost they have the potential to grow indefinitely.


2.) Biennial
    This refers to plants that will require two full years to complete its life cycle. During the first season of growing is when the seed germinates, the plant grows, yet there are no blooms, it only produces foliage.
     As the second growing season progresses is when the plants will produce both foliage and flowers. The end of the season, the plants will set seed and die.
     When Biennials are allowed to reseed they have the ability to keep your garden in blooming flowers indefinitely.
     However, watch for biennials that do not reseed, but need to be started from grafts.


3.) Perennial
     Ah a misleading term because there are multiple definitions and it will depend on which plant it is associated with for which definition to apply.

     a.) General definition is it is a plant that lives for a number of years. Most perennials flower each year. Most gardeners use the term in reference to herbaceous perennial.
While not inaccurate it leaves out the shrubs, and trees that can also be classified as perennials.

     b.) Herbaceous perennial refers to non-woody plants that last anywhere from a few years to decades. While these plants generally die off in the winter they are not dead. The tops die but the roots are thriving below ground, storing up energy to return the following year freshly renewed. A good portion of the herbaceous perennials are evergreens, which do not really die off like there flower counter parts. This is especially true in areas where mild winters are the norm.

     c.) Short lived perennial is a term you will see. It is often used in reference to those perennials that will only live a few years. However a good portion of these plants survive due to their self seeding nature.

     d.) Woody perennial is used in reference to those plants that has hard instead of fleshy stems. They also generally bear buds that survive above ground in winter. Lilacs and rosemary are a great example of this type of perennial. Woody perennials are not usually self sowing and require a graft or cutting to propagate.


4.) Propagate
     The definition of propagate is the intentional production of new plants with or without gardener intervention for the constant production of new plants. This is accomplished either by the sowing of seeds, root cuttings, division of roots, layering, or grafting of the plant roots.


5.) Self seed or self sowing
     Is a term used to refer to plants that produce seeds and self germinate and grow without any intervention or care from a gardener.


6.) Seed Grown
     A simple term that means exactly what you would think it would. It is a plant grown from seeds. This is true seed propagation the new plant growth is not started from any vegetative propagation.


7.) Division
     Plants propagated by dividing the plant into two or more pieces. It is a successful division as long as each piece has a section of root and at least one bud.


8.) Grafting
     Is when you take two parts and combine them so they become one. This is generally accomplished by joining a bud or shoot from one plant onto the roots or trunk of another plant.


9.) Layering
     Is when you start a new plant by fastening a stem down to the ground and partially covering it with soil to induce roots to start growing. Once established it can be removed to form a new plant independent of the original. This process can be improved upon by making a diagonal cut half way thru the stem prior to burying the stem.


10.) Root Cutting
     The roots are used for propagation. Essentially you take an cut a piece of root place it in water and allow new roots to start. Once the new roots are started you then plant it in soil. This type of propagation is best for those plants that tend to have suckers, like blackberries and raspberries.


*You may be wondering what this has to do with the owners and designers of a jewelry studio.  The answer is simple; we both find a great deal of joy from spending time outdoors. Especially gardening, while we do garden both for pleasure and practical reasons the passion we have for it is the real joy. Being passionate about life provides a great deal of creative inspiration for our jewelry designs and we enjoy sharing the passion we have for life.


Next month I will be discussing more gardening terms. Do you have a term you would like deciphered or explained further? Any other gardening questions you would like answered?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Portland Saturday Market 3/26/11

Portland Saturday Market was hopping today!  In spurts that is,  we were either really busy or completely dead, but some days are like that especially when the weather can't make up its mind.  So when the sun made an appearance everyone came down and then wandered away as the sun went away.   It was still a fun day.

Have you been to the Portland Saturday Market?  
What is your favorite part about the Market?


We enjoy the total randomness of the market, in both the people whom attend as well as the vendors.   Each day is an adventure that brings something new.

Mostly Cats booth and creations
Mostly Cats is a vendor with very artistic cat designs. 

Watching the crowds at Portland Saturday Market
Watching the crowds of people is fascinating in how they interact and what draws them to stop and look.


Vendors at Portland Saturday Market
Vendors bring there own flair not only in there art but there personalities.

Vendors personalized booth
Vendors can if they choose take creative license with there booths as long as they stay within the Markets specified guidelines.



Market hours:


Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Sunday 11:00 am to 4:30 pm


Directions to market, follow this Link.


Stop in an see us sometime. We are there most Saturdays and the occasional Sunday.



Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Whimsy Wednesday 3/23/11

The Mayonnaise Jar and 2 Cups of Coffee


Submitted by (anonymous)


When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee.


A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.


The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.


The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous "yes."



The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.


"Now," said the professor as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things---God, your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions---and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.


The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.


The sand is everything else---the small stuff. "If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.


"Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first---the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."


One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked.


It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."





This is something someone shared with me years ago,  not sure where it originated.   So ask yourself,  when is the last time you took time for coffee with a friend?  Totally up to you whether you want to share or not...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Featured Artisan --- Sovereign Sea

Our Interview with Sovereign Sea Designs



When and how did you first become interested in crafting?

I've been creating art and crafts in some way all my life.  From the tiny miniature towns I built in my backyard as a child (for the faires, don'tcha know), to writing and illustrating a comic through college, to now, creating jewelry and other goodies with Sovereign Sea Designs.




How long have you been creating your chosen craft?

 I started my business pretty quickly after starting my jewelry making, as I couldn't keep and wear it all!  I've probably been at *this* particular craft for about 2 years now.



Does anyone in your family do a similar craft?

 My family's always been creative, my father plays guitar, my mother cooks and was always crafty with us as children, making things from paper mache and plaster, my sister and brother in law are both fantastic photographers, so yes, I'd say craftiness runs in the family!



What kinds of places have you displayed your craft in your life?

 I've done craft shows here in MA and there are a few local stores who sell my line (see names and links below).  I'd love to get into a gallery or juried show one day.  I wear a Sovereign Sea Designs piece every single day, and often I get compliments, people are astonished I make my own earrings or hair bands.  It's a fun conversation starter, and I often end up giving out business cards! 



What is your favorite piece that you have created so far?

My favorite piece thus far, that's a hard question.  I'd probably say it was a pendant pair - the only "set" of pendants I've ever made to be worn together.  They were made from these tiny ink cameo style drawings by Edward Gorey, my favorite illustrator, of a man and a woman.   I called them "They were both a bit off" - I had a blast with those Gorey etchings.  They sold to a Gorey enthusiast, I was happy they went to a good home.





What is special about your pieces?
What makes this kind of craft "good" to you?

 I think what makes my pieces special, is the same thing that makes this craft "good" to me - I look through vintage books and papers like they were a treasure hunt now.  I'm constantly thinking in terms of 1" circles, and 7/8" squares, looking for interesting miniature images that would make unique jewelry.  Sometimes, when the muse is particularly absent, I'll foray into another media altogether - that's how my Luxe Leather and Stone lines came about.  I like to experiment, I like making pieces I'm fond of, ones I'm really proud to send off to their new owners.


Sovereign Sea Designs  can be found at any of the following locations:


Here are my links:

Website: www.sovereignseadesigns.com
AF: http://www.sovereignsea.artfire.com/
Etsy: http://www.sovereignsea.etsy.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/sovereignsea
Twitter: www.twitter.com/sovereignsea



Stores that carry my stuff:

The Andover Bookstore
Andover, MA
hugobookstores.com

Blackstones of Beacon Hill
Boston, MA
http://www.blackstonesbeaconhill.com/

Secondhand Rose on Main
141 Main St, North Andover, MA 01845
(978) 689-7673
(website being developed)

National Canine Cancer Foundation
(I've done a fundraising line for their charity)
http://www.wearethecure.org/

Local Collection
Faneuil Hall Marketplace
Boston, MA
www.facebook.com/pages/Local-Collection-Boston/114139168605526



Monday, March 21, 2011

Southern Forest Park

This last weekend was absolutely fantastic,  we had a great day at Portland Saturday Market.  And Sunday we spent hiking 11 miles thru Southern Forest Park.  Ok, it was only suppose to be 8 miles, but when the path doesn't match the map and an important turn is missed it adds miles of adventure to the day.

Southern Forest Park is the worlds largest park located in Portland, Oregon.

This is just one more fantastic reason to visit Portland, Oregon.  This park is less than 20 minutes from the heart of downtown Portland, Oregon.   Visually appealing without being out in the boonies, by most people's standards.   The trails we were on our used by local neighbors for jogs or short pleasant strolls.  It is only us true diehards that hike up and then down and up some more for a total of a 700 foot elevation changes with extremely muddy trails in the rain. 



Random shots from our day:


Wildwood Trail
We hiked the Wildwood Trail!

Muddy Trail
A good portion of the trail was like this.

Reminds me of a hidden cave dwelling
Reminds me of a hidden cave dwelling.

Animal track, unidentified
Can you identify the animal track?

Section of the Wildwood trail
A mud free section of the trail.

Fallen Tree on Trail
Yep, we hiked early enough the trail hadn't been cleared yet.

Micro waterfall
Even micro waterfalls are pretty.

Along the wildwood trail
Scenery along the trail.

We have albums posted in two spots as both Tina and I were taking pictures.
   You can find the albums at the following links:


Posted to the Entwined Vines Business page


It was so much fun, can't wait for next months hike!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Garden Delights 3/20/11

No garden should be without turnips;
Turnip for service when needed
Turnip to help one another
Turnip the music and dance.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Portland Saturday -- 3/19/2011

The weather was beautiful today at Portland Saturday Market.  The sun was shining, there was no wind, we had lots of people and dogs.  It is great to see all the different types of dogs.  But wow are people interesting!  Oregon is a green state and I am serious only in Portland will you see a group of young men, one of whom was so baked that he couldn't line up his hand with his drink enough to pick it up and have no one bat an eye.
Portland Saturday Market
Portland Saturday Market

Our neighbor right next to us was Cheryl and she was Hand Painting silk scarves.  It was so cool, some she does with a paint brush others she does with a squirt bottle, like the one below.


Cheryl hand paintng
Cheryl hand painting

Artist creating at Portland Saturday Market
Artist creating at PSM


Blue diamond hand painted scarf
Hand painted silk scarves

Want to see more of her work, visit her at Portland Saturday Market or at http://www.cfcameron.com/.

Live entertainment is a huge draw at the Market that occurs every weekend.

Stage at Portland Saturday Market
The Stage

Musicians at Portland Saturday Market
Musicians

Crowd in the park by Portland Saturday Market
Crowd in the park

Crowd by the stage at PSM
Crowd by the stage.
 

Music at the festival is always welcome.  John owner of Spirit Song Flutes is an Artisan who not only makes  bamboo flutes, but records his own music.

Spirit Song Flutes
Spirit Song Flutes

Bamboo flutes
Bamboo flutes


To give you an idea of how busy the market can be on a good day, here is a shot of the cross walk that covers a four land road and is @ 22 to 24 feet wide.

Crosswalk crowd number 1
Crosswalk crowd number 1

Crosswalk crowd number 2
Crosswalk crowd number 2

Crosswalk crowd number 3
Crosswalk crowd number 3

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday Creations --- Character Earrings!

Sometimes are creative muse takes a hike, goes on vacation, deserts us to put it mildly.   While we do a variety of things to kick start and keep our creativity going, sometimes it is stepping back and having frivolous fun with our creating that recharges the batteries best.    Usually it is something simple that we play with elements and design that we have mastered, but add  a twist.   One of the funnest ways is to play with characters.  Take a peek at the results of the ceramic and lampwork creations turned into earrings...


Ceramic Little Yellow Duck Earrings


Dragon Head Earrings 


Asian Foo style Blue Dog Earrings


Blue spoted Lady Bug Earrings


Ceramic Purple and Yellow Butterfly Earrings


Red & White Lampwork Birds with Green Swarovski Crystals Earrings


Ceramic Glazed Skull Pirate Earrings


Ceramic Bees with Gold Tone Earrings


Ceramic Fire Truck/Engine Earrings




What techniques do you use when you have a creative block?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Malachite Gemstone

Today’s stone is a green one of course because it is St Patrick’s Day!




Malachite while referred to primarily as a stone it is a combination of stone and mineral ore. A mixture of light and dark green which is usually displayed as either bands or spots depending on how cut. The different colors and design makes this a fun and versatile gemstone to work with. Malachite is listed as a semi precious gemstone.

Malachite is derived from the Greek malache which means green herb. It is also thought to be derived from the greek word malakos, which means soft. There doesn’t appear to be a clear path to trace back the origins of the name malachite.



There are different folklore beliefs surrounding malachite gemstones in regards to healing. Some stories say you should never use malachite for healing any ailment of the body. The reason being is that some cultures believe that malachite is a soul stone and reflects your inner self. With that reasoning the last thing you would want to do when ill is reflect your illness back to yourself, making yourself sicker than when you started.

Yet, other cultures embrace using malachite as an aid in healing. It is believed to assist with the functions of the pancreas and spleen and assist with dealing with vertigo. Reductions in physical pain, relief from stress and aid to healing the heart are just a few of the folklore beliefs surrounding the malachite gemstones.

Another benefit that is attributed to malachite is as a gemstone that will promote sound undisturbed sleep. Hmm, as an insomnia suffer I might give this one a try, I have tried everything else….lol



In the esoteric or magical realm and new agers all believe that malachite can be used to amplify your concentrations skills, promote peace and provide endurance to the wearer. It is a fantastic stone to unlock your creativity, aborb negativity in your surroundings and allow you to open your heart to others.

In addition there are those that believe malachite gemstones will enhance one’s ability to nurture life. I believe that this is due to green being so closely associated with living life. Everywhere you turn in nature you find natural greens in the form of plant life.

There are those that use malachite to balance and soothe the mind while promoting spiritual development. As well as clearing one’s concise of feelings of guilt over past events.es:

Please remember that this is folklore, and while fun; it is not meant to be used in place of sound medical advice.

Wedding anniversaries can be tricky to shop for, however for the 13th year; you cannot go wrong with malachite. It makes the perfect gift whether you choose a sculpture or a piece of jewelry. Let the gift be even more sincere by purchasing Folklore, Legend, and Healing Properties:







Other Stones:  Tiger's Eye, Moonstone

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Whimsy Wendesday 3/16/11

Murphy's Laws Of Computing---



Computers were suppose to make our lives easier.   Yet we work more and spend an inordinate amount of time trying to fix the darn computer malfunctions.   For the ironic humor behind them here is a top ten list, compiled soley for there humor value not there accuracy.....


1.)   When you get to the point where you really understand your computer, it's probably obsolete.

2.)   The number one cause of computer problems is computer solutions.

3.)   When computing, whatever happens, behave as though you meant it to happen.

4.)   The first place to look for information is in the section of the manual where you least expect to find it.
 
5.)   To err is human . . . to blame your computer for your mistakes is even more human, it is downright natural.

6.)   If at first you do not succeed, blame your computer.


7.)   A complex system that does not work is invariably found to have evolved from a simpler system that worked perfectly.


8.)   He who laughs last probably made a back-up.

9.)   When the going gets tough, upgrade.

10.)  For every action, there is an equal and opposite malfunction.














Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Featured Artisan --- Pink Rhododenron


Our interview with the talent behind Pink Rhododenron!



When and how did you first become interested in crafting?


I have been creative in some way for as long as I can remember.



How long have you been creating your chosen craft?

I started making jewelry about ten years ago but during the last 2-3 years I've really spent a lot more time on it.



What are your crafting influences?

I'm influenced by nature and I really enjoy color. I'm blessed with a brain that is always full of ideas...sometimes too full.

Beaded Bracelet Multi-Strand

Does anyone in your family do a similar craft?

No one in my family makes jewelry but I grew up with a creative mom and a creative grandmother. My daughter likes beading on a loom sometimes.



What kinds of places have you displayed your craft in your life?

I have never tried to sell my jewelry before. In fact, until now no one except family and close friends has ever seen my work. I'm flattered by the attention I have gotten from fellow jewelry artist. There's no higher compliment than the one from a fellow artist.



What else do you do besides create these beautiful pieces?

In my other life I homeschooled my eighth grade daughter, grow vegetables and flowers, cook from scratch, and I like to sew and play with art supplies.

Bracelet Multicolored Stones

What is your favorite piece that you have created so far?

My favorite piece so far is the multi-strand bracelet in southwest colors.



Why did you make that piece?

It was one of those things where I just saw it in my head and made it. It came together really well. I hope it finds a forever home one day.



What does it take to create pieces like that?

I think the biggest thing about making jewelry is to not be in a hurry. Every time I try to produce a bunch of stuff real fast I get hung up. I think the time and care I take shows in the pieces I make. Patience is the key, especially in bead weaving.

Handmade Bracelet Lime and Orange

What makes this kind of craft "good" to you?

People throughout history have decorated their bodies in some way or another and we're no different. It's fun to wear pretty things. It's fun to make pretty things. Since I've always been creative I don’t know how to be any other way. Even though people say the jewelry market is saturated I believe there's room for every artist. We all create such different pieces. There's no telling who might like the things we make.

Earrings Jasper and Silver